J. Forbes (John Forbes) Royle.

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

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of the experiments ; but as he has expressed his
confidence in the success of the culture in these
northern parts of the Himalayas, several hun-
dred miles from Upper Assam, and that of the
Author remains undiminished, we may confi-
dently look forward to having tea cultivated all
along these mountains. Thus affording profita-
ble employment to the inhabitants, and to them as
well as to the dwellers in the plains, the means of
obtaining a cheap and refreshing beverage, which
they already highly esteem ; and by this means
giving an impulse to the Commerce and Agricul-
ture both of the Plains and of the Mountains.


The Com- The Court of Directors of the East- India Com-

mittee of the

HouseofLords panv wiU havc the high orratitication of having

on the Tea cul- ^ "^ . & fe> ^

ture in India, fostcrcd in its infancy a culture which in its ma-
turity will benefit to an incalculable extent the
country and people committed to their charge, or
as the Committee of the House of Lords on the
petition of the East-India Company for relief ex-
press it, "The Government of India appear to
have exercised a sound discretion in giving facili-
ties to an experiment which, if successful, would
make an important addition to the commercial re-
sources of India, and confer a national benefit upon
the consumers of tea in the United Kingdom."
—•2d March 1840.*

* The deductions derivable from the Botany of the Hima-
layas, of Upper Assam, and of China, though omitted in the
foregoing observations, are not less important. Mr. Griffith has
united Thea with the genus Camellia, and there is no good
reason for keeping them separate. With regard to the Green,
Black, and Assam Tea plants being distinct species or perma-
ment varieties of one species, it is impossible to give a de-
cided opinion. The Assam Tea plant may be seen in Messrs.
Loddiges' hot houses, and the others in their green houses, or
in the open air in summer. The author was disposed to con-
sider the Green and Black Teas as distinct species, and has not
yet seen sufficient to change his opinion. The Assam Tea
plant resembles the Green Tea in the size and form of its
leaves, but they are thicker, and darker coloured. They are
very much larger than the leaves of the Tea plant collected by
Mr. Cunningham in China. (Vide p. 266.) The question can
only be decided by those competent to the task in China, or
by submitting the plants known as such to experimait in


the tea nurseries of Assam and the Himalayas. Of the genera
of Ternstroemiaceae, to which the Camellias and Tea belong,
Cochlospermum is found on the Hills of the Sewalic range.
A Saurauja is found at the foot, and Eurya at the top of the
Mussoree range. Cleyera is found in Nepal and the Khasiya
range. The Camellias are found on the Khasiya and Naga
hills, in the vallies and hills of Assam, and extend to Nepal,
where C. Kissi is found at 4,600 feet of elevation. It is re-
markable that so many genera and species, which are charac-
teristic of the flora of China, and which were found by the
Author at 6,500 feet of elevation, in 30° of N. lat., occur in
Assam in the valley. These are Eurya, Stauntonia, Kad-
sura, or Sphoerosterama, andHovenia; so also of genera more
generally diffused, Coriaria, Cerasus, one of the Chrysobalaneae,
and Sabia, Lonicera, Viburnum, Sambucus, ^sculus, Engel-
hardtia, and Oaks. The other genera characteristic of China
mentioned by the Author, as found all along the Himalayas,
(Illustrations, p. 123, &c.), are Deutzia, Abelia, Marlea,
Houttuynia, Chloranthus, Incarvillea, Hiptage, Euphoria, and
Pardanthus. lUicium and Goniocarpus have been found by
Mr. Griffith, the former on the Khasiya Hills at five thou-
sand feet in shady, damp places, and the latter at Churia Pun-
gee. Salamonia also has been found on the Khasiya Hills and
the Tenasserim Coast, as well in Nepal, and about Canton. Ham-
mamelidese, widely diffused, were found in China by Dr. Abel,
and by Mr. Griffith in Assam, Khasiya, and Mishmee Hills ; but
a species has also been found by Dr. Falconer, as far north as
Cashmere. The botanical results confirm those deduced from
the climate, that the tea plant may be cultivated as well in
the mid region of the Himalayas, as in Upper Assam. The
growth will no doubt be more slow, but the leaves will probably
not be less high flavoured.

