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much ballast, and, therefore, the rapidity of the descent is not only lessened, but possibly the downward course of the machine may be arrested some time before it reaches the soil; should it mount again, every coil of the cable lifted from the earth adds to its gravity. In cases where the aeronaut has from any cause lost the mastery of his vessel, this self-manipulating agency may preserve hirn from a fatal reception, whilst, on the other hand, he has it in his power, by letting out gas when the balloon is balanced in the air, to lower himself (other conditions being favorable) as peaceably as he chooses.
The Giant of Nadar, with a weight of 7,000 to 8,000 lbs., in descending on one occasion, after all the ballast had been exhausted, rushed down towards the earth with the speed of an ordinary railway train, and yet, thanks to the guide-rope, no serious accident occurred, though the instruments were all broken, and a few contusions were sustained. This admirable contrivance was introduced by that "ancient mariner" of the air, Mr. Green.
In returning to our native soil, however, one of the most dangerous conditions which can arise is the prevalence of a thick fog, or the necessity for- ploughing our way through a dense cloud. Under such, circumstances, how do we know where the earth lies? Not that we are likely to miss it—the great fear is that we may hit it too soon, and too forcibly. It is then that the value of the barometer is most fully appreciated. This instrument does for the aeronaut what the compass does for the sailor. But the observer must be prompt and careful in his reading, for if the descent is rapid, the least inattention may result in a fractured collarbone, or a couple of shattered bodies.
Presuming, however, that, as we sink through the cloudy trap door by which we entered the upper sky, we find all clear below, the old familiar earth again bursts upon our view. For a few moments the planet appears to be shooting upwards with considerable velocity. It is like a huge rock which has been aimed at our little balloon, or a star which has shot madly from its sphere, and is hastening to cmsh us on our return from our sacrilegious voyage. By throwing out a quantity of ballast, however, as if in defiance, we seem to check it in its course, and if it continues to approach, it does so with
moderate speed. But we soon discover the deceit, and leam (probably to our chagrin) that it is not the world which is troubling itself to meet us, but we who are doing obeisance in our own puniness to its irresistible will.
In one sense, indeed, the appearance of a balloon in the sky is always the signal for a certain amount of commotion. Dogs begin to bark furiously, poultry begin to ran to and fro in evident alarm, whilst cattle stand gazing in astonishment or scamper off in terror, as people used to do —so we suppose—when hippogriffs were 'in the habit of alighting at their doors. One French aeronaut remarks very drily that the best mode of obtaining a correct estimate of the population of any district is to approach it in a balloon, for then every individual rushes out of doors to look at the visitor, and so "the people can be counted like marbles." Another states that in passing over Calais the only figure that did not lift its head to gaze at the travellers was the Due de Guise, whose bust in the Place d'Amies was irvcapable, for good reasons, of paying them that act of homage.
Other things being duly considered, the chief business of a balloonist in descending is to select an open and unencumbered locality. To plump down upon a cathedral, or impale his car upon the top of a spire; to allow it to alight amongst the clashing trees of a forest, or to attempt to ground it amongst the chimneys and gables of a crowded town, would be pretty much the same as for a sailor to run his vessel amongst the breakers, or to drive it full tilt against the nearest lighthouse. The experienced navigator knows where to throw out his grapnel, and this, digging into the soil or catching in the rocks, or laying hold of any object from a tree to a tombstone, will bring the big air-ship to anchor, and enable the crew, with a little management, to disembark.
But having landed, what kind of a reception shall we encounter? That is a question of some little consequence. There are two ways of dealing with aeronauts: the first is to invite them to dinner and offer them beds for the night; the other is to make an extortionate claim for damages, or carry them before the magistrate as trespassers. The latter practice is much in vogue in rustic regions. Yon have scarcely leaped out of the car than up there comes an angry farmer, vociferating loudly, gesticulating frantically, and when he sees his fences broken down, and ms crops trampled under foot by a crowd of villagers who rush to the spot to inspect the stranger from the clouds, his wrath rises to the boiling point (far below 2120 Fah.), and the brute threatens immediate arrest, or appears to be on the eve of inflicting personal chastisement. In some instances, attempts have been made to distrain upon the balloon, damage feasant, as lawyers would say, though it would have puzzled the bumpkins to determine how such an unmanageable object could be safely lodged in the village pound.
