Imagens das páginas
[merged small][merged small][graphic][ocr errors]
[merged small][graphic][graphic]

increases their resemblance to earth-worms) and feed oa worms and other small animals and mould.

To turn now to another aspect of our subject, let us consider the relations of the Frog to past time. If, extending our survey over the records of past epochs, we search the tertiary and all other rocks above the Lias for fossil allies of our Frog, we shall (judging by what we yet know) fail to find any not at once referable to one or other of the three ordinal groups above enumerated.

Fossil frogs and toads have as yet only been found down to the miocene, the oldest being some found in the so-called "brown coal'' which is not a carboniferous deposit


These Amphisbenians have a softer skin than any other Saurians except chameleons. It is also marked in grooves which are arranged in transverse rings. They have an exceedingly short tail which is blunt, so that, the head being small, one end of the body is as large as the other.

The Ophiomorpha also have the body marked with numerous transverse grooves or rings ; they are utterly devoid of limbs, and the head is scarcely, if at all, larger than the hinder end of the body.

These creatures burrow beneath the soil (which habit

• Continued from p. 30.

Fig. 35.—M uch enlarged horizonta section of the tooth of a Labyrinthodon

at all. The remarkable thing, however, is that the difference between these oldest known Frogs and the existing forms is so very trifling. They are as complete and thorough frogs as any that live now.

Again, the fossil Urodeles similarly resemble their existing representatives, and no one extinct species exhibits characters in any way tending to bridge over the chasm which separates the Urodela from the Anoura.

When, however, we descend to the Lias, Trias, and Carboniferous rocks, we come upon a rich variety of extinct species of animals evidently allied to those forming the three Hatrachian classes already described. They form, however, an order by themselves, to which the term Labyrinthodonta has been applied, and thus our search into the past has brought us a rich and important harvest, and has introduced us to the fourth and last Order belonging to the frog's class of vertebrate animals. The Labyrinthodonts were creatures with long tails and mostly two pairs of limbs, but these members were always relatively small with slender toes. Some species attained a greater size by far than does any existing Urodele, even the gigantic Salamander.

To what existing animals can these huge monsters be considered to have affinity? It is impossible to say that they in any way bridge over the chasm separating the Frogs from the Efts. They appear indeed to have been almost equally removed from both—for the possession of short limbs and a long tail (characters common to so many widely different animals) cannot be regarded as any good evidence of affinity.

It is not improbable that they find their nearest allies in the existing insignificant Ophiomorpha. The latter, though apparently naked, have minute scales imbedded in the skin and arranged in rings at intervals, and the skull is provided with certain extra ossifications. The Labyrinthodonts have similar extra cranial ossifications, and though they have not rings of scales, the ventral region was protected by minute plates arranged in linear series converging inwards and forwards towards the middle line. Moreover, some forms appear to have been entirely devoid of limbs ; at least no remnant of such parts has yet been discovered. Nevertheless the degree of development of the tail constitutes a marked distinction between the Labyrinthodonta and the Ophiomorpha.

Certain Labyrinthodonts had great formidable teeth in elongated jaws like those of crocodiles. Altogether these singular remains tempt us to speculate as to the succession of life upon this planet's surface. We know that as to the later secondary period that part in the life of the globe which is now played by beasts was then played by reptiles. Instead of the existing bats, Pterodactyles of all sizes flitted through the air. The ocean was peopled not by whales and dolphins, these had not yet appeared, but by huge Ichthyosauri and Plesiosauri. Reptiles of huge bulk (Iguanodons, Megalosauri, Notosauri, &c. &c.) fulfilled the parts of herbivorous and carnivorous beasts, and altogether the Mammalian fauna of to-day was represented by analogous reptilian precursors.

May it not have been similar in yet older periods with regard to animals of the Frog class? We have seen the possibility of aerial locomotion in even the existing Rhacophorus. It is true that all existing Urodeles are freshwater forms, but it may well be that marine creatures once bore the same relation to them as the great marine Ganoid fish fauna bears to the few existing Ganoids* which now constitute a fresh-water group.

The great crocodile-like Labyrinthodonts must have been no ignoble predecessors of the rapacious reptiles which were to succeed them, and the fossil form Ophiderpeton suggests that the existing Ophiomorpha may be the last remnants of a race which preceded and represented the subsequently developed serpents.

This, however, is but a conjecture which future discoverers will probably ere long establish or refute.

