« AnteriorContinuar »
In the next chapter, entitled “A Wave of Life,” we instinctive fear of man or birds of prey antecedent to have a far broader subject touched upon and illustrated experience or parental teaching. The one thing that is by a mass of curious observations. The interdependence instinctive is the alarm caused by the warning note of and complex relations of species, so admirably portrayed the parent. This produces an effect even before the by Darwin, are here brought vividly before us.
chick is hatched, for, in three different species belonging told how, during a fine moist summer, when grass and to wideiy separated orders, Mr. Hudson has watched the flowers were abundant, mice increased to an abnormal nest while a young bird was chipping its way out of the extent, so that everywhere in the fields it was difficult to egg and uttering its feeble peep, when, on hearing the avoid treading on them, while dozens could be shaken warning cry of the mother-bird, both sounds instantly out of every hollow thistle-stalk lying on the ground. cease, and the chick remains quiescent in the shell for a The most incongruous animals swarmed to the feast long time, or till the parent's changed note shows that the which they provided. Dogs lived almost entirely on danger is over. Young nestling birds take their food as them, as did the domestic fowls, assuming the habits of readily from man as from their parents, till they hear the rapacious birds. The cats all left the houses to live in warning cry, when they immediately close their mouths, the fields. Tyrant-birds and cuckoos seemed to prey and crouch down frightened in the nest. Parasitical on nothing else. Foxes, weasels, and opossums fared birds which do not recognize the warning cries of their sumptuously, and even the common armadillo turned foster-parents show no fear. The young parasitical mouser with great success. Storks and short-eared owls cow-bird takes food from man, and exhibits no fear gathered to the feast, so that fifty of the latter birds could although the foster-parents are hovering close by screamoften be seen at once, and they got fat and bred in the ing their alarm notes. So, a young wild dove, reared middle of winter, quite out of their proper season, in con- from the egg by domestic pigeons which, never being sequence. The following winter was a time of drought, fed, were half wild in their habits, never acquired the the grass and herbage had all been consumed or was wildness of its foster-parents, but became perfectly tame burnt up, and the mice, having no shelter, and being and showed no more fear of a man than of a horse. He obliged to search for food, soon fell a prey to their nume- had none of his own kind to learn from, and did not rous enemies, and were almost wholly exterminated. understand either the voices or the actions of the doveTheir vast increase, by bringing together innumerable cot pigeons. Mr. Hudson has also reared plovers, tinaenemies, was the cause of their succeeding decrease. As mous, coots, and many other wild birds from eggs Mr. Hudson well remarks :-
hatched by fowls, and found them all quite incapable of “Here, scene after scene in one of Nature's silent, distinguishing friend from foe, while some, such as the passionless tragedies opens before us, countless myriads rhea and the crested screamer, are much tamer when of highly-organized beings rising into existence only to young than domestic chickens and ducklings. perish almost immediately, scarcely a hard-pressed rem- Mr. Hudson concludes that birds learn to distinguish nant remaining after the great reaction to continue the
their enemies, first from parental warnings and later by species."
