« PreviousContinue »
" The inhabitants of this district live in large comfortable houses, which are thatched with grass and walls made of reeds. They are generally railed in, and all the villages have bamboo palisades surrounding them. The most conspicuous objects on approaching the town are the large cotton godowns erected on the bank of the river-these belong to the Chinese, 500 of whom there may be permanently residing in the town, which, with the numerous arrivals from different parts of the country, gives the place a very business-like appearance, and there is of course a good Bazaar. The Chinese bave erected a temple, and in the quarter occupied by that people, the houses, not temporary, are built of bricks stained blue. The streets are paved also with the same material.
“ The position of the modern town of Bamo is altogether well chosen, the high hard clay bank on which it is situated being completely beyond the highest rise of the river, which is one vast sea during the height of the rains, in conse. queuce of the narrow space into which its waters are confined in the passage through the range of hills, called the second Kyoukdwen,* about one day's journey below the town. The view from the bank, therefore, during the rainy season, extends over a small inland sea, studded with islands, having to the North-west the lower gorge of the third Kyoukdwer, or passage of the river through a range of mountains, and from the vast bed which the river naturally makes for itself when freed from its rocky limits, the view in the direction of this gorge, about ten miles distant, is, at this season, even grand and imposing. Opposite the town to the west the land is low, and an extensive chur, or alluvial island, runs parallel with the high Eastern bank, and which, at the proper season, is under cultivation, with all the different esculents in use with these vegetable-eating Bhudduts, the fields being generally kept by the women, who are to be seen passing to and fro at all hours, six or eight of these (Shan women) standing upright, paddling their canoes, and keeping time to a native air of their own.
“ The water of the river under the town is deep, but the bank being precipitous boats put to on the opposite sand. The water is peculiar from its light greenish hue, caused by the color of the clay in its bed.
"All Indo-Chinese people are jealous of European encroachments on them ; it was naturally to be expected therefore, that the advent of an European officer, at an unknown and prohibited mart, to all western Foreigners, would make enquiries with regard to inland traffic, with China particularly, attended with great difficulty. Amongst the Burmese, I certainly found it so, but with the Chinese themselves, there was very little unwillingness to impart to me all they knew.”
Col. Hannay recommends the settlement of a British Merchant at Bamo; twenty-five years ago, a Portuguese factory is said to have existed there, and the tradition regarding it is current among the natives :
“ Cutti Kaksu, near the lower gorge of the Second Kyoukdwen. below Bamo, is perhaps the site of the ancient Ura Thena and Cutti-gara.† The Polongs, in their personal appearance and habits in the present day, completely answer the description given of the Sesata or Basunare (literally Bussaneeahs, or petty traders) of the days of Ptolemy."
The report on the Botanic Garden is worthy of Dr. Thomson. It gives a history of the garden, and is full of practical and valuable suggestions as to its future working. Were they carried out, not
* Between Ava and Bamo, there are two Kyoukdwens or passages of the river, between a range of hills. Both are navigable at all times Third Kyoukdwen above Bamo, is not pavigable during the rainy scason. The depth of water in these rocky passages is very great, extending from ten to sixty fathoms.
† Kaksu, in the Shan language, signifies a fall or break in the level of the river, and may be considered synonimous with Gara.
merely would it be to a far greater extent than it now is the resort of the denizens of Calcutta, but it would recover that scientific celebrity and utility which it acquired under Dr. Wallich, but which, we fear, it has lost. It will not be Dr. Thomson's fault, if it does not recover it.
Dr. Thomson took charge of the garden in April, 1855. The head gardener Mr. Scott, of whom his chief speaks highly, was then on duty in Pegu, and hence many important horticultural operations were for a time suspended. The plan of issuing plants to all who applied for them was found to be a most injurious one. During last year, from June 1855 to February 1856, 15,865 plants were issued to 296 applicants. Selfish wishes for fruit trees, and especially grafted-mangoes, were thus largely satisfied, but the cause of science was not in the remotest degree promoted. Hence Dr. Thomson contemplates with satisfaction the carrying out of the resolution of Government, to stop the general issue of plants after the 28th of February, 1857. This of course will not affect exchanges with public establishments. It is proposed to extend the Palmetum laid out by Dr. Falconer in 1849, so as to include a further portion of the eastern extremity of the garden," formerly called the teak plantation. Thus that jungly waste will be redeemed. New roads will be added. The natural and medicinal gardens laid out by Dr. McClelland will be removed, the natural garden laid out in a different place, and a select number of specimens of one natural family, planted in the various compartments of the garden, “ so that, with a small plan of the garden as a guide, the student would at once be able to find each tribe of plants.". The garden school, which has failed in its objects, will be discontinued, the pay of the coolies increased, and greater care shewn in the preservation of the Herbarium. Dr. Thomson is urgent for more funds, to increase the present establishment, to build a new glass house, to purchase new and rare plants, to increase the number of collectors in the various parts of Asia, and to add to the Library the latest and most valuable works on botanical science. The following is full of wisdom and common sense :
“ Twenty years ago, it might have been necessary to enter into details, in order to prove the importance of a Botanic Garden. At the present day, the value of such a national establishment is no longer a matter of doubt, and the necessity for such an institution in the metropolis of a great empire, which is also the seat of a nascent University, will probably be conceded by every one.
