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horticulture and agriculture in connection with the general library.

From 1848 to 1866 the Essex Institute published five SCIENCE IN AMERICA

volumes of “Proceedings,” containing reports of papers

read before the Institute on the various subjects included Proceedings of the Essex Institute. Vols. I.-V. Pro- in the programme. Among the more important papers

ceedings and Communications of the Essex Institute. contained in these volumes may be mentioned the followVol. VI. Bulletin of the Essex Institute. Vols. I. ing :-List of Infusoria found chiefly in the neighbourand II. (Salem, Massachusetts. Published by the hood of Salem, by Thomas Cole (1853); Catalogue of the Essex Institute, 1856-1871.)

Birds of Essex County, by F. W. Putnam, 235 species WE TE have, on various occasions, alluded to the large (1856); Account of the life, character, &c., of the Rev.

amount of encouragement to the pursuit of Samuel Parris, of Salem Village, and of his connection science afforded by the governing powers of the United

with the Witchcraft delusion of 1692, by Samuel P. States, both by the Central Federal Government at

Fowler (1856), reminding one exceedingly of a history Washington, and by those of the individual States. The that will probably one day be written of certain similar sums of money voted for such purposes by our American delusions not unknown in our own day; On Indian relations would make the hair of our economical Govern- Relics from Marbleshead (1857); Noticeable traits of the ment officials in this country stand on end, and would be Flora of Nahant, by C. M. Tracy (1858); On the changes certain to provoke angry comment in our House of produced by Civilisation in the habits of our common Commons ; while the number of scientific men paid for Birds, by S. D. Fowler (1860); Catalogue of the Birds carrying on investigations and preparing reports on

sound at Norway, Oxford County, Maine, by A. P. Verrill various subjects of great practical value for the welfare of (1862) ; Report of the Army Worm (Leucania unipuncta, the country, would almost bear comparison with the Ham.), by Carleton A. Shurtleff (1862); Catalogue of number we pay for doing nothing or for obstructing all Birds found at Springfield, Mass., with Notes on their rational improvements.

migrations, habits, &c., by J. A. Allen (1864); The Humble When men of culture and science in this country

Bees of New England and their Parasites, by A. S. attempt to advocate the claims of Science to national Packard, jun. (1864); A classification of Mollusca, based support from the Government, one of the arguments

on the principle of Cephalisation, by Edward S. Morse most relied on by their opponents is that such a course (1865); Synopsis of the Polyps and Corals of the North would have the effect of checking all scientific enterprise Pacific Exploring Expedition under Commodore C. and research that was not paid for by the State. We Ringgold and Captain John Rodgers, U.S.N., from 1853 should like the:e objectors to look over the publications 10 1856, by A. P. Verrill (1805-06); Flora of the Hawaian now lying before us; and we think, if they were able to Islands, by Horace Mann (1866). derive any lesson from it, it might have a tendency to

From 1867 the Transactions of the Institute have been modify their opinion.

published in a slightly different form, under the title of New England is acknowledged to be the most highly “ Proceedings and Communications of the Essex Ineducated portion of the United States, and among the stitute,” its contents consisting to a considerable extent of New England States none occupies a more honourable continuations of some of the elaborate and important position than Massachusetts for its high standard of culti- papers commenced in the earlier volumes, especially of vation, and for the public-spirited manner in which its Prof. Verrill's “Synopsis of the Corals and Polyps of the citizens tax themselves for the support of education and North Pacific Exploring Expedition," and of the “ Flora the spread of knowledge, scientific and otherwise. The Hawaii,” by Mr. Horace Mann, whose early death was an early New England settlers had a loving habit of per- irreparable loss to American botanists. There are also a petuating in their new settlements the names of familiar number of papers by Mr. A. S. Packard, whose services to places in the old country, and thus we find one of its embryology are so well known, and the very valuable counties called Essex, with an area about equal to contribution by Dr. Elliott Coues, “ Catalogue of Birds of that of our Middlesex, possessing a scientific institute North America contained in the Museum of the Essex located in the thriving town of Salem. A sketch of the Institute ; with which is incorporated a list of the Birds history of the Essex Institute since its foundation may of New England, with brief critical and field notes.” The convey some idea of the manner in which voluntary following quotation from this paper will interest ornitho. scientific effort is carried on in Massachusetts.

