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For JULY, 1828.
Art. I. 1. Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain
and Ireland. Vol. I. Parts I. II. and III. 4to. London. 1824,
1826, 1827. 2. Transactions of the Literary Society of Madras. Part I. 4to.
London. 1827. 3. Transactions of the Literary Society of Bombay. With Engrav
ings. 4to. Vols. II. and III. London. 1820, 1823. 4. Asiatic Researches ; or Transactions of the Society instituted in
Bengal for Enquiring into the History and Antiquities, the Arts, Sciences, and Literature of Asia. Vols. XIII. and XIV. 4to.
Calcutta. 1820, 1822. IT T does not redound to our credit as a nation, that an Asiatic
Society should have been instituted at Paris, before it was thought desirable or feasible to establish such an association in our own metropolis. Notwithstanding that Divine Providence has consigned the fairest and most populous regions of Asia to the rule and protection of the British Government, and England may be regarded as the Mistress of the East, there has bitherto prevailed in this country, an unaccountable indifference and apathy in the minds of the public generally, with regard to our Asiatic possessions. Although almost every family in the higher classes is in some degree connected with those who have been sent forth to India, it has been the subject of complaint, that the attempt to excite an interest, beyond the executive authorities, relative to the most important foreign possession of Great Britain and the most singular dominion that was ever exercised by any nation, is nearly hopeless. "A momentary and partial at"tention is, indeed, occasionally raised by descriptions respect'ing the conduct of conspicuous individuals; but this soon subsides, unless the stimulus of an impeachment keeps it awake, Vol. XXX. N.S.
• until the question of the renewal of the Charter provokes pe
riodical excitation.'* The feverish interest which then comes on, is not, however, of a kind at all adapted to promote the advancement and extension of liberal knowledge in relation to India, or to excite an enlightened interest in the millions of our fellow-subjects whose destinies are now so intimately united with our own. We unfeignedly rejoice, therefore, in the formation, under the highest auspices, of a Society which has for its express object, to stimulate and encourage inquiry into the history, literature, arts and sciences, civil and religious institutions, geography and productions, and present condition of the countries of the East, with a view to promote an interchange of benefits with the nations to whom we are so closely allied and deeply indebted, and to contribute, ultimately, to the melioration and augmented enjoyments of the innumerable population subject to the British
sway. The Royal Asiatic Society acknowledges as its parent, the Society instituted in Bengal in the year 1783, which has to boast of the illustrious name of Sir William Jones as its first president. To Warren Hastings, the then Governor-General, is ascribed the merit of being the first, or among the first of • the servants of the Company, who attempted to acquire any • language of the natives, and who set on foot those liberal in• quiries into the literature and institutions of the Hindoos, • which have led to the satisfactory knowledge of the present • day.'t Of the “ Asiatic Researches” of the Calcutta Society, the twelfth volume (the last, we believe, which has been re-printed in this country) was reviewed by us soon after its appearance in the year 1918. The thirteenth and fourteenth volumes of the Calcutta edition are now before us; and although they do not bear a very recent date, yet, as their contents will probably be new to our readers, we shall in the first instance give a brief account of the papers they contain.
The Thirteenth Volume comprises fourteen communications. The first, occupying 127 pages, gives an account of the continued operations of Lieut. Col. Lambton in correcting and fixing, by trigonometrical measurements, the geography of Hindostan. The arc on the meridian measured in the present survey, extends from the parallel of 15° 6' 2", to 18° 3' 45". The skill and perseverance with which this laborious and im
* Lushington's Account of Religious and Benevolent Institutions in Calcutta. + Mill's British India. Vol. IV. p.
455. İ Ec. Rev. N.S. Vol. XI. p. 282.
