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INDIGO.

no restriction : its application is univer- | tender and gracious, he urges us to sal.

He addresses us as if we had In uttering it, our Lord undoubtedly never offended him, nor had rendered it selected language which would meet the necessary that he should suffer on our condition, and fall soothingly on the ear account; as if, in contemplating our of every man. He had surveyed, on the wants, he had actually forgotten our demorning of creation, the vast and dis- pravity and guilt. Indeed, had he himordered abyss of chaos; and he had self been the offending party, and had silenced its tumults, and reduced every entailed on us all the evils we suffer, he element to order. He had sailed with could not have employed language more his disciples in a storm, which threatened affectionate, nor have manifested greater them with destruction, and had calmed solicitude to relieve us. Had he descended it to rest; but when he surveyed the from heaven to announce only this single condition of man, he beheld a storm invitation to our guilty race, it is so gramore furious and deadly than that which ciously adapted to our condition, that it raged on the sea of Tiberias, and a scene would have fully justified the important of confusion more appalling than that mission, and ought to have endeared which chaos presented on the morning of him to every human heart.—Dr. Harris. creation. His eye travelled over scenes and wastes of human woe; scenes in which he saw the chains of captivity ; the pains of superstition; the struggles of poverty; the disappointments of ambi- INDIGO is a substance so valuable for tion; the misgivings of the self-righteous, the production of a blue dye, and its and the exhausted efforts of the sinner, manufacture and uses are so worthy of lashed by the reproaches of an angry

being known, that a few remarks upon it conscience, and aiming to escape from a will be likely to interest the reader. Of load of guilt. He heard the thickening all the vegetable colours employed in cries of misery; his ear caught a sigh, dyeing, it is by far the most important; or a sound of woe, from every habitation, and no substitute has been obtained, alevery breast of man; a never-ebbing though many attempts have been made tide of the sounds of anguish, strife, and to find one. Unlike most other vegetable death. His omniscience penetrated every dyes, it is extracted in foreign countries, heart, and saw the tooth of care corroding and imported into Europe, in a state fit the peace, not merely of the poor and

for use.

Of the plants from which it is the afflicted, but preying alike on the obtained, we shall presently speak; but learned, the wealthy, and the mighty of we shall first give a brief sketch of its the earth. He beheld a storm, in which history, every one was seeking for shelter, with- Indigo was certainly known to those out knowing where to obtain it; and, nations which we are accustomed to call voluntarily exposing himself to all its the ancients; but its early history is horrors, he pressed forth into the midst wrapped in obscurity. It is generally of it, and exclaimed, with a heart which supposed that the substance called indifelt and bled for them all, “ Come unto con by Dioscorides, and indicum by me, and I will give you rest.”

Pliny and Vitruvius, was the indigo of This is an invitation from which no modern times. Vitruvius mentions it in peculiarity in our character or condition a very casual manner, after having treated can possibly exclude us. If any such of the preparation of vermilion. exception could be named, it must be “Chrysocolla," he says, comes from the peculiar accumulation of our guilt, Macedonia, and is found in the vicinity or the amount of our misery; but this, of copper mines. Minium and indicum, so far from excluding, brings us more by their names, indicate the places from completely within the scope of its grace. which they are obtained.” The substance Were it possible for a man to unite, in here spoken of as indicum, was therefore his own individual person, all the wants, brought from India; and when we conand guilt, and capacities of the whole sider the difficulty there was at that time human race, the invitations would only in importing any substance from that address him in a more personal manner, country into Europe, it is not surprizing, and with a deeper emphasis of compas- that we know but little of its early hission. And shall all this benevolence be tory. The only communication was overlost on us? In the name of all that is land to Babylon, or through Arabia, up the Red Sea to Egypt. This, however, the pious caused a proposal to be made we know, from ancient authors, that the to the Diet by his envoy, Dr. Hænnen, indicum, when reduced to a powder, was that indigo should be entirely banished black; but when mixed with water, gave from the empire, and that an exclusive a tint which was intermediate between privilege should be granted to those who purple and blue, and that it was used for dyed with woad. This was followed by colours and dyeing.

