صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

: smell of sulphur. In these countries are many warm or even hot springs which could be named. The other natural curiosities known to the natives do not deserve much mention, especially as the cir cumstances of some seem fabulous.

112. The supply of common salt is from various sources; rock salt, that of salt ponds, that of springs, and that made from the soil. A minor range of hills has been already distinguished as the Salt range, (see paragraph 12.) Some is found at the beginning of the range in the country of the Oorukzyes, but is of little note beyond the neighbourhood. At Kala Bagh, the hill which overhangs the town, is in a great part composed of salt. Near the termination of the range, this mineral again becomes very abundant, and is found in several places. This is that which in our provinces is called Lahouree, as coming to us through Lahour, though all produced beyond the Hydaspes. It is of a dingy colour, whereas that of Kala Bagh, which is superior, is either so white as to be pellucid, or tinged with a red colour from the clay contiguous to it. The north is supplied from these mines, whose produce is carried even into Kashkar, where it fetches a high price, because of the natural difficulties of transporting it. It is rather heavily taxed, in Kushmeer which makes it dear. When the governor rebels, which has often happened, and trade is checked by the existence of hostilities, the dearth is still greater, in so much, that the Kushmeerees having no interval supply, have been reduced to eat red ants as a substitute. In the south of the kingdom, the demand for rock salt is not great. Some is indeed carried from Kala Bagh, as far as the lowest parts of Sindh, but this traffic bears no proportion to the riches and population of that country, and indeed seems an appendage to that in the transporting of pilgrims, who intend visiting the holy city of Mecca. The boats are sold on their arrival with what cargo they may contain, and few if any again ascend the river as far as Kala Bagh. In all parts of Bulochistan, soil salt is that chiefly used, and each neighbourhood makes it for itself. Even the Mooltanees consume more of this kind, pretending that the other is unwholesome. Candahar is partly supplied with salt from that made by boiling the water of a spring at Kushkinukhood, 40 miles on the road to Hirat, and partly from the soil; the latter is reckoned inferior. The chief resource of the west or rather middle parts of Khoorasan, is probably in salt ponds, in two different places of the country of Ghaeen. An ice-like crust is formed at the edges, when the water begins to recede in the dry season, and no further preparation is required. Besides the salt well in the Loot desert already mentioned, there is one about

40 miles south of Toorbut, and another in the road between Toon and Yezd, but none of these are of any use. Near Ubasabad, which is ten days from Mushhud, on the road to Tuhiran, is a hill which gives out two feeble salt springs, which make two bogs, and to procure salt pits are dug at the edges and filled with the brine; this gradually evaporates, and is covered with a saline crust.

It is probable, many lesser ponds and bogs of this nature exist especially in the level countries. Bokhara and Nooruta chiefly consume salt brought from places in the Kurakol (see paragraph 105.) Jizzukh has a mine of rock salt, and also salt from the plain. Samarkand is said to have one mine, Oratepa another. All the three are under Bokhara. Oorgung, Mura, and Mymuna chiefly use salt found in their own plains, sometimes artificially prepared, sometimes not. The kingdom of Kokur is not destitute of soil salt, but has besides at least four mines of rock salt. Tashkund has one, probably more, and also receives salt from the plains to the west towards the Kuzzaks. We know of two mines in Keerategin, one in Buljeewan, two in the greater Kolab, and the valley of Wakhan has rock salt, but the southern part of Budukhshan in which is situated Fyzabad, seems to have but one mine, and its produce is very bad. The eastern part of Bactria, on the other hand, is abundantly supplied, having at least five mines, and Duroona beyond the Oxus has one. One mine of Shuhisubz yields salt of a very fine quality, which is carried as far as Bulkh and Bokhara for the use of the rich. Hisar has a salt spring, and two mines very little worked exist in its dominion. Bulkh and Bokhara are partly supplied from springs found between them, partly from a place under the hills, where a crust of salt is produced. Shibirghan has a mine of very good quality, and exports to Bulkh, Undkho, and other places. I have not learnt that any salt is found within the Paraparnisan mountains, and such is the scarcity of this article among the Huzaras of the interior, that they do not use it dry but dip their morsels in a brine of it. At one time of the year the poor have none to consume.

113. Saltpetre is no where found in these countries but is made by natives, from the soil in innumerable places. It is a curious fact that the same earth which yields common salt often yields saltpetre also, although both ingredients be different; but dry situations are more favorable to it, and moist to the generation of salt. To complete the list of ingredients used for making gunpowder, it may be observed that no place is much famed for its charcoal. The best is made from the willow, and very good from the plant called uk or mudar (see paragraph 130.)

Borax is dug up near Mushhud in an impure state.

A salt call

ed black salt is found in a hill some miles south-west of Kala Bagh. The most famous product of Kala Bagh is its alum, which however is not native, but is prepared from a mixture of pure clay and sulphur, found in the same hill which yields salt. The same exists in small quantities in the quarter where the Lahouree salt is produced.

114. I have made no mention of the minerals of the Tibets, or country north of the Punjab, or those of the Rajpoot country. We know little of the minerals of Chinese Toorkistan, except that coal is burnt at Ela, in that country; and some mistakes have probably been committed in assigning the situations of mines in independent Toorkistan. With respect to the structure and general composition of the hills and mountains, it is needless offering conjectures; the hills seen by us were plainly secondary. Soft and composite rocks appear to be very common in Afghanistan, and hence it is that in a country so mountainous, few houses are built of hewn stone. The valley of Kushmeer is peculiarly destitute of stones proper for building; wood at the same time is cheap and abundant, and therefore the inhabitants erect lofty houses of that material. Good flints are found in many places in the south-east of Bactria, (from whence they are brought to Cabul) in some low hills in the districts of Muro, in those west of Sindh, and doubtless many more. Upper Bungush produces a mar

ble much esteemed.

