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Rain gauges

and likewise compared with standard instruments. made by M. M. Pike & Son, of New York, and the other instruments required for an outfit were conveyed to the places for observation and put up with the greatest care.

In selecting places for stations, upon a study of the map, and a consideration of the topographical features of the State, it was decided to divide the whole area into five regions having regard in this to the natural features of the country, and similarity of conditions. These regions and the stations selected in them were as follows:

1. Southern or Maritime Region. Stations: Rutgers' Female Institute (N. Y. City); Erasmus Hall (Flatbush); Deaf and Dumb Institution (N. Y. City); and North Salem.

2. Eastern, or Region of the Highlands and Catskill Mountains, with the valleys of the Hudson and Mohawk. Stations: Newburgh, Hudson and Albany.

3. Northern, or the Region of the Adirondack Mountains, isolated by the deep valleys of the Mohawk, Lake Champlain, St. Lawrence and Lake Ontario. Stations: Canajoharie, Cherry Valley and Utica.

4. Western, or the Region of the Western Plateau, with the small lakes, and the sources of the rivers. Stations: Pompey Hill, Seneca Falls, Rochester, Ithaca, Geneva College, Buffalo and Lewiston.

5. The Region of the Great Lakes, Erie and Ontario. This had not been provided for at the time of Prof. Guyot's report.

Subsequently through the advice and in some cases the assistance of the Smithsonian Institution, observations were undertaken by volunteer observers, at many places at which there were no Academies, but duplicate returns were made, one to the Regents and the other to the Smithsonian Institution, from which the blanks were supplied. For several years a small appropriation was made for Academic observers; but the system having grown to be a national one, it was finally decided to leave the field altogether for the better management of the whole, under one direction

In the meantime, a miscellaneous Meteorological Appendix, was published for several years in the annual reports of the Regents, the greater part contributed by persons who had acquired the habit of observation under the old system; but no attempt whatever was made to reduce to systematic form, the considerable amount of material which accumulated in the Regents' office.

These were turned over to the writer, without any special appoint

ment, and wholly without the subsidy which had been promised by Dr. Beck, when the former volume was undertaken.

The work was digested, tabulated and prepared for publication; and the Regents for several successive years, directed the attention of the Legislature to the importance of placing it in form for convenient use. In 1870, authority was granted for this purpose and a second. series, covering the period from 1850 to 1863, with records of rainfall and other phenomena to 1871, inclusive, was published in style uniform with the former volume in 1872. It forms a neatly printed quarto volume of 406 pages, with a small State map. The number of stations for several years was about thirty; but these diminished at a later period, until in 1863 there were but five.

It should not be inferred from this that the general interest in this subject had declined. It had simply passed from State to National control, and has since matured in the Signal Service of the War Department.

The State Agricultural Society, through its Executive Committee, applied for a summary of the results of the former series, which was prepared by the writer, and included in its report for 1855.1

In 1842 a bill was introduced in the Senate, entitled "An act to bring into general use the Centigrade Thermometer," and on the 9th of February, 1842, it was referred to the Regents, and by them to a committee composed of the Chancellor, Mr. Hawley and Mr. Campbell for consideration.

The committee reported adversely to a change, although they admitted the convenience of a centigrade scale.

To complete this notice of the publications upon meteorology resulting from the plans adopted by the Regents, it may be mentioned that the Phænological records made under the improved system introduced in 1850 were reported upon separate blanks, and were not included in either of the volumes above noticed. The returns of this class from the several States and Territories of the United States, and from some foreign countries, including those of about forty stations in the State of New York, and including the period

'Transactions of the New York State Agricultural Society, vol. XV, 1855 pp.


A separate edition of this article was published in 1857, entitled “Essay on the Climate of the State of New York. Prepared at the Request of the Executive Committee of the State Agricultural Society, and published in the Fifteenth Volume of their Transactions By Franklin B. Hough." 1857. 8vo. pp. 48, with the same diagrams and maps that had been used in the large volume.

from 1851 to 1859 inclusive, were placed in the writer's hands by Professor Henry in 1862, and prepared under a contract with the Smithsonian Institution, as a part of the General Results of Meteorological observations, prepared by Professor James H. Coffin, and published by order of the Senate of the United States, in 1864.1

While these Meteorological Records were in course of publication in the Annual Reports of the Regents, through a period of nearly forty years, many other subjects of scientific interest were included in the Appendix, which thus in a manner became a general reposi tory of information of popular interest, but chiefly in relation to the physical sciences. The whole of this series has been carefully examined during the current year by the editor of this volume, and separate references made to each article, forming in fact a general index to the whole. This has been done as part of a more general work undertaken at the request of the Chief of the Signal Service of the War Department, and will be included in an extended biliographical work relating to Meteorology, which that officer has in course of preparation for the press.

