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rhetorical exaggeration ; but here our cavils must stop, -we can challenge no other witness. The testimony of Herodotus and Thucydides remains distinct and unshaken, and is alone sufficient to establish the point. The Athenians, by their possessions at Amphipolis and elsewhere, were constantly in communication with those coasts; and it is impossible that two such writers could have joined in mentioning as a fact, what so many of their readers could have at once disproved, if it were false. Of course Juvenal's sneer is put out of court as evidence by the 500 years which had intervened ; and the internal improbabilities can weigh little in themselves, when we remember an eastern despot's caprices, and his unlimited power to gratify them.
Judging therefore by the rules of evidence alone, Isaac Taylor gave an unhesitating verdict for Herodotus.
But in this case, we are not left to criticism; the verdict has been unexpectedly confirmed by different evidence. Modern travellers, in this, as in a thousand other instances, have confirmed the truthfulness of the father of history, and we read the following in the latest edition of his works : “ The canal was traced
by Carlyle (ap. Walpole’s Turkey, i., p. 224,) throughout the
whole of its extent. It is about a mile and a quarter long, ' and twenty-five yards across. It has been much filled up by mud
and rushes. Its bottom is in many places very little above the level of the sea, in some parts of it corn is sown, in others there
are pools of water." It runs in fact from the Gulf of Monte Santo to the bay of Erso in the Gulf of Contessa. Other travellers speak of a singular mound, which rises as a natural citadel over the village of Erso, the ancient Acanthus ; and there, Herodotus tells us, Artachæes died, the superintendent of the canal, and a man of royal blood, whom Xerxes ordered to be buried with royal pomp, and “ the whole army raised his mound.”,
Selections from the Records of the Bengal Government, No. XXV., Report on the Teak Plantations of Bengal, by Dr. H. Falco
Notes on the Productive Capacities of the Shan Countries, by Lieut. Col. S. F. Hannay. Report on Serajgunge, by A. J. M. Mills, Esq. Correspondence relative to Vaccination. Correspondence relative to the discovery of the Tea Plant in Sylhet. Report on the Honorable Company's Botanic Garden, by Dr. T. Thomson. Notes on the Patna Opium Agency, by Dr. R. Lyell, Calcutta, 1857.
This number of the “ Selections from the Records of the Bengal Government” is more than usually interesting. The two last reports, on the Botanic Garden, and on the methods adopted in the cultivation, collection, and preparation of opium in the Patna district, are especially so, and could we transfer them in extenso to our pages, we are sure that our readers would thank us. What strikes us as to the first report, by Dr. Falconer, is the late period of its publication, it having been written early in 1854. It contains information on the growth of teak in Sylhet, Bancoorah, Rajshaye, Rampore Bauleah, and Kishnaghur. The subject is one of vast importance to the commercial interests of India, and one that has been neglected till almost too late. Civilisation is often apt to be too hasty, and in its efforts to clear the land and fit it for the abode of man, to deprive itself of that which is one of its most material aids in its progress and extension. Recently an attempt has been made to correct the error by planting young trees in various parts of Bengal. Dr. Falconer, however, is of opinion that“ no portion of the delta land of Bengal is suited to the growth of first-class teak.” The reason that he assigns for this, is the excessive moisture of the rainy season, the compact character of the soil, and the inferiorityso great as fifty per cent of the fruit, or nut to that of the Tenasserim Provinces. Injury has further arisen from unskilfulness in planting. In most of the Bengal plantations, the young trees were placed at intervals of only ten feet apart, whereas “ first-class . teak cannot be grown at a less distance apart than forty feet,
or 272 trees to the acre.” In the conclusion of the Report, a remarkable instance of the growth of teak in the Bengal Provinces is mentioned. "A teak tree at Gowalparah, planted about twenty-five years before, had attained a height of between fifty and sixty feet, with the following dimensions to the trunk.
Girth, at three feet above the ground 9 feet 3 inches.
The subject is one of vast importance, and it is hoped that Government will direct more attention to it. Neither they nor the Agricultural Society will be able to effect permanent good, unless the Zemindars take it up.
