Page images

scale, it may justly be considered as a standard barometer. The present volume of the Philosophical Transactions will contain the first register of the observations that have been made with this instrument.

Mr. Baily then enters into a description of the several corrections that are required for the various kinds of barometers, in order to make them comparable with one another; and treats of each of these in their order. First as to the correction for temperature, both of the

mercury and of the scale; next for capillarity; and afterwards for the height of the barometer above the level of the sea. A table is given for the first of these corrections ; and a convenient formula for the latter : the correction for capillarity is constant, and of very small magnitude.

The author next describes the mode in which the observations of the barometer have, from time to time, been recorded in the Meteorological Journal of this Society; and points out several inaccuracies which have occasionally been committed in this department, for want of an uniform plan of reduction. Now this state of confusion and uncertainty he remarks ought not to exist in a meteorological journal emanating from this Society, more especially as the true values are as easily attainable as the approximate ones. And although, in a general point of view, the minute differences caused by such errors may be unimportant, yet as appeals are frequently made to the barometer of this Society, as a standard, by persons engaged in important researches, the most scrupulous accuracy ought to be adopted and pursued, and the fullest explanation placed on record. And Mr. Baily says that notwithstanding the details which he has given may create some doubt respecting the accuracy of the past, yet he is persuaded that the system now pursued will inspire more confidence for the future. It is on this account that he has entered thus at large on the subject; trusting that what he has stated will not only tend to preserve for the future a more correct and uniform system, but also justify the Council in directing that the register should henceforth contain the daily observations uncorrected, and thus prevent the possibility of any

similar confusion and mistakes hereafter.

Mr. Baily then adverts to the height of the Society's barometer above the mean level of the sea ; a subject of much interest to many persons engaged in various pursuits, but which appears, from the notes attached, at different periods, to the meteorological journal of this Society, to be involved in some confusion and uncertainty. Thus, prior to the year 1823, the cistern of the barometer is said to be 81 feet above the level of low-water spring tides at Somerset House ; but without any information how this was connected with the sea. From 1823 to 1825, both inclusive, it is said to be 100 feet above the same level. And from 1826 to 1836, both inclusive, the above indication is omitted, and the height is said to be 83 feet 22 inches above a fixed mark on Waterloo Bridge ; or “ above the mean level of the sea (presumed about) 95 feet.” The discordance between the 81 feet and the 100 feet is easily accounted for by the fact that

[ocr errors]

the old barometer, prior to 1823, was fixed up in the Council-room of the Society, or the contiguous ante-room : but when Mr. Daniel's barometer was finished, at the end of the year 1822, it was fixed up in the closet adjoining the library, on the floor which is immediately over the Council-room; the assumed difference in the elevation of the two floors (namely, 19 feet) having since been ascertained to be correct.

With respect to the new reference of altitude, namely, the fixed mark at Waterloo Bridge, much doubt has frequently been expressed about its existence, since no person had been able to discover it. The fact is that there is no mark, in the common acceptation of the term ; but the intended reference is nevertheless more conspicuous, more durable, and more convenient than any mark that could have been inscribed by hands. This standard mark, or level, was fixed on by Mr. Bevan in the year 1827, at the request of the Council of this Society : and it is the surface of the granite pedestal at the base of the columns, at the north abutment of the bridge, and on the eastern side ; which is about 5 feet above the lowest platform, or landing, at the stairs. Nothing therefore was wanting but the difference of level between this mark and the one made by Capt. Lloyd at London Bridge, the height of which above the mean level of the sea had been determined by him. This has been recently done by Sir John Rennie, at the request also of the Council : and the result of the whole is, that the cistern of the barometer is 97 feet above the mean level of the sea.

The author concludes his paper with some remarks on the propriety of the position of the several meteorological instruments of the Society. With respect to the barometer, he says he is not aware that any objection can be offered ; and as to the hygrometer, the observations have been found, by recent trials, not to differ materially from some expressly made in another position, at King's College, which was considered to be more favourable for such experiments. It therefore only remains to speak of the external thermometer and of the rain-gauge; of which all that can be said on the subject would be merely a repetition of what was justly said sixty years ago by Mr. Cavendish on a similar occasion (Philosophical Transactions, 1776), namely, “ that, on the whole, the situation is not altogether such as could be wished, but is the best the house affords."

