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works of science or of art, they fall far below that standard to which the Society's patronage should be extended.
3. As to the other question,- the amount of remuneration due to Mr. Blyth,—while they regret that the funds of the Society should be expended so uselessly, the members of the Section are equally unanimous in their opinion, that whatever the Society has promised should be fulfilled.
I am, Sir,
Your obedient Servant,
J. W. LAIDLAY.
5th June, 1817.
To Capt. MUNRO, J. W. GRANT, Esq. R. W. G. Frith, Esq.
Members of the Zoological Section, Asiatic Society. GENTLEMEN,—In compliance with the instructions of the Committee of Papers, I beg to circulate the accompanying portfolio of the “Burnes” Lithographs, and to solicit your opinions as to the mode of publication and the amount of remuneration due to Mr. Blyth for his annotations.
2. As to the former point, although these drawings are for the most part of very insignificant value for the purposes of science, and therefore not likely to extend the reputation of the Asia tic Society; yet if in your opinion publication be desirable, the cost of the letter-press, in addition to the very heavy expense already incurred for the drawings, would be very trifling, and even in the present embarrassed state of the Society's finances need not form any obstacle to the fulfilment of your wishes in that respect.
3. Regarding the second point; Mr. Blyth’s remuneration was fixed by the Society at Co.'s Rs. 3,200, and it appears to me beyond our province to interfere in any way with its amount; although it rests with the Committee to determine whether the work required has been done or not.
I have the honor to be, Gentlemen,
Your obedient Servant, Calcutta, 25th May, 1847.
J. W. Laidlay, Secretary.
I have carefully examined the accompanying portfolio of drawings and the MS. notes which are attached to each-I trust the Society will not in any way authorize the publication of these very bad and useless drawings, which can only entail ridicule on any scientific body giving them a place in their transaetions. For instance, Plate 22 represents a Lark sitting in a tree. Plate 19 represents a Kingfisher with four toes in front of the foot instead of one bebind and three very unequal ones in front.
With most of the Mammalia I am personally well acquainted and can confidently say that not one figure is even a fair representation of the animal
intended, and nothing can be more ridiculous than the drawings of the Hyena, the white Weazle, the little Alactaja or Jerboa? so common about Ferozepore, and the Hogdeer. In the long legs and upturned spur it is difficult to recognise the superb Minal; and the graceful Coolon so common on the banks of the Ganges is most unjustly represented by a comparative short-legged bird in plate 28. Similar remarks might be applied to most of the drawings.
With regard to the remuneration to Mr. Blyth for his notes, I am not aware on what terms it was promised, but am of opinion that we should keep most faithfully all promises.
All that seems to have been done consists in guessing at the names of a number of animals, intended to be represented, in a series of bad drawings, with scarcely any original information regarding these animals. The little that has been done has been but slovenly executed, considering a large and distinct remuneration is expected. I will however particularize.
The name of Plate II. Fig. 3, can at best be but a guess, for the description of the animal does not at all agree with the account of its color, &c. as given in the 10th Volume of the Annals and Mag. Nat. Ilistory.- Plate IV. Fig. 2. has no trouble taken with it although it is supposed to be a new species.
Mr. B. wishes to make a new species from Plates VI, and VII. without assigning any reasons for doing so, except that Sciuroptecis fimbriatus, Gray, does not exceed 13ft. in length, whereas this squirrel is stated to be 2ft. long. In a very recent work by Schinz on Mammalia, S. fimbriatus, under the name of Pteromys fimbriatus, is stated to be 1 ft. and 11 in. in length, leaving thus 1 inch difference, perhaps accidental in measuring, to cause the creation of a new species.
Plates VIII. and IX. are labelled with the same native names, as male and female, and no reason is given for assigning different names to the two. The Sikeen of the Himalayas is a very different looking animal from the one represented in Plate VIII. Mr. B., in his notes lays great stress on the presence of a beard, without stating that several other species closely allied have a beard as Capra Egagrus, Himalayana, Falconeri, and the Neilgherry Ibex. In a letter from Mr. Blyth read at a meeting of the Zoological Society on 10th August, 1841 he speaks of the Neilgherry Ibex “ as having a considerable beard and thus differing from the Himalayan Ibex.” Schinz mentions the male of Capra Himalayana, Blyth, as being called Sikeen and the female Damnah. IIe also mentions C. Falconeri as being the Narkhor of Vigne and Lord. Some of these discrepancies might have been explained away, if Mr. B. had zealously undertaken an essay on the animals of 1ffghanistan and neighbouring countries.
There are also several other indications of haste and carelessness; thus
Gmelin not Pallas is the authority for Capra (Egagrus. Grus was not a genus, nor Ardea cinerea, a species of Linnæus.
Dr. M'Clelland has already in the 2d volume of the Calcutta Journal of Natural History described several Affghan fishes from the late Dr. Griffith's collection, and to Dr. M'C. apparently Mr. Blyth is indebted for the short notes attached to this portion of the drawings.
