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

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may note the fact, that a simple feature marks every mem-
ber of this family, as the botanists often finds to be the case
elsewhere. Every one of these plants has the stigma, or top
of the pistil, shaped just like a little spool, and this simple
trait is not found in any other family. He further spoke of
the Ground Nut, (^Apios) the Thoroughwort and Everlast-
ing, with several of the Nightshades. The Pdtato is only a
cultivated Nightshade producing tubers ; and these tubers
are not roots, as some think, but buds upon underground
suckers, swollen and gorged with nutritious matter. A
specimen was shown with the tubers growing above ground,
Mr. T. having also spoken of the fact that the common Red
Clover has sometimes heads of a clear white. The Chair
corroborated the observation and added some remarks on
<;hanges of color in our native flowers.

James E. Ouver of Lynn said he had found these bleached
Clover-heads and the Tliistle now and then exhibited similar
changes. What is the real nature of this phenomenon ?
Can we call it a freak of nature, or is it something produced
under a regnlar chain of causes, and reducible by experi-
ment and investigation ? And if there exist laws for the
change of color in flowers, may there not be such for change
of species in the plants themselves ? In fine, what is the
true solution of the vexed question of the origin of species ?
Plainly such changes may be very easy and gradual, or they


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may be rather sudden — by leaps, as it were ; but which,
may be rather hard to decide.

Mr. Tracy said that when plants with colored flowers pro-
duce pale or white varieties, these are almost inevitably
weaker in constitution. This is confirmed by the fact that
there is hardly a pure white flower known. What we call
such are all attenuated shades of other colors. And we also
find that white flowers produced by art, always tend to re-
vert to their normal tint. Verbena Melindres is red ; and
all the white sorts produced from it are liable to redden in
certain cases. So of the Geranium^ &c.

The Chair said these changes are no doubt producible by
art ; but a long period must be necessary to efiect the result,
and after all, retrogradation would certainly take place at
the first opportunity. Nature is inevitable in her rules and
laws. Our fathers gathered just such plants and flowers as
we ; and when we interfere with the natural course, the cur-
rent sets back strongly toward its source. Double varieties
are always difficult to keep, always " running out " as we

This topic was much further discussed by Messrs. Gre-
gory, OuvER, Tracy, T. Ropes of Salem and others.

Eev. 0. C. Beaman of Salem said, he noticed that some
of the company had to-day brought their sketch-books and
made drawings of the beautiful things around them. He
wished this were oftener done. It would be a delightful ex-
ercise, and better opportunities could not be had.

Mr. David N. Johnson of Lynn, had experienced much
satisfaction during the day's exercises, and added some re-
marks on the variety of talent which such occasions *teuded
to bring together.

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On motion of Mr. Beaman it was Voted, That the thanks
of the Institute be presented to the School Committee of
Lynn for their kindness in furnishing the use of this build*
iug lor this meeting ; to Mr. L. W. Grossman, the teacher
of this school for his friendly interest in our behalf ; also to
Messrs. W. W. Lummus, H. S. Lufkui, Oliver Ramsdell and
other residents in this village, for their attentions and ser-
vices, as guides and otherwise.


Tliursday, Aug. 29, 1861.

Field Meeting at Middleton. Most of those who at-
tended this meeting, came as usual by the morning train
from Salem ; but others of the more active collectors of
natural objects preferred an earlier trip by the carriage
road and came accordingly, making such stops for their
investigations as seemed to be proper, or promised to be
productive. This party made some considerable progress in
dredging the brooks and sweeping the bushes, for reptiles,
shells, or insects as the case might be ; while fishing after
the more established mode was not by any means neglected ;
but failed to afford any notable results.

On the arrival of the main party the scene of action was
transferred, for the most part, to the shores of the fine pond
which bears the name of the town which claims and protects
it. The usual diversity of taste here found exhibition and
employment; as this company lounged in the pleasant pic-
nic grove that adorns the shore, or that one proceeded slowly
along by the water, carefully searching after some unex-
pected plant, or another manned the jaunty sail-boat there
kept, and pleased themselves with an excursion more thor-
oughly aquatic still. There were not wanting those who
sought for berries ; and the geological characters of the

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place were well scrutinized by those who seldom neglect a
fair opportunity.

The refreshments of the day wei'e served in rustic style in
the grove, after which, resorting to the Town Hall, the
afternoon exercises were opened. Vice President S. P. Fow-
ler in the chair.

