Skip to main content

Full text of "The natural history of the raw materials of commerce. Illustrated by synoptical tables and a folio chart; a copious list of commercial products and their synonymes in the principal European and Oriental languages; a glossary and an index. With an industrial map printed in colours"

See other formats


Digitized  by  the  Internet  Archive 
in  2018  with  funding  from 
University  of  Toronto 


https://archive.org/details/naturalhistoryof00yeat_0 


***  The  Publishers  avail  themselves  of  permission  to  print  the 
following  letter  from  a  gentleman  whose  authority  is  as 
unquestionable  in  Historical  Literature  as  in  the  Educa¬ 
tional  World. 

81  Linden  Gardens,  London,  W., 
August  yth,  1887. 

My  Dear  Sir, —  When  about  thirteen  years  ago  you  in¬ 
formed  me  that  you  were  going  to  publish  a  series  of  works  on 
Commerce ,  its  history  and  principles ,  I  expressed  to  you  my 
hearty  good  wishes  for  success  in  an  undertaking  for  which  I 
considered  you  pre-eminently  qualified.  The  sentiments  thus 
expressed  allow  me  7iow  to  repeat.  Since  then ,  great  changes 
have  taken  place — changes  brought  about  in  a  great  measure ,  I 
believe ,  by  your  own  publications.  The  establishment  of  tech¬ 
nical  and  industrial  schools  and  colleges ,  which  have  recently 
been  founded  in  all  our  great  industrial  centres,  require  now 
more  than  ever  such  guides  as  your  books  furnish.  I  therefore 
rejoice  to  learn  that  you  are  about  to  publish  a  new ,  Unproved, 
and  enlarged  edition  of  your  great  work.  Teachers ,  no  less 
than  young  men  intended  for  commercial  or  industrial  life, 
cannot  but  be  very  materially  helped  in  their  pursuits  by  the 
use  of  your  books ;  and  I  sincerely  trust  that  England  may 
maintain  that  position  in  commerce  and  industry  which  seemed 
at  one  time  to  be  threatened  by  our  7ieglect  of  such  scie7itific 
study. 

With  heartiest  wishes  for  the  success  of  this  fresh  issue  of 
your  works, 

I  reinaui,  yours  very  sUicerely, 

L.  Schmitz,  LL.D.,  F.R.S.E., 

Late  Rector  of  the  Royal  High  School  of  Edinburgh,  and 
Examiner  in  Classics  in  the  University  of  London. 


To  Dr.  John  Yeats. 


Just  Published,  Four  Volumes,  crown  8vo,  cloth,  price  24s., 
or  each  Volume  separately,  price  6s. 

Manuals  of  Commerce, 

TECHNICAL,  INDUSTRIAL,  AND  COMMERCIAL. 

ILLUSTRATED  WITH  MAPS ,  STATISTICAL  CHARTS  AND 

TABLES. 

BY 

JOHN  YEATS,  LL.D.,  F.G.S.,  F.S.S.,  &c. 


Vol.  I.  THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  THE  RAW  MATE¬ 
RIALS  OF  COMMERCE.  Illustrated  by  Synoptical 
Tables  and  a  Folio  Chart ;  a  Copious  last  of  Commercial 
Products  and  their  Synonyms  in  the  Principal  European 
and  Oriental  Languages ;  Glossary,  Index,  and  large 
Map. 

Vol.  II.  THE  TECHNICAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE;  or, 
the  Progress  of  the  Useful  Arts.  With  Industrial 
Map  and  Tables  of  Alloys. 

Vol.  III.  THE  GROWTH  AND  VICISSITUDES  OF  COM¬ 
MERCE.  With  Statistical  Supplements,  Maps  and  Chart 
of  Produce. 

Vol.  IV.  RECENT  AND  EXISTING  COMMERCE.  With 
Statistical  Supplement,  Maps  showing  Trade- Areas,  and 
Tabulated  List  of  Places  important  in  Business  or  Trade. 


LONDON  :  GEORGE  PHILIP  &  SON,  32  FLEET  STREET. 

LIVERPOOL:  CAXTON  BUILDINGS,  AND  45  TO  51  SOUTH  CASTLE  STREET. 

I887. 


On  a  few  of  the  Difficulties  that  retard  the  progress  of 
Higher  Commercial  Instruction ,  and  prevent  the 
study  of  Commerce  as  a  Science  in  England ’ 
adapted  from  a  letter  to  the  “Journal  of  the 
Society  of  Arts,”  by  Dr.  Yeats.  London. 
July  I,  1 887. 


I.  What  chiefly  -prevents  the  wider  study  of  Co77imerce  in  England  f 

II.  Why  is  it  pro-moted  abroad  as  pa7't  of  public  School-inst7-uction  f 

III.  What  can  be  learned  of  Co-mmerce  out  of  a  Counting-house  ? 

IV.  Are  Continental  Trade-schools  connected  with  the  old  Guilds  or  the 

Govern-ment  ? 

V.  Is  there  anything  new  or  special  in  their  preparatio7i  for  business  ? 

VI.  Is  Co7M7ierce  7'ightly  considered  a  science  f 

VII.  What  does  the  science  of  Co77i77ierce  co7nprise 

VIII.  Should  it  be  systematically  taught  everywhere  ? 

IX.  Might  not  Indtistrial  Universities  interfere  with  busuiess  enterprise  f 

X.  Are  there  any  English  Text-books  for  the  study  of  Co7nmerce  ? 


Indifference  is  the  greatest  difficulty;  and  misappre¬ 
hension  of  our  true  position  causes  it.  Many  say  :  “  Why 
should  commerce  be  generally  or  even  widely  studied ,  ivhen  it 
concerns  the  mercantile  part  of  the  community  only  ?  ” 

The  mercantile  part  is  the  larger  and  more  important  one, 
and  the  principles  of  exchange  affect  every  member  of  the 
community.  Agriculture  will  not  suffice  for  a  growing 


(  2  ) 


population  like  ours ;  the  best  resource  now  is  the  deck  of 
a  merchantman,  or  a  desk  on  ’Change. 

Seven  hundred  individuals  leave  our  country  every  day, 
literally  to  “  seek  their  fortunes ;  ”  and  how  are  they  pre¬ 
pared  for  the  task  ?  Even  after  their  departure,  eleven  hun¬ 
dred  others,  strangers,  need  providing  for.  Of  the  two  great 
factors  of  wealth, — materials  and  intelligence, — the  latter 
ojily  can  be  multiplied  and  made  common  property ;  happily 
it  is  the  more  valuable.  On  this  head  Mr.  Robert  Mallet 
said  after  the  International  Exhibition  of  1862  : — “  In  the 
absence  of  the  sovereign  gifts  of  natural  wealth, — prosperity, 
comfort  and  power  may,  by  seeking  and  employing  artifi¬ 
cially-made  channels  of  industry,  be  largely  developed.  Thus 
it  was  with  the  Dutch,  once  prayed  for  in  English  liturgies 
as  ‘  the  poor  and  distressed  States  of  Holland,’  with  a  bleak 
and  damp  climate,  and  a  sterile  soil  presenting  nothing  but 
a  flooded  bed  of  sand  and  silt, — who  achieved  in  the  teeth 
of  every  disadvantage,  the  highest  mercantile  prosperity,  a 
paramount  maritime  prowess,  and  became  the  founders  of 
great  and  distant  colonies.” 

Insular  Prejudice  prompts  many  others  to  say :  “  Be¬ 
cause  our  neighbours  choose  to  go  to  school  to  learn  business , 
need  we  do  the  same  ?  ”  Why  do  they  do  it  ? 

In  comparing  ourselves  with  others,  we  must  remember 
that  a  century  ago,  the  introduction  of  steam-power  gave 
to  England  a  preponderating  advantage.  Our  possession 
of  beds  of  coal  and  of  iron  ore  promised  to  secure  that : 
but  the  rest  of  the  world  thought  it  desirable  and  possible 
to  find  in  the  more  genial  diffusion  of  mental  power  a 
countervailing  agency  to  our  increased  material  force.  Con¬ 
tinental  philanthropists  and  patriots  urged  that  “  the  mind 
of  a  nation  is  more  valuable  than  its  soil.”  Statesmen 
welcomed  the  idea  with  enthusiasm.  Humboldt  and  kin¬ 
dred  spirits  were  appointed  ministers  of  public  instruction. 
Chosen  bands, — nay  battalions,  of  teachers  were  enrolled, 


(  3  ) 


and  disciplined  to  do  the  state  the  noblest  service.  It  was 
never  supposed  that  the  general  ability  and  the  good  will 
of  an  operative  could  be  multiplied  or  intensified  like  the 
leverage  and  the  steam-power  of  an  engine, — the  contrary 
was  felt ;  and  a  science  of  education  arose,  as  a  result  of  the 
study  of  the  human  being  to  be  educated,  no  less  than  of 
the  departments  of  human  knowledge, — yet,  out  of  that 
study  came  many  divisions  and  subdivisions  of  instruction 
both  in  universities  and  in  polytechnic  institutions. 

“ But  what” — it  is  continued,  “  can  be  learned  of  commerce 
i?i  schools ,  or  anywhere  out  of  a  counting-house  ?  ” 

The  reply  is  clear.  A  counting-house  is  a  place  in  which 
commercial  knowledge  must  be  used  rather  than  sought. 
Abroad,  a  youth  at  school  studies  the  sources  of  supply 
for  the  goods  he  must  hereafter  deal  in.  There  he  is  made 
acquainted  with  the  laws  and  conditions  of  soil  and  climate, 
and  afterwards  brought  into  contact  with  specimens  of  pro¬ 
duce  in  Trade-Museums,  from  different  Trade-Areas ;  these 
he  is  required  to  examine  and  describe  methodically.  He  is 
habituated  to  scientific  nomenclature, — which  is  suggestive 
not  merely  of  the  natural  relationship  among  things,  but  of 
their  chemical  composition  and  valuable  properties.  He 
learns  the  “Natural ”  in  contradistinction  to  the  “National” 
Divisions  of  Commerce, — the  resources  of  countries,  rather 
than  the  names  of  their  Ruling  Powers.  He  studies  the 
progress  of  the  Useful  Arts  everywhere ;  the  Growth  and 
Vicissitudes  of  Commerce  in  all  ages.  From  the  outset,  he 
is  accustomed  to  a  kind  and  degree  of  intellectual  discipline 
that  must  beneficially  affect  him. 

Inquiry  is  further  made,  “  Whether  Continental  Trade- 
schools  are  in  any  way  connected  with  the  old  Guilds ,  or  zuith 
the  Government C  Not  necessarily  with  either!  Influ¬ 
ential  merchants  and  manufacturers,  foreseeing  the  effects 
of  the  dissolution  of  the  Guilds,  and  of  the  adoption  of 


(  4  ) 


“free  industry,”  with  its  irresponsible  action  among  capita¬ 
lists  as  well  as  its  uncontrollable  combinations  among  opera¬ 
tives,  bethought  them  of  higher  culture  as  the  best  means 
of  promoting  a  good  understanding  among  all  parties.  “Let 
us  establish,”  said  they,  “by  the  side  of  the  universities, 
Polytechnic  Schools  and  Technological  Institutes.  Let  us, 
by  means  of  Art  Galleries,  Drawing-Schools,  Apprentice¬ 
ship-Schools, Continuation-Schools,  Trade-Schools,  andTrade 
Museums,  bring  the  means  of  living  more  into  harmony 
with  the  great  ends  and  aims  of  life.  Let  us  train  head, 
heart,  and  hand  together.  To  the  study  of  the  Word  let  us 
add  the  Works  of  God.” 

No  opposition  was  raised,  and  there  was  virtually  no 
attempt  made  to  retain  the  monopoly  of  the  ancient  Guilds, 
or  to  resuscitate  a  single  League ;  yet  the  discipline  that  had 
marked  them  all,  their  love  of  excellence,  and  their  alle¬ 
giance  were  reverently  preserved.*  It  was  felt  that  in 
most  departments  of  industry,  except  agriculture,  “there 
was  periodically  a  want  of  some  renovating  and  regulating 
power.” 

Government  aid  was  invoked  only  for  inspection  and 
approbation.  Here  and  there  Schools  of  Commerce  were 
warmly  encouraged  by  dispensations  from  military  service 
in  favour  of  exemplary  students.! 

Next,  it  has  been  asked,  “  Whether  there  is  any  novelty  or 
speciality  in  the  Continental  prepa?-atio7i  for  business  ?  ” 

Nothing,  known  to  me  !  The  canons  of  instruction  in 

*  For  details  of  the  transition,  see  Zschokke’s  Labour  stands  on 
Golden  Feet,  caps.  xix.  and  xx.  G.  Philip  &  Son. 

For  practical  measures,  see  Das  Gewerbewesen  im  Ivonigreiche 
Bayern,  diesseits  des  Rheins,  Miinchen,  1859.  Or,  Ein  gewerbliches 
Fragenbuch,  by  Dr.  Karl  Karmarsch,  1877. 

See  also  Technical  Training,  by  T.  Twining,  Twickenham. 

Education,  Scientific,  and  Technical,  by  Professor  Robert  Galloway. 
London  :  Trtibner  &  Co. 

t  Rothschild’s  Taschenbuch  fur  Kaufleute ,  p.  4. 


(  5  ) 


Commerce,  I  incline  to  think,  comprise  something  like  the 
following,  for  ground- work  : — 

It  has  been  observed  that  certain  modes  of  procedure  in 
business  recur  from  generation  to  generation.  These  are 
the  unwritten  laws — the  prescriptive  usages  of  Trade, — to 
be  learned,  and  understood. 

In  all  transactions,  mercantile  or  otherwise,  there  is  a 
safe  course  and  an  unsafe  one,  a  right  course  and  a  wrong 
one.  It  is  important  to  adopt  the  former  and  avoid  the  latter. 

Good  fortune  or  the  reverse  cannot  be  a  matter  of  indif¬ 
ference  ;  but  in  business  we  must  trust  nothing  to  luck  or 
chance. 

For  each  legitimate  calling  there  must  be  due  prepara¬ 
tion,  and  for  permanence,  organisation ;  to  ensure  excellence 
on  the  one  hand,  and  to  remedy  the  effects  of  illegitimate 
trading  on  the  other. 

Every  calling  in  life  relates  to  the  mind  or  the  body. 
Commerce  is  concerned  chiefly  with  material  necessities; 
and  commercial  men  are  rather  men  of  action  than  theorists. 
All  theories  and  speculations  need  practical  tests.  “  As  the 
downward  curve  of  a  rocket  or  the  fall  of  spray  in  a  fountain, 
is  caused  by  gravitation,  so  all  flights  of  fancy  or  mere  sur¬ 
mises,  must  be  subdued  by  what  Bacon  calls  the  wisdom 
of  business.” 

Where  that  wisdom  of  business  prevails,  commercial 
pursuits  are  assuredly  not  soul-debasing,  or  injurious  in  any 
sense,  to  any  body.  There  should  be  no  conflict  or  con¬ 
tempt  between  merchants  and  men  of  learning  :  for  in  their 
highest  development  they  approach  each  other,  like  the 
opposite  sides  of  a  pyramid,  and  culminate  in  the  character 
of  the  Statesman,  the  Consul,  or  the  President  of  a  Chamber 
of  Commerce. 

I  have  very  often  been  asked :  “  Why  is  Commerce  called 
a  Science  ?”  Why  do  the  French  write  “  les  Sciences  du 
Commerce  ”  ? 


(  6  ) 


Commerce  is  a  compound  word,  from  “commutatio 
mercium,”  meaning,  “the  exchange  of  merchandise,” — which 
must  be  all  drawn  from  one  of  the  three  Kingdoms  of 
Nature.  It  may  be  “raw  produce,”  as  drugs,  gems,  mine¬ 
rals,  wild-fowl,  fish,  &c.,  or, — manufactured  commodities. 
Exchange  itself,  is  necessitated  by  the  structure  of  the 
globe.  “  Non  omnis  fert  onmia  tellusP  It  is  a  characteristic 
of  humanity,  and  underlies  civilisation :  “  Man  alone  bal¬ 
ances,  yet  deepens  our  mutual  dependence  by  the  arts  of 
exchange.” 

Science  has  been  defined :  Knowledge  of  natural  laws 
derived  from  a  knowledge  of  facts.  Theologically  ex¬ 
pressed,  science  is  simply  Man’s  knowledge  of  God’s  ways ; 
which  are  unalterable,  yet  mercifully  discernible.  Thus 
while  we  may  smile  at  the  expression  “Science  of  Com¬ 
merce,”  it  nevertheless  begins  and  ends  in  a  study  of 
Nature,  and  no  competent  judge  doubts  the  soundness 
of  principles  so  based.  Nor,  can  any  sane  man  see  our 
supremacy  in  manufacture  and  trade  challenged  in  all 
markets,  and  our  goods  as  well  as  our  aspirants  for  mercan¬ 
tile  employment  at  home,  beaten  by  Dutchmen  and  Ger¬ 
mans,  without  admitting  that  there  must  be  something  of 
value  in  the  kind  of  training  that  accomplishes  such  things. 

What  does  the  “  Science  of  Commerce  ”  comprise  in  its 
entirety  ? 

It  comprises  an  acquaintance  with  Commercial  History 
and  Geography ;  Social  and  Political  Economy  ;  Mercantile 
Occupations;  Goods,  in  all  varieties;  Currencies,  Weights  and 
Measures ;  Bullion  and  Exchanges ;  Transit  and  Transport ; 
Insurance  and  Securities  of  all  sorts ;  Consular  Duties ; 
Chambers  of  Commerce,  &c. 

A  good  commercial  man  must  be  an  adept  in — Corre¬ 
spondence  in  several  languages,  General  Commercial  Law, 
Accounts,  Usages  in  different  countries,  International  Obli¬ 
gations  and  Means  of  Communication. 


(  7  ; 


Why  should  Commerce  be  systematically  taught  everywhere  ? 

Because  without  Commerce  industry  must  be  intermittent ; 
crops  would  not  be  raised  unless  a  market  could  be  found 
for  them  ;  our  farms  and  our  plantations  might  all  be  aban¬ 
doned.  Again,  of  two  spots  equally  favoured  by  Nature, 
if  one  be  cultivated  and  the  other  not,  which  redounds  most 
to  the  credit  of  human  nature  and  to  the  glory  of  God  ? 
What  else  than  culture  can  lead  to  the  full  appreciation  of 
the  “Earth-Gifts”  of  Divine  Providence,  and  qualify  us  to 
appropriate  them  everywhere  ?  How  else  is  “  the  field  to 
become  a  fruitful  garden,  and  the  wilderness  to  blossom  as 
the  rose  ”  ? 

In  1878,  I  ventured  to  say: — “By  higher  commercial 
education  I  do  not  mean  that  which  leads  a  youth  to  look 
merely  for  a  higher  rate  of  interest  on  capital,  or  of  profit  in 
business,  but,  that  which  trains  him  to  appreciate  fully  the 
objects ,  advantages ,  and  pleasures  of  a  commercial  calling. 
Such  an  education  would  fit  him  to  compete  with  all  comers  ; 
to  be  prepared  to  keep  faith  with  everybody ;  to  value  justly 
whatever  is  valuable  ;  but  not  to  expect  uniformity  of  weight, 
measure,  custom,  or  opinion  throughout  the  world.” 


The  question  has  sometimes  been  asked,  Might  not  the 
training  of  an  industrial  “  university  ”  be  prejudicial  to 
business-energy  and  enterprise  ? 

I  answer,  No !  it  would  promote  both !  Most  likely  it 
would  rouse  the  latent  ambition  of  a  youth ;  it  would  go 
far  to  preserve  that  integrity  of  soul  which  scorns  a 
mean  action,  which  maintains  credit  intact  all  over  the 
globe,  which  upholds  international  morality,  law,  and 
liberty.  Further — extended  and  more  elevated  culture  in 
commercial  colleges  would  promote  greater  energy  and 
enterprise.  It  would,  as  nothing  else  could,  make  young 
men  acquainted  with  the  different  regions  of  the  globe ;  it 
would  show  the  prospects  of  trade,  where  industry  is  rising, 


(  3  ) 


where  falling,  and  why.  By  educating  young  men  together 
it  would  raise  them,  as  it  were,  from  the  level  of  solitary 
anglers  to  that  of  systematic  fishermen  ;  it  would  lead  them 
from  dreaming  of  baits  and  hooks  only,  to  the  study  of  supply 
and  demand  together  with  all  the  sciences  of  commerce. 

In  manufacture  we  have  advanced  from  simple  tools  to 
combinations  of  them  in  machinery ;  and  so  in  commerce, 
we  have  passed  from  the  scope  of  individual  aptitudes  to 
the  range  of  co-operative  intelligence. 

JOHN  YEATS. 

Chepstow,  June,  1887. 


P.S. — In  reply  to  query  No.  X.,  I  shall  be  especially  gratified  if  any  of 
my  works  prove  useful  to  the  students  who  avail  themselves  of  the  Com¬ 
mercial  Examinations  of  our  Society,  and  thus  promote  the  aims  of  our  late 
President,  the  illustrious  Prince  Consort,  as  well  as  those  of  H.R.H.  the 
Prince  of  Wales,  his  successor,  and  the  founder  of  the  Imperial  Institute. 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY 


OF  THE 


RAW  MATERIALS  OF  COMMERCE. 


< 


.  ■  -  ■ 

's  vi 

... 


‘ 


‘ 


Explanation  of 
Figures  on  Map. 


1  Cereals 

(Wheat,  Barley, 
Oats,  Rye) 

2  Cereals 

(Rice,  Maize ) 

3  Coffee,  &c. 

4  Cotton 

5  Sugar ,  &c. 

6  Vine,  Wine, 
&c. 

7  Spice  and 
Tropical  Fruit 

8  Fibres 

g  Dye  Stuffs 
and  Woods 

10  Forests  and 
Products 

11  Animals  and 
Products 

12  Minerals 

13  Dairy 
Produce 

14  Silk,  &c. 

15  Fruits,  &c. 

16  Drugs,  &c. 


GEOHGE  PHILIP  A  SON  .  LONDON  LrVEPPO'OL 


STecfjnical,  Industrial,  and  ®rade  Education* 


THE 

NATURAL  HISTORY 

OF  THE 

Raw  Materials  of  Commerce. 


ILLUSTRATED  BY  SYNOPTICAL  TABLES,  AND  A  FOLIO  CHART; 
A  COPIOUS  LIST  OF  COMMERCIAL  PRODUCTS  AND  THEIR 
SYNONYMES  IN  THE  PRINCIPAL  EUROPEAN  AND 
ORIENTAL  LANGUAGES; 

A  GLOSSARY  AND  AN  INDEX ; 

TKUtb  an  industrial  /Ifcap  printed  tn  Colours. 


BY 

JOHN  YEATS,  LL.D., 

FELLOW  OF  THE  GEOLOGICAL  AND  THE  STATISTICAL  SOCIETIES, 

AND  TWELVE  YEARS  EXAMINER  IN  COMMERCIAL  GEOGRAPHY  AND  HISTORY 
TO  THE  SOCIETY  OF  ARTS,  LONDON. 

ASSISTED  BY  SEVERAL  SCIENTIFIC  GENTLEMEN. 


Ubfnrti  ©Xrition,  EtctriseU  anti  mucli  ©nlarscti. 


LONDON: 

GEORGE  PHILIP  &  SON,  32  FLEET  STREET 

LIVERPOOL:  CAXTON  BUILDINGS,  SOUTH  JOHN  STREET, 

AND  45  TO  51  SOUTH  CASTLE  STREET. 

1887. 

* 


TO 

THOMAS  SPENCER  SMITHSON 

of  Facit, 

NATURALIST; 

IN  WHOM  SURVIVE  MEMORIES  AND  HOPES 

OF  AN 

“OLD  HOUSE  AND  HOME  WHERE  THE  FOREFATHERS  DWELT,” 

ftbts  Volume 

IS  AFFECTIONATELY  INSCRIBED 

BY 


JOHN  YEATS,  LL.D.,  &c. 


“  Man  can  only  act  upon  nature,  and  appropriate  her  forces  to  his  use, 
by  comprehending  her  laws,  and  knowing  those  forces  in  relative  value  and 
measure.  Bacon  has  said  that,  in  human  societies,  knowledge  is  power, — 
both  must  rise  or  sink  together.  Knowledge  and  thought  are  at  once  the 
delight  and  prerogative  of  man  ;  and  they  are  also  a  part  of  the  wealth 
of  nations,  and  often  afford  to  them  an  abundant  indemnification  for  the 
more  sparing  bestowal  of  natural  riches.  Those  states  which  remain  behind 
in  general  industrial  activity,  in  the  selection  and  preparation  of  natural 
substances,  in  the  application  of  mechanics  and  chemistry,  and  where  a  due 
appreciation  of  such  fails  to  pervade  all  classes,  must  see  their  prosperity 
diminish,  and  that  the  more  rapidly,  as  neighbouring  states  are  meanwhile 
advancing  both  in  science  and  in  the  industrial  arts,  with,  as  it  were,  renewed 
and  youthful  vigour.  Cosmos. 


PREFACE. 

- H - 


This  Natural  History  of  the  Raw  Materials  of  Com¬ 
merce  treats  of  each  substance  wherever  it  originates, 
above  ground  or  beneath  the  surface ;  shows  what  is 
done  with  it  to  make  it  useful ;  and  indicates  where 
it  is  bought,  sold,  or  largely  consumed.  The  simplest 
divisions  of  the  subject  have  been  adopted, — those  of 
the  Mineral,  Vegetable,  and  Animal  Kingdoms.  All 
products  are  classified,  and  scientific  terms  are  attached 
for  wider  reference. 

Within  so  small  a  compass  the  choice  of  “  raw 
materials  ”  is  inevitably  restricted  to  the  most  useful, 
the  most  attractive,  or  those  the  treatment  of  which 
promises  to  be  suggestive  ;  but  the  Tables  in  the 
Appendix  will  be  found  to  supplement  the  text,  and 
perhaps  be  sufficient  for  educational  purposes.  The 
Manual  is  designed  for  youths  who  are  preparing  for 
business  at  home,  or  for  emigrants  and  industrial 
pioneers. 

To  meet  the  requirements  of  the  first,  the  United 
Kingdom  is  examined  geologically  and  geographically, 
as  a  home-study.  The  advantages  and  disadvantages 
of  our  insular  position,  our  variable  climate,  varieties 
of  soil,  of  level,  of  navigable  stream  and  indented 
coast,  with  abounding  fisheries,  are  dwelt  upon,  briefly 


Vlll 


PREFA  CE. 


but  plainly.  Of  Greater  Britain  and  the  rest  of  the 
world,  as  much  is  added  as  can  be  comprised  within 
a  few  chapters.  The  migrations  of  plants  and  animals 
are  not  wholly  overlooked,  in  connection  with  colonial 
enterprise  and  the  shifting  of  trade-centres.  It  will 
be  good  training  for  a  student  to  search  out  for  him¬ 
self  why  madder,  saffron,  and  woad,  once  common  in 
Germany,  are  now  seldom  seen  there  ;  why  the  sugar¬ 
cane  has  gone  from  southern  Spain  and  Italy,  and 
why  the  olive  or  even  the  vine  is  less  extensively 
cultivated  in  Italy  and  France  than  formerly.  He 
may  ask  too  why  wool,  hides  and  meat,  come  so  largely 
from  the  cattle-ranches  and  sheep-runs  of  the  colonies, 
instead  of  from  our  own  pastures  ;  and  he  may  be 
astonished  to  hear  that  very  few  years  ago,  Australia 
had  no  other  animals  scarcely  than  u  hogs  and  dogs/' 
— and  little  or  no  agricultural  or  garden  produce, — 
while  to-day  it  is  rich  in  horned  cattle,  horses,  sheep, 
goats,  geese,  rabbits  and  fowls.  It  has  fish  of  many 
kinds ;  and  grows  potatoes,  tobacco,  wheat,  maize, 
vegetables,  and  the  finest  fruits.  There  too  the 
honey-bee  swarms,  and  the  silk-worm  thrives. 

The  knowledge  of  raw  materials  is  too  much 
confined  to  specialists — to  brokers  and  middlemen. 
Nowhere  perhaps  is  the  study  more  neglected  than  in 
England,  and  to  this  cause  may  be  ascribed  the 
complaints  of  a  want  of  “  new  industries.”  Should 
not  this  rather  be  called  want  of  new  enterprise  ?  I 
will  not  dilate  on  the  topic,  but  to  encourage  the 
young,  append  here  statements  made  by  me  elsewhere 
long  ago.  They  may  give  some  clue  to  the  real  uses 
of  my  little  book,  and  lead  to  readier  apprehension 
of  the  aims  embodied  in  it. 


PREFACE. 


IX 


It  is  curious  that  the  materials  entering  into  com¬ 
merce  so  extensively  now,  were  almost  unknown  to 
the  wealthy  Greeks  and  Romans.  Beer,  butter,  coffee, 
cotton,  fish-oils,  potatoes,  spirits,  sugar,  tea,  and 
tobacco,  are  all  modern.  Of  those  which  constitute 
the  staples  of  our  activity,  the  majority  have  been 
introduced  into  the  market  within  comparatively  few 
years,  and  many  of  them  seem  to  have  become 
known  and  appreciated  from  purely  accidental  circum¬ 
stances.  For  instance,  in  1842,  an  English  surgeon, 
Dr.  Montgomery,  while  walking  in  the  outskirts  of 
Singapore,  noticed  that  the  handle  of  a  woodcutter’s 
axe  was  something  peculiar.  He  examined  it,  learned 
where  the  material  was  procurable,  and  soon  sent 
over  to  England  gutta-percha ,  without  which  we  could 
not  have  laid  our  submarine  electric  cables. 

About  the  same  time,  a  chemist  in  Calcutta  received 
from  the  interior  of  India  some  wide-mouthed  vessels 
enveloped  in  a  fibrous  substance  which  attracted  his 
attention  and  that  of  a  rope-maker.  It  was  jute, — 
since  largely  grown  in  Bengal, — and  the  manufacture 
of  which  has  now  become  the  staple  industry  of 
Dundee  and  other  towns  of  the  North; 

It  was  in  cutting  the  channel  for  a  watermill  in 
California,  in  1848,  that  a  quick  eye  detected  in  a 
quartzose  rock  grains  of  gold,  the  beginning  of  a  dis¬ 
covery  that  afterwards  revolutionised  labour  and  the 
markets. 

In  1850,  an  engineer  in  the  same  country  was 
struck,  while  at  church,  with  the  very  beautiful  red 
colour  used  in  the  decorations  of  the  interior.  He 
inquired  whence  it  came,  and  was  told  that  it  was  an 
earthy  powder  brought  by  the  Indians  of  the  moun- 


X 


PREFACE 


tains  to  their  padre ,  a  missionary.  He  investigated 
the  source,  and  found  cinnabar  the  bisulphide  of 
mercury.  The  working  of  the  mines  of  New  Almaden 
was  the  consequence,  and  soon  after,  a  fall  in  the  price 
of  quicksilver  in  Europe  and  America. 

During  the  opening  out  of  a  Pennsylvanian  salt¬ 
spring  in  1859,  the  diggers  struck  a  deposit  of  petro¬ 
leum ,  which  afterwards  gave  a  name  to  the  locality,  Oil 
Creek, — and  an  important  article  of  commerce  to  the 
world. 

In  i860,  a  shepherd  in  the  employ  of  Mr.  Hughes, 
of  Wallaroo,  South  Australia,  noticed  that  a  wombat , 
an  animal  about  the  size  of  a  badger,  had  while 
enlarging  its  den  thrown  up  to  the  surface  of  the 
ground  small  pieces  of  greenish  stone.  These  he 
collected,  and  carried  to  his  master,  who  recognised 
in  them  an  ore  of  copper.  The  place  was  examined,  a 
fine  vein  of  that  metal  laid  bare,  and  soon  the  mines  of 
Wallaroo  were  added  to  the  celebrated  ones  of  Kapunda, 
found  in  1844,  and  of  Burra  Burra,  found  in  1845. 

More  recently  still,  at  the  beginning  of  1867,  a 
farmer  of  Pniel,  in  the  republic  of  the  Transvaal,  South 
Africa,  passing  a  neighbour’s  door,  noticed  a  stone  in 
the  hand  of  a  child,  and  asked  the  mother  if  she  would 
sell  it.  “  Sell  a  pebble  !  ”  said  she,  “  No  ;  but  you 
are  welcome  to  have  it,  if  you  care  to  take  it !  ”  The 
farmer  carried  it  to  Capetown,  and  showed  it  to  Dr. 
Anderson,  who  declared  it  to  be  a  diamond.  It  was 
immediately  sent  to  the  Paris  Exhibition,  and  was 
there  valued  at  12,500  francs,  about  ^500-  A  tract 
of  territory,  hundreds  of  miles  square,  was  quickly 
explored,  more  precious  stones  were  extracted,  and 
the  land  thereby  raised  in  value  enormously. 


PREFACE. 


xi 


Sir  Titus  Salt,  about  1836,  observed  the  first  sample 
of  alpaca  wool  in  a  corner  of  one  of  the  warehouses 
belonging  to  the  Liverpool  Dock  Company,  where  it 
had  been  lying  neglected  for  a  long  time,  as  of  no 
marketable  value. 

In  a  lecture  delivered  at  the  City  of  London  College 
so  lately  as  1861,  Mr.  P.  L.  Simmonds  said:  “It 
was  not  till  the  year  1800  that  any  considerable 
quantity  of  cotton  was  received  from  the  United 
States.  Mr.  Samuel  Maverick  of  Pendleton,  South 
Carolina,  who  assisted  in  packing  the  first  bag  of 
uncleaned  cotton  ever  sent  from  America  to  Liverpool, 
is  still  living  !  The  consignee  of  this  lone  bag  in¬ 
formed  the  shippers,  Messrs.  Wadsworth  and  Turpin 
of  Charlestown,  that  1  he  could  not  sell  it/  and  advised 
them  to  ‘  send  no  more.’  ”  He  little  foresaw  what  Eli 
Whatney,  Watt,  and  Arkwright  would  do  with  it 
ultimately  !  With  one  more  instance  I  close. 

To  protect  the  hull  of  his  vessel  from  the  rough 
walls  of  a  quay  in  a  Brazilian  port,  the  captain  had 
caused  a  sort  of  round  fender  to  be  made  of  weeds 
that  grew  on  the  river  banks.  The  same  fender  was 
used  for  a  similar  purpose  on  his  arrival  in  the  docks 
of  the  Mersey,  and  at  length  left  on  the  shore.  A 
brushmaker  looked  at  it  and  begged  it,  worked  it  up, 
and  soon  wanted  more  of  it ;  it  was  the  piassaba  for 
coarse  stable  and  street-sweeping  brooms. 

Now,  how  far  the  world  has  been  benefited  by  the 
work  done  through  the  agency  of  these  really  com¬ 
petent  observers,  and  to  what  extent  they  or  the 
bystanders  became  ultimately  enriched,  need  not  here 
be  inquired.  Of  far  greater  significance  to  us  is  the 
plain  recognition  of  a  fact  too  often  overlooked,  that 


Xll 


PREFACE. 


“  light  is  not  vision  ;  ”  that  “  the  eye  sees  only  what 
it  brings  the  power  to  see.” 

On  the  other  hand,  we  are  sure  from  all  testimony 
and  experience,  that  u  knowledge  is  power.”*  And 
we  may  feel  safe  in  supposing  that  every  one  of 
the  skilled  men  concerned  in  these  discoveries  was 
an  educated  man,  trained  beforehand  in  some  if  not 
several  of  the  following  sciences  of  observation  : — 

Geology. — Treating  of  Modes  of  Occurrence  of  Metallic 
Ores,  Mineral,  Fuel,  and  Building  Materials ;  Agricultural 
Soils. 

Mineralogy. — Constituents  of  Mineral  Substances,  Metals, 
Earths,  &c. 

Geography. — Distribution  of  Animals  and  Vegetables ; 
Climate,  as  Determining  the  Introduction  of  Useful  Plants 
and  Animals. 

Economic  Botany. — Food  and  Textile  Products;  Timber 
and  Fuel;  Oils,  Gums,  and  Resins. 

Economic  Zoology. — Food  and  Textile  Products  ;  Furs 
and  Leather;  Bone  and  Ivory;  Oils. 

These  form  part  of  “  The  Sciences  of  Commerce,” 
and  as  such,  are  the  subjects  dealt  with  in  this 
book.  J.  Y. 

Chefstow. 

*  “  Man  can  only  act  upon  nature,  and  appropriate  her  forces  to  his  use, 
by  comprehending  her  laws,  and  knowing  those  forces  in  relative  value  and 
measure.  Bacon  has  said  that,  in  human  societies,  knowledge  is  power , — 
both  must  rise  or  sink  together.  Knowledge  and  thought  are  at  once  the 
delight  and  the  prerogative  of  man ;  and  they  are  also  a  part  of  the  wealth 
of  nations,  and  often  afford  to  them  an  abundant  indemnification  for  the 
more  sparing  bestowal  of  natural  riches.  Those  states  which  remain  behind 
in  general  industrial  activity,  in  the  selection  and  preparation  of  natural 
substances,  in  the  application  of  mechanics  and  chemistry,  and  where  a  due 
appreciation  of  such  fails  to  pervade  all  classes,  must  see  their  prosperity 
diminish,  and  that  the  more  rapidly,  as  neighbouring  states  are  meanwhile 
advancing  both  in  science  and  in  the  industrial  arts,  with,  as  it  were,  renewed 
and  youthful  vigour.” — Cosmos. 


CONTENTS. 


PART  I. 

Geography  of  the  Home  Country ,  the  adjacent  Continent ,  our 
Colonial  Dependencies  and  Foreign  Trade  Connections. 

CHAPTER  I. 

RAW  MATERIAL. 

TAGE 

Meaning  of  the  term  Raw  Produce — Necessity  of  a  knowledge  of 
Raw  Materials — Original  discovery  of  Raw  Materials,  and 
effects  of  Discovery — How  a  Knowledge  of  Raw  Materials 
can  be  gained — The  Study  of  the  Raw  Materials  of  industry 
must  begin  at  home — Essential  aid  of  Museums  .  .  .  i 

CHAPTER  II. 

OUR  NATIONAL  HOME. 

Climate — Soil — Consequences  arising  therefrom — United  King¬ 
dom —  Great  Britain — Ireland — British  Empire  defined — Bota¬ 
nical  or  Floral  Regions  of  Great  Britain — Chart  ...  9 


CHAPTER  III. 

GEOLOGY  OF  GREAT  BRITAIN. 

Effects  of  Geology  on  the  Industrial  History  of  the  British  Race  .  20 

CHAPTER  IV. 

THE  UNITED  KINGDOM — IRELAND. 

Raw  Produce — Mineral,  Animal,  Vegetable  .  .  .  .48 

CHAPTER  V. 

THE  UNITED  KINGDOM — GREAT  BRITAIN. 

Raw  Produce — Mineral,  Animal,  Vegetable  .  .  .  ,  .51 


XIV 


CONTENTS. 


CHAPTER  VI. 

BRITISH  FISHERIES. 

PAGE 

Deep  Sea  Fisheries — River  Fisheries — Shell-fish — Whale  Fisheries  61 

CHAPTER  VII. 

EUROPEAN  ANALOGUES  OF  UNITED  KINGDOM. 

Analogues  of  Mining  Industry — Animal  Products — Vegetable 

Products  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  C6 


CHAPTER  VIII. 

THE  BRITISH  EMPIRE. — COLONIES  AND  POSSESSIONS. 

General  Description — Considered  in  Climatic  Zones — Possessions 
in — I.  Arctic  and  sub-arctic  zones ;  2.  Temperate  zone  ;  3. 
Sub-tropical  zone;  4.  Tropical  zone — Produce  of  these  zones  71 

CHAPTER  IX. 

FOREIGN  PRODUCE — EUROPE. 

Origin  of  interchange — European  Produce— Zones  and  sub-zones 
of  European  Produce — Wine  and  Oil  Countries — Butter  and 
Beer  Countries — Gradations  in  the  Fauna  and  Flora  .  .  82 

CHAPTER  X. 

ASIA. 

Physical  Conditions— Raw  Produce,  Mineral,  Animal,  Vegetable 

— Analogues  in  Southern  Hemisphere  .....  107 

CHAPTER  XI. 

THE  NEW  WORLD. 

North  America — Central  America — South  America — Physical 

Conditions — Raw  Produce,  Animal,  Vegetable,  Mineral  .  118 

CHAPTER  XII. 

NATURE  AND  MAN  AS  AGENTS  OF  CHANGE. 

Limits  of  Human  Power  in  Nature — Effects  on  Amount  and 

Variety  of  Raw  Produce  .  .  .  .  .  .  ,136 


CONTENTS. 


XV 


PART  II. 

The  Commercial  Products  of  the  Vegetable  Kingdom. 

Introductory. 

I.  Food  Plants. 

1.  Farinaceous  Plants. 

A.  Products  of  Graminaceous  Plants.  page 

Cereals  of  temperate  climates. — Wheat,  preparation  of 

flour,  oats,  barley,  rye,  ergot  of  rye  .  .  .  .146 

B.  Cereals  of  warm  clifnates. — Rice  (rice  paper),  arrack, 

maize,  guinea  com  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  1 5 1 

C.  Products  of  Leguminous  plants. — Pea,  horse-bean,  French- 

bean,  lentils,  ground-nut,  chick-pea,  carob-bean  or  St. 
John’s  bread . 156 

2.  Starches  and  Starch  producing  plants. — Arrowroot,  Zamia 

integrifolia,  tous-les-mois,  tapioca,  sago  .  .  .  .158 

3.  Plants  yielding  Spices  and  Condiments. — Cinnamon,  bastard 

cinnamon,  nutmeg,  mace,  cloves,  allspice,  pepper,  long  pepper, 
Cayenne  pepper  or  capsicum,  chillies,  ginger,  cardamoms, 
vanilla  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .161 

Aromatic  fruits  of  umbelliferous  plants,  e.g.,  caraway,  coriander, 
anise,  star  anise,  mustard  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  173 

4.  Plants  yielding  Sugar. — Sugar-cane,  beet,  sugar-maple,  and 

date  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  »iy3 

5.  Plants  useful  in  the  preparation  op  nutritious  and  stimulating 

beverages. — Tea,  Paraguay  tea  or  mate,  coffee,  cacao  (cocoa, 
chocolate),  grape  (varieties  of  wine,  brandy),  hops  (beer)  .  1S0 

6.  Plants  producing  wholesome  and  nutritious  fruits. 

A.  Fleshy  fruits. — Orange,  bitter  orange,  citron,  lemon,  lime, 

grape,  raisins,  currants,  fig,  prune,  French  plum,  date, 
pomegranate,  tamarind,  banana,  plantain,  pine-apple  .  200 

B.  Nuts. — Hazel,  walnut,  hickory  and  pecan  nuts,  Brazil-nut, 

chestnut,  sweet  and  bitter  almonds,  cocoa-nut  .  .210 

7.  Miscellaneous  food  plants. — Onion,  soybean,  truffles,  morel, 

mushroom  and -carrageen  or  Irish  moss  .  .  .  .  .214 

II.— Industrial  and  Medicinal  Plants. 

I.  Textile  plants. — Flax,  hemp,  cotton  plant,  cotton  shrub,  cotton 
tree,  jute,  New  Zealand  flax,  cocoa-nut  fibre,  Carludovica 
palmata,  fibre  of  Manilla  hemp,  China  grass  .  .  .  .217 


XVI 


CONTENTS. 


2.  Oleaginous  plants.  page 

A.  Fixed  oils. — Palm  oil,  cocoa-nut  oil,  castor  oil,  olive  oil, 

rape  seed  oil,  linseed  oil,  sesame  oil,  &c.  .  .  .  230 

B.  Essential  oils. — of  lavender,  thyme,  peppermint,  anise, 

caraway,  cinnamon,  clove,  cassia,  pimento,  otto  of  roses,  234 

3.  Tinctorial  plants. — Alkanet,  sumach,  arnotto,  myrobolans,  saf¬ 

flower,  logwood,  madder,  indigo,  turmeric,  quercitron,  yellow- 
berries,  fustic,  woad,  peach  wood,  sapan,  or  bukkum  wood, 
red  sanders  wood,  orchil,  tartar  lichen  .  .  237 

4.  Plants  furnishing  valuable  building  and  furniture  woods. — 

Mahogany,  ebony,  East  Indian  ebony,  boxwood,  sandalwood, 
lignum  vitae,  bird’s-eye  maple,  American  cedar,  pencil  cedar, 
lancewood,  rosewood,  black  walnut,  snakewood,  satinwood, 
pine,  fir,  and  larch  ........  247 

5.  Plants  producing  gums,  resins ,  and  balsams. — Canada  balsam, 

caoutchouc,  gutta-percha,  tar,  pitch,  turpentine  ;  gums  arabic, 
Senegal,  and  tragacanth,  sandarach,  gamboge,  camphor, 
frankincense,  benzoin,  assafoetida  ......  253 

6.  Medicinal  barks. — Peruvian  bark,  cascarilla,  cedron,  quassia  .  261 

7.  Tanning  materials. — Oak-bark,  valonia,  galls,  divi-divi,  cate¬ 

chu,  betel-nut . 263 

8.  Narcotic  plants. — Poppy,  tobacco,  strychnos  .  .  .  267 

9.  Aliscellaneous  medicinal  products. — Aloes,  liquorice,  ipecac,  rhu- 

bard,  jalap,  chamomile,  sarsaparilla,  senna  .  .  .  .271 

IO.  Miscellaneous  products  of  commerical  value. — Vegetable  ivory, 
coquilla  nut,  marking  nut,  tonquin  bean,  orris  root,  crabs’ 
eyes,  cork,  balsa ;  plants  yielding  soda  and  potash,  tinder, 
teazel,  rattans,  bamboo,  bulrushes,  rushes,  Dutch  rush, 
papyrus,  bast . 277 


PART  III. 

The  Cotnmercial  Products  of  the  Animal  Kingdom. 

Introduction. 


Object  of  a  study  of  Natural  History.  Primary  divisions  of  the 

animal  kingdom . 289 


CONTENTS. 


XVII 


Products  of  the  Class  Mammalia. 

Classification  of  Mammals.  page 

1.  Furs. — Properties  of  furs,  preparation  and  dressing  of  skins  of 

animals,  the  process  of  felting  hair  and  wool.  Fur-bearing 
animals  :  Carnivora — Lion,  tiger,  leopard,  jaguar,  Canadian 
puma,  lynx,  cat,  wolf,  red  fox,  arctic  fox,  silver  fox,  ermine, 
Russian  sable,  minx,  American  sable,  polecat,  pine  marten, 
stone  marten,  tartar  sable,  woodshock  or  pekan,  beech  marten, 
skunk,  American  otter,  sea  otter,  black  bear,  polar  bear,  brown 
bear,  grisly  bear,  raccoon,  badger,  glutton,  seals.  Rodentia — 
Beaver,  musk-rat,  coypu-rat  or  nutria,  squirrels,  chinchilla, 
hare,  rabbit.  Ruminantia. — Bison,  lamb  .  .  .  294 

2.  Perfumes — obtained  from  the  musk-deer,  civet  cat,  beaver,  and 

sperm  whale  (ambergris)  .  .  .  .  .  .  *313 

3.  Stearin  and  oils. — Spermaceti,  whale,  and  seal  oils,  tallow  .  316 

4.  Food  products. — Butter,  cheese,  lard,  live  stock,  bacon,  hams, 

salted  beef  and  pork,  preservation  of  meat  .  .  .  >319 

5.  Wool,  obtained  from  sheep  ;  mohair,  from  the  Angora  goat  ; 

cashmere,  from  the  Thibet  goat ;  alpaca  from  the  llama  ; 
wool  producing  countries  .......  324 

6.  Leather. — Nature  of  leather,  preparation  of  raw  hides,  tanning 

of  skins,  leather  dressing,  tawing  leather  (preparation  of  kid 
leather) ;  preparation  of  russian  and  morocco  leather.  Various 
kinds  of  hides  used. — Horse,  deer,  calf,  sheep.  Statistics  .  330 

7.  Hair  and  bristles. — Nature  of ;  uses  to  which  human  hair,  horse 

hair,  hair  of  elk,  goat,  iind  camel  are  applied.  Hog  bristles, 
porcupine  quills  . . 335 

8.  Horns  and  allied  substances. — Difference  between  horns  and 

antlers,  and  nature  of  horn  :  animals  which  supply  horn  ; 
various  processes  in  the  manufacture  of  horn  ;  mode  of  colour¬ 
ing  horn  ;  articles  into  which  horn  is  manufactured.  Statistics. 
Hoofs,  employment  of.  Whalebone,  nature,  preparation,  and 
employment  of.  Osseous  substances. — Antlers  of  various  deer 
used  in  manufacture  of  knife  handles,  &c.  Ivory  supplies, 
whence  drawn,  tusks  and  teeth  of  elephants,  narwhal,  walrus  and 
hippopotamus.  Uses  of  ivory,  and  refuse  of  ivory  [noir  cLivoire). 

Bone  uses  in  the  arts,  source  of  superphosphate  of  lime  .  .  338 

Products  of  the  Class  Aves. 

Classification  of  Birds. 

1.  Food. — Flesh  and  eggs,  edible  nests  .  .  .  .  .  -347 

I. 


c 


XV111 


CONTENTS. 


PAGE 

2.  Feathers. — Composition  and  colour  of  feathers  ;  ornamental 
feathers,  those  of  the  ostrich,  little  egret,  great,  white  and 
common  herons,  adjutant.  Skin  and  feathers  of  penguin, 
puffin,  grebe,  swan,  &c. ,  worn  as  clothing.  Bed-feathers 
obtained  from  natatorial  birds,  eider  duck,  goose,  &c.,  and 
poultry-birds,  as  turkey,  common  fowl,  &c.  Quill-pens  chiefly 
supplied  by  the  goose,  swan,  turkey,  &c.,  two  kinds  of  quills, 
importation  of  quills  and  bed  feathers  .....  347 

Products  of  the  Class  Reptilia. 

Classification  of  Reptiles. 

Turtle-flesh  from  the  green  turtle.  Tortoise-shell  from  the  hawk’s- 

bill  turtle  ..........  353 

Products  of  the  Class  Amphibia. 

Edible  species,  frogs,  and  axolotl  ......  356 

Products  of  the  Class  Pisces. 

Classification  of  Fishes. 

Fisheries  of  herring,  pilchard,  sprat,  whitebait,  sardine,  anchovy, 
mackerel,  salmon,  cod,  and  allied  species  ;  turbot,  sole,  and 
allied  kinds  ;  lamprey  and  sturgeon  ;  caviare  and  isinglass  .  356 

Products  of  the  Sub-Kingdom  Mollusca. 

Classification  of  Molluscs. 

Dyes  and  pigments.  Shells  as  ornaments,  and  economic  uses  of, 

mother-of-pearl,  pearls,  edible  species,  oyster,  mussel,  &c.  .  365 

Products  of  the  Sub-Kingdom  Annulosa. 

Classification  of  the  Annulosa. 

1.  Annelida. — Leech  .........  373 

2.  Crustacea. — Edible  species,  lobster,  crab,  &c.  .  .  .  374 

3.  Arachnida. — Spider  and  scorpion  ......  375 

4.  Insecta. — Silkworm-moth,  its  metamorphoses,  cultivation  and 

manufacture  of  silk.  Hive  bee,  natural  history  of ;  honey 
and  wax.  Blister-fly,  cochineal,  lac  insect  ....  375 

Products  of  the  Sub-Kingdom  Ccelenterata. 

Classification  of  the  Radiata. 

Red  coral  of  commerce  ........  387 

Products  of  the  Sub-Kingdom  Protozoa. 

Sponge ,  natural  history  of  .......  389 


CONTENTS. 


XIX 


PART  IV. 

Raw  Mineral  Produce . 

I. — Metals. 

PAGE 

Iron  :  Magnetic  iron  ore,  titaniferous  iron  ore ,  red  hcematite ,  brown 
hcematite ,  spathic  ores,  clay  ironstones,  other  ores.  Process  of 
smelting,  puddling,  <5rc.  ;  steel,  supply  of  iron.  Gold,  silver, 
quicksilver,  platinum,  tin,  copper,  lead,  zinc,  aluminium,  anti¬ 
mony,  bismuth,  cobalt,  arsenic,  manganese,  chromium  ( with 
their  chief  ores,  uses,  localities,  <5 re.)  .....  394 

II. — Minerals  Proper. 

Coals  and  allied  Substances. — Coal  :  Lignite,  bituminous  coal , 
steam  coal,  anthracite.  Supply  of  coal,  naphtha,  petroleum, 
asphalt,  mineral  pitch,  jet,  amber  .  .  .  .  .414 

Calcareous  Substances. — Common  limestone,  ornamental  limestones, 
and  so-called  marbles  ;  marble,  coral  limestone,  marl,  cal¬ 
careous  sand,  gypsum  ;  composition  of  lijnes,  stuccoes ,  and 
cements  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .418 

Silicious  Substances. — Rock  crystal,  quartz,  and  flint  .;  sandstones, 
paving,  mill,  and  building-stones  ;  silicious  sands,  rottenstone, 

Bath  bricks,  Tripoli  powder,  Bilin  powder,  berg-mehl, 
tellurine  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .421 

Lgneous  and  Metamorphic  Rocks. — Granites  :  Syenite,  mica,  talc, 
asbestos,  serpentine,  basaltic  rocks  ;  greenstone,  zvhinstone, 
trap,  lava,  obsidian,  pumice-stone,  pozzuolano,  and  trass  .  423 
Clays  and  allied  Substances. — Common  clay,  yellow,  brown,  and 
blue  ;  kaolin  and  petuntse,  pipe  clay,  fire  clays,  Stourbridge 
clay,  fuller’s  earth,  red  and  yellow  ochres,  slates,  hone  stones  .  425 
Earths  of  Sodium,  Potasshwi,  Boron,  Sulphur,  Sfc. — Common 
salt,  rock  salt,  soda,  chlorine,  alums,  natron,  borax,  saltpetre 
or  nitre,  cubic  nitre,  heavy  spar,  celestine,  strontianite,  fluor 
spar,  sulphur,  sulphuric  acid,  graphite  or  plumbago ;  mineral 
manures,  phosphates  of  lime  .......  427 

Precious  Stones.  —  1.  Carbonaceous  :  diamond.  2.  Aluminous  : 
ruby,  sapphire,  emerald,  topaz,  corundum,  garnet,  beryl. 

3.  Silicious  :  amethyst,  cairngorm  stone,  opal,  sardonyx,  agate, 
chalcedony,  carnelian,  jasper,  lapis-lazuli,  turquoise  .  .  432 


XX 


CONTENTS. 


APPENDIX. 

PAGE 

Vocabulary  of  the  Names  of  Natural  Productions  in 
the  Principal  European  and  Oriental  Languages,  by 
Dr.  J.  A.  H.  Murray . 435 

Geological  and  Geographical  Tables,  &c.,  by  L.  A.  L 
Roberti,  B.Sc.,  F.G.S.  : — 

1.  Summary  in  square  miles  of  the  Areas  of  the  Geological 

Formations  in  the  British  Isles  .....  469 

2.  Geographical  Distribution  of  all  Geological  Formations  in 

the  British  Isles  .......  470-471 

3.  Four  Horizontal  Sections  across  England  and  Wales  .  472-473 

Tables  on  Food 

4.  Analysis  of  the  Chief  Substances  serving  as  Essential  or 

Accessory  Food  to  Man  ......  474 

5.  Analysis  of  the  Chief  Substances  serving  as  Essential  or 

Accessory  Food  to  Cattle  ......  475 

Tables  on  the  Vegetable  Kingdom 

6.  Table  I.  The  Orders  of  Plants  in  any  way  Useful  to  Man, 

with  their  Uses  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  476-477 

7.  Table  II.  Range  of  all  Families  of  Plants  yielding  Food  to 

Man  .........  478-479 

8.  Table  III.  Fruits,  arranged  according  to  their  Form, 

Nature  and  Quality  ......  480-481 

Tables  on  the  Animal  Kingdom 

9  and  10.  Synopsis  of  the  Alimentary  and  Industrial  Produce 
of  the  Animal  Kingdom,  according  to  their  Anatomy, 
Nature  arid  Uses  .  .  .  .  .  .  482-485 

Folio  Chart  (in  pocket)  of  the  Alimentary  and  Industrial  Pro¬ 
ducts  of  the  Vegetable  Kingdom,  by  the  same. 

Glossary  of  the  principal  Scientific  and  Technical  Terms  .  486-490 

Index . 491 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY 


OF  THE 

RAW  MATERIALS  OF  COMMERCE. 

- H - 

CHAPTER  I. 

RAW  MATERIAL. 

Meaning  of  the  term  Raw  Produce — Necessity  of  a  Knowledge  of 
Raw  Materials — Original  Discovery  of  Raw  Materials,  and  Effects 
of  Discovery — How  a  Knowledge  of  Raw  Materials  can  be  gained 
— The  Study  of  the  Raw  Materials  of  Industry  must  begin  at  home 
— Essential  aid  of  Museums. 

In  the  earth,  with  its  oceans  of  water  and  of  air,  we  find  those 
natural  resources  from  which,  chiefly,  we  drawr  the  means  of 
material  support.  The  produce  of  its  teeming  waters,  the 
animals  and  plants  upon  its  surface,  furnish  us  with  food  and 
clothing ;  the  stone,  the  metals,  and  the  coals  laid  up  in 
its  crust,  supply  us  with  the  means  of  shelter,  with  various 
implements,  and  with  fuel.  Several  facts  connected  here¬ 
with  are  part  of  our  earliest  experience,  ist.  There  is  in 
the  world  an  indefinitely  large  number  of  substances  adapted 
to  our  service  in  health  and  in  sickness.  2nd.  These  sub¬ 
stances  are  distributed  so  that  each  region  has  its  special 
treasures.  3rd.  The  inhabitants  of  any  one  region  may,  by 
exchange,  become  possessed  of  the  abundance  and  variety 
of  all  other  regions.  If,  for  example,  the  Norwegian  has 
plenty  of  timber,  but  a  scarcity  of  wool,  and  thus  finds 
himself  well  housed,  but  poorly  clad,  while  the  English- 

I.  A 


2 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


man  has  woollen  cloth  to  spare,  but  wants  timber  for 
building,  each  may,  by  interchange,  be  well  clothed  and 
well  housed. 

In  speaking  of  the  natural  resources  of  any  country, 
we  refer  to  the  ore  in  the  mine,  the  stone  unquarried, 
the  timber  unfelled,  the  native  plants  and  animals — to  all 
those  latent  elements  of  wealth  only  awaiting  the  labour 
of  man  to  become  of  use  and  value.  To  the  expression 
Raw  produce ,  however,  an  extended  meaning  is  assigned. 
We  do  not  merely  gather  in  the  indigenous  materials  of 
the  country  where  we  live,  but,  by  intelligent  industry, 
we  increase  the  natural  production.  Tillage  and  cattle¬ 
rearing  procure  for  us  a  greater  abundance  of  corn  and 
fruit,  and  flesh-food,  and  textile  fibres  than  we  should 
otherwise  enjoy.  This  increase,  and  all  the  crude  con¬ 
stituents  of  wealth,  whatever  their  origin,  come  under  the 
designation  of  raw  produce ,  or,  in  commercial  language,  of 
raw  materials. 

Without  a  considerable  knowledge  of  raw  materials,  and 
of  their  adaptations,  we  could  not  live ;  and  without  an 
unremitting  application  of  such  knowledge  we  could  not 
live  in  comfort.  We  may  even  measure  a  country’s  civili¬ 
sation  by  the  extent  and  diffusion  of  this  important  know¬ 
ledge.  Barbarous  tribes  pass  their  time  in  providing  for 
their  recurring  appetites,  and  cannot  be  said  to  enjoy 
existence,  in  the  sense  of  mental  enjoyment.  Where  such 
tribes  do  not  die  out,  their  numbers,  at  the  best,  remain 
stationary.  Among  civilised  nations,  knowledge  is  in¬ 
creased  ;  and  many  things,  which  in  some  parts  still  remain 
to  be  discovered,  have  in  other  parts  become  the  neces¬ 
saries  of  life  for  populations  doubling  and  trebling  in  a 
century. 

The  economic  history  of  a  nation  would  be  a  record  of 
the  discovery  of  new  raw  materials,  of  new  sources  of  supply, 


RA IV  MA  TERIAL. 


3 


and  of  additional  applications.  All  such  discoveries  tend 
to  our  benefit,  while  their  result  is  occasionally  to  enrich 
the  discoverer,  and  to  change  the  face  of  our  social  and 
industrial  life.  It  has  been  said  that  he  who  makes  two 
blades  of  grass  grow  where  only  one  grew  before  is  a  bene¬ 
factor  to  his  species.  The  truth  of  this  statement  is  easily 
proved.  Take  the  single  example  of  wheat,  and  imagine 
the  blessings  which  a  double  produce  of  this  grain  alone 
would  confer  upon  mankind. 

The  manifold  uses  of  coal  afford  remarkable  instances 
of  the  effects  of  discovery.  Though  Corinth  produced 
what  we  might  call  Birmingham  and  Sheffield  wares,  and 
Athens  was  the  centre  of  such  manufactures  as  we  now 
find  divided  between  Leeds,  Staffordshire,  and  London, 
yet  coal  was  not  employed  by  the  Greeks  and  Romans ;  it 
was  not  used  as  fuel,  even  at  Newcastle,  till  the  thirteenth 
century,  and  it  crept  into  general  use  only  during  the  reign 
of  Elizabeth.  This  one  material  has  been  the  main  cause 
of  a  complete  revolution  in  our  national  industry.  It  is 
but  a  generation  or  two  since,  by  means  of  coal,  a  new 
motive-power,  steam,  was  evoked,  and  native  wrought- 
iron  was  first  extensively  applied  to  mining,  to  machinery, 
and  to  locomotion.  Now  every  civilised  country  is  scored 
with  railroads,  cities  are  lighted  with  gas,  and  coal  and 
iron  have,  too,  changed  the  character  of  our  ships  and 
our  mariners.  Before  coal  was  used  to  generate  steam, 
the  sites  of  manufacturing  towns  were  determined  chiefly 
by  the  convenience  of  mill-streams,  and  the  woods  were  the 
seats  of  smelting.  The  forest  fires  are  now  extinguished ; 
the  fabrication  of  iron  has  travelled  to  the  coal-fields,  which 
have  become  the  most  densely-peopled  parts  of  the  king¬ 
dom,  and  the  scenes  of  the  busiest  industry.  Wool,  once 
the  staple  industry  of  England,  is  now  second  in  magnitude 
and  importance  as  compared  with  cotton ;  yet,  with  the 


4 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


discovery  of  new  sources  of  supply,  and  with  increased  home 
production,  the  quantity  made  into  clothing  is  vastly  greater 
than  in  former  times.  On  the  Continent,  the  introduction 
of  the  silkworm,  more  than  a  thousand  years  ago,  gave  rise 
to  the  unrivalled  manufactures  of  the  South  of  France,  and 
originated  one  of  the  chief  elements  of  the  wealth  of  Italy 
and  Greece.  The  dyeing  of  textile  fabrics  leads  us  into 
the  domain  of  chemistry,  a  subject  requiring  a  volume 
merely  to  name  its  discoveries.  Indigo  has  displaced  woad 
as  a  blue  dye ;  and  the  new  aniline  colours,  outvying  the 
Tyrian  purple,  elevate  our  taste  and  gratify  our  sense  of 
beauty.  If  we  take  other  examples,  similar  facts  appear. 
The  Chilian  potato  has  provided  food  for  many  millions  of 
people,  and  in  three  hundred  years  has  reached  in  Europe  a 
perfection  to  which  in  its  native  soil  it  never  approached. 
Maize  has  become  an  important  crop  round  the  Mediter¬ 
ranean  ;  while  wheat,  which  was  given  to  America  in  ex¬ 
change,  has  flourished  there  so  greatly  as  to  admit  of  large 
exports  to  the  Old  World. 

Discoveries  of  the  utmost  value  appear,  for  a  time,  of  less 
significance,  because  their  full  development  is  not  at  first 
realised  or  foreseen.  It  is  not  easy  for  us  to  determine 
how  far  the  industrial  and  social  habits  of  posterity  may 
be  influenced  by  the  production  of  the  hydrocarbons  and 
mineral  oils.  From  the  first  employment  of  caoutchouc  for 
rubbing  out  pencil-marks,  its  applications  have  been  mani¬ 
fold.  In  guttapercha  we  see  applications  of  a  new  raw 
material  to  telegraphy,  embracing  the  world.  We  have  only  to 
contrast  the  present  period  of  our  history  with  any  former 
period,  or  the  condition  of  any  one  country  with  another, 
to  perceive  the  effect  of  such  knowledge  upon  human  well¬ 
being.  Every  year  adds  to  our  list  of  useful  animal,  vege¬ 
table,  and  mineral  substances ;  while  the  increasing  consump¬ 
tion  of  those  already  known  calls  forth,  as  a  rule,  increased 


RAW  MATERIAL. 


5 


production.  Thus,  the  importance  of  a  knowledge  of  raw 
materials  cannot  be  overrated.  It  is  a  matter  of  personal 
interest  to  everybody  in  every  part  of  the  world.  It  must 
not  be  forgotten,  however,  that  no  amount  of  abstract 
reasoning  would  have  led  us  to  discover  the  properties  and 
uses  of  iron,  without  first  seeing,  handling,  and  examining 
a  piece  of  that  metal.  Experiment  precedes  the  growth  of 
knowledge.  Every  discovery  of  a  new  material,  or  a  new 
property  of  an  old  material,  has  suggested  new  uses ;  and 
fresh  necessities  have  led  continually  to  fresh  researches. 
Dyeing,  tanning,  brewing,  glass-making,  and  weaving  were 
known  to  the  Egyptians  in  very  ancient  times,  ranging  from 
1500  to  2500  years  before  Christ.  These  industrial  opera¬ 
tions  involved  a  prior  discovery  of  the  raw  substances 
operated  upon.  Indigo  and  purple  dyes,  bark  and  other 
astringents  that  effect  the  change  of  skin  into  leather, 
barley  and  malt,  silicious  sands  and  alkalies  that,  admixed, 
form  glass — silk,  linen,  and  cotton  woven  in  primitive 
ages — must  all  have  made  part  of  the  earliest  human 
history;  and  passing  over  a  long  interval,  we  read  of 
quills  being  used  for  writing  (a.d.  600),  of  the  use  of  sugar 
among  the  Arabs  (a.d.  850),  of  coffee  among  the  Persians 
(a.d.  875),  &c.  &c. 

Without  extending  the  list,  we  may  dwell  upon  the 
thought  of  how  much  we  owe  to  the  past,  even  in  these  few 
selected  instances.  The  same  methods  that  rewarded  our 
ancestors  with  fruits  of  discovery  must  be  still  followed  if 
we  desire  the  like  rewards.  Our  forefathers  observed, 
compared,  tested,  and  applied,  age  by  age,  the  gifts  of 
nature,  and  bequeathed  to  us  the  accumulated  stores  of 
their  experience.  To  come  into  possession  of  a  complete 
knowledge  of  economic  substances,  our  inquiries  must 
begin  early,  and  at  home.  Here  the  articles  are  at  hand, 
and  we  are  accustomed  to  the  use  of  them ;  though  with 


6 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE . 


imports  from  all  parts  of  the  earth,  it  has  become  difficult 
to  say  whether  we  are  most  interested  in  our  own,  or  in 
foreign  produce.  In  England,  the  facilities  for  study  sur¬ 
pass  those  of  other  nations,  and  we  may  reverse  the  usual 
steps  of  inquiry,  and  endeavour,  from  the  raw  substance 
itself,  to  arrive  at  the  conditions  of  its  being,  as  well  as  its 
essential  characteristics.  What  we  know  of  the  undeviating 
laws  of  nature  opens  our  minds  to  inferences  and  generali¬ 
sations  whenever  a  basis  of  facts  is  broad  enough  to  support 
a  correct  induction. 

In  the  vegetable  kingdom,  wTe  see  the  distinction  be¬ 
tween  endogens  and  exogens  clearly  marked  from  the  cotyle¬ 
dons  through  the  whole  life-history  of  the  plants.  The 
structure  of  the  stem,  the  veining  of  the  leaves,  the  number 
and  character  of  the  floral  organs,  all  differ  persistently  in 
the  great  sub-kingdoms.  A  worker  in  wrood  will  tell,  from 
the  texture  and  grain,  not  merely  the  species  but  the  variety 
of  tree,  and  the  place  of  its  growth.  A  mahogany  mer¬ 
chant  will  distinguish  the  timber  of  Cuba  from  that  of  other 
West  Indian  territory,  and  island  growths  from  those  of  the 
mainland.  Again,  the  starches  existing  in  so  many  plants 
are  distinguished  from  one  another  by  the  form  of  their 
grains,  so  that  potato-starch  mixed  with  arrowroot  can  be 
easily  detected ;  and  flour  of  every  kind  indicates  in  the 
same  way  the  grain  from  which  it  was  prepared.  The 
microscope  shows  an  identity  of  structure  between  the 
nutmeg  or  hard  kernel,  and  the  arillus  or  mace,  that 
enwraps  it,  and  would  prove  that  the  two  substances  belong 
to  each  other,  greatly  as  they  differ  in  appearance,  even 
though  their  relationship  wrere  not  otherwise  known.  In 
a  general  way,  if  we  see  a  rattan,  bamboo,  or  palm  stem, 
we  at  once  know  it  to  be  an  exotic,  or  tropical  production ; 
and  we  infer,  from  the  ferns  and  calamites  of  the  Coal 
Measures,  that  the  beds  of  shale  and  coal  originated  under 


RAW  MA  FERIAL. 


7 


conditions  of  climate  quite  different  from  those  now  pre¬ 
vailing  in  the  temperate  and  frozen  regions,  where  such 
beds  are  found. 

Examples  abound  equally  in  the  animal  kingdom.  We 
do  not  hesitate  to  draw  climatic  inferences  from  the  pre¬ 
sence  of  the  bones  of  certain  fossil  carnivora  in  cold  regions, 
although  such  inferences  receive  no  support  from  the 
existing  climate.  With  living  animals  we  can  usually  trace 
their  geographical  relation,  and  say,  this  is  a  tropical  bird, 
fish,  or  insect ;  that  belongs  to  the  frigid  zone. 

The  more  minute  our  investigations,  the  more  is  this  law 
of  the  individuality  of  every  natural  product,  and  of  the  mutual 
adaptation  of  all  the  conditions  of  existence,  confirmed. 
The  structure  of  a  bone  enables  naturalists  to  build  up 
the  animal  of  which  it  is  a  part,  to  describe  its  habits,  and 
to  fix  its  proper  position  in  the  vertebrate  series.  Professor 
Owen  has  demonstrated  that  the  dental  or  tooth  structure  of 
every  species  of  animal  is  distinct,  and  that,  were  our  know¬ 
ledge  comprehensive  enough,  it  would  unerringly  guide  us 
to  the  identification  of  the  animal. 

From  these  illustrations,  it  will  be  seen  that  all  raw  sub¬ 
stances  contain  within  them  structural  evidences  of  the 
conditions  under  which  they  were  developed  ;  and  that  by  a 
scientific  induction,  possible  only  with  increased  knowledge, 
we  may  learn  to  read  these  evidences,  and  to  apply  our 
knowledge  to  the  improvement  of  the  substance — that  is,  to 
its  increased  utility.  Books  will  not  only  show  the  know¬ 
ledge  already  acquired,  but  they  will  direct  the  student  in 
his  search  for  more.  The  history  of  discovery  shows  how  ad¬ 
vances  have  been  anticipated,  how  new  powers  or  properties 
were  generally  suspected,  and  how  they  revealed  themselves 
in  answer  to  scientific  interrogation.  Herein  we  perceive  the 
utility  of  museums,  where  economic  substances  from  the 
three  kingdoms  of  nature  are  classified  for  comparison  and 


8 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


study.  In  every  civilised  country  there  are  museums;  and 
every  school  should  also  be  a  repository  of  specimens  of 
raw  produce,  in  the  nature  and  use  of  which  direct  instruc¬ 
tion  should  be  given.  Early  familiarity  with  the  substances 
themselves  would  lay  the  foundation  of  knowledge,  which 
would  not  only  save  the  young  man  of  business  the  first 
weary  years  of  learning,  but  would  send  him  forth  into  the 
domain  of  nature,  perhaps  as  a  discoverer  of  new  materials, 
or  of  new  properties  or  adaptations,  adding  to  the  neces¬ 
saries  and  conveniences  of  life,  and  therefore  to  the  health 
and  happiness  of  mankind. 


CHAPTER  II. 


OUR  NATIONAL  HOME. 

Climate,  Soil,  and  the  Consequences  resulting  therefrom — Latitude  of 
the  United  Kingdom  and  Contrast  of  Corresponding  Latitudes — 
Position  of  the  United  Kingdom  relative  to  Europe — Diversities 
of  Temperature  and  of  Rainfall — Causes  of  Diversity — Gulf  Stream 
— Deflection  of  Isotherms — Current  and  Counter-Current — Aerial 
Currents — Botanical  or  Floral  Regions — Iberian  or  Asturian, 
Armorican,  Germanic,  and  Boreal  Regions — Minor  Diversities  of 
Climate  and  Vegetation — Chart  of  Floral  Regions. 

The  United  Kingdom,  between  50°  and  6o°  N.  lat., 
by  20  E.  and  n°  W.  long.,  comprises  several  islands, 
of  which  Great  Britain  and  Ireland  are  the  chief,  the 
remainder  being  relatively  unimportant. 

Great  Britain,  including  England,  Wales,  and  Scotland, 
is  the  largest  island  in  Europe. 

The  British  Empire  comprehends,  besides  the  United 
Kingdom,  colonies  and  possessions  in  every  zone,  so  exten¬ 
sively  and  widely  dispersed  as  to  give  literal  truth  to  the 
saying  that  the  sun  never  sets  on  the  Queen’s  dominions. 

The  latitude  of  the  United  Kingdom  corresponds  with 
that  of  the  cold  and  sterile  regions  of  Labrador,  in 
America,  and  the  icebound  shores  of  Kamtschatka,  in  Asia. 
In  the  southern  hemisphere  its  like  or  analogue  is  the  cheer¬ 
less  land  of  Terra  del  Fuego.  London  is  in  the  same 
latitude  as  the  strait  of  Belleisle  and  Cape  Lopatka ;  Edin¬ 
burgh,  the  northern  metropolis,  corresponds  with  Moscow, 
and  also  with  Cape  Horn. 

These  are  striking  contrasts.  We  cannot  imagine  a  flour¬ 
ishing  people  living  in  the  bleak  and  pitiless  countries  just 
referred  to.  From  what,  then,  are  our  immunities  derived  ? 
A  well-known  American  writer  says  of  England  : — 


IO 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE . 


“  The  territory  has  a  singular  perfection.  The  climate 
is  warmer  by  many  degrees  than  it  is  entitled  to  by  latitude. 
Neither  hot  nor  cold,  there  is  no  hour  in  the  whole  year 
when  one  cannot  work.  The  temperature  makes  no  ex¬ 
haustive  demands  on  human  strength,  but  allows  the  attain¬ 
ment  of  the  largest  stature.  In  variety  of  surface  it  is 
a  miniature  of  Europe,  having  plain,  forest,  marsh,  river, 
seashore  ;  mines  in  Cornwall,  caves  in  Derbyshire,  delicious 
landscape  in  Dovedale,  and  sea-view  at  Torbay ;  highlands 
in  Scotland,  Snowdon  in  Wales ;  in  Westmoreland  and 
Cumberland  a  pocket  Switzerland,  in  which  the  lakes  and 
mountains  are  on  a  sufficient  scale  to  fill  the  eye  and  to 
touch  the  imagination. 

“  From  first  to  last  it  is  a  museum  of  anomalies.  This 
foggy  and  rainy  country  furnishes  the  world  with  astronomical 
observations.  Its  short  rivers  do  not  afford  water-power,  but 
the  land  shakes  under  the  thunder  of  its  mills.  There  is  no 
gold  mine  of  any  importance,  but  there  is  more  gold  in 
England  than  in  all  other  countries.  It  is  too  far  north  for 
the  culture  of  the  vine,  but  the  wines  of  all  countries  are  in 
its  docks  ;  and  oranges  and  pine-apples  are  as  cheap  in 
London  as  in  the  Mediterranean.”  * 

RELATIVE  POSITION  OF  THE  UNITED  KINGDOM. 

Great  Britain  is  insulated  from  the  Continent  by  the  arms 
of  that  ocean  which  forms  the  western  boundary  of  Europe. 
For  about  a  hundred  miles  west  of  Ireland  the  slope  of 
the  sea-bed  is  gradual,  when  a  sudden  descent  occurs  of 
more  than  2000  feet,  forming  submarine  cliffs  that  mark 
the  confines  of  the  Old  World.  The  bed  of  the  German 
Ocean,  on  the  other  hand,  is  generally  shallow.  Its 
average  depth  is  not  over  thirty  or  forty  fathoms,  which 
would  not  cover  the  chimney-shafts  of  many  of  our  factories, 

*  “English  Traits.”  Bv  R.  W.  Emerson. 

o  J 


CLIMA  TE  OF  THE  UNITED  KINGDOM.  I  T 

and  in  no  part  are  the  soundings  deep,  except  off  the  pre¬ 
cipitous  coasts  of  Norway,  which  the  Atlantic,  rather  than 
the  North  Sea,  may  be  said  to  lave.  Traversing  this  sea 
are  also  many  shoals  and  sand-banks,  the  largest  being  the 
Dogger,  350  miles  long,  running  northward,  midway  be¬ 
tween  the  coast  of  Northumberland  and  Jutland.  Some  of 
these  banks  come  within  six  or  seven  fathoms  of  the  surface. 

The  neighbouring  lands  on  both  sides  of  the  German 
Ocean  assume  the  features  of  the  sea-bed.  Parts  of 
Holland  are  forty  feet  below  the  sea-level,  and  are  only 
protected  from  marine  irruptions  by  embankments  and  sand 
dunes.  Jutland  is  entirely  alluvial.  “  English  Holland,” 
or  the  Fen  districts  in  the  neighbourhood  of  the  Wash, 
consists  of  land  reclaimed  from  the  sea,  much  of  it  so  low 
lying  as  also  to  require  dykes  and  embankments  to  prevent 
inundation.  In  fact,  the  great  European  plain  commences 
in  the  tertiary  and  alluvial  deposits  of  the  East  of  England, 
takes  in  the  German  Ocean,  embraces  the  Netherlands 
and  Denmark,  then  sweeps  along  the  low  lands  and 
stoneless  steppes  below  St.  Petersburg,  and  extends  to  the 
Caspian  Sea.  The  whole  plain  gives  evidence  of  an  ancient 
sea-bed,  of  which  the  sandy  flats  about  Calais  and  Berlin, 
and  the  lake-plain  of  Pomerania,  are  parts,  and  with  which 
England  is  conjoined.  The  United  Kingdom  consequently 
retains,  in  many  respects,  a  European,  although  insular, 
character. 

CLIMATE  OF  THE  UNITED  KINGDOM. 

“Climate,”  says  Professor  Ansted,  “is  a  resultant  of  all 
the  atmospheric  phenomena,  embracing  the  temperature  of 
the  air  at  various  times  and  seasons,  the  range  and  varia¬ 
tion  of  the  temperature,  the  direction  and  force  of  the 
prevalent  winds,  the  liability  to  storm,  the  amount  of 
humidity  in  the  air  at  various  seasons,  the  quantity  of  mist 


I  2  THE  NA  TURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 

and  rain,  the  distribution  of  rain,  and  the  varieties  of 
electrical  condition.” 

“These  phenomena  affect  and  depend  on  each  other, 
but  all  may  ultimately  be  traced  to  certain  general  causes. 

“  i.  The  position  of  the  station  in  latitude. 

“  2.  The  size  and  figure  of  the  land  on  which  the  station  is 
situated,  whether  detached  island,  archipelago,  or  continent. 

“  3.  The  elevation  of  the  station  above  the  sea. 

“  4.  The  position  of  the  land  on  which  the  station  is 
placed,  with  reference  to  the  neighbouring  land. 

“  5.  The  position,  distance,  and  direction,  magnitude 
and  elevation,  of  the  nearest  continent. 

“6.  The  nature,  magnitude,  and  direction  of  the  nearest 
great  marine  current  to  its  shores.” 

The  phenomena  of  the  climate  of  the  United  Kingdom 
may  be  summarised  under  the  heads  of  Diversities  of  Tem¬ 
perature  and  Diversities  of  Rainfall. 

I.  Diversities  of  Temperature. 

The  western  coast  of  Ireland  is  io°  warmer  than  the 
east  coast  of  England  on  the  same  parallel  of  latitude. 
Scotland,  compared  with  England,  is  cold  and  wet,  although 
not  subject  to  extremes.  The  winters,  indeed,  are  so  mild 
that  the  harbours  generally  do  not  freeze,  as  in  similar  and 
even  in  lower  latitudes  on  the  Continent.  The  Western 
Islands  have  a  uniform  and  genial  climate,  contrasting  with 
the  opposite  coast.  Unst,  one  of  the  Shetlands,  and  the 
Isle  of  Wight,  correspond  in  winter  temperature,  although 
separated  by  nearly  700  miles,  or  io°  of  latitude. 

Again,  Devonshire  and  Cornwall,  in  point  of  winter  tem¬ 
perature,  are  warmer  than  London  by  50 ;  Penzance  and  Tor¬ 
quay,  in  mildness  and  salubrity,  resemble  Madeira,  and  are 
recommended  to  patients  affected  with  pulmonary  disease. 

The  diversities  of  temperature  are  tabulated  in  the 
following  chart : — 


CLIMA  TE  OF  THE  UNITED  KINGDOM. 


13 


Great  Britain,  East  Side. 


Locality. 

Latitude. 

Winter  Tem¬ 
perature. 

Summer  Tem¬ 
perature. 

Mean  Tem¬ 
perature. 

Unst  .... 

6o°  45'  N. 

Fahrenheit. 

38.6° 

52.6° 

44-7° 

Wick  .  .  . 

58  29 

38.8 

55-3 

48.9 

Inverness  .  . 

57  28 

35-o 

57-o 

47-7 

Aberdeen  .  . 

57  8 

39-o 

59-5 

49.2 

Dundee  .  .  . 

56  27 

41.4 

63-4 

5r-9 

Leith  .  .  . 

55  59 

40.5 

58.2 

48.3 

York  .  .  . 

53  57 

36.2 

62.3 

49.2 

Bedford .  .  . 

52  8 

40.5 

62.8 

506 

London  .  .  . 

5i  30 

39-5 

62.9 

50.8 

Chichester  .  . 

50  5 

38.8 

60.7 

49-5 

Great  Britain ,  West  Side. 


Locality. 

* 

Latitude. 

Winter  Tem¬ 
perature. 

Summer  Tem¬ 
perature. 

Mean  Tem¬ 
perature. 

Glasgow  .  . 

55°5i'N. 

Fahrenheit. 

39-6° 

60. 1  ° 

49-8° 

Whitehaven  . 

54  33 

39-9 

59-6 

49.0 

Isle  of  Man 

54  15 

4L7 

59-i 

49.8 

Liverpool  .  . 

53  24 

41-3 

61. 1 

50.8 

Swansea  .  . 

5i  36 

45-5 

60.6 

53 -7 

Penzance  . 

5°  7 

44.2 

60.9 

51-7 

Ireland. 


Locality. 

Latitude. 

Winter  Tem¬ 
perature. 

Summer  Tem¬ 
perature. 

Mean  Tem¬ 
perature. 

Belfast  .  .  . 

54°  36'  N. 

Fahrenheit. 

4I.40 

63-9° 

52-3° 

Antrim  .  .  . 

54  43 

367 

58.1 

477 

Dublin  .  .  . 

53  21 

39-8 

59-6 

497 

Mean  Temperature  of  the  whole 
Coast. 

Winter. 

Summer. 

General 

Mean. 

West  Coast  of  Great  Britain 
East  Coast  of  Great  Britain  . 

40. 30  Fahr. 
38.2 

59-o°  } 
590  s 

49-o° 

Mean  Temperature  of  hottest  month  (July),  6o.o°  to  65.0°. 

Mean  Temperature  of  sea  on  West  Coast  in  winter  is  41.00. 

II.  Diversities  of  Rainfall. 

Constant  humidity,  rather  than  excess  of  rainfall,  dis¬ 
tinguishes  the  United  Kingdom ;  for  the  total  rainfall  is 


14 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


not  actually  greater  than  that  of  many  other  countries  on  the 
same  latitude.  Nevertheless,  we  owe  to  it  our  numerous 
rivers,  and  the  fertility  which  makes  nearly  the  whole  land 
resemble  a  garden.  Ireland  is  more  humid  than  England, 
and  the  western  side  of  both  islands  is  more  humid  than 
the  eastern.  As  a  consequence,  Ireland  is  essentially  a 
grazing  country,  and  in  England  pasturage  is  more  common 
in  the  western  than  in  the  eastern  counties,  where  tillage 
chiefly  prevails.  These  facts  are  patent  in  the  familiar 
terms  of  Irish  butter,  Devonshire  cream,  Cheshire  and 
Gloucestershire  cheese,  Durham  shorthorns,  Alderney 
cows;  while  Norfolk  and  Suffolk  and  the  valley  of  the 
Thames  are  suggestive  of  corn. 

At  Keswick,  Cumberland,  the  yearly  average  rainfall  is 
60  inches ;  in  London,  the  average  is  24  inches.  The  aver¬ 
age  for  the  whole  of  the  United  Kingdom  may  be  between 
30  and  40  inches.  The  following  diagram  will  give  a 
concise  view  of  the  rainfall. 


Diagram  of  the  Rainfall  of  the  United  Kingdom. 

Ireland. 


EAST  SIDE. 

WEST 

SIDE. 

Londonderry .  .  . 

31.0 

inches. 

Westport,  Mayo 

.  46.0  inches 

Belfast . 

35-° 

99 

Cahirciveen  .  . 

.  59.0 

9  9 

Dublin . 

3°.  8 

99 

Cork  County 

.  40.0 

9  9 

Portarlington  .  . 

23.0 

9  9 

Castletownsend  . 

.  42.0 

9  9 

Mean  of  Coast  and 

Mean  of  West  Coast 

Interior  .  .  . 

29.7 

9  5 

and  Interior 

.  47.4 

9  9 

Great  Britain. 

EAST  SIDE. 

WEST  SIDE. 

Coast  and  Interior. 

Coast  and  Interior. 

Inverness  .... 

27.0 

inches. 

Cape  Wrath  .  . 

.  38.6  inches. 

Edinburgh  .  .  . 

25.0 

99 

Rothesay  .  .  . 

.  48.0 

9  9 

W.  Denton,  North- 

Glasgow  .  .  . 

•  DJ- 0 

9  9 

umberland  .  . 

36.8 

99 

Lake  Districts 

from 

York . 

24.0 

9  9 

50.0  to  140.6 

99 

Bedford  .... 

3i-7 

9  9 

Liverpool .  .  . 

•  34-7 

9  9 

London  .... 

24.0 

9  9 

Swansea  .  .  . 

•  35-4 

9  9 

Hastings  .... 

31-0 

9  9 

Penzance  .  . 

.  43.0 

9  9 

Isle  of  Wight  .  . 

30-9 

99 

Bath  .... 

.  32.0 

9  9 

Mean  of  East  Side, 

Mean  of  West  Side, 

&c . 

27.4 

9  9 

See.  .  .  . 

•  45-5 

9  9 

CLIMA  TE  OF  THE  UNITED  KINGDOM.  I  5 

III.  Causes  of  Diversity. 

Our  western  shores  are  bathed  by  an  ever-flowing  warm 
current  from  the  Atlantic,  called  the  Gulf  Stream.  The 
winds,  for  more  than  two  hundred  days  in  the  year,  blow  in 
the  track  of  this  great  marine  current,  and  fill  the  air  with 
balmy  vapours  exhaled  from  its  surface.  The  Gulf  Stream 
originates  in  the  embayed  waters  of  Mexico,  whence,  heated 
and  expanded  by  a  tropical  sun,  it  issues  as  an  ocean  river 
through  the  Narrows  of  Florida.  Widening  in  its  course 
northwards,  it  divides  in  mid-Atlantic.  One  current  curves 
to  the  north-west  coast  of  Africa,  and  becomes  lost  in  the 
equatorial  waters.  A  polar  prolongation,  accurately  de¬ 
fined,  diverges  till  it  fills  the  space  between  Iceland  and 
Norway.  By  its  influence  the  North  Cape  is  freed  from  ice 
even  in  the  depth  of  winter,  and  its  effects  are  felt  as  far 
as  Spitzbergen,  where  its  interfusion  with  the  surrounding 
ocean  becomes  complete. 

The  United  Kingdom  fully  receives  the  beneficial  in¬ 
fluences  of  this  stream.  The  warm  air  and  heated  flood 
combine  to  deflect  northward  the  isothermal  lines  *  raising 
the  temperature,  and  giving  to  high  European  latitudes  the 
amenities  of  a  southern  climate.  Now,  it  is  a  physical  law 
that  every  current,  whether  aerial  or  marine,  has  a  corre¬ 
sponding  counter-current.  We  find,  therefore,  firstly,  that  at 
an  undefined  distance  to  the  west,  a  cold  stream  flows  down 
Baffin’s  Bay,  and  past  the  Greenland  shores,  sinking  by  its 
density  beneath  the  Gulf  Stream,  and  completing  its  circuit ; 
secondly,  that  to  the  east  a  polar  counter-current  blows 
over  the  distant  Russian  plains  to  complete  the  aerial 
circuit.  Thus  we  are  twice  favoured  :  by  the  presence  of 
genial  currents,  aerial  and  marine,  and  by  the  absence  of 

*  Lines  laid  down  on  maps  to  connect  places  which  have  the  same 
mean  temperature,  or  which  are  on  parallels  of  equal  seasonal  tempera¬ 
ture.  {Isos,  equal ;  thermos ,  heat,  Gr.) 


1 6  THE  NA  TURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 

the  arctic,  inclement  counter-currents,  which  respectively 
determine  the  climate  of  their  neighbourhood.  While 
the  western  maritime  borders  of  Europe  are  verdant,  the 
coasts  of  Labrador  are  frost-bound  and  barren ;  and  the 
region  of  the  intensest  cold  on  the  globe  is  in  the  Russian 
dominions. 

At  the  time  of  the  vernal  and  autumnal  equinoxes  the 
aerial  streams  in  the  latitude  of  the  United  Kingdom  come 
into  conflict ;  the  cold  easterly  and  north-easterly  winds 
condense  the  vapours  from  the  ocean,  and  produce 
characteristic  fogs.  These  winds  are  trying  to  the  health 
and  life  of  both  animals  and  plants,  and  often  prevail  for 
weeks  together. 

BOTANICAL  OR  FLORAL  REGIONS. 

Within  the  confines  of  the  United  Kingdom  various 
botanical  or  floral  regions  have  been  defined  with  toler¬ 
able  accuracy,  each  region  being  characterised  by  its  own 
climate,  and  called  by  a  Latinised  name. 

Our  cloudy  sky  keeps  off  heat,  prevents  radiation,  and 
is  favourable  to  the  growth  of  crops  whose  variety  makes 
up  for  the  greater  certainty  of  the  harvests  of  the  Continent. 
Though  we  do  not  enjoy  uninterrupted  fine  weather,  there 
is  scarcely  a  day,  except  at  the  equinoxes,  when  the  sun 
does  not  shine ;  and  we  rarely  suffer  from  a  succession  of 
bad  seasons. 

In  the  part  principally  open  to  the  Gulf  Stream  and  to 
the  prevalent  winds,  the  air  is  so  charged  with  moisture, 
that  the  sun’s  warmth  is  absorbed  before  reaching  the  earth, 
and  fruits  that  will  ripen  farther  north  here  seldom  come  to 
perfection.  The  peach  tribe  lose  flavour,  and  grapes  never 
reach  maturity.  The  crops  suffer  less  from  drought  than 
from  too  much  wet.  Botanists  designate  it  as  our  Asturian 
or  Iberian  Region ,  from  its  relation  to  the  Asturias,  the 


BOTANICAL  OR  FLORAL  REGIONS. 


1  7 


Biscayan  province  of  Spain.  The  arbutus,  London  pride, 
three  heaths,  maiden -hair  fern,  and  about  seven  other 
species  of  plants  not  occurring  in  any  other  part  of  Great 
Britain,  are  found  in  this  botanical  region.  The  provinces 
of  Munster  and  Connaught  in  Ireland,  and  the  county  of 
Cornwall,  with  the  adjacent  parts  of  Devonshire  in  Eng¬ 
land,  represent  this  region.  Myrtles  are  fragrant  in  the 
open  air  throughout  the  winter.  The  evergreen  oak,  and 
the  arbutus,  are  prominent  in  the  overhanging  woods 
of  Killarney,  where  they  were  planted  by  the  monks  of 
Mucross.  A  rich  neighbouring  strip  of  land  running 
through  the  two  counties  of  Tipperary  and  Kilkenny,  has 
for  centuries  borne  the  proud  name  of  the  Golden  Vale, 
and  produces,  every  season,  abundant  crops. 

The  south-west  of  England,  adjoining  Devon  and  Corn¬ 
wall,  agrees  in  climate  with  the  French  provinces  of  Nor¬ 
mandy  and  Brittany,  the  flora  of  which  is  not  prevalent 
elsewhere  in  the  United  Kingdom.  Devonshire  cider  and 
Worcestershire  perry  indicate  the  English  home  of  the  apple 
and  pear.  “  Normandy  pippins  ”  is  an  equally  familiar  term. 
Across  the  Channel  the  rural  homesteads,  the  pastures, 
and  orchards  continue  the  aspect  of  England ;  while  the 
oak,  ash,  and  elm  lend  effect  to  the  picture.  Brittany, 
trending  into  the  Atlantic,  is  even  like  Ireland  in  humidity 
and  warmth.  This  district  of  France,  the  ancient  Armorica, 
gives  a  designation  to  the  English  botanical  region. 

The  vegetation  of  the  midland  and  eastern  parts  of  the 
United  Kingdom,  overlapping  likewise  every  other  floral 
division,  bears  a  close  relation  to  that  of  Central  Europe, 
and  comprises  the  most  important  and  numerous  plants. 
It  is  the  region  of  deciduous  trees,  or  such  as  lose  their 
leaves  annually,  and  includes  our  chief  varieties  of  timber, 
with  an  undergrowth  of  wild  apple,  cherry,  holly,  hawthorn, 
broom,  furze,  wild  rose,  bramble,  and  honeysuckle.  Food- 

I.  B 


IS 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


crops,  both  of  corn  and  roots,  here  reach  their  highest 
perfection,  and  every  kind  of  pulse  and  green  vegetables, 
such  as  peas,  beans,  the  turnip,  carrot,  potato,  and  cabbage, 
grow  in  abundance. 

Farther  north,  the  Scottish  Highlands  approximate  in 
character  to  Scandinavia,  the  features  being  partially  shared 
by  the  hills  of  Cumberland  and  Westmoreland.  Vegetation 
greatly  differs  from  that  of  the  plains,  and  is  analogous  to 
the  dwarf  progeny  of  the  snow-clad  Alps,  or  of  Arctic  lands. 
Hence  its  botanical  name,  the  Boreal  or  Scandinavian 
Region.  The  favoured  parts  of  Sweden,  and  even  of  Lap- 
land,  are  so  nearly  alike  in  soil  and  climate  to  Great  Britain, 
that  three-fourths  of  their  vegetation  are  common  to  this 
country.  While,  however,  our  islands  are  nearly  bereft  of 
forests,  and  even  England  has  yielded  much  of  its  forest 
land  to  the  exigencies  of  husbandry,  Sweden  is  covered 
with  trees,  and  Lapland’s  woods  are  the  chief  source  of  its 
wealth.  On  the  other  hand,  the  summer  scene  presented 
by  the  wide-stretching  archipelago  upon  which  Stockholm  is 
founded  might  be  transferred  to  the  balmiest  part  of  the 
English  coast ;  for  the  larks  of  those  islets  fill  the  air  with 
song,  and  the  ground  is  matted  with  wild  strawberries,  inter- 
strewn  with  bright  pinks  and  dog-daisies,  while  wild  thyme, 
meadow-sweet,  and  other  fragrant  plants  scent  the  air. 

The  prevalence  of  plants  in  groups  has  enabled  us  not 
only  to  define  botanical  districts  or  floral  regions,  but  also 
to  distinguish  climate  within  short  distances.  If  every  con¬ 
dition  were  easily  traced,  the  climate  of  any  spot  could  be 
at  once  inferred ;  but  our  own  country  exemplifies  the 
difficulties  of  accounting  for  the  differences  of  climate  in 
small  areas.  Brighton  differs  essentially  from  Torquay ; 
Bath  from  Cheltenham ;  the  climates  of  Malvern,  Buxton, 
and  Harrogate  are  unlike  those  of  Scarborough  and  the 
Lake  districts ;  and  each  in  turn  differs  from  all  the  rest. 


BOTANICAL  OR  FLORAL  REGIONS. 


19 


It  would  be  a  good  mental  exercise  to  trace  the  local  or  the 
distant  cause  of  these  diversities. 

In  some  instances  the  local  variations  of  climate  over 
small  areas  are  easy  to  account  for.  Brighton,  for  example, 
facing  the  southern  sun,  and  protected  by  the  range  of 
South  Downs  from  the  cold  north  and  east  winds,  enjoys 
a  mean  annual  temperature  higher  than  places  near  but  less 
favoured. 

Climate  does  not  depend  upon  the  vegetable  covering  of 
a  country,  since  vegetation  is  the  result  rather  than  the 
cause  of  climatic  conditions,  but  on  meteorological  pheno¬ 
mena  affecting  altitude  and  wide  spread  spaces.  These 
phenomena  remain  even  when  vast  expanses  of  forest  are 
removed,  marshes  drained,  and  deserts  irrigated  by  human 
industry,  to  which  agency,  and  not  to  difference  of  climate, 
must  the  beneficial  effects  thereby  produced  be  accounted 
due. 


Chart  of  Floral  Regions  or  Botanical  Districts. 


Region. 

Limits. 

Characteristics. 

Analogue. 

Iberian  or  As¬ 
turian. 

S.  W.  Ireland,  Corn¬ 
wall,  and  Devon. 

Humidity. 

Evergreens. 

Madeira  and 

N.  Spain. 

Armorican .  j 

S.  &  W.  England,  ) 
Channel  Islands,  > 
S.  E.  Ireland.  ) 

Pastures  and 
Orchard  Fruits. 

Normandy 
and  Brittany. 

Germanic  .  j 

N.  &  Central  Ireland, 
Central  England, 
Scotch  Lowlands. 

Deciduous  Trees 
and  Green  Ve¬ 
getables. 

(  Germany  and 
(  Mid- Europe. 

Boreal,  Arctic,  ( 
or  Scandi-  < 
navian.  ( 

Extreme  N.  Ireland,  ) 
Scottish  Highlands,  > 
Eng.  Lake  District.  ) 

Fir  Trees  and 
Berries. 

(  Alps, 

<  Sweden, 

(  Lapland. 

CHAPTER  III. 


INFLUENCES  OF  GEOLOGY  ON  THE  INDUSTRIAL  HISTORY 

OF  THE  BRITISH  RACE. 

INTRODUCTORY. 

General  Physical  Geography  of  England  as  dependent  on  its  Geology 
— Geological  Distribution  of  Mineral  Products — Minerals  in  Veins 
— Influence  of  Igneous  Rocks  on  the  Development  of  Minerals  in 
Veins — Bedded  Mineral  Deposits — Coal  and  Iron,  and  Association 
of,  in  their  Relation  to  Industrial  Pursuits — Relation  of  Geology 
to  Agriculture — Botanical  Aspect  presented  by  Geological  For¬ 
mations  —  Influence  of  Certain  Constituents  of  Rocks  on  the 
Growth  of  Plants  —  Comparison  between  other  Countries  and 
Parts  of  Great  Britain — Table. 

While  regarding  the  climatic  zones,  we  have  been  con¬ 
scious  that  other  agencies  are  at  work;  that  plants,  al¬ 
though  of  the  same  character,  flourish  more  in  one  part  of 
a  botanical  zone  than  in  another ;  and  that  animals  vary  in 
like  degree,  being  dependent  upon  plant  food,  either  directly, 
by  cropping  the  herbage,  or  indirectly,  by  preying  upon 
the  vegetable  feeders. 

Within  the  small  compass  of  our  own  islands,  the 
Grampians  are  bare  and  sterile,  while  the  Welsh  moun¬ 
tains  and  the  chalk  Downs  are  clothed  with  turf  to  their 
summits.  Plains  are  here  chill  marsh  land ;  there ,  rich  soil 
waving  with  golden  grain.  Multitudes  of  people  crowd 
together  on  land  covered  with  noisy  “works”  and  mills, 
under  sombre  skies  blackened  with  smoke  from  furnace  fires. 
In  another  place,  with  sunlit  atmosphere  and  fields  smiling 
with  fertility,  the  “  next-door  neighbour  ”  is  a  mile  away. 


I  NFL  UENCES  OF  GEOL  OG  Y  ON  IND  US  TRIA  L  HIS  TOR  V.  2  I 


Further  than  this,  there  are  certain  species  of  plants, 
special  and  wholly  confined  to  limited  areas.  Such  are  an 
Arenaria  and  a  Cerastium  of  the  Shetlands,  the  Erica  of 
Cornwall,  and  the  Oi'obanche  of  parts  of  Ireland.  The 
prevalence  of  other  species  favouring  nature  -  selected 
spots,  is  well  known  to  every  practical  botanist.  The  law 
holds  good  with  farms  and  farming.  Husbandmen  con¬ 
sider  what  crops  will  best  repay  their  labour,  and  differ  in 
their  operations.  The  sites  of  the  Kentish  cherry  orchards 
could  not  be  exchanged  to  advantage  with  those  of  the 
Hereford  apple  orchards  or  the  pear  orchards  of  Worcester¬ 
shire  ;  nor  could  the  hop  gardens  of  Surrey  and  Hants  any 
better  change  their  station  with  the  Devonshire  dairy  farms 
or  the  East  Anglian  fields  of  corn. 

The  reason  is  not  far  to  seek.  Plant-life  depends  both 
upon  the  soil  and  upon  the  climate  which  stimulates  vitality. 
Plants  differ  in  the  constituents  of  their  tissues ;  and  the 
affinity  which  their  roots  possess  for  certain  substances,  to 
the  exclusion  of  others,  can  only  be  shown  and  exerted 
where  such  substances  are  present. 

Students  of  nature  are  led  to  investigate  geological  struc¬ 
ture,  and  the  agriculturist  calls  chemistry  to  his  aid  to 
analyse  the  soil.  Thus  the  Shetland  plants  to  which  allu¬ 
sion  has  been  made,  are  found  only  on  the  serpentine  rock ; 
the  Irish  Orobanche ,  only  on  the  basalt ;  and  the  Cornish 
Erica  follows  the  metalliferous  veins  of  that  mining  county. 
In  the  West  of  England,  the  Old  Red  Sandstone  is  eminently 
suited  for  fruit  culture ;  while  the  Cornbrash  of  the  Oolite 
disintegrates  into  a  rich  wheat-bearing  soil,  self-manured 
with  the  phosphate  of  lime  or  bone-earth,  of  which  the  rock 
largely  consists. 

Again,  the  Trias  and  other  Poikilitic  (variegated)  strata, 
crossing  England  from  the  Tyne  to  the  Exe,  comprise  an 
undulating  country  adapted  both  for  wheat-growing  and  for 


22 


THE  NA  TURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


the  production  of  fruit.  The  Lias  which  follows,  yields  the 
finest  cheese  in  England,  while  it  is  also  a  good  soil  for  apples 
and.  grain.  Very  interesting  is  this  range  in  its  physical 
geography  and  geology.  Within  its  bounds  occur  the  river 
valleys  of  the  Ouse,  Trent,  Severn,  and,  as  an  outlier,  that 
of  the  Eden  at  Carlisle.  We  have  likewise  the  Cheshire 
plain  in  the  north-west,  together  with  the  vales  of  Exeter 
and  Taunton  in  the  south-west. 

Let  us  notice  how  this  formation  covers  every  notable 
spot  of  English  cheese  production.  “  Prime  Old  Cheshire  ” 
owes  its  excellence  to  the  rocks  which  traverse  the  county. 
“Stilton,”  in  Huntingdon,  gives  a  designation  to  the 
choicest  cheese,  made  over  an  area  of  the  same  formation, 
spreading  into  the  neighbouring  Leicestershire.  “  Double 
Gloucester  ”  is  produced  along  the  Severn  bank  ;  and  the 
“Vale  of  Cheddar,”  a  district  of  Somerset,  where  the  Lias 
combines  with  the  Triassic  red  marl,  furnishes  Cheddar 
cheese,  the  fourth,  and  by  many  thought  the  crowning  type 
of  English  manufacture. 

The  river  valleys  of  the  Trias  are  just  as  distinctive  for 
the  production  of  corn.  From  the  time  of  Roman  Britain, 
the  Plain  of  York,  formed  of  the  valleys  of  the  Ouse  and 
its  tributaries,  has  been  the  largest  low-lying  cornfield  and 
meadow  land  in  our  country.  Yorkshire  circumscribes  a 
perfect  drainage  area  of  many  rivers  connected  with  the 
Humber.  Resting  upon  the  Triassic  strata,  the  lower 
reach  of  the  plain  is  overlaid  by  a  rich,  deep  alluvium,  in 
the  midst  of  which  lies  York,  the  ancient  provincial  capital 
Eboracum. 

Characteristic  of  the  Triassic  rocks  is  the  link  they  form 
between  the  oldest  (Palaeozoic)  and  the  more  recent  forma¬ 
tions  (Mesozoic  and  Cainozoic).  To  the  west  of  the  line  of 
the  Trias  occur  Primary  rocks,  while  to  the  east  spread  out, 
to  a  greater  degree  and  less  disturbed,  the  Secondary  and 


INFLUENCES  OF  GEOLOGY  ON  INDUSTRIAL  HISTORY.  23 

Tertiary  systems.  In  other  words,  the  Primary  rocks  con¬ 
stitute  the  hills  and  mountains  of  the  west,  while  the  Ter- 
tiaries  form  the  eastern  plain.  A  geological  map  of  Great 
Britain  shows  the  island  to  present  in  its  rock  groups  an 
epitome  of  the  geological  structure  of  Europe.  Such  a 
map  might  almost  serve  for  a  diagrammatic  chart  of  the 
earth’s  crust.  From  the  Atlantic  seaboard  to  the  German 
Ocean  we  trace  the  formations,  in  due  geological  sequence 
according  to  age,  with  their  escarpments  roughly  parallel 
from  south-west  to  north-east  and  facing  the  North  Atlantic. 

Two  great  geological  tracts  are  thus  well  marked.  The 
north-westward  tract  comprises  the  kingdom  of  Scotland, 
the  English  Pennine  range,  the  Cumbrian  and  Cambrian 
mountain  groups,  together  with  the  peninsula  of  Devon 
and  Cornwall.  South-eastward  is  the  whole  level  outspread 
of  England,  which,  though  undulating  in  parts,  traversed  by 
downs  of  chalk  and  interspersed  with  isolated  hills,  preserves 
its  character  of  a  great  plain ;  which  shelves  down  from  the 
central  table-land  and  the  river  basin  of  the  Yorkshire  Ouse, 
through  the  depressed  Fen  district  and  the  nether-lands 
contiguous  to  the  Wash ;  and  from  the  upper  valley  of  the 
Thames  to  the  sea-reach  and  East  Anglian  mud-flats. 

The  diversity  of  rock  structure  of  the  British  Islands  is 
nowhere  exceeded  within  the  same  small  expanse.  Such 
variety  is  thereby  given  to  the  landscape,  that  the  point  of 
the  poetical  description  of  Ireland  as  the  Emerald  Isle,  lies 
in  its  truth.  The  ubiquitous  grasses  differ  in  kind  accord¬ 
ing  to  the  soil ;  the  food  grains  flourishing  in  the  silicious 
alluvium,  and  perishing  elsewhere.  Nevertheless,  it  is  not 
in  the  superficial  aspect  or  facies  of  our  islands  that  the 
influence  of  the  rock  structure  is  chiefly  displayed. 

An  elementary  acquaintance  with  the  physical  geology  of 
the  United  Kingdom,  and  a  bird’s  eye  view  of  the  rocks 
as  placed  in  position,  are  requisite  in  order  to  enter  with 


24 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


advantage  into  these  inquiries.  The  occurrence  of  metals 
and  fuel  in  the  line  of  disruption  of  the  stratified  by  the 
igneous  rocks  determines  the  local  industries  of  mining  in 
contrast  to  the  husbandry  of  the  plains,  and  the  presence 
of  useful  minerals,  metals,  and  earth.  West  of  a  line  drawn 
from  the  mouth  of  the  Tees  on  the  north-east,  to  Lyme 
Regis  on  the  south-west,  the  chief  occupations  are  mining 
and  manufactures,  while  east  of  that  line  agriculture  prevails. 


GENERAL  PHYSICAL  GEOGRAPHY  OF  ENGLAND  AS 
DEPENDENT  ON  ITS  GEOLOGY. 

The  rocks  of  Great  Britain  are  divided,  according  to 
the  origin  of  their  present  condition,  into  two  great  classes 
and  one  sub-class — viz.,  aqueous  rocks,  formed  by  the  action 
of  water ;  igneous  rocks,  formed  by  the  action  of  fire ;  and 
metamorphic  rocks,  which,  originally  stratified  or  aqueous, 
have  since  been  changed  in  their  texture  by  igneous  action. 

Igneous  and  metamorphic  rocks  comprise  only  a  small 
proportion  of  the  rocks  of  England  and  Wales.  In  North 
Wales  they  appear  largely  in  the  counties  of  Merioneth, 
Caernarvon,  and  Anglesea;  and  for  twenty  miles  eastward 
of  St.  David’s  Head  igneous  rocks  are  variously  distributed. 
Rocks  of  these  groups  constitute  the  Grampians,  the  South 
Highlands  of  Scotland,  the  Cheviots,  and  the  Malverns ; 
they  occur  too  in  Derbyshire,  Worcestershire,  Charnwood 
Forest,  Devon,  and  Cornwall,  whilst  the  midland,  southern, 
and  eastern  parts  of  England  are  devoid  of  them. 

Aqueous  rocks,  constituting  by  far  the  greater  proportion 
of  the  rocks,  form,  in  our  island,  a  number  of  beds  arranged 
in  succession  one  upon  the  other,  each  set  of  beds,  or  forma- 
tions ,  presenting  peculiarities  which  enable  the  geologist  to 
recognise  and  place  them  in  a  serial  order,  which  order  is 
irreversible. 


PHYSICAL  GEOGRAPHY  OF  ENGLAND. 


25 


In  the  west,  in  Devon,  Cornwall,  and  in  Wales ;  in  the 
north-west,  in  Cumberland ;  and  in  the  Pennine  chain, 
which  stretches  from  Northumberland  to  Derbyshire,  we 
have  the  chief  mountainous  and  hilly  tracts  of  England 
and  Wales ;  all  of  which  are  composed  of  Palaeozoic  rocks, 
elevated  by  the  disturbances  to  which  they  have  been 
subjected. 

If  we  pass  from  the  older  rocks  of  South  Wales  and  the 
border  counties  in  an  easterly  direction,  as  from  the  neigh¬ 
bourhood  of  Gloucester  to  London,  to  the  newer  and  less 
disturbed  rocks,  we  find  that  these  present  low  undulating 
grounds  and  plains  of  New  Red  Sandstone  and  Lias,  suc¬ 
ceeded  by  two  great  escarpments,  the  edges  of  table-lands, 
of  not  more  than  1000  feet  above  the  sea,  sloping  toward 
the  east.  The  western  escarpment,  as  seen  in  the  Cotswold 
Hills,  is  formed  by  the  Oolitic,  and  the  eastern  by  the 
Cretaceous  or  chalk  strata;  the  Tertiary,  comprising  on  the 
east  the  London,  and  on  the  south  the  Hampshire  basins, 
overlie  the  chalk. 

This  physical  structure  of  England  is  represented  in  the 
following  generalised  section  : — 

W.  E. 

Cotswold 
Oolitic  Rocks. 

Wales. — Palaeozoic  Rocks.  Severn  Valley.  Chalk  Tertiary 

Trias  and  Lias.  Downs.  Basin. 


Fig.  1. 


If  we  examine  the  country  farther  north,  say  from  Snow¬ 
don  to  Flamborough  Head,  the  arrangement  of  strata  will 
be  found  very  similar  to  that  observed  in  the  line  of  the 
southern  section.  Thus,  in  the  west  rise  the  disturbed 
Palaeozoic  strata  which  form  the  mountain  region  of  North 
Wales;  in  Flint  and  Denbigh  Carboniferous  rocks  appear; 


2  6 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


then  iii  Cheshire  lies  the  great  plain  of  New  Red  Sandstone, 
from  underneath  which  rise,  in  Derbyshire,  the  Carboniferous 
strata,  forming  the  high  grounds  in  that  county ;  these  are 
succeeded  by  the  low  escarpment  of  the  magnesian  lime¬ 
stone  of  the  Permian  system  ;  and  then  come  plains  of  New 
Red  Sandstone  again,  crowned  by  the  escarpment  of  the 
narrow  strip  of  Oolite,  and  by  that  of  the  Cretaceous  rocks. 

This  structure  explains  the  course  of  the  larger  rivers. 
The  principal  watershed  of  the  country  is  the  tract  of  high 
ground  extending  from  the  north  of  Scotland  far  into  Eng¬ 
land  ;  it  is  nearer  to  the  west  coast  than  to  the  east,  and 
therefore  a  much  larger  area  of  country  is  drained  towards 
the  east  than  towards  the  west.  All  the  larger  rivers — with 
the  exception  of  the  Severn  and  its  tributaries — run  into 
the  German  Ocean.  The  plains,  which  occupy  much  of  the 
middle  and  east  of  England,  are  traversed  by  many  tidal 
rivers,  and  from  the  nature  of  the  country  the  construc¬ 
tion  of  canals  has  been  a  comparatively  easy  task.  These 
physical  features  can  be  taken  in  at  a  glance  by  means  of 
the  appended  Summary  of  British  Rocks.  {See  Diagrams.) 

GEOLOGICAL  DISTRIBUTION  OF  MINERAL  PRODUCTS. 

Regarding  the  soil  and  the  productive  industries  of  the 
country,  one  is  as  much  struck  with  the  contrast  between  the 
occupations  of  the  people  in  the  West  and  the  East,  as 
between  the  geological  features.  Differences  of  conditions 
produce  differences  of  a  remarkable  kind  in  the  populations 
of  the  respective  districts,  the  one  being  as  distinct  from  the 
other  in  appearance,  habits,  character,  dialect,  and  aspira¬ 
tions,  as  in  productive  pursuits.  Mining  for  metals  and 
fuel ;  quarrying  for  building  and  other  stones ;  manufactures 
and  foreign  commerce,  characterise  the  vocations  of  the 
people  of  the  West  and  North,  and  husbandry  is  in  the 


DIS TRIE UTION  OF  MINERAL  PR OD UC TS.  2  7 

background ;  while  over  the  Eastern  and  South-eastern 
plains,  agriculture  is  wholly  in  the  ascendant,  manufactures 
are  quite  a  minor  industry,  and  mining  has  no  place. 

Further  we  observe  that  densely  massed  populations 
aggregate  in  great  towns  on  the  coalfields  and  around 
the  mining  centres,  such  as  Glasgow,  Manchester,  Leeds, 
Sheffield,  Newcastle,  and  Birmingham,  while  over  the  agri¬ 
cultural  area  there  are  few  towns  aspiring  to  magnitude, 
and  the  population  is  sparsely  scattered.  Time  was,  not  so 
far  back  as  to  constitute  an  important  period  in  a  nation’s 
life,  when  Lancashire,  the  West  Riding,  and  the  busy 
mining  region  of  South  Wales  were  as  thinly  inhabited  as 
the  moorlands.  The  “  Black  Country  ”  was  then,  like  the 
rest  of  Stafford  and  Warwick,  a  quiet  pastoral  district.  The 
great  towns  were  Beverley,  Cambridge,  Dorchester,  Lewes, 
Old  and  New  Sarum,  Shaftesbury,  Wallingford,  and  Win¬ 
chester,  all  important  places  in  mediaeval  days,  and  all 
standing  on  the  Cretaceous  downs  or  wolds,  where  not  a 
town  of  any  magnitude  is  now  to  be  found. 

Until  recent  changes,  England  was  mainly  an  agricultural 
and  grazing  country,  and  in  its  early  history,  almost  wholly 
so.  Under  the  Romans,  cereals  enough  for  export  were  pro¬ 
duced,  and  the  river  valleys  were  the  chief  corn-growing 
parts  of  Britain.  These  facts  are  illustrated  in  the  sites  of 
the  principal  Roman  towns,  to  some  of  which  we  have 
referred;  as  the  provincial  capital  of  York  (Eboracum)  on 
the  Trias  of  the  Ouse,  and  Winchester  in  the  Tertiary  vale  of 
the  Itchin.  Thus,  too,  the  cities  of  London  and  St.  Albans 
were  founded  in  the  Tertiary  vale  of  the  Thames,  and 
Lincoln,  Cirencester,  Bath,  and  Dorchester  were  placed 
upon  the  rich  Oolite  and  Freestone  of  central  England. 
If  we  trace  the  rise  of  the  towns  of  the  early  English  period, 
the  same  rule  obtains,  of  occupying  the  cultivable  valleys 
and  the  gentle  plains, — plainly  verified  in  the  Kentish 


28 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


capitals  of  Canterbury  and  Rochester;  Norwich,  Bury  St. 
Edmunds,  and  Ipswich,  Peterborough  and  Ely,  Lincoln 
and  Oxford. 

Some  of  the  early  towns  have  disappeared ;  nearly  all 
have  declined,  losing  their  note  as  markets  and  centres  of 
trade,  and  sustaining  their  name  and  fame  solely  as  cathedral 
cities.  The  course  of  events  has  totally  reversed  the  rela¬ 
tion  between  the  two  great  geological  divisions  of  the 
country.  Our  great  towns  and  populations  are  now  spread 
over  the  Palaeozoic  formations,  and  although  tillage  is  still 
the  greatest  of  our  single  industries,  and  still  tends  to  en¬ 
large,  mining,  manufactures,  and  foreign  commerce  have 
advanced  at  such  a  rapid  pace,  that  agriculture  has,  rela¬ 
tively,  been  left  in  the  background. 

How  special  the  relation  has  grown  between  the  progress 
of  society  and  that  of  localities,  is  illustrated  in  the  case  of 
industrial  communities  wholly  supported  by  cleaving  slate, 
mining  rock-salt,  or  making  clay  tobacco  pipes.  Flourish¬ 
ing  seaports  also  abound  whose  existence  rests  exclusively 
upon  their  convenience  as  points  of  arrival  and  departure 
of  our  mercantile  marine,  and  as  depots  of  merchandise. 
We  have  only  to  be  told  the  character  of  a  locality  to  be 
able  to  form  an  opinion  of  the  occupations  of  the  people, 
and,  conversely,  the  occupations  of  the  people,  to  know  the 
character  of  a  locality.  A  brief  review  of  our  mineral 
resources,  with  some  reference  to  foreign  production,  will 
enable  us  to  co-relate  the  kingdom  of  minerals  with  the 
phenomena  of  our  industrial  life. 

I.  Minerals  in  Veins. 

The  modes  of  occurrence  of  minerals  are  (i)  in  veins  or 
lodes;  (2)  in  regular  or  irregular  beds;  (3)  in  connection 
with  detrital  matters. 

Great  Britain  possesses  rich  supplies  of  minerals.  Almost 
every  variety  is  represented,  and  the  most  useful  in  vast 


DISTRIBUTION  OF  MINERAL  PRODUCTS. 


29 


quantities.  Of  the  metals  there  are  gold,  silver,  copper,  lead, 
zinc,  tin,  antimony,  nickel,  graphite,  cobalt,  bismuth,  be¬ 
sides  the  newly  extracted  metals  from  the  aluminous  and 
magnesian  earths.  Some  of  the  rarest  metals,  such  as 
uranium  and  chromium,  are  also  found,  while  others,  like 
sodium  and  potassium,  are  only  produced  in  the  laboratory. 
Above  all,  ores  of  iron  exist  in  profusion,  enabling  us  to 
build  thereon  our  industrial  and  commercial  supremacy. 

Of  minerals  other  than  metals,  our  Coal  Measures  yield, 
as  yet,  more  invaluable  fuel  than  all  the  rest  of  Europe,  if 
not  of  the  world,  while  building  stones  and  the  economic 
earths  occupy  a  not  less  important  place  among  the  resources 
of  national  industry  and  wealth. 

The  lodes  from  which  we  derive  our  chief  supply  of 
metals  are  almost  confined  to  Palaeozoic  rocks.  Their  occur¬ 
rence  may  be  sketched  as  follows  : — 

The  Silurian  formation  in  North  Wales,  in  the  Isle  of 
Man,  in  Cumberland,  in  the  Lead  Hills  of  the  south  of  Scot¬ 
land,  in  parts  of  the  Highlands,  and  in  parts  of  Ireland, 
contains  metalliferous  veins  which  yield  gold,  ores  of  copper, 
lead,  silver,  antimony,  arsenic,  and  zinc. 

The  rocks  of  the  Devonian  formation  in  Devon  and 
Cornwall  contain  rich  tin,  copper,  and  lead  lodes. 

The  Carboniferous  Limestone  in  Derbyshire,  ranging 
up  to  the  north  of  England  through  Cumberland  and  the 
adjacent  counties,  also  of  the  Mendips,  and  in  Devon,  is 
the  chief  depository  of  our  lead  ores.  The  same  formation 
contains  large  and  rich  deposits  of  haematite,  an  ore  of  iron, 
as  in  the  Forest  of  Dean,  Somersetshire,  and  Cumberland. 

Throughout  the  world,  all  the  metalliferous  lodes,  with 
some  peculiar  exceptions  hereafter  to  be  mentioned,  occur 
in  stratified  or  the  associated  igneous  rocks,  not  newer  than 
the  Permian.  It  is  thus  that  one  generalisation  in  the  in¬ 
quiry  is  arrived  at,  viz.,  that  of  the  period  during  which  the 


30 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


lodes  carrying  our  richer  metals  were  filled.  Geology,  like 
the  more  exact  sciences,  is  capable  of  advancing  philo¬ 
sophical  inductions  to  very  important  results.  Sir  Roderick 
Murchison  was  enabled  in  1844,  from  the  study  of  the 
gold-bearing  tracts  in  Russia,  to  predict  the  discovery  of 
gold  in  Australia. 

Mineral  veins  occur  in  igneous  as  well  as  in  aqueous 
rocks ;  but  the  intrusion  of  an  igneous  mass  among  strati¬ 
fied  deposits  appears  to  have  rendered  their  lodes  richer 
than  elsewhere,  amid  conditions  in  other  respects  similar. 

Gold  is  usually  found  in  a  quartz  matrix,  traversing 
Palaeozoic  shales,  chiefly  those  of  the  Lower  Silurian  epoch  ; 
and  the  auriferous  lodes  are  frequently  richest  in  the  vicinity 
of  eruptive  rocks.  The  precious  metal  is  found  also  in 
Secondary  rocks,  such  as  those  of  California,  Peru,  and 
Bolivia,  yet  under  circumstances  exceptional  to  the  usual 
mode  of  association  of  gold.  It  appears  that  where  certain 
igneous  eruptions,  of  diorite  especially,  have  penetrated  the 
Secondary  strata,  the  latter  have  been  rendered  auriferous 
for  a  limited  distance  only  beyond  the  junction  of  the  two 
rocks  ;  and  it  is  concluded  that  all  Secondary  and  Tertiary 
deposits,  excepting  the  auriferous  detritus  of  the  latter,  not 
so  specially  affected,  never  contain  gold. 

The  lodes  carrying  copper  and  tin  in  Cornwall  and 
Devon  are  richest  about  the  junction  of  the  killas  (local 
name  for  the  slaty  rocks  of  the  Devonian  formation  in  this 
district),  and  the  bosses  of  granite,  and  where  they  are  inter¬ 
sected  by  granitic  dykes,  termed  elvans.  It  is  worthy  of 
remark  that  these  metalliferous  veins  have  a  course  or  strike 
nearly  east  and  west,  and  that  these  phenomena  are  not 
confined  to  this  area,  but  are  exhibited  in  Saxony  and 
elsewhere. 

II.  Bedded  Mineral  Deposits. 

These  include  coal  and  iron  ore,  of  primary  importance ; 


DISTRIBUTION  OF  MINERAL  PRODUCTS. 


31 


and  salt,  gypsum,  cement-stones,  coprolites,  iron-pyrites, 
bituminous  shales,  & c.,  of  secondary  value. 

(a.)  Coal  occurs  in  many  formations;  it  has  been  mined 
for  upwards  of  a  hundred  years  at  Brora,  in  Sutherlandshire, 
in  rocks  of  the  Oolitic  epoch,  and  is  worked  at  Bovey 
Tracey,  Devonshire,  in  Miocene  beds.  An  anthracite 
occurs  in  the  Devonian  rocks  in  Spain ;  there  are  good 
workable  coals  of  the  age  of  the  Trias  in  Virginia  and  Hin- 
dostan,  and  of  that  of  the  Lias  in  Hungary ;  and  less  valu¬ 
able  coals,  chiefly  brown  coals,  occur  in  Tertiary  strata  in 
Austria  and  other  parts  of  Germany.  The  richest  and 
largest  supplies  are,  however,  drawn  from  the  Carboniferous 
system  in  Great  Britain,  Belgium,  United  States,  Nova 
Scotia,  and  Australia. 

In  Great  Britain  no  coal  is  found  below  the  Carboniferous 
strata,  but  it  does  occur  in  newer  strata.  In  the  midland 
and  south-western  counties  of  England,  and  in  South  Wales, 
it  is  confined  to  the  true  Coal  Measures  underlain  by  the 
Millstone  Grit,  locally  called  the  “  farewell  rock,”  because, 
in  the  language  of  the  miner,  when  that  rock  is  reached, 
one  bids  farewell  to  the  coal.  In  the  north  of  England  and 
in  Scotland,  workable  coal  seams  occur  in  the  inferior  forma¬ 
tions  of  the  Carboniferous  system,  as  well  as  in  the  Coal 
Measures. 

A  correct  knowledge  of  the  law  of  superposition  of  rocks 
in  relation  to  our  coal-bearing  strata,  is  of  value  not  only  to 
the  man  of  science,  but  to  every  speculator  in  mines,  and 
to  every  landed  proprietor  who  cares  to  understand  the 
mineral  value  of  his  property.  Not  long  ago,  considerable 
funds  were  spent  at  Tullygirvan,  Co.  Down,  in  a  useless 
search  for  coal.  The  adventurer  had  set  to  work  in  black 
Silurian  shales,  their  mineral  aspect  resembling  that  of 
certain  coaly  strata,  with  which  he  was,  perhaps,  familiar ; 
but  had  he  possessed  even  a  slight  acquaintance  with 


32  THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 

organic  remains,  he  would  have  abandoned  his  experiment 
at  the  commencement,  for  the  shales  were  charged  with 
graptolites.  Now  the  scientific  miner  knows  that  rocks 
containing  graptolites  and  trilobites  existed  untold  ages 
before  the  epoch  of  the  coal  strata.  When  he  meets 
with  those  remains,  he  concludes  that  money  spent  in 
search  of  coal  beneath  them  will  be  turned  into  irredeem¬ 
able  dust,  for  they  occupy,  in  the  irreversible  order  of 
deposits,  a  position  thousands  of  feet  beneath  the  Coal 
Measures. 

Lord  Londonderry  bored  in  the  Old  Red  Sandstone,  at 
Mount  Stewart,  Co.  Down,  in  search  of  coal ;  here,  though 
no  fossils  occurred,  yet  the  position  of  the  Sandstone  strata 
above  the  previously  mentioned  Silurian  shales,  and  overlain 
as  they  are  by  Mountain  Limestone,  proved  the  impossibility 
of  coal  being  found. 

In  the  neighbourhood  of  Carrickfergus  are  two  silent 
witnesses  of  the  folly  of  sinking  for  coal  where  the  geological 
structure  of  the  country  precludes  the  possibility  of  its 
presence,  or  of  its  occurrence  at  reasonable  depths.  Trial 
shafts  had  been  sunk  in  New  Red  Sandstone,  which  was 
pierced  to  a  depth  of  about  1000  feet,  when  the  adventures 
were  abandoned.  Before  coal  could  be  reached,  the  Per¬ 
mian  strata  would  have  to  be  passed  through ;  and  from 
the  unconformability  of  the  New  Red  Sandstone  to  the 
Permian,  and  of  that  set  of  strata  to  underlying  formations 
in  this  district,  it  was  even  doubtful  if  coal  could  be 
reached  at  all. 

But  coal  has  been  successfully  reached  by  the  penetra¬ 
tion  of  newer  unconformable  strata ;  thus,  in  the  Somerset¬ 
shire  coalfield,  the  coal  shafts  pass  through  New  Red 
Sandstone,  the  Permian  strata  being  absent.  The  famous 
Monkwearmouth  pit  passes  through  330  feet  of  overlying 
Permian  rocks. 


