John Almon.

The American journal of science and arts online

. (page 67 of 102)
Online LibraryJohn AlmonThe American journal of science and arts → online text (page 67 of 102)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


and along which merchants conveyed the luxuries of Europe, and returned
with the tea and silk of China. There were, indeed, detailed notices of
the route in question, not only in the itineraries of P^oletti, but in the
maps which were constructed from memoranda furnished by travellers
between the 13th and 16th centuries. One of these was called the Cat-
alan Map ; another was a map preserved in the Palatine Library at Flor-
ence ; another was the Borgian Map, and the most famous of all was the
Venetian map of Saint Mauro ; and in none of these was the Aral noticed.
The travellers came in the first instance from the Volga to Saradiak, on
the eastern shore of the Caspian ; and from thence they passed to Otrar,
on the Jaxartes, the route lying across the bed of the Aral, which, never-
theless, in no single instance was either mentioned in the itineraries or
laid down in the maps. On these negative grounds alone he shotdd con-
sider it quite certain that at that time the Aral did not exist; but we
had fcurtunately positive evidence to confirm that conclusion.
Probably some of those present had heard of a veiy famous man called



Digitized by



Google



HHsceltaneous InUUigence, 185

Yar Mahomed Khan, who was chief of Herat during the period of the
A%haQ war about twenty-five years ago. This person had sent to him
(the Chairman) during the war, as a token of friendship, a Persian
manuscript, which seemed to be of very great value on account of its
rarity. Tt was a work written by an officer of the &mous ruler of Herat^
Shah Rukh Sultan, and contained, amongst other matters, a geographical
account of the province of Ehorassan alK>ut the year 1418. l^e writer
seemed to have been a minister of the country, and evidently knew every
village and stream in the province. He (the Chairman) had made three
extracts from the manuscript, which he considered to be of the utmost
importance, as they recorded a physical phenomenon, namely, the desio-
cation of the Aral, which he believed had never up to the present time
been brought to the notice of the geographers of Europe, although, as
before stated, the great Humboldt had devoted no fewer than 200 pagBs
of his standard work to the discussion of this subject. In describing the
lakes of Asia the writer came in regular order to the Aral, which was
called the Lake of Eharesm, and he said, '*In all the ancient books the
Lake of Eharesm is described as the receptacle of the waters of the Oxus,
but at the present date, which is a. h. 820 (▲. d. 1417), the lake no lon-
ger exists, the Jyhiin (or Oxus) having made a way for itself to the Cas-
pian, into which it disembogues at a spot called Earlawn, as will be des-
cribed hereafter in its proper place." Again, in describing the rivers of
Ana, he said, ^ It is reconied in all the ancient books that from this point
the River Jyhiin (or Oxus) flows on and disembogues into the sea of
Kharesm ; but at the present day this sea no longer exists, the river hav-
ing made for itself a new channel, which conducts its waters into the
Caspian. The point of embouchure is named indifferently Earlawn and
Akricbeh. From Eharesm to Uie point where the river falls into the Cas-
pian the greater part of the country is desert"

So much for the Oxus. With regard to the Jaxartes, this writer ex-
plained another point which was of some importance ; for, although the
Oxus miffht have been diverted into the Caspian, still, if the other river
entered die Aral, it would still remain a sea. But it was stated as follows :
— ^ The river of Ehojend in the lower part of its course, passing into the
desert of Eharesm, joins the Jyhiin (or Oxus), and thus ultimately reaches
the Caspian." From which passage he (the Chairman) understood that
at that time, ▲. d. 1417, the Jaxartes below Otrar branched off from its
present bed to the left hand along a line now marked by reeds and
lagoons (see Meyendorfs map), and joined the Oxus between Eungrad
and Ehiva, the two rivers from that point flowing on to the Caspian in
one and the same bed. This statement was of the more importance as
it came from a writer thoroughly acquainted with the country. In addic-
tion to this, there was the testimony of the great Emperor Baber, who of
course knew the geography of his own country, and who said that the
Jaxartes in his time did not enter the Aral, but was lost in the desert
His (the Chairman^s) belief was that it sometimes reached the Oxus, and
was sometimes evaporated in the desert

Such is the history of the Oxus and Jaxartes up to about the year 1500.
From that time a second change began to take place. The rivers went
iJien found to be going back into the Aral, It might not be generally
known that Mr. Anthony Jenkinson, the agent of some English nMrohants,



