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Full text of "A philosophical and statistical history of the inventions and customs of ancient and modern nations in the manufacture and use of inebriating liquors; with the present practice of distillation in all its varieties: together with an extensive illustration of the consumption and effects of opium, and other stimulants used in the East, as substitutes for wine and spirits"

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Engraved for Morewood a History of Inebriating Liquon. 



or THE 






tywttite of Distillation in all its 












A? 6 












FOURTEEN years having elapsed since the first publica 
tion of this work, and the design having met the appro 
bation of many respectable writers, the Author is 
induced to offer to the public an improved edition, 
amplified, extended, and rendered more worthy of atten 
tion by the addition of new, original, and valuable 
matter. Hopes were indeed entertained that, as this 
was the first publication on a subject hitherto untouched 
by any writer in the British empire, it would have excited 
the curiosity and employed the talents and research of 
other individuals more at leisure ; nothing, however, 
during such a lapse of time, has been offered to the 
public exactly on the plan of this undertaking. 

In the London Dispensatory, quotations have been 
made from this work, and the Author was a little 
flattered to find his labours valued, and a portion of them 
ingeniously condensed into the compass of a Table, 
exhibiting, at one view, the numerous descriptions of 
inebriating drinks, with the countries where, and the 


materials whereof they were made ; and which Table 
has been since transcribed into other books. The design 
and plan, as well as the execution of this work, have 
been approved of by the late respected Dr. Duncan, of 
Edinburgh, who, in his Dispensatory, was pleased to 
rank it amongst the best publications on the subject, 
whether foreign or domestic. Immediately after its 
appearance, a History of Wines was published by Dr. 
Henderson, founded on that of Sir Edward Barry fa 
work of great research, labour, and industry, alike 
creditable to his taste and talents) ; but that volume, 
being solely confined to the subject of wines, did, by no 
means, include the extensive views embodied within the 
compass of this work. Since the appearance of Dr. 
Henderson s book and that of the Author, several 
publications have issued from the press, either modelled 
on their plan, or derived from their matter and sources ; 
yet none embracing the wide range taken in this publi 
cation. Whatever may have been the opinions of the 
limits or defects of the first edition, the Author presumes 
that, while its original matter has been carefully preserved, 
it has also been greatly increased from more extensive 
and laborious researches, supplying every thing that 
may render it useful to the merchant, interesting to the 
speculatist, entertaining to the general reader, and 
calculated to be a safe guide to the practical brewer and 
distiller. To avoid interrupting the narrative, almost 
the whole of the Tables have been thrown into an 
Addenda, and in the body of the work those only have 
been retained, which are either absolutely necessary to 


illustrate the subject, or which afford to the man of 
business a clear view of the various branches of com 
merce connected with the wine and spirit trades. For 
the same reason, as the work has not been divided into 
chapters, a copious, introductory Table of Contents is 
given, by which means the reader is at once guided to 
the part wanted, while the Index affords a more minute 
reference to details. 

The processes of Brewing and Distilling, according 
to the most approved modern methods, are, it is pre 
sumed, so amply and intelligibly detailed, that by a 
careful observance of the instructions given, any man 
may become his own brewer or distiller, and may also 
with confidence calculate on the probabilities of the 
successful, or unsuccessful, result of his speculations. 
To these important matters are added epitomes of the 
laws, by which those trades have been and are still 
governed, with the estimated advantages and disadvan 
tages of their application. 

Descriptions of the several instruments used by 
Brewers, Distillers, Merchants, and Officers of the 
Revenue, are given, with a statement of the principles 
on which they are constructed, rendering their applica 
tion easy and familiar to every capacity. The nature 
and properties of alcohol are detailed, and the various 
substances from which it may be obtained are minutely 
described, with the relative value of the several vegetables 
or other materials that yield it. 

In the article on Opium and other vegetable inebriants, 
great care has been taken to bring under review their 


effects and properties, whether resorted to as stimulants 
to sensuality, or for medicinal uses, alike illustrative of 
the general subject, and affording information to the 
practical chemist, the botanical student, and the curious 
observer of nature. While the evil consequences of 
undue or irregular indulgences have been carefully 
depicted and illustrated by appropriate anecdotes, strict 
regard has been paid to their connexion with revealed 
religion, and the laws that ought to regulate society, 
whether in the Pagan, Mahometan, Jewish, or Christian 
world. The efforts of Temperance Societies to prevent 
the progress of immorality, arising from the frequent and 
excessive use of intoxicating liquors, have been inci 
dentally noticed, and although the detail may appear 
to some irrelevant, it cannot fail to prove acceptable to 
every person who has the well-being of his fellow-crea 
tures at heart. Reference has also been made to the 
policy adopted in various countries of deriving a revenue 
from intoxicating liquors, the means employed in raising 
that revenue are explained, while their effects, as regards 
the community at large, are freely discussed. 

On perusal of the Book, the learned reader will per 
ceive the difficulties, which the Author has had to 
encounter in collecting materials for so novel a publica 
tion. Every quarter of the globe, it may be said, has 
been laid under contribution to aid the undertaking ; and 
the patient labours of scientific research have been pur 
sued with indefatigable activity (during the scanty leisure 
afforded by arduous official business), to render as com 
plete and comprehensive as possible a subject, which, in 


the collection and arrangement of the materials, might 
have wearied or discouraged more enterprising writers. 
Having, however, brought the matter to a close, he 
trusts the public will do him the justice to believe 
that utility rather than pecuniary interest was the chief 
object of his researches, since the volume has far 
exceeded the bounds originally intended ; and, should he 
prove so fortunate as to meet the approbation of the 
learned and curious, he will feel, in a great measure, 
repaid for the many difficulties he has had to encounter 
in the composition of a work, by which he has beguiled 
many a tedious hour, and sweetened many a solitary 

It may be well to observe, that the desire to compress 
the matter within the limits of a single volume, pre 
vented the insertion of some practical calculations and 
observations connected with brewing and distilling, which 
will, however, be brought forward at a future period, 
should the success of the present work warrant it. 

8, Peter- Place, Dublin, 
May, 1838. 


