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they, or even mutilated shockingly, our religious
scruples would have been satisfied; but,
as he has escaped unhurt, it is clear that he
must be in league with the devil. The poor
"successful" man was therefore condemned
to be burnt alive; and the sentence of the
Holy Catholic Church was carried into Christian

That flying, however, could be effected by
the assistance of some more elaborate sort of
machinery, or with the aid of chemistry, was
believed at an early period. Friar Bacon
suggested it; so did Bishop Wilkins, and the
Marquis of Worcester; it was likewise projected
by Fleyder, by the Jesuit Lana, and
many other speculative men of ability. So
far, however, as we can see, the first real
discoverer of the balloon was Dr. Black, who,
in 1767, proposed to inflate a large skin with
hydrogen gas; and the first who brought
theory into practice were the brothers
Montgolfier. But their theory was that of the
"fire-balloon," or the formation of an artificial
cloud, of smoke, by means of heat from a
lighted brazier placed beneath an enormous
bag, or balloon, and fed with fuel while up in
the air. The Academy of Sciences immediately
gave the invention every encouragement, and
two gentlemen volunteered to risk an ascent
in this alarming machine.

The first of these was Pilâtre de Rosier, a
gentleman of scientific attainments, who was
to conduct the machine, and he was accompanied
by the Marquis d'Arlandes, an officer
in the Guards. They ascended in the presence
of the Court of France, and all the
scientific men in Paris. They had several
narrow escapes of the whole machine taking
fire, but eventually returned to the ground
in safety. Both these courageous men came
to untimely ends subsequently. Pilâtre de
Rosier, admiring the success of the balloon
afterwards made by Professor Charles, and
others, (viz., a balloon filled with hydrogen gas,)
conceived the idea of uniting the two systems,
and accordingly ascended with a large balloon
of that kind, having a small fire-balloon beneath
itthe upper one to sustain the greater
portion of the weight, the lower one to enable
him to alter his specific gravity as occasion
might require, and thus to avoid the usual expenditure
of gas and ballast. Right in theory
but he had forgotten one thing. Ascending
too high, confident in his theory, the upper
balloon became distended too much, and
poured down a stream of hydrogen gas, in self-relief,
which reached the little furnace of the
fire-balloon, and the whole machine became
presently one mass of flame. It was consumed
in the air, as it descended, and with
it, of course, the unfortunate Pilâtre de Rosier.
The untimely fate of the Marquis d'Arlandes,
his companion in the first ascent ever made
in a balloon, was hastened by one of those
circumstances which display the curious anomalies
in human nature;—he was broken for
cowardice in the execution of his military
duties, and is supposed to have committed suicide.

If we consider the shape, structure, appurtenances,
and capabilities of a ship of early ages,
and one of the present time, we must be struck
with admiration at the great improvement that
has been made, and the advantages that have
been obtained; but balloons are very nearly
what they were from the first, and are as much
at mercy of the wind for the direction they
will take. Neither is there at present any
certain prospect of an alteration in this condition.
Their so-called "voyage" is little more
than "drifting," and can be no more, except
by certain manoeuvres which obtain precarious
exceptions, such as rising to take the chance
of different currents, or lowering a long and
weighty rope upon the earth (an ingenious
invention of Mr. Green's, called the "guiderope"),
to be trailed along the ground. If,
however, man is ever to be a flying animal,
and to travel in the air whither he listeth,
it must be by other means than wings,
balloons, paddle-machines, and aerial ships
several of which are now building in America,
in Paris, and in London. We do not doubt
the mechanical genius of inventorsbut the
motive power. We will offer a few remarks
on these projects before we conclude.

But let us, at all events, ascend into the
sky! Taking balloons as they are, "for better,
for worse," as Mr. Green would say,—let us
for once have a flight in the air.

The first thing you naturally expect is some
extraordinary sensation in springing high up
into the air, which takes away your breath for
a time. But no such matter occurs. The
extraordinary thing is, that you experience no
sensation at all, so far as motion is concerned.
So true is this, that on one occasion, when Mr.
Green wished to rise a little above a dense
crowd, in order to get out of the extreme heat
and pressure that surrounded his balloon,
those who held the ropes, misunderstanding
his direction, let go entirely, and the balloon
instantly rose, while the aëronaut remained
calmly seated, wiping his forehead with a
handkerchief, after the exertions he had
undergone in preparing for the flight, and
totally unconscious of what had happened.
He declares that he only became aware of the
circumstance, when, on reaching a considerable
elevation (a few seconds are often quite enough
for that), he heard the shouts of the multitude
becoming fainter and fainter, which caused
him to start up, and look over the edge of
the car.

A similar unconsciousness of the time of
their departure from earth has often happened
to "passengers." A very amusing illustration
of this is given in a letter published by Mr.
Poole, the well-known author, shortly after
his ascent. "I do not despise you," says he,
"for talking about a balloon going up, for it
is an error which you share in common with
some millions of our fellow-creatures; and If
in the days of my ignorance, thought with the