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ever, tried several samples which the exhibitor gave us without any other admixture, and they have been highly approved by all who have tasted them.
Amongst the other luxuries (if tea can be so designated) exhibited here, we were much interested in, but not greatly edified by, that of opium in its various states of preparation : "crude ball” opium, “grain," and other forms in which this noxious substance is vended; and, as appropriate companions to this enervating narcotic, we found various intoxicating drinks used by the natives.
These consist of rice and date arrack, rum, and “country spirits," the latter being distilled from the cocoa-nut palm.
But if these alcoholic beverages fail to call up pleasant associations in our minds, we have here two other products of the vegetable kingdom, one of which especially is becoming every day of greater importance to our welfare at home. The first is indigo, of which, along with many other colouring materials, there is a goodly show; and the second, to which special reference must be made, comprises the various seeds used in the manufacture of oils and cattle-cake. The Bombay linseed, of which above 35,000 tons weight were imported into England alone in the year 1861, is the finest in the world, and commands the highest price of any in the market.
To give our readers some idea of the cause of its high relative value, we may just state the following facts concerning it :-Linseed yields two substances in crushing ; viz., oil, used for painters' purposes, &c. &c., and the residue being cattlecake.*
Whilst we write this, the value of linseed oil is £42 per ton, whilst that of linseed-cake is only £11 per ton. It is therefore obvious that the more oil obtained from the seed, the more valuable it must be.
Now a quarter of Riga linseed weighs 400 lb., and yields about 94 lb. of oil in crushing, the residue being inferior cake; whilst a quarter of Bombay linseed weighs 416 lb., yielding 132 lb. of oil, and the remainder fine nutritious cake, of considerably more value than that made from other seeds. This explains the increased worth of the Bombay seed. The linseed from Calcutta and Madras is but slightly inferior to that of Bombay.
Again, the finest refined burning rape-oil is extracted from the - Guzerat” rape-seed, grown in the province of that name, and exported from Bombay; so much so, that a considerablo
* No doubt all our readers who visited the Exhibition will have seen the seed-crushing process carried on in the Machinery department of the building, by Messrs. Blundell, Spence, & Co., of Hull.
quantity of the so-called colza oil, imported from France and Belgium, is made from the seed originally brought from India to London and Liverpool, and thence re-exported to those two countries. How important must our colonies be to our welfare, when we find that the continental nations which supply us with food for our lamps come to England to purchase, for this purpose, the raw material which is brought from our own distant settlements. Besides the two already named, there are many other seeds yielding oil. Of these the chief are, teel, or gingelly, a small white and black seed; niger, a bright black seed; poppy, ground-nuts, &c. &c. As to the products made from these seeds, if cattle could speak, they would probably tell us that they frequently observe indications of the presence of the inferior cakes made from some of them in their linseed cake; but, as they cannot, that will remain a profound secret. We, however, have suspected the presence of the oils, which are for the most part colourless, and are largely used in France and the Mediterranean, in the olive oil; and wicked persons are in the habit of asserting, in the most barefaced manner, that they are largely employed for the purposes of adulteration.
The mineral products of India are not conspicuous, and the coal, of which there are the representatives of the five different fields now worked, is of inferior quality, and suited only for river steamers.
The specimens of silk, wool, and other animal products, are of the first order ; and these lead us into what is, unfortunately for us, forbidden ground.
It does not come within our sphere to speak of the exquisite works of art which give such éclat to the Indian Court,—of the ornaments in silver and gold; of woven fabrics of such delicacy as to be almost transparent, and which are trimmed with gold and silver lace equally delicate. Nay, the further we venture into this court tho more seductire does the exhibition become. These gorgeous ornaments of gold and silver; these caps and crowns, fans and punkahs; this beautiful carved furniture; these richly jewelled and inlaid arms; and such Cashmere shawls, gold-einbroidered purses, caps, and slippers! . . . . but we must proceed no further, and, with a well-merited compli. inent to Dr. Forbes Watson, for what we consider the most perfectly arranged of all the colonial courts—and that is saying much--we must now bid adieu to the wealth of India, and hasten onward to
Natal. Although we cannot tarry long in this court, we have time to inspect the interesting model of a Kafir kraal, or encampment fortified against wild beasts, and equally wild inimical tribes. Or we may imagine ourselves for the moment to be emigrants, and examine with interest the bush waggon and its appendages. We may admire, too, the native cap, manufactured of feathers, and exhibited so prominently; and stay for an instant to hear that our colonists have commenced the culture of tea and silk, and that the sugars produced in the settlement are of excellent quality. In passing out, we cannot fail to notice the fine specimens of rhinoceros horns, nor to be struck with the display of native weapons, all of which speak of a population consisting largely of aborigines; and, leaving the colonists to develop their resources and push on the work of civilization, we now hurry onwards to the
Cape of Good Hope. The exhibition in this court is unique, and is calculated to cause surprise to one who has visited the remaining courts in which our colonies are represented ; for it consists of a limited display of articles contributed by one individual, Mr. Ghislen.
This gentleman has done what he can to redeem the character of this important colony, which is absolutely unrepresented, wherefore we know not,* The most remarkable, and certainly a novel, feature in Mr. Ghislen's beautiful little museum is the application of seaweeds (algæ), instead of wood or horn, in the manufacture of whips, handles to cutlery, &c. The stems of a marine plant (Ecklonia buccinalis ?) are submitted to some hardening process, and then bronzed, painted, or gilt ; and certainly they look very attractive when thus treated, and converted into riding-whips, &c.
