Dr. Pereira, from a careful examination and close inquiry, is of opinion that the Amomum Grana-Paradisi of Smith, and the Amamum Melegueta of Roscoe, are identical species.
In the second volume of the "Pharmaceutical Journal," Dr. Pereira states that the term "grains of paradise," or Melegueta, has been applied to the produce of no less than six scitamineous plants. At the present time, and in this country, the term is exclusively given to the hot acrid seeds imported into England from the coast of Guinea, and frequently called Guinea grains; and by the Africans Guinea pepper.
Elettaria Cardomomum, Don.—The fruit of this species constitutes the true, small, officinal Malabar cardamoms. It is an ovate oblong, obtusely triangular capsule, from three to ten lines long, rarely exceeding three lines in breadth, coriaceous, ribbed, greyish or brownish yellow. It contains many angular, blackish or reddish brown rugose seeds, which are white internally, have a pleasant aromatic odor, and a warm agreeable taste. 100 parts of the fruit yield 74 parts of seeds, and 26 parts of pericarpal coats.
This seems to be identical with Amomum Cardamomum.
Elettaria major, is a perennial, native of Ceylon, which grows in shady situations in a rich mixed soil. The dried capsules are known in commerce as wild or Ceylon cardamoms, and are of less value in the market than those of Malabar (Elettaria Cardamomum, Maton). It is chiefly grown about the Kandyan district; and in the eight years ending with 1813, the average export was nine and a-half candies per annum. The seeds in taste resemble our carraways, and are used for seasoning various dishes.
Ceylon cardamoms are now worth in the London market (Sept., 1853) 1s. to 1s. 3d. per lb.; Malabar ditto, 2s. 3d. to 3s.
The black pepper of commerce is obtained from the dried unripe fruit (drupes) of Piper nigrum, a climbing plant common in the East Indies, and of the simplest culture, being multiplied with facility by cuttings or suckers. The ripe fruit, when deprived of its outer fleshy covering by washing, forms the white pepper of the shops. The dried fruiting spikes of P. longum, a perennial shrub, native of Malabar and Bengal, constitute long pepper. The fruit of Xylopia aromatica is commonly called Ethiopian pepper, from being used as pepper in Africa. The seeds of some species of fennel-flower (Nigella sativa and arvensis), natives of the south of Europe, were formerly used instead of pepper, and are said to be still extensively employed in adulterating it. In Japan, the capsules of Xanthoxylum piperitum, or Fagara Piperita, are used as a substitute for pepper, and so is the fruit of Tasmannia aromatica in Van Diemen's Land. According to Dr. Roxburgh, P. trioicum is cultivated in the East, and yields an excellent pepper.
The pepper vine rises about two feet in the first year of its growth, and attains to nearly six feet in the second, at which time, if vigorous and healthy, the petals begin to form the corolla or blossom. All suckers and side shoots are to be carefully removed, and the vines should be thinned or pruned, if they become bushy at the top. Rank coarse weeds and parasitical plants should be uprooted. The vine would climb, if permitted, to the elevation of twenty feet, but is said to bear best when kept down to the height of ten or twelve feet. It produces two crops in the year. The fruit grows abundantly from all the branches, in long small clusters of from 20 to 50 grains; when ripe it is of a bright red color. After being gathered, it is spread on mats in the sun to dry, when it becomes black and shrivelled. The grains are separated from the stalks by hand rubbing. The roots and thickest parts of the stems, when cut into small pieces and dried, form a considerable article of commerce all over India, under the name of Pippula moola.
Almost all the plants of the family Piperaceae have a strong aromatic smell and a sharp burning taste. This small group of plants is confined to the hottest regions of the globe; being most abundant in tropical America and in the East Indian Archipelago, but more rare in the equinoctial regions of Africa. The common black pepper, P. nigrum, represents the usual property of the order, which is not confined to the fruit, but pervades, more or less, the whole plant. It is peculiar to the torrid zone of Asia, and appears to be indigenous to the coast of Malabar, where it has been found in a wild state. From this it extends between the meridians of longitude 96 deg. and 116 deg. S. and the parallels of latitude 5 deg. S. and 12 deg. N., beyond which no pepper is found. Within these limits are the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, with the Malay peninsula and part of Siam. Sumatra produces by far the greatest quantity of pepper. In 1842, the annual produce of this island was reckoned at 30,000,000 lbs., being more than the amount furnished by all the other pepper districts in the world.
A little pepper is grown in the Mauritius and the West India Islands, and its cultivation is making some progress on the Western Coast of Africa, as we imported from thence 2,909 bags and casks in 1846, and about 110,000 lbs. in 1847.
Mr. J. Crawfurd, F.R.S., one of the best authorities on all that relates to the commerce and agriculture of the Eastern Archipelago, recently estimated the produce of pepper as follows:—
lbs. Sumatra (West Coast) 20,000,000 " (East Coast) 8,000,000 Islands in the Straits of Malacca 3,600,000 Malay Peninsula 3,733,333 Borneo 2,666,667 Siam 8,000,000 Malabar 4,060,000 ————— Total 50,000,000
If we add to this
Western Coast of Africa and B.W. Indies 53,000 Java 4,000,000 Mauritius and Ceylon 80,000 ————— It gives 54,133,000 as the total produce of the world
Black pepper constitutes a great and valuable article of export from the Indian Islands; which, as we have seen, afford by far the largest portion of What is consumed throughout the world. In the first intercourse of the Dutch and English with India, it constituted the most considerable and important staple of their commerce. The production of pepper is confined in a great measure to the western countries of the Eastern Archipelago, and among these to the islands in the centre and to the northern quarter, including the Peninsula. It is obtained in the ports on both sides of the coast of the latter, but particularly the north-eastern coast. The principal quarters (according to Mr. Crawfurd, my authority on this subject), are Patani, Tringanu, and Kalantin. In the Straits a large quantity is produced in the island of Singapore, and above all in Pinang, where the capital of Europeans and the skill and industry of the Chinese have been successfully applied to its culture. The western extremity of Sumatra, and the north-west coast of that island, are the most remarkable situations in it for the production of pepper, and here we have Acheen, Tikao, Bencoolen, Padang, and the country of the Lampungs. The production of the eastern extremity of Sumatra or Palembang is considerable, but held of inferior quality. In the fertile island of Java, the quantity of pepper grown is inconsiderable, nor is it remarkable for the goodness of its quality.
The province of Bantam has always furnished, and still continues to produce, the most pepper; but the culture of this creeper is fast giving place in Java to staples affording higher profits and requiring less care. The exports were, in the following years:—
piculs. lbs. 1830 6,061 1843 3,737,732 1835 11,868 1848 461,680 1839 11,044 1851 95,037 1841 13,477 1852 135,690
The number of pepper vines in the district of Bencoolen, in the close of last year, 1852, was as follows:—1,571,894 young vines; 2,437,052 bearing ditto; total, 4,008,946.
Up to the end of September there had been delivered to the Government 1,145 piculs white pepper, and 1,128 piculs black pepper, while of the harvest of 1852 there were still probably to be received 330 piculs white, and 4,967 piculs black pepper.
The south, the west, and the north coasts of the great island of Borneo produce a large quantity of pepper; as early as 1721 it was a staple commodity of this island. Banjarmassin is the most productive place on the south coast, and the State of Borneo Proper on the north coast. The best pepper certainly does not grow in the richest soils, for the peppers of Java and Palembang are the worst of the Archipelago, and that of Pinang and the west coast of Sumatra are the best. Care in culture and curing improves the quality, as with other articles, and for this reason chiefly it is that the pepper of Pinang is more in esteem than that of any other portion of the Archipelago. From the ports and districts of Siam 3,500 to 4,000 tons are exported annually.
The duty at present levied on pepper in England is 6d. per lb., while the wholesale price for that of Pinang, Malabar, and Sumatra is about 4d. per lb. White pepper ranges from 9d. to 1s. 6d. per lb. The prime cost in Singapore is not more than 11/2d. per lb.
About 70,000 or 80,000 piculs of pepper are annually exported from Singapore, of which between 30,000 and 40,000 piculs have, until within the last two years, gone on to Great Britain. More than one-half of the pepper exported from Singapore is grown in the island by Chinese settlers.
The low selling price of the article in the English market, the high duty levied upon it, and the large freight paid for its carriage to Great Britain, now leave so small a price to the cultivator in Singapore, that the cultivation ceases to be remunerative, and is carried on at a loss; and has consequently within the last year or two begun to decrease rapidly, involving the Chinese growers, who are generally of the poorest class, and without capital, in great distress. A reduction in the duty on pepper has always been followed by a very large increase in the consumption of the article, as will appear from the following table, showing the importation and consumption in Great Britain during some of the first and last years of the different rates of duty:—
Duty Singapore price Year Quantity consumed s. d. s. d. s. d. 1811 1,457,383 1 101/2 0 71/2 to 0 73/4 1814 941,569 1 101/2 0 11 " 1 1 1820 1,404,021 2 6 0 61/2 " 0 63/4 1824 1,447,030 2 6 0 43/4 " 0 51/2 1826 2,529,027 2 0 0 4 " 0 41/2 1836 2,749,491 1 0 0 0 " 0 0 1837 2,625,075 0 6 0 0 " 0 0 1845 3,210,415 0 6 0 21/4 " 0 43/4
In a memorial from the mercantile community of Singapore, sent home in 1848, it is asserted that a reduction in the duty of pepper being always attended by a large increase in the consumption, would not lead to any serious loss in the revenue, while it would confer a great boon on the poorer classes, to whom it has now become a necessary article of life. The reduction would also be of great advantage to British manufacturers, as well as to our Indian possessions, by giving rise to an increased demand or British goods and productions, and of the highest benefit to the agricultural settlers in the island of Singapore, by enabling them to procure for their labor an honest means of livelihood.
The pepper vines, which are allowed to climb poles or small trees, are tolerably productive at Singapore; and pepper planting is esteemed by the Chinese to be a profitable speculation, particularly if they are enabled to evade the payment of quit-rent. An acre of pepper vines will yield 1,161 lbs. of clean pepper. In Sumatra a full grown plant has been known to produce seven pounds; in Pinang the yield is much more. The average produce of one thousand vines is said, however, to be only about 450 lbs.
