صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

one of the principal characters essential to the genus Kroicocephalus of Eton, in every other character it is a true Larus; and as the colour of the head and neck disappear in winter, we have therefore this species representing in summer the genus Kroicocephalus, and in winter Larus; shewing the necessity of abandoning the former genus. The specimen in the Society's collection is partly in a state of change from the summer to the winter. In the Edinburgh Royal Museum there is another specimen in perfect summer plumage: these probably are the only two specimens known. The name we have adopted is one which we proposed to the Wernerian Society, being the generic one of Eton reduced to trivial value. Belonging to that interesting genus the Leiothrix, Swains. of which there is but one species described, there are two new species in the collection of the Society, in the Edinburgh Museum there is a third, and in the Zoological Society's Museum of London a fourth, all of which are peculiar to India, and thus the number of species is now increased to five, shewing the necessity and importance of making new genera, if the characters presented are sufficiently marked, although at first only one species should be presented. We could enumerate a large series of genera which were represented a few years ago by one species only, but which now contain from three to twelve species. In a bird lately laid before the Society by Dr. Evans, and considered by him as a variety of the Aquila Chryractos, the Society has a new species belonging to the genera Haliaëtus ; the only other specimen we have seen is in the collection of the Zoological Society of London. We cannot omit mentioning the Eurylaimus Dalhousiæ as exceedingly rare and valuable species, three specimens only being known to exist in collections. Many other novelties, some of them extremely interesting in illustrating ornithological geography could be pointed out, which however would extend our report to an undue length; we however may state that Dr. Helfer has sent lately to the Society a new Chalcites, and Irena puella, and Calyptomina viridis, both of which were supposed to be confined to the Asiatic Islands.

Osteology.The Osteological Department of the Society's collection is small, but still there are several splendid skeletons. The magnificence of the Fossil Osteological collection car:not be too strongly pointed out; but it is much and deeply to be regretted that there is no proper accommodation for it; which we hope will soon be remedied by proper cases being provided, and placed in the new apartments now building, in order that the many unique and valuable specimens may be properly exposed to view.

In regard to the Icthyological, Erpetological, Conchological, &c. departments of the Society we have not had any leisure to examine, and therefore forbear at present giving any report. But as there is much room for improvement in the departments We have already noticed, we beg to offer a few suggestions.

Minerals and Rocks.-Before the collections of Minerals and Rocks can be generally useful, there must be proper means for exhibitions, and we hope soon to see cases fitted up on the plan we proposed, or any other which may be suggested, furnished to the rooms. The advantages in having collections of Rocks and Minerals arranged and labelled properly, would no doubt be of the greatest consequence, seeing that it would form the basis for comparison of any collections which may hereafter reach the Museum; and also be of use to individuals for comparing their own private collections. As far as it lay in our power, during the short space of time we have had, we have arranged the Minerals in the tables formerly occupied by eggs, birds' heads, &c. only temporary bowever, expecting that more suitable cases will be provided. The Rocks are still lying

[graphic]

exposed for want of accommodation, but a few of them so arranged that when cases are provided, they can be removed by any individual.* The system we have followed is that of Werner, as improved by modern authors. If any member would now visit and see the extent of their Mineralogical collection, I am sure they would be convinced of the necessity of having proper cases.

The Bird cases since last Meeting have been fitted up with shelving, which has enabled us to arrange systematically the collection, and the system we have adopted is that of the Baron Cuvier. Moreover, in addition to the advantage derived in having a systematic arrangement, the cases will now contain three times as many specimens as they did formerly. To us it appears a most extraordinary idea, to suppose that objects of Natural History cannot be properly preserved in this country. No doubt in cases fitted up in the same manner as those of the Society at the present moment, they could not, either here or any where else; but if these cases were made air-tight, by lining the edges of the doors with chamois leather poisoned with arsenic, according to the plan adopto with the cases of many of the European collections, we would be bound to say, that the collections could be preserved nearly as well here as in Europe. At least this is a subject well worthy the attention of the Society.

In conclusion, we shall offer a few brief remarks in regard to the desiderata. To increase their collections, public bodies have generally adopted one plan, viz.—a memorial giving a brief account of the manner how to prepare, collect, and pack objects of Natural History, and at the same time pointing out those objects most to be desired. If such a memorial was got up under the auspices of this Society, and distributed among its numerous members and correspondents throughout India, the Society would not only possess for itself a collection in a very short time, but at the same time would have at its disposal, for making exchanges, a large series of duplicates; and in the space of a few years by so doing with the different collections in Europe, America, Cape, and Sydney, it would thus bring together, with little expense to itself, a collection which would vie with the various noble institutions on the European continent, and at the same time worthy 'of this the so-called City of Palaces. Before this can be done, a Catalogue of the collection must be made. Moreover the Society could in a series of tables exhibit by specimens, that is by bringing together the rocks of the different districts bordering on each other, the Geology of the whole of India, and thus in a manner supply that great desideratum, at least to individuals here, viz. the want of a Geological Map, and probably it might be the means of leading to this desirable object; an undertaking worthy of support from such an institution, and from the country at large.

