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without having ascertained them by repeated and fatisfactory experiments, and although mere botany goes no farther than technical arrangement and description, yet it seems indubitable, that the great end and aim of a botanical philosopher is, to discover and prove the several uses of the vegetable system, and, while he admits with HIPPOCRATES the fallacioufness of experience, to rely on experiment alone as the bafis of his knowledge.
THE SPIKENARD OF THE ANCIENTS.
BY THE PRESIDENT.
NEARLY at the time, when the result of
In the first place, there is a paffage in Dr. BLANE's paper, which I could not but read with surprise; not because it is erroneous or difputable (for nothing can be more certain), but because it is decifive against the very propofition, which the writer endeavours to fupport: "Dios"CORIDES mentions the Syriack nard, says the doctor, as a species
"different from the Indian, which was certainly brought from fome of the "remote parts of India; for both he and GALEN, by way of fixing "more precifely the country, whence it came, call it alfo Gagnites." We may add, that PTOLEMY, who, though not a profeffed naturalist, had opportunities in Egypt of converfing with Indian merchants on every thing remarkable in this country, diftinguishes Rangamati, as producing the true fpikenard; and it is from the borders of that very district, if we believe modern Indians, that the people of Butan bring it yearly into Bengal (a). Now it is not contended, that the new fpecies of Andropogon (if it be a new fpecies) may be the Indick nard of DIOSCORIDES, (b), because it was found by Mr. BLANE in a remote part of India (for that folitary fact would have proved nothing); but it is learnedly and elaborately urged, that it must be the true Indian fpikenard, because it differs only in the length of the ftalks from the nard of GARÇIAS, which, according to Him, is the only fpecies of nardus exported from India, and which resembles a dried specimen seen by RUMPHIUS, and brought, he fays, among other countries, from Mackran, or the ancient Gadrofia, the very country, where, according to ARRIAN, the true nard grew in abundance; for "the "Phenicians, he fays, collected a plentiful store of it, and fo much of "it was trampled under foot by the army, that a strong perfume "was diffused on all fides of them;" now there is a fingular coincidence of circumstances; for our Andropogon was discovered by the scent of its roots, when they were crushed by the horses and elephants
(a) PTOLE'ME'E diftingue le canton de Rhandamarcotta, en ce qu'il fournit la plante, que nous appellons Spic nard, ce qui peut convenir à Rangamati; et des differentes espéces l'Indique eft bien la plus eftimée.
D'ANV. Antiq. Geogr. Ind. 81.
(b) Dr. ROXBURGH with great reason supposes it to be the Muricated ANDROPOGON of KOENIG, who mentions the roots as odoriferous, when sprinkled with water.
See RETZ. III. Fafcic. 43. and v. 21.
in a hunting-party of the Vazir A'SUFUDDAULAH; so that, on the whole, it must be the fame with the plant mentioned by ARRIAN: but it be argued, I think, more conclusively, that a plant, growing with great luxuriance in Gadrofia, or Mackran, which the doctor admits to be a maritime province of Perfia, could not poffibly be the same with a plant confined to remote parts of India; so that, if GARÇIAS, RUMPHIUS, and ARRIAN be fuppofed to have meant the fame fpecies of nard, it was evidently different from that of DIOSCORIDES and GALEN. The respectable writer, with whose opinions I make so free, but from no other motive than a love of truth, feems aware of a little geographical difficulty from the western pofition of Macrán; for he, first, makes it extend to the river Indus, and then infers, from the long march weftward and the diftreffes of ALEXANDER's army, fubfequent to the discovery of the spikenard, that it must have grown in the more eaftern part of the defert, and confequently on the very borders of India; but, even if we allow Gedrofia, or Gadrofis, to have been the fame tract of land with Macrán (though the limits of all the provinces in Perfia have been confiderably changed), yet the frontier of India could never with any propriety be carried fo far to the weft; for not only the Orita and Arabita, but, according to MELA, the whole province of Ariana, were between Gadrofis and the Indus; and, though Macrán (for fo the word should be written) may have been annexed to India by fuch whimfical geographers as the Turks, who give the name of white Indians to the Perfians of Arachofia, and of yellow Indians to the Arabs of Yemen, yet the river Indus, with the countries of Sind and Múltán on both fides of it, has ever been confidered by the Perfians and Arabs as the western limit of Hind or India; and ARRIAN himself exprefsly names the Indus as its known boundary: let Gadrofis, however, be Macrán, and let Macrán be an Indian province, yet it could never have been a remote part of India in respect of Europe or Egypt, and, confequently, was not meant by GALEN and DIOS