J. Forbes (John Forbes) Royle.

Essay on the productive resources of India [electronic resource] online

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worms ; but all the wild Silk- worms feed upon
different trees, such as the Jujube, Ficus religiosa
or Peepul, the Castor Oil Plant, some of the
Laurel tribe, and others, which are found in al-
most all the forests of India.




Modeof culture
of Mulberry j



Properties de-
sirable in leaf.

Effects of phy-
sical agents on
different modes
of planting.

Bu*U culture.

Great importance is necessarily attached to the
kind of Mulberry to be selected, but it is of
hardly less consequence to determine upon the
best method of cultivation. Respecting this, there
are considerable differences of opinion, some con-
ceiving that the hish system usually adopted in
Bengal is the only eligible method ; while others
recommend that the Mulberry be allowed to grow
into a standard tree. It will probably be found
that both methods are suitable to different situa-
tions, according to the respective soils and cli-
mates of the places.

The object being to obtain such food for the
Silk-worm as will enable it to spin the strongest
and finest Silk, we must first ascertain what pro-
perties in the leaf indicate its being best calcu-
lated for this purpose; and we must then inquire,
what effects the different modes of planting are
most likely to produce on the leaf. From the tes-
timony of various observers, it is evident that too
herbaceous or watery a leaf, though eaten voraci-
ously by the worm, produces sickness in it, and
weakness in the Silk. This state of leaf will be
produced whenever, from too moist a soil and
atmosphere, combined with heat, there is rapidity
of growth. This is experienced in many parts of
Bengal, though the climate there is on the whole
so well suited to the growth of the Mulberry and
the culture of Silk.

The Bengal mode of cultivating the Mulberry


by ciittiiiars planted rather close to each other, Bengaiorbush

^ o 1 culture of Mul-

produces rapidity of growth, and, consequently, berry.
succulence both of branches and of leaf. The
abundance of foliage prevents evaporation from
the surface of the soil, at the same time that much
watery vapour escapes from the surfaces of the
leaves by their transpiration. Everything, there-
fore, contributes to increase the moisture, which,
according to circumstances, may be an advan-
tage or a disadvantage. That the latter is some-
times the case is evident, from Dr. Roxburgh
having given it as his opinion, that the only im-
provement in the native culture which he could
suggest, was, that a little more space should be
allowed to the plants ; as he conceived that more
light and air would render the leaves better food.
Dr. Wallich also has more recently stated it as
his opinion, that it would be extremely desirable
to cultivate the arborescent kinds of Mulberry.

In the standard cultivation, the trees being standard cuia-
planted apart from each other, will be freely ex- Mulberry.
posed to light and air ; rapid growth will thus be
checked, but a more healthy state of the secre-
tions will be induced ; though such exposure may
sometimes produce too much dryness, and even
harshness of leaf. But in many moist situations
the standard will undoubtedly be preferable to
the shrub cultivation, as it will partially obviate
the tendency in such situations to run too much
into leaf. It may also be preferable in some dry
soils, where the difficulties of irrigation are greats



Standard culti-
vation of Mul-
berry, known
to natives of

Soil suited to
Mulberry in

Signer Mutti
standard culti-
Tation into
Bombay Presi-

as when the plant is once established it would
send its roots into the earth in search of moisture.
This practice is not entirely foreign to the natives,
as the resident at Bauleah states that the annual
worm prefers the leaf of the shrub which is well
matured, to that which is young and tender ; and
therefore he infers that it would thrive better
with the tree leaf than the shrub leaf. He also
says that the tree is cultivated in parts of the
Rungpore and Radnagore districts for the pro-
duction of cocoons. The resident at Hurripal
states, that there, the method of cultivation differs
from that in use about Bauleah and Malda, the
leaves being gathered only from standard trees^
which are preferred on account of the dryness
of the soil in that district. (Reports, p. 137 and
p. 142.)

In Europe it is found that when the Mulberry
is required to feed the Silk- worm, rich soils are
not suited to it, but that such as are sandy or
gravelly, or even hilly situations, are better. In
such places, less copious nourishment, combined
with exposure to light and air, produce effects
analagous to the Standard cultivation.

