William Rainey Harper.

The Bengal and Agra annual guide and gazetteer, for 1841- online

. (page 10 of 162)
Online LibraryWilliam Rainey HarperThe Bengal and Agra annual guide and gazetteer, for 1841- → online text (page 10 of 162)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

days, dunog three suocestwe years ;.but in ew^ fourth year, an itUerctdary or adJitieu-
el day is inserted, in order to make up the number 366 ; such additional day being
considered eouiralent to the time lost by not counting the five hours and forty .nine
minutes at toe end of each of the four years, from one Bmsextilk, or Lbap Year, to
another. The word Leap, sufficiently exulains the act of passing over the hours in
question. This plan was invented by J alius Cesar or by Sosu;enes, the Egyptian
mathematician, who assisted him in rectifying the Calendar. I'he additional or m/sr-
calary day, is with us, always placed in the month of February, which, con-
sequently^ Leap year, consists of 29 days ; the usual number being 28. Csesar
fdiMBed it in the month of March, by reckoning the 6th day of the Calends of that month
4soic$^€r! hence the term BisstirtiU, from the words his (twice) and ssji (six,) er

Digitized by V^OOQIC


textUis (sixth day.) But, bj the Gregorian alteration, the fourth year comine at the
close of a century, is not a leap year, unless the number of hnndrens be a miutiple of
four. Thus 1 600 was a leap year, 1 700 and 1 800 were not, 2000 will be.

The reckoning of time by the course of the sun or moon, was attempted in rarious
ways b^ different ancient nations ; but they, 6nding^ that thair mingnr divisions of
time did not correspond with the courses in question, endeavoured to prevent con-
fusion by ordaining a certain number of davs to be intercalated, or inserted, out of the
common order ; so os to preserve the equation of time. The Egyptian Year (as used
by Ptolemy) consisted or 365 days, which were divided into twelve months of thirty
days each; besides five intercalary days at the end. The Egyptian Canicular ^ or
Natural Year, was computed from one heliacal rising of the star birius, or Ca$iicula,
tame to the next.

By the regnration of Solon-j the ancient Greek year was hinar^ and consisted" of
twelve monUis ; each containing thirty and twenty-nine days, alternately : and, in
every revolution of nineteen years, the third, fifth, eighth, eleventh, sixteenth, and
nineteenth, it had an intercalary month ; in order to keep the New and Full Moons to
^e seasons of the year*.

The ancient Jewish year was the same as the Greek one, only that it was made to
agree with the Solar year by adding eleven, and sometimes twelve days, at the end ;
or an intercalary month, when necessary, llie modem Jewish year consists or
twelve lunar months generally ; but sometimes of thirteen ; that is when an. inte^ca*
Voory month is inserted.

The Titrkish year consists of twelve lunar months of thirty and twenty-nine days^
alternately ; sometimes of thirteen.

The ancient Roman year, as settled by Homutus, was lunar, but contained only ten
months, which were irregular, and comprehended 304 doys in all ; being a number
fifty dhTS short of the true lunar year, and sixty-one days of the solar. Romulus
adaed the requisite numberof days at the end of the ycnr^ Numa Ponipi!ius added
two months j making the year consist of 3.'>5 doys ; tliereby exceeding the lunar year
by one day, but being short of tho solar one by ten days. Julius fffsar, during hi»
third consulship, ana whilst he was Pontifex Maximum, or high priest of Ronie^ re-
formed the calendar by regulating the months according to their present measure, and
adding an interrafar]^ day every Tourth yeor to the month of February : but he being-
assassinated before his plan could be fully brought into operation, the emperor Au-
gustus perfected and established what his kinsman had begun, llie Julian year,
which consisted of 365 days and 6 hours, was however, still incorrect ; for it was
ibund to be too long by about eleveu minutes which in l3f years would be equal to
one day — consequently there was a further reformation of the calendar by Pope
Gregory, in the year 1582. He cut off eleven days, by calling the fourth of October
the fifteenth. This alteration of the style was gradually adopted in the several coun-
tries of the Euronean continent ; but in. Russia^ in some of tna Swiss cantons, and in.
the countries of tne East, the old style is still preserved.

