« EelmineJätka »
for the statement was forgotten. But early in the following year, when the monograph of the order appeared in the last volume of DeCandolle's Prodromus, a reference was found to a paper by Dr. Macbride in the Transactions of the Linnean Society. His observations (made upon S. variolaris), it appears, were communicated to Sir J. E. Smith, read before the Linnean Society in 1815, and published soon after. They are referred to by his surviving friend and associate, Eliott, in his well-known work, and therefore need not have gone to oblivion, or needed rediscovery here in our days by Mr. Grady and Dr. Mellichamp, the latter greatly extending our knowledge of the subject. Probably the main facts were all along popularly known in the regions these species affect, and where their use as fly-traps is almost immemorial. But the gist of these remarks is, that a colleague has just called our attention to an earlier publication than that of Dr. Macbride, viz., an article on “ Certain Vegetable Muscicapæ," by Benjamin Smith Barton (one of our botanical fathers), published in Tilloch's Philosophical Magazine, for June, 1812. Among other matters not bearing directly upon this point, he says of Sarracenia, without reference to any particular species: “ A honeyed fluid is secreted or deposited on the inner surface of the hollow leaves, near their faux or opening; and this fluid allures great numbers of the insects which ther are found to contain into the ascidia.”
Here is earlier publication by three years. Yet we suspect that Dr. Barton knew little about it at first hand, and we find clear evidence that he had not anticipated Dr. Macbride. All bis references have an indefiniteness quite in contrast with Dr. Macbride's narrative; he says that “some if not all the species of the genus appear to possess a kind of glandular function,” without mentioning those that have it, or the absence of it in the only species growing around him at the north; and he adds that he "was entirely unacquainted with this curious economy ... when I published the first edition of my Elements of Botany, and even when I printed the appendix (in vol. i) to the second edition of this work.” Now his paper is dated September 11, 1811; and the volume referred to, as just printed, is dated 1812. But Macbride states that his observations were chiefly made 1810 and 1811; he corresponded intimately with Eliott, through whom, if not directly, his observations would probably find their way at once to the Philadelphia naturalists.
A. G. 3. The Movements and Habits of Climbing Plants ; by CHARLES DARWIN. Second edition, revised, with illustrations. London: Murray. 1875. pp. 208.—This most interesting treatise was read to the Linnean Society over ten years ago and published in the ninth volume of its Journal, in 1865. There was a separate issue, which has long been exhausted. It is now carefully re-edited, considerably added to, and reproduced as an independent volume. It will no doubt be much sought after, as the topic and treatment of it are peculiarly fascinating and instructive, and the book is throughout readable. Mr. Darwin's gift for making things clear without technicalities, is as great as that of many writers for enveloping them in technical obscurity. flaving given an account of this essay upon its original appearance, we need only mention the republication, which will be within the reach of all, as an edition is about to be issued by Appleton & Co. A. G.
4. Hoe :kel’s Ziele und Wege der heutigen Entwickelungsgeschichte.- The controversy carried on by Hæckel in defence of some of his pet theories has gradually assumed a more and more personal character. The criticisms in his Generale Morphol. ogie were sharp, but justifiable from his standpoint. In the Schöpfungsgeschichte, they had already become sensational. In the Anthropogenie his sketches of contemporaries and his analysis of their work assumed a still more unpleasant emphasis; and this has now culminated in a pamphlet entitled “ Ziele und Wege der heutigen Entwickelungsgeschichte.”
It is difficult to characterize this production without indulging in the same style of epithets which Häckel uses so freely. From the title we expected one of those brilliant chapters, which, lowever untrustworthy, are full of suggestions; we were sadly disappointed to find it filled simply with abuse of His, Gætte, Ludwig, Reichert, Michelis, Agassiz and others.
We shall not fill the pages of this Journal with countercharges or explanation; a man so skilled in coarse invective, who has risen to such a height of intolerance, is proof against anything so tame as factor argument. This is not the place to refute his absurd claims to omniscience, and his assumptions of immunity for the very offences he so meruilessly condemps. According to Hackel it is an unpardonable sin for llis or Gætte to give a false interpretation of what they have seen, or for Ludwig and Reichert to differ from him in his explanation of protoplasm; but when he himself, to suit a purpose, deliberately falsifies facts, when he manufactures with names and figures an archetype which never existed, we are called upon to be grateful that a corner of the veil shrouding creation is lifted, and that we are fortunate enough to live at a time when so infallible an interpreter of its mysteries, has taken up his abode at Jena.
