« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
Report on the practicability of establishing "A Close Time" for the protection of indigenous Animals. By a Committee, consisting of Prof. NEWTON, M.A., F.R.S., Rev. H. B. TRISTRAM, F.R.S., J. E. HARTING, F.L.S., F.Z.S., Rev. H. BARNES, and H. E. DRESSER (Reporter).
YOUR Committee has great pleasure in reporting that the object for which it was appointed has continued to excite attention in the public prints during the past year, and that in the direction indicated by its last Report-the protection, namely, of those birds generally coming under the term "Wild Fowl." There appears to be a widespread disposition among all classes to extend in their favour the provisions of the Sea-Birds' Preservation Act,' in proof of which your Committee may cite two facts :— -1, the establishment in the county of Sussex (chiefly through the instrumentality of Mr. T. J. Monk, of Lewes) of an Association whose members pledge themselves to abstain from destroying Woodcocks in the breeding-season, which Association has met with great encouragement from the principal landed proprietors in the county; and 2, the rapid growth of a well-founded belief that some steps are · absolutely necessary to stop the netting or shooting of Plovers during the same season to ensure a continuance of the supply of their eggs, which form, as is well known, a valuable commodity.
Your Committee is fully aware of the danger of attempting to legislate on this subject before the proper time; but from the assistance which has been promised in various influential quarters, it entertains a sanguine hope that some decided step may be taken next year; and believing that the warmest supporters of the principle of establishing a Close Time for indigenous animals will readily listen to the recommendations of your Committee, it respectfully prays that your Committee may be reappointed.
Report of the Committee on Earthquakes in Scotland. The Committee consists of Dr. BRYCE, F.G.S., Sir W. THOMSON, F.R.S., D. MILNEHOME, F.R.S.E., P. MACFARLANE, and J. BROUGH.
VERY little worthy of record has occurred during the past year. There has been no earthquake or other disturbance in the Comrie district similar to those noticed in last Report. From other districts, however, slight shocks of earthquake have been reported-from Lochaber in the end of November and from the upper part of the Frith of Clyde in April. The latter occurred during the night, was noticed by few, and doubt has been expressed by some in regard to it. But as the same region was certainly agitated on more than one occasion during the conduct of the previous inquiry instituted by the Association, of which Dr. Buckland and Mr. Milne-Home had the charge, there is no improbability in such an occurrence; very little information, however, that could be depended upon was obtained. In regard to the other earthquake-shock there is less doubt. The district in which it was felt comprises the Spean Valley and the lower part of the Great Glen, a region in which some of the most severe of our earthquakes have been from time to time experienced. In the present case, however, no change was produced on the surface, or in the position of objects (see Rep. by Mr. D. Milne-Home, Brit. Assoc. Rep. 1840); and without recording instruments
it has been found impossible to state, with any approach to certainty, whence the undulations emanated, or to estimate the intensity of the shocks. It is much to be desired that the additional duty of taking observations of this kind should be undertaken at such stations of the Scottish Meteorological Society as are situated in the districts where earthquakes have been so often experienced. Such a measure, however, would necessitate the adoption of a seismometer of a much simpler construction than that at Comrie, belonging to the Association-one which should occupy a small space, and be little liable to derangement, while capable of recording feeble shocks. Your Committee regrets that the hope expressed in last Report, in regard to the constructing of such an instrument, has not been realized; but they confidently hope that this important object will be accomplished in the course of the coming year. By permission of the Association, communications might then be opened with the Council of the Meteorological Society in regard to their placing such a seismometer at a number of their stations within the areas liable to disturbance, and establishing new stations with this express object where such do not now exist. Such a combined system of observations would bring the various areas into close relations with one another, and would possess every advantage over an inquiry limited to a single locality.
JAMES BRYCE, M.A., LL.D.
Report on the best means of providing for a uniformity of Weights and Measures, with reference to the Interests of Science. By a Committee, consisting of Sir JOHN BOWRING, F.R.S., The Right Hon. Sir C. B. ADDERLEY, M.P., SAMUEL BROWN, F.S.S., Dr. FARR, F.R.S., FRANK P. FELLOWES, Professor FRANKLAND, F.R.S., Professor HENNESSY, F.R.S., JAMES HEYWOOD, F.R.S., Sir ROBERT KANE, F.R.S., Professor LEONE LEVI, F.S.A., F.S.S., C. W. SIEMENS, F.R.S., Colonel SYKES, F.R.S., M.P., Professor A. W. WILLIAMSON, F.R.S., JAMES YATES, F.R.S., Dr. GEORGE GLOVER, Sir JOSEPH WHITWORTH, Bart., F.R.S., J. R. NAPIER, H. DIRCKS, J. V. N. BAZALGette, W.SMITH, Sir W. FAIRBAIRN, Bart., F.R.S., and JOHN ROBINSON:Professor LEONE LEVI, Secretary.
