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Why should the Elephant of Borneo have been introduced by human agency, any more than the RHINOCEROS soivnncus, or the Bos SONDAICUS ; which latter would appear to be remarkably numerous on the vast island P
I have been assured that there is no notice of the Rhinoceros in the early Sanscrit writings; but then the ‘river Ganges is mentioned once only in the whole course of the Vedas. Questioning Mr. E. B. Cowell on the subject, he obligingly writes word—“ There are at least two Sanscrit words for Rhinoceros, Khadga or Khadyin (.Kklldya properly means ‘ a sword’—-then the horn, and lastly the animal, —Khad_qin means the ‘sword-bearer,’) and Gandaka (ganda properly means ‘a cheek’). Both words are found in the Amara Koslza dictionary about 56 B. (7., and the words Kbadgin and Khadga occur in the llfakdbhrirata and Réméyana. The Hindustani word is Gaindri ; and I suspect Baber used this term, as all our IndoPersian writers use Hindustani terms pretty freely. There is, however, a good Persian word for it, Karkadan ,- and I find in Richardson’s dictionary a new fact in Natural History which I doubt if even you have found out. I transcribe his whole account.
“ ‘ The horn of this animal, it is said, sweats on the approach of any species of poison, for which reason many Eastern princes make use of it constantly at table ; when split through the middle there is the resemblance of a man represented.by white lines, together with the figures of several birds.’
“ There are several Arabic names for the Rhinoceros, as Mirmis, Hirmis, Karkaddan ; but these names tell nothing.” The Arabs, however, most probably obtained their knowledge of the genus from one or more of the African species. Gondri is the name applied in Bengal (misspelt Gomdd in Parsons’s paper in the Phil. Trans), passing into Gorrzi in Upper Hindustan: K3/en or Kyeng is the Burmese name ; and Bédoilc or Bodolc the Malayan. Gondri has at least the merit of brevity over Rhinoceros, and is quite as euphonous.
With respect to the history of the skeleton of RH. SONDAICUS in the Society’s museum, vide J. A. S. III, 142, IX, 518, X, 928. The
mentioned by him by its name of Kijung. So familiar a bird (in museums at least) as a. Trogon, he does not know by that name, but terms it the ‘ Omenbird’ (II, 62, 67, 95) ; and the remarkable wild Boar of Borneo (SUS BARBATUB) he fails to recognise as a peculiar species. The Bos SONDAICUS would appear to be very common in the part of Borneo traversed by Mr. St. John, and he designates it by the name Tambadau.
animal was shot by Sir J. Barlow, Bt., (then Mr. Barlow,) in the Jessore district, and his people brought the carcass to Calcutta by 'I‘olly’s nulla. It was conveyed to the Mint, and was there prepared as a skeleton by Mr. W. E. Templeton (subsequently employed as a taxidermist by the Society) for the late James Prinsep, who afterwards presented it in the name of Mr. Barlow for the Society’s museum.*
B:iber’s account of the Rhinoceros, as given in Mr. Erskine’s translation, is as follows :— ‘
In his notice of the “ animals peculiar to Hindustan, after describing the Elephant, he remarks— '
“ The Rhinoceros is another. This also is a huge animal. Its bulk is equal to that of three Buffaloes. The opinion prevalent in our countries, that a Rhinoceros can lift an Elephant on its horn, is probably a mistake. It has a single horn over its nose, upwards of a span in length ; but I never saw one of two spans. Out of one of the largest of these horns 1 had adrinking-vessel made and adice-box, and aboutfthree or four fingers’ bulk of it might be left. Its hide is very thick. If it be shot at with a powerful bow, drawn up to the arm-pit with much force, and if the arrow pierces at all, it enters only three or four fingers’ breadth. They say, however, that there are parts of his skin that may be pierced and the arrows enter deep. On the sides of its two shoulder-blades, and of its two thighs, are folds that hang loose, and appear at a distance like cloth-housings dang_ ling over it. It bears more resemblance to the Horse than to any other animal. As the _Horse has a large stomach, so has this _;1‘ as the pastern of a Horse is composed of a single bone, so also is that of the Rhinoceros. It is more ferocious than the Elephant, and cannot were gored. In one hunt, it tossed with its horn, ' a full‘_‘spear’s length, the horse of a young man named Maksfid, whence he got the name of Rhinoceros Maks\'id.”"'
be rendered so tame or obedient. ‘There are numbers of them in the
jungles of Peshawer and Hashnaghar, as well as between the river Sind and Behreh in the jungles. In Hindustan, too, they abound 011' the banks of the river Sirwii. In the course of my expeditions into. Hindustan, in the jungles of Peshfiwer and Hashnaghar, I frequently killed the Rhinoceros. It strikes powerfully with its horn, with which, in the course of these hunts, many men, and many horses,
' I find that, in the Catalogue of the mammalia in the India House Museum
(p. 195), the habitat of Ru. SONDAICUs is set down as “ Java exclusively!" 1' Linnaeus rcmarks—“ Viscera ad equine acccdunt."
Again, in the course of his narrative, he states—
“ We continued our march till we came near Bekrfiam and then halted. Next morning we continued halting in the same station, and I went out to hunt the Rhinoceros.
