J. Forbes (John Forbes) Royle.

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J. F. ROYLE, M.D., F.R.S., L.S., & G.S.,

Late of the Medical Staff of the Bengal Amtff, and late Superintendent of the Hon.

E. I. C.'s Botanic Garden at Saharunpore ; Fellow of the Imperial Societg

Naturce Curiosorum ; of the Asiatic Societies of Calcutta and London ;

of the Agricultural and Horticultural Society of India ; of the

Horticultural Societg of London ; and of the English

Agriculiurai Societg.






Printed by J, L. Cox & Sons, 75. Great Queen Street,
Lincoln*B-Inn Fields.



As the Title-page and Table of Contents will
inform the reader of the nature of the work he is
about to peruse, the Author might refrain from
engaging his attention with a Preface, if it did
not seem advisable to explain one or two points
respecting the nature of the work.

Having long paid attention, both in India and
in this country, to the productions of the former,
whether the spontaneous gift of Nature or the
produce of Agriculture, the Author observed that
they were both varied and abundant, and fitted
for every purpose, whether for affording food, for
contributing to the comfort of the inhabitants, or
for yielding materials for Manufactures and Com-
merce. The country being fruitful in soil and
rich in climate, he noticed, however, an unac-
countable discrepancy between its natural riches
and the quality of the different productions, when




compared with similar products from other coun-
tries. Observation and consideration, combined
with an examination of the modes of culture and
manufacture in other parts of the world, enabled
him to perceive, that many of the causes of failure
were purely of a Physical nature, some, dependent
on the Soil, a few, on the Climate, and others, on
the processes of Agriculture. The defects seem-
ing as often to be those of redundancy as of de-
ficiency of growth, it appeared feasible so to mo-
dify the operations of Agriculture, as to subject
the plants under cultivation to the influence (in
different degrees) of the several physical agents
which controul vegetation, such as Light, Heat,
Air, and Moisture, and thus produce different and
the desired results.

Being anxious to contribute to the improve-
ment of the Agriculture of India, and hoping
that some of his suggestions would have that
tendency, the Author might have commenced his
work by giving, in the first instance, a general
view of the influence of Physical Agents on the
functions of Vegetation, more especially in con-
nection with the soil and climate of India. This,
from the general neglect of the Natural Sciences
in English education, appeared to him the most
important, as few writers, in their experiments or
their descriptions, refer to the true causes of the
results whicli are obtained. Such a plan would


have given cultivatoi^s principles for general cul-
ture, instead of empirical rules for routine prac-
tice, and, at all events, would have enabled
experimentalists more easily to detect errors,
and at the same time more readily to adopt im-
provements in their own practice. Or instead of
treating, in the first instance, of general principles,
he might have taken up any of the principal ob-
jects of Indian Agriculture, and exemplified in the
culture of these the operation of the different phy-
sical agents, or the Physiology of Vegetation.

But before proceeding to adopt either course, it
was necessary to become acquainted with the at-
tempts which already had been made. In doing
this the Author found that many experiments
had been instituted, and much had been done
for the improvement of many Indian staple pro-
ducts ; but that the generality of modern expe-
rimentalists seemed to be unacquainted with the
labours of their predecessors ; many of them com-
mencing improvement by repeating experiments
which had already been made, and announcing
results as new, which had long previously been

The Author has, therefore, thought it prefer-
able, on the present occasion, to take a general
view of the principal objects of Indian Culture,
of the course which has been followed in attempt-
ing to improve them, and of the results, often
successful, which have been obtained. He has


interspersed these with explanations of, what ap-
pear to be, the physical causes of the successful
or unsuccessful culture, and the obvious methods
of improvement. For the purposes of compari-
son, he has commenced, however, with a brief his-
tory of the Arts of Culture in other parts of the
world. This is instructive, as showing that, in all,
difficulties have at first been encountered, which
have, on the increase of experience and skill, dis-
appeared ; and soils and climates which at one
time were pronounced unsuitable for the culture
of particular plants, have been afterwards found
to produce them of the finest quality.

