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Address to the Boston society of natural history online

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ADDRESS



BOSTON SOCIETY OF NATURAL HISTORY.



JOHN C. WARREN, M.D.



PBE8IDBNT OF THE SOOIETT.



BOSTON:
PBINTED BY JOHN WILSON & SON,

22, School Btbxvt.

1853.



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This Addbess was to have been delivered to the Society at its Anniversary
Meeting, on the first Wednesday in May, 1853 ; but, owing to the indisposi-
tion of the Author, could not be pronounced, and has therefore been published
for the \ise of the Society.



BOSTON MEDICAL LIBRARY

WTHE

FRANCIS A. COUNTWAY

UBRART OF MEDICINE



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ADDRESS.



In the earlier years of our Society, it was customary to
have an Annual Address. This was generally em-
ployed in giving some account of its origin, and in
noticing interesting occurrences in its recent history.
No discourse having been delivered i^ince June, 1850,
I propose to notice the proceedings from that time ;
and, as some of our present members have lately united
with the Society, I think it proper to call their atten-
tion to a few of the circumstances of its formation and
history. Within the last six or seven years, two very
interesting discourses have been delivered, one by Dr.
Gould, and the other by Dr. Storer, giving an account
of the formation and development of the study of
Natural History in this part of the country. These
valuable documents still remaining in manuscript, we
may with propriety make use of the facts they record.
I shall also take a view of the circumstances which



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preceded the birth of our Association, and prepared
the way for its growth and enlargement; closing
with some remarks on the improvements the Society
have it in their power to make.

Among the earliest efforts for the cultivation of
Natural History in this city are found some essays in
the Memoirs of the Academy of Arts and Sciences.
This Association was formed in 1780, in the midst of
revolution and war. Such an effort certainly does
great credit to the spirit and magnanimity of our
fathers, who, while their lives and property and politi-
cal existence were still in a doubtful state, summoned
resolution to begin the cultivation of the arts of peace
and scientific improvement. The first volume of their
Memoirs, published in 1785, contains a paper by Rev.
Dr. Cutler on indigenous plants, and one by Profes-
sor Williams on earthquakes. In those immediately
succeeding, we find an account of the interesting
geological deposit at Gay Head, which, if not highly
scientific, is quite amusing. The writers. Rev. Dr.
Samuel West, then of Dighton, and Dr. William Bay-
lies, of Taunton, made an excursion to Gay Head
together, and were the first to describe the picturesque
appearance formed by its different-colored clays, marls,
&c. They were of opinion that a volcano had existed
there, and even that its fires had been visible within



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the memory of man. They give a traditionary account,
derived from the Indian natives, of the ancient deity
which presided over the Island of Martha's Vineyard,
the Indian name of which is not given, and of his
passage to the lower regions, on the establishment of
Christianity among the natives, probably through the
volcano. There is, in the same volume, an account of
the discovery of very large bones near the Walkill, in
the vicinity of Newburgh : these bones were evidently
those of the Mastodon. They were mostly in such
a decayed state as not to be susceptible of very
accurate description ; but there is a good account of
some of the teeth, with such speculations, derived from
their character, as to lead the writers to the belief that
the animal to which they belonged was of a carnivor-
ous nature, — a mistake common to them and the
celebrated John Hunter.

In the third volume of the Academy's Memoirs,
published in 1809, is a valuable article on the geology
of the vicinity of Boston, by Monsieur Godon. The
author was compelled to leave Paris by domestic
trouble; and, coming to Boston with letters which pro-
claimed his merit as a mineralogist, he was immediate-
ly noticed, and a small class formed for a course of
geological and mineralogical lectures, by which he
hoped to gain the means of support. He made his



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6



lectures practical by carrying the class to such locali-
ties as presented interesting subjects, and thus inspired
a taste for the science, which many of them retained
through life. After residing two or three years in the
vicinity of Boston, he removed to Philadelphia, with
the hope of prosecuting and enlarging his labors ; but
soon fell into a morbid state, which, after preying on
him a long time, terminated fatally * The results of
his labors near Boston are embodied in the paper
alluded to, and will always continue a memorial of him
who planted in this city the seeds of mineralogical
science.

