« PreviousContinue »
tion stunted, it is supplanted by the lion, an animal which infested that part in great numbers a few years back, though since the arrival of the English it has become extinct, or nearly so.
-I have not yet been able to ascertain the limit of the climate of the hyaena. But there are two animals in the list of the Kirkdale remains, viz. the weasel and the water-rat, that are, at present, confined to high northern latitudes. The first of these (see PENNANT’S Table of Quadrupeds of Arctic Zoology, vol. 1,) extends only as far south as Barbary, and the last no further than the south of Europe, so that, in a degree, they enable us to set a limit to the heat of the ancient climate, as the elephant and animals allied to it do to the cold. The next question, therefore, that occurs to us is,—-what extreme of cold these latter are capable of enduring?
The greatest elevation at which the wild elephant is found in the mountains to the north of this, is at a place called Nahun, about 4000 feet above the level of the sea, and in the 31st degree of N. Lat. I have not met with the temperature of Nahun itself in any work, but we have given us in the Gnnanmcs the temperature of Seharunpoor, 1000 feet, and Mussoori 7000 feet above the level of the sea, both places in nearly
the same latitude and longitude. They are as follows. Seharunpur Mean Temperature.
Jan. Feb. March April May June July Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec. 52 55 67 78 85 90 85 :83 79 74 64 55
39 39.5 52 60 72.5 73 65.5 65.5 61.5 60.5 52 40 Now Nahun being, as to elevation, half way between these two, we cannot err greatly in taking the arithmetic means of these numbers for its temperature. Thus, we have,
45.5 47 59.5 69 78.5 81.5 75 74 70 67 58 47.5
for the mean temperature of each month, giving a yearly mean of 64.4. Now the yearly mean of Keswick in Cumberland, which we may assume for that of Kirkdale, is 48°, leaving a difference of 16.°4 still to be accounted for.
But we may remark that this climateof Nahun is what hasbeen calledan “ excessive,” in opposition to an insular, climate; that is, one in which, owing to its distance from the ocean, the extremes of heat and cold: are verygreat. Thus, the month of January averages 45.5, and June, thehottest month, is 81.5, making a difference of 36 degrees; whereas, at Edinburgh, the mean of January for five years is 37, and of July (usually the hottest month there) only 60°, giving a difference of only 23 degrees.
It may be worth while-to compare the five coldestmonths at|both places. Taking the average at Edinburgh for five years, and adding one degree
for the difference of latitude between that place and Kirkdale, the numbers stand thus :
Nov. Dec. J an. Feb. March Nahun,....................58 47.5 45.5 47 59.5 Kirkdale,................ ..42.l 41.8 38 39.8 42.1 Difl'erence,...... ......15.9 5.7 7.5 7.2 17.4
So that for the three coldest months in the year, the elephant actually endures a temperature not differing in the average more than 6°.8 Farh. from that of Yorkshire at the same season.
Now we have no reason to suppose the great heats of the summer essential to the existence of the elephant; if, therefore, we alter only these five months at Kirkdale, so as to raise them above the minimum atNahun (45.5), we have a climate, which we may reasonably suppose it capable of bearing the year through. Allowing the difi'erences between each
successive month to be as at present, we might place the numbers thus:
Nov. Dec. Jan. Feb. March Kirkdale,.. .. .. ..50.l 49.8 46 47.8 50.1
The total number of degrees added to the five months is 40, which would raise the mean of the whole year from 48 to 51.3. The months of April and October would be warmer than at present; but this would be compensated by the diminished heat of the summer months, which would probably be somewhat cooler.
Here then the argument of Mr. FLEMING applies with peculiar effect. Most species with which we are acquainted have certain breeds or varieties which are somewhat more hardy than their fellows. Thus the oxen, and sheep, and horses that are bred in the low pastures of the south of England, would perish in a country where the black cattle and sheep of the Highland of Scotland, and the ponies of Shetland, would thrive. If therefore it be not improbable to suppose that the present elephant of Northern India is fitted to live in an insular climate, the mean temperature of which is about 52° Farh., it is by no means unlikely that a breed somewhat hardier may have existed in a mean temperature four degrees lower, or 48°.
There is yet, however, some further evidence, that the elephant is capable of bearing a climate somewhat similar to that which has been above assigned to it.
HANNIBAL, on his famous expedition into Italy, took with him a considerable number of elephants, which were probably obtained in Mauritania. A detailed account has been left us of the difliculties he was subjected to, particularly in the passage of the Alps; but it is no where that I can find stated, that the elephants suffered more than the other beasts of burden belonging to the camp. The transport of them across the Rhone is minutely told; and yet, though the army remained four days upon the snow ; though Hannibal himself is said to have told one of his Roman prisoners, that he had lost 36,000 men, besides a vast number of horses and other beasts of burden; though he is represented by his adversary SCIPIO, before the engagement on the banks of Tesino (Ticinus), as having lost two-thirds of his horse and foot in the passage of the Alps, yet nothing is said about the elephants, until the battle of Trebia, when, owing to the severe fatigue, and long exposure to a snowstorm, great numbers of men, cattle, and almost all the elephants perished. Shortly afterwards, we read of a pitiable destruction of men and cattle in the attempt to pass the Apennines, and that here also seven of the elephants, which had hitherto survived, were lost. One only was left in crossing the marshes of the Arno in the ensuing spring.