By this method, the Author hopes he has been
able to prove to a greater number in this country
the capability of India for all kinds of culture,
and the probability of the almost indefinite ex-
tension of these, with increased improvement in
most of the principal staples of Indian Commerce.
While Cultivators in India will see the number of
interesting and important subjects to which they
may attend with profit to themselves, and if they
undertake experiments with due attention to all
the circumstances which controul the results, his
object will be equallygained, whether his opinions
be refuted or confirmed. He hopes he may be
able, on future occasions, to take up more in de-
tail both the General and the Specific subjects
to which he has alluded.

That the information on the subjects treated


of in this work is varied and authentic, will ap-
pear from the references to the works which are
quoted in the text : that it is not better known
must be ascribed to its being scattered about in
publications not easily accessible, even to those
desirous of information, as the large works are
only found in extensive libraries, and the small
ones rapidly disappear from circulation.

He cannot conclude without rectifying an omis-
sion, in not having mentioned, when treating of
Wool, that the Right Honourable Holt Macken-
zie had placed in his hands the materials for a pa-
per on this subject, which the Author hopes he
may yet be induced to complete ; but having only
referred to the same official documents, and not
quoted from the paper, the omission is accounted
for. The Author has also to acknowledge the re-
ceipt of a paper from Dr. Falconer, on Putchuk or
Koot, the Costus of the ancients, mentioned at
p. 223 of this work. Dr. F. finds that this belongs
to a new genus, which he has " named ' Auck-
landia,' in honour of George, Earl Auckland,
Governor-general of India, not in compliment to
his rank, but as a distinction well merited by
his Lordship's services in the cause of Indian



Sources of the Wealth of Nations 1

Mineral, Animal, and Vegetable 3

Commerce, origin of ... ... ... ... ... 7

Vegetable Kingdom, importance of ... 8

— products of, [as forming articles of

Commerce ... ... ... ,_ .., ... n

as employed in Manufactures ... 15

as sources of Revenue ... ... 16

Culture of Vegetables .. 19

The Arts of Culture in Europe 28

in the Colonies and Extra-European

Countries ... ... ... ... ... ... 39

in India ... ... ... ... 44

Culture of Pepper in the Circars 53

of Cochineal in India ... ... ... ... 57

Observations on the Results of the Pepper and Cochineal

Cultivation ... ... ... ... ... ... 64

Botanic Garden Established at Calcutta 69

Useful Plants introduced into India 73

Mahogany, Pimento, Nutmeg, and Spice Plantations esta-
blished in Sumatra and Pinang ... ... ... 74

Production in India of Barilla,Potash,Caoutchouc, Wood Oil 75

Culture of Cotton in India 78

India, Culture of Sugar in 85

of Indigo in ... ... ... 94

of the Poppy in ... ... ... ... 102

of Flax and Hemp in 108

Silk Culture in India ... ... ... ... ... 115

Production of Wool in India ... ... ... ... 139

India, Pasture Grasses of ... ... ... ... 155


Improvement of the Breed of Sheep in India ... ... 161

Calcutta Botanic Garden, Progress of ... ... ... 173

— , Herbarium collected and distri-
buted by the East-India Company ... ... ... 178

Prangos Hay Plant 179

Coffee in India ... 184

Tobacco from Arracan ... ... ... ... ••• 187

Forests of Timber in India... ... ... ... ••• 189

Calcutta Garden, Practical Benefits of ... ... ... 192

, Plants distributed ; Tea Plants and

Seeds ; Useful Trees 195

Teak, Mahogany, Fruit Trees introduced and distributed 199
Saharunpore Botanic Garden, establishment of ... 201

, plans adopted for making

the Institution efficient ... ... ... ... 206

Mountain Nursery established ... ... ... ... 209

Cultivation in different seasons ... ... ... ... 214

Plants naturalized ... ... ... ... ... ... 215

Agricultural Experiments ... ... ... ... ... 219

Saffron, Assafcetida, Koot, or Costus of the Ancients . . . 223

Prangos Hay Plant 225

Fruit Trees, Vegetables, and Horticulture ... ... 226

Useful Plants cultivated and distributed ... ... 229

Medicines grown or prepared in Saharunpore Garden

audits Hill Nursery 234

Scientific objects attended to in the Saharunpore Garden 239
Tobacco, Culture of, in India ... ... ... ... 249

