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regular—more irregular, in fact, than the surface of a tempest-tossed sea. On reexamining the sierra, Mr. Lockyer found this to be the case. But perhaps the most striking evidence as to the real aspect of the sierra was afforded during the eclipse of last December, when Fr. Secchi, towards the close of totality, saw around the western half of the moon's disc a complete semicircle of sierra, and noted that this beautiful colored crescent was formed of multitudes of minute prominences. This agrees very satisfactorily with my own anticipatory description of the probable nature of the sierra, when 1 suggested that the sun's surface is probably "covered at all times with small prominences, bearing somewhat the same relation to the gigantic 'horns' and 'boomerangs' seen during eclipses that the bushes covering certain forest regions bear to the trees."
But the larger prominences have been shown by Zollner and Respighi to be phenomena of eruption. They are masses of glowing gas, which have been flung from great depths beneath the visible surface of the sun. May we not conclude that the smaller prominences which constitute the sierra are of like nature? that they also have been flung from beneath the sun's visible surface? As respects the larger prominences we can have no manner of doubt, because they have been seen to be flung out in eruptive sort. And this refers to all orders of prominences, except only those very numerous and relatively very small prominences which crowd together so as to form the seemingly continuous colored sierra. These cannot be watched as the others have been. But it seems highly probable that those among them which are not the remains of loftier prominences, are, like their larger fellows, phenomena of eruption.
Again, as respects the corona, all the evi
may have something to do with this; for although astronomy—at least, descriptive astronomy—has hitherto not been disfigured by the hideous nomenclature which botanists and geologists seem to rejoice in, yet there is always a large class of science-students who delight in sesquipedal names, as giving an air of profundity to their discourse. It may even be dangerous to hint that the true form of the compound for a color-sphere is not chromosphere, but ckromato-sphcrc, since the extra syllable will multiply tenfold the favor with which the compound is accepted. When will the tyro learn that the true lover of science
"Projieit ampullas et sesquipedalia verba?"
dence we have is opposed to the conception that the phenomenon is atmospheric. It shows two regions, which, though not sepaiated by well-defined limits from each other, may yet be regarded as, in a sense, distinct. There is an inner and brighter portion, which the sesquipedalians have proposed to call the leucosphere,—apparently on the lucus a non lucendo principle, for it is neither white nor spherical. And there is the outer portion, much less brilliant, and much more strikingly radiated. Neither one part nor the other presents a single feature suggestive of an atmospheric nature ;* and the certainty that the two ponions belong to a single object affords yet more conclusive evidence against this interpretation of the corona. But the rays of the corona are of a somewhat remarkable nature. When well seen, as during the eclipse of 186S, they are pointed; and even during so unfavorable an eclipse as that of December last, the dark spaces between the rays are seen to widen rapidly with increased distance from the sun. These pointed radiations serve to show that coronal rays must be, in reality, shaped somewhat as cones, having their bases towards the sun. The idea is startling enough, but, admitting the accuracy of the pictures made during well-seen eclipses, and of the Astronomer Royal's account of the corona during the eclipses of 1851 and i860, there is no escape from the conclusion here stated. It is not more certain that the sun is a globe, and not a flat disc, as he seems to be, than that the coronal radiations are not flat-pointed rays, but coneshaped. But no one will suppose that there are a number of monstrous coneshaped masses—atmospheric or otherwise—standing, as it were, upon the sun's surface. I can see no other way of accounting for these conical extensions than by regarding them as phenomena indicating some form of repulsive action exerted by the sun.
Hut whatever opinion we may form on this and kindred problems, it seems clear that we must regard the envelope discovered by Professor Young as the only true solar atmosphere: and a very strange and
* I am here referring to the possibility that the corona may be due to some species of solar atmosphere. The theory that the corona is due to light in our own atmosphere, has now at length been definitely abandoned by all astronomers.
complex atmosphere it is. Nothing yet learned respecting the sun's surroundings surpasses in interest this fiery envelope, in which some of the most familiar of our metals appear as glowing vapors. If anything could add to the interest attaching to the colored prominences and sierra, it is the fact now revealed that they are propelled through this wonderful envelope, over which they float for a while with
strangely changing figure. Truly the study of solar physics, which twenty years ago seemed at a stand-still, is advancing with rapid strides; and it seems scarcely possible to exaggerate the interest either of what has been already revealed, or of the discoveries which are likely to be effected during the approaching year.
Richard A. Proctor.
ROBESPIERRE: A PSYCHOLOGICAL STUDY.
(by The Author Of "Mirabeau, A Life Drama.")
