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   Chapter 14 MISCELLANEA

The Reminiscences of an Astronomer By Simon Newcomb Characters: 82701

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03

If the "Great Star-Catalogue Case" is not surrounded with such mystery as would entitle it to a place among causes célèbres, it may well be so classed on account of the novelty of the questions at issue. It affords an instructive example of the possibility of cases in which strict justice cannot be done through the established forms of legal procedure. It is also of scientific interest because, although the question was a novel one to come before a court, it belongs to a class which every leader in scientific investigation must constantly encounter in meting out due credit to his assistants.

The plaintiff, Christian H. F. Peters, was a Dane by birth, and graduated at the University of Berlin in 1836. During the earlier years of his manhood he was engaged in the trigonometrical survey of the kingdom of Naples, where, for a time, he had charge of an observatory or some other astronomical station. It is said that, like many other able European youth of the period, he was implicated in the revolution of 1848, and had to flee the kingdom in consequence. Five years later, he came to the United States. Here his first patron was Dr. B. A. Gould, who procured for him first a position on the Coast Survey, and then one as his assistant at the Dudley Observatory in Albany. He was soon afterward appointed professor of astronomy and director of the Litchfield Observatory at Hamilton College, where he spent the remaining thirty years of his life. He was a man of great learning, not only in subjects pertaining to astronomy, but in ancient and modern languages. The means at his disposal were naturally of the slenderest kind; but he was the discoverer of some forty asteroids, and devoted himself to various astronomical works and researches with great ability.

Of his personality it may be said that it was extremely agreeable so long as no important differences arose. What it would be in such a case can be judged by what follows. Those traits of character which in men like him may be smoothed down to a greater or less extent by marital discipline were, in the absence of any such agency, maintained in all their strength to his latest years.

The defendant, Charles A. Borst, was a graduate of the college and had been a favorite pupil of Peters. He was a man of extraordinary energy and working capacity, ready to take hold in a business-like way of any problem presented to him, but not an adept at making problems for himself. His power of assimilating learning was unusually developed; and this, combined with orderly business habits, made him a most effective and valuable assistant. The terms of his employment were of the first importance in the case. Mr. Litchfield of New York was the patron of the observatory; he had given the trustees of Hamilton College a capital for its support, which sufficed to pay the small salary of the director and some current expenses, and he also, when the latter needed an assistant, made provision for his employment. It appears that, in the case of Borst, Peters frequently paid his salary for considerable periods at a time, which sums were afterward reimbursed to him by Mr. Litchfield.

I shall endeavor to state the most essential facts involved as they appear from a combination of the sometimes widely different claims of the two parties, with the hope of showing fairly what they were, but without expecting to satisfy a partisan of either side. Where an important difference of statement is irreconcilable, I shall point it out.

In his observations of asteroids Peters was continually obliged to search through the pages of astronomical literature to find whether the stars he was using in observation had ever been catalogued. He long thought that it would be a good piece of work to search all the astronomical journals and miscellaneous collections of observations with a view of making a complete catalogue of the positions of the thousands of stars which they contained, and publishing it in a single volume for the use of astronomers situated as he was. The work of doing this was little more than one of routine search and calculation, which any well-trained youth could take up; but it was naturally quite without the power of Peters to carry it through with his own hand. He had employed at least one former assistant on the work, Professor John G. Porter, but very little progress was made. Now, however, he had a man with the persistence and working capacity necessary to carry out the plan.

There was an irreconcilable difference between the two parties as to the terms on which Borst went to work. According to the latter, Peters suggested to him the credit which a young man would gain as one of the motives for taking up the job. But plaintiff denied that he had done anything more than order him to do it. He did not, however, make it clear why an assistant at the Litchfield Observatory should be officially ordered to do a piece of work for the use of astronomy generally, and having no special connection with the Litchfield Observatory.

However this may be, Borst went vigorously to work, repeating all the calculations which had been made by Peters and former assistants, with a view of detecting errors, and took the work home with him in order that his sisters might make a great mass of supplementary calculations which, though not involved in the original plan, would be very conducive to the usefulness of the result. One or two of these bright young ladies worked for about a year at the job. How far Peters was privy to what they did was not clear; according to his claim he did not authorize their employment to do anything but copy the catalogue.

By the joint efforts of the assistant and his two sisters, working mostly or entirely at their own home, the work was brought substantially to a conclusion about the beginning of 1888. Borst then reported the completion to his chief and submitted a proposed title-page, which represented that the work was performed by Charles A. Borst under the direction of Christian H. F. Peters, Professor of Astronomy, etc. According to Borst's account, Peters tore up the paper, opened the stove door, put the fragments into the fire, and then turned on the assistant with the simple order, "Bring me the catalogue!"

This was refused, and a suit in replevin was immediately instituted by Peters. The ablest counsel were engaged on both sides. That of the plaintiff was Mr. Elihu Root, of New York, afterward Secretary of War, one of the leading members of the New York bar, and well known as an active member of the reform branch of the Republican party of that city. For the defendant was the law firm of an ex-senator of the United States, the Messrs. Kernan of Utica.

I think the taking of evidence and the hearing of arguments occupied more than a week. One claim of the defendant would, if accepted, have brought the suit to a speedy end. Peters was an employee of the corporation of Hamilton College, and by the terms of his appointment all his work at the Litchfield Observatory belonged to that institution. Borst was summoned into the case as an official employee of the Litchfield Observatory. Therefore the corporation of the college was the only authority which had power to bring the suit. But this point was disposed of by a decision of the judge that it was not reasonable, in view of the low salary received by the plaintiff, to deprive him of the right to the creations of his own talent. He did not, however, apply this principle of legal interpretation to the case of the defendant, and not only found for the plaintiff, but awarded damages based on the supposed value of the work, including, if I understand the case aright, the value of the work done by the young ladies. It would seem, however, that in officially perfecting the details of his decision he left it a little indefinite as to what papers the plaintiff was entitled to, it being very difficult to describe in detail papers many of which he had never seen. Altogether it may be feared that the decision treated the catalogue much as the infant was treated by the decision of Solomon.

However this might he, the decision completely denied any right of the defendant in the work. This feature of it I thought very unjust, and published in a Utica paper a review of the case in terms not quite so judicial as I ought to have chosen. I should have thought such a criticism quite a breach of propriety, and therefore would never have ventured upon it but for an eminent example then fresh in my mind.

Shortly after the Supreme Court of the United States uttered its celebrated decision upholding the constitutionality of the Legal Tender Act, I happened to be conversing at an afternoon reception with one of the judges, Gray, who had sustained the decision. Mr. George Bancroft, the historian, stepped up, and quite surprised me by expressing to the judge in quite vigorous language his strong dissent from the decision. He soon afterward published a pamphlet reviewing it adversely. I supposed that what Mr. Bancroft might do with a decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, a humbler individual might be allowed to do with the decision of a local New York judge.

The defense appealed the case to a higher court of three judges, where the finding of the lower court was sustained by a majority of two to one. It was then carried to the Court of Appeals, the highest in the State. Here the decision was set aside on what seemed to me the common sense ground that the court had ignored the rights of the defendant in the case, who certainly had some, and it must therefore be remanded for a new trial.

Meantime Peters had died; and it is painful to think that his death may have been accelerated by the annoyances growing out of the suit. One morning, in the summer of 1890, he was found dead on the steps of his little dwelling, having apparently fallen in a fit of apoplexy or heart failure as he was on his way to the observatory the night before. His heirs had no possible object in pushing the suit; probably his entire little fortune was absorbed in the attendant expenses.

When the difference with Borst was first heard of it was, I think, proposed to Peters by several of his friends, including myself, that the matter should be submitted to an arbitration of astronomers. But he would listen to nothing of the sort. He was determined to enforce his legal rights by legal measures. A court of law was, in such a case, at an enormous disadvantage, as compared with an astronomical board of arbitration. To the latter all the circumstances would have been familiar and simple, while the voluminous evidence, elucidated as it was by the arguments of counsel on the two sides, failed to completely enlighten the court on the points at issue. One circumstance will illustrate this. Some allusion was made during the trial to Peters's work while he was abroad, in investigating the various manuscripts of the Almagest of Ptolemy and preparing a commentary and revised edition of Ptolemy's Catalogue of Stars. This would have been an extremely important and original work, most valuable in the history of ancient astronomy. But the judge got it mixed up in his mind with the work before the court, and actually supposed that Peters spent his time in Europe in searching ancient manuscripts to get material for the catalogue in question. He also attributed great importance to the conception of the catalogue, forgetting that, to use the simile of a writer in the "New York Evening Post," such a conception was of no more value than the conception of a railroad from one town to another by a man who had no capital to build it. No original investigation was required on one side or the other. It was simply a huge piece of work done by a young man with help from his sisters, suggested by Peters, and now and then revised by him in its details. It seemed to me that the solution offered by Borst was eminently proper, and I was willing to say so, probably at the expense of Peters's friendship, on which I set a high value.

