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of his press.
Besides being an expert in his art, Mr. MARPLES was well acquainted with its history and literature; and the papers on these subjects he contributed to the Society's Volume of Proceedings are able and interesting.
A third member who has passed away within the year, is Mr. WILLIAM LASSELL, the astronomer. He joined the Society in 1839, when his reputation as a discoverer, and skilful mechanician in the preparation and construction of reflecting telescopes, was already established. In 1851 he communicated to the Society his discovery of two additional satellites of Uranus; but his removal to Malta in the following year, and subsequent residence at Maidenhead when he returned to England, severed his active connection with the Society ; and the observations and discoveries which he continued to make were reported to the Royal Astronomical Society, of which he was President in 1870. An improved machine for polishing specula, completed by him at Maidenhead, after many experiments, is described in the Transactions of the Royal Society for 1874.
Mr. LASSELL was a Lancashire man, born at Bolton in 1799. He was a Fellow of the Royal Societies of London, Edinburgh, and Upsala, and was the bearer of many other scientific honours.
The Council turn from these notices of former valued members to express their very hearty satisfaction at the honour of knighthood recently conferred by the Queen upon one of the most accomplished of the Society's living members—Sir JAMES ALLANSON PICTON.
Their satisfaction is greater, from the knowledge that this well-merited distinction has been bestowed upon its recipient as an acknowledgment of his life-long services in the promotion of those objects which this Society was founded to encourage. Sir JAMES PICTON has been a member of the Society for
thirty-five years—just one-half the present term of its career; he has been twice elected to the Presidential office, and has contributed no less than nineteen papers to its volumes of Proceedings. No member of the Society has been more regular in attendance at the meetings, or taken a more active part in its discussions and general business. On these grounds alone, the Council feel assured that their colleague and ex-President will be accorded the heartiest congratulations of the Society, with sincere wishes that he may be spared for many years to grace the honour he has received
The list of Honorary Members has been reduced by the death of Dr. ROLLESTON, Professor of Physiology in the University of Oxford.
To replace this loss, the Council recommend the election of the Rev. W. H. DALLINGER, F.R.S., whose services to the Society are sufficiently known.
The list of Corresponding Members and Associates remains unaltered.
The Council have to report, in conclusion, that the Volume for the last Session will be ready for distribution in the course of the current month.
The Report was adopted on the motion of the PRESIDENT, seconded by Dr. NEVINS.
The Hon. TREASURER next presented the Annual Statement of Accounts, which was passed, on the motion of Mr. CHANTRELL, seconded by Mr. EDWARD DAVIES.
The following Officers and Members of Council were then elected :
Vice-Presidents.-Thos. J. Moore, Cor. Mem. Z.S.L., Thomas Higgin, F.L.S., Professor J. Campbell Brown, D.Sc., &c. Honorary Treasurer. Richard C. Johnson, F.R.A.S. Honorary Secretary.-James Birchall. Honorary Librarian.
Richmond Leigh, M.R.C.S.E. Members of Council.- Isaac Roberts, F.G.S., F.R.A.S., Richard Steel, W. Carter, M.D., J. Sibley Hicks, L.R.C.P., George H. Morton, F.G.S., Alfred E. Fletcher, F.C.S., John W. Hayward, M.D., Josiah Marples, George Shearer, M.D., Malcolm Guthrie, J.P., Rev. P. Murphy, Rev. C. S. Armour, M.A., Alfred Morgan, Baron L. Benas.
The Associates of the Society were re-elected.
The Rev. W. H. Dallinger, F.R.S., was elected an Honorary Member.
Mr. EDWARD DAVIES, F.C.S., F.I.C., the President elect, then took the Chair, and delivered his Inaugural Address on
Chemical Force." *
FIRST ORDINARY MEETING.
ROYAL INSTITUTION, October 17th, 1881. EDWARD DAVIES, F.C.S., F.I.C., PRESIDENT, in the
Chair. Messrs. N. P. D'Arcy and R. McLintock, the Rev. G. L. B. Wildig, and Dr. Burton were elected Ordinary Members.
Mr. ISAAC ROBERTS, F.G.S., read a communication on the Storage of Electricity, by Planté and Faure cells, which were exhibited and experimented with.
The following communication was read :-
ON FRESH-WATER MOLLUSCA FROM LAKE
BY THE REV. H. H. HIGGINS. A SERIES containing about twenty-five species of land and fresh-water shells from the vicinity of Lake Tanganyika was
See page 1.
recently offered for sale to the Museum of Liverpool. The land-shells, though most of them had been described as new species, were very similar in form and appearance to those already familiar to collectors. Amongst the shells taken from the waters of the lake were seven forms of considerable interest; and these, when compared with figures of all the species hitherto sent to this country from Lake Tanganyika, seemed to include the whole of the most striking forms. These seven were therefore purchased for the sum of £4 4s. Enlarged sketches of them have been made for the present occasion by Mr. John Chard, and the shells themselves are submitted for your inspection.
About twenty years ago a small collection of shells from the Albert Nyanza, and I believe also from Lake Tanganyika, was sent home by Captain Speke. Others followed from the Rev. E. C. Hore, and a larger series from Mr. Joseph Thompson. From these three sources have been derived most of the Central African lake shells now in this country.
Before proceeding to notice certain peculiarities in the specimens exhibited, it may be desirable to give some reasons for regarding them as possessing more than ordinary interest.
Land and fresh-water shells are supposed to be more characteristic of the localities in which they are found than birds or insects endowed with superior powers of locomotion. The tardiness of a snail is proverbial; and the cruel taunt recorded as used against a certain lethargic driver of a diligence-that if he had ever seen a snail he must have met one, since he could not possibly have overtaken itpoints to a fact bearing on the geographical distribution of the pulmoniferous Gasteropoda. It is probable that land molluscs could not cross a wide river, or survive transportation by the sea. Birds might carry them, but most snails conveyed by birds would be destined to fulfil a purpose other than the propagation of the species. Floods might distribute them to lower localities, but not to lands bordering on the higher waters of a river; and a lofty mountain chain would seem to be an insuperable barrier to the migration of snails.
The land shells in any country might therefore be expected to represent a developmental order dating from remote antiquity; and that this is so is indicated by a multitude of specialities which cannot now be noticed.
But the land shells, though so likely to have been preserved, afford scarcely any clue to their predecessors in the geological series. A few Helicidæ, more or less unlike the living representatives of the group, are known from the Tertiary and Recent periods, together with some lacustrine forms; and then, after receding across a prodigious gap, a few small fossils are found in the carboniferous limestone, which might from their appearance be the mineralised tests of molluscs which now live under stones or at the roots of
We all believe in evolution, said Dr. Carter the other day, but the term “missing links" does not fairly describe what is still wanting in the phylogeny of the land snails. What a world there is before us of bit by bit, but always delightful, discovery! If there was not something better still in prospect, it might make one wish for the oriental greeting to come true--"May you live a thousand years." Let me
now endeavour to remove a slur which has been cast on the study of conchology, my old favourite pursuit, though there are other pages in Nature's book that I love better now. It has been the fashion, and is still the fashion in some quarters—notably it is Professor Semper's plan—to disparage the study of the Mollusca by the shells alone. We need not judge of ladies by their bonnets, or of men by the houses they live in ; but shells are much more