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and a half. To this debt, indeed, must be added the bond debt at home, amounting to nearly four millions; but even with this addition the whole public debt is under the revenue of three years. We do not consider the capital stock of the Company a charge upon India, for the Act of 1853 provided a security fund of two millions, destined to accumulate for the redemption of it. Such a financial condition would, in any powerful European monarchy, be considered highly satisfactory; but in the case before us the same conclusion cannot be come to without some reservation; for in India the great branch of permanent revenue derived directly from the land does not admit of increase according to the varying necessities of the State; and the next considerable receipt, that from opium, fluctuates with the demand in China, and, were the moral habits of that extraordinary region improved, might greatly fall off, if not altogether cease. The salt monopoly is another most important branch of revenue; but it is one that, from the universal demand for the article, and its pressure upon the indigent multitude, must at all times be considered a grievous burthen, and cannot, under any circumstances, admit of augmentation. It may be hoped, that with the full development of the resources of the soil, and more especially with an increased production of cotton and sugar, and an amelioration in the quality of both, the condition of the community may be so improved as to allow of more variety in the objects of taxation, by which the poor industrious cultivators of the soil may be relieved, and wealthier classes compelled to contribute in a larger proportion. Peace is the great desideratum in India-peace, that will bring with it a reduction of charge, and restore a surplus
Where the form of government is absolute, the people have a right to expect that great works of public utility shall be undertaken by the Sovereign Power, and not left altogether to the enterprise and association of individuals. Few perhaps in Britain are at all aware of the extent to which such duties have, during a lengthened period, and signally within our own times, been encountered under the administration of the India Company. The whole world may be challenged to show anything comparable with what that government has already done for the improvement of internal communications of every sortbut above all, with what has been achieved by the skill of British Engineers in the extension of canals for drainage and irrigation in many districts of India. On this last subject-at least on the most important part of it, the wonderful operations in the sub-Himalayan region—our readers will find most ample and most interesting information in a work lately published by Captain
Captain Baird Smith, of the Bengal Engineers-a work which every candid Englishman will peruse with pride; * and assuredly whenever a surplus revenue exists in India, the best employment of it, even in preference to the reduction of debt, will be found in a still wider application of the methods thus successfully exemplified.
Before we close our observations on one of the greatest questions awaiting the decision of Parliament, we are anxious to guard ourselves against the charge of indifference to the welfare of the Asiatic millions intrusted by Providence to the Crown of England, and of making their best interests a question entirely subordinate to the maintenance of her Eastern supremacy. It is true that we have presumed to differ in opinion from some very considerable authorities in regard to the introduction of natives into the higher ranks of office on the ground that such an innovation would be dangerous to the connexion subsisting between Britain and India. Policy commands, we think, the avoidance of this danger- but philanthropy equally recommends it; for the internal tranquillity and prosperity of all India itself are at stake. Were the rule of the sojourning strangers to be subverted or weakened, there are now no elements amongst the natives for constructing either a general government or independent sovereignties; and the inevitable result must be anarchy and civil war, even to a greater extent than when a Company of merchants laid the foundations of our marvellous dominion.
The preceding article was in the press before the Evidence taken by the late Committees of both Houses had been published. It is satisfactory to find that in most of our views we concur with Lord Hardinge, Lord Elphinstone, Sir George Clerk, Mr. Shepherd, and Mr. Melville. We have not been so fortunate as regards Lord Ellenborough, more especially as respects the expediency of intrusting the future government of India to the old Company. However, Lord Ellenborough can scarcely be considered an unprejudiced witness on this point.— Manet altâ mente repostum
Judicium Paridis, spretæque injuria formæ.
Italian Irrigation-a Report to the Court of East India Directors.' 2 vols. 8vo. 1852. See the Appendices to vol. i.
ART. IV-1. Recherches sur les Etoiles Filantes. Par MM. Coulvier-Gravier et Saigey. Introduction Historique. Paris. 1847. 2. Catalogue of Observations of Luminous Meteors. By the Rev. Baden Powell, M.A., F.R.S., Savilian Professor of Geometry, Oxford. In Reports of British Association, for 1847, 1848, 1849, 1850, 1851.
3. Humboldt's Cosmos. Translated under the superintendence of Lieut.-Col. Sabine. Vol. I. Section on Aerolites.
N former articles of this Journal we have dwelt at some length on those peculiar characters which designate the physical science of our own time, and which have mainly contributed to its astonishing progress during the last half-century. Such are, first, the higher principles of inquiry into nature; involving in the case of each particular science the action of elements heretofore unknown, and the establishment of laws more general and profound than any before recognized :-secondly, the infinite increase of exactness required and obtained in all the methods of research, whether by observation or experiment:and, thirdly, the intimate connexion established amongst different sciences-affording new illustrations to each-and tending towards those great generalizations which it is the object of all philosophy to obtain, not solely for the perfection of theory, but also for the most various and valuable application to the uses of man. We now revert to these characteristic distinctions because they are, all and each, strikingly illustrated by the subject before us -one of the most recent departments of physical knowledge, and hitherto very slenderly provided with facts fitted for the establishment of general laws; but gradually moulding itself into the forms of a science, and acquiring connexions with other branches of general physics, which every day tends to make closer and of higher interest.