W. J.

Dr. M'Clelland informs us they have been once more swept into chaos by the unguarded hands of assistants since Mr. Jameson's departure. Nothing can more clearly prove the futility of attempting to do any thing in this department before proper cabinets are procured.-Eds.

Art. VII.- Proceedings of the Asiatic Society.

Wednesday Evening, 6th March, 1839.
At a Meeting held at the Grand Jury Room of the Supreme Court.
The Honorable Sir E. Ryan, President, in the chair.
The Proceedings of the last Meeting were read and confirmed.
The Honorable Sir H. Seton, the Rev. John Henry Pratt, Dr. WILLIAM
JA MESON, Mr. E. THOMAS, Mr. J. W. LAIDLAY, and Mr. A. C. Dunlop, proposed
at the last Meeting, were ballotted for, and duly elected Members of the Society.

Read a letter from Mr. Charles Ritter, acknowledging his election as an honorary
Member
The Oficiating Secretary apprized the Meeting of the departure of their Curator,
Dr. George Evans, to Europe ; and after some discussion it was resolved that Dr.
WILLIAM Jameson be appointed to the office, on the same allowances as those drawn
by his predecessor.

Library.
Read a letter from H. T. Prinsey, Esq. forwarding for inspection Dr. Robert
Wight's Illustrations of Indian Botany.
The following books were presented :-
Bulletin de la Societé de Geographie, vol. 9th—by the Society.
On the Ovulum of Santalum, by William Griffiths, Esq.— by the Author.
Die Stupa’s (Topes) and die Colosse Von Bamiyan, by Carl Ritter-by the Author.
Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, No. 9by the Society.
Proceedings of the Bombay Geographical Society for August, 1838—by the Society.
Ditto of the American Philosophical Society, Nos. 1, 2, and 3, from January to August

1838–by the Society.
5 Copies Alif Leila, vol. Ist in Arabic-subscribed for by the Society.
Lardner's Cyclopædia—Literary and Scientific Men, vol. 9th—from the Booksellers.
Read an application from Premchaund Pundit, Editor of the “Nyeshadha,regard -
ing the 2nd part of the work in Manuscript, and offering to making over the same to
the Society, on condition of his being remunerated for his trouble in compilation.
Resolved that the application be referred to the Committee of Papers.

Museum.
A Gumsoor Battle Axe was presented by Mr. J. G. BALMAIN.

Statistics.
Read a letter from H. H. SPRY, Esq., Secretary to the Statistical Sub-Committee,
intimating that in consequence of the Society's declining to publish the Documents
compiled by them, they will no longer prosecute their researches.
The Annual Report for 1838, which had been presented on the lst of January, was
then read, and adopted by the Meeting.

Secretaries' Annual Report.
The indisposition and absence of the Rev. Mr. Malan since his appointment, and
the short period during which we have held the office of Officiating-Secretaries, will
We trust constitute a sufficient apology for the incompleteness of the present anniversary

We have endeavoured by a diligent perusal of the proceedings of the year just
elapsed to become familiar with the state and prospects of the Society, and we have also

[ocr errors]

notice.

[graphic]

....

sought more detailed information from the gentlemen severally responsible for the Library, Finance, and Museum departments.

On the general statistics of the Society we have to state that the accession of Members to the Society during the year 1838 was as follows:Ordinary Members,

25 Honorary Members,

1 Associate Members,

1 The loss of Members by deaths, departures to Europe, and withdrawals, has been -by departure to Europe, Messrs. W. ADAM, A Colvin, H. WALTERS, Col. BURNEY, and Mr. JAMES Prinsep. By withdrawals, Messrs. W. BRUCE and W. DENT.

By deaths in India, Messrs. A. E. Dobbs and John Bell, and in France Monsieur A Jacquet, an honorary Member, and one of the most distinguished Orientalists of the day.

We designedly forbear on this occasion from the attempt at any minute obituary notice of the Members whose deaths we so deeply lament. The decease of M. JACQUET was only announced at our last meeting. His friend and fellow labourer, EUGENE Burnour, in the letter which conveys this melancholy news, gives a touching narrative of the circumstances of M. Jacquer's malady and death. A victim to consumption, induced by his unremitting studies, he died at the age of 28, in the delusive confidence of revealing by his future labours much of what is still mysterious in the history and chronology of the Hindoo nations A quarter of an hour before death he was still ardently pursuing his studies. In the homage paid to his memory in France, the Asiatic Society of Bengal most unanimously and profoundly concur.

