The British Association for the Advancement of Science holds its six- teenth annual meeting at Southampton. The town is full of visiters ; yet the endeavours to secure lodgings at reasonable rates appear to have been quite successful, and the arrangements for the year's meeting thus far seem to have given unmixed satisfaction.
The public proceedings began at a meeting of the General Committee, in the Town-hall, on Wednesday; Sir John Herschel], the retiring President, in the chair. The minutes of the two last years' proceedings having been confirmed, Colonel Sabine, General Secretary, read the annual report of the Council. It announced a very favourable reception of the suggestions which had been made to Government, to the East India Company, and to Foreign Governments, on the subject of cooperation in magnetic, meteoro- logical, and astronomical observations: they are to be continued effectively at Greenwich, Cape of Good Hope, Bombay, Madras, Paramatta, (New South Wales) Toronto, St. Helena, in the Indian Seas, in the North Sea; and elsewhere by the Governments of Russia, Austria, Prussia, and Bel- gium. Invitations for the following year had been received from Oxford, Norwich, and Swansea. Mr. Taylor, General Treasurer, read a statement of accounts: the receipts were 2,4241.; expenses, 2,5491.; and there Was a balance of the Government grant amounting to 81/., after expending 5531. The officers of the different Sections were then appointed, with power to add to their number; as it was not known at present who would attend the meeting. The Sectional Presidents are—A [Mathematics], Sir John Herschell; B [Chemistry], Dr. Faraday; C [ieology and Physical Geo- graphy], Mr. Leonard Horner; D [Zoology asitioHotteny], Sir John Ri- chardson; E [Physiology} Professor Owen ; F [Mechanic], the Rever- end Professor Willis. On the motion of Sir Roderick Murchison, Princes Albert was elected first and sole honorary member of the Association.
The several Sections met on Thursday, to continue their sittings daily. On Thursday, there was the first general meeting of the Association. It was held in the Victoria Assembly Room, at half-past eight o'clock. Prince Albert was present; several persona distinguished in science or in rank, and about fear hundred ladies and gentlemen—all in evening dresses. Sir John Iferschell, in a brief and neatly-constructed speech on the ge- neral progress and prospects of the Association, surrendered the chair to the new President, Sir Roderick I. Murchison.
Sir Roderick delivered a long and interesting speech; mainly directed to s'iow the large and practical advantages which science has derived from the establishment and labours of this Association. Among the greater results of its influence were the reduction of masses of astronomical observations; the South Polar expedition of discovery; comprehensive labours in the observation of terrestrial magnetism, electricity, and meteorology; researches in natural history, by Agassiz, Owen, and Edward Forbes; and the bringing together of geological knowledge throughout Europe and America. Incor- poration of inquiry, indeed, has had a marked influence on the advancement of science- " The general study both of zoology and botany has been singularly advanced by the labours of the Section of Natural History. I cannot have acted for many years as your General Secretary without observing, that by the spirit in which this Section has of late years been conducted, British naturalists have annually become more philosophical, have given to their inquiries a more physiological character, and have more and more studied the higher questions of structure, laws, and distribution. This cheering result has mainly arisen from the personal intimacy brought about among various individuals, who, living at great distance from each other, were 'previously never congregated; and from the mutual en- couragement imparted by their interchange of views and their comparisons of specimens. Many active British naturalists have in fact risen up since these meetings commenced; and many (in addition to the examples already alluded to) have pursued their science directly under the encouragement we have given them."
Sir Roderick mentioned some striking special advantages which had resulted to arts and commerce— "Among the many useful national objects which have been promoted by the physical researches of the British Association, there is one which calls for marked notice at this time, in the proposal of Mr. Robert Stephenson to eery an iron tube or suspended tunnel over the Menai Straits, to sustain the great railway to Holy- head. This bold proposal could never have been realized if that eminent engineer had not been acquainted with the great progress recently made in the knowledge of the strength of materials, and especially of iron; such knowledge being in great measure due to investigations in which the Association has taken and is still taking a conspicuous share, by the devotion of its friends and the employment of its in- fluence—investigations which have been prosecuted with great zeal and success by its valued members Mr. Hodgkinson and Mr.Fairbairn.
