Зображення сторінки

demonstrably neither in the atmosphere of the earth nor Jupiter, where and what could have been the cause ? At present we can get no answer.

But the spirit in which science advances is not in accord with this “calm submission” to leave a striking observation unexplained ; and this observation can not only be explained, but by the very singularity of its nature absolutely forces its explanation upon us. We know that the satellite had not really shifted as it seemed to have done, nor had Jupiter's whole bulk shifted. The outline of Jupiter's disc, however, had unquestionably shifted. Either, then, the solid crust of Jupiter had risen and sunk over millions of square miles, through several thousand miles, or a change affecting his cloud envelope had taken place. No one can doubt between these two interpretations. Such a change in the solid matter of the planet would have produced a heat sufficing to liquefy, if not to vaporise, the whole of that region of the planet, which would therefore have glowed with intense lustre. On the other hand, a change in the cloud wrappings of the planet could have very readily taken place, an outer layer disappearing and again reappearing, as some warm breath from the surface below caused the “visible steam" forming the outer cloud-layer to change to the invisible vapour of water, presently to return to visibility as the added warmth passed away.

It should be noticed that the question is not whether this explanation of the remarkable phenomenon is antecedently likely or not. The explanation is absolutely forced upon us. We cannot in any way escape it. But as a mere matter of fact we have seen that other evidence does render it likely that what was thus observed should actually take place.

Now, the next cases are again precisely such as we might expect to recognise, yet the point to be noticed in their case also is that we should have no choice but to accept the explanation, even were it antecedently most unlikely,

Mr, Todd, Government Astronomer at Adelaide, has, during the last few years, paid special attention to the phenomena of Jupiter's satellites in order that the movements of these bodies might be more thoroughly reduced to system. Now, this excellent observer has on more occasions than one noticed that when a satellite has been occulted, passing behind the planet's disc, the whole circular dise of the satellite has remained visible behind the disc of Jupiter. Ur. Toxid's assistant confirmed the observation. The instrument wsed was a fine telescope, by Cooke, of York, having an object-glass

inches in diameter.

In this case the satellite, a globe at least 2,000 miles in diameter, was entirely visible, although the disc of Jupiter apparently extended so that if it had been absolutely opaque the satellite would have been entirely hidden. Clearly, then, the part of the planet through which the satellite was seen was not absolutely opaque. But supposing only half the satellite visible (although Mr. Todd told me, as he also stated in his account of the observation, that the whole disc was seen), the centre of the satellite's disc was yet seen through 18,000 miles of the planet's globe, in reality of the planet's cloud-laden atmosphere. The clouds must have been very thinly strewn through this part, at any rate, of the Jovian air, for the satellite to be seen through so enormous a range of view.

Lastly, in February 1880, Jupiter passed over a small star (barely visible to the naked eye) in the constellation Aquarius. The phenomenon was visible from the southern observatories, and Mr. Ellery, Government Astronomer at Melbourne, observed it under favourable conditions. To this skilful observer, and to his not less skilful assistant, Mr. Turner, the star continued visible after the planet's edge had passed beyond it, a distance corresponding to full 500 miles of depth of Jupiter's atmosphere. The star was thus seen through a range of more than 6,000 miles of cloud-laden air. This part, then, of the planet, so far from being solid, is atmospheric and of little density, with clouds scattered so sparsely through it that even the faint lustre of a sixth-magnitude star—a mere point of light -can make its way through.

We may infer, then, in fine, seeing that the evidence is so varied in character, and the conclusion antecedently so likely, that the giant planets, Jupiter and Saturn, are as yet only in the stage of preparation to become fit abodes for living creatures. moderate assumption as to the duration of the various stages of a planet's life, millions of years must pass before either planet can become a habitable world.


On a very



S far as we are immediately concerned, the Egyptian Question

began when Mehemet Ali flung off the complete control of the Porte, and finally established himself as a vassal, indeed, but only of a nominal vassalage, to the Turkish Empire. Mehemet Ali had made himself master of Syria, and he and his adopted son, Ibrahim Pasha, inflicted defeat after defeat upon the armies of Turkey. In 1839 a series of events combined to give over Egypt into the hands of Mehemet Ali. Ibrahim gained a great triumph over the Porte. The Sultan Mahmoud died. The Turkish Admiral with all his fleet went over to the cause of Egypt. Had he been left to himself, Mehemet Ali would not even have allowed the Ottoman Empire to keep any semblance of authority. But the Powers of Europe interfered then, as they are interfering now, with Egyptian politics. England, Austria, Prussia, and Russia combined to restrain the Porte's rebellious vassal. France, alone, swayed by the jealous spirit of Thiers, who saw in the alliance only an English plot to lay hold of Egypt, held aloof from the alliance ; was at one time not very far from going to war with England. Two treaties, signed in London in the Julys of 1840 and 1841, arranged the affairs of Egypt, and compelled Mehemet Ali, sorely against his will, to give up nis Asiatic possessions, and to accept the suzerainty of the Porte. But he demanded, and demanded successfully, the hereditary transmission of the vice-royalty to the eldest male heir of his own line, and a degree of independence which left the Sultan little more than the shadow of command. The most varied judgments have been formed of the character of Mehemet Ali. All historians are compelled to agree upon the ferocity which crushed the power of the Mamelukes by a more than Elizabethan treachery ; but Mehemet Ali appears to some historians as on the whole, for an Oriental, a great and just ruler : he seemed to Richard Cobden nothing more than "a rapacious tyrant."