[ocr errors]

November 23, 1837. FRANCIS BAILY, Esq., V.P. and Treasurer, in the Chair. The following gentlemen were, by ballot, elected Auditors of the Treasurer's accounts, on the part of the Society, viz. John Frederick Daniell, Esq. ; Sir Philip Grey Egerton, Bart. ; Davies Gilbert, Esq.; and Stephen Peter Rigaud, Esq.

Frederick William Mullins, Esq., was halloted for, but not elected into the Society.



Magnetical Observations made in the West Indies, on thc Coasts


of Brazil and North America, in the years 1834, 1835, 1836 and 1837.” By Sir James Everard Home, Bart., Commander Royal Navy, F.R.S., the Observations reduced by the Rev. George Fisher, M.A., F.R.S.

The observations for the dip were made with an instrument of modern construction, by Dollond. Each observation consisted of an equal number of readings of the position of the needle, before and after the inversion of its poles, and a mean of all the readings taken for the true dip. Tables are subjoined, containing the dips observed at each place; the times of making a hundred vibrations of five horizontal needles, and the mean horizontal forces computed therefrom ; and likewise the results estimated in the direction of the dipping needle, compared with direct experiments made with the dipping needle itself.


A paper was also read in part, entitled “On Low Fogs and Stationary Clouds.” By William Kelly, M.D. Communicated by Capt. Beaufort, R.N., F.R.S.

November 30, 1837. At the Anniversary Meeting of the Royal Society, Francis Baily, Esq., Vice-President and Treasurer, in the Chair,

The Chairman read a letter from His Royal Highness the President, expressing his regret that he was unable to be present at the Meeting, in consequence of his continuing to suffer from his recent accident.

Mr. Davies Gilbert, as one of the Auditors of the Treasurer's accounts on the part of the Society, reported the balance in the Treasurer's hands at the present Audit was three hundred and thirtyseven pounds three shillings and eight pence.

The Thanks of the Society were voted to the Auditors for their trouble in auditing the Treasurer's Accounts.

The following Lists of the Fellows admitted, and of those deceased during the past year, were read:

Deceased : on the Home List.—His Majesty The King ; James Henry Arnold, Esq.; Count Barbiano Bolgioiso; the Rev. Joseph Batten ; Samuel D. Broughton, Esq. ; Henry Thomas Colebrooke, Esq.; Earl Cowper; John Davidson, Esq.; Alexander Duncan, Esq.; the Earl of Egremont; Cypriano Ribeiro Freire; Lord Glenlyon; Sir Thomas Hanmer, Bart. ; George Hibbert, Esq.; Joseph Jekyll, Esq., M.A.; John Johnstone, M.D.; John Latham, M.D. (Winchester); the Marquess Malaspina de Sannazaro ; Captain Z. Mudge, R.E.; the Rev. Robert Nixon, B.D.; Lewis Pinto de Souza Coutinho; the Rev. William Ritchie, LL.D.; the Rev. George Rowley, D.D.; Joseph Sabine, Esq. ; Count de Salis ; the Bishop of Salisbury; Sir John Soane, Knt. ; Dr. Tiarks ; Edward Turner, M.D.

On the Foreign List.-M. Adam Afzelius; M. Morichini.

Admitted : on the Home List. - William Ayrton, Esq.; Robert Bigsby, Esq.; Henry Boase, M.D.; John Burnet, Esq. ; Benjamin

Bond Cabbell, Esq.; James Carson, M.D.; William Tierney Clark, Esq.; George Edward Frere, Esq.; Thomas Graham, Esq., M.A.; Charles Holland, M.D.; William Hopkins, Esq., M.A.; Robert Hunter, Esq. ; James F. W. Johnston, Esq., M.A.; Richard Partridge, Esq. ; Joseph Ellison Portlock, Esq.; John Urpath Rastrick, Esq. ; John Forbes Royle, M.D.; Frederic C. Skey, Esq.; John F. Smith, Esq.; Samuel Solly, Esq.; the Rev. William Walton; J. R. Wellsted, Esq.; Richard Westmacott, Esq. ; William Archibald Armstrong White, Esq.; William Page Wood, Esq.

On the Foreign List.-M. Becquerel ; Prof. Ehrenberg; Admiral von Krusenstern; Chevalier Mirbel.