Tea, Cultivation of, in the Himalayas and in Assam . . . 257
Cultivation of Cotton in India ... ... ... ... 312

Botanic Garden established at Dapooree in Westeni India 356
Investigation of the Productive Resources of the Madras

Presidency ... ... ... ... 363

Agricultural and Horticultural Society of India ... ... 370

Recapitulation of the Survey of the History and Prospects

of the Productive Resources of India ... ... ... 375

Appendix ^ ... 421




In contemplating the sources, and examining sources of the
the various substances which constitute the wealth Tattons!*
of nations, whether these be the necessaries, the
conveniences, or the luxuries of life, we observe
that the greater number have been derived from
the Earth. So much, indeed, is this the case, TheEanh.
that some have argued that the earth is the only
source of wealth, and have proceeded to propose,
that all taxes should be levied on the land alone,
as the productiveness of Agriculture is so greatly Agriculture.
promoted by the vegetating powers of Nature.
Labour, however, is as requisite for working the
soil, as for enabling us to modify the properties
of material substances to fit them for our comfort
or enjoyment ; so that labour in a mixed society, Labour,
and in an advanced state of civilization, must be
equally valuable, whether employed on the pro-
duction of the i-aw material, in preparing it for
our use, or in transporting it from one place to


Products of the But the Merchant cannot transport, nor the

earth, r '

Manufacturer prepare, except what has in the
first instance been the result of the labours of the
Agriculturist, or is the spontaneous produce of
the earth, whether obtained on its surface or from
its interior, or procured from the waters of the
ocean or of rivers. Therefore, to give an impulse
to Commerce, and to obtain materials for Manu-
factures, it is necessary to investigate both the
natural productions of the earth, and the fruitful-
require investi- ncss of the soil : uot oulv as fitted for a variety

gation, . .

of products, but also with reference to its ability
to produce more than what is sufficient for the
use or sustenance of its inhabitants. As the earth
yields the various mineral, vegetable, or animal
substances which form our food, or the materials
of our clothing, of our dwellings, or of the diffe-
as employing rent implements necessary for the various arts of

the Agricul- ... i • /«

turist, Mer- life, SO it IS the chicf sourcc of wealth from Agri-
Manu'facturer. cultural. Commercial, and Manufacturing labours.
?rI^"fndManu-^ But linked as are the several Arts and Manufac-
Naturai Prol^ tures ouc with another, and all with Agriculture
ducts. and the Products of the earth, it is difficult, if

not impossible, to determine which is the most
important in an advanced state of civilization, or
which kingdom of Nature is the most indispensa-
ble to man.

Deprived of the multiplied treasures of the
Mineral king- Mineral Kingdom, most of the arts called Che-

dom. , °

Chemical arts, mical would uever have been known, and others
would have languished without the aid of their


mostefficient agents; even Agriculture itself would Mikeral Pbo.
have laboured with inferior, instead of the best,
materials for its implements. Metals, moreover, Metals,
are required to give strength to Shipping, and
facility of movement to Machinery, while those
called Precious give us the most convenient me-
dium of Exchange. Coal, though derived from coai.
the accumulation of vegetable matter in former
periods of the world, is yet dug out of the inte-
rior of the earth, and now forms so excellent a
fiiel that it has given a superiority to the
manufactures of England, with which the natural
advantages of other countries have hitherto been
unable to compete. Iron, as abundantly diffused iron,
as it is useful, has so surprisingly assisted man
in the career of improvement, that Mr. Locke has
said that the discoverer of its uses may be truly
styled the " fether of arts and author of plenty."

Animal substances are, however, equally valu- Akotal Pbo-


able ; for man, in the early periods of society, de-
pended as much upon the skins of animals for cloth-
ing as he relied upon their flesh for subsistence. Flesh for food.
Nations, even in the most advanced stages of civili-
zation, derive a great portion of their food from ani-
mals, at the same time that they employ their skins, Skins for
wool, and silk, for parts of their clothing. These,
therefore, form extensive articles of commerce,
from the nearer as well as from the most distant
parts of the world ; as Wool from Germany, Spain, wooi.
the North of India, and New Holland; Silk from siik.
the South of Europe, China, and Bengal ; Hides Hides.



