페이지 이미지
PDF

noting the strength of the wind now in use at Greenwich Observatory, and about to be introduced at the lighthouses under the Trinity Board. In the cases of St. Helena and Ascension, it is desirable that more precise information should be obtained by observation, respecting the * Rollers' at those islands. As the object of H. M's. Government in instituting these inquiries is the advancement of knowledge in science generally, the Governors of the several British Colonies will consider how far it may be in their power to obtain useful information bearing on the subject, from countries adjoining to their Governments in the possession of foreign powers, or how far it may be useful to the study of meteorology, to exchange the observations made within their Governments, for those of other countries in the neighbourhood. If at any time desired, there would be no objection to the publication in the Colonial newspapers of extracts from the journals.

(Signed) GLENELG.

----------

There is little to be added to these ample directions, but I may be allowed here to repeat what has been said in another place,”—that every

European in India, may be said to have a direct personal interest in

this matter; for, though unconnected with commercial speculations, he probably looks one day to cross the ocean himself on his return home ; or has those who are dear to him doing so; or he may be sent to sea for his health. It is superfluous to allude here to that general interest which the feelings of humanity must awaken in every man's mind when he hears of a new branch of knowledge, which may so much contribute to disarm the tempest of its terrors; and which careful, commonsense accounts of storms may so very essentially assist us in perfecting.

In closing this first memoir, which, in the absence of abler labourers in the field, I propose to follow by others as I can find materials, I ought to apologize for its imperfections. I have mentioned in Part I. some of the difficulties I experienced in collecting information, and that, by the advice of a friend, I published earlier than I originally intended, to attract attention to the October Gales. When I add to this, that I am far from being master of my own time, I trust due allowance will be made for its defects, by those who are not aware of these circumstances. To solicit information on any question of natural history is often fruitless enough in all countries, but upon meteorological questions, and in India, where the public mind has not yet been roused to attention on this head, and where observers are so few, is absolutely at times, to use a Gallicism, desesperant. I trust however this little essay will shew how much every trifle, insignificant as it might be thought by the possessor, may contribute to the end we seek. Mr. Hudson's valuable barometrical observations on board the Hope Floating Light, I have alluded to at p. 589; and I may state here, that those of the Hurricane of October, 1832, quoted by Col. Reid p. 269, as taken at Chandernagore, are my own; and both prove to be of far more utility than was at the time supposed by the observers. We may indeed, if allowed to speak metaphorically on such a subject, say, that as the great pyramids of human knowledge must be built of separate stones, no man can say, before he brings his to the builder, that it may not become “the head stone of the corner"

* Englishman, 17th September, 1839.

ART. III.-Extracts from Mr. M ‘Clelland's paper on Indian Cyprinidae. As. Res. Vol. xix. Part II.

For such of our readers as do not subscribe to the Researches of the Society, we take this opportunity of extracting such parts of the 2nd part of the 19th vol. just published, as may be separated, without disadvantage from the rest of Mr. M'Clelland's paper. The utility of Ichthyology is set forth in the following remarks.

“Utility will always be found to depend more on the degree of attention paid to any subject connected with science, than on the nature of the subject itself; yet it is a common remark that this, or that, is important or frivolous, according as we happen to be acquainted with it. When we find any branch of science regarded as useless, we may be assured that, contrary to ordinary expectation, it will prove the most productive field we can enter. Science, indeed, can only be useful where it has been cultivated, and its principles worked out; practi. cal results will then follow in proportion to the pains taken to develop them.

“The moral interest of Ichthyology having been sufficiently attended to throughout the preceding paper, I shall here pass it over, merely remarking, that in common with other branches of natural science it is calculated to improve the mind as well as the condition of society, while its cultivation need not interfere with any duty, public or private ; and few who are placed on our coasts, or on the banks of any of the noble rivers of India, who might not with amusement to themselves, and advantage to science, communicate many observations nowhere else to be collected regarding our indigenous species. The season of spawning, and places to which the various species resort for this purpose—their food—the kind of waters in which they thrive best— whether running or stagnant—with sandy or with muddy bottoms, would all be points of great interest that might be settled by persons of no pretensions to a scientific knowledge of the subject.

“With regard to the propagation of fishes, Mr. Yarrell remarks—that an acre of water will let in many parts of the continent, where fresh water fishes are in more request than in England, for more than an acre of land. In no part of the continent of Europe, however, can fresh-water fish be of so much importance as in India, where most of the domestic animals which in Europe afford the principal food, as the ox, swine, poultry, &c. are rejected by a large proportion of the people.

“Throughout the Mysore country, as well as in many of the western provinces, large tanks or reservoirs occur, many of them from three to thirty miles in circumference, and being indispensable for irrigation, may be supposed to be nearly universal in all populous districts not watered by rivers. These reservoirs are considered by the Hon’ble

Colonel Morison C. B." as among the greatest national monuments to be found in India.

