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ties as befalling the nations of Europe during the year 1264 among other strange coincidences, it is related in the Libi-i Chranicarum (printed at Nuremberg, A. D. 1493) and continued by other writerin the middle age, that on the occasion of the first appear- ance of ths blazing star, the sovereign Pontiff, Urban IV., was seized with an alarming distemper, which confined his holiness to his apartment during the entire period that the comet prevailed ilud on the very night that the comet disappeared the Pope ex- pired. In 1556, its appearance was accompanied by similarly strange sublunary events. The victorious emperor, Charles V., to the amazement of the world, suddenly resigned the crowns of 'Germany and Spain, and betook himself to a monastery, where lie shortly died. It was in a paper ♦ead before the Royal Society of London about the middle of the last century (vide Philos. Trans. vol. 47) that Mr. Duuthorne hazarded the supposition that these JWQ celestial strangers were identical,—a conjecture also coun- tenanced by the eminent French astronomer, M. de Lalande. This hypothesis'has recently found a sanguine advocate in Mr. J. R. Hjuel, the discoverer of the new asteroid. But its return during the current yeaf'( 18.18), although endorsed by these high autho- rities. is very problematical; for the cautious Dr. Halley has ex- pressly included the comet of 1556 along with-five others concern- ing whoae elements he was sceptical., as ,the observations handed down by Paulus Fabricius and the older astronomers (which formed the basis of his computation) were neither made with good instruments nor mathematical precision, so that great difficulty was experienced in harmonizing their conflicting accounts. Ade- quate shotild also be made for the amount of the dis- turbing forces which this eccentric traveller may encounter ■through its approximation to other heavenly bodies iu its length- ened journey through the realm ) of space. Besides, we possess ,EKCL" t cl,-Tails of its path only during one-fourth of the fifty days it was last visible. lS for the elements of 1204, founded upon the Latin manuscript of a Dominican friar preserved in Pembroke Hall, Cambridge, they are open to grave exceptions, and form but a sandy foundation for the calculating astronomer of the nine- teenth century. Is there not also a palpable difference of several degrees between the elements of the two? Considering, there- fore, that the cometary revolutions are subject to extensive fluctu- ations, since these frail bodies are so susceptible of opposite at- tractions from powerful neighbouring orbs—weighing the difficulty of proving identity after a lapse of 292 years-and the laxity of previous observations;—above all, reflecting that the orbits of only -lbree of these singular bodies are satisfactorily settled, whereas probably 800 appearances are known, and the elements of nearly 100 recorded ;—may we not reasonably pause, and with the sa- gacious Halley legitimately doubt, before yielding assent to a pre- diction, not ,wholly gratuitous, nor placed beyond the range of possibility, but yet- depending too closely upon conjecture, though seeking to ally positive calculation and observation in lts support? But, in spite of mathematical discrepancies, imperfect instruments, and convicting data, should the approach of this comet crown the other wonderful occurrences of this eventful year, it will afford another astronomical triumph as the comet will then have com- pleted its-twentieth revolution round the sun since the creation of ihe world.1'