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state of its society I have at present nothing to to do, although I feel it difficult to restrain myself from talking of a place which is rendered interesting to me by a thousand agreeable recollections.

I shall not attempt to delineate the present political divisions of India, but confine myself to the external features of the country, some of which I have already described. The northern part of Hindostan Proper is bounded by the stupendous range of mountains which separates it from Tartary and Thibet, running in a direction north-west and south-east, called the Himalayah mountains, or Himavat. These moun

tains furnish the sources of the Indus and its tributary streams, which water the country of the Panjab, the Ganges, with the Jumna, and other rivers which unite with that majestic flood, and the Brahmaputra.

The mountains of Paryatra lie in the neighbourhood of Ogein, to the north of the Nermada, and from them flow the Mahie, the Sipra, and Betwa, with some other rivers. The Recsha mountains give rise to the Nermada, the Soane, and many streams of less note, which, with the exception of the Nermada, fall into other rivers.

The Vindhya mountains, among which lies the Arcadia of India, lie to the south of the Nermada, and contain the sources of the

Tapi, Tapti, and several smaller rivers, while those of the Godavery, Kistna, Bhima, Tunga badra, and Cavery are in a less elevated range south of the Vindhya chain, called the Tahya hills. Four inconsiderable streams rise in the Malaya mountains, and some others from the high Mahendra. In general there is a deficiency of water in the Deccan, none of the rivers south of the Nermada being navigable for any distance from their mouths; those on the eastern side of the peninsula being choaked with sand-banks, thrown by a violent surf against their openings; and those on the western coast descend so abruptly from the mountains of the shore, that they have not time to collect into streams of any magnitude before they join the king of rivers. There are no lakes but those formed artificially, for the purposes of sustenance and agriculture, but some of these are of such vast extent, as to appear more like the work of nature than of man; and though in some places the mountain torrents form cascades of exquisite beauty, there are none of sufficient magnitude to bear a comparison with the stupendous features of the New World.

Although travellers report that many districts of India bear the marks of extinguished volcanos, and many specimens of minerals, apparently formed in these tremendous laboratories of na

ture, have been brought from different parts of the country, there is not at present any burning mountain in action, nor are there, I believe, records of any such, although the mouths of fire, as several streams are called which emit flame, are frequently mentioned: such, for instance, are those in the neighbourhood of the Caspian, and that at Chitagong, where a temple is built over the spring, and due oblations performed to the sacred fire. Warm springs are not uncommon on the western coast, nor, I believe, in other parts of the country. Coal is found in the north-eastern provinces; mines of copper, gold, silver, and iron abound in those of the north; diamond has long rendered the name of Golconda famous; Cambay furnishes cornelian and other opake stones; the neighbourhood of Hydrabad produces garnets; while Ceylon seems the great magazine of the beautiful coloured and transparent gems.

Of that island little is known beyond the Belt occupied by the English, which encircles the whole island, and is from ten to thirty miles in width; a district woody, fertile, and in general healthy, On the western side is one of the finest harbours in the world at Trincomale; and on the northern coast is the pearl fishery, in the Straits of Manar, the product of which, however, is by no means equal to that in the Arabian seas. The

interior of Ceylon is mountainous and woody, but it is so dangerous to the health, to pass any time in the Jungle, and so difficult for an European who has once entered the country to leave it, that I can only refer you to the old traveller, Knox, for an account of it, whose picture is of that kind, that though one does not know the original, one feels sure of the resemblance.

One great natural feature of India is the singular diversity of its coasts. That of the western side is high and bold, with some small harbours formed by insulated rocks and promontories; such as that of the river at Goa, and the bay at Bombay, than which there are few finer. The eastern, or Choromandel coast, on the contrary, is low and sandy, full of banks, against which a tremendous surf at all times beats, and not offering a port of any kind. The seasons also differ on the opposite shores, the rains setting in at Bombay in May or June, as they do in Bengal and the other northern provinces, while at Madras they begin nearly as the dry weather sets in on the western coast. During the rainy seasons the climate is subject to violent storms and hurricanes, particularly at the setting in and breaking up of the Monsoons; but for eight months in the year the weather is clear; the land and sea breezes constantly blow; and one may, if any where, forget the proverbial inconstancy of the winds and waves.

But it is time to take leave of you for the present. I have done with local descriptions for some time, as I wish, if possible, to present you with a sketch of such a part of the history of ancient India, as has come to our knowledge with any degree of certainty. Adieu.

LETTER X.

THE prodigious antiquity claimed by the Brahmins for their country and their history, extending to millions of years, is evidently fabulous. It is however reconcileable with truth by the consideration that the assumed periods of the Hindû astronomical cycles, have been mistaken by the poets for actual revolutions of years on earth, and M. Bailly has shewn that in ancient times the word signifying a year was employed for any revolution whatever, and that among some nations the times of the equinoxes and solstices were the periods of three months each, by which time was computed, while others who enjoyed a shorter summer, had one warm and two cold seasons, each of four months, and equally called years. The revolutions of the moon, and even that of day and night have also passed for years, and hence the confusion of early chronology when the true length of

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