Though valuable papers were occasionally contribu-
ted to the Memoirs of the Academy, and though con-
siderable eflPbrts were employed to give interest to its
meetings, a long time was required to bring forward a
sufficient number of zealous individuals to impart
activity and steadiness to its operations. Within a
few years, however, the talents of its officers, and the
industry of its members, have elevated it to a very high
rank among similar institutions. Its volumes are
rich in scientific treasures of the best kind; its library
is large and valuable ; its meetings frequent and attrac-

* The death of the widow, Madame Godon, took place a few months
since, after a life marked with sorrow and misfortune, but brightened in its
last days by the unexpected bequest of a comfortable property. Some of
his descendants reside in Philadelphia.



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tive; and its efforts, in various directions, for the cul-"
tivation of science, most honorable and useful.

In 1801 a private society was formed for the study
of Natural Philosophy and Natural History. The
members of the original Association were Hon. John
Lowell, Hon. John Davis, President J. Q. Adams,
President Kirkland, President Quincy, Rev. Dr. Em-
erson, S. P. Gardner, Esq., Drs. James Jackson and
John C. Warren. The additional members were
Judge Jackson, Hon. Richard Sullivan, Hon. William
Sullivan, Hon. Francis C. Gray, Joseph Tilden, Esqs.,
and Dr. J. C. Howard. This Society procured philo-
sophical apparatus. It met weekly ; and each mem-
ber, with some exceptions, gave a lecture, usually on
Natural Philosophy, sometimes on Natural History,
and particularly Botany. It continued until 1807,
when the members, having been called to other pur-
suits, determined to give their apparatus partly to the
AthensBum, and partly to the Professor of Chemistry
in Cambridge University, Dr. Gorham.

In 1815 the Boston Linnsean Society was formed.
The principal gentlemen who moved in this Associa-
tion were Hon. John Davis; Professors Jacob Bigelow,
George Hay ward, John Ware, and Walter Channing ;
Wm. S. Shaw, Hon. F. C. Gray, Nathaniel Tucker,
Octavius Pickering, and B. A. Gould, Esqrs.; Dr.



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Enoch Hale. Under the auspices of these gentlemen,
all of whom had been distinguished by a love of natu-
ral science, a very valuable collection was made of ob-
jects of Natural History. This collection, serving as
a nucleus for the assemblage of numerous objects from
different countries, at length grew so large and expen-
sive that the members were obliged to relinquish it.
When it expired, its riches were distributed to Har-
vard University and the Boston Museum, and some of
them ultimately reached the shelves of our Society.
I cannot omit the expression of my gratitude for the
use of many valuable objects of science belonging to
this collection, which have presented themselves in the
course of my professional career.

These dawnings of science gradually became more
and more extended, and lighted the way to the for-
mation of our Society in 1830, at which period an
increasing taste for the study of Natural History led to
more enlarged views of its importance, and produced
a disposition to place it on a more permanent basis.
The gentlemen particularly distinguished in this labor
were Simon E. Greene, B. D. Greene, George B.
Emerson, Theophilus Parsons, Esqs.; Rev. Dr. Green-
wood; Drs. Binney, Channing, Hay ward, and Ware.
These, with others, united in the preliminary labors
for the formation of our Society, and had soon the



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pleasure to see the foundation of an institution
which promised permanence and usefulness. Among
these, Mr. Greene, Mr. Emerson, and Dr. Binney,
were Presidents of the Society. Mr. B. D. Greene,
Mr. Emerson, and Dr. Binney, were also distin-
guished among the contributors. The first meet-
ings were monthly; these were soon increased to
semi-monthly assemblies, and have continued on that
plan to the present time. The aid of public lectures
was called in to propagate among the public a desire
for studying the objects of the animal and the vegetar
ble creation, and for obtaining the means to assist in
the collection of these objects. They were at first
eminently successful,, but were ultimately interrupted
by the formation of a taste among the people for
courses of a more popular description. Previously
to this period, as early as the year 1810, 1 had occa-
sionally given lectures on some points of Anatomy to
small assemblies of ladies and gentlemen ; afterwards
to Societies, and finally to the Legislature. Drs. Gor-
ham and Bigelow also gave very successful lectures
on Chemistry and Botany.

