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Foremost among those who, by the power of their eloquence, the force of their learning, and the example of their virtues, helped to clear the minds of men from the mists of religious prejudice, was Dr. Doyle.
The Roman Catholic had not yet learned to wear with ease the newmade garment of his disenthralment; he still walked abroad with some lingering of the old embarrassment, some leaven of the ancient degradation; his voice was still bated, his demeanour still deferential, and even his virtues and his genius hardly dared to show themselves with vigour. With real reluctance we pass over the earlier days of Doyle, his peaceful but profound studies in the ancient halls of Coimbra, his religious doubts and difficulties, the struggles of a great intellect, his courage on the field of battle, his sagacity in the council, the dazzling proposals which had been made to him by the court of Braganza; and we find him having returned to Ireland-at the early age of thirty-three years, elected, in 1819, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin.
In 1822, Dr. William Magee, Archbishop of Dublin, published, in the shape of a pamphlet, an able but offensive charge delivered by him to his clergy in St. Patrick's Cathedral, on the 24th of October, in the same year. In this charge the archbishop reviled and ridiculed the Roman Catholic Church, mocked at its pretensions, accused its members of disaffection and disloyalty, and held it up to public scorn as an imposition on the credulity of its followers. This attack would, at another time, have been viewed in silence and with enforced humility; and the manly spirit long pressed down and kept in check in Catholic bosoms would have wanted strength for its own vindication.
But a champion was now found every way worthy of the cause-a champion as fearless as he was powerful, as learned and skilful as he was facile and ready. The archbishop's charge had hardly issued from the press, before it was met by Doyle with a reply of matchless power. When we consider that Magee's charge was prepared by him at his full leisure, with ample time for references, and every aid to reflection and composition, and that Doyle's reply was necessarily written in haste and on the exigency of the moment, we can the more readily appreciate the full value of the effort. The public stood amazed at the audacity of the attempt; even the friends of Roman Catholicism trembled at the temerity of their champion; but then agitation was speedily changed into exultation, and their doubts into triumphant confidence. With a stirring eloquence, a varied erudition, a trenchant sarcasm, and a style at once nervous and condensed, Doyle shivered into fragments the whole structure of the "charge," and at once established himself as the powerful and uncompromising defender, the peerless champion, of his creed and country. In a hasty and imperfect notice such as this necessarily is, we can glance, and that but slightly, at a few only of the public efforts of this remarkable man. A year after the appearance of his answer to Magee, he gave to the world his "Vindication of the Civil and Religious Principles of the Irish Catholics;" and soon after, his "Letters on the State of Ireland" (a portly volume), "addressed to a friend in England.” These compositions-to quote the words of Lord Derby-were powerfully conceived and written.
In 1825, Doyle received a summons to London to give evidence before committees of both Houses of Parliament, and here he transcended all his former efforts.
The life of Dr. Doyle continued eventful and active. But the duties of his sacred office formed his first care, and were fulfilled with a zeal and exactness of the most exemplary character. In the midst of laborious episcopal labours, he still found leisure and strength for innumerable tracts, essays, and addresses, maintaining, meanwhile, with his numerous friends and acquaintances an unremitting correspondence of extraordinary vigour and great power and beauty. "It is, moreover, of the most varied nature. Political letters of the greatest moment addressed to cabinet ministers and viceroys; pastoral epistles to priests; affectionate greetings to friends; wise, gentle, and pious counsels to nuns and others under his spiritual direction, testify at once to his versatile abilities, and his loving zeal." But though the spirit was so wonderfully willing and strong, the flesh was weak, and the great and unceasing strain on both mental and bodily powers began to tell upon his frame. By slow but certain degrees his health begau to fail, his body to waste, and his strength to diminish, but to the very last his mind was vigorous, his intellect unclouded; to the last he was the prop and bulwark of his Church, the advocate of civil and religious liberty, and the lash and terror of its enemies.
We must refer our readers to Mr. Fitzpatrick's admirable work-one perfectly Boswellian in effect-for a graphic and most impressive account of the last days of this great man. It may, indeed, be said that some extraordinary circumstances attended his death.
