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THE TRADE ROUTES BETWEEN NORTHERN INDIA AND CENTRAL

ASIA.

This was the subject of a lengthy and interesting paper, read at the meeting of the British Association, by T. Douglas Forsyth, C.B., F.R.G.S., of the Indian Civil Service. Mr. Forsyth commenced by observing that he had no geographical discoveries to make known, but he pertinently asked what was to be the practical effect of all our geographical knowledge. There was the work of practically applying the knowledge acquired by scientific men to the purposes of material progress. If it could be found that a knowledge of geography enables us to open out new routes to trade, or to improve old tortuous lines of traffic, those who had devoted their time and energies to the subject trusted that their exertions might receive some share of general approval. There are two great outlets for trade from Northern India. The largest trade, in fact a very large commerce, crosses the Indus at different points between Kurrachee and Peshawur, and threading the various passes of Bolan, Goleri,

Kyber, etc., finds its way into Affghanistan, Balkh, Bokhara, Kokan, and Western Turkistan. The other outlet crosses the Himalayan passes,

and enters that tract of country known as Eastern Turkistan or Chinese Tartary. Having given the history and description of the country north of the Himalayas, he proceeded to show why we took an interest in it, and why we sought to improve our communication with it. On more than one occasion it had been asserted that the Central Asia trade was a myth, and that therefore all efforts to open communications with Eastern Turkistan were worthless. He then proceeded to prove that from the earliest times trade had been carried on there, and was so at the present time. The Yarkund traders who appeared last year at Palumpoor brought lumps of silver and gold in their bags. Khotan, which is famed for its silk, sent a small quantity of raw produce, as a sample, to the market. Turfan wool, which is grown on the Tiam Shan mountains, and has maintained its character for surpassing excellence for centuries, was for the first time introduced into the Indian market. Precious stones and metals might be imported into India, in return for which our cotton and woollen fabrics and tea would be taken in large quantities. He then referred to the discovery of the new route between India and Turkistan, and said that trade had now been established, and a fair was founded in the heart of the tea-growing valley of Kangra, to which traders from all parts of the world now came. Mr. Forsyth then described the various routes into Central Asia, and, referring to the Himalayas, said that atmospheric influences and deficiency of fuel apart, there would be absolutely less physical difficulty opposed by nature in making the railroad talked of by Mr. Saunders, from Tso Moreri Lake to Yarkund, than there was in making the railway from Suez to St. Michel. The impassable nature of the Himalayas was a myth. He insisted that a valuable trade was to be . opened up with Central Asia.

RECENT SURVEYS IN THE STRAITS OF MAGELLAN.

Captain R. C. Mayne, R.N., at the meeting of the British Association, gave an interesting account of the recent government survey in the Straits of Magellan. He glanced at the history of the discovery of the straits by the first circumnavigator, Magellan, and to the geographical position of the straits. The straits are 300 miles in length, and the width varied from two miles at the narrowest to 15 or 20 miles at the wider parts. In that distance a complete change of scenery and climate took place. At the entrance they come upon low prairie land, bare of trees, with a bright sky and fresh wind; but further on they come upon mountains, rising almost perpendicular from the sea, covered with antarctic, evergreen leaves; torrents of rain, varied with snow and hail, in their seasons. In some parts the rain never ceased for 24 hours together, and he and his crew had gone for three months without being able to dry their clothes, except at the engine fires. He referred to the great use that was now made of the straits to avoid the troublesome passage around the Horn. He gave the results of the recent survey in which he was engaged, from December, 1866, to the end of May last. He gave a description of the Patagonians, and Fuegans, their manners and customs. The Patagonians were not such giants as represented; he had measured one who was 6 ft. 104 in. high; but the average height of the men was 5 ft. 10 in. to 5 ft. 11 in., and the women were nearly as large. The Fuegans were small, badly shaped, and ugly. The Patagonians drank very hard, but the Fuegans would not touch wine or spirit of any kind; on the other hand, the Patagonians would not smoke, but the Fuegans would smoke until they were insensible. The information obtained by Fitzroy, as to the Patagonians killing their old people, was true; he never saw anybody above a working age. He thought the inhabitants of the region might be very easily educated.