personal experience, and he considers that this view is We cannot stop to notice a tithe of the curiosities of confirmed by the different behaviour of birds in the prenatural history with which this volume abounds, such as sence of various species of the hawk tribe, the amount the poisonous toad which kills horses, and the wrestler of alarm shown being exactly proportionate to the degree frog, which gives a sudden pinch to an enemy with its of danger. Some hawks never attack birds, others only muscular fore-legs, and then escapes; the huge venomous
occasionally. The chimango kite is chiefly a carrionman-chasing spider, a species of Lycosa, which actually feeder, and its presence excites no alarm among small pursues men on foot and on horseback; the strange birds. One of the harriers is so like the chimango in dread which gnats, mosquitoes, and sand-fies have of some states of plumage that the latter is sometimes misdragon-flies, so that a single individual of the latter insect taken for it, and a certain amount of fear is exhibited, will cause clouds of the tormentors instantly to disappear; which, however, soon passes away on discovering the real the interesting discussion on parasite problems, and the nature of the intruder. Buzzards are still more feared wonderful storms of dragon-flies which precede wind- | than harriers, as they are more destructive to birds, and storms from the interior ; the new and interesting cases they cause a somewhat greater amount of alarm. But of mimicry and of warning colours; and the delightful most dangerous of all is the peregrine falcon, and, however chapter on the crested screamer, the author's prime high in the air this may be, the feathered world is thrown favourite among all the denizens of the Pampas, which, into the greatest commotion, all birds, from the smallest though possessing a body as large as that of a swan, yet up to species as large as duck, ibis, and curlew, rushing soars up into the air like a lark, and in flocks of thou- about as if distracted. Even when the falcon has disapsands, when so high as to appear only specks in the blue peared, the wave of terror excited by it subsides but sky, pours forth its song in silvery sounds delightful to slowly, and the birds continue for a considerable time to listen to. These and many other matters of interest be wild and excited. Now, this nicely-measured alarm, must be studied in the book itself, since we must devote proportioned to the danger to be apprehended from the the remainder of our limited space to some valuable different species, can hardly be due to inherited instinct, observations and discussions on certain instincts, by even if this could explain the general dread of raptorial which new light is thrown on several disputed questions. birds ; and, taken in connection with the numerous other
The chapter on “Fear in Birds"is especially interesting, facts in the habits of young birds, leads to the conclusion since the result of the author's observations is opposed to that fear of enemies is wholly the result of education and the view held by Darwin and Herbert Spencer as to their experience.
Perhaps the most interesting chapter in the whole others in concert; in most instances the voice is at its volume, the fullest in new matter, and the most important best during the inating period, but in one of the smaller in its bearing on a much-disputed theory, is that on finches the song is at that time feeble, while at a later “Music and Dancing in Nature.” The result of Mr. period it becomes far more powerful and melodious. Hudson's long.continued observations is that almost all There is one species, the white-banded mocking-bird, mammals and birds have the habit of indulging occa- which is considered to exceed all other songsters in the sionally in more or less regular performances, with or copiousness, variety, and brilliant character of its music. without sound, or composed of sound only, some being By the half-hour it will first imitate with great accuracy only discordant cries and choruses or uncouth irregular the songs of many other species—a strange and beautiful motions, while the more aërial, graceful, and melodious performance ; but this is merely the prelude to its own kinds exhibit more complex and more beautiful forms. It song, which is "uttered with a power, abandon, and is ainong birds that this habit is most fully developed and joyousness resembling, but greatly exceeding, that of the presents itself in the most graceful or fantastic perform- skylark singing at Heaven's gate'; the note issuing in a ances. Great numbers of birds of very different forms and continuous torrent ; the voice so brilliant and infinitely habits-hawks, vultures, ibises, spoonbills, and gulls– varied that, if rivalry and emulation have as large a circle about in the air, singly or in flocks, and apparently place in feathered breasts as some imagine, all that hear for the mere delight in aërial motion. Sometimes they this surpassing melody might well languish ever after in rise to vast altitudes, and float about in the air in one silent despair."
spot for an hour or longer at a time, hundreds of birds Mr. Hudson's conclusion as to the meaning of the
gliding in and out among each other with perfect pre- various actions and vocal performances that he describes, cision as in a set dance. Ibises and ducks have special and of which only a few cases have been here referred to, performances of their own, but perhaps the most curious is as follows :are those of some species of rails. The ypecaha rails have meeting-places on smooth level ground near the “I wish now to put this question : What relation that water and well surrounded by dense beds of rushes. we can see or imagine to the passion of love and the One bird sounds a note of invitation ; others from all business of courtship have these dancing and vocal per
formances in nine cases out of ten? In such cases, for sides come hurriedly to the place, where they begin a
instance, as that of the scissors-tail tyrant-bird, and its strange screaming concert, rushing about all the time. pyrotechnic evening displays, when a number of couples The cries they utter somewhat resemble human screams leave their nests, containing eggs and young, to join in a of terror, frenzy, or despair, mingled with half-smothered wild aërial dance ; the mad exhibitions of ypecahas cries of pain and moans of anguish. This exhibition and ibises, and the jacanas' beautiful display of grouped lasts a few minutes, after which the assembly peacefully wings; the triplet dances of the spur-winged lapwing, to
perform which two birds already mated are compelled to breaks up.
