chapter  I
33 Pages


The Indian islanders are wholly ignorant of arithmetic as a science, and know nothing of the common rules of calculation. In their mercantile transactions, they employ the Chinese and natives of the east coast of the peninsula of India as accountants. The ordinal numerals, and the fractions of numbers, are formed by very simple contrivances, but such as throw a curious light on the history of the department of language among the Indian islanders. The Hindu digits have been known to the Indian islanders for many ages, and we can trace them on monuments of stone and copper, as far back as the beginning of the twelfth century of our era, a period of six hundred years. The foreign origin of the weights used by the Indian islanders will be obvious enough from a recapitulation of the terms used. The Indian islanders, in travelling, speak of a day's journey, which, with tolerable uniformity, may be reckoned at twenty British miles.