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A MERICAN ACADEMY
ARTS AND SCIENCES.
SELECTED FROM THE RECORDS.
Three hundred and eighth meeting.
May 30, 1848. — Annual Meeting. The VICE-PRESIDENT, Mr. Everett, in the chair.
The Reports of the Treasurer, and of the Auditing Committee, were read by Mr. Peirce, in the absence of the Treasurer.
Professor Gray, from the Committee of Publication, stated that there were various papers ready for publication, and that the materials at the disposal of the Committee were likely to be sufficient to furnish a volume of the Memoirs annually.
He also communicated a paper from Dr. John L. Le Conte, of New York, giving an account of a new fossil pachyderm, the Platygonus compressus, found at Galena, Iowa.
Mr. Bond communicated the following
Made at the Cambridge Observatory.
“ The positions are referred to the mean equinox of Jan. Ist, 1848. “ This comet is remarkable for the length of time during which it VOL. II.
was visible, it having been discovered in July, 1847. When last seen, its distance from the earth was three hundred millions of miles, and from the sun three hundred and fifty millions; yet it was still bright enough to admit of pretty good determinations.
"A scintillation or twinkling of its central light was frequently remarked, an indication, perhaps, of a solid nucleus.”
Professor Agassiz related some observations he had made upon the form of the extremities in the embryonic state of birds.
Dr. C. T. Jackson stated that he had obtained a considerable quantity of foliated tellurium from specimens of gold ore found near Frederick, Virginia.
Mr. Cole read a letter from Mr. Spencer of Canistota, New York, detailing the history of his attempts at constructing achromatic microscopes, and of the improvements he had effected: - referred to the Rumford Committee.
Miss Maria Mitchell of Nantucket, the discoverer of the comet which bears her name (Vide Proceedings, Vol. I. p. 183), was chosen an Honorary Member of the Academy.
Dr. Joseph Leidy of Philadelphia was elected a Corresponding Member.
At the annual election, the following officers were duly elected for the ensuing year:
Jacob Bigelow, M. D., . . President.
Committee of Publication.
Committee on the Library.
Three hundred and ninth meeting.
August 10, 1848. — QUARTERLY MEETING.
Dr. Gould, from the Library Committee, presented a report on the condition and pressing wants of the Library; and the annual appropriation for its care and increase was voted.
Dr. Gray, from the Committee of Publication, submitted a statement of bills due, and an estimate of the expenses liable to be incurred during the year in carrying on the printing of the Memoirs and the Proceedings of the Academy; and the annual appropriation was voted for the purpose.
The Corresponding Secretary submitted a memoir on the development of the ova and on the diseases of Limnæa, by Dr. Henry I. Bowditch.
Mr. Epes Sargent Dixwell, Henry I. Bowditch, M. D., and Mr. Edward C. Cabot, were elected Fellows of the Academy.
John L. Le Conte, M. D., of New York, and Professor James Hall, of Albany, were elected Corresponding Members.
Three hundred and tenth meeting.
October 3, 1848. — MONTHLY MEETING. The PRESIDENT in the chair.
The Corresponding Secretary read letters from Messrs. E. S. Dixwell, Henry I. Bowditch, and Edward C. Cabot, accepting the fellowship of the Academy. Also a letter from the Hon. Secretary of the Navy, requesting suggestions from the Academy in respect to the projected astronomical expedition of Lieutenant Gillis to some southern point in South America. Referred to Professor Peirce and Mr. Bond.
Mr. Everett stated that he had received information, through the Danish Chargé d'Affaires at Washington, that the conditions of the award of the King of Denmark's medal for the discovery of telescopic comets would probably be so far waived in favor of Miss Mitchell, as to the time and mode of announcing the discovery, that she would receive the medal.
Mr. Everett, having alluded to the letter addressed to himself, as President of the University, by W. C. Bond, Esq., Director of the Observatory, announcing the discovery, on the 16th of September, of an eighth satellite of Saturn,* read a short paper on the discovery of the other satellites by Huyghens, Cassini, and Sir William Herschel, and on the name proper to be given to the satellite discovered by the Messrs. Bond. Adopting the nomenclature proposed by Sir John Herschel, in his late work on the Cape Observations, Mr. Everett suggested that the new satellite, which comes next to Iapetus, might be called either “Prometheus” or “Hesper," sons of Iapetus; or, if a brother of Saturn were preferred, it might be called “Hyperion." Some discussion arose on this point; and a committee, consisting of Messrs. Everett, Felton, Sparks, Peirce, and Bond, was appointed on the subject of the discovery, and of a name proper to be given to it.
Professor Agassiz gave an account of the fossil Cetacea
* Mr. Bond's letter is as follows:
“ Observatory, Cambridge, Sept. 25, 1848. “Dear Sir,
“On the evening of the 16th of this month a small star was noticed, situated nearly in the plane of Saturn's ring, and between the satellites Titan and Iapetus. It was regarded at the time as accidental. It was, however, recorded, with an estimated position in regard to Saturn.
“ The next night favorable for observation was the 18th, and, while comparing the relative brightness of the satellites, the same object, similarly situated in regard to the planet, was again noticed, and its position more carefully laid down. But still at the time we scarcely suspected its real nature.
“From accurate measurements on the evening of the 19th, the star being found to partake of the retrograde motion of Saturn, that portion of the heavens toward which the planet was approaching was carefully examined, and every star near its path for the two following nights laid down on a diagram, and micrometric measures of position and distance with objects in the neighbourhood were taken.
“ The evening of the 20th was cloudy. On the 21st the new satellite was found to have approached the primary, and it moved sensibly among the stars while under observation. Similar observations were repeated on the nights of the 22d and 23d. Its orbit is exterior to that of Titan. It is less bright than either of the two inner satellites discovered by Sir William Herschel.
" W. C. BOND." “ PRESIDENT EVERETT."
which have been found in the United States, and which are much more numerous than is generally supposed. He showed nearly perfect sculls of four distinct species, belonging to three different genera, and various parts of three more species. Of these seven species, six belong to the family of Zeuglodonts, and one to that of the true Dolphins. They were all found in the lower tertiary deposits of the Southern States. The new types described by Professor Agassiz were discovered by Mr. Holmes of Charleston, South Carolina, and by Mr. Markoe of Washington. It is intended to publish extensive illustrations of all these fossils.'
Professor Gray, from the Publishing Committee, announced that a new volume of Memoirs was nearly ready for distribution, and proposed that a committee should be appointed to fix some general rules for the disposition of the publications of the Academy. Messrs. Everett, Felton, Gray, Sparks, Agassiz, Walker, and Gould were appointed a committee for this purpose.
Three hundred and eleventh meeting.
November 8, 1848. — QUARTERLY Meeting. The President in the chair.
Mr. Everett, from the committee appointed at the last meeting on the discovery of the eighth satellite of Saturn, and on a name suitable to be given to it, read a detailed report, which was referred to the Committee of Publication for the purpose of having it appended to the third volume of Memoirs about to be issued (where it has been printed in full].
Professor Gray presented a Memoir, entitled “ Plantæ Fendlerianæ Novi-Mexicanæ : an Account of a Collection of Plants made chiefly in the Vicinity of Santa Fé, New Mexico, by Augustus Fendler ; with Descriptions of the New Species, Critical Remarks, and Characters of other undescribed or little known Plants from surrounding Regions”; and made some general observations on the characteristics of the vegetation of New Mexico, now first brought to the notice of botanists.