Records of preceding meeting read and donations from
the following were announced :

To the Library — ^from Mrs. Andrew Nichols ; Department
of the Interior ; Jolm B. Alley, M.C. ; John Robinson ;
George P. Read ; Zoologische Gesellschaft, Frankfort, A.M.;
American Philosophical Society,

To the Cabinets — ^from W. S. Daland ; C. H. Norris ;
George G^ldthwaite ; Samuel Preston ; Israel T. Howe ;
Joshua P. Haskell of Marblehead ; J. J. Rider.

Letters were read from E. Everett of Boston ; Trustees of
Newburyport Public Library ; Department of the Interior ;
D. P. Weinland, Frankfort, A.M. ; C. M. Ti-acy of Lynn.

In his opening remarks, the Chair took occasion once more
to urge on those present the importance of preserving the
local and civil history of our community by the preservation
of all documents, regarded, perhaps, as worthless, while stiU
possessed of intrinsic value. Of this nature, all old wiUs,
contracts, depositions, records and books of account, may be
mentioned as worthy of prime regard. Likewise ail old
books ; the older and more marked by the pens or pencils of
the former owners, the better ; and every pamphlet, news-
paper and old letter ; all should be carefully saved, for no
one knows how much there may be in one or other of them
for the good of those who are to come after us. It is the
business and pleasure of the Essex Institute to be the treafi-

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urer of these relics ; all that need be done is, to send
to their Secretary any lind all such contributions, and the
three-fold advantage is gained, of pleasing them, of benefit-
ing posterity, apd clearing one's own house of what might
nnsttitably encumber it. Let all remember these things,
and let no document go to destruction, however insignificant
it may be in your own eyes.

Jambs J. H. Gregory, of Marblehead, had examined the
place pretty thoroughly for geological features worth men-
tioning here. He had found only two ledges of out-crop-
ping rock in the town, and this was a very peculiar circum-
stance. Not many places in New England could say the
same ; we generally are marked, all over the country, by
bare and craggy projecting rocks of one sort or another,
often in great profusion. tJndoubtedly, rock might be found
under all this gravel, as in other places ; but at present, the
drift lies undisturbed and conceals tliem. There seems to
be great variety in the character of this drift ; around the
pond were many of the different types of granite and forty
of them might be collected within an hour. He had pro-
cured a good specimen of sienitic granite ; also a piece of
pure sienite, from which the feldspar had been washed out,
leaving curious, iri-egular markings and cavities. These
ribbed and worn fragments are rather common along the
ancient water-courses of New England, and indeed there is
nothing very peculiar in any the formations about here.
The chief point of interest is, after all, the abundance and
quietude of the overlying drift, so covering and hiding all
the ledges that only two of them anywhere appear.

0. M. Tract of Lynn, had noticed some plants about
the pond worthy of note, and somcf still more striking had
been found by others. The Pipewort, (^Eriocaulon) whose
globular, lead-colored heads are so conspicuous along muddy

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shores, is a kind o( intermediate form of vegetation, having
much of the sedge about it and not a httle of the character
of a moss. It is however, a true flowering plant. The little
Creeping Spear wort (/Za;it/ncM/t«^) is almost the smallest of
the Buttercup family, but though its leaf is no broader than
a grain of wheat ; and its blossoms as small as a sparrow's
eye, yet its petals bear the beautiful lustrous gloss in full
perfection, tliat so marks each and every species of Ranun-
culus. The shrubby Potentilla is, generally, moro comtmon
about peat bogs, and in its time of flowering makes quite an
ornamental appearance, for although a simple Five-finger,
it has a pretty, compact habit, and claims more beauty for
its form than otherwise. Beside these, a fortunate expl<»^r
had to-day detected a splendid clump of the Cardinal Flower,
(^Lobelia) whose always inimitable scarlet had sported into
the most coquettish dashes of red upon a gi'ound of the
purest white. A few of these variegated Lobelias have been
found from time to time about the country, but it is doubtful
if any more beautiful have come to light than Middleton has
furnisiied us to day. Those other plants, whose intrinsic
charms are a little veiled by their common occurrence, are
as readily found hero as elsewhere. We have to-day the
Aster, just beginning its season of bloom ; the Andromeda,
akin to the Blueberries, but with dry and fleshless fruit ; the
Balsam, with its curiously fadiioned. flowers hung all over
it, like golden horns- of-plenty ; the Thoroughwort, of sterl-
ing medicinal value, in which Middleton seems privileged
for a full share ; the fragrant Ground-nut (^Apios) ; the
aromatic Sassafras ; the deadly Cicuta ; the pretentious
Trumpet weed, eight feet high ; and a score of others all
worth some notice at a proper moment.

