Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society.

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

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" Canadensis, Wild Yellow Lily.
Polgpodium vnlgare, Com. Polypody.
Aspidium margincde, Shield or Wood Fern.
Poh/trickumpiliferum, Hair Cap MoSB.



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Mr. Beaman. proceeded to speak of the very kind and cor-
dial reception met by the Institute in this place to day. In
recognition of these hospitalities, he &ubmittted the follow- ^
ing, which was unanimously adopted.

Resolved, That the thanks of the Essex Institute be ten*
dered to Mr. John -Bray, who owns thepriound where this
meeting is held ; to Messrs. Tbeophilus Herrick, Jr., John
T. Davis, and other citizeas, for their kind attentions ; to
Mr. Hassler of the Coast Survey who was very attentive
upon Thompson's Mountain ; to the Proprietors for tite use
of Liberty Hall ; and to the Rev. Charles Smith for tender-
ing the use of the Parish Church.

The meeting iheu adjourned, and the company, to the
number of about two hundred, returned home with much
pleasure from the excursion.

Thursdayj August 2, 1860.

Field Meeting at Hamilton.— This was the fourth meet-
ing this season, and one of the pleasantest of all. The spot <
selected for the gathering was in the midst of the Hamilton
Ponds, so called, which, five in all, are situated in the adja-
cent comers of Hamilton, Wenham and Essex. All these
being connected, finally reach the sea by means of the larg-
est, Chebacco, or Essex Pond, delivering its waters into
Essex River. A very worthy estoUishmeilt is kept by Mr.
John Whipple,. on tbe ;road between Beck's and Ohdbacco
Ponds, in a most attniji^tive sityiation ; and .this was readied
to<4ay by a large confpaiiy, most of whom aj^ived tgr the
Eastern Railroad, haYii)g a rather loiig lide, or walk, from
the Hamilton Station,.and tb^ rQ$t »by pleasant drives <|ver
the various roads t))iltiraverse this region.

The forenoon was spent by some in pleasure excursions
around the shores of llie ponds, or in the diversified pastimes



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of rowing, sailing and fishing, in and from the numerous
boats with which these waters are well provided. Others
made scientific explorations here and there, while others, as
usual, gave attention to whatever of antiquity and historical
interest the vicinity might afibrd.

Some three hundred persons assembled on the shady plat-
form of Mr. Whipple, and, neither the President nor Vice
President being present, Hon. Allen W. Dodge of Hamil-
ton was called to the chair.

Hie following announcements of donations were then
Blade.

To the Library — ^from Henry F. Shepard ; T. J. Hutchin-
son ; George C. Chase ; Joseph W. Stone ; Martyn Paine
of New York ; E. M. Stone of Providence R.I.; John L.
Bussell ; Smithsonian Institution ; Massachusetts Historical
Society ; Philadelphia Academy of Natural Science ; Cana-
dian Institute at Toronto C.W.; Samuel A. Oreen of Bos-
ton ; N. J. Lord.

To the Cabinets— {rom B. H. Wheatland; Charles A.
J'utnam ; J. Burchstead of Wenham ; Chailes F. Williams ;
t)avid Moove ; John Bider ; J. M. Ives.

Letters were read from F. B. Perkins of Hartford Conn.;
M. Miles of Flint Mieh.; Trustees of New York State Li-
brary ; F. W. Putnam ; A. W. Dodge of HamQton ; David
Choate of Essex.

Th^ Cbiiir then entered into a very h]^>py vein of remark,
kf way of welcoipl^ tlie Institute to the town q[ Hamiltoipu
1^ tbis address, ifbiph tf^ough extended^ commanded ^
^Ifm attf^tiji^ pf ^i, the IbUowing i|ptipeab|e points wi»rp

Hamilton, with an average territoryi is strictly rara}, wMk



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enly about nine hundred inhabitants. Manning's Mills on
Ipswich River, is its only manufacturing concern, and that
is not a large one. The town was set off from Ipswich in
1793, and named in honor of the celebrated Alexander Ham-
ilton. Some twenty years ago, a proposition was made that
this name should be surrendered and a new one taken, so
that a manufacturing; village in the west of the state might
be called after the great American Statesman, but lihe idea
met with no favor whatever.

This place has the honor of b(3ing the home of the Rev.
Manasseh Cutler, a man of lovely character and brilliant
talent, and of whom very much has been written already.
He represented this district in Congress fiom 1800 to 1804.
But he was better known as a naturalist especially in the
department of Botany ; and at his house, yet standing, he
was often visited by men of science from abroad.