logical readers :—“Within the area of New England are The Essex Institute was formed in 1847 by the union of represented portions of two faunæ, the Canadian and the Essex Historical and the Essex County Natural Alleghanian, which differ in many respects from each History Societies; and the Institute, thus organised, con other. There seems to be a natural dividing line between sisted of three departments—the historical, having for its the birds of Massachusetts and Southern New England object the collection and preservation of whatever relates generally, and those of the more northern portions of the to the topography, antiquities, and civil and ecclesiastical Eastern States. Numerous species which enter New history of Essex County ; the natural history, for the England in spring, to breed there, do not proceed, as a formation of a cabinet of natural productions in general, general rule, farther north than Massachusetts, and many and more particularly of those in the county, and for a others, properly to be regarded as stragglers from the library of standard works on the natural sciences ; and south in summer and early autumn, are rarely, if ever, the horticultural, for promoting a taste for the cultivation found beyond the latitude of this State. In like manner, of choice fruits and flowers, and for collecting works on many of the regular winter visitants of Maine are of rare



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and only occasional occurrence, and are not found at all displayed by workers in Natural History in the United much farther south. Again, many species hardly known States, and may also be useful in pointing out some in Massachusetts and southward, except as migratory hitherto unrecognised fields of usefulness to similar bodies species passing through in spring and autumn, are in at home. Maine regular summer visitants, breeding abundantly. Other minor differences, resulting from latitude and physical geography, will readily be brought to mind by attentive

OUR BOOK SHELF consideration of the subject, and therefore need not be here detailed. It will be evident that a due regard for

Contributions to the Flora of Mentone, and to a Winter

Flora of the Riviera, including the Coast from Marthese important points has necessitated, in the case of seilles to Genoa. By J. Traherne Moggridge, F.L.S. almost every species in the list, remarks elucidative of the 100 coloured plates. (London : L. Reeve and Co., 1871.) special part it plays in the composition of the avifauna.” MR. MOGGRIDGE has collected in this splendid volume

The later numbers, especially of the Proceedings, are drawings and descriptions of one hundred of the most illustrated by admirably executed lithographs illustrative striking plants of the Mediterranean coast of France. of the natural history pages, and a considerable amount We have no preface to inform us on what principles the of space is occupied by reports of the Field meetings of the few of the species are new, though some of them are

selection has been made, nor are they self-evident. But members. It is interesting to read that the idea of these doubtful plants of which precise characters were much excursions, which have been productive of such valuable wanted. Mr. Moggridge is well known to English practical result, originated from a perusal of the Transac-botanists as an accurate and careful observer, who has tions of the Berwickshire Naturalists' Club.

paid great attention to the botany of this district; and he While thus affording a medium for the publication of has here produced a volume which is not only a useful papers of sterling scientific value, the Essex Institute has know as a livre de luxe to lie on the drawing room table.

contribution to science, but is surpassed by few that we not been unmindful of the no less imperative duty of scien- | The illustrations are beautifully drawn by the author himtific bodies, that of promoting a taste for science among self, and are exquisitely coloured. Mr. Moggridye has the educated but unscientific public. We in this country' made himself thoroughly acquainted with the beautiful have perhaps erred in too much ignoring the profanum but difficult species or varieties of Orchis of the south of

France related to our Bee-orchis. It is remarkable that, vulgus. It becomes, however, yearly more and more

while on our chalk-hills the bee and fly orchis, Ophrys manifest that science must be no esoteric religion, but that apifera and muscifera, remain perfectly distinct, in the it must grasp, in its all-including embrace every section south of Europe they approximate to one another by of the community. It is doubtful, indeed, which class of innumerable intermediate forms, which may all be conscientific men deserves best of the republic, those who de- sidered as varieties of Linnæus's 0. insectifera. These vote the whole of their time to actual work in the labo

are here worked out with great care, and we have plates

of a number of the most interesting forms. A. W. B. ratory or the dissecting-room ; or those who of the riches of their knowledge impart to the ignorant crowd in the Zeitschrift der österreichischen Gesellschaft fiir Meteorolecture-room or by the popular treatise. With the names

logie. Redigirt von Dr. C. Jelinek und Dr. J. Hann, of the former will doubtless be connected the most impor

v. Band, mit 3 lithographirten Tafeln, pp. 644 ; vi.

