Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society.

Proceedings of the Leeds Philosophical and ..., Volume 7, Issues 3-4 online

. (page 17 of 23)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

mineral spoken of by Mr. Alger. It was something like
lolite in appearance, but he believed it was Fluor Spar.
He had known Fluor to be mistaken on first sight before.
Some was found at Lynnfield a few years ago, and called
Amethyst, till chemical tests settled its real nature.

Rev. E. B. Eddy of 'Portsmouth, N.H., had, as a miner-
alogist much enjoyed this day. These minerals were often
spoken of as mere stones, but they were real gems. There
should be more eyes and hands at work to save them. He
was told that to make the foundation of the breakwater



Digitized by VjOOQIC



207

here, tons of this very rock containing these beautiful crys-
tals, had been thrown into the sea like rubbish. Never let
it happen again. Agate might be found here, in a broken
state ; probably it is brought here from Labrador by the
floating ice. Other minerals will repay the search, if all,
ladies and children even, will study and collect what
they may.

Bev. Joseph Banvard of Worcester, late of Salem, gave
an address of exceeding interest, stating the incidents of
what he called his conversion to the importance and beauty
of Natural History. The delights of communion with the
Great Architect through his lovely works, were vividly de-
picted, and the speaker declared that to him who approached
the study for the first time, it was like the addition of
another sense.

Dr. George Osgood of Danvers introduced the botanical
part of the exercises by exhibiting his collection of speci-
mens, some of which he regarded as rather unusual and
interesting. But his years rendered him, he said, incapa-
ble of speaking, or doing more than show himself and his
attachmQut to science. He wished his friend Tracy would
speak for him.

C. M. Tracy of Lynn, was always glad to testify to the
value and attractiveness of botanical pursuits, at every
proper time. But this occasion needed nothing from him.
Here was a man of eighty years, a botanist from youth,
standing before them to say that he foved his world of plants
as well as ever. Again, this was hardly a fit occasion for
botany, for Flora seemed very properly overruled in favor
of Pluto. These ancient rocks, the strong casket of so
many jewels, were, under the eye of such students as we



Digitized by VjOOQIC



208

see here, material enough to repay the study aud discussion
of hours, nay, days, uninterrupted by anything on othei
tc^ics. He further explained a few specimens, and spoke
of the constitution of the soil here, as connecting the min*
eral and vegetable worlds, and showing, as everywhere, the
influence of the rock on the plants it sustains.

George D. Phippen of Salem, on being called upon,
stated that he had greatly enjoyed the day's ramble, and
appreciated the attention and skill of the guides who well
understood the chief points of scientific interest of this re-
markable place ; but that which most engrossed his mind
was the grand expanse of the Atlantic, here spread out to
the view, — the same broad old ocean over whose ever-heav-
ing waves our father's first came to these shores, and which
with its everlasting rocky fringe must appear to our eyes
to-day, almost precisely as it did to theirs two centuries ago.
In answer to some inquiries as to pai*asitical plants, Mr.
P. said tiiat we had only one true parasite in this region,
to wit, the Dodder. This is a very elegant as well as
curious plant, and will reward any one for their study of
it. He formerly tried the cultivation of it with very grati-
fying success.

Mr. A. E. Verrill of Cambridge, at the request of the
chair, gave a short acount of the few marine annuals on the
table ; after which he presented a sketch of the classification
of Birds, as adopted by most of the leading ornithologists of
the day. Though naturalists have always agreed as to the
limits of the class, they have differed widely as to . the way
in which it should be subdivided into minor groups. Thus
the number of orders admitted among birds by different
naturalists, varies from two to twenty-eight.



Digitized by VjOOQIC



209

The arrangements which have been most generally adopl-
-ed in tliis country are slight modifications of those ol
Linnseus and Cuvier. Perhaps the one best known is that
admitting seven orders, viz : —

Raptores, or birds of prey,
Insessores, or perching birds,
Scansores, or climbers,
Rasores, or scratchers,
Cursores, or runners,
Grallatores, or waders,
Natatores, or swimmers.

Most authors have put the birds of prey at the head of the

"list, as the highest or most perfect birds. This on many
accounts seems wrong, for if we examine those birds which

Tiave all the characters tliat are commonly considered bird-
like in the greatest perfection, we shall find them not
among the Raptores, but among the singing birds of the

. order Insessores in the arrangement above. Some authors
have put the parrots highest on account of their fleshy
tongues, analogous to those of mammals, but the same
objection applies to this arrangement, since this character is

:an aberrant one, and not essentially bird-like, and besides
this, in other characters, the parrots do not approach the
mammals so closely as many of the other birds.