Felt, in his History of Ipswich, has noted the fact, probably
unparalleled, that in certain families of the name of Appleton,
residing here, there inheres a strange tendency to bleed pro-
fiisely from the slightest wound. Thefee " bleeders" as they
are called, are all the sons of daughters in the direct line of
descent ; and no female or sons of males in the line are
ever known to exhibit this peculiar condition. The hemorr-
hage begins in eight or nifie days after the injury, and con-
tinues in spite of all efforts to the contrary, till extreme
prostration and sometimes death ensues. This wonderful
phenomenon has never found any explanation.

The Chair also spoke of the potato rot, a maladxwhich we
know next to nothing about, save its disastro us effects, j Ap-
pearances Tavor the opinion that it has an atmospherical
cause, and is not due to insects, as some maintain ; but
whatever it be, it seems declining, and we hope it may soon
disappear.



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Some remarks on vegetable instinct, and an eloquent trib-
ute to the utility and happy character of the Field Meetings,
closed this address, which met throughout the hearty appro-
bation of all.

Dr. George Osgood of Danvers said that he had been both
pupil and friend of Dr. Cutler, whose name is so dear to the
people of Hamilton. He had rambled in these woods with
him fifty-five years ago, when he stood as one of the pioneers
of American Botany. Prom him he had his first lessons in
that study of nature, which during a long life, ha^e given
him such pleasure and instruction. He proceeded to dis-
cuss the characters of the Tulip Tree {Liriodendron tulipi-
ferd) and the Catalpa, ( (7. bignonioides^ gi^'iiig some state-
ments as to their rate of growth and value as ornamen-
tal trees. In the rambles of the forenoon he had collected
many beautiful plants, such as the Purple Orchis (^Platanr
therapsycodes) Buttonbush (Cfe/?Aa/a/^^A^/'5) and Indian Pipe,
(^Monotropd),

S. P. Fowler of Danvers read the following essay on the
Changes prodmed by civilization in the habits of our common
birds.

Civilization has produced no greater changes in our coun-
try, than it has in the habits ol our common birds. Our oc-
cupations, architecture, mode of cultivating the soil, habits,
opinions, and even our legislation, serve to produce this
change. The establishment of a fort, or fur post in the Indi-
an country, or the opening of the forest for a clearing, by the
squatter, effectually and at once changes the mode of life of
many of our birds. Thus- we see the near relation they sustain ^
to us. But I wish more particularly to notice at this time the
chai\g6s that have taken place in the habits of our birds in
Essex County, during a period of fifty years. None have
been noticed, I think, in our rapacious birds. They have"
become less numerous than formerly, although they con-
tinue to breed among us. The Baltimore Oriole still con«



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tiuues to construct her nest after the old pattern, but has
learnt to weave it from materials furnished by civilization.
I have a beautiful nest of this bird, made wholly from mate^
terials swept out of the door of a milliner's shop, woven and
interlaced with ribbons and laces and other fine tilings that
ladies wear, includinjr a threaded needle, that girls so often
lose. In regard to the singular habits of the Cow-Pen-Bird in
not building nests of its own, but laying its eggs in other
bird's nests, and leaving them to the care of a foster parent,
there seems to have been no change, for many years at least.
All our ornithologists have failed as yet to account for the
vagrant habits of this bird. Darwui, in his Origin of Species
has at length, as he supposes, solved the mystery. The
habit as seen in the European Cuckoo, which is similar to
the Cow-bird, he thinks arises from the slave-making instinct
of animals. He reasons in this way : Now let us suppose
that the ancient progenitor of our European Cuckoo, had
the habits of the American Cuckoo ; but that occasionally
slie laid an egg in another bird's nest. If the old bird profited
by this occasional habit, or if the young were made more
vigorous, by advantage having been taken of the mistaken
instinct of another bird, than by their own mother's care,
encumbered as she can hardly fail to be, by having eggs and
young of different ages at the same time ; then the old birds,
or the fostered young, would gain an advantage. And
analogy would lead me to believe, that the young thus
reared, would be apt to follow by inheritance, the occasional
and aberrant hibit of their mother, and in their turn would
be apt to lay their eggs in other bird's nests and thus be
successful in rearing their young. By a continued process
ot this nature, the strange instinct of our Cuckoo could be
and has been generated.