I have always regarded the work on Ptolemy's catalogue of stars, to which allusion has just been made, as the most important Peters ever undertook. It comprised a critical examination and comparison of all the manuscripts of the Almagest in the libraries of Europe, or elsewhere, whether in Arabic or other languages, with a view of learning what light might be thrown on the doubtful questions growing out of Ptolemy's work. At the Litchfield Observatory I had an opportunity of examining the work, especially the extended commentaries on special points, and was so impressed by the learning shown in the research as to express a desire for its speedy completion and publication. In fact, Peters had already made one or more communications to the National Academy of Sciences on the subject, which were supposed to be equivalent to presenting the work to the academy for publication. But before the academy put in any claim for the manuscript, Mr. E. B. Knobel of London, a well-known member of the Royal Astronomical Society, wrote to Peters's executors, stating that he was a collaborator with Peters in preparing the work, and as such had a claim to it, and wished to complete it. He therefore asked that the papers should be sent to him. This was done, but during the twelve years which have since elapsed, nothing more has been heard of the work. No one, so far as I know, ever heard of Peters's making any allusion to Mr. Knobel or any other collaborator. He seems to have always spoken of the work as exclusively his own.

Among the psychological phenomena I have witnessed, none has appeared to me more curious than a susceptibility of certain minds to become imbued with a violent antipathy to the theory of gravitation. The anti-gravitation crank, as he is commonly called, is a regular part of the astronomer's experience. He is, however, only one of a large and varied class who occupy themselves with what an architect might consider the drawing up of plans and specifications for a universe. This is, no doubt, quite a harmless occupation; but the queer part of it is the seeming belief of the architects that the actual universe has been built on their plans, and runs according to the laws which they prescribe for it. Ether, atoms, and nebul? are the raw material of their trade. Men of otherwise sound intellect, even college graduates and lawyers, sometimes engage in this business. I have often wondered whether any of these men proved that, in all the common schools of New York, the power which conjugates the verbs comes, through some invisible conduit in the earth, from the falls of Niagara. This would be quite like many of the theories propounded.

Babbage's "Budget of Paradoxes" is a goodly volume descriptive of efforts of this sort. It was supplemented a year or two ago by a most excellent and readable article on eccentric literature, by Mr. John Fiske, which appeared in the "Atlantic Monthly." Here the author discussed the subject so well that I do not feel like saying much about it, beyond giving a little of my own experience.

Naturally the Smithsonian Institution was, and I presume still is, the great authority to which these men send their productions. It was generally a rule of Professor Henry always to notice these communications and try to convince the correspondents of their fallacies. Many of the papers were referred to me; but a little experience showed that it was absolutely useless to explain anything to these "paradoxers." Generally their first communication was exceedingly modest in style, being evidently designed to lead on the unwary person to whom it was addressed. Moved to sympathy with so well-meaning but erring an inquirer, I would point out wherein his reasoning was deficient or his facts at fault. Back would come a thunderbolt demonstrating my incapacity to deal with the subject in terms so strong that I could not have another word to say.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science was another attraction for such men. About thirty years ago there appeared at one of its meetings a man from New Jersey who was as much incensed against the theory of gravitation as if it had been the source of all human woe. He got admission to the meetings, as almost any one can, but the paper he proposed to read was refused by the committee. He watched his chance, however, and when discussion on some paper was invited, he got up and began with the words, "It seems to me that the astronomers of the present day have gravitation on the brain." This was the beginning of an impassioned oration which went on in an unbroken torrent until he was put down by a call for the next paper. But he got his chance at last. A meeting of Section Q was called; what this section was the older members will recall and the reader may be left to guess. A programme of papers had been prepared, and on it appeared Mr. Joseph Treat, on Gravitation. Mr. Treat got up with great alacrity, and, amid the astonishment and laughter of all proceeded to read his paper with the utmost seriousness.

I remember a visit from one of these men with great satisfaction, because, apparently, he was an exception to the rule in being amenable to reason. I was sitting in my office one morning when a modest-looking gentleman opened the door and looked in.

"I would like to see Professor Newcomb."

"Well, here he is."

"You Professor Newcomb?"


"Professor, I have called to tell you that I don't believe in Sir

Isaac Newton's theory of gravitation!"

"Don't believe in gravitation! Suppose you jump out of that window and see whether there is any gravitation or not."

"But I don't mean that. I mean"-

"But that is all there is in the theory of gravitation; if you jump out of the window you'll fall to the ground."

"I don't mean that. What I mean is I don't believe in the Newtonian theory that gravitation goes up to the moon. It does n't extend above the air."

"Have you ever been up there to see?"

There was an embarrassing pause, during which the visitor began to look a little sheepish.

"N-no-o," he at length replied.

"Well, I have n't been there either, and until one of us can get up there to try the experiment, I don't believe we shall ever agree on the subject."

He took his leave without another word.

The idea that the facts of nature are to be brought out by observation is one which is singularly foreign not only to people of this class, but even to many sensible men. When the great comet of 1882 was discovered in the neighborhood of the sun, the fact was telegraphed that it might be seen with the naked eye, even in the sun's neighborhood. A news reporter came to my office with this statement, and wanted to know if it was really true that a comet could be seen with the naked eye right alongside the sun.

"I don't know," I replied; "suppose you go out and look for yourself; that is the best way to settle the question."

The idea seemed to him to be equally amusing and strange, and on the basis of that and a few other insipid remarks, he got up an interview for the "National Republican" of about a column in length.

I think there still exists somewhere in the Northwest a communistic society presided over by a genius whose official name is Koresh, and of which the religious creed has quite a scientific turn. Its fundamental doctrine is that the surface of the earth on which we live is the inside of a hollow sphere, and therefore concave, instead of convex, as generally supposed. The oddest feature of the doctrine is that Koresh professes to have proved it by a method which, so far as the geometry of it goes, is more rigorous than any other that science has ever applied. The usual argument by which we prove to our children the earth's rotundity is not purely geometric. When, standing on the seashore, we see the sails of a ship on the sea horizon, her hull being hidden because it is below, the inference that this is due to the convexity of the surface is based on the idea that light moves in a straight line. If a ray of light is curved toward the surface, we should have the same appearance, although the earth might be perfectly flat. So the Koresh people professed to have determined the figure of the earth's surface by the purely geometric method of taking long, broad planks, perfectly squared at the two ends, and using them as a geodicist uses his base apparatus. They were mounted on wooden supports and placed end to end, so as to join perfectly. Then, geometrically, the two would be in a straight line. Then the first plank was picked up, carried forward, and its end so placed against that of the second as to fit perfectly; thus the continuation of a straight line was assured. So the operation was repeated by continually alternating the planks. Recognizing the fact that the ends might not be perfectly square, the planks were turned upside down in alternate settings, so that any defect of this sort would be neutralized. The result was that, after they had measured along a mile or two, the plank was found to be gradually approaching the sea sand until it touched the ground.

This quasi-geometric proof was to the mind of Koresh positive. A horizontal straight line continued does not leave the earth's surface, but gradually approaches it. It does not seem that the measurers were psychologists enough to guard against the effect of preconceived notions in the process of applying their method.

It is rather odd that pure geometry has its full share of paradoxers. Runkle's "Mathematical Monthly" received a very fine octavo volume, the printing of which must have been expensive, by Mr. James Smith, a respectable merchant of Liverpool. This gentleman maintained that the circumference of a circle was exactly 3 1/5 times its diameter. He had pestered the British Association with his theory, and come into collision with an eminent mathematician whose name he did not give, but who was very likely Professor DeMorgan. The latter undertook the desperate task of explaining to Mr. Smith his error, but the other evaded him at every point, much as a supple lad might avoid the blows of a prize-fighter. As in many cases of this kind, the reasoning was enveloped in a mass of verbiage which it was very difficult to strip off so as to see the real framework of the logic. When this was done, the syllogism would be found to take this very simple form:-

The ratio of the circumference to the diameter is the same in all circles. Now, take a diameter of 1 and draw round it a circumference of 3 1/5. In that circle the ratio is 3 1/5; therefore, by the major premise, that is the ratio for all circles.