HUMAN REMAINS.

A recent discovery in the Department de la Dordogne, France, of human skeletons coeval with the mammoths, and undeniably appertaining to the earliest quaternary period, presents features of such unusual interest that the French government has sent M. Larter, the palæontologist, to make a report on the subject. He reports that the bones of five skeletons have been discovered, and that they belong to some gigantic race whose limbs, both in size and form, must have resembled those of the gorilla. But the similar origin of man must not be inferred from these analogies, as the skulls, of which only three are perfect, afford testimony fatal to this theory, having evidently contained very voluminous brains. The skulls are now in the hands of a committee of savants, who are preparing an exhaustive craniological report.

EFFECTS OF THE REMOVAL OF FORESTS UPON CLIMATE.

An interesting letter was recently read before the Geographical Society of London, which shows the effects upon climate resulting from the clearing, away of large tracts of forest. The facts given are of universal interest.

The paper was “ On the Effects on Climate of Forest Destruction in Coorg, Southern India,” by Dr. Bidie. This district is composed of hills and valleys, which were formerly covered with forests. The lower slopes, however, are now denuded, and the rainfall is found to decrease with the arboreal vegetation. As regards the elevated crests of the Ghauts, which intercept the rain-bearing winds of the south-west monsoon, they would cause an abundant precipitation whether they were covered with trees or not, but the water supply and fertility of the lower slopes and plains to the east are seriously diminished by the clearing of forest on the hills, and the result is brought about in the following way: The natural forest acts as a check on the too rapid evaporation, and carrying off by streams, of the rainfall on the surface of the land. As the rain descends, it is gradually conveyed by the leaves of trees to the dense undergrowth of shrubs, and carpet of dead leaves, and below this it encounters a layer of vegetation mould, which absorbs the water like a sponge. By these, aided by the roots of trees, the moisture is transferred to the depths of the earth, and a reservoir of springs is thus formed, which keeps up a perennial supply of water to the lower land. But rain falling on the bare şurface of cleared lands runs off at once by the nearest water-courses, and none is retained to keep up the flow during the dry season. Beside which, evaporation is so much more abundant from a surface exposed to the rain than from land screened by a clothing of forest, and the flow of surface water tends to sweep away the clothing of soil and render a district utterly barren. There is no doubt that this is one of the main causes, in hilly countries, of drought and floods. In France, for instance, since the mountains of Auvergne and Forey have been so denuded of forests, the Loire has been constantly flooded, occasioning vast destruction of property. The same cause, in Algeria, has caused frequent droughts, and the French government have lately been considering the proposition of some scientific men to replant these districts with trees.

THE MOUND-BUILDERS.

In Dr. Foster's “Mississippi Valley," the author gives an account of the extent and distribution of the relics of the ancient Mound-Builders, a race which, long antecedent to the North American Indian, once occupied the region of the great lakes and the valley of the Mississippi. The trees which covered the mounds when first discovered by the white settlers differed in no degree, either of size or form, from those of surrounding woods.

Investigations by the geologist and the antiquary have proved, beyond

a doubt, that these mounds were formed by human hands. Evidence afforded by the earth-works has also connected their builders with the ancient copper miners of Lake Superior, whose operations represent, probably, the most extensive prehistoric mines in the world. Dr. Foster points out that the number and magnitude of these earth-works not only indicate a vast population, but also a people subsisting by agricultural pursuits; as no mere nomadic race, subsisting by the chase, could have devoted the time necessary for the formation of such extensive national works. The earth-work at Cahokia, Illinois, is 79 feet high, and has a base of 666 feet; while the famous mound at Grave Creek, Virginia, is 70 feet high, with a base of 333 feet; and the next in rank is that of Miamisburgh, Ohio, which is 68 feet high, with a base of 284 feet. Near Newark, Ohio, the circles, squares, parallel roads, and tumuli extend over many leagues of ground, and outrival in cubical contents the great pyramid of Cheops.