Animal Pro»




Fat and oil


Draught cattle.

necessary to

from the North of Europe and South America,
as well as from India; Furs and Skins from
Canada and Russia ; while, to dye these of colours
more convenient or agreeable than those afforded
by Nature, Cochineal is imported from Mex-
ico, and the Lac from India. In late, as in early
civilization, the fatty portions of animals are
employed for affording light ; hence fleets are
despatched into polar regions in pursuit of the
Whale, and Tallow is imported in large quantities
from Russia, and even from India. Horns are
manufactured into various sorts of implements,
and are obtained from different parts of the
world. The clippings of horns and of skins are
boiled down into glue, and the bones and offal of
animals are employed as manure. Several kinds
of cattle, moreover, aid by their labour the pro-
cesses of Agriculture; some are employed in trans-
porting the produce of the soil, or the treasures of
the mine, and others in giving motion to the
machinery of many manufactories.

But still, whether required for food or for its
spoils, or for employment as a beast of draught
or of burden, the animal cannot subsist in the
air or in the water, on the barren soil or arid
rock, but must derive its sustenance from the
Vegetable kingdom. Plants, therefore, are neces-
sary to all, for not even could the Bee collect its
honey, unless this were first secreted by the
flower ; nor tlie Silk- worm spin its silk, if deprived
of the sustenance of the leaf: neither could the


Coehiiieal, nor the Lac insects, elaborate their vegetable


dyes without their vegetable food. Skin even necessary to


cannot be converted into leather, and rendered
fit for the purposes of man, without the astringent
I tanning principle yielded by the bark, the wood,

the leaf, or the fruit of different Plants.

In tracing the progress of civilization, it has commence-

11 1 1 , • ,1. mentof

every where been observed, that in the earliest civilization.
stage of society man is found with imperfect
weapons, depending for his subsistence on the
precarious, long-continued, and fatiguing labours
of the chase, assisted by a scanty and uncertain The Hmiter.
supply of the wild fruits of the forest. In this
state a small number of men require for their
support a large extent of territory. From pur-
suing animals, man proceeds to attempt their
domestication, and the Pastoral state succeeds to Pastoral state.
that of the Hunter. Population still is much
scattered, as every tribe has to travel in quest of
fresh pastures, and each family has to provide
itself not only with food, but also with whatever
it requires for its clothing, as well as with the
necessary arms and implements. In favourable
situations, Tillage, or the preparation of the soil, Tillage.
and the cultivation of useful plants, is next
discovered, and then the habits of the settled
Agriculturist succeed to those of the wandering Agriculture.
Shepherd. A comparatively small space of cul-
tivated ground is then sufficient for the mainte-
nance of a lar2:e number of individuals, as the Abundance of

* . ' . food.

ground may be tilled and the fruit of the favourite



Abundance of

Division of

ment of


of different

Great Britain.

tree continue to be collected, while the flocks
at the same time are driven to pasture.

A superabundance of food allows larger num-
bers of men to congregate together, and settled
habits afford them leisure for other pursuits.
The first division of labour then takes place, when
men finding, that by giving their undivided atten-
tion to any one pursuit, they are enabled to pre-
pare much more of the manufacture on which
they are engaged, than is required for their own
consumption, they are ready to barter it for the
produce of the labour of others. This exchange,
though at first taking place only between the
members of their own tribe, is soon extended to
those of others, and Commerce, in the full sense
of the term, is established. This progressive
advancement in occupation marks the stages of
society. Some peculiarity of country or of climate,
however, often renders one pursuit more advan-
tageous than another, this, therefore, is followed
in preference, and continues to characterize
particular people. Hence we find some nations
addict themselves principally to Pasturage, and
others to Agriculture ; some chiefly to Manu-
factures, and others again, who possess but limited
territories, or are deficient in produce, employ
themselves almost entirely in transporting from
one country to another the products of different
parts of the globe. Great Britain happily unites
with extensive Pasturage the most advanced
Agriculture, and great perfection of Manufactures,


with unbounded Commerce.* India, early cele- India.
brated for the richness and variety of its Products,
as well as for the Manufacturing skill of its inha- Agricultural.
I bitants, may in the present day rather be consi-

dered as a great Agricultural country.