The Parliament o( England adopted the Gregorian nlao, in 1752, by enacting that
eleven days should be omitted ihsit year : all dates, tlierefore, previous to 1752, are
said to be according to the Old Style ; whilst those since that period, are decme<l
to be according to uie New Style. In tSOO, which was properly a bissextile, or
leap year, the intercalary day was omitted : hence, the difference bet^'eeu the Old and'
Kew Style is now twelve days. The Gregorian reflation does not absolutely preclude
all error in future ; but that is likely to be so trifling, as not to require particular at-

The beginningof the year has by no means been the same in different a^e»
and countries. The Chaldeans, the Egyptians, and the Jews, in all civil affairs,
began it at the autumnal equinox. The ecclesiastical year among the Jews, the
common year of the Persians, and of the Romans under Romulus, commenced
in the spring; a mode still followed in many of the Italian States. Both the
equinoxes^ as well as the summer solstice, were each the commencing date in some
of the states of Greece. I1ie Roman year, from the time of Numa, began on the
calends of January ; the Arabs and Turks compute from the 16th of July, the Chris-
tian clergy formerly commenced the year on the 25th of March* ; a method observed
in Great Britain, generally, in civil affairs, until 175*2 ; from which period our civil'
year has begun on the 1st of January, except in some few cases, in which it still com-
mences on the * Day of Annunciation,* or the 25th of March. In Scotland, the year
was, by a proclamation, bearing date so early as the 27th of November, 1509, ordered
thenceforth to commence, in that kingdom, on the tst of January ; instead of the S5th
of March.

• The Church of Rome dated from the Sunday succeeding the full moon which occurred
next after the vernal equinox ; or, if the full moon happened qu a Sunday, the new year
need on that day.

Digitized by



The English Chuvch, still, ia her solemn service, renews the year on ihe JtrttSumfaif
m Ad0tHtf which is always that next to, or en, St. Andrew* 9^ Day,

Oxxt ancestors, after the establishment o£ (Jhristianitj, usiiafly began their year at
CkarUtmas^ and reckoned the commencement of their era from the incarnation, or birth
of Christ. William the Conijaeror, however, introduced the method of substituting
the firat year of his own reign for the Christian a^ra. At subsequent periods, the
EneUsh rcYened to the ancient onstom : but all State proclamations, patents, charters
sad Acts of Parliament, have eontinued to be dated from the commencement of the
leigns of the respective Boveretgns, with the addition of the words, * and in the year of
our Lord,* &c.

The Russian government did not adopt the Christian eera until the time of Peter,
in 1735 : their previous practice had been to reckon from the world's age or the year
gjf tie creation^


This division of the year appears to have been used before the flood* ; and as it was
naturallv framed by the revolutions of the Moox, the Months of all nations were ori.

S'nally lunar ; that is, from one New Moon to another. In a more enlightened period,
e revolutions of the Moon were conipared with those of the Sun ; and the limits of
the Months, as the component ports of a Year, were fixed with greater precision. The
Romans divided each month into CalemiSf Nones, and Ities ; the Calends were the
first day of the month, the Nones were the 7th and the Ides the 15th of March, May,
July, and October : in the other mouths, the Nones fell on the 5th, and the Ides on the
I3tn. The days of each month, according to this form, were counted bac kwards ; thus,
the 1 8th of October was called the \5th duy before the Calends of November, S^c, —
which method of counting we shall fuither explain on a future occasion.

In the year 1793, the Irench Government had a new Calendar constructed, in which
they adopted the following fanciful detiignations for each month : —

French Monties, Signification, Eng, Months,

1. Vindemaire, ....Vintage Month, from Sept. 22.

AtTTUMlf.-J 8. Brumaire F'oggy Month Oct. 22.