Early cultivation of the grape . . ...-..-. , . 1 

Use of wine among the Hebrews . . , > . 5 

the Egyptians . . ;. . 7-50 

the Greeks and Romans ;, , ^ ._. 6 

Disquisition on the reputed knowledge of the Arabs and Saracens in 

the practice of distillation . . . . ..23 

Prohibition of wine, and anecdotes respecting its use, among the Mahometans 33 
Liquors used by the Syrians . . i ., f , . 45 

- - the Nubians . . . . . 55^ 

the Abyssinians . " -, , ,58 

- other African nations . , . . . 63 \ 

the Persians . . . v .. 82 

Observations on Opium and other exhilarating substances . ._ 96 

Liquors used by the Tartars . . . . 136 

the people of India . , , ..151 

Thibet . . . . .. 170 

Bootan . . . . ;, .173 

the Birman empire . . , . 174 

Siam . . , . . 176 

Nicobar Islands . . , .180 

Ceylon . . .. > . ibid 

Madagascar . . . -. .. 167 

Sumatra . . . . "... 191 

Java . . ., .192 

Phillippine Islands . . , . 200 

Cochin- China and Tonquin f . . 202 

China ..... 208 

Japan . , . 238 

Loo-Choo Islands . " , ; . 246 

Polynesian Islands . , , .. 250 

Australasia, embracing New Zealand and New 

South Wales, &c. &c. . . 258__ 

Eastern Africa .^ .^ . . 268 

Cape of Good Hope .... 270 

St. Helena . . . . . 281_j 

West Indian Islands . . . . 289 

Mexico and Peru . - f 292 

Chili . .y- -. . 307 

Paraguay . . ...,. . 311 

Brazil . 312 k 

the Floridas 320 



Liquors used of the United States 

- Canada . . 

the Indian tribes 

- Canary Isles . 


Spain . , 


-"" France . * 

Italy . . 

Isles of the Mediterranean . 

Ionian Islands . . 


Hungary . , " . 

Provinces bordering on the Rhine 

* Germany . 


- - Hanover . . , 

- - Prussia 


- - Denmark . , * 

- - Iceland 

- - Norway . . . 

Sweden . . . 

""* Lapland arid Finland . 

Russia . . ;" 

- - Crimea . ,- . 

- - Georgia , : . . 

- - Circassia . . ; . : 


- - Kamtschatka 
-.-"** England 

Scotland . 

_ _ Ireland . . , . 

Addenda ...... 

Index ...... 
































Page 52, line 27, for mines, read wines. 

307, , 

10, for vine, read wine. 
.. 2, for import, read impost. 
.. 3, for Whitehead, read Whitbread. 
.. 6, for progress, read produce. 
.. 31, for 5,675, read 56.76. 
.. 34, for chargers, read charges- 
.. 36, for chprger, read charge- 
.. 40, for rage, read range. 
,. 14, for look read lock. 








man was driven from that peaceful asylum originally assigned 
to him by his Creator, and condemned to earn his bread by the labour 
of his hands,* his attention was, no doubt, powerfully exerted in pro 
curing the necessaries of life ; such as food, clothing, and habitation. 
As a cultivator of the earth, he must have been constantly employed, 
and, as his occupation varied with the varying seasons, his mind was 
continually exercised in contrivances to diminish and sweeten his toil. 
His activity, when thus excited, soon extended its influence to every 
department of life, and having procured its necessaries, he was no 
doubt early led to the exercise of his ingenuity in the attainment of 
its luxuries. Among these, the preservation of fruit and their juices, 
however rudely practised, might have led to the use of inebriating 
drink ; a beverage which, as will hereafter be shewn, has been disco 
vered by some of the most savage nations, and deemed a luxury by 
the almost universal testimony of mankind. 

Whether the use or knowledge of fermenting the grape was known 
before the flood, is now uncertain. We are informed, that a city was 

* Genesis iii. 23. 

built by Cain, which was named Enoch, after his son,* and that Juhal, 
one of his early descendants, invented the harp and organ, while ano 
ther, Tubal Cain, was an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron. 
From this it is evident, that the working of metals and the construc 
tion of various sorts of implements had, at this early period of the 
world, arrived at a considerable degree of perfection : and it has been 
conjectured, with great probability, that as Adam and Cain were 
" tillers of the ground," they could not have cultivated it without 
instruments of husbandry made from metals, hence the plausibility of 
the conclusion, that God in his goodness gave to our first parent the 
principles of every branch, of knowledge suited to his condition and 
that of his posterity. There is nothing however to guide us, even at 
this advanced state of the arts, in the supposition that mankind had 
then any knowledge of inebriating liquors. At what period therefore, 
and in what manner, wine was first made and used, is now unknown. 
Noah, it appears from Genesis ix. 21, became drunk with the produce 
of his own vineyard ; and, as it is reasonable to suppose, he was well 
acquainted with all the discoveries of his progenitors, and their diffe 
rent methods of cultivating the ground, we may infer from this 
circumstance, that the cultivation of the vine was practised in the 
antediluvian world, and the intoxicating quality of the grape fully 
experienced. In the 20th verse of the chapter of Genesis, above 
quoted, it is said, " Noah began to be a husbandman, and he planted 
a vineyard," from which it is not to be inferred that this was the first 
time he had done so, or that he was the first husbandman. As the 
words to be are not in the original, the learned Doctor Kennicott says 
that the translation ought to be, " Noah continued to be a husband 
man," implying that this was a recommencement of an occupation 
which had only been interrupted by the flood. Whether, however, 
the drink, which had the effect of intoxicating him, was the simple 
expressed juice of the grape, or had undergone any fermenting pro 
cess, we are not told. It is admitted that the mere juice of the grape 
has no inebriating quality ; and that to produce intoxication it must 
undergo a certain degree of fermentation ; but as the ripe juice pos 
sesses in itself all the principles essential to such a change, it would 
very soon ferment, particularly in warm climates, so that the period 
would be but short between its mild and intoxicating state. The juice 
of the grape, which is usually called must, is known to ferment of itself 
at a heat of about 70, and hence wine must have been early known, 
particularly in hot climates where drink is so much required to allay 

* Genesis iv. 1 7. 


thirst, a further proof that the vinous fermentation was familiar long- 
anterior to the deluge. Carrying 1 this idea still farther towards the 
creation, Milton seems to have entertained the opinion, that the fruit 
of which our first parents had eaten, 

" Whose mortal taste 

Brought death into the world, and all our woe," 

was of an intoxicating nature, when he says, 

" Soon as the force of that fallacious fruit 
That \vith exhilarating vapour bland 
About their spirits had played, and inmost powers 
Made err, was now exhaled." 

