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and morning. In the evening from 6 to 7 o'clock the mean number of stars falling is 3·3-from 9 to 10 o'clock 4-from 11 to 12 o'clock 5-from 2 to 3 o'clock in the morning 7·1—from 5 to 6 o'clock 8.2. And this gradation is maintained as well at the times of periodical return of such meteors as on ordinary nights.

Equally remarkable is the result as to the monthly or annual variations of these phenomena. A laborious reduction of observations has furnished a table expressing the monthly mean of the horary number at midnight. This table shows a singular disparity between the first six months of the year and the last; the mean number of shooting-stars in the former being only 3.4 in the hour-in the latter rising as high as 8-that is, a smaller number when the earth is moving from perihelion to aphelion, or receding from the sun-a much greater number in the after six months, when it is advancing towards its perihelion. The transition is rapid from one of these conditions to the other. In December the mean number in the hour is 7·2-in January only 3.6. In June it is 32-in July 7.0. It is well worthy of note that the two maxima in the table occur in August and November-corresponding exactly in date with the periodical showers we have described-and with the further concurrence of fact that these maxima do not present themselves every year. In 1842 the mean for August was 11.9-in 1844 only 5.4. In 1842 the mean for November was 11.3-in 1843 it was 5.4.

Another part of the researches before us regards the direction of these shooting-stars. Without entering into the details, which are also given tabularly, we may remark the general conclusion that almost exactly the same number come from the north and south conjointly, as from the east and west; but with this diversity in the two cases, that, while the number is nearly the same from north and south, the number coming from the east much more than doubles that from the west. The amount of this diversity, however, differs in different years. The copious accumulation of facts, and great exactitude in the manner of observation, afforded other curious results, as to the length of the visible trajectories, the position of the centre of the meteors, &c. The shooting-stars comprised between the N.N.E. and N.E. have the longest visible course, their mean line being upwards of 15 degrees-those between W.S.W. and S.W. are only seen through about 11 degrees. Whatever the time of year or hour of night the line is one of descent towards the horizon. Out of 5302 fifteen only were seen to describe curved lines.

The estimate of our authors as to the height of shooting-stars places their point of appearance at from 20 to 50 or 60 miles

above the earth. Their relative size, colour, and manner of apparition were carefully observed. Of Bolides (luminous globes) eight were noted during the 42 months, three only of which burst, and these without any noise of explosion. Of the proper shooting-stars 80 were registered of the first magnitude, that is, having the apparent size and lustre of Venus or Jupiter. The others were classed down to the sixth magnitude, corresponding to the fifth of the fixed stars. The colour, especially of the largest, is generally a pure white. Those of reddish tint are rarer; but they are remarkable as seeming to be slower in movement, and not leaving trains of light behind. Some occur of bluish colour, but still more rarely.

We find it necessary to abstain from further details, but we believe we have said enough to show the value of these new researches. They clearly suggest many important considerations hitherto little regarded; and some of these, as we have already remarked, at variance with the conclusions generally adopted before. We must needs admit that a revision of those conclusions is required; and their adaptation, if such be possible, to the new facts brought before us. Assuming the authenticity of the latter, we are bound to say that no theory of meteoric phenomena can be valid or complete which does not include and explain the horary and annual variations just described. They are problems of high interest, but doubtless of great difficulty. And while recording the most recent researches in this part of science, we must repeat our opinion, that a much larger basis of observation is required before we can raise the phenomena to the class of astronomical facts. Time alone is capable of affording this. We cannot follow the fleeting meteor as we do the planet, or even the more excentric comet, night after night, on their paths. But modern science has taught us to derive certainty from averages as well as from more direct observation; and the multiplication of insulated facts, if exact and authentic in kind, is sure in the end to conduct us to the truth desired, or as near to it as human powers are permitted to approach. Happy those who can detach themselves at times from the turmoil and troubles of the busy world we inhabit, and find repose among the more silent wonders of the universe without !--a contemplation scarcely disturbed even by these flaming ministers of the sky, which now no longer come to affright mankind, but to enlighten and enlarge their intelligence and power.


ART. V.-The Cloister Life of the Emperor Charles V. By W. Stirling, M.P. 8vo. 1852.


EVEN years have passed since the Spanish Handbook made us acquainted with Mr. Ford's visit to the convent of Yuste, where Charles V. breathed his last. Previously no Englishman of any note-Lord John Russell, we believe, excepted-had penetrated into that remote retreat, which certainly no one had described. Now that Spain is replaced in the Anglo-Saxon travelling map, a change has come over the spirit of the scene:- this secluded spot, so beautiful in itself and so rich in associations, forms a popular point to our pilgrims, and the solitude of the cell ceases when the long vacation begins. In welcoming again to our pages one of these more recent tourists-the accomplished annalist of the Artists of Spain-we rejoice to see such good use made of the precious boons of leisure and fortune, and trust that the new member for Perthshire will not forswear type in disgust of bales of blue books, but continue from time to time to entertain and instruct us with tomes like this.