3. Frimaire, Frosty, or Sleety Month .... Nov. 21 .

{4. Nivose Snowy Month Dec. 21.

5. Pluvoise Rainy Month Jan. 2l.

6. Ventose Windy .Month Feb. 19.

{7. Germinal Springing or Budding Month,. Mar. 2U

8. Floreal • . . Flowering Month April 20.

0. Prairial Hay Harvest Month May 20.

C 10. Messidor Corn Harvest Month ,. -.June 19.

SimMBR < II. Therniidor ... .Heat Month July 19.

^ 13. Fructidor Fruit Month Aug. 19.

This new Calendar, which, after all was only a plagiarism or copy, of one used in
Holland from time immeinorial, like many of the absurd institutions which sprang
from the French Revolution, was laid aside in a few years, from the circumstance of
its utter unfitness for the seasons, even as they occur in the severol provinces of France
itself] — how much less applicable, therefore, must they have been to otKer countries,
where the climates and seasons vary so much from each other ! A Calendar, to be wor*
thy of universal adoption, must be capable of universal application : not so that of the
French /> AiVbuop Aw* , which, indepenilently of its discordance with those of all civiliz-
ed nations baa not even the merit of indicating those very seasons from which it pro-
fessed to derive its character. The late Mr. Gifibrd ridiculed this new fangled me-
thod of registering time by the following ludicrous, but happy, translation of the
Republican mouths and seasons. —

Autumn Wheeay, sncezy, freczy ;

WiNTEtt Slippy, drippy, nippy ;

Spring . . • . ... Showery, flowery, bowery ^

Summer Hoppy, croppj, poppy.


It is probable that this meosure of time has existed in the East from the earliest
ages; but ihe Greeks certainly never used such a mode of division. They divided

• Noah as we find It recorded in the Bible, reckoned by months of 30 days each ; and
from him 'that mode of computing the year Is supposed to have been adopted by the Chol-
deans, Egyptians, and other Oriental nations.


Digitized by



esch month of thirty days iuto ihiee Dwetuki, or oquai poriiont of ten days Mch.
Thus the 5th day of the month wae the 4th d«y of the first Decade ; the 5th was the
5th of the tecond Deoule ; — and the 35th of the tfard Decade. Thit division was
adopted hr the French in their Rerolutionary Calendar, in order to get nd of the
Sabbath day. , ^. ,

The Jews hare erer marked their time by seventh according to the command given
by God himself; for labouring during only Mrdays of each week, and resting on the
seventh, which was consequently set apart, or consecrated, to the service of their
Creslor ;— nay, they not only hallowed the seventh day, or Sabbath, which formed
a portion of their wtek of dayt ; but they had, also, their tceekt ofyearty which coiisisU
ed of seven years ; and their Jubilees^ or rejoicing periods, which were celebrated by
many acts of justice, forgiveness, and restitution, at the end of every WMk ofstten
timet seven years, llie Hebrews, the Assyrians, Egyptians, Arabians and Persians, all
had this custom of reckoning by weeks, llie origin of compuution by sevenths, has
been vehemently contested by some authors ; who say that the four Quarters or inter-
vals of the Moon (the phases, or changes, of which are about seven days distant) ori-
ginally gave occasion to this mode of division. But it seems more reasonable to con-
clude that it arose firom the traditional accounts of thejirst seven days of the world't

Although each lunar month contains four weeks, or four sevenths, the solar monih,
or that regulated by the passage of the Sun through each of the twelve signs of the Zo-
diac, generally contains two or three days more ; consequently, as we have twelve so-
lar months in each year, we have fifty-two weeks and one day over, instead of forty-
eight weeks, which would be the exact number, were our year regulated merely by
the revolutions of chanees of the moon.

The word week is of Saxon origin, end si^ifies a numerical series, generally, (hav-
ing nearly the same meaning as tray, which is measured by successive steps,) although
now expressive only of the space ot seven days,


The word Day is derived from, or synonymous with, the Saxon daeg ; tad the Sa-
xons are supposed to have had it from the same source, as the Roman word DtM (a
day,) which in its turn is said to be derived from DH, or Gods ; by which name the
Romans called the planets.