Colonel Low, in his "Dissertation on Pinang," published at Singapore some years ago, gives an interesting account of the culture:—
"Pepper was, during many years, the staple product of Pinang soil, the average annual quantity having been nearly four millions of pounds; but previous to the year 1810, the above amount had decreased to about two-and-a-half millions of pounds, which was the result of the continental system.
The price having fallen at length to three and three-and-a-half dollars the picul—with only a few occasional exceptions of rises—the cultivation of this spice was gradually abandoned, and the total product at this day does not exceed 2,000 piculs. The original cost, when pepper was at a high price, together with charges of transporting it to Europe, amounted to L36,357 for every five hundred tons, and the loss by wastage was estimated at L5,405. In 1818 there remained on the island 1,480,265 pepper vines in bearing, and the average value of exports of pepper from Pinang, including that received from other places, was averaged at 106,870 Spanish dollars.
As might have been foreseen, the fall of prices has so greatly diminished the cultivation of pepper to the eastward, that a reaction is likely to take place; and has in fact partly shown itself already. Some Chinese in Pinang and Province Wellesley seem to be preparing to renew the cultivation. There is abundant scope for the purpose on both sides of the harbour, and every facility is at hand for carrying it on.
The pepper plant or vine requires a good soil, the richer the better, but the red soil of the higher hills is not congenial, the Chinese think, to it. The undulations skirting the bases of the hills, and the deep alluvial lands, where not saturated with water, or liable to be overflowed, are preferred.
The Chinese have always been the chief cultivators, and when the speculation flourished they received advances from the merchants, which they paid back in produce at fixed rates.
When pepper was extensively cultivated on Prince of Wales Island, the European owner of the land had the forest cleared by contract, and the vines planted by contract, and when the vines came into bearing the plantation was farmed to the Chinese from year to year, on payment of a specific quantity of pepper. Any other plan would have ruined the capitalist, as the culture is almost entirely in their hands in the Straits' Settlements, and they will not work so well for others as when they are specially interested.
The plants are set out at intervals, every way, of from seven to twelve feet, according to the degree of fertility of the soil, so that there are from 800 to 1,000 vines in one orlong of land; to each vine is allotted a prop of from ten to thirteen feet high, cut from the thorny tree called dadap, or where that is scarce, from the less durable boonglai; these props take root, thus affording both shade and support to the plant. The plant may be raised from seed pepper, but the plan is not approved of, cuttings being preferable, as they soonest come into bearing. The pits in which these cuttings are set should be a foot-and-a-half square, and two feet in depth; manure is not often applied, and then it is only some turf ashes. However unpicturesque a pepper plantation may be, still its neat and uniform appearance renders the landscape lively, and there can be little doubt that the island has suffered in its salubrity since the jungle usurped the extensive tracts formerly under pepper cultivation.
When the vine has reached the height of three or four feet, it is bent down and laid in the earth, and about five of the strongest shoots which now spring up are retained and carefully trained up the prop, to which they are tied by means of ligatures of some creeping plants.
One Chinese, after the plantation has been formed, can take care of two orlongs of land. The usual mode is this:—an advance is made by the capitalist to the laborer for building a house, and for agricultural implements; he then receives two dollars monthly to subsist on, until the end of the third year, when the estate or plantation is equally divided betwixt the contracting parties.
The Chinese and even European cultivators used formerly to engage the Chinese who had just arrived from China; they paid off their passage-money, and then allowed them two dollars monthly, for provisions, for one year; with a suit of clothes, by which means the cost of the labor of one man averaged about three dollars monthly; but this plan is attended with risks.
The cost attendant on the cultivation of two orlongs of land, with pepper, for three years—the Chinese laborer receiving the usual hire of five Spanish dollars monthly—will be nearly as follows:—
Spanish dollars. Price of land, clearing, and planting 40 Quit rent, at 75 cents per annum per orlong 9 Two thousand plants 4 " dadap props 6 Implements 6 House 10 Labor 200 Interest, loosely calculated at 30 —- Total Spanish dollars 305
In a very good soil a pepper vine will yield about one-eighth of a pound of dry produce at the end of the first year; at the end of the second, about a quarter of a pound; and at the expiration of the third, probably one pound; at the end of the fourth, from three to three-and-a-half pounds; ditto fifth, from eight to ten pounds. After the fifth year up to the fifteenth, or even the twentieth year, about ten pounds of dry merchantable produce may be obtained from each vine, under favorable circumstances. The Chinese speculator used to rent out his half-share of a new plantation for five years, to his cultivating partner, after the expiration of the first three years, at the rate of thirty piculs per annum; the total produce of these five years giving about fifty-six piculs annually as an average.
A pepper plantation never survives the thirtieth year, unless in extremely rich soil, and then it is unproductive; nor will the young vine thrive on an old worn out pepper land, a peculiarity which is applicable to the coffee tree. The chief crop lasts from August to February. Four pounds of dry produce, for ten of green, is considered a fair estimate. Great care is requisite in the management of the vine, and especially in training and tying it on the props. It is subject to be injured by the attacks of a small insect. The green pepper dries in two or three days, and if it is intended that it shall be black, it is pulled before it is quite ripe. To make white pepper, the berry is allowed to remain somewhat longer on the vine; it is, when plucked, immersed in boiling water, by means of which process and subsequent friction, before drying, the husk is separated.
The exports of pepper from Pinang in the last four years have been—In 1849, 2,591,233 lbs.; in 1850, 6,397,733 lbs.; in 1851, 2,366,933 lbs.; in 1852, 2,112,133 lbs."
A small quantity of pepper seems to be annually exported from Ceylon, which I presume is the growth of that island; thus there were:—
54 cwts. shipped in 1842 83 " " 1843 102 " " 1844
In the Customs' returns of Ceylon, it is classed with cardamoms, and 160 to 170 cwt. of the two were shipped in each of the years 1850 and 1851. Last year the quantity was smaller.
Pepper cultivation has been introduced into the Mauritius, and in 1839 more than 500,000 lbs. were imported from thence, but as the shipments have since decreased, I presume it has given place to the more profitable staple sugar. I have been able to glean no information as to the progress it has made in the West Indies. In Cayenne it has been successfully carried on for many years; and large shipments of pepper have been made thence to France.
BLACK PEPPER EXPORTED FROM SINGAPORE.
Piculs. Value in rupees. 1841 Total Exports 66,810 " Growth of Singapore 21,231 47,674 1842 Exports 74,228 " Growth of Singapore 32,277 72,473 1843 Exports 57,883 " Growth of Singapore 35,585 79,900 1844 Exports 67,148 " Growth of Singapore 42,995 386,152 1845 Exports 65,892 " Growth of Singapore 39,019 350,443 1846 Exports 56,709 " Growth of Singapore 35,712 ——- 1847 Exports 60,994 " Growth of Singapore 36,565 328,397
Pliny, the naturalist, states that the price of pepper in the market of Rome in his time was, in English money, 9s. 4d. a pound, and thus we have the price of pepper at least 1,774 years ago. The pepper alluded to must have been the produce of Malabar, the nearest part of India to Europe that produced the article, and its prime cost could not have exceeded the present one, or about 2d. a pound. It would most probably have come to Europe by crossing the Indian and Arabian ocean, with the easterly monsoon, sailing up the Red Sea, crossing the desert, dropping down the Nile, and making its way along the Mediterranean by two-thirds of its whole length. This voyage, which in our times can be performed in a month, most probably then took eighteen. Transit and customs duties must have been paid over and over again, and there must have been plenty of extortion. All this will explain how pepper could not be sold in the Roman market under fifty-six times its prime cost. Immediately previous to the discovery of the route to India by the Cape of Good Hope, we find that the price of pepper in the markets of Europe had fallen to 6s a pound, or 3s. 4d. less than in the time of Pliny. What probably contributed to this fall, was the superior skill in navigation of the now converted Arabs, and the extension of their commerce to the islands of the Eastern Archipelago, which abounded in pepper. After the great discovery of Vasco de Gama, the price of pepper fell to about 1s. 3d. a pound, a fall of 8s. 1d. from that of the time of Pliny, and of 4s. 9d. from that of the Mahommedan Arabs, Turks, and Venetians.
In 1826, 14,000,000 lbs. of pepper were imported into the United Kingdom, of which about 5,500,000 were re-exported. In 1841, 15,000,000 lbs. were imported, of which 6,500,000 were re-shipped to other countries.
The home consumption, it will be seen, now averages about 3,250,000 lbs.:—
Imports Home consumption lbs. lbs. 1845 9,852,984 3,209,718 1846 5,906,586 3,299,955 1847 4,669,930 2,966,022 1848 8,125,545 3,185,337 1849 4,796,042 3,257,911 1850 8,028,319 3,170,883 1851 3,996,496 3,303,403 1852 6,641,699 3,524,501
The following return shows the number of bags of pepper imported into the United Kingdom, with the quantity retained for home consumption:—
Imports. Retained for home consumption. Black. White. Black. White. bags bags bags. bags. 1843 37,840 3,861 21,163 2,257 1844 60,705 2,123 23,525 2,122 1845 80,600 3,208 30,294 2,861 1847 37,194 1,236 28,768 2,654 1848 65,518 3,042 31,665 3,950 1849 43,651 2,616 32,246 3,859
CHILLIES AND CAYENNE PEPPER.
Chillies or capsicum are long roundish taper pods, divided into two or three cells, full of small whitish seeds. When this fruit is fresh, it has a penetrating acrid smell; to the taste it is extremely pungent, and produces a most painful burning in the mouth. They are occasionally imported dry, and form the basis of Cayenne pepper; put in vinegar when green or ripe, they are an acceptable present in Europe. In Bengal the natives make an extract from the chillies, which is about the consistence and color of treacle.
The consumption of chillies in India is immense, as both rich and poor daily use them, and it is the principal ingredient in all chutnies and curries; ground into a paste, between two stones, with a little mustard, oil, ginger, and salt, it forms the only seasoning which the millions of poor in that country can obtain to eat with their insipid rice. They are worth in the Bombay market about 40s. the candy of 600 lbs.
Immense quantities of the capsicum are used by the native population of the West Indies, Africa, and Mexico; the consumption as a condiment being almost universal, and perhaps equal in quantity to salt. Ten barrels of these peppers were shipped from Montego Bay, Jamaica, in the first six months of 1851.
