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of a Hindoo woman is deplorable; she cannot contract a second marriage ; she cannot inherit her husband's property, but is left to the niercy of her children, or, in default of them, to her busband's relations; she must neither wear jewels, nor gold, nor silver, of which Hindoo women are passionately fond; she must, in short, give up every thing that constitutes confort and independence : and when little or nothing is left to make life desirable, it is not surprizing that the fear of death should be greatly diminished. But if these considerations should not be found sufficient, other positive inducements are not wanting to encourage her. Her family becomes, as it were, ennobled by such a sacrifice: her husband's happiness is secured, and herself entitled to all the joys of Paradise for thirty millions of years. It may be true, as the Brahmins pretend, that they are neither forced nor persuaded to make the vow, and that very severe punishments, both in this world and the next, are denounced against all those who use any undue means to prevail on a widow to devote herself to the pile: but there are moments of weakness or tenderness in which a woman's affections may subdue her reason; an instance of which, indeed, is furnished by the author, who tells us that his devadaschie, or dancing girl, overpowered with feelings of gratitude, resolved, in the event of her having the misfortune to lose him, to die mahasti ; that is, to burn herself with his corpse, or, at any rate, to die by some violent means. When the vow has once been made, there is no possibility of retracting it; a woman, in such circumstances, would become the scoff and scorn of the country; and every refuge would be denied her, excepting among the parias or. outcasts from society. .
In his description of the objects of art, we have our doubts whether the writer is any more to be trusted than in his relation of events. In both, we either discover the faint and confused recol. lections of an angry man, endeavouring to carry back his imagina tion some thirty or forty years; or, we find him stealing without measure or acknowledgment from the observations of others. We shall confine ourselves to one instance of this kind of theft from a paper by Mr. Chambers, in the Asiatic Researches, containing an account of the ruins of Mavalipurana, the Mahabalipoor, or city of the great Bali, which, submerged in the dark green deep," rears, the golden summits of its doines above the sea ;' and which is rendered still more interesting, by the magnificent description given of it in the Curse of Kehama.' · Chambers. On coming near to the foot of the rock or hill of stone, from the north, works of imagery and sculpture crowd so thick upon the eye as might seem to favour the idea of a petrified town.' · Háafner. At the foot of the hill, on the north side, one meets with
such a multitude of ancient monuments that at the first approach, one might imagine oneself entering a petrified town.'
Chambers. Proceeding along the foot of the hill, on the side facing the sea, there is a pagoda rising out of the ground of one solid stone, which seems to have been cut upon the spot out of a detached rock.'
Haafner. “At the foot of the hill, near to the sea, there is a very handsome pagoda cut, both as to its pillars and its ornaments, vul of the solid rock.'
Chambers. From hence a winding stair leads to a kind of temple, cut out of the solid rock, with some figures of idols in high relief upon its walls, very well finished and perfectly fresh, as it faces the west, and is therefore sheltered from the sea air. From this temple again there are flights of steps that seem to have led to some edifice formerly standing upon the hill.'
Haafner. On the west side is a temple cut out of the rock, whose walls are covered with sculptured figures, which have suffered little from the hand of time, because they are not exposed to the salt air of the sea. From this temple many steps lead to the top of the mountain.'
Chambers. "In descending there is an excavation that seems to have · been intended for a place of worship, and contains various sculptures
of Hindoo deities. The most remarkable of these is a gigantic figure of Vishnow asleep on a kind of bed, with a huge snake wound about in many coils by way of pillow for his head ; and these figures are all af one piece hewn from the body of the rock.'
Haafner. Descending on the south is another excavation, supported by a great number of columns. Judging from the altars, and the quantity of statues of gods and goddesses which appear, one may conclude that it once served as a temple. Among the statues a colossal figure of Vischnow is remarkable. He reposes on a kind of bed, and his pillow is a serpent coiled round upon itself. This statue is hewn out of the rock to which it is attached by the lower extremity.'
The plagiarism stinks to heaven. Chambers visited the ruins in 1772 and 1776, but did not write his account of them until (1784. Haafner says that he visited them frequently while he re
sided at Madras, in 1780-82, and he publishes his book in 1806. Our own opinion is, that Chambers's account is vague and inaccurate; and that Haafner knows no more of them than what ap. pears in the Asiatic Researches: hitherto nothing like a correct description has been given of those ruins, which, as monuments of ancient magnificence, far exceed the caverns of Salsette and Ele. phanta, and are surpassed only by those unparalleled examples of human labour, the excavations of Ellora. It is not much to the credit of our countrymen, that, though within the distance of 16 or 18 miles of Madras, no resident, since the time of Mr. Chambers, has thought it worth bis pains to visit them? The situ. ation may be remote,' as. Chambers says, ' from the high road which leads to the different European settlements;' and the coast,
.88 as Haafner subjoins, may be dangerous for vessels ;' yet the latter, if he may be trusted, found no difficulty in approaching the place in a crazy open boat, in the worst season, though we are taught, that
never traveller comes near These awful ruins of the days of yore, Nor fisher's bark, nor venturous mariner
Approach the sacred shore. In conclusion, if Jacob Haafner be a real character, he is a man totally destitute of every principle of honour and truth; if a mere nom de guerre, the book may be considered as having been got up by the French government for the mean and odious purpose of creating a false and unfavourable impression of the British character on the continent, and fixing an unmerited stigma on the British name in India. This must be our apology for noticing it at all; and this, we trust, our readers will admit to be sufficiently valid..
nom de french goved unfavourabking an
ART. VII. Traité Elémentaire d'Astronomie Physique, par J. B.