DISTRIBUTION  OF  MINERAL  PRODUCTS. 


33 


In  these  and  other  instances  that  might  be  adduced,  the 
undertakings  had  been  commenced  at  the  suggestions  of 
those  who  were  perfectly  satisfied,  from  an  examination  of 
the  surrounding  country,  of  the  feasibility  of  the  venture. 
Yet,  on  the  other  hand,  attempts  have  been  made  to  reach 
coal  from  below  secondary  rocks,  when,  with  but  a  broad 
knowledge  of  the  geological  structure  of  the  country,  the 
trials  should  have  been  at  the  outset  abandoned.  Thus,  at 
Kingsthorpe,  near  Northampton,  a  shaft  was  sunk  through 
the  Lower  Oolite  and  Lias,  at  an  expenditure  of  nearly 
^30,000  ;  the  adventurers  desisted  when  they  reached  the 
New  Red  Sandstone.  A  similar  trial  took  place  near  Lyme 
Regis,  the  Lias  being  bored  for  coal  at  an  expense  of  seve¬ 
ral  thousand  pounds ;  the  deception  was  fostered  by  the 
accident  of  passing  through  a  piece  of  lignite. 

(hi)  Iron  Ores. — Certain  ores  of  Iron  occur  in  lodes 
in  primary  strata,  but  others,  especially  the  spathic  and 
brown  haematite  ores,  are  intercalated  as  bands  among 
shales  and  limestones  of  the  Carboniferous,  Liassic,  Oolitic, 
Wealden,  and  Cretaceous  strata ;  but  by  far  the  largest 
supply  is  obtained  from  the  Carboniferous  system,  the 
same  shaft  often  communicating  with  both  coal  and  iron¬ 
stone  workings,  and  the  same  group  of  rocks  furnishing 
limestone. 

The  Carboniferous  system  contains  our  greatest  sources 
of  mineral  wealth.  It  yields  the  coal  which  gladdens  our 
hearths  and  heats  our  roaring  furnaces.  It  supplies  us  with 
iron  ores  and  lime,  and  with  the  fuel  necessary  for  smelting 
the  iron,  for  the  most  part  in  close  proximity  to  the  ores. 
We  have  thus  three  conditions  favourable  to  the  production 
of  cheap  iron — abundant  ore  and  fuel,  with  limestone  as  a 
flux — occurring  together.  In  no  other  country  perhaps,  save 
Belgium,  do  we  find  an  equally  favourable  combination  of  cir¬ 
cumstances.  The  absence  from  Ireland  of  any  vast  deposits 
1.  c 


34 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


of  bituminous  coal  naturally  prevents  the  establishment  in 
that  country  of  those  branches  of  industry  in  which  the  cost  of 
fuel  forms  any  very  large  proportion  of  the  total  cost  of  pro¬ 
duction.  Hence,  we  have  not  had  there  any  successful 
establishment  of  iron-smelting  in  recent  times.  The  iron  ores, 
however,  both  as  earthy  and  bituminous  carbonates  and  as 
haematites,  are  now  largely  exported  from  Ireland  to  England 
and  Scotland  to  supply  the  enormously  increasing  demand. 

Large  quantities  of  copper  and  other  ores  raised  in 
Ireland,  Chili,  and  Mexico,  are  sent  to  Swansea  to  be 
smelted,  as  the  proportion  of  fuel  which  is  required  would 
render  the  process  in  those  countries  too  costly  to  be  profit¬ 
able.  In  other  words,  it  is  cheaper  to  carry  ore  to  the  coal, 
than  coal  to  the  ore.  Similarly  the  various  clays  raised  in 
the  south  of  England  are  transported  to  Staffordshire  to  be 
converted  into  useful  articles. 

Previous  to  the  employment  of  steam  as  a  motive  force, 
water  was  the  prime  mover;  consequently  our  manufac¬ 
tories,  at  that  time,  were  located  where  water-power  was  at 
command.  On  the  application  of  coal  to  the  generation  of 
steam,  the  seats  of  manufacturing  industry  were  necessarily 
transported  to  the  districts  where  this  mineral  could  be 
obtained  abundantly  and  cheaply.  Norwich,  York,  and 
Spitalfields  could  then  no  longer  compete  with  the  towns 
more  favourably  circumstanced,  and  in  course  of  time 
ceased  to  be  the  great  manufacturing  centres.  Lancashire, 
on  the  introduction  of  steam  machinery,  soon  became  the 
greatest  manufacturing  district,  owing  to  its  situation  with 
respect  to  our  coal-fields  and  to  our  outlets  of  commercial 
industry. 

From  the  time  of  the  Romans  to  the  seventeenth  cen¬ 
tury  the  Weald  of  Kent  and  Sussex  was  one  of  the  chief 
sites  for  the  production  of  iron,  because  of  the  close 
proximity  of  the  fuel,  wood,  to  the  ore ;  but  when  coal 


DISTRIBUTION  OF  MINERAL  PRODUCTS. 


35 


came  to  be  used  in  the  reduction  of  the  ores,  this  branch 
of  industry  declined,  and  was  soon  removed  to  districts 
where  the  more  abundant  and  cheaper  supply  of  fuel  was 
to  be  found. 

(c.)  Other  bedded  mineral  products  are  met  with  in  strata 
of  various  ages.  Slates  are  quarried  in  Silurian  rocks  in 
Caernarvon  and  Merioneth,  in  Cumberland,  and  in  some 
parts  of  Scotland.  In  these  districts  there  is  a  very  large 
population  supported  entirely  by  the  quarrying  and  preparing 
of  slates. 

Rock  salt  is  confined  in  Great  Britain  to  the  Keuper 
sandstone  and  marls. 

(d.)  Building  and  architectural  stones  are  chiefly  quarried 
in  the  Devonian,  Carboniferous,  Permian,  and  Oolitic 
strata. 

The  mining  of  Iron  Pyrites  is  a  large  branch  of  industry 
in  Ireland,  and  the  basis  of  an  extensive  series  of  chemical 
manufactures  in  which  the  cost  of  fuel  does  not  form  a 
preponderating  item.  This  mineral  is  collected  in  Scotland, 
and  the  north-eastern  parts  of  England,  being  derived  from 
the  Carboniferous  and  the  newer  formations. 

(e.)  Coprolites ,  the  excreta  of  extinct  gigantic  reptiles,  and 
pseudo-coprolites ,  the  osseous  remains  of  large  vertebrates, 
and  nodular  concretions  of  phosphate  of  lime  of  organic 
origin,  cannot  be  expected  to  occur  in  strata  of  an  epoch 
anterior  to  that  in  which  those  animals  lived.  They  occur 
in  the  Liassic,  Neocomian,  and  Cretaceous  strata,  and  in  the 
newer  Tertiaries,  these  last  formations  being  characterised 
by  the  remains  of  whales  and  other  mammals,  as  the  first 
are  by  ichthyosauri ,  plesiosauri ,  and  other  huge  reptiles.  As 
a  source  of  manure,  coprolites  have  become  important. 

III.  Detrital. 

The  chief  minerals  found  in  detrital  deposits  are  gold 
and  tin-stone,  i.e.,  stream-tin.  Being  derivative,  the  oc- 


36  THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 

currence  of  these  minerals  indicates  the  existence  of  rocks 
containing  them,  either  in  the  immediate  neighbourhood,  or 
in  tracts  drained  by  a  local  stream  or  its  tributaries. 

Keeping  in  view  the  geographical  distribution  of  the 
palaeozoic  rocks,  especially  of  the  Silurian,  Devonian,  and 
Carboniferous  systems,  and  the  fact  of  these  strata  being  the 
sources  of  our  chief  mineral  wealth,  let  us  now  apply  these 
phenomena  to  the  industrial  pursuits  of  the  people  of  these 
areas. 


RELATION  OF  GEOLOGY  TO  AGRICULTURE. 

I.  Botanical  Aspects  presented  by  Geological  For¬ 
mations. 

Agriculture,  the  first  in  time  as  in  importance  of  all  human 
industries,  is  the  phase  of  labour  which,  above  every  other, 
bears  the  closest  relation  to  geological  conditions.  While 
tracing  our  greatest  manufactures  and  densest  aggregations 
of  the  people,  to  the  sites  of  seams  of  iron-stone  and  other 
metal-bearing  rocks,  or  deep-buried  beds  of  coal,  we  have 
been  unable  to  avoid  a  glance  at  the  superficial  or  botanical 
aspect  of  the  scenery.  The  soil  in  which  plants  flourish  is 
derived  from  the  subjacent  rocks,  and  its  fertility  is  due  to 
the  greater  or  less  abundance  of  those  mineral  constituents 
which  enter  into  plant  structure. 

The  conditions  of  the  best  soils  are  (1)  depth ;  (2)  texture; 
(3)  fertility.  All  rocks  exposed  to  the  agencies  of  heat  and 
frost,  wind  and  rain,  more  or  less  rapidly  decay.  Glaciers 
grind  their  sides  into  moraines  or  streams  of  grit.  The 
oxygen  of  the  atmosphere  corrodes  their  surface,  which  winds, 
storms,  and  floods  tear  or  wash  away,  and  the  alternations 
of  the  summer  heats  and  winter  frosts  cause  to  shiver  off  to 
the  base.  Spreading  outward  from  their  origin,  the  varied 
accumulations  of  decomposed  rock  form  a  superficial  layer 
or  soil,  which  is  deep  or  thin  in  proportion  to  the  readiness 


RELATION  OF  GEOLOGY  TO  AGRICULTURE. 


37 


with  which  the  rock  itself  disintegrates.  Thus  we  arrive  at 
the  depth  of  soils  as  one  of  the  characters  favourable  to 
vegetation. 

By  the  texture  is  meant  the  grain  into  which  the  rocks 
from  which  soils  are  derived  have  a  tendency  to  crumble. 
This  texture  ranges  between  the  pure  silicious  barren  grit  of 
the  seashore  and  pathless  desert  and  the  tenacious  clays 
which  specially  characterise  English  soils,  and  render  hus¬ 
bandry  more  arduous  and  costly  than  it  is  abroad.  The  high 
farming  in  Great  Britain  has  for  its  main  object  to  im¬ 
prove  the  texture  of  the  soils  by  deep  draining,  sub-soiling, 
and  manuring,  that  is,  by  mixing  with  the  soils  such  other 
substances  as  are  either  absent  or  deficient.  The  larger 
the  number  of  mineral  constituents,  other  conditions  being 
equal,  the  richer  or  more  fertile  the  soil.  Igneous  or  crystal¬ 
line  rocks,  from  the  variety  of  their  component  parts,  form, 
when  thoroughly  decomposed,  excellent  soils,  which  culti¬ 
vation  readily  makes  still  more  fertile. 

River  banks  are  washed  away  by  the  streams,  and  re¬ 
deposited  as  mud  flats  or  low  shores  near  their  estuaries ; 
which  by  embankment  are  converted  into  fertile  fields  and 
the  richest  pastures.  Such,  for  example,  are  the  Nilotic 
mud  swamps  which  form  the  Delta  of  Egypt,  or  the  rich 
grazing  grounds  of  our  own  Essex  marshes  maintained  along 
the  left  bank  of  the  Thames  from  London  to  the  Nore,  since 
the  days  of  the  Roman  occupation. 

The  depth  of  soils  is  susceptible  of  indefinite  increase 
by  the  natural  decay  and  renewal,  through  ages,  of  the 
surface  vegetation.  The  annual  fall  of  the  leaf  in  great 
forests  accumulates  humus  or  mould  to  such  a  degree,  that 
extant  forests  spring  from  the  soil  of  ancient  forests,  buried 
beneath,  one  upon  another,  through  periods  beyond  compu¬ 
tation.  Bog,  to  an  unknown  depth,  has  in  many  countries, 
like  Ireland,  been  produced  in  a  similar  manner,  from  effete 


^8  THE  NA  TURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 

vegetation.  Applying  these  principles  to  the  soils  of  Great 
Britain,  we  get  a  clear  comprehension  of  the  following  facts. 

The  western  parts  of  Wales,  where  the  land  attains  an 
elevation  of  from  2000  to  4000  feet  above  the  sea-level, 
are  covered  with  heath,  and  are  only  fit  for  inferior  pasture 
lands.  Monmouthshire,  Brecknockshire,  Hereford,  and 
parts  of  Worcestershire  are  occupied  by  the  rocks  of  the 
Old  Red  Sandstone  formation  ;  and  in  consequence  of  their 
susceptibility  of  decomposition,  the  marls  breaking  up  into 
rich  earth  fitted  for  tillage,  they  naturally  form  a  more  fertile 
soil  than  that  derived  from  the  slates  of  the  west ;  hence  we 
have  in  the  former  districts  good  corn  lands  and  productive 
orchards. 

The  configuration  of  the  surface  of  the  country  occupied 
by  the  Jurassic  rocks  which  succeed  the  Old  Red  Sandstone 
formation  and  the  low  plain  of  the  New  Red  Sandstone, 
may  be  viewed  as  an  alternation  of  clays  and  limestones. 
The  outcrops  of  the  clays  can  actually  be  traced  by  the 
wide  valleys,  which  are  permanent  grass  lands  ;  whilst  the 
limestones  compose  ranges  of  low  hills  or  more  elevated 
grounds.  These  limestone  ridges  form  escarpments  (see 
Fig.  1,  p.  25),  along  the  line  of  strike,  that  is,  on  the  sides 
(N.W.)  on  which  the  several  clays  rise  up  from  beneath 
the  calcareous  beds.  The  soil  on  these  limestones  is  well 
adapted  for  the  growth  of  cereals,  turnips,  and  clovers. 

Passing  on  to  the  Cretaceous  series,  which  in  the  south 
form  extensive  tracts,  we  meet  with  silicious,  argillaceous, 
and  calcareous  soils.  The  rocks  in  the  western  part  of 
the  Wealden  area  contain  little  lime  and  much  silica,  and 
are  covered  by  some  very  widespread  heaths  not  worth 
bringing  into  cultivation.  Hie  natural  forest-lands  of  the 
Weald  or  Wold  are  on  the  Wealden  Clay,  which  has  been 
cultivated,  though  only  of  late  years,  by  the  help  of  deep 
drainage. 


RELATION  OF  GEOLOGY  TO  AGRICULTURE. 


39 


The  base  of  the  chalk  escarpment  is  usually  marked  by 
a  stratum  of  clay — the  Gault — which  thus  occupies  a  valley, 
and  is  a  pasture  tract.  But  the  chalk  strata  which  form 
the  South  Downs  and  stretch  far  to  the  west,  into  the  centre 
of  England,  and  thence  away  to  the  north-east,  are  chiefly 
used  for  the  purpose  of  sheep-pasturage.  There  is  little 
or  no  soil  upon  them,  the  herbage  is  short,  and  trees  are 
absent.  The  chalk  ranges,  however,  especially  the  broad, 
sweeping  plain  of  Wiltshire  and  Hampshire,  are  gradually 
coming  under  tillage,  the  chief  crops  being  grain,  turnips, 
clover,  and  sainfoin. 

The  soils  derived  from  the  decomposition  of  rocks  con¬ 
taining  magnesia — such  as  the  dolomite  of  the  Permian, 
which  ranges  from  Nottingham,  through  Derbyshire  and 
Yorkshire,  to  Tynemouth,  and  the  serpentines  of  Cornwall 
— are  rich,  but  perhaps  less  so  than  those  derived  from 
ordinary  calcareous  strata.  The  Lizard  Downs  are,  how¬ 
ever,  reckoned  fine  pasture-land,  the  cultivated  parts  are 
amongst  the  best  corn-lands  in  the  county ;  and  agricultu¬ 
rists  agree  that  the  land  on  the  Permian  tracts  is  extremely 
fertile. 

The  Tertiary  beds  of  the  basin  of  the  Thames  are  for  the 
most  part  cultivated  tracts,  excepting  where  the  Bagshot 
Sands  form  the  superficial  stratum.  These  are  familiar 
to  us  as  heathy  wastes,  such  as  Aldershot  Heath,  Bagshot 
Heath,  Hampstead  Heath,  and  have  been  converted  into 
camping  and  exercise  grounds  for  our  troops  and  volunteers. 

The  older  palseozoic  rocks,  although  rich  in  minerals, 
are  generally  barren,  and  seem  peculiarly  dreary  and  deso¬ 
late.  This  arises  partly  from  the  nature  of  the  strata,  and 
partly  from  the  circumstance  that,  occupying  hilly  regions, 
they  are  to  a  great  extent  above  the  limits  of  the  growth 
of  economic  plants,  even  if  within  the  reach  of  ordinary 
agricultural  operations. 


40 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


The  Highlands  of  Scotland,  composed  of  masses  of 
gneiss  and  granite,  are  heathy  and  barren,  since  their  hard 
rocky  materials  come  almost  everywhere  bare  to  the  surface, 
forming  a  wild  pastoral  country,  browsed  by  black  cattle, 
poor  sheep,  and  red  deer.  The  neighbourhood  of  Parys 
Mountain,  in  Anglesea,  is  singularly  marked  by  sterility 
and  gloominess — there  is  neither  shrub  nor  tree,  and  the 
barrenness  is  unrelieved  even  by  a  single  blade  of  grass. 
Other  examples  might  be  adduced  in  illustration  of  the 
unproductive  nature  of  the  soil  of  the  oldest  palaeozoic  and 
metamorphic  rocks.  In  all  these  regions  the  character  of 
the  surface  will  be  more  or  less  modified  by  the  occurrence 
of  alluvial  deposits  bordering  the  rivers,  and  by  the 
presence  of  a  glacial  drift — the  effect  of  denudation  upon 
various  rocks,  producing  a  favourable  mixture  of  clay, 
sand,  and  lime,  which  forms  a  rich  soil.  “  We  must  bear  in 
mind  that  these  bare  and  barren  mountain  masses  are  not 
examples  of  soils,  but  of  the  original  and  still  undecomposed 
and  undisintegrated  rock  structure.” 

II.  Influence  of  certain  Constituents  of  Rocks  on 
the  Growth  of  Plants. 

Rocks  may  be  divided  into  three  classes — silicious, 
argillaceous,  and  calcareous.  Silicious  rocks  of  soft 
nature  produce  light  soils,  which  are  the  least  productive  ; 
whilst  the  hard,  intractable  grits  form  little  soil,  because 
they  are  difficult  to  decompose,  and  that  little  is  to  a  great 
extent  barren.  The  slaty  rocks  present  the  same  superficial 
aspects  as  those  of  the  hard  grits ;  but  the  soft  argillaceous 
soils,  from  their  power  of  retaining  water,  are  heavy,  and 
are  usually  laid  out  into  permanent  pasture-lands.  The 
pure  calcareous  strata,  as  chalk,  though  forming  soils 
ranking  amongst  our  richest,  are  not  to  be  compared  with 
those  resulting  from  the  disintegration  of  more  mixed 
rocks. 


RELATION  OF  GEOLOGY  TO  AGRICULTURE . 


41 


Inorganic  Constituents  of  Plants. 

A  plant  is  compounded  of  two  sets  of  constituents,  the 
organic  and  inorganic;  the  former  is  derived  from  water 
and  the  atmosphere,  whilst  the  latter  is  obtained  from  the 
soil.  Now  the  quantity  of  inorganic  food  required  by  dif¬ 
ferent  vegetables  is  greater  or  less  according  to  their  nature  ; 
and  if  a  soil  be  of  such  a  kind  that  it  can  yield  only  a  small 
quantity  of  this  inorganic  food,  then  those  plants  will  only 
grow  well  upon  it  for  which  this  small  supply  will  prove 
sufficient.  Thus  trees  may  grow  where  arable  crops  often 
fail  to  thrive,  because  many  of  the  former  require  and  con¬ 
tain  comparatively  little  inorganic  matter. 

Table  of  the  Proportion  of  Inorganic  Matter  in  1000 
Pounds  of  the  Following  Substances. 


Wheat,  about 

lbs. 

.  20 

Oak  Wood 

lbs. 

2 

Peas  . 

lbs. 

•  50 

Oats  . 

.  40 

Pine  Wood 

to  3 

Turnips 

5  to  8 

Barley 

•  30 

Wheat  Straw 

•  50 

Ash  Wood. 

1  to  6 

Beans 

•  3 

Oat  „ 

.  60 

Elm  Wood 

.  19 

Clover 

.  90 

Barley  ,, 

•  5° 

Elm  Leaves 

.  100 

Meadow  Hay,  50  to  100  lbs. 


From  the  above  table  it  appears  that  the  quantity  of 
inorganic  matter  varies  in  different  parts  of  the  same  plants 
• — as  for  example,  the  straw  of  our  crops  contains  more  ash 
than  the  grain.  '  In  trees  and  plants  the  leaves  are  richer  in 
inorganic  matter  than  the  wood  or  stalk. 

The  quality  of  the  ashes  of  plants  varies  with  the  same 
conditions  by  which  the  quantity  is  affected.  The  more 
commonly  occurring  mineral  substances  in  them  are — phos¬ 
phates  of  lime,  soda,  potash,  and  magnesia  ;  carbonates  of 
soda  and  lime;  chlorides  of  potassium  and  sodium;  sulphates 
of  soda  and  potash  ;  iron  and  silica.* 

*  For  analyses  of  the  ashes  of  Seaweeds  from  the  Scotch  coast  by 
Dr.  J.  Yeats,  and  their  economic  value,  by  Professor  J.  Anderson,  see 
Transactions  of  the  Highland  and  Agricultural  Society  of  Scotland, 
No.  33,  New  Series,  p.  448  et  seq. 


42 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


Table  of  the  Quantity  of  Inorganic  Matter  in  Various 

Species  of  Plants. 


Wheat. 

Barley. 

Oats. 

Rye. 

Indian 

Corn. 

Beans. 

Linseed. 

Potato. 

Turnip. 

1 

Potash  . 

237 

136 

262 

220 

336 

245 

557 

419 

Soda 

91 

8l 

— 

1 16 

;  325  , 

106 

34 

19 

51 

Lime  . 

28 

26 

60 

49 

14 

58 

147 

20 

136 

Magnesia 

120 

75 

100 

103 

162 

80 

99 

53 

53 

Oxide  of  Iron 

7 

15 

4 

13 

3 

6 

19 

5 

n 

Phosphoric  Acid  . 

5  00 

39o 

438 

495 

449 

380 

38i 

126 

76 

Sulphuric  Acid 

0 

3 

1 

105 

9 

28 

10 

9 

136 

136 

Silica  . 

12 

273 

27 

4 

14 

12 

57 

42 

79 

Chlorine 

— 

tr. 

3 

— 

2 

7 

3 

42 

36 

998 

997 

999 

1009 

997 

995 

994 

1000 

999 

We  deduce  from  the  foregoing  table  that  a  crop  of  wheat 
will  extract  from  the  soil  certain  ingredients,  while  beans 
and  potatoes  will  extract  others.  Hence  a  piece  of  land 
may  suit  one  kind  of  crop  and  not  another.  Hence,  also, 
two  successive  crops  of  different  kinds  may  grow  well  where 
it  would  greatly  injure  the  soil  to  take  two  in  succession 
of  the  same  kind  •  and  it  is  also  evident  that  the  cereals 
contain  phosphates,  and  that  there  is  much  potash  in 
potatoes  and  turnips ;  while  beans  and  most  leguminous 
plants  contain  lime. 

As  the  straw  of  cereal  plants  contains  comparatively  little 
of  some  of  the  ingredients  found  in  the  ear,  such  as  lime, 
magnesia,  and  phosphoric  acid — the  straw  and  ash  being 
especially  rich  in  silica — so  the  roots  may  in  certain  plants 
and  in  certain  soils  succeed  in  fully  nourishing  the  straw, 
while  they  cannot  fructify  the  ear ;  or  the  very  reverse  of  this 
may  occur. 

Sources  of  the  Inorganic  Constituents  of  plants  and  the 


RELATION  OF  GEOLOGY  TO  AGRICULTURE . 


43 


Agricultural  Capabilities  of  soils  derived  from  various 
Geological  Epochs. 

As  the  inorganic  compounds  are  derived  from  the  soil 
or  from  manure  supplied  to  it,  the  adaptation  of  certain 
crops  to  given  land  will  be  dependent  upon  the  chemical 
composition  of  the  rock  from  which  the  soil  is  derived. 
Soils  derived  from  rocks  devoid  of  phosphates  cannot  pro¬ 
duce  cereals,  whilst  soils  produced  from  the  decomposition 
of  rocks  that  contain  the  inorganic  constituents  of  cereals 
are  necessarily  the  best  adapted  for  the  growth  of  such 
crops. 

Dr.  Daubeny  experimented  upon  the  relative  amount  of 
phosphoric  acid  obtained  from  barley  sown  in  pulverised 
samples  of  various  strata  of  different  geological  epochs,  and 
he  found  that  whatever  the  age  of  the  rock  might  be,  pro¬ 
vided  it  belonged  to  a  series  in  which  organic  remains  were 
present,  phosphoric  acid  was  one  of  the  constituents  of  the 
rock.  On  the  other  hand,  phosphoric  acid  was  absent  in 
certain  slates  which  lie  below  the  oldest  rocks  in  which 
organic  remains  have  been  detected — such,  for  instance,  as 
those  of  Nant  Francon,  Llanberis,  near  Bangor,  to  the  north 
of  Dolgelly ;  schist  taken  from  the  foot  of  Snowdon  ;  mica- 
schist  from  Loch  Lomond ;  and  certain  specimens  from  the 
Longmynd  Mountains. 

The  reclamation  of  those  great  tracts  of  land,  the  peat¬ 
bogs  in  Ireland,  for  the  purposes  of  agriculture,  has  occupied 
a  very  large  amount  of  attention.  The  progress  of  chemistry 
in  later  years  has  divested  the  question  of  much  of  the 
paramount  importance  that  was  formerly  attached  to  it. 
By  the  researches  of  Liebig  and  others  the  true  principles 
of  the  growth  of  agricultural  crops  are  understood  ;  it  is  well 
known  that,  even  if  thoroughly  drained,  peat  will  not  supply 
the  materials  necessary  for  the  production  of  food,  and  that 
the  cost  of  introducing  those  materials  in  the  form  of 


44 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


manures,  if  applied  to  land  in  better  condition  occupying 
the  same  area,  will  yield  greater  and  more  profitable  returns. 

An  examination  of  the  chemical  components  of  the  fol¬ 
lowing  rocks,  the  soils  of  which  form  our  finest  corn-growing 
lands,  will  show  the  practical  advantage  of  geological  and 
chemical  knowledge,  and  explain  the  great  difference  in  the 
respective  producing  powers  of  such  soils  : — 


Inferior  Oolite. 

Great  Oolite. 

Cornbrash. 

Carbonate  of  Lime  . 

89.20 

95-346 

89.195 

Magnesia  .... 

•34 

•739 

.771 

Sulphate  of  Lime 

.09 

.204 

.241 

Alumina  .... 

4.14 

1.422 

2.97S 

Phosphoric  Acid 

.06 

.124 

.177 

Soluble  Silica  . 

2-75 

1.016 

I-23I 

Insoluble  Silica 

3-27 

•533 

4.827 

99-85 

99.384 

99.420 

These  analyses  show  that  phosphoric  acid  and  sulphate 
of  lime — two  important  chemical  substances  in  the  growth 
of  crops — greatly  predominate  in  the  Cornbrash,  and  are  in 
excess  in  the  Great  Oolite  above  the  Inferior  Oolite.  The 
yield  of  corn,  in  bushels,  of  a  fair  average  crop  grown  upon 
an  acre,  will  be  seen  to  be  proportionate  to  the  amount  of 
these  chemical  substances  in  the  soil,  the  one  containing 
the  largest  amount  of  these  salts  affording  regularly  the 
largest  crop  : — 


Inferior  Oolite. 

Great  Oolite. 

Cornbrash. 

Wheat  (bushels) 

Barley  „ 

Oats  „ 

15  tO  20 

25  »>  30 

25  >>  30 

20  to  25 

3°  >>  35 

35  >»  40 

25  to  30 

40  > y  45 

45  »  5° 

The  average  rents  of  these  three  varieties  of  soils 
correspond  to  their  greater  or  less  fertility ;  those  of  the 
Great  Oolite  approaching  twice,  and  those  of  the  Corn- 


RELATION  OF  GEOLOGY  TO  AGRICULTURE. 


45 


brash  three  times,  the  amount  demanded  for  the  inferior 
Oolite. 

III.  Comparison  between  other  Countries  and 
parts  of  Great  Britain. 

Since  the  rocks  of  Normandy  and  Picardy  are  identical 
with  those  of  our  midland  and  southern  counties — beins: 
of  Oolite  and  Cretaceous  age — we  should  infer  that  the  in¬ 
habitants  are  agricultural,  the  chalk  tracts  being  occupied 
by  pasturage,  the  limestone  of  the  Oolite  strata  forming 
arable  soils,  whilst  on  its  clays  are  grown  a  variety  of  crops. 

Belgium  is  an  equivalent  to  South  Wales,  or  to  the 
Staffordshire  district,  its  four  southern  provinces  being  con¬ 
stituted  of  rock  of  the  carboniferous  age,  and  presenting  an 
association  of  coal,  iron,  and  limestone,  such  as  we  have 
ascertained  to  prevail  in  the  English  areas  now  mentioned. 
The  principal  products  of  its  mines  are  iron  ore,  blende, 
calamine,  galena,  and  coal. 

Switzerland ,  the  mountain  country  par  excellence  of 
Europe,  with  its  metamorphic  rocks,  might  be  inferred  to 
present  a  repetition  of  the  phenomena  which  obtain  in  North 
Wales  ;  but  it  is  otherwise,  for  these  granitic  and  gneissic 
rocks  are  but  metamorphosed  oolitic  and  newer  strata ; 
and  as  we  have  shown  that  deposits  of  these  formations  are 
usually  unproductive  in  minerals,  Switzerland,  if  our  gene¬ 
ralisations  are  correct,  can  never  be  a  mining  country,  and, 
from  its  mountainous  character,  it  can  only  be  a  pastoral 
one. 

Saxony  presents,  in  its  rock-masses  and  its  mineral 
wealth,  similar  conditions  to  those  which  prevail  in  Devon 
and  Cornwall. 

Norway ,  from  an  agricultural  point  of  view,  is  to 
Northern  Europe  what  the  Highlands  of  Scotland  are 
to  Great  Britain ;  its  rocks,  however,  contain  some  of  the 
richest  deposits  of  iron  ore  in  the  world. 


46  THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 

The  coal  raised  in  the  United  Kingdom,  compared  with 
the  iron  extracted  from  the  ore,  is  in  the  proportion,  by 
weight,  of  about  ten  to  one,  with  values  nearly  corre¬ 
sponding. 

Of  mineral  produce  coal  stands  pre-eminently  first,  both 
in  quantity  and  value.  The  amount  raised  much  exceeds 
a  hundred  millions  of  tons  yearly,  and  is  always  tending  to 
increase.  Of  the  annual  output  nearly  a  tenth  part  is 
exported,  France  taking  a  larger  share  than  any  other 
country,  while  scarcely  a  civilised  state  in  either  hemi¬ 
sphere,  or  even  an  island,  but  draws  upon  our  stores. 
German  demands  are  large,  though  the  Germans  are  trust¬ 
ing  more  and  more  to  their  own  natural  resources  for  coal. 
Italy,  Spain,  Russia,  and  Denmark  rank  next  in  order  of 
importance  as  consumers  of  British  coal,  and  even  Belgium, 
though  only  second  to  Great  Britain  as  a  coal-producing 
country,  nevertheless  imports  British  coal.  Our  distant 
exports  are  largest  to  South  America,  the  East  Indies  and 
the  Cape,  and  are  nearly  approached  by  the  supplies  sent 
to  the  West  Indies  and  North  America.  The  gross  value 
of  British  coal,  compared  with  mineral  produce  of  every 
other  kind,  is  in  the  proportion  of  nearly  two  to  one. 

Taking  the  metals  and  economic  minerals  other  than 
coal,  iron  assumes  a  precedence  over  the  rest,  like  that  of 
coal  over  our  whole  mineral  produce.  At  a  great  distance 
in  the  rear,  but  next  to  iron,  in  weight  and  value,  comes 
lead,  followed  closely  by  salt,  copper,  tin,  and  clays  (fine 
and  fire  clays),  together  with  various  earthy  minerals  of 
economic  value,  zinc,  and  numerous  minor  ores. 

The  following  table  exhibits  the  series  of  formations 
composing  the  stratified  rocks  of  England  : — 


RELATION  OF  GEOLOGY  TO  AGRICULTURE. 


47 


Epochs  or  Periods. 


Systems. 


Tertiary 

or 

Cainozoic. 


Secondary 

or 

Mesozoic. 


Primary 

or 

Paleozoic. 


Pliocene 
l  Miocene. 
Eocene 


Formations. 

Post-Pliocene. 
Newer  Pliocene. 
Older  Pliocene. 


Cretaceous  . 


\  Jurassic 


Trias  sic  or  New  Red 
Sandstone 


\ 


(  Upper  Eocene. 

<  Middle  Eocene. 

(  Lower  Eocene. 

(Chalk. 

Upper  Greensand. 
Gault. 

Neocomian. 

Wealden. 

Purbeclc. 

Portlandian. 
Kimmeridge  Clay. 
Coral  Rag. 

^  Oxford  Clay. 
Cornbrash. 

Great  Oolite. 

Inferior  Oolite. 

,  Lias. 

Keuper. 

Muschelkalk  (absent  in 
England). 

Bunter. 


f  Permian. 

Carboniferous 

Devonian  and  Old  Red 
Sandstone. 

Silurian 

Cambrian. 

\  Laurentian. 


Coal  Measures. 
Millstone  Grit. 
Mountain  Limestone* 


Upper  Silurian. 
Middle  Silurian. 
Lower  Silurian. 
Primordial  Silurian. 


CHAPTER  IV. 


THE  UNITED  KINGDOM  :  IRELAND— RAW  PRODUCE, 
MINERAL,  ANIMAL,  VEGETABLE. 

Relation  between  Raw  Produce  and  Industry — Geological  Conditions 
of  Mineral  Produce — Application  of  Principles  to  Ireland — Ireland 
not  noted  for  Minerals — Pre-eminently  Pastoral — Vegetable  Pro¬ 
duce — Natural  Advantages  of  Ireland — European  Analogues. 

The  industrial  occupations  of  the  people  of  the  United 
Kingdom  have  been  proved  in  the  preceding  pages  to  be 
the  result  of  natural  laws,  and  not  of  chance.  The  seats 
of  mining  and  of  manufactures  are  determined  by  the  local 
mineral  deposits,  and  the  importance  of  the  one  is  pro¬ 
portionate  to  the  richness  of  the  other — especially  so  in 
relation  to  iron  and  coal.  Given  the  geological  character 
of  the  rocks  and  soil,  with  the  physical  distinctions  of 
highland,  lowland,  plain  and  marsh,  and  the  climatic 
phenomena,  we  may  infer  much  of  the  raw  produce, 
organic  and  inorganic. 

The  mountain  borders  of  Ireland  give  occupation  to 
labourers  in  mines  and  quarries,  and  copper  and  lead  are 
produced  in  the  counties  of  Wicklow,  Cork,  and  Waterford. 
Iron  is  more  widely  dispersed,  but,  for  want  of  coal,  is 
unprofitable  to  smelt.  Peat  is  almost  the  only  fuel.  Lime¬ 
stone  is  the  principal  rock  of  the  interior ;  statuary  marble 
of  fine  quality  is  met  with  in  Galway,  Kilkenny,  and  Donegal, 
and  granite  in  many  parts.  Nevertheless,  Ireland  is  not  noted 
for  useful  minerals.  The  special  physical  feature  is  the  dreary 
expanse  of  bog,  occupying  3,000,000  acres,  or  a  tenth  of  the 


THE  UNITED  KINGDOM :  IRELAND. 


49 


central  plain  of  the  kingdom.  The  great  bog  of  Allen,  once 
a  forest,  spreads  through  four  counties.  These  bogs  are 
considerably  above  the  level  of  the  sea,  and  sometimes  of 
considerable  thickness.  They  lie  upon  vast  deposits  of  clay 
and  drift,  which  overspread  the  Mountain  Limestone,  and, 
in  steep  impervious  embankments,  form  the  confines  of 
stagnant  reservoirs  of  saturated  vegetable  soil,  unsafe  in 
places  for  the  smallest  quadruped  to  walk  upon.  The 
structure  of  the  bogs  indicates  the  proper  method  of  drain¬ 
age;  but  notwithstanding  a  river  system  unusually  complete, 
little  has  been  reclaimed,  and  since  bog  earth  is  deficient 
in  mineral  constituents,  it  is  doubtful  if  drainage  would 
ever  repay,  in  produce,  the  cost  of  reclamation.  Ireland 
is  eminently  pastoral,  and  there  appears  no  limit  to  its  dairy 
and  grazing  capabilities.  Pastures  cover  two-thirds  of  the 
country,  and  four-fifths  of  the  people  depend  upon  field 
labour.  As  a  rule,  however,  the  farming  is  inferior,  the 
tillage  slovenly,  and  the  implements  rude.  The  production 
of  butter  and  provisions  for  export  is,  nevertheless,  pro¬ 
digious.  Salt  beef,  pork,  bacon,  lard,  and  many  millions  of 
eggs,  are  consigned  to  England.  Cork  has,  virtually,  the 
victualling  of  our  navy.  Waterford  despatches  abroad 
enormous  quantities  of  butter  yearly,  and  slaughters  every 
week  many  thousand  swine,  while  the  quays,  a  mile  long, 
constantly  swarm  with  live  stock  for  embarkation. 

The  eastern  provinces  are  more  flourishing  than  the 
western.  The  Curragh  of  Kildare  competes  with  the 
English  downs  as  a  grazing-ground,  and  sheep  have  fed  for 
ages  upon  its  sweet  herbage.  In  the  open  country  corn 
intervenes  between  the  breadths  of  potato,  and  meal  and 
milk  are  used  for  food.  The  fields  smile  with  the  blue- 
flowered  flax,  which  the  cotters  grow  for  their  families  and 
weave  in  the  hand-loom.  The  people  of  these  districts  are 
of  English  or  Scotch  descent,  and  have  carried  their  native 

I.  D 


50  THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 

skill  and  thrift  into  the  country  of  their  adoption.  They 
command,  therefore,  higher  wages,  and  can  pay  higher  rents 
for  less  propitious  soil,  than  the  native  Erse. 

Ireland’s  resources  are,  to  a  great  extent,  still  undeveloped. 
With  a  coast-line  of  2000  miles,  and  inlets  penetrating  the 
land  from  opposite  coasts,  with  a  matchless  system  of  rivers 
and  lakes,  the  surface  resembles  a  dissected  map,  every 
dividing  line  being  a  means  of  production  or  a  facility  for 
trade.  The  ill-fated  Lord  Strafford,  more  than  200  years 
ago,  saw  how  well  the  flatness  of  the  country  and  the  slow 
flow  of  the  rivers  suited  inland  communication,  and  he  de¬ 
vised  a  great  scheme  of  intersecting  canals  even  now  but 
partially  carried  out. 

Of  recent  years  oats  have  come  to  be  the  crop  most  ex¬ 
tensively  grown,  while  the  cultivation  of  wheat  has  so  in¬ 
creased  as  sometimes  to  leave  a  surplus  for  exportation ; 
nevertheless,  the  humidity  of  Ireland  will  ever  render  the 
harvests  capricious.  The  native  sheep  was  covered  with  a 
coarse  hair,  but  by  intermixture  with  English  breeds  is  now 
improved.  The  production  of  wool  is  valuable  and  abun¬ 
dant,  but  the  manufacture  is  confined  to  coarse  goods,  and 
carried  on  with  insufficient  capital.  For  cattle-rearing  and 
dairy  produce,  Ireland  might  be  matchless.  Her  only 
European  rivals  are  Denmark  and  the  Netherlands,  where 
the  prevalence  of  water  shrouds  the  plains  with  vapours, 
which  clear  away  before  the  summer  winds,  to  reveal 
meadows  covered  with  kine.  The  quays  and  jetties  of  the 
Hanse  Towns  and  the  Dutch  ports  resemble  those  of  Cork 
and  Waterford,  swarming  with  stock,  and  filled  to  repletion 
with  cheese  and  “provisions.”  While  Ireland  has  lan¬ 
guished,  however,  and  a  third  of  her  inhabitants  has 
disappeared,  Denmark  and  the  Netherlands,  with  disadvan¬ 
tages  from  which  Ireland  has  never  suffered,  have  grown 
prosperous  and  opulent. 


CHAPTER  V. 


UNITED  KINGDOM  :  GREAT  BRITAIN— RAW  PRODUCE. 
MINERAL,  VEGETABLE,  ANIMAL. 

General  Description — Relation  between  Industrial  and  Geological 
Features — Mineral  Produce  of  England  and  Scotland  contrasted — 
British  Mineral  Produce  compared  with  European — Animal  Pro¬ 
duce  :  Domestic  Animals  of  Great  Britain — Vegetable  Produce  : 
Food  Substances  for  Man  and  Animals. 


England  is  more  a  mining  and  manufacturing  than  an 
agricultural  country,  although  the  mineral  region  occupies 
but  a  third  of  the  surface.  The  mining  and  manufacturing 
industries  of  Scotland  assume  larger  proportions,  with  a  still 
more  confined  space  for  their  operation.  The  chief  mineral 
products  of  Scotland,  as  of  England,  are  coal  and  iron,  the 
beds  of  which,  together  with  limestone  and  sandstone,  cover 
nearly  a  thousand  square  miles  lying  south  of  a  line  joining 
the  estuaries  of  the  Clyde  and  the  Tay — the  most  popu¬ 
lous,  wealthy,  and  busy  part  of  the  kingdom.  Rich  mines 
of  lead,  with  which  a  small  quantity  of  silver  is  intermixed, 
are  worked  in  the  Lowther  Hills.  The  Highlands  are 
deficient  in  metals.  The  Grampians,  especially,  are  as 
destitute  of  ores  as  their  summits  are  of  vegetation.  The 
recent  discoveries  of  gold  in  Sutherlandshire  have  up  to 
the  present  not  developed,  to  any  extent,  a  new  industry  in 
this  impoverished  county. 

The  most  important  quarries  of  granite  are  those  of 
Kirkcudbright,  Peterhead,  and  Aberdeen.  Whole  towns  in 


5  2  THE  NA  TURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 

Scotland  are  granite-built,  and  with  improvements  in  the 
machinery  for  cutting  and  preparing  this  stone,  its  use  has 
greatly  extended  in  England.  Many  of  the  new  buildings 
which  adorn  London  are  decorated  with  polished  shafts 
and  columns  of  coloured  granite.  Its  great  weight  prevents 
its  more  general  adoption  for  monumental  and  national 
designs. 

Roofing-slates,  also,  are  extensively  quarried  in  a  few 
parts  of  Scotland ;  and  valuable  building  materials  are 
supplied  by  the  sandstones  of  the  Old  Red  and  Carboni¬ 
ferous  systems. 

Oolite  is  quarried  in  Gloucestershire,  Somersetshire,  and 
Portland.  The  city  of  Bath,  St.  Paul’s  Cathedral,  Somerset 
House,  and  many  London  churches,  show  with  what  favour 
it  is  regarded  for  building.  Lime  is  made  from  the  chalk 
that  stretches  from  the  South  Downs  to  Flambro’  Head. 
Fuller’s-earth  is  dug  at  Reigate  ;  and  millions  of  bricks,  for 
railways,  sewers,  and  buildings,  are  made  from  the  London 
and  other  clays. 

Cornwall  is  almost  purely  a  mining  region,  having 
scarcely  any  manufactures  and  very  limited  agriculture. 
Its  commerce  and  shipbuilding  are  comprised  within  small 
bounds ;  but  it  has  an  apparently  exhaustless  supply  of  tin 
and  copper,  rendering  the  county  of  great  interest  and 
importance. 

The  South  Wales  coal-field  is  the  parent  of  several 
industries.  Besides  the  smelting  of  copper  from  Cornwall, 
Ireland,  Chili,  and  elsewhere,  and  its  production  of  fuel, 
it  is  a  seat  of  the  iron  manufacture ;  Merthyr  Tydvil  and 
Cardiff  being  the  most  important  towns  thus  engaged. 
Swansea  is  the  centre  of  the  copper-smelting.  Our  other 
coal-fields,  with  one  exception,  are  also  productive  of  iron¬ 
stone,  and  originate  the  characteristic  pictures  of  the  “  Black 
Country  ”  covering  the  Dudley  coal-field,  and  of  the  con- 


THE  UNITED  KINGDOM;  GREAT  BRITAIN. 


S3 


geries  of  iron-works,  collieries,  and  factories  which  give  to 
South  Lancashire  the  aspect  of  one  densely-populated  town. 
The  celebrated  coal-field  of  Northumberland  is  deficient  in 
iron-stone,  although  the  neighbourhood  of  Hexham  pro¬ 
duces  iron  of  very  fine  quality. 

The  wonderful  supply  of  coal  and  iron  casts  every  other 
mineral  into  the  shade,  else  Great  Britain  would  be  called 
rich  in  lead,  zinc,  and  the  minor  metals.  The  precious 
metals  are  rare,  and  seldom  worth  the  working.  Burat  has 
computed  that  the  production  of  the  useful  metals  and  coal 
in  Great  Britain  is  four  times  that  of  France  and  Russia,  six 
times  that  of  Austria,  eight  times  that  of  Spain  or  Scandi¬ 
navia,  nine  times  that  of  Prussia,  and  eleven  times  that  of 
Belgium.  What  is  the  result?  The  metal  and  coal  of 
Great  Britain,  transformed  into  machines,  are  computed  to 
equal  in  productive  power  the  hand-labour  of  every  human 
being  living.  It  is  as  if  the  population  of  a  second  world 
were  contributing  to  lessen  the  toil  of  the  thirty  millions  in 
this  small  corner  of  Europe.  Manchester  and  Liverpool 
were  small  towns  till  machinery  made  our  gigantic  cotton 
industry  possible.  The  imports  of  raw  cotton  have  exceeded 
a  thousand  millions  of  pounds  yearly,  and  are  rapidly  re¬ 
turning  to  that  amount. 

Eastward  of  a  line  drawn  between  the  Tees  and  Exe, 
the  surface  exhibits  fertile  plains,  varied  by  rivers,  valleys, 
and  green  undulations,  by  a  few  wild  and  sterile  heaths, 
and  in  the  north  by  bogs.  The  Bedford  level  and  the 
Lincolnshire  fens  are  the  principal  marshes.  The  soils, 
like  the  rocks  upon  which  they  lie,  are  not  distinguished 
by  their  extent  so  much  as  by  their  variety.  Clay,  loam, 
sand,  chalk,  gravel,  peat,  are  all  represented,  simply,  and  in 
many  forms  of  combination,  and  impress  distinctive  charac¬ 
ters  upon  an  indefinite  number  of  districts.  The  largest 
tracts  of  uniform  soil  are  in  Norfolk  and  the  wealds  of  Kent 


54 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


and  Sussex.  Surrey  has,  for  its  size,  more  extensive  tracts 
of  sand  and  gravel  than  any  other  county,  of  which  the 
heaths — Bagshot,  Wimbledon,  Wey bridge,  Woking — and 
the  suburban  commons  of  London  are  illustrations.  Few 
of  the  plains  are  quite  barren,  and  none  of  the  sandy  tracts 
are  so  large  as  the  Landes  of  France.  South  of  the  wealds, 
from  Beachy  Head  to  Salisbury  Plain,  runs  a  low  line  of 
chalk  downs,  with  a  velvet  pile  of  herbage,  trodden  and 
cropped  by  sheep  of  the  finest  breeds,  famous  both  for  flesh 
and  wool.  Kent  is  the  garden  of  England.  The  trailing 
hops  of  Canterbury  and  Farnham  vie  with  the  vineyards  of 
France,  and  the  hop-picking  recalls  the  animation  of  the 
vintage.  Between  Sussex  and  the  Wash,  wide  tracts  wave 
with  corn.  Barley  for  malting  is  a  great  object  of  culture 
in  the  same  tracts  and  in  the  midland  counties,  while  oats 
grow  chiefly  in  the  fens  and  in  the  north.  Potatoes  thrive 
in  Leicestershire  and  Cheshire,  and  the  turnip  tribe  has 
spread  from  Norfolk  all  over  the  kingdom.  Pulse  grows 
everywhere.  Flax  and  coarse  hemp  of  excellent  quality  are 
cultivated,  though  the  quantity  is  small. 

The  husbandry  of  Scotland  ranks  very  high  even  within 
the  mineral  lines,  but  the  soil  capable  of  tillage  is  limited. 
Comparing  one  kingdom  with  another,  England  has  half  its 
surface  in  pasture,  a  third  under  tillage,  and  a  sixth  in 
wastes,  towns,  roads,  and  waterways ;  while  Scotland  has 
only  one-fourth  under  cultivation,  with  three-fourths  in 
wastes  and  ways.  For  the  operations  of  husbandry  a 
granitic  district  offers  few  facilities :  the  bare  pinnacles 
weather  slowly,  and  form  too  scanty  a  soil  for  cultivation. 
The  Grampians  are  naked  and  sterile,  as  are  also  the 
broken  islands  of  the  north ;  while  large  counties,  such  as 
Sutherland,  can  only  be  laid  out  in  sheep  walks.  The  most 
fertile  parts  of  Scotland  are  the  tracts  between  Perth 
and  Dundee,  Teviotdale,  Fife,,  the  Lothians  and  Tweedside. 


GREA  T  BRIT A  IN :  A  NIMA  L  PR OD  UCE. 


55 


From  climatic  causes  the  Scotch  crops  arrive  at  less  per¬ 
fection  than  they  do  in  England ;  the  solar  heat  is  in¬ 
constant,  and,  as  in  Ireland,  often  insufficient  to  ripen 
grain  and  secure  harvest.  Barley  of  the  same  weight  as 
English  barley  contains  less  sugar  and  does  not  malt 
well.  Various  fruits  which  ripen  in  the  one  division  seldom 
mature  in  the  other  and  never  become  so  choice ;  but 
different  berries  acquire  in  Scotland  somewhat  of  the 
delicious  flavour  which  distinguishes  them  in  still  higher 
parallels  of  latitude. 

Owing  to  the  broken  nature  of  the  Welsh '  counties, 
sheep  and  cattle  are  pastured  upon  the  hills,  which,  unlike 
those  of  the  Scottish  Highlands,  are  covered  with  grass 
to  their  summits,  and  tillage  and  dairy  work  are  carried 
on  in  the  valleys.  Welsh  sheep  are  small,  but  the  mutton 
is  renowned  for  the  delicacy  of  its  flavour. 

In  addition  to  food  products,  the  special  objects  of 
British  husbandry  are  barley  and  hops  for  beer,  cider 
apples,  and  flax,  but  none  assume  the  importance  of  the 
vine  in  France,  or  of  flax  in  Holland. 

ANIMAL  PRODUCE:  DOMESTIC  ANIMALS  OF  GREAT 

BRITAIN. 

Horses. — Hunting  and  racing  are  national  sports.  The 
English  racer,  improved  with  the  best  Arab  blood,  has 
become  a  type  of  the  highest  equine  development.  York¬ 
shire  and  Northamptonshire  draught  or  dray  horses,  such 
as  are  used  by  the  London  brewers,  are  unrivalled  in  size 
and  strength.  The  Suffolk  Punch  for  ploughing,  and 
the  old  Lincolnshire  cart-horse,  have  long  been  eminent. 
The  twelve  sable  steeds  used  to  draw  the  state  car  at 
the  funeral  of  the  Duke  of  Wellington  (in  1852)  were  a 
part  of  the  trade  stud  of  a  distiller. 

Cattle. — Our  domestic  cattle,  like  our  horses,  are 


56  THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 

among  the  finest  in  the  world,  although  their  number  is  in¬ 
sufficient  to  meet  the  home  consumption.  The  Devonshire 
oxen,  and  the  breeds  of  Gloucester,  Hereford,  and  Sussex 
are  as  famous  for  muscular  power  as  they  are  for  fattening. 
Comely  cows  and  finely-proportioned  steers  are  the  pride  of 
English  estates,  and  breeders  compete  for  honour  as  well 
as  for  profit.  The  animals  of  the  greatest  bulk  are  those  of 
Lincoln  and  Tweedside.  The  latter  are  of  historical  note, 
for  during  the  long  period  of  border  warfare,  the  lifting  of 
cattle,  and  the  levying  of  black-mail  were  not  merely  in¬ 
cidents  of  quarrel,  but  also  frequent  incentives.  In  our  days, 
Scotch  kine  are  transported  to  the  rich  southern  pastures  to 
fatten  for  market.  Dairy  produce  must  not  be  undervalued, 
for  milk  is  consumed  by  young  and  old,  and  its  secondary 
products,  butter  and  cheese,  enter  more  largely  into  the 
constituents  of  the  food  of  every  family  than  any  substance 
except  bread.  The  localities  most  favoured  for  dairy 
produce  are  referred  to  below. 

Sheep. — Lincolnshire,  Norfolk,  Sussex,  Wiltshire,  and 
the  Cheviots  have  given  names  to  famous  breeds  of  sheep, 
and,  taking  into  account  the  fleece  as  well  as  the  flesh,  no 
foreign  ones  are  their  equals.  By  skilful  crossing,  the 
maximum  of  meat  and  wool  of  the  best  quality  has  been 
combined  in  the  same  animal. 

Swine. — Berkshire,  Gloucestershire,  and  Sussex  have 
given  names  to  breeds  of  pigs.  The  fame  of  Wiltshire 
bacon,  York  hams,  and  Berwick  pork  suggests  a  wide¬ 
spread  attention  to  these  animals.  Indeed,  any  British 
farm  would  hardly  be  complete  without  a  well-filled  sty  or 
hog-pen.  Turned  into  the  woods  in  autumn,  swine  will 
feed  greedily  upon  acorns,  beech  mast,  chestnuts,  and  other 
dry  indehiscent  fruit,  without  attacking  and  destroying  the 
young  trees. 

Poultry. — Amongst  the  minor  produce  of  the  farm, 


GREA  T  BRITAIN:  ANIMAL  PRODUCE.  5  7 

poultry,  headed  by  the  common  domestic  fo'wl,  stand  highest. 
Turkeys  and  geese,  at  certain  seasons,  are  fattened  and 
brought  to  market  in  enormous  numbers,  providing  us  with 
an  important  supply  of  food. 

Wild  Animals. — The  wild  animals  of  Great  Britain  do 
not  differ  from  those  of  Europe,  and  require  but  a  brief 
reference.  The  bear,  wolf,  boar,  fox,  and  wild  ox  once 
dwelt  in  the  forests,  and  the  beaver  built  on  the  river-banks. 
All  but  the  fox  and  the  ox  have  long  since  been  extirpated. 
Wild  oxen,  unique  types  of  our  domestic  breeds,  are  pre¬ 
served  with  exclusive  care  in  the  spacious  parks  of  Chartley, 
in  Derbyshire,  and  Chillingham,  the  seat  of  Earl  Tanker- 
ville,  in  Northumberland.  They  are  smaller  than  the 
common  ox,  cream  white  in  colour,  with  the  exception  of  the 
ears,  which  are  red,  and  the  muzzle,  which  is  black.  Per¬ 
mitted  to  range  at  will  through  spacious  parks,  they  retain 
many  of  the  wild  habits  of  their  race.  The  fox  has  re¬ 
ceived  the  doubtful  privilege  of  being  preserved  for  the 
chase.  On  the  borders  of  Cornwall,  a  few  stags  are  still 
found  in  their  natural  state,  and  more  exist  in  the  moun¬ 
tains  and  the  wooded  parts  of  Scotland,  especially  in  the 
forest  of  Athol.  The  roebuck,  which  seeks  the  hills  only,  is 
also  occasionally  met  with  there.  The  fallow-deer  of  our 
parks  are  of  foreign  introduction,  but  have  taken  so  well 
to  the  climate  that  the  French  imperial  parks  have  been 
stocked  from  England.  By  a  severe  system  of  preserving  (a 
relic  of  ancient  forest  laws),  hares,  partridges,  and  in  the 
north,  red  grouse,  continue  abundant,  despite  the  progress 
of  agriculture  and  the  extension  of  towns.  Water-fowl 
frequent  the  fens,  the  most  numerous  being  congeners  of  the 
wild  duck,  and  sea-birds  make  the  northern  cliffs  their 
home.  The  rivers  of  Britain  contain  fresh-water  fish,  the 
delight  of  anglers,  but,  with  the  exception  of  the  salmon, 
little  regarded  as  a  source  of  food.  The  Welland  and  the 


58  THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 

Witham  are  at  times  so  alive  with  the  tiny  stickleback, 
that  farmers  use  the  fish  for  manure. 

VEGETABLE  PRODUCE:  FOOD  SUBSTANCES  FOR 
MAN  AND  ANIMALS. 

Of  the  substances  grown  for  the  food  of  man,  corn  stands 
first;  and  of  the  different  kinds,  wheat  is  so  pre-eminent  in 
importance  that  the  value  of  this  crop  nearly  equals  that  of 
all  the  others.  Reading,  Guildford,  and  Uxbridge  are  the 
local  markets  for  the  finest  white  wheats,  produced  in  the 
fertile  fields  forming  the  basin  of  the  Thames  ;  the  south¬ 
eastern  counties  find  their  market  for  the  same  sort  in 
London.  The  district  between  the  estuaries  of  the  Wash 
and  the  Thames  is  equally  renowned  for  the  growth  of 
red  wheat,  a  variety  of  inferior  value,  but  greater  yield. 
Wheat  does  not  ripen  at  the  sea-level  further  north  than  the 
line  of  lochs  running  from  Loche  Linnhe  to  the  Moray 
Firth.  Next  to  corn,  green  vegetables  form  the  chief 
supply  of  food  for  all  classes,  the  great  towns  being  sur¬ 
rounded  on  all  sides  with  productive  market-gardens. 

Food  crops  for  animals  form  an  essential  part  of  the 
industry  of  the  husbandman,  and  consist  of  both  grasses 
and  roots.  The  grass,  oats,  and  hay  of  England  are  of  great 
excellence.  A  few  weeks’  feed  in  the  alluvial  marshes  of 
the  Thames  restores  imported  foreign  cattle  from  the  effects 
of  the  roughest  voyage,  covers  them  with  flesh,  and  fits  them 
for  the  shambles.  The  root  crops  are  either  eaten  down  in 
the  open  field,  or  stored  for  winter  food. 

Fruits. — Of  fruit-trees  the  species  are  not  numerous, 
though  the  varieties  of  each  species  are  endless.  The 
apple  is  cultivated  as  a  wholesome  article  of  food,  as  a 
dessert  fruit,  and  for  cider.  This  fruit  abounds  in  every 
part  of  the  kingdom,  but  the  region  of  the  west  and  south¬ 
west  of  England  is  the  cider  district. 


GREAT  BRITAIN:  VEGETABLE  PRODUCE. 


59 


The  pear  stands  next  in  value  to  the  apple,  flourishing 
under  similar  conditions  of  climate  and  soil,  and  furnishing 
a  beverage  called  perry,  chiefly  made  in  Worcestershire. 

Our  orchards  and  gardens  are  enriched  still  further  with 
drupes,  or  fruits  of  the  almond  tribe,  as  the  plum,  the 
apricot,  and  the  cherry.  The  produce  of  the  garden  also 
includes  gooseberries,  currants,  strawberries,  and  other 
small  fruits,  culinary  vegetables,  and  sweet  herbs.  Some  of 
these  were  brought  from  Holland  in  the  reign  of  Henry  VII. 
The  indigenous  fruits  are  very  few,  and  limited,  probably,  to 
the  crab  apple,  the  wild  cherry,  the  bird  cherry,  the  sloe,  the 
haw,  the  bramble,  the  gooseberry,  the  cranberry,  species  of 
bilberry,  and  the  raspberry. 

Timber. — England  has  always  been  famed  for  her  forests, 
which  neither  the  enormous  demand  for  ship  and  house 
building,  nor  the  exigencies  of  farming,  have  yet  caused 
entirely  to  disappear.  Most  of  the  European  exogens  valued 
for  their  timber  are  found  in  England.  Our  largest  forests 
are  Crown  property,  and  still  grow  oak  for  the  navy.  Such 
are  the  New  Forest,  covering  400  square  miles  ;  the  Forest 
of  Dean,  in  Gloucestershire,  of  144  square  miles,  and  others 
of  smaller  area.  Many  localities  of  historical  note  have  long 
been  disafforested,  or  thrown  open  to  common  use.  Nor¬ 
wood  and  Charnwood,  for  example,  are  forests  only  in  name. 
Science  has  lent  the  aid  of  iron  as  a  partial  substitute  for 
wood,  besides  which  we  annually  supplement  our  native 
stores  by  many  million  loads  of  timber  from  British  posses¬ 
sions  and  foreign  parts. 

The  mountains  and  islands  of  Scotland  are  singularly  tree¬ 
less  and  bare.  There  are,  however,  a  few  extensive  growths 
of  fir,  particularly  in  Aberdeenshire.  The  landed  proprietors 
have  of  late  years  beautified  their  estates  with  larches,  carry¬ 
ing  out  the  behest  of  the  Laird  of  Dumbiedykes,“  Jock,  when 
ye  hae  naething  else  to  do,  ye  may  be  aye  sticking  in  a 
tree;  it  will  be  growing,  Jock,  when  ye  are  sleeping.” 


6  o 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


The  chief  kinds  of  British  timber  trees  are  the  oak, 
the  beech,  the  chestnut,  the  elm,  and  the  ash.  In  the 
south,  the  elm,  poplar,  and  birch  are  specially  numerous. 
The  ash  and  the  Scotch  firs  are  indigenous  to  the  northern¬ 
most  parts  of  the  islands. 

Great  Britain  contrasts  with  Ireland  in  the  occupations 
of  its  inhabitants,  a  larger  percentage  being  engaged  in 
mining,  manufactures,  and  commerce  than  in  the  varied 
pursuits  of  agriculture.  Of  the  three  divisions  of  Great 
Britain,  only  Wales  shows  a  larger  percentage  of  its  popula¬ 
tion  employed  in  agriculture  than  in  other  forms  of  industry; 
though  here  also  the  mineral  counties  are  the  wealthiest 
and  most  populous.  To  the  end  of  the  eighteenth  century 
the  people  of  England  and  Scotland  were  more  engaged 
in  agriculture  than  in  mining  and  manufacture ;  but  the 
development  of  mineral  wealth  has  since  been  so  great 
as  to  transpose  the  respective  industries,  and  the  tendency 
is,  at  the  present  time,  still  more  rapidly  in  the  same 
direction. 

DISTRICTS  OF  ARABLE  HUSBANDRY, 

England. —  Kent,  Essex,  Suffolk,  Norfolk,  Hampshire,  Berkshire, 
Bedford,  Surrey,  Sussex,  Hertford,  parts  of  Yorkshire  and  Lincoln¬ 
shire,  Durham,  and  Northumberland. 

Scotland. — The  Lothians,  Berwick,  and  part  of  Roxburgh,  Dumfries, 
Ayr,  Renfrew,  Lanark,  and  Fife  shires,  Carse  of  Gowrie,  parts  of 
Aberdeen,  Elgin,  and  Nairn. 

DISTRICTS  OF  DAIRY  HUSBANDRY. 

England. — Cheshire,  Shropshire,  Gloucester,  Wiltshire,  Buckingham, 
Essex,  York,  Derby,  Cambridge,  Dorset,  and  Devon. 

PASTORAL  AND  CATTLE  REARING  DISTRICTS. 

Lincoln,  Somerset,  Leicester,  Northampton,  Herefordshire,  parts  of 
Durham  and  of  the  North  and  East  Ridings  of  Yorkshire,  and 
the  Downs. 

PERCENTAGE  OF  INHABITANTS  ENGAGED  IN  AGRICULTURE. 

Lincolnshire,  16  per  cent.  ;  other  districts  as  above,  io  per  cent,  to 
14  per  cent.;  Middlesex,  I  per  cent. 


CHAPTER  VI. 


BRITISH  FISHERIES. 

Condition  of  British  Fisheries — Staple  Fishery — Salmon  Fishery — 

Shell  Fish — Whale  Fishery. 

British  seas  are  rich  in  food  produce ;  relatively,  however, 
to  other  industries,  the  fisheries  have,  until  recent  years, 
been  languidly  pursued.  At  one  time  it  was  thought 
necessary  to  pay  bounties — a  system  adopted  before  the 
regular  navy  was  established.  The  seamen  under  Drake, 
Hawkins,  and  Frobisher,  having  signed  to  serve  when 
called  upon,  were  drawn  principally  from  the  fishing 
stations.  Bounties  and  grants  were  advocated  afterwards 
for  the  sole  purpose  of  encouraging  the  fishing  interests. 

Public  opinion  has  greatly  changed  with  respect  to  any 
such  artificial  stimulus  to  industry.  Royal  Commissions 
have  made  inquiries,  and  Government  has  decided  that  the 
prosperity  of  our  fisheries  depends,  in  the  long  run,  upon 
native  enterprise  and  energy.  Meanwhile  the  food  ques¬ 
tion  has  grown  to  be  of  urgent  national  importance,  and 
Fishery  Exhibitions  have  made  the  fisher-folk  and  their 
“  perilous  mode  of  hard  industry  ”  better  known  and  more 
popular.  Although  tenfold  the  present  take  would  find 
ready  consumers,  even  now,  through  the  excellence  of  our 
communications,  fish  food  is  almost  as  easy  to  obtain  in 
inland  villages  as  in  the  fishing  ports. 

The  staple  fishery  of  the  United  Kingdom  is  that  of 


62 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


herrings,  shoals  of  which,  at  the  season  of  spawning,  crowd 
the  inlets  and  bays  of  Great  Britain  and  Ireland.  Of  the 
English  fishing  stations  Yarmouth  possesses  the  greatest 
celebrity  for  its  semi-smoked  and  salted  bloaters,  everywhere 
esteemed.  From  Yarmouth  to  the  Shetlands,  fleets  of 
herring-boats  ply  their  nets,  every  town  on  the  coast  being 
more  or  less  employed  in  the  capture  and  curing  of  this 
important  fish.  The  Scotch  herrings  are  larger  and  higher- 
dried  than  those  of  Yarmouth.  The  chief  fishing-station, 
probably,  in  the  United  Kingdom  is  Wick,  within  a  few 
miles  of  John  o’  Groat’s.  Peterhead  and  Fraserburgh  are 
likewise  places  of  great  resort  for  curing  herrings  ;  while  the 
poor  and  simple  Shetlanders  have,  in  one  generation,  made 
their  distant  islands  one  of  the  great  fishing  stations  of  the 
world.  The  Scottish  fisheries  generally  are  prosecuted  with 
energy  in  every  firth  and  loch,  as  well  as  in  the  channels 
of  the  northern  and  western  islands.  The  Irish  fisheries, 
on  the  other  hand,  have  thriven  least.  Some  of  the  most 
considerable  are  on  the  Nymph  Bank,  south  of  Waterford, 
but  the  produce  is  principally  taken  to  English  ports. 

Pilchards,  allied  to  the  herring,  are  seasonable  from 
early  June  to  October.  They  are  found  in  all  the  creeks 
of  Ireland,  and  off  the  coasts  of  Devon  and  Cornwall. 
These  fisheries  fall  but  little  short  of  the  importance  of 
that  of  Yarmouth  ;  yet  while  herrings  are  the  frequent  frugal 
meal  of  the  London  poor,  pilchards  are  hardly  known  to 
them,  and  are  only  seen  when  a  few  stray  catches  are  used 
as  prize  sprats  to  embellish  the  fishmongers’  silvery  heaps. 
Many  thousand  hogsheads  of  pilchards  are  exported  to  the 
Mediterranean,  whence  we  get  the  closely-related  anchovy 
and  sardine,  the  interchange  adding  to  the  variety  of  food 
on  both  sides.  Sprats  are  found  in  enormous  shoals  during 
the  winter  months,  and  are  often  wasted  for  want  of  a  ready 
market. 


BRITISH  FISHERIES. 


63 

Between  the  Cornish  and  Yarmouth  fishing-grounds 
mackerel  intervene,  extending  mainly  from  the  Isle  of 
Wight  to  the  Straits  of  Dover,  and  assuming  during  the 
season  a  very  considerable  value.  From  Ireland  large 
supplies  of  remarkably  fine  mackerel  have  lately  been  re¬ 
ceived,  packed  in  ice. 

Turbot,  soles,  and  other  so-called  flat  fish,  as  well  as  cod, 
abound  on  the  sandbanks  of  the  North  Sea,  especially  the 
central  Great  Dogger  Bank.  Here  fishing-boats  are  now 
stationed  for  weeks  together,  and  the  produce  of  the  nets 
is  forwarded  to  London  and  elsewhere  as  fast  as  swift¬ 
sailing  cutters  or  large  screw  steamers  can  carry  it.  By  this 
means  many  additional  hundreds  of  tons  of  fine  fish, 
especially  plaice  and  haddocks,  are  obtained  for  the  poorer 
population  of  our  large  towns.  There  are  extensive  cod 
and  white-fish  fisheries  in  Scotland.  The  fishing-grounds 
round  Ireland  abound  with  cod,  hake,  and  ling,  but  have 
never  yet  been  satisfactorily  worked. 

The  salmon  originates  a  peculiar  fishery,  in  which  again 
the  Scotch  are  foremost.  The  rivers  Tweed,  Tay,  Dee, 
Don,  and  Spey  teem  with  this  noblest  of  the  finny  tribes, 
whose  capture  is  a  fluctuating  but  very  valuable  division  of 
industry,  and  an  attraction  to  anglers  from  the  most  distant 
parts  of  the  kingdom.  The  Irish  rivers  glisten  with  salmon, 
which,  however,  until  lately,  were  not  sufficiently  cared  for, 
from  an  economic  point  of  view. 

A  trade  in  salted  cod,  wet  and  dry,  is  carried  on  with 
St.  John’s,  Newfoundland,  the  headquarters  of  the  British 
fisheries  on  the  Great  Bank,  where  the  fish  taken  into  St. 
John’s  for  exportation  are  chiefly  caught. 

Shell  Fish. 

Shell-fish,  as  various  forms  of  crustaceans  and  molluscs 
are  called,  provide  us  with  a  large  amount  of  food.  There 


6\  THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 

is  a  lobster  fishery  along  the  rocky  coast  of  Yorkshire, 
another  in  the  Orkneys,  and  thousands  of  lobsters  and 
crabs  are  caught  yearly  on  the  south  and  west  coasts  of 
England,  to  be  sent  to  the  London  markets.  Ireland 
supplies  us  occasionally  with  large  quantities  of  lobsters, 
but  we  procure  our  finest  from  Norway,  where  they  are 
carefully  preserved.  In  the  opinion  of  naturalists  we  might 
quadruple  at  least  the  produce  of  our  own  shores. 

Prawns  are  “potted”  on  the  south  coasts,  and  shrimps 
are  netted  on  most  shallow  shores;  Boston,  Lynn,  and 
Leigh,  near  Southend,  supply  the  choicest  kinds.  One 
eminent  firm  alone  pays  from  ^800  to  £1000  a  year 
carriage  for  this  tea-table  luxury.  The  greatest  quantities 
are  obtained  from  the  Briel,  via  Harwich  ;  these  are  the 
red  shrimps  of  the  trade. 

All  round  the  coasts  of  these  islands  are  spots  noted  for 
oyster  culture.  The  finest  variety  is  that  of  the  Whitstable 
native.  For  some  years  past  an  increasing  dearth  in  the 
supply,  arising  from  climatic  influences,  or,  as  some  think, 
from  the  destruction  of  the  spat  or  young  oysters,  through 
careless  dredging,  has  made  the  choicer  sorts  an  indulgence 
only  within  the  reach  of  the  rich,  and  has  directed  the 
attention  of  the  Government  to  the  subject.  The  oyster 
occurs  chiefly  in  estuaries,  the  Thames,  the  Wash,  and  the 
Severn  all  having  extensive  beds,  as  have  likewise  some  of 
the  estuaries  of  Ireland. 

Great  Britain  has  ever  been  the  home  of  the  oyster,  and  the 
race  still  attains  its  greatest  perfection  in  our  seas.  Efforts 
have  been  made  to  bed  exotic  varieties  in  European  waters  to 
supply  the  British  demand,  and  many  inferior  beds,  like¬ 
wise,  have  been  dredged.  America,  too,  where  the  dainty 
mollusc,  cooked  in  fifty  ways  as  well  as  served  raw, 
appears  at  every  meal,  has  sent  us  vast  stores. 

Great  quantities  of  mussels  aggregate  on  the  rocks,  attached 


BRITISH  FISHERIES. 


65 


by  their  byssal  threads,  and  serve  for  food  in  the  towns 
near  their  growth,  while  still  more  are  used  as  bait.  Millions 
of  mussels  are  gathered  for  these  purposes  annually  in  the 
Firth  of  Forth.  London  consumes  vast  quantities  imported 
from  Flolland. 

Periwinkles  are  eaten  wherever  they  can  be  obtained. 
Among  univalves,  whelks,  of  which  the  “almonds”  and 
“whites”  rank  in  order  of  quality,  are  esteemed  by  the 
poorer  classes,  and  with  the  pecten  or  scallop,  and  the 
cockle,  constitute  an  important  article  of  commerce. 

Whale  Fishery. — To  call  the  whale  a  fish,  and  its  chase 
a  fishery,  is  in  either  case  a  misnomer;  yet,  industrially, 
there  is  a  relation  between  the  sea  fisheries  and  the  whale 
fisheries.  The  economic  products  derived  from  the  cetacea , 
with  which  we  may  place  as  a  trade  alliance  the  phocidce ,  or 
seal  tribe,  and  some  large  fishes,  are  oils,  seal-skins,  furs, 
baleen  or  whalebone,  spermaceti,  ambergris,  and  ivory, 
derived  from  the  walrus  and  narwhal.  Tasmania  now  de¬ 
spatches  the  greatest  number  of  vessels  to  the  Southern  Sea  ; 
Hull,  in  England,  and  Peterhead,  in  Scotland,  are  the  chief 
ports  identified  with  the  whale  fishery  of  the  northern  seas. 
Besides  the  whales  proper,  the  herbivorous  or  browsing 
whales,  Dugong  and  Manatee ,  are  captured  for  their  oil, 
which  is  regarded  as  equal  to  the  best  cod-liver  oil.  The 
chase  of  the  shark,  likewise,  is  not  declined  by  the  whalers, 
who  find  a  ready  market  in  the  East  for  its  fins,  valued  there, 
as  the  turtle  with  us,  for  soups. 


1. 


E 


CHAPTER  VII. 


EUROPEAN  ANALOGUES  OF  GREAT  BRITAIN. 

Analogues  of  Mining  Industry — Of  Animal  Produce — Rationale  of 

our  Corn  Commerce. 

Similar  geological  and  climatic  conditions  yield  analo¬ 
gous  results  in  the  flora  and  fauna  of  a  country,  and  in  the 
industrial  pursuits  of  populations.  Such  analogues  have 
already  been  shown  between  the  United  Kingdom  and 
many  parts  of  Europe.  We  exchange  little  raw  produce 
with  the  people  of  the  Continent,  but  we  fetch  and  carry  for 
our  neighbours  the  crude  materials  of  other  soils  and  climes, 
and  make  our  country  the  emporium  of  trade.  Let  us  illus¬ 
trate  this  by  a  few  examples. 


ANALOGUES  OF  OUR  MINING  INDUSTRY. 

The  departments  of  France,  with  scarce  an  exception 
contribute  individually  to  the  mineral  wealth  of  the  country 
and  their  mines  produce  the  largest  amount  of  iron  next 
to  England.  The  most  productive  mines  are  those  of  the 
provinces,  whose  geological  structure  ranges  across  the 
Channel,  takes  in  the  Norman  islands,  and  is  identical  with 
the  formations  occupying  the  south-west  of  England  and 
Wales.  The  Ardennes,  again,  are  part  of  the  rugged  bor¬ 
ders  of  Belgium,  where  iron  mines  are  so  numerous  that, 
for  its  size,  the  country  is  richer  than  England.  The  region 
between  the  Sambre  and  the  Meuse  resembles  the  Stafford' 


ANALOG UES  OF  A N IMA L  PROD UCE.  6 7 

shire  “  Black  Country  ;  ”  Dudley  and  Wolverhampton  find 
their  counterparts  in  Lie'ge  and  Namur.  French  coal  is 
principally  dispersed  along  the  flanks  of  the  rocks  stretching 
from  Brittany  to  Switzerland,  which  rocks,  with  the  Alps, 
make  the  division  between  northern  and  southern  Europe. 
Modern  industry  has  caused  the  French  coal-mines  to  be 
extensively  worked,  though  the  produce  is  not  of  the  best 
quality.  Belgium,  within  its  narrow  borders,  possesses 
twice  as  many  coal-mines  as  France.  A  great  field,  resting 
on  Mountain  Limestone,  extends  from  Aix-la-Chapelle  to 
Douai,  forming  basins,  of  which  those  of  Charleroi  and 
Lie'ge  are  the  most  important.  The  coal  mines  of  Liege 
have  been  worked  for  seven  centuries  without  making  a 
serious  impression  upon  the  deposits. 

Germany,  and  Prussia  especially,  possesses  coal  and  iron 
ores  of  all  qualities  in  abundance  ;  but  the  distance  be¬ 
tween  the  mineral  beds  and  the  limestone  quarries,  with 
heavy  transit  charges,  impedes  the  development  of  iron 
industry. 

Some  of  the  rocky  islands  of  Norway  consist  entirely 
of  iron  ore,  and  the  finest  quality  produced  is  from  Sweden. 
But  here  again  carriage  is  so  difficult  as  to  render  the 
metallic  treasures  of  many  districts  in  Scandinavia  of  but 
little  avail.  These  difficulties,  however,  are  now  being  over¬ 
come.  Iron,  copper,  tin,  and  coal  are  dug  in  the  Russian 
provinces  near  the  Gulf  of  Finland,  the  largest  works  being 
situated  on  Lake  Onega. 

ANALOGUES  OF  ANIMAL  PRODUCE. 

The  sheep  bred  and  reared  in  Saxony  and  Spain  pro¬ 
duce  respectively  a  long  silky  fleece — the  finest  quality 
manufactured — and  merino  wool,  a  variety  also  of  very 
high  value,  both  of  which  enter  into  our  manufactures.  The 
alluvial  plains  of  the  Low  Countries  and  Denmark  are 


6S 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


the  counterparts  of  Ireland.  Enormous  imports  of  cattle, 
butter,  cheese,  poultry,  and  eggs,  from  these  parts,  supple¬ 
ment  our  home  supplies.  For  the  first  ten  years  after  the 
foreign  trade  in  cattle  was  made  free,  its  development  was 
very  rapid,  the  rate  reaching  400  per  cent.,  which  has  since 
constantly  increased.  The  proximity  of  the  Dutch  to  the 
sea  has  made  them  the  fishermen,  and  their  country  the 
fish-market,  for  nearly  all  Europe.  Formerly  they  took 
most  of  the  fish  even  off  the  British  coast ;  and  we  still 
look  to  them  for  large  supplies  in  answer  to  an  indefinite 
demand  for  food  at  home. 

Now  it  is  self-evident  that  these  countries  do  not  require 
similar  commodities  from  us  in  exchange,  nor  should  we 
want  their  produce  if  we  already  possessed  a  surplus  ;  but  we 
send  them  manufactured  goods,  for  the  production  of  which 
they  have  not  equal  facilities  ;  and  we  tranship  to  them  the 
raw  produce  of  our  colonies  and  of  foreign  parts,  which  are 
wanted  by  the  inhabitants  of  the  civilised  world  generally. 


THE  ANALOGUES  OF  VEGETABLE  PRODUCE. 

These  have  been  already  referred  to.  Southern  Europe  is 
eminently  the  region  of  oil  and  wine,  with  which  the  United 
Kingdom  has  but  little  in  common.  Adjoining  this  on  the 
north  is  the  zone  of  cider  and  beer,  of  which  our  country 
forms  a  portion.  The  designation  of  the  region  implies  the 
common  growth  of  orchard  fruits,  hops,  and  barley ;  but  it  is 
equally  the  region  of  green  vegetables  and  wheat.  Indeed, 
in  all  parts  of  Europe,  excepting  polar  Russia,  cereals  furnish 
the  chief  supplies  of  food — viz.,  barley  and  oats  in  the 
north ;  rye  in  the  next  lower  latitudes ;  then  wheat,  which 
penetrates  into  the  districts  of  rice  and  maize,  the  true 
tropical  cereals. 


ANALOGUES  OF  VEGETABLE  PRODUCE.  69 

Our  pre-eminence  in  wealth  enables  us  to  add  to  our 
abundance  by  purchasing  the  surplus  stores  of  food  of  the 
whole  zone.  We  receive  great  quantities  of  early  fruits, 
flowers,  roots,  and  vegetables  from  France  and  Portugal.  We 
also  obtain  large  supplies  of  fresh  fruits,  roots,  and  vegetables 
from  the  Channel  Islands,  Holland,  and  Spain.  Since,  too, 
the  St.  Gothard  Tunnel  has  been  opened,  Malta  and  Italy 
have  sent  both  their  fruit  and  dairy  produce  in  largely  in¬ 
creased  amounts  ;  and  even  the  distant  Canaries  contribute 
towards  satisfying,  in  these  directions,  our  vast  demands. 
Wheat  formerly  came  to  us  from  France,  where  it  is  an 
important  agricultural  product. 

The  Sarmatian  plain  is  the  reserve  granary  of  Europe  : 
enough  is  here  produced,  even  without  manure,  to  feed  the 
whole  Continent ;  but  the  means  of  transit  are  so  bad,  that 
much  good  corn  is  left  to  rot  upon  the  ground,  and  a  con¬ 
siderable  part  takes  two  years  in  reaching  a  port  for  ship¬ 
ment. 

The  low  lands  of  Prussia  wave  with  great  growths  of 
wheat  and  other  cereals,  enabling  its  eminently  agricultural 
people  to  provide  for  various  unproductive  provinces,  and 
still  to  have  an  excess.  Recent  political  alterations  of  terri¬ 
tory  have  made  the  Prussian  corn  exports  at  least  as  valu¬ 
able  as  those  of  Russia. 

Enormous  as  is  the  produce  of  the  United  Kingdom, 
it  is  far  below  the  demand  for  food  for  man  and  beast. 
Almost  every  part  of  the  earth  capable  of  growing  corn 
sends  grain  to  the  British  market ;  freights  of  wheat  arrive 
in  England  from  the  United  States,  from  the  ports  of  the 
Baltic  and  the  Black  Sea,  from  Algiers,  from  the  Danubian 
provinces,  and  from  Turkey  and  Egypt — countries  where  an 
elastic  growth  expands  or  contracts  in  conformity  with  the 
demand.  In  Egypt,  wheat  is  a  winter  crop.  California, 
Australia,  and  India  compete  in  the  fineness  and  quantity 


7o 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


of  their  produce,  and  promise,  ere  long,  to  overshadow  all 
other  sources  together  of  our  grain  supply.  Our  imports 
are  influenced  by  the  seasons  causing  fluctuations  of  value, 
and  demanding  from  dealers  much  commercial  shrewdness, 
vigilance,  and  foresight.  If  the  home  harvest  promises 
abundance,  our  demand  abroad  is  lessened,  and  farmers 
and  merchants  hasten  to  market  to  ensure  sales ;  but  if 
fears  of  scarcity  arise,  they  withhold  their  stores,  in  the  view 
of  higher  prices ;  and  the  harvests  of  other  countries  com¬ 
pete,  till  prices  again  are  equalised. 

The  insight  which  farmers  and  merchants  have  gained 
from  experience  ministers  to  human  well-being;  for  high 
prices  warn  us  of  probable  dearth,  and  enforce  economy, 
while  low  prices  add  to  our  enjoyment  by  removing  any 
dread  of  the  future.  If  the  harvest  fails,  we  are  prepared 
with  stores  laid  up  by  capitalists  who  have  acted  as 
scouts,  and  have  well  earned  the  extra  profit  gained  by  their 
forethought.  If  the  harvest  turns  out  unexpectedly  good, 
our  caution  has  done  us  no  harm.  The  judgment  exercised 
by  the  merchants  must  be  measured  by  their  profits,  by 
which,  therefore,  they  may,  in  the  absence  of  any  monopoly, 
be  measured  as  benefactors  to  society.  Yet,  in  former 
years,  to  speculate  in  corn  was  a  crime,  and  “  forestalled  ” 
and  “  regraters  ”  were  punishable  by  law. 


CHAPTER  VIII. 


THE  BRITISH  EMPIRE:  COLONIES  AND  POSSESSIONS. 

General  Description — The  Colonies  considered  in  their  Climatic  Zones 
— Dominion  of  Canada — Zone  of  Wheat  and  Northern  Grains — 
Produce  of  the  Warm  Temperate  Zones — Australia — South  Africa 
— Indian  Possessions — West  Indies  and  Central  America — Accli¬ 
mation. 

These  descriptive  examples  of  analogous  produce  between 
the  United  Kingdom  and  various  European  States  show 
that  our  commerce  would  be  very  narrow  if  limited  to 
Europe.  But  British  produce,  properly  so  called,  is  repre¬ 
sented  by  our  colonies  and  possessions  in  every  part  of  the 
globe.  Regarded  in  this  light,  it  embraces  nearly  every 
known  commodity,  and  explains  our  supremacy  in  com¬ 
mercial  interchange.  To  arrive  at  a  clear  conception  of  so 
important  a  subject,  it  is  necessary  to  possess  a  double 
knowledge,  first  of  the  range  and  nature  of  commodities 
included  in  the  term  British  produce ;  secondly,  of  the 
conditions  of  their  production.  An  acquaintance  with  geo¬ 
logy  will  enable  us  to  trace  the  economic  history  of  the 
inorganic  or  mineral  division  of  those  commodities,  while 
the  aid  of  physical  science  is  generally  required  to  elucidate 
the  more  complex  phenomena  of  organic  or  animal  and 
vegetable  produce. 

Whether  or  not  climatic  influences  originally  affected 
the  deposition  of  the  useful  minerals,  we  cannot  discern 


7  2 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


among  them  any  present  relation  to  zones  of  temperature. 
Minerals,  metalliferous  or  otherwise,  are  grouped  in  certain 
formations  at  the  pole,  or  at  the  equator.  Gold  is  found  in 
the  frosty  Urals,  and  in  the  sands  of  Africa;  copper  in 
Lapland  and  Australia ;  tin  in  Cornwall  and  in  the  Straits 
Settlements.  While,  therefore,  our  studies  of  organic  nature, 
in  forms  of  both  animal  and  plant  life,  must  be  determined 
by  geographical  conditions,  we  must  systematise  our  in¬ 
vestigations  of  the  mineral  kingdom  on  purely  geological 
principles. 


THE  COLONIES  CONSIDERED  IN  THEIR  CLIMATIC 

ZONES. 

The  isothermal  zones,  or  zones  of  equal  temperature, 
correspond  but  very  irregularly,  and  in  parts  not  at  all,  with 
the  parallels  of  latitude,  being  disturbed  by  every  new  com¬ 
bination  of  the  elements  of  climate.  The  absence  of  land, 
for  instance,  causes  the  southern  hemisphere  to  be  cooler 
in  summer  than  the  northern  hemisphere,  while  the  equable 
climate  of  the  ocean  presents  fewer  marked  deviations  from 
parallel  bands.  The  zones  have  been  variously  designated 
according  to  the  prevailing  character  of  their  productions. 
Grain,  being  more  widely  spread  and  more  largely  produced 
than  any  other  food  substance,  is  the  product  most  usually 
applied  as  a  descriptive  term.  Equatorial  grains  are  maize 
and  rice,  the  latter  of  which  is  supposed  to  feed  as  many  of 
the  human  family  as  all  the  rest  of  the  cereals  put  together. 
Wheat  blends  with  these  grains  in  both  hemispheres,  first 
as  a  winter  crop,  and  afterwards  as  a  summer  crop.  Still 
farther  from  the  equator,  wheat  grows  along  with  rye,  barley, 
and  oats,  the  so-called  northern  grains,  which  extend  into 
higher  latitudes  where  wheat  disappears. 

The  following  approximate  chart  will  now  assist  us : — 


COLONIES  CONSIDERED  IN  THEIR  CLIMATIC  ZONES.  73 


Zone. 

Approximate 

Latitudes. 

Tropical  .  . 

O  O 

0  to  23.5 

Warm  Temperate 

23-5  »  45 

Temperate .  . 

45  »>  55 

Sub-Arctic  .  • 

55  >,  66.5 

Arctic  .  .  . 

66  5  ,,  90 

Characteristics. 


(  Intense  vitality,  rice,  maize,  palms, 
{  spice,  sugar.  Carnivora. 

{Wheat  and  tropical  grains.  Olive, 
citron,  grape,  fig.  Domestic 
animals. 

{Wheat  and  northern  grains.  Or¬ 
chard  fruits.  Forest  trees.  Do¬ 
mestic  animals. 

(  Northern  grains.  Berries.  Pines. 
Fur  animals,  bears,  seals. 

Mosses  and  lichens,  saxifrage. 
Lowest  vitality. 


I.  Arctic  and  Snb- Arctic  Zones :  British  Colonies 
(Northern  Grains). 

The  only  parts  of  these  zones  under  British  rule  are  the 
great  territories  of  North  America,  which,  until  lately,  in  the 
hands  of  the  Hudson’s  Bay  Company,  and  now  forming 
part  of  the  Dominion  of  Canada,  have  long  been  famous  for 
their  produce  of  furs,  for  which,  indeed,  the  whole  zone 
is  the  world’s  hunting  ground.  The  marine  produce  of 
the  region  has  been  referred  to  in  describing  the  British 
whale  fisheries  and  the  Newfoundland  cod  fisheries.  The 
northern  seas  teem  with  life;  but  the  types,  if  not  the 
numbers,  grow  fewer  as  they  approach  the  poles.  One  of 
the  principal  forms  is  that  of  the  minute  molluscs,  the  so- 
called  “  whales’  food,”  which  the  leviathans  engulf  with  open 
mouth  and  entrap  in  the  fringes  of  their  plates  of  baleen. 
There  are  no  British  possessions  in  the  sub-arctic  portion 
of  the  southern  hemisphere ;  Cape  Horn  is  the  only  point 
of  mainland  reaching  55.0. 

II.  Temperate  Zone :  Zone  of  Wheat  and  Northern 
Grains. 

The  climatic  limits  of  this  zone,  in  the  northern  hemi¬ 
sphere,  are  more  irregular  than  the  boundaries  of  the 


74 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


warmer  zones,  being  subjected  to  the  variable  physical 
influences  which  characterise  the  temperate  regions.  This 
irregularity  is  greatest  amid  the  broken  coasts  of  Europe, 
where  the  configuration  of  the  land  adds  to  the  deflection 
caused  by  rains  and  winds  not  periodical,  and  by  the  Gulf 
Stream.  It  is,  therefore,  with  an  elastic  meaning  that  we 
speak  of  the  width  of  the  zone  in  degrees.  The  zone  is 
determined  northward  by  the  line  where  wheat  ceases  to 
ripen,  and  southwards  by  the  limits  of  the  ripening  of  the 
grape.  The  limit  of  wheat  in  Britain  is  at  Inverness,  in 
latitude  5 S°,  whence  it  is  deflected  across  the  North  Sea  to 
Drontheim,  in  Norway,  in  latitude  64°,  and  waves  onwards 
to  St.  Petersburg,  in  latitude  6o°,  whence,  varying  with 
every  local  circumstance  of  climate,  it  passes  through  the 
Old  World  to  the  coast  opposite  Saghalien,  in  latitude  48° 
or  50°.  Westward  the  same  line  sweeps  across  America, 
from  the  low  latitude  of  450  in  Nova  Scotia,  rising  in  a 
broad  curve  to  48°  or  50°  on  the  Pacific  side  of  the  con¬ 
tinent.  The  climatic  line  of  the  vine  cuts  the  Biscayan 
coast  of  France,  in  latitude  450,  whence  it  is  deflected  to 
Berlin,  520  31',  and  afterwards  passes  on  through  Europe 
and  Asia,  in  a  wave  gently  tending  to  the  lower  latitude  of 
40°  north  of  Corea.  The  same  line  reaches  its  lowest 
latitude  in  America,  which  it  traverses  nearly  coincident 
with  the  parallel  of  36°. 

This  great  girdle  comprehends  the  European  plain,  and 
a  vast  but  nearly  unknown  strip  of  Central  Asia.  West¬ 
ward  it  takes  in  the  northern  states  of  the  American 
Union,  and  the  British  Confederation,  of  which  Canada  is 
the  centre. 

The  corresponding  zone  in  the  southern  hemisphere  has 
fewer  irregularities  ;  it  tends  slightly  nearer  to  the  equator, 
and  its  outer  limits  have  not  yet  been  defined.  The  extreme 
part  of  Australia  barely  enters  the  zone,  which  is  best  re- 


COLONIES  CONSIDERED  IN  THEIR  CLIMATIC  ZONES.  75 

presented  by  Tasmania  and  New  Zealand ;  Patagonia,  in 
South  America,  trending  furthest  towards  the  south  pole,  is 
the  greatest  tract  of  land  within  it.  Except  .our  own  islands, 
no  part  of  the  northern  zone  of  the  Old  World,  from  the 
Atlantic  to  the  Pacific,  belongs  to  us.  Throughout  this 
extensive  region,  while  every  country  has  its  specialties 
both  in  climate  and  produce,  there  is  a  general  resem¬ 
blance —  a  unity  in  diversity  —  which  extends  to  both 
hemispheres.  The  general  aspect  of  the  vegetation  may 
differ  in  each  country,  and  yet  be  constituted  of  plants 
closely  allied.  While  describing,  therefore,  the  produce  of 
our  colonies,  we  describe  generally  that  of  the  whole 
climatic  region. 

The  part  of  Europe  comprised  in  this  zone  is  either 
named  the  cider  and  beer  region,  the  butter  region 
(distinguishing  it  from  the  division  of  the  oil  and  wine 
countries  adjoining),  the  region  of  summer  grain,  or  of 
deciduous  trees.  Such  descriptions  indicate  the  nature  of 
the  produce.  Thus,  butter  associates  itself  with  pastures 
and  oxen,  and  with  dairy  produce. 

Inferentially  it  leads  us  to  the  consideration  of  the 
domestic  animals,  both  for  burden  and  food — to  hides  and 
skins,  and  wool  for  clothing.  We  have  already  illustrated 
the  production  of  these  in  our  own  country.  Let  us  now 
cross  the  Atlantic,  and  survey  the  produce  of  Canada.  The 
same  commodities  reappear,  and  form  the  chief  bulk  of  the 
wealth  of  that  confederation.  Our  largest  supplies  of  timber 
and  of  forest  products  come  from  Canada  ;  the  quantity  of 
wheat  produced  is  almost  incalculable  ;  and  of  provisions 
there  is  an  ever-increasing  store.  If  we  go  to  the  anti¬ 
podes,  the  resemblance  is  still  more  remarkable.  What 
is  the  chief  produce  of  New  Zealand  and  South  Australia? 
Timber,  minerals,  cereals,  cattle,  and  wool.  The  difficulties 
of  transit  being  now  in  a  great  measure  overcome,  a  trails- 


76  THE  NA  TURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 

fusion  of  useful  produce  is  practicable  in  the  two  hemi¬ 
spheres.  And  all  this  is  British  produce — the  aggregate 
upon  which  is  founded  our  commercial  intercourse  with 
other  nations. 

III.  Warm  Temperate  Zones :  British  Produce. 
Wheat  and  Tropical  Grains.  Olive,  Citron,  Fig, 
Grape.  Domestic  Animals. 

The  warm  temperate  zone  is  well  defined,  and  displays 
interesting  correspondences  throughout  its  circuit.  In  the 
northern  hemisphere  it  is  the  whole  region  between  the  line 
of  vine  culture  and  the  tropic  of  Cancer ;  in  the  southern 
hemisphere,  it  is  the  band  cut  off  by  the  tropic  of  Capricorn 
from  the  American,  African,  and  Australian  continents.  Of 
these  southern  lands,  Cape  Colony,  Natal,  and  Australia  are 
British  colonies.  In  the  northern  zone,  the  only  parts  be¬ 
longing  to  us  are  the  Mediterranean  stations  of  Gibraltar, 
Malta,  and  Cyprus. 

Australia. — Scarcely  separated  from  the  Indian  archi¬ 
pelago,  with  its  northern  parts  purely  tropical,  Australia 
exhibits  a  distinctive  character,  differing  from  the  exube¬ 
rant  life  of  the  East  Indies  as  much  as  the  English  settlers 
now  spreading  over  its  surface  differ  from  its  aborigines. 
Indigenous  elements  of  wealth  on  this  continental  island 
are  few,  though  important.  Gold  mines  have  for  a  long 
while  annually  yielded  many  millions  sterling,  most  of  which 
has  arrived  in  England.  Copper  also  has  been  obtained 
from  mines — probably  the  richest  known.  Economic  plants 
and  animals  were  few,  till  introduced  by  the  colonists.  The 
kangaroo  was  the  largest  quadruped  ;  it  has  been  displaced  by 
the  sheep,  and  is  becoming  extinct.  Cattle,  multiplied  beyond 
enumeration,  roam  over  the  plains,  and  meat  is  exported  to 
England.  Of  animal  products,  the  chief  is  wool  of  excel¬ 
lent  quality  and  unlimited  quantity,  the  supply  becoming 


COLONIES  CONSIDERED  IN  THEIR  CLIMA  TIC  ZONES.  7  7 

gradually  our  mainstay  for  home  manufacture.  Tallow  is 
obtained  by  boiling  down  the  sheep,  the  perishable  nature 
of  their  flesh  giving  them  hitherto  only  nominal  value  as 
food.  Salted  or  wet  hides  are  exported  in  large  numbers 
by  the  colonists,  who  have  lately  aLo  prosecuted  with  great 
activity  the  sperm  whale  and  South  Sea  fisheries.  Like  all 
the  English  race,  they  have  a  strong  predilection  for  tea, 
which  has  made  them  attempt  its  cultivation,  and  with 
such  promise  of  success  that  they  begin  to  export  part  of 
their  produce.  Above  all,  Australia  is  successfully  striving 
to  become  the  world’s  granary  for  wheat ;  and  to  utilise 
her  grand  surplus  of  flesh-foods,  for  export  to  the  mother 
country. 

South  Africa. — South  Africa  resembles,  in  its  economic 
aspects,  the  corresponding  latitudes  of  Australia.  The  two 
are  our  great  sources  of  supply  for  wool.  From  both  we 
obtain  hides  and  skins  in  large  numbers.  The  Cape  farmers, 
by  cultivating  the  vine,  have  made  wine  one  of  their  exports, 
and  Australia  emulates  the  example.  Ivory  is  another  of 
the  commercial  products  of  the  Cape. 

IV.  Tropical  Zone  :  British  Produce.  Rice,  Maize  ; 
Palms ;  Spice ;  Sugar.  Intense  Vitality.  Carnivora. 

In  the  torrid  parts  of  Africa  there  are  settlements  im¬ 
portant  commercially,  if  not  in  extent.  Sierra  Leone  and 
the  Guinea  coast  are  names  of  fatal  import,  from  the  deadly 
pestilence  which  their  valuable  produce  tempts  the  mer¬ 
chant  to  brave.  Gold,  hides,  ivory,  wax,  teak,  dye-woods, 
and  palm-oil  form  the  staples  of  production  in  these 
settlements. 

Off  the  opposite  coast  of  Africa,  the  Mauritius  represents 
the  tropics  in  its  chief  produce — that  of  sugar — to  which  it 
adds  the  allied  commodities  of  molasses  and  rum. 

Indian  Possessions. — Far  larger  than  our  African  pos- 


7  8  THE  NATURAL  HIS  TORY  OF  COMMER  CE. 

sessions  in  our  Indian  empire,  comprising  India,  Ceylon, 
Burmah,  and  the  Straits  Settlements,  of  which  Singapore  is 
the  seat  of  government,  not  under  the  India  but  Colonial 
Office.  Hindostan  is  so  large  that  our  other  Indian  posses¬ 
sions  are  in  danger  of  being  overlooked,  although  their 
produce  is  of  the  highest  importance.  And  the  corre¬ 
sponding  Indies  of  the' New  World,  including  the  Bermudas 
and  Belize,  are  of  no  mean  consideration.  By  inference 
we  know  that  these  countries  will  produce  the  raw  materials 
of  the  zone  in  which  they  are  situated,  whether  animal  or 
vegetable ;  and  only  in  the  case  of  minerals  will  there  be 
any  great  divergence.  Viewing,  then,  the  tropics  generally, 
we  see  life  in  its  intensest  phase.  Not  only  are  individuals 
numerous,  but  species  have  greatly  increased  in  number. 
Amongst  animals,  the  carnivora  reach  their  highest  develop¬ 
ment.  Flowers  exhibit  the  brightest  colours,  and  secrete 
the  strongest  essences  ;  whilst  the  buds,  blossoms,  leaves, 
root,  bark,  and  wood  yield  the  pungent  aroma  of  spices, 
with  narcotic  principles,  and  dyes,  such  as  only  arrive  at 
perfection  under  the  rays  of  a  vertical  sun. 

India  and  Burmah  typify  the  whole  girdle  of  the 
tropics  in  the  variety,  exuberance,  and  value  of  its  raw 
produce,  which  almost  equals  half  that  of  the  other  British 
possessions  combined.  Of  food  substances  it  produces 
immense  quantities  in  the  forms  of  rice,  sugar,  coffee,  and 
spices.  Of  materials  for  clothing,  wool  and  silk  of  valuable 
qualities  are  produced ;  the  Cashmere  shawls  made  from 
the  former  being  unsurpassed  for  softness  and  beauty  by 
the  products  of  our  best  looms.  Vegetable  fibres  find  India 
their  most  prolific  home.  Cotton  has  been  an  Indian  com¬ 
modity  from  the  most  ancient  times.  It  was  our  sheet-anchor, 
and  saved  our  staple  industry  from  wreck  when  the  war- 
storm  passed  over  America.  Kips  or  small  dry  hides  from 
wild  cattle  of  the  interior  are  produced  extensively,  differing 


COLONIES  CONSIDERED  IN  THEIR  CLIMATIC  ZONES.  79 

from  the  hides  of  Australia  and  South  America,  which  are 
larger  and  salted,  and  thus  receive  the  name  of  wet  hides. 
Indigo  and  numerous  dyes ;  opium,  and  many  other  drugs  ; 
tanning  substances  ;  gums,  resins,  and  balsams ;  teak  oak 
for  ships;  timber  for  building;  cocoa-nut  oil;  and  a  thou¬ 
sand  miscellaneous  commodities  reach  perfection  in  this 
region. 

Ceylon. — Ceylon  varies  somewhat,  from  the  prominence 
which  cinnamon  and  oil  take  amongst  the  raw  produce,  and 
in  the  much  smaller  cultivation  of  rice.  It  is  the  chief 
home  of  the  cocoa-nut  palm,  as  Arabia  is  of  the  date ;  and 
coffee  is  a  staple  product.  Ivory  is  a  valuable  product  of 
the  island ;  and  the  pearls  are  of  great  renown,  although 
new  Australian  grounds  promise  to  vie  with  this  famous 
fishery. 

Straits  Settlements  or  East  India  Islands. — The  pepper  vine, 
nutmeg,  and  clove  are  indigenous  to  the  Straits  Settlements 
— the  botanical  centre  of  spice-producing  and  aromatic  plants. 
The  chief  spice  islands  belong  to  the  Dutch,  who  once  main¬ 
tained  the  strictest  monopoly  of  the  produce.  Birds  swal¬ 
lowed  the  seeds,  and,  in  spite  of  Dutch  laws  to  the  contrary, 
took  them  to  the  other  islands,  thus  breaking  down  the 
exclusiveness.  Dutch  growers  at  length  adopted  the  wiser 
policy  of  a  free  interchange  of  economic  plants.  Though 
now  raised  elsewhere  their  excellence  is  deteriorated,  for 
these  spices,  like  tea,  are  examples  of  plants  that  perfect 
their  powers  within  limited  areas. 

Sago  and  tapioca  are  largely  cultivated,  especially  the 
first,  the  plantations  being  furnished  with  the  latest  European 
machinery  for  their  preparation.  Other  tropical  substances 
are  produced,  some  of  them  unique,  such  as  the  hydro¬ 
carbons,  caoutchouc  and  guttapercha.  Sumatra  is  a  chief 
source  of  the  fixed  volatile  oil  known  as  camphor,  and  Siam 
of  the  yellow  resinous  pigment  gamboge.  Both  of  these 


8o 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


substances  occur  in  trade  as  “  tears  ”  or  solid  masses,  as  well 
as  “  extracts  ; 55  and  amongst  other  important  properties,  are 
useful  as  drugs.  The  dense  jet-like  ebony  prevails  widely, 
and  forests  of  teak  oak  abound  for  shipbuilding. 

Minerals  are  richly  spread  over  the  whole  archipelago. 
Diamonds  are  obtained  from  Borneo,  and  gold  from  all  the 
larger  islands.  Banca  possesses  tin  mines  as  rich  as  those 
of  Cornwall,  and  as  easily  worked,  the  ore  being  near  the 
surface. 

West  Indian  Possessions  and  Central  America. — From 
the  West  Indies  and  Central  America  we  obtain  sugar,  rum, 
coffee,  indiarubber,  tobacco,  and  cigars,  of  which  last  those 
from  Cuba  are  accounted  the  finest;  mahogany,  and  other 
timbers ;  dye-woods,  as  fustic,  logwood,  Nicaragua  wood. 
Many  of  these  products  are  equally  the  growth  of  Guiana, 
in  tropical  South  America,  from  whose  exuberant  vegetation 
we  obtain  the  cacao,  or  cocoa,  of  which  chocolate  is  made ; 
fruits,  tapioca,  Peruvian  or  Jesuit’s  bark:  together  with  re¬ 
presentative  forms  of  the  flora  of  the  East. 

The  similarity  of  produce  throughout  the  tropics  can¬ 
not  fail  to  be  observed.  The  natural  dispersion  of  plants 
and  animals,  and  the  transference  and  diffusion  of  species 
by  human  agency,  as  well  as  by  the  winds  and  marine 
currents,  have  increased  the  area  of  growth  almost  without 
limit ;  have  made  the  good  harvests  of  one  country  com¬ 
pensate  for  failures  elsewhere ;  have  added  to  the  stores  of 
food  and  clothing,  and  other  necessaries  ;  and,  by  so  much, 
have  added  to  human  life  and  happiness.  These  results 
have  rewarded  human  industry  and  intelligence  ten  thou¬ 
sandfold,  and  they  ought  to  encourage  us  to  extend  the 
sphere  of  knowledge  to  its  widest  bounds. 

While  indicating  the  distinctive  features  of  these  climatic 
zones,  we  are  impressed  with  the  working  of  that  law  of 
nature  which  governs  the  prevalence  of  life.  From  the 


COLONIES  CONSIDERED  IN  THEIR  CLIMA  TIC  ZONES.  8  t 


Poles  to  the  Equator,  through  every  degree  of  latitude,  life 
increases  in  energy,  and  assumes  greater  diversity  of  forms. 
Under  a  torrid  sun  is  seen  the  intensest  development  of 
vitality  and  the  greatest  exuberance  of  types.  Each  zone 
in  turn  contains  representatives  of  the  flora  and  fauna  of 
higher  latitudes,  and  new  types  of  its  own.  Thus  while 
endogens  are  characteristic  of  the  Tropics,  yet  forest  trees 
abound  of  greater  magnitude  than  those  growing  further 
north  or  further  south.  Those  regions,  too,  develop  a  great 
variety  of  the  finest  fruits.  Our  European  fruits  are, 
indeed,  in  a  great  measure,  acclimatised  or  rather  acclimated 
exotics.  By  this  is  meant,  not  that  the  plant  is  forced  into 
new  conditions,  but  that  a  plant  has  certain  degrees  or 
limits,  above  or  below  which  it  will  not  grow  or  will  not 
come  to  perfection.  Acclimation  finds  out  what  these 
degrees  are,  or  whether  a  modification  of  the  conditions 
will  bring  about  a  useful  modification  of  the  plant  itself. 

In  like  manner  the  domestic  animals  of  the  torrid  parts 
are  exceedingly  numerous  and,  in  the  case  of  the  birds,  are 
the  source  whence  we  derive  both  the  common  poultry  of 
our  cottages  and  farms,  and  the  pheasant  of  the  copse. 


i. 


F 


CHAPTER  IX. 


FOREIGN  PRODUCE  :  EUROPE. 

Interchange  of  Surplus  Produce  with  European  Countries  nearest  to 
England — The  Vine — Wheat — Productions  of  Spain  and  Portugal 
— Mediterranean  Sea-board — France — Italy — Danubian  Regions 
— Zone  of  Northern  Grains — Gradations  in  Fauna  and  Flora. 

In  our  survey  of  the  raw  produce  of  the  British  Empire  we 
have  gained  a  knowledge,  not  only  of  the  great  variety  and 
abundance  of  natural  substances  necessary  to  our  well-being, 
but  also  of  the  surplus  which  we  can  offer  to  other  countries 
in  exchange  for  their  productions,  so  as  to  add  to  our 
wealth.  To  understand  the  nature  of  these  productions  we 
must  learn  something  again  of  the  countries  that  produce 
them.  It  will  be  convenient  to  study  such  countries  in  the 
zones  of  climate  to  which  they  belong.  Incidentally  we 
have  already  done  this,  inasmuch  as  the  detached  parts  of 
the  British  empire  are  dispersed  through  every  zone.  We 
have  seen  that  organic  products  spread  from  certain  centres, 
according  to  their  natural  powers  of  selection,  as  well  as  by 
human  agency ;  and  that  they  either  extend  their  bounds 
to  the  utmost  limits  of  the  zone  of  their  growth,  or,  crushed 
by  stronger  types  of  life,  they  die  out,  thus  illustrating  the 
law  of  the  “survival  of  the  fittest.”  In  assigning  to  every 
organic  product  its  own  climatic  region,  where  alone  it 
reaches  the  highest  excellence,  Nature  has  made  inter¬ 
change  a  necessity. 

Next  to  the  produce  of  the  British  Empire,  we  are 
interested  in  the  produce  of  the  countries  nearest  to  us, 


FOREIGN  PROD  UCE :  E  UR  OPE.  8  3 

for  it  is  with  these  countries  that  the  system  of  interchange 
begins. 


EUROPE. 

Three  climatic  zones  are  well  defined  in  Europe  :  they 
are  the  warm  temperate,  the  temperate,  and  the  boreal. 
Each  of  these  zones  is  disturbed  by  local  deviations,  pro¬ 
duced  by  the  mountains  and  other  physical  causes,  and 
is  divisible  into  sub-zones  of  produce,  with  outlines  less 
clearly  marked.  Southern  Europe  is  bounded  by  the 
Mediterranean,  into  which  sea  mountain-spurs  trend  south¬ 
ward,  the  lateral  outspread  of  which  forms  the  peninsulas 
of  the  Morea,  Italy,  and  the  insular  line  of  Corsica  and 
Sardinia.  The  inland  boundary  of  this  southern  zone  is 
the  line  of  vine  growth,  which  we  have  already  referred  to, 
sweeping  across  Europe  south  of  the  limits  of  45 °  on  the 
coast  of  the  Bay  of  Biscay,  and  550  on  the  northern  coast 
of  the  Caspian  Sea.  The  vine  flourishes  in  every  part  of 
this  region,  which  is  distinguished  by  the  name  of  the  Wine 
Countries.  Nevertheless,  the  subdivisions  of  this  zone 
possess  an  individual  character.  An  elevated  ridge  line, 
traceable  from  the  cliffs  of  Brittany,  across  the  extinct  water- 
filled  craters  of  Auvergne,  to  the  Alps  and  thence  onwards 
to  the  Carpathians,  divides  the  sunny  south  from  Northern 
Europe,  and  defends  it  from  the  boreal  winds.  Southern 
Europe  is  unique  for  beauty  and  fertility.  Clear  air  gives 
an  extensive  view  of  the  landscape,  and  the  sun,  pouring 
down  its  rays  unarrested  by  vapour,  draws  from  the  fruit¬ 
ful  ground  the  blended  produce  of  the  tropics  and  temper¬ 
ate  zones.  The  southern  parts  of  Spain,  Italy,  and  Greece 
even  trench  upon  the  region  of  palms,  which  bear  fruit  in 
several  places,  but  elsewhere  only  develop  their  regal  crown 
of  leaves.  The  slopes  of  Etna  are  girdled  with  bands  of 
vegetation,  exemplifying  vertical  zones  of  growth,  from  the 


84  THE  natural  history  of  commerce. 

date-palm,  cotton,  sugar-cane,  pine-apple  and  prickly  pear 
at  the  base,  through  citrons  and  evergreens,  and  a  wooded 
region  of  leaf-shedding  forest-trees,  that  hybernate  in  winter, 
upwards  to  the  stunted  vegetation  of  colder  lands,  and 
sterility  round  the  crater.  In  Naples  the  cotton  plant 
divides  the  field  with  the  hemp  and  flax,  and  the  fig  attains 
perfection  almost  alongside  of  the  oak  and  fir.  Between 
Naples  and  the  Alpine  ridge,  in  Switzerland,  every  diversity 
of  the  zone  is  encountered.  South  of  the  mountains  the 
“ olive  swells  with  floods  of  oil,”  almost  as  bounteous  as 
water,  and  as  freely  used;  the  few  parts  subject  to  local 
frosty  winds,  where  it  will  not  grow,  being  too  unimportant 
to  rank  as  exceptions.  Minerva’s  tree,  the  first  “  symbol 
of  peace,  prayer,  and  kindness,”  is  the  representative  plant 
of  the  sub-zone,  though  it  is  not  indigenous  but  a  native 
of  South-West  Asia ;  whereas  the  orange  and  peach,  the 
grape,  cherry,  and  fig  were  brought  from  Asia,  and  maize 
was  a  gift  from  the  New  World,  in  return  for  the  European 
cereals  and  domestic  cattle.  The  Alpine  heights,  in  strong 
contrast  with  much  of  Italy,  endure  an  arctic  climate.  The 
valleys  alone  can  be  called  fertile,  and  there  is  elsewhere 
scarcely  any  soil.  It  is  only  as  the  resultant  of  many  differ¬ 
ences  that  we  include  the  whole  region  in  one  climatic  zone. 
The  facies  or  physiognomy  of  the  vegetation  is  complex. 
The  vine  and  its  attendant  cereal,  wheat,  are  distinctive 
throughout ;  but  the  almond,  olive,  fig,  citron,  and  sweet 
chestnut,  together  with  the  cork  oak,  myrtle,  and  other  ever¬ 
greens,  the  almond,  fig,  and  the  lily  tribe,  are  only  common 
in  the  warmer  parts. 

The  Vine. — Although  the  vine  ranges  as  widely  as  wheat, 
it  is  for  vintage-purposes  of  little  avail  farther  north  than 
50°,  going  off  beyond  that  into  leaf,  and  running  to  waste 
on  approaching  the  equator,  where  also  wheat  is  no  longer 


FOREIGN  PRODUCE:  EUROPE. 


85 


profitably  grown.  The  vine,  like  the  annuals,  requires  a 
certain  amount  of  heat  to  ripen  its  fruit,  and  bears  a  cold 
winter  better  than  a  cool  summer.  This  heat  may  accumu¬ 
late,  in  warm  latitudes,  between  March  and  September ; 
while  in  Scandinavia,  where  the  whole  operations  of 
husbandry  are  completed  in  three  months,  and  barley  is 
sown  and  reaped  in  seven  weeks,  the  necessary  amount  of 
heat  rarely  occurs.  It  is  not  by  any  means  the  line  of  mean 
annual  heat,  but  the  amount  of  seasonal  heat,  that  fits  or 
unfits  plants  for  certain  latitudes.  Beyond  its  natural 
limits  the  fruit  of  the  vine  can  only  be  extorted  from  the 
soil  by  labour  and  skill,  while,  in  its  own  zone,  “  profusion 
is  lavished  on  the  ignorance  of  the  vine-dressers  of  Italy,  and 
on  the  indolence  of  Spain.” 

In  France,  the  vine  is  pruned  down  to  the  size  of  a  goose¬ 
berry  bush,  and  the  vineyards  consequently  lose  interest  in 
the  landscape  ;  but  in  Italy  vines  cover  the  hill  terraces, 
and  twine  among  the  pollard  elms  and  olives.  The 
pendent  racemes  or  bunches  of  purple  fruit  are  of  delicious 
coolness  and  flavour  in  health,  and  a  grateful  refreshment 
to  the  fevered  tongue  in  sickness ;  while  the  produce  of 
the  winepress  has  been  the  beverage  of  civilised  man,  from 
the  days  of  Homer,  who  sings  of  the  joyful  vintage  and  the 
industries  connected  therewith.  The  true  home  of  the 
vine,  says  Victor  Hehn,  is  the  luxuriant  country  south  of  the 
Caspian  Sea.  There,  in  the  woods,  the  vine,  thick  as  a 
man’s  arm,  still  climbs  the  loftiest  trees,  hanging  in  wreaths 
from  summit  to  summit,  and  temptingly  displaying  its  heavy 
bunches  of  grapes. 

Raisins. — As  a  proper  food  product  the  dried  fruit  of  the 
.  vine  is  of  no  little  importance,  and  many  commodities  could 
be  better  spared  than  the  “  plums”  of  common  language, 
and  the  so-called  “  currants,”  British  taste  for  which  is  so 


86 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


marvellous,  that  a  failure  in  the  Spanish  or  Greek  crop 
would  be  felt  like  a  national  calamity.  Plum-pudding  is 
an  established  Christmas  institution,  and  poverty  can  give 
no  sharper  sting  to  the  poorest  household  than  to  deny  a 
share  in  this  festive  rite. 

Wheat. — Wheat  reaches  its  greatest  perfection  through¬ 
out  the  wine  countries,  but  it  also  flourishes  in  other  zones, 
and  therefore  does  not  so  well  serve  as  a  type  of  a  region 
to  which  the  vine,  for  vintage  purposes,  is  limited.  Wheat 
grows  within  the  tropics  as  a  winter  crop,  but  other  grains 
grow  there  to  greater  advantage ;  thus,  on  approaching  the 
tropics,  we  see  it  gradually  displaced  by  maize,  and  then  by 
rice,  the  true  tropical  cereals.  Andalusia  produces  wheat 
as  fine  as  any  in  Europe,  and  is  the  storehouse  of  the 
Peninsula.  Nature  indeed  has  endowed  Spain  with  gifts 
that  would  make  it  the  paradise  of  a  wealthy  and  powerful 
nation,  did  not  the  perversity  of  man  frustrate  the  design. 
With  a  climate  and  soil  fitted  for  the  finest  agriculture,  only 
a  third  of  the  land  is  arable  ;  and  though  the  harvest  is 
abundant,  the  corn  is  oftentimes  left  to  rot  upon  the  fields, 
the  cost  of  transit  being  too  great,  owing  to  bad  roads  and 
banditti.  Corsica  and  Sardinia  were  the  granaries  of  ancient 
Rome.  In  Italy  the  arable  land  is  covered  with  the  grate¬ 
ful  shade  of  the  olive  and  mulberry,  and  the  vine  is  trained 
over  rows  of  trees,  beneath  which  cereal  crops  are  raised. 
The  plains  of  Lombardy  comprise  some  of  the  richest 
vegetable  soils,  from  which  four  or  five  wheat  crops  can  be 
got  in  succession.  Vast  breadths  of  corn  again  grow  upon 
the  plains  of  Hungary  and  the  Lower  Danube.  North¬ 
ward,  France  and  Germany  produce  large  crops  ;  and  still 
heavier  ones  of  wheat,  rye,  and  oats  are  met  with  amongst 
the  sandy  and  swampy  lowlands  of  South  Russia.  The 
scene  of  Russia’s  extensive  but  rude  agriculture  is  a  tract 


FOREIGN  PRODUCE :  EUROPE. 


87 


of  black,  thick,  vegetable  soil,  (equal  in  area  to  France  and 
Austria  combined, )which  produces  rye — the  people’s  chosen 
grain — and  limitless  stores  of  wheat.  This  region  is  bounded 
by  the  Great  Steppe  of  the  Cossacks,  and  the  saline  steppes 
of  Astrakhan.  The  latter  of  these  boundaries  is  so  im¬ 
pregnated  with  salt  as  to  be  fertile  only  on  the  narrow  mar¬ 
gins  of  the  rivers ;  but  spring  clothes  the  arid  soil  of  the 
Great  Steppe  with  a  rapid  growth  of  thick  coarse  grass,  upon 
which  troops  of  horses  are  pastured. 

Thus  the  vine  and  wheat,  with  equal  propriety,  may 
stand  sponsors  for  this  European  region,  which  is  also 
known  as  the  region  of  the  Oil  Countries ,  from  the  free  use 
everywhere  made  of  the  product  of  the  olive,  although  it 
does  not  flourish  so  far  north  as  the  vine. 

The  subdivisions  of  the  zone  display  distinctive  physical 
features  and  productions,  and  an  individual  character  is  im¬ 
pressed  upon  each  of  the  countries  forming  the  subdivisions. 
Spain  differs  from  France  and  Italy,  and  these  countries 
from  Germany,  Austria,  Turkey,  and  Russia,  and  from  one 
another,  while  all  are  characterised  by  the  grape,  wheat, 
and  the  olive. 

Southern  Subdivision  :  Physical  Features  and 
Produce. 

Spain  and  Poi'tugal. — The  arid  and  treeless  table-land  of 
the  Peninsula  betrays  its  proximity  to  Africa,  and  the 
geological  formation  of  its  southern  boundaries  indicates  a 
former  union  with  that  continent.  The  table-land  occupies 
the  whole  of  the  centre  of  the  country,  its  mean  elevation 
being  over  2000  feet.  It  is  not  one  plain,  but  consists  of  a 
series  of  terraces,  blanched  in  the  summer  sun,  and  sub¬ 
jected  to  great  extremes  of  cold  in  the  winter.  These 
terraces,  rising  upwards  towards  the  steep  and  difficult 
acclivities  of  the  Pyrenees,  are  separated  by  mountain 


88 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE . 


ridges,  of  which  the  Sierra  Nevada  is  the  highest,  and  by 
rocky  gorges,  at  the  bottom  of  which  the  rivers  flow,  at  the 
depth  sometimes  of  200  feet.  Numerous  fertile  valleys 
slope  down  to  the  shore,  where  the  rivers,  useless  for 
irrigation  on  the  table-land,  revive  the  vegetation.  The 
stately  chestnut-trees  congregate  in  forests,  and  the  cork  and 
evergreen  oaks  yield  their  bark  and  galls,  as  well  as  sweet 
mast,  which  is  ground  into  meal,  and,  like  the  chestnut, 
used  for  bread.  Orange  groves  perfume  the  air  with  their 
flowers ;  and  the  golden  fruit  hanging  at  the  same  time 
from  the  boughs  recalls  the  fabled  garden  of  the  Hesperides. 
The  Biscayan  coast,  open  to  the  ocean  breezes,  produces 
cider  and  the  fruits  of  a  higher  zone  ;  but  the  Mediterranean 
seaboard,  defended  by  a  rampart  of  inland  elevations,  is 
tropical  in  its  warmth.  Peaches  gain  the  fulness  of  their 
flavour,  and  melons  reach  their  highest  perfection,  while 
pine-apples,  figs,  and  prickly  pears  grow  in  every  garden. 
The  harvest  of  hazel-nuts  is  so  great,  that,  besides  what  are 
eaten  in  Spain,  every  fruiterer  in  England  shares  in  the 
produce.  Barcelona,  in  connection  with  nuts,  of  which  the 
surrounding  district  furnishes  the  finest  variety,  is  a  house¬ 
hold  word  in  our  own  country.  The  almond  and  the  palm 
flourish  together.  The  flowering  aloe,  rare  in  Great  Britain, 
here  forms  the  country  hedges ;  and  all  kinds  of  lemons, 
limes,  and  citron  are  excellent  and  abundant. 

With  the  minor  botany  of  Spain  several  important  in¬ 
dustries  are  associated.  Bees  find  a  plentiful  repast  in  the 
myriad  flowers,  and  honey  is  produced  to  a  very  large  extent. 
Cochineal  insects  feed  upon  the  cactus ;  their  nurture  and 
the  cultivation  of  their  food  are  so  successful  that  Mexico, 
the  original  source  of  cochineal,  has  now  to  compete  with 
the  Peninsula  and  Spanish  islands  for  the  trade  in  this 
valued  dye-stuff.  Silkworm-rearing  employs  a  large  number 
of  the  Spanish  people.  Of  still  greater  importance  in  animal 


FOREIGN  PRODUCE:  EUROPE. 


s9 


produce  is  the  merino  sheep,  whose  fleece  is  of  high  value ; 
and  the  famed  barbs  of  Andalusia  are  amongst  the  most 
beautiful  of  horses.  The  institution  of  the  Mesla,  by  which 
baneful  privileges  were  granted  to  the  nobles  and  priests, 
who  held  a  monopoly  of  sheep-farming  for  generations,  pro¬ 
tected  pasturage  at  a  disastrous  cost  to  agriculture.  This 
institution  arose  in  feudal  times;  its  abuse  has  obstructed 
husbandry,  while  the  sheep  have  in  consequence  been 
improved  neither  in  breed  nor  number.  No  field  once  in 
grass  might  be  ploughed  without  the  sanction  of  the  Mesta, 
who  had  a  right  of  way  and  of  pasture,  in  perpetuity,  between 
the  lowlands  and  the  table-lands. 

Minerals. — Spain  possesses  at  Almaden  the  richest 
European  quicksilver  mines,  without  which  the  gold  and 
silver  ores  obtained  from  America  would  have  been  of  little 
use ;  the  quicksilver  being  employed  to  separate  the  pre¬ 
cious  metals  from  their  matrices.  Lead  is  found  in  sufficient 
abundance  to  allow  of  export ;  but  generally,  the  mineral 
treasures  of  Spain,  once  of  national  concern,  wTere  neglected 
upon  the  discovery  of  America,  and  the  mining  industry  of 
the  mother  country  is  now  only  very  slowly  resuming  its 
proper  position.  The  Peninsula  commands  the  Medi¬ 
terranean  and  the  Atlantic,  and  is  well  placed  for  communi¬ 
cation  with  the  whole  world.  In  the  sixteenth  century,  the 
two  kingdoms  of  which  it  is  constituted  divided  South 
America  between  them, (Spain  also  possessing  Mexico  and 
Central  America,)  and  for  enterprise  the  Portuguese  and 
Spanish  were  the  first  nations  in  the  world.  In  the 
present  day  their  commerce  is  possessed  by  foreigners,  and 
almost  entirely  confined  to  France  and  England.  Spain, 
however,  has  made  important  advance  within  recent  years. 

Mediterranean  Seaboard. 

France  and  Italy. — France,  like  England,  is  a  manufac- 


9° 


the  natural  history  of  commerce. 


turing  nation,  importing  raw  materials  and  sending  out 
finished  goods.  Nevertheless,  it  is  the  chief  wine  country, 
and  produces  beet  sugar  in  abundance,  besides  a  surplus  of 
madder  and  much  fruit  for  export,  as  well  as  many  millions 
of  eggs.  The  mulberry  trees  that  cover  a  large  part  of  the 
southern  provinces  constitute  the  basis  of  an  important 
branch  of  national  industry.  Although  the  quantity  of  silk 
does  not  equal  that  of  Italy,  yet  the  silk  fabrics  of  France 
have  hitherto  been  unexcelled.  Iron,  coal,  lead,  and  zinc 
are  amongst  the  minerals  of  the  south  of  France,  iron 
being  specially  abundant  in  the  Pyrenean  districts.  France, 
washed  by  three  seas,  is  admirably  placed  for  interchange, 
which,  during  the  reign  of  Napoleon  III.,  more  than  quad¬ 
rupled  in  value  and  extent. 

Italy  is  naturally  a  land  of  abundance.  It  is  also  the 
chief  silk-producing  country  of  Europe,  and  yields  the  best 
olives  and  olive  oil,  straw  for  plaiting — Tuscan  and  Leghorn 
plait  being  universally  admired — sumach  and  bark  for  tan¬ 
ning,  a  fine  hemp  fibre,  and  fruits  like  those  of  Spain.  A 
large  proportion  of  the  people,  however,  lack  the  necessaries, 
not  to  mention  the  comforts  of  life,  and  those  who  sow  and 
reap  her  bountiful  harvests  are  often  without  bread.  Many 
parts  of  great  beauty  and  fertility  are  unhealthy,  and  dis¬ 
tricts  once  crowded  are  now  deserted,  owing  to  pestilential 
malaria. 

The  mineral  resources  of  Italy,  though  vast,  are  to  a 
great  extent  undeveloped.  They  comprise  marbles,  ala¬ 
baster,  serpentines,  boracic  acid,  sulphur,  rock  salt,  various 
ores,  as  those  of  copper,  iron,  lead,  silver,  mercury,  and 
antimony,  together  with  mineral  fuel  and  oils. 

