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vating a good understanding with their neighbors, reducing their language, &c., whilst the energies of Mr. Barton were amply occupied on the botany of this part of Africa. In October, 1858, just a twelvemonth after the settlement of the expedition at the spot in question, the Sunbeam steamer arrived, the whole party were then embarked, and proceeded down the river to Fernando Po, there to recruit the health of the officers and men, and make arrangements for farther exploration. During the twelvemonth's residence in Nupe the most friendly relations were maintained with the king, his brother, and chiefs, and the natives generally; supplies being often received overland from Lagos.
"At Fernando Po (November, 1858), a re-organization having taken place, and the preparations being completed, the party again set out, now in the steamer Rainbow, built and sent for the purpose, and endeavored to re-ascend the river. But it was then found that this vessel, which draws four feet of water, could not ascend the Niger even in the month of January; the waters subsiding until June, when they increase. In consequence, the party was obliged again to return to the sea, and since have set out upon th% land-journey from Lagos to Rabba (upon the route opened up by Mr. May), whence it is purposed to proceed with an expedition, the friendly objects of which must by this time have made a due impression on the native chiefs, and from which we may anticipate the gain of much knowledge when all the acquisitions of Dr. Baikie and his associates are unfolded."
Khanikoff's Expedition In Central Asia.—At a recent meeting of the American Oriental Society in New York, the Corresponding Secretary, Prof. Wm. D. Whitney of Yale College, presented a letter from the Chev. N. Khanikoff, dated Kerman, Persia, April 7-19th, 1859, in which he speaks as follows of the journey which he has just made.
"I have just completed, or nearly so, a very interesting journey through Khorassan, Western Afghanistan, and Northern Seistan. The whole region traversed by the scientific expedition which I have had the honor to conduct has been carefully surveyed, the situation of its principal points has been fixed astronomically, for more than thirty points ascertainment has been made of the magnetic coordinates, and of the intensity of magnetism corresponding therewith, and the profile of the territory has been determined by barometrical observations and trigonometrical measurements. The botanical researches have been made by Prof. Bunge, and the geological investigations by M. Gobel; the oriental literature, archaeology, and numismatics have fallen to my share, and I hope soon to have the pleasure of communicating to the Society a succinct view of the results at which I have arrived." D. c. G.
Art. XII.—The Oreat Auroral Exhibition of August 28iA. to September Uh, 1859.—(2d ARTICLE.)
In our last Number* we gave some observations of this grand auroral exhibition, from a number of stations widely distant from each other. We now put on record some facts observed respecting the influence of the Aurora upon the wires of the electric telegraph. We hope in our next Number to be able to communicate additional intelligence respecting this Aurora.
1. Observations made at Boston, Mass., and its vicinity by George 13. Prescott, Telegraph Superintendent.
My attention was first called to the possibility of the Aurora Borealis affecting the telegraph wires in 1847, while operating the Morse (electro-magnetic) telegraph at New Haven; but I was not fortunate enough to observe it until the winter of 1850. At this time I became connected with Bain's (electro-chemical) telegraph in this city, and observed some effects of the aurora; but, owing to the feeble displays, only to a limited extent.
In September, 1851, there was a* remarkable display of the Aurora Borealis, which completely took possession of all the telegraph lines running out of the city, and effectually prevented any business being done over them during-its continuance.
The following winter there was another remarkable display, which occurred upon the 19th of February, 1852. I furnish from data recorded in my journal at that time the following particulars in regard to this phenomenon.
The system of telegraphing used upon the wires during the observations of February, 1852, was Bain's electro-chemical. The circuit was what is known as the open circuit,—that is, the key, which throws the current from the battery upon the line, was always open when a message was being received from a distant station, and the current passed through the chemically prepared paper to the earth ■without uniting with the home battery. Each station was furnished with its own battery, the negtive pole of which was invariably connected with the earth, and the positive, by the depression of the key, with the line.
The line extended in a direction nearly northeast and southwest. The paper was prepared with a solution of cyanid of potassium, made after the following recipe. Six parts prussiate potassa dissolved in water; two parts nitric acid; two of ammonia. This solution will scarcely color the paper, while it will render it quite sensitive to the action of the electric current. The stylus was made of No. 30 iron wire. A battery of ten
* Vol. xxviii, p. 385-408.
cups Grove, with the line well insulated, will decompose the salts, and uniting with the iron stylus, leave a bright blue mark upon the paper, at a distance of 230 miles.
The positive pole only produces a colored mark; the negative bleaches the paper.
When there is no electric current upon the wires, the pen leaves no impression upon the paper; but the slightest current will produce decomposition; and the color of the mark depends upou the strength of the current.
Free or common electricity produces no color upon the paper. It emits a bright spark in passing from the stylus to the moistened paper; produces a quick, sharp noise, like the snapping of a pistol and disappears. This effect is totally unlike that of the Aurora Borealis, as will be seen from the following.
