Newspaper Page Text
!jc (Drfort $ iifdlujruttr.
HOWAUD FALCOXER, EDITOU WEDNESDAY, JVSEtO, - - ISCO. Southern Planter' Convention. A is known to many of our readers, thi body will assemble at Holly Springs during the State Fair, which in to be hold there next Full. It seems somewhat strange to u, that tlie meeting of body whoso object ho important, should bo treated with that indif ference which is so manifest Tlie manufac turers mid eorton-buycrs of the oi l world are exerting every energy to make themselves independent of tho cotton growing State of this Republic. England and Franco Are spen ding null'mis annually, to raise a few thou sand bags of cotton in India mid Algeria. All these, effort have in view the diversion of the cotton tr;ido from this country to their own, that they may regain tho sceptre of commerce, which has so long departed from them. The Atlantic States, at the same lime, are striving to keep us in commercial subjec tion to themselves. While all these effort are being made to make unprofitable that product of our soil which now brings 'us riches without limit, and so give u a preponderating influence rtmong the nations, we fold our arm and stand idly by. Instead of stnngtheningour nclvcs, weikkuothing, relying too much njon tur inure iiaturaladvauL'ige.i. Instead of bring ing to light and improving tin wo resources which the. u God of Nature hath placed in our power-,' we allow them to lie neglected, and go to wreck. Our lands wear out, and are aban doned. Our forests are destroyed, mid are rather an incumbrance than a source of profit or of power. Our manufacturing and com mercial interests have little encouragement. Our colleges and schools are illy supported. All things sueiu to be lost Kight of, but the mere cultivation of the soil. For many years, efforts have been contin ually made, on the part of some patriotic Southerners, to remedy this deplorable state of things, mid as a slight reward of their la bors, they see the public mind at last awa kening to the importance of the subject, mid seeking to remedy the growing evil. Every branch of Southern enterprise is advancing more rapidly than ever before. To five ns from commercial dependence on Slates which are ei-iimn to our institutions and policy, Direct Trade lx-tween tho Southern States, ns prodiKQi-s, ninl the nioro liberal States of Europe-, as consumers, has long seemed the most feasible plan. Mr. C. G. lay lor has for years devoted his energies to the promo tion of direct commercial intercourse between lielgium and somo city in tho cotton grow ing States. Hi life-long purpose seems to have been accomplished ut ,lst. An associa tion, of largo moneyed interests, has been formed in llrusscls, having for its object, a more intimate iutercouso with tho Southern States, looking especially to the commerce in cotton. And tleorglit, always foremost to act in any matter pertaining to tho in.inufac t tiring or commercial interests of the South, has recently sent to Europe J;t delegation of her most distinguished ami able men, with tux- express design of furthering the interests of Direct Trade. I irect Trade seems to be relied upon as the great remedy which is to five us of our Iependeiice on England and Xew England. lb.it why, seeking a grand object, should we neglect tho loss important ? The people of tho South have many interests in common. Why pay all our attention to one of these interests, and leave the others unired for ! How can our people conic to any understan ding about their common interests unless they-meet in common council I For the purpose of consulting in relation to thess common interests, this Convention of South ern rhmtcrs is called. There are many im portant subjects which they will discuss in addition to that of Direct Trade. Among the most important matters which will attract their uttent ion, are, tho ngriculural and man ufacturing interest of tho South, and the supplying of Southern school books. We hardly suppose that the political thitus of tho South, will be a subject of discussion among tlicm. We heartily approve of this annual assem bling of Southern Planters. It cultivates uu acquaintance among them, which must re sult in greater harmony of sentiment and a stronger bond of brotherhood. Resides, if it effects no other good purpose, it certainly draws the attention of our people, to those mibjrcU which aro of vital interest to their yrospcrhy. Dismission will elicit the truth ; and our people, Incoming alive to their in terests, can work more unitedly for tho com mon good. Let n then, take care that the Convention of Southern Planters shall be an Assemblage of true men of the South, who know our racial interests, and will counsel wisely for their advancement. The Ureal Eclipse, We have been for some time aware that Dr. Bar nard, the Chancellor of the University of Missis, fippi, had been invited to make one of the corps of astronomers for whose transportation to Cape Chidley the extreme northern point of Labra dor tor the purpose of observing the eclipse of the Sun which will there be total on the 18th of July, Conpress has msdc provision, by joint res olution ; and that the Trustees of the University, while they naturally regret the absence of the head of the Faculty during the interesting exerci ses of the approaching Commencement, which is necessarily involved in his acceptance of Die in vitation, had almost unanimously signified their willingness, in view of tlie great scientific impor tance of the mission, that he should nga?e to it J espatahes recently received from Washington, five notice that the steamer conveying the expe dition will sail from Kew York on Wednesday jnext, (the STth Instant and Ir. Barnard will accordingly (cava here n the 23rd, iin mi To Oiur to temporaries of the Press. W fcave sent tlie " Ixtblmoescer" to a num tr of out Cotemporarics, and from many of them lisve nearrcu