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prolongation. This is easily made clear, for wheresoever in balloon travel there is much diversity of country traversed there will also be frequent variations in the amount of heat radiated into the sky, a fact which influences the height at which a balloon would ride not only directly but indirectly also, owing to the vertical currents ascending and descending which will be engendered. And this is but the smaller disturbing element in the sky to be met with commonly over European or American soil. A greater disturbance in equilibrium will be found in the diversity of cloud and sunshine assuredly to be encountered in any extended travel. Passing in and out or even in the neighbourhood of cloud in the free sky commonly causes great variation of temperature within the envelope of a balloon, and then great waste of its life inevitably ensues. This may be readily understood, for any accession of heat causes an immediate rise to higher altitudes, where, external pressure being diminished, a certain loss of gas is the consequence, followed presently by a descent of the balloon below its previous level, which can only be regained by another loss, equally serious—that of ballast.
Now it is not to be doubted that the above-mentioned frequent vicissitudes would be practically eliminated in the case of a sky passage across such country as lower Central Arabia must be supposed to be, while the withdrawal of the sun's rays at night would simply entail a steady subsidence of the balloon to some lower altitude, where the heat steadily radiated from the now adjacent earth would keep it at a safe, if not at a constant, level without waste of ballast. Thus an aeronaut of experience should have no difficulty in remaining in the sky throughout any period that might be rendered necessary.
A further all-important point remains as to whether the aeronaut voyager could keep in touch with earth by means of wireless telegraphy. Of this possibility I am able up to a certain point to speak from actual experience in a trial specially organised four years ago. At the hands of all experimenters one main obstacle had been found in the disturbing influence of earth. Across water success was invariably greater than over land—a fact which, indeed, continues to be borne out in the most recent practice. It then naturally suggested itself that a suitable instrument, transported high above the earth's surface in a balloon, and put in due communication with another instrument on the ground, might act with far greater advantage than would similar apparatus operating between two land stations. And this actually proved to be the case.
The apparatus was designed by Mr. Nevil Maskelyne, who also presided at the ground station. The trial took place on the occasion of the garden party of the British Association meeting at Bradford. Here the ground station was established at one end of Lister Park, while a small mine with an electric igniter was also constructed, and this it was my task to endeavour to fire five minutes after I had risen
into the sky. The balloon carried both receiving and transmitting instruments, making up a somewhat heavy apparatus, which unfortunately suffered several smart concussions from impact with the ground during a rough and difficult launching. It required the five minutes' grace allowed me to restore the working parts of the instruments to something like order, and, this interval having elapsed, I pressed the button, at the same time calling the attention of my companion in the car—Sir Edmund Fremantle—to the fact. In about fifteen seconds the report of the exploded mine was loudly heard, confirming our own estimate of distance, which amounted to some three miles.
According to agreement, during the next five minutes the receiving instrument was now switched into action, and the signalling of my colleague was at once found to be going forward, and in perfect order. Moreover, his messages had in no way deteriorated in clearness after the balloon had sailed thirty miles away, and was then settling to earth. On the other hand, it was found that after the firing of the mine a wire in the transmitting instrument, which had received damage at the start, had parted, and thus the majority of the messages from the balloon were lost.
This, as I have stated, was four years ago, and the methods of wireless telegraphy have so greatly improved since that no shadow of doubt remains in my mind as to its successful use over very extended land distances, where one of the stations is a high-flying balloon. Presumably the chief obstacle would be, as in the case at sea, the interference of a thunderstorm region; but though this may be constantly feared amid the storm systems of the Atlantic, the case must be far otherwise over the arid plains of Arabia.
In the venture thus far sketched out, the advantage that would accrue if the balloon were equipped with wireless telegraphy instruments must be now apparent, for not only could the traveller continue to transmit back to his base a connected description of the land opened up to his view, but in due course he could announce to some appointed look-out station on the far shore his approximate course, with a view to timely succour.
John M. Bacon. Coldash, Newbury.
SOME MAXIMS OF THE
In the month of June 1852 I was sitting at my desk in the Foreign Office when I was sent for by Lord Malmesbury, recently appointed Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. He told me to start as soon as possible for Florence, to which Legation he had attached me, and where hands were very much wanted. I started, I think, the next day, and after rather a difficult journey, now much easier, I arrived at Florence.
In those days one had to go by railway from Paris to Châlons, then down the Saône by river to Lyons, where one was transferred to another boat for the passage down the Rhone to Avignon. At Avignon one found the railway again, and in three hours arrived at Marseilles. Thence the steamer went on to Genoa and Leghorn.
On arriving at Florence I was desired to go to the Villa Salviati, on the hills beyond the Porta San Gallo, a beautiful old villa, subsequently purchased by Mario, the great tenor. It was then occupied by Sir Henry Lytton Bulwer, the head of the Mission to the Grand Duke of Tuscany. I arrived at about ten in the morning, and made the acquaintance of Sir Henry Bulwer, a most remarkable figure in British diplomacy. I had before known several of his relations who lived in Norfolk, and subsequently to this visit, and all through life, I have been more or less in frequent communication with some member of the family.