an imperial prohibition of indigo, on the In several of the ancient records, as 21st of April, 1654, which was enforced early as the twelfth century, we find the with the greatest severity in his domimention of indigo; and Marco Polo, who nions. What was done in Germany, lived in the thirteenth century, and spent with regard to Thuringia, was done in a large portion of his life in travelling, France with regard to Languedoc. In states, that it was used by dyers in the consequence of an urgent representation kingdom of Concan, and even described of the states of that province, the use of the method in which it was prepared. indigo was forbidden in 1598; and this Francesco Balducci Pegolotti, an author prohibition was afterwards repeated sewho lived in the fourteenth century, gives veral times. But in the well-known in his works, many curious particulars edict of 1669, in which Colbert sepaconcerning the trade in his day, and the rated the fine from the common dyers, various kinds of indigo employed by the it was stated, that indigo should be used dyers.

without woad; and in 1737, dyers were There is much reason to think, that it left at liberty to use indigo alone, or to was one of the substances brought from employ a mixture of indigo and woad.”. India by the earliest Portuguese traders. In England the woad was never cultiThe first ship returned to Europe in 1499, vated, and there was not, therefore, the and Barbosa, who accompanied Magellan same inducement to place a restriction in his voyage round the world, gives the on the use of indigo. But, on the other current price in 1516; and the same hand, numerous advantages were to be substance is mentioned by Corsali, in his gained by its introduction. Consequently letters from India, written the following we find, from the days of Elizabeth, that year. All these circumstances tend to all the laws passed in this country, havprove the early use of indigo, and the ing any relation to indigo, have tended estimation in which it was held as a dye. to increase its consumption; and it is

Upon the discovery of America, an well known to be, in the present day, a attempt was made to manufacture indigo very important article of commerce. from an indigenous plant, to which the Indigo is obtained from a species of early settlers were in all probability plant belonging to the genera, Indigofera, prompted, by observing, that some of Isatis, and Nerium. The Indigofera tincihe native Indians dyed their bodies with toria is found in the East and West Ina vegetable blue. Whether the plant, dies, and in China, and yields a dye of from which the American indigo was ob- tolerably good quality, and in large quantained, belonged to the same genus as tities. The Indigofera anil is an Amerithat found in Asia, has not been ascer- can plant, and produces a more excel. tained;

but it is well known, that the lent dye. The Guatimala indigo, or indigo brought from India, was so supe- Indigofera disperma, is a more woody rior to all others, that the dyers refused plant than the others, and furnishes a to use any other. “At first,” says Mr. superior colour : it is obtained in the Barlow, * only a small quantity of indigo East Indies and in America. The quawas added to the woad, by which the lity of the indigo obtained from the Indilatter was much improved; more was gofera argentea is good, but that from afterwards gradually used, and at last the pseudotinctoria is the best. The Isatiis the quantity became so large, that the tinctoria is the woad of Europe. Much small adınixture of the woad served only of the East Indian indigo brought into to revive the fermentation of the indigo. the European market is from the Nerium Germany thus lost a production by which tinctorium. The best indigo is obtained farmers, merchants, carriers, and others, from that portion of Bengal lying between acquired great riches. In consequence of the river Hoogly and the main stream of the sale of woad being so much dimi- | the Ganges. nished, a prohibition was issued against The cultivation of indigo is in India a the use of indigo by Saxony, in the year matter of considerable importance. It 1650. In the year 1652, duke Ernest succeeds best in a light but rich coil,