In the concluding pages, devoted to Agassiz and Michelis, all the bitterness of his bigotry and dogmatism are poured forth against the latter, while he stoops so low in his attacks on the former as to pick up all the baseless slanders ever circulated by his enemies during his life. With scientific productions like these we have no concern. A few more such criticisms, and Hæckel's claim to be recognized as a true and devoted student of nature will be forgotten. In its place, he will gain, what he seems to seek, the front rank among scientific demagogues.
A. AG. 5. Memoirs of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. I. Fossil Butterflies ; by S. H. SCUDDER. 99 pp. 4to, with three plates. Salem, 1875.-The sum of one thousand dollars was given in Aug., 1873, by Mrs. Elizabeth Thompson, of New York City, to the American Association, to be used, according to the directions of the Standing Committee, for the promotion and publication of original investigations by members of the Association. .
The memoir by Mr. Scudder is the first paper published by the Thompson Fund, and is one which well deserves so prominent a place. Mr. Scudder has had especial advantages in this work, having with one or two trifling exceptions, as he states, “ either personally inspected all the fossils described within recent times as butterflies, or baving procured pew and excellent original drawings of them.” He has brought together in this volume all that has been published on this group of fossils whether of text or illustration, presenting thus a complete account of our knowledge of these insects. After the detailed descriptions of the genera and species of fossil butterflies, the author discusses various related topics; their comparative age, the probable food plants of Tertiary caterpillars; the present distribution of butterflies most nearly allied to fossil species, and so on. The plates were executed in Paris, and are beautiful examples of the best lithographic work.
IV. ASTRONOMY. 1. Small Planets recently discovered.-In the number of this Journal for August last (p. 158), a table of the planets so far as No. 146 was given. Nine planets have been since discovered, making fifteen during the year.
No. 147 was discovered by Schulhof, at Vienna, July 10th.
Prosper Henry, at Paris, Aug. 8th.
Perrotin, at Toulouse, Sept. 21st. 150
Watson, at Ann Arbor, Oct. 19th. 151
Palisa, at Pola, Nov. Ist.
Paul Henry, at Paris, Nov. 2d. 153
Palisa, at Pola, Nov. 2d. 154
Prosper Henry, at Paris, Nov. 4th. 155 1
Palisa, at Pola, Nov. 8th.
Palisa, at Pola, Nov. 22d. 157 15
Borelly, Marseilles, Dec. 1. It has been suggested by Tietjen that No. 152 may prove to be Dike (99). If so the later numbers will need to be changed to correspond
H. A. N. 2. The Cape Catalogue of 1,159 Stars, deduced from observations at the Royal Observatory at the Cape of Good Hope, under the superintendence of E. J. STONE.—The Royal Observatory at the Cape of Good Hope was established in 1820. The leading idea was to found a first class observatory in the southern hemisphere for work of a character similar to that of the Greenwich Observatory in the northern hemisphere. The observations were to be made with instruments of the same class, and the result to be drawn up in the same form, in order that the whole might constitute two corresponding series, capable of comparison in all their parts. No opportunity of making observations capable of improving our knowledge of the refraction of the atmosphere, was to be
neglected. Under the successive superintendency of Fallows, Henderson, and Sir Thomas Maclear, the latter of whom arrived at the Cape in 1834, and of E. J. Stone, who arrived in 1870, the work of the Observatory has been carried on under very adverse circumstances, and the results thus far accomplished have somewhat disappointed the earlier expectation, and compare unfavorably with those achieved by the energies of Gilliss and Gould. Mr. Fallows was able to publish a small catalogue of star places; Mr. Henderson was able to detect the parallax of Alpha Centauri, and to produce a very valuable catalogue of very accurate places of a number of stars. Sir Thomas Maclear seems to have concentrated his energies during many years upon the measurement of an arc of the meridian, of the value of which work there can be but one opinion; but this was allowed to disorganize the other work of the observatory to such an extent that, as Mr. Stone states, he in 1870, found himself with a very limited staff, unexpectedly confronted with the results of 36 years of miscellaneous observations in all stages of reduction, nothing completed, and nothing available for publication and use, without a considerable expenditure of time and labor. Under these circumstances, he has judged it best to pay especial attention to the later years of observation, and has compiled a catalogue of places of 1,159 stars observed in the years 1856 to 1861; all of them made with transit circle, an instrument similar in all respects to the Greenwich instrument, which has been iu use since 1851. The Cape Catalogue of Mr. Stone, is accompanied by a comparison of the right ascensions of the clock stars as observed at Greenwich and the Cape of Good Hope, by means of which comparison some systematic errors are brought to light, which are, however, very small in extent, and may be themselves attributed to the effect on the clock of rapid changes of temperature in the evenings during December, January, and February. The latitude of the observatory must, he thinks, still be considered as uncertain.
