This eBook was produced by Les Bowler from the 1847 edition.
JOURNALS OF TRAVELS IN ASSAM, BURMA, BHOOTAN, AFGHANISTAN AND THE
By William Griffith.
Arranged by John M'Clelland.
[Sketch of William Griffith: pf.jpg]
Notice of the author from the Proceedings of the Linnaean Society, and
Extracts from Correspondence.
I Proceeding with the Assam Deputation for the Examination of the
II Journal of an Excursion in the Mishmee Mountains.
III Tea localities in the Muttock Districts, Upper Assam.
IV Journey from Upper Assam towards Hookum.
V Journey from Hookum to Ava.
VI Botanical Notes written in pencil, connected with the foregoing
VII General Report on the foregoing.
VIII Notes on descending the Irrawaddi from Ava to Rangoon, written in
IX Journey towards Assam.
X Continuation of the same, with Notes on the Distribution of
XI Journey from Assam into Bootan, with Notes on the Distribution of
XII Continuation of the Journey in Bootan.
XIII Return of the Mission from Bootan, with Meteorological
XIV Journey with the Army of the Indus, from Loodianah to Candahar.
XV Journey from Candahar to Cabul.
XVI Journey from Cabul to Bamean - the Helmund and Oxus rivers.
XVII Journey from Cabul to Jallalabad and Peshawur.
XVIII Journey from Peshawur to Pushut.
XIX On the Reproductive Organs of Acotyledonous plants.
XX Journey from Pushut to Kuttoor and Barowl in Kaffiristan, and
return to Pushut and Cabul.
XXI Journey from Cabul to Kohi-Baba.
XXII Journey from Peshawur to Lahore.
XXIII Journey from Lahore to Simla.
XXIV Barometrical Heights and Latitudes of places visited throughout
LIST OF PLATES.
I VIEW FROM NUNKLOW
II THE VILLAGE OF NUNKLOW
III CAPTAIN MATHIE'S CUTCHERRY, THE BOOTAN HILLS, AND HIMALAYA
IV THE HIMALAYA FROM RANGAGURRAH
V BRAMAKHOOND AND FAQUEER'S ROCK
VI THE MORI-PANEE AS IT ENTERS THE KHOOND
VII THE DEO-PANEE AS IT ENTERS THE KHOOND
VIII THE VALLEY OF HOOKUM
X VIEW FROM BEESA
XI VIEW ON THE JHEELS
XII THE OK-KLONG ROCK
XIII KULLONG BRIDGE
XIV TASSGOUNG FROM UPPER KULONG
XVII BAMEAN IDOLS
XVIII Map of the Khyber Pass
NOTICE OF WILLIAM GRIFFITH, from the Proceedings of the Linnaean Society,
with a few extracts from his private correspondence.
"WILLIAM GRIFFITH, Esq., the youngest son of the late Thomas Griffith,
was born on the 4th of March 1810, at his father's residence at Ham
Common, near Kingston-upon-Thames, in the county of Surrey.
"He was educated for the Medical profession, and completed his studies at
the London University, where he became a pupil of Prof. Lindley, under
whose able instructions, assisted by the zealous friendship of Mr. R. H.
Solly, and in conjunction with two fellow pupils of great scientific
promise, Mr. Slack and Mr. Valentine, he made rapid progress in the
acquisition of botanical knowledge. The first public proofs that he gave
of his abilities are contained in a microscopic delineation of the
structure of the wood and an analysis of the flower of _Phytocrene_
_gigantea_, in the third volume of Dr. Wallich's 'Plantae Asiaticae
Rariores'; and in a note on the development and structure of _Targionia_
_hypophylla_, appended to M. de Mirbel's Dissertation on _Marchantia_
_polymorpha_, both published in 1832. So highly were his talents as an
observer appreciated at this early period, that Dr. Wallich speaks of him
as one "whose extraordinary talents and knowledge as a botanist, entitle
him to the respect of all lovers of the science;" and M. de Mirbel
characterizes him as "jeune Anglois, tres instruit, tres zele et fort bon
"His note on _Targionia_ is dated Paris, April 2nd, 1832, and in the
month of May of the same year, having finished his studies at the London
University with great distinction, he sailed from England for India,
which was destined to be the scene of his future labours. He arrived at
Madras on the 24th of September, and immediately received his appointment
as Assistant-Surgeon in the service of the East India Company.
