« السابقةمتابعة »
lished in the Journal of the Asiatic Society for April 1836 ; where it will be seen that in one year the Museum put on a different aspect from what it presented when I took charge. The damp was got rid of ; most of the cases were altered and repaired ; the decayed specimens were restored as far as possible ; an Osteological catalogue was made; that of the Birds began ; nine complete skeletons were articulated ; twelve specimens of Mammalia, and 133 birds were mounted, and more than 500 specimens of Vertebrata ; 150 Molusca, some Crustacea, and several hundred insects were added to the Museum ; and the Committee was so well satisfied with my exertions as to resolve-" That the Committee are highly pleased with the arrangements adopted by Dr. Pearson in the Museum, and with the progress it has made under bis supervision ; and they have no hesitation in recommending to the Society a continuation of the same system which has proved so beneficial and effective during the experimental year.'
My copy of the Journal for the first months of 1837 was lost in a boat on the Ganges, and I have but a draft copy of my report for that year. But from this I learn that in the second year, the ar. rangements of the last year were followed out by improving the appearance of the apartments by matting the rooms ; while by free ventilation the damp, from which so much inconvenience was formerly experienced, altogether disappeared. The remainder of the cabinets, save one, were glazed, and made ready for specimens ; and subscriptions were set on foot for adding to them. There were mounted in the Museum, twenty-eight specimens of Mammalia, two hundred and thirty birds—ten of large size ; and sixteen reptiles ; and eight skeletons were prepared and articulated. Besides these there were presented twentyeight osteological specimens. Most of the reptiles, the fishes, and invertebrated animals are not enumerated in my draft of the report; but I believe they amounted to several hundred specimens.
Thus in two years there were prepared by myself and under my superintendence,
17 Articulated Skeletons, 363 Mounted Birds,
40 Mounted Mammalia, and a large collection was made, principally by myself and my own servants, of other vertebrated and invertebrated animals. The skeletons of all the large Mammalia we have were thus procured. Those of the Orang-Outang, Monkey, Weasel, Cat, Rat, Musk-deer, Cow, Horse, Ass, Hog, Rhinoceros, Parrot, Adjutant, Tortoises, &c., were procured
* Journal of the Asiatic Society, April 1836, page 253.
entirely by my exertions. When the Orang-Outang* died its owner directed the skin to be tanned, and the carcase thrown away. As I had long had my eye upon it, I soon found out what had been done, hastened to the owner, and by recovering the greater part of the bones (all save a few of the feet, I think) had the pleasure of setting up in the Museum one of the most valuable skeletons in the world. The carcase of the Rhinoceros was sent to Dr. Grant by Mr. J. H. Barlow, who shot him ; Dr. Grant gave it to me, and I presented it, with his consent, to the Society in Mr. Barlow's name. In fact I procured all these specimens by my own exertions (for there was not one in the Museum when I became Curator) as well as the skeleton of the Elephant, which was about being articulated when I gave up the office.
Besides these things I maintained at my own expense an extensive correspondence with various individuals to induce them to send specimens to the Museum ; and represented to the members of the Government, with an urgency which I fear was sometimes thought scarcely becoming, the importance of expeditions undertaken into countries but little known, being accompanied by persons qualified to make zoological collections. For instance, I represented to Sir C. Metcalfe, that the attention of the Assam Tea expedition should be directed as much as possible to this object, and I believe it was in consequence of this recommendation, that any zoological collections were made in that expedition. I did the same when Dr. Richardson's expedition into the Shan country was contemplated; and I have reason to believe he would have been accompanied by an officer expressly for this purpose, had he not set out sooner than was expected. In short, I can safely say, I lost no opportunity of acquiring specimens for the Museum, and of advancing zoological knowledge. All this was not done in a corner ; but is well known to the President, to some of the VicePresidents, and to the Members of the Committee of Papers of the day. And it was done too at a time when an up-hill battle had to be fought. No Government allowance was then given to the Society; and a great number of the members of most influence were opposed to spending their money on a Museum of Natural History. Indeed so begrudgingly were the necessary expenses bestowed, that I had both years to advance money, every month, for contingent expenses, at my own risk, while I paid the salary of young Nicholas, M. Bouchez's nephew, out of my own pocket
, and thus brought him up as another valuable Assistant in * Though here called an Orang-Outang, for want of a name which an English reader can well understand, I believe the specimen to be the female of the Simia Satyrus
, the Gigantic Ape shot by Capt. Cornefoot in Sumatra, which was described in the Researches , and whose jaw bone is in the Museum.
