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a strange rule of inverse proportion, rance, and irreligion, and profligacy, operate all the more slightly and su- into which they have fallen; and let us perficially just as we have all the harder see, in particular, that by their hearty materials to deal with. Far better and generous responses to the call of than any thin-spread appliance of our Church's Education Committee, this sort over the whole of Edinburgh, they duly appreciate the worth and were it that each church should select magnitude of the attempt which is now its own small and manageable vineyard, being made to provide a full and high whereupon to concentrate all its ener- scholarship for all our families. gies and means.
It were premature to offer so much But first and foremost, there ought as a conjecture on the views and
purto be an adequate system of week-day poses of Government in regard to schooling—that boys and girls may be education. But sure we are, that notaught, and well taught, in all the ele- thing would serve more effectually to mentary education that is proper for purify and elevate their proposed them. There cannot be a more ef- schools, than the wide-spread example fectual forerunner than this—a better of such a system as Christian men would pioneer to all the subsequent opera. be most ready to adopt and to approve tions. But it is not the method of of. We rate very highly the power proceeding which I purpose at present of an endowment, whether for good or to lay down. It is the first great ex- for evil; and in our present uncerpense which I want to take notice of, tainty as to the character and effect the first of the larger calls, which in of the coming State endowment, we the earlier stages of such an enterprize, greatly desiderate such a popular enwill behove to be made on the liberality dowment as might enable us to take the of the congregation that embarks in it. education of our own people into our Let the call be met generously and un- own hands-an education not sectarian grudgingly. Let the example of a but scriptural, based upon the word of sacrifice in the high cause of education God, while at the same time it was carbe given forth by the Free Church con- ried indefinitely upward and onward to gregations of Edinburgh to the Free a far larger amount of useful learning Church congregations at large. Let than has yet on the average been given them take the part which becomes them in our primary and elementary schools. in what may be termed the great pro- I am, dear Sir, yours truly, blem of our day—the recovery of our people from that fearful abyss of igno
M. LE VERRIER'S PLANET.
It is not only in harmony with sa- Providence, by manifesting the unicred views of the origin of the uni- versal action of fundamental laws, apverse, as His work, whose we are, to parent as far as the regions of the study its constitution, and mark its creation can be examined by us. They objects; but the engagement has va- testify of all that infinitude of power luable relations to “the truth accord- and wisdom which the Scriptures, in ing to godliness," disclosed in the in- majestic language, ascribe to the spired pages; and may be prosecuted “ Blessed and only Potentate," and in a way that shall strengthen the commend to our reverence the revealhomage of the intellect, and the obe- ed representations of His matchless dience of the heart to it. Physical perfection and ineffable glory. They facts are in close and intimate alliance evidence the dependence of man, supply with Christian theology. They illus- him with motives to thankful devotrate the unity of the Divine Nature, tion and to filial fear, by the display and the universality of the Divine of benign adaptations and awful attri-, of his powers.
butes, and offer a rebuke to self-de- mysterious girdle in the heavens, till gradation and complacency, by the the seventeenth century- yielded up % vastness of that scheme of existence revelation of itseif to the “optic glass” which he is able to apprehend, and its of the Italian, and was resolved into a boundless amplitude beyond the grasp zone of stars. Some of the other ne
bulæ also, as Presape, a speck of light One of the most remarkable events looming in the sombre districts of of the present day, which will render Cancer, with which the ancient eye the year 1846 memorable in the an- was acquainted, were ascertained to be nals of physical astronomy, is the dis- stellar combinations. Upon Jupiter covery of M. Le Verrier's planet, not, being attacked, on several successive however, on account of a new mem- nights of January 1610, three minute ber being added to the known bodies stars were perceived eastward of the of the system, carrying its bounds to planet, and close to its disc. Two of nearly twice their former supposed li. them were subsequently found to have mit, but because of the manner in altered their place to the westward ; a which the object has been seized. Be- fourth was then caught sight of; and fore proceeding to detail this triumph of the Jovian system, a planet with four pure analysis and mathematics, it may satellites, a miniature picture of the not be without interest to recur to the solar universe, was eventually unfoldhistory of modern observation.
