Julius Haast, Ph.D., F.R.S., President, in the chair.
The honorary secretary read two letters from Dr. Hector, dated Wellington, 22nd December, 1874, together with various documents referring to the paper by Mr. McKay. *
Dr. Haast read the following protest:—
“The minutes of the Board of Governors of the New Zealand Institute, of 21st December, I cannot let pass without entering my protest against the mode in which it glosses over the breach of faith committed by my former subordinate in publishing discoveries made by me. Resolution No. 2 talks of the paper as if its subject were not the Sumner Moa-bone Cave, but as if it were a revision of the old theories on the subject of moas previous to the excavation of that cave. It ignores the fact that the paper could not have been written, had I not gone to the trouble of exploring the Sumner Cave. The paper read has no significance unless it were founded on the excavations conducted under my superintendence, and for a servant to publish or make use of in any way the discoveries made under guidance of his master, has always been considered a breach of honour and faith by all scientific bodies. Hence my surprise that a body officially representing the science of New
[Footnote] * Vide post.
Zealand should publish without comment of its own a paper founded upon information which, according to all precedent, was not the property of the person who contributed it.
“5th January, 1875.”
Moved by his Honour W. Rolleston, seconded by Mr. G.W. Hall and carried unanimously,—
“That this Institute does not wish to pursue further the consideration of the course taken by the Board of Governors in respect to Mr. McKay's paper, but desire to obtain an authoritative opinion on the general question, how far scientific matter collected by a person employed to collect the same is the property of the person who employs the collector.”
“That the council be requested to prepare an accurate statement of the case, the decision of which would determine the principle which should guide the present and similar cases; that the case so stated should, after being laid before the Institute, be submitted to such independent authority as may be deemed fit.”
Dr. Haast tendered his resignation as President, but withdrew it at the unanimous request of the meeting.