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constructing races. Below the Wynaad plateau and bordering on the tertiaries there are in the beds of the streams rather deep deposits of drift. At Karambaut the water-worn gravels and rounded blocks of country rock and quartz are of considerable thickness. Below Eddacurra the bed-rock is covered with very recent deposits and tertiary strata (laterite). It is not known whether the stratum immediately overlying the bed-rock is generally auriferous; but wherever the latter is intersected by quartz veins more or less gold will be found in the disintegrated rocks.
In concluding his report, Mr. Brough Smyth adds :-“Gold has been found on the south near Eddacurra, and on the north near Nellacottah, on the west near Vyteri, and on the east as far as Bolingbroke—that is to say, over area of more than 500
square miles. The reefs are very numerous, and they are more than of the average thickness of those found in other countries. They are of great longitudinal extent, some being traceable by their outcrops for several miles. They are strong and persistent, and highly auriferous at an elevation of less than 500 feet above the sea, and they can be traced thence upwards to a height of nearly 8,000 feet; near them, gold can be washed out of almost every dish of earth that is dug. The proportion of gold in some of the soils and reefs in the neighbourhood of Devála is large; and the country presenting the greatest facilities for prosecuting mining operations at the smallest cost, it must be apparent to all who have given attention to this question that, sooner or later, gold-mining will be established as an important industry in Southern India. Tho retardation of this event will be caused, not by the meagreness of the resources—they are large—but probably by the mistaken notion that wherever there is gold all the care, all the forethought that would be deemed requisite in other pursuits, may be disregarded in conducting mining operations.”
India, it cannot be too frequently dinned into unwilling ears, is not a rich country. It has the materials which might produce great riches, but its teeming millions are poor, and a vast portion of the country is quite as undeveloped as some of our newest colonies. Energy is not a marked characteristic of any great portion of the people. Goldmining, which would afford a chance of earning money quickly, would no doubt attract many. But as the future prospects of our Indian Empire must depend on some more stable foundation than the ephemeral lottery of a gold-mine, it is questionable whether the recent discoveries will be for good or evil to India. That they will prove harmless is, perhaps, hoping for the best.
ANIMAL AND PLANT LIFE.
The climate of India not being uniform, its fauna and flora are equally varied. The dry desert tracts from Persia to Sindh are characterised by life of one general type, while the regions of periodical rains and high temperatures have in like manner certain features in common. But take India as a whole, its fauna is, if not peculiar, at least characteristic. Monkeys of many genera and species—some peculiar to the country —inhabit the jungles, and even the trees in close vicinity to the villages, while both insect and fruit-eating bats are found in great numbers, and are of types not known elsewhere. The tiger has wandered into other regions of Asia, but India may be considered its true home. Civets, ichneumons, the binturong, two bears, many squirrels, porcupines, the Indian elephant, four species of rhinoceros, one tapir, several of the swine family, several genera of aptelope, several of the genus Bos, numerous deer and chevrotains, and the scaly ant-eater may be mentioned among its better known mammalia. The birds of India are numerous and varied, nearly every order, except that of the ostrich, being represented, while there are several genera and even one family—that of the Eurylamida-confined to the Peninsula.* The sparrow has followed our countrymen into the Himalayas, but song birds are exceedingly scarce. The rivers swarm with fish, the jungle—as the number of people killed by them unhappily testify-with reptiles ; while one of the least pleasant sights of Indian travel are the lazy, gorged alligators, which bask like huge lizards on the sands and banks of every river. The fora is, equally with the fauna, varied by the prevalence or absence of rains. The hotter and wetter parts of tropical India, we have already seen, are distinguished by the same type of animals and plants as the Malay Peninsula (Vol. IV., p. 255) and islands adjoining; but as we go westward from the lower ranges of the Himalayas, and the rainfall diminishes and the cold increases, the marked character of the flora ceases.
The plants of the Upper Himalayas are very uniform throughout great tracts, and approximate to, and in a few are identical with, the European Alpine species. The plateau of Tibet is characterised by an assemblage of Siberian plants and by the presence of marine plants, especially in the vicinity of the salt lakes, at elevations of 11,000 to 15,000 feet above the level of the sea. In the hot and dry regions of the south-west plants of Africa, Beloochistan, and Sindh are found ; and as these sometimes
* Jerdon: “ Birds of India ” (1870).
extend into the hotter parts of the country, General Strachey, from whom we take these facts about the Indian flora, notes that not a few common Egyptian plants are met with in the Indian Peninsula. Including the Malay Peninsula and islands, Sir Joseph Hooker has estimated the number of species indigenous to the region under description at from 12,000 to 15,000. In this assemblage there is a great preponderance of tropical forms, and illustrations of almost every family of plants. The dense forest which characterises the Malay Peninsula extends along the mountains of Eastern India to the Himalayas, and rises to elevations varying from 3,000 or 4,000 feet on the west, to 6,000 or 7,000 feet on the east. Northern India is distinguished by the presence of tree-ferns, which require less moisture and are better able to resist the high temperature and excessive drought of the hot months. In Southern India a connection has been noticed between the plants of the Peninsula and those of Ceylon and Eastern tropical Africa. More especially is this observed in the upland species, many of the plants of Abyssinia being the same as those parts of India. “ This connection," writes General Strachey, “is further established by the absence from both areas of oaks, conifers, and cycads, which, as regards the two first families, is a remarkable feature of the flora of the Peninsula and Ceylon, as the mountains rise to elevations in which both are abundant to the north and east. With these facts it has to be noticed that many of the principal forms of the Eastern flora are absent or comparatively rare in the Peninsula and Ceylon.