The three famous problems of antiquity, the duplication of the cube, the quadrature of the circle, and the trisection of the angle, have all been proved by modern mathematics to be insoluble by the rule and compass, which are the instruments assumed in the postulates of Euclid. Yet the problem of the trisection is frequently attacked by men of some mathematical education. I think it was about 1870 that I received from Professor Henry a communication coming from some institution of learning in Louisiana or Texas. The writer was sure he had solved the problem, and asked that it might receive the prize supposed to be awarded by governments for the solution. The construction was very complicated, and I went over the whole demonstration without being able at first to detect any error. So it was necessary to examine it yet more completely and take it up point by point. At length I found the fallacy to be that three lines which, as drawn, intersected in what was to the eye the same point on the paper, were assumed to intersect mathematically in one and the same point. Except for the complexity of the work, the supposed construction would have been worthy of preservation.

Some years later I received, from a teacher, I think, a supposed construction, with the statement that he had gone over it very carefully and could find no error. He therefore requested me to examine it and see whether there was anything wrong. I told him in reply that his work showed that he was quite capable of appreciating a geometric demonstration; that there was surely something wrong in it, because the problem was known to be insoluble, and I would like him to try again to see if he could not find his error. As I never again heard from him, I suppose he succeeded.

One of the most curious of these cases was that of a student, I am not sure but a graduate, of the University of Virginia, who claimed that geometers were in error in assuming that a line had no thickness. He published a school geometry based on his views, which received the endorsement of a well-known New York school official and, on the basis of this, was actually endorsed, or came very near being endorsed, as a text-book in the public schools of New York.

From my correspondence, I judge that every civilized country has its share of these paradoxers. I am almost constantly in receipt of letters not only from America, but from Europe and Asia, setting forth their views. The following are a few of these productions which arrived in the course of a single season.

Baltimore, Sept. 29, 1897. 104 Collington Ave.

Prof. Simon Newcomb:

Dear Sir,-Though a stranger to you, Sir, I take the liberty to enlist your interest in a Cause,-so grand, so beautiful, as to eclipse anything ever presented to the highest tribunal of human intellect and intuition.

Trusting you to be of liberal mind, Sir, I have mailed you specimen copy of the "Banner of Light," which will prove somewhat explanatory of my previous remarks.

Being a student of Nature and her wonderful laws, as they operate in that subtle realm of human life,-the soul, for some years, I feel well prepared to answer inquiries pertaining to this almost unknown field of scientific research, and would do so with much pleasure, as I am desirous to contribute my mite to the enlightenment of mankind upon this most important of all subjects.

Yours very truly, --- ---

P. S.-Would be pleased to hear from you, Sir.

Mexico, 16 Oct. 1897.

Dear Sir,-I beg to inform you that I have forwarded by to days mail to your adress a copy of my 20th Century planetary spectacle with a clipping of a german newspaper here. Thirty hours for 3000 years is to day better accepted than it was 6 years ago when I wrote it, although it called even then for some newspaper comment, especially after President Cleveland's election, whose likeness has been recognized on the back cover, so has been my comet, which was duly anounced by an Italian astronomer 48 hours before said election. A hint of Jupiters fifth satelite and Mars satelites is also to be found in my planetary spectacle but the most striking feature of such a profetic play is undoubtedly the Allegory of the Paris fire my entire Mercury scene and next to it is the Mars scene with the wholesale retreat of the greecs that is just now puzzling some advanced minds. Of cours the musical satelites represent at the same time the european concert with the disgusted halfuroons face in one corner and Egypt next to it and there can be no doubt that the world is now about getting ready to applaud such a grand realistic play on the stage after even the school children of Chicago adopted a great part of my moral scuol-club (act II) as I see from the Times Herald Oct. 3d. and they did certainly better than the Mars Fools did in N. Y. 4 years ago with that Dire play, A trip to Mars. The only question now is to find an enterprising scientist to not only recomend my play but put some 1500$ up for to stage it at once perhaps you would be able to do so.

Yours truly

G. A. Kastelic, Hotel Buenavista.

In the following Dr. Diaforus of the Malade Imaginaire seems to have a formidable rival.

Chicago, Oct. 31, 1897.

Mr. Newcombe:

Dear Sir,-I forwarded you photographs of several designs which demonstrate by illustrations in physics, metaphysics, phrenology, mechanics, Theology, Law magnetism Astronomy etc-the only true form and principles of universal government, and the greatest life sustaining forces in this universe, I would like to explain to you and to some of the expert government detectives every thing in connection with those illustrations since 1881; I have traveled over this continent; for many years I have been persecuted. my object in sending you those illustrations is to see if you could influence some Journalist in this City, or in Washington to illustrate and write up the interpretation of those designs, and present them to the public through the press.

You know that very few men can grasp or comprehend in what relation a plumb line stands to the sciences, or to the nations of this earth, at the present time, by giving the correct interpretation of Christian, Hebrew, & Mohammedian prophesy, this work presents a system of international law which is destined to create harmony peace and prosperity.

sincerely yours

--- ---

1035 Monadnock Bld

Chicago Ill

C/o L. L. Smith.

P. S. The very law that moulds a tear; and bids it trickel from its source; that law preserves this earth a sphere, and guides the planets in their course.

Ord Neb Nove 18, 1897.

Professor Simon Newcomb

Washington D C

Dear Sir,-As your labors have enabled me to protect my honor And prove the Copernican Newton Keplar and Gallileo theories false I solicit transportation to your department so that I can come and explain the whole of Nature and so enable you to obtain the true value of the Moon from both latitudes at the same instant.

My method of working does not accord with yours Hence will require more time to comprehend I have asked Professor James E Keeler to examine the work and forward his report with this application for transportation

Yours truly --- ---

One day in July, 1895, I was perplexed by the receipt of a cable dispatch from Paris in the following terms:-

Will you act? Consult Gould. Furber.

The dispatch was accompanied by the statement that an immediate answer was requested and prepaid. Dr. Gould being in Cambridge, and I in Washington, it was not possible to consult him immediately as to what was meant. After consultation with an official of the Coast Survey, I reached the conclusion that the request had something to do with the International Metric Commission, of which Dr. Gould was a member, and that I was desired to act on some committee. As there could be no doubt of my willingness to do this, I returned an affirmative answer, and wrote to Dr. Gould to know exactly what was required. Great was my surprise to receive an answer stating that he knew nothing of the subject, and could not imagine what was meant. The mystery was dispelled a few days later by a visit from Dr. E. R. L. Gould, the well-known professor of economics, who soon after extended his activities into the more practical line of the presidency of the Suburban Homes and Improvement Company of New York. He had just arrived from Paris, where a movement was on foot to induce the French government to make such modifications in the regulations governing the instruction and the degrees at the French universities as would make them more attractive to American students, who had hitherto frequented the German universities to the almost entire exclusion of those of France. It was desired by the movers in the affair to organize an American committee to act with one already formed at Paris; and it was desired that I should undertake this work.

I at first demurred on two grounds. I could not see how, with propriety, Americans could appear as petitioners to the French government to modify its educational system for their benefit. Moreover, I did not want to take any position which would involve me in an effort to draw American students from the German universities.

He replied that neither objection could be urged in the case. The American committee would act only as an adviser to the French committee, and its sole purpose was to make known to the latter what arrangements as regarded studies, examinations, and degrees would be best adapted to meet the views and satisfy the needs of American students. There was, moreover, no desire to draw American students from the German universities; it was only desired to give them greater facilities in Paris.

The case was fortified by a letter from M. Michel Bréal, member of the Institute of France, and head of the Franco-American committee, as it was called in Paris, expressing a very flattering desire that I should act.

I soon gave my consent, and wrote to the presidents of eight or ten of our leading universities and several Washington officials interested in education, to secure their adhesion. With a single exception, the responses were unanimous in the affirmative, and I think the exception was due to a misapprehension of the objects of the movement. The views of all the adhering Americans were then requested, and a formal meeting was held, at which they were put into shape. It is quite foreign to my present object to go into details, as everything of interest in connection with the matter will be found in educational journals. One point may, however, be mentioned. The French committee was assured that whatever system of instruction and of degrees was offered, it must be one in which no distinction was made between French and foreigners. American students would not strive for a degree which was especially arranged for them alone.