The word Day, in its strict sense, signifies that porttoo of time, durine which we re-
ceive the light of the sun : but, more nroperiy speaking, it includes the nighi, also %
and is that space of time during whicn the bun appears to us to make one revolution
round the Earth : — to speak with astronomical preci»ion, it is that space of time in
which the Earth makes one revolution round its own axis, during its annual or yearly
progress round the Sun.

In different nations and ages the modes of reckoning the beginning of the day havo
been various. According to the compntalion of the ancient Syrians, Babylonians,
Persians, and the inhabitants of Ilindoostan, the day commenced at the risuty qf tht
9un ; with the modem (ireeks it is the same. The Athenians, and other ancient inha-
bitants of Greece, as well as the ancient Gauls, began theirs at sun-set, which mode
is still followed hy the Jews, the Austrians, the Bohemians, Silesians, the Itaiiana,
and the Chinese. The ancient inhabitants of Italy computed their day from midnight ;
which mode is now in common use with us and all otner European nations, with tha
above exceptions. The Mahometans calculate from one twilight to another. The an-
cient Egyptians dated from noon to noon ; which mode is at tliis day, and has always
been, followed by astronomers ; because that instant <^ time can be ascertained with
greater pteciaion than any other.

The Romans gave to each of the set en days of their week, the name of one of the
heavenly bodies : thus, Dies Solis, signifies the day of the sun (Sunday J ; Dtes^
Lunte ; the day of the moon (Monday) ; Dies Martis, the day of Mars ( Tuesday) ;
Dies Mercurii^ the day of Mercury {Wednesday) ; Diet Jovis, the day of Jupiter
(Thursday) ; Dies Veneris, the day of Venus (Friday) and Dies Saturtti, the day
of Saturn Saturday J. ^'From this source the English language has received Sunday.
Monday, and Saturday, by translation ; but Tuesday, Wednarfay, Thursday, and
Friday, were derived from the ancient Saxon and Danish deities, Tubsco, Wodik,
Thob, and Fbbya, or Frboa,— In all ParliamenUry bills, acts, journals and other
documents, the Roman names of the days of week have at all times been vuaed.

Digitized by




The Equator is & ^reat circle of the earth, eqitidistant from the poles : it divides
the ^lobe into two beiiiispheres. northern and southern. The latitudes of places are
counted /rom the equator, nortWard and southward, and the lougptudes of places are
reckoned up*m it eastward and westward.

The equator, \rhen referred to the hearens, is called the equinoctial, because when
the sun appears in it, the days and nights are equal all over the world, fix 12 hours
e«ch. The declinations of the sun, stars, and planets, are counted from the equinoc-
tial northward and southward, and their ri^ht ascen&ions are reckoned np<m it east-
ward round the celestial globe from to 360 degrees.

The Ecliptic is a sreat circle in which the sun makes his apparent annual
progress among the fixed stars, and is therefore sometimes called the ria solis or sun's
path ; but more properly it is the track which the earth would appear to describe if view-
ed from the centre of the sun, and is hence denominated the heliocentric circle of the
earth. It is name<l the ecliptic, because eclipses can only happen when the moon ap-
pears to be in or very near to this circle. The ecliptic cuts the equinoctial at an angle
of 23^ 28'; ihe points of intersection are called the equinoctial points.

The Zodiac, on the celestial globe, is a space which extends about eight degrees on
each side of the ecliptic, like a belt or girdle, within which the motions of all the
planets are performed.

SiOMs OF THE Zodiac. The ecliptic and zodiac are divided into 12 equal parts,
trailed signs, each containing 30 degrees. ITie sun makes his apparent annual pro-
gress through the ecliptic at the rate of nearly a degree in a day. The names ot the
aigns, and the days on which the sun enters them, are as follow : —
V Aries, the Ram, Sist of March,
^ Taurus, the Bull, 19th of ApriL

U Gemini, the Twins, 20th of May.