Dr. George Osgood, of Dan vers, continued the same
subject, and added to the interests of the plants themselves
a yet stronger interest arising from the untiring devotion to

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Ms favorite study, seen in this botanist of almost eighty
years. To-day he had met with a species, which ho exhib-
ited, the like of which he had not found for many years.

F. W. Putnam, of Salem, proceeded to describe most of
the zoological specimens taken during the day. He also,
by the help of the blackboard, explained the four divisions,
or branches, of the animal kingdom ; showing how the radia-
ted structure characterizes the Star-fishes, Jelly-fishes, and
Polyps, or coral animals, hence called Radiates ; how the
character of concentration is stamped on all animals belong-
ing to the branch of MoUusca, of which the Clam, Snail,
and Squid are common examples ; whereas, in the branch
to which the Insects, Crabs and Worms belong, articulation,
or a division of the body into segments, added to an equal
arrangement of parts on each side of the longitudinal axis,
and a tendency to an outward display, are the principal
characteristics ; this branch is called Articulata ; while in the
fourth branch, that of Vertebrata ; formed of the Fishes, Rep-
tiles, Birds and Mammals, including Man ; the body is divided
by a longitudinal axis, the back-bone, into an upper and lower
arch ; the upper containing the biain and spinal chord,
while in the lower are situated the organs of vegetative life.

In reply to questions, Mr. P. said what we call the locust
is quite another insect. The oriental Locust is only a spe-
cies of what we call a Grasshopper ; while our Locust ought,
instead, to be called the Harvest Fly. Again, the real
Grasshoppers are small green insects, quite different from
those that have borrowed this name. The noise produced
by these creatures is not at all vocal, but made by a brisk,
fiddling movement of the rough hind leg across a part of the
wing-cover. Further, Mr. P. stated, that the whales now on
exhibition at the Aquarial Garden, Boston, were genuine
specimens of a small species known to naturalists as the
Beluga ; and were very well worth an examination.

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The Chair said that this seasou we had beea Tisited, ia
our fields, with what all of us had oftea heard of, but maay
had never seen. This was the dreaded army worm. He
had specimens of the worm and its cocoons on the table,
and had been somewhat careful in observing its habits. It
had been known in this country two or three times before,
but only at long intervals. This might be the last time it
could be observed by any now living, and it would be well
to improve the opportunity, and put on record * what we
might of its character and history.

On motion the following were appointed a committee to
collect all available facts on the above subject and report at
the Annual meeting of the Institute : — Messrs. P. W. Put-
nam and Henry Wheatland of Salem, and S. P. Fowler of

Rev. Warren Burton, of Middleton, offered some remarks
expressive of his high gratification at the proceedings of the
day. He cordially approved the purposes and plans of the
Institute ; and while he wished them full success, was
always glad when they sought that success in this quarter
of the county.

David Stiles, Jr., of Middleton, made some statements
of a local character, bearing chiefly on the history of the
town and certain of its prominent families. He further
assured ihe Institute of the hearty welcome they might ever
expect on visiting this town, and his own hope that such
visits might be often had and enjoyed.

The thanks of the Institute were then voted to Messrs.
Stiles, Esty, Graves, and others, whose kind attentions so
much enhanced the comforts of the day ; to the Selectmen,
for the use of the Town|Ha;ll for this meeting; and the
citizens of Middleton generally for their friendly interest in
our prosperity ; after which the meeting adjourned.

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Friday, November 15, 1861,

Meeting this evening, at the rooms in Plummer Hall, the
President, Asahel Huntington in the chair.

The record of the preceding meeting read.

Donations were announced from the following :
To the Library — from H. K. OUver, a large collection of
books and pamphlets, including many valuable musical
works; from C. B. Richardson of New York; L. M. Bolt-
wood of Amherst ; A. H. Quint of Jamaica Plain ; Boston
Society of Natural History ; Canadian Institute at Toronto ;
John L. Sibley of Cambridge ; Chas. T. Brooks of Newport ;
Montreal Society of Natural History ; C. K. Whipple of Bos-
ton ; J. F. Worcester.