The Rabbins, or Jewish doctors, were of the same belief ; the vine 
being considered by them as the tree so strictly prohibited by the 
Almighty. Doctor Lightfoot and many eminent theologians were 
impressed with the like opinion ;* but all conjectures on this subject, 
however respectably supported, are unsatisfactory, obscured as it is 
by the lapse of ages and the silence of the grave. It is worthy of 
remark, that these opinions of the learned are in coincidence with the 
oral tradition of different nations. In the island of Madagascar, the 
prevailing notion of the natives is a striking illustration. They believe 
that the four rivers of paradise consisted of milk, wine, honey, and 
oil ; and that Adam, who required no sustenance, having drunk of 
the wine and tasted of the fruits, contrary to the command of God, 
was driven from the garden, and subjected to the punishments which 
were thus entailed upon him and his posterity. 

Noah, it must be admitted, is certainly the first on record who 
planted a vineyard, and experienced the inebriating quality of the 
grape. The honour of this discovery the pagans afterwards attributed 
to Bacchus, whom they worshipped as the sensual encourager offcast 
and jollity ; hence Noah or Bacchus was denominated zeuth, which 
by the Greeks was rendered zeus, signifying ferment. That Noah 
seems to be aimed at by most nations, as the primitive inventor of 
wine and the real original Bacchus, has been advocated by many 
learned men. Bochart maintains that Cadmus first brought the wor 
ship of Bacchus among the Grecians, and that the vine was introduced 
to them by the Tyrians. He also thinks that Noah was the same as 
the Saturn of the pagans, and Plutarch attributes the discovery of the 
vine to that heathen deity ; hence all the reasonings of the ancients, 

* Vide " Hebrew and Talmudical Exercitations upon St. Luke," 


on tliis subject, seemed to indicate the Promised Land as the native 
country of the vine ; and even the Greeks themselves, in their mytho 
logy, place the inventors of wine as inhabitants of Syria and the 
adjacent countries. At the present day, a spot near mount Ararat 
is still shewn as the place where Noah is said to have planted the first 
vine ; and the wine, yet manufactured there, is of superior excellence.* 
It is therefore more than probable that Assyria was the native region 
of the vine, and there is no stretch of fancy in conceiving how it made 
its way into other countries. If, as some conjecture, in relation to 
what is stated in Matthew xxiv. 38, that an indulgence in inebriety 
formed a large portion of those vices, for which God destroyed the 
world by a deluge, it is a singular coincidence that the same crime 
was the first instance of human weakness, after the infliction of that 
punishment ; and that God, tlu-ough the spirit of prophecy given to 
Noah, should pronounce a curse on those who treated the indiscretion 
with levity. " Cursed be Canaan," said Noah ; " a servant of ser 
vants shall he be unto his brethren ;" an anathema which to this day 
rests on his posterity. The devoted nations which God destroyed, 
before Israel, were the descendants of Canaan, as were also the 
Phoenicians and Carthaginians, finally subjected and annihilated by 
the Greeks and Romans. Ham, the meaning of which is burnt, or 
black, was the father of Canaan, and the Africans, who are said to be 
his offspring, bear evident marks of God s displeasure, since they are 
scarcely treated as human beings, but bought and sold like beasts of 
burden. The Mahometan negroes have a tradition, that as Japhet 
was the most active in covering the nakedness of his father, which Ham 
discovered, their subjection to Europeans, the descendants of Japhet, 
is the consequence of the indiscretion of Ham. 

In following the course of Scripture narrative, it appears that, as 
the descendants of Noah increased, the vine, as supplying the means 
of a more comfortable subsistence, was cultivated to considerable 
extent, and that persons were purposely set apart for the manufacture 
of wine, as presses were erected and the juice squeezed from the grape, 
as soon as the fruit was ripe. Palestine, it is said, early abounded in 
excellent vineyards. So great was their number, that of the single 
inheritance belonging to the tribe of Judah alone, in order to denote 
the superabundant produce, it was metaphorically said, that he washed 
his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of the grape ; and 
in 2 Kings xviii. 32, the land of Canaan is said to be a land of wine 
and vineyards, and of the oil of the olive. So many and so various 

Kotzebue s Narrative of a Journey through Persia, p. 94-7. 

are the notices of the prophets respecting wine, that it would be 
tedious and unnecessary to quote them. Two kinds of wine are 
particularly mentioned as of an excellent and superior description ; 
namely, the wine of Eldon and that of Lebanon. The wine of Eldon 
became an article of traffic, and was transported to Tyre and to more 
distant places, where, with a variety of other valuable merchandize 
described by Ezekiel, and evincing the advanced state of the arts at 
the time, it was eagerly purchased. This wine was said to be well 
known to the ancients, and, under the name of Chalibonian wine, was 
noted for its peculiar excellence. It was made at Damascus, where 
the Persians planted vineyards in order to obtain it in greater perfec 
tion and in larger quantities. Its quality is said to have been that of 
a luxurious and generous wine. The wine of Lebanon is described as 
sweet scented, and said to have been much admired ; its excellence was 
ascribed to the great richness of the vines which grew on the sides of 
Mount Lebanon, where they had a good aspect or favourable expo 
sure to the sun. The wines of Ascalon, Gaza, and Sarepta were held 
in high estimation in distant countries. 

From the testimony of ancient writers, we find that it early became 
the practice to mix certain perfumes or sweet-scented herbs in the 
wine to improve its flavour. With these odoriferous wines the 
Hebrews are said to have been well acquainted. Of the composi 
tion of these, and the preparation of the different ingredients, we are 
not informed ; there can, however, be but little doubt that by means 
of these mixtures there would be a much greater variety of wines 
formerly than at present. Having but one kind of liquor, they would 
no doubt modify and improve it as much as possible ; accordingly, we 
find particular mention made of vinegar wine, medicated wine, spiced 
wine, and wine mixed with perfumes ; but what particular kinds or 
variety of spicery or perfumes were infused, can only be conjectured. 

The Scriptures also inform us, that strong drink was administered 
to criminals before execution, with a view to render them less sen 
sible of pain ; and the Talmud says, that it consisted of a cup of 
wine mingled with frankincense, the latter rendering the draught 
more sacred on account of being used at the sacrifices. This bitter 
and intoxicating cup was usually prepared by women in Jerusalem, 
through compassionate motives, in order to inspire unfortunate cul 
prits in their last moments with false courage, and to enable them to 
meet their fate with fortitude. Pennant, in his History of London, 
relates, that a similar practice formerly prevailed in England, it 
being customary to present a great bowl of ale to malefactors, on 
their way to the place of execution, as the last refreshment they were 

to receive in this life. The same ceremony is still kept up at Ham 
burgh by a religious society of females, called the Blue Sisters. In 
the case of a capital condemnation, the culprit, who is obliged to pass 
their convent, while going to the fatal spot, is presented by those 
pious ladies with a glass of white wine, which, when he has drank, 
is dashed on the ground by the executioner, that no one may use 
it ever after ; and also to signify regret on the occasion which brought 
the unhappy mortal to drink of the accursed beverage.* The foun 
dation of this custom may have been laid in the injunction of 
Solomon, as delivered in Proverbs xxxi. 6, " Give strong drink to 
him that is ready to perish, and wine to those that be of heavy 
heart." In Jeremiah xxv. 16, allusion seems to be made to this 
practice where the prophet foretels the destruction of Babylon in 
these words : " And they shall drink, and be moved, and be mad, 
because of the sword that I will send among them," perhaps of a 
similar nature, was the bowl of wine, called nepenthe, which, Homer 
tells us, Helen presented to the guests of Menelaus, when oppressed 
with grief, to raise their spirits and banish care. The composition 
of this, it is said, she had learned from the Egyptians, and is thus 
beautifully described by the poet : 