The Report on the Shans, by Lieut.-Col. Hannay, is precisely of such a character, as might have been inserted in the Asiatic Researches of former days, or as would enliven the dulness of the Asiatic Society's Journal, in more modern times. From it, it seems that their country is one that, in a commercial point of view, is of immense importance. Its vegetable productions consist of teak, rose-wood, gamboge, a species of gum-benjamin, cardamum, saffron, red-wood, sandal-wood, stic-lac, a variety of the tea-plant similar to that which grows in Assam, and the leaves of which are prepared by a peculiar process as a condiment. Several useful fibres, among which is silk, are also produced. In the department of minerals we have tin, antimony, lead and abundance of iron. There is also a silver mine, ruby, sapphire, serpentine rock of a fine quality, amber of various colours and qualities, lignite, fossil-wood, and gold dust in small quantities. Though far behind the Chinese, in arts and manufactures, the Shans yet produce fine particoloured silk, such as is worn by the highest dignitaries of the Burmese Court; they understand something of mining and smelting, produce beautiful lacquered-ware, and are excellent workmen in silver. The Burmese Pony, so well-known and so useful in Bengal, is “ tirely a native of the Shan states." It is taken to Ava, thence to Rangoon, and shipped to Madras and Calcutta. Bamo on the Upper Irrawaddy (latitude 24° 12', longitude 97°) is the modern capital of the old Shan Province, the seat of a Burmese Governor, and yields a revenue of three lakhs of rupees. The following description of it is given :
“ I find that this is a modern town, erected on the banks of the Irrawaddy for the convenience of water carriage between it and Ava. of Manmo or Bamno is situated two days' journey up the Tipan River, which falls into the Irrawaddy, about a mile above the new town of Bamo or Zee-theet Zeit, or new mart landing place.
“ This modern town is situated on high unequal ground, and the bank toward the river is from forty to fifty feet in height and composed of clay.
With the exception of Ava and Rangoon, it is the largest place I have seen in Burmah, and not excepting these places, I certainly think it is the most interesting. The norelty of so large a fleet as ours passing up, and no doubt having heard that an European officer was of the party,) had attracted a great crowd of people to the river side, and on landing, I felt as if I were almost in a civilized land again, when I found myself amongst fair-complexioned people, wearing jackets and trowsers, after being accustomed to the harsh features and parti-colored dress of the Burmans. The people I saw were Chinese from the province of Yunan, and Shans from the Shan Provinces subject to China. Bamo is said to contain 1,500 houses, but including several villages which join it, I should say it contained 2,000, at least 200 of which are inhabited by Chinese. Besides the permanent population of Bamo, there are always a great number of strangers there, Chinese, Shans, Polongs and Khykhyens, who either come to make purchases, or to be hired as workmen. There are also a great number of Assamese, both in the town and in the villages immediately connected with it, amongst whom are several members of the Tapan or Assam Rajah's family..
The old Shan town
« The inhabitants of this district live in large comfortable houses, which are thatched with grass and walls made of reeds. They are generally railed in, and all the villages have bamboo palisades surrounding them. The most conspicuous objects on approaching the town are the large cotton godowns erected on the bank of the river-these belong to the Chinese, 500 of whom there may be permanently residing in the town, which, with the numerous arrivals from different parts of the country, gives the place a very business-like appearance, and there is of course a good Bazaar. The Chinese have erected a temple, and in the quarter occupied by that people, the houses, not temporary, are built of bricks stained blue. The streets are paved also with the same material.
“The position of the modern town of Bamo is altogether well chosen, the high hard clay bank on which it is situated being completely beyond the highest rise of the river, which is one vast sea during the height of the rains, in consequeuce of the narrow space into which its waters are confined in the passage through the range of hills, called the second Kyoukdwen, * about one day's journey below the town. The view from the bank, therefore, during the rainy season, extends over a small inland sea, studded with islands, having to the North-west the lower gorge of the third Kyoukdwen, or passage of the river through a range of mountains, and from the vast bed which the river naturally makes for itself when freed from its rocky limits, the view in the direction of this gorge, about ten miles distant, is, at this season, even grand and imposing, Opposite the town to the west the land is low, and an extensive chur, or alluvial island, runs parallel with the high Eastern bank, and which, at the proper season, is under cultivation, with all the different esculents in use with these vegetable-eating Bludduts, the fields being generally kept by the women, who are to be seen passing to ann fro at all hours, six or eight of these (Shani women) standing upright, paddling their canoes, and keeping time to a native air of their own.