call in a third bird to complete the set; the harmonious The singular wattled, wing-spurred, and long-toed duets of the oven-birds, and the duets and choruses of jacanas have a different kind of meeting. They usually nearly all the wood-hewers, and the wing-slapping aërial go singly or in pairs; but occasionally, in response to a displays of the whistling widgeons; will it be seriously call by one of them, all who are within hearing leave off contended that the female of this species makes choice feeding and fly to one spot, where they walk about with of the male able to administer the most vigorous and their beautiful wings erect or half open, or waved up and male, singly or with others, practises antics or sings
artistic slaps? ... There are many species in which the down with a slow and measured motion. With these during the love-season before the female ; and when all two species both sexes join in the display ; but that of such cases, or rather those which are most striking and the spur-winged lapwing is altogether peculiar, inasmuch bizarre, are brought together, and when it is gratuitously as it takes place with three individuals only. These asserted that the females do choose the males that show
off in the best manner or that sing best, a case for sexual birds live in pairs, and at intervals during the day or on
selection seems to be made out. How unfair the argumoonlight nights, one bird will leave his mate and fly to
ment is, based on these carefully selected cases gathered another pair a short distance off. These will receive the from all regions of the globe, and often not properly revisitor with signs of pleasure. First going to meet him, ported, is seen when we turn from the book to Nature, they place themselves behind him, and all three march and closely consider the habits and actions of all the rapidly, uttering special notes. Then they stop; the species inhabiting any one district. We see then that
such cases as those described and made so much of in leader stands erect with elevated wings uttering loud the Descent of Man,' and cases like those mentioned in notes, while the other two, with puffed-out plumage, this chapter, are not essentially different in character, standing side by side, stoop forward till the tips of their but are manifestations of one instinct, which appears to beaks touch the ground, and with a low murmuring be almost universal among the higher animals. The sound remain for some moments in this strange posture. explanation I have to offer lies very much on the surface. Then the visitor goes back to his own ground and mate, ditions of life are favourable, are subject to periodical
We see that the inferior animals, when the conand later on they receive a visitor, whom they treat in the fits of gladness, affecting them powerfully, and standing same ceremonious fashion. They are said to be so fond out in vivid contrast to their ordinary temper. And we of this form of visiting that they indulge in it all the year know what this feeling is—this periodic intense elation round, and the illustration representing it is a most
which even civilized man occasionally experiences when curious and fantastic picture of bird life.
in perfect health, more especially when young. There A considerable number of Passerine birds also have keep still, when his impulse is to sing and shout aloud
are moments when he is mad with joy, when he cannot curious displays, which are here described, as well as
and laugh at nothing, to run and leap and exert himself songs of a most remarkable character. Some sing alone, ! in some extravagant way.”
And after showing how this impulse of joy is mani- more under the yoke have given only too abundant fested in different animals according to their peculiarities opportunity to investigate it from every point of view, of structure and habit, and after giving a number of other and it is not too much to say that the Local Government illustrative cases, he thus concludes :
Board Report by Dr. Parsons, issued last year, contains “I am convinced that any student of the subject who
the most admirable and exbaustive study of influenza will cast aside his books, and go directly to Nature to which has appeared in any European language. Yet the note the actions of animals for himself-actions which, actual nature of the virus remains still an only partially in many cases, appear to lose all significance when set solved problem : bacteriological research points to a down in writing-the result of such independent investi. definite bacillus as the probable organism, but till its gation will be a conviction that conscious sexual selection on the part of the female is not the cause of music and natural history has been more thoroughly worked out, dancing performances in birds, nor of the brighter colours we must be content to fight the foe in the dark. and ornaments that distinguish the male."