Digitized by



Google



186 Miscellaneous Intelligence.

pMBed aeroBB Central Asia to Bokhara as early as 1550. He landed on
the shore of the Caspian at Mtng-kishlag, and came down the coast to a
point where, as he heard, the Oxus had formerly disembogaed into the
■ea ; but he was told that the rirer had lately changed its course and
gone back into the Sea of Aral. The ruler of the country, Abul-Ofaari
Khan, who had left a most elaborate history of it, gave distinct details of
this occurrence, and mentioned the very year in which the rirer began to
return into the Aral. He related how the stream gradually dried up, and
formed the sea as it at present exists. Evidence indeed could be given
of the oondition of the stream, almost year by year, from that time to the
present ; but it would be sufficient to state that every modem traveller
who had passed through those regions had found the old bed of the River
Oxus exactly where it was originally described. It was first brought to
our notice by Mouravieff, a Russian agent, who passed from the Balkan
bay to Khiva in 1819. Subsequently Arthur Conolly, who was afterwards
murdered at Bokhara, attempted to cross from Astrachan to Khiva, and
he also came upon the old bed ; and lastly Mr. Vamb6ry, whom the
Fellows might remember seeing at a meeting of the Society two years
ago, in his famous journey across the Turkoman desert, traced the same
broad river-bed, and found that it was perfectly well known as the ancient
bed of the Oxus. Hence it seemed that there was sufficient evidence to
show that in early times, say from the year 500 before the Christian era
to the year 600 after the Christian era, both the rivers ran into the Cas-
pian, the Aral being non-existent ; that after that, up to the year 1300,
they fell into the Aral ; that for the next two hundred years — ^namely,
from 1300 to 1500 — ^they came back into the Caspian ; and that then, at
a fourth stage, they gradually flowed back into the Aral, and formed the
sea as we now know it

The changes thus noticed were very important in reference to what
might be the future history of these rivers and these countries. It was
ouite certain that, as the Jaxartes was now in the possession of Russia, so
tne Oxus must also naturally and necessarily be, m the course of time.
Now he would read what was stated by Russian writers as the probable
result of that event The Russians almost always called these rivers by
the names of the Amu Daria and the Syr Daria, instead of the Oxus
and the Jaxartes ; but he would, in reading the extract, use the latter
names as being better known : —

*The Oxus is, for many reasons, of great importance to Russia than even
the Jaxartes. It disembogued at one period into the Caspian, and its bed
to that sea still remains. Some are of opinion that the course of the river
can be again directed to its ancient bed, while others consider it impossi-
ble to do so. It can, however, be positively asserted that the existing
information on this point is very superficial and inaccurate, and the ques-
tion will never be satisfactorily settled until a scientific expedition be sent
2 the Qovemment to investigate it in all its bearings. The southeastern
[>res of the Sea of Aral are well adapted for uniting the Jaxartes with
the Oxus, and encourage the hope that the united mass of water of two
saoh great streams may force their way through the old bed to the Caa*
pian. The importance of this connexion will readily be understood, when
It is remembered that a water-route in continuation of the Volga will be
tkui created, which will extend for 8000 versts into the interior of Asta,



Digitized by



Google



Miscellantous BibKogruphy. 1ST

and ibat the extreme points of this aDintemipted water-way will be St
Petersburg and the northern slopes of the Hindoo Eoosb."

This was a result which he (' je Chairman) considered highly probable,
and he believed that many present at the meeting would live to see a direct
water-communication from the Baltic to the vicinity of the Indian Gau*
casus, which was considered the natural geographical boundary of India.
They must remember that already there was a direct water-communica*
tion from the Neva, by means of canals, to Lake Ladoga, and thence to
the upper course of the Volga, and down that river to the Caspian. Then,
crossing the Caspian, vessels could reach the mouth of the bed of the
Ozus. He looked upon that prospect without any apprehension or dis-
may, regarding it as the natural extension of civilization, and believing
that it would be for the general advantage of mankind.

3. Professor KekuU, — It is with much satisfaction that we see it an-
nounced that Professor Aug. Eekul^ of Ghent has been offered the di-
rectorship of the magnificent laboratory now nearly completed at Bonn.
No chemist of his years has done as much, either theoretically or prac-
tically, for the establishment of the present views in organic chemistry.
The law of saturation, which, as Wanklyn says, is to chemistry what the
law of gravitation is to astronomy, we owe to Eekul6. It is therefore a
most just recognition of his ability and service to tender to him the di-
rectorship of the Bonn laboratory.

3. American Association for the Advancement of Science, — ^The next
session of the American Association will be held at Burlington, Vermont,
and commence on the 2l8t of August next. Prof. J. 8. Newberry la
President for the year, and Dr. Wolcott Gibbs, Vice President.

OBITUART.