very flattering notices. But some rf them have forgotten to put our name upon their tkanp list. Wfii they see to this f We will return their favors at evy npportunity, flint wilt eve them a ot4t of pnititude which l-lwd b ji-tistly paid in large instalments, but ftoiff oIlj liquidated. Xapolcoa III.' - Some are born great, some achieve great ness, and some have greatue thrust upon them." Such is the testimony of Shaks peare; and in it he presents, iu the briefest possible phrase, a key to the often paradoxi cal picture of human distinctions or success which the world e xhibits. Die greatness in tended in the remark U not that native or intrinsic greatness which inheres iu it sub ject : for iu this sense, doubtless, many are bom srreat whom the dramatist bv no means designed to include. Such greatness, if it never manifest itself, is as if it wero not; while, if, by its vigorous displays, it force the world to recognize its superiority, it attains, through its conco le i eminence, a greatuess of position, which, though a consequence of tho other, is by no means tho same thing. Gray, meditating among Jio Aumb of the forgotten and obscure, gives us an idea of this supposablc but unknown and unconscious greatness, in tho suggestion that, 'Some village IlamMlen, who, with dauntless breast, The little tyrant of bis fields withstood, Borne mute, inglorious Milton, here may rest Some Cromwell, guiltless of Lis country' Mood." Tho greatness, however, which Shakspearo had iu mind, and with which wo have to do at present, is that which depends on circum stances external to the person who is fortu nate enough to enjoy it ; circumstances which usually embrace pre-eminence of po sition, political or social, and a power mate rial or moral to affect or control tho current of human affairs, and to stamp an impress upon tho world's contemporary history. This is a greatness to which otio may easily be bom, without possessing tho slightest trace of that inner ninl nobler superiority, by means of which, (and, under ordinary circumstances, by means of which only,) tho originally 1mm- blo sometime rise to exalted station. It is a greatness to which one may bo born with out being equal to it ; mid which, as in the instance of Charles the Simple, or Lewis tho Stammerer, or Ethelred the Unready, may servo only to perpetuate tho memory of his weaknesses or his defects. Such n greatness, too, iu tho often anoma lous course of human events, may sometimes be thrust upon one for whom nature had not designed it. The son of tho great Protector of England, though not entitled, by tho cir cumstance of his parentage, to bear tho rod of empire which death had wrested from his father's hand, happened nevertheless to by in the way when a successor was needed, and was made the reluctant recipient of that tin wclconio greatness, which he shortly after so gladly resigned. The poet Laniartiue, iiniid tho political convulsions under which Franco was reeling, just after tho downfall of tho citr izen king, happened also to bo among the most conspicuous objects floating upon the surface of agitated society, and became charg ed, almost before ho knew it, with a burthen of greatness which presently crushed him back into the political obscurity from which he rose. Hut tic unsought greatness which is thus occasionally thrust upon an unexpectmg in dividual, is not always of necessity misplaced. When, by the spontaneous confidence of his fellow-citizens, Ciiicimiatus was summoned from the plough, to avert tho danger which menaced the independence of his country, the skill and eiien'v which enabled him, iu a 1 single fortnight, to drive back, like a Hock of sheep, the presumptuous enemies of Koine to their own cities, proved that ths unqualified supremacy with which he had been invested, had been worthily bestowed. A similar re mark may be made of our own Washington, and of his appointment to the command in chief of our unorganized and ill-provided revolutionary army : for there can be no ques tion that this was n distinction ns little look ed for by him ns it was desirable to nny one; a distinction of which the advantages were more than doubtful, while of the dangers there could be no doubt at all. And, more over, the uncertainty how far such an appoint ment carried with it an actual and not a shad owy or visionary greatness, was one which it depended on tho character of the man in a great degree to determine; so that it was chiefly a barren responsibility which was thrust upon Washington : and the greatness which grew out of it was of his own crea tion. It may seem absurd to intimate that there can bo any point of resemblance between men so widely different, in nearly every im portant characteristic, as Washington and the remarkable individual whoso name we have placed at the head of this article. But it is certainly equally true of both, that while they have been the architects of their own greatness, they owed to the times in which they lived, and to a current of event which they did not originate mid could not control, the opportunity to demonstrate to mankind of what they wero capable. Both of them had arrived at mature years, before their greatness began : both of thcin were lifted to an eminence as difficult as it was seemingly insecure and dangerous, by the wave of rev olution J and both of them have stamped the impress of their personal characters upon the history of their respective countries. Had Washington been governed by impulses such as have ruled the third Napoleon from his birtli, America might have lapsed again into monandry ; bad Napoleon possessed the dis interested patriotism of Washington, France might to this day have continued to be a re public Every parallel, therefore, wliich we attempt to pursue letwccn these two distinguished men, speedily terminates in contrast. Tlie difier enees between them are manifest iu their car list public aeU. Washington, a brave and skilful soldier, ready and energetic, and alove all, conscientious in the discharge of duty, at no time betrays the slightest ainUtion of sell-aggrandizement. Napoleon, for forty years a dreaming exile or a prisoner of State, scarcely passes conscious hour, in which the vision of his predestined elevation docs not occupy Lis imagination, Washing ton, again, if without inbition, was tu.