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which this decision has been founded to the more detailed reports of the Council, which will be read to you by your Secretary Dr. Roget; but I gladly avail myself of this opportunity of expressing my respect for the great talents and varied attainments of the distinguished philosopher upon whom this mark of honour has been conferred. If I regard him as occupied with the highest and most important practical duties connected with our system of academical education, and in providing and arranging the materials by which it is conducted, or the principles upon which it should be based, he will be found in the foremost rank of those whose labours do not deserve the less honour because they commonly absorb the entire time and attention of those who are engaged in them, and thus close up the avenue to those distinctions which are almost exclusively confined to great discoveries in science, or to important productions in literature. When I read his essays on the architecture of the middle ages, on subjects of general literature, or on moral and metaphysical philo sophy, exhibiting powers of mind so various in their application and so refined and cultivated in their character, I feel inclined to forget the profound historian of science in the accomplished man of letters, or the learned amateur of art; but it is in his last and highest vocation, whilst tracing the causes which have advanced or checked the progress of the inductive sciences from the first dawn of philosophy in Greece to their mature development in the nineteenth century, or in pointing out the marks of design of an all-wise and allpowerful Providence in the greatest of those works and operations of nature which our senses or our knowledge can comprehend or explain, that I recognise the productions of one of those superior minds which are accustomed to exercise a powerful and lasting influence upon the intellectual character and speculations of the age in which they flourish.
It is now three years since the Royal Medal was adjudged to Mr. Lubbock for his Researches on the Tides; and the Council have availed themselves of the first opportunity which was presented by the recurrence of the cycle of the subjects, which are successively entitled to the Royal Medals, to make a similar award to his colleague and fellow-labourer in this very interesting and important series of investigations. It is not for me to attempt to balance the relative claims and merits, in connection with this subject, of these two very eminent philosophers; it is quite sufficient to remark that the first who ventured to approach this difficult and long-neglected inquiry was the first also who was selected for honour: but I have long noticed with equal pride and satisfaction the perfect harmony with which they have carried on their co-ordinate labours, apparently indifferent to every object but the attainment of truth, and altogether superior to those jealousies which too frequently present themselves amongst rival and cotemporaneous labourers in the same departments of science.
I regret to observe that the second Royal Medal for the present year has not been awarded, and that it has consequently lapsed to the Executors of his late Majesty. It was proposed that it should be
given to the best Memoir presented to the Royal Society between the years 1834 and 1837, containing "Contributions towards a System of Geological Chronology, founded upon an examination of Fossil Remains and their attendant Phænomena;" a subject of the greatest interest, and also of the greatest delicacy, from its connexion with those agitating topics which the speculations of philosophers are compelled to approach, though they may not always venture to decide. I should have rejoiced to have seen in the Transactions of the Royal Society a record of the opinions of a Buckland or a Sedgwick upon a theme which is so worthy of the application of their highest powers; and I trust that, though its announcement as a Prize Question has failed to secure, within the prescribed period, the accomplishment of the object proposed by it, it will still have done some service to the cause of science by exciting the attention of geologists in such a manner as may sooner or later lead to a definite and philosophical exposition of their views on a subject of so much importance.
