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“I am preparing tinted drawings on a good-sized scale of all my Budhist sculptures. It is however hard work. In sketching very fast, I draw more in one day than I can copy and finish up in three or four. I go to the caves again to-morrow; it is 36 miles hence. I hope to have all ready for March meeting, when I shall be in Calcutta myself in all probability."
The inscriptions and paper were laid before the meeting and referred to the Committee of Papers for examination.
Read a letter from Mr. Secretary Melvill.
No. 73, of 1847.
Fort William, the 23d January, 1847. SIR,-I am directed by His Honour the President in Council to transmit to you, for such notice as the Society may deem it to merit, the accompanying copy of a Journal of a Steam trip to the north of Bagdad, by Lieut. J. F. Jones of the Indian Navy, together with the sketches therein alluded to, which you will have the good. ness carefully to return to this office.
I have the honor to be, Sir,
The document and drawings were referred to the Committee of Papers.
Read a letter from the Secretary to the Superintendent of Marine, forwarding Meteorological registers from Kyook Phyoo.
Read a letter from the Rev. Dr. Hæberlin respecting his edition of the Smritis now in course of publication.
(See Report on Society's affairs inserted in Jan. number.) The Senior Secretary having communicated a proposition from the Committee of Papers recommending that Dr. Hæberlin's offer be accepted,
It was resolved unanimously that the Asiatic Society subscribe for 100 copies of each Vol. of the Smritis, the amount to be paid from the Oriental Fund.
Read a letter from the Baron Melvill de Carnbee, dated the Hague, 21st December, forwarding eight numbers of the Moniteur des Indes for the Society's acceptance,
A Monsieur le secrétaire de la Asiatic Society de Calcutta. MONSIEUR,--Je me rappelle toujours avec plaisir, Monsieur, que lors de mon court séjour à Calcutta, de Mars 1845, j'eus l'extrême honneur et avantage de faire
votre connaissance. J'étais alors en voyage de Java en Europe, et je me serais arrêté plus longtemps en Bengale pour des recherches Scientifiques, si le choléra ne m'eut fait changer subitement de plan. Après avoir éprouvé une attaque de cette maladie et avoir perdu mon domestique européen, j'avoue que je me comptais très heureux de m'embarquer, sain et sauf, à bord de l'Hindostan. Cependant, avant mon départ j'avois eu le temps de m'acquit. ter d'une commission dont j'étois charge par la Société des Arts et des Sciences de Batavia anpres de la Societe asiatique de Calcutta, ayant pour but de nouer des relations et d'etablir une correspondence entre les deux Sociétés ci dessus nommées. Je fus assez heureux d'emporter la conviction quel'on partageait à Calcutta nos Fues quant à l'utilité d'un tel rapprochement, et cela me fait conjectuzer que mes de'. marches aient eu le résultat espéré.
Quelques mois après mon retour en Hollande, étant placé au Ministére de la Ma. rine pour achever mon ouvrage sur l'hydrographie de l'Archipelago indien, j'ai fondé en même temps, de concert avec M. de Siebold, auteur de differens ouvrages sur le Japan, un journal, traitant des colones Néerlandaises au Asie et en Amérique, sous le titre de Moniteur des Indes, etc. J'ai l'honneur, Monsieur, de vous faire parvenir par le présent mail les huit premiers numéros de ce journal, espérant que vous daignerez bien les presenter, de ma part, à votre Société comme une faible temoig. nage de ma profonde estime.
Je serais heureux si le but et l'exécution du Moniteur des Indes pouvent obtenir les suffrages de votre Société et que dans ce cas Elle voudroit bien, par sa puissante influence, en favoriser le succes en Bengale. J'ai l'honneur d'étre, avec une parfaite estime Monsieur,
Votre devoué serviteur,
BARON MELVILL DE CARNBEE. Hollande, La Haye ce 21 Décembre, 1846.
The Senior Secretary submitted the annexed recommendations by the Committee of Papers.