Thus, it appears, that these animals, who hadthe disadvantage ofbeing born in a climate far to the south, and not even reared in a domestic state, endured the extreme cold and privation consequent on the passage of the Alps late in the autumn, and a winter campaign succeeding it. Now the elephant, though capable of sustaining great burdens, is said to bear long marches and scarcity of food very indifferently. These two causes, therefore, must have contributed in a great degree to their loss,
HANNIBAL recruited his army with men and cattle in the countries he passed through, and was thus enabled to proceed ; but we have no account of what proportions of the original expedition, which left the shore of Africa, were living at the time of crossing the marshes of the Arno, and what had perished. In the absence of this, we can only guess at the difi'erent capacities of man, the horse, the ox, and the elephant, to endure fatigue and cold. Yet did we know nothing of this last, except from the history above alluded to, we could hardly doubt, but that, if gradually inured to a colder climate, in a succession of generations, it would easily bear any temperature above the freezing point.
The freezing point, however, would of necessity set a limit to the existence of any animal of the size and structure of the elephant. In a country occasionally subjected to heavy falls of snow, which remained unthawed upon the ground for several days, such a creature would be unable to move about in search of food, and must consequently perish. On this account, the elephant of Siberia could not have lived in a very severe climate, notwithstanding its long hair and mane.
It is singular, that the ancients should have had a tradition of an animal somewhat similar, not maned indeed, but crested : “ Mirum unde cristatos Juba tradiderit” is the expression used by PLINY in speaking of
the elephants of Ethiopia, which were a different breed, it appears, from those of Mauritania.
If we turn to the map of Europe, in the 2nd vol. of Lraufs Geology, we shall find that a great proportion of it was beneath the sea at a late geological period, a circumstance fully suflicient to account for the small difference of climate, which we have supposed to be necessary for the existence of the elephant. We know enough of the laws which regulate the atmospheric phenomena, to be able to assert this change as one that must necessarily have happened. It is needless, therefore, to investigate the matter further.
I have not been able to learn the greatest elevation at which the rhinoceros is to be found, but it cannot be much less than that of the elephant.
There is another question connected with the climate of these extinct animals, and that is the period of their existence. The bones of some of them have lately been found in caverns in the south of France, intermixed with those of men, and fragments of a rude kind of pottery. Some have endeavoured to explain away the direct inference from this fact, viz. that the animals were contemporaneous with the human race, but hardly with success.
We know nothing of Gaul before the conquest of it by Caesar, nor have we any account of Germany of an earlier date. What species, therefore, may have existed in the wildernesses of these countries, for a thousand years, or more, previous, we cannot determine. The fossil elk of Ireland, which was once termed “ antediluvian,” is now believed to have existed in the forest of Germany at a comparatively late period. Since the time of the ancients, several large animals have become extinct in regions which once harboured them. Thus the lion has deserted Greece since the time of Aristotle. The elephant has left Northern Africa (I mean that part of it to the north of the great desert), and the hippopotamus the Nile, since the days of the Caesars. The rhinoceros, which a few centuries back was found as far to the west as Attock on the Indus, is now confined to the forests east of the Ganges. Can we then suppose that in the many centuries previous, during which it was co-existent with man, its limits were not greatly circumscribed? Is it not rather probable that both it and the elephant (which is now limited by the Sutlej) may at no very remote period have been found far west as the Caspian, and that from thence as well as from still further limits
both have gradually retreated, as they are still retreating, before the attacks of man, and the clearing of the forests.
IV.--—Chirra Punji, and a Detail of some of the favourable circumstances which render it an Advantagcous Site for the Erection of an Iron and Steel Manufactory on an extensive scale. By Lieut.-Col. Thomas C.
Now that the commercial privileges of the East India Company are abolished, and that free scope is given to the improvement of India, through the enterprising speculations of British subjects, it may fairly be expected ere long that the efforts of enlightened industry, and all the aid of modern machinery and scientific research, supported by a liberal outlay of capital, will be employed in perfecting the existing produce and manufacture of the country, as well as bringing into vigorous and flourishing development many sources of national prosperity which have hitherto languished under the unwholesome shadow of a wide-spreading and disqualifying monopoly.
My present object however is not to speculate on possibilities, but to bring forward a few plain matters of fact, which may appear to others who have the means of turning them to account to be pregnant with matter of some importance.
A residence of considerable duration in the Kasya or Silhet hills, and my observations and inquiries while sojourning there, have impressed my mind with a full and satisfactory conviction, that works might be established in those hills for the manufacture of iron and steel on a very extensive scale, and under as favorable a combination of circumstances as can well be imagined or desired. It would be foreign to my purpose, and I fear beyond my ability, to attempt anything like a scientific treatment of this subject, and I shall therefore content myself with merely detailing in the order in which they strike me, certain matters of fact, leaving the inference to be drawn from them to those better qualified than myself to consider the question in all its bearings and relations.
The sanatary station of Chirra Punji is situated on the range of mountains that bound the plains of Silhet on the north, and which run nearly east and west. There is little or no rise in the country, to the very foot of the hills; the ascent to which is for the most part very abrupt. The Sanatarium is about 4,200 feet above the level of the sea, and distant about eight or ten miles from Tyrea Ghat, where the ascent commences, to which place the Pandua river is navigable nearly half the year. The journey from Tyrea to Chirra is seldom performed in less than four hours.
The average temperature of China throughout the year is more than