Edinburgh Review,  1 (1802), 26–43.

Art. IV. [Review of Asiatic Researches, Volume 6]

Alexander Hamilton



Publications reviewed:

Hunter 1801 Lambton 1801Boag 1801Cox 1801Buchanan 1801Hardwicke 1801Bentley 1801Asiatic Researches

[1 Introduction]


Exploration, Botany, Astronomy

    Observes that 'Amidst the acquisitions which a few years have added to the stock of general information', scholars including botanists 'will acknowledge important obligations to the ardour of literary research, excited in the centre of Asia'. Considers that the learned will particularly look to the 'publications of the Society instituted at Calcutta by the late Sir William Jones'. (26) Examines some of the recent findings, and notes that 'that antiquity of the astronomical observations of the Hindus has become a subject of interesting discussion' (27).

[2 Review of Narrative of a Journey from Agra to Oujein, by William Hunter]


Exploration, Amusement, Experiment, Reading, Illustration, Encyclopaedias, Astronomy, Vulcanology

    Notes that at Bruwasagar [Burwa Sagar] the Mahratta subadar 'amused himself with philosophical experiments; he had got the plates of the Encyclopædia, neatly copied by artists of his own; and at the age of sixty, expressed great solicitude to obtain an instructor in the English language, to enable him to understand the text'. Notes that Oujein (i.e. Ujjain) defines the first meridian for Hindu astronomers. Relates William Hunter's speculations about the cause of the burial of the ancient city of Oujein, which he considers must have been due to an earthquake 'operating with a gentler concussion than usually attends that tremendous phenomenon'. (28)

[4 Review of Observations on the Theory of Walls, by William Lambton]


Mathematics, Mechanics, Engineering, Military Technology

[5 Review of On the Poison of Serpents, by William Boag]


Zoology, Pharmaceuticals, Chemistry

People mentioned:

Felice Fontana

[6 Review of An Account of the Petroleum Wells in the Burman Dominians, by Hiram Cox]


Exploration, Geology

People mentioned:

Michael Symes , Archibald Cochrane (9th Earl of Dundonald)

[7 Review of On the Religion and Literature of the Burmans, by Francis H Buchanan]


Ethnography, Physical Geography, Botany, Cultural Geography, Astronomy

People mentioned:

Georges L Leclerc, comte de Buffon

    Observes that the author might have been spared the trouble of ridiculing 'the science of the Brahmins' had he read William Jones's observation that the 'system of the Jyauthishicas, or mathematical astronomers' should not be confused with 'that of the Pauranicas, or poetical fabulists; for, to such a confusion alone must we impute the many mistakes of Europeans on the subject of Indian science' (37).

[8 Review of Narrative of a Journey to Srinagar, by Thomas Hardwicke]


Exploration, Botany

[12 Review of On the Antiquity of the Surya Siddhanta, by John Bentley]


Mathematics, Ethnography, Astronomy

People mentioned:


    Observes that 'Mr. Bentley appears to be a mathematician of considerable industry and merit' and that 'he has supplied some instructive observations on the principles of the Hindu astronomy, and on the manner in which their cycles were, or might have been formed' (42). Critically examines Bentley's argument from astronomical texts that the entire Sanscrit corpus is of a recent age.

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