“The general physiognomy of the Indian flora is mainly determined by the conditions of humidity of climate. The impenetrable shady forests of the Malay Peninsula and Eastern Bengal, of the west coast of the Indian Peninsula, and of Ceylon, offer a strong contrast with the more loosely-timbered districts of the dryer regions of Central India and the North-western Himalaya.
no plains covered with forest, as in tropical America, the low lands of India being highly cultivated and adorned with planted wood, or where cut off from rain, nearly complete desert. The higher mountains rise abruptly from the plains. On their slopes, clothed almost exclusively with the more tropical forms, a vegetation of a warm character, chiefly evergreen, soon begins to prevail, comprising Mongnoliciceæ, Ternst ræmiacea, sub-tropical Rosacea, rhododendron, oak, Iler, Symplocos Laurinea, Pinus longifolia, with mountain forms of truly tropical orders, palms, Pandanus, Musa, Vitis, Vernonia, and many others. On the east the vegetation of the Himalaya is most abundant and varied. The forest extends, with great luxuriance, to an elevation of 12,000 feet, above which the sub-Alpine regions may be said to begin, in which the rhododendron scrub often covers the ground up to 13,000 or 14,000 feet. Only one pine is found below 3,000 feet, above which several of the coniferæ occur. Plantains, tree-ferns, bamboos, several Calami and other palms, and Pandanus are abundant at lower levels. Between 4,000 and 8,000 feet epiphytal orchids are frequent, and even reach to 10,000 feet. Vegetation ascends to the dryer and less snowy mountain slopes of Tibet to above 18,000 feet. On the west, with the dryer climate, the forest is less luxuriant and dense, and the hill-sides and the valleys better cultivated. From 8,000 to 12,000 feet a thick forest of deciduous trees is almost universal, above which a subAlpine region is reached, and vegetation, as on the east, continues up to 18,000 feet or
The more tropical ferns of the cast, such as the tree-ferns, do not reach west of
Nepaul. The cedar, or Deodar, is hardly indigenous east of the sources of the Ganges, and at about the same point the forms of the west begin to be more abundant, increasing in number as we advance towards Afghanistan.” In India various millets, pulses, peas, beans, wheat, rice, barley, and maize are cultivated, in addition to mustard and rape, ginger, turmeric, pepper, capsicum, various members of the gourd order, tobacco, poppies, Sesamum (Gingelly oil plant), Crotalaria (Sunn hemp), cotton, Cannabis (hemp proper), indigo, sugar, coffee, tea, oranges, lemons of many varieties, pomegranates, mangos, figs, peaches, vines, and nlantains. The palms supply cocoa-nuts, jaggery or coarse sugar, and “toddy," and the forests abound in fine trees, though, owing to the want of the durability in the wood, the number of timber-yielding species are comparatively few. Teak is the best (p. 116), the sal (Shorea robusta) ranks next, and among others may be mentioned the babool (Acacia), toon (Cedrela), and sissoo (Dalbergia). The deodar, simply a slightly altered form of the cedar of Lebanon, is the only Himalaya timber in ordinary use, but the sandal-wood and many forms of bamboo add their quota to the arboreal products of Southern India. Among the introduced trees may be mentioned the Cinchona, or Peruvian bark, which, owing to the exertions of Mr. Clements Markham, has been planted on the hills of India, and promises to not only render the world independent of the rapidly diminishing supplies of this febrifuge obtained from South America, but to increase the quantity available, and thus to cheapen a drug indispensable in many climates. The American mahogany has also been planted, and, General Strachey considers, will in time form an article of commerce, as it grows to a large size in the congenial air of Hindostan. The richness of the Indian soil is markedly seen in some of the more cultivated valleys of the Himalaya, such as that of Kangra, which is a fair specimen of the many fertile regions in the Upper Himalaya. Temperate and tropical products grow side by side-roses and bamboos, violets, tulips, and plantains, pines, and apples. In Kanawur the vine, bearing excellent grapes, grows wild in the hedges, and pasturelands are not wanting. Indeed, though the absence of grass in the Himalayan valleys must strike every observant traveller, it is a mistake to suppose that this is due to any quality in the soil or climate. It is owing to the uncommon strength and abundance of the indigenous vegetation, for whenever a tract of land is kept clear grasses spring up, and the imported species grow exceedingly well. The richness and flavour of the native vegetation is such that cattle, even when provided with European pasture, are apt to desert it in order to graze at large amid the forests and copses. However, in the central regions of the Himalayas land-leeches and a peculiar hoof-disease are great enemies to the stock.*
In the “Vale of Cashmere ” there are not only “roses the brightest that earth ever gave," but great crops of the rice which forms the staple of the people's food, and wheat,t barley, maize, and other cereals. Cabbages, turnips, cucumbers, lettuces, &c.,
Hodgson : “Selections from the Records of the Government of Bengal,” No. XXVII. (1857), p. 5.
+ Some 19} millions of acres, yielding 264 million quarters of wheat, are now returned in the wheatproducing tracts in the different provinces of India. According to the Indian Herald for April of 1880 the area under wheat in India is about six times as great as that in England, for in 1878 there were in Great Britain 3,218,417 acres under this crop. Dr. Forbes Watson (Parliamentary “Report on Indian Wheat," 1879) ranks