ed. A remarkable appearance was More than a century and a half next observed about Saturn, his anelapsed after the construction of the nular appendages, the lateral portions telescope before any primary body of which, viewed in perspective, were was added to the list of those familiar taken to be two small stars, and hence to the ancient mind of the world as the planet was described as threefold, planets— wanderiny orbs to Greek in a well-known distich sent to Kepand Roman apprehension
whence ler. Then Venus was discovered, no their name- —whose apparently erratic longer shining in full-orbed brightmovements, now direct, stationary, or ness, as to the naked eye, but exhibitretrograde, they could not reconcile ing similar phases to our moon_a with any general theory of the uni- clear proof of her dependence upon
But interesting revelations at- the sun, and interior position to the tended the first application of that in- earth, in relation to that luminary. strument to the heavens, and rapidly In one of his most important disfollowed as its capacity improved. coveries—that of the satellites of JuWith his second telescope-the first, piter-Galileo had nearly been anticonstructed in 1609, being presented cipated by Harriot, a companion of to the Doge of Venice-Galileo exa- Sir Walter Raleigh in his expedition mined the lunar surface. He discern- to Virginia, afterwards attached to ed its real irregularity, indicated by the Earl of Northumberland's housethe bright and obscure parts visible hold, by whom he was liberally supto the naked eye, the latter of which, ported. Baron de Zach examined his however, the schoolmen absurdly re- manuscripts at the seat of the Earl garded as earthly taints, consequent on of Egremont, to whom they had dethe proximity of the moon to us, hold- scended, and produced a paper on them ing with tenacity the notion of the in the Astronomical Ephemeris of the self-luminosity, unblemished charac- Royal Academy of Berlin for the year ter, and geometrical perfection of all 1788. From this it appears that Harthe celestial bodies. Afterwards, the riot observed the satellites of Jupiter, milky way—that old abandoned high January 16, 1610; and Galileo had road of the sun, in the judgment of only detected them on the 7th of that some of the Pagan philosophers, still month, and of course the two obsergleaming with the solar radiance- vations were made quite independent of “ the pathway to great Jupiter's each other. There had been stateabode" - according to the fancy of ments repeatedly afloat, to the effect heathen superstition, a completely
a completely that these objects may be caught by a
strong unassisted vision, but Dr Wol- the grave a few months afterwards, laston, who had a remarkably keen likewise at a very early age ; and aneye, often tried the experiment under other mutual friend, the inventor of the the most favourable circumstances, but micrometer, William Gascoygne, also always without
Captain young, was slain in the bloody fight on Smyth, a good gazer also, relates Marston Moor between Charles and that he gave great attention to the Cromwell. matter ou the summit of Mount Etna, The true constitution of the Saturand in other fine-climate places, but nian globe, known from remote anticould never obtain a sight of Jupiter's quity as a dull, sluggish object in the moons without a glass. It is certain that heavens, first dawned upon Huyghens, they were completely unknown before a Hollander, worthy of remembrance the time of Galileo and Harriot; and we for relinquishing French honours and may suspect some unintentional self- emoluments, nobly refusing to be made deception in all accounts of their visi- a special exception to the ediets level. bility to the unarmed eye. M. Mäd- led against the Huguenots, among ler, indeed, mentions the curious fact of whom he was numbered. He had apthe postmaster Nernst seeing one satel- plied himself to the construction of large lite without a telescope, and drawing & telescopes, and, on March 21, 1655, diagram of its position ; but upon the discovered a satellite of Saturn, sucinstrument being applied it was found ceeding at the same time in discerning that three of the satellites had nearly the annular appendage of the planet. closed, and it was their united bright- Galileo, astonished and perplexed with ness that thus reached the piercing its appearance, had sent to Kepler, the eye of Nernst. From Zach's memoir formidable word, on Harriot, it appears that he was undoubtedly the first observer of the
Smaismrmilmepoetalevmibvnenvgttaviras, solar spots in 1610, followed by Ga- from which, by transposition of the letlileo, Scheiner, and Fabricius, in ters, the following sentence is obtained, 1611.