Dr. Sisley has not reprinted his papers in chronological Other chapters of almost equal interest are those on
order, though it is convenient to consider them thus. In the habit of the huanaco to go to certain places to die, that read before the Epidemiological Society in May and on the strange instincts of cattle, such as the excite- | 1891, he treats of the spread of influenza by contagion, ment caused by the sight and smell of blood, that pro- strongly advocating the view that this is the most imduced by scarlet clothing, and the persecution of the sick portant factor in the diffusion of the disease. He bases and weakly of the herd. These subjects are discussed his belief on very conclusive grounds, and few will now with a fulness and originality the result of long personal be found to disagree with him. Dr. Parsons's Report, observation, and will command the careful attention of appearing some time after this paper was read, has so those who are interested in the mental phenomena pre- abundantly confirmed the opinion, that it may be trusted sented by animals. It remains only to add that the book that, whatever part seasonal and climatic influences may is beautifully got up, that the text is singularly free from play as favouring causes,“ telluric” theories have had misprints, and that the numerous illustrations-photo- their day. The disease is, in fact, an acute specific fever graphic reproductions of drawings—are at once delicate infectious in a somewhat high degree, and, in virtue of and characteristic. Never has the present writer derived its short incubation period, diffusing itself with unusual so much pleasure and instruction from a book on the
rapidity. habits and instincts of animals. He feels sure that it Only an abstract is given of the paper read by Dr. will long continue to be a storehouse of facts and obser- Sisley before the International Congress of Hygiene last vations of the greatest value to the philosophical August. It deals with the prevention of the spread of naturalist, while to the general reader it will rank as
epidemic influenza, and advocates general hygienic meathe most interesting and delightful of modern books on
sures, the possible employment of prophylactics, and natural history.
ALFRED R. WALLACE.
especially the avoidance of infection.
The essence of the book lies, however, in the paper
read before the Society of Medical Officers of Health in THE PREVENTION OF INFLUENZA.
January of the present year. Here Dr. Sisley discusses A Study of Influenza, and the Laws of England con- the application to influenza of the existing sanitary laws
cerning Infectious Diseases, &c. By Richard Sisley, of England, and it cannot be said that his conclusions M.D.Lond., M.R.C.P.Lond. (London : Longmans, are of a very reassuring character. It is instructive to Green, and Co., 1892.)
observe that the difficulty lies in this—that nobody knows
papers read by him during the past twelve months within the meaning of the Acts, or not. Common-sense before the Society of Medical Officers of Health, the might have supposed that a disease which the RegistrarEpidemiological Society, and the Congress of Hygiene. General declares to have been directly or indirectly reTo these are appended extracts from the different Acts sponsible for some 27,000 deaths in England and Wales bearing on infectious disease, the provisional memoran- | in a single year, would not inaptly be described as dum on epidemic influenza just issued by the Local dangerous ; but the point has not as yet been settled Government Board, and sundry other matters connected in a court of law, and it is possible that legal opinion with the subject. The work makes no pretence to be a might take a contrary view. Should its dangerous chastudy of influenza from the clinical or pathological stand-racter be upheld by law as well as medicine, the provinces point; it deals simply with the prevention of the disease have at least the Public Health Act of 1875 to fall back in epidemic form, and the legal machinery at our command on, and can thus enforce isolation of early cases. for that purpose.
London, under its new Act, is apparently helpless; and, It may, at first sight, seem strange that, when, during as it would take twelve days to add influenza to the list the latter part of 1889, we watched the epidemic wave of notifiable diseases, it is clearly unwise to wait for a sweeping gradually over Europe towards our own shores, fresh outbreak before taking such a step, if it be deterno one dreamed of taking any action with a view to mined to take it at all. It cannot be doubted that staying the plague. But we must remember that it was a efficient isolation of early cases would be the most imdisease new to the modern generation of physicians-a portant method of averting an epidemic ; the difficulty disease with which the sanitary science of the present lies in a matter which Dr. Sisley has not dealt withday had never had to cope-a disease whose cause was namely, the diagnosis of such cases. Medical men now wholly unknown, and whose infectious character was recognize as slight instances of epidemic influenza cases imperfectly recognized, or even denied. Two years and which in non-epidemic times would be passed over as
mere “feverish colds”; yet all such cases would have to
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR. be isolated in view of a threatened epidemic. The extracts from the various Sanitary Acts appended
(The Editor does not hold himself responsible for opinions ex
pressed by his correspondents. Neither can he undertake to these papers form a very convenient work of reference
to return, or to correspond with the writers of, rejected for those interested in the subject, while the counsel's manuscripts intended for this or any other part of NATURE. opinion on the powers of sanitary authorities as to in
No notice is taken of anonymous communications. ] fluenza leave us very much where we were before. Dr.