II. Observations upon the Variation of the Magnetic Needle.

In the report from Geneva College, made in January, 1832, there occurred the following suggestion with reference to observations upon magnetic variations.

"I also beg leave to present for the consideration of the Honorable Board of Regents, the propriety of directing that a course of magnetic experiments be made at each of the chartered colleges in the State for the purpose of determining the daily and annual variation of the declination and inclination of the magnetic needle, and also the magnetic intensity. The importance of this subject cannot be doubted if we consider the uses to which it is applied.

The directive power of the magnet, although by no means constant, either at the same time at different places, or at different times at the same place, yet has been and probably will continue to be enployed very extensively in fixing the limits of a large proportion of landed estates in the country; besides the interest of science will be essentially promoted by repeated and accurate observations simultaneously made in different parts of the State. Observations of this kind, in order to be useful, should be systematically and frequently

Observations upon Periodical Phenomena of Plants and Animals, from 1851 to 1859, with tables of the Dates of Opening and Closing of Lakes, Rivers, Har bors, etc. Arranged by Franklin B. Hough, M. D. 4to. pp. 232. Included i Vol. 2, Part 1 of Results of Meteorological Observations, 1854 to 1859. Ex. Doc, 1st Sess. 56th Cong.

made and recorded for the purpose of comparison and investigation. There is no method of accomplishing this object so effectually as by directions from the Board of Regents to whom returns should be regularly made, somewhat similar to those prescribed for the Academies in relation to meteorology."

This communication was referred to the Chancellor, Mr. Dix and Mr. Bleecker, who reported on the 28th of March

"That it is very desirable that observations should be annually made on the variation of the needle, inasmuch as the boundaries of lands are usually described according to the courses indicated by the needle, and there are no rules by which its variation can be ascertained, for any interval of time, according to which such bounds may be retraced where the land-marks have been obliterated. But as the Regents are not invested with the power of enjoining the making of such observations on the Colleges and Academies placed under their supervision, the committee are of opinion that it ought to be recommended to them to institute courses of such observations and make annual reports thereof to the Regents, and that a committee be appointed to address the trustees of the Colleges and Academies in this State on this subject, stating their opinion of the manner in which, for the sake of accuracy and uniformity, the observations ought to be made."

To facilitate these observations, and secure uniformity of methods, the Regents issued a circular with plain instructions for determining the true meridian by observing the pole star at time of greatest azimuth, and with the aid of a surveyor's compass.

As a part of the work intended to be effected in the determination of the true meridian, and observations upon magnetic variation, it was proposed to establish with the greatest possible accuracy, in connection with every College and Academy, a permanent meridian line for the more easy determination of the variation of the compass by a simple reading of the instrument from time to time. As the surveys of the country were almost without exception recorded from magnetic observations only, such a work would be beneficial in settling controversies about land-marks, but would also serve a valuable purpose in science. This, however, was never done, excepting perhaps in few exceptional cases, of which no permanent record is made.


In 1857 and 1858, sums of $2,000 each were appropriated for the purpose of determining the true meridian of important points in the

State, under the direction of the Regents of the University. The duty was assigned to Professor C. H. F. Peters, of Hamilton College, who reported with respect to certain points in Buffalo, Elmira, Ogdensburg and Syracuse, and of the western boundary of the State in the years 1862, 1864, 1865 and 1866.



In order to present a connected account of the charge intrusted to the Regents of the University in respect to the custody of Historical Records, and the publication of certain portions, it will be necessary to notice the origin of measures for the collection of our Colonial History, and the proceedings had in their publication before they were transferred to their present charge.

In 1839 the New York Historical Society addressed to the Legislature a memorial, recommending measures for procuring copies of records and papers relating to the history of New York while at colony. On the 5th of February of that year, this was communicated by Governor Seward to the Legislature, with his approval, and on the 2d of May an act was passed authorizing him to appoint, with the consent of the Senate, an agent to visit England, Holland and France, for the purpose of procuring, if possible, the originals, if not copies of all such documents and papers in the archives and offices of those governments, as related to or in any way affected the colonial or other history of this State, as he might deem important to illustrate that history.

The sum of $4,000 was appropriated for expenses, and Mr. John Romeyn Brodhead was appointed as agent. The appropriation was increased $3,000 in 1842, and $5,000 in 1843.

Several communications were received from Mr. Brodhead, informing as to the progress of his researches, and a final report in

1 Assembly Doc. 153, 1839.

2 Doc. "C," accompanying the Governor's Message, second meeting of Legisla ture, 1842. Senate Doc. 106, 1842.

Also Doc. "A," with annual message of 1843. Senate Doc. 2; Assembly Doc. 3, 1843.

A highly censorious report was made by a select committee of the Senate upon this subject in 1844. Senate Doc. 42, 1844.

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