The wholesale price of chillies in the London market is from 15s. to 25s. the cwt., and there is a duty of 6d. per pound on them. Cayenne fetches 9d. to 2s. the pound.
Chilli is the Mexican name for all varieties of Capsicum. They are natives of the East and West Indies, and other hot climates. C. annuum is the species commonly noticed, but there seems to be numerous varieties, which by many are reckoned species. Thus, C. frutescens is a shrubby plant, which, along with C. minimum, supplies the variety called bird-pepper, it grows to a larger and more bushy size; C. baccatum has a globular fruit, and furnishes cherry or berry capsicum. They are all of the simplest culture, and may even be grown with very little care in England. Culture appears to increase the size, but to diminish the pungency of the fruit. In capsicums irritant properties prevail so as to obscure the narcotic action. Their acridity is owing to an oleaginous substance called capsicin. Cayenne pepper is used in medicine chiefly in the form of tincture, as a rubefacient and stimulant, especially in cases of ulcerated sore throat. It acts on the stomach as an aromatic condiment, and when preserved in acetic acid it forms chilli vinegar.
Red pepper may be considered one of the most useful vegetables in hygiene. As a stimulant and auxiliary in digestion it has been considered invaluable, especially in warm countries. A kind called the tobacco red pepper, is said to possess the most pungent properties of any of the species. It yields a small red pod, less than an inch in length, and longitudinal in shape, which is so exceedingly hot that a small quantity of it is sufficient to season a large dish of any food. Owing to its oleaginous character, it has been found impossible to preserve it by drying, but by pouring strong boiling vinegar on it a sauce or decoction can be made, which possesses in a concentrated form all the essential qualities of the vegetable. A single drop of this sauce will flavor a whole plate of soup or other food.
The "wort" or Cayenne pottage may be termed the national dish of the Abyssinians, as that, or its basis "dillock," is invariably eaten with their ordinary diet, the thin crumpet-like bread of teff or wheat flour. Equal parts of salt and the red cayenne pods are well powdered and mixed together with a little pea or bean meal to make a paste. This is called "dillock," and is made in quantities at a time, being preserved in a large gourd-shell, generally suspended from the roof. The "wort" is merely a little water added to this paste, which is then boiled over the fire, with the addition of a little fat meat and more meal to make a kind of porridge, to which sometimes is also added several warm seeds, such as the common cress or black mustard, both of which are indigenous in Abyssinia.—("Johnston's Abyssinia.")
A great quantity of Agi or Guinea pepper is grown in Peru, the natives being very fond of this condiment. It is not uncommon for an American Indian to make a meal of twenty or thirty pods of capsicum, a little salt, and a piece of bread, washed down by two or three quarts of chica, the popular beverage.
The pimento, Eugenia Pimento (Myrtus Pimenta), is a native of Mexico, and the West Indies. It flourishes spontaneously and in great abundance on the north side of the island of Jamaica; its numerous white blossoms mixing with the dark green foliage, and with the slightest breeze diffusing around the most delicious fragrance, give a beauty and a charm to nature rarely equalled, and of which he who has not visited the shady arbors and perfumed groves of the tropics can have little conception. This lovely tree, the very leaf of which when bruised emits a fine aromatic odor, nearly as powerful as that of the spice itself, has been known to grow to the height of from 30 to 40 feet, exceedingly straight, and having for its base the spinous ridge of a rock, eight or ten feet above the surface of the hill or mountain. A single tree has frequently produced 150 lbs. of the raw, or 100 lbs. of the dried fruit.
The fruit has an aromatic odor, and its taste combines that of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves; hence its common name of allspice. The fruit of Eugenia acris is used for pimento.
The trunk is of a grey color, smooth and shining, and altogether destitute of bark. It is luxuriantly clothed with leaves of a deep green, somewhat like those of the bay tree, and these leaves are, in the months of July and August, beautifully contrasted and relieved by an exuberance of white flowers. The leaves yield by distillation a delicate odoriferous oil, which is said to be sometimes passed off for oil of cloves.
The berries are gathered before they are ripe, and spread on a terrace, exposed to the sun for about a week, during which time they lose their green color, and acquire that reddish brown tint which renders them marketable. Some planters kiln-dry them. Like many of the minor productions of the tropics, pimento is exceedingly uncertain, and perhaps a very plenteous crop occurs but once in five years.
In 1800 there were 12,759 bags and 610 casks of pimento imported from Jamaica; in 1824 there were 33,308 bags and 599 casks shipped from the island; in 1829 the quantity exported was 6,069,127 lbs.
In the year ending October 1843, the export of pimento from Jamaica was 29,322 bags and 156 casks; in the year ending October 1844, 12,055 bags and 88 casks; in the year ending October 1845, 233 casks, valued at 30s. each, and 59,494 bags, valued at 20s.
From 1st January to 1st August, 1851, 128,277 lbs. pimento were shipped from the port of Montego Bay, Jamaica.
There was a very considerable pimento plantation made in Tobago, some years ago, by a Mr. Franklin, but it was abandoned by his sons, that they might attend the more exclusively to sugar culture.
Jamaica exported nearly two millions of pounds of pimento less, in the three years ending 1848, than she did in the three previous to the emancipation of the slaves. The number of pounds shipped annually, in these periods, is shown by the following figures:—
Year. lbs. 1830 5,560,620 1831 3,172,320 1832 4,024,800 1846 2,997,060 1847 2,800,140 1848 5,231,908
Pimento is imported into this country in bags of about 100 lbs. each. The imports have been:—
Year. Imports. Home consumption. cwts. cwts. 1848 20,773 4,230 1849 24,994 3,419 1850 20,448 3,467 1851 14,840 3,935 1852 22,708 3,872
The following is a statement of the imports from the West Indies, and the consumption of the United Kingdom, in pounds:—
Entries for Year. Imports. home consumption. lbs. lbs. 1831 1,801,355 305,739 1832 1,366,183 296,197 1833 4,770,255 330,890 1834 1,389,402 320,719 1835 2,536,353 343,942 1836 3,230,978 400,941 1837 2,026,128 383,401 1838 892,974 383,997 1839 1,071,511 309,078 1840 999,068 338,969 1841 797,757 297,201 1842 1,643,318 450,683 1843 2,028,658 378,096
The imports have been, in—
bags. 1843 18,649 1844 2,408 1845 21,092 1847 9,649 1848 18,196 1849 14,108
Pimento is worth in the London market 6d. to 7d. per lb. The duty is 5s. per cwt.
The fleshy, pod-like, odoriferous fruit of different species of Epidendrum constitute the substance called vanilla, which is used in confectionery for giving a delicious perfume to chocolate, liqueurs, &c. As an aromatic it is much sought after by confectioners, for flavoring ices and creams; and also by perfumers, liqueurists, and distillers. The best comes from the forests round the village of Zurtila, in the intendancy of Oaxaca, on the eastern slopes of the Cordillera of Anahuac, between the parallels of 19 deg. and 20 deg. N. All the vanilla which is used in Europe is imported from Mexico, Venezuela, and Vera Cruz.
It is a native of tropical America, and grows wild in Brazil, Peru, the banks of the Orinoco, and all places where heat, shade, and moisture prevail. There are many species indigenous to the Bahamas, Trinidad, Jamaica, Cuba, Dominica, Martinique and St. Vincent, which would produce considerable gain to the inhabitants if they would give themselves the trouble of cultivating or collecting its fruit.
This parasitical plant has a trailing stem, not unlike the common ivy, but not so woody, by which it attaches itself to the trunks of trees, and sucks the moisture which their bark derives from the lichens and other cryptogamia, but without drawing nourishment from the tree itself, like the misletoe and loranthus. The Indians in Mexico propagate it by planting cuttings at the foot of trees selected for that purpose. It rises to the height of 18 or 20 feet; the flowers are of a greenish yellow, mixed with white. The plant is subcylindrical about eight or ten inches long, of a yellow color when gathered, but dark brown or black when imported into Europe. It is one-celled siliquose, and pulpy within, wrinkled on the outside, and full of a vast number of seeds like grains of sand, having when properly prepared, a peculiar and delicious fragrance. It should be gathered before it is fully ripe.
Different species of vanilla are natives of Guiana, and it is found in large quantities along the banks of its rivers, and in the wooded districts which intersperse the savannahs. The oily and balsamic substance which the minute seeds possess, may be found to have medicinal qualities. Its cultivation can be connected with no difficulties; it needs only to plant the slips among trees, and to keep them clear of weeds. It would prove therefore a great addition to a cocoa plantation. In 1825 the price was, in Germany, sixty-six dollars (equal to L9) per pound, and twenty-five to thirty dollars are paid for it in Martinique.
Humboldt states that the annual value of vanilla exported from the state of Vera Cruz was 40,000 dollars, L8,000 sterling. Some vanilla is exported from Maranham. The cultivation of vanilla, which was introduced into Java in the year 1847, is said to have made considerable progress, there being now no fewer than thirty plantations.
The fruit of this orchideous plant is entirely neglected in the province of Caracas, though abundant crops of it might be gathered on the humid coast between Porto Cabello and Ocumare, especially at Turiamo, where the pods attain the length of nearly a foot. The English and American merchants often seek to make purchases at the port of La Guayra, but with difficulty procure it in small quantities.
In the valleys that descend from the chain of coast towards the Caribbean sea, in the province of Truxillo, as well as in the mission of Guiana, near the cataracts of the Orinoco, a great quantity of the vanilla pods might be collected, the produce of which would be still more abundant, if, according to the practice of the Mexicans, the plant were disentangled from time to time from the other creepers, with which it is intertwined and stifled.
When collected to prepare it for the market, about 12,000 of the pods are strung like a garland by their lower end, as near as possible to their foot-stalk; the whole are plunged for an instant into boiling water to blanch them; they are then hung up in the open air and exposed to the sun for a few hours. By some they are wrapped in woollen cloths to sweat. Next day they are lightly smeared with oil, by means of a feather or the fingers, and are surrounded with oiled cotton to prevent the valves from opening. As they become dry, on inverting their upper end they discharge a viscid liquor from it, and they are pressed several times with oiled fingers to promote its flow. The dried pods, like the berries of pepper, change color under the drying operation, grow brown, wrinkled, soft, and shrink to one-fourth of their original size. In this state they are touched a second time with oil, but very sparingly, because with too much oil they would lose some of their delicious perfume.