“They are capable, according to Buchanan,f of supplying water for from eighteen months to two years, and thus of maintaining the surrounding crops should no rain fall within that period.

“They are drained by an ingenious system of sluices and aqueducts of the most simple, but complete construction, which afford a perfect control over the distribution of the water. During the dry season they are all pretty much exhausted, and may, if necessary for repairs, be left perfectly dry. This would afford an excellent opportunity for destroying crocodiles and all the various destructive fishes, sparing only the more profitable kinds, which are limited to two or three species only; and by repeating this operation for several seasons, or as often as may

be necessary, all but those we wish to propagate would soon be exterminated.

“By a wise law of nature, the carnivorous animals of every class are less prolific than the harmless, and may therefore be the more easily subdued. Nearly all the destructive fishes are viviparous, bringing forth comparatively few young; whereas, the more profitable kinds, or those which should be the object of our care, are all oviparous, and bring forth their young from spawn.

* To whom I am indebted for many particulars regarding them. f See his Journey in Mysore.

“A single female Carp weighing only nine pounds has been found by Bloch to contain no less than six hundred thousand ova; and by Schneider, one, ten pounds weight, was found to contain seven hundred thousand ova, or eggs.

“The fecundity of the Ruee, Catla, and Mrigala, has not yet been ascertained, but from their close affinity to the Carp we may suppose them to correspond in this respect with that species; the question however, is one that may be easily ascertained by weighing a grain of the roe and ascertaining the number of globules it contains, while these will be to the whole roe what one grain is to its entire weight. The result will show that these species are capable of yielding, by their extraordinary fertility, a source of food as inexhaustible as the sands of the ocean, could we only bring their propagation and the safety of the young sufficiently within our control.

“In the reservoirs above described, we have every facility for effecting this object on a scale of great magnitude, without in any way interfering with the other uses of the water.

“There are certain kinds which though they cannot be said to be carnivorous, would yet be still more fatal to our object by devouring the spawn or ova, such are the Barbels, common in the higher parts of our rivers, and which but for a knowledge of this trait in their character would, from their appearance and flavour, be the first we should recommend for propagation, and thus from an ignorance of one simple fact, destroy every chance of success. We should not, however, condemn all the Barbels merely from a fault in some of the species, the circumstance should impress on our minds the necessity of confining the varieties of fish in a single reservoir to the lowest possible number of herbivorous kinds, such as the three I have mentioned, namely, Cyprinus rohita, Buch. Cyprinus catla, id. and Cyprinus mrigala, id.; there is reason to believe that either of these species would answer equally well in any part of the plains of India. As they usually attain a large size, they may be slow in coming to perfection, and, therefore, instead of having these three large species in the same water, it would probably answer the purpose better to have one of them only as a principal species, with any one of the common Gudgeons or Bangons of India as a cheaper article, which would

not require more than a year or two at the utmost to arrive at perfection. Beyond a single species of Gobio, and a single one of the larger species already mentioned, more ought not to be introduced to the same water, or allowed to exist in it, from the danger of their proving inimical to each other, a point which I presume has never been attended to sufficiently in attempts hitherto made to propagate fishes; hence, perhaps, the want of that degree of success which no doubt would have rendered a practice so simple and beneficial, long since universal.

“The only alteration in the present form of the reservoirs, to adapt them to the purposes in view, would be to enclose the lowest portions of the bottom of each with stakes long enough to reach above the highest surface of the water, and close enough together to prevent the entrance of crocodiles, otters, and the like, should any such exist in the neighborhood. The spawning season of the Ruee and other Cirrhins, appears to be in the dry weather ; the contrivance here suggested would therefore protect them at that time, and if there should be any danger of the whole of the water drying up, wells of sufficient size and depth might be formed within the enclosure, to which the fishes would retire during droughts, while the shallow waters around the wells would afford space enough for the deposit of spawn.

“Much of our success would depend on keeping these enclosures as free as possible from all but the species we desire to propagate. At the commencement of the dry season, before the fish begin to enter the enclosure, the interval between the stakes might be closed with straw, and as the water becomes sufficiently low without, most of the rapacious kinds may be removed or destroyed; none should be allowed to remain, but that species alone which may be the object of our care. This done, the only further attention necessary, would

be to save the fish in the enclosure from birds during the remainder of the dry season.

“Should our success be complete, from every moderately sized female Ruee we should have on the commencement of the rains from five to ten hundred thousand fry, which, as the waters rise would be quite able to take care of themselves till the next season, when it would be necessary again to destroy the rapacious kinds, as before.

“The repair of the carays" of Mysore, is said by Buchanan, to be

* Such is the name by which the reservoirs are known in Southern India when kept up for irrigation.

« 이전계속 »