Sidebilder
PDF

From the correspondence with the respective collectors, and reports which have been made to the President, it will appear, That the purchase of a custom-house at Boston has cost, $29,000 00 That a purchase has been authorized at New-York at a price not exceeding That a purchase has been authorized at Philadelphia at a price, for the site and the buildings to be erected, which will probably amount &o - -

55,000 00

65,000 00 149,000 00 That a negotiation has taken place with the trustees for building an exchange at Baltimore, who offer to erect and convey to the government a suitable establishment, being part of the exchange, for And that a site and building may be purchased at Charleston for the sum of

70,000 00

50,000 00

[blocks in formation]

the growing commerce of those

cities.

4. The Legislative calls for information. Several resolutions were passed during the last session of congress, requiring information at the next session upon various subjects; and arrangements have been made to enable the department to report. The resolulutions and correspondence on file will furnish the particulars.

5. The Case of Hoyt vs. Gelston et al. In consequence of instructions issued from the treasury department, by authority of the president, the collector and surveyor of the port of New-York seized the ship called “ the American Eagle,” under the charge of being illegally armed and equipped within the United States, for the purpose of waging hostilities against a friendly foreign power. Upon a trial in the district court of New-York, the vessel was ordered to be restored, and the judge refused to grant a certificate that there was a probable cause of seizure. The owner brought an action of trespass against the seizing officers, in the state court, and recovered damages to the amount of $107,369 43. The cause has been transferred by order of the president, from the court of

u errors in New-York, to the supreme court of the United States, where it is now depending for a final judgment; and, probably, the judgment will be rendered at February term next. As the collector and surveyor acted in obedience to their orders, they appear to be entitled to an indemnity from the government. The subject was, therefore, submitted to the omittee of ways and means, 3

at the last session; and a report was made by the committee in favour of the proposed indemnity. It is important that the report should be taken up and decided, early in the next session. All the facts and proceedings in the case, may be traced in the report of this department to the senate, during the session ending in 1815; and in the report made to the committee of ways and means, during the session ending in 1816. 1. The Direct Tar of Georgia. The legislature of Georgia assumed the quota of the direct tax, imE. upon that state for 1816; ut the governor did not give notice of the assumption within the period prescribed by law, although the amount of tax was remitted to the treasury, in certain drafts, before the day fixed for paying it, in order to entitle the state to the abatement of fifteen per cent. Under these circumstances, the gross amount of the quota has been paid into the treasury, subject to the relief which congress may hereafter provide. All which is respectfully submitted, (Signed) A. J. DALLAS. Treasury Defiartment, Señtember 20th, 1816.

[blocks in formation]

BRIEF SKETCH OF SCIENTIFIC LABOURS

DURING THE YEAR 18 16.

r THE following notice of Philosophical papers for 1816, will be brief, because the nature of this miscellaneous volume will not admit of a detailed account; and it must be incomplete, as the periodical publications from Great Britain have arrived no later than for the month of November, and from the Continent to the middle of the year only, when this sketch was finished: but the earlier the public is made acquainted with the progress of science, the better; for needless investigation is prevented, and useful research stimulated by a speedy communication of the labours of the learned, and of the progress made by others engaged in similar pursuits. Thomas Cooper, Philadelphia. December, 1816.

ASTRONOMY.

Last January, Pons at Marseilles, discovered a new comet in the neighbourhood of the Pole. The light was feeble, so that it could not be observed with accuracy. M. M. Bonsard and Arago observed it at Paris. On comparing this observation with that of Pons, M. Burckhardt determined its elements by approximation at its pe. rihelion:

Inclination, - 430 5' 26" Ascending Node, 323 14 56 Long. of Perihelion, 267 35, 36 Passage to the Perihelion, March 1, 1816, at 8 hours 27 seconds. Journ. de Ph. Ap. 1816, p. 326. Dr. Herschell in a memoir on

the Satellites of the Georgian Planet, has ascertained the existence of two of these bodies. The first, which performs a synodical revolution about the planet in 81 16' 56' 52": the second in 13d 11h 8'59". He renders it probable that there exists a satellite nearer the planet than either of these two, and that there are several exterior satellites.

METEORGLOGY.

M. Leopold de Buch has published a very interesting memoir on the limits of perpetual snow in Northern climates. It was read at the Institute, March 1810, but not published till 1816, at the end of the French translation, by M. Eyriès, of “Travels into Norway and Lapland.” The editors of the Ann. de Chimie for June, 1816, regret that they are compelled to abridge this memoir, of which the limits of this sketch will hardly permit more than a notice.