Altissimum Planetam tergeminum obJust as the civil wars were on the
servavi. eve of breaking out, interrupting the peaceful occupations of science, and
" The most distant planet I have ob
served to be threefold.” agitating the homes of England, the first transit of Venus ever known to Huyghens, adopting the style of the have been seen by human eyes was wit- age, published the cipher, a aa aa aa nessed. This was in December 1639. ccccc deeeeeghiiiiiiiillllmm nn The time was calculated by Jeremiah nnnnnn n 0000 ppqrrsttttt uuuu Horrocks, born in an obscure village U, which contains the letters of the sennear Liverpool, who observed the phe- tence in alphabetical order, nomenon, in connection with his friend Annulo cingitur, tenui, plano, nusWilliam Crabtree, a clothier at Brough- quam cohærente, ad eclipticam incliton, near Manchester. The planet ap- natio. peared on the sun, according to the “ The planet is surrounded with a calculation. The day of the event was ring, thin, plane, nowhere adhering, Sunday, respecting which Horrocks and inclined to the ecliptic.” writes: " I observed from sunrise till The elder Capini, between the years nine o'clock, again a little before ten, 1671 and 1684, discovered four of the and, lastly, at noon, and from one to planet's moons; and Herschel two two o'еlock, the rest of the day being more in 1789, enlarging the cortege to devoted to higher duties, which might seven. The latter, with his mighty not be neglected for these pastimes." instrumental power, established the Horrocks died in the beginning of the rotation of the rings, first seen double year 1641, when only twenty-three by the brothers Ball at Minehead in years old, having advanced the lunar Devonshire on October 13, 1665, and theory in a way which Newton has discerned their shadow on the body of eulogized. Crabtree followed him to Saturn at the time when the edge, be
ing turned to the earth, was invisible. appeared, but which had been sagaciIt still remains an unsettled point whe- ously referred to the action of some ther this wonderful apparatus may not unknown outlying body, an idea which be further divisible ; but, rigidly exa- was now completely verified. mined by Struve, it is now known to The opening of the present century be not mathematically concentric with was distinguished by the discovery of the ball of the planet, which lies to- constituents within the ancient limits wards the west in the annulus.
of the system. From the days of KepWe now come to the illustrious resi- ler, the notion had floated in the minds dent at Slough, Sir William Herschel, of astronomers, chiefly of the German who pushed the bounds of the system school, that some undiscovered body over an extent of space equal to its must exist in the vast interval between former dimensions, added to the num- Mars and Jupiter, so disproportionate ber of its constituents half as many to the distances between Mars and the again as those previously known, and Earth, and the interior planets respecwas the first to garner in a new pri- tively. The notion was strengthened mary planet. Including Halley's co- by the curious but purely empirical met, the solar universe consisted of law of Bode, that the interval between eighteen bodies when Herschel com- the orbits of any two plane is about menced his labours, but he increased twice as great as the inferior interval, them to twenty-seven by the discovery and only half the superior one, Acof two moons to Saturn, with Uranus cordingly, at a congress of practical and six satellites. This far remote observers held at Lilienthal in 1800, traveller had been observed before by an association was formed, of which M. Hamstead, Bradley, Mayer, and Le- Schroeter was elected the president, monnier, but the length of its orbital and Baron de Zach the secretary, for route and the consequent apparent the purpose of accurately examining slowness of its pace, warded off suspi- the whole zodiac, each taking a comcion of the planet's motion, and the partment, in order to bring out the object was registered as a star. Ele- latent planet from its hiding place. ven times it had been noticed by Le- The result was, within six years, the monnier, over whose misfortune De- detection of the singular family of aslambre sighs, for had he only arranged teroids, occupying the immense gap his observations methodically, he would between Mars and Jupiter, which, from have discovered its planetary charac- their small size, the correspondence of ter, and the honour of the event have their mean distances from the sun, and belonged to France. It was on Tues- the intersection of their orbits, appear day the 13th of March 1781, between as if the fragments of a large original ten and eleven o'clock in the evening, planet, disrupted by some tremendous while Herschel was examining some cataclysm. Since these extraordinary small stars near the feet of Gemini, bodies were found, no new planet enthat he observed one of them to have riched the astronomical catalogues till a sensible amount of diameter, though the close of the year 1845, when Herr less bright than the others. This was