The great national Botanic Garden of England was re-organized in 1840 (previous to which time it was in a state of decay), and it has already become, popularly and scien. tifically, one of the most important institutions in the world.
“What Kew Garden is to the metropolis of England, the Calcutta Botanic Garden might be, and ought to be, made with respect to the metropolis of India. The taste of the natives of India for the beauties of nature is certainly very small, and there is, I will admit, no demand, on the part of the people, for a national Botanic Garden. This taste, however, like all others, requires culture for its development, and no means appears better adapted to produce that gradual modification of the modes of thought of the people of India, which alone can bring about their amalgamation with European civilization, than the cultivation of the natural sciences, and the education of the taste for the beauties of nature. “ The local importance of the Hon'ble Company's garden has, therefore, I think, never been sufficiently appreciated. Its position, on the right bank of the Hooghly, is undoubtedly, in some respects, disadvantageous, as rendering it difli. cult of access, but any change of site is obviously impossible, from the great expense by which it would be attended. The rapid extension of the population of Howrah makes this annually of less importance, and it may reasonably be hoped that, before many years, improved means of crossing the river, the exact nature of which cannot be foreseen, will facilitate access to the garden from the Calcutta side.
“The rapidity of the development of Calcutta, during the last fifty years, has undoubtedly been very great, but it is probably trifling in comparison to what may be expected in the next half-century. The existence of a large area of open ground, the property of the State, in the immediate vicinity of a populous and rapidly increasing city, is so important on sanatory grounds, that no ques. tion can exist as to the propriety of retaining it. The value of ground in the neighbourhood of Calcutta is already considerable, and may be expected to increase from year to year, so that the acquisition of land for the purpose of Parks will annually become more difficult. The area occupied by the Botanic Gardens will probably ere long be entirely surrounded by a dense population, when its importance, as a pure and healthy spot, will be even greater than at present.
“ To make the Botanic Garden an establishment worthy of the Empire, its scientific character ought to be raised, and it ought to be made available as a place, both of instruction and of recreation, for the public. To attain the latter object, it is not in the least necessary to neglect the former, and both may be effected without any great increase of expenditure. It will, however, be necessary to abandon the present fixed limit to the expenditure of the garden, which has, during the twenty-five years it has been in operation, destroyed its efficiency by cramping the efforts of the successive superintendents to make improvements. A fixed establishment is undoubtedly quite necessary, but ex. traordinary expenses for improvements should surely be taken into consideration on their own merits, and if approved of after a rigid scrutiny, sanctioned without reference to the ordinary expenditure. I shall therefore proceed to indicate, in succession, a number of points, in which increased outlay is, I think, called for.
“ At present, the garden is open to all pedestrians, but carriages are excluded. This rule is found to work admirably at Kew, but it is not adapted to a tropical climate, so that practically the public are excluded from the Garden for the greater part of the year. I would propose at once to abolish this restriction ; but unfortunately our roads are not adapted either in width or solidity to carriage traffic. To widen the principal roads, and to make them pucka throughout, will, in the first instance, entail a considerable expense, but when the roads have been brought into a thoroughly good state, a small annual outlay will suffice to keep them in good order. This outlay, I think, will be well repaid by the increased facility of access to the garden, which will increase its utility, and make the public take a greater interest in its maintenance and welfare.
“ I have already stated my belief that, when the issue stops, the establishment of the garden will be quite sufficient for all ordinary demands upon it. Buildings for Garden purposes must, however, be excluded from the ordinary expenditure, and if we extend our operations in ornamental gardening, we shall need several additions to our buildings. Of these, none is more urgently required than a Glass House, the want of which is very severely felt in all our operations.
" At present, the Botanic Garden may be compared to the out-of-doors part of an English garden, in which hardy plants, or those capable of flourishing in the open air, grow. The stock is, therefore, limited to such as can endure the Calcutta climate, and consists chiefly of shrubby plants, annuals requiring, so much labor for their cultivation, and for the preservation of their seeds, that they are only partially grown. These, however, constitute the most ornamental part of a garden, and an extension of their culture would much increase the beauty of our grounds.”
Under the dry character of a report, the whole is a manly appeal to Government to rescue the garden from its present position of a “gigantic nursery” and give it that scientific character to which its importance, as an institution of the empire, and an educating establishment, entitles it. We shall welcome the day hinted at in the report, when we can drive comfortably from Chowringhee across the Hooghly-bridge, and passing through the densely populated city of Howrah, then no more a suburb, enjoy the rich vegetation, rare beauty and glorious air of the Botanic Garden.
