Imágenes de páginas

THE NATURAL AND CIVIL HISTORY OF | supplying a valuable wood for exportation, is of the greatest CEYLON.

importance to the natives, its fruit and roots being used by VI. VEGETABLE PRODUCTIONS.-The Cocoa-NUT TREE.

them for food, and many other parts being very successfully THE PALMYRA.-THE-AREEKA Tree.-THE JAG

applied to the purposes of manufacture. The cocoa-nut tree GREE PALM.—THE TALIPAT-TREE.THE CINNAMON- is almost exclusively confined to the southern, and the TREE.

palmyra to the northern parts of the island, on the coast. . The most remarkable vegetable productions of Ceylon

THE AREEKA-TREE. are the Palms, the Cinnamon-tree, and the tree bearing Eve's-Apple, or the Forbidden-Fruiti. Of these I shall

The areeka-tree is the smallest of the palms, the stem not give a brief description. The cocoa-nut-tree usually grows to

being more than a foot in circumference, though it attains the height of from seventy to eighty feet. It has a sheer,

to the height of sixty feet. It grows perfectly straight, and branchless stem, surrounded by annular indentations, the

the leaves are confined to the top. The nuts, which grow number of which ascertains the age of the tree, as each in clusters at the bottom of the leaves, are of an oval year an additional circle is produced. The stem is nearly shape, and somewhat smaller than those of the palmyra. the same size from the root io the top, from which a crest They resemble nutmegs in consistence, being solid all of large pinnated leaves radiates about a yard in breadth. / through, and of a faint white, streaked with red. and four yards in length. These leaves are invariably

care invarinblu ! One of these trees yields from 300 to 1000 nuts, and twelve in number, and form a circle, divided from the some produce 1500. “They bear," says Knox, “but once circumference to the centre, like the spokes of a wheel. in the year, generally; but commonly, there are green The leaf is separated by a strong woody fibre, from which i muts enough to eat all the year long. The leaves fall oif smaller fibres shoot out on either side, exactly opposite to every year, and the skins, upon which they grow, with one another, as in the common fern; of these, excellent them. These skins grow upon the body of the tree, and brooms are made by the natives. The nuts grow in

y in the leaves grow out of them. They also clasp about the clusters, within the leafy crest, and each tree, when full- buds or blossoms which bear the nuts, and as the buds grown produces from two to three dozen. The fibrous' swell, so this skin cover gives way to them, till at length husk, which covers the nut, is manufactured into cables

it falls quite off with the great leaf on it: it is somewhat and cordage of various descriptions; and these cables have

like leather, and of great use to the country people ; it the remarkable quality of suffering no injury from long

serves them instead of basins to eat their rice in, and when immersion in salt-water, but on the contrary; are said to be

they go a journey, to tie up their provisions; for in these preserved by it,

skins or leaves they can tie up any liquid substance, as oil In Ceylon, this filament, which is called coire, is obtained / or water, doubling it in the middle and rolling it on the two from a tract of cocoa-nut trees, forming a belt, a hundred and

sides, almost like a purse. Ordinarily, they are about two thirty miles long, and one mile and a-half broad, along the

feet in length, and a foot and a half in breadth. In this south-western coast. It has been calculated that this belt

country there are no inns, therefore, when people travel, contains between ten and eleven millions of cocoa-nut trees,

the manner is to carry, ready dressed, what provisions they and produces, besides a vast quantity of oil, six thousand

can, made up in these leaves. The trees within have only

can: leaguers of arrack, and upwards of three million pounds' |

ds a kind of pith, and split easily from one end to the other. weight of coire, sufficient to rig twenty first-rate ships of war.