" Meanwhile, with genial joy to warm the soul, 
Bright Helen mixed a mirth-inspiring bowl ; 
Tempered with drugs of sovereign use t assuage 
The boiling bosom of tumultuous rage ; 
Charm d with that virtuous draught the exalted mind 
All sense of woe delivers to the wind." 

The practice, so prevalent among the Hebrews of mixing their 

wine with a portion of drugs or bitter herbs, was always with a view 

to make it stronger and more inebriating, by the addition of more 

powerful ingredients. The prophets have, in numerous instances, 

reprobated this practice ; but, the Jews, like the tipplers of modern 

days, appreciated the pleasures of the bottle by the strength of its 

contents. In Habakkuk ii. 15, it is written, "woe to him who 

maketh his neighbour drunk, who putteth his flaggon to him and 

maketh him drunken." In tin s the prophet is supposed to allude to 

the conduct of Pharaoh towards king Zedekiah, who made him 

drunk that he might insult over his weakness. The Rabbins relate 

that one day Nebuchadnezzar, at an entertainment, sent for Zedekiah, 

and gave him an intoxicating liquor to drink, purposely to expose 

him to ridicule. 

* Wilson s Trav. in Russia, &c. vol. i, p. 23. Neal s Trav. in Germany, &c. p. 25. 


Some have asserted tliat the strong drink, so often mentioned in 
Scripture, means palm or date wine. Theodoret and Chrysostom were 
of this opinion, and being both Syrians, their authority is unquestion 
able. Judea, it is well known, was noted for the abundance and ex 
cellence of its palm-trees, of which Fleury, in his Manners and Cus 
toms of the Ancient Israelites, says those about Jericho yielded a 
considerable profit ;* and Pliny calls this region "palmitibus inclyta" 
renowned for palms. Jericho was styled the city of palms, by way 
of eminence ; and Palmyra, said to have been built by Solomon, re 
ceived its name from the same cause. That the Jews were 
acquainted with the making of palm wine, there is little reason 
to doubt ; but whether it was of a stronger body than that made 
from the grape we are not informed, as we have seen that the latter 
underwent many changes by infusions arid mixtures. 

The wine mentioned in Exodus xxix. 40, and Numbers xxvhl. 7, 
as " a drink offering," is considered to have been made from the date* 
or fruit of the palm tree, the juice of which, from containing a great 
quantity of saccharine matter, being as Doctor Shaw expresses it, 
of a more luscious sweetness than honey, could not fail of producing 
drink of a very inebriating quality. In Hebrew it is called Siker : 
the word shecer from shakar, to inebriate, signifies in that language 
any kind of fermented liquors, or strong drink. " Any intoxicating 
liquor," says St. Jerome, " is called sikera, from the Greek word 
o-i^aty whether made of corn, apples, honey, dates or any other 
fruits.f One of the four prohibited liquors among the Mahometans 
in India, is called sakar, which signifies inebriating drink in general, 
but especially date wine. From the original word, Doctor Adam 
Clarke observes, we have probably borrowed our term cider, which 

among us exclusively implies the fermented juice of apples Thus, 

from a review of the sacred writers, it does not appear that the people 
in their day had any knowledge of the art of extracting spirit by evapo 
ration. Had that discovery been known, it is likely they would have 
noticed it, as well as the other arts of which they have given us an 
account. Indeed, the free use of wine, which was then generally 
practised, may be said to have prevented a search after any other kind 
of liquor ; for it is only in those places where the vine is not cultivated 
that the first notice of any other beverage is found. 

Among the Egyptians, whose country was famous for its corn, 
Herodotus tells us, that beer, or a wine drawn from barley, was the 

* Clarke s Edition, London, 1821, p. 39. 

f Epist. ad Nepotianum de Vita Clericorum; et in Isai. xxvii. 1. 


liquor principally used j* he describes the clergy as feasting on the 
sacrifices and quaffing the sacred wine; and relates that in the 
time of Cambyses, 529 years before the Christian era, the Syrians 
were well skilled in the manufacture of palm wine ; and that among 
the presents sent by that monarch to the Ethiopians was a vessel full 
of that liquor. The same writer informs us, that the Lotophagi, a 
people of Africa, who cliiefly subsisted on the produce of the lotos 
plant, made a species of wine from its berries. According to Scylax, 
the geographer, who flourished before Christ 522 years, the lotos 
served these people both for meat and drink, and from that circum 
stance they derived their name. Strabo says, they were not sensi 
ble of the want of water in the burning and sandy region they inha 
bited, as the root, stalks, &c. of the lotos, supplied them with rich 
liquor, as well as delicious food. Ulysses and his companions are 
said to have been enchanted with it, as it made those who eat of it 
forget their country and relations. 

we touched, by various errors toss d, 

The land of Lotos, and the flowery coast. 

We climb d the beach, and springs of water found, 

Then spread our hasty banquet on the ground. 

Three men were sent, deputed from the crew, 

(An herald one) the dubious coast to view, 

And learn what habitants possessed the place. 

They went and found a hospitable race, 

Not prone to ill, nor strange to foreign guest, 

They eat, they drink, and nature gives the feast ; 

The trees around them all their food produce, 

Lotos the name, divine, nectareous juice I 

(Thence called lotophagi) which whoso tastes 

Insatiate riots in the sweet repasts, 

Nor other home, nor other care intends, 

But quits his house, his country and his friends.f 

Of the lotos there are various species ; that, referred to by Hero 
dotus, is said to be the Egyptian lotos, a sort of lily, growing on 
the banks of the Nile. The inhabitants make bread of the seed, 
and eat the root, which has much the size and appearance of an 
apple or potato. Savary saw the people, who live on the bor 
ders of the Menzel lake, feed on it. Another description of the 
lotos is highly esteemed in China, where it is called Lien-hoa ; it 
anciently formed a portion of the materials used in making the liquor 
of immortality, a drink mentioned in a subsequent part of this 

Herodotus, book ii. s. 77.. f Vide Odyssey, 1. ix. v. 95. 