The following Address of His Royal Highness the President to the present Meeting, was read from the Chair by the Chairman.

GENTLEMEN, When I last had the honour of addressing you from this Chair, I ventured to express a hope that the happy restoration of my sight, and the continued possession of health, would have enabled me to discharge, with becoming regularity, the duties of President of this Society during those portions of the year in which I am generally resident in London: the fulfilment, however, of that hope was unhappily frustrated by a long and dangerous illness, which confined me for several months to my apartments and from the effects of which I have hardly yet entirely recovered. I trust, Gentlemen, you will pardon me if I look forward with brighter hopes to the prospects of another year; and if I hesitate to regard the unhappy experience of that which is past as a premonition of the fate which awaits me in those which are to come; if such were my assurance or reasonable fear, I should acquiesce in the duty and propriety of at once retiring from this Chair and of no longer soliciting the renewal of an honour which I have enjoyed for so many years; but if it should be the pleasure of that good Providence, whose chastisements and whose mercies I have so often before experienced, to disable me from presiding over this Society in such a manner as might be considered necessary for the protection and maintenance of its just interests and dignity, I should bow with humble resignation to the expression of His will, and resign into other hands the discharge of those duties for which I should feel myself no longer qualified.

Since the last Annual Session of this Society we have lost, Gentlemen, a most munificent patron and benefactor, by the demise of our late most gracious Sovereign, King William the Fourth, of whom it is difficult for me to speak in terms which do justice to my feelings. He was, indeed, not less distinguished by the exalted station which he filled, than by the warmth and sincerity of his affections as a husband, a brother, and a friend; by the undisguised frankness and truth of his character as a man; and as a monarch, by his patriotic zeal to increase the efficiency and secure the permanence of the great institutions of his country and to extend to all classes of his subjects the blessings of peace and knowledge and the protection

[ocr errors]

of just and equal laws. I would gladly enlarge, if the time or the occasion would permit me to do so, upon these and many other virtues in the character of one who was so closely connected with me by the ties of relationship and of duty; but I am quite sure that I should fail in the expression both of your sentiments and my own, if I did not acknowledge, in becoming terms of respect and gratitude, the especial patronage and protection which he extended to the Royal Society, by the renewed grant of the two Annual Medals which had been instituted by his royal brother and predecessor, and by the enactment of such statutes for their distribution as appeared to him best calculated to stimulate the exertions of philosophers, and to associate for ever the results of their labours with the publication of the Transactions of the Royal Society.

The Council availed themselves of the earliest opportunity which the resumption of their meetings allowed, to present, in the name of the Fellows of the Royal Society, the homage of their loyalty and devotion to the person and throne of the illustrious Princess who now wields the sceptre of this great empire; and they ventured at the same time to express a hope that Her Majesty would be graciously pleased, in conformity with the practice of her predecessors, to sign her royal name in our Register as Patroness of our Society, and that she would likewise continue to us the annual grant of the two Medals which had been made by King George the Fourth and King William the Fourth.

This Address has been presented to Her Majesty, who has been graciously pleased to signify to me, through the Secretary of State, that she is most sensible of the loyalty and attachment expressed in it, and that she cordially joins in the wish of the Royal Society that her reign may be distinguished by the triumphs of the arts of peace and by the general diffusion and advancement of religion and knowledge amongst all classes of her subjects. Her Majesty was further graciously pleased to intimate that she would have great satisfaction in becoming the Patroness of the Royal Society, and that she would annually place at their disposal two Gold Medals, and would continue to extend to them the same protection and patronage which they had received from her royal predecessors.

I feel proud, Gentlemen, in being able to communicate to you these gracious assurances of support and protection from our Patroness and Queen, which are well calculated to confirm, though they cannot increase, the loyal and devoted attachment which we feel to her person ; and I trust that I shall be able, at no distant period, to announce to you that Her Majesty has signed her royal name in our Register as Patroness of the Royal Society.

I now proceed to notice some of the more important events connected with the administration of the Royal Society during the last year.

One of the Royal Medals has been adjudged to Mr. Whewell for his very valuable series of researches on the tides, which have been published in our Transactions, chiefly during the last three years. I must refer you, Gentlemen, for a statement of the grounds upon

« PreviousContinue »