The Committee having considered Dr. Roer's representation of the total incapacity of the Pundit, recommend his being dismissed.
With reference to a letter from H. M. Elliott, Esq. desiring to have certain MS. from the Library sent to him to Agra on depositing the value thereof.
The Committee deeming it impracticable to assign a value to MS. and considering these exposed to great risk of loss or injury in transit, regret they cannot advise compliance with Mr. Elliott's wishes, but they will gladly direct any assistance to be given at the Society's cost by having MS. or extracts therefrom copied by the Library establishment for
The Committee submit a proposal from Mr. Frith for the patronage of the Society to a projected work by Mr. Doubleday on Diurnal Lepidoptera, and recommend that the Society subscribe for two copies and advertise the work gratuitously on the cover of the Journal.
Mrs. Ballin having applied for orders to colour 14 sets of the Burnes' drawings already lithographed and which Mrs. B. states are in danger of spoiling--and it having been ascertained that the cost of colouring the said drawings would be Rs. 1,379 12 annas, the committee advise that no further outlay be made on this account.
All which propositions were unanimously agreed to.
The Report on the Society's affairs, read at the January meeting and subsequently printed and circulated to resident members, having been brought up, was briefly discussed, and a few verbal or typographical alterations having been suggested and agreed to, the Report was unanimously adopted and the propositions it contains thereby voted as rules of the Society. The Report is published in the January number.
The Librarian submitted the usual list of donations, purchases and exchanges.
PRESENTED. 1.-Meteorological Register, kept at the Surveyor General's Office during the month
of December, 1846.-FROM THE SURVEYOR GENERAL's Office. 2.-Meteorological Register, kept at Kyouk Phyoo, during December, 1846.-BY
THE SUPERINTENDANT or MARINE. 3.- The History of the British Empire in India, by E. Thornton, Esq., vol. VI.
-BY THE BENGAL GOVERNMENT. 4.- The Calcutta Christian Observer for February, 1847.-By The Editors. 5.-Report of the Managing Director to the Board of Directors, &c. of the East
India Railway Company, with a map.-By the COMPANY. 6.-Theodori Gulielmi Johannes Juynboll, Commentaria in Historiam Gentis Sama
ritanae.-BY THE CURATORS OF THE ACADMY OF LEYDEN. 7.-The Banks of the Bhagirathi.-By the Rev. J. Long. 8.-Analysis of the Abbé Dubois' Description of the character, manners, and institutions of the people of India.-BY THE Rev. J. Long.
Exc#ANGED. 9.--Journal Asiatique, quatrieme serie, Nos. 35,-6 and 7. 10.—The London, Edinburgh and Dublin Philosophical Magazine, No. 195. 11.--The Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London, No. 8.
PURCHASED. 12.- The North British Review, No. XI. 13.-Journal des Savans for September, 1846.
14.–The Annals and Magazine of Natural History, No. 120. 15.—The Shah Nameh of Ferdusi, in Oordu verse, by Munshi Moulchund Luck.
navi, 4 copies. 16.-Gunje Kubii, or an Oordu version of the Akhlak Mobuseeni, 4 copies. 17.-The Akhwan ul suffá in the original Arabic, 4 copies. 18.-Ditto in Oordu, 4 copies.
Read the subjoined report by Mr. Laidlay on the investigations referred to the Society regarding the Ajunta caves. The Report was directed to be submitted to the Committee of Papers.
Report upon the Committee of Antiquities. Having been honoured at the meeting of December with the command of the Society to report upon the proceedings of the Committee of Antiquities, I lost no time in searching for such documents and correspondence connected with the subject, as might be available: but great delay having occurred in obtaining these, it was not till a few days ago that I was in a position to form any estimate of what that committee had done.
The Committee of Indian Antiquities was appointed, as all present are doubtless aware, in consequence of a communication from Government requesting the assistance and suggestions of the Society in devising the best means of preserving and publishing to the world the interesting monuments of Antiquity scattered over India generally, but more especially and immediately the invaluable paintings and inscriptions in the caves of Ajunta, which from their peculiarly perishable character, claim. ed the earliest efforts to rescue them from impending destruction.