Hencke of Berlin added a colleague to at first taken to be a comet, and the asteroids, under the name of Asannounced as such, but very speedily trea. recognised as a superior planet, re- The course of remark brings us to sembling the rest in every possible M. Le Verrier's planet, the discovery of point of comparison. The stranger, which is the great scientific event of still called the Georgian in the Nauti- 1846, the most memorable achievement cal Almanack, but more commonly of theoretical astronomy, in which obUranus, expanded the system to the servation has been outstripped by inenormous linear extent of eighteen duction. hundred millions of miles from the sun, When Columbus commenced his enand accounted for certain perturba- terprise in search of a western main tions in the motions of Jupiter and Sa- across the Atlantic, its existence in turn, for which no perceptible cause that direction was not the romantic speculation of an imaginative mind; through longer periods. Sometimes, but his judgment had dwelt upon sig- the effect produced, in the case of a nificant data in favour of the attempt particular planet, is an acceleration in to reach a continent beyond the untra- its rate of movement; at other times, versed wastes of the ocean. Martin a retardation, and derangement ensues Vicenti, a Portuguese pilot, had as- in the forio and magnitude of the plasured him, that far to the west of Cape netary orbits, their dilation and conSt Vincent he had taken a piece of traction, and in their mutual inclinacarved wood from the sea, evidently tions. No permanent alteration, hownot laboured with an iron instrument, ever, is occasioned in the system, but which must have floated from some its stability is guaranteed, by the tenunknown western land, following the dency of the disturbing forces ere long set of the current. Pedro Correo, his to go upon another tack, and work out brother-in-law, had also informed him a compensation for the inequalities inthat he had seen a similar piece of duced. Where disturbance and comwood off Porto Santo, which seemed to pensation transpire in a comparatively have come from the same quarter; and short period, the fluctuations are said immense reeds were known to have to be periodic, while those which rebeen cast upon the Madeira Isles, quire an immense interval of ages for dissimilar to those with which Euro- their completion, are discriminated as peans were acquainted. Trunks of secular variations. Throughout the huge pine trees had been thrown upon whole of the seventeenth century Sathe shores of the Azores, of a species turn was observed to be a constant di/ferent to any that grew upon the laggard with reference to his calculated islands; while the bodies of two dead post, while Jupiter showed his expertmen had been drifted to the island of ness in being always beforehand at Flores, in the fifteenth century, whose his. Thus the one planet' seemed to complexion and features proclaimed be lengthening, and the other to be them to belong to an unknown race. shortening its period. But in the These facts had not been lost upon eighteenth century an inverse process Columbus. His sagacious mind per- was remarked. Saturn shewed acceceived their bearing. They appeared leration, and Jupiter retardation. It as evidences giving to the conviction is now well known that in a cycle of the force of demonstration, that by about 918 years, these two planets, proceeding westerly over the Atlantic, owing to their action and reaction upon he should arrive at a continent before each other, go through a series of miunknown, a presumption which the un- nute changes in their orbits which are dertaking confirmed. In a somewhat compensated in that period. During similar manner has Le Verrier's planet half of it the major axis of Jupiter's been found, though at the distance of orbit is increased, while that of Saturn's more than three thousand millions of is diminished. During the other half, miles from our globe, the conviction of the reverse takes place, the entire cycle its existence, the calculation of its mass, being known by the name of the “great of the dimensions of its orbit, of its inequality.” Any competent geomeperiodic time, and its particular locale ter who has the elements of two plain the heavens, ante-dating its disco- nets in hand, their positions, masses, very and leading to it. The manner and periodic times, will be able to in which this result has been obtained, calculate the perturbations arising from stripped of its technicalities, may be their action upon each other, though readily apprehended by the general the problem belongs to the highest reader.
branch of mathematics, But in the Planetary perturbations are inequa- instance of Le Verrier's planet, a problities of motion, consequent upon their lem inverse to this, and one of far mutual gravitation towards each other greater difficulty, never solved before, Such disturbances are mostly inappre- has been successfully worked, namely, ciable, taking short intervals of time, to find the elements of an unknown but become sensible by accumulation disturbing body from a given amount