312 ,


a Native of In-

also of Ame-

Faults of In-
dian Cotton.

Cultivation of Cotton in India.

Cotton, we have seen, p.75, has been produced
in India from the most remote antiquity ; that it
is naturally of a good quality is evident from the
fine muslins which were manufactured with it, as
well as from the durability of the Indian cotton
piece-goods, now driven out of the markets, not
only of Europe but even of India itself, by the
cheaper manufactures of English cotton mills.

Cotton is also a natural product of America; it
has been found in the ancient Peruvian tombs,
together with specimens of their early manufac-
tures. That American cotton is also of excellent
quality is evident from the high prices which it
sells for in the English market ; at the same time
that the Indian cotton brings only very infe-
rior prices, notwithstanding that the Indian ma-
nufacturer is able to prepare with it such supe-
rior fabrics.

The chief faults of the Indian cotton are great
carelessness in collection, and shortness of sta-
ple, in consequence of very imperfect culture.
By this carelessness, from the quantity of dirt
which is allowed to intermix with it, it is pre-
sented to the manufacturer in a less perfect state
than that in which it was produced. There is rea-
son also to believe that the cotton itself deterio-
rates in quality from the imperfect drying it re-
ceives, after being collected. The imperfect cul-


ture allowing the plants to run too much into Indian Cotton,

defects in its

Stalk and leaf, and thus diminishing the sup- culture.
ply of sap to the flowers and seeds, consequently
curtails, not only the quantity of cotton, but
also the length and strength of its staple. Thus
everything combines to diminish the value of the
produce, as well as its quantity per acre, and to
keep down the profits of the planter.

The cottons which bring the highest prices in Localities of

, , , , . - commercial

the market are produced over a wide expanse of cottons.
territory, in different parts of the world, from 0*' to
S4**, and in particular situations, even to 40" of
latitude ; and also in the mountains of South Ame-
rica and of Mexico at considerable elevations.

The British territories in India, extending from Extent of Bn-
8« to 31* of north latitude, and including the sites suited to
loftiest mountains in the world, afford every di-
versity of soil and climate that is attainable else-
where. In fact, cotton is produced in every part
of British India, and complaint is made more
against the mode in which it is brought to mar-
ket than against the cotton itself.

The soils in which the best cottons arrow dif- pifference of

*=' Soil suited to

fer much more both in physical and chemical the growth of

... Cotton.

nature than is generally supposed. This is evi-
dent if we examine the soil of the Sea-Island
cotton, and compare it with that of the sandy
cotton farms of Georgia ; or both with the rich
alluvial deposits of the Mississippi, or the prairie
lands of Southern Alabama. The difference is not
greater, however, than that which we observe be-



Cotton Soils.

Climate of India
suited togrowth
of Cotton.


Difficulties of

Why is not bet-
ter Cotton
grown in In-

tween the granite soil of the Coromandel coast
and the black cotton soil of central India, or than
that between the rich alluvium of Bengal and
the sandy plains of North-western India.

The climate of India is congenial throughout
to the growth of cotton. In the most northern
provinces, frost sometimes destroys the young-
branches before the whole of the crop of cotton
has been collected, but this is useful to some
of the species as a kind of natural pruning.
The temperature being sufficient, the next most
important consideration is the degree of moisture,
both of the soil and of the atmosphere ; as on this,
in a congenial soil and climate, will depend the
more or less rapid development of the stems,
branches, and leaves, and, if not carried to ex-
cess, an healthy state of the plant for the abundant
production of flowers and of fruit, as well as of

Too great richness of the soil, combined with ex-
treme moisture of the atmosphere, are frequently
in excess in India. The season of cultivation is
during the rains, and the methods consisting in a
mixture of crops, close sowing, and unchecked
growth of the plant, all assist in developing leaves
instead of flowers.

The soil and climate of so large a tract of
country being favourable to the growth of a
plant, which is indeed indigenous in the country,
it does appear unaccoutable why the cotton of
Indian growth siiould be so low in esteem. Also


if the circumstances are so favourable, why, it why is not
may be asked, is not better cotton grown? We groi^inin"
see it is obviously the interest of the planter to im-
prove an article, for the production of which the
exti-a expense and labour will bear but a small
proportion to the increased produce, and to the
high price which it will bring.