Signor Mutti, in 1830, offered to the Bombay
Government to produce Silk at Poona. A grant
of land was given him, and he first tried the
bush system ; but not finding it suited to Bombay,
he introduced the Italian method of growing the
Mulberry as a standard tree. His success in the
latter has been so considerable, that both the


Affricultural Society of Beniml and that of Bom- standard cuiti-

*^ . . . vation intro-

bay awarded him premiums for the benefit which duced into

. Western India.

had been derived from Ins great merit and inde-
fatigable exertions, in introducing tlie method of
producing superior silk into the Bombay Presi-

Dr. Roxbursrh, in reply to a query of the Ben- Effects of cii-

^ ' ' -^ ^ ^ •' ^ mate on Silk

gal Board of Tiade, respecting the influence of culture.
Climate on the Silk-worm, observes, but hardly
with his usual sagacity, " that meteorological
knowledge would operate but slowly in the im-
provements the Board (of Trade) have at heart."
There is no doubt, how ever, but what considera-
ble advantage may be derived from attention to
peculiarities of climate.

It is remarkable to see both the Mulberry and g^^Jf"^.
the Silk- worm diffused over so wide a space, that berry and of

^ ' Silk-wonn.

is, flourishing in the hot and moist climate of
Bengal, in the mild and dry climate of the South
of Europe, and in the cold and changeable one of
England. The same species of plant, however,
is not found in these different situations ; the
black Mulberry, or old European species, being
alone common in the north, and the others in
southern latitudes. The worm which is exposed
to all the influence of the climate in Bengal, is
in Europe reared in houses, and is therefore
subjected to a much more equable temperature.

It is interesting to contrast the East- India Com- J°^°t^j^n°'
pany's filatures all confined between 22° and 26° s^i-
of north latitude, with the absence of the Silk-



probably dlso
electricity of
atmosphere J

worm from the more northern provinces of India.
Heat of North- This must be ascribed to the greater temperature

em India hurt-

fui to Silk. and dryness of these plains in the months from

worms; .

March to the middle of June; for excess of heat
in Bengal, and even in the south of Europe, is
often fatal to myriads of the worms. Heat alone,
however, does not seem adequate to explain the
whole of the phenomena, as the worms are often
in the most healthy state previous to their being
suddenly destroyed. But as the weather is des-
cribed, then as being very hot, the air very dry,
and evaporation very considerable, at the same
time that the atmosphere is highly charged with
electricity, it is possible that the latter state
may be fatal to the worms, at the time when
they are ready to spin a non-conducting material
like silk. This may, perhaps, also explain why
thunder-storms are sometimes so fatal to myriads
of Silk-worms. If such should be proved to have
any influence, as the author hopes to be able
to ascertain by experiment, the obvious remedy
how both may would be to diminish the heat and dryness by

be obviated. ^ .

exposing surfaces of water, or by having it
thrown on tattees (thatched coverings), to be
attached to the doors of well-secured buildings.
This would diminish the heat, dryness, and also
the electricity. At all events, well-built houses,
with glazed doors or windows, which would give
light and allow a modification of temperature,
with the requisite circulation of air,^ as recom-
mended by Mr. Marjoribanks, would enable the


silk culture of the annual worm at least, to be siik culture

. ,. , . /. T T 1-1 mightbe carried

carried into drier parts oi India, which now appear into other parts
unsuited to the culture of silk; and also along the
vallies of the Himalayas and into Assam. That
the expense in establishing experimental Silk
farms if attached to Indigo, or other Factories,
would not be excessive, has been proved by Mr.
Speed, in the Transactions of the Agricultural
Society of Calcutta.

In the preceding review, comparatively little notice has been
taken of the recent endeavours to introduce t'le Silk Culture into
Bombay (owing chiefly to the exertions of Signor Mutti), as the
recital would, as far as principle is concerned be only a repe-
tition of what took place in Bengal, or, perhaps, more correctly
in Madras about 1791. The earliest attempt to introduce the
Culture of Silk into Bombay, was probably that of Dr. H.
Scott, about 1795, mentioned in Dr. Anderson's Correspon-
dence. Dr. Lush states, that there was nothing like a Silk fila-
ture in Bombay, and that the worm was first introduced by Mr.
Baber, about 1823, into the jail at Dharwar, and that a few
maunds of Silk were subsequently made for home consumption.
But the determined perseverance of Signor Mutti was required
to contend against the difficulties which attend all new under,
takings. It has been mentioned in the text that he first tried the
hush system, and then had recourse to the standard cultivation,
and removed from Bombay to the neighbourhood of Poona.
A house was given him, and land free of rent for several years ;
but time was required before the superiority of the standard
cultivation could be proved. He was appointed to survey and
report on the Deccan, and afterwards made Superintendent of
Silk Culture. The Transactions of the Agricultural Society of
Calcutta, vol. vi., contains Mr. Mutti's remarks on the superi-
ority of standard Mulberry trees for the culture of Silk in Ben.
gal and the Deccan, as well ai his Guide to Silk Culture in the