Those who have attended to the Tidal researches of Mr. Whewell must be aware how much light has been thrown upon the character and course of the phænomena of the tides by the simultaneous observations, under his instructions, which were made in the month of June, 1834 and 1835, at nearly five hundred stations of the Coast Guard Service in Great Britain and Ireland, and simultaneously with the latter also at more than one hundred stations in America, Spain, Portugal, France, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, and Norway. These observations were undertaken by the authority or through the influence of the Government of this country, which likewise most promptly and liberally furnished the requisite funds and assistance for reducing the observations in such a manner as was requisite for deducing general conclusions from them, a labour much too extensive and costly to be undertaken by any single individual. I gladly seize this opportunity of bearing testimony, occupying as I do the highest scientific station in this country, to the readiness which the Lords of the Treasury and the Admiralty have shown on this and on every other occasion to forward scientific inquiries, and particularly such as are connected with the advancement of astronomy and navigation. They have granted funds for reducing and publishing the Planetary Observations at Greenwich, the valuable and extensive series of observations of the late Mr. Groombridge, for repeating upon an adequate scale the very important experiments of Mr. Cavendish, and for many other subjects of great scientific interest and value; and I feel satisfied that every application for assistance towards the accomplishment of any important object in science, will receive from them the most willing attention and support, if it comes before them with the recommendation and authority of those persons who are most competent to judge of its usefulness or necessity, and in such a form as may justify them in appealing to Parliament for its sanction of the requisite expenditure. I rejoice, Gentlemen, in such manifestations of the sympathy of the Government of this great
country for the progress of science, and I trust that its influence will be felt in the cordial union and co-operation of philosophers in planning and in executing those great systems of observations, whether simultaneous or not, which are still requisite to fill up some of those blank spaces which occupy so large a portion in the map of human knowledge.
In the course of last year the celebrated Baron de Humboldt addressed a letter to me, as President of the Royal Society, expressing a wish that Magnetical Observatories, upon a uniform plan, might be established in this country and its colonies, with a view of making simultaneous observations with those which are now making, or which are in progress to be made, in different parts of the continent of Europe and of Northern Asia. I felt it to be due to the illustrious author of this communication to make it generally known to the Fellows of the Royal Society, and to beg that a committee of the Council might be appointed to consider the best mode of carrying its recommendations into effect. A very elaborate Report was consequently made by the Astronomer Royal and Mr. Christie in November last, enumerating many important consequences which might result from such a system of observations, and pointing out a series of stations where they might most efficiently be made. happy to inform you, Gentlemen, that measures are in progress for the accomplishment of all these objects: a Magnetical Observatory, which was long contemplated and earnestly recommended by the Board of Visitors of the Royal Observatory, has been established at Greenwich, in a situation so remote from all other buildings as to be altogether free even from the suspicion of external disturbances. The Corps of Royal Engineers, which has always been distinguished for the zeal and scientific acquirements of many of its Members, has spontaneously offered to conduct the requisite observations, in whatever quarter of the globe they may be stationed; the Astronomer Royal has determined the species of observations to be made, and the character and construction of the instruments to be used; and the Lords of the Treasury have placed at the disposal of the Royal Society the requisite funds for their purchase. I have felt it my duty, Gentlemen, to bring these circumstances under your notice, not merely as forming an important part of the proceedings of the Council of the Royal Society during the last year, but as an encouraging and instructive example of the facility with which extensive co-operation and assistance may be obtained in the execution of any scientific object, however extensive it may be, when the practical means for performing it are distinctly and clearly defined.
It is with real concern that I venture to call your attention to a letter which has been recently published, on the subject of the new Catalogue of the Library of the Royal Society, which I somewhat prematurely announced, when I last had the honour of addressing you, as preparing for publication, and as likely very shortly to appear. I was perfectly aware, when I made that announcement to you, of the nature of the correspondence which had passed between Mr. Panizzi and the Council relating to this Catalogue; but I had
no suspicion that the very brief allusion which I made to this subject, or the incidental mention of Mr. Panizzi's name, which I made in no offensive or disrespectful sense, would have been considered sufficient ground for its publication. It is not my intention to make any observations on the particular allegations which are made against the Council, both collectively and individually, in Mr. Panizzi's letter, which will be more properly noticed in a short statement, which has been drawn up, in deference to your good opinion, by the Council, and which will be read to you by Dr. Roget*; but I think it my duty to state to you, that I was not only cognisant of the whole course of the proceedings of the Council at the time when they took place, but that I perfectly concurred in their propriety; and I beg leave further to assure you, that a careful perusal of Mr. Panizzi's correspondence with the Council, of his comments upon their resolutions and of his imputations upon their conduct, has in no respect tended to modify the opinion which I originally formed, or to induce me to withdraw from the full share of responsibility which I incur, in connection with these proceedings, in common with every other Member of the Council.
