Page images
PDF
EPUB

announces that similar appearances are obtained during the exsiccation of pus, and applies this circumstance to the explanation of the formation of granulations in sores.

Mar. 12. A letter from B. Bevan, Esq. to the President, was read, relative to the discovery of some fossils in Leicestershire and Northamptonshire; and also a letter from Dr. Fischer of Moscow, containing observations on the anatomy of spiderswith some illustrative drawings.

At this meeting, the Society proceeded to ballot for foreign members, and the following Gentlemen were announced by the President as duly elected into the Society.

Mr. Nathaniel Bowditch, of Salem, of the State of Massa

chussets.

Messrs. G. F. C. M. de Prony,

Francis Arago,

S. D. Poisson,

J. P. Haüy,

of Paris.

The Society then adjourned for the Easter Vacation

ART. XX. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. 1818. January 5. THE continuation of Dr. Murray's paper on muriatic acid gas was read. The conclusion drawn from the experiments before, and now detailed, is that chlorine is not a simple body, but the idea of its being a compound of muriatic gas and oxygene is not adopted. Dr. Murray then offered at theory in explanation not only of the nature of muriatic acid, but of acids and alkalies in general. Both oxygen and hydrogen were supposed to have the power of conferring acidity and alkalinity on the bodies with which they combine, and that when both combine at once with a body, the properties which they impress are proportionately increased. Chlorine therefore is conceived to be a compound of an unknown base with oxygen; muriatic acid a combination of chlorine with hydrogen,

or rather of the same radical with oxygen and hydrogen. Sulphurous acid is a binary compound of sulphur with oxygen and is analogous to chlorine: sulphuric acid is a ternary compound of sulphur, oxygen, and hydrogen, and is analogous to muriatic acid.

In alkalies an analogous series of combination are supposed to exist. Ammonia is in the same relation to this class of bodies, that sulphuretted hydrogen is to the acids; morphium holds the same rank among them that prussic acid does among its fellows; and the fixed alkalies and alkaline earths are considered as ternary compounds of oxygen, hydrogen, and a base like the stronger acids.

At the same meeting a paper by Dr. Brewster consisting of extracts of letters from Mr. Boag to his father the Reverend Dr. Boag of Paisley was read, giving an account of the recent discoveries respecting the sphinx and the principal pyramid of Egypt, which have been made by Capain C. and Mr. Salt.

By very laborious excavation, it has been ascertained that the sphinx is cut out of the solid rock on which it rests. At the pyramid it was found that the short descending passage from the entrance, which afterwards ascends to the two chambers, is continued in a straight line through the base of the pyramid into the rockup on which it stands. This new passage, after joining what was called the well, is continued in a horizontal direction, and terminates in a well ten feet deep, exactly beneath the apex of the pyramid, and 100 feet below its base, An apartment has been discovered immediately above the king's chamber. The ornamental part is very beautiful, but it is only four feet in height.

Jan. 19. The second part of Dr. Ure's paper on muriatic acid gas was read. It relates to the water that adheres to apparently dry muriate of ammonia, and to the experiments in which by passing dry muriatic acid gas over iron ignited, water was obtained. The Doctor infers that chlorine is oxymuriatic acid, and that muriatic acid gas is dry muriatic acid and water.

At the same meeting a paper by Dr. Brewster was read, on

a singular affection of the eye in a healthy state. When the eye is steadily directed towards an object, that object will always continue visible, but if the eye be fixed on a second object in the neighbourhood of the first, the first object will after a short time disappear, however situated, with respect to the eye, or whatever its colour or appearance. When the object produces its accidental colour before it vanishes, the accidental colour disappears with the object. In the course of an investigation into effects of this kind Dr. Brewster was induced to form a new theory of accidental colours, which will shortly be made public.

Feb. 2. Mr. W. Allan read a paper on the geology of the country around Nice, and from the circumstances detailed in the paper that part of Italy must be of extreme interest to the inquirer. There are many indications that great changes have taken place in this country, not only in the situation of the rock and strata, but even in the height of the land and waters. The cracks and fissures in the rocks are frequently found to contain shells similar to those which now exist in the Mediterranean, and they are found also high up among the alluvial soil, and down by the sea from the Harmetine countries. More than twenty new species of shells have been found in the strata of the peninsula of St. Boassure.