Exchange of Professorial Duties. Sisley has, however, done valuable service in calling
The proposal of my friend Prof. Anderson Stuart, explained public attention to the inadequacy of our existing sani- in the subjoined letter, seems to me one which may very tary laws as a means of checking the spread of such a probably commend itself to the professors and governing bodies disease as influenza, and many will cordially indorse his
of some of our Universities and University Colleges; and I
therefore venture to ask for its publication in NATURE. By opinion that “much improvement in this respect is not to
correspondence twelve months in advance, such an exchange as be hoped for suntil the sanitary service is consolidated, is here suggested could be arranged (with the assent of Senate, and becomes one fold under one shepherd--a Minister Council, or other authority), and would undoubtedly, where of Public Health."
practicable, be of very great interest and advantage, not only to the teachers concerned, but also, in no less degree, to their classes,
E. RAY LANKESTER. Oxford.
Shepheard's Hotel, Cairo, February 13, 1892. OUR BOOK SHELF.
Dear PROFESSOR RAY LANKESTER,--In conversations with Anthropogeographie. Zweiter Theil. “Die Geograph
teachers in Europe during my two visits (1890–91, 1891-92) they ische Verbreitung des Menschen.” Von Friedrich
have again and again said how much they would like to visit the Ratzel. (Stuttgart: J. Engelhorn, 1891.)
colonies for pleasure, health, or the opportunity of study, as the
case might be ; but of course they could not, being bound by The first part of this work was published about nine their duties. On the other hand, the benefit to the colonial years ago, and is still highly valued by all who care to teacher of a periodical visit to the older centres of learning has study geography and anthropology from strictly scientific all along been recognized. points of view. The present volume will also be found
Soon after my return to Sydney in March 1891, it occurred to worthy of the author's reputation as one of the foremost
me that it would be easy to secure at once a visit of a European
teacher to the colonies and of a colonial teacher to Europe by a authorities on all questions relating to the connection between man and the physical conditions by which
temporary exchange of duties. Every now and again happens
that a teacher must provide for the duties of his office by a he is surrounded. In the first part Dr. Ratzel deals
substitute, as is done by the colonial teacher when absent on with the habitable part of the globe, tracing the pro- leave, and by the European teacher most frequently, perhaps, cess by which man has taken possession of it, indi- when ill. Why, then, should not two teachers in a subject, cating the development of his ideas regarding it, and who could trust each other, agree to apply for leave of absence, noting the characteristics of its northern and southern each proposing the other as his substitute for the time specified ? borderlands and of its vacant spaces. The second part I cannot see that any governing body could reasonably object to he devotes to various aspects of statistics, discussing,
the proposal, and so the arrangement would be concluded. among other things, the relations between density of
Immediately on my return to Europe in October last I spoke population and degrees of civilization. In the third part
of the matter, and amongst others to yourself; and since then I are considered the traces and works of man on the sur
have discussed it with many friends, one of whom referred to it face of the globe-a subject which leads the author to
approvingly at a recent meeting of the Royal Colonial Institute.
The project becomes the more feasible the more one studies the treat of cities and their importance as historical centres, of details of carrying it out. Practically one's attention is confined ruins, roads and other means of communication between
to America and Australasia. A study of the periods of the communities, and geographical names: The fourth and
University terms, and of the steamship time-tables, shows that last part relates mainly to ethnographical questions, in- it is feasible for the latter, which is by far the more distant-cluding questions as to the diffusion of ethnographical about five weeks. characteristics, and the origin of ethnographical affinities. Of the pleasures of the voyage, and of the advantages to be The work is not only full of thought and learning, but has
derived by the residence in the other land, I need not speak, for the advantage of being written in a fresh, clear, and
each may form his own estimate of these ; but that "there is vigorous style.
something in " the thing I am persuaded, and I should be glad
of your help in ascertaining what that something may be.
