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Full text of "Journal of my forty-fifth ascension, being the first performed in America, on the ninth of January, 1793"

JOURNAL 

OF MY 

F RTT - F I F r H 

ASCENSION, 

BEING THE FIRST PERFORMED IN 

AMERICA, 

ON THE NINTH OF JANUARY, 1793. 

jfithereum tranabit iter, quo nomine BLANCHARD? 
Impavidus, sortem non timet Icariam. 

PHILADELPHIA : 

PRINTED BY CHARLES CIST, No. 104 NORTH 

SECOND-STREET, M,DCC,XCIII. 



TARRYTOWN. N. Y. 

REPRINTED 

WILLIAM ABBATT 

1918 
BEING EXTRA NUMBER 64 OF THE MAGAZINE or HISTORY WITH NOTES AND QUERIES 



INSCRIBED 



TO 

GEORGE WASHINGTON, 

PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES 

O F 

AMERICA 

THE PATRON OF LIBERTY, THE LAWS, 
AND THE FINE ARTS, 



BY HIS MOST HUMBLE 

AND MOST OBEDIENT SERVANT, 

BLANCHARD. 



TARRYTOWN, N. Y. 

REPRINTED 

WILLIAM ABBATT 

1918 
BEING EXTRA NUMBER 64 OF THE MAGAZINE OF HISTORY WITH NOTES AND QUERIES 



ON BLANCHARD 

Zeus trampled in heaven by seeing the man 
Who travel d thro clouds and the sky; 

Why he is an earth-man, and what are we then 
If earth-men do travel like we? 

Jupiter says, Trot, Sir, we shan t let it be, 
That mortals shall rise from the earth, 

And as they all so agreed it to be, 
Was sacred and sworn by their beard. 

But Venus, a goddess so civil and kind, 
Obtains his grace by God Mars; 

Let come all the mortals that have Bl-d s mind, 
For gods it is only a farce. 

He rises to glorify every mankind, 
And strikes with strange view our eyes, 

He parted the clouds, and all what he find 
Must let him his course when he flies. 

Above every power of mortal he shews 
What courage and genius expeared, (*ic) 

And with his invisible fire he goes 
Through the heaviest clouds from the earth. 

The ocean he crosses to our surprize, 
No human has ever before 

Invaded the Brittons without ship or sails, 
From France to the Britanic Shore. 



265 



He often saw kingdoms and states to his feet, 
And millions he left on the earth, 

Struck like former Indians by Columbus visit 
When thunder of cannons they heard. 

What thanks will for Bl-d for ever remain. 
Will not be immortal his name? 

That human can travel through clouds and obtain 
More wisdom in nature and fame. 

You rise in a country where freedom exist, 
And happiness under thy feet; 

Where our Senators with citizens list, 
And neither wants armies nor fleet. 



266 



INTRODUCTION 

HAVING so happily succeeded in the 45th attempt of my 
aerial flight, in the presence of the enlightened citizens 
of Philadelphia, I thought I could still afford them some 
pleasure, by offering to them an accurate description of the opera 
tions preparatory to this ascension, and by acquainting them with 
my various situation during this excursion, as well as with the mo 
tives which induced me to a return, and the means I made use of 
to accomplish it. 

I will then account for the thoughts and feelings which agi 
tated my breast at the time of my ascension: I will display them 
with confidence, to those candid and feeling men whose eye traced 
me across the vast expanse of the aerial regions. 

To such as are not unacquainted with the mechanism of the 
aerostat, some of these details may appear trifling and superflu 
ous; but as I felt them, I will therefore describe them: nor do I 
think I should be justifiable in concealing from the curious public 
any part of the operations which attended so extraordinary an ex 
periment, of which they for the first time witnessed the complete 
success. 

And here I request the indulgence of my readers for the style 
of my narrative Elegance is not what I aim at in this perform 
ance: Truth is intended as its sole ornament. 

