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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/411

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GAUSS AND THE ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH.

Inclosed herewith I send yon a translation of parts of two letters written by Gauss in regard to the telegraph; they will explain themselves. I also send a copy of the original, for possibly the translation is not wholly correct. The last letter written by Prof. Gauss was to Sir David Brewster, in relation to the early discovery of the electric telegraph. I have tried to obtain either the original or a copy of this letter, but thus far I have not succeeded. I regret this all the more, for the reason that I believe it would be of interest to the public if it were published.

It may be of interest to you to know that one of Prof. Gauss's children is still living. He is my father, and he resides in the country a short distance from the town of Columbia, Mo, He is now in his seventy-eighth year. His name is Eugene. Another son, William, came to America about 1836, and died in St. Louis, Mo., in 1879. Gauss's youngest child, a daughter named Theresa, resided with her father in Göttingen at the time of his death. She herself died about twenty years ago in Europe. These were children by his second marriage. Also, by his first marriage. Gauss had two sons and one daughter. The oldest, Joseph, became "Oberbaurath" of Hanover. He died in the city of Hanover in 1873. The daughter, Minna, became the wife of Prof. Ewald, the author of a "History of the People of Israel" and a number of commentaries on different books of the Old Testament. As a Hebraist he ranked as high as, I believe, if not higher than. Gauss as a mathematician. The youngest of the children by the first marriage, Louis, died in infancy. Ewald's wife died in 1840. None of Gauss's descendants have exhibited remarkable talent in any way.

I trust I have not wearied you with these family matters.

Very truly, etc., R Gauss.

P. S.—By the way, Prof. Weber is still living, and to-day is his birthday. He is eighty-four years old.

 

At a meeting of the Electro-Technic Association held in Berlin in 1883, Prof. W. Forster, director of the Berlin Observatory, read the following extracts from letters written by Prof. C. F. Gauss, of Göttingen, in relation to the early invention of the electric telegraph:

"I don't remember," writes Gauss to Olbers, on the 20th of November of the year 1833, "my having made any previous mention to you of an astonishing piece of mechanism that we have devised. It consists of a galvanic circuit conducted through wires stretched through the air over the houses up to the steeple of St. John and down again, and connecting the observatory with the physical laboratory, which is under the direction of Weber. The entire length of wire may be computed at about eight thou-