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ART. V.—Mr. MIDDLETON on the Meteors of August 10th, 1839. To the Editor of the Asiatic Journal.
SIR,-I beg to send you an account of several meteors, commonly called crolites, which appeared at Calcutta on the evening of Saturday the 10th instant, and trust that simultaneous observations in other parts of India, may confer upon it scientific value. It is particularly desirable, that if the same phenomena were witnessed by others, they should publish the particulars, since by numerous and varied observations alone can any hope of ultimate acquaintance with those yet mysterious bodies be entertained.
At 11 P. M. the atmosphere being particularly clear, my attention was attracted by a meteor of comparatively small size, and of a reddish colour, like that of the planet Mars, and unaccompanied by any train. It first appeared at a point in or near the prime vertical, and having about 40° of zenith distance, and it disappeared about 30° above the horizon. This was, about thirty minutes after, followed by another of far greater brilliancy and magnitude, which appeared in nearly the same place and followed the same path, projecting behind it a luminous train, stretching from the place of its appearance to that of the disappearance of the body, and vanishing simultaneously with it. The train while it lasted most distinctly marked the path of the crolite, which appeared to be a curve of small curvature; while the height and direction of the body, as indicated by it, was such as to have carried it far beyond my horizon. The velocity of this meteor, like that of the others, was amazing, carrying it through between 50° and 60° in as near as I could guess, about 1 second. At five minutes past eleven another appeared in the zenith, and swept along, in apparently a straight line, vanishing at about the same elevation above
(*) In original
the horizon as the former ones. The magnitude and brilliancy of this body was nearly like that of the planet Venus, as seen at present; its bright train being thickly strewed with sparkling points without progressive motion. Between this time and half-past eleven six others appeared, some to the westward and others to the eastward of the meridian, but much less conspicuous for magnitude and brilliancy than the two last described, and only one of them which appeared about 20° to the west having a train.
The general facts observable regarding them were these,-First, they all appeared at points in or near the prime vertical. Secondly, their common vanishing limit was about 30° above the horizon. Thirdly, their paths appeared to be parallel and lying from north to south. Fourthly, their velocities appeared to be equal.
I may mention, in conclusion, that no sound was observable either on their appearance, progress, or disappearance. I am, Sir, yours truly,
16th August, 1839.
ART. VI. Note to the Editors on the Native mode of preparing the per
fumed Oils of Jasmine and Bela.
By DR. JACKSON, Ghazeepore.
In my last communication on the subject of Rose-water, I informed you that the natives here were in the habit of extracting the scent from some of the highly smelling flowers, such as the Jasmine, &c., and that I would procure you a sample, and give you some account of the manner in which it is obtained. By the present Steamer I have dispatched two small phials containing some of the Oil procured from the Jasmine and the Bela flower. For this purpose the natives never make use of distillation, but extract the essence by causing it to be absorbed by some of the purest oleaginous seeds, and then expressing these in a common mill, when the oil given out has all the scent of the flower which has been made use of. The plan adopted, is to place on the ground a layer of the flower, about four inches thick and two feet square; over this they put some of the Tel or Sesamum seed wetted, about two inches thick, and two feet square; on this again is placed another layer of flowers, about four inches thick, as in the first instance; the whole is then covered with a sheet, which is held down by weights at the ends and sides. In this state it is allowed to remain from twelve to eighteen hours; after this the flowers are removed, and other layers placed in the
same way; this also is a third time repeated, if it is desired to have the scent very strong. After the last process, the seeds are taken in their swollen state and placed in a mill; the oil is then expressed, and possesses most fully the scent of the flower. The oil is kept in prepared skins called dubbers, and is sold at so much per seer. The Jasmine and Bela† are the two flowers from which the natives in this district chiefly produce their scented oil, the Chumbul is another; but I have been unable to procure any of this. The season for manufacture is coming on. The present oils were manufactured a year ago, and do not possess the powerful scent of that which has been recently prepared. Distillation is never made use of for this purpose as it is with the roses, the extreme heat, (from its being in the middle of the rains, when the trees come into flower) would most likely carry off all the scent. The Jasmine, or Chymbele as it is called, is used very largely amongst the women, the hair of the head, and the body, being daily smeared with some of it. The specimen I send you costs at the rate of two Rupees per seer. July 10, 1839.
ART. VII.-Report on the manufacture of Tea, and on the extent and produce of the Tea Plantations in Assam. By C. A. BRUCE, Superintendent of Tea Culture.
(Presented by the Tea Committee, August 16th, 1839.)