JOURNAL 

I HAD performed my forty-fourth ascension All Europe was 
filled with the glory of the famous MONTGOLFIER The prin 
cipal cities of the old world had applauded the happy success 
of so brilliant a discovery. It was my good fortune to contribute 
to it, by the multiplicity of my experiments; I have even, I trust, 
developed and enlarged the sublime idea, by subjecting the aero 
stat to fixed and certain laws, by which, at any height in the at 
mosphere, I might direct its motions at pleasure In a word, I 
enjoyed a satisfaction which seemed to leave me nothing to wish 

267 



8 JOURNAL OF MY FORTY-FIFTH ASCENSION 

for. I then thought of terminating my aerial excursions; and re 
calling to my mind my original situation, I wished to devote in a 
peaceable retreat the most precious moments of my leisure to col 
lecting together my aerological observations, in order to offer them 
as fresh food to the eager thirst of mankind after new sources of 
knowledge. 

This first intention of mine was soon altered by an uneasy 
emotion which seized my breast. The New World, so interesting 
by its situation, offered to my emulation an attraction which I 
could not resist. This Hemisphere had as yet only heard of the 
brilliant triumph of aerostation; and the people who inhabit it ap 
peared to me worthy of enjoying the sublime spectacle that it 
affords.* 

Ye People of America, ye wise and happy Nation, who know 
ing the full value of liberty, are not insensible to that of a just sub 
mission to the laws, you attracted all my attention, and the de 
sire of beholding you in the full enjoyment of the blessings of liber 
ty, under the protection of your newly established government, 
fired my soul as much as the wish of acquiring some glory among 
you. 

My project was as soon executed as formed. Fearful how 
ever of not finding in the new countries which I was going to ex 
plore, a sufficient quantity of materials necessary to my experi 
ments, my departure was delayed only by the time requisite to 
have them forwarded from London to Hamburg, where I then was. 

My orders being punctually executed and every thing suc 
ceeding to the best of my wishes, I had the satisfaction to embark 
with all my apparatus upon the ship Ceres , Captain Marsh, bound 
to Philadelphia. On the 30th of September 1792, we sailed, and 
landed here on the 9th of December in the same year. 

*On my arrival in this city, I was informed that some experiments of this kind had al 
ready been attempted, the ill success of which had disappointed the expectation of the sub 
scribers. I now congratulate myself upon having proved to the citizens of Philadelphia the 
truth of what I had advanced. 

268 



BEING THE FIRST PERFORMED IN AMERICA 9 

How superior to all the reports of fame Philadelphia appeared! 
This city so happily characterised by the name it bears, still pre 
serves, whether collectively or separately viewed, the glorious 
stamp of her philosophical founder. The simplicity of her archi 
tecture, the order and regularity of her plan, the size and cleanli 
ness of the streets, and the conveniences they afford to the pub 
lic, everything reminds us at the first view of the celebrated man, 
who chose it should bear a name analogous to his philanthropic 
feelings, and gives us also a lively recollection of the wisdom of her 
rulers, as well as of the simple and decent manners of her inhabi 
tants. 

I made it my duty, nay I was proud of attempting in this me 
tropolis my first aerial ascension in America, and I derived from 
it the most sanguine expectations of a complete success. The 
gracious reception with which I was welcomed by the hero of liber 
ty, General GEORGE WASHINGTON, President of the United States, 
the easy and chearful access I had to General THOMAS MIFFLIN, 
Governor of Pennsylvania, the eagerness which I thought I dis 
covered in the public to see MONTGOLFIER S sublime discovery re 
duced to practice, every thing seemed to tell me that I might with 
confidence display the mechanism of an aerostat, to make it soar 
above the clouds and convince the New World that man s ingenui 
ty is not confined to earth alone, but opens to him new and cer 
tain roads in the vast expanse of heaven. 