The name Labyrinthodonta was bestowed upon the great fossil group on account of the beautiful and singularly complex structure of the teeth of some members of the order. These teeth are conical, and exhibit slight vertical grooves on their surface. A horizontal section shows that these surface-grooves are the external indications of deep indentations of the substance of the tooth. All these indentations converge towards the centre of the tooth, but not in straight lines, each indentation being elaborately inflected. Radiating from the centre of the tooth are a corresponding number of processes of the central pulp cavity—the radiating processes undulating like the converging folds.

* Existing Ganoids arc the sturgeon, bony pike (Lepidosteus), mud-fish (Lepidosiren), and others as noticed earlier.

A similar structure of tooth is found in some Ganoid fishes, and an incipient stage (as it were) of the same condition existed in the Ichthyosaurus.

We have now reviewed the closest as well as the more remote allies of our Frog, and have seen how the Frog is a species of a group {Anoura) which is one of three existing and widely divergent orders, supplemented by an extinct ordinal group of the carboniferous period—the four orders (1. Anoura, 1. Urodela, 3. Ophiomorpha, and 4. Labyrinthodonta) being embraced in a higher unity termed a "Class," which is the Frog's class, as " Anoura'' is his order. This class is with propriety spoken of. as the Frog's class, since the Frog is the species from which its scientific derivation Batrachia is derived. This class may now be considered as a whole.

The Batrachians (of all three existing orders) are in the main aquatic animals, inasmuch as the greater number, even when adult, frequent, at least at intervals, ponds and streams, or delight in humid localities. Water also is necessary for the larval stages of almost all; and absolutely all, at one period of lite, possess gills, while some (as we have seen) retain gills during their whole existence, and are permanently and constantly- inhabitants of water.

The extinct forms (Labyriitthodoitta) were, no doubt, also aquatic, as, besides their general relation to other Batrachians, traces or indications of the hard parts which supported the branchiae of some Labyrinthodonts appear to have been actually found.

It is somewhat singular that in rpite of this predominating aquatic habit, all Batrachians, both living and fossil, appear to inhabit, and to have inhabited, fresh water only. No Batrachian of any period is yet known to have been marine. This is the more remarkable since the most nearly allied class, that of fishes, is much more rich in salt-water than in fresh-water forms ; while even existing Rcptilia have (in the true sea-snakes and in chelonians) representatives which inhabit the open ocean, while in the secondary geological period marine reptiles {Ichthyosauri and Plesiosauri) abounded.

Indeed, of all classes of vertebrate animals, this aquatic class {Batrachia) has the least to do with the ocean, for many birds, and a still greater number of Mammals {e.g. the whales and porpoises), are constant inhabitants of silt water. All the adult Batrachians feed on animal substances, generally small worms, insects, or slugs, and animals allied to slugs. The larger Frogs and Toads will, however, as has been said, devour vertebrate animals, such as mice and small reptiles and birds. The existing large, tailed Batrachians devour fishes. The extinct tailed Batrachians, in their adult condition, were also undoubtedly animal feeders, but they may, in their young state, have been vegetarians. At any rate the tadpoles of the existing Urodela will eat vegetable matter, and indeed probably sustain themselves mainly upon it.

In cold latitudes the Batrachia, like the Reptilia, go into the winter sleep called hibernation, as also do the hedgehogs and bats amongst Mammals.

The I'rogs and Toads sometimes hide and shelter themselves by creeping into out-of-the-way holes and corners, but more generally they (as also the Newts) bury themselves in mud at the bottom of ponds and streams. In hot latitudes, some forms pass the dry season in a similar state of lethargic inactivity.

Many beasts, birds, and fishes, range in flocks. The Batrachians, however, usually wander about in a solitary manner, and only congregate in the breeding season. It is then that their vocal powers find utterance, though only in the Anourous order; the tailed Batrachians never make more than a very feeble sound.

As regards the geographical distribution of the whole class, the northern hemisphere, and especially the American portion of it, is the more richly furnished. Africa, India, and Australia, are the most poorly supplied on the whole, because, though possessing very many kinds of frogs and toads, the whole Eft order is unknown in those regions.

Our question "What is a Frog?" has now been somewhat further answered; but it cannot be completely so until the organisation of the animal has been more fully surveyed, and not only the relation of the frog to other Batrachians thus more clearly seen, but also the relations and affinities borne by the several orders of Batrachians and by the whole class to the other orders and other classes of the Vertebrate sub-kingdom.

