10 OCTOBER 1840, Page 16


A MEDICAL practitioner in the Company's service in India for many years, Dr. ROYLE filled, amongst other employments, that of Superintendent of the Botanic Garden at Saharunpore. lie is also favourably known as the author of Illustrations of the Botany, .4.c. of the Himalaya Mountains, and an Essay on the .,4ntiquity of Hindoo Medicine; which display great industry and extensive research. The bent of the writer's genius, or the circumstances of his train- ing, seem, however, to have been more favourable to the develop- ment of scholastic learning, than to that penetrating and active prin- ciple, which, seizing at once upon the pith of its subject, deduces the directly useful, either by originating something new, improving something established, or deciding that little can be done save by chance and time.

The defects of the Essay on the Productive Resources of India are traceable to this quality. The work takes a wide survey of cultivation in different countries at different periods, and shows how little mere fertility of soil, or even of climate, has, alone, contri- buted to the productiveness of agriculture or the excellence of its products. By some striking examples it shows what wonders skill and industry may achieve under the greatest supposed dis- advantages : it collects together many curious facts from widely- scattered sources in political economy and agriculture, and pre- sents them clearly to the mind, whilst it impresses them by striking illustrations. The Essay also contains an account of the dif- ferent productions of India, and the means which have been pursued by enterprising individuals, under the munificent patronage of the Company, to improve those indigenous products, or to intro- duce new ones; and furnishes in this point of view a complete coup d'wil of Indian agriculture and horticulture. But as a prac- tical work it is deficient : its materials are much more drawn from books or documents than from actual observation : it tells us little of the actual practice of agriculture in the East, and not a great deal of the details of the plaits pursued in the public establishments or the attempts of individuals. Hence its two defects—one lite- rary, one practical. Being derived from books instead of observa- tion, the work wants raciness, and smacks too much of the office or the school. In a practical view, its suggestions arc too abstract to be other than of a remote utility, furnishing an experimentalist on a large scale, like a government, with useful hints, but giving little information to the speculator who looks for probable profits and a quick return in his undertakings. In stating that the work is scholastic, we ought also to state that it is done in a very effective and masterly way. 1)r. Itort.E has read with a distinct object, and has selected, front multiftrious works, that alone which would answer his purpose ; whilst he has enriched his matter with the pith of many sciences. Take for ex- ample, this account of


The influence of plants, even of those of the lowest grade, is much greater than what would at first appear to an unreflecting observe •; fur even the jelly- like forms of vegetation seen floating out stagnant water, afford nourishment to animalcules, which are themselves to serve as fiord to more highly-developed animals. Sea-weeds afford sustenance to many fish, and even to the dugong and lamantine of the tropical seas, as well as to the huge hippopotamus. Lichens and mosses are among the first plants to grow upon newly .finaned lands, and may he seen vegetating even upon the barren rock. 'Phase, insig. nificant as they may appear, afford by their decay a portion of organized matter to barren soil, and allow of the vegetation of grasses and other small herbaceous plants, which decaying in their turn, give additional organized matter to enrich the soil, and thus prevent that which has been long in cultiva- tion from becoming sterile. Myriads also of the minutest as well as of the largest living beings feed upon vegetable matter ; even the insignificant rock-moss serves as thud for the rein-deer, the pasture-grasses fur herds of ruminating cattle, and the leaves of 'trees for the largest quadrupeds now seen upon the surfbee of the earth. From the great similarity in nature of the different pasture-grasses in crony part of the world, Mall has been able to transport cattle into the various countries of the earth which lie has chosen to colonize. Some fruits afford nutriment to birds and small quadrupeds; while others, employed as such by man, firm, with vegetables, the chief objects of to tention to the gardener, and the prin- ciples of their culture the science of horticulture ; while the cereal grasses, as yielding the greater portion of the food of man, form the principal objects of agriculture.


The result in Great Britain is, that a very large proportion of the imports consists of raw produce obtained from the vegetable kingdom. Titus, in the year 1836, the net produce of the Customhouse-duties amounted to 22,774,991/, Of this large sum, 981 per cent. of the whole, or 22,376,869/. was collected upon forty-five articles ; that is, no less than 21,127,4551. upon vegetable, 1,177,091/. upon animal, and only 72,323/. upon mineral substances. Theo sums are certainly not in proportion to the importance to the country of the three kingdoms of nature, as the exports consist chiefly of manufactured articles, both of mineral and animal products, as well as of the vegetable sub. stances previously imported; but they very strikingly confirm the unportanee of the vegetable kingdom.


The Hindoo modes of' culture are in many respects peculiar ; as in sowing several kinds of seed together and collecting the different crops as they sue- cesaively come to perfection. Though their rice is collected year after year, and Mien twice in the same year in the same field without manure, they are well acquainted with the improving effects on hand of the culture of le!mini. nous plants; and also that the corn-grasses, rice excepted, impoverish it: whence Dr. Roxburgh was of opinion, that " the Wester', parts of the Old World first learned thwart of changing their craps." They have, besides, em- ployed the drill-plough from time immemorial, though this is considered a modern European invention.


