« TrướcTiếp tục »
ever spend a thought about the opinion that others might form of them. These exertions, however, produced a silent and imperceptible effect. Young men, who, when in destitute circumstances, had found an hospitable fhelter under his roof, caught from him a portion of that spirit with which he was animated;—this inspired them with a similar ardour. When they were dispersed over the extensive provinces of India, they wished to recommend themselves to the notice of their benefactor, by co-operating with him in promoting his views of public utility. An extensive correspondence was thus establifhed all over India, of which he was the centre. His name came to be known, and of course revered : it at length reached Europe. The Court of Directors of the India company, struck with the useful prospects that his plans opened up, recommended them to the attention of their governors abroad; and, by this means, his influence there became still more extensive than formerly. The only use he made of this influence was to recommend to government, and the nation at large, an attention to such circumstances as promised to benefit the country where he resides.
To difseminate useful knowledge as universally as possible in India, Dr Anderson has printed, from time to time in Madras, the letters that have passed between himself and correspondents, on subjects of national improvements, which, at his own expence, he has distributed all over India. This has tended very much to facilitate his views. Copies of these publications he has regularly forwarded to the wri
ter of this article. To give some idea of the nature of this correspondence, and the objects it embraces, I beg leave to subjoin the following letters:
Letter from Dr James Anderson to the honourable John Hollond, president and governor, &c. and council of Madras.
Nov. 24. 1789.
HON. SIR AND SIRS, NEAR three years ago, nests of insects were brought me from the woods, which adhered to branches of the staphylæa vepretum, and resembled small cowry fhells to convince me they were wholesome, the people eat many of them with avidity.
I afterwards found the same kind of nests on the wodier, sitodium, calophyllum, inophyllum, and rondeletia, filled sometimes with a motionless red substance, at other times, a numerous hive of small creeping red insects, and frequently only an empty thin husk, or pellicle of the mother insect remained as a lining.
Lately the abbé Grofsier's history of China fell into my hands, where, under the article wax tree, I found an insect mentioned which seemed to correspond with what I had seen; I then threw some of the nests, which are properly the enamel white covering of an in-. sect, in the manner of lac, into olive oil, heated over the fire, where they were soon dissolved; on cooling, the mixture lost its fluidity, became as hard and firm as tallow or mutton suet, and retained some degree of transparency, although it possefsed the colour of bleached wax.
The Watters call them peti billum, palm sugar; Talingas, sima mynum, ants wax; the Tamuls, araku koondu, wax cover basket; and the Chinese call theirs pe-la, white
The greater size of the pe-la may be owing to culture; and the abbé says, that only two kinds of trees, the can-la
chu, and choui-la-chu, on which it is necefsary to place the insects with care, afford them proper nourishment. I thought it not improper to mention this singular production, as it promises to convert oil into the consistence of wax, and serve other useful purposes.
I have the honour to transmit the copy of a letter of instructions to Dr Berry, for the farther ordering the plantation at the nopalry. I am favoured with your letter of the 18th instant, and have no doubt, with such afsistance, and foreign aid, of establishing a collection of valuable plants, that may be extended to the management of the natives in the honourable company's pofsefsions, with public advantage. I am, &c.
From the same to the same.
Dec. 11. 1789.
HON. SIR AND SIRS, YOUR ready acquiefcence to the importation of valuable plants will enable me to derive advantage from the researches of the Asiatic Society, by the hopes I entertain that you will solicit the supreme board for plants of the mahwah tree, so certainly supplying food in hot countries, as described by lieutenant Charles Hamilton, a member of that Society.
In this country the materia medica extends to the bark of every tree, and is the principal cause of our want of timber, almost every tree being stripped of its bark at an early period, by the natives, either for themselves, or on purpose to cure the diseases of cattle; and it must be allowed that many of them are useful in this view, such as the melias, some mimosas, the genus ficus, and cafsia; perhaps the custom of living in clay houses, has prevented them seeing much disadvantage in the want of timber: Thatch, in most common use, of andropogon nardus, is light and
easily supported, rendering large timbers, as beams of houses, unnecessary.
But it may be considered that the honourable company are at a very considerable expence for the Pegu teak, em. ployed in gun carriages, and other necefsary works, as well as the Europeans here in house building; nor fhould the unhealthiness of the clay houses of the natives, in the wet season, pass unnoticed, while the true riches of a country is the number of useful inhabitants.
It is a distant prospect to look forward to the growth of trees, but this affords the best reason why no time should be lost in beginning to plant them. Some vines I planted here, gave grapes in thirteen months, when they were of such a size, that a native of the territory of Berry afsured me they would be deemed the growth of seven years in France; and I am convinced that timber trees come to as much size and perfection here in twenty years, as the timber trees in England attain in sixty
Previously, however, to the planting of trees for timber, it would be well if the head men of every village were advised of the utility of establishing a store of bark of every different kind of tree, the bark of which is in use, that those who are in want may be supplied at a moderate valuation, without exposing all trees promiscuously to be barked.
Another circumstance in this country merits much attention, being no less than the idleness of many of the labourers, from the beginning of February, when the crop is gathered in, until the month of August, that the partial showers of the season enable them to scratch the ground with the small unimproved ancient plough.
A suspension of labour for half the year, or even a fhorter space of time, will occasion want and disease among the lower classes in any country; and here the extreme wretchedness that appears in their countenances,
marks those termed Parajadi, another cast, and Teidpu, base tribe, most conspicuously.
In the Talinga countries they are called Coolie tribe, Pariar tribe; and in general bear a proportion of one to two, or a third of those that labour in the field for the cultivation of the crop, and seventh of the whole inhabitants of the country. -They are considered hereditary slaves to the villages, and their offices, from which they are excluded by an uncharitable superstition, to a place called the Parcheree, and when troops march through the country are forced out to carry the baggage of the army. In the late war, attended with famine and pestilence, these men were the first and greatest sufferers.
A certain ratio is extorted from the country, which is more moderate in the pofsefsions of the honourable company than elsewhere, amounting to half the whole produce; let it be considered, however, that this half is always taken without exception, and the reason will appear how no work is begun or carried on, that requires time and apparatus to accomplish,-how most villages are even without a garden,—how none of the palms are to be seen, the fruit of which are such desirable objects of food that they are imported from other countries,-how so little good indigo is made here, where the best indigo plant is a weed,-how there is no cotton for exportation, although the manufactory of cloth here declines; the sugar boiler and collector can never determine who should defray the expence of copper vessels to improve his work; and fields of salt are difsolved and washed away by the rains, because government claims a uselefs fhare, and the natives want the incitement of a foreign market.
To improve and extend materials for foreign trade, without which these establishments cannot long exist, a certain substantial provision for the labourer should first be