"His first appointment in India was to the coast of Tenasserim; but in
the year 1835 he was attached to the Bengal Presidency, and was selected
to form one of a deputation, consisting of Dr. Wallich and himself as
botanists, and Mr. MacClelland as geologist, to visit and inspect the Tea-
forests (as they were called) of Assam, and to make researches in the
natural history of that almost unexplored district.
"This mission was for Mr. Griffith the commencement of a series of
journeys in pursuit of botanical knowledge, embracing nearly the whole
extent of the East India Company's extra-peninsular possessions, and
adding large collections, in every branch of natural history, but
especially botany, to those which, under the auspices of the Indian
Government, had previously been formed. He next, under the directions of
Capt. Jenkins, the Commissioner, pushed his investigations to the utmost
eastern limit of the Company's territory, traversing the hitherto
unexplored tracts in the neighbourhood of the Mishmee mountains which lie
between Suddiya and Ava. Of the splendid collection of insects formed
during this part of his tour some account has been given by Mr. Hope in
the Transactions of the Entomological Society and in the eighteenth
volume of our own Transactions.
"His collection of plants was also largely increased on this remarkable
journey, which was followed by a still more perilous expedition,
commenced in February of the following year, from Assam through the
Burmese dominions to Ava, and down the Irrawadi to Rangoon, in the course
of which he was reported to have been assassinated. The hardships
through which he passed during the journey and his excessive application
produced, soon after his arrival in Calcutta, a severe attack of fever:
on his recovery from which he was appointed Surgeon to the Embassy to
Bootan, then about to depart under the charge of the late Major
Pemberton. He took this opportunity of revisiting the Khasiya Hills,
among which he formed a most extensive collection; and having joined
Major Pemberton at Goalpara, traversed with him above 400 miles of the
Bootan country, from which he returned to Calcutta about the end of June
1839. In November of the same year he joined the army of the Indus in a
scientific capacity, and penetrated, after the subjugation of Cabool,
beyond the Hindoo Khoosh into Khorassan, from whence, as well as from
Affghanistan, he brought collections of great value and extent. During
these arduous journeys his health had several times suffered most
severely, and he was more than once reduced by fever to a state of
extreme exhaustion; but up to this time the strength of his constitution
enabled him to triumph over the attacks of disease, and the energy of his
mind was so great, that the first days of convalescence found him again
as actively employed as ever.
"On his return to Calcutta in August 1841, after visiting Simla and the
Nerbudda, he was appointed to the medical duties at Malacca: but Dr.
Wallich having proceeded to the Cape for the re-establishment of his
health, Mr. Griffith was recalled in August 1842 to take, during his
absence, the superintendence of the Botanic Garden near Calcutta, in
conjunction with which he also discharged the duties of Botanical
Professor in the Medical College to the great advantage of the students.
Towards the end of 1844 Dr. Wallich resumed his functions at the Botanic
Garden. In September Mr. Griffith married Miss Henderson, the sister of
the wife of his brother, Captain Griffith, and on the 11th of December he
quitted Calcutta to return to Malacca, where he arrived on the 9th of
January in the present year. On the 31st of the same month he was
attacked by hepatitis, and notwithstanding every attention on the part of
the medical officer who had officiated during his absence, and who
fortunately still remained, he gradually sunk under the attack, which
terminated fatally on the 9th of February. "His constitution," says his
attached friend, Mr. MacClelland, in a letter to Dr. Horsfield, "seemed
for the last two or three years greatly shattered, his energies alone
remaining unchanged. Exposure during his former journeys and travels
laid the seeds of his fatal malady in his constitution, while his anxiety
about his pursuits and his zeal increased. He became care-worn and
haggard in his looks, often complaining of anomalous symptoms, marked by
an extreme rapidity of pulse, in consequence of which he had left off
wine for some years past, and was obliged to observe great care and
attention in his diet. In Affghanistan he was very nearly carried off by
fever, to which he had been subject in his former travels in Assam. No
government ever had a more devoted or zealous servant, and I impute much
of the evil consequences to his health to his attempting more than the
means at his disposal enabled him to accomplish with justice to himself."