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and in a climate where it has the full | mediately commences. In nine or ten heat of the sun, but is occasionally re- hours, the liquid will present the appearfreshed with showers. Nor is iť less ance of boiling, from the agitation pronecessary that the ground should be well duced by the violent fermentation. When cleared of weeds, and drained. The seed this has a little subsided; the liquid is should be sown when the earth has been drawn off into another stone cistern, the moistened with rain, or when rain is top of which is at the same height as falling, it will otherwise be burned up the bottom of the other; so that it flows by the heat, and the vegetating principle without impediment, or requiring any be destroyed. The sowing commences attention. The liquid thus drawn off has at the end of March, or the beginning a bright yellow colour, and is to be kept of April, and is performed in the follow- in a state of constant agitation, by a ing manner. A number of labourers, kind of oar called a busquet, with which who are generally slaves, are placed in a workmen continue to beat it. While line at a short distance from each other, this is going on, other labourers are emand walk across the field, making a small ployed in removing the exhansted plant, trench with their hoes. This being done, and placing it in the sun to dry as a they return in the same line, dropping fuel, and in laying fresh plants for ferthe seed, which they afterwards cover mentation. with earth. The trenches are about a After the liquid in the lower vat has foot apart, and about twelve pounds been beaten for an hour or two, the inof seed will sow an acre of land. If the digo begins to be precipitated. It may weather be moist, the plant will make seem strange and unaccountable, that its appearance in four or five days; and the beating of the liquor should be of it grows so rapidly, that, in the middle any service, and yet it is a process which of June, or the beginning of July, it may must be followed, and is of the greatest be cut for the first time, and this may be importance. In the first place, it is a repeated at an interval of about six means of setting free the carbonic acid weeks, care being taken to choose wet gas; it exposes fresh surfaces of the liweather, or the plant will certainly be quid to the atmosphere, by, which the killed. The first cropping is always the requisite quantity of oxygen is obtained; most valuable, yielding the best indigo. and in the last place, it tends to proStill it is found profitable to cut as often mote the agglomeration of the indigo. as possible, frequently as many as four Several other processes are then adopted, times; each produce, however; being and the indigo is collected in a bag, and inferior to the one which preceded. The submitted to pressure, after which it is plant most abounds with the dyeing prin- cut with a brass wire into pieces, about ciple when it has just come to maturity, three inches cube, and dried. that is to say, when it is in flower. 2. From dried leaves. When indigo

Let us now inquire into the process is to be made from the dried leaves, the by which the indigo is manufactured, plant is cut in the same manner as in the and made fit for introduction into the former process, and the leaves are sepamarket as å dyeing material. There rated from the stems by threshing. When are two processes by which this is done; the leaves have been kept for about a one, by the fermentation of the fresh month, they are then in a fit state for herb, both leaves and stem; the other, the manufacture of indigo. This is done; by the maceration of the dried leaves : by placing them in about six times their of both of these we shall briefly speak. bulk of water, and leaving them to mace

1. From the green plant.—The cut- rate, until a fine green-coloured liquid is tings of the plant being brought from obtained. This liquid is then carried off the field to the manufactory, are placed into the lower cistern, or bearer ; and by in a large stone cistern, called the fer- operations similar to those used in the menting vat, or steeper, which is about former case, the indigo is prepared for three feet in depth, and twenty feet the market. square. In this the cuttings are closely Dr. Roxburgh, of Calcutta, communipacked in layers, and to within five or cated to the Society of Arts an interestsix inches of the surface, and confined ing description of the method of prepárat the top by bamboos, so that they may ing the nerium indigo. This is obtained not rise during the chemical process from the leaves of an elegant middlewhich follows. Water is then poured sized tree, with a short erect trunk, from in, and an active fermentation almost im- one to two feet in diameter, and from

THE FIRST FRUITS OF REASON.

twenty to thirty feet high. The leaves cakes by artists' colourmen, and possess are from six to ten inches long, and a vastly superior tint, and are more easily about three inches wide; and the method used, especially by those who paint in of obtaining indigo from them, is similar water colours, than the indigo blue made to that already described, except that from the raw produce of the fermented heat is einployed.

leaf.-H. Merchants are accustomed to speak of several kinds of indigo, such as the copper-coloured, the purple, and the blue. These varieties may probably be traced to the character of the plant from which The situation of man on the globe they are extracted, the time of cutting, he inhabits, and over which he has obthe method of manufacture, and many tained the control, is in many respects other circumstances, which, although ap- exceedingly remarkable. Compared with parently unimportant, may have a great its other denizens, he seems, if we regard influence upon the product.

only his physical constitution, in almost We might here mention a variety of every respect their inferior, and equally interesting chemical experiments, which unprovided for the supply of his natural may be made with indigo ; but our space wants, and his defence against the innuwill compel us to confiné our attention merable enemies which surround him. to a few facts relative to the use of this No other animal passes so large a portion substance in the arts.