Work. As it is uncertain from what species of the lotos, wine 
was made, it is probable that it was from the lotos or Nebek tree, 
mentioned by Burckhardt, which he found in great plenty in Arabia.* 
This fruit ripens in March, when it becomes a prime article of food, 
nutritive in the highest degree, and capable of being made into wine, 
or distilled into a strong liquor. 

Xenophon relates, in his history of the retreat of the ten thousand 
Greeks, after the battle of Cunaxa, that in that part of Armenia next 
to Curdistan, the inhabitants had a method of preparing a potent 
liquor from what appears to have been barley. " The soil," says he, 
" is good for arable and pasture, and the produce abundant ; yet the 
people inhabit caves with their cattle, poultry, &c. they fill open 
vessels with barley and water up to the brim." The time for the 
fermentation and other parts of the process is not told, but the liquor 
is described as very strong, if not mixed with water, and pleasant to 
those who are accustomed to it. Beside the vessels in which it was 
kept, lay hollow canes or reeds of various sizes, through which the 
people drank by suction; but, in token of hospitality, they allowed 
their Grecian guests to drink out of the vessels, " after the manner of 
oxen."f Notwithstanding this drink made from grain, there was 
abundance of palm wine, as well as vinegar, found by the Greeks in 
the villages, during this memorable retreat ; and so numerous were the 
palm trees, that they were cut down to construct bridges over the canals 
and ditches which they had to pass ;J probably the liquor made from 
barley was the same as that called zythem, made in some of the pro 
vinces of Asia Minor, mentioned by Diodorus Siculus upwards of 
800 years afterwards. Dioscorides, as also Galen, describes the ale 
of their time as affecting the nervous system powerfully, and the head 
in particular, with very painful effect, so that it has been conjectured 
that the ale alluded to, was not only the produce of bad fermentation, 
but unpreserved by any antiseptic aroma like the hop. 

The invention of these beverages is attributed to Isis, or to Osiris, 
who are said to have reigned jointly in Egypt, and are deified in 
ancient mythology. Some writers maintain that Osiris is the same 
as Misraim, the son of Cham, to whom the invention of ale is solely 
ascribable ; but to whom these luxuries owe their origin, it would now 
be impossible to determine. The Egyptians and Hebrews, as we 
find from Moses, who was versed in all their learning, understood 

* Burckhardt s Travels in Arabia, vol. ii. p. 252. 

f Xen. Anab. p. 332. J Ibid. b. II. Acts vii. 22. 


the art of dyeing, smelting, and working in metals, architecture, 
sculpture, and engraving on precious stones, besides the preservation 
of the dead by antiseptic substances. These, with many other inven 
tions, were communicated to the Egyptians by the Hebrews long 
before they were known in Greece. Though the making of glass of 
various colours may be added, as a discovery known to the Egyp 
tians, from a very remote antiquity, as well as the art of rendering gold 
potable, as appeal s from Exodus xxxii. 20 ; yet we no where read 
that they ever attained a higher knowledge in the secrets of chemistry. 

In the practice of the medical art, the most ancient physicians appear 
ignorant of the mode of extracting any of the essential oils by steam 
or vapours. Hippocrates, justly called the father of physic, who 
flourished between the 80th and 88th Olympiad, or about 400 years 
before Christ, is the oldest author, whose writings, expressly on the 
medical art, are preserved ; and in the whole of his works, there is not 
a single expression which could warrant the idea of a retort or alembic, 
having ever been used by him. 

Some have maintained, from a passage in the Gospel of St. Matthew 
yi. 30, that the use of the still was partially known in our Lord s time, 
as they intimate that he alluded to the distillation of herbs for medi 
cinal purposes, when he used the word xhifiavov., (klibanon) where he 
said, speaking of the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow 
is cast into the oven, " eis ton klibanon" " into the oven" " into the 
still," according to others. But, as there does not appear a vestige of 
evidence in any ancient author, or writer on the Scriptures, that the 
art of distillation was then known, such a translation may be said to 
have more of fancy than learning in it. Pliny the elder, who was 
nearly contemporary with our Saviour, and who, in his natural history, 
has shewn himself so curious and so judicious a master in the compi 
lation of facts and observations, appears to be altogether ignorant of 
any stronger liquor, than that produced by fermentation. He noticed 
the various drinks* of the Egyptians, in use in his day, which were 
manufactured from grain steeped in water ; and assures us, that they 
were very strong, and drunk without any mixture whatever. These 
beverages were distinguished by various names, such as zythum, 
C03lia, ceria, Ceris vinum, or wine of Ceres, curmi, cervisia, &c. each 
literally meaning ale, or beer. The making of them, he says, was 
known to the several nations, who inhabited the west of Europe. The 
mode of manufacture, however, was somewhat different in different 
countries ; but the nature and properties of the liquor were every 
where the same. The people of Spain, in particular, he informs us, 


had arrived to such perfection in the art, that the drink made by them 
could be kept to a very great age.* Some think that Pliny meant 
distillation, when, after the enumeration of those beverages, he tells 
us, " that water was made to intoxicate," and because he alludes to it 
as an extraordinary invention. This intoxicating water would cer 
tainly appeal- to be very different from that obtained by the ordinary 
mode of fermentation, if the passage be read as unconnected with the 
preceding observations ; but as this cannot be done with propriety, 
it means nothing more than the intoxicating power or strength 
acquired by the water in the fermenting process of the grain. " Heu 
mira vitiorum solertia! inventum est quemadmodum aqua quoque 
inebriaret." " Oh, wondrous craft of the vices ! by some mode or 
other, it was discovered that water also might be made to inebriate." 
This passage led Mr. Murphy, in a note in his translation of Tacitus, 
to make Pliny speak as if the Egyptians had their intoxicating liquors 
distilled from grain ; an error into which he, in common with many 
other respectable writers, has fallen, j In the 33d book, chap. 8, he 
describes the mode of obtaining an artificial quicksilver by distillation. 
The apparatus employed was two earthen pots and an iron pan ; but 
he does not, in any other part of his work, describe the application of 
a like apparatus to the extracting of the juices of vegetable matter, if 
we except his account of the manner in which oil was obtained from 
pitch, in book xv, chap. 7, where he says, " the vapour arising from 
the boiling pitch was collected on fleeces of wool spread over the pots, 
and afterwards extracted from them by expression." This was evi 
dently distillation in its infancy, clearly proving that it was not known 
in his time, in a more improved state. 

