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Samuel Baker's book on the Nile Tributaries,' which was not intended to contribute much that could be useful for the present expedition, a fair account has been given by Mr. Dufton, an observant traveller, and a collection has been put together by Mr. Hotten. The expedition will be accompanied by Dr. Krapf, the missionary, as interpreter, a gentleman well acquainted with both the Amharic and Tigree languages; by Mr. W. Blanford, as geologist; by Dr. Doitch, of the British Museum, as antiquarian and archæologist; and it was said, but it has been since contradicted, by Mr. Clements Markham, as geographer. By making these appointments, the Government have entitled themselves to the thanks of scientific men. It remains to be seen whether a more popular Parliament will support this step in the right direction.
The volcanic disturbances at Santorin have already excited considerable attention. Since our last Chronicle, Canea in Crete, Iceland, and Vesuvius, have been visited by perturbations; Candia, by an earthquake; Iceland and Vesuvius, by eruptions. In the former of these two the outbreak has been in a part of the island far from human habitation, and the extent of the outpouring is as yet unknown, and the site of the disturbance is probably almost inaccessible. In Vesuvius a new crater has been opened, and several streams of lava are issuing from this new mouth.
As we stated at first, a good deal has been done in the way of studying the antiquities of geography. Colonel Henry Yule has published for the Hakluyt Society the accounts of many travellers of the middle ages in Central Asia, and has summed up in an introductory essay the information to be gained therefrom. His work is entitled “Cathay, and the Way thither. A book called.' Heroes of Discovery,' by S. Mossman, gives lives of Magellan, Cook, Park, Franklin, and Livingstone. These are interesting and inciting to young people to follow in the footsteps of the “ Heroes.” M. Léonce Angrand has been studying the monuments of Peru with a view to discovering the condition of civilization of the ancient inhabitants, and has lately published the result of his researches. Reimer, of Berlin, has issued a map of great philological and ethnological value, by Herr Kiepart, showing the nationalities of the various Austrian States. Messrs. Macmillan also have published an atlas, in the form of a book, a useful and portable work for reference. Guide books to Lough Corrib, by Sir W. Wilde, and a Murray' for Yorkshire have also appeared.
PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY.
The President, Sir Roderick Murchison, in his annual address at the commencement of the session of 1867–68, confined his attention almost entirely to three points :—first, the fate of Dr.
ngaged a progressing Still, no news In the meantself. With;
Livingstone, and the boat expedition sent in search of him ; secondly, the geography of Abyssinia ; thirdly, the exploration of Central Greenland by Mr. E. Whymper. Mr. Young, in command of the expedition sent by the Government on the track of Livingstone, had met with every facility from the authorities at the Cape, had engaged a negro crew, entered the Congoni mouth of the Zambesi, and was progressing towards the accomplishment of his errand with all due speed. Still, no news could be expected from him until February or March in next year. In the meantime it is impossible to tell whither Livingstone may have betaken himself. With regard to the geography of Abyssinia, the value of this Society was likely to be now felt. Mr. Clements Markham, the honorary secretary, bas propared an account of the discoveries of the early Portuguese travellers, and the Society has been the centre around which all the geographical knowledge, now so important to the Government embarking in an expedition of which they are unable to realize the difficulties, has been collected, the whole nation in this way participating in the benefit accruing to scientific research, for which they are so unwilling to pay. Already the Topographical Department, under Sir H. James, have been busy in systematizing the information afforded by former travellers, whilst private geographers, Mr. Wyld, Mr. Keith Johnston, and Mr. Peterman have been engaged on maps that will elucidate the passage of the English army. Sir Samuel Baker has contributed somewhat to our knowledge of the water system of this country, and has especially shown that the fertilization of Egypt by the waters of the Nile is attributable to the soil carried down the Abyssinian tributaries, rather than to the more regular sources of the constant flow which traverse larger portions of the continent. It is expected that some new papers will be read on various explorations of Central America, and it is to be hoped that before long an account will be given by Mr. Whymper, of Greenland, whence he has just returned, having accomplished an inland journey not quite so extensive as he had intended, but which will considerably increase our knowledge of the animal and vege table life of the interior of that country.
The first paper read this session was by Mr. Clements Markham, “On the Portuguese Expeditions to Abyssinia, from the Fifteenth to the Seventeenth Centuries." All that was known of Abyssinia down to the time of Bruce was the result of the discoveries of the Portuguese, who had performed wonders in discovery for such a small nation. King John II. despatched two of his subjects, one of whom penetrated to the court of the Negus or Emperor Alexander, in 1450, where he was detained by this predecessor of Theodorus, and never again allowed to quit the country ;-rather a bad omen for Colonel Cameron and Mr. Rassam. This Portuguese was alive in 1520, when a second embassy arrived, who were detained six years, after which some members were dismissed. In answer to a request sent to Lisbon, a small Portuguese force was sent in 1541, to assist the Abyssinians against the Moors. They lost their leader and were defeated in the service, and after that were treated with great ingratitude by those whom they went to assist. They left behind them a fortified convent of Jesuits, who remained until they were expelled from the country in 1633, having made scarcely any converts from the primitive form of Christianity held by the natives.