In every age of the world, and in every region of it, there have been witnessed, amidst the more constant aspects and phenomena of the heavens, those strangely irregular and vagrant lights, those 'fiery shapes and burning cressets,' which suddenly kindle into brightness above us, and as suddenly are lost again in darkness. Sometimes seen as globes of light in rapid movement-much more frequently under the aspect and name of falling or shooting stars, and these occasionally even crowding certain parts of the sky by their number-such appearances in former times were regarded either with dull amazement, or with superstitious awe as the omens of approaching events. Throughout all ages, moreover, reports have existed of masses of stone of various size falling from the sky, preceded by vivid light and explosion; and these occurrences,
rences, as might be supposed, have in all former times, and by every people, been similarly made the subject of superstitious belief. The Ancyle or sacred shield of Numa, the holy Kaaba of Mecca, the sword of the Mongolian Emperor, and the great stone of the pyramid at Cholula in Mexico, have all the same history annexed to them. They fell from heaven, and were venerated in their presumed divine origin. These falling stones, however, though more wonderful in many respects, were much less frequent than the meteoric lights which blazed before the eyes of nations; and they were for the most part very vaguely recorded. As we shall see afterwards, it is only within the last half-century that science has fully admitted them within her pale-reluctantly, it may almost be said, as well as tardily; and resting even more on proofs furnished by the physical characters of the falling bodies, than on the historical evidence of their descent.
Nevertheless, it is chiefly to the recognition of these Aerolites, or falling stones, that we owe the zealous scientific research which has since been given to the subject of meteors. However wonderful these phenomena might be in themselves, their aspects and periods were seemingly so irregular as to render them insusceptible of that classification of facts which is the basis of all true science. The untutored gaze of the multitude was for ages as productive of results as the observation of the naturalist; and until very recently the theories of the latter scarcely went beyond. certain vague notions of inflammable gases or electrical actions in the atmosphere. The bog-vapour kindled above the earth, instead of on its surface-and, yet more, the phenomenon of lightning in its various forms-offered explanations just plausible enough to check further investigation; and when Franklin (now exactly one hundred years ago) first drew electrical sparks from a thundercloud, it seemed as if a sufficient cause for meteoric appearances had been fully obtained. Yet, though the dominion of this great element of Electricity has been extending itself to our knowledge ever since, we shall presently see that other causes are here concerned; and that we must carry our speculations still higher, before we can compass all the facts which modern observation has placed before us.
It will be readily conceived how much the admission of the fact, that Meteors are sometimes accompanied by the precipitation of stones or earthy and metallic matters from the sky, affected every part of this inquiry. And when Chemistry intervened, disclosing the singular and very similar composition of the bodies thus strangely conveyed to us, it became obvious that new elements were concerned, of which science was required to take larger cognizance. About the same period, research was more
exactly applied to determine the height, velocity, and direction of meteors, and especially of falling stars, while luminous to the eye; the results of which inquiry, though embarrassed by various difficulties, tended yet further to remove their physical causes beyond the region of our globe, by showing their elevation above the atmosphere, their vast rapidity of passage through space, and lines of movement involving other forces than that of simple gravitation towards the earth. And when to such researches were added, more recently, certain remarkable facts as to the periodicity of falling stars, the inquiry assumed at once a cosmical character, associating itself with some of the movements and higher laws of the planetary system.
We have sketched this preliminary outline of the subject, from a feeling of the interest which ever attaches to the successive stages of a new science-those steps by which we ascend from the rude, doubtful, or superstitious record of isolated facts, to the absolute proof, the classification of phenomena, and the determination of the physical laws which govern them. Such notices are not more instructive as to the philosophy of the material world than in relation to the history of man himself, thus advancing in knowledge and power amidst the elements which surround him.*
Though the subject of Meteors was thus brought within the domain of science, the difficulty remained of giving any classification to the phenomena, on which to base inquiry into their causes and physical connexions. On what principle was it possible to arrange appearances so vague and various in time, place, magnitude, and brilliancy? The simplest division is the only one yet admissible; expressing little more than those external aspects to which we have already alluded, without reference to the physical causes which are doubtless concerned in their varieties, First in order we have the globes or balls of light (bolides), appearing suddenly, and having certain physical characters, to which we shall afterwards advert. Secondly, falling or shooting stars (étoiles filantes), seen at all times and in all countries, but more numerously at certain periods, and more frequently under the clear skies of tropical regions. Thirdly, Aerolites, or meteoric stones, differing greatly in size and form, but with various characters showing a common origin, and this wholly alien to the planet on which they fall.
The spirit of inquiry awakened on the subject of Meteors, and the objects thus far defined, it was natural to recur to history and
It has been well said by Laplace, La connaissance de la méthode qui a guidé l'homme de génie n'est pas moins utile au progrès de la science, et même à sa propre gloire, que ses découvertes.'