SECTION II.-Of Vegetables.

115. The present is a subject on which little is known. What here follows being also very imperfect, it is needless to affect nice divisions, and it is enough if we distinguish plants into three classes; first, grasses and small succulent plants;-second, shrubs ;-third,


1st. Of Grasses, &c.

116. It is moisture which chiefly encourages the growth of herbage. Those countries however are not the most verdant in which the greatest quantity of water falls in the year, but those in which there are many days of rain, dew, and mist. The water which falls in low latitudes, does so generally in a short space of time, and with great violence, so that drought prevails during the greater part of the year; hence warm countries are seldom verdant. We should be in error if we supposed that heat, as distinguished from drought, was

hostile to verdure. The season of grass in all countries begins with the renewal of the warm season, unless in circumstances the most peculiar; and even in warm countries the herbage withers at the beginning of winter. Neither are we to decide that warm countries have naturally more grass throughout the year than the cold; for if their summer be dry, the heat of the sun soon withers the pastures, which do not recover until next spring. It is evident therefore that the growth of herbage will be greatest where heat and moisture meet in due proportions. Moisture may arise from the atmosphere or from the soil; and with respect to the moisture of soils, it may arise either from the composition or a low position. It is thus that a clayey loam is better covered with grass than a loose sand or a hard clay; and many districts, the drought of whose climate would leave them little verdure, have abundant grass which is nourished by the water descending from higher situations. A new complexity is added to the subject when the periodical rains fall in the summer, and thus revive the grass which has been withered by the heat in the warm climates.

117. It is found that in India every grass and small plant has its natural seasons of putting forth its new leaves, flowering, casting its seed, and withering. Most of them flourish most in the Kureef, that is after the great rains have begun to fall. Very many however even of these put out new leaves in February and March-soon to be burnt up by the scorching winds; and some of them bear seeds in the Rubbee as well as the Khureef. Some plants naturally flourish in the Rubbee; for example, the Sehoon, or wild oat-the seeds of which are shed before the commencement of the great rains, but do not spring up until perhaps the month of October. From what has been said, it is plain that in India there are two seasons of grass-the lesser in spring, and the greater in the great rains, and for a short time after them. The winter months have but little fresh grass, but there is a considerable resource in the withered grass of the Khureef. Between the spring and Khureef grass is an interval in which the pastures are burnt up by the excessive heat and drought; if the soil be very moist, or frequent showers fall, this interval may not be perceptible. It may be supposed to be the same with every country which, like Hindoostan, has a warm climate, and its chief rains in the summer; but when either fails we no longer find these two natural seasons of herbage. When the cold reaches a certain point, the heat of summer is not sufficient to wither the grass after its commencement in the spring, and this is reserved for the cold of winter. The grains of the Rubbee, also, it may be observed, in climates where the winter reaches a certain degree of

length and severity, do not spring up in autumn, but in spring, and ripen in autumn. In warm countries which have no summer rains, the spring grass having once withered, does not recover during the remainder of the year.

118. In the Punjab and Sindh the seasons of grass are the same as in our provinces, and the species are much the same. In the upper Punjab there is perhaps more grass fit for provender than in our upper provinces, but the large kinds used for thatching are scarcer, this however is of little consequence, the inhabitants prefering flat-roofed houses covered with mud, to the thatch so common elsewhere. Hurriana and Bhutner are well known to have abundance of good grass; and the country in general which lies between the Sutluj and the Jumna is more verdant than that on this side of the latter river. The Dooab of the Hydaspes and Indus present the usual varieties. Poth war has but little grass, except in the bottoms of the ravines. The hilly country of the Gukhurs, and others already mentioned to the north, appear to have much grass, but this does not arise from the great growth but from the small consumption. In the Thul of Mohummud Khan, as in the great desert, we find more shrubs than grass. Mooltan, and upper and middle Sindh, have little grass. The spring of Peshawar is naturally later than in our provinces, and the rains which then fall have an additional tendency to protract the time of fresh grass. The lateness of the summer rains, and their comparative unimportance, makes the Khureef grass later in commencement, and causes it to be little superior to that of the spring grass in this country; it is even said that in Jellalabad the spring grass is of more importance than the Khureef. In Seeweestan though the summer rains are scanty, the Khureef grass is superior to the other kinds; but herbage is not abundant in that province. Peshawar, though its summer rains are deficient, has yet as much grass on an average of all months as our provinces, for showers fall at different times of the year, and the soil is good. The name of Shurhsubz which Tymoor gave it, we may suppose alluded rather to its constant succession of green crops, than the exuberance of its natural vegetation in grass, which is not extraordinary. The least quantity of grass is in the middle of winter and the middle of


119. The seasons of grass in Chhuchh, Huzar, Kohat, Malgeen, Eesakhel, and Bunnoo, are nearly the same as in Peshawar, and the quantity not very different. Mukulwud has but little grass, but some parts of the Daman have a great quantity. The hills called Bedaulut, owe their name to the scantiness of their herbage. The hills of Bajour,

« السابقةمتابعة »