Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute/Volume 9/Auckland Institute


First Meeting. 3rd July, 1876.

His Honour Mr. Justice Gillies, President, in the chair.

New Members.—H. F. Anderson, J. Anderson, W. T. Ball, E. Bartley, A. Brock, T. Buddle, Capt. H. Burton, R. C. Carr, A. Clark, J. Cosgrave, T. Crook, R. Dickson, J. Edson, A. T. George, G. S. Graham, J. Grey, W. Grey, F. A. Hartmann, M.D., Rev. R. S. Hassard, M.A., J. S. Henton, W. J. Hurst, B. Ireland, G. H. Lavers, J. M. Lennox, S. Luke, T. S. Masefield, W. P. Moat, J. M. Mowbray, H. Palmer, G. P. Pierce, James Russell, Capt. Thomas, Neil Thomson, H. W. Tinne, Rev. A. R. Tomlinson, M.A., S. Vickers, G. W. Waller, E. B. Wilcox, Charles Williamson, J. W. Williams, J. Winks, H. Worthington.


The President then addressed the meeting. He had to congratulate them on the successful completion and inauguration of their new Institute and Museum buildings; but at the same time he hoped that the members would not conclude that their labours were ended,—he might, in fact, say that they were only now commenced. They must remember that the building was encumbered with a debt amounting to half its cost, the interest on which would have to be provided. Increased accommodation would also imply increased expenditure; and looking at these facts, he was of opinion that their present revenue would have to be doubled in order to carry on the Society in a successful manner. They had also to fill their Museum—for what they had at present was quite insufficient. On this subject he would remark that everything sent to the Museum was not necessarily given to it. There was a provision in the Act under which they were incorporated, that allowed any person to deposit an article and obtain a receipt for it, which would enable him to reclaim it at any time he chose. He wished this to be generally known, for he believed that many would lend what they would not be inclined to give. He then alluded to the constitution of the Society, which, by referring to their printed rules, they would find was established for the "promotion of Art, Science, and Literature." It appeared to him that hitherto they had done little for Art; and that they ought now to pay some attention to a part of their original programme which, principally from want of proper accommodation, had been almost entirely neglected. He had also to thank them for having for the third time elected him as their President. At the same time, he thought it would be for the good of the Society if the President was changed as often as possible;—that every working member should have an opportunity of looking forward to occupying the chair which he (Judge Gillies) considered it an honour for anyone to hold. He had always attributed the reluctance which many evinced to taking the office of President to the practice hitherto followed of the President delivering an opening address. He saw no reason why this custom should continue. He thought that, probably, as much information could be obtained from reading a non-original address as from an original one; and seeing that on two occasions he had followed the usual practice he had now taken upon himself to break through the rule simply for the purpose of inducing members not to be deterred from taking the position of President from the fear of having to prepare an opening address. He would, therefore, read to them some portions of an address by Prof. J. P. Cooke, delivered at Harvard College, on 7th January, 1875.

1. "On the Fertilisation of Selliera," by T. F. Cheeseman, F.L.S. (Transactions, p. 542.)

Mr. Firth stated that he had frequently heard it asserted that red clover could not be fertilised in New Zealand on account of the absence of the humble bee. For the last year or two he had known this to be incorrect, so far as regards the clover on his estate at Matamata, and during the recent season he had gathered several tons of seed. The clover was mown at the commencement of summer, and the seed was obtained from the second growth. He was not aware how fertilisation had been effected in this case, but, considering the amount of clover seed imported, he thought that the fact ought to be known.

Mr. Cheeseman said it was well known that the flowers produced by red clover late in the season, and after it had been mown, were slightly shorter than before. The difference was slight, but sufficient to allow the common hive bee to reach the nectar. The bees then regularly visited the flowers, and more or less fertilised them.

Mr. Hay stated that eighteen years ago he had obtained a pound weight of seed from a patch of clover not four yards square. He could not say whether the clover was fertilised by the wind or by moths, but there were very few bees about at the time. He recommended the introduction of humble bees to the attention of the local Acclimatisation Society.

2. "On Insects injurious to the Kauri Pine," by Captain T. Broun. (Transactions, p. 366.)

This paper was accompanied by specimens of the insects mentioned therein, and by pieces of timber showing their ravages.

Dr. Purchas stated that one beetle, which he did not observe among those sent by Captain Broun, had been imported from England, and was doing incalculable injury. He knew a house, the kauri lining of which had been reduced by it to a mass of dust. It appeared, however, only to attack sappy timber.

Second Meeting. 7th August, 1876.

His Honour Mr. Justice Gillies, President, in the chair.

New Members.—H. P. Barber, T. Cranwell, Dr. Hooper, W. F. Lodge, James Runciman.

