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over it with his usual vivacity. It is not a little that can stop a man who has taken his first step towards the moon. And yet the banter of the most confident of us may be balked by observing that, two years after the publication of this book, he sent forth another, “tending to prove that it is probable our carth is one of the planets.” The man is laughed at now who ventures to think such an estal·lished tenet improbable. The "tlying chariot” has been realized since Wilkins's time, in the car of the balloon ; but the only persons that have succeeded in getting to the moon are Cyrano de Bergerac, Domingo Gonzales, and Ariosto's hero), Astolfo.
The first undoubted succeeders in raising a man into the air, and enabling im to continue there, were the brothers Stephen and Joseph de Montgolfier, papermakers at Lyons : the first person who so rose, but in a balloon secured to the earth by ropes, was M. Pilâtre de Rozier; and the first persons who quitted the earth entirely were the same De Rozier and the Marquis d'Arlandes. They went up together. The following is the interesting proces z'erbal, giving an account of this ascent, and signed, among others, by the illustrious Franklin, who was then commissioner in France, from the new American government:
To-day, Nov. 21, 1783, at the Château de la Muette, took place the experiment with the aërostatic machine of M. de Montgolfier. The sky was partly clouded, wind N. W. At eight minutes after noon, a mortar gave notice that the machine was about to be filled. In eight minutes, notwithstanding the wind, it was ready to set off, the Marquis d'Arlandes and N. Pilâtre de Rozier being in the
It was at first intended to retain the machine awhile with ropes, to judge what weight it would bear, and see that
all was right. But the wind prevented it from rising vertically, and directed it towards one of the garden walks : the ropes made several rents in it, one of six feet long. It was brought down again, and in two hours was set right. Having been filled again, it set off at fifty-four minutes past one, carrying the same persons. It rose in the most majestic manner, and when it was about two hundred and seventy feet high, the intrepid voyagers took off their hats and saluted the spectators. No one could help feeling a mingled sentiment of fear and admiration. The voyagers were soon undistinguishable ; but the machine, hovering upon the horizon, and displaying the most beautiful figure, rose at least three thousand feet high, and remained visible all the time. It crossed the Seine below the barrier of La Conférence; and passing thence between the Ecole Militaire and the Hôtel des Invalides, was in view of all Paris. The voyagers, satisfied with their experiment, and not wishing to travel farther, agreed to descend; but seeing that the wind was carrying them upon the houses of the Rue de Sève, Faubourg St. Germain, they preserved their presence of mind, increased the fire, and continued their course through the air till they had crossed Paris. They then descended quietly on the plain, beyond the new boulevard, opposite the mill of Croulebarbe, without having felt the slightest inconvenience, and having in the car two-thirds of their fuel. They could then, if they had wished, have gone three times as far as they did go, which was 5000 toises, done in from twenty to twenty-five minutes. The machine was seventy feet high ; forty-six feet in diameter; it contained 60,000 cubic feet, and carried a weight of from 1600 to 1700 pounds. Given at the Château of La Muette, at five in the afternoon. Signed, Duc de Polignac, Duc de Guisnes, Comte de Polastron,
Comte de Vaudreuil, D'Ilunaud, Benjamin Franklin, Faujas de St. Fond, de Lisle, le Roy, of the Academy of Sciences.”
