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palaeozoic period; and the upper portions of these having been removed by subsequent denudation, we find the inferior members of the series transformed into crystalline stratified rocks.”


1. Flora of the Southern United States, containing abridged descriptions of the Flowering Plants and Ferns of Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida ; arranged according to the Watural System ; by A. W. CHAPMAN, M.D. (The Ferns by Daniel C. Eaton.) New York: Ivison, Phinney & Co. 1860. pp. 621, small 8vo.—The first thing that strikes our attention as we open this volume, is its neat and tasteful typography. It is a decided advance upon its counterpart, Gray's Manual for the Northern States, in this respect, and indeed is the handsomest volume of the kind we know of. It is only just to add that the book was produced by the University Press of Welch, Bigelow & Co., Cambridge. The matter of the volume is, we trust, as good as its form. It well supplies a long-felt and pressing want, and gives to schools and colleges, and to botanical students generally at the South, a work which is for that district what Gray's Manual is for the northern section of our common country. Having said this, modesty prevents more particular eulogium. If experience annually shows that the work with which this volume is compared is not yet perfect, but still requires many minor emendations, notwithstanding long pains-taking and repeated revisions, it may be expected that equal experience will reveal similar imperfections in the new and untried work. . None but a practised teacher can tell beforehand where the pupil, or the student without a teacher will encounter obstacles, and the most experienced can only partially anticipate them. They must be found out by trial, and be corrected in new issues, for which electrotyping offers great facilities. For the young student the Artificial Analysis of the Natural Orders is practically the key to the whole thing; a perfect key of this sort was never made at one trial; in fact most keys in such works fail very largely. So we may safely hazard the prediction that Dr. Chapman's artificial analysis will need emendation in a future edition. We are bound to add, however, that a half dozen of trials has resulted in only one failure. This book is wanted by botanists as well as by students, and we think they will be well pleased with it. Its merits are manifold; its deficiencies are either such as are natural if not unavoidable under the circumstances of its production, or such as pertain to all works of the kind, in which knowledge is progressive, the records of this knowledge widely dispersed, and the facts to be observed and digested into order almost infinitely numerous. An introduction gives a good condensed sketch of the Elements of Botany, and a Glossary of Botanical Terms, so that the book can be used independently; though such a book as the First Lessons in Botany ought to precede and accompany its use by the student. Very appropriately is this volume dedicated to one of the worthiest botanists of the Southern States, the Rev. Dr. Curtis. Now that the Southern Atlantic states are provided with a good Flora of their own, we trust that botany will receive a new impulse, both as a scientific pursuit and as a branch of education, in that favored region. A. G. 2. Synopsis of Dalbergieae, a Tribe of Leguminosae, by GEORGE BENTHAM, Esq.-This is a (botanical) supplement to the fourth volume of the Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnaean Society, a critical account of this group of plants, and a technical synopsis of the genera and species, —of much importance therefore to the systematic botanist. Since its publication, better specimens have been examined of one of Fendler's Venezuelan plants, No. 2223, referred to on p. 17; and Mr. Bentham finds this a new generic type, Fissicalya. A. G. 3. Reports on the Watural History, Climate, and Physical Geography of Minnesota, Nebraska, Washington, and Oregon Territories; made in connection with the Survey of a Pacific Railroad Route, along the fortyseventh and forty-ninth parallels of latitude, in 1853–4–5–6, under the command of Governor I. I. STEVENs, of Washington Territory; by G. SUCKLEY, M.D., and J. G. CoopFR, M.D., Surgeons and Naturalists to the Expedition. 4to, pp. 399, 26, with 65 plates, and isothermal charts, &c. New York, Bailliere Brothers.--This is a separate issue of the 12th volume of the Pacific Railroad Exploration Reports, containing all that relates to science in the report of Gov. Stevens' survey of the northern proposed route, and also a preface and other additional matter by the enterprising authors, Drs. Cooper and Suckley. This issue is, we understand, rendered necessary by the cutting down of the government edition in the later volumes of the series to a much diminished number. The authors have taken this opportunity not merely to add new matter, and make certain emendations, but also to insert four or five pages of errata, correcting typographical errors, perhaps a tithe of those contained in the volume. This remark does not at all militate against the statement that in this volume “there are fewer errors than is usual in similar government publications.” We are satisfied of the truth of this. The mass of scientific reports published by Congress and printed at Washington are marred beyond all endurance by want of proof-reading, or perhaps of proof-correction,-for in some instances proofs were furnished and revised, but the corrections were never made. The folly of the late system having now been exposed in other and more considerable respects, we may hope for the inauguration of a much better and more economical plan. The first chapter of the present very interesting volume (whether peculiar to this edition or no is more than we can now ascertain) is separately paged, and is devoted to the meteorology and climate of Nebraska and Washington Territories. The Botanical Report, which comes next in order, consists, 1. of a very interesting and useful general sketch of the botany of the route, in reference to the character of the vegetation, geographical distribution, &c., mingled with zoological and climatal observations. 2. A catalogue of the plants collected east of the Rocky Mountains, containing three before undescribed species and one new (Chenopodiaceous) genus, all of which are characterized by Dr. Torrey, as will be seen, although the list was drawn up by Dr. Gray. This portion is illustrated by four excellent plates, one of which is devoted to the Endolepis Suckleyi of Torrey, the new genus referred to. 3. Catalogue of Plants collected in Washington Territory; with observations, &c., drawn up by Dr. Cooper himself, including notes, characters, &c., supplied by Dr. Gray, Dr. Torrey, and Prof. Thurber; with two plates. The remainder and most striking part of the volume is the Zoological Report; that on the Insects by Dr. Leconte; on the Mammals by Dr. Cooper, Dr. Suckley and Mr. Gibbs; on the Birds, by Drs. Cooper and Suckley; on the Reptiles, by Dr. Cooper; on the Fishes by Dr. Suckley; on the Mollusca by Wm. Cooper, Esq. (a veteran naturalist whom we gladly welcome back to active labor); on the Crustacea by Dr. Cooper. The zoological plates are many and truly beautiful; those of the birds are colored. The volume sells for ten dollars; and this small separate issue will doubtless be taken up at once, to complete the sets of the Pacific Railroad Reports. A. G. 4. Potamogeton crispus L. was introduced into the North American flora by Pursh, and said to occur from “Canada to Virginia.” Dr. Torrey, in his Flora of the Northern States, mentions it as from Lake George; but as he omits it from his recent Flora of the State of New York, we infer that there was some mistake in the first instance. Prof. Tuckerman, who has paid great attention to this difficult genus, not having found P. crispus in this country, and not having ourselves met with it, the species was excluded from the Manual of the Botany of the Northern United States; but a remark was added in the second edition of this work, that Mr. Tuckerman had seen a specimen in some European herbarium purporting to come from Delaware. It may also be noted that this species has for many years been growing in a pool in the Botanic Garden at Cambridge, -where in fact it cannot be got rid of.-and there is a tradition that it was introduced into the pool by Mr. Nuttall. Last year Mr Edward Tatnall, an intelligent botanist and horticulturist, detected the plant in question in Delaware, in the vicinity of Wilmington, and this season he finds it to occur abundantly, under circumstances which give it a good claim to be regarded as indigenous. So Potamogeton crispus must be restored to our flora. If really indigenous it probably occurs in other stations. Its early flowering and fruiting, compared with the other species (viz., blossoming in May) may have led to its being overlooked; but the species is probably local in this country. It is, however, so vigorous and so difficult of eradication where it is established, so likely therefore to hold its own or to extend, that, if not detected elsewhere, we may believe that it was recently imported into this country, as another water-weed, the Anacharis of North America, was into England, where it has spread prodigiously with a few years. A. G. 5. Marsilea quadrifolia, L.-Aquatic plants, especially those of low type, are in general so widely diffused geographically, that the absence from North America of the above named plant, so common throughout the northern part of the Old World,—has always seemed rather exceptional. We have now to announce its actual occurrence here. It has just been discovered on the muddy borders of a pond in Litchfield, Connecticut, by Dr. Timothy F. Allen. This adds another instance of the apparently extremely local occurrence in this country of a common European species, of which Scolopendrium officinarum and Subularia aquatica are cases in point. As it is not likely that this Marsilea was created for Litchfield pond, or for any other few localities, if such there be, in this country, such plants must be regarded as of recent and casual introduction—which is most improbable—or else as species once diffused over the country, but now on the verge of extinction from this flora,_a view which chimes in with other inferences about geographical distribution. A. G.