I soon gave notice to the public of my intention, and immedi 
ately proposed a subscription for a sum which might lighten the 
burthen of my expences.* I waited not for its being filled: I 

*These expences are indeed extraordinary, both on account of the quantity of the ele 
mentary ingredients of the gas, which are often scarce in the country where the experiment is 
made, as prudence requires to have a good provision of it at hand, to insure success against 
the unforeseen accidents which chemical operations are subject to; and on account of the in 
struments and large apparatus which are necessary to such an experiment, Again, the ex 
pences are increased by the size of the balloon in proportion to the force intended to be given 
to it. I make this observation to forewarn the Amateurs of this art, and to caution them against 
exposing themselves to a rash undertaking. This is perhaps the reason of the ill success of 

269 



10 JOURNAL OF MY FORTY-FIFTH ASCENSION 

hastened to announce the time of an experiment, fixed for the 9th 
of January, 1793, at 10 o clock in the morning. However, zeal 
ous as I was to answer the public expectations, I was sensible that 
as a foreigner, unknown in a country with whose very language I 
am unacquainted, I should have been exposed to great difficulties 
in the execution of my design, had not the magistrates of the city 
stepped forward to countenance my design, by allowing me to 
make use of the prison court as the most suitable place, on account 
of its spaciousness. I am also much indebted to the zeal of Mr. 
Benjamin Nones, who by his kind assistance accelerated my prepa 
rations. Every thing seemed to succeed to my wishes, and to en 
sure my success. The day appointed for my experiment rose, 
one of the finest of the new year; I will also reckon it among the 
happiest of my life. It was presaged by a calm night, a serene 
sky, spangled with ten thousand glittering stars, whose light was 
eclipsed only by that of the returning sun. 

At 4-5-6 o clock in the morning, by Reaumur s thermometer 
o d . f , Fahrenheit s 30 d . f . I had already repaired to the place 
of my operations, had examined every thing minutely, and left 
nothing undone to answer the public expectation. To be exactly 
acquainted with the temperature of the air, and with the result 
of the various changes of the weather was a matter of great mo 
ment with me; I therefore compared my observations with those 
that were made by my friend Mr. Peter Legaux, and I found they 
perfectly agreed. 

From 7 to 8 o clock, the sky being overcast and hazy, the 
higher jcurrent of air setting from the E. N. N.* and the lower from 
S. S. W. Reaumur s thermometer standing at l d ., Fahrenheit s 
at 35 d . * my balloon was lying on the ground, resting on its folds, 

*E. N. E? 

many in Europe, and the cause why the improvement of this ingenious discovery has been 
retarded; nor do I think the case will be speedily altered, if Chymistry and Mechanicks in 
concert do not succeed in simplifying the means; in which enquiry I am at present steadily 
employed. 

270 



BEING THE FIRST PERFORMED IN AMERICA 11 

when the operation commenced and the inflammable air began to 
expand it by degrees. 

At 9 o clock the mist dissipated, the sky was wrapt in thin 
clouds, pervious to the rays of the sun; wind S. W. Reaumur s 
thermometer l d . * , Fahrenheit s 35 d . . 

At YL past 9, the sun which broke in through the clouds dis 
sipated them in such a manner that they appeared no more than 
cobwebs on the irradiated atmosphere A gentle westerly breeze 
Reaumur s thermometer 2 d ., Fahrenheit s 36 d . -. 

The hour fixed for my departure now drew near, and I was 
anxious to keep my word with a numerous people, whom repeated 
discharges of the artillery of the city had already forewarned of 
the execution of my experiment; I then disposed in order all the 
apparatus requisite for my observations: I adapted Reaumur s 
thermometer to the center of an excellent barometer,* in order to 
rectify, with the greatest possible exactness, the degrees of ex 
pansion or condensation which the mercury in the barometer 
should undergo by the changes in the temperature of the air. The 
altitude, as corrected at that time, was 29 inches, 6 lines, f , Eng 
lish measure. 

At three quarters past 9, the sky being clear, a light breeze 
from the W. N. W. by Reaumur s 3 d . by Fahrenheit s 38 d . To- 
corrected altitude of the barometer 29 inches, 6 lines ^. 