A peculiar classification of birds, first proposed by
Oken, but carried out in its details by Bonaparte, is worthy
of our consideration. It has certainly the merit of novelty

^ and in many respects seems more natural than any of the
other systems. By this method of classification, birds are.

> divided into two sub-classes, according to the state in which

^e young are hatched from the eggs. All those birds of
jwhich the young when hatched are very immature and

ISSEX INST. PROCEED. VOL. iii. 27.



Digitized by VjOOQIC



210

helpless, and ieed Iroiu tlie mouths of their parents, arc-
called Alfrices, The common Kobin is a good illustration
of this group. Other birds, like the hens and ducks, have
young which are able to run about and take care of them-
selves, in part at least, as soon as hatched. These are called
Precoces. Each of these sub classes is to be divided into
several orders, but Bonaparte himself has made various
alterations in the serial arrangement of the orders and sub-
orders in his published jiapers. If we place the singing
liirds highest, as I have pioposed, instead of the parrots, the
following arrangement, though somewhat different from
cither of those of Bonaparte, seems to me the most natural.

01 the Altrices^ the first order will be the Passera^, inclu-
dhig the singing birds or Os'cines, as well as most of the
other small perching birds : second the Scansores including
the parrots ; third the Accipitres or birds of prey ; fourth
the Colvmbce or doves and pigeons, and perhaps, also, the
Dodo, which is very little known, and forms, in one of the
arrangements of Bonaparte, a separate order, called Inepti :
fifth, the Herodiones. including the herons, cranes and the
like ; and sixth the Gaviee, with two sul>orders embracing
the gulls, albatross, pelicans, cormorants, <fec.

In the second sub-class or Precoces, there are four orders ;
first, the Gallinee, including the hens, pheasants, &c. ; sec-
ond, the Struthionesj embracing the ostrich and other simi-
lar birds ; third, the Grallce^ containing the plovers, sand-
pipers, and the like ; fourth, the AnsereSj including the
two sub-orders Lamellirostres, or ducks, geese, etc., and
Brachypteri or auks and divers. The penguins in the
latest arrangement of Bonaparte form a distinct order, the
lowest of the Altrices, but previously they had been placed
AS a sub-order, Ptilopteri, under the Anseres. The Flamin-
go wMch has been placed among the waders, with tlie.



Digitized by VjOOQIC



211

lievons, Ijy most wintei:s, on account of its remarkably long
legs and neck, and by others with the swimmers on account
of its webbed feet, seoms to be very closely related to the
ducks and geese by its anatomy, motions and habits, and
would form a family in the sub-order of Lamellirostres.

One of the most singular features in this classification is
the analogy or parallelism existing between the lower orders
of the Altrices and those of the Precoces, similar to that
between the families of the marsupials and those of ordinary
mammals. Thus the order of Columba3 will be parallel
with Glallina). Herodiones with Grallae, and Gaviae with
Anseres, so that we have a scratching order, both among the
Altrices and Precoces, a wading order in each group, and
a swimming order in each. In a tabular view they will
stand thus : —

Altrices, Precoces,

Passeres^ Oscines Clamatores, GallirKJe,

Scmisores, Struthiones^

Accipitres\ Grallce,

Columbof^ AnsereSy Lamellirostres,

Herodiones, Brachypteri, Ptilopteri?

GavifCj Totipalmi, Longipennes,

Rev. A. E. P. Perkins of Ware, said that the study of
Ihe habits of birds was replete with curious interest. He
had noticed cases ol the most striking instinct exhibited by
them. The story of the Cow Black-bird placing her eggs in
a nest, not her own, was familiar to all, but he had seen
some very singular modifications of this practice, and amus-
ing expedients of the two birds, the owner of the nest and
the intruder. He had known something of the classificatiou
spoken of by Mr. Verrill, but did not like it, it seemed
artificial and forced, breaking, rather than strengthening
the obvious natural orders.



Digitized by VjOOQIC



212
Mr. Verrill replied, and some discussion ensued.

Rev. Joseph B. Felt of Salem, tlicn read an historical
sketch of Rockport, including notices of prominent families,,
statistics of industry, and many other matters of local inter-
est. (Printed in Hist. Coll. of Inst, vol iv, p. 162.

Rev. 0. C. Beaman of Salem, thought all present had
deeply enjoyed this excursion. He, too, delighted in this
•free view of the ocean, so grand and elevating, and so well
calculated to awaken every sublime emotion of the human-
soul.

