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their allotted position, and in every way provisioned for it, whether on land or water; blind animals filling the caves and "waters under the earth;" the birds of the waters so beautifully arranged in all their internal and external appliances for the lives they lead; the birds of the air, the swallow, or the owl, so finely organised for their purposes-long migration, or a noiseless, "downy" flight or nightly vision; the seal, so wonderfully adapted to its watery life; the mole, in all its structure; these and a thousand thousand more due only to creative power and knowledge, are, according to Mr Darwin, the proceeds of mere development, disuse, disease. Can this be so?

Through the whole of Mr Darwin's most interesting volume we find such passages as these "The result of the various, quite unknown, or dimly seen laws of variation is infinitely complex and diversified." "The laws governing inheritance are quite unknown." "Our ignorance of the laws of variation is profound." "We are profoundly ignorant of the causes producing slight and unimportant variations." Variability is governed by many complex laws," &c. &c. Are we then yet in a position to judge, or can Mr Darwin settle the question so confidently as he does, under such admissions of ignorance as we have now quoted? We think we are not yet prepared to do so. We have said at the commencement of our remarks that some of Mr Darwin's facts were questionable, and it is perhaps not fair to do this without stating some, though it is impossible here to go into any separate discussion of them. Many of the facts are second-hand, and without authority given. Of others, we dispute that disease was or is present in the eye of the mole: we dispute the La Plata woodpecker never climbing trees, or the upland goose not swimming; we dispute the restricted condition of the Galopagos Fauna and Flora; we dispute Horner's calculations of the Nile Delta; and we dispute several geological positions, &c. &c. . All the facts require sifting and analysis, and that is now the duty of our young and active working zoologists; we would say it is also the duty of our clergymen, for the questions will come before them whether they will or not. Let them take them up boldly and without reserve. Let them sift every old fact, and search out as many new ones as they can, we have no fear for the result; but let them do this impartially and with the view to the truth only, and if it is discovered, we shall owe a very large debt to Mr Darwin for having given us so good a scent. We say hunt the OLD PROGENITOR out, and run into him breast high.

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PROCEEDINGS OF SOCIETIES.

British Association for the Advancement of Science.
Meeting at Aberdeen, September 1859.

(Continued from page 141).

ZOOLOGY AND BOTANY INCLUDING PHYSIOLOGY.

The PRESIDENT, in opening the Section, said,-In the early days of the British Association, the circumstances that were considered desirable— nay, in some instances that were thought indispensable to insure a successful meeting, were-a populous neighbourhood, connected in some way with learning, or with commerce or manufacture, and to which there was an easy and rapid access. Thus the capitals, English universities, and large towns, were our early choice. In 1833-34 or -35, a meeting in Aberdeen would have been judged to have been nearly impossible; and the inhabitants of this great city may now look back with satisfaction upon their own enterprise. For, by the application of the principles of steam, and mechanical and engineering science, distance, and time, and expense have been so much reduced, that thousands of persons are enabled to meet together from all parts of the world, and to commune with each other over the mighty agents which God has placed within their power. To the same causes we are indebted for the high position this great body now holds. Opportunity is afforded to many of those whose time is otherwise necessarily employed, to assist, by their countenance and presence, the discussion of subjects on which depends the high place our country has taken among nations. And thus it is that the peace of the world will be best preserved. For while on the one hand mind and science are engaged in contriving and perfecting engines of destruction, possessing power and range far beyond what was ever conceived possible, the means of intercommunion between the various nations of the world at the same time are daily widening and expanding. I think, then, under these circumstances, I am entitled to offer my congratulations upon our meeting here, and to express the satisfaction that I feel in again joining the many old friends and associates that I see around. And if a graver feeling sometimes steals over, at the absence of those whom we were wont to meet, that is softened and brightened by the sight of many new faces, that have, I trust, come to assist and take part in our discussions.

Since we met last year in Leeds, Zoology and Botany have steadily advanced. In Great Britain and Ireland, of the works which have been commenced in former years some have been completed, and others go on with their wonted energy. The fine works incident to the Government Expedition brought out at the public expense, and under charge of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, have been mostly completed, with one exception, to which, we trust, the attention of Government will be directed by some of our scientific friends in Parliament: it is the Zoology of the Expedition of the Erebus and Terror, from 1839 to 1843. This was commenced in 1844, and, after a period of fifteen years, yet remains unfinished. The contributions to the natural history of Labuan, and the adjacent coasts of Borneo, by Mr Motley and Mr Dillwyn, so beautifully cominenced a few years since, and illustrating a Fauna little known, have not been continued, and will, I much regret, cease to be so under their original

