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present a crisis in Cuban history. Despite the merciless extortion of taxes that bankrupt the natives, Cuba is an expense to the crown, and thousands of the soldiery of Spain are sent there every year to maintain the garrison. Twenty-five per cent. of these soldiers die during the first year. Spain, always in financial and military distress, cannot endure the drain much longer, and Mr. Ballou predicts and justifies the acquisition of Cuba by the United States. The Philosophy of Art in America1 is an attempt, accompanied by many digressions, to prove the advisability and even the necessity of establishing a department of Fine Art and Art Industries in the Government. As a secondary object, the author pleads for the abolition of the duties on art subjects. It cannot be said that Mr. De Muldor is successful in his attempt. As regards his primary object, he does not even apprehend the objection of those that oppose the paternal idea of government, but thinks it sufficient to show that several European nations have such departments with apparently good results. He is under the delusion, too, that to make his work philosophical it must be written in a style so stilted and involved that it would, indeed, take a philosopher to discover the meaning of the page-long sentences.No. 14a of Geo. M. Baker's series of selections contains fifty readings of fair average merit. At first it is a little doubtful whether the claim of entire novelty can be allowed to a collection opening with "from the " Lays of Ancient Rome"; but on reading the garbled version given, it is sufficient ly certain that Macaulay would not care to own it.-Dr. Benson's comedy, Frolicsome Girls, contains no strong situations, no depth of plot, no telling hits, and nothing new or attractive.- -The translation by Ada S. Ballin, from the French of Professor Darmesteter, College of France, of his book on the Mahdi, will be welcome to those who wish to understand the Soudan problem. The term Mahdi, the One who is Led, is a generic one; there have been very many of them from a time within fifty years of the death of Mahomet till now. The principal Mahdis of the past, and the doctrines and beliefs concerning the Mahdi, form the main part of the pres

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1 The Philosophy of Art in America. By Carl De Muldor. New York: William R. Jenkins. 1885. 2 The Reading Club. No. 14. Edited by Geo. M. Baker. Lee & Shepard, Boston. For sale in San Francisco by C. Beach.

3 Frolicsome Girls: A Comedy. By Dr. W. H. Benson. New York: G, P. Putnam's Sons. 1884.

4 The Mahdi, By James Darmesteter. Harper's Handy Series. New York: Harper & Bros. 1885.

ent volume. The story of the Mahdi of '84 is told very briefly, and the problem of keeping the Soudan open is as briefly discussed. The solution of that problem Professor Darmesteter finds in building up Abyssinia, a Christian power which commands the Soudan from its most vulnerable quarter. The translator adds as appendices two articles; one, an interesting account of the private character of the Mahdi, with two letters of his, and the story of the rise of a rival Mahdi; the other, a most quaint recital by an Egyptian soldier of the events in Khartoum during the siege.- -G. P. Putnam's Sons have done well in adding to their Traveler's Series a reprint of Mr. Clarence Deming's letters to the "Evening Post," which they published in more elaborate style two years ago. These letters are happy in the novelty of their subjects and in the charm of their style. A re-reading of some of them confirms the favorable opinion expressed when they first appeared in book form.-The Chatauqua Literary Society begins, as it seems to us, the department of activity in which it can be most useful that is, bringing out, and distributing through its far-reaching channels, first-class books-by the publication in a series, called the "Garnet Series," of selected Readings from Ruskin and Readings from Macaulay upon Italy. The former has an introduction by Professor Beers, the latter by Donald G. Mitchell. The other two of the four volumes that make up the series are more or less in keeping (one and the other less) in subject, being Michel Angelo Buonarottis and Art and the Formation of Taste.-The Biglow Papers are the last addition to the Riverside Aldine series; and it is a great deal to be able to say of any book-making, as we must say of this, that it adds a new pleasure to reading the Biglow Papers. It was, of course, necessary to devote one volume to the first series, and the other to the second series; but it makes a marked discrepancy in the thickness of the two volumes.

5 By-ways of Nature and Life. By Clarence Deming. Traveler's Series. New York: G. P. Putnam's Son's. 1885. For sale in San Francisco by Chilion Beach. 6 Readings from Ruskin: Italy. Boston: Chatauqua Press. 1885.

