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Museum of Economic Geology cf India. By H. Piddington, Esq.


I am authorised by the Committee of Papers of the Asiatic Society, to forward to you the accompanying Memorandum relative to the Museum Op Economic Geology Op India now forming, in the confident hope that you will personally, and through your friends, kindly assist their views and those of Government, as far as lies in your power.

With respect to carriage of Specimens, such small ones as may not exceed tHe nsuil dawk banghy weight, say 500 Tolas, may be sent at once, addressed to the Secretary of the Asiatic Society, and those above that weight dispatched by the nearest water carriage, preferring the Steamers if obtainable. I am, Sir,

Your obedient Servant,

H. Piddington,

Curator, Mus. Econ. Geology of India.

Calcutta, 184 .

The objecU of the Museum of Economic Geology of India, which has been established by Government at Calcutta, under orders from the Hon'ble the Court of Director*, in conjunction with the Asiatic Society and at its Rooms, are the following: They are, as scientific men will perceive, generally those of Economic Geologists in all countries, but there are some peculiarities connected with India, and the situations of Europeans in it, which will oblige ui to go into a little detail, to explain to those who may not already take an interest in these matters, our wants, our wishes, and our hopes of tie advantages which may accrue to the community from this new establishment Its objects then are briefly these:—

1. To obtain the most complete Geological, Mineralogical, and Statistical knowledge possible of all the mineral resources of India, wrought or unwrought, so as to make them as publicly known as possible; to shew how they have been, or are now wrought or how they might be so to the best advantage.

2. To obtain a complete set of specimens, models, and drawings, relative to tie Mining operations, Metallurgical processes, and Mineral manufactures of all kinds, of India and of Europe and America; so as to afford to the public information of every thing which can be turned to account here or in Europe, and perhaps prevent loss of time, waste of capital, and disappointment to the Indian speculator.

3. To furnish the Engineer and Architect with a complete collection of all the materials, natural or artificial, which are now, or have formerly been used for buildings, cements, roads, &c. and of all which may possibly be useful in this department, whether European or Indian.

4. To collect for the Agriculturalist, specimens of all kinds of soils remarkable for their good or bad qualities, with the subsoil, subjacent rocks, &q. and by examination of these, to indicate their various peculiarities and the remedies for their defects.

5. To collect for Medical men, the waters of mineral springs, mineral drugs, &c.&c.

6. And finally, by chemical examinations of all these various specimens, to determine their value, and how they may be best turned to account for the general benefit of the community.

With objects like these the Museum of Economic Geology may be said to be placed between the purely scientific geologist and the merchant, the miner, the farmer, the manufacturer, and the builder, or in other words, the merely practical men, who may desire to know how the knowledge of the geologist and mineralogist,—to them often Ki recondite, and apparently so useless,—can forward their views: and its office, to be, if possible, to answer all questions of this nature which may arise, for public benefit.

This may sometimes to be done from books, but the great library must be the collections of our Museum, which are in fact a library of examples, to which the commentary i: tie laboratory; where, aided by the resources of the collection, questions may often be solved in an hour, a day, or a week, which it would take half an Indian life to obtain the mere materials for investigating. An extensive collection, then, is the first requisite, and this should, if possible, comprise every inorganic product of the earth (ran which mankind derive any advantage, with every information relative to it. It vill readily occur to the reader, that in India, owing to her infancy in some of the arts dependant on these products, as in mining, agriculture, &c.; and her singular proeras in others, as in peculiar branches of Metallurgy and the like, our almost absolute ignorance of what her methods and resources are, the peculiarities of situation in which Uiese resources may exist, those of climate, workmen, and many others, we have almost etery thing yet to learn; and that to accomplish our objects, we cannot be too well furnished with all the knowledge and examples of Europe and the Americas, and all those of India, or of Asia. Without these, our progress must be very limited; but in proportion as we obtain them, we may hope, without presumption, to see the day when the nines, the quarries, and the soil of India may be done justice to, which assuredly, has sever yet been the case.* In this all classes are so clearly interested, that it would be tspernnous to shew it, as it is to shew that the resources of every country arc far more readily developed with public means for investigating, preserving, and publishing all knowledge belonging to them, than where none such exist.

