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birth. Those comets would have lasted much longer, before dissipation due to solar disturbances set in. Then, also, the sunlike state of the giant planets must have lasted long after the earth and all the terrestrial planets had passed that stage. For being so much larger, the giant planets must have longer lives—the stages of planetary life being in effect stages of cooling. In fact, there are clear signs that neither Jupiter nor Saturn has cooled down to the earth's condition; each is still too hot for the waters of its future seas to rest on its fiery surface. On this account also, then, we might expect to find that some comets, sprung from giant planets and forming their families, might have remained even to the present time.

Turning to the solar system, we find that this actually is the case. Nay, I myself, long before I had the least thought of attributing comets to planetary eruptive energies, had described the comets which hang about the orbits of the giant planets as "The comet families of the giant planets. Some of the members of these families are among those from which the association between meteors and comets came first to be known. For instance, the meteors of November 13–14 (the Leonides) are associated with a comet depending on the orbit of Uranus; and the meteors of November 27-28 are associated with a comet depending on the orbit of JupiterBiela's famous comet.

Of course the members of these comet families are exceedingly old. How old they are we cannot tell; but that they are very old indeed is shown by the way in which, while they are unmistakably associated with the paths of the several giant planets, their orbits yet diverge far enough from those of their respective planet parents to indicate hundreds of thousands of years of perturbing action, unless indeed in some cases we may suppose that not the slow perturbing action of bodies at a distance, but the very active influence of some orb coming very close to a comet may have shifted the comet's path. So many of their orbits pass through the widely spread zone of asteroids, that we may very well imagine occasional very close approach to one or other of these bodies, and consequently a considerable change of orbit. It was thus that Sir John Herschel for a time tried to explain the disappearance of Biela's comet; may it not,' he said, “have got entangled in the zone of asteroids, and have had its course altered by the influence of one of these bodies ?'

Encouraged by the confirmation of the expulsion theory of comets, which we have found at this our first step, may we not boldly proceed yet one step further ?

The stars, like the giant planets, should have their part to playa grander part of course—in the world of comet expulsion. They differ only from the giant planets, nay from the earth herself, in being in a different part of their orb life. It is probable, indeed, that among the stars there are orbs differing much less from Jupiter or

Saturn than either of these still hot and fiery planets differs from the earth. Of course an orb like our sun, the one star we are able to examine, will require much greater energy to expel from his interior a flight of bodies, to become presently a light of meteors or a comet, than would a planet even of the giant type. Our sun, for example, would have to impart a velocity of 382 miles per second to a body ejected from his interior, that that body should pass away from his control for ever. But the sun possesses the required power. His mass, and therefore his might, exceeds that of the earth more than 320,000 times, that even of Jupiter 1,048 times.

We have no means of recognising by its orbital motion a starexpelled comet or meteor flight. But we need not seek for bodies to tell us of expulsion, ages on ages ago. The stars are now in their sunlike state. They must therefore be doing such work now, if there is any truth in the theory to which we have been led. Now there is one of the stars which is near enough to be asked whether it really possesses and uses such expulsive power-our own sun. His answer is unmistakable. In 1872 and at sundry times since, he has been caught in the act of ejecting bodies, probably liquid or solid, through the hydrogen atmosphere around his globe, with velocities so great that the matter thus expelled from his interior can never return to him—the velocities ranging to 450 miles per second at the least. What he is doing now he has doubtless done for millions, nay for tens of millions, of years in the past. What he has thus done, his fellowsuns the stars, thousands (if not millions) of millions in number, bave doubtless done also. Uncounted billions then of ejected meteor flights or comets must be travelling through interstellar spaces, visiting system after system, flitting from sun to sun, in periods to be measured by millions of years.

The answer then to the question, Whence came the comets ? would appear to be :

(1) Comets which visit our system from without were expelled millions of years ago from the interior of suns.

(2) Comets which belong to our system were mostly expelled from the interior of a giant planet in the sunlike state, but a small proportion may have been captured from without.

(3) The comets of whose past existence meteor-streams tell us were for the most part expelled from our earth herself when she was in the sunlike state, but some of the more important were expelled from the giant planets, and a few may have been expelled from suns.

RICHARD A. PROCTOR.

MR. DONNELLY'S SHAKESPEARE

CIPHER.

ONE of the most remarkable features in what is known as the • Baconian movement, and to those who believe in the solidity of its foundations one of the most significant, is the large number of persons to whom the idea has suggested itself independently of the conclusions of others. There are not a few among the party which entertains the confident belief that Bacon was the author of the works which bave come down to us under the name of Shakespeare, who, at the time when their suspicions were developed by further research into full conviction, believed that they had then for the first time lit upon the discovery, and only later learned, in some cases by mere chance, that others had been pursuing parallel but entirely independent paths which issued upon the same conclusion.

