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a few places, dangerous; it passes through fine wood, or impenetrable jungle, over the faces of enormous masses of rock, on the brink of precipices, and through the beds of rivers. In the most difficult places the ascent is facilitated by rude ladders, made of the boughs of trees, by steps cut in the solid rock, and by strong iron-chains. The road, such as it is, is decidedly artificial, made for the use of pilgrims; and is not, as it is commonly reported, the bed of a mountain torrent. Its direction, the loose sand, and gravel, and clay, with which it is covered in many places, are circumstances incompatible with the idea. The area of the top of the mountain is about 72 feet by 54. This spot is sacred: it contains the imaginary impression of the foot of Buddou, is consecrated to devotion, surrounded by a low wall, and skirted by a grove of sacred trees. These trees are said to be a new species of rhododendron; they are of a respectable size. Their foliage, which is ever-green, is dark and thick; and their flowers bright red, large, and magnificent. The natives hold these trees in high veneration, no one ventures to touch a leaf, and much less gather a flower. The tradition is, that they were planted by the God of the Hills when Buddou left the earth, and took his departure from this mountain. If report be correct, they are found in no other part of the island. The imaginary impression of the foot of Buddou is on a rock, nearly in the centre of the inclosed ground: its resemblance to the impression of a human foot is very rude indeed. It is an oblong, five feet four inches long, and two feet seven inches wide in the widest part, which is over the toes. The toes are five in number, and all of the same length. The whole is surrounded by a margin of brass, ornamented with a few bad gems, chiefly rock-crystal, the green jargon, and the ruby, or rockcrystal, with a foil underneath it, to represent this precious stone. It is covered with a small square wooden building, which we found (it being the season of the pilgrimage) decorated, and very gay with flowers, and streamers. The sacred impression of the foot, to which the mountain owes all its interest amongst the natives, is, I have good reason to believe, in a great measure artificial, and the work of priest
craft. Some religious enthusiast probably first climbed the mountain, and, to give it celebrity, made this impression, and invented a story to suit it. Be that as it may, at present there are evident marks of design about it. I could observe on its surface traces of the labour of the workman: and the partitions which are between the toes, though resembling the native rock exactly in appearance, I found, on examination, to be a composition of lime and sand. The influence of religion on the minds of the natives, is well exemplified in the immense number of pilgrims that annually ascend this steep and rugged mountain. The number must amount to many thousands. We saw, at least, two or three hundred. They were of all ranks and descriptions of people, from the highest to the lowest casts, women as well as men: all ages, from the child that was carried on its father's back, to the gray-headed tottering old man, that could not ascend without support. The object of their worship is a strong example too of the lowness of their faith, and their amazing credulity; it was painful to see them on the summit of a mountain, overlooking some of the sublimest and most beautiful scenery in nature, forgetful of the God of Nature, and prostrate before a thing deserving only of contempt. However, few national rites, or generally received customs, whether religious or civil, that differ from our own, are so bad as they at first appear. This worship of the natives, when examined into, appears, at least, harmless, and is, probably, attended with good effect; it is accompanied by no cruel rites, or bloody sacrifices; the offerings are of the fruits of the land; the prayers of the supplicants are, first for their parents, next for the prosperity of the shrine, and lastly for themselves. Before the pilgrims. descend, an affecting scene takes place; they exchange with each other the betel-leaf, their token of peace; wives shew their respect and affection for their husbands, by their profound salams, and children for their parents, and friends for one another. Thus the ties of kindred are strengthened, friendships are confirmed, and animosities removed. They are then blessed by the priest, and bid to return to their homes, and lead a virtuous life.
Geologically considered, the mountain may be said to be composed of gneiss. The rock on the top, on which is the impression of the foot, is gneiss, of a very fine grain. It abounds in quartz. It is hard and compact, of a gray colour, and only in mass exhibits a flakey structure. A little below felspar predominates, and the rock is rich in garnets. Here it is in a soft state; and, towards the surface, rapidly decomposing. Still lower, hornblende prevails, and in so large a proportion, that particular masses may be called hornblende rock. Near the bottom felspar again predominates, and the rock contains much molybdena disseminated through it. Besides, in different places, the rock exhibits other peculiarities: here abounding in quartz, in a massive form; there in mica, in large plates; and very frequently rich in iron cinnamonstone. Garnet, traces of the ruby, and adularia, were the only minerals which I observed; but, I have no doubt, more minute examination would have detected others, and particularly the corundum, all the varieties of which, including the finest blue sapphires, are found in considerable abundance in the alluvial country at the foot of the mountains.