In close contiguity to the “ Cape” court, if it can be so called, is that of the “ Bahamas," which deservedly commands considerable attention, from the beautiful shell ornaments contained in it. All our home-made articles of the kind are eclipsed by these exquisite objects, which consist of baskets, head-wreaths, &c., all of a beautifully translucent white. The buds of the flowers are composed of “ricc-shells,” the leaves of “ cup-shells,” and the effect produced by this combination surpasses our powers of description. Why do not our English jewellers direct their attention more earnestly to the employment of such beautiful productions of nature as these? They would adorn a royal head, and far exceed in elegance much of the gaudy and fashionable head-gear now in vogue.
Let us once more cross over to the eastern side of the transept which we are exploring, and we shall there find, in close proximity, our colonies of Trinidal, British Griana, and Jamaica, which present features worthy of consideration. Antiabolitionists point to Jamaica as one of the ruinous results of the manumission of slaves; but, for a “bankrupt” colony, we
* As we visited the Exhibition shortly after it was opened, other objects of interest may have been sent over subsequently.
confess that it contrasts very favourably with some of our sol. vent ones! The most interesting staple is decidedly sugar; and here, again, we find, what we cannot commend too highly nor too frequently—the complete illustration of this branch of
sugar, as extracted from the plant; molasses; very many samples of sugar as exported; about ninety samples of rum, and a great variety of liqueurs.
Another very prominent product of the island is the lacebark (Lagetta lintearca), and other similar substances, commercially know as “bast,” and employed for tying up cigars and other manufactured goods. But it would be impossible even to enumerate the products of this rich island, for the mention of them would occupy as much space as this article. It asserts its claim to be considered a cotton-growing colony, not only experimentally but practically. Its animal, vegetable, and mineral products are very numerous, the collections of natural history objects deeply interesting, and the Art collection by
In British Guiana we find samples of cotton-wool which have been pronounced equal to the finest Sea-Island; and we could describe much more that is interesting, did we not fear that the patience of our readers is already exhausted by this dry catalogue; we shall, therefore, hurry through our task and bring these remarks to a close.
The contents of the Canadian Settlements present every indication of a rising empire. The vegetable products of Canada Proper are of the most important and indispensable description. Winter wheat, weighing 66 lb. to the bushel, is shown with no little pride; and the enormous “ trophy” of coarse woods sufficiently denotes the flourishing state of a trade which is being largely interfered with by the daily-increasing employment of iron in shipbuilding. This trophy itself is composed of enormous planks of oak, maple, birch, ash, elm, cedar, pine, walnut, cherry, and a number of other kinds, of which the names are almost unknown here; whilst the pedestal of the trophy consists of gigantic blocks or cross-sections of the same woods.
In the New Brunswick Court the same woods are exhibited in a very interesting manner. They form the leaves of a book, and are accompanied by the fruit and foliage of the various trees to which they appertain. Here, too, we have a valuable collection of furs, beaver-skins, &c.; and one of the chief attractions of the court consists of the beautiful pieces of furniture, cabinets, “what-nots,” &c., constructed by the fair hands of the Canadian ladies, of “cone-work,” in other words, with the cones of the fir-tree.
One mineral substance remains to be noticed in detail, and then we have done.
In this court is a most instructive series of samples illustrating the production, by distillation, of “Albertine oil” from Albert coal. We shall endeavour to convey by description some idea of the appearance of this useful substance in its various stages of manufacture.
First, then, we have the “ Albert coal," a bright, light coal, somewhat resembling our “ cannel.” From this, a thick black fluid is extracted, which resembles crude petroleum, a greenishblack oil; this we will call No. 1. The next process, No. 2, leaves the oil solid, like clotted moist sugar ; from this is produced No. 3, which presents a totally different appearance : it is a jelly-like mass, of a gold colour, and full of fine needleshaped crystals. No. 4 is a thin liquid, resembling colza oil, but flowing more like a spirit. No. 5 may be compared to Irish whisky, being a thin straw-coloured spirit; whilst the last process, No. 6, brings us to the refined spirit, not unlike camphine in appearance.
Thus we have glanced cursorily at our most important colonies—have visited, in turn, New Zealand, the various parts of the continent of Australia ; Ceylon and India, with their rich tropical productions; Natal, and the Cape of Good Hope; our West Indian settlements; and, lastly, the important districts of Canada.
Our review has necessarily been brief and imperfect, for we have had so large a mass of materials to consider—have observed such numerous indications of increasing wealth and prosperity—that, as we entered one court after the other, we were more and more perplexed to decide what appeared the most likely to interest our readers.
Let us repeat most emphatically, that, with one or two exceptions, the display is highly creditable to the exhibitors : not only evincing a spirit of enterprise, of which, as Englishmen, we should not boast over much, but an increasing intelligence and a progressive knowledge in science and scientific applications, calculated to astonish those who bestow upon them the consideration which they so richly deserve.
Long may our colonies continue to flourish! Long may they remember that this is the mother-country; but ... (in this wish it is questionable whether we shall command such unanimous approval as in the two preceding) may they soon be sufficiently strong to govern themselves, so as to constitute the independent centres of civilization all over the habitable globe.