I soon found that the movement was a much more complex one than it appeared at first sight, and that all the parties interested in Paris did not belong to one and the same committee. Not long after we had put our suggestions into shape, I was gratified by a visit from Dom de la Tremblay, prior of the Benedictine Convent of Santa Maria, in Paris, a most philanthropic and attractive gentleman, who desired to promote the object by establishing a home for the American students when they should come. Knowing the temptations to which visiting youth would be exposed, he was desirous of founding an establishment where they could live in the best and most attractive surroundings. He confidently hoped to receive the active support of men of wealth in this country in carrying out his object.

It was a somewhat difficult and delicate matter to explain to the philanthropic gentleman that American students were not likely to collect in a home specially provided for them, but would prefer to find their own home in their own way. I tried to do it with as little throwing of cold water as was possible, but, I fear, succeeded only gradually. But after two or three visits to New York and Washington, it became evident to him that the funds necessary for his plan could not be raised.

The inception of the affair was still not clear to me. I learned it in Paris the year following. Then I found that the movement was started by Mr. Furber, the sender of the telegram, a citizen of Chicago, who had scarcely attained the prime of life, but was gifted with that indomitable spirit of enterprise which characterizes the metropolis of the West. What he saw of the educational institutions of Paris imbued him with a high sense of their value, and he was desirous that his fellow-countrymen should share in the advantages which they offered. To induce them to do this, it was only necessary that some changes should be made in the degrees and in the examinations, the latter being too numerous and the degrees bearing no resemblance to those of Germany and the United States. He therefore addressed a memorial to the Minister of Public Instruction, who was much impressed by the view of the case presented to him, and actively favored the formation of a Franco-American committee to carry out the object. Everything was gotten ready for action, and it only remained that the prime mover should submit evidence that educators in America desired the proposed change, and make known what was wanted.

Why I should have been selected to do this I do not know, but suppose it may have been because I had just been elected a foreign associate of the Institute, and was free from trammels which might have hindered the action of men who held official positions in the government or at the heads of universities. The final outcome of the affair was the establishment in the universities of France of the degree of Doctor of the University, which might be given either in letters or in science, and which was expected to correspond as nearly as possible to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Germany and America.

One feature of the case was brought out which may be worthy of attention from educators. In a general way it may be said that our Bachelor's degree does not correspond to any well-defined stage of education, implying, as it does, something more than that foundation of a general liberal education which the degree implies in Europe, and not quite so much as the Doctor's degree. I found it very difficult, if not impossible, to make our French friends understand that our American Bachelor's degree was something materially higher than the Baccalaureate of the French Lycée, which is conferred at the end of a course midway between our high school and our college.

From education at the Sorbonne I pass to the other extreme. During a stay in Harper's Ferry in the autumn of 1887, I had an object lesson in the state of primary education in the mountain regions of the South. Accompanied by a lady friend, who, like myself, was fond of climbing the hills, I walked over the Loudon heights into a sequestered valley, out of direct communication with the great world. After visiting one or two of the farmhouses, we came across a school by the roadside. It was the hour of recess, and the teacher was taking an active part in promoting the games in which the children were engaged. It was suggested by one of us that it would be of interest to see the methods of this school; so we approached the teacher on the subject, who very kindly offered to call his pupils together and show us his teaching.

First, however, we began to question him as to the subjects of instruction. The curriculum seemed rather meagre, as he went over it. I do not think it went beyond the three R's.

"But do you not teach grammar as well as reading?" I asked.

"No, I am sorry to say, I do not. I did want to teach grammar, but the people all said that they had not been taught grammar, and had got along very well without it, and did not see why the time of the children should be taken up by it."

"If you do not teach grammar from the book, you could at least teach it by practice in composition. Do you not exercise them in writing compositions?"

"I did try that once, and let me tell you how it turned out. They got up a story that I was teaching the children to write love letters, and made such a clamor about it that I had to stop."

He then kindly offered to show us what he did teach. The school was called together and words to spell were given out from a dictionary. They had got as far as "patrimony," and went on from that word to a dozen or so that followed it. The words were spelled by the children in turn, but nothing was said about the definition or meaning of the word. He did not explain whether, in the opinion of the parents, it was feared that disastrous events might follow if the children knew what a "patrimony" was, but it seems that no objections were raised to their knowing how to spell it.

We thanked him and took our leave, feeling that we were well repaid for our visit, however it might have been with the teacher and his school.

I have never been able to confine my attention to astronomy with that exclusiveness which is commonly considered necessary to the highest success in any profession. The lawyer finds almost every branch of human knowledge to be not only of interest, but of actual professional value, but one can hardly imagine why an astronomer should concern himself with things mundane, and especially with sociological subjects. But there is very high precedent for such a practice. Quite recently the fact has been brought to light that the great founder of modern astronomy once prepared for the government of his native land a very remarkable paper on the habit of debasing the currency, which was so prevalent during the Middle Ages. [1] The paper of Copernicus is, I believe, one of the strongest expositions of the evil of a debased currency that had ever appeared. Its tenor may be judged by the opening sentence, of which the following is a free translation:-

Innumerable though the evils are with which kingdoms, principalities, and republics are troubled, there are four which in my opinion outweigh all others,-war, death, famine, and debasement of money. The three first are so evident that no one denies them, but it is not thus with the fourth.

A certain interest in political economy dates with me from the age of nineteen, when I read Say's work on the subject, which was at that time in very wide circulation. The question of protection and free trade was then, as always, an attractive o

ne. I inclined towards the free trade view, but still felt that there might be another side to the question which I found myself unable fully to grasp. I remember thinking it quite possible that Smith's "Wealth of Nations" might be supplemented by a similar work on the strength of nations, in which not merely wealth, but everything that conduces to national power should be considered, and that the result of the inquiry might lead to practical conclusions different from those of Smith. Very able writers, among them Henry C. Carey, had espoused the side of protection, but for some years I had not time to read their works, and therefore reserved my judgment until more light should appear.

Thus the matter stood until an accident impelled me to look into the subject. About 1862 or 1863 President Thomas Hill, of Harvard University, paid a visit to Washington. I held him in very high esteem. He was a mathematician, and had been the favorite student of Professor Benjamin Peirce; but I did not know that he had interested himself in political economy until, on the occasion in question, I passed an evening with him at the house where he was a guest. Here he told me that in a public lecture at Philadelphia, a few evenings before, he had informed his hearers that they had amongst them one of the greatest philosophers of the time, Henry C. Carey. He spoke of his works in such enthusiastic terms, describing especially his law of the tendency of mankind to be attracted towards the great capitals or other centres of population, that I lost no time in carefully reading Carey's "Principles of Social Science."

The result was much like a slap in the face. With every possible predisposition to look favorably on its teachings, I was unable to find anything in them but the prejudiced judgments of a one-sided thinker, fond of brilliant general propositions which really had nothing serious to rest upon either in fact or reason. The following parody on his method occurred to me:-

The physicians say that quinine tends to cure intermittent fever. If this be the case, then where people use most quinine, they will have least intermittent fever. But the facts are exactly the opposite. Along the borders of the lower Mississippi, where people take most quinine, they suffer most from fever; therefore the effect of quinine is the opposite of that alleged.

I earnestly wished for an opportunity to discuss the matter further with Mr. Hill, but it was never offered.

During the early years of the civil war, when the country was flooded with an irredeemable currency, I was so much disturbed by what seemed to me the unwisdom of our financial policy, that I positively envied the people who thought it all right, and therefore were free from mental perturbation on the subject. I at length felt that I could keep silent no longer, and as the civil war was closing, I devoted much time to writing a little book, "Critical Examination of Our Financial Policy during the Southern Rebellion." I got this published by the Appletons, but had to pay for the production. It never yielded enough to pay the cost of printing, as is very apt to be the case with such a hook when it is on the unpopular side and by an unknown author. It had, however, the pleasant result of bringing me into friendly relations with two of the most eminent financiers of the country, Mr. Hugh McCulloch and Mr. George S. Coe, the latter president of one of the principal banks of New York. The compliments which these men paid to the book were the only compensation I got for the time and money expended upon it.

