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FIRST ORDINARY MEETING.
ROYAL INSTITUTION, October 19th, 1863.
J. BIRKBECK NEVINS, M.D., V.P., in the Chair.
It was announced from the Council that the Secretary had been requested to communicate with the Central National Shakspeare Committee, in order to learn how the Society could best co-operate with them in the celebration of the forthcoming tercentenary festival.
The Rev. Joshua Jones, M.A., was elected upon the Council in the place of Mr. C. E. Rawlins, jun., resigned.
Captains James Anderson, Mortimer, P. C. Petrie, J. P. Anderson, C. E. Pryce, John Carr, and F. E. Baker, were re-elected Associates, on the recommendation of the Council.
Dr. Edwards drew the attention of the members to some new forms of Geissler's vacua tubes, which exhibited the electric discharge by induction, producing two negative poles, one at each terminal, illustrating the peculiar disposition of the force in certain bar magnets, which exhibited poles of similar polarity at either end. He also showed a new form of throat tube, for surgical operations by aid of the electric light; and a form of “miner's lamp” illuminated from the same source.
Mr. Turner exhibited some remarkable sheets of a substance having the appearance of tissue paper, which were found at the bottom of a biscuit chest by Captain Morison. There were abundance of grubs; and Mr. Byerley and Dr. Collingwood having examined it by the microscope, gave their opinion that it was of insect origin. The substance caused great interest among the members, and various opinions were given as to the possibility of its production by insects. A paper was then read by the Rev. Dr. Ginsburg, on
“ THE KABBALAH.”*
* This paper will be found at the latter part of the present yolume.
SECOND ORDINARY MEETING.
ROYAL INSTITUTION, 2nd November, 1863.
The Rev. C. D. GINSBURG, LL.D., V.P., in the Chair.
The Council had invited ladies to the meeting, which was very largely attended.
The following gentlemen were balloted for, and duly elected members of the society :
Messrs. J. T. Danson, J. M. Dove, Wm. Dawbarn, Wm. Alfred Whitty, Jno. E. Skillicorn and A. Billson.
The Rev. H. H. Higgins and Mr. J. T. Towson made some observations upon the formation of hail.
The following communication was read from Professor Elliot:
“The following interesting fact is too important to be lost sight of, especially as it may soon be covered up from view, and as no geologist as yet appears to have noticed it :
“In a direct line with Windsor street the open valley is crossed by a long mound of mouldering sandstone, carted from the new railway cutting. The mound is crossed at its south end by a cart road. Turning eastward along that, at about seventy yards from the mound, you see a hollow from which the earth has been taken to make bricks, and in the hollow two smooth platforms of altogether about a quarter of an acre in extent, or somewhat less. Looking down upon it you see numerous streaks, perfectly straight and parallel, running, I think, nearly north and south, by the compass. These you take at first to be marks left by removed rows of bricks. On going nearer, however, you find that the platform is of cleared rock, and that the marks are cut in the rock itself. Your next impression is that they are the edges
of numerous thin strata, 'cropping out on the surface. But their perfect straightness precludes that supposition, unless the strata had been nearly vertical, which they have no chance to be there. If you examine them more closely you will find that they have no cracks or other continuations below the surface ; that they have no differences of colour ; that they do not coincide with any line of stratification, unless in one instance for a short way, soon leaving it, and not turned by it an inch out of their straight direction; and that they are, in fact, grooves ploughed in the solid rock, which has been previously planed smooth. They are undoubtedly markings of that kind attributed now by geologists to glaciers and icebergs, whether correctly or not I do not pretend to say. Whether or not, they are the finest specimens of that kind which I have ever seen ; and I think it right to draw attention to them before the ruthless brickmakers, who care for none of these things, immerse them in water or cover them up again with earth; and I invite all who have any doubt of my testimony to go and see for themselves.
may add that, in the detached portion to the northwest, the same markings continue equally numerous, straight, and parallel, and in the same line with the others, and it is not improbable that they extend below the soil over the whole of the Parliament-fields, judging from their remarkable flatness. In the detached portion there are a few other grooves, also perfectly straight and parallel, but crossing the former at an angle of about 45 degrees. There are also numerous short marks, as if made with picks, cutting the first-mentioned at a uniform angle of about 85 degrees. It is scarcely possible that they can be pickmarks. The principal lines are assuredly not artificial, but, whatever their origin, have been cut by some hard substances sliding along under tremendous pressure.”
A paper was then read (illustrated by numerous experiments) on the following subject :
THE WORLD AS IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN ;
OR, THE JEWISH AND HEATHEN COSMOGONIES CONTRASTED
BY THE LIGHT OF MODERN SCIENCE. .
By J. BIRKBECK NEVINS, M.D. Lond., V.P.
THIRD ORDINARY MEETING.
ROYAL INSTITUTION, November 16th, 1863.
JAMES A. PICTON, Esq., F.S.A., President, in the Chair.
Messrs. E. M. Sheldon and Adam Holden were balloted for, and duly elected members.
A further communication was read from Professor Elliot relative to the supposed glacier markings in Parliament-fields,
follows: “I have since discovered a continuation of the same grooved surface in three places near each other, from 20 or 30 to somewhere about 100 yards to the northeast of the principal place, and, in fact, wherever you can see the surface of the rock below the brick earth. The markings in these places are by no means faint, but even more deeply cut than the first, and go so far to confirm my conjecture that probably the whole level tract, of which the Parliament-fields form a part, is a table planed flat by Nature's grand planing or ploughing machine, whatever it was.
“In writing the previous letter I was not aware that Mr. Morton had previously discovered and described other similar impressions in the neighbourhood of Liverpool. But no matter, this is one added to the number, and that on a very grand scale, and very conveniently situated for further observation.”
Mr. A. HIGGINSON exhibited a rubbing of one of these markings, showing well their general character, and made some observations upon the general question, based upon an inspection of the spot.
Mr. MORTON said he had traced glacier markings in six different places round Liverpool.
The PRESIDENT and Mr. Nisbet having made some further remarks, the subject was dropped.
Dr. COLLINGWOOD called attention to a report of the meeting of the Entomological Society, in the Athenæum, relative to the web exhibited at a former meeting of this society, as follows :-“Professor Westwood exhibited a large sheet of delicate white silky matter, like tissue paper, but extremely soft and smooth like the very finest kid; it had been sent to him by Dr. Collingwood, and was taken from the bottom of a biscuit-chest, the buscuits themselves having been attacked by larvæ, which were described as dipterous in appearance. It was thought, however, that the larvæ were lepidopterous, and that the silky web was the work of Tinea granella.
The President, James A. Picton, Esq., F.S.A., on taking the chair for the first time, read the following