the centre of a system! Myriads of such stars, invisible to the unassisted eye, were rendered perfectly distinct by the aid of the telescope. The magnificence of the sight was vastly increased when the telescope was directed to any portion of the Milky Way. It revealed such countless multitudes of stars that I had only to sit before the eyepiece, and behold the endless procession of these glorious objects pass before me. The motion of the earth assisted in changing this scene of inexpressible magnificence, which reached its climax when some object such as the "Cluster in Hercules" came into sight. The component stars are so crowded together there as to give the cluster the appearance of a gray spot; but when examined with a telescope of large aperture, it becomes resolved into such myriads of stars as to defy all attempts to count them. Nothing can convey to the mind, in so awful and impressive a manner, the magnificent and infinite extent of Creation, and the inconceivable power of its Creator!

I had already a slight acquaintance with Astronomy. My father had implanted in me the first germs. He was a great admirer of that sublimest of sciences. I had obtained a sufficient amount of technical knowledge to construct in 1827 a small but very effective reflecting telescope of six inches diameter. Three years later I initiated Mr. Maudslay into the art and mystery of making a reflecting telescope. I then made a speculum of ten inches diameter, and but for the unhappy circumstance of his death in 1831, it would have been mounted in his proposed observatory at Norwood. After I had settled down at Fireside, Patricroft, I desired to possess a telescope of considerable power in order to enjoy the tranquil pleasure of surveying the heavens in their impressive grandeur at night.

As I had all the means and appliances for casting specula at the factory, I soon had the felicity of embodying all my former self-acquired skill in this fine art by producing a very perfect casting of a ten-inch diameter speculum. The alloy consisted of fifteen parts of pure tin and thirty-two parts of pure copper, with one part of arsenic. It was cast with perfect soundness, and was ground and polished by a machine which I contrived for the purpose. The speculum was so brilliant that when my friend William Lassell saw it, he said "it made his mouth water." It was about this time (1840) that I had the great happiness of becoming acquainted with Mr. Lassell,[note: Mr. Lassell was a man of superb powers. Like many others who have done so much for astronomy, he started as an amateur. He was first apprenticed to a merchant at Liverpool. He then began business as a brewer. Eventually he devoted himself to astronomy and astronomical mechanics. When in his twenty-first year he began constructing reflecting telescopes for himself. He proceeded to make a Newtonian of nine inches aperture, which he erected in an observatory at his residence near Liverpool, happily named "Starfield." With this instrument he worked diligently, and detected the sixth star in the trapezium of Orion. In 1844 he conceived the bold idea of constructing a reflector of two feet aperture, and twenty feet focal length, to be mounted equatorially. Sir John Herschel, in mentioning Mr. Lassell's work, did me the honour of saying "that in Mr Nasmyth he was fortunate to find a mechanist capable of executing in the highest perfection all his conceptions, and prepared by his own love of astronomy and practical acquaintance with astronomical observations, and with the construction of specula, to give them their full effect." With this fine instrument Mr. Lassell discovered the satellite of Neptune. He also discovered the eighth satellite of Saturn, of extreme minuteness, as well as two additional satellites of Uranus. But perhaps his best work was done at Malta with a much larger telescope, four feet in aperture, and thirty-seven feet focus, erected there in 1861. He remained at Malta for three years, and published a catalogue of 600 new nebulae, which will be found in the Memoirs of the Royal Astronomical Society. One of his curious sayings was, "I have had a great deal to do with opticians, some of them -- like Cooke of York -- are really opticians; but the greater number of them are merely shopticians!"]

and profiting by his devotion to astronomical pursuits and his profound knowledge of the subject. He had acquired much technical skill in the construction of reflecting telescopes, and the companionship between us was thus rendered very agreeable. There was an intimate exchange of opinions on the subject, and my friendship with him continued during forty successive years. I was perhaps a little ahead of him in certain respects. I had more practical knowledge of casting, for I had begun when a boy in my bedroom at Edinburgh. In course of time I contrived many practical "dodges" (if I may use such a word), and could nimbly vault over difficulties of a special kind which had hitherto formed a barrier in the way of amateur speculum makers when fighting their way to a home-made telescope. I may mention that I

  By PanEris using Melati.

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