It is sometimes made a subject of discussion, Commerce.
what parts of the world were first peopled, and
became great agricultural and commercial na-
tions ; and it is generally supposed that the ex-
change of commodities first became considerable
in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and on the coasts of Eariyhistoryof.
Arabia. We now know, that Arabia produces
none of those valuable products for which, in
ancient times, it was so celebrated ; the Arabians
must therefore have obtained them from the
regions where they were produced. The nearest
of these are the peninsula of India and the island Indian.
of Ceylon ; and as we learn from history that
caravans entered into and departed from the
north-western parts of India, it is evident that its

* Dr. Buckland, in his Bridge water Treatise — Geology and
Mineralogy, has happily observed, vol. i. p. 2, that if three
foreigners were to land at separate points and travel over different
parts of Great Britain, which he points out, *' One would repre-«
sent it as a thinly-peopled region of barren mountains ; ano-
ther, as a land of rich pastures, crowded with a flourishing
population of manufacturers ; the third, as a great corn-field,
occupied by persons exclusively engaged in the pursuits of hus-
bandry." These dissimilar conditions," Dr. B. observes, " of
three great divisions of our country, result from differences in
the geological structure of the districts, through which our
three travellers have been conducted."


Ancient In- pi'oducts iiiust Iiave been objects of desire to the

Commerce of. nations of antiquity. From these facts it is highly
probable that the Manufactures, and necessarily
the Agriculture, of ancient India were contem-
porary with those of the far-famed, but probably
not earlier civilized, Egypt. Indeed, the exten-
sive and fruitful plains of India, intersected by
magnificent rivers, and having a favourable cli-
mate, must early and easily have supplied a super-

Fruitfuiness of. abundance of food to its inhabitants ; and thus
have allowed some the leisure necessary for those
other pursuits in which they early excelled con-
temporary nations. Their country, moreover,
must have produced then, as now, a great variety

Natural pre of natural products, which when known, must
in those days have been objects of desire, as
they are to distant nations at the present time.
It is in consequence of this that we find so many
of them noticed and described in the earliest
records which we possess in the ancient liter-
ture of the West.

Chiefly vege- The articles of commerce for which India was


so early famed having been chiefly the products
of plants, and as the culture of plants, from afford-
ing abundance of food, and thus leading to settled
Importance of habits, and to the establishment of property in
land, forms tlie most important step in the pro-
gress of civilization ; so this subject necessarily
claims the first consideration in the economic
history of a country, and in the development and
improvement of its resources.


The vegetable world, though constantly before Plants, general
our eyes, is seldom thought of by the generality ^ ^°'
of people, except as varying the appearance of
a country, as producing vegetables or flowers,
or as being the source of some of the products
useful or agreeable to man ; and therefore, in the
ordinary attempts to cultivate plants for our use
or amusement, especially in new situations, every
thing, except the desire to possess them, seems
to be forgotten.

Notwithstanding this, almost every one knows, Pi^kts.
however, that plants, like animals, are living Living bodies.
bodies, and that they require nourishment for
their support, which must be procured by them
from the world without. Animals, from their P'stincUon

between thenj

locomotive habits, are enabled to go in search of and animals.
food, which having obtained, they convey into
their interior. During the process of digestion,
the nutritive particles are separated and absorbed
into the system, along the internal surface of the
alimentary canal. Plants, on the contrary, being
stationary in nature, depend for their subsistence
on the soil in which they are placed, or on the
atmosphere by which they are surrounded. The
particles adapted to their growth being in the
one case suspended in the air, and, in the other
being intermixed with, or forming a part of, the
soil, are dissolved in water, and in this state are ab-
sorbed by the external surface into their interior,
where, by peculiar processes, they are assimilated
to the purposes of the individual. Both animals


PtANTs. and plants, though acting in conjunction with,

Online LibraryJ. Forbes (John Forbes) RoyleEssay on the productive resources of India [electronic resource] → online text (page 1 of 32)