Band, pp. 1-224 (Wien, 1870-71.) tant discoveries of the age ; the latter will have the satisfaction of knowing that they have done their part towards Meteorological Society, published fortnightly, and extend

The fifth volume of the Journal of the Austrian making science really popular, towards spreading its ing in one year to 644 octavo pages, shows at once the blessings among the masses. The danger is when the extraordinary energy with which this society conducts its instruction of the public is undertaken by those who have operations, and the high estimation in which meteorology not practically made themselves masters of the mysteries is held in Austria. What strikes one as the most re. which they presume to communicate to others.

markable feature of this periodical is the broad and

catholic spirit in which the science is treated. Whilst Commencing with January 1869, the issue was com- the articles are mostly written by members of the society, menced, in addition to the publications named above, of the pages of the journal are open to meteorologists in the “ Bulletin of the Essex Institute,” the object being to all parts of the globe. Reprints or abstracts, accompanied give to the public such portions of communications made where necessary with tabular matter, of the more imto the Institute as are of popular interest. We find here, in other journals, appear from time to time. A few of

portant meteorological papers which have been published in language intelligible to non-scientific readers, reports

the more important of these are the following, viz :of such proceedings and papers read at ineetings of the Dove's “Non-periodic Changes of the Distribution of

Institute, in Natural History, Philology, and History, as Temperature over the Earth's Surface," D. Milne Home's are likely to interest the inhabitants of the county gene- Increasing the Supply of Spring Water at Malta, and rally; and we look upon this as not the least valuable of Improving the Climate of the Island,” Glaisher's “ Temits publications.

perature of the Air at Different Heighis,” Buchan's “ Mean

Pressure and Prevailing Winds over the Globe,” Wojeikof's An interesting publication in connection with the Essex

"Mean Temperature of Russia, Raulin's Rainfall of Institute is “ The Naturalists' Directory,” which is in. Algiers,” Rayer's “ Climates of the Isthmus of Suez,". tended, when complete, to form a list of the addresses of Jelinek's “Distribution of Thunderstorms in Austria," the workers in each department of science all over the Petermann's "Monogram on the Gulf-Stream,” Mohn's world. Ifever the proposed union of our scientific societies “ Temperature of the Sea,” and Angus Smith's “Com

The abstracts are not is effected, we may get something of the kind in this position of the Atmosphere."

bald productions, but ably written and readable articles. country.

Another admirable feature is the papers on the climates The above account of the Proceedings of the Essex of places in different parts of the globe, by Dr. Hann, Institute since its foundation may serve to show the zeal one of the editors and unquestionably one of the greatest



of the younger meteorologists on the Continent. These since the times of your grandfathers), only dressed anew, and papers are accompanied by tables giving the mean engaged to perform some truly“ astounding” antics, I wondered pressure, temperature, humidity, rainfall, wind, and cloud ; indeed that no friendly hand should have prevented such an exand their very great value will be recognised when it is hibition, but I also comprehended the true state of affairs. And stated that they embrace places whose meteorology was

since then I have had to shrug my ghostly shoulders so often little, if at all known, such as Rio Janeiro, Parana, Mendoza, Science, and your strange opinions, and your queer notions of

when learning further news about your curious knowledge of Monte Video, Buenos-Ayres, Punta-Arenas, Puerto Montt, honour, and justice, and fairness, that I have long ceased 10 Santiago, Valdivia, Valparaiso, Serena, Copiapo, and Lima, wonder at anything some of you may say or do. However, as in South America ; Bagdad and Samaua in Mesopotamia; it is only right that I should be allowed to retain what belongs to Kuldscha in West China; St. Anna, near Manila, me, and as nobody appears to remember my claims, you will Philippine Islands; and Said, Ismailia, and Suez. Since probably raise no objection, if I, myself

