17 February 1871
In reference to the enclosed letter from I L Sinclair Esqre I have the honor to report that I received about three months since, notice of the discovery by M. Coggin of a comet on the 28 of August last. and about a month later Mr Hinds elements of the orbit of that Comet. A copy of which Mr Sinclair has been kind enough to forward.
Mr Hind is in all probability right in supposing that many small comets pass through the southern heavens unnoticed: but at present it cannot well be otherwise for the only two public observatories in Australia are necessarily engaged in work of more immediate importance to Astronomy especially the determination of the positions of southern stars without a correct knowledge of which, it is impossible to attack ?? comets satisfactorily: and the only private individual so far as I am aware, who has systematically sought for Comets is Mr Tebbutt.
It is to be hoped that the increasing interest manifested in Astronomy will result in turning some of the good telescopes now in the hands of private individuals to the systematic search for comets. a work which many of the private observers are qualified to perform.
The Government of New Zealand have a Meteorological Department and observing stations at ?? places. Auckland is one of those.
I therefore think it would not be advisable to establish a station there for it would look like want of confidence in their results: which are sent here in exchange for copies of ours.
I have the honor to be
Your Obedient Servant
H C Russell