In our just admiration of Dr. Doyle, we must not forget to whom we are mainly indebted for our knowledge of his character, for our insight into his motives and opinions, for our knowledge of almost every turn of his thoughts. Nearly thirty years have elapsed since "J. K. L." was gathered to his fathers; thirty years of animated literary discussion, of extensive literary labour, yet not a line to chronicle the career of this illustrious man has been written by one amongst those labourers in the literary field of Ireland. With the boast of patriotism on the lip, and the national spirit on the tongue, was there not enough of either in the heart of one of those to make this biography a labour of love? It would seem not; but we cannot regret that this has been so. The task has, indeed, fallen to able and worthy hands. With an industry truly indefatigable, with an accuracy wholly unimpeachable, and with a skill and discrimination of no common order, Mr. Fitzpatrick has woven the scattered and tangled materials in his possession into an admirable and truly fascinating biography. He shines, most justly, in the light reflected from the illustrious dead, and his name will descend to future times linked with that of him to whose glorious memory he has paid this earnest and grateful tribute.
SCIENTIFIC AND GEOGRAPHICAL PROGRESS IN FRANCE.
THE end of June was signalised this year, as it was in 1859, by the unexpected appearance of a comet, visible to the naked eye, and which was for a few nights extraordinarily brilliant, to be only all the more rapidly effaced. Astronomers were found fault with for not having announced the skyey visitor, and there was some little difference of opinion among themselves as to whether it was an old comet or a new one-the same that drove Charles V. to a monastery, or a new one which was to confine the Pope to his Vatican. To any one who is acquainted with the many and tedious difficulties to be overcome in laying down the paths of comets, these little differences of opinion will excite no wonder. It is the very circumstance of the rapid and seemingly irregular motions, the unexpected manner in which they so often burst upon us, and the imposing magnitudes which they occasionally assume, combined with their extraordinary aspect, that have rendered comets in all ages objects of astonishment, not unmixed with superstitious dread to the uninstructed, and an enigma to those most conversant with the wonders of creation and the operations of natural causes.
It is well known that the intervals between the successive perihelion passages of the comet of Encke are continually diminishing, and that hence it has been deduced that it will probably fall ultimately into the sun, should it not first be dissipated altogether. But the comet of 1861 exhibited, perhaps to an extent greater than has hitherto been recorded, the rapid diffusion or loss of luminous powers in so vast a body. Indeed, some people spoke of the comet of 1861 as inferior in size and brilliancy to that of 1859; whereas for one or two nights it more than twice exceeded the latter in length of tail and nuclear magnificence. It also presented other note-worthy peculiarities. M. Chacornac declares that the nucleus presented the appearance of a revolving sun turning round with the greatest rapidity. On the 1st of July its tail was seen to subtend an angle of 70 deg., which assigned to it a length of some twelve millions of leagues. The tail of the comet of 1680 was found by Newton to amount to forty-one million leagues-a length much exceeding the whole interval between the sun and the earth. Comets are, indeed, the most voluminous bodies in our system. The inclination of the orbit of the comet of 1861 on the plane of the ecliptic has been estimated at 85 deg., and so great an inclination has led M. Leverrier to presume that this body came for the first time within our solar system, and will not return there, for the known comets have hitherto presented a much smaller amount of inclination. Mr. Hind believes that the tail came in contact with the earth on the 28th of June, or that, at all events, our globe must have traversed a portion of space still impregnated with cometary effluvia. On the 30th of the same month he detected an atmospheric phosphorescence, which he attributed to the neighbourhood of the same body. Mr. Lowe recorded in his journal of the same day: "Strange, yellow, phosphorescent light, which I should take for an aurora borealis, if it was not still daylight." The two independent observations are interesting.
The eclipse of the 18th of July, 1860, has given rise to many remarkable speculations upon the physical constitution of the sun. According
to the hypothesis of Herschel, the central star of our planetary system is composed of an opaque globe enveloped in two atmospheres, of which the exterior, a kind of permanent aurora borealis, is the resplendent photosphere that illuminates the surrounding space. Between the photosphere and the opaque globe is an immense body of cloud doing duty as a kind of screen. This hypothesis accounts admirably for the so-called spots on the sun, which would be so many breaches or solutions of continuity in the photosphere, allowing the cloudy atmosphere or the solid nucleus of the star itself to be perceived.
Total eclipses of the sun present many phenomena worthy of attention in reference to this theory. There is, first of all, a kind of luminous circle, corona or aureola, like the glory round a saint's head, surrounding the two bodies, apparently superposed; and, secondly, protuberances of variously coloured and variously formed flames, the presence of which have been signalised for more than a century and a half. Arago suggested that the latter phenomena might arise from a third solar envelope, above the photosphere, and which was composed of obscure or feebly luminous clouds.
