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MAY 1, 1868.

stars.

OUR CONTINENTAL CORRESPONDENCE. The knowledge country people possess of PARIS, March 1, 1868. the heavens and meteorological signs is astonishing; and when one of them has a turn for combining traditionary lore with his own acute observations, he commands a mass of practical astronomical knowledge which any astronomer might envy. The strange phenomenon of shooting stars (which shoot across the heavens by thousands every night) especially attracted his attention. When he quitted farming and became an express agent, he continued to observe the celestial phenomena. He came to Paris in 1840, and, being introduced to Arago, communicated to him his observations on the periods of the maximum and minimum of shooting stars. Arago thought science must find a useful servant in a man who without assistance had become so familiar with the heavens, and persuaded M. Coulvier Gravier to make Paris his home. In 1850 he was appointed director of the meteorological observatory of the Palace of the Luxembourg. M. Coulvier Gravier believed shooting stars revealed the changes of the weather; he held shooting stars to be meteors diverted from their original course by prevaling winds in the higher regions of the atmosphere, and consequently the direction of shooting stars' flight indicated currents whose action would be felt in the lower regions of the atmosphere. I believe our astronomers of authority have never accepted this theory as true. But M. Coulvier Gravier was a patient and faithful observer, and whatever difference of opinion might exist upon the conclusions he deduced from his observations, the latter were considered valuable. Like M. Leon Foucault, he left no work behind him; all his writings are in the shape of articles in the "Moniteur," and memoirs in the "Journal of the Academy of Sciences."

Ir is with particular regret I record the untimely death of M. Leon Foucault, who bid fair to become the first natural philosopher of his French contemporaries. You are not unprepared for this mournful intelligence. I some time since informed you paralysis had seized him and his condition was desperate. Leon Foucault was born in Paris the 18th September, 1819. His father was a publisher and bookseller. He studied medicine, although it was not his favorite pursuit. It would be interesting to know what circumstance diverted his mind to natural philosophy. In 1839 Daguerre's invention made a deep impression on him, and he studied it with great ardor. This subject seems to have led him to consider the theory of light and the nature of luminous vibrations. In 1845 he published memoirs on these questions. In 1850 the invention of the gyroscope and the application of the pendulum to the ocular demonstration of the rotation of the earth, made his name famous throughout the civilized world. He next invented a method for making telescopes with silvered glass, which was and is still considered a most useful invention by all astronomers. His last researches were directed to the determination of the velocity of light. He was about to enter upon the study of electricity, when he fell ill-half dead with paralysis. M. Bertrand said, in the speech he made at the grave: "In rising by degrees to the height of science, Foucault never changed his method or principles. Evidence was in his eyes the only certain mark of truth. His lynx-eyes obstinately turned towards darkness, patiently awaited light, and light came. He did not always show it, but he signalled it, and when he said 'I am sure,' he might add, 'I have seen it,' his testimony was certain. How often did his friends observe this with admiration! They should have seen it with terror. The strength of the mind has, like the strength of the body, its limit, and if invention which is really worthy the name is the liveliest pleasure, it is at the same time a fatigue, whose abuse, which is not in every man's power, at last breaks the springs which are too long strained. Success, far from inviting Foucault to repose, excited him to progress. When he entered into a contest he pursued it without truce or rest, and we may literally say of him: The work is perfect when it pleases the workman. He wrote me, not nine months since, 'I would not postpone one single day in announcing to you that the experiments have succeeded perfectly. Theory is always right.'" I am a little surprised to see some biographers state this eminent man was ignorant of algebra until after his election as a member of the Academy of Sciences, when he began for the first time to study it. He received no collegiate education. His funeral was attended by some of our most eminent men. The pall-bearers were M. Leverrier, Director of the Observatory, M. Combes, the mining engineer, and MM. Delaunay, and Yvon Villarceau, of the Academy of Sciences. Among the other persons present were Marshal Vaillant, Gen. Morin, Gen. Favé, MM. Elie de Beaumont, Regnault, Balard, St. Claire Deville, Prévost Paradol, Cuvillier Fleury, Emile Ollivier, John Lemoine, etc.