They are then packed for the market in small bundles of 50 or 100 in each, enclosed in lead foil, or tight metallic cases.
There are four local varieties, all differing in price and excellence; viz., the vanilla fina, the zacate, the rezacate, and the vasura.
One pod of vanilla is sufficient to perfume a pound and a half of cacao. It is with difficulty reduced to fine particles, but it may be sufficiently attenuated by cutting it into small bits, and grinding these along with sugar.
As it comes to us, vanilla is a capsular fruit, of the thickness of a swan's quill; straight, cylindrical, but somewhat flattened, truncated at the top, thinned off at the ends, glistening, wrinkled, furrowed lengthwise, flexible, from five to ten inches long, and of a reddish brown color. It contains a pulpy parenchyma, soft, unctuous, very brown, in which are embedded black, brilliant, very small seeds.
The kind most esteemed in France is called leq vanilla; it is about six inches long, from one-fourth to one-third of an inch broad, narrowed at the two ends and curved at the base; somewhat soft and viscid, of a dark reddish color, and of a most delicious flavor, like that of balsam of Peru. It is called vanilla giorees, when it is covered with efflorescences of benzcoin acid, after having been kept in a dry place, and in vessels not hermetically closed.
The second sort, called vanilla simarona, or bastard, is a little smaller than the preceding, of a less deep brown hue, drier, less aromatic, destitute of efflorescence. It is said to be the produce of the wild plant, and is brought from St. Domingo.
A third sort, which comes from Brazil, is the vanillon, or large vanilla of the French market; the vanilla pamprona or bova of the Spaniards. Its length is from five to six inches, its breadth from one-half to three-fourths of an inch. It is brown, soft, viscid, almost always open, of a strong smell, but less agreeable than the leq. It is sometimes a little spoiled by an incipient fermentation. It is cured with sugar, and enclosed in tin plate boxes, which contain from 20 to 60 pods. The average annual import of vanilla into Havre, in the five years ending 1841, was about 16 boxes; in 1842 it was 30 packages.
TONQUIN BEANS.—The seeds of the Tongo tree (Dipterix odorata), a native of Guiana, are the well-known tonquin beans used to give a pleasant flavor to snuff.
This article of commerce is furnished by the branches of the rhizome or root-stock of the Curcuma longa, and C. rotunda, plants which are natives of Eastern Asia, but have been grown in England and the West Indies. They thrive well in a rich light soil, and are readily increased by offsets from the roots.
In the East Indies, where it is known as Huldee, turmeric is much employed in dyeing yellow, principally silks, but the color is very fugitive. It is also used medicinally as an aromatic carminative, and as a condiment; it enters into the composition of curry sauce or powder, and many other articles of Indian cookery. It is cordial and stomachic, and considered by the native doctors of India an excellent application in powder for cleansing foul ulcers.
It is grown in, and exported chiefly from, Bengal and Malabar, Madras, Java, and China. The turmeric of Java is in high estimation in the European markets, ranking next to that of China, and being much superior to that of Bengal. The seeds of Anethum Sowa, from their carminative properties, form an ingredient in curry powder.
The price of turmeric in London is from 12s. to 20s. per cwt., according to quality. The entries for home consumption are about 4,000 to 5,000 cwts. annually. It is better shipped in casks or cases than in bags.
A kind of arrowroot is prepared from C. angustifolia, another species of this tribe of plants.
Amaranthus gangiticus, and another species, are much cultivated by the Hindoos for their stews and curries.
The quantity and value of the curry stuff imported into Ceylon, chiefly from India, has been in the last few years as follows:—
Quantity. Years. cwts. packages. Value. 1847 6,866 1848 9,981 1849 26,347 109 9,664 1850 24,396 300 7,267 1851 32,550 9,446 1852 9,039
What is comprised under the term "curry stuff," I am not aware, but it appears to be a bulky article, for it was imported to the extent of 32,000 cwt. in 1852.
There are two varieties of turmeric usually sent into Europe from the East (whence all the turmeric imported into Europe is obtained), the "long" turmeric (Curcuma longa), and the "round," or as it is better known the "Chinese turmeric." The latter description is very rare, the former is the common article of commerce. According to one of my correspondents, Mr. Hepburn, chemist, of Falmouth, Jamaica, the common or long turmeric is indigenous to that island, growing luxuriantly in the mountainous districts, in rather damp soils, its locality being in the vicinity of rivers, water-courses and springs. In this respect it differs from ginger, which requires a rather dry soil for its culture. I am not aware that this plant possesses the property of impoverishing the soil like the ginger. From the general habits of the plant in its natural state, we may gather the following rules for our guidance in its culture. The plants should be laid down in rows of five or six inches distant from each other, in a soil moderately damp, of an aluminous or clayey nature, and free to a great extent of the more soluble alkalies, potash and soda, as these, by absorption, may destroy the coloring matter of the plant, and so diminish its value as a dye-stuff. Finally, in preparing the roots for exportation, they should be cleansed from all earthy particles, exposed for drying in the shade, and without any further preparation bagged for shipment.
The coloring matter of turmeric is of an orange yellow color exceedingly delicate and capable of change, either from the action of light or of alkalies, which turn it to a dark brown color. It is slightly soluble in water, and readily soluble in an alkaline solution, becoming dark brown. Alcohol extracts the coloring matter. The uses to which turmeric is applied are two: as an ingredient in the curry powder and paste, and as a dye for silk. It was some time ago used as a medicine; but though retained in the "Pharmacopoeias" of the present day, it is entirely discarded by the practitioner as a curative agent. The best Bengal and Malabar turmeric fetches a price nearly as high as that of ginger, and I see no reason why the West India planter could not send it into the British market quite as cheap as the East India trader. According to Dallas, 397 bags of turmeric were exported from Jamaica in 1797.
Turmeric is grown about the city of Patna and Behar. It is much cultivated about Calcutta and all parts of Bengal. One acre yields about 2,000 lbs. of the fresh root. It is also grown on the central table land of Afghanistan. The exports from Calcutta in 1841 were 11,000 Indian maunds, and 28,137 in 1842. The value of that exported from Madras in 1839 was 40,000 rupees, or L4,000; in 1840, L4,200. The quantity shipped from that Presidency in 1850 was 6,877 bags.
In the neighbourhood of Dacca about 200 lbs. of seed is sown to the beegah, measuring 80 cubits by 80, and the yield is from 640 to 800 lbs.
140 tons were imported into Liverpool in 1849, for dyeing and for curries; 414 tons in 1850; 11,554 bags and packages in 1851; and only 3,595 ditto in 1852. The price in January 1853 was, for Bengal, 10s. to 12s.; China, 12s. to 14s., and Malabar 9s. to 12s. the cwt. The imports into London were 18 tons in 1848, 191 in 1849, and 980 in 1850. The deliveries for consumption, 192 tons in 1848, 270 in 1849, and 870 tons in 1850.
In China turmeric is used with Prussian blue in coloring and facing tea.
The produce of this plant, as an article of commerce, is confined to our transatlantic neighbours, who have the monopoly of the supply to China.
The root of Panax quinquefolium, the American ginseng, is much esteemed by the Chinese, for certain supposed beneficial effects upon the nerves, and for other presumed virtues; but our physicians have not discovered any proofs of its efficacy in Europe. The plant is an herbaceous perennial, growing upon the confines of Tartary and China, near the great wall. It is found wild, flourishing in moist situations, and attains the height of from two to three feet; it is also now produced largely in the northern, middle, and western States of the Union, particularly Virginia, Louisiana, and Pennsylvania, and a considerable trade is carried on with it to China. A variety of the plant was discovered, a few years ago, in the Himalaya mountains, and small quantities have been thence sent to Canton. It is also found growing in Canada. The root is about three or four inches in length, and one inch in thickness. It resembles a small carrot, but not so taper at the end, and is sometimes single, sometimes divided into two branches. The stem is striated, without branches, and of a red color near the root. The leaves, from four to six of which surround the stem where they form sheaths (bracteal), are simply pinnate. The flower stalk is long and green, the inflorescence a simple umbel. The fruit is a berry of a red color, and contains two seeds of the size of mustard seed. The officinal root differs in appearance, according to the country from which it is brought. In Korea and China it is white, corrugated when dry, and covered with a powder resembling starch. In Mandscharia and Dauria it is yellow, smooth and transparent, and when cut resembles amber. The taste of the root is bitter. Crude ginseng now sells in the Canton market at 70 to 80 dollars per picul of 133 lbs., and cured or clarified root at 130 to 140 dollars.
The stem of the plant, which is renewed every year, leaves, as it falls off, an impression upon the neck of the root, so that the number of these rings or marks indicates the age of the plant, and the value of the root increases accordingly. The Chinese government were formerly in the habit of sending out annually 30,000 Tartar soldiers to search for the plant, and each was obliged to bring home two ounces of the root gratis, and for all above that quantity he was paid its weight in silver. The Asiatic ginseng is said to be obtained from the root of P. Schinseng of Nees von Esenbeck, P. Pseudo ginseng of Wallich. This root might be procured in Prince Edward's Island and some of the other British North American colonies.
I have been able to trace, after some labor and research, the progressive exports of this curious article of trade from the United States.
In 1790, 813 casks, of the value of 47,025 dollars, were exported; and in 1791, 29,208 lbs. From 1803 to 1807, the annual value of ginseng shipped was about 123,000 dollars, and from 1820 to 1830, it averaged 157,000 dollars.
The following figures show the value of the article in subsequent years:—1831, 115,921 dollars; year ending 30th September, 1835, 94,960 dollars; 1837, 212,899 lbs., valued at 108,548 dollars; 1840, 22,728 dollars; 1841, 437,245 dollars.
The quantity shipped in 1839, from Philadelphia alone, was 317,443 lbs. In 1841, 637,885 lbs. were exported from the United States.