“ We crossed the Siah-Ab, in front of Bekrfun, and formed our ring lower down the river. When we had gone a short way, a man came after us with notice, that a Rhinoceros had entered a little wood near Bekram, and that they had surrounded the wood, and were waiting for us. We immediately proceeded towards the wood at full gallop, and cast a ring round it. Instantly on our raising the shout, the Rhinoceros issued out into the plain, and took to flight. Hiimaifin, and those who had come from the same quarter, never having seen aRhinoceros before, were greatly amused. They followed it for nearly a. kos, shot many arrows at it, and finally brought it down. This Rhinoceros did not make a good set at any person, or any horse. They afterwards killed another Rhinoceros. I had often amused myself with conjecturing how an Elephant and Rhinoceros would behave if brought to face each other ; on this occasion the elephant-keepers brought out the Elephants, so that one Elephant fell right in with the Rhinoceros. As soon as the elephantdrivers put their beasts in motion, the Rhinoceros would not come up, but immediately ran off in another direction.”
The description which Baber gives of a mailed single-horned Rhinoceros is unmistakeable; but it still seems passing strange that these huge pachyderms should have been killed with arrows.
# Some of Babel-'s observations are amusingly correct. Thus, of the common large Indian Frogs (RANA TIGRINA), he remurks—“The Frogs of Hindustan are worthy of notice. Though of the same species as [i. e. akin to] our own, yes they will run six or seven guz [twelve or fourteen feet] on the face of the water.” 1 have known more than one European naturalist-traveller to have been at once struck with this peculiarity. '
The following extract on the geographical knowledge of the nations of Islam, is from a letter received by Babu Rajendralal Mitra from Professor Rain of Copenhagen.
“ The Royal Society of Northern Antiguaries in Copenhagen has published a. new volume of its Annals of Northern Archaeology and History. This volume for 1857 opens witha voluminous and instructive historical and geographical enquiry by A. F. Mehren ‘on the general geographical knowledge possessed by the Islamitic nations, particularly with respect to the northern and southern coasts of the hemisphere known to them.’
“ The distinguished’ French Professor Reinaud, and the illustrious geographers Malte Brun and Lelewel have particularly directed our attention to the merits of the Arabs in geographical study. The present treatise is acontinuation of the labours of these and other scholars. '
“We have first a critical sketch of the most important Mohammedan Geographers from the 8th to the 16th century according to our era. We have next separate chapters on the oldest unscientific ideas of the Arabians on the Universe, theix conceptions of the form of the earth, their mathematical division of the earth, their measurement of the degrees, and the division of the habitable globe into seven regions or climates. Another chapter treats at length of the terrestrial system of seas, the limitation of the earth by the ocean and the parts of the latter: the Southern Ocean with its coasts and islands, and the several seas connected therewith, the Eastern Ocean, the Western Ocean and its connected seas, the Mediterranean with the Black .Sea -and the Caspian, the isles in the Western Ocean and the coasts of the same, the Northern lands, known to the Arabs, surrounding the Varenger Sea.
“Among the many local names here mentioned as occurring in the works of the Arabian geographers, there is one of especial interest. It affords a supplement to Rafn’s ‘ Antiquitates Americanze’ published by the Society in 1837. The result of the geographical inquiries in this work on the situation of the Northmen’s Helluland (Ne\vfou_ml-; land), Markland (Nova Scotia) and Vinland (New England) has been taken up with full approval by Alexander Humboldt in his Kosmos. A more southern land the Northmen named Hvitramannaland (the land of the White Men) or Irland it Mikla (Great Ireland). This was supposed by Rafn to be North and South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. The oldest historian of Iceland, Are Frode, states that his stam-father Are Marson came to this land about the year 983, and was baptized there. This same land, Irland it Mikla, Irlandeh el Kabirah, is also mentioned by an Arabian geographer of the 12th century, Alni-Abdallah Mohammad Edrisi, who was born in Ceuta in 1099, and had studied in Cordova. He drew up his work at the desire of Roger II. King of Sicily (1130-1154) The above geographical name as well as several other notices of the North, were doubtless derived by the Arabian author from his intercourse with the North men at the court of this‘sovereign in Palermo. “It is most interesting to follow the often highly successful identification of the local names mentioned by the Arabian geographers, especially those of several islands in the Western Ocean, places in France and England, and also in Scandinavia, particularly Denmark, where Slesvig is mentioned in a curious manner, and also in Sweden. The same thing applies to Russia. An extract from a voyage in the 12th century (1132) by Abd Abdallak Hamid of Granada,gives an undoubted description of a Whale-fishery on the coast of the Arctic Ocean near the land Wisu. 'Ihis, according to the admirable explanation of Fréihn, is the tribe Wes, spoken of in the Russian Annals, north of Novgorod by the White Lake (Bielo Oser0.”)
The following is an extract from a letter to the President from Dr. Sprenger, dated June 30th.
“ You are probably aware that Wopke is going to publish the Tarikh al Hind of Byrliny; of which Reinaud has inserted some extracts in his work on India. It is a most extraordinary work and provesthat the author had a complete knowledge of Sanscrit literature. VV6pke is an excellent Mathematici-an, and a good Arabic Scholar, and he has made considerable progress in Sanscrit. He began the study of this language on purpose to master Byriiny. Wiistenfeld intends to bring out the great work of Yéqut (em)-3 lg) on geo