* “The theory that volcanic mountains have been formed by a sudden local elevation or tumefaction of previously horizontal deposits of lava and other volcanic rocks, in opposition to the view of the older geologists who supposed them to have been built up by the accumulation of successive eruptions, although supported by Humboldt, Von Buch, and Elie de Beaumont, has been foom the first opposed by Cordier, Constant Prevost, Scrope and Lyell. (See Scrope, Geol. Journal, vol. xii, p. 326, and vol. xv, p. 500; also Lyell, Philos. Trans, part 2, vol. cxlviii, p. 703, for 1858.) In these we think will be found a thorough refutation of the elevation hypothesis and a vindication of the ancient theory. This notion of paroxysmal upheaval once admitted for volcanoes was next applied to mountains which, like the Alps and Pyrenees, are composed of neptunian strata. Against this view, however, we find De Montlosier in 1832 maintaining that such mountains are to be regarded as the remnants of former continents which have been cut away by denudation, and that the inversions and disturbances often met with in the structure of mountains are to be regarded only as local accidents. (Bul. Soc. Geol., (1) vol. ii. p. 438, vol. iii, p. 215.) . Similar views were developed by Prof. James Hall in his address before the American Association for the Advancement of Science, at Montreal in August, 1858. This address has not been published, but these views are reproduced in the first volume of his Report on the Geology of Iowa, p. 41. Mr. Hall there insists upon the conditions which in the ancient seas, gave rise to great accumulations of sediment along certain lines, and asserts that to this great thickness of strata, whether horizontal or inclined, we are to ascribe the mountainous features of northeastern America as compared with the Mississippi valley. Mountain heights are due to original deposition and subsequent continental elevation, and not to local upheavals or foldings, which on the contrary, give rise to lines of weakness, and favor erosion, so that the lower rocks become exposed in anticlinal valleys, while the intermediate mountains are found to be capped with newer strata. In like manner J. P. Lesley asserts that “mountains are but fragments of the upper layers of the earth's crust, lying in synclinals and preserved from the general denudation and translation. (Iron Manufacturer's Guide, 1859, p. 58.) See also his admirable little volume entitled Coal and its Topography.” SECOND SERIES, Vol. XXX, No. 88–JULY, 1860.


