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Euphrosyne TF you remember, Cleonicus, you was saying this | Morning, that our next Conversation in the philofophical Way, was to be on the Subject of the fixed Stars.
Cleonicus. I did, my Euphrosyne ; for having already considered all the moveable Bodies of our mundane System; we are of Course led in the next Place to those which are more remote and immoveably fixed through all the visible Part of the Universe.
Euphrof. The Stars will afford Matter of most agreeable Speculation; I have many Things to ask concerning them.-See, the Heavens are clear; they begin already to twinkle.—Let us go and take a Walk in the Park to view the spangled Canopy.
Cleon. With a very good Will, my Euphrosyne ; this fine Season is very auspicious to our Designs. The Evening seems to invite us abroad, in the Language or Mr. Baker :
Come forth, O Man! yon azure Round survey,
Universe. Euphrof. Exceeding a propos : They appear Millions beyond Millions indeed!“
Cleon. But don't mistake, Sister ; the Meaning is, they appear so numerous through the Telescope, not to the naked Eye.
Euphros. Truth, I think they appear so to the Eye. Is it possible for the Eye to number them over all the Surface of the Heavens?
Cleon. Yes, Sifter ; all that are visible to the Eye have been numbered long since over all the starry Vault.
Euphrof. Surely you joke with me now, Cleonicus. Cleon. Not at all, Euphrosyne ; the Stars visible to the
naked Eye have been numbered in both the Hemispheres, and how many do you think they are ?
Euphrof. How many! Why, ten Thousand to be süre, and more.
Cleon. No, no, Sister ; nor yet so many Hundreds neither : What do you think of fix or seven Hundred at most?
Euphros. Think! why I think any one may fee more than five Hundred at one Glance, look which Way you will.
Cleon. I do not wonder to find you thus mistaken, and furprized at what I tell you. People take it for granted, that because they appear a great many, and scattered all over the Sky, that, therefore, they are innumerable ; whereas they are not so, but are easily numbered.
Euphrof. But give me Leave, Cleonicus, I fear you go a Step too far: Does not Jehovah tell Abraham, that he will make his Seed as the Stars of Heaven, as the Sands on the Sea Shore, and as the Dust of the Earth, which can't be numbered ? - Yea the Scripture says expressly in one Place, that the Hoft, i.e. the Stars, of Heaven cannot be numbered, Jer. xxxiii. 22. What say you to this, Cleonicus ?
Cleon. Nothing that shall reflect on the Holy Scriptures: Only confider, Sister, what a mad Piece of Work would it be to insist on the literal Sense of the Scripture in every Place ? and our Divines will tell you, that in these and such like Places, the Scripture speaks by Way of Hyperbole, which is a Figure of Speech very beautifully implying, a great Number by one infinitely great.
Euphros. Well, in these Things I must submit to superior Judgement. But since you say they are numbered, pray who numbered them, and what may their Number be?
Cleon. The antient Philofopher Hipparchus, of Rhodes, was the first who undertook the arduous Task, about 120 Years before Christ; daring, says Pliny, to undertake a Thing, which seemed to surpass the Power of the Gods, viz. number the Stars for Posterity, and reduce ihem all to Rule. -His Catalogue contained one thousand and twenty-two Stars.
Ptolemy, the Egyptian Astronomer, enlarged his Catae logue with only four Stari,
After Ptolemy, Ulugh Beighi, the Grandson of Tamerlain the Great, made a Catalogue of one thousand and seventeen Stars.
Next to him the noble Danish Aftronomer, Tycho Brahe, determined the Places of seven hundred and seventyseven Stars, and reduced them all to a Catalogue.
Kepler produced the next Catalogue, of one thousand one hundred and fixty-three Stars.
After this William, Prince of Helle, computed the Places of four hundred Stars, by the Help of his Mathematicians.
Some time afterwards the famous Jesuit, Ricciolus, enlarged Kepler's Catalogue to the Number of one thousand four hundred and fixty-eight Stars.
'Tis also said one Bayerus made a Catalogue of one thoufand seven hundred and twenty-five Stars.
After this the famous Hevelius, of Dantzick, composed a new Catalogue, of one thousand eight hundred and eighty, right Stars.
The late incomparable Astronomer Royal, Dr. Edmurd Halley, undertook a Voyage to the Isle of St. Helena, to observe the Stars in the southern Hemisphere, and at his Return published a Catalogue of three hundred and seventy-three of them,
And lastly, the most complete Catalogue of the Stars, was that made and published by the late Mr, Flamsteed, in his Celestial History, which contains about three thousand Stars, which by far the greatest Part are to be seen only with the Telescope. And thus you see to count the Stars is no such new or impracticable Thing.
Euphrof. I thank you, Cleonicus, for this concise History thereof. What will not the Skill and Industry of Men enable them to attain to ! • Cleon. You'll further wonder, perhaps, when I tell you, that there is not the leaft Star in the Heavens to be seen, whole Place and Situation is not better known, than the Position of many Cities, through which Travellers do daily * 'Euphrof. That is very wonderful, indeed ; but, I presume, Mr. Flamsteed's Catalogue does not contain all the Stars that be in the Universe.