J. Forbes (John Forbes) Royle.

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

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at his suggestion distributed to cultivators along
the Doab canal. Other grains, peculiar to the
Himalayas and the Tibetan region, have also
been grown, as well as the remarkable kind of
Wheat, mentioned by Mr. Elphinstone as the
Huzara wheat. Huzara Wheat, of which the seeds were ob-
otaheite Sugar taiucd by Sir A. Burnes. The Otaheite, or Mau-
ritius Sugar-cane, has also been introduced*
grown most successfully, and distributed in the

Further experi.
meuts by Dr.




Saharunpore and neighbouring districts. A Sugar-miu
sugar-mill, also, after the construction used in the
West-Indies, and turned by a water-wheel, was
erected, and kept some time in operation, and
trouble was taken to have it extensively shown,
with the object of enlightening the natives, and
removing the prejudice which they entertained
against the cultivation of this new variety of cane.

Attempts were also made by the Author, about cotton-expe-

* riments on ;

1829, to improve the cultivation of Cotton, by ex-
periments with the Bourbon Cotton, and also
with the Tree Cotton of India (Gossypium ar-
boreum), which is much esteemed by the natives,
for some of the finer kinds of muslin. Samples of
both having been submitted to Mr. Saunders,
Commercial Resident at Calpee, he pronounced
the staple of the Bourbon Cotton to be better Bourbon cot-

^ ton;

than that of the common Cotton of the country

(G. indicum), which was also sent, and which he India cotton;

considered to be of very excellent quality. The

Cotton of the Tree species, however, from its '^"^C'*"^"'

staple and texture being both good, he considered

to be the best description of Cotton. But it is

doubtful whether this species would be profitable

for culture, and the soil of the garden was too

good for the Bourbon Cotton, as it always grew

to a large size, and, notwithstanding much cutting

down, ran very much into leaf.

Dr. Falconer has since had opportunities of cJnS!" ^'^'
continuing the experiments with other kinds of
cotton seed which have been introduced into India,


Upland Geor- as the Upland Georgia, the Egyptian, some fresh

Peruvian; Barbadoes, and the Peruvian. "The Upland
Georgia," he states, "would most undoubtedly
be very successful " in the upper provinces,
as it ripens its seed before the Bourbon Cotton

Egyptian. evcn flowcrs. The Egyptian Cotton, also, seemed
likely to thrive; for though seed only reached
him on the 15th July, six weeks at least too late,
and it did not all ripen before the frosts came
on, yet what did so was long, fine, and strong
in the staple, with large bolls.

other subjects There are many other subjects of great impor-

worthy of at-
tention, tance which might be mentioned as worthy the

attention of the agriculturist, because yielding
products likely to become of commercial im-
portance; but we shall restrict our notice only to
those which have been introduced, and which are
likely to succeed.
Saffron. Saffron is a substance of high commercial value

in India, and consumed to the full extent which
the supply, even at the present high prices, can be
brought to, and a great portion of the Hindoo
population of India are debarred from its use,
though a favourite seasoning in all their dishes,
by the advanced price of the article. It is now
imported into India both from Persia and Cash-
mere ; into the north-western parts of India from
the latter only, whence the Author introduced the
bulbs which flowered in the Botanic Garden. Dr.
Falconer, who has since visited Cashmere, is of
opinion that Saffron could be successfully culti-


vated in the Himalayas, at heights varying from saffron might
six thousand to six thousand five hundred feet in Himalayas.
above the sea, and that if it were once brought
into the market, the demand for it would be
almost unlimited.

Assafoetida is a substance which, though used Assafoetida,
chiefly as a medicine in Europe, is of immense
consumption in India. Both Hindoos and Mus-
selmans use it as a seasoning to food, and it
is brought down in very large quantities to the
fair at Hurdwar. A species was found by Dr.
Falconer on the most western part of the course
of the Indus within the mountains. Plants and
seeds having been introduced, he thinks it may
be brought into cultivation in the Himalayas.

