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ACCOUNT

OF THE

NORTHERN COASTS AND SEA OF ASIA.

(From Ides' Travels Overland to China, in 1692.)

But to cross the river Argun again, and They pretend that the province of Jakut:take a view of the vast river Amur, to skoy was formerly subject to them; and the river Gorbiza, which separates the do- their language bears a little similitude to minions of his Czarish Majesty from those the Jakutschian. of the Emperor of China ; from the haven Northwards of these two rivers arises of the Gorbiza eastwards to the sea being the river Ogota, betwixt which and the subject to the Chinese, and the western Uda, near the shore, and all along in the as well as northern side of the said river sea, as far as the Icy-Cape, abounds with belonging to his Czarish Majesty. If we whales, sea horses, and sea-dogs. Kamsteer eastwards from the Gorbiza to the skatka and the country farther along by rivers Tugur and Uda, which rise north the sea-side is inhabited by a people calwards of the Amur, and fall eastwards led Xuxi and Koeliki, each of which have into the Chinese Ocean or Amoerschian a language peculiar to themselves. Those Sea, we find the country betwixt these ri- who live near the sea, are cloathed in seal. vers yields great quantities of black sables, skins, and dwell in subterraneous caand the shores of these mentioned streams verns; but those who inhabit the inland are inhabited by Tunguzians, Alemurians country are generally rich, and very much and Koreizians. Which last nation seems accustomed to hart-hunting. They eat all originally to come from Coela, that coun their flesh and fish raw, and wash themtry lying not far distant from thence, it selves with nothing besides their own being easy to reach it in a short day with urine; and they are a sly treacherous a favorable wind. They are reported to people, that never keep their words. have settled along by the river Amur, and to Their chief arms are slings, in the use of have afterwards spread themselves farther. which they are very dexterous, and can Those who live on the sea.coast depend throw a great way. All hereabouts, chiefly on fishing ; but there are many of near the Icy Cape, the winter snow lies on the inland people very rich, great num the ground, though it is not very deep, bers of the best sables and richest furs and chiefly falls in the beginning of the being found there. This country is sub- winter, all the remaining part of that seaject to the Governor of Jakutskoy, and son being free from snow. There is a the woods all hereabouts are strongly gulf which comes up to Kamskatka, that guarded in order to prevent the Chinese affords prodigious quantities of sea-horses Tartars from hunting any sables here.

and other sea fish, which are also caught To the shores of these two rivers there

in great numbers. come annually a sort of people out of the If we put to sea at the Icy-Cape we find islands which lie in the sea, but so near

that the further out we sail, the course of the shore that from thence they may be the sea is still the more interrupted by easily seen. These people appear very

the multiplicity of islands : and not far well dressed in very fine fur-surtouts, un above Kamskatka is a passage which the der which they wear silken coats almost seal-fishers and others make very good use as rich as those of the Persians. They of. All Anadieskoy and Sabaliska are are tall, have great beards, and make a inhabited by the already described nagood manly figure. They come in small tions called Xuxi and Koeliki. The river barks to the Siberian Tartars, and buy Salazia abounds with fine herrings, stur. girls and women of them, of which they geon, sterbeth and nebna ; and in the inare very fond, giving for them rich sables land country somewhat distant from and black fox-skins, which they report hence, all along by the Simaniko, are sethey have in great quantities on their veral winter-houses, which are inhabited islands, and earnestly solicit the Siberian by his Czarish Majesty's Cossacks, who Tunguzians to come and trade with them. collect his taxes and tolls: but notwithAsiatic Journ.No. 30.

Vol. V. 4 C

standing that several sables and lynxes found several Mammuts' teeth and skele. are caught in this province along by the tons, which fall off from the mountains, several rivers, yet the Simonikoe of Mus- and out of the frozen earth near this rikoy yields the most considerable revenue, ver; these hills, by the current of ice the greatest quantity of sables being caught from the high swoln waters in the spring, there. The climate of this Icy Cape, cal loosing great pieces, which are tumbled led in Muscovite dialect, Swetoinos, other- down into the river. The several fine riwise the Holy Cape, is extraordinary cold, vers which descend from the South and it freezing so hard that the sea is covered fall into the Lima, are the Witim, Olekiwith thick ice in several places, which na, and Maja, along which are great muldriven into mountainous heaps by the titudes of fine black sables, and other wind, from year to year increases, and furs ; in winter a thousand ermins being sticks so fast together that it seems but to be bought of the Tartars for three or one clot, from which, according as the four robels. All about the river Maja, as wind sets, are sometimes broke off great also at the source of the Lima, at Wergopieces, which disperse themselves, and in lenkolso and Kirenga, grow all sorts of process of time in a boistrous sea become corn, the land being very fertile, and sernew mountains of ice. It sometimes hap- ving to supply the province of Jakutskoy, pens that this sea is frozen up for two or and that at so cheap a rate, that a hundred three years successively, as was observed weight of rye-meal is commonly sold for that it continued so from 1694 to 1697. ten or twelve pence, and all sorts of cat