Publications. We have to state that during the past year the 4th and last volume of the “ Mahabharatahas been the only work printed in the Oriental department. The volume will be immediately published, and will cost the Society between 4 and 5,000 Rupees. The liberality of Government has most opportunely enabled the Society to meet from its own resources this heavy outlay, which otherwise would have fallen on our respected Secretary, Mr. Prinsep. The sale of the work in France has unfortunately proved far short of M. BURNOUF's sanguine predictions.

The publication of the “Sharira Vidaya,” or translation of "Hooper's Anatomist's Vade Mecum,” has been sanctioned by the Society in conjunction with Mr. Muir, who has generously subscribed 1,000 Rupees for this special object. There is yet however much difficulty in this undertaking. The professional members of the Society consider the work wholly useless without plates, and the lowest estimate yet obtained places the cost of such illustrations at 6 x 250= 1,500 Rupees. A reference to Europe was evidently expedient to procure cheaper and better cuts than are obtainable in India, and for the result of such reference the work is now postponed.

The publication of the “Sharya-ul-Islam” by the Newab TahawUR JUNG, has unfor. tunately been much retarded. The delay is attributable to the conjoint inactivity of the Printer and of the Moulavee employed to correct the proofs. Means are being taken however to accelerate the completion of the work. An advance of 800 Rupees has this month been made to the Printer, in pursuance of a resolution of the Committee. of Papers and Finance.

The Transactions of the Society will soon be augmented by the publication of the 2nd Parts of the 19th and 20th Volumes. We may be pardoned for anticipating that the literary reputation of the Society will be well sustained in their pages. If the Society has been reproached with neglecting the Natural History of Asia, the part of the

Porsical Researches now in the press, will, we are confident, more than remove that stigmua. The bulk of the Physical Part will consist of Dr. M.CLELLAND's elaborate paper on " Indian Cyprinida.

In connexion with the subject of publications, we should not omit to notice two works by Members of the Society, to which Government has contributed either by subseription or by still more direct support. The first is the version by Mr. Torrens of the ever-charming “ Alif Leila." The second is the remarkable and valuable CochinChinese Dictionary, by the Right Rev. the Bishop of Isauropolis, now Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Bengal.

Antiquities. In antiquarian enterprise, research, and discovery, the past year has been most prolific. Among the events of interest we notice in our records, we may particularize the liberal grant by Government for the erection of the Allahabad pillar-the receipt from the Rev. Mr. Wilson of fac-similes of the Gimnar inscriptions-Mr. Prinsip's most important discovery of the name of Antiochus in two of the edicts of Ashoka-Mr. PRINSEP's translation of the religious edicts of Ashoka, discovered in Gujerat and in Cuttack-and the discovery that the inscription of Junegurh related the circumstance of the repair of a bridge in the time of Chundra Gupta, by Ashoka, his grandson. To these let us add

, the interesting fruits of Mr. Kitroe's Researches in Cuttackthe active and successful measures adopted by Government to procure fac-similes of the Junegurh and Girnaghur inscriptions-the verification by Lieut. Postans of Mr. PRINSEP's views

as to the reading of the name of ANTIGONUS next to that of PTOLEMY in the 14th edict

, in the Girnar inscriptions—the measures taken by Government to prevent the demolition of the Kanarah Temple--and, lastly, Professor Lassen's simultaneous proposition of an alphabet for the Pali and Bactrian languages, nearly identical with that described by Mr. Prinsep in the July number of the Journal. On even this disjointed and hasty glance, we may well be proud of the progress the Society has accomplished in the fulfilment of one of the chief objects of its institution. It will, we doubt not be universally admitted that the Asiatic Society during the past year has justified its high name, and retained its natural position, as the most energetic and successful agent of antiquarian discovery in the East.

Statistics. Owing to the lamented deaths of Sir B. Malkin and Mr. Bell, the retirement of Messrs. WALTERS and ADAM, and the withdrawal of Messrs. BIGNEL, CURNIN, and M'CLINTOCK, the Committee was at the end of the year 1838 reduced to four Members, Messrs. EwaRT, SPRY, BAILLIE, and Stewart. Mr. W. P. Grant has since

It is understood that Dr. STEWART has been for some time engaged in tabulating translations of the Records of Native Mortality in Calcutta, with the view to illustrate the localities of disease in this city, and the effects of climate on the health of its inhabitants. Dr. Spry has prepared a series of tables illustrating the state of education among different classes of Society in Bengal. Mr. Ewart has ready for press some very valuable original tables connected with the currency and trade of Calcutta. The only paper which has yet appeared in common with the labors of this Committee, is the very important document by Mr. H. T. PRINSEP, on the decrement of juvenile European life in Bengal. This valuable contribution to vital statistics has already appeared in the Society's Journal.

к к

.

been elected a Member.

« السابقةمتابعة »