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extensive distribution, yet in their subdivisions they are more restricted; for we find the Vultures, properly so called, entirely in the Old world, their place being supplied in the New by the species of the genus Sarcoramphus. Nor do the different divisions of the Vultures stand thus alone in representing each other in the different continents, it being a law extending through many groups of the ornithological system. Thus the Platyrhynchi of the New world are represented in Asia by the Eurylaimede. The Pardalotide of Australia are represented in Asia by the Calyptomineda, and in the New world by the Piprina. The Buccomida of Asia are represented in Africa by the Pogonida, and in the new world by the Tamatiada. The Rhamphastide of South America are represented in Asia and Africa by the Buceride, and in Australia by the Scythropida. The Oriolide of the Old world are represented by the Quiscalide in the New, which group, with one exception, as in the Piprince, is confined to America. The Melleagride of America are represented in Africa by the Namida, in Asia by the Phananide, and in Australia by the Alecturida. And, lastly, the Struthionidæ of Africa are represented in America by the Rheada, in Australia by the Casuaride, and in Europe and Asia by the Otida. Numerous other examples could be given, but there are still a great many genera which form as it were isolated examples to individual continents, and for which we cannot find any representations. Thus we have no tribe in New Holland to represent the Piciana; no tribe in Europe to represent the Psittacida; no tribe in Asia, Australia, or America to represent the Scopide of Africa; and, in fine, no tribe in any of the other continents to represent the Musophagida or Gypogeranide of Africa. Whether there ever existed in the different continents groups representing each other to a greater extent than we have at present, will probably remain a mystery, even although organic remains should be found; birds not presenting in their osteology, at least in many cases, sufficiently marked characters. Comprehended in the genus Vulfure, properly so called, we have eleven species; of those, three are found in Europe, but none proper to it, being also found in Asia and Africa; in Asia six, three of which are properly, one of them being also found in the Indian islands; in Africa eight, five of which are proper; supplying their place, as already stated, we have in the New world Sarcoramphi, of which there are four species common to North and South America, if the opinion of Nuttal is correct in regard to the occurrence of the Condor in the North American continent. It is probable however that it may have been confounded with the Sarcoramphus Californianus, a nearly allied species. The Sarcoramphus papa seldom goes as far north as the United States; Bonaparte states that it is occasionally met with in Florida, which is pro
bably its northern limit. It is described by D'Azara as common in Paraguay, but he states it does not pass the 32° of south latitude; in the intermediate countries it appears to be very abundant. The genus Cathartes, consisting of two species, is also confined to North and South America, its place being supplied in the Eastern hemisphere by the genus Neophron, represented by the Neophron perenopterus, a species common to Europe, Asia and Africa.
Adding together the species belonging to the different divisions of Vultures, we have thus only eighteen known; a small proportion when compared either to the Falcons or Owls, but the numbers in which they occur fully compensate for this. The warmer regions of Africa and Asia must be considered as the metropolis of the Vultures, properly so called.
We now enter upon the second division of the Falconida, which has been divided by the Baron Cuvier into two grand divisions, viz. the noble and ignoble Birds of Prey; the former comprehending the Falcons, properly so called, the latter the Eagles, Hierofalco.
The Falconida considered as one group, possess very extensive distribution, belonging to our Katholiko-dianamial division, occurring from the 80° of north latitude to the equator, and from the equator to the 55° of south latitude, and in all the intermediate spaces; yet when taken generically, many of them, as in the Vulturida, have a rather restricted distribution.
Of the genus Falco, properly so called, we have representatives in all the different continents, but in Europe we meet with the greatest number of typical species; not one of which, however, is confined to it. Thus of the forty-four species contained in the genera Falco, Hierofalco, Hierax, Harpagus, Lophotes, and Erythropus, nine are found in Europe, of which two are proper to it, belonging, one to the genus the other to the genus Erythropus; in Asia twelve, five of which are proper, three of these found also in the Indian islands; in Africa eighteen, eleven of which are proper; in Australia five, and four proper; in North America five, and one proper; and in South America twelve, and of these ten proper. Of the other seven species found in Europe, but not proper to it, three are common to Europe and Asia, one common to Europe, Asia, and North America, one common to Europe and North America, one common to Europe and Africa, and one common to Europe, Australia(?), North and South America.
It may be laid down as a well ascertained fact, that birds of temperate, and many birds of arctic, countries-that is, those birds which are known to breed there-possess a much wider distribution than those
* Word illegible in M.S.-EDS.
of tropical countries; for in very few instances do we find birds of tropical countries extending their migrations to temperate countries,-a statement which is applicable to more than a third of the birds of Europe. But although we find these European birds inhabiting regions within the tropics, yet we in general find them in those places whose mean annual temperature is little above that of Europe, caused either by the position or form of the country. To this rule however we have several exceptions, as in the Sturnus vulgaris, Pastor roseus, Oriolus galbula, which inhabit both tropical and temperate regions, although probably more abundant, at least the last two mentioned, in the former. It may also be noticed as a curious fact, the reason for which is yet unexplained, viz. that the European species which are found in tropical countries are in general smaller, although identical in every other character with the same bird found in Europe; in other cases we find them not only smaller, but at the same time undergoing slight modifications, which, however, are permanent, and therefore entitling us to consider them as new species and the representatives, in the particular regions in which they are found, of the European. Such is the case with regard to the Nut-hatch, Blackbird, Goldfinch, Siskin, Nut-cracker, Field-fare, Music Thrush, &c. all of which are found in India. (To be continued.)