, enlighten you a little, broad and just views of the atmosphere and its move. and remind you how, A. D. 1672, I de:ermined the sun's parallax. ments can be attained only through the accumulation of Read in the History of my Life (Baily's Account, &c. p. such facts and an intelligent discussion of them, our best 32): thanks are due to the Austrian meteorologists for these “Whilst I was inquiring for the planets' appulses to the fixed invaluable contributions. If meteorology were prose

stars by the help of Hecker's ephemerides, I found that, in cuted more in this spirit than, unhappily, has been the

September 1672, the planet Mars, then newly past his perihe. case, it would be marred by fewer crude and hastily-formed tiguous fixed stars in the water of Aquarius ; and i hat by reason

lion and opposition to the sun, would pass amongst three con. theories; and particularly inquiries into local climates

he was then very near the earth, this would be the most con. and weather over limited portions of the earth's surface

venient opportunity that would be afforded of many years for would be conducted on sounder principles, and be pro- determining his, and consequently the sun's, horizontal parallax. ductive of results which could be accepted as solid con- I drew up a monitum of this appearance, and sent it with a tributions to science. We heartily recommend this journal, letter to Mr. Oldenburg, who printed it in his Transactions, especially since in this country we have nothing to compare No. 86, August 19th, 1672, having before sent my admonition with it,- no periodical which so well puts meteorologists into France, where the gentlemen of their Academy took care and physicists au courant with this rapidly. advancing

to have it observed in several places. My father's affairs caused science.

me to take a journey into Lancashire the very day I had de.

signed to begin my observations, but God's Providence so Das Leben der Erde : Blicke in ihre Geschichte, nebst ordered it that they gave me an opportunity to vivit Townley,

Darste'lung der wichtigsten und interessantesten Fra: where I was kindly received and entertained by Mr. Townley, gen ihres Natur- und Kultur-lebens. Ein Volksbuch with whose instruments I saw Mars near the middlemost of the von A. Hummel. (Leipzig : F. Fleischer ; London : three adjacent fixed stars. My stay in Lancashire was short. At Williams and Norgate, 1870.)

my return from thence I took his distances from two of them at It is always a question of doubtful expediency whether

distant times of the night. Whence I determined his parallax it is wise to compress into one work by one writer a

then 25", equal to his visible diameter ; which, therefore, must complete history of Nature, even in a popular treatise. Parallax not more than 10". This I gave notice of in the Tran.

be its constant measure, and, consequently, the sun's horizontal This has been aitempted by Herr Hummel in this volumesactions, No. 96; and the French soon after declared that from of 424 pages, and, as far as such an attempt can succeed, their observations they had found the same. Whether they will not unsuccessfully. We have first a glimpse of the origin give you such exactness I leave to those who are skilled in these of the earth, and of its relations to the solar system. things to determine.” Then follows a chapter on the physical geography of the This extract is, I hope, sufficient, and I will leave it to you to land, describing the main physical features of the solid search further. Perhaps you may consider my language a little crust of the globe. Next we have a treatise on water, quaint, but then, remember, I lived two centuries ago. and the part it has played in the formation of the existing sidereal years and 31 days, so that its appearance in the year

Now, the planet Mars performs 109 sidereal revulutions in 205 surface of the earth. To this succeeds a chapter on the atmosphere and its phenomena. In conclusion we have 1877 will not be very different from what it was in 1672. a general sketch of the vegetation of the earth, and of Accordingly, I enjoin you to make then the most of your oppor. the forms of animal life, in which the author'declares tunity, and do your best to prove the goodness of my old method,

and I wish you thorough success. And when you watch the against the Darwinian theory of the origin of species. planet pass amo'gst the stars in the water of Aquarius, you will

, Written occasionally in the inflated language in which perhaps, remember with kindly feelings an old astronomer, who continental popular writers too much indulge, the work is, in lise had to endure great injustice and sore trials, and will bless nevertheless, a good one to put in the hands of young and honour his memory. people with the double purpose of giving them some know

The Ghost of John FLAMSTEED, M.R. ledge of natural science and of German. It was published

on the hundredth birthday of Alexander von Humboldt, as
a tribute to the memory of the great naturalist.