M. Buch has remarked that the limits of the pine and the birch (betula alba) differ but 245 metres (803,8 feet English); and the limits of the birch and the line of snow 578 metres. At North Cape (in lat. about 7.1) the lines are as follows:

Metres. The Pine, (Pinus sylvestris) disappears at 237 above the sea coast. The Birch, (Betula alba) 482 The Myrtle, (Vaccinium

*

myrtillus) - - 620 Mountain Willow, (Salix

mirsinites) - - - 656 Dwarf Birch, (Betula

nana) - - - 836

Snow ceases to melt at 1060

These relative differences are the same in Norway and in Lapland, although the absolute heights may be different. Thus, if we see the pines disappear at 980 metres, we shall find the birch disappear at 980-1-245 = 1225 metres; and the line of perpetual snow will be at 1225+578 = 1803 metres. The absolute height of these lines, will depend, not merely on latitude, but on the vicinity of mountains, their height, and their extent. The line of perpetual snow is lower in the neighbourhood of extensive chains of mountains, than on the sides or in the vicinity of a solitary peak. The line of perpetual snow also depends, chiefly perhaps, on the temperature of those months during which the snow might melt; it does not depend merely on mesne temperature. Thus, in the interior of the Gulph of Alten, the the mesne degree of the thermometer is less than at North Cape, yet the line of constant snow is more elevated. This happens, because an annual mesne temperature may result from mesne monthly temperatures very different. Thus, at Mageroe in lat. 714, and at Uleoberg in lat 65, the mesne annual temperatures differ but little, the first being +0,03 and the last +0,63. But at Uleoberg the summer months are greatly warmer than at Mageroe, although the winter months are colder. Hence the line of perpetual snow, being regulated chiefly by the temperature summer months, becomes in some sort, a measure of the force of vegetation, which must of necessity depend on the temperatures above the freezing point.

The line of perpetual snow in different latitudes has been profoundly discussed in Humboldt's Prolegomena de distributione geographică plantarum. His conclu

sions on this subject (on isothermal lines) are briefly these: 1st. Between the tropics from lat. O. to 10. among the Cordillieras of the new world, the limit of perpetual snow is at 4796 metres, or 2460 toises, (15735 English feet nearly.) The mean temperature of the air at this height, is not zero, as Bonguer and some other observers after him have fixed it, but at 1% of the centigrade thermometer. 2. Between the latitudes of 19 and 21 North, at Mexico, at the commencement of the torrid zone, perpetual snow is found, at 4580 metres, or 2350 toises, (15026 feet English.) 3. Under the temperate zone, at Caucasus in lat. 42 and 43, the height of this line, according to M. M. Engelhardt and Parrot, is at 3216 metres or 1650 toises. 4. In the Pyrenees lat. 424 to 43, M. Raimond found the snow permanent at 2729 metres, or 1400 toises. At this height, the mesne annual temperature is — 3,5. (three and a half degrees below zero of the centigrade thermometer.) These differences in the heights respectively at which the line of perpetual snow is found, depend on the circumstances alread noted by M. Buch of the height of the mountains, the extent of the chain, and the mesne temperature of the summer months. 5. The mesne (average) of the observations recently published by M. Wahlenberg, gives for the line of snow in the Alps, lat. 45; to 46}, 2670 metres or 1370 toises. At this height, the annual temperature is — 4. The mesne of winter temperature is – 10; that of summer + 6. 6. The mesne temperature of the year, at the height where M.

Buch found perpetual snow in lat. 68, is – 6. That of the winter – 204, that of the summer + 94. From the parallel of lat. of Popocatapec in Mexico, to Etna, the line of perpetual snow has not been determined by direct observation. It follows from the researches of M. de Humboldt that this limit at the Peak of Teneriffe, in lat. 280. 17”. ought to be 3800 metres or 1950 toises; but the height of this mountain is only 37.11 metres or 1904 toises, so that if the Peak of Teneriffe is free from snow during summer, this does not arise from any effect of volcanic fires within the bowels of the mountain, but want of height. It may be curious to trace the progress of this branch of science of late years, by comparing the heights of Kirwan, with those of actual observation.

[blocks in formation]

Journal of Science and the Arts, No. 3, well deserves an attentive perusal.

Mr. Daniel Wilson of Dublin has contrived a new hygrometer, which promises to be more accurate and delicate than those heretofore in use. He takes the urinary bladder of a rat, which is a small, stout, spherical body; and ties it firmly to the lower extremity of a thermometer tube. The thermometer is then filled with mercury; so that when the bladder is exposed to a perfectly moist atmosphere the mercury stands near the bottom of the tube. This point is marked zero. The instru. ment is now suspended in a glass vessel together with a quantity of strong sulphuric acid, so as to render the atmosphere around it as dry as possible. The dimensions of the bladder somewhat diminish, in consequence of which the mercury rises in the tube. The point at which it remains stationary is marked 100°, and the distance between 0 and 100 is divided into 100 equal parts or degrees; so that O on this instrument, denotes extreme moisture. and 100 extreme dryness. Mr. Thompson proposes to reverse the scale, by placing 0 at the point of extreme dryness and 100 at the point of extreme moisture. This instrument is so delicate that the approach of the hand makes it sink several degrees. Mr. Wilson has made comparative experiments with these instruments for more than a year, during which time they did not alter their nature, but corresponded correctly with each other at the end of the time. Mr. Wilson has patented this invention. Thomps. Ann. Aug. 1816, p. 154.

« ForrigeFortsett »