At 10 o clock, the sky was still finer and clearer; a light breeze 
from the W. N. W. Reaumur s thermometer in the sun 7 d . Fah- 

*This barometer, which had been kindly lent to me by Mr. Benjamin Franklin Bache, 
was phosphoric and perfectly freed from air; the interior diameter was 2 lines 5-10, with a 
bent reservoir, and moving tube that might easily be brought back again to its horizontal 
line, when the lightness or heaviness of air should either depress or raise the column of mercury. 
The measurement of heights, as well as of the difference of horizon, is one of the finest uses to 
which a barometer can be applied Its usefulness is generally acknowledged It not only 
serves to measure the heights of mountains, and the depth of subterranean caves, and to as 
certain, by accurate observations, made at very different degrees of elevation, the density of 
the air; but it also indicates the variations and the absolute weight of the atmosphere. 

271 



12 JOURNAL OF MY FORTY-FIFTH ASCENSION 

renheit s 47 d . f corrected altitude of the barometer 29 inches, 
7 lines. 

Already the balloon, inflated by the inflammable gas, lifted 
itself from the ground, and having assumed its spherical form, was 
equally pressed on all the points of its concave surface. Already 
specifically lighter than the column of air which it had displaced, 
it hovered majestically in the middle of that fluid in a vertical 
situation, striving to break loose from the fastening which held 
it by its base and reluctantly kept it down. Repeated experiments 
have made these various circumstances so many data from which 
to determine the moment of my departure. 

At 9 minutes after 10, the sky being clear, serene and propi 
tious, little wind and nearly calm at the surface of the earth; Reau 
mur s thermometer in the sun 10 d . f , Fahrenheit s 55 d . ^,; cor 
rected altitude of the barometer 9 inches, 7 lines f 6 , English 
measure, I affixed to the aerostat my car, laden with ballast, me 
teorological instruments, and some refreshments, with which the 
anxiety of my friends had provided me. I hastened to take leave 
of the PRESIDENT, and of Mr. TERNAN, Minister Plenipotentiary 
of France to the United States. I then received from the PRESI 
DENT the most flattering mark of his good will in the passport* 

*GEORGE WASHINGTON, President of the 
United States of America, 

TO ALL TO WHOM THESE PRESENTS SHALL COME 

The bearer hereof, Mr. Blanchard a citizen of France, proposing to ascend in a balloon 
from the city of Philadelphia, at 10 o clock, A. M. this day, to pass in such direction and to de 
scend in such place as circumstances may render most convenient THESE are therefore to 
recommend to all citizens of the United States, and others, that in his passage, descent, re 
turn or journeying elsewhere, they oppose no hindrance or molestation to the said Mr. Blan 
chard; And that on the contrary they receive and aid him with that humanity and good will 
which may render honor to their country, and justice to an individual so distinguished by his 
efforts to establish and advance an art, in order to make it useful to mankind in general. 

Given under my hand and seal at the city of Philadelphia, this ninth day 
(Seal.) of January, one thousand seven hundred and ninety three, and of the 

independence of America the seventeenth. 

(Signed) GEORGE WASHINGTON. 

272 



BEING THE FIRST PERFORMED IN AMERICA 13 

which he was pleased to deliver to me with his own hand. I never 
felt the value of glory so much as I did in that moment, in the 
presence of a Hero, whom she had constantly attended at the head 
of armies, and with whom she still presided over the councils of 
his country. 

The moment of my departure was announced by the last dis 
charge of the artillery; I then ascended my car, studied the pro 
portions of aerial gravities, and threw out as much of my ballast 
as appeared necessary to leave the aerostat at liberty, and to render 
my ascent certain. I soon found myself possessed of every re 
quisite; I felt myself balanced at 15 inches from the ground. This 
was all I wished for; I requested Messieurs Nassy and Legaux, who 
held the aerostat, to let it loose. 

