J. Forbes (John Forbes) Royle.

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

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ralized, that where they are of any importance as
objects of cultivation, they may be brought to all
the perfection of which they are susceptible in
other countries."

Recommended It has accordingly been recommended that the

to be under- i i • •

taken. gradual introduction, from every part of the world,

into India, of every variety of tree and plant
adapted to its climate, should be an object steadily
kept in view. Also that such measures should im-
mediately be taken as may be necessary to secure
a supply of seeds for future seasons in such quan-
tities a& seem desirable, with reference to the
means that may exist for their cultivation.

Despatch of the In the Proceedings of the Affricultui-al and Hor-

CourtofDirec- . . .

tors on the ticultural Society of India, of the 12th of June


1839, we find that the Governor-general had for-


warded to the Society the despatch of the Court
of Directors to the Governor-general of India,
of the 13th of February 1839, together with the
letters which had been written by Dr. Lindley
and the Author in reference to this subject. The oesnatch res-
Court say, " We are sensible of the importance of xransmiLfon
the subject to which, in the letter under reply,
you have directed our attention, and we have re-
solvetl on gradually furnishing you with the means
of carrying on extensively experiments for natu-
ralizing in India useful and desirable plants,
indigenous in other countries." *' We have for- to India;
warded some varieties of seeds, &c., highly im-
portant either as affording articles of food, or
possessing medical virtues, and they will deserve
all the attention that can be afforded them.*'
" We shall continue at the proper seasons to send
supplies of other varieties, and it is our wish that
the greatest care should be bestowed, with a view
to their naturalization, for the benefit of the

" With regard to the collection of seeds for f™'" i"^*^
transmission to this country, we are of opinion,
that the expediency of bearing in mind the nature
of the climate to which they are to be exposed
should be impressed upon those to whom the
task is to be committed."

The Society, after the reading of the despatch Resolution of
and its enclosures, determined, in furtherance of so turai society of
" useful and philanthropic an object, — that in
reference to the communication now read from
the Honourable the Court of Directors of the



Resolution of East India Company, and with the view ofaidinja:

the Agricultu- ... .

rai Society of as far as possible, the intentions therein expressed,
and the labours of those scientific gentlemen at
home, who have so kindly interested themselves
in the subject — a committee be formed for the
purpose of suggesting such plants and trees as
may be thought desirable for introduction into
India, and those that can be furnished in return,
and that the committee be instructed to obtain
communications from the Branch Societies and
other available sources throughout India/'

The measures which were adopted here in con-
sequence of the resolution of the Court it is unne-
cessary to particularize, as more fitting occasions
may occur for entering into the necessary details.

Times when Keeping In view the necessity of obtaining the

s66(ls should.

arrive in India, sccds of plants of different countries suitable to
the different parts of India, the principle exhi-
bited in the tables at p. 246 may serve as a guide.
To obtain complete success will require only per-
severance, and a systematic arrangement of the
means adapted to the ends in view. The roots
and seeds requiring tropical culture should be in
India by the middle of June ; that is, at the
beginning of the rainy season. Those intended
for cultivation in the plains during the cold wea-
ther, should arrive in October and November,
while such as are to be sown in the Himalayas
need not be there before March, or even April.

The seeds obtained from various sources may
be sent in separate parcels as intended for warm
or for cool climates, as for Bombay, Madras, Cal-


cutta, and Saharunpore, or for the Hills of Ma-
babhaleshwur, Neilgherries, Darjeeling, Mussoo-
ree, and Simla. Wherever practicable, the Bo- Measures ad.
tanic Gardens or their nurseries seem the most adoVionTn
suitable situations for the first cultivation of the
various seeds or plants which may be introduced,
but the Gardens of the several Horticultural
Societies at the Presidencies might be equally
advantageous wherever they are desirous of join-
ing in the experiment. Whenever a plant has
become established, or its seed has ripened in one
garden, these should be distributed to the others
which have been enumerated, or to the several
branch Horticultural Societies which have been
established, or to individuals who are inclined to
pay the requisite attention to such pursuits. The
several gardens in different parts of India ought
also to interchange their several products, even
their indigenous and long- established cultures,
more freely and systematically than has hitherto
been the case. Gardeners and Farmers in Europe
seldom continue to cultivate from the seed con-
stantly ripened in their own grounds, but inter-
change with, or purchase from others, what these
again are ready to do with theirs.