In 1876 the "North American Review" published a centennial number devoted to articles upon our national progress during the first century of our existence. I contributed the discussion of our work in exact science. Natural science had been cultivated among us with great success, but I was obliged to point out our backward condition in every branch of exact science, which was more marked the more mathematical the character of the scientific work. In pure mathematics we seemed hopelessly behind in the race.

I suppose that every writer who discusses a subject with a view of influencing the thought of the public, must be more or less discouraged by the small amount of attention the best he can say is likely to receive from his fellow-men. No matter what his own opinion of the importance of the matters he discusses, and the results that might grow out of them if men would only give them due attention, they are lost in the cataract of utterances poured forth from the daily, weekly, and monthly press. I was therefore much pleased, soon after the article appeared, to be honored with a visit from President Gilman, who had been impressed with my views, and wished to discuss the practicability of the Johns Hopkins University, which was now being organized, doing something to promote the higher forms of investigation among us.

One of the most remarkable mathematicians of the age, Professor J. J. Sylvester, had recently severed his connection with the Royal Military Academy at Woolich, and it had been decided to invite him to the chair of mathematics at the new university. It was considered desirable to have men of similar world-wide eminence in charge of the other departments in science. But this was found to be impracticable, and the policy adopted was to find young men whose reputation was yet to be made, and who would be the leading men of the future, instead of belonging to the past.

All my experience would lead me to say that the selection of the coming man in science is almost as difficult as the selection of youth who are to become senators of the United States. The success of the university in finding the young men it wanted, has been one of the most remarkable features in the history of the Johns Hopkins University. Of this the lamented Rowland affords the most striking, but by no means the only instance. Few could have anticipated that the modest and scarcely known youth selected for the chair of physics would not only become the leading man of his profession in our country, but one of the chief promoters of scientific research among us. Mathematical study and research of the highest order now commenced, not only at Baltimore, but at Harvard, Columbia, and other centres of learning, until, to-day, we are scarcely behind any nation in our contributions to the subject.

The development of economic study in our country during the last quarter of the last century is hardly less remarkable than that of mathematical science. A great impulse in this direction was given by Professor R. T. Ely, who, when the Johns Hopkins University was organized, became its leading teacher in economics. He had recently come from Germany, where he had imbibed what was supposed to be a new gospel in economics, and he now appeared as the evangelist of what was termed the historical school. My own studies were of course too far removed from this school to be a factor in it. But, so far as I was able, I fought the idea of there being two schools, or of any necessary antagonism between the results of the two methods. It was true that there was a marked difference in form between them. Some men preferred to reach conclusions by careful analysis of human nature and study of the acts to which men were led in seeking to carry out their own ends. This was called the old-school method. Others preferred to study the problem on a large scale, especially as shown in the economic development of the country. But there could be no necessary difference between the conclusions thus reached.

One curious fact, which has always been overlooked in the history of economics in our country, shows how purely partisan was the idea of a separation of the two schools. The fact is that the founder of the historic school among us, the man who first introduced the idea, was not Ely, but David A. Wells. Up to the outbreak of the civil war, Mr. Wells had been a writer on scientific subjects without any special known leaning toward economies; but after it broke out he published a most noteworthy pamphlet, setting forth the resources of our country for carrying on war and paying a debt, in terms so strong as to command more attention than any similar utterance at the time. This led to his appointment as Special Commissioner of Revenue, with the duty of collecting information devising the best methods of raising revenue. His studies in this line were very exhaustive, and were carried on by the methods of the historic school of economics. I was almost annoyed to find that, if any economic question was presented to him, he rushed off to the experience of some particular people or nation-it might be Sweden or Australia-instead of going down to fundamental principles. But I could never get him interested in this kind of analysis.

One of Professor Ely's early movements resulted in the organization of the American Economic Association. His original plan was that this society should have something like a creed to which its members were expected to subscribe. A discussion of the whole subject appeared in the pages of "Science," a number of the leading economists of the country being contributors to it. The outcome of the whole matter has been a triumph for what most men will now consider reason and good sense. The Economic Association was scarcely more than organized when it broke loose from all creeds and admitted into its ranks investigators of the subject belonging to every class. I think the last discussion on the question of two schools occurred at the New York meeting, about 1895, after which the whole matter was dropped and the association worked together as a unit.

As Professor Ely is still a leader on the stage, I desire to do him justice in one point. I am able to do so because of what I have always regarded as one of the best features of the Johns Hopkins University-the unity of action which pervaded its work. There is a tendency in such institutions to be divided up into departments, not only independent of each other, but with little mutual help or sympathy. Of course every department has the best wishes of every other, and its co?peration when necessary, but the tendency is to have nothing more than this. In 1884, after the resignation of Professor Sylvester, I was invited by President Gilman to act as head of the department of mathematics. I could not figure as the successor of Sylvester, and therefore suggested that my title should be professor of mathematics and astronomy. The examinations of students for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy were then, as now, all conducted by a single "Board of University Studies," in which all had equal powers, although of course no member of the board took an active part in cases which lay entirely outside of his field. But the general idea was that of mutual co?peration and criticism all through. Each professor was a factor in the department of another in a helpful and not an antagonistic way, and all held counsel on subjects where the knowledge of all was helpful to each. I cannot but think that the wonderful success of the Johns Hopkins University is largely due to this feature of its activity, which tended to broaden both professors and students alike.

In pursuance of this system I for several years took part in the examinations of students of economics for their degrees. I found that Professor Ely's men were always well grounded in those principles of economic theory which seemed to me essential to a comprehension of the subject on its scientific side.

Being sometimes looked upon as an economist, I deem it not improper to disclaim any part in the economic research of to-day. What I have done has been prompted by the conviction that the greatest social want of the age is the introduction of sound thinking on economic subjects among the masses, not only of our own, but of every other country. This kind of thinking I have tried to promote in our own country by such books as "A Plain Man's Talk on the Labor Question," and "Principles of Political Economy."

My talks with Professor Henry used to cover a wide field in scientific philosophy. Adherence to the Presbyterian church did not prevent his being as uncompromising an upholder of modern scientific views of the universe as I ever knew. He was especially severe on the delusions of spiritualism. To a friend who once told him that he had seen a "medium" waft himself through a window, he replied, "Judge, you never saw that; and if you think you did, you are in a dangerous mental condition and need the utmost care of your family and your physician."

Among the experiences which I heard him relate more than once, I think, was one with a noted medium. Henry was quite intimate with President Lincoln, who, though not a believer in spiritualism, was from time to time deeply impressed by the extraordinary feats of spiritualistic performers, and naturally looked to Professor Henry for his views and advice on the subject. Quite early in his administration one of these men showed his wonderful powers to the President, who asked him to show Professor Henry his feats.

Although the latter generally avoided all contact with such men, he consented to receive him at the Smithsonian Institution. Among the acts proposed was that of making sounds in various quarters of the room. This was something which the keen senses and ready experimental faculty of the professor were well qualified to investigate. He turned his head in various positions while the sounds were being emitted. He then turned toward the man with the utmost firmness and said, "I do not know how you make the sounds, but this I perceive very clearly: they do not come from the room but from your person." It was in vain that the operator protested that they did not, and that he had no knowledge how they were produced. The keen ear of his examiner could not be deceived.

Sometime afterward the professor was traveling in the east, and took a seat in a railway car beside a young man who, finding who his companion was, entered into conversation with him, and informed him that he was a maker of telegraph and electrical instruments. His advances were received in so friendly a manner that he went further yet, and confided to Henry that his ingenuity had been called into requisition by spiritual mediums, to whom he furnished the apparatus necessary for the manifestations. Henry asked him by what mediums he had been engaged, and was surprised to find that among them was the very man he had met at the Smithsonian. The sounds which the medium had emitted were then described to the young man, who in reply explained the structure of the apparatus by which they were produced, which apparatus had been constructed by himself. It was fastened around the muscular part of the upper arm, and was so arranged that clicks would be produced by a simple contraction of the muscle, unaccompanied by any motion of the joints of the arm, and entirely invisible to a bystander.

During the Philadelphia meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, held in 1884, a few members were invited by one of the foreign visitors, Professor Fitzgerald of Dublin, I think, to a conference on the subject of psychical research. The English society on this subject had been organized a few years before, and the question now was whether there was interest enough among us to lead to the organization of an American Society for Psychical Research. This was decided in the affirmative; the society was soon after formed, with headquarters in Boston, and I was elected its first president, a choice which Powell, of Washington, declared to be ridiculous in the highest degree.