The Marseilles Meteorite
It will probably occur to most of your readers, as it immedi.

diately suggested itself to me, on reading in your journal of the LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

5th inst. a description from Les Mondes of a remarkable meteorite

ob.erved at Marseilles by M. Coggia, on the ist of August last, [The Editor does not hold himself responsible for opinions expressed that the bright object having an apparent diameter, at first of

by his Correspondents. No notice is taken of anonymous about 15', and at last of a little over 4', whose uncertain course communications. ]

was not d for eighteen minutes by the stars, was really nothing The Sun's Parallax

more extraordinary than a fire-ball on ; or it may, possibly, have

been some description of brighter signal-light. The planet Is there nobody who will perform an act of justice, and ask Salurn, and the other stars named in the description, were all at those who seem to have never known or to have forgotten my the low altitude above the horizon, at which a fi e-balloon, and doings, to be kind enough not to deprive me of my just claims? other bright signal-lights of ordinary size, floating at an ordinary When, A.D. 1857, my old method of determining the sun's height in the air, would have about the apparent diameter of the parallax was again publicly propo-ed, I thought it somewhat "meteorite." lis apparent diminution in size was, also, perhaps, strange, and wondered what could be the reason that it should either the effect of its increasing distance, or of its gradually be treated as if it were some new and not a very old acquain. fading light. After alternately remaining stationary, and changing tance of Science. When, some time later, a stir was made about its apparent course two or three times, it at last fell rapidly in what was represented as a new method of investigating the a perpendicular direction. The burning tow, or other inflamed motion of the solar system in space, and, instead of a new, substance with which it was inflated, appears to have detached there was brought forward an old acquaintance (known to Science itself from, or, it may be, to have set fire to the balloon, since it








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was remarked that during its perpendicular fall to the horizon it of existing with those of extinct Lycopodiaceae, allowance must gave out vivid scintillations.

be made for such adaptations of structure as would be likely to It is difficult, from the exaggerated language of native narra. be correlated with enormous size. To make the matter clearer tives in the East, to suppose that the destruction of life and by an illustration :-Suppose we compare a nearly allied woody property described, from the Times of India, as an unprecedented and herbaceous plant, say a lupin and a laburnum, we shall catastrophe in Sind, in the next paragraph of Nature, was

find in their stems (both exogens ”) the same kind of diffeoccasioned by an unusual fall of meteorites. In the absence of rences as exist between the stem of a herbaceous Sclaginella and

that of the nearly allied arborescent Lepidodendron. The lupin

may have had arborescent ancestors ; if so, it has dropped all REFERENCE NUMBERS.

such adaptations of the structure of its stem to an arborescent 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

habit as we find existing in laburnum. Assuming (what is of course only an assumption) that Selaginella is a descendant of Lepidodendron or its allies, the parsimony of nature has also suppressed in it all those peculiarities of stem structure which were merely correlated with vast size, and in Selaginella and recent Lycopodiacca we have the residuum. In Isoetes, which is only 2 few inches high, there is a kind of lingering reminiscence of cir. cumferential growth.

Prof. Williamson says that “herbs if they belong to the exogenous group are as truly exogenous in their type as the most gigantic trees of the same class. Size has nothing to do with the matter." With these statements I altogether disagree. I look upon the terms exogen, endogen, and acrogen as altogether obsolete from a classificatory point of view. Mohl pointed this out more than twenty years ago. Compare the following re. marks from one of his memoirs with Prof. Williamson's: "The course of the vascular bundles in the palm stem and in the oneyear-old shoot of the dicotyledons is exactly similar, and the conception of a different mode of growth, and the division of plants into endogens and exogens formed on it is altogether opposed to nature.”