Fisheries. — The  Mediterranean  sea-board,  both  of  France 
and  Italy,  is  notable  for  its  fisheries.  The  delicate  anchovy, 
preserved  in  salt,  and  the  sardine,  preserved  in  oil,  are  ex- 


FOREIGN  PROD  UCE  :  E  UR  OPE.  9  I 

ported  in  large  quantities.  The  sea,  enclosed  by  Naples, 
Sicily,  and  the  islands  westwards,  is  the  chief  scene  of  the 
tunny  fishery.  This  fish,  sought  for  its  oil  as  well  as  for 
food,  represents  the  mackerel  of  the  British  seas,  as  the 
anchovy  and  sardine  represent  the  herring  tribe.  Along  the 
Barbary  coast  and  off  some  parts  of  Italy,  French  and 
Italian  dredgers  engage  in  the  so-called  fishery  for  coral 
( Corallium  rubruni).  Only  in  these  parts  is  this  dense  and 
beautiful  but  brittle  product  found  in  abundance,  employing 
not  only  the  dredgers,  but  the  lapidaries  of  Marseilles, 
Genoa,  and  Naples,  by  whom  its  beauties  are  so  developed 
that  its  value  often  increases  to  double  that  of  gold,  giving 
rise  to  interchange  with  Persia,  China,  and  the  most  distant 
countries.  The  cutting  of  cameos  in  imitation  of  the 
ancient  onyx,  which  is  provided  for  by  the  prevalence  of 
beautiful  gasteropod  shells,  is  an  industry  allied  to  that  of 
the  coral,  and  carried  on  in  the  same  towns. 

Region  of  the  Danube. — The  Alps  send  out  eastern  spurs, 
with  glacier  scenery  and  yawning  abysses  only  next  to  the 
main  range  in  grandeur.  These  spurs,  with  the  still  more 
rugged  Carpathians  and  the  Turkish  Balkans,  give  a  general 
mountainous  aspect  to  this  region,  modified  by  the  corn 
plains  and  grazing  grounds  of  Hungary  and  the  marshes 
of  the  Lower  Danube.  Spring  clothes  the  meadows  in 
green,  amidst  which  the  daffodil,  narcissus,  and  other 
liliaceous  bulbs  grow  in  wild  native  vigour,  while  sheep 
and  cattle  find  a  rich  sustenance,  and  wheat  adds  greatly  to 
the  wealth  of  the  land. 

The  Danube  flows  through  countries  less  developed  than 
France  and  England,  and  their  condition  reflects  itself  in 
their  produce.  The  surplus  for  interchange  consists  almost 
wholly  of  raw  materials.  Nearly  a  fourth  part  of  Austria, 
and  probably  a  larger  proportion  of  Turkey,  are  in  forest, 


92 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


and  here  many  of  the  finest  timber  trees  reach  their  most 
perfect  state.  Oak  trees  abound,  productive  of  gall  nuts,  of 
valonia  for  dyeing  and  tanning,  and  of  a  sweet  acorn, 
flavoured  like  the  chestnut. 

The  forests  of  the  Austrian  empire  are  attendant  upon 
inexhaustible  mines,  for  though  the  coal-fields,  both  of  the 
Hungarian  and  German  provinces,  are  far  from  inconsider¬ 
able,  either  in  point  of  area  or  produce,  the  quality  of  the 
coal  is  bad,  and  wood  is  much  used  in  smelting.  The 
mines  have  been  worked  from  the  time  of  the  Romans,  but 
never  extensively,  and  little  impression  appears  to  have 
been  made  upon  the  mineral  stores.  Iron  is  found  in  nearly 
all  parts  of  the  empire,  especially  in  Bohemia,  Moravia,  and 
other  German  provinces.  Some  of  the  mountains  are  formed 
of  a  pure  carbonate  of  iron,  requiring  to  be  quarried  rather 
than  mined,  and  native  steel  of  the  highest  excellence  is 
found  in  Styria.  The  richest  European  mines  of  quicksilver, 
next  to  those  of  Spain,  are  met  with  in  Idria,  in  the  pro¬ 
vince  of  Carniola,  Austrian  Germany.  An  old  proverb  says 
of  three  Hungarian  towns,  in  allusion  to  the  richness  of 
their  mines,  that  one  (Neusohl)  is  enclosed  in  walls  of 
copper,  another  (Schemnitz)  in  walls  of  silver,  and  the  third 
(Kremnitz)  in  walls  of  gold. 

Wool,  silk,  and  metals  are  the  chief  raw  substances 
exported  by  Austria,  whose  ancient  policy  in  restricting 
commerce,  in  view  of  keeping  her  produce  for  home  con¬ 
sumption,  resulted  in  the  discouragement  of  all  industry, 
hindrance  to  the  increase  of  wealth,  and  the  promotion  of 
extensive  smuggling. 

Turkey  and  Greece  produce — besides  silk,  madder,  figs, 
raisins,  valonia,  and  olive  oil — some  substances  more  es¬ 
pecially  their  own,  as  opium,  cotton,  drugs,  and  sponge. 
The  fisheries  of  this  last  assume,  in  the  Higean  Sea,  the 
place  of  the  Italian  coral  fishery.  Strewn  over  the  rocky 


FOREIGN  PRODUCE:  EUROPE. 


93 


floor  of  the  clear  water  where  the  Cyclades  repose,  sponge 
cups  abound,  soft,  elastic,  absorbent,  and  free  from  spicules, 
silicious  or  calcareous.  Those  from  the  coast  of  Candia 
(Crete)  are  of  the  finest  description,  and  under  the  name  of 
Smyrna,  Turkey,  or  Greek  sponges,  command  the  highest 
price  in  the  market. 

* 

Alpine  Ridge. — The  climate  and  soil  of  this  dividing  tract 
are  unfavourable  to  animal  and  vegetable  produce,  and 
nothing  economically  important  characterises  it.  The  moun¬ 
tains,  as  their  geological  structure  indicates,  are  deficient  in 
metals  and  useful  minerals.  The  Swiss  are,  nevertheless, 
well  clothed  and  fed;  while  Italy,  so  much  more  bountifully 
dowered  by  Nature,  depends  upon  foreign  industry  for  the 
scanty  supplies  of  half  her  population. 

Northern  Slope. — While  the  olive  and  orange  flourish 
only  in  the  lower  latitudes  of  this  favoured  zone,  the  vine 
reappears  on  the  northern  slopes,  and  furnishes  many  of  the 
finest  wines.  The  climate  and  soil  are  equally  favourable 
for  cereals  and  for  the  rearing  of  domestic  animals. 

Zone  of  Wheat  and  Northern  Grains. 

Beer  and  Butter  Countries. — The  designation  of  the 
“  wine  and  oil  countries  ”  contrasts  with  that  of  the  next 
higher  zone,  whose  distinctive  produce  has  gained  for  it  the 
appellation  of  the  Beer  and  Butter  Countries.  The  two 
descriptive  beverages  are  linked  by  the  cider,  common  for 
some  distance  to  both  sides  of  the  line  of  division.  The 
production  of  cider,  beer,  and  butter,  indicates  essential 
differences  in  climate,  soil,  and  other  physical  conditions 
from  the  zone  of  wine  and  oil.  The  shades  of  change  upon 
the  face  of  Nature  are  very  distinct  over  large  areas,  but  too 
gradual  for  comparison  within  narrow  bounds.  The  out- 


94 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


skirts  of  one  zone  transfuse  with  the  adjacent  climes ;  but 
the  zone  itself  emerges,  in  its  own  unique  character,  as 
distinct  as  a  band  of  the  rainbow  from  the  lines  with  which 
it  blends.  Receding,  therefore,  farther  from  the  tropics,  the 
glare  of  southern  lands  is  subdued  by  green  pastures,  the 
sustenance  of  fine  cattle  and  sheep ;  the  brilliant  blue  of  the 
skies  is  sobered  with  grey  clouds,  from  which  pour  more 
frequent  showers,  if  not  such  torrents  of  rain  ;  and  the  ocean 
assumes  duller  greenish  tints.  The  varied  surface  of  the 
zone  favours  the  production  of  excellent  crops  of  all  kinds  of 
cereals,  and  fine  timber.  The  appearance  of  the  vegetation 
is  the  combined  effect  of  meadow-land  and  forest,  of  cereal 
and  root-husbandry,  of  orchard  fruits  and  fibres.  Vine¬ 
yards  rapidly  become  fewer,  maturing  only  quite  inland, 
and  wine  is  no  longer  a  common  drink.  Before  reaching 
the  mean  limit  of  wine  produce,  the  hilly  districts  of  Ger¬ 
many  present  interesting  illustrations  of  the  climatic  conflict 
of  plants.  The  vine-clad  hills  of  the  Upper  Rhine  and 
Moselle  strike  the  beholder  as  much  as  the  farming  of  their 
vicinity,  which  is  that  of  a  more  northerly  zone.  Over  the 
plateaux  of  Bavaria  and  Bohemia  also,  lofty  and  graceful 
curls  of  hop,  with  loose  hanging  cones  of  fruit,  challenge 
comparison  with  the  vineyards  of  the  Rhine  and  the 
trellised  gardens  of  Italy.  Choice  wines  are  made  in  a 
few  places,  but  Bavaria  is  most  celebrated  for  its  beer, 
of  which  the  inhabitants  consume  a  great  quantity.  A 
wag  in  Munich  once  described  a  well-known  toper  as 
“  a  beer-barrel  in  the  morning,  and  a  barrel  of  beer  every 
night.” 

In  this  zone,  more  than  in  any  other,  cultivation  has 
changed  the  aspect  of  Nature  ;  for  it  includes  the  busy  hives 
of  England  and  France,  and  the  chief  mining  and  manu¬ 
facturing  localities  of  the  Continent.  Except  in  Russia, 
towns  are  closely  packed,  kingdoms  are  crossed  by  numerous 


FOREIGN  PRODUCE:  EUROPE. 


95 


roads,  highways,  railways,  and  waterways,  and  the  seas 
are  crowded  with  ships  for  every  purpose  of  war,  commerce, 
fishing,  and  pleasure.  Each  country  reflects  its  own 
character,  notwithstanding  a  tolerably  uniform  climate 
and  vegetation.  France  is  laid  out  with  the  precision 
of  a  surveyor’s  plan ;  the  departments  and  communes 
are  intersected  by  trees  planted  at  exact  intervals.  Ancient 
Armorica  (Brittany)  produces  apples  and  pears  in  abund¬ 
ance,  and  the  orchards  are  more  pleasing  than  the  southern 
vineyards.  By  the  law  of  equal  division  of  property  at 
death  in  France,  the  empire  has  become  covered  with  small 
allotments,  and  the  hedges,  which  make  England  a  garden, 
have  disappeared.  There  is  thus  a  monotony  in  French 
husbandry,  from  which  the  north  only  escapes  by  the  pro¬ 
fusion  of  fruit-trees.  Every  homestead,  however,  contains 
poultry,  providing  eggs  and  large  stores  of  food,  besides  an 
immense  surplus  for  export.  Early  garden  and  orchard 
produce  are  sent  to  England. 

Holland  a7id  Belgium. — The  Netherlands  are  cut  into 
chequers  by  canals,  fringed  with  perspective  lines  of  poplars, 
the  greenness  and  many  vanishing  points  of  which  make  an 
otherwise  tame  country  attractive.  The  same  beaver-like 
industry  which  protected  the  Low  Countries  from  inunda¬ 
tion  has  enabled  the  inhabitants  to  extort  wealth  from  the 
rescued  lands,  and  to  make  the  most  unlikely  places  of 
human  residence  the  most  densely  peopled  parts  of  Europe. 
The  culture  of  flax,  hemp,  and  grain — especially  oats — 
cattle-rearing,  and  dairy-work,  are  all  important  industries. 
Holland  had  once  the  commerce  of  Europe  in  its  hands, 
and  still  retains  a  large  share.  Its  surplus  for  interchange 
consists  of  butter  and  cheese,  provisions,  cattle,  and  hides ; 
flax,  tow,  oats,  and  seeds — a  description  of  produce  which 
extends  also  to  the  alluvial  lands  of  Hanover  and  Denmark. 


96 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


The  canals  of  Holland  serve  the  double  purpose  of  inland 
communication  and  drainage. 

Where  Belgium  adjoins  Holland  it  partakes  of  the  same 
features,  but  farther  south  it  is  hilly  and  woody ;  minerals 
are  various  and  abundant,  including  almost  all  the  metals 
of  economic  value,  together  with  coal,  limestone,  and  free¬ 
stone.  Its  mines  of  coal  and  iron,  especially,  create  a  hive 
of  industry  competing  with  England.  The  kingdom  is  a 
succession  of  busy  towns,  so  near  together,  and  connected 
by  such  populous  farms,  that  it  is  like  the  metropolis  of  a 
great  empire.  The  animal  and  vegetable  produce  of  Belgium 
corresponds  with  that  of  the  countries  adjacent — early  garden 
stuff  and  eggs  as  in  France,  and  dairy  produce  as  in  Holland. 
Rabbits  are  specially  a  Belgian  product,  millions  being 
brought  from  Ostend  to  the  London  markets  during  the 
cold  months. 

Germany. — Germany,  until  recently,  was  split  up  into 
many  minor  states,  under  different  rulers,  all  claiming  old 
feudal  rights  and  privileges.  The  husbandry  of  its  varied 
surface  reflected  these  political  features,  rather  than  the  rapid 
advance  in  science  and  the  arts  of  production  exhibited  by 
other  countries.  Princes  and  grand-dukes  owned  inalien¬ 
ably  the  greater  part  of  the  soil,  and  claimed  powers  of  free 
grazing  after  harvest  upon  the  fields  of  their  tenants.  This 
led  to  a  persistent  uniformity  of  tillage,  and  checked  im¬ 
provement.  With  the  Fatherland  transformed  into  a  united 
German  Empire,  the  petty  restrictions  which  hampered  pro¬ 
duction  and  transport  were  removed ;  and  the  country  has 
been  benefited  thereby  immensely  in  its  agriculture,  manu¬ 
factures,  and  commerce. 

Nowhere  are  green  vegetables  so  fine.  The  cabbage 
flourishes  so  abundantly  as  to  form  a  national  dish,  and, 
under  the  form  of  saner  kraut,  is  esteemed  worthy  of  export. 


FOREIGN  PRODUCE:  EUROPE. 


97 


The  beet  is  grown,  as  in  France,  for  the  sugar  manufacture, 
which  demands  an  excessive  produce.  Rye  used  to  be  the 
common  grain,  but  is  no  longer  the  staple  of  food,  and 
wheat  of  a  high  quality  is  exported  by  way  of  Dantzic, 
which  name  it  commercially  bears.  The  plains  of  Northern 
Germany — Pomerania,  Brandenburg,  Mecklenburg,  Han¬ 
over,  and  the  adjacent  portions  of  Prussian  Saxony — are 
not  generally  fertile,  consisting  chiefly  of  sandy  heaths, 
forests  of  fir  and  pine,  with  marshes  towards  the  Baltic, 
and  inexhaustible  peat  or  turf,  used  for  fuel.  The  Baltic 
coast  of  Prussia  has  to  be  protected  from  the  sea,  like 
Holland.  Along  these  low  shores,  the  fossil  resin  called 
amber  is  found,  being  abundant  in  the  long  narrow  tongue 
of  land  shooting  out  from  near  Konigsberg  to  Memel, 
whence  it  is  dredged  from  the  submerged  forests.  Farther 
west,  the  Rhine  provinces  of  Prussia,  and  the  adjacent 
territory,  present  a  remarkably  diversified  surface  of  hill  and 
dale,  with  a  soil  largely  consisting  of  the  decomposed  material 
of  volcanic  rock,  notable  for  its  fertility.  These  districts 
possess  a  climate,  and  yield  products,  approaching  very 
nearly  in  their  character  to  those  of  the  more  southerly 
belt. 

Germany  is  remarkably  well  watered  by  small  streams, 
and  has  good  rivers  for  navigation,  their  courses  throughout 
the  north  being  mostly  slow,  through  the  flat  and  sandy 
plains.  The  central  mountain  range  makes  an  admirable 
watershed,  dividing  the  basins  of  the  Danube  and  the  Rhine, 
and  determining  the  course  of  the  smaller  rivers  to  the 
North  and  Baltic  Seas.  These  rivers,  and  numerous  lakes, 
abound  with  fish,  compensating  for  the  comparative  lack  of 
seaboard  and  marine  fisheries. 

In  Lower  Germany — that  is,  the  portion  lying  north  of 
the  central  watershed — cavalry  horses  are  largely  reared,  as 

well  as  numerous  sheep  and  cattle.  The  Saxony  fleece 
1.  G 


9 8  THE  NA  TURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 

fetches  the  highest  price  in  the  wool  market,  being  long  and 
silky  in  fibre,  and  producing  a  fine  cloth. 

The  forests,  in  favourable  parts,  cover  a  third  of  the  coun¬ 
try.  Oak,  beech,  and  chestnut  fatten  with  their  mast  immense 
numbers  of  hogs,  the  bristles  and  flesh  of  which  are  valuable 
economic  products.  The  wolf  and  the  boar  still  seek  in 
places  the  covert  of  the  leaves,  and  are  hunted  rather  more  for 
the  sake  of  extermination  than  for  produce.  Timber  is  an 
important  item  in  the  national  revenue.  Thousands  of  logs 
float  down  the  Rhine,  formed  into  rafts,  out  of  which  in  the 
course  of  transit  a  floating  village  is  built,  with  labourers, 
their  families,  and  appurtenances  for  shelter  and  food. 

Flax  and  hemp  are  largely  grown,  the  latter  attaining 
sixteen  feet  in  height,  and  being  full  of  fibre.  Every  cotter 
has  his  patch  of  land,  from  the  produce  of  which  coarse 
cloths  and  canvas  are  made. 

Russia. — Entering  Russia  through  the  plains  of  Northern 
Germany  (Prussia),  we  find  a  repetition  of  the  picture  just 
described  with  the  features  enlarged.  The  Sarmatian  plain 
reaches  to  the  Urals,  without  an  elevation  to  break  the 
ocean-like  level.  The  Valdai  Hills,  the  feeble  watershed  of 
European  Russia,  limit  the  plain  to  the  north,  and  the 
Carpathian  plateau  limits  it  to  the  south.  Through  these 
flats  flow  various  noble  rivers  and  their  tributaries,  swarming 
with  sturgeon,  producing  shagreen  and  isinglass,  and,  from 
the  roe,  caviare.  The  Volga  meanders  wearily  for  2400 
miles,  with  a  fall  of  three  inches  to  the  mile,  till  it  flows 
into  the  Caspian.  This  river  is  the  grand  waterway  for  the 
produce  of  the  Urals  and  Central  Russia,  and  for  the  com¬ 
modities  interchanged  at  Nijnii  Novgorod,  the  great  centre 
of  inland  trade,  where  merchandise  to  the  amount  of  many 
millions  is  sold  during  the  two  months  of  August  and 
September,  while  that  mart  is  open.  Well-laden  barges 


FOR  EIGN  PROD  UCE :  E  UR  OPE. 


99 


float  as  far  as  the  angle  where  the  river  bends  abruptly 
towards  its  delta  in  the  Caspian.  For  a  thousand  miles 
of  its  lower  course  the  Volga  runs  at  the  base  of  a  cliff, 
facing  the  east,  and  ranging  from  200  to  500  feet  high 
— the  sea-wall  of  a  pre-historic  and  vaster  Caspian.  This 
elevation  of  the  right  bank  of  the  Volga  renders  canal 
communication  with  the  Don  impracticable,  though  a  mere 
strip  separates  the  rivers ;  the  barges  are  lifted  bodily  at 
the  most  convenient  spot  on  to  a  tramway,  and  transferred 
to  the  Don,  whence  they  reach  the  Sea  of  Azof  and  the 
Black  Sea.  Here  their  freight  is  sold,  and  the  vessels  are 
broken  up  for  firewood,  realising  more  in  the  treeless 
steppes,  where  cow-dung  and  turf  are  commonly  used  for 
fuel,  than  their  value  if  sent  back  empty  to  the  forest-lands 
where  they  weie  rough-hewn. 

Peter  the  Great,  to  whom  Russia  owes  its  impetus  in 
civilisation,  was  the  first  to  perceive  the  facilities  of  the 
country  for  a  system  of  waterways,  and  he  connected  the 
basin  of  the  Volga  by  means  of  canals  with  the  Baltic  and 
Arctic  drainage.  This  scheme  has  since  been  developed, 
until  an  uninterrupted  communication  now  exists  between 
the  Arctic  Ocean  and  the  Baltic,  the  Black  Sea  and  the 
Caspian.  For  land  carriage  the  finest  highway  in  the  world 
is  probably  that  from  St.  Petersburg  to  Moscow,  which  is 
twice  as  wide  as  any  of  our  own,  macadamised  throughout, 
and  lined  with  trees  marking  the  number  of  versts.*  Several 
other  fine  roads  exist ;  the  chief  cities  also  are  being  con¬ 
nected  by  magnificent  lengths  of  railway.  Still,  as  a  rule, 
the  cross-roads  are  bad,  consisting  of  mere  tracks ;  and 
markets  are  so  difficult  of  access,  that  much  wealth  is 
wasted,  being  a  long  time  in  reaching  its  outport.  The 
boundless  southern  flats,  not  composed  of  marsh  or  arid 
steppes,  or  waving  with  grain,  are  productive  of  every  kind 

*  A  Russian  verst  equals  about  three-fourths  of  an  English  mile. 


IOO 


THE  NA  TURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


of  root-crop  and  of  hemp  and  flax.  Russia  thus,  with 
barbaric  bounty,  gives  to  the  nations  she  feeds,  linen  for 
their  clothing,  and  sacks  in  which  to  carry  their  corn. 

Upon  these  plains,  multitudes  of  horned  cattle  are  reared, 
as  well  as  millions  of  sheep,  from  which  are  obtained  the  wool, 
hides,  and  tallow  that  figure  so  largely  amongst  Russian 
exports.  Beeves  roam  over  the  Sarmatian  government  of  the 
Ukraine  in  huge  herds,  whence  came,  it  is  generally  believed, 
the  cattle  disease,  from  which  our  dairies  suffered  so  terribly. 
Horses,  likewise,  so  abound  that  the  Cossacks,  the  Centaurs 
of  the  ancient  Greeks,  are  said  to  live  in  the  saddle. 

The  central  territory  is  covered  with  forests.  Woods 
stretch  from  St.  Petersburg  to  Moscow  almost  without  a 
break,  and  it  was  a  saying  that  a  squirrel  might  pass  from 
the  one  city  to  the  other  without  touching  the  ground. 
The  largest  forests  in  Europe  are  round  the  sources  of  the 
Volga.  The  government  of  Perm  has  but  an  eighteenth  of 
its  soil  uncovered  by  trees.  Lime,  beech,  oak,  and  elm, 
form  distinct  forests  ;  while  the  maple,  ash,  willow,  alder,  and 
other  trees  are  well  represented.  Towards  the  north,  the 
birch  and  pine  prevail  over  all  the  forest  trees.  Immense 
herds  of  swine  range  these  forests,  which  also  harbour  the 
bear  and  wolf.  The  peasants,  who,  till  the  late  Emperor’s 
reign,  were  serfs  of  the  great  proprietors  and  sold  with  the 
estates,  have  always  been  allowed  a  pecuniary  interest  in 
the  herds  of  swine,  saving  the  bristles  for  itinerant  merchants, 
and  feeding  upon  the  flesh.  The  freedom  granted  them 
by  the  Emperor  Alexander  has  already  stimulated  their 
industry  and  thrift,  and  led  them  on  in  the  path  of  civilisa¬ 
tion.  Bees  in  the  same  districts  feed  upon  the  multitude 
of  wild  summer  flowers  blooming  in  every  open  part,  and 
build  their  hives  in  hollow  trees.  Prodigious  quantities  of 
honey  and  wax  are  produced,  many  Russians  having  thou¬ 
sands  of  hives,  the  care  of  which  is  their  chief  vocation. 


FOREIGN  PR  OD  UCE :  E  UROPE. 


IOI 


Timber  is  the  bulkiest,  as  well  as  one  of  the  most  valu¬ 
able  constituents  of  the  raw  produce  of  Russia,  but  it  is  far 
from  being  the  only  wealth  of  the  forest.  Tar,  pitch,  resin, 
turpentine,  spruce  beer,  potash,  are  all  useful  commodities, 
and  wood  for  fuel,  in  a  climate  so  rigorous  in  winter,  is 
invaluable. 

Minerals. — Iron  is  obtained  from  the  Valdai  Hills ; 
copper  in  the  hills  to  the  north  of  Lake  Onega ;  marble 
from  Finland,  and  salt  from  the.  saline  lakes  in  the  south¬ 
east.  The  precious  metals,  including  platinum,  are  found 
in  the  Urals,  but  on  the  Asiatic  slope.  The  mineral  wealth 
of  Russia  is  thus  chiefly  in  the  coldest  parts  of  the  climatic 
zone. 

Barley,  oats,  and  rye,  with  favourable  aspects,  mature  as 
far  north  as  lat.  70°,  and  are  used  as  descriptives  of  the 
next  climatic  division  of  Europe ;  that  is  to  say — 

The  Zone  of  Northern  Grains. 

The  limit  of  wheat  growth  is  the  northern  boundary  of 
the  zone  we  have  been  studying.  Wheat  struggles  to  main¬ 
tain  its  supremacy,  but  with  an  ever  feebler  force,  as  it  pene¬ 
trates  the  higher  latitudes.  It  succumbs  in  the  British 
Islands  at  the  level  of  the  sea,  at  58°.  In  Norway  wheat 
ripens  at  Drontheim  in  lat.  64° ;  the  limit  descending 
thence  to  St.  Petersburg  in  lat.  6o°,  and  still  further  south 
in  the  Russian  interior. 

This  region  severs  the  north  Scottish  Highlands  from 
Great  Britain,  takes  in  the  greater  part  of  the  Norse 
peninsula,  and,  in  an  irregular  line,  crosses  Russia  to  the 
Urals.  The  southern  limits  are  comparatively  mild;  the 
northern  limits  are  perpetually  frozen ;  and  the  chill  shade 
deepens  in  passing  from  the  one  to  the  other  extreme. 
An  Arctic  vegetation  is  all  that  the  Scotch  hills  possess, 


102 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


although  the  Gulf  Stream  keeps  the  western  channels  free 
from  frost.  Norway  enjoys  the  like  immunities;  its  inlets 
and  fiords,  from  the  Naze  to  North  Cape,  are  clear  of  ice, 
and  vessels  can  steer  round  Mageroe  all  the  year.  Yet  on 
the  mountain  ridge,  a  little  distance  inland,  the  snow  line 
descends  to  the  lowest  elevations,  and  glaciers  glide  to  the 
very  verge  of  the  frozen  Baltic. 

Arctic  Russia. — The  shores  of  Arctic  Russia  shelve, 
cliffless,  down  to  the  ocean,  descending  like  the  snowdrift 
direct  into  the  water.  Without  a  rampart  from  the  polar 
blasts,  there  is  an  intensity  of  cold  in  these  lowlands  not 
counterbalanced  by  genial  winds. 

The  Baltic. — The  shallow  and  tideless  Baltic  has  scarcely 
a  sounding  that  could  submerge  St.  Paul’s  Cathedral,  and  the 
pine-trees  around  would  show  their  crowns  if  planted  in  any 
other  part  of  it  than  the  Gulf  of  Bothnia.  Its  navigation  is 
impeded  by  shoals  and  banks.  Being  nearly  landlocked, 
it  is  little  affected  by  the  ocean,  and  is  fed  only  with  fresh 
water.  Open  also  to  the  polar  winds  that  freeze  the  many 
lakes  of  Finland,  the  Baltic  becomes  in  winter  a  solid  high¬ 
way  between  Russia  and  Sweden  for  sledges,  and  traffickers 
with  their  merchandise  poised  on  their  heads.  Merchant¬ 
men  are  ice-bound  before  Cronstadt ;  the  morass  upon 
which  the  Russian  capital  is  built  feels  the  rigour  of  months 
of  frost.  Famished  with  hunger,  the  wolves  leave  their 
lair,  making  night  hideous,  and  filling  the  droschky  drivers’ 
hearts  with  fear. 

Lapland  and  Finmark. — The  ungainly  reindeer  turns 
up  the  Lapland  snow  with  his  shovel- like  antlers,  for  the 
“moss”  or  lichen,  which,  by  Nature’s  provision,  is  longest 
and  most  profuse  in  winter,  when  other  food  cannot  be  got, 


FOR EIGN  PROD  UCE :  E  UR  OPE.  103 

and  thrives  upon  such  scanty  pasturage.  The  rich  Lap¬ 
lander  counts  his  patriarchal  wealth  in  reindeer,  often 
owning  a  thousand,  just  as  at  the  other  extreme  of  climate 
the  Arab  numbers  his  wealth  in  camels.  The  reindeer,  like 
the  camel,  combines,  in  the  service  of  man,  the  whole  range 
of  usefulness  of  our  domestic  quadrupeds.  Where  the  ox, 
sheep,  and  horse  would  perish  from  the  climate  and  want 
of  sustenance,  these  representative  creatures  give  their  flesh 
and  milk  for  food,  their  skin  for  clothing,  while  they  are 
patient  beasts  of  burden,  and  satisfy  numberless  human 
wants. 

Winter,  in  the  greater  part  of  this  zone,  lasts  for  nine 
months  in  the  year,  coming  suddenly,  without  autumnal  pre¬ 
paration,  and  breaking  forth  into  summer  without  the 
intervention  of  spring,  when,  says  the  proverb,  “a  man  may 
hear  the  grass  grow.”  As  soon  as  the  cheerless  season  has 
passed,  the  snows  melt  on  the  Norwegian  hills;  cataracts 
take  their  headlong  leaps  and  flash  their  surcharged  waters 
into  winding  inlets,  eager  to  join  the  ocean ;  the  swollen 
streams  burst  with  the  force  of  a  deluge,  and  devastate  the 
lowlands  lying  between. 

Forests. — Only  at  this  season  are  the  rivers  full  enough 
to  carry  to  the  sea  the  burden  of  timber,  the  great  con¬ 
stituent  of  Scandinavian  wealth.  In  many  places  transit 
cannot  be  accomplished,  and  the  forests,  in  their  lonely 
solemnity,  unmolested  by  man,  breathe  forth  the  mournful 
wail  peculiar  to  the  pine  tribe. 

Sea-fowl. — Innumerable  sea-fowl  skim  the  surf  or  sweep 
the  sky.  Responding  to  their  instincts,  they  line  their  nests 
with  down,  of  the  thick  undergrowth  of  which  they  are 
twice  rifled  by  the  daring  fowler.  The  fiords  of  Norway, 
the  Baltic  coasts  of  Bothnia,  the  polar  shores  of  Russia,  and 


io4 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


the  islands  of  the  Arctic  Ocean  are  alive  with  sea-fowl. 
Besides  affording  the  luxury  of  eider  coverlets  and  beds  of 
elastic  down,  their  flesh  is  useful,  where  so  much  else  is 
denied,  and  their  quills  are  a  constituent  of  commercial 
wealth  of  which  Riga  is  the  chief  depot. 

Fisheries. — A  teeming  world  of  aquatic  life  exceeds  in 
number,  if  not  in  interest,  the  feathered  one.  The  species 
are  few,  but  the  individuals — as  is  distinctive  of  the  polar 
zones — are  numerous  beyond  computation.  Fishermen 
haunt  every  fiord  as  well  as  the  open  sea,  capturing  millions 
of  cod  and  other  fish,  which  they  salt  for  markets  as  distant 
as  Spain  and  the  Mediterranean,  and  the  streams  are 
tenanted  with  salmon.  Fishing  and  fowling  are  the  sole 
maintenance  of  the  granite  group  of  the  Lofoden  Isles,  to 
the  great  cod  fishery  of  which  men  resort  from  all  parts  of 
Norway.  Billingsgate  relies  upon  Norway  chiefly  for  its 
daily  stock  of  lobsters,  the  consignments  amounting  annually 
to  a  surprising  value.  Fish-oils,  for  the  purposes  of  illumi¬ 
nation  as  well  as  for  food,  are  sought  from  the  seal,  and 
from  a  kind  of  shark,  the  liver  of  which,  containing  several 
gallons  of  clear  oil,  is  the  only  part  regarded. 

Revival  of  Industry. — As  summer  advances,  the  whirr 
of  many  water-mills  blends  with  the  roar  of  the  floods,  and 
industrial  sounds  reverberate.  The  mining  districts  are 
animated  with  busy  labour,  Swedish,  Laplandish,  Finnish, 
and  Russian.  Emphatically,  the  husbandman  “  works  while 
it  is  called  day.”  Stockholm,  the  Swedish  Venice,  glistens 
in  the  waters  of  the  archipelago  upon  which  it  is  founded, 
and  merchandise,  unlocked  from  its  icy  moorings,  gives  life 
again  to  the  Neva. 

Grass  grows  on  every  patch  of  soil,  and  flowers  gladden 
the  ground  suddenly,  as  if  touched  by  a  fairy  wand.  Larks 


FOREIGN  PRODUCE:  EUROPE.  105 

and  nightingales  make  the  sky  echo  with  song.  Barley, 
oats,  and  rye  may  be  measured  in  their  daily  growth.  They 
are  in  seed,  blade,  and  ear,  ripened  and  reaped,  within  the 
brief  three  months’  summer.  In  this  short  season,  the  nig¬ 
gard  plains  of  Lapland  produce  corn,  and  potatoes,  and 
butter,  for  export  to  Sweden. 

An  arch  of  liquid  blue,  dashed  with  tufts  and  patches  of 
pearly  vapour  outdazzling  the  sea-foam,  with  a  procession 
of  clouds,  tinted  by  sunbeams,  scudding  beneath,  is  Nature’s 
glorified  canopy.  Each  day  the  sun  remains  longer  above 
the  horizon,  and  each  night’s  dispersion  of  heat  grows  less. 
The  lengthened  day  accumulates  heat,  and  tempts  out  the 
gnat-like  insects  :  the  reindeer  is  punctured  with  the  stings 
of  the  gad-fly ;  midsummer  comes  before  the  first  summer 
greetings  are  over,  and  then,  in  the  farthest  north,  the  sun 
sets  and  rises  without  leaving  the  horizon. 

Gradations  in  the  Fauna  and  Flora. 

Fauna. — Interesting  gradations  in  the  fauna  and  flora 
are  observable  through  the  zone.  Animals  being  limited  by 
the  prevalence  of  their  food,  it  is  only  in  the  lower  and 
milder  latitudes  that  the  common  domestic  cattle  are  found. 
The  deer  is  stalked  in  the  hills  of  Scotland,  and  the  elk  in 
Sweden.  The  wild  ox  is  rare  even  in  Russia.  The  bison 
or  auroch  is  now  almost,  if  not  exclusively,  confined  to  the 
forest  of  Bialowikza,  in  Lithuania.  Excepting  reindeer,  the 
animals,  beyond  the  confines  of  wheat,  are  almost  exclusively 
flesh-eaters.  Bears  are  not  fastidious  in  their  diet,  but  the 
polar  species  is  wholly  a  beast  of  prey.  Nature,  however, 
indulgent  in  her  harshest  moods,  adapts  the  beaver,  sable, 
ermine,  and  fox  to  an  abode  amongst  the  snows,  and  offers 
their  thick  and  warm  furs  as  a  compensation  to  man  for 
braving  the  bitterness  of  a  polar  winter. 


I  O  6  THE  NATURAL  HIS  TOR  Y  OF  COMMER  CE. 

Flora. — The  most  northerly  point  to  which  wheat  reaches 
is  64°  :  rye,  oats,  and  barley  ripen  as  far  as  69°  or  70°.  The 
potato  and  green  vegetables  grow  at  North  Cape  in  about 
the  same  latitude,  but  only  in  lower  latitudes  inland.  Berry 
fruits,  such  as  cranberries — of  which  many  casks  are  exported 
from  Russia — strawberries,  bilberries,  and  currants,  enhance 
their  flavour  in  this  zone  to  an  excellence  unknown  in 
England.  Trees  have  a  wide  range,  their  vigour,  however, 
being  checked  in  approaching  the  pole.  The  beech  and  elm 
extend  as  far  north  as  6o°.  In  Sweden  and  Norway  the 
oak  reaches  62°,  and  the  lime,  which  in  Russia  forms  the 
largest  European  forests,  reaches  63°.  The  firs  reach  68°  N., 
and  the  willow  and  birch  slightly  beyond  the  potato  limit. 
These  high  latitudes,  nevertheless,  are  attained  only  in  the 
parts  influenced  by  the  Gulf  Stream.  Inland,  owing  to  the 
greater  cold,  the  limit  falls  short  by  five  or  six  degrees  of 
latitude.  The  birch,  at  the  Isle  of  Hammerfest,  does  not 
exceed  the  height  of  a  man,  and  at  the  extreme  limits,  half- 
a-dozen  full-grown  trees  of  the  dwarf  species  could  stand, 
it  is  said,  on  an  octavo  page.  Coniferous  trees  retain  their 
energy  beyond  the  normal  range  of  the  leaf-shedders,  and 
are  amongst  the  last  to  disappear.  Local  physical  amenities, 
however,  occasionally  reproduce  examples  of  these  trees,  so 
that  the  birch,  mountain  ash,  and  Scotch  fir  are  not  finally 
arrested  before  reaching  latitude  70°  N.  Within  a  few 
leagues  of  Tornea,  there  are  forests  of  birch  and  spruce, 
the  trees  attaining  a  height  of  twenty-five  feet,  and  a  girth 
of  two  feet.  Beyond  the  limit  of  trees,  vegetation  dwindles 
down  to  ground  berries,  saxifrages,  and  flowerless  plants; 
still  a  few  mosses,  lichens,  and  grasses  struggle  for  exist¬ 
ence  as  near  to  the  pole  as  explorers  have  been  able  to 
penetrate. 


CHAPTER  X. 


ASIA:  CLIMATE,  SOIL,  RAW  PRODUCE. 

General  Description — Climate  — Mineral,  Animal,  and  Vegetable  Pro* 
duce — Plants  peculiar  to  Africa  and  Asia. 

Europe  and  Asia  are  strictly  but  one  continent,  lying 
mostly  in  the  same  latitudes,  and  having  many  features  in 
common.  While,  however,  Europe  barely  trenches  on  the 
region  of  palms,  Asia  extends  through  the  sub-tropical  zone, 
and  has  one  seventh  of  its  surface  within  the  tropics. 
Compared  with  Europe  again,  the  climate  of  Asia  is  colder 
than  the  latitude  would  indicate ;  the  line  of  permanently 
frozen  sub-soil  descending  in  the  coldest  parts  of  the  interior 
to  latitude  50°,  which  is  20°  farther  south  than  on  the  west 
coast  of  Europe.  Similarly,  the  limits  of  cultivation  of 
the  useful  plants,  by  which  we  divided  Europe  into  botanical 
zones,  are  modified  in  Asia,  yielding  to  the  tendency  to 
descend.  The  vine,  which  flourishes  at  50°  in  inland  parts 
of  Europe,  nowhere  ripens  beyond  450  in  Asia,  its  native 
soil,  where  the  wild  grape  is  a  common  plant,  and  sinks  to 
350  on  the  Pacific  coast.  The  region  of  palms,  which  in¬ 
cludes  Sicily  in  the  west,  slants  south-eastwards  to  Canton 
on  the  Tropic  of  Cancer.  Bearing  this  tendency  in  mind, 
wre  may  trace  the  zones  and  sub-zones  of  growth,  descriptive 
of  Europe,  across  the  continent  of  Asia,  allowing  for  a 
variable  southward  deflection  of  from  five  to  ten  degrees  of 
latitude. 

The  climate  of  the  northern,  eastern,  and  central  parts 
is  subject  to  great  extremes  of  heat  and  cold  in  the  summer 


I  O  3  THE  NATURAL  HIS  TOR  Y  OF  COMMER  CE. 

and  winter  respectively ;  but  only  in  the  east  and  in  the 
islands  can  it  be  described  as  variable.  It  is  very  dry  and 
cold  in  the  north,  and  upon  the  central  table-lands ;  but  hot 
and  humid  in  the  south,  where  there  are  only  wet  and  dry 
seasons,  without  any  winter. 

Various  causes  produce  the  peculiarities  of  temperature 
thus  adverted  to.  The  magnitude  of  the  surface  of  Asia 
gives  it  a  true  continental  as  contrasted  with  an  insular 
climate.  The  land  absorbs  and  radiates  heat  more  readily 
than  the  ocean.  In  summer,  therefore,  the  spacious  table¬ 
lands  and  plains  of  Asia  accumulate  a  vast  store  of  heat, 
which  they  give  off  again  in  winter,  and  between  the  two 
extremes  there  is  a  great  range  unqualified  by  any  of  the 
equalising  influences  of  the  sea.  The  approximation  of  the 
land  to  the  pole  is  another  cause  of  low  temperature.  The 
flatness  of  the  northern  regions  interposes  no  barrier  to  the 
cold  blasts  from  the  icy  ocean,  while  the  Himalaya  range 
and  its  adjuncts  effectually  shut  out  the  hot  and  the  moist 
winds  of  the  tropics.  One  result  of  the  dryness  of  the 
northern  atmosphere  is  that  the  snow-line  of  the  Himalayas 
is  3000  feet  higher  on  the  northern  slope  than  on  the 
southern  counter-slope.  The  district  of  the  greatest  cold  is 
in  Siberia,  where  a  mean  winter  temperature  of  40°  below 
zero  is  met  with  on  either  side  of  the  lower  course  of  the 
Lena,  from  Yakoutsk  to  the  sea.  The  district  of  the 
greatest  heat  is  in  Arabia,  where  a  mean  annual  temperature 
over  90°  is  met  with  on  either  side  of  the  Tropic  of  Cancer, 
extending  across  the  Red  Sea  and  Nubia  into  the  interior 
of  Africa.  Thus  in  every  way,  Asia  is  the  continent  of 
extremes.  The  cold  of  Siberia  is  so  intense  and  perma¬ 
nent  in  its  effects  that  the  greatest  heat  of  summer  cannot 
thaw  more  than  four  or  five  feet  of  the  soil.  As  an  example 
of  climatic  extremes,  we  may  take  China.  Pekin,  the  capital, 
in  about  the  latitude  of  Naples,  has  an  Egyptian  summer 


ASIA  :  MINERAL,  ANIMAL ,  VEGETABLE  PRODUCE.  109 

and  a  Russian  winter;  and  the  summer  of  Canton,  in  the 
south,  is  hotter  than  that  of  India,  being  less  favoured  with 
sea  breezes,  and  less  elevated. 

“  Nature,”  says  Malte  Brun,  “  has  given  to  each  of  these 
regions  a  physical  character,  which  human  industry  will 
never  succeed  in  changing,  or  even  in  modifying  in  a  sen¬ 
sible  degree.  As  long  as  the  present  equilibrium  of  the 
globe  shall  continue,  the  ice  will  pile  itself  up  in  the  mouths 
of  the  Obi  and  Lena ;  the  winds  will  wdiistle  in  the  deserts 
of  Shamo,  and  Thibet  will  not  see  the  snows  of  its  Alps 
disappear  before  the  rays  of  the  sun,  which  at  so  little  a 
distance  scorches  the  tropical  regions.  Thus  the  Tartar 
is  called  to  the  agricultural  and  pastoral  life,  as  the  Siberian 
is  to  the  chase.  India,  in  appearance  more  fortunate,  owes 
in  great  part  to  its  climate  that  effeminacy,  that  indolence, 
which  invites  foreign  robbers  and  domestic  tyranny.” 

Soil.— South  of  the  Himalaya  range,  and  in  China,  the 
soil  may  be  described  as  very  fertile.  In  the  north,  steppes, 
and  tundras  or  frozen  bogs,  prevail.  Much  of  the  central 
table-land,  and  the  countries  in  the  same  line,  are  deserts, 
generally  saline.  In  fact,  the  great  desert  region  of  the 
world,  unbroken  except  by  fertile  strips  of  soil  near  rivers, 
such  as  the  Tigris  and  Euphrates,  or  by  a  mountain  chain, 
may  be  traced  from  the  Atlantic,  on  the  western  coast  of 
Africa,  nearly  to  the  Pacific,  on  the  east  of  Asia. 

PRODUCE  :  MINERAL ,  ANIMAL,  VEGETABLE. 

The  expanse  of  Asia  is  so  vast  that  every  geological 
condition  is  represented,  and  consequently  minerals  of  every 
kind  are  found.  Diamonds  and  other  precious  stones  are 
found  in  Hindostan  and  Siberia,  whence  have  come  almost 
all  the  world-famed  jewels.  Borneo  and  the  East  India 


I  IO 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


islands  produce  precious  stones.  Borneo  also  exports  large 
quantities  of  antimony.  Gold  is  found  in  Siberia,  India, 
the  Chinese  empire,  and  Japan.  Silver  is  found  in  the 
same  countries,  and  in  the  Turkish  dominions.  Siberia 
also  produces  platinum.  Tin  and  galena  in  large  quantities, 
and  some  amount  of  gold  are  obtained  from  the  Malayan 
peninsula,  and  from  the  islands  to  the  south.  Both  metals 
are  also  met  with  in  China.  Perak,  the  synonym  for  silver,  is 
very  rich  in  metals.  Malacca  or  Malaya  is  believed  to  be, 
by  some  authorities,  the  Mount  Ophir  of  the  Scriptures, 
and  a  hill  there  still  bears  that  ancient  name.  Copper, 
iron,  and  lead,  are  found  in  many  parts.  Quicksilver  is 
obtained  in  Japan,  the  Chinese  empire,  and  in  Ceylon. 
Coal  is  worked  in  China  and  Hindostan,  and  exists,  as  yet 
unworked,  in  adjacent  territory.  Salt  is  the  common  pro¬ 
duct  of  most  parts  of  Asia,  though  scarce  in  some  countries  ; 
in  the  interior  of  Hindostan  it  becomes  one  of  the  chief 
commodities  imported.  Graphite  is  mined  in  Siberia,  and 
a  deposit  of  unknown  richness  has  been  traced  through 
the  ice-bound  solitudes  of  the  great  river  Tungouska,  which 
appears  to  place  Russia  far  in  advance  of  all  the  world 
besides,  in  the  produce  of  this  archaic  record  of  earth’s 
earliest  coal. 

Animal  Produce. 

In  Asia  is  the  probable  centre  whence  came  our  domestic 
animals,  all  of  which  are  represented  in  the  several  faunal 
zones.  Besides  these,  there  are  domestic  animals  which 
have  not  become  diffused  through  Europe.  Thus,  in  the 
desert  regions,  the  horse  is  displaced  for  draught  by  the 
camel,  an  animal  so  early  subjugated  to  the  use  of  man, 
that  human  history  fails  to  go  back  to  a  time  when  wild 
camels  were  known.  The  elephant  succeeds  in  the  south 
and  south-east,  where  the  large  quantity  of  rich  succulent 


ASIA  :  MINERAL ,  ANIMAL ,  VEGETABLE  PRODUCE.  I  I  I 


vegetable  food  required  by  this  enormous  beast  abounds. 
The  one-hunched  Arabian  camel,  or  dromedary,  ranges 
across  Africa,  Arabia,  Persia,  to  the  great  central  table-lands. 
The  two-hunched  or  Bactrian  camel  then  takes  its  place, 
and  extends  as  far  north  as  the  latitude  of  50°.  The  Siberian 
reindeer,  on  the  other  hand,  descends  from  the  north  as 
low  as  the  same  latitude,  and  the  representatives  of  the 
hottest  and  coldest  climes  meet  along  this  line.  The  stock 
of  elephants  is  constantly  recruited  by  snaring  and  taming 
wild  ones,  the  tame  animals  seldom  breeding  while  in  sub¬ 
jection.  Horses  abound  over  these  parts,  but  the  domesti¬ 
cated  varieties  are  almost  solely  used  for  riding  and  war. 
The  ass  of  Asia  is  a  beautiful  animal,  chiefly  found  in  the 
south-west  countries,  both  in  a  wild  state  and  reclaimed. 
The  Brahmin  ox  is  a  sacred  animal  amongst  the  Hindoos, 
and  treated  with  scrupulous  reverence.  The  Angora  goat 
of  Asia  Minor  and  the  Thibet  goat  are  celebrated  for  their 
long  and  silky  hair.  The  pig  is  favoured  by  the  Chinese, 
but  is  abominated  as  unclean  in  the  Mohammedan  parts  of 
Asia.  Wild  horses,  cattle,  sheep,  asses,  and  elephants  live 
in  herds  or  flocks,  and  furnish  the  kips  or  small  hides,  the 
skins,  wool,  horn,  and  ivory  so  largely  exported.  Other 
animals  never  yet  subjugated  are  still  productive  of  many 
useful  commodities.  Such  are  the  lion,  tiger,  leopard, 
jackal,  wolf,  and  bear,  whose  skins  are  highly  valued;  and 
various  kinds  of  deer  and  antelopes,  the  prey  of  packs  of 
wolves  and  jackals,  or  of  the  solitary  lion  and  tiger.  The 
fur-bearing  animals  and  other  carnivora  of  the  northern 
plains  correspond  very  closely  with  those  of  Europe  in  the 
same  zone,  and  are  as  eagerly  trapped  for  the  sake  of  their 
costly  skins. 

The  names  of  our  common  fowls  point  to  Asia  as  the 
centre  whence  they  were  diffused,  and  to  the  fact  that  they 
made  their  appearance  in  Europe  much  later  than  other 


I  12 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


domesticated  animals.  Fowls  are  nowhere  depicted  on 
Egyptian  monuments  or  referred  to  in  the  Hebrew  Scriptures, 
though  geese  and  ducks  were  well  known  to  the  ancients. 
The  Bantam  variety  has  been  long  known  in  our  country 
for  its  courage  and  fighting  propensities.  The  Cochin- 
China  fowl  has  been  introduced  into  Europe  during  the 
present  generation.  South-eastern  and  Further  India  abound 
with  the  wild  stock  of  all  our  pheasant  tribe.  There  are 
few  warblers  in  Asia,  and  the  range  of  the  nightingale  ends 
in  Persia;  but  the  plumage  of  many  birds  is  unequalled. 
The  feathers  of  the  gold  and  silver  pheasant,  of  the  peacock, 
and  of  the  ostrich  of  Arabia,  are  of  great  value  for  dress  and 
decoration.  Parrots  are  also  very  numerous. 

Porcellaneous  and  nacreous  shells  of  every  variety  of  size 
and  beauty  are  found  on  the  varied  shores  of  Asia,  suitable 
for  ornament,  for  cameo-cutting,  and  for  the  manufacture  of 
mother-of-pearl.  Of  the  pearl  oysters,  properly  so  called, 
none  have  been  so  long  notable  as  those  dived  for  along 
the  Cingalese  and  Coromandel  coast,  and  in  the  Persian 
Gulf.  There  are  less  productive  pearl  fisheries  in  the  Red 
Sea  and  on  the  American  coast. 

Vegetable  Produce. 

The  same  physical  causes  that  give  variety  to  animal  life 
in  Asia,  influence  in  like  manner  the  vegetable  produce. 
The  floral  zones  are  less  irregular  than  the  faunal,  for  while 
animals  are  limited  in  their  range  by  the  prevalence  of  food, 
or  by  their  special  adaptations,  their  capacity  for  locomotion 
gives  them  a  power  of  widening  or  modifying  their  range, 
not  possessed  by  plants. 

The  flora  of  Asia  consists,  in  the  first  place,  of  plants 
indigenous  to  the  continent,  but  now  also  diffused  through 
other  parts  of  the  world  ;  in  the  second  place,  of  indigenous 
plants  not  yet  diffused  :  in  the  third  place,  of  plants  which 
have  spread  by  nature,  or  have  been  introduced  by  man. 


ASIA  :  MINERAL ,  ANIMAL ,  VEGETABLE  PRODUCE.  \  13 

Viewing  the  flora  as  a  whole,  we  may  say  that  Asia  has  given 
much  and  received  little.  It  is  the  native  home  of  most  of 
our  useful  plants,  as  well  as  of  our  animals.  Its  flora  and 
fauna  are  now  the  most  exuberant,  both  in  number  and 
kind,  on  the  surface  of  the  earth,  and  its  kingdoms  are  the 
most  densely  peopled.  The  conditions  of  life  are  here  fully 
developed,  excepting  in  the  northern  plains,  on  the  central 
table-land,  and  in  the  deserts,  where  climate  and  soil  allow 
but  little  growth  either  of  trees  or  plants. 

European  fruits  are  mostly  of  Asiatic  origin.  The  vine, 
olive,  orange,  lemon,  cherry,  almond,  walnut,  peach,  and  fig 
still  grow  wild  in  the  wine  and  olive  zone  of  this  continent ; 
the  olive  principally  west  of  Hindostan,  the  vine  in  great 
perfection  in  Turkey  and  Persia,  and  ranging  across  to 
China.  The  pine-apple  is  so  common  in  India  as  to  be 
almost  valueless. 

Of  our  flowers,  the  China  aster  and  Chinese  primrose, 
with  a  whole  host  of  recent  introductions  bearing  the 
specific  name  of  Japonica ,  or  Japanese,  tell  their  own  origin. 
The  camellia,  damask  rose,  hydrangea,  chrysanthemum, 
weeping  willow,  and  many  others  of  our  choicest  flowers 
and  ornamental  trees,  have  been  brought  from  China  and 
other  Asiatic  districts. 

Of  grain  common  to  Europe,  Asia  produces,  in  its  corre¬ 
sponding  zones,  rice  and  maize,  wheat,  millet,  and  barley ; 
with  oats  and  rye  in  smaller  proportion.  Rice,  barley, 
millet,  and  rye  are  probably  indigenous.  The  vegetation  of 
Siberia  and  Manchuria  is  the  same  as  that  of  the  like  parts 
of  Russia  in  Europe. 

It  is,  however,  in  the  sub-tropical  and  tropical  countries 
that  the  flora  of  Asia  is  exhibited  in  its  fulness  of  power  and 
beauty.  Botanically  this  is  the  region  of  palms,  the  northern 
boundary  of  which  sweeps,  with  local  circumstances  of 
climate,  across  the  Old  World,  from  about  250  to  40°  of 


1  14  THE  na  tural  history  of  commerce. 

north  latitude,  touching  Europe  only  in  the  extreme  south  of 
Spain,  Italy,  and  the  Morea.  The  whole  region  of  palms  is 
a  band  of  an  irregular  breadth,  being  40°  wide  in  its 
narrowest  part,  and  70°  in  the  widest  part,  and  is  situated 
pretty  equally  on  each  side  of  the  equator.  It  takes  in  the 
whole  of  Africa,  with  the  exception  of  Cape  Colony,  and  the 
northern  half  of  Australia.  These  boundaries  are  nearly 
conterminous  with  the  limits  of  rice  growth,  and  are  circum¬ 
scribed,  at  a  mean  distance  of  about  50  north  and  south,  by 
the  limits  of  vine  culture. 

AFRICA  AND  SOUTHERN  ASIA. 

Of  the  many  species  of  palms,  the  date  and  the  cocoa-nut 
palm  are  the  most  distinctive.  The  date-palm  ranges  across 
the  deserts  of  Africa  and  Asia,  from  the  Atlantic  to  the 
Himalayas.  The  district  of  cocoa-nuts  is  from  Ceylon  east¬ 
wards  to  the  Pacific,  this  palm  loving  the  neighbourhood  of 
the  sea.  The  date  is  the  principal  food  of  the  roving  desert 
tribes,  who  wonder  how  people  can  live  elsewhere  without 
it.  Rice  is  the  chief  food  of  the  densely-peopled  countries 
of  India  and  China.  The  sugar-cane  is  cultivated  in  Africa 
as  well  as  in  Asia,  and  coffee,  now  so  extensively  grown  in 
Arabia  and  India,  is  supposed  to  have  spread  from  Abyssinia. 
The  distinctive  fruits  of  the  wine  and  oil  countries,  oranges, 
peaches,  pine-apples,  figs,  and  almonds,  range  also  through 
the  region  of  palms.  Palm-oil  is  produced  exclusively  in 
Africa,  and  correspondingly,  cocoa-nut  oil  is  obtained  in 
Ceylon.  This  last  oil  is  more  properly  designated  coco-nut 
oil,  being  the  fruit  of  the  cocos  nucifera.  Cocoa  proper,  from 
which  the  beverages  cocoa  and  chocolate  are  prepared,  is 
the  produce  of  the  Theobroma  cacao  or  cacao  bean,  quite  a 
different  plant.  This  distinction  between  the  two  products 
saves  error,  and  is  now  generally  adopted. 


AFRICA  AND  SOUTHERN  ASIA.  I  I  5 

Teak  and  other  timber  trees  are  common  to  both  con¬ 
tinents,  and  cotton  is  a  universal  product,  every  part  of  the 
zone  proving  its  capability  of  cotton  growth  during  the 
American  war,  when  our  supplies  from  the  United  States 
wrere  stopped.  The  area  of  supply  expanded  so  rapidly 
that  our  importations  when  at  the  lowrest  amounted  to 
300,000,000  lbs.  The  accidental  stimulus  to  production, 
being  removed  by  peace,  the  reaction  has  been  violent,  and 
supplies  have  sunk  to  zero  in  many  promising  places,  as 
rapidly  as  they  are  recovering  former  dimensions  in  the 
Southern  States.  Egyptian  cotton  is  of  fine  quality,  and  in 
India  there  is  not  a  spot  but  produces  one  or  another  variety. 
China,  too,  has  been  noted,  time  out  of  mind,  for  a  buff- 
coloured  staple  called  nankeen. 

The  animals  of  Africa  are  akin  to  those  of  Asia,  but  very 
few  of  them  have  been  tamed.  Of  useful  animal  products, 
a  description  has  been  given  in  connection  with  the  British 
settlements  and  colonies  in  Africa,  to  which  may  be  added 
silk,  which  connects  Europe,  Asia,  Africa,  and  Australia. 
All  silk  countries  rely  mainly  upon  China  and  Japan — - 
whence  the  silkworm  first  came — for  their  supplies  of  grain 
or  seed,  as  the  eggs  are  called,  in  which  a  large  trade  is 
carried  on. 

Plants  peculiar  to  Asia.— Some  of  the  most  esteemed 
woods  for  cabinet-making,  as  rose-wood,  satin-wood,  sandal¬ 
wood,  and  ebony,  come  from  Further  India.  The  sago,  areca, 
and  other  varieties  of  palm  are  characteristic  of  particular 
districts.  Many  gums,  resins,  balsams,  and  drugs  are  still 
only  obtained  from  Asia.  The  most  peculiar  plants  are, 
however,  limited  by  nature  to  a  narrow  area  of  cultivation, 
from  which  they  cannot  be  removed  without  destruction,  or 
the  loss  of  their  principal  properties.  Such  are  the  spices 
and  tea.  Several  of  the  spices  flourish  nowhere  so  well  as 


I  I  6  THE  NA  TURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 

in  their  small  indigenous  centre.  It  is  a  natural  law  that 
when  a  plant  is  transferred  to  another  centre  it  will  develop 
new  qualities,  oftentimes  improved  qualities ;  but  in  the 
case  of  these  spices,  transference  has  always  ended  in  death 
or  deterioration.  China  formerly  engrossed  the  production 
of  tea,  although  the  shrub  is  also  indigenous  to  Assam  and 
the  Eastern  Himalayas,  where  efforts  have  long  been  making 
to  encourage  its  growth.  So  much  success  attended  its 
cultivation  that  Indian  tea  now  rivals  the  Chinese  product. 
The  magnitude  of  our  Indian  trade  in  the  fragrant  leaf 
swells  at  such  a  rate  yearly,  that  the  two  sources  of  supply 
must  soon  reverse  their  order  of  precedence.  Plants  intro¬ 
duced  from  China  flourish  luxuriantly  and  supplement  the 
native  Indian  growths.  Assam  teas  compete  with  advantage, 
being  free  from  adulteration.  Ceylon  tea  is  also  proving 
successful.  Japan  prepares  the  leaf,  and  has  opened  many 
of  its  ports  to  trade.  Both  China  and  Japan  are  admirably 
placed  in  connection  with  the  Great  Pacific  Railway  now 
traversing  the  Dominion  of  Canada ;  a  great  shortening  of 
the  old  sea  route  to  and  from  England  will  be  thus  accom¬ 
plished  ;  new  fields  of  enterprise  and  fresh  markets  will 
also  be  opened  out.  Attempts  have  been  made  to  en¬ 
courage  tea  cultivation  in  America,  and,  with  better 
results,  in  well-suited  parts  of  our  Australian  Colonies. 
The  native  tea-growing  districts  are,  however,  so  little 
affected  by  these  outside  efforts,  that  our  dependence 
may,  for  the  present,  still  be  described  as  on  China  and 
Assam. 

Plants  introduced  into  Asia.— The  only  plants  of 
importance  which  Asia  owes  to  other  parts  of  the  world  are 
maize  and  tobacco,  both  from  America.  Tobacco,  which 
was  unknown  in  the  Old  World  till  brought  from  America, 
is  a  remarkable  example  of  the  diffusion  of  plants.  Its 


AFRICA  AND  SOUTHERN  ASIA. 


1 1 7 

growth  is  now  nearly  universal  through  a  zone  between  8o° 
and  90°  wide  in  both  the  New  and  the  Old  World,  and  its 
consumption  is  general  over  the  whole  earth.  Some  of  the 
choicest  growths  are  obtained  from  Asia,  such  as  that  of 
Latakia  and  of  Manilla.  Various  species  of  the  Cinchona 
of  South  America,  yielding  Peruvian  bark,  are  also  instances 
of  the  transference  of  important  plants  to  Asia. 

Southern  Boundary  of  Vine  Growth.— The  southern 
limit  of  the  region  in  which  the  vine  would  flourish  for  vint¬ 
age  is  in  a  higher  latitude  than  the  limit  of  palms,  and  can 
be  only  marked  upon  the  ocean.  It  runs  nearly  parallel  with 
latitude  40°  S,  and  the  isothermal  line  of  6o°  mean  annual 
temperature,  deflecting  about  io°  south  near  Australia,  and 
thereby  comprising  Tasmania  and  New  Zealand. 

The  limits  of  wheat  and  northern  grains  are  without 
analogues  in  the  south,  inasmuch  as  no  part  of  the  Old 
World  extends  to  such  high  latitudes  as  50°  or  6o°  south. 
Nevertheless,  wheat  flourishes  in  perfection  within  so 
much  of  the  zone  of  its  growth  as  is  comprised  in  the  terri¬ 
tories  of  New  Zealand  and  Australia. 


CHAPTER  XI. 


THE  NEW  WORLD  :  NORTH,  CENTRAL,  AND  SOUTH 

AMERICA. 

Climate — Temperatures  of  Old  and  New  World  compared — Soil — Raw 
Produce,  Animal,  Vegetable,  and  Mineral. 

Climate. — A  survey  of  any  good  map  suffices  to  show 
that  the  New  World  must,  of  necessity,  differ  materially 
in  climate  from  the  Old  World  in  corresponding  latitudes. 
Its  chief  mountain  ridge  runs  north  and  south,  or  nearly 
at  right  angles  to  the  mountain  ridge  of  the  Old  World. 
The  counter-slope  of  this  ridge  is  narrow ;  consisting  in 
South  America  of  a  long  strip  of  coast,  descending  pre¬ 
cipitously  towards  the  Pacific  Ocean.  The  great  expanse, 
therefore,  of  the  continent,  is  eastward,  towards  the  Atlantic. 
This  difference  of  direction  between  the  two  continents  is 
very  remarkable. 

Although  the  New  World  stretches  through  every  zone, 
yet  its  average  temperature,  compared  with  that  of  the  Old 
World,  is  lower.  The  Pacific,  or  western  coast,  is  warmer 
generally  than  the  Atlantic  or  eastern  coast,  corresponding, 
in  this  respect,  with  the  western  and  eastern  boundaries 
respectively  of  the  Old  World.  These  variations  and  re¬ 
semblances  are  summarised  in  the  appended  table  of  the 
floral  zones. 

If  we  connect  the  corresponding  points  of  the  two 
hemispheres  by  lines  across  the  Atlantic  and  Pacific  Oceans, 
we  complete  the  botanical  belts  encircling  the  world.  We 


THE  NEW  WORLD:  NOR  TH  AMERICA.  I  I  9 

also  see  that  the  Arctic  vegetation  has  no  analogue  in  the 
southern  hemisphere,  the  land  not  extending,  with  the 
exception  of  Patagonia,  even  to  the  limit  of  wheat,  and 
thus  falling  far  short  of  the  limit  of  hardier  grains  and 
of  trees. 


BOTANICAL 

REGION. 

NEW  WORLD. 

OLD  WORLD. 

West  Coast. 

East  Coast. 

West  Coast. 

East  Coast. 

Approximate 

0 

0 

0 

0 

Northern 

limit  of  Trees. 

N.L. 

64 

53 

7 1 

63 

Southern 

Trees. 

S.L. 

— 

— • 

— 

Northern 

Grain. 

N.L. 

60 

50 

69 

60 

Southern 

>) 

Grain. 

S.L. 

— 

— 

Northern 

>) 

Wheat. 

N.L. 

5i 

48 

64 

50 

Southern 

>> 

Wheat. 

S.L. 

45 

42 

— 

Northern 

>5 

Vine. 

N.L. 

40 

40 

45 

40 

Southern 

Vine. 

S.L. 

34 

36 

35 

33 

Northern 

n 

Rice. 

N.L. 

— 

32 

42 

45 

Southern 

>> 

Rice. 

S.L. 

— 

25 

25 

Northern 

n 

Palms. 

N.L. 

27 

36 

35 

30 

Southern 

>> 

Palms. 

S.L. 

34 

35 

32 

32 

NORTH  AMERICA. 

We  may  infer  from  the  contour  and  vertical  relief  of 
North  America  many  of  its  climatic  features. 

(1.)  The  land  is  broadest  in  the  north,  where  it  expands 
to  embrace  the  pole,  and  at  the  same  time  lies  so  low  as  to 
interpose  no  barrier  to  the  Arctic  blasts,  which  sweep  down 
from  the  north.  (2.)  The  tropical  lands  taper  to  an  isth¬ 
mus  ;  there  is,  therefore,  but  a  small  part  of  the  continent 
in  the  torrid  zone,  and  even  this  is  mountainous.  (3.)  The 
west  coast  consists  of  mountains  and  table-lands,  which 
prevent  the  warm  and  humid  winds  of  the  Pacific  from 
crossing  the  country;  while  the  minor  Appalachian  ridge, 
on  the  eastern  side,  completes  a  broad  valley  for  the  Mis¬ 
sissippi — the  uninterrupted  channel  for  the  northern  winds 


120 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


from  the  pole  to  the  Gulf  of  Mexico.  We  see,  in  conse¬ 
quence,  that  the  central  lowlands  must  be  the  coldest  part 
of  North  America — a  fact  marked  upon  the  map  by  the 
deflection  of  the  isothermal  lines. 

One  further  element  of  climate  must  be  taken  into 
account — that  of  the  marine  currents.  The  Pacific  currents, 
not  so  well  investigated  as  those  of  the  Atlantic,  contribute 
from  their  direction  to  raise  the  temperature  of  the  western 
coast.  The  Atlantic  currents  have  already  been  considered 
in  relation  to  the  climate  of  Europe.  Let  us  now  trace  their 
influence  upon  the  climate  of  America.  The  source  of  the 
Gulf  Stream  is  in  the  Gulf  of  Mexico,  where  the  heated 
waters,  instead  of  giving  life  and  health  as  they  do  to  our 
own  country,  increase  the  .pestilential  nature  of  the  swamps 
of  the  Mississippi  delta  and  the  Florida  shores.  At  Cape 
Hatteras,  the  Gulf  stream  curves  away  from  America  in 
a  north-east  direction  across  the  Atlantic.  The  amelio¬ 
rating  powers  of  the  current  are  thus  carried  away  from 
the  continent  where  it  originated,  and  in  its  room,  Arctic 
counter-currents  sweep  along  the  east  shores  of  Greenland 
and  down  Baffin’s  Bay.  These  cold  currents  united,  stream 
along  the  American  shores,  rendering  the  neighbouring 
lands  hopelessly  barren,  almost  to  the  45th  degree  of 
latitude.  Such  is  the  force  of  the  Arctic  counter-current 
that  it  brings  the  icebergs,  formed  from  the  Greenland 
glaciers,  southwards  to  the  Gulf  Stream,  where  the  denser 
and  colder  waters  sink  below  the  warm  flood,  still  driving 
the  icebergs  onward  in  opposition  to  the  surface  flow,  till 
the  higher  temperature  dismantles  their  pinnacles,  and  dis¬ 
solves  their  masses.  Thus  are  created  the  almost  perpetual 
fogs  of  Newfoundland.  The  limit  of  icebergs  in  the  Atlantic 
is  about  45°,  the  latitude  reached  in  Europe  by  the  vine. 
Inland,  two  or  three  degrees  farther  north — on  the  same 
parallel  with  Brittany  and  Normandy — the  ground  is  covered 


THE  NEW  WORLD:  SOUTH  AMERICA 


I  2  I 


with  snow  for  more  than  half  the  year ;  and  beyond  50° 
— a  latitude  which  London  exceeds  by  nearly  two  degrees — - 
there  is  scarcely  any  cultivation.  The  vast  forests  of  the 
American  plains  tend  also  to  lower  the  temperature  by  in¬ 
tercepting  the  sun’s  rays,  and  thus  preventing  absorption 
of  its  heat.  The  enormous  clearings,  on  the  other  hand, 
have  already  sensibly  modified  the  climate. 

Nevertheless,  the  summers  of  North  America  are  hot. 
Its  climate  is  essentially  extreme,  both  from  the  extensive 
range  of  territory,  and  also  from  its  being  shut  out  by  the 
mountains  from  the  equalising  ocean  winds.  Only  the  table¬ 
lands  and  mountains  of  the  west  are  exceptional.  The 
Mexican  table-land  enjoys  continual  spring,  the  causes  of 
which  are  easily  seen.  The  isthmus  connecting  the  north 
and  south  continents  exhibits  every  phase  of  climate  in 
vertical  zones,  from  the  almost  unendurable  tropical  heat  in 
the  valleys,  to  mountain  elevations  of  Arctic  severity,  and 
the  line  of  perpetual  snow. 

SOUTH  AMERICA. 

The  bulk  of  South  America  is  tropical,  and  its  southern 
part  diminishes  in  breadth  rapidly  on  approaching  the  pole. 
The  climate  of  South  America  is,  therefore,  latitude  for 
latitude,  of  a  higher  temperature  than  that  of  North  America. 
The  table  land  of  Quito  (9000  feet),  like  that  of  Mexico, 
is  ever  vernal,  and  the  Andes  of  the  equator  range  through 
all  the  vertical  zones  of  vegetation.  The  region  of  Patagonia, 
riverless  and  hilly,  is  dry,  cold,  and  barren. 

Soil. — The  New  World  is  pre-eminently  the  country  of 
great  plains,  through  which  flow  the  longest  rivers  in  the  world. 
These  plains,  except  where  physical  conditions  evidently 
forbid,  such  as  in  the  Arctic  lowlands,  are  generally  fertile, 
the  river  valleys  being  exceedingly  so,  and  in  particular,  the 
basins  of  the  Mississippi  and  the  Amazon.  Parts  of  the 


122 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


plains,  both  north  and  south,  are  barren,  and  sometimes 
salt,  but  there  are  no  deserts  to  compare  with  those  of 
Africa  or  Asia.  A  fourth  of  the  soil  only  is  reckoned  as 
unproductive. 

The  great  central  plain  of  North  America  is  divided  by 
a  watershed  1000  to  1500  feet  high,  in  latitude  490,  into 
the  Mackenzie  and  the  Mississippi  lowlands.  The  Mac¬ 
kenzie  lowlands  form  a  very  gentle  declivity  consisting  of 
swampy  and  frozen  marshes.  The  Mississippi  lowlands 
comprise  the  prairies  (the  French  name  for  meadows)  and 
savannas  (from  the  Spanish  sabana ,  a  sheet).  These  plains 
are  treeless  but  fertile,  the  prairie  grass  growing  upon  them 
to  the  height  of  ten  or  twelve  feet,  and  covering  spaces  to 
the  eye  like  limitless  seas  of  vegetation.  Many  thousands 
of  square  miles  of  the  same  lowlands  are  covered  by  the 
forests  or  backwoods  of  North  America,  and  the  whole 
plain,  from  the  Arctic  Ocean  to  the  Gulf  of  Mexico,  exceeds 
Europe  in  size. 

There  are  three  distinctive  river  plains  in  South  America. 
—  1.  The  Llanos  (Spanish,  level  fields)  or  plains  of  the 
Orinoco.  These  are  grassy  flats,  covering  150,000  square 
miles,  between  the  equator  and  io°  north  latitude.  So  level 
are  the  llanos  that,  at  500  miles  from  the  ocean,  the  ascent 
generally  is  not  more  than  200  feet.  The  greater  part  of 
the  region  is  inundated  in  the  wet  season,  to  which  is  due 
its  peculiar  character.  As  the  water  disappears  in  the  dry 
season,  it  is  followed  by  a  rapid  growth  of  grass,  which  in 
turn  becomes  parched  and  very  combustible,  and  conflagra¬ 
tions  occur  over  thousands  of  miles. 

Humboldt  speaks  of  these  terrestrial  expanses  as  more 
awe-inspiring  than  the  highest  mountains.  There  is  nothing 
in  the  landscape  to  soften  the  feelings  of  sadness  and  gloom, 
where  everything  seems  silent  and  motionless,  and  during 
thirty  days’  journey  the  plain  appears  to  ascend  to  the  sky, 


THE  NEW  WORLD:  SOUTH  AMERICA. 


123 


and  the  vast  and  profound  solitude  looks  like  an  ocean 
covered  with  sea-weeds. 

2.  The  Selvas  (Latin  silva,  Spanish  selva ,  a  wood). — The 
selvas  or  woody  plains  of  the  Amazon,  cover  nearly  the 
whole  drainage  area  of  that  river,  an  extent  of  2,000,000 
square  miles.  The  selvas  are  the  largest  forests  in  the  world. 
Favoured  with  abundant  moisture  and  tropical  heat,  the 
trees  attain  dimensions  rarely  seen  elsewhere,  their  height 
reaching  generally  from  one  hundred  to  two  hundred  feet. 
The  rankest  profusion  of  climbing  plants,  which  are  the 
growth  of  a  soil  the  rich  produce  of  centuries  of  vegetable 
decay,  twine  round  the  trunks  to  the  top,  and,  reaching  over, 
interlace  the  trees,  and,  combined  with  the  thick  under¬ 
growth,  constitute  a  wall  of  vegetation  impregnable  except 
to  the  constant  strokes  of  the  hatchet. 

3.  The  Pampas  is  the  native  name  for  the  treeless  plains 
of  the  basin  of  La  Plata.  They  are  covered  with  grass 
where  watered  by  the  affluents  of  that  river,  but  arid  and 
withered  out  of  reach  of  these  streams.  There  are,  how¬ 
ever,  extensive  tracts  of  a  different  character.  In  the  north¬ 
west  thistles  and  other  prickly  plants  take  the  place  of  grass, 
and  grow  of  amazing  magnitude  and  number.  There  are 
also  sandy  and  saline  deserts.  Las  Salinas ,  a  salt  desert  in 
the  north,  is  30,000  square  miles  in  extent.  Near  the  Andes 
the  plains  become  boggy. 

Mineral  Produce. 

The  geological  structure  of  America  is  eminently  favour¬ 
able  for  mineral  deposits.  The  whole  length  of  the  great 
mountain  ridge,  from  the  British  territories  in  the  north  to 
the  point  where  the  Andes  leave  the  mainland,  and  form  the 
Patagonian  archipelago,  is  more  or  less  metalliferous.  The 
same  may  be  said  of  the  hilly  parts  of  Canada,  and  also 
of  the  Alleghany  region  of  the  United  States,  but  not  of 
the  West  Indies.  Besides  the  Andes,  properly  so  called, 


124  THE  NA  TURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE . 

the  adjoining  territory  of  Venezuela  is  rich  in  metals,  as 
are  likewise  the  mountainous  parts  of  Brazil.  The  minerals 
of  South  America  are  more  restricted  as  to  locality  than 
those  of  North  America;  the  immense  woody  plains  of  the 
Amazon,  without  a  hill  and  without  stone  or  mineral, 
separate  the  western  metalliferous  regions  from  the  eastern. 

Gold  and  silver  have  been  sought  to  the  neglect  of  the 
common  useful  metals,  although  these  last  are  probably 
more  profitable  to  work. 

NORTH  AMERICA. 

Gold,  silver,  tin,  quicksilver,  copper,  lead,  and  iron  are 
found  in  North  America.  Mexico  is  rich  in  gold,  the  gold- 
bearing  strata  extending  southward  into  Central  America  and 
northward  into  the  richest  gold-fields  of  the  continent,  those 
of  California.  Gold  is  found  in  smaller  quantities  in  the 
eastern  States  of  the  Union,  chiefly  within  the  high  grounds 
of  the  Alleghanies  or  Appalachian  region.  Mexico  alone  pro¬ 
duces  silver,  tin,  and  quicksilver.  Mines  of  copper  and  lead 
exist  in  Mexico,  the  United  States,  and  Canada.  Iron  is 
produced  in  the  same  countries,  and  also  in  Guatemala. 
Plumbago  is  abundant  in  Canada,  and  is  found  in  the  United 
States,  where  likewise  a  great  quantity  of  zinc  exists.  The 
produce  of  the  quicksilver  mines  of  California  surpasses  that 
of  all  others,  and  regulates  the  price  of  this  valuable  metal  in 
every  market  of  the  world.  Its  essential  use  in  separating 
vein-gold  from  the  quartz  in  which  this  last  metal  is  em¬ 
bedded,  has  stimulated  the  working  of  the  mines  in  recent 
years. 

Next  to  the  metals,  the  chief  mineral  produce  is  coal. 
The  coal-fields  of  the  United  States  are  the  largest  known, 
embracing  an  area  more  than  double  that  of  Great  Britain. 
These  immense  deposits  lie  chiefly  within  the  western  slopes 
of  the  Alleghany  region — Western  Pennsylvania,  Ohio,  and 


THE  NEW  WORLD:  WEST  INDIES. 


I25 


Virginia  West — in  the  peninsular  tract  of  country  between 
the  great  lake  basins  of  Michigan,  Huron,  and  Erie  (state  of 
Michigan),  and  in  the  region  extending  across  the  lower 
Missouri  and  Arkansas  rivers,  including  the  diversified  tract 
of  the  Ozark  mountains.  These  vast  stores  of  coal  are, 
however,  but  little  worked,  and  the  produce  of  the  United 
States  is  less  than  a  sixth  of  that  of  Great  Britain,  and  hardly 
exceeds  the  yield  of  the  little  kingdom  of  Belgium. 

In  Canada  the  vast  Laurentian  and  Silurian  deposits 
forming  the  chief  part  of  the  river  valley  of  the  St.  Lawrence 
oppose  the  occurrence  of  coal,  but  New  Brunswick  and 
Nova  Scotia,  both  now  included  in  Canada,  have  workable 
coal-fields.  On  the  other  side  of  the  continent,  coal  of 
excellent  quality  is  procured  in  the  adjacent  Vancouver’s 
Island,  and  is  wrought  to  a  considerable  extent. 

Canada  has  other  rich  mineral  resources.  The  shores 
of  Lakes  Huron  and  Superior  yield  abundance  of  copper, 
and  possess,  besides,  ores  of  zinc,  lead,  and  plumbago ; 
petroleum  or  mineral  oil,  obtained  recently  in  enormous 
quantities  from  the  carboniferous  area  of  the  United  States, 
and  from  that  portion  of  Upper  Canada  lying  between 
Lakes  Huron  and  Erie,  must  be  added  to  this  brief  survey 
of  the  New  World. 

Salt  is  common  in  many  parts  of  the  North  American 
continent.  Some  fine  specimens  of  marble  are  quarried  in 
Canada,  and  in  the  United  States,  where  also  slate  and 
asbestos  are  found. 


WEST  INDIES. 

The  rocks  composing  the  larger  and  smaller  islands  differ 
respectively  in  their  lithological  character,  and  therefore  in 
their  mineral  produce.  In  the  small  islands  of  volcanic 
origin,  metallic  lodes  or  ores  are  rare.  Porto  Rico  pro¬ 
duces  gold,  which  also  occurs  in  Central  America,  where 


126 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


there  are  good  mines,  as  in  Chontales  (Nicaragua).  Cop¬ 
per  and  iron  are  found  in  Cuba,  and  lead  in  Jamaica. 
Almost  all  the  metals  are  believed  to  be  represented  in  St. 
Domingo,  together  with  coal,  and  numerous  other  minerals. 
Rock  salt  is  now  mined  in  Cuba. 

SOUTH  AMERICA. 

The  metals  of  South  America  are  the  same  as  those  of 
North  America,  but  only  one  lead  mine — an  argentiferous 
galena — has  yet  been  discovered,  that  of  Carupano,  Vene¬ 
zuela.  In  Columbia  is  found  the  nearly  infusible  and  rare 
metal  platinum,  which  is  unknown  in  the  northern  conti¬ 
nent.  Peru  is  the  principal  metalliferous  region  ;  its  pro¬ 
duce  being  gold,  silver,  and  copper,  in  common  with  other 
districts,  and  mercury  and  tin,  peculiar  to  itself.  Gold  is 
supplied  by  Columbia,  Venezuela,  Brazil,  Chili,  and  Bolivia; 
silver  also  by  Chili  and  La  Plata;  copper  from  Chili,  is  sent 
to  Swansea  for  smelting,  although  Chili  has  coal.  Brazil 
produces  iron  and  nitre  abundantly,  with  immense  quanti¬ 
ties  of  salt. 

The  precious  metals  are  thus  seen  to  be  the  principal 
produce  of  the  mines  of  South  America.  The  mountains 
everywhere  are  metalliferous  ;  but  wasteful  working,  difficult 
transport,  the  deficiency  of  fuel,  and  the  distracted  state  of 
most  of  the  mining  regions,  have  combined  to  lessen  the 
value  of  the  mines.  California  produces  more  gold  now 
than  any  other  part  of  America.  Gold  and  silver  mines 
abound  in  the  Andes.  Chili  produces  more  gold  than  silver  ; 
the  former  being  found  in  every  rock,  and  among  the  sands 
of  its  many  mountain  streams  ;  but,  generally,  silver  is  most 
prevalent  in  the  Andes,  as  gold  is  in  the  sierras  of  Mexico 
and  California.  The  far-famed  silver  mine  of  Potosi,  in 
Bolivia,  has  yielded — since  its  opening — in  the  three  cen- 


THE  NEW  WORLD:  SOUTH  AMERICA . 


I27 


turies  a  greater  amount  of  silver  than  all  the  mines  of 
Peru,  and  nearly  half  the  value  of  the  produce  of  all  the 
mines  of  Mexico. 

The  gold  of  Brazil  is  extensively  dispersed  among  its 
mountains,  but  the  yield  is  small,  and  silver  ore  has  not 
been  met  with.  This  country  contains  diamonds  and  other 
precious  stones  to  a  greater  degree  than  any  other  :  and, 
with  Hindostan,  Borneo,  and  South  Africa,  completes  the 
list  of  places  productive  of  the  diamond. 

In  common  minerals,  South  America  is  deficient ;  nitre 
and  salt,  as  already  mentioned,  being  the  chief  products. 
Among  the  mineral  products,  though  of  animal  origin,  of 
South  America,  must  be  named  the  guano ,  or  more  or  less 
fossilised  droppings  of  the  sea-birds  of  the  Peruvian  islands  ; 
to  which  rich  fertiliser  the  agriculture  of  our  own  country  is 
perhaps  more  indebted  than  to  any  other  artificial  manure. 
Its  importance  as  a  source  of  revenue  in  the  place  of  its 
origin  may  be  gathered  from  the  fact,  that  disputes  con¬ 
nected  therewith  were  one  of  the  main  causes  of  the 
disastrous  war  between  Chili  and  Peru. 

Animal  Produce. — The  indigenous  fauna  of  America 
is  more  limited  than  that  of  the  Old  World,  and  especially 
so  in  the  larger  species  of  animals.  Besides  being  few  in 
number,  and  small  in  size,  the  mammals  are  mostly  of  peculiar 
structure.  The  llama  was  the  only  domestic  animal  found 
upon  the  continent  by  the  first  European  settlers.  In 
the  northern  regions,  where  America  all  but  meets  the  Old 
World  in  the  narrow  breadth  of  Behring’s  Straits,  the  rein¬ 
deer,  the  elk,  the  bear,  the  fox,  the  beaver,  and  the  glutton 
are  common  to  both  hemispheres.  Hunting  and  trapping 
the  fur-bearing  animals  has  been  hitherto  the  almost  exclu¬ 
sive  vocation  of  the  sparse  population  of  the  Hudson’s  Bay 
territories.  The  marine  mammals — the  seal,  the  walrus, 
and  the  whale,  which  furnish  us  with  skins,  oil,  whalebone, 


I  28  THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 

and  ivory — are  identical  with  those  throughout  the  arctic 
and  sub-arctic  zones. 

Further  south,  the  American  bison  or  buffalo,  hunted 
for  its  tongue  chiefly,  overruns  Canada  and  the  Western 
States,  herding  in  the  prairies  and  savannas  of  the  Missis¬ 
sippi  river,  where  likewise  deer  are  extremely  numerous. 
Great  flocks  of  the  large-horned  or  wild  mountain  sheep 
live  among  the  Rocky  Mountains.  Many  of  the  quad¬ 
rupeds  of  Mexico  are  peculiar  to  the  country,  but  none  of 
them  are  of  any  important  economic  value. 

Birds  are  numerous  and  of  many  varieties.  America  is 
the  native  home  of  the  turkey,  two  or  three  species  of  which 
are  found  in  the  forests  of  North  and  Central  America. 
Tropical  America  has  curassows,  and  guans,  birds  equally 
large,  and  as  delicate  of  flesh.  The  other  birds  of  use  for  food, 
or  for  industrial  purposes,  are  closely  related  to  those  of  the 
Old  World.  The  arctic  shores  are  covered  with  sea-fowl, 
as  in  Europe.  The  eagle  and  the  vulture  live  in  the  moun¬ 
tains.  Passenger  pigeons  darken  the  sky  by  the  immensity 
of  their  numbers.  The  nandu  of  La  Plata  and  the  rhea,  a 
smaller  bird  of  Patagonia,  represent,  in  America,  the  ostrich, 
by  which  name,  too,  they  are  sometimes  called. 

Many  of  the  American  birds  are  valued  only  for  the 
brilliancy  of  their  colours.  The  delicate  humming-birds 
range  from  Alaska  southwards  to  Cape  Horn.  Beautiful 
parrots  likewise  have  a  large  southerly  range,  though  not 
extending  more  than  a  few  degrees  beyond  the  Tropic  of 
Cancer.  Amongst  the  American  reptiles  several  are  turned 
to  useful  account.  Turtles  abound  in  the  enclosed  seas  of 
Central  America,  and  upon  the  shores  of  the  West  Indian 
islands,  affording  one  of  the  choicest  forms  of  animal  food  : 
and  also  along  the  Pacific  coast,  where  one  species  of  turtle 
supplies  the  beautiful  substance  called  tortoise-shell.  An 
extraordinary  fish-like  reptile,  caught  only  in  the  Mexican 


THE  NEW  WORLD:  SOUTH  AMERICA. 


I29 


lakes,  and  called  the  axolotl ,  is  eaten  as  an  exceeding 
delicacy. 

Edible  fishes  are  abundant,  both  of  the  sea  and  the 
river  species.  Exhaustless  shoals  of  cod  feed  on  the  banks 
east  of  Cape  Breton  and  of  Newfoundland.  Varieties  of 
the  herring  also  fill  the  inlets,  and  are  caught  in  myriads. 

Of  minor  food-products  from  the  animal  kingdom, 
oysters  are  so  plentiful,  that  dinner  in  the  United  States 
is  never  complete  without  them  in  one  or  more  fashions  of 
cooking.  Oyster  banks,  along  the  low  mangrove  swamps 
of  the  Southern  States,  form  natural  embankments  against 
the  sea.  Along  the  shores  of  California,  pearl  oysters  are 
found.  In  the  class  of  insects,  the  cochineal  is  indigenous, 
and  was  brought  from  Mexico,  whence  we  still  get  large 
supplies,  as  well  also  from  Central  America,  which  even  now 
competes  with  the  produce  of  the  warm  parts  of  Europe. 
Bees,  introduced  from  Europe,  supply,  in  return,  large  stores 
of  honey. 

It  is  not  the  native  animal  produce,  but  the  produce 
of  animals  introduced  by  Europeans,  that  distinguishes 
America  in  the  present  day.  The  domestic  varieties  of 
Europe  have  found  the  conditions  of  increase  so  favourable, 
that  horses,  cattle,  and  swine  have  returned  to  a  state  of 
nature,  and  swarm  over  the  boundless  plains,  or  through 
the  forests  both  of  the  North  and  the  South.  The  Indians 
of  the  North,  who  have  become  fearless  riders,  hunt  the 
bison  on  horseback.  In  tropical  America  the  mule  is  used 
as  a  beast  of  burden,  and  the  numbers  of  this  sure-footed 
animal — a  compromise  between  the  beautiful  Spanish  wild 
ass  and  the  horse — it  is  hardly  possible  to  estimate. 

With  the  knowledge  of  these  resources,  we  are  able  to 
name  the  animal  produce  of  which  America  will  have 
a  surplus  for  interchange.  From  our  own  possessions 

and  the  United  States,  cheese  and  provisions,  as  exports, 

1.  1 


130 


THE  NA  TURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


increase  in  quality  and  quantity  every  year.  Hides,  tallow, 
and  wool  are  also  exported.  Furs  from  the  extreme  north, 
and  fish,  both  dried  and  pickled,  to  which  we  may  add  the 
produce  of  the  whale  fishery,  are,  and  will  remain,  con¬ 
stituents  of  the  grand  commerce  of  North  America. 

South  America,  less  advanced,  sends  us  chinchilla  furs 
from  Venezuela,  and  hides,  tallow,  horsehair,  horns,  bones, 
and  wool  from  the  animals  that  bound  over  the  country 
between  the  llanos  of  the  Orinoco  and  the  shingly  steppes 
of  Patagonia.  Means  are  being  taken  to  export  live  cattle 
as  well  as  the  flesh  of  the  oxen  in  a  fresh  state  to  Europe, 
but  the  success  as  yet  has  been  very  partial.  Nevertheless 
the  exports  of  frozen  carcases,  potted  and  concentrated 
meats,  dried  turtle,  and  lobsters,  have  met  with  European 
favour  and  assumed  profitable  proportions. 

Vegetable  Produce. 

The  flora  of  a  continent,  the  distinguishing  physical  features 
of  which  are  vast  lowlands,  in  temperate  and  tropical  regions, 
amidst  heat  and  moisture,  may  be  determined  beforehand 
as  diversified  and  exuberant.  In  tropical  America  vegeta¬ 
tion  reaches  its  utmost  limits  of  luxuriance.  Nevertheless, 
before  the  introduction  of  plants  from  Europe,  the  produc¬ 
tions  of  the  continent  were  peculiar,  and  comparatively  few 
of  them  known  to  be  useful  to  man.  As  in  the  case  of 
animals,  America  has  given  little  and  received  much.  The 
plants  introduced  have  spread  widely,  and  furnish  limit¬ 
less  stores  of  food.  Nearly  all  the  economic  plants  of 
Europe  are  now  grown  in  the  cleared  parts  of  the  United 
States,  and  the  tropical  zone  has  been  enriched  with  many 
plants  from  corresponding  parts  of  Africa  and  Asia. 

Indigenous  Produce.— Maize  is  the  only  native  repre¬ 
sentative  of  the  cerealia;  and  manioc,  from  which  cassava 
bread  and  tapioca  are  prepared,  takes  the  place  in  South 
America  that  rice  assumes  in  India.  Allspice  or  pimento, 


THE  NEW  WORLD:  SOUTH  AMERICA .  1 3  I 

the  most  important  native  pungent  condiment,  and  akin 
to  the  various  combined  spices  of  the  East,  grows  only  in 
Jamaica  and  some  other  of  the  West  India  Islands.  Cocoa 
and  mate,  or  Paraguay  tea,  are  the  beverages  of  South 
America,  in  lieu  of  coffee  and  tea.  Plantains  and  bananas 
are  the  characteristic  fruits.  Cinchona  bark — from  which 
the  invaluable  drug  quinine  is  extracted — the  ipecacuanha 
of  Brazil,  the  sarsapariilas  of  tropical  America,  and  the  jalap 
of  Mexico,  have  no  representatives  elsewhere.  The  most 
remarkable  native  products  are,  without  doubt,  first,  the 
potato — spread  from  Chili  throughout  the  world  ;  secondly, 
tobacco — now  grown  in  several  countries,  but  brought  to 
perfection  only  in  its  native  soil  of  Cuba,  the  capital  of 
which,  Havannah,  gives  the  name  descriptive  of  the  best 
leaf.  Cigars  are,  notwithstanding,  made  from  leaves  grown 
in  the  Southern  States  and  sent  to  Havannah  for  manufac¬ 
ture,  in  order  to  obtain  an  extra  price.  The  Havannah 
plantations  could  not  supply  a  tenth  of  the  demand  for  real 
Havannah  cigars,  which  are,  not  unfrequently,  better  made 
in  England,  from  equally  good  leaf,  shipped  to  Cuba,  and 
re-entered,  as  the  genuine  and  choicest  brands. 

Although  the  indigenous  plants  used  for  food  are  few, 
compensation  is  given  in  the  weight  of  their  produce.  In 
Europe,  large  spaces  are  covered  with  food-grasses  and 
other  plants,  for  the  sustenance  of  the  inhabitants.  In 
America,  small  tracts  of  maize,  manioc,  and  plantain  will 
produce  enough  food  for  large  numbers  of  people.  As 
a  consequence,  in  South  and  Central  America,  where 
these  plants  flourish,  the  country  remains  in  its  wild,  natural 
state,  even  in  the  vicinity  of  large  towns,  the  inhabitants 
not  being  obliged  to  extend  their  cultivation.  The  vigorous 
races  of  North  America,  however,  cultivate  wheat,  barley, 
and  oats,  and  the  tropical  rice,  all  of  which,  in  their  re¬ 
spective  zones,  flourish  abundantly.  Bread-fruit  has  been 


132 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


introduced,  and  pine-apples  have  become  so  plentiful  that 
they  grow  in  the  fields  in  the  West  Indies  as  turnips  with 
us :  many  shiploads  reach  our  markets,  in  the  season, 
at  so  moderate  a  cost  as  to  bring  this  chief  among  choice 
fruits  within  the  reach  of  the  poor. 

Coffee  and  sugar  have  proved  their  adaptation  to  the 
American  tropics,  the  crops  of  both  being  enormous.  The 
East  Indian  spices  also  grow  in  the  West  Indian  Islands, 
although  not  in  the  same  perfection.  Cotton  has  found  the 
foreign  conditions  of  growth  in  America  superior  to  those 
of  its  native  soil,  and  its  spread  is  almost  beyond  belief.  The 
American  crops  transcend  those  of  all  the  rest  of  the  world. 

Besides  these  vegetable  products  that  appertain  to  food 
and  clothing,  America  possesses  peculiar  forest  growths. 
At  the  head  of  these  we  must  place  the  mahogany  tree, 
the  beautiful  colour  and  grain  of  which,  as  well  as  its 
durability,  placed  it  on  its  discovery  in  the  highest  rank 
amongst  cabinet  timber.  Logwood,  quer-citron,  and 
Nicaragua  woods  are  well  known  as  yielding  valuable  dyes. 

The  tendency  to  efflorescence  in  the  trees  of  America, 
and  the  floral  beauty  of  many  of  the  shrubs  and  annuals 
have  encouraged  their  diffusion  through  Europe.  Our  gar¬ 
dens  owe  to  this  source  the  grand  flowering  rhododendrons 
and  the  magnolia.  The  American  aloe  and  the  cactus 
have  found  a  congenial  region  round  the  Mediterranean, 
where  they  exhibit  all  their  native  vigour.  The  dahlia, 
fuchsia,  nasturtium,  and  passion-flower,  all  had  a  western 
origin.  Many  other  trees  and  plants,  valued  for  their 
foliage  or  floral  beauty,  from  the  colder  parts  of  America, 
where  flowers  are  less  profuse,  adorn  the  parks  and  pleasure- 
grounds  of  Europe. 

Vegetable  Produce  according  to  the  Floral  Zones. 

Our  previous  knowledge  of  the  zones,  as  applied  to  the 
Old  World,  combined  with  the  general  knowledge  gained 


THE  NEW  WORLD:  SOUTH  AMERICA. 


1  33 


of  the  produce  of  the  New  World,  prepares  us  for  a  brief 
description  of  this  division  of  the  subject. 

The  boreal  region,  or  climate  of  mosses  and  berries,  is 
like  that  of  Lapland.  The  arborescent  forms,  at  the  ex¬ 
treme  limit  of  the  zone,  are  a  few  stunted  birches,  willows, 
and  junipers  ;  otherwise,  the  ground  is  covered  with  a  thick 
growth  of  lichen  and  moss,  which  defies  the  cold  and  over¬ 
powers  other  vegetation.  Towards  the  southern  border 
extensive  forests,  which  extend  into  the  next  climatic  zone, 
characterise  the  country. 

The  region  of  European  grain  and  forest  trees  is 
bounded  southwards  by  the  line  of  vine  culture  and  the 
growth  of  maize.  Canada  and  the  northern  United  States 
are  included  within  it.  Peculiar  species  of  oak,  beech,  and 
numerous  other  forest  trees,  orchard  fruits  and  nuts,  the 
cereals,  including  in  the  south,  maize,  the  common  fibres, 
and,  to  some  extent,  tobacco,  all  flourish  in  this  zone ;  also 
woods  of  great  value  and  beauty,  the  bird’s-eye  maple  and 
the  mast  pine  being  the  chief  varieties,  noted  for  the  deli¬ 
cacy  of  their  grain  and  texture.  A  peculiarity  of  the  North 
American  forests  is  that  one  description  of  tree  prevails  on 
each  variety  of  soil,  evidence  of  which  is  given  in  the 
descriptive  names  of  oak  lands,  chestnut  lands,  pine  barrens, 
and  cypress  swamps. 

The  sugar  maple  supplies  from  its  sap  much  of  the 
sugar  used  in  Canada  and  in  the  United  States,  and  the 
produce  might  be  indefinitely  increased.  Maple  sugar  is 
especially  used  in  confectionery  and  sweetmeats,  of  which 
the  Canadians  consume  large  quantities,  possessing  as  it 
does  less  cloying  properties  than  such  as  are  made  from 
cane  sugar.  Imported  cane  sugar  is,  all  the  same,  in 
common  request,  except  in  the  extreme  backwoods.  Vast 
orchards  of  fruit  spread  over  Canada  and  the  United  States, 
whence  we  derive  yearly  increasing  supplies  of  apples, 


*3  4 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


barrelled  fresh,  boiled  in  tins,  and  dried  in  chips,  or  rings. 
Tinned  peaches,  apricots,  and  tomatoes  are  placed  within 
our  reach  from  the  same  sources,  where  they  are  so  abundant 
as  often  to  become  the  food  of  the  domestic  swine. 

Potash,  principally  from  the  beech,  as  well  as  the  turpen¬ 
tines  in  the  various  forms  of  crude  pitch,  tar,  resin,  and 
refined  spirits,  are  forest  products,  in  quantities  correspond¬ 
ing  with  the  endless  sources  of  supply,  but  identical  with 
those  of  Europe.  Trenching  on  the  warmer  regions,  the 
myrtle  wax-tree  ( Myrica  cerijera)  abounds,  and  supplies  in 
its  seeds  a  dry  and  brittle  wax,  of  excellent  quality  and 
large  amount. 

The  region  of  wheat  and  tropical  grains  is  productive 
also  of  maize  and  rice,  the  vine,  citron,  and  melon,  as  in 
the  Old  World.  The  indigenous  fox-grape  has  a  most 
offensive  taste  and  odour,  whence  its  name.  Grapes, 
pumpkins,  melons,  oranges  and  lemons,  are  a  distinguishing 
feature,  especially  of  Texas  and  Florida,  but  in  reference  to 
America  at  large,  perhaps  cotton  and  tobacco  would  be  more 
descriptive  of  the  zone. 

The  mountains  of  Mexico,  separating  that  country  from 
the  rest  of  the  region,  and  raising  it  on  a  table-land  7000 
to  9000  feet  above  the  sea,  make  it  the  botanical  centre  of 
a  flora  peculiarly  its  own,  including  the  cochineal-cactus 
and  other  plants.  On  the  east,  the  Alleghanies  separate 
the  fertile  valley  of  the  Mississippi  from  the  poorer  soil  and 
barren  swamps  lying  between  these  mountains  and  the 
Atlantic  shore. 

The  true  tropical  parts  of  America  comprehend  the 
central  states,  that  is,  Mexico,  the  republics  of  Central 
America,  and  two-thirds  of  the  southern  continent.  All 
the  useful  food  plants  of  India  are  diffused  throughout 
this  zone,  besides  a  rich  vegetation  of  its  own.  Tropical 
grains  and  manioc,  ginger  and  other  spices,  coffee,  sugar- 


THE  NEW  WORLD:  SOUTH  AMERICA. 


J35 


cane,  and  sweet  fruits,  gourds  and  pine-apple,  cocoa-nut 
and  other  palms,  tobacco,  drugs,  dyes,  and  timber  are 
amongst  the  contributions  that  Central  America  offers  for 
man’s  service.  Tree  ferns  are  common,  though  not  utilised 
as  in  New  Zealand,  where  the  Maories  make  their  bread 
of  the  farina  contained  in  the  stems.  Tropical  South 
America  adds  other  gifts.  The  palms  are  in  great  variety. 
Besides  the  cocoa-palm,  there  are  the  cabbage,  the  fan,  and 
the  oil-palms,  the  coquilla  and  the  vegetable  ivory.  Bread¬ 
fruit  trees  and  cow-trees,  producing  milk,  are  numerous ; 
and  from  allied  plants,  characterised  by  their  milky  juices 
( E uphorbiacece)  our  chief  supplies  of  caoutchouc  are  procured. 
Other  products  of  an  important  nature,  such  as  the  cacao, 
indigenous  to  the  country,  have  already  been  mentioned. 

The  flora  of  the  Andes  ranges  vertically  through  every 
climatic  zone,  beginning  with  the  plantains  and  palms  at 
their  torrid  base,  and  passing  through  the  intermediate 
phases  of  climate,  to  the  silent  and  frozen  mountain  summits, 
devoid  of  life. 

South  of  the  Tropic  of  Capricorn  the  products  of  the 
torrid  and  temperate  zones  interfuse.  No  rice  is  seen,  but 
maize  grows  with  wheat  and  barley,  and  palms  and  the 
mulberry  flourish  together ;  tobacco,  hemp,  and  flax  ripen 
by  the  side  of  the  melon,  the  lime,  and  the  olive.  Chili 
produces  a  surplus  of  wheat  for  exportation.  Brazil  is  in 
many  parts  still  covered  with  forests  almost  impenetrable. 
From  them  rosewood  and  dye-woods  are  obtained. 

Beyond  40°  south  latitude  there  is  little  cultivation,  and 
vegetation  diminishes  rapidly.  The  climate  would  admit  of 
grain,  but,  except  in  a  few  parts,  the  soil  is  a  shingly  desert 
upon  which  little  will  grow  that  can  be  turned  to  any 
economic  use.  The  peninsula  tapers  to  a  point  which 
trends  southwards  to  the  latitude  of  550,  and  the  last  ten 
degrees  are  utterly  cold  and  desolate. 


CHAPTER  XII. 


NATURE  AND  MAN  AS  AGENTS  OF  CHANGE. 

Summary  of  Former  Chapters — Contrast  of  Old  and  New  Worlds  as 
to  Physical  Conditions — Geological  Evidence  of  Change  of  Climate 
and  Produce — Variations  of  Orbit — Man  Subject  to  these  Laws — 
Their  Harmony  Illustrated. 

We  have  now  traced  the  relation  throughout  the  earth  :  (i) 
between  geological  conditions  and  mineral  wealth;  (2) 
between  climate  and  soil  on  the  one  hand,  and  organic 
forms  on  the  other.  We  have  seen  how  contour,  vertical 
relief,  and  other  physical  features  modify  climate  and  soil, 
and  consequently  animal  and  vegetable  life.  We  have  also 
been  led  to  observe  that  the  study  of  the  geology  of  any 
region  is  auxiliary  to  a  knowledge  of  its  flora  and  fauna. 

The  great  mountain  ridge  of  the  New  World  presents  no 
such  barrier  between  the  equator  and  the  poles,  as  the  Hima¬ 
layas  and  their  adjuncts  offer  in  the  Old  World.  The  disper¬ 
sion  of  plants  and  animals  is  therefore  limited  by  more  elastic 
conditions,  and  the  separation  of  zones  is  marked  by  less 
decided  lines.  The  tropical  waters  of  the  Caribbean  Sea 
divide  America  into  a  northern  and  southern  continent, 
closely  corresponding,  each  division  being  related  to  the 
other  by  bands  of  analogous  climate  and  produce,  which  are 
but  portions  of  bands  similarly  crossing  the  Old  World,  and 
encircling  the  earth. 

There  is  abundant  evidence  to  prove  that  the  zones  of 
the  earth’s  surface  have  been  subject  to  repeated  changes, 
the  agents  of  which  have  been  Nature  and,  involuntarily, 


NA  TURE  A  ND  MAN  AS  A  GENTS  OF  CHA  NGE.  1 3  7 

man.  The  great  plains  of  America  are  geologically  recent. 
In  the  arctic  regions  coal-beds  are  found,  the  fossil  flora  of 
which,  composed  of  a  preponderance  of  Conifera,  indicates 
a  climate  corresponding  to  that  of  mid-Europe,  and  proves 
that  in  the  long  cycles  of  the  earth’s  physical  history  and 
its  successive  oscillations,  the  poles,  whose  frosts  we  often 
call  eternal,  have  aforetime  and  more  than  once  borne 
excess  of  heat. 

The  vibrations  of  the  earth  in  reference  to  its  axis,  slow 
though  they  be,  are  persistent,  and  although  intervals  of 
thousands  of  years  are  required  to  make  perceptible  com¬ 
parisons,  yet  the  equilibrium  of  our  planet  goes  through  a 
long  period  of  unresting  poise.  At  the  present  time  the 
arctic  coasts  are  rising,  and  the  bed  of  the  Pacific  is  sinking 
in  obedience,  it  is  believed,  to  the  law  requiring  the  centre 
of  gravity  of  the  earth’s  mass  to  be  maintained  by  the 
mobility  of  the  ocean.  The  nature  of  the  changes  thus 
brought  about  may  be  illustrated  by  a  supposition  easy  to 
comprehend.  If  the  relation  between  America  and  the 
Atlantic  were  gradually  to  alter  so  that  the  sea-level  rose 
300  feet,  the  llanos  of  the  Orinoco  would  be  covered.  If  it 
were  noo  the  sea  would  wash  the  base  of  the  Andes,  and 
only  leave  those  mountains  and  the  highlands  of  Venezuela, 
the  Guianas,  and  Brazil  above  the  waves. 

Man  finds  work  ever  ready  to  his  hand.  By  diligent 
labour,  guided  by  intelligence,  he  can  modify  many  of  the 
aspects  of  Nature,  and  obtain  from  her  bounty  an  indefinite 
increase  of  enjoyment.  He  cannot  alter  the  past  or  arrest 
the  future,  but  he  may  shape  the  issues  of  both  to  his 
advantage. 

What  are  the  limits  of  our  power,  and  how  may  we  best 
use  it  to  promote  well-being?  Such  are  the  inquiries  which 
the  course  of  study  we  have  pursued  should  aid  us  to 


answer. 


T38  THE  NA  TURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 

Nothing  more  beautifully  shows  the  harmony  of  natural 
laws  than  the  modifications  of  the  forms  of  life  by  the  change 
of  conditions.  We  fell  a  forest,  and  the  timid  browsers  lose 
their  shelter  and  food  and  disappear  ;  the  wild  beast  is 
deprived  of  its  covert  and  prey,  and  is  seen  no  more  ;  birds, 
too,  migrate  to  districts  where  insects  and  berries  abound. 
We  cultivate  a  plain,  and  the  grub  of  the  cockchafer  begins 
its  havoc  among  the  corn  roots,  and  the  earthworm  its  system 
of  under  tillage,  till,  attracted  by  their  prevalence,  the  familiar 
forms  of  our  common  birds  are  seen,  and  the  balance  of 
vegetable  and  animal  life  is  restored.  The  sparrow  was 
unknown  in  Russia  last  century ;  but  the  rapid  progress  of 
corn  culture,  the  sign  of  civilised  progress,  has  emboldened 
this  bird  to  spread  over  the  empire,  even  as  far  as  Siberia. 
Partridges,  again,  whose  food  is  found  in  the  corn-fields  of 
England  and  France,  have  recognised  the  high  husbandry 
of  Scotland,  and  are  met  with  at  Inverness,  the  limit  of 
British  wdieat  growth.  Food,  therefore,  becomes  the  link 
between  the  flora  and  fauna  of  the  climatic  zones. 

Many  illustrations  might  be  submitted  of  the  effects  of 
human  agency  in  modifying  the  aspects  of  Nature,  sometimes 
intentionally  produced,  sometimes  otherwise.  Mr.  Grierson, 
at  the  meeting  of  the  British  Association  in  1866,  read  a 
paper  referring  to  the  destruction  of  plantations  at  Drum- 
lanrig  in  Dumfriesshire,  by  the  voles,  commonly  called  rats, 
which  are  the  pest  of  Sweden.  They  appear  to  be  migratory 
in  their  habits,  and  occasionally  increase  in  myriads.  From 
the  recent  slaughter  of  rapacious  birds,  such  as  owls,  hawks, 
and  eagles,  which  Nature  has  appointed  to  bound  the 
unlimited  fecundity  of  the  rodentia,  the  voles  have  found  a 
safe  field  for  action.  They  principally  destroy  the  young  oak 
and  ash,  gnawing  a  ring  of  bark  near  the  roots  and  beneath 
the  grass,  the  trees  being  unable  to  resist  such  attacks  until 
after  at  least  twelve  years’  growth.  In  like  manner  regions 


NATURE  AND  MAN  AS  AGENTS  OF  CHANGE. 


*39 


have  been  rendered  bare  by  the  introduction  of  goats,  which 
destroy  the  mature  trees  by  devouring  the  bark,  and  arrest 
the  renewal  of  young  plants  by  browsing  on  the  seedlings. 
The  presence  of  swine,  on  the  contrary,  tends  to  the  per¬ 
manence  of  forests.  The  myriads  of  swine  swarming  in  the 
woods  of  Russia  and  North  America  render  material  service 
to  vegetation,  by  grubbling  up  the  soil  for  the  fallen  mast 
on  which  they  feed,  and  thereby  letting  in  air  and  moisture 
for  the  sustenance  of  the  trees.  Pigs  are  often  penned 
round  our  orchard  trees  for  a  similar  purpose  and  for  their 
manure,  where  a  few  goats  admitted  would  cause  utter 
destruction. 

By  our  acquaintance  with  the  facies ,  or  landscape  features, 
of  a  floral  region,  we  are  able  to  judge  when  and  where 
we  can  with  profit  introduce  or  transfer  the  plants  of  one 
country  or  hemisphere  to  another.  Thus  it  is  that  we  have 
spread  the  useful  food  plants,  fruits,  fibres,  and  timbers,  or 
strewn  our  colonies  with  wild  flowers,  associated  with  the 
thoughts  of  home. 

The  vegetable  kingdom  is  full  of  striking  examples. 
The  fruits  of  Europe,  most  of  Asiatic  origin,  were  removed 
westward  in  the  same  zone,  and  subsequently  to  the  New 
World.  The  diffusion  has  been  carried  still  further  into  the 
zones  of  the  southern  hemisphere.  The  vine  now  flourishes 
in  South  Africa  and  Australia.  Grains,  either  tropical  or 
northern,  have  gone  with  man  into  every  habitable  clime. 
Maize  has  enlarged  its  area  in  the  three  continents  of  the 
East,  and  rice  has  spread  almost  as  widely  in  the  West. 
We  owe  to  Chili  the  potato,  which  has  lightened  exist¬ 
ence  to  extra  millions  of  mankind.  The  pine-apple  was 
a  native  of  the  Bahamas  and  Bermudas,  and  is  now  plen¬ 
tiful  round  the  Mediterranean.  Tobacco,  unknown  till  the 
sixteenth  century,  belts  both  sides  of  the  equator  far  beyond 
the  tropics.  Cloves  and  pepper  are  acclimated  in  each  of 


140 


THE  NA  TURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


the  Indies,  though  native  only  to  the  East.  Coffee  also, 
indigenous  to  Arabia  or  Abyssinia,  has  sped  through  the 
tropical  zone.  Thus  also  with  the  fauna,  we  have  aided 
Nature  in  the  distribution  of  her  productions,  enriching 
each  zone  with  the  representative  species  of  its  corre¬ 
sponding  zone.  The  wild  horses  and  cattle  of  South 
America  seem  destined  to  exterminate  the  native  llama. 
The  English  sheep  in  Australia  have  driven  the  kangaroo 
inland,  and  threaten  its  extinction.  The  effect  of  intro¬ 
ducing  our  domestic  animals  into  other  countries  has  been 
to  increase  our  resources  for  food  and  clothing,  to  add  to 
wealth,  and  to  the  duration  of  human  life. 

Nature  has  arranged  ‘the  climatic  zones  in  a  manner 
whose  simplicity  and  unity  of  working  fill  our  minds  with  an 
exalted  pleasure.  Oceans  come  between  the  continents, 
and  obstruct  the  passage  of  certain  forms  of  life ;  yet  many 
thousands  of  miles  distant  the  conditions  of  being  are  only 
modified,  and  we  meet,  indeed,  not  the  same  species,  but  re¬ 
presentative  ones,  whether  of  animals  or  plants.  The  animals 
of  the  Old  World,  both  beneficial  and  noxious,  have 
indigenous  species  to  represent  them  in  the  economy  of 
Nature  in  America.  The  lion  of  Asia  and  Africa  is 
represented  by  the  puma,  and  the  jaguar  is  known  as  the 
American  tiger.  The  llama  and  alpaca,  in  like  manner, 
take  the  place  of  the  camel,  horse,  and  ass.  Ostriches, 
coursing  with  the  fleetness  of  the  wind  over  the  Arabian  and 
African  deserts,  are  represented  on  the  South  American 
plains  by  the  rhea,  and  in  Australia  by  the  emeu.  The 
Arctic  grebes,  whose  feathered  skins  are  so  much  prized  for 
warm  winter  trimmings,  are  matched  by  the  penguin  of 
the  Antarctic.  The  fishes,  reptiles,  birds,  and  mammals  of  the 
East  Indies,  find  representative  species  in  the  West  Indies. 
The  gavial  of  the  Ganges  and  the  crocodile  of  the  Nile 
are  genera  allied  with  the  alligator  of  the  Mississippi  and 


NA  TURK  AND  MAN  AS  AGENTS  OF  CHANGE.  1 4  T 

the  cayman  of  South  America.  Australian  rivers  have 
the  analogous  reptiles. 

A  similar  divergence  in  unity  is  observed  in  the  vegeta 
tion.  The  landscape  features  of  Europe  and  America  in 
the  same  zone  are  different  in  the  midst  of  strong  resem¬ 
blances.  There  is  an  impression  of  immensity  in  an 
American  forest  which  a  European  one  cannot  convey. 
There  are  oaks,  beeches,  maples,  and  wood-nuts,  but 
differing  both  in  magnitude  and  species.  So  also  is  it 
with  the  exuberant  plains  of  India  and  the  selvas  of  the 
Amazons,  both  rich  in  palms ;  the  sago  and  areca  against 
the  coquilla  and  vegetable  ivory ;  and  neither  region 
second  to  the  other.  Similarly  the  three  peninsulas 
of  America,  Africa,  and  Australia,  regarded  as  a  prolon¬ 
gation  of  Asia,  have  harsh  leafless  plants,  as  the  gum- 
trees  ( Eucalyptus )  and  the  spurges  ( Euphorbiacece ).  Lastly, 
to  contrast  antipodal  zones.  New  Zealand  and  England 
possess  in  common  not  a  plant  identically  the  same,  yet 
the  trees  in  the  one  country  find  their  counterpart  species 
in  those  of  the  other. 


PART  II. 


■H- 


THE  COMMERCIAL  PRODUCTS  OF  THE 
VEGETABLE  KINGDOM. 


INTRODUCTION. 

Plants  are  merely  earth,  water,  and  air,  transmuted. 
The  mineral  or  inorganic  kingdom  is  in  a  state  of  constant 
change.  Chemical,  igneous,  electrical,  aerial,  and  aqueous 
forces  are  ever  active  in  modifying  physical  conditions. 
Bej^ond  these  forces  there  is  the  vital  principle  which  mani¬ 
fests  its  energy  in  wondrous  ways.  Life  has  been  defined 
as  the  state  of  action  between  organised  bodies ,  whether  vege¬ 
table  or  animal ,  and  their  environment.  Plants  absorb  and 
feed  upon  the  carbonic  acid  gas  of  the  atmosphere,  supplied 
thereto  by  the  respiration  of  animals.  Plants,  likewise, 
exhale  oxygen,  the  life-sustaining  element  of  the  animal 
world.  Plants  and  animals  thus  combine  to  maintain  a 
balance  of  purity  in  the  ocean  of  air  in  which  man  lives  and 
moves  and  has  his  being.  Plants,  further,  elaborate  from 
inorganic  substances  those  nutrient  principles  which  con¬ 
stitute  the  food  of  animals,  whose  decomposed  constituents, 
in  turn,  nourish  vegetable  life.  Animals  and  plants,  infinite 
in  diversity,  act  and  re-act  and  reciprocally  sustain  each 
other. 


M4 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


Some  plants  are  especially  useful  to  man  as  sources  of 
food,  clothing,  shelter,  medicine,  and  other  necessaries  and 
comforts.  Such,  for  example,  are  cereals  and  fruits,  fibres, 
building  materials,  barks,  gums,  resins,  balsams,  tanning 
substances,  dyes,  oils,  and  perfumes.  These  products  are 
found  in  different  climatic  regions  according  to  their  powers 
of  adaptation  to  the  surrounding  conditions. 

One  is  led  to  ask  the  use  of  noxious  weeds  and  venomous 
insects — seemingly  baleful  examples  of  life.  The  more  we 
inquire,  however,  into  the  operations  of  Nature,  the  more 
clearly  we  perceive  that  nothing  exists  in  vain.  Human 
intelligence  has  usefully  applied  even  poisons  from  the 
vegetable  kingdom.  Such  are  some  curative  drugs,  and 
also  edible  substances.  Tapioca  comes  from  a  root, 
(Manihot)  whose  juices  are  used  by  the  American  Indians 
to  poison  the  barbs  of  their  murderous  arrows  and  spears. 
Our  common  potato  belongs  to  the  deadly  nightshade  tribe, 
and,  even  as  cultivated,  retains  in  its  apple  or  fruit  its 
fatal  properties.  Parsley,  celery,  and  other  vegetable  foods 
have  been  rendered  innocuous  by  art.  Awaiting  our  intelli¬ 
gence  to  discern  all  their  properties,  there  is  an  indefinite 
number  of  so-regarded  noxious  plants,  to  be  reduced  to 
human  service.  Of  the  rest,  although  we  may  never  seek 
for,  or  succeed  in  finding  the  means  to  utilise  their  proper¬ 
ties,  they  will  persistently  perform  their  functions  of  main¬ 
taining  the  balance  between  animal  and  vegetable  life. 

Various  interesting  thoughts  may  arise  in  the  mind  of  the 
young  merchant  relative  to  these  facts.  What  are  the  con¬ 
ditions  under  which  useful  plants  flourish  ?  What  economic 
substances  do  they  supply,  and  what  purposes  do  they  sub¬ 
serve  ?  What  countries  resemble  the  native  habitat  of 
special  plants  closely  enough  for  hopeful  experiments  in 
extending  their  culture  ?  Such  inquiries  must  obviously 
open  a  wide  field  of  research.  They  are  now  carried  on, 


FOOD  PLANTS. 


145 


by  commercial  naturalists,  through  a  world-wide  correspond¬ 
ence  and  reciprocal  transfers  of  plants  to  a  degree  to  consti¬ 
tute  a  high-class  division  of  labour,  and  society  benefits 
every  year  by  an  enlarged  trade  and  new  additions  to  the 
raw  materials  of  our  manufactures.  Numerous  as  are  the 
vegetable  products  hitherto  discovered  capable  of  utilisation, 
they  are  few  contrasted  with  the  manifold  stores  of  nature. 

The  most  valuable  of  the  economic  plants  may  be 
divided  into  two  groups : — 

I.  Food  Plants. 

II.  Industrial  and  Medicinal  Plants. 


SECTION  I.— FOOD  PLANTS. 

I.  Farinaceous  Plants. 

The  grasses  (natural  order,  Grciminacecc )  constitute  one 
of  the  most  widely-distributed  of  the  natural  families  of 
plants,  appearing  in  temperate  climates  in  numbers  so  vast 
that  they  form  the  mass  of  the  verdure  which  covers  the 
landscape.  The  grasses  of  tropical  climates  are  much 
loftier  than  those  of  the  temperate  zones,  less  gregarious, 
and  more  tufted.  We  give  the  first  consideration  to  the 
Cerealia,  or  corn  plants,  the  grain  of  which  contains  an 
abundant  farinaceous  albumen,  capable  under  cultivation 
of  improvement  in  quantity  and  quality.  The  Cerealia 
have  been  cultivated  from  the  remotest  antiquity,  and 
were  thought  by  the  ancients  to  be  the  gift  of  the  goddess 
Ceres.  Their  native  country  is  unknown,  and  they  have 
been  so  changed  by  cultivation,  that  we  are  ignorant, 
except  in  one  or  two  plants,  of  the  wild  stock  from  which 
they  are  lineally  descended.  The  Cerealia  of  temperate 

I.  K 


146 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


climates  include  the  European  cultivated  grasses,  wheat, 
oats,  barley,  and  rye ;  while  maize  and  rice  are  the  chief 
cereals  of  the  tropics. 


A. —  The  Cerealia  of  Temperate  Climates. 

Wheat  ( Triticum  vulgar e,  L.). — Wheat  is  the  chief  grain 
of  temperate  and  sub-temperate  climates.  Its  geographical 
range  extends  from  30°  to  6o°  N.  lat.,  and  30°  to  40°  S. 
lat.,  in  the  eastern  continent,  and  Australia.  Along  the 
Atlantic  portions  of  the  western  continent  the  wheat  region 
embraces  the  tract  lying  between  30°  and  50°  N.  lat.  In 
the  tropics,  wheat  is  cultivated  only  in  mountainous  districts, 
where  the  land  is  sufficiently  elevated  to  be  of  the  proper 
temperature.  It  is  estimated  that  in  Great  Britain  5,000,000 
acres  are  annually  covered  with  this  grain. 

Wheat  is  imported  into  the  United  Kingdom  from  almost 
all  parts  of  the  globe.  We  get  soft,  red,  and  white  wheat 
from  Austria  :  Spanish  wheat  from  Bilbao ;  Saxanka  wheat 
from  St.  Petersburg ;  much  from  South  Australia ;  we 
also  import  largely  from  the  United  States,  California, 
the  East  Indies,  and  Hindostan.  The  finest  kind  of 
European  wheat  is  from  Dantzic,  the  grain  being  large, 
white,  and  very  thin-skinned.  The  largest  amounts  were 
formerly  received  from  the  southern  parts  of  Russia,  from 
Prussia,  and  from  France,  but  the  trade  does  not  com¬ 
pare  with  that  of  the  New  World  and  our  Eastern  Depen¬ 
dencies.  A  hard  Italian  wheat  is  much  sought  for  maccaroni 
and  vermicelli. 

Wheats  divide  into  white  and  red,  hard  and  soft,  each 
quality  requiring  its  special  conditions  of  climate  to  come 
to  the  highest  perfection.  The  value  of  wheat  is  estimated 
from  the  colour  and  form  of  the  grain,  its  weight,  dryness, 


WHEA  T. 


147 


and  flavour.  The  weight  is  an  essential  point.  Hard 
wheat  is  grown  in  warm  climates,  such  as  those  of  Algeria, 
Southern  Europe,  India,  and  Australia.  Hard  wheat  con¬ 
tains  much  nutritive  matter,  and  the  flour  therefrom  is  in 
demand  among  confectioners.  Red  wheat  is  an  inter¬ 
mediate  kind  between  the  hard  and  soft. 

Wheat  was  formerly  sown  broadcast,  that  is,  thrown  from 
the  hand  of  the  sower  over  soil  previously  prepared  by  the 
plough.  This  is  the  most  ancient  mode.  In  modern  times 
the  plan  of  drilling  or  dibbling  has  been  adopted ;  that  is, 
depositing  the  seed  in  holes,  formed  in  straight  furrows  at 
regular  intervals. 

When  wheat  is  crushed  between  the  stones  of  the  mill, 
it  is  separated  into  two  parts,  the  bran  and  the  flour.  The 
bran  is  the  outside  harder  part  or  tunic  of  the  grain,  which, 
intermingled  with  the  flour,  darkens  its  colour,  and  is  gener¬ 
ally  sifted  or  bolted  out  to  a  greater  or  less  extent.  Bran  is 
used  for  fattening  the  stock  on  the  farm,  and  is  of  some 
commercial  value  in  tanning,  calico  printing,  and  for  filling 
dolls  and  cushions.  The  finest  kind  of  bran  is  called 
middlings.  Pollard  is  a  coarse  product  of  wheat  from  the 
mill,  but  finer  than  bran.  The  average  weight  of  a  bushel 
of  wheat  is  about  sixty  pounds,  yielding  forty-seven  pounds 
of  flour  and  eleven  pounds  of  pollard,  two  parts  being  lost 
in  grinding  and  dressing. 

The  whole  meal,  or  the  mixture  of  flour  and  bran,  is  as 
nutritious  as  the  grain  itself ;  and  as  bran  is  an  alimentary  sub¬ 
stance,  and  equal  to  one-fourth  the  weight  of  the  whole  grain, 
by  its  separation  much  waste  of  wholesome  food  is  caused. 
The  great  importance  attached  to  bread  perfectly  white  arises 
from  prejudice.  Brown  bread,  from  the  whole  meal,  is  not 
merely  more  economical  but  contains  the  most  nutriment. 

Flour  is  largely  imported  from  California  and  other  parts 
of  the  United  States.  The  quality  of  flour  depends  upon 


148 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


the  skill  and  care  with  which  it  is  milled  and  prepared,  as 
well  as  upon  the  kind  of  wheat  from  which  it  is  produced. 
In  France,  the  finest  used  for  fancy  bread  is  called  gruau, 
and  with  us  pastry  whites. 

Vienna  flour  is  esteemed  throughout  Europe. 

In  the  United  States,  different  trade  terms  are  employed 
for  flour.  Thus  Common  State  is  the  designation  of  flour 
from  spring  wheat  with  only  the  bran  bolted  out.  Extra 
flour  is  made  from  the  best  quality  of  red  winter  or  low 
white  wheat,  with  the  fine  flour  and  middlings  bolted  out. 
Double  extra  is  the  choicest  flour  made  from  the  best 
white  wheat.  Extra  State  is  from  spring  wheat  bolted 
clear.  Fancy  is  a  kind  of  flour,  made  of  a  mixture  of  red, 
white,  and  spring  wheat  bolted  clear. 

Good  flour,  when  pressed  in  the  hand,  should  pack  in  a 
ball  and  not  fall  in  powder.  A  portion  thrown  against  a 
smooth  vertical  wall  should  mass  in  a  lump  and  not  scatter 
in  a  fine  white  dust.  When  wet  and  kneaded,  it  ought  to 
work  dry  and  elastic,  not  soft  and  clammy.  Its  colour 
should  be  pure  white  without  a  bluish  tinge.  No  black 
specks,  however  minute,  should  be  found  by  the  closest 
examination.  A  slight  yellow  colour  is  not  a  bad  sign. 

Oats  ( Arena  sativa,  L.). — The  oat  is  the  hardiest  of  all 
the  cereal  grains,  and  one  of  the  most  elegant  of  grasses. 
It  can  be  cultivated  in  countries  too  cold  for  the  growth 
of  wheat  and  barley.  Its  adaptability  to  climate  is  so 
great  that  it  is  cultivated  in  Bengal  as  low  as  250  N.  lat., 
but  it  refuses  to  yield  profitable  crops  as  we  approach  the 
equator.  The  oat  is  cultivated  in  England,  principally  in 
the  north  and  north-eastern  counties,  and  in  most  parts  of 
Wales  and  Scotland.  It  grows  luxuriantly  in  Australia, 
in  Northern  and  Central  Asia,  in  South  America,  and  over 
the  whole  of  the  cultivated  districts  of  North  America. 

The  meal  of  this  grain  is  remarkable  for  its  richness  in 


BARLEY. 


149 


gluten,  and  for  containing  more  fatty  matter  than  any 
other  of  the  cereals.  To  these  two  circumstances  it  owes  its 
nutritious  and  wholesome  character.  It  is,  therefore,  very 
suitable,  and  much  in  use,  as  an  article  of  diet  for  invalids. 
The  variety  called  the  potato  oat  is  a  great  favourite  in 
Scotland,  and  is  almost  the  only  kind  now  cultivated  there. 
Oatmeal  forms  a  very  considerable  portion  of  the  daily  food 
of  the  Scotch,  and  oat-cakes  are  much  eaten  in  the  northern 
counties  of  England. 

