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MEMOIR OF SIR JOSEPH BANKS.
compelled to pass the night on shore. A seaman and a black servant who accompanied them fell victims to the excessive fatigue and cold ; and it was with considerable difficulty that Dr. Solander was rescued from a similar fate. Indeed the ultimate escape and safety of the party was attributed to the energy and presence of mind which Sir Joseph displayed under the very trying circumstances in which they were placed.
In proceeding from thence, many valuable acquisitions were made of ornithological specimens, and it is particularly recorded that Sir Joseph Banks in the course of one day killed as many as sixty-two birds with his own hand, of which number a great proportion had till then been undescribed.
The expedition arrived at Otaheite in April 1769. They remained there three months, and Sir Joseph Banks, on account of his many useful and agreeable qualities, became a general favourite. His energetic character again displayed itself in many instances, particularly in recovering the quadrant which had been stolen by some of the natives, and the loss of which would have proved of very serious consequence to the main object of the expedition.
From Otaheite they proceeded to New Zealand, and to the eastern coast of New Holland, which they called New South Wales. The well known name of Botany Bay was also given by them, in consequence of the numerous botanical specimens collected there by Sir Joseph Banks and Dr. Solander. Whilst at New South Wales a very mortifying accident occurred, which destroyed a great part of the valuable and interesting collection, in obtaining which so much time and labour had been expended. The vessel struck upon a rock, and was considerably damaged; and afterwards, whilst undergoing repair, still further mischief was occasioned by the rushing in of the sea. It may readily be conceived how acutely these disasters were felt by the subject of our present memoir.
The expedition afterwards sailed for New Guinea, and on their return touched at Batavia, where a great part of the crew perished from fever. In June 1771 the vessel arrived in the Downs, and Sir Joseph Banks was welcomed home by numerous friends and admirers of his public and scientific character. He received from all the celebrated literary characters, and from the public in general, the respect due to his talents and his energy.
Another expedition was projected under Captain Cook in 1772, in search of the Southern continent; and Sir Joseph Banks made great preparations, and intended to have again
MEMOIR OF SIR JOSEH BANKS.
joined the party, but owing to circumstances connected with the vessel, he altered his determination, and did not accompany the expedition. His active mind could not, however, remain long unemployed, and he determined on a voyage to Iceland and the Western Islands of Scotland, as well for the purpose of making scientific researches as of giving employment to those persons whom he had engaged under the expectation of joining the expedition under Captain Cook last alluded to. In the course of this voyage Sir Joseph Banks visited Staffa, and explored the Cave of Fingal (then almost unknown), and other curiosities. On reaching Iceland they commenced their researches, and made many valuable additions to what was then known of the products of this island. They also reached the summit of Mount Hecla, after an arduous journey of twelve days.
After the return of Sir Joseph Banks from this expedition he did not again leave his native shore, but continued to reside at home, extending his valuable collection of specimens in all the branches of natural history, and applying his scientific and experienced mind to a variety of subjects connected with his favourite study. His house became the general resort for scientific characters from all countries, and he himself was visited by persons of all ranks.
In 1777, on the retirement of Sir John Pringle, Sir Joseph Banks was appointed President of the Royal Society. That he was qualified to fill this important station seems to have been generally admitted ; and although it would show a want of candour and impartiality if we did not state, that some faults were occasionally discovered in the conduct of Sir Joseph as President, yet upon the whole we believe we are justified in saying, that he presided over this learned Society with great credit to himself, and great advantage to the institution.
It was not until 1781 that he was created a baronet. We have been therefore rather inaccurate in speaking of him as Sir Joseph Banks prior to this period. He was subsequently created a Knight of the Bath. He took an active part in the foundation of the African Association, and was also one of the chief promoters or founders of the Horticultural Society.
He died 19th May, 1820, at his house in Soho Square, having bequeathed his valuable museum for the benefit of his country, and which now forms a valuable part of the British Museum.
CLEARNESS OF THE SEA AT THE NORTH CAPE.
The following interesting description of the appearance of the Northern Sea is given by Capell Brooke, in his Travels to the North Cape.
