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birchen twig rope, having a span of 106 feet, and a height of forty feet above the stream. We halted at Koksur, the first village in Lahul, and the highest on the bank of the Chundra, at an elevation of 10,053 feet. There was not even a bush to be seen as far as the eye could reach, although the vegetation around the village was rich and luxuriant, the whole ground being covered with strawberries, dwarf irises, hyacinths, and pinks; there was also one primrose in blossom on the 8th of July.
From Koksur we proceeded along the right bank of the Chundra for five miles to the village of Tehling, where we saw on both sides of the river a few poor withered looking yews ; snow was lying in all the gorges and ravines ;
and even in the bed of the main stream there were large masses forty and fifty feet thick on each side, which had only recently been cut through by the current and undermined. In two days we reached the village of Gooroo Guntall, twenty miles below Koksur, at the junction of the Chundra and Bhaga rivers, whose united streams form the Chundra-Bhaga, or Chenab river, the Sandabal of Ptolemy the geographer. There we halted as the birchen bridge over the Bhaga river had been swept away; and on the following morning we ascended the left bank of the Bhaga for about four miles, and passing through the large villages of Gwajun and Kardung, we reached a wooden bridge, forty feet span and forty feet in height, by which we crossed the stream, and then descended it for four miles to Tandee, the chief village of Lahul, which is exactly opposite to Gooroo Guntall, the village from which we had started in the morning. The only trees about Tandee are yews and pollard willows. On the banks of the Bbága however there were pines ; and we found plenty of wild gooseberries of which we made very good puddings : some of these gooseberries that we bottled with snow water remained perfectly good after a journey to Simla, where they were cooked and eaten.
We saw some yellow roses too on the banks of the Bhaga, and some columbine near Tandee. The crops consist of buck-wheat, common wheat, and barley ; of which buck-wheat is by far the most common. The crops frequently fail either through the backwardness of the warm season, or through the early setting in of the long winter ; indeed for three years before our arrival at Tandee there had been no good crops of wheat or barley. The natives however attributed this failure to the displeasure of Providence on account of the conquest of the country by the Sikhs, and the expulsion of the Raja of Ludákh.
At Tandee we heard of the death of Runjeet Singh ; and it was currently reported that we had been sent to take possession of the country : this indeed we might easily have done, for our party mustered about one hundred people; and the natives of Lahul are so cowardly that Moorcroft relates they on one occasion, when invaded by a small party, buried their swords and fled to the more inaccessible parts of the mountains. Here we parted company on the morning of the 15th of July; the one to ascend the Bhaga river and to return to Simla by the Spiti river; and the other to follow the Chundrabhaga and to proceed through Burmawur on the Boodhil river to Chumba, and from thence to Kashmeer.
On Lightning Conductors to Powder Magazines. By W. B. O'SHAUGH
NESSY, M. D. Assistant Surgeon, Bengal Medical Service. The paper now published by Prof. O'Shaughnessy is in continuation of his paper on Lightning Conductors, which appeared in No. 99 of this Journal. The positions contained in that former essay having been arraigned in a contemporary publication,* the Professor put forth a rejoinder to the exceptions taken against his views and statements by the writers above alluded to, and then placed his rejoinder in my hands for publication in this Journal, as a necessary sequel to his original essay. The circumstances under which the paper now published was written, give it of necessity a certain controversial tone, which I have felt myself bound to account for, while laying before my readers a paper, without which the essay on Lightning Conductors, already in their hands, would be incomplete.
To the Editor of the Calcutta Journal of Natural History, 8c. Illness and absence from Calcutta have prevented my sending an earlier notice of the article which has appeared in your last number relative to the attachment of lightning rods to Powder Magazines.
The only point in the article in question, which I feel myself called upon to notice in your pages, is the attempt of your correspondent to shew that I had falsely described the spear-head of the Britannia on
* Dr. M'Clelland's Quarterly " Journal of Natural History.”
Government House, as having been partially fused by lightning, on the occasion of the building being struck on the 29th of March 1838. Your anonymous correspondent accuses me of such shameful falsehood, on grounds which I shall take up in the order he gives them.
1st. That he examined the identical piece of iron, which he states. now forms the point of the spear on the Britannia, and that he could observe no evidence of fusion.
As the marks of fusion I saw and described, were not larger than the size of a grain of duck shot or a small pea, and as the iron (supposing the piece to be identical, which I shall presently shew strong reason for doubting) must have been exposed to the weather for two years and ten months, an impartial writer should rather have concluded that the marks had been effaced by the exposure, than that I had stated what was untrue.
Accordingly your correspondent asserts, secondly, that he obtained testimony of the individual by whom the repairs were executed; who gave negative evidence to any alteration having been made in the point.