7 Readings from Macaulay: Italy. Boston: Chatauqua Press. 1885.

8 Michel Angelo Buonarotti. By Charles C. Black. Boston: Chatauqua Press. 1885.

9 Art and the Formation of Taste. By Lucy Crane. Boston: Chatauqua Press. 1885.

10 The Biglow Papers. By James Russell Lowell. The Riverside Aldine Series. Boston: Houghton Mifflin & Co. 1885. For sale in San Francisco by Chilion Beach.

THE

OVERLAND MONTHLY.

DEVOTED TO

THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE COUNTRY.

VOL. VI. (SECOND SERIES.) DECEMBER, 1885.—No. 36.

VOL. VI.-36.

THE LICK OBSERVATORY.'

THE Completion of the task entrusted to the Lick Trustees by the provisions of Mr. Lick's deed of trust is now apparently near at hand. This task was to construct and to erect "a powerful telescope, superior to and more powerful than any telescope ever yet made, with all the machinery appertaining thereto, and appropriately connected therewith . . . and also a suitable observatory."

The present Board of Trustees was appointed in September, 1876, and has there fore had this object continuously in view for the past nine years.

In the course of this time members of the Board have visited many of the leading observatories of this country and of Europe; the principal astronomers of the world have been advised with personally and by correspondence; thousands of letters have been written to them, to architects, contractors and builders, and to instrument-makers; and every detail of the construction and equip

1 The first volume of the Publications of the Lick Observatory of the University of California is now in course of preparation under the direction of the Lick Trustees, by Captain Richard S. Floyd and Professor Holden. At the request of the Editor of the OVER--which was to present to the world an LAND MONTHLY, Professor Holden has made an abastronomical observatory of the very highest stract of those parts of it which are of general and pop

ular interest, and this is here printed with additional class, which should be permanently useful

paragraphs.-EDITOR.

to science.

(Copyright, 1885, by OVERLAND MONTHLY CO. All Rights Reserved.)

ment of a vast astronomical establishment on the summit of a mountain four thousand feet in height and twenty-six miles distant from the nearest town, has been personally superintended. It is impossible to convey in a few words any adequate idea of the multiplicity of separate interests which have been considered-from those of the practical as tronomer to those of the day laborer-nor of the distressing legal complications which have arisen, and which are now happily settled; but it will be interesting to those who may read the first and the succeeding volumes of the publications of Mr. Lick's Observatory, to remember the very exceptional nature of the duties confided to his Trustees.

They have been obliged to make the summit of Mount Hamilton accessible by road; to remove seventy thousand tons of rock in order to get mere standing room for the instruments; to arrange a good and sufficient water-supply on the top of a barren mountain; and to carry out in the best and most economical way the real object of their trust

The difficulties were far from being merely practical and material in nature. At the very beginning of the work it was a matter for scientific determination whether the most powerful telescope should be a reflector or a refractor. The procuring of the rough glass castings for the object glass has alone re'quired six years, and has but just been accomplished after twenty unsuccessful trials, each one lasting several months. The plans of the observatory buildings had to be conceived and executed so as to accomplish the ends in the most efficient and at the same time in the most economical manner.

In every one of these tasks, the Trustees have been cordially aided by all who have been called upon. The county of Santa Clara has provided and now maintains a magnificent mountain road from San José to the summit. The State of California has assumed the charge of publishing the astronomical observations already made. The United States has liberally granted the site for the observatory. Astronomers all over the world have been consulted, and have willingly given their time and their advice.

The original plans for the observatory were fixed on in Washington, in 1879, by Captain Floyd, President of the Trustees, Mr. Fraser, Superintendent of Construction, and Professors Newcomb and Holden, of the United States Naval Observatory.

These plans have proved to be entirely adequate, and have been closely followed. Many other astronomers have been deeply interested in the work, and have shown by personal visits and by correspondence their appreciation of the importance of the undertaking. Among these should be especially named the late Doctor Henry Draper, of New York; Mr. Burnham, of Chicago; Doctor Johann Palisa, of Vienna; Professor Krueger, of Kiel; and Professor Auwers, of Berlin.