1. The Secretary read a letter from Sir G. Grey, K.C.B., referring to the Maori Rat, as follows:—

"In the year 1848 or 1849, Mr. Torlesse caught on the Canterbury Plains a Native Rat, of which he gave the skin to me. I showed it to several Natives, who all stated that it was the Native Rat. Ultimately I sent it to the British Museum, and Dr. J. E. Gray wrote to me upon the subject. These facts, and his letter, have been alluded to in the 'Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute.' Accidentally, I, the other day, found Dr. Gray's letter, and now send you the extract from it which relates to the rat-skin which I sent to him:—


"'British Museum, 4th February, 1850. * * * I have not been able to discover any satisfactory character to separate the Native Rat which you sent me, from the Rat of India and Australia, and suppose that it must have been originally introduced from thence by the early vessels.—Yours, etc., J. E. Gray.'"

2. "Description of a new Species of the Genus Cicindela," by Captain T. Broun. (Transactions, p. 374.)

3. "Description of some new Species of Coleoptera," by Capt. T. Broun. (Transactions, p. 371.)

Third Meeting. 4th September, 1876.

The Honourable Colonel Haultain in the chair.

New Members.—F. G. Ewington, D. Fallon, A. Rubery.

1. "Notes on the approaching Eclipse, to take place on 18th September, 1876," by T. Heale.


From the time of the publication of Mr. Bailly's paper, in 1836, on the luminous prominences seen round the limb of the moon during a total eclipse—and which were thence named "Bailly's beads"—down to the eclipse of 1870, total eclipses of the sun were looked to by astronomers and physicists with the greatest anxiety; and expeditions were fitted out to the most distant places to observe the phenomena of the corona with the best procurable instruments. The suggestion made by Mr. Norman Lockyer, in 1866, and afterwards independently by M. Janssen, while observing the eclipse of August, 1868—that the prominence lines in the corona, which until then had only been seen in eclipses, might be rendered visible during sunlight by the use of spectroscopes with sufficient dispersive power—has taken away almost all the interest from the phenomenon, and we hear no longer of expeditions for its observation; but, still, we ought not to pass over the occurrence of an eclipse which will be total very near to us, and which will be large here, without some notice.

The eclipse of the 18th of this month will be total over a long oblique line, from about lat. 58° S. to near the equator; and from long. 85° W. to 145° E. The line of totality will, however, be very narrow along the whole of that long line: it will vary from about 15 miles where the moon is near the horizon, to about 55 miles in width where the moon is vertical, and her shadow is consequently widest. The times, therefore, during which the total phase of the eclipse will last will vary from 29sec. to 1min. and 48sec.

Here, about one-half the sun's disc will be covered: the first contact will be a few seconds after eight in the morning (Telegraph time), the greatest phase will be reached at nearly nine minutes past nine, and the last contact will be at 10hr. 17min. 24sec.

At the East Cape the eclipse will be considerably larger, nearly two-thirds of the sun's diameter being covered. At Wellington, the times of first and last contact will be slightly different, and .48 of the sun's disc obscured.

The accurate computation for any particular place of the circumstances of a solar eclipse from the elements given in the Nautical Almanac is a very simple and easily intelligible matter. It involves the getting out the spherical co-ordinates of the moon's parallax in altitude at times assumed to be pretty near those of the beginning and ending of the eclipse. By applying these to the R.A. and declination of the moon, taken out for these times from the Nautical Almanac, it is obvious that we shall get the accurate apparent position of the moon; the sun's place can then very easily be taken out for the same times, and from their comparison we obtain the differences in R.A. and declination of their centres at those moments. If, then, the assumed times were exactly those of the contact of the limbs it is obvious that the hypothenuse of the pair of right-angled triangles now pointed out on the diagram exhibited would, each of them, exactly agree with the sum of the apparent semi-diameter at the same moment. In practice, of course, this is rarely or never the case, but the error is capable of being easily computed.

Still, this method is not rigorously exact, since the triangles are nearly spherical, and the moon's motion, which is assumed uniform and rectilinear for the interval between the first and last contacts, is really subject to appreciable variation from the assumption in both respects. A more strictly accurate method is that known as Bessel's, which is based on the true law of the cone, and takes into account every possible element of variation. But this method involves the use of a great number of logarithmic quantities, some of which, being dependent on the latitude and longitude, are constant for any particular place, and may be computed once for all for a particular station, as an Observatory. A number of others are constants for each eclipse or occultation for any part of the world, and these are all given in that fine publication, the "American Nautical Almanac." To anyone in possession of these two sets of constants, the computation, though tedious, is not difficult; but to get out all these quantities for a single eclipse would be a labour far too great to undertake, unless peculiar circumstances demanded it.

2. "The Elements of Mathematics," by J. Adams, B.A. (Transactions, p. 309.)

Mr. Heale agreed for the most part with the views expressed by Mr. Adams. It had always appeared to him that the time occupied in teaching boys the six books of Euclid was to a great extent wasted. No doubt the general method of Euclid, so elaborate and logical, was of essential service in education, but to avail oneself of this it was not necessary to wade through the whole of the propositions. On the contrary, a very small number would be sufficient. So long, however, as Euclid was retained in the Universities and examinations at home, he feared it would be premature to make any change here.