Accordingly, we have now to make an acquaintance with more than those shvious and external characters which are found in the Frog, and to penetrate into its inner anatomy, surveying successively its bony framework and the various parts and organs which subserve the several actions necessary to its continued existence.

At the same time the more noteworthy resemblances presented by the Frog to other creatures will be pointed out. Thus we shall become acquainted with the relations existing first between the Frog and other members of its order; secondly, between the members of its order {Anoura) and its class fellows—i.e. other Batrachians; thirdly, we shall comprehend the degree of relationship existing between the Batrachia and the other classes of the Vertebrate sub-kingdom; and fourthly, we shall come to recognise certain singular resemblances which exist between the various groups of Batrachians (the Frog's order of course forming one), and some of the orders into which other vertebrate classes—especially the class of Reptiles—have been divided.

The skeleton of the Frog, both external and internal, naturally comes first as the support and foundation of the other structures. The internal skeleton (or endo-skeletoii) will include the bones of the head, i.e. the skull, backbone (already relerred to), and the bones of the limbs. The external skeleton {exo-skcleton) will consist of the skin only.

St. George Mivart

(To be continued?)


V.— The "Connaissance des Temps " under the continued direction of the old Academy

LET us return to the Connaissance des Temps of the old Academy.

Jeaurat, who succeeded Lalande in 1775, adopted exactly the same principles as the latter ; he, however, extended considerably the ephemerides of the moon, giving its declination for every six hours, to facilitate the calculation of the altitude, when at the same time only the distance could be observed. Mechain succeeded Jeaurat in 1788; he followed the example of his two predecessors, and like them, continued to take from the " Nautical Almanac" the distances of the moon, which Maskelyne had the kindness to send him even in manuscript.

Moreover, besides the ephemerides and the lunar distances, the Connaissance des Temps still contained observations, memoirs on various astronomical topics, an abridged notice of new books likely to be of interest to astronomers and navigators, and a brief history of astronomy during the past year, due to the skilful and wellinformed pen of Lalande. This state of things continued until 1794, the year when Mechain left Paris, to take part in the meridian work. Soon after, the suppression of the academies having dispersed the astronomers, the Connaissance des Temps for 1795 was compiled and published by the temporary Commission of Weights and Measures. Finally, on June 25 of the same year, 1795, the publication of this work was placed under the eminent direction of the Bureau des Longitudes. Here we may conclude

* Ceatuniad from rot. Tul p. sji.

the first part of our account of the Connaissance des Temps—a work at first completely independent, then published with the approbation of the Academy, which included at the time nearly all those who were occupied with astronomy; and afterwards entrusted to the care of the Bureau des Longitudes, a commission which still continues to_be charged with its publication.

VI. The "Connaissance des Temps" under the Bureau des Longitudes

The first care ol the Bureau was to entrust one of its members with the publication and direction of the Connaissance des Temps, thus showing, from the first, the true course which ought to have been adopted from the beginning, that a work of this kind demands strictly personal superintendence. Its choice fell upon Lalande, then Astronomer of the Observatory of FEcole Militaire. As to the calculations, however, the superintendence of this astronomer was more nominal than real; he was occupied mainly with the Additions which he had commenced in 1760, and towards which the bent of his mind, —" more of a collector 'than an inventor"— carried him. Thanks to the great quantity of material which he had acquired, he made of these additions a work really useful, for at this time periodic scientific publications were very rare. His Journal d'Astronomie (history of astronomy during the preceding year), contains a mass of information of great value, even at the present day, to all who take an interest in the history of the science of astronomy.

As to the calculations, they were made partly by Bouvard, whom Laplace had appointed adjoint to the Bureau des Longitudes, and partly in the bureau of the Cadastre, under the direction of Prony, its chief. It was in the office of this celebrated engineer that the distances of the moon from the sun and from the principal stars were calculated, distances which ceased from that time to be taken from the Nautical Almanac. Let us, however, add, that up to the year 1806 the greater part of the other calculations of the Connaissance des Temps were drawn from the Nautical Almanac, "with the view," according to the preamble, " of accelerating the publication." Despite this assistance, nevertheless, this work appeared only about a year and a half or two years in advance; it was then, at that time, completely useless to navigators who had to make a long round. The attention of the Bureau des Longitudes was not however turned in this direction. Its president was then the illustrious Laplace, one of the glories of the mathematical sciences, and who first knew how to deduce from the great discovery of Newton, all the consequences which it was calculated to yield.