It is not unlikely that, in the choice of his present subject, Mr. Stirling was influenced by the feeling that it would be peculiarly becoming in a Spanish student born north of the Tweed, to make the amende honorable to history, by refuting some gross errors to which two of his countrymen had given currency nearly a century ago. We cheerfully admit the merits of the Robertson school, the first to cut down the folio Rapin phalanx into reasonable proportions. They deserve lasting gratitude as the pioneers who made history accessible; and if they sacrificed too much to style, it was the French fashion of the day, when authors, relying more on rhetoric than research, trusted to mask the shallowness of the stream by the sparkle that danced on a clear surface; and graceful writing-the secret of pleasant reading-does indeed cover a multitude of sins. History thus made easy, and speaking the language of bon ton, was sufficient for our forefathers, who, provided general outlines were drawn with a free hand, neither cared for correctness in particulars, nor were displeased with touching incidents, invented by ingenious gentlemen, either contemners of real facts or too indolent to hunt for them, and who, like contemporary geographers, placed elephants instead of towns' in the open downs of guess-work description. No Niebuhr had then arisen to separate truth from fable, to fix precision of detail, and furnish a model to modern investigation and accuracy. read me not history,' exclaimed Sir Robert Walpole, for that


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I know to be false'—and no writer of it ever was satisfied with more imperfect sources of information than Dr. Robertson, who, according to Walpole's son, 'took everything on trust; and when he compiled his Charles V.-[the bulky biography of a great Emperor of Germany and King of Castile-was in utter ignorance of German and Spanish historians.' He cited, indeed, says Mr. Stirling, the respectable names of Sandoval, Vera, and De Thou, but seems chiefly to have relied upon Leti, one of the most lively and least trustworthy of the historians of his time.' This Italian-like M. Thiers, Lamartine, and Co., of our day-was a glozing, gossiping, historical-romancer. His four Duos., published at Amsterdam, A.D. 1700, were much read at the time, but are now forgotten and rare. Dr. Robertson was followed by Dr. Watson, his ape. The dull Aberdeen Professor just re-echoed the elegant Principal's blunders in his Philip II.— a production at once clumsy and flimsy, that will shortly receive a due quietus in the great work on which Mr. Prescott has long been occupied.

When these misstatements were first pointed out in the Handbook, reference was made to a certain MS., purchased by M. Mignet, who, it was prophesied, would some day publish it as his own.' M. Gachard, a learned Belgian, next made known that this MS. was deposited in the archives of the foreign office at Paris. Mr. Stirling, not as yet contemplating the performance before us, but anxious to solve a collateral question, went there in the summer of 1850, and endeavoured in vain to conciliate the good offices of some literati commonly supposed to take a special concern in historical inquiries. No help from them!--but on a subsequent visit in winter, his application for permission found favour with President Buonaparte himself and being further backed by Lord Normanby and M. Drouyn de Lhuys, who interested themselves in 'getting the order obeyed by the unwilling officials,' our author at last grasped in his hands the dragon-guarded MS.-and found it a real prize. Its writer, Canon Thomas Gonzalez, was intrusted by Ferdinand VII. with the custody and reconstruction of the national archives at Simancas, after the expulsion of the French invaders, whose plunderings and dislocations M. Gachard has truly described. Don Thomas fully availed himself of his unlimited access to treasures which had been so long sealed alike to natives and foreigners by the suspicious government of Madrid. Hence the MS. now in question-entitled Memoir of Charles at Yuste.' Gonzalez himself supplied little more than the thread on which the pearls were strung-leaving it, as far as possible, for the actors


to tell their own tale in their own words-in short he depended substantially on the correspondence that passed between the Courts at Valladolid and Brussels and the retired Emperor and his household. More authentic evidence cannot consequently exist; the dead, after three centuries of cold obstruction, are summoned to the bar of history-for sooner or later everything shall be known. Unfortunately the full bowl was dashed from Mr. Stirling's lips by his not being allowed to 'transcribe any of the original documents, the French Government [M. Mignet?] having entertained the design of publishing the entire work ;'—a project which the Ledru-Rollin revolution of 1848 had retarded, and which this English forestalling may possibly not advance. Meantime, until the MS. Memoir be printed in extenso-which we hope ultimately will be the case-we must, and may well, content ourselves with its having supplied the groundwork and chief materials of Mr. Stirling's volumewhich, moreover, collects and arranges for us illustrations from a multitude of other sources, all critically examined, and many of them, no doubt, familiar of old to the owner of the rich Spanish library at Keir.

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The first printed account of Charles at Yuste, and hitherto the best, is to be found in Joseph de Siguenza's comprehensive history of St. Jerome and his order. The learned author of this monastic classic, born in 1545, and the friend of many who had known the Emperor intimately, was appointed the first prior of the Escurial by Philip II., who held him to be the greatest wonder of that monastery, itself the eighth wonder of the world; and there to this day his thoughtful portrait, painted by Coello, hangs in the identical cell in which he lived so long and wrote so much and so well. Of the existence of Siguenza,' says Mr. Stirling, Dr. Robertson does not appear to have been aware ;'but very possibly, had the book itself (or rather a translation of it) come into his hands, the Principal would have run over it with no careful eye-for it seems to have been one of the dogmas of his creed that Charles, when once scheduled to a convent, was civiliter mortuus-beyond sober historical jurisdiction—and at best entitled to point a moral and adorn a tale. Be that as it may, the imperial hermit might well have been studied as he was even by pious Siguenza; for he had filled the first place in this world at a most critical epoch, when the middle ages ended and the modern began; when old things were passing away, and change and transition, political and intellectual, were the order of the day. The monarchical system had then superseded the feudal, and the balance of the powers of Europe, now one great family, was shadowed out. His was the age of Leo X., when printing and the restoration of the classics acted on literature


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