Mr. A. Hyatt of Cambridge, gave a brief exposition of
the theory of the Drift Formation, as now generally received,
and also explained, at some length, ihe peculiar action or
waves and oceanic currents in forming pits, ridges, and other
inequahties in the sand.

Rev. 6. S. Weaver ol Lawrence, bore testimony to the
extreme pleasantness of this occasion. He wished he could,
have the opportunity, now and then, of enjoying such a
season, near home. If the Institute would arrange for an
early visit to Lawrence, he could assure them of a most
hearty welcome.

It was then on motion of Thomas M. Stimpson, Esq., of
South Danvers, (who supported the motion with agreeable
remarks.)

Resolved^ That the thanks of the Members of the Essex-
Institute be tendered to those ladies and gentlemen of
Rockport, who have so kindly given their time and services-
in aid of the objects of the Society ; to those by whose liber-
ality the use of the Hall has been granted for our meetings ;
and to all others who have contributed to render our visit
one of pleasure. Adjourned.



Digitized by VjOOQIC



213
Thursday, Aug. 21, 1802.

Field Meeting at Hamilton. — A fine day induced tlio
attendance of very many to this meeting, although the spot
was by no means an unfamiliar one, having been tlie scene of
more than one visit by the excursionists of the Institute
already. But a really good thing seldom tires ; and so our
friends again came from various directions, a few at a time,
in carriages or on foot, and made up a very interesting com-
pany, larger than would have been thought, from the ap-
pearance of the arrivals.

The diversified surface in this vicinity speedily attracted
the attention of the active explorers, some searching the
ponds for aquatic plants and animals, some threading the
woods and thickets, and others studying the more solid sub-
stratum of rock and soil below the whole. A few had come
through the woods from West Beach and had much to
show and more to tell of the pleasant things met in that
path among the ponds.

The meeting for the afternoon was called to order on the
spacious platform kept by Mr. Whipple of the place, for
dancing uses, when Hon. Allen W. Dodge of Hamilton,
was chosen chairman, and in an eloquent manner welcomed
the Institute to this town of his adoption. He was glad to
see so many present, ol all ranks and pursuits. He wished
he could say a word to induce every one to look as he did upon
the works of God in surrounding nature, and enter hearti-
ly into their study from this time, as a means of self-culture
and improvement.

J. J. H. Gregory of Marblehead, then proceeded briefly
to discusss the geological constitution of this region, refer-
ing largely to that of Cape Ann, and drawing, in imagina-



Digitized by VjOOQIC



214

tiou,aiiiristorical picture of the geological changes that have
heretofore passed upon tlicse hills and valleys around us.
Considering the unpromising aspect of granitic and sienitic
rocks, we might he led to suppose that a soil formed from
them would h(i sterile ; but here the soil has )>recisely this
origin, and its richness is a ronstant correction of such pre-
conceived errors.

Eev. JosKPU 1>. Ki:lt of Salem read a short historical es-
say on the early ti-nes of the town ot Hamilton, when it
existed as part of old Ipswich. Among the peculiarities of
the place he adverted to a line of families among the inhabi-
tants who, from some singular (quality of constitution," are
,and have ijcen known as •' bleeders." These persons bleed
profusely, and dangerously, even, from tlie least scratch ;
and sonu* remarkable facts as to the hereditary descent of
this atfli(!tion, help to invest the case with much of deep and
•painfitl interest. (Printed in Historical Collections of the
fustijtute, vol. iv. page 22o.)

Mr. GaK(iOBT inquired what was the meaning of ** Naum*
keag,- " the Indian name of Salem.

Mr. Fklt said he believed Cotton Mather had defined it
as '" peace."

Mr. Gregory thought it merely meant '' good fishing
place," and was applied to many places along the shore.

Mr. Felt doubted this, and thought this last wa,s rather
the interpretation of " Agawam,- ' once the name of Ips-
wich and several other places.

C. M. Tracy of Lynn, had been one of those who made
the delightful excursion up from West Beach, under the ex-
cellent guidance of Mr. E. Knowlton. The vicinity of the
ponds, where traversed by the West Beach Road, is remarka-



Digitized by VjOOQIC



'2V^

We for its growth of beecli, the extensive \voo(j!< of whiclt
wear a singular look to him who has dwelt hal>itiuilly nnion^'
no forests save of pine and cedar. In these iMMjch woorl.-,
and around the ponds, are the haunts of many of Flora's
choice works ; anrl not a few^ of these liad been met by liim.
in the walk. ^Some of these he had brought along for
farther remark, such as the Bhie Vervain, the Coreopsis and
Rhexia, the TVillow-hiM-l), the Dwarf Cornel, the Carch'ual
Flower, and several other i.

