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ally as a means of enlarging and correcting our geographical knowledge, gives it most truly the character proper for a national enterprise.
The Association approved of the plan presented by Lieut. Hunt, and a committee of five was appointed to prepare a plan for the organization of the Department, and to memorialize Congress on the subject.
An Academy of Natural Sciences has been formed at San Francisco, California, and regular meetings holden. An address has been published, setting forth the objects of the society, and an addendum giving directions for preparations of specimens to be donated to the institution. This society, if properly maintained, cannot but be of great assistance in giving to the world a knowledge of the natural history and resources of California. The field of the State is new, almost untrodden by the naturalist.
A University for Australia has been founded and endowed by the Legislature of Sidney. "This step," says the London Athenæum," is one of great public interest, not only so far as every extension of the machinery of education is of interest, but also as a preliminary step towards the educational independence of the colonies settled by the English across the line."
By the recent death of M. Jassieu, the Botanist, M. Combes, Vice-President of the Paris Academy of Sciences, has succeeded to the Presidency of that body, and M. Roux, the eminent surgeon of the Hotel Dieu, has been elected Vice-President.
For the purpose of placing on a more permanent foundation the Professorship of Morbid Anatomy, in Harvard College, Dr. George C. Shattuck, of Boston, has given the sum of fourteen thousand dollars; in consequence of which, the professorship is to be hereafter distinguished by the name of the donor.
A prize of five thousand rupees, offered by the Agricultural Society of India, some years since, for the best cotton-gin, has, by the decision of a committee, been awarded to Messrs. Bates, Hyde, & Co., and Messrs. Carver & Co, of Massachusetts. The machines were adjudged to be of equal excellence, and the amount divided between the respective parties. Gold medals were in addition presented to each firm, and the machines purchased at the price of construction.
Under the direction and through the assistance of the Government, Schools of Art and Design" have been established or projected during the past year in various parts of Great Britain. In a circular recently issued, the object of these institutions is clearly set forth, as follows:-" It is now the object of Government to make those national Institutions, the Schools of Art, useful to all classes of the community, and therefore, whilst the existing provision for the education of the working classes in a knowledge of Art is to be maintained, new arrangements have been made to pro
vide instruction in various branches of Art for the middle and upper classes of society; besides which a system is now being organized for the general diffusion of instruction in elementary drawing throughout the country. It is the desire of Government that the industrial classes should be educated in a knowledge of Art in the most complete manner which can be devised, at a charge within their means. To effect this important object, an attempt is about to be made to disseminate elementary instruction in parish and in other schools, and to make elementary drawing a part of general education, concurrently with writing."
Encouragement of the fine arts, however, and an adaptation of their principles to the wants of every day life, are not confined to the refined and enlightened nations of Europe and America. During the past year, that munificent Parsee, Sir Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy, has given £10,000 to Government, for the purpose of endowing a school of design at Bombay.
The committee of the American Institute, appointed to award the premiums offered by Mr. Ray, of New York, for improvements in railroad mechanism, have reported as follows: — There were four prizes offered; two of which only have been decided upon; viz., "the railroad brake," for which the prize of $400 has been awarded to Mr. T. A. Stevens, of Burlington, Vermont; and the prize for a "night seat for cars," $300, which has been awarded to Samuel Hickox, of Buffalo, N. Y. The prize of $1,500, for the best invention to prevent railroad collisions, and the breaking of railroad axles, and the prize of $800 for the best invention to exclude dust from cars, they did not decide upon.
At the Annual distribution of prizes at the French Academy of Sciences, the Lalande prize for astronomy was divided between Mr. Hind, of London, M. Gasparis of Naples, M. Luther of Blik, near Dusseldorf, M. Chacornac of Marseilles, and M. Herman Goldschmidt of Paris. The prize for experimental physiology was awarded to Dr. Budge, an English physician, and Prof. Wallon, of Bonn, for discoveries establishing with certainty facts of a nature to throw light on the functions of the ganglionary system.