Biot, Membre de l'Institut de France, &c. Avec des Additions relatives à l’Astronomie Nautique, par M. de Rossel, ancien Capitaine de Vaisseau, Rédacteur et Co-opérateur du Voyage de d'Entrecasteaux. Seconde Edition, destinée à l'Enseignement dans les Lycées impériaux et les Ecoles secondaires. . . . . Ani Elementary Treatise on Physical Astronomy, 8c, Paris.
1810. 3 vols. 8vo. pp. xxxvi. 1727. and 41 Plates. ALTHOUGH the volumes before us constitute the second edi
tion of a work of no superlative merit, yet it has many claims on our attention. In magnitude it nearly triples the former edition, and may, therefore, be considered rather as a new than an improved work. Since its first appearance, the author has received many suggestions for modification and improvement, from Laplace, Delambre, Pictet, Prevost, Maurice, Arago, Chaix, Rodrigues, Bern, rouer, Mathieu, Bouvard, and Rossel; his performance, therefore, may be contemplated as a fair specimen of the maximum of producible talent in France on this interesting subject. It coutains, besides, many striking instances of the prevailing wish among Frenchmen of science to extirpate from the continent the notion that any such beings as philosophers now exist in Great Britain, And it developes some of the arts to which even a man of respectable talents will have recourse, in order to derive all possible pecu, piary advantage from his character, by swelling out his work to double its requisite size..,
M. Biot, ; M. Biot, in his prefatory sketch of the object of his treatise, supposes the student to possess no absolute knowledge of astronomy, or even of cosmography. He farther supposes the existence of all the prejudices respecting the figure of the earth and the ce lestial motions which spring from the uncorrected testimony of the senses; and he endeavours to lead his pupil, by a gradual process of observation and reasoning, to the true mechanism of the system of the world, including, of course, the motion of the earth, the laws of Kepler, and the explication of the various phenomena which depend upon attraction. The work is divided into four books, of which we shall speak in their order.
Book I. contains twenty-three chapters, which treat of the heavens viewed astronomically; the roundness of the earth; the atmosphere; instruments necessary in astronomical observations ; use of the transit instrument; equality of celestial revolutions, and their use in measuring time; determination of the meridian by the measure of time; direction of the axis of apparent celestial rotation; mural quadrant, and its use in determining the height of the pole; exact determination of the laws of diurnal motion, including proofs of its uniformity; principal circles of the celestial sphere; terrestrial poles and equator; determination of the figure of the earth; with the exact measure of its magnitude; mode of fixing the position of the different points of the earth's surface; investigation of the physical consequences which result from the universality of the diurnal motion;' physical consequences of the compression of the earth's polar axis, including the variations in the length of the second's pendulum; atmospherical refractions; parallaxes; description and use of the repeating circle; instruments used at sea; sextant; reflecting circle; and mariner's compass., These subjects, with the notes, occupy the whole of the first volume.
In this volume we meet with some excellencies, and not a few peculiarities. Among the former, we must specify the note on the subject of refraction; and among the latter, the omission of the English measurers in the chapter on the determination of the earth's figure and magnitude The progress of sentiment, and change of conduct, on this point, are somewhat curious. At first, the English measurers and the French academicians met at, Dover to adjust their plan of operations; they then kept up a friendly correspondence, and the French liberally extolled the superior accuracy of the English operations; afterwards they praised the accuracy of the English measures, but with a saving clause in favour of their own; as was the case with Puissant in his · Géodésie,' who, after stating some remarkable intances of correctness in General Roy and Colonel Mudge, says, ' Neanmoins,
jusqu'à présent rien n'égale en exactitude les opérations géodésiques qui ont servi de fondement à notre système métrique;' and, lastly, an elaborate chapter is written on the measure of the earth, in which there is no more notice taken of the most correct of all trigonometrical surveys, carried on uniformly with great science and skill, and extreme public benefit, for 27 years, than if it had never commenced. This is rendered still more extraordinary by M. Biot's commendation of Messrs. Mason and Dixon's measure of a degree in Pennsylvania, though we will venture to say there is no respectable mathematician in Europe who is not aware of the extreme inaccuracy of the American results. Dr. Maskelyne, in the Philosophical Transactions for 1768, (from which the French authors obtained their account of Mason and Dixon's ' belles opérations,') informs us, that Mr. Henry Cavendish
having mathematically investigated several rules for finding the attraction of the inequalities of the earth, has, upon probable suppositions of the distance and height of the Allegany mountains from the degree measured, and the depth and declivity of the Atlantic ocean, computed what alteration might be produced in the length of the degree, from the attraction of the said hills, and the defect of attraction of the Atlantić, and finds the degree may have been diminished from 60 to 100 toises from these causes. Yet this is the degree which our Gallic lovers of exactitude' prefer to any of those measured in England! . Our author has a diffuse though interesting chapter on atmospherical refractions, which is the more valuable as it is now known that M. Lambert's theory, hitherto almost generally received, is erroneous. In this he traces the cause of several curious phænomena which depend on variable refractions, and among others that which is known to their mariners under the name of mirage, and which the French army frequently observed in their expedition to Egypt.
• The surface of the ground of Lower Egypt is a vast plain, perfectly horizontal. Its uniformity is not otherwise broken than by some eminences, on which are situated the towns and villages, which, by such means, are secured from the inundations of the Nile. In the evening and morning the aspect of the country is such as comports with the real disposition and distance of objects; but when the surface of the earth becomes heated by the presence of the sun, the ground appears as though it were terminated at a certain distance by a general inunda. tion. The villages beyond it appear like islands situated in the midst of a great lake. Under each village is seen its inverted image as distinctly as it would appear in water. In proportion as this apparent inundation is approached, its limits recede, the imaginary lake, which seemed to surround the villages, retires; lastly, it disappears entirely, and the 'illusion is reproduced by another town or village more distant. Thus,