The printing of the work, which was done at Cape Town, does not suffer by comparison with similar work in England.
C. ABBE. 3. Observatory in the Pyrenees.—An observatory has been established on the Pic de Midi, similar to that on the Puy de Dome, and chiefly through the efforts of General Nansouty.-L'Institut, Dec. 1.
IV. MISCELLANEOUS SCIENTIFIC INTELLIGENCE. 1. Reports on the Meteorological, Magnetic, and other Observations of the Dominion of Canada for the calendar year ending December 31, 1874.-In this volume the Minister of Marine and Fisheries, Honorable A. J. Smith, has given in full a reprint of the tri-daily simultaneous observations made at a large number of stations throughout the Dominion of Canada, together with tables of monthly and annual means, resultant direction, and velocity of the wind, etc. In consideration of the exceedingly small annual appropriation at the disposal of Professor Kingston, Superintendent of the Meteorological office of the Dominion, it would seem that the contributions to meteorology by that State are highly creditable. Prof. Kingston states that regular weather reports are telegraphed from fifteen Canadian stations to the Weather Bureau at Washington, in exchange for which a few reports are sent from the United States by telegraph, and a large number by mail. The only station in Canada at present furnished with selfrecording apparatus is that at St. Johns College, at Winnipeg, where, by private munificence, an anemograph has been set in operation by the Bishop of Ruperts Land. With reference to Montreal, wbich ranks as one of the chief stations, it is stated that the position of McGill College, on account of its proximity to the mountains, is singularly ill adapted for anemometric observations, on which account an anemometer was, in August, 1874, erected on a pole on the summit of the mountain, and connected by telegraph wires with the recording apparatus in the Observatory which is 550 feet lower down on the mountain. There are in Canada thirty-five stations to which storm warnings are occasionally forwarded from Toronto. It would appear that these storm warnings do not give so much satisfaction in the Canadian ports as do the corresponding ones in the United States; this deficiency is explained by Professor Kingston as due in an important degree to the errors of incompetent observers, or to the failure in the prompt delivery of reports to the central office, but perhaps especially to the neglect of the agents at the drum stations to report the results of all storm warnings; and he makes a suggestion, which it would be highly desirable to carry into effect in the United States, and, indeed, in all countries, to the effect that all light-house keepers, and all other government officials at inland places, as well as on the coast, be required, as a part of their regular duty, to report promptly by mail, in a very brief manner, the circumstances attending any gale that may occur in their neighborhood. Among the appendices to Professor Kingston's report, is the annual report of the Director of the Observatory at Quebec, who states that the new observatory and house were finished early in May, and the instrument, etc., were removed thither. This observatory contains rooms for the equatorial, the transit and computing room and photographic, and is directly adjacent to the dwelling of the Director, Commander E. D. Ashe. The principal work of the equatorial consists in taking photographs of the sun's surface from which to determine the time of rotation, inclination of its axis, etc. The principal routine work of the observatory, in a commercial point of view, is to give the correct time to the shipping. The time ball is now dropped by electricity, and the method has been brought to a considerable state of perfection. Commander Ashe has also entered heartily into the work of determining latitudes and longitudes of points in the Dominion.