These are called northern signs,
:^ Liirra, the Balance, 23d of September.
fit Scorpio, the Scorpion, 23d of October.
f Saatttarius, the Archer, 22d Novem-

2B Cancer, the Crab, 21 st of June.
^ Leo, the Lion, 22d of July.
^ Virffo, the Virgin, 22 of Angust.
being north of the equinoctial.
^ Capricornus, the Goot, 21st December
Zmf Aquarius, the Water-bearer, 20th

K Piices, the Fishes, 19th February.

Declination of the sun, of a star, or planet, is its distance from the equinoctial,
northward or southward. When the sun is in the equinoctial he has no declination,
and enlightens half the globe from pole to pole. As he increases in north declination
he gradually shines farther over the north nole, ^d leaves the south pole in darkness :
in a similar manner, when he has south declination, he shines over the south pole,
and leaves the north pole in darukess. The greatest declination the sun can have is
23** 28'- the greust declination a sUr can have is 90°, and that of a planet 30° 28^ north
or south.

The TnoPiCS are two small circles, parallel to the equator for equinoctial), at the
distance of 23° 28^ from it ; the northern is called the Tropic of Cancer, the southern
the Tropic of Capricorn. The tropics are the limits of the torrid zone, northward and

The Polar Cibcles are two small circles, parallel to the equator (or equinoctial),
at the disUnce of 66° 3Qf from it, and 23° 28' from the poles. The northern is called
arctic, the southern the antarctic circle.

The Horizon is a great circle which separates the visible half of the heavens from
the invisible: the earth being considered as a point in the centre of the sphere of the
fixc.l stars. Uorizon, when applied to the earth, is either sensible or rational.

The Sensible, or visible horizon, is the circle which bounds our view, where the
sky appears to touch the earth or sea.

The Rational, or true horizon, is an imaginary plane, passing through the centre
of the earth parallel to the sensible horizon. It determines the rising and setting of
the sun, stars and planets.

The Mariners s Compass is a representation of the horizon, and is used by
eeamen to direct and ascertain the course of their ships. It consists of a circular brass
box which contains a paper card, divided into 32 equal parts, and fixed on a magne-
ilcal needle that always turns toicards, the north. Each point of the compass contains
ir 15' or 1 li degrees, being the 32d part of the 3G0 degrees.

Digitized by V^OOQIC


The Variation of the Ck>if pass is the deviation of iti points from the correspond-
ing points in the heavens. When the north point of the compass is to the east of the
true north point of the horixon, the variation is east : if it be to the west, the varia-
tion is west.

Amphiscii are the inhabitants of the torrid xone; so called because their shadows
fall north or south at different times of the year : the sun being sometimes to the south
of them at noon, and at other times to the nortn. When the sun is verticle, or in the
xenith, which happens twice in the jear, the inhabitants have no shadow, and are
then called Ascil, or shadowless.

Hbtbroscii is a name given to the inhabitants of the temperate zones, because
their shadows at noon fall only one way. Thus the shadow of an inhabitant of the
north temperate xone always falls to the north at noon, because the sun is then due
Bouth ; and the shadow of an inhabitant of the south temperate xone falls towards the
south at noon, because the sun is due north at that time.

Perisch are those people who inhabit the frigid zones, so called, because their
shadows, during a revolution of the earth on its axis, are directed towards every point
of the compass, in the frigid zones the sun does not set during several revolutions
of the earth on its axis,

Antceci are those who live in the same degree of longitude, and in equal degrees of
latitude, but the one in north and the other in south latitude, lliey have noon at
the same time, but contrary seasons of the year ; consequently, the length of the davs
to the one, is equal to the length of the nights to the other. Those who live at toe
equator can have no Antoeci.