-titi- fustly not without that sound judgment and cautious sancity which furnish thc best j guaranty of success iu the most difficult emer gencies ; whilo Napoleon, as if to destroy the eouGdence of all mankind in Lis fitness for any place short of an asylum for lunatics, twice hazarded his life iu revolutionary move ment, compared with which, in point of rea sonable promise of success, the descent of Lope npon Cuba was commendable aiiii ju dicious. When, therefore, Washington was raised to the control of our embarrassed pub lic affairs, it was felt that, if success was pos sible at all, it was possible for hi'B ; but when the world saw a people so fur deluded by the shadow af a great name as, by a sort of wild and unreasoning impulse, to commit their destinies into the hands of a reckless and hair-brained adventurer, tho conviction was no less universal that it it were possible for a good cause to bo shipwrecked by an incom petent pilot, tho French nation had found out tho very man to do it. Had Louis Napoleon died before tho rev olution of 1818, he would have been remem bered, if remembered at all, only as a weak and visionary young man, possessed indeed of talents, (manifested in his writings,) which well directed might have mado him a useful citizen ; but ruined, for nil practical purposes, by his ceaseless remembrance of tho fact that ho was tho nephew of his uncle. Had ho died after tho revolution, and before that bold step, by which, iu a single night, he swept away every trace of tho republic which ha I been his stepping-stone to power, ho might have been mentioned in history a one of those fortunate but insignificant individuals, whom accident sometimes lifts into notice, to disappear ns silently as they r ise. The greatness, therefore,' which ho has undenia bly achieved, has this most remarkable guar anty of its reality, that it has been won iu tho fiico of inveterate and almost universal prejudice, and has Ik-cii involuntarily conce ded by the, tardy judgment of a reluctant world. Indeed, if ever any man, by dint of inflexible perseverance and indomitable will in pursuit of his objects, sustained by n per sonal ability more strikingly manifested with every new development, could fairly claim to have wrought out for himself a just title to bo called great, that man is Napoleon II L Whether ho is as good as ho is great is a dif ferent question, and one which wo need not hero discuss; but ho is certainly very far in deed from being as bad ns it has been the fashion to paint him. His greatest imputed sin has been his trampling on a constitution which ho had sworn to sustain ; but this dar ing, and as it ut first sight appeal's, indefen sible, net, loses much of its culpability, when it is considered, us has since appeared, that tho blow wliich he struck was in self-preservation against a body who, with equal disre gard of the legitimacy of the means to bo employed, were bent on effecting his destruc tion. And even in that most li;:zardoiu net, whether we approve or disapprove it, wc dis cover all th'j characteristics wliich distinguish tho truly great man, unhesitating Uo-'ision of purpose, bold and confident self-reli ance, calm loo;-:ite ot the crisis la tlio eye, and above all that resistless power of ben ding others to his will which ho displayed in wielding tho vast machinery of executive au thority, military and civil, .iu steady and har monious action throughout all the wild tumult of a convulsion which shook society to its foundations a power which only accompa nies conscious superiority, and wliich other men recognize, as it were instinctively, where over it exists. It has been said that success is tho true . . . , i , , i .i , . i i ' tost of greatness. Judged bv that standard, i " , . . , there can bo no question of tho greatness of Napoleon Hi; t-r ot ail men living no nas been tho most successful. Wo may indeed question thc justice of the standard; for there havo certainly been men whom we would willingly call great, who have undeniably failed ; but on the other hand there was nev er yet an inferior man who iu great things was successful. Napoleon has not only been the most successful man of his age, but ho has been successful over the greatest difficul ties. With a people toru by factions, with the creatures of a dethroned dynasty inces santly laboring to undermine him, with the thwarted and visionary votaries of a wild and levelling socialism perpetually plotting against his life, ho has gone steadily and uninterrup tedly on in the prosecution of all those great measures of public policy by which a nation is rendered prosperous at home and forniida blo abroad, till faction has been silonccd, op position paralyzed, and his power so firmly established that, like Louis XIVJTic may justly claim that he himself is the France which he rules. Bilt Napoleon III is not merely to-day the ruler of France : he is no less ths master of Europe. A single word addressed by him, eighteen months ago, to the ambassador of Austlia, filled every court with alarm, and made every financier in England or on the continent turn pale. And when Austria, dis regarding tho'adiuonition, dared still to go on in pursuit of her schemes of aggression, the celerity with which he threw his legions into the fields of Italy, and the consummate skill with which in person ho led them there from victory to victory, added the lat clement that was wanting to complete the overshad owing prestige of his name, and