صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

The highest.:

made to alternate with winter crops of wheat or barley.
elevation at which we saw it cultivated was about Tongsa, to the
north of which village there is a slope cultivated with it from an
altitude of 5500 feet to one nearly of 7000 feet.

It is principally used boiled in the ordinary manner, and in the preparation of their fermented and spirituous liquors. They do not seem to prepare it for eating in the dry state, as is so generally done by Hindoos. Wheat is perhaps the most common grain cultivated in the interior, yet I saw no instance of the promise of fine crops; it is cultivated as low as 3500 feet, and as high as 9000 feet, but the fields we saw at this elevation were miserably poor, from the effects of the bleakness of the winds. No particular steps are taken to favour its growth, except in the three elevated valleys, where manure is employed from some attention to agriculture being absolutely indispensable. The grain is, I think, of inferior quality; it is principally eaten in the shape of chowpatties, or cakes of heated dough. The flour is ground in mills turned by water, but the meal is badly cleaned.

Barley is nearly of equally extensive cultivation, and I think arrives to somewhat greater perfection than wheat; the cultivation is precisely the same, and probably its application. Two or three sorts occur; of these the finest indisputably is a six-rowed barley, but I am unable to say whether it is identical with the Hordeum hexastichon, the bear or bigg of Scotland. This sort occurred in great perfection along the ravine of the Teemboo, especially about Chupcha; it was the only crop, really worthy of the name that we saw in the country.

Of the remaining grains of this nature, Raggy, Bobosa of Assam, is the most common; it is of a very inferior nature, and is only used as a makeshift. Millet and maize are so limited in extent, as not to be worth consideration.

Of the other farinaceous grains, buckwheat is the only one cultivated to any extent; it occurs throughout the greater part of Bootan, but especially about 4000 feet. This grain is either a great favourite with all Hill people, or it is of such easy cultivation as to compensate for its inferiority to some others. The Booteas do not appear to feed their cattle on it, and ours by no means approved of it. It is probably used as a bread corn.

The species of Atriplex, and one or two of a nearly allied genus, Chenopodium, are scarcely worth notice. They occur in Bootan, as in most other mountainous countries in the East, and are more valuable as affording sorts of spinach than for the grains. Equally unworthy

Cleusine Coracana.


of notice are the leguminous grains of Bootan; and the few species I saw of the produce appeared to me more probably derived from the Plains than from any labour of their own. The only actual cultivation of such I saw was a small plantation of oror below Benka or Tassgong, and this we were told was more with a view to the produce of lac than dâl; and of the pea, I saw one flourishing field of small extent between Tumashoo and Oongar.

Of their various other "plants cultivated as vegetables for the table," I am quite as ignorant ; every thing in fact is derived from the Plains. We did not even meet with yams or kuchoos, both of which I have other Hill people in great perfection. They are unaware

seen among

of the value of the potatoe.

Every body has heard of Bootan turnips, but very few have, I imagine, seen them. With the exception of a few we obtained at Dewangiri we saw none, nor when we reached the interior did we ever hear of any. There is no doubt however that excellent turnip seeds have been sent to some from Bootan, but whether from this bhote ka moolkh or the far finer one to the westward, I cannot state; I only state their extreme rarity, so far as the Mission was concerned. Far more common is the Mola, or radish, which I suspect Turner mistook for turnips, for one has only to imagine that an actual Bootan radish is a real Bootan turnip, and it is so. The Bootan radishes grow to a large size, but they are very coarse and spongy, and heavy of digestion even to a Hindoo stomach. The cultivation chiefly occurs between 5000 to 7000 feet.

Of plantains they possess a few specimens, which may be seen struggling for existence as high as 3500 feet. I did not even see any of the wild plantain, easily distinguishable from the white powder with which the under surface of the leaves is covered, and its large stature. This is common on the Himalayan range to the eastward, and ascends as high as 5000 feet.

Of that most useful family the Gourd family, I saw no sorts under cultivation. As they depend on the Plains for all that in their opinion makes life tolerable, so do they depend upon their jungles for all flowers to which they may have a fancy, or which may be considered as agreeable for offerings. There is no such thing as a flower garden in the whole parts of the country we saw. The royal gardens at Punukka are scarcely an acre in extent, and stretch along ther iver from the bridge to the village. It was made originally with a view to use, never for ornament, and possesses now neither the one nor the other recommendation, although it has an Assamese gardener: oranges, shaddocks, pomegranates, the mango, jack, bheir, &c. &c. are to be found

in it. The Booteas shew some taste in their selection of wild flowers, which is more than can be said for the natives of Bengal, who approve of such vile things as Ganda, and Champa, and many other equally strong or equally gaudy productions. With Booteas rhododendrons, especially the scarlet and the white arboreous sorts, are favourites, and I observed formed the greater part of some offerings lying in the presence of the Dhurma.


The only cotton, and it was a miserable specimen, that I saw, I have mentioned as occurring along the Monass; yet we were told that a good deal was cultivated in similar places throughout Bootan. we saw none is accounted for by the bulk of the population wearing woollen cloths, and by the remainder obtaining their supplies from the Plains. No plants were observed used for making cordage, the ropes used for fixing the loads being either made of twisted rattan, or horsehair. On emergencies the bearers resort to the jungles, in which some very tenacious creepers may be found; but they appear to prefer the species of Daphne for this purpose, as the inhabitants of Upper Assam do the Ood-dal, a species of Sterculia.

