This was a disastrous voyage, but I think it will interest you to hear of a more successful one, performed by three gentlemen, one of whom, Mr. Green, has introduced some great improvements in the art of filling and guiding balloons. These gentlemen left the earth in the car of a very large balloon, at half-past one o’clock, on Monday, the 7th of November, 1836, intending to proceed to some point on the continent of Europe not very distant from Paris. They were provided with provisions for a fortnight; these, with sand-bags for ballast, cordage, and all needful apparatus for such a journey were placed in the bottom of the car, while all around hung cloaks, carpet bags, barrels of wood and copper, barometers, telescopes, lamps, spirit-flasks, coffee-warmers, &c, for you know it would be impossible for them afterwards to supply any thing which might have been forgotten.
Thus duly furnished, the balloon was rapidly borne away by a moderate breeze over the fertile fields of Kent to Dover. It was forty-eight minutes past four when the first sound of the waves on the sea-beach broke on the voyagers’ ears: the sun was sinking below the horizon, and as the balloon was rapidly borne into the region of mist which hung over the ocean, we must suppose something of dread and uncertainty attended the adventurer’s minds. Scarcely, however, had they completed some arrangements, intended to render the balloon more buoyant in the heavy atmosphere, than again the sound of waves surprised them, and below were seen glittering the well-known lights of Calais and the neighboring shores. Passing over Calais the aeronauts lowered a blue-light to give notice of their presence, but could not tell whether the inhabitants perceived it. By this time night had completely closed in, and still the silken ball pursued its course. So long as lights were burning in the towns and villages which it passed in rapid succession, the solitary voyagers looked down on the scene with delight; sometimes they could even catch the hum of the yet busy multitude, or the bark of a watch-dog; but midnight came, and the world was hushed in sleep.
As soon as the people were again stirring below, the guide-rope was hauled into the balloon, and the grappling-iron lowered; and after sundry difficulties from the danger of getting entangled in a wood, and grievously affrighting two ladies, who stood awhile petrified with amazement at the unusual apparition, the voyagers succeeded in alighting in a grassy valley, about six miles from the town of Weilburg, in the Duchy of Nassau. Here every attention and accommodation was afforded them, and thus ended this remarkable journey, an extent of about five hundred British miles having been passed over in the space of eighteen hours.
John Paul Jones was a famous naval commander in the service of the United States, during the revolutionary war. He was a native of Scotland, but having come to Virginia and settled before the war broke out, he joined the patriots as soon as hostilities commenced, and rendered the most important services through the whole of the long and arduous contest, by which our independence was acquired.