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The following remarkable account is given by an officer on board a French East-Indiaman, in a letter to a friend at the Hague :
Jan. 20th, 1757. “Just before we sailed from Pondicherry, fires broke out on the surface of the sea three leagues from that place, with the utmost impetuosity, throwing up pumicestones, and other combustibles, and forming an isla :d of a league long and of the same breadth, which increased to a considerable height, with a volcano, making a most hideous noise, like thunder, or great guns, and a cloud proceeding from it, breaking into small rain of sand instead of water. This prodigy was first seen by a ship's crew belonging to Pondicherry, who thought at first it had been a water-spout ; but coming near it, saw a prodigious flashing of fire, which smelt of brimstone, and heard a most astonishing noise ; afterwards a vast quantity of fish was perceived dead on the sea, and appeared broiled. Sailing a little further, they met with such quantities of pumice stones, that it was hardly possible to make way through them; at the same time they discerned land, but it appeared to them as a cloud of fire and smoke on the surface of the sea, and the cloud ascending into the air, distilled in showers of rain which brought abundance of sand on their ship's deck; and being nigh the flashes of fire, and hearing the noise, they were under great consternation; but it pleased God to send them a little breeze of wind that brought them from it. Another ship sailed round it, and they were so becalmed, that the ashes proceeding from the vast fire fell on their deck, and they were in great danger of being burnt."
Mr. Piddington next submitted his usual report on the Museum of Economic Geology.
Museum of Economic Geology. We have received from D. Money, Esq. C. S. a brick from Egypt, of which he
says :“ The brick from Thebes was from one of the oldest ruins on the western side of the hill near Madinet Aboo. It had a cartouche which could not be decyphered, but which, as well as the ruin from which it was taken, was a proof of its great antiquity ; some bricks near the spot have been found with the cartouche of Thothmes 20 and Thuthmes 3d on them. It was curious too from its size and weight,
and was unburnt and mixed with chipped straw and was most probably of the same kind, though it may not have been the same, which the Israelites were forced to make. I thought, under such circumstances, it might have a slight value in the rooms of the Asiatic Society."
I have added to the collection of soils a very rare one here, the brick red soil of Bermuda, obtained from the lower part of a box of plants sent to me from that Island.
To the division of building and ornamental materials I have also added specimens of the common grey and the yellow Chmar sandstones, and of two kinds of trap, grey and buff-coloured, sent to the Auckland Testimonial Committee from Bombay.
Geological and Mineralogical collections. I have several contributions in both departments, but they have unfortunately only come in too late to be examined (which many of the specimens require) before reporting on them, and I have other work in hand in the laboratory.
We have received from Colonel Onseley a specimen of Fibrous CarboDate of Lime obtained in the district of Nagpore, under the following circumstances detailed by him.-"Near where I was encamped, is a village named Rutha, with a hill of considerable height called 'Rajpoora ;' a land slip took place the rains before last, and a small stream emerged from the bottom of the slip. In this, and in a great chasm, these stones are found ; they are to be had in any quantity.”
As above stated the specimen is a very common mineral, but its matrix is curious as approaching more nearly to an impure chalk than any thing we usually meet with in India. I sent a small sample to Dr. Cantor, requesting he would examine it for infusoriæ, but he informs me it does not contain any.
I am enabled to fill up a blank in our Mineralogical collection by a specimen of Atacamite, which (and this is an instance of how frequently valuable specimens are lost in India even in the hands of those who know their value), I found amongst a number of refuse and common minerals from my own collections.
We have to acknowledge also from E. Lindstedt, Esq. a fossil fruit (siliceous) from the coast of Abyssinia, of which the following is the memorandum furnished by Capt. Hodges to him : -" The stone I gave
you was picked up by me on the sea beach of the Island of Massouah, on the coast of Abyssinia, in the month of May, 1816.” The specimen was exhibited at the last meeting.
Zoological Department. Mr. Blyth read his report on the progress of the Zoological department.
The following are the only donations which I have to bring under notice this evening
1. From E. O’Ryley, Esq. of Amherst, portions of two skeletons, with the skulls of Rhinoceros Sumatrensis ; one of these skulls belonging to the individual, the skin of whose head was lately forwarded by Mr. O'Ryley.
Also a collection of bird-skins, comprising Crypsirina varians - (v. Phrenothrix temia, Horsf.) and other species of interest : and
A small living Turtle, of the species Chelonia virgata—the edible turtle of the Bay of Bengal.
2. From Capt. Beaumont, a very fine recent specimen, with a jet-black hood, of Larus ichthyäetus, Pallas.
3. From J. McLeod, Esq. A fish, taken near the equator, which is a Monocanthus, apparently the Balistes lævis of Shaw.
Also two species of Phyllosomata, some Acalepha, and other specimens obtained on the same occasion.
4. From Capt. R. Rollo, 50th Madras N. I., a skin of Anthropsides virgo.
5. J. B. Villy, Esq. A pair of living Doves, of the species Geopelia tranquilla, Gould, from Australia.
6. J. B. Porter, Esq. A dead Pheasant, from Shavghai, the Phasianus torquatus, or common ring-necked Pheasant of China.
The fine collections of mounted specimens upon the table, prepared since the last meeting, do not call for any particular remark. April 7th, 1847. Books received for the Meeting of Wednesday, the 7th April, 1847.
PRESENTED. Meteorological Register for February, 1847.-FROM THE SURVEYOR GENERAL'S OFFICE.
Ditto ditto, kept at Kyook Phyoo during February, 1847.-BY THE SUPERINTENDENT OF MARINE.
The Calcutta Christian Observer for April, 1817.—BY THE Editors.
La Rhétorique des Nations Musulmanes d' aprés le traité Persan, intitulé Hadayik ul Balagat, par M. Garcin de Tassy.—BY THE AUTHOR.
Le Moniteur des Indes Orientales et Occidentales, No. 9.-BY THE EDITORS.
Etudes sur le droit civil des Hindous; Recherches de législation comparée sur les bis de l'Inde, les lois L’Athenes et de Rome, et les coutumes des Germains; par E. Gibelin.-By The Author.
DonATIONS TO THE MUSEUM.
A quiver with two poisoned arrows; and a Knapsack.-By H. DRIVER, Esq.
For all donations to the Library and Museum as well as contributions to the Journal, the thanks of the Society were directed to be offered by the Secretaries in the usual form.