On accepting this position, my first duty was to make a careful study of the publications of the parent society in England, with a view of learning their discoveries. The result was far from hopeful. I found that the phenomena brought out lacked that coherence and definiteness which is characteristic of scientific truths. Remarkable effects had been witnessed; but it was impossible to say, Do so and so, and you will get such an effect. The best that could be said was, perhaps you will get an effect, but more likely you will not. I could not feel any assurance that the society, with all its diligence, had done more than add to the mass of mistakes, misapprehensions of fact, exaggerations, illusions, tricks, and coincidences, of which human experience is full. In the course of a year or two I delivered a presidential address, in which I pointed out the difficulties of the case and the inconclusiveness of the supposed facts gathered. I suggested further experimentation, and called upon the English society to learn, by trials, whether the mental influences which they had observed to pass from mind to mind under specially arranged conditions, would still pass when a curtain or a door separated the parties. Fifteen years have since elapsed, and neither they nor any one else has settled this most elementary of all the questions involved. The only conclusion seems to be that only in exceptional cases does any effect pass at all; and when it does, it is just as likely to be felt halfway round the world as behind a curtain in the same room.

Shortly after the conference in Philadelphia I had a long wished-for opportunity to witness and investigate what, from the descriptions, was a wonder as great as anything recorded in the history of psychic research or spiritualism. Early in 1885 a tall and well-built young woman named Lulu Hurst, also known as the "Georgia magnetic girl," gave exhibitions in the eastern cities which equaled or exceeded the greatest feats of the Spiritualists. On her arrival in Washington invitations were sent to a number of our prominent scientific men to witness a private exhibition which she gave in advance of her public appearance. I was not present, but some who attended were so struck by her performance that they arranged to have another exhibition in Dr. Graham Bell's laboratory. I can give the best idea of the case if I begin with an account of the performance as given by the eye-witnesses at the first trial. We must remember that this was not the account of mere wonder-seekers, but of trained scientific men. Their account was in substance this:-

A light rod was firmly held in the hands of the tallest and most muscular of the spectators. Miss Lulu had only to touch the rod with her fingers when it would begin to go through the most extraordinary manoeuvres. It jerked the holder around the room with a power he was unable to resist, and finally threw him down into a corner completely discomfited. Another spectator was then asked to take hold of the rod, and Miss Lulu extended her arms and touched each end with the tip of her finger. Immediately the rod began to whirl around on its central axis with such force that the skin was nearly taken off the holder's hands in his efforts to stop it.

A heavy man being seated in a chair, man and chair were lifted up by the fair performer placing her hands against the sides. To substantiate the claim that she herself exerted no force, chair and man were lifted without her touching the chair at all. The sitter was asked to put his hands under the chair; the performer put her hands around and under his in such a way that it was impossible for her to exert any force on the chair except through his hands. The chair at once lifted him up without her exerting any pressure other than the touch upon his hands.

Several men were then invited to hold the chair still. The performer then began to deftly touch it with her finger, when the chair again began to jump about in spite of the efforts of three or four men to hold it down.

A straw hat being laid upon a table crown downwards, she laid her extended hands over it. It was lifted up by what seemed an attractive force similar to that of a magnet upon an armature, and was in danger of being torn to pieces in the effort of any one holding it to keep it down, though she could not possibly have had any hold upon the object.

Among the spectators were physicians, one or more of whom grasped Miss Lulu's arms while the motions were going on, without finding any symptoms of strong muscular action. Her pulse remained normal throughout. The objects which she touched seemed endowed with a force which was wholly new to science.

So much for the story. Now for the reality. The party appeared at the Volta Laboratory, according to arrangement. Those having the matter in charge were not professional mystifiers of the public, and showed no desire to conceal anything. There was no darkening of rooms, no putting of hands under tables, no fear that spirits would refuse to act because of the presence of some skeptic, no trickery of any sort.

We got up such arrangements as we could for a scientific investigation of the movements. One of these was a rolling platform on which Miss Lulu was requested to stand while the forces were exerted. Another device was to seat her on a platform scale while the chair was lifting itself.

These several experiments were tried in the order in which I have mentioned them. I took the wonderful staff in my hands, and Miss Lulu placed the palms of her hands and extended them against the staff near the ends, while I firmly grasped it with my two hands in the middle. Of course this gave her a great advantage in the leverage. I was then asked to resist the staff with all my force, with the added assurance from Mrs. Hurst, the mother, that the resistance would be in vain.

Although the performer began with a delicate touch of the staff, I noticed that she changed the position of her hands every moment, sometimes seizing the staff with a firm grip, and that it never moved in any direction unless her hands pressed it in that direction. As nearly as I could estimate, the force which she exerted might have been equal to forty pounds, and this exerted first in one way and then in another was enough to upset the equilibrium of any ordinary man, especially when the jerks were so sudden and unexpected that it was impossible for one to brace himself against them. After a scene of rather undignified contortion I was finally compelled to retire in defeat, but without the slightest evidence of any other force than that exerted by a strong, muscular young woman. I asked that the rod might be made to whirl in my hands in the manner which has been described, but there was clearly some mistake in this whirl, for Miss Lulu knew nothing on the subject.

Then we proceeded to the chair performance, which was repeated a number of times. I noticed that although, at the beginning, the sitter held his fingers between the chair and the fingers of the performer, the chair would not move until Miss Lulu had the ball of her hand firmly in connection with it. Even then it did not actually lift the sitter from the ground, but was merely raised up behind, the front legs resting on the ground, whereupon the sitter was compelled to get out. This performance was repeated a number of times without anything but what was commonplace.

In order to see whether, as claimed, no force was exerted on the chair, the performer was invited to stand on the platform of the scales while making the chair move. The weights had been so adjusted as to balance a weight of forty pounds above her own. The result was that after some general attempts to make the chair move the lever clicked, showing that a lifting force exceeding forty pounds was being exerted by the young woman on the platform. The click seemed to demoralize the operator, who became unable to continue her efforts.

The experiment of raising a hat turned out equally simple, and the result of all the trials was only to increase my skepticism as to the whole doctrine of unknown forces and media of communication between one mind and another. I am now likely to remain a skeptic as to every branch of "occult science" until I find some manifestation of its reality more conclusive than any I have yet been able to find.

[1] Prowe: Nicolaus Copernicus, Bd. ii. (Berlin, 1884), p. 33.


Absence of mind, examples of, 73, 169.

Academy of Science, a would-be, 351.

Academy of Sciences, Paris, 327.

Adams, Prof. John C., 220; intellectual capacity, 282; politics, 283.

Agnesi, Donna Maria, 294.

Agassiz, Louis, discusses Origin of Species, 70.

Airy, Sir George B., Observations of Transit of Venus, 166;

hospitality, 285; poetic taste, 286; executive ability, 286;

methods of works, 289.

Alexander, Columbus, 368.

Anderson, Sir James, 300.

Angle, trisection of, 387.

Argelander, Prof., master of observational astronomy, 318, 319.

Atlantic Cable, the first, 300.

Auwers, the great astronomer, 306.

Bacon, Mr., teacher at Bedeque, 9.

Baillie, William, U. S. engineer, 361.

Baird, Spencer F., 240.

Bancroft, George, reviews judicial decision of Star Catalogue case,


Barnard, E. E., 190.

Barnard, Gen. John G., 335.

Bartlett, William P. G., 83.

Belknap, Admiral G. H., 228.

Bell, Alexander Graham, tries to locate ball in Garfield's body, 358.

Black, Jeremiah, 168, 169.

Blackie, Prof. J. S., 294.

Bond, George P., 250.

Booth, Edwin, 157.

Borst, Charles A., 373.

Boss, Prof. Lewis, 124, 230.

Bowditch, Nathaniel, 1.

Bradford, Isaac, 74.

Brewster, Elder, 3.

Brown, Prof. S. J., 125.

Burnham, S. W., 188.

Campbell, William W., 190.

Carey, Henry C., 400.

Cassey, Thomas L., Jr., 174.

Casserly, Eugene, 128.

Cassini, astronomer, of Paris Observatory, 331.

Cayley, Prof. Arthur, 280.

Chandler, Captain Ralph, U. S. N., 171.

Chandler, W. E., 126.

Chauvenet, William, 111.

Chevreul, M., his remarkable age, 327.

Circle, quadrature of, 387.

