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brief explanation and some specimens of their contents. To a concise history of the Véda is subjoined a distinct account of the matter of each of its four books or divisions, viz. the Rigveda, the rajurvéda, the Sainavéda, and the Atharvána. While Mr. C. readily admits the probability of interpolated passages, and is fully aware of the fabricated works produced by the writers of the East, he is disposed to believe that the greatest part of the books, received by the learned among the Hindus, will be found to be genuine. For the citations made from these oriental scriptures we must refer to the paper be fore us, which will be amusing to a certain class of readers. It thus concludes:
. The preceding description may serve to convey some notion of the Védes. They are too voluminous for a complete translation of the whole: and what they contain, would hardly reward the labour of the reader ; much less, that of the translator. The ancient dialect, in which they are composed, and especially that of the three first Pédas, is extremely difficult and obscure : and, though curious, as the parent of a more polished and refined language (the classical Sanscrit), its difficulties must long continue to prevent such an examination of the whole Védas as would be requisite for extracting all that is remarkable and important in those voluminous works. But they well deserve to be occasionally consulted by the oriental scholar.'
A Botanical and Economical Account of the Bassia Butyraces or East India Butter Tree. By W. Roxburgh, M.D.-This plant belongs to the family of Polyandria Monogynia, and its generic character is minutely specified by Dr. R. to be . Calyx beneath, four or five leaved. Corol, one petaled : border about eight cleft. Berry superior, with from one to five seeds.
Bassia Butyracea. Roxburgh.
Calyx five leaved ; Stamens thirty or forty, crowning the subcylindric tube of the Corol, Fulwah, Phulwarah.' The Shea of Mungo Park, or the butter tree of Africa, is supposed to be a species of the same genus. Of the Bassia Butyracea, the following account is given by Mr. Gott:
. • The tree producing a fat-like substance, known in this country by the name of Phulwah is a native of the Almorah hills, and known there by the same name. The tree is scarce, grows on a strong soil, on the declivities of the southern aspects of the hills below Ahnorah, generally attaining the height, when full grown, of fifty feet, with a circumference of six. The bark, of such specimens as I have been able to obtain, is inclined to smoothness, and speckled; it flowers in January, and the seed is perfect about August, at which time thie natives collect them, for the purpose of extracting the above substance. On opening the shell of the seed, or nut, which is of a fine chesnut colour, smooth, and brittle; the kernel appears of the size and shape of a blanched almond: the kernels are bruised, on a App Rev. VOL. LII.
smooth stone, to the consistency of cream, or of a fine pulpy matter ; which is then put into a cloth bag, with a moderate weight laid do, and left to stand, till the oil, or fat, is expressed, which becomes immediately of the consistency of hog's lar], and is of a delicate white colour. Its uses are in medicine ; being highly esteemed in rheu. matism, and contractions of the limbs. It is also much esteemed, and used by natives of rank, as an unction, for which purpose, it is generally mixed with an Uir of some kind. Except the fruit, which is not much esteemed, no other part of the tree is used.
• This tree is supposed to bear a strong affinity to the Mawa, (Madhuca, or Bassia latifolia ;) but the oil or fat, extracted from the seeds, differs 'very materially. The oil from the Mawa, is of a greenish yellow colour, and seldom congeals. That from the Phulwah congeals immediately after expression, is perfectly colourless ; and, in the hottest weather, if melted by art, will, on being left to cool, resume its former consistency. The oil from the seed of the Mawa, if rubbed on woollen cloth, leaves as strong a stain as other oils or animal fat. The fatty substance from the Phulwah, if pure, being rubbed on woollen cloth, will leave no trace behind.'
A plate exhibiting the growth and the fructification is affixed
to this paper.
