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Aral nor the Seestan lake are navigated except by fishers or fowlers. The rivers too we have enumerated are more generally an obstruction to intercourse than a facility. Wood is indeed floated on them from the mountains, and in some cases goods are conveyed on rafts from a higher to a lower place. We are also to except the Indus and its eastern tributaries, which are navigated by trading boats as on the rivers of our own provinces. The trade thus carried on is indeed far inferior in amount to what is anticipated, and that especially in the case of the Indus. In lower Sindh and Kushmeer alone water carriage is the chief mode of transportation in the country. But these, and the particulars of ferries and fords, and modes of crossing rivers, need not be here mentioned in detail, since they are in the province of Lieut. Macartney. I may have appeared to have already greatly encroached on it, but this introductory matter seemed necessary to the readily and correctly apprehending what follows.
(To be continued.)
THE ASIATIC SOCIETY.
No. 94.-OCTOBER, 1839.
ART. I. Memoir on the Climate, Soil, Produce, and Husbandry of Afghanistan and the Neighbouring Countries.-By Lieut. IRWIN. 1
PART I.-OF CLIMATE.
SECTION I-Of Temperature.
48. Even the most northerly parts of these countries lie in latitudes considered warm in Europe. But it is sufficiently known that latitude alone does not decide the temperature of countries. In the same parallel of latitude in the Russian empire the heat is less as the eastern longitude is greater. The causes of this difference seem yet unassigned, and until they be both assigned in a satisfactory manner, and shewn to be common to the southern parts of Europe and Asia in the same longitudes, there is but slight ground for concluding a priori the fact to be similar in them. The influence of altitude however on the temperature of place is undeniable, and exemplified in many familiar instances. Nor can it be denied, that the greater or less frequency and severity of rains must affect the heat of a place. Other causes might also be mentioned, for instance, the course of the winds. Distinct also from those which influence the annual heat of any place, there are causes which affect the equability of heat during the succession of the seasons. Maritime places have a temperature more uniform than inland. Even considerable inland lakes communicate a more equable temperature to their banks. The effects are the same of moisture in the soil. Countries whose surface is chiefly formed of sand or stones have more 1 Continued from P. 776.
rigorous winters and more sultry summers than others in similar circumstances. The periods of the rains, the course of the winds, and perhaps some other circumstances, are to be weighed when a theory is to be given of the phenomena. I here content myself with detailing facts as far as known, with occasional reference to probable causes.
49. From Delhi to Peshawur, by the royal road which conducts through Lodhiana, Umrutsir, and Rohtak, the heat of the climate as estimated by that of all the seasons of the year, generally speaking, gradually diminishes. Even at Lodhiana, it is said, few nights are known in the season of greatest sultriness which have the oppressive heat of those sometimes experienced in our provinces. Whenever the road conducts near the great northern mountains, unusual coolness is experienced; but the neighbourhood of inferior hills seems in the summer at least to increase the heat. To this cause, and to the scantiness of the summer rains, we may attribute the sultriness of Peshawur in the midsummer. All the natives agreed in representing the summer of 1809, which was partly passed there by the Embassy, as unusually cool. Yet the heat by day, of the weather in May and part of June was considerable, and was on the increase when we left that place on the 12th of June. No relief is in ordinary years to be expected until the month of July, when either showers fall or the air is cooled by winds from the east, in which quarter the rains have commenced. Hence June may be concluded a warmer, or at least as warm a month as in Delhi. If the summer of 1809 be not supposed altogether singular, the nights in Peshawur are seldom disagreeably warm to those who avoid sleeping within the houses, and prefer the terraces. The summer too is of later commencement, and declines sooner than ours. The whole of the month of March may be excluded from it. The Hinduwee month Ussoo or Koonar, beginning on an average on the 13th September, is there called the first-born of the winter, an epithet it by no means deserves in our provinces, in which September is often warmer than August;-add to this, that the winter season is severer in Peshawur than here. Old persons remember a fall of snow, which, however, they acknowledge instantly melted. Frost is very frequently experienced in every season. On the whole then, it cannot be doubted that the annual heat is less in Peshawur than in any part of the Bengal provinces, except the skirts of the great northern hills. In this and many other cases we should be deceived were we to build conclusions on the proverbial expressions of the country, without inquiring by whom, and on a comparison with what, they are spoken. To the Afghans of the hills, Peshawur may seem