From hence let us proceed further on tle are proportionably cheap; so that livto the great river Lina d'Airlake, which ing here doth not cost much, but money is arises out of the south-west near where the very scarce. provinces of Siberia and Daour are divided To take our progress further along this from each other. Upon this river lies sea-coast, from the Lima to the river JeJakutskoy, the capital city of this north- nisea, which extent hath not yet been ern province: from which town, in sum travelled further by any, either by water mer-time, it is customary for small barks or by land, than to the river Tarsida, by to coast it along by the shore-side, and reason the sea is too full of ice and is utgo through the Cape to Sabazia, Onodie- terly unnavigable. Most of the inhabitskoy, and Kamskatka, in search of sea ants between Tarsida and Jenisea are calves, teeth, and train-oil, &c. The found to be Samojedes, and a party of neighbouring heathens, or Tartars, make Tungoeschian Tartars and heathens : use of little leathern-boats on this river, what their opinion is, is hinted above. which are very swift. The country about But the river Jenisea is, all along its the city of Jakutskoy and the river Am- shores, mostly inhabited by Russians, and ga is inhabited by a sort of people called rises in the south part of Tartary, in the, Jakutisians, whose labit is very particu- Kalmackian and Kirgizenian territories, lar. Their upper coats being made of and very plentifully abounds with fish; various coloured furs sewed together, and three very fine rivers fall into it, which the edges bordered all round, with a bor- are the Wergnaja Tunguska, Podkamender of about a hand'sbreadth of buck's. na Tunguska, and the Nisnaja Tunguska ; hair, but in every thing else made some on the sides of all which dwell great numwhat like the German fashion, and open bers of a barbarous wild sort of Tunguziat the sides and behind. They have long ans, which may very well be ranked with hair, wear no shirts, and believe that there the Samojedes, the latter being only laris a great being above in heaven, who gave ger and stronger than the former. The them life, and lends them food, wives, Tartars, whenever they have wounded an and children; and they celebrate a great elk with their bow and arrows (all their festival in the spring, in which they make arms follow him by the tract of his feet, offerings of Kunis, or Arak, distillid from accompanied with their wives and chilmilk, to this being. They are very much dren, sometimes for eight or ten days in afflicted with the scurvy, which they soon the woods, and taking no provisions with drive away, by eating raw fish and taking them, but relying solely upon their capof Deutgi, which is a sort of tar.

ture, they have a sort of stomacher, or Along by this river Lima are annually breast-cap, which, by reason of hunger,

they lace one or two fingers' breadth of squirrels, but very few or no sables. closer; and having at last caught their On this river are situate the two cities of game, they kill it, pitch a slight tent, and Tangviskoy and Mungaseia, both which stay upon the spot till no part of the beast drive a very great inland trade in furs, but the skeleton is left : but if they in the sea-horse and mammut's teeth ; and in interim get any furs, they immediately re summer time several boats go from these pair to the Russian villages and towns, in places to the sea-side at the mouth of the order sell them. Here are great num

river, in order to catch sea-horses or bers of white and brown foxes, multitudes calves and seals.

ACCOUNT

OF THE

BRAHMANS' OBSERVATORY AT BENARES.

By Sir R. BARKER, KNT. 1777.

