Academy,  2 (1870–71), 478–80.

[Review of A Memoir on the Indian Surveys, by Clements R Markham]

H H Godwin-Austen



Publications reviewed:

Markham 1871


Imperialism, Exploration, Government, Mapping, Navigation, Measurement, Instruments, Instrument-makers, Internationalism, Engineers, Heroism, Skill, Expertise, Endeavour, Disease, Photography, Geology, Palaeontology, Archaeology, Meteorology, Physical Geography

Institutions mentioned:


    Details the various naval and land surveys of India since the 1760s, emphasizing the 'unflagging zeal and energy' of the surveyors and highlighting their 'life of constant exposure to sun and malaria, undermining and cutting off in the prime of life the assistants employed' (480). Explains that 'Major Lambton, of H. M. 33rd Regiment, was the originator of a rigorous system of triangulation' (479) which has been used in all subsequent surveys, although there has been a 'never ceasing extension of the great system of triangulation, with the revision of some of the earlier work of Lambton, imperative and due to the very great improvement in all instrumental equipment since his day' (480). Also reports that Lambton's '3-foot theodolite, by Cary, was captured at sea by the French frigate Piémontaise, and taken to the Mauritius; but science was respected and honoured by the chivalrous French governor de Caen, who forwarded it on to Madras with a complimentary letter to the governor', and acknowledges that the French were the 'first to recognise' the 'important labours' of Lambton, who in Britain was still 'called upon, from time to time, to demonstrate the utility of his work'. Goes on to describe the work of George Everest, who 'inherited the zeal of the old chief Lambton' and 'was the designer of the "gridiron system"' of measurement which allowed the great meridional arc of India to be fixed. This heroic achievement was given a proper monument when Everest's successor Andrew S Waugh named the 'highest peak' of the north-eastern Himalayan series 'after his old chief, "Mount Everest"'. (479) Notes that more recently the 'process of photozincography was introduced for the first time in India, and has since proved of immense value, in the rapid execution of cartography' (480).

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