Графични страници
PDF файл

cavity suddenly widens out to the breadth of twenty feet, with a height varying from twenty to thirty, the whole having been crammed to the roof with a deposit of fine dark loamy soil, containing a variety of organic remains. It was evident that the work of excavation had been carried on for some time, and we discovered evidences on Mr Walker's farm that to him the cave had proved a regular bed of guano, fertilising his soil and improving his crops. In his operations, however, many of the fossil remains had been allowed to be taken away; still the almost perpendicular section left standing afforded ample field for inquiry and speculation. The bottom, or floor, consisted of rolled stones, or sea-beach, in some places mixed, or covered, with stalagmitic concretion several inches thick. The lowest stratum, three feet thick, was composed of dark loam, with a mixture of decayed shells, principally of the Mytilus edulis. Above this, extending round the cave, was a remarkable layer of shells of the Patella vulgata, varying from one to three feet deep, all in the finest possible state of preservation, and of a large size,-many of them measuring upwards of two inches across. This extraordinary deposit of shells contained no admixture of sand or earthy matter, but lay pure and clean, as if heaped together by human agency. A few examples of Turbo littoreus of Linn. were picked up. About eight feet from the floor, we found a stratum of decayed animal matter, about a foot deep, with a layer of bones extending throughout the whole width of the cave. The teeth and bones were discovered in this layer, and, so far as yet observed, they belong chiefly to the Ruminantia, and are very similar to some of those from the Kirkdale Cave, represented in the plates to Buckland's "Reliquiæ Diluvianæ," especially the Deer horns figured in plate ix., 2d edition. The whole of the bones have been shattered, except the joints and other solid parts; on these we perceived marks, as if they had been gnawed by some animal. The only examples of Carnivora yet met with are the head of a wild cat and the jaws of a fox or wolf, with teeth belonging to animals of a larger species. About a foot from the floor we turned up part of the left parietal bone of a human skull, extremely thin, but compact, firm, and smooth as a piece of ivory. No other part of the human subject had been found, so far as our investigation proceeded. Two small pieces of a pipkin were also picked up, bearing evident marks of antiquity. The floor of the cave dips inward at an angle of about 10 degrees to the horizon, which leads to the supposition that there is a connection with some other cavern into which the sea has had access by this opening; or that another cave had existed between it and the sea, through which the shells might have been carried to their present position. It is not improbable that another cave may be found a little to the west of the present, where the rock is hidden by the débris from above and the soil that has fallen from the upper grounds. Speculation on this subject at present would be idle, but we cannot refrain from alluding to the marked similarity which exists between the remains found in this cave and those found in that of Kirkdale-the natural inference from which leads us to suppose that this also was a hyæna cave, and that remains of this animal may be found on further search being made; for although no bones of any carnivorous animal larger than the wolf have yet been found, it must be kept in mind that no remains of the hyæna were met with in the Kirkdale Cave for nearly twelve months after its discovery, and then only by chance.

Professor OWEN remarked that the bones and shells from Montrose were those of recent animals, and that the cave had evidently been filled in a comparatively recent period.

On the Varieties and Species of New Pheasants recently introduced into England. By Mr GOULD.-After a sketch of the distribution of the family of Gallinaceous birds, the author gave an account of the species of Phasianus (Pheasant), which had been introduced into England. All the 2 P


species were from Asia. The oldest English species was the P. Colchicus, which came from Asia Minor. The next was P. torquatus, from Shanghai, which was introduced about one hundred years ago, and had recently been reintroduced. Specimens of this kind reared in Bedfordshire were exhibited. The crosses between these two birds produced remarkably fine and strong birds. The other true species were P. Mongolicus from Mongolia, P. Læmmenigii from Japan, P. Reevesii from China, and P. versicolor from Japan. P. Reevesii is remarkable for a tail six feet in length; whilst the last species had been successfully introduced into England, and bred freely with P. Colchicus, and the crosses between that bird and P. torquatus; and the result had been greatly to improve the strength and weight of the birds.

On the Vegetative Axis of Ferns. By Dr OGILVIE. The paper embraced two principal points, the general form of the Rhizome of Ferns, and its internal structure. The stems of our British species, at least, may be reduced to two forms, the creeping Rhizome and the Caudex, branched or simple. We have examples of the first in our Brackens and Polypodies, and of the others in the tufted stem of Blechnum and Osmunda, the lady-fern and its congeners, and the parsley-fern, and in the massive imbricated root-stock of the male fern and some other species of Aspidium. The last form presents many points of similarity to the stem of a tree-fern, though its small development and horizontal line of growth prevent its forming any conspicuous trunk above the surface of the ground The resemblance becomes more apparent when the persistent basis of the decayed fronds are cut off, and only the central axis left, marked by spiral rows of cicatrices like the scars marking the stem of the tree-fern. The chief peculiarity of the internal structure is the reduction of the fibro-vascular system to a netted cylinder, imbedded in the general cellular tissue of the stem, and giving off fasciculi both to the petioles and the rootlets. This arrangement is very regular in all the species, but there is great diversity in the course of the dark coloured or woody tissue. Reference was made to the independent origin of the rootlets, and to the general relations of this form of stem to those of the higher plants.-The paper was illustrated by diagrams, and by preparations and dissections of our indigenous ferns, with some comparative specimens of the arborescent species.