The value of that exported in the years ending 30th June, was 1844, 95,008 in dollars, and in 1845, 117,146 dollars; 110,000 lbs. were collected at Toledo, Ohio, in 1845. The value of the exports in the following years, ending June 30th, were—1847, 64,466 dollars; 1849, 162,640; 1849, 182,966; 1850, 122,916 dollars.
CORIANDER, CARRAWAY, AND OTHER SEEDS.
The fruits of anise, carraway, coriander, &c., (erroneously called seeds,) are in demand for various purposes.
CARRAWAY SEED is imported to the extent of 500 tons annually from Germany and Holland, the price being about 33s. per cwt. It is also now much grown in Essex and Kent. In the years 1848 and 1849, 7,000 cwt. of this seed was imported, of which nearly the whole quantity was retained for home consumption.
CORIANDER SEED is chiefly used by distillers, to produce an aromatic oil. The quantity imported annually does not exceed 50 tons, and it is brought principally to the port of Hull. It is also cultivated in Suffolk, Essex and Kent.
Of MUSTARD SEED the aggregate quantity imported annually is about 2,000 tons for home consumption, and the flour is used as a well-known condiment to food, &c., and in medicine; the average price being about 9d. per pound.
ANISE.—The fruit of Pimpinilla anisum, under the name of aniseed, is principally imported from Alicant and Germany (the first is preferred), but some is also brought from the East Indies. It is an annual plant, largely cultivated in Spain, Malta, and various parts of Germany, and also in the island of Scio, Egypt, and parts of Asia. The imports are not large; 192 cwts. paid duty in 1833, and 315 cwts. in 1840. About 60 cwts. are annually received at Hull from Germany. It is used to flavor liqueurs, sweetmeats, and confectionery of various kinds. Oil of aniseed is obtained by distillation from the fruit, and 1,544 lbs. were imported in 1839. About two pounds of oil are obtained from one hundred-weight of seed.
STAR ANISE, Illicum anisatum, is a native of the countries extending from 231/2 deg. to 35 deg. of north latitude, or from Canton to Japan. The capsules constitute in India a rather important article of commerce, and are sold in all the bazaars. Large quantities are also used in Europe in the preparation of liqueurs. 695 piculs of star aniseed were exported from Canton in 1850, valued at 8,200 Spanish dollars. 81 piculs of oil of aniseed were exported from Canton in 1845, and 105 piculs in 1850, valued at 11,900 dollars. 3,000 piculs of aniseed are exported annually from Cambodia.
PUTCHUK, OR COSTUS.
The substance called costus was highly prized by the ancients, and specimens may be met with at a few of the London drug-houses. It has been shown by Dr. Falconer to be the produce of a genus of the thistle tribe, to which he has given the name of Aucklandia. The root of A. Costus is supposed to be the Costus Arabicus, on the following grounds:—It corresponds with the descriptions given by the ancient authors, and is used at the present day for the same purposes in China, as costus was formerly applied to by the Greeks. The coincidence of the names—in Cashmere the root is called koot, and the Arabic synonym is said to be koost. It grows in immense abundance on the mountains which surround Cashmere. It is a gregarious herb, about six or seven feet high, with a perennial thick branched root, with an annual round smooth stem, large leaves and dark purple flowers. The roots are dug up in the months of September and October, when the plant begins to be torpid; they are chopped up into pieces, from two to six inches long, and are exported without further preparation. The quantity collected, according to Dr. Falconer, is very large, amounting to about two million pounds per annum. The cost of its collection and transport to a mercantile depot in Cashmere, is about 2s. 4d. the cwt. The commodity is laden on bullocks and exported to the Punjaub, whence the larger portion goes down to Bombay, where it is shipped for the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, and China; a portion of it finds its way across the Sutlej and Jumna into Hindostan Proper, whence it is taken to Calcutta, and bought up there with avidity under the name of putchuk. The value is enhanced at Jugadree, on the Jumna, to about 16s. 9d. or 23s. 4d. per cwt. In the Chinese ports it fetches nearly double that price the cwt. The Chinese burn the roots as an incense in the temples of their gods, and they also attach great efficacy to it as an aphrodisiac. The imports into Canton in 1848 were 414 piculs; in 1850, 854 piculs; valued at 5,150 dollars. In Cashmere it is chiefly used for the protection of bales of shawls from insects. The exports from the port of Calcutta were, in 1840-41, 19,660 maunds; in 1841-42, 12,847; in 1847-48, 2,0501/4; in 1848-49, 2,1103/4;—worth about L1,500 annually.
Specimens of amboyna wood, the odoriferous sandal wood from Timor, clove wood, and other choice woods from the Moluccas and Prince of Wales Island, were sent home to the Great Exhibition in 1851.
LIGNUM ALOES, the eagle wood and Calambak of commerce, yielding an aromatic perfume, is furnished by the Aquilaria malaccensis, and agallocha, in Silhet, an ornamental evergreen shrub. A very high artificial value is placed on the better qualities of this product by the natives of the East; the best quality being worth about L14 the picul of 133 lbs.
This fragrant wood is probably the lign aloes of the Bible.
Incense to the value of nearly one million and a quarter francs was exported from Alexandria in 1837.
Calambak or eagle wood, the true lignum aloes so highly esteemed in the East as a perfume or incense, is said to be produced by the Aloexylum agallochum, Lour. This remarkable wood contains a large quantity of an odoriferous oleo-resin; when heated it undergoes a sort of imperfect fusion, and exhales a fragrant and very agreeable odor. Its price in Sumatra is about L30 per cwt. Inferior specimens are obtained at Malacca. Eagle wood is also obtained from several other trees. The true eagle wood is however very scarce.
DYES AND COLORING STUFFS, AND TANNING SUBSTANCES.
Of the several classes of materials collected at the Industrial Exhibition in Hyde Park, in 1851, few possessed so much importance in the eyes of the textile and leather manufacturer and chemist as the different products used in the arts and manufactures for coloring and tanning purposes. These were in a great measure lost sight of by the public at large, being scattered about in small quantities in a great number of directions; and, from the minute samples shown, were in many instances overlooked altogether. Besides furnishing some novel and general statistical facts, which may prove interesting, I propose also in this section to draw attention more prominently to some of these products, which are at present little known or appreciated.
Coloring substances for staining and dyeing are obtained indifferently from the animal, mineral, and vegetable kingdoms, but it is of the last alone that I shall have to speak. The importance of a more careful consideration of this subject will be admitted, if we consider how much the prosperity and extent of our cotton, silk, woollen, and leather manufactures depends on a liberal and cheap supply of dyes and tannin, to give beauty and color to the fabrics, and substance and utility to the skins. Even oil colors, for painters' purposes, which do not come within the scope of my remarks, form an item in our yearly exports of the value of L250,000, and when we calculate the large amount of cotton, silk and wool worked up, most of which requires various coloring agents, gums, starches, and mordants;—that nearly 30,000 tons of hides are annually imported, exclusive of those obtained from our now slaughter-houses, besides goat, seal, and other skins—and that the exports of our various manufactures of cotton, linen, silk, wool and leather in 1852, setting aside our home consumption, amounted to nearly fifty millions sterling, we shall be able to form a better estimate of the importance of the various subjects we are about to notice.
Great Britain does not pay less than L600,000 annually for the dried carcasses of the tiny cochineal insect, while the produce of another small insect, that which produces the lac dye, is scarcely less valuable. Then there are the gall nuts used for dyeing and making black ink. Upwards of L3,000,000 is paid for barks of various kinds for tanners' purposes, about one million for other tanning substances and heavy dye woods, besides about L200,000 for various extracts of tannin, such as Gambier, Cutch, Divi-divi, and Kino. The aggregate value of the dye stuffs and gum it is difficult to estimate.
The beautiful specimens of materials imported from China, India, New Zealand, the Continent, and other countries, and exhibited at the Crystal Palace, proves to us that we have yet much to learn from other nations in the art of fixing colors and obtaining brilliant dyes. The French are much our superiors in dyeing and the production of fast and beautiful colors. Their chemical researches and investigations are carried out more systematically and effectively than our own. Russia imports dyewoods and dye-stuffs to the value of five millions and a half of silver roubles annually.
It was well observed by the Jury Reporters at the Great Exhibition, that "a vast number of new coloring materials have been discovered or made available, and improved modes have been devised of economically applying those already in use; so that the dyer of the present time employs many substances of the very existence of which his practical predecessors were wholly ignorant. From the increased use of many of the vegetable colors, and from the improved modes of applying the coloring matters, a demand has naturally sprung up for various dye stuffs; and at the present time, many of the dyeing materials of distant countries are beginning to excite the attention of practical men; for though they have been acquainted with many of these substances, it is only recently that the progress of the art has rendered their use desirable or even practicable."
It would be quite impossible, within the limits which I have assigned myself, to make even a bare enumeration of the various plants and trees from which coloring substances and dye stuffs can be obtained, I must, therefore, be content to specify only a few.
The roots of some species of Lithospermum afford a lac for dyeing and painting. Dried pomegranates are said to be used in Tunis for dyeing yellow; the rind is also a tanning substance.
Sir John Franklin tells us that the Crees extract some beautiful colors from several of their native vegetables. They dye a beautiful scarlet with the roots of two species of bed-straw, Galium tinctorium and boreale. They dye black, with an ink made of elder bark and a little bog-iron ore dried and powdered, and they have various modes of producing yellow. They employ the dried roots of the cowbane (Cicuta virosa), the bruised buds of the Dutch myrtle, and have discovered methods of dyeing with various lichens.
In the "Comptes Rendus," xxxv., p. 558, there is an account by M.J. Persoz, of a green coloring matter from China, of great stability, from which it appears that the Chinese possess a coloring substance having the appearance of indigo, which communicates a beautiful and permanent sea green color to mordants of alumina and iron, and which is not a preparation of indigo, or any derivative of this dyeing principal. As furnished to M. Persoz by Mr. Forbes, the American consul at Canton, it was in thin plates of a blue color, resembling Japanese indigo, but of a finer grain, differing also from indigo in its composition and chemical properties. On infusing a very small quantity of it in water, this fluid soon acquired a deep blue color with a greenish tinge; upon boiling and immersing a piece of calico on which the mordants of iron and alumina had been printed, it was dyed a sea green color of greater or less intensity according to the strength of the mordant—the portions not coated remaining white.