Robespierre! Amidst all, even of the foremost, of the human wolves of the Revolution—amidst all that band of assassins who wrecked its glory in a sea of blood—that name stands forth like the moon among the stars. Lives there a man who can read, who has not read of him? To thousands the names of Hubert, Barrcre, St. Just, Couthon, Camille Desmoulins—even of Danton and Marat— are scarcely known. To such the Reign of Terror had but one king, one creator —Robespierre! Truly an awful fame— an immortality of blood! To violent republicans he appears a man of noble virtues—to bigoted monarchists merely a human butcher, delighting in blood for blood's sake. The first are unreasoning enthusiasts, glorifying the idol of an idea, regardless of the temple in which they enshrine it; the latter, superficial judges, who look but upon men's actions, and take no thought of the hidden motives that create them. Robespierre was one of the most profound psychological problems ever born into the world — the strangest mass of contradictions and opposing elements that woman ever bore. A defender of monarchical institutions, and the executioner of a king and a queen. Amid universal atheism the sole proclaimer of the immortality of the soul, of the existence and benevolence of a God. The founder of the Feast of the Supreme Being, and the bloodiest and most merciless man on record. The persistent advocate of the abolition of capital punishment, and the man who condemned more human beings to death than Draco himself.
Francois Maximilian Joseph Isidore de Robespierre (this destroyer of aristocrats was entitled to the aristocratic de before
his name) was born at Arras, in the year 1758. He is supposed to have descended from an Irish family who settled in France in the sixteenth century, and it has been suggested that the original name of the first settler was Robert Spiers, which by French pronunciation would soon become "Robespierre." Maximilian's father was an advocate. At the age of ten the boy had lost both parents, and was left with a brother and two young sisters—the eldest, and virtually the head of the family. His early education was received at the College of Arras. After a time the Bishop, with whom he was a great favorite, placed him at the College of Louis le Grand, at Paris, as a scholar on the foundation, and to Paris he went in the year 1770. Two of his chums were Camille Desmoulins and Danton. What a strange coincidence, the meeting of that triumvirate! As the gay noblesse of Paris rolled by the quiet precincts of the college in their luxurious carriages, did no boding shadow ever darken their mirth? Could those perfumed wits, those sirens so lovely, so debonnaire, have been vouchsafed but one glance into the futurity of twenty years—have seen the streets of Paris streaming with their blood —their bodiless heads stuck upon pikes, the ghastly gibe of the mob that was then but the dust beneath their feet—could they have seen those three boys developed into the daring Camille, the brutal Danton, the bilious Robespierre of 1791! What then? Had an angel from heaven unveiled the vision they would have laughed it to scorn. Not the smallest cloud darkened the horizon of their pleasure. The people starved, and nursed their wrongs in silence, or their mutterings were not loud enough to reach ears polite. So the great feasted and revelled in their gilded salons. "As to-day, so will be to-morrow. The earth is ours, and the fulness thereof, and those who are not of us live but to minister to us." So spoke the hearts of the shortsighted fools. The writing was upon the wall, but they could not see it— no, not till the gleaming weapons and the wild fingers of the sansculotte pointed to the words of doom, and the warning and the destruction came locked in each Other's arms!
Robespierre had little in common with his wild fellow-scholars; he mingled in no orgies, plunged into no dissipation; his drink was water, his food of the plainest. His bilious temperament created melancholy; he was studious and silent. His days and nights were spent among the literatures of Cireece and Rome—not with Homer. Horace, and Virgil, but with 1 ivy, Herodotus, and Plutarch. Although not insensible to the roseate influences of poetry—he was afterwards a poetaster •himself, one of a society at Arras, whose members wrote bad verses, and crowned each other with roses to blazon their badness—it was in those old Roman stories of inhuman virtue that he chiefly delighted. That utter contempt for human suffering or human life, when opposed to the abstract idea of patriotism; that fierce clinging to republican institutions that characterized the pre-Caesar period of Rome— these stories charmed and fascinated him; upon these he modelled his mind. But that mind possessed none of the grandeur, the daring courage, the sublime self-sacrifice of those mighty men of old; it was mean, cowardly, and despicably vain; it could only assimilate their cruelty — it could not digest their nobleness; it was too weak.
Yet the influence of these studies was infinitesimal compared to that produced upon him by the writings of Rousseau. Every doctrine of that strange brilliant genius was enthusiastically absorbed by Robespierre. That clinging to theism, and a certain code of Pagan morality which marked the Dictator throughout the horrible atheism and filthy excesses of the Revolution, arose, perhaps, from the wholesale absorption of Jean Jacques' doctrines, which had become, as it were, a portion of himself, incapable of division.
