« PreviousContinue »
A new Governor-General (Lord Hardinge) succeeded Lord Ellenborough about this time, and a second Sikh war was imminent. Napier was not taken into council in the first instance ; then suddenly, on the first reverse, he was called upon to raise an army--to create all the resources for an Indian campaign- and then to leave the men who had confidence in him, and to take a command where he could have been of comparatively little use. Happily, an unexpected victory finished the war, and the thankless task was never required from him. But, worn out with the labour it involved indeed he laid at this time the foundation of the disease he died of–hampered by official perverseness-and, last of all, his wife's health failing, he resigned his command, and came home to England, in the end of 1847. It is not surprising, that though he had had 53 years of a soldier's life, he had just then a longing to be Dictator of Ireland. It should be (he said) the quietest country in the world in one year, and the happiest in two. He proposes to send all the bishops, priests, and deacons to New Zealand, and to hang most of the editors—with some more hopeful measures in the shape of improved agriculture and road-making. However, he was not made lordLieutenant: but by this time the English people had begun to suspect that he really was a great mar, and he was received with honour everywhere, except among those who ought to have known his worth best--the East India Directors. But he was again to be called on as the one man who could save India.
The battle of Chillianwallah created a panic in England. The Duke of Wellington said—“If you don't go, I must;" and he went-knowing, as he said, that, “except from Her Majesty, the Duke, the people of England, and the armies of India," he must expect to find only hostility. At 67—-rich enough, from the prize-money of the last campaign-enfeebled by disease—and, most of all, doubtful whether, as commander-in-chief, he would not be overruled by petty officialism-he went and assumed the command of 30,000 men, in May, 1849. The war was over, but a more terrible task awaited him—the putting down a mutiny; and one, too, brought about by injustice and folly, and notably by the fact of European officers being withdrawn from their regiments, and the command left to same lanrant lads. Every element that brought about the
last terrible Indian mutiny was there plainly visible to Napier's eye; prophetic, indeed, his warnings seem. If he had then been allowed to re-organise the army, we should have had no Cawnpore. But he had now to do with Lord Dalhousie, as Governor-General ; and, incredible as it may seem, the incident which led him to give up the task was, that a regiment being in a state of mutiny, he was censured for not enforcing à deduction from the soldiers' pay, amounting in all to some £10, which had only partially come into force, according to the routine of the service. The “Iron Duke" backed the ungracious and illiberal proceeding; and Charles Napier then felt that there was no more for him to do, and resigned. He came home to England in March, 1851, and beyond the little vexations that beset every one who serves his country, there is little more to relate. He fled the noisy gaieties of London, and lived chiefly at his residence, Oaklands, in Hampshire, his creative powers, his kindness to the poor, conspicuous to the last. A cold caught at the Duke of Wellington's funeral proved fatal, and he died August 29th, 1853; his son-in-law, Montagu McMurdo, waving the colours of the old 22nd Regiment over him as the spirit passed away. He lies buried in the little garrison churchyard at Portsmouth. Two Indian Governor-Generals--the chief authorities, naval and military—the private soldiers of the garrison, who had never fought under him, but revered a great soldierlaw, literature, the money power of England,
,-were represented there; and 60,000 people crowded to view the scene.
I could not help asking, as I gazed among them, whether we had no better use for that manly frame—that eagle eye and strong hand—that power to grapple with nature, and to sway the hearts of men---that deep reflective powerthat keen religious insight (of which I have not been able to speak to-night)—than to make this man a professional killer of other men. There is yet, alas ! need of strong arms to strike down wrong, and to smite the wrong-doer; but in better times, let us hope that such men will be better employed, in building up the noble and the beautiful. New occasions bring new duties-time makes ancient good uncouth; They must upward still, and onward, who would keep abreast of
truth: On before us gleam her campfires-we ourselves must pilgrims beNor attempt the future's portals with the past's blood-rusted key,
ASTRONOMY OF THE FIXED STARS,
THE REV. W. N. MOLESWORTH, M. A.
[Delivered to the Members of the Rochdale Co-operativa Pioneers.]
affords me much pleasure to comply with the request
in the Public Hall, before the members of the Rochdale Equitable Pioneers Society. I regard this request as a proof that the Rochdale Co-operators are not declining from their principles-that they remember that the object of their association is to become richer, in order that they may become wiser and better. Competence as the means, comfort, health, knowledge, and virtue as the ends--that Í hold to be the true motto of Co-operation; and as long as you bear that motto on your banners, you will maintain that Co-operative pre-eminence you have so honourably
But if the time should ever come when these principles are disregarded—if the dividend should be looked at as the end, and not as the means of social, intellectual, and religious elevation, you will descend from your high position. I do not think this will ever be the case: I feel confident that you will find in the past history of your society a stimulus to press forward in the way you have hitherto pursued. Believing that you are desiring to do so now, I feel complimented by the request made to me to deliver these lectures; and I shall be glad if I can be of any use to you in promoting your praiseworthy designs.
