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ASIATIC SOCIETY OF BENGAL,
For JULY, 1847.
The usual monthly meeting of the Asiatic Society was held on Wed. nesday evening, the 7th July, 1817.
Sir J. P. GRANT, Vice-President, in the chair. The minutes of proceedings of the last meeting were read and adopted, and the accounts and vouchers for June laid on the table.
E. Currie, Esq., C. S. duly proposed and seconded at the June meet. ing, was ballotted for and elected a member.
The following gentlemen were named as candidates for election at next meeting :
Capt. J. D. Cunningham, proposed by J. W. Laidlay, Esq., seconded by Col. Forbes.
J. Beckwith, Esq., proposed by W. P. Grant, Esq., seconded by Sir J. P. Grant and Col. Forbes.
William Greenway, Esq., Assay Master, Agra, proposed by Col. Forbes, seconded by Dr. W. B. O'Shaughnessy.
Read letters from
The Secretary to the Military Board, forwarding a communication from the Agricultural and Horticultural Society on the timber trees of Bengal, (referred to Capt. Munro, who is entrusted with the preparation of a Report on this subject on behalf of the Society.)
From Mr. Muir, forwarding his translation from the German of Dr. Rudolph Roth's preliminary Essay on the literature and history of the Vedas.
From Mr. James Corcoran, submitting a specimen of his Urdu His. tory of the Chinese Empire, and requesting the Society's patronage of the work. (Referred to the Committee of Papers.)
From the Royal Academy of Munich, presenting several works and requesting others in exchange. (Referred to Librarian for Report.)
From Capt. J. D. Cunningham, giving a detailed description of his antiquarian researches during a tour of the districts within the Bhopal Agency.
From Mr. Wattenbach, of Bombay, tendering his resignation as a member of the Asiatic Society, in consequence of his having joined that of Bombay.
From M. T. Fournier, of Cachar, requesting the aid of the Society in the promotion of his researches in natural history, and tendering apparently on sale a “green Serpent,” for which he understood the Society had offered “ une belle recompense.”—(Referred to the Committee of Papers.)
From Mr. Ward, presenting a very curious specimen of the growth of Confervæ in vinegar.
From Mr. Laidlay, submitting an Essay by Dr. Cantor on the serpents of the Malayan Peninsula.
The Committee of Papers submitted for the decision of the Society,
1.-A proposition from the Senior Secretary, that he be allowed to vacate the Secretaryship to the Meteorological Section, and that Capt. Thuillier, the Officiating Deputy Surveyor General, be appointed in his stead. This proposal was unanimously supported by the Committee on the grounds advanced by the Senior Secretary—the active exertions Capt. Thuillier has made to enable the Society to resume the publication of a Meteorological Register, which is kept with the best instruments in India and by experienced observers, in the Surveyor General's office. Capt. Thuillier's consent had been given to the nomination. (Unanimously approved.)
2.—The probationary period of six months for which the Librarian, Rajendra Lal Mittra had been employed having expired, and his duties having been discharged to the entire satisfaction of the Committee, they recommend his being permanently appointed Librarian to the Society. (Unanimously adopted.)
3.—The Committee communicated correspondence and accounts regarding the outlay on the “ Cantor Drawings.”
The questions placed before the Society by Circular to the resident members, (subsequent to the last meeting, regarding Sir Alexander Burnes' Drawings and Mr. Blyth's claim for Rs. 3,200, were brought up and discussed.
(CIRCULAR) ASIATIC SOCIETY, ZOOLOGICAL DEPARTMENT. The Vice-Presidents and Committee of Papers of the Asiatic Society deem it their duty to circulate for the information of the resident members the annexed documents regarding the printing of coloured lithographs of the drawings of the " Zoology of the Inulus," made under the directions of the late Sir Alexander Burnes and Dr. Lord, and placed at the disposal of the Society by the Supreme Government of India, in 1838.
The original drawings were 116, of which up to October 1816 there had been lithographed and coloured 51-lithographed but not coloured 13--for which there had been paid or remained due Co.'s Rs. 5,797 106, for copying, paper, colouring, and printing.–The Committee of Papers with reference to the state of the Society's finances when this account was laid before them, considered it their duty to discontinue any further outlay on the proposed publication, and their recommendation to this effect was unanimously approved of at the January and February meetings of 1847.