authors; for, in the fearful massacre that took place at Kalangan on the 1st of May last, Mr Motley and his family were the first to fall victims to the rage of the natives. This unhappy loss will be a serious one for Science. Mr Motley laboured hard in our particular walks; and being chief engineer of the coal-mines in the eastern division of Borneo, he also turned his mind to Geology-and at the time of his death was preparing a paper for this very Meeting upon the coal of those countries, and upon "The Progress and Growth of New Coal Formations now preparing for Future Ages." It may be recollected that among the grants of money appropriated at our last Meeting to Section D, there was one given to assist Mr Eyton in his work intended to illustrate the comparative osteology of birds. Two beautiful numbers of the work have already appeared, and the third is ready for publication. The periodicals devoted to zoology and botany continue to be well conducted. In these and in the Transactions of Learned Societies much facility and encouragement is given to the publication of valuable Memoirs; and I may mention that in one branch (Ornithology) which has not yet maintained a periodical for itself, an experiment is being tried in Mr Sclater's "Ibis," of which the first year's numbers will be completed in October. The importance of Publishing Societies has been generally acknowledged. Many of us are members of the Ray Society, devoted to furthering the objects of our Section, and it gives me pleasure to lay before you Professor Huxley's beautiful volume on

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Oceanic Hydrozoa," observed during the voyage of H.M.S. Rattlesnake, now ready for subscribers; and also the drawings and plates of Mr Blackwall's volume on Spiders, now far advanced. The members of our Learned Societies have occasionally founded medals or prizes for the encouragement of men of science. You will see presented to Sir R. Murchison during this Meeting the medal founded by Sir T. Brisbane, President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. The late Dr Patrick Neill founded another medal, which has been this year awarded to a botanical work of rare excellence and beautifully illustrated, "The Reproductive Organs of Lichens," by Dr L. Lindsay.* In Ireland, the Rev. C. O'Meara's works on "The Reproduction of the Diatomacea" hold a first place. Mr Archer's papers "On the Desmidie" are also able. In Zoology, marine life has been most advanced by Dr Kinahan, Professors Green and W. King; while in the Dublin University a lectureship in zoology has been founded, and shows its value by being well attended. The condition of our public museums is a very important subject. Their condition is becoming more healthy. The discussions upon the accommodation in our noble national collections, and of the propriety of the separation of the Literary and Art Departments from the Physical, will, I have no doubt, bring out results favourable to both. One great and important feature is the arrangement and cataloguing of our public collections. The officers of the British Museum have worked hard in these departments, and its Catalogues now reach to a numerous and valuable series of volumes. Some of these are well illustrated, while others are almost monographs. This year Dr Gray has devoted one to a portion of the Batrachians or Frogs, and Mr F. Smith has published an excellent part "On the Fossorial Hymenoptera." The University Museum of Edinburgh is one of great value, as, besides possessing the rich mineralogical collection made by its late able Professor Jameson, it gained by purchase the entire zoological collection of the late M. Dufresne of Paris, in which are many of the type-specimens mentioned and described in the zoological works published at the end of the last and beginning of

Now published in volume xxii. of Transactions of the Royal Society of Edin

burgh.

the present century. The formation of a Museum of Technology under Professor George Wilson will, I trust, improve the condition of this part of the University; but at present the accommodation and income allowed for museum purposes are not nearly sufficient, and it is impossible for the Regius Keeper to catalogue or arrange, or even preserve, the collection, or to give that aid to study required at the present time, without considerable additions to his staff of assistants. Among the more local collections, the East India House has set a fine example by publishing two excellent volumes, prepared by their late venerable curator, Dr Horsfield. In his task of preparing this catalogue he has been assisted by Mr F. Moore, his under-curator. The Derby Museum of Liverpool will soon, we may hope, follow the same course; it is a most valuable one, and contains many unique specimens from our early expeditions. Its curator is quite able for the task. The Museum of the University of this city has, I am glad to say, been much improved, and a local collection far advanced. I may remark that museums of this class should not, as is too often the case, attempt a general collection. The great object should be to obtain typical specimens, so as to illustrate and explain the subjects and the geographical distribution of animal life in particular forms; afterwards, a good British collection should be brought together; and, lastly, the local Fauna and Fiora should be illustrated. Aberdeenshire, from its seabord and a country stretching inward to a great elevation, is very rich, and the native animals and plants are becoming extirpated and "forgotten." Another object should be the illustration of any branch of industry or commerce, for which there is a wide field here in the Arctic fisheries. But the one great character of the present time is that of popular information-popular works on all subjects. This is no doubt all in the right direction, and shows the call for information; but it may be overdone. False information is worse than none. Some of our great principles cannot be studied against time, and diluted chapters from authors of reputation sometimes neither give the truth nor the author's meaning. These form a considerable staple in our weekly press. It is your duty, then, who are presumed to know something of the various branches you profess, to inform, and counsel, and advise, as far as you can, the authors of those lesser works, when they will take advice, and to endeavour that at least accuracy is carried out in their endeavours to instruct others.