Pierre Simon Laplace was born March 23, 1749, of a family of poor farmers of Beaumont-en- Auge (Normandy, Calvados). It is not known where he got the elements i of his education, for when later he was raised to the highest honours, he hid the weakness to wish to conceal his humble origin. Appointed in 1770, on the recommendation of d'Alembert, Professor of Mathematics at I'ltcole militaire of Paris, he became in 1772 adjoint member of the Academy of Sciences, next succeeded Bezout as examiner of the pupils of the royal corps 0! artillery, and in 1785 was made titular Academician. During this time, his beautiful memoirs on which he founded his Me'caniqut celeste, succeeded each other almost without interruption. Finally, in 1795, he was nominated president of the Bureau des Longitudes, a position which he held till his death, March 5, 1827.

Under his leadership the Bureau was occupied mainly in perfecting and re-constructing the tables, by means of which are calculated in advance the positions of (he 1I1Iferent stars. The tables of Uelambrc (the sun, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and the satellites of Jupiter, I79J)» of Mayer (corrected by Mason, 1787), for the moon, of Lalande for Venus and Mercury, showed with the observations very great errors which the theory of Laplace promised to eliminate, or at the very least to diminish. It was to the solution of these questions that Laplace directed the forces of the Bureau, and it was to their practical execution that he applied the resources which the budget granted him.

"To accelerate the work, the different parts were distributed to various members of the Bureau. The tables of the moon, on account of the constant use made of them in astronomy and navigation, were those which it was of special importance should be completed promptly; but the length of the researches, the magnitude of the calculations, which so complicated a theory required, only permitted the hope to be cherished that in the distant future errors might be made to disappear which had gone on increasing from day to day. This was the occasion of making an appeal to all astronomers, national and foreign, who might have sufficiently advanced works upon the lunar tables. With this object the Bureau des Longitudes was authorised to offer a prize." *

This prize of 8,000 francs was awarded by the Bureau to an astronomer of Vienna, Biirg, whose tables, based upon 2.500 observations, made at Greenwich from 1765 to 1795, were deemed the most accurate and convenient. At the same time, Delambre published new tables of the sun; Bouvard, pupil of Laplace, whom he had assisted in the publication of the Mecanique ct'leste (Laplace resigned to him entirely the detailed investigations and astronomical calculations), published Nouvelles Tables des planetes Jupiter et Saturne (1808), a new edition of which he brought out in 1824, to which were added tabfes of Herschel's planet, Uranus; Delambre published his Tables iclipliques des satellites de Jupiter (according to the theory of Laplace and the totality of the observations made from 1662 to 1802); Burckhardt, a German astronomer, whom the conquests of Napoleon had given to France, published new Tables de la lune (1812), which, in the estimation of some astronomers, took the place of those of Biirg.

However, the impulse given by the splendid works of Laplace was not confined within the French frontiers. In Italy, a celebrated astronomer, Francisco Carline, published, in 1S10, new tables of the sun, which were soon employed everywhere except in K ranee, t In Germany, a man of Science, who was at one and the same time an eminent lawyer, a distinguished captain, and an excellent astronomer, Bernhard von Lindenau, published, according to Laplace's theory, tables of Venus, Mars, and Mercury. X

Unfortunately these excellent works, due to the powerful initiative of Laplace, were not made use of in the publication of the Connaissance des Temps.

In 1808, Delambre, one of the most eminent French astronomers, undertook the direction of the Connaissance des Temps. No essential change was made in the work till 1817; at that time the right ascension of the moon, which had until then been calculated only to a minute, was given to a second for noon and midnight. Sailors could thus determine the longitude of their ships with more exactness; and astronomers, instead of finding in the Connaissance des Temps only the indication of the time at which they ought to observe our satellite, could thus compare the results of their observations with those which the tables gave, and prepare the material for their improvement. Finally, in 1820, were introduced the diffe

* .J^POrt.of Hie Bureau dej Longitudes, 1800.

t "Esposizone di un nuovo metfiodo.di construire le Tavolc Astromkchc apphcato allc Tavole del Sole" (Milan, 1810).

t "Tabula: Veneris nova; et correcta: ex theoria gravitatis, clarisrimi de Laplace, et ex obscrvatjonibus recentissimis in specula astxonomica Seebergcnsi habitis crease (Gotha, 1810). "Tabula: Martis nova: et correcta: ex thcona gravitatis, elanse.mi de Lnflnce, et ex observationibus recentiSMims crecta; (Esstnberg, 1811). "Investigate nova orbila; a mercurio circa soh de.scr.pta-, acccdunt Tabula: Planet* ex Klomentis recens repertis ct theona gravitatis, tllustnsumi de La finer construct*: "(ficllia, 181 j)

rences in right" ascension and in declination of the sun, differences useful in calculating the preceding co-ordinates at an hour other than that of noon. This was still another advantage to sailors.