The wood is hard and very strong; it is used as laths for The produce of a good tree in this belt, has been estimated

houses, and also as rails instead of hedges. Money is not very at from fifty to a hundred cocoa-nuts in the year, each nut, plentiful in this land; but, by means of these nuts, which as food, being equivalent to at least three ounces of rice.

are a great commodity to carry to the Coromandel coast, From the kernel of the cocoa-nut is extracted a thick

the inhabitants furnish themselves with all things they oil, used by the natives throughout India, for lighting

want. The common price of nuts, when there is a trade, their houses and anointing their bodies. The shell is

as there was when I came first on this land, is twenty converted into ladles. At the top of the tree grows a large

thousand for one dollar; but now (A.D. 1681) they lie and shoot, two feet long, and as thick as a man's thigh; com- | grow, or rot on the ground under the trees." monly called the cocoa-nut cabbage; when boiled, it is an

The JAGGREE-PALM. excellent vegetable for the table; but as soon as it is cut off, the trunk gradually perishes. The toddy, from A FOURTH species of palm is the jaggree, so called from which arrack is distilled, is drawn from this tree; a pot, its fertility in the production of sugar. It has the measuring two quarts, is fixed to a shoot, in which an same tall branchless stem as the cocoa-nut tree; but the incision is made at night, and is brought down at sun-rise fruit hangs from the top in straight lines upwards of a filled with the exuded sap. The filaments that surround yard long, all round the trunk. The leaves are serrated. the stem are manufactured into a kind of sackcloth, which The nut is about the size of a common marble, and is is very durable. The wood of the trunk is porous and chewed in every part of India with the betel-leaf. Sago is spongy, and therefore of little value, but it is occasionally the pith of this palm, dried and granulated. employed for pillars to support temporary buildings. The leaves are used for thatching the roofs, and covering the

THE TALIPAT-TREE. walls, of huts; they are also converted into torches, when The most remarkable of the palm tribe is the talipat-tree, dry, and, when fresh, are a favourite food of the elephant. of which a detailed account was given in No. 152 of the

Saturday Magazine, of which Knox says, “This tree is as THE PALMYRA.

big and tall as a ship's mast, and very straight, bearing The next most useful of the palms in Ceylon is the pal

only leaves, which are of great use and benefit to the inhamyra: its manner of growth is similar to that of the

bitants; one single leaf being so broad and large, that it cocoa-nut tree; the stem attains nearly the same height,

will cover fifteen or twenty men, and keep them dry when but is more uniformly perpendicular, and the texture of

it rains. The leaf, being dried, is very strong and limber, the timber much firmer and more durable. The blacker

and most wonderfully made for men's convenience to carry this is the more valuable, and it has the rare quality of

along with them: for though this leaf be thus broad when resisting the depredations of insects. The leaves are

it is open, yet it folds close, like a lady's fan, and then it is shorter, harder, and thicker, than those of the tree just

no bigger than a man's arm, and extremely light. The descried, having the form of an opened fan, as which

people cut them into pieces and carry them in their lands. they are frequently used: upon slips of these leaves all

The whole leaf spread out is round, almost like a circle ; the Cinga 'ese manuscripts are written with an iron style.

but the pieces cut for use are nearly like unto a triangle. The fruit of this palm is a firm pulp, about the bigness of

They lay them upon their heads as they travel, with the a new-born child's head, of a black colour, emitting an

peaked end foremost, which is convenient to make their way agreeable perfume, and containing in its centre, from one

through the boughs and thickets. When the sun is to three nuts, about the size of a common plum. The

| vehement they use them to shade themselves from the toddy drawn from the palmyra makes better arrack than

heat: all soldiers carry them; for besides the benefit of that extracted from any other palm-tree, and a very good

keeping them dry, in case it should rain upon the march, sagar is obtained by mixing the toddy with the pulp of

these leaves make their tents to lie under in the night. the fruit, and boiling them together. This tree, besides

“ This tree bears no fruit until the last year of its life, and

then it comes out on the top, and spreads abroad in great * See Saturday Magazine, Vol. II., p. 203; and Vol. V., p. 186.

branches, all full first of yellow blossoms, most beautiful Ibid, Vol. V., p. 90.