Some modern naturalists have noticed among some ani*.
mals, certain aberrant and mutilated forms, and established
what they term the theory of degradation. And, for an
example, they give us the misplacement of parts, such a^
are now exhibited in some fish, such as the flounder, turbot,
and halibut. These are supposed to have once moved about
upright, like most fish, but from some cause or other, a long
time ago, they were thrown over and made to swim upoa
their sides, their squinting eyes stuck upon the top of their
beads, and their mouths twisted awry. Some theologiaua



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say, that mau even is in a state of moral degradation, aud
liis affections misplaced. But I think we are precluded
from supposing that the Cow Bird has at any period suffered
'from degradation or misplacement of its parts, thereby ren-
dering it incapable of incubation, from the fact, that upon
-dissecting it, no disarrangement has as yet been found.

To my mind, it is evident, after giving the subject consid-
erable attention, that the Cow-bird's unnatural habits are
such as were given it, by the Author of its being, and are
not the result of the slavery instinct, degradation, or the vice
of habit. This is very evident, when we consider the singu-
lar feet, that when its solitary egg is deposited with those
of its duped nurse, the parasite's e^ invariably hatches,
from twenty-four to forty-eight hours before those of the
foster-parent. Here we find a special provision made in
favor of the Cow-bird, on which depends the continuation of
the species. How Mr. Darwin can account for this, by his
theory of slavery instinct, we cannot imagine. I have for
many years noticed one or more young Cow-birds in my
^garden, reared principally in the nests of the Yellow-bird.
Sometimes the eggs of the parasite fail to hatch, by a floor
being laid by the owner of the nest over the egg and another
story being added to the domicil. The wailing note of tiie
.young Cow-bird usually attracts the attention of my family,
and they are amused in noticing the fond maternal kindness
of the little step-mother, towards the large, chubby, sooty
foundling. We have noticed for seversd years a change
taking place in the habits of our Crow blackbird. They are
'becoming domesticated, like the Book of England. This has
'been brought about by the planting of the white pine in our
cultivated grounds. Wherever a cluster of these trees lift
their heads thirty feet, they are visited by these birds for the
^purpose of breeding, even wh^i growing in our populous
villages. They are absent, for the most part, from their nests
during the day, showing that they are not yet perfectly at
liome in their new location. The purple fmch has likewise
Vfollowed our cultivated evergreen trees into our grounds —
a few years since, they were only to be seen in our cedar
pastures, but they are now quite numerous. With me they
breed on the branches of the spruce, and feed eariy in tiie
eeason on the flower buds of the white elm, and when these
fail, I am sorry to. say, upon the fruit buds of the pear tree.

B8SBX INST. PKOCBED. VOL. ill. 5.



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The Cedar bird, which has become domesticated to a con-
siderable degree, within a period of forty years, has discov-
ered that our cultivated fruits are more juicy and palatable,
than the hard dry berries of the Red Cedar. Hence the
changing of its name, within my recollection, to Cherry-bird.
It now wholly escheweth its former food and haunts, and
while it has learnt to love our sdmmer fruits, it has likewise
acquired a relish for our canker worm&.

The Robin is the most familiar bird wc have, and has been
the longest domesticated. This has taken place in conse*-
quence of its cherished name, early given to it by our ances-
tors, which led them to spare the bird — which name, by the
way, more properly belongs to the Bluebird, its mild and
quiet habits more nearly resembling the Robin Red Breast
of England, than our ai-dent and vociferous fruit-eating
thrush which we call Robin. The special legislation afforded
the Robin in our Commonwealth, within a few years, has
done much to completely domesticate them, and thus render-
ifig tlicm, in my judgment,, a great nuisance to the fruit
grower. If any law is necessary to protect our birds, it
diould be suflSciently broad to cover all of them. I would
make no exceptions. The constant and cruel enactments,
murderous deeds and mean contrivances to • destroy and
poison crows, would Jbave resulted, long ago, in the destruc-
tion of the whole species, were they not very intelligent and
sagacious birds, as fully able to take care of themselves, as
those who are laboring to destroy them. Our present bird
law is a qfieer piece of legislation, evidently drawn up by

: persons, who had not one particle of knowledge, sufficient

. tp classify our birds into orders, deemed by them useful Or
i|o:^ious. For instance, no protection is given in the act to-
iiie Swallow family, Woodpeckers, Flycatchers^ Wrens, &c.,
M perfectly harmless, iiy urin^ no one, and whose i^hola
lives ^r« spent in destroying noxious insects. I can sHoot^