A Description of a Species of Ox, named Gáyal. Communicated by H, T. Colebrooke, Esq.--Though we recollect that the Gáyal has been often noticed, we believe that no detailed account of this animal and his habits has hitherto been published in India; and to remedy this deficiency is the object of the present communication, which contains several distinct descriptions. The Bos Gavaus or Gáyal, says Dr. Roxburgh, 'is nearly of the size and shape of the English bull. It has short horns, which are distant at their bases, and rise in a gentle curve directly out and up: a transverse section, near the base, is ovate ; the thick end of the section being on the inside. The front is broad, and crowned with a tuft of lighter coloured, long, curved hair. The dewlap is deep and pendent. It has no mane, por hump; but a considerable elevation over the withers. The tail is short; the body covered with a tolerable coat of straight, dark-brown, hair : on the belly it is lighter coloured; and the legs and face are sometimes white.'
Of his habits and utility, an idea may be formed from the subst quent extract:
« The Gáyal is of a dull heavy appearance; but, at the same time, of a form which indicates much strength and activity, like that of the wild buffalo His colour is invariably brown; but of different shades, from a light to a dark tinge; and he frequently has a white forehead and tour white legs, with the tip of the cail also white. He has a full eye, and, as he advances in age, often becomes blind; but it is uncertain whether from disease, or from a natural decay. His
disposition is gentle ; even when wild, in his native hills, he is not considered to be a dangerous animal, never standing the approach of man, much less bearing bis attack. The Cúcis (a race of mountaineers) hunt the wild ones for the sake of their flesh.
• The Gáyal delights to range about in the thickest forest, where he browses, evening and morning, on the tender shoots and leaves of different shrubs ; seldom feeding on grass, when he can get these. To avoid the noon-day heat, he retires to the deepest shade of the forest, preferring the dry acclivity of the hill, to repose on, rather than the low swampy ground below; and never, like the buffalo, wallowing in mud.
• Gáyals have been domesticated among the Cúcis from time imme. morial; and without any variation, in their appearance, from the wild stock. No difference whatever is observed in the colour of the wild and tame breeds : brown of different shades being the general colour of both. The wild Gáyal is about the size of the wild buffalo in India. The tame Gáyal among the Cúcís, being bred in nearly the same habits of freedom, and on the same food, without ever undera going any labour, grows to the same size with the wild one.
• He lives to the age of fifteen, or twenty years ; and, when three years old, the Gáyal cow receives the bull; goes eleven months with young; and will not again admit his embrace, until the following season after she has brought forth.
· The Gáyal cow gives very little milk, and does not yield it long : but what she gives, is of a remarkably rich quality : almost equally so with the cream of other milk, and which it also resembles in colour. The Cúcís make no use whatever of the milk, but rear the Gáyals entirely for the sake of their flesh and skins. They make their shields of the hides of this animal. The flesh of the Gáyal is in the highest estimation among the Cúcis ; so much so, that no solemn festival is ever celebrated without slaughtering one or more Gáyals, according to the importance of the occasion.'
At the conclusion of this paper, the author corrects an error into which Mr. Kerr and Dr. Turton have fallen, in their translation of the Systema Naturæ; and he observes that the Bos Arnee of these gentlemen ought to be rejected from systems of Zoology as an erroneous description.
An Account of the Measurement of an Arc on the Meridian on the Coast of Coromandel, and the Length of a Degree deduced therefrom in the Latitude 12° 32'. By Brigade Major WilĻIAM LAMBTON.- Though this operation, in point of extent and importance, cannot be compared with the grand measurements executed in England and France, yet it seems to have been conducted with great caution and nicety of skill, and by the aid of excellent English instruments. The meridional arc measured was between Paudree, Latitude 13° 19' 49",02, and Trivande. poorum, latitude 11° 44' 52",59 : consequently, the difference of the latitude of these two places is 1° 34' 56",43. The number of fathoms in the terrestrial arc was 95721,3266 ; and Kk 2
hence 1°, 58233:1°:: 95721,3266 : 00494 fathoms for a mean latitude between 13° 19' 49",02 and 11° 44' 52",59, or for a latitude 12° 32' nearly.