I submit this report on our Assam Tea with much diffidence, on account of the troubles in which this frontier has been unfortunately involved. I have had something more than Tea to occupy my mind, and have consequently not been able to commit all my thoughts to paper at one time; this I hope will account for the rambling manner in which I have treated the subject. Such as my report is, I trust it will be found acceptable, as throwing some new light on a subject of no little importance to British India, and the British public generally. In drawing out this report, it gives me much pleasure to say, that our information and knowledge respecting Tea and Tea tracts are far more extensive than when I last wrote on this subject ;-the number of tracts now known amounting to 120, some of them very extensive, both on the hills and in the plains. A reference to the accompanying map will
* A closely similar plan is followed in Europe in the preparation of the Jasmine, and several other very fugitive perfumes The fixed oil employed is usually that of the Ben or Moringa nut, with which cotton is soaked. The cotton and flowers are then placed in alternate layers, as in the Indian process.-EDS.
† Jasminum zambac.
shew that a sufficiency of seeds and seedlings might be collected from these tracts in the course of a few years to plant off the whole of Assam ; and I feel convinced, from my different journeys over the country, that but a very small portion of the localities are as yet known.
Last year in going over one of the hills behind Jaipore, about 300 feet high, I came upon a Tea tract, which must have been two or three miles in length, in fact I did not see the end of it; the trees were in most parts as thick as they could grow, and the Tea seeds (smaller than what I had seen before) fine and fresh, literally covered the ground; this was in the middle of November, and the trees had abundance of fruit and flower on them. One of the largest trees I found to be two cubits in circumference, and full forty cubits in height. At the foot of the hill I found another tract, and had time permitted me to explore those parts, there is no doubt but I should have found many of the Naga Hills covered with Tea. I have since been informed of two more tracts near this. In going along the foot of the Hills to the westward, I was informed that there was Tea at Teweack, or near it: this information came too late, for I had passed it just a little to the east of the Dacca river, at a place called Cheriedoo, a small hill projecting out more than the rest on the plain to the northward, with the ruins of a brick temple on it; here I found Tea, and no doubt if there had been time to examine, I should have found many more tracts. I crossed the Dacca river at the old fort of Ghergong, and walked towards the Hills, and almost immediately came upon Tea. The place is called Hauthoweah. Here I remained a couple of days, going about the country, and came upon no fewer than thirteen tracts. A Dewaniah who assisted me to hunt out these tracts, and who was well acquainted with the leaf, as he had been in the habit of drinking tea during his residence with the Singphoes, informed me that he had seen a large tract of Tea plants on the Naga mountains, a day's journey west of Chiridoo. I have no reason to doubt the veracity of this man; he offered to point out the place to me, or any of my men, if they would accompany him; but as the country belonged to Raja Poorunda Sing, I could not examine it. I feel convinced the whole of the country is full of Tea.
Again, in going further to the south-west, just before I came to Gabrew hill, I found the small hills adjoining it, to the eastward, covered with Tea plants. The flowers of the Tea on these hills are of a pleasant delicate fragrance, unlike the smell of our other Tea-plants; but the leaves and fruit appear the same. This would be a delightful place for the manufacture of Tea, as the country is well populated, has abundance of grain, and labour is cheap. There is a small stream called the
Jhangy river, at a distance of two hours walk; it is navigable, I am informed, all the year round for small canoes, which could carry down the Tea; and the place is only one and a half day's journey from Jorehaut, the capital of Upper Assam. South-west of Gabrew Purbut (about two days journey) there is a village at the foot of the hill, inhabited by a race called Norahs; they are Shans, I believe, as they came from the eastward, where Tea abounds. I had long conversations with them, and the oldest man of the village, who was also the head of it, informed me, that when his father was a young man, he had emigrated with many others, and settled at Tipum opposite Jaipore on account of the constant disturbances at Munkum; that they brought the Tea plant with them and planted it on the Tipum hill, where it exists to this day; and that when he was about sixteen years of age, he was obliged to leave Tipum, on account of the wars and disturbances at that place, and take shelter at the village where he now resides. This man said he was now eighty years of age, and that his father died a very old man. How true this story is, I cannot say, and do not see what good it would do the old man to fabricate it. This was the only man I met with in my journeys about the country who could give any account of the Tea plant, with the exception of an Ahum, who declared to me that it was Sooka, or the first Kacharry Rajah of Assam, who brought the Tea plant from Munkum; he said it was written in his Putty, or history. The Ahum-Putty I have never been able to get hold of; but this I know, that the information about the Tea plant pointed out by the old Norah man, as being on the Tipum hill, is true; for I have cleared the tract where it grew thickest, about 300 yards by 300, running from the foot of the hill to the top. The old man told me his father cut the plant down every third year, that he might get the young leaves.
To the west of Gabrew I did not find any Tea; but to the westward of the Dhunseeree river I found a species, through not the same as that we use. If the people on the west side of the Dhunseeree river were acquainted with the true leaf, I think Tea would be found. I planted it all along the route I went, which may lead to its eventual discovery; but people should be sent to search for the plant who are really acquainted with it. I think a vast quantity of Tea would be brought to light if this were done. A reference to the map will shew how our tracts are distributed all over the country. How much Tea they would all produce if fully worked, I will not pretend to say, but in the course of this subject; I will mention such matters relative to the tracts and the plants on them, that every one may make his own calculation. Until lately we had only two Chinese Black-Tea makers. These men have