It would be of extreme interest if one could give a truly adequate view of the character of Mr. Lick, and of the motives which led him to dispose of his large fortune in public gifts, and especially of the motives which led him to found an astronomical observatory." Certainly, no sufficient exposition of either

his character or of his motives has yet ap peared in print. There is no doubt that a desire to be remembered by his fellow-men influenced him largely. He wished to do something which should be important in itself, and which should be done in a way to strike the imagination. He was only restrained from building a marble pyramid larger than that of Cheops on the shores of San Francisco Bay, by the fear that in some future war the pyramid might perish in a possible bombardment of the place. The observatory took the place of the pyramid.

The beauty of the one was to find a substitute in the scientific use of the other. The instruments were to be so large that new and striking discoveries were to follow inevitably, and, if possible, living beings on the surface of the moon were to be descried, as a beginning.

It would, however, be a gross error to take these wild imaginings as a complete index of his strange character. A very extensive course of reading had given him the generous idea that the future well-being of the race was the object for a good man to strive to forward. Towards the end of his life at least, the utter futility of his money to give any inner satisfaction oppressed him more and more. The generous impulses and halfacknowledged enthusiasms of earlier days began to quicken, and the eccentric and unsymmetrically developed mind gave strange forms to these desires. If he had lived to carry out his own plans, there is little doubt that his fellow citizens would have gained less from his gifts than they will now gain. If his really powerful mind could have received a symmetric training, there is no question but that the present disposition of his endowment would entirely satisfy him.

He has been most fortunate in having his desires studied and given an ultimate form by successive sets of trustees, who had no ends in view but to make this strangely acquired gift most useful to the city, the State, and the country. He will be buried in the base of the pier of the great equatorial on Mount Hamilton, and will have such a tomb as no old world emperor could have commanded or imagined.

MR. LICK's first deed of trust was dated the question of water supply was a serious July 16th, 1874, and provided for the con- one. This latter difficulty has been sur struction of his observatory at Lake Tahoe, mounted by the discovery of springs 300 or at some other point, if this should prove feet below the summit level, and only 4,300 to be unfavorable. The first Board of Trus- feet distant from the observatory. tees ceased to hold office in September, 1875, and a second board assumed its duties.

Mount Hamilton presented immense advantages on the score of its nearness to San José, where two railways meet, and especially because it was known that the fogs which cover the Santa Clara Valley at nightfall, and which last until the sun is quite high the next day, did not, at least usually, extend to the peak. On these grounds, chiefly, Mr. Fraser recommended, and Mr. Lick practi cally accepted, Mount Hamilton as the site for the future observatory.

1.

A further consideration of the proposed site of the observatory at Lake Tahoe led to the conclusion that whatever might be the advantages of this situation, the disadvantages arising from the extremely severe win ters would probably outweigh them. Mr. Lick himself was convinced of this, and was advised to examine mountains further south. During the summer of 1875, Mr. Lick sent Mr. Fraser, his agent, to report on Mount St. Helena, Monte Diablo, Loma Prieta, and Mount Hamilton, with special reference to their accessibility, and to the convenience of establishing extensive buildings on their summits.

Mr. Fraser's visit to Mount Hamilton was made in August, 1875. In many respects, this seemed to be the best situated of all the mountain peaks. Yet the possibility that a complete astronomical establishment might one day be planted on its summit seemed more like a fairy tale than like sober fact. It was at that time a wilderness. A few cattle ranches occupied the valleys around it. Its slopes were covered with chapparal, or thickets of scrub oak. Not even a trail led over it. The nearest house was eleven miles away. There were three sharp peaks connected by two saddles: the east peak (properly northeast peak), 4,448 feet, high; the middle peak, 4,318 feet; and finally Mount Hamilton, 4,302 feet. The last seemed to be the most satisfactory, but it was obvious that immense quantities of the hard greywacke, rock, of which the mountain is composed, would have to be removed in order to secure a level platform for the houses and instruments, In fact, over seventy thousand tons of solid rock have been so removed, the surface having been lowered as much as thirty-two feet in places. The expense of constructing a practicable road to the summit would certainly be great (in fact, it has cost about eighty thousand dollars), and finally

1

During the summer of 1876, the Trustees were engaged in correspondence with various astronomers and opticians, and one of their number visited personally many observ. atories in Europe. In the autumn of 1876, the third (and present) Board of Trustees was appointed.