If we suppose the earth to be an e Hipsoid, and the difference of the diameters to be óc". part of the whole diameter, a degree in latitude 12°=56772 coises, and a degree in latitude 13°= 50776:--consequently a degree in latitude 12° 30' 56774 toises. If this be reduced to fathoms, we shall have 60506,840; for the length of one degree of the meridian ; and the computed length on the hypotheses of the difference of the diameters differs from the length measured by BrigadeMajor LAMBTON 12 fathoms in sixty thousand fathoms;, which is no great disagreement.
Besides the measurement of a meridional arc, the author has measured the length of an arc perpendicular to the meridian in latitude 12° 32'; and he found the length of one degree to be 61052 fathoms nearly.
It is very essential,--and the operation requires great nicety and attention,--to determine the latitude of the extremities of the meridional arc. The method employed by the present writer is the same as that which former observers have adopted. The zenith distance of a star whose declination is known is observed, and thence, by addition or subtraction, we obtain the co-latitude: the star chosen "was Aldebaran, with a transit circular instrument: the zenith distance was taken on a certain night, and on the following night it was again taken with the instrument turned half round, or moved in Azimuth through 180°: the mean of the two was allowed for the zenith distance; and half their difference is the error of the line of collimation. This observation was often repeated ; and we subjoin a short table in order to shew the near agreement of the whole :: • Observations at the Station near Paudree.
Mean of the Ze-Man of the cor. Day of the Month.
nith Distance on
Nov. 23d & 24th, 2 46 32, 5
16 06 20,70 13 19 48,20 24th & 25th, 2 46 32,46 16 06 20,69 13 19 48,23 25th & 26th, 2 46 31,78 16 06 20,68 13 19 48,90 30th & 1st Dec.
2 46 31,60 16 06 20,61 13 19 49,01 D&. 161 & 2d, 2 46 32,60 16 06 20,60 13 19 48, 2d & 3d,
2 46 32,90 16 06 20,58 13 19 47,68 12th & 13th, 2 46 30,96 16 06 20,39 13 19 49,43
13th & 14th, 2 46 28,57 16 06 20,36 13 19 51,79 Error of col.
16 06 19,64 13 19 49.93 lemt. applied 27th, 2 46 29,71
13 19 49,018
This memoir fills sixty quarto pages; and the account of measurements like the present, if it goes beyond mere arithmetical results, cannot be satisfactorily given within a short compass. The tables require some space: the narration of the circumstances under which the observations were made also occupies space, and it is necessary besides to specify peculiar artifices and precautions, in order that other observers may either profit from them, or, in case of any anomaly and disagreement of results, that materials may be ready for investigating the cause. We hope that the ingenious conductor of these operations will be induced to resume his labours, in the measurement of a meridional arc of a more considerable exteni.
On the Hindu Systems of Astronomy, and their Connection with History in antient and modern Times. By J. BENTLEY, Esq.-This long paper, according to the author's own statement, prematyrely appears in the world, in consequence of an attack made on his former
essay on the same subject by an European period ical critic. The discussion itself is of a nature but little cal. culated to interest the general reader in this part of the world, and the arguments are not easy for him to comprehend: but, more especially, as it is in reply to observations with which it would be improper and contrary to our invariable practice for us to interfere, either pro or con., we must refrain from any attempt to abstract the reasonings or to state the results.
When Mr. B. has terminated his controversial discussion, he passes on to the explanation of matters of considerable importance to those who are desirous of forming a true judgment respecting the real antiquity of Hindu history; and he states, at considerable length, the construction of some of the most antient Hindu chronological systems. As his remarks on this subject, however, cannot easily be compressed within a short compass, we must refer the curious or the interested reader to the memoir itself. The result of Mr. B.'s statements and inquiries is that small, if any, reliance can be placed on what is usually called the general opinion of the Hindus,
This volume closes with an Appendix containing — Intro du ctory Remarks, intended to have accompanied Captain Mabony's Paper ou Ceylon, and the Doctrines of Buddha, published in the Seventh Volume of the Asiatic Researches ; but inadvertently omitred in publishing that Volume. By J. H. HARINGTON, Esq.