to render France in his hands the arbitres of the des tinies of Europe. Tho very peace of Villa Franca, loudly as it was exclaimed against, and greatly as it astonished thc world, only proves to-day how vastly nioro astute and penetrating was his foresight than that of the world which complained. He abandoned Venetia, it is true ; but ho restored all north ern Italy, with that exception, to indepen dence and peace ; and secured to southern Italy that freedom for self-assertion which she seems now likely saccessfuliy to improve : whereas, had he carried the war into the fa mons quadrangle, the necessity of occupying the Tyrol would inevitably have drawn Prus sia ami the miuor German powers into tho struggle, have extended the conflict t-o the Rhine, hava opened up a European war of colossal dimensions and have hazarded at last another pea'C of 1?1", wlib h jr.iit Lave J euthralled Italy even more jui serably than before. . , He is, we repeat, t-Jay the master of Eu rope, He puts hi foot upon the treaty of Vienna, and timorous cabiucts bound fast' in the tnuunicl of red tape formality and di plomatic precedent, wring their hands in im becile distress. Ho 44 rectifies the boundary" of France upon, tho Alps, without consider ing that it is not rulablo for a monarch to sneeze iu Europe without tho assent of his brother potentates, and the atari led power exclaim against the outrage, and submit. r Ho says to the vagabond despots whom Italy ha spurned from her, "you way return to your dominions, if tits jxojilevant you;" but he says to their nioro formidably backers, you shall not lift a foot in their K-half, and they swallow their chagrin and remain inactive More daring than all, ho says to tho pope, "submit gracefully to a necessity whiJi you cannot overrule ; abandon you claim to a ter ritery which is no longer yours and which you cannot recover; coufiuo yourself within the limits of which you are still secure, and you shall still enjoy the protection of France : refuse these conditions, nnd my armies shall leave you to take caro of yourself." And though tho holy father responds to the ap peal with querulous complaint-i and angry menaces, yet the unmoved mVinrcli turus not to tho right hand nor tho loft ; but steadily goes on preparing to be ns good as his word. Tho order has gone forth. The French bay ontts which, for twelve years, have propped up the tottering throne of the Vatican, are about to be niil'druwn ; and it is by no means bevond the limit of possibility, that in less than another twelve months, the world may oneo more see Jlazziui in Kome. For many years tho political sky of Eu rope has never presented an aspect so darkly lowering ns t present. For many years there havo not seemed to accumulate at any one timo so many of the erementsof discord, or to gather and combine so ninny causes ominously menacing the permanence of peace. But in nil these complications, wo can dis cover only evidences of the grow ing strength of Napoleon; ami wo entertain the fullest conviction, that if ho desires peace ho can certainly command, and will unquestionably maintain it. If he does not desire it, there will most assuredly be a renewal of war: and if war be renewed, wo have had too many evidences of his far-seeing saga.iity to doubt that he will turn it to the nggrandizeniulit of Franco and the accomplishment of his own purposes : and that he will conio out of it iu the possession of thoso very advantages for tho sake of which ho went in. It has been said, and iu general we admit the justice of tho remark, that it is not safe to write the history of nny man so long as ho is living ; but if prudence, sagacity, cloar statesmanship, nnd a diplomacy hitherto suc cessful without example, may furnish any guaranty of the character of a yet uncertain future, Napoleon III is not likely to belie, in the evouing of h' reign, the promise of its meridian ; nor is Europe likH.r to be with out a master, so long as ho continues to bear the sceptre of France. Meteoric Slmirer. The reader will find on our first p'ij;o tVg morning, a very Interesting paper from the pen of Prof. lUitXAnn, President of Oxford Universi ty, on the subject of "Meteoric Showers." V.'c published, recently, an account of a phennmnon of this kind in Ohio, nnd in answer to a letter from a citizen of Memphis, Prof. Hahxaiiu fur nishes nn epitome of the history of observations npon, ami mo nicotics wnien arc supposed to '',., , J r. account for, tho singular phenomena or aerolites, u wm bc foln1 aikc !ntcrcslcns to tho general anJ thc gciCI)tmc roador..,,,,w. Thc following is the letter of Chancellor Bau KAim, above referred to. Pr. B. informs us that it was prepared in haste, with no view to its pub lication, snd, therefore, with less of care to make the copy legible than would otherwise have been bestowed upon it Appearing in the Appeal without his supervision, it was there disfigured by many errors of the press, which hp has cor rected fortllC IXTELLICKNJ'ER. y University or Mississippi, ) Juno 4th, ISfiO. f Dear- Sib: I have received your note of thc 30th ult., nnd avail myself of thc earliest moment of leisure to reply. In asking my opinion in re gard to the shower of stones reported to have taken place recently in Ohio, I am a little in doubt as to whether you mean to raise a ques tion concerning the credibility of this statement, or of such statements in general ; or whether, admitting the truth of the alleged tacts, you wish to know what theory, if nny, science has to offer to account for them ? The latter question is that wliich I presume you intend Accounts of tho occasional fall of stones from the heavens aro to be found in writings of almost, every age; but, until almt the beginning of thc present century, they were for the most part rejected by all but the very credulous. Men of science very generally regarded them with some thing more than