Experiments Deccan. The Report of the Bombay Chamber of Commerce, for
on Silk culture ^, ^ „ , -.-^ . _ • i • i t>

in Bombay and ^"6 "^st quarter of 1839-4)0, contams his reports on the rro-

m Madras. gj-gss of the Silk Culture in the Deccan, and the Proceedings of

the Agricultural and Horticultural Society of Bombay, Dr.
Burns' Report of his progress in the same culture ; forwarded
by the Revenue Commissioner, Mr. T. Williamson.

The Silk Culture was commenced in the year 1791 by the
Madras Government; ground, generally, to the extent of ten
acres with twenty labourers, was allotted by the Collectors of
Districts in the neighbourhood of different stations, where
various gentlemen were appointed Superintendents of Mul-
berry Plantations. Silk-worms were obtained from Bengal ; but
so little information was possessed respecting the culture
even there, that Dr. Anderson supposed that Silk was not
produced in Bengal in the cold weather ; so that Mr. Glas,
of Boglepore, writes him, 11th June 1791: "Believe me,
it is quite the reverse of what you have been told; the
Mulberries are in high order all the cold season, and the three
principal Beens (or hatchings) of the year are in November,
January, and March." The Bengal workmen, afterwards sent
from Cossimbazar, found fault with the mode of feeding the
worms with the leaves gathered at noon, when they are flaccid,
instead of in the morning, when they are fresh. The Mul-
berry was found in gardens all over the Presidency, in the state
of trees and in hedges, but the Bengal, or Bush system, was
adopted, though objectionable as requiring much irrigation in a
dry climate. Various means were adopted for encouraging the
natives to undertake the culture. Some of the native princes
also attempted the culture of Silk, as Tippoo Sahib, in Mysore,
and the Court of Hydrabad in Berar, as well as some of the
smaller princes; and the Court of Directors encouraged the
attempt in the Madras Presidency, as we learn by the Extract
of a General Letter from England, dated 21st May 1794, pub-
lished by Dr. Anderson.

*' Par. 53. The directions contained in the 4th paragraph of
our Revenue dispatch of the 3d July last, sufficiently evince
our earnest desire to afford every reasonable degree of encou-


ragement to Dr. Anderson's endeavours for establishing the Experiments
Manufacture of Silk on the coast of Coromandel, and we shall ^t Madras,
cheerfully consent to your rendering such pecuniary assistance
to the undertaking, as shall give it a fair chance of success.
With respect to what is stated in the 5th and 6th paragraphs of
yoilr letter, in the Public Department, of the 28th February
1793, concerning the charges already incurred by Dr. Ander-
son, in his laudable endeavours for furthering an object of so
much utility, we can only say, that we are not only willing to
discharge the amount thereof, but shall have great satisfaction in
giving Dr. Anderson a more substantial proof of the sense we
entertain of his zeal and ability."

" 54. Of the samples of Silk received by the contractor, the
following report has been made to us, that it is of good quality,
was admirably well wound, and if it is procurable at a rate of
cost equal to what the article is afforded for at Bengal, it
would answer for sale in this country."

Production of Wool in India.

Considering the tropical nature of many of the Wooi, a pro-
substances of which we have treated, and that East.
Wool of a good quality is usually thought to be
a produce only of cold countries, it may startle
many but partially acquainted with India, to hear
of Wool as a product of that country. Yet from
the oldest records which we possess, we find the
tending of sheep, and the preparation of clothing
from their wool, one of the earliest occupations
of mankind in the warm and dry regions of the
East. The open plains of these countries, from
their great absorption of heat at one season, in


India climate, summer becoiiie scorched up, but from its free

peculiarities of. ^

radiation at another, are cooled to an ahnost equal
degree in winter. The northern plains of India
are in a great measure similarly situated with re-
spect to climate, though under the influence of the
tropical rains at one season of the year. But
in the winter, the cold is sufficient to require their
inhabitants to be clothed in the fleeces of their
sheep, or in coats padded with cotton.