My ascent was perpendicular, and so easy that I had time to 
enjoy the different impressions which agitated so many sensible 
and interesting persons, who surrounded the scene of my departure, 
and to salute them with my flag, which was ornamented on one 
side with the armoric bearings of the United States, and on the 
other with the three colors, so dear to the French nation. Accus 
tomed as I have long been to the pompous scenes of numerous as 
semblies, yet I could not help being surprized and astonished, when, 
elevated at a certain height over the city, I turned my eyes to 
wards the immense number of people which covered the open 
places, the roofs of the houses, the steeples, the streets and the 
roads over which my flight carried me in the free space of the air. 
What a sight! How delicious for me to enjoy it! This people 
naturally serious and reflecting, whose mirth is so much more true 
and national, as it is not apt to give away to the transports of the 
moment, shewed from all parts the most unequivocal marks of 
astonishment and satisfaction: I, for a long time, followed their 
rapid motions: for a long time could I hear the cries of joy which 
rent the air: I thought myself carried on the vows of their hearts. 
I had at that instant nothing but the success of my voyage to an- 

273 



14 JOURNAL OF MY FORTY-FIFTH ASCENSION 

swer for my gratitude, and the waving of my colours to express 
the same. At present I make it my duty to express the same in 
this feeble essay; may it be agreeable to the inhabitants of a city 
whose approbation is so glorious for me. 

I still continued to rise; the calm state of the atmosphere, 
whereinto I had now launched, offered no kind of difficulty, and I 
followed the ascending motion of my aerostat with a gradual uni 
formity, at once easy and majestic. 

I was at a perpendicular height of 200 fathoms, when I felt 
a somewhat stronger breeze spring up, which carried me in an east 
erly direction towards the Delaware: here I met a numerous and 
thick flock of wild pigeons: they seemed to be much frightened. 
Alas! it was never my intention in traversing the ethereal regions 
to disturb the feathered inhabitants thereof: they separated into 
two different parties and left a passage open for me. I soon per 
ceived them again at a great distance from me. I ascended con 
stantly, being carried towards the south-east by a light and pleas 
ant breeze. At 10 h . 16 m . I let go my anchor, to serve as a point 
of observation, keeping the same course, though rather a little 
more to the southward. 

At 10 h . 19-20-21 m . bearing constantly towards the S. S. E. 
my ascent became more rapid, owing solely to the dilatation of the 
inflammable gas which filled the balloon. At this moment my 
position was perpendicular over the middle of the Delaware, which 
the reflecting sunbeams painted to my eyes of a transparent white; 
and at the height I was then at, this river appeared to me like a 
ribband of the breadth of about four inches. 

At 10 h . 35 m . being now in a much more rarified fluid, and the 
force of the inflammable gas having increased in proportion to its 
dilatation, the aerostat was soon raised to the highest elevation 
which it is susceptible of. I had lost nothing of my ballast con 
sisting of four bags and an half filled with sand, containing 24 Ib. 

274 



BEING THE FIRST PERFORMED IN AMERICA 15 

English weight each, together 108 Ib. A little black dog, which a 
friend had entrusted to me, seemed to feel sick at this height; he 
attempted several times to get out of the car; but finding no land 
ing-place he took the prudent part to remain quietly beside me: 
the whining of this little animal raised nevertheless reflections in 
my mind, which would have affected me very much, had not the 
view of the country, whose vast extent was expanded before my 
eyes, opened my mind to softer and more agreeable contemplations. 

See here, said I to myself, this country for ever famous in 
history, which by philosophy as well as by dint of courage has ac 
quired its liberty; its inhabitants preserve yet the primitive candor 
of the original virtues of nature. They felt the galling yoke of an 
unnatural step-mother, they undertook to shake it off. Their 
cause was just; they triumphed; but how glorious did their wisdom 
render their victory! Having soon found that there exists no solid 
happiness for man living in society, but under the empire of laws, 
they did not suffer themselves to be agitated by abstract and met 
aphysical discussions, they were as virtuous as brave; knowing 
their own good and the means to arrive at prosperity, they knew 
how to realize them. 

Oh France! Oh my country! for ages renowned amongst the 
greatest nations of the universe, gratitude engages for thee the 
feelings of a people which owes to thee part of its glory and of its 
happiness; their warmest wishes are for the success of thy arms and 
for thy prosperity: thou hast so often avenged the cause of nations 
against injustice and oppression! Oh France! delightful abode! 
may thy splendor still preserve its lustre in spite of the tyrants 
who are endeavouring to obscure it! May st thou, conquering all 
obstacles, speedily reach the sublime goal to which thy fair desti 
nies call thee! Accept my honest wishes for thy success, they are 
pure as the air I now breathe. Rise at last more beautiful and 
more glorious from the conflicts which rend thy bosom, and like 

275 



16 JOURNAL OF MY FORTY-FIFTH ASCENSION 

the people of America, hasten to fix thy glory and thy prosperity 
on the wisdom and stability of thy laws! 