The seeds of a great variety of plants have been Seeds sent to
sent by the monthly mail at different times to the
several Botanic Gardens which have been enu-
merated, and latterly to the Agricultural Socie-
ties of Calcutta and Bombay. Of the measures and Bombay,
adopted, an instance may suffice in the extract
of the following letter from Monsieur A. De


Candolle, of Geneva, who is following the course
of the distinguished Botanist, his father.

Letter from M. " Mon cher Monsieur,

A. De Can-
dolle. ''Je viens d'adresser a Mr. Bentham une caisse qui con-

tient difFerens ohjets pour vous. Ce sont d'abord des graines,
d'especes cultivees dans notre jardin^et de plantes cultivees en
grand dans ce pays. Je ne suis pas parvenu encore a me pro-
curer les C^reales cultivees dans les plus hautes parties de la
Suisse, mais j'ai pense que les varietes usitees dans nos plaines
reussiraient peut dtre mieux dans I'lnde que les semences
venues d'Angleterre. On estime en agriculture qu'il faut
cro'iser les semences, c'est-a-dire semer dans un pays des bles
venant d'un autre, afin qu'ils aient des qualites differentes
de celles que le climat du pays a pu donner. C'est dans cette
idee que je vous ai envo)'e des c6reales et des legumes com-
muns de ce pays. D'ailleurs nos legumes du continent sont
preferables a ceux de I'Angleterre, et leurs graines sont plus
mures. Une autre fois je pourrai probablement vous donner
des especes alpines et des cereales des hautes regions."

Arrival of the With regard to the time and state of the ar-

Seeds in India> .

rival of the seeds in India, Dr. Wallich, express-
ing his grateful thanks to the Court of Directors,
wrote on the 24th August 1839, that the noble
packet of seeds dispatched on the 11th of May
had arrived there on the 12th July. The seeds
having been immediately sown, several had already
vegetated ; of these, the highly interesting Sea
Island Cotton germinated in four days. Of the
moderate supply of the latter, he had furnished
small quantities to a number of practical men,
as Capt. Jenkins and Dr. Wight. He particularly
requests that assortments of seeds may be con-
tinued to be sent, especially those from South


America and the West Indies, as they succeed, in Amvarofthe
general, remarkably well, and that on his part he
would do his utmost to reciprocate, by endea-
vouring to obtain the sort of temperate zone seeds
that are so much desired in England.

Dr. Falconer, to whom the first supplies had
been sent, complains of the packing not having
been sufficient to keep out the wet, as some Ma-
hogany seeds and others had arrived in a damp
and rotten state. India rubber cloth having
been adopted for the packing of all the subse-
quent despatches, he writes, " Your August and
September despatches have arrived in excellent
order. The double India rubber mode of packing
is admirable — it could not be better." The seeds
he describes as excellent of their kind, and the
supply of vegetable seeds as exceedingly valua-
ble. He requests a fresh supply, so as to reach
him in February for sowing in the hills, also as
many flower seeds as possible both for sowing in
the hills and plains.

The seeds collected in India, as is evident Seeds from in-
from the diversified nature of the country, will
require very different kinds of climate. The kinds
most valued here are such as are suited to the
climate of the country, and therefore can only be
obtained in the mountains, at such elevations as the
region of Oaks. Those first sent, having been
collected by the zeal of several officers, were more
promiscuous in nature than is esteemed by the
generality of horticulturists. But the later collec-
tions have been excellent in selection, and packed


Transmission SO perfectly Well, as to arrive here in as fresh a
India. * state as possible. This is evident from tlie follow-

ing documents of the vegetation of seeds wliich
hardly ever vegetated here before.