“ Nothing can be more surprising and beautiful than the singular clearness of the water of the northern seas. As we passed slowly over the surface, the bottom, which was in general a white sand, was clearly visible, with its minutest objects, where the depth was from twenty to twenty-five fathoms. During the whole course of the tour I made, nothing appeared to me so extraordinary as the inmost recesses of the deep thus unveiled to the eye. The surface of the ocean was unruffled by the slightest breeze, and the gentle splashing of the oars scarcely disturbed it. Hanging over the gunwale of the boat with wonder and delight, I gazed on the slowly moving scene below. Where the bottom was sandy, the different kinds of Asteriæ and Echini, and even the smallest shells, appeared at that great depth conspicuous to the eye ; and the water seemed in some measure to have the effect of a magnifier, by enlarging the objects like a telescope, and bringing them nearer. Now creeping along, we saw, far beneath, the rugged sides of a mountain rising towards our boat, the base of which perhaps was hidden some miles in the great depth below. Though moving on a level surface, it seemed almost as if we were ascending the height under us; and when we passed over its summit, which rose in appearance to within a few feet of our boat, and came again to the descent, which on this side was suddenly perpendicular, and overlooking a watery gulf, as we pushed gently over the last part of it, it seemed almost as if we had thrown ourselves down this precipice; the illusion, from the crystal clearness of the deep, actually producing a sudden start. Now we came again to a plain ; and passed slowly over the submarine forests and meadows which appeared in the expanse below, inhabited, doubtless, by thousands of animals unknown to man; and I could sometimes observe large fishes of a singular shape gliding softly through the watery thickets, unconscious of what was moving above them. As we proceeded the bottom became no longer visible : its fairy scenes gradually faded to the view, and were lost in the dark green depths of the ocean. ”
THE ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS.
do not pre
Although the Gardens at this season of the
year sent such numerous inducements to strangers, as in spring or summer, when the ride or walk, and the choice collection of plants and flowers with which they are ornamented, are of themselves sufficient to gratify the visitor, yet some of the animals are now to be seen to great advantage, and many persons have availed themselves of the mild and dry weather during the past month to pay them a visit.
Some valuable donations have been added to the collection at the Regent's Park; including a pair of chetahs from India, presented by Lord Clare; a South American ostrich, from the President, Lord Stanley ; and a number of golden pheasants from J. Fuller, Esq.
Workmen are now engaged in inclosing and fencing a part of the land lately added to these gardens on the east side, and we understand a bank is to be formed and planted for the purpose of sheltering the grounds, as much as possible, from the east wind. From the Report read at the last monthly meeting, it would appear that the Council do not contemplate the erection of any buildings on the newly inclosed land at present, but intend forming two large ponds or reservoirs, one of which is to be appropriated to the use of those beautiful birds the mandarin ducks; and the other for the rest of the aquatic birds.
The members of this Society held their first scientific meeting on the evening of the 8th of January. It is intended to continue these meetings at intervals of a fortnight, and to publish occasionally the papers read, and other scientific information obtained, in the shape of Transactions, similar to those of other Societies. At the first meeting, papers were read and observations made by Mr. Bennett, the intelligent Vice-Secretary of the Society, Mr. Yarrell, Dr. Grant, and others. We shall probably in future give a short account of the proceedings of these meetings, which, we trust, will be acceptable to many of our readers.
Dr. Grant has commenced a course of lectures to the members on Zoology, which, as far as they have proceeded, have been well attended, and have given great satisfaction.
We hear favourable accounts of the Surrey Gardens, and that some valuable additions are likely to be made in the course of the spring. We must, however, candidly admit that we have not visited these gardens during the past month, and can therefore only promise to furnish all the information we can procure against our next Number.
ON THE PANTHER.
To the Editor of the Zoological Magazine. SIR, PERHAPS you can find room in your next Number, or in the Notices to Correspondents, to give me some light on the following subject.
In Pennant, Buffon, and all the old books of natural history, the panther is universally described as a beast larger than the leopard, and differing from him by having a single spot in the centre of the rings on his body, while the leopard has only the rings. Now in the Zoological Gardens there is a beast which they call the panther, larger indeed than the leopard, but having neither rings, nor rings with central spots, but only single spots like the chetah. To complete this riddle, the author of the “ Tower Menagerie” asserts that there is no such existing beast as the panther. If you can solve this Gordian knot, you will greatly oblige
Felis. Though we are not vain enough to undertake to solve a Gordian knot, we gladly give our correspondent “Felis" such information as we possess on the subject. We must observe that in the present state of knowledge relative to these two species, very little dependence can be placed on characters drawn from the markings and spots on the skin. The single spot in the middle of the ring (ocellus pupillatus) attributed to the panther by Buffon, is an error arising from his having been ignorant of the country from which was derived the large spotted Felis, figured as the female panther at pl. xii. vol. ix. of the quarto edition of his Works. This animal is the American Jaguar.
Our correspondent would be equally mistaken in supposing the fine single-spotted Felis ticketed Panther' in the Zoological Gardens, to be the type of that species. It is either a variety merely, or a species distinct from both the leopard and panther. But the determination of this question will require more minute investigation than is practicable on the living animal.
According to the investigation of Temminck, the panther (Felis Pardus) is larger than the leopard, and its tail equals in length the body and head, and contains twenty-eight vertebræ ; while in the leopard, the tail is equal in length to the trunk only, and contains twenty-two vertebræ. Both the species have the spots on the sides of the body arranged in rings, which are broader in the leopard than in the panther.