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of seven years, fifteen dollars; for a patent of fourteen years, thirty dollars. The documents required are petition, affidavit, specifications, and drawings; a model being unnecessary.
Recent Progress in Natural History. - Professor Owen, of England, gives the following as the ratio at which our knowledge of the class of mammalia has advanced during the last thirty years; namely, from, say 1,350 species in 1830, to 2,500 in 1860. In one order, e. g. Marsupialia, the increase has been, from 50 species, recorded in 1830, to 350 species in 1860. We should also, says Professor Owen, greatly over-estimate our present knowledge, were we to rest upon it a conclusion that there remained but very few more forms of Mammalia to provide room for in our museums; an assertion which derives strength from the great augmentation of the species of the Quadrimanous (apes) order, recently made through the researches of Du Chaillu and others in tropical Africa.
The Smithsonian Institution has recently made arrangements for the preparation of works on the different orders of insects found in North America, with a view to identifying the species, and of systematizing the study of their relations and habits. This is a subject not only of much scientific interest, but also of great practical importance in regard to its connection with agriculture. When it is considered how much loss is annually caused in this country by the ravages of the Hessian fly, the army and cotton worms, the curculio, the grasshopper, and numerous other species of insects, it must be evident that anything that may tend, in however slight a degree, to throw light upon the means of preventing such ravages, is of great commercial importance. But before we can make use of the experience of other countries on this subject, it will be necessary to identify the insects, since, in regard to them, as well as other objects of natural history, the same name is often popularly applied to widely different species.
The greatest deficiency in American natural history is to be found in the department of entomology, there being no original treatise in reference to this country, applicable to the wants of the present day. The Institution has therefore made arrangements with eminent entomologists for the preparation of the following series of reports on the different orders, in the form of systematic lists, of all the North American species hitherto described, and an account of the different families and genera, and, whenever practicable, of the species of each order, namely:
Coleoptera (beetles, etc.), by Dr. John L. Le Conte, of Philadelphia. Neuroptera (dragonflies, etc.), by Dr. Hagen, Königsberg. Hymenoptera (wasps, bees, etc.), by H. De Saussure, Geneva. Diptera
(flies, mosquitoes, etc.), by Baron Ostensacken, of the Russian legation at Washington. Lepidoptera (butterflies, moths, etc.), by Dr. J. G. Morris, Baltimore, and by Dr. B. Clemens, Easton, Pa. Hemiptera (chinches, roaches, etc.), by P. R. Uhler, Baltimore.
Catalogues of the Coleoptera, Diptera and Lepidoptera have been already published.
In Europe, especially in France, the subject of the acclimatization of new and the improving of old breeds of animals continues to receive great attention. During the last few years there have been introduced and acclimatized in France, mainly through the auspices of the Jardin des Plantes, at Paris, the following new species: two new and hardy varieties of the silk-worm; ten species of ornamental birds; and five species of domestic mammalia, namely: the lama, which already counts three generations at the Jardin des Plantes; the yak, or Thibet ox, which in two generations has increased to seventeen individuals, including the three original ones; and the hemione, the canna, and nilgau (varieties of deer or antelope from South Africa). These three animals all furnish excellent meat; that of the nilgau has already been served up at several tables in Europe.
The Belgian and Danish governments, during the past year, have appointed commissioners to study the new methods of propagating and rearing fish, and to introduce the same among the fishing population of their respective shores. Legislative action has also been recently taken by the French government (see Zoology, this volume) for the protection of useful birds, with a view of checking the increase of insects injurious to vegetation. M. St. Hilaire, the late eminent naturalist, in presenting to the French Academy, during the past year, the fourth edition of his work, Acclimatization and Domestication, remarked, that breeding alone, in most civilized countries, had become a regular business with the agriculturist; but in the way of preserving the animals we have, whether wild or domestic, or turning them to the best account, we at present display but little more wisdom than in the Middle Ages; and sportsmen of every nation kill the most useful birds, such as the swallow, for instance,- for no purpose whatever but the stupid pleasure of killing. Let a goat-sucker or owl be seen by a farmer, he will hunt it down forthwith, and proudly nail its carcass to his barn-door, quite unconscious of having shot one of his best friends, whose only pursuit was that of destroying the vermin on his ground.
The Lowest Race of Men. At the last meeting of the British Association (1861), Professor Owen stated that he regarded the natives of the Andaman Islands, in the Indian Ocean, as probably the most
primitive, or lowest in the scale of civilization, of the human race. Of low stature (probably less than five feet on an average), they are described by most observers as dwarf negroes; but have none of the distinctive characteristics of the African race. They have no tradition, and apparently no notion of their origin; are reported to have no notions of a Deity, of spiritual beings, or of a future state. Both sexes go naked, without any sense of shame, and indulge their sensual appetites in the simplest animal fashion. Entirely destitute of clothing, utterly ignorant of agriculture, living in the most primitive and rudest form of habitations, their only care seems to be the supply of their daily food. They are not, however, cannibals. Their implements are bows and arrows, rude spears, and nets; and finding that these suffice for the acquirement of food, they have carried their inventive faculties no further.