Rousseau was the father of the Revolution. Beneath the lethargic languor of
absolutism the mind of France was slumbering; it accepted the present, it hoped for no change, it was like an overworked horse or an overbeaten child—dull, sullen, and unimaginative. Suddenly, upon the darkness and sluggish atmosphere of this world burst the genius of Rousseau, like streams of electric light reanimating the paralyzed souls of men, revealing to them the depths of their own debasement with glimpses of ideal but, alas ! delusive beatitude which seemed within their reach. Every man who read thrilled in every fibre to the passionate poetry, the deep tenderness, and to the strange, unheard of doctrine of the equality of all mankind. From the reading man these things were transfused vaguely ; but, from their very vagueness, steeped in hues yet more roseate to the mass. The hidden fires engendered by oppression began to glow, ami where they glowed fiercest volcanoes burst forth. Those volcanoes were Camille Desmoulins, Mirabeau, Danton, Robespierre, and their confreres—the last of the four the most terrible, the Etna of the rest! To change the image, Rousseau was the brain of the Revolution, those men the body.
After leaving college Robespierre became a student of jurisprudence. His studies completed, he returned to Arras. His old friend, the Bishop, procured him an appointment in the criminal court. He now distinguished himself as a strenuous advocate for the abolition of capital punishment; and not long after he had accepted the membership, being compelled, in virtue of his office, to condemn a criminal to death, he was so painfully affected that rather than again wider go the same infliction he chose to resign his office. Does not this read like the wildest fable? It was no hypocrisy, for what could he gain by it?—only the displeasure of his patrons. No, the nature of the man was utterly devoid of physical courage, and all such natures instinctively shrink from blood, which is in their minds inextricably associated with violence, with that physical contention for which their nerves unfit them. 1 have said they instinctively shrink from blood; yes, until they taste it, then their appetite grows insatiable for it. All wild beasts are cowardly; a high-souled man is the only really courageous being in the world. The bloodier the beast, the mora cowardly—for instance, wolves and tigers. So it is with men. Cowards are ever th4 most malignant. No man would be a coward if he could help it, for every coward inwardly despises his own cowardice; and it is his impotent rage against that vice which prompts him to savagery, to cover his shame with the cruelty, because he does not possess the nobleness of courage. In such men the first natural horror of shedding blood, which is an instinct of our nature, overcome, blood-shedding becomes a horrible fascination. The timidity vanquished, the cruelty of the coward rides rampant.
Having made himself famous among the townspeople of Arras by a denunciation of lettres dc cachet, and by a political pamphlet upon the Tiers-Etat, he was chosen, when the hour arrived for the assembling of that celebrated body, their member for the States-General.
Out of the cloudless sky the sun pours down its floods of golden light, glitters upon the helmets and arms of the troops, glistens upon the gorgeous dresses of the court, gives a radiance to beauty, a brilliancy to the meanest objects. The hot air is filled with the strains of martial music, with the clangor of the joyous bells, with the acclamations of excited thousands. And all to welcome the States-General as they march on their way to the Churcli of Sl Louis to ask a blessing upon their deliberations. There is one man in that crowd who is to achieve a more terrible fime, a mightier power, than any the sun shines upon that day—a man destined to sign the death-warrant of hundreds of hearts that beat blithely and proudly on that July morning. And yet, while necks were stretched and eager eyes wandered to catch a glimpse of men whose names are now half-forgotten, no one deigns a glance at him—for Paris has never heard uf him.
As, in a former article, I chose that momentous day to paint the portrait of the magnificent Mirabeau, I now take the same opportunity to present a companion— hut what a different—picture 1
A small mean-looking man, weak limbs, always palpitating with a nervous shiver, and a timid, irresolute gait. His dress is faultlessly neat and precise. Head powdered, not a single hair awry. Bright blue coat buttoned tightly at the hips, but open at the chest to display the spotless white waistcoat; yellow breeches, white stockings, shoes and buckles. This costume
is never varied, except that the shoes are sometimes exchanged for topboots. The face is sharp and peaky; the forehead projects over the temples, and is compressed at each side like that of a wild beast; eyes blue, deeply sunken, widi heavy lids, and a latent savage sparkle; nose small, straight, expanded at the nos-. trils; mouth large; lips thin and pallid,, and compressed at the corners ; chin small and pointed; complexion yellow, livid, cadaverous. Habitual expression grave, with a half sweet, half sinister smile. Every muscle of the face working with a ceaseless twitch. Over the whole a terrible expression of concentrated purpose. When he speaks his gestures are awkward, his fingers work nervously; his voice is shrill and discordant; when agitated by rage or exultation it sounds like the scream of a hywna.
