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There is this difference, however, as compared with the Dicrurine tail, that in our bird the two extreme feathers are much smaller than any of the rest; whence the fork of the tail becomes lessened in depth, these plumes not contributing to it.
The singular assumption of the entire aspect of so remote a genus as Dicrurus on the part of this strictly Cuculine bird will, I fancy, be generally considered extraordinary; and has suggested the generic name of Pseudornis (evdoo falsus) The Cuculus lugubris, although described as having a wedged tail, will, I think, be found to have a forked one, and to constitute a second species of our proposed new genus, which will be, in that event, placed on a firm basis.
If it be remarked, that supposing Lugubris to have really a forked tail, it is, in fact, specifically identical with our bird, why then the specific name Dicuroïdes will merge in that of Lugubris, but the new type of form may still claim to be recognised, and surely will do so.
The green glossed black plumage and the forked tail, are as universally the marks of the Dicrurine sub-family as they are, I believe, universally excluded from the Cuculida.
Nepal, March, 1839.
I am, Sir,
Your most obedient servant,
W. B. HODGSON.
ART. III.-Report on the Coal and Iron Mines of Tálcheer and Ungool, also remarks on the country through which it was necessary to travel in search of those minerals, the produce, inhabitants, nature of the soil, roads, &c. &c. By Mr. M. KITTOE, Curator and Librarian Asiatic Society's Museum.
March 31st, 1838.
All necessary preparations having been made, and assistance received from the superintendent tributary Mehauls, I left Cuttack on the 14th March, in company with Mr. R. Beetson, (contractor for the transport of salt from the coast to Calcutta) and proceeded by regular marches through Dhenkennal, direct from Kuckur on the Mahanuddee to the Brahmenee at Atturva, encamping first at Kuckur Govindpoor, and secondly at Deogaon, under the famous hill of Kuppilás, near to the summit of which, at an elevation of 1000 or 1200 feet, is a fine spring of fresh water, round which are several ancient temples built by Pertaub Rudr Deo, king of Kalinga, in the sixteenth century of the Christian era.
From Atturva we proceeded up the south bank of the Brahmenee to Tálcheergurh, where we arrived on the seventh day, encamping at Nadurra. and Kumalung, the distance travelled being 30 Ooriya coss of 24 miles to the coss on an average.
We halted one day at Tálcheer, and interchanged visits with the Rája (who is a very intelligent man, and has travelled all over India) likewise his eldest son. I presented the old gentleman with a musical snuff-box, with which he was much delighted.
After duly examining the coal beds I proceeded to Mungulpersád, a stockaded village on the borders of Ungool, the distance seven coss in a westerly direction, over an undulating country, with, generally speaking, indifferent soil and much shingle.
We remained one day at this place, and having inspected the coal beds, &c. returned by a more direct (though crooked enough) route through the states of Tálcheer and Ungool, to the bank of the river (at Mungulpoor) along which we proceeded, via Nadurra, Nágnáth, Chundpál, Kapeepoor, to Kewátbund, near to which place the river enters the plains, throwing off that branch called the Kursooa, which is the only navigable channel to the sea. We reached this place on the 26th, thirteen days from the date of our leaving Cuttack.
The country is neither so mountainous nor jungly as it is represented to be, but for the most part, much neglected; although the soil appears generally good, and productive.
The lands in the immediate vicinity of the Brahmenee are very rich. Great quantities of cotton, sugar-cane, castor-oil plant, linseed, &c. &c. are grown for home consumption, as well as for exportation; the chief profits of which are monopolized by the Mukhteears and Survurakars of the states, who farm the villages from the Rája, and make the most of their bargain by extorting the utmost fraction from the cultivators, who are in fact mere slaves; indeed so are all the inhabitants of these hill provinces; they nevertheless seem happy in their poverty and degraded state.
A great deal of very fine tobacco is grown along the banks and on the muddy deposits of the river, and such lands fetch an exceeding high rent; notwithstanding which the profits on this article of commerce are very great.
Wheat and barley are cultivated in small quantities, and what little I saw, appeared to grow most luxuriantly; maize, &c. is also grown on the high lands by the meaner classes, but rice is the chief article of food.
The land in Tálcheer and in Ungool is not so good as in Dherkuomál; and the trees are stunted in growth owing to the shingle,
laterite, and sandstone rocks which are near the surface. There is more jungle and waste land on the opposite side of the river.
From the third march from Atturva to the plains (commencing at Kewátbund) the level lands vary much in extent, the hills in some places coming within 3 or 400 yards of the river, and in others, receding for two or three miles, forming no connected chain, but all more or less isolated (apparently of volcanic origin), the land between them being perfectly level, except where ravines or beds of laterite and kunker occur to interrupt it. At Atturva the hills recede gradually, till at Kurugpursád they branch off in a south-westerly direction, through the state of Hindole into Ungool, towards the Mahanudde; the hills on the opposite side of the river also recede in a north westerly direction towards Keonjur and Bounnaragurh..
Shortly before reaching Kurugpursád the country commences to be undulating, and extensive beds of shingle occur, with red marl. Sandstone rocks are met with at Mungulpoor, protruding through the soil, which are very close grained and white; granite also sometimes occurs in huge detached masses, which have a very singular appearance, particularly at Kukurdung, in Ungool, where they rise in detached blocks of sixteen and eighteen feet in height, and of most fantastic shapes, somewhat resembling the Stonehenge. The land on the north bank of the river is likewise undulating, with rocks. No hills of any magnitude are to be found within twenty or thirty miles of Tálcheer and the coal localities visited by me.