A berry called Makleua grows on a large forest tree at Bankok, which is used most extensively by the Siamese as a vegetable black dye. It is merely bruised in water, when a fermentation takes place, and the article to be dyed is steeped in the liquid and then spread out in the sun to dry. The berry, when fresh, is of a fine green color, but after being gathered for two or three days it becomes quite black and shrivelled like pepper. It must be used fresh, and whilst its mixture with water produces fermentation. The bark of Datisca cannabina also dyes yellow. It contains a bitter principle, like quassia.
A coloring matter is prepared from the dried fruit of the Rottlera tinctoria, by the natives of the East, to dye orange, which is a brilliant and tolerably permanent dye. It is apparently of a resinous nature.
A small quantity of Alkanet root (Anchusa tinctoria), is imported from the Levant and the south of France, and is used to color gun stocks, furniture, &c., of a deep red mahogany and rosewood color. It is brought over in packages weighing about two cwt., the price being 40s. or 50s. per cwt.
Turmeric is now imported to the extent of upwards of 800 tons, a portion of this is used in dyeing. The culture and commerce has been already noticed in Section III.
The bark and roots of the berberry are used in the East to dye yellow; the color is best when boiled in ley. Some of the species of Symplocos, as S. racemosa, known as lodh about the Himalaya mountains, and S. tinctoria, a native of Carolina, are used for dyeing. The scarlet flowers of Butea frondosa (the Dhaktree), and B. superba, natives of the Indian jungles, yield a beautiful dye, and furnishing a species of kino (Pulas kino), are also used for tanning. Althea rosea, the parent of the many beautiful varieties of hollyhock, a native of China, yields a blue coloring matter equal to indigo. Indigo of an excellent quality has been obtained in the East from a twining plant, Gymnema tingens or Asclepias tingens.
The juice of the unripe fruit of Rhamnus infectorius, catharticus and virigatius, known as Turkey or French berries, is used for dyeing leather yellow. When mixed with lime and evaporated to dryness, it forms the color called sap-green. A great quantity of yellow berries are annually shipped from Constantinople; 115 tons were imported into Liverpool last year. The average annual imports into the United Kingdom are about 450 tons. They come from the Levant in hair bales weighing three and a quarter cwt., or in tierces of four to five cwt., and are used by calico printers for dyeing a yellow color. They are sometimes called Persian berries.
It is a subject of surprise that the common betel-nut of the East has never been introduced for dyeing purposes. The roots of the awl tree of Malabar and other parts of India, Morinda citrifolia, and of M. tinctoria, found abundant in all the Asiatic islands, are extensively used as a dye stuff for giving a red color. It is usually grown as a prop and shade for the pepper vine and coffee tree. The coloring matter resides principally in the bark of the roots, which are long and slender, and the small pieces are the best, fetching 8s. to 10s. a maund. It is exported in large quantities from Malabar to Guzerat, and the northern parts of Hindostan, but seldom finds its way to Europe.
The wood and roots of another species, M. umbellata, known in the eastern islands as "Mangkudu," are used extensively for their red dye, in Celebes and Java. Specimens of all these, and of the Lopisip bark, bunchong bulu wood, and the gaju gum (from undescribed plants), have been introduced into England. They are said to furnish excellent dyes in the Asiatic islands. Native dyes from Arracan have also been imported, viz., thit-tel and the-dan yielding red dyes, ting-nget and reros, affording dark purple dyes; and thit-nan-weng, a chocolate dye. These would be worth enquiry, and particulars of the plants yielding them, the quantities available, and the prices might be procured. Dyes and colors from the following plants are obtained in India: several species of Terminalia, Sinecarpus Anacardium, Myrica Sapide, Nelumbium speciosus, Butea frondosa, and Nyctanthes arboretristis. The bunkita barring, obtained from an undescribed plant in Borneo, produces a dark purple or black dye. A species of ruellia, under the name of "Room," is employed in its raw state by the Khamptis and Lingphos to dye their clothes of a deep blue. It is described by the late Dr. Griffiths as "a valuable dye, and highly worthy of attention." It might, perhaps, be usefully employed as the ground for a black dye. In Nepaul they use the bark of Photinia dubia or Mespilus Bengalensis for dyeing scarlet. The bark of the black oak, Quercus tinctoria and its varieties, natives of North America, are used by dyers under the name of quercitron.
In the south of Europe, Daphne Gnidium is used to dye yellow. The root of reilbon, a sort of madder in Chili, dyes red. A purple tint or dye is obtained from the bark of an undescribed tree, known under the name of "Grana ponciana," growing about Quito; and Stevenson (Travels in South America) says, "if known in Europe, it would undoubtedly become an article of commerce." Another much more expensive species of coloring matter (red) is obtained in various parts of South America from the leaves of the Bignonia Chica, a climbing evergreen shrub, native of the Orinoco country, with large handsome panicles of flowers. The coloring substance is obtained by decoction, which deposits, when cool, a red matter; this is formed into cakes and dried. Dr. Ure thinks it might probably be turned to account in the arts of civilization. The order of plants to which it belongs, contains a vast number of species, all natives of tropical regions, and their value for the production of coloring substances may be worth investigation.
It is met with in British Guiana, and the Indian tribes of that district prepare the pigment with which they stain their skin from it; it is called by them "Caraveru." The coloring matter is used as a dye in the United States, and for artistical purposes would rival madder. Sir Robert Schomburgk thinks it might form an article of export if it were sufficiently known, as its preparation is extremely simple. The leaves are dried in the sun, and at the first exposure, after having been plucked from the vine which produces them, they show the abundant feculent substance which they contain.
LANA DYE.—A beautiful bluish-black color, known as "Caruto," is procured in Demerara and Berbice from the juice of the fruit of the Genipa Americana, Linn.—a tree very common in the colony. The Indians use it for staining their faces and persons. The Lana dye was honorably mentioned by the jurors at the Great Exhibition in 1851. The bluish-black color obtained from it is remarkably permanent, a fact which has very long been known, though hardly any attempt appears to have been made to introduce it to the notice of European dyers. Another pigment is prepared by them from arnotto, mixed with turtle oil, or carap oil, obtained from the seeds of the Carapa guianensis (Aubl.). The wild plantain (Urania guianensis) and the cultivated plantain (Musa paridisiaca), the Mahoe (Thespesia populnea), and the pear seed of the Avocado (Persea gratissima), furnish dyes in various parts of the West Indies; specimens of many of these have been imported from British Guiana and Trinidad.
Russia produces good specimens of the wood of Statice coriaria, the leaves and bark of sumach, the bark of the wild pomegranate, yellow berries, Madia sativa, saffron, safflower and madder roots for dyeing purposes.
Avicenna tomentosa, a species of mangrove, is very common about the creeks of Antigua, Jamaica, and other West India islands, where it is used for dyeing and tanning.
In New Zealand, the natives produce a most brilliant blue-black dye from the bark of the Eno, which is in great abundance. Some of the borders of the native mats, of a most magnificent black, are dyed with this substance. It has been tried in New South Wales; but, as with other local dyes, although found well suited for flax, hemp, linen, or other vegetable productions, it could not be fixed on wools or animal matter. Dr. Holroyd, of Sydney, some time since, imported a ton of it for a friend near Bathurst. It is of great importance that chemical science should be applied to devise some means of fixing this valuable dye on wool. As the tree is so common, the bark could be had in any quantity at about L3 10s. a ton; and our tweed manufacturers are in great want of a black dye for their check and other cloths.
The principal heavy woods used for dyeing are fustic, logwood, Nicaragua wood, barwood, camwood, red Sanders wood, Brazil wood, and sappan wood. All the dyewoods are nearly L2 per ton higher than last year.
Common Spanish fustic which in September, 1852, was only L3 10s. per ton, now fetches L6 10s. in the Liverpool market; and there is a great demand for all kinds of dyewoods. Tampico and Puerto Cabello fustic are now worth L6 10s. to L7 the ton, Cuba ditto, L9 10s. to L10.
Sappan wood is L4 higher than last year; barwood has risen cent per cent; logwoods are L2 per ton higher.
The following were the prices of the different dyewoods in the Liverpool market, on the 1st September, 1853, per ton:—
L s. d. L s. d. FUSTIC, common Spanish 5 10 0 to 6 10 0 Tampico 6 10 0 7 0 0 Puerto Cabello 6 10 0 7 10 0 Cuba 8 0 0 9 10 0 LOGWOOD, Jamaica 5 0 0 5 5 0 St. Domingo 5 5 0 5 10 0 Campeachy, direct 7 12 6 8 0 0 Indirect and Tobasco 6 10 0 7 0 0 NICARAGUA. WOOD. Rio de la Hache, solid 9 0 0 11 10 0 " " small 6 0 0 6 10 0 Lima 12 0 0 14 10 0 BARWOOD, Angola } Gaboon } 7 0 0 ——- CAMWOOD 25 0 0 30 10 0 RED SANDERS WOOD 5 15 0 6 10 0 SAPPAN WOOD 10 0 0 15 0 0
RED SANDERS WOOD (Pterocarpus santalinus), which is hard and of a bright garnet red color, is employed to dye a lasting reddish brown on wool. It only yields its color to ether or alcohol. The tree, which is a lofty one, is common about Madras and other parts of India; it is also indigenous to Ceylon, Timor, and other Eastern islands. The exports of this wood from Madras in one year have been nearly 2,000 tons.
The imports of red Sanders wood from Calcutta and Bombay chiefly into London are to the extent of 700 or 800 tons a year, worth L6 to L9 per ton.
Of FUSTIC we import from 1,500 to 2,000 tons annually. We derive our supplies from Brazil, Tampico, Puerto Cabello, Cuba, and Jamaica. The best is obtained from Cuba; for while the common white fustic from Jamaica and the Spanish Main fetches only L5 10s. to L6 10s. the ton, that of Cuba realizes from L8 to L9 10s. the ton.