YOUR Committee have much pleasure in reporting that the fifth and last Report of the Royal Commissioners to inquire into the condition of the Exchequer, now Board of Trade, Standards has now been published, and the general question of uniformity of weights and measures in this and other countries has thus been placed before Her Majesty's Government in all its bearings. Your Committee are much gratified at the large amount of information the Commissioners have collected on the progress of the Metric System in different countries, and only regret that they did not recommend a bolder course than the permissive legislation of its use. The Commissioners, it should be remembered, were not expressly instructed to inquire into the Metric System; but one of the points referred to them being to inquire and report whether any and what additions to the existing official Standards of Weights and Measures are now required, they understood that that involved cexpression of their opinion as to the establishment or continued prohi
bition of the Metric System into this country, and they reported accordingly on the subject.
The Commissioners assumed that "there is no immediate cause requiring a general change in the existing system of legal weights and measures of the country for the purposes of internal trade," and regarded the question of introducing the Metric System only in the aspect of facilitating international trade and scientific researches; but your Committee are of opinion that in so doing the Commissioners have not sufficiently taken into account the bearings of the general question on education, on scientific workmanship, and on the general economics of the nation. The Royal Commissioners have recommended the legalization of the Metric System, and that, in order to facilitate the use of the same, Metric Standards accurately verified, in relation to the primary Metric Standards at Paris, should be deposited in the Standard Department of the Board of Trade. But although your Committee consider the carrying out of such recommendation a decided advance over the present anomalous state of the law, past experience leads them to fear that no general uniformity will ever be arrived at by merely permissive legislation, and that unless the use of Metric Weights and Measures is to become general at no distant period, the reform will have no fair chance of success. As the late Master of the Mint properly said, in the Standard Commission (Fifth Report, p.xxx), "Although the general introduction of Metric Weights and Measures for trade purposes might in the first instance be made permissive only, yet their use should, to some extent, be made compulsory, else the mere permission to use them in the home trade of this country would be practically a dead letter." Your Committee have already reported on the decided advantages of the Metric and Decimal system in economizing time and facilitating the teaching of arithmetic in the schools, in effecting mechanical valuations, and in Chemistry and Pharmacy. But neither of these advantages can be realized to the full extent until the new system of Weights and Measures, with its divisors and multiples, become identified with our ideas of dimensions and quantities. Your Committee admit that this must be the work of time; but all the more necessary is it to make provisions for the same, by inserting in any measure on the subject clauses fixing a time when the use of the new system will become binding. Your Committee therefore greatly regret that the Bill introduced in the House of Commons by Mr. J. B. Smith to establish the Metric System of Weights and Measures, and fixing a time when the use of the same shall become compulsory, has not received the cordial support it deserved. But a majority of five only against the Second Reading, in a small House, so late in the Session, must not be accepted as conclusive evidence of the deliberate opinion of the Legislature on the subject.
Pending the final settlement of this important question, your Committee are gratified in finding that, in consequence of representations made by them to the Right Hon. Mr. W. E. Forster, Vice-President of the Committee of Council on Education, the Educational Code of this year for the first time prescribes"that in all schools the children in Standards V. and VI. in Arithmetic should know the principles of the Metric System, and be able to explain the advantages to be gained from uniformity in the method of forming multiples and submultiples of the Unit." Your Committee are convinced that the School is the proper place for initiating this useful reform; and in view of the immense economy of time which would be gained in the teaching of arithmetic, your Committee would urge that teachers should at once commence introducing the subject in the Schools. To advance this desirable
object, your Committee have had a Conference at the Lecture Theatre of the Kensington Museum in June last, when valuable testimony was given of the progress made in instructing children on the subject in the United States by Prof. Nathaniel Allen, and in Bombay by Mr. T. B. Kirkham, both gentlemen connected with the Education Departments of the respective countries. Your Committee have forwarded copies of the resolutions passed at the Conference, with copy of a little treatise on the Theory and Practice of the Metric System, to the Head Master of every Public and Endowed School, and they are preparing to do the same to all the principal Elementary Schools in the Kingdom. It is much to be desired that all the works on arithmetic, and especially those which have acquired much reputation, should contain the necessary information on the Metric System, and your Committee are glad to report that this has already been done to a large extent. Your Committee have also represented to the London School Board the desirableness of introducing the Metric System in the Schools established or supported by the Board, and they have been informed that the subject will shortly be considered by Prof. Huxley's Committee. Your Committee will correspond in a similar manner with the other School Boards, and they trust that by these means they will secure the general teaching of the system. Your Committee have forwarded a copy of the Mural Standard constructed by Casella to the Industrial Museum in Edinburgh, and they have also sent one to Newcastle. Your Committee have not yet been able to obtain the set of Metric Standards which they ordered, and they are glad to find from the following communication that the same will prove most useful for scientific researches:
July 27, 1871.