It is therefore hoped, that those who maybe desirous of assisting this great public work, will bear in mind, that nothing, however familiar it may be to those on the spot, is indifferent to us; for if not wanted for the institution, it may serve to procure that tekiek is; and the following note is given rather as a general memorandum than as specifying all which is desired. The general rule is, that details cannot be too numerous, nor specimens too various, particularly if purely Indian.

• It is curious to find that upwards of HO years ago, the ores of the precious metals were an article of export from the Dutch East Indies ! This is dearly shewn by the following passage from Schlatter's work, as translated by Hellot, and published by him under the title of " Hcllot sur les Mines," Paris, 1753. In Vol. II. p. 285, Chap. XLVI. "On Eatt Indian Ores and their Fusion by Uu curved Furnace," he says—

"In 1704, Schlatter received by a private channel twenty-five quintals of ore from the East Indies, ftc." And again: "These sorts of ores (of gold and silver) sent from India by the Dutch rm frequently smelted at the foundery of Altenau in. the Upper Harts, but had never been smelted in the Lower Harts. This ore was in lumps from the size of a nut to that of walnut, and by trials it was found that the quintal of 11 Olbs. contained 1 oz. 8 drs of gold and SJ os. of silver."



Mines And Mining Products.

1. Specimens of all crude ores, just as found. If possible also, of the rocks or matrix in which found; of those indicating the vein at the surface; of the walls of the ve.u-; of the strata or beds passed through before reaching them; and of the rocks of the surrounding country.

2. The ores after prspaiation for the furnace by picking, washing, stamping, rowing, &c.

3. The rejected ores, gravel or stones found with those used ; which often go antler odd names, as those of "mother, devil," or the like.

4. The fluxes used, if any.

5. Memorandum of the kind of fuel used, samples of it if coal or coke, &c.; names of the trees, as bamboo, &c. if charcoal; and if not too far, send specimens.

6. The roasted or half smelted ore.

7. The pure metals, as obtained in a merchantable state, of all the qualities.

8. The slags, of all kinds, from the furnaces and smeltings.

9. Drawings or models (to scale of possible) of all furnaces, machinery, and implements used in any of the processes, with drawings, plans, and models of the mine. Earthen models of the furnaces, Dec. may often be well made, by the native Ill makers for a mere trifle.

10. Specimens of any tools used.

11. Traditions, history, and statistics of the mine or mineral products, as (1.) Ho* and when found; (2.) Produce, gross and net; (3.) Rent if farmed, or what tax payable on the product; (4.) Price of daily labour; (5.) Amount of labour obtainable for a given price; (6.) Estimated profits, past and present; (7.) Reasons for decay or increase; (8.) What is now required to make the mine more productive ; (9.) Copies or notices of any books or accounts of the mine; (10.) Health, comfort, morals, and condition of die workmen employed, average of ages, and of life among them if thought unhealtij; seasons and hours of work. Superstitious notions, peculiar diseases, &c. Stc.


Buildings, Cements, Pottery, Colours, Roads, &c.

1. Specimens from the quarries, of all kinds of building stones, useful or merely ornamental.

2. The same of limestones, shells, corals or other articles, used to make lime or cements uf all kinds.

3. Specimens of the strata above and below the quarried stone.

4. Any fossil shells, bones, fish, plants, insects, or other appearances of organic remains large or small, found in or near the quarries, or amongst the rubbish and watercourses of quarried spots. If specimens appear too large to move, please to give s notice, with an eye-sketch, and estimate of the expence of moving, and preserve ii till a reply is sent.

5. Specimens of the building stones or remarkable bricks used in any public edifices, monuments or tombs, with the date of their erection if known, and a note to say if exposed to weather or protected by stucco, paint, or roofs.

0. Memoranda and specimens of any plants or animals destructive to masonry, as boring worms and shells in water, and the like, with specimens of their work.