We  export  no  oats,  as  our  domestic  consumption  is 
far  more  than  equal  to  the  amount  grown.  The  crop  of 
this  grain  annually  raised  in  the  United  Kingdom  is  less 
than  half  that  of  wheat.  We  receive  large  cargoes  of  oats 
from  foreign  parts,  the  largest  quantities  coming  from 
Russia,  Sweden,  and  British  North  America. 

The  use  of  the  oat  is  very  ancient.  It  is  not  mentioned 
in  the  Bible,  but  it  is  alluded  to  by  the  Greek  and  Roman 
writers  Dioscorides  and  Pliny.  Caligula  the  tyrant  is  said 
to  have  fed  his  horses  with  gilded  oats ;  probably  an 
allusion  to  the  colour  of  the  grain. 

Barley  {Hordeum  distichon ,  L.). — This  grain  is  one  of 
the  staple  crops  of  northern  Europe  and  Asia,  growing  as 
far  north  of  the  equator  as  70°,  and  as  far  south  of  it  as  420, 
in  favourable  seasons  and  situations.  In  the  New  World 
its  growth  is  chiefly  confined  to  Mexico,  the  middle,  western, 
and  northern  States,  and  Canada.  In  Asia,  it  is  cultivated 
in  the  Himalayas  and  Thibet,  replacing  wheat  in  many 
districts,  and  producing  admirable  flour. 

Barley  is  chiefly  used  for  malting  and  distilling  purposes, 
in  making  beer  and  spirits.  When  the  outer  coat  of  this 
grain  is  removed,  it-  is  called  Pearl  Barley,  and  in  this  form 
it  is  valuable  for  thickening  broths  and  soups.  Barley 
water  is  a  mucilaginous  drink  for  invalids,  made  by  boiling 
pearl  barley. 


150  THE  NA  TURAL  HIS  TOR  Y  OF  COMMERCE. 

We  import  many  million  quarters  of  barley,  our  chief 
sources  of  supply  being  Denmark,  Germany,  France,  and 
European  Turkey. 

Barley  is  a  very  ancient  article  of  human  food.  It  is 
mentioned  in  the  Bible  in  the  Book  of  Exodus.  It  has 
been  cultivated  in  Egypt  and  Syria  for  more  than  3000 
years.  Pliny  calls  barley  the  most  ancient  food  of  man. 
It  requires  very  little  dressing  when  sent  to  the  mill,  having 
no  husk,  and  consequently,  no  bran.  It  may  be  eaten 
without  any  other  preparation  than  boiling. 

Rye  {Secale  cerecile,  L.). — This  is  a  highly  nutritious  grain, 
but  not  much  raised  in  this  country,  except  as  green  fodder 
for  cattle.  In  Bohemia  and  most  parts  of  Germany,  how¬ 
ever,  rye  forms  the  principal  crop.  It  is  also  much  cul¬ 
tivated  in  the  north  of  Europe,  and  in  Flanders,  where, 
mixed  with  wheat,  and  sometimes  with  barley,  it  forms  one 
of  the  means  of  subsistence.  The  peasantry  of  Sweden 
live  very  generally  on  rye  cakes.  Geographically  the  diffu¬ 
sion  of  rye  and  barley  is  pretty  much  the  same,  as  these 
plants  generally  associate  together,  growing  in  similar  soils 
and  situations. 

Rye-straw  is  useless  as  fodder  for  cattle,  but  forms  excel¬ 
lent  thatching  material  and  a  superior  article  for  stuffing 
horse-collars,  so  that  it  is  in  favour  with  saddlers ;  and  our 
annual  imports  amount  to  some  hundred  thousands  of  hun¬ 
dredweights. 

Rye  is  much  infested  by  a  very  poisonous  fungus.  When 
attacked  in  this  manner,  it  is  called  in  England,  “  horned 
rye,”  and  in  France  ergot ,  from  a  fancied  resemblance  to 
a  cock’s  spur.  The  poison  affects  not  only  human  beings, 
but  swine  and  poultry,  eating  it,  die  miserably  in  strong 
convulsions  and  with  mortifying  ulcers ;  and  insects  settling 
on  it  are  killed.  Ergot  of  rye  is,  in  the  hands  of  the  skilful 
physician,  a  remedial  agent. 


FOOD  PLANTS. 


I5I 

The  principal  granaries  of  Europe  are  Hungary,  Russia, 
Moldavia,  and  Wallachia ;  and  the  chief  ports  for  the  ex¬ 
portation  of  grain,  Archangel,  Cronstadt,  Riga,  Ivonigsberg, 
Danzig,  Stettin,  Rostock,  and  Kiel,  in  the  north ;  Taganrog, 
Odessa,  Galatz,  the  Danube,  and  Trieste  in  the  south. 
Large  flour  mills  have  been  erected  at  Mayence  on  the 
Rhine,  which  is  now  a  very  important  place  for  this  branch 
of  commerce. 

B. — The  Cerealia  of  Warm  Climates. 

Rice  ( Oryza  sativa,  L.). — This  grass  is  a  native  of  the 
East  Indies,  whence  it  has  spread  to  all  the  warm  parts  of 
Asia,  Africa,  and  America.  It  is  a  marsh  plant,  and  grows 
like  the  oat,  the  grain  hanging  from  the  thin,  hair-like  pedi¬ 
cles,  forming  a  loose  panicle.  Rice  is  cultivated  throughout 
the  torrid  zone,  wherever  there  is  a  supply  of  water.  It 
matures  on  the  eastern  continent  as  high  as  45 0  N.  latitude, 
and  as  low  as  38°  S.  latitude.  Its  cultivation  is  generally 
within  these  limits.  Our  chief  supplies  come  from  the 
“rice  ports”  of  Bangkok,  Akyab,  and  Moulmein. 

The  rice  from  the  Southern  States  of  America  is  the  best, 
being  sweeter,  larger,  and  better  coloured  than  that  from 
Asia,  where  its  cultivation  is  not  so  well  managed,  except 
indeed  Bengal  rice,  which  now  nearly  equals  that  grow¬ 
ing  in  the  Carolinas.  South  Carolina  produces  the  best 
American  rice,  and  Patna  the  best  East  Indian  variety ;  but 
many  of  the  parcels,  commercially  called  Carolina,  are 
derived  from  Berbice.  Carolina  rice  possesses  a  long 
brilliant  grain  and  is  carefully  cleaned.  For  alimentary 
purposes  it  is  preferred  before  all  other  kinds,  and  attempts 
have  been  made  to  introduce  its  choice  seed  into  India. 
Java  rice  is  inferior  to  that  of  Bengal  or  Carolina,  from  the 
careless  mode  in  which  it  is  got  ready  for  the  market.  In 


x52 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


husking,  the  grain  is  much  broken,  and,  from  negligent 
drying,  it  quickly  imbibes  moisture  and  becomes  mildewed, 
when  it  is  subject  to  the  attacks  of  insects  and  decays. 
The  varieties  of  rice  are  innumerable.  Commercially  they 
are  classed  as  table  rice,  cargo  rice,  and  white  rice.  All 
the  different  kinds  of  Carolina  rice  resolve  into  the  upland 
or  mountain  rice  and  the  lowland  or  swamp  rice.  Excel¬ 
lent  rice  is  also  grown  in  the  Spanish  provinces  of  Andalusia, 
Valencia,  and  Catalonia,  as  well  as  in  the  marshes  of  Upper 
Italy,  especially  Lombardy  and  Venice,  and  in  the  plains 
of  Milan,  Mantua,  Verona,  Parma,  and  Modena,  along  the 
River  Po. 

Rice  does  not  contain  half  as  much  gluten  as  wheat,  and 
will  not  make  a  loaf,  but  has  one-fourth  more  starch  in  its 
composition ;  hence  it  is  chosen  by  our  starch-makers  both 
for  its  cheapness  and  its  larger  yield.  A  coloured  rice 
shipped  from  Madras  is  imported  almost  exclusively  for 
starch.  Of  all  the  cereals,  rice  is  the  most  compact,  seldom 
weighing  less  than  65  lbs.  to  the  bushel. 

Immense  quantities  of  rice  are  consumed  in  England,  in 
the  form  of  puddings  and  confectionery.  The  straw  is 
plaited  for  bonnets. 

Rice,  although  regarded  by  us  more  as  a  cheap  luxury 
than  a  necessary  article  of  food,  forms  the  chief  subsistence 
of  the  Hindoos,  Chinese,  Japanese,  and  other  eastern 
nations.  The  Burmese  and  Siamese  are  the  greatest  con¬ 
sumers  of  this  grain.  A  Malay  labourer  requires  56  lbs. 
monthly,  but  a  Burmese  or  Siamese  64  lbs.  The  South 
Carolina  people  do  not  consume  much  rice.  They  raise  it 
principally  to  supply  the  foreign  demand — the  swamps  of 
that  state,  both  those  which  are  occasioned  by  the  periodical 
visit  of  the  tides,  and  those  which  are  caused  by  the  inland 
flooding  of  the  rivers — being  well  suited  to  its  production. 
The  mountain  rices  of  India  are  grown  without  irrigation, 


RICE. 


T53 


at  elevations  of  3000  to  6000  feet  above  the  level  of  the 
sea;  the  dampness  of  the  summer  months  compensating  for 
the  want  of  artificial  moisture. 

Rice  in  the  husk  is  called  by  its  Indian  name  “  Paddy/’ 
Before  it  can  be  used  for  food  this  husk  must  be  removed  ; 
this  is  done  in  India  amongst  the  poorer  people  by  rubbing 
the  grain  between  flat  stones,  and  winnowing  or  blowing 
the  husks  away.  Paddy  is  now  imported  into  the  United 
Kingdom  in  preference  to  shelled  rice ;  there  is  less  loss  by 
waste,  and  the  importers  avoid  several  charges  on  rice 
prepared  for  use.  Our  machinery  is  better  adapted  for 
removing  the  husk  than  the  methods  employed  in  the 
countries  where  rice  is  produced.  Unhusked  rice  or  paddy 
may  be  kept  sound  for  many  years.  Good  judges,  in  fact, 
have  a  preference  for  rice  a  year  old. 

Rice-paper,  so  named  from  its  appearance,  is  not  manu¬ 
factured  from  this  grain,  but  is  the  pith  of  a  shrub  called 
by  the  Chinese  “Taccada,”  and  by  botanists  Aralia  fiapyri- 
fera ,  L.  The  pith,  carefully  removed  from  the  stem  of  the 
plant,  is  first  cut  spirally  with  a  sharp  knife,  then  unrolled, 
spread  out,  and  pressed  flat.  This  paper  is  much  used 
by  the  Chinese  for  water-colour  paintings  of  insects  and 
flowers. 

The  cultivation  of  rice  dates  from  the  oldest  periods  ot 
which  we  have  any  record.  Ecclesiastes  xi.  1,  “  Cast  thy 
bread  upon  the  waters,  for  thou  shalt  find  it  after  many 
days,”  evidently  applies  to  rice,  which  in  Egypt  is  always 
sown  whilst  the  waters  of  the  Nile  cover  the  land,  the  re¬ 
treating  floods  leaving  a  rich  deposit  of  thick  alluvial  silt, 
in  which  the  rice  vegetates  luxuriantly.  A  spirituous  liquor 
(< arrack )  is  distilled  from  rice. 

Maize,  or  Indian  Corn  {Zea  Mays,  L.). — This  plant  has 
a  strong  reedy-jointed  stem,  as  thick  as  a  broom  handle, 
with  large  alternate  leaves  springing  from  each  joint.  In 


1 54 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


favourable  situations  the  stem  attains  a  height  of  from  seven 
to  ten  feet,  and  terminates  in  a  large  compound  panicle  of 
male  flowers  called  the  tassel.  The  female  flowers  are 
situated  below  the  male,  and  spring  from  the  sides  of  the 
stem.  They  consist  of  ten  or  more  rows  of  grains  or 
caryopses,  situated  on  the  surface  of  a  thick  cylindrical 
pithy  axis  or  stem  called  the  cob,  from  eight  to  ten  inches 
in  length.  From  each  of  these  grains  proceeds  a  long  hairy 
filament ;  the  whole  cob  being  enveloped  by  several  layers 
of  thin  leaves,  forming  the  husk  or  wrapper.  The  filaments 
of  the  individual  grains  hang  together  in  a  thick  cluster  out 
of  the  husk,  and  are  called  the  silk.  The  filaments  receive 
the  pollen  or  fertilising  matter  from  the  anthers  of  the 
tassel ;  a  fact  easily  proved  by  cutting  off  the  tassel,  when 
the  ears  prove  abortive.  After  fertilisation,  both  tassel  and 
silk  dry  up.  This  plant  when  grown  up  to  some  height 
usually  sends  out,  from  the  lower  joints  of  its  stem,  several 
suckers  which  help  to  maintain  its  upright  position,  acting 
as  props  or  buttresses. 

Maize  may  be  raised  on  the  American  continent  as  far 
to  the  north  and  south  of  the  equator  as  the  fortieth  parallels 
of  latitude,  whilst  in  Europe  its  geographical  range  extends 
even  to  50°  and  520. 

Naturalists  are  at  no  loss  to  determine  the  native  country 
of  maize,  which  is  undoubtedly  America,  as  the  Indians 
throughout  the  continent  were  engaged  in  its  cultivation 
when  the  New  World  was  first  discovered.  It  now  forms 
the  staple  grain  crop  of  the  United  States  and  Mexico. 
Since  the  discovery  of  America,  maize  has  been  introduced 
into  the  Old  World,  and  is  now  grown  in  Hungary, 
Transylvania,  Moldavia,  and  Wallachia.  From  these  coun¬ 
tries  large  quantities  are  annually  sent  down  the  Danube, 
via  the  Wallachian  port  and  fortress  of  Galatz,  into  the 
Mediterranean  as  far  as  Malta  and  Trieste.  Maize  is  also 


MAIZE ,  OR  INDIAN  CORN. 


II-  r* 

3  3 

grown  in  the  countries  around  the  Mediterranean,  and  in 
Southern  Germany.  It  is  raised  in  India  and  the  East  Indies, 
and  has  been  successfully  cultivated  in  Australia.  Maize 
is  a  striking  example  of  the  power  of  plants  to  wander, 
through  the  whole  climatal  zone  suited  to  their  growth. 
Primarily  a  gift  from  the  New  World  in  exchange  for  rice 
from  the  Old,  it  has  travelled  to  the  heart  of  Africa,  and 
has  reached  an  importance  only  next  to  rice,  as  the  susten¬ 
ance  of  divers  races,  as  far  as  China  and  Japan, 

Like  the  other  cereals,  maize  may  be  reduced  to  meal, 
the  coat  of  the  grain  or  bran  remaining  mixed  with  the 
flour.  Owing  to  its  deficiency  in  gluten,  it  is  not  used  for 
making  bread.  In  the  United  States,  it  is  made  into  cakes, 
and  eaten  under  the  name  of  “  corn  bread,”  familiarly  known 
as  “Johnny  cake.”  In  this  country  it  is  not  regarded  with 
favour  as  human  food,  although  it  is  sweet  and  nutritious. 
We  import  it  from  America  for  feeding  and  fattening  cattle. 
In  the  preparation  called  Hominy ,  the  grain  is  soaked,  and 
then  exposed  to  a  dry  heat,  which  causes  the  bran  or  outer 
coat  of  the  grain  to  crack  and  peel  off,  when  it  is  easily 
separated.  Pop-corn  is  another  American  preparation  of 
maize  made  by  slightly  baking  the  unripe  grains.  The  corn 
cobs  form  a  very  cheap  and  useful  fuel.  The  fine  starchy 
powders  of  maize,  as  of  rice,  are  chemically  bleached  and 
sold  as  corn  flours. 

Guinea  Corn,  Durra,  or  Turkish  Millet  ( Sorghum 
vulgare ,  Pers.). — “A  roundish  grain,  in  shape  not  unlike 
maize,  but  not  of  greater  bulk  than  a  small  grain  of  wheat ; 
its  colour  is  a  yellowish  white.  It  is  borne  in  loose  tufts  or 
panicles  :  the  stalks  are  about  eighteen  inches  to  two  feet 
in  height,  and  when  dry,  are  very  rigid ;  in  this  state  they 
are  much  used  in  the  manufacture  of  carpet-brooms  and 
whisks.  The  grain  itself  is  used  in  this  country  for  feeding 
poultry.  It  is  suspected  that  wheaten  flour  is  not  unfre- 


156  THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 

quently  adulterated  with  it,  but  this  can  only  occasionally 
take  place,  as  the  importation  of  durra  is  very  irregular. 
It  is  much  used  as  food  for  the  black  population  in  the 
West  Indies,  whence  it  has  been  called  negro  corn ;  they 
make  of  it  cakes  about  an  inch  thick,  which  are  white,  and 
tolerably  palatable.  It  is  also  used  by  the  poorer  peasants 
of  Italy.  We  receive  it  chiefly  from  Northern  Africa;  it  is, 
however,  cultivated  in  the  United  States,  West  and  East 
Indies,  and  in  Southern  Europe.  India  is  its  native 
country.”  * 

Buckwheat. — Buckwheat  wandered  westwards,  from  its 
native  home  in  Siberia  and  Turkestan,  to  the  northern 
regions  of  Europe ;  whence,  rather  earlier  than  maize,  it 
crossed  the  Atlantic  to  penetrate  the  regions  of  the  south. 
Buckwheat  is  not  a  cereal  grass  but  an  exogen.  Its  grain, 
resembling  the  beechnut,  whence  its  name  (bock,  beech), 
contains  farina  which  makes  a  national  dish  in  Russia,  and 
is  an  important  food  substance  in  North  Germany,  the 
Netherlands,  and  in  those  parts  of  the  Alps  where  the  lati¬ 
tude  forbids  the  ripening  of  maize.  Buckwheat  presents 
a  pretty  appearance  in  the  field,  with  white  flowers  and 
ruddy  stems,  and  has  become  indispensable  where  other 
grain  does  not  flourish,  but  disappears  before  wheat,  maize, 
rice,  and  millet. 


C. — The  Leguminosce  ( Pulse  Family). 

This  great  family  of  plants  contains  numerous  species 
with  nutritious  seeds,  which,  under  the  general  term  p7ilse , 
form  important  articles  of  commerce.  Legumes  comprise, 
in  temperate  climates,  the  Common  Pea  ( Pisum  sativum , 
L.),  the  Horse  Bean  ( Faba  vulgaris ,  Moench),  the  Hari- 


*  Archer’s  “  Economic  Botany,”  p.  S. 


GROUND  NUT. 


15  1 


cot  or  French  Bean  (. Phaseolus  vulgaris ,  Sari),  the  Lentil 
( Ervum  lens ,  L.) ;  and,  in  the  tropics,  the  Ground  Nut 
(. Arac/iis  hypogcea ,  L.),  the  Chick  Pea  ( Cicer  arietinum , 
L.),  and  the  Carob  Bean,  or  St.  John’s  Bread  ( Ceratonia 
siliqua ,  L.). 

Peas,  beans,  and  lentils  are  grown  in  Poland,  Prussia, 
Pomerania,  Denmark,  East  Friesland,  and  other  countries. 
They  create  considerable  business  in  the  large  sea-port 
towns  on  the  Baltic  and  German  seas,  whole  cargoes  being 
brought  to  those  places  as  provisions  for  ships.  Vetches 
or  tares  are  largely  cultivated  as  green  fodder  for  cattle, 
while  the  dried  peas  serve  as  the  chief  food  of  the  domesti¬ 
cated  pigeon.  The  tropical  species  of  pulse  are  not  so  well 
known,  and  require  description. 

Ground  nut  ( Arachis  hypogcea ,  L.).  This  plant  is  cul¬ 
tivated  in  America,  in  the  Southern  States,  and  forms  an 
article  of  food  in  many  parts  of  Africa.  It  is  a  low  creeping 
plant,  indigenous  to  the  western  coast  of  Africa,  with  yellow 
flowers,  having  the  general  appearance  of  a  dwarf  garden 
pea,  although  more  bushy.  After  the  flowers  drop  off  and 
the  pods  begin  to  form,  the  stalk  or  support  of  the  pod 
elongates,  thrusting  the  pod  under  ground,  where  it  comes  to 
maturity.  The  seeds  contain  a  considerable  quantity  of 
oil.  They  are  roasted  in  the  pods,  and  are  sold  in  the 
United  States  in  large  quantities,  being  a  favourite  dainty 
with  children.  This  plant  is  very  prolific,  and,  in  warm 
climates,  requires  but  little  care  and  attention  in  its  culture. 
In  the  green  state  it  is  greedily  devoured  by  cattle.  There 
is  a  large  trade  in  ground  nuts  from  Africa  to  Marseilles 
and  England  for  their  oil. 

Carob  Bean,  or  St.  John’s  Bread  ( Ceratonia  siliqua , 
L.). — The  carob  tree  is  peculiarly  Oriental,  and  abundant 
in  Palestine.  It  has  large  pods,  the  seeds  of  which  are 
enveloped  in  a  sweet  nutritious  pulp,  supposed  to  be  the 


T58  THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 

locust  bean  on  which  St.  John  the  Baptist  fed  when  in  the  wil¬ 
derness.  This  tree  is  common  in  the  Levant  and  the  south 
of  Europe,  where  its  beans  are  used  as  food.  Most  of  the 
carob  beans  imported  into  this  country  come  from  Sicily  and 
Naples.  During  the  Peninsular  war  the  horses  of  the  British 
cavalry  were  fed  on  these  beans.  The  edible  carob  is  a  pro¬ 
duct  of  human  labour  and  skill,  since,  like  the  olive  and  date- 
palm,  it  must  be  grafted  before  bearing  nutritious  beans. 
Even  then  the  fruit  is  unwholesome  or  poisonous  until  ripe. 

Chick  Pea  ( Cicer  arietinum ,  L.). — This  plant  is  a  native 
of  Southern  Europe  and  the  East.  Its  seeds  are  parched, 
and  in  Spain  are  sold  in  the  shops  for  food.  They  are  also 
abundant  in  the  bazaars  at  Calcutta,  and  sold  as  food  for 
horses.  Every  part  of  this  plant  exudes  oxalic  acid,  and 
it  is  used  by  the  Ryots  of  India  in  their  curries  instead  of 
vinegar.  When  roasted,  it  is  said  to  sustain  life  longer  than 
other  food  in  similarly  small  quantities ;  hence  it  is  used  by 
travellers  through  the  deserts,  where  the  carriage  of  bulky 
food  is  inconvenient. 

II. — The  Starches  of  Commerce,  and  the  Plants 

WHICH  PRODUCE  THEM. 

Starch  is  an  abundant  product  of  the  vegetable  kingdom, 
and  is  in  demand  for  domestic  and  manufacturing  purposes. 
It  exists  in  mealy  farinaceous  seeds,  fruits,  and  roots,  differing 
in  its  appearance  according  to  the  plants  from  which  it  is 
obtained.  Starch  is  the  nutritive  matter  of  plants,  and  is 
changed  by  light  to  chlorophyll  and  by  diastase  into  gum  and 
sugar,  which  are  carried  into  the  circulation  for  the  support  of 
the  new  growths  of  plants.  Starch  is  turned  blue  by  iodine. 

The  Arrowroot  Plant  ( Maranta  arundinacea ,  L. ; 
natural  order,  Marantacece )  is  a  native  of  tropical  America 
and  the  West  Indies.  In  arrowroot,  tapioca,  and  sago,  starch 
exists  in  a  state  of  almost  absolute  purity.  The  arrowroot 


FOOD  PLANTS. 


T59 


plant  has  large,  herbaceous,  and  very  handsomely-striped 
leaves,  and  tuberous  roots,  which  abound  in  fecula  or 
starch.  These  roots  are  grated,  thrown  into  a  vessel  of 
water,  and  well  stirred,  when  the  fibrous  portion  comes  to 
the  surface  and  is  rejected,  the  starch  settling  at  the  bottom 
of  the  vessel.  This,  after  repeated  washings,  is  dried  in  the 
sun,  and  constitutes  the  arrowroot  of  commerce,  employed 
as  a  nutritive  diet  for  invalids  and  children. 

Zamia  integrifolia ,  Wild  ( Coontie) ;  natural  order,  Cycadece. 
An  arrowroot  is  now  manufactured  at  Key  West,  in  South 
Florida,  from  the  stem  of  this  plant,  which  is  short  and 
globular,  and  abounds  in  starch.  This  cycad,  which  was 
called  by  the  Indians  coontie ,  grows  over  an  immense  area  of 
otherwise  barren  land.  These  manufactures  bid  fair  tobecome 
as  extensive  and  profitable  as  those  of  Bermuda,  whence 
at  present  our  chief  supplies  of  arrowroot  are  received. 

Tous-les-mois ,  the  starch  of  the  rhizome  of  a  species  of 
canna  (C.  edulis) ;  natural  order,  Marantacecc. — This  starch 
resembles  a  fine  quality  of  arrowroot ;  but  the  granules  are 
much  larger  than  those  of  any  known  starch.  Tous-les-mois 
comes  from  the  island  of  St.  Kitts,  and  is  only  used  as  food. 

Tapioca  Plant  ( Manihot  utilissima ,  Plum.  ;  natural  order, 
Enphorbiacecd). — Tapioca  is  another  form  of  starch,  obtained 
by  grating  and  washing  the  roots  of  the  plant,  which, 
under  the  name  of  mandioc  or  cassava,  forms  a  most  im¬ 
portant  article  of  food  in  South  America.  Washing  removes 
a  narcotic  poisonous  principle  which  exists  in  the  sap. 
The  Indians  dissipate  it  by  heat,  simply  roasting  the 
root.  The  starch  softened  by  heat,  and  afterwards  granu¬ 
lated,  constitutes  tapioca.  The  ungranulated  starch  is  the 
Brazilian  arrowroot  of  commerce.  The  tapioca  plant,  in 
its  native  clime,  is  a  shrub  about  five  feet  high,  with  roots 
which,  when  ripe,  are  about  as  large  as  a  Swedish  turnip 
and  weighing  sometimes  as  much  as  thirty  pounds. 


I  Go  THE  NA  TURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 

The  common  starch  of  the  shops,  used  in  domestic 
economy,  is  obtained  from  wheat,  rice,  and  potatoes,  and 
is  almost  if  not  entirely  home-manufactured. 

Sago  Palms  ( Saguerus  Rumphii ,  Wild. ;  and  Sagus  fcevis> 
Gsertn.). — Sago  is  obtained  from  several  species  of  palm. 
The  sago  of  commerce  is  chiefly  produced  by  these  two 
plants.  It  is  obtained  from  the  cellular  tissue  or  pith  in 
the  interior  of  the  trunk. 

The  sago  palm  produces,  like  rice,  a  chief  means  of 
nourishment  for  millions  in  warm  climates,  since  sago 
powder  is  generally  used  for  making  bread.  It  grows  in 
the  south  of  China,  Japan,  and  all  over  the  East  Indies, 
but  principally  in  the  islands  of  the  Indian  archipelago.  It 
flourishes  best  in  swampy  ground,  a  good  plantation  being 
often  in  a  marsh.  Its  trunk  is  from  five  to  six  feet  in  circum¬ 
ference,  rising  to  a  height  of  about  twenty  feet.  Sago  is 
not  obtained  until  the  tree  is  fourteen  or  fifteen  years  old. 
A  single  tree  is  said  to  yield  from  five  to  six  hundred  pounds. 

Most  of  the  sago  imported  into  the  United  Kingdom 
comes  to  us  from  the  island  of  Singapore,  where  it  is 
manufactured  as  follows : — The  pith,  which  is  soft,  white, 
spongy,  and  mealy,  is  first  removed  from  the  interior  of  the 
stem,  then  bruised  and  put  into  large  tubs  of  cold  water; 
the  woody  particles  of  course  float,  and  are  easily  removed, 
and  the  weightier  starch  or  sago  powder  settles  at  the 
bottom  of  the  vessel.  The  water  is  then  poured  off,  and 
the  dried  sago  powder  passed  through  small  sieves  made  of 
the  fibres  of  the  palm  leaves.  In  passing  through  these 
sieves,  the  sago  powder  acquires  its  granulated  character. 
The  preparation  is  then  finished,  and  the  sago  is  ready  to 
be  put  into  boxes,  or  placed  in  bags  for  shipment. 

Sago  is  insoluble  in  cold  water,  but  by  boiling  becomes 
soft,  and  at  last  forms  a  gelatinous  solution.  In  England 
it  is  much  used  for  puddings  ;  and  as  it  is  both  nutritive 


SPICES  AND  CONDIMENTS. 


1 6  r 

and  easy  of  digestion,  it  constitutes  an  excellent  article  of 
diet  for  the  invalid  and  the  convalescent. 

A  great  deal  of  German  or  potato  sago  comes  into  the 
European  market,  and  is  with  difficulty  distinguishable 
from  the  real  East  Indian  sago. 

Technical  knowledge  is  needed  in  judging  of  the  edible 
starches,  which  enter  into  commerce  under  such  names  as 
corn-flours,  arrowroots,  and  sagos.  Pure  arrowroots,  obtained 
from  the  Maranta ,  such  as  those  of  Bermuda  and  St. 
Vincent,  are  known  by  their  large  granules  and  crisp  feel 
between  the  fingers.  Potato  farina,  sold  largely  as  cheap 
arrowroot,  consists  of  a  fine  powder-like  flour,  with  little  or 
no  granulation  ;  though  sometimes  artificially  granulated  to 
imitate  the  true  sago  of  the  East.  From  its  hygroscopic 
properties,  potato  arrowroot,  which  contains  naturally  iS 
per  cent,  of  water,  absorbs  double  that  quantity  when  the 
atmosphere  happens  to  be  damp. 

III. — Plants  yielding  Spices  and  Condiments. 

Cinnamon  ( Cinncimomum  Zeylanicum ,  Nees. ;  natural 
order.  Lauracece). — This  plant  is  an  evergreen  aromatic  tree, 
about  thirty  feet  in  height,  and  indigenous  to  the  island 
of  Ceylon.  Its  leaves  are  oval,  smooth,  entire,  with  three 
prominent  curvilinear  ribs  on  the  under  surface.  The 
young  leaves  are  at  first  red,  but  change  gradually  to  a 
yellowish  green,  possessing  the  same  flavour  as  the  bark, 
but  in  a  less  degree  ;  flowers  panicled,  white  with  a  brownish 
centre,  devoid  of  fragrance,  and  about  the  same  size  as 
those  of  the  lilac. 

The  inner  bark  of  this  tree  constitutes  the  cinnamon  of 
commerce,  and  the  young  twigs  furnish  the  best.  After  the 
trees  are  nine  years  of  age,  the  twigs  are  cut  annually  in  the 
month  of  May,  by  the  cinnamon  peelers,  or  Choliahs,  as 

I.  L 


162 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


they  are  called  in  Ceylon.  This  is  done  with  a  sharp  iron 
instrument.  The  bark  is  removed  by  making  a  longitu¬ 
dinal  and  then  a  transverse  incision  into  the  shoot,  inserting 
under  the  bark  the  point  of  the  peeling-knife,  and  raising 
the  handle  of  the  knife  as  a  lever.  The  next  day  the  inner 
fibrous  bark,  in  which  resides  the  delightful  flavour  of 
cinnamon,  is  easily  removed  from  the  outer  bark,  and  this, 
as  it  dries,  curls  up  and  forms  quills.  Before  these  quills 
become  dry,  hard,  and  brittle,  the  smaller  are  inserted  into 
the  larger  ;  space  in  packing  is  thus  saved,  and  compact 
sticks  are  formed,  which  are  not  so  liable  to  breakage  as 
the  single  quills. 

Since  neither  the  leaves  nor  the  flowers  of  the  cinnamon 
tree  give  forth  any  smell,  it  is  only  when  the  season  arrives 
for  gathering  bark  that  the  visitor  to  the  gardens  will  enjoy 
the  perfume  of  this  plant.  A  walk  through  the  cinnamon 
gardens  during  the  busy  season  is  truly  charming.  The 
grove  is  then  full  of  fragrance,  and  a  scene  of  cheerful 
industry.  Everywhere  are  to  be  seen  groups  of  Cingalese 
peeling  the  twigs,  which  they  do  with  astonishing  quickness, 
making  a  great  deal  of  money  whilst  the  season  lasts.  The 
Choliahs  form  a  distinct  caste,  and  are  considered  very  low, 
socially,  so  that,  according  to  Cingalese  notions,  it  is  per¬ 
sonally  degrading  for  any  one  else  to  follow  the  business. 
The  largest  of  the  cinnamon  gardens  in  Ceylon  is  that 
near  Colombo,  which  covers  upwards  of  17,000  acres  of 
land. 

Cinnamon  trees  are  preserved  with  the  greatest  care  by 
their  proprietors.  By  the  old  Dutch  law  the  penalty  for 
cutting  or  injuring  them  was  amputation  of  the  hand ;  at 
present  a  fine  is  imposed  upon  the  delinquent. 

Somewhere  near  a  million  pounds  of  cinnamon  are 
imported  into  this  country,  a  great  part  of  which  we  re¬ 
export  to  our  colonies.  Considering  the  extreme  lightness 


SPICES  AND  CONDIMENTS.  I  63 

of  cinnamon  bark,  this  is  a  large  quantity.  Cinnamon  is 
usually  brought  home  in  bags  or  bales  of  eighty  to  ninety 
pounds  weight.  The  best  comes  from  Ceylon,  but  the 
cinnamon  tree  grows  plentifully  in  Java,  Sumatra,  Malabar, 
and  Cochin-China,  and  it  has  been  recently  transplanted  to 
the  Mauritius,  the  Brazils,  and  Guiana,  and  to  the  West 
India  islands  of  Tobago,  Guadaloupe,  Martinique,  and 
Jamaica.  The  cinnamon  produced  in  the  West  is,  however, 
not  so  good  as  the  Oriental. 

Cinnamon  is  an  aromatic  tonic  of  an  agreeable  odour 
and  taste,  which  acts  as  a  grateful  stimulant  or  carminative, 
creating  warmth  of  stomach,  removing  nausea,  expelling 
flatulency,  and  relieving  colic  or  intestinal  pain.  It  owes 
these  properties  to  the  volatile  oil  which  it  contains. 
Cinnamon  is  much  employed  as  a  condiment  in  culinary 
preparations,  and  is  also  frequently  used  for  flavouring  and 
disguising  unpleasant  medicines,  or  as  an  adjuvant — that  is 
to  say,  an  assistant. 

Cinnamomum  Cassia  seems  to  be  the  chief  source  of  the 
Cassia  lignea ,  or  bastard  cinnamon  of  commerce.  This 
plant  differs  from  the  true  cinnamon  tree  in  many  par¬ 
ticulars.  Its  leaves  have  the  taste  of  cinnamon,  to  which  also 
its  bark  bears  a  great  resemblance,  but  is  thicker,  rougher, 
denser,  and  not  so  agreeable  in  flavour.  It  is  cultivated  in 
China,  and  is  imported  from  Canton,  via  Singapore,  in 
chests  similar  to  those  in  which  the  tea  is  packed.  Our 
imports  of  Cassia  are  hardly  more  than  a  third  of  our 
imports  of  cinnamon. 

Nutmeg  Tree  ( Myristica  moschata ,  Thunberg). — This 
tree,  from  twenty  to  twenty-five  feet  in  height,  strongly 
resembles  our  pear-tree  in  its  general  appearance,  and  also 
in  its  fruit,  which  is  not  unlike  the  round  Burgundy  pear. 
The  leaves  are  aromatic  when  bruised ;  the  flowers,  pale, 
bell-shaped,  without  a  calyx.  The  fruit  is  a  fleshy  pericarp, 


164 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


opening  by  two  valves  when  ripe,  and  displaying  the  beauti¬ 
ful  scarlet,  reticulated  arillus,  or  mace,  enveloping  the  thin, 
dark-brown,  glossy,  oval  shell,  which  covers  the  kernel,  the 
nutmeg  of  the  shops.  Each  fruit  contains  a  single  seed, 
or  nutmeg.  The  mace  and  the  nutmeg  are  both  valuable 
spices.  The  former,  although  a  brilliant  scarlet  colour 
when  fresh,  becomes  yellow,  brown,  and  brittle  when  dry. 
Nutmeg  trees  bear  fruit  the  seventh  year,  and  increase  in 
produce  till  the  fifteenth,  when  they  yield  an  average  of  five 
pounds  of  nutmegs  and  one  and  a  half  pounds  of  mace. 
They  bear  all  the  year  round,  and  are  said  to  continue  pro¬ 
lific  for  seventy  or  eighty  years. 

Whilst  the  clove  has  spread  over  Asia,  Africa,  and  the 
West  Indies,  the  nutmeg  tree  refuses  to  flourish,  except  in 
the  islands  of  the  Malayan  Archipelago.  In  1819,  100,000 
of  these  trees  were  transplanted  by  the  British  Government 
to  Ceylon  and  Bengal,  but  the  plantations  were  not  success¬ 
ful.  Attempts  to  introduce  the  nutmeg  tree  into  other 
tropical  countries  have  failed  until  quite  recently,  when 
shipments  of  seedling  plants  to  Brazil  and  the  West  Coast 
of  Africa  have  given  promise  of  successful  culture. 

The  Dutch  endeavoured  to  extirpate  the  nutmeg  from 
all  the  islands  of  the  Moluccas  except  Banda,  and  they 
had  all  the  trees  removed  thither  for  better  inspection ;  but 
this  attempted  monopoly  was  completely  frustrated  by  the 
mace-feeding  wood  pigeons.  These  birds  conveyed  and 
dropped  the  fruit  beyond  the  assigned  limits,  spreading  it 
over  the  whole  of  the  islands  of  the  Malayan  Archipelago, 
from  the  Moluccas  to  New  Guinea. 

Of  the  nutmegs  and  mace  received,  a  large  part,  as  with 
the  other  spices,  is  re-exported,  England  having  taken  the 
place  of  Holland  as  the  world’s  emporium  for  this  division 
of  commerce. 

The  nutmeg  and  clove  trees  were  first  introduced  into 


SPICES  AND  CONDIMENTS.  I  65 

this  country  by  Sir  Joseph  Banks  as  ornamental  hot-house 
plants,  about  1797. 

Nutmegs  and  mace  are  employed  chiefly  as  condiments 
for  culinary  purposes,  for  which  they  are  admirably  suited 
by  their  agreeable  taste  and  stimulating  properties.  As 
remedial  agents  they  owe  their  activity  to  the  volatile  oil 
which  they  contain,  and  when  administered  in  moderate 
quantities,  produce  the  usual  effect  of  the  other  spices. 

The  Clove  Tree  ( Caryophyllus  aromaticus ,  L.  •  natural 
order,  Myrtacece, ,  the  Myrtle  family). — Cloves  are  the  unex¬ 
panded  flower-buds  of  this  tree,  which  is  an  evergreen,  the 
trunk  rising  from  fifteen  to  twenty  feet  above  the  ground. 
The  flowers  are  produced  in  great  profusion,  in  short 
terminal  panicles  of  from  nine  to  eighteen  in  each  bunch. 
The  corolla  is  red,  and,  before  expansion,  forms  a  ball  or 
sphere  at  the  top  of  the  calyx.  The  pedicles,  or  flower- 
stalks,  are  divided  into  threes,  and  articulated  or  jointed. 
This  greatly  facilitates  the  fall  of  the  buds  when  the  gatherers 
beat  the  trees  with  reeds  or  wands.  They  are  also  gathered 
by  hand — a  method  adopted  when  the  season  has  been 
unfavourable. 

The  clove  tree  is  a  native  of  the  Moluccas,  where  it  was 
very  abundant  before  the  conquest  of  these  islands  by  the 
Dutch.  They  extirpated  it  from  all  the  Moluccas  except 
Amboyna,  and  even  there  they  allowed  only  a  limited 
number  of  trees  to  be  planted,  lest  the  price  should  fall  too 
low !  This  narrow  policy  stimulated  other  nations  to  try 
to  get  so  valuable  a  spice.  In  1770  the  French  obtained 
the  plant,  and  introduced  it  into  the  Isle  of  Bourbon,  and 
from  thence  to  Cayenne  and  to  their  other  possessions  in 
America.  But  the  best  cloves  still  come  from  the  Moluccas, 
those  from  other  places  being  smaller  and  containing  less  oil. 

We  receive  cloves  from  the  East  and  West  Indies,  from 
the  Mauritius,  and  indirectly  from  Holland.  Small  and 


1 66 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE . 


light  as  are  these  fragrant  flower-buds,  we  count  our  imports 
by  hundreds  of  tons. 

Dr.  Ruschenberger,  who  visited  Zanzibar,  on  the  eastern 
coast  of  Africa,  in  1835,  thus  speaks  of  the  clove  plantations 
there  : — “  As  far  as  the  eye  could  reach  over  a  beautifully 
undulating  land,  nothing  was  to  be  seen  but  clove  trees  of 
different  ages,  varying  in  height  from  five  to  twenty  feet. 
The  form  of  the  tree  is  conical ;  the  branches  grow  at 
nearly  right  angles  with  the  trunk,  and  they  begin  to  shoot 
a  few  inches  above  the  ground.  The  plantation  contains 
nearly  4000  trees,  and  each  tree  yields,  on  an  average,  six 
pounds  of  cloves  annually.  They  are  carefully  picked  by 
hand,  and  then  dried  in  the  shade.  We  saw  numbers  of 
slaves  standing  on  ladders  gathering  the  spice,  while  others 
were  at  work  clearing  the  ground  of  dead  leaves.  The 
whole  is  in  the  finest  order,  presenting  a  picture  of  industry 
and  of  admirable  neatness  and  beauty.” 

Cloves,  when  good,  are  dark,  heavy,  and  strongly 
fragrant,  the  ball  on  the  top  being  unbroken,  and  yielding 
oil  when  pressed  with  the  nail.  This  oil  is  sometimes  ex¬ 
tracted,  and  the  cloves  so  treated  are  mixed  with  the  others. 
They  are  also  sometimes  adulterated  with  water,  which  they 
absorb  readily,  becoming  plumper  and  heavier. 

Cloves  are  much  employed  in  cookery  as  a  condiment, 
being  the  most  stimulating  of  the  spices.  The  oil  of  cloves 
is  a  popular  remedy  for  the  toothache,  and  the  infusion  a 
warm  and  grateful  stomachic.  Cloves  are  frequently  em¬ 
ployed  by  medical  men  to  disguise  the  nauseous  properties 
of  their  drugs,  and  thus  render  them  more  palatable  to  the 
patient. 

Allspice,  Pimento,  or  Jamaica  Pepper  ( Eugenia  Pi¬ 
mento,  D.  C. ;  natural  order,  Myrtaceae). — This  plant  is 
called  allspice  because  it  has  the  combined  flavour  of  all  the 
other  spices — that  of  cinnamon,  cloves,  and  nutmegs  entering 


SPICES  AND  CONDIMENTS. 


i6j 


into  its  composition.  The  unripe  berries  of  this  plant,  dried 
in  the  sun,  form  the  allspice.  The  plant  itself  is  a  hand¬ 
some  evergreen,  with  a  straight  trunk  about  thirty  feet  high, 
covered  with  a  smooth  grey  bark.  Its  leaves  abound  in  an 
essential  oil,  to  which  the  pimento  owes  its  aromatic  pro¬ 
perties.  The  flowers  are  greenish  white,  and  the  fruit  is  a 
smooth,  shining,  succulent  berry,  black  when  ripe,  and 
containing  two  uniform  seeds,  the  flavour  of  which  resides 
within  the  shell. 

The  allspice  is  a  native  of  the  West  Indies,  where  it  is 
cultivated — particularly  in  Jamaica,  in  the  hilly  parts  of  the 
country — in  plantations,  having  broad  walks  between  the 
trees,  called  “pimento  walks.”  It  begins  to  bear  fruit 
when  three  years  of  age,  and  arrives  at  maturity  in  seven 
years.  Nothing  can  be  more  fragrant  than  the  odour  of  the 
pimento  trees,  especially  when  in  bloom ;  even  the  leaf 
emits  a  fine  aromatic  odour  when  bruised. 

The  berries  are  collected  before  they  are  ripe,  at  which 
time  the  essential  oil,  to  which  they  owe  their  flavour 
and  pungency,  is  most  abundant.  They  are  spread  out, 
exposed  to  the  sun,  and  often  turned.  In  about  a  week 
they  have  lost  their  green  colour,  and  have  acquired  that 
reddish-brown  tint  which  renders  them  marketable ;  they 
are  then  packed  in  bags  and  casks  for  exportation.  When 
dried,  these  berries  are  rather  larger  than  a  peppercorn. 
Some  plantations  kiln-dry  them,  which  expedites  the  process 
very  considerably. 

The  consumption  of  allspice  in  this  country  is  great,  as 
it  is  both  cheap  and  useful.  The  berries  reach  the  ports 
of  Liverpool  and  London  in  bags  of  about  a  hundred¬ 
weight,  four-fifths  of  the  quantity  being  retained  for  home 
consumption.  Its  oil,  like  that  of  cloves,  is  employed  as  a 
remedy  for  toothache. 

Pepper  (Piper  nigrum ,  L. •  natural  order,  Piperacece). — 


1 68 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


This  is  a  climbing  vine,  with  dark  green  leaves,  and  small 
flowers,  in  long,  slender,  drooping  spikes,  which  are  opposite. 
Its  fruit  is  a  round,  sessile,  one-sided  berry,  first  green,  then 
red,  and  finally  black. 

The  pepper  vine  is  indigenous  in  the  East  Indies,  and  is 
extensively  cultivated  in  Sumatra,  Java,  and  on  the  Malabar 
coast.  A  little  pepper  is  also  grown  in  the  Mauritius  and 
in  the  West  India  Islands. 

The  berries,  which  resemble  those  of  our  holly  in  size 
and  colour,  are  gathered  as  soon  as  they  begin  to  redden ; 
for  if  allowed  to  ripen  fully,  they  lose  their  pungency.  They 
are  dried  in  the  sun.  In  drying  they  become  wrinkled  and 
black,  in  consequence  of  the  drying  of  the  pulp  over  the 
greyish  white  seed.  In  this  state  they  are  known  as  black 
pepper,  which  is  the  most  powerful  variety. 

White  and  black  pepper  are  produced  by  the  same  plant ; 
the  difference  in  colour  is  only  the  result  of  a  difference 
in  the  preparation  of  the  berries.  To  obtain  white  pepper 
the  berries  are  allowed  to  ripen,  then  dried  and  soaked  in 
water,  and  the  softened  black  outer  coat  is  removed  by 
rubbing.  The  internal  seed  is  of  a  whitish  grey  colour, 
and,  when  dried,  forms  white  pepper. 

Pepper  is  a  warm  carminative  stimulant,  which  is  added 
to  food  principally  for  the  object  of  correcting  the  flatulent 
and  griping  character  of  certain  articles  of  diet — peas  and 
beans,  for  instance.  Both  varieties  of  black  and  white 
pepper  are  sometimes  used  whole,  in  soups  and  pickles, 
but  they  are  mostly  ground  in  a  mill,  and  sold  in  the  form 
of  a  powder. 

The  quantity  of  pepper  annually  imported  into  the  United 
Kingdom  is  immense,  but  varies  considerably  from  time  to 
time.  From  5000  to  10,000  tons  of  the  dried  unripe 
black  berries  and  white  ripened  seeds  of  the  pepper  plant 
reach  this  country  from  the  East  Indies,  chiefly  from 


SPICES  AND  CONDIMENTS.  1 69 

Sumatra  and  Java;  also  from  Malacca,  Siam,  and  Singa¬ 
pore. 

The  pepper  vine  is  strictly  tropical,  but  it  will  grow 
freely  from  cuttings  wherever  the  soil  and  climate  are 
suitable.  It  is  allowed  to  climb  props  from  ten  to  thirteen 
feet  in  height ;  these  props  root  freely,  the  tree  from  which 
they  are  cut  being  selected  with  that  object  in  view.  The 
props  thus  afford  both  shade  and  support  to  the  plants. 
Great  care  is  necessary  in  the  management  of  the  vine, 
especially  in  training  and  tying  it  to  the  props.  An  acre  of 
pepper  vines  affords  an  average  annual  yield  of  n6olbs. 
of  clean  pepper. 

Long  Pepper  (Pift'er  longum,  L. ;  natural  order  Piper acetz). 
This  species  is  wholly  different  from  the  black  pepper,  and 
is  found  wild  in  India,  and  cultivated  in  Bengal.  The  long 
pepper  consists  of  the  fruit  catkins  of  the  plant  dried  in  the 
sun.  Long  pepper  is  expensive,  but  is,  nevertheless,  of  con¬ 
siderable  economic  importance  either  as  a  condiment  or 
a  medicine. 

Cayenne  Pepper  ( Capsicum  annuum ,  L. ;  natural  order, 
Solanacece). — Cayenne  or  red  pepper  is  not  the  produce  of 
a  pepper  plant,  but  is  prepared  from  the  large,  red,  inflated, 
pod-like  berries  of  the  capsicum,  dried  and  reduced  to 
powder.  The  capsicum  is  a  native  of  the  East  and  West 
Indies,  but  cultivated  in  England,  where  it  can  be  grown 
with  a  very  little  care.  There  are  numerous  species  of 
capsicum,  named  after  the  form  and  colour  of  the  pod, 
which  varies  considerably.  All  are,  however,  included 
under  the  Mexican  name  of  Chillies.  In  tropical  countries 
chillies  are  used  in  great  quantities,  the  consumption  being 
almost  universal  and  nearly  equal  to  that  of  salt.  In  India 
they  are  the  principal  ingredients  in  all  curries,  and  form 
the  only  seasoning  which  the  millions  of  the  poor  of  that 
country  can  obtain  to  eat  with  their  insipid  rice.  The 


1  7  O  THE  NA  TURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 

natives  of  the  tropics  can  eat  and  relish  them  raw,  which 
cannot  be  done  by  strangers  from  temperate  climates  with¬ 
out  suffering,  the  pungent  and  acrid  action  of  the  chillies 
affecting  the  mouth  and  throat.  Some,  however,  are  much 
milder  than  others,  and  all  are  so  if  eaten  while  green.  The 
pungency,  residing  chiefly  in  the  seeds,  increases  with  drying. 
The  Sweet  Capsicum  of  Spain,  Pimento  dulce ,  when  fresh, 
is  a  very  pleasant  addition  to  a  dish,  but  the  seeds  are  not 
used. 

Capsicums  or  chillies  are  imported  into  this  country  in 
the  form  of  red  and  brown  pods,  which  are  broken,  dried, 
and  packed  in  bales,  weighing  cwt.,  principally  for  making 
red  pepper.  Different  varieties  are  cultivated  for  pickles, 
and  are  imported  in  the  pickled  state  in  vinegar  from  the 
East  Indies.  The  annual  imports  from  the  East  and  West 
Indies  approach  a  hundred  tons.  Capsicums  are  useful  in 
cases  of  putrid  sore  throat,  in  malignant  scarlet  fever,  as  a 
powerful  irritant  to  be  applied  in  the  condition  of  a  saturated 
infusion  externally,  so  as  to  draw  the  internal  inflammation 
to  the  surface,  and  thus  relieve  the  throat. 

Ginger  ( Zingiber  officinale ,  Roscoe  ;  natural  order,  Zingi¬ 
ber  ace  ce). — This  is  an  elegant  reed-like,  tropical  plant,  which 
rises  from  a  creeping  rhizome  or  underground  stem.  The 
aerial  stem  is  formed  by  the  cohering  bases  of  the  leaves. 
The  flower  stem  springs  from  the  rhizome.  The  dark 
purple  flowers  are  arranged  in  spikes. 

The  ginger-plant  is  a  native  of  the  East  and  West  Indies, 
and  is  now  cultivated  generally  in  hot  climates.  The  ginger 
of  commerce  is  the  dry,  wrinkled  rhizomes  of  the  plant,  which 
are  called  “races,”  and  are  usually  from  two  to  three  inches 
in  length,  branched,  flat,  and  white  in  colour.  Sometimes 
the  root  is  dug  up  when  a  year  old,  scalded  to  prevent 
germination,  and  then  dried.  So  prepared,  it  is  called 
“  black  ginger,”  although  this  term  is  very  erroneous,  as  the 


SPICES  AND  CONDIMENTS.  I  7  I 

darkest  ginger  is  only  a  dirty  stone  colour.  Again,  the  best 
pieces  are  selected,  the  outer  skin  is  scraped  off  before  the 
ginger  is  dried,  and  the  pieces,  bleached  with  chloride  of 
lime,  constitute  what  is  known  in  the  market  as  “  white 
ginger. ”  This  bleaching  process  renders  the  ginger  beauti¬ 
fully  smooth,  but  certainly  does  not  improve  its  quality. 
Lastly,  the  races ,  newly  formed  in  spring,  are  cut  off,  and 
boiled  in  syrup ;  and  the  ginger,  so  treated,  is  imported  in 
jars  under  the  name  of  “preserved  ginger,”  forming  a  well- 
known  sweetmeat. 

The  varieties  of  ginger  recognised  in  commerce  are  the 
Jamaica  white  ginger,  and  the  Jamaica  and  Malabar  black 
gingers ;  also  the  black  varieties,  or  the  Barbadoes,  African, 
and  East  Indian  gingers.  Jamaica  ginger  is  considered  to 
be  the  best.  The  amount  of  ginger  annually  imported  into 
the  United  Kingdom  is  very  considerable.  The  principal 
use  of  this  spice  is  as  a  condiment.  Medicinally  it  is  an 
excellent  stomachic,  removing  flatulence  and  griping  pains. 
In  the  form  of  a  poultice,  it  forms  a  good  counter-irritant. 

Cardamoms  ( Elettaria  cardamomum ,  Maton ;  natural 
order,  Zingiberacece). — Cardamom  seeds  are  obtained  from 
several  other  allied  plants,  but  those  of  the  above  species  of 
Elettaria  constitute  the  true  officinal  Malabar  cardamoms. 

The  cardamom  is  an  obtusely  triangular  three-celled  pod, 
about  half  an  inch  in  length,  of  a  pale  straw  colour,  and 
furrowed  longitudinally  on  its  outer  surface.  This  pod 
contains  numerous  reddish-brown  seeds,  about  the  size  of 
mustard  seeds,  internally  white,  and  having  a  pleasant 
aromatic  odour  and  an  agreeable  taste. 

Cardamoms  are  principally  employed  here  in  medicine 
as  a  flavouring  ingredient,  and  occasionally  as  a  stimulant 
and  carminative,  especially  in  the  form  of  a  simple  or 
compound  tincture.  In  India  they  are  much  used  as  a 
favourite  condiment  for  various  kinds  of  food,  as  curries, 


172  THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 

ketchups,  and  soups.  Their  active  principle  is  a  pungent 
volatile  oil. 

Cardamoms  are  shipped  to  this  country  from  Ceylon,  the 
Malay  peninsula,  Sumatra,  Java,  Siam,  Cochin-China,  and 
the  Malabar  coast.  The  quantity  of  all  kinds  imported  is 
of  minor  commercial  importance. 

Vanilla  (  Vanilla  aromatica ,  Sw. ;  natural  order,  Orchi- 
dacece, ). — The  vanilla  is  an  epiphyte  or  air-plant  with  a  trailing 
stem,  not  unlike  the  common  ivy,  which  attaches  itself  to 
trees  not  as  a  source  of  food,  like  the  mistletoe  and  other 
parasites,  but  as  a  mere  point  of  support,  deiiving  its  nourish¬ 
ment  entirely  from  the  atmosphere.  It  grows  from  eighteen 
to  twenty  feet  in  length.  The  flowers  are  greenish  yellow 
mixed  with  white,  and  these  are  followed  by  a  long  slender 
pod,  the  fragrance  of  which  is  owing  to  the  presence  of 
benzoic  acid,  crystals  of  which  form  upon  the  pod  if  left 
undisturbed.  This  is,  perhaps,  the  most  important  genus 
of  the  whole  orchideous  family,  and  the  only  one  which 
possesses  any  marked  economic  value.  It  grows  in  the 
tropical  parts  of  South  America,  in  the  Brazils,  Peru,  on 
the  banks  of  the  Orinoco,  and  in  all  places  where  heat, 
moisture,  and  shade  prevail. 

The  pods  or  fruit  of  the  vanilla  are  about  eight  inches 
long,  one-celled,  and  pulpy  within,  filled  throughout  with 
very  minute  black  oily  seeds,  having  the  appearance  of  a 
black  paste. 

To  prepare  vanilla  for  market — “When  about  12,000  of 
the  pods  are  collected,  they  are  strung  like  a  garland  by  their 
lower  ends,  as  near  as  possible  to  their  foot-stalks  ;  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.  Next  day  they  are  lightly  smeared 
with  oil,  by  means  of  a  feather  or  the  fingers,  and  surrounded 
with  oiled  cotton  to  prevent  the  valves  from  opening.  As 


SPICES  AND  CONDIMENTS. 


T73 


they  become  dry  on  inverting  their  upper  end,  they  discharge 
a  viscid  liquor  and  are  pressed  several  times  with  oiled 
fingers  to  promote  its  flow.  The  dry  pods  lose  their 
appearance,  grow  brown,  wrinkled,  and  soft,  and  shrink 
into  one-fourth  of  their  original  size.  In  this  state  they  are 
touched  a  second  time  with  oil,  but  only  very  sparingly, 
because  if  oiled  too  much,  they  would  lose  a  great  deal  of 
their  delicious  perfume.  They  are  then  packed  for  the 
market  in  small  bundles  of  50  to  100  in  each,  enclosed  in 
lead  foil  or  light  metallic  cases.”  * 

As  an  aromatic,  vanilla  is  much  used  by  confectioners 
for  flavouring  ices  and  custards.  The  Spaniards  employ  it 
extensively  in  perfuming  their  chocolate.  It  is  difficult  to 
reduce  it  to  small  particles,  but  it  may  be  sufficiently 
attenuated  by  cutting  it  into  little  bits,  and  grinding  these 
along  with  sugar.  The  quantity  imported  into  this  country 
is  comparatively  small. 

The  use  of  vanilla  and  many  other  natural  aromatic 
essences  has  been  greatly  interfered  with  by  the  beautiful 
discoveries  in  the  chemistry  of  ethers,  which  render  it  now 
easy  to  prepare  artificially,  not  an  imitation  of  flavouring 
substances,  but  the  very  same  essences  as  are  yielded  by 
the  choicest  fruits  and  flowers. 

Umbelliferous  Plants  with  Aromatic  Fruits. 

The  fruits  of  the  caraway,  coriander,  and  anise — called 
in  commerce  seeds — although  cultivated  in  this  country, 
are  imported  somewhat  largely  from  the  Continent. 

Caraway  ( Carum  carui ,  L.). — The  caraway  is  indigenous 
to  most  parts  of  Europe.  It  is  cultivated  to  some  extent 
in  Essex  and  Kent.  The  taste  of  the  seeds  is  aromatic 

*  See  Ure’s  “  Dictionary  of  Arts  and  Manufactures,”  Vol.  3,  p.  974. 
1867. 


1 74 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


and  warm,  and  their  odour  is  fragrant,  but  peculiar.  The 
seeds  are  much  used  by  the  confectioner,  and  are  some¬ 
times  added  to  bread ;  coated  with  sugar,  they  form  the 
well-known  “  caraway  comfits  ”  to  which  children  are  so 
partial.  We  import  several  hundred  tons  of  caraway  seeds 
annually  from  Germany  and  Holland,  nearly  the  whole  of 
which  are  retained  for  home  consumption. 

Coriander  ( Coriandrum  sativum ,  L.). — The  fruiFof  this 
plant  is  globose,  having  a  peculiar  smell,  and  a  pleasant,  aro¬ 
matic  taste.  In  a  fresh  state  both  the  fruit  and  foliage  have 
an  extremely  disagreeable  odour  ;  nevertheless,  the  Tartars 
are  said  to  use  it  in  the  preparation  of  a  favourite  soup. 

The  coriander  is  indigenous  to  Southern  Europe  and 
Italy,  but  has  a  wide  geographical  range,  bearing  the  climate 
of  India  and  Britain  equally  well.  It  is  cultivated  in  this 
country,  particularly  in  Suffolk  and  Essex,  and  is  valued 
both  by  the  apothecary  and  the  distiller.  Coriander  is 
used  in  medicine  for  its  carminative  and  aromatic  properties, 
as  a  corrective  to  the  griping  qualities  of  cathartics.  It  is 
more  used  in  confectionery  than  in  medicine.  Coriander 
seed  is  also  employed  in  adulterating  beer.  The  poor 
Indian  mixes  these  seeds  with  his  curry,  and  they  are 
equally  welcome  at  the  tables  of  the  rich. 

Anise  ( Pimpineila  anisum ,  L.). — This  is  a  perennial 
plant,  with  an  erect,  round,  striated,  rough,  or  downy  stem ; 
white  flowers,  and  an  ovate,  downy,  aromatic  fruit,  resemb¬ 
ling  the  finer  kinds  of  parsley  seed  in  shape,  and  sweetish 
to  the  taste. 

The  oil  of  anise  is  obtained  by  distillation  from  the  seed, 
about  one  cwt.  of  seed  yielding  two  pounds  of  the  oil.  It 
is  used  in  confectionery  and  in  medicine.  Anise  is  indi¬ 
genous  to  Egypt,  but  is  grown  in  Malta,  Spain,  Italy,  France, 
Germany,  and  the  East  Indies.  The  principal  imports  are 
from  Alicante  in  Spain,  and  Hamburg  in  Germany. 


PLANTS  YIELDING  SUGAR. 


175 


Other  umbelliferous  plants  used  as  condiments  are 
cumin  and  angelica. 

Star  Anise  ( lllicium  anisatum ;  natural  order  Magno- 
liacece). — This  plant  is  so  called  because  the  flavour  of 
aniseed  pervades  the  whole  of  it,  especially  the  fruit ;  but 
it  is  not  at  all  allied  to  anise,  belonging  to  a  totally  different 
natural  order.  It  is  a  shrub  indigenous  to  China  and 
Japan ;  its  fruit  is  used  to  flavour  sweetmeats,  confectionery, 
and  liquors.  The  aromatic  oil  of  star  anise,  singularly 
enough,  in  every  respect  resembles  anise  oil,  for  which  it 
is  often  substituted.  In  India,  star  anise  is  an  important 
article  of  commerce,  and  sold  in  all  the  bazaars. 

Mustard. — The  seeds  of  Sifiapis  nigra,  L.,  often  mixed 
with  S.  alba  (natural  order,  Crucifer<z). — The  spherical  seeds 
of  these  two  species  are  crushed,  pounded,  and  then 
sifted  through  a  fine  sieve  ;  the  fine,  powdery  product  is  the 
“flour  of  mustard”  in  common  use.  The  outer  skin  of  the 
seeds,  separated  by  sifting,  forms  a  coarse  powder,  which 
is  sold  for  adulterating  pepper.  Mustard  seed  is  largely  im¬ 
ported  from  the  East  Indies  for  the  oil ;  and  white  mustard 
seed  is  imported  from  Northern  Germany,  for  grinding  with 
the  black  mustard  seed  grown  in  this  country. 

IV.  Plants  yielding  Sugar. 

Sugar-cane  (. Saccharum  officinarum,  L. ;  natural  order, 
Graminece). — This  plant,  next  to  rice  and  maize,  is  the 
most  valuable  of  the  tropical  grasses.  Its  stem  is  solid, 
cylindrical,  and  jointed,  two  inches  in  diameter,  and  from 
twelve  to  fifteen  feet  in  height ;  its  leaves  are  long,  narrow, 
and  drooping ;  flowers  handsome,  appearing  like  a  plume 
of  white  feathers,  tinged  with  lilac.  A  field  of  sugar  canes 
in  blossom  presents  a  beautiful  appearance. 

The  sugar  cane  is  seldom  permitted  to  flower  under 


176 


THE  NA  TURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


cultivation.  It  is  propagated  by  sections  of  the  culm,  or 
stem,  with  buds  in  them.  Trenches  are  cut,  and  the  pieces 
of  the  culm  are  laid  horizontally  therein ;  the  earth  is  then 
thrown  into  the  trench,  and  the  canes  soon  develop  from 
the  nodes  or  joints  of  the  culm.  As  the  wind  gains  power 
over  them,  the  lower  leaves  are  removed,  and  the  stems  are 
strengthened  by  being  fastened  to  bamboo  supports. 

The  sugar-cane  plant  is  sensitive  to  cold,  and  therefore 
its  cultivation  is  restricted  to  the  tropics  and  regions  on 
their  borders  where  there  is  little  or  no  frost.  In  the  Old 
World  sugar  plantations  are  confined  to  countries  lying 
between  the  40th  parallel  of  north  latitude,  and  a  corre¬ 
sponding  degree  south ;  in  America,  along  the  Atlantic  sea¬ 
board,  they  do  not  thrive  beyond  330  north  latitude,  and 
350  south  latitude;  whilst  on  the  Pacific  side,  the  sugar¬ 
cane  matures  about  50  further  to  the  north  and  south  of  the 
equator.  The  principal  countries  where  sugar  is  largely 
grown  are  the  West  Indies,  Venezuela,  Brazil,  Mauritius, 
British  India,  China,  Japan,  the  Sunda,  Philippine,  and 
Sandwich  Islands,  and  the  Southern  United  States  of 
America.  Moreton  Bay  and  the  northern  parts  of  Australia 
are  admirably  suited,  both  in  soil  and  climate,  to  sugar 
culture. 

Manufacture  of  Sugar. — When  the  cane  is  ripe,  it  is 
cut  down,  deprived  of  its  top  and  leaves,  cut  up  into  con¬ 
venient  lengths,  tied  up  in  bundles,  and  taken  to  the  mill. 
Here  the  canes  are  crushed  between  iron  rollers,  the  juice 
from  them  flowing  into  vessels,  where  it  is  boiled  with  the 
addition  of  lime,  and  evaporated  to  the  consistence  of 
syrup,  care  being  taken  to  remove  any  scum  which  appears 
on  the  surface  during  this  part  of  the  process.  The  lime  is 
added  to  remove  any  acidity  and  prevent  fermentation. 
The  material  of  the  fire  consists  of  the  refuse  crushed  cane, 
dried  for  that  purpose  in  the  sun.  Six  or  eight  pounds  of 


PLANTS  YIELDING  SUGAR. 


1 77 


cane-juice  will  yield  one  pound  of  raw  sugar ;  and  from 
sixteen  to  twenty  cart-loads  of  cane  ought  to  make  a  hogs¬ 
head  of  sugar,  when  thoroughly  ripe.  The  cane  syrup  thus 
prepared  is  transferred  to  shallow  vessels,  or  coolers,  in 
which  it  is  stirred  until  it  becomes  granulated ;  it  is  then 
put  into  hogsheads  having  holes  in  the  bottom,  which  are 
placed  in  an  upright  position  over  a  large  cistern,  and 
allowed  to  drain.  In  this  state  it  is  called  muscovado  or 
brown  sugar,  and  the  drainings,  molasses.  The  casks  are 
then  headed  down  and  shipped.  This  muscovado  is  pur¬ 
chased  by  the  grocers,  and  constitutes  the  brown  or  moist 
sugar  of  the  shops. 

The  planters  in  the  West  Indies  generally  send  their 
sugar  to  England  in  the  form  of  muscovado ;  but  in  the 
French,  Spanish,  and  Portuguese  settlements,  it  is  usually 
converted  into  clayed  sugar  before  exportation.  The  process 
is  as  follows  : — The  sugar  from  the  coolers  is  placed  in 
conical  pots  with  holes  at  the  bottom,  having  their  points 
downward.  A  quantity  of  clay  is  laid  on  the  top  and  kept 
moistened  with  water,  which  oozing  gently  from  the  clay 
through  the  sugar,  dilutes  the  molasses,  and  causes  more  of 
it  to  come  away  than  in  the  hogshead,  leaving  it  whiter  and 
purer  than  the  muscovado  sugar. 

Loaf,  or  refined  sugar,  is  made  from  the  muscovado  by 
the  sugar  bakers  in  England.  The  muscovado  is  re-boiled, 
and  refined  with  the  serum  of  bullock’s  blood  or  the  white 
of  eggs ;  it  is  then  transferred  to  conical  moulds,  and  clayed 
repeatedly  until  perfectly  white.  The  sugar  is  then  removed 
from  the  moulds  and  set  in  a  stove  to  dry. 

The  sugar-cane,  a  plant  originally  confined  to  Asia,  and 
which  grew  wild  in  India,  was  introduced  into  the  south  of 
Europe  from  the  East  by  the  Saracens  soon  after  their  con¬ 
quests  in  the  ninth  century.  In  the  twelfth  century,  sugar 

plantations  were  established  in  Cyprus,  Rhodes,  Candia, 

i.  M 


I  ;3  THE  NA  TURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 

Malta,  Sicily,  and  Spain  ;  and  as  early  as  the  beginning  of 
the  fifteenth  century  they  had  been  extended  to  Granada, 
Murcia,  Portugal,  Madeira,  and  the  Canary  Islands. 

The  sugar-cane  is  now  cultivated  at  only  a  few  places  in 
Europe,  viz.,  Malta,  Sicily,  and  the  south  of  Spain.  The  rest 
of  the  sugar  plantations  have  disappeared  from  the  countries 
about  the  Mediterranean,  in  consequence  of  the  extent  of  the 
great  American  plantations,  and  those  in  the  West  Indies. 

In  the  middle  of  the  sixteenth  century  the  sugar-cane 
was  transplanted  by  the  Portuguese  to  Brazil,  and  by  the 
Spaniards  to  the  West  Indies,  where  the  greatest  quantity 
of  sugar  is  now  produced.  The  South  American  fields  of 
tufted  cane  have  been  displaced  by  more  profitable  coffee 
plantations ;  and  sugar  produce  is  more  nearly  confined  to 
the  West  Indies.  This  is  an  industrial  advantage  to  the 
planters  of  both  regions,  being  in  accord  with  the  conditions 
under  which  the  plantations  flourish. 

California  makes  promise  of  such  profusion  of  sugar 
extracted  from  honey  that  there  seems  a  possibility  of 
the  bee  resuming  its  rank  as  the  sweetener  of  the  cup 
of  life. 

The  East  Indies,  Java,  Sumatra,  the  Philippine  Islands, 
Siam,  Cochin-China,  Bengal  (but  not  Ceylon)  produce  sugar 
for  exportation.  Sugar  has  been  made  in  Chinn,  indeed, 
from  very  remote  antiquity,  and  large  quantities  also  have 
been  exported  from  India  in  all  ages. 

Granulated  sugars  are  prepared  from  a  weak  solution 
containing  much  water  of  crystallisation.  They  have  less 
sweetening  power  than  the  dry,  finely  ground  loaf  cane 
sugar,  which  is  not  only  best  in  quality  but  cheapest  in  the 
end.  White  refined  beet  sugar  dissolves  more  readily 
than  cane  sugar,  and  its  fracture  is  more  symmetrical. 

Sugars  entering  into  British  commerce  are  classified  as 
(1)  Cane  sugar ;  (2)  Beet  sugar ;  (3)  Date  sugar ;  (4)  Glucose, 


PLANTS  YIELDING  SUGAR. 


1 79 


or  Grape  sugar ;  to  which  we  must  now  add,  (5)  Candy,  or 
Californian  Honey  extracts ;  and  (6),  Saccharine,  the  latest 
and  crowning  triumph  of  a  brilliant  series  of  discoveries, 
which  solved  the  problem,  theretofore  playfully  set  by 
experts  as  an  impossibility  in  organic  chemistry — “  Given 
the  equivalents  of  carbon  and  water,  the  constituents  of 
sugar,  to  produce  this  sweetening  substance  from  its  ele¬ 
ments.”  Saccharine  has  become  a  commercial  commodity, 
making  way  in  England  and  being  used  in  Germany  to 
heighten  the  powers  of  glucose  and  beet  sugars,  and  the 
range  of  its  future  influence  on  the  sugar  industries  is  not 
easy  to  forecast.  Its  sweetening  properties  are  reckoned 
to  be  many  times  greater  than  those  of  the  product  of  the 
cane,  and  though  its  cost  of  production  is  at  first  100  per 
cent,  more  than  that  of  cultivated  sugars,  the  new  saccharine 
is  doubtlessly  destined  to  follow  the  economic  course  of 
valuable  discoveries,  and  be  produced  by  cheapened  pro¬ 
cesses  to  meet  any  ulterior  demand. 

Glucose  is  chiefly  obtained  from  starch,  and  comes  either 
fluid  or  in  mass.  It  is  used  in  brewing,  a  duty  being 
charged  according  to  the  saccharine  matter  contained  in 
the  beer. 

Rum ,  or  Spirit  of  Sugar . — The  best  is  distilled  from  the 
pure  juice  of  sugar,  the  inferior  kind  is  made  from  treacle, 
and  from  the  residuum  in  the  sugar  refineries.  Jamaica  rum 
is  the  finest,  about  three  millions  of  gallons  being  annually 
imported  into  England  from  the  West  Indies.  Rum  is  also 
distilled  for  exportation  in  Bengal,  Penang,  Batavia,  and 
Manilla.  The  native  arrack  of  India  has  been  nearly  driven 
out  of  the  market  by  this  spirit. 

Besides  the  sugar  cane,  many  other  plants  yield  sugar. 
The  principal  of  these  are  : — 

1.  Beet-Root  and  Mangold-Wurtzel  (two  varieties  of 
Beta  vulgaris ,  Tournef;  natural  order,  Chenopodiacece)  are 


i  So 


THE  NA  TURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


cultivated  extensively  on  the  continent  of  Europe,  especially 
in  France,  where  sugar  is  obtained  from  the  juice  of  these 
sap  roots.  In  Great  Britain  beet-root  is  eaten  as  a  salad,  and 
mangold-wurtzel  is  largely  grown  as  winter  food  for  cattle. 

2.  Sugar  maple  {Acer  saccharinum,  Wang. ;  natural  order, 
Aceracecz). — From  the  juice  which  flows  from  incisions  made 
in  the  stem  of  this,  and  probably  other,  species  of  maple, 
large  quantities  of  a  coarse  uncrystallisable  sugar  are  manu¬ 
factured  in  North  America. 

3.  Date  {Phoenix  dactylifera ,  L. ;  natural  order,  Pal¬ 
in  ace  ae). — From  this  useful  palm  (see  p.  206),  and  also  from 
P.  sylvestris ,  L.,  and  Saguerus  Rumphii,  sugar  is  produced 
by  boiling  the  juice,  which  flows  from  incisions  made  in  the 
flower-heads.  These  sugars  are  mostly  consumed  in  India; 
part,  however,  reaches  our  shores,  to  find  its  economic 
mission  as  a  concomitant  of  black  beers. 


V. — Plants  useful  in  the  Preparation  of  Nutritious 
and  Stimulating  Beverages. 

The  Tea-Plant  {Thea  viridis ,  L.,  and  Thea  Bohea ,  L. ; 
natural  order,  Camelliaced). — These  two  species  are  probably 
only  varieties  of  the  same  plant.  Native  region,  China  and 
Japan. 

The  tea-plant  is  an  evergreen  shrub  which  attains  in  a 
state  of  nature  a  height  of  from  twenty-five  to  thirty  feet, 
but  under  cultivation  seldom  exceeds  five  or  six  feet,  owing 
to  the  removal  of  its  foliage  by  the  cultivator. 

All  the  numerous  varieties  of  tea  known  in  commerce 
are  referable  to  one  or  other  of  the  tvTo  grand  divisions 
of  green  and  black  tea.  Both  are  produced  by  the  same 
plant,  the  difference  in  their  colour  resulting  from  a  dif¬ 
ference  in  their  mode  of  preparation ;  or  sometimes,  from 
the  use  of  colouring  matters. 


CHINESE  TEA. 


181 


The  green  teas  comprise  Twankay,  so  called  after  the 
name  of  a  stream  in  Chehkiang,  where  this  sort  is  pro¬ 
duced;  Hyson,  or,  in  Chinese, yu-tsien,  meaning  “before  the 
rains,”  in  allusion  to  the  time  of  gathering ;  Gunpowder,  or 
ma-chu ,  “hemp-pearl,”  referring  to  the  globular  form  into 
which  the  leaves  are  twisted;  Imperial — the  finest  kind  of 
green  tea — so  named  because  it  is  only  used  by  the 
emperor  and  the  mandarins — this  tea  consists  of  the 
smallest  and  most  tender  light-green  leaves  of  the  first 
gathering ;  it  is  not  easily  obtained  in  Europe  in  the  pure 
state. 

The  black  teas  include  Bohea,  named  with  reference  to 
the  range  of  the  Bu-i  hills,  where  it  is  grown ;  Congou,  or 
koojig-foo ,  signifying  labour  or  assiduity ;  Souchong,  or  siau- 
chung,  meaning  small  or  scarce  sort ;  and  Pekoe,  or  pe-koiv , 
“white  hairs,”  in  allusion  to  the  down  on  the  epidermis  of 
the  young  spring  leaves.  The  two  last  are  the  finest  and 
most  expensive  of  the  black  teas. 

The  preparation  of  green  tea  may  be  described  in 
general  terms  as  follows  : — The  leaves  are  gathered  from 
the  shrub,  and  placed  in  bamboo  baskets ;  they  are  then 
put  into  shallow  iron  pans,  placed  over  charcoal  fires,  and 
stirred  continually  and  briskly,  the  rising  steam  being 
fanned  away ;  after  this  they  are  removed  from  the  pans,  and 
whilst  still  flaccid  with  the  contained  moisture,  are  placed 
before  the  twisters,  on  a  table  made  of  split  bamboo,  and 
therefore  presenting  ridges  ;  the  twisters  roll  them  over  with 
their  hands  until  twisted.  The  leaves  are  then  spread  out 
and  exposed  to  the  action  of  the  air,  and  afterwards  re¬ 
turned  to  the  drying-pans,  exposed  there  to  additional  heat, 
and  kept  continually  stirred  until  the  drying  is  complete, 
when  they  are  picked,  sifted,  sorted,  and  so  prepared  for 
packing.  Black  tea  is  prepared  in  the  same  manner,  with 
this  difference,  that  the  fresh  leaves,  as  soon  as  collected, 


182 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


are  thrown  together  into  heaps,  and  allowed  to  lie  until  a 
slight  degree  of  fermentation  ensues,  or  a  spontaneous 
heating,  similar  to  that  which  takes  place  in  a  damp  hay¬ 
stack.  This  partial  fermentation  of  the  tea-leaves  darkens 
their  colour.  All  the  black  teas  are  grown  in  Fokien,  a 
hilly  and  populous  district  about  200  miles  to  the  north-east 
of  Canton.  The  green  teas  are  raised  in  the  district  of 
Ivianguan,  about  750  miles  from  the  same  city. 

Owing  to  certain  peculiarities  in  Chinese  legislation, 
landed  property  is  much  subdivided,  so  that  the  tea  is 
generally  cultivated  in  small  gardens  or  plantations,  the 
leaves  being  picked  by  the  family  of  the  cultivator.  The 
first  gathering  takes  place  in  early  spring,  in  the  month 
of  April — pekoe  and  hyson  are  made  from  this  crop.  It  is 
scarcely  over  before  the  air  becomes  charged  with  moisture, 
rain  falls,  and  this,  combined  with  the  warmth  of  the  atmo¬ 
sphere,  soon  causes  the  tea-shrubs  to  put  forth,  in  the  month 
of  May,  the  leaves  of  the  second  crop.  A  third  gathering 
is  made  about  the  middle  of  June,  and  a  fourth  in  August. 
The  leaves  of  the  first  gathering  are  the  most  valuable,  and 
from  these  the  finest  imperial  and  hyson,  with  pekoe,  and 
similar  qualities  of  black  teas,  are  prepared.  The  leaves  of 
the  last  crop  are  large  and  old,  and  consequently  make 
preparations  very  inferior  in  flavour  and  value. 

During  the  harvest  when  the  weather  is  dry,  the  Chinese 
may  be  seen  in  little  family  groups  on  every  hillside 
engaged  in  gathering  the  tea-leaves.  They  strip  off  the 
leaves  with  astonishing  rapidity,  and  throw  them  into  small 
round  baskets  made  for  this  purpose  out  of  split  bamboo 
or  rattan.  These  baskets,  when  filled,  are  emptied  into 
larger  ones  and  immediately  conveyed  to  market,  where 
a  class  of  Chinese  make  it  a  business  to  collect  them  in 
large  quantities,  and  partly  manufacture  them,  drying  them 
under  a  shed. 


CHINESE  TEA. 


133 

A  second  class,  known  as  the  tea-merchants,  purchase 
the  tea  in  this  half-prepared  state,  and  complete  the  manu¬ 
facture,  employing  in  the  operation  women  and  children. 
The  tea-merchants  begin  to  arrive  in  Canton  about  the 
middle  of  October,  and  the  busy  season  continues  until 
the  beginning  of  March,  being  briskest  in  November, 
December,  and  January.  The  tea  is  brought  to  Canton 
either  by  land-carriage  or  by  inland  navigation.  The  roads 
are  too  bad  to  admit  of  beasts  of  burden  attached  to 
wheeled  vehicles,  so  that  the  land-carriage  is  usually  effected 
by  porters. 

In  China,  tea  is  the  common  beverage  of  the  people, 
being  sold  in  the  public-houses  in  every  town,  and  along 
the  public  roads,  like  beer  in  England.  It  is  quite  common 
for  travellers  on  foot  to  lay  down  their  load,  refresh  them¬ 
selves  with  a  cup  of  warm  tea,  and  then  proceed  on  their 
journey.  A  Chinaman  never  drinks  cold  water,  which  he 
abhors  and  considers  unholy ;  tea  is  his  favourite  drink 
from  morning  to  night,  not  mixed  with  milk  or  sugar,  but 
the  essence  of  the  herb  itself,  drawn  out  with  pure  water. 
The  Chinese  Empire  could  hardly  exist  were  it  deprived  of 
the  tea-plant,  so  habituated  are  the  people  to  its  use. 

The  Japanese  usually  make  tea  by  pouring  boiling  water 
on  the  leaves,  after  having  first  reduced  them  to  powder. 
Neither  the  Chinese  nor  the  Japanese  use  milk  or  sugar 
with  tea. 

Tea  is  imported  in  chests  lined  with  thin  sheet-lead,  and 
with  a  paper,  which  the  Chinese  manufacture  from  the 
liber  or  inner  bark  of  the  paper  mulberry  ( Broussonetia 
papyrifera,  L.),  silky  in  texture,  straw-coloured,  and  made 
without  size.  When  the  tea  is  put  into  the  boxes,  it  is 
pressed  down  first  with  the  hand,  and  then  with  the  feet, 
after  which  the  boxes  are  nailed  down  and  stamped  with 
the  name  of  the  district  grower  or  manufacturer. 


184  THE  na  tural  history  of  commerce. 

The  Chinese  colour  with  Prussian  blue  the  teas  which 
they  ship  for  the  foreign  market.  Only  a  little  of  this 
dye  is  employed,  so  that  its  use  is  not  productive  of  evil 
results.  The  Chinese  never  dye  the  teas  which  they  retain 
for  their  own  use.  The  green  teas  of  commerce  are  some¬ 
times  only  black  teas  coloured  with  Prussian  blue.  A  few 
leaves  of  the  Camellia  and  of  a  species  of  Rhamnus  or 
buckthorn  indigenous  to  China  are  found  occasionally 
amongst  the  tea-leaves.  The  leaves  of  such  British  plants 
as  the  beech,  elm,  willow,  poplar,  hawthorn,  and  sloe,  are 
far  more  abundant,  proving  that  the  tea  is  adulterated  after 
it  has  arrived  in  this  country.  The  adulteration  is  easily 
detected  by  comparing  the  leaves  from  the  teapot  with  the 
genuine  tea-leaf.  Tea  is  also  adulterated  with  old  exhausted 
tea-leaves,  which  are  re-dried  and  used  again. 

The  stimulating  and  refreshing  principle  that  gives 
economic  value  to  tea  is  Theme ,  which,  if  not  actual  food 
to  repair  waste  of  tissue  seems  to  possess  an  analogous 
function  in  preventing  waste.  The  same  principle  occurs 
in  Mate  or  Paraguay  Tea ,  and  in  Guar  ana. 

The  consumption  of  tea  by  the  Chinese  themselves  is 
enormous.  They  drink  four  times  as  much  as  we  do. 
With  rich  and  poor  of  all  that  swarming  population,  tea — 
not  such  as  our  working  classes  here  drink,  but  fresh  and 
strong,  and  with  no  second  watering — accompanies  every 
meal.  The  population  of  China,  according  to  an  official 
census,  is  more  than  ten  times  the  number  of  inhabitants  of 
the  United  Kingdom.  Vast  as  is  our  consumption  of  tea, 
the  consumption  in  China  must  therefore  be  forty  times  as 
great.  There  is  likewise  a  heavy  exportation,  in  native 
vessels  from  China  to  all  parts  of  the  East  where  Chinese 
emigrants  are  settled.  The  cultivation  of  tea  in  Australia 
has  proved  so  successful,  that  not  only  does  the  colony  now 
export  its  own  growth,  but  the  imports  from  China  are 
reduced  to  a  minimum. 


CHINESE  TEA. 


I8S 


The  caravan  or  Russian  teas  are  the  best  and  most  ex¬ 
pensive  used  in  Europe.  They  are  brought  overland  from 
China  by  Russian  merchants,  who  go  there  annually  in 
caravans  via  Kyachta.  These  caravan  teas,  purchased  by 
the  wealthier  Russian  families,  are  preferred  to  those  shipped 
in  Canton,  which  are  said  to  deteriorate  in  some  degree 
through  the  sea  air,  and  from  being  stowed  away  in  the 
narrow  and  close  holds  of  the  vessels. 

Tea  was  first  brought  to  Europe  by  the  Dutch  in  1610, 
and  they  had  for  a  long  time  the  monopoly  of  the  trade. 
The  British  East  India  Company  entering  the  field  as  a 
competitor,  soon  obtained  a  fair  share  of  the  business.  The 
sole  object  of  the  Company  was  to  provide  tea  for  the 
English  market.  Of  this  they  had  the  exclusive  monopoly 
until  1834,  when  the  British  Government  passed  an  Act 
which  threw  open  the  tea  trade  to  all  disposed  to  engage  in 
this  branch  of  commerce. 

Formerly  the  tea  received  in  Europe  was  cultivated  ex¬ 
clusively  by  the  Chinese,  now  the  culture  of  the  tea-shrub 
is  successfully  carried  on  in  other  countries. 

The  Dutch  were  the  first  to  break  the  charm  of  the 
Chinese  monopoly,  by  introducing  and  cultivating  the  tea- 
plant  in  the  rich  and  fertile  island  of  Java.  Their  first 
experiment  was  so  successful  that  numerous  tea-gardens 
were  soon  under  cultivation  on  the  mountain  range  which 
runs  through  the  centre  of  the  island,  where  the  plant 
escapes  the  scorching  heat  of  the  torrid  zone,  and  finds 
by  height,  rather  than  by  latitude,  a  climate  adapted  to  its 
nature.  A  considerable  quantity  of  tea  is  now  annually 
shipped  from  Java  to  Amsterdam. 

In  1810  an  attempt  was  made  to  cultivate  the  tea-shrub 
in  the  Brazils,  near  Rio  de  Janeiro,  and  a  colony  of  Chinese 
were  induced  to  settle  there,  and  attend  to  the  plantations. 
The  experiment  did  not  succeed ;  the  shrubs  became 


1 86 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


diseased,  and  the  Chinese  formally  abandoned  them.  Another 
effort  made  in  the  same  country  in  1817  was  unsuccessful, 
owing  to  difficulties  arising  from  climate,  the  high  price  of 
labour,  and  the  natural  indolence  of  the  natives.  The  ex¬ 
periment,  however,  was  tried  once  more,  and  this  time  suc¬ 
cessfully,  and  tea  culture  is  now  prosecuted  with  energy,  and 
success.  The  Rio  Janeiro  market  is  entirely  supplied  with 
tea  of  domestic  growth ;  and  the  public  of  Brazil  are  satis¬ 
fied  that  no  plant  is  more  deserving  of  attention. 

Tea  is  cultivated  in  British  India.  Some  years  ago  it 
was  discovered  that  the  tea.  plant  was  indigenous  to  our 
Indian  territory  of  Upper  Assam.  This  plant,  supposed  to 
be  a  distinct  species,  has  received  the  name  of  Thea  Assamica. 
It  is  a  more  vigorous  plant  than  the  Chinese  species,  and 
has  much  larger  leaves.  It  grows  in  the  warm  moist 
valleys  of  the  Himalaya  mountains,  the  temperature  and 
other  conditions  there  being  similar  to  the  circumstances 
under  which  the  Chinese  plant  is  raised.  The  Assam  Tea 
Company  was  started,  and  several  thousand  acres  were  soon 
under  cultivation  in  the  district  stretching  from  Kemaon  to 
the  hill  tracts  acquired  from  the  Sikhs.  The  plants  grown 
are  chiefly  those  raised  from  Chinese  seed,  the  remainder 
are  the  indigenous  plants  of  the  district.  The  seeds  of  the 
Chinese  plant  were  obtained  by  Mr.  Fortune  in  China  in 
the  summer  of  1850,  and  by  him  planted  in  Wardian  cases. 
They  germinated  during  the  voyage,  and  reached  their 
final  destination — the  plantations  of  the  Himalayas — in  fine 
condition.  About  14,000  plants  were  thus  added  to  the 
Assam  collection.  Chinese  tea  curers  have  been  induced 
to  settle  in  Assam,  and  both  black  and  green  tea  are  now 
manufactured  from  the  Chinese  and  Assam  plants.  The 
latter  produces  a  very  strong  tea,  which  answers  well  to 
mix  with  the  low  sorts  of  China  tea.  Large  importations  of 
tea  from  Assam  have  already  been  received  in  this  country. 


PARAGUAY  TEA. 


187 

Land  suitable  for  the  culture  of  tea  exists  amongst  the 
Himalayas  to  an  almost  unlimited  extent,  and  the  quantity 
raised  annually  and  exported  must  increase  as  the  planta¬ 
tions  are  extended  and  multiplied. 

Paraguay  Tea,  or  Mate  (1/ex  Paraguayensis ;  natural 
order,  Aquifoliacece). — A  small  shrub  with  oval,  wedge-form, 
toothed,  smooth  leaves,  somewhat  like  those  of  the  orange. 
This  plant,  which  is,  in  fact,  a  species  of  holly,  occupies  the 
same  important  position  in  the  domestic  economy  of  South 
America  that  the  Chinese  plant  does  in  this  country.  The 
leaves  are  prepared  by  drying  and  roasting — not  in  the 
manner  of  the  Chinese  teas,  in  which  each  leaf  is  gathered 
separately  ;  but  small  branches  with  the  leaves  attached  to 
them  are  cut  from  the  plant,  placed  on  hurdles  over  a  wood 
fire,  roasted,  and  then  beaten  on  a  hard  floor  with  sticks. 
The  dried  leaves  and  stems  thus  knocked  off  are  collected, 
reduced  to  powder,  and  packed  in  hide  sacks.  Each  of 
these  sacks,  when  full,  contains  from  200  to  250  lbs.  of  the 
tea.  The  sacks  are  sewed  up,  and  as  the  hide  dries  and 
tightens  by  exposure  to  the  sun  over  its  contents,  at  the 
end  of  a  couple  of  days  the  tea  forms  a  substance  as  hard 
as  stone,  and  almost  as  heavy. 

Paraguay  tea  is,  therefore,  in  the  form  of  a  greenish- 
yellow  powder,  mixed  with  broken  leaves  and  stems.  This 
is  infused  in  boiling  water,  and  sucked  up,  by  means  of  a 
tube  perforated  with  small  holes.  It  is  usually  imbibed  out 
of  a  small  gourd  or  cup  with  a  little  sugar,  and  sometimes 
an  aromatic  is  added,  such  as  orange  or  lemon-peel,  or 
cinnamon.  Mate  is  generally  disagreeable  to  those  un¬ 
accustomed  to  its  use,  but  a  taste  for  it  is  soon  acquired, 
and  it  is  very  refreshing  and  restorative  to  the  human  frame 
after  great  fatigue.  The  best  tea  is  made  from  the  leaves 
of  the  youngest  plants.  Cheaper  and  more  invigorating 
than  tea  or  coffee,  and  not  losing  its  flavour  so  quickly  by 


iS8 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


exposure,  the  wonder  is  that  mate  has  not  long  since  proved 
a  powerful  commercial  rival  to  those  commodities. 

It  has  been  calculated  that  40,000,000  lbs.  of  Paraguay 
tea  are  annually  consumed  in  the  various  South  American 
republics.  Mr.  Miers  gives  eight  sources  of  mate. 

Coca.  Allied  to  mate  as  a  stimulating  beverage,  is  an 
infusion  of  the  leaves  of  the  coca  plant,  long  known  to  the 
Indians  of  Peru  and  Bolivia  as  a  means  of  resisting  hunger 
and  fatigue.  A  fluid  extract  is  prepared  which  is  said  to 
give  elasticity  to  the  action  of  the  heart,  to  remove  the 
depression  of  indigestion,  to  impart  vigour  to  the  muscles 
and  intellect,  and  to  excite  an  indescribable  feeling  of 
exhilaration  to  the  whole  system. 

Coca  has  been  found  of  marvellous  effect  as  a  specific  for 
the  cravings  of  the  victims  of  opium  and  morphine,  and 
also  in  chronic  asthma,  a  few  days’  treatment  effecting  a 
cure.  The  yield  of  coca  in  South  America  is  computed  at 
thirty  millions  of  pounds.  Its  use  is  widely  spread,  and  is 
extending  in  Europe. 

Coffee  Tree  ( Coffea  Arabica ,  L. ;  natural  order,  Ru- 
biacece ;  sub-order,  Cinchonacece). — An  evergreen  shrub,  from 
fifteen  to  twenty  feet  in  height,  with  an  erect  stem  covered 
with  a  brownish  bark,  and  opposite  branches  with  a  slightly 
downward  inclination,  giving  to  the  whole  shrub  an  elegantly 
beautiful  pyramidal  contour  or  outline.  Leaves,  glossy  dark- 
green  above,  paler  beneath,  and  from  two  to  three  inches 
long ;  flowers,  white  and  funnel-shaped ;  fruit,  a  globular 
two-celled  and  two-seeded  berry,  about  the  size  of  a  cherry. 
The  seeds,  freed  from  their  hard,  horny  parchment-like 
husk,  are  hemispherical,  with  one  side  convex,  and  the 
other  flat  and  furrowed. 

The  flowers  of  the  coffee-tree  resemble  those  of  the 
white  jessamine,  and  appear  in  clusters  in  the  axils  of  the 
leaves.  The  trees  are  very  beautiful  and  fragrant  when  in 


COFFEE . 


1S9 

bloom,  and  not  less  attractive  when  the  berries  are  ripe  and 
ready  for  cropping,  for  these  are  then  of  a  deep  scarlet 
colour,  and  show  to  great  advantage  amongst  the  dark 
green  glossy  leaves. 

The  home  of  the  coffee-tree  is  said  to  be  Abyssinia, 
where  it  still  grows  wild;  thence  it  was  transplanted  to 
Arabia  towards  the  close  of  the  fifteenth  century.  It  was 
introduced  by  the  Dutch  into  Batavia  in  1690,  thence 
carried  to  the  West  Indies  and  afterwards  to  the  Brazils. 
Coffee  is  grown  in  almost  every  tropical  country  having  an 
average  temperature  of  above  550.  We  receive  it  from 
Java  in  the  East  Indies,  from  Trinidad  in  the  West  Indies, 
from  Rio  Janeiro  and  Santos  in  South  America.  The  best 
coffee  comes  from  Mocha  in  Yemen,  the  southernmost 
province  of  Arabia. 

As  soon  as  the  crimson  colour  of  the  coffee  berry  indi¬ 
cates  the  time  for  harvesting,  the  berries,  which  drop  readily 
when  mature,  are  shaken  from  the  trees  upon  cloths  or  mats 
spread  under  them.  They  are  next  piled  together  in  heaps 
for  forty-eight  hours  to  soften  the  pulp,  and  afterwards 
put  into  tanks  through  which  water  flows  continually,  to 
wash  off  the  pulp ;  the  berries  are  then  spread  out  on  the 
platform,  with  which  every  coffee  estate  is  furnished,  to  dry 
in  the  sun.  But  there  still  exists  the  husk,  which  is  broken 
off  by  means  of  heavy  rollers  ;  the  seeds  are  then  winnowed, 
and  put  into  bags  for  sale. 

Raw  coffee  is  roasted,  after  it  arrives  in  this  country, 
in  a  hollow  iron  cylinder,  which  is  kept  turning  for  half  an 
hour  over  a  charcoal  fire  until  the  berries  are  coloured 
sufficiently  brown.  Roasting  coffee  brings  out  its  reviving 
aroma  and  improves  its  flavour  and  power  as  a  stimulant. 

Coffee  owes  its  properties  to  a  peculiar  principle,  which 
has  been  called  by  chemists  Caffeine ,  and  which  is  identical 
both  with  the  theine  of  the  tea  and  the  theobromine  of  the 


IQO 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


cocoa  plant.  It  is  worthy  of  note  that  the  common  beverages 
of  man — tea,  coffee,  and  cocoa — although  found  in  the  most 
dissimilar  plants,  nevertheless  contain  precisely  the  same 
peculiar  principle  which  gives  them  their  nutritious  and 
stimulating  properties. 

Coffee  is  said  to  have  been  first  used  by  the  Persians 
as  early  as  875  a.d.,  and  from  them  the  Arabs  learned  its 
value.  The  first  chief  who  introduced  it  was  Megalledin, 
Mufti  of  Aden,  in  Arabia  Felix,  who  had  become  acquainted 
with  the  virtues  of  the  berry  when  in  Persia.  The  con¬ 
sumption  was  not  rapid  at  the  commencement,  and,  until 
1554,  none  was  publicly  sold  at  Constantinople.  It  after¬ 
wards  became  popular  with  the  Turks,  but  as  it  frequently 
led  to  social  and  festive  meetings,  which  were  considered 
incompatible  with  the  strictness  of  Mahometan  discipline, 
its  use  was  restricted  by  the  Turkish  Government.  The 
Turkish  priests  complained  to  the  authorities  that  the 
mosques  were  deserted,  whilst  the  coffee-houses  were 
crowded ;  in  vain  the  latter  were  shut  up  by  order  of 
the  Mufti,  and  the  police  employed  to  prevent  any  one 
from  entering,  for  the  populace  found  means  to  elude  their 
vigilance.  The  law  became  a  dead  letter,  and  although 
never  repealed,  the  Government  acknowledged  its  defeat 
by  finally  laying  a  tax  on  the  beverage,  thus  making  it  a 
source  of  revenue. 

The  consumption  of  coffee  in  Turkey  is  very  great ; 
probably  owing  to  the  strict  prohibition  which  the  Moslem 
religion  lays  against  wine  and  spirituous  liquors.  So 
necessary  is  it  considered  to  be,  that  the  refusal  of  it  in 
reasonable  quantities  to  a  wife  has  been  regarded  a  sufficient 
ground  for  a  divorce.  The  coffee-houses  in  Turkey  are  very 
numerous  and  some  of  them  spacious  and  handsome.  In 
Constantinople,  such  as  are  regularly  licensed  are  gaudily 
painted,  and  furnished  with  mats,  platforms,  and  benches. 


COFFEE. 


I91 

Sometimes  there  is  a  fountain  in  the  middle  of  the  room, 
which  renders  the  atmosphere  delightfully  cool ;  and  also  a 
gallery  for  the  musicians.  Towards  evening  these  houses 
become  thronged  with  a  motley  assemblage  of  Armenians, 
Greeks,  and  Jews,  all  smoking  and  indulging  in  tiny  cups 
generally  drunk  without  either  sugar  or  milk. 

It  is  in  the  Turkish  coffee-houses  that  the  vagrant  story¬ 
teller  finds  his  stage  and  his  audience.  He  walks  to  and 
fro,  stopping  when  the  sense  of  his  story  requires  some 
emphatic  expression  or  attitude,  and  generally  contrives  to 
break  off  in  the  most  interesting  part  of  his  tale,  making  his 
escape  from  the  room  despite  every  precaution  that  may  be 
taken  to  prevent  him.  His  auditors,  thus  compelled  to 
restrain  their  curiosity,  are  induced  to  return  at  another 
hour.  Usually  as  soon  as  he  has  made  his  exit,  the  com¬ 
pany  present  commence  an  animated  discussion,  in  separate 
parties,  as  to  the  character  of  the  drama,  or  the  principal 
events  of  the  narrative. 

Coffee  was  first  sold  in  London  in  1652,  by  a  Turkish 
merchant,  who  kept  a  house  for  that  purpose  in  George  Yard, 
Lombard  Street.  It  became  very  popular,  and  in  1660  a 
tax  of  fourpence  on  the  gallon  was  levied  on  all  coffee  made 
and  sold.  It  spread  amongst  the  English  for  reasons  very 
similar  to  those  which  caused  its  spread  among  the  Turks. 
According  to  Macaulay  *  it  extended  most  rapidly.  To  be 
able  to  spend  the  evening  sociably  at  a  small  charge  soon 
became  fashionable.  The  coffee-house  was  ‘‘the  Londoner’s 
home.”  Nobody  was  excluded  who  laid  down  his  penny  at 
the  bar.  There  were  such  houses  where  politics  were  dis¬ 
cussed,  where  literary  men  held  their  meetings,  and  where 
doctors,  divines,  and  lawyers  congregated,  and  might  be 
consulted.  “  There  were  Puritan  coffee-houses,  where  no 

*  “History  of  England,  from  the  Accession  of  James  II.,”  by  Lord 
Macaulay,  Vol  I.,  p.  175. — People's  Edition,  1864. 


192 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


oaths  were  ever  heard,  and  where  lank-haired  men  discussed 
election  and  reprobation  through  their  noses  ;  Popish  coffee¬ 
houses,  where  good  Protestants  believed  over  their  cups  that 
the  Jesuits  were  planning  another  Gunpowder  Plot,  and  cast¬ 
ing  silver  bullets,  to  shoot  the  king  ;  and  Jew  coffee-houses, 
where  the  money-changers  of  different  nations  greeted  each 
other.”  Such  was  the  respectable  position  of  a  London 
coffee-house  in  1685.  Lloyd’s  was  originally  a  coffee-house 
at  which  insurers  and  underwriters  met.  These  houses  have 
long  ceased  to  be  the  favourite  haunts  of  literary  men  and 
fashion,  and,  although  still  retaining  their  ancient  name,  they 
are  now  on  a  level  with  an  ordinary  restaurant,  having  been 
superseded  as  places  of  entertainment  by  the  numerous 
music-halls  and  club-rooms  in  the  metropolis,  where  some¬ 
thing  more  stimulating  than  coffee  is  usually  in  demand. 

Coffee,  like  tea,  is  frequently  adulterated.  Of  these 
adulterations  the  most  common  one  is  Chicory  ( Cichorium 
Jntybus ,  L.),  a  plant  resembling  a  dandelion,  with  blue  flowers, 
belonging  to  the  natural  order  Composite.  The  large  tap 
roots  of  this  plant  are  sliced  and  dried  in  kilns,  they  are  then 
roasted  and  reduced  to  powder,  and  this,  when  boiled,  yields 
a  drink  not  unlike  coffee.  Chicory  is  perfectly  wholesome, 
containing  no  alkaloid  or  oil,  and  only  a  small  amount  of 
narcotic  matter.  When  added  to  coffee  in  small  quantities, 
the  oil  is  neutralised  and  rendered  less  difficult  of  digestion. 
The  sale  of  chicory  is  now  legalised.  Many  persons  prefer 
the  coffee  with  chicory. 

The  adulteration  of  coffee  with  chicory  is  easily  detected. 
Roasted  coffee  imparts  its  colour  very  slightly  to  cold  water, 
but  chicory  colours  the  water  a  deep  reddish  brown.  Coffee 
is  light,  and  floats  on  the  surface  of  the  water,  chicory  is 
heavy  and  sinks  to  the  bottom. 

Loheia  and  Mocha  are  the  principal  ports  on  the  Red 
Sea  for  the  exportation  of  coffee.  Aden,  acquired  by 


COFFEE. 


*93 


England  in  1838,  also  exports  the  berry.  East  Indian 
coffee  ranks  next  in  commerce, — chiefly  the  produce  of 
Ceylon  and  Batavia.  For  a  generation  past,  the  coffee 
plantations  almost  everywhere  have  been  ravaged  by  dis¬ 
ease,  with  the  result  that  the  berry  is  dearer  in  England 
now  than  before  a  heavy  import  duty  was  removed.  Atten¬ 
tion  has  been  directed,  consequently,  to  other  sources  of 
supply.  A  “  Giant  Coffee,”  from  Liberia,  has  been  intro¬ 
duced,  which  claims  to  be  of  a  superior  flavour,  while  yield¬ 
ing  tenfold  the  crop,  with  less  labour,  and  greater  powers  of 
“  acclimating,”  with  perfect  freedom  from  disease.  The 
berries  are  hard,  large,  and  brown,  and  fetch  a  high 
price. 

American  coffees  come  from  the  free  States  of  V enezuela 
and  New  Granada,  from  the  Brazils,  Cayenne,  and  Surinam. 
We  export  a  little  coffee  to  our  colonies  and  Australia. 
Hamburg  and  Amsterdam  are  the  most  important  markets, 
and  next  to  these  London,  Rotterdam,  Antwerp,  Havre, 
and  Trieste. 

The  values  of  the  berries  usually  imported  stand  in  the 
following  order.  Fine  garbled  Mocha  from  British  India, 
fine  Jamaica  and  Ceylon,  Costa  Rica,  Brazil  and  Java. 

Aden,  alias  Mocha  coffee,  is,  like  most  of  the  Red  Sea 
coffees,  first  sent  to  Bombay  in  Arab  ships,  where  it  is 
hand  picked  or  garbled  previous  to  being  sent  to  England. 
The  bean  is  single,  broad,  and  small.  The  seed  of  the 
Berbera  or  Abyssinian  coffee  is  called  Long-berried  Mocha. 
The  Jamaica  berry  is  medium  sized,  of  a  greenish  blue 
colour,  rather  oblong  and  smooth  to  the  touch.  Ceylon 
berries  are  of  irregular  sizes,  ill-shaped  and  of  a  spotted 
dirty  cream  colour.  The  Pea  berry  is  of  a  shape  implied 
by  its  name.  “  Plantation  ”  and  “  native  ”  coffees  are  terms 
applied  to  the  Ceylon  berries ;  the  distinction  arising  from 
the  one  being  the  carefully  cultivated  and  prepared  berries 

I.  N 


194 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


of  the  planters,  and  the  other  the  wild  or  carelessly  grown 
coffee  of  the  natives  around  their  habitations. 

Cocoa  ( Theobroma  cacao ,  L. ;  natural  order,  Byttneriacecz). 
A  tree,  about  twenty  feet  in  height,  with  dark-green  leaves, 
from  four  to  six  inches  in  length,  and  about  three  inches 
in  breadth ;  the  flowers  are  small  and  white,  growing 
directly  both  from  the  stem  and  branches ;  the  fruit  some¬ 
what  resembles  a  cucumber ;  about  five  inches  in  length, 
and  three  inches  and  a  half  in  diameter,  at  first  green,  but 
when  ripe  yellow.  Within  this  fruit,  embedded  in  the  pulp, 
are  from  forty  to  fifty  cocoa-beans  or  seeds,  packed  closely 
together  in  five  rows,  around  a  common  centre. 

The  cocoa  trees  will  only  grow  well  in  the  shade.  They 
are  planted  at  intervals  of  twelve  feet  apart,  and  are  protected 
from  the  fierce  heat  of  the  tropical  sun  by  the  broad-leaved 
banana,  and  the  stately  and  beautiful  Erytlirina ,  or  coral  tree. 
The  rays  of  the  sun  cannot  penetrate  the  foliage  of  these 
trees,  and  the  ground  below  them  is  constantly  wet.  When 
the  fruit  is  ripe,  it  is  plucked  and  opened  ;  and  the  beans, 
cleared  of  the  spongy  pulp,  are  spread  upon  mats  to  dry  in 
the  sun. 

Chocolate  and  cocoa  are  both  made  from  these  beans. 
Chocolate  is  made  by  first  freeing  the  beans  from  their  husk, 
and  then  roasting  them  over  a  fire  in  an  iron  cylinder,  with 
holes  in  its  end  for  the  escape  of  the  vapour.  The  apparatus 
is  very  similar  to  that  of  a  coffee-roaster.  When  the  aroma 
is  well  developed,  the  beans  are  done ;  they  are  then 
turned  out  of  the  cylinder,  and  ground  to  a  powder,  which, 
mixed  with  sugar,  flavoured  with  vanilla,  and  brought  to  a 
paste,  forms  the  chocolate  cakes  of  commerce.  Cocoa  is 
prepared  by  grinding  up  the  entire  nut — both  husk  and  kernel 
— after  roasting,  depriving  it  of  part  of  its  fat  during  the 
process,  so  as  to  render  it  easier  of  digestion.  Some¬ 
times  the  beans  are  roasted  and  simply  crushed.  This 


COCOA. 


*95 


preparation  is  sold  in  the  shops  under  the  name  of  cocoa 
nibs. 

The  cocoa  tree  is  a  native  of  South  America,  Mexico, 
and  the  West  Indies,  where  it  formerly  grew  wild,  but  is 
now  cultivated  in  extensive  plantations.  The  beans  of  this 
tree  have  always  been  the  chief  means  of  nourishment  to 
the  natives  of  those  countries.  From  them  the  Spaniards 
learnt  to  make  both  chocolate  and  cocoa.  The  range  of 
cultivation  now  extends  to  Africa  and  Asia,  by  the  transfer 
of  living  plants.  Ceylon  and  Batavian  cocoas,  from  their 
careful  preparation,  command  a  high  market  value,  and  ship¬ 
ments  of  an  earlier  date  were  made  from  the  West  Coast 
Settlements.  The  finest  cocoa  in  the  world  is  grown  on  a 
single  farm  in  Guatemala,  and  is  not  exported. 

The  cocoa  bean,  which  is  about  the  size  and  colour  of  an 
almond,  contains  a  peculiar  solid  oil  called  butter  of  cocoa, 
and. an  alkaloid  called  Theobromine ,  which  produces  on  the 
nervous  system  analogous  effects  to  those  of  Caffeine  and 
Theine.  Chocolate  and  cocoa  yield  highly  nutritious  bever¬ 
ages.  Linnaeus  was  so  convinced  of  this  that  he  called  the 
plant  Theobroma ,  the  Drink  of  the  Gods.  Cocoa  possesses 
more  nutritive  powers  than  tea  or  coffee  and  is  really  a 
gruel,  or  mixture,  not  merely  an  infusion. 

Cocoa  is  imported  into  this  country  chiefly  in  the  raw 
state,  that  is,  the  beans  with  the  husks  on.  The  following 
are  the  principal  sorts  which  are  brought  into  Europe. 
The  preparation,  “  Chocolat  Menier,”  is  from  cacao  grown  in 
the  district  of  Rivas,  Nicaragua.  “  Soconusco,”  the  best  sort, 
is  from  the  district  of  the  same  name  in  the  free  state  of 
Guatemala.  This  seldom  comes  into  the  market.  Caracas, 
next  in  quality,  from  La  Guayra,  the  commercial  port  of 
Caracas  in  Venezuela,  also  from  Guayaquil  in  Ecuador. 
Our  largest  supplies  are  from  these  ports.  We  receive 
also  heavy  shipments  from  English,  Dutch,  and  French 


I  96  THE  NA  TURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 

Guyana,  the  Brazils,  Mexico,  and  the  West  Indies,  espe¬ 
cially  from  the  island  of  Trinidad. 

Although  cocoa  is  by  no  means  a  national  beverage  like 
tea  and  coffee,  the  annual  imports  extend  to  hundreds  of 
millions  of  pounds  avoirdupois,  and  the  consumption  is  only 
relatively  small.  In  France,  Spain,  and  Portugal,  where 
chocolate  is  in  request,  the  quantity  consumed  is  constantly 
increasing,  while  it  forms  the  ordinary  breakfast  of  the 
Mexican  race. 

Grape  ( Vitis  viniferci ,  L.  ;  natural  order,  Vitacecz). — The 
wines  of  commerce  are  mostly  prepared  by  fermentation 
from  the  juice  of  the  grape.  The  vine  ranks  with  the  tea 
and  coffee  plant  in  importance.  The  excellence  of  its  fruit, 
whether  fresh  or  dried  in  the  form  of  raisins,  is  well  known. 
The  virtues  of  its  fermented  juice  have  been  eulogised  in 
song  by  poets,  and  its  abuse  has  furnished  a  theme  for 
moralists  of  every  age  and  nation. 

The  grape  varies  in  the  colour,  form,  size,  and  flavour  of 
its  fruit.  These  varieties  have  all  probably  been  produced 
by  long-continued  cultivation  in  different  soils.  The 
lengthened  attention  which  the  vine  has  received  has  given 
it  an  extensive  geographical  range.  The  vine  may  be  found 
in  all  countries  on  the  earth’s  surface  included  between  the 
parallels  of  latitude  510  N.  and  330  S.  and  in  some  favoured 
stations  considerably  beyond  these  limits.  The  same  lati¬ 
tude  does  not  always  permit  the  fruit  to  ripen  enough  to 
make  good  wine;  the  degree  of  ripeness  depends  on  the 
average  clearness  of  the  atmosphere  throughout  the  year. 

The  vine  is  generally  supported  by  props  and  trellises, 
but  in  the  sandy  districts  of  Spain  it  is  allowed  to  trail  upon 
the  ground.  The  time  of  the  grape  harvest  or  vintage  is 
always  regulated  by  the  character  of  the  wine  to  be  made. 
For  a  brisk  wine,  such  as  champagne,  the  grapes  are  gathered 
before  fully  ripe ;  for  a  dry,  full-favoured  wine,  such  as  port, 


THE  GRAPE. 


197 


the  mature  grapes  are  selected ;  and  for  German  wines,  the 
driest  of  all  wines,  the  vintage  is  made  as  late  as  possible. 
The  process  of  wine-making  is  as  follows  : — • 

The  grapes  are  gathered  into  baskets,  which  are  emptied 
into  a  tub,  with  holes  at  the  bottom,  called  the  wine-press. 
This  tub  is  placed  over  another  much  larger,  named  the 
wine-vat.  A  man  then  gets  into  the  upper  tub  and  presses 
or  crushes  the  grapes  by  treading  upon  them,  a  mode  of 
bruising  the  grape  as  ancient  as  wine-making  itself.  The 
juice,  or  must ,  as  it  is  termed,  flows  from  the  press  into  the 
vat,  and  sometimes  within  a  few  days,  or  even  a  few  hours, 
depending  on  the  temperature,  begins  to  ferment.  This 
fermentation  makes  the  liquor  turbid,  increases  its  tempera¬ 
ture  and  volume  so  that  it  soon  fills  the  vat.  After  a  time 
the  fermentation  ceases,  the  liquor  diminishes  in  temperature 
and  bulk,  and  becomes  cool  and  clear.  When  quite  cold  it 
is  drawn  off,  or  racked,  from  the  vat  by  a  tap  placed  a  few 
inches  above  the  bottom,  into  an  open  vessel,  wrhence  it 
is  conveyed  into  the  casks  prepared  for  its  reception. 
After  entering  the  cask,  a  second  although  much  slighter 
fermentation  takes  place,  which  further  clarifies  the  wine ; 
its  subsidence  diminishes  the  bulk  of  the  wine  in  the  cask, 
and  more  wine  is  added  so  as  nearly  to  fill  the  cask.  This 
again  slightly  renews  the  fermentation,  and  the  cask  is 
kept  open  until  filled  to  its  utmost  capacity  with  wine  free 
from  fermentation ;  it  is  then  closed  and  is  ready  for  the 
market. 

Great  attention  and  practical  skill  are  required  to  manage 
the  fermenting  process  properly,  as  on  this  depends  the 
quality  of  the  wine.  Wines  vary  according  to  the  amount 
of  sugar,  alcohol,  and  acid  which  they  contain.  When 
wines  contain  much  sugar,  they  are  called  “  sweet,”  when 
little,  “dry.”  Sweet  wines,  such  as  Malaga  and  Tokay,  are 
wines  which  have  been  only  half  fermented  ;  their  sweetness 


198  THE  NA  TURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 

depends  on  the  fermentation  not  having  exhausted  the 
sugar.  Dry  strong  wines,  such  as  Madeira,  Sherry,  Marsala, 
and  Port  are  fully  fermented  wines,  all  the  sugar  of  the 
grape  having  been  converted  into  alcohol.  Champagne  and 
other  sparkling  wines  owe  their  briskness  to  the  presence 
of  carbonic  acid ;  whilst  Hock  and  the  Rhenish  wines 
generally,  and  many  of  the  French,  contain  much  uncom¬ 
bined  acid.  The  roughness  and  flavour  of  the  red  wines 
are  usually  derived  from  the  husks  of  the  fruit,  but  are 
often  communicated  to  them  by  the  addition  of  astrin¬ 
gents,  such  as  rhatany,  or  kino.  The  tints  of  wines  are 
either  natural  or  artificial.  Their  strength  is  frequently 
augmented  by  the  addition  of  brandy.  This  brandy  is 
itself  distilled  from  wine.  It  is  coloured  with  burnt  sugar, 
and  peach  kernels  are  added  during  the  distillation  to  give 
it  that  peculiar  flavour  by  which  it  is  distinguished. 

The  principal  wine  countries  in  Europe  are  France, 
Spain,  Portugal,  Germany,  Sicily,  Italy,  Hungary,  Greece, 
and  Turkey. 

France  holds  the  first  rank.  The  principal  French  wines 
are  white  and  red  Champagne,  white  and  red  Burgundy,  white 
and  red  Medocs  from  Bordeaux,  Rhone  wines,  and  wines 
from  Languedoc,  Roussillon,  Orleans,  Beaune,  and  Corsica. 
The  inferior  white  wine  of  Bayonne,  and  Bordeaux  wine, 
pass  under  the  name  of  vin  ordinaire. 

From  Germany  we  receive  the  celebrated  Rhine  wines, 
so  called  from  their  place  of  culture,  the  valley  of  the 
Rhine  and  its  tributary  streams ;  wines  from  the  Palatinate, 
principally  from  Rhenish  Bavaria ;  wines  from  the  Bavarian 
province  of  Lower  Franconia;  Moselle  wines  from  Rhenish 
Prussia;  and  Tauber  wines  from  Baden  and  Wurtemberg. 
The  chief  places  for  these  wines  are  Mayence,  Coblentz, 
Frankfurt-on-the-Main,  and  Wurzburg. 

The  vine  is  cultivated  to  some  considerable  extent  on 


HOPS. 


I99 


the  Danube  in  Lower  Austria,  also  in  Tyrol  and  Illyria;  but 
the  exportation  is  small.  Moravia,  Silesia,  Bohemia,  and 
Saxony  grow  inferior  wines.  Artificial  champagne  is  made 
in  many  parts  of  Germany,  especially  at  Esslingen,  Stutt- 
gardt,  and  Mayence. 

The  best  Swiss  wines  are  the  Ryff  wines,  from  the 
Canton  de  Vaud,  the  Vin  de  la  cote  from  the  shores 
of  Lake  Geneva.  Of  Hungarian  wines ,  Tokay  is  the 
chief,  and  is  largely  exported  to  Moravia,  Silesia,  Poland, 
and  Prussia.  Of  Spanish  wines ,  Malaga  and  Alicante  are 
the  most  valued,  and  called  after  the  names  of  the  places 
which  export  them.  From  Oporto  in  Portugal  we  receive 
red  and  white  port  wine.  Numerous  varieties  of  Italian 
wines  come  into  commerce  Europe  also  obtains  Madeira 
wine  from  the  Island  of  Madeira,  on  the  north-west  coast  of 
Africa,  Cape  (Constantia)  wine  from  the  Cape  of  Good 
Hope,  and  Palm  wine  from  the  East  Indies.  Young  and 
inferior  wines,  and  the  lees  of  wine,  or  the  sediment  at  the 
bottom  of  the  wine-vat,  are  used  in  the  manufacture  of 
Cognac,  or  French  brandy,  and  vinegar;  these  come  into 
the  market  from  Bordeaux. 

The  southern  hemisphere,  the  physical  counterpart  of  the 
grape-zone,  produced  no  wines  until  British  settlers  tested 
the  capability  of  the  climate  and  soil.  A  large  vintage 
has  since  enriched  the  Cape ;  and,  still  more  recently, 
Australia  has  entered  the  field  of  production  with  such 
success,  that  its  wines  formed  one  of  the  most  striking 
features  of  the  Indian  and  Colonial  Exhibition  of  1886. 

Hops  ( Humulus  Lupulus ,  L.). — The  hop  vine,  so  well 
known  in  England,  is  a  native  of  Europe,  and  is  probably 
also  indigenous  in  North  America,  as  it  has  been  found 
growing  apparently  wild  on  the  banks  of  the  Mississippi 
and  Missouri.  It  is  extensively  cultivated  for  its  strobiles 
or  cones,  so  largely  employed  in  the  preparation  of  malt 


200 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


liquors.  These  strobiles,  or  female  catkins,  when  fully  ripe, 
are  picked  from  the  vines,  dried  in  kilns,  and  packed  in 
bags.  Hops  consist  of  thin,  translucent,  veined,  leaf-like 
bracts  or  scales,  of  a  greenish-yellow  colour,  having  near 
their  base  two  small,  round,  dark  seeds.  Hops  are  some¬ 
what  narcotic  and  their  odour  fragrant,  the  taste  bitter, 
aromatic,  and  slightly  astringent.  These  properties  are 
owing  to  the  presence  of  a  peculiar  resinous  secretion  in 
the  glands,  which  has  been  called  “lupulin.”  Ale  and 
porter  owe  their  bitter  flavour  and  tonic  properties  to  the 
hops  added  to  them  during  the  process  of  brewing — about 
one  pound  of  hops  being  added  for  every  bushel  of  malt. 
The  importation  of  hops  is  chiefly  from  the  Hanse  Towns, 
Holland,  Belgium,  and  the  United  States.  Some  parcels 
of  splendid  quality  have  been  received  from  Australia. 
Hops  were  not  used  in  the  making  of  beer  until  the  end  of 
the  Middle  Ages.  The  beer  of  earlier  times  was  a  very 
different  beverage  from  that  which  we  now  drink.  The 
hop  is  an  example  of  a  plant  which,  under  cultivation, 
develops  its  economic  properties  by  transference  from  its 
native  home,  where  it  grows  wild  and  rank. 

VI. — Plants  Producing  Wholesome  and  Nutritious 

Fruits. 

The  fruits  of  commerce  are  very  numerous  and  interest¬ 
ing.  They  come  to  us  from  almost  every  climate  and 
country ;  an  immense  amount  of  shipping  is  engaged  in 
bringing  them  across  the  seas,  and  employment  is  thus  given 
to  hundreds  of  thousands  of  people.  Besides  furnishing  us 
with  nutritious  food,  these  fruits  give  us  much  novel  and 
interesting  information  in  regard  to  the  economy  of  vegeta¬ 
tion  in  foreign  countries.  With  our  rapid  steamers  and 
our  improved  modes  of  preserving  perishable  substances 


FLESHY  FRUITS . 


201 


during  their  transit,  we  are  approaching  the  day  when  the 
fruits  of  every  clime  will  reach  us  in  a  fresher  state  and 
render  us  independent  of  the  seasons.  They  are  arranged 
naturally  into  two  divisions 

A.  Fleshy  Fruits. 

Of  these  one  of  the  most  important  is  the 

Sweet  Orange  ( Citrus  ciurantium ,  Risso;  natural  order, 
Aurantiacecei). — This  is  one  of  our  commonest  foreign  fruits. 
The  orange  tree  is  a  medium-sized  evergreen,  with  bright- 
green  leaves,  furnished  with  winged  footstalks ;  the  flowers 
are  white  and  very  fragrant.  Both  the  ripe  and  unripe 
fruits  are  frequently  seen  on  the  tree  at  the  same  time  along 
with  the  flowers — their  presence  amongst  the  foliage  adding 
greatly  to  its  beauty.  China  is  generally  considered  to  be 
the  native  country  of  the  orange  tree,  where  it  still  grows 
wild.  Brought  to  Portugal  about  1520,  it  has  thence  been 
transplanted  into  every  country  possessing  climate  suitable 
for  its  culture,  and  is  now  grown  in  China,  Portugal,  India, 
Northern  and  Southern  Africa,  Southern  Europe,  Turkey, 
the  islands  of  the  Mediterranean,  the  Azores,  the  West 
Indies,  and  the  Southern  portion  of  the  United  States. 

The  oranges  imported  into  this  country  come  from  the 
Azores,  Lisbon,  Malta,  Italy,  Sicily,  and  Spain,  in  boxes 
and  chests.  A  single  orange  tree  in  St.  Michael’s  has  pro¬ 
duced  a  crop  of  20,000,  exclusive  of  those  unfit  for  use, 
calculated  at  10,000  more.  Millions  of  bushels  of  oranges 
and  lemons  are  imported  into  the  United  Kingdom. 

The  rind  of  the  orange  yields  by  distillation  a  fragrant 
oil  much  used  in  perfumery  ;  a  still  more  agreeable  oil,  with 
which  eau-de-Cologne  is  perfumed,  is  distilled  from  orange 
flowers.  The  rind  is  also  boiled  in  sugar  until  it  is  candied, 
and  thus  converted  into  a  sweetmeat.  The  orange  contains 
much  saccharine  matter  and  mucilage,  forming  an  agreeable 


202 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


acid,  and  hence  is  wholesome,  cooling,  and  refreshing  to  the 
sick,  especially  in  cases  of  fever  and  inflammation. 

The  Bitter,  or  Seville  Orange  ( Citrus  bigaradia ,  L.) 
— This  species  resembles  the  sweet  orange,  but  is  easily 
distinguished  by  the  bitterness  of  its  fruit.  These  oranges 
are  chiefly  used  in  making  marmalade.  The  rind  has  a 
place  in  the  British  Pharmacopoeia  from  its  qualities  as  a 
tonic. 

Citron  ( Citrus  medica ,  L.) — The  citron  approaches  the 
lemon  tree  in  appearance,  with  which  it  has  sometimes 
been  confounded.  The  chief  difference  is  in  the  superior 
thickness  of  the  rind  of  its  fruit.  The  fruit  of  the  citron 
sometimes  attains  a  very  great  size,  weighing  upwards  of 
twenty  pounds.  The  citron  itself  is  not  eaten,  but  the 
thick  rind  is  much  used  as  a  preserve,  and  reaches  Eng¬ 
land  either  already  candied  or  else  pickled  in  salt  and 
water  for  the  purpose  of  being  candied  on  its  arrival.  We 
receive  annually  from  Madeira  many  tons  of  this  preserved 
rind.  An  essential  oil  is  obtained  from  the  rind  of  the 
citron,  very  fragrant,  and  used  in  perfumery.  The  citron 
spread  from  Persia  into  Europe  through  the  Arabs. 

The  Lemon  ( Citrus  limonum ,  L.) — This  plant  is  a  native 
of  the  Himalaya  mountains.  It  appears  to  have  been 
brought  to  Europe  about  the  time  of  the  Crusades.  The 
lemon  is  now  cultivated  in  all  warm  climates.  The  prin¬ 
cipal  supplies  to  our  markets  are  received  from  Italy,  Spain, 
Portugal,  Trieste,  and  South  Tyrol.  The  juice  and  rind 
are  both  officinal  or  trade  commodities.  Lemon  juice  is 
grateful  and  cooling,  and  is  much  used  in  the  preparation 
of  effervescing  draughts,  and  as  a  beverage  in  febrile  com¬ 
plaints.  The  juice  owes  its  sourness  to  the  presence  of  a 
peculiar  acid,  called  citric ,  which  is  easily  separated  by 
chemical  means.  It  is  one  of  the  most  powerful  anti¬ 
scorbutic  medicines  known.  That  dreadful  disease,  the 


FLESHY  FRUITS. 


203 


scurvy,  has  hardly  been  known  in  our  navy  since  the  juice 
of  limes  and  lemons  has  been  ordered  by  law  to  be  carried 
by  all  vessels  sailing  to  foreign  parts. 

There  are  several  other  species  of  Citrus  which  are 
largely  imported ;  as,  for  instance,  the  Citrus  limetta ,  or 
lime,  which  is  about  one-third  the  size  of  a  common  lemon, 
and  which  is  exported  in  the  green  state,  in  order  to  preserve 
the  delightful  aroma  of  its  rind.  The  preserved  lime  comes 
to  us  in  small  kegs  of  about  7  lbs.  weight.  The  Citrus  Ber- 
gamicE ,  or  Bergar^ot,  bears  a  fruit  closely  resembling  the 
lemon.  As  a  preserve  it  is  used  as  a  substitute  for  citron, 
but  its  chief  value  lies  in  the  oil  obtained  from  it — the 
well-known  bergamot  so  much  used  in  perfumery. 