At the Annual meeting of the Royal Society, London, November 30, 1853, the Copley Medal was awarded to Prof. Dove, of Berlin, for his work on the distribution of heat over the earth's surface; and the Royal Medal to Mr. Charles Darwin, the well-known naturalist and traveller, for his works on Natural History and Geology. The Earl of Rosse was re-elected President of the Society, and Col. Sabine, Treasurer.
A National Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations was opened at Dublin, Ireland, in May, 1853, and continued throughout the season. This Exhibition owed its origin principally to the efforts of Mr. Dargan, an Irish gentleman, who advanced, in aid of the same, nearly £100,000. The whole affair was entirely successful, and reflects much honor on all concerned in the work.
A Universal Exhibition of Manufactures, as well as an Exhibition of Fine Arts has been determined upon by the French Government, to take place at Paris, in 1855. The construction of a Crystal Palace, of great magnitude and splendor, has already been commenced in the Champs Elysees. Its length will be 256 yds., breadth over 118 yds., height nearly 115 ft. The exterior wall will be of a circular form, flanked with six towers, and having 360 arched recesses. The access to the interior of the palace will be by four large entrances, and there will be additional ones by some of the towers. The principal front will be on the Champs Elysees, and the roof will consist of only iron and zinc, glazed similarly to the London Crystal Palace. The plans for ornamenting the building both inside and out are very costly. The area of the whole of the building will cover a surface of about seven acres and a quarter.
An interesting Exhibition is about to open at Amsterdam, Holland. The citizens of this commercial depot have resolved to hold in their most picturesque and interesting town a series of public exhibitions, illustrating the past and present state of the great departments of industry. Each year will be devoted to a particular subject: — sculpture, painting, architecture, shipbuilding, manufactures of various kinds, and so forth. The subject of the first exhibition is Architecture. It is proposed to exhibit specimens of building materials, instruments and utensils, machines for raising masses to great elevations, plans of structures, ancient and modern, fancy designs, models of all sorts of edifices, churches, temples, mosques, palaces, pagodas, ornaments used in decorating, and the like. The enterprise is said to have won the general approbation of the Hollanders.
The Geographical Society of St. Petersburg is about to despatch expeditions to make scientific researches in Eastern Siberia and Kamtschatka, in the Caspian Sea and the neighborhood, and in different parts of the leastknown European and Asiatic provinces of Russia. The expedition to Siberia excites the greatest interest, and it is expected that it will make some important additions to the different branches of science. Twelve young men are to accompany it for the express purpose of taking astronomical, magnetic, and meteorologic observations.
The United States Expedition sent to Japan, under the command of Commodore Perry, reached these Islands in August last. The Commodore succeeded in obtaining an interview with two princes of the Empire, and delivered the letter from the President of the United States, as also his own credentials. It was arranged that, as the subject matter required the consideration of the Emperor and the great Ministers of State, an answer should be called for next spring. The expedition was received in a friendly manner by the Japanese, and there are strong grounds of expectation that a treaty favorable to commerce and intercourse may be arranged with this
exclusive people. No scientific observations of any moment were mad at this visit of the U. S. Squadron.
The American Exploring Expedition to the North Pacific, sailed in May, 1853. The fleet consists of the sloop of war Vincennes, the steamer John Hancock, the brig Porpoise, the schooner Fenimore Cooper, and the clipper John Kennedy. These five vesssls are placed under the command of Commodore Cadwaller Ringold, and are fitted out with the best instruments procurable in the United States or in Europe. The expedition is expected to be absent about three years. The scientific observers who go out with it have orders to explore as minutely as shall be found convenient the shores of Asia and America bordering on the Northern Pacific and Behring's Straits. The surveys will also extend to the Japan Islands and Wate s, the Gulf of Tartary, the shores of Kamtschatka, the Sea Okhotsk, and all the isles and islands in those latitudes, including the Aleutian Islands and the Sandwich Islands.