In reviewing the scientific history of the past year, the most noticeable events (described at length elsewhere in the present volume) may be enumerated substantially as follows:-1. The extraordinary attention given in both Europe and the United States to the invention and improvement of warlike enginery and material; the results of which bid fair to almost revolutionize the heretofore accepted science of warfare. In the United States, owing the paralyzation of many forms of industry by the civil war, the inventive skill of the country has been largely directed to this subject, and more inventions relative to war-implements and constructions have been brought out during the twelve months of 1861, than in any equal former period of history. Many of these are undoubtedly of little value, while others are of great and acknowledged importance. The "Rodman," " Parrot,” and “Sawyer" guns; the novel "Ericsson's floating battery;" Juan Patterson's system of iron-plating; and the new compressed powder, are examples of late American inventions belonging to the latter class. 2. The completion and effective maintenance of a line of telegraph across the American Continent, from the Mississippi to the Pacific. 3. The general announcement of Bunsen and Kirchhoff's new system of spectrum analysis, and the consequent discovery of three new elementary substances.* 4. Fremy's investigations into the nature and manufacture
* More recent experiments would seem to show, that more has possibly been elaimed for the researches of Bunsen and Kirchhoff than can be established, and that some of their conclusions have been too hasty, especially those respecting the composition of the sun. Thus it has been recently ascertained that the bright lines in the spectrum of a burning body vary with the temperature of the flame in which the body is burned. Professor Frankland, in a letter to Dr. Tyndall, published in a late number of the London Philosophical Magazine, says: "I have just made some further experiments on the lithium spectrum, and they conclu
of steel. 5. The continued accumulation of evidence respecting the geological history of the human race. 6. The discovery of ten new asteroidal planets. 7. The appearance and near approach to the earth of a brilliant and heretofore unrecognized comet.
The value of the laws deduced by modern scientific research for the preservation of health and the prevention of desease have also received a most striking illustration during the past year from the efforts and action of the United States Sanitary Commission. Through their labors and counsels mainly, an army of over five hundred thousand men, unaccustomed to the life of a soldier, drawn from city, farm, and factory, and brought into the field with scarcely an idea on their part of the insalubrious influences which are the invariable accompaniments of such gatherings, have been kept in a condition of health, entirely unparalleled in history. Such a result contrasts strongly with the condition of the British army in the Crimea in 1854; which, at no time exceeding thirty thousand men, lost of this number, from disease, in seven months, over thirteen thousand soldiers.
Among the scientific publications of the past year especially worthy of note we may mention the following:
Report of Maj. Alfred Mordecai, of the Military Commission to Europe in 1855-6. This work, published by Congress, embodies descriptions of all the recent improvements and experiments made in the various countries of Europe during the last few years in relation to ordnance, ordnance material, and infantry arms, especially rifled weapons. It includes a valuable work by Capt. Schon, of Saxony, on rifled infantry arms, translated by Capt. J. Gorgas, U. S. A. ; a description of the new French system of field artillery; the construction of shot, bombs, fuses, transportation of ammunition, use of gun-cotton by the Austrians, and a summary of the recent experiments in relation to rifled cannon and small arms in England.
Report upon the Physics and Hydraulics of the Mississippi River; upon the Protection of the Alluvial Region against Overflow; and upon sively prove that the appearance of the blue line entirely depends upon temperature. The spectrum of chloride of lithium ignited in a Bunsen's burner flame does not disclose the faintest trace of the blue line. Replace the Bunsen's burner by a jet of hydrogen, - the temperature of which is higher than that of the Bunsen's burner, and the blue line appears, faint, it is true, but sharp and quite unmistakable. If oxygen be now slowly turned into the jet, the brilliancy of the blue line increases until the temperature of the flame rises high enough to fuse the platinum, and thus puts an end to the experiment."
If, therefore, the lines of the spectra vary with the temperature of the burning bodies, and if the temperature of the sun is really much higher than any produced artificially, it is obviously doubtful whether we can tell what substances lo, or do not, produce the fixed lines visible in the solar spectrum.
the Deepening of the Mouths; based upon Surveys and Investigations, made under the Acts of Congress directing the Topographical and Hydrographical Survey of the Delta of the Mississippi River, with such Investigations as might lead to the determination of the most practicable plan for securing it from inundation, and the best mode of deepening the channels at the mouths of the river. Prepared by Capt. A. A. Humphreys and Lieut. H. L. Abbot, Corps of Topographical Engineers, U. S. Army; with maps; pp. 545.
This work, which forms one of the professional papers of the U. S. Corps of Topographical Engineers, is one of the most elaborate scientific reports ever prepared in this country, and, besides its immediate practical value, contains much information important to the geologist, meteorologist, and to civil engineers generally. It also contains a very full discussion of the theory of hydraulics as applied to rivers.
The Birds of North America, containing Descriptions of all known Species, chiefly from specimens in the Museum of the Smithsonian Institution. By S. F. Baird, with the co-operation of John Cassin and George N. Laurence; one vol. 4to, with an atlas of one hundred plates, from original drawings, representing one hundred and fortyeight new and unfigured North American birds. A work of this description has been long admitted to be a great desideratum, on account of the numerous additions to our ornithology, and the fact also that there was no work extant which presented a complete and condensed account of all the known birds of the United States to the present time. The magnificent and standard Ornithology of Mr. Audubon, the second edition of which was completed in 1843, embraced very nearly all that was known at that time of the birds of the accessible regions of North America, and contained descriptions and figures of nearly five hundred species. Seventeen years have produced great changes, not only in the boundaries and geographical relations of the United States, but also in the facilities for travel and scientific exploration of the interior and remote regions of our vast territory. Within that period, the thorough exploration of Texas, New Mexico, the countries on the Pacific slope, the Rocky Mountains, and other very extensive and interesting districts of our country, by government expeditions and private enterprise, has correspondingly enlarged our knowledge of North American zoology, and especially of ornithology. In the Eastern and older States, too, quite numerous additions have been made, which, especially in Florida, and elsewhere on the Atlantic seaboard, have been of a very interesting character.
So great has been the increase, from causes here indicated, and the discovery of new birds, that instead of about 495 species of North