T. P. ANDERSON STUART,
Professor of Physiology, University of Sydney. “A SON OF THE MARSHES” is now so well known that any new book by him is sure to find readers and admirers. He does not, of course, make important contributions to
Magnetic Storms. science. His writings merely record the impressions Exactly twenty-seven days from the magnetic storm and produced upon him by various aspects of nature in which splendid aurora of February 13-14, which has already been menhe happens to be especially interested. But his im- tioned in NATURE, there was on March 12 another very fine aurora pressions are so thoroughly true, and are presented in in the United States and Canada, and it also was accompanied by so vivid a style, that they may always be studied with a powerful magnetic storm. This correspondence to the time of pleasure. Even his talk about very common things has
a synodic revolution of the sun, to which attention has been a certain charm, for he observes them accurately, and
called by the writer many times within a few years past, is brings out by skilful touches their relations to other interesting, showing as it does that the motion of rotation is things that are not quite so intimately known. The
concerned to an important extent in the recurrence of magnetic present volume has all the characteristics of his previous accumulating constantly showing that solar disturbances have
storms and their accompanying auroras. The evidence is books, and should do a good deal to foster in the mind their maximum effect upon terrestrial magnetism when at the of “the general reader a liking for some of the more eastern limb and at or near the latitude of the plane of the attractive facts and ideas of natural history.
| earth's orbit. Il the great sun-spot to which the aurora of
February 13 has so generally been ascribed was really respon- became his tenant. Now, it is a well-known fact that a portion sible for that outbreak, there should have been a series of dis- of the Banksian collection was never removed from these preplays, for this spot was very large and apparently active mises, and remained the property of Dr. Brown, at the death throughout its transit. As a matter of fact, whatever auroral of wbom, Mr. J. Calvert arranged with Dr. Bennet (one of his effect the disturbed region in its vicinity was able to exercise executors), who had been for months removing van-loads of fell about February 2-4 and February 29. Upon the latter books, herbariums, and other articles of scientific interest, to date there was a fine display, but upon the former it was purchase and take over, with the premises, various cases of generally cloudy.
M.A. VEEDER. birds, sundry articles, and the remainder and refuse of this Lyons, N.Y., March 23.
In two capboards on the south side of the gallery were the
ethnological relics collected during the voyage of the Endeavour, Pilchards.
as well as inany manuscripts in the autograph of Sir Joseph I was very sorry to find from Mr. Dunn's letter (p. 511) that Banks, together with some of the catalogues of his collection. I had not reported his evidence on the occurrence of young On November 10, 1863, there was a sale at the rooms of Mr. pilchards with perfect accuracy. He admits that the misunder. | J. C. Stevens by order of the Council of the Linnean Society. standing was probably not altogether my fault. It seems that We soon detected the case of birds, which matched in every in the days before the railway existed in Cornwall, and when particular the cases that we purchased of Dr. Brown's executor; seines were largely used at Mevagissey for the capture of pil- it had the same handwriting at the back, undoubtedly in the chards, small pilchards under 8 inches in length, of the same autograph of Sir Joseph. We also detected, in a cabinet of size as French sardines, were often taken in vast numbers, but sos-ils and minerals which had belonged to Dr. Pulteney, one were either allowed to escape, or used only as manure. The of the volumes of Sir Joseph Banks's catalogue, which matches sentence in my article, therefore, which states that Mr. Dunn the other volumes we had previously obtained : that volume still had never seen such pilchards must be corrected, and I make contains the stamp of the Linnean Society. the correction most willingly, regretting that I should have Lot 174 of this sale was a very large lot in boxes and a unconsciously misrepresented Mr. Dunn's statement.