Grapes  ( Vitis  vinifera ,  L.) — The  fruit  of  the  vine  not 
only  furnishes  us  with  a  variety  of  wines,  but  is  itself 
imported  into  this  country  both  in  the  fresh  and  the  dried 
state.  We  receive  comparatively  few  grapes  in  a  fresh 
state  though  hundreds  of  tons  arrive  every  autumn  from 
Sicily,  Lisbon,  and  Hamburg.  They  suffer  in  quality  and 
their  flavour  is  in  a  measure  absorbed  by  the  sawdust  in 
which  they  are  necessarily  embedded.  Raisins,  or  dried 
grapes,  are  far  more  abundantly  imported.  These  are  pre¬ 
pared  sometimes  by  cutting  the  stalks  of  the  bunches  half 
through,  and  leaving  them  suspended  to  the  vine  until 
sufficiently  dry,  which  in  this  state  they  rapidly  become, 
without  losing  any  of  their  fine  flavour  or  bloom ;  the 
usual  mode  is  to  expose  the  grapes  to  the  sun  and  air  for 
a  while,  then  lay  them  out  in  rooms,  and  sprinkle  them 
with  water  in  which  soda  or  potash  has  been  dissolved. 
This  causes  the  sugar  of  the  grape  to  candy,  forming  those 
little  sweet  lumps  so  well  known  in  the  common  raisin. 
The  differences  amongst  the  raisins  are  caused  both  by 
geographical  conditions  and  by  the  varied  modes  of  culture 
and  curing.  Thus  we  receive  stoneless  Sultana  raisins  from 


204 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


Smyrna,  in  the  Levant ;  fine  Muscatels,  or  sun-dried  raisins, 
in  bunches  with  the  stalks  still  attached,  from  Malaga ; 
Damascus  raisins,  much  larger  than  the  Sultanas,  stoneless 
also,  and  preferred  to  the  Smyrna  raisins,  from  Damascus ; 
and  lastly,  the  ordinary  raisins  from  Valencia,  and  from  the 
same  countries  and  ports  where  the  grape  is  cultivated. 

Currants  are  only  the  raisins  of  a  small  grape,  also 
deficient  in  seeds  or  stones,  growing  in  huge  bunches,  often 
as  much  as  eighteen  inches  long,  and  of  proportionate 
breadth.  They  are  dried,  trodden  into  large  casks,  and 
exported.  Enormous  quantities  are  cultivated  in  the  Grecian 
islands,  principally  in  Corfu,  Zante,  and  Ithaca.  Originally, 
Corinth  was  the  principal  place  where  they  were  raised, 
whence  the  name  “  Corinths,”  from  which  the  word 
“currants”  has  been  derived.  Many  millions  of  tons  of 
this  esteemed  fruit  are  imported,  with  about  half  as  much  of 
the  larger  varieties  of  raisins.  The  fresh  fruits  are  timed  to 
arrive  for  the  festivities  of  Christmas,  when  the  national 
plum-pudding  is  in  favour  in  every  home. 

Fig  ( Ficus  carica ,  L. ;  natural  order,  Urticaceci. ) — The 
“  sister  of  the  vine,”  as  the  fig  has  been  graphically  called, 
is  a  very  valuable  and  extensive  genus  of  tropical  and  sub¬ 
tropical  plants,  seme  of  the  species  attaining  an  enormous 
size,  as  the  Ficus  Indica ,  or  celebrated  banyan  tree.  The 
fig  tree,  originally  a  native  of  Syria  and  Palestine,  flourishes 
in  Southern  Europe,  on  all  the  islands  in  the  Mediterranean, 
and  especially  in  Asia  Minor,  Northern  Africa,  and  the 
Canary  Islands. 

The  fig,  considered  botanically,  is  a  very  remarkable 
form  of  fruit,  being  just  the  reverse  of  that  of  the  straw¬ 
berry,  in  which  the  minute  carpels  are  scattered  over  the 
exterior  of  the  enlarged  succulent  receptacle ;  whereas  in 
the  fig  the  inflorescence  or  position  of  the  flowers  is  con¬ 
cealed  within  the  body  of  the  fruit.  There  is  sometimes 


FLESHY  FRUITS. 


205 


a  failure  in  the  fig  crop,  when  it  is  not  properly  attended  to, 
in  consequence  of  the  pistils  of  the  florets  not  becoming 
duly  fertilised  by  the  pollen  of  the  stamens.  It  is  supposed 
that  this  operation  is  caused  by  the  entry  of  insects  through 
the  very  small  orifice  which  remains  open  in  the  flowering 
fig;  the  fig-growers  therefore  adopt  an  artificial  means  of 
ensuring  fertilisation.  A  small  feather  is  inserted  and 
turned  round  in  the  internal  cavity.  This  operation  is 
called  “  caprification.” 

Figs  are  sent  to  us  in  large  quantities  from  Turkey  and 
Greece.  After  having  been  gathered  from  the  trees  and 
dried  in  the  sun,  they  are  packed  in  square  or  circular 
boxes,  the  latter  being  called  drums.  A  few  bay  leaves  are 
put  upon  the  top  of  each  box,  to  keep  the  fruit  from  being 
injured  by  a  grub,  which  feeds  on  it  and  is  very  destructive. 
The  Maltese  figs  are  very  good,  but  those  which  come  from 
Smyrna,  called  “  Eleme,”  or  “  Elemi,”  are  the  best. 

The  fig  is  nutritious,  laxative,  and  demulcent,  acting 
gently  in  cases  of  habitual  constipation.  Roasted  and  split 
•  it  is  sometimes  applied  to  gum-boils  and  other  circum¬ 
scribed  maturating  tumours.  It  was  used  by  Hezekiah 
as  a  remedy  for  boils  2400  years  ago.  {See  Isaiah 
xxxviii.  21.) 

In  Italy,  figs,  both  fresh  and  dried,  are  the  common  food 
of  the  people.  With  a  southern  and  sheltered  aspect,  they 
ripen  even  in  England.  The  wood  of  the  tree  becomes  as 
dense  as  the  oak  when  dried  and  seasoned,  but  while  in  the 
sap,  is  soft,  spongy,  brittle,  and  commercially  useless. 

Prune  {Primus  domestica ,  variety,  Juliana ;  natural 
order  Rosacece). — Dried  plums,  under  the  names  of  prunes 
and  French  plums,  form  an  important  article  of  commerce. 
Prunes  are  the  Julian  variety  of  the  common  plum  dried  in 
the  sun,  then  thrown  together  and  pressed  into  barrels.  We 
receive  them  in  large  quantities  from  France. 


2o6 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


Primus  domesiica,  variety  Catherinea ,  is  the  French  plum 
or  table  prune.  These  are  more  carefully  prepared  for 
market.  They  generally  come  over  in  very  elegant  boxes 
called  “  cartons,”  into  which  they  are  neatly  packed  one  by 
one.  Whole  forests  of  plum  trees  prevail  in  the  Balkan 
States,  where,  during  the  season,  the  produce  forms  the 
national  food ;  something  more  is  consumed  in  the  shape 
of  plum-brandy,  slivovica  or  raki. 

The  Date  Palm  ( Phoenix  dactylifera ,  L.) — This  palm 
has  been  known  and  prized  from  the  earliest  antiquity ;  it 
is  frequently  referred  to  in  the  Bible.  The  fruit  is  very 
nourishing  and  wholesome,  and  grows  in  bunches  weighing 
from  twenty  to  twenty-five  pounds.  Every  part  of  this  tree 
is  useful.  Its  hard  wood  is  employed  for  building;  its 
leaves  are  made  by  the  natives  into  mats,  baskets,  and 
drinking  bowls  of  great  neatness ;  its  seeds  are  ground  to 
make  oil ;  and  its  fermented  sap  forms  an  excellent  wine. 

In  Corsica,  Sardinia,  and  in  Southern  Greece  the  date 
palm  is  planted  only  as  an  ornamental  tree,  as  its  fruit  does 
not  mature  in  these  parts,  or  ripens  only  imperfectly.  In 
the  very  warmest  districts  of  Spain,  around  Valencia,  the 
fruit  comes  to  perfection,  and  is  exported.  The  date  palm 
is  indigenous  to  Arabia  and  northern  Africa,  where  it  is  very 
abundant.  In  those  countries  plantations  of  these  trees 
are  sold  as  estates,  and  are  often  the  wedding  portion  of 
the  bride.  In  some  parts  of  Arabia  this  palm  sometimes 
forms  almost  impenetrable  forests  when  neglected  by  the 
Arab  of  the  desert,  who  usually  considers  every  kind  of 
cultivation  beneath  his  dignity.  More  frequently,  however, 
it  is  found  near  solitary  springs,  thus  presenting  to  the 
thirsty  traveller  a  welcome  signal,  which  assures  him  of 
water  for  refreshment,  and  of  a  friendly  shade  for  repose. 
“  The  king  of  the  oasis  bathes  his  feet  in  water  and  his  head 
in  heaven’s  fire.” 


FLESHY  FR  UITS. 


207 


The  best  dates  come  to  us  from  Tunis  via  Marseilles. 
They  are  commercially  known  as  Tablet  dates,  the  richest 
in  sugar  of  all  kinds. 

Pomegranate  ( Punica  granatum ,  L.  ;  natural  order, 
Myrtacecz). — A  small  evergreen  shrub,  resembling  a  myrtle, 
with  slender  branches ;  flowers  large,  and  of  a  rich  crim¬ 
son  colour.  The  fruit  is  about  the  size  of  a  large  poppy 
head,  and  similarly  shaped ;  its  rind  hard,  leathery,  and 
beautifully  coloured ;  when  ripe,  golden  yellow,  with  a  rosy 
tinge.  When  the  rind  is  broken,  the  interior  of  the  fruit  is 
found  to  be  filled  with  numerous  seeds,  each  enveloped 
in  a  rose-coloured  pulp,  packed  together  in  two  rows,  with 
partitions  of  pith  between  them,  and  closely  resembling 
red  currants. 

There  is  scarcely  a  part  of  the  pomegranate  that  is  not 
either  useful  or  agreeable.  The  pulp  of  the  fruit  is  re¬ 
freshing  to  persons  suffering  from  fever.  The  seeds  and 
flowers  dried  form  a  valuable  medicine,  and  are  used  in 
dyeing,  and  the  rind  is  employed  in  tanning  and  preparing 
the  finer  kinds  of  leather,  as  the  morocco,  so  much  used 
for  binding  books. 

The  pomegranate  is  a  native  of  Northern  Africa,  Syria, 
and  Persia,  but  it  is  now  naturalised  in  the  warmer  parts 
of  Europe,  the  West  Indies,  and  the  Southern  States  of  the 
American  Union.  It  was  well  known  to  the  ancients,  is 
mentioned  by  Homer,  and  frequently  referred  to  in  the 
Bible.  We  receive  annually  a  considerable  number  of 
chests  of  pomegranates  from  Portugal,  and  sometimes  from 
Barbary.  This  tree  is  frequently  cultivated  as  much  for 
the  beauty  of  its  flowers  and  foilage  as  for  its  fruit. 

Tamarind  ( Tamarindus  hidica ,  L.  ;  natural  order,  Legu- 
minoscd). — This  is  a  large  tree,  with  spreading  branches, 
the  leaflets  closing  in  the  evening  or  in  cold,  moist  weather, 
like  those  of  the  sensitive  plant.  The  flowers  are  succeeded 


2oS 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


by  an  oblong,  compressed,  one-celled,  brittle,  brown  pod, 
from  three  to  four  inches  in  length,  which  encloses  from 
six  to  twelve  brown,  flattened,  hard,  polished  seeds,  en¬ 
veloped  in  a  soft  pulp,  the  whole  being  held  together 
by  a  number  of  thick  root-like  fibres  which  penetrate  it 
in  all  directions. 

The  tamarind  is  common  in  the  East  Indies,  vrhere  it 
is  indigenous,  and  growTs  in  great  perfection.  It  is  now 
extensively  cultivated  in  the  West  Indies  and  in  South 
America ;  but  the  fruit  there  is  not  equal  to  the  East 
Indian,  having  much  less  saccharine  matter  in  the  pulp. 
The  tamarinds  from  the  East  Indies  are  darker,  have  a 
larger  and  sweeter  pulp,  and  can  be  preserved  without 
sugar ;  those  from  the  West  Indies  require  sugar,  and  are 
sent  over  preserved  in  a  thick  saccharine  syrup. 

The  tamarind  pods  are  gathered  when  ripe,  a  fact 
known  by  their  brittleness;  the  fruit  is  removed  from  the 
pod,  placed  in  layers  in  a  cask,  boiling  syrup  is  poured  in, 
and  w7hen  the  cask  is  filled,  and  its  contents  have  cooled, 
it  is  headed  dowTn  for  exportation. 

In  tropical  countries  the  tamarind  is  much  esteemed 
for  its  cooling  qualities ;  its  taste  is  acid  and  agreeable  and 
it  assuages  thirst.  Tamarinds  are  principally  employed 
in  this  country  to  form  cooling  medicinal  drinks.  Large 
quantities  arrive  annually  from  the  East  and  West  Indies. 

Banana  ( Musa  sapicntum ,  Tournef. ;  natural  order, 
Musacece). — This  may  be  called  a  stemless  plant,  for  its 
gigantic  leaves,  with  their  long  petioles,  are  sheathing  and 
imbricated  at  their  base,  and  form,  by  their  union,  a 
spurious  trunk,  often  many  feet  in  height.  The  leaves  are 
from  four  to  six  feet  in  length,  rounded  at  each  end, 
and  about  eighteen  inches  in  breadth  through  their  whole 
extent ;  they  have  a  strong  mid-rib,  parallel,  lateral  veins, 
and  are  of  a  beautiful  emerald  green  colour.  The  flowers 


FLESHY  FR  UITS. 


209 


produce  large  clusters  of  succulent  indehiscent  fruits,  each 
fruit  being  an  inch  in  diameter  and  about  six  inches  in  length. 
When  ripe,  the  banana  acquires  a  rich  golden  yellow  colour ; 
the  outer  envelope  or  exterior  of  the  fruit  is  easily  removed  ; 
the  inner  portion  consisting  of  a  rich  cream-coloured  pulp, 
containing  much  sugar  and  starch.  The  banana  forms  an 
important  article  of  food  in  the  tropics.  Some  idea  of  its 
fruitfulness  may  be  gathered  from  the  statement  of  Hum¬ 
boldt,  that  the  same  space  of  ground  which  will  grow  thirty 
pounds  of  wheat,  or  ninety-nine  pounds  of  potatoes,  will 
afford  4000  pounds  of  bananas.  Those  intended  for  ex¬ 
portation  are  gathered  green  and  unripe,  but  soon  acquire, 
on  being  kept,  that  golden  tint  which  marks  maturity. 
Several  other  species  of  Musa  produce  similar  fruits.  Musa 
fiaradisiaca  yields  the  plantain,  a  fruit  bearing  a  close  re¬ 
semblance  to  the  banana,  and  equally  nutritious,  being 
cooked  and  served  at  meals  as  a  potato. 

Pine-apple  ( Anauassa  sativa ,  Lindl. ;  natural  order, 
Bromeliacece). — This  is  a  stemless  plant  with  rigid  leaves. 
The  fruit  is  called  in  botany  a  sorosis,  and  consists  of  a 
union  of  the  ovaries,  floral  envelopes,  and  the  succulent 
axis  of  the  inflorescence,  which  become  pulpy  and  confluent 
with  each  other.  The  fruit  is  so  acid  in  the  wild  state  that 
when  eaten  it  removes  the  skin  from  the  lips  and  gums ; 
cultivated,  it  becomes  sweet  and  richly  aromatic. 

Originally  indigenous  to  the  Bahama  and  Bermuda 
Islands,  the  pine-apple,  owing  to  its  value  as  a  fruit,  and  its 
capability  of  becoming  naturalised,  is  now  cultivated,  not 
only  in  the  East  Indies  and  Africa,  but  in  all  parts  of  the 
world  where  it  can  be  grown  either  by  natural  or  artificial 
means.  Through  the  introduction  of  steam  navigation, 
vessels  can  now  bring  ripe  pine-apples  from  the  West  Indies 
to  England  in  pretty  good  condition  ;  and  their  importation 

has  become  an  extensive  trade,  more  than  200,000  having 

i*  o 


2  IO 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


been  brought  from  the  Bahamas  in  one  year.  Conse¬ 
quently,  this  fine  fruit  is  often  sold  in  London  and  other 
large  towns  at  a  cheap  rate  compared  with  the  price  asked 
for  those  grown  in  English  hot-houses.  English-grown 
pine-apples  are  worth  from  ten  to  twelve  shillings  per 
pound,  whilst  those  imported  rarely  exceed  half  a  crown 
for  the  whole  fruit. 


B. — Nuts. 

Hazel  Nut  {Cory hi s  Avellana,  L. ;  natural  order,  Cupuli- 
ferce). — This  familiar  edible  nut  is  found  growing  wild  in  the 
United  Kingdom,  in  the  forests  of  all  parts  of  temperate 
Europe,  and  in  many  places  in  Asia.  The  consumption  is 
immense,  especially  amongst  children ;  and  many  thousand 
bushels  are  annually  brought  to  this  country  from  Spain, 
Sicily,  Smyrna,  and  other  places.  The  filbert  is  only  an 
improved  variety  of  the  common  hazel  nut,  and  although 
occasionally  imported,  is  usually  cultivated  in  sufficient 
quantities  in  England  to  supply  the  demand. 

Walnut  (Jugtans  regia,  L.  ;  natural  order,  Juglandacece). 
This  fine  tree  is  too  well  known  to  need  description.  It 
grows  not  only  in  England,  but  over  the  whole  of  Europe, 
and  in  Asia.  It  is  especially  abundant  in  Circassia,  where 
it  is  extensively  cultivated.  There  is  a  considerable  number 
of  English  walnuts  in  the  market,  as  the  fruit  ripens  well  in 
the  southern  parts  of  this  country.  We  receive  about 
30,000  bushels  of  foreign  walnuts  annually,  chiefly  from 
Germany,  France,  and  Italy.  Walnuts  will  not  bear  a  long 
voyage  without  being  kiln-dried,  a  process  which  preserves 
them  from  decay  but  spoils  their  freshness  and  flavour. 

Hickory  and  Pecan  Nuts. — We  receive  from  the 
United  States,  in  small  quantities,  the  hickory  nut  {Cary a 
alba,  Nutt.),  and  the  pecan  nut  {Cary a  olivceformis, 
Nutt.),  both  of  which  belong  to  the  same  natural  order, 


NUTS. 


2  I  I 


Juglandaccce.  These  nuts  have  kernels  similar  to  those 
of  the  walnut,  but  their  shells  are  very  different.  The 
hickory  nut  is  smooth,  whitish,  marked  on  its  exterior  with 
three  or  four  elevated  ridges,  extremely  hard,  and  smaller 
than  the  walnut.  The  pecan  nut  is  about  the  size  of  an 
olive,  which  it  resembles  in  shape,  as  implied  by  its  specific 
name ;  its  colour  is  a  light  reddish-brown. 

Brazil  Nut  (. Bertholetia  exce/sa,  Humboldt;  natural 
order,  Lecythidacece). — Large  fine  trees,  often  120  feet  in 
height,  and  growing  abundantly  in  the  Brazilian  forests. 
The  nuts  are  closely  packed  in  a  hard  woody  capsule,  to 
the  number  of  twelve  or  twenty.  This  capsule  is  nearly 
round,  but  slightly  pear-shaped,  and  is  so  hard  and  heavy 
that  when  it  is  ripe  it  is  dangerous  to  pass  under  the  trees, 
for  a  human  head  is  not  thick  enough  to  escape  fracture  if 
struck  by  one  of  these  fruits  in  falling.  The  capsule  or 
pod  is  the  size  of  a  small  melon,  and  is  allied  to  the  so- 
called  monkey-pot,  with  a  shell  harder  to  fracture  than  that 
of  the  cocoa-nut.  The  monkeys  wait  for  the  fruit  to  ripen 
and  fall,  when  it  often  bursts  open.  This  is  at  once  the 
signal  for  an  amusing  scramble  amongst  the  monkeys,  who, 
keeping  sentinel  on  a  hundred  branches,  instantly  swing 
themselves  from  tree  to  tree  by  the  help  of  their  prehensile 
tails,  until  they  arrive  at  the  spot,  and  then  fight  furiously 
for  the  coveted  nuts.  Belonging  to  the  same  order  are  the 
Scipucaya  nuts  [Secy this  ollaria ),  with  a  pod  of  about  the 
same  size  as  that  of  the  Brazil  pod,  but  provided  with  a 
circular  lid.  These  and  the  Suwarri  nuts,  both  of  which 
enter  to  some  extent  into  British  commerce,  are  choicer 
fruits  than  the  Brazil  nut. 

Chestnut  ( Castanea  vesca,  L.  ;  natural  order,  Cupulifercd). 
— The  chestnut  tree  is  a  native  of  Great  Britain  and  the 
temperate  parts  of  Europe,  but  the  nuts  not  coming  to  much 
perfection  in  this  country,  we  import  them  from  Spain, 


212 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


whence  they  are  usually  called  Spanish,  though  they 
arrive  chiefly  from  Bordeaux.  Although  not  very  nutritious, 
chestnuts  are  much  more  easy  of  digestion  when  roasted. 
The  larger  and  better  sort  called  Marones  are  the  produce 
of  Italy,  France,  Switzerland,  and  of  some  parts  of  Germany. 

The  Sweet  Almond  ( Amygdalus  communis ,  L. ;  variety, 
dulcis  ;  natural  order,  Rosacea). — The  almond  tree,  a  native 
of  the  warm  parts  of  Asia,  and  of  the  coasts  of  Barbary,  is 
now  cultivated  to  some  considerable  extent  in  Southern 
Europe,  especially  in  Italy  and  Spain.  It  grows  to  about 
the  size  of  a  common  plum  tree.  The  cortex  or  outer 
envelope  of  the  fruit  is  not  succulent  like  the  peach 
(. Amygdalus  Persica,  L.),  to  which  the  almond  is  allied,  but 
hard,  green,  and  juiceless,  so  that  when  growing  it  looks  not 
unlike  an  unripe  apricot ;  when  fully  ripe  this  green  covering 
splits,  and  the  almond  in  its  rough  shell  drops  out.  There 
are  two  well-marked  varieties  of  the  sweet  almond,  i.  The 
Jordan  almonds,  the  finest  and  best  of  the  sweetest  variety; 
these,  notwithstanding  their  Oriental  name,  we  receive  from 
Malaga,  imported  without  their  shells.  2.  The  Valencia 
almonds,  are  broader  and  shorter  than  the  Jordan  variety, 
and  usually  imported  in  the  shell.  The  almond  tree 
blossoms  in  England  early,  but  bears  no  perfect  fruit. 

Bitter  Almond  ( Amygdalus  communis ,  L.  ;  variety 
amara). — This  variety  comes  to  us  from  Barbary,  in  Northern 
Africa,  where  it  forms  a  staple  article  of  trade.  It  is  princi¬ 
pally  used  for  its  oil,  which  imparts  a  pleasant  flavour  to 
confectionery.  This  almond  is  smaller  and  much  rounder 
than  the  two  preceding  varieties  of  sweet  almond,  and  very 
bitter  to  the  taste. 

Natural  Order  Palmacece ,  or  the  Palm  Family. 

The  palms,  next  to  the  cereal  grasses  and  sugar-cane,  are 
the  most  valuable  order  of  food  plants.  They  are,  however, 


PALMS . 


213 


of  far  greater  importance  in  the  countries  where  they  are 
produced  than  in  our  own,  furnishing  as  they  do  to  the  in¬ 
habitants  of  those  countries  food,  shelter,  and  clothing.  The 
most  useful  plant  of  this  order  is  : — 

The  Cocoa-nut  Palm  ( Cocos  nucifera ,  L.) — This  palm 
supplies  the  natives  of  the  countries  in  which  it  grows  with 
clothing,  food,  medicine,  houses,  and  every  description  of 
domestic  utensil.  The  aspect  of  the  tree  is  very  imposing. 
Its  stem  is  tall  and  slender,  without  a  branch,  and  at  the  top 
are  seen  from  ten  to  two  hundred  cocoa-nuts,  each  as  large 
as  a  man’s  head ;  over  these  are  the  gracefully  drooping,  green, 
glossy,  and  beautiful  pinnate  leaves.  “  The  blessings  it  con¬ 
fers  are  incalculable.  Year  after  year  the  islander  reposes 
beneath  its  shade,  both  eating  and  drinking  of  its  fruit ;  he 
thatches  his  hut  with  its  boughs,  and  weaves  them  into 
baskets  to  carry  his  food ;  he  cools  himself  with  a  fan  plaited 
from  the  young  leaflets,  and  shields  his  head  from  the  sun 
by  a  bonnet  of  its  leaves ;  sometimes  he  clothes  himself 
with  the  cloth-like  substance  which  wraps  round  the  base 
of  the  stalks,  whose  elastic  rods,  strung  with  Alberts,  are 
used  as  a  taper.  The  larger  nuts,  thinned  and  polished, 
furnish  him  with  a  beautiful  goblet,  the  smaller  ones  with 
bowls  for  pipes  ;  the  dry  husks  kindle  his  fires,  their  fibres 
are  twisted  into  fishing  lines  and  cords  for  his  canoes.  He 
heals  his  wounds  with  a  balsam  compounded  from  the  juice 
of  the  nut,  and  with  the  oil  extracted  from  it  embalms  tho 
bodies  of  the  dead.  The  noble  trunk  itself  is  far  from 
being  valueless.  Sawn  into  posts,  it  upholds  the  islander’s 
dwelling ;  converted  into  charcoal,  it  cooks  his  food ;  and 
supported  on  blocks  of  stone,  rails  in  his  lands.  He  impels 
his  canoe  through  the  water  with  a  paddle  of  the  wood,  and 
goes  to  battle  with  clubs  and  spears  of  the  same  hard 
material.”  * 

*  Melville’s  “  Adventures  in  the  South  Seas.” 


2  I  4  THE  NA  TURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 

The  cocoa-nut  palm  grows  by  the  sea-side  in  most 
tropical  countries,  and  is  usually  the  first  plant  to  establish 
itself  on  the  newly-formed  coral  reefs  in  the  Pacific  and 
Indian  oceans.  It  is  abundant  throughout  the  South  Sea 
Islands.  The  fibrous  outer  covering  of  the  nut,  when  mace¬ 
rated  and  prepared,  is  termed  “  coir,”  a  substance  much  used 
for  making  ropes,  mats,  and  stuffing  for  cushions  (see  p.  226). 
Large  quantities  of  oil  are  obtained  from  the  cocoa-nut. 
The  whole  dried  kernel  brought  from  Ceylon,  is  known  in 
British  commerce  as  coprah  or  coperah.  This  oil  has  of 
late  years  been  in  great  demand  in  England  for  the  manu¬ 
facture  of  composite  candles  and  soap.  Marine  soap,  so 
called  because  it  washes  linen  with  sea-water,  is  made  from 
cocoa-nut  oil.  This  nut  is  used  largely  in  confectionery. 
The  cocoa-nut  forms  a  considerable  article  of  export  from 
many  of  our  colonies.  Besides  the  commercial  value  of  the 
cocoa-nut  for  its  fruit  and  oil,  the  milk,  or  sweet  watery  fluid 
inside  the  young  nut,  is  refreshing  as  a  beverage.  The 
kernel  is  an  admirable  addition  to  curries.  Cocoa-nut,  rice, 
and  a  few  vegetables,  with  occasionally  fish,  form  the  sole 
food  of  oriental  millions.  To  this  fare  the  Chinese  add 
pork  and  sea-weed  jelly. 


VII. — Miscellaneous  Food  Plants. 

Onion  ( Allium  cepct ,  L. ;  natural  order,  Liliacece). — The 
onions  of  Spain  and  Portugal  and  the  south  of  France  are 
superior  to  our  common  garden  onion,  larger,  milder,  and 
more  succulent.  Italy  and  Malta  send  many  chests  and 
boxes.  Some,  entered  as  Spanish,  are  Italian  onions.  The 
varieties  of  the  onion  tribe  are  as  numerous  as  the  range  of 
growth  is  wide.  Its  home  coincides  with  the  region  of  oil 
and  wine,  which  might  equally  be  called  the  zone  of  bulbs. 
Since  the  wandering  Hebrews  sighed  in  the  desert  for  the 


MISCELLANEOUS  FOOD  PLANTS. 


2I5 


garlic  of  Egypt,  this  esculent  has  ever  been  the  poor  man’s 
condiment.  The  nations  of  the  Mediterranean  are  the 
garlic  lovers,  while  chives  and  shallots  ( eschallot )  are  char¬ 
acteristic  of  France,  and  the  leek  is  the  national  emblem 
of  Wales.  The  races  round  the  German  Ocean  have  been 
distinguished  from  those  of  the  South  as  garlic  haters. 

Soybean  (Soja  hispida  ;  natural  order,  Leguminosce). — A 
sauce  or  catsup,  as  thick  as  treacle  and  of  a  clear  black  colour, 
called  Soy,  which  is  much  esteemed,  is  made  from  the  beans 
of  this  plant  by  the  Chinese,  and  sent  to  us  from  India  in 
considerable  quantities.  The  beans  are  imported  into 
Europe  as  a  forcing  food  for  milch  cows. 

Truffles  {Tuber cibarium;  natural  order,  Fungi). — These 
fungi  grow  beneath  the  soil,  generally  in  beech  woods,  in 
this  country  somewhat  sparingly,  but  more  plentifully  in 
France  and  Italy,  and  are  highly  prized  for  their  delicate 
flavour.  Jn  form  the  truffle  is  round,  its  surface  in  some 
species  smooth,  in  others  warted  and  tuberculous ;  the 
colour,  dark  brown  outside,  and  brown,  grey,  or  white  within. 
They  generally  grow  at  the  depth  of  five  or  six  inches. 
Dogs  are  trained  to  scent  them  out,  and  sows  are  also  em¬ 
ployed  for  the  same  purpose.  We  receive  them  from  France 
and  Italy  preserved  in  oil.  They  are  used  in  sauces  and 
soups,  and  as  stuffing  for  poultry.  Some  are  imported  in 
a  fresh  state. 

Morel  ( Morchella  esculenta ,  Dill.) — This  is  one  of  several 
fungi  found  in  this  country  which  may  be  eaten  with  safety. 
The  stipes  or  stalk  is  hollow,  from  two  to  three  inches  high ; 
the  pileus  or  cap  is  spheroidal,  hollow  within,  and  marked 
on  the  surface  with  numerous  areolae,  resembling  a  honey¬ 
comb  in  structure  ;  the  colour  whitish. 

The  morel  is  usually  found  abundantly  where  trees  have 
been  burnt,  a  fact  which  led  in  Germany  to  the  practice  of 
firing  the  forests  for  the  sake  of  the  morels,  a  practice  so  in- 


2  I  6  THE  NA  TURAL  HISTOR  V  OF  COMMERCE 

jurious  that  it  became  necessary  to  suppress  it  by  law.  This 
fungus  occasionally  occurs  in  woods  and  orchards  in  England, 
whence  it  finds  its  wray  to  our  markets ;  it  is  valuable  for 
cookery  purposes,  but  is  more  frequently  used  in  a  dry  state 
for  sauces  than  when  fresh.  We  import  morels  from  Italy. 

Mushrooms. — Of  greater  importance  than  morels  are  the 
mushrooms  of  our  autumn  meadows  and  fields,  where  they 
grow  abundantly  and  furnish  a  substantial  addition  to  our 
food.  Many  more  of  the  fungus  tribe  are  wholesome,  but 
are  feared  from  want  of  the  knowledge  to  distinguish  them 
from  poisonous  varieties. 

Carrageen  or  Irish  Moss  ( Chondrus  crispus ;  natural 
order,  Alga). — This  is  a  very  common  plant  on  the  rocky 
coasts  of  Ireland  and  Great  Britain.  The  frond  is  tufted, 
fixed  to  the  rock  by  a  hard  base,  the  segments  crisped  and 
curled  at  the  edges.  The  whole  plant  looks  like  yellow 
parchment. 

Carrageen  or  Irish  moss  contains  an  abundance  of  muci¬ 
lage,  and  is  extensively  used  for  feeding  cattle,  and  for 
forming  a  light  nutritive  jelly  for  invalids,  nearly  the 
whole  weight  of  the  plant  being  convertible  by  boiling  into 
the  required  substance.  Carrageen  moss  is  sometimes  used 
in  manufactories  for  dressing  silks.  Immense  quantities  of 
it  are  annually  brought  to  England  from  the  Irish  coast,  and 
from  Northern  Europe.  Iceland  moss,  the  food  of  the  rein¬ 
deer,  like  carrageen,  serves  for  various  economic  purposes. 
A  sea-weed,  known  as  Chinese  and  Japanese  isinglass,  has 
grown  into  importance  as  a  commercial  commodity. 


TEXTILE  PLANTS. 


2  r  7 


SECTION  II.— INDUSTRIAL  AND  MEDICINAL 

PLANTS. 

I. — Textile  Plants,  or  Plants  from  which  we 
derive  Clothing  and  Cordage. 

We  are  indebted  to  the  vegetable  kingdom  for  clothing  as 
well  as  food.  At  what  time  man  first  discovered  the  means 
of  forming  articles  of  clothing  from  the  fibre  of  plants  is 
not  known,  but  the  practice  is  very  ancient.  It  was  under¬ 
stood  in  the  time  of  the  Pharaohs,  more  than  1600  years 
before  Christ.  Flax  is  thus  alluded  to  in  Gen.  xli.  42  : — • 
“And  Pharaoh  took  off  his  ring  from  his  hand,  and  put  it  upon 
Joseph’s  hand,  and  arrayed  him  in  vestures  of  fine  linen.”  It  is 
not  improbable  that  flax  was  cultivated  in  prehistoric  periods. 
It  formed  both  the  garments  and  grave  clothes  of  the  in¬ 
habitants  of  ancient  Egypt ;  for  the  microscope  shows  that 
the  cere-cloth  which  envelopes  the  Egyptian  mummies,  con¬ 
sists  of  the  fibre  of  flax.  We  place  it  first  on  our  list  of  textile 
plants,  as  the  one  of  which  we  have  the  oldest  historic  record. 

Common  Flax  ( Linujn  usitatisswium ,  L. ;  natural  order, 
Linaced). — This  plant  is  a  smooth  fibrous-rooted  annual, 
about  two  feet  high,  with  terminal  blue  flowers.  Ovary 
globular,  five-celled,  each  cell  containing  two  smooth,  oval, 
brown,  and  glossy  seeds. 

Flax  has  a  remarkable  geographical  range,  thriving  in  the 
temperate,  sub-tropical,  and  even  tropical  regions.  It  is 
not  only  cultivated  in  the  United  Kingdom,  but  in  every 
part  of  Europe,  in  Egypt,  and  in  India.  Formerly  every 
rural  family  in  England  cultivated  as  much  flax  as  was 
required  for  domestic  purposes  ;  now  the  spinning  wheel  has 
been  superseded,  and  both  linen  and  cotton  goods  are  manu¬ 
factured  by  steam  machinery,  in  every  variety  of  pattern, 
and  with  much  less  time  and  labour. 


2  I  8 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


The  cultivation  of  flax  fibre  goes  back  beyond  human 
records.  Egyptian  mummy  cloths  remain  to  prove  the 
unsurpassed  excellence  of  the  linen  fabrics  of  the  country 
of  the  Nile.  To  be  clothed  in  fine  linen  was  a  sign  of 
sumptuous  life,  and  to  the  present  day,  the  fabrication  of 
linen  or  its  use  marks  every  civilised  race. 

To  obtain  the  fibrous  or  woody  tissue  of  flax,  the  plants, 
after  flowering,  are  first  pulled  up,  dried  in  the  sun,  collected, 
and  soaked  in  water  to  destroy  their  green  outer  bark.  This 
process  is  called  water-retting,  the  word  retting  being  a  cor¬ 
ruption  of  rotting.  The  tough  fibres  of  the  stalks,  thus  set 
free,  are  again  dried,  and  scutched  or  beaten  with  a  heavy 
wooden  instrument,  which  completes  their  separation. 
After  this  they  are  heckled,  or  drawn  through  the  gills  or 
teeth  of  the  combing  apparatus,  next  bleached,  and,  lastly, 
handed  over  to  the  spinner. 

From  flax  so  prepared,  linen  fabrics  are  manufactured  ; 
but  the  flax  must  be  heckled  several  times  through  much 
finer  combs  to  render  it  fit  for  the  manufacture  of  fine  linen, 
lawn,  or  lace.  Tow  consists  of  the  rough  and  broken  fibres 
detached  from  the  skeins  during  the  combing  process. 
Linen  when  scraped  is  termed  lint,  in  which  form  it  is  very 
valuable  to  the  surgeon  as  a  dressing  for  wounds. 

Flax,  dressed  and  undressed,  is  imported  into  the  United 
Kingdom  chiefly  from  Russia,  Egypt,  Turkey,  Italy,  Belgium, 
and  Holland.  We  also  raise  flax  ourselves,  especially  in 
Ireland,  where  it  is  one  of  the  staple  commodities.  In 
1851,  Chevalier  Claussen  patented  a  method  of  cottoning 
flax,  which  was  successful  so  far  as  the  process  went,  but 
little  result  has  followed,  commercially. 

Hemp  ( Cannabis  saiiva ,  L. ;  natural  order,  Urticacce). — 
The  hemp-plant  is  a  tall  roughish  annual,  from  five  to  ten 
feet  in  height,  belonging  to  the  tribe  of  nettles.  It  was 
unknown  to  the  earliest  races  as  a  source  of  textile  fibre,  no 


TEXTILE  PLANTS . 


219 


allusion  being  found  in  Egyptian,  classical,  or  Biblical 
records.  Hemp  grows  luxuriantly  wild  in  Bactiia.  The 
Scythians  intoxicated  themselves  with  a  preparation  from 
its  seed,  as  the  Hindoos  now  do.  The  seed  is  produced  in 
great  abundance,  and  is  used  for  feeding  small  birds.  The 
fibres  of  the  stem  are  much  longer  and  stronger  than  those 
of  flax,  and  when  prepared  in  a  manner  very  similar  to  that 
adopted  with  flax,  constitute  the  hemp  of  commerce,  from 
which  sail-cloth,  sacking,  and  every  variety  of  cordage  are 
manufactured. 

The  hemp-plant  is  a  native  of  Persia  and  of  the  northern 
parts  of  India,  whence  it  has  been  introduced  into  Europe, 
where  it  is  now  cultivated,  especially  in  Russia.  Like  flax, 
hemp  has  a  very  extensive  geographical  range,  growing  in 
almost  any  country  and  climate.  It  thrives  admirably  in 
North  America  and  in  Africa,  and  is  found  from  Northern 
Russia  to  tropical  India. 

When  growing  in  warm  countries  the  value  of  the  hemp 
fibre  is  much  diminished,  and  another  quality  developed. 
The  plant  becomes  powerfully  narcotic,  and  its  leaves, 
flowers,  and  stem  become  covered  with  a  peculiar  resinous 
secretion  called  churrus  in  India.  By  the  Arabs  this  resin 
is  called  hashash ,  and  during  the  Crusades,  men  intoxicated 
purposely  with  it,  called  “  hashasheens,”  used  to  rush  into 
the  camp  of  the  Christians  to  murder  and  destroy,  whence 
our  word  assassin  is  derived.  Hemp  is  employed  in  other 
forms  besides  churrus  as  a  narcotic.  The  whole  herb, 
resinous  exudation  included,  is  dried  and  smoked  under 
the  name  of  gunyah  or  bhang ,  when  the  larger  leaves  and 
capsules  only  are  employed.  The  Hindoos,  and  the 
Bushmen  of  Southern  Africa,  smoke  these  preparations  in 
rude  pipes,  as  we  do  cigars  and  tobacco.  These  pipes  are 
about  three  inches  in  length,  and  are  usually  made  out  of 
the  tusk  or  canine  tooth  of  some  animal,  perforated  through, 


220 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


leaving  only  the  enamel.  Churrus  or  charus  is  properly 
excluded  from  medicine,  though  regarded  as  of  great  import¬ 
ance  by  Asiatic  nations.  It  is  prepared  as  a  confection, 
consisting  of  the  hemp  resin  with  sugar,  almonds,  and 
various  ingredients.  Strong  coffee  is  the  best  antidote  to 
its  effects.  Hemp  oil  is  a  constituent  of  Russian  food. 

From  experiments  made  with  churrus,  it  would  seem 
that  the  fakeers  and  other  religious  devotees  of  India,  are 
indebted  to  it  for  their  ability  to  perform  some  of  their 
wonderful  feats. 

The  narcotic  hemp  of  warm  climates  was  thought  to  be 
another  species,  but  it  is  only  a  variety,  distinguished  as 
Cannabis  sativa ,  variety,  Indica. 

The  imports  of  hemp  into  the  United  Kingdom  are 
chiefly  from  Russia,  Hungary,  Austrian  Italy,  the  Philippine 
Islands,  and  British  India.  The  best  Hungarian  hemp 
comes  from  the  district  of  Peterwardein,  under  the  name 
of  Sclavonian  hemp.  From  Italy  we  receive  a  remarkably 
fine  variety,  raised  by  spade  culture,  called  “Italian  garden 
hemp.” 

In  addition  to  sail-cloths  and  cordage,  a  coarse  brown 
paper  is  made  from  hemp.  Oakum  consists  of  tarry  hemp, 
procured  by  untwisting  old  worn-out  ship  ropes,  and  is 
invaluable  for  caulking  or  filling  in  between  the  timbers  of 
a  vessel  in  course  of  building,  or  for  stopping  leaks  at  sea. 
With  iron  vessels  oakum  is  of  no  practical  utility. 

Cotton  wool  (the  woolly  covering  of  the  seeds  of  several 
species  of  Gossypium ;  natural  order,  Malvacece). — Much 
uncertainty  prevails  as  to  the  number  of  species  of  Gossypium 
which  furnish  cotton.  Linnmus  has  described  five,  Lamarck 
eight,  Wildenow  ten,  and  De  Candolle  admits  of  thirteen. 
The  cotton  of  commerce,  which  consists  of  the  hairs 
attached  to  the  seeds,  appears  to  be  derived  from  three 
species,  designated  as  the  cotton  herb  ( Gossypium  herbaceum , 


TEXTILE  PLANTS. 


22  1 


L.),  the  cotton  shrub  ( Gossypium  Indicum ),  and  the  cotton 
tree  ( Gossypium  arboreuni). 

1.  Cotton  Herb  ( Gossypium  herbaceum ,  L.) — The 
greatest  amount  of  cotton  is  derived  from  this  species,  which 
is  the  best  known  and  most  widely  spread.  It  is  an  annual, 
and  cultivated  in  the  United  States,  India,  China,  and  many 
other  countries.  It  grows  from  three  to  four  feet  in  height, 
having  three  to  five  alternate  leaves,  and  pale  yellow  flowers 
resembling  those  of  the  mallow. 

After  the  plant  has  done  flowering,  a  capsule  is  formed. 
This  capsule  grows  to  the  size  of  a  walnut,  turns  brown  as 
it  ripens,  and  then  dehisces  or  opens,  displaying  in  its 
three-celled  interior  a  snow-white  or  yellow  down  envelop¬ 
ing  the  three  seeds  lying  in  each  cell ;  altogether,  nine 
cotton  balls  may  be,  collected  from  each  capsule,  each  ball 
with  its  enclosed  seed  being  about  the  size  of  an  ordinary 
grape. 

Chinese  Nankin  cotton  is  manufactured  from  a  variety 
of  this  plant.  The  yellowish  brown  colour  of  the  nankin  is 
not  artificially  produced  by  dyeing,  but  is  the  natural  colour 
of  the  cotton. 

2.  The  Cotton  Shrub  ( Gossypium  Indicum ,  Lamarck). 
- — The  cotton  shrub  is  cultivated  in  India.  It  closely 
resembles  the  former  plant  in  many  respects,  but  it  grows 
from  eight  to  twelve  feet  high  ;  its  flowers  change  from  white 
to  red,  and  its  capsules  are  ovoid.  The  cotton  shrub  is 
cultivated  in  all  countries  where  the  cotton  herb  is  found. 
In  the  West  Indies  this  plant  lives  from  two  to  three  years, 
in  India  and  Egypt  from  six  to  ten ;  where  the  climate 
is  excessively  hot,  it  is  long-lived. 

3.  The  Cotton  Tree  ( Gossypium  arboreuni). — The 
cotton  trees  inhabits  India,  China,  Egypt,  the  coast  of 
Africa,  and  some  places  in  America.  It  grows  from  fifteen 
to  twenty  feet  high,  and  its  flowers  are  red.  It  yields  a 


222 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


variety  of  cotton  of  a  very  fine,  soft,  silky  nature,  used  by 
the  Hindoos  for  making  turbans. 

The  cotton-plant  is  cultivated  in  fields,  and  treated  as  an 
annual.  It  is  grown  from  seed  which  is  placed  in  the 
ground  in  holes  sufficiently  wide  apart  to  allow  for  the 
growth  of  the  plant.  The  plants  are  carefully  tended  until 
they  flower,  which  is  usually  eighty  days  from  the  time  of 
sowing.  The  flowers,  which  are  handsome,  either  yellow 
or  red,  are  succeeded  by  capsules,  which,  when  ripe,  open, 
and  the  cotton-covered  seeds  in  their  interior  are  immediately 
removed  by  the  cultivator  before  the  wind  is  able  to  scatter 
them.  These  cotton  seeds  are  then  sent  to  a  mill,  where  by 
means  of  a  peculiar  apparatus  called  a  gin ,  the  cotton  is 
separated.  They  are  then  either  kept  for  sowing  again,  or 
as  material  for  the  manufacture  of  oil  and  oil-cake  for  cattle. 

Cotton  comes  to  this  country  in  compressed  bales ;  the 
average  weight  of  a  bale  varies  from  560  lbs.  of  Mobile 
cotton,  450  lbs.  of  New  Orleans,  380  lbs.  of  Indian,  to  180 
lbs.  of  Brazilian.  A  “  bale  ”  properly  means  a  rectangular 
body  with  flat  sides,  and  often  consists  of  battens  of  wood 
tied  with  rope  or  iron  hooping.  Thus  a  bale  of  hops  is  flat 
sided  or  box-shaped,  and  a  pocket  of  hops  is  a  long  sack 
and,  therefore,  round.  The  terms  bags,  bales,  pockets, 
boxes,  barrels,  trunks,  drums,  and  such-like  commercial 
descriptives,  are  very  arbitrary,  and  apply  only  to  each 
special  class  of  goods. 

The  spread  of  the  English  spinning  and  weaving  machines, 
and  the  substitution  of  the  power-loom  for  the  hand-loom, 
has  caused  such  an  amount  of  prosperity  to  the  cotton 
trade,  that  it  is  now  one  of  the  most  important  branches 
of  our  foreign  commerce.  Such  is  the  keen  competition 
among  manufacturers  and  such  the  economy  of  machine 
working,  that  consumers  can  often  obtain  cotton  cloths  at 
barely  more  than  the  cost  price  of  the  fibre. 


TEXTILE  PLANTS. 


223 


Foreign  cotton  is  separated  into  the  following  varieties  : — ■ 

North  American  or  United  States  Cotton. — This  is  pro¬ 
duced  in  the  states  of  Georgia,  South  Carolina,  Alabama, 
Mississippi,  and  Louisiana.  The  best  American  cotton, 
in  fact  the  best  known  in  the  market,  is  the  celebrated 
Sea-island  which  grows  on  a  row  of  islands  situated  along 
the  coast  of  Georgia.  The  principal  ports  for  the  exporta¬ 
tion  of  United  States  cotton  are  Charleston,  New  Orleans, 
Mobile,  and  Savannah. 

South  American  Cotton. — This  comes  into  the  market 
from  the  Brazils,  Guayana,  Columbia,  Venezuela,  New  Gra¬ 
nada,  and  Peru.  Almost  all  the  West  India  Islands  produce 
cotton  of  a  superior  quality,  preferable  to  the  Brazilian. 

East  Indian  Cotton. — Formerly  very  inferior  to  the  North 
American,  although  British  India,  next  to  America,  furnishes 
the  largest  quantity.  The  staple  is  very  short,  and  less 
adapted  to  European  machinery,  which  is  framed  for  work¬ 
ing  the  finer  American  long  cotton.  This  cotton  is  raised 
chiefly  for  exportation  to  China.  A  better  staple  has 
been  produced  in  India  from  American  seed,  and  already  a 
considerable  quantity  has  been  exported  to  England.  East 
Indian  cotton  comes  in  packages,  very  strongly  compressed 
and  corded,  once  earned  on  the  backs  of  camels,  or  on 
wagons,  to  the  Ganges,  and  there  received  into  boats  with 
capacious  interiors ;  these  descend  the  river,  and  take  the 
cargo  to  European  ships.  The  East  Indian  sorts  known  in 
commerce  are  the  Bengal,  Madras,  Bombay,  Surat,  Siam, 
and  Manilla  cottons.  A  government  return  requiring  a 
map  of  India  to  be  marked  with  the  places  of  its  cultivation, 
no  room  was  left  for  any  other  marks  on  the  map.  The 
American  War,  1860-5,  Save  a  great  impetus  to  the  trade, 
which  the  network  of  railways,  of  recent  construction,  allow¬ 
ing  of  crops  far  from  ports  to  be  cheaply  forwarded,  has 
since  maintained. 


224 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE . 


Levant  Cotton. — This  includes  all  the  cotton  which  is 
received  from  ports  in  European  and  Asiatic  Turkey,  as 
well  as  from  the  Morea  and  the  Archipelago.  Like  that 
from  British  India,  it  is  of  inferior  quality.  The  principal 
sorts  are  the  Smyrnian,  Syrian,  Cyprian,  Macedonian,  and 
Persian  cottons.  Most  of  the  last  is  consumed  in  Persia, 
excepting  some  small  quantities,  which  go  to  Russia,  via 
Astracan. 

African  Cotton. — Excellent  cotton  is  received  from  the 
French  island  of  Bourbon ;  Egyptian  cotton  has  also 
greatly  improved  in  quality  recently,  because  the  crops  have 
been  raised  from  American  seed.  The  best  African  cotton 
is,  howrever,  grown  in  Algeria,  and  is  remarkable  for  the 
beauty  of  its  colour,  the  fineness  of  its  silk,  the  care  taken 
in  harvesting  the  crop,  and  the  good  condition  in  which  it 
appears  in  the  market.  The  long  staple  cotton  of  Algeria 
partakes  at  the  same  time  of  the  character  of  the  long 
staple  of  Georgia  and  the  short  cottons  of  Egypt,  and 
approaches  in  quality  the  finest  Louisiana  variety.  Algeria 
is  capable  of  producing  the  finest  cotton  in  the  world. 

The  value  of  cotton  in  commerce  depends  on  the  length 
and  strength  of  the  fibre  or  staple.  Cottons  may  be  divided 
into  the  long  staple  and  short  staple.  The  United  States 
generally  furnish  the  short  staples  in  the  greatest  quantity, 
with  the  exception  of  one  sort,  knowm  as  the  Georgia 
or  Sea-island  cotton,  of  which  the  production  elsewrhere  is 
very  limited.  Cotton  threads  are  numbered  from  i  to  300, 
according  to  the  degree  of  fineness  to  which  they  are  spun. 
In  weaving,  the  cross  threads  or  wroof  are  shot  by  the 
machine  across  or  at  right  angles  to  threads  extending 
longitudinally,  called  the  wrarp.  Long  staple  cotton  is 
generally  spun  into  the  threads  for  the  warp,  and  the  short 
staple  is  used  for  the  v'oof. 

The  chief  seats  of  the  cotton  manufacture  in  the  United 


TEXTILE  PLANTS . 


225 


Kingdom  are  Manchester,  Bury,  Oldham,  and  Glasgow. 
Most  of  the  cotton-mills  give  employment  to  a  large 
number  of  hands,  presenting  the  most  perfect  order  in 
every  department.  All  these  persons  are  employed  by 
means  of  the  fine  white  silky  hairs  which  clothe  the  seed  of 
the  cotton-plant,  in  order  to  effect  its  dispersion,  and  which 
is  manufactured  into  clothing  for  many  millions  oft  the 
human  race. 

Jute,  or  Gunny  Fibre,  is  the  produce  of  Corchorus 
capsid  avis ,  L.  (natural  order,  Tiliacecz ),  an  annual,  growing 
from  twelve  to  fourteen  feet  high. 

The  fibre  contained  in  the  bark  is  generally  about  eight 
feet  in  length,  and  is  obtained  by  treatment  very  similar  to 
that  adopted  with  the  flax  and  hemp  plants.  Jute  fibre  is 
fine,  and  has  a  remarkable  satiny  lustre,  so  that  it  is  some¬ 
times  mixed  with  the  silk  in  the  fabrication  of  cheap  satins, 
and  is  very  difficult  to  detect.  Its  chief  use  is  for  making 
coarse  canvas,  or  gunny .  Rice,  oil-seeds,  dye-stuffs,  cotton, 
and  sugar,  are  all  sent  to  us  from  India  in  gunny  bags  or 
bales.  When  wet,  jute  fibre  quickly  rots,  so  that  it  is  not 
adapted  for  the  manufacture  of  either  sail-cloth  or  cordage  ; 
but  notwithstanding  this,  it  is  often  mixed  with  hemp  for 
the  latter. 

New  Zealand  Flax  ( Phormium  tenax ,  Forst.  ;  natural 
order,  Liliacece). — A  coarse  growing  bulb,  with  long  narrow 
leaves,  the  slender  fibres  of  which  glisten  like  silk,  and  are 
white  as  snow.  Its  flowers  are  of  a  brownish-red  colour. 

This  plant  inhabits  the  marshes  of  New  Zealand,  but 
grows  well  in  any  soil ;  and  in  mild  climates,  such  as  the 
south  of  France,  winters  in  the  open  air.  It  affords  a 
fibre  of  great  strength,  stronger  than  hemp,  which  is  ex¬ 
tracted  by  maceration,  drying,  and  heckling.  Good  ropes 
can  be  made  from  the  coarser,  and  very  fine  linen  from  the 
finer  fibres.  No  machinery  has  yet  been  contrived  which 

L  p 


2  2  6  THE  NA  TURAL  HIS  TOR  V  OF  COMMERCE. 

can  approach  or  even  imitate  the  dexterity  of  the  native 
women  in  separating  the  fibre  from  the  coarser  parts.  New 
Zealand  flax  fibre  will  not  bear  a  cross  strain,  and,  there¬ 
fore,  cannot  be  tied  into  a  knot  without  breaking.  Great 
hopes  of  the  utilisation  of  this  soft,  silky,  and  tenacious 
fibre  have  not  been  fulfilled,  and,  as  a  commercial  com¬ 
modity,  it  has  almost  disappeared  from  the  market. 

Coir-fibre  ( Cocos  nucifera ,  L.;  natural  order,  Pabnacece). 
— This  fibre  is  obtained  from  the  outer  husk  of  the  coco¬ 
nut.  It  is  stronger  than  hemp,  and  more  capable  of  with¬ 
standing  the  action  of  water.  It  is  separated  from  the  husk 
by  beating,  and  then  cleaned  by  heckling.  Coir-fibre  is 
spun  by  the  natives  of  India  and  Ceylon  into  yarns  of 
different  length  and  thickness,  which  are  largely  exported 
to  Europe.  The  yarn  on  reaching  this  country  is  manu¬ 
factured  into  ropes,  door-mats,  and  floor-mattings,  which 
are  cheaper  but  less  durable  than  those  made  from  bristles. 
In  India,  coir-fibre  is  very  generally  used  for  ship-cordage 
and  fishing-nets. 

Carludovica  Palmata,  L.  and  P.  (natural  order,  Pan- 
danece). — This  species  of  screw  pine  bears  fan-shaped 
leaves  from  six  to  fourteen  feet  long,  and  four  feet  in  breadth. 
It  ranges  from  io°  N.  to  20  S.  latitude  on  the  American 
continent. 

Panama  hats  are  distinguished  from  all  others  by  con¬ 
sisting  of  a  single  piece,  as  well  as  by  their  durability  and 
flexibility,  and  are  so  named  because  they  are  shipped 
through  Panama,  though  a  large  proportion  are  manufac¬ 
tured  in  Guayaquil,  Ecuador.  The  finest  hats  are  made 
in  South  America  with  fibre  of  the  unexpanded  leaf,  called 
“torquilla,”  from  which  are  also  made  very  fine  hammocks. 

The  leaves  are  gathered  before  they  unfold,  all  the  ribs 
and  coarser  veins  removed,  and  the  rest,  without  being 
separated  from  the  base  of  the  leaf,  is  reduced  to  shreds. 


TEXTILE  PLANTS. 


227 


After  having  been  exposed  to  the  sun  for  a  day,  and  tied 
into  a  knot,  the  straw  is  immersed  into  boiling  water  until  it 
becomes  white ;  it  is  then  hung  up  in  a  shady  place,  and 
subsequently  bleached  for  two  or  three  days.  The  straw 
( pcija ),  now  ready  for  use,  is  sent  to  different  places,  where 
the  Indians  manufacture  from  it  hats,  hammocks,  and  those 
beautiful  cigar-cases  which  cost  as  much  as  five  and  six 
pounds  a-piece.  The  plaiting  of  the  hat  is  done  on  a  block, 
which  is  placed  upon  the  knees;  it  is  commenced  at  the 
crown  and  finished  at  the  brim.  According  to  the  quality 
of  the  hats,  more  or  less  time  is  occupied  in  their  comple¬ 
tion  ;  the  coarser  ones  may  be  finished  in  two  or  three  days, 
the  finest  take  as  many  months. 

These  hats  are  also  made  in  Veraguas,  Western  Panama, 
Costa  Rica,  and  New  Granada.  The  petioles  of  the  leaf 
are  made  into  baskets,  called  petacas,  the  fibre  being  vari¬ 
ously  dyed. 

Manilla  Hemp  ( Musa  texiilis ,  Tournef. ;  natural  order, 
Musacece)  produces  a  woody  fibre,  which  is  used  in  India 
in  the  manufacture  of  fine  muslins,  the  most  exquisite  tex¬ 
tile  fabrics,  and  the  elegant  Manilla  hats.  The  much 
prized  white  rope  of  Manilla  hemp  fibre  is  derived  from  the 
wild  plantain  of  the  Philippines. 

China  Grass  ( Boehmerici  nived). — Under  this  name 
is  fabricated  from  the  fibre  of  an  Indian  nettle,  the  Rhcea 
a  beautiful  fine  cloth  of  the  character  of  French  cambric, 
and  used  for  similar  purposes. 

As  fibrous  tissue,  cellular  or  ligneous,  is  contained  in 
every  plant,  its  range  is  coincident  with  that  of  the  vegetable 
kingdom.  The  demand  for  these  fibres  for  cordage,  yarns, 
and  paper-making,  keep  enterprise  alert  to  discover  the  best 
sources  of  supply.  Exogens  yield  fibres  chiefly  from  the 
barks  and  stems ;  endogens  from  the  leaves.  Exogenous 
fibres  occur  in  cords  or  bundles,  and  often  reticulate  as  in 


2  28  THE  NA  TURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 

the  lace-bark.  Some  varieties  of  bark  fibres  receive  the 
name  of  bast.  Endogenous  fibres  run  in  parallel  strains 
through  the  length  of  the  leaf. 

Cloth  is  universally  made  by  the  Indians  of  Oceania  of 
the  cottony  fibres  of  the  Paper  Mulberry,  which,  when 
moistened,  readily  felt  under  a  wooden  mallet.  Japanese 
paper,  made  of  the  same  raw  material,  is  of  such  stout 
texture  as  to  serve  for  curtains,  dresses,  and  for  countless 
other  purposes. 

Amongst  the  endogens,  the  Agave  or  American  aloe  pro¬ 
duces  a  fine  white  fibre.  By  softening  the  leaf  in  water,  a 
bundle  of  threads  may  be  forcibly  drawn  out,  attached  to 
the  spine  at  the  ends  of  the  leaf — fancifully  called  Adam’s 
Needle  and  Thread.  The  common  pine-apple  possesses 
a  soft,  tenacious  fibre,  as  suitable  as  flax  for  the  finest 
textures. 

The  chemistry  of  the  textile  fibres  promises  to  reward 
research  with  commercial  results  rivalling  the  recent  grand 
discoveries  connected  with  coal.  Whatever  the  source  of 
fibre,  its  ultimate  and  normal  structure  is  cellulose.  Cotton 
is  the  only  fibre  of  pure  cellulose.  Other  fibres  are  encrusted 
with  hardened  substances  to  more  than  fifty  per  cent,  of 
their  mass,  some  of  which  remains  to  give  a  distinctive 
character  to  the  yarn,  but  most  of  it  is  wasted  in  retting 
and  bleaching.  The  annual  waste  in  these  vast  industries 
is  serious  both  in  a  scientific  and  a  commercial  point  of 
view. 

Ekhman’s  patent  process  for  separating  from  their  incrusta¬ 
tions  fibres  of  every  kind,  whether  for  yarns  or  paper,  claims 
to  reduce  them  to  pure  cellulose,  so  that  they  can  all  be  worked 
like  cotton,  or  to  halt  at  any  stage  in  the  reduction,  and 
retain  such  portion  of  adherent  matters  as  may  be  of  service 
in  special  purposes.  Further,  it  claims  to  leave  an  innocuous 
refuse,  consisting  of  dextrine,  glucose,  vegetable  acids, 


OL EA GINO US  PLANTS.  2  2  9 

volatile  oils,  and  many  economic  constituents,  to  the  scientific 
manufacturer,  who  may  utilise  this  waste  in  bye-products  of 
much  industrial  value.  Ekhman’s  method  of  producing 
cellulose  has  stimulated  the  search  for  fibres,  and  incited 
to  further  improvements.  Its  most  extensive  application  is 
in  paper-making  from  saw-dust;  now  indispensable.  The 
first  cost  of  the  raw  material  renders  many  fibres  too  dear, 
although  destined  for  the  paper-vat  eventually  in  the  form 
of  rags.  Short  fibres,  unsuited  for  weaving,  are  utilised. 
Cellulose  from  saw-dust,  is  prepared  indistinguishable  from 
the  cellulose  of  other  vegetable  fibres,  at  a  cost  of  produc¬ 
tion  rather  over  ^4  a  ton,  compared  with  ^7  for  that  pro¬ 
duced  from  straw,  and  more  than  ^15  for  that  produced 
from  Esparto  grass. 

II. — Oleaginous  Plants,  or  Plants  yielding  valuable 

Oils. 

Oil  is  of  the  greatest  importance  in  the  arts.  It  is  exten¬ 
sively  used  for  burning  in  lamps,  for  diminishing  friction  in 
machinery,  for  making  candles  and  soaps,  in  the  manufac¬ 
ture  of  paints  and  varnishes,  and  in  wool-dressing — five 
gallons  of  olive,  rapeseed,  or  other  oils,  being  used  in  the 
preparation  of  every  pack  of  wool — also  as  an  article  of  food, 
and  as  medicine.  Oils  are  distinguished  into  two  kinds : 
fixed  or  fat  oils — which  are  obtained  by  pressure  from  the 
fruits  or  seeds  of  plants— and  essential  oils.  The  fixed  oils 
burn  with  a  clear  white  light,  and  boil  at  a  high  temperature, 
about  6oo°  F. ;  most  are  liquid  at  the  ordinary  temperature  ; 
but  coco-nut  and  palm  oils  are  solid  at  50°  or  6o°  F.  All 
the  fixed  oils  are  nearly  inodorous,  and  lighter  than  water. 
The  volatile,  or  essential  oils,  give  off  vapour  at  the  tem¬ 
perature  of  boiling  water,  when  mixed  with  water,  or  under 
3 200  F.  by  themselves. 


230 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE . 


A.  Fixed  Oils. 

Palm  Oil  is  principally  produced  from  the  fruit  of  Elais 
Guineensis ,  L.,  a  native  of  the  western  coast  of  Africa.  The 
fruit  is  about  the  size  of  an  olive,  of  a  yellow  colour,  three- 
fourths  of  which  consist  of  a  yellow  oily  pulp.  The  oil  is 
yielded  by  the  pericarp,  fleshy  cover,  or  husk,  and  pene¬ 
trates  the  hard  external  shell.  By  boiling,  the  oil  floats  on 
the  surface  of  the  water  and  is  skimmed  off  and  casked. 
The  kernel  gives  palm  kernel  or  palm  nut  oil ,  which  closely 
resembles  cocoa-nut  oil.  These  kernels  or  seeds  are  imported 
less  for  their  oil,  than  for  making  a  rich  cattle  cake. 

Palm  oil  yields  palmitic  acid,  having  a  melting  point  of 
about  1450  Fahr.  and  fit,  chemically,  for  making  hard 
candles.  Palm  oil  is  used  in  England  principally  in  the 
manufacture  of  yellow  soap,  but  with  the  Africans  it  is  an 
article  of  food.  A  generation  ago  large  tracts  of  country 
along  the  western  coast  of  Africa  were  covered  by  the  oil 
palm,  then  little  cared  for;  now  a  large  foreign  demand  for 
palm  oil  has  sprung  up,  and  with  it  property  in  these  trees. 
This  oil  trade  has  become  more  valuable  than  the  slave 
trade  which  once  flourished  on  the  Gold  Coast  and  at  the 
mouth  of  the  Niger.  Industry  and  a  desire  of  accumulating 
property  are  at  last  manifest  amongst  the  African  population, 
and  everywhere  are  now  to  be  seen  on  this  coast  the  germs 
cf  a  hopeful  civilisation. 

Cocoa-nut  Oil,  obtained  from  the  albumen  of  the  ker¬ 
nels  of  the  cocoa-nut  ( Cocos  nucifera ,  L.),  is  principally  used 
for  making  cocoa-stearine  for  candles.  In  Trinidad  and 
Demerara  it  is  used  by  the  coolie  labourers  as  we  employ 
butter.  Cocoa-nut  oil  yields  cocinic  acid,  with  a  melting 
point  under  ioo°  Fahr.  Composite  candles  get  their  name 
from  being  composed  of  blended  proportions  of  palmitic 
and  cocinic  acids,  with  a  medium  melting  point.  The  low 


OLEAGINOUS  PLANTS. 


231 


melting  point  of  cocoa-nut  oils  renders  them  undesirable 
for  candle  making,  while  the  hard  palmitic  acid  has  a  strong 
tendency  for  guttering.  Both  of  these  disadvantages  are 
remedied  by  making  composite  candles. 

Cocoa-nut  oils  are  generally  dearer  than  palm  oils,  since 
they  are  derived  from  trees  grown  under  special  cultivation, 
while  palm  oils  come  from  self-cultivated  trees. 

Castor  Oil  Plant. — ( Ricinus  communis ,  L. ;  natural 
order,  Euphorbiacece).  This  plant,  in  temperate  climates,  is 
a  large  herbaceous  annual,  with  monoecious  flowers,  the 
lower  male,  the  upper  female.  The  capsules  are  prickly, 
three-celled,  with  one  seed  in  each  cell.  The  seeds  are  of 
a  grey  colour,  marbled  with  black. 

The  castor  oil  plant  is  a  native  of  India,  Africa,  and  the 
West  Indies.  In  warm  climates  it  acquires  a  woody  stem, 
and  becomes  a  tree,  rising  in  India  often  to  a  height  of 
thirty  feet.  Nevertheless  it  is  still  the  same  plant,  and  not 
entitled  to  be  considered  as  a  distinct  species,  although 
perennial ;  the  leaves  and  flowers  are  unaltered,  and  the  seed, 
if  sown  in  temperate  climates,  produces  herbaceous  plants 
in  every  respect  the  same  as  those  in  common  cultivation. 

Castor  oil  is  obtained  by  expression  from  the  seeds  with¬ 
out  heat,  hence  it  is  called  “  cold-drawn  castor  oil.”  The 
seeds,  deprived  of  their  cuticle  and  sewn  in  horsehair  bags, 
are  crushed  by  the  action  of  heavy  iron  beaters,  and  the  oil, 
as  it  oozes  out,  is  caught  in  troughs  and  conveyed  to 
receivers,  whence  it  is  bottled  for  use.  An  inferior  oil  is 
expressed  from  the  cake  by  the  application  of  heat.  Castor 
oil  is  brought  over  from  the  East  Indies  in  small  tin  cases 
closely  soldered  and  packed  in  boxes,  weighing  about  two 
cwts.  each.  Castor  oil  is  much  used  in  medicine  as  a  mild 
and  certain  purgative.  An  oil  obtained  from  the  cuticle  is 
as  violent  in  its  effects  as  croton  oil.  Castor  oil  is  also 
employed  in  our  manufactures. 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


o  ">  'y 

“  v)  W 


Olive  Oil  (Olea  Europcea ,  L. ;  natural  order,  Oleacece.) 
— “Minerva’s  tree.”  This,  according  to  Columella,  “  chief  of 
all  trees,”  is  a  small  evergreen,  much  branched,  and  covered 
with  a  greyish  bark.  The  olive  itself  is  a  drupe  or  stone 
fruit,  with  a  fleshy  covering  about  the  size,  shape,  and  colour 
of  a  damson.  When  ripe  this  fleshy  covering  contains  an 
abundance  of  olive  oil,  which  it  yields  by  expression. 

The  olive  is  indigenous  to  Palestine,  Greece,  and  the 
slopes  of  the  Atlas  mountains  in  Africa.  It  is  now  widely 
diffused  in  Europe,  and  is  cultivated  with  great  success 
in  Italy,  Spain,  the  South  of  France,  Naples,  Sicily,  Southern 
Illyria,  Lombardy,  and  Dalmatia. 

The  olives  are  gathered  when  nearly  ripe,  and  the  oil  is 
drawn  from  them  by  presses  and  mills,  care  being  taken  to 
set  the  mill-stones  so  wide  apart  that  they  will  not  crush  the 
stone  of  the  fruit.  The  pulp  is  then  subjected  to  a  gentle 
pressure  in  bags  made  of  rushes,  and  the  best  or  virgin  oil 
flows  first.  A  second  oil,  of  inferior  quality,  but  fit  for  table 
use,  is  obtained  by  moistening  with  water  the  residuum,  break¬ 
ing  the  stones,  and  increasing  the  pressure ;  lastly,  more 
water  is  added  and  the  residuum  is  again  re-pressed,  the 
product  being  an  impure  oil,  fit  only  for  soap-making  or  for 
burning.  Spanish  or  Castile  soap  is  made  by  mixing  olive 
oil  and  soda ;  and  soft  soap,  by  mixing  fat,  or  fixed  oil,  with 
potash.  The  marc  of  olives,  as  the  residuum  is  called  after 
the  oil  has  been  expressed,  is  valuable  either  as  a  manure 
or  as  food  for  cattle. 

The  virgin  oil  is  called  Florence  oil,  and  is  imported  in 
flasks  surrounded  by  a  network  formed  of  rushes  to  protect 
the  glass,  which,  too  fragile  for  a  cork,  is  stoppered  with 
cotton  wool,  bound  over  with  skin.  The  finest  brands 
of  Provence,  Genoa,  and  Lucca  are  securely  sealed  in 
superior  bottles.  The  difference  of  quality  in  the  produce 
is  extreme,  but  due,  almost  solely,  to  the  greater  or  less  care 


OLEAGINOUS  PLANTS. 


in  preparation.  It  is  used  at  table  under  the  name  of  salad  oil. 
Gallipoli  oil  forms  the  largest  portion  of  the  olive  oil  brought 
to  England  and  is  imported  in  casks.  Olive  oil  is  largely  used 
in  this  country  in  dressing  woollen  goods,  and  for  machinery. 

The  olive  lives  to  a  great  age.  Its  timber  is  close-grained, 
of  hard  texture,  bears  a  high  polish,  and  is  in  universal 
industrial  request. 

Rapeseed,  the  seed  of  Brassica  napus ,  L. ;  natural  order, 
CrucifercE . — This  plant  grows  wild  in  many  parts  of  England, 
and  is  cultivated  in  this  country,  in  France,  and  in  Germany, 
for  the  sake  of  the  oil  procured  from  its  seeds.  Rape  oil 
is  more  suitable  than  any  other  oil  for  the  lubrication  of 
machinery,  and  is  now  much  used  for  locomotives,  marine 
engines,  and  for  burning  in  lamps.  A  single  locomotive 
consumes  from  90  to  100  gallons  of  oil  annually.  The 
consumption  of  oil  by  the  London  and  North-Western 
Railway  Company  alone  is  immense.  Good  English 
rapeseed  yields  an  oil  very  superior  to  that  obtained  from 
foreign  rape ;  nevertheless,  we  import  an  enormous  number 
of  quarters  of  rapeseed  and  hundreds  of  tons  of  the  oil, 
chiefly  from  France  and  Germany. 

Linseed,  the  seed  of  Linum  usitatissimum ,  L.  ;  natural 
order,  Linaccce . — We  have  already  described  this  plant  under 
the  name  of  flax.  Flax  seed  or  linseed  yields  a  most  valu¬ 
able  oil  known  as  linseed  oil,  largely  employed  in  the  arts, 
especially  in  painting  and  in  the  manufacture  of  printer’s 
ink.  It  becomes  solid  on  exposure  to  the  action  of  the  air, 
or  in  other  words,  is  one  of  the  drying  oils.  This  article  is 
always  imported  in  the  form  of  seed.  Its  economic  value 
is  proved  by  imports,  exceeding  annually  a  million  quarters, 
principally  from  the  East  Indies  and  Russia.  Smaller  quan¬ 
tities  arrive  from  Prussia,  Germany,  Egypt,  and  America. 

Sesame  {Sesamum  orientate,  L. ;  natural  order,  Pedaliacece). 
— This  is  a  small  showy  annual,  indigenous  to  India,  and 


234 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


to  the  whole  of  Southern  Asia,  from  Japan  and  China  to 
the  shores  of  the  Mediterranean.  In  these  countries  it  is 
much  cultivated,  and  the  oil  yielded  in  abundance  by  the 
seed,  is  used  for  dressing  food,  and  as  a  common  lamp-oil. 
In  the  East  this  oil  has  some  considerable  repute  as  a 
softener  and  beautifier  of  the  skin,  and  as  an  application  to 
scorbutic  eruptions. 

Sesame  oil  is  without  odour,  and  does  not  easily  become 
rancid.  It  is  frequently  used  for  the  adulteration  of  balsams 
and  volatile  oils.  Large  quantities  of  the  seed  are  brought 
to  this  country  from  the  East  Indies  and  Egypt. 

There  are  several  other  oil-producing  plants  in  the  market, 
but  not  much  in  demand.  The  following  are  deserving  of 
notice  : — Croton  Oil  ( Croton  tiglium ,  Lam.)  This  oil  is  a 
valuable  and  most  powerful  purgative,  capable  in  over¬ 
doses  of  destroying  life,  and  only  administered  one  drop  at 
a  time,  in  cases  where  it  is  of  the  utmost  importance  to 
make  a  speedy  impression  on  the  bowels,  and  where  the 
patient  has  difficulty  in  swallowing.  It  is  also  valuable 
as  a  counter-irritant.  Croton  oil  is  obtained  by  expression 
from  the  seeds.  The  common  hazel  nut  (Corylus  Avellana, 
L.)  yields  an  oil  most  valuable  for  the  delicate  machinery 
of  watches,  diminishing  the  friction  of  the  pinions,  the  axles 
of  the  wheels,  and  other  rapidly  moving  parts,  which  would 
otherwise  wear  injuriously,  and  speedily  become  disordered. 
The  oil  of  almonds  also  is  employed  for  the  same  purpose. 
Other  oils,  obtained  from  the  ground  nut,  carthamus  seed, 
and  various  oleaginous  nuts  and  seeds,  are  imported  every 
year  for  the  British  crushing  mills  to  the  extent,  in  the 
gross,  of  several  hundred  thousands  of  tons. 

B.  Volatile  or  Esse?itial  Oils. 

These  oils  occur  in  the  stems,  leaves,  flowers,  and  fruits 
of  most  sweet-scented  plants,  whence  they  are  obtained  by 


PLANTS  YIELDING  ESSENTIAL  OILS. 


235 


distillation.  In  this  respect  they  differ  from  the  oils  already 
described,  which  are  found  only  in  the  seed,  obtained  by 
expression  from  the  same,  and  do  not  evaporate.  The 
difference  between  fixed  and  volatile  oils  is  easily  shown. 
A  drop  of  any  fixed  oil — such  as  olive  oil,  for  instance — 
leaves  a  stain  on  paper  which  is  permanent ;  but  a  drop  of 
any  volatile  or  essential  oil — as  for  example,  oil  of  ber¬ 
gamot — makes  a  similar  stain,  which  evaporates  and  dis¬ 
appears. 

To  obtain  essential  oils  the  leaves,  flowers,  or  other 
parts  of  the  plant  are  put  into  an  apparatus  for  distillation. 
This  always  consists  of  a  boiler  in  which  the  vapour  is 
raised,  and  a  condenser  in  wrhich  it  again  becomes  fluid. 
For  distillation  on  a  small  scale,  a  common  retort  and 
receiver  answer  every  purpose,  care  being  taken  to  keep  the 
receiver  cool,  by  placing  it  in  cold  water.  When  the  water 
boils,  the  steam  passes  through  the  retort  into  the  condenser, 
where  it  is  re-converted  into  water,  the  essential  oil  floating 
on  its  surface ;  this  is  skimmed  off,  and  afterwards  purified 
by  filtering.  The  perfume  of  flowers  depends  on  the 
presence  of  a  fragrant  volatile  or  essential  oil,  peculiar  to 
the  plant.  When  we  obtain  this  oil,  wre  really  get  the 
essence  of  the  plant,  or  the  essential  principle  which  makes 
it  valuable.  Although  the  plant  may  be  an  annual,  and 
perish  together  with  its  fragrance  in  a  few  weeks  or  months, 
yet,  if  we  extract  the  oil,  we  retain  the  essence  of  the  plant. 
The  following  are  the  most  important  of  the  essential  oils 
which  occur  in  commerce  : — 

Oil  of  Lavender,  from  Lavandula  spicata ,  L.  vera  ; 
natural  order,  Labiates. — Large  quantities  are  raised  at 
Mitcham,  in  Surrey  ;  but  it  is  also  imported  from  France  and 
Germany.  English  oil  of  lavender  is  acknowledged  to  be 
much  superior  to  any  produced  in  warmer  climates. 

Oil  of  Thyme,  from  Thymus  vulgaris,  L. ;  natural  order, 


236  THE  NA  TURA  L  HIS  TOR  Y  OF  COMMERCE. 

Labiatce. — This  oil  is  distilled  from  all  parts  of  the  plant, 
It  comes  into  this  country  from  Hamburg  and  from  the 
United  States.  Used  in  scenting  Windsor  soap,  also  in 
flavouring  dishes,  in  confectionery,  and  in  medicine. 

Oil  of  Peppermint,  from  Mentha  piperita ,  L. ;  natural 
order,  Labiatce. — Besides  that  raised  and  manufactured  at 
home,  we  receive  large  quantities  from  Germany  and  the 
United  States,  for  use  in  cordials,  confectionery,  and 
medicine. 

Oil  of  Anise,  from  Pimpinella  anisum ,  L. ;  natural  order, 
Umbelliferce. — This  plant  is  a  native  of  the  Levant,  whence 
a  great  deal  of  the  anise  of  commerce  is  derived.  It  is 
much  cultivated  in  France,  Naples,  and  Germany — particu¬ 
larly  in  Thuringia  and  Swabia.  We  receive  considerable 
importations  from  Germany  and  the  East  Indies ;  but  those 
sorts  coming  from  Spain,  Apulia,  and  Malta,  are  the  most 
valuable. 

Oil  of  Caraway,  from  Carum  carui ,  L. ;  natural  order, 
Umbelliferce. — The  best  caraway  oil  comes  from  Malta, 
Naples,  and  Alicante  in  Spain.  Small  quantities  are  received 
from  Germany.  Much  more,  however,  is  home-manu¬ 
factured  and  exported. 

Cinnamon,  clove,  cassia,  pimento — all  yield  essential 
oils,  to  which  reference  has  already  been  made  ;  oil  of 
bergamot,  oil  of  lemons,  and  Neroli  oil,  or  oil  of  orange 
flowers,  have  also  been  mentioned  in  connection  with 
those  fruits. 

Oil  of  Roses,  Attar  of  Roses,  or  Otto  of  Roses,  is 
distilled  from  the  petals  of  Rosa  cent  folia  >  L.,  Rosa  galliea , 
L.,  and  numerous  other  species  of  rose.  The  attar  of  roses 
is  prepared  in  Persia  and  other  Asiatic  countries  ;  but,  with 
all  the  aids  of  science,  the  process  still  remains  unknown  to 
Europeans.  Some  idea  of  its  costliness  may  be  gathered 
from  the  fact  that  100.000  roses  must  be  distilled  to  yield 


TINCTORIAL  PLANTS. 


237 


180  grains,  or  three  drachms  of  pure  attar.  Five  guineas 
have  often  been  paid  for  one  ounce  of  this  essence.  It  is 
the  favourite  perfume  of  the  whole  civilised  world,  and  in 
Oriental  countries  is  a  most  essential  luxury.  In  Cash- 
mere  the  harvest  of  rose  leaves  is  celebrated  as  the  festival 
of  the  year,  and  is  exquisitely  described  in  the  verse  of 
Moore. 

III. — Tinctorial  Plants,  or  Plants  furnishing 

VALUABLE  DYES. 

The  clothing  furnished  by  the  textile  plants  and  the 
sheep’s  wool,  would  be  of  one  dull  uniform  hue,  if  it  were 
not  for  the  valuable  dyes  furnished  by  tinctorial  substances 
or  dye-stuffs.  At  first  the  colours  of  plants,  when  trans¬ 
ferred  to  clothing,  imparted  only  a  temporary  beauty  ;  for 
the  art  of  fixing  them,  or  uniting  them  permanently  with  the 
cloth,  by  means  of  mordants,  was  unknown.  By  experi¬ 
ments  long  and  carefully  conducted,  we  are  able  to  render 
these  colours  fast,  or  permanent,  thus  enriching  our  silken, 
woollen,  linen,  and  cotton  manufactures  with  an  almost 
endless  variety  of  beautifully  coloured  designs.  It  is 
impossible  to  mention  even  the  names  of  the  numerous 
plants  which  furnish  materials  for  the  dyer.  Only  a  few, 
and  those  the  most  common  in  the  commercial  world,  can 
be  noticed.  All  the  parts  of  plants  furnish  these  dyes  ; 
sometimes  the  root,  or  the  wood  of  the  stem,  sometimes 
the  leaves,  flower,  or  fruit. 

Alkanet  Root  ( Anchusa  tindoria ,  L.  ;  natural  order, 
Boraginacece). — A  perennial  herbaceous  plant  with  a  stem 
about  a  foot  in  height,  purplish  flowers,  and  a  long  woody 
root,  with  a  deep  red  bark.  It  is  a  native  of  the  Levant, 
and  is  much  cultivated  in  Germany  and  the  south  of  France, 
particularly  about  Montpellier,  for  the  sake  of  the  red 


238  THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 

colouring  matter  easily  obtained  by  soaking  the  root  in 
alcohol  or  oil.  It  is  used  for  colouring  ointments  red, 
especially  lip  salves  ;  also  as  a  dye,  to  colour  gun-stocks 
and  furniture  in  imitation  of  rosewood.  Alkanet  root  comes 
to  this  country  in  packages,  weighing  about  2  cwts.  each, 
chiefly  from  Germany  and  France. 

Sumach  ( Rhus  Coriaria ,  L.;  natural  order,  Anacardiacece ). 
- — The  sumach  of  commerce  is  the  crushed  or  ground  leaves 
and  flowering  or  fruiting  tops  of  this  plant,  imported  from 
Sicily.  This  material  is  valuable  for  tanning  light-coloured 
leather,  and  imparts  a  beautiful  bright-coloured  yellow  dye 
to  cottons,  which  is  rendered  permanent  by  proper  mor¬ 
dants. 

Arnotto  or  Annotto  ( Bixa  orellana ,  L. ;  natural  order, 
Flacouriiacecd). — This  is  a  small  evergreen  tree,  indigenous 
to  tropical  America,  and  cultivated  in  the  East  Indies.  It 
is  called  Roucon  by  the  French,  and  the  Orleans  tree  by  the 
Germans.  The  first  South  American  settlers  noticed  the 
brilliant  and  showy  colour  obtained  from  its  berries,  on  the 
bodies  of  the  Indians,  by  whom  it  is  called  “  Bixa,”  or 
“  Bija,”  and  not  only  used  it  themselves,  but  speedily  con¬ 
verted  it  into  an  article  of  commerce.  The  arnotto  tree 
grows  about  twelve  feet  in  height ;  its  leaves  are  smooth 
and  heart-shaped,  and  its  pink-coloured  flowers  are  followed 
by  oblong  bristled  pods,  somewhat  resembling  those  of  the 
chestnut,  at  first  rose-coloured,  but  changing  as  they  ripen 
to  dark  brown.  On  bursting  open,  these  pods  show  in  their 
interior  a  splendid  crimson  farina  or  pulp,  in  which  are 
contained  ten  or  twelve  seeds,  in  colour  somewhat  resembl¬ 
ing  coral  beads.  The  arnotto  of  commerce  is  prepared 
from  this  crimson  pulp.  By  maceration  in  hot  water  the 
seeds  are  separated  from  the  pulp,  which  is  then  made  into 
balls  or  cakes  of  two  or  three  pounds’  weight ;  these,  when 
dry,  are  wrapped  up  in  large  leaves  and  packed  in  casks  for 


TINCTORIAL  PLANTS. 


239 


exportation.  Another  kind — the  roll  arnotto — is  of  a  much 
superior  quality.  It  is  a  hard  extract,  and  contains  a  much 
greater  proportion  of  colouring  matter. 

Good  arnotto  is  of  the  colour  of  fire,  bright  within,  soft 
to  the  touch,  and  dissolves  entirely  in  water.  It  is  used  in 
Holland  for  colouring  butter,  and  in  Cheshire  and  Glouces¬ 
tershire  for  dyeing  cheese  (under  the  name  of  cheese-colour¬ 
ing),  to  which  it  gives  the  required  tinge,  without  imparting 
any  unpleasant  flavour  or  unwholesome  quality.  Flag  or 
cake  arnotto  comes  from  the  West  Indies,  especially  from 
the  island  of  St.  Domingo  or  Hayti.  Roll  arnotto  is  princi¬ 
pally  brought  from  the  Brazils.  The  rolls  are  small,  not 
exceeding  two  or  three  ounces  in  weight.  Arnotto  is  also 
used  to  dye  silks  and  cottons,  especially  to  form  the  colour 
called  aurora.  It  is  much  to  be  regretted  that  the  beautiful 
orange  and  gold-coloured  dyes  yielded  by  this  plant  are 
fugitive,  and  become  discoloured  in  the  sun.  The  bark  o 
the  arnotto  tree  makes  good  ropes,  available  in  the  West 
Indies  for  common  plantation  uses. 

Myrobalans  ( Terminalia  chebula ,  L. ;  natural  order,  Com- 
bretacecz). — This  dye  is  obtained  from  a  small  tree  indigenous 
to  British  India,  and  closely  allied  to  the  myrtle.  All  the 
species  of  Terminalia  have  astringent  properties.  The  fruit 
and  galls  of  this  tree  are  very  astringent,  and  much  valued 
both  by  dyers  and  tanners.  The  fruit  is  about  the  size  of  a 
date,  pointed  at  the  ends,  and  of  a  yellowish  brown.  The 
myrobalans  of  commerce  are  probably  derived  from  more 
than  one  species.  With  alum  they  give  a  durable  yellow 
colour.  Myrobalans  are  now  an  important  item  in  our 
commerce.  We  receive  them  from  Calcutta,  Madras,  and 
Bombay. 

Safflower  ( Carthamus  tinctorius,  L. ;  natural  order, 
Compositor). — Furnishes  a  beautiful  rose-colour,  which  is  used 
for  silks,  cottons,  and  the  manufacture  of  rouge.  Safflower  is 


240 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE . 


an  annual  herbaceous  plant,  somewhat  resembling  a  thistle, 
to  which  it  is  allied. 

The  safflower,  a  native  of  the  Levant  and  the  East  Indies, 
is  cultivated  in  China,  India,  and  in  the  south  of  Europe. 
The  dye  is  obtained  from  the  florets,  which  are  gathered, 
pressed  into  little  cakes,  dried,  and  packed  in  strong  bales, 
weighing  about  two  cwts.  each.  As  found  in  commerce, 
these  cakes  consist  of  flaky  masses  of  a  red  colour,  inter¬ 
mixed  with  yellow  filaments,  the  former  tint  being  due  to 
the  corolla,  and  the  latter  to  the  stamens.  The  flowers 
thus  contain  two  colouring  principles,  one  yellow,  soluble 
in  water,  and  the  other  rose-red,  called  carthamine,  or 
carthamic  acid,  soluble  in  alkaline  solutions.  This  latter, 
when  precipitated,  dried,  and  mixed  with  finely-powdered 
talc,  constitutes  rouge.  It  is  the  carthamic  acid  which 
renders  the  safflower  valuable  as  a  dye,  the  use  of  which 
was  introduced  into  Europe  by  the  Arabs.  Safflower  seeds 
are  eaten  in  Egypt  and  are  substituted  for  rennet  in  Italy 
for  curdling  milk. 

The  greater  portion  of  the  safflower  imported  into  this 
country  comes  from  Persia,  Egypt,  and  the  East  Indies. 

Logwood  ( Hcematoxylon  Campeachianum ,  L. ;  natural 
order,  Legumhioscs). — A  middle-sized  tree  with  a  contorted 
trunk,  rarely  more  than  one  foot  and  a  half  in  diameter, 
covered  with  ash-coloured  bark ;  branches  crooked,  beset 
with  sharp  thorns. 

This  tree,  indigenous  to  Central  America,  Mexico,  and 
Campeachy,  has  been  introduced  into  the  West  Indies,  and 
is  now  naturalised  there.  The  heart-wood  is  the  part  of  the 
tree  employed ;  the  generic  name  refers  to  its  blood-red 
colour.  Logwood  is  of  frequent  use  in  the  arts,  as  it  forms 
the  basis  of  many  of  the  reds  in  printing  calicoes,  and  is 
esteemed  one  of  the  best  deep  red  dyes.  It  is  imported 
in  logs,  which  are  cut  up  into  chips  and  ground  to  powder 


TINCTORIAL  PLANTS. 


241 


for  the  use  of  dyers,  hatters,  and  printers,  in  powerful  mills 
constructed  for  that  purpose.  Logwood,  when  boiled,  com¬ 
municates  its  own  dark  red  colour  to  the  water,  and  the 
addition  of  a  few  drops  of  acetic  acid  changes  the  colour  to 
a  bright  red.  Red  ink  is  made  in  this  way,  a  little  alum 
being  added  to  render  the  colour  permanent.  If  an  alkali 
such  as  soda  or  potash  be  added,  the  colour  changes  to  a 
dark  blue  or  purple,  and  with  a  little  management  every 
shade  of  these  colours  may  be  obtained.  Logwood  is  so 
hard  and  heavy  as  to  sink  in  water.  It  is  used  chiefly  for 
dyeing  red,  blue,  and  black.  We  import  every  year  large 
quantities  from  South  America,  whence  a  great  deal  also 
goes  to  Spain,  France,  and  Germany.  The  principal  ports 
for  the  reception  of  logwrood  are  London,  Cadiz,  Bordeaux, 
and  Hamburg. 

Madder  (Rubio,  tinctoria ,  L. ;  natural  order,  Rubiacece). 
Madder  is  cultivated  in  the  Netherlands,  France,  Southern 
Europe,  and  the  Levant,  where  it  is  indigenous,  for  the  sake 
of  the  valuable  red  dye  furnished  by  the  root.  The  roots 
are  dug  up  wrhen  the  plant  is  about  three  years  old,  carefully 
dried,  and  packed  into  bags  or  bales  for  exportation.  As 
found  in  commerce,  madder-root  is  in  long  cylindrical 
pieces,  about  the  thickness  of  a  quill,  and  of  a  deep  red  or 
brown  colour.  If  ground  before  exportation,  the  powder  is 
sent  in  very  large  casks.  We  get  madder  roots  whole  from 
India,  Turkey,  Greece,  Spain,  and  France;  and  ground 
from  Holland  and  Germany.  Powdered  madder  root  is  a 
bright  Turkey  red,  but  by  the  addition  of  suitable  chemicals 
every  shade  of  red,  purplish-brown,  purple,  lilac,  and  even 
a  lively  rose  colour  can  be  obtained  from  it.  Madder  root 
imparts  its  red  colour  to  water  and  alcohol.  It  is  used 
as  a  basis  for  red  dyes,  as  it  affords  a  tint  which,  when 
properly  fixed  by  appropriate  mordants,  is  not  affected  by 

light  or  moisture.  Scarcely  a  calico  or  muslin  print  was 

1.  Q 


242 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


made  without  the  aid  of  madder  root,  in  some  way  or  other, 
for  forming  the  pattern.  A  dye-stuff,  under  the  name  of 
Garance  or  Garancine  is  extracted  from  the  powdered 
madder  root.  Aniline  dyes  from  coal  have  caused  the 
cultivation  of  madder  nearly  to  disappear. 

Indigo  (. Indigofera  tinctoria ,  L.  ;  natural  order,  Legu- 
minosce). — A  shrub  from  two  to  three  feet  high,  with  pinnate 
leaves,  and  racemes  of  greenish-coloured  flowers,  marked 
with  vermilion  red.  Indigo  is  also  extracted  from  two  other 
species,  viz.,  Indigofera  anil  and  I.  coertilea. 

This  plant  is  a  native  of  India,  whence  the  chief  sup¬ 
plies  of  indigo  are  received.  It  is  principally  grown  in 
Bengal,  from  the  20°  to  the  30°  N.  latitude.  Indigo  is 
also  cultivated  in  Java,  the  Philippine  Islands,  Egypt,  the 
West  Indies,  and  British  Honduras. 

The  best  time  for  cutting  the  plant  is  when  it  begins 
to  flower,  because  then  it  is  always  richest  in  its  peculiar 
secretions.  The  plants,  when  cut,  are  first  laid  in  a  vat, 
called  the  steeper,  about  twelve  or  fourteen  feet  long  and 
four  feet  deep,  and  filled  with  water.  In  twelve  or  sixteen 
hours  the  water  begins  to  ferment,  swell,  and  grow  warm ; 
the  highest  point  of  its  ascent  is  marked,  for  when  it 
ceases  to  swell,  fermentation  begins  to  abate.  During  the 
process  a  change  of  colour  in  the  juice  takes  place  from 
greenish  to  that  of  true  indigo  blue.  The  manager  now 
opens  a  tap  to  let  off  the  water  into  a  second  vat,  called 
the  beater,  and  the  gross  sediment  at  the  bottom  of  the  first 
one  is  carried  off  and  used  as  manure  for  the  next  crop  of 
plants,  for  which  purpose  it  is  excellent.  The  indigo  fluid 
received  into  the  second  vat  is  kept  actively  stirred  and 
beaten  with  bamboos  until  it  begins  to  granulate.  When 
granulated  sufficiently,  the  liquor  assumes  a  deep  purple 
colour,  the  whole  being  troubled  and  muddy.  It  is  now 
allowed  to  settle,  and  as  the  upper  part  of  the  water  clears, 


TINCTORIAL  PLANTS. 


243 


it  is  removed  into  other  vessels,  until  nothing  remains  but 
a  thick  sediment  at  the  bottom  of  the  vat.  This  is  put  into 
gunny  bags,  which  are  hung  up  to  drain  and  dry.  To  finish 
the  drying,  the  indigo  is  turned  out  of  the  bags,  exposed  to 
the  sun,  worked  upon  boards  with  a  spatula,  cut  into  cubes, 
put  into  boxes,  and  again  exposed  to  the  sun  until  fully 
dried,  when  it  is  ready  for  market. 

The  indigo  plant  grows  best  in  the  East  Indies.  It  was 
first  brought  to  Europe  by  the  Dutch  in  the  middle  of  the 
seventeenth  century.  It  is  now  imported,  every  year  in 
increasing  quantities,  from  the  East  Indies,  and  also  from 
both  North  and  South  America,  to  which  it  has  been  trans¬ 
planted.  Indigo  is  used  in  the  dyeing-houses  of  our  woollen, 
linen,  cotton,  and  silk  manufacturers,  and  has  almost  com¬ 
pletely  displaced  the  native  woad  ( /satis  tinctoria,  L.),  whose 
colour  is  less  lively  though  more  durable.  The  finest  sort 
comes  from  Bengal,  via  Calcutta,  and  British  India  has 
almost  a  monopoly  of  the  indigo  trade.  The  French  import 
a  very  good  quality  from  the  Isle  of  Bourbon,  and  the  Dutch 
from  the  Sunda  Islands,  in  the  East  Indies.  The  best 
American  indigo  is  raised  in  Guatemala,  in  Central  America, 
and  an  inferior  kind  at  Caracas,  in  Brazil,  St.  Domingo, 
Carolina,  and  Louisiana.  There  are  indigo  plantations  on 
the  fertile  delta  of  the  Nile,  under  the  management  of 
Hindoos.  Indigo  has  also  been  received  recently  from 
Madeira,  the  river  Senegal,  and  Sierra  Leone. 

Good  indigo  is  known  by  the  purity  of  its  colour  and  its 
lightness,  which  is  indicative  of  the  absence  of  any  earthy 
impurity.  A  blue  carmine,  made  out  of  this  substance,  is 
a  very  high-priced  colour,  used  by  painters.  The  value  of 
indigo  consists  in  its  power  to  impart  to  every  kind  of  fibre 
a  permanent  colour,  without  a  mordant. 

Turmeric  ( Curcuma  /ovga,  L. ;  natural  order,  Zingi- 
bcracece). — This  is  a  stemless  plant,  with  tuberous  rhizomes 


244 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


of  a  deep  orange  colour  internally,  and  flowers  in  a  central 
oblong  green  spike. 

Turmeric  is  a  native  of  the  warm  parts  of  Asia,  and  is 
found  in  India,  China,  Cochin-China,  Java,  and  Malacca, 
where  it  is  cultivated  for  the  sake  of  the  beautiful  yellow 
dye  afforded  by  its  root,  and  also  as  a  condiment,  as  it 
forms  a  principal  ingredient  in  Indian  curry  powder.  Tur¬ 
meric  gives  a  beautiful  but  fugitive  gold  colour  to  silks. 
Paper  stained  with  turmeric  is  much  used  by  chemists  as  a 
test  for  alkalies,  which  colour  turmeric  paper  reddish  or 
brownish.  Turmeric  is  also  used  in  making  Dutch  pink  and 
gold-coloured  varnish.  There  are  several  varieties  of  this 
dye  in  the  market,  the  principal  of  which  are  the  Long 
Turmeric  and  the  Round,  better  known  as  Chinese  Tur¬ 
meric.  The  dye  consists  simply  of  the  rhizomes,  either 
whole  or  reduced  to  powder.  The  rhizomes  are  much  like 
ginger  in  shape  and  size,  and  have  been  successfully  propa¬ 
gated  in  the  West  Indian  Islands. 

Quercitron  ( Quercus  tinct orici,  Michx. ;  natural  order, 
CiipulifercB). — This  oak  grows  from  sixty  to  ninety  feet  high. 
Its  leaves  are  six  to  eight  inches  long,  the  acorn  small 
ovoid,  seated  in  a  sub-sessile  cup,  which  tapers  at  the  base. 

The  tree  is  indigenous  to  the  United  States,  growing 
abundantly  in  Pennsylvania,  North  and  South  Carolina,  and 
Georgia.  The  inner  bark  is  an  article  of  commerce  under 
the  name  of  Quercitron,  and  furnishes  a  yellow  dye,  which 
has  now  superseded  the  use  of  our  indigenous  Weld  (Dyer’s 
Weed)  in  calico  printing.  Quercitron,  when  crushed,  re¬ 
sembles  a  mass  of  short  yellowish-white  fibres,  mixed  with 
powdery  particles,  and  in  this  state  is  sent  over  in  casks. 
The  bark  is  employed  in  the  United  States  for  tanning;  its 
colour  being  chemically  neutralised. 

Yellow  Berries  ( Rhamnus  infectorius ,  L. ;  natural  order, 
Rhamnacece). — This  plant  is  a  species  of  buckthorn,  and  is 


TINCTORIAL  PLANTS. 


245 


a  native  of  Persia,  Turkey,  and  the  south  of  Europe.  It 
is  a  procumbent  shrub,  growing  naturally  in  rough,  rocky 
places.  The  unripe  berries  furnish  a  yellow  dye,  which  is 
largely  employed  in  calico  printing,  for  dyeing  morocco 
leather  and  paper,  as  well  as  for  the  preparation  of  sap  green 
and  Dutch  pink.  The  largest  and  best  yellow  berries  are 
the  Persian,  which  come  to  this  country  via  Aleppo  and 
Smyrna;  a  considerable  quantity  is  also  received  from 
France  and  Turkey. 

Fustic  ( Maclura  tinctoria ,  Nutt;  natural  order,  Urticaced). 
A  large  and  handsome  evergreen  tree,  a  species  of  mulberry, 
growing  in  the  West  Indies  and  tropical  America.  There 
are  large  forests  of  this  tree  in  the  Antilles,  especially  in 
Jamaica,  Cuba,  Porto  Rico,  and  Tobago.  Fustic  is  brought 
to  market  in  long  pieces  or  logs.  The  beautiful  yellow  and 
red  veined  is  the  best.  Fustic  dyes  yellow,  olive,  brown, 
maroon,  bronze,  and  Saxon  green.  But  the  extract  does 
not  contain  more  than  a  fourth  of  the  colouring  matter  of 
quercitron. 

Woad  (1 satis  tinctoria  ;  natural  order,  Cruciferd). — Woad 
is  cultivated  in  France,  Normandy,  Alsace,  and  also  in 
Germany,  where  it  was  in  use  a  thousand  years  ago.  It  is 
indigenous  to  England  and  Germany.  The  blue  matter  of 
this  plant  is  contained  in  its  leaves.  Woad  was  used  by 
the  ancient  Britons  to  stain  their  bodies.  The  extensive 
use  of  East  Indian  indigo  has  greatly  restricted  the  cultiva¬ 
tion  of  woad,  but  the  dyers  unwillingly  dispense  with  it,  on 
account  of  its  cheapness,  and  the  durability  of  its  colour. 
Nevertheless,  the  elaboration  of  artificial  indigo,  one  of  the 
latest  triumphs  of  chemistry,  threatens,  by  its  simplicity 
and  economy,  to  diminish  the  culture  both  of  indigo  and 
woad. 

Nicaragua  or  Peach  Wood  ( Ccesalpinia  echinata;  natural 
order,  Leguminosd). — This  dye  wood  gets  its  name  from 


246 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


the  republic  of  Nicaragua  in  Central  America.  It  reaches 
this  country  in  blocks  about  four  feet  in  length  and  eight 
inches  in  diameter.  It  dyes  a  delicate  peach  and  cherry 
colour,  and  is  much  used.  That  which  comes  from  Peru 
yields  the  finest  shades  of  colour. 

Several  other  species  of  Ccesalpinia  yield  dye  woods. 
Thus  Ccesalpinia  crista  furnishes  the  Brazil  wood,  and 
Ccesalpinia  Brasiliensis  the  Brazilletto  wood,  which  gives 
fine  rose-coloured,  yellow,  and  orange-red  dyes,  according 
to  the  mordants  used.  Both  annually  arrive  in  England 
from  the  forests  of  South  America,  which  are  rich  in  dye 
woods.  Brazil  wood  is  imported  from  Pernambuco,  and 
is  also  known  by  the  name  of  Fernambuk  wood,  in  allusion 
to  the  place  of  exportation.  Besides  its  usefulness  as  a 
dye  wood,  it  serves  for  objects  of  art ;  bows  of  violins  are 
especially  made  from  Fernambuk  wood. 

Sapan  Wood  or  Bukkum  Wood  {Ccesalpinia  Sap  an)  fur¬ 
nishes  another  red  dye,  which  is  used  both  in  India  and 
Europe. 

Red  Sanders  Wood  ( Pterocarpus  santalinus,  L. ;  natural 
order,  Leguminosce)  yields  a  dye  of  a  bright  garnet  red  and 
is  employed  for  dyeing  wool.  The  tree  which  produces 
the  wood  is  lofty,  common  about  Madras  and  other  parts  of 
India. 

Orchella  Weeds  ( Roccella  tinctoria ,  B.  fuciformis ,  and 
R.  hypo mecha ,  L. ;  natural  order,  Lichenes). — These  lichens, 
which  constitute  the  orchils  of  commerce,  are  of  an  ash-grey 
colour,  having  a  thallus  much  branched,  flattened,  and  mealy 
in  appearance,  from  one  inch  and  a  half  to  two  inches  in 
length.  The  blue  dye  known  under  the  name  of  archil  or 
orchil  is  prepared  from  these  plants,  which  grow  on  all  the 
rocky  coasts  and  islands  of  the  Mediterranean,  and  also  in 
the  Canary  Islands,  Madagascar,  Cape  of  Good  Hope,  and 
South  America.  The  colour  yielded  is  not  in  itself  fast 


BUILDING  AND  FURNITURE  WOODS. 


247 


but  so  greatly  improves  others  that  orchil  is  regarded  as 
indispensable  by  the  dyers.  An  inferior  orchil  is  found  on 
the  rocks  of  Guernsey  and  in  the  Isle  of  Portland. 

The  Tartar  Lichen  ( Lecanora  tart  area ,  L.),  indigenous 
to  Sweden,  Norway,  and  England,  answers  the  same  purpose. 
Litmus  paper,  used  by  chemists  as  a  test  for  acids  and 
alkalies,  is  prepared  from  the  blue  dye  furnished  by  this 
lichen.  Whole  cargoes  are  annually  brought  from  Sweden 
to  Holland,  where  its  dye,  called  cudbear,  is  skilfully  pre¬ 
pared,  and  called  Dutch  blue. 

IV.  Plants  furnishing  valuable  Building  and 
Furniture  Woods. 

Timber. 

The  cultivation  of  wood  is  carried  on  in  several 
countries  in  Europe,  where  the  population  is  considerable 
and  the  natural  forests  have  disappeared ;  above  all,  Ger¬ 
many  is  to  be  distinguished  for  forest  culture.  But  most 
wood,  especially  for  ship-building,  is  procured  from  those 
countries  where  the  natural  forests  remain — viz.,  from 
Russia,  Norway,  Sweden,  Canada,  and  the  United  States. 
In  Germany,  vast  quantities  of  wood  are  annually  floated 
down  the  rivers  Rhine,  Maine,  Neckar,  Weser,  and  Elbe, 
from  the  productive  woods  of  Thuringia,  the  Hartz,  Fichtel, 
and  Erz  mountains,  and  the  Black  Forest.  Russia  exports 
wood  considerably  to  England  and  the  south  of  Europe, 
from  St.  Petersburg,  Riga,  Memel,  Archangel,  and  ports  in 
the  Gulfs  of  Bothnia  and  Finland,  and  from  the  port  of 
Odessa,  on  the  Black  Sea.  Much  timber  is  exported  from 
Drontheim,  Bergen,  Drammen,  and  Christiana,  on  the  coast 
of  Norway;  from  Gottenberg,  and  all  seaports  in  Sweden; 
and  from  Dantzic,  Konigsberg,  and  Stettin,  Prussian  seaports 
on  the  Baltic.  American  timber  is  exported  to  the  United 


248  THE  natural  history  of  commerce. 

Kingdom  chiefly  from  Canada,  New  Brunswick,  Pensacola, 
and  adjacent  ports  in  the  Gulf  of  Mexico.  The  trade  of 
England  in  pine  and  fir  alone  amounts  yearly  to  over  a 
hundred  million  loads. 

Mahogany  ( Swietenia  mahogoni ,  L. ;  natural  order, 
Cedrelacetz)  occupies  the  highest  rank  amongst  the  furniture 
woods.  This  is  one  of  the  loftiest  and  most  gigantic  trees 
of  the  tropics  ;  indigenous  to  the  West  Indies  and  Central 
America.  The  mahogany  tree  is  cut  down  in  April  and 
May,  which  is  the  height  of  the  dry  season ;  it  is  then 
squared  by  the  adze,  the  branches  being  lopped  off ;  and 
about  the  middle  of  June,  when  the  rivers  are  swollen  by 
the  rains,  the  logs  are  placed  on  trucks  and  drawn  by 
bullocks  to  the  water-side ;  there  they  are  launched  into 
the  river,  formed  into  rafts,  and  so  floated  down  the  stream 
to  the  vessels  awaiting  their  arrival. 

Spanish  mahogany  is  imported  from  Cuba,  St.  Domingo, 
and  the  Spanish  Main,  in  logs  twenty-six  inches  square  and 
ten  feet  long.  Honduras  mahogany,  lighter  than  the 
Spanish,  is  imported  in  logs  four  feet  square  and  eighteen 
feet  long.  Mahogany  is  chiefly  valued  for  its  colour,  firm¬ 
ness,  and  durability,  and  the  beautiful  polish  which  it  is 
capable  of  receiving.  On  account  of  these  and  other 
excellent  qualities,  it  is  particularly  suitable  for  ships’ 
fittings.  Mahogany  is  light  and  buoyant,  free  from  dry 
rot,  and  does  not  warp ;  it  also  suffers  less  from  the  action 
of  shot  than  any  other  wood  ;  since  shot,  when  received  by 
it,  generally  remains  fast  in  the  wood  without  splitting  it. 

Mahogany  is  used  in  the  manufacture  of  the  best  articles 
of  domestic  furniture,  fancy  and  ornamental  wood-work, 
cabinet-making  and  veneering ;  in  fact  there  are,  compara¬ 
tively  speaking,  but  few  persons  who  have  not  this  wood  in 
some  form  or  other  of  useful  home  furniture. 

Ebony  ( Diospyros  ebenus ,  L. ;  natural  order,  Ebenacece). — 


BUILDING  AND  FURNITURE  WOODS . 


249 


This  tree  is  a  native  of  the  Mauritius.  As  soon  as  felled  the 
timber  is  immersed  in  water  from  six  to  eighteen  months ; 
it  is  then  taken  out,  and  the  two  ends  are  secured  from 
splitting  by  iron  rings  and  wedges.  Mauritius  ebony  is 
imported  in  round  sticks,  like  scaffold  poles,  about  fourteen 
inches  in  diameter.  It  is  much  used  for  inlaying  and 
turnery. 

A  great  deal  of  ebony  comes  from  the  Cape  of  Good 
Hope,  and  arrives  in  England  in  sticks  of  about  three  to 
six  feet  long,  and  two  to  four  inches  thick. 

East  Indian  Ebony  (. Dalbergia  latifolia ,  L. ;  natural  order. 
Leguminosce). — The  real  raven  black  ebony,  one  of  the  heavi¬ 
est  and  hardest  of  all  woods,  and  which  in  the  fineness  of 
its  texture  resembles  ivory,  is  derived  from  this  tree,  which 
is  indigenous  to  the  island  of  Ceylon,  and  is  also  found  in 
Java,  Sumatra,  and  the  Philippine  Islands.  This  ebony  is 
used  for  wind  instruments  and  the  keys  of  pianos. 

The  alburnum,  or  sap-wood  of  both  the  mahogany  and 
ebony  trees  is  white  and  valueless,  and  is  chipped  off  with 
the  adze  before  the  logs  are  shipped.  The  indurated  heart- 
wood  of  these  trees  is  the  only  part  of  the  stem  fit  for  in¬ 
dustrial  and  economic  purposes. 

Boxwood  { Buxus  sempervirens ,  L. ;  natural  order,  Euphor- 
biacece). — This  is  an  evergreen  shrub,  a  native  of  Southern 
and  Western  Europe.  The  wood  is  dense,  compact,  and 
admirably  suited  for  wood  engravers  and  also  for  the  for¬ 
mation  of  graduated  scales  and  fine  works  of  art.  It  is 
imported  in  pieces  four  feet  long  and  ten  inches  in 
diameter,  from  Smyrna,  Constantinople,  and  the  Greek 
Islands.  The  fine  saw-dust  of  this  wood  is  sold  at  Nurem¬ 
berg  and  other  places  as  pounce,  which  dries  writing 
quickly. 

Sandal  Wood  ( Santalum  album ,  L. ;  natural  order, 
Santa! acece). — This  tree,  producing  the  beautiful  and  per- 


250 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


fumed  sandal-wood,  is  a  native  of  India  and  China. 
Sandal-wood  is  used  for  entomological  cabinets,  as  its 
fragrance  is  a  preservative  from  insects.  In  China  it  is 
employed  as  incense,  and  is  manufactured  into  toys.  The 
shavings  and  saw-dust  of  sandal  wood  are  valuable  in 
perfumery. 

Lignum  Vitle  ( Guiacum  officinale ,  Plum.  ;  natural  order, 
Zygophyllacece). — This  is  the  hardest  and  heaviest  wood 
known.  It  is  of  a  dark  olive  colour,  and  cross-grained,  the 
fibres  running  obliquely  into  one  another,  in  a  form  some¬ 
what  resembling  the  letter  X,  so  that  it  cannot  be  split  with 
an  axe,  and  is  therefore  divided  by  the  saw.  The  tree  is 
forty  feet  high,  and  four  or  five  feet  in  circumference, 
with  numerous  knotted,  much -divided  branches,  and 
bright  blue  flowers.  It  grows  in  tropical  America,  also  in 
Jamaica,  whence  our  supplies  are  chiefly  obtained.  The 
timber  of  this  tree  is  very  valuable,  where  strength  and 
durability  are  needed  and  weight  is  no  object.  Lignum 
vitae  comes  over  in  billets  about  three  feet  in  length  and  a 
foot  in  diameter,  and  is  chiefly  used  for  ship-blocks  and 
pulleys.  It  takes  a  fine  polish,  and  turns  well,  and  for  this 
reason  is  used  by  turners  for  articles  requiring  a  hard  close- 
grained  wood. 

Bird’s-eye  Maple  ( Acer  saccharinum ,  L. ;  natural  order, 
Aceracece). — This  tree  is  a  native  of  North  America,  where 
it  grows  from  Canada  to  Georgia.  In  early  spring  it  yields, 
when  tapped,  an  immense  quantity  of  sugar.  The  beautiful 
wood  known  as  bird’s-eye  maple,  so  much  admired  in 
cabinet  work,  is  obtained  from  this  species. 

American  Cedar  ( Cedrela  odo?'ata,  L. ;  natural  order, 
Cedrelacece),  a  native  of  the  West  Indies  and  Central 
America.  This  tree  furnishes  the  wood  used  for  the  boxes 
in  which  cigars  are  packed,  and  for  the  inside  portions  of 
furniture. 


BUILDING  AND  FURNITURE  WOODS. 


Pencil  Cedar  ( Juniperus  Bermudiana ;  natural  order, 
Coniferce). — A  North  American  tree,  which  furnishes  the 
red  wood  for  lead  pencils. 

Lance  Wood  (. Duguetia  Quitarensis ,  St.  Hilary  ;  natural 
order,  Anonacecd). — Lance  wood  is  used  by  coachmakers 
for  the  shafts  of  gigs  and  other  vehicles  where  both  strength 
and  elasticity  are  required.  We  receive  lance  wood  from 
Cuba  and  Guiana,  whence  it  comes  in  the  form  of  poles 
fifteen  to  twenty  feet  in  length  and  six  to  seven  inches  in 
diameter. 

Rosewood  (Triptolemcea  and  JDalbergia;  natural  order, 
Leguminosez). — Several  undetermined  species  of  these  genera 
of  trees  furnish  rosewood.  We  receive  this  wood  from 
Brazil,  in  planks  about  twelve  feet  in  length,  flat  on  one 
side  and  rounded  on  the  other,  each  being  evidently  one 
half  of  the  stem,  with  the  bark  removed.  Violet  wood  and 
king  wood,  which  come  to  this  country  also  from  the 
Brazilian  forests,  are  probably  only  other  species  of  the 
same  plant,  as  both  resemble  the  rosewoods.  They  are  in 
much  smaller  pieces,  usually  in  round  sticks  four  or  five 
feet  long  and  from  two  to  six  inches  in  diameter.  The  best 
rosewood  comes  from  Rio  de  Janeiro,  and  has  recently 
been  ascertained  to  be  chiefly  the  timber  of  Dalbergia  nigra. 
Rosewood  is  much  used  for  library  and  drawing-room 
furniture,  and  is  so  named  because,  when  fresh,  it  has  the 
odour  of  a  rose. 

Black  Walnut  (Jn glass  nigra,  L.  ;  natural  order ,Juglan- 
dacece). — This  is  a  large  tree,  indigenous  to  North  America. 
Previous  to  the  introduction  of  mahogany  and  rosewood, 
walnut  was  held  in  estimation  in  the  manufacture  of  costly 
furniture ;  it  is  imported  for  this  purpose,  though  to  a  less 
extent  than  formerly,  and  is  employed  in  the  manufacture 
of  the  stocks  of  all  kinds  of  fire-arms.  A  revival  of  taste 
for  walnut  wood  furniture,  incited  by  the  intrinsic  beauty  of 


252  THE  NA  TURAL  HISTOR  Y  OF  COMMERCE. 

its  silver  grain,  and  by  improvements  in  cutting  veneers,  has 
increased  the  demand  until  its  commercial  value  exceeds 
that  of  rosewood  and  mahogany. 

Snakewood  ( Piratinera  Guianensis  ;  natural  order,  A rto- 
car paced). — This  is  a  beautiful  wood,  of  a  rich  chestnut 
brown  colour,  mottled  with  cloudy  amber-coloured  spots, 
resembling  the  markings  of  serpents — a  scarce  wood, 
imported  from  South  America  in  sticks,  two  or  three  inches 
in  diameter,  and  five  or  six  inches  in  length.  When  dry, 
snakewood  readily  ignites  if  rubbed  against  wood  harder 
than  itself,  and  is  so  used  for  obtaining  fire  by  the  native 
Indians. 

Satin  Wood  (Swie  tenia  chloroxylon ,  L. ;  natural  order, 
Cedrelacece). — A  handsome,  hard,  yellow,  veneering  wood, 
imported  from  India,  the  West  Indies,  and  South  America, 
in  logs  seven  or  eight  inches  square  and  ten  feet  in  length, 
for  cabinet-makers  and  upholsterers  in  inlaying  work,  and 
picture-frames. 

The  greatest  proportion  of  our  building  timber  consists  of 
the  wood  of  various  coniferous  trees,  which  we  import  from 
America,  Northern  Europe,  and  Switzerland.  The  deal 
used  in  carpentry  is  the  wood  of  several  species  of  pine  and 
fir.  Thus,  white  deal  is  furnished  by  the  Norway  spruce  fir 
{Abies  excelsa ,  L.);  yellow  deal  by  the  Scotch  fir  {Finns 
sylvestris ,  L.) ;  the  silver  fir  {Abies  picea ,  Link.)  furnishes  a 
whitish  deal  much  used  for  flooring.  There  are  numerous 
others,  as  the  American  and  European  larches  {Larix 
Americana,  Michx.,  and  L.  Europoea ,  L.);  the  hemlock 
spruce  fir  {Abies  Canadensis ,  Michx.),  which  are  employed 
for  ship  and  house  building.  The  names  only  of  the  trees 
• — European,  Asiatic,  African,  American,  and  Australian — 
which  yield  valuable  furniture  and  building  materials,  would 
form  an  extensive  catalogue. 


GUMS,  RESINS,  AND  BALSAMS. 


253 


V.  Plants  producing  valuable  Gums,  Resins,  and 

Balsams. 

Resins  are  the  inspissated  or  thickened  juices  of  plants, 
and  are  commonly  associated  with  an  essential  oil ;  they 
are  insoluble  in  water,  but  are  dissolved  by  alcohol  and 
essential  oils. 

Gum  Resins  or  Balsams  are  partly  soluble  in  water,  from 
the  quantity  of  gum  they  contain ;  partly  also  in  spirits,  on 
account  of  their  resinous  nature,  but  not  freely  in  either 
fluid.  The  undissolved  particles  of  a  balsam  mix  intimately 
with  the  fluid,  just  as  cream  floats  in  oily  globules  in  milk. 
Such  an  intermixture  is  an  emulsion ,  as,  for  example,  the 
emulsion  of  myrrh. 

Gums  are  soluble  in  water,  but  not  in  alcohol. 

Balsam  Fir  ( Abies  balsamifera)  Michx.  ;  natural  order, 
Conifer ce). — This  tree  furnishes  the  Canada  Balsam  so  much 
used  in  mounting  microscopic  preparations  of  objects  of 
natural  history,  as  it  not  only  preserves,  but  at  the  same 
time  gives  them  transparency.  The  oleo-resinous  fluid  is 
contained  in  blisters  of  the  bark,  which  are  punctured,  and 
the  balsam  is  then  caught  as  it  exudes.  Imported  from 
America. 

India-rubber,  Gum -elastic,  or  Caoutchouc,  is  the 
hardened  milky  juice  of  many  euphorbiaceous  plants  and 
others.  That  from  the  Brazils  is  the  produce  of  Siphonia 
elastica  (Rich.),  a  noble  tree,  growing  to  a  height  of  sixty 
feet,  with  a  light,  stone-coloured  bark.  That  collected  in 
Central  America,  and  now  an  important  article  of  export  all 
along  the  Atlantic  seaboard,  is  obtained  from  Castilloa 
elastica .  The  Brazilian  method  of  obtaining  the  caoutchouc, 
or  india-rubber,  is  to  spread  the  milky  juice  upon  clay 
moulds,  and  dry  it  in  the  sun  or  in  the  smoke  of  a  fire, 


254 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


which  blackens  it.  The  moulds  are  in  the  form  of  balls, 
bottles,  and  shoes.  The  juice  is  collected  from  incisions 
made  in  the  stem,  and  is  received  into  a  cup  of  clay  placed 
under  the  wound.  It  flows  freely,  to  the  extent  of  about 
four  ounces  daily,  from  each  tree.  This  juice  is  then 
smeared  over  the  clay  moulds  in  successive  layers,  which 
are  dried  separately,  until  a  sufficient  number  have  accumu¬ 
lated  to  give  a  proper  thickness ;  the  clay  is  then  washed 
out,  and  the  india-rubber  is  ready  for  the  market. 

In  Central  America  the  juice  is  collected  from  incisions 
made  in  the  stem,  and  is  received  into  vessels.  A  tree  four 
feet  in  diameter  will  yield  twenty  gallons  of  juice,  each 
gallon  producing  two  pounds  of  good  dried  rubber  ;  and  an 
industrious  man  will  collect  twenty-five  gallons  a  day.  The 
milky  juice  is  strained  through  a  wire  sieve,  so  as  to  exclude 
all  impurities  before  it  is  transferred  to  barrels,  in  which  the 
real  manufacture  of  the  rubber  is  performed.  The  best 
manner  of  converting  the  milk  into  rubber  is  by  mixing 
with  it  the  juice  of  a  certain  vine,  termed  by  the  natives 
achuca,  which  has  the  singular  property  of  producing  coagu¬ 
lation  within  the  space  of  five  minutes.  About  a  pint  of  the 
infusion  of  the  vine  is  well  mixed  with  every  gallon  of  the 
milk.  This  is  done  in  a  large  tin  pan,  and  the  rubber 
separates  as  a  soft  mass  from  the  brown  liquid.  This  mass 
is  then  placed  on  a  board,  slightly  pressed  by  hand,  and 
rolled  out  with  a  piece  of  heavy  wood.  A  great  quantity 
of  water  is  thus  squeezed  out,  and  the  rubber,  which  has 
now  assumed  its  elasticity,  is  made  into  flat  round  cakes  a 
quarter  of  an  inch  thick,  twenty  inches  in  diameter,  and 
perfectly  white  in  colour. 

Hitherto  the  greater  portion  of  the  caoutchouc  imported 
has  been  received  from  South  America,  but  latterly  a  con¬ 
siderable  amount  has  come  from  Singapore,  Assam,  and 
other  places  in  the  East  Indies.  This  is  the  product 


GUMS,  RESINS,  AND  BALSAMS. 


255 


of  the  Ficus  elastica ,  L.,  having  close  affinity  to  the  famed 
banyan  tree,  so  celebrated  for  its  pillared  supports,  “  whose 
daughters  grow  about  the  mother  tree,”  and  which  has 
furnished  the  motto  “  Tot  rami  quot  arbores  ”  to  the  Royal 
Asiatic  Society.  A  source  of  supply  from  a  species  of 
Landolphia ,  a  climbing  plant  compared  to  a  boa  constrictor, 
has  opened  up  in  the  West  Coast  of  Africa.  Para  rubber 
commands  the  highest  value  for  its  purity,  due  more  to 
care  in  its  collection  and  preparation  than  from  inherent 
difference  in  its  properties. 

Although  for  a  long  while  after  its  introduction  this  in¬ 
valuable  hydrocarbon  was  merely  regarded  as  a  commercial 
curiosity,  and  served  no  higher  purpose  than  rubbing  out 
black  lead  pencil  marks,  whence  its  name,  its  applications 
to  the  industrial  arts  are  now  manifold  and  added  to  every 
year. 

Gutta-percha  ( Isonandra  gutta ,  Hook.  ;  natural  order, 
Euphorbia cece.) — This  is  a  magnificent  tree,  sixty  or  seventy 
feet  in  height  and  from  five  to  six  feet  in  diameter,  growing 
in  the  Malayan  archipelago.  Gutta-percha  is  the  inspis¬ 
sated  juice  of  this  tree,  and  is  procured  as  follows; — The 
trees  are  felled,  the  bark  removed,  and  the  milky  juice 
which  is  found  between  the  bark  and  wood  is  collected  and 
poured  into  a  trough  made  from  the  stalk  of  the  plantain- 
leaf.  It  quickly  coagulates  on  exposure  to  the  air,  and  is 
then  kneaded  into  cakes  for  exportation. 

Gutta-percha  (pronounced  pertscha)  is  one  of  the  most 
valuable  vegetable  productions  of  the  age.  When  cold  and 
hard,  it  is  unctuous  to  the  touch  and  elastic,  but  loses  these 
qualities  in  warm  water,  in  which  however  it  is  insoluble, 
though  it  readily  dissolves  in  naphtha  or  alcohol.  Gutta¬ 
percha  is  opaque,  inflammable,  and  so  tough,  that  a  slip 
of  the  eighth  of  an  inch  will  sustain-weight  of  over  forty 
pounds.  A  great  variety  of  articles  are  made  from  gutta- 


256  THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 

percha;  above  all,  cables  for  marine  telegraphs,  which 
without  this  useful  discovery  could  not  have  extended  so 
rapidly.  Softened  by  hot  water,  it  is  moulded  into  any 
figure,  retaining  the  shape  when  cold.  By  kneading,  too, 
any  number  of  pieces  can  be  perfectly  welded  into  one. 
Hitherto  a  spendthrift  process  has  been  pursued,  in  the 
wholesale  destruction  of  the  trees,  in  order  to  furnish  the 
supplies ;  from  eight  to  ten  trees,  being  felled  for  every 
hundredweight  of  the  gutta-percha  yielded. 

A  short  time  ago  this  tree  was  abundant  on  the  island  of 
Singapore ;  now  few  if  any  other  than  small  plants  are  to 
be  found  there,  all  the  large  trees  having  been  felled.  The 
range  of  its  growth  appears,  however,  to  be  considerable, 
as  it  doubtless  extends  over  all  the  islands  of  the  Malayan 
archipelago  ;  and  happily  several  other  sources  are  known. 

Tar  ( Finns  sylvestris ,  L.  ;  natural  order,  Conifer ce). — Tar 
is  an  impure  turpentine,  viscid,  and  brown  black  in  colour, 
procured  by  destructive  distillation  from  the  roots  of  various 
coniferous  trees,  particularly  the  above  species.  This  pro¬ 
cess  was  known  to  the  ancients,  being  described  by  Theo¬ 
phrastus,  and  is  nearly  the  same  now  as  in  his  time. 

A  bank  is  chosen  near  a  marsh  or  bog,  as  the  roots  of 
pines  so  situated  always  yield  the  greatest  supplies  of  tar ; 
in  this  bank  a  conical  cavity  is  formed,  the  sides  of  which 
are  beaten  down  and  rendered  as  firm  as  possible  with 
heavy  w^ooden  mallets.  A  cast-iron  pan  is  placed  at  the 
bottom  of  the  hole  or  funnel,  with  a  spout  which  projects 
through  the  side  of  the  bank,  and  barrels  are  placed  be¬ 
neath  this  spout  to  collect  the  tar  as  it  comes  away.  This 
cavity  is  then  filled  with  the  roots  of  the  pine,  which  are  cut 
and  neatly  packed  so  as  to  fill  up  the  entire  space,  and  the 
whole  is  covered  over  with  turf  and  beaten  down  writh  the 
mallet  or  stamper.  The  roots  in  the  inside  of  the  cavity 
are  then  set  on  fire,  and  the  tar,  as  it  distils,  runs  down  the 


TAR  AND  TURPENTINE. 


257 


sides  into  the  iron  pan,  passing  through  the  spout  into  the 
barrels,  which,  as  fast  as  filled,  are  bunged,  and  are  then 
ready  for  exportation. 

Tar  is  used  chiefly  by  seamen,  for  preserving  cordage 
and  wood  from  the  effects  of  the  atmosphere.  Tar  comes 
from  Russia,  Norway,  and  Sweden ;  the  United  States,  also, 
supply  us  with  a  considerable  amount ;  the  forests  between 
Bayonne  and  Bordeaux  in  France,  the  Black  Forest,  and 
the  forest  of  Thuringia,  in  Germany,  send  large  quantities 
into  commerce. 