Their weapons were spear and arrow-heads, chipped with much skill out of hornstone or schists; hammers, generally of porphyry, grooved near the head for the attachment of a withe; fleshing instruments of the same material, brought down to a blunt edge; pestles for cracking and grinding corn; plates of steatite, or chloride slate, pierced with holes to gauge the size of the thread in spinning; circular discs, like weights, and concave on both sides, ordinarily of porphyry and grooved; ornaments like plum-bobs, double-coned, or egg-shaped, and pierced or grooved at one end for the attachment of a string made of specular iron, like that of Lake Superior; lastly, elaborately wrought pipes, showing that they indulged in the luxury of tobacco. They mined extensively the native copper on the shores of Lake Superior, and wrought it into knives, spear-heads, chisels, bracelets, and other personal ornaments. They were unacquainted with tin, and had no alloy; and there is reason to believe they did not even smelt the copper, but hammered it cold. They had also made considerable advance in the ceramic art. Dr. Foster concludes that the Mound-Builders were an industrious, peaceful, and numerous race, pursuing agriculture as a means of support, maize being their staple article of food; ruled over by a despotic government, under whose direction their great public movements were carried out; and, lastly, that their extermination has resulted from the invasion of a less civilized but more vigorous and warlike people.

THE PERFORATED IMPLEMENTS OF THE STONE PERIOD.

Sir John Lubbock and the other archæologists are inclined to hold that the perforated axes and hammers of stone are coeval with the commencement of the bronze period. That many of them really do belong to this period there can be little doubt, since bronzes and stone are frequently found buried together, and it is well known that stone weapons continued to be made and

used after the introduction of bronze. But this by no means proves that all perforated stone implements are to be referred to this period, and the present number of the “ Archiv für Anthropologie”, contains a paper by Rau, showing the mode in which they might be formed before a knowledge of bronze existed. M. Rau considers that the holes were made in two ways, or perhaps by means of two different borers. The more highly finished holes are of equal diameter throughout, and present a smooth surface, and exhibit at short distances from each other a succession of circular grooves. Such perforations as these, he thinks, were effected by means of a hollow cylinder of bronze. But there is another kind of perforation, the surface of which is more or less smooth, but which is not marked by the lines or grooves above mentioned. These perforations are constricted in the centre, so as to present on section more or less of an hour-glass form, indicating that they have been bored in from opposite sides. These, he thinks, belong exclusively to the stone period. In both methods it is probable that hard sand and water were employed to assist the process. His view is supported by an examination of weapons in which the perforations have not been completed, but carried only through a portion of the thickness of the stone. In the former class of borings the hole on section presented somewhat of the appearance that would be presented by the bottom of a champagne bottle on section, the periphery being more deeply bored than the centre, wbilst, in the latter class of borings, the bottom of the depression was simply rounded and rather narrower than the superficial margin. M. Rau has been able to produce borings in a hard stone exactly resembling those on the weapons of the stone period, without the aid of any metallic instrument, but merely by means of the rounded extremity of a piece of hard wood made to rotate with a bow-drill, together with a little sand and water. The stone on which he experimented was a piece of diorite, so hard that a well-tempered knife-blade only marked it with a metallic streak, and of the same kind as that formerly employed, on account of its combining hardness with tenacity, in the construction of various weapons during the stone period, and still used for the same purposes by the North American Indians of the present day. In commencing the perforation, which required infinite patience, M. Rau found it advantageous to attach a piece of wood, with a hole in it, on the stone, which prevented the boring instrument from perpetually slipping off. Two hours' severe work were required to deepen the perforation by the thickness of an ordinary tracing with a lead pencil, and, though with many interruptions, he was fully two years in completing it. It was found requisite to add fresh sand every 5 or 6 minutes. When serpentine rock was experimented on the perforation was accomplished with very much greater rapidity. - The Academy, Nov. 13, 1869.

HUMAN REMAINS FROM THE CAVE OF BRUNIQUEL. This cavern is situated in a limestone cliff on the north side of the valley of the Aveyron, Department Tarne et Garonne. Al

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