Pliny, in treating of the wine of his own country, details, with won 
derful minuteness, the progress of its manufacture, and the perfection 
to which it had then arrived. It was not, however, until about 600 
years after the foundation of the Roman empire, that vines were cul 
tivated, and that wine came into general use. Before that period 
wines were so scarce, that, in the sacrifices, the libations to the gods 
were ordered to be made only with milk.J Numa, the successor of 
Romulus, who enacted this observance, directed, from the great 
scarcity of wine that prevailed, that no man should besprinkle the 
funeral pile with it, and when the sacrifices to the gods were permitted 
in wine, it was decreed, with a view to encourage the plantation of 
vineyards, that all wine so offered should be the produce of such vine 
plants as had been cut and pruned. 

Pliny, book xiv. chap. 22. f De Morib. German, vol. iv. p. 268. 

% Pliny, b. xiv. chap. 12. 


It was in these times of simplicity that women were forbidden to 
drink wine ; and for that reason their near relations were permitted 
to salute them when they came to their houses, in order to smell 
whether they had tasted any Temetum,for so they termed wine, which 
if discovered, gave their husbands a right to punish them. According 
to Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Romulus was the author of the law which 
permitted a husband to kill his wife for drinking wine, as well as for 
the crime of adultery. It is related that Ignatius Mecennius, having 
killed his wife with a cudgel, because he found her drinking wine out 
of a cask, was acquitted of the murder by Romulus.* Fabius Pictor, 
in his annals, says that a Roman lady was starved to death by her own 
relations for having picked the lock of a chest in which were the keys 
of the wine cellar .f We are assured by Pliny, that Cneius Domitius, 
a judge in Rome, in the like case pronounced sentence judicially 
against a woman who was defendant, in this form, " that it seemed she 
had drunk more wine without her husband s knowledge than was 
needful for the preservation of her health, and therefore that she 
should lose the benefit of her dowry. 

We read that Lucius Papyrius, general of the Roman armies, when 
at the point of engaging the Samnites, made no other vow than that 
he would offer to Jupiter a little cup or goblet of wine, in case he 
gained the victory. Men in those days were also forbidden to drink 
it, till the age of thirty. 

Towards the decline of the Roman commonwealth, and under the 
first emperors, the women were not only accustomed to drink wine, 
but carried the excess of it as far as the men, which, if we credit 
Pliny, exceeded any thing of the kind in modern times. To prevent 
females from committing excessive crimes, the lawgivers in ancient 
times prohibited the free use of wine. Seneca complains bitterly that, 
in his day, the custom of prohibition was almost universally violated. 
The weak and delicate complexion of the women, says he, is not 
changed, but their manners are changed and no longer the same. 
They value themselves upon carrying excess of wine to as great a 
height as the most robust men ; like them they pass whole nights at 
table, and with a full glass of unmixed wine in their hands, they glory 
in vieing with them ; and if they can, in overcoming them. Theoph- 
rastus says that great drunkards, when they drank for a wager, used 
to take the powder of pumice stone before setting to. if This pro 
bably gave rise to the invention of " devils" those choice and whetting 
tit bits, so much resorted to after dinner by the topers of the present 
day. Some of the Romans even went so far as to take hemlock in 
* Pliny, bookxiv. chap. 1$.* f Ibid. J Pliny, b. xxxvi. chap. 21. 


order to make them drink. Tiberius Claudius, who was fond of a 
goblet himself, knighted Novellius Torquatus, by the title of Tricon- 
gius, or the three -gallon knight, for drinking, at one draught, tliree 
congii of wine, equal to nine quarts, three three-eighth pints, English 
wine measure, without taking breath. 

It was generally believed at Rome, that Caius Piso owed his 
advancement at the court of Tiberius to his extraordinary powers in 
that way, as it is said he would sit for two days and two nights drinking 
without intermission, or even stirring from the table. Tergilla, who 
challenged Marcus Cicero, son of the famous orator, to a drinking-bout, 
boasted that he usually drank two gallons at a draught. In later 
times we read, that the emperor Maximin, who was no less remark 
able for his gigantic stature, than for his great strength, would drink 
six gallons of wine without getting drunk. Maximin is said to have 
been eight and a half feet high, made in proportion ; and if, agreeably 
to the old adage, " good eating requires good drinking," we need not 
be surprised at his powers in that way, when it is asserted, that he 
ate forty pounds of flesh every day. Sinclair, in his code of health, 
tells us that a Mr. Vanhorn, of modern notoriety, drank in the course 
of tliree and twenty years, 35,688 bottles, or 59 pipes of red port 
a quantity, perhaps, not exceeded by any of the drunkards of antiquity. 
What a prodigious stomach and constitution this man must have had ! 

Pliny exhibits a strong proof of the great fondness which the 
Romans, as well as other nations, had for this liquor, in stating that 
not less than 195 sorts were in general use; but of the wines most 
esteemed, he reduces the number to eighty, two-thirds of which he 
reckons the produce of Italy. Those wines which took their name 
from Opimius, in whose consulate they were made, some of which 
were preserved to Pliny s time, that is, nearly 200 years, were not, 
from their great excellence, to be purchased for money. If a small 
quantity of any of them were mixed with others, it is said they com 
municated a surprising strength and flavour. The empress Julia 
Augusta often said, that she was indebted to the goodness of the 
Pucine wine for living to the age of eighty-two. This wine was the 
produce of the grape planted along the Adriatic sea, or gulf of Ve 
nice, upon a steep and rugged hill, not far from the source of the 
river Timavus, and was thought to have received some of its valua 
ble qualities from the vapours of the sea, but more from the nature 
of the soil and the favorable situation of the vineyards. The wine 
Ccecuban manufactured from the grape of the poplar marshes of 
Amyclae, was much sought after before the time of Augustus Ca3sar ; 
but from the preference given to Setine, a wine produced in the 