Thxophils Julbs Pelouzi, died on Friday last, the 3 1st of May, at
his country house at Bellevue, close to S6vres. Bom the 13th of Febru-
ary, 1807, at Valognes (D^partement de la Manche), he inherited his love
for science and arts from his father, Edmond Pelouze, a man of great
practidal talents, formerly employed in the manufactory of Gobelins, and
afterwards director of the gasworks of the Manby and Wilson Company
at Paris. Pelouze the elder is known as the author of a fi^reat number of
treatises on various branches of applied chemistry — on ^ass-makinff, on
brick-making, on colors and varoish-making, on washing and bleaoiinff
for housewives, etc His treatise on the last-named subjects was published
under the name of his wife. His chief work, ' On the Manufacture of Gas,'
was revised by his son, and came out in a second edition as late as 1859.

Toung Pelouze entered life as a pharmaceutical chemist; but he was
only twenty years old when Gay-Lussac made him his assistant, and pub-
lished some of his researches conjointly with him. Three years later, in
1830, he became professor of chemistry at Lille. Here he examined the
juice of beetroot, and, in conjunction with Euhlmann, published a paper
on its fermentation. From 1831 until 1847 he took tne place of Gay-
Lussac as Professor of Chemistry at the £cole Polytechnique, and at about
the same time (1831) he was elected to supply the place of Th6nard as
professor at the College de France. Shortly after these elections Pelouae
managed to go to Giessen, and to publish joint researches with Liebig on
the e^er contained in wine, to which they gave the name of csnanthio

Am. Joub. Sol— Sboord Sbbiks, Vol. XLIV, No. Ida— Jxtlt, 1867.
18



Digitized by



Google



138 MiscellaneotLs Intelligence.

ether, bat which was afterwards proved by Delffs to be identical with pel-
argonic ether. In 1833 Peloaze became Assayer, and in 1846 Controller
(V^rificateur^ of the Mint He was elected a member of the Academic
oes Sciences in 1837. Of republican views, and much interested in poli*
tics, he became prominent through the revolution of 1848. The provi-
sional government elected him to a place which until then belonged to
the nobility or to the chief dignitaries of the state, that of President to
the Board of the Mint (Pr6sident de la Commission des Monnaies). This
position he held until his death. He became successively knight, officer,
and commander of the Legion of Honor. His private laboratory for pupils
in the Rue Dauphine elosed when he opened a laboratory in the mint

The number of papers published by Pelouze is very great We can
only mention here the most prominent of his researches. Among these
none will be better remembered than the investigation recorded in his
paper on the transformation of hydrocyanic acid into ammonia and for-
mic acid. This paper was published in 1834, but the importance of
his discovery became evident at a much later period, when hydrocyanic
acid was first produced from carbon and nitrogen. Then it was that the
transformation which Pelouze had effected by treating hydrocyanic with
a strong solution of hydrochloric acid attained its remarkable poeition as
the first instance of the synthesis of an organic body from its elements.
At the time of the discovery its real importance could not be appreciated,
but even then the relation of formic to hydrocyanic acid was of much
interest Next in importance to this memorable paper are several papers
on the products of the dry distillation of lactic, malic, and tartaric acids.
Pelouze discovered lactic anhydrid and lactid. Maleic and pyrotartaric
as well as pyrogallic acid, if not actually discovered were, at least, chiefly
studied by him. The salts of lactic acid were likewise examined by
Pelouze, and described in several papers, one of which he published con-
jointly with Gay-Lussac.

A memoir on mustard oil was published by Dumas and Pelouze;
another on asparamid (asparagine) and asparamic acid by Pelouze and
Bourton, and a joint research on curarine was published by Pelouze and
Claude Bernard. In mineral chemistry nitrosulphuric acid constitutes
his chief discovery. In applied science numerous contributions, particu-
larly on fulminates and the manufacture of percussion-caps, and aoove all
on glass, were published by him at various intervals. Pelouze had an
interest in large glass worlds at St Gobin, and his last communication
made to the Academy, some months ago, treated on the subjeot of this
manufacture. A treatise on chemistry in five volumes by Pelouze and
Fremy has seen three editions, the last of which was published in 1866.
All these publications, if they do not place him among the very fint
French savants, will preserve his name permanently in the history of sci-
ence. His great kindness of heart, and sincere and active interest for his
pupils, will not easily be forgotten. There are and have been witnesses to
these genial qualities in England. Professor Crace Calvert and the late
Mr. Stoikowitch were assistants to Mr. Pelouze. During the last year
important researches on aniline colors were carried on in his laboratory by
MM. Girard, de Laire, and Chapoteaut — The Laboratory, i, 182, June 8,
1867.



