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ASIATIC SOCIETY OF BENGAL,
For AUGUST, 1817.
The usual monthly meeting of the Asiatic Society was held, on the evening of Wednesday, the 4th of August.
The Right Rev. the Lord Bishop, in the chair.
The proceedings of the previous meeting having been read, and the accounts and vouchers presented—the following gentlemen were balloted for and duly elected members of the Society.
J. Beckwith, Esq., Calcutta, Wm. Greenway, Esq., Assay Master, Agra, and Capt. J. D. Cunninghare, Bhopal.
The names of the following gentle in vele submitted, as candidates, for election at the September meeting.
Dr. Lamb, Surgeon General, proposed by Lieut. Staples, seconded by J. W. Laidlay, Esg.
Gilson R. French, Esq., proposed by Mr. Laidlay, seconded by Dr. O'Shaughnessy.
Wm. McDougal, Esq., proposed by Mr. Laidlay, seconded by Dr. O'Shaughnessy.
Read letters from the Secretary to the Military Board, forwarding copies of the Water-guage Register Report for 1845 and 1846, for the Ganges and Jumna rivers.
From H. M. Elliot, Esq., Secretary to the Government of India, Foreign Department, announcing that a British mission was about to proceed to Thibet and inviting the suggestions of the Society regarding all matters of scientific or literary interest the Society might desire to have investigated by the Commissioners.
A communication on this subject, from the Council of the Society, will be found in the sequel of the evening's proceedings.
From the Rev. Dr. Hæberlin, forwarding 100 copies of his revised edition of his Sanscrit Anthology, regarding which a favorable report was presented at the same time from the Secretary in the Oriental Department.
Referred to Oriental. Section for advice as to distribution of the copies.
From Capt. Wm. Munro, communicating his report drawn up at the instance and on the part of the Society, on the timber trees of Bengal.
Referred to the Committee of Papers, and the marked thanks of the meeting presented to Capt. Munro, for his valuable co-operation.
From the Rev. Mr. Wenger, presenting his “ Introduction to the Bengáli language" and requesting to be favored with a copy of Westergaard's “Radices Linguæ Sanscritæ.” Copy voted with the thanks of the Society.
From Lieut. R. Strachey, Almorah, dated 9th July, forwarding an account of the Glaciers of the snowy range about 7 marches from Almorah—and offering to present to the Society a small collection of minerals brought by his brother from Thibet.
Lieut. Strachey's paper has been published in the Journal for August, and his offer of the specimens accepted with thanks.
From Capt. J. D. Cunningham, giving a narrative of his antiquarian researches in the Bhopal district.
From B. II. Hodgson, Esq., of Darjeeling, presenting papers with plates on the Cat-toed sub-plantigrades of the Himalayas, and on a new species of Plecotus.
From Dr. McGowan, Ningpo, dated Sept. 1846, presenting a curious work, entitled a Chinese Vocabulary and Dialogues, &c.-by P. Strenenassa Pillay, Chusan, 1846.
Ningpo, Sept. 1,1846.
To the Secretary of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. DEAR SIR, I have the pleasure of forwarding, at the request of the author the accompanying volume entitled “A Manual for Youth and Students, or Chinese Vocabulary and Dialogues, containing an easy Introduction to the Chinese Language, Ningpo Dialect. Compiled and translated into English by P. Strenenassa Pillay—Chusan, 1846.”
The book is a philological curiosity and interesting to the friends of oriental literature, as the product of an Indian mind. During his residence
at Chusan as “Head Conicopolly” to H. M. Commissariat from 1842 to 1846, he succeeded in mastering the colloquial dialect, and at his own expense published his Vocabulary, for the benefit of future students.
As the author was unable to read Chinese, and his knowledge of English being far from perfect, the volume abounds in errors. Nevertheless he deserves praise and encouragement for the literary zeal, which prompted him to execute the work. Each square is denoted to the definition of an English word. The first column from the left attempts to give the English sound in Chinese characters. The second is the English, next comes the Chinese definition, and lastly the sound of the Chinese in Tamil and Teloogoo characters. The book, therefore, is designed for the use of English, Chinese and Indian Students. It may be observed, however, that this attempt, like all others that have been made to imitate English sounds by Chinese characters, is a failure. For example—for “ White hair” we have “Wé lih hai 'rh"
Spring, Se puh ling,” Lose, lo ho sze, Present, pa lih tsun teh, Slumberse lung pa 'rh.” Commending S. Pillay to those who would foster native talent.
I remain, dear Sir,
D. J. McGowan. From Capt. Scott, Secretary Military Board, presenting a parcel of cotton cloth impregnated with oil, which had undergone spontancous combustion.