What sweet ecstacies take possession of the soul of a mortal, 
who leaving the terrestrial abode, soars into the ethereal regions! 
and to what a degree of felicity would these transports be raised 
by the exuberant and variegated aspect of nature, when she, in 
the season of her fecundity, spreads before the eyes of the husband 
man the reward of his labor in the rich and various produce of the 
earth! 

If the Philosopher of Geneva tasted with so much delight the 
pleasure of his sentimental meditations on the high summits of 
the mountains of Valais, with how many more new beauties would 
his fruitful genius have enriched the fields of imagination, had he 
been transported into these higher regions. I myself should have 
forgotten my earthly existence, had I not recollected some ob 
servations which several learned gentlemen had requested me to 
make. 

At 10 h . 36-37-38 m . I found that I was in a state of perfect 
equilibrium in the midst of a stagnant fluid; I made haste to avail 
myself of this happy circumstance, in order to execute the com 
missions I had charged myself with. 

1 st . I began with emptying the six bottles which Doctor 
Wistar had put into my car containing divers liquors; they were 
all filled with that atmospherical air wherein I was floating, and 
were stopped up hermetically, as the accuracy of the experiment 
required. 

dly . I passed on to the observation which Doctor Rush had 
requested me to make upon the pulsation of the artery, when I 
should be arrived at my greatest height. I found it impossible to 
make use of the quarter-minute glass which he had provided for 
that purpose, but I supplied its place by an excellent second-watch; 

276 



BEING THE FIRST PERFORMED IN AMERICA 17 

and the result of my observations gave me 92 pulsations in the 
minute (the average of 4 observations made at the place of my 
highest elevation) whereas on the ground I had experienced no 
more than 84 in the same given time, average of 4 observations: 
difference 8 pulsations more at the height of 5812 English feet, 
where I then was. 

3 dly . I had been requested by Doctor Glent worth to make 
experiments in the ethereal regions with a load-stone which he 
had lent me: on the ground it raised 5% ounzes avoirdupois; but 
at the aforesaid height it would hardly bear 4 ounzes. 

4 thly . The lowest state of the mercury in the barometer after 
having brought its surface in its lower reservoir to its proper level 
and corrected its dilatation, was 69 lines f 6 French measure, or 
74 lines * a English measure, which according to Mariot, Boyle, 
Deluc and Father Cote gives an elevation of 905 toises 1 foot and 
6 inches (the toise at 6 feet) or 5431 feet 6 inches French measure, 
and at the usual reduction 968 fathom 4 feet, or 5812 feet English 
measure.* This was the highest elevation of my balloon, without 
having thrown out any of my ballast, except the liquor contained 
in the 6 bottles given to me by Doctor Wistar. 

At this moment (10 h . 38. m ) the thermometer of Reaumur 9 d . 
Fahrenheit s 52 d . f (the temperature of the air most delightful 
and quite extraordinary for this season of the year). These ob 
servations were made with so much the more confidence, as I en 
joyed for a long time the calmest reflection. In the mean while 
the state of the atmosphere began to change. A whitish cloud 
withheld from my sight for several minutes a part of the city of 
Philadelphia, which appeared to me only as a most minute and mi 
croscopic object. A thick fog covered the south; towards the 
east, in the lower region of the atmosphere, a mist arose, which 
prevented me from reconnoitring the sea. I was afraid that the 

*Equal to iVio miles. 

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18 JOURNAL OF MY FORTY-FIFTH ASCENSION 

land-wind encreasing might render my descent difficult; every 
thing induced me to accelerate it. 