Digitized by



Google



Miscellaneous Bibliography. 130

EzEKiAL Hatsb. — Hr. Ezektel Hayes, whose name has appeared on
the title page of this Journal as its printer, died suddenly on the 12th
of May last In all reli^ons in life Mr. Hayes was a man of strict
christian integrity; and throughout his connection with this Joumali he
labored earnestly for the interests of both authors and publishers.

VI. MISCELLANEOUS BIBLIOGRAPHY.

1. Lippincotfs Vapor Index^ or Psyekromeirie Calculator, — ^The Vapor
Index is a mechanical contrivance by Jas. 8. Lippinoott, Haddonfield,
N. J., for finding, by inspection, the relative humidity of the air, from the
readings of the wet and dry bulb thermometers.

Id a circular card, near its margin, are twenty equidistant openings,
through which may be seen on a larger card over which it turns a series
of numbers (from to 100), representing fo#l*5u/6 readings. Radially
inward from these openings are corresponding ones, arranged spirally,
and numbered from to 25. These numbers are differenee^of wet-bulb
and dry-bulb readings. The relative humidity is read off through the
opening whose num^r is this difference in a given case, when the card
is so turned that the wet>bulb reading is seen in the corresponding mar-
ginal opening.

The instrument is simple, an^ many may prefer it to a table of double
entry, for obtaining the same results ; although in our view such a table,
printed on a smaller card than this, would be equally convenient, and
more durable. But knowing of no such table on a card, we can recom-
mend the " Vapor Index " as more easy of use than the large tables, such
as Guyot's, and as sufficiently accurate for ordinary purposes. The wide
distribution of the Vapor Index would tend to increase much the interest
in making hygrometnc observations.

Mr. Lippincott is deserving of much credit for his efforts to extend an
interest in Hygrometry, both by this invention, and by an interesting pa-
per in the Report of the Commissioner of Agriculture for 1865, in which
he discusses the relations of atmospheric humidity to varimg important
phenomena in Meteorology and Agriculture. ^

2. General Probkme of Shades and Shadows, formed both by parallel
and radial rays, and shown both in common and in isomstrical prajeetum^
together with the theory of Shading ; by S. ^Edward Warrbk, C.E.,
Prof. Descript. Geom., etc., Rensselaer Polytech. Inst, Troy, N. Y., author
of "Elementary Plane Problems ;** *< Draining Instruments," etc.; ''Ele-
mentary Projection Drawing ;" " Elementary Linear Perspective ;" and
" Descriptive Geometry." 1 40 pp. 8vo, with 15 plates. New York, 1867.
(John Wiley h Son). — In our last volume we briefly noticed Professor
Warren's excellent ** Plane Problems in Elementair Geometry," a work
bearing on the science of drawing. In the work before us, the author
treats with fulness and perspicuity, the subject of shades and shadows.
The treatises of Prof. Warren are all well adapted for instruction in the
the Engineering and other Scientific Schools of the land.

3. The American Naturalist^ Nos. 3 and 4. Salem, Mass. — This new
and valuable magazine fully sustains the character predicted for it, and
realised in its first number. Its leading articles are of a popular charao-
ter and such as to be read with interest, and understood by all classes,
while its scientific miscellany, and correspondence, reports of the meet-



Digitized by



Google



140 Miscellaneous Bibliography,

iags of ScientiftG Sodeties, eta, make it indispensable to every natonfiiL
Its illnstrations are of a character rarely equalled in similar works.

No. 9, contains, Some Errors Regarding th^|Qabits of Our Birds, bj
T. M. Brewer, M.D. ; the Food of the Sea Urchin, J. W. Dawson, LL.D. ;
the Royal Families of Plants, C. M. Tracy ; the Moss Animals, or Freah
Water Polyzoa, A. Hyatt ; the Tarantula Killers of Texas, G. linoecom;
the Birds of Spring, jf. A. Allen ; the American Silkworm, L. Tronyeloi;
the Land Snaib of New England, £. S. Morse ; Reviews, Nataral History
Miscellany, etc.