Mention being made of the Suntlower, the Ciuiir ;isked
il there was any truth in the assertion tkat it tnrnod toward
the sun. Mr. Tracy replied that there was non^' whatever,
Tom' Moore's beautiful .poetry to the contrary notwith-
standing.

Georgp: D. Fhippkn of 8alem, gave a somewhat ext(Mid-
ed discourse on the plants that furnish a fiber for textile
uses. Four families, typified resi>ectively by tlie Mallow,
the Milkweed, the Flax and the Nettle afford almost all of
this for common use. The two last are sources well known ;
but the ability of the Milkweed to furnish a delicate and
commendable fiber is not well understood. Mr. P. had col-
lected and brought to the meeting selections of such plants
as yield beneath their outer bark a strong fibrous tissue
known as the bast tissue, and which may be prepared and
woven into textile fabrics. He dwelt largely upon the As-
clepias cornuti or common Milk or Silkweed, so abundant
in the fields and along the road sides throughout a large
extent of the country. He also exhibited beautiful speci-
mens of workmanship, both prepared, spun and wrought
from the fibre of this plant, by the hands of Miss Margaret
Gerrish, late of Salem, deceased, and recently presented to



Digitized by VjOOQIC



216

the Museum of the Institute. These consisted of purses,
work-bags, socks, skeins of thread of different colors, also
samples of paper from the macerated fibre, together with con-
siderable quantities of the prepared fibre, of great length,
(being the length of the stem,) and having, as all the man-
ufactured articles did, a silvery lustre, considerably resem*
bling silk.

There were also exhibited specimens of the living plaiAt
with its novel and honey-laden flowers, and portions of the
stem and fibre in various stages, showing its manner of
growth and preparation. Specimens prepared by Mr. P.
from the fibre of other plants were also presented ; such as
that from the tall nettle, so plentiful about the stone walls,
Urtica gracilis, and Apocynum cannabium, or Indian Hemp,
Celastrus scandens or waxwork and other plants ; proving
conclusively that with these, in addition to Flax and Hemp,
under the ingenious appliances of cultivation and machi-
nery, wc need not be dependent upon the South or' any
part of the wide world for material with which to answer
that important and industrial question, " wherewithal shall
we be clothed."

C. C. Coffin, Esq., of Maiden, known as " Carleton,''
of the Boston Journal, being invited, entertained the meet-
ing with a vivid account of the memorable gunboat fight
before Memphis on the Mississippi. That famous engage-
ment ended the hopes of the rebels as to the production of
a Navy. But there were other things than Navies to be
conquered in this war ; and of these, not the least was that
remarkable female influence that from the first had sus-
tained and stimulated the rebellion. Only by an equal
awakening of the free born women of the north, can we
ever oppose a fit and sufficient instrument to this restless^
this powerful auxiliary of southern enormity.



Digitized by CjOO^LC



217

J. L. Sibley of Cambridge, and Librarian of Harvard
College, had come down with a friend to see what kind of a
thing a " field meeting " might be. He had heard some-
thing of these gatherings ; but he had not expected to find
in tliem so much that spoke of the active, Uvinff study of
nature, and of the thousand wonderful and lovely things
she spreads around us. And as no one in this life knows
what may be the consequences of his acts, how much wo
may be left to inquire, as resulting, one day from such exer-
cises as tliese. Here was a dissertation on the almost un-
known fiber of a common plant. Who can tell what results
may follow from what that speaker has told us on that sub-
ject, results, perhaps, as broadly affecting the country as
the growth and use of cotton already have.

A few other gentlemen favored the meeting with remarks,
after which, on motion of Mr. Beaman of Salem, the thanks
of the Institute were voted to Messrs. John Whipple and
Edmund Knowlton, for their efforts to render the meeting
successful and pleasant, and to all our friends in this vi-
cinity. Adjourned.

Wednesday^ September 17, 1862.

Field Meeting at Rowley. — This was the last of the
series for this year, and nearly one hundred from other
towns availed themselves of the opportunity to visit thii
time-honored old place, where cluster so many memorials of
the past, highly interesting to the antiquary and to the stu-
dent in our early liistory. The assemblage were welcomed
at the Town Hall, by Rev. John Pike, the ** parson of the
parish," in a few remarks of great kindliness ; after which,
dispersing in various directions, the visitors spent the usual

ESSEX mST. PROCEED. VOL. iii. 28,



Digitized by VjOOQIC



218

amount of time in exploration and research. A general re-
turn ol these wanderers having been afTected, the formal
meeting was opened in the Town Hall, at 3 P.M., Vice Pres-
ident A. C. Goodell, presiding.

