J. Forbes (John Forbes) Royle.

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

. (page 8 of 32)
Online LibraryJ. Forbes (John Forbes) RoyleEssay on the productive resources of India [electronic resource] → online text (page 8 of 32)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

tinued to make. The manufacturers eventually
attained a degree of skill, which in a climate
favourable to the plant, and backed by the cheap-
ness of labour in Bengal, enabled them to bid
defiance even to the more practised manufac-
turers of the West. The culture and manufacture
being established, Indigo has continued one of
the staple products of Bengal. Its goodness is per-
manently secured by the planters in Bengal and
the south-east provinces attending to the culture
of the plant and the manufacture of the Indigo,



Observations while tliose in the north-western parts of India

on history of ^

Indigo Culture: supply them with Seed. The moisture and rich-
ness of the Bengal soil and climate are fa-
vourable to the luxuriant growth of the parts
of vegetation, in which the colouring matter is
secreted ; while the comparative dryness of the
northern provinces enables them more easily to
perfect the parts of fructification. The whole
history, culture, and manufacture afford most
useful lessons for the means to be adopted for
ensuring success in other cultures, which at first
appear equally nnprofitable, but are not more
hopeless, inasmuch as they are substantive pro-
ducts, which do not depend upon the state of other
manufactures for their sale and consumption.

into India.

Culture of the Poppy in India.

tiS'odyeT Opium, so well known, and so extensively
produced, need hardly be adduced as an instance
of the physical capabilities of India for producing
valuable commodities ; were it not that the culti-
vation of the Poppy gives us an instructive lesson,
not afforded by the other cultures successfully
practised in India. Cotton, the Sugar-Cane, In-
digo, and Pepper, are all indigenous products of
the country, while the Poppy is a striking instance
of the successful introduction of a valuable plant
of more northern latitudes, into a hot country.
The history of the Poppy, and of Opium, its in-


spissated juice, are imperfectly known. Though Poppy and
extensively cultivated in India, the Poppy is also tory of.
common in the gardens of England. Very good
Opium has sometimes been prepared even in this
uncertain climate, and in France and Germany it
has been so very frequently. The Opium, so called
Turkish, is chiefly collected in Asia Minor, and is
exported to the extent of about 400,000lbs. from
Smyrna. It is produced at several places, at from Opium— vane-

, , ,. • , . . , tiesof;

ten to thn-ty days distance in the interior ; but that
grown at Caisar, about six hundred miles from
Smyrna, is the most esteemed for its cleanness and
good quality. Besides this, other kinds of Opium
are known in commerce, as that of Constanti-
nople, and of Trebisond, as well as the Egyptian.

The oldest notices of the Poppy are found in Poppy;
the works of the early Greek Physicians, where of.
not only the plant, but also its juice, is mentioned.
Opium, however, does not appear to have been so
generally employed as in modern times, or the
notices respecting it would have been more nu-
merous and definite. It seems also probable that
it first came into extensive use in Egypt. But,
from having been so long and so generally culti-
vated in Europe, and the northern parts of Asia,
the Poppy has spread, and become so completely where indige-
naturalized in different countries, that it is now
difficult to ascertain where it was originally indi-
genous. But, extensively as it is cultivated in In-
dia, it is remarkable that nowhere are even a
few stray plants to be seen in a wild state ; a


cultivated in sufficient indication that it is not a native of the

India, but not

found wild; country. This supposition is still further con-
firmed, by no other species of Poppy being found
in the plains, though the Author discovered one in
the mountains, and Mr. Griffith has sent the seeds
of a species of wild Poppy from Caubul. The
names of the Drug seem also to assist us in tracing

SnameT^"^'" ^^^ Origin to couutries beyond India. Opium isy
no doubt, derived from the Greek opos, (juice ;)
which may also be the origin of the Arabic
qfioon; and this latter, of the Hindee ap/iim. Ac-
cording to Professor Wilson, the only Sanscrit
term for Opium, is ahiphena ; this occurs in the
Medical Dictionary, called the " Raja Nighanta,"
and has every appearance of being borrowed and
adopted from the Arabic term. By the Chinese,
as we [learn from the Memorial of Heu-Naetse,
Vice-President of the Sacrificial Court, it is
called Afooyung in the Materia Medica of Le
Shechin, of the Ming dynasty. — (Correspondence
relating to China, 1840, p. 156.)

The Poppy, not being a native of tropical coun-
tries, is not cultivated in India during the seasons
which are characteristic of those climates, that is,
during the hot weather or rains ; but in what are

Poppy cuiti. the winter months of European climates, namely

vated during

the cold season, from October and November to March. 1 he great
heat is then sufficiently reduced to allow of the
successful cultivation, not only of this, but also
of other valuable plants requiring only the sum-
mer heat of northern latitudes; such as Wheat,


Barley, and European Kitchen-garden Vegetables, culture of the
As low temperatures enough occur throughout
the plains of India, the Poppy may be success-
fully cultivated from Behar, even to the banks of
the Sutlej, or in the several independent states
of the partially elevated table land of Central In-
dia, which are usually comprehended under the
name of Malwa. The Behar, or Patna Opium, Behar, or Pat-

na Opium ;

has long been esteemed of the finest quality for

the China market; but that of Malwa, contain- MaiwaOpium;

ing a large proportion of the narcotic principle,

has rapidly attained almost equal value. For

this it is probably indebted to the climate of

Central India; but the north-western provinces

could no doubt produce it of as fine a quality ; since

a specimen prepared at Bareilly was found to

contain the largest proportion of the narcotic

principle. Some Opium prepared by the Author JJ^Jj^cMr^*

at Saharunpore, was pronounced equal to the best

Turkey, for medical purposes, and this was very

similar to some procured in the Himalayas. The ^^^^l'' """^

latter is grown there much later in the season,

and collected nearly in the same months as in

Europe and Asia Minor, that is in May and June.

It can, no doubt, be prepared of the best quality

for the European market, both in the hills and

plains, whenever it is thought desirable to do so.

Though in the preparation ofmany of the valued opium requir-
articles of commerce, the Hindoos preceded most ""^ ** y

Online LibraryJ. Forbes (John Forbes) RoyleEssay on the productive resources of India [electronic resource] → online text (page 8 of 32)