distrust On thc 2!Hh of April, 1S03, there occurred, however, a phenomenon of this kind in the province of Normandy, in France, so remarkable on account of the vast number of persons by w hom it was witnessed, the extensive area over which tho attendant explosions were heard, and the circumstance that a careful inves tigation of all tho facts was directly afterward made by order of thc French government, by L Biot, a member of the Institute of France, and one of tins most eminent professors of physics which that country lias ever produced, as to set at rest forever tho question, till then unsettled, as to the reality of the foil, sometimes at least, of meteoric stones from the- atmosphere. It is true that there had been earlier occur rences of a similar nature, of which the accounts were too well authenticated to permit them to be classed with the questionable talcs, often mingled with circumstances manifestly fabulous, of the Greek and Roman writers; butjjo well attested incident of thc kind had attained any thing like tho notoriety which the action of thc French government, and the active interest taken in the subject by th6 most distinguished body of scientific men in France (and It may be added, in the world) immediately gave to this. Thc fa mous Italian mathematician. Cardan, indeed, had detailed the circumstances attendant on thc tail of more than a thvc'ind stones in one shower, at a place not far from Milan, in the year 1310. The largest of these weighed one hundred and twenty pounds. Gasscnui, a scarcely los.i fa- m-vis Fici.cn pliH-Koj-bcr, atw.it a century liter, had stated that he himself saw a flaming stone fall upon an eminence in Provence ; and, after describing the visible characteristics of this stone, added tlt it weighed fifty-nine pounds. Tho diligence of inore modern investigator has brought together account of many similar oc currences of carliy date than tlie present centu ry ; and some earlier than either of the two just mentioncL One of tlie most remarkable of these, was the fall of a ktone in thc year 1492, at Ensis heim, in Germany, or the cxtraonh'nary weight of 20 pounds. Between 1750 aud 1600, about a dozen examples are recorded. The number of well-authenticated cases of similar phenomena, r it It in the present century, is very considerable. Thc cabinet of thc British museum contiins specimens of more than thirty lwlonging to this period, whose place and time of fall are known. The total number of specimens in that collection, ciubrac'ng those whose time or full aro unknown, as well as 'no.ic in which the till was witnessed, is about seventy. Tlie col lection at Amherst college, Mass., mado by Pro fessor Chas. U. Shepard, is tlie largest in this country, and, with one exception,' the largest in the world. It contained, in 1831', 12-1: specimens. JTho collection at Vienna, in Austria (in the im perial cabinet), tho only one which exceeds Pro fessor Shepard' s, contained in 1S33, 139 speci mens, of which 7tl have Cillen since 1300. AH tho large collections contain specimens w Inch fell in your own State of Tennessee; tho latest in point of date in the catalogues, within this area, hsving fallen near Cnrthage iu the year 1817. Tho newest specimen from any locality which I I noie to bc in any collection, is from Harrison county, Indiana, and fell on the 2th of MarclL 1S39. But as active collectors aro almost yearly adding to tho number of their specimens, and as hardly a year passe:, now that science has become so vigilant, without somo new occurrence of this kind being noted, I do not doubt that many cabinets aro by this time enriched with more re cent specimens. In illustration of this remark, I may observe that tho scientific journals contain notices of nt least four meteors attendei with explosion, olc Kcrved w ithin tho United States during the year 1839. The first of these was tho Indiana meteor of March, mentioned above ; tho second was ono observed in New En jland and New York, on the 11th of August ; The third is reported by Pro fessor B. . Mel'ou.ild, of Bethel collcgn, in the January number of Siliman's Juurmd of & U,ife, as having passed over We:.t Tennessee on the 1st of September ; and the fourth w as a very remark able meteor, seen from Connecticut to Maryland, with detonations lasting filly a ininuto, on tho 15th of November lust. From my personal knowledge of tho r.eal of Professor Shepard iu investigating all facts oflhis kind, and in gathering visible evidences of them, I feel quila confident that somo of tho rocks of thc recent Ohio rhnwer aro already in Amherst The number of fragments which have fallen on a single occa-ion has been very various. Occa sionally but a single mass has been known to full, but more usually there havo been several, and now and then a vast number. In the caso of thc Normandy shower above mentioned, Mr. Biot stated, as tho result of his investigation, that the total number must have been several thous ancL Tho detonntions, on that occasion, were heard nearly a hundred miles in every direction. The weight of the masses fallen has been no less various. The smaller fragments have been of but a few ounces the larger of many hundred pounds. The heaviesthavu consisted principally or entirely of iron, allowed witn acertnu propor tion of nickel a combination never found native in minerals of terrestrial origin. Thero is one specimen of this kind from South America, iu thc Dritish museum, (itself hut apart of tho entire mass) which weighs 1,400 pounds. There is an other in the cabinet of Yale College, from Texas, of w hich the weight exceeds 1,000 pound.:. Dr. J. Lawrence Smith, of Louisville, quotes (So.i.imax's Jot'RNAi., March, 1833) from thc man uscript journal of Commissioner ISartlctt, of tho Mexican boundiry survey, a description of a mass of meteoric iron still larger than either of these above mentioned, existing at tho ILtricnila