A full account of several experiments made on this very important subject, will appear in an early number of the Journal.
From Capt. Jas. Abbott, Huzaree, forwarding mineralogical speci. mens and describing the geological features of the district he is now surveying.
From Capt. Alexander Cunningham regarding the Serica of the Periplus. Pending a more detailed memoir on this subject, we may mention that Capt. Cunningham differs from Dr. Taylor in his identification of Serica with Assam, and considers two points sufficient to prove that Serica was the country about Yarkand, Khoten, and Beshbalik at the foot of the Altai. Capt. Cunningham observes, “The first of these is, that the road leading to Serica lay over the Komedan mountains, at the Source of the Oxus. This name still existed in A. D. 640, when Hwan Thsang visited India, for he mentions Kiumi-tho on the northern bank of the Oxus, along with Pho-mi-lo, or Pamer, and Po-lu-lo, or Bolor. The second point is that the EssEDONES (magna gens, as Ptolemy calls them) derive their name from the gallic word esseda, a chariot, or wagon. Now the people of the country around Beshbalik were called by the Chinese Kiotshang, or wagoners, from Kiotshe, a high-wheeled wagon (quære the origin of coach ?) These people call themselves Ouigours, who are the Oviyoupol of the time of the emperor Justin, and the leayoupor or Htayovpı of Ptolemy; which two readings we may safely change to Oveyoupos, the Ouigours, who,-as their Chinese appellation of Kiotshang, wagoners, intimates—were the same as the Essedones. The Sera metropolis must have been Beshbalik, the capital of the Quigours. The Psıtaras river of Pliny must be simply the SU-TARINI or the river Tarini, that is the united streams of the Kashgar, Yarkand, and Khoten rivers. As an illustration of this view I will only cite the position (to the Southward) of AAIATA (read ANIZATA) which must be Alsaug, or Lassa. The Dabasæ, and the Damasæ mountains must have some connexion possibly with the Larmas, but more probably with the name of Lassa itself—and the river Daona must be the Dihong, a proof that so far back as the time of Ptolemy the river (Sún-pu) which flowed past Lassa was the head of the Brahmaputra, or Dihong."
On the part of the Council of the Society, the Senior Secretary stated that on receipt of Mr. Elliott's letter, announcing the departure of a British mission to Thibet, the Council immediately issued instructions to their Curators and Librarian, and invited the several sections to co-operate with them, in preparing lists of scientific desiderata, which the mission might be enabled to supply. They also appointed Messrs. Hodgson, Campbell and Waugh, all resident at Darjeeling, a corresponding sub-Committee of the Society for this special object.
The Council have much pleasure in stating, that so promptly did the sections and officers of the Society comply with their requisition, that on the tenth day from the receipt of Mr. Elliott's letter, copious documents containing many valuable suggestions were forwarded to the mission, with a set of Ritter and Mahlman's maps. Mr. Frith, a member of the Council, having volunteered to accompany the mission as Naturalist, at his own expense, the Council forwarded his offer, with their cordial support, to the Hon'ble the Deputy Governor, who was pleased to declare his readiness to accept it, but expressed much doubt whether Mr. Frith could then overtake the mission.
A favorable report was received from Mr. Welby Jackson, on the MS Catalogue of Curiosities in the Museum, prepared by the Librarian.
Reports were received from the Curators, in the Geological and Zoological Departments, and the following list of Books received during the previous month was submitted by the Librarian.
Books received for the Meeting of the 4th August, 1817.
Le Moniteur des Indes Orientales et Occidentales, Vol. II. part I.—By THE EDITORS.
The Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, No. 10.–BY THE SOCIETY.
The Oriental Christian Spectator for July, 1817.—BY THE EDITOR.
The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, No. XVII. part 2.-BY THE SOCIETY.
Meteorological Register, kept at the Surveyor General's Office, Calcutta, for the Month of July, 1847.-BY THE OFFICIATING DEPUTY SURVEYOR GENERAL.
The Oriental Baptist, Nos. 6–8.-BY THE Editor.
The London, Edinburgh, and Dublin Philosophical Magazine, No. 202. The Athenæum, Nos. 1021-2.
The Edinburgh Review, Nos. 168-9.
Histoire Naturelle des Poissons, par M. Le Bon Cuvier, et M. A. Valen ciennes, Tome dix-neuviéme.
Voyage Dans L'Inde, par Victor Jacquemont, pendant les Années 1828 á 1832, in 4 vols. 4to.
As the meeting was about to separate Major Marshall handed in the following notice of a motion which he signified his intention to bring forward at the September meeting.