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Drinking water in an Arab's tent has the same good effect as eating salt. It was so in the time of the Crusades, when the Sultaun Saladine allowed his prisoner Lusignan, king of Jerusalem, to drink water in his presence; on the captive monarch offering the cup to one of his lords, equally thirsty, the Sultaun prevented his drinking, because he meant to put him to death.
General State of Agriculture in Guzerat-Morning Beauties in
India-Best Mode of Preserving Health-Guzerat Villages described-Tanks and Wells-Hospitality to Travellers in Guzerat—Peasantry—Right of Landed Property—Mode of Cultivation, and Appropriation of the Produce-MassaulcheeIllustration of a Parable-Washerman-Cullies, or FarmYards-Oppression of the Zemindars—Hindoo and Mosaic Charities-Unfavourable Traits in the Brahmin Character, and the Hindoo Religion-Human Sacrifices—Contrasted with Christianity-Jaghires and different Tenures in Guzerat-Scale of Oriental Despotism-Mahratta Cruelty in the Sheep-skin Death-Hindoo Bill of Sale of Land-Lease of Land at Baroche.
The administration of justice, collection of the revenues, and superintendence of the districts under my charge, especially during the seasons of seedtime and harvest, required frequent excursions into the country, and afforded me an opportunity of observing the state of agriculture in the Guzerat province, and the manners and customs of the peasants in some of its remote purgunnas. In that delightful part of Hindostan are “no antres vast, nor deserts idle ;" all is fertility and plenty; the soil, generally rich and loamy, produces valuable harvests of batty,
juarree, bahjeree, and other grain, with cotton, shrubs for oil, and plants for dying. Many parts yield a double crop, particularly the rice and cotton-fields, which are both planted at the commencement of the rainy season, in June. The cotton shrub, which grows to the height of three or four feet, and in verdure resembles the currant-bush, requires some months to bring its delicate produce to perfection. It is planted between the rows of rice, which does not impede its growth, or prevent its being reaped. Soon after the rice harvest is over, the cotton-bushes put forth a beautiful yellow flower, with a crimson eye in each
petal; this is succeeded by a green pod filled with a I white stringy pulp; the pod turns brown and hard
as it ripens, and then separates into two or three divisions, containing the cotton. A luxuriant field, exhibiting at the same time the expanding blossom, the bursting capsule, and the snowy flakes of ripe cotton, is one of the most beautiful objects in the agriculture of Hindostan. Herodotus says, the Indians, in his time, possessed a kind of plant, which instead of fruit, produced wool of a finer and better quality than that of sheep, of which the natives made their clothes: this plant was no doubt the same as the modern cotton of India (gossypium, Lin.). The medium price of this valuable commodity when I was at Baroche and Dhuboy was from seventy to eighty rupees the candy, or from eight to nine pounds sterling for seven hundred and forty English pounds weight of cotton. Batty, or rice, from eight to ten rupees a culsey, a weight, as I before stated, equal to six hundred pounds : most of the other grains in Guzerat were of a similar value.
Juarree, or cush-cush, (holcussorghum, Lin.) is fine large grain, growing to the height of eight or ten feet: each ear contains many hundred seeds, sometimes two thousand; the stem generally bears more than one head of corn, but the uppermost is always one of those royal ears, which, like the largest head of the heliotrope, greatly exceeds the rest in size and beauty. This grain in many respects resembles the maiz and guinea-corn, and forms a chief article of food in the Guzerat province.
Bahjeree (holcus spicatus, Lin.) is another valuable grain, growing in the manner of the juarree; of an inferior size, and only eaten by the poor. Providence has been peculiarly bountiful to the natives of Guzerat, in a variety of other useful grains. Codra, chena, buntee, and bowtah, all of a nutritious quality, and grateful to the peasants, are planted in June, and the harvest is finished in September : they are generally two or three feet high; when ripe, their golden, purple, and varied tints, give the country a rich appearance; as do the leguminous classes, of tuar, mutt, gram, and other pulses. Tuar (cytisus cajan, Lin.) when taken from the skin, like the split pea, is called dohill, and forms, with rice, a principal part of the best Indian dishes. Mutt, and gram, dolichos-biflorus, Lin.) are the most nutritious food for cattle : the Guzerat cows are very fond of the capaussiа, or cotton-seed; it makes them give abundance of rich milk, and costs only four or five rupees the culsey. The large villages breed a number of milch-cows and buffaloes, as ghee, or clarified butter, for foreign consumption is a principal staple in the Guzerat markets. They also rear the best oxen for the service of the
vanjarrahs, or merchants, so often mentioned, who travel with large caravans of these animals; they are also bred in many parts of Hindostan, for the purpose of transporting salt and other merchandize from the sea-coasts, to the interior towns at a distance. They will carry a load, according to their size and strength, from two to three hundred pounds, and travel ten or twelve miles a-day for a great length of time. The food of these animals is straw, grass, capaussia, and oil-cakes, after the oil is expressed from the nuts.
The variety of shrubs and plants which are cultivated for oil in that part of India, add much to its general beauty. The natives never burn candles, and in the inland districts, where the cocoa-nut does not thrive, large tracts are set apart for the seeds from which they extract oil: those in the greatest esteem are the gingeli, or sesamum; and the erinda, ricinus Palma-christi. The latter oil is used medicinally with great success; an outward application of the leaves is often efficacious; when previously heated, and rubbed with oil, I have known it to give great relief in the gout. The consumption of vegetable oils for many inillions of lamps which are lighted every night, for anointing the body, culinary purposes, and religious ceremonies, is very great throughout the whole of India, where I believe animal oil is never used.
Mustard-seed is in great estimation for pickles, and similar purposes, but more so for its oil, which is expressed in great abundance. Hemp and flax are cultivated by many villages, not for the fibres, converted in Europe to such valuable manufactures; they