Benares, in the East-Indies, one of the We entered this building, and went up a principal seminaries of the Brahmans or staircase to the top of a part of it, near to priests of the original Gentoos of Hin- the river Gauges, that led to a large terdostan, continues still to be the place of race, where, to my surprise and satisfacresort of that sect of people ; and there tion, I saw a number of instruments yet are many public charities, hospitals, and remaining, in the greatest preservation, pagodas, where some thousands of them stupendously large, immoveable from the now reside. Having frequently heard spot, and built of stone, some of them that the ancient Brahmans had a know- being upwards of twenty feet in height; ledge of astronomy, and being confirmed and, although they are said to have been in this by their information of an ap

erected two hundred years ago, the graproaching eclipse both of the sun and duations and divisions on the sereral arcs moon, I made inquiry, when at that place appeared as well cut, and as accurately in the year 1772, among the principal divided, as if they had been the perforBrahmans, to endeavour to get some in. mance of a modern artist. The execution formation relative to the manner in which in the construction of these instruments, they were acquainted of an approaching exhibited a mathematical exactness in the eclipse. The most intelligent that I could fixing, bearing, and fitting of the several meet with, however, gave me but little parts, in the necessary and sufficient supsatisfaction. I was told, that these mat ports to the very large stones that comters were confined to a few, who were in posed them, and in the joining and faspossession of cerrain books and records ; tening each iuto the other by means of some containing the mysteries of their re lead and iron. ligion, and others the tables of astrono The situation of the two large quamical observations, written in the Sans drants of the instrument chiefly remarkkrit language, which few understood able, whose radius is nine feet two but themselves : that they would take me inches, by their being at right angles with to a place which had been constructed for a gnomon at twenty-five degrees élevathe purpose of making such observations tion, are thrown into such an oblique sias I was inquiring after, and from whence tuation as to render them the most diffithey supposed the learned Brahmans made cult, not only to construct of such a magtheirs. I was then conducted to an an nitude, but to secure in their position for cient building of stone, the lower part of so long a period, and affords a striking which, in its present situation, was con instance of the ability of the architect verted into a stable for horses and a re in their construction ; for, by the shaceptacle for lumber ; but by the number dow of the gnomon thrown on the quaof court-yards and apartments, it appear- drants, they do not appear to have aled that it must once have been an edifice tered in the least from their original pofor the use of some public body of people. sition; and so true is the line of the gno

mon, that, by applying the eye to a small most capital instrument, or the greater iron ring of an inch diameter at one end, equinoctical sun-dial, which appears to be the sight is carried through three others an instrument to express solar time by of the same dimension to the extremity at

the shadow of a gnomon upon two quathe other end, distant thirty-eight feet drants, one situated to the east, and the eight inches, without obstruction; such other to the west of it; and indeed the is the firinness and art with which this chief part of their instruments at this instrument has been executed. This per- place appear to be constructed for the formance is the more wonderful and ex same purpose, except the quadrants and traordinary when compared with the a brass instrument that will be described works of the artificers of Hindostan at hereafter. this day, who are not under the immedi There is also another instrument for the ate direction of an European mechanic ; purpose of determining the exact hour but arts appear to have declined equally of the day by the shadow of a gnomon, with science in the east.

which stands perpendicular to and in the Lieutenant-Col. Archibald Campbell, center of a flat circular stone, supported at that time chief engineer in the East- in an oblique situation by means of four India Company's service at Bengal, a upright stones and a cross-piece ; so that gentleman whose abilities do honour to the shadow of the gnomon, which is a his profession, made a perspective drawing perpendicular iron rod, is thrown upon of the whole of the apparatus that could be the divisions of the circle described on brought within his eye at one view ; but the face of the flat, circular stone. I lament he could not represent some very

Next is a brass circle, atout two large quadrants, whose radii were about feet diameter, moving vertically upon two twenty feet, they being on the side froin pivots between two stone pillars, baving whence he took his drawing. Their des an index or hand turning round horizoncription however is, that they are exact tally on the center of this circle, which quarters of circles of different radii, the is divided into three hundred and sixty largest of which I judged to be twenty parts ; but there are no counter divisions feet, constructed very exactly on the sides on the index to sub-divide those on the of stone walis built perpendicular, and

circle. This instrument appears to be situated, I suppose, in the meridian of made for taking the angle of a star at setthe place : a brass pin is fixed at the ting or rising, or for taking the azimuth center or angle of the quadrant, from or 'amplitude of the sun at rising or set. whence, the Brahman informed me, they ting. stretched a wire to the circumference The use of the instrument next seen I when an observation was to be made ; was at loss to account for. It consists from which it occurred to me, the ob

of two circular walls ; the outer of which server must have moved his eye up or is about forty feet diameter, and eight down the circumference, by means of a feet high ; the wall within about half ladder or some such contrivance, to raise that height, and appears intended for a and lower himself, until he had dis place to stand on to observe the divisions covered the altitude of any of the hea on the upper circle of the outer wall, venly bodies in their passage over the rather than for any other purpose ; and meridian, so expressed on the arcs of yet both circles are divided into three these quadrants. These arcs were very

hundred and sixty degrees, each degree exactly divided into nine large sections ; being sub-divided into twenty lesser divieach of which again into ten, making sions, the same as the quadrants. There ninety lesser divisions or degrees; and is a door-way to pass into the inner circle, those also into twenty, expressing three and a pillar in the center, of the same minutes each, of about two-tenths of an height with the lower circle, having a inch asunder; so that it is probable, they hole in it, being the center of both cirhad some meihod of dividing even those cles, and seems to be a socket of an iron into more minute divisions at the time of rod to be placed perpendicular into it. observation.