. <>^ eiKlplqy others to shoot all the birds above enumerated,,
eyery hour in the day, and every day in the year, when thfey
lUre to bp found, and i^o penalty would be incurred.. But if.
I sbQu^d shoot a Ro^in on my own ground, in the iacVof
eaji|)g/t]ie.last cherry,. which he had overlooked on the tree^
I i^ould subject myself to a fine of two doHars!
The Swallow tribe h^LS updergone more changes, probably,,.

than any other order of biyds. The 6arn swallpws havo:



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35

Ilon^ since* left their ancient breeding places, the overhanging

«liff of rocks, and sought the habitations of men. The

Chimney Swallow has deserted the hollow sycamore, its

/ancient home, for our unoccupied chinneys. The OliflF

; Swallow no longer frequents the shelving rock, but has

; sought shelter under our roofs. The same may be said of

, the Purple Martin and White bellied Swallow, as having

I left the uncultivated portions of the country, to seek pro-

r.tection in a home among the habitations of men. The

Sand Martins are the only species which continue to

, rear their young in the river bank. Man's civilization has

. not as yet induced them to leave their ancient homes.

Great changes have been observed in the appearance and dis-
appearance of the several species of swallows. During a period
. -of less than fifty years, the purple martin has become com-
paratively scarce in the eastern part of Essex County. Some
.authors say, upon the authority of Prof. Kalm, that the pur-
ple martin was not seen in New England previous to the
Revolution. But I have examined Kalm's travels in this
..Kjoiintry, and cannot find that he says anything about the
appearance of the Martin. It is certain they were numerous
in this vicinity, forty years ago, and that they are now very
. scarce. I tiiiuk it is equally certain that the Barn Swallow
i3 becoming less numerous. One of the causes, I think,
which has led to this, is our modern tight barns, the poor
swallow being as it were, shut out of house and home. On
the other hand. Chimney Swallows have become very abund-
ant. I can distinctly remember when they were rarely seen.
The White-bellied Swallows have become likewise very nu-
merous, and as they are so quarrelsome in their habits, that
one pair can only agree to live together in a box, they are
driven sometimes to great straits, to find a domicil. Last
year, I discove;-ed this bird, building in an old nest of the
Baltimore bird. I was greatly interested at first in this dis-
covery, thinking I had found at last, a new species of bird
ill. my grounds. The nest retained its old outlines, but the
swallow Jiad fitted up it^i interior, so that it preseated to me
^, different appearance. If Mr. Darwin's theory of slave in-
stincts in animals be true, why may we not suppose that in
time ihose white-bellied swallows thai; cannot 'fihd accommo-
.i^ltidns in bdies oir mich places as they votiW like, would



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acquire the habit of usiug old bird's nests ; and when they-
cannot be found, attempt a forced entry into an occupied,
nest, wherein to deposit its eggs, and thus acquire the idle
habits of the Cowbird.

In conclusion, I would say that, without doubt, many more
changes in the habits of our birds, and the introduction of new
species, will take place around us during the coming fifty
years. The results following the opening of the Pacific BaU.
Boad will not be confined to commerce and trade, for we see
that plants inyariably follow the track of these roads, and.
birds as surely follow vegetation. It is well known that rivers^
mountains and coast lines, are used by birds to direct and
assist them in their migrations, and why may not railroads.
The voluminous Pacific Rail Road Reports themselves have
brought to our notice many new birds, which we cannot fair
to recognize when they arrive among us.

George D. Phippen, of Salem, had come to the meeting-
by that pleasant drive which leads through Manchester
Woods. Here Flora was found to be in excellent circum-
stances, and beautiful plants in great variety were to be had
for the picking. He exhibited Pyrolas, Cornels, etc. with
the Beach Pea (^Lathyrus maritimus) the Tufted Loosestrife
(^Nauniburgia thyrsiftora) and the beautiful Willow-herb
(Epihybium.^ In answer to a question, Mr. P. sketched the
outlines of the natural family to which the Sumac be-
longs, and noticed the various species of Rhus that grow^
among us, including the Poison Dogwood, (JfJ. venenatay
and the Poison Ivy. (jR. toxicodendron.^

Dr. R. H. Wheatland, of Salem, responded to some inqui-
ries by detailing the principal features in the devel(4>ment
of the common Toad. The Toad deposits its eggs in the
water in the latter part of April. They soon hatch, and the
small pools may be seen almost black with the multitudes or
.^wn. These, in about seven weeks, go through aU their
changes and hop out on dry land as miniature toads^^.
and in numbers almost without number ; from whence they



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scatter in all diiectious. Tlieir insatiable appetite for in-
sects renders them great helps to the cultivator, though
he has rarely been ready enough to confess his indebtedness
to them. Different species require very different periods for
full development, and some more than the common toad
and some less ; our knowledge about the matter, in detail,
is very little.