Speaking generally, it may be said that it is
desirable to send a selection rather than a great
variety of seeds. At first, from being collected in
different localities, and by different individuals,
many duplicate parcels were sent. It seems advis-
able, therefore, that seeds collected for transmis-
sion to this country should be forwarded to the
Superintendents of the Botanic Gardens in the
different presidencies, who should, with as little
delay as possible , inspect, select, and if j)Ossil)le
name such as it was deemed necessary to send,
and to separate the few from the plains and
vallies requiring a hot climate from those suited
to the open culture of this c6untry. The kinds of
seed most valued here are those of ornamental
or useful flowering plants and shrubs, or such as
are likely to be useful as timber trees, or other-
wise. By this means, though the bulk and num-
ber of the packages would be curtailed, their
value would remain undiminished.
Distributed in The sccds rcccivcd havc been distributed to
andonTh? public gardens, and to distinguished individuals.
Continent. |^^^|^ ^^ (^^.^^^ Britain and on the Continent,

keeping in view the interchange of seeds. The
majority of those to whom seeds have been sent
have expressed their intention of sending others
in return, and many have already done so. I may
instance Count Woronzow and M.A.De Candolle,


as havins: already done so from the Continent. Growth of Hi.

_ ^ ^ *^ inala>-an seeds

The opinions of Dr. Lindley and Messrs. Lod- "» England.
diges are subjoined, as showing the success at-
tending the new mode of transmission with seeds,
received chiefly from Dr. Falconer.

*' Horticultural Society of London,
" My Dear Sir, '* August 24, 1840.

*' I have great pleasure in informing you that the result of
the seeds, for which we have so repeatedly been indebted to the
liberality of the Honourable Court of Directors, has been most
satisfactory. A very considerable number of fruit trees, shrubs,
and handsome herbaceous plants have already been secured to
the country. Among the former are the Deodar in abundance,
as well as other Himalayan Coniferae and Betula Bhojpattra,
which would alone render the exertions of the Company in the
introduction of new plants of national importance, especially
since the large quantity of such things which is imported
renders it practicable at once to disperse them through the

'* Should you desire to have a detailed return of the plants

of all kinds that have been raised in the Society's Garden, it

shall be provided without loss of time.

" Yours faithfully,

" John Lindley."
" Professor Royle."

" Dear Su-, " Hackney, June 23, 1840.

" We are happy to be able to inform you, that the seeds of
Pinus Deodara which you were kind enough to send us, have
grown perfectly well, scarcely one failing. Also Pinus Web-
biana, excelsa, and Khutrow. The advantages of getting seeds
overland are most decided ; we have had great quantities of
Deodara sent by sea from time to time, and hardly ever got
one to grow, whereas these quite surpassed air our expectations.
" We remain, dear Sir, yours very truly,

" To Dr. Royle." " C. Loddiges & Sons.''

2 R


Resources of Fi'om the enumeration of a few only of the veee-

India. _ "^ ^

table resources of India, and the success which
has attended the introduction of many not indi-
genous to its soil, we may, with no undue confi-
dence, anticipate the most successful results. Of
this any one may be convinced, if they consider,
as the Author has already said elsewhere, that
the southern part of the Indian peninsula, like
Ceylon, is suited to the cultivation of Cinnamon,
Coco, Nutmegs, and other Spices, and the coast
of Malabar for Pepper, Cardamoms, Coffee, and
Teak. But they are not more so than are Bengal
and the lower provinces of that presidency, for
their rich cultivation of Rice, Indigo, and Silk,
with Ginger, Turmeric, Long Pepper, and Betlel
leaf, luxuriant Bamboos, bread-like Plantains,
ever useful Cocoa nut, and ?• lender A reca. The
northern provinces having a less ricli soil and drier
climate, may boast of their Wheat, Barley, and
Potatoe culture, at one season of the year, with
Rice, Sorghum, &c., at another ; as well as of
their fitness, together with Malwa, Bundlecund,
the West of India, and other parts of the Penin-
sula, for the production of Cotton, Tobacco, and
Opium, while Sugar, numerous Oil seeds, and
substitutes for Hemp and Flax are produced in
nearly every part. Almost every jungle is occu-
pied by the Lac insect, and Kino is yielded by the
Dhak(Butea). The most barren hills afford Oliba-
num, and the most arid looking plains will nourisii
the gum secreting Acacias, and the Mouhwa or


Bassia, of which the flowers are fermented into a Resources of
spirit, the seeds expressed for their oil, and the
wood valued as excellent timber. Even in the
western desert, the lakes yield Salt, and their
shores are lined with plants, which are burned
for Barilla. The mountains, though their bases
are covered with a tropical and unhealthy jungle,
abounding in valuable timber, have at certain
elevations, a delightful climate, and productions
analogous to European countries. There we may
soon hope to see the Tea plant a thriving cul-
ture, and the Hemp turned to useful account.
Also, though the cold and bleak tops of these
mountains, and the plains on their northern
face, appear barren and unproductive, their lakes
abound with Borax, and their vallies with Vines ;
and we have in addition, Spikenard and Rhubarb
from the vegetable, with Musk from the animal

