Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 50.djvu/857

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
835
SKETCH OF STEPHEN J. PERRY.

with demolish them. The claim is almost too absurd to discuss. Even in different parts of the same country the dialect of the local criminals will differ very materially, while in all cases it would be totally incomprehensible to a foreign thief.

 

SKETCH OF STEPHEN J. PERRY.

THE Roman Catholic priesthood of the present century bears upon its rolls the names of several men who have distinguished themselves in scientific research; among them are those of two who were eminent in the study of solar physics. One of these was Father Secchi, of Rome; the other was Father Perry, S. J., who for several years maintained the position of Stonyhurst College and Observatory as a leading institution in the investigation of the sun spots, the aurora borealis, electric and magnetic currents, and the phenomena associated or supposed to be associated with them.

Stephen Joseph Perry was born in London, August 23, 1833, and died on the steamer Comus, of the British Eclipse Observing Expedition, near Demerara, December 27, 1889. He was taught at Gifford Hall School, and trained for the priesthood of the Roman Catholic Church in the colleges at Douai and Rome. Returning to England, he became, in November, 1853, in accordance with a resolution which he had formed while in Rome, a member of the Society of Jesus, British Province. At the end of the second year of his novitiate he went to France. Returning to the seminary of Stonyhurst, at Blackburn, England, he began a course of philosophy, but, showing a marked predilection for mathematics, his studies were, with the advice and consent of his superiors in the order, turned especially in that direction. He took a high rank in mathematical honors at the University of London, attended lectures by De Morgan, and completed his mathematical studies in Paris. He was then appointed Professor of Mathematics and Director of the Observatory in Stonyhurst; taught a class there for one year; took a course in divinity at St. Bueno's College, North Wales; was ordained priest in 1866; and two years afterward resumed his professorship and the direction of the observatory at Stonyhurst, where he spent the whole of the rest of his life except when absent upon some scientific expedition.

The observatory at Stonyhurst, where good work in meteorological and magnetic observation had already been done, was chosen as one of the first-class English meteorological stations in 1867. With the new instruments that were acquired from time to time, giving the observatory an excellent equipment. Father Perry strove to make the station one of the most efficient.