When the first hydrogen balloon fell at Gonesse near Paris (1783), a most extraordinary scene was witnessed. The inhabitants of the village were struck with terror upon seeing an unknown monster descending from the sky. A genuine dragon could not have excited more consternation. Was it some fabulous animal realized in the flesh, or was it the great fiend in proper (or improper) person? On all sides they fled. Many sought an asylum at the house of the cure, who thought that the wisest mode of dealing with the intruder was to subject it exorcism. Under his guidance they proceeded falteringly to the spot where it lay heaving with strange contortions. They waited to see what effect the good man's presence would produce, but the creature seemed to be utterly insensible to his fulminations. At length one of the crowd, more intrepid than the rest, took aim with his fowlingpiece, and tore it so severely with the shot that it began to collapse rapidly; whereupon the rest summoning up courage, darted forward and battered it with flails or gashed it with pitchforks. The outrush of gas was so great that they were driven back for the time, but when the dying monster appeared exhausted, the peasants fastened it to the tail of a horse and drove it along until the carcass was utterly dismembered.
The rustics who witnessed the first descent in England—Lunardi's, in Hertfordshire—shrank from the aeronaut as a very equivocal personage, because he had arrived on what they called the "devil's horse." Nor are these terrors wholly extinct in the present day, for Flammarion gives a description (with the pencil as well as the pen) of a descent in which men
New Series.—Vol. XIV., No. 6.
appear to be flying, children screaming, and animals scampering, whilst the balloon with its flags and streamers, waving fantastically on each side like long arms or tentacular, is regarded by them as some formidable being coming from the clouds. "It is the devil himself!" they exclaim.
But having anchored, and escaped all the perils due to chimney-tops or infuriated farmers, the first question we put will doubtless be—Where are we? A more unfortunate query could scarcely be propounded. It expresses the greatest of all .the infirmities under which the balloon labors—namely, that no mortal can tell us beforehand where we shall, alight. Would it not be rather inconvenient if a traveller, on setting out from Derby, were unable to say whether he should land at Liverpool or at Hull, at Brighton or at Berwick-upon-Tweed? . For aught we know, we might find ourselves, after ascending from the most central part of England, hovering over the Irish Sea or the English Channel, with simple power to rise into the clouds or plunge into the waves, but with none to choose any horizontal path or enter any particular port. Whilst drifting tranquilly along in a current, we could hardly fail to ask whether no means could be adopted for propelling balloons in the air as is the case with vessels on the water. Put out our oars? Unhappily they would do little to assist our progress, for, however broad their blades, they would meet with small resistance from the thin medium into which they were dipped. Rely upon paddle-wheels? Just as bad! There is no dense fluid like water to grip, and the floats would spin round almost as vainly as if they were worked in the receiver of an air pump. Besides, the inflated globe with its suspended car does not constitute a rigid and inflexible whole, and if it did, the attempt to drive it against or athwart a current, in its present form, would be like rowing a man-of-war, with all its canvas stretched, right in the teeth of a gale.
It would be impossible in an article like this to glance at the innumerable schemes which have been propounded for the guidance and propulsion of balloons. Wonderful ingenuity has been expended upon the subject. In one project, for example, the waste gas, instead of being idly discharged, was to be conveyed into an apparatus from which it would issue with a
centrifugal force capable—so it was fondly supposed—of urging the aerostat in anygiven direction. In another, the balloon itself was to be converted into a kind of screw, so that when turned by means of a small engine, it should advance at each motion through a space proportioned to the distance between the threads of this monster spiral. M. Farcot gives us a description, in a little treatise on Atmospheric Navigation, of a petit navire airien de plaisance, framed like a flying whale, 100 yards in length, with an extensive gallery slung below, and fitted up with fins or wings, by means of which it is to be propelled. The picture of this marvellous structures is so enchanting, that we feel an irrepressible desire to mingle with the passengers who seem to be lounging luxuriously over the balcony, and who are evidently as much at home as if they were taking a pleasure excursion in a steamer on Windermere or the Lake of Geneva. M. Dupuy de D6me not long since received a grant from the French Government to enable him to construct a fishlike machine to be worked by a screw, and assisted by a sort of swimming bladder. Indeed, a large number of persons, either doubting or despairing of man's power to master the balloon in its ordinary form, rest their hopes upon the construction of machines which, whether lighter or heavier than the air, shall be driven through the atmosphere by brute force, if it may be so called. Mr. Glaisher does not, of course, share in these views. He tells us that he has attempted no improvement in the management of the balloon, that he found it was wholly at the mercy of the winds, and that he saw no probability of any method of steering it being ever discovered. Fonvielle and Tissandier, on the other hand, whilst admitting that the machine is still in its infantile stage, complain that the engineers have not yet brought all their resources to bear upon the subject, and entertain some vague notion that what has been done for locomotives, for steamboats, and ordinary sailing vessels, will surely be done for the ships of the air, forgetting that the problem to be solved is not exactly how you shall skim the surface of the water in a boat, but rather how you could drive a frigate through the fluid with its sails set when sunk to a depth of many feet, and this with the whole body of water in motion in
a different direction. M. Flammarion remarks that a bird is much heavier than its bulk of air, yet the eagle and the condor, massive as they are, soar with ease to the tops of the tallest rocks; and shall man, he inquires (especially a Frenchman, to whom the empire of the air properly belongs), be beaten by a bird? M. Flammarion declines: M. Farcot positively refuses.