Size, in fact, has everything to do with the matter. It is the persistent growth of the ends of the branches which makes the strengthening of the main stem by circumferential growth a mechanical necessity. Palms not being branched do not require

the voluminous stem of an oak, and they exhibit on an enlarged (1.3) scale only the structure of a one-year-old herbaceous shoot.

But in the dragon-tree of Teneriffe an “endogen,” which HEIGHTS OF TWENTY SHOOTING-ITARS DOUBLY OBSERVED AT

becomes extensively branched, there is a true circumferential BRITISH ASSOCIATION STATIONS IN ENGLAND ON THE NIGHTS OF THE growth of the main stem, which increases pari passu with the 9TH TO 12TH OF AUGUST, 1871.

development of the branches. All herbaceous stems, on the

contrary, among flowering plants, whether belonging to the any evidence that a loud report, and other aërolitic phenomena exogenous or endogenous group, have practically the same type perceived at a great distance, accompanied the occurrence, its of structure. Where is the exogenous type in the stem of the unusually disastrous effects may rather, doubtless, be a cribed to common artichoke, or in Ferula communis, figured by De devastations produced by lightning of extraordinary vio'ence. Candolle in his “ Organographie Végétale," pl. 3, fig. 3,

On the accompanying diagram the real heights of some shoot- “pour montrer à quel point elle simule les tiges de monoing stars are represented which were simultaneously recorded by cotyledones” (endogens) ? observers of the annual meteor shower in August last, at eight I think these remarks make it plain that circumferential (which British Association stations in England. A. S. HERSCHEL is a preferable expression to exogenous) growth in stems is simply Newcastle College of Physical Science, Oct. 16

a necessary accompaniment of a branched arborescent habit. As far as the affinities of plants are concerned, it is purely acci

dental and of no classificatory value. Lupinus being herbaceous Exogenous Structure in Coal-Plants

and Laburnum arborescent does not prevent their being placed

in the same tribe of a natural family. Since Mohl has shown Prof. WILLIAMSON criticises my want of certainty with respect that one-year-old (herbaceous) stems conform to the endogenous to the exogenous mode of growth of extinct Lycopodiaceæ. But type, while such woody stems as Laburnum possesses are of surely his relerence 10 the Dixonfold trees does not prove more course exogenous, it is clear that Prof. Williamson's views would than that the diameter of their stems was greater near the roots overthrow all the work of modern systematists, and bring us back, than higher up. The same thing is true of many palms, but I as I pointed out in my former letter, to the primitive division of think Pruf. Williamson would be the last person to say that plants into trees and herbs (not trees and shrubs as Prof. Wilit was evidence of their being exogenous. Nevertheless, as I liamson makes me say). have already said, I am inclined to think that Prof. Williamson The interpretation of the actual structure of the stems of the is right in supposing that the stems of extinct arborescent Lyco- extinct Lycopodiaceæ is of course another matter. Prof. William. podrace æ increased in thickness, although I do not see my way son illustrated his views at Edinburgh by referring to Lepidodento asserting off hand that this was the case. Even admitting, dron selaginoides ; every botanist who took part in the discussion, with all Prof. Williamson's confidence, that it was so, I can see however, objected to his explanation. It may be true that this no classificatory value in the fact to justify overriding reproductive is only one form of such stems, but of course I can hardly be excharacters in his new classification.

pected to be acquainted with the unpublished material which I said in my former letter (and the argument still appears to Prof. Williamson still has in hand. There is, I think myself, me a good one) that this increase was in any case nothing good reason for believing that Lepidodendron, Sigillaria, and more than an adjustment to an arborescent habit dropped when Ulodendron all belong to a common type of stem structure ; the arborescent habit was lost.” Prof. Williamson finds some differences in fragments of different age of growth must be exdifficulty in understanding this, and believes me to imply "that pected and allowed for. Of course, as I do not accept the these exogenous conditions were merely adventitious growths existence of a pith in these plants, the pith or medullary rays assumed for a season and hrown off at the earliest opportunity; must be rejected as well

. Mr. Carruthers has shown, I think, that they had no true affinity with the plants in which they were conclusive reasons for disagreeing with Dr. Hooker with respect found." He confesses that he sees no ground for so remarkable 10 the spaces which he identified with those structures. I was a conclusion, and I may certainly say that as far as I comprehend already familiar with the view of these s'ems taken by Prof. it, neither do I.