In the price currents of Bombay, Calcutta, and Putchuk,
Canton, an article is constantly seen under the
name of Putchuk y as an import into the last,
and an export from the two former places. Of
the Putchuk, 6697f bazar maunds, of the value
of 99,.903 rupees, were exported from Calcutta in
the year 1 837-38 ; it would appear, therefore, that
it is a product of some part of the Indian territory.
The Author, in comparing specimens of Putchuk
procured in Calcutta, with those of a substance
which in the northern provinces was called Or-
ris-root by some Europeans, and koot by the na-
tives, found that they were identical. When in
the northern provinces he had learnt that koot or Koot
was imported from Lahore. Subsequently he
was informed by Mr. Becket, who was long en-




Costus of the

discovered in
Cashmere ;

into Hima-

gaged in mercantile transactions at Allyghur,
that what he bought in northern India by the
name of koot, was sold in Calcutta as putchuk^
On consulting the works now in use among the
natives in northern India, it was seen that koot
was without doubt the Costus of the Ancients.
This was highly esteemed by the latter, burnt as
incense on their altars, and described by them as
being procured from India ; affording a remark-
able confirmation, with many others, of the know-
ledge which they possessed of the useful products
of even remote parts of India.

On Dr. Falconer's proceeding on his journey
to Cashmere, the Author requested him to make
inquiries respecting this substance, and he dis-
covered that it was exported from the valley in
large quantities to the Punjab, whence it finds
its way to Bombay and Calcutta : and that it is
sold in China at an advance of about three
thousand per cent, on the price at which it is
gathered in Cashmere. Dr. F. subsequently found
it growing in great abundance all round the
elevated summits of Cashmere. From the plants
with which it is associated, and the circumstances
under which the Koot grows, being one of the
Compositae, or Thistle tribe, with feathered seed,
of which, when once established, the dissemination
becomes easy ; Dr. F. has no hesitation in think-
ing that it could be produced to an unlimited
extent, of the best quality, in the Himalayas at
elevations of from seven thousand five hundred


to nine thousand feet above the sea, and that the Koot, or Cos-

r-M • I -111 . tusof the An-

Choor mountain alone might be broaght m a tew cients.
years to produce thousands of maunds of it.
Preparatory to diffusing the Koot, or Costus, he
has introduced it into the Mussooree nursery.

The Prangos is another vegetable product Ppngos Hay
highly valued in the cold and arid region of
Tibet, where it is indigenous, and which Mr.
Moorcroft (v. p. 179) thought would be valuable as
fodder for sheep and cattle in European countries.
Dr. F. found it in Tibet, and also most abun-
dantly on Ahatoong, a low trap hill in the valley
of Cashmere ; but here it was not so vigorous
as in its Tibetan habitat. Though abundant
in various directions, the Cashmerians do not
esteem it of any value, and Dr. F. is of opinion
that its importance has been much over-estimated,
in consequence of its being the only food in many
of the bleak and barren tracts of Tibet. In Cash-
mere, where, far from a deficiency of herbage,
there is actually a superabundance of pasture
grasses, it is necessarily much less esteemed.
The Prangos will, therefore, most probably be a
valuable acquisition only in countries devoid of
good natural pasturage, and of which the cli-
mate is favourable to its growth.

Fruit trees and vesretables, thougrh of consider- Fruit trees and

. * . .„ Vegetables.

able importance in European countries, are still
more so in such as derive much of their sub-
sistence from the vegetable kingdom. Some of
the former also, are likewise important, as form-




Fruits, com-
merce of, in
Europe ;

in India;

Fruits culti-"

vated in Saba-

runpore Gar-


of India and


China and


Cabool and

Fruit trees of
Cashmere in-
troduced into

ing articles of commerce. We know that fruits
which are now cultivated in England, were for-
merly imported from France. Even at the pre-
sent time, besides dried fruits, we have a consider-
able commerce in Oranges from the Azores, and
Apples are now imported from New York. So
there are great importations of Cocoa and Betel
Nuts from more southern countries into India.
From the northward also, which is so much
cooler in climate, there are importations of those
very fruits which have been naturalized in Eu-
rope, from the same parts of the world, such as
Grapes, Apples, and Quinces: besides others
which we receive from the south, as Raisins,
Figs, Almonds, Pistachio, and Pine-Nuts.

The fruit trees of the country, of the finest sorts,
were introduced, improved, and distributed, as
well as those, of the Himalayas ; also those of
China and America, procured originally from the
Calcutta Botanic Garden. Some of the fruits
of Cabool and Cashmere were obtained by sow-
ing the seeds ; others were introduced by send-
ing, in 1828, gardeners belonging to the Saha-
runpore establishment with the northern mer-
chants who bring down fruit for sale. In this
way living bulbs of the Saffron of commerce
were obtained, as M^ell as of the plant furnishing
the true Salep; together with many fruit trees of
Cashmere, such as the Apple, Pear, Peach,
Nectarine, Plum, Cherry, Walnut, and Grape-
Vine. Attempts were also made to obtain some


of the fruit trees of Ensrland, which were at that Fmit trees in-

^ ^ troduced into

time annually imported by the Aorricultural and the Mussooree

• T» 1 !• nursery.