For all purposes of aerial travelling, however, the painful fact remains, which may, perhaps, be most summarily expressed by saying that there is no Bradshaw for balloons. When the day conies in which it can be announced that " highflyers" or "great aerials " will leave Trafalgar-square for Paris or Dublin, weather permitting, at a certain hour; or that balloon trains will regularly ply between Hull and Hamburg, or, better still, that a Cunard or Collins line of atmospheric steamers has been established between London and New York, then the apparatus will be admitted into the noble army of machines which, like the ship, the locomotive, the steam-engine, the spinning jenny, the telescope, the mariner's compass, the electric telegraph, and many others, have rendered such splendid service to mankind.
Some ddzen years ago. indeed, an aerial ship, intended to traverse the Atlantic, was announced as in course of construction in America, by Mr. Lowe. Weighing from three to four tons in itself, it was to possess an ascending power equal to twenty-two tons. Its capacity was to be five times larger than that of any previous machine. Fifteen miles of cord were to be employed in the net-work alone. Beneath the car a boat thirty feet-in length was to be slung, and this skiff was to be fitted up with masts, sails, and paddlewheels, in order that the crew might take to the water in case their balloon failed them at sea. Copper condensers were to be attached, in order that additional gas might be driven into the globe, or surplus gas abstracted, as occasion demanded; the object of this contrivance being to enable the navigators to raise or lower themselves without wasting any precious material. The ship was to be directed by an apparatus containing a fan like that of a winnowing machine, and this was to be worked by an Ericsson's caloric engine of four-horse power. Various ingenious appliances, amongst others a sounding line one mile in length to show the course of the atmospheric currents, were to be adopted, and it was confidently hoped that this Great Eastern of the atmosphere, which was to be styled the City of New York, would cross the Atlantic in not less than three days, and possibly in two! We regret to say that it has not yet put into any European port, though its arrival would be hailed with more satisfaction than the first steamship, the Sirius, was in America.
Let it not be supposed, however, that the balloon, even in its present rudimentary condition, is available for frivolous or exceptional purposes alone—for the former, when it is used as a brilliant supplement to some display of fireworks; for the latter, when we happen to be locked up in some steel-begirded city. For scientific objects it may be difficult to overrate its value as a "floating observatory," and we cannot refrain from sharing in M. Fonvielle's chagrin when he tells us how, on one occasion, after preparing to view an eclipse from a lofty elevation, he found that his aeronaut was not ready to set out until the eclipse was over; or how on another, when all had been arranged to make a sally amongst the November meteors on one of their grand gala nights, he found, on arriving at the spot, that the workmen had taken to flight in consequence of the escape of the gas, and that his only chance was to go up the "day after the fair." Many uses also may be found for captive balloons. Half in jest, M. Flammarion inquires, whether these might not be pleasantly employed in traversing the deserts where camels or dromedaries constitute the ordinary means of conveyance. How uncomfortable is a seat upon the back of one of these brutes— what patience it requires to endure the tearing, jerking motion of these ships of the wilderness—most wanderers in the East well know, and perhaps painfully remember. Suppose, then, that an aerostat were harnessed to a dromedary and drawn peacefully along, whilst the traveller sat softly in the car—reading, smoking, sleeping, dreaming—without a single jolt to mar his enjoyment, would not this be a blessed improvement in locomotion? Half in jest, too, we might carry the idea a little further, and ask whether, if balloons occupied by delicate voyagers were attached to steamers, and allowed to float
at a sufficient height, so as to reduce the see-saw motion of the vessels to an imperceptible quantity, the pains of that abhorrent malady, sea-sickness, might not be avoided in crossing the Channel, or making small marine excursions?