Williamson in his last paper. Those who are interested in the What I did mean to imply was, that in comparing the stems matter must judge for themselves who is right.






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This communication has run on to so great a length that I am inst., and especially those who have kept a record of similar ex.
unable to touch uron other points in which I find myself totally hibitions, may have remarked the frequency with which the
disagreeing with Prof. William on. I cannot, however refrain phenomena have occurred about the same epoch, viz., from
from expressing my astonishment at the persistence of the histo. February 15 to February 23. Some of the most brilliant that
logical views implied by the description of the “cambium," or have occurred at this period during the last century are the fol-
growing cellular tissues of plants, as "some protoplasmic ele- lowing :-
or again as "some protoplasmic layer." Similar ex-

1773 February 17

1848 February 20 pressions were used by Nehemiah Grew about 200 years ago,



and employed for some time by writers subsequent to him. At



the present I imagined their interest was wholly historical.



Besides the February epoch, any extended list of auroras will

indicate two or three others, the most remarkable of which is that The points at issue between Prof. Williamson and myself re.

of November 13-18 (See Olmsted's paner in the Smithsonian main in the same position as at first. He has not yet answered Contributions,' vol. viii.) Fifty-three brilliant auroras have been one of my objections. He still holds that in Lepidodendron we

observed since 1770. Of these, an accidental distribution would have a vascular medulla, outsi'e which is a series of fibro.

a-sign but one to the interval between the 13th and 18th of vascular bundles which are not closed, but go on forming new

November ; whereas eight of the number have actually occurred tissues by means of a cambium layer like a dicotyledonous stem.

at that enoch. Are such coincidences accidental, or do they warFrom my own observations, and from the study of recent Con.

rant the conjecture that, as in the case of shooting stars, there are tinental authorities, I have no hesitation in stating that the particular periods at which the grand displays of the phenomenon central "medulla ” of Prof. Williamson consists of the united most frequently occur?” closed fibro-vascular bundles, while the investing cylinder is the modified primitive tissue which increases in diameter by means

Forms of Cloud of the meristem layer of Nägeli. If Prof. Williamson will refer

The form of cloud represented by Prof. Poëy in his figure a, in to Sachs' Lehrbuch, Ed. 2, p. 397, he will find good reasons

this week's NATURE, is very similar to that described by the Rev. given for the statement there made, that Isoëtes contains no cam

C. Clouston, LL.D., in his “Explanation of the Popular Wea. bium in the stem ; but that the stem increases in the same way

ther Prognostics of Scotland,” published by A. and C. Black in as Dracana, i.e. by a meristem layer in the primitive tissue. As

1267, and also in Dr. Mitchell's paper On the Popular Weather long as Prof. Williamson believes in a central vascular medulla

Prognostics of Scotland,” Edın. New Phil. Journal, Oct. 1863. in these Lycopodiaceous stems, all his other conclusions must

Dr. Clouston says that, “when properly developed it was likewise be false.

always followed by a storm or gale within twenty-four hours. W. R. M`NAB

It is called 'pocky cloud' by our sailors."
Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester, Oct. 21

He gives a sketch from which, as he says, “it will be seen that (*** We would suggest that this controversy be now closed, this is a series of dark, cumulus-looking clouds, like festoons of until the publication of Prof. Williamson's new material. -Ed.] dark drapery, over a considerable portion of the sky, with the

lower edge well defined, as it each testoon or 'pock' was filled Blood.Spectrum

with something heavy, and generally one series of festoons lies In the account of the Progress of Science in Italy in NATURE

over another, so that the light spaces between resemble an Alpine for October 12, Mr. W. Mattieu Williams says ihat Prof. C.