"The most important of Mr. Griffith's published memoirs are contained in
the Transactions of the Linnaean Society. Previous to starting on his
mission to Assam, he communicated to the Society the first two of a
series of valuable papers on the development of the vegetable ovulum in
_Santalum_, _Loranthus_, _Viscum_, and some other plants, the anomalous
structure of which appeared calculated to throw light on this still
obscure and difficult subject. These papers are entitled as follows: -
1. On the Ovulum of _Santalum album_. Linn. Trans. xviii. p. 57.
2. Notes on the Development of the Ovulum of _Loranthus_ and _Viscum_;
and on the mode of Parasitism of these two genera. Linn. Trans. xviii.
3. On the Ovulum of _Santalum_, _Osyris_, _Loranthus_ and _Viscum_.
Linn. Trans. xix. p. 171.
"Another memoir, or rather series of memoirs, "On the Root-Parasites,
referred by authors to _Rhizantheae_, and on various plants related to
them," occupies the first place in the Part of our Transactions which is
now in the press, with the exception of the portion relating to
_Balanophoreae_, unavoidably deferred to the next following Part. In
this memoir, as in those which preceded it, Mr. Griffith deals with some
of the most obscure and difficult questions of vegetable physiology, on
which his minute and elaborate researches into the singularly anomalous
structure of the curious plants referred to will be found to have thrown
much new and valuable light.
"In India, on his return from his Assamese journey, he published in the
'Transactions of the Agricultural Society of Calcutta,' a 'Report on the
Tea-plant of Upper Assam,' which, although for reasons stated avowedly
incomplete, contains a large amount of useful information on a subject
which was then considered of great practical importance. He also
published in the 'Asiatic Researches,' in the 'Journal of the Asiatic
Society of Bengal,' and in the 'Transactions of the Medical and Physical
Society of Calcutta,' numerous valuable botanical papers; but the most
important of his Indian publications are contained in the 'Calcutta
Journal of Natural History,' edited jointly by Mr. MacClelland and
himself. Of these it may be sufficient at present to refer to his memoir
"On _Azolla_ and _Salvinia_," two very remarkable plants which he has
most elaborately illustrated, and in relation to which he has entered
into some very curious speculations; and his still unfinished monograph
of "The Palms of British India," which promises to be a highly important
contribution to our knowledge of a group hitherto almost a sealed book to
"But the great object of his life, that for which all his other labours
were but a preparation, was the publication of a General Scientific Flora
of India, a task of immense extent, labour and importance. To the
acquisition of materials for this task, in the shape of collections,
dissections, drawings and descriptions, made under the most favourable
circumstances, he had devoted twelve years of unremitted exertion. His
own collections, (not including those formed in Cabool and the
neighbouring countries) he estimated at 2500 species from the Khasiya
Hills, 2000 from the Tenasserim provinces, 1000 from the province of
Assam, 1200 from the Himalaya range in the Mishmee country, 1700 from the
same great range in the country of Bootan, 1000 from the neighbourhood of
Calcutta, and 1200 from the Naga Hills at the extreme east of Upper
Assam, from the valley of Hookhoong, the district of Mogam, and from the
tract of the Irrawadi between Mogam and Ava. Even after making large
deductions from the sum-total of these numbers on account of the forms
common to two or more of the collections, the amount of materials thus
brought together by one man must be regarded as enormous. The time was
approaching when he believed that he could render these vast collections
subservient to the great end which he had in view. He had some time
since issued an invitation to many eminent botanists in Europe to
co-operate with him in the elaboration of particular families; and he
purposed after a few years' additional residence in India to return to
England with all his materials, and to occupy himself in giving to the
world the results of his unwearied labours. But this purpose was not
destined to be fulfilled, his collections have passed by his directions
into the hands of the East India Company, and there can be no doubt, from
the well-known liberality of the Directors, which this Society in
particular has so often experienced, that they will be so disposed of by
that enlightened body as to fulfil at once the demands of science and the
last wishes of the faithful and devoted servant by whom they were formed.
It is hoped too, that the most important of his unpublished materials,
both in drawings and manuscripts, will be given to the world in a manner
worthy of the author and of the rank in science which he
filled." - _Proceedings of the Linnaean Society_, No. xxv, 1845.