Mr. Playfair communicated a paper by General Sir Thomas Brisbane, on the determination of time by equal altitudes.

Feb. 16. Mr. Macvey Napier read a paper entitled Remarks illustrative of the Scope and Influence of the Philosophical Writings of Lord Bacon.

Mr. Napier stated that his object was two-fold; first, to show, that Bacon's philosophical merits were such as to give him a peculiar and pre-eminent character among the early restorers of genuine science; and next, to trace the effects which his writings produced in accelerating the progress of scientific discovery. The consideration of the latter point would form, he said, his principal object; as there seemed to exist more of doubt, as well as of misapprehension, in regard to the

influence of Bacon's writings, than in regard to any other point connected with them.

Under the first head, he took occasion to comment upon a late depreciatory estimate of Bacon's Philosophical Writings published in the Quarterly Review; and then proceeded to some general remarks illustrative of their peculiar merits and importance. Under the second head, he entered into a variety of statements, and cited a variety of early authorities, to prove that Bacon's writings contributed more than any other cause to forward the progress of science in England, and to form that great experimental school which produced the discoveries of Boyle and Newton. In this part of the inquiry he endeavoured to show, that the first idea of the Royal Society was suggested by Bacon's writings, and not, as some have supposed, by the institution of scientific academies abroad. In the last place, he proceeded to inquire, whether any similar effects to those produced by these writings in England had been produced by them in other countries? He here quoted a number of foreign publications to show, that Bacon's writings had early made an impression abroad greatly favourable to the progress of truth, and that beneficial effects were largely ascribed to them by many early writers who witnessed their operation.

March 2d. Dr. Murray read the first part of a Paper, “ On the Relation in the Law of Definite Proportions in Chemical Combination, the Constitution of the Acids, Alkalis, and Earths, and their Compounds." Its object was to determine if the composition of these substances, according to the theory which he has lately proposed, be conformable to the law of definite proportions. The part of the Paper read extended to the acids, of which sulphur and carbon are the radicals, the vegetable acids being comprised under the latter. A very strict coincidence is found in the actual proportions according to the theory, with the law so as to afford proofs even of the truth of the former; and some of the results display views very different from those which have been hitherto proposed.

The remainder of the paper will be read on a succeeding evening.

At the same meeting, an abstract of a new paper, by Mr. Lauder Dick, on the Parallel Roads of Lochaber, was read. Upon considering the paper which he had prepared on the Parallel Roads of Lochaber since his second visit to that district, he was satisfied that it would not be very intelligible if read to the Society, owing to the frequent references to the map and drawings. He therefore contented himself with a very few remarks explanatory of the views he entertained of this interesting subject.

In a former paper, he described the general nature of these shelves. He has since ascertained, by several observations, that they are perfectly horizontal. One very remarkable circumstance attending them is, that in one or two instances they can be traced in a perfect circle, around little isolated hills, on a level with the corresponding line on the sides of the valley.

In his former visit to Glen Roy, he traced the shelves in that valley only; on the late occasion, however, he discovered that they are also to be found in Glen Spean and Glen Gluoy. This last valley contains one range, at an elevation of 12 feet higher than that of any of those in the other glens. The two shelves next in altitude, are to be found in Glen Roy alone. The uppermost runs through both lower and upper Glen Roy, and loses itself in the flat mossy ground, forming the summit level of the country near the Loch of Spey. Besides these two shelves, which are the particular property of Glen Roy, there is another at a lower level, common to Glen Roy and Glen Spean. Its two extremities are to be traced-one on the mountain of Ben-y-vaan, near High-bridge-and the other on the side of Aonachmore, one of the Ben Nevis groups, nearly opposite. This shelf may be followed almost every where in its progress through both glens. It runs up the whole extent of Glen Spean, Loch Laggan, and the river Pattaig, as far as the Pass of Muckull, where it sweeps round on what is the summit level of the country there, and returns back. It is also distinctly traced running into the valley of Loch Treig.

« PreviousContinue »