We have left ourselves no room for the report on opium. It takes up the details of the cultivation of the drug, its collection, its treatment, the import of it into the Sudder Factory, the weighment of it, its export, packing boats and loading, and finally its analysis. Dr. Lyell,-Alas! since fallen a victim to the recent Rebellion,-cannot account for the preference that the Chinese give to certain varieties of opium :
“ The Chinese pay the highest price for Opium which in the drug market of Europe is looked upon as the poorest description. The Benares drug, which is markedly inferior in quality to the produce of this Agency, and each chest contains five per cent. less of solid Opium, commands a higher price in the market. Chemistry fails in showing satisfactorily why this should be the case, and the manufacture is conducted with as much care here as at that place. It may be owing to the greater number of Patna chests in the market, or to the impossibility of reconciling the Chinese to it after their confidence in it has been once shaken by the disaster which occurred several years ago.
“ No certain koowledge exists as to the cause why they prize the Opium. My own opinion, as already mentioned, is that they value it for the quality and quantity of consumable extract ; others, however, assert that it is for the quantity of morphia ; another, that it is for the narcotine ; and another, for its resinous principles.”
The following is the analysis that he gives of it. :
“1st Step. —-3,000 grains of opium are accurately weighed out, broken down by the hand in 32 ozs. of alcohol (at 42) and introduced into a stoppered bottle, where it remains for twenty-four hours, being occasionally shaken, the more thoroughly to expose all the soluble parts to the action of the alcohol.
“2nd Step.— The solution which has been formed by the maceration of the drug in alcohol is filtered and washed with more alcohol till it ceases to communicate any color to the spirit, or till all the soluble parts have been extracted.
“3rd Step.-2 ozs. of ammonia are then added to the solution thus obtained, put into a retort, and 16 of the 32 ozs, of spirit are drawn off by the heat of a water bath. By this means the ammonia combines with the meconic acid which in opium is always found in combination with narcotine, morphia, and the other alkaloids present in opium, and at the same time the strength of the alcohol is materially reduced, the narcotine can no longer be held in solution, so that narcotine in an impure state is obtained when the residue cools, and it is therefore set aside in an open vessel for about twelve hours.
“ 4th Step.-- The impure narcotine thus obtained is collected on a filter; the morphia remaining in solution being more soluble. The impure narcotine collected on the filter is well washed with distilled water, and further with a weak solution of muriatic acid. This olves the narcotine, leaving the impurities ou the filter,
“ To the solution of muriate of narcotine thus obtained, which is usually of a
bright lake color, ammonia is added, which precipitates the narcotine pure or nearly so. This precipitate is collected on a filter, washed, dried, and afterwards, as in the case of morphia, boiled in alcohol with animal charcoal. On cooling this gives pure crystals of narcotine, and which are then ready to be weighed.
“ The morphia solution from which the narcotine was obtained on filtering is then evaporated down to the consistence of syrup, to drive off all the remaining portion of the alcohol.
“ To this water is added, and part of the resin is precipitated by cautiously adding ammonia. The whole of the resin is precipitated, the solution now freed from resin is heated over a water bath, and when the solution cools, the morphia
a is obtained in the form of a precipitate of more or less impurity, as care has been bestowed in extracting the whole of the resin. This precipitate is then collected on a filter, washed, dried, and afterwards boiled in alcohol also with animal charcoal. On cooling crystals of pure morphia are obtained, which are carefully weighed."
The Method of Reasoning, for the use of those who have not leisure
to study Logic. Calcutta, 1857.
This little work of thirty-one pages is part of the results of an attempt "to do a little good among the educated young men of Calcutta, as it was feared that many of them had forgotten much that they had been taught in their school and college days.” Its object is thus good, but perhaps it were well not to enquire too closely into the mode in which it is carried out in the present case. The pamphlet is a very short abridgment of some of the principal sections of Whately's well-known work-a few of the examples of syllogisms and fallacies only seeming to be original. The character of many of these may be seen from the concluding statement of the preface.
“ He would earnestly request those of his readers who do not believe in the Christian religion, to point out some flaw in the
arguments used, or else to admit their force and embrace the • Gospel."
From what we know of the state of the native mind and of the non-Christian world generally, we question, if such an effort as this, will be likely to give any converts to Christianity, who are worth having. The class of men for whose use it is intended do not see that there is any necessary connection between their inability to refute the arguments in support of the Gospel, and the call upon them to embrace that Gospel.
Memoirs and Letters of the late Colonel Armine S. II. Mountain,
C. B., Aide-de-Camp to the Queen, Adjutant General to
We need make no apology for introducing this volume to the notice of our readers. It is the memoir of a good and gallant man, well-known to his countrymen in this land, and whose name is