INTRODUCTION TO ASTRONOMY. The subject on which I have to deliver these lectures, is the “Astronomy of the Fixed Stars." Now that is a department of astronomy which has neither the obvious utility nor the positive certainty that belong to the other branches of astronomy on which I have already lectured to you. The astronomy of the fixed stars is a portion of astronomy which is never likely to be of much practical value. The astronomy of the planets has been useful to us in a variety of ways. By a knowledge of the motions of
the planets the mariner has been enabled to guide his ship across the ocean, and to carry on that commerce which forins so great a part of this and of every other civilised country. But though I cannot claim for this subject either the utility or the positive certainty of the other branches of astronomy, yet I do believe that no study whatever is so calculated to raise and lift up our minds above sublunary concerns, to make us see at once the greatness and littleness of man, and to develope and bring out the intellectual faculties, ani, through the intellect, the moral faculties of our minds ani souls.
THE FIXED STARS.
Reminding the audience of his description of the solar system in his previous lectures, and sketching it in outline, Mr. Molesworth said I now pass on to the consideration of the fixed stars. Hitherto we have only regarded these as a number of fixed points, by means of which we have been enabled to trace exactly the path of the various planets, and the sun itself, through the heavens. Without the existence of these points, the science of astronomy, in all probability, never would have existed at all.
It is in consequence of their apparent íxity in the heavens that astronomers have been enabled to trace the courses which the different planets follow over the heavens, and to discover the geometrical and astronomical laws by which these movements of the heavenly bodies are regulated.
WHAT ARE THESE FIXED POINTS? Then the question arises—What are these fixed points themselves ? Now, the telescope reveals to us very little more on this subject than the naked eye itself.
It tells us that there is a remarkable difference between them and the planets ; for when we turn our telescope from the planets to the fixed stars, we do not find the circular appearance which is the characteristic of the planets, but these stars appear to be rather diminished than increased in size by the telescope. They appear to be mere points in the heavens, without dimensions of any kind. Well, then, what can these fixed stars be? They are at distances from our system quite enormous. We are led to imagine that they are bodies resembling the sun, which is the centre of our system ; and, in point of fact, there is every reason to believe that they are suns.---After explaining the principles of astronomical measurement, and the meaning of the term parallax, Mr. Molesworth continued :—Bradley, after Newton the most eminent astronomer that this or any other country can boast, took up the question of parallax. I will explain the method he pursued. Suppose an immense pillar of bricks were built deep down into the earth, so deep that it should be immoveable; and suppose that this pile were then built above the earth to a considerable distance. Suppose a beautiful telescope fixed on the top of it, and firmly riveted and bolted, so that it should be impossible to remove even in the slighest infinitesimal degree. Suppose that on an object glass of this telescope there are (say) five beautiful lines of spider web drawn parallel to one another. Suppose, then, the astronomer, at a fixed hour, observes a star crossing one of the lines of these spider webs. By his side he has a beautiful apparatus for marking time-an instrument that will mark time to the thousandth part of a second. Well, he marks the instant at which a particular star passes the first of these spider webs, then the time at which it passes the second, the third, the fourth, and fifth. The precise moment at which it passes the middle thread is the moment he wishes more particularly to mark, because his object is to get by these observations the mean time at which the star passes the lines. He goes through the same process the following night and every succeeding night. Bradley did that. He went through that process when the earth was at the nearest point to the sun. He followed up these observations for six months, till the earth had got at her least distant part from the sun, so that during the course of his observations she had travelled ninety millions of his miles, and this distance therefore, Bradley had for his base line. Night after night during this period the star came into the same view, passed the thread at the same instant, and at the end of this period the direction of the star was precisely the same. The star was seen to pass the middle thread at the very minute, second, one hundred-thousandth part of a second, that it did when it set out. However, after a lengthened series of observations on the stars, he succeeded in remarking a small change. The star gradually worked its way off the thread, but, to Bradley's astonishment, it worked its way off in a contrary direction to that he expected-in a way that did not at all suit him. Bradley, after being considerably