Perkeci are those who live in the same latitude but in opposite longitudes ; when
it is noon with the one, it is midnight with the other ; they have the same length of
days, and the same seasons of the year, llie inhabitants of the poles can have ns

Refraction. The earth is surrounded by a body of air, called the Atmospherb.
through which the rays of lijjht come to the eye from all the heavenly bodies ; and
since these rays are admitted throiligh a rarnt/m, or at least through a very raremedimm,
and fall obliquely upon the atmosphere, which is a dense medium, they will, by the
laws of optics, be refracted in lines approaching nearer to a perpendicular from the
place of ine observer (or nearer to the zenith) than they wouln be where the medium
IS to be removed. Hence all the heavenly bodies appear higher than they really ate
and the nea.er they are to the horizon the greater the refraction, or difference between
their apparent and true altitudes will be ; at noon the refraction is the least. l*he
sun ana the moon appear of an oval figure some times near the horizon, by reason of
refraction ; for the under side being more refracted than the upper, the perpendicular
diameter will be less than the horizontal one, which is not affected by refnction.

I, Constellations in the Zodiac

^ ^ Karnes of the Constellation s, and of the principal Stars in each,

1^ with thiir Magnitudes,

^% R. D.

66. Aries, The Ram, Arictis «, - - - - - 80. M N.

141. Taurus, The Bull, Aldebaran 1, the Pleiades, theHyades, - 65. 16 N.

85. Gemini, The TinVi*, Castor I.Pollux 3, - - - III. 32 N.

83. Cancer, The Crab, Acubene 4, - - - - - l«. 20 N.

95. Leo. The Lion, Hegulas or Cor Leonis, I, Deneb 2, - - 150. 15 N.

110. Virgo, The Virgin, Spica Virginis I, Vendemiatrix 2, - - 192. 5 N.

51, IJbra, TAe i?<//fTik:<, Zubenich Mcli 2, - - . -226. 8 S.

44. Scorpio, TAtf Sfoi7>w/t, Antares I, - - - - 2 4. 26 S.

69. SagitUrius, The Archer, - - . - . 285. 35 S.

41. Capricornus, The Goat, - - - - . 310. 20 S.

108. Aqxuirius, The Water Bearer, Scheat 3, - - - - 335. 4 S.

113. I^hces, The Fishes, 5. 10 N.

11. The Northern Constellations.

66. Andromeda, Mirach. 2, Almaach 2, - - - - 15. 35 N.

71. Aquila, The Eagle, 'wiih Antiiious, Altair or Atair, 1, - - 295. 8 N.

25. Asierion et Chara*, rel Canes Veuatici, The Greyhounds, - 200. 40 N.

66. Auriga, The Charioteer or Waggoner, Capella 1, - - 75. 45 N.

54. Bootes, Arcturus, 1, Mirach 3, .... 212. 20 N.

Digitized by


PABT r.]



2fttmet rf iMe Ccnsteiiaiiontt tmd of the prine^xil Siart in each,
teiih their Magmtnae;

Camelopardalos*, The Camdopanl,

Ccpat Meda«», Th$ Head of Medusa^ and Perseas.

Cassiopeia, The Lady in her Chair, ^hedar 3,

CepheuA, Alderamin 3, - • - .

Cerberus*, The Three-headed Dog, and Hercules,

Coma Berenices, Berenice*» Hair,

Cor Caroli*, CharUg's Heart,

CoT<ma Borealb, The Northern Crown, Alphacca 9,

Cyenos, The Swan, Deneb Adige I,

Deiphinns, The Dolphin,

Draco, The Droffon, Rastaben 3,

Eqoulns, The Lutle Horse,

Hercnles, vide Cerberus, Raa Algethi 8,

LaoerU*, The Lizard,

Leo Minor*, The Little Lion,

hjnx* , The Lynx,

Lrra, The Harp, Vega or W«^ I,

Mons Mcenalus, The Mountain Mcenalus,

Online LibraryWilliam Rainey HarperThe Bengal and Agra annual guide and gazetteer, for 1841- → online text (page 10 of 162)