I strengthened my stomach with a morsel of biscuit and a glass 
of wine. I then locked up in the box of my car those of my instru 
ments that were apt to break. My trusty companion, the little 
black dog, partook equally of my care. I cleared my car of several 
decorations which might have obstructed my sight. I likewise 
took away the bladders which surrounded it, wherewith I had pro 
vided myself in case of a forced descent on the water. In such 
circumstances prudence dictates the most scrupulous precautions. 
Searching in this manner the interior parts of my car, I found at 
my feet a letter from Mr. Legaux and Doctor Nassy: these two 
friends had, without my knowledge, joined to this packet a bottle 
of ether. I took a few drops of it, which refreshed me very much 

Being now fully master of all my ways, I opened the valve 
of the balloon, and the aerostatic equilibrium was soon broken, 
but in a manner as exactly graduated and as uniform as that which 
regulated my ascent. I could soon distinguish with the naked eye 
those large masses, which are raised above the surface of the earth. 
I observed a large forest; I tried to approach it I judged it to be 
about 1000 or 100 feet distant; but through my spy-glass it ap 
peared impenetrable to me, and I gave up the idea of landing there. 
I now threw out a quantity of ballast sufficient to give the balloon 
a superior equilibrium; it rose again and I followed my course, 
looking for a more convenient landing-place. Thinking I had 
found one, I again opened the valve; the ascending force diminish 
ed; I descended obliquely in a new direction: but in this second 
attempt I was not more fortunate than in the first. I perceived 
a field covered with stumps of trees, whose stems were yet too 
strong not to embarrass and injure my apparel. I kept clear of it, 
and raising myself by throwing out more ballast, my direction was 
such that I could discover a clear spot in the midst of a thick wood, 

278 



BEING THE FIRST PERFORMED IN AMERICA 19 

that is to say, an opening large and free enough to permit me to 
descend without any kind of danger; I attempted it for the third 
time. 

I then took the string of the valve in my hand, and letting 
out the inflammable air in such proportion that my course, pressed 
by a proportionable quantity of the yet remaining ballast, ter 
minated in a direction of a curve of 45 degrees. I soon found 
myself at the height of about 80 feet above the surface of the 
ground; I reached it like a bird in full flight; the flexible limbs of 
the trees around me gave way to the strong pressure of my ap 
parel; I landed at last and set my foot on ground at 10 h . 56 m . A. M. 

I immediately searched my instruments; they were all well 
preserved, except the barometer, which on account of its length 
I could not put into the box of my seat, and which I found broken. 
I delivered at the same time the dog from his confinement, he ran 
immediately to drink the muddy water from a neighbouring pool, 
and returned directly to me. There remained of my provisions 
about 5 or 6 pounds of biscuit and two bottles and a half of wine: 
this resource made me easy in a place which was entirely unknown 
to me, and where the horizon was on all sides concealed from my 
view. 

With the compass in my hand I formed already plans how to 
effect my return, after I should have secured my apparatus against 
accidents, when I heard a noise which informed me of the presence 
of some person near me. It was indeed a countryman, an inhabi 
tant of this neighbourhood, who having seen an extraordinary 
phenomenon in the air had advanced towards the spot, where he 
supposed it had descended. I spied him and enjoyed his whole 
surprize, when he saw through a tuft of trees such a monstrous 
machine, balancing on itself, and sinking in proportion as the spirit 
wherewith it was animated left it. He seemed to be frightened, 
and I was afraid he would go away again. I let him hear my voice, 