"Whilst on this topic, I may observe, that in the recent improvements in rail- ways the aid of scientific investigation was called for by the civil engineer, to as- sist him in determining with accuracy the power to be provided for attaining the high velocities of fifty and sixty miles an hour; and it was found, and admitted by the first engineers, that the very best data for this purpose, and indeed the only experiments of any practical value, were those which had been provided for some years ago by a Committee of the British Association, and published in our Trans- actions. The Institution of Civil Engineers thus gave testimony to the practical value of our researches by adopting their results."
"A request from the Association to Professor Bunsen, of Marburg, and our countryman, Dr. Lyon Playfair' coupled with a contribution of small amount to- wards the expenses involved in the undertaking, has produced a report on the con- ditions and products of iron-furnaces, which IS of the greatest value in a com- mercial view to one of the most important of our manufactures, and possesses at the same time a very high interest to chemical science in some of the views which it develops. On the one hand, it exhibits an entirely new theory of the reduction, by cyanogen gas as the chief agent, of iron from the ore; on the other, it shows that, in addition to a vast saving of fuel, about two hundredweight of sal-ammoniac may daily be collected at the single establishment of Alfreton, where the experiments were made; thus leading as to infer that in the iron- furnaces of Britain there may be obtained from vapour which now passes away an enormous quantity of this valuable substance, which would materially lessen the dependence of our agriculturists on foreign guano. It is, indeed, most gratifying to observe, that in pursuing this inquiry into the gaseous contents of a blazing furnace of great height, our associates traced out, foot by foot, the roost recondite chemical processes, and described the fiery products with the same accuracy as if their researches had been made on the table of a laboratory. "Weighed, however, only in the scales of absolute and immediate utility, the remarkable results of these skilful and elaborate experiments give them a cha- racter of national importance' and justly entitle the authors and the body which has aided them to the public thanks." "Switzerland has again given to us that great master in palmontology, Agassiz; and also our old friend Professor Schiinbein, who in addition to his report on ozone) to which I have ;heady referred, has now brought to us a discovery of vast practical importance. The'gun-cotton' of Schonbein, the powers of which he will exhibit to his colleagues, is an explosive substance, which, exercising a stronger projectile force than gunpowder, is stated to possess the great advan- tages over it of producing little or no smoke or noise, and of scarcely soiling fire- arms; whilst no amount of wet injures this new substance, which is as serviceable after being dried as in its first condition. The mere mention of these properties, to which our associate lays claim for his new material, is sufficient to show its extraordinary value in all warlike affairs, as also in every sort of subterranean bfasting."
"As one of the highly useful elementary aids to the training of the youthful mind to acquire a right perception of the science, I commend the spirited project of a French geographer M. Guerin to establish in London a georama of vast size, which shall teach by strong external relief; the objects and details of which he vitt in the course of this week explain to the geographers present." The President touched upon some more abstract points of investigation- " Recent as the blocks and boulders to which I have alluded may seem to be, they were, however, accumulated under a glacial sea whose bottom was first raised to produce that connexion between the Continent and Britain, by which the land animals migrated from their parent East to our Western climes; a connexion that was afterwards broken through by the separation of our islands, and by the isola- tion in each of them of those terrestial races which had been propagated to it. This latter inference was also, indeed, thoroughly sustained by the researches of Professor Owen, communicated to this Association; first, in the generalization by which his report on the extinct mammals of Australia is terminated, and still more in detailed reference to our islands in his recently-published work 'On the Extinct Fossil British blammalia'—a work which he has stated in his dedication originated at the call of the British Association."
