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From the height of this Barometer on the 1st as compared with that at the Surveyor General's Office in Calcutta, we may assume it to be a nearly correct one; and if these dates are compared with the assumed track of the hurricane-at least at 120 miles distant from Captain Hudson's vessel-it is scarcely an exaggeration to say that this instrument was marking the passage of it over his meridian with the regularity of a clock! A stronger instance of the vast utility of the Barometer and the use of having them on board all stationary vessels could scarcely be adduced. A good Simpiesometer would have given. us still more curious data. It is, I hope, becoming daily more and more evident that the owners of all vessels should be obliged to furnish them with good instruments of all kinds; and indeed if they knew their own interests they would always do so. The cost of a very small portion of the delay and mischief arising from damage occasioned by the want of one,-and these are frequently not losses falling upon underwriters, -would far more than repay the cost.* The seaman who is watching his Barometer is watching his ship; and watching it too in the most intelligent manner.
Col. Reid's observation on this subject deserves to be quoted. "Every policy of insurance should bind the owners or masters of a ship insured to provide a Barometer, and the protest should be required to shew that it was registered at least once in every watch. But it ought to be registered oftener; and within the tropics, during the hurricane season, every time the log is heaved." I should add that a Simpiesometer ought always to be insisted upon also.
ART. V.-Note on the "Trochilus and Crocodile" of Herodotus.
To the Editor of the Asiatic Journal.
DEAR SIR,-As the recent very curious and instructive work of Mr. Wilkinson on the Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians is likely to attain a deserved celebrity, it may be as well to correct a mistake into which he has fallen, as to a fact in natural history, particularly as it affects the credit of the Father of History, whose work, notwithstanding its imperfections in many other respects, will generally be found correct in all matters that came under the author's personal observation.
Mr. Wilkinson says, vol. iii. p. 79,
"Herodotus enters into a detail of the habits of the Crocodile, and "relates the frequently repeated story of the Trochilus entering the "animal's mouth during its sleep on the sand banks of the Nile, and "relieving it of the leeches which adhere to its throat. The truth of "this assertion is seriously impugned, when we recollect that leeches "do not abound in the Nile; and the polite understanding supposed to exist between the Crocodile and the bird, becomes more impro"bable, when we examine the manner in which the throat of the "animal is formed; for having no tongue, nature has given it the "means of closing it entirely, except when in the act of swallowing, "and during sleep the throat is constantly shut though the mouth "is open."
Now on this passage I have to observe, first, that I have seen many Crocodiles caught, but very few that had not many leeches adhering to the inside of their mouths, and that these insects also infest the Argeelah, and other animals which feed in the Ganges. Secondly, these leeches are not the Hirudo medicinalis, which Mr. Wilkinson is probably correct in asserting not to be common in the Nile, as that species is not usually found in running streams. The leech in question seems to me (I speak with diffidence, being no entomologist) to belong to the genus Pontobdella, one species of which infests Cod, Skate, and other fish on the coasts of England. I have no doubt these insects will be found as abundant in the Nile as they are in the waters of Bengal. Thirdly, Herodotus says nothing about the throat of the Crocodile, though his translator Mr. Beloe does. Herodotus says, the Trochilus entering the Crocodile's mouth devours the leeches," for his words are, ενθαῦτα ὁ τροχίλος ἐσδύνων ἐς το στόμα αυτοῦ καταπίνει τὰς βδελλας*
Herod. Euterpe. clxviii.
The Crocodile is not said by Herodotus to be sleeping during the operation, as Mr. Wilkinson asserts, otherwise the observation, that pleased with the service, he never injures the Trochilus," would be absurd—ωφελεύμενος ἥδεται καὶ οὐδὲν σίνεται τὸν τροχίλον·*
Fourthly, as to the polite understanding which Mr. Wilkinson presumes, this may appear strange to a person only acquainted with wild animals as seen in showmen's caravans and menageries, but not to those who have studied their habits in their native haunts. The facts relating to this subject are worthy of more consideration than I can give them, without deviating from my present purpose; I will therefore only add, that I believe the common Paddy bird of Bengal to be the Trochilus of Herodotus, or a bird of the same genus. Now both Europeans and Bengallees agree in asserting, that this bird is constantly seen standing on the head of the Crocodile, and though I never heard any one assert that he saw it in the act of picking his teeth for him; I think it will be admitted that the visit is not without an object.
COSSIPORE, September, 1839.
I am, dear Sir,
ART. VI.-Documents relative to the application of Camel Draught to Carriages; communicated by C. B. GREENLAW, ESQ., Secretary to the Bengal Steam Committee.