From Tálcheergurh to Mungulpersád, a distance of sixteen miles or more, I saw much shingle and rising ground, on which there is iron ore and laterite, also kunker (calcarious nodules) and sandstone rocks. I observed near the different villages much scattered cultivation beneath the sál and other jungle trees, the underwood having been cleared away; this is the consequence of overtaxing the arable and clear lands, and taking nothing for cultivation of this kind, which is little inferior to the best.
There are no wells, and but few tanks throughout the country. Except in the low lands, in the vicinity of the river, water is very scarce, and what little there is, is of bad quality, particularly in Ungool, where some of the wells and tanks contain naphtha.
There is much waste land overgrown with long grass, which affords excellent pasturage for buffaloes and cows; there are consequently very fine herds of both descriptions of cattle, which are far superior to those of the Mogulbundee (or plains). There are but few goats and sheep.
The people of these states are more artful than even the inhabi
tants of the plains of Oorissa, who are bad enough. Their craftiness is beyond any thing credible. I have travelled a great deal during my residence in India, and had much intercourse with the different classes of natives, but never did I meet with such provoking knaves as the people of the Gurhjat (hill states). It is next to impossible to obtain any correct information even on the most trivial subjects. Every question put by a stranger is considered and re-consider. ed, ere a reply is given, and that, too, is an interrogation as to the object you have in asking it. And should you ask the distance from one place to another, you will be answered at random, or told, "I don't know; I have never been there; I was born in this village; so was my father," and such like;-this is to prevent your asking them to go with you and show the path, and if you take them, they will lead you by the most tortuous route.
I was informed that it is more than any ryot's head is worth to give information regarding the internal economy of the state, or about its resources, or, indeed, on any subject. With such people to deal with, it is not surprising that very little information has been gained by me during such a hurried trip. What I have obtained regarding the Hingolae mines, was from an ascetic, to whom I made a suitable present. I also heard of coal and iron mines in Bumurragurh, from a merchant of Cuttack, and accordingly despatched an intelligent peon to examine them, and to bring specimens, &c.
There is no road along the banks of the Brahmenee, but an irregular and narrow footpath; indeed there are no hackery roads at all. The only road of any consequence is that leading from Cuttack through Dhenkennalgurh, past Kurugpursád and Mungulpoor, and on to Boad; it is tolerably wide and smooth, and is much frequented by Bunjaruhs, who bring cotton, iron, and turmeric in return for salt and tobacco. From Mungulpoor, onwards, the road is nearly due east and west.
Remarks on the Water Carriage for Coal, &c. &c.
The Brahmenee is navigable for good sized boats from the end of June to the middle of December, and sometimes later. Coal could be laden in small canoes and conveyed to Kurugpursád at most seasons of the year indeed. The Dhenkennal boatmen assert that small boats only can navigate the river above that place at any season owing to the numerous rocks; this is however not to be relied upon, for there are but few, which could be removed at a trifling expense.
From Kewatbund (at the edge of the plains) boats and rafts are floated down that branch called the Kursooa.
The furthest point towards the sea to which the coal could be taken is Hunsooagolá, where large sloops anchor. It would be preferable to make this place a depôt, Auligurh being many miles further up the river. It is to these places that Messrs. Beetson's sloops come for salt. There is a bankshall belonging to them at Aul, where sloops are built and repaired. The timber is cut and purchased in Dhenkennal, where it is very cheap, and may be had of any size and quality, viz. sál, sissoo, bijesál, kúrúmb, gírahu, &c. A native contractor offered to carry the coal from Tálcheer to Hunsooagola, at the rate of twenty-five rupees per 100 maunds, or four annas per maund; the boats making three trips each season. The lading is included in this amount. Mr. Beetson however informs me that it could be done for one anna per maund, or, at the utmost, two annas.
From Hunsooa Mr. Beetson would contract to carry the coal to Calcutta, or to any port lower down the coast; and from his experience of the natives of Oorissa, and his industrious habits, I should venture to recommend any contract for the working of the mines, or transport of the mineral, to be offered to him.
The iron mines are worked by the different traders, who give grain, tobacco, and salt, to the value of one rupee per maund of metal. Should the coal mines be worked eventually, it would be necessary to pay for the labour in like manner, for money is unknown to the lower orders; cowries alone are current, and there is a great scarcity of them even. Although there are but few inhabitants, many poor people from the surrounding states would flock to earn food, if proper protection be afforded them. Some difficulty would be experienced at the outset, but that would soon subside.
On the Tálcheer Coal.
That which I shall distinguish by the appellation of "Tálcheer Coal," is found near the town and gurh of that name; the town gives name to the whole district, which is 14 Ooreya coss in circumference, or forty-two English miles, more or less.
Tálcheergurh (the Raja's stockaded palace) and town (called Patna) are situated on the south bank of the river Brahmenee, on a sandstone rock, rising to the height of 20 or 30 feet from the level of the water. The surrounding country is undulating, with a thin stratum of soil resting on shingle, composed of the debris of primitive