But these improvements were of very little consequence in comparison with those which astronomy, geography, and navigation demanded. Germany was the first to set an example in this direction, and the Royal Astronomical Society of London, after a long and learned discussion, came to the conclusion that they were necessary. Moreover, besides being incomplete, the Connai'sanct- a*i Temps was full of errors from beginning to end, errita being found even among the errata themselves. Radical reforms were indispensable; but to make this clearly evident, we must return to the history of the " Nautical Almanac" and the Berlin " Jahrbuch.''

{To be continued.)


UNTIL the appearance of Mr. Tiddeman's paper in Nature, vol. i.\. p. 14, I had not fully realised the important issues which, according to him, depend upon the proper identification of the fragment of bone from the Victoria Cave to which he refers ; nor was I aware that he was about to commit me in such very absolute terms to the opinion that it was human, but of this, as it turns out, I have no reason to complain.

Looking, however, at the apparent gravity of the statement, and knowing, also, that opinions might, and as I believe did, differ as to the origin of the bone, I have been induced to go into the matter again, and am now in a position to affirm that there is no room for the slightest doubt on the subject.

Mr. James Flower, the excellent and estimable articulator to the College of Surgeons, to whom I am under many obligations for assistance in such questions, and who at one time suggested, and had almost convinced me, that the bone was elephantine, has, after much search, found amongst the Museum stores of human osteology, a fibula which places the question beyond all doubt, and fully confirms the opinion 1 had come to. especially after seeing the Mentone skeleton, that the Victoria relic, pre- or post-glacial as it may be, is human. It is further important as showing that bones of the same conformation may occasionally be met with at the present day. Geo. Busk

Harley Street, Nov. 14


Dr. A. Dew-smith and Francis M. Balfour of Trinity College, Cambridge, have been nominated by the Board of Natural Science Studies, in accordance with the grace of the Senate (May 1, 1873), to study at the Zoological Station at Naples under Dr. Dohrn, until the end of July 1874.

At the General Monthly Meeting cf the Koyal Institution to be held on Monday first, a President will be elected in the room of the late Sir Henry Holland, Bart.

Professor Trhjuair, of the Royal College of Science in Dublin, has been appointed to the Keepership of the Natural History Museum in the Edinburgh Museum of Science and Art. This gentleman was formerly one of the Demonstrators to the Professor of Biology in the University of Edinburgh, and is the author of several important conlributions to Science.

Mr. W. F. Barrett, F.C.S., has been appointed Professor of Physics to the Royal College of Science, Dublin, in succession to the late Professor W. Barker. We feel sure that this appoint

ment will give great satisfaction. Sir Robert Kane, F.R.S., having resigned the post of Dean of Faculty to the College, for the purpose of spending his winters in the south of Europe, Professor Galloway has been selected to fill this post. It is said that there either are, or will very shortly be, a vacancy in the Professorship of Chemistry owing to Professor Sullivan's appointment to the Presidentship of the Queen's College, Cork.

De. E. II. Bennett has been elected Professor of Surgery in the University of Dublin, in succession to the late Dr. R. W. Smith ; and Dr. Thos. E. Little has been elected to fill the post of University Anatomist. In connection with news from the Dublin University, we may mention that it is understood that the authorities have determined to build a new museum for their anatomical and zoological collections. At present, in connection with the Medical School, there is a small collection of human and comparative anatomy, and, in the Arts' School a very good collection of zoology. It is intended to combine these two in a new building. The College authorities would confer a great boon on natural science in Dublin if they would venture to go a itep further and make their new museum contain all their biological collections. The advantages would be great of having the distribution of animals in space and time shown in connection the one with the other ; and there is something incongruous in separating the specimens illustrating the past and present races of mankind from the zoological collection, and combining the specimens illustrating the anatomy and physiology of the human species with those illustrative of the other animals. For the convenience of the students, we trust that the extensive herbarium of the College may also be lodged under the roof of the new building, which, to be useful, need contain no lofty halls or grand corridors, but should consist of a series of welllit rooms, after the fashion of, we would suggest, that nicest of museums, the one for Economic Botany at Kew.