At a period when the applications of steam to locomotive purposes absorb the attention of the civilized communities of the world, it may seem almost too late to propose new directions of animal power to this object. The copious extracts we now publish from the documents of the "Steam Committee" and of other authorities, will place the subject in a different light. We willingly devote our pages to its consideration, in the conviction of its great value to all classes of Indian Society.
The discovery of the applicability of the Camel to the draught of carriages of every kind, we regard as one of surpassing value to countries of the peculiar climate, and in the still more peculiar social state in which India and Egypt exist, and through which for more than one generation they must slowly and almost insensibly advance.
*Herod. Euterpe. clxviii.
To Major Davidson, of the Bengal Engineers, we believe must be assigned the signal credit of having first demonstrated the practicability of using the Camel for carriage draught. Some years have elapsed, since Major Davidson exhibited a Camel harnessed to a light car, on which he travelled at the rate of eleven to fourteen miles an hour, and executed daily stages of thirty-six miles for several days in succession. Encouraged by this example, Mr. Bird, of Allahabad, constructed the carriage of which we publish a striking sketch and plan, and in which he has accomplished the tours described by Mr. Taylor, in his note published in the present series of documents; for the illustrations we are indebted to the kindness of the Hon. Mr. William Wilberforce Bird, of Calcutta.
In a subsequent number we hope to be enabled to publish interesting details regarding the Camel Artillery organized by Major Pew, and which, throughout the whole of the trying march on Cabul, has given such perfect satisfaction to the projectors of this important addition to our military resources. Meanwhile, the papers we subjoin, afford copious information on the practical points to be considered in attempting to introduce this system on the great line of communication through Egypt and in India. Under the auspices of the British Consulate, and the direction of Mr. Walne, we are sanguine as to the early success of the attempt to establish across the isthmus of Suez a train of vehicles in celerity only inferior to the steam vans, of which the Camel is the certain precursor.-EDS.
Extracts from a letter to CAPTAIN BARBER from ALFred Walne, Esq., Vice-Consul in Cairo.
Her Majesty's Vice-Consulate, Cairo, 17th March, 1839. [Comparative expenses of Horse and Camel draught in Egypt.] I question altogether the feasibility of finding persons in Egypt willing and able to contract for a supply of one hundred and twenty horses, to drag the ten vans, which are for the carriage of coals to Suez, and of goods from that place. But supposing even that persons were ready to come forward with the capital, it would be impossible for them to find here horses suitable for such an undertaking. The horses of Egypt, as experience has proved, are not in the least calculated for draught, and not at all accustomed to it; and even if they were, the wear and tear in this climate, more particularly in the deserts,
would lead to a constant and serious loss. Supposing however that the horses are provided, and it is only England that can supply them, we must calculate the annual cost, compared with the work they can perform, and again with that of Camels, which, whatever may be the opinion in Europe, are the best, because the natural means of conveyance for a desert road. Premising that the following calculations are only approximative, inasmuch as the price of provisions varies considerably from year to year, I proceed to offer you the following details of expense.
120 horses, being constantly employed for three hundred days of the year, will consume 11⁄2 roobs of barley per diem; in all 54,000 roobs, or 2,250 ardebs, of which the price has varied in the last two years from p. 30 to 65, and even more. Taking it at the calculation of
p. 40 we have this result, 2,250X40 p. 90,000. Four-fifths of this being for the stables in the desert, or for those in Suez, will require carriage, which, taking the long and short distances into full consideration, cannot be computed as averaging less than p. 15 the ardeb, or 1,800X15 p. 27,000.
It is calculated that with the above supply of corn, each horse will require per diem 4 okes of cut straw (tibne), which, purchased with the greatest advantage, will, at the Government price, cost 4 paras the oke. Thus 120X4=480X4=1,920, or paras 48 per diem-48X300=
Of the 120 horses, 96 would naturally be either in the desert or at Suez, and it would be necessary to carry their supplies to those places; now, though heavy Belladee Camels may carry 200 okes of tibne, it is fair to calculate that three of the Bedouin Camels will not take more than 384 okes, or the day's supply. Thus 3X30— p. 90×300— p. 27,000, as expense of carriage.
Forty-eight, or of the horses being at Suez, or near the Nile, may be supplied with water at an expense which need not enter into calculation; but seventy-two, or being in the desert, will require (unless boring or other means should supply new sources) that water should be conveyed to them. Allowing for a little wastage, but on the other hand using the most serviceable (cow) skins, each horse will require a quarter of a Camel-load a day. Thus 18X30 540×300— p. 1,62,000.
It is indispensable that horses in this climate should be turned out, say for sixty-five days, to Berseem or clover. Each horse is allowed half a feddan, and taking it at about the cost of the present year, p. 400 (which happens to be unusually low) we have 60X400=