portant work has been carried on, reflect great honour both on the Author of the communication and on the Indian Government, under whose liberal patronage it was accomplished. Art. II. is • on the Existence of the Hindu Religion in the island of Bali, .by John Crawfurd, Esq. Bali, called also Little Java, is one of ihe Sunda islands, separated by the straits of Bally (Bali) from Java. The information furnished in this paper, has, we believe, been imbodied in Mr. Crawfurd's History of the Indian Archipelago, published in 1820.* The next article also, 'Ac'count of a Journey to the Sources of the Jumna and Bhagi• ratthi Rivers, by James B. Fraser,' has also been given to the reading public, in the Author's “ Journal of a Tour through the Himala Mountains.”+ The fourth article gives an account of an atrocious society or class of hereditary robbers and murderers, bearing the names of phansigars (i. e. stranglers), thegs (deceivers), badheks, and other similar appellations. Like the Pindarries, these dastardly miscreants appear to be mongrel mussulmans, the feculent dregs of the Mohammedan arnies, and gendered from the corruption of decaying states. Art V. • Memoir relative to a Survey of Kemaon. By Captain Webb. Art. VI. Ceremonies observed at the Coronation of a Hindu • Rajah. By Mr. Brown. Art. VII. ' Analysis of the Snake• stone.' By J. Davy, M.D. F.R.S. Of these stones, which the natives of India employ as imaginary antidotes to the bite of venomous serpents, there appear to be two or three kinds. One sort proved to be composed of phosphate of lime with a little of the carbonate and slight traces of carbon; its composition being, in fact, that of bone partially calcined. Another sort is merely carbonate of lime, coloured by a little vegetable matter. The third sort is an animal bezoar, composed of concentric, thin layers, and consisting chiefly of carbonate and phosphate of lime. The first kind may possibly have some little effect as an absorbent: the latter two must be wholly inert, having no absorbent power whatever.
Of the remaining papers, it will be sufficient to give the titles, Art. VIII. An Account of venomous Sea-snakes on the coast of Madras. By Dr. Mackenzie. IX. The Ruins of Prambanan in Java. By Mr. Crawfurd. X. Description of some rare Indian Plants. By Dr. Wallich. XI. Account of a new Species of Tapir, found in Malacca. By Major Farquhar. XII. Account of a new Species of Camellia, in Nepaul. By Dr. Wallich. XIII. Account of Bejapûr in 1811. By Capt. Sydenham. XIV. On the Binomial Theorcm, as known to
• Ec. Rev. N.S. Vol. XVI. p. 228.
+ Ibid. Vol. XV. p. 68.
the Arabians. By J. Tytler, Esq. The only papers of general interest are the IXth and XIIIth. The former is highly curious, but is too long to admit of convenient abstract: the latter, we pass over for the present, as we shall have occasion to notice ano her paper on the same subject.
The Fourteenth Volume of the Asiatic Researches contains ten communications. Three of these are important contributions to geographical science; viz. Articles II and III. Journal of a Survey to the Heads of the Ganges and"the Jumna; with a Table of Latitudes and Observations of Longitude in the Mountains. By Capt. Hodgson. Art. VI. Trigonometrical and Astronomical Operations for determining the Heights and Positions of the principal Peaks of the Himalaya Mountains. By Capt. Hodgson and Lieut. Herbert. The highest trigonometrical station, at Uchalárú, in Gurwal, was ascertained to be 14,302 feet above the sea, and 13,289 feet above Saharunpoor, the elevation of which had been determined by barometrical measurement. Even Uchalárú is below the limit of perpetual congelation *, (which the Quarterly Reviewer would fix at a point below 11,000 feet,) although 2,500 feet above the limit of forest, which is therefore 11,800 above the sea. The Chur (or Churkedhar), on which another of the stations was established, a mountain dividing the hill provinces of Sirmor and Jubal, is 11,689 feet above the sea. Some idea of the arduous nature of the persevering labour of these gentlemen, may be formed from the following statement.
• The Chur is higher than Mount Etna, and the snow lies deep on its north side, generally till the commencement of the rains in June; the mountain is then shrouded in mist and clouds. The climate is too severe to allow an observer to carry on his operations with success before the 20th of April ; and from that time to the end of May is the best season for the work. Also, after the autumnal equinox, the air becomes clear, and the atmosphere is favourable for vision until the middle of October, when storms of snow render the station untenable. Therefore, to these two periods must visits to the Chur be limited. The inconvenience of residing on such a stormy ridge, even at those seasons, is considerable. The fury of the wind is great, and the cold intense ; immediately after sunset, water and ink are frozen; and our followers, who were necessarily much exposed, suffered severely from the cold. The ascent of the mountain was long and arduous; and the grain required for the followers, for a period of ten or twelve days, was procured with great difficulty from the distant villages in Sirmor and Jubal. And it is to be understood, that in these mountains, between the Bhagirat'hi and Sutlej rivers,
In the month of September, it had lost all its snow, except a very small patch.