My occupations, in its earlier periods, prevented me
from uniting in its labors, though I joined the Society,
and expressed my cordial sympathy with the first
founders ; promising, if ever opportunity should pre^



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sent, I would take an active part in advancing its
designs. I often visited the collection in order to ob-
tain information which could be procured in no other
quarter, and thus had opportunities of witnessing its
progressive usefulness, and of perceiving its import-
ance to the public. So that afterwards, when applied
to, I agreed to add my labors to those of the active
friends of the Society, in obtaining a better situation
for its collection, and more ample means for its en-
largement. ^

A path, however, had been already opened by the
untiring efforts of a number of our colleagues ; and
the works of Drs. Binney, Gould, Storer, Mr. Tesch-
macher, and others, had already shown the many
advantages to be obtained from the cultivation of
Natural History. The liberal spirit of our fellow-
citizens, once put in motion by the efforts of these and
other gentlemen, did not cease its action until the
great demands of the Society had been attained. The
result was the valuable and beautiful collection which
we see gathered around us; the excellent library*
which fills our shelves ; the solid and secure edifice,

* The Kepublican Institiitlon in this city, haying discontinued its meet-
ingSy proposed to deposit their library with that of the Society, on the con-
dition, that their members should have access to the united library. This
union has been happily accomplished, to the mutual advantage of the two
Societies ; and the whole number of yplumes, thus united, amounts to about
four thousand.



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previously consecrated to Science, * which contains
and accommodates all these objects. Besides the
above-named gentlemen who have contributed to
the formation and reputation of our Society, we may
mention among others the names of Courtis, Parker,
Dr. Boot, Col. Perkins, Hon. John Welles, Samuel
Appleton, Nathan Appleton, William Appleton, Jona-
than Phillips, Edward Phillips, Theodore Lyman.

Another class of gentlemen who have contributed
directly to the objects of the Society, — the enlarge-
ment of a knowledge of nature, and increase of our
collection, — especially demand notice : — Professor
Wyman ; Drs. Binney, Gould, C. T. Jackson, J. B* S.
Jackson, the Storers, Shurtleff, Cabot, Kneeland, Bur-
nett ; Messrs. Teschmacher, Ayres, Bouve, and Stimp-
son. I might mention many others ; but their names
will appear in the record which accompanies this
sketch.

While we admire the perseverance and the science
which animated our own members, we cannot omit to
mention the powerful impulse received from some of
our. auxiliary colleagues. At the head of these was

♦ The building now employed by the Boston Society of Natural History
was erected in 1816 for the medical lectures in Harvard XJniyersity. More
space being required for the accommodation of that Institution, a new edifice
was erected in another situation, and that we occupy was obtained for the
purposes of this Society.



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12



the illustrious Professor Agassiz, who, quitting the
country which honored him, came to us to investigate
new fields of research, to inspire us with a taste for
the sciences he had so successfully cultivated, and to
aid us in following where he led the way. The elo-
quent and distinguished geologist. Professor Eogers,
has bestowed great benefits on our Society by the vast
information he has so long and so often poured out.
To these we must add the names of the learned Desor,
Guyot, and Girard.

I shall now take some notice of the published pro-
ceedings of the Society since the last annual discourse.
This was delivered by Rev. Z. Thompson, and the
subject selected by him was the Geology of Vermont.



ABSTRACT OP PROCEEDINGS.

JXTNE 5, 1850.

Address by Rev. Zaddock Thompson, Vt.

Prof. Agassiz's Classification of some of the Acephalous MoUusca.

JUNB 19.

Mr. Girard. — On Genus Cottus.

Rev. Z. Thompson. — On Pike of V^rmoijit.

I. S. Davis's Letter to Dr. Durkee on Snow-worms.

Dr. Gould. — Shells of Exploring Expedition.



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Dr. Burnett. — Crystals of Phospliate of Magnesia and Ammonia

in Human Spleen.
Dr. Cabot. — Ibis Guarauna recent in New England.
Letter read from the President, announcing Donation of Casts of

Himalaya Fossils, from East India Company, through Hon.