dc Conrrpthn, ten miles from Lapata, Chihuahua. Its weight is stated, on the authority of Senor Urquida, at three thousand, eight hundred and fifty-three pounds. This was the largest mass of meteoric iron on record, according to my pres ent recollection, until tho recent discovery, by Dr. John Evans, United States Geologist for Or egon, of a mass in that Territory (now State,) of entirely unprecedented, and of as yet imperfectly ascertained, dimensions. From the partial meas urements reported, it must weigh many tons. Thc inincralogical character of thoso aerolites is so peculiar, that chemists and mineralogists have now no difficulty in recognizing a specimen wherever found, though there may have been no witnesses of its fall, nnd though it may have pos sibly been lying for centuries where it is found. The elements which enter into their composition are few in number ; and among these, malleable iron combined with nickel is almost or quite in variably present, and sometimes in fact consti tuted the entire mass. Besides these chemical characteristics, the masses arc also recognizable by their peculiar appearance, and their superfi cial vitrifacticin. A sort of glazed crust appears to cover them, which is correctly described by Lieut. TibliaiL, in thc letter which you send me. This crust, which is usually dark over those parts of the surface wliich seem to have been external in the original mass, appears to extend, though with a lighter tint, over the fresh fractures made by tv. explosion. M'hcn thc masses have been examined as th?y lay, immediately after the fall, they have invariably bean found to be hot often too hot to be touched and imbedded more or less deeply in the earth by thc force of the fall In w hat I have thus faf written, ! havo proba bly not touched thc question which chiefiy inter ests you, and that is, what are aerolites, and where do they come from f To this question I am sorry to bo obliged to say, science has as yet been able to furnish no satisfactory unswer. I do not mean, however, to bo understood that thcro have not been ipecuVitiotii enough on the subject ; but the very fact that many widely dilTcring hypotheses exist, is in itself a proof that the truc'explanation Is sill among the secrets of nature hidden from mankind. Nor can I perceive how anything like absolute certainty in thc matter can ever bc at tained. Thc masses which descend to us are ev idently (at least in most cases) but insignificant fragments of larger bodies, which bodies arc visi ble to us only during the few brief moments in which they are invoked in our atmosphere, and whose previous or subsequent track we have no possible means of tracing. Still they are not in the slightest degree more inexplicable than are those analogous but more familiar phenomena, of nightly occurrence, known as " shooting-stars," The bodies thus frequently st-en traversing the upper regions of our atmosphere, are possibly, in many case, of the same hature as those from which aerolites have bccB seen to descend, but as they escape without exploding, they furnish us with no substantial contributions. They arc of ten, no doubt, so rare m; d" Unec a? te be en tirely consumed in the blaze which marks their pafisago, and tlii seems particularly to be the case with tho vast number w hich appear in the occasional so-called star-showers," like that memorable one which occurred oa thc morning of the 13th of November, 1833. Some of the hypotheses which have ben sug gested to account tor aerolites would equally ex plain, and have been employed to explaij tho phenomena of shooting stars. Others are more limited in their applicability, and leave ths latter class of phenomena to find an independent solu tion. You will not expect me o go into a. discussion of the merits of these several hypotheses. To do this would occupy a much larger space tlmn I can at present devoto to the subject It will prob ably bo sufficient to stale, in brief, the substance of the hypotheses themselves. In the first place, and before the actual fall of meteoric boib'cs from tho atmosphere hadliocn incontestably proved, tho burned and vitrified appearance of the masses as they wero occasionally found, together with their general uniformity of chemical constitution, and their dissimilarity to any other minerals, sug gested tho idea that they are produced out of sirthy materials by lightning strokes upon the spots where- they are fouiiil It is true that no good rational of this cculiar effect of lightning could bc given, but still the theory had its adhe rents, until the fact of the fall of tho bodies had been fully established. Another supposition wliich has, in pnst years, had the sanction of somo eminent names, attrib uted the origin of meteoric stones to concretions formed in the atmosphere itself of elements rais ed from tho earth in a gaseous form. Hydrogen gas, having tho power of carrying with it, in gas eous combination, metals of different kinds, and notably iron, this gas was presumed to be the me dium of conveying a sufficient quantity of such substances into tho upper regions of tho atmos phere, to furnish the materials for the meteors ; and then as this gas is highly inflammable, it was supposed only to ncod tho occurrence of an elec tric (lash to bring on the necessary chemical ac tion. I need hardly say that modern chemistry finds in this hypothesis no adequate account of the matter; and even if tho formation of the solid mnsscs could be thus satisfactorily explained, their great velocity, and tho directions of their mo tion (rarely, ifever, vertical) would still remain unexplained mysteries. A third hypothesis has regarded aerolites as projectiles thrown from terrestrial volcanoes. Tho difficulties in the way of such a mode of ac counting for tho phenomena aro entirely insupcr able. Thc earth's atmosphere offers to enormous a resistanco to bodies moving swiftly