Horticultural Society of Calcutta. But the dis-
tances are so great, and the modes of transport
were so little understood, that only one apple tree
arrived alive at Saharunpore, and thus cost no
less than £70. It was planted, as well as the
Cashmere plants, in the Mussooree Nursery.

Dr. Falconer, in his visit to Cashmere, had the Farther impor-
tations by Dr.
best opportunities for obtaining a complete as- Falconer,

sortment of the Fruit trees of that valley. These
he did not fail to introduce into the Saharunpore
Grarden and Mussooree Nursery. He has continued
the experiments on the improvement of fixiits,
introduced additional methods of grafting, and
more extensively adopted the indigenous trees
of the country as Stocks, such as the Himalayan
Pear for European Apples and Pears. He has and improve.
also made arrangements for an exchange of the
more rare plants of the garden, for the fruit trees
of Europe. Dr. F. observes, as, indeed, the Au-
thor has also observed, that large quantities of
Apples, Pears, and other fruits are annually
imported into all the north-western parts of
Hindoostan from Cabool and Cashmere. It ad- commerce in
mits of little doubt that these fruits could be
cultivated to perfection in the Himalayan moun- might be ex-

• • , ^j'j_ J /• i* ■ J.V J A. tended between

tarns, at altitudes of from six thousand to seven hiiis and plains,
thousand feet above the sea, and an advantage-
ous traffic in them established in the hills. An
increased supply would lead to cheaper prices,




Commerce of
fruits might
be established.


in the rainy

tropical in
nature ;

in the cold

like that of Eu-
ropean coun-


and beget a greater demand, so that the con-
sumption might be augmented to many multi-
ples of what it is at present. The speediest mode
of accomplishing this desirable end would be
by the introduction of all the best cultivated
varieties of the Apples, Pears, &c. of England.

As far as Annual plants are concerned, the
Horticulture, like the Agriculture, partakes both
of a European and of a Tropical nature. In the
rainy season great equability of warmth and mois-
ture being diffused over the whole of the plains of
India, the same vegetables may then be cultivated
at Saharunpore, as in the most southern parts of
India. These are all necessarily of a tropical
nature, and pains have been taken to bring toge-
ther as many as possible of such as are cultivated
in different parts of the country.

In the cold weather, the temperature, as we
have seen, approximating in a great measure
to that of European countries, most of the
vegetables which are common in England, and
many of which were introduced by means of the
Garden, are cultivated with almost equal success :
in the plains of Northern India during the cold
weather, but in the Himalayas in the same months
as in Europe.

The Potatoe, that most useful product, may be
mentioned as being produced as fine as in any
other part of the world, both in the plains and
mountains. It was first introduced into the latter
by Lieut. Col.Young, who induced the Hill people


to cultivate this new produce by taking it in Potatoes intro-
part payment of their land-tax. He afterwards Himalayas,
found a sale for them, among the Europeans
in the stations of Deyra, Saharunpore, Kurnaul,
and Meerut. It is fortunate also, both for culti-
vator and purchasers, that the Potatoes of the
Hills come into use about the time that those in
the Plains are going out of season. As the
Potatoe ripens its seed in the mountains with
great facility, advantage has frequently been taken
to grow seedling plants, which in the second
year have produced very fine and very large

Though the subject is hardly less important, it ^^^tPj^^
would lead into too much detail to notice parti- Saharunpore

* Garden.

cularly the many other useful kinds of plants
which are cultivated in the Saharunpore Garden,
though many general observations are equally
applicable to those of the Garden at Calcutta.
It may be briefly stated, that there are few of the
proximate principles of vesretables which are not proximate

^ ' . ? , ^ , principles of

secreted m large quantities, and of the purest vegetables;
quality, by many of the plants cultivated in both
gardens, and from thence distributed through-
out the country. The products of such plant-s are
not only useful for the arts and manufactures of »»«'"* »" art^

