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10th ultimo, together with specimens of a fragrant wood and other articles found in the mountains of Darjeeling, and to request the opinion of the Society as to whether the articles are a valuable product.
Fort William, 12th June, 1839.
I have the honor to be, Sir,
Your most obedient humble servant,
Secy. to the Govt. of India.
To H. T. PRINSEP, Esq., Secretary to the Government of India, &c. &c. &c. SIR,-I have the honor to forward for the consideration of the Government, and presentation to the Asiatic Society, should it be deemed fit, a specimen of a fragrant wood found in these mountains, the leaves of the tree of the same, a gummy substance found in the Morung, and a mineral I discovered between Pemkabarry and Idwiseangurry; in the hope that they may be found useful.
The tree from which these specimens were taken was about nine inches in diameter, and twenty-five or thirty feet high. The bark and the wood appear to be equally fragrant, and the odour to be developed by the application of a gentle heat; along with the wood are a few detached pieces of bark.
The leaves of the above tree are called Tej-Putta, or Tez-Path, or some such name, as I am told; and are used in curry as a mussala. If so, the tree is probably well known to others, though new to me; but I doubt if the fragrant quality of the wood is known.
The gum is common in the Morung, and may be collected in large quantities if thought worth the trouble.
The mineral is in a considerable quantity by the road side. I have not the means of analysis, but it appears to me to possess some of the qualities of plumbago. I had neither means nor time to search for purer specimens, but if my conjecture is correct, this mineral promises to be useful for machinery, and some of the purposes of inferior black lead. I have said that it appears to be a sort of plumbago, and I may point out how near some of it looks allied to micaceous schist, from whence, again, the transition is easy to some of the forms of gneiss. I have, &c. Darjeeling, 10th May, 1839. (Signed,)
J. T. PEARSON,
Asst. Surgeon. H. T. PRINSEP, Secy. to the Govt. of India.
Read extracts from a letter from M. Alphonze BAZIN, Baron du Chanay, &c., with reference to a project of an Electro-Hydraulic Telegraph for effecting correspondence between Calcutta, London, and the rest of the world. An analysis of the memoir was given, specifying construction and expenses. The illustrative drawings and plans were also exhibited.
Proposed by Dr. O'SHAUGHNESSY, seconded by the LORD BISHOP of Calcutta, and carried unanimously-That a Sub-Committee of the Society be appointed to examine and report on the project to the next Meeting, to be held in the first week of August.
M. Alp. BAZIN communicated through the Secretary to the Meeting, that his political engagements, and the unsettled state of European affairs, rendered it absolutely necessary that his plans should be examined and reported on without delay, and he named the 12th July as the longest period he could wait the decision of the Society.
It was thereon explained to M. BAZIN by the Secretary, that the rules of the Society did not permit a reply being given within the period proposed; and that the project was so vast and extensive that it required to be studied with proportionate deliberation. M. De BAZIN still pressing for an early reply, it was proposed by the Honorable Sir Edward RYAN, President, seconded by the Honorable Sir John Peter GRANT, and unanimously agreed to
That the memoirs, plans, estimates, drawings, &c. communicated by M. BAZIN be returned to that gentleman with the usual acknowledgments.
The Officiating Secretary then read the following Memorandum on the Society's finances, income, and expenditure:
To the President and Committee of Papers of the Asiatic Society.
I have to solicit your attentive and immediate consideration of the circumstances I am about to bring to your notice regarding the state of the finances of the Society. The subject divides itself under two sections-1st, the liabilities of the Society for past causes of expenditure; and, 2d, the current or monthly expenses on the scale at present sanctioned.
Our liabilities under the first head amount to the large sum of Rupees 16,530, and proceed from three items-7318 Rupees due to the Baptist Mission Press for the publication of the "Mahabharata" &c.; 1182 Rupees to Bishop's College Press, for the publication of the Volume of the Transactions just issued; and 8000 Rupees to Messrs. Sherriff and Co. due on the completion of the new buildings now in progress. Our current Monthly Expense meanwhile amounts to 1373 Rupees, as specified in the undermentioned items:
Establishment for the custody of Oriental Books transferred from the
Museum Establishment, including allowance to Curator of 150 Rs.
(annas and pice not included)
Total, Rs. 1,373
The balance now in hand of our funds in Government Securities amounts to Co's Rs. 20,800 at 4 and 5 per cent., of which 4730 Rs. have accumulated from the monthly Government allowance of 500 Rs. as shewn in the margin, and are applicable to no other purpose but Oriental publications.
Our Monthly Income stands thus:
Average payments by members, as shewn by experience of four past
Shewing an excess of expenditure beyond our income of 167 Rupees per mensem.
We have consequently to consider the best mode of discharging our accumulated debt, and of reducing our monthly expenditure so as to bring it clearly and certainly within our monthly income.
With reference to the contract with Messrs. Sherriff and Co. for our new buildings, a resolution of the Society directs our defraying the amount of this item by the sale of the necessary sum from our Government Securities. This will reduce our capital to 12,800 Rupees, yielding a monthly income of 42: 10: 8.
The bill to the Baptist Mission Press is so long due, and of such considerable amount, that we must take immediate steps to place it in course of liquidation. The Bishop's College Press demand has been made, moreover, under circumstances which render it a matter of justice to that establishment that the amount should be paid with as little delay as possible.