" Among the topics to which our assembling at Southampton gives peculiar interest, I miy still say, that if foreign and English geologists should find mach to interest them in the lakt of Wight, the same island contains a field for a very serious joint disciaeion between the mathematicians and the geologists, with which I became acquainted in a previous visit to this place. It is a discovery by Colonel Colby, the Director of the Trigonometrical Survey, of the existence of a considerable attraction of the plumb-line to the South, at the trigonometrical station called Dunnose on Shankliu Down. The details of this singular phieno- menon, which has been verified by numerous observations with the best zenith sectors,. will be laid before the Sections. In the mean time, we may well wonder that this low chalk range in the Isle of Wight should attract, in one parallel at least, with more than half the intensity of the high and meyslalline mountain of Scheballion in the Highlands of Scotland, whilst no other h in the South of England exhibits such a phienomenon." Sir Roderick again urged a former proposition for an European Congress of Science— "I ventured, when addressing you six years ago at the Glasgow meeting, to ex- press the hope, that each of the national European societies might be led to abstain during one year from assembling in its own country, for the purpose of repairing by its own deputies to a general congress to be held at Frankfort or other central city under the presidency of the universal Humboldt" The:preparation of Coe- mos, and other avocations, prevented M. de Humboldt from accepting the proposi- tion. "Adhering still to my project, I beg my countrymen, and their foreign friends now present, to sustain this proposition for centralizing in a future year the representatives of the various branches of science of different countries; when they may at once learn the national progresses respectively made, and when, at all events, they can so appoint the periods of their national assemblies as to prevent those simultaneous meetings in France, Germany, Scandinavia, Italy, Switzerland, and England, which are so much to be deprecated as interfering with a mutual intercourse."
Having copiously noticed the cooperation of great masters in science abroad, the President concluded with a graceful allusion to the distinguished visiters who graced that meeting.
Lord Palmerston, in a very pleasant speech, moved the thanks of the meeting to the President for his address, and for the general progress which he had effected in different branches of science. This was seconded by the Marquis of Northampton. In acknowledging the compliment, Sir Roderick Murchison announced that Prince Albert had signified his intention of ac- tively participating in the pursuits of the Association, by attending some of the Sections.
The Protectionists of Warwickshire made a great demonstration at Coleshill, on Wednesday, in the shape of a dinner to Mr. Charles Newde- gate, M.P. for North Warwickshire. A field near the Swan Hotel was the scene; a maned* being erected for the diners, with appropriate decorations—flowers, variegated lamps banners, "Newdegate and Pro- tection," pictures of the Queen, &c. Mr. Newdegate, it seems, was what Lord George Bentinck calls the " Adjutant " of the Protectionists in the House of Commons, rulgo, the "Whipper-in." The meeting made quite a sensation. "Throughout the morning," says the Standard, "the town of Coleshill appeared as bestirred by some mighty event. All countenances seemed beaming with joy, and the enthusiasm which was so prevalent within the tent evidently found a response in the hearts of those without. The bells of the church rang Joyfully in celebration of the honour done to one of the Church's noble defenders, and all went merry as a holyday.' " Lord George Bentinck, half-a-dozen other Mem hers, and about three hundred and fifty gentlemen, sat down to table. The speeches were destitute of interest. Mr. Newdegate was earnest, but feeble; Lord George Bentinck as statistical as ever—" he lisps in numbers, for the numbers come." The Globe helps us in discovering a remarkable point in this mass of leavings from the sessional speechmaking. Our con- temporary introduces it with an allusion to the belief in witchcraft sur- viving among the Scotch; for which it now finds a parallel in England. "There is not a man in the country," says the Globe," who will not know, henceforth, Sir Robert Peel to be something which our Northern fellow subjects will denominate not canny.' 'The Minister, whose conduct could change a sham potato famine into a real one, is a person who, whether in or out of place, must be looked after. Lord George Bentinck, at the Pro- tectionist dinner at Coleshill, thus describes that conduct "— " Last year a sham cry of famine was got up, a sham cry of a potato-rot WU set going in order to further the purposes of an Administration. Now, be regret- ted to say that feint had become too sad a reality; and from John o' Groat's to the Land's End—from the Irish Sea to the Atlantic—this potato famine had spread through the British empire. It was to this that the artificial rise in the price of corn was to be ascribed. And might it not be possible that this sad reality was the vengeance, the just vengeance, of Almighty Providence for the impious ingratitude with which they, in the year just past, complained of its real bounty?'
