2. Dr. Hector exhibited some specimens of Adipocere, prepared by Dr. Barker, of Christchurch, and read the following memoranda on the subject.
The specimens which had been submitted, proved, on chemical examination, to be ammoniacal soap in different states of purity; one sample, marked “Adipocere Wax,” consisted of fatty acids combined with ammonia, part of which had been driven off and replaced by hydrogen, through the action of hot water or steam. By this process the whole of the ammonia might be removed, when the product would be nearly pure stearine, like that used in the manufacture of Price's patent candles.
The Adipocere, in this as well as in all other cases, has therefore
been formed from the fatty matters intermixed with the muscular tissue, the decomposition of which gives rise to the ammoniacal element in the resulting soap.
3. “Critical Notes on the Ornithological portion of Taylor's New Zealand and its Inhabitants,” by Walter Buller, F.L.S., etc. (See Transactions.) The paper dealt with not less than twenty-six errors of descriptions and nomenclature of New Zealand birds, contained in Mr. Taylor's recently published work.
Dr. Hector bore testimony to the general inaccuracy of the book.
4. “On the Cultivation of some species of Native Trees and Shrubs,” by T. H. Potts and W. Gray. (See Transactions.)
The President thought it very absurd that the indiscriminate extirption of New Zealand Flora should be carried on so ruthlessly as it had hitherto been done, and thought that some effort should be made to preserve specimens before they had all disappeared.
5. “On the Birds of New Zealand,” by T. H. Potts. (See Transactions.) This was a continuation of the paper, by the same author, published in Vol. II. of the Transactions of the New Zealand Institute.
6. “On the Nomenclature of Rocks in New Zealand,” by E. H. Davis, F.C.S., F.G.S., of the Geological Survey Department. (See Transactions.) The object of the paper was to draw attention to the embarrassment to the study of Mineralogy, caused by the adoption of different systems of naming rocks; and, as an example, syenite was instanced, which, by the followers of one school would be called diorite. The necessity was pointed out for New Zealand geologists and mineralogists adopting a uniformity of principle in their nomenclature, in order to place their observations on a true basis, and so avoid the ridiculous confusion that must follow the want of unity of principle in bestowing names.
7. “On the Production of Mono-hydrate of Chloride of Barium,” by W. Skey, Analyst to the Geological Survey of New Zealand; with “Notes” on its Crystallization, by E. H. Davis, F.C.S., F.G.S. (See Transactions.)
8. “On the Absorption of Sulphur by Gold,” by W. Skey. (See Transactions.) The paper was intended to show that most of the loss of gold experienced at the Thames, in the process of amalgamation, was due to the presence of sulphur, which, being unfavourable to amalgamation, caused a considerable quantity of gold to escape. During the author's labours at the Thames he tested tailings from several mills. By a careful amalgamation he obtained a yield of 1 dwt. to 1 ½ dwt to the
ton, while, by assay, he could obtain a return of from 2 dwt. to 4 dwt. It was found, too, that roasting the tailings did not increase the yield, though the gold obtained was purer; evidently pointing to the existence of silver, in the form of a sulphide. He observed that the use of sea water at the Thames, for stamping batteries, washing-down tables, and other work about a quartz mill, did not hinder amalgamation, and was only inferior to fresh water in so far as it possessed a greater specific gravity, and therefore was more likely to carry away gold than fresh. Water pumped from the mines he found both hindered amalgamation and injured boilers, and should therefore not be used if it could be avoided.
9. “On New Zealand Flax,” by W. Skey. (See Transactions.) This paper combatted certain deductions drawn by Captain Hutton, F.G.S., of Auckland, regarding the treatment of flax fibre.
10. “On a new form of Iron Pyrites,” by E. H. Davis, F.C.S., F.G.S. (See Transactions.) This paper described a new form of iron pyrites, supposed to have come from the Chatham Islands.
Dr. Hector said that the supposition was merely inferential, as the specimens were found in a whare that had been occupied by some of the Chatham Island prisoners, after their escape to Poverty Bay, and had evidently been intended to subserve the purpose of bullets.