Pitch  is  tar  condensed  or  deprived  of  the  more  volatile 
parts  of  distillation.  The  tar  is  boiled  in  an  open  iron  pot 
until  all  the  volatile  matters  are  driven  off ;  the  residuum 
remaining  is  pitch.  This  is  a  black,  solid,  and  glossy  sub¬ 
stance,  very  brittle  when  cold,  but  softening  and  becoming 
ductile  when  heated.  That  used  in  this  country  is  mostly 
home  manufactured.  Pitch  is  frequently  remixed  with  tar, 
and  used  for  similar  purposes,  in  shipbuilding,  for  caulking 
the  seams  of  vessels. 

Turpentine  Pine  (Finns  palustris ,  Wild.,  and  Firms 
Tceda,  L. ;  natural  order,  Coniferce). — The  importation  of 
turpentine  by  other  nations  is  not  very  considerable,  since 
almost  every  country  possesses  trees  from  which  it  may  be 
procured.  England,  however,  is  an  exception,  the  demand 
for  turpentine  being  much  greater  than  the  home  supply. 
We  receive  nearly  all  our  turpentine  from  the  United  States, 
and  it  is  obtained  from  the  above  two  species  of  Finns. 
There  are  also  in  the  market,  Bordeaux  turpentine,  ob¬ 
tained  from  Finns  pineaster ,  Aiton ;  Strasburg  turpentine, 
from  Abies  pectinata ;  Venice  turpentine,  from  Abies  larix 
(Rich.),  the  common  larch ;  and  Chio  turpentine,  from  the 
Fistacia  terebinthus  (L.),  a  tree  indigenous  to  Cyprus. 

The  process  of  collecting  turpentine  is  in  each  case 
nearly  the  same.  The  bark  of  the  tree  being  wounded,  the 

R 


I. 


25S  THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 

turpentine  trickles  out  in  drops  into  boxes  or  other  vessels 
placed  so  as  to  receive  it.  The  incisions  are  made  about 
the  close  of  the  month  of  March,  and  the  turpentine  con¬ 
tinues  to  flow  throughout  the  vegetative  season,  particularly 
during  the  summer  months. 

Turpentine  is  imported  in  barrels,  weighing  from  two  to 
two  and  a  half  cwts.,  and  has  the  appearance  and  consistence 
of  honey.  Oil  or  spirits  of  turpentine  is  obtained  by  distil¬ 
lation  from  the  raw  turpentine ;  the  residue  is  the  common 
resin  or  rosin  of  the  shops.  Spirits  of  turpentine,  as  a 
solvent  of  all  resins,  is  much  used  in  the  preparation  of 
paint  and  varnish  ;  and  rosin  in  the  manufacture  of  common 
soap,  common  sealing-wax,  for  the  bows  of  violins,  and  for 
caulking  ships. 

The  turpentines  are  invaluable  in  medicine.  They  are 
prescribed  in  affections  of  the  lungs  and  other  disorders. 

Gum-arabic  ( Acacia  vera ,  Wild.,  and  Acacia  Arabica , 
Wild.  ;  natural  order,  Leguminosce). — Gum-arabic  is  pro¬ 
duced  by  these  two  trees,  which  grow  in  abundance  in 
Arabia,  and  in  Egypt  on  the  banks  of  the  Nile.  It  flows 
spontaneously  from  their  trunks  and  branches,  in  the  form 
of  a  mucilage,  which  dries  and  hardens  on  exposure  to  the 
air.  The  more  sickly  the  tree,  and  the  hotter  the  weather, 
the  more  abundantly  exudes  the  gum.  It  is  very  nutritious, 
and  the  Arabs  who  gather  it  almost  live  upon  it  during  the 
harvest. 

The  principal  African  and  Arabian  ports  for  the  ex¬ 
portation  of  gum-arabic  are  Aden,  Mocha,  Suez,  Cairo, 
and  Alexandria.  Gum-senegal,  the  product  of  Acacia  Senegal , 
(Wild.),  is  the  best  and  dearest  sort  of  Arabian  gum.  It  is 
distinguishable  from  gum-arabic  by  its  clearness,  consisting 
of  choice  drops  or  tears,  some  as  large  as  a  pigeon’s  egg, 
entirely  white,  and  shining  like  glass.  Gum-tragacanth, 
which  is  yielded  by  Astragalus  tragacantJia ,  L.,  is  also  con- 


GUMS  AND  GUM-RESINS. 


259 


siderably  in  demand,  and  is  one  of  the  chief  gums  of 
commerce.  We  receive  this  gum  from  Greece  and  Asia 
Minor.  The  principal  place  for  its  exportation  is  Smyrna. 

These  gums  are  chiefly  used  in  the  manufacture  of  silks, 
crapes,  and  muslins,  to  stiffen  and  glaze  the  fabric;  they 
are  employed  also  in  calico-printing,  to  give  consistence  to 
the  colours ;  in  medicine,  painting,  and  in  the  manufacture 
of  ink.  British  gum  or  Dextrine,  much  used  in  the  arts  for 
stiffening  fabrics,  is  prepared  from  starch. 

Gum-sandarach  ( Callitris  quadrivalvis ,  Verst.;  natural 
order,  Conifercz). — This  tree  is  a  native  of  Barbary,  on  the 
African  coast.  The  Turks  construct  the  ceilings  and  floors 
of  their  mosques  of  its  wood,  which  is  all  but  indestructible. 
The  gum  is  much  used  in  making  fine  varnishes.  The 
gums  proper  enter  into  a  great  number  of  pharmaceutical 
preparations. 

Gamboge  ( Garcinia  morella). — Gamboge  is  a  gum-resin 
obtained  from  this  tree,  which  grows  wild  on  the  Malabar 
and  Ceylon  coasts.  In  Ceylon  gamboge  is  obtained  by 
wounding  the  bark  of  the  tree  as  soon  as  the  flowers  begin 
to  appear.  It  appears  in  commerce  in  three  forms — in 
solid  rolls  or  cylinders,  in  hollow  rolls  or  pipes, — in  tears, 
and  in  amorphous  masses  or  cakes.  Gamboge  is  imported 
from  Ceylon,  Siam,  and  Cochin-China.  The  best  is  the 
pipe-gamboge  from  Siam. 

Gamboge  is  employed  as  a  water-colour  or  pigment  by 
artists,  also  in  medicine  as  a  drastic  purgative. 

Camphor  Tree  ( Laurus  camphor  a,  L. ;  natural  order, 
Lauracece). — The  camphor  tree  is  a  native  of  China,  Japan, 
Borneo,  and  the  island  of  Formosa.  Camphor  may  be 
regarded  as  a  solid  volatile  oil  and  is  obtained  by  the  follow¬ 
ing  process: — “The  wood  of  the  Laurus  is  cut  into  small 
pieces,  and  put,  with  plenty  of  water,  into  small  iron  boilers, 
which  are  covered  with  an  earthen  dome  lined  within  with 


260  the  natural  history  of  commerce. 

rice  straw.  As  the  water  boils  the  camphor  rises  with  the 
steam,  and  attaches  itself  as  a  sublimate  to  the  stalks,  under 
the  form  of  granulations  of  a  grey  colour.  In  this  state  it 
is  picked  off  the  straw,  and  packed  up  for  exportation  to 
Europe.  ”  *  The  purest  camphor  is  in  “  tears  ”  or  solid 
accretions  in  the  tissues  of  the  plant. 

Camphor  is  brought  to  this  country  in  chests,  drums, 
and  casks — in  small  granular,  friable  masses,  of  a  dirty  white 
or  greyish  colour.  It  is  much  used  in  museums  and  private 
collections  of  natural  history,  as  a  preservative  of  animal 
and  vegetable  bodies  against  the  depredations  of  insects. 
The  most  effective  way  to  accomplish  this  purpose  is  to 
construct  the  cabinets  with  the  wood  of  the  camphor  laurel. 
It  is  also  used  in  medicine,  in  the  composition  of  varnishes, 
and  in  the  manufacture  of  fire-works. 

Frankincense  ( Boswellia  Carterii ,  &c. ;  natural  order, 
Amyridacece). — This  is  an  odoriferous  gum-resin,  much  used 
by  the  Roman  Catholics  in  their  churches.  It  was  em¬ 
ployed  by  the  priests  of  ancient  Egypt  to  conceal  the 
unpleasant  emanations  arising  from  the  sacrifices  offered 
in  their  temples.  It  is  imported  from  India  and  the  Levant. 

Benzoin  or  Gum  Benjamin  is  a  choice  balsam,  exuding 
from  trees  in  Siam,  Sumatra,  and  Penang.  This  fragrant 
incense,  of  which  the  Siam  variety  is  the  finest,  besides  its 
use  in  religious  rites  and  ceremonies,  finds  extensive  appli¬ 
cation  as  a  fumigator  for  sick  rooms,  in  making  scented 
waters,  and  as  an  important  medicinal  drug.  Its  collection 
in  Siam  is  a  monopoly,  and  its  first  cost  ranges  as  high  as 
a  guinea  a  pound  avoirdupois. 

Asafcetida  ( Narthex  asafcetida ,  Falconer ;  natural  order, 
Umbellifercd). — This  fetid  gum-resin  exudes  from  incisions 
made  in  the  roots  of  the  plant.  It  is  first  a  milky  juice,  but 
when  dried  in  the  sun,  acquires  a  mottled  appearance  and  a 


*  Ure’s  “Dictionary  of  Arts,  Manufactures,  and  Mines.” 


BARKS  OF  COMMERCE. 


26t 


pink  colour.  The  plant  is  indigenous  to  the  south  of  Persia, 
Afghanistan,  and  the  Punjaub.  Asafoetida  usually  comes 
over  in  casks  and  cases.  It  is  much  used  in  medicine  as 
a  valuable  stimulant  and  anti-spasmodic,  in  cases  of  asthma 
and  spasmodic  cough.  The  tears  of  asafoetida  become 
adhesive  when  warmed,  but  when  exposed  to  an  excess  of 
cold  are  so  brittle  that  they  may  be  powdered.  The  balsam 
is  eaten  as  a  condiment  in  Persia  and  other  regions,  recom¬ 
mended  by  its  powerful  resemblance  in  odour  and  taste  to 
garlic.  The  leaves  of  the  plant  also  are  cooked  as  a  pot 
herb  or  kitchen  vegetable. 

VI.  The  Barks  of  Commerce. 

Many  varieties  of  bark  are  known  in  commerce,  the  chief 
of  which  are  those  used  for  medicinal  purposes,  such  as  the 
Peruvian  and  Cascarilla  barks ;  and  those  which  are  em¬ 
ployed  in  the  arts  and  manufactures,  or  economic  barks, 
such  as  the  bark  of  the  cork  oak,  and  the  valuable  tanning 
bark  of  the  common  oak. 

Medicinal  Barks. 

Cinchona  or  Peruvian  Bark  ( Cinchona  Condaminea , 
Humb.  and  Bonpl.,  &c. ;  natural  order,  Cinchonacece.) — 
Cinchona  bark  is  the  product  of  various  species  of  Cin¬ 
chona,  a  group  of  evergreen  trees  and  shrubs  growing  on 
the  slopes  of  the  Andes  in  Peru  and  Bolivia,  at  elevations 
varying  from  7000  to  10,000  feet  above  the  level  of  the  sea. 

The  medicinal  properties  of  this  bark  are  entirely  owing 
to  the  presence  of  three  alkaline  and  bitter  principles, 
quinine,  cinchonine,  and  quinidine,  which  are  the  most  effec¬ 
tive  remedies  known  against  intermittent  and  allied  fevers. 
The  Jesuit  missionaries  were  the  first  to  discover  and  make 
known  its  value  as  a  remedial  agent,  and  for  a  long  time 
they  were  the  sole  vendors  of  it,  whence  its  name  of  “  Jesuit’s 


262 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


Bark.”  The  generic  name  Cinchona  was  given  to  the  plant 
because,  in  1638,  the  Countess  of  Chinchon,  wife  of  the 
Viceroy  of  Peru,  was  cured  of  intermittent  fever  by  its  use ; 
hence,  also,  the  powdered  bark  was  called  Pulvis  Comitissce , 
or  Countess’s  powder. 

There  are,  at  the  fewest,  twelve  species  of  Cinchona 
from  which  the  bark  of  commerce  is  derived.  All  these 
resemble  each  other  in  their  general  features ;  finely  veined 
leaves  traversed  by  a  strong  mid-rib  and  a  thick  leaf  stalk, 
often  of  a  fine  red.  The  principal  varieties  of  Peruvian 
bark  recognised  in  the  Pharmacopoeia  are  the  pale ,  the 
yellow,  the  red \  and  the  crown  bark.  These  tonic  barks  are 
powdered  and  administered,  sometimes  with  wine  as  a 
vehicle,  but  the  greater  number  are  consumed  solely  in  the 
preparation  of  quinine.  The  artificial  production  of  quinine 
by  the  chemist,  lately  accomplished,  has  reduced  the  costli¬ 
ness  of  the  natural  product  to  half  its  previous  amount. 
The  pale  bark  contains  most  cinchonine,  the  yellow  most 
quinine ;  Loxa  or  crown  bark  the  largest  proportion  of 
quinidine ;  the  red  yields  the  alkaloids  in  about  equal 
proportions. 

Peruvian  bark  comes  to  us  in  the  form  of  quills  or  hollow 
cylinders,  which  vary  in  length  and  diameter,  the  longest 
seldom  exceeding  two  feet — the  diameter  varying  from  a 
quarter  of  an  inch  to  two  inches.  These  quills  are  the 
bark  of  the  smaller  branches  of  the  tree,  which  rolls  up 
thus  as  it  dries  in  the  sun.  Pale  bark  arrives  in  quills 
only ;  the  Calisaya  or  yellow  bark,  and  also  the  red  bark, 
come  both  in  quills  and  flat  pieces,  which  last  are  derived 
from  the  trunk,  and  reduced  to  this  form  by  being  alter¬ 
nately  exposed  to  the  sun  and  then  subjected  to  pressure 
until  perfectly  dry.  Peruvian  bark  is  usually  imported  in 
packages,  or  serous,  made  of  dried  cow-hides.  The  cin¬ 
chona  plant  has  been  introduced  with  every  prospect  of 


TANNING  MATERIALS. 


263 

success  into  British  India,  where  large  plantations  are  now 
established  in  many  of  the  hilly  districts ;  and  more  recently 
into  Japan  and  the  Mauritius. 

Cascarilla  Bark  ( Croton  Eleutlieria ;  natural  order, 
Euphorbiacece) . — This  tree  is  a  native  of  St.  Domingo,  the 
Antilles,  and  the  Bahama  Islands.  Its  bark  is  imported 
chiefly  from  Eleuthera,  one  of  the  Bahamas,  and  comes 
in  small-sized  quills  and  in  chips.  Cascarilla  bark  has 
strong  aromatic  and  tonic  properties,  and  is  an  excellent 
remedy  in  chills  and  fever,  being  occasionally  employed  as 
a  substitute  for  cinchona.  When  burned  it  gives  forth  a 
sweet  musky  odour,  and  is  often  used  in  fumigations.  The 
amount  annually  received  in  this  country  is  from  ten  to 
twelve  tons. 

Cedron  ( Simaba  cedron ,  Aubl.  ;  nat.  ord.,  Simanibaccce). 
— The  cedron  is  a  small  tree  confined  to  the  republic  of 
New  Granada,  ranging  from  about  the  fifth  to  the  tenth 
degree  of  north  latitude.  Every  part  of  the  plant,  but 
especially  the  seed — owing  to  the  presence  of  an  alkaloid 
(, cedrine ) — is  intensely  bitter.  On  account  of  this  principle, 
the  plant  is  employed  with  considerable  success,  in  cases  of 
intermittent  fever.  The  chief  reputation  of  the  cedron  rests 
upon  its  being  considered  an  efficacious  antidote  for  the  bites 
of  snakes,  scorpions,  centipedes,  and  other  noxious  animals ; 
and  so  highly  do  the  natives  of  the  land  in  which  it  grows 
value  it,  that  they  will  pay  a  large  price  for  a  single  seed. 

Quassia  amara,  belonging  to  the  same  order  as  the 
cedron,  is  a  more  valuable  febrifuge.  Of  it  are  made  the 
quassia  cups  and  chips,  esteemed  for  their  bitter  tonic  pro¬ 
perties. 

VII. — Tanning  Materials. 

In  the  bark  of  certain  trees  a  peculiar  light  yellow 
glistening  substance  exists,  called  tannin ,  or  tannic  acid, 


264 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


which  consists  of  small  yellow  crystals.  This  tannic  acid 
has  the  power  of  combining  with  the  gelatine  in  the  skins 
of  animals,  and  converting  them  into  leather  by  forming 
a  tannate  of  gelatine.  The  most  valuable  bark  for  this 
purpose  is  that  of 

Oak  ( Quercus  pedunculate, ;  natural  order,  Cupuliferce). 
— Indigenous  to  this  country,  and  also  much  cultivated. 
We  import  large  quantities  of  oak  bark  from  Holland  and 
Belgium,  though  hardly  more  than  a  tithe  consumed  of 
home  growth. 

Valonia  ( Quercus  cegilops). — Under  this  name  the  acorn- 
cups  of  this  species  of  oak  are  used ;  although  the  tree 
is  dwarf  and  shrubby,  these  cups  are  very  large  and  much 
prized  by  tanners.  Large  quantities  are  imported  from  the 
Levant,  chiefly  via  Smyrna.  Sometimes  these  acorns  are 
gathered  before  they  are  fully  formed ;  they  are  then  called 
camata ,  or  camatina ,  and  are  more  valuable.  Valonia  con¬ 
tains  much  less  of  the  tanning  principles  than  oak  bark,  but 
its  comparative  cheapness  causes  it  to  be  in  great  request. 

Nut-galls  ( Quercus  infectorid). — This  tree  abounds  in 
Asia  Minor.  The  galls  are  excrescences  upon  the  young 
twigs,  produced  by  the  punctures  of  an  insect,  a  species 
of  Cynips.  The  market  is  chiefly  supplied  from  the  ports 
of  the  Levant,  whence  they  are  called  Aleppo  galls.  They 
contain  much  tannin  and  gallic  acid,  and  are  largely  em¬ 
ployed  both  in  tanning  and  dyeing.  We  receive  them  from 
Cyprus,  Turkey,  Greece,  the  Ionian  Islands,  Hungary,  and 
Sclavonia,  via  Vienna,  Trieste,  Leghorn,  Genoa,  and  Mar¬ 
seilles.  One  kind,  called  the  knoppern ,  is  distinguished 
from  the  smooth  gall-nuts  by  many  angular  and  rough 
excrescences,  as  well  as  by  having  the  essential  principles 
in  greater  strength. 

Divi-divi  ( Cccsalpiuia  coriaria ;  natural  order,  Legu- 
minosed). — This  tree  is  a  native  of  the  salt  marshes  of 


TANNING  MATERIALS. 


265 


Curagoa,  Carthagena,  and  other  places  in  South  America. 
It  furnishes  in  abundance  a  brown  pod,  about  the  size  of 
that  of  the  pea,  but  curved  into  the  form  of  the  letter  S. 
This  pod  is  very  astringent,  and  therefore  of  great  value  in 
tanning.  The  Indian  name,  divi-divi,  has  been  adopted 
by  our  merchants.  It  is  not  used  alone,  but  is  generally 
mixed  with  oak-bark  and  valonia. 

Catechu  (. Acacia  catechu  ;  natural  order,  Leguminosce). — 
A  thorny  tree  ;  a  native  of  Hindostan.  Catechu  is  pro¬ 
cured  by  cutting  the  wood  into  chips,  boiling  them,  and 
then  straining  the  liquor,  and  evaporating  it  until  it  assumes 
the  appearance  and  consistency  of  tar.  This  substance 
hardens  as  it  cools,  is  formed  into  small  squares,  dried  in 
the  sun,  and  is  then  fit  for  market.  Catechu  contains  a 
large  proportion  of  tannin.  Packed  in  mats,  it  is  sent  to 
this  country  in  large  quantities  from  India.  Dissolved  in 
water,  it  tans  skins  very  rapidly — one  pound  of  catechu 
being  equivalent  to  seven  or  eight  of  oak  bark ;  but  the 
leather  is  not  so  durable  or  good  as  that  which  is  more 
slowly  prepared  from  oak  bark.  Other  tanning  principles 
allied  in  character  to  catechu,  though  extracted  from  dif¬ 
ferent  oriental  plants,  are  known  in  commerce  as  terra 
japonica  or  gambier  and  cutch,  the  imports  of  which  sub¬ 
stances,  in  the  gross,  are  very  considerable. 

Betel-nut  Palm  ( Areca  catechu,  L.)  grows  in  most  parts 
of  the  East  Indies.  The  trunk  is  straight  and  slender,  and 
from  forty  to  fifty  feet  in  height ;  the  fruit  is  about  the  size 
and  shape  of  a  small  egg,  and  the  nut  itself  rather  larger 
than  a  nutmeg,  roundish-conical,  and  brown  in  colour. 

The  betel-nut  furnishes  an  astringent  extract,  which 
constitutes  one  or  more  varieties  of  the  catechu  of  com¬ 
merce.  The  principal  consumption  of  the  betel-nut  is  for 
chewing,  in  combination  with  the  pepper  leaf  of  the  Ohavica 
betel  and  lime.  The  seeds  are  cut  into  thin  slices.  A  slice 


266 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


is  then  taken  in  a  betel  leaf  smeared  with  white  coral  lime, 
and  chewed.  Indulged  to  excess,  betel  chewing  produces 
intense  salivation  ;  causes  the  gums  to  swell  and  redden, 
and  destroys  the  teeth.  The  craving  for  the  betel  arises 
from  its  narcotic  powers.  It  is  in  general  use  as  a  masti¬ 
catory  amongst  the  natives  of  the  East  Indies,  much  the 
same  as  tobacco  in  other  countries. 

Tanning  principles  are  diffused  through  the  botanical 
kingdom.  Christie’s  “New  Commercial  Plants  and  Drugs” 
for  1882,  gives  a  list  of  133  plants  yielding  tannin,  and  in 
actual  use  in  thirteen  different  countries  of  the  world. 
These  plants  comprise  annuals,  shrubs,  and  trees,  the 
tanning  principle  varying  widely  in  its  properties  as  also 
in  the  organs  where  it  is  present.  Barks,  roots,  wood, 

•  leaves,  fruit,  galls,  nuts,  acorns,  acorn-cups,  seed-pods,  and 
extracts,  are  all  in  turn  utilised.  In  this  wide  field  of 
choice,  and  many  more  remain  to  be  brought  into  the  com¬ 
mercial  list,  oak  bark  maintains  the  front  place  as  a  tanning 
material,  and  the  tanner’s  art  still  depends  upon  the  chemist 
to  devise  means  of  economising  time  in  the  process  of 
leather-making.  The  urgency  of  progress  in  this  industry, 
which  seemingly  lags  behind  the  age,  is  enforced  by  the 
results  of  recent  experiments  with  pure  extracts.  Thus  a 
firm  of  tanners  turning  out  an  average  of  1000  hides  a  week 
at  a  cost  of  50s.  each,  according  to  the  old  fashion,  taking 
three  years  in  the  process,  now  convert  the  hides  into  good 
leather  in  the  space  of  six-months  at  a  computed  saving 
of  £ 330,000 .  The  importance  of  such  economies  is 
emphasised  by  the  fact  that  there  are  nearly  1000  tan¬ 
neries  in  the  United  Kingdom,  working  up  about  200,000 
tons  of  hides  and  skins  yearly,  and  consuming  foreign 
tanning  substances  in  the  process,  to  a  value  approximat¬ 
ing  ^U0;000- 


NARCOTIC  PLANTS. 


267 


VIII. — Plants  Remarkable  for  their  Narcotic  and 
Poisonous  Properties,  yet  useful  as  Remedial 
agents. 

Opium  {Pap aver  somniferum,  L. ;  natural  order,  Papaver- 
acece). — The  poppy  is  an  annual  plant  growing  from  two  to 
four  feet  high,  having  flowers  with  two  sepals  and  four  white 
petals,  with  a  violet  spot  at  the  base  of  each  petal.  Stamens 
numerous ;  pistil,  a  globular  ovary  or  capsule,  surmounted 
by  a  radiated  stigma,  containing  partial  dissepiments,  and 
numerous  seeds. 

The  opium  poppy  is  a  native  of  Persia,  and  probably 
also  of  the  south  of  Europe  and  Asia  Minor.  It  is  largely 
cultivated  in  those  countries,  and  also  in  Egypt,  Arabia,  and 
British  India,  for  the  sake  of  its  opium.  Dr.  Joseph  Hooker 
thus  describes  this  process ; — “  The  capsules  are  sliced  in 
February  and  March  with  a  little  instrument  like  a  saw, 
made  of  three  serrated  plates  tied  together.  From  the  in¬ 
cisions  made  by  this  instrument  the  opium  oozes  out  as  a 
milky  juice,  which  as  it  dries  becomes  a  soft  brown  sticky 
paste;  each  morning  this  paste  is  scraped  off  by  means  of 
small  shells,  and  collected  into  jars,  the  contents  of  which 
are  afterwards  made  into  balls  of  about  half  a  pound  weight, 
these  are  often  coated  with  the  seeds  of  some  species  of 
Plieitni  or  rhubarb  plant.  The  balls  are  packed  into  chests, 
and  exported  to  other  countries.” 

Opium  is  produced  in  large  quantities  in  India  for  con¬ 
sumption  in  China,  on  account  of  the  great  sale  there,  in 
spite  of  all  prohibitions.  Eastern  nations  generally  are  very 
fond  of  opium,  which  they  smoke  with  their  tobacco,  or 
alone,  and  take  in  the  form  of  pills.  With  us,  it  is  much 
used  in  medicine  as  an  anodyne,  generally  in  the  well- 
known  preparation  called  laudanum.  Turkey  opium  is 
considered  to  be  the  best,  especially  that  which  comes  from 


263 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE . 


Smyrna.  Its  production  in  India  is  the  source  of  a  large 
revenue ;  but  public  opinion  is  strongly  divided  on  the 
morality  of  our  growing  a  drug  so  liable  to  perverted  and 
vicious  consumption. 

Tobacco  ( Nicoticina  Tabacum ,  L. ;  natural  order,  Sola- 
nacece). — The  tobacco  plant  is  an  annual,  growing  six  feet 
high.  The  leaves  are  viscid  and  pubescent,  and  are  the 
parts  used  in  the  manufacture  of  the  tobacco. 

The  tobacco  plant  is  indigenous  to  the  warm  parts  of 
America,  and  was  unknown  in  the  Old  World  before  the  dis¬ 
covery  of  that  continent.  It  was  first  brought  to  the  notice 
of  the  Spaniards  in  1492,  when  Columbus  and  his  com¬ 
panions  saw  the  natives  of  Cuba  smoking  cigars.  It  was 
introduced  into  England  in  1586  by  Sir  Francis  Drake,  from 
Virginia,  where  an  English  colony  had  remained  for  a  year. 
The  colonists  are  said  to  have  brought  tobacco  with  them 
on  their  return,  and  to  have  introduced  into  this  country 
the  practice  of  tobacco-smoking,  or  as  it  was  at  first  called, 
tobacco -drinking  or  sinking.  Sir  Walter  Raleigh  and  other 
young  men  of  fashion  gave  it  every  encouragement,  and 
the  habit  of  smoking  was  soon  acquired  by  the  English,  as 
it  had  previously  been  by  the  Spaniards,  the  first  method 
of  imbibing  the  fumes  being  by  means  of  a  walnut-shell  and 
a  straw.  The  tobacco  plant  appears  to  thrive  in  all  warm 
climates.  Its  cultivation  in  the  United  Kingdom,  especially 
in  Ireland,  has  earnest  advocates.  Some  experimental  crops 
of  the  finest  varieties  of  leaf  have  been  grown,  under  govern¬ 
ment  sanction,  with  eminent  success  ;  but  excise  restrictions, 
if  not  climatic  conditions,  have  barred  its  general  culture. 
The  practice  of  smoking  has  become  almost  universal  both 
amongst  savage  and  civilised  nations ;  for  no  habit  is  more 
easily  acquired  or  more  difficult  to  relinquish  than  the  use 
of  this  weed,  hence  its  rapid  progress  amongst  nations, 
despite  of  all  the  efforts  of  their  rulers  at  prohibition.  The 


NARCOTIC  PLANTS. 


269 


priests  and  sultans  of  Turkey  and  Persia  declared  smoking 
to  be  a  sin  against  their  holy  religion;  yet  the  Turks  and 
Persians  became  the  greatest  smokers  in  the  world.  Pope 
Urban  VIII.  fulminated  a  bull  against  the  use  of  tobacco, 
but  the  anathema  fell  to  the  ground.  In  Russia  the  smoker 
was  threatened  with  the  knout  for  the  first  offence,  and  with 
death  for  the  second ;  yet  the  Russians  are  now  constantly 
with  pipes  in  their  mouths.  In  our  own  country  James  I. 
wrote  a  book  against  it,  called  “A  Counterblaste  to 
Tobacco;”  but  instead  of  checking,  it  rather  tended  to 
promote  the  spread  of  the  habit  among  his  subjects. 

Tobacco  is  manufactured  in  various  forms  to  fit  it  for 
smoking,  chewing,  or  snuffing,  and  the  annual  consumption 
in  these  different  forms  is  so  enormous  that  no  estimate  can 
be  made  of  the  quantity.  In  some  parts  of  the  Continent, 
the  tobacco  industry  is  a  government  monopoly.  In  our 
own  country,  though  the  consumption  is  of  such  magnitude 
as  to  form  a  main  prop  of  finance,  other  races  beat  us  as 
smokers. 

After  the  plants  have  done  blooming  they  are  cut  down 
and  hung  up  to  dry  on  poles ;  the  leaves  are  then  stripped 
from  the  stems,  sorted,  packed  in  boxes  or  casks,  and 
shipped.  On  arriving  in  this  country  the  leaves  are  taken  out 
of  the  casks,  and  when  their  midribs  have  been  removed,  are 
spread  on  the  floor  and  moistened  with  water.  This  is  all 
that  English  manufacturers  are  allowed  to  do ;  on  the  Con¬ 
tinent  salt  and  sugar  are  added.  The  leaves  are  then  com¬ 
pressed  into  dense  cakes,  and  cut  with  a  machine ;  and  the 
cut  tobacco,  shaken  out  and  afterwards  steamed,  is  called, 
according  to  the  leaf  used,  Virginia  shag ,  Maryland  returns , 
&c.  In  Bird's  eye  tobacco  the  midrib  is  allowed  to  remain 
in  the  leaf,  and  forms  those  little  white  bits  which  have 
given  it  its  fanciful  name.  The  dried  leaves,  moistened  with 
sugar  and  water,  and  pressed  into  cakes,  form  Cavendish 


270 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


and  Negrohead,  used  for  chewing  and  smoking.  The  same 
leaves  moistened  with  sugar  and  water,  beaten  until  soft,  and 
then  twisted  into  a  sort  of  string,  constitute  pig-tail.  The 
leaves  and  stalks  ground  to  powder  and  roasted  form  snuff, 
which  is  variously  scented  to  suit  the  different  olfactory 
tastes  of  customers.  Cigars  are  only  the  dried  leaves  de¬ 
prived  of  their  midribs  and  wound  into  a  sort  of  spindle 
form ;  cheroots  are  a  variety  of  cigar,  cut  straight  at  each 
end,  cylindrical,  and  tapering,  broader  at  one  end  than  the 
other ;  cigarettes  are  made  by  rolling  up  a  small  quantity  of 
cut  tobacco  in  a  piece  of  paper  (the  leafy  covering  of  the 
Indian  corn  is  preferred),  they  are  then  smoked  the  same 
as  cigars,  but  usually  by  moderate  smokers. 

There  are  numerous  varieties  of  tobacco  found  in  com¬ 
merce.  The  principal  sorts  are  : — 

North- American  tobacco,  chiefly  from  the  states  of  Vir¬ 
ginia,  Maryland,  and  Kentucky;  but  now,  Tennessee,  North 
Carolina,  Louisiana,  and  Missouri  also  produce  the  weed. 
Usually  imported  in  hogsheads  in  the  leaf,  hence  called  leaf- 
tobacco. 

South- American  tobacco,  which  is  received  in  the  form 
of  cylindrical  rolls  two  feet  in  length  and  one  foot  in 
diameter,  made  by  rolling  or  twisting  the  fragrant  leaves 
into  a  kind  of  rope  about  an  inch  or  more  in  diameter, 
and  then  coiled  up  into  these  cylindrical  rolls  as  the  most 
compact  and  convenient  form  for  transportation.  We  receive 
supplies  from  the  Orinoco,  Porto  Rico,  and  from  Maracaibo, 
and  other  South-American  ports.  Roll  tobacco  is  sent  over 
in  baskets  made  of  twisted  cane,  called  canastras.  A  con¬ 
siderable  quantity  of  South  American  tobacco  comes  from 
the  Brazils,  both  in  the  leaf  and  roll  form. 

The  tobacco  of  Cuba  is  considered  to  be  the  finest  in  the 
world  :  Havana  makes  the  best  cigars. 

Asiatic  tobacco. — Asia  produces  good  tobacco,  but  mostly 


MEDICINAL  PRODUCTS. 


271 


for  her  own  consumption.  The  European  market,  how¬ 
ever,  gets  the  Persian  or  Shiraz,  which  is  much  esteemed. 
Tobacco  is  also  received  from  the  Spanish  island  of  Manilla 
in  the  shape  of  fine  cigars,  which  are  manufactured  there, 
and  then  exported.  A  small  quantity  is  sent  from  India, 
Ceylon,  Java,  and  Sumatra.  From  Turkey,  Latakia  tobacco 
is  imported,  which  consists  of  not  only  the  leaf,  but  also  the 
flowers  and  buds  of  the  plant ;  it  is  so  called  after  the 
Turkish  province  of  Latakia  (the  ancient  Antioch ),  where 
it  is  grown.  The  cultivation  of  tobacco  in  Borneo  pro¬ 
mises  to  be  highly  successful,  the  leaf  being  of  the  finest 
quality. 

Nux  Vomica  ( Strychnos  nux  vomica ,  L.  ;  natural  order, 
Loganiacece). — A  medium-sized  tree,  a  native  of  the  East 
Indies,  very  common  on  the  coast  of  Coromandel.  The 
fruit  is  a  globular  berry,  about  the  size  of  an  orange,  and 
with  a  smooth,  hard,  yellow  rind,  containing  five  seeds 
embedded  in  the  pulp.  These  seeds  are  circular,  flattened, 
rather  less  than  an  inch  in  diameter,  slightly  concave, 
silky  in  appearance,  and  fawn-coloured,  or  light  drab  in 
colour. 

Strychnine,  the  most  energetic  poison  known,  is  pro¬ 
cured  from  the  bruised  seeds  of  the  nux  vomica ,  which  are 
imported  from  Coromandel  and  Ceylon.  It  is  sometimes 
employed  in  cases  of  paralysis,  and  is  much  used  as  a 
poison  for  rats  and  mice.  Strychnine  is  not  restricted  to 
the  fruit  of  the  nux  vomica  but  occurs  in  the  wood.  The 
proportion  of  the  alkaloid  varies  from  \  to  \  Per  cent. 

IX. — Miscellaneous  Medicinal  Products. 

Aloes  {Aloe  Socotrina ,  Tournef. ;  natural  order,  Liliacece). 
— This  drug  is  the  bitter,  resinous,  inspissated  or  thickened 
juice  which  is  obtained  from  the  leaves  of  various  species 
of  arborescent  aloes  growing  in  tropical  climates.  The 


27  2 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


species  belong  to  the  lily  family,  and  have  very  large 
succulent  leaves.  The  leaves  are  cut  off  close  to  the  stem, 
and  so  placed  that  the  juice  is  drained  from  them  into  tubs ; 
this  juice  is  then  boiled  until  it  acquires  the  consistence  of 
honey,  and  poured  into  gourds  or  calabashes,  when  it 
hardens  into  a  black  compact  substance,  having  an  aromatic 
smell  and  an  exceedingly  bitter  taste. 

There  are  four  principal  varieties  of  aloes  in  commerce ; 
i.  Socotrine  Aloes ,  the  best,  produced  by  the  above-named 
species,  and  so  called  from  the  island  of  Socotra,  on  the 
south  coast  of  Arabia,  in  the  Indian  Ocean.  Hardly  any¬ 
thing  is  known  with  certainty  either  of  the  methods  or  the 
localities  of  manufacture  of  this  superior  variety  of  the 
aloes.  2.  Barbados  Aloes — of  a  very  fine  quality,  produced 
by  Aloe  vulgaris ,  which  is  indigenous  to  the  English  island 
of  Barbados,  and  also  to  Jamaica,  Arabia,  and  the  east  coast 
of  Africa.  The  Barbados  aloes  are  imported  from  Barbados 
or  Jamaica,  usually  in  gourds  weighing  from  sixty  to  seventy 
pounds,  but  sometimes  in  boxes  holding  about  half  a 
hundredweight.  3.  Cape  Aloes — very  inferior,  which  is  the 
product  of  Aloe  spicata ;  raised  in  large  quantities  at  the 
Cape  of  Good  Hope,  and  brought  over  in  chests  and  skins, 
the  latter  being  preferred.  4.  Caballine  or  Horse  Aloes. 
This  is  the  poorest  kind ;  it  is  generally  the  refuse  of  the 
Barbados  aloes,  and,  from  its  very  rank  and  fetid  smell,  can 
only  be  used  in  veterinary  medicine. 

Liquorice  (Glycyrrhiza glabra,  L. ;  natural  order,  Legumi- 
nosce). — This  is  a  perennial  plant,  having  long  yellow 
fibrous  roots  running  deeply  into  the  ground,  with  an 
herbaceous  stem  four  to  five  feet  in  height.  Liquorice  is 
a  native  of  Italy,  Spain,  Sicily,  and  the  southern  parts  of 
Europe ;  but  it  has  been  successfully  cultivated  in  England, 
even  from  the  reign  of  Queen  Elizabeth,  especially  at 
Pontefract  in  Yorkshire,  and  Mitcham  in  Surrey.  The 


MEDICINAL  PRODUCTS. 


273 


greatest  portion  of  our  supplies  of  that  extract  of  the  root 
which  forms  the  common  liquorice  of  the  shops,  is  obtained 
from  the  Spanish  provinces  of  Arragon,  Catalonia,  and 
Valencia.  The  juice,  procured  from  the  root  by  compres¬ 
sion  in  a  mill,  is  boiled  slowly  until  it  becomes  of  the  proper 
consistence,  and  is  then  made  into  sticks  or  bars  from  six 
to  eight  inches  long,  which  are  usually  covered  with  bay 
leaves,  and  imported  under  the  name  of  Spanish  juice. 
Liquorice  in  the  form  of  paste,  or  of  the  root  itself,  is  in 
common  use  as  an  emollient  in  catarrh  or  cough  ;  the  root 
is  also  much  used  by  brewers  in  the  manufacture  of  porter. 
Solazzi  or  Italian  juice  is  the  best. 

Ipecacuanha  ( Cephalis  ipecacuanha,  Rich. ;  natural  order, 
Cinchonacece). — This  is  a  perennial  plant  growing  in  Brazil, 
about  five  or  six  inches  high.  The  roots  are  several  inches 
long,  contorted,  greyish  brown,  annulated,  and  about  the 
thickness  of  a  goose  quill.  The  root  of  this  plant  affords 
a  very  important  emetic  medicine.  It  is  imported  from 
Rio  Janeiro  in  bales,  barrels,  and  bags.  There  are  several 
varieties  of  ipecacuanha.  Its  growth  has  been  encouraged 
in  India,  whereby  our  supplies  have  been  considerably 
augmented. 

Rhubarb  [Rheum palmatum  ;  natural  order,  Polygonacecc). 
— This  well-known  purgative  is  the  root  of  different  species 
of  Rheum  growing  in  Tartary  and  other  parts  of  Asia. 
There  are  two  sorts,  viz.,  Russian  or  Turkey  rhubarb,  which 
is  brought  by  the  Chinese  to  Kyachta,  and  there  cleaned 
and  sent  on  to  Moscow  and  St.  Petersburg ;  and  the  East 
Indian  or  Chinese  rhubarb,  which  is  shipped  from  Canton 
to  Europe.  The  plant  is  a  perennial,  resembling  our  garden 
rhubarb  but  of  a  larger  size.  Our  knowledge  of  the  pro¬ 
duction  and  preparation  of  rhubarb  for  the  market  by 
the  Chinese  is  meagre.  The  root  is  dug  up  in  autumn, 

when  the  vitality  of  the  plant  is  in  the  decline,  then  cleaned, 

1.  s 


274 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


cut  in  pieces,  and  strung  up  for  drying,  either  by  the  sun 
and  air,  or  by  artificial  heat.  The  pieces,  which  are  sorted 
into  round  and  flat  rhubarb,  are  often  pierced  with  a  hole 
with  the  remains  of  the  string  used  to  suspend  them.  To 
give  the  drug  a  bright  appearance  a  brownish-yellow  powder 
is  dusted  over  the  pieces.  The  cultivation  of  the  root  has 
been  pursued  with  some  enthusiasm  in  Europe,  but  the 
produce  commands  a  low  price.  As  a  drug  rhubarb  is  a 
bitter  astringent,  and  purgative,  with  an  odour  regarded 
as  very  disagreeable. 

Muscovitic  or  Crown  rhubarb,  once  known  as  Turkey 
rhubarb,  long  enjoyed  the  highest  reputation,  but  has 
become  a  thing  of  the  past,  from  the  unsparing  supervision 
of  Russia  over  the  Chinese  drug.  The  name  of  Turkey 
rhubarb  has  been  retained  for  all  that  now  comes  through 
Russia. 

Jalap  ( Exogonium  purga ;  natural  order,  Convolvulacece). 
— This  valuable  purgative  medicine  derives  its  name  from 
Xalapa  in  Mexico,  where  it  is  very  abundant.  It  is  a  hand¬ 
some  climbing  convolvulaceous  plant  with  delicate  pink 
flowers  and  a  tuberose  root.  The  tubers,  varying  in  size 
from  a  walnut  to  an  orange,  are  dark  umber-brown  in  colour, 
and  much  wrinkled.  A  Tampico  variety  of  jalap  also  enters 
into  commerce,  though  not  equal  to  other  kinds. 

Chamomile  ( 'AntJiemis  nobilis ,  L. ;  natural  order,  Compo¬ 
sites). — This  is  a  well-known  perennial  plant,  not  unfrequent 
on  dry,  gravelly,  or  sandy  heaths,  and  in  the  pastures  of 
this  country.  The  whole  plant  is  intensely  bitter,  and  an 
infusion  of  its  flowers  has  long  been  esteemed  as  a  tonic 
and  stomachic,  and  used  as  an  ingredient  in  fomentations. 
This  plant  is  cultivated  in  England,  and  the  flowers  sold  by 
druggists  are  the  produce  of  the  cultivated  variety.  Chamo¬ 
mile  flowers  are  also  largely  imported  from  France,  Holland, 
and  Germany. 


MEDICINAL  PRODUCTS. 


275 


Sarsaparilla  (Smi/ax  officinalis;  natural  order,  Smi- 
lacece). — Sarsaparilla  is  the  produce  of  several  woody  climb¬ 
ing  plants  inhabiting  swampy  forests  and  ascending  lofty 
trees  by  the  strong  tendrils  which  spring  from  the  petiole 
of  the  leaf.  The  plant  springs  from  a  woody  rhizome  or 
under-ground  stem,  often  as  much  as  ten  feet  long. 
Annulated  roots,  abounding  more  or  less  in  starch,  proceed 
from  this  stem,  and  constitute  the  sarsaparilla  of  commerce. 
The  thick,  knotty,  rhizome  of  the  medicinal  species  of 
Smilax  is  called  by  the  druggists  chump ,  and  the  long, 
fleshy,  horizontal  roots  therefrom  are  clothed  with  thread¬ 
like  branching  rootlets  technically  known  as  beard.  Dry 
sarsaparilla  has  little  or  no  smell,  but  a  large  decoction  of 
the  drug  gives  off  a  very  perceptible  odour.  Jamaica, 
whence  so  much  sarsaparilla  is  exported,  produces  but  little  ; 
the  article  known  as  Jamaica  sarsaparilla  being  merely 
exported  from  the  Spanish  main  for  re-shipment.  Sarsa¬ 
parilla  is  imported  in  bales,  and  is  known  in  the  market  as 
Lisbon  or  Brazilian,  Honduras,  Mexican,  and  Jamaica  or 
red  sarsaparilla,  of  which  the  last  is  the  most  preferred. 

Sarsaparilla  is  now  regarded  as  a  powerful  alterative 
medicine  in  cases  of  physical  debility.  Its  usefulness  is 
daily  manifested  in  the  public  hospitals,  in  cases  of  broken- 
down  constitutions,  so  common  to  the  class  of  patients  by 
whom  those  establishments  are  frequented.  It  is  chiefly 
used  in  rheumatic  and  cutaneous  diseases.  A  concen¬ 
trated  liquid  extract  and  a  syrup  are  now  prepared,  which 
are  the  best  forms  under  which  it  can  be  taken.  Some 
authorities  nevertheless  deny  to  the  drug  any  remedial 
powers. 

Senna  ( Cassia  acutifolia  and  C.  augustifolia ;  natural 
order,  Leguminosce). — The  senna  leaves  of  commerce  and 
medicine  are  afforded  by  the  two  species  of  Cassia  named 
above ;  both  small  shrubs  with  simple  abruptly  pinnate 


276  THE  NA  TURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 

leaves,  and  yellow  flowers,  growing  in  tropical  Asia  and 
Africa.  True  senna  leaves  may  be  recognised  by  their 
oblique  lower  edges,  and  the  inequality  of  their  insertion 
into  the  foot-stalk  ;  their  odour  is  very  faint,  and  their  taste 
is  sweetish  and  nauseous.  The  following  varieties  are  met 
with  : — 

Alexandrian  Senna  (C.  augustifolia)  grows  in  Upper 
Egypt  and  Arabia.  The  harvest  commences  in  September. 
The  branches  of  the  shrub  are  cut,  collected  into  bundles, 
dried  in  the  sun,  and  then  threshed  until  the  leaves  are 
separated  from  them.  This  process  breaks  the  branches, 
and  the  leaves  thus  become  mixed  with  portions  of  twigs. 
The  senna  leaves  so  obtained  are  then  put  into  sacks 
and  conveyed  to  the  Nile,  and  carried  down  the  river  to 
Cairo  and  Alexandria.  There  they  are  unpacked,  sorted, 
and  repacked  in  large  bales,  ready  for  the  market. 

Alexandrian  senna  formerly  arrived  in  a  very  mixed  and 
dirty  state  ;  but  of  late  it  has  been  shipped  of  such  quality 
that  no  question  can  be  raised  of  its  superiority  to  every 
other  kind  brought  to  European  markets. 

Tinnevelly  Senna  ( Cassia  augustifolia ),  is  cultivated  in 
India,  but  originated  in  Arabia  and  Africa.  The  leaves  are 
longer  and  thinner  than  the  rigid  Alexandrian  variety, 
yellowish  green,  with  the  fragrance  of  tea,  and  barely  any 
flavour  unless  made  into  a  decoction. 

Arabian,  Mocha ,  Bombay ,  or  East  Indian  Senna ,  from 
the  same  species  of  shrub,  is  shipped  from  the  Red  Sea 
ports  of  Arabia  to  Bombay,  whence  it  reaches  Europe. 
It  is  an  inferior  senna,  dried  with  little  care,  though  not 
adulterated,  and  its  value  occasionally  goes  down  to  a 
farthing  a  pound.  Senna  is  a  popular  drug,  and  the  con¬ 
serve  is  in  much  request. 


MISCELLANEOUS  COMMERCIAL  PLANTS. 


277 


X.  Miscellaneous  Plants  of  Commercial  Value. 

Vegetable  Ivory — Corozo  Nuts  ( Phytelephas  macro - 
carpa  ;  natural  order,  Phytelephantece). — The  Phytelephas , 
twenty  feet  in  height,  resembles  a  dwarf  palm,  with  a  majestic 
tuft  of  pinnate  leaves ;  it  is  a  native  of  the  low  valleys 
of  South  America  between  90  N.  and  8°  S.  latitude,  and 
between  70°  and  790  W.  longitude.  Its  nuts  are  en¬ 
closed  in  a  large  capsule  about  the  size  of  a  man’s  head, 
and,  owing  to  the  shortness  of  the  stem,  often  rest  on  the 
ground.  The  albumen  of  the  nut  is  “at  first  a  clear  in¬ 
sipid  fluid,  with  which  travellers  allay  their  thirst ;  afterwards 
this  same  liquor  becomes  milky  and  sweet,”  consolidating 
by  degrees  till  it  becomes  as  white  and  hard  as  ivory. 
The  nuts  themselves,  under  the  name  of  Corozo  nuts, 
are  imported  in  large  quantities,  being  used  by  turners 
in  making  a  vast  variety  of  trinkets  and  articles  to  imitate 
ivory,  the  texture  and  whiteness  of  which  they  maintain  for 
a  time,  but  then  deteriorate  and  become  discoloured. 

Coquilla  Nut  ( Attalea  funifera ;  natural  order,  Pul- 
macece). — This  is  the  fruit  of  a  South  and  Central  American 
palm.  It  is  a  nut  of  not  more  than  three  inches  in  length 
and  two  in  breadth,  and  is  completely  solid,  excepting  a 
small  cavity  in  the  centre,  in  which  the  seed  is  deposited. 
The  shell  is,  therefore,  very  thick,  and  it  is  also  very  hard, 
taking  a  fine  black  polish.  Coquilla  nuts  are  used  chiefly 
by  ornamental  turners  for  the  production  of  small  knob 
handles  for  cabinet  drawers,  parasol  and  umbrella  handles, 
chessmen,  rings,  brooches,  and  small  toys.  The  same  palm 
affords  piassaba  fibre. 

Marking  Nut  ( Semecarpus  a?iacardium ;  natural  order, 
Anacardiacece). — A  native  of  the  East  Indies.  This  nut, 
somewhat  of  a  heart  shape,  has  an  exterior  covering 
formed  of  two  laminae,  between  which  is  a  caustic  bitter 


278  THE  NA  TURAL  HIS  TOR  Y  OF  COMMERCE. 

juice  or  pulp  staining  an  indelible  black,  much  used  as  a 
black  varnish,  as  well  as  for  marking  linen,  whence  its 
name  of  Marking  Nut.  The  colour  is  improved  and  pre¬ 
vented  from  running  by  mixing  with  lime  water. 

Tonquin  Bean  (. Dipterix  odor  at  a  ;  natural  order,  Legu- 
minosce). — These  beans  are  chiefly  found  in  Cochin  China, 
and  exported  from  Tonquin.  The  seeds  of  the  Tonga  or 
Tonka  tree,  a  native  of  Guiana,  are  used,  under  the  same 
name,  to  impart  fragrance  to  snuffs. 

Orris  Root  {Iris  Florentina  ;  natural  order,  Iridacece). — 
This  plant  is  a  native  of  Italy,  and  cultivated  in  gardens. 
Orris  root  is  used  as  an  ingredient  in  tooth  powders,  and 
in  the  perfumed  preparation  of  wheat  starch  called  violet 
powder,  as  well  as  in  hair  powder,  articles  of  perfumery, 
and  in  flavouring  liqueurs. 

Crabs’  Eyes  {Abrus  precatorius ;  natural  order,  Legn- 
minosce). — This  is  a  pretty  climbing  plant,  a  native  of  the 
West  Indies.  Its  seeds  are  bright  scarlet,  jet  black  round 
the  hilum,  and  very  handsome.  Coral  beans  are  used  by 
the  native  druggists  and  jewellers  as  weights,  being  almost 
uniformly  one  grain.  They  are  strung  together  for  neck¬ 
laces  and  rosaries,  as  are  the  crabs’  eyes,  and  a  fancy 
obtains  that  they  are  a  useful  medical  drug  in  cases  of 
ophthalmia. 

Cork  Oak  {Quercus  sube r). — This  tree  closely  resembles 
the  Quercus  ilex ,  L.,  or  evergreen  oak,  so  well  known  in 
English  shrubberies.  It  is  indigenous  to  the  mountainous 
regions  of  Spain,  Portugal,  and  the  South  of  France.  It 
grows  from  thirty  to  forty  feet  high,  and  from  two  to  three 
feet  in  diameter.  Spain  and  Portugal  supply  the  greatest 
portion  of  the  cork  which  is  used  in  Europe  ;  abundant  sup¬ 
plies  are  also  received  from  the  South  of  France  at  the  foot 
of  the  Pyrenees,  the  islands  of  Sardinia  and  Corsica,  and 
the  forests  of  Algeria. 


MISCELLANEOUS  COMMERCIAL  PLANTS. 


279 


When  this  tree  is  about  five  years  of  age,  the  cork,  which 
composes  the  greater  part  of  its  bark,  begins  to  increase  in  a 
very  remarkable  manner.  Nearly  all  its  vegetative  activity 
seems  to  be  concentrated  on  this  part,  which  grows  unusually 
large,  thick,  and  spongy.  If  left  on  the  tree  it  becomes 
cracked  and  so  deeply  fissured  that  it  is  unfit  for  use.  It  is 
therefore  removed  before  this  happens.  Its  removal  does 
not  injure,  but  is  beneficial  to  the  tree,  for  if  the  cork  is 
allowed  to  remain  on  its  stem,  the  cork-oak  seldom  lives 
longer  than  fifty  or  sixty  years ;  if,  on  the  contrary,  it  is 
removed,  the  tree  flourishes  sometimes  for  upwards  of  150 
years.  After  the  tree  is  thirty  years  old,  its  cork  may  be 
removed  at  intervals  of  from  six  to  ten  years.  The  first  crop 
of  cork  is  generally  inferior  in  quality,  and  is  principally 
used  for  making  floats  for  fishing  nets.  The  crops  are 
usually  gathered  in  the  months  of  July  and  August.  Two 
opposite  longitudinal  incisions  into  the  bark  are  made  the 
whole  length  of  the  stem,  and  then  several  transverse  ones 
about  three  feet  apart.  The  bark  is  now  beaten  to  separate 
it  from  the  subjacent  liber,  and  detached  in  cylindrical 
pieces  by  inserting  under  it  the  handle  of  the  instrument, 
which  is  curved  and  made  thin  at  its  extremity  for  this 
purpose.  In  effecting  this  removal  great  care  is  taken  not 
to  injure  the  newly-formed  suber  or  cork — viz.,  the  living 
layer  of  cork  beneath.  After  barking,  the  pieces  of  cork  are 
slightly  charred  to  close  the  pores,  then  loaded  with  weights 
to  flatten  them,  and  finally  stacked  in  square  masses  in  some 
dry  place,  where  they  remain  for  two  or  three  months.  In 
drying  they  lose  about  one-fifth  of  their  weight. 

Only  when  the  trees  are  forty  or  fifty  years  old  is  the 
bark  sufficiently  matured  for  making  good  corks.  This 
substance  is  valuable  for  bottle  corks,  because  it  is  light, 
porous,  compressible,  and  sufficiently  elastic  to  adapt  itself 
to  the  neck  of  a  bottle.  It  can  be  cut  into  any  shape,  and, 


280 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


notwithstanding  its  porosity,  is  impervious  to  any  common 
liquid.  These  qualities  make  it  superior  to  all  other  sub¬ 
stances  as  a  stoppering  for  bottles,  for  which  it  is  principally 
used.  Corks  are  made  as  follows  : — 

The  cork  is  first  cut  into  slips,  which  by  means  of  a 
gauge  are  made  narrow  or  wide,  according  to  the  size  of  the 
corks  or  bungs  ordered ;  these  slips  are  then  cut  into 
squares  of  the  required  length,  which  are  cut  circularly  with  a 
knife  by  the  hand,  and  thrown  into  a  basket.  Cork-cutting 
in  Catalonia  and  the  South  of  France  is  a  branch  of  manual 
labour  which  furnishes  a  livelihood  for  a  considerable  por¬ 
tion  of  the  population.  Several  attempts  have  been  made 
to  cut  corks  by  machinery,  but  they  have  hitherto  failed  to 
supersede  hand  labour. 

Cork  is  largely  manufactured  into  soles  for  boots  and 
shoes.  Cork  legs,  hat  frames,  mattresses,  bolsters,  life-pre¬ 
servers,  and  life-boats  are  also  manufactured  from  cork. 
Coffins  were  made  of  it  by  the  ancient  Egyptians.  Many 
of  the  wealthier  inhabitants  of  Spain  have  their  houses  lined 
with  cork,  which  ensures  the  freedom  of  the  rooms  from 
damp.  Cork,  in  thin  slips,  is  used  by  entomologists  as  a 
lining  to  drawers  and  cabinets  in  which  to  fasten  their 
insect  pins.  Spanish  black  and  a  black  colour  for  painters 
are  made  from  the  calcined  parings  of  cork.  Virgin  cork 
has  come  into  request  for  rustic  decorations  and  window 
gardening. 

Balsa  ( O chroma  Lagopus :  natural  order,  Sterculiacece). 
— The  wood  of  this  tree,  being  soft  and  light  like  cork,  is 
used  for  stopping  bottles.  The  never-sinking  rafts,  which 
at  the  discovery  of  South  America  caused  such  surprise, 
were  constructed  of  it,  and  are  so  still.  This  tree  prevails 
along  the  coasts  of  South  America  and  the  West  Indies. 
The  silky  hair  of  the  capsule  of  this  plant,  as  well  as  that  of 
other  species  of  the  order,  is  employed  for  stuffing  pillows 


MISCELLANEOUS  COMMERCIAL  PLANTS. 


28l 


and  cushions.  Balsa  is  a  curiosity  rather  than  a  constituent 
of  British  commerce. 

Soda  and  Potash,  which  occur  abundantly  in  plants, 
are  important  articles  in  commerce,  and  the  plants  which 
yield  them  are  therefore  deserving  of  notice.  A  large  pro¬ 
portion  of  the  plants  growing  on  sea-coasts  contain  soda, 
whilst  inland  plants  contain  potash.  Various  species  of  Sal- 
sola ,  especially  S.  kali ,  S.  Salicornia ,  and  A.  Kochia ,  furnish 
the  soda  of  commerce.  The  best  soda  comes  to  us  under 
the  name  of  barilla,  which  is,  in  fact,  the  incinerated  ash  of 
Salsola  kali.  This  plant  is  carefully  cultivated  in  the  Spanish 
provinces  of  Murcia,  Valentia,  Carthagena,  Malaga,  and 
Alicant,  which  carry  on  a  considerable  trade  in  the  article. 

“The  seed  is  sown  in  light  soils,  which  are  embanked  to¬ 
wards  the  sea-shore,  and  furnished  with  sluices  for  admitting 
an  occasional  overflow  of  salt  water.  When  the  plants  are 
ripe,  the  crop  is  cut  down  and  dried,  the  seeds  are  rubbed 
out  and  preserved,  and  the  rest  of  the  plant  is  burnt  in  rude 
furnaces,  at  a  temperature  just  sufficient  to  cause  the  ashes 
to  enter  into  a  state  of  semi-fusion,  so  as  to  concrete  on 
cooling  into  cellular  compact  masses.  The  most  valuable 
variety  of  this  article  is  called  sweet  barilla.  It  has  a  greyish- 
blue  colour,  and  becomes  covered  with  a  saline  efflorescence 
when  exposed  for  some  time  to  the  air.  It  is  hard  and 
difficult  to  break ;  when  applied  to  the  tongue  it  excites  a 
pungent  alkaline  taste.”  *  An  inferior  soda  is  made  in 
France,  England,  Ireland,  and  the  Shetlands,  from  sea-weed, 
and  brought  into  commerce  under  the  name  of  kelp.  Large 
revenues  are  derived  by  the  proprietors  of  the  shores  of  the 
Scottish  islands  from  the  incineration  of  sea-weed  by  their 
tenants,  who  usually  pay  their  rent  in  kelp.  Carbonate  of 
soda  is  now  made  from  common  salt  (chloride  of  sodium), 

*“Ure’s  Dictionary  of  Arts,  Manufactures,  and  Mines,”  vol.  iii. 

p.  705. 


282 


THE  NA  TURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


yet  the  burning  of  sea-weed,  & c.,  is  still  largely  followed  for 
the  sake  of  the  iodine  contained  in  the  ashes. 

Potash  is  prepared  for  commerce  by  evaporating  in  iron 
pots  the  lixivium  of  wood-ashes ;  hence  the  name  potash. 
The  potash  in  plants  is  very  soluble  in  water.  If  the  wood- 
ash,  which  is  an  impure  carbonate  of  potash,  be  put  into 
water,  and  quick-lime  be  added  to  the  solution,  the  lime  will 
abstract  the  carbonic  acid  from  the  carbonate  of  potash,  and 
form  an  insoluble  carbonate  of  lime,  which  will  be  precipi¬ 
tated,  and  the  potash  will  be  taken  up  by  the  water,  which 
will  thus  be  rendered  powerfully  alkalinic.  The  lixivium  or 
clear  alkaline  liquor  thus  obtained  is  then  decanted  off,  and 
evaporated  to  dryness  in  iron  pots,  the  residuum  is  calcined 
to  remove  all  organic  matter,  and  the  product  thus  obtained 
forms  the  crude  potash  of  commerce.  The  different  varieties 
of  potash  are  named  either  after  the  locality  in  which  they 
are  produced,  or  the  route  by  which  they  arrive.  Thus  we 
have  American,  Russian,  German,  Illyrian,  Saxon,  Bohe¬ 
mian,  and  Heidelberg  potashes.  When  still  further  purified, 
by  additional  calcination,  potash  is  termed  pearl-ash. 

Potash  can  only  be  obtained  abundantly  in  countries 
where  there  are  vast  natural  forests,  and  where  wood  is  so 
cheap  that  it  only  costs  the  labour  of  felling  and  hauling. 
In  many  parts  of  America,  where  timber  is  an  encumbrance 
on  the  soil,  it  is  felled,  piled  up  in  pyramids,  and  burned, 
solely  with  a  view  to  the  manufacture  of  this  product. 

Potash  is  a  very  considerable  article  of  commerce. 
Russian  produce,  exported  from  St.  Petersburg,  Riga,  and 
Archangel,  exceeds  that  of  any  other  European  state. 
From  Poland,  via  Warsaw  and  Cracow,  and  from  East  and 
West  Prussia,  via  Dantzic  and  Konigsberg,  vast  quantities 
are  exported.  A  third  of  the  large  produce  of  Hungary 
goes  to  supply  the  demand  in  Bavaria  and  Saxony.  The 
Harz  district,  the  forests  of  Thuringia,  and  almost  all  parts 


MISCELLANEOUS  COMMERCIAL  PLANTS.  283 

of  Germany  rich  in  wood,  supply  potash.  In  modern  times, 
however,  it  is  received  in  the  greatest  quantities  from  Canada 
and  the  United  States,  via  Boston  and  New  York. 

Potash  is  largely  consumed  in  the  manufacture  of  glass, 
porcelain,  earthenware,  and  gunpowder ;  in  colour  and 
chemical  manufactories  ;  and  also  in  dyeing  and  bleaching. 

Tinder. — The  internal  spongy  portion  of  several  species 
of  Polyporus ,  soaked  in  a  solution  of  nitre,  forms  tinder. 
The  principal  places  for  the  production  of  this  fuel  are, 
besides  Hungary,  Poland,  Sweden,  and  Alsace,  the  country 
around  Ulm,  Nuremberg,  Augsburg,  and  Frankfurt  in 
Germany.  Germany  supplies  the  French,  English,  and 
Dutch  markets,  and  Sweden  the  countries  around  the  Baltic. 

Fuller’s  Teazel  ( Dipsacus  Fullonum ;  natural  order, 
Dipsacaccce). — This  plant  is  closely  allied  to  the  Compositae, 
and  is  valuable  for  its  large  conical  composite  flower- 
heads,  which  have  hard  stiff  bracts,  the  sharp  awns  of 
which  are  hooked.  These  bracts  remain  after  the  flowers 
have  died,  and  their  points  are  so  admirably  adapted  for 
raising  the  nap  on  woollen  cloth,  that  no  invention  has  yet 
been  found  to  supersede  them.  Many  carding  machines 
have  been  introduced,  but  the  best  clothiers  still  prefer  the 
teazel  for  finishing  their  cloth.  For  this  purpose,  the  conical 
teazel  heads  are  cut  up  into  halves  and  quarters,  and  fixed 
into  a  cylindrical  frame,  with  the  hooked  bracts  outwards, 
which  frame  is  made  to  rotate  over  the  surface  of  the  cloth, 
until  the  little  sharp  hooks  of  the  teazel  have  scratched  up 
the  required  nap.  Teazel  heads,  under  the  name  of  weavers’ 
carders,  are  an  extensive  article  of  commerce,  and  culti¬ 
vated  in  France,  Italy,  Holland,  Germany,  and  the  West 
of  England.  Large  quantities  are  annually  imported  into 
the  United  Kingdom  from  Hamburg  and  Holland.  The 
teazels  are  made  up  into  bundles  for  sale  to  the  clothiers, 
each  bundle  containing  from  9000  to  10,000  heads.  In 


2S4 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


addition  to  our  home  production,  many  million  teazel  heads 
are  annually  imported. 

Rattans  (species  of  Calamus  ;  natural  order,  Palmacecd). 
— These  palms  yield  the  canes  or  rattans  of  commerce.  They 
have  very  long  slender  stems,  with  leaves  at  considerable 
distances  apart,  and  the  climbing  species  reach  the  tops  of 
the  highest  trees  by  means  of  the  powerful  whip-like  pro¬ 
longations  from  the  midribs  of  the  leaves.  The  stems 
contain  a  considerable  amount  of  silex,  which  renders  them 
hard  and  gives  them  a  glossy  appearance.  C.  rudentum 
produces  stems  300  feet  in  length,  which  make  excellent 
ropes  of  immense  strength,  and  as  such  are  used  by  the 
native  Hindoos  in  catching  elephants.  C.  Scipionum  fur¬ 
nishes  the  walking-sticks  known  as  Malacca  canes.  C. 
rotang ,  C.  rudentum ,  C.  verus ,  C.  viminalis ,  and  others 
are  used  in  this  country  for  the  bottoms  of  chairs,  couches, 
and  the  sides  of  carriages,  and  in  India  are  made  into 
baskets,  mats,  hats,  and  other  useful  articles.  They  are 
also  used  as  ropes  and  cables,  in  the  junks  and  coasting 
vessels,  and  take  the  place  of  chains  in  native  suspension 
bridges. 

The  rattans  are  found  in  commerce  in  bundles,  each 
cane  being  once  or  twice  doubled  up  in  order  to  make  the 
bundle  smaller  and  more  compact ;  the  canes  are  very 
seldom  less  than  twelve  or  even  sixteen  feet  in  length. 
Millions  of  canes  or  rattans  are  brought  to  our  markets 
every  year,  in  bundles  of  a  hundred  canes.  Holland  also 
imports  annually  several  million  pieces.  Bengal,  Arracan, 
and  the  Sunda  islands  produce  the  greatest  quantity  of 
rattans,  and  Europe  is  supplied  with  them  via  London, 
Amsterdam,  and  Rotterdam. 

Cultivated  fields  of  waving  canes  are  a  frequent  striking 
sight  in  Italy  and  other  European  states  of  the  Mediter¬ 
ranean.  These  are  another  order  ( Arundo  Donax),  a  giant 


MISCELLANEOUS  COMMERCIAL  PLANTS .  2S5 

grass  or  reed,  of  as  great  an  economic  use  in  their  own 
region  as  the  bamboo  in  the  tropics.  Like  osiers  they 
flourish  in  the  marshes,  and  are  cut  down  in  due  season, 
their  stumps  being  fired  for  ash  to  manure  the  soil,  and 
springing  into  new  shoots  every  year.  For  fuel,  in  countries 
like  Greece,  without  forests,  for  domestic  and  thousands 
of  industrial  purposes,  these  South  European  canes  rank 
as  a  necessary  of  life. 

Bamboo  ( Bambusa  arundinacece ;  natural  order,  Gra - 
minacece). — This  gigantic  tropical  grass  is  extensively  spread 
over  India,  China,  and  Japan.  It  grows  like  a  tree,  shoot¬ 
ing  up  with  great  rapidity  in  two  or  three  months  to  a 
height  of  fifty  or  sixty  feet.  Its  hollow  stems,  which  attain 
a  diameter  of  seven  or  eight  inches,  are  much  used  for 
building  purposes  in  the  countries  where  it  grows,  and  its 
young  shoots  serve  as  walking-canes.  The  Chinese  make 
from  the  inner  bast-like  bark  an  inferior  kind  of  paper. 

Bulrushes  ( Scirpus  lacustris ,  L.  ;  natural  order,  Cype- 
racece.) — The  bulrush,  or  bull-rush,  grows  along  the  margins 
of  rivers,  lakes,  and  ponds,  especially  in  Northern  Europe 
and  the  Netherlands.  This  plant  is  used  in  making  the 
seats  of  rush-bottomed  chairs ;  it  is  also  in  great  demand 
among  coopers,  who  place  it  between  the  staves  of  casks 
intended  to  hold  liquid.  The  pithy  structure  of  the  rush 
induces  the  swelling  of  the  culm,  and  the  interstices 
between  the  staves  are  thus  closed,  and  the  cask  rendered 
water-tight.  Many  vessels  laden  with  this  rush  arrive 
annually  in  England  from  Holland  and  Belgium,  bringing 
thirty  or  forty  tons  of  rushes  each  voyage.  This  is  a  very 
large  quantity  considering  the  lightness  of  the  material. 
Many  tons  of  bulrushes  are  annually  imported  into  the 
United  Kingdom. 

Soft  Rush  ( Juncus  effusus ,  L. ;  natural  order,  Juncacece) 
— The  pith  of  the  common  soft  rush,  as  also  that  of  Jinicus 


236 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


conglomerates ,  is  employed  for  making  the  wicks  of  rush¬ 
lights,  which  continue  to  be  used,  although  not  so  much  as 
formerly. 

In  Japan,  the  manufacture  of  mats,  &c.,  from  rushes,  is 
a  regular  trade.  The  floors  of  their  houses  are  covered 
with  rush  mats  of  great  beauty  and  variety,  and  rush  mats 
are  the  only  carpets  and  beds  used  by  the  Chinese.  A 
light  sort  of  matting  made  of  the  same  material  is  used 
as  a  window  blind.  The  sugar  sent  home  from  the  East 
Indies  is  packed  in  bags  made  of  rush-matting.  The  size 
of  the  Japanese  rush  mats  appears  to  be  regulated  by  law, 
for  they  are  all  of  the  same  magnitude  throughout  the  king¬ 
dom,  the  only  exception  being  the  mats  in  the  imperial 
palace  at  Jeddo.  Rushes  are  also  used  for  chair  bottoms 
and  baskets. 

Dutch  Rush  ( Equisetum  hyemale ,  L. ;  natural  order, 
Equisetacece). — Used  for  polishing  hard  woods,  alabaster, 
marbles,  and  other  substances,  for  which  purpose  it  is  well 
adapted,  by  the  large  quantity  of  silex  which  is  contained 
in  its  cuticle.  The  invention  of  sand  and  emery  papers  in 
modern  times  has,  however,  now  almost  superseded  this 
natural  polisher.  It  is  still  much  used  in  Holland,  where 
it  grows  abundantly  in  low  boggy  ground ;  it  is  found  in 
damp  woods  in  this  country,  but  is  occasionally  imported 
from  Holland. 

Papyrus. — With  the  introduction  of  vellum  and  parch¬ 
ment  the  demand  for  papyrus  as  a  means  of  writing  greatly 
decreased,  and  with  the  invention  of  paper,  its  industrial 
history  ceased.  In  Egypt  proper,  where  it  formerly  was 
produced  in  vast  quantities,  for  its  roots  as  food,  bast  for 
cordage,  mats,  baskets,  and  boats,  as  well  as  for  leaves  as 
a  writing  material,  it  is  now  extinct.  We  need  to  go  to  the 
upper  reaches  of  the  Nile  to  find  it  again  self-grown. 

Papyrus  still  retains  an  economic  value  as  an  ornamental 


MISCELLANEOUS  COMMERCIAL  PLANTS. 


287 


water-plant.  It  flourishes  in  profusion  at  Syracuse  and 
through  Sicily,  whence  all  the  hot-houses  of  Europe  are 
supplied. 

Bast  ( Tilia  Earopcea ;  natural  order,  Tiliacece). — The 
common  linden  or  lime-tree  is  easily  recognised  by  its 
unsymmetrical  leaf,  and  the  curious  bract  to  which  the 
peduncle  or  flower-stem  adheres.  In  Northern  Europe 
and  Russia,  bast  mats,  ropes,  and  twines  are  made  from 
the  inner  fibrous  bark  of  this  tree.  At  the  proper  season 
the  stems  are  cut  longitudinally,  and  the  bark  is  taken  off 
in  long  strips.  The  outer  bark  is  easily  separated  from 
the  inner;  and  the  latter  dried  constitutes  the  bast  of  com¬ 
merce.  This  is  plaited  by  the  Russians  into  mats  from  a 
yard  and  a  half  to  two  yards  square,  which  are  much  used 
by  gardeners  and  upholsterers.  These  mats  are  also  em¬ 
ployed  for  lining  the  holds  of  vessels  intended  to  receive 
corn.  Millions  of  them  are  annually  imported  into  the 
United  Kingdom  from  various  Russian  ports,  but  chiefly 
from  Archangel. 

O  • 


PART  III. 


-M- 


THE  COMMERCIAL  PRODUCTS  OF  THE 
ANIMAL  KINGDOM. 


INTRODUCTORY. 

When  we  analyse  the  incipient  desires  and  efforts  of  the 
human  race,  we  find  them  comprised  under  the  industrial 
heads  of  the  means  of  food,  warmth,  and  rest.  These 
essentials  once  provided,  man’s  intellectual  aspirations  find 
freer  scope,  and  he  rises  in  the  scale  of  intelligence. 

We  have  thus  far  followed  the  laws  of  causation,  and 
classified  for  readier  access  the  knowledge  we  have  gained. 
We  have  sought  other  aid  in  books,  which  are  more  than 
the  embodiment  of  practical  experience :  they  are  the 
pioneers  to  prepare  and  make  ready  the  way  for  future 
generations  to  enter  upon  a  heritage  of  truth  and  wisdom 
when  starting  for  still  higher  knowledge. 

We  must  pursue  the  same  method  of  inquiry  into  the 
phenomena  of  animal  life,  and  systematise  our  researches 
for  easy  reference.  The  great  naturalists  of  the  past  have 
constructed  a  road,  plain  and  pleasant  to  travel,  for  earnest 
students,  with  finger-posts  to  direct,  by  devising  a  “  natu¬ 
ral  system  ”  of  animal  classification.  We  make  use  of 
their  labours  while  studying  the  economics  of  the  animal 


290 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE . 


kingdom.  Taking  the  Classes,  Orders,  Genera,  and  Species, 
our  pursuit  proves  of  boundless  interest.  We  see  the 
structureless  sarcode,  the  first  evolution  of  a  cell,  the  earliest 
and  simplest  life-form,  without  organisation,  yet  possessing 
the  vital  power  to  build  an  axis  or  polypidom,  which  we 
call  a  sponge.  The  sponge  dies  and  petrifies,  and  we 
behold  a  flint,  the  basis  of  pottery  and  glass,  while  of 
scarcely  less  utility  as  “  metal  ”  for  our  highways. 

Some  of  these  mites  of  jelly  are  furnished  with  frustules, 
tests,  sheaths,  or  shells,  which,  as  the  tenants  die,  descend 
in  an  invisible  shower  to  the  bottom  of  the  ocean,  consti¬ 
tuting  a  white  soft  ooze,  mud,  sediment,  or  sea-bed. 
Such  minute  tests  are  beset  with  a  multitude  of  holes  or 
“  foramina  ” — hence  their  names  foraminifera — and  through 
these  foramina  threads  of  sarcose  issue,  as  “  organs  of  pre¬ 
hension  ”  for  obtaining  food.  The  glaze  scraped  from  a 
lady’s  card  reveals,  under  the  microscope,  perfect  sheaths, 
with  markings  so  delicate,  symmetrical,  and  graceful  that 
they  have  been  taken  as  successful  designs  for  our  printed 
cotton-cloths. 

A  stage  forward,  we  light  upon  the  Polyps  proper  :  those 
“  mineral  blossoms  with  animal  functions  ”  which  appear 
to  belong  to  the  three  kingdoms  of  nature,  to  the  perplexity 
of  classification.  Their  fossil  relics,  perpetuated  in  our 
coral  limestones,  furnish  in  the  rocks  and  mountain  masses 
building  materials  in  abundance.  Anemones  of  this  group, 
in  the  floral  loveliness  of  our  aquariums,  are  good  for  food, 
having  the  succulence  and  flavour  of  the  lobster.  Sea 
Urchins  or  hedgehogs  (echinus),  give  a  roe  which  was 
dainty  fare  with  Roman  epicures,  and  is  still  eaten  along 
the  Mediterranean.  In  the  waters  of  this  sea  are  the 
“fisheries”  for  those  “barked”  corals  whose  dense, 
silicious,  coloured  axes  support  a  gelatinous  or  fleshy  polyp- 
home  for  the  little  workers. 


THE  ANIMAL  KINGDOM. 


291 


If  in  these,  the  humblest  examples  from  the  realms  of 
animal  life,  economic  uses  and  values  are  found,  much 
more  shall  we  meet  in  the  higher  classes  subservience  to 
human  requirements.  Every  division  of  the  great  Annulose 
Class  provides  some  serviceable  commodity.  We  may 
barely  refer  to  the  succulent  flesh  of  the  Crustacea ;  the 
lustrous  softness  of  the  silkworm’s  web,  rendered  still  more 
attractive  by  the  pigments  of  the  kermes,  lac,  cochineal,  and 
other  scale  insects  ;  the  double  tribute  of  wax  and  honey 
from  the  bee ;  the  medical  value  of  the  blister-fly  (Cantha- 
rides),  as  also  of  the  leech.  We  may  add  to  these  the 
service  to  husbandry  from  the  indirect  tillage  of  the  common 
earthworm,  which  Darwin  states  to  be  of  greater  effect  than 
that  of  all  the  coral  reef  builders  combined  on  the  trans¬ 
formations  of  the  earth’s  crust. 

In  a  sense  repugnant  to  cultivated  tastes,  insects  regarded 
as  noxious  or  loathsome  possess  economic  uses.  Locusts, 
whose  dense  clouds  darken  the  sky,  and  on  the  soil  destroy 
every  germ  of  herbage,  are,  in  turn,  gathered  by  bushels, 
strung  on  strings,  and  sold  in  the  markets  of  the  East. 

Rising  to  the  Molluscs,  one  reaches  a  region  of  such 
direct  and  definite  utility  that  we  forego  general  description 
to  dwell  upon  details,  and,  in  a  progressive  degree,  through 
the  entire  sub-kingdom  of  the  Vertebrates. 

Zoological  Classification. 

Recent  naturalists  have  modified  Zoological  classification. 
Research  has  proved  the  divergent  groups  of  birds  and 
reptiles  to  be  structurally  allied.  Unlike  in  habits,  powers, 
and  appearance,  so  many  affinities  and  transitional  forms 
exist  that  the  two  sections  are  now  included  in  one  primary 
Class  of  Sauropsida. 

In  the  Invertebrate  division  the  term  Radiata  or 
Zoophyta  has  been  abandoned.  Science  has  determined 


292 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


the  accurate  place  of  the  Orders,  some  among  the  Protozoa, 
others  with  the  Annulosa,  a  few  with  the  Mollusca,  the 
mass  being  left  to  form  a  new  Class  of  Coelenterata ,  dis¬ 
tinguished  by  the  possession  of  urticating  or  stinging  cells 
and  threads,  as  exemplified  in  the  Jelly-Fishes  or  Sea 
Fettles  and  in  the  Anemones  of  our  aquariums. 

This  precision,  interesting  and  useful  in  a  scientific  point 
of  view,  needs  not  to  affect  the  economic  purpose  of  our 
inquiries.  We  may,  therefore,  rest  satisfied  with  a  brief 
reference  to  the  facts,  while  availing  ourselves  of  the  older 
and  more  popular  nomenclature. 

I.  Vertebrata  (Latin,  verto ,  I  turn),  or  turning  animals, 
having  the  central  portion  of  the  nervous  system,  or  the 
brain  and  spinal  cord,  enclosed,  the  former  in  a  cavity 
called  the  cranium  or  skull,  and  the  latter  in  a  canal  com¬ 
posed  of  a  succession  of  united  vertebrae,  or  bony  segments, 
or,  as  in  some  fishes,  of  cartilage. 

The  vertebrated  animals  are  arranged  in  five  classes  : — 

1.  Mammalia  (Latin,  mannna,  a  teat).  Animals  which 
possess  mammary  glands  and  suckle  their  young,  bringing 
them  forth  alive.  Examples  :  the  monkey,  ox,  seal,  elephant, 
and  whale. 

2.  Aves  (Latin,  avis,  a  bird).  Oviparous  vertebrated 
animals  covered  with  feathers  and  organised  for  flight. 
Examples  :  the  ostrich,  swan,  pheasant,  and  eagle. 

3.  Reptilia  (Latin,  repo,  to  creep).  Cold-blooded  verte¬ 
brated  animals,  covered  with  scales  or  hard  bony  plates,  ter¬ 
restrial  or  aquatic,  air-breathing,  and  endowed  with  extraordi¬ 
nary  powers  of  endurance  under  abstinence  or  against  bodily 
injury.  Examples:  the  turtle,  snake,  crocodile,  and  lizard. 

4.  Amphibia  (Greek,  amphibios),  otherwise  Batrachia. 
Fish-like  in  the  early  period  of  their  existence,  breathing 
exclusively  by  gills,  and  having  a  two-chambered  heart, 
finally  acquiring  lungs  and  a  three-chambered  heart,  losing 


MAMMALIAN  PRODUCTS. 


293 


wholly  or  partially  their  piscine  character,  and  becoming 
more  or  less  terrestrial.  Examples  :  the  frog,  toad,  and 
proteus. 

5.  Pisces  (Latin,  piscis ,  a  fish).  Oviparous  vertebrated 
animals  having  a  branchial  respiration,  a  covering  of  scales, 
and  an  organisation  for  life  in  the  water.  Examples  :  the 
sturgeon,  cod,  and  herring. 

II.  Invertebrata,  animals  destitute  of  a  cranium  or 
skull  and  a  vertebral  column. 

The  invertebrated  animals  comprise  four  sub-kingdoms  : — 

1.  Mollusca  (Latin,  mollis ,  soft),  or  soft-bodied  animals, 
popularly  known  as  shell-fish.  Examples  :  the  oyster,  pearl- 
oyster,  and  mussel. 

2.  Anmdosa  (Latin,  annulus ,  a  ring),  or  ringed  animals. 
Examples  :  crabs,  leeches,  and  insects. 

3.  Coelenterata  (Greek,  ccelos,  hollow,  and  enteron ,  an 
intestine),  or  hollow-intestined  animals.  Examples :  the 
sea-anemone  and  red  coral. 

4.  Protozoa  (Greek,  protos ,  first,  and  zoon,  animal),  or 
first  animals.  Example  :  the  common  sponge. 

PRODUCTS  OF  THE  CLASS  MAMMALIA. 

This  class  comprises  twelve  orders,  viz : — 

1.  Bimana  (Latin,  bis,  twice,  and  mantis ,  the  hand),  or 
two-handed  animals.  Example  :  man. 

2.  Quadrumana  (Latin,  quatnor ,  four),  or  four-handed 
animals.  Example  :  the  monkey. 

3.  Cheiroptera  (Greek,  cheir ,  the  hand,  and  pteron ,  a 
wing),  or  hand-winged  animals.  Example  :  the  bat. 

4.  Insectivora  (Latin,  insecta ,  insects,  and  voro ,  I  de¬ 
vour),  insect-eaters.  Examples :  the  hedgehog,  mole,  and 
shrew. 

5.  Carnivora  (Latin,  caro ,  carnis ,  flesh),  Flesh-eaters. 
Examples  :  the  lion,  tiger,  fox,  and  ermine. 


294  THE  NATURAL  history  of  commerce. 

6.  Cetacea  (Greek,  ketos ,  a  whale),  or  whale-like  animals. 
Examples  :  the  whale  and  porpoise. 

7.  Pachydermata  (Greek,  pachus ,  thick,  and  derma ,  skin), 
or  thick-skinned  animals.  Examples  :  the  elephant,  horse, 
and  pig. 

8.  Ruminantia  (Latin,  ruminare ,  to  ruminate),  rumi¬ 
nating  animals.  Examples  :  the  stag,  ox,  and  sheep. 

9.  Edentata  (Latin,  edentatus ,  without  teeth),  toothless 
animals.  Examples  :  the  sloth  and  armadillo. 

10.  Rodentia  (Latin,  rodere ,  to  gnaw),  gnawing  animals. 
Examples :  the  squirrel,  rat,  rabbit,  and  hare. 

11.  Marsupialia  (Latin,  marsupium ,  a  pouch),  or  pouched 
animals.  Examples  :  the  kangaroo,  opossum. 

12.  Monotremata  (signifying  with  one  orifice  or  outlet), 
beaked,  non-placental  mammals.  Examples  :  the  mountain 
porcupine  ( echidna )  and  duck-mole  of  Australia. 

The  mammalia,  living  or  dead,  supply  us  with  food  in 
the  forms  of  flesh  and  milk ;  also  with  fur,  wool,  skins, 
hides,  horns,  hair,  hoofs,  fats,  oils,  bone,  and  ivory.  In 
the  horse  and  other  quadrupeds  every  part  is  available. 
Leather  is  made  from  the  skin  ;  the  hair  is  manufactured 
into  hair-cloth  and  bags  for  crushing  seed  in  oil-mills ;  the 
flesh  furnishes  food  for  dogs,  poultry,  and  even  men ;  the 
intestines,  a  covering  for  sausages ;  glue  and  gelatine  are 
formed  from  the  tendons ;  knife-handles  and  phosphorus 
from  the  bones;  and  buttons  and  snuff-boxes  from  the 
hoofs. 

I.— FURS. 

We  derive  furs  from  all  the  orders  of  the  mammalia, 
with  but  three  marked  exceptions.  Man  and  the  whales 
are  the  only  nude  or  smooth-skinned  animals.  Carnivora 
and  Rodentia  principally  supply  the  market  with  furs.  All 
our  furs,  both  home  and  foreign,  are  either  felted  or  dressed. 
Felted  furs  are  used  in  the  manufacture  of  hats ;  dressed 


J I  A  MM  A  LI  AN  PROD  UC  TS :  F  URS. 


295 


furs  as  garments  and  robes.  Fur  is  one  of  the  most  perfect 
non-conductors  of  heat,  and  if  properly  prepared,  makes 
the  most  comfortable  clothing  that  can  be  worn  in  cold 
climates.  We  find  the  animals  there  provided  by  Nature 
with  fur  for  their  own  protection,  and  man  has  adopted  it 
as  the  most  suitable  clothing  for  himself.  Before  beinsr 
“  worked”  or  prepared,  the  skins  are  called  peltry. 

The  hunter  strips  off  the  skin,  and  hangs  it  up  to  dry, 
either  in  the  open  air  or  in  a  warm  room.  If  the  skin  is 
well  dried  and  properly  packed,  it  may  be  sent  to  any  dis¬ 
tance  in  good  condition ;  but  if  any  moisture  is  left  in  the 
skin,  or  if  it  becomes  exposed  to  damp  on  the  voyage, 
putrefaction  ensues,  the  hair  falls  off,  and  it  is  unfit  for  use 
by  the  furrier.  A  minute  examination  of  the  skins  received 
is  the  first  thing  done  ;  the  grease  is  removed  by  steeping 
them  in  a  liquid  containing  bran,  alum,  and  salt,  and  by 
washing  and  scouring  them ;  and  the  oil  is  extracted  from 
the  fur  with  soap  and  soda.  By  subsequent  treatment,  each 
skin  is  “ worked”  and  converted  into  thin  leather.  It  is 
now  washed  in  clean  water  and  dried,  and  is  ready  to  be 
made  up  into  articles  of  dress. 

Felting  is  a  process  by  which  the  different  kinds  of  hair 
and  wool  are  interlaced  or  intertwined,  so  as  to  form  a  close 
compact  texture  or  mat.  The  felting  capabilities  of  fur 
depend  on  the  peculiar  structure  of  the  hair.  Hair  cap¬ 
able  of  felting  has  its  surface  covered  with  serratures,  which 
may  be  seen  with  the  microscope;  and  the  felting  consists 
in  simply  entangling  these  serratures  and  matting  the  hairs 
together.  Hair  which  is  devoid  of  this  barbed  structure 
will  not  felt. 

Felting  furs  are  confined  to  few  animals,  such  as  the  hare, 
rabbit,  beaver,  and  the  nutria  or  coypu  rat,  which  have  two 
kinds  of  hair :  a  long  and  coarse  kind,  forming  their  visible 
external  covering,  which  does  not  felt ;  and  a  shorter,  finer, 


296  THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 

and  more  abundant  kind,  called  the  fur,  which  lies  close  to 
the  skin,  and  felts  easily.  When  the  skins  are  intended  to 
be  felted,  these  long  hairs  are  removed,  either  by  being 
plucked  out  or  by  very  careful  shearing.  In  the  case  of  the 
beaver  and  rabbit,  the  long  hair  is  pulled  out  with  a  short 
knife,  the  thumb  of  the  operator  being  protected  by  a  leather 
shield.  The  long  hairs,  of  no  use  to  the  hatter,  are  sold 
for  stuffing  chairs.  The  fur  used  to  be  cut  from  the  skin 
in  a  light  fleecy  mass,  and  the  flocks  were  tossed  about  by 
the  strokes  of  a  vibrating  string  or  bow,  until  matted  to¬ 
gether  into  a  thin  sheet  of  soft  spongy  felt ;  a  second  sheet 
wras  pressed  upon  it,  and  then  a  third,  until  the  required 
degree  of  strength  and  thickness  of  felt  was  obtained. 
Felting  is  now  much  more  rapidly  accomplished  by  the 
felting  and  forming  machine.  The  following  are  the  most 
important  of  the  fur-bearing  animals  : — 

Quadrumana. 

The  chief  monkey-furs  are  those  obtained  from  the  howlers , 
the  largest  of  the  New  World  monkeys.  They  are  made 
up  into  muffs. 

Carnivora. 

Next  to  the  monkeys,  the  Carnivora  are  the  most  closely 
allied  to  man  in  organisation.  Naturalists  have  divided 
them  according  to  their  mode  of  progression,  which  depends 
on  certain  peculiarities  in  the  structure  of  their  feet,  into 
three  leading  groups  : — 

1.  The  Digitigradce,  or  finger-walkers  (Latin,  digitus ,  a 
finger,  and  gradior ,  I  walk),  from  their  habit  of  walking  on 
their  toes.  Examples  :  the  lion,  tiger,  and  cat. 

2.  Plantigrades ,  or  sole-walkers  (Latin,  planta ,  the  sole 
of  the  foot),  because  applying  the  whole  or  the  greater  part 
of  the  sole  to  the  ground  when  walking.  Examples  :  the 
bear,  raccoon,  wolverine,  and  badger. 


MAMMALIAN  PRODUCTS:  FURS.  297 

3.  Pinnigradce ,  or  fin-walkers  (Latin,  pinna ,  a  fin  or 
feather),  having  their  feet  well  adapted  for  progression 
through  the  water,  by  an  expansion  of  the  skin  or  web 
between  the  digits,  and  also  for  some  slight  degree  of  pro¬ 
gression  on  land.  Examples  :  the  seal  and  walrus. 

1.  Digitigradce. 

This  division  of  the  Carnivora  includes  the  Family  Felid.e 
(Latin,  felis,  a  cat),  so  named  by  Linnaeus,  because  an  ex¬ 
cellent  example  is  furnished  in  the  common  domestic  cat. 
These  are  characterised  by  the  strong,  sharp,  retractile 
talons  with  which  all  their  toes  are  armed  ;  with  teeth  to 
correspond,  peculiarly  adapted  for  destroying  other  animals, 
and  for  tearing,  dividing,  and  crushing  flesh.  Their  sight 
is  keen,  their  muscles  strong  and  supple,  and  they  have 
great  power  of  dissembling,  so  as  to  be  able  to  lure  their 
victims  to  destruction.  Fortunately  for  mankind  these  for¬ 
midable  creatures  have  not  the  instinct  of  sociality ;  other¬ 
wise  what  could  withstand  a  troop  of  lions  or  tigers  hunting 
in  concert  like  wolves  ?  The  most  celebrated  species  of 
this  genus  is — 

The  Lion  (Felis  led). — This  magnificent  animal  is  dis¬ 
tributed  over  the  African  continent  and  the  southern  parts 
of  Asia.  The  long  flowing  mane  of  the  male  gives  him  a 
majestic  appearance.  His  courage  and  strength  are  both 
indisputable,  but  he  is  as  genuine  a  cat  as  the  tiger,  and 
quite  as  bloodthirsty  and  cruel  in  his  disposition.  About 
one  hundred  lion  skins  are  annually  imported  into  this 
country,  chiefly  from  Africa. 

The  Tiger  (Felis  ligris)  inhabits  the  Asiatic  continent, 
and  is  especially  abundant  in  Hindostan.  Nocturnal  in  his 
habits,  lying  during  the  day  in  some  shady  spot  gorged 
with  his  last  meal  into  sleepy  indolence,  the  tiger  frequents 
the  neighbourhood  of  springs  and  the  banks  of  rivers  where 


298  THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 

the  weaker  animals,  forced  by  the  scorching  heats  of  the 
tropics,  seek  coolness  and  drink.  The  skin  is  a  bright 
tawny  yellow,  shaded  into  pure  white  beneath  the  body, 
and  beautifully  marked  with  dark  bands  and  stripes.  It 
is  used  to  cover  the  seats  of  justice  in  China,  and  is  also 
employed  for  rugs  and  mats.  From  200  to  250  tiger  skins 
are  annually  imported  into  the  United  Kingdom. 

The  Leopard  (Felis  leopardus ,  Cuv. ) — This  animal  is 
found  in  Africa  and  India;  inhabits  the  deepest  recesses 
of  the  forest,  rendering  pursuit  nearly  impossible.  Taken 
usually  in  traps,  it  is  also  hunted  with  dogs  until,  being  an 
expert  climber,  it  takes  refuge  in  a  tree,  and  when  the  hunters 
come  up  it  is  easily  shot.  The  skin  is  a  tawny  yellow,  the 
lower  parts  white,  and  covered  all  over  with  dark  spots, 
which  vary  in  size  and  form.  It  is  worn  as  a  mantle  by 
the  Hungarian  nobles  who  form  the  royal  body-guard  of 
Austria ;  also  as  a  saddle-cloth  in  some  of  our  cavalry 
regiments,  being  a  mark  of  rank  amongst  the  officers. 
Leopard  skins  in  number  about  the  same  as  those  of  the 
tiger  are  sent  to  the  English  market. 

The  Jaguar,  or  American  Panther  ( Felis  onca ,  L.) — 
A  native  of  the  warm  parts  of  America,  especially  Paraguay 
and  the  Brazils.  Next  to  the  tiger,  the  strongest  species  of 
the  genus ;  also  an  expert  climber.  The  skin  is  beautifully 
marked  with  deep  chocolate-brown  spots  upon  a  rich  yel¬ 
lowish  ground.  Several  hundred  of  the  skins  of  this  animal 
are  annually  imported,  and  used  as  rugs,  or  for  ornamental 
purposes. 

The  Puma,  or  American  Lion  (Felis  concolor ,  L.) — 
Distributed  throughout  the  Southern  American  continent ; 
found  also  in  the  warmer  parts  of  North  America.  More 
frequently  met  with  in  grassy  plains  and  marshy  meadow- 
lands  bordering  rivers  than  in  the  forest.  The  puma  lives 
upon  deer,  hogs,  and  sheep,  to  which  it  is  very  destructive ; 


MAMMALIAN  PRODUCTS:  FURS.  299 

for,  not  satisfied  with  the  simple  seizure,  it  will  kill  as  many 
as  possible,  sucking  only  a  portion  of  the  blood.  The  fur 
of  the  puma  is  thick,  close,  and  reddish-brown  in  colour, 
changing  on  the  belly  to  a  pale  reddish-white.  The  skin  is 
used  for  carriage  wrappers. 

The  Canadian  Lynx  (Felts  Canadensis ,  Geoffroy). — 
A  timid  creature,  common  in  the  wooded  districts  of  Canada 
as  far  north  as  66°,  incapable  of  attacking  the  larger 
quadrupeds,  but  well  armed  for  the  capture  of  the  American 
hare,  on  which  it  principally  feeds.  It  makes  a  poor  fight 
when  attacked  by  the  hunter,  spits,  and  sets  up  its  hair  like 
an  angry  cat,  but  is  easily  destroyed  by  a  blow  on  the  back. 
Lynx  skins  amounting  to  many  thousands  in  number  are 
annually  sent  over  to  this  country  by  the  Hudson’s  Bay 
Company. 

The  Common  Cat  (Fells  domesticns ,  L.) — In  Holland 
the  cat  is  bred  for  its  fur,  being  fed  on  fish,  and  carefully 
tended  until  it  arrives  at  perfection.  We  import  annually 
20,000  cat  skins,  and  the  English  fur-market  also  receives 
a  considerable  quantity  from  home.  The  cat’s  skin  makes 
an  excellent  rubber  for  electrical  machinery,  and  is  also 
used  for  sleigh  coverings  and  railway  rugs. 

The  Family  Canids  (Latin,  canis,  a  dog)  includes  dogs, 
wolves,  and  foxes.  The  different  varieties  of  dog  are  sup¬ 
posed  by  some  naturalists  to  have  been  derived  from  the 
wolf.  The  common  dog  (Canis  familiaris ,  L.)  is  distin¬ 
guished  from  the  wolf  and  jackal  by  its  recurved  tail ;  but 
the  species  vary  in  size,  form,  and  the  colour  and  quality  of 
hair.  In  collections  of  fur,  a  few  dog  skins  will  be  found, 
although  there  is  no  regular  trade  in  them. 

The  WWlf  (Canis  luptts ,  L.)  once  indigenous  to  this 
country,  but  now  exterminated,  still  lingers  in  the  forests 
of  Northern  and  Southern  Europe,  and  is  particularly 
abundant  in  Russia,  North  America,  and  the  northern 


3°° 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


parts  of  Asia.  Thousands  of  wolf  skins  are  brought  to  Eng¬ 
land  yearly  from  Europe,  the  United  States,  and  British 
North  America.  They  are  serviceable  for  the  linings  of 
coats  and  cloaks,  for  sleigh  coverings,  and  wherever  addi¬ 
tional  warmth  is  desirable. 

The  Red  Fox  ( Vulpes  fulvus). — It  is  not  the  common 
European  fox,  but  different  varieties  of  the  American 
(equally  well  known  for  its  cunning  and  mischievous  attacks 
on  the  poultry  yard),  that  is  found  in  the  furriers’  shops  of 
this  country.  The  fox  is  easily  distinguished  by  its  long 
sharp  nose  and  bushy  tail.  Foxes  have  been  formed  by 
zoologists  into  a  distinct  group  amongst  the  Canidae,  or 
dogs,  on  the  ground  that  the  pupil  of  their  eye  is  vertical, 
whilst  in  the  dog  it  is  circular.  The  tail  of  the  fox  is  longer 
and  more  bushy,  its  head  broader  and  more  pointed  in 
the  muzzle,  and  its  gait  and  attitude  crouching.  The  red 
fox  of  America  is  ferruginous  in  colour,  and  strongly  re¬ 
sembles  the  fox  of  Europe.  Numerous  skins  are  annually 
imported  into  England,  most  of  them  to  be  re-exported, 
chiefly  into  the  markets  of  Turkey. 

The  Cross  Fox  ( Vulpes  decussatus). — This  is  probably 
only  a  variety  of  the  red  fox.  It  is  distinguished  by  a  black 
cross  on  the  neck  and  shoulders,  and  is  a  South-American 
animal.  Its  skin  is  valuable,  selling  for  several  pounds 
sterling. 

The  Arctic  Fox  ( Vulpes  lagopus). — An  animal  very 
common  within  the  Arctic  circle,  which  exhibits  in  a  remark¬ 
able  manner  that  mutation  of  colour  which  polar  animals 
undergo  with  the  change  of  the  seasons.  In  winter  it  is 
a  pure  white  ;  in  summer  a  dorsal  line  of  a  darker  colour 
is  observable,  with  transverse  stripes  upon  the  shoulders. 
This  circumstance  has  led  to  its  being  mistaken  for  the 
cross  fox.  Late  in  autumn  these  animals  collect  in  vast 
numbers  on  the  shores  of  Hudson’s  Bay,  and  migrate  south- 


MAMMALIAN  PRODUCTS:  FURS. 


7,01 


ward,  returning  early  in  the  following  spring  along  the  sea- 
coast  to  the  northward.  The  southern  limit  of  their  migra¬ 
tions  in  North  America  is  50°  north  latitude.  The  Arctic 
fox  is  very  cleanly  in  its  habits,  very  unsuspicious,  and 
easily  snared.  There  is  a  dark  variety  known  as  the  sooty 
or  blue  fox  ( Vulpes  fuliginosus).  Both  the  blue  and  the 
white  skins  are  imported,  but  they  do  not  fetch  so  high  a 
price  in  the  English  market  as  the  skins  of  the  red  fox. 

The  Black  or  Silver  Fox  {Vulpes  argentatus ). — This 
species  is  distinguished  from  the  others  by  its  intensely 
black  fur,  which  is  intermingled  with  white  silvery  hairs, 
and  has  a  white  spot  at  the  end  of  the  tail.  It  is  a  native 
of  the  northern  parts  of  the  American  continent.  “  An 
unusually  fine  skin  of  one  of  these  animals  has  been  sold 
in  London  for  ^100.  The  imperial  pelisse  of  the  Emperor 
of  Russia,  made  of  the  black  necks  of  the  silver  fox  (exhi¬ 
bited  at  Hyde  Park  in  1851)  was  valued  at  ^3500. ” 

The  Cossack  Fox  ( Vulpes  Cossac). — This  fox  inhabits 
the  vast  plains  of  Tartary.  Its  skin,  which  is  of  a  clear 
ferruginous-yellow  colour,  is  much  prized  in  Russia  and 
Turkey.  More  skins  of  these  animals  are  taken  and  sold 
than  of  any  other  variety  of  the  foxes. 

The  Family  Mustelid^e  (Latin,  mustela ,  a  weasel)  forms 
the  last  group  of  Digitigrade  Carnivora  whose  skins  supply 
our  fur  markets.  This  family  includes  the  sable,  polecat 
weasel,  otter,  and  wolverine.  These  animals,  from  their 
sinuous  appearance  and  habits,  have  been  called  vermiform 
quadrupeds.  They  are  distinguished  by  the  length  and 
slenderness  of  their  bodies,  which  enable  them  to  wind 
like  worms  into  very  small  openings  and  crevices,  whither 
they  easily  follow  the  smaller  mammalia  and  birds  on  which 
they  prey.  Several  of  them,  as  the  polecat,  emit  a  very 
offensive  odour ;  nevertheless,  they  yield  the  most  costly 
and  highly  prized  furs. 


302 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


The  Ermine  ( Mustela  erminea ),  the  most  interesting 
species  of  the  weasel  family,  resembles  the  common  English 
weasel,  and  inhabits  Siberia,  Russia,  Norway,  and  Sweden. 
In  winter  it  is  clothed  with  a  fur  as  white  as  the  snow,  and 
is  invisible  to  its  enemies ;  in  summer  its  garb  changes  to  a 
dingy  brown. 

The  white  fur  of  the  ermine  is  highly  esteemed.  It 
is  the  royal  fur  of  England  and  of  the  sovereigns  and 
emperors  of  Europe.  The  Pope  and  his  cardinals  have 
their  ecclesiastical  robes  adorned  with  capes  and  trimmings 
of  ermine,  according  to  their  rank.  The  tail  alone  of  the 
ermine  is  jet  black,  and  this  is  inserted  at  intervals  into  the 
prepared  furs  as  an  ornament. 

“In  the  reign  of  Edward  III.  it  was  forbidden  to  all 
but  the  royal  family,  and  a  similar  prohibition  still  exists 
in  Austria.  There  is,  however,  a  characteristic  distinction 
made  in  the  mode  of  ornamenting  the  fur  employed  on 
state  occasions,  according  as  it  is  worn  by  the  sovereign,  or 
by  peers,  peeresses,  or  judges.  The  sovereign  and  royal 
family  can  alone  wear  ermine  trimmings  in  which  the  fur  is 
spotted  all  over  with  black — a  spot  in  about  every  square 
inch  of  the  fur.  These  spots  are  not  formed  of  the  tail  of 
the  ermine,  but  of  the  paws  of  the  black  Astracan  lamb. 
The  crown  is  also  adorned  with  a  band  of  ermine  with  a 
single  row  of  spots.  Peeresses  wear  capes  of  ermine,  in 
which  the  spots  are  arranged  in  rows,  the  number  of  rows 
denoting  their  degrees  of  rank.  Peers  wear  robes  of  scarlet 
cloth,  trimmed  with  pure  white  ermine  without  any  spots. 
But  the  number  of  rows,  or  bars  of  pure  ermine,  in  this 
case  also  denotes  the  rank.  The  robes  of  judges  are  also 
scarlet  and  pure  white  ermine.”  * 

The  number  of  ermine  skins  annually  imported  is  enor- 

*  “Cyclopaedia  of  Useful  Arts.”  By  Charles  Tomlinson.  Vol.  i. 
p.  729. 


MAMMALIAN  PRODUCTS:  FURS. 


3°3 


mous,  and  of  these  very  few  are  re-exported.  The  fur  of 
the  ermine  is  manufactured  into  ladies’  muffs,  tippets, 
trimmings,  and  linings. 

The  Russian  Sable  (Mustela  Zibdlind). — This  is  the 
next  fur  to  ermine  in  value  and  in  general  use.  The  animal 
which  yields  it  lives  in  the  wilds  of  Siberia,  and  is  hunted 
in  the  depths  of  winter,  when  its  fur  is  most  valuable.  The 
fur  is  brown,  with  some  grey  spots  on  the  head.  The 
darkest  in  colour  are  considered  to  be  the  best.  The  skins 
are  small,  but  they  are  sold  at  prices  varying  from  three  to 
ten  guineas.  Comparatively  few  of  these  valuable  furs  are 
received  in  England,  because  so  much  prized  in  Russia, 
where  tens  of  thousands  are  annually  collected. 

This  fur  is  manufactured  into  linings,  sometimes  valued 
as  high  as  1000  guineas.  The  Lord  Mayor,  aldermen, 
and  sheriffs  of  the  city  of  London  have  their  robes  and  gowns 
lined  with  Russian  sable,  according  to  their  respective  ranks. 
The  tails  of  sables  are  used  for  artists’  pencils  and  brushes. 

The  Minx  (. Mustela  vison). — The  minx  is  a  native  of 
North  America,  and  its  skin  comes  to  us  principally  through 
the  Hudson’s  Bay  Company.  In  the  month  of  March  this 
Company  holds  annually,  in  London,  a  public  fur  sale, 
which  attracts  great  numbers  of  foreigners.  Through  them, 
the  furs  destined  for  the  Continert  find  their  way  to  Leipsic, 
whence  they  are  distributed  throughout  Europe.  The  fur  of 
the  minx  resembles  the  sable  in  colour,  but  is  shorter  and 
more  glossy.  It  is  much  used  for  ladies’  wear,  and  is  made 
into  victorines,  cloaks,  and  muffs.  In  a  single  year,  the 
number  of  skins  of  this  little  animal  received  in  this  country 
have  amounted  to  a  quarter  of  a  million.  Their  price 
varies  from  ten  to  fifteen  shillings  a-piece.  When  this  skin 
is  of  a  silver-grey  colour  it  is  additionally  valuable.  A  muff 
made  of  six  of  such  skins  has  an  average  worth  of  twenty- 
five  guineas. 


3°4 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


The  American  Sable  {Mu stela  leucopus). — The  fur  of 
this  sable  varies  from  a  tawny  colour  to  a  deep  black.  The 
animal  itself  is  known  by  its  white  feet.  The  fur,  much 
worn  in  England,  is  made  into  cuffs,  muffs,  and  boas.  As 
many  skins  of  the  marten ,  which  is  of  the  sable  species,  are 
imported  as  of  the  minx. 

The  Polecat  ( Mustela  putorius ). — Common  throughout 
Europe.  Very  destructive  in  the  poultry  yard,  and  very 
courageous.  Its  flexibility  is  so  great,  that  when  not  griped 
in  the  right  place  by  a  terrier  it  will  turn  and  fasten  on  the 
dog.  This  animal  has  a  soft  black  fur,  with  a  rich  yellow 
ground.  The  odour  of  the  fur  is  unpleasant,  but  processes 
have  been  adopted  which  effect  its  removal.  The  finest  of 
these  skins  are  obtained  in  Scotland.  They  are  trapped,  in 
numbers  to  equal  the  captured  minx  and  marten,  in  order 
to  supply  the  London  fur  market.  About  a  tenth  of  the 
produce  is  exported  to  America,  where  the  fur  is  much 
sought  after. 

The  Pine  Marten  (. Mustela  Abietum ,  Ray). — Found 
abundantly  in  the  forests  of  Northern  Europe  and  America. 
It  shuns  the  habitations  of  man,  and  preys  on  birds  and  the 
smaller  animals — mice  and  hares.  When  its  retreat  is  cut 
off  it  shows  its  teeth,  sets  up  its  hair,  arches  its  back,  and 
hisses  like  a  cat.  About  half  as  many  pine  marten  skins 
as  the  polecat  supplies  are  annually  imported  into  England 
from  the  territories  of  the  Dominion  of  Canada. 

The  Beech  Marten  ( Mustela  Foina). — A  fur  yielder 
with  a  white  throat,  and  is  thus  distinguished  from  the  pine 
marten,  the  throat  of  which  is  yellow.  It  is  found  in  woods 
and  forests  in  Northern  Europe,  but  nearer  the  habitations 
of  man  than  the  pine  marten.  It  is  imported  in  consider¬ 
able  quantities  from  the  north  of  Europe,  and  is  dyed  to 
imitate  sable. 

The  Stone  Marten  ( Mustela  saxorum). — A  variety  of 


MA  MM  A  LI  AN  PRODUCTS :  F  URS. 


305 


the  marten  distributed  throughout  Europe.  Its  under  fur 
is  bluish  white,  with  the  top  hairs  a  dark  brovp ;  its  throat 
a  pure  white,  by  which  it  is  generally  distinguished.  The 
French  excel  in  the  art  of  dyeing  this  fur,  which  is  frequently 
sold  under  the  name  of  French  sable. 

The  Tartar  Sable  ( Alustela  Siberica). — A  little  animal 
caught  in  the  northern  parts  of  Russia  and  Siberia.  The 
fur  is  bright  yellow,  the  colour  being  uniform  all  over  the 
body.  The  skin  is  used  both  in  its  natural  state  and  dyed; 
the  tail  is  employed  for  artists’  pencils. 

The  Woodshock,  or  Pekan  ( Mustela  Canadensis). — The 
pekan  inhabits  North  America,  and  is  also  called  Hudson’s 
Bay  sable.  As  the  colour  of  this  skin  is  much  lighter  than 
the  prevailing  taste,  it  is  dyed  of  a  darker  hue.  Thus 
treated,  it  is  scarcely  inferior  to  the  Russian  sable,  which  it 
is  intended  to  imitate. 

The  Skunk  ( Mephitis  Americana)  is  common  in  North 
America,  especially  in  the  States  of  Pennsylvania  and  New 
Jersey.  It  is  well  known  for  its  power  of  ejecting,  when 
hunted,  from  a  small  bag  placed  at  the  root  of  the  tail,  a  very 
offensive  fluid,  which  produces  one  of  the  most  powerful  and 
intolerable  stenches  in  nature.  This  animal  is  allied  to  the 
polecat  of  Europe.  Its  fur  is  soft  and  black,  with  two 
white  stripes  running  from  head  to  tail.  The  fur  is  purified 
by  exposure  to  heat.  Most  of  the  skins  brought  to  Europe 
are  re-exported. 

The  American  Otter  ( Luira  Canadensis)  is  aquatic  in 
its  habits,  and  lives  principally  upon  fish,  which  it  pursues  in 
the  water.  The  colour  of  the  fur  changes  with  the  seasons  ; 
in  summer  it  is  short  and  almost  black,  but  on  the  ap¬ 
proach  of  winter  it  alters  to  a  beautiful  reddish  brown.  The 
motions  of  the  otter  in  the  water  are  very  easy  and  graceful. 
The  short,  close,  fine  fur  keeps  the  body  at  a  proper  tem¬ 
perature,  and  the  short  legs,  webbed  feet,  and  rudder-like 


306  the  natural  history  of  commerce . 

tail  enable  it  to  move  swiftly  in  any  direction  in  pursuit 
of  its  agile  prey.  Otter  skins  of  this  variety  are  valuable 
even  before  “  worked  ”  by  the  furrier,  when  they  belong  to 
the  class  of  costly  furs. 

The  Sea  Otter  ( Enhydra  marina). — The  fur  of  the  sea 
otter  is  thick,  soft,  and  woolly,  and  much  prized  in  Russia 
and  China,  where  it  is  the  fur  of  royalty ;  to  those 
countries  most  of  the  skins  are  exported.  The  animal  is 
found  in  the  North  Pacific,  from  Kamtschatka  to  the 
Yellow  Sea,  on  the  Asiatic  coast,  and  from  Alaska  to 
California,  on  the  American  coast.  It  is  a  rare  animal, 
and  not  more  than  1000  skins  are  annually  procured. 
They  are  classed  with  the  costliest,  being  worth,  at  first 
hand,  in  the  market,  over  ten  pounds  sterling.  The  sea 
otter  haunts  sea-washed  rocks,  lives  mostly  in  the  water,  and 
approximates  to  the  seal  in  its  habits.  Its  fur  is  generally 
employed  for  collars,  cuffs,  and  trimmings.  It  is  very  beau¬ 
tiful,  of  a  deep  velvety  maroon  brown,  the  anterior  parts 
being  of  a  silvery  grey.  The  finest  sea-otter  skins  exceed 
forty  pounds  in  value,  and  a  muff  made  therefrom  costs 
about  twenty-five  guineas. 

2.  Plantigrades. 

This  group  includes  the  Family  of  the  Ursid^e,  or  bears 
• — heavy,  stout-bodied  animals,  with  thick  limbs  and  a  very 
stout  tail — which  inhabit  the  wooded  and  mountain  districts 
of  the  arctic,  temperate,  and  sub-temperate  regions  of  the 
northern  hemisphere. 

Black  Bear  ( Ursns  Americanus),  the  skin  of  which  is 
imported  generally  from  British  North  America,  and  chiefly 
for  military  accoutrements.  It  is  made  into  caps,  rugs,  and 
pistol  holsters. 

The  skins  of  the  polar  bear  ( Thalassarctos  maritimus ), 


MAMMALIAN  PRODUCTS :  FURS.  307 

the  brown  bear  ( Ursus  arctos)y  and  the  grisly  bear  ( Ursus 
ferox )  are  also  imported. 

The  Raccoon  ( Procyon  Loior). — Indigenous  to  North 
America  ;  frequents  the  sea-shore  and  the  margins  of  rivers 
and  swamps,  where  it  lives  upon  small  animals,  birds,  insects, 
and  mollusca,  with  the  addition  of  roots  and  succulent 
vegetables.  Three-quarter  millions  of  raccoon  skins  are 
occasionally  imported  into  the  United  Kingdom.  Two- 
thirds  of  this  number  were  re-exported,  principally  to  Ger¬ 
many,  where  they  are  used  for  making  hats.  The  hair 
of  the  upper  part  and  sides  of  the  body  is  of  uniform  length 
and  colour,  and  is  employed  for  the  linings  of  coats  and 
rugs. 

The  Badger  ( Meles  vulgaris ,  Desmarest)  is  found 
throughout  the  northern  parts  of  Europe,  Asia,  and 
America.  Its  habits  are  nocturnal,  inoffensive,  and  slothful. 
Its  feet  are  plantigrade,  and  its  long  claws  enable  it  to 
burrow  in  the  woods.  The  badger  feeds  on  roots,  earth- 
nuts,  fruits,  insects,  frogs,  and  the  eggs  of  birds.  Its 
muscular  strength  is  great,  and  its  bite  powerful.  The 
American  badger  ( M.  Labradoricus)  is  larger  than  the 
European  species.  The  long  hairs  are  employed  for  mak¬ 
ing  shaving  brushes  and  painters’  pencils.  In  Europe, 
badgers  are  hunted  with  dogs  ;  in  America,  they  are  caught 
in  early  spring,  whilst  the  ground  is  frozen,  by  pouring 
water  into  their  holes. 

The  Glutton  or  Wolverine  {Gulo  luscus )  inhabits 
the  northern  parts  of  the  American  continent.  Wolverines 
feed  chiefly  upon  the  carcasses  of  beasts  which  have  been 
killed  by  accident.  They  are  very  troublesome  to  the 
Hudson’s  Bay  trappers,  for  they  will  follow  the  marten- 
hunters’  path  round  a  line  of  traps  extending  from  forty  to 
sixty  miles,  and  render  the  whole  unserviceable,  by  removing 
the  baits,  which  are  generally  the  heads  of  partridges  or 


30S  THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 

bits  of  dried  venison.  They  resemble  the  bear  in  their  gait, 
and  feed  well ;  they  are  generally,  when  caught,  found  to 
be  very  fat.  The  fur  is  a  fine  deep  chestnut  colour,  with 
a  dark  disc  on  the  back.  The  fur  of  the  wolverine  is  much 
esteemed  in  Germany  and  Russia,  and  used  for  cloak  linings, 
muffs,  and  sleigh  robes. 

3.  Pimiigradce. 

This  group  includes  the  family  Phocidce  (Latin  phoca ,  a 
seal),  and  comprises  the  seals,  sea-bears,  and  walruses,  which 
are  found  chiefly  in  the  arctic  and  antarctic  seas,  and  are  of 
great  value  alike  for  their  oil,  bones,  and  skins.  The  chief 
hunting  grounds  are  the  fields  of  pack  ice  in  the  Greenland 
seas,  and  around  the  shores  of  Spitzbergen. 

The  Saddleback  or  Harp  Seal  ( Calocephalus  Grcen- 
landicus). — This  species,  which  is  the  most  important  of  the 
Phoddce,  in  commerce,  is  at  all  times  gregarious,  but  never 
seen  to  assemble  in  such  numbers  as  during  the  months  of 
March  and  April,  when  it  takes  to  the  ice  to  bring  forth  its 
young.  During  those  months  a  pack  of  ice  three  miles  in 
diameter  has  been  calculated  to  have  no  fewer  than  four 
millions  of  seals  upon  it.  Its  length  does  not  exceed  eight 
feet.  The  name  saddleback  is  given  to  it  from  an  aggrega¬ 
tion  of  black  well-defined  spots  scattered  over  a  yellowish- 
white  ground  in  the  form  of  a  saddle  or  harp. 

For  the  capture  of  this  seal,  especially  during  the  breed¬ 
ing  season,  many  ships  are  annually  sent  out,  and  the  num¬ 
ber  taken  yearly  amounts  to  hundreds  of  thousands.  The 
success  of  the  sealers  varies  :  a  ship  one  year  may  obtain  as 
many  as  20,000  seals,  and  next  year  not  capture  a  hundred. 
The  chief  art  of  sealing  lies  in  finding  out  where  the  main 
body  of  seals  is  located;  a  sort  of  instinct  directs  these 
animals  in  flocks  to  a  common  centre,  where  they  remain 
till  the  young  are  capable  of  taking  to  the  water. 


MA  MM  A  LI  AN  PRODUCTS:  FURS.  3  O  9 

The  harp  seal  is  highly  prized.  From  its  blubber  the 
Greenlander  and  Esquimaux  procure  light  and  heat ;  they 
cover  their  boats  and  bodies  with  its  skin,  make  thongs  with 
its  entrails,  a  derg  or  float  with  its  stomach,  and  fashion  the 
teeth  into  tips  for  their  arrows  and  harpoons. 

The  Bladder-nose  Seal  ( Stemmatopus  cristatus )  in¬ 
habits  the  Greenland  seas,  and  is  found  in  small  groups  of 
three  or  four.  On  account  of  the  beauty  of  its  fur  and  the 
immense  amount  of  its  blubber  it  is  much  sought  after.  It 
differs  from  the  other  species  in  having  a  thick  black — in 
the  young,  delicate  brown — woolly  coat,  which  lies  beneath 
its  outside  bristly  hair. 

The  Common  Seal  ( Phoca  vitulina ,  L.)  is  found  on  the 
coasts  of  Scotland,  France,  and  other  parts  of  Europe. 
The  usual  haunt  is  a  hollow  or  cavern  in  a  rock  near  the 
sea,  and  above  high-water  mark.  They  are  extremely 
watchful,  seldom  sleep  more  than  a  minute,  raise  their 
heads,  and  if  nothing  is  to  be  seen  or  heard,  lie  down 
again ;  but  if  disturbed,  they  instantly  tumble  off  the  rocks 
into  the  sea.  They  are  usually  shot  when  asleep.  If  sur¬ 
prised  by  the  hunter  at  a  distance  from  the  shore,  they 
hasten  to  the  water,  flinging  stones  and  dirt  behind  as  they 
scramble  along,  and  expressing  their  fears  by  piteous  moans. 
When  overtaken,  they  make  a  vigorous  defence  with  their 
feet  and  teeth  until  killed. 

We  import  from  Greenland,  British  North  America,  and 
the  United  States,  as  well  as  from  Norway,  Russia,  and 
other  parts  of  Europe,  millions  of  undressed  skins.  The 
slaughter  of  the  seals  has  been  so  ruthless  as  to  rouse  fears 
of  the  extermination  of  the  race. 

The  skin  of  the  seal,  when  tanned,  is  employed  in 
the  making  of  shoes  ;  and  when  dressed  by  the  furrier,  serves 
for  the  covering  of  trunks,  and  for  articles  of  clothing,  such 
as  caps  and  hats,  mantles  and  muffs,  coats  and  boots. 


310 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


Rodentia. 

The  Rodentia  (Latin,  rodo ,  I  gnaw),  or  gnawing  mam¬ 
malia,  are,  for  the  most  part,  of  small  size,  but  numerous 
and  prolific.  They  are  distributed  all  over  the  world,  even 
in  Australia,  which  possesses  some  few  indigenous  species. 
They  have  two  pairs  of  curved  cutting  or  incisor  teeth, 
which  project  from  the  front  of  each  jaw,  and  from  two  to 
six  molars  on  each  side,  but  they  are  devoid  of  canine  teeth. 
The  rodents  of  the  greatest  value  in  the  fur  market  are  :  — 

The  Beaver  ( Castor  fiber ,  L.) — This  animal  is  found  in 
Canada,  where  it  frequents  the  banks  of  rivers  and  marshes, 
making  large  dams  with  the  stems  of  trees  plastered  with 
mud  to  keep  out  the  water,  and  building  rude  dwellings  in 
the  water,  with  engineering  skill  and  ingenuity.  The  fur 
of  the  beaver  consists  of  two  kinds  of  hair,  one  long  and 
rigid,  forming  the  outer  coat,  the  other  soft  and  downy ; 
the  latter  is  employed  for  coat  linings,  muffs,  and  other 
articles  of  dress. 

The  Musk  Rat,  or  Musquash  ( Fiber  zibethicus),  is 
much  smaller  than  the  beaver,  which  it  resembles  in  its  fur 
and  habits,  and  with  which  it  associates.  Above  a  million 
are  annually  taken  by  the  Canadian  trappers,  and  their 
skins  sent  over  to  the  fur  markets  of  this  country.  Dressed 
in  the  same  way  as  beaver  skin,  they  form  a  cheap  durable 
fur  for  ladies’  wear. 

The  Nutria,  or  Coypu  Rat  ( Myopotamus  Coy  pus), 
inhabits  South  America,  living  near  streams,  and  burrowing 
in  their  banks.  It  is  smaller  than  the  beaver,  and  also  differs 
in  the  possession  of  a  round  hairy  tail.  Its  skin  forms  a 
good  substitute  for  that  of  the  beaver,  and  is  dressed  in  a 
similar  manner.  Many  millions  of  nutria  skins  have  been 
imported  from  South  America  into  the  United  Kingdom  ; 
and  this  number  tends  to  increase,  the  fur  being  so  well 


MAMMALIAN  PRODUCTS  :  FURS.  3  I  I 

suited  for  felting  that  it  is  the  chief  material  employed  in  the 
manufacture  of  the  favourite  “  wideawake  ”  or  “  billycap.” 

The  Squirrel  ( Sciurus  vulgaris,  L.) — Light,  nimble, 
and  graceful  animals,  living  on  the  branches  of  trees,  feed¬ 
ing  on  nuts  and  other  hard  fruits,  which  they  gnaw  through 
with  their  sharp  front  teeth,  carefully  removing  every 
particle  of  skin  from  the  kernel  before  eating  it.  Squirrels 
are  distributed  through  all  parts  of  the  world  except 
Australia,  but  are  especially  abundant  in  North  America. 
Their  skins  are  used  for  ladies’  and  children’s  wear,  and 
millions  are  sent  to  our  fur  markets  under  the  name  of 
Calabar.  The  fur  is  sometimes  dyed  to  imitate  sable. 
The  tail  is  used  in  the  manufacture  of  boas  and  artists’ 
pencils.  Besides  the  common  squirrel,  the  grey,  black,  and 
American  red  squirrel  yield  useful  and  ornamental  furs. 

The  Chinchilla  ( Chinchilla  lanigera). — An  elegant, 
active  little  creature,  inhabiting  the  Andes  of  South  America, 
in  Chili  and  Peru,  and  living  at  a  considerable  altitude. 
The  posterior  legs  are  longer  than  the  anterior,  and  the 
animal  when  feeding  sits  upon  its  haunches,  holding  its  food 
between  its  short  fore-paws.  The  ears  are  large  and  broad. 
The  fur,  thick,  soft,  and  of  a  greyish  colour,  reaches  us 
through  the  South-American  markets.  Chinchilla  fur  is 
admired  for  winter  clothing,  and  is  made  into  muffs, 
mantles,  boas,  cloak  linings,  and  trimmings  for  ladies’  and 
children’s  wear. 

The  Hare  (. Lepus  timidus )  and  Rabbit  ( Lepus  cuniculus ). 
— Rabbits  were  in  ancient  days  special  to  Spain,  brought 
there  from  Africa  by  the  Iberians,  from  whom  the  Romans 
acquired  their  knowledge  of  the  animal,  and  whence  it  has 
spread  over  Europe.  The  skin  of  the  rabbit  is  made  into 
all  sorts  of  cheap  and  warm  winter  clothing ;  that  of  the 
hare  is  frequently  worn  over  the  chest  as  a  protection 
against  external  cold.  We  have  supplies  of  rabbit  skins 


3 1 2 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


sent  to  our  markets  from  the  rabbit  warrens  of  Norfolk, 
the  Orkney  and  Shetland  Islands,  and  Ostend.  Incredible 
numbers  of  rabbits  are  sold  yearly  in  London,  and  hare 
skins  are  annually  imported  into  this  country  from  Russia, 
Germany,  Denmark,  Friesland,  Poland,  Wallachia,  Turkey, 
Greece,  and  Sicily.  The  best  and  the  greatest  number  come 
from  Russia. 

Ruminantia. 

The  animals  of  this  order  are  distinguished  from  the  other 
mammalia  by  the  facilities  which  they  possess  for  ruminating, 
or  chewing  their  food  twice  over.  In  the  majority  the  lower 
jaw  alone  is  furnished  with  incisor  teeth,  their  place  in  the 
upper  jaw  being  occupied  by  the  hardened  gum.  The 
molars  are  separated  from  the  incisors  by  a  considerable 
gap  in  the  jaw.  Examples  :  sheep  and  deer. 

The  American  Buffalo,  or  Bison  ( Biso?i  A mericanus,  L.) 
— Vast  herds  of  buffaloes  roam  over  the  western  prairies 
of  North  America,  and  hundreds  of  thousands  of  them  are 
annually  killed.  Buffalo  robes  are  much  esteemed  in  America 
as  sleigh  coverings.  They  are  made  up  and  sold  in  New 
York,  but  the  number  is  reducing  from  the  wanton  and  near 
extinction  of  this  fine  animal.  During  the  Crimean  war  our 
soldiers  found  these  robes  of  great  service ;  about  20,000 
buffalo  robes  were  furnished  by  the  English  Government. 

The  skin  of  the  Lamb  is  made  into  collars,  muffs,  gloves, 
and  coat  linings.  The  most  valued  of  these  skins  are 
furnished  by  Southern  Russia,  Greece,  and  Hungary. 
Beautiful  black  lamb  skins  are  imported  from  the  Crimea, 
and  others  still  more  rich  and  glossy,  with  a  short  fur,  from 
Astracan.  The  lamb  skins  from  Persia  are  known  by  the 
curl  of  the  hair,  which  is  produced  artificially  by  tying  up 
the  lamb,  as  soon  as  born,  in  a  leathern  skin,  and  thus  pre¬ 
venting  the  hair  from  expanding.  These  Persian  lamb  skins 
are  used  for  coats  and  other  garments. 