Before I conclude this portion of my address, I feel it to be my duty to notice the retirement of Mr. Children and Mr. König from the offices which they have so long and so ably filled. The increasing duties, which have been imposed upon them by recent regulations at the British Museum, have been deemed by them in some degree incompatible with those which they owe to the Royal Society; and they have determined therefore, with a promptitude and delicacy of feeling which does them honour, to retire from their official connexion with us. It is quite unnecessary for me to enlarge upon the merits of two gentlemen who are so well known to you by their labours in your service, by the courtesy of their manners and by the extent and variety of their acquirements; but I should do injustice to my own feelings if I did not express, in the strongest terms, my personal obligations to them for their kind attention to my wishes, and for the anxiety which they have always shown that the interests of the Royal Society should not suffer from my occasional inability to attend personally to the discharge of the duties of my office. I am quite sure, Gentlemen, that I do not misinterpret your feelings, when I propose to thank them, in your name and my own, for their long and valuable services.
The Society has lost during the last year twenty-nine Members on the Home, and two on the Foreign List, and I shall now proceed to notice some of the most distinguished names which appear amongst them.
Henry Thomas Colebrooke was the son of Sir George Colebrooke, an eminent Director of the East India Company, under whose auspices he proceeded to India, as a writer, in 1782. Though a severe student in youth, and strongly disposed to follow a learned profession at home, he gave no indications for many years after his
*This statement is given in page 18.
arrival in India of those tastes for severe and abstract studies for which he was afterwards so celebrated; and we consequently find that, whilst resident at Purneah, he devoted much of his time to the wild and animating field-sports of the East, for which he long retained a passionate fondness. He made his first appearance as an author in 1792, in a Treatise on the Agriculture and Commerce of Bengal; and it was about this period that he began, with all the ardour and energy which distinguished his character, the study of the Sanscrit language, chiefly with a view to acquire a knowledge of the Lilawati and other Sanscrit treatises on Algebra and Astronomy, which the somewhat extravagant speculations of Bailly and others had begun to bring into notice. He subsequently undertook the translation of the Digest of the Hindu Laws of Contracts and Successions, which had been compiled under the direction of Sir William Jones, a most laborious and difficult task, which he completed in less than two years. It was during his engagement on this work that he was appointed to a judicial situation at Mirzapore, a position singularly suited to his tastes and pursuits, from its vicinity to Benares, the great repository of the ancient treasures of the literature of Hindostan, and the place of residence of its most learned expounders.
In the year 1800 he was removed to Calcutta, and raised to the highest judicial situation in the native courts of India, at the same time that he was made President of the Board of Revenue, Member of the Supreme Council, and Honorary Professor of Sanscrit in the College of Fort William. But the important official duties which he was thus called upon to discharge seem rather to have stimulated, than to have checked, his labours and investigations in oriental literature and oriental science. In the course of a few years there appeared from his pen many profound dissertations in the Asiatic Researches, on the Vedanta System of Philosophy, on Sanscrit and Pracrit Poetry and Grammar, on the Indian Classes, on the Origin and Tenets of the Mahometan Sects, on the Jains, on the Indian and Arabian Division of the Signs of the Zodiac, and on the Notions of the Hindu Astronomers on the Precession of the Equinoxes and the Motions of the Planets; to which must be added the first volume of a very elaborate Sanscrit Grammar, the translation of the Peostra, a Sanscrit Dictionary, and two extensive Treatises on the Hindu Law of Inheritance, together with editions of the Amera Cosha, a Sanscrit Vocabulary, and of the Hitópadésá, or Salutary Instruction", which had been translated by Mr. Wilkins, and which is more commonly known under the name of the "Fables of Pilpay".
It was some time after Mr. Colebrooke's return to this country that he published, in 1817, a translation of the Lilawati and VijaGanita, Sanscrit treatises on arithmetic, algebra and mensuration, to which was prefixed a dissertation on the early history of algebra and arithmetic in India, Arabia and Italy, which is equally remarkable for its profound knowledge of Hindu and Arabian literature and its correct views of the relations of oriental and ancient and mo