SAPPAN WOOD (Caesalpinia Sappan) is an article of considerable commerce in the East. It is the bukkum wood of Scinde, and is procured in Mergui, Bengal, the Tenasserim Provinces, Malabar and Ceylon. In 1842 as much 78,000 cwts. were shipped from Ceylon, but the export from thence has decreased. This island, however, ships dyewoods annually to the amount of L2,000. A large quantity is exported from Siam and the Philippine Islands; as much as 200,000 piculs annually from the former, and 23,000 piculs from Manila. 3,524 piculs were shipped from Singapore in 1851, and 4,074 piculs in 1852. The picul is about one cwt. and a quarter. Sappan wood yields a yellowish color, like that of Brazil wood (C. brasiliensis) but it does not afford of dye matter so much in quantity or so good in quality.
It forms a large export from Ceylon: the shipments from thence were, in 1842, 77,694 cwt.; in 1843, 1,692; in 1844, 2,592; in 1845, 2,854. I have no detailed returns at hand, but in 1837, 23,695 piculs of sappan wood, and 2,266 piculs of roots of ditto were shipped, and in the first six months of 1843, 22,326 piculs were exported from Manila; a large portion of this comes to Europe, but some goes to China, the United States, Singapore, &c. 15,500 piculs were shipped from Manila in 1844, 5,250 ditto in 1845; and 1,210 tons in 1850. About 3,000 piculs of sappan wood and the same quantity of other dye-stuffs are annually imported into Shanghae. The price of straight sappan wood at Shanghae in July, last year, was thirty dollars per picul.
In Calcutta, in June last year, 4,000 piculs of the root of Manila sappan wood sold freely at about 7s. 6d. per factory maund, Siam ditto 6s.
75 tons were imported into Liverpool in 1849; and 120 tons in 1850, from Calcutta. The imports of sappan wood into the United Kingdom, in 1850, amounted to 3,670 tons, worth L8 to L12 the ton, and this continued the price in January 1853.
Camwood, red sanders wood, barwood, and other dye woods, are found in great quantities in many parts of Africa. The dyes of Africa are found to resist both acids and light, properties which no other dyes seem to possess in the same degree. About thirty miles east of Bassia Cove, in the republic of Liberia, is the commencement of a region of unknown extent, where scarcely any tree is seen except the camwood. This boundless forest of wealth, as yet untouched, is easily accessible from that settlement; roads can be opened to it with little expense, and the neighbouring kings would probably give their co-operation to a measure so vastly beneficial to themselves. It is impossible to ascertain the exact amount of export of these commodities to Europe and the United States, but it is very great, and employs a large amount of vessels. One Liverpool house imported 600 tons in a single year, worth L9,000.
In 1841 upwards of 3,000 tons of dye woods were imported into Liverpool from the western coast of Africa.
CAMWOOD (Baphia nitida) is used as a mordant and for producing the bright red color seen in English bandana handkerchiefs. The imports from Sierra Leone to Liverpool in 1849 were 216 tons, worth L20 to L25 per ton.
Gaboon barwood is another variety of this dyewood which is imported from the west coast of Africa, in straight flat pieces, from three to, five feet in length; the average annual import being about 2,000 tons, of the value of L4 a ton.
The imports of barwood into Liverpool were in—
Tons. 1835 2,000 1836 1,000 1837 1,150 1838 650 1839 350 1841 2,012 1850 1,710
Dyewoods imported in 1850. Re-exported. Logwood 32,930 4,332 Fustic 9,808 1,771 Nicaragua 7,909 112 Barwood 1,896 1,229 Sappan 3,670 — Green Ebony, and } Cocuswood } 1,457 — Red Sanders 656 — Camwood 416 — Brazil and Brazillito 309 — ——— ——- 59,051 7,444
Thus we perceive the annual consumption of heavy dyewoods in this country, in dyeing cotton, linen, woollen and silk goods, &c., exceeds in weight 51,000 tons.
ARNOTTO.—The plants of this family are chiefly natives of the warmest parts of South America, the East and West Indies, and Africa. In America the seeds are called achote or roucou. From the port of Barcelona, in Venezuela, about 2,000 quintals are annually exported. The species grown for its dye is the Bixa orellana. It is used to impart a bright orange color to silk goods, and to afford a deeper shade to simple yellows. The dry hard paste is also found to be the best of all ingredients for giving a golden tint to cheese or butter. A convenient liquid preparation is now sold to dairymen. The Spanish Americans mix it with their chocolate, to which it gives a beautiful rich hue.
It is of two sorts, viz.:—
1. Flag or cake arnotto, which is by far the most important article in a commercial point of view, is furnished almost wholly by Cayenne. It is imported in square cakes, weighing two or three pounds each, wrapped in banana leaves, packed in casks.
2. Roll arnotto is principally brought from Brazil. The rolls are small, not exceeding two or three ounces in weight. It is hard, dry, and compact, brownish on the outside, and of a beautiful red color within.
The dye is usually prepared by macerating the pods in boiling water for a week or longer. When they begin to ferment, the seeds ought to be strongly stirred and bruised with wooden pestles to promote the separation of the red skins. This process is repeated several times, till the seeds are left white. The liquor passed through close cane sieves, pretty thick, of a deep red color, and a very bad smell, is received into coppers. In boiling, it throws up its coloring matter to the surface in the form of scum, which is taken off, saved in large pans, and afterwards boiled down to a due consistence, and then made up, when soft, into balls or cakes of two or three pounds weight.
The following description of the manufacture is from Dr. Ure:—
"The pods of the tree being gathered, their seeds are taken out and bruised; they are then transferred to a vat, which is called the steeper, where they are mixed with as much water as covers them. Here the substance is left for several weeks or even months; it is now squeezed through sieves placed above the steeper, that the water containing the coloring matter in suspension may return into the vat. The residuum is preserved under the leaves of the pine-apple shrub, till it becomes hot by fermentation. It is again subjected to the same operation, and this treatment is continued till no more color remains.
"The substance thus extracted is passed through sieves, in order to separate the remainder of the seeds, and the color is allowed to subside. The precipitate is boiled in coppers till it be reduced to a consistent paste; it is then suffered to cool, and dried in the shade. Instead of this long and painful labor, which occasions diseases by the putrefaction induced and which affords a spoiled product, Leblond proposes simply to wash the seeds of arnotto till they be entirely deprived of their color, which lies wholly on their surface; to precipitate the color by means of vinegar or lemon juice, and to boil it up in the ordinary manner, or to drain it in bags as is practised with indigo.
"The experiments which Vauquelin made on the seeds of arnotto imported by Leblond, confirmed the efficacy of the process which he proposed; and the dyers ascertained that the arnotto obtained in this manner was worth at least four times more than that of commerce; that, moreover, it was more easily employed; that it required less solvents; that it gave less trouble in the copper, and furnished a purer color."—("Dict. of Arts.")
Our imports of arnotto for home consumption are from 200,000 to 300,000 lbs. per annum. The plant is grown in Dacca and other parts of India, and the eastern Archipelago. At the Hawaiian Islands, Tongataboo, Rio Janeiro, Peru and Zanzibar, the arnotto is an indigenous shrub which rises to the height of seven or eight feet, producing oblong heavy pods, somewhat resembling those of a chesnut. Within these there are generally thirty or forty irregularly-formed seeds, which are enveloped in a pulp of a bright red color, and a fragrant smell.
The imports of arnotto have been as follows:—
Retained for lbs. home consumption. 1834 252,981 — 1835 163,421 — 1839 303,489 224,794 1840 408,469 330,490 1847 270,000 296,821 1849 162,400 145,824 1850 301,504 231,280
The price of flag arnotto in the London market, in June 1853, was 1s. per lb.
We imported from France, in 1850, 1,924 cwt. of roll or flag arnotto, of the official value of L21,499; and in 1851, 1,253 cwt., worth L13,968.
Wood dye exported from Ceylon—
Value Quantity L cwts. 1848 1,359 — 1849 2,035 — 1850 1,766 5,206 1851 259 776 1852 770 2,396
CHAY-ROOT.—There is a plant called chay, the Oldenlandia umbellata, which is extensively cultivated as a dye plant in the East, especially on the coasts of Coromandel, Nellore, Masulipatam, Malabar, and other parts of India. The outer bark of the roots furnishes the coloring matter for the durable red for which the chintzes of India are famous. Chay-root forms a considerable article of export from Ceylon. The wild plant there is considered preferable; the roots, which are shorter, yielding one-fourth part more coloring matter, and the right to dig it is farmed out. It grows spontaneously on light, dry, sandy ground on the sea coast; the cultivated roots are slender, with a few lateral fibres, and from one to two feet long. The dye is said to have been tried in Europe, but not with very advantageous effect. Dr. Bancroft suspects it may be injured by the long voyage, but he adds that it cannot produce any effect which may not be more cheaply obtained from madder.
This red dye, similar to Munjeet, is used to a great extent in the southern parts of Hindostan by the native dyers.
It is not held in very good estimation in Europe but seems to deserve a better reputation than it at present possesses. Attention was drawn to it as a dye-stuff in 1798, by a special minute of the Board of Trade recommending its importation; but Dr. Bancroft, who made some experiments with a sample of damaged chay-root, considered it inferior to madder and hence discouraged its further importation.
The bark and root of various species of Morinda (M. citrifolia and tinctoria) are used in different parts of the East Indies, and considered a very valuable red dye. The colors dyed with it are for the most part exceedingly brilliant, and the coloring matter is far more permanent than many other red colors are, with improved management it would probably rival that of madder, and is, therefore, worthy more attention from dyers.
MANGROVE BARK (Rhizophora mangle), is used to dye a chocolate color in the East and West Indies. This was one of the colors introduced by Dr. Bancroft, and for the exclusive use of which he obtained an Act of Parliament. It is procured in plenty at Arracan, Malabar, and Singapore in the East.
SHUMAC or SUMACH, sometimes called young fustic, is the powder of the leaves, peduncles, and young branches of a small deciduous plant (Rhus coriaria), native of the South of Europe, but which is also grown in Syria and Palestine, for its powerful astringent properties, which renders it valuable for tanning light-colored leather, and it imparts a beautiful bright yellow dye to cottons, which is rendered permanent by proper mordants. It is principally imported from the Ionian Islands and the Morea. The species grown for the purpose in Spain, Portugal, and Italy is R. Cotinus, a shrub with pale purple flowers, whereas R. coriaria has greenish yellow blossoms. They may be propagated by cuttings of the roots and layers. R. typhina, and R. glabia, with their varieties, are North American species, which are also used for tanning purposes. In Montpellier and the South of France the twigs and leaves are known under the name of redoul or roudo. They are gathered every year, and the shoots are chipped or reduced to powder by a mill.