vineyards above the forum Appii, Coecuban fell into disrepute, and 
Setine was preferred for its various medicinal virtues. Amongst all 
the wines of Italy, the Falernian, so much celebrated by Horace, was 
in the greatest repute, and by Martial pronounced immortal, and 
justly so, when we consider that its praises have been sung by im 
mortal bards. It was so very strong and rough, that Horace called 
it a fiery wine, and it was not drank till it had been kept ten years. 
Oalen says it was in its best condition between the tenth and twen 
tieth. To correct its roughness, it was either mixed with honey or 
wine of a weaker nature, by which it was rendered delicious some 
times it was diluted with water to moderate its strength. Faler 
nian may be said to have been amongst the ancients what Tokay is 
amongst the moderns. The Faustian wine, a species of the Faler 
nian, was of so spirituous a nature, that it would burn with a 
pure and light flame. The Alban, or wines of Alba, made near 
the City of Rome, are ranked by Pliny as only a third rate wine, 
but praised by both Horace and Juvenal when new it was luscious 
and of a thick consistency ; and in about fifteen years considered in 
its best state. The Surrentine wines, the produce of Aminean 
grapes, said by Tiberius Caesar to be so much recommended by phy 
sicians, were, from their acidity, called by him generous vinegar but 
those wines were liked by Caligula. The Massic is a wine described 
by Martial. The Fundanian, or wine of Signia, was so rough and 
astringent as to be mostly used for medicine. The Mamertine was a 
light wine from about Messina in Sicily, and that which was ordered 
by Julius Caesar to be used in the feasts of the city ; and the Potulane 
wines were so called, from the first planters of the vine from which 
they were produced. The wines of Tuscany, the Praetutian, the 
Ancona, the Palmesian, from the vines growing up the palm or date 
tree ; Cesenation and Mecsenatian wines ; the Rhaetian, within the 
territory of Verona, spoken of by Virgil, and ranked by him next to 
Falernian ; the Lateniensian, the Graviscan, and Statonian wines ; 
the wines made between the Pyrenean Mils and the Alps, were with 
various others, celebrated, and many of them in great demand in 
Pliny s day. From the foregoing particulars, it may be inferred, that 
the abundance of wines amongst the Romans, rendered every other 
description of intoxicating drink unnecessary ; and that the distilla 
tion of spirituous liquors was wholly unknown to them. Neither the 
ruins of Herculaneum nor Pompeii, afford any vestige of the knowledge 
of such an art, while the Amphorae, which held the wine, are yet 
found in the cellars of several of the houses, after a lapse of nearly two 
tliousand years. 


Among the Greeks, wine was also the favourite beverage. Homer 
mentions a very famous wine of Maronea in Thrace, supposed to be 
the same as that carried by Ulysses when he visited the Cyclops ; 
this wine, much celebrated by Pliny, was so strong as to bear mixing 
with twenty times its quantity of water ; but it was common for the 
natives to drink it unmixed. The wines of Cyprus, Lesbos, (now 
Mytelene) and Chios, were much celebrated. Those of Lesbos, Chios, 
and Thasos have respectively claimed superiority. Corcyra, Crete, 
Cnidus, and Rhodes, yielded wines of the richest body, and most deli 
cate flavour, with which a great portion of Europe was supplied. 
Those of Cyprus, as well as the wines of many other Greek islands, 
are, as will be noticed hereafter, in great esteem to this day. Horace 
often mentions the wines of Lesbos, and represents them as very 
wholesome and agreeable ; they were said to have been less odorous 
than some other wines, but having so delicious a flavour as to 
deserve the name of ambrosia rather than wine; and when old, 
were denominated nectar, from their comparative excellence. Not 
withstanding this character of the Lesbian wines, Pliny ranks them 
inferior to Chios or Thasos ; and Strabo reckons the Chian the best 
of Greek wines, while Virgil calls the Phanaean, the king of all wines : 
so much did the wines of Chios surpass those of every other country, 
that the inhabitants of that island are thought to be the first who 
planted the vine, and taught the use of it to other nations.* The 
desert wines among the Greeks were the Thasian and Lesbian, and 
when the Romans became acquainted with the excellence of the Greek 
wines, the Chian and Lesbian were their favourite desert wines. 
Virgil praises the Argitis, a white wine, as capable of being preserved 
for an extraordinary length of years ; besides which, we read of 
lighter kinds of wines, such as those of Naxos; the Mendean, a 
Thracian wine, and the Omphacites, procured from Lesbos and Thasos. 
The frequent mention of wine, the praises bestowed on it, the flowing 
goblets, and luxurious banquets, as described by Homer 1000 years 
before the Christian era, shew its value and the attachment of that 
great poet to the comforts of the table and to jovial society. Horace 
was of this opinion when he says, 

Homer, in praise of the profuse, 

No doubt loved well the balmy juice. f 

All the wines already enumerated were in such esteem at Rome, 
according to Marcus Varro, quoted by Pliny, that in the year G75 

* RolHn. f Horace, Epist. 19. b. i. 


after the foundation of that city, Publius Lucinius Crassus and Lucius 
Julius Caesar, the then censors, published an edict, and proclaimed, 
" that no man should sell any Greek wine or Arminean, but after eight 
asses the amphora," or about a penny a gallon.* Thus it would appear 
that a duty was levied on wine amongst the Romans ; and this is con 
firmed by Cicero, in his defence of M. Fonteius, as well as by other 
historical records still extant. The Rhodian wine was frequently used 
by the Romans in their libations, as is evident from Virgil 
The Rhodian, sacred to the solemn day, 
In second services is poured to Jove, 
And best accepted by the gods above, f 

From the great price and estimation of Chios wine, no person was 
indulged with more than one draught of it at a meal; a proof of this 
is given by Varro in the instance of Lucius Lucullus, who, when a boy, 
never saw more than a cup served up at his father s table after dinner. 
After the return of this same Lucullus from Asia, in an entertainment, 
which he gave to the citizens of Rome, he distributed among the 
people more than 100,000 gallons of wine.J Of Caius Sentius, the 
praetor, it is said that he never used Chian wine on account of its 
dearness, but because it was prescribed to him by the physicians as 
useful for the cardiaca passio, or palpitation of the heart, to which he 
was subject ; on the contrary, such was the love of Hortensius, the 
famous orator, for it, that when he died, he left to his heir about 
10,000 barrels, which had been stored in his cellar. The prevailing 
quality of this, as well as of the other wines already mentioned, was 
sweetness with delicacy of flavour. 