The same day, in the same church where M. Leon Foucault's funeral took place, there was another scientific man's funeral, and he too was a self-made man who never had the advantages of a collegiate education. M. Coulvier Gravier was born at Reims the 26th February, 1802, and the early years of his were spent at the plough's tail. While pursuhis humble career he was attracted by the

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I should not fail to mention the death of M. Delapalme, a justice of the French Supreme Court, who found time, amid his judicial labors, to prepare a great many school-books for children, which have for many years enjoyed public favor. Some of them have run through innumerable editions.

I may record among the latest publications: A. Achard, "Le Journal d'une Heritière" (a novel); Emile Angier, "Paul Forestier" (a play); H. Baillon, "History of Plants," Monographie des Dilleniacées; N. Basset, "Theoretical and Practical Guide of the Manufacturer of Alcohol and Distiller" (30f.); Ch. de Caqueray, "Le Credo de Bossuet," an exhibition of Christian doctrine gathered in Bossuet's works; E. Chauvet, "L'Education;" J. B. V. Coquille, " Politique Chrétienne;" "Glorieuse Victoire de Mentana," won the 3d Nov., 1867, by the Pope's troops united with the French, etc., by a young Brittany ecclesiastic, a pupil of the Roman College: Dr. P. J. Grenier, "Medico-Psychological Study of Human Free Will;" L. Douët d'Arcq, "Inventory of the Library of King Charles VI.," made in the Louvre, in 1423, by order of the Regent, Duke of Bedford (published by the Société des Bibliophiles); Paul Lacroix, "Nouvelles Euvres inédites" of J. de La Fontaine, followed by contemporary historical documents, with a general bibliography of his works (a small number printed; not to be reprinted); G. de Puynode, "Etudes sur les Principaux Economistes" (Turgot, Adam Smith, Ricardo, Malthus, J. B. Say, Rossi); F. G. S. Trebutier, "Tresor d'une Mère," extracts from the private letters and memoirs of Marquis A. T. Du Prat; R. P. B. Valuy, "The Government of Religious Communities;" J. J. Ampère, "Voyage to Egypt and Nubia;" Viscount de Beaumont Vassy, "The Saloons of Paris and Parisian Society under Napoleon III.;" E. Van den Bussche, "Bibliographie des Flamands de France" (8vo. pp. 16, extract from the "Bulletin du Comité Flamand de France"); G. J. de Cosnac, "Souve

MAY 1, 1868.

nirs of the Reign of Louis XIV.;" MM. Geoffroy, | Nice, I have retired to St. Raphael, in an old house Zeller, and Thienot, "Reports on Historical Studies" on the sea-shore. Its name is "Closed-house." I (published by the Minister of Public Instruction); hope to see you in it one of these days. It is the H. Giroud, "The Pressure of Gas for Lamps, and most delightful spot on earth, but do not reveal it. I the Methods of regulating it;" A. Lavice, “ De l'Edu- have a garden and a boat, and henceforward I shall cation Nationale;" J. Lermina, "Propos de Thomas sell nothing but prose. Believe me, etc. Vireloque;" L. de Mas Latrie, "Treaties of Peace ALPHONSE KARR." and Commerce, and Sundry Documents concerning the Relations between Christians and the Arabs of

Northern Africa in the Middle Ages," collected and published by order of the French Emperor (4to. Pp. xxvii., 403, 36f.); J. Payer, "Botanique Cryptogamique," edited by H. Baillon (1081 figures, price 15f.); Cahiers, "Les Etats Généraux" (published by order of the Corps Legislatif, and contain ing the complaints of all France in 1789 at the eve of the Revolution; the 1st and 2d vols. have

appeared; the work will require 5 or 6 vols., pr. 20f. a vol.): MM. Erckman-Chatrain, "Histoire d'an Paysan" (1789); A. Serven, "Les Prisons Politique" (St. Pelagie); and A. Vizentini, "Derrière la Toile" (green-rooms, wings, and actors).

One or two books have recently been published in Belgium, which deserve notice, namely, J. Felsenhart, "Les Colonies Anglaises," 1574 to 1660, according to the state papers, together with an episode of the Belgium emigration to Virginia; and M. Gachard's "Correspondence of Margaret of Austria, Duchess of Parma, with Philip II.," 1st vol.

Widow J. Renouard has in press "The Italian Sculptors," by Charles C. Perkins, and M. Amyot announces as in press "Lord Byron, Judged by the Witnesses of his Life;" can this be the long promised work by Countess Guiccioli?