I have therefore to beg your sanction for a further sale of our Securities to the amount of 1182 Rs. to be paid to Mr. Ridsdale for the part of the "Transactions" now published. This reduces our capital to 11,618 Rupees.
To meet the Baptist Mission Press claim, I propose-1st, that we make over the balance of 4730 Rupees, applicable to Oriental publications, and accumulated from our Government allowance of 500 Rs. per mensem; and, 2dly that for the balance of 2618 Rs. of the same account we pay a monthly instalment of 500 Rupees, applying thereto the allowance we receive from Government for Oriental publications; and that pending the payment of these instalments, we discontinue all Oriental printing, translations, &c. by which a further debt must otherwise be contracted.
Our capital thus freed from all incumbrance will be reduced to the scanty sum of 6888 Rupees.
Should these propositions be agreed to, we will still possess funds to the amount of 6888 Rupees, which it seems expedient to reserve for one object alone, namely the publication of future volumes of Transactions of the Physical Class.
I must here mention two sources of expenditure almost immediately before us, at all events to be met in the course of the year; I allude to the forthcoming volume of Researches of the Physical Class, and the furnishing of the new Museum apartments. For the former, as already shewn, I fear we must have recourse to our "Securities." The means for the latter (which may be estimated at about 1200 Rupees) I would propose to collect by subscription among the members of the Society.
From the items above specified, it is evident that we now expend per mensem 167 Rs. beyond our income. We must accordingly either reduce our establishments within corresponding limits, or devise some means of increasing our permanent pecuniary re
I proceed to take up the items of our expenditure seriatim, which will enable us to see where the pruning knife may be most advantageously applied.
1. Oriental Publications-500 Rupees.
This sum we are bound to expend, whether in new works, or in paying for the old by the instalments, as above suggested.
2. Journal,-supplied to 126 members @ 1/8 per No. and 12 Nos. to learned Societies.-207 Rupees
I wish heartily it were in my power to offer the Journal to the Society on more favorable terms, but the bills circulated to the Committee for the first quarter of the periodical, shew that it is only the support of the Society to its present extent that can permit the continuance of the Journal in a respectable shape. The plates alone for No. 4 will cost over two hundred and seventeen rupees.
The question as to this item of expense thus evidently becomes one of the existence or discontinuance of the Journal. I am glad to say we have not lost more than six subscribers since the commencement of the New Series-not quite the average number of secessions in the same period of previous years.
This Officer's salary was increased from Sa. Rs. 40, (Co's. Rs. 42: 10: 8) by a vote of the Society in January of this year.
With reference to this Department, Dr. M'CLELLAND has favored us with a memorandum to the Committee, which I have had the pleasure to circulate in original.*
Dr. M'CLELLAND in this Paper gives a brief History of our Museum-glances at the principles on which it should be arranged-offers suggestions as to the furniture required for our new rooms-and presents a plan (which appears to me an excellent one) for securing a correct nomenclature, by a system of correspondence with acknowledged authorities at home. Dr. M'CLELLAND then notices the expenditure for the past year in this Department, and which exceeded the Government grant of 200 Rupees monthly, by about 100 Rupees per mensem (total 1171 Rupees) from which only 240 Rupees were expended on cabinets or other permanent articles.
Dr. M'CLELLAND observes that the Head Taxidermist cannot write, and therefore cannot be entrusted with any important charge beyond his manual duties. The necessity however of having some well-informed man constantly in attendance to wait on visitors, &c. is justly pointed out, and it is recommended that the Assistant Librarian, Mr. BOUCHEZ, who now receives 30 Rupees, be appointed to the charge on an increased salary, say to 50 or 60 Rupees.
* Inserted in this Number, page 415.
By this arrangement from 70 to 80 Rupees monthly would still be available for petty expenses, without exceeding our Government allowance "exclusive of cabinets and Curator's salary."
Dr. M'CLELLAND then proposes that the office of Curator should be honorary and temporary;—that instead of permanently employed carpenters, native shekarees and collectors on the same allowances, be maintained; lastly, that some well educated youth, having a taste for Natural History, should, if possible, be selected from one of the public Schools to conduct the duties of the subordinate establishment of the Museum. But this seems to be unnecessary were the Assistant Librarian employed as advised by Dr. M'CLELLAND in the first part of his Paper.
Dr. M'CLELLAND concludes by stating, that he does not object in principle to our maintaining a paid Curator, and that "should the means exist after defraying essential expenses," that some specific sum "a nominal salary of 30 rupees per mensem, for example, be given to the Curator, or a larger sum if consistent with the Society's means."
I have also circulated a copy of the "Rules for our Museum" which Dr. MCLELLAND suggests, and I now beg leave to propose, that they be adopted, with this modification, that "the Curator be requested to accept the sum of 50 rupees per mensem for his "conveyance expenses," the Society at the same time placing on record a public declaration of their obligations to Dr. M'CLELLAND, for the liberality and zeal for the interests of Science he displays on this occasion.
It will be necessary also to allow a Writer and Duftury to enter the correspondence, and keep the books of the Museum.
This arrangement will reduce the Museum Expenditure as follows:
Total, Rs. 170 10 0
At present I do not think it possible or desirable to effect any reduction in this Department. Should any vacancy occur while our funds still demand reduction of ex