No sugar is cultivated in Bootan; a few solitary specimens occurring about villages being the only specimens we saw. The cane itself is imported from the Plains, as well as ghoor. The same is equally applicable to tobacco, large quantities of which must be consumed, as all the men are great smokers.

They do not appear to me to be great pân eaters; their supplies of this are also derived from that source, which they do not scruple to drain so freely. A few straggling plants of hemp are to be met with amongst most villages at rather low elevations, but I never saw any to an extent sufficient to warrant me in supposing that any use was made of it.

Of plants cultivated for dyeing, I am not aware that any cultivation is carried on. At Phullung, one villager was attempting to rear a few plants of the wild indigo, so much used in Upper Assam, and which I have elsewhere stated is a species of Ruellia. Of this plant which appears to abound in colouring material of a deeper, but less brilliant hue than that of indigo, I have not been able to meet with any account that can be depended on. I have seen that in one of the volumes of the Transactions of the Agricultural Society it is mentioned as Ruellia carnosa: no good authority for the name is given, and on that of the book itself few, I imagine, will be willing to adopt it.

The most common dye in Bootan is that furnished by the mungisth, it appears also to be the favourite colour. As the supply obtained from the jungles is plentiful, no means are resorted too to cultivate it. It

forms one of the few articles of export from the country, and is generally exchanged for dried fish. In Bootan at least two species are used, one of these is Roxburgh's Rubia mungista. Of the different species of Rubia very little is known, and that little is a good deal confused. From Mr. Royle's account it would appear that the article Munjeeth is the produce alone of Rubia cordifolia (R mungistha Roxb.) The two species used in Bootan are very distinct, and very general constituents of other mountainous floras; one of them has leaves without stalks.

Agriculture being in such a poor state, we need not look for improvement in the implements by which it is carried on. The plough is a lumbering article, on the ordinary Indian principle, and the others are equally bad imitations; but as the Booteas pride themselves on being warriors, they are not inclined to turn their swords into ploughshares, and until this is done no improvement can be expected. Manures, so far as I had opportunities of judging, are chiefly confined to the three great valleys; they consisted chiefly of rotten fir leaves, and appeared to me to be of a very poor description. In these parts ashes of stubble and weeds are like wise spread over the surface, but the greatest portion of labour was expended in pulverising the surface. The natives likewise make use of the accumulation of filth under their houses, which judging from the depth of the layer is not always removed annually. This is excellent manure, and is principally used about the little plots of ground attached to most of the villages.

Of fences they are generally very regardless, or at best, place them where they are of no use. Thus the yards of many of the houses, and in some parts what are called gardens, are surrounded with stone walls; some few rising crops are protected by branches of thorny shrubs, but generally the only defence exists in the shape of a herd-boy, who is regardful only of damage done by his own charge.

In domestic animals they cannot be said to be rich. Chowry tailed cows certainly are not common, and would appear to be kept chiefly by the officers of high rank. As their range is restricted to very high elevations, they must be in Bootan of very limited utility. I only saw one sufficiently close to ascertain what kind of creature it was, and I was much disappointed in finding it an heavy, clumsylooking animal; the specimen, however, was not a fine one. only herds seen by the Mission were at elevations of nearly 10,000 feet. The Chowry tails exported to the Plains probably come from Thibet ; and judging from those which we saw, they are of very inferior quality. The cattle are used as beasts of burden.


A much finer animal is the Mithun; this is the same as the Mithun

of the Mishmees, or the animal so known in those parts to the Assamese by that name, but is very different from the Mithun of the Meekir hills. This animal is not uncommon: the finest we saw were at Dewangiri, and none were seen after leaving Tongsa. Nothing can exceed the appearance of a fine bull; it appears to me intermediate between the buffaloe and the English bull, but the cows have much less of the heavy appearance so characteristic of the buffaloe. Their temper is remarkably fine, and their voices or lowing very peculiar, resembling a good deal some of the cries of the elephant. I am not aware that they are of much use to the natives: the oxen are employed at the plough. As the Booteas do not seem to care for milk, they are probably kept with a view to sacrifice, which is with an Asiatic not unfrequently another word for feasting.

The other breed which they possess, and which we only saw between Punukka and the Plains, assimilates much to the common cattle of Bengal ; it is however a much larger and a much finer animal. Sheep are not very common: the most we saw were rams, which formed a standing part of the russut. The ewes are used by the Kampas as beasts of burden, but I am not aware that they are of any use to the Booteas. Throughout Bootan I only saw two flocks.

Goats are common enough, and appear to be of the ordinary Plain breed. We saw no Khussies, at least live ones, unless I except the six shawl goats sent by the former Deb as presents to the Governor General.

All these animals are turned out during the day, either alone, or attended by boys. The cattle are picketted at night either in yards or about the villages: the goats find their own quarters in the ground floors of their owner's houses. Either no fodder at all is given, or they are provided with coarse straw, which evidently requires great effort to be eaten. During the rains their condition is much bettered; in the cold weather it is bad enough, as the looks of the beasts testify.

Pigs of ordinary customs are common enough, and were the only animals I saw slaughtered: they are kept with more care than either ponies or cows. They are generally treated to a wash once a day, consisting of a decoction of herbs, of which the common stinging nettle appears to be a favourite, and radish peelings. Most of the pigs we saw engrossed the tender cares of the women, who certainly paid much more attention to them than they would appear to do to their own children. They have peculiar cries well known by the pigs, who are generally very obedient, particularly if they see the wash-tub; at night they also occupy the ground floors. The ponies of Bootan are sufficiently well known, and are I think much over-estimated. They

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