This procès t'erbal is taken from an excellent summary on the balloon, in the “Penny Cyclopædia,” where it is followed by the ensuing extract from a letter of the Marquis d’Arlandes, who, after stating that he had obtained permission from M. Montgolfier to ascend alone, but that, by the advice of the latter, M. de Rozier was associated with him the evening before the ascent, proceeds thus : 66 We set off at 54 minutes past one. The balloon was so placed that M. de Rozier was on the West, and I on the East. The machinc, says the public, rose with majesty. I think few of them saw that, at the moment when it passed the hedge, it made a half turn, and we changed our positions, which, thus altered, we retained to the end. I was astonished at the smallness of the noise or motion occasioned by our departure among the spectators. I thought they might be astonished and frightened, and might stand in need of encouragement” (a beautiful trait of coolness from the man in the balloon to those on terra firma). “I waved my arm with little success; I then drew out and shook my handkerchief, and immediately perceived a great movement in the garden. It scemed as if the spectators all formed one mass, which rushed by an involuntary motion towards the wall, which it seemed to consider as the only obstacle between us. At this moment M. de Rozier called out, “ You are doing nothing, and we do not rise.' I begged his pardon, took some straw, moved the fire, and turned again quickly; but I could not find La Muette. In astonishment, I followed the river with my eye, and at last found where the Oise joined it. Here then, was Conflans; nearest to them, I repeated, Poissy,
St. Germain, St. Denis, Sève, then I am still at Poissy, or at Chaillot. Accordingly, looking down through the car, I saw the Visitation de Chaillot. M. Pilâtre said to me at this moment, 'Here is the river, and we are descending.' "Well, my friend,' said I, “more fire ;' and we set to work. But, instead of crossing the river, as our course towards the Invalides seemed to indicate, we went along the Ile des Cygnes, entered the principal bed again, and went up the stream till we were above the Barrière la Conférence. I said to my brave associate, “Here is a river, which is very difficult to cross.' 'I think so,' said he ; 'you are doing nothing. “I am not so strong as you,' I answered ; and we are well as we are.' I stirred the fire, and seized a bundle of straw, which, being too much pressed, did not light well. I shook it over the flame, and the instant after I felt as if I had been seized under the arms, and I said to my friend, “We are rising now, however.' “Yes, we are rising,' he answered, coming from the interior, where he had been seeing all was right. At this moment I heard a noise high up in the balloon, which made me fear it had burst. I looked up, and saw nothing; but, as I had my eyes fixed on the machine, I felt a shock, the first I had experienced. The shock was upwards, and I cried out, “What are you doing, are you dancing?' 'I am not stirring.' 'So much the better,' I said;
this must be a new current, which will, I hope, take us off the river.' Accordingly, I turned to see where we were, and found myself between the Ecole Militaire and the Invalides, which we had passed by about 400 toises. M. Pilâtre said, “We are in the plain.' “Yes,' I said, we are getting on. "Let us set to work,' he replied. I heard a noise in the machine, which I thought came from the breaking of a cord. I looked in and saw that the
southern part was full of round holes, several of them large. I said, “ We must get down. «Why?'. Look,' said I. At the same time, I took my sponge (pyrotechnical term), and casily extinguished the fire, which was enlarging such of the holes as I could reach ; but on trying if the balloon was fast to the lower circle, I found it easily came off. I repeated to my companion, We must descend.' He looked round him, and said, “We are over Paris.' Having looked to the safety of the cords, I said, “We can cross Paris.' We were now coming near the roofs : we raised the fire, and rose again with great case.
I looked under me and saw the Missions Etrangerès, and it seemed as if we were going towards the towers of St. Sulpice, which I could see. Raising ourselves, a current turned us south. I saw on my left a wood, which I thought was the Luxembourg. We passed the Boulevard ; and I called out, ‘Pied à terre.' We stopped the fire, but the brave Pilâtre, who did not lose his self-possession, thought we were coming upon mills and warned mc. . . . We alighted at the Butte aux Cailles, between the mill Des Merveilles and the Moulin Vieux. The moment we touched land, I held by the car with my two hands: I felt the balloon press my head lightly. I pushed it off, and leaped out. Turning towards the balloon, which I expected to find full, to my great astonishment, it was perfectly empty and flattened.”
The second balloon voyage was that of Messrs. Charles and Robert, at sunset, from the Tuileries, Dec. 1, 1783. M. Charles reascended immediately afterwards, alone, to the height of nearly two miles, and saw the sun rise again. “I was the only illuminated object,” he says ; "all the rest of nature being plunged in shadow."
M. de Rozier ascended for the third time, in the third voyage, in company with Joseph Montgolfier, and six