At the next meeting of the Society, letters were read from Dr. Kirk and the Vice-consul at Zanzibar, giving some information about the existence of Dr. Livingstone. It seems that a native had arrived at the coast from Bagamoyo, who reported that when with a party who had travelled the regular route to Wemba and Maranga, he had seen a white man, who arrived at the village the caravans were passing through, with a party of thirteen blacks, which is the number of the young negroes Dr. Livingstone is known to have had with him. The white man was not a trader, for he refused ivory offered to him. On being shown a number of photographs, the native recognized one of Dr. Livingstone as that of the white man he had met, though he passed over another better likeness of the same person without remark. Dr. Kirk hoped shortly to see the head man of the caravan and the others who accompanied him, and thus obtain some further information, but this is sufficient to put an end for ever to the account of the man Moosa, whose lies it is extraordinary should ever have taken possession of men of understanding and knowledge of the subject. An artificial excitement on this one topic of the exploration of Central African lakes, engendered within the walls of the Royal Geographical Society, is the only explanation of the phenomenon that clever, cautious, and wellinformed persons should be taken in by the mendacious accounts of men proved to be utterly unworthy of credit, and when once committed to an opinion, these men have maintained with sophistical arguments the opinion they had uttered, at the peril of their reputation for common sense.
A paper by Mr. Collinson, on a hitherto unexplored part of Nicaragua demonstrates the possibility of a railroad over that portion of Central America. The whole ground had been traversed, the gradients are moderate, the climate comparatively good, and the distance not great.
8. GEOLOGY AND PALÆONTOLOGY.
(Including the Proceedings of the Geological Society.) The last volume (xxii.) of the Memoirs of the Royal Academy of Sciences of Turin contains an important contribution to Fossil Botany, entitled “ Matériaux pour servir à la Paléontologie du Terrain Tertiaire du Piémont. Première Partie: Végétaux.” By M. Eugène Sismonda. The descriptions, and especially the numerous figures, of these Tertiary plants must possess the highest interest for botanists generally, and must be of great utility to those who make fossil floras their especial study. M. Sismonda has been able to distinguish in the plant-bearing deposits of Piedmont five different floras : namely, (1) Eocene, (2) Lower Miocene, (3) Middle Miocene, (4) Upper Miocene, and (5) Pliocene.
The Eocene flora is chiefly characterized in Italy by Fucoids, the species being but three in number: Chondrites Targionii, C. furcatus, and C. arbuscula. This poverty is not surprising when it is considered that the animal-remains of the same period are not at all abundant. The Lower Miocene deposits are very rich in plant-remains, and some of them include considerable beds of lignite. They belong to two classes : namely, (1) the lacustrine and lignitiferous beds; and (2) the litoral marine deposits, almost barren of lignite. The distribution of these two classes enables one to trace the Italian shore of the sea of the Older Miocene Period. Some discussion has arisen regarding the division of the Tertiary epoch to which these beds properly belong; but, as with all such discussions, no satisfactory termination seems possible; M. Sismonda has therefore done wisely, we think, in considering the two terms (Upper Nummulitic and Lower Miocene) as synonymous. The Middle Miocene deposits are the most rich in plant-remains of any in Italy; but they contain no beds of lignite. Their most celebrated locality is the Superga, near Turin, where no less than fifty species have been discovered. The deposit at Sarzanello appears to be slightly younger than that of the Superga. The Upper Miocene deposits are likewise rich in species, sixty-six being described by the authors. The Pliocene flora is very poor.
The interest of a critical comparison between the plants of these Miocene deposits and those of the same age found on the other side of the Alps would be very great, and would go far towards either proving or disproving the theory of the recent elevation of that range of mountains.
A new series of the ‘Boston Journal of Natural History' has recently been commenced under the title of “Memoirs read before the Boston Society of Natural History,” and in the first volume is an elaborate paper by Dr. A. S. Packard, jun., on the Glacial Phenomena of Labrador and Maine. On the Laurentian and Huronian rocks of the Labrador Peninsula few superficial deposits occur, the region having evidently been exposed to the most intense denuding action of glaciers, prolonged over a period much longer than even in Canada. The whole of the Plateau has been moulded by ice to a height of at least 2,500 feet above the level of the sea; but owing to the extensive weathering of the rocks, glacial grooves and scratches occur very rarely below a height of from 500 to 800 feet from the sea-level, up to which point the action of the waves and of shore-ice has obliterated all traces of striæ, and also of loose drift. It is also important to notice that the present contour of the coast, from the sea-level to a height of 500 feet, also extends to at least 300 feet below the surface of the water. The whole surface of the country is strewn thickly with boulders, especially above the height already mentioned. About 400 feet above the present coast-line are some fine examples of raised beaches and rock-shelves, representing ancient coast-lines ; and there are others, apparently of the same origin, at great heights in the interior of the southern part of the Peninsula. Some beaches were also observed by the author, apparently very recently raised above the sea-level, so as to be just beyond the reach of the waves; and he therefore infers that the land is slowly gaining on the sea. At the mouths of certain rivers, and situated just above high-water mark, there occur deposits of clay, known as Leda-clays, containing marine and estuarine fossils. The author draws some interesting conclusions from these phenomena, and supplements his paper by an account of the recent invertebrate fauna of the region.
In the same volume is a very able paper, entitled “ An Inquiry into the Zoological Relations of the first-discovered traces of Fossil Neuropterous Insects in North America ; with remarks on the difference of structure in the Wings of living Neuroptera ;" its title is a sufficient index of its scope and character.
Dr. J. S. Newberry has examined the fossil plants from the Chinese coal-bearing rocks, discovered by Mr. Pumpelly, and has determined them to be of Mesozoic age. The collection includes Cycads of the genera Podozamites and Pterozamites, closely allied to known European and American species, if not identical with them. There are also representatives of the genera Sphenopteris and Hymenophyllites, and a species of Pecopteris, which is doubtfully referred to the well-known P. Whitbiensis. The precise age of the beds cannot be determined with certainty; but they are either Jurassic or Triassic.
The thirteenth volume of the 'Proceedings of the Somersetshire Archæological Society' contains a valuable paper “On the Middle and Upper Lias of the South-west of England," by Mr. Charles