Various causes have been assigned for this; causes assign-
some are not true, others are contradictory, and
the whole combined to the extent assumed, would
have some effect, but are quite insufficient to
account for the continued inferiority of Indian
cotton, and the slight effect produced by the
experiments instituted for its improvement. The
native cultivators, cramped by the usurious rates Natives satis-
of money-lenders, are satisfied with the culture present culture.
taught them by their forefathers, and have too
little knowledge of the results which would fol-
low from any change in the practice, to adopt
others, with the sacrifice of their prejudices.

Few Europeans until lately have attempted FewEuropeans

• 1 • have attempted

the culture of cotton, probably because mdigo to improve it.
and other products offered them more profitable
employment. The merchants have found that
the cotton of India would be bought both in
China and England, and yield a profit without
the risk of making larger advances on an uncer-
tain result. The planters in the interior have thus Planters have

received little

had little encouragement to bestow extra labour encouragement

from merchants

and expense, on improving a produce which they
find the buyers at the Presidencies only purchase


at the ordinary prices of that which, though

inferior, is at the same time produced by the
Results pro- nativcs at less expense. Yet considerable results
verame/tcot have bccn obtained in the Bengal Presidency,
on arms. chiefly by the energy of amateur experimentalists,

and in Bombay and Madras by the Government

Experimental- In the experiments which have been instituted

ists often igno- .

rant of practice on the improvement of the culture, it is extraor-

and inattentive , . i i • i • i

to principles, dmary to observe how little attention has been
paid, or, at least, how little information is given us
respecting the attention that was paid, to all the
points essential to insure success in culture and
improvement in produce. Also, how seldom any
attempts are made, or reasons given, to explain
the causes of failure. We find, as was to be ex-
pected, a general want of knowledge in the prac-
tical details of culture, but also, which was not
to be expected, equal inattention to, if not igno-
rance of, principles. The majority also appear wise
only after personal experience, and paying little
attention to that of their predecessors. For we
find that the same course is followed, the same
faults are committed, the same results are obtained
and continue to be announced as new, though we
have had them on record for a series of years.
Plants, living It sccms to be forgottcn, that plants are living
encedbyphysi- bodics, influenced by the media in which they
ca agents. ^^^ placed ; having their roots in the soil, and
their leaves in the atmosphere, taking in watery
fluid holding various substances in solution by


tlie one, and both absorbing and giving off Plants influ-

, 1^11 enced by physi-

aqueous vapour and gaseous elements by the cai agents.
other. Growing also more or less vigorously, and
producing better or inferior seeds or fruit, ac-
cording as they are affected by the richness or
poverty, moisture or dryness, warmth or coldness,
of the medium in w hich they are placed, as well
as by the influence of light and the action of the

In the animal kingdom it is considered essen- Treatment of
tial for those who have to recommend measures quires know-
for the preservation of the health, or for the treat- ture^and of
ment of the diseases of man, that they should
study both the structure and the functions of
animals in general, and of the species in particu-
lar, as well as the peculiarities of constitution in
the individual. Plants are equally living beings. Equally neces.

. . sary with

and equally require attention, both to principles plants.
and to practice, in their treatment, whether we
wish to ascertain how they will succeed in a new
soil or situation, or how we are to remedy any
defects which are produced. Also what measures
are to be adopted, when we wish to increase the
size or particular qualities of the parts of vegeta-
tion, that is, what refers to the individual; or what
should be done, when we desire only the perfection
of the seed and fruit, which, we know, are required
for the propagation of the species.

As the Author endeavoured to grow cotton, Experimentson

. culture of Cot-

though on a small scale, m the Saharunpore ton.
Botanic Garden, paying attention at the same


time to the practices of the natives, he early con-
ceived that the chief causes of failure were of a
physical nature ; and that the culture was to be
remedied only by attention to principles. These
Essay on the he endcavoured to elucidate in an Essay on
culture of Cot- ^j^^ Culturc of Cotton in India;* where, after
noticing the native country and early history of
cotton, as well as the various places in which it
is at present cultivated, both in respect to latitude
and climate, he compared these with the extent
and varied climate of British India. He then
examined into the influence of physical agents
as affecting the production of cotton ; and first
conceived, that the chief faults in India had been
Overproduc. ovcr-production of the parts of vegetation at