DEAR SIR,-I have been for some time conducting a series of observations on the specific gravity of minerals and rocks. As the greatest possible accuracy is indispensable, it is of course a matter of some importance that I should employ the weights which afford the most exact results. I find that calculations of this nature can be done with far more accuracy, and in about a quarter of the time, by using the Metric System; but although I have made numerous inquiries, I have hitherto failed in my endeavour to procure a verified set of Metric Weights. May I venture to suggest that it would very much tend to promote the object which the Committee of the British Association have in view if they would procure one or two sets of verified weights for the purpose to such Members as may require the use of such standards for scientific investigation, and thus afford them the means of comparing and verifying their own weights with the recognized standards of the Association.
Prof. Leone Levi.
I remain, dear Sir, yours faithfully,
TOWNSHEND M. HALL.
Your Committee are convinced of the great utility of the suggestion; but they will require a larger grant, since, as will be seen in the Fifth Report of the Standard Commissioners, £50 was paid by that Commission for a set of Metric Standards made of brass by Deleuil, of Paris.
Your Committee regret that the war in France has suspended the operation of the International Standard Commission at Paris for the construction and verification of primary international Metric Standards. That movement arose from resolutions, expressing such a want, passed by the International Geodesical Conference held at Berlin in 1867, the Academy of Sciences of
St. Petersburg, and the Academy of Sciences in Paris; and we trust that by that means each country will possess a prototype copy of the Metre, made in relation to the Metre of the Archives in Paris, all the copies being made of the same material, compared by the same method and instruments, at the same temperature, and preserved in the same manner. Her Majesty's Government had deputed Prof. Airy, the lamented Prof. Miller, and Mr. Chisholm, the Wardens of the Standards, to attend the International Commission. Your Committee have reason to believe that it is of the utmost importance to continue to give to this question unremitting attention, and they are convinced that their action has been eminently useful in guiding the Legislature, both of this country, of the Colonies, and even of other countries, to the great question of uniformity of Weights and Measures and Coins in the interest of Science. In pursuance of this object, your Committee are anxious of diffusing as much information as possible. Especially they are desirous of supplying those who conduct scientific researches with the means of carrying them on in Metric Weights and Measures, as the most universally known, the most exact, and the most economical as regards time; for which purpose they would be glad to purchase one or two sets of Metric Standards. And for these, and other purposes, they suggest the reappointment of the Committee, with a grant of at least £75. The advantage of introducing a universal system of Weights and Measures is well admitted. Men of Science of all countries, to a large extent, use already a universal vocabulary in this respect; and your Committee trust that the British Empire will ere long throw on the side of such a reform the immense weight of her example and influence.
Report of the Committee appointed for the purpose of promoting the extension, improvement, and harmonic analysis of Tidal Observations. Consisting of Sir WILLIAM THOMSON, LL.D., F.R.S., Prof. J. C. ADAMS, F.R.S., J. OLDHAM, WILLIAM PARKES, M. Inst. C.E., Prof. RANKINE, LL.D., F.R.S., and Admiral RICHARDS, R.N., F.R.S.
Report drawn up by Mr. E. Roberts.
82. THE work performed for the Tide Committee since the last Meeting of the British Association has consisted chiefly in the evaluation of tidecomponents in a similar manner to that described in the previous Reports.
83. Mr. Parkes having again placed the tracings of the curves of the Kurrachee (Manora) self-registering tide-gauge at the disposal of the Committee, a second year's observations have been read off and completely reduced. In addition to the tide-components evaluated for Liverpool and Ramsgate, others (named for brevity J and Q) have been introduced to correct the lunar diurnal (declinational) tides for parallax. These components have been found to have sensible values for Kurrachee, where the diurnal tides are comparatively large. The solar elliptic semidiurnal (R and T) components have also been included, now that two complete years' observations were available. The whole of the values of these tide-components is contained in the previous Report (§ 67), the work having been completed before the Report was printed. The correcting of the calculated heights (§ 70) for these additional components will doubtless bring them still nearer