To the Cabinets — from Joseph Short of Philadelphia ; J.
W. Libbey ; Chas. Hoffman ; Edward D. Ropes ; Mrs. Thos.
S. Greenwood of Ipswich ; Willard A. Ashby ; S. P. Rich-
ardson ; Stillman Bar den of Rockport ; John B. Ashby ;
Richard S. Rogers; Geo. L. Neal; W. H. A. Putnam;
Museum of Comparative Zoology at Cambridge.

Letters were read, from Massachusetts Historical Society;
Trustees of Boston PubUc Library ; Edward D. Ropes ;
Charles Hatch; A. B. Almon ; and N. T. True of Bethel,

It was announced that a portion of the books bequeathed
by the late Judge White, had been deposited in the Library,
that the remainder would be received in a few days, and
that, at a future time, a report concerning the same would
be presented.

A. C. Goodell, Chairman of the Committee on Evening
Meetings, reported progress on the subject committed to
their care, and on his motion it was voted that the next
meeting be held on the first Monday in December.


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Henry M. Brooks, of the Curators on the Historical De-
partment, read a circular which he had prepared, requesting
the friends of the Institute and others to collect any matter
that may serve to illustrate the cause, origin and progress
of the present war ; and, on his motion, it was voted that the
same be printed and distributed under the direction of the

A large collection of specimens in Natural History were
placed upon the table, the same having been recently received.
P. W. Putnam made a few remarks upon these specimens,
and stated that there were on the table 262 different species,
and over 400 specimens of animals, and that at least 200 of
these species were new to the Institute's collection, this
being a much larger number of species than it was often the
good fortune of any Society to obtaii^ at one time.

The collection received of Mr. E. D. Ropes, of Zanzibar,
is of great value to science, and will add much to the use-
fulness of the Institute's collection. There are several new
and undescribed genera and species of Pishes in this collec-
tion, and many that are very rare and interesting — ^in all, 54
species of Fishes^ 7 species of Birds, 4 species of Reptiles^
30 species of Mollusks, 83 species of OrustaceanSy and 39
species of Radiates, making 167 species of alcoholic speci-
mens. Many of the Radiates and Crustaceans are unde-
scribed. In addition to these there are three bottles con-
taining Insects in alcohol that have not yet been arranged, and
a large number of dried specimens of Corals and Sponges,
that will be reported upon at a future meeting. Be-
sides the specimens retained at the Institute, quite a large
number of duplicates have been sent to the Museum of
Comparative Zoology at Cambridge, in exchange for species
not in the possession of the Institute. Mr. Putnam desired
to take this opportunity of callijig the attention of members

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to the importance of collecting large numbers of every spe-
cies ; duplicates are in reality as valuable to the Institute
as unique specimens, for the purpose of exchange. On mo-
tion of Mr. Putnam the thanks of the Institute were unani-
mously voted to Mr. Ropes, for the valuable and interesting
collection of specimens of Natural History announced this
evening. Mr. Putnam, alluding to the other specimens on the
table, said that they consisted of a collection of 66 species
of Beptilesj Fishes^ Crustaceans, Mollusks and Radiates
from Hong Kong, China, presented by Capt. W. H. A. Put-
nam, nearly all of which are new to the Institute's collection
and some of them are undescribed. A collection of 9 spe-
cies of Holconotesj (viviparous fishes) from San Francisco,
and 18 species of Oyprinoids^ (Shiners, Ac.,) from Europe
and the western portion of America, have been received from
the Museum of Comparative Zoology, consisting of types or
original specimens of species described by Prof. Agassiz, Mr.
Agassiz, and himself; also, specimens of a Blennioid fish
from Cape Palmas, Africa, presented by Dr. George A.
Perkins, and a few of the fishes presented some time since
by Capt. Charles Millet, from the Arabian Oulf.

Mr. Putnam called upon the members to report any facts
which they might obtain relating to the army worm, as every
thing bearing upon the habits and history of this insect is
eagerly sought ^ter by entomologists, and stated that he had
learned from Mr. Packard, a student in the Museum of Com-
parative Zoology, who is engaged in prepaiing a paper upon
this subject, that no less than seven species fA parasites of
the worm had been discovered.

After a short discussion on the army worm and the canker
worm, in whidi several members participated, the meeting

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Monday^ December 2, 1861.

