As for the observatory at Greenwich, seconded as it was by the twenty- two astronomical establishments of Great Britain, it spoke plainly enough. It boldly denied the possibility of success, and pronounced in favor of the theories of Captain Nicholl. But this was nothing more than mere English jealousy.
On the 8th of October President Barbicane published a manifesto full of enthusiasm, in which he made an appeal to "all persons of good will upon the face of the earth." This document, translated into all languages, met with immense success.
Subscription lists were opened in all the principal cities of the Union, with a central office at the Baltimore Bank, 9 Baltimore Street.
In addition, subscriptions were received at the following banks in the different states of the two continents:
At Vienna, with S. M. de Rothschild. At Petersburg, Stieglitz and Co. At Paris, The Credit Mobilier. At Stockholm, Tottie and Arfuredson. At London, N. M. Rothschild and Son. At Turin, Ardouin and Co. At Berlin, Mendelssohn. At Geneva, Lombard, Odier and Co. At Constantinople, The Ottoman Bank. At Brussels, J. Lambert. At Madrid, Daniel Weisweller. At Amsterdam, Netherlands Credit Co. At Rome, Torlonia and Co. At Lisbon, Lecesne. At Copenhagen, Private Bank. At Rio de Janeiro, Private Bank. At Montevideo, Private Bank. At Valparaiso and Lima, Thomas la Chambre and Co. At Mexico, Martin Daran and Co.
Three days after the manifesto of President Barbicane $4,000,000 were paid into the different towns of the Union. With such a balance the Gun Club might begin operations at once. But some days later advices were received to the effect that foreign subscriptions were being eagerly taken up. Certain countries distinguished themselves by their liberality; others untied their purse-strings with less facility--a matter of temperament. Figures are, however, more eloquent than words, and here is the official statement of the sums which were paid in to the credit of the Gun Club at the close of the subscription.
Russia paid in as her contingent the enormous sum of 368,733 roubles. No one need be surprised at this, who bears in mind the scientific taste of the Russians, and the impetus which they have given to astronomical studies--thanks to their numerous observatories.
France began by deriding the pretensions of the Americans. The moon served as a pretext for a thousand stale puns and a score of ballads, in which bad taste contested the palm with ignorance. But as formerly the French paid before singing, so now they paid after having had their laugh, and they subscribed for a sum of 1,253,930 francs. At that price they had a right to enjoy themselves a little.
Austria showed herself generous in the midst of her financial crisis. Her public contributions amounted to the sum of 216,000 florins-- a perfect godsend.
Fifty-two thousand rix-dollars were the remittance of Sweden and Norway; the amount is large for the country, but it would undoubtedly have been considerably increased had the subscription been opened in Christiana simultaneously with that at Stockholm. For some reason or other the Norwegians do not like to send their money to Sweden.
Prussia, by a remittance of 250,000 thalers, testified her high approval of the enterprise.
Turkey behaved generously; but she had a personal interest in the matter. The moon, in fact, regulates the cycle of her years and her fast of Ramadan. She could not do less than give 1,372,640 piastres; and she gave them with an eagerness which denoted, however, some pressure on the part of the government.
Belgium distinguished herself among the second-rate states by a grant of 513,000 francs-- about two centimes per head of her population.
Holland and her colonies interested themselves to the extent of 110,000 florins, only demanding an allowance of five per cent. discount for paying ready money.
Denmark, a little contracted in territory, gave nevertheless 9,000 ducats, proving her love for scientific experiments.