cabinet ; added to which was a good proportion of the dirt and But I must warn your readers against the idea that my article dust of bygone times. This collection had been formed by Dr. on the growth of the pilchard contained nothing which Mr. Maton with great care and industry, and contained various Dunn had not discovered and made known years ago. The figured and type specimens, being all named in the quaint letter to which he refers in Buckland's “ Familiar History of nomenclature of that period. At the bottom of one of the British Fishes" deals with the subject of curing pilchards in oil, drawers of the cabinet was a letter in the autograph of the great and contains nothing whatever about the rate of growth of the
Linnæus. fi-h. It merely mentions that if small fish were wanted they could We purchased all these, together with others in that sale. be had in quantities : “Some seasons their smallnes; is a pest The Duchess of Portland, Sir Ashton Lever, and Sir Joseph to the fishermen, and millions have been returned to the sea Banks, were the great collectors of that period ; and the Owhyhee aster being inclosed in the seines, because of being no money case of birds might have been obtained by Sir Joseph either by value." But Mr. Dunn acknowledges that I correctly reported purchase or otherwise at any date during his life. We have this him as saying that no such small sardines have been taken since case marked Owhyhee in the undoubled autograph of Sir Joseph the factory at Mevagissey was started, and that no pilchards of Banks. The birds are all badly set up, and one has fallen from the same size as French sardines have ever been tinned in its perch, but underneath each one is a number which is referred Cornwall. As for his exhibit of a series of pilchards from those 10 in one of Sir Joseph's catalogues. an inch in length up to the two years old full-grown fish, I find In our Museum there are several thousand specimens which that it is only catalogued in the Polytechnic Society's Report, formed portions of the three collections just named, with regard and that no dimensions are mentioned, nor any description to which we have absolute proof of identification, and in some given. My published evidence on the rate of growth in this cases the old lot tickets still remain. species was therefore by no means superfluous, and I am glad to As our museum is densely packed in several houses, and in find that my conclusions confirm those which he had already some instances there are large cabinets four and five rows deep, formed, but for which he had sought no satisfactory means of it is not possible at a few hours' notice to dig out all and everypublication. I have often received and acknowledged with the thing connected with this matter ; but I will at the earliest greatest pleasure valuable information from Mr. Dunn : in this opportunity bring the Banksian collection to the front, which I instance I was unaware that he had collected any evidence on shall give a full description of in print, for the satisfaction of all the subject beyond that which I acknowledged in my article. those who are interested in the matter.
But while correcting misunderstandings on my part, Mr. As to the collection of eggs of Mr. J. D. Salmon, we knew Dunn misunderstands part of my article far more seriously. I this collection well, but have never seen it since his death. There stated that the adult sardine of the Atlantic coast of France was is not one single specimen in our museum that belonged to that of the same size as the full-grown Cornish pilchard, while the collection, nor did we ever make a catalogue of the same, as the sardine of the Mediterranean, taken at Marseilles, was con- very exhaustive and elaborate catalogue made by the owner siderably smaller. I did not say that the English pilchard was
would be amply sufficient for all purposes. "larger than those of other countries,” and I did not say that
ALBERT F. CALVERT. the Spanish pilchard was smaller than the Cornish. My “in- 63 Patshull Road, N.W. formants” were Prof. Pouchet for France, and Prof. Marion for Marseilles ; and the accuracy of their published observations on the mere question of size is not in the least affected by any
First Visible Colour of Incandescent Iron. grave doubts, however much italicized, on Mr. Dunn's part. HAVING read in your number for March 24 (p. 484) a lelier Plymouth, April 5.
J. T. CUNNINGHAM. on the above subject, I thought it might prove interesting to try
a similar experiment with the carbon filament of an ordinary Ornithology of the Sandwich Islands.
incandescent lamp. That used was an Edison-Swan 16 candle
power 80 volt, and the method employed to heat it was to pass YOUR correspondents, Prof. Newton and J. E. Harting (p. a gradually-increasing current (supplied from accumulators), 532), are a little hasty in their conclusions referring to the using a water resistance gradually diminished by the addition of Banksian collection.
very dilute sulphuric acid in sensibly equal portions. The room In order to make things clearer, I will go a little further back in which the experiment was performed was very carefully in the history of this matter.
darkened, and the observers were kept in darkness some When the Linnean Society removed from 32 Soho Square, minutes before the current was switched on, the dilute acid Dr. Brown was left in possession of that portion which had been being added, so that, after visibility had been reached, five built upon and used by Sir Joseph Banks as his museum. additions should bring the lamp to dull redness (by diffused day.
Mr. John Calvert, partly out of veneration for the old house light. The number of the experiment being called out, each where so many men of science had from time to time met together, observer wrote this down, together with his impression of the and partly from want of additional space for his very extensive colour, in the dark, so that the retina was not affected by any museum and library, secured a long lease of these premises, extraneous light throughout. Each observer closely inspected including the old museum ; so by that arrangement Dr. Brown the filament till he felt satisfied as to the colour, and then rested