So obscure was he when he first came, to Paris, that in the earlier reports of the proceedings of the States-General, his name is never spelt correctly, and seldom twice alike. Ridiculed and scorned at first, little by little he gained the attention of the Assembly. Then came the founding of the Breton, afterwards the Jacobin Club, in whose discussions he took a prominent part. But for a time the little insignificant Robespierre was overshadowed by the magnificent Mirabeau, the gigantic Danton, and the daredevil Camille. But he bided his time, working quietly on,, never missing an opportunity of disseminating the Socialistic doctrines of Rous-' seau, or of thrusting himself into prominence, but ever avoiding the initiative of violence. To the end of his career it was a distinguishing mark of his character that he was never one of the pioneers of the decisive acts of the Revolution, although he was always the first to follow in the wake and profit by the effects. Brave men fight and die upon the battlefield; their gold becomes the prey of the robber, their bodies of the carrion-crows.
The first blow is struck—the destruction of the Bastille. The King comes unguarded to the Assembly, crying, "I, who am but one with my nation, come to intrust myself to you." A reaction sets in— the mob receive their monarch in the streets with frantic demonstrations of loyalty; Lally Tollendal proposes unlimited confidence in the royal word. Robespierre vehemently opposes the motion and turns the tide. This is his first direct attack upon royalty, for it must be remembered that down to a much later period he professed himself almost ostentatiously a monarchist. Here was, indeed, hypocrisy, for the man was never anything but a republican. But the time was not ripe for such opinions; he waited until others should declare them.
In the mean time the tempest was gathering fast and thick. Hideous wretches, who had never before dared face the light of heaven, crawled out of their noxious holes; gaunt men and famished women wandered through the streets howling for the bread that heaven withheld from them. Day by day this terrible mass of suffering grew bolder and fiercer, till at last the streets of Paris were reddened with blood and fouled with horrible murders. Even the death of its victims could not satisfy the ferocity of the mob. Of one they took the heart and pieces of the body and boiled them in wine, then drank the liquor with dance and song.
Now the Assembly passes the celebrated Declaration: the original equality of mankind, the right of universal suffrage, that the State burdens shall be borne by all subjects in proportion to their means. Quickly upon this important measure conies the discussion upon the veto, and then upon the suspensive veto—that is, whether the King should retain the power of suspending any law approved by the Assembly for a certain term. Both propositions were vehemently opposed by Robespierre. When the Assembly voted the hereditary succession, he moved that all ancient formulas should be replaced by these words: "I Louis, by the grace of God and the will of the nation, King of the French, to all citizens of the French Empire. People, this is the law your representatives have made, and to which I affix my seal." But the motion was unanimously rejected. When the King sent his answer to the Declaration of Rights, he objected to it as not being sufficiently explicit. "Is it," he said, "for the executive power to criticise the constitutional, from which it emanates? It is the right of no power on earth to raise itself above the nation and censure its wishes. . . . You tan only avoid obstacles by crushing them." Verily his opinions were advancing. The last words contain the first menace that had yet been uttered.
Even as late as 1791, we find him hotly maintaining his old war against capital punishment. On the occasion of a motion of Lepelletier Pargeau for its abolition, he uttered these remarkable words: "In the eyes of justice and mercy these death-scenes which are got up with so much solemnity are nothing less than base assassinations, solemn crimes, committed, not by individuals, but by nations, and of which every individual must bear the responsibility. . . . To take away from man the possibility of expiating his misdeeds by repentance or by acts of virtue, is, in my eyes, the most horrible refinement of cruelty!"
Listen to these passages from the very speech in which he was urging upon the Assembly the death of the King: "For myself I abhor the penalty of death . . . but a dethroned king in the heart of a republic not yet cemented . . . neither prison nor exile can give him a harmless existence. It is with regret I pronounce •the fatal truth, Louis must perish because our country must live ... I vote for death."
The mind of this man had passed through many phases since he resigned his office at Arras on a similar question. His was a sluggish mind—its qualities developed slowly, and each quality required a separate stimulant to become active. He felt but little of ambition then, for he beheld no great object within his reach; and remember, he possessed no daring, no talent for the impracticable; but little of envy, for his associations were mediocre. Egotism must have always been prominent, but it was the egotism of ideas, the worship of an ideal standard of lofty principles which he had created within, the worship of self in the abstract. But now, in the year 1791, supreme greatness was within his grasp: he might become the founder of the republic of his dreams, establish the idolized principles of Rousseau, be the creator of a new order of things, the great philanthropist of all ages. He had been brought into collision with every phase of greatness—greatness of soul, of intellect, and of station; conscious inferiority humiliated him, and in such a mind envy grew in proportion to humiliation. The growth of egotism was a natural sequence to that of the other passions. Although still a believer in the principle of the abolition of capital pun