The divisions on these, as well as all the My time would only permit me to take other instruments, will bear a nice exa, down the particular dimensions of the mination with a pair of compasses,

Then occurs a smaller equinoctical sun of the zodiac on the ceiling of the dial, constructed upon the same principle Choultry; that he found ove, equally as the large one first described.

complete, which was on the ceiling of a I cannot quit this subject without ob- temple in the middle of a tank before the serving, that the Brahmans, without the pagoda Teppecolum near Mindurah ; and assistance of optical glasses, had never

that he had often met with several parts theless an advantage unexperienced by in detached pieces. (See Philos. Trans. the observers of the more northern cli- 1772, p. 353.) These buildings and temmates. The serenity and clearness of the ples were the places of residence and atmosphere in the night-time in the East worshipof the original Brahmans, and bear Indies, except at the seasons of changing the marks of great antiquity, having the monsoons or periodical winds, is dif- perhaps been built before the Persian conficult to express to those who have not quest. Besides, when we know that the seen it, because we have nothing in com manners and customs of the Gentoo reparison to form our ideas upon : it is ligion are such as to preclude them from clear to perfection, a total quietude sub-' admitting the smallest innovation in their sists, scarcely a cloud to be seen ; and institutions; when we also know that the light of the heavens, by the nume their fashion in dress, and the mode of rous appearance of the stars, affords a their living, have not received the least prospect both of wonder and contempla

variation from the earliest account we tion.

have of them, it cannot be supposed they This observatory at Benares is said to

would engrave the symbolical figures of have been built by the order of the Em

the Persian astronomy in their sacred peror Ackbar ; for as this wise prince en

temples ; the signs of the zodiac must deavoured to improve the arts, so he

therefore have originated with them, if wished also to recover the sciences of

we credit their tradition of the purity of Hindostan, and therefore directed that

their religion and customs. three such places should be erected; one Mr. Fraser, in his history of the Moat Delhi, another at Agra, and the third gul Emperor, speaking of time, says, “ the at Benares.

“ Lunar year they reckon 354 days, 22 Some doubts have arisen with regard to

“ gurris, l pull; the Solar year they the certainty.of the ancient Brahmans hav

" reckon 365 days, 15 gurris, 30 pulls, iug a knowledge in astronomy, and whe

“ 224 peels ; 60 peels making 1 pull, ther the Persians might not have intro.

“ 60 pulls 1 gurri, and 60 gurris 1 day. duced it into Hindostan when conquered

“ This is according to the Brahmans or by that people ; but these doubts I think

“ Indian priests, and what the Moguls must vanish, when we know that the

" and other Mahommedans in India present Brahmans pronounce, from the re

“ chiefly go by.” cords and tables which have been handed Thus far Mr. Fraser ; and it serves to dowu to them by their forefathers, the strengthen the argument for supposing approach of the eclipses of the Sun and that the Brahmans had a knowledge of Moon, and regularly as they advance give astronomy before the introduction of Matimely information to the emperor and hommedanism into Hindostan. the princes in whose dominion they re Dimensions of the larger equinoctial side. There are yet some remains in evi

Sundial, dence of their being at one time in pos

Feet. lu. session of this science. The signs of the Length of the gnomon at the base .. 34 8 zodiac, in some of their Choultrys on the Oblique length of the gnomon 38 8 coast of Coromandel, as remarked by Radius of the quadrants

92 John Call, Esq. F.R.S. in his letter to the Height of the gnomon at

22 3 Astronomer Royal, requires little other Breadth of the quadrants

5 10 confirmation, Mr. Call says, that as he Thickness

1 0 was laying on his back, resting himself in Breadth

the guomon

6 the heat of the day, in a Choultry at Whole extent of the instrument ..37 4 Verdapetah in the Madura country, near Latitude of the place taken by double Cape Commorin, he discovered the signs altitude 25° 10'.

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