tion of parts of n \ f c • n • mi

vegetation. the cxpcnsc of thosc of fructification. Ihe
Author at the same time recommended particular
attention to the selection of seed, not only of
that which is foreign, but also of that which is
indigenous ; and after noticing the principal
kinds of cotton cultivated in America, those of
India were similarly enumerated. The culture
in America was compared with that practised in
India, and the results of some of the experiments,
which had then been made known on the Indian
cultivation of American cottons were referred to.
The improvement of the indigenous cottons was
recommended, and the parts of the Bengal presi-

* Published in June 1834, in his ** Illustrations of the Botany,
&c., of the Himalayan Mountains.''


dency best suited to the culture of cotton were Parts of n. w.

,.,,,/.,, T India suited to

pointed out, that is, the banks oi the Jumna culture of cot-
between Agra and Allahabad, with Bundlecund
above the Ghauts and Malwa. He came to the
conclusion that there could be " no doubt that by conclusion of
the importation of foreign and the selection of f^^^^l,^^^
native seed, attention to the peculiarities not only J^SilTindfJ.'
of soil, but also of climate, as regards the course
of the seasons, and the temperature, dryness, and
moisture of the atmosphere, as well as attention
to the mode of cultivation; such as preparing
the soil, sowing in lines, so as to facilitate the
circulation of air, weeding, ascertaining whether
the mixture of other crops with the cotton be
injurious or otherwise, pruning, picking the cotton
as it ripens and keeping it clean : great improve-
ment must take place in the quality of the cotton."

We have already seen, p. 81, that the attention Means adopted
of the Court of Directors of the East-India Com- Direc^torsofthe
pany was turned, at as early a period as 1788, company ^o
to the improved cultivation of cotton in India, ^ume^^lou
and that measures were adopted, apparently well ^"'
calculated, to insure the object in view, as these
consisted, in the first place, in obtaining reports Reports re-
from India on the state of the culture and com- *^""^
merce of cotton in the different provinces of that
country. Subsequently, instructions were sent instructions
out for the culture of cotton, as well as seeds of American
the West-Indian and American cotton, and ma- ^^^^'
chines for cleaning it. A cotton farm was esta- cieanmg ma-
blished, and rewards oftered for improved speci-


Measures mens of cotton. In the " Report of the Proceedino^s

adopted liy the ^

Court of Direc- of the East-India Company in regard to the pro-
tors for im- , . ^ r . J3 r
proving the cui- duction of Cotton in India," published in 1836,

ture of Cotton i m /• i i • i i

in India. wc havc a detail of the measures which have been

Cotton Farm coutiuued to be taken from the above time to the

1794.' '" date of the publication ; many of these have been

and are briefly noticed in the following pages,

under the heads of the Presidencies wliere they

were undertaken, consisting, with the repetition

American of somc of the prcvious mcasurcs, in the sending:,

cleaner of Cot- . . . ^ "^

ton sent to In- m 1813, of a person experienced m the cleaning

dia. , . ■

Cotton Farms of cottou from Amci'ica to India, and of the esta-
ms^'^^^ '" blishment of Cotton farms in 1818.

A general view of the measures adopted is taken

in the letter from the Secretary to the Court of

Directors, (Reports, p. 117), dated 5th September

1828. Lord EUenborough, then President of the

Suggestion of Board of Control, sufferested, on the 7th October

Lord Ellenho- . .

rough. 1828, " the cultivation of all the finer sorts of

foreign cotton in different and distant parts of
India, under very different circumstances of soil
and climate, and of transmitting to England,
cleaned in the American manner, and with every
precaution to protect them from the weather,
samples of the cotton so raised, for the purpose of
comparison with the cottons of other countries.'*

Propositions of Qn the 17th November following, a compre-

Mr. Tucker. ^ ^ .

hensive view of the whole question of the
supply of cotton from British India was taken
by H. St. George Tucker, Esq., a member of
the Court of Directors, in which, among other


propositions, ten in number, it was suggested. Propositions of

* ^ • 1 1 *^'^* Tucker.

that ** two or more plantations, on a large scale,
should be established, and that persons ac-
quainted with the mode of cultivating cotton in
America should be sent out to India to manage
the experimental farms," v. p. 29.