ART. VIII. On the use of Wells, &c. in foundations; as practised by the natives of the northern Doab. By Captain CAUTLEY, Superintendent of the Doab Canal.
Piles and caissons being the usual means adopted for foundations in Europe, where the soil and substrata are insufficient, I will venture a few remarks on the system adopted in northern India* for the same purpose, especially in the application of hollow cylinders, or wells of masonry. The plan of undersinking wells does not appear to be totally unknown, although it is not practised in England; in fact the only approach to the method upon which I am now about to occupy the pages of this Journal, is exhibited in the works at the Thames Tunnel, at the descent to which Brunel has sunk masonry cylinders "fifty feet in diameter, strongly clamped with iron, &c." the process of effecting which I have no means of describing. Our Upper Indian system, however, is so admirably adapted to the purposes for which it is intended, and so much superior to pileing (caissons I put out of the ques
The undersinking of wells, and their use in foundations, is not confined to the northern Doab; it is practised in Bengal and other parts of India.
tion) that a few remarks, drawn from practical observation, may perhaps induce others, with more information than myself, to attract the notice of English Civil Engineers to a resource well worthy of their attention. The Hindoo religion in deifying the great rivers, and inculcating on its disciples the necessity of constant ablutions, and the rewards held out to those who multiply the shrines and temples on the banks of the sacred waters, have been the cause, in all probability, of the adoption of this system of foundation. In an alluvium so extensive, and so moveable, piles, were they used, would have been found inefficient; the native engineer, however, has no machinery with which piles of a sufficient length could be driven; timber, moreover, at those places where the greatest demand would have existed, could not have been procured without great difficulty, and very great expense. The means of making bricks, on the contrary, were at hand; the labourers required to build masonry and to sink wells were to be found in the neighbourhood; the solidity of structure was withal more pleasing both to the projectors and to the builders; and the idea once adopted, the use of wells not only on the edges of the river, but in all places where the badness of the soil and the height of spring water rendered excavation impracticable, has been acknowledged as the standing resource in the system of hydraulic architecture of Upper India. At Muttra, Bindrabund, &c. where flights of steps or ghâts sweep the whole line of the Ganges within the limits of the respective towns, wells have been extensively used in foundations. The Mussulman buildings at Agra are largely indebted to wells, where the proximity of the Jumna made a depth of foundation necessary; the Doab Canal works have paid equal homage to this admirable native conception, and it is from these works that I shall collect data to enable the reader not only to comprehend the method which is put into practice when wells are used, but also to draw a comparison between their value as the means of foundation, and that of piles and other methods in use elsewhere.
The Chah-kun (from a well, and the affix from DS to dig,) or well-sinker is a distinct trade scattered throughout the villages of Upper India. Its followers are called into requisition either for sinking new, or for clearing out old wells; in the former case, generally doing their work by contract, at a fixed rate per hath or eighteen inches of depth of sinking, and in the latter by the job, or so much for clearing out the welf and rendering it fit for use. expertness of this class of people depends very much, of course, upon practice, and the depth of wells to which the Chah-kun has been accustomed. In a country where the undersinking does not exceed
ten or twenty feet, the well-sinkers will profess their inability, or decline to contract for greater depths; in fact where cylinders are required of from thirty to fifty feet, the Chah-kuns above mentioned would decline the undertaking altogether; the tools and method of using them in such a case, being quite different from what they have been accustomed to.
The tools in use by the Chah-kun consist of the Phaora, or common Mamooti,* as it is termed in the Ordnance Magazines, and the Jham, a large species of Phaora. The size of the Jham appears to vary according to the fancy of the well-sinker: in the cases which have come under my own observation, the blade has been usually twenty-seven inches wide by thirty-six inches long. The handle, which is short, but similar to that of the Phaora, is tied to the blade by a rod of strong iron wire, providing a support and means of attachment for the rope by which the machine is put into operation. The apparatus is a rough looking and barbarous affair, but well adapted to the use to which it is applied, and to the people by whom it is approved of.
In village well-sinking for the use of irrigation, or to supply the inhabitants with water for drinking and other purposes, where the supersoil is tenacious, and resting upon loose strata, in which the springs are found, it is usual to excavate through the upper soil down until water is reached; a ring of timber adapted to the thickness of the walls of the cylinder is then placed horizontally, upon which the masonry is built to a height of three or four feet above the surface level of the country; as the masonry advances, the outer surface is rubbed over with mortar, and the whole is allowed to obtain a moderate degree of induration by remaining untouched for at least ten days; at this period the Chah-kun, or well-sinker's aid is put in requisition. In the earlier stage of the proceedings, the Chah-kun carries on his work very easily, it is only when the cylinder has reached to a depth beyond that of himself, that the tedious and difficult part of his labours commence. After descending the well, and having in the first instance fixed a string and plummet to the top so as to secure a regularity in the depression, he commences by removing the soil from the centre, and then from the four sides respectively; the soil is brought up to the surface in baskets, and the Chah-kun at the top is in sole charge of the plummet and its movements. For the first three or four feet of sinking there is little fear of accident, and little trouble; in fact, up to this point I have frequently employed common labourers, who, with a little care and superintendence, have done the
Query. Whence this word?