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The Banian, Burr, or Vota tree,* and the Indian devotees sitting under them.
"As to Megasthenes, Arrian thought he had not travelled far over India; although farther than Alexander's followers. This opinion may serve partly to explain, why Arrian did not preserve the journal of Megasthenes by inserting it in his history of Alexander, or in his account of India.
"His geography of India relates chiefly to the northern parts, or those seen by Alexander and Megasthenes. And his catalogue of rivers, most of which are also to be found in Pliny, and among which we can trace many of the modern names, contain only those that discharge themselves into the Ganges or Indus.
"Of the different histories of Alexander, that have travelled down to us, that by
* Points of branches of this tree descending into the ground, take root and shoot up into fresh trees; hence so large a space is sometimes covered, from one original stem, that it is no exaggeration to say that a battalion of five hundred men might easily encamp under the shade produced by it.
Arrian appears to be the most consistent; and especially in the geography of Alexander's marches, and voyage in the Panjab; which country, by the nature of its rivers, and by their mode of confluence, is particularly favourable to the task of tracing his progress."
* Rennell, Introduction to Memoir of a Map of Hindustan, edit. 1793, p. 28, et seq.
ON THE ANCIENT COMMERCE AND COMMUNICATIONS WITH INDIA BY EUROPEAN NATIONS.
THE term Monsoon is given to those winds which prevail alternately, during six months of the year, from the North East and South West quarters. Arrian calls them Etesian, from the name given to those winds which blow from the Euxine and Hellespont in summer, but particularly during the months of July and August, over the Egean sea, and across the Mediterranean into Africa. Near the Indian coasts, the course of the Monsoon winds frequently gives way for a few hours in the night and early in the morning, to breezes from the land. Vessels of small dimensions, by keeping near the shore, take advantage of those breezes to
get along the coast in a direction opposite to the course of the Monsoon; as, however, when the breeze fails, they must anchor, and wait for its return, their progress necessarily becomes extremely tedious.
The North East Monsoon is expected to set in towards the end of October, and is replaced by the S. W. Monsoon in April; but there is at both changes a space of fluctuation sometimes of more, and sometimes of less duration. The change of the Monsoons is accompanied by the periodical rains, and frequently by violent tempests. The rains on the coast of Coromandel are most abundant, at the setting in of the N. E. Monsoon; but, on the Western and N. W. parts of India, when the S. W. wind begins in April and May. On the coast of Coromandel and Bay of Bengal, the setting in of the N. E. Monsoon is most apprehended by navigatorsThat in the spring is seldom accompanied by any great tempest. The commanders of ships in the Royal navy and in the East India Company's service have orders to quit the
coast of Coromandel by the 15th of October, and not return to it before the beginning of January: for though, on the coast of Coromandel and through the whole Bay of Bengal, the tempests we have alluded to rarely happen after the beginning of December; and though, during at least four months of each Monsoon, or more than eight months in the year, the winds blow alternately S. W. and N. E. in a moderate and steady gale, yet there are instances of tempests happening sometimes later than the period above mentioned.* The fleets
* On the coast of Coromandel, the violent hurricanes which so frequently accompany the change of the Monsoon from S. W. to N. E. are almost constantly preceded by a large swell rolling in upon the shore. While an English squadron was blockading Pondicherry in 1760, on the 30th December of that year, though the weather was then calm, a prodigious swell began to roll from the Eastward towards the land. The weather became close and dusky; the surf beat so violently on the shore as to render communication with it impossible. Admiral Stevens, who commanded the blockade, aware of his danger, but knowing that the capture of the place depended on preventing provisions from being