Capt. Bavles of the Indian army havinor care- capt. Bayies

'^ . ' . . . deputed to

fully considered the subject, offered his services, America;
and was deputed by the Court of Directors, in
March 1839, to proceed toAmericafor the purpose
of obtaining information, seeds, and machines for
cleaning cotton, and of endeavouring to induce per-
sons well acquainted with the culture of cotton to
proceed with him to India. Capt. B. having fully
effected his mission, has returned with ten Ameri- returns with

1 . n • /•j^i ji 1 ten experienced

can planters oi experience : of these, three nave planters ;
already proceeded to Bombay, and three to Ma-
dras, and the remaining four are to accompany
him by the overland route to the Bengal Presi-

The measure adopted by the Court of Direc- to be sent by
tors of inducing experienced American planters Directors to

J -J - . . India to culti-

to proceed to India, and to grow cotton in vate cotton.
the different parts of that empire, seems the
best calculated to insure the experiment being
made in the most complete and satisfactory
manner. The mechanical part, that of pick-
ing, drying, and keeping clean the cotton, and
separating it effectually from the seed without Cleaning will

. . . *" be perfectly per-

mjuring the staple, will undoubtedly be perfectly formed.
performed. One source of difficulty will thus be



Culture of Cot-
ton in India by

will be perfect
wherever prac-

American cul-
ture'wiil require
modification in
some situations.

Dependent on
physical agents.

The influence
of physical
agents under-
stood by scien-
tific men.

removed— that of forming a correct opinion re-
specting the natural qualities of the Indian cot-
ton. The culture also being perfectly under-
stood, will no doubt produce the largest return
of cotton that is possible, and fineness, strength,
and length of staple will be insured, as far
as dependent on culture. This especially, wher-
ever the soil and climate are most similar to that
in which the planters have been in the habit of
adopting a similar mode of culture, with the same
kind of seed.

But in many situations it will happen that the
soil and climate differ considerably from that
which characterizes the banks of the Mississippi,
or of the Alabama, or the prairies of the latter.
The same treatment therefore may not be exactly
suitable to the new situations ; though these may,
with some modification of the culture, be ca-
pable of growing as fine cotton as any other
part of the world. The modification will depend
in some measure on the chemical and physical
properties of the soil, the peculiarities of the cli-
mate, and the course of the seasons ; the effects of
all of which may have been ascertained by some of
the numerous experiments which have been made
for a series of years in the different Presidencies.

The full influence of physical agents, such as
light, heat, air, and moisture, will be clearly
understood only by those who are acquainted with
the principles of some of the physical sciences ;
while the information respecting the experimental


results is scattered through a variety of European American cui.
and Indian publications. It is highly desirable in India.
however, that the experience of the planters in
their own country should be made as available
as possible in the country to which they have re-
moved, and this without the loss of valuable time,
or the repetition of useless experiments. This Desirable that
will probably be best effected by putting them put in commu-

. , , , nication with

in communication with gentlemen who are ac- gentlemen of

• j^i'.i,! ••! c ij. 11 scientific and

quainted with the principles oi culture, as well practical know-
as in some measure with the practices adopted in ^^'
the cultivation of cotton, and who are at the same
time not ignorant of the history of what has al-
ready been done in India. There are, fortunately,
gentlemen with the necessary qualifications in all
the three presidencies, whose present appoint-
ments require in them the possession of such in-
formation, and who from their occupations will
take great interest in the successful result of the
important experiment which is in course of being
tried. These are, Dr. Falconer in the north-
western provinces of India, Dr. Wight at Madras,
and Dr. Gibson at Bombay.

The planters being strangers in a new country. Useful also for

. , 1 '.i -^ 1 T communicating

unacquainted with its language, manners, and with natives and
customs, will, moreover, require some medium of office™.™^"'
communication, not only with the natives with
whom they will constantly have to act, but also
in the first instance with the government oflScers,

Online LibraryJ. Forbes (John Forbes) RoyleEssay on the productive resources of India [electronic resource] → online text (page 22 of 32)