Clark, Alvan, 129, 144.

Clark, Alvan, & Sons, character of the firm, 147.

Cleveland, Keith, 224.

Cobbett, William, 7, 53.

Coe, George S., financier, 402.

Coffin, J. H. C., 111.

Combe, George, 4, 16.

Commune of Paris, 321-326.

Comstock, G. C., 126.

Cooke, Thomas, & Sons, 133.

Cox, Jacob D., 258.

Crank, the anti-gravitation, 381; a reasonable, 383.

Cranks, specimen letters from, 389.

Darwin's "Origin of Species," discussion of, 70.

Dawes, Henry L., 82.

Dawes, Rev. W. R., 148.

Davis, Charles H., 63; becomes superintendent at Naval Observatory,


Dayton, A. G., 126.

Delaunay, Charles, indorses Prof. Newcomb, 317; director of Paris

Observatory, 319; attractive personality, 329, 330.

Draper, Dr. Henry, expert in astronomical photography, 171, 223.

Draper, Dr. John W., 250.

Dudley Observatory troubles, 80.

Early, Gen. Jubal A., raid of, 339.

Eastman, John R., 107, 274.

Eclipse, solar, of 1860, journey to observe, 88.

Economics, studies in, 399; alleged schools of, 405.

Education in mountain regions of South, 397.

Eggleston, Edward, 89.

Eliot, Charles W., 74.

Elkin, Dr. W. L., 176.

Elliot, Benjamin S., 50.

Ely, Prof. R. T., as economist, 404; organizes American Economic

Association, 406; merits as a teacher, 408.

Evarts, William M., 241.

Eveleth, G. W., 55.

Feil, maker of optical discs, 185.

Ferguson, James, 111.

Ferrell, William, 72, 88.

Field, Cyrus W., 128.

Fiske, John, on eccentric literature, 382.

Fixed stars, Paris conference regarding, 230.

Floyd, Richard S., 186.

France, universities of, 392.

Franklin, Admiral, 122.

Furber, Mr., starts movement for admission of American students

in French universities, 396.

Garfield, James A., first acquaintance with, 353; his early life,

354; injustice done him, 354; his intellectual gifts, 355;

assassination of, 356.

Geological Survey, circumstances leading to origin of, 252-255;

attacks on, 261.

Gibraltar, determination of the longitude of, 284, 299.

Gill, Sir David, 176.

Gillis, Capt. J. M., superintendent of Naval Observatory, 99;

obtains new transit circle, 105.

Gilman, Daniel C., 403.

Gladstone, William Ewart, meeting with, 273, 276.

Glaisher, J. W. L., 72.

Goldsborough, Admiral, 340.

Gould, Benjamin A., personality, 78; Dudley Observatory directorship,

80; candidate for Naval Observatory director, 111.

Gould, Dr. E. R. L., 393.

Gravitation, detestable to some minds, 381.

Green, Capt. F. M., 284.

Greenwich Observatory, situation, 285; value of observations at, 288.

Grubb, Sir Howard J., 156, 185.

Hagar, Judge, 189.

Hale, Eugene P., 123.

Hale, George E., 126.

Hall, Asaph, 107; discovers satellites of Mars, 141.

Hamlin, Hannibal, 128.

Harkness, William, appointed to Naval Observatory, 107; shares honor

of discovering brightest line in spectrum of sun's corona, 113;

director of Observatory, 180.

Harrington, attorney, 367.

Harvard Observatory, Prof. Newcomb called to directorship of, 211;

Pickering's directorship, 212.

Hassler, J. J. S., 264.

Hansen, Prof., greatest master of celestial mechanics, 315, 316.

Hayden, Prof. F. V., 253.

Hayes, Rutherford B., 242, 259.

Hedrick, Prof., 73.

Hell, Father Maximilian, his alleged forgery, 154.

Henry, Prof. Joseph, Prof. Newcomb's relations with, 1, 54, 58, 161;

characteristics, 234-237; on spiritualism, 408.

Herbert, Hilary A., 231.

Hewitt, A. S., 255.

Hilgard, J. E., 1, 59; in charge of Coast Survey, 65, 128.

Hill, George W., 218, 219, 221.

Hill, Thomas Prescott, 400.

Holcombe, Lieut. J. H. L., 174.

Holden, Prof. E. S., 184-194.

Horsford, E. N., 74.

Hubbard, Prof. J. S., head astronomer of Naval Observatory, 98;

in charge of mural circle, 102.

Huggins, Sir William, 279.

Hughes, Thomas, 272.

Humphreys, Gen., chief of engineers, 256.

Hurst, Lulu, the "Georgia magnetic girl," exhibitions of, 412-416.

Illusion, an astronomical, 137.

Inch, Richard, United States engineer, 361.

Jennings, Mr., cooling device of, 358.

Jewett, C. C., 237.

Keeler, James E., 191.

Kelvin, Lord, 248.

Kerr, Prof., 73.

King, Clarence, 258, 259.

Knobel, E. B., 380.

Koresh, his theory, 385.

Lamar, Judge Lucius, 264.

Langley, Prof. Samuel P., 240.

Language, advantage of not knowing a, 306.

Laplace, the "Mécanique Céleste" of, 1.

Lardner's "Popular Lectures on Science and Art," 19.

Lawrence, Prof. Smith J., 56.

Lee, Gen. Robert E., 339.

Lee's "Tables and Formul?," 56.

Leverrier, M., two views of, 328; meeting with, 330; his merits, 331.

Leverrier and Hansen's systems of planetary computation, 219.

Lick, James, 182.

Lick Observatory, origin of, 182; location discussed, 187; telescope

at, 185; Holden's administration, 192; Keeler's administration,

194; Campbell's administration, 194.

Lincoln, Pres., his war-time receptions, 342; assassination of, 344;

trial of assassins, 345.

Lister, Lord, 278.

Litchfield Observatory, founder of, 374.

Loomis, E. J., 74.

Lowe, Mr. (Viscount Sherbrooke), 276.

Mahan, Prof. D. H., 335.

Mars, discovery of the satellites of, 141.

Marsh, Prof. O. C., exposure of Indian ring, 263; relation to "Wild

West," 265; exposure of Cardiff giant, 266; his modern fossil, 269.

Maskelyne, Rev. Nevil, 152.

"Mathematical Monthly," foundation of, 84.

Mathematics and exact sciences, state of, in America, 402.

Maury, Matthew F., work of, 103.

McCook, Gen. A. D., 341.

McCormick, L. J., 132.

McCulloch, Hugh, 244, 402.

McMickan, Captain, of Cunard Line, 271.

McTavish, Governor, 91.

"Mécanique Céleste," first sight of, 56.

Meier, John, 223.

Meridian conference of 1884, 226.

Mill, John Stuart, 272.

Mills, D. O., 183.

Miner and Tully's "Fevers of the Connecticut Valley," 33.

Monroe, Rev. Alexander H., 36 n.

Moore, Capt. W. S., 361.

Moore's Navigator, 17.

Morrill, Justin S., 124.

National Academy of Science, early proceedings, 251; report of

Geological Survey, 255; report of Forestry System, 261.

"National Intelligencer," letter in, 55.

Natural Philosophy, Mrs. Marcet's Conversations on, 18.

Nautical Almanac, assistants on, 66; in charge of, 120.

Naval Observatory, early history of, 102; work at, 109; conditions

at, 110; civilian head proposed, 111; views of administration in

regard to, 112; reports of eclipse of 1870, 113; visit of Emperor

Dom Pedro, 117; efforts to improve, 122; Board of Visitors

appointed, 126; telescope of, 128; Congressional action regarding

new telescope, 131; observations of satellites of Neptune, 136,

141; search for companion of Procyon, 138.

Negro, characteristics of, 346; education of, 348.

Neptune, observation of the satellites of, 136, 141.

Newall, R. S., 133.

Newcomb, John, father of Simon, characteristics and marriage, 4.

Newcomb, Simon, the first, 2.

Newcomb, Judge Simon B., 2.