Fourth Meeting. 2nd October, 1876.

His Honour Mr. Justice Gillies, President, in the chair.

New Members.—J. Rees George, L. Lessong, Ph.D., M. Niccol, T. Niccol, Lewis Rye, F. H. Troup, A. Judd.

An animated discussion took place on Mr. Adams's paper on Euclid, read at the last meeting.

1. "On Savage and Barbaric Survivals in Marriage," by the Rev. J. Wallis, D.D. (Transactions, p. 249.)

2. "On Lime as a Manure; and its beneficial Effects when applied to the Cultivation of the Soil," by D. Hay. (Transactions, p. 206.)

Fifth Meeting. 30th October, 1876.

His Honour Mr. Justice Gillies, President, in the chair.

New Members.—T. Broham, Rev. T. Buddle.

The nomination for the election of honorary members of the New Zealand Institute was made in accordance with Statute IV.

Mr. T. Kirk, F.L.S., was chosen to vote in the election of the Board of Governors for the ensuing year, in accordance with Clause 7 of the New Zealand Institute Act.

1. The President spoke at some length on Dr. Wallis's paper on "Savage and Barbaric Survivals in Marriage," read at the last meeting. He expressed the thanks of the Society to Dr. Wallis for bringing the subject up, although it was rather hackneyed, and woman's rights in these days were often more spoken of than her duties. He quite agreed with Dr. Wallis, that married women suffered from great legal disabilities, but he could not consider these disabilities to be "savage and barbaric survivals." They were rather to be attributed to the fact that marriage had been made a religious ceremony, and that, consequently, customs had become incorporated with it which had not existed in any shape whatever in the earlier ages. The paper read by Dr. Wallis appeared to him to be largely based on an article which recently appeared in the Westminster Review. Unfortunately, however, Dr. Wallis had accepted as facts statements made by this writer which were no facts at all. He then took exception to the account given by Dr. Wallis of marriage among the Romans, and briefly touched on several of the customs considered by Dr. Wallis to be survivals.

2. Mr. J. A. Pond severely criticised the paper read at the last meeting by Mr. Hay, "On Lime as a Fertiliser." He stated that a large number of chemical points had been brought up in the paper, the majority of which were treated in an entirely erroneous manner. To prove this, he had only to quote certain passages referring to the chemical composition of various soils and manures, the contradictory statements attending the use and presence of sulphuric acid, and the error of classifying clay, flint, magnesia, and iron as "salts." He trusted that, in future, the Council of the Society would not receive papers so loosely written and so radically erroneous.

3. "Stray Thoughts on Mahori or Maori Migrations," by R. C. Barstow. (Transactions, p. 229.)

Sixth Meeting. 27th November, 1876.

T. Heale in the chair.

New Members.—W. Cameron, J. B. Russell, T. Weston.

The Chairman reviewed at some length the progress made by the Society during the year, and its present prospects; after which, the papers read at the preceding meeting were discussed.

1. "Notes on Quartz Crushing at the Thames," by J. Goodall, C.E. (Transactions, p. 209.)

2. "On the Geology of Northern Hawke Bay," by S. Percy Smith.

The Chairman drew the attention of the meeting to a large collection of objects of natural history, &c., presented to the Museum by the Rev. G. Brown, C.M.Z.S., who had resided for the last two years on the little-known islands of New Britain and New Ireland.

Annual General Meeting. 19th February, 1877.

J. C. Firth in the chair.

New Members.—H. T. Carr, C.E., E. M. Harrison, H. Pollen, J. C. Seccombe.

The Secretary read the annual report and balance-sheet.

Abstract of Annual Report.

The Council congratulate the members on the removal of many of the obstacles that for so long a period have impeded the proper development of the Institute. Since the last annual meeting the new Museum buildings have been completed and opened to the public, and through the receipt of the grant of £2,200 voted during the last session of Parliament, are now entirely free from debt. Numerous donations have been made to the Museum, among them a portion of the extensive collections made on the islands of New Britain and New Ireland, by the Rev. G. Brown, C.M.Z.S. The Library formerly belonging to the Auckland Provincial Council, consisting of 2,500 volumes of well-selected works, has been placed by the Government in the keeping of the Institute, and, together with that of the Institute, is now being maintained as a Free Public Library for the inhabitants of Auckland. Since the 1st December last, both the Museum and Library have been opened to the public daily.

On the motion of Mr. Firth, the report was adopted.

Election of Officers for 1877.—President—R. C. Barstow, R.M.; Council—J. L. Campbell, M.D., J. C. Firth, His Honour Mr. Justice Gillies, J. Goodall, the Hon. Col. Haultain, T. Heale, G. M. Mitford, J. A. Pond, Rev. A. G. Purchas, M.R.C.S.E., J. Stewart, C.E., the Hon. F. Whitaker; Auditor—T. Macffarlane; Secretary and Treasurer—T. F. Cheeseman, F.L.S.