It is curious, that many to whom improvements in agriculture are traced, were not professional farmers, but men engaged in other pursuits, NOLO, With cultivated minds, turned their attention also to this subject. Thus the first English Treatise on Husbandry Wag written by Sir A. Fitzlierbert;Judge of the Common Pleas in 1534, and front this, Haste, Canon of Windsor, in his Essays on Agriculture, dates the revival of agriculture in Eogland. Tosser, the author of "Five Hundred Points of Husbandry," published in 1562, was a scholar of Eton, and afterwards of Trinity Hall, Cambridge, before he applied to fanning and literature. Sir R. Weston, who was Amoassador from Eng- land to the Elector Palatine and King of Bohemia in 1619, introduced clover into England ; his Discourse on the Husbandry of Brabant and Flanders was published in 1645, AA is said to mark the dawn of the vast improvements which have since been effected in Britain. Evelyn, who is considered one of the greatest encouragers of improvements that had ever appeared, was, as is well known a gentleman attached to literature and science, and often employed in the public service. Ile published, in 1664, his " Sylva, or a Discourse on Forest-trees and the Propagation of Timber in his IMa je4ty's dominions," with many other works, which bad a great influence in the itopmve wont of the country. Jethro Tull, who introduced the drill husbandry, :and published his work on Horse-hoeing Husbandry in 1731, was Nelda barrister; tie first made experiments on his own estate, and then practised farming.


It is curious in reading the early accounts of the culture of this country, to observe the want of skill apparent in want of success, and how frequently this is ascribed to unfruitfulness in the soil or to unsuitableness in the climate of Engltuth so that then even " kitchen-garden wares were imported from Holland, and fruits from France." Dr. Boleyn° ascribes the inferiority to want of cultivation ; and Oldys, alluding to the depreciation of the English soil and climate, by sonic adducing the fine garden of Gerrard, says, hence it would appear that " our ground- could. produce other fruits besides 145 and ilaWs, acorns and pignuts." In the present day we are in the habit of hearing similar statements respecting the unsuitableness of the Indian soil, at one time for the production of cotton, at another fur that of sugar and tobacco; while Indian coffee is hardly thought of, and its hemp despised. Its opium is under- valued in comparison with that of Turkey, and even all its nee is thought, almost necessarily, inferior to that of America, because most of that is so which is imported here. Its spices and its indigo are, perhaps, alone tic. knowledged to be superior to that of other parts of the world. It will not, however, be difficult to prove that in India, as formerly in Dighton', hasty generalizations have ascribed to poverty of soil that which is oiling to defi- ciency of skill. Therefore we may reasonably hope, as we shrill endeavour to show, that by following the course which has been so successfully pursued iu civilized Europe, that is, the application of principles to practice, we may entertain a rational certainty of obtaining, equally successful results.

The productions that, for immediate profit, seem most likely to succeed in India, are tea and cotton. The recent discovery of the tea-plant in Assam, and the strong probability that a good article may be produced to any extent, coupled with the stimulus that may be given to its culture by the interruption of our intercourse with China, will perhaps permanently introduce the Assam tea into use. The Company have even but now procured front America, planters, seeds, and machinery, to endeavour to introduce into India an im- proved method of cultivating the cotton of Ilindostan, and pre- paring it for the market. Sugar and coffee, too, arc articles which India ought to supply, and probably would have supplied but for the protective ditties. In a few instances these have lately been reduced, but they are still enormously high. See that on coffee, for instance- " The disadvantages under which Indian-grown coffee has to labour are still considerable ; as Mr. Larpent, in his evidence before` the Committee of the House of Lords, 4th March 1840, states, that coffee from British possessions within the Company's limits pays Or./. per pound duty, while that from British, possessions, such as Ceylon and the West !lilies, pays only 6,/, Thus, Ceylon coffee sells in London from 100s. to 1128. a hundredweight, and Malabar at 75e. to 86s. This would appear to be owing to inferiority of quality in the latter, but is, in fact, merely the difference of duty, as 3d. a pound, or 2$o. additional duty, :palled to these prices, will make them 1035. and 114s., showing the coffees to be of at least equal quality, though so dilrerent a price is obtained by the original importers. A still higher duty, or ls. per pound, is levied it' the coffee be the produce of glares within the Com- pany's limits, such as Mysore, but which, thoug,lt not strictly British posses. sons, are under British protection, and the affairs are managed by Britidt officers. British maim fail ores, however, such as cotton piece-goods imported into Whilst an ad ralonu dot; of only 31; percent., barrio;{ once paid this duty, art, free to pass into all such territories which the British Government how- ever chooses to consider as foreign, whenever it has to admit even the produce of their soil, in exchange for the British manufactures upon which so light a duty is levied."

One of the most striking conclusions to be drawn front this vo- lume, is the predominance of skill and industry over mere natural advantages. Cotton, sugar, and rice, arc products indigenous to India, for which she has been famed from the earliest ages ; yet site is now surpassed, and was ahnost driven out of the market in these commnodities, by time West Indies and America, with slave-labour but White superintendence.