“ The water of the river under the town is deep, but the bank being precipitous boats put to on the opposite sand. The water is peculiar from its light greenish hue, caused by the color of the clay in its bed.
"All Indo-Chinese people are jealous of European encroachments on them ; it was naturally to be expected therefore, that the advent of an European officer, at an unknown and prohibited mart, to all western Foreigners, would make enquiries with regard to inland traffic, with China particularly, attended with great difficulty. Amongst the Burmese, I certainly found it so, but with the Chinese themselves, there was very little unwillingness to impart to me all they knew."
Col. Hannay recommends the settlement of a British Merchant at Bamo; twenty-five years ago, a Portuguese factory is said to have existed there, and the tradition regarding it is current among the natives :
“ Cutti Kaksu, near the lower gorge of the Second Kyoukdien, below Bamo, is perhaps the site of the ancient Ura Thena and Cutti-gara.† The Polongs, in their personal appearance and habits
in the present day, completely answer the description given of the Sesatæ or Basunare (literally Bussaneeahs, or petty traders) of the days of Ptolemy."
The report on the Botanic Garden is worthy of Dr. Thomson. It gives a history of the garden, and is full of practical and valuable suggestions as to its future working. Were they carried out, not merely would it be to a far greater extent than it now is the resort of the denizens of Calcutta, but it would recover that scientific celebrity and utility which it acquired under Dr. Wallich, but which, we fear, it has lost. It will not be Dr. Thomson's fault, if it does not recover it.
* Between Ava and Bamo, there are two Kyoukdiens or passages of the river, between a range of hills. Both are navigable at all times. Third Kyoukdwen above Bamo, is not navigable during the rainy season. The depth of water in these rocky passages is very great, extending from ten to sixty fathoms.
+ Kaksu, in the Shan language, signifies a fall or break in the level of the river, and may be considered synonimous with Gara.
Dr. Thomson took charge of the garden in April, 1855. The head gardener Mr. Scott, of whom his chief speaks highly, was then on duty in Pegu, and hence many important horticultural operations were for a time suspended. The plan of issuing plants to all who applied for them was found to be a most injurious one. During last year, from June 1855 to February 1$56, 15,865 plants were issued to 296 applicants. Selfish wishes for fruit trees, and especially grafted-mangoes, were thus largely satisfied, but the cause of science was not in the remotest degree promoted. Hence Dr. Thomson contemplates with satisfaction the carrying out of the resolution of Government, to stop the general issue of plants after the 28th of February, 1857.
This of course will not affect exchanges with public establishments. It is proposed to extend the Palmetum laid out by Dr. Falconer in 1849, so as to include a further portion of the eastern extremity of the garden," formerly called the teak plantation. Thus that jungly waste will be redeemed. New roads will be added. The natural and medicinal gardens laid out by Dr. McClelland will be removed, the natural garden laid out in a different place, and a select number of specimens of one natural family, planted in the various compartments of the garden, so that, with a small plan of the garden as a guide, the student would at once be able to find each tribe of plants.” The garden school, which has failed in its objects, will be discontinued, the pay of the coolies increased, and greater care shewn in the preservation of the Herbarium. Dr. Thomson is urgent for more funds, to increase the present establishment, to build a new glass house, to purchase new and rare plants, to increase the number of collectors in the various parts of Asia, and to add to the Library the latest and most valuable works on botanical science. The following is full of wisdom and common sense :
“ Twenty years ago, it might have been necessary to enter into details, in order to prove the importance of a Botanic Garden. At the present day, the value of such a national establishment is no longer a matter of doubt, and the necessity for such an institution in the metropolis of a great empire, which is also the seat of a nascent University, will probably be conceded by every one.
The great national Botanic Garden of England was re-organized in 1840 (previous to which time it was in a state of decay), and it has already become, popularly and scientifically, one of the most important institutions in the world.
“What Kew Garden is to the metropolis of England, the Calcutta Botanic Garden might be, and ought to be, made with respect to the metropolis of India. The taste of the natives of India for the beauties of nature is certainly very small, and there is, I will admit, no demand, on the part of the people, for a national Botanic Garden. This taste, however, like all others, requires culture for its development, and no means appears better adapted to produce that gradual modification of the modes of thought of the people of India, which alone can bring about their awalgamation with European civilization, than the cultivation of the natural sciences, and the education of the taste for the beauties of nature.