to behold, but of a very strong smell; then it comes to a fruit, round and very hard, as big as our largest cherries, oil, which floats on the top, and is used for burning in but good only for seed to set: and though the tree bears lamps. As soon as it congeals, it becomes a solid substance but once, it makes amends, bearing such great abundance, like wax, and is formed into candles. that one tree yields seed enough for a country. If these The trees planted for the purpose of obtaining cinnamon, trees stand near any houses, the smell of the blossom so shoot out a great number of branches apparently from the much annoys the inhabitants, that they, regarding not the same root, and are not permitted to rise above ten feet. seed, forthwith out them down. The stem has within it a The sprouts which are cut for barking, are about the length pith only, which is very good to eat, if the tree be cut down and thickness of a common walking-stick. before it runs to seed. It is beaten to flour in mortars, Those trees which are cultivated, may be reared in the and baked into cakes, which taste much like wheat bread. | four ways following: from seeds sown during the rains ; It serves instead of corn before the harvest is ripe." . from shoots cut from large trees; from layers, and by

transplanting old stumps. A dry soil and frequent rain The Eve's APPLE.

is necessary to produce cinnamon of the finest quality. This is one of the most remarkable vegetable productions of The tree blossoms in the month of January, and it is then the island. The tree which bears this singular fruit, grows to that the plantations look most beautiful. In April the the height of from twenty to thirty feet. It has an fruit is ripe, and soon afterwards the process of decortiirregular inelegant stem, with a scanty growth on the lower cation begins. May and June are esteemed the best parts, but on the top the leaves germinate luxuriantly, months for this purpose, and are styled the great harvest. forming an extensive and graceful crest. The branches November and December are likewise considered favour

November and December are li shoot upward, though a few strike out horizontally, and able months, and are called the little harvest. these are generally charged with the greatest quantity of In order to ascertain whether the bark is ripe, the peeler fruit. This is a deadly poison, and as if to remove the strikes his knife obliquely into a branch; if on drawing it danger of mischief, Providence seems to have placed it out, the bark divides from the wood, the cinnamon has above the reach both of rational and brute animals, as attained its maturity, but if it adhere, it must remain until it bangs chiefly upon the crest of the tree, and never | it be detached from the limbs. The knife employed in grows so low as to be reached from the ground. The trunk peeling, is a small sharp-pointed hook. is about the size of a man's body, and covered with a When a branch is completely cleared of small shoots and dark corrugated bark. The leaves are long and narrow, leaves, the cinnamon-peeler, seated on the ground, makes shaped like those of the bay tree, with a smooth shining two parallel cuts up and down the length of the bark, surface, the fibres crossing the filament that divides the which after being gradually loosened with the convex edge leaf longitudinally, being strongly marked and regular. of the knife, he strips off in one entire slip, half the cirThe fruit, which hangs from the bough on a long limber | cumference of the branch. This slip he passes to a comstem, about the size of a quill, is shaped something like panion, who is seated in a similar manner by his side, with the large white magnum-bonum plum, somewhat flattened one foot pressed against a piece of wood, from which a at the extremities, but exhibiting a feature as singular as round stick slopes towards his waist. Upon this stick he it is unpleasing. From the upper side it appears precisely lays the slip of bark, keeps it steady with his other foot, as if a portion had been bitten off, and from this circum- and holding the handle of the knife in one hand, and the stance the Mohammedans, who imagine the primitive point of it in the other, scrapes off the epidermis or superparadise to have been situated in Ceylon, have called it ficial cuticle, which is very thin, of a brown colour on the the forbidden fruit; conceiving that the mark of that outside and white within. In doing this considerable breach of the Divine interdiction, which entailed so attention is necessary, for if any of the outer bark remain, grievous a curse upon the posterity of Adam, has been it gives a bitter taste to the cinnamon. When this opeplaced by the Almighty upon this singular tree, and that, ration has been performed, the cinnamon is of a pale-yellow in consequence of Eve's crime, the fruit was rendered colour, and about the thickness of parchment. When poisonous, in order to secure it from future profanation. / spread on mats to dry in the sun, it curls up and becomes The blossom is a white flower something larger than that darker. The smaller pieces are then inserted into the of the apple-tree, opening into five long pointed leaves, larger, and, both contracting still closer, assume the form slightly pinnated, and presenting a pod which shoots from of solid rods. These are tied up into bundles with pliant the extremity of a capsule, something like that of the canes. common gilly-tlower. The fruit is very tempting to the When cinnamon is shipped for exportation, a quantity of eye, being of a vivid orange on the outside, and looking | loose black-pepper is thrown in upon it, which, by attracting exceedingly beautiful, as the rays of the sun fall upon its the superfluous moisture, preserves and improves the cinsmooth and glowing surface. When cut, the pulp, which namon, while at the same time its own flavour is improved. is solid and without any stone, is of a deep ardent crimson, Thus the two spices prove mutually beneficial. but exceedingly acrid when the smallest quantity is placed The best cinnamon is of a light-brown colour, and does in contact with the tongue. The Mohammedans of Ceylon not much exceed the thickness of royal paper. It is of a formerly expressed great veneration for this tree, and con- fine texture, of a smooth surface, and brittle. Its taste is necting it with the print of Adam's foot on the summit of a sweet and sharp. The coarse cinnamon is dark, thick, and mountain in the interior, of which they are very tenacious hard. It has a hot and pungent taste, exciting the tongue, in their belief, they feel satisfied that this island is the and leaving upon the palate a somewhat acrid bitter. locality of the earthly Paradise. This belief is moreover The quantity of cinnamon sent from Ceylon to England strengthened by the legend of Adam's bridge, and the yearly, amounts to four thousand bales, or three hundred tombs of Cain and Abel in the island of Ramisseram, and fifty-three thousand pounds weight, for which the TAE CINNAMON-TREE.

