The Number of Persons Who Have Ascended in Balloons
The number of accidents that have occurred bears but a very small proportion to the number of successful ascents that have been made.
Mr. Monck Mason, in his Aeronautica, gives a list of the names, with the dates and places of their ascent, of all persons who, as far as he could find, had ascended previously to 1838. His list contains 471 names, which are distributed among the inhabitants of the different countries as follows: - England, 313; France, 104; Italy, 18; Germany and the German States, 17; Turkey, 5; Prussia, 3; Russia, 2; Poland, 2; Hungary; 2; Denmark, 1; Switzerland, 1; and the United States, 3.
Among these are the names of 49 women, of whom 28 are English, 17 French, 3 German, and 1 Italian.
Some of the persons had ascended a great number of times; thus Mr. Charles Green's ascents alone amounted to more than 249; and those of the members of the same family to 535.
Mr. Mason calculated that the whole number of ascents executed by Englishmen was 752.
Of the 471 adventures only nine were killed, and of these six owed their fate to the dangers attendant on the use of the fire-balloon, and one to bravado.
The great number of our own countrymen that appear in the above list is no doubt partially due to the fact that it was compiled by an Englishmen, to whom, English newspapers and other records were more accessible; still there is no reason to doubt that a much greater number of Englishmen have ascended than inhabitants of any other country, as balloons as an amusement at fetes, &c., have been more common here. The number of Englishmen who have ascended might now be estimated at from 1500 to 2000.
We can call to mind but three fatal casualties that have taken place since Mr. Mason compiled his list, viz., Mr. Cocking's parachute accident, Mr. Gale's death in 1850, and Mr. Chambers' death in 1863.
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