7. Ornamental or stucco-work: specimens of it, new or old, interior or exterior, with tie best account procurable of the materials, preparations, and w orking of them.

8. Specimens of stones and marbles, shells, &c. used for image or ornament-making; of earths for pottery, and varnishes of coloured earths of all sorts, whether used as pigments or not.

9. Specimens of peculiarly good materials used for roads, whether ancient or modern, with prices, methods of using them, and other Memoranda.

10. Prices of all the above; rates of labour, carriage, &c. from the rough to the wrought state, and all other statistical details as in the case of Miues and Mineral products above mentioned.


Agricultural Geology.

1. Specimens of soils of good, and the best qualities, for all kinds of produce, us iijrar, cotton, tobacco, &c.

J. Of infertile soils or veins of earth.

3. Of the subsoil or rock.

4. Of the stones scattered about these soils.

5. Memoranda relative to the height of these soils above the water of wells in the rains and dry season, and of its drainage, shelter, exposition, &c.

6. Of any kind of earths, mud, or stones used as manures, as peats from the jheels, kunkurs, &c.

7. Of the deposits (fertile and infertile) left either by the common inundations or by violent floods, with memoranda of their effects on the cultivated soil.

8. Specimens from any separate spots, where gravel or stones are collected in quantities after inundations or floods.

9. Accounts of remarkable floods, and average heights of the rise of rivers, of the raising of the soil, alterations in its produce consequent thereupon, and all other details.

10. Memoranda relative to the formation or destruction of river-banks, islands, Sec. with measurement if obtainable.

11. Samples of all kinds of efflorescent salt-earths, with specimens of the different salts prepared from them, prices of preparation, selling rates, and accounts of the processes and uses of the salts.

l'l Specimens of brine springs, with details of manufacture if boiled for salt, and statistics of labour and produce, &c. as in the case of mines.


Medical Geology.

1. Specimens of mineral medicines of all sorts, whether produced on the spot or imported, crude and prepared, with notes and samples of the process of preparation in all its stages.

1 Of the water of mineral springs, their temperature, incrustations about them, "■count of their uses, and specimens of the rocks or soil in which found.


Native Metallurgical Processes, Or Mineral Manufactures.

1. Exact descriptions of them, however rude or simple they may appear, with samples of the ores, fuel, fluxes, products, slags, &c.

2 Models or drawings (to scale if possible) of the furnaces and implements of all kinds ; specimens of these last may be sent.

3. Memoranda and samples of the earths or sands used for moulds in castings, of the crucibles and beds, raw and baked, and of the raw material from which made.

4. Prices of raw and wrought materials.

5. Drawings of machinery used for turning, boring, polishing, &c.

In conclusion : It is not supposed that any individual, unless wholly devoted tc the research, can supply the whole of the desired specimens, or even of the knowledgt relative to any one product; but any single item of the foregoing may be of import ance, at sometime, to some one; and it will be the special duty of the Asiatic Society, and of the Curator of the Museum, to see j ustice done to every contribution; whetoea relating to the Geology of India in general, or to this peculiar branch of it.

H. Piddington,

Curator, Museum Economic Geology.

Correspondence respecting the Society's Museum of Economic Geology.

Note.—The institution of our Museum of Economic Geology is necessarily of such interest, that the publication of the Correspondence having reference to it, and to the appointment of a joint Curator, will be read with satisfaction by many of my readers. Iti

To H. Torrens, Esq. Secretary to the Asiatic Society.

Sir,—In continuation of my letter, No. 433, dated the 24th Marci last, on the subject of the formation of a Museum of Economic Geologv in India, I am directed by the Right Honorable the Governor to transmit, for the information of the Asiatic Society, Extract Paragraphs 2d and 3d of a despatch from the Honorable the Court of Directors, No. 13 of 1841, dated the 8th September, and to invite the Society's particulai notice to the requisition therein contained, with a view to its being complied with whenever practicable.

2.—I have been further desired, in connection with the 2nd paragraph of my letter dated the 14th April last, to enclose for the Society'a information, copy of a circular addressed by the Military Board to the

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