^ and form arti-

the country, but also for those of other parts of cies of com-
the world to which they are exported, and thus

serve to give an impulse to the commerce of


Taking these according to the nature of their



Fecula, or

Arrow -root;

Plants yielding principles, we have whole tribes of plants, in

Mucilage. f r » i

which' Mucilage abounds, and which may be
used as substitutes for such plants as the Mallow
and Linseed. The fine Sugar for which the
Saharunpore district is celebrated, is chiefly re-
fined by the aid of two plants which are found in
most parts of India, these are Kydia calycina,
and Hibiscus Abel Moschus. A number of trees

Gum; yield Gum, which is used in India for a variety of

purposes, and is likewise exported to foreign coun-
tries; but from the careless way in which the
natives collect it, as well as from their mixing
together the produce of several different trees,
the East India Gums are not so much valued in
> the market as they otherwise would be. The
more common trees yielding Gum, are species of
Acacia, as the Babool and Seriss, with the Sera,
the Toon, and many others.

Of plants which yield fecula or Starch, besides
Wheat, Barley, Rice, Maize, and the small grains,
there are several others with tuberous roots or
Root-stocks, which, like the Potatoe, abound in
this principle, as the Curcuma or Arrow-root of
India ; the Yam, Sweet Potatoe, and species o f
Arum and Dioscorea, as well as the stems of

Sago; species of Phcenix. The Sago Palm and the

true West India Maranta have been introduced
into Calcutta, and very excellent Arrow-root
prepared there ; and the Tapioca or Cassava
plant is now common in Gardens in most parts
of India, Those which abound in Saccharine


principle are of less importance, as the Sugar sugar Cane;
Cane is so easily cultivated, and with care, ex-
cellent sugar is produced almost every where. In
Bengal, large quantities of Sugar are prepared Date—sugar
from the wild Date tree of India, and might be
obtained from other species of Palms. Very good
Salep is yielded by a plant of the Kheree jungle saiep;
in the neighbourhood of Saharunpore, and the
true Salep plant was introduced from near Cash-
mere into the Mussooree Nursery.

A multitude of plants yield fixed oils by expres- Fatty oUsj
sion of their seeds; of these, some are well known,
as Sesamum, Poppy, and Linseed, with substi-
tutes for Mustard and Rape. The seeds of Saf-
flower, Sunflower, and Jerusalem Artichoke also
yield oil in large quantities. That of the Apricot
of the Himalayas, which is cheap and abun-
dant, was sent down to Calcutta, and highly ap-
proved of, and the oil of Prinsepia utilis is also of
fine quality. Some plants yield a fatty substance, of
the consistence of butter, as the Phulwa or Ghee-
tree of Almora. Of Volatile oils, the number is Voiatae oUs.
nearly as great as that of the plants which have
odorous flowers or leaves, though but few of them
are employed for obtaining the oils in a separate
state]; yet the attar of the rose is distilled almost
every where. The Kayapoottee succeeds in gar-
dens, even as far north as Saharunpore, and the
Spikenard oil grass is common in the jungles of
the neighbourhood.

The Himalayan Pines almost all abound in Turpentine*



Resins ;

Gum Resins;


Turpentine: turpentiiie, and yield tar. One species of these,
Pinus long'i folia, succeeds equally well in the
plains, and yields turpentine of a very fine qua-
lity, from which an excellent Oil of Turpentine
may be distilled ; an equally good Resin is left
as a residue. Besides this, there are many other
trees which yield resins valuable for the diffe-
rent arts ; amongst these, that of the Saul tree,
and the Olibanum of Boswellia thurifera, are
even imported into Europe. Of gum resins, there
is the Bdellium, which may be described as an
inferior kind of Myrrh.

Many of the plants are used as dyes, as the
flowers of the Dhak, of the Nyctanthes, Safflower,
and Toon. Also Turmeric, Pomegranate rind,
Myrobolans, Marking Nut, Acacia bark, Lodh,
the roots of Al and Munjeet, the Lichen called
Chulchelira, and others. Several in tanning, as
species of Acacia, Conocarpus, the gum of the
Dhak and others. The ashes of almost all will
yield Potash, though that of the Plantain seems
most valued by the Natives. Acetic acid may
be procured from the fermentation of a variety of
vegetables. The Lemons and Limes are abundant
enough to yield a prolific supply of Citric acid ;
the Tartaric may be obtained from the juice of
the grape, and the Oxalic from a species of
Runiex, as well as from the stalks of the gram
or Cicer Arietinum.
Cordage plants. Many plants are valued for their Woody fibre,
when this is strong and flexible enough to be