MAMMALIAN  PRODUCTS:  PERFUMES. 


3T3 


The  skin  of  the  fcetal  Calf  is  used  for  covering  trunks. 
The  principal  fur  marts  for  the  English  or  Canadian  furs 
are  London,  in  Upper  Canada;  Fort  William,  on  Lake 
Superior ;  and  in  Lower  Canada,  Montreal,  on  the  river 
St.  Lawrence. 


1 1.— PERFUMES. 

The  Musk  Deer  ( Moschus  vioschiferus ,  L. ;  order, 
Ruminantia ),  which  furnishes  the  well-known  perfume  called 
musk,  and  must  not  be  mistaken  for  the  false  musk  deer 
(. tragnlus ),  is  about  the  size  of  a  roebuck,  without  horns, 
legs  very  slender,  and  in  all  its  movements  exceedingly 
active  and  graceful.  The  musk  deer  is  found  in  herds  in 
the  mountains  of  Central  Asia,  and  in  some  of  the  larger 
islands  of  the  Indian  Ocean,  such  as  Ceylon,  Java,  Sumatra, 
and  Borneo.  It  is  a  shy  animal,  fond  of  precipices  and 
almost  inaccessible  crags,  and  therefore  very  difficult  to 
shoot.  The  musk  is  produced  in  a  glandular  pouch  in  the 
abdomen,  and  is  peculiar  to  the  male.  It  is  in  the  form  of 
reddish-brown  coarse  granules,  and  greasy  to  the  touch. 
The  average  quantity  which  can  be  removed  from  one 
pouch  is  about  190  grains. 

Musk  is  known  in  commerce  under  two  forms — as  Ton- 
quin  or  Thibet  musk,  which  is  the  most  valuable,  and 
Siberian,  Kabardinian,  or  Russian  musk,  of  inferior  quality. 
The  Oriental  or  Tonquin  musk  from  Cochin-China  and 
Tonquin  is  imported  in  small  oblong  rectangular  boxes, 
which  are  lined  with  lead,  to  prevent  the  escape  of  the  odour ; 
the  musk  bags,  wrapped  in  thin  blue  or  red  paper  covered 
with  Chinese  characters,  are  placed  in  these  boxes.  These 
musk  bags,  are  usually  covered  with  hairs,  which  all  con¬ 
verge  towards  the  little  narrow  opening  in  the  bag.  The 
weight  of  each  bag  varies,  some  not  exceeding  half  an 
ounce,  whilst  others  weigh  upwards  of  two  ounces.  Large 


3  T  4  THE  NA  TURA  L  HIS  TOR  Y  OF  COMMERCE. 

numbers  of  musk  deer  are  annually  killed.  The  annual 
import  of  musk  into  the  United  Kingdom  is  upwards  of  ten 
thousand  ounces. 

Besides  its  uses  as  a  perfume,  musk  also  possesses  valu¬ 
able  remedial  qualities.  When  genuine,  it  is  one  of  the 
most  powerful  of  the  antispasmodics,  and  is  applied  with 
advantage  in  cases  of  infantile  spasms,  when  not  accom¬ 
panied  with  inflammation. 

Civet  Cat  (Viverra  civetta ,  Gm. ;  order,  Carnivora). — 
A  native  of  Northern  Africa,  and  especially  common  in 
Abyssinia,  allied  to  the  polecat  and  marten.  Body  from 
two  to  three  feet  long,  and  from  ten  to  twelve  inches  high ; 
tail  half  as  long  as  the  body.  The  civet,  when  captured,  is 
enclosed  in  a  small  cage,  in  which  it  cannot  turn  round, 
and  while  thus  confined,  the  secretion  is  removed  from  its 
large  anal  pouch  two  or  three  times  a  week  with  a  spoon 
or  spatula.  The  interior  of  the  pouch  is  glandular,  the 
glands  secreting  the  perfume  from  the  blood  of  the  animal. 
The  substance  itself  is  of  a  pale  yellow  colour,  and  of  the 
consistence  of  honey.  It  is  not  unlike  musk,  and  to  most 
persons  smells  disagreeably,  but  when  mixed  with  butter, 
wax,  lard,  and  alcohol,  in  the  proportion  of  one  part  to 
a  thousand,  it  loses  its  offensive  character,  and  becomes 
aromatic  and  delicately  fragrant.  Thus  prepared  it  is  used 
in  perfumery,  and  when  employed,  renders  more  perceptible 
other  scents  with  which  it  is  mixed.  Lavender  and  other 
scented  waters  become  more  agreeable  by  the  addition  of 
minute  quantities  of  civet.  The  substance  is  not  so  much 
in  use  now  as  formerly ;  nevertheless,  there  is  still  a  con¬ 
siderable  consumption  of  it  in  this  country,  and  as  much  as 
forty  shillings  an  ounce  is  paid  for  it. 

Viverra  zibetha  is  another  species  of  civet  cat,  peculiar 
to  the  Asiatic  continent,  and  found  from  Arabia  to  Malabar, 
and  in  the  larger  islands  of  the  Malayan  Archipelago.  It 


MAMMALIAN  PRODUCTS :  PERFUMES.  3  I  5 

is  much  milder  in  its  disposition  than  the  African  species, 
and  is  domesticated  by  the  Arabs  and  Malays.  Our  sup¬ 
plies  of  civet  are  also  derived  from  this  animal,  although  to 
a  less  extent  than  from  the  African  species. 

Castoreu?/i,  which  strongly  resembles  musk  in  its  medi¬ 
cinal  qualities  and  applications,  is  furnished  by  the  Beaver 
(< Castor  fiber ,  L.)  This  substance  is  secreted  in  the  interior 
of  a  little  bag  or  pouch  with  which  the  beaver  is  supplied. 
It  is  brought  to  market,  like  the  musk,  in  the  pouch.  The 
best  Castoreum  is  that  from  Russia  and  Siberia;  a  very 
good  quality  is  furnished  also  by  Poland,  Prussia,  Bavaria, 
Germany,  Sweden,  and  Norway;  an  inferior  kind  comes 
from  Canada  and  the  territories  of  the  Hudson’s  Bay 
Company. 

Ambergris. — This  substance  is  obtained  from  the  sperm 
whale.  It  is  an  expensive  drug,  because  not  frequently 
found,  and  is  valued  on  account  of  the  excellency  of  its 
fragrance.  Ambergris  is  a  morbid  or  diseased  concretion 
formed  in  the  stomach,  or  probably  in  the  gall-ducts,  of  the 
sperm  whale,  in  masses  of  considerable  size,  sometimes 
weighing  thirty  or  forty  pounds.  It  is  usually  found  floating 
on  the  surface  of  the  water,  probably  disengaged  from  the 
floating  body  of  one  of  these  monsters,  and  is  rarely  sought 
for  in  the  intestines  of  the  sperm  whale,  although  it  is  worth 
a  guinea  an  ounce.  It  is  fished  up  in  the  Indian  Ocean, 
near  the  Moluccas  and  Philippine  Islands;  also  near  Sumatra, 
Madagascar,  and  on  the  coast  of  Coromandel.  In  the  Atlan¬ 
tic  Ocean  it  is  found  near  the  West  Indies  and  the  Brazils. 
Ambergris  is  used  as  a  costly  frankincense,  especially  in 
France.  It  has  also  the  property  of  increasing  the  power 
of  other  perfumes,  and  is  used  mainly  for  this  purpose. 


3l6 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


III.— STEARINE  AND  OILS. 

The  chief  supply  of  animal  oil  is  derived  from  various 
species  of  seals  (order  Carnivora ,  family  Pliocidce )  and 
whales  (order  Cetacea'). 

In  order  to  meet  the  needs  of  the  creature  it  defends, 
the  true  skin  of  whales  is  modified,  forming  the  layer  of 
blubber  called  by  whalers  the  blanket,  probably  in  allusion 
to  its  office  of  preserving  the  animal  heat.  The  blubber  is 
composed  of  a  number  of  interlacing  fibres,  capable  of  con¬ 
taining  a  very  large  quantity  of  oily  matter.  The  thickness 
of  the  blubber  varies  in  the  several  species ;  those  inhabit¬ 
ing  the  frigid  zones  have  it  of  greater  thickness  than  those 
which  habitually  live  in  warmer  seas.  It  is  never  less  than 
several  inches,  and  in  many  parts  of  a  whale  is  two  feet 
deep,  and,  moreover,  as  elastic  as  caoutchouc,  offering  an 
admirable  buffer  to  the  force  of  the  waves  and  the  pressure 
of  the  water,  as  well  as  a  defence  from  cold.  In  a  large 
whale  the  blubber  will  weigh  thirty  tons. 

The  species  of  whales  regularly  hunted  for  the  sake  of 
their  oil  are  : — 

The  Greenland  Whale  (Balcena  mysticetus). — Confined 
to  the  Greenland  and  Spitzbergen  seas,  its  migrations  being 
regulated  by  the  extent  of  the  perpetual  ice. 

The  Hump-backed  Whale  (. Megaptera  longimana)  attains 
a  length  of  sixty  to  seventy  feet,  and  inhabits  the  Green¬ 
land  seas,  where  it  is  found  in  great  abundance.  Its  oil 
is  said  to  be  superior  to  that,  which  is  furnished  by  the 
Greenland  whale,  and  not  much  inferior  to  the  oil  of  the 
sperm  whale. 

The  Pike,  or  Finned  Whale  (. Balcetioptera  rostrata )  is  a 
native  of  the  seas  that  wash  the  shores  of  Greenland,  and 
is  sometimes  seen  near  Iceland  and  Norway.  The  flesh  is 
in  some  repute  as  a  delicacy  among  the  natives  of  these 


STEARINE  AND  OILS.  3  I  7 

northern  regions.  The  oil  which  it  furnishes  is  particularly 
delicate. 

Sperm  Whale  ( Cdtodon  macrocephalus ). — This  species 
measures  from  seventy  to  eighty  feet  in  length,  and  is 
chiefly  notable  on  account  of  the  valuable  substances  which 
are  obtained  from  its  body — oil,  spermaceti,  teeth,  ambergris. 
It  differs  from  the  true  whales  in  having  no  baleen  plates 
in  the  palate,  but  from  forty  to  fifty  conical  teeth  in  the 
lower  jaw,  which  fit  into  cavities  in  the  upper,  so  that  the 
mouth  is  capable  of  being  completely  closed.  The  head  is 
of  an  enormous  size,  forming  about  one-third  of  the  entire 
length  of  the  animal.  It  is  cylindrical,  truncated,  composed 
of  a  sort  of  cartilaginous  envelope,  containing  an  oily  fluid, 
which  hardens  by  exposure  to  the  air,  and  is  then  known 
as  spermaceti.  This  substance  is  also  diffused  through  the 
blubber. 

The  sperm  whale,  or  cachelot,  is  generally  distributed  in 
all  seas,  but  principally  in  those  of  the  southern  hemisphere. 

The  oil  is  obtained  from  the  blubber,  which  is  only 
fourteen  inches  in  depth  on  the  breast,  and  eleven  inches 
on  the  other  parts  of  the  body,  and  is  therefore  not  so 
abundant  in  proportion  to  the  size  of  the  animal  as  that 
which  is  extracted  from  the  Greenland  whale.  Its  superior 
quality,  however,  compensates  fully  for  its  deficiency  in 
quantity.  It  is  much  used  for  burning  in  lamps. 

The  spermaceti  from  the  head  is  very  valuable  as  an 
ointment,  and  for  the  manufacture  of  candles.  The  United 
States  fit  out  more  ships  than  any  other  nation  for  this 
whale  fishery,  bringing  home  vast  quanities  of  train  oil,  with 
about  three-fourths  of  the  number  of  casks  of  spermaceti. 
Next  to  the  United  States,  England  is  the  country  most 
engaged  in  the  whale  fisheries.  France  employs  a  good 
many  ships  in  this  business,  the  principal  port  being  Havre. 
Norway,  Sweden,  Denmark,  and  the  Hanseatic  Towns  take 


3  I  8  THE  NA  TURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 

some  part  in  the  whale  fisheries.  A  flourishing  Southern 
whale  fishery  has  sprung  up  in  Tasmania. 

Spermaceti  candles  are  mostly  manufactured  in  England, 
the  raw  material  being  in  a  great  measure  imported  from 
the  United  States. 

The  Beluga  ( Beluga  cdtodon),  also  called  the  White 

Whale  on  account  of  the  colour  of  its  skin,  is  an  inhabitant 

of  the  higher  latitudes,  being  found  in  great  numbers  in 

Hudson’s  Bay  and  Davis’s  Straits,  and  frequenting  the 

mouths  of  large  rivers  on  the  northern  coasts  of  Asia  and 

America.  The  oil  furnished  by  the  Beluga  is  sufficiently 

valuable  to  have  led  to  the  establishment  of  regular  Beluga 

hunts  in  the  great  North  American  rivers,  which  they  ascend 

for  some  distance  in  search  of  prey.  The  skin  can  be 

made  into  a  peculiarly  strong  tough  leather,  and  is  said  to 

resist  an  ordinarv  musket-ball. 

«/ 

The  Seals,  described  in  pp.  308-9,  are  hunted  for  the 
sake  of  their  oil ;  and  the  pursuit  of  them  is  superseding 
that  of  the  Greenland  whale,  for  the  latter  has  been  greatly 
reduced  in  numbers  by  whalers  for  upwards  of  one  hundred 
years. 

A  large  number  of  British  vessels  are  engaged  each  year 
in  the  capture  of  whales  and  seals ;  and  the  importation  of 
train  or  blubber  oil  from  British  North  America  reaches 
many  thousand  tuns  per  annum. 

Tallow  is  animal  fat  of  great  commercial  value,  separated 
from  membranous  matter  by  fusion,  and  consists  chiefly 
of  stearin,  with  a  small  quantity  of  olein.  It  is  manufactured 
into  candles  and  soap,  and  is  extensively  used  in  dressing 
leather,  and  in  various  other  processes  in  the  arts.  We 
are  supplied  extensively  with  native  tallow,  and  we  import 
a  large  quantity,  principally  from  Russia,  Hungary,  and 
Turkey.  Our  imports  of  tallow  from  Australia  and  the 
Argentine  Confederation  show  increasingly  large  averages. 


MAMMALIAN  PRODUCTS:  FOOD. 


319 


The  entire  imports  from  all  parts  take  a  high  place  among 
the  figures  of  British  commerce. 

The  tallow  we  receive  from  Australia  is  chiefly  obtained 
from  sheep,  the  carcases  of  which  used  to  be  boiled  down 
for  this  product  alone ;  that  from  South  America  is  from 
oxen  and  even  horses,  which  roam  in  a  half  wild  state  over 
the  grassy  plains  of  Monte  Video  and  La  Plata.  The 
animals  are  slaughtered  for  their  hides,  tallow,  and  bones. 

IV.— FOOD  PRODUCTS. 

Butter  is  made  in  the  counties  of  Cambridgeshire, 
Suffolk,  Yorkshire,  Somerset,  Gloucestershire,  Oxfordshire, 
and  Essex.  In  Scotland  excellent  butter  is  made  in  Clydes¬ 
dale  and  Aberdeenshire.  The  butter  produced  in  Great 
Britain  is,  however,  insufficient  for  home  consumption,  and 
large  quantities  are  imported,  principally  from  Ireland,  where 
it  is  a  staple  commodity ;  and  from  Holland,  Belgium,  the 
Hanse  Towns,  France,  and  the  United  States.  The  foreign 
imports  grow  larger  year  by  year. 

Cheese  is  the  curd  of  milk  compressed  into  solid  masses 
of  different  sizes  and  shapes,  salted  and  dried,  and  some¬ 
times  coloured  and  flavoured.  Besides  our  own  supply  of 
Gloucester,  Cheddar,  Cheshire,  and  Stilton  cheeses,  which 
are  the  most  in  demand,  we  import  a  considerable  number 
of  foreign  cheeses,  amongst  which  are  Limburg  cheese  from 
Belgium,  Swiss  cheese  from  Switzerland,  Parmesan  cheeses 
from  Parma  and  other  places  in  Lombardy,  Gorgonzola 
from  Italy,  American  cheeses  from  the  United  States,  Edam 
and  Gouda  cheeses  from  Holland,  and  German  cheeses 
from  Westphalia.  The  last  come  to  market  in  round  balls, 
or  short  cylinders,  of  one  to  three  pounds  in  weight. 

The  rich  flavour  of  Parmesan  cheese  is  owing  to  the 
aromatic  plants  which  abound  in  the  Italian  pastures. 


320  THE  NA  TURAL  HISTOR  V  OF  COMMERCE. 

Stilton  cheese,  so  named  from  the  town  in  Huntingdonshire 
where  it  was  first  brought  into  notice,  is  the  dearest  of  all 
English  cheeses,  the  price  being  generally  to  that  of  Cheshire 
as  two  to  one,  or  two  to  one  and  a  quarter.  To  produce 
premature  decay,  and  consequently  an  appearance  of  age, 
in  these  cheeses,  the  manufacturers  are  said  to  bury  them 
in  masses  of  fermenting  straw  ;  also  to  spread  the  curd  out 
on  the  ground  over  night,  and  the  germs  of  blue  mould  or 
fungous  growth  ever  floating  in  the  atmosphere  settle  upon 
the  rich  cheese,  where  they  find  a  congenial  soil  for  their 
development.  The  quantity  of  cheese  of  all  kinds  imported 
already  grows  wonderfully  in  importance,  the  principal 
countries  which  supply  us  being  Holland,  United  States, 
and  the  Dominion  of  Canada. 

Lard. — The  melted  fat  of  swine  is  imported  chiefly  from 
the  United  States. 

Live  Stock. — Oxen. — The  statistics  of  our  imports  of 
live  cattle  and  of  their  values  vary  very  much.  The  trade 
is  restricted  by  the  precautions  taken  to  prevent  outbreaks 
of  disease,  the  ports  being  occasionally  closed.  Despite 
these  difficulties  the  trade  is  a  large  one,  the  principal 
countries  whence  imported  being  Schleswig  Holstein, 
Holland,  and  Germany. 

Sheep  and  Lambs,  principally  imported  from  Holland. 
The  imports  fluctuate  widely,  yet  are  of  an  extensive 
character,  with  a  normal  tendency  to  increase,  some¬ 
times  reaching  a  million  head,  sometimes  barely  half  the 
number,  with  corresponding  fluctuations  of  the  total  yearly 
values. 

Meats. — Baco?i  and  Liams. — The  greatest  supply  of 
“provisions”  (bacon  and  ham),  as  salted  meats  are  called 
in  trade,  was  from  the  Hanse  Towns  and  the  United  States. 
So  far  as  quality  goes,  however,  no  imports  of  these  com¬ 
modities  excel  our  own  Irish  brands. 


If  A  MM  A  LI  AN  PR  OD  UC  IS  :  FOOD. 


32 1 


Beef  and  Pork. — Corned  or  salted  provisions  are  largely 
imported  from  the  Hanse  Towns  and  the  United  States. 

Preservation  of  Meat. 

How  to  meet  the  growing  demand  for  butcher-meat, 
consequent  on  an  increase  of  population  and  a  relative 
decrease  of  stock,  is  a  question  of  importance  to  the  com¬ 
mercial  prosperity  of  this  and  other  countries,  and  calls  for 
the  attention  of  legislators  and  scientific  men.  Though  the 
stock  of  sheep  and  cattle  raised  in  England  is  large,  and 
that  of  cattle  in  Ireland  and  Scotland  is  a  source  of  wealth 
to  those  two  countries,  yet  enormous  quantities  of  meat  are 
imported.  When  we  turn  our  attention  to  Australia  and 
the  Argentine  States,  we  find  the  flesh  of  cattle  and  sheep 
sacrificed  for  other  parts  of  the  animal ;  and  he  who  shall 
devise  the  best  method  by  which  these  meats  can  be 
economically  imported  into  this  country  will  be  hailed  as 
one  of  the  greatest  public  benefactors.  The  importation 
•  of  the  living  animals  on  a  large  scale  seems  out  of  the 
question,  notwithstanding  the  arrival  of  one  or  two  cargoes  ; 
and  as  the  jerked  or  sun-dried  beef,  though  brought  in  at 
low  rates  from  Monte  Video  and  other  parts,  has  not  found 
favour,  there  only  remains  the  discovery  of  a  process  by 
which  the  meat  can  be  preserved  in  a  fresh  state  a  sufficient 
length  of  time  to  admit  of  its  transportation  from  distant 
regions. 

This  art  of  preserving  meat  is  modern,  and  differs 
entirely  from  the  old  and  common  methods  by  means  of 
salt,  saltpetre,  or  sugar,  which  substances,  when  in  solution, 
do  not  absorb  oxygen,  and  therefore  they  prevent  decom¬ 
position.  The  history  of  the  art  of  preserving  meat  in  a 
fresh  state  is  associated  with  the  earliest  arctic  explorations. 
Scientific  observers  found  that  scorbutic  diseases  arising 
from  living  exclusively  on  salt  meat  were  fearfully  aggravated 
i.  x 


322  THE  NA  TURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 

by  extreme  cold ;  the  Admiralty,  therefore,  offered  induce¬ 
ments  to  merchants  to  devise  plans  for  preserving  unsalted 
meat,  cooked,  or  in  a  raw  state,  thus  doing  away  with  the 
use  of  salt  meat  altogether.  It  is  hardly  possible  to  over¬ 
estimate  the  importance  of  this  subject,  as  is  evident  from 
the  fact  that  preserved  fresh  provisions,  especially  with 
vegetables,  and  when  combined  with  the  juice  of  limes  or 
of  lemons,  are  an  absolute  preventive  of  the  sea-leprosy. 
Methods  have  also  been  introduced  for  bringing  over  frozen 
carcases  in  vessels  engaged  in  the  foreign  meat  trade, 
single  cargoes  from  New  Zealand  exceeding  20,000  sheep. 
Immense  quantities  of  excellent  fish,  flesh,  and  fowl,  from 
the  antipodes  and  other  distant  parts  have  thus  been  added 
to  our  food  stores. 

M.  Appert,  a  French  gentleman,  was  the  first  to  succeed 
in  the  attempt  to  preserve  unsalted  or  fresh  meat,  and  in 
1810  he  received  a  prize  of  12,000  francs  from  the  Parisian 
Board  of  Arts  and  Manufactures.  In  the  following  year, 
M.  Durant,  a  colleague  of  M.  Appert,  took  out,  in  this 
country,  a  patent,  which  was  subsequently  purchased  by 
Messrs.  Donkin,  Hall,  &  Gamble,  for  ^1000. 

M.  Appert’s  process  consisted  in  partly  cooking  the 
meat,  placing  it  in  a  glass  vessel  in  a  bath  of  chloride  of 
calcium,  heating  it  to  about  240°  F.,  and  then  hermetically 
sealing  the  lid.  Appert’s  plan,  as  adopted  and  improved 
by  Messrs.  Donkin,  Hall,  &  Gamble,  is  as  follows  : — Tin 
canisters  are  substituted  for  the  glass  vessels,  and  the  meat 
(previously  parboiled)  is  placed  in  them,  with  a  rich  gravy 
or  soup.  The  lids,  which  are  pierced  with  a  small  hole,  are 
then  soldered  down  air-tight,  and  the  canisters  immersed  in 
a  bath  of  brine  or  chloride  of  calcium — substances  which  can 
be  raised  to  a  temperature  much  exceeding  that  of  boiling 
water,  and  which  can,  therefore,  communicate,  through  the 
whole  contents  of  the  tins,  a  degree  of  heat  at  least  up  to 


MAMMALIAN  PRODUCTS:  FOOD. 


323 


2120  Fahr.,  or  that  of  the  boiling  point  of  water.  On  the 
steam  issuing  from  the  hole  in  the  canister  lid,  it  is  suddenly 
condensed  by  the  application  of  a  cold  wet  rag,  and  a  drop 
of  molten  solder  being  dexterously  applied  to  the  hole  at 
the  same  moment,  the  case  becomes  hermetically  sealed. 
On  cooling,  the  ends  of  the  canisters  are  slightly  concave, 
from  atmospheric  pressure,  if  the  process  has  been  success¬ 
ful  ;  but  if  the  ends  have  flattened,  or  become  convex 
instead  of  concave,  then  either  the  case  has  not  been 
properly  soldered  and  is  not  air-tight,  or  the  meat  has 
decomposed  and  liberated  gases. 

The  defect  of  tinned  provisions  is  their  over-cooked  taste, 
as  a  necessity  of  their  mode  of  preparation.  A  remedy  for 
this  is  found  in  sealing  the  tins  first,  and  bringing  them 
close,  but  not  actually,  to  boiling  point  (or  the  steam  then 
formed  would  burst  them) ;  when,  upon  being  punctured, 
the  heated  air  and  vapour  escape,  and  the  tins  are  once 
more  soldered.  The  newest  and  most  perfect  process  of 
preparing  the  tins  is  that  of  boiling  in  vacuo,  whereby  the 
over-cooked  effect  is  perfectly  averted. 

As  soon  as  this  modification  of  Appert’s  process  was 
made  practically  perfect,  it  was  tested  by  order  of  the 
Admiralty,  and  ships  were  sent  by  them  to  the  arctic 
regions  with  an  abundant  supply  of  these  meat  canisters. 
The  officers  in  command  reported  favourably  of  the  whole. 
Their  value  in  cold  climates  having  thus  been  proved, 
the  experiment  was  tried  with  equal  success  by  vessels 
trading  in  the  tropical  regions.  For  ship  use  these  pre¬ 
served  meats  are  invaluable,  and  hardly  a  vessel  now  leaves 
this  country  without  a  supply.  In  India  they  are  ex¬ 
tensively  used  as  luxuries  in  the  towns,  and  as  necessaries 
in  the  remote  districts,  where  fresh  meat  of  any  kind  is 
scarce  and  bad.  It  may  be  noted  here  that  most  of  the 
ocean  steam-ships  belonging  to  ports  of  the  United  States 


324  THE  NA  TURAL  HISTOR  Y  OR  COMMERCE. 

and  Europe  are  provisioned  with  fresh  meats  conserved 
in  ice. 

V.— WOOL. 

In  commerce  this  term  is  applied  to  the  hair  of  the 
alpaca,  goat,  beaver,  and  rabbit,  and  to  allied  substances ; 
but,  strictly  speaking,  it  belongs  to  the  sheep  alone,  the  hair 
of  which,  from  time  immemorial,  has  been  woven  into  cloth. 

Wools  are  divided  into  two  great  classes — clothing  wools 
and  combing  wools,  or  short  wools  and  long  wools ;  and 
the  fabrics  woven  from  them  are  termed  woollens  or 
worsteds,  according  as  the  one  or  the  other  is  employed. 
The  fibres  of  clothing  wools  felt  or  interlace,  forming 
thereby  a  dense  compact  material,  suitable  for  warm  and 
heavy  clothing,  when  manufactured  into  broad  cloths,  narrow 
cloths,  felt  for  hats,  blankets,  serges,  flannels,  and  tartans. 
Combing  wools,  on  the  contrary,  though  long  in  fibre,  do 
not  felt,  and  are  therefore  employed  in  the  manufacture  of 
light  and  loose,  but  still  warm,  garments — such  as  stuffs, 
bombazines,  merinoes,  hosiery,  camlets,  and  shawls,  and 
various  mixed  goods,  as  damasks,  plushes,  and  velvets. 

The  wool  of  the  sheep  has  been  greatly  improved  since 
the  animal  has  been  brought  under  the  fostering  care  of 
man.  The  moiiflon,  which  is  considered  by  some  zoologists 
as  the  parent  stock  of  the  common  domestic  sheep,  inhabits 
the  mountains  of  Sardinia,  Corsica,  Greece,  Barbary,  and 
Asia  Minor.  This  animal  has  a  very  short  and  coarse 
fleece,  more  like  hair  than  wool.  When  domesticated,  the 
rank  hair  disappears,  and  the  soft  wool  around  the  hair- 
roots,  which  is  hardly  visible  in  the  wild  animal,  becomes 
developed.  If  sheep  are  left  to  themselves  on  downs  and 
moors,  there  is  a  tendency  to  the  formation  of  this  hair 
amongst  the  wool ;  its  occurrence  in  the  fleece  of  domestic 
sheep  is  therefore  rare,  and  is  always  regarded  as  defective 
sheep-farming. 


MAMMALIAN  PRODUCTS:  WOOL.  325 

There  is  in  the  United  Kingdom  a  great  distinction  of 
build,  flesh,  and  wool  between  the  mountain  sheep  and 
those  of  the  grass  lands  or  plains.  Those  of  the  plains, 
though  they  vary  much  among  themselves,  are  yet  of 
more  uniform  character,  and  excel  the  mountain  sheep  in 
every  economic  quality.  The  South  Down,  dark-faced,  and 
Leicester,  white-faced,  are  regarded  as  the  only  pure  breeds ; 
but  many  cross  breeds  prevail,  chiefly  from  the  merinoes  of 
Spain,  reared  with  the  view  of  improving  both  flesh  and 
wool. 

The  climate  of  this  country  is  unfavourable  to  the 
growth  of  the  best  wools ;  hence  the  superiority  of  the 
Merino,  Saxony,  and  Australian  wools,  the  produce  of 
countries  having  a  higher  average  temperature.  Merino 
wool  is  obtained  from  the  migratory  sheep  of  Spain,  a 
breed  distinguished  from  the  British  by  bearing  wool  on 
the  forehead  and  cheeks ;  the  horns  are  large,  ponderous, 
and  convoluted  laterally ;  the  wool  is  long,  soft,  and 
twisted  into  silky-looking  spiral  ringlets,  and  is  very  superior 
in  its  fineness  and  felting  properties.  Its  closeness  and  a 
luxuriant  supply,  from  the  glands  of  the  skin,  of  yolk  or 
natural  oil,  which  serves  to  nourish  it  and  mats  the  fibres 
together,  renders  it  an  excellent  natural  defence  against 
the  extremes  of  heat  and  cold.  These  migratory  sheep, 
amounting  in  Spain  to  10,000,000,  are  led  twice  a  year 
(in  April  and  October)  a  journey  of  400  miles,  passing  the 
summer  in  the  pastures  on  the  slopes  of  the  Pyrenean 
mountains,  and  the  winter  on  the  plains  towards  the  south. 

The  word  merino  signifies  an  overseer  of  pasture  lands, 
and  is  applied  to  these  sheep  because  in  Spain  they  travel 
in  detachments  of  10,000  each,  under  the  care  of  fifty 
shepherds  and  as  many  dogs,  with  a  mayoral  or  chief  shep¬ 
herd  at  their  head,  and  have  a  general  right  of  pasturage 
all  over  the  kingdom.  “  Several  of  the  sheep  are  tamed 


9  2  6  THE  NA  TURAL  HIS  TOR  V  OR  COMMERCE. 

O 

and  taught  to  obey  the  signals  of  the  shepherds ;  these 
follow  the  leading  shepherd  (for  there  is  no  driving),  and 
the  rest  quietly  follow  them.  The  flocks  travel  through 
the  country  at  the  rate  of  eighteen  to  twenty  miles  a  day, 
but  in  open  country,  with  good  pasturage,  more  leisurely. 
Much  damage  is  done  to  the  country  over  which  these  im¬ 
mense  flocks  are  passing;  the  free  sheep-walk  which  the 
landed  proprietors  are  forced  to  keep  open  interferes  with 
enclosure  and  good  husbandry ;  the  commons,  also,  are  so 
completely  eaten  down  that  the  sheep  of  the  neighbourhood 
are  for  a  time  half  starved.  The  sheep  know  as  well  as  the 
shepherds  when  the  procession  has  arrived  at  the  end  of  its 
journey.  In  April  their  migratory  instinct  renders  them 
restless,  and  if  not  guided,  they  set  forth  unattended  to  the 
cooler  hills.  In  spite  of  the  vigilance  of  the  shepherds, 
great  numbers  often  escape ;  if  not  destroyed  by  the  wolves, 
there  is  no  danger  of  losing  these  stragglers,  for  they  are 
found  in  their  old  pasture,  quietly  awaiting  the  arrival  of 
their  companions.”* 

This  celebrated  breed  is  now  reared  in  Saxony  and  in 
Australia,  which  has  become  one  of  the  principal  wool¬ 
growing  countries  in  the  world.  In  1464  Spain  imported 
ewes  and  rams  from  the  Cotswold  hills. 

The  Cretan  or  Wallachian  sheep,  remarkable  for  magni¬ 
ficent  formation  of  its  horns,  possesses  a  fleece  of  a  soft 
woolly  undercoat,  covered  by  long  drooping  hairs.  The 
wool  is  extremely  fine,  and  is  employed  in  the  manufacture 
of  warm  cloaks,  largely  used  by  the  peasantry,  and  so  thick 
and  warm  that  they  defend  the  wearer  against  the  bitterest 
cold. 

The  chief  countries  which  supply  us  with  sheep  and 
lambs’  wool  are  Russia,  Hanse  Towns,  Argentine  Con- 

“  Cyclopedia  of  Useful  Arts  and  Manufactures.”  By  Charles 
Tomlinson.  Vol.  2,  p.  1030. 


MA  MM  A  LI  A  N  PROD  UC  TS :  WOOL.  327 

federation,  British  Possessions,  Africa,  British  India,  and 
Australia.  The  Australian  wool  trade  is  taking  vast  dimen¬ 
sions,  and  outrivals  the  produce  of  gold  and  all  other  pro¬ 
duce  in  yearly  value. 

There  are  other  ruminant  animals  from  which  the  wools 
of  commerce  are  obtained  besides  the  sheep.  The  follow¬ 
ing  are  the  chief : — 

Angora  Goat  ( Capra  Angorensis ,  Hasselq.) — It  in¬ 
habits  the  mountains  in  the  vicinity  of  Angora,  in  Asia 
Minor.  In  colour  it  is  milk-white  ;  legs  short  and  black, 
horns  spirally  twisted  and  spreading ;  the  hair  on  the 
whole  body  is  disposed  in  long,  pendulous,  spiral  ringlets, 
and  is  highly  valued  in  Turkey,  the  finest  and  most  costly 
Turkish  robes  being  manufactured  from  the  fleece,  which 
is  as  soft  and  fine  as  silk.  It  was  first  brought  into  the 
markets  of  Europe  under  the  name  of  Mohair.  Its  expor¬ 
tation,  unless  in  the  shape  of  yarn,  was  formerly  prohibited, 
but  it  is  now  allowed  to  be  exported  unspun.  Mohair  is 
transmitted  to  England  chiefly  from  Smyrna  and  Constanti¬ 
nople,  and  manufactured  into  fine  shawls,  camlets,  vel¬ 
veteens,  plushes,  braidings,  decorative  laces,  and  trimmings 
for  gentlemen’s  coats.  The  manufacture  is  principally 
carried  on  at  Bradford  and  Norwich.  Although  our  imports 
of  mohair  are  barely  more  than  a  hundredth  part  of  our 
imports  of  wool,  they  are  annually  computed  in  millions  of 
pounds  avoirdupois. 

Thibet  Goat  ( Capra  Jlircus). — Cashmere  shawls  are 
made  from  the  delicate  downy  wool  found  about  the  roots 
of  the  hair  of  this  goat,  which  inhabits  the  high  table-lands 
of  Thibet.  These  oriental  fabrics  are  woven  by  very  slow 
processes,  and  are  therefore  very  expensive,  being  sold 
in  Paris  at  from  4000  to  10,000  francs  a-piece,  and  in 
London  at  from  £100  to  ^400.  “The  wool  is  spun  by 
women,  and  afterwards  coloured.  A  fine  shawl,  with  a 


3  2  S  THE  NA  TURAL  HISTOR  Y  OF  COMMERCE. 

pattern  all  over  it,  takes  nearly  a  year  in  making.  The 
persons  employed  sit  on  a  bench  at  the  frame — sometimes 
four  people  at  each ;  but  if  the  shawl  is  a  plain  one,  only 
two.  The  borders  are  worked  with  wooden  needles,  there 
being  a  separate  needle  for  each  colour,  and  the  rough  part 
of  the  shawl  is  uppermost  whilst  it  is  in  progress  of  manu¬ 
facture.”  *  To  the  people  of  Cashmere  this  manufacture 
is  very  important;  about  16,000  looms  are  continually  at 
work,  each  one  giving  employment  to  three  men.  The 
annual  sale  there  is  calculated  at  30,000  shawls. 

It  has  long  been  the  aim  of  European  nations,  on 
account  of  the  beauty  and  value  of  these  shawls,  to  imitate 
them,  and  apply  to  their  manufacture  the  more  speedy  and 
elaborate  methods  which  modern  science  has  placed  within 
our  reach.  The  French  have  been  most  successful,  and 
shawls  are  now  produced  at  Paris,  Lyons,  and  Nismes, 
known  in  commerce  as  French  cashmere,  which  closely 
approximate  in  stuff  and  style  of  work  to  the  oriental,  while 
much  lower  in  price,  although  still  costly.  Norwich, 
Bristol,  Paisley,  and  Edinburgh  have  also  manufactured 
very  good  imitations  of  these  shawls.  The  Cashmere  wool 
imported  for  this  purpose  comes  into  Europe  through 
Kasan,  on  the  eastern  bank  of  the  Volga,  and  also  directly 
from  India  and  Persia. 

The  quantity  of  fine  Thibet  wool  imported  does  not 
nearly  reach  that  of  the  Angora  goat,  and  the  cherished 
Cashmere  shawls  have  been  closely  imitated,  if  not  excelled, 
at  a  much  cheaper  rate,  by  the  looms  of  Paisley  and 
France. 

Alpaca  {Llama  Pacos ,  Gray). — The  llamas  may  be 
regarded  as  the  camels  of  South  America,  to  which  tribe 
of  animals  they  belong.  They  inhabit  the  slopes  of  the 

*  See  “Naturalist’s  Library.”  Ruminantia,  Part  2.  By  Sir  W. 
Jaidme,  Bart. 


MA  MM  A  LI  AN  PR  OD  UC  TS :  WOOL. 


329 


Peruvian  Andes  and  the  mountains  of  Chili,  keeping 
together  in  herds  of  from  100  to  200,  and  never  drinking 
when  they  have  a  sufficiency  of  green  herbage.  The  alpaca 
is  about  the  size  of  a  full-grown  deer,  and  very  graceful  in 
appearance.  Its  fleece  is  superior  to  that  of  the  sheep  in 
length  and  softness,  spins  easily,  and  yields  an  even,  strong, 
and  true  thread.  Pizarro  found  this  animal  used  as  a  beast 
of  burden,  and  its  wool  employed  for  clothing  by  the  natives 
of  that  country. 

Alpaca  wool  arrives  in  this  country  in  small  bales  called 
ballots,  weighing  about  70  lbs.,  and  generally  in  a  very 
dirty  state.  It  is  sorted  into  eight  different  varieties,  each 
fitted  for  a  particular  class  of  goods,  and  then  washed  and 
combed  by  machinery.  The  principal  articles  manufactured 
from  it  consist  of  alpaca  lustres,  fancy  alpacas,  and  alpaca 
mixtures.  Nearly  all  the  alpaca  wool  imported  into  Eng¬ 
land  is  worked  up  in  the  Bradford  district.  Our  annual 
supplies  from  Peru,  New  Granada,  and  other  places  in  South 
America  reach  several  millions  of  pounds  avoirdupois. 

The  Llama  vicuna  and  L.  guanaco ,  other  species  of  these 
animals  inhabiting  the  same  regions,  yield  fine  hair,  but 
of  less  commercial  value. 

Of  our  resources  in  wool,  sheep,  lamb,  and  alpaca,  we 
export  about  a  third  part  to  our  colonies  and  foreign 
countries. 

The  best  wool  is  grown  in  Germany.  The  finest  kind 
passes  in  commerce  under  the  name  of  Electoral  Wool. 
Next  to  Germany,  Australia  ranks  in  importance  as  a  wool¬ 
growing  country  ;  the  merino  breed  of  sheep  having  been 
introduced  there  with  unexampled  success.  In  1807  the 
first  importation  of  Australian  merino  wool  was  received  in 
England,  amounting  to  only  245  lbs.  It  has  now  grown 
to  national  importance.  Probably  a  more  extensive  and 
instructive  collection  of  wools  was  never  brought  together 


33° 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


than  that  contributed  to  the  Great  Exhibition  of  1851,  in 
this  country ;  showing,  in  a  remarkable  manner,  the  extent 
to  which  wool-bearing  ruminants  have  been  fostered  by 
man,  their  wide  geographical  diffusion,  and  the  influence 
of  climate  in  modifying  the  characters  of  their  fleeces. 
Samples  of  wool  were  there  for  inspection  and  comparison, 
from  Chinese  Tartary,  Thibet,  and  India  in  the  East,  to  the 
lately  redeemed  tracts  of  the  United  States  in  the  far  West; 
and  from  Iceland  and  Scandinavia  in  the  North,  to  the 
Cape  of  Good  Hope  and  Australia  in  the  South. 

The  number  of  sheep  in  the  world  is,  conjecturally,  about 
one  to  every  four  of  its  inhabitants.  According  to  latest 
official  returns,  which  vary  greatly  in  date,  while  from  many 
countries  no  returns  are  received,  the  British  Empire  rears 
from  a  third  to  a  half  of  the  existing  sheep,  of  which  from 
thirty  to  forty  millions  belong  to  the  United  Kingdom,  and 
a  hundred  millions  to  Australasia.  Germany,  France  and 
her  dependencies,  Russia  and  La  Plata,  follow  the  British 
Empire  in  making  up  the  remainder. 

Although  Europe  now  surpasses  oriental  nations  in  the 
artistic  working  of  cotton  and  silk,  yet  the  same  cannot 
be  said  of  the  manufacture  of  shawls  and  carpets ;  for, 
besides  the  cashmere  shawls  made  at  Kashmir,  in  the  king¬ 
dom  of  Lahore  in  Thibet,  and  also  at  Delhi  in  British 
India,  carpets  of  peculiar  and  unequalled  beauty  still  come 
from  Persia  and  the  Levant. 

VI.— LEATHER. 

Leather  is  animal  skin  chemically  changed  by  the  pro¬ 
cess  called  tanning.  The  skin  is  prevented  from  putrefying, 
and  rendered  comparatively  impervious  to  water,  by  the 
vegetable  astringent,  tannin,  found  in  the  bark,  fruit,  and 
leaves  of  various  plants ;  this  uniting  with  the  gelatine 
of  the  skin,  forms  a  tannate  of  gelatine.  The  skin,  thus 


MAMMALIAN  PRODUCTS :  LEATHER. 


331 


changed,  was  called  by  our  Saxon  ancestors  “  lith,”  “  lithe,” 
or  “  lither  ” — that  is,  soft  or  yielding,  whence  our  term 
“leather.” 

The  skins  are  first  cleansed  from  hair  and  cuticle,  by 
being  soaked  for  several  days  in  a  pit  of  lime  water ;  this 
loosens  the  hair  and  cuticle,  so  that  it  is  easily  scraped  off 
with  a  curved  knife,  upon  a  half  cylinder  of  wood  or  iron, 
called  a  beam.  The  hair  thus  removed  is  sold  to  plasterers, 
who  use  it  in  their  mortar.  The  skins  are  now  steeped  for 
a  few  days  in  a  sour  liquor  of  fermented  rye  or  barley, 
or  in  weak  sulphuric  acid.  By  this  process,  called  “  the 
raising,”  the  pores  are  distended  and  rendered  more  sus¬ 
ceptible  of  the  action  of  the  tan.  The  skins  are  then  put 
into  the  tan-pit,  in  alternate  layers,  with  crushed  oak  bark, 
valonia,  catechu,  divi-divi,  or  other  vegetable  astringents, 
and  the  pit  is  filled  with  water.  As  the  tannin  is  taken  up 
by  the  skins,  it  becomes  necessary  to  empty  the  tan-pit,  and 
add  fresh  supplies  of  tanning  material  and  water.  The 
time  required  to  tan  the  skins,  or  transform  them  to  leather, 
depends  on  their  thickness  and  other  circumstances,  and 
varies  from  four  months  to  two  years.  When  fully  tanned, 
the  leather,  if  cut  through,  is  of  a  uniform  brown  colour — • 
anything  like  a  white  streak  in  the  centre  showing  incom¬ 
pleteness  in  the  process.  It  is  now  stretched  upon  a  convex 
piece  of  wood  called  a  “  horse,”  beaten  and  smoothed,  or 
passed  between  cylinders  to  make  it  more  solid  and  supple, 
and  lastly,  dried  by  suspension  in  an  airy  covered  building. 

Tanned  leather  undergoes  the  further  operation  of  curry¬ 
ing,  or  impregnation  with  oil.  Leather,  when  it  is  received 
by  the  currier,  is  by  him  rendered  smooth,  shining,  and 
pliable,  so  as  to  make  it  suitable  for  the  purposes  of  the 
shoemaker,  coachmaker,  saddler,  and  harness-maker.  First 
it  is  soaked  in  water  to  render  it  pliable,  then  stretched 
upon  the  beam  and  shaved  smooth  with  a  knife,  next 


332 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


rubbed  with  a  polishing  stone,  and  while  still  wet  besmeared 
with  a  mixture  of  fish-oil  and  tallow,  and  hung  up  in  a  loft 
to  dry.  As  it  dries,  the  water  only  evaporates,  the  oil 
penetrating  the  pores  of  the  leather.  The  grain,  or  hair 
side,  is  then  blackened  with  copperas  water,  or  sulphate  of 
iron  in  solution,  the  iron  uniting  with  the  gallic  acid  of 
the  tan,  and  producing  an  inky  dye,  or  a  gallate  of  iron. 
Leather  so  prepared  is  chiefly  used  for  the  uppers  of  ladies’ 
shoes.  Leather  for  the  uppers  of  men’s  boots  and  shoes, 
on  the  contrary,  is  blackened  on  the  flesh  side,  or  waxed, 
as  it  is  termed,  with  lampblack  and  oil,  which  is  thoroughly 
rubbed  in  with  a  hard  brush.  The  thick  leather  for  the 
soles  of  boots  and  shoes  is  simply  tanned  without  being 
curried. 

But  leather  can  be  made  without  tannic  acid.  Skins 
may  be  preserved  by  means  of  alum  and  salt,  and  leather 
so  made  is  called  in  the  trade  “  tawed  leather,”  and  is  quite 
as  durable  and  much  softer.  Gloves  are  usually  made  from 
tawed  leather.  Skins  intended  to  be  tawed  pass  through  a 
series  of  preliminary  operations,  resembling  those  by  which 
skins  are  made  ready  for  tanning,  the  use  of  ordures  in 
the  liquids  being,  however,  indispensable.  They  are  then 
immersed  in  a  solution  of  alum  and  salt,  to  which,  for  the 
superior  kinds  of  leather,  flour  and  yolk  of  eggs  are  added. 
They  are  next  dried  in  a  loft,  smoothed  with  a  warm  iron, 
and  then  softened  on  a  stake,  when  they  are  dyed  of  vari¬ 
ous  colours  for  gloves  and  ladies’  boots.  The  French  are 
skilled  in  this  art.  At  Annonay,  a  town  about  fifty  miles 
from  Lyons,  tawing  operations  are  carried  on  so  largely  that 
tens  of  millions  of  kid  skins  are  dressed  there  annually ; 
and  it  has  been  computed  that  England  and  France  consume 
many  millions  of  eggs  in  the  preparation  of  kid  leather. 
The  average  number  of  leather  gloves  made  in  the  United 
Kingdom  would  furnish  each  adult  with  a  pair  every  year, 


MAMMALIAN  PRODUCTS:  LEA  THER. 


333 


with  a  large  reserve,  while  we  import  nearly  as  many  more 
of  French  manufacture.  All  the  figures  of  this  important 
industry  in  tanned  and  untanned  hides  and  skins,  sum  up 
in  grand  totals  of  millions  of  hundredweights. 

The  leathers  known  in  commerce  as  Chamois  and  Buff 
Leather  are  prepared  much  in  the  same  way  as  tanned 
and  tawed  leather,  only  that  oil  is  substituted  for  the  alum 
and  tannic  acid.  Sheep  and  doe  skins  are  also  thus  treated, 
more  frequently  even  than  those  of  the  chamois  goat. 
Wash  leather  is  an  example  of  this  kind  of  preparation. 

Russia  Leather,  the  smell  of  which  is  so  agreeable,  is 
prepared  in  the  usual  way,  then  tanned  with  the  bark  of  the 
willows  ( Salix  cinerea  and  Salix  c aprceci),  and  afterwards 
curried  with  the  empyreumatic  oil  from  the  bark  of  the 
birch-tree,  which  imparts  to  it  its  peculiar  odour.  M. 
Chevreul,  who  investigated  the  chemical  nature  of  this 
odoriferous  substance,  called  it  Betuline. 

Morocco  Leather  of  the  finer  qualities  is  made  from 
goat  skins  tanned  with  sumach,  and  inferior  morocco,  or 
roan,  from  sheep  skins.  The  hair,  wool,  and  grease  are 
removed  as  usual,  and  the  skin,  thoroughly  cleansed,  is 
reduced  to  the  state  of  simple  membrane,  called  pelt. 
Each  skin  is  then  sewn  by  its  edges  into  the  form  of  a  bag, 
the  grain,  or  hair  side,  being  outwards.  A  strong  solution 
of  sumach  having  been  put  into  the  bag,  it  is  distended 
with  air  like  a  blown  bladder,  and  the  aperture  tied  up. 
About  fifty  of  these  skins,  so  distended,  are  thrown  into  a 
tub  containing  a  warm  solution  of  sumach — the  tanning 
liquor — in  which  they  are  allowed  to  float.  In  a  few  hours 
they  are  tanned,  removed  from  the  bath,  the  sewing  is  then 
undone,  and  they  are  scraped  and  hung  up  in  the  drying 
loft.  Red  morocco  leather  derives  its  colour  from  cochi¬ 
neal,  which,  boiled  in  water  with  a  little  alum,  forms  a  red 
liquor,  in  which  the  skins  are  immersed  before  being  put 


334 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE 


into  the  sumach  bath.  In  the  case  of  black  morocco,  the 
skins  are  sumached  without  any  previous  dyeing,  and  the 
black  colour  is  given  by  applying  with  a  brush,  to  the 
grain  side,  a  solution  of  red  acetate  of  iron  ;  blue  is  com¬ 
municated  by  indigo ;  puce  colour  by  logwood,  with  a  little 
alum  ;  green  is  derived  from  Saxon  blue,  followed  by  a 
yellow  dye  made  from  the  chopped  roots  of  the  barberry  ; 
and  for  olive,  the  skins  are  first  immersed  in  a  weak  solution 
of  green  vitriol,  and  then  in  a  decoction  of  barberry  root, 
containing  a  little  Saxon  blue. 

The  thickest  and  most  substantial  leather  now  in  general 
use  is  that  made  from  the  hides  of  the  wild  horses  found 
throughout  the  Pampas  in  South  America.  It  is  employed 
for  the  soles  of  boots  and  shoes,  harness,  saddlery,  leather 
trunks,  hose  for  fire  engines,  pump  valves,  military  gloves 
and  belts.  Deer  skins  are  used  for  the  finer  kinds  of 
morocco  leather,  and  for  bookbinding.  Calf  skins,  tawed, 
are  used  by  bookbinders ;  tanned  and  curried,  by  boot  and 
shoemakers.  Sheep  skins,  fleshed  and  stripped  of  wool  or 
“  dressed  ”  by  the  fell-monger,  then  simply  tanned,  are 
employed  for  inferior  bookbinding,  for  leathering  bellows, 
and  other  purposes  where  a  cheap  leather  is  required. 
Morocco  leather  is  used  for  coach  linings,  for  covering 
chairs  and  sofas,  bookbinding,  and  pocket-books.  A  thin 
leather  called  skiver  is  used  for  hat  linings.  There  is  an 
immense  demand  for  thin  leathers,  and  machinery  for  this 
purpose  is  now  constructed  with  such  accuracy  that  it  will 
split  a  sheep  skin  into  three  parts.  The  grain  side  of  the 
skin  is  then  used  for  skiver,  the  middle  for  vellum  and 
parchment,  and  the  flesh  side  is  transferred  to  the  glue- 
maker.  On  parchment  we  inscribe  our  deeds,  and  on 
vellum  all  our  state  documents. 

Every  kind  of  skin  can  be  tanned,  from  that  of  the 
African  pachyderms,  which  takes  years  to  prepare,  and  of 


HAIR  AND  BRISTLES. 


335 


the  marine  mammals,  to  that  of  the  alligator  and  of  the  true 
fishes.  Elephant  and  rhinoceros  hides  yield  leather  of  the 
density  of  armour-plates,  and  almost  as  invulnerable.  The 
beluga  and  porpoise  furnish  leather  of  great  durability,  and 
the  seal-tribe,  with  a  fine  grained  product,  as  also  with 
invaluable  furs,  plays  a  part  in  the  manufacture  only  second 
to  that  taken  by  oxen  and  horses.  The  skin  of  the  crocodile, 
with  the  plates  left  intact,  is  converted  into  purses,  pouches, 
and  bags,  which  are  nearly  indestructible,  and  shagreen, 
which  supplies  a  light  and  lasting  binding  for  cases  of 
philosophical  and  scientific  instruments,  is  provided  by  the 
sturgeon. 

The  leather  manufacture  of  Great  Britain  ranks  next  in 
value  and  extent  to  those  of  cotton,  wool,  and  iron.  The 
skilled  labour  engaged  in  its  different  branches  and  the 
entire  annual  value  of  the  produce,  of  which  boots  and 
shoes  absorb  two-thirds,  make  it  a  powerful  factor  in  our 
national  wealth.  The  great  seat  of  boot  and  shoe  making 
is  Northampton.  Most  of  the  leather  made  in  the  kingdom, 
and  the  articles  manufactured  from  it,  are  used  at  home. 
Our  exports  are  also  considerable,  consisting  of  tanned 
unwrought  leathers,  boots  and  shoes,  or  cordwainery, 
saddlery  and  harness,  and  wrought  leathers  of  various  other 
sorts. 

The  Australian  colonies  are  the  great  purchasers  of  these 
goods.  Undressed  English  sheep  skins  are  imported  in 
yearly  millions  by  the  tanners  of  the  United  States,  and 
foreign  sheep  skins,  dressed  in  the  United  Kingdom,  to 
about  half  the  same  export,  find  their  market  abroad. 

VII.— HAIR  AND  BRISTLES. 

Hair,  the  covering  of  mammiferous  animals,  consists  of 
slender  elongated  horny  filaments,  secreted  by  a  conical 
gland,  or  bulb,  and  a  capsule,  which  is  situated  in  the 


336  THE  NA  TURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 

mesh-work  of  the  chorion,  or  true  skin.  Bristles,  hedgehog 
spines,  and  porcupine  quills  are  all  modifications  of  hair, 
having  the  same  chemical  composition,  mode  of  formation, 
and  general  structure.  Some  kinds  of  hair  are  perennial, 
growing  continuously  by  a  persistent  activity  of  the  bulb  and 
capsule,  as  human  hair,  and  that  of  the  mane  and  tail  of 
the  horse ;  other  kinds  are  annual,  the  coat  being  shed 
at  certain  seasons  of  the  year,  as  the  ordinary  hair  of  the 
horse,  cow,  and  deer.  Hair,  of  all  animal  products,  is  one 
the  least  liable  to  spontaneous  chemical  change,  and  in  its 
various  forms  is  valuable  as  material  for  numerous  branches 
of  industry. 

Human  Hair. — This  is  imported  from  Germany  and 
France,  and  is  furnished,  the  light-coloured  by  the  German 
and  the  dark-coloured  by  the  French  girls,  who  look  forward 
anxiously  to  the  hair  harvest  for  the  means  of  purchasing 
trinkets  and  dresses.  A  head  of  hair  weighs  from  eight  to 
twelve  ounces,  and,  according  to  its  colour,  is  worth  from 
thirty  to  sixty  shillings  per  pound.  In  the  spring,  the  Paris 
hair  merchants  send  agents  to  all  parts  of  France  to  pur¬ 
chase  the  beautiful  tresses  of  the  French  girls,  who  cultivate 
an  annual  crop  for  sale  with  the  same  care  as  the  farmer 
cultivates  a  field  crop.  About  200,000  lbs.  are  purchased 
in  this  way  every  spring,  to  be  made  into  perukes,  and  false 
curls.  Human  hair  is  also  manufactured  into  a  variety  of 
articles  of  personal  adornment  known  in  commerce  as  hair- 
jewellery,  such  as  bracelets,  armlets,  lockets,  brooches, 
necklace-rings,  watch-rings,  which  are  not  infrequently  worn 
in  memory  of  the  person  to  whom  the  hair  belonged. 

Horsehair. — This  is  collected  in  the  various  towns  of 
England  from  ostlers  and  others,  and  sent  up  to  London  in 
sacks.  Besides  that  supplied  by  our  own  horses,  we  import 
annually  from  Russia  and  South  America  many  thousands 
of  hundredweights.  Horsehair  is  extensively  used  for 


HAIR  AND  BRISTLES. 


337 


military  accoutrements,  and  the  short  hair  curled,  as  stuffing 
for  mattresses  ;  a  cloth  of  great  durability  is  manufactured 
from  it,  and  employed  in  covering  sofas,  chair  bottoms,  and 
railway  carriages.  The  first  crinoline  petticoats  were  made 
from  horsehair,  and  hence  the  origin  of  the  name  (Latin, 
crinis,  hair). 

The  hair  of  the  elk,  ox,  goat,  and  camel  is  also  exten¬ 
sively  imported  into  this  country.  The  hair  pencils  used 
by  artists  and  termed  camel’s  hair  pencils,  are  composed  of 
the  fine  hairs  furnished  by  the  sable,  miniver,  marten, 
badger,  and  polecat,  as  well  as  by  the  camel.  They  are 
usually  mounted  when  small  in  quills,  and  when  larger  in 
tinned  iron  tubes.  A  good  hair  pencil  is  known  by  forming 
a  fine  point  when  moistened  and  drawn  through  the  lips, 
all  the  hairs  uniting  in  its  formation. 

Bristles  are  the  stiff,  glossy  hairs  growing  on  the  backs 
of  wild  and  domesticated  swine.  They  are  imported  into 
this  country  from  Germany,  Russia,  Denmark,  and  Poland, 
and  used  in  the  manufacture  of  brushes  for  the  hair,  cloth¬ 
ing,  teeth,  and  nails.  Russia  is  the  great  mart  for  bristles, 
those  of  the  Ukraine  being  most  esteemed;  France  also 
sends  us  considerable  quantities.  Bristles  are  of  various 
colours,  black,  grey,  yellow ;  but  the  kind  called  the  lily,  on 
account  of  its  silvery  whiteness,  is  the  most  valued,  and  is 
used  chiefly  for  shaving  brushes,  tooth  brushes,  and  the 
softer  descriptions  of  hair  brushes.  These  bristles  are  saved 
by  the  peasantry  of  the  forest,  and  are  bought  up  by  itinerant 
dealers,  who  make  St.  Petersburg  a  depot  of  the  accumu¬ 
lated  produce,  thence  despatched  to  England.  The  trade  is 
kept  very  close,  and  affords  a  striking  illustration  of  the  value 
of  small  things  when  massed.  Our  imports  of  hogs’  bristles 
have  exceeded  at  times  three  millions  sterling  from  Russia 
alone.  The  bristle  freights  are  among  the  first  which  come 
to  hand  in  the  spring  on  the  breaking  up  of  the  Baltic  ice. 

I.  Y 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


The  Porcupine  ( Hystrix  cristata,  L.) — This  animal  is 
found  throughout  Southern  Europe,  and  allied  forms  exist 
in  North  America.  The  porcupine  quills  sold  in  England 
are  chiefly  obtained  from  the  European  species,  which  is 
not  common;  therefore  the  quills  are  expensive.  Work- 
piercers  or  eyeletteers  for  ladies,  penholders,  tooth-picks, 
fish-floats,  and  fancy  work-boxes,  are  made  from  these 
quills. 

VIII.— HORNS  AND  ALLIED  SUBSTANCES. 

i.  Horns. 

All  hard  and  elongated  processes  projecting  from  the 
head  are  called  horns.  These  natural  weapons  are  either 
solid  bone  only,  when  they  are  called  antlers,  as  in  the 
stag,  or  they  are  composed  of  bone  and  horn,  as  in  the 
sheep,  goat,  and  ox.  Horns  of  the  latter  kind  consist  of 
a  hollow  bony  basis  or  core,  on  the  surface  of  which  is 
secreted  a  number  of  thin  layers  of  true  horny  material. 
In  the  case  of  the  giraffe,  the  horns  consist  of  bone  covered 
with  hair,  and  are  not  deciduous.  The  horn  of  the  rhino¬ 
ceros  is  a  mere  appendage  of  the  skin,  and  consists  of 
horny  fibres  or  hairs  matted  together.  The  antlers  of  the 
stag  are  shed  annually,  their  fall  being  coincident  with  the 
shedding  of  the  hair.  True  horns,  or  those  which  consist 
of  axis  and  sheath,  are  never  shed. 

Chemically  considered,  horn  may  be  regarded  as  inter¬ 
mediate  in  composition  between  albumen  and  gelatine,  with 
a  very  small  percentage  of  earthy  matter.  There  is  a  gradu¬ 
ated  connection  subsisting  between  the  substance  of  horns, 
nails,  claws,  hoofs,  feathers,  scales,  hair,  and  even  skin. 
The  animals  that  supply  horn  for  our  manufactures  are 
principally  oxen,  bulls  and  cows,  goats  and  sheep,  their 
horns  being  preferred  on  account  of  superior  whiteness  and 
transparency. 


MAMMALIAN  PRODUCTS:  HORNS. 


339 


The  first  process  in  horn  manufacture  consists  in  effect¬ 
ing  a  separation  of  the  true  horn  from  its  bony  basis.  This 
is  accomplished  by  macerating  the  horns  in  water,  which 
causes  putrefaction  of  the  membrane  lying  between  the 
core  and  the  horny  sheath,  and  renders  the  former  easily 
separable  from  the  latter.  The  horn  then  goes  through  the 
processes  of  scalding  and  roasting,  which  soften  it,  and 
render  the  laminae  capable  of  separation  from  each  other. 
It  is  next  slit  with  a  strong  pointed  knife  ;  and  by  the  appli¬ 
cation  of  a  pair  of  pincers,  one  to  each  end  of  the  slit,  the 
cylinder  or  cone  of  horn  is  opened  until  it  is  nearly  flat. 
These  flats  are  then  placed  on  their  edges,  vertically,  in  a 
strong  iron  trough,  having  between  them  plates  of  iron,  half 
an  inch  thick  and  eight  inches  square,  which  have  been 
previously  heated  and  greased.  The  plates  are  now  com¬ 
pressed  by  means  of  wedges  driven  in  at  the  ends,  the 
degree  of  pressure  depending  on  the  use  to  be-  made  of 
the  horn.  For  the  leaves  of  lanterns,  it  must  be  sufficiently 
strong  to  break  the  grain  or  cause  the  laminae  of  the  horn 
to  separate  a  little,  so  as  to  allow  of  the  introduction  of  a 
round  pointed  knife  between  them,  to  complete  the  separa¬ 
tion;  for  combs,  a  very  slight  degree  of  compression  is 
enough,  otherwise  the  breaking  of  the  grain  would  cause 
the  teeth  of  the  comb  to  split  at  their  points.  The  sheets 
of  horn  are  next  removed  from  the  press  and  placed,  one 
at  a  time,  on  a  board  covered  with  bull’s  hide,  secured 
with  a  wedge,  and  scraped  with  a  draw  knife,  having  a  wire 
edge  turned  by  means  of  a  steel  rubber.  When  reduced 
to  the  proper  thickness  the  horn  plates  are  polished  with  a 
woollen  rag  dipped  in  charcoal  powder,  a  little  water  being 
added  from  time  to  time;  they  are  then  rubbed  with  rotten- 
stone,  and  finished  with  horn  shavings. 

When  combs  are  ordered  which  are  too  large  to  be  made 
from  a  single  plate  of  horn,  two  or  more  plates  may  be 


340 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  00MMERCE. 


united  by  the  skilful  application  of  pressure  and  of  heat, 
sufficient  to  melt  the  horn ;  and,  when  well  managed,  the 
line  of  union  cannot  be  detected.  The  Chinese  are  very 
skilful  in  this  kind  of  work,  as  is  evident  from  their  large 
globular  lanterns,  some  of  which  are  four  feet  in  diameter, 
and  which  are  made  of  small  united  plates  of  coloured  and 
painted  horn.  The  painted  toys  known  as  Chinese  sensitive 
leaves,  which  the  heat  of  the  hand  or  of  a  fire  will  cause  to 
curl  up  as  if  alive,  are  made  from  the  best  of  the  thin  films 
of  horn  scraped  off  the  plate  by  the  draw  knife. 

Horn  is  easily  dyed,  as  can  be  seen  in  the  above-named 
lanterns  of  the  Chinese.  In  this  country  it  is  usually 
coloured  of  a  rich  reddish  brown,  and  spotted  to  imitate 
tortoise-shell.  This  is  effected  by  boiling  together,  for  half 
an  hour,  a  mixture  of  red-lead,  pearlash,  quicklime,  and  a 
little  pounded  dragon’s-blood,  and  applying  the  mixture  hot 
to  the  parts  of  the  horn  which  it  is  intended  to  colour.  For 
a  deeper  colour,  a  second  application  must  be  made ;  and 
for  a  blacker  brown,  the  dragon’s-blood  is  omitted. 

Horn  is  manufactured  into  many  other  articles  besides 
combs,  such  as  snuff-boxes,  drinking-cups,  shoe-horns,  and 
powder-horns.  The  fragments  of  horn,  melted  and  com¬ 
pressed  into  a  solid  mass  in  moulds,  form  bell-pulls, 
handles  for  table  knives  and  forks,  knobs  for  drawers,  and 
many  other  useful  articles  ;  or,  if  exposed  to  a  decomposing 
heat  in  close  vessels,  these  fragments  develop  prussic  acid, 
and  for  this  reason  are  in  demand  among  the  manufacturers 
of  Prussian  blue,  and  of  the  beautiful  yellow  prussiate  of 
potash.  The  solid  tips  of  the  horns  are  always  sawn  off, 
because  these  parts  are  not  lamellated,  and,  therefore,  in¬ 
capable  of  separation  into  plates.  They  are  made  into  knife 
and  umbrella  handles,  buttons,  and  the  tops  of  whips. 

The  quantity  of  horn  annually  worked  up  in  the  manu¬ 
factures  of  Great  Britain,  including  the  produce  of  our  own 


MA  MM  A  LI  AN  PROD  UC  TS :  WHALEBONE. 


341 


animals,  is  calculated  in  thousands  of  tons,  of  which  the 
comb-makers  alone  consume  a  fifth  part,  giving  to  their 
finished  product  about  ten  times  the  value  of  the  raw 
material.  Horns  of  oxen  are  largely  exported  from  South 
America,  Buenos  Ayres,  Monte  Video,  and  Brazil,  the 
last  taking,  as  regards  size  and  quality,  the  first  rank. 
The  Indian  buffalo  from  Siam  furnishes  a  valuable  black 
horn,  while  the  Cape  of  Good  Hope  and  Australian 
colonies  also  supply  our  markets  with  ox  horns.  The  manu¬ 
facture  of  articles  from  hoofs  and  horns  is  carried  on  at 
Aberdeen,  in  Scotland,  where  an  immense  establishment 
exists. 

The  hoofs  of  horses  and  ruminant  animals  are  not  so 
useful  as  horns,  because  heavier  and  less  easily  worked. 
They  are  made  available  chiefly  in  the  manufacture  of 
buttons  and  cheap  combs.  Ebonite  and  vulcanite,  hardened 
compounds  of  indiarubber,  have  extensively  supplemented 
horn-work,  valuable  and  beautiful  adjuncts  to  which  are 
those  in  tortoise-shell  and  ivory. 

11.  Whalebone. 

Whale  ( Balczna  mysticetus). — This  animal  furnishes  the 
baleen  or  whalebone  of  commerce.  Commonly  regarded 
as  fish,  whales  are  nevertheless  true  mammals,  producing 
their  young  alive,  and  suckling  them  for  a  considerable  time. 
They  are  very  sociable,  swimming  in  large  shoals,  and  sport¬ 
ing  on  the  surface  of  the  water  in  their  native  arctic  seas. 

Whalebone  or  baleen  consists  of  numerous  parallel 
laminae  descending  perpendicularly  from  the  palate  of  the 
animal.  The  object  of  this  structure  is  to  form  an  efficient 
sieve  or  strainer  for  the  food  of  the  whale,  as  it  comes  in 
with  the  water.  Although  provided  with  an  immense 
mouth,  this  enormous  creature  has  an  oesophagus  or  food- 
pipe  so  small  that  he  is  compelled  to  nourish  his  vast  bulk 


342 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE- 


by  the  consumption  of  some  of  the  smallest  inhabitants  of 
the  sea,  his  food  consisting  of  small  mollusca  and  Crustacea. 
“To  procure  these  insignificant  morsels  he  engulfs  a  whole 
shoal  of  them  at  once  in  his  capacious  jaws,  where  they  are, 
of  course,  entangled  among  the  fibres  of  the  baleen ;  the 
water  is  then  strained  off  and  expelled  through  the  blow¬ 
holes,  and  the  monster  is  thus  enabled  to  pass  his  diminu¬ 
tive  prey  at  his  leisure  into  his  stomach.”  * 

The  length  of  the  largest  pieces  of  baleen  in  a  whale 
sixty  feet  long  is  about  twelve  feet,  and  the  pieces  are  ar¬ 
ranged  in  two  rows,  300  in  each.  The  average  weight  of 
each  piece  is  seven  pounds,  and  the  weight  of  the  whole 
is  therefore  4200  pounds,  or  upwards  of  one  ton  and  three 
quarters,  worth  about  ^160  a  ton. 

Whalebone  is  prepared  for  use  by  immersion  for  twelve 
hours  in  boiling  water,  which  softens  it  for  manufacturing 
purposes.  It  is  valued  for  its  flexibility,  tenacity,  compact¬ 
ness,  and  lightness,  and  is  cut  into  quadrangular  sticks  for 
the  ribs  of  umbrellas  and  parasols,  the  supports  of  stays, 
and  other  articles  of  ladies’  wear.  In  thin  strips  whalebone 
is  used  for  covering  whip-handles,  walking-sticks,  and  tele¬ 
scopes.  These  strips,  also,  are  plaited  like  straw  to  form 
hats  and  bonnets,  whilst  the  fine  shavings  are  employed  by 
the  upholsterers  as  a  stuffing  for  cushions,  and  for  filling 
fire  grates  in  summer. 

hi.  Osseous  Substances. 

Antlers. — The  antlers  of  the  different  species  of  deer 
are  very  valuable  for  making  a  variety  of  useful  and  orna¬ 
mental  articles.  The  chief  supply  is  furnished  by  the  elk, 
wapiti,  stag  or  red  deer,  and  fallow  deer.  In  Switzerland 
brooches,  pins,  and  bracelets  are  made  from  stag’s  horn ;  in 

*  “Natural  History  of  the  Animal  Kingdom.”  By  W.  S.  Dallas, 
F.L.S.  1S56. 


OSSEOUS  SUBSTANCES. 


n  i  ‘j 

0-4  J 

Sheffield  the  whole  shaft  of  the  horn  is  used  in  making  the 
handles  of  carving-knives,  or  it  is  cut  up  into  small  plates 
and  riveted  on  to  an  iron  case  for  the  handles  of  pocket 
and  pen  knives.  Some  hundreds  of  tons  are  annually  im¬ 
ported  from  Hindostan  and  Ceylon  for  this  purpose,  supple¬ 
mented  by  about  a  quarter  as  much  from  Germany,  Russia, 
Spain,  and  Italy,  and  from  our  own  parks.  Many  thousand 
head  of  deer  are  annually  killed  in  Greenland,  and  their 
horns  sent  over  to  this  country.  The  shavings  of  the  horns 
are  employed  for  the  purpose  of  making  ammonia,  which 
has  therefore  long  been  popularly  known  as  “  hartshorn.” 

Ivory. — Our  supplies  of  ivory  are  derived  chiefly  from 
the  Asiatic  and  African  elephants ;  the  tusks  or  canine  teeth 
of  these  animals  furnish  the  article,  those  of  the  African 
species  being  the  most  valuable.  Elephants’  tusks  from  two 
to  ten  feet  in  length,  and  weighing  from  6  to  160  pounds, 
are  imported  into  this  country  from  Senegambia,  Guinea, 
Mozambique,  and  Sofala ;  and  also  brought  from  the  interior 
of  Africa  in  caravans  and  shipped  at  Alexandria,  Tunis, 
Tripoli,  and  Cairo.  We  receive  them,  besides,  from  Bengal, 
Burmah,  Siam,  Cochin-China,  Ceylon,  Sumatra,  and  Java. 
There  are  large  buildings  erected  in  Birmingham  for  the 
manufacture  of  ivory,  and  also  at  Nuremberg,  in  Germany. 
The  Chinese  are  unrivalled  in  this  manufacture.  Their 
ivory  balls,  carved  one  inside  another,  are  marvels  of  patience, 
industry,  and  ingenuity  ;  and  their  chessmen,  cabinets,  drink¬ 
ing  cups,  and  numerous  other  articles  are  most  elaborate. 

The  Japanese,  nevertheless,  excel  the  Chinese  in  artistic 
ivory  work.  Their  carved  representations,  grotesque  and 
refined,  of  figures,  both  animate  and  inanimate,  excite 
wonder  and  admiration. 

Of  the  ivory  from  Asia,  that  of  Siam  is  superior  to  the 
Indian ;  but  African  ivory  excels  both,  being  less  liable  to 
discolour  in  use. 


344 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


Generally  and  technically  under  the  name  of  ivory  are 
comprised  the  teeth  of  the  narwhal  (Mono don  monoceros ), 
walrus  ( Trichecus  rosmarus ),  and  hippopotamus  (. Hippopota¬ 
mus  amphibius ),  which,  like  ivory,  are  worked  up  into  a 
variety  of  things,  and  always  keep  white. 

Ivory  is  largely  consumed  in  the  manufacture  of  billiard 
balls,  which  cost  from  six  to  twelve  shillings  each,  and  are 
so  nicely  turned  that  they  are  perfectly  spherical,  and  made 
to  correspond  accurately  in  size  and  weight,  even  to  a  single 
grain.  The  greatest  consumption  of  ivory  is  undoubtedly 
in  connection  with  the  cutlery  trade.  A  large  amount  is 
also  worked  up  in  the  manufacture  of  the  backs  of  hair  and 
tooth  brushes. 

The  miniature  tablets,  so  invaluable  to  the  artist,  are 
cut  from  off  the  tusk  by  an  extremely  thin  saw  acting  hori¬ 
zontally,  just  as  we  pare  an  apple,  so  that  from  a  solid  tusk, 
of  the  ordinary  size,  a  sheet  of  very  considerable  length  can 
be  obtained.  In  the  Great  Exhibition  of  1851  one  manu¬ 
facturer  exhibited  a  sheet  of  ivory  sixty  feet  in  length,  ob¬ 
tained  without  joining,  and  which  had  thus  been  pared  off 
from  a  single  tusk.  We  import  annually  50,000  elephants’ 
tusks,  weighing  10,000  cwts.  ;  consequently  not  less  than 
25,000  elephants  are  killed  annually  to  supply  the  English 
market  alone. 

The  material  of  ivory  is  so  valuable  that  economy  in  its 
use  is  necessarily  studied,  and  the  smallest  fragments  are 
preserved.  The  “refuse”  of  ivory  is  used  for  making  the 
finest  black  colour  (noir  d’ivoire)  by  converting  it  into  char¬ 
coal  in  air-tight  vessels.  Such  trade  “refuse,”  consisting  of 
ivory  scrapings,  shavings,  and  sawdust,  when  boiled,  makes 
an  excellent  jelly,  quite  as  good  as  calf’s-foot  jelly,  and 
with  the  advantage  that  it  suffers  no  change  by  keeping. 
This  material  is  therefore  saleable  to  the  confectioner  and 
pastrycook. 


BONE.— BIRDS. 


345 


England  and  France  are  the  only  countries  of  Europe 
which  make  ivory-work  a  distinct  industrial  art,  London 
and  Sheffield  being  the  centres  in  England,  as  Paris  and 
Dieppe  are  in  France.  Though  the  consumption  of  ivory 
is  large  in  China  and  Japan,  India  and  Africa,  there  must 
be  an  annual  destruction  approaching  to  30,000  elephants, 
to  supply  only  the  English  and  French  demands. 

Bone. — The  skeleton  or  framework  of  animal  bodies 
consists  of  bones  articulated  with  each  other,  which  protect 
the  vital  organs,  and  form  a  basis  or  support  for  the  softer 
parts,  and  for  the  attachment  of  the  muscles  or  organs  of 
locomotion.  In  the  arts,  bones  are  extensively  employed 
by  the  cutler,  comb  and  brush  maker,  chemist,  confectioner, 
and  agriculturist.  Common  bone  is  manufactured  into 
buttons,  combs,  knife,  fork,  and  brush  handles,  card  cases, 
parasol  handles,  book  folders,  and  numerous  other  articles. 
The  chemist  obtains  phosphorus,  sal-ammoniac,  and  char¬ 
coal  from  bone,  and  the  farmer  a  most  valuable  manure, 
super-phosphate  of  lime,  which  has  a  quick  and  efficient 
action  on  the  crop.  Large  quantities  of  bones  of  oxen  are 
imported  to  Great  Britain  from  Buenos  Ayres,  and  the 
bones  also  of  seals  are  brought  home  by  the  sealers.  Such, 
indeed,  is  the  growing  demand,  that  the  skeletons  of  every 
animal,  both  wild  and  domestic,  including  whales,  contribute 
to  the  imports,  which  have  reached  the  annual  value  of  a 
million  sterling.  Our  home  supply,  about  equal  in  extent, 
though  carefully  gathered,  is  quite  inadequate,  and  the 
whole  world  is  ransacked  to  fill  our  stores. 


PRODUCTS  OF  THE  CLASS  AVES. 

Birds  are  warm-blooded,  vertebrated  animals,  characterised 
by  a  double  circulation  and  respiration,  the  adaptation  of 
their  anterior  extremities  for  flight,  oviparous  reproduction, 


346 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


and  a  covering  of  feathers.  The  following  classification, 
founded  on  certain  modifications  in  the  structure  of  the  beak 
and  foot,  is  that  which  is  generally  adopted  by  naturalists  : — 

1.  Raptores  (Latin,  raptor,  a  robber),  or  birds  of  prey, 
having  a  strong,  curved,  sharp-pointed  beak,  short  robust 
legs,  and  a  foot  furnished  with  three  toes  before  and  one 
behind,  which  are  armed  with  long,  strong,  crooked,  and 
more  or  less  retractile  talons,  adapted  to  seize  and  lacerate 
their  prey.  Examples  :  eagle,  hawk,  and  vulture. 

2.  Jnsessores  (Latin,  insidco ,  I  sit  on),  or  perching  birds, 
having  three  toes  before  and  one  behind,  slender  and  flexible, 
with  claws,  long,  pointed,  and  slightly  curved ;  a  foot,  in 
fact,  organised  and  adapted  for  the  delicate  operations 
of  nest-building,  grasping  the  slender  branches  of  trees,  and 
perching  on  them.  Examples  :  sparrow,  robin,  and  crow. 

3.  Scansores  (Latin,  scando ,  I  climb),  or  climbing  birds, 
with  the  four  toes  arranged  in  pairs,  two  before  and  two 
behind,  a  conformation  of  the  foot  most  suitable  for  climbing 
trees.  Examples  :  woodpecker,  cuckoo,  and  parrot. 

4.  Columbidce  (Latin,  columba ,  a  pigeon),  includes  pigeons 
and  doves. 

5.  Rasores  (Latin,  rado ,  I  scratch),  or  scratching  birds, 
having  three  toes  before  and  one  behind,  strong,  straight, 
and  terminated  by  robust,  obtuse  claws,  adapted  for  scratch¬ 
ing  up  the  soil.  Examples :  turkey,  pheasant,  partridge, 
and  the  common  barn-door  fowl. 

6.  Cursores  (Latin,  curro ,  I  run),  or  running  birds,  with 
wings  unfitted  for  flight,  and  feet  formed  for  running  swiftly 
over  the  ground,  with  two  and  sometimes  three  toes  in  front, 
and  none  behind,  except  in  the  apteryx.  Examples  :  ostrich 
and  cassowary. 

7.  Grallatores  (Latin,  grallator ,  a  stalker),  wading  birds 
with  long  legs,  the  three  anterior  toes  long  and  slender,  and 
the  posterior  toe  elevated  and  short ;  a  form  of  foot  and  leg 


BIRDS :  BE  A  THERE . 


347 


which  enables  the  bird  to  seek  its  food  in  water  along  the 
margins  of  rivers,  lakes,  and  seas.  Examples  :  crane,  heron, 
sandpiper. 

8.  Natatores  (Latin,  nafator ,  a  swimmer),  swimming 
birds,  including  those  which  have  the  toes  united  by  an 
intervening  membrane.  The  body  is  protected  by  a  dense 
covering  of  feathers,  and  a  thick  down  next  the  skin ;  the 
whole  organisation  is  adapted  for  aquatic  life.  Examples  : 
duck,  swan,  and  goose. 

The  products  of  the  class  Aves  consist  of— 

I.— FOOD. 

All  these  orders  of  birds,  with  the  exception  of  the  first, 
afford  flesh  which  may  be  eaten.  The  eggs  of  many  of 
them  are  very  nutritious,  especially  those  of  the  Rasorial 
birds  :  1,002,788,000  were  imported  from  abroad  in  1885, 
and  the  trade  is  always  increasing.  In  one  case,  even  the 
nest  is  available  as  food  ;  namely,  the  Chinese  edible  birds' 
nests,  constructed  by  a  Javanese  swallow.  The  collecting 
of  these  nests  employs  numbers  of  people,  as  they  are 
largely  exported  to  China  from  Java,  Ceylon,  and  New 
Guinea.  The  Chinese  concoct  of  these  nests  a  soup  which 
they  favour  as  much  as  an  English  epicure  his  green  turtle. 
A  large  share  of  the  commercial  value  of  birds  lies  in  their 
feathers. 

II.— FEATHERS. 

A  feather  consists  of  three  parts,  the  quill,  the  shaft,  and 
the  vane.  The  quill  is  that  part  of  the  feather  by  which  it 
is  attached  to-  the  skin  ;  it  is  cylindrical,  hollow,  and  semi¬ 
transparent,  possessing  in  an  eminent  degree  the  qualities 
of  lightness  and  strength.  The  shaft  is  covered  by  an  outer 
layer  of  firm,  horny  material,  like  that  which  forms  the  quill, 
and  encloses  a  soft  elastic  substance  called  the  pith.  The 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE . 


348 

vane  consists  of  barbs  and  barbules.  The  barbs  are  attached 
to  the  sides  of  the  shaft;  the  barbules  are  given  off  from 
either  side  of  the  barb,  and  when  long  and  loose,  they 
characterise  the  form  of  feather  known  as  a  “plume,”  e.g., 
that  of  the  ostrich,  which,  commercially  considered,  is  the 
most  valuable  of  feathers.  The  development  of  feathers 
is  always  preceded  by  that  of  down,  which  constitutes  the 
first  covering  of  young  birds.  Their  colours  are  due  to 
peculiar  organic  pigments,  which  may  be  separated  by 
appropriate  solvents.  The  beautiful  play  of  colours  shown 
by  some  feathers  is  referable  to  a  decomposition  of  light, 
analogous  to  that  produced  by  mother-of-pearl  and  other 
striated  surfaces. 

The  preparation  of  feathers  for  military  decoration,  or 
for  the  toilette,  forms  the  art  of  the  plumassier,  the  French 
term  for  the  artisan  who  works  on  them.  Feathers  may  be 
dyed  a  variety  of  beautiful  colours,  and  of  these,  rose  colour 
or  pink  is  given  by  safflower  and  lemon  juice,  and  deep 
red  by  a  bath  of  Brazil  wood  boiling  hot,  after  aluming ; 
indigo  supplies  the  blues  of  every  shade,  and  turmeric  the 
yellows,  alum  being  the  usual  mordant. 

Ornamental  Feathers. 

The  Ostrich  ( Struthio  camelus). — The  elegance  of  these 
feathers  arises  from  their  slender  stems  and  disunited  barbs. 
Those  taken  from  the  living,  or  from  recently  killed  birds 
are  far  more  beautiful  than  the  cast  or  dropped  ones.  The 
feathers  from  the  back  and  above  the  wings  are  the  best; 
next  those  of  the  wings  and  tail.  Ostrich  feathers  dyed 
black — for  which  purpose  logwood,  copperas,  and  acetate 
of  iron  are  used — are  sold  to  undertakers  as  mourning: 
plumes;  a  full  set  is  worth  from  £ 200  to ^300.  Ostrich 
feathers  are  scoured  with  soap,  and  then  bleached.  Fine 
white  ones  are  worth  from  seven  to  eight  guineas  a  pound. 


BIRDS:  ORNAMENTAL  FEATHERS. 


349 


The  finest  white  feathers  of  this  bird,  which  is  indigenous 
to  Northern  and  Central  Africa  and  Arabia,  come  from 
Aleppo,  in  Syria.  Good  ostrich  feathers  are  also  received 
from  Algiers,  Tunis,  Alexandria,  and  Cairo,  and  inferior 
ones  from  Senegal  and  the  island  of  Madagascar. 

The  Little  Egret  ( Herodias  leuce)  is  found  in  all  the 
countries  on  the  Mediterranean  coast,  and  in  Asia  as  far 
as  the  East  Indies ;  an  allied  species,  H.  eegretta ,  is  a  native 
of  tropical  America.  The  feathers  of  both  species  are  of 
the  purest  white,  very  delicately  formed,  six  or  eight  inches 
in  length,  with  slender  shafts.  The  Turks  and  Persians 
embellish  their  turbans  with  them,  and  they  form  plumes 
for  ladies5  head-dresses  in  this  country  and  on  the  Continent. 

The  Great  White  Heron  ( Ardea  alba)  inhabits  the 
shores  of  the  Caspian,  the  Black  Sea,  and  lakes  of  Tartary, 
and  is  also  found  in  America  and  Africa.  The  largest  and 
most  expensive  white  heron  feathers  are  furnished  by  the 
plumage  of  this  bird. 

Common  Heron  ( Ardea  cinerea). — The  black  heron 
feathers  are  supplied  by  this  species,  which  is  found  through¬ 
out  Europe,  but  especially  in  Prussia,  Poland,  and  Russia. 
We  receive  the  greatest  quantity  from  Siberia. 

Adjutant  (Leptoptilis  Argdla),  and  a  kindred  species 
(Z.  Marabou),  furnish  the  exquisitely  fine  and  flowing 
plumes  termed  “  Marabou  feathers. ”  The  former  species 
is  the  well-known  scavenger  bird  of  India,  its  name  being 
derived  from  its  habit  of  frequenting  the  parade-grounds ; 
the  latter  is  a  native  of  Africa. 

It  is  impossible  to  enumerate  all  the  birds  whose  beau¬ 
tiful  plumage  supplies  us  with  ornamental  feathers.  The 
feathers  of  the  bird  of  paradise,  the  gold  and  silver  pheasants, 
the  peacock,  of  the  several  species  of  Ibises,  the  flamingo, 
the  beautiful  wing  and  tail  feathers  of  the  Argus  pheasant, 
and  the  wing  of  the  partridge  and  ptarmigan  are  all  worn  in 


35° 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


children’s  and  ladies’  hats.  Cocks’  feathers  furnish  plumes 
for  the  French  soldiers ;  eagles’  feathers  are  worn  in  the  hat 
and  bonnet  in  Scotland,  and  a  plume  of  them  is  a  mark  of 
distinction  amongst  the  Zulus  in  South  Africa.  The  wing  and 
side  feathers  of  the  turkey  supply  trimmings  for  articles  of 
ladies’  apparel,  and  are  made  into  victorines,  boas,  and  muffs. 

Artificial  flowers  made  from  feathers  are  now  much 
worn  by  ladies.  The  feathers  selected  for  their  manufac¬ 
ture  are  chiefly  those  of  a  purple,  copper,  or  crimson  colour, 
from  the  breasts  and  heads  of  humming-birds. 

Feathers  are  also  worn  as  articles  of  clothing. — The  skin 
of  the  swan,  after  being  properly  prepared,  is  used  for 
muffs,  linings,  and  a  variety  of  other  articles  of  dress ;  the 
skin  and  feathers  of  the  penguin,  puffin,  and  grebe  (. Podiceps 
cristatus )  are  worn  as  clothing  on  account  of  their  beauty 
and  warmth,  supplying  suitable  material  for  victorines, 
tippets,  boas,  cuffs,  and  muffs,  and  other  articles  of  winter 
attire.  The  native  inhabitants  of  the  arctic  regions,  in 
some  parts,  make  themselves  coats  of  birds  skins,  which 
are  worn  with  the  feathers  inside.  Confucius,  the  Cliinese 
philosopher,  writes,  that  ere  the  art  of  wearing  silk  and 
hemp  was  understood,  mankind  used  to  clothe  themselves 
with  the  skins  of  beasts  and  with  feathers ;  and  it  is  very 
certain  that  the  Chinese  are  now  very  skilful  and  ingenious 
in  the  art  of  plumagery  or  feather-working.  They  manu¬ 
facture  garlands,  chaplets,  frontals,  tiaras,  and  crowns  of 
very  thin  copper,  on  which  purple  and  blue  feathers  are 
placed  with  much  taste  and  skill. 

Bed-feathers. 

The  lower  barbs  in  feathers  are  usually  loose,  and  form 
the  down,  which  is  called  the  “accessory  plume.”  The 
quantity  of  this  down  varies  in  different  species  of  birds, 
and  even  in  the  feathers  taken  from  different  portions  of 


BIRDS:  BED-FEATHERS. 


35  1 


the  body  of  the  same  bird.  It  is  most  abundant  on  aquatic 
birds;  and  as  the  value  of  bed-feathers  depends  on  its 
amount,  the  feathers  of  ducks,  swans,  and  geese — which 
have  the  “  accessory  plume  ”  nearly  as  large  as  the  feather 
— are  the  most  esteemed. 

The  qualities  sought  for  in  bed- feathers — softness, 
elasticity,  lightness,  and  warmth — are  combined  in  common 
goose  feathers ;  they  are  considered  best  when  plucked 
from  the  living  bird,  and  this  cruel  operation  is  repeated 
from  three  to  five  times  in  a  year.  Young  birds  are  plucked 
as  well  as  those  of  mature  growth — the  early  plucking  being 
supposed  to  favour  the  growth  of  the  feathers.  The  less 
valuable  kind  of  feathers,  obtained  from  turkeys,  ducks, 
and  fowls,  are  also  used  for  bed-stuffing,  and  are  called 
“  poultry  feathers.’5 

Eider  Duck  ( Anas  mollissima). — This  bird  furnishes 
the  softest,  finest,  and  most  valuable  down-feathers  that  are 
in  the  market.  Eider  down  is  procured  from  the  nest  of 
this  bird,  which  robs  its  own  breast  of  feathers  in  order 
to  make  a  warm  home  for  its  young.  The  Eider  ducks 
build  their  nests  in  great  numbers,  in  almost  inaccessible 
rocky  situations  on  the  coasts  of  Ireland,  Scotland,  the 
Faroe  Islands,  Lapland,  Nova  Zembla,  and  Spitzbergen ; 
and  these  nests  are,  at  great  risk  of  life,  annually  plundered 
of  their  down  by  the  fowlers.  Eider  down  comes  to  this 
country  in  the  form  of  balls,  about  the  size  of  a  man’s  fist 
and  weighing  three  or  four  pounds.  It  is  so  fine  and  soft, 
that  if  one  of  these  balls  is  spread  and  warmed  over  hot 
coals,  it  will  expand  and  fill  a  bed  big  enough  for  two 
persons.  Eider  down  makes  a  warm  winter  coverlet,  for 
which  it  is  singularly  adapted.  Beds  of  down  can  be  dis¬ 
tinguished  from  feather  beds  by  their  elasticity,  which  causes 
them  to  rise  again  when  pressed. 

Our  imports  of  feathers  reach  us  chiefly  from  Russia, 


352 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


Hamburg,  and  France.  Home  feathers  form  part  of  the 
pin-money  of  the  farmer’s  wife.  Birds  of  Paradise,  entire, 
ostrich-plumes  for  ladies’  wear  and  pageantry,  and  other 
decorative  feathers  are  furnished  by  the  warm  regions  of 
both  hemispheres.  The  grebe  tribe,  denizens  of  the 
polar  ice,  give  their  close-set  feathered  skins  for  muffs  and 
mantles  of  the  choicest  warmth  and  beauty. 

Quill  Pens. 

The  earliest  pens,  such  as  were  used  for  writing  on 
papyrus  with  a  fluid  ink,  were  made  of  reeds.  Reed  pens 
are  still  in  use  in  Arabia,  as  they  suit  the  Arabic  character 
better  than  quill  pens.  These  reeds  are  collected  near  the 
shores  of  the  Persian  Gulf,  whence  they  are  sent  to  various 
parts  of  the  East.  Quill  pens  are  chiefly  supplied  by  the 
goose,  swan,  and  crow — the  ostrich,  turkey,  and  other  birds 
occasionally  contributing.  Crow  quills  are  usually  employed 
in  fine  drawings,  on  account  of  the  fine  point  to  which  they 
can  be  brought.  Goose  quills  are  employed  for  ordinary 
writing ;  but  swan  and  turkey  quills,  being  larger,  are  pre¬ 
ferable  for  copying. 

Two  principal  sorts  of  quills  are  known  in  commerce — 
viz.,  Dutch  quills,  which  are  transparent  and  glass-like,  and 
Hamburg  quills,  which  are  milk-white  and  clouded.  Dutch 
quills  are  much  esteemed ;  the  Dutch  were  the  first  to  find 
out  the  art  of  preparing  quills  for  market,  by  removing 
the  oil  which  impregnates  them  and  prevents  the  ink  from 
flowing  freely  along  the  pen.  Quills  are  obtained  in  the 
greatest  quantities  from  the  countries  along  the  Baltic ; 
Hamburg  is  still  the  principal  place  for  preparing  and  ex¬ 
porting  them.  Next  to  the  Hamburg  and  Dutch  quills, 
those  of  Riga  are  much  liked,  especially  in  England. 

The  manufacture  of  steel  pens  does  not  appear  to  have 
diminished  the  demand  for  quills.  In  1S55  we  imported, 


KEPT  I  LI  A. 


3*  'J 

independently  of  our  home  supply,  26,500,000  goose  and 
swan  quills,  and  the  imports  do  not  diminish.  The  quills 
used  are  the  five  outer  feathers  of  the  wing,  which  are 
classified  according  to  the  order  in  which  they  are  fixed  in 
the  wing,  the  second  and  third  being  the  best.  With 
proper  management,  a  goose  may  afford  twenty  quills 
during  the  year. 

In  the  fens  of  Lincolnshire,  geese  are  kept  in  large  num¬ 
bers.  During  the  breeding  season  they  are  lodged  around 
the  owner’s  house.  A  gooseherd,  it  is  said,  can  distinguish 
every  goose  in  the  flock  by  the  tones  of  its  voice. 


PRODUCTS  OF  THE  CLASS  REPTILIA. 

Reptilia  (Latin,  reptilia ,  from  repto,  I  creep). — Cold-blooded, 
vertebrated  animals,  having  a  heart  so  constructed  as  to 
transmit  only  a  portion  of  the  blood  to  the  lungs.  The 
blood  is  therefore  imperfectly  oxygenated,  and  there  is  a 
lower  degree  of  animal  heat.  The  amount  of  venous  blood, 
however,  transmitted  to  the  general  system  varies  in  the 
different  reptiles,  and  in  proportion  as  there  is  less  or  more 
of  it,  is  there  a  corresponding  difference  in  temperature 
and  vital  activity. 

As  reptiles  have  no  need  of  preserving  a  temperature 
many  degrees  warmer  than  that  of  the  medium  in  which 
they  live,  they  are  covered  with  scales,  or  hard  bony 
plates,  and  without  the  warm  clothing  of  the  birds  and 
mammalia. 

The  class  Reptilia  is  divided  into  four  orders,  viz. : — 

1.  Chelonia  (Greek,  chelone ,  a  tortoise),  which  are  cha¬ 
racterised  by  the  enclosure  of  the  body  in  a  double  shield 
or  shell,  out  of  which  extend  the  head,  tail,  and  four  ex¬ 
tremities.  Examples  :  tortoise  and  turtle. 

1. 


2 


35  1 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


2.  Lacertilia ,  or  Sauria  (lizards),  having  the  body  and 
tail  elongated,  the  jaws  furnished  with  teeth,  the  skin 
covered  with  scales,  and  the  feet  generally  four  in  number. 
Examples  :  green  lizard  and  blind  worm. 

3.  Crocodilia  include  the  alligators  of  America,  the  true 
crocodiles  of  Africa,  and  the  gavials  of  Asia.  Gigantic 
lizards,  covered  with  closely-set  bony  plates. 

4.  Ophidia  (Greek,  ophis,  a  serpent),  which  are  distin¬ 
guished  by  the  absence  of  the  extremities,  as  in  the  snake. 

The  Chelonia  are  commercially  the  most  valuable  of 
the  above  orders,  as  we  derive  from  them  two  important 
articles — turtle  soup  and  tortoise-shell — the  former  the 
greatest  luxury  of  the  table,  and  the  latter  the  most  prized 
of  horny  materials. 

Green  Turtle  ( Chelonia  my  das). — This  is  one  of  the 
largest  of  the  genus,  often  measuring  five  feet  in  length,  and 
weighing  between  500  and  600  lbs.  It  receives  its  name 
from  the  green  colour  of  its  fat.  Its  flesh  is  much  esteemed, 
and  in  this  country  is  regarded  as  a  great  luxury,  large 
quantities  being  continually  imported  for  the  supply  of  the 
London  taverns  alone.  Green  turtles  are  found  in  the 
Atlantic  ocean,  where  they  are  widely  distributed.  They 
are  especially  abundant  near  the  Bahama  Islands,  and  when 
they  come  ashore  to  deposit  their  eggs  in  holes  in  the 
sand  are  usually  caught,  either  by  harpooning  or  by  turning 
them  over  on  their  backs,  for  when  once  turned  they  cannot 
get  on  their  feet  again.  The  Chinese  catch  them  with  the 
sucking-fish  (Remora),  which  is  put  into  the  water  with  a 
string  tied  to  its  tail.  The  remora  darts  at  the  turtle,  to 
which  it  firmly  adheres  by  means  of  its  sucking  apparatus, 
and  both  fish  and  turtle  are  then  drawn  into  the  boat. 

Mr.  Darwin  thus  describes  the  capture  of  this  turtle  at 
Keeling’s  Island  :  “The  water  is  so  clear  and  shallow  that 
at  first  a  turtle  quickly  dives  out  of  sight;  yet,  in  a  canoe  or 


HA  IVICS  BILL  TURTL E. 


355 


boat  under  sail,  the  pursuers,  after  no  very  long  chase,  come 
up  to  it.  A  man  standing  ready  in  the  bows  at  this  moment 
dashes  through  the  water  upon  the  turtle’s  back ;  then, 
clinging  with  both  hands  by  the  shell  of  the  neck,  he  is 
carried  away  till  the  animal  becomes  exhausted  and  is 
secured.  It  was  quite  an  interesting  chase  to  see  the 
animals  thus  doubling  about,  and  the  men  dashing  into  the 
water  trying  to  seize  their  prey.” 

Hawk’s- Bill  Turtle  ( Chelonia  iinbricata). — The  horn¬ 
like  plates  of  this  animal,  and  also  of  the  carett,  or  giant 
tortoise  ( Testudo  caretta ),  which  lives  in  all  the  seas  of  the 
torrid  zone,  furnish  the  tortoise-shell  of  commerce.  The 
Island  of  Ascension  is  a  place  of  resort  for  these  reptiles, 
and  thousands  of  them  are  annually  destroyed  there.  In 
most  species  of  tortoise  the  scales  which  compose  the 
carapace  or  upper  covering  adhere  to  each  other  by  their 
edges,  like  inlaid  work,  but  in  the  hawk’s-bill  turtle  these 
scales  are  imbricated,  or  overlap  one  another,  like  the  tiles 
on  the  roof  of  a  house.  The  head  is  also  smaller  than  in 
the  other  tortoises ;  but  the  neck  is  longer,  and  the  beak 
narrower,  sharper,  and  more  curved,  resembling  a  hawk’s 
bill.  The  lamellae  or  plates  of  the  shell  are  semi-transparent, 
and  variegated  with  whitish,  yellowish,  reddish,  and  dark- 
brown  clouds  and  undulations,  so  as  to  constitute,  when 
properly  prepared  and  polished,  an  elegant  article  for  orna¬ 
mental  purposes.  The  shell  of  this  animal  is  therefore 
largely  imported  into  this  country,  as  much  as  thirty  tons’ 
weight  being  annually  consumed  by  the  manufacturers. 
Tortoise-shell  is  used  for  the  handles  of  pen-knives  and 
razors,  spectacle  frames,  card  cases,  ladies’  side,  back,  and 
dressing  combs,  and  for  inlaying  work-boxes.  The  best 
tortoise-shell  comes  from  the  Indian  Archipelago,  where 
Singapore  is  the  principal  port  for  its  exportation.  It  is  also 
sent  from  the  West  Indies,  from  the  Gallapagos  Islands, 


356  THE  NA  TURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 

situated  on  the  west  coast  of  South  America,  and  from  the 
Mauritius,  Cape  Verde,  and  Canary  Islands. 

“  A  large  number  of  turtle  eggs  are  secured  every  year 
for  the  sake  of  turtle  oil.  The  eggs,  when  collected,  are 
thrown  into  long  troughs  of  w7ater,  and,  being  broken  and 
stirred  with  shovels,  they  remain  exposed  to  the  sun  till 
the  yolk,  the  oily  part,  is  collected  on  the  surface,  and 
removed  and  boiled  over  a  quick  fire.  This  animal  oil,  or 
‘  turtle  grease,’  is  limpid,  inodorous,  and  scarcely  yellow  ; 
and  it  is  used  not  merely  to  burn  in  lamps,  but  in  dress¬ 
ing  victuals,  to  which  it  imparts  no  disagreeable  taste.  The 
total  gathering  from  the  shores  between  the  junction  of 
the  Orinoco  and  Apure  is  5000  jars,  and  it  takes  about 
5000  eggs  to  furnish  one  jar  of  oil.”  * 


PRODUCTS  OF  THE  CLASS  AMPHIBIA. 

Rana  esculenta  (edible  frog). — This  species  is  eaten  in 
France. 

Ra?ia  pipiens  (American  bull-frog). — The  hind  limbs  are 
considered  a  great  luxury,  and  are  exposed  for  sale  in  the 
markets  of  the  United  States. 

Siredon  piscifonne  (axolotl). — Inhabits  the  lakes  near 
the  city  of  Mexico,  where  it  is  very  abundant,  attaining  a 
length  of  from  ten  to  fifteen  inches.  Thousands  are  sold, 
and  esteemed  a  great  delicacy  by  the  Mexicans. 


PRODUCTS  OF  THE  CLASS  PISCES. 

Vertebrate  animals  inhabiting  water,  breathing  by  means 
ol  branchiae  or  gills — vascular  organs  into  which  the  cir- 

* 


See  Bates’  “  River  Amazon.” 


FISHES. 


3  57 


ciilating  fluid  enters,  and  which  is  submitted  in  a  state  of 
minute  subdivision  in  the  vessels  of  the  gills  to  the  air  con¬ 
tained  in  the  water,  and  so  oxygenated — swimming  by 
means  of  flattened  expanded  organs  called  fins,  the  entire 
body  being  mostly  covered  with  cartilaginous  scales.  The 
specific  gravity  of  fishes  is  nearly  the  same  as  that  of  the 
watery  element  in  which  they  live.  Most  of  them  have 
a  membranous  bag  at  the  lower  side  of  the  spinal  column, 
known  as  the  “  air  bladder,’'  which  is  so  organised  that  the 
fish  can  vary  its  specific  gravity  by  contracting  or  expanding 
the  bladder,  expelling  the  air  or  taking  it  in,  and  so  sink  or 
rise  in  the  water  at  pleasure.  It  is  somewhat  remarkable 
that  this  air-bladder  is  quite  rudimentary  or  altogether  absent 
in  fishes  which  live  much  at  the  bottom  of  the  water,  seldom 
or  never  coming  to  the  surface,  such  as  plaice,  turbot,  and 
sole.  Progression  in  any  direction  is  affected  by  the  move¬ 
ments  of  the  tail.  The  craving  for  food  seems  to  be  that 
which  gives  the  chief  impulse  to  their  movements.  Their 
rapacity  has  no  bounds  whatever;  even  when  taken  out  of 
the  water,  and  just  expiring,  they  will  greedily  swallow  the 
very  bait  which  lured  them  to  destruction. 

The  class  of  fishes  has  been  subdivided  by  Cuvier  into 
two  sub-classes. 

1.  Pisces  ossei ,  or  bony  fishes,  comprising  those  which  have 
a  true  bony  skeleton.  Examples  :  herrings,  salmon,  and  cod. 

2.  Pisces  cartilagmei ,  or  cartilaginous  fishes,  including 
those  in  which  the  skeleton  never  passes  beyond  its  primi¬ 
tive  condition  of  gristle  or  cartilage.  Examples  :  the 
sturgeon,  ray,  and  shark. 

The  first  sub-class  of  osseous  fishes  are  arranged  accord¬ 
ing  to  the  character  of  their  organs  of  locomotion  into  : — 

Acanthopterygii  (Greek  akantha ,  a  spine,  and  pterngion , 
a  fin),  or  spiny-finned  fishes.  Examples  :  perch,  mackerel, 
and  mullet. 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


Malacopterygii  (Greek  malakos ,  soft,  and  pterugion,  a  fin), 
or  soft-finned  fishes.  Examples  :  herring,  salmon,  carp,  and 
trout. 

Fish  constitutes  an  important  article  of  commerce,  fur¬ 
nishing  us  with  immense  quantities  of  oil  and  an  abundance 
of  food.  Great  Britain  possesses  a  coast-line  of  3000  miles 
in  extent,  while  that  of  Ireland  is  about  2000  miles,  and 
the  greater  part  of  the  shores  of  both  islands  abound  in 
those  species  of  fish  which  exist  in  the  largest  numbers  and 
yield  the  most  acceptable  and  nutritious  food.  Hence  a 
hardy  and  adventurous  race  of  fishermen  has  risen,  well 
supplied  with  vessels  beautifully  built,  and  with  materials  of 
the  best  description.  We  shall  notice  only  the  fisheries 
commercially  most  valuable. 

Herring  ( Clupea  harengus). — This  fish  appears  in  vast 
shoals  upon  our  coasts  from  July  to  November,  when  it 
forsakes  the  deeper  portions  of  the  sea  where  it  habitually 
dwells  and  comes  into  the  shallow  shore  water  for  the  pur¬ 
pose  of  spawning.  These  shoals,  animated  by  a  common 
impulse,  are  so  enormous,  that  the  sea  for  miles  round 
shines  with  a  silvery  lustre  from  their  glittering  scales. 
There  is  thus  brought  within  the  reach  of  man  an  abundant 
supply  of  nutritious  food,  which  would  otherwise  be  lost  in 
the  depths  of  the  ocean. 

The  British  herring  fisheries  are  principally  carried  on  off 
Galway,  Mayo,  in  the  estuary  of  the  Shannon,  at  Bantry, 
and  Waterford  in  Ireland  ;  at  Cardigan  Bay  and  Swansea  in 
Wales;  at  Yarmouth,  Lowestoft,  Hastings,  and  Folkestone 
in  England ;  and  on  the  coasts  of  Caithness,  Sutherland, 
Ross,  Aberdeen,  Banff,  Moray,  and  Berwickshire,  in  Scotland. 
In  the  harbour  of  the  small  town  of  Wick,  in  Caithness,  as 
many  as  2000  boats,  each  having  five  or  six  men,  have  been 
congregated  at  one  time  during  the  herring  season.  Shet¬ 
land  has  developed  into  a  great  fishing  station.  Since  1877 


HER  R ING—PIL  CHA  R  D. 


359 


the  poor  simple  islanders  have  multiplied  their  annual  take 
a  hundred  times  over.  The  herring  or  “  Great  fishery  ” 
is  of  such  importance,  that  its  failure,  even  for  a  season, 
would  be  a  wide-spread  public  calamity.  Its  importance 
has  been  much  augmented  by  the  use  of  cotton  nets,  which, 
though  not  quite  so  strong  as  those  formerly  in  use,  are  so 
much  lighter,  that  an  area  of  netting,  several  times  larger 
than  before,  can  be  carried  in  each  fishing  smack.  The 
greatness  of  the  fishery  may  be  inferred  from  careful  com¬ 
putations  of  the  number  of  herrings  in  the  North  Sea  alone, 
giving  a  total  of  300,000  millions.  Of  this  incomprehensible 
multitude,  not  one  per  cent,  can  be  destroyed  by  the  united 
efforts  of  man,  the  sea-birds,  and  the  monsters  of  the  deep. 
Yet  we  must  multiply  the  shoals  many  times  over  for  the 
herrings  of  the  wide  and  open  sea,  and  when  we  cross  to 
the  American  borders  of  the  Atlantic,  nature  reduplicates 
the  shoals. 

Besides  the  consumption  of  fresh  herrings,  still  larger 
quantities  are  pickled,  smoked  and  dried,  and  bloated  or  half 
cured.  In  these  various  states  an  extremely  valuable  export 
trade  is  prosecuted.  Holland  and  Norway  pursue  the 
herring  fishery  with  ardour.  Sweden,  Denmark,  and 
France  are  also  largely  engaged  in  the  same  pursuit. 

The  Pilchard  ( Clupea  pilchardus )  closely  resembles  the 
herring.  This  fish  is  very  abundant  on  the  coasts  of  Corn¬ 
wall  during  the  spawning  season  in  July.  Like  the  herring, 
it  is  taken  with  the  net  at  night.  The  average  annual 
produce  of  the  Cornish  pilchard  fisheries  cannot  compare 
with  that  of  the  herring,  yet,  of  itself,  is  of  great  magnitude. 
It  is  the  livelihood  of  young  and  old  in  the  fishing  town  of 
St.  Ives,  whose  prosperity  during  the  winter  months  is  de¬ 
pendent  upon  the  success  of  the  previous  season’s  take. 
The  fish  are  cleaned,  pressed  for  oil,  and  cured,  and  many 
thousands  of  barrels  are  exported  to  the  Mediterranean  in 


360  TI IE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 

exchange  for  the  delicate  anchovy  and  sardine,  the  first 
preserved  in  brine  and  the  last  in  oil. 

The  Sprat  ( Clupea  sprattus ),  although  smaller  than  the 
herring,  is  also  very  abundant,  and  furnishes  an  acceptable 
supply  of  cheap  and  agreeable  food.  It  is  caught  during 
the  winter  months  on  the  coasts  of  Kent,  Essex,  and  Suffolk, 
and  in  such  vast  quantities  as  to  give  rise  to  the  Stow  Boat 
fisheries  round  the  Thames  estuary,  where  it  is  taken  for 
manure,  many  thousand  tons  being  sold  to  the  farmers  at 
from  6d.  to  8d.  per  bushel  for  this  purpose.  Forty  bushels 
of  sprats  serve  for  an  acre  of  land. 

Whitebait  (C.  sprattus ,  juv.) — Every  one  familiar  with 
an  English  newspaper  has  heard  of  the  whitebait  dinner,  or 
fish  dinner,  at  which  whitebait  is  the  chief  dish — annually 
held  at  Greenwich  by  the  members  of  the  British  Cabinet 
and  the  Lord  Mayor  and  Aldermen  of  London.  This  little 
fish,  so  much  prized  for  its  delicious  flavour,  was  formerly 
regarded  as  the  fry  of  the  shad,  while  other  naturalists 
maintain  that  it  is  quite  a  distinct  species.  Gunther,  an 
authority  of  high  repute,  has  recently  shown  that  whitebait 
is  the  fry  of  the  sprat.  It  has  never  been  found  with  natural 
ova,  and  therefore  does  not  ascend  rivers  for  the  purpose  of 
spawning. 

Sardine  ( Clupea  sardina )  and  Anchovy  (. Engraulis 
encrasicolus'),  both  closely  allied  to  the  herring,  replace  that 
fish  in  the  Mediterranean.  The  former  is  taken  in  great 
abundance  off  the  shores  of  Sardinia  and  Brittany,  and 
packed  in  small  metallic  boxes,  and  is  much  esteemed  as  a 
breakfast  relish.  The  latter,  a  small  silvery  fish  four  or  five 
inches  in  length,  is  found  on  the  coasts  of  France  and 
Portugal.  The  head  and  entrails  having  been  removed,  it 
is  salted,  packed  in  barrels,  and  in  this  state  reaches  our 
shores.  Here  they  are  bottled  to  be  eaten  as  a  dainty  or 
pounded  for  fish  sauce  and  anchovy  paste. 


If  A  CKEREL — SA  LMON. 


361 


Mackerel  ( Scomber  scombrus). — This  well-known  and 
beautiful  fish,  so  valuable  as  an  article  of  food,  is  found  in 
abundance  on  the  south  and  south-east  shores  of  England. 
Out  of  the  water  it  soon  dies,  and  becomes  quickly  tainted. 
Those  caught  in  the  months  of  May  and  June  are  preferred. 
“Mackerel  will  bite  at  almost  any  bait,  hence  quantities  are 
taken  by  hook  and  line.  A  slice  cut  from  the  side  of  a 
mackerel  near  the  tail  is  a  successful  lure,  or  even  a  strip  of 
red  leather  or  scarlet  cloth.”  *  142  lasts  of  mackerel  have 

been  taken  at  Yarmouth  (a  last  is  10,000),  this  equals 
1,420,000  individual  mackerel.  The  Irish  mackerel  fisheries 
have  assumed  proportions  which  promise  wealth  to  the 
country,  particularly  to  the  port  of  Ivinsale,  whence  are  sent 
to  Billingsgate  such  fine  and  large  samples  as  are  not  excelled 
even  by  those  from  Norway.  Steam  transit  has  given  an 
impetus  to  the  cultivation  of  this  productive  fish  farm, 
formerly  quite  neglected,  in  which  the  Irish  play,  however, 
little  more  than  a  passive  part,  while  outsiders  reap  the 
chief  part  of  the  harvest. 

Salmon  ( Salmo  salar). — This  is  a  soft-finned  fish,  the 
body  being  adorned  with  spots,  and  brilliantly  coloured, 
and  covered  with  cycloid  scales.  The  species  pass  by 
almost  insensible  gradations  into  the  clupeoid  or  herring 
family.  Like  the  herrings  they  inhabit  the  sea,  but  ascend 
the  rivers  nearly  to  their  sources  in  order  to  deposit  spawn, 
displaying  an  amount  of  perseverance  and  activity  in  getting 
there  which  is  astonishing.  Cataracts  and  weirs  ten  and 
twelve  feet  in  height  are  cleared  at  a  single  leap,  and  should 
the  fish  be  foiled  the  first  time  it  tries  again  and  again  until 
successful.  After  spawning  salmon  are  unfit  for  food.  They 
descend  the  rivers  with  the  floods,  with  which  winter  usually 
closes,  to  the  sea,  where  they  soon  recover  their  condition, 
and  return  ample  in  size  and  rich  in  human  nourishment,  ex- 
*  See  article  Fisheries ,  “  Encyclopaedia  Britannica,”  Eighth  Edition. 


362  THE  NATURAL  HIS  TOR  Y  OF  COMMER  CE. 

posing  themselves  in  narrow  streams,  as  if  nature  intended 
them  as  a  special  boon  to  man.  Such  salmon  as  are  taken 
in  estuaries  or  rivers  are  the  property  of  those  to  whom  the 
estuaries  and  rivers  belong ;  but  latterly,  considerable  quan¬ 
tities  have  been  caught  in  bays  and  in  the  open  sea,  where 
the  fishing  is  free.  The  London  markets  are  principally 
supplied  with  salmon  sent  up  from  the  Tweed,  Tay,  Don, 
and  Dee,  and  from  Norway,  preserved  fresh  by  being  packed 
in  ice.  The  fishing  is  usually  carried  on  in  summer,  and 
when  the  take  is  greater  than  can  be  conveniently  sent  off 
fresh,  the  residue  is  salted,  pickled,  or  dried  for  winter 
consumption  at  home,  or  for  foreign  markets.  Of  late 
years  there  has  been  a  decrease  of  salmon  in  the  English 
and  Scotch  rivers,  the  result  of  poaching  and  over-fishing. 
Pecuniary  penalties  are  inflicted  on  poachers  and  trespassers; 
and  in  Scotland  the  rivers  are  shut  up  for  nets — on  the 
Tweed  from  September  15th  to  February  14th,  and  north  of 
the  Tweed  from  August  27th  to  February  10th,  except  in  a 
few  cases;  for  rods,  the  close  time  is  some  two  months  later. 

Cod  (. Morrh.ua  vulgaris). — This  valuable  fish  is  spread 
throughout  the  seas  of  Europe  from  Iceland  to  Gibraltar, 
and  abounds  on  the  eastern  coast  of  North  America  from  40° 
to  66°  N.  lat. ,  particularly  around  Newfoundland.  It  spawns 
in  British  waters  about  February,  and  is  in  the  best  condition 
as  food  from  the  end  of  October  to  Christmas.  It  is 
amazingly  prolific,  9,384,000  ova  or  eggs  having  been 
counted  by  Leuwenhoeck  in  the  roe  of  one  female.  As  the 
cod  frequents  deep  water  it  can  only  be  taken  by  long  deep- 
sea  lines,  hooks  being  fastened  at  regular  distances  along 
their  entire  length.  It  is  usual  to  fish  for  cod  in  water  from 
twenty-five  to  forty  fathoms  in  depth.  Cod  are  voracious, 
and  easily  taken  with  a  variety  of  baits. 

The  British  cod  fishery  is  carried  on  in  a  number  of  places 
contiguous  to  the  shores  of  our  islands.  The  most  pro- 


COD  FISHERIES. 


363 


ductive  are  those  on  the  sandbanks  off  the  coasts  of  Norfolk, 
Suffolk,  Essex,  Lincolnshire,  and  the  Orkney,  Shetland,  and 
other  islands.  The  London  market  is  supplied  chiefly  from 
the  Norfolk  and  Lincolnshire  fisheries.  Lresh  cod  are  usually 
kept  alive  in  welled  smacks,  and  are  in  this  manner  brought 
in  good  condition  from  the  most  distant  points  of  our  coasts. 
The  well  is  capable  of  holding  about  fifty  score,  and  receives 
its  water  directly  from  the  sea,  through  perforations  in  the 
bottom  of  the  vessel.  These  vessels  are  either  anchored 
in  a  tide-way,  or  one  of  the  sails  is  kept  set,  so  as  to  produce 
a  constant  heaving  motion,  and,  in  consequence,  a  perpetual 
change  in  the  water  of  the  well.  The  smacks  never  go 
farther  up  the  Thames  than  Gravesend,  as  the  fresh  water 
intermingles  with  the  salt  above  that  point,  and  proves  de¬ 
structive  to  the  fish. 

The  greatest  cod  fishery  in  the  world  is  on  the  banks  of 
N ewfoundland.  These  banks  are  based  on  a  large  rocky  shoal 
about  600  miles  in  length  and  200  in  breadth,  being,  in  fact, 
the  top  of  a  vast  submarine  plateau,  over  which  the  ocean 
rolls.  This  place  is  a  great  rendezvous  for  cod,  which  resort 
there  to  feed  on  the  worms,  which  are  plentiful  in  these  sandy 
bottoms,  and  on  account  of  its  vicinity  to  the  polar  seas, 
whither  they  return  to  spawn.  The  cod  are  found  here  in 
such  numbers  that  although  maritime  nations  have  for  cen¬ 
turies  worked  indefatigably  at  these  fisheries,  not  the  slightest 
diminution  of  their  abundance  has  been  noticed.  The 
Newfoundland  cod  fisheries  are  carried  on  now  principally 
by  the  Lrench  and  Americans.  The  British  interest  in 
them  has  declined,  as  we  have  transferred  the  site  of  our 
operations  to  the  coast  of  Labrador,  where  many  English 
sailors,  and  specially  equipped  schooners,  are  employed. 
The  Americans  fit  out  their  vessels  chiefly  at  Boston,  and 
thus  from  their  vicinity  to  these  fishing  grounds  possess 
advantage  over  the  English.  Immense  quantities  of  cod 


364  THE  natural  history  of  commerce. 

are  sent  by  England,  France,  and  Holland,  partly  salted 
and  dried,  to  Southern  Europe,  chiefly  for  consumption 
during  Lent  and  the  other  fasts  of  the  Roman  Catholic 
Church. 

Turbot  {Rhombus  maximus ). — Taken  on  all  our  coasts. 
The  English  markets,  however,  are  supplied  chiefly  with 
Dutch  turbot,  which  is  preferred ;  these  are  caught  on  the 
sand  banks  lying  between  Holland  and  the  eastern  coast 
of  England.  While  the  Dutch  furnish  our  tables  with  the 
finest  turbot,  the  Norwegians  complete  the  service  with  the 
luxury  of  lobsters,  about  a  million  of  which  they  send  to  us 
yearly  from  the  rocky  fiords  where  these  Crustacea  abound, — 
partly  to  be  consumed  as  turbot  sauce,  partly  as  a  salad  or 
as  a  choice  and  independent  dish. 

Sole  ( Solea  vulgaris). — The  sole  is  common  on  the  British 
coasts,  and  in  season  from  May  to  November.  The  prin¬ 
cipal  fishing  stations  are  on  the  south  coast,  from  Sussex  to 
Devonshire,  especially  at  Brixham  and  Torbay.  Plaice , 
flounders ,  dabs,  halibut ,  and  brill ,  all  belonging  to  the  true 
flat  fish,  are  also  in  great  request  for  their  delicate  and 
nutritious  food,  which  is  found  particularly  suitable  as  diet 
for  invalids. 

Lamprey  {Petromyzon  marin/s). — An  eel-like  cartila¬ 
ginous  fish,  having  a  funnel-shaped  mouth,  surrounded  by  a 
circular  suctorial  lip,  by  means  of  which  it  adheres  to  stones 
(Greek ,petron,  a  rock ;  and  muzo ,  I  suck)  and  to  the  bodies 
of  those  fish  on  which  it  feeds.  Formerly  the  lamprey  was 
considered  a  great  delicacy,  and  one  of  our  kings  (Henry  I.) 
is  said  to  have  died  in  consequence  of  eating  it  too  freely. 
Although  not  so  much  in  demand  now,  great  numbers 
are  still  furnished  from  the  North  Sea,  the  Baltic,  and 
the  German  rivers,  where  they  abound.  Lampreys  reach 
this  country  packed  in  jars  with  vinegar,  spices,  and  bay 
leaves. 


5“  7 URGEON—MOLL  USCA . 


3  6S 


Common  Sturgeon  ( Acipe?iser  sturio)  belongs  to  the 
group  of  cartilaginous  fishes.  The  body  is  elongated, 
spindleform,  and  usually  from  five  to  six  feet  in  length ; 
the  head,  which  is  depressed  and  protruded  into  a  triangular 
snout,  is  covered  with  rows  of  large  tubercular  bony  plates. 
The  sturgeon  is  abundant  in  the  seas  of  northern  Europe, 
also  in  the  Caspian,  the  Black  Sea,  and  the  Mediterranean, 
ascending  the  rivers  in  great  numbers  to  spawn. 

Caviare ,  which  forms  an  important  article  of  commerce, 
consists  of  the  roe  of  different  species  of  this  fish,  cleaned, 
washed  with  vinegar,  salted,  dried,  and  then  pressed  into 
small  cakes,  or  packed  in  kegs.  Russian  caviare,  from  the 
Black  and  Caspian  Seas,  is  considered  the  best.  Much 
caviare  is  also  prepared  on  the  shores  of  the  Lower  Danube. 
That  furnished  by  the  Sterlet  ( Acipenser  ruthenus )  is  so 
superior  that,  according  to  Cuvier,  it  is  reserved  for  the  im¬ 
perial  court  of  Russia. 

Isinglass,  another  product  from  these  fish,  is  prepared 
from  their  air  bladders.  This  substance  owes  its  com¬ 
mercial  value  to  its  extremely  delicate  fibres,  which  operate 
mechanically  in  the  clarification  of  white  wines  and  malt 
liquors.  It  is  also  much  employed  in  cookery.  Russian 
isinglass  is  preferred  to  that  from  Hungary  and  Germany. 
The  skin  also  of  the  sturgeon  produces  the  leather  known 
as  shagreen,  used  to  cover  the  cases  of  mathematical 
and  philosophical  instruments,  and  of  spectacles. 


PRODUCTS  OF  THE  SUB-KINGDOM  MOLLUSC  A. 

Mollusca  (Latin,  mollis,  soft). — Soft-bodied,  invertebrated 
animals,  devoid  of  an  internal  bony  skeleton,  having  a 
gangliated  nervous  system,  the  ganglia,  or  knots  of  nervous 
matter,  being  irregularly  dispersed  in  different  parts  of  the 


366  THE  NA  TURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 

body.  They  have  a  distinct  pulmonary  or  branchial  cir¬ 
culation,  white  or  bluish  blood,  and,  in  many  cases,  a  shell 
covering,  in  which  the  animal  resides.  This  is  secreted  by 
the  margin  of  a  peculiar  organ  termed  the  mantle,  or  an  ex¬ 
ternal  fold  of  the  skin  reflected  over  the  body.  Many  of 
the  lowest  and  some  of  the  highest  of  the  mollusca  are 
naked,  or  a  horny  and  testaceous  rudiment  of  a  shell  is 
developed,  but  remains  concealed  beneath  the  substance  of 
the  mantle.  When,  however,  the  shell  is  so  much  enlarged 
that  the  contracted  animal  finds  shelter  within  or  beneath  it, 
then  the  mollusc  is  termed  testaceous  (Latin,  testa,  a  shell). 
We  shall  confine  our  notes  to  the  testaceous  mollusca,  as, 
commercially,  they  are  the  most  valuable.  The  following 
are  the  chief  classes  of  the  mollusca  : — 

1.  Cephalopoda ,  or  headfooted  (Greek,  kephale  and  pons , 
a  foot),  having  the  head  well  developed,  protruding  from 
the  mantle,  and  furnished  with  tentacula,  serving  for  the 
seizure  of  food  and  for  crawling.  Examples  :  nautilus  and 
cuttle-fish. 

2.  Gasteropoda ,  or  belly-footed  (Greek,  gas  ter ,  the  belly), 
crawling  by  means  of  a  broad  muscular  disc  on  the  lower 
surface  of  the  body,  which  serves  as  a  substitute  for  legs. 
Examples  :  Helix  hortensis ,  the  garden  snail ;  Lymncea 
stagnalis ,  the  pond  snail ;  and  Limax  agresiis ,  the  field  slug. 

3.  Pteropoda ,  or  wing-footed  (Greek,  pteron ,  a  wing),  com¬ 
prehending  a  few  molluscs  which  have  a  natatory  winglike 
expansion  on  each  side  of  the  head.  They  are  naked,  or 
provided  with  a  delicate  univalved  shell.  Example  :  Clio 
borealis . 

Most  of  the  species  of  the  class  Pteropoda  are  fossil,  but 
a  great  many  are  still  found  in  existing  seas,  living  near  the 
surface. 

The  Clio  borealis  forms  the  food  of  the  whalebone  whale. 
It  is  an  inch  long,  uses  its  light  shell  as  a  boat,  its  winglike 


DYES— SHELLS.  367 

fins  as  oars,  and  so  navigates,  in  countless  numbers,  the 
tranquil  surface  of  the  arctic  seas. 

4.  Conchifera  or  shell-carriers  (Latin,  concha,  a  shell,  and 
fero ,  I  carry),  including  all  the  bivalved  molluscs  not 
Brachoipods.  Examples  :  oyster,  mussel,  and  pearl  oyster. 

5.  Brachiopoda ,  or  arm-footed  (Greek,  brachion ,  an  arm). 
— Bivalves  devoid  of  locomotive  power,  and  attaching  them¬ 
selves  to  foreign  bodies  :  they  are  furnished  with  two  long 
ciliated  arms  developed  from  the  sides  of  the  mouth,  which, 
by  producing  currents, bring  food  to  the  animal.  Examples  : 
Terebratula  and  Lingula. 


I.— DYES. 

Some  of  the  mollusca  furnish  dyes  and  pigments.  The 
Murex  yields  various  shades  of  purple  and  crimson.  The 
celebrated  Tyrian  purple  was  formerly  obtained  from  Murex 
irunculus.  The  cuttle  fish  ( Sepia  officinalis')  which  clouds 
the  water  by  ejecting  from  its  ink-bag  a  deep  black  fluid, 
thus  effectually  concealing  itself,  supplies  the  well-known 
pigment,  sepia,  of  a  deep  brown-black  colour;  and  a  calcareous 
spongy  plate,  found  in  the  same  animal,  is  used  as  a  substi¬ 
tute  for  emery  or  sand  paper,  and  as  a  dentifrice. 