the Museum. I beg not to be misunderstood as assuming any merit for these things; it was my duty to do them, and it is to shew I did not neglect my duty, that I venture to mention them.
With regard to catalogues, it was no use to prepare one of the Invertebrata till a collection could be made worthy of a catalogue being prepared; nor of the Vertebrata, which could not be displayed. But of the former the shells were all fixed upon ebony boards, and labelled with their names and locality—a measure which obviated the necessity for a catalogue, and rendered the making one an easy matter ; while of the latter, I both labelled and made a catalogue of the osteological specimens, collecting, at no little pains, all the information that could be procured about them, and the names of the donors, from the Researches and Records of the Society. The Mammalia and Birds were all labelled in a similar manner, and a catalogue prepared of a portion of the former, and more than 200 of the latter. These catalogues I shall be happy to send to the Society; the two first immediately, if so required, though I had rather delay doing so till I can copy out and finish the third.
I have now given a fair exposition of my conduct, and furnished any person who may be inclined to comment upon it with ample materials. I hope I have done it in a proper spirit, and avoided any needless asperity of remark : it has been my aim to do so, to defend myself, to offend none; but if I have unfortunately been too harsh, I am sorry for it, and hope some allowance will be made for the feelings of a man who knows that so far from deserving censure for having neglected his duty as Curator of the Museum, he is fully entitled to the thanks the Society accorded him when his services were fresh before them; and that but for his exertions there would not at this moment have been a Museum of Natural History at all.
I have only further to remark, that placed in a public situation as a servant of the Society, I had reason to expect my proceedings would be narrowly watched ; and I have no objection to the criticism which by accepting the situation I courted. But I have a right to demand that the criticism should be fair; and that I should not be censured for the blunders or neglect, (if such there were) of others. I pretend to no profound knowledge of Natural History—a science in which, as I have pursued it as an amusement, and a relaxation from the more serious, and to me more important, study of my profession) I am probably inferior to Dr. Jameson and many others in the country; but I yield not to him, nor to any one else, in the faithful performance of any duty I venture to undertake.
In conclusion, I do not apologise to yourselves, Gentlemen, for trespassing so long upon your pages, for it is in the very nature of a defence to take up more room than an attack; and having published the attack, I am sure you will do me the justice to publish my defence ; and the same sense of justice will prevent you from prescribing its limits; while I should be wanting in respect to the Society, if I failed to do
my utmost to demonstrate that one, whose services they so long thanked, and paid for, did not unworthily receive their favours.
I have the honor to be, Gentlemen,
Your most obedient humble servant, Darjeeling, 24th June, 1839.
J. T. PEARSON.
Art. XI.-Proceedings of the Asiatic Society.
(Wednesday Evening, the 1st May, 1839.) At a Meeting of the Asiatic Society held in the Grand Jury Room :The Honorable Sir E. RYAN, President, in the chair. Read the Proceedings of the last Meeting. Dr. MARTIN was proposed by Dr. OʻSHaughnessy, seconded by the President.
Dr. Bain was proposed by the Officiating Secretary, seconded by the Bisuop of Calcutta.
