Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 13.djvu/755

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rise in the east and set in the west. But this is reversed in the case of Vulcan. It rises in the west, and, after having been fifty-seven days above the horizon of any point in which the plane of its orbit intersects the sun's surface, must set in the east.

But it is useless to speculate in regard to the elements of this planet's orbit, its magnitude, physical constitution, etc. It ought certainly to be found near its greatest elongation by some of the powerful telescopes now in use. When so detected a few observations will furnish data for the complete determination of its period and distance, together with the form and inclination of its orbit.

The interesting observations of Prof. Watson and Mr. Swift will not only stimulate astronomers to renewed search for the planet so fortunately detected, but must lead also to a more thorough examination of the space within Mercury's orbit. It is not improbable that the detection of Vulcan may be merely the first in a series of similar discoveries.[1] The solar disk will doubtless be closely watched about February 11th-17th, March 19th-27th, and October 1st-14th, as it has been claimed that at these epochs small round spots have been seen passing across the sun. In short, the prospect of planetary discoveries in this part of the system is at present more hopeful than in the space beyond the orbit of Neptune.


DISINTERESTED benevolence, about the genesis of which so much has been written, is a name for two distinguishable things. It is in some cases meant to designate that feeling which prompts us in a special instance to do good to some individual object. In other cases, the same name is applied to the quality of the mind which predisposes to all special benevolent impulses. But these two are of course not the same thing, and when I inquire into their origin I shall have to consider them separately. This, however, I shall do in an order the reverse of that commonly adopted, beginning with the special sentiment, and then inquiring into the general quality of the mind.

Benevolence, in the first sense, may be defined as the wish that the object of this feeling may be well—as the wish for the welfare of something. In so far as, with a certain class of beings, welfare is accompanied by pleasure or happiness, benevolence is a wish for the

  1. It has frequently been noticed that astronomical discoveries occur in clusters, separated by intervals comparatively fruitless in great results or important observations. Thus, from the epoch of Cassini's discoveries to that of Sir William Herschel's—nearly a century—no new planets, primary or secondary, were added to our system.