The multiplicity of subjects which such an conclusion.
investigation embraces, renders it, perhaps, diffi-
cult to determine which is the most important,
and with which, therefore, it would be most pro-
per to commence : whether with the mineral, the
vegetable, or the animal kingdom ; whether with
such products as are the result of art, or with
those which are the spontaneous production of
nature. But as we have displayed the advantages
derivable from the vegetable kingdom, and as the
revenue in India is derived chiefly from the land,
the culture of this, and the improvement of Agri-



Conclusion, culture, certainly claim the first place, and most
prominent attention, whether we consider the
improvement of the present, or the introduction
of new cultures. The more so, as in such a course
we can include all the vegetable w ith some animal
products. The improvement of Agriculture may
naturally be followed or accompanied by the means
to be adopted for the investigation and making
known the Natural Products of the country, whe-
ther of the Animal, the Vegetable, or the Mineral
kingdom ; and which may be valuable for Manu-
factures and Commerce. To comprehend the
diversities of so wide a field, to evolve its various
natural resources, and to display its manifold ca-
pabilities, is a task of no ordinary magnitude ;
but the benefits which may be insured are more
than commensurate to the difficulties to be over-
come ; and if we take only ordinary precaution
in suiting our measures to the objects we have in
view, every fresh step will afford an advanced
position from which to make further conquests,
for affording facilities to the Government, and
benefit to the People.




fVriitea at the request of the Govemer-GaieraL, Lord Auckiandy
previous to his departure Jor India, hy the Author.*

The introduction of Plants, both useful and
ornamental, into India from other countries,
though carried to some extent, has not yet been
effected to the degree which is advisable, consi-
dering the benefits to be derived, and the great
probability of success, if proper principles be
attended to, in the selection of plants and the
places into which they are introduced.

Of these, climate is the principal, and that of
the provinces of the Beng-al Presidency may be
considered under the three heads : first, that
of the Southern parts, or Bengal proper ; se-
condly, that of the Northern ; and thirdly, that of
the Hill Provinces. The climate of Central India
is different from all, but may be considered a
modification, in some measure, of the first and
second, combining the temperature of Bengal
with the dryness of the north-western provinces.

In introducing the seeds of annuals into any
part of the Bengal Presidency, except the Hills,

* Read 9th April 1836, and published in the Trans, of the
Agricultural and Horticultural Society of India. Vol. iii. p. 37.


it should be borne in mind, that having a cold,
a warm, and a rainy season, in the first, that
is, from October to March, they are able to grow
the products of European latitudes, and in the
others those which are peculiar to Tropical coun-

Hence, in proceeding from Europe, it is advis-
able, and always acceptable, to take fresh seeds
of kitchen-garden vegetables, though these in
India are now very good ; the different kinds of
" sweet herbs " might also be taken, as less com-
mon, and likely to be established easily in the
northern provinces. With respect to plants cul-
tivated as "flowers," many of those which are
found in English gardens, with the exception of
the spring flowers, will grow in Indian gardens
in the cold weather: especially such as require
the high summer temperature to bring them to
perfection, as many plants, common in Indian
gardens, are to be seen in the heighth of the
summer in those of England. Many of the late
introductions, therefore, from South America and
California, would be desirable in India and likely
to succeed, especially as the Botanic Gardens of
Calcutta and Saharunpore, separated by one
thousand miles of intervening country, allow of
experiments being made in almost the extreme
points of the Bengal Presidency. Fruit trees
have frequently been introduced from Liverpool,
by the Horticultural Society of India, though
the climate of the lower provinces is not well


suited for them ; but if plants can be conveyed
safe to the hills, grafts to any extent might be
distributed to the gardens in the plains.