Newcomb, Prof. Simon, ancestry, 2, 3; parentage, 6; early education

at Bedeque, 9; begins study of arithmetic, 10; influence of books,

14-22; winter spent with farmer Jefferson, 18; residence at

Yarmouth, 23; ancestral home, 23; begins study of medicine, 27;

manufacture of botanic medicine under Dr. Foshay, 31, 32; joins

temperance lodge, 37; intimacy with Parkin family, 39; first sight

of Smithsonian, 52; reading in political economy, 53; study of

Newton's "Principia," 54; first attempt at mathematical paper, 54;

letter in "National Intelligencer," 55; Colonel Abert sends Lee's

"Tables and Formul?," 56; letter from Prof. L. J. Smith, 56;

teaching in a planter's family, 56; first sight of "Mécanique

Céleste," 56; assistant on staff of Nautical Almanac, 66;

discussion of Darwin's "Origin of Species," 70; student in Lawrence

Scientific School, 74; acquaintance with Dr. B. A. Gould, 78;

friendship with William P. G. Bartlett, 83; journey in 1860 to

observe solar eclipse, 88; meets Governor Ramsey and Edward

Eggleston, 89; received by Governor McTavish, 91; Saskatchewan

journey, 92; candidate for professorship in Washington University,

95; application for professorship in Naval Observatory, 97; early

experience at Observatory, 101; edits Yarnall's observations, 105;

in charge of mural circle, 107; journey to observe 1869 eclipse,

113; new transit circle, 114; investigation of moon's motion, 115;

visit of Dom Pedro to Observatory, 117; assumes charge of Nautical

Almanac Office, 120; verification of satellites of Mars, 141;

transit of Venus expedition to Europe, 167; expedition to Cape of

Good Hope, 174; agent of Lick Observatory trustees, 184; first

meeting with Schaeberle, 190; study of orbits of asteroids, 195;

problems of astronomy, 198; motion of moon, 202; occultations of

stars, 207; offered Harvard Observatory directorship, 211; head of

Nautical Almanac Office, 214; policy of office, 216, 233;

computations for Planet Tables, 216; assistants, 218; suggestions

to Meridian Conference, 226; computations regarding fixed stars,

230; member Yale Alumni Association, 241; member Washington

Scientific Club, 244; first trip to Europe, 271; meets Thomas

Hughes, 272; John Stuart Mill, 272; William Ewart Gladstone, 273;

General Burnside, 273; attends banquet of Royal Society, 276; visit

to Lord Lister, 278; meets Prof. Cayley, 280; Prof. J. C. Adams

calls, 281; determination of Gibraltar longitude, 284; visits

Greenwich, 285; friendship with Sir George Airy, 285-289; visits

Edinburgh, 292; meets Prof. Blackie, 294; joins party of English

astronomers bound for Algeria, 295; stormy voyage, 296; at

Gibraltar, 297; Sir James Anderson, an old acquaintance, 300;

Mediterranean trip, 302-305; Wilhelm F?rster, a Berlin acquaintance,

306; meets great astronomer Auwers, 306; visits Pulkova Observatory,

309; winter ride in Russia, 310; first meeting with Hansen, 315;

arrives in Paris during German evacuation, 319; visits Paris

Observatory, 321; meets Leverrier, 330; Washington during Civil War

and after, 334-371; two days military service, 339; assassination

of Lincoln, 344; attends trial of conspirators, 345; acquaintance

with Sumner, 349; with President Garfield, 353; asked to device

means for cooling his sick chamber, 357; suggestions for location

of bullet, 358; experience with eccentric theorists, 381-389;

assists in obtaining entrance of American students to French

universities, 396; object lesson in regard to education in mountain

regions of South, 397; studies in economics, 399; publishes

"Critical Examination of our Financial Policy during the Southern

Rebellion," 402; contribution to "North American Review," 402;

conference with Prof. Daniel C. Gilman, 403; contributions to

economic literature: "A Plain Man's Talk on the Labor Question,"

"Principles of Political Economy," 408; "Psychical Research,"


Nixon, Thomas, 37, 41.

Occultism, 93.

Old Peake, janitor of the Smithsonian, 58.

Oldright, Mr., 53.

Oliver, James E., 72.

Ommaney, Sir Erastus, 295.

Paine, Thomas, 3.

Paradoxers, experience with, 382.

Paris Conference, conclusions of, 230; attacked by Prof. Boss and

S. C. Chandler, 230.

Paris Observatory, 321, 332.

Parkin, George R., 39.

Patent claim, a curious, 361.

Patterson, J. W., 352.

Peirce, Benjamin professor of mathematics, 75; personality, 77, 78;

chairman of committee on methods of observing transit of Venus,

161; director of solar eclipse expedition, 274; presence in England

valuable to British astronomers, 277.

Peters, C. H. F., heads Transit of Venus expedition, 139; Star

Catalogue Case, 372; work on Ptolemy's Catalogue, 380.

Photoheliograph, horizontal 164.

Phrenology, study of, 14, 34.

Pickering, E. C., 126.

Pistor and Martin's transit circle, 105.

Poe, Gen. O. M., 352.

Powell, John W., 240; during Garfield's illness, 357.

"Principia," Newton's, 54.

Procyon, search for companion of, 138; at Lick Observatory, 140.

Professors in Navy, origin of corps of, 101.

"Psychical Research," 410.

Ptolemy's Star Catalogue, Peter's work on, 380.

Pulkova Observatory, object glass made by Alvan Clark & Sons, 144,

145; foundation and situation, 309-313.

Reed, Thomas B., 125.

Rhodes scholarships, 37.

Rodgers, Admiral John, 120.

Rogers, William B., 250.

Royal Society, banquet of, 275.

Runkle, John D., 1, 66.

Safe burglary conspiracy, 367.

Safford, Truman H., 67.

Sampson, Admiral W. T., 121.

Sands, Admiral, superintendent of Naval Observatory, 112; retirement,

116; assists in obtaining new telescope, 130.

Sauty, de, cable operator at Gibraltar, 300.

Schaeberle, assistant to Prof. Holden, 190.

Schofield, J. M., 96.

Schurman, Caleb, 11.

Schurman, Jacob Gould, 11 n.

Scientific Club, 244.

Scudder, Samuel H., 88.

Shepherd, Alexander H., career, 364-371.

Sherman, Gen. W. T., 243.

Sibley, J. Langdon, 76.

Smith, James, circle squarer, 387.

Smithson, James, 235.

Smithsonian Institution, policy of, 235, 236; difficulties in

administration, 237; expansion of scope, 240.

Smyth, Prof. C. Piazzi, 293.

Smyth, Admiral, W. H., 152.

Sophocles, Evangelinus Apostolides, 75.

Standard time, adoption of, 225, 226.

Stanton, Edwin M., 336; his tireless energy, 337; his law of war, 338.

Star Catalogue case, the great, 372.

Steeves, Isaac, 38.

Struve, Otto, 144, 309.

Struve, Wilhelm, 312.

Struve, Russian minister at Washington, 312.

Sudler, Dr. Arthur E., 50.

Sumner, Charles, characteristics, 349, 350; kills an incipient

"Academy," 352.

Sylvester, Prof. J. J., 403.

Telescope, horizontal, planned by Prof. Winlock, 163. Thomson, Sir William, 248. Tilley, Sir Leonard, 40. Tracy, Benjamin, 123. Transit of Venus, early observations of, 151; observed by Mason and Dixon, 153; Hell's alleged forgeries, 157; preparation for observation of, 160; Committee of National Academy of Sciences to consider subject, 161; transit commission, 163; appropriation for observation station, 170, 171, 174; value of observations, 173; observations at Cape Town, 177; publication of observations, 178. Tremblay, Dom de la, 395. Tuttle, H. P., 192. Tyndall, Prof., 296.

Van Vleck, Prof., 73.

Wagner, Dr., 315.

Wallace, Gen. Lew, 339.

Washburn, Mr., minister to Paris, 320.

Washington, during the civil war, 334; newsboys of, 336; Early's raid

on, 339; after the fall of Richmond, 343; Shepherd régime, 363;

the new city, 366.

Weiss, director of Vienna Observatory, 157.

Welles, Gideon, 111.

Wells, David A., 405.

White House, incidents at, during Garfield's illness, 357.

Whitney, William C., 123.

Williams, Sir Fenwick, 298.

Wilson, Henry, 250.

Winlock, Prof. Joseph, superintendent Nautical Almanac, 59, 61;

personality, 65; constructs instrument for astronomical

photography, 163.

Wolf, Prof. Charles, 144.

Woodward, Dr. J. J., 357.

Wright, Chauncey, 70.

Wright, Gen. H. G., 341.

Yale Alumni Association, 241.

Yarnall, Prof. M., characteristics, 101; observations of, 105.

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