279 



20 JOURNAL OF MY FORTY-FIFTH ASCENSION 

inviting him to draw near, but he either did not understand me or 
was retained by a certain distrust; and at that time I could not 
quit my balloon. I did better; recollecting that the exhilarating 
juice of the grape was always amongst mankind the happiest sign 
of friendship and conciliation, I shewed him a bottle of wine. So 
much eagerness on my part inspired him with confidence; he ap 
proached, I invited him to drink, he would not venture, I then 
drank, first, and he followed my example. Becoming soon familiar 
he assisted me in my operations; when another countryman armed 
with a gun, came to the spot. Never did I see the expression of 
astonishment so striking as in the features of this man : he dropped 
his gun and lifted up his hands towards heaven : how I wished to be 
able to understand him! The first countryman then came from 
under the folds of the balloon, where he had been at work; he spoke 
to the new-comer, and persuaded him to draw near with confi 
dence. Come hither, said he, (as it has been explained to me 
afterwards) this is an honest man who has descended here, he has 
excellent wine, whereof he has given me to drink already; he has a 
certificate from our WASHINGTON, he has shewn it to me; but as I 
cannot read, come here and read it. Whilst these picturesque 
scenes were acting, I saw two women and several men on horse 
back arrive, who expressed as much pleasure as surprize, to see me 
thus in the midst of my colossal apparatus, which I was busy to 
arrange and put in order, for the purpose of facilitating its carriage. 
I could not, nor did I know how to answer all the friendly questions 
which they asked me; my passport served me instead of an inter 
preter. In the midst of a profound silence was it read with a loud 
and audible voice. How dear the name of WASHINGTON is to this 
people! with what eagerness they gave all me possible assistance, 
in consequence of his recommendation! My balloon was soon 
folded up without any accident and put into my car, which four 
men took upon their shoulders and carried about 200 yards to a 
small house, which I did not expect so near. A gentleman offered 

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BEING THE FIRST PERFORMED IN AMERICA 21 

me his horse, but not being sufficiently acquainted with the vivacity 
of this animal, I was soon obliged to dismount, and would have 
greatly preferred to return in the same manner as I came. I 
walked afoot at a good rate, followed by a numerous and jovial 
company, which increased in proportion as we advanced. We 
arrived at a neighbouring house, where they offered me some ex 
cellent potatoes; but whether this dish was not to my taste, or 
that I was too eager to reach Philadelphia before night, my stom 
ach rejected these kind offers. I had a certificate of my descent 
drawn.* My apparatus was then put on a cart, I mounted a 
horse not quite so spirited as the first, and proceeded in company 
of a great number of horsemen, 3 miles, to a tavern, where a din 
ner was prepared for us. It was here that I had the good luck to 
meet Jonathan Penrose, Esquire, who kindly determined not to 
quit me: I accepted with pleasure a seat, which he offered me in his 
carriage, to bring me to the banks of the Delaware; we then crossed 
the river. When we arrived at this side, we were 3 miles from the 
city of Philadelphia, here my generous companion had another 
carriage ready, which conveyed us to his house in Southwark. 
W 7 hilst I took some refreshment, Mr. Penrose ordered another car 
riage, wherein he had the kindness to conduct me to my lodgings, 
where I arrived at 7 o clock.! My first care was to go and present 

*These may certify that we the subscribers saw the bearer, Mr. Blanchard, settle in his 
balloon in Deptford township, county of Gloucester, in the state of New Jersey, about fifteen 
miles from Philadelphia, about 10 o clock 56 minutes, A. M. Witness our hands the ninth 
day of January, Anno Domini, 1793. Everard Bolton, 

Joseph Griffith, 
Joseph Cheesman, 
Samuel Taggart, 
Amos Castell, 
Zara North. 

fCitizens of Philadelphia, who followed Mr. Blanchard in his 45th ascension and escorted 
him to Philadelphia after his descent, January 9, 1793. Jonathan Penrose. Esquire, 

and his son Thomas, 
James Smith, 
Henry Moileure. 
Robert Wharton, 
A Person, name unknown. 
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22 JOURNAL OF MY FORTY-FIFTH ASCENSION 

my respects to President WASHINGTON, and to inform him of the 
happy effects of the passport he had been pleased to grant me. I 
had the honor to offer him my colours, which he politely accepted, 
and thereby acquired a fresh claim to my gratitude. From thence 
I waited on Mr. TERNANT, the patriotic minister of the French 
Republic to the United States, and his reception was such as might 
have been expected from the worthy Representative of a nation 
who places her chief glory in cherishing and protecting the sciences 
and the fine arts. 

BLANCHARD, 

Adopted Citizen of the principal 
cities in Europe, Pensioner of 
the French Nation, and 
member and correspon 
dent of several acade 
mies and literary 
societies. 



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