So, many homely uses for captive balloons might be imagined. A traveller in Russia gives an account of a church at St. Petersburg with a lofty spire crowned with a large globe, upon which stood an angel supporting a cross. The figure began to bend, and great fears were entertained lest it should come down with a terrible crash. How could it be repaired was the question? To erect a proper scaffold would involve a formidable expense, and yet to reach the object without it seemed utterly impracticable, for the spire was covered with gilded copper, and looked more unscalable than the Matterhorn. A workman, however, undertook the task. The plates of metal had been attached by nails which were left projecting. Furnished with short pieces of cord, looped at both extrernites, he slung one end over a nail, and placing his feet in the other, raised himself a short distance: this enabled him to reach a little higher and fasten another loop over another nail, and so by repeating the process, and mounting from stirrup to stirrup, he crawled up, until by a still more daring manoeuvre he threw a cord over the globe, and then finally clambered to the side of the figure. A ladder of ropes was next drawn up, and the rest of the work became comparatively easy of execution; but with a captive balloon the needful materials might have been sent up, and the angel put in repair, without costing an anxious thought, or jeopardizing either life or limb.
How far it is possible to employ a balloon for purposes of exploration in quarters which are naturally inaccessible, or at any rate difficult of approach, must be a question dependent in no small degree upon the power of replenishing the machine with gas or heated air. It woulcl, doubtless, be a fine thing if men could thus sail over all the obstructions which fence in the two poles, and pry into the Antarctic continent, or solve the problem of a hidden Arctic sea. Many years ago Mr. Hampton designed, and we believe completed, a big Montgolfier, which was tb be employed in the search after Sir John Franklin. The machine was to be inflated by means of hot air produced by the agency of a great stove; but, if the necessity for a supply of the ordinary gas was thus avoided, the demand for fuel in regions where neither timber nor coal could be had (blubber, indeed, might perhaps have been procured), must have proved an insuperable difficulty, and the enterprise would probably have terminated in leaving the aeronauts stranded on some icy waste, without any better means of return than were possessed by the poor lost ones themselves.
Let us not part from this subject, however, without informing the reader that if M. Flaminarion's views are correct, it is the most important topic under the sun. "For," says he, with the look of a prophet and the tone of a poet, "when the conquest of the air shall have been achieved, universal . fraternity will be established upon the earth, everlasting peace will
descend to us from heaven, and the last links which divide men and nations will be severed." Without laying any stress upon the oracular form of this prediction —and the indefinite "when" may conceal some sly reference to the Greek Kalends —we regret to say that we cannot join in his jubilant conclusion. Our firm persuasion is, that in the present state of affairs, seeing that so large a portion of the world's revenue is squandered upon fighting purposes, one of the first steps which would be taken in case the "conquest of the air" were perfected to-morrow, would be to fit out a fleet of war-balloons, to raise a standing army of aeronauts, to add a new and afflictive department to our annual estimates, and to encourage the Chancellor of the Exchequer to make another assault upon the match-sellers, and probably to double our income tax without compunction.
A MAHOMETAN REVIVAL.
Mr. W. W. Hunter, in his curious and interesting volume called Our Indian Mussulmans; are they bound in conscience to rebel against the Queen?—which, by the way, as written by the author of the Annals of Rural Bengal, scarcely requires the advertisement of its rather startling title—tells the story of what, under its religious aspect, must be called a Revival among the Mahometans of India. The movement has a very serious political aspect, which we will notice presently: but it is primarily and pre-eminently religious, and it has all the characteristics of the periodical outbursts of enthusiasm familiar to the sects of Protestant Christians which are least under sacerdotal influence. There are certain vague general resemblances between the great religions of India and the great divisions of Western Christianity. It would be offensive and unjust to find any strong similarity between Hindooism and Roman Catholicism; yet the Hindoo system is not so very unlike that debased Italian Christianity upon which Conyers Middleton fastened: there is the same inordinate ceremonialism, and the same unquestioning acceptance of the principle of vicarious mediation; and there are the same overwhelming proofs that the system has absorbed and assimilated to
itself an older heathenism. The various local gods of the Hindoos are as obviously idols or fetishes of immemorial antiquity, taken up into the Hindoo religion by the simple expedient of calling them incarnations of Vishnu or Siva, as many of the local Italian saints are the Latin deities of the neighborhood, each baptized with the name of a Christian martyr. Nor can it be denied that Mahometanism has an air of Puritan Christianity. The entire absence of a priesthood; the simple forms of worship; the deference to the letter of the sacred volume; and, we may add, the strained interpretations of it indulged in by preacher and commentator, are all points of resemblance which cannot be passed over. Most English visitors to an Eastern mosque are conscious of a queer impression that they have seen something like it at home. In the more splendid edifices of the kind the marble carved into delicate lace-work destroys all associations with Ebenezer or Bethel; but in humbler buildings the pulpit or reading-desk, the pavement divided into squares reserved to the several worshippers, the stern suppression of symbolic ornament, the soTt of pew which (as Captain Burton has noticed) the wealthy family of the neighborhood is sometimes allowed to occupy, almost in