In 1875, Mr. Lick had proposed to Santa Clara county to definitively place his observatory on Mount Hamilton, if the county would construct a road to the summit. This proposition was accepted in 1875 by the supervisors and the road was completed in 1876.

No more magnificent mountain road exists in the United States, when all the circumstances of fine scenery, excellent road-bed, and extensive and commanding views are considered.

M The road rises four thousand feet in twenty-two miles, and the grade nowhere exceeds six and a half feet in one hundred, or three hundred and forty-three feet to the mile. Most of the road is materially less steep than this.

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The first four miles (of the twenty-six) is a fine, nearly level avenue, laid out in a perfectly straight line in the Santa Clara valley. The ascent of the foot hills is then commenced, and the road begins a series of twistings and turnings, which are necessary in order to keep the gradient low. Toward the end of the route the road winds round and round the flanks of the mountain itself and overlooks one of the most picturesque of scenes. The lovely valley of Santa Clara

and the Santa Cruz mountains to the west, a bit of the Pacific and the Bay of Monterey to the southwest, the Sierra Nevada, with countless ranges to the southeast, the San Joaquin valley, with the Sierras beyond, to the east, while to the north lie many lower ranges of hills, and on the horizon, Lassen's Butte, one hundred and seventy-five miles away. The Bay of San Francisco lies flat before you like a child's dissecting map, and beyond it is Mount Tamalpais, at the entrance to the Golden Gate. Monte Diablo lies to the northeast, forty-one miles distant. Mount St. Helena is not visible. Mount Hamilton dominates all its neighbors, and holds a singularly isolated and advantageous place.

The land for the site (1350 acres) was granted by Congress on June 7, 1876, and a purchase of 191 acres was subsequently made by the Trustees, to enable them to control the access of the reservation.

Mr. Lick died on October 1, 1876. At his death a number of legal questions arose which required some years to settle. It was not until 1879 that the financial affairs of the trust were in such a condition that active preparations for the observatory could be be

gun.

In the summer of this year, Mr. Burnham, a most distinguished observer of double stars, was asked by the Trustees to transport his own very perfect telescope to the summit of Mount Hamilton, and there to actually make an extended series of observations similar to those he was constantly making at Chicago, his home, or at the observatories of Dartmouth College and of Washington, where he was a frequent visitor. In this way a very satisfactory judgment of the fitness of Mount Hamilton for an observatory site could be had.

Mr. Burnham spent the months of August, September and October on the summit, in a small canvas-covered observatory, which was perched on the narrow saddle of the mountain peak.

eleven were cloudy or foggy. This estimate of high class nights does not rest simply on the observer's judgment. He has left an extensive series of actual measures of difficult double stars, and a catalogue of forty-two new doubles discovered by him during this short period. It is to be noted that in many cases Mr. Burnham's new double stars bear peculiar witness to the excellent conditions of vision. He was examining with his sixinch telescope the stars which had been described as double by the elder Struve, with the nine-inch telescope of Dorpat. Struve's telescope collected two and one-fourth times more light than the other, and was one and a half times more efficient in pure separating power. Yet stars which Struve had catalogued as double, were found by Mr. Burnham to be triple. Other new stars of great difficulty were found.

Mr. Burnham says:

His report to the Trustees gives a sober but an enthusiastic account of the prevailing conditions. Of sixty nights, no less than forty-two were of the very highest class, seven were quite suitable for observations, while

"Remembering that these stars were discovered with what, in these days of great refractors, would be considered as a very inferior instrument in point of size, we may form some conception of what might be done with an instrument of the power of that at the Naval Observatory (twenty-six inch aperture), or with the Pulkowa glass (of thirty inch aperture)."

The large telescope of the Lick Observatory is to have an aperture of thirty-six inches, and a length of sixty feet.

Another most important point is not specially noted by Mr. Burnham. Not only are many nights of the highest excellence, but a large proportion of the remaining ones are very suitable for work. There are many astronomical researches where it is of great importance that a series of observations should be continuous; and for all such researches Mount Hamilton is an almost unrivalled site. This stay of Mr. Burnham's was a convincing proof that the site for the future observatory had been well chosen.

The Trustees have followed a wise policy in inviting various astronomers to spend short periods at Mount Hamilton, and to advise them upon the work of construction and equipment. These invitations have been so timed as to enable the visiting astronomers to render material aid in the construction of

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