While there is still a possibility of retrieving matters, I would earnestly appeal to all who can assist in bringing about such a result to spare no pains in the endeavour. I believe the scientific credit of this country to be seriously imperilled. Hereafter, the very arguments used in favour of the now abandoned scheme for observing the transit of 1882 from Possession Island, will be urged,even as now (for a better purpose) I am urging them,-to show that the importance of such observations (if feasible) had not been overlooked. It has been shown, and is now admitted, that they are feasible in 1874. What, then, I ask, will be thought of this country if the task which is her duty shall be neglected ? It was sufficiently unfortunate that the opportunity had been so long overlooked. But it will be nothing less than a national calamity, if, having been recognised in ample time to be employed, that opportunity be altogether neglected.

Now, after four years' delay, time runs short indeed. It is essential that any party intended to observe the transit, should be landed before the Antarctic summer of 1873-74 draws near its end - certainly before the middle of February 1874. There may not be time for sending a suitably provided expedition from England. On this point it is for others to speak. I should say, however, that unquestionably there is time for sending an expedition from Tasmania or New Zealand. It was in fact proposed in 1868 by Captain Richards (Hydro-grapher to the Admiralty) that New Zealand should be made the head-quarters of the expedition then being planned for observing the transit of 1882 from Possession Island. One can see no reason why this plan should not now be resumed for securing the more valuable observations which can be made during the transit of 1874.

If we inquire what has been done towards preparing for observations by Delisle's method, we shall see that by a very slight modification of the Government arrangements, Possession Island might be taken as a station without any great additional expense.

The transit begins earliest at a place in north latitude 39° 45', and west longitude 143° 23'. Woahoo has been selected as a suitable station near this spot; and in fact the transit begins more than 11 minutes early at Woahoo, while the sun has an elevation at the time of about 20 degrees. Nothing could be more suitable than the station selected by England in this neighbourhood. France takes the Marquesas, while Russia has a station near the mouth of the Amoor River.

The transit begins latest at a place in 44° 27' south latitude, and 26° 27' east longitude. The best station hereabout is Crozet Island, so far as astronomical conditions are concerned; but bad weather very commonly prevails here. England will send an observing party to Kerguelen's Land, and will also occupy the Mauritius and Rodriguez Island, which are not so well placed; since the transit begins 12 1/2 minutes late at Crozet, 11 1/2 minutes late at Kerguelen, only 10 1/2 minutes late at Mauritius, and only 10 minutes late at Rodriguez. The party at Mauritius will be that which Lord Lindsay is preparing at his own expense; and it will be amply provided with all that is required for the purposes of exact observation. Why should not the Government expedition to Rodriguez be given up ? Its cost will certainly not be well repaid, since the circumstances of the transit at Mauritius and Rodriguez are almost identical; and if the money thus saved were devoted to an expedition to Possession Island, a good step would have been made towards providing for the cost of such an expedition.

The transit will end earliest at a place in south latitude 64° 47', and west longitude 114° 37'. The best station in this neighbourhood is that very place, Possession Island, which affords the most favourable opportunity for applying Halley's method. For at Possession Island the transit will end 11 1/2 minutes early. Next in value come several islands between New Zealand and Victoria Land. It was originally proposed to have an English observing party at Auckland or Wellington, New Zealand; but the station at present selected is Christ Church, where the transit will end 9 1/2 minutes early. It is, in my opinion, most unfortunate, that when Possession Island affords the best station for the application of De-lisle's method as well as Halley's, a station inferior in both respects should be selected. Here again expense might be saved which would go far towards the preparation of an expedition (from New Zealand, if need be) to winter in Possession Island.

Lastly, the transit will end latest at a place in north latitude 62° 5', and east longitude 48° 22'. Here the Russians are in great force, as Orsk, Omsk, Tobolsk, and other Russian towns are very suitably placed. The selected station for an English observing party is Alexandria, where the transit begins late by about 10 minutes. The sun will only be about 14 degrees high at the time, and a greater elevation would be preferable.

Amongst the mistakes pointed out by me in 1869 was the complete omission of all notice of stations admirably placed in Northern India for observing the retarded end of the transit. Thus at Peshawur the transit will begin 10 1/2 minutes late, the sun having an elevation of 31 1/2 degrees. If Peshawur be not conveniently accessible, then Delhi and the country around would serve nearly as well astronomically. I supposed, until quite recently, that this suggestion, like the more important one relating to Possession Island, would receive no attention. But I was gratified a few weeks ago, by hearing from the Astronomer Royal that my discussion of the subject had induced him to urge that a station should be selected 'somewhere in the North of India.' I may be permitted to add (since I do so from no personal gratification, but to give a weight to my present arguments, which otherwise they might not possess) that in the same letter the Astronomer Royal described my researches on the transit of Venus as 'probably the best' of all 'contributions from Englishmen and foreigners.' Apart therefore from the circumstance that though many have discussed my researches not one astronomer has questioned the accuracy of my chief conclusions, I have now the recognition - tardy indeed, but not the less sufficient-of the astronomer whose work I criticised. If I use this as a lever to advance my present argument, it is because I feel that the scientific credit of this country is likely to be affected if England does not discharge her duty in this matter. I am satisfied, moreover, that whereas the reputation of the eminent man of science who stands at the head of the astronomy of this country will in no degree be affected if the proposed expedition be undertaken somewhat later than was desirable, it will suffer seriously hereafter if that expedition should not be undertaken at all.

Fraser's Magazine for March 1873.