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culated. For the years 1784-85 we have another register published in the Asiatic Researches, which gives the annual amount thus :—
Let us now recapitulate the principal maxima and minima for
Max. 1779...1786...1796...1806...1815...1822-23...1829...1835-36 Min... 1782-3...1792-3...1802...1811-12...1819-20...1826...1832
The maxima for Bengal are generally earlier than the above.
On referring to the list we see that no minimum recurred at the end of 56 years from 1782 viz. in 1838; but somewhat earlier, viz. in 1837. It was not, however, to be expected that the recurrences would happen regularly in the same locality, and our lists are much too few to enable us to estimate the average effect over the whole surface of the country. The maxima above stated shew very nearly four equal intervals of seven years each 28 years; one of ten years, and two of nine years each
Admitting the case to be as we have supposed, then we might reasonably expect that similar phenomena would be observed in other parts of the world, in particular, such lakes or large natural reservoirs as the Caspian, and the North American lakes would indicate, by their increase or diminution, the variations of the seasons over an extended surface, better than any other artificial means that could be devised. In Brewster's Edin. Journal of Science, vol. 7. 1827 (July to October), we find a paper by Mr. De Witt Clinton, on the periodical rise and fall of the North American lakes. Unfortunately no record has been kept of the changes, but it is stated that there is a rise for three years, and a corresponding declension-being altogether a period of six years. It is added, that some extend the time of rise to five, and others to nineteen
years. Probably these periods would be more correctly stated at 4 and 9 years respectively, which would give recurrences at the end of nine and nineteen years. Some particular times of maxima and
These numbers (except the last) nearly coincide with our own, which are for the same period
It must be recollected that these periods of the North American lakes are only stated from the memory of the inhabitants; and besides it is almost too much to expect that the changes in distant parts of the world should be exactly contemporaneous.
ART. V.-Statistical Record of the duration of diseases in 13,019 fatal cases in Hindoos.-Extraordinary mortality among Lying-in Women-Compiled by Dr. DUNCAN STEWART, Superintendent General of Vaccination.
NOTE. The Table is compiled from the Bills of Hindoo Mortality kept by the Police authorities at the different ghauts where Hindoo obsequies are performed. The information is derived from the relatives accompanying the body to the ghaut, and is therefore not liable to suspicion, although there may be some little laxity on particular points. The registers thus obtained assign the name, age, sex, caste, occupation, and residence of every individual-the illness whereof he died, and the number of days he was ill-also the names of his father, of his nearest heir, his priest, and the doctor who attended him. Some of the former items I have elsewhere tabulated for the information of the Municipal Committee, in illustration of the localities in Calcutta most favorable
to the generation and concentration of disease, and of the ratio of mortality in each Thannah, as also the influences of age, sex, and season upon the course of disease among the natives.
The present Table has reference chiefly to the comparative prevalence of particular diseases, and to the duration of these in a majority of cases before they kill. It must be remembered that none of the subjects here classified enjoyed the benefits of Hospital treatment, and but very few probably of Dispensary aid, or of European skill in any form; yet the Table will be interesting, if on this account alone, by exhibiting in comparison with similar Tables, the results of Hospital or Dispensary practice here and in Europe.
The rapid fatality of tropical diseases in their early stages, is remarkably shown; and with reference particularly to the diseases of child-bed, there is more than sufficient to compel the conviction not only of the existence of many unhappily fatal habits and prejudices on the part of the people, but of most barbarous, perhaps sinful, obstetricy on the part of the practitioners. The mortality in child-bed is one-tenth of the whole; that is, equal to one-fifth of all the deaths among females. Of the fatal cases, more than half occur during the three first days, in other words "in the birth," and of the remainder a large majority fall victims to puerperal diseases within 15 days. So frightful a picture is not to be met with in the records of humanity; yet so little has it been known or suspected, that only two years ago the India Company's examining Physician in London actually struck out of the medical indent from this country the entire of the obstetric instruments, stating as a reason, that "the relaxing effects of the climate rendered the use of instruments at all times unnecessary."
The subject has lately attracted attention here in an influential quarter, and such disclosures as the present will, it is hoped, lead to the institution of measures calculated to prevent the fearful waste of life from such causes.
[Table shewing, &c.
Table shewing the Duration of particular Diseases in 13,019 fatal Cases among Hindoos.-Calcutta 29th May, 1839.
2 3 4
Number of Days the disease existed before Death.
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29
50 100 239 269 308 258 364 561 299 476 300 356 177 178 236 109 91 90 62 125 105 68 15 12 39 8 10 10 1153 42
12 17 18 19 36 24 30 44 55 69 50 25 17 13 4 11 12 6
356 208 146 88 89 49 46 42 29 36 30 32 23 23 58 73 2
D. STEWART, M. D. Surgeon to Park Street Dispensary.
We propose to return in our next Number to the consideration of the subject which Dr. Stewart, has laid before us in such an appalling form.-EDs.
ART. VI.-Summary description of four new species of Otter. By
To the Editor of the Asiatic Journal.
One of the most remarkable features of the mammalogy of Nepal is the great number of distinct species of Otter characterising it. There are at least seven species, I believe, though not one of them is numerous in individuals, at least not in comparison of the common Otter of commerce, which is produced in the neighbourhood of Dacca and Sylhet. This rarity of species, added to the circumstance of the animals not being regularly hunted for their skins, renders it very difficult to procure live specimens; and without live specimens which may be slain and their osteological as well as other characters thus accurately examined-the discrimination of specific differences is a work of extreme labour and delay. Many years ago I announced to Mr. Bennett, the late Secretary of the London Zoological Society, the fact that there are several species of Lutra in Nepal, and before he died he was nearly convinced of the correctness of the statement, though I could not then, nor can now, give a full exposition of even those with which I am best acquainted.
Waiting, however, for the perfect knowledge when the materials of it are not under command, is, I find, like waiting on the river's side for a dry passage after the waters have flowed past; and I shall therefore offer no apology for briefly characterising those four of the seven Nepalese species of Otter of which I have considerable certainty, leaving the remaining three to some future occasion.
1st. Species-TARAYENSIS NOBIS.
Size, medial. Structure, typical. Scull and head much depressed. Lower incisors ranged nearly in line. Tail equal to two-thirds the length of the animal, and much depressed. Form, robust. Nails compressed, exserted from the finger ends, and acute. Fur short and smooth. Colour-above, clear umber; below, and the hands and feet, pure yellowish white; the yellow tint deepest on the limbs; the pale colour on the head and neck extending upwards to the line of the ears -less so on the body; and the distinction of dark and pale hues very decidedly marked. Tail above and below, dark.