chain of white-peaked mountains. It is essential that the lower Campani has shown that the spectrum of an ammoniacal solu- edge be well defined, for a somewhat similar cloud, with the tion of carmine is undistinguishable from that of blood, and

lower edge of the fe toons fringed, or shaded away, is sometimes that perhaps I should be able to tell whether any difference can

seen, and followed by rain only." be disting' ished by more minute examination. In my first Dr. Clouston concluded his notice by saying, “this cloud is paper on this subject, so long ago as 1865*, I alluded to this simi- well known, and much dreaded by Orkney sailors."

larity, and in subsequent papers + I have shown how he colour.
ing matter of blood can be distinguished from that of cochineal,

Meteorological Office, London, Oct. 20
and even a small quantity recognised when mixed with a rela.
tively considerable quantity of that dye. I have always argued

Elementary Geometry
that in such inquiries we must not rely on the spectrum, but

It is scarcely worth while for an anonymous writer to defend compare the action of various reagents. On adding a little

his opinions ; but since a sentence in my letter of September 21 boric acid to an aqueous solution of blood, no change takes

still continues to elicit remarks, I may be allowed to add an explace in its spectrum, whereas that of cochineal is completely altered. This effect is not produced in the case of taking in a subject, especially if it involves logical thought, ex

planation of my meaning: I stated that “no child is capable of carmine suspended in water, but the absorption-bands of blood are at once removed by deoxidising the solution with a ferrous much to memory which he does not comprehend." And I called

cept by very slow degrees; and must at the beginning commit salt, which, on the contrary, has no effect in the case of carmine

this "a fact." "Mr. Wormell says in reply, that the purpose or cochineal. Weak acids decompose hemoglobin into hæmatin, which gives entirely different spectra, but they do not cause any that it is useless if not understood. I entirely agree with him,

which geometry serves is not the exercise of the memory, and permanent change in the colouring matter of cochineal or car. mine. In my opinion there is no more probability of an expe

and my words, is fairly interpreted, do not convey the contrary

opinion. rienced observer mistaking these substances for blood, because the ammoniacal solutions give nearly the same spectrum, than “a child must of necessity commit much to memory which he

In your last issue Mr. Cooley writes, that my principle, that of a chemist confounding aluminium bronze with gold, because does not comprehend," appears to him totally erroneous, and not they are of nearly the same colour.


entit ed to be called a lact. But surely the order of Nature with Broomfield, Sheffield, Oct. 23

children in to possess themselves of empyrical knowledge by the

exercise of memory, and subsequently to get to coinprehend Are Auroras Periodical?

what they have thus acquired. Would Mr. Covey wait until The following note on auroras is transcribed from the Iowa scale, before he caught him to add up two rows of figures, and to

he had made a child conip.ehend the principles of the decimal Instructor and School Journal for April, 1866. As it suggests


five and seven are iwelve ; put down two, and carryone"? a hypothesis similar to that proposed by Mr. Wilson, in your

If he condescends to the usual course of a “hearer of lessons " in journal for September 7, it may not be destitute of interest.

this one instance, he acts upon the admission of my principle. Daniel KIRKWOOD

To apply this to geometry (and perhaps I may be borne with Bloomington, Ind., Oct. 4

if I use Euclid in illustration): I fancy that many a boy at the The Aurora Borcalis of February 20, 1866

beginning understands the three first propositions, but not the “ Those who wiinessed the grand auroral display of the 20th whole of the fuurth. My plan would be, not to keep him at it

till he did, but to let him learn it fairly well by rote, and go on, * Quat. Journ. of Science, vol. ii. p. 208.

+ Medical Press and Circular, New Series, vol. xii. p. 67; Monthly applying the results of the fourth by an act of faith. The second
Micros. Jou
vol. vi. p. 15.

time he went through the book, if he had been decently taught,

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