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bian £ is differently pronounced in different countries. The era of Mahomet, for example, is pronounced Hidjret in Syria, Higret in Egypt, Hijret in Arabia, etc. The confusion, arising from these variations, is often very great; for instance, the name of the present king of Lahore, is pronounced Schir Singh in India; the first part of this name is, however, of Persian origin, and is pronounced in Persia Schir. How then to render? The most logical method, even in a similar case, would perhaps be to adopt the pronunciation of the country where the word originated; but there fortunately are not many so complicated cases, and ordinarily, the renderings of a word may be without inconvenience in conformity with the orthography of the country from which it is borrowed.
4. The last difficulty is, that the European nations likewise differ in the pronouncing of one and the same Roman character, and at the first glance, this appears an insurmountable obstacle to a uniform system. Sir W. Jones was well aware of the confusion connected with this question, especially for the English, whose orthographical system is so complicated, irregular, and so deviating from the usages of all the rest of Europe. He had the wisdom to propose the adoption of the Italian pronunciation, and persuaded the Asiatic Society of Calcutta to consent to it, which since that time has continued to follow this system, the only one, by which the English Oriental scholars can be in conformity with those of the continent. Subsequently Mr. Gilchrist unfortunately did all in his power to undo the work of Sir W. Jones, by substituting the complicated English diphthongs for the simple vowels of the Italians. Almost all his pupils have adopted his system, and the Oriental geography and history have too much resented this unfortunate alteration. The oo, ee, u, have taken the place of the u, i, a, in most of the modern books of the Anglo-Indians, and the authority of all the learned Societies of England and India has in vain up to this time opposed this nuisance, though it appears to have lost ground, and we must hope that the principles of Sir W. Jones will again take the lead. There remain some other difficulties; the letters g, j, e and ch, (v, w, s, z,) have in every European language a different pronunciation, so that a congruous alphabet could not be adopted with uniformity in all European languages. These difficulties, however, not being very numerous, would not occasion much confusion, if every nation, as much as its idiotims allow, try to approach to the others, and not prefer the extremes of its peculiar pronunciation, as the school of Mr. Gilchrist has done.
All these mutual concessions being granted, and all precautions taken, I do not think, that a uniform alphabet will be obtained, by which Oriental characters should be introduced into the text. It is generally known, what importance Volney attached to this idea, and the Committee of Public Instruction in Calcutta for some years thought to have so clearly solved this problem, as to encourage the publication of a great number of works in what is named, the Roman alphabet in India, and that this Committee for some time has suggested the truly monstrous plan of substituting, even for the natives themselves, this alphabet for their original ones. This experiment has not succeeded, and could not succeed; a system of expressing intelligibly an occasional passage of a language, and which may be useful for quotations, or when the original characters are wanting, may be applied to some languages, as for instance, has been done to the Sanscrit; but there are other languages which do not admit this expedient, as for instance, the Arabic language, where the orthography not only expresses the sounds, but often also the grammatical and etymological peculiarities which do not touch the ear, and would be lost by any rendering; thus I doubt, if any combination of Roman characters could represent the orthography of the word Koran. But there is fortunately no necessity for supplanting oriental characters; from this might arise Borne economical advantage in printing Oriental texts, but it would be infinitely less than the inconveniencies of every kind produced by it. We are rather in want of a system of expression sufficiently exact to reproduce the names of men and localities in a way which may approach to the ordinary application of the Roman alphabet, so that it is not repulsive to the mass of readers and authors, and only requires slight modification in its application to the languages of Europe. The adoption of a system, corresponding to these conditions, would be a benefit to literature, and no public body holds a better position than a Society such as yours to encourage and to direct discussion on all the points connected with it, and to arrive at a result which could obtain the assent, if not of all, which cannot be expected in such a matter, but at least of the majority of authors.
Proceedings of the Asiatic Society.
( Friday Evening, 6th May, 184J.) The Hon'ble H. T. Prinsep, Esq. President, in the Chair.
G. Cheap, Esq. C. S. was proposed a Member of the Society by the President, seconded by the Secretary.
Booki rectified for the Meeting on the 6Ut May, 1842.
Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. London, 1811,
vol. vi. No. 12, 1 vol. Proceedings of the Committee of Commerce and Agriculture of the Royal Asiatic
Society of Great Britain and Ireland. London, 1841, (5 copies,) pamph. The Calcutta Literary Gleaner, May, 1842, vol. 1st, No. 3rd, pamph. The Calcutta Christian Observer, May, 1842, new series, vol. 3rd, No. 29, pamph. Keport on the Settlement of the district of Seharanpore, compiled by E. Thornton,
Aclesde L'Academie Royale des Sciences, Belles Letires, et Arts de Bordeaux, ler. a 4e. Trimestres. Bordeaux, 1839, 4 vols.
Read a note from Dr. R. M. Thompson, presenting a Human Skeleton for the Museum of the Asiatic Society.
Ordered,—That the thanks of the Society be accorded to Dr. Thompson, and be be requested at the same time to state from whence the Skeleton is.
On the (2d April last, enquiry was made through Mr. Secretary Bushby, «to the number of copies of Dr. Cantor's Report on Chusan, (under publication as an article in the Asiatic Researches,) would be required by Government.
Read letter of 2Tth idem from Mr. Deputy Secretary Bayley, intimating that the Government would require 50 copies with the Drawings in illustration. The Secretary at the same time submitted to the inspection of the Meeting the drawings referred to.
Head letter of 4th May 1842, from Reverend J. Thomas, submitting Bill for printing the Index to the several volumes of the Mahabharut, and for binding the «me, amounting to Go's. Us. J.01J: 7: 9. Ordered to be paid.