M. Leverrier, who has attributed to his predecessors asseverations when they only emitted hypotheses, has on the occasion of the eclipse of 1860 seen in these protuberances things whose existence he explains by the presumed presence of some kind of roseate matter, which covers the liquid or solid nucleus of the sun, as he chooses to view its constitution in contradiction to a whole host of observations as worthy of credit as those which he assumes himself to have made. M. Plantamour, of the Geneva Observatory, remains convinced that these luminous phenomena are produced by the screen interposed in the direction of the solar rays, and that their modification depends upon the position of the observer in regard to the cone tangent to the discs of the sun and the moon. M. Faye, on the other hand, calls attention to the fact that similar protuberances have been seen at different epochs both on the disc and at the circumference of the moon, and he is inclined to believe that they are optical phenomena brought about (supposing that our satellite has no atmosphere) by the centre of gravity of the moon, as Hanstein has shown, differing from the actual centre of its figure, and by the dilatation of a "fluid" during an eclipse by the prolongation of solar heat.
Again, no doubt is said to have existed in the minds of three of the observers sent by the British government to Spain in the Himalaya, and stationed at Camuesa, that the broken patches of sunlight were altogether due to the irregular edges of the moon coming in partial contact with the smoother margins of the sun, the light of which latter, consequently, shone through the valleys of our satellite, and thus produced that remarkable phenomenon known by the name of " Bailly's beads."
Mr. Wray, one of the observers concerned, states, however, that he perceived, a few instants before the final disappearance of the sun, rays of light passing from the dark intervals between the Bailly Beads outwards into space, and which, he believed, proceeded from the tops of the lunar mountains.
M. Hermann Goldschmidt, whose vision is remarkable for its penetrating power, as well as for that with which it discriminates the most delicate changes of colour, states that half a minute before totality he could distinguish little grey clouds, isolated in part and floating without
the solar disc at some distance from the edges. One of these isolated clouds, of a rounded form, and another of an elongated form, which touched the exterior edge of the sun, were noticed to be of a grey colour on the ground of the sky, which was a little brighter. An instant afterwards the pyramidical cloud became more clear, and then rose-colour. "I had thus been present," says M. Goldschmidt, "at the formation of a protuberance.'
The most splendid of the prominences was in the form of a chandelier, and what astonished M. Goldschmidt most was, that, although he was convinced that the rose-coloured prominences belonged to the sun, yet he found the general direction of the "chandelier" was rather towards the centre of the moon.
M. Secchi, again, was enabled to perceive a fine red cloud entirely detached from the borders of the sun and moon, and which projected, isolated, in the white ground of the corona. These were followed by two others apparently suspended in the air in the same strange manner. was able to detect that the red prominences belonged to the sun. Those which were seen to the east at the commencement of the totality disappeared as the moon advanced on the sun's disc, whilst others on the western side became invisible, thus showing that the moon eclipsed the red flames in exactly the same manner as it did the disc of the sun. M. Secchi also states that there was no sudden transition between the photosphere and the corona surrounding the sun, but that the one melted into the other gradually.
It is remarkable, at the same time, that M. Secchi, Mr. W. De la Rue, and M. Foucault, who all obtained perfect photographs of the corona, as also M. von Feilitzch, all agree in stating that the rays shot out and were most perceptible at those parts of the lunar circumference at which the mountains projected. This would explain what we cannot but suppose to be Mr. Wray's hasty deduction that they emanated from the tops of the lunar mountains. Mr. Wray expressed his belief at the time of observation that the corona was an extraordinary example of the phenomenon known by the name of the "interference of light." M. Foucault asks, in the same manner, why we persist in making an object of reality of the aureole, or in considering that it belongs to the sun? "It is known," he continues, "that, in virtue of the fundamental principles of the theory of undulations, light is not necessarily propagated in a right line, but that, in passing in the neighbourhood of the limit of a body, it is distorted by the obstacle, and disseminates itself in a variable and rapidly-decreasing proportion in the interior of the geometric shadow." By considering it in this manner, and as a simple case of diffraction, it is explained, he considers, in the most natural way; for a solar atmosphere, he imagines, will not explain the rapid decrease of intensity in the corona as it passes away from the obscure limb of the moon, much less the radiations which are perceived in it. The red protuberances he supposes to belong to the sun, and the fine tints with which the entire horizon is coloured he attributes to the influence of our own atmosphere. The prismatic colours seen below the sun by Mr. Buckingham at Camuesa would probably be explained by him in a similar manner.
The polarisation of the corona proves, says M. Prazmouski, on the contrary, that the light emanates from the sun, and that, when it is so strong and well perceived as it was noticed during the eclipse of July 18,