As in the culture of Silk, so in considering the
probability of the production of Wool, we have
to consider the best breeds of the animal suited
to the climate in which they are to be placed, as
well as the pastures upon which they are to feed.
India, parts of The widc-sprcad territories and diversified cli-
sheep^ ° mates of the British territories in India, can in
no case be made more evident than in the diffe-
rent districts suited to, or unfit for the production
of Wool. The coasts of the Peninsula, and the
plains of Bengal, may be unsuited to the support
of such sheep as will be valued for their fleece
alone, but no where is the mutton finer than that
of the grain-fed sheep of the plains of India,
suited to wool. The tablc-laud of the Peninsula, however, com-
mencing with the Neelgheries, and proceeding
along Mysore to the Deccan, Candeish, and Gu-
zerat, presents large tracts of country affording a
favourable climate, and abundant pastures for
numerous flocks of sheep. If from thence we
proceed in a north-east direction, passing Mar-*
war, Malwa, Rajpootana, to the district of Hur-

bearing sheep*


riana, and the province of Delhi, we shall see India, natural

* pastures of.

supported on the natural pastures of the country,
immense herds of cattle, and numerous flocks of
sheep. The latter affording Wool employed by
the natives for making blankets (Kumlees), of
different degrees of fineness, which form a con-
siderable article of the commerce of these pro-

Again, the Himalayan mountains, on their Himalayas;

"' I'l T southern face

Southern face, present a Jburopean-like climate, of;
remarkable however for being influenced by the
periodical rains. The temperature varies accord-
ing to the elevation ; but they afford everywhere
rich pastures, and support a fine breed of sheep,
of which the Wool is employed by the Moun-
taineers to form their clothing. The Northern northern face
face of these mountains is as remarkable for its
dryness, as the Southern is for its moisture ; the
cold is excessive, and the animals which are
pastured there are covered with shaggy hair, or
with long Wool, and a fine down. It is here that
the Shawl Wool Goat finds its most congenial

Attention was early turned to the possibility shawi wooi

•' r- .^ Goats imported

of deriving some benefit from the Shawl Goat, into England;
but, in the first instance, England was alone
thought of. We learn from Dr. Anderson's pub-
lications, that in consequence of the establish-
ment of a Society for the Improvement of British
Wool, which was instituted at Edinburgh, on the
31st January 1791, Sir John Sinclair made ap-


Attempts to in- plicatioii to the Court of Directors, and wrote on

troduce Shawl i n -mir i /^ i r* a

Goats into the 10th 01 March or the same year to Ur. An-
"^ derson, requiring *' in the first place, as much

information as possible respecting the sheep and
other animals in the East, carrying any species
of fur;" secondly, " to have specimens sent over
of such breeds as are likely to answer in this
country." In a letter to Sir John, dated 11th
June 1794, from Dr. A., written in consequence
of one to the latter from Dr. Roxburgh, we learn
of the arrival at the Botanic Garden at Calcutta,
of eighteen Shawl Goats, which had been pro-
cured by order of the Court of Directors, for the
purpose of being sent to Sir John Sinclair. At-
tempts w^ere also made to obtain " Carmenian
Goats from Persia ; " and we learn that Dr. An-
derson had procured a ram with six horns from
Mount Ararat, which on arrival in England,
with the exception of having six instead of four
horns, was found to be nearly identical in ap-
pearance with another which had been procured
from Sweden.

Sheep's Wool In the country of the Shawl Goats, some Sheep's
Wool of very good quality is also produced.
This might, no doubt, be easily improved, but
the country is little under the influence of Euro-
pean advice or example, even if it were prof-
fered. Attempts were made to divert a portion
of this Wool trade towards India ; but the
difficulties were found to be considerable. Mr.
Moorcroft, who was deputed in 1814, to that part

of Tibet:


of Little Tibet, in Chinese Tartary, where the Mr. Moorcroft

on Sheep's

Shawl Goat is pastured, for the purpose of open- wooi of Tibet
ing to Great Britain the means of obtaining the
materials of the finest woollen fabric, found that
the Hooneas were obliged to send all their best
Wool to Cashmere.* In the year 1819, consider-
able advantage was anticipated from importing imported into
this Wool into England ; as a gentleman who "^ *" '
was consulted, and who professed to have a
practical knowledge of the English Wool Mar-
ket, valued it at eight shillings per pound. The
Bhyragee Wool, however, when imported was
found to be unsaleable; as of 189 bales of Shawl
and Bhyragee Wool, imported in the years 1821, ^gg^^g^J^"'
1822, and 1823, costing exclusive of freight and
charges, £5,444, the gross sale proceeds amounted
only to £809. This Wool was bought from the
Hooneas, who keep sheep with the Shawl Wool
Goats, by the people of Kunawur, and brought
by them to Rampore, the capital of Bissehur, on
the Sutlej. Specimens of the same kind of Wool,
procured by Mr. Hodgson from the Booteas, who specimens for-
visit Nepal, were forwarded to the Court of Di- Hodgson to
rectors of the East-India Company, in 1835, by rectors!*