through it, that it could not fail to bring all bodies so thrown out back again to the surfaro w ithln a very limit ed distance, fiom tho point of projection; and, moreover, tho power of gravity toward tho earth is so great as to requiro a projectile force too large, even had tho earth no atmosphere, to be reasonably looked for from Nucha source. Thoso bodies fall, moreover, on every part of the earth's surface, hundreds' nnd even thousands of wiles from nny activo volcano. Still another mode of accounting for tho phe nomena, is one which received so far tho sanction of Iho celebrated Laplace, as to have been math ematically 'demonstrated by him to bcphysically possible; and one which has still it advocates among our men of science, ono of w hom Dr. J Lawrence Smith read before tho American As. social ion for tho Advancement ofdeience, at their meeting of-April, 1 So t, a very elaborate, and, it must bo coiessed, ablo argument in advcu-ury-of this view. "Accoid:iig to this hypothesis, aero lites arc bodks projected from volcanoes in the moon. Tho moon has no atmosphere (nono at least sensible) and its forco of attraction is so much less than that of the earth, that a projectile thrown immediately toward this planet, with a velocity three or four tinies greater than that of a cannon ball (when it leaves thc gun) that is to say, with a velocity of 7,300 or 8000 foct per sec ond, would pass beyond tho point of equilibrium between the moon and earth, and would necessa rily conio to us, with a velocity derived from tlie fall, of about six and a half mile a second. It must bo observed, however, that if not thrown exactly or very nearly in our direction, such a lody would inevitably go back to thc moon. Not withstanding the plausibility of this hypothesis, it is by no means regarded with favor in tho sci entific world generally. A hypothesis having some analogy to this was origffiatcd early in this century, after the discov-ery-nf two or three of tho numerous group of small planets whoso orbits lie l)etwecn Mars and Jupiter. It was a favorite notion of Dr. Olbers, the discoverer of the second of these bodies, tliat there had once been a larger planet occupying this position in the solar system, which, by its explosion, from somo unknown cause, had pro duced thc lesser ones then brought to light, nnd ho accordingly predicted that other fragments would bc subsequently discovered. The verifi cation of his prediction (there have In all, up to this time, been discovered nearly sixty), secured for this theory, for a time, a somewhat general fa vor, if not an absolute acceptation ; but tho study of thc orbits of the entire group has since shown that it is far from being probable. Assuming, however, that such a planetary explosion had oc currc'l, it was not very difficult to believe that while the Larger masses might have continued to follow pretty nearly thc path of the original plan et the minuter fragments might have been so widely scattered as to reach some of them at least to our own neighborhood. Dr. Day, kite President of Yale Colfego, threw out, many years ago, thc idea that the earth may have minute saUillitcs revolving about it, like thc nioon or revolving rather in orbits more elongated something like thoso of comets which bodies are ordinarily invisible because of their small size, but which, at their contact with our atmosphere in their nearer approaches to the earth, become visible by Incandescence. There is nothing, per haps, to object to this theory, except that it can neither be proved nor disproved. Another hypothesis, which may finally be mentioned, Ss perhaps more generally received than any of the foregoing ; and this is one which regards the bodies from which aerolites descend, rather as planets revolving round thc sun than as satellites attendant on the earth. There are facts connected with shooting stars which seem to render it necessary to suppose that besides those large and conspicuous glolws which make up what it called the solar system, there must be a countless number ot comparatively minute bod ies revolving round the sun, perhaps in rings or groups, or possibly scattered irregularly at all distances from the great central luminary. If we suppose this, we shall have no difficulty in accounting for our frequent encounters with such bodies. If in the earlier period of the existence of the system, there were numbers of these bod ies in such vicinity to us as to be dangerous to thc inhabitants of this pfanct, the causes whick mado them dangerous would have gradually cleared our path of them, by bringing thcra down to the earth; and on this supposition those which continued to fill in with us must lie rcgar-t-1 a orlv thc rcinet'.T one;!, di ?u;b.;d and drvrn out of their paths by the attraction of the earth and moon. If I were to venture the expression ofan opinion of my own, I should incline to adopt this theory. ...'.- Allowing, then, that aerolites are portions of bodies foreign to tho earth, which become mo mentarily luminous a they pass through our at mosphere, it only remains to assign a reason for this momentary brightness, and for the heat which manifestly attends it, and is made evident by the accompanying explosions and the vitrifke tion of the fragment which folL Twenty year go, this problem was less easy of solution Uian it is to-day ; although twenty years ago the cause was stated, generally, in the same terms as now. ThU cause is the retUtanet which tho moving masses encounter in their passage through the at mosphere. Thc relation of heat to force, and of force to heat, and the controvertibility of either into the other, aro matters of comparatively re cent discovery. It may now be computed with rigid exactness what amount of heat may be pro duced by thc expenditure of any given amount offeree. A moving mass of matter is an embodied force. Llf iU motion bo arrested or