The names of the snakes have been guessed at in a most hap-hazard way. Thus Pl. XLI. fig, 1, though bad enough to favour any guess is not an Achrochordus, but most probably Boa Johnii. (Russell, Plate 16) called by Schlegel Portrya Eryx. What possible reason can there be for supposing Plate XLII. fig. 2, to be the young of the one just referred to? Neither Plates XLIII. nor XLIV. fig. 4 are Dipsas, which is a genus of tree snakes only with large eyes and long, oval, or vertically contracted pupils. Plate XLVII. is most likely Coluber anastomosatus, Daudin.
With reference to a remark stated to have been made by Dr. Cantor approving of these lithographs, I am informed by that gentleman that the only two he had seen at the time he made the remark (1842) were two fishes, Plates XLVIII. and XLIX. which he thinks are good drawings.
WILLIAM MUNRO. Fort William, May 28th, 1847.
I agree with Capt. Munro that these drawings are not worth publishing; the greater part of them are so bad that we might be pretty certain they never could be like the animals they are intended to represent, even if we had not the testimony of Captain Munro to the fact. As to the remuneration to be given for describing them, whatever has been promised must of course be fulfilled, but it is very annoying to see the funds of the Society expended so uselessly 31st May, 1847.
J. W. GRANT. I certainly cannot recommend the publication of such trash as these Burnes' drawings are. I believe there is little if any thing new amongst them, and if there be, it is almost impossible to identify their affinities, so wretchedly bad and incorrect are the figures. The fish are bad also, with fins and forms not belonging to thein, and no attention paid to the number of rays in them. Consequently the difficulty Mr. Blyth has experienced in attempting to identify them has been very great, and I am sure much more could not have been done by him or any one else. Regarding the remuneration to Mr. Blyth, I am a witness to the fact of its having been promised to him, and I cannot for a moment understand how there can be the slightest question about its being granted to him. He is certainly entitled to it fully.
R. W. G. FRITH.
Statement of Disbursements on account of Sir A. Burnes' Drawings. Jan. 31. 1842, No. I.- Paid Mr. J. Bennett for Lithographing Sir A. Burnes' drawings,
250 0 0 Feb. 14th, No. 9.--Mrs. Ballin for publishing Sir A. Burnes' drawings,....
500 0 0 March.-Messrs. Rushton and Co. for paper on account of Sir A. Burnes' drawings, ...
48 6 6 April 2d, No. 23.-Messrs. W. Rushton and Co. for 3 Reams of best Royal Paper,......
84 0 0 April 15th, No. 31,- Ditto for 6 Reams of Plate paper at 28 per Ream,....
168 00 Less 8 per cent. for 3 months,.. 3 5 9
164 10 3 April 220, No. 34.—Mr. Ballin on account of
Sir A. Burnes' drawings being balance of Account,
132 10 0 April 25th, Nos. 37, 38.-Mr. J. Bennett on Account of Sir A. Burnes' drawings,
100 0 0
481 4 3 June 29th, No. 58.–Mrs. Ballin as advance on account of Sir A. Burnes' drawings,..
1000 0 July 12th, No. 67.-Ditto ditto ditto ditto......
500 0 0 Aug. 30, No. 77.-Messrs. W. Rushton and Co. for 6 Reams of drawing paper,
168 0 0 Aug. 23d, No. 84.-Mr. J. Bennett on account of Sir A. Burnes' drawings,
100 0 0
268 00 Oct. lst, No. 92.-Ditto on account of Lithographing Sir A. Burnes' drawings,
100 00 Dec. Ist, No. 113.-Ditto on account of Sir A. Burnes' drawings,...
100 0 0 Dec. 5th, No. 129.—Messrs. W. Rushton and Co. for 6 Reams
168 0 0 April 27th, No. 39,-Do. for 1 Ream of fine foolscap,
4 0 0
of Plate paper,
10 00 Dec. 19th, No. 123.- Mrs. Ballin for 500 Receipts including paper,
12 8 0
3,438 2 9 Deduct amount of the last two bills being not on account of Burnes' drawings,
22 8 0
3115 10 9
Jan. 11th, 1843, No. 131.-Mr. J. Bennett on account of
Reams 3 Quires and 6 sheets of Plate paper,
ing paper on account of Sir A. Burnes' drawings,
Sir A. Burnes' drawings,
45 0 0
425 8 9
2 8 0
Deduct Discount on Bill No. 173 erroneously charged,
Feb. 6th, 1844, No. 337.–Paid Mr. J. Bennett amount being
the balance on account of Sir A. Burnes' drawings,
Dec. 17th, 1845, No. 687.-Paid Mrs. Ballin amount being
balance on account of Sir A. Burnes' drawings,......
68 4 0
68 4 0
Jan. 29th, 1846, No. 707.--Paid Mrs. Ballin for Lithographing
and Colouring as per Bill,
Jan. 18th, 1847, No. 8.-Paid* Mrs. Ballin for Printing and
Colouring as per Bill,
Co.'s Rupees,.. May, 19th.--Paid* Mrs. Ballin for Printing and Colouring
as per Bill,.....
482 4 0
5797 10 6
Calcutta, Asiatic Society, the 20th March, 1847.
* All these payments have been made for work ordered and in progress previous to the resolution of the Committee to discontinue all expenditure on this account.--SECRETARY's Note.