Upon the continent of Europe the progress of Zoology and Botany has been steady. In our Foreign possessions there is an advance. The melancholy events that have occurred in India, and her unfortunate position, have given a temporary check there; yet the scientific journals of that country, which have brought so much to light continue, and there is no country where we have been so much indebted to our military officers for physical information. Their names would form a very long list. Colonel Sykes, your member of parliament, now here, deserves every praise; and among Scotchmen you have Elliot and Jerdan, M'Clelland and Adams, the latter an Aberdeenshire man, and who has brought many new objects of interest to this country. But it is in the younger countries where we see an advance more evident. Australia and Van Diemen's Land, now that wealth permits time and luxury, have attended to science. In most of the journals of these countries we have original observers, and by and by we shall have the results of the study of the remarkable productions of these lands made where they live and grow. New Zealand also has its scientific journal. It is, however, in the New World where the greatest activity at present prevails. She has already, with credit to herself, sent out scientific expeditions of a general character, and those of Wilkes and Rae and Kane are well known, and huge works have sprung from each; the vast extent of territory now claimed by the

American people has given rise to surveys and exploratory expeditions at home, and these are proceeding in all directions to fix the boundarylines and the best railway routes to the Pacific,-naturalists and draftsmen, in fact all the necessary staff, accompanying each expedition,the results of which are published in reports to Congress, in which they are assisted by the Smithsonian Institution of Washington. But the work of the greatest magnitude and importance to America is "Contributions to the Natural History of the United States," by Agassiz, originally advertised to be completed in ten large volumes, but the subscription has been so great as to allow the extension of the work beyond the contemplated limits. Two volumes for the first year, on the Testudinata or Tortoises, have been published, illustrated by thirty-four plates. An important part of these volumes is an introductory essay, which has been republished separately in an 8vo volume. Louis Agassiz's "Essay on Classification," embraces the whole range of the subject, which he treats in a wider and more comprehensible and less mechanical manner than has hitherto been done; but while I thus praise the work and the manner in which it is treated, and agree with a great many of the positions he has taken up, I must warn its readers that some subjects are treated in a way Professor Agassiz will not be able to maintain, and that to those who are unable or unwilling to think for themselves, the author's reputation will prove a guarantee not altogether to be trusted. It must be studied with great care and great caution. Nevertheless I look upon it as the remarkable book of the year. There is another work upon a similar subject advertised, from which we may expect some curious reasonings, "On the Origin of Species and Varieties," by Charles Darwin.*

Let me now say a word for Section D. At the first meeting in York, in 1831, the Committee of Sections was naturally small. Zoology and Botany did not come forward in great numbers, and we had only five members, Daubeny, Greville, Henslow, Lindley, and Dr Pritchard. There was no Botanical paper, and only one on Zoology, "On the Crystalline Lens of Vertebrata," by Dr, now Sir David, Brewster. In 1832 and 1833 the British Association met in Oxford and Cambridge-in 1834 at Edinburgh, where the attendance was greater than on any previous occasion, 1298 tickets being issued-Dublin in 1835. These first four meetings are extremely interesting, and a perusal of the volumes containing the Reports will show you how this now great body thought and acted in its early days; how it has crept on, and increased and matured its plans, until it reached the high position in science which it now holds; and that I may not be said to speak too highly of ourselves, or to state matters for which there is no foundation, the work of Section D, since the 27th of September 1831, up to the conclusion of the Meeting for 1858, gives the following results:There have been read-Reports, 95; Papers, Zoological, 411; Botanical, 213; or, in all, 719 Reports and Papers; and the amount of money granted to Section D for scientific encouragement during the same period appears to have been about L.1007. After the position that I have mentioned to you that the literature of our subject holds, I do not think that we can complain either of slowness or want of interest. Perhaps we have not been so popular as the members of Section C, but we shall not quarrel about which is the more important, as I think we are mutually dependent on each other, and cannot well go on separately. Their science allows great scope for the imagination, and that may occasionally run riot. They have in charge the two great materials of which we all acknowledge the importance, and without the assistance of which we would not now be

* "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection," &c., now published. See notice at p. 280 of the present No. of this Journal. NEW SERIES.-VOL. XI. NO. II.-APRIL 1860. 2 N

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