The following memorandum on the Whitworth Scholarships, prepared by Sir Joseph Whitworth, has been approved by the Lords of the Committee of the Council on Education :—" I wish that candidates for my Scholarships in 1874, who, owing to the shortness of the notice, may not have been able to be in a mechanical shop for six months before the competition takes place, should be allowed to compete, but that if successful, their schotarsh'p should not begin until they have worked six months in a mechanical shop. I think the same privilege should be accorded to candidates in 1875, who have not served eighteen months in a mechanical shop, the scholarship not beginning until this period is completed."

The I 20th session of the Society of Arts was opened on the 19th inst. wiih an address by the Chrirman of the Council, Major-General K. Eardley-Wilmot, F. R.S.

The magnum opus of three generations of botanists, De Candolle's "Prodromes Systematis naturalis vegetabilium," containing a diagnosis of every known species of flowering plant, has now been completed as far as Dicotyledons are concerned, and it is not intended to continue the work into the Monocotyledons. In commemoration of the completion of the work, the Horticultural Society of Belgium has awarded M. de Candolle a special medal. The publication of the work was commenced in Isis.

The trustees of the Gilchrist Educational Fund offer a scholarship ot the value of 50/. per annum, tenable for three years at Girton College, Cambridge, to be competed for at the General Examination for Women, conducted by the University of London in May, 1S74.

From the commencement of next year, The Gardiner? Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette will be divided into two papers,

each weekly, to be devoted to the interests of the two sister sciences.

Dr. William Wallace, in opening recently the session of the Chemical Section of the Philosophical Society of Glasgow, spoke, among other things, of the endowment of research. From what he said on this subject, we think the following pointed remarks worthy of attention :—With regard to students who attended evening lectures and classes, a very great deal had been done for them by the Society of Arts, and by the examiners of the Science and Art Department, both of which had given great encouragement to the class of students whom they were intended to benefit. What was lacked most was a stimulus to men of the highest educational class. In this country, apart from professorships, there were no means of assisting that class except, perhaps, a few sinecures and the conferring of empty titles. In France, at least under the Imperial regime, when a man acquired renown in a particular line of investigation, a laboratory with all the best and most suitable appliances was Immediately fitted up for him. Hence Paris was provided with a series of the most complete laboratories for metallurgy, for agriculture, for the sugar manufacture, and for many other branches of the science; and students might go to study a particular subject with the certainty that they would have a most efficient teacher and the advantages of a laboratory fitted up specially, and, as one might say, regardless of expense, with the apparatus and requirements necessary for the teaching and study of the subject. It appeared to him (Dr. Wallace) that the endowment of research would form a desirable stimulus for chemists, many of whom had the necessary education and talent, but could not afford the time nor the expense, often considerable, of obtaining the apparatus and materials required.

A Society of Physical and Natural Science was founded four years ago at Caracas, Venezuela; but the political agitations of the country have, until recently, hindered its development. Meanwhile it has commenced the publication of a Bulletin under the title of Vargasia, so named in honour of the American botanist Vargas. I'Jnstitut learns, by a letter from Dr. Ernst, who is at once president, secretary, and treasurer of the society, that the present Government of Venezuela intends to promote, as much as it can, the growth of scientific studies, mainly by th; establishment of various intitution; for public instructior. Dr. Ernst, appointed Professor of Botany in the University of Caracas, where hitherto there has been no such chair, has been charged with the direction or rather the creation of a botanic garden and a museum of natural history. In the museum Prof. Ernst intends to collect—1st, a herbarium of Venezuela; 2nd, a general herbarium ; 3rd, a collection relating to economic botany. He intends to publish in a few years a Flora of Caracas. Dr. Ernst appeals to European botanists and collectors for exchanges to assist him in the formation of these herbaria.

It is not often that Mr. Disraeli says anything which calls for particular notice in a journal of this kind, therefore it is with peculiar pleasure that we quote the opinion he uttered last week at the Glasgow banquet as to the share which Science has had during the present century in moulding the world. Coming from a man of his shrewdness and sentimentality withal, the words have a striking force. Speaking of the last fifty years, he said :—" How much has happened in these fifty years—a period more remarkable than any, I will venture to say, in the annals of mankind. I am not thinking of the rise and fall of empires, the change of dynasties, the establishment of Governments. I am thinking of those revolutions of science which have had much more effect than any political causes, which have changed the position and prospects of mankind more than all the conquests and all the codes and all the legislators that ever lived."

At the first meeting of the Edinburgh Botanical Society for

« AnteriorContinuar »