India Company pay to the British Government, a stipulated

price of sixty thousand pounds sterling, and transport it to THE Cinnamon-tree, which is the most profitable vegetable England at their own expense. production of this island, is a kind of laurel, growing to Oil of cinnamon was formerly made at Columbo, of the the height of from twenty to thirty feet. The trunk is fragments and small pieces broken off in packing. A great about the size of an ordinary man's body, giving out a quantity of this oil is obtained from the coarse cinnamon, great number of large horizontal branches, clothed with which is considered unworthy of exportation in any other thick foliage. The roots, which strike deep into the earth, shape. Three hundred pounds weight of the bark, are and spread considerably, are covered with an odoriferous said to yield no more than twenty-four ounces of oil. It is, bark on the outside, of a grayish-brown, and on the inside therefore, necessarily dear, and used commonly to sell at of a reddish hue. Camphor is extracted from them. The the rate of ten guineas a quart. It is highly esteemed stalk of the leaf when chewed, tastes strongly of cinnamon, both as a medicine and as a perfume. That of the best but is fresher and more juicy The leaves are oval, from quality, extracted from the finer sorts of cinnamon, is of a four to six inches long, and about three broad, with a | pale-gold colour, and different from all other oils. Its smooth surface and plain edge. The blossoms are numerous excellence is determined by its sinking in water. The oil clusters of small white flowers, about the size of the lilac, distilled from coarse cinnamon is of a dark-brown hue, which they much resemble. The tree produces a fruit of the and does not sink in water. The wood of the tree, when deform of an acorn, but not larger than a small black-currant, prived of the bark, has no smell, and is chiefly used for fuel. and in taste like the juniper-berry. When removed from The persons employed in the cultivation and barking of its socket, it has the shape of an olive, and when dry, cinnamon, are called Chalias. They are a distinct tribe of becomes a thin shell, containing an oval kernel, no larger people; not the lowest, but almost the poorest of the Cinthan the seed of an apple. If boiled in water, it yields an galese casts. They appear, however, to be contented with