Read the following two letters of the 13th February, and 10th March 184f, from Captain W. Macleoo.
Moulmein, 13th Feb. 1842.
Mr DEAR ToRRENS,
The accompanying Image is one of two just sent me from Rangoon, (where it was dug up,) by order of the King's uncle, the Mekhara Prince.
Ihe Prince is an honorary member of the Society, (vide his letter on his election 5th February, 1836, page 433,) and has a philosophic turn. He assisted greatly in the compilation of Mr. Lane's Dictionary of English and Burmese. If circumstances permitted, (for though he is the King's uncle, anil a member of this present Gorer;ment,) he would willingly add to our information about his own country, but unfortunately, he is obliged to be very cautious in his intercourse with us. Indeed the manner in which the Images were sent shews this. Mr. Sarkies, to whom the Prince intrusted the dispatch to me of the Images, first proposed forwarding them through Mr. Browne, but after the departure from Rangoon of the King and Court, and finding i person, an Armenian countryman of his own, to whom he could trust, he sent them to me with a note from himself, and a memorandum from the Prince.
Mr. Sarkies writes,
"While the Prince of Mekhara was here, he gave me two ancient Idols, which he "ordered me to send to you, and which I now accordingly beg to forward by Mr. "Catchatoor. The object of so doing is to inform you, that this kind of Idol has bees "also found in various parts of the world at different times. He hopes they will tine "you as a curiosity."
The Prince's Memorandum is to the effect, that "the Images are the same as those "found by Captain Hannay at Tagoung Myo, the inscription the same also in oW "Deva Nagari characters, and that they must be at least 1800 years old."
I have just received them, and will make enquiries as to the localities where they "ere found, as Mr. Browne mentions a number of the same description were taken up. Rangoon is the site of an old city, and we may be able to trace some connexion between its foundation and that of the old city of Tagoung.
You will find an account of the Tagoung Images in the vol. of the Journal of tie Asiatic Society, for 1836, page 157. 1 never saw the images therein referred to, but conclude they are with the Society.
Should you think fit to notice the subject in the Journal, perhaps the less prominently the Prince is brought forward the better. We are certainly much indebted ta him for sending them.
Yours ever sincerely,
P. S. I got a vol. of the English and Burmese Dictionary for him from Bayley, b.i if you have any at the disposal of the Society to spare, I am certain he would esters: it a favour if you would present him with one. The copy he has, in that case 1 Mat; he would place at the disposal of the King.
My Dhar Torrkns,
Since writing to you with the Image, I found a Plate of the one brought dowx bj Captain Hannay, in the Journal; it differs from the one 1 sent you. The principal image in Captain H.'s is supported by two figures, whereas the Rangoon one has two Pagodas. The Mekhara Prince in his note mentioned, that those he sent resembled some Dr. Bayfield brought down from Tagoung, but never having heard of these, I erroneously supposed His Highness had confounded Dr. Bayfield with Cuptain Hannay; but Dr. Richardson has put me to right. Both Dr. B. and Captain H. visited Tagoung, and both appear to have found images with the Deva N'agar. inscription, though Captain Hannay's discovery only has been recorded.
I have not been able to hear any thing further on the subject.
Yours very sincerely,
Moulmcin, 10M March, 1812.
The Image referred to, has been received, and placed in the Museum.
Read letter of (3rd March 1812, to Secretary to the Military Board from Captain G. B. Tremenheere, forwarding some concluding Remarks by him on his report oo the Tin Grounds of Mergai.
Read letter from Mr. Secretary Bushby of 9th March laat, forwarding Correspondence containing information on the Nunna Cotton Ground in Guzerat.
Read letter from Lieut. Colonel A. Spiers, Resident at Gwalior, of 25th March list, and enclosures on the subject of the Nunna Cotton Ground in Gwalior.
Read the following papers by Captain R. Short He Em, First Assistant, Grand Trigonometrical Surrey ; viz.
On the calculation of Barometric Heights with Tables.
Remarks on some of the disturbing causes in Barometric Observations.
Remarks on an Inscription of a Magic Square, copied from an old temple in the bill fort of Gwalior.
The Secretary intimated that the subjects of the foregoing papers would be noticed by him in early numbers of the Journal.
Read letter of 9th April 1842, from Lieut. Baird Smith of Engineers, forwarding »" .Note on the recent Earthquakes on the North-western Frontier." Lieut. Smith writes, "My object being to attract attention to these interesting occurrences, "and to secure some more methodical and carefully detailed information relative to "their various phenomena than we have hitherto had." The "Note" referred to, 'be Secretary intimated would be published in an early number of the Journal.
Read following Letter of 16th April 1842, from Dr. A. Campbell, of Darjeeling.
Darjeeling, April 16, 1842. My Dear Torrkns, I had not time to make a memorandum for the Society of the last hours of De Koros, bat in my report to Government, forwarded this day, you will find almost all I could hue said. You can readily get it from Bushby's office, and make any use of it you think necessary. It concerns you to look after the bequeathment of Rs. 5,000. I hope the Society will not think me an unworthy member for not having furnished you with ■- report, but to have attempted one formally, and for a learned Society, would have led to the notion that I believed myself capable, from a knowledge of the pursuits of the deceased, to do justice to his merits. Whereas in my official report to Government, tbii is not looked for, and still it may serve to communicate some interesting particu*an to the world and his friends. I hope the Society will erect a monument over him. Here we would subscribe to it. What a pity it is that he did not die near Hodgson]