J. Forbes (John Forbes) Royle.

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

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ginal article to be able to detect the falsification.
As considerable anxiety, however, is now dis-
played, and expense incurred, by the Government
in the instruction of native doctors for the public
service, the benefit of this must eventually ex-



236 MEDICINAL PLANTS (iROWN IN THE

Desirable to tend to the class of practitioners who administer

examine native .

drugs, and to the Hiass of the population. It would appear

grow others , ^ . , • ^ n • i i

in India. the part 01 a wise and provident foresight, that,

as a more correct knowledge of medicine is im-
parted, and as the art of detecting the impostures
in drugs is acquired, means should be adopted
for more genuine articles being provided. This
might be effected by first investigating the true
value of genuine Indian medicines, and then na-
turalizing in the hills or plains such articles as
they are deficient in, or which are now of foreign
growth."

" That the success would be considerable, I feel
warranted in assuming, from the results of the
experiments I have already made, even in intro-
ducing medicines for the use of the public ser-
vice. These have borne the test of comparative
trials with the best from European depots. The

Difficulties i^n difficulties to be surmounted may not be so obvi-

growing and •'

preparing me- qus, cxcept to thosc who havc made similar at-

dicines.

tempts. But, if it be considered that not only the
seed or plant is first to be procured, and grown
with all the care of an exotic, then extended into
a crop, and converted into a form fit for exhibi-
tion as a medicine, and, lastly, proved equal in me-
dical virtues, and at the same time cheaper than
those already in use, the attempt will not appear
so easy. It must also be remembered that not
an oil can be distilled without first makins: a
still, nor an extract prepared without first con-



SAHARUNPORE GARDEN. 237

structinsr an apparatus for expressing tlie juice, f/epa^t'O'? of

® ^'^ _ "^ , Medicines in

and then evaporating it to a proper consistence India.
in an apparatus of steam."

" Among the articles which have been intro-
duced, and reported upon by Mr. Twining, after
experiments made at the General Hospital, it
appears, that ' the cultivation of Rhubarb at the Rhubarb.
Mussooree Tibba is expected to afford a very valu-
able remedy, which is less disagreeable to take
than the best Turkey Rhubarb, nearly equally effi-
cacious as a purge, and very superior in small
doses as a tonic, and astringent in profluvia ;' and
Mr. Twining concludes his report with saying,
that ' the acquisition of this remedy to the Ma-
teria Medica of this country will be of the utmost
importance.' The medicine has been introduced,
and 115 lbs. supplied to the depots. The Oil of ouof Turpen.
Turpentine, distilled from the Turpentine of the
common long- leaved Fir, is considered, in a letter
from Mr. Hutchinson, to be of * very superior
quality.' The extract of Henbane has been pro- Henbane.
nounced by many, from its freshness, to be supe-
rior to that imported from Europe, and by Mr.
Twining to be of ' most excellent quality.' It
has even been sent to Madras ; 190 lbs. have
been sent to the depots, and the supply discon-
tinued from Europe. Senna has only this year senmu
been introduced into practice. The Medical
Board, after the trials made at the General Hos-
pital, express their gratification at the result,
and direct that its cultivation be extended as



238 SCIENTIFIC OBJECTS ATTENDED TO

Medicines pre- much as Dossible for the public service. Mr.

pared m India. ^ * ^

Twining pronounces the Senna cultivated at Sa-
harunpore very superior to that commonly sup-
plied for hospital use, possessing in a high degree
the peculiar aroma of the best Senna ; and after
forty-five trials considers it equal to the best
Senna he has ever seen." The other articles
which were cultivated or prepared for hospital
use were exhibited in the catalogue, which formed
an appendix to the report.
Eligibility of " In Considering the cultivation of medicines in

growing Medi- ^ ,. . i • . /. . -. i

cin^ Plants in India m an economical point of view, it may be
safely assumed, that by cultivating a sufficient
number of articles to keep in full employment
whatever establishment may be entertained, a
very considerable saving will eventually be ef-
fected. For the cost of the production of medi-
cines, must, like every other product of the soil
in India, be less than what they can be produced
in, and exported from Europe for ; particularly if
some machinery be employed for the grinding of
powders, and the expressing of oils and extracts,
which might easily be done by the water-mill in
the garden."



India.



in the saharunpore garden. 239

Scientific Objects attended to in the

Saharunpore Garden.
In our notice of the Botanic Garden of Calcutta Advantages of

results obtain-

an account was given both of the services render- ed in the go-

j o • 1 /• 1 • 1 1 rr'L vemment Oar-

ed to Science, and of the practical results. 1 hese dens.

are important, because they are applicable to the
general culture of the provinces which approxi-
mate to it in soil and climate. The practical re-
sults obtained at the Saharunpore Garden have
been detailed before the scientific investigations:
though the latter preceded the former. They are
valuable, not only for the above reasons, but also Practical ap.

'' ^ plication of

because the two gardens being placed at the ex- scientific in-

1- . - , , . - 1 vestigations.

treme limits of an extended territory, many of the
results are applicable to much of the intermedi-
ate tract of country.