The Protectionists of Essex are about to give a dinner to the Duke of Richmond and Lord George Bentinck: it is appointed to take place at Chelmsford, on the 25th instant.
On Wednesday last, the Royal Bucks Agricultural Association celebrated their annual festival, at the George Hotel, Aylesbury. After a ploughing- match, and a distribution of prizes to meritorious labourers and servants, there was a dinner; at which the Duke of Buckingham presided. The speeches were of the ordinary stamp; the only points worth recording being certain hints of the Protectionists' determination "to regain their former position," "to retrieve the ground they had lost," "to cling to the remnant of protection still left," and so forth.
The annual feast of the Sheffield Cutler's Company on the installation of the newly-elected Master of the Company, Mr. T. B. Turton, took place at the Cutler's Hall, on Thursday. The number of guests was about 230, and the feast was provided in the style of munificence cus- tomary with that ancient corporation. Among the guests were Lord Morpeth, Lord Milton, Mr. James Montgomery, Mr. John Parker, M.P., Colonel Thompson, Mr. R. It. R. Moore, and several gentlemen of local influence. The speeches were all complimentary; the only allusion to official matters being an assurance by Lord Morpeth, that Government would diligently attend to sanitary measures, especially in regard to the health of large towns and cities.
The inhabitants of Canterbury have had a meeting to consider the in- crease of fares by the South-eastern Railway Company. The Mayor occu- pied the chair; and resolutions to this effect were passed—
That the increased charge for passengers from Canterbury to the Metropolis is impolitic, uncalled for and unjust, inasmuch as the Chairman of the South- eastern Directors declared, at the opening of the line to Canterbury, that al- though the passengers were taken a circuitous route, the charge would only be made on a diagonal scale. That such increase is quite at variance with the facts and principles laid down in the official statement of the company published on the 27th December last. That the meeting trusted that the Directors of the South-eastern Company would, on further consideration, see the propriety of reducing the charge to the scale promised by their Chairman on opening the line.
That, in the opinion of the meeting, a direct line from the Metropolis through Canterburyt connecting Canterbury with Dover and Deal, for the accommodation of the public, is absolutely necessary. A fatal accident occurred on the Nottingham and Lincoln Railway on Monday morning. At twelve o'clock a train left the station at Nottingham for Lincoln, and proceeded as usual till it reached the portion of the line near GonaLstone, about eight miles from Nottingham: here a spring underneath the fore part of the engine snapped, and caused the engine to oscillate and jump upend down in a fear- furmanner. The engine-driver instantly shut off the steam; but the next mo- ment he was precipitated head foremost off the engine upon the ground. The stoker, unable to keep his feet, fell, and was caught between the tender and the engine, upon the upper part of both his thighs. There he was fixed, and he could not extricate himself; the engine and tender at the same time being whirled off the rails, and, as it were, actually doubled up; but the chain attaching them to the engine suddenly broke, and as there were two or three trucks and a lug- gage-van between the engine and the passenger-carriages, the mischief did not extend to the passengers: the train came to a stand without any other individual sustaining damage. The alarm of the passengers was very great, and many re- turned to Nottingham. The poor stoker could not be removed from his dreadful position until horses had been obtained to separate the engine and tender; and this caused considerable delay. When got out, the sufferer was conveyed to the Nottingham General Hospital: it was found that the thighs had been crushed so close to the body that amputation was impossible. and he died in a few hours.
An inquest was begun on Tuesday. A number of witnesses deposed to the facts mentioned above. The Coroner adjourned the inquiry till Monday next, in order that an inspection of the engine and the scene of the disaster might be made by a Government officer.