II.— SHELLS. 

The  beautiful  variety  of  form  and  colour  in  shells  has  in 
all  ages  attracted  notice.  Among  savages  shells  are  used 
for  personal  adornment,  and  made  into  domestic  utensils, 
such  as  knives,  spoons,  drinking-cups,  fish-hooks,  and  even 
razors.  The  wampum  belts  of  some  of  the  North  American 
tribes  are  made  of  shells.  A  small  species  of  white  glossy 
shell,  called  cowry  ( Cyprcea  moneta ),  abundant  in  the  Asiatic 
and  African  shores,  is  used  as  money  in  small  payments  in 
India  and  throughout  extensive  districts  in  Africa,  100  being 


368  THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 

equivalent  to  one  penny.  The  same  cowries  are  converted 
into  a  glaze  for  earthenware  and  an  enamel  for  clock  faces. 
The  thin  inner  layers  of  a  large  flat  bivalve  ( Placwia 
placenta)  found  in  the  Chinese  sea,  remarkable  for  their 
transparency  and  the  absence  of  the  nacreous  or  pearly 
layer  within,  are  used  by  the  Chinese  for  windows  instead 
of  glass.  In  Roman  Catholic  countries  clam  shells  form 
receptacles  for  holy  water ;  while  some,  perfectly  white,  are 
cut  up  for  arm-rings  and  other  ornaments.  The  Turbin- 
ella ,  or  chank  shell  of  India,  fished  up  by  divers  in  the  Gulf 
of  Manaar,  on  the  north-west  coast  of  Ceylon,  is  exported  to 
India,  where  it  is  sawn  into  rings  of  various  sizes,  and  worn 
on  the  arms,  legs,  fingers,  and  toes,  by  the  Hindoos.  The 
demand  for  these  shells  is  caused  by  the  religious  rites  of 
the  Hindoos,  and  some  choice  specimens  of  them  are 
valued  at  their  weight  in  gold.  The  helmet  shell  ( Cassis) 
supplies  pieces  large  enough  for  umbrella  handles,  and  the 
nacreous  or  inner  layers  of  this  shell,  and  other  species,  are 
exquisitely  sculptured  by  Italian  artists  in  imitation  of 
antique  cameos,  and  employed  for  rings,  brooches,  pins, 
bracelets,  and  other  ornaments. 

The  byssus,  or  fasciculus  of  shining  semi-transparent 
horny  or  silky  filaments,  by  which  many  kinds  of  bivalves 
attach  themselves  to  rocks,  is  in  the  large  Pinna  or  wing- 
shell,  so  much  developed  that,  by  the  natives  of  Sicily  it  is 
manufactured  into  gloves,  socks,  and  caps,  of  a  beautiful 
brownish  colour.  These  are  valuable  as  objects  of  curiosity, 
but  too  expensive  for  general  use,  the  price  of  a  pair  of 
gloves  or  stockings  being  a  fancy  one,  much  above  that 
charged  in  general  for  these  useful  articles  of  attire. 

The  large  proportion  of  lime  in  shells  renders  them 
useful  in  making  cement  and  as  a  fertiliser  of  the  soil ; 
hence  shell-sand,  the  product  of  their  natural  crumbling  on 
sea  shores,  is  employed  in  improving  heavy  loams  and 


SHELLS .  369 

clayey  or  peaty  soils.  Mixed  with  any  soil  deficient  in  lime, 
shell-sand  exercises  a  beneficial  influence. 

If  we  look  at  shell  we  shall  find  it  to  consist  of  three  layers, 
viz.,  one  external  and  rough,  a  medium  layer  consisting  of 
delicate  super-imposed  laminae  of  polygonal  prisms,  and  an 
internal  and  shining  one  called  the  nacre,  which  is  composed 
of  a  series  of  extremely  delicate  deposits,  unequal  in  size  and 
extent,  and  therefore  imbricated  in  their  position  on  each 
other,  their  margins  presenting  a  series  of  lines  with  waved 
edges.  These  wrinkles,  or  furrows,  which  are  of  microscopic 
proximity  and  minuteness,  decompose  the  rays  of  light,  and 
produce  that  beautiful  iridescent  play  of  colours  visible  on  the 
surface  of  the  shell.  It  is  this  nacreous  lustre  which  renders 
shells  so  capable  of  being  applied  to  ornamental  purposes, 
and  gives  to  them  their  principal  commercial  importance. 

The  brilliancy  of  the  colours  reflected  depends  on  the 
thinness  of  the  laminae  of  the  nacre.  Where  the  laminae 
are  thick,  a  dull  white  appearance  only  is  visible,  as  in  the 
oyster.  Sometimes  the  external  layers  covering  the  nacre 
are  rubbed  off  by  natural  causes,  as  in  the  case  of  shells 
which  have  been  subjected  to  the  roll  of  the  waves  on  the 
sea-shore,  where  quantities  may  be  found  having  the  bright 
and  iridescent  nacreous  surface  exposed,  but  more  or  less 
injured ;  generally,  however,  these  outer  layers  are  removed 
artificially  with  a  knife,  and  the  shell  is  polished.  This 
nacreous  layer  is  the  well-known  mother-of-pearl,  and  shells 
having  it  in  the  greatest  abundance  are  called  pearl  shells, 
such  as  the  sea-ears  ( Haliotis )  and  a  large  species  of  top- 
shell  ( Surbo  marmoratus ,  L.)  Mother-of-pearl,  in  conse¬ 
quence  of  its  lamellar  structure,  admits  of  being  split  into 
laminae  ;  or  it  is  cut,  without  being  slit,  into  square,  angular, 
or  circular  pieces,  which  are  employed  extensively  in  the 
arts,  particularly  in  inlaid  work  and  in  the  manufacture  of 

knife  and  razor-handles,  buttons,  snuff-boxes,  and  toys.  Cut 
l  2  A 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


into  the  form  of  leaves,  flowers,  and  other  devices,  it  forms 
a  favourite  material  for  ornamenting  papier-mache — a  name 
given  to  articles  manufactured  from  paper  pulp,  which  is 
moulded  into  varied  forms,  and  rendered  as  hard  as  wood 
by  being  dried  in  an  oven. 

The  most  valuable  shells  in  commerce  are,  however 
those  which  form  the  nacre  into  the  fine,  compact,  concentric 
layers  called  pearls.  These  pearls  are  sometimes  found 
free  within  the  lobes  of  the  mantle,  but  most  frequently 
adhere  to  the  nacreous  coat  of  the  shell.  The  species 
which  produces  the  largest  and  most  valuable  pearls  is  the 

Pearl  Oyster  [Meleagrina  margaritifera,  L.) — The  most 
notable  pearl  fisheries  are  those  on  the  western  coast  of 
Ceylon ;  at  the  Bahrein  Islands  in  the  Gulf  of  Persia ;  at 
Tuticoreen,  on  the  coast  of  Coromandel ;  off  St.  Margarita, 
or  Pearl  Islands,  in  the  West  Indies  ;  in  some  places  on 
the  coast  of  Columbia ;  and  in  the  Bay  of  Panama  in  the 
Pacific.  Very  large  and  beautiful  pearls,  too,  are  said  to 
have  been  found  recently  on  the  peninsula  of  California. 
The  fisheries  in  the  Persian  Gulf,  and  on  the  Cingalese 
coast,  give  employment  to  many  boats,  divers,  and  other 
people,  and  yield  a  large  revenue. 

The  value  of  pearls  depends  upon  their  size,  purity,  and 
lustre.  The  best  are  spherical,  free  from  spot  or  stain,  and 
have  a  clear,  bright,  white  or  yellowish-white,  or  bluish 
colour,  with  a  peculiar  lustre  or  iridescence.  They  vary  in 
size — some  not  bigger  than  small  shot,  and  others  as  large 
as  a  pea  or  bean.  When  pearls  dwindle  to  the  size  of  small 
shot,  they  are  called  seed-pearls,  and  are  then  of  little  value. 
“  A  handsome  necklace  of  Ceylon  pearls,  as  large  as  peas, 
is  worth  from  ^170  to  ^300  ;  and  one  of  pearls  the  size  of 
peppercorns  may  be  had  for  ^15.”  *  The  largest  and  most 

*  See  Pearls,  “Dictionary  of  Commerce.”  By  J.  R.  McCulloch. 
Also  Journal  of  the  Society  of  Arts,  No.  896,  vol.  xviii. 


PEARLS. 


valuable  pearl  of  which  we  have  any  authentic  account 
was  purchased  by  Tavernier,  at  Catifa,  in  Arabia — a  fishery 
famous  in  the  days  of  Pliny — for  the  enormous  sum  of 
^10,000.  It  was  pear-shaped,  two  inches  in  length,  and 
half  an  inch  in  diameter,  and  is  now  the  property  of  the 
Shah  of  Persia.  The  finest  pearls  generally  pass  under  the 
name  of  “oriental  pearls;”  and  those  with  less  lustre  and 
beauty,  even  if  they  do  come  from  the  East  Indies,  are 
called  “  occidental  pearls.” 

Pearls  are  most  abundant  in  the  pearl  oyster,  and  appear 

a 

to  be  the  product  of  a  disease,  caused  by  the  introduction  of 
foreign  bodies  within  the  shell.  A  pearl,  if  cut  through, 
will  generally  show  a  nucleus,  formed  by  a  grain  of  sand 
or  some  other  foreign  body,  around  which  the  nacreous 
matter  has  accumulated  in  concentric  deposits,  instead  of 
being  spread  in  the  usually  horizontal  laminae  on  the  inside 
of  the  shell.  The  Chinese  are  acquainted  with  this  fact, 
and  are  in  the  habit  of  producing  pearly  deposits  artificially, 
on  the  images  of  Buddha  and  other  objects,  by  placing  them 
within  mussels  ( Unio  plicatus),  which  are  then  thrown  back 
into  the  river,  and  after  a  while  retaken,  and  the  image 
removed,  which  has  thus  become  coated  with  pearl.  In 
the  British  and  South  Kensington  Museums  examples  may 
be  seen  of  images  and  other  objects  which  have  obtained 
their  pearly  coating  in  this  way. 

The  value  of  pearls  has  been  greatly  depreciated  in 
modern  times  through  successful  imitation.  The  spurious 
glass  and  wax  pearls  now  made  in  Paris,  Venice,  Nurem¬ 
berg,  and  Bohemia,  have  much  diminished  the  trade  in 
real  pearls.  The  best  imitations  were  first  made  by  a 
French  bead- maker  named  Jacquin.  The  water  in  which 
the  fish  called  the  bleak  ( Cypri?ius  alburuus)  is  washed,  is 
filled  with  powdery  particles,  which  shine  with  a  pearly 
lustre.  Jacquin  noticed  this ;  he  called  this  powder  “essence 


372 


THE  HA  TURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


of  pearl,”  or  “ essence  d' orient”  and  succeeded  in  covering 
the  inside  of  glass  beads  with  it,  thus  producing  a  most 
admirable  spurious  glass  pearl.  A  considerable  trade  is 
done  with  spurious  pearls  on  the  coasts  of  Senegambia, 
Guinea,  and  Congo,  and  the  adjacent  islands,  where  they 
are  indispensable  goods  for  the  transaction  of  business  with 
the  natives. 


III.— EDIBLE  SPECIES. 

Oyster  ( Ostrea  edulis). — Vast  beds  of  this  mollusc  are 
planted  and  tended  with  great  care.  The  oyster  culture  is 
carried  on  at  Colchester  and  other  places  in  England,  and 
on  the  coasts  of  France.  The  oysters  are  laid  in  beds,  in 
creeks  near  the  shore,  where  in  two  or  three  years  they 
grow  to  a  considerable  size,  and  acquire  a  flavour  superior 
to  that  of  uncultivated  oysters.  For  reasons  not  clearly 
explained,  there  has  been  an  increasing  scarcity  in  the 
oyster  supply.  The  Whitstable  native,  the  choicest  of  all 
kinds,  has  risen  from  the  retail  price  of  sixpence  to  three 
and  four  shillings  the  dozen.  Inferior  oysters  have  been 
brought  to  market,  new  beds  have  been  dredged,  and  no 
pains  spared  to  renovate  the  industry,  with  some  measure 
of  success.  Immense  numbers  have  come  from  America 
and  foreign  parts  to  fill  the  void. 

Mussel  ( Mylilus  edulis). — This  is  another  popular  mol¬ 
lusc,  not  so  digestible  as  the  oyster,  but  nevertheless  in 
considerable  demand  as  human  food,  and  largely  employed 
as  bait  for  whiting,  haddock,  and  cod.  We  have  also  the 
Cockle  ( Cardium  edule),  Periwinkle  ( Littorina  littorea ), 
Whelk  (Buccinum  undatum),  and  the  Ormond  Whelk 
( Fusus  antiquus),  with  which  our  markets  are  abundantly 
supplied. 


LEECHES. 


373 


PRODUCTS  OF  THE  SUB-KINGDOM  ANNULOSA. 

Anmilosa  (Latin,  annulus ,  a  ring),  a  name  given  to  the 
third  great  division  of  the  animal  kingdom.  The  body,  in 
Annulosa  generally,  presents  a  symmetrical  form,  and  con¬ 
sists  of  a  series  of  rings  or  segments ;  the  nervous  system 
is  a  double  nervous  thread,  which  extends  along  the  body 
at  its  lower  side,  and  is  united  at  certain  distances  by  double 
“ganglia,”  or  knots,  whence  nerves  are  given  off  to  the 
members.  In  the  group  Annuloida ,  the  body  is  ringed 
and  devoid  of  limbs,  whilst  in  the  Articulata  it  is  composed 
of  movable  pieces,  and  the  limbs  are  jointed. 

The  following  are  the  chief  classes  of  the  Annulosa  : — 

1.  Annelida  (Latin,  annullus ,  a  little  ring),  animals  having 
bodies  soft  and  pliable,  more  or  less  cylindrical,  and  formed 
of  a  great  number  of  small  rings.  Examples  :  earthworm 
and  leech. 

2.  Crustacea  (Latin,  crusta ,  a  hard  covering),  having  an 
articulated,  hard  shelly  case  or  covering,  in  which  the  softer 
parts  of  the  body  are  contained.  Examples  :  crab,  lob¬ 
ster,  &c. 

3.  Arachnida  (Greek,  arachne ,  a  spider),  having  the  head 
and  thorax  confluent  with  each  other,  and  the  body  conse¬ 
quently  consisting  of  only  two  segments,  with  eight  legs,  and 
smooth  eyes.  Examples  :  spider  and  scorpion. 

4.  I?iseda  (Latin,  in,  into,  and  seco,  I  cut),  including 
those  animals  having  an  insected  or  divided  appearance  of 
the  body  into  three  well-marked  portions,  called  respectively 
the  head,  thorax,  and  abdomen.  Six  legs  are  articulated 
with  the  thorax.  Examples  :  bee,  moth,  and  beetle. 

In  the  first  class,  Annelida,  we  have  one  species  of  very 
considerable  value  in  commerce,  the 

Leech  ( Hirudo  medicinalis ,  L.) — An  abranchiate  red- 
blooded  worm,  provided  with  a  circular  disc  or  sucker,  at 


374 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


either  extremity  of  the  body.  The  oval  aperture  or  mouth, 
is  formed  of  three  pairs  of  cartilaginous  jaws,  each  armed 
with  two  rows  of  very  fine  teeth,  and  disposed  in  such  a 
manner  that  they  form  three  radii  of  a  circle.  This  appa¬ 
ratus  enables  the  leech  so  to  penetrate  the  skin  as  to  ensure 
a  ready  flow  of  blood  without  causing  a  dangerous  wound. 
Leeches  are  found  in  pools  and  marshes  in  England,  but 
principally  on  the  Continent,  especially  in  Portugal,  the 
south  of  France,  Germany,  Hungary,  and  Russia.  The 
greatest  quantities  come  through  Pesth  and  Vienna,  from 
Hungary.  Most  of  the  leeches  used  in  England  are  imported 
from  Hamburg,  whither  they  are  sent  from  the  lakes  of 
Pomerania  and  Brandenburg,  and  from  the  province  of 
Posen  in  Prussia. 

Leeches  are  taken  by  men,  who  wade  into  the  pools  with 
naked  legs,  to  which  the  leeches  fasten.  The  men  then 
leave  the  water,  and  remove  them  before  their  bites  become 
injurious.  Leeches  are  sent  over  in  bags,  or  more  fre¬ 
quently  in  small  tubs,  closed  with  stout  canvas  to  allow 
a  free  passage  of  air.  Each  tub  usually  contains  about 
2000  leeches.  Dr.  Pereira  states,  in  his  Pharmacopoeia, 
that  “  four  principal  leech  dealers  in  London  imported  on 
the  average  600,000  leeches  monthly,  or  7,200,000  annually.” 
The  consumption  of  leeches  in  France  is  much  more  exten¬ 
sive  than  in  England. 

The  second  class,  Crustacea ,  furnishes  several  species 
which  are  used  as  food — as  crabs,  lobsters,  crayfish,  prawns, 
and  shrimps,  each  of  several  varieties.  Prawns  and  shrimps 
of  fine  quality  are  taken  in  hand  nets  on  every  low  and 
sandy  shore  of  our  coast.  We  depend  upon  Norway  and 
other  places  for  half  the  supply  of  our  largest  lobsters,  cray 
fish,  and  crabs,  but  there  is  reason  to  believe  that  if  we 
trusted  less  to  chance  captures  by  our  fishermen,  and 
cultivated  our  lobster  grounds  as  diligently  r.s  the  Nor- 


SILKWORM  MOTH. 


O  *7  H 

3  /  0 

wegians  theirs,  we  might  double  the  numbers  brought  to 
market. 

The  third  class,  Arachnida ,  is  of  no  commercial  value. 

The  fourth  class,  Insecta,  is  pre-eminent  over  the  others 
in  the  number  of  individuals,  and  in  their  beautiful  forms, 
colours,  and  transformations.  Its  members  are  in  the 
highest  degree  valuable  to  man,  furnishing  him  with  un¬ 
limited  supplies  of  honey,  wax,  silk,  and  dyeing  materials. 
The  following  are  the  most  important  insects,  regarded  from 
a  commercial  point  of  view. 

The  Silkworm  Moth  ( Bombyx  mori)  belongs  to  the 
family  Bombycidce ,  a  section  of  the  nocturnal  lepidoptera  or 
moths.  It  has  short  plumose  antennae,  a  thick  short  body, 
stout  legs,  and  white  wings,  with  two  or  three  dark  lines 
stretching  across  them  parallel  to  the  margin.  It  lays  its 
eggs,  which  are  of  a  greyish  tint,  on  the  leaves  of  the  mul¬ 
berry  tree  (Adorns  alba)  upon  which  the  larva  feeds.  These 
larvae  form  the  cocoons  from  which  the  silk  is  procured.  The 
eggs  may  be  preserved  a  long  time  without  deteriorating, 
provided  they  are  kept  free  from  damp,  and  not  too  many 
in  the  same  packet.  The  eggs  in  this  state  are  called  by 
the  silk  cultivators’  seed. 

The  larvae  when  first  hatched  are  a  quarter  of  an  inch 
long  and  of  a  dark  colour,  and  the  first  care  after  their  birth 
is  to  separate  them  from  their  shells,  and  place  them  on 
“hurdles”  where  they  may  find  appropriate  food.  For  this 
purpose,  a  paper  perforated  with  holes  and  covered  with 
mulberry-leaves  is  spread  over  the  basket  in  which  the 
larvae  are  placed,  and  in  passing  through  the  holes  to  get  at 
the  mulberry  leaves,  they  free  themselves  from  their  shells. 
The  silkworm  remains  in  the  larva  or  grub  state  about  thirty- 
four  days,  during  which  time  it  moults  or  changes  its  skin 
four  times,  increasing  in  size  and  voracity  with  every  moult, 
and  when  fully  grown  is  about  three  inches  in  length. 


376  THE  NATURAL  HIS  TOR  Y  OF  COMMERCE. 

The  caterpillar  now  stops  eating,  betakes  itself  to  some 
convenient  spot  where,  after  spinning  a  few  threads  in 
various  directions,  it  suspends  itself  in  the  midst  of  them, 
and  by  continually  twisting  its  body,  it  gradually  envelopes 
itself  in  a  thick,  silken,  oval-shaped  cocoon.  The  silk  is  a 
secretion  of  a  pair  of  tubes  called  serictcria ,  which  terminate 
in  a  prominent  pore  or  spinneret  on  the  under  lip  of  the 
caterpillar.  The  two  fine  filaments  from  the  serictcria  are 
glued  together  by  another  secretion  from  a  small  gland,  so 
that  the  apparently  single  silken  thread  proceeding  from  the 
caterpillar,  which  forms  the  cocoon,  is  in  reality  double. 
Whilst  spinning  the  cocoon,  which  is  usually  completed  in 
five  days,  the  larva  decreases  in  bulk,  casts  its  skin,  becomes 
torpid,  and  ultimately  assumes  the  chrysalis  form  in  the  in¬ 
terior  of  the  cocoon. 

The  cocoons,  when  completed,  are  thrown  into  warm 
water,  which  dissolves  the  glutinous  matter  that  causes  the 
threads  to  adhere,  and  separates  them.  The  end  of  the 
thread  is  then  found,  and  placed  upon  a  reel ;  the  silk  is 
wound  off  the  cocoon,  and  formed  into  what  are  called 
hanks.  When  this  is  carefully  done,  the  silken  thread  ob¬ 
tained  from  a  single  cocoon  is  sometimes  from  750  to  1150 
feet  long,  or  of  an  average  length  of  300  yards.  Twelve 
pounds  of  cocoons  yield  one  pound  of  raw  silk.  About  one 
ounce  of  silkworms’  eggs  will  produce  100  lbs.  of  cocoons; 
16  lbs.  of  mulberry  leaves  are  food  sufficient  for  the  produc¬ 
tion  of  1  lb.  of  cocoons :  and  each  mulberry  tree  yields  about 
100  lbs.  of  leaves.  These  data  afford  the  reader  the  means 
of  calculating  the  number  of  insects,  eggs,  trees,  and  leaves, 
necessary  for  the  production  of  the  quantity  of  silk  con¬ 
sumed  in  the  United  Kingdom  in  any  one  year  as  given  in 
the  Government  Trade  Returns. 

The  art  of  rearing  silkworms,  of  unravelling  the  threads 
spun  by  them,  and  manufacturing  those  threads  into  articles 


SILK. 


377 


of  dress  and  ornament,  seems  to  have  been  first  practised  by 
the  Chinese.  In  China,  Japan,  and  India,  silk  has  formed, 
from  time  immemorial,  one  of  the  chief  objects  of  cultivation 
and  manufacture.  The  silkworm  moth  and  the  mulberry 
tree  are,  in  fact,  both  natives  of  China,  and  a  great  portion 
of  our  supplies  of  silk  are  still  derived  from  that  country. 
There  was  a  time  when  silk,  now  so  abundant,  was  valued 
in  Rome  at  its  weight  in  gold,  and  the  Emperor  Aurelian 
refused  his  empress  a  robe  of  it  on  account  of  its  dearness. 
At  the  period  when  our  ancestors  were  naked  savages — 
2000  years  ago — the  Chinese  peasantry,  amounting  in  some 
provinces  to  millions  in  number,  were  clothed  in  silk. 

From  China,  the  cultivation  of  silk  extended  to  Hin- 
dostan,  and  thence  to  Europe,  in  the  reign  of  the  Roman 
emperor  Justinian,  about  the  middle  of  the  6th  century. 
From  the  6th  to  the  12th  centuries  the  culture  of  silk  was 
confined  to  Greece,  particularly  to  the  Peloponnesus,  where 
it  spread  so  much  that  this  part  of  Greece  derived  its 
modern  name  Morea  (Latin,  moms ,  a  mulberry)  from  that 
circumstance.  From  Greece,  silk  cultivation  spread  into 
Sicily,  Italy,  Spain,  and  finally  France.  The  French  com¬ 
menced  its  culture  in  1564,  under  the  auspices  of  Henry  IV., 
and  the  raising  of  raw  silk  and  its  manufacture  now  forms  a 
very  considerable  proportion  of  the  French  trade.  We  have 
not  space  for  further  detail  of  the  progress  of  the  silk  manu¬ 
facture. 

At  present  the  United  Kingdom  is  supplied  with  the  raw 
material  for  manufacture  principally  from  China,  the  East 
Indies,  the  Levant,  France,  and  Italy.  Of  Chinese  silks  the 
best  comes  from  the  provinces  of  Nankin  and  Tsekiang  in 
Eastern  China.  Silk  of  an  inferior  character  is  received 
from  Southern  China,  through  Canton.  The  principal  ports 
from  which  we  receive  East  Indian  silk  are  Calcutta  and 
Bombay.  The  exports  from  these  places  amount  to  10,000 


378  THE  NA  TURAL  HIS  TOR  V  OR  COMMERCE. 

cwts.  annually.  Anatolia  and  Syria  produce  much  good 
silk,  principally  around  Damascus  and  Beyruth ;  this  goes 
chiefly  to  Western  Europe,  via  Aleppo,  Smyrna,  and  Con¬ 
stantinople.  A  great  deal  of  Persian  and  Armenian  silk  is 
brought  by  caravans  from  Asia,  by  Bassora,  Bagdad,  and 
Damascus,  to  the  ports  of  the  Levant,  and  goes  by  the 
name  of  silk  of  the  Levant.  This  name  also  includes  all  the 
silk  produced  in  Turkey,  the  Morea,  and  in  the  Archipelago, 
and  brought  into  commerce  through  Gallipoli  and  Salonica. 
As  the  breeding  of  silkworms  only  prospers  in  warm  climates, 
silk  culture  is  confined  in  Europe  to  Italy,  the  south  of 
Trance,  and  Spain.  There  is  also  considerable  silk  cul¬ 
tivation  on  the  southern  slopes  of  the  Alps,  in  Tyrol  and 
Illyria,  and  within  the  last  twenty  years  successful  attempts  at 
silk  culture  have  been  made  in  Bavaria  and  Lower  Austria. 

Although  the  climate  of  England  is  too  cold  to  enable  us 
to  rear  the  silkworm,  we  are  able  to  manufacture  the  silk, 
which  increases  the  value  of  the  raw  material  about  three¬ 
fold.  The  principal  seats  of  the  English  silk  manufacture 
are  : — For  broad  silks,  Spitalfields,  Manchester,  Macclesfield, 
Glasgow,  Paisley,  and  Dublin;  for  crapes,  Norfolk,  Suffolk, 
Essex,  Middlesex,  and  Somerset ;  for  handkerchiefs,  Man¬ 
chester,  Macclesfield,  Paisley,  and  Glasgow ;  for  ribands, 
Coventry;  for  hosiery,  Derby;  and  for  mixed  goods,  Norwich, 
Manchester,  Paisley,  and  Dublin.  The  exports  of  British 
manufactured  silks  are  chiefly  to  the  United  States  and  the 
Colonies.  We  also  ship  silks  extensively  to  South  America, 
Germany,  Belgium,  and  even  India  and  France.  Silk  culture 
in  France  has  suffered  much,  and  more  than  once  been 
threatened  with  extinction  through  the  ravages  of  a  fungoid 
disease ;  every  worm  attacked  becoming  a  centre  of  rapid 
infection.  In  order  to  avert  a  great  national  calamity,  new 
seed  and  other  varieties  of  worms  have  been  diligently 
sought  in  the  East.  The  most  promising  new  introduction 


BEES. 


379 


is  that  of  the  Tusser,  an  Indian  worm,  which  spins  a  strong 
but  rather  coarse  thread,  of  which  the  natives  consume  a 
quarter  of  a  million  pounds  yearly  in  the  fabrication  of  the 
Tusser  cloth.  The  worm  feeds  on  various  plants,  and  spins 
ten  times  more  silk  than  the  common  silk-worm.  The 
Chinese  wild  silk,  or  moonga,  of  which  it  is  calculated  that 
three  quarters  of  a  million  pounds  are  worked  up  every 
year  in  China,  seems  to  be  a  resource  equal  to  present  and 
prospective  demands.  The  United  Kingdom  has  been 
saved  from  loss,  since  the  silk  is  received  only  as  cocoons 
or  as  the  thrown  silk  of  Italy,  and  the  area  of  supply  has  so 
widened  as  to  remove  dependence  on  France.  Meanwhile 
new  vitality  has  been  given  to  what  was  always  a  languid 
British  industry,  by  appliances  to  utilise  the  floss  formerly 
thrown  away  as  waste,  but  now  become  of  an  importance 
equal  to  the  whole  previous  silk  manufacture.  Numerous 
other  silk  worms  are  known,  their  produce  mostly  supplying 
native  local  wants.  Two  of  them,  however,  the  Cynthia  of 
China  and  the  Arrindia,  have  reached  Europe,  the  first 
feeding  on  the  oak  leaf  and  giving  two  crops  of  cocoons  in 
the  year,  and  the  second  feeding  on  the  castor  oil  plant. 
Both  give  good  silk,  but  the  cocoons  have  the  disadvantage 
of  being  open  at  the  end,  and  when  reeling,  fill  with  water 
and  sink  instead  of  float,  causing  the  thread  constantly 
to  break. 

Next  to  the  silkworm  moth  the  Honey  Bee  (A pis  mellifica) 
is  the  most  useful  insect  to  man.  This  insect  belongs  to  the 
order  Hymenoptera  (membrane-winged),  an  order  charac¬ 
terised  in  most  of  the  genera  by  the  presence  of  a  sting. 
The  habits  of  the  honey  bee  are  replete  with  interest, 
arising  from  its  social  economy  and  from  the  separation  of 
the  individuals  into  three  communities  based  on  sexual 
modification,  viz.,  the  queens,  or  prolific  females;  the 
workers,  or  barren  females ;  and  the  drones,  or  males. 


380  THE  NA  TURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 

The  hive  bee  or  honey  bee  is  distinguished  from  the  other 
species  of  Apis  by  having  the  femora  of  the  posterior  pair 
of  legs  furnished  with  a  smooth  and  concave  plate  on  the 
outer  surface,  which,  fringed  with  hair,  forms  a  basket 
adapted  for  the  conveyance  of  pollen.  A  swarm  of  bees 
consists  generally  of  about  6000  individuals,  of  which  about 
one-thirtieth  part  are  males,  the  rest  females,  and  of  these 
one  only  is  for  the  most  part  prolific,  called  the  “  queen.” 
The  body  of  the  queen  bee  is  longer,  her  colours  brighter, 
and  her  head  smaller  than  these  parts  in  the  other  bees,  and 
her  sting  is  curved.  The  male  bees  or  drones  have  no 
stings  ;  their  body  is  shorter  and  thicker.  The  workers  have 
a  straight  sting,  but  as  their  growth  is  arrested  before  the 
full  development  of  all  their  organs,  they  are  smaller  than 
either  the  queen  or  the  drones,  and  their  colours  are  less 
bright.  The  honey  bee  in  its  natural  state  generally  con¬ 
structs  its  nest  in  hollow  trees,  but  throughout  Europe  it 
is  now  rarely  found  except  under  domestication. 

The  comb  consists  of  beautiful  hexagonal  cells,  placed 
end  to  end  in  such  a  manner  that  each  cell  is  closed  by 
three  waxen  plates,  each  of  which  also  assists  in  completing 
one  of  the  cells  of  the  other  side  of  the  comb.  The  whole 
duty  of  the  construction  of  the  comb  and  the  care  of  the 
young  devolves  upon  the  workers,  whose  incessant  activity 
has  rendered  them  the  symbol  of  industry. 

It  is  a  remarkable  fact  that  we  derive  the  greater  part  of 
our  knowledge  of  the  economy  and  habits  of  the  hive  bee 
from  the  labours  of  a  blind  man.  The  elder  Huber  lost  his 
sight  when  only  seventeen  years  of  age,  but  by  means  of 
glass  hives,  variously  constructed,  he  was  enabled,  through 
the  aid  of  his  wife,  to  become  acquainted  with  all  that  was 
going  on  in  them,  and  from  her  faithful  recital  of  what  she 
saw,  together  with  the  aid  of  an  untiring  investigator,  M. 
Burnens,  he  amassed  the  material  for  his  celebrated  work. 


BEES. 


3§  I 

In  the  construction  of  the  comb  the  bees  take  hold  of 
each  other,  and  suspending  themselves  in  clusters,  which 
consist  of  a  series  of  festoons  or  garlands  crossing  in  all 
directions,  remain  immovable  for  about  twenty-four  hours, 
during  which  time  the  wax  is  secreted  in  the  form  of  thin 
plates  from  between  the  scales  of  their  bodies.  One  of  the 
bees  makes  its  way  to  the  roof  of  the  hive,  and  detaching 
its  plates  of  wax  in  succession  from  the  abdomen  with  the 
hind  legs,  works  them  up  with  the  tongue  into  the  material 
which  forms  the  comb ;  this  bee  is  followed  by  others, 
which  carry  on  the  work.  As  soon  as  a  few  cells  are 
thus  prepared,  the  queen  bee  begins  to  exude  her  eggs. 
The  first  eggs  develop  into  workers,  the  next  produce  the 
drones  and  also  the  queens.  The  eggs  are  deposited  in 
the  cells,  and  in  five  days  the  maggot  is  hatched.  The 
sole  employment  of  the  queen  bee  is  the  laying  of  these 
eggs,  and  as  only  one  is  deposited  in  each  cell,  this  occupies 
her  almost  incessantly.  The  queen,  when  thus  engaged,  is 
accompanied  by  a  guard  of  twelve  workers,  who  clear  the 
way  before  her,  and  feed  her  when  exhausted,  always  with 
the  utmost  courtesy  turning  their  faces  towards  her,  and 
when  she  rests  from  her  labour,  approaching  her  with 
humility.  She  lays  “  workers  ”  eggs  for  eleven  months,  and 
afterward  those  which  produce  drones.  As  soon  as  this 
change  has  taken  place,  the  workers  begin  to  construct  royal 
cells,  in  which,  without  discontinuing  to  lay  the  drones’  eggs, 
the  queen  deposits,  here  and  there,  about  once  in  three  days, 
an  egg  which  is  destined  to  produce  a  queen.  The  workers’ 
eggs  hatch  in  a  few  days,  and  produce  little  white  maggots, 
which  immediately  open  their  mouths  to  be  fed ;  these  the 
workers  attend  to  with  untiring  assiduity.  In  six  days  each 
maggot  fills  up  its  cell,  it  is  then  roofed  in  by  the  workers, 
spins  a  silken  cocoon,  and  becomes  a  chrysalis,  and  on  the 
twenty- first  day  it  comes  forth  a  perfect  bee.  The  drones 


3S2  THE  NA  TURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 

emerge  on  the  twenty-fifth  day,  and  the  queens  on  the 
sixteenth.”* 

As  for  nearly  a  year  the  queen  bee  does  not  lay  any  eggs 
destined  to  become  queens,  if  any  evil  befalls  her  during 
that  time  the  hive  is  left  without  a  queen.  Her  loss  or  death 
stops  the  work  of  the  hive,  and  unless  another  queen  is  pro¬ 
vided,  the  bees  either  join  another  hive  or  perish  from  inani¬ 
tion.  After  about  two  days,  however,  the  bees  generally 
decide  to  provide  themselves  with  a  queen,  and  this  state  of 
anarchy  subsides.  A  few  of  the  workers  repair  to  the  cells 
in  which  their  eggs  are  deposited,  three  of  these  cells  are 
made  into  one,  a  single  egg  being  allowed  to  remain  in 
it.  When  this  egg  is  hatched,  the  maggot  is  fed  with  a 
peculiarly  nutritive  food,  called  “  royal  bee  bread,”  which  is 
only  given  to  maggots  destined  to  produce  queens.  Work 
is  now  resumed  over  the  whole  hive,  and  goes  on  as  briskly 
as  before ;  on  the  sixteenth  day  the  egg  produces  a  queen, 
whose  appearance  is  hailed  with  every  demonstration  of 
delight,  and  who  at  once  assumes  sovereignty  over  the  hive. 

If  the  old  queen  should  survive,  and  the  young  queens 
emerge  from  the  eggs  last  deposited  by  the  old  queen  under 
ordinary  circumstances,  the  workers  do  not  allow  them 
instant  liberty,  as  severe  battles  would  take  place  between 
them  and  the  reigning  queen  ;  they  are  therefore  kept  pri¬ 
soners  in  the  cell,  and  fed  through  a  small  hole  which  is 
made  in  the  ceiling  of  their  cell,  through  which  these  captive 
queens  thrust  their  tongues  and  receive  their  food  from  the 
workers.  In  this  state  of  confinement  the  young  queen  bee 
utters  a  low  complaining  note,  which  has  been  compared  to 
singing.  When  the  old  queen  finds  one  of  these  captives, 
she  uses  every  effort  to  tear  open  the  cell  and  destroy  her 
rival ;  the  workers  prevent  this,  pulling  her  away  by  the  legs 

*  “Familiar  Introduction  to  the  Study  of  Insects.”  By  Edward 
Newman,  F. L.S. 


BEES. 


and  wings.  After  repeated  attempts  to  penetrate  the  cells 
and  destroy  her  royal  progeny,  the  old  queen  becomes 
infuriated,  communicates  her  agitation  to  a  portion  of  her 
subjects,  who,  together  with  her,  rush  out  of  the  hive  and 
seek  a  new  home.  The  queen  and  accompanying  swarm 
generally  fly  to  some  neighbouring  resting-place,  are  observed 
by  the  owner,  captured,  placed  in  a  new  hive,  and  a  new 
colony  is  at  once  commenced.  The  labourers  that  remain 
pay  particular  attention  to  the  young  imprisoned  queens, 
and  these,  as  they  are  freed  from  confinement,  successively 
lead  off  fresh  swarms,  if  the  hive  be  not  enlarged.  Each 
swarm  contains  not  only  the  recently-hatched  young  bees, 
but  also  a  portion  of  the  old  inhabitants.  After  the  hive 
has  sent  off  three  or  four  swarms,  there  are  not  enough  bees 
left  to  guard  the  royal  cells.  The  young  queens,  conse¬ 
quently,  escape  two  or  three  at  a  time ;  a  battle  ensues 
amongst  them,  and  the  strongest  remains  queen  of  the 
hive,  after  destroying  all  the  royal  larvae  and  pupae  that 
remain. 

According  to  Huber  there  are  two  varieties  of  working 
bees.  The  nurse-bees,  which  continue  in  the  hive,  whose 
office  is  to  build  the  comb  and  feed  the  larvae ;  and  the  col¬ 
lecting  bees,  which  fly  abroad  and  bring  back  to  the  hive  the 
pollen  and  honey  which  they  collect.  This  pollen  is  formed 
into  little  pellets,  and  packed  on  the  hind  legs  in  the  recep¬ 
tacle  formed  there  for  this  object.  Honey  is  also  swallowed 
by  the  bee,  which  passes  into  the  crop,  where  it  accumulates 
as  in  a  reservoir,  and  on  the  return  of  the  bee  to  the  hive  is 
poured  into  a  honey  cell.  When  a  pollen-laden  bee  arrives 
at  the  hive,  she  puts  her  two  hind  legs  into  a  cell,  and 
brushes  off  the  pellets  with  the  intermediate  pair.  These 
pellets  are  kneaded  into  a  paste  at  the  bottom  of  the  cell. 
The  softened  kneaded  pollen  thus  packed  away  is  called 
“  bee-bread.”  Besides  honey  and  pollen,  bees  collect  a  gum- 


3S4 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


resin  called  by  Pliny  “propolis,”  principally  from  the  balsamic 
buds  of  the  horse  chestnut,  birch,  and  poplar.  This  is  used 
in  closing  up  crevices  in  their  hives,  and  in  strengthening  the 
margins  of  the  cells  of  the  comb. 

Honey  and  Wax  are  two  valuable  commercial  articles  for 
which  we  are  indebted  to  the  labours  of  the  hive  bee.  Bees’ 
wax  is  prepared  by  melting  the  comb  in  boiling  water  after 
the  honey  has  been  removed ;  the  melted  wax  is  then 
strained  and  cast  into  cakes,  which  have  a  pale  yellow 
colour  and  a  pleasant  odour. 

White  bees’  wax  is  formed  by  exposing  the  yellow  wax  in 
thin  slices  or  ribands  to  light,  air,  and  moisture,  and  then 
re-melting  and  forming  it  into  cakes.  Wax  candles  are 
made  by  suspending  the  wicks  upon  a  hoop  over  a  cauldron 
of  melted  wax,  which  is  successively  poured  over  them  from 
a  ladle  till  they  have  acquired  the  proper  size,  so  that  the 
candle  consists  of  a  series  of  layers  of  wrax ;  the  upper  end 
is  then  shaped  and  the  lower  cut  off.  Wax  is  also  much 
used  in  taking  casts  or  moulds,  and  as  an  ingredient  in 
cerates  and  ointments.  It  is  of  great  value  in  anatomy  in 
representing  normal  or  diseased  structures.  Most  of  our 
anatomical  museums  have  very  instructive  preparations 
made  of  this  substance. 

In  addition  to  the  large  amount  of  wTax,  the  annual  pro¬ 
duce  of  our  own  hives,  considerable  quantities  are  received 
from  Canada.  Africa  sends  us  heavy  supplies,  and  large 
shipments  come  also  from  Madras.  California  has  proved 
to  be  the  paradise  of  bees,  with  such  an  amazing  production 
of  honey,  that  the  country  bids  fair  to  become  the  one  hive 
to  which  the  commercial  world  may  resort.  Bee  keepers  lay 
the  foundation  of  the  combs  in  wax ;  the  insects  take  to  it 
readily,  having  then  only  to  construct  the  cell  wralls. 

Honey  is  abundantly  produced  in  the  United  Kingdom. 
Its  flavour  varies  according  to  the  nature  of  the  flowers  from 


CA  NTH  A  RIS—COCHINEA  L. 


335 

which  it  is  collected.  Thus  the  honeys  of  Crete,  Minorca, 
and  Narbonne  are  flavoured  with  rosemary,  which  there 
grows  profusely  ;  the  honey  from  Provence  is  flavoured  with 
lavender  ;  and  the  delicious  taste  and  perfume  of  the  honey 
from  Cuba  is  due  to  the  presence  of  neroli  oil,  obtained  by 
the  bees  from  the  orange  flowers  which  abound  there.  Some 
poisonous  flowers  are  even  said  to  communicate  to  honey 
their  injurious  qualities.  An  instance  is  recorded  by  Xeno¬ 
phon  of  the  Greek  soldiers  becoming  intoxicated  by  honey 
gathered  from  the  rhododendron. 

Blister  Fly  ( Cantharis  vesicatoria). — This  is  a  small 
coleopterous  insect  about  three-fourths  of  an  inch  long,  of  a 
nauseous  odour  and  a  brilliant  golden  green  colour.  These 
insects  secrete  in  their  bodies  a  principle  which  has  the 
power  of  vesicating  or  blistering  the  human  skin  when 
applied.  For  this  purpose  the  beetle  is  reduced  to  powder, 
which,  mixed  with  ointment  or  lard,  is  spread  thinly  upon 
a  piece  of  leather,  and  then  applied  to  the  part  intended  to 
be  blistered.  The  blister  fly  is  found  on  a  variety  of  shrubs 
in  Spain,  Italy,  and  France,  and  has  been  taken  occasionally 
in  England.  We  now  receive  it  principally  from  Astracan 
and  Sicily.  It  still  retains  its  usual  commercial  name  of 
Spanish  flies.  In  some  years  as  many  as  twelve  tons  of 
these  insects  have  been  shipped  from  Sicily.  Some  idea  of 
the  immense  number  destroyed  to  form  that  amount  may 
be  obtained  from  the  fact  that  fifty  of  them  scarcely  weigh 
a  drachm. 

Cochineal  ( Coccus  cacti). — This  valuable  insect  was  first 
introduced  into  Europe  in  1523  from  Mexico.  It  belongs 
to  the  order  of  insects  called  Hemiptera,  or  half-winged. 
The  portion  towards  the  base  of  each  wing  is  tougher 
or  more  coriaceous  than  the  other  part  of  the  wing,  which 
is  membranous. 

The  culture  of  the  cochineal  insect  has  extended  from 


1. 


2  B 


3  S  6  THE  NA  T  URAL  HIS  TOR  V  OF  COMMER  CE. 

the  New  World  to  the  Old,  being  produced  in  various  parts 
of  Europe,  and  tried,  though  without  much  commercial 
success,  in  India,  Java,  and  Algiers.  The  cochineal  insect 
is  small,  rugose,  and  of  a  deep  mulberry  colour.  It  feeds 
on  several  species  of  cactus.  These  insects  are  scraped  from 
the  plants  into  bags,  killed  by  boiling  water,  and  then  dried 
in  the  sun.  Those  are  preferred  which  are  plump,  of  a 
silvery  appearance,  and  which  yield  when  rubbed  to  powder 
a  brilliant  crimson.  It  is  estimated  that  70,000  of  these 
minute  insects  are  necessary  to  make  a  single  pound  of 
cochineal.  With  these  data  it  would  be  an  arithmetical  feat 
to  calculate  the  billions  of  the  tiny  scale  insects  that  go 
to  make  up  the  thousands  of  tons  of  cochineal  which  our 
tastes  demand  for  this  brilliant  dye. 

The  red  colouring  matters  known  by  the  names  of  car¬ 
mine  and  lake  are  made  from  cochineal.  Cochineal  is  used 
for  dyeing  scarlet,  and  is  employed  chiefly  for  woollen 
goods.  The  dye  is  obtained  by  fixing  the  colouring  matter 
of  the  insect  by  a  mordant  of  alumkia  and  oxide  of  tin,  and 
exalting  the  colour  by  the  action  of  super-tartrate  of  potash. 

Lac  Insect  ( Coccus  lacca). — The  habits  and  economy 
of  this  insect  are  much  the  same  as  those  of  the  cochineal. 
The  lac  insect  attaches  itself  to  the  bark  of  trees  abounding 
in  milky  juice — such  as  the  Ficus  Indica  or  Indian  fig,  and  the 
Ficus  religiosa  or  Banyan  fig — punctures  the  bark,  and  causes 
an  exudation  of  the  milky  juice  ;  this  eventually  surrounds 
the  lac  insect,  her  eggs,  and  larva,  producing  an  irregular 
resinous-looking  brown  mass  on  the  branch  which  it  en¬ 
circles.  The  commercial  varieties  of  Lac  are  slick  lac , 
which  is  the  substance  in  its  natural  state  investing  the 
small  twigs  of  the  tree  ;  seed  lac,  the  same  substance  broken 
off  in  small  pieces  from  the  twigs,  and  shell  lac ,  consisting  of 
the  substance  melted  and  formed  into  thin  cakes.  Seed  lac 
and  shell  lac  are  the  resin  left  after  the  dye  has  been  ex- 


LAC—  THE  CCELENTERA  TA . 


3S7 


tracted  from  the  stick  lac.  Lac  dye  and  lac  lake  are  two 
preparations  of  the  colouring  matter  of  stick  lac,  imported 
in  small  cubic  cakes  from  the  East  Indies.  The  colouring 
matter  of  these  dyes  much  resembles  cochineal,  for  which 
it  is  largely  substituted.  Nearly  half  of  our  imports  from 
Bengal  of  lac  dyes  and  shell,  which  together  somewhat 
exceed  our  trade  in  cochineal,  are  re-exported  from  England 
to  Italy,  Germany,  and  other  parts  of  Europe. 

Lac  is  mainly  consumed  in  the  manufacture  of  dye 
stuffs,  sealing-wax,  and  of  certain  varnishes  and  lacquers. 
Red  sealing-wax  has  its  colour  communicated  by  vermilion  ; 
white  sealing-wax  is  made  with  bleached  gum  lac ;  black 
sealing-wax  is  a  mixture  of  shell  lac  and  ivory  black;  and 
blue  sealing-wax  is  made  by  colouring  the  shell  lac  with 
smalt  or  verditer.  To  make  golden  sealing-wax,  powdered 
yellow  mica  is  mixed  with  the  shell-lac. 


PRODUCTS  OF  THE  SUB-KINGDOM  CCELENTERATA. 

Codenterata  (Greek,  koile ,  a  hollow,  and  enteron ,  an  in¬ 
testine)  is  the  fourth  primary  division  of  the  animal  king¬ 
dom,  and  includes  all  those  animals  in  which  the  mouth 
and  stomach  are  not  separate  from  the  rest  of  the  cavity 
of  the  body.  The  substance  of  the  body  consists  of  two 
membranes,  which  are  generally  provided  with  cilia,  and 
contain  peculiar  urticating  organs,  termed  “thread-cells.” 
A  nervous  system  is  absent  in  most.  They  have  been 
subdivided  into  the  following  classes  : — 

1.  Hydrozoa ,  in  which  the  wall  of  the  digestive  sac  is 
not  separated  from  that  of  the  general  cavity,  and  the 
reproductive  organs  are  external.  Examples :  hydra  or 
water-polyp,  and  jelly-fishes.  The  latter  are  called  also 
sea-nettles  because  leaving,  when  touched,  a  disagreeable 


383  THE  NA  TURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 

sensation,  like  the  sting  of  a  nettle.  They  have  an  extremely 
soft,  gelatinous  structure,  and  float  and  swim  in  the  water 
by  alternate  contractions  and  dilatations  of  the  body. 

2.  Actinozoa ,  in  which  the  wall  of  the  digestive  sac  is 
separated  from  that  of  the  general  cavity,  and  the  repro¬ 
ductive  organs  are  internal.  Examples  :  sea  anemone,  sea- 
pen,  sea-fan,  red-coral,  and  coral-polyps. 

The  latter  class  only  is  of  commercial  importance ; 
although  the  ovaries  of  the  Echinus  were  esteemed  a  deli¬ 
cacy  by  the  Romans,  and  are  still  prized  for  food  along  the 
borders  of  the  Mediterranean. 

Red  Coral  ( Cor  allium  rubrum ,  L.) — This  is  a  marine 
production,  formed  by  numerous  polyps  in  union  with  each 
other,  called  a  polypidom.  Recently  taken,  coral  is  covered 
with  one  continuous  living  membrane,  in  which  are  the 
polyp  cells.  These  polyps  produce  the  coral,  a  branched 
tree-like  structure,  beautifully  red,  and  very  hard,  and  for 
this  reason  much  sought  after  for  ornamental  purposes.  In 
places  where  good  coral  is  obtained  it  forms  an  important 
article  of  commerce.  It  is  abundant  in  various  parts  of  the 
Mediterranean  Sea.  It  occurs  in  the  Red  Sea,  the  Persian 
Gulf,  and  on  the  coasts  of  Spain,  France,  Corsica,  Sardinia, 
and  Sicily.  Very  fine  coral  is  found  between  Tunis  and 
Algiers,  off  the  coast  of  Barbary,  where  the  French  and 
Italians  carry  on  the  coral  fisheries.  Other  species  of  the 
genus  have  from  time  to  time  been  dredged  off  Madeira 
and  the  Sandwich  Isles. 

Coral  always  grows  perpendicularly  on  the  surface  of  the 
rock  to  which  it  attaches  itself,  in  whatever  position  the  rock 
may  be  placed,  and  from  eight  to  twelve  inches  in  height. 
Coral  requires  from  eight  to  ten  years  to  arrive  at  its  full 
growth.  It  is  dredged  up  from  depths  varying  from  io  to 
iioo  fathoms.  Its  value  depends  on  its  size,  solidity,  and 
the  depth  and  brilliancy  of  its  colour.  Some  of  the  corals 


CORAL-SPONGE.  3S9 

in  the  market  are  worth  from  eight  to  ten  guineas  an  ounce, 
whilst  other  kinds  will  not  fetch  one  shilling  a  pound. 

Coral  is  made  up  into  a  variety  of  ornamental  articles. 
The  principal  towns  where  it  is  worked  are  Marseilles, 
Genoa,  Leghorn,  Naples,  and  Trapani.  In  Persia,  China, 
and  Japan,  coral  ornaments,  in  the  form  of  necklaces, 
bracelets,  and  rings,  are  still  valued  as  highly  as  gold,  and 
large  quantities  of  them  are  manufactured  in  Naples  for 
the  Eastern  market. 

Stone  Corals,  under  the  name  of  brainstones,  millepores, 
madrepores,  harp  corals,  and  cup  corals,  are  well-known 
drawing-room  and  mantelpiece  ornaments.  When  living, 
they  were  covered  with  fleshy  matter,  from  which  projected 
the  polyps  which  give  the  peculiar  markings  to  their  surface. 
The  fleshy  mass  was  removed,  and  the  coral  was  then 
bleached,  or  obtained  its  beautiful  white  colour  by  exposure 
to  the  air  and  sun.  These  corals  occur  in  prodigious 
quantities  in  the  South  Pacific  Ocean,  where  they  form  the 
reefs  and  islands  so  abundant  there. 


PRODUCTS  OF  THE  SUB-KINGDOM  PROTOZOA. 

Protozoa,  or  first  animals  (Greek,  protos,  first,  and  zoon , 
an  animal).  Examples  :  Infusoria,  or  animalculse  developed 
in  vegetable  infusions,  and  sponges. 

Sponge  ( Spongici  officinalis,  L.) — This  organism  is  now 
acknowledged  by  naturalists  as  belonging  to  the  animal 
■world.  A  piece  of  sponge  shows  on  its  surface  an  inde¬ 
finite  number  of  minute  holes,  amongst  which  there  are 
larger  openings  scattered.  When  alive  and  in  the  water, 
currents  of  water  are  seen  to  enter  the  smaller  openings, 
which,  after  passing  through  the  body  of  the  sponge,  are 
ejected  out  of  the  larger  orifices.  Nutritive  matter  is 


39° 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


conveyed  by  these  currents  into  the  body  of  the  sponge,  and 
faecal  matter  is  at  the  same  time  removed.  A  coating  of 
living  gelatinous  matter  is  spread  all  over  the  fibres  of  the 
sponge,  in  consistence  like  the  white  of  an  egg.  This  runs 
away  freely  from  the  sponge  when  the  latter  is  taken  out 
of  the  water.  Nothing  then  remains  visible  but  the  sponge, 
which  is,  in  fact,  the  horny  skeleton  or  structure  formed 
by  the  labours  of  the  animals  constituting  the  gelatinous 
coating. 

Sponges  occur  in  all  seas,  from  the  equator  to  the  poles, 
but  they  attain  their  greatest  size  and  perfection  in  the 
tropics.  They  grow  on  anything  which  will  serve  them  as 
a  point  of  attachment,  covering  rocks,  shells,  seaweed,  and 
even  living  animals.  Thus,  Dr.  Johnson,  in  his  “Natural 
History  of  British  Sponges,”  mentions  the  case  of  a  sponge 
which  was  found  growing  on  the  back  of  a  living  crab,  and 
so  large  that  it  was  “a  burden  apparently  as  disproportionate 
as  was  that  of  Atlas  ;  ”  the  creature  not  appearing  at  all  to 
be  inconvenienced,  for  it  was  “  big  with  spawn,  in  a  state 
nearly  ready  for  laying.  Indeed,  the  protection  which  the 
crab  derived  from  the  sponge  might  more  than  compensate 
for  the  hindrance  thus  opposed  to  its  freedom  and  activity. 
When  at  rest,  its  prey  might  seek,  without  suspicion,  the 
shelter  afforded  amid  the  thick  branches  of  the  sponge, 
and  become  easy  captives  ;  while,  when  in  motion,  scarcely 
an  enemy  could  recognise  it  under  such  a  guise,  and  the 
boldest  might  be  startled  at  the  sight  of  such  a  monster.” 

Several  kinds  of  sponge  come  into  the  market,  but  the 
most  valuable,  and  those  also  most  in  general  use,  are 
called  Turkey  and  West  India  sponges.  The  tubes  and 
orifices  of  the  Turkey  sponge  are  smaller  than  those  of  the 
West  India  variety ;  it  is  also  more  durable,  and  less  easily 
torn.  The  Turkey  sponge  is  obtained  from  the  Mediter¬ 
ranean,  where  it  grows  on  rocks  and  stones  at  the  bottom 


SPONGE. 


39  1 


of  the  sea  in  masses  from  the  size  of  an  egg  to  that  of  a 
man’s  head.  Our  supplies  are  received  from  Cyprus  and 
Candia,  from  the  shores  of  Anatolia,  and  from  several  islands 
of  the  Grecian  Archipelago,  especially  from  the  small  island 
of  Symis  or  Syme,  whose  inhabitants  are  said  to  be  the 
best  divers.  The  coast  of  Syria  furnishes  the  finest  toilette 
sponges,  being  four  times  the  value  of  ordinary  qualities. 
Inferior  sponge,  with  a  large-holed  texture,  called  horse 
sponge,  comes  from  the  coasts  of  Barbary,  Tunis,  and 
Algiers.  The  coarsest  sponges  come  principally  from 
America.  Very  large  ones  absorbing  a  pail  of  water,  and 
used  for  carriages,  are  obtained  from  the  Bahama  banks 
and  the  coast  of  Florida. 

The  property  which  sponge  possesses,  of  absorbing  water 
into  its  tubes  and  retaining  it  until  squeezed  out,  renders  it 
valuable  for  ail  purposes  involving  washing  and  cleansing. 


PART  IV. 


COMMERCIAL  PRODUCTS  OF  THE 
MINERAL  KINGDOM. 


RAW  PRODUCE. 

I.  Metals  and  Metalliferous  Minerals. 

Iron :  Magnetic  iron  ore ,  titaniferous  iron  ore ,  red  hae¬ 
matite ,  brown  haematite,  spathic  ores ,  clay  ironstones , 
other  ores.  P?'Ocess  of  smelting ,  puddling,  6°<r.  ;  steel, 
supply  of  iron.  Gold,  silver,  quicksilver,  platinum, 
tin,  copper,  lead,  zinc,  aluminum,  antimony,  bismuth, 
cobalt,  arsenic,  manganese,  chromium  ( with  their 
chief  ores,  uses,  localities ,  &*c.) 

II.  Earthy  Minerals. 

(a)  Coals  and  allied  substances. 

Coal :  Lignite ,  bituminous  coal ,  steam  coal,  anthracite. 
Supply  of  coal.  Jet,  amber,  naphtha ,  petroleum, 
asphalt,  mineral  pitch. 

(b)  Limestones,  Limes,  and  Cements. 

Common  limestone,  ornamental  limestones,  and  so- 
called  marbles ;  marble,  coral  limestone,  marl,  cal¬ 
careous  sand,  gypsum  ;  composition  of  limes,  stuccoes , 
and  cements. 


394 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


(<r)  Siliceous  and  Felspathic  Substances. 

Rock  crystal,  quartz,  and  flint;  sandstones,  paving,  mill, 
and  building  stones ;  siliceous  sands,  rottenstone, 
Bath  bricks,  Tripoli  powder,  Bilin  powder,  berg-mehl, 
tellurine. 

(, d )  Igneous  and  Meiamorphic  Rocks. 

Granites :  Syenite,  mica,  talc,  asbestos,  serpentine, 
basaltic  rocks  ;  greenstone,  whinstone ,  trap,  lava,  obsi¬ 
dian,  pumicestone,  pozzuolano,  and  trass. 

(e)  Clays  and  allied  Substa?ices. 

Common  clay,  yellow,  brown,  and  blue ;  kaolin  and 
petuntse,  pipe  clay,  fire  clays,  Stourbridge  clay ,  fuller’s 
earth,  red  and  yellow  ochres,  slates,  hone  stones. 

(/)  Earths  of  Sodium,  Potassium,  Boron ,  Sulphur,  cue. 

Common  salt,  rock  salt,  soda,  chlorine ,  alum,  natron, 
borax,  saltpetre  or  nitre,  cubic  nitre,  heavy  spar, 
celestine,  strontianite,  fluor  spar,  sulphur,  sulphuric 
acid,  graphite  or  plumbago;  mineral  manures, phos¬ 
phates  of  lime. 

(g)  Precious  Stones. 

1.  Carbonaceous:  diamond. 

2.  Aluminous  :  ruby,  sapphire,  emerald,  topaz,  corun¬ 
dum,  garnet,  beryl. 

3.  Siliceous  :  amethyst,  cairngorm  stone,  opal,  sardo¬ 
nyx,  agate,  chalcedony,  carnelian,  jasper,  lapis-lazuli, 
turquoise. 


I.  11/ P  TABS. 

IRON. 

This  indispensable  metal  is,  in  a  variety  of  forms,  almost 
universally  diffused  throughout  the  earth.  It  is  of  use  in 
all  the  appliances  of  modern  civilisation — in  machinery  of 


METALS— IRON. 


395 


every  description,  instruments,  implements,  and  tools  of  all 
kinds  ;  architecture  and  domestic  fittings  and  utensils  ;  con¬ 
veyance,  both  inland  and  maritime ;  apparatus  for  warming, 
lighting,  and  water  supply;  and  even  in  medicine,  to  impart 
renewed  vigour  to  the  failing  human  frame.  It  occurs  in 
most  geological  formations,  to  which  it  contributes  a  great 
part  of  their  colouring  matter ;  it  is  found  in  spring  and 
river  waters ;  and  it  enters  into  the  composition  of  both 
plants  and  animals.  It  is  present,  too,  as  the  principal 
ingredient,  in  the  extraordinary  fragments  called  meteoric 
stones,  and  the  spectroscope  proves  this  ubiquitous  metal 
to  be  a  large  constituent  of  worlds  beyond  our  own.  Iron 
can  be  melted  and  cast  into  moulds,  softened,  and  hammered 
out  into  plates,  drawn  out  into  bars  and  wires,  tempered  to 
almost  any  degree  of  flexibility,  hardened  so  as  to  scratch 
glass,  and  sharpened  to  the  keenest  cutting  edge.  In  some 
of  its  natural  forms  iron  is  highly  magnetic,  but  magnetism 
can  also  be  communicated.  Pure  iron  is  white,  or  greyish- 
white,  lustrous,  soft,  and  tough,  and  it  is  one  of  the  most 
infusible  of  metals  (fusible  at  3480°  F.)  Its  specific  gravity 
is  7.84.  When  beaten  out  it  appears  granular  in  structure  ; 
when  drawn,  fibrous  ;  and  to  this  latter  peculiarity  is  attri¬ 
buted  its  extraordinary  tenacity. 

Metallic  iron,  as  it  occurs  in  meteoric  stones,  is  usually 
alloyed  with  nickel  and  other  metals,  but  its  occurrence  as 
terrestrial  native  iron  is  doubtful.  There  are  many  minerals 
containing  iron,  but  of  these  only  the  oxides  and  carbonates 
are  reduced  by  the  smelter ;  they  are  magnetic  iron  or  load¬ 
stone  ;  specular  and  micaceous  iron  ores  ;  the  red  and  brown 
haematites ;  the  spathose  ore  and  the  clay  ironstones. 

The  maximum  development  of  iron  ores  appears  to  be  in 
the  palaeozoic  rocks,  the  largest  and  richest  deposits  being 
contained  in  the  Laurentian  rocks  of  North  America  and 
Scandinavia;  they  are  abundant  in  the  Devonian  rocks  of 


396 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


Germany  and  south-west  of  England.  The  Carboniferous 
system  is  especially  marked  by  the  presence  of  interstrati  fled 
argillaceous  carbonates  both  in  America  and  Europe.  The 
celebrated  kidney  ore  of  Cumberland  is  found  in  Permian 
strata,  the  Secondary  rocks  are  rich  in  bedded  deposits  of 
ironstone,  and  the  Tertiary  series  yields  limonites. 

Magnetic  iron  ore ,  or  Magnetite ,  is  the  black  oxide 
(Fe304  or  FeO  +  Fe203),  and  contains  72.41  per  cent, 
of  iron.  It  occurs  in  many  parts  of  the  earth  in  immense 
masses,  forming  the  substance  of  hills  and  even  mountains, 
both  in  Scandinavia  and  in  the  Urals,  and  in  some  hills 
of  Swedish  Lapland,  Mexico,  and  Styria.  In  Canada  mag¬ 
netite  is  found  abundantly  in  the  gneiss  and  crystalline 
limestones  constituting  the  Laurentian  rocks ;  it  occurs  in 
irregular  beds,  often  of  considerable  thickness,  in  one  in¬ 
stance  as  much  as  200  feet.  In  the  State  of  New  York 
this  mineral  occupies  the  Valley  of  Adirondac  and  its  neigh¬ 
bourhood  for  a  mile  in  width  and  twenty  miles  in  length. 
In  our  own  country  it  occurs  in  Dartmoor,  at  Rosedale, 
and  in  Antrim ;  it  is  found  also  in  New  Jersey,  Pennsyl¬ 
vania,  Nova  Scotia,  and  parts  of  the  East  Indies.  This 
ore  is  not  only  the  richest  in  pure  metal,  but  furnishes  also 
the  finest  qualities.  It  is  remarkable,  however,  that  some 
veins,  without  any  apparent  chemical  difference,  produce 
finer  iron  than  others.  The  produce  of  the  mines  of  Dan- 
nemora  in  Sweden  is  of  the  finest  description,  and  is  em¬ 
ployed  in  the  production  of  the  highest  class  of  steel. 
Magnetic  iron  ore  occurs  chiefly  in  veins  and  fissures  in 
diorites  or  dolerites,  or  in  interstratified  masses  in  meta- 
morphic  rocks. 

Titaniferous  iron  ore  contains  protoxide  and  peroxide  of 
iron,  titanic  acid  (an  oxygen  compound  of  the  metal  tita¬ 
nium),  and  magnesia  in  variable  proportions.  The  bar  iron 
or  steel  made  from  titaniferous  iron  ore  possesses  unusual 


METALS— IRON. 


397 


strength  and  a  peculiar  mottled  appearance.  This  ore  is 
chiefly  employed  with  others  to  impart  a  high  degree  of 
toughness  to  the  metal  produced. 

Red hcematite  is  a  sesquioxide  of  iron  (Fe203)  with  seventy 
per  cent,  of  iron.  It  is  distinguished  from  the  less  rich 
brown  haematite  by  its  red  streak,  that  of  the  latter  mineral 
being  brown  in  colour.  Red  haematite  is  known  by  special 
names,  according  to  its  different  varieties  : — 

Specular  iron  ore ,  oligiste ,  or  iron  glance ,  is  brilliant, 
hard,  and  distinctly  crystallised.  It  is  found  in  Elba  and 
Brazil. 

Micaceous  iron  ore  is  scaly,  crystalline,  loosely  coherent, 
and  similar  to  graphite  in  structure.  It  is  met  with  in 
South  Devon. 

Kidney  ore  is  a  hard  botryoidal  variety,  devoid  of  lustre, 
such  as  that  of  Cumberland. 

Red  ochre  is  a  compact,  earthy,  and  more  or  less  clayey 
variety,  and  is  usually  employed  in  the  preparation  of  red 
and  yellow  ochres  and  umbers. 

Red  haematite  occurs  abundantly  in  England  and  Wales, 
and,  being  rich,  is  much  used  for  mixing  with  the  poorer 
ores  of  the  coal  formations  in  the  process  of  smelting.  The 
red  ore  is  worked  in  Cumberland,  at  Ulverstone,  in  Forest 
of  Dean,  Cornwall,  North  Wales,  Ireland,  Belgium,  Nova 
Scotia,  Elba,  Sweden,  Missouri,  and  the  neighbourhood  of 
Lake  Superior. 

Brown  iron  07'e  or  hcematite  consists  essentially  of  three 
equivalents  of  water  united  to  two  of  peroxide  of  iron,  or 
2  k  e203  +  3  H20,  and  is  compact  and  earthy. 

Gothite  is  another  hydrated  oxide  (Fe203  +  H20),  but  it 
is  crystallised.  Both  minerals  are  usually  included  in  the 
smelter’s  term  “  brown  hcematite,”  and,  though  resembling 
the  red  in  outward  appearance,  are  distinguished  by  their 
brown  streak.  Bog  iron  ores,  and  those  deposited  in  the 


398  THE  NA  TURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 

beds  of  lakes  by  the  action  of  infusorial  life,  belong  to  this 
group  of  iron  ores. 

Brown  haematites  are  largely  worked  in  the  Carboniferous 
rocks  of  England  and  South  Wales ;  in  the  Lias  of  Oxford¬ 
shire,  Northamptonshire,  and  Yorkshire;  in  the  Lower 
Greensand  near  Devizes,  and  in  Buckinghamshire;  in 
Oolitic  strata  in  France,  Bavaria,  Wurtemburg,  and  Luxem¬ 
burg ;  and  in  the  Wealden  rocks  of  the  Boulonnais.  Bog- 
iron  ore  is  abundantly  developed  in  North  Germany,  Sweden, 
Norway,  Finland,  and  Canada. 

Siderite,  spathose  iron ,  or  brown  spar ,  is  a  carbonate  of 
the  protoxide  of  iron  (FeO,  C02),  or,  commonly  speaking, 
carbonate  of  iron.  The  spathic  ores  are  sparry  or  crystal¬ 
line,  and  are  associated  with  varying  quantities  of  carbonate 
of  lime  and  of  magnesia.  Spathic  ore,  when  pure,  is 
white ;  but  it  becomes  reddish  on  exposure  to  the  air. 
It  is  particularly  abundant  in  Styria,  where  the  mountain 
Erzberg,  near  Eisenerz,  is  capped  by  the  mineral  to  a  thick¬ 
ness  varying  from  200  to  600  feet;  in  Carinthia  and  other 
parts  of  Austria;  at  Siegen,  in  the  Stahlberg,  or  “steel 
mountain  ”  (Rhenish  Prussia) ;  and  in  the  United  States 
(New  York  and  Ohio).  The  principal  English  deposits  are 
those  of  Weardale,  in  Durham  ;  Exmoor,  Devonshire ;  and 
Brendon  Hill,  in  Somersetshire. 

Clay  ironstone  is  an  amorphous  argillaceous  carbonate 
of  iron,  mixed  with  small  quantities  of  lime  and  magnesia, 
and  sometimes,  as  in  the  “  black  band,”  with  bituminous 
matters.  The  poorest  of  the  serviceable  ores,  they  are, 
nevertheless,  in  Britain,  the  most  important,  furnishing 
nearly  two-thirds  of  the  total  yield  of  iron.  Being  mostly 
connected  with  the  Coal  formations,  they  are  cheaply 
worked,  having  in  immediate  proximity  a  plentiful  supply 
of  fuel  and  limestone  for  their  reduction.  There  are  many 
varieties — that  called  the  “black  band”  being  among  the 


METALS— IRON. 


399 


most  valuable,  from  the  ease  and  cheapness  with  which  the 
ore  may  be  calcined,  by  burning  it  in  heaps  without  any 
additional  fuel. 

The  ores  are  extensively  worked  in  South  Wales,  Mon¬ 
mouthshire,  Shropshire,  Staffordshire,  Yorkshire,  Derby¬ 
shire,  Lanarkshire,  Stirlingshire,  County  Antrim  ;  in  Belgium, 
Silesia,  United  States,  North  China,  Japan,  India,  Brazil, 
and  Tasmania.  Ireland  has  large  deposits,  which  are  not 
much  worked.  Clay  ironstones  are  not  confined  to  the 
Carboniferous  rocks,  but  are  extensively  met  with  in  the 
Lias,  Oolite,  and  Wealden,  and  even  among  Tertiary  rocks. 
Of  this  character  are  the  rich  iron  district  of  Cleveland,  in 
Yorkshire,  and  similar  deposits  in  France. 

Iron  pyrites,  mundic,  the  bisulphide  of  iron  (FeS2),  is 
diffused  through  rocks  of  all  ages,  but  the  presence  of 
sulphur  makes  it  of  little  value  for  the  production  of  iron. 
It  is  important,  however,  both  directly  as  a  source  of 
sulphur  and  sulphuric  acid,  and  indirectly  in  the  immense 
number  of  the  useful  applications  of  this  latter  product. 
Pyrites  sometimes  contains  gold,  and  it  is  then  called 
auriferous  pyrites.  Wicklow,  Cleveland,  Bohemia,  Spain, 
Portugal,  and  Norway  possess  very  large  quantities  of  this 
mineral. 

Phosphates  of  iron  are  worked  in  Canada,  and  silicates  in 
Switzerland. 

The  principal  processes  to  which  iron  ores  have  to  be 
subjected,  in  the  preparation  of  iron  and  steel  for  manu¬ 
facturing  purposes  are  roasting  and  smelting,  refining  and 
puddling,  cementation  and  tempering — varying  with  the 
nature  of  the  ores.  The  roasting  process — chiefly  necessary 
for  impure  ores — gets  rid  of  combustible  matter,  water,  and 
carbonic  acid.  The  smelting,  conducted  in  large  blast 
furnaces,  disengages  the  metal  from  the  oxygen  and  earths 
of  the  ores,  and  brings  it  into  the  marketable  form  of  cast 


400 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


iron,  in  pigs.  This  is  really  a  carbide  of  iron,  containing 
a  considerable  proportion  of  carbon,  with  small  quantities  of 
some  other  substances,  such  as  silica  and  potash,  derived 
either  from  the  ores  or  the  fuel.  It  is  very  brittle,  and 
suitable  only  for  castings  ;  and  according  to  its  quality,  it 
is  grey  iron,  which  is  the  best ;  mottled ;  or  white,  which  is 
the  worst.  Refining,  a  re-melting  of  the  metal  with  coke 
or  charcoal,  removes  some  of  the  carbon  and  silicon,  and 
produces  what  is  called  fine  metal.  The  puddling,  which 
is  carried  on  in  a  reverberatory  furnace,  disengages  further 
quantities  of  these  impurities,  and  makes  the  iron  malleable, 
prepared  in  bars  or  sheets,  as  required.  By  cementation, 
or  heating  with  charcoal,  bar  iron  is  made  into  blistered 
steel.  From  this,  by  welding,  shear  steel  is  made ;  and  by 
re-melting  and  casting,  the  cheaper  cast  steel  is  obtained. 
Spathose  pig-iron  can  be  converted  into  steel  without  any 
intermediate  processes.  This  is  done  in  Styria  and  other 
parts  of  the  Continent,  and  in  Borneo.  The  produce  is 
called  natural  steel,  and  is  of  very  fine  quality.  Ordinary 
cast  iron,  annealed,  called  “run-steel,”  can  sometimes  be 
substituted  for  steel.  The  tempering  of  steel,  to  adapt  it, 
as  regards  hardness  and  ductility,  for  its  various  purposes, 
is  effected  by  the  processes  of  re-heating  and  sudden  cooling 
— the  temperature  being  made  to  vary  with  the  quality 
sought  to  be  produced. 

The  manufacture  of  both  iron  and  steel  is  constantly 
progressing,  and  inferior  ores  are  being  utilised  by  new 
processes  in  many  places. 

Middlesbro’-on-Tees  affords  a  remarkable  illustration  of 
the  sudden  rise  of  a  town  through  judicious  employment 
of  capital  and  superior  technical  knowledge  in  the  iron 
trade. 

The  Thomas  and  Gilchrist  process  has  revolutionised  the 
trade. 


METALS :  GOLD. 


40  I 


GOLD. 

This  noble  metal  is  unaffected  either  by  air  or  water,  and 
is  of  great  and  almost  universal  use.  In  civilised  countries 
it  forms,  as  coin,  the  principal  medium  of  exchange,  besides 
being  used  in  the  form  of  gold-dust  for  a  similar  purpose 
among  semi-barbarous  nations ;  and  from  the  richness  of 
its  colour  and  its  imperishable  nature,  it  enters  very  largely 
into  the  composition  and  ornamentation  of  such  articles  of 
utility  and  luxury  as  require  to  be  both  durable  and  beau¬ 
tiful.  For  all  these  purposes  it  is  peculiarly  fitted  by  its 
weight  (sp.  gr.  19.5)  and  its  extraordinary  malleability  and 
ductility.  In  virtue  of  these  latter  qualities  it  can  be 
hammered  out  into  leaves  of  282,000  to  an  inch,  and  a 
single  grain  can  be  extended  into  500  feet  of  wire.  Its 
natural  softness  can  be  corrected  by  a  slight  alloy  of  silver 
or  copper,  and  in  this  state  it  is  commonly  employed. 

Gold  is  more  generally  diffused  than  any  other  metal 
except  iron,  but  not  in  all  places  in  sufficient  abundance 
to  render  its  collection  or  extraction  profitable.  It  occurs 
mostly  native,  being  either  pure  or  alloyed  with  silver, 
tellurium,  and  other  metals ;  and  often  associated  with  the 
sulphides  of  iron  and  silver. 

The  modes  of  occurrence  and  association  of  gold  are  as 
follows  : — 

1.  In  quartz  veins  of  the  older  rocks,  those  in  the  Lower 
Silurian  contain  the  greatest  quantity  of  gold.  Examples 
are  furnished  by  the  auriferous  lodes  of  North  Wales. 

2.  In  quartz  veins  in  such  Secondary  rocks  as  have 
been  penetrated  by  certain  igneous  eruptions,  either  in  the 
intrusive  rock,  or  in  the  Secondary  strata,  and  then  for  a 
limited  distance  only  beyond  the  junction  of  the  two  rocks. 
Such  an  association  prevails  in  California,  Central  America, 
and  Peru. 


1. 


2  c 


402 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


3.  As  auriferous  detritus  in  Secondary  and  Tertiary  de¬ 
posits,  and  in  the  debris  and  alluvia  of  rivers,  such  having 
been  derived  from  gold-bearing  rocks.  The  placer  mining 
of  California,  Australia,  New  Zealand,  &c.,  is  prosecuted  in 
superficial  drift  deposits.  Gold  has  been  found  in  streams 
in  Cornwall,  Devonshire,  Wicklow,  and  Scotland  ;  and  the 
sands  and  alluvia  of  rivers  in  many  parts  of  the  world  are 
washed  for  this  metal. 

Our  great  supplies  are  drawn  from  the  above  sources. 
The  chief  are  Australia  and  New  Zealand,  California  and 
British  Columbia,  Brazil,  Peru,  Mexico,  and  Central  America; 
the  Ural,  Altai',  and  Carpathian  Mountains.  Gold  is  also 
obtained  from  Thibet,  China,  Japan,  Further  India,  and 
Borneo ;  from  the  sands  of  African  rivers,  especially  in 
Guinea,  and  from  those  of  the  Rhine,  Rhone,  Danube,  and 
Tagus.  Small  quantities  are  procured  in  mining  districts 
from  iron  and  arsenical  pyrites,  and  other  sources,  as  in 
Silesia,  Saxony,  and  parts  of  our  own  country. 

The  gold-producing  countries  of  the  world  rank  in  order 
of  importance  according  to  the  appended  list : — 


Australia  and  California. 

Russia. 

New  Zealand. 

Mexico  and  Central  America,") 

South  America,  >  equal. 

East  Indies,  J 


Africa,  ) 
Austria,  i  eClUal 
Nova  Scotia. 
Great  Britain. 


Australia  and  California  about  equal  in  their  yield,  and 
stand  with  the  rest  of  the  states  in  relation  to  gold  as  Great 
Britain  stands  in  relation  to  iron. 

Russia  produces  about  a  quarter  as  much  as  either  of 
the  two  great  gold-bearing  territories,  and  New  Zealand 
less  than  a  quarter.  The  other  states,  while  productive  of 
much  gold  in  the  gross  total,  cannot  enter  into  comparison 
with  California  or  Australia,  which  respectively  enrich  the 


PL  A  TINUM— SILVER. 


403 


world  yearly  with  about  4000  times  the  amount  furnished 
by  Great  Britain,  the  last  on  the  list. 

There  is  much  gold,  not  computed,  in  Borneo,  and  when 
the  Dark  Continent  is  opened  up  to  commerce  and  civilisa¬ 
tion,  it  may  not  impossibly  prove  to  be  the  veritable  El 
Dorado  of  the  future. 


PLATINUM. 

Platinum  ranks  with  gold  in  its  resistance  to  the  in¬ 
fluence  of  air,  moisture,  and  the  ordinary  acids,  and  is  the 
heaviest  substance  known  (sp.  gr.  21.5).  It  is  white,  ex¬ 
ceedingly  malleable  and  ductile,  and  extremely  difficult  of 
fusion.  On  account  of  its  indestructibility  it  is  of  great  use 
in  the  laboratory  for  crucibles,  especially  in  making  sulphuric 
acid.  It  is  valuable  in  the  arts,  and  has  been  employed  for 
coinage  by  Russia.  Since  this  intractable  metal  has  been 
made  to  yield  to  the  oxy-hydrogen  flame,  large  masses 
weighing  several  hundredweights  have  been  produced,  and 
the  applications  have  greatly  increased. 

Platinum  rarely  occurs  pure.  It  is  principally  found 
alloyed  with  palladium,  rhodium,  iridium,  iron,  gold,  or 
other  metals,  and  generally  in  alluvial  deposits.  In  the 
Ural  Mountains  it  has  been  observed  disseminated  through¬ 
out  the  whole  mass  of  certain  crystalline  rocks.  The  pure 
metal  is  got  by  adding  sal-ammoniac  to  a  solution  of  the 
alloy  in  nitro-hydrochloric  acid,  and  washing  and  heating 
the  compound  thus  produced.  The  sources  of  supply  are  the 
Ural  Mountains,  Brazil,  Peru,  Spain,  Borneo,  and  Ceylon. 

SILVER. 

Silver,  like  gold,  is  a  noble  metal,  and  is  used  very  ex¬ 
tensively  for  similar  purposes.  It  also  needs  an  alloy  to 
harden  it ;  and  being  less  precious,  as  well  as  less  weighty 


404 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


(sp.  gr.  10.5),  is  more  available  for  common  uses,  especially 
many  domestic  ones.  Its  chemical  preparations  are  valu¬ 
able  in  photography  and  surgery.  In  colour  silver  is  a 
beautifully  brilliant  white  ;  it  is  sonorous,  highly  malleable 
and  ductile,  and  perhaps  the  best  conductor  of  heat  and 
electricity. 

This  metal  occurs  pure  in  some  rocks  in  very  fine 
threads,  and  large  masses  of  pure  silver  are  occasionally  met 
with  in  veins.  But  its  supply  is  principally  derived  from 
ores,  of  which  the  chief  are  the  chloride  (AgCl),  or  horn- 
silver •,  a  greyish  crystalline  mass,  which  looks  like  horn ; 
the  sulphide  or  silver-glance ,  and  its  combinations  with  the 
sulphides  of  antimony  and  arsenic,  which  are  known  as  the 
dark  and  light  red  silver  ores  ;  and  argentiferous  galena 
(sulphide  of  lead),  which  often  contains  very  considerable 
quantities. 

Silver  is  obtained  from  its  ores  chiefly  by  roasting,  crush¬ 
ing,  and  amalgamation  with  mercury.  The  separation  from 
lead  was  formerly  effected  by  the  superior  affinity  of  lead 
with  oxygen  in  the  process  called  cupellation,  which  was  in 
every  way  costly ;  and  unless  the  percentage  of  silver  in  the 
lead  was  large  it  was  not  separated,  A  process,  known  as 
Pattinson’s,  is  now  employed  for  desilverising  lead ;  it  is 
based  upon  the  discovery  that  lead  crystallises  or  consoli¬ 
dates  at  a  higher  temperature  than  an  alloy  of  lead  and 
silver;  consequently,  if  argentiferous  lead  be  kept  at  the 
lowest  temperature  at  which  the  fluid  state  could  be  main¬ 
tained,  solid  masses  of  pure  lead  are  gradually  formed  and 
removed,  the  fluid  portion  remaining  being  exceedingly  rich 
in  silver;  finally,  the  lead  is  subjected  to  the  process  of 
cupellation,  and  the  silver  separated. 

The  most  abundant  supply  of  silver  is  yielded  by  the 
mines  of  Mexico,  Chili,  and  Peru,  especially  Pasco  and  Potosi. 
These  mines  occur  in  elevated  districts,  some  upwards  of 


MERCURY. 


405 


1 6,000  feet  above  the  sea-level.  Considerable  supplies 
are  also  obtained  from  other  parts  of  South  America,  in 
the  Ural  and  Altai'  Mountains,  from  China,  Japan,  Cochin- 
China,  Thibet,  Asiatic  Turkey,  Norway  and  Sweden,  the 
Harz  Mountains,  Saxony,  Hungary,  Austria,  and  the  lead 
districts  of  the  British  Isles.  The  silver-yielding  regions 
are  appended  in  the  order  of  their  productiveness.  Great 
Britain  does  not  produce  either  silver  or  gold  in  quantities 
sufficient  to  be  worth  working  on  their  own  account. 
Silver  is  found  with  the  Cornish  stream  tin  and  in  the 
Scottish  Lead  Hills.  The  largest  percentage  of  silver  is 
yielded  by  the  rich  sulphuret  of  lead  (galena),  by  cupella- 
tion,  a  method  of  desilverisation  which  has  grown  into  a 
profitable  branch  of  industry  : — 


Mexico. 

South  America. 

Zollverein. 

Spain. 

Austria. 


Britain. 

F  ranee. 

East  Indies. 

Norway  and  Sweden. 


MERCURY. 

This  extraordinary  metal — quicksilver,  as  it  is  often  called 
—  fluid  at  ordinary  temperatures,  is  the  heaviest  liquid  with 
which  wre  are  acquainted  (sp.  gr.  13.59).  It  becomes  solid 
at  -  40°  Fahrenheit,  when  it  is  both  malleable  and  ductile. 
It  is  used  for  the  extraction  of  gold  and  silver ;  as  an 
amalgam  in  chemistry,  and  in  the  construction  of  scientific 
instruments;  in  manufactures,  for  silvering  mirrors,  and  for 
vermilion ;  and  in  medicine,  for  the  valuable  products  calo¬ 
mel  and  corrosive  sublimate,  the  subchloride  and  chloride 
of  the  metal  are  respectively  used. 

Quicksilver  is  met  with  pure  in  minute  globules,  but  for 
the  purposes  of  commerce  it  is  obtained  from  one  of  its 
ores — cinnabar ,  a  red  sulphide  of  mercury.  This  ore  occurs 


406 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


in  the  older  rocks,  but  chiefly  in  those  of  the  Carboniferous 
System,  and  the  metal  is  procured  from  it  by  a  process  of 
distillation.  The  principal  sources  of  supply  are  Almaden 
in  Spain,  and  Idria  in  Austria,  both  very  rich;  Peru,  Cali¬ 
fornia,  Mexico,  Australia,  China,  Japan,  Ceylon,  Bavaria, 
Bohemia,  Tuscany,  and  Hungary.  The  countries  produc¬ 
tive  of  cinnabar  are  here  placed  in  the  order  of  their 
importance  : — 


Spain. 

California. 

Austria. 


Peru. 


Tuscany. 

Germany. 


TIN. 


This  very  useful  metal  is  rather  rare.  It  is  but  slightly 
acted  upon  by  either  air  or  water,  is  of  a  white  silvery 
colour,  malleable,  and  easily  fused.  Its  specific  gravity  is 
7.3.  Besides  being  largely  used  in  coating  or  tinning  more 
oxidable  metals,  as  iron,  for  instance,  in  the  well-known 
material  called  tin-plate,  and  combining  as  an  alloy  to  form 
pewter,  bell-metal,  type-metal,  and  solder,  it  is  employed 
in  its  chemical  combinations  for  a  great  variety  of  purposes 
in  the  useful  arts.  It  is  found  as  an  oxide,  chiefly  in  the 
metalliferous  veins  of  the  older  rocks,  also  in  association 
with  wolfram  (a  double  tungstate  of  iron  and  manganese), 
and,  like  gold,  in  alluvial  districts,  as  stream  tin. 

By  the  processes  of  roasting,  smelting,  and  refining,  the 
stream  ores  produce  the  grain  tin,  which  is  the  most 
esteemed,  and  the  others  the  bar  or  block  tin.  The 
most  productive  districts  are  Cornwall  and  Devonshire, 
the  Malayan  Peninsula  and  islands,  especially  Banca  and 
Billiton,  to  the  south  of  it,  and  Tenasserim,  in  the  East 
Indies,  China,  Saxony,  Bohemia,  Hungary,  Peru,  New 
Granada,  Bolivia,  Mexico,  France,  Spain,  Siberia,  and 
Australia.  The  annual  supply  of  tin  is  derived  from  the 


COPPER. 


407 


following  states,  in  their  respective 
Britain  standing  pre-eminent,  as  in 

Great  Britain. 

East  Indies. 

Australia  (Victoria). 

China. 

COPPER. 

Copper  is  a  metal  of  great  commerical  value,  and  of  very 
extensive  use.  It  is  of  a  fine  red  colour,  very  malleable, 
ductile,  and  tenacious,  highly  sonorous,  and  a  good  con¬ 
ductor  of  heat  and  electricity.  Its  specific  gravity  is  8.96. 
Independently  of  its  use  for  coin,  sheathing  for  ships,  boilers, 
and  domestic  utensils,  and  of  its  alloys  with  gold  and  silver 
to  harden  those  metals,  copper  enters  into  the  composition 
of  brass,  bronze,  pinchbeck,  ormolu,  gun-metal,  bell-metal, 
German  silver,  and  the  biddery  ware  of  India.  It  is  also 
largely  employed  in  the  production  of  colours  (blue  and 
green),  in  telegraphy,  and  in  medicine. 

It  occurs  native  in  fine  threads,  and  occasionally  in  large 
masses,  the  most  remarkable  of  which  have  been  found  in 
Brazil,  the  district  of  Lake  Superior,  and  Australia.  The 
principal  ores,  which  occur  either  in  veins  or  beds,  and  are 
most  abundant  in  the  primary  rocks,  are  copper  pyrites,  a 
sulphide  of  the  metal  combined  with  sulphide  of  iron ;  the 
red  oxide  (Cu20),  the  black  oxide,  the  green  and  blue  car¬ 
bonates  of  copper,  and  the  purple  and  grey  copper  ores, 
the  latter  associated  with  iron,  antimony,  and  arsenic.  The 
reduction  of  the  ores  is  a  matter  of  some  difficulty.  In 
Britain  it  is  chiefly  carried  on  in  the  neighbourhood  of 
Swansea. 

Ores  of  copper  are  found  in  Cornwall,  Devonshire, 
Flintshire,  Wicklow,  and  many  other  parts  of  the  British 
Isles;  Chili,  South  Australia,  the  Ural  Mountains,  United 
States  and  Canada,  near  Lakes  Superior  and  Huron ; 


order  of  produce,  Great 
Iron. 

Japan. 

Siam. 

Austria. 


408 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


associated  with  trap  rock  in  Brazil  and  Cuba ;  in  the  copper 
schists  of  Mansfield,  in  the  Harz,  Saxony,  and  other  parts 
of  Germany;  in  Sweden,  Tyrol,  Hungary,  Tuscany,  Spain, 
Persia,  India,  China,  Japan,  Algiers,  South  Africa,  and  New 
Zealand.  Malachite,  a  beautiful  ore  of  copper  (carbonate), 
found  abundantly  in  Russia  and  Australia,  can  be  used  as 
an  ornamental  stone.  The  sources  of  the  world’s  supply 
of  copper  may  be  thus  tabulated  : — 

Chili.  France,  ) 

Great  Britain.  United  States  (Lake  Superior),  1  eflua  • 

South  Australia.  Germany. 

Cape  of  Good  Hope.  Austria. 

LEAD. 

This  metal,  the  heaviest  of  the  baser  metals  (sp.  gr.  1 1.45), 
is  soft,  easily  fused,  and  very  slightly  sonorous.  It  is  largely 
used  in  roofing,  lining,  plumbing,  and  bullet  and  shot 
making.  It  also  enters  into  the  composition  of  pewter, 
solder,  and  type-metal ;  and  in  its  chemical  combinations  it 
forms  litharge  (the  oxide),  a  yellow  paint ;  red  lead  (red 
oxide),  a  cheap  substitute  for  vermilion  ;  white  lead  (car¬ 
bonate),  manufactured  on  an  immense  scale  for  the  painter ; 
and  sugar  of  lead  (the  acetate),  of  great  value  to  the 
chemist.  These  substances  are  highly  poisonous. 

The  most  abundant  and  important  of  the  ores  of  lead  is 
galena ,  a  sulphide  of  the  metal,  yielding  eighty-six  per  cent, 
of  lead,  and  almost  always  containing  silver,  which  is  sepa¬ 
rated  when  the  quantity  is  not  less  than  four  ounces  to  the 
ton.  The  other  ores  are  :  the  carbonate  of  lead,  the  vanadiate 
of  lead,  the  cupreous  sulphate  of  lead,  and  the  a  rse?i  to- phosphate 
of  lead.  Galena  is  found  very  abundantly  in  the  limestones 
of  the  Carboniferous  series,  and  to  a  less  extent  in  older 
rocks.  Its  reduction  is  effected  by  pounding,  washing, 
and  smelting  in  a  reverberatory  furnace.  Lead-mining  is 


ZINC. 


409 


carried  on  in  Britain  (Northumberland,  Cumberland,  Dur¬ 
ham,  Derbyshire,  Flintshire,  Cornwall,  Isle  of  Man,  and 
Leadhills) ;  also  in  Spain  and  Portugal,  France,  Belgium,  the 
Harz  Mountains,  Saxony,  Rhine  Provinces,  Bohemia,  Ca- 
rinthia,  Hungary,  Norway,  and  Sweden  ;  Altai  Mountains, 
China,  and  Indo-Chinese  Peninsula,  South  Africa,  Peru, 
California,  United  States,  and  Canada. 

Spain  stands  in  the  first  rank  for  the  supply  of  lead, 
followed  at  a  long  distance  by  Great  Britain,  and,  still 
farther  behind,  by  Germany.  France  comes  next,  and 
Sweden  contributes  a  few  hundred  tons. 

ZINC. 

This  metal,  of  a  bluish-white  colour,  and  specific  gravity 
about  7,  has  the  remarkable  peculiarity  of  being  malleable 
and  ductile  only  between  the  temperatures  of  about  250° 
and  300°  F.,  and  of  retaining  its  malleability  when  cooled. 
It  forms  a  cheap  substitute  for  many  of  the  applications  of 
lead,  such  as  tanks,  pipes,  roofs,  and  for  bronze  in  orna¬ 
mental  works.  It  enters  into  the  composition  of  brass, 
and  is  used  in  domestic  manufactures,  printing,  engraving, 
sheathing  of  ships,  coating  of  galvanised  iron,  electrical 
apparatus,  and  medicine.  Its  oxides  form  valuable  white 
and  grey  paints. 

The  principal  ores  of  zinc  are,  calamine ,  a  carbonate 
(ZnO,C02) ;  blende  or  blackjack ,  a  sulphide ;  and  a  silicate  or 
electric  calami?ie.  They  occur  often  in  association  with  the 
ores  of  lead,  and  frequently  with  the  ores  of  copper  and  tin, 
chiefly  in  limestones  of  the  Carboniferous  and  Devonian 
Systems.  The  pure  metal  is  obtained  by  roasting  and  dis¬ 
tillation,  as  it  is  very  volatile  at  a  red  heat.  The  ores  are 
largely  worked  in  Belgium,  Silesia,  Rhine  Provinces,  and 
Hungary.  Zinc  is  also  produced  in  Flintshire,  Derbyshire, 


4io 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


Cumberland,  Cornwall,  Devon,  Ireland,  Wales,  Isle  of  Man, 
Sweden,  Bohemia,  Carinthia,  Spain,  the  Harz,  Canada, 
New  Hampshire,  and  New  Jersey,  in  which  last  place  the 
metal  occurs  in  the  mineral  red  zinc  ore,  an  oxide  of  zinc. 
Germany  comes  forward  as  one  ground  of  reliance  for  zinc ; 
about  half  as  much  is  obtained  from  Silesia.  Belgium  and 
Sweden  add  to  the  yield ;  and  about  a  third  as  much  as  the 
produce  of  these  two  countries  together,  is  furnished  by  the 
United  States  and  Great  Britain.  Austria  and  Spain  bring 
up  the  rear  with  a  modest  contribution. 

ALUMINUM. 

This  metal  is  white,  resembling  silver,  and  is  of  low 
specific  gravity  (2.6).  It  exists  abundantly  in  nature  as  the 
metallic  base  of  argillaceous  and  felspathic  rocks,  which  are 
silicates  of  alumina,  and  as  sulphate  of  alumina,  an  impor¬ 
tant  constituent  of  the  alums.  The  pure  metal  has  lately 
been  obtained  in  quantities  available  for  manufacturing  pur¬ 
poses  ;  and  from  its  extreme  lightness,  its  freedom  from 
tarnishing,  and  its  sonorousness,  promises  to  become  a 
most  useful  product.  The  metal  can  be  separated  from  the 
earth  alumina,  or  from  the  chloride ;  but  it  is  obtained  eco¬ 
nomically  only  from  Cryolite ,  a  double  fluoride  of  aluminum 
and  sodium,  found  in  Greenland. 

ANTIMONY. 

Antimony  is  white  and  brittle,  with  a  specific  gravity  of 
6.8.  As  a  simple  metal  it  is  not  used,  but  it  forms  valuable 
alloys.  With  lead  and  bismuth  it  is  largely  used  in  the 
preparation  of  type-metal,  which  consists  of  six  parts  of 
lead  and  two  of  antimony ;  with  lead  and  tin  for  plates  on 
which  music  is  engraved,  and  with  the  same  for  stereotype 
metal.  A  small  proportion  of  antimony  combined  with  tin 
forms  hard  pewter,  and  with  tin,  bismuth,  and  copper,  the 


BISMUTH—  COBAL  T. 


411 

white  or  Britannia  metal.  It  is  also  very  extensively  em¬ 
ployed  in  medicine.  It  occasionally  occurs  in  nature  pure, 
but  usually  combined  with  sulphur,  or  sulphur  and  lead ;  it 
is  also  found  in  combination  with  arsenic,  and  with  nickel, 
silver,  and  copper. 

Grey  Antimony ,  a  tersulphide,  affords  nearly  all  the  anti¬ 
mony  of  commerce ;  it  is  found  in  Hungary,  Saxony,  and 
the  Harz,  Belgium,  France,  Italy,  Spain,  Siberia,  Mexico, 
Malacca,  the  Indian  Archipelago ;  was  at  one  period  pro¬ 
duced  in  considerable  quantities  in  Cornwall  and  Dumfries¬ 
shire  ;  but  now  the  principal  part  of  our  supply  of  antimony 
is  from  Borneo  and  the  East  Indies. 

Central  Italy  affords  the  largest  European  supply  of 
antimony. 

BISMUTH. 

Bismuth  is  a  brittle  reddish-white  metal  (sp.  gr.  9.9)  which 
fuses  at  a  very  low  temperature.  It  fuses  still  lower  in  com¬ 
bination  with  lead  and  tin,  with  which  it  is  used  as  a  solder, 
and  with  which  it  also  forms  the  metal  called  “  Newton’s  ” 
fusible  at  the  boiling  point  of  water.  It  enters,  too,  into  the 
composition  of  Britannia  metal,  pewter,  and  type-metal,  and 
is  of  some  use  in  medicine.  Bismuth  is  found,  tolerably 
pure,  usually  associated  with  ores  of  tin,  copper,  and  silver, 
in  Cornwall,  France,  Bohemia,  Saxony,  and  Sweden,  and 
occurs  also  in  the  primitive  rocks  of  some  of  the  Cornish 
mines,  combined  with  the  ores  of  cobalt  and  nickel. 

COBALT. 

Cobalt  is  a  white,  brittle,  and  very  tenacious  metal.  Its 
specific  gravity  is  8.5,  and  it  is  strongly  magnetic.  It  is 
very  useful  in  its  chemical  preparations  ,as  producing  fine 
colouring  substances,  chiefly  blue,  such  as  smalts,  cobalt- 
ultramarine,  and  zaffre  or  saflor  (a  corruption  from  sapphire). 


412 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


The  principal  ores  are  cobalt-glance,  a  combination  with 
arsenic,  the  black  oxide,  and  cobalt  bloom ;  they  are  found 
in  Norway  and  Sweden,  Saxony,  Hungary,  Rhenish  Prussia, 
and  United  States. 


NICKEL. 

This  metal  is  also  found  combined  with  arsenic.  It  is 
white  or  steel  grey,  malleable,  and  but  slightly  affected  by 
air  and  moisture.  Its  specific  gravity  is  8.5,  and  it  is  mag¬ 
netic  until  subjected  to  great  heat.  With  copper  it  forms 
German  silver,  and  its  alloys  form  excellent  bases  for  electro¬ 
plating.  A  fine  green  colour  is  obtained  from  its  prepara¬ 
tions.  Nickel  has  been  used  in  the  United  States  for  coin. 
Its  chief  ore,  “  kupfernickel  ”  or  speiss,  often  associated 
with  cobalt,  is  found  in  Westphalia,  Saxony,  Hesse,  Hun¬ 
gary,  and  Sweden.  Nickel  occurs  in  meteoric  iron.  British 
nickel  is  met  with  in  Cornwall,  Cumberland,  and  the 
Lead  Hills. 

ARSENIC. 

Metallic  arsenic  is  grey,  highly  lustrous,  crystalline,  and 
brittle  (sp.  gr.  5.7).  The  arsenic  of  medicine  is  the  white 
oxide,  or  arsenious  acid,  a  virulent  poison ;  this  is  also 
largely  employed  in  preparing  some  of  the  finer  skins  and 
furs  of  Russia.  This  metal  enters  into  the  composition  of 
some  valuable  pigments,  especially  a  brilliant  green  and  an 
orange  red.  It  is  also  combined  with  lead  in  the  manu¬ 
facture  of  shot.  Arsenic  is  rather  widely  diffused ;  and 
although  sometimes  pure,  it  is  usually  found  combined  with 
other  metals,  with  sulphur,  and  with  oxygen.  The  chief 
amount  is  obtained  from  the  arsenides  of  iron,  nickel,  and 
cobalt,  and  the  supply  is  chiefly  derived  from  Bohemia, 
Hungary,  Saxony,  Salzburg,  Transylvania,  Rhine  Provinces, 
and  Prance.  Realgar,  a  red  sulphide  (AsS2)  is  found  in 


M A  NGA  NESE—CHROMI UM. 


413 


Bohemia  and  Saxony;  and  orpiment ,  another  sulphide 
(AsS3),  a  fine  yellow,  in  China  and  South  America. 

Arsenic  is  also  procured  from  the  tin-mines  of  Cornwall, 
the  ores  being  roasted  and  sublimed;  the  produce,  when  col¬ 
lected,  constitutes  the  arsenic  of  commerce  and  industry. 

MANGANESE. 

Manganese  oxidises  at  ordinary  temperatures,  and  is 
never  used  in  the  arts  in  the  pure  state.  It  is  of  a 
reddish  hue,  brittle,  so  hard  as  to  scratch  glass,  and  has 
a  specific  gravity  of  7.1 3.  The  binoxide  (Mn02)  is  an 
important  article  of  commerce  largely  employed  in  glass 
manufacture  and  for  colouring  pottery,  and  by  the  chemist 
in  the  preparation  of  oxygen.  Sulphate  and  chloride  of 
manganese  are  used  in  calico  printing ;  the  former  gives 
a  valuable  brown  dye.  It  is  found  that  a  slight  addition 
of  this  metal  much  improves  the  cast  steel  made  from 
British  iron.  The  principal  ores  of  manganese  are  Pyrolu- 
site  and  Psilomehme ,  both  binoxides,  the  former  anhydrous, 
the  latter  containing  1  per  cent,  of  water.  Wad,  an  impure 
manganese  ore,  may  be  employed,  like  the  preceding,  in 
bleaching,  and  also  for  umber  paint.  Manganese  ores  are 
procured  from  the  Harz  Mountains,  Piedmont,  France, 
Spain,  Nova  Scotia,  Somerset,  Devon,  Isle  of  Man,  and 
were  formerly  obtained  from  Cornwall  and  Italy. 

CHROMIUM. 

This  metal,  in  its  pure  state  brittle,  difficult  of  fusion, 
and  like  iron  in  colour,  is  important  in  the  arts  for  the  beau¬ 
tiful  colours  produced  by  its  combinations.  The  most  im¬ 
portant  of  these  are  the  sesquioxide  of  chromium,  a  fine 
green,  bichromate  of  potash,  and  bichromate  of  lead,  yellow 
and  orange.  The  principal  ores  are  chromic  iron  (chromate 


414 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


of  iron)  and  chromate  of  lead,  the  former  occurring  usually 
in  serpentine  rocks  in  the  Shetland  Isles,  France,  Norway, 
and  the  United  States,  and  the  latter  in  Siberia,  the  Urals, 
and  Brazil. 


II.  MINERALS  PROPER. 

COAL. 

Coal  is  very  generally  diffused,  and  occurs  of  different  geo¬ 
logical  ages  in  various  parts  of  the  world ;  but  by  far  the 
greater  proportion  of  valuable  workable  coal  is  derived 
from  the  Carboniferous  series  of  formations.  Good  work¬ 
able  coals  are  obtained  in  the  Lias  and  Oolite ;  brown  coals 
and  lignites  are  of  Tertiary  age.  Coal  consists  of  vast  collec¬ 
tions  of  carbonised  vegetable  matter  impregnated  in  varying 
degrees  with  the  pitchy  and  resinous  substances  now  so 
characteristic  of  the  fir  family.  Peat  bogs  in  superficial  beds 
present  perhaps  the  first  stage  in  such  a  change.  These 
masses  of  vegetable  matter,  though  containing  much  water, 
can  be  made  available  for  house  fuel,  fuel  for  manufacture, 
very  fair  charcoal,  and  for  the  extraction  of  naphtha,  paraffin, 
and  tar.  In  the  presence  of  an  abundant  supply  of  coal, 
peat  cannot  be  economically  employed,  but  it  is  extremely 
useful  where  coal  is  scarce,  as  in  Holland,  many  parts  of 
France,  Germany,  and  Ireland.  A  nearer  approach  to  true 
coal  is  the  lignite,  woody,  or  brown  coal.  This  mineralised 
vegetable  product,  like  peat,  contains  a  considerable  quantity 
of  moisture,  and  it  suffers  in  quality  on  exposure  to  the  air. 
It  is  a  Tertiary  deposit,  and  is  found  in  Breslau,  on  the  Rhine, 
in  Germany,  on  the  Danube,  and  the  shores  of  the  Baltic, 
in  Styria,  Tuscany,  Nova  Scotia,  New  Zealand,  Devonshire, 
and  County  Antrim.  True  coal  is  very  compact,  has  for  the 
most  part  lost  its  woody  and  fibrous  character,  and  contains 


COAL. 


415 


a  very  small  quantity  of  earthy  matter.  It  consists  of  two 
principal  varieties,  the  bituminous  and  the  anthracitic.  Bitu¬ 
minous  coals  contain  a  large  proportion  of  gas,  tar,  paraffin, 
and  such  substances,  and  burn,  therefore,  with  a  brilliant 
flame.  They  are,  hence,  peculiarly  adapted  for  domestic 
consumption,  for  gas,  manufactures,  and  coke.  The  bitu¬ 
minous  coal  richest  in  volatile  constituents  is  the  variety 
called  “  Cannel  ” — in  Scotland  the  “  Parrot  ” — which  burns 
with  great  brilliancy.  Other  varieties  are  splint  and  cubic 
coals.  A  semi-bituminous  coal,  burning  with  less  brilliancy 
and  rapidity,  but  affording  great  heat,  is  called  “steam 
coal,”  from  its  use  in  furnishing  the  supplies  of  steam 
vessels  taking  long  voyages.  The  middle  part  of  the  South 
Wales  coal-field  (the  western  is  bituminous),  and  a  part  of 
the  Newcastle  field  recently  worked,  contain  excellent  coal 
of  this  character. 

Anthracite  coal  is  very  hard  and  glossy,  not  soiling  the 
fingers.  It  is  almost  pure  carbon,  containing  but  a  very 
small  proportion  of  gaseous  products.  It  burns  with  a  very 
feeble  flame,  but  gives  an  intense  heat.  From  its  compara¬ 
tive  difficulty  of  combustion  it  was  formerly  but  little  used, 
but  by  the  introduction  of  the  hot  air  blast  and  other  im¬ 
provements  in  furnaces,  it  can  be  made  available  for  many 
manufacturing  processes,  particularly  that  of  the  preparation 
of  iron,  for  which  it  is  now  extensively  used  in  Wales  (the 
eastern  part  of  the  coal-field  being  anthracite)  and  the 
United  States. 

Notwithstanding  the  enormous  consumption  of  this  im¬ 
portant  fuel,  the  supply  will,  perhaps,  never  be  exhausted. 
Immense  areas  in  the  New  World  must  be  added  to  the 
still  profusely  abundant  districts  of  the  Old.  The  coal 
area  of  Great  Britain  and  Ireland  is  about  9000  square 
miles,  that  of  the  rest  of  Europe  about  the  same,  or  rather 
less ;  and  to  known  deposits  in  Asia,  South  America, 


416 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


Australia,  and  Africa,  must  be  added  no  fewer  than  150,000 
square  miles  in  the  United  States  and  Canada. 

Many  bituminous  substances  are  produced  in  vegetable 
matter  during  its  conversion  into  coal ;  the  chief  of  these 
are  naphtha,  petroleum,  and  asphalt,  which  are  all  hydro¬ 
carbons  of  varying  proportions,  and  of  an  inflammable 
nature.  The  bituminous  substances  are  widely  distributed, 
especially  in  the  tropical  and  sub-tropical  regions — a  cir¬ 
cumstance  which  evidently  indicates  that  the  substances 
are  due  to  extensively  operating  natural  causes,  and  not,  as 
usually  supposed,  to  the  accidental  combination  of  special 
agencies. 

The  modes  of  occurrence  of  asphaltic  deposits  seem 
referable  to  three  principal  divisions.  1.  In  the  rocks  of 
igneous  origin  ;  this  is  the  case  in  Cuba,  and  at  Mount 
Lebanon.  2.  In  stratified  rocks  of  the  Palaeozoic  and 
Mesozoic  epochs,  usually  disseminated  in  a  granular  form 
throughout  the  entire  stratum,  or  issuing  from  the  soil,  or 
exuding  from  fissures  in  the  rocks,  in  the  form  of  springs 
of  petroleum,  naphtha,  &c.  3.  In  rocks  of  Tertiary  age 

usually  accompanied  by  lignite  or  brown  coal.  These  are 
the  most  abundant  sources  of  asphaltic  substances,  and 
include  also  those  of  Pegu  and  Trinidad. 

Naphtha  is  a  transparent  and  nearly  colourless  fluid, 
burning  with  a  copious  flame  and  strong  odour,  and  leaving 
no  residuum. 

Petroleum  is  dark-coloured,  and  thicker  than  common 
tar.  It  rises  in  immense  quantities  from  some  of  our  coal 
beds,  and  impregnates  the  earth  so  as  to  form  springs  and 
wells.  Petroleum  springs  contain  a  mixture  of  petroleum  and 
the  various  substances  allied  to  it  :  they  occur  in  abundance 
in  Italy,  Persia,  on  the  shores  of  the  Black  Sea,  in  Canada, 
United  States,  &c.,  but  the  most  powerful  are  those  in  the 
province  of  Pegu,  in  the  Burman  Empire.  In  many  parts 


MINERALS:  COAL. 


417 


of  the  world  petroleum  is  now  the  most  abundant  source 
of  photogen  and  paraffin.  The  petroleum  or  rock  oil  of 
the  United  States  is  refined  for  illuminating  purposes,  while 
in  the  crude  state  it  is  a  good  lubricant. 

Bitumen ,  or  Asphalt ,  is  an  inspissated  mineral  oil,  of 
a  dark  brown  or  black  colour,  with  a  strong  odour  of  tar; 
the  most  valuable  is  hard,  brittle,  of  a  brilliant  lustre,  and 
eminently  conchoidal  fracture ;  a  variety  occurs  of  the 
consistency  of  jelly,  and  bearing  some  resemblance  to 
soft  indiarubber.  It  is  very  abundant  on  the  shores  of 
the  Dead  Sea,  occupies  the  so-called  pitch-lake  in  Trini¬ 
dad,  and  occurs  in  Cuba,  Peru,  Mexico,  Ionian  Isles, 
Portugal,  &c. 

The  Rangoon  tar,  or  Burmese  naphtha,  is  distilled  from 
a  number  of  volatile  hydro-carbons,  chiefly  used  as  lamp 
fuels ;  those  known  as  Sherwoodole  and  Belmontine  have 
considerable  detergent  power,  removing  stains  from  silk 
without  impairing  delicate  colours. 

Beds  of  limestone  and  clay  occur  impregnated  with  bitu¬ 
men,  and  from  such,  paraffin  is  distilled  in  Britain,  Germany, 
France,  Austria,  &c. 

The  principal  working  coal-fields,  according  to  their 
present  output,  rank  in  the  appended  order;  premising 
that  Great  Britain  “  wins  ”  close  upon  twice  as  much  coal 
every  year  as  the  rest  of  the  fields  put  together,  and  that 
only  Germany,  including  its  lignite  or  brown  coal,  the  United 
States,  and  France,  can  be  fairly  mentioned  in  the  cate¬ 
gory  with  our  own  country.  Belgium  and  Austria  succeed, 
while  Nova  Scotia,  Australia,  Spain,  India,  Sweden,  New 
Zealand,  and  smaller  fields  combined  do  not  reach  the  out¬ 
put  of  Austria  at  present,  but  are  capable  of  great  develop¬ 
ment.  Some  of  the  New  Zealand  beds  are  remarkable  as 
forming  part  of  the  mountain  masses,  and  are  dug  by  tunnels 

in  the  mountainsides,  not  by  sinking  pits;  the  weight  of 

2  D 


4 1  S  THE  NA  TURA  L  HISTOR  Y  OF  COMMERCE. 

the  full  trucks  in  descent  being  used  to  haul  up  the  trains 
of  empties. 

OTHER  BITUMINOUS  SUBSTANCES. 

Jet ,  so  much  prized  in  the  manufacture  of  ornaments  for 
its  intense  blackness,  its  lightness,  and  its  beautiful  polish, 
is  a  variety  of  lignite  highly  bituminised  and  free  from 
earthy  impurities,  and  resembles  Cannel  coal,  but  it  is 
blacker,  and  has  a  more  brilliant  lustre.  It  occurs  in  the 
aluminous  shale  of  the  Upper  Lias  of  Whitby,  in  which  it  is 
very  abundant,  in  Languedoc,  Asturias,  the  Alps,  Galicia, 
and  Massachusetts.  The  value  of  the  jet  manufacture  at 
Whitby  is  very  considerable. 

Amber  is  a  fossil  resin,  the  origin  of  which  has  been 
traced  to  coniferous  trees,  and  is  found  in  alluvial  gravels. 
It  occurs,  too,  in  the  Cretaceous  marls  of  France  and  Ger¬ 
many.  It  is  procured  from  Prussia,  the  shores  of  the  Baltic, 
the  Adriatic  and  Sicilian  shores,  and  from  Japan,  Madagas¬ 
car,  and  the  Philippine  Islands. 

Gum  Copal  is  a  semi-fossilised  resin  found  in  a  sandy 
soil  in  the  hilly  districts  all  along  the  coasts  of  Angola,  the 
total  yearly  export  of  which  from  all  the  districts  of  Angola 
is  estimated  at  2,000,000  lbs.  A  gum  copal  is  obtained 
under  similar  conditions  from  Sierra  Leone  and  Zanzi¬ 
bar  ;  the  origin  of  which,  as  well  as  that  of  Angola,  is  still 
unknown. 

Some  copal  resins  are  exudations  from  living  trees,  as 
that  furnished  by  Guibortia  copallifera  of  Sierra  Leone,  and 
others. 

CALCAREOUS*  SUBSTANCES. 

The  metal  calcium  very  readily  oxidises  and  forms  lime, 
which  easily  enters  into  combination  with  carbonic  acid, 

*  That  is,  having  the  nature  of  limestone. 


CALCAREOUS  SUBSTANCES.  41  9 

forming  carbonate  of  lime — the  base  of  limestone,  chalk, 
marble,  and  calc-spar — and  with  sulphuric  acid  and  water  to 
form  gypsum.  Carbonate  of  lime  in  its  various  forms  is  a 
most  abundant  substance,  and  of  the  most  extensive  use, 
whether  in  its  native  condition  as  stone  for  building,  paving, 
statuary,  and  smelting,  or  in  its  preparations — mortars  and 
cements,  in  glass-making,  leather-dressing,  bleaching,  agri¬ 
culture,  and  medicine. 

Common  limestone  is  found  in  almost  every  geological 
formation  ;  compact,  and  often  crystalline  in  the  older  rocks, 
but  generally  loose  and  more  earthy  in  the  newer.  It  is 
abundant  in  nearly  all  countries,  in  varying  qualities  and 
degrees  of  adaptation  to  its  numerous  uses.  In  England  it 
chiefly  occurs  in  the  rocks  of  the  Devonian  and  Carboniferous 
series — Mountain  Limestone  especially — and  in  the  Liassic 
and  Oolitic  systems.  The  dolomite  or  magnesian  limestone 
belongs  to  the  Permian  group  of  rocks.  The  best  kinds 
of  limestone  for  building  are  those  of  Portland,  Bath,  Box, 
and  Corsham,  all  of  which  are  Oolitic,  and  the  magnesian 
limestone  of  Notts  and  Yorkshire.  The  Oolite  of  Bavaria 
furnishes  a  very  fine  lithographic  stone;  these  stones  are 
also  supplied  from  older  rocks  in  Canada,  and  from  France, 
Greece,  and  Portugal. 

Of  ornamental  limestones,  those  of  South  Devon  are 
extensively  worked.  Some  interesting  varieties  of  the  red, 
grey,  and  variegated  marbles  (so-called)  are  obtained  near 
Torquay.  Many  blocks  are  almost  entirely  formed  of  fossil 
corals,  and  known  as  madrepore  marbles.  The  Carboniferous 
rocks  of  Derbyshire  are  rich  in  ornamental  limestones,  the 
chief  varieties  of  which  are  the  entrochal  or  encrinital  marble, 
productal  marble,  and  black  marble.  The  former  of  the  first 
two  is  built  up  of  the  stony  fragments  of  stone-lilies  ( Encri - 
nites ),  whilst  the  latter  is  composed  almost  entirely  of  shells 
of  the  genus  Producta.  Other  marbles  of  a  like  character 


420 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


are  obtained  in  Staffordshire,  Somersetshire,  and  Ireland. 
The  Purbeck  and  Petworth  marbles  are  limestones  charged 
with  the  fossil  shell  Paludina ,  and  hence  are  sometimes 
called  paludinal  marbles ;  they  belong  to  the  Purbeck  and 
Wealden  series  respectively,  and  were  formerly  employed 
extensively  in  ecclesiastical  architecture. 

The  true  marbles  are  altered  limestones  or  dolomites. 
The  finest  is  the  pure  white  or  statuary  marble ;  others  are 
red  or  yellow  in  colour,  and  either  pure  or  streaked.  They 
are  firm  in  texture,  finely  grained,  and  susceptible  of  a 
beautiful  polish ;  hence  their  use  for  ornamental  purposes. 
Italy  is  pre-eminently  a  marble-producing  country,  to  which 
fact  must  be  ascribed  the  splendour  of  her  palaces  and 
other  public  and  private  structures,  in  which  not  only  the 
architectural  ornaments,  but  frequently,  as  in  the  case  of  the 
cathedral  at  Milan,  the  entire  edifice  is  built  of  the  finest 
marble.  Italy  has  of  late  years  produced  an  average  of 
250,000  tons  per  annum  of  statuary  marble.  The  best 
white  marble  is  now  obtained  from  Carrara,  quarried  in  the 
Apennines  where  they  approach  the  Mediterranean.  India, 
Sicily,  Spain,  Ireland,  the  United  States,  and  other  countries 
also  furnish  it. 

Coral  limestone  belongs  to  this  group  of  mineral  pro¬ 
ducts.  It  is  a  recent  formation  ;  and  the  rock  is  sometimes 
used  as  a  building  stone  in  the  South  Sea  Islands.  Great 
numbers  of  these  islands,  as  well  as  numerous  others  in 
the  Indian  Ocean,  are  themselves  natural  coral  structures. 
Coral  reefs  are  abundant  in  tropical  seas,  in  the  North 
Atlantic,  and  the  Pacific  and  Indian  Oceans. 

Marl ,  a  mixture  of  clay  with  carbonate  of  lime,  occurs 
as  clay-marl,  marl-clay,  and  shelly-marl.  It  is  procured 
from  valleys  which  have  formed  the  beds  of  lakes,  and  from 
the  neighbourhood  of  existing  lakes,  and  is  useful  as  a 
manure.  Calcareous  sand,  formed  chiefly  of  crushed  shells, 


SI  Lie  10  US  S  UBS  TA  NCES.  4  2  I 

and  found  on  ancient  and  modern  beaches,  is  also  used 
in  agriculture.  Of  such  sand,  8,000,000  cubic  feet  are 
annually  removed  from  the  Cornish  coast  into  the  interior 
of  the  country.  Some  of  the  shelly  deposits  of  the 
Crag  formations,  in  the  east  of  England,  are  similarly 
used. 

Gypsum  is  a  very  valuable  mineral,  occurring  chiefly  in 
the  New  Red  Sandstone  and  in  Tertiary  deposits,  but  also 
among  earlier  rocks.  It  is  abundant  in  England,  Ireland, 
France,  Canada,  Nova  Scotia,  and  in  many  other  places. 
Gypsum  forms  the  plaster  of  Paris,  of  such  utility  in  build¬ 
ing  and  modelling ;  crystallised,  it  is  met  with  as  selenite , 
satin  gypsum ,  and  alabaster.  The  use  of  this  last,  for 
statuary  and  ornamental  work,  dates  from  the  remotest 
times  of  Etruscan  art.  Statuary  alabaster  is  obtained  from 
the  Miocene  and  Pliocene  strata  in  Tuscany  and  in  Egypt. 

Limes,  stuccoes,  and  cements,  so  indispensable  in  all 
building  operations,  are  obtained  from  various  carbonates. 
Pure  carbonates  make  rich  limes,  which  are  such  as  set 
only  in  dry  air ;  impure  ones  (with  mixtures  of  clay)  yield 
hydraulic  limes,  which  possess  the  valuable  property  of  set¬ 
ting  in  moist  air,  and  even  under  water.  The  septaria  or 
calcareous  nodules  in  London  clay,  at  Sheppey,  those  pro¬ 
cured  at  Harwich,  the  cement  stones  of  the  Lias  at  Whitby, 
of  the  Speeton  Clay  of  Yorkshire,  and  the  Lower  Lias 
limestone,  furnish  suitable  limestone  for  hydraulic  cements. 


SILICIOUS  SUBSTANCES. 

Another  very  important  mineral  substance  is  silica,  which 
is  a  combination  of  oxygen  with  the  metalloid  silicium 
cr  silicon.  The  purest  examples  of  silica  are  rock-crystal, 
quartz,  and  flint.  The  colourless  crystals,  especially  the 
so-called  Brazilian  pebble,  are  much  used  for  lenses. 


42  2  THE  NA  TURAL  HISTOR  Y  OF  COMMERCE. 

Quartz,  which,  crystallised,  constitutes  several  of  the  gems, 
is  an  important  constituent  of  granitic  rocks ;  and,  in  the 
form  of  sand,  it  is  the  principal  ingredient  in  all  sandstones. 
Quartz,  well  powdered,  is  combined  with  fine  clays  in  the 
manufacture  of  porcelain  in  China,  as  flint  is  also  in  this 
country.  Flints  are  irregular  masses  of  nearly  pure  silica, 
occurring  as  nodules  distributed  in  layers,  in  the  Chalk 
formation  especially.  Reduced  to  powder,  they  enter  into 
the  composition  of  china,  porcelain,  and  glass  ;  and,  whole, 
they  furnish  a  rough  building  material. 

Sandstones  are  of  very  various  composition  and  of  dif¬ 
ferent  degrees  of  hardness.  They  consist  of  silicious  sands, 
often  mixed  with  other  substances,  all  cemented  together 
by  means  of  carbonate  of  lime,  oxide  of  iron,  silica,  or  clay. 
They  are  of  all  geological  ages,  the  oldest  being  usually  the 
most  compact.  When  hard  and  cross-grained  they  are  de¬ 
nominated  grits.  If  pebbles  very  largely  predominate,  they 
are  called  conglomerates,  and  these  are  either  pudding  stones 
with  rounded  pebbles,  or  breccia  with  angular  fragments. 
The  extremely  hard  and  schistose  grits  are  very  useful  for 
flag-paving.  The  best  qualities  of  these  are  supplied  from 
Forfarshire  and  Caithness.  Millstones  are  obtained  from 
the  Millstone  Grit  of  Newcastle,  from  Yorkshire,  Belgium, 
France  (especially  at  La  Ferte),  and  Wurtemburg.  They 
are  also  made  from  a  silicious  limestone  near  Paris,  and 
out  of  lava  at  Andernach.  For  building  purposes,  the  finest 
sandstone  is  quarried  at  Craigleith  and  other  localities  in 
the  Carboniferous  formations  of  Scotland.  Good  stone  is 
obtained  from  rocks  of  the  same  age  in  Durham,  Yorkshire, 
Derbyshire,  and  from  Queen’s  County  and  other  parts 
of  Ireland. 

Silicious  sands  are  much  in  request  in  the  arts,  as  in 
building  for  mortars,  in  moulding  and  casting,  and  in  glass¬ 
making.  The  most  valuable  for  the  last-named  purpose  are 


IGNEOUS  AND  METAMORPHIC  ROCKS.  423 

procured  from  Senlis  in  France,  from  the  Isle  of  Wight, 
Lyme  Regis,  Aylesbury,  and  Reigate.  Rottenstone ,  found  in 
Derbyshire  and  elsewhere,  is  a  decomposed  silicious  lime¬ 
stone,  and  is  used  for  polishing.  Bath  brick,  Tripoli  powder, 
the  polishing  powder  from  Bilin  in  Bohemia,  the  Berg-mehl 
of  Sweden  and  America,  and  the  French  telluruie ,  are 
peculiar  mealy  forms  of  silica. 

IGNEOUS  AND  METAMORPHIC  ROCKS. 

Granites,  and  their  allied  rocks,  gneiss,  mica-schist,  and 
felstones,  consist  largely  of  silica.  Their  chief  mineral  con¬ 
stituents  are  quartz,  felspar,  and  mica  (white,  green,  or 
black).  Felspar  is  a  silicate  of  alumina  and  potash,  or,  in 
the  case  of  albite ,  the  white  felspar  of  Cornish  granite,  of 
alumina  and  soda.  Mica  is  a  silicate  of  lime  and  alumina  or 
iron.  Where  hornblende,  a  dark  green  silicate  of  lime  and 
magnesia,  has  taken  the  place  of  mica,  the  stone  is  called 
syenite.  These  rocks  assume  a  structure  termed  porphy- 
ritic,  that  is,  they  are  composed  of  crystals  embedded  in  an 
amorphous  matrix,  and  are  highly  valued  for  ornamental  pur¬ 
poses.  These  latter,  and  white  granite,  are  obtained  from 
Cornwall  and  Devon,  red  and  grey  granites  from  Aberdeen 
and  Peterhead,  and  a  very  hard  and  dark  variety  from  Guern¬ 
sey,  the  Malvern  Hills,  and  Leicestershire.  Granitic  rocks 
are  abundant  in  many  parts  of  the  world,  Ireland,  Norway 
and  Sweden,  India,  and  China  among  others ;  and  Egypt  is 
famed  for  its  syenite  and  red  porphyritic  felstone.  They 
furnish  a  durable  and  highly  polishable  building  material 
particularly  well  suited  for  bridges,  quays,  and  monumental 
works.  The  coloured  varieties  are  eminently  adapted  for 
ornamental  purposes.  Mica  is  often  found  in  large  crystals, 
which  can  be  split  up  into  plates  and  used  as  glass.  This 
is  the  material  known  as  Siberian  glass,  from  the  country 


424 


THE  NATURAL  HISTORY  OF  COMMERCE. 


whence  it  is  supplied.  Talc  is  a  similar  mineral,  and 
is  employed  in  the  porcelain  and  crayon  manufactures  :  it 
forms,  besides,  the  French  chalk.  Asbestos  is  a  fibrous 
variety  of  hornblende.  It  can  be  woven  into  a  fire-proof 
cloth,  and.  is  also  made  available  in  open  gas  stoves. 

Serpentine,  so  called  from  the  supposed  resemblance  of 
the  mineral  to  the  skin  of  a  serpent,  is  a  silicate  of  magnesia 
with  adventitious  admixtures  of  lime,  alumina,  iron,  chro¬ 
mium,  &c.,  and  occurs  as  a  rock  or  in  association  with 
other  minerals  constituting  rock  masses.  The  west  of  Mayo 
and  Galway  are  remarkable  for  their  serpentine  rocks,  which 
afford  the  beautiful  variegated  green  and  white  varieties 
worked  into  pilasters,  columns,  &c.  Serpentines  and  ser¬ 
pentine  limestones  are  also  quarried  in  Cornwall,  the  Shet- 
lands,  Canada,  United  States,  Italy,  &c. 

Basaltic  and  kindred  rocks  —  greenstone,  whinstone,  and 
trap  —  are  intrusive  rocks,  for  the  most  part  felspathic. 
Some  of  these  are  well  adapted  for  building,  but  their  great 
use  is  for  paving  and  macadamising  roads,  for  which  pur¬ 
poses  they  are  unrivalled.  The  columnar  structure  of  basalt 
is  in  some  places  taken  advantage  of  for  the  construction  of 
stone  posts  and  window-sills.  These  rocks  are  abundant 
in  Scotlan