Records of the preceding meeting read.

Donations were announced —
To the Library — from L. Peirson Ward ; M. Savory of
Georgetown ; Zaccheus Gould of Topsfield ; Canadian In-
stitute at Toronto ; Henry Barnard of Hartford, Conn.;
Jonathan Perley, Jr.; C. B. Richardson of New York ; Mrs.
E. Putnam ; Boston Society of Natural History ; Philadel-
phia Academy of Natural Science.

To the Cabinets — from William Mack ; L. Peirson Ward;
Miss Rebecca Johnson of Cohasset ; Benjamin Felt ; James
B. Curwen ; Charles A. Putnam ; S. B. Buttrick ; Alfred
Stone ; Rufus Wendell; W. L. Leach ; J. Wingate Thorn-
ton of Boston ; Reuben W. Ropes of New York.

Letters were read from Trustees of New York State Library;
Pennsylvania Historical Society ; Trustees of Boston Public
Library; S. Barden of Rockport; A. E. Verrill of Cam-
bridge; William Barry of Chicago; R. H. Bacon; A. W.
Dodge of Hamilton.

A circular was read from the American Pomological
Society, requesting a delegation from the Institute to the
Convention in Boston. Referred to the President of the
Horticultural department, with authority to act.

Rev. C. C. Beaman of Salem, gave a sunmaary of the
historical work of the company about the place. This was
the town where Rev. Mr. Bradford established a Divinity
School, seventy or eighty years ago, having for one of his



Digitized by VjOQQIC



219

pupils. Rev. Joshua Spaulding, afterwards of Salem. Here,
today, they had visited the old Jewett House, built more
than two hundred years ago, and seen in it a clock thought
to be some three hundred years old, it having been set up
in Dorchester sixteen or eighteen years before the settlement
of Kowley. It is inscribed " Richard Masterson at ye Diall
within Moore Gate." Dummer Academy, one of the ancient
institutions of the Commonwealth, had also been visited*
Unlike most other such, it has outgrown its tenement twice
over, and now inhabits the third building provided for its
use. An examination of the 'old burying ground here had
also revealed a store of facts interesting to the historian and
antiquary.

Rev. J. B. Felt of Salem then read a paper on the early
history of Rowley, largely relating to the character and la-
bors of Rev. Ezekiel Rogers, the first and most noted of her
ministers.

Rev. John Pike of Rowley remarked that but for an in-
advertance, the company would, in the morning, haye been
invited to the private gardens in the place, of which some
were worth a visit. For himself, he could fully accept the
idea of Mr. Beaman, in reference to his pastorate, that that
minister was fortunate, whose church possessed a worthy
history. He had often felt the truth of this while seeking
to minister to this ancient church ; and he had come to
the conclusion, that while many ministers would like to
choose their successors, he would greatly prefer to name his
predecessor, as a far more important thing.

C. M. Tracy of Lynn, had been very busy to-day explor-
ing the botany of the " Stackyard Woods," in connectioa
with a most agreeable party. The successive seasons bring



Digitized by VjOOQIC



220

out difTerent styles and classes of floral life, so that each
gets, as it were, a distinctive mark. The late summer and
autumn months arc the peculiar time of the Composite
Flowers. The Aster is generally taken as the type of these
and is one of the most numerous. Nearly forty species are
recognized in the Northern States, and of these he exhibited
several. The Thistle represents one section of this great
family. Yet there are plenty of other kinds of plants in
autumn, as, for example, many of the pea-flowered class.
In this we see to-day the Bush Clover and the Tick-Trefoil,
whose seeds stick to the clothes. The Dwarf Cornel is now
in fruit. It is much, on a small scale, like the Flowering
Dogwood, whose bark has been substituted for Cinchona.
The Prenanthes and Gentians were also spoken of, also the
Canada Burnet; and some notice was taken of the Mints,
perfectly free from hurtful properties, and affording an ap-
preciable quantity of camphor.

F. W. Putnam of Salem, gave some illustration of the
zoology of this place, producing several tree-toads, frogs,
Ac, also a large worm supposed to be the larva of the Five-
spotted Sphynx. He gave familiar expositions of the changes
of the insect and reptile life during development ; and re-
marked on the erroneous notion that most of our reptiles
are poisonous. We have no venomous species in the East-
em States, save the Rattlesnake and an occasional Copper-
head. He then proceeded to describe the interior structure


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 17 19 20 21 22 23