Sir Henry Bulwer had passed, and continued later, a very varied career, accumulating a vast amount of experience. He had been in the Life Guards, in diplomacy at Paris, at Brussels, at Constantinople, where he negotiated a treaty of commerce, at St. Petersburg, and again at Paris; and in 1843, only sixteen years after his entrance into diplomacy at Berlin as an attaché, he was made Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the Queen of Spain.
After holding office for five years in Spain, during a period of unexampled activity and excitement, Marshal Narvaez had caused him to be expelled on account of alleged communications with the revolutionists.
At that time the English Government had adopted a tone making
it very unpopular in foreign retrogressive countries. Lord Palmerston, then Foreign Minister, whose great career it is not for me to criticise, had laid down as his policy the advocacy of constitutional against despotic forms of government in the countries where England had influence. England had certainly taken great part in the politics of Spain. She had co-operated openly with the Cristina and the Cristino party for the establishment of the young Queen Isabella, and had authorised recruiting in England for an armed body known as the British Auxiliary Legion, organised and commanded by an English General, Sir De Lacy Evans.
Subsequently to his leaving Spain, Sir Henry Bulwer had been appointed Envoy Extraordinary at Washington, where he negotiated and concluded the well-known Clayton-Bulwer Treaty. It was signed one evening by himself and Mr. Webster over a cigar. From Washington he was, at his own request, transferred as Minister to the Grand Duke of Tuscany in 1852. This he resigned in 1855. He did not intend, however, his retirement to be permanent, and in 1856 he was named Commissioner, under the Treaty of Paris, to investigate the state of the Danubian Principalities, and to propose a basis for their future organisation. It may here be said parenthetically that the object held in view by Europe was to a certain extent frustrated by the extraordinary self-control on the part of the inhabitants of the Principalities during the sittings of the Commission. By the treaty it had been stipulated that the Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia were to be kept separate, the creation of one State being considered dangerous to the welfare of Turkey. Such were the lines on which the Commission proceeded, and they carefully laid down an organisation for each Principality separately. But one factor had been overlooked. It had been laid down that, when the constitutions had been drawn up, the people of the two Principalities should each elect their own prince. To the astonishment of everybody, an unlooked-for development occurred from the action of the two populations when each Principality elected the same man, Colonel Couza. Thus, while the stipulations of the treaty had been carried out, the populations in a legal manner practically consolidated the two Principalities into one. This took place in 1858, in which year Sir Henry Bulwer was appointed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary at Constantinople.
He retired from the service in 1865, was elected M.P. for Tamworth in 1868, and in 1871 was created Baron Dalling and Bulwer, in the county of Norfolk, his younger brother, Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton, having previously been raised to the peerage by the title of Lord Lytton.
I have rather diverged from my original intention to limit my remarks to the personality of Sir Henry Bulwer as he then was at Florence. The political situation was difficult. Tuscany was occupied
by the Austrians, who, notwithstanding Lord Palmerston's retire. ment, still associated England and her representative with his policy. These difficulties had been increased by an assault on a British subject, Mr. Erskine Mather, who stood in the way of an Austrian officer marching with his regiment. The officer cut him down with his sword, and the relations between Great Britain and Austria became very strained. This incident was followed by many others. It was related that water accidentally thrown out of a window by a tradesman had fallen on the Grand Duke, who was passing. The tradesman, horrified, rushed before the carriage, and, falling on his knees, begged for forgiveness. The Grand Duke replied kindly, adding, 'It is lucky for the Minister I am not an Englishman, or there would certainly have been a question with the British Legation.' The Legation was then also engaged in advocating the cause of the Madiai, an old couple imprisoned on the accusation of proselytism. A Much bitterness was avoided by the tact, amiable bearing, and profound knowledge of character of Sir Henry Bulwer. At this time my colleagues at the Legation were Mr. Lytton, the son of Sir Edward Lytton, who had been attached to his uncle's Mission at Washington, and had come to Florence after his father's victorious return for Hertfordshire as a Protectionist. He was later Minister at Lisbon, Governor-General of India, and Ambassador at Paris, where he died. The other was Mr. Fenton, who had for many years followed Sir Henry Bulwer as his secretary. He still survives, after an honourable and useful career at many posts, having elected to reside at the Hague, the scene of his latest employment, and where he possesses many friends.
Florence had always been a favourite post for statesmen requiring repose, and Sir Henry Bulwer was succeeded in those functions by Lord Normanby, who had been Viceroy of Ireland, a Minister in various English Governments, and Ambassador at Paris. The family of Bulwer is remarkably accomplished and gifted. Sir Henry Bulwer's elder brother, though living quietly as a country squire in Norfolk, was no doubt a man of great capacity, which could very usefully have been employed in the public service. He left three sonsone, like his father, an exemplary county magnate; the second a very distinguished general officer of the army; while his younger brother, Sir Henry Bulwer, has made a great reputation in several important governorships, amongst others Natal and Cyprus.
Lord Dalling himself had a most remarkable personal charm, and, though he had many adversaries and critics, few could withstand the attraction of his manner and the interest of his conversation. He had lived with very remarkable men—with Prince Talleyrand, Prince Lieven, Count d'Orsay, Lord Beaconsfield, Lord Melbourne, Lord Palmerston, besides many other English statesmen.
In his conversation he always appeared, and I believe naturally,