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interest which they produced, and which occasioned them to be attended by a very large number of the intelligent persons in the city. Encouraged by the large audiences, which con. tinued through two months to fill the lecture-room, and still more by the request to repeat the last lecture of the course in one of the great churches of the city, I matured a plan for the building of an observatory, which it was resolved should be presented to the audience at the close of the lecture, in case circumstances should favour. Through the kindness of a few friends, who were now beginning to take a deep interest in the matter, more than two thousand persons were in attendance; and it seemed that the moment had arrived for taking the first step in an enterprise whose fate it was impossible to predict.
Having closed the subject under discussion, the audience were requested to give me a few minutes of time, for the explanation of a matter, which, it was hoped, would not be received without some feelings of interest and approbation. The rapid advances of astronomy in Europe, were then referred to-the erection of observatories in all parts of the world—the variety of magnificent instruments in Russia and Germany, in France and England, and the utter deficiency of our own country in every thing pertaining to the science of the stars. The past neglect was easily accounted for, and might be excused; the future scientific character of the country rested with the people, and upon them devolved the responsibility for providing the means of original research. In Europe, imperial treasure and princely munificence could build the temples of science; under a free government no such means existed, and to accomplish the erection of these great scientific institutions, the intelligent liberality of the whole community was the only resource. But it had been denied that this resource could be relied on; and it had been roundly asserted that, in the nature of things, the United States must ever remain
grossly defective in all the appliances for scientific research. To test the truth or falsehood of these statements was not a difficult matter; and thus encouraged by the interest already manifested in behalf of astronomy, I had already resolved to devote five years of faithful effort to accomplish the erection of a great astronomical observatory in the city of Cincinnati.
This announcement was received with every mark of favour, and the following simple plan was at once presented. The entire amount required to erect the buildings and purchase the instrument, should be devided into shares of twenty-five dollars ; every shareholder to be entitled to the privileges of the observatory, under the management of a board of control, to be elected by the shareholders: Before any subscription should become binding, the names of three hundred subscribers should be first obtained. This accomplished, these three hundred should meet, organize, and elect a board, who should thenceforth manage the affairs of the association.
Such is the history of the origin of the Cincinnati Astronomical Society. Two resolutions were taken in the outset, to which I am indebted for any success which may have attended my own personal efforts. First : To work faithfully for five years, during all the leisure which could be spared from my regular duties. Second : Never to be angry, under any provocation, while in the prosecution of this enterprise.
In three weeks the three hundred subscribers had been obtained. No public meeting had been called ; and these names had been procured by private solicitation, and a personal explanation of the nature and advantages of the enterprise. So soon as the number was complete, the subscribers convened, organized, elected officers and a directory, and gave me a commission to visit Europe, to procure instruments, examine observatories, and obtain the requisite knowledge to erect and conduct the institution which it was now hoped would be one day reared.
This order being received, on the second day I started for New York, and on the 16th of June, 1842, sailed for Liver. pool. Having visited many of the best appointed observatories both in England and on the continent (in each and every one of which I was received with a degree of kindness and attention for which I acknowledge the deepest obligations), and having been unsuccessful in finding, either in London 'or Paris, an object-glass of the size required, I finally determined to visit the city of Munich. The fame of the optical institute of the celebrated Frauenhofer had even reached the banks of the Ohio ; and it was hoped that, in that great manufactory, an instrument such as the society desired might be obtained, if not completed, at least in such a state of forwar ness as to permit it to be furnished at an early day. In this I was not disappointed. An object-glass of nearly twelve inches diameter, and of superior finish, was found in the cabinet of M. Mertz, the successor of Frauenhofer. This glass had been subjected to a severe trial in the tube of the great refractor of the Munich observatory, by Dr. Lamont, and had been pronounced of the highest quality.
To mount this glass would require about two years, at a cost of nearly ten thousand dollars ; a sum considerably greater than that appropriated at the time for an equatorial telescope. Having made a conditional arrangement for this and other instruments, I returned to Greenwich, England, where, at the invitation of Professor Airy, the Astronomer Royal, I remained for some time to study. Having accomplished the objects of my journey, I returned home, and rendered a report to a very large meeting of the members of the association and other citizens of Cincinnati.
Durirg my absence of four months, a great change had occurred in the commercial affairs of the country. Every thing was depressed to the lowest point, and increased in a high ratio the necessary difficulties of such an undertaking ; always great, even if carried forward at a time when the country is prosperous.
With great difficulty the subscription was increased to an amount sufficient to warrant the ordering of the great objectglass already referred to. The sum of three thousand dollars was collected and remitted to meet the first payment. Even this fraction of the entire sum was collected with difficulty ; but as the remaining part of the price of the telescope was not to be paid until the completion of the instrument, it was hoped that the ample time thus allowed would render the task of collection comparatively easy.
The principal instrument having been ordered, and the first payment on its cost made, attention was now given to the procuring of a suitable site for the building. Fortunately for the society, the place of all others most perfectly adapted to their wants, was then the property of Nicholas Longworth, Esqr. It is a lofty hill-top, rising some four hundred feet above the level of the city, and commanding a perfect horizon in all directions. On making known to Mr. Longworth the prospects and wants of the Astronomical Society, the writer was directed by him to select four acres on the hill-top, out of a tract of some twenty-five acres, and to proceed at once to en. close it, as it would give him a great pleasure to present it to the association. On compliance with the conditions of the title-bond, a deed has since been received, placing the society in full possession of this elegant position.