But if it be desired to introduce plants which
may be permanently useful, it is requisite to
attend more particularly to the climate of the
countries where the plants are indigenous, as
well as to that of the different parts of India ; for
there is no doubt that, by a little care, we may
find something analogous to whatever may be

Bengal, though just beyond theTropics may be
considered as, in a great measure, participating in
a tropical climate ; as there is considerable uni-
formity of temperature and of moisture through-
out the year, and the cold of winter is never so
considerable as to kill many of the tropical produc-
tions of the vegetable kingdom. Here, therefore,
may be most fitly introduced many of the pro-
ductions which form the riches of the Indian
Archipelago, though parts of the Indian and
Malayan Peninsulas are better suited for the
subsequent cultivation. Many also of the plants
of Brazil, of the northern parts of South America,
as well as of the West Indies, would succeed well
in Bengal and most parts of India. Indeed many
have already been introduced by means of the
Calcutta Botanic Garden, and are distributing
throughout the country, as the Log-wood, and
Mahogany, Coco, Arrow Root, Avocado Pear,
Pimento, Annotto. Others, previously introduced.


are common in every part of India, as the Pine-
apple, Guava, Papaya, Capsicum, and Tobacco.
The success attending these is our best guarantee
for that which may attend all subsequent en-

The Cotton and Tobacco of America, it is well
known, are far superior in quality to that produced
in India, and even the Rice of the former brings
double the price of that from the latter country.
The Company have for some time adopted mea-
sures for importing Cotton and Tobacco Seed
from America into India ; but with Rice, it seems
worthy of inquiry whether it be owing to in-
feriority of production, or to badness of selection,
that so indifferent an article is sent to England.
So impressed was a Liverpool merchant of the
benelit likely to attend an improvement in the
Rice imported into England from India, that he
actually sent some bags of American Rice to his
correspondents in Calcutta, which in cleaning had
been deprived of the embryo, as well as of the
husk, and of which consequently there was as
little possibility of vegetating as of kiln-dried
hops, which have likewise been sent to India by
practical people. The Pernambuco Cotton seems
particularly desirable, asKoster, in his account of
Brazil, states that it improves in quality the far-
ther the cultivation recedes from the sea. The
Martaban and Persian Tobaccos are of so superior
a quality, that it seems as advisable to attempt
their extended cultivation, as the introduction of


the seed of the tobacco of the Havannah or of the

Among the plants which appear worthy of in-
troduction from America into India, the Cinchonas
are particularly desirable, and would, no doubt,
succeed on the Neilgheries ; the different kinds
of Ipecacua?iha, as Cephaelis Ipecacuanha afford-
ing the best, and Pyschotria emetica and her-
bacea, Richardsonia brasiliensis, rosea, and sea-
bra, which give inferior kinds ; Sarsaparilla,
Jalap^ Quassia, Guaiacum, Cusparia, Cascarilla ;
Copaifera yielding Balsam of Copaiba ; Balsams
of Tolu and Peru Trees ; Polygala Senega, Kra-
meria triandra ; Coutarea speciosa, a substitute for
Peruvian Bark, and Baccharis genistelloides is
another ; Dipterix odorata yielding the Tonquin
Bean ; Brazil Wood, Caesalpinia braziliensis ;
Rosewood, Jacaranda ovalifolia; Hevea guia-
nensis yielding Caoutchouc, as well as the Lobelia
yielding the same substance ; Schinus molle ;
Gum elemi tree ; BerthoUetia excelsa, or Brazil
nut tree, are all worthy of introduction, as well
as others — as the Cabbage Palm ; Araucaria im-
bricata; Orchideae, and among them the Vanilla;
Passion Flowers and Fuchsias, as ornamental
plants; Ilex Paraguensis, affording the Mate Tea,
might also be introduced, and from the East of
Africa the Calumba plant and Telfairia volubilis.

The northern, or rather the north-western, pro-
vinces of India, are hot and parched up during
the hot weather months, but water is always near


the surface. In the rainy season a great equa-
bility of temperature, owing to the moisture, is
produced all over India, so that in the northern
as in the southern parts. Rice is cultivated with
the other tropical grains. But in the winter the
cold is so considerable, that the thermometer
frequently falls below the freezing point ; but the
general fall and rise are so gradual, as to allow
of five months of very fine weather, during which
wheat and barley are cultivated in the fields, and
European kitchen-garden vegetables in gardens,

Online LibraryJ. Forbes (John Forbes) RoyleEssay on the productive resources of India [electronic resource] → online text (page 29 of 32)