In justice to myself, I am bound to protest against such evidence being for one moment attended to—"Anonymous” No. 1, charges me with falsehood, and adduces the testimony of "Anonymous” No. 2, to corroborate his case and this in a simple matter of fact. Opinions or arguments are as strong in every respect, though expressed anonymously as when authenticated by the writer's name. But on questions of facts, personal testimony must ever preponderate. Why does not your correspondent come forward in his own name? His papers are highly creditable to his abilities, and his testimony would then be of value as to any fact he asserts.
But receiving the case on internal evidence alone, it might be that no alteration was made in the point during the repairs; it might be that the spear-head is the same as that struck, and nevertheless it is but the natural consequence of the corrosion of an iron point by the influence of climate, that the appearances I saw may have been entirely obliterated.
Thirdly. He accuses me of error in speaking of the spear-head, when I should have called it the spear-point. This is not worth rejoinder. Nothing but the mere spirit of hyper-criticism could condescend to such trifling.
Fourthly. He asserts that the lower portion of the wooden spear shews no evidence of the lightning having passed through it. Neither should it, as it never was touched.
The lightning first fell on the point, the concussion shivered the spear, and the arm of the statue; from the point it struck the copper of the dome, and thence by three divisions it entered the house, as described in the accompanying report.
Fifthly. The writer states, “ there is no evidence of a direct or lateral discharge on the spikes with which the head of the figure is covered.” These may or may not have been affected, there was no examination made of the spikes at the time, as I had no fancy to climbing the scaffolding for the purpose, and as far as their having been struck or not affects the question of the point, those who know the freaks and antics which lightning displays in its course, will readily admit that one metallic point may be struck close to another, without this being interfered with in the least degree.
Lastly. He dwells emphatically on the circumstance that neither Captain Fitzgerald nor his Assistant Mr. Barnes, the overseer, have in any way publicly confirmed my statement, although they are both in Calcutta, and could have been appealed to.
On this I have to observe, that the writer is (perhaps better than any other person) aware of circumstances which rendered it difficult for me to appeal to Capt. Fitzgerald or Mr. Barnes on this subject-nor did I then, nor do I now, feel the necessity of such an appeal. I described what I saw. My character for veracity must stand or fall by the correctness of my statement; had the gentleman alluded to, or his assistant publicly contradicted me, it would still be a question with every impartial man, which statement was to be believed implicitly; and most observers would probably conclude, that it was more likely that the marks of fusion I described had escaped the attention of these individuals, than that I had wilfully and falsely described that which had no existence.
I contend, too, that it can never be admitted that a writer's statements are invalidated in the least degree by the silence of any persons he refers to. The writer cannot force these persons forward in his defence, and many reasons may exist, too deep for the world to penetrate, and too powerful to allow the parties to act with perfect candour,
towards one with whom they may have been placed in disagreeable relations. I speak of course generally, and solely with reference to the hardship of being expected to force forward the testimony referred to.
Throughout his remarks, the writer attaches much more importance to the question of the spear-point being struck or fused, than it in reality deserves ; but as he admits, (p. 492, last paragraph) that had it been so struck, the fact would have been “fatal to his pre-conceived opinion as to the course of the lightning on that occasion,” I am warranted in adducing some further evidence in support of
my statement. On the morning after the accident, I was invited by Captain Fitzgerald to visit Government House, and offer him suggestions as to the repairs required, and the re-arrangement of the conductors. I went there in the evening and met Mr. Barnes, who shewed me the broken articles, and the course of the explosion. Captain Fitzgerald I now recollect was not present on that occasion. I wrote to Captain Fitzgerald next day, and among other suggestions I especially dwelt on the necessity of replacing the wooden spear by one of metal, connecting this with the copper of the dome, and this lastly by metallic straps, with four additional conductors to be erected adjacent to the dome. Captain Fitzgerald's report, hereunto annexed, shews that my suggestions were carried into effect. On this I have here one remark to make. If this report be correct, if my suggestions have been followed, if the metal spear has been erected, what becomes of your correspondent's assertions that the identical point has been replaced, and that he has re-examined the lower part of the original spear. If, on the other hand, the wooden spear has been replaced as it originally stood, then every impartial electrician will admit,* that the Government House of Calcutta will in all probability be again, and at no distant period, the scene of a similar casuality to that of the 29th of March, 1838. In this case it is in truth provided with a snare for every thunder-cloud that passes.
With reference to my plans, before the writer censures these he should in fairness clearly and fully state what they are. This he does not do, and for such a statement I refer to the Journal of the Asiatic Society for 1839, in which my papers are published. If the Editor
* As Captain Fitzgerald does indirectly in his report.-W. B. O'S.