To the foregoing brief sketch which was read before the Linnaean Society
at the Anniversary Meeting 24th May 1845, it is scarcely necessary to
make any addition. It is worthy of remark however, as showing how
talents sometimes run in families, that Mr. Griffith was great grandson
of Jeremiah Meyer, Historical Painter to George the Second, and one of
the founders of the Royal Academy. It is also but fair to state on the
present occasion, that he was not himself the only member of the family
who would appear to have inherited something of his grandfather's
peculiar art, as we owe the transfer of the landscapes to stone, which
add so much to the appearance of the following volume, to the talent and
kindness of his sister.
It may perhaps be acceptable in this place to afford a few extracts from
the private letters of Mr. Griffith, especially those in which he adverts
with a liberality of feeling to his contemporaries, no less honourable to
himself than to the persons mentioned.
The following notes addressed to his uncle, at various periods, exhibit
the sentiments with which he regarded the late Mr. Bauer not merely as an
artist, but original observer.
* * * * *
_From letters of Mr. GRIFFITH, to Mr. MEYER_.
_Mergui_: _January 17th_, 1835.
"My last accounts of Mr. Bauer state him to have been in excellent
health: he had just completed some more of his unrivalled drawings."
* * * * *
_Suddya_: _December 30th_, 1836.
"Pray give the compliments of the season to Mr. Bauer, to whom I look up
with the greatest admiration: what a pity it is for science that such a
life as his is not renewable _ad libitum_. Tell him that I have a
beautiful new genus allied to Rafflesia, the flowers of which are about a
span across, it is dioecious and icosandrous, and has an abominable
smell. How I look back occasionally on my frequent and delightful visits
* * * * *
To MRS. H - -.
_Serampore_, _Calcutta_: _July 22nd_,
"I was aware of the departure of Mr. Bauer through the _Athenaeum_, in
which an excellent notice of him appeared. He certainly was a man to
whom I looked up with constant admiration: he was incomparable in several
respects, and I am happy to find, that his death was so characteristic of
his most inoffensive and meritorious life. It is also very pleasing to
me to find that he continued to think well of me. How I should have been
able to delight him had he lived a few years longer."
* * * * *
_Calcutta_: _June_, 1843.
"Poor Mr. Bauer, we never shall see his like again, I have seen but few
notices of his life, which assuredly is worthy of study. There is not a
place I shall visit with better feelings than Kew, it has so many
pleasant associations even from my school-days."
* * * * *
_Calcutta_: _December 31st_, 1843.
"Mr. Bauer is not half appreciated yet; he is considered a very great
artist, but what is that to what he was? But he did not fight for his
own hand, though he worked hard enough in all conscience. Mr. Bauer in
fact preceded all in the train of discovery: he saw in 1797, what others
did not see till 30 years after. For instance, the elongation of the
pollens' inner membrane into a tube, the first step towards the
_complete_ knowledge we now have of vegetable embryogeny. Unfortunately,
Mr. Bauer drew, but did not write, and when I recall to mind a remark of
Mr. Brown, that it was a disadvantage to be able to draw, I always fancy
he had Bauer in his mind's eye; for had he been a writer and not a
drawer, before 1800, in great probability we should have known nearly as
much of embryogeny as we do now. But he shut his portfolio, and folks
went on believing the old fovivillose doctrine and bursting of the
pollen, which, his observations of the pollens' inner membrane, would
have destroyed at once. Then with regard to Orchideae and Asclepiadeae,
he was equally in advance: it would be a rich treat if some one would
come forward and publish a selection from his drawings, without a word of
* * * * *
_Calcutta_: _February 11th_, 1844.
"Mr. Bauer's light is not yet set on the hill. Really when I look back
at his works I am lost in admiration, and always regret that he worked
more for others than for himself, and that he did not use his pen as
freely as he did his brush. When, in the name of all that is generous,
will great men think that true greatness consist in endeavouring to make
others more prominent than themselves?"
For some years before his death, Mr. Griffith would appear to have had a
presentiment that he would not be spared to complete the description of
all his collections. On one occasion, when enumerating those who might
contribute most efficiently to this object, in the event of its not being
permitted to himself, he writes: -
"I cannot however refrain from paying my tribute of respect to Mr. George
Bentham, the most industrious, perspicuous, and philosophical Botanist
who has systematically contributed to lessen the difficulties under which
Indian Botanists have generally suffered.
