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the ridge, which must have been between 5000 and 5500 feet elevation, scarcely any change took place. As I descended to Bu vegetation became more and more tropical, and on reaching it fou myself surrounded with plants common in many parts of the plains Assam.*
Buxa is rather a pretty place, about 2000 feet above the si The only decent house in it is that of the Soobah, who is of inferi rank. The huts are of the ordinary description, and do not excet twelve in number. The Soobah’s house, with some of those of Beng officers, occupy a low rising ground in the centre of the pass, which divided from the hills on either side by a small torrent. A view of tl plains is obtainable from this place.
Captain Pemberton left Buxa a day before me, as I was detain behind for coolies, none of whom had yet arrived. On the followii day I rejoined him at Chicha-cotta. The descent to the plains is ste at first, and commences about a quarter of a mile from Buxa. C reaching the steep portion a halting place, called Minagoung, passed, at which place, all bullocks, which are here used as beasts burden, are relieved if bound to Buxa, or provided with burden if bound for the plains. The descent from this place is very gra dual, and scarcely appreciable; the path was good, and bore appear ances of being tolerably well frequented; it passed through rather open forest, low grasses forming the under-plants. Th plains were not reached for several miles, indeed the descent was su gradual, that the boundaries of the hills and those of the plains were but ill defined. At last however the usual Assam features of vast expanses of grassy vegetation, interrupted here and there with strips of jungle, presented themselves. The country is very low, entirely inundated during the rains, and almost uninhabited. Saul occurred toward that which may be considered the Toorai of these parts, but the trees were of no size.
Chicha-cotta is eighteen miles from Buxa, and is situated on a grassy plain; it is small and miserably stockaded, nor is there any appearance about the place indicative of comfort or security. To Koolta. We continued through nearly a desolate country, overrun with coarse grasses, until we came on the river, which is of considerable width, but fordable ; we now found ourselves in the Cooch-Behar territory, and were much struck with the contrast between its richly cultivated state, and the absolute desolation of that belonging to Bootan. We continued traversing a highly fertile country, teeming with population,
* Plantains, jacks, mangoes, figs, oranges, &c., are found about the huts of Buxa.
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Vol. VII. PL.IX. Jourt, asoc.
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durable kind. We shall be happy to act as Trustees for a 'Museum Fund,' should our suggestions meet the approbation of those who understand and appreciate the object in view.-Eds.)
In reporting upon the present state of the collection of the Asiatic Society, we have felt much disinclination, fearing lest by so doing we might be considered as attacking the proceedings of our predecessors; we however consider it our duty, from the place we now hold, and the more so as we leave this in a few days for the Upper Provinces, trusting that when the statement has been laid before the Society, active measures will be taken to improve its condition.
We shall first notice the Minerals and Rocks. In these two departments the collection is exceedingly rich as far as numbers are concerned. Of the former there are upwards of two thousand specimens, and of the latter probably upwards of four thousand ; but the miserable condition in which they have been kept-packed in drawers one above another, without paper, or any other material intervening-has rendered many of them entirely useless and unfit to be placed in the collection. In particular we would mention the Zeolites, many of which originally must have been magnificent. The Apophyllites (a species of zeolite) are very fine, and still valuable specimens, and had they not been so much destroyed, the Society might have claimed the merit of possessing, of this particular variety, the finest specimen, probably, in the world. Most of the other specimens have been equally neglected, and many of value destroyed. In regard to labels, there were but few attached, and of these many wrong. The Rocks, of which there is a most magnificent and extensive collection, would have been doubly valuable if they had been furnished with labels, indicating the locality from whence they had been obtained ; at present after a collection containing every variety has been laid aside for the Society's own Museum, the others, when named, will form valuable duplicates for exchanging. To this department of the Society's Museum no attention whatever has been paid, although probably the most important. Lying beneath one of the tables in the Museum there was a large collection, said to be sent by Dr. Helfer, but as not one of the specimens was labelled, that is intimating where found, we have not been able to make use of them. In fact such a collection is quite useless to a Society; and even if some important mineral should be found in it, the value of the discovery could not be followed up. It would be of importance to intimate this to individuals engaged in making such collections.
Mammalia. The collection of quadrupeds consists of about seventy specimens, many of which are exceedingly good, and a few very rare, among which we would characterise the Hylobates albimanus, Hylobates hoolock, Ailurus refugens, Ictides albifrons ; but in this department the collection of the Society is very deficient, not containing above a fifth of the quadrupeds found in India. Moreover many specimens, from their bad condition, would require to be replaced as soon as possible.
Birds.—The number of birds prepared amount to upwards of six hundred specimens, and in addition to these there is a considerable collection in boxes, many specimens of which are not as yet in the Museum. Among the birds, there are some exceedingly rare and valuable specimens, and several new to science, which we shall now notice briefly. 1. Larus kroicocephalus. The discovery of this species is probably one of the most interesting which has been made in ornithology for some time. In size it is equal to the Larus marinus of Europe, and possesses in the head and neck colours