* " This is caused by strict injunctions to all the owners of
flocks^ not to sell any shawl-wool except to the Cashmerians or
their agents, in consequence of a representation having been
made to the Government, that the Jouaree merchants had
bought some last year, and that the Cashmerians would suffer if
any of this kind of wool were to pass into other hands." Moor-
croft's Journey to Lake Manosarovara. — Asiatic Res., vol. xii.



Wool imported
from Bombay;

BhyrageeWooi, J),.. WalHcli. Of tliis the soi'ted Wool was valued

value of.

here, at from 10c?. toWd. per pound ; some in the
unsorted state at 5d. to 7c?. ; and some was sold in
the London market in 1834, at from 2jc?. to 7c?.
per pound ; the low price was chiefly owing to
its dirty and mixed state.

Attention was turned in England to the sub-
ject of Indian Wool, by Mr. Southey, of Coleman
Street, addressing a letter, 24th November 1836,
to the Committee of Agriculture of the Royal
Asiatic Society, respecting some Wool imported
here from Bombay. He suggested more attention
being paid to the assortment of the Wool, and im-
provement in the breed of the sheep ; and stated
that last year there were imported into London
773 bags, and into Liverpool 624 bags of Indian
Wool, which were sold by Public Auction at 4Jc?.
to \s. 2ld. per pound. The Wool w^as chiefly white,
but with black hairs occasionally interspersed;
and he understood that it was produced in the
province of Guzerat. In the following year, Mr.
Southey again called attention to the subject,
stating that the quantity exported from Bombay
had enormously increased ; but that what came
here was entirely of middling and secondary qua-
lity, and had, consequently, realized no higher
prices than from 4^d. to lO^ci. per pound.

The great and rapid increase of the exports of
Wool from Bombay, is evident from an inspec-
tion of the following extract froni the otlicial
Report of the Commerce of Bombay, for 1836-37.

prices obtain-

great increase
in quantities
exported ;


It is there stated, that "the article Wool is par- Exports of

^ * Wool from

ticiilarly deserving of attention, from having so Bombay;
lately become an export (the first shipment having
been made in 1833), and from the rapidity with
which it has risen into an extensive and valuable
staple ; as will appear from the following state-
ment, taken from the Records of the Custom
House :

" In the official year ending 30th April

1834 69,944 lbs.

1835 480,528

1836 1,196,664

1837 2,444,019."

The Report of 1837-38, goes on to say, "The
quantity of Wool exported has increased from
2,444,019 lbs. to 2,700,086 lbs., valued at 98,564

It was rather hastily concluded that the whole supposed to be

'' from opening of

of this was the result of the opening of the Trade i°dus;

of the Indus ; for Col. Jervis, of the Bombay

service, has stated, " that the first exports of

Wool from Bombay were the produce exclusively

of the Deccan sheep. But the merchants of ^"*^'"^*^'


Affghanistan, and other northern countries, who andAffgimn-
are in the habit of resorting to Bombay for trade,
perceiving Wool (an abundant produce of their
own country) a marketable article at that Pre-
sidency, turned their attention to it for the first

A great part of this supply is derived from Sources of sup-
ply >
Cutch and Sinde, and from Marwar, via Gujerat,




Sir A. Burnes
on Wools of
Cabool and

Sources of and small quantities are also received from the

Bombay Wool. _ *

Persian Gulf and Red Sea. Capt., now Sir A.
Burnes has lately given an account of the quan-
tity and quality of the supply of Wool likely to
be derived from the great pastoral countries of
Cabool and Bokhara. These are —

1. The Wool of Toorkistan, obtained chiefly in
the neighbourhood of Bokhara and Samarcand,
is more celebrated than that of Cabool. This is
sent to Umritser in the Punjab, where it is used

Online LibraryJ. Forbes (John Forbes) RoyleEssay on the productive resources of India [electronic resource] → online text (page 10 of 32)