Commander Lynch, U. S. Navy, despatched by Government during the year 1852, on a preliminary expedition of observation to Western Africa, preparatory to an exploring expedition, has returned during the past year. He was on the coast of Liberia and that vicinity from early in January to late in March, and explored all the rivers of the region. He found nonc navigable more than 21 miles above the mouth. He is possessed of no very exalted idea of the feasibility of white colonization of the West Coast of Africa, even in a temporary way, and for commercial purposes only. Capt. L. intimates that there is but a single Englishman known to have survived the climate of Sierra Leone for five years, at the end of which time the fever carried him off. It will be recollected that perhaps 40 years since the Portuguese colonized an island in the immediate vicinity of Guinea, sending thither 7,000 souls. At this time there is but a single individual living in whose veins the blood of any of these colonists is believed to This is a fact making stubbornly indeed, against the idea of a much more profitable trade with Africa, as the result of any possible effort of our Government to compass that end.
An expedition for the exploration of the interior of Australia, has been projected by the British Government. It is placed under the direction of Mr. Ernest Haug, and the party accompanying him will be provided with every requisite necessary to insure a successful result. It appears that the great unknown interior of this continent can be most safely reached by making a starting point from the mouth of the great navigable river, the Victoria, on the north-west coast, where Capt. Stokes, of H. M. S. the Beagle, so far explored it as to arrive at within about 500 miles of the centre of the continent. Capt. Stokes was obliged to return for want of sufficient resources; but he ascended far enough to satisfy himself of the
fair prospect of success for any future explorer. He say, "Its direction continued to the southward, and far away could be traced the glistening green valleys of its course, as it flowed on in undiminished magnitude;" and his last "regretful view," as he describes it, was taken in lat. 15° 36', long. 130° E., at a distance of 140 miles from the sea. As yet, however, no explorer has successfully passed over the coast range to the south, where Mr. Haug hopes to find large grassy fields extending far towards the interior. Dr. Blundell thinks that the hitherto so greatly dreaded “Central Desert" of this strange continent may ultimately prove to be no desert at all; for desert and fertile spots border each other so closely in Australia as to make that circumstance one of the most striking peculiarities of the land. The expedition may thus not only hope to solve the mystery of the interior of Australia; but traversing, as it proposes to do, the only hitherto great unknown portion of the continent, it will at any rate furnish the means of making a rough map of the whole, — determining to the colonists of the eastern, southern, and western provinces whether or not the interior is to remain to them and to the rest of the world an impassable territory and "a sealed book."
Dr. Sutherland, who was attached to the Arctic Expedition under Capt. Penny, in 1851, is about to undertake a journey of exploration in Southeastern Africa, under the auspices of the London Geographical Society.
Dr. Harvey, the well-known Botanist of Dublin, is also about to visit Australia, under the joint auspices of the University and of the Royal Dublin Society, for the purpose of exploring the natural history of the southern coasts of that continent. Dr. H. will give especial attention to the collection of Marine Algæ, and will be absent until 1855. He also proposes various subscription sets of Algae, at the rate of 21. 5s. per 100 species, properly prepared and delivered in Europe.
Accounts have reached the French government that M. Emile Devile and M. Duret, two of the gentlemen employed by it to explore the central parts of South America, have been carried off by the yellow fever at Rio Janeiro; M. Lefebvre Durufle, the third member of the expedition, though attacked with the malady, escaped. The loss of M. Devile is a great one; as, though extremely young, he was well known for his attainments in natural history and other branches of science, and as a very enterprising traveller. He was, in fact, the very man that could be wished for to explore the immense centre of the South American continent, which is at present as little, if not less known than the central parts of Africa.
Dispatches have reached her Majesty's government from the expedition now conducted by Drs. Barth and Vogel in two different parts of Inner Africa, the former pushing his way towards Timbuctoo, the latter to Lake Tsad, to supply the vacancy left by the death of Dr. Overweg, and to com