checked, the force thus apparently destroyed is converted into heat. Were the earth, which move at the rate of about nineteen miles per second, to be suddenly brought to rest, by striking an immovable obstacle, tho heat 'generated would 1 equal to that which would bc produced by the instant and complete) combustion of nearly eighteen times it own weight of coal, and would raise the temperature of tho wholo mas to a point about five hundred limes hotter than that of the hottest wind-furnace, and moro than six hundred times hotter than melted iron as it flows from a smelting furnace. Wero a Iioily to full from the point of equilib rium between the earth and moon, it would enter tho atmosphere with a velocity only about a third as great as that of tho earth in its orbit ; and as tho forces represented by moving masses aro a tho squares of tho velocities, it heat-producing power would bo but one-ninth as great. Wero such a body to be suddenly arrested, its temper ature would be raised to about seventy tinies that of melted iron ; and were it only to bc retarded, it would bccoino heated in proportion to tho re tardation. Tlioactual retardation of a body moving thro' the air will vary with the magnitude and density of the mass; but a small body say one of a foot in diameter, and of thc averago density of meteor ic stones though falling vertically downward, and therefore constantly urged by gravity; and though entering the air with the velocity of six and one half miles, acquired in falling from tho moon, would soon bo reduced to the uniform ve locity of a quarter of a milo per second. MTiat tho actual velocity of meteoric bodies is, it is dif ficult to determine. They are seen but for a few seconds they aro rarely seen by practised ob servers and those who sec them firo usually so taken by surpriso, that thc statements mado by them as to duration, and direction, and length of track, arc often very discordunt But whaturer it may bc, there is no sort of doubt Hint it must bo very sensibly reduced, during their flight through the atmosphere ; and tho reduction will be most considerable in a given time, in thc case of thoso whose original velocities nrc highest. Dr. Bow ditch estimated tho velocity of tho AYcston mete or (Connecticut) in 1807, nt three miles a secoml Mr. llcrrick deduces three miles and a half from the reported observations ; but expresses his be lief that thc observers mado thc duration at least three timos too groat, ami connaqnciitly, that the velocity must havo been at least ten miles per sec ond. These, of course, sro the estimated veloci ties during tho period of the visibility of tlio me teor. But tho body could not have bccoino visi ble until after becoming highly heated ; and thero fore tho initial velocity can only bo conjectured. If Pr. Bowditch's estimate is correct for tho Weston meteor, and if thc original velocity had been that acquired by falling from tho point of equilibrium between the earth and moon, then there must have been a reduction of moro than halfthe original velocity, nnd therefore of moro than three-quarters of tho force; or, in other words, there must have been a generation of heat sufficient to elevate the tompcrature of the body to a point nearly fifty times above tho heat of melted iron. This supposes tho conversion into heat of tho entire force lost A considerable por tion of it is however merely transferred to the por tions of the air w liich thc meteor sets into motion; and another portion is expended in raising tho temperature of tho same air. Making every abatement demanded by these considerations, and allowing also, that tho actual retardation, owing to the rarity of tho upper air, may be much less than assumed above, thcro still remains an abundantly satisfactory explanation of the lu minosity, tho explosion, and the fusion and vitri faction of these bodies ; whllo thc greater heat at thc surface than in the interior, is accounted for by tho fact, that the resitting force Is applied di rectly at the surface. I have thus endeavored to answer your inqui ries as briefly as the nature of tho subject would permit If I have told you littlo which you did not know before, it must be attributed to the fact that science has really, upon this subject, so lit tlo to tell. I am, Sir, respectfully, etc., . F. A. P. BARNARD. From the Southern llerslJ. Ma. Editor: I see from your last paper that in publishing the programme of thc commence ment exercises, to take rlacc at Oxfonl tho LiMpf part of this month, you state, "this is the year in which tlie class of 1853 agreed to meet and bring their families." Thia is a" mistake. The class of 1855 promised to meet In & TMo-afmm the time they graduated, and 18(53 was the year agreed upon. I hope as many will assem- ble, however, at the present commencement aa can conveniently do so, and I expect to bc thaw myself; but dislike to see the error iro imnvr. rected. I have talked with several of the class and they all remember it as stated above. A large number of that class, who have been laying "the Battering unction to their nouls' that they have five ir years to run at large have not yet jwrfrf tff, and 'twould be hard to make these poor unlucky devils pay tlie expenses of the more fortunate (?) married ones. Besides my old lady is trry complaining, and the ckiU dren aro not well, and knowing it is not the timo I promised to bring 'cm out, I hhll leave "'era at home where they belong. "Yourn till dcth in great hasto with bad pen," . DE SOTO, RTOur correspondent "De Soto," seems to b. very positive that tka agreed meeting of Uio Alumm of Mississippi University of the cWs of 18oo, does rt take place until the year 1863, Several other, of the same graduating class aro equally positive that the meeting is to 1 at tho preset commencement. Wc fcar that Dc Soto has failed to secure thc pixreqniritca-wift and children that were to .c,.,.. w ,