The imports into the United Kingdom were in 1846,10,256 tons; in 1847, 11,975 tons; in 1848, 9,617 tons; in 1849, 12,590 tons; in 1850, 12,929 tons, and in 1852, 9,758; which were all retained for consumption. In 1841, we received about 9,000 tons from the port of Leghorn. There were exported from Sicily in 1842, 123,305 tons, valued at L68,894. It is imported in packages of about a cwt., wrapped in cloth. America takes a large quantity of sumach. The imports into the port of Boston alone, were 19,070 bags in 1847; 34,524 in 1848; and 30,050 in 1849.
The prices in Liverpool, duty paid, in the close of this year, are per cwt.:—
s. d. s. d. Sicily, Messina 10 0 to 10 6 " Palermo 12 0 " 13 0 " Trieste 7 0 " 7 6 " Verona 5 6 " 6 6 " Tyrolese 8 0 " 9 0
SAFFLOWER.—The dried flowers of Carthamus tinctorius yield a pink dye, which is used for silks and cottons, and the manufacture of rouge; the color, however, is very fugitive. It is an annual plant, cultivated in China, India, Egypt, America, Spain, and some of the warmer parts of Europe; and is indigenous to the whole of the Indian Archipelago. A large quantity is grown in and exported from Bali. The Chinese safflower is considered the best, and that from Bombay is least esteemed. The annual quantity exported from the district of Dacca averages about 150 tons. The shipments from Calcutta exceed 300 tons to various quarters. Our imports are on the decline, and are now only about 1,200 cwt. per annum. Safflower was shown in the Great Exhibition from Celebes, Assam, the vicinity of Calcutta, Dacca, the states of Rajpootana, and other places.
There are two species: C. tinctorius, which has small leaves and an orange flower; and C. oxyacantha, with larger leaves and a yellow flower, a native of Caucasus. The former is cultivated in Egypt, the Levant, &c., where it forms a considerable article of commerce. 6,633 cwts. of safflower were imported into the United Kingdom in 1835, of which about one-half was retained for home consumption. Of 5,352 cwts. imported in 1840, nearly the whole came from our possessions in the East. In 1847, about 405 tons were imported; in 1848, 506 tons; in 1849, 407 tons; in 1850, 522 tons. The price of safflower varies from L1 to L8 per cwt., according to quality. That from Bombay is least esteemed, fetching only 20s. to 30s.
The annual quantity of safflower, according to Dr. Taylor, exported from the district of Dacca for eight years ending with 1839, amounted to 4,000 maunds, or about 149 tons. The exports through the Calcutta Custom House are occasionally large: in 1824-25 there were about 316 tons; 8,500 Indian maunds were shipped from Calcutta in each of the years 1841 and 1842.
The prices in the Liverpool market, in January 1853, were for Bengal, good and fine, L6 to L7 10s. per cwt.; middling, L4 to L4 10s.; inferior and ordinary, L2 10s. to L3.
GAMBOGE is extensively used as a pigment, from its bright yellow color. There are two kinds known in commerce, the Ceylon and the Siam. The former is procured from the Hebradendron Cambogoides, Graham; a tree which grows wild on the Malabar and Ceylon coasts, and affords the coarsest kind. The pipe gamboge of Siam is said to be obtained from the bruised leaves and young branches of Stalagmites cambogoides. The resinous sap is received into calabashes, and allowed to thicken, after which it is formed into rolls. Several other plants, as the Mangostana Gambogia, Gaertner, and the Hypericum bacciferum and Cayanense, yield similar yellow viscid exudation, hardly distinguishable from gamboge and used for the same purpose by painters. The Garcinia elliptica, Wallich, of Tavoy and Moulmein, affords gamboge, and approaches very closely in its characters to Graham's Hebradendron. In like manner the Mysore tree bears an exceedingly close resemblance to that species. It is common in the forests of Wynaad in the western part of Mysore, and has been named by Dr. Christison Hebradendron pictorium. Another gamboge tree has recently been found inhabiting the western Burmese territories. Both these seem to furnish an equally fine pigment. As it can be obtained in unlimited quantity, it might be introduced into European trade, if the natives learn how to collect it in a state of purity, and make it up in homogenous masses in imitation of pipe gamboge, the finest Siam variety. It seems to possess more coloring matter, more resin and less gum than the ordinary gamboge of commerce. Gamboge owes its color to the fatty acid. The resin must be regarded as the chief constituent, and is most abundant in that imported from Ceylon, which contains about 76 per cent., and is therefore best adapted for painting. Gamboge also has its medicinal uses.
Various species of Lecanora, particularly L. tartarea, known as cudbear, are used in dyeing woollen yarn. The Rocella tinctoria and fusiformis furnish the orchil, or orchilla weed of commerce, which is sometimes sold as a moist pulp, but usually in the form of dry cakes, known under the name of litmus; it produces a fine purple color. Our imports, which have amounted to 6,000 or 7,000 cwts. annually, are derived chiefly from the Canary, Azores, and Cape Verd Islands. Rock orchilla was shown at the Exhibition, from the Berlingen Isles, from Angola, Madeira and the Cape de Verds. Orchilla weed is very plentiful about the shores of the islands of New Zealand, some being sent from thence to the Exhibition; but from a want of knowledge as to the time at which it should be gathered, and the mode of preparing it for the market, it has not yet become a saleable commodity there. The rich varieties of lichens on the rocks and plains of Australia have not been tested, as they ought to be, with Helot's lichen test. Various lichens, and Rocella tinctoria, from Tenasserim and other parts of India, have been introduced by the East India Company. In the Admiralty instructions given to Capt. Sir James C. Ross, on his Antarctic voyage, a few years ago, his attention was specially called to the search and enquiry for substitutes for the Rocella, which is now becoming scarce. A prize medal was awarded, in 1851, to an exhibitor from the Elbe for specimens of the weed, and an extract of red and violet orchil. Specimens of varieties of the lichens used in the manufacture of cudbear, orchil and litmus, and of the substance obtained, were also shown in the British department, which were awarded prize medals.
The beauty of the dyes given by common materials, in the Highlands of Scotland, to some of the cloths which were exhibited, should lead our botanists and chemists to examine, more closely than they have hitherto done, the dye-stuffs that might be extracted from British plants. Woad (Isatis tinctoria) and the dyers' yellow woad (Reseda lutea), are both well known. A piece of tweed, spun and woven in Ross-shire, was dyed brown and black, by such cheap and common dyes as moss and alder bark, and the colors were unexceptionable.
Sutherlandshire tweed and stockings, possessing a rich brown color, were produced with no more valuable dye than soot; in another piece, beautifully dyed, the yellow was obtained from stoney rag, brown from the crops of young heather, and purple from the same, but subjecting the yarn to a greater action of the dye than was necessary to produce brown. There is very little doubt but that beautiful and permanent dyes, from brown to a very rich purple, might be cheaply procured by scientific preparations of the common heather (Genista tinctoria). The inhabitants of Skye exhibited cloth with a peculiarly rich dye, obtained from the "crobal" moss. In the Spanish department, specimens of vegetable dyes from many cultivated and wild plants were furnished by the Agricultural Board of Saragossa, and of several of these it would be important to obtain descriptions and particulars.
Gums are of essential importance to the dyer, and the imports of these, therefore, are large, averaging about 8,000 tons.
The plants which afford this dye grow chiefly in the East and West Indies, in the middle regions of America, in Africa and Europe. They are all species of the genera Indigofera, Isatis and Nerium. Indigofera tinctoria or coerulea, furnishes the chief indigo of commerce, and affords in Bengal, Malabar, Madagascar, the Isle of France, and St. Domingo, an article of middling quality, but not in large quantity. The Indigofera disperma, a plant cultivated in the East Indies and America, grows higher than the preceding, is woody, and furnishes a superior dye-stuff. The Guatamela indigo comes from this species.
Indigofera Anil grows in the same countries, and also in the West Indies. The Indigofera Argentea, which flourishes in Africa, yields little indigo, but it is of an excellent quality. I. pseudotinctoria, cultivated in the East Indies, furnishes the best of all. I. glauca is the Egyptian and Arabian species. There are also the cinerea, erecta (a native of Guinea), hirsuta, glabra, with red flowers, species common to the East, and several others.
The Wrightia tinctoria, of the East Indies, an evergreen, with white blossoms, affords some indigo, as does the Isatis tinctoria, or, Woad, in Europe, and the Polygonum tinctorium, with red flowers, a native of China. Baptisia tinctoria furnishes a blue dye, and is the wild indigo of the United States.
SOURCES OF SUPPLY.—Indigo is at present grown for commercial purposes in Bengal, and the other provinces of that Presidency, from the 20th to the 30th deg. of north latitude; in the Province of Tinnevelly; in the Madras Presidency; in Java, in the largest of the Philippine islands, in Guatemala, Caraccas, Central America and Brazil. Bengal is, however, the chief mart for indigo, and the quantity produced in other places is comparatively inconsiderable. It is also still cultivated in some of the West India islands, especially St. Domingo, but not in large quantities. Indigo grows wild in several parts of Palestine, but attention seems not to have been given to its cultivation or collection. On most parts of the eastern and western coasts of Africa, it is indigenous; at Sierra Leone, Natal, and other places it is found abundant.
In our settlements of Honduras, Demerara, and various portions of the American continent, it would amply reward the labor of the cultivator; several inferior sorts of Indigofera being found there indigenous, and only requiring care and culture to improve them.
The quality of indigo depends upon the species of the plant, its ripeness, the soil and climate of its growth, and the mode of manufacture. The East India, and Brazilian indigo arrives here packed in chests, the Guatemala in ox-hides, called serons.
The indigo imported from the western hemisphere was for some time considered superior in quality to that of the East. Its cultivation, however, has been neglected, and the Bengal indigo is preferred at present to any imported from South America, where it is now only cultivated by the Brazilians and Colombians. If proper attention were paid to the cultivation of the plant, and to the preparation of the dye, it is very likely part of that important trade would be brought back. It thrives best in a moist climate, and the interior of Guiana, chiefly newly-cleared land, would be well adapted for it.