of his existence in a state of absolute Indigo is not soluble in water, and yet helplessness, or falls in old age, into can only be employed as a dye when in such protracted and lamentable imbecia liquid state. The blue vats of the dyer lity. To no other warm-blooded animal contain a solution of indigo, formed by has nature denied that indispensable codissolving it in sulphuric acid, and with vering, without which the vicissitudes of the action of heat. The cloth is first im- a temperate, and the rigours of a cold pregnated with a mordant, and is then climate, are equally insupportable; and immersed in the vat. After having un- to scarcely any has she been so sparing dergone the various mechanical manipu- in external weapons, whether for attack lations of the dyer, it is washed, either or defence. Destitute alike of speed to in a running stream, or in large quanti- avoid, and of arms to repel, the aggresties of water. When the superfluous dye sions of his voracious foes ; tenderly sushas been thus removed, the cloth retains ceptible of atmospheric influences, and a blue colour, more or less intense, ae- unfitted for the coarse aliments which the cording to the strength of the solution of earth affords spontaneously, during at indigo in which it was dyed.

least two-thirds of the year, even in Indigo is but little used in any other temperate climates, man, iť abandoned to art than that of dyeing. The starch- mere instincts would be of all creatures maker employs it, to give a blue colour the most destitute and miserable. Disto his manufacture, and from it, also, tracted by terror, and goaded by famine, two colours are made for artists. One driven to the most abject expedients for of these, sold in cakes under the name concealment from his enemies, and to of indigo blue, is formed simply by mix- the most cowardly devices for the seizure ing the powdered indigo with gum or and destruction of his nobler prey, his isinglass, a small quantity of sugar being existence would be one continued subtersometimes added. The other colour, fuge or stratagem; his dwelling would known in commerce under the name of be in dens of the earth, in clefts of rocks, intense blue, and by chemists, as indigo- or in the hollows of trees; his food, tine, is a most remarkable and curious worins and the lower reptiles, or such preparation. If indigo be powdered and few and crude productions of the soil as subjected to a high temperature, a va- his organs could be brought to assimilate, pour will be given off, which, on cooling, varied with occasional relics, mangled by will crystallize in the upper parts of the more powerful beasts of prey, or. convessel. The crystals are of a prismatic temned by their more pampered choice. or needle form, and have externally a Remarkable only for the absence of those lustrous copper hue; but they are also powers and qualities which obtain for transparent, and when viewed against other animals a degree of security and the light, have an intense and pure blue respect, he would be disregarded by some colour. They are ground, and made into and hunted down by others; till, after a few generations, his species would become tiger, are slaughtered by him, to supply altogether extinct, or at best would be his most capricious wants, or trained to restricted to a few islands in tropical re- do him service, or imprisoned to make gions, where the warmth of the climate, him sport. The spoils of all nature are the paucity of enemies, and the abund- in daily requisition for his most common ance of vegetable food, might permit it uses; yielded with more or less readiness, to linger.

Yet man is the undisputed or wrested with reluctance from the lord of the creation ; the strongest, the mine, the forest, the ocean, and the air. fiercest of his fellow creatures. The Such are the first fruits of reason.whale, the elephant, the eagle, and the Herschell.

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The Water Melon. Cucurbita Citrullus.

CUCURBITACEOUS PLANTS.

any particular details respecting the cuThe cucurbitaceous plants, of which curbitaceous family, it will be more rethe cucumber and the gourd are the gular to give a concise delineation of leading examples, form a very natural its distinguishing characteristics. The assemblage of individuals, allied to each most conspicuous part of the flower, other by marks that are easily recognized which some call the corolla, and others, by the most common observer. The long the calyx, is divided into five segments, climbing stem of the white briony, brionia and has a remarkable contraction just alba, with its spiral claspers, and the form above the germen, upon the top of which of its green-veined flowers, readily offer it is seated. Some of the flowers yield to the attentive mind an affinity with the stamens, and the rest pistils; that is, some cucumber, though one is made the object furnish the pollen or fertilizing dust, and of studious care to the cultivator, and the others, the embryo of the future fruit. other accounted a wild herb, scarcely Gardeners unacquainted with botanical worth the trouble of being known and discrimination and phraseology, have remembered. But before we enter into / long been able to tell, by a single glance,

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