The height of Adam's Peak has not hitherto been accurately ascertained. The assertion of some authors, that it is 15,000 feet, is evidently incorrect. From the barometrical observations I made, I do not believe that its perpendicular height, above the level of the sea, exceeds 6343 feet. I had not the means of measuring it accurately, in consequence of there being no barometer to make the necessary observations below. On the top of the mountain I made two observations: one in the morning, and the other in the evening. In the morning, the barometer remained stationary at 23° 75', after having been exposed to the air about half an hour, till it had acquired the temperature of the air itself, which was 58°; and, in the evening, similarly exposed, it stood at 23° 7', the temperature of the air being 52°. The supposition that the height of the mountain does not exceed 6343 feet, is founded on these observations, of which it is the mean result, and on the idea, that the average height of the barometer, at the level of the sea, is about 30 inches; which, from what I have
observed within the tropics, is not, I believe, far from the truth; and that the average temperature of the air is 80°, which it generally is at Colombo, on the sea-shore, at the hours the above observations were made.
I regret we did not remain long enough on the top of the mountain to observe the range of the thermometer, which, I have no doubt, is there very great. We reached the top towards evening, spent the night on the mountain, and proposed continuing there the next day, but our native servants could not be made to stay; for the first time in their life they experienced the sensation of cold, and shivered from its effect; they were so much alarmed at their new and disagreeable feeling, that they resolved to go down at all events," they must die," they said, "if they remained there." At three o'clock in the afternoon the thermometer, in the air, was at 54°, just after a heavy thunder-storm, attended with much rain; at four o'clock it was 52°; at six, 51°; at nine, the same; and, at seven o'clock the next morning, just before we descended, it was 59°. During the whole time, the direction of the wind was from N. and by E. to N. N. E. The sensation of cold we experienced on the summit, was much greater than we expected from the state of the thermometer, owing, probably, to the rarity of the air producing an increased evaporation from the surface of our bodies; not to mention other circumstances which also must have co-operated, as the sudden transition, as it were, from a temperature of 80° to one of 51°; a brisk wind, which blew when we were on the top; and the fatigued and nearly exhausted state in which we found ourselves when we arrived.
The country, between the foot of Adam's Peak and Colombo, is interesting to the traveller; it exhibits fine mountain scenery, that brought to my recollection some of the most beautiful parts of the highlands of Scotland; and here and there the vallies presented rich meadows, that, in appearance, rivalled the verdure of England. The country however, in general, is overgrown with wood and thick jungle; and, in consequence, the low grounds are extremely monotonous. The only rock that makes its appearance, from the Peak to
Colombo, is gneiss, varying, in the proportion of its constituent parts, in different places. It is curious to observe this uniformity of rock, for the space of sixty miles. The soil too, in general, as well as the rock from which it is derived, is every where pretty similar; it is, most commonly a fine light loam, composed of silicious sand, and clay, and iron, in variable proportions, with about one or two per cent. of vegetable matter. The soil is so favourable to vegetation, and the heat and moisture so conducive to the same end, that every spot where a root can fix itself is covered with foliage. Nothing is wanting but industry, enterprise, agricultural knowledge, and, above all, the complete abolition of the old feudal system of government, to convert this wild and beautiful country into a garden, when it will really merit the name of Paradise, that from time immemorial it has acquired, though ill deserved. I am, &c. &c.
ART. III. Report of the Select Committee of the House of Commons on Petitions relating to Machinery for manufacturing of Flax, dated May 23, 1817; referred to in our last Number, page $41.
The Committee to whom the Petition of Samuel Hill and William Bundy, and also the Petition of James Lee, were referred; to report the same, with their observations thereupon, to the House; have examined several Witnesses in support of the allegations of the said Petitions, and agreed upon the following Report :
OUR Committee, in obedience to the directions of the House, proceeded to take into consideration the petition of Messrs. Hill and Bundy, on their improved method of preparing flax and hemp in a dry state, from the stem, without undergoing the former process of water-steeping, or dewretting.