On Experiments to determine the Efficacy of continuous and Self-acting Breaks for Railway Trains. By Mr W. FAIRBAIRN.-Of late years, Mr Fairbairn remarked, the improvements introduced to diminish the danger of railway travelling have been specially directed to increasing the retarding power of various kinds of breaks. The importance has been felt of reducing the momentum of trains with ease and rapidity,—that is, in the least time, and in the shortest distance. On this subject a most important communication had been made to the Railway Department of the Board of Trade by Colonel Yolland, who had experimented with breaks which were improvements on the ordinary breaks. The breaks used were the steam-break of M'Connell, the continuous break of Fay, the self-acting break of Newall, and the self-acting buffer-break of Guerin. Colonel Yolland had reported in favour of Newall's break for heavy traffic, and also in favour of that of Guerin under certain circumstances. Similar experiments had been carried out by Mr Fairbairn on the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railways. The breaks he used were those of Fay and Newall, and consisted of break-blocks, acting on every wheel of the carriages of the whole train-the break-blocks being suspended on flaps or placed on side-bars under the carriages. Powerful springs had also been applied under each carriage, by means of which the breaks were made to act instantaneously throughout the whole train by the act of one guard only, and this was one

of the most important features of these breaks. The trains passed over a measured distance by the action of gravity. The trains employed consisted of three weighted carriages each. They were started by removing a stop. Having descended a previously measured distance with a uniformly accelerating velocity, they passed over a detonating signal, which gave notice to the guard to put on the break. On making experiments at Southport, a retarding force per ton weight was gained of 382-6 lb. for Newall's break, and 406-4 lb. for Fay's. The general result of the whole experiment showed that a train could be stopped by these breaks at a velocity of 20 miles an hour in 23'4 yards; 40 miles an hour in 93.8 yards; 50 miles an hour in 146-8; and 60 miles an hour in 211-5 yards. This clearly showed the advantage of these breaks in power.

On the result of Boring for Water in the New Red Sandstone, near Shiffnal, in the County of Salop. By Mr J. F. BATEMAN.-The supply of water to Wolverhampton being found insufficient, new works have been constructed by the author for bringing the water from the River Worth, nine miles from Wolverhampton, and three from Shiffnal. The River Worth, at the place where the pumping-works are erected, is not more than forty or fifty feet above the Severn, which it joins at Bridgewater, eight or ten miles distant. It may therefore be considered as the bottom of a basin little above the level of the sea. From the character of the surrounding hills, and the inclination of the beds of new red sandstone, it appeared to the author of the paper likely, that although the wells previously sunk on the high plateau of Wolverhampton had proved comparative failures, a considerable quantity of water might be found in the sandstone at the lower level, and that some might overflow, as an artesian well. A bore-well was accordingly commenced near Shiffnal, 12 inches in diameter, and continued for 70 feet, when it was diminished to 7 inches, and carried down to a total depth of 260 feet from the surface. Water was met with first at a depth of 22 feet, and from that time it rose with increasing supply to the surface, and flowed over as an artesian well, giving a supply in the end of 210,000 gallons daily. Throughout the whole depth of boring the work varied little in character. It was nearly all hard rock, sometimes very hard, with occasional beds of soft stone. For the last 40 feet or so the soft beds were thicker; but otherwise there was little change from top to bottom. As the whole well is charged with water to the level of the river, which forms its natural outlet, and as the boring shows that the lower beds receive their supplies from distant sources, the supply may reasonably be expected to be inexhaustible within the limits of that which is due to the percolation of the rain upon the collecting area.

Description of the Granite Quarries of Aberdeen and Kincardineshire. By Mr A. GIBB.-The working of the quarries in Aberdeen commenced 250 years ago; but little progress was made for 100 years. The houses in Aberdeen were constructed principally of wood till 1741, when a fire taking place, the town-council ordained that the fronts of the houses should be of stone or brick. In 1764 granite was recommended for paving the streets of London, and was used for Waterloo Bridge in 1817, and subsequently for the docks at Sheerness and London Bridge. There are upwards of twenty quarries supplying the different varieties of granitethe blue, the red or Peterhead granite, the light red, soft gray, and white. The granite, for the most part, lies in irregular masses in the quarries, and generally of columnar structure. The quarrying is principally carried on by blasting. The drainage of the quarries is chiefly accomplished by means of siphons of lead-pipe, from 1 to 2 or 3 inches in diameter. The author suggests the use of a locomotive engine on rails for drainage purposes, as well as for crane and lifting work. The quarries are not worked to any great depth, though the best and largest masses are found at the