The question remained open for consideration how the plates already completed were to be disposed of. No description of the plates was available, the original MS. by Dr. Lord, entrusted to Mr. Blyth in 1842, having been lost by that officer, who had undertaken to supply its place by adequate letter-press by himself. In consideration of this promise and to accelerate its performance, with reference also to his zealous exertions in increasing the Society's collections, the Society (as stated by Messrs. Torrens, Heatly and Frith) at the general meeting of May 1844, undertook to make an addition from that date of 100 Rs. per mensem to Mr. Blyth's salary, payable with all arrears, on the completion of the MS. Of this resolution there is no official record, but on the evidence of the gentlemen above named it was renewed and officially recorded at the general meeting of November, 1846.---The meeting further resolved that the addition to Mr. Blyth's salary could not have effect beyond the 31st of December, 1846, by which time Mr. Blyth would have a claim on the Society of Rs. 3,200, payable on the completion of the promised letter-press. On the 20th of May, 1817,the Secretaries received Mr. Blythi's letter
press notes on the 64 plates, and these notes with the plates were immediately submitted to the “ Zoological Section," appointed in February 1847, and composed of Capt. William Munro, J. W. Grant, Esq., R. W. G. Frith, Esq., and J. W. Laidlay, Esq. These gentlemen were requested to advise the Committee as to the mode of publication of the plates and MS. and as to the amount of remuneration due to Mr. Blyth.
The Zoological Section have formally reported their opinion, that the plates are "unworthy of publication under the auspices of the Society, being in many instances so rudely executed that it is scarcely possible to identify the animals they profess to represent, while in most others, whether regarded as works of science or of art, they fall far below that standard to which the Society's patronage should be extended ;" regarding the amount of remuneration to Mr. Blyth, the “Zoological Section” observe that " while they regret that the funds of the Society should be expended so uselessly, they are unanimously of opinion that whatever the Society has promised should be fulfilled."
Fully adopting these views the Committee of Papers deem it neces. sary by republication of all the requisite documents, to enable the members of the Society to decide, 1st, as to the publication or suppression of the plates, and 2dly, as to the actual nature of the promise made to Mr. Blyth, the conditions under which that promise was accepted by Mr. Blyth -and the manner in which these conditions have been fulfilled on his part.
The Committee are of opinion that the plates should not be published, but that members desiring to be supplied with a set may have them on paying the cost of binding. While the Committee would not oppose the payment of Mr. Blyth's claim if made exclusively on the grounds of his general services to the Society during the period in question, they cannot on the other band advise that a sum of 3,200 Rs. should be paid for the scanty and unsatisfactory MS. placed at their disposal after a period of four years from the time when Mr. Blyth was first instructed to edit Dr. Lord's manuscript. The questions above stated will be submitted to the decision of the resident members of the Society at the regular monthly meeting to be held on the 7th of July.
W, B. O'SHAUGHNESSY, Asiatic Society, 15th June, 1847.
REPORT OF THE ZOOLOGICAL SECTION WITH CORRE
SPONDENCE AND MINUTES OF MEMBERS.
Committee of Papers, Asiatic Society, 25th May, 1847. The Senior Secretary begs leave to circulate a letter from the curator, Mr. Blyth, forwarding brief MS. notes on the “ Burnes” drawings already lithographed, about one half of the series in the Society's possession.
The Society are pledged to pay Mr. Blyth the sum of 3,200 Rs. on his completion of letter-press for the drawings. The Senior Secretary, with reference to this obligation, proposes that Mr. B.'s MS. be referred to the Section of Zoology and Natural Ilistory, for their advice as to the mode of publication and the amount of payment to be awarded to Mr. Blyth.
To W. B. O'SHAUGHNESSY, Esq.
Senior Secretary of the Asiatic Society. SIR, I have the pleasure to forward you a series of the lithographs that have been executed of the late Sir Alexander Burnes' drawings of animals, with the letter-press to accompany their publication. It has not been possible to determine, in every instance, with certainty the precise species to which they refer, but I have spared no pains nor labour to arrive at the results embodied in my MS.
I have the honor to be, Sir,
E. Blyth. As. So. Museum, May 20, 1847.
To Dr. W. B. O'SHAUGHNESSY,
Senior Secretary Asiatic Society.
Sir, I have the honor to inform you that the “Burnes” Lithographs with Mr. Blyth's annotations, have been circulated to the members of the Section of Natural History for their opinion regarding the propriety of publishing the same, and the amount of remuneration due to Mr. Blyth.
2. You will see from the accompanying minutes that the Section has bestowed much attention upon the first of these points; and the members are unanimously of opinion that the drawings are unworthy of publication under the auspices of the Society, being in many instances so rudely executed that it is scarcely possible to identify the animals they profess to represent, while in most others, whether regarded as