son was not like to have forgotten who sent him to the
With the present book we enter the field of the distinctively modern. There is no precise date at which we take up each of the successive stories, but the main sweep of development has to do in each case with the nineteenth century. We shall see at once that this is a time both of rapid progress and of great differentiation. We have heard almost nothing hitherto of such sciences as paleontology, geology, and meteorology, each of which now demands full attention. Meantime, astronomy and what the workers of the elder day called natural philosophy become wonderfully diversified and present numerous phases that would have been startling enough to the star-gazers and philosophers of the earlier epoch.
Thus, for example, in the field of astronomy, Herschel is able, thanks to his perfected telescope, to discover a new planet and then to reach out into the depths of space and gain such knowledge of stars and nebulae as hitherto no one had more than dreamed of. Then, in rapid sequence, a whole coterie of hitherto unsuspected minor planets is discovered, stellar distances are measured, some members of the starry galaxy are timed in their flight, the direction of movement of the solar system itself is investigated, the spectroscope reveals the chemical composition even of suns that are unthinkably distant, and a tangible theory is grasped of the universal cycle which includes the birth and death of worlds.
Similarly the new studies of the earth's surface reveal secrets of planetary formation hitherto quite inscrutable. It becomes known that the strata of the earth's surface have been forming throughout untold ages, and that successive populations differing utterly from one another have peopled the earth in different geological epochs. The entire point of view of thoughtful men becomes changed in contemplating the history of the world in which we live--albeit the newest thought harks back to some extent to those days when the inspired thinkers of early Greece dreamed out the wonderful theories with which our earlier chapters have made our readers familiar.
In the region of natural philosophy progress is no less pronounced and no less striking. It suffices here, however, by way of anticipation, simply to name the greatest generalization of the century in physical science--the doctrine of the conservation of energy.
THE SUCCESSORS OF NEWTON IN ASTRONOMY
STRANGELY enough, the decade immediately following Newton was one of comparative barrenness in scientific progress, the early years of the eighteenth century not being as productive of great astronomers as the later years of the seventeenth, or, for that matter, as the later years of the eighteenth century itself. Several of the prominent astronomers of the later seventeenth century lived on into the opening years of the following century, however, and the younger generation soon developed a coterie of astronomers, among whom Euler, Lagrange, Laplace, and Herschel, as we shall see, were to accomplish great things in this field before the century closed.
One of the great seventeenth-century astronomers, who died just before the close of the century, was Johannes Hevelius (1611-1687), of Dantzig, who advanced astronomy by his accurate description of the face and the spots of the moon. But he is remembered also for having retarded progress by his influence in refusing to use telescopic sights in his observations, preferring until his death the plain sights long before discarded by most other astronomers. The advantages of these telescope sights have been discussed under the article treating of Robert Hooke, but no such advantages were ever recognized by Hevelius. So great was Hevelius's reputation as an astronomer that his refusal to recognize the advantage of the telescope sights caused many astronomers to hesitate before accepting them as superior to the plain; and even the famous Halley, of whom we shall speak further in a moment, was sufficiently in doubt over the matter to pay the aged astronomer a visit to test his skill in using the old-style sights. Side by side, Hevelius and Halley made their observations, Hevelius with his old instrument and Halley with the new. The results showed slightly in the younger man's favor, but not enough to make it an entirely convincing demonstration. The explanation of this, however, did not lie in the lack of superiority of the telescopic instrument, but rather in the marvellous skill of the aged Hevelius, whose dexterity almost compensated for the defect of his instrument. What he might have accomplished could he have been induced to adopt the telescope can only be surmised.
Halley himself was by no means a tyro in matters astronomical at that time. As the only son of a wealthy soap-boiler living near London, he had been given a liberal education, and even before leaving college made such novel scientific observations as that of the change in the variation of the compass. At nineteen years of age he discovered a new method of determining the elements of the planetary orbits which was a distinct improvement over the old. The year following he sailed for the Island of St, Helena to make observations of the heavens in the southern hemisphere.
- Indian family, who had come to trade in a canoe from Caylen,
- and on the same terms. To such a document as this in my
- criticism of their contents. Moreover, for all this trouble
- sailing in a few days for South Africa. I do not think
- rising, was gradually flooding the cave of the dragon.
- so written, but you have the making of a good novelist
- succeed to the point I indicated.” This is of course
- you. I consider Jeaffreson’s very encouraging on the
- pouring into the cave of the dragon through the open door
- legion. Also, from one cause, and another, little or nothing
- permanent employment was ever offered to him. Indeed, it
- Sir Theophilus Shepstone came, and with what delight did
- in an iron sluice gate. The Eurasian had passed it, but
- meant when he said that I could succeed in literature,
- might become famous in a morning; but you may not entertain
- I was still a young man so far as capacity for work went,
- his fingers, right and left, and presently found slimy
- ninety-three foolscap sheets on September 5th of the same
- already interested. It was because I saw you really knew
- advised him to publish it as it came to me. The goodness
- the ray of light from Max's lamp impinged upon the opening
- Now I am reaping the sad fruits of this idiosyncrasy, since
- mind and arouses the expectation. . . . This is, we repeat,
- a man has neither the excuse of youth nor the excuse of
- had come across his northerly camp and he feared that they
- the smaller sort and those who dwelt on it, began to show
- and for the two novels I had received exactly the same
- male eye, have a painful similarity to each other, whereas
- out to be lignite of little value, in the sandstone (probably
- Dear Sir, — Can’t you arrange to dine with us at seven
- of the profits. But in that generous agreement was a little
- bound in green, which I admire as I write. Certain of the
- heavy rain set in, which was hardly sufficient to drive
- I am glad that my speech did not wholly disgust you; I
- of an individual totally unknown to him, or to anybody
- to London when I began to practise at the Bar. We lived
- In the afternoon we paid our respects to the governor —
- parting. At the dinner which was given me by the Empire
- My criticism on “Dawn” considered as a whole — that
- sum in all; in short, the net returns were at that time
- could trust. To them he explained his plans and the rich
- so that every chapter should be in harmony with its best
- he finished it or not I cannot now remember. Scoffers might
- The notices of “The Witch’s Head” naturally delighted
- in an iron sluice gate. The Eurasian had passed it, but
- the book to go quickly out of print and to be pirated in
- as well as I could, only the final fires through which
- new ground: so good that had it been less I should have
- damp freshness in the air of the passage, and a sort of
- a publisher in its present state. You will succeed in literary