lower depths; and proper mechanical contrivances for working deeper might be used with advantage. With reference to the durability of the granite, there appears no appreciable decay; on the oldest specimens of several hundred years the tool-marks are as sharp and fresh as at first. The tools used in dressing the granite for a long period were hammers, picks, and axes only; but in 1820 steel chisels were introduced, which effected a considerable improvement. Machinery was tried for dressing, but it failed, being in the form of a planing-machine, the granite requiring a distinct blow to separate the parts. The number of workmen employed in the quarries is about 500 daily, and the number of horses about 50. About 50,000 tons are quarried annually, of which about 30,000 are exported; and the export is increasing at the rate of 500 tons annually.

Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Monday, 5th December 1859.

At the request of the Council, Lord Neaves, V.P., delivered the following Opening Address:

It has been customary for those who have opened the business of the Session in the Royal Society, from the seat which I now occupy, to give some notice of those members who may have been taken from us by death during the preceding year. The rolls of the Society still exhibit many names illustrious both in science and in literature, but seldom has a year occurred in which we have been deprived of so great a number of eminent members. The first whom I shall mention is Principal Lee :—

John Lee, late Principal of the University of Edinburgh, was one of the most remarkable and estimable men of his time. His intellectual qualities were of a high order; his attainments and acquisitions of knowledge were of the most varied and extensive kind. On almost all subjects he was admirably well informed, and in some departments he was unquestionably the most learned man of his age and country. He was more than all this: he was a most pious Christian minister, and he was one of the most friendly and affectionate of men.

Dr Lee was born at Torwood-lee-Mains, in the parish of Stowe, on the 22d of November 1779. He received his early education from the care of his mother, whom he was accustomed to speak of as a woman of remarkable intellectual powers and mental cultivation, as well as of distinguished moral excellence. The debt of gratitude which he owed to his parents must indeed have been great, if it bore any proportion to the filial reverence and devotion which he showed them in every form in after life.

He was sent, when a boy of ten years old, to Cadon Lee School, at Clovenford, then taught by Mr James Paris, and in which, during Dr Lee's attendance, Doctor Leyden was an assistant. From that school he went to the University of Edinburgh in 1794, being then

in his fifteenth year. In his opening address to the University, as Principal, in 1842, he refers to its state when he became a student, and recurs with pride and pleasure to the eminent men who then gave and received instruction within its walls. He continued at the University for ten years, having studied both medicine and theology. He took the degree of M.D. in 1801, when his Graduation Thesis was much admired for its Ciceronian Latinity. He was licensed as a probationer of the Church in 1804.

During his attendance at college, he assisted Professor Robison in editing Dr Black's "Lectures on Chemistry." In 1802, before his college career closed, he was offered and he accepted the chair of Moral Philosophy in the University of Wilna, in West Russia, in which also, I believe, two other distinguished men were invited to become Professors-Thomas Campbell, the author of "The Pleasures of Hope," and Sir David Brewster, who has now succeeded Dr Lee in the office of Principal in our own University. It is but fair to say that these invitations were made through the medium of the late David Earl of Buchan, who, with some peculiarities of character, was a man of talent and taste, and inspired by a sincere zeal for the advancement of literature and science. Dr Lee prepared himself for fulfilling the duties of this appointment by writing out in Latin a portion of the lectures which he proposed to deliver at Wilna, but the arrangement was broken off by political events which interfered with its completion.

For some time previous to the end of 1805, Dr Lee had been on intimate terms with Dr Carlyle, well known as an eminent clergyman of the Church of Scotland, and then minister of Inveresk, near Edinburgh. He lived a good deal with Dr Carlyle, both at Inveresk Manse and in the Doctor's town residence; and as Dr Carlyle was then about eighty years of age, and still intimate with those of his own contemporaries, who were alive, such as John Home and Adam Fergusson, who belonged, like himself, to a by-gone age, and who had witnessed many remarkable events and social changes, it cannot be doubted that Dr Lee must have derived from this acquaintance a great deal of traditional knowledge as to the civil and ecclesiastical history of Scotland in the eighteenth century, and his natural bias may have been confirmed towards that historical research, and that interest in personal character and anecdote, by which he was afterwards distinguished. Dr Carlyle, at his death in 1805, appointed Dr Lee one of his trustees, and committed specially to his care an autobiographical memoir, which cannot fail to be full of interest, and as to which, I may be permitted to express a hope, that it will ere long be communicated to the public.

Among other eminent clergymen who befriended Dr Lee in the outset of his career, special mention ought also to be made of Dr Finlayson, of whom he always spoke in terms of the warmest regard, and to whose memory he has dedicated one of the painted windows now put up in the Old Greyfriars' Church.

« ПредишнаНапред »