"There are a few others from whom the sincerity of friendship fully
warrants me in expecting every possible assistance: of these Dr. Wight is
already well known, and others are rising rapidly to fill, I hope, the
highest Botanical stations when these shall have been vacated by the
leviathans who now occupy them. Let not the cynic accuse me of
partiality when I mention the names of William Valentine, of Decaisne,
and C. M. Lemann."
He also delighted to speak and write in terms of the warmest regard of
those to whom he was indebted for facilities in his pursuits. To Lord
Auckland he invariably alluded in terms of the deepest gratitude - "Under
his Lordship's patronage" he remarks on one occasion, "I have received
such advantages as make me ashamed of the little I have done, and which
are constantly holding up before me my deficiencies in many branches of
enquiry connected with the physiology and distribution of plants."
* * * * *
The following letters are quoted chiefly for the additional information
they afford on the subject of his travels and pursuits. His letters to
Botanists would of course be more important and interesting.
* * * * *
_Suddyah_: _16th September_, 1836.
"I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of the cold weather, as on the 1st
of November I hope to accompany - - - to Ava, but in the meantime, I
intend proceeding in search of the tea plant to the Mishmee Hills,
especially about Bramakoond, where it is reported to grow. If I find it
there, I will endeavour to trace it up into the mountains, which form due
east of this an amphitheatre of high rugged peaks."
* * * * *
_November 1st_, 1836.
"I here write from the foot of the 'dreaded' Mishmee Hills. I left
Suddyah on the 15th October, and have already been to Bramakoond, where I
spent three days. I miss you much; you would have been delighted with
the place, which is nothing but rocks and hills. I am recruiting my
resources for a movement into the interior of the hills, in which I shall
follow Wilcox's route, taking with me 15 coolies, for whom I am
collecting grain. I have already made considerable collections, chiefly
however in Botany, with a few stones and birds. I hope before my return
to have seen Coptis teeta in flower, and to have proved that the Beese is
different from that of Nepal. I have already seen numbers of the
Mishmees who are civil people. I have however had great difficulties
with the Chief of the Khond, who though apparently friendly, will, I
fear, do all he can to hinder me from getting to Ghaloom, with the Gham
of which place I wish to have a conference."
* * * * *
_Noa Dihing Mookh_: _January 20th_,
"I have just returned from the trip to the Lohit much sooner than I
expected. I saw nothing of any consequence except rapids which are
horrid things, and make one quite nervous. I made a beautiful collection
on the Mishmee mountains, of which more anon. Many of the plants are
very interesting. I was however worked very hard, all my people being
sick: I had even to wash my own clothes, but I fear you will think I am
grumbling: so good-bye."
* * * * *
_Loodianah_: _11th December_, 1838.
"I arrived here in 14.5 days, notwithstanding some delays on the road,
and have put up with Cornet Robinson, Acting Political Agent. I am not
pleased with the up-country, and would rather live in Bengal, for I
cannot abide sandy plains and a deficiency of vegetation. Loodianah is a
curious place, very striking to a stranger, the town is large, built
under official direction, and consequently well arranged in comparison
with native towns: there is much trade carried on in it, and it has the
usual bustle of a large town.
"Capt. Wade's house is well situated on a rising ground, and the demesne
is a pretty one. Otherwise the country is ugly enough, and very bare,
yet it is here well wooded, in comparison with what I hear of Ferozepore.
Along the face of the hill near the town, a nullah flows, abounding in
fish, of which more anon. The rock pigeons, or grouse, are very
abundant, and there are two species, one remarkable for the elongated
side-feathers of the tail. Both are beautiful birds, but very difficult
of access. Crows, kites, vultures, adjutants, herons, Drongoles,
sparrows, parrots, etc. remain as before, but most of the less common
birds are different from those to the south; the most European are
genuine starlings; and, to my memory of eight years back, identical with
those of Europe. I have already got thirty to forty species of fish.
Cyprinidae, are by far the most common; one loach, and one of
"But as they are all from one water, viz. the neighbouring nullah, and
the Sutledge being five miles off, I shall put them all into bottles, and
send them off before I leave this. The most edible fish, and one of the
most common is the Roh, but it is not the Roh of Bengal, and might well