Tanning mate-

Alkali ;



used for cordage; as the Hemp, Flax, Sun and Hemp, Fiai,

. __ ^ and cordage

Sunuee, (the two latter are called Indian Hemp), plants.
Chonch, and Isbund, of which the fibre is com-
monly called Jute. The Maljhun, Bihul, Koom-
bhee, Dhak, are all used for such purposes, as
well as the Bhabhur, Dab, andSurkura, kinds of
Sedge and of Grass. The Maljhun, Simbhaloo,
Jhuo, and Furash, with a species of Willow, have
their osiers employed in making baskets, and the
leaves and leafstalks of Palms for making fans,
&c. Among the timber trees the Saul, Sissoo, Timber trees,
and Bamboo are the most valuable, and the most
extensively used ; but the Toon, Seriss, Jamoon,
Mulberry, and Babool are also much employed.
The Teak, Maple, and Casuarina, have become
so completely naturalized, that they are exten-
sively planted along the Doab canal, and are
distributed throughout the upper provinces.

The system introduced into the Calcutta Bo- Plants distn-
tanic Garden of distributing plants and seeds
to whoever applies for them, for the purpose of
planting, whether Europeans or Natives, is also
practised in the Company's Garden at Saharun-
pore. It may be interesting to observe the num-
bers distributed from a smaller establishment,
and in a district less populous, though some of
the dispatches were to distant stations, as Deyra,
i\ahn, Sabathoo, Kurnaul, xMeerut, Loodhiana, Numbers of
Delhi, Hansi, Allygurh. In the year 1829, 3214 and other trees
fruit trees and plants were distributed. In 1830, ^
4064, with 10,307 timber trees, to the Doab Canal,


piTntsTstri^ ^ during the months of July and August. In the

buted. year 1831, 1509 fruit trees and 6025 other plants

and timber trees. In 1837, 1269 fruit trees and

7367 other plants, besides numerous parcels of

seeds at all times.

Medicines Grown or Prepared in the Sa-

Medicinal t i t

plants cuiti- " lu the list of Medicinal Plants* will be observed


many which form the most powerful articles of
the European Materia Medica, while others, per-

* This passage is quoted from the report of 1831 (v. p. 206.)
The attention of the Author was more particularly directed to
the subject of the Materia Medica of India, at the request of
the Medical Board of Bengal. He proceeded to investigate the
subject, by having several Persian works on' the subject, col-
lated, and in order to get acquainted with things instead of
words, made a collection of every article he was able to procure
in the bazars, whether used in Medicine or in the Arts. To the
Asiatic synonymes he added the Natural History names, so as
to connect the science of the West with the products of the
East. A rough catalogue of a portion of his Collection was
published in the Journal of the Asiatic Society, vol. I., Calcutta
1832, and the Medical and Physical Society of Calcutta adopted
the Author's suggestion to form a collection of native Materia
Medica, to which he contributed the first one hundred speci-
mens. The subject has since been attended to, by many of the
medical officers of the Establishment, and copious lists pub-
lished in the Medical Journals of Calcutta, and great progress
is making towards an accurate knowledge of kidian Materia
Medica, by the chemical analyses of various substances by Dr.


haps not less valuable, are known only lo native
hakeems. So much time has been occupied in
preliminary investigations that it is not easy to
give an idea of the results that may finally be
obtained ; but it may at present be stated in gene-
ral terms, that the Materia Medica in use among Indian Materia

. ... Medica Tery

the natives of India is very extensive in the num- extensive.
ber of its articles. These, according as the know-
ledge of them has been derived from the Greeks,
through the Arabs and Persians, or from ancient
Hindoo works, are the produce either of European
or of Asiatic countries. To one unacquainted
with the subject, it would appear surprising to be
told that the natives of India are in the habit of
administering, or rather of prescribing, such me-
dicines as Hemlock, Hellebore, Henbane, and

" But, having derived much of their knowledge Some know-
of Medicine from the Greeks, they are naturally derived from
anxious to prescribe that which they find praised
in their works. Most of the articles, however, being
of European growth, and the distances which they
have to travel great, the adulterations are propor-
tionally numerous; and the natives, both physi-
cians and patients, are too ignorant of the ori-

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