their condition, never repining at its severity. They feel Government, he draws extra payment for the surplus few or no wants, wear no clothing but a coarse bandage portion round the waist, and live almost in a state of barbarous The principal figure represented in our engraving, desuetude. They are governed in the same manner as RAJA Paxa, chief of the cast of cinnamon peelers is other casts, by their own officers, over whom is placed an Ceylon. When the Dubh slave-masters agreed to conside English superintendent, who is looked up to as the chief of as free, all the children of their slaves, born after the 19th the whole tribe. The inhabitants of each district where of August, 1816, this amiable person not only followed their cinnamon grows, are bound to deliver yearly, a certain example, but was even anxious to bestow immediate liberty quantity ready prepared for the market. Upon which con- upon all slaves, possessed either by himself or by any of his dition they are allowed to have gardens and pieces of land relatives. He is extremely hospitable to Europeans, a ban rent free, besides enjoying other privileges. They likewise of extensive information, and the best Sanserit and Pali obtain additional remuneration, sometimes in rice, and scholar in the island. The print represents Raja Pasa in sometimes in money, according to the time and labour the rich costume of his country, attended by two servants, employed by them in the public service. Every individual bearing umbrellas. It is copied from a picture by a native is obliged to furnish a stated proportion of cinnamon in artist, kindly lent by Sir Alexander Johnston. the season; and if any one deliver a larger quantity than

J. H.C. what is required of him by the stipulation of the British


[ocr errors]


LONDON: Published by JOHN WILLIAM PARKER, WEST STRAND; and sold by all Booksellers,

[merged small][graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][merged small][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][merged small][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][merged small][subsumed][merged small][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors]





STONE CIRCLES. The southern and western sides of the Shiant Islands To the north of Stornaway are some natural phenomena exhibit little of the basaltic formation. The perfect stillness well worth visiting. We proceeded to these along the of the water afforded us a good opportunity of witnessing shore of Loch Tua or Broad Bay, on the north side of the the mode in which the Soland goose, the albatross of the Aird, a safe roadstead for shipping, to the farm-house of northern seas, drops for fish. Towering to a great height, Grace, which has been occupied by the present tenant and the bird folds its wings, and descends, head-foremost, with his ancestors for 200 years. "A neighbouring creek presents prodigious velocity into the water, which resounds as if a an extraordinary natural wall of rock of little breadth, large stone had fallen into it, and recovers its smoothness seemingly of artificial construction, emerging from a bed of before the bird re-appears, usually bringing a fish in its plum-pudding stone, the material of which the coast is beak. The Soland goose destroys a great quantity of chiefly composed, and disappearing in the sea. The herrings. The head, neck, and shoulders of this bird are existence of a corresponding stratification on the opposite exceedingly tough and strong; so much so as to resist all coast of Scotland, of which I was assured, would indicate small shot, but slugs or swan. The cormorant is equally its extension to a distance of at least forty miles. The thick-skinned, and extremely full of blood, of which the other wonders of this part of the coast are two caves, the natives of the Hebrides are said to make a soup, somewhat larger of which, being accessible only at the spring ebb, we resembling hare-soup, the standard dish of the eastern coast could not enter. The smaller is deep, lofty, and spacious : of Scotland, little known on the western, on account of the we appeared to each other but pigmies, standing at opposite rarity of hares. It is remarkable that hares were unknown extremities of it. Its sides are incrusted with stalactical on the western coast of Scotland, till their migration to it frost-work of variegated colours, in some places assuming, was facilitated by the military roads. The cormorant is as in the cave of Strath Aird, the columnar form. The said to have been anciently used in Scotland as a whet to other is said to be superior to this, not only in size, but in the appetite before dinner. The young of the kittywake the splendour of its sparry decorations. These caves still gull was eaten for the same purpose.