But, whereas the grounds upon which the adherents of this theory in England and Germany have hitherto based their belief may all be considered either internal or external testimony of the common type, the latest development of the movement is concerned with evidence which is not to be classed under either of these two heads in its ordinary sense. Till lately the confidence of the believers has rested upon the results—to speak in the most general terms—first, of a comparison of the works of Shakespeare with those of Bacon, and secondly, of an examination of the career and correspondence of the latter. A new light has suddenly burst upon the subject. What appears to be confirmatory evidence of an entirely novel nature is announced from beyond the Atlantic, and the ‘Baconians ’are startled by a report the confirmation of which they would be able to hail as a proof, no less final than unexpected, of the validity of their independent conclusions. It comes in the shape of a declaration from Mr. Ignatius Donnelly, of Hastings, Minnesota, ex-Member of Congress, that he has discovered, running through the Plays, a Cipher narrative in which Bacon claims their authorship, giving also a • detailed account of a considerable portion of his own life and of the Court history during the period of his rise and greatness.

Too much prominence cannot be given to the fact that the • Baconians' do not rely upon this Cipher for the unflinching belief

which they accord to their theory. Their convictions were established and their numbers on the steady increase before ever this astounding announcement reached England, and, as far as their creed is concerned, it is only as a most gratifying confirmation of the truth of their conclusions that they welcome the report of this discovery. But from another point of view it is to them an invaluable ally. They consider, and with reason, that the addition of this piece of evidence to that already published in Europe will, owing to its peculiar character, swell their numbers more rapidly than would otherwise be the case ; for it must be borne in mind that the evidence already existing in this country and in Germany is of a nature that does not necessarily appeal to any not conversant with the life and writings of Bacon, whereas the Cipher, when published, will, through its comparative simplicity, enlist a far greater number of recruits to their ranks. Mr. Donnelly's work will shortly have reached a stage sufficiently advanced to enable him to make public in detail the methods and results of his task, which is at present known of by few, and by the majority of them through rumours only. It will then be easily within the reach of all; whereas a conviction based on the other evidence can only be attained after considerable labour. Another point that arises in connection with the two classes of evidence—for the ordinary internal and external may for this purpose be classed together—is the obvious fact that, whereas the Cipher must be either entirely conclusive or an unmitigated fraud, that already existing, through its essential character, does not stand or fall all in one piece. It is the collection of the independent work of several minds, and the discovery of a flaw in any one item of the evidence in no way affects the credence due to the rest. This will be plain to those conversant even with such proportion of the case for the ‘Baconians' as is to be found in the writings already published on the subject from time to time. In other words, Mr. Donnelly's contribution to the Society's polemic literature is of a mathematical nature, and dependent each step on each for its validity; while that which it has come to supplement is circumstantial, and it is for each individual juryman of the public to decide for himself how far the total of its items is to be considered conclusive. The ‘Baconians'claim, however, and apparently with much reason, that, though the total eclipse of Mr. Donnelly and his work would not in any way injure their position, founded beforehand on evidence of an utterly different nature, yet that the establishment of the indisputable truth of the Cipher method would outweigh all

arguments of whatever nature on the other side—that is its reward • in case of victory for the uncompromising audacity of its claims.

Although for a full understanding even of the Cipher portion of the total evidence—such of it as is here stated-some knowledge of the rest is requisite, any reference to the latter that can be dispensed with will be rigorously excluded. That is, or shortly will be, available in its entirety to those interested, and the mass is far too large to justify even a near approach except when absolutely necessary. The following pages will be confined to a notice of the methods and results, as far as he has at present made them known, of the worker who has now been so long engaged over this Cipher.

Let it be at once stated that the key to its solution is not yet forthcoming. Mr. Donnelly writes that only after immense labour he has discovered it, and that its application to the Plays is a very slow and tedious operation. And he has not yet made such progress in the deciphering but that if the whole rule were to be given others might be able to anticipate the publication of his work. What he has at present thought it safe to divulge are the observations which first roused his suspicions and the confirmatory evidence which his researches brought to light. These will probably appear to many inadequate and far-fetched, but Mr. Donnelly has his own reasons for withholding at present a detailed statement of his case.

He had long been a ‘Baconian,' and had thus taken a more than ordinary interest not only in the Plays, but also in the acknowledged works of Bacon. It struck him as curious that, while Bacon lived in an age when the state of the political and social world had habituated public men to an extensive use of cipher, there was no evidence on record in any of his biographies that he ever made any use of an art which be had taken the pains to acquire. For that he devoted considerable labour to the subject we learn from his philosophical writings, in which he not only dwells on the great usefulness of secret means of correspondence, but also gives samples and rules for the best kind of cipher work. For the perfect cipher he lays down that

the highest degree is to write omnia per omnia ; which is undoubtedly possible, with a proportion quintuple at most of the writing infolding to the writing infolded.1

Again

The infolding writing shall contain at least five times as many letters as the writing infolded ; ?

and there follows a specimen of a cipher

which I devised myself when I was at Paris in my early youth, and which I still think worthy of preservation; for it has the perfection of a cipher, which is to make anything signify anything. This is based on the rule just given.

With these passages he compared the following, which occurs in a notice of the enigmatical method of delivery :

| Adrancement of Learning, ii. (in Spedding, Ellis, and Heath's edition, 1857, vol. iii. p. 402).

? De Augmentis, vi. 1 (S., E., & H., vol. iv. p. 445).

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