Abbott Lawrence ; e. g. Elephant's Head, Mastodon, &c.

Vote of thanks to Society and Minister.

July 3.

Dr. Burnett. — On Naviculse and Dissemination of Algous Plants.

Dr. C. T. Jackson. — On Red Oxide of Zinc and Franklinite.

Donation. — Living Trionyx Ferox and Emys Insculpta, from Rev.
Z. Thompson. Polished Freestone from Acadia Quarry, at
Pictou, Nova Scotia, by Watson Freeman, Esq. Copper-ore
from Valparaiso, by J. M. Rowell, of Lynn.

Aua. 7.

President invited the Members ta visit his Museum in Chestnut-
street, and compare the two Mastodons.

M. Vattemare. — Society's Sharks accepted by Museum Natural
History, Paris. Minerals from Nantes. Catesby's Natural
History of South Carolina. Letter of Instructions.

Prof. Wyman. — Fossil Remains of Seals from the Miocene of
Virginia (only deposit with the exception of South Berwick,
Maine).

Dr. C. T. Jackson. — Specimens, showing Extent of Tertiary De-
posit, from Duxbury.

Dr. Hitchcock and Jackson on Pot-holes.

Dr. Burnett. — On the Distinct Formation of Types of Animals
derived from Parasites.

Dr. C. T. Jackson, at Franklin, N. J., in Labrador Felspar had
found Allanite, as in Swedish ores.

Committee to memorialize Congress for a Corps of Naturalists to
Mexican Boundary Commission.

Donations. — Rallus Crepitans and Tringoides Macularia from
Theodore Lyman, Esq. Skeletons of Cervus Virginianus
and Castor Fiber. A Texan Agama, by F. Vinton, of East-



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port, Maine. A large Bill-fish, from Pictou, by B. H. Nor-
ton. Coral from E. Wiggles worth, Esq. A St. Domingo
Terrapin by Mr. Couthouy.

Sept. 4.

Mr. H. R. Storer. — On the Fishes of Nova Scotia and Labrador.

Prof. Wyman. — On Embryology of Murre.

Memoir of Baron Delessert.

Dr. Durkee. — Fossil Cetacean Bones of Zeuglodon, from Wash-
ington County, Alabama. Ditto, Cure of Rattlesnake-bites.

Donations to Ornithological Cabinet. Also Birds from San Fran-
cisco, from James C. Leighton, Esq.

Got. 2.

Donations to Ornithological Cabinet, from various sources.

Mr. Stimpson. — Two New Species Philine.

Dr. Gould. — A Donation of American Algae, from M. Lesque-
reux. A Letter from Sir Charles Lyell on the Hippopota-
mus, received in England.

Dr. J. M. Warren's Case of Ixodes.

Dr. C. T. Jackson. Age of Sandstones in United States.

Got. 16.

Prof. Agassiz. — Age of Sandstones continued.

Dr. Jackson. — Ditto.

Mr. Wells. — Ditto. Connecticut.

Dr. Buckminster Brown. — Spheria Hobertsii.

Prof. Agassiz. — Rhacostoma Atlanticum.

Dr. Gould. — Shells of Exploring Expedition.

Mr. Girard. — Development of Planocera EUiptica.

Prof. Agassiz. — Resemblance of Medusae and Echinoderms.

Prof. Wyman. — Blind Animals from Mammoth Cave.

Mr. Desor. — On the Indian Mode of preserving Venison and
Pemmican without Salt.

Donations from Theodore Lyman. Schinz's Sandpiper and Scar-
let Tanager. $10 from G. H. Shaw. Skeleton of Cervus
Dama.



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15



Nov. 6.

Dr. Warren announced Forty-one Specimens of Casts, mostly of
Mammalia, from Hon. East India Company. Vote of thanks.

Mr. Charles Hoffman, of Salem. — Skull of a Hippopotamus,
from "West Africa.

Nov. 20.

Dr. Warren. — Additional Casts from East India Company. Cra-
nia of Quadrumana, Carnivora, Pachydermata, &c.

Prof. Agassiz. — Soft Parts of American Fresh- water MoUusks.