This communication from so high and influential a quarter, was hailed with enthusiasm by the Society, as presenting not merely the highest encouragement to conti. nue and extend a favourite pursuit, which had already reflected great lustre upon its past history, but also as a rare opportunity of doing so under the auspices of Government, pledged, in a manner, to assistance and co-operation. The Committee in question was appointed accordingly, and its members,--such at least, as like Messrs. Webb, Heatley, Kittoe and Latter, felt earnest on the subject,-entered at once upon their functions with ardour worthy of the Society's best days. The means of preserving and of delineating the precious remains of Ajunta, were discussed in a series of most able minutes, in which,- each member viewing the subject through the medium of his own predilections--a mass of varied and instructive matter was thrown together, which it were well to preserve for the guidance of all such as have kindred researches to prosecute.
But here, I regret to say, the labours of the Committee appear to have termi. nated! I have not been able to discover that any active measures were ever founded upon the suggestions offered in these minutes, or indeed that the Committee ever even met to adopt these or any other means of fulfilling the object of their appointment!
How deeply this indifference is to be deplored may be gathered from a single fact recorded by Dr. Allan Webb, that the invaluable remains of antiquity at Ajunta are daily, nay hourly, being lost to the world, not merely from the inevitable effects of time and exposure, and from the absence of all measures to preserve them, but from the worse than Gothic barbarism of casual visitors, who wantonly destroy the fresco or remove it in fragments for the gratification of the most idle and depraved curiosity ! “Whole yard-lengths of the painted or written inscriptions, says Dr. Webb, were lying in water on the floor, but were still legible when I visited these temples in 1836. If therefore written records be most valuable, as the Vice-President and Secretary of the Asiatic Society seem to consider them, how important to lose no time in securing these precious records ! The rude boar spear of the hunter, or the Gothic curiosity of some casual disitor will strip whole walls for some one farourite head! I have found in Bombay whole groups that had thus been despoiled !"
Painful as it is to listen to such details as these, it is yet more so to reflect that on their communication, no active measures were taken by the Committee to stay the work of destruction! The mouths of the caves are stated by Dr. Webb, to be nearly closed with rubbish, which both directs the water into them and prevents its exit; and the removal of this at once was strongly urged as the first measure of preservation that should be recommended for the adoption of Govern. ment. I am not aware, however, that even this suggestion was acted upon !
Let us not however, dwell with vain regret upon time and opportunity lost, but rather arouse our energies to immediate exertion worthy of the Society that has already achieved so much in Indian archæology. The question for us this evening to consider is, what can be done now? And though for the most part made in reference to the peculiar case of the Ajunta caves, there are suggestions in the minutes of the Committee which, I humbly conceive, the Society cannot do better than act upon at once. Amongst these the recommendations, that a duly qualified person be deputed by Government to make accurate drawings of the painting, sculpture, inscriptions, and other remains of antiquity scattered throughout the country, and to adopt such measures as may seem essential, for the better preservation of such objects benceforward, is one so obviously appropriate that the Society will, I think, concur in approving it. This point has been very fully considered in an able minute by Captain Kittoe, who I need not remind the Society has already distinguished himself by his zealous and indefatigable antiquarian researches, to which the past volumes of the Society's Journal bear ample and lasting testimony. This officer concludes an excellent minute evincing great knowledge of the subject combined with untiring zeal, by proferring his personal services through the Society to Go. vernment, for the investigation and delineation of all objects of antiquarian interest wherever found; a field too vast, perhaps, as sketched by himself, for any single individual, however energetic ; but to a portion of which his talents and zeal might undoubtedly be directed with the happiest results.
That Captain Kittoe's offer was not acted upon, arose I believe, in part from the circumstance of that gentleman having been appointed soon after to a very important