As the experiments in a scientific institution Experiments

* ... require to be

require to be conducted on principle, instead of made on pnnci-
according to the chance system which is usually
adopted, so in a new country many preliminary
inquiries require to be completed before any
practically useful experiments can be instituted.
These preliminary investigations, consisting of
the identification of old, and the description
of new species of plants, with a notice of the soil
and climate in which they are found, are consi-
dered by many as useless for practical purposes.
The very same individuals would probably con-
sider it essential that any one wishing to improve
the breed of horses, of cattle, or of sheep should



240 SCIENTIFIC OBJECTS ATTENDED TO

Experiments be able to distinguish a liorse from an ass, or

made in con-

formitytoprin. a shecD from a goat. In what respect the sys-

cipl6s. ^

tematic investigation of plants differs, it would
not be easy to describe. We know that they are
more numerous, and less obviously different from
each other, and, consequently, require much time
and care accurately to distinguish.

Blunders often That as great blunders have been committed
with plants, as if a breeder were to mistake a camel
or a buffalo for a cow, will be evident to any one
who will examine the accounts given by several
otherwise intelligent gentlemen, of their attempts
to cultivate various vegetables in different parts

Errors com- of the world. In India, when it was desired to

mitted from

wantofscien- cultivate the Hemp plant, several plants were so
called, which had no greater resemblance to one
another than that each yielded tibre fit for cordage,
as if all woods were oak, or the flesh of all herbi-
vorous animals was beef or mutton. So, a very
intelligent merchant, as the Author has elsewliere
mentioned, wishing to improve the culture of Rice,
actually sent out to India some American Rice,
which in the process of cleaning, had had the
embryo removed, for which, in the process of
germination, the rest of the grain is intended as
nourishment, and which therefore was not more
capable of growing, than is pearl barley or kiln-
dried hops.

Measures FoT the purposc of obtaining as perfect a know-

adopted for . 1 1 /. 1 • ^ 1

combining ledge as possiblc of the vegetation oi the coun-

pJi!!2e! *' ' tries in the neighbourhood of which the Garden



IN THE SAHARINPORE GARDEiN. 241

was situated, a Herbarium was formed of the Herbarium

plauts of the plains of the northern provinces, of

the Himalayan mountains, of Kunawur on the

northern face of those mountains, and of the

valley of Cashmere ; amounting in all to about

four thousand species. Of the more remarkable

of these about five hundred drawings were made Drawings

by the East- India Company's establishment of

painters. A set of specimens was left with Dr.

Falconer at Saharunpore, and the duplicates have DnpUcatespre-

, sented by

been presented by the Court of Directors of the courtof Direc-
East-India Company to the Linnean Society of Linnean So-
London, for general distribution, in the same
manner that the former East-India collections
were distributed.

The usual course with a collection of Natural ^°^.^ °^ "-

ranging objects

History, has been to examine accurately, and to of Natural His-
describe with more or less minuteness, the several
objects of which it consists, arranging them at
the same time systematically in one or other of
the systems of classification in use among natu-
ralists. Botanists used, till of late years, chiefly
to employ the artificial system of Linnaeus, in Artificial me-
which the stamens and pistils are employed for
the purpose of forming a simple, and, like the
alphabetical arrangement of words in a dic-
tionary, in many respects a convenient method of
classification. In a general point of view, how-
ever, this method has the defect of bringing toge-
ther many plants which have no resemblance to
each other, either in appearance or in structure,

R



242 SCIENTIFIC OBJECTS ATTENDED TO

Mode of ar- and tiic stili j^reatcF objection of separating some,

ranging plants. ^ ■ • i i j

such as grasses, which are most mtimately related
Natural ciassU to One another. In the INatural classification,

fication ;

on the contrary, the characters are taken from as
great a number as possible of the parts of plants,
and resemblance is observed, therefore, not only
in the organs of re-production, but also in those
of nutrition. Hence we find among plants of the
same family a similarity of structure, and also a
similarity both of constitution and in the secre-
tions which they prepare ; so that it is not
surprising to find plants of the same family
delighting in the same soil, flourishing in the
same climate, and abounding in the same pro-
Li "practical, ducts. This mode of classification is therefore not
only advantageous as presenting a philosophical
method of arrangement, but also as affording
many important practical results.
Means adopted To obtain the advantages of the natural classi-

for attaining its . , i i • •

advantages for fication, it was ueccssary, though requiring a
good deal of time and labour, to arrange not only
the plants in the Author's collection, but also
those which had been collected by Dr. Rox-
burgh and other botanists, in order to be able to
compare the vegetation of the Northern with that
of the Southern parts of India ;* also of both,
with that of other hot countries having similar cli-
mates, as some parts of Africa and America. The

• In this labour the Author has been much assisted, since his
return to this country, by the lithographed Catalogue formed
by Dr. Wallich, of the East-India Herbarium, v. p. 178.



India.



IN THE SAHARUNPORE GARDEN. 243

mountains, also, havinor at successive elevations a y^etation of

' ' » India com-

different climate, from the reduction in tempera- pared with

' *■ that of other

ture as we ascend, have also a gradual change of parts of the

. world;

vegetation, and the occurrence of forms similar to
such as are found in Europe, China, Japan, Si-
beria, and North America, is observed.

To show the connection, therefore, between
the different branches of Natural History, and
their dependence on the Physical features. Soil,
and Climate of the country, the Author, in his ^^^J^^th'^X^
work* illustrating the Botany and other Branches ^°^'
of the Natural History of the Himalayan Moun-
tains, divided it into two parts. The introductory
portion treats of the Physical Geography of the Physical Geo-.
Plains and Mountains of India, and is followed Geology as
by a view of their Geological structure. The S.'"*'^'^'^
Meteorology is next treated of, and the climate Meteoroi



Online LibraryJ. Forbes (John Forbes) RoyleEssay on the productive resources of India [electronic resource] → online text (page 17 of 32)