Preparations were now made to commence the erection of the building for the observatory. The grounds were enclosed, a road built, rendering the access to the hill-top comparatively easy, the excavations of the foundations were made, and, on the 9th day of November, 1843, the corner-stone of the pier which was to sustain the great Refracting Telescope, was laid by John Quincy Adams, with appropriate ceremonies. On this occasion Mr. Adams made his last great oration. The deep interest which he had taken in astronomical science, warranted the hope that he might be induced to visit the west, on the occasion of laying the foundation-stone of the first great popular observatory ever erected in the United States. This hope was not disappointed. The unaffected devotion of this truly great man to the interests of his country, were, perhaps, never more perfectly exhibited in his ready acquiescence to comply with the wishes of the astronomical society, that he should perform for them the important services on which the future success of this new enterprise in no small degree de. pended. His high character, his advanced age, the length of the journey, the inclemency of the season, all combined to exhibit to his countrymen the depth of his interest in a cause which could induce such sacrifices.
After the laying of the corner-stone, the lateness of the season, and other causes, induced a suspension of the work on the building for the winter; and it was not resumed until May, 1844. In the mean time, after incredible diffi. culty, the entire amount called for in the payment for the telescope, was collected and remitted; and the society was left with scarcely a dollar of available means, to commence the erection of a building, which, according to the plan, would cost some seven or eight thousand dollars.
It was believed that the intelligent mechanics of Cincinnati, would lend their powerful aid in the accomplishment of an enterprise which had progressed far enough to give some con. idence in its ultimate success. With little or no means the building was commenced, trusting to activity and perseverance to supply the means as the work progressed. During the first week but three workmen were employed : but by the commencement of the next week the funds had been obtained to pay these, and to double their number. In six weeks not less than one hundred hands were at work on the hill-top and in the city. Mechanics of all trades subscribed for stock, and paid their subscription in work. The stone of which the building is erected, was quarried from the grounds of the society. The lime was burnt on the hill, and every means was adopted to reduce the necessary expenditure. Payment for stock in the society was received in every possible article of trade; due-bills were taken, and these were converted into others which would serve in the payment of bills.
In this way the building was reared, and finally covered in, without incurring any debt. But the conditions of the bond, by which the lot of ground was held, required the completion of the observatory in two years from
its date ; and these two years would expire in June, 1845. It was seen to be impossible to carry forward the building fast enough to secure its completion by the required time, without incurring some debt. My own private resources were used, in the hope that a short time after the finishing of the observatory would be sufficient to furnish the funds to meet all engagements. The work was pushed rapidly forward. In February, 1845, the great telescope safely reached the city of Cincinnati ; and in March the building was ready for its reception. I had now exhausted all my private means, and to increase the difficulty of the position in which I was placed, the College edifice took fire and burned to the ground. My ordinary means of support were thus destroyed at a single blow. I had engaged to conduct the observatory, without compensation from the society, for ten years, in the hope that my college salary would be sufficient for my wants. It was impossible to abandon the observatory. The college could not be rebuilt, at least for several years, and in this emergency I found it necessary to seek some means of support, least inconsistent with my duties in the observatory. My public lectures at home had been comparatively well received, and after much hesitation it was resolved to make an experiment elsewhere. For five years I had been pleading the cause of science among those little acquainted with its technical language. I had become habituated to the use of such terms as were easily understood ; and probably to this circumstance, more than to any other one thing, am I indebted_for any success which may have attended my publiclectures. To the citizens of Boston, Brooklyn, New York, and New Orleans, for the kindness with which they were pleased to receive my imperfect efforts, I am deeply indebted. My lectures were never written, and no idea was entertained of publishing a course, until the par. tiality of my friends induced me to attempt this experiment.
Such are the circumstances under which this effort to trace the career of the mind, in its researches among the stars, has been undertaken. No one science, perhaps, so perfectly illustrates the gradual growth and development of the powers of human genius. The movement of the mind has been con. stantly onward—it highest energies have ever been called into requisition—and there never has been a time when astronomy did not present problems not only equal to all that man could do, but passing beyond the limits of his greatest intellectual vigour. Hence, in all ages and countries, the absolute strength of human genius may be measured by its reach to unfold the mysteries of the stars.
It will be seen that in the following lectures one single object has engaged the attention of the writer-the structure of the universe, so far as revealed by the mind of man.
The uses of science have in no way been considered. The efforts on the mind, no society, no civilization, on commerce, no religion, have not been permitted to mar the unity of the original design. The onward, steady, triumphant march of mind, in its study and exploration of the universe of God, has been my only object, the simple theme of the entire series.
I may be pardoned for a simple word, before taking leave of the reader, touching the condition of our country with refer. ence to practical astronomy. Within a few years an entire revolution on this subject has occurred. The reproach which once rested on the United States has been removed. Several magnificent instruments now adorn the observatories of the New World, and the contributions of American astronomers, to science, are beginning to change the scientific character of our country in the eyes of the old World. It is gratifying to know that several institutions, with ample means of support, now exist in our country, to which the interests of American science are committed with entire confidence. The obser