Professor Agassiz was proposed as an Honorary Member by the President, seconded by the Bishop of Calcutta. The Nomination was referred to the Committee of Papers. Read a letter from the Secretary of the Royal Asiatic Society, acknowledging the receipt of presentation copies of Oriental publications, forwarded by the Society.
Read a letter from Professor Lassen to the address of Mr. JAMES PRINSEP, proposing that the Society should establish an agency in Bonn for the sale of Sanscrit publications, and bearing warm testimony to the great importance of Mr. J. Prinser's recent discoveries; requesting also information on the subject of specimens of birds which may be procurable here. Resolved—That the thanks of the Society be presented to Professor Lassen for his liberal proposal in respect to the agency for the sale of Oriental publications, which appears calculated to be very beneficial to the Society, and that the Officiating Secretary be requested to communicate with him on the subject, stating that the Society has entirely left with him the selection of an agent in Bonn for the sale of Oriental
The Officiating Secretary then read several applications for the situation of Curator, vacated by the departure of Mr. Jameson, but as the candidates' qualifications had not been considered by the Committee of Papers to reach the standard required by
It was proposed by Dr. O'Shaughnessy, seconded by Captain Forbes-That Dr. M“Clelland be requested to accept the office of Curator, on the usual allowances.
Dr. M'CLELLAN D returned thanks to the Society, and expressed his readiness to forward the views of the Society in any manner that he was able; but
he regretted that in consequence of his official duties he would not be able to devote more than two hours in the morning to the duties of the Museum. He further stated, that if he accepted the situation on the usual allowances he should beg to condition, that as long as he was Curator no subscriptions be received from members for the preservation of the various collections in the Museum--the whole amount of the salary should be devoted to that object.
The President said that though the offer was very liberal, yet the Society he thought ought to meet from its own funds all such expenses as might be recommended by Dr. M.CLELLAND, without sacrifice to his personal allowance. Dr. M'Clelland consented that the appointment should stand on this footing.
Read a letter from Dr. G. VANDENBURGH, of Bonn, touching a box of shells sent by the Society. The names having been detached from the shells, he solicited the Society to transmit another supply, correctly labelled and packed. Resolved— That the letter be referred to the Committee of Papers.
Library. The following Books were presented :Proceedings of the Geological Society of London, for 1837, 5th Part, Vol. 2-Part 2,
of 1838 and Vol. 2, Part 3, for 1839—by the Society. History, Antiquities, Topography, and Statistics of Eastern India, by Mr. Martin,
London 1838, royal 8vo. 3 vols.—by the Government of India. Pickering's Remarks on the Indian Languages of North America-by the American
Philosophical Society. Ditto Eulogy on Dr. Bowditch, Cambridge, 1838, -By ditto. Translation of the Arabian Nights, by Moonshee SHUMSUDDEEN AHMUD, in Hindee,
Vol. I,—2 copies. Mathematical Principles of Mechanical Philosophy, by the Rev. J. H. PRATT
by the author.
Lardner's Cabinet Cyclopædia on Probabilities.
Various skins and specimens were presented in the name of Mr. JAMES MIDDLETON.
Antiquities. The Officiating Secretary exhibited to the Meeting drawings of Col. Stacy's coins cut on type-metal by HURREEMOHUN, a Native Artist, employed in the Calcutta Mint.
Read a letter from Mr. T. H. Sale, of Sylhet, forwarding a facsimile of an inscription taken by him at Gohattee.
A similar donation was received from Lieut. McGregor, obtained from the ruins of a fort he was taking down The character in which the inscription was written was clearly legible, but no meaning could be gathered from the sentences.
Captain James Low forwarded a paper on the Laws of Siam. Referred to the Committee of Papers.
In pursuance of the resolution of the last Meeting, Mr. SUTHERLAND stated that the Commentary compiled by PreMCHUND NYARUTRA was more compendious than the works from which it was taken, but seemed to him calculated to answer all the purposes required. It was a continuation of that printed in the first volume of the work in question,