Cobden, who saw Mehemet Ali at Cairo, in 1836, when the Pasha was still dreaming of the future of Egypt and himself, wrote thus : “Mehemet Ali is pursuing a course of avaricious misrule which

would have torn the vitals from a country less prolific than this, long since. As it is, everything is decaying beneath his system of monopolies. . . . . The Pasha has by dint of force and fraud possessed himself of the whole of the property of the country. I do not mean that he has obtained merely the rule of the Government, but he owns the whole of the soil, the houses, the boats, the camels, &c. There is something quite unique in finding only one landowner and one merchant in a country in the person of its Pasha.” Cobden goes on to describe the magnificent cotton works which Mehemet Ali had built, and the miserable way in which they were allowed to go to ruin. “All this is not the work of Mehemet Ali. The miserable adventurers from Europe, who have come here to act the parasites of such a blood-stained despot-they are partly the cause of the evil. But they know his selfish nature, and his lust of fame, and this is only their mode of deluding the one, and pandering to the other.” The opinion of a man like Richard Cobden on such a matter is of the profoundest political importance, but we who are his warmest admirers may well believe that the picture drawn by the young traveller of thirty-three years was somewhat highly coloured ; that the peculiar characteristics of all Oriental rule were not sufficiently taken into account in estimating the character of Mehemet Ali. At least he tried to make Egypt great as he had made her independent, and he failed only because he attempted to raise Egypt at once to the level of a great power. In 1848, when madness deprived Egypt of her strange ruler, the succession came to his son, Ibrahim Pasha, whose statue stands in the Cairo Square, to remind the traveller from afar, and the Arab who lounges at its base, that Egypt had a past, and may yet have a future. But the hero of Koniah and Nezib was not destined to be famous as a Pasha of Egypt. He died within four months of his accession, and was succeeded by Abbas Pasha, the son of that son of Mehemet Ali whose tragic end is told by Warburton. Ismail Pasha, Mehemet Ali's second son, was burnt to death by a Soudan chief, Nemmir, " the tiger," King of Shendy, from whom he had too imperiously demanded tribute. Under Abbas Pasha nothing was done to advance Egypt. A Tacitus or a Suetonius is needed to fitly present this Egyptian copy of the degraded Cæsars. He lived like a later Roman Emperor, a vicious, fearful life, ever dreading the death by assassination which came at last in 1854, and handed over Egypt to Said Pasha. The contrast between Said and Abbas Pasha is as great as between Marcus Aurelius and Nero. Where Abbas was lonely, hostile to foreigners, and unable to speak any of the alien tongues ; Said was hospitable, closely linked with Europeans, whose life he carefully imitated, and was a brilliant French scholar. He encouraged foreign immigration, inaugurated the custom of employing Europeans in all the important administra. tions, and he greatly advanced the general condition of the country by removing many of the meaningless restrictions upon trade and commerce, and by seeming to recognise that the Egyptian labourer was something more than a mere beast to be worked and taxed to death. Through the influence of England, the railroad system had been established in Egypt during the rule of Abbas. Under Said's prospering reign railways and telegraphs were extended over Egypt. The Suez Canal was begun. Machinery of all kinds became familiar to the Egyptian mind, and the finances showed an increased revenue of six millions a year. But while Abbas, with all his faults, left Egypt not only agriculturally prosperous but clear of debt ; Said, with all his virtues, left her the beginning of that public debt which is now of such intense interest to the outer world. A series of strange chances allowed Ismail Pasha, warrior Ibrahim's second son, to become the immediate successor of Said Pasha, and with his accession in 1863 begins the particular condition of things which we familiarly speak of as the Egyptian Question. Under the foreign policy of Nubar Pasha, Ismail succeeded in 1866 in obtaining from the Porte the title of Khedive, and the direct descent of the title from father to son, on consideration of increasing the annual tribute from nearly four hundred thousand pounds to nearly seven hundred thousand pounds. Again, in 1872, the Khedive obtained the privilege of making treaties with foreign powers, of owning vessels of war, and of raising troops. Indeed, the whole of Ismail's reign was marked by steady and incessant aggrandisement of the power and the position of Egypt, and the weakening of the chains which bound her to the Ottoman Empire. But for every step which Egypt thus took, for every link she severed in the Turkish chain, she had to pay a heavy price to court and courtiers at Constantinople.

But if the Khedive was prepared to spend money freely for his own personal advancement and authority he was no less lavish for the advancement of his country: improvements of all kinds were carried out; the Suez Canal was completed, railroads and telegraphs increased rapidly. Ismail was going too fast. Egypt prospered socially and commercially ; financially it was a great failure. With all his talent, Ismail Pasha had not any of the qualities necessary for a great financier, and between his able fingers the money of Egypt ran like water. He became deeply in debt to the European powers, most of all to France and England, and anxiety for the

« НазадПродовжити »