Meeting this evening, at Creamer Hall, A, Huntington,
President of the Society, in the chair. After calling the
meeting to order, he offered few remarks in which the
distinctive character of these meetings were alluded to,
and expressed the hope that they would be instrumental
in diffusing much general information respecting the
various subjects here presented. In alluding to the his-
torical labors of people of our county, he referred to a
work recently published, giving a genealogical and historical
account of the Eeed family, by a member of the Essex Bar,
living in Groveland, which contains a large amount of val-
uable information obtained by great labor and research.

The records of the preceding meeting were then read by
the Secretary, after which Mr. A. 0. Goodell, from a Com-
mittee appointed for the purpose, submitted a report, which
was accepted, respecting the regular evening meetings for
the present season. The first and third Monday evenings of
each month have been selected for the meetings, which will
commence at half past seven o'clock. Creamer Hall has
been designated as the place of meeting, and a general invi-
tation is extended to all ladies and gentlemen interested in
the objects of the Essex Institute, to attend. The order of
exercises at the meetings will be as follows : — Reading of the
records of. the preceding meeting and remarks upon the
same ; Reports of Committees ; Transaction of Business ;
Reading of Communications and Correspondence ; Announce-
ment of Donations ; Election of Members ; Adjournment.

Mr. F. W. Putnam continued his report from the last
meeting, on the collection made by Mr. E. D. Ropes, at
Zanzibar, He stated that the bottles on the table contained
about sixty species of insects, many of which are new. This
is the first collection of any number of alcoholic insects that

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has been presented to the Institute. Tliey have been named
so far as it was possible by Mr. Shurtleff, a student in
the Museum at Cambridge. He showed several species
of Star fishes, Sea Urchins and Corals from Mr. Ropes, and
a fine Cidaris from Wm. G, Webb, and announced a dona-
tion of 25 species of fossil and recent Echini from the 5Iu-
seum of Comparative Zoology at Cambridge. He alluded to
the difierent classes of Radiate animals, showing the differ-
ence between the several classes and orders, and made a few
remarks upon the formation of Coral reefs, <tc.

Letters were read fx-om Smithonian Institution ; State
Historical Society of Wisconsin ; W. 0. White ; J. K. Wig-
gin of Boston; Department of the Interior; Chs. Ward.
The letter from the last named person, gave an account of
several specimens of bark which were uniformly and smooth-
ly rounded by the action of water falling upon them in " pot
holes" formed in the rocks, at the base of Great Falls, in the
town of Hiram, Oxford County, Maine ; also some general ob-
servations concerning the beauty and sublimity of these falls
at the various seasons, and the pleasant journey for travel-
lers in that direction.

Donations received since the last evening meeting, were
announced as follows : —

To the Library — John C. Lee ; B. W. Stone ; Tenney &
Co., of Boston ; Secretary of State's Office ; Charles P. Wil-
liams ; Jacob Batchelder ; H. M. Brooks ; Allen W. Dodge ;
George C. Chase ; N. T. True of Bethel, Maine.

To the Cabinets— ¥r2iXicis M. Ricker ; H. K. Bryant ; H.
B. Story of Belleville, Bl. ; C. P. Williams ; Mrs. D. A.
White ; Museum of Comparative Zoology, at Cambridge ;
Henry 0. White.

Mr. F. W. Putnam stated that Mr. S. H. Scudder of the
Museum of Comparative Zoology, was engaged in preparing
a monograph of the Orthoptera of New England, and wished

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to procure specimens of Grasshoppers, Locusts, Crickets,
native Cockroaches, Earwigs, Ac, from diflFerent localities,
during the coming season ; and called upon the members
and others interested to collect specimens for Mr. Scudder,
stating that it was a very important investigation, and bear-
ing much upon the Agricultural interests of the County.

Mr. Putnam laid a prospectus of a work upon the order of
snakes by Prof. Jan, of Milan, before the meeting ; and after
stating the importance and the plan of the work he moved
that the Library Committee be reguested to consider the
expediency of subscribing for the same.

On motion of Mr. A. C. Goodell, it was voted that, when
the meetiixg adjourn, it be to meet at Creamer Hall, on Mon-
day evening, Dec. 16. The meeting then adjourned.

Monday^ December 16, 1861.

Meeting this evening. A. Huntington, President, in the

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Online LibraryLeeds Philosophical and Literary SocietyProceedings of the Leeds Philosophical and ..., Volume 7, Issues 3-4 → online text (page 9 of 23)