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MECHANICS, USEFUL ARTS, NATURAL PHILOSOPHY, CHEMISTRY,
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LIST OF RECENT SCIENTIFIO PUBLICATIONS; À OLASSIFIED LIST OP
THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE DURING THE YEAR 1856, ETO.
DAVID A. WELLS, A.M.,
“KNOWLEDGE IS POWER,” ETC.
59 WASHINGTON STREET.
NEW YORK: G. P. PUTNAM & co. ; SHELDON, BLAKEMAN & Co.
LONDON: TRÜBNER & co.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1857, by
GOULD AND LINCOLN, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts,
R. CRAIGHEAD, PRINTER AND STEREOTYPER,
NOTES BY THE EDITOR
PROGRESS OF SCIENCE FOR THE YEAR 1856.
The Tenth Meeting of the American Association for the Promotion of Science was held at Albany, commencing August 20th, Prof. Hall in the chair. The meeting was by far the largest which has thus far been held, and the citizens of Albany, both in their public and private capacity, received the members with a most generous hospitality. The session continued until the 28th, when it adjourned to meet on the 12th of August, 1857, at Montreal, in compliance with an invitation from the City Council and Natural History Society of that city. The officers appointed for the ensuing year are Prof. J. W. Bailey of West Point, President; Prof. A. Caswell of Providence, Vice-President; Prof. John Le Conte of South Carolina, General Secretary; and Prof. J. Lovering of Cambridge, was continued as Permanent Secretary.
The whole number of Papers contributed was one hundred and sixteen : 65 in the section of Mathematics, Physics, and Chemistry ; 44 in the section of Natural History; and 7 in Ethnology.
In addition to the usual sessions of the Association there were two exercises of extraordinary character, and indeed of extraordinary interest for the country. On the 27th, the inauguration of the State Geological Hall took place. Addresses were made by Profs. Agassiz, Hitchcock, Dewey, Henry, and others. A merited tribute was paid to the memory of the late Dr. T. Romeyn Beck of Albany, and resolutions of respect to his memory were passed by silently rising.
On the following day (Thursday) there was the inauguration of the Dudley Observatory, when the Hon. Edward Everett delivered to an audience of five thousand, an oration of great power, admirably adapted to the occasion.
The following resolutions were passed by the Association :
Raising the salary of the Permanent Secretary from $300 to $500.
That a Committee be appointed to memorialize the Legislature of Ohio to cause a complete geological survey of that state to be made.
That foreign learned societies be invited to attend the meetings of the Association.
Some steps were also taken for obtaining the protection of the National Government, as well as of the State government of California, for the gigantic specimens of trees, Washingtonia gigantea, which exist in the above named state. It is feared that, unless some measures are taken, these most wonderful specimens of vegetable growth will be soon sacrificed by the cupidity of private individuals.
Notwithstanding the unusually large attendance, and the number of Papers presented, the meeting of the American Association for 1856 was not eminently successful, so far as the progress of science and the promotion of good feeling among the members was concerned. Of the great majority of the papers presented, comparatively few contained any really new contributions to science. Many, when examined critically, will be found to contain little else than a repetition of facts and theories which have been before published in the proceedings of the Association and of other societies. It may be very pleasant and agreeable for some individuals to discourse popular science by the hour to popular audiences; to indulge in fulsome adulations of one another; for one to designate the other as a second Kepler, and for another to rise in his place and “thank God that such men as Profs. X., Y., and Z. existed." These occurrences may be well enough in a mutual admiration society, but do not properly belong to the proceedings of an American Association assembled for the discussion of abstract science.
The subject of the alterations of the Constitution, postponed from a previous meeting, was brought up and discussed, with much feeling and division of sentiment. The disagreement which existed in relation to these matters, was augmented by the non-familiarity on the part of the Chair with parliamentary laws and usages.
The constitutional question was, however, settled at this meeting, and it is to be hoped that no further difficulty will originate from this
There is much of truth in the following comments on the transactions of the Albany Meeting, as expressed by one of the leading New York Journals. “The undue prominence given by the Association to papers of no practical utility whatever characterized the meeting. The great mass of the papers presented were ponderable in quantity, but imponderable in quality. No papers were read on new dis