Thursday, February 19, 1852. Towards evening a blue line appeared upon the paper, which gradually grew darker and larger, until a flame of fire followed the pen, and burned through a dozen thicknesses of the prepared paper. The paper was set on fire by the flame, and produced considerable smoke. The current then subsided as gradually as it came on, until it entirely disappeared, and was then succeeded by a negative current, which bleached instead of colored, the paper; this also gradually increased, until, as with the positive current, it burned the paper, and then subsided, to be followed by the positive current again. This state of things continued during the entire evening, and effectually prevented any business being done over the wires. The current came in waves of varying intensity—light at first, then stronger, until having attained to the volume and intensity of at least two hundred Grove cups, it subsided, and was followed by a current of the reverse polarity. This invariably occurred, and may be set down as an established fact, that the currents from the Aurora Borealis always change their polarity during every wave.
I have seen the auroral current produce magnetism, decompose chemicals, and produce heat and fire.
The effects of the magnetic storm of August 28th, 1859, were apparent upon the wires during a considerable portion of Saturday evening, and during the entire day, Sunday. At 6 p. M. the line to New Bedford (60 miles in length, running a little west of south) could be worked only at intervals, although, of course, no signs of the Aurora Borealis were visible to the eye at that hour. The same was true of the wires running east through the state of Maine as well as those running north to Montreal. The wire between Boston and Fall River had no battery connected with it on Sunday, and yet there was a current upon it during the entire day, which caused the keepers of the electro-magnets to open and close as the waves came on and receded.
Upon the lines which had batteries connected Sunday evening, it was observed that the poles changed during every wave of the aurora—each wave occupying from fifteen seconds to half a minute. When the poles of the Aurora were in unison with the poles of the battery upon the line, the effect was to increase the current; but when they were opposed, to neutralize it. I will give my proofs of this farther on. It is to be observed that the effects I have illustrated in relation to the Aurora of August 28th, 1859, were observed upon the Morse (electro-magnetic) system. The same were, however, observed upon the House and Hughes lines running out of the same office.
It is not true that there is any difference in the effect produced upon the wires by the Aurora Borealis, whether they run east and west, or north and south. Lines running to every point of the compass diverge from the office here and were equally affected. Even the short wire running from the office in State street to the observatory in Cambridge (five miles long) was sensibly affected.
In an article which I published in the Boston Journal, August 31st, I stated that the current from the Aurora Borealis could have been used for telegraphic purposes, but I did not imagine it would be so soon verified by the actual fact
On Friday, September 2d, 1859, upon commencing business at 8 o'clock A. M. it was found that all the wires running out of the office were so strongly affected by the auroral current as to prevent any business being done, except with great difficulty. At this juncture it was suggested that the batteries should be cut off, and the wires simply connected with the earth. The Boston operator accordingly asked the Portland operator to cut off his battery and try to work with the auroral current alone. The Portland operator replied, "I have done so. Will you do the same?" Boston operator answered, "I have cut my battery off and connected the line with the earth. We are working with the current from the Aurora Borealis alone. How do you receive my writing?" "Very well indeed," rejoined the Portland operator; "much better than with the batteries on. There is much less variation in the current, and the magnets work steadier. Suppose we continue to work so until the Aurora subsides?" "Agreed," said the Boston operator. "Are you ready for business?" "Yes; go ahead," was the reponse. The Boston operator then commenced sending private dispatches, which he was able to do much better than when the batteries were on, and continued to use the wire in this manner for about two hours, when, the Aurora having subsided, the batteries were resumed.
While this singular phenomenon was taking place upon the wires between Boston and Portland, the operator at South Braintree—Miss Sarah B. Allen—informed me that she was working the wire between that station and Fall River—a distance of about forty miles south—with the auroral current alone. Since then I have visited Fall River and have the statement veritied by the intelligent operator upon the railroad line at the depot in that village.
The office at the depot is about half a mile from the regular office in the village. The battery is kept at the latter place, but the operator at the de"pot is provided with a button or switch, by which he can throw the battery off' the line, and put the wire in connection with the ground at pleasure. The battery at the other terminus of the line is at Boston, but the operator at South Braintree is furnished with a similar switch, which enables her to dispense with its use at pleasure. There are no intermediate batteries; consequently if Fall River operator puts his wire to the earth, and the South Braintree operator puts her wire to the earth, the line is without battery, and of course, without an electrical current.
Such was the state of the line upon the 2d of September last, when for nearly two hours, they held communication over the wire with the aid of the celestial batteries alone!
I have restricted myself in this article to facts observed by myself. I have stated nothing which I am not absolutely certain of, and which, if necessary, can be proved by a number of reliable witnesses.
2. Observations made at White River Junction, Vt., communicated by J. H. Norris, Telegraph Superintendent.
During the forenoon of Sept. 2d, an unusual current of varying intensity was present most of the time on the wires of the Vermont and Boston telegraph. The polarity of this current appeared to change frequentlv, sometimes being opposite to and nearly or quite neutralizing tne battery current when an attempt was made to use the line; at other times much increasing the force of the battery current. The auroral current produced the same marks upon our chemical paper (we use the Bain or chemical system of telegraph) as those produced by the use of the battery. Signals and messages were transmitted between Boston and Manchester by the sole use of Hie auroral current.
3. Observations made at Springfield, Mass., by J. E. Selden.
On the evening of Aug. 28th, upon the Boston and New York circuit, at one moment there was a very heavy current on the wire, and the next none at all. On the Albany and Springfield circuit, a flash passed across from the break key of the telegraph apparatus to the iron frame, the flame of which was about half the size of an ordinary jet of gas. It was accompanied by