afford a retreat to seals and sea-oiters; but the number of We met, on returning to the coast, a large wherry pro- these animals has been greatly diminished by the unreceeding to the islands, to convey the shepherd and his lenting warfare waged against them. family away after the harvest. No one can be prevailed To the northward of Grace the coast becomes bolder, and on to reside there. A former shepherd lost his wife, a son, terminates in the long and narrow promontory of Tolsta and daughter, at different times, by their falling over Head. Near this point are an old tower, the scene of a precipices.

traditionary tale; and a cairn, the tomb of a Norwegian Touching at Loch Brolum, we coasted Lewis, to Loch princess. . The hills in this neighbourhood yield deer. Shiell, and proceeded to the inn, a neat slated house. To | Lewis, Sky, and Jura, are the only three Scottish islands our dismay, as we had consumed our original stock of in which these animals are still found. Dr. Clarke informs provisions, we found, save a bowl of excessively sour milk, | us that they were extirpated in Rum by the eagles, some ihe negative catalogue complete. We were assured, more- years before his visit. They existed in Mull at the time of over, that not even oat-cake could be procured in any of the the statistical survey. The destruction of the copse which cottages in the neighbourhood: and that as to whisky, it supplied cover to the fawns, is assigned as one cause of was not to be found in the whole country. The latter state-| their disappearance. ment was very questionable. The boatmen, to whom we The western coast of Lewis is deeply indented by Loch had promised whisky, expressed no disappointment at not Bernera. The rocky shores and surface of this arm of the meeting with it, doubtless well prepared for the denial, sea, sprinkled with numerous groups of islands, appear in and returned without a murmur to Valamis. We had long and picturesque perspective, whilst the hills of the before us a walk of several hours; and it was already southern district of Lewis finely Lound the spreading evening. A guide offered his services, professing know- branches of the bay. Near its shore are some interesting ledge of the track: but as we advanced he became be- monuments, of the kind commonly called Druidical: the wildered by the multitude of lakes and the multifarious remains of three stone circles. The principal, and by far gleaming of the water, which at first served to direct his the most perfect of them, one of the most remarkable in course, and at length was brought to a stand-still, by an form and extent in the British Isles, stands on the brow of arm of the sea, along the rugged shore of which he led us a promontory overhanging the bay, striking the eye at a scrambling on, till we stumbled upon a cottage half buried considerable distance, like a cemetery of thickly-clustered in the ground, when he discovered where he was. The tomb-stones. It has been visited by Martin and Macculloch. inmate, being summoned, instantly sprung from his bed, To the latter we are indebted for the following description satisfied our craving appetite with a bowl of delicious milk, of it. launched a boat, and conveyed us across Loch Eisort amidst “ The general aspect of this structure is that of a cross, a blaze of phosphoric light. A single light on the oppo- nearly of the proportions of the Roman crucifix, with a site shore served as our beacon, and comforted us with the circle at the intersection. But a nearer inspection discovers assurance, that though the time had advanced an hour more than is essential to that form. The largest line lies beyond midnight, some one was yet watching in the in a direction of about twenty-four degrees west of the true manse of our old friend, the Minister of Lochs. On our meridian, or pretty nearly in that of the magnetic variation arrival, we found his daughter prepared to receive us, and a at present, which is therefore the general bearing of the table laden with viands, the ample remnants of a supper, work. Great stones intermixed with some that have fallen, of which some Irish gentlemen, who had been fishing in and with blank spaces whence they may have been removed, the neighbourhood, had already partaken, and which were or where more probably they are covered by the soil, are reserved in the event of our coming; for the arrival of a found along this line for the space of 588 feet, including guest, in Scotland, is welcome at any hour. The mi: the circle; their number amounting to fourteen, and eleven nister met us at breakfast next morning, and expressed of them being still erect. If we were allowed to fill up the great indignation at the reception which we experienced at blanks according to the general proportions of the intervals Loch Shiell.

between those that remain, the number would be twenty

« AnteriorContinuar »