Sixth Meeting: 19th January, 1887.
Dr. Hector in the chair.
New Member.—Mr. J. Esdaile.
Papers.—1. “On a Common Vital Force,” by Coleman Phillips.Abstract.
The author states that his paper contains a subject partaking rather of philosophical inquiry than strict scientific research. But as late discoveries, such as the theories of Darwin, tend in the one direction of asserting “the
positive fluidity of the life-principle in nature,” the discussion may lead to the affirmation of some definite principle. It may be assumed that the life-principle is a fluid far more subtle than ether, electricity, or any other of the unknown or unsolved forces of nature: That this fluid is the same in quality, whether used by man, animal, fish, bird, tree, plant, or insect, but differs in quantity; that it occupies a similar place in the economy of the planet, as the subtle ether (without which it is evident light could not travel) or magnetism, which affects the compass, no matter in what spot the magnetized needle may be placed; that this fluid differs from the other great forces of nature, although the life fluid, the subtle ether, and the force we call magnetism, may be variations of one great and as yet unsolved natural force. That the life fluid has some affinity with magnetism is evident, seeing that local magnets attract each other through the general law of magnetism, just as life acts upon life through the general principle of vital force. The author then supports his views by illustrating the identity of the agency, “or life fluid,” in all manifestations of instinct and reason, and in all structural divergences both in animals and plants.
2. “On a Branching Fern-Tree,” by J. Buchanan, F.L.S. (Transactions, p. 217.)
3. “New Plants,” by J. Buchanan, F.L.S. (Transactions, p. 213.)
4. “On Ixodes maskelli, a Parasite of the Albatross,” by T. W. Kirk. (Transactions, p. 65.)
5. “On a Curious Double Worm,” by T. W. Kirk. (Transactions, p. 64.)
6. “Additional Notes on New Zealand Coccidœ,” by W. M. Maskell. (Transactions, p. 45.)