Rev. C. G. Beaman, of Salem, made some pleasant re^
marks upon the natural beauties of this locality, and further
spoke of some of the historical points raised by the chair.

Hon. David Choate, of Essex, author of an Essay on the^
Geographical and Agricultural Survey of the County, con-
tinued the topic of the last speaker. He had felt deeply
impressed with the remembrance of the aboriginal red men,
whose these delightful hills and waters once were. Not
long since he saw one of these, a relic ol Indian greatness,
standing at the church door ; and when, upon invitation, he
addressed a few remarks to the children of the Sabbath
School, he had listened to him with the most intense interest,

On motion of Mr. Beaman, it was then

JJc5oA?^rf,— That a vote of thanks be given to Mr. John
Whipple, for the use of this spacious platform, or tent saloon,
for this meeting of the Institute, for the courteous permission
to use the grounds, and for other civilities to tlie large num-
ber in attendance ; also to the several gentlemen of Wen-
ham and Hamilton whe have acted as guides to the party.

This meeting was very successful, and the large company
iippeared to enjoy the proceedings very highly.



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Tliursdayy August 16, 1860.

Field Meeting at Ipswich. — This, the fifth this season,
happened to fall on the 226th anniversary of the incorpora-
tion of this sterling old town. A company of flattering
magnitude arrived by the early train, and various explora-
tions were speedily planned and put in forwardness. " Town
Hill," probably the highest land in the place, received a large
share of attention ; another party found their way to Ipswich
Beach ; and yet others visited Castle Neck, where stands the
lighthouse, and where is also located the farm and boarding-
house of Capt. Humphrey Lakeman, a well known and wor-
thy citizen of old Ipswich. He has always been prominent
in public affairs, and equally given to hospitality and kind •
offices, till more than seventy years have ripened upon him
in the midst of his good works. In this region the sand has
played such antics as continually remind one of the wilds of
Nubia, and the buried temple of Abou-Simbel. Whole
apple trees of liberal size have been buried under the accu-
mulating hillocks of shining white sand, till only the lesser,
top boughs remain exposed ; these however, still bear plenty
of fi'uit. Ipswich has, until within a few years, enjoyed the
honor of being the location of the Probate Office for this
County, but that has now departed for a new position in
Salem. The buildings devoted to this and the other Courts
yet stand, but have suffered some alteration. The other
County Institutions, the Jail, the House of Correction, and
the Insane Asylum are still in active service ; but much of
the early consequence of the town is now lost. Very much
remains to prove its antiquity ; venerable dwellings, the time
honored tavern, the academy, incorporated in 1828, the
staunch old bridge built in 1764. The place, in fact, is. all
full of the antique, so far as any of New England can be.
Two Englishmen were kindly received here in 1611. Three
years later, Capt. John Smith, the famous, praised "Agawam'^



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specially, as he did almost every other place along the coast.
John Winthrop, son of the Governor, commenced a settle-
ment here in 1633, and the next year '' Agawam'* was incor-
porated as " Ipswich," to l^ear the name with honor for more
than two centuries.

Three o'clock, P.M. The formal meeting was called to order
m the Town Hall, by Vice President Russell, who explained
the objects and plan of the Institute, as usual. Donations
were then announced, as follows : —

To the Library — from Henry M. Brooks ; Zoologischen
Gesellschaft, Frankfurt, a. m. ; S. A. Green of Boston ;
Boston Society of Natural History ; Philadelphia Academy
of Natural Science ; C. B. Richardson of New York ; J. W.
Stone ; A. H. Sanger of South Danvers ; John Andrew.

To the Cabinets — from J. M. Ives ; Miss M. 6. Wheat-
land ; Henry Perkins ; Edward Andrew; jG. P. H. Markoe;
A. H, Sanger of South Danvers.

Letters were read from the Department of the Interior ;
Smithsonian Institution; C. M. Endicott,; S. P. Fowler of
Danvefs ; and Dr. C. Johnstone of Baltimoi-e, Md. The last
named accompanying two small parcels of the " Nottingham
Earth.'!

: t . ....

/

The following communication from Henry P. Kmg was
.Aeiitead: —

^The tl^pltnall packets received from Doet. C. Johnstone of
Bliikhno)^, 'e«teh ebniiaining a portion of earth frcnn the same
'littisitum, but from Afferent Situations above and below N0t-
;^ghto, Oaltert Goiin^, Md., have been submitted to


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