6. Catalogue of the Acanthopterygian Fishes in the collection of the British Museum ; by Dr. A. GUNTHER. 8vo, pp. 524. London, 1859. –In this volume all the fishes in the British Museum, belonging to the families mentioned are described, and abstracts are given of the characters of many others, not in that collection. The work must be therefore, useful to naturalists, and especially to students, as the author has been quite diligent in collecting the indications of species from all sources. Considerable discretion must however be used in consulting it, as the author appears to have considered many species that he had not himself seen, as being very “doubtful" or as identical with some known to him. In his work, our American fresh-water fishes are especially in great disorder. None of the genera recently established by Agassiz and Girard are adopted. The Calliuri are placed partly in Centrarchus and partly in Brythus. The Grystes are distributed in Centrarehus and Huro as well as Grystes. If recent American works had been consulted these errors would not have occurred. Some species are regarded as identical which have no close relationship to each other, as Pomotis falaa, B. and S., and P. rubricanda Storer. In many other points Dr. Gunther differs from the best Ichthyologists who have hitherto treated of the order. Thirteen genera and forty species are described as new. - w.s.


1. First Comet of 1860.—(Gould's Astron. Jour. No. 134).-“A letter from Mr. Liais, Director of the Brazilian Coast Survey, to Prof. Peters, published in the Astronomische Wachrichten, No. 1248, announces the discovery, February 26th, at Olinda, Brazil, of a faint double comet, near the star u Doradūs. The larger portion preceded ; it was brighter on the side toward the sun, and sensibly elongated in that direction, having near the extremity a small luminous point, about as bright as a star of the 9th magnitude. The object was so faint as to render observations difficult, for which reason the diameter could not be measured ; but Mr. Liais estimated it at 25 or 30 seconds in the larger, and 7 or 8 seconds in the smaller diameter. The second or smaller nebulosity appeared nearly circular, and about 4 seconds in diameter. On February 27th, at 10h 25m it followed the other by about 27 seconds, being about 1/8" to the North of it. On March 3d, at 11h 16m, the difference of position was 23 seconds in right ascension, and 46" in declination. On the 6th, the moonlight wholly extinguished the comet.

From observations made by Mr. Liais with the ring-micrometer, Dr. Pape, of Altona, has computed three normal places, and thence deduced elements as follows, viz.:

Time of perihelion passage, Febr. 167667, Berlin m. t.

Long, of perihelion, - - 173° 26' 2 | App. eqx.
“ “ asc. node, - - - 324 1 9 s Febr. 29.6

Inclination, - - - - - 79 22 6

Log. perih. dist, - - - - 0-07652

Motion, - s to- -, Direct.

2. Second Comet of 1860–On the 17th of April, 1860, a telescopic comet was discovered by Mr. George Rümker, of Hamburg. It was a faint, ill-defined nebulous spot of light. Having passed its perihelion at the close of the preceding February, it was when discovered receding from the sun. Its elements, approximately determined, are found to resemble those of the second comet of 1793.

3. On the alleged intra-Mercurial Planet.—According to the elements assigned by M. Leverrier to the planet which Dr. Lescarbault states that he observed passing across the sun March 26, 1859, there was reason to expect that the planet would be seen in like transit, sometime in March or April of the present year. In the hope of detecting such a transit the sun's disc was closely watched during these months by observers in three places at least in this country, and doubtless also by many observers in Europe. So far as we hear, the search has everywhere proved unsuccessful. But as during this period there were many hours in which the sun's disk was not and could not be under observation, the failure does not disprove the existence of such a planet. It is to be hoped that the search will be resumed hereafter, and as there is great uncertainty respecting the inclination of the planet, a thorough observation at any time, with a magnifying power of 100 or more will be valuable. If the spot seen on the sun, February 12, 1820, by Steinhübel and by Stark, (Mon. Not. Roy. Astr.Soc., March 9, 1860) was this planet, the inclination must be quite small, and a transit across the sun may often occur.

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