It is rare a bibliographical periodical has to record so destructive a conflagration as occurred here a few nights since. I have repeatedly alluded to the publications of Abbé Migne. He is a strange character, whois looked upon with suspicion by the clergy, for he has much more of the speculator than of the priest. I say speculator, though really this is not the proper term to use. He is not moved by love of money so much as by his tastes, his hobbies. He has established ten political newspapers. He had a manufactory in the suburbs of Paris, where he printed and published books and newspapers, made church organs, painted religious pictures, executed statues and bas-reliefs for churches, employed 800 workmen, and insured his vast establishment for $2,400,000 in thirty-three insurance companies. This establishment has been destroyed by fire, and only half the property has been saved. The fire raged with greatest intensity in the publishing part of the manufactory. All the type, all the stereotype plates, all the wood-cuts, etc., have perished. Among his losses are the stereotype plates of the "Patrologie," which contained 391 thick double-columned quarto vols.; not only the plates, but many precious manuscripts perished, among them an important work by Bishop Dupanloup, of Orleans; the stereotype plates of the "Encyclopédie Théologique," containing 171 thick double-columned quarto vols. The last vol. of the "Patrologie" and the 100th vol. of the "Collection Universelle," were in press, and only two volumes of the "Encyclopédie" remained to be printed. It is believed the fire was the work of an incendiary.

M. Alphonse Karr has written the following letter to a friend, from which it would seem he is about returning to a literary life:

"ST. RAPHAEL (VAR.), Jan. 27th. "MY FRIEND: I have abandoned a commerce whose success ruined me, firstly, because it prevented me from working; secondly, because my flowers earned, it is true, a great deal of money, but this money never reached my hands. After living fourteen years at

Count de Montalembert is still in the same state;

he quits his bed, but is so weak he is obliged to lie
on a sofa the greater part of the day. He cannot
tated to a secretary.
write; his article on "Gen. Zamoyski" was dic-
next work will be the "Heavens."
It is said M. Michelet's

...

touri."

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Somebody has counted the number of I's in a late number of M. Alex. Dumas's new paper; there were 92 of them. He is accused of asking correspondents to return his letters, and he sells them to dealers in autographs, and makes $100 or $150 a year by the trade. It is said his daughter (who was divorced from her husband some years since) is about to appear on the stage. She looks as if she would make a capital Mrs. Caudle, or an untamed.shrew. Baudelaire is promised; its title is "Mlle. BisA posthumous work of the late M. Charles Le Clerc & Co. has failed; it is said the liabilities The old publishing firm of M. Adrien are $340,000. Adrien Le Clerc died a year or more ago. As the firm commanded the utmost confidence, a pious gentleman, who was consulted by clergymen, servants, etc., upon the best manner of investing their money, invariably recommended them to heard of this failure he informed his poorer friends lend it to Messrs. A. Le Clerc & Co. When he them $12,000. he would secure them against all loss; he has paid Abbaye aux Bois, a bill announcing a suite of rooms I saw lately, as I passed the to let. Upon inquiry I found it to be the suite once occupied by Mine. Récamier, and under whose windows Chateaubriand so often stood gazing. The walls remain; the shadows have faded away frou them forever!

G. S.

PARIS, March 16, 1868.

M. LEVERRIER's reign of tyranny is nearly at an end. The committee appointed to investigate the condition of the observatory has reported that this establishment is in a most deplorable state. The committee attributes this decline of the observatory from its prosperity in Arago's days entirely to the arbitrary rule of M. Leverrier. It recommends its reorganization upon the plan adopted in Arago's days, namely, to intrust its government to a board of five astronomers which shall exercise the authority with which M. Leverrier is invested. The committee further recommends the removal of the observatory to a suburban village, Fontenay-auxRoses. It appears the continual movement of vehicles in Paris produces an oscillation of the observatory, which is fatal to the accuracy of observations, and, moreover, the gas lamps, which are all around it, are likewise detrimental to the astronomers' labors. A painful incident has taken place in the Academy of Sciences which is not foreign to M. Leverrier's tyrannical reign. It seems he has published in the last volume of observations strictures upon the late Leon Foucault (written with characteristic want of generosity after the latter had been struck down by paralysis), which are considered by his friends as false and offensive. At a late meeting of the Academy of Sciences M. Sainte Claire Deville called the attention of his brethren to these insulting allegations, and in a earnest and impressive manner showed they sto upon no foundation of truth. He ended by deel ing that Leon Foucault had left papers describing

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