No. 4, oonUins, The Recent Bird Tracks of the Basin of MioM, C. F.
Hartt; the Habits of the Gorilla, W. Winwood Reade; the Moes An-
imals or Fresh Water Polyzoa, concluded ; the Land Snuls of New Eng-
land, continued ; Parasitic Plants, G. D. Phippen ; Oyster Cultare, F.
W. Fellowes; the Scorpion of Texas, G. Lincecum, MJ).; A note from
the far North (Russian America), J. T. Rothcock; etc

4. TabUs^^ Qualitative Uhemieal Analysis; Professor Hbhhoch
Will of Giessen, Germany. Seventh edition, translated by Charles F.
Himes, Ph.D., Professor of Natural Science, Dickinson College, Carlisle^
Pa. Philadelphia, Henry C. Baird, 1867.— Professor WiU's analyiical
tables have, in the eariier editions, become familiar to American stodeats
through Faber's translation. They fumj|h, undoubtedly, the most com-
pact classification of reactions yet published. Dr. Himes's translation be-
ing from the seventh German ediUon, is considerably improved. He pro-
poses it as a suitable text book for laboratory instruction in those eoUeges
who are assigning to Natural Science a more prominent place in tMr
courses of study. The book is convenient in size (octavo), and is pub*
lished in good style.

5. The Ameriean Annual Cyclopedia and Register <tf Importaai
Events of ihe year 1866, embracing Politidal, Civil, Military and Social
a&irs. Public Documents, Biography, Statistics, Commerce, Finance,
Literature, Science, Affriculture, and Mechanical Industry, Volume VI,
1796 pp., laiige 8vo. Now York, 1867. (D. Appleton is Co.^ — Appieton'a
Annual Cy^pedia is a very important contribution toward the political^
civil and geographical history of this and other oountries, and also is foil
of valuable articles in the various other departments which it aim to
have represented. The volume for 1866 has a portrait of the King of
Prussia as its fronUspiece, and beyond, others of Bismarck and Gbrib^dL

6. Eatcn^s AriOumiic muMthe DeeinuU System.— Pi%A H. A. Nkw-
DON, who has been among the foremost in labors to secure the introdmh
tion of the decimal system into the United States, has prepared an adnun-
ble chapter on the subject, as an addition to a new edition of Eaton^
Arithmetic It occupies pages 337 to 348 of the arithmetic, and eon-
siats of tables, explanations, and examples, all of which are well adaj^ted
to introduce the subject to the student and make him practically iwniliar
with it In view of the recent act of Congress with regard to the deei*
mal ^stem, this department of arithmetic ought at once to make a part
of all the text-bookB used in the schools of the country.

7. JSiiero^hemistry of Poisons^ indudisLg iheir physiologicedy paikcie^
ical and l^al relations: adapted to the use of the medical jaruty^yaeiaa,
jtnd general chemist ; by Thjbo. G. Wobmlbt, MJD^ ProCiMor of Gbem-



Digitized by



Google



Miscellaneous Bihliography. 141

ktiT and ToxicoIcm;; in Starling Medical College, and of Natnral Sciences
in Capital Unfvenity, Columbus, O. xxxi, and 668 pp., 8vo, with 18 steel
plates. New York, 1867. (Balliere Brothers^ — Dr. Wormley has taken <
up the subject of poisons after a method wholly his own and has prepared^
a work of me highest merit, and practical utility. This volume treats first^
of the effects of poisons and the causes modifying them, the sources of evi-
dence in cases of poisoning, and the methods of chemical analysis; and
then proceeds to Uie special consideration of individual poisons, first the
inorganic and then the organic. The new feature in his treatment of the
subject consists in the use of the microscope for the study of the crys-
tallizations resulting from the action of vanous reagents on the several
poisons. The fiicts given are all from his own minutely careful experiments,
and the results are exhibited with great perfection and delicacy on a se-
ries of plates from steel containing seventy-eight illustrations. The en-
graviDgs are from the pencil and graver of Mrs. Wormley, and the artist,
althou^ but a novice in the latter art, has evinced that in such work
she has no superior. We know not which to admire most, the masterly
manner in which Dr. Wormley has treated his subject, the science of
poisons, or the extreme beauty of the plates which supplement the text.
The real practical value of the work the writer has already tested in
connection with a case of poison by strychnine which he has now on
hand. The Messrs. Balii^re have issued the work in elegant style well
comporting with its scientific merits. g. r. b.

8. Chemistry of the Farm and the Sea^ teith other fatnUiar Chemi-
col JEseaye ; by Jab. R. Nichols, M J). Boston, A. Williams ^ Co.,
1867, 128 pp. — ^This volume includes nine chapters on the chemistry of
the farm, the sea, a bowl of milk, the dwelling, a kernel of com, obscure
sources of disease, local decomposition in lead aqueduct pipes, bread-
making, and the sun. It is an interesting book and will serve a useful
purpose in popularizing science, though it is marred somewhat by infla-
tion of style and errors of treatment



Online LibraryJohn AlmonThe American journal of science and arts → online text (page 67 of 102)