Dr. A. A. Gould, in behalf of J. G. Anthony. — Sixteen Species
of Melania.

Mr, Charles Girard. — Planarian Worms, &c.

Donation. — Dr. J. M. Warren, Brain Coral.

Dec. 4.

Dr. Warren. — Remaining Casts from East India Company, and
the following List of the entire Collection : —



Dinotherium Indioam



Elephas Insignis .
„ PlanifroDB
,, Nomadioufl



„ Cliftii . .
Mastodon Perimensis

» »»

,, Sivalensis



„ LatidenB .
Hippopotamus Palseindiciis
„ Siyalensis

** M

„ Palseindicus

Bhinoceros „

Sns Giganteus . . .

Eqans Nomadions . .

,, Siyalensis . .



SiTatherinm Giganteum



Mastodon Angnstidens



Part of liower Jaw .... Perim Island.

Vertebra „ ,>

Cranium Siyalik Hills.

Grinder „ „

„ Nerbudda.

First Vertebra Sivalik Hills.

Grinder Aya.

Cranium Perim Island.

Grinder of Lower Jaw ... „ „

Part of Cranium Siyalik Hills.

Grinders „ „

Grinder, &e „ „

Part of Lower Jaw .... Near Nerbudda.

Cranium Siyalik Hills.

Xiower Jaw „ „

Cranium „ „



XiOwer Jaw
Cranium .
Horn . .
Cranium .
Grinder .



Nerbudda.
Siyalik Hills.



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16



Mastodon Latddens


,






. Grinder .


.










. SiyaUk Hills,


„ Longirostrifl .






99


.










• 99


99








. Cnudam .


.










• 99


99


» >»






. Lower Jaw


.










• 99


99


» »»






. Homems .


*










• 99


99


Chaliootherium Sivalenae






, Part of Upper Jaw








• 99


99


i* 99






, Part of Lower Jaw








99 '


99


Hippohyus Siyalensis






Oranium . . .








• 99


99


Equus „






Part of Oraniom .








• 9»


99


»» >» •






Vertebra . . .








• 99


99


Hippotherium Antilopinum






Part of Lower Jaw








> 99


99


Sivatherium Giganteum .






Tarsal Bones . .








• 99


99


Oamelopardalis Affinip . .






Vertebra . . .








99


99


Oapra






Part of Oraniom •








• 99


99


Sivatherinin Giganteum .






. Vertebra . . .








• 99


99


>» »>






. Fragment of Jaw








• 99


99


» »>






„ „ Femur






• 99


99


99 »9 •






Anterior Extremities






• 99


99


Camelos Siyalensis . .






. Oranium ....






• 99


99


Oamelopardalis








. Humerus . . .








99


99


Bos








Oranium . . .








. Nerbudda.


»»








„ and Horns








99




Ursns Siyalensis .








99 ...








. Siyalik Hills.


»9 »» •








Femur ....








99


99


Emys Hamiltonoides



















99

• 99

99


99


» ....

CJolossoolielys Atlas ,


Humerus .


99
99


99 99








Epistemum . .








99


99


Leptorhynchas Giganteus .






Muzzle ....








99


99


„ Guigeticus






Part of Oranium








99


99


» 99






99 99








99


99


Crooodilus Biporoatns .






99 99








99


99


Oapra






99 99








'99


99


Fells Palseotigris .








Oranium ....








99


99


„ Cristata . .








99 • •












99


99


Oanis








99 • •












99


99


99








99 • •












99


99










99 • •












99


99


Ursus Siyalensis . .








Lower Jaw .












99


99


Enhydriodon Ferox .








Oranium . .












99


99


99 99 •








99 • •












99


99


99 99








99 • •












99


99


Maehidrodas Siyalensis . .






„ Fragment .








99


99


99 99 • •






99 99 •








99


99


Simla






Part of Lower Jaw .








99


99


Ayes (Family, Struthionids


) .




Fnigment of Tibia .








99


99


Pisces (I^mily, SUnridsB) .


1 3

Online LibraryJohn Collins WarrenAddress to the Boston society of natural history → online text (page 1 of 3)