Another accident, but, fortunately, attended with no material personal injury, has happened on the Brighton and Hastings Railway, at Lewes: it arose from a similar neglect to that which caused the recent disaster at Pevensey. The Sussex Advertiser gives this account of it—" In order to afford the contractors facilities for the removal of rails and timber from the water-side, a temporary tram-road has very recently been constructed, running from the line to Spring Ditch,' a branch from the river, within about two or three hundred yards of the station. The line being several feet above the level of the meadows, and the distance to 'Spring Ditch' but trifling, the declivity of this tram-road is very sudden—say one in thirty. About eleven o'clock on Thursday, a special goods up-train, laden with hops and wool, started from Polegate station. On arriving at the spot we have described, the engine-driver perceived, that instead of his engine keeping the line she was entering the siding, and beginning to rash down the decline. Terrified by the danger, he lost all presence of mind; and, without waiting to reverse his engine, jumped off almost before he had entered the tram-road. Fortunately, the train was going very slowly—not above six or seven miles an hour; and he received no injury but a bruise or two on his knees, from falling on the chalk. The stoker took it more easily: waiting till the engine nearly. reached the level, picked out,' to use his own expression 'a soft place,' and ;unwed into the meadow unhurt. The en- gine rushed on' followed by the train; the impetus it had received from the very sudden descent forcing it some yards beyond the temporary rails, and up the steep hank of the ditch, over which it ploughed its way, falling headlong into the water; where, when we saw it, it was lying with the wheels of one side in the air. The tide was out, and at the bottom of the ditch lay a raft of heavy timbers; upon these timbers both engine and tender fell. One loaded track followed them over the bank, falling on the engine, the remainder being suddenly brought to a stand- still. This truck was loaded with pockets of hops; but, owing to the lowness of the tide, the water did not reach them." The points are self-acting, and are said to have been in good working order; so that how they got misplaced is a mystery.
A sad accident has happened at Iliddlethorp, a watering-place in Lincolnshire, near Alford. Mr. Rogers, the master of a boarding-school at Louth, took his scho- lam, about fifty in numbr, to Middlethorpe, for a day's pleasure. In the after- noon, a number of the lads bathed in the sea; five out of their depth, and were carried away by the tide: by great exertions Mr. Rogers saved two; but the other three—aged seventeen, sixteen, and fifteen—perished.
In emptying a kind of open cesspool attached to some houses at Chesterfield, about a fortnight ago, the labourers lighted on a mass of putrid matter, which they took to be the body of a sheep; closer inspection proved it to be the trunk of a man. The soil that had been taken out was searched, and the cesspool care- fully emptied; and the result was the shocking discovery that the various portions of a human being had been thrown into the receptacle: the trunk, the limbs, the head, were separate; some articles of clothing were on the remains, and others were found in the filth. On the legs were stockings, and these were fastened by garters; an inspection of which, and of the other articles of clothing, enabled the discoverers to identify the remains: they were those of a George Collis, who had been missed since December the 7th. The fact that the body had been dismembered, and that the skull exhibited a large fracture, at once excited suspicion that Collis had been murdered. When the young man disappeared, it was thought that he had fled the town from fear that a liaison which he had formed with a young woman would lead to unpleasant results: but it now appears that such a notion was unfounded. Suspicion attached to John Plans, a butcher with whom the deceased was in partnership; and he has been arrested: this man's mother is also in custody, and Henry Knight, his brother-in-law; Collis's watch having been traced to the pos- session of the latter.
An inquest has been held, and a mass of circumstnntial evidence was brought forward, implicating Platte. He and Collis had probably had some dispute about money. The Jury returned a verdict of "Wilful Murder" against Platts.
An inquest was held at Brighton, on Monday, on the body of James Allen, a young man who it was alleged had died from insufficiency ot food and excessive labour, while a prisoner in Lewes House of Correction. The relatives of the de- ceased stated that he had been confined for eight months; he was a miserable object when he was liberated: while in prison, and afterwards, he complained to them of not having enough food, and of being compelled to work at the wheel and do other severe labour while in a state of great weakness. On the other hand, the authori ties of the gaol declared the man had never complained. The Jury returned this verdict—" That the rigour of the sentence being fully carried into effect, and the insufficiency of the food, destroyed the constitution of the deceased; in conse- quence of which he died.
Mrs. Thompson, who was accused of robbing the bank at Berwick, was corn netted for trial by the Magistrates yesterday week. Bail to the extent of 2,0001. was accepted for her appearance her husband being surety for half the amount. During the investigation, the lady, though agitated, behaved with remarkable firmness.