Among the Greeks, it appears, sweet and odoriferous wines were 
always in great estimation. In many instances, when the wine was 
deficient in saccharine matter, they sweetened it by putting flour 
kneaded with honey into the vessels. This practice, is said, to have 
been first introduced by Aristseus, and was then denominated oinomeli, 
honied wine. Origanum, aromatics, fruits, and flowers, were also 
infused. The wine of Byblos, in Phoenicia, was much esteemed for 
the strength of the perfumes with which it was impregnated. But of 
all the mixtures and infusions, which were common among them, that 
of pouring salt-water into wine was the most singular. It was done, 
it would seem, with a view to promote digestion and prevent the wine 
from flying to the head. One measure of sea-water was considered 

* The amphora contained something less than 26 quarts. 

f Dryden s Virgil, Georg. ii. J Pliny, b. xiv. chap. 14, 


sufficient for fifty of wine.* This mixture, which was called Biseon, 
was accidentally discovered by a servant in Greece, who, to deceive 
his master, poured sea-water into a vessel out of which he had stolen 
and drank some wine ; and it was thought to have improved the 
flavour of the liquor. In Rhodes and Cos, a considerable quantity of 
this wine was made, which the Romans and others imitated ; and in 
modern Greece, salt-water is used in the preparation of wine, on the 
grounds that where the Saccharine principle is superabundant in the 
must, the sea water assists fermentation, and improves the strength 
and flavour of the produce. 

If we credit some authors, wine was not the only beverage known 
to the Greeks ; for, although Homer is silent on the matter, they 
knew, from a remote period, how to compose, with water and barley, 
a liquor, which, for strength and goodness, approached near to wine.f 
Ovid, speaking of the meeting that Ceres, exhausted with weariness, 
had with an old woman, named Baubo, says, that the goddess, having 
demanded some water, the old woman presented her with a liquor 
manufactured from dried grain. Thus expressed in the translation : 

" The goddess knocking at the little door, 
Twas open d by a woman old and poor, 
Who, when she begg d for water, gave her ale, 
Brewed long, but well preserved from being stale. "J 

This was their oinos kristhinos cerevisia, or wine made from barley. 
They also understood the making of palm wine, called oinos epsetos, 
sometimes termed oxos epseton, for oxos was a general name for all 
made wines. The ease, however, with which the juice of the vine 
was obtained, rendered the use of these wines less common, and 
almost unnecessary. 

The method of making wine among the Greeks was nearly as fol 
lows : About the end of September, or early in October, when 
the fruit was deemed sufficiently ripe, the grapes were collected, and 
usually exposed for ten days to the sun and the coolness of the night, 
in order that they might become more luscious and juicy. With many 
it was a practice to make three gatherings of the fruit during the 
vintage, for the purpose of producing wines of different qualities, while 
other means were resorted to for improving the strength, taste, and 
flavour : a predominant one was that of twisting the tendrils in order 
to destroy vegetation, leaving the fruit, for about a month, exposed to 

* Vide Travels of Anacharsis the younger, by the Abbe Barthelemi. 
t Diod. 1. iv. p. 248. J Vide Metam. 1. v. v. 449, &c. also Bayle, article 

Thesmophoria. Arch apologia Grrcca, vol. ii. p. 3(]0. 



the full influence of the atmosphere. After this exposure, the grapes 
were put into the shade for five days, and, on the sixth, stamped or 
bruised in a vat ; but as this process was found tedious and trouble 
some, the ripe grapes immediately from the vine itself were put into 
a cistern, in which was a hole, or vent near the bottom, with a vessel 
beneath to receive the liquor. In this cistern, a man with his bare 
feet and legs pressed out the juice, ; but to relieve them from this 
labour, a piece of machinery was afterwards substituted. This 
was simply a beam, erected perpendicularly, having a cross acting as 
a lever, with a pressure of stones above, to give it greater weight or 
power, and which was worked by means of cordage. The practice, 
however, of treading out the juice with the feet, seems still to prevail 
in most eastern countries.* The Greeks did not keep their wine in 
casks as we do, for the use of vessels of that sort was unknown to 
them, as appears from Herodotus, who informs us, that wine was 
exported from different parts of Greece to Egypt, in earthen 
jars, which, when emptied, were afterwards sent into the Syrian 
deserts to preserve the water of the Nile.f The Athenians were 
famous for making these and other great vessels of earthenware, 
of which they claimed the invention ; but, according to Aulus Gellius, 
the Samians were the first potters. This seems more probable, as, in 
the island of Samos, a fine species of red earth is found, from which, 
with the assistance of linseed oil, iron may be extracted ; and from 
this clay the ancient vases, so much celebrated, are supposed to have 
been manufactured. These vases were tastefully formed, exceed 
ingly light, and varnished with scented bitumen, receiving a polish 
like our finest crockery ware, and imparting an aromatic flavour to 
whatever they contained. Sometimes they were coated on the inside 
with pitch, mastic, and oil, incorporated with various odoriferous in 
gredients. Many of these vessels were of enormous size, particularly 
those used l)y the Romans, and they were commonly hooped to 
prevent them from bursting. One is said to have contained one 
hundred and twenty amphorae, or 810 gallons of wine, and another is 
known to have held 210 gallons: but the Greeks preferred jars or 
vases of much smaller magnitude. The skins of beasts were also used 
for the same purpose, a custom which continues to this day, where 
wood is not plenty. The leathern bags, or borackios, thus used, were 
generally made out of the skins of goats, stripped off without being 
cut, the places from which the legs, &c. had been extracted, sewed up, 
and the top either tied or sealed. The Arabians of the present day 

* Chandlers Travels, p. 2, f Herodotus, b. JIT. chap. i. 6, 

follow this custom, and have a very ingenious method of taking off 
the skins. The head of the goat, or sheep, is first removed ; and 
while the body is yet warm, the hand is introduced beneath the skiu 
of the neck, and worked round until the two forefeet are drawn out. 
The skin is then stripped off so as to be without a cut or mark on it, 
and this forms the leathern bag just described. The bottles mentioned 
in Scripture were of this sort, the use of glass being then unknown. 
So we read, that when Abraham sent Hagar away, he put a bottle of 
water upon her shoulder, and hence our Saviour s instruction not to 
put new wine into old bottles, meaning that the fermentation of the 
wine would, more readily, burst an old than a new bottle of tlus des 
cription.* It is generally believed, that the skins of animals were 
the most ancient receptacles of all liquids, but more especially of wine 
and they were rendered water-tight by a coating of resinous, oily 
matter : it was the skin of a goat in which Ulysses carried a supply 
of wine presented to him by the priest of Apollo, when he visited the 
cavern of the Cyclops. The largest of these wine-bags, of which there 
is any account, was that exhibited at a feast given by Ptolemy Phila- 
delphus, and drawn on a car 75 feet long by 42 feet broad : this bag 
was composed of panthers skins, and contained 20,250 gallons. The 
modern Greeks convey their wines to different parts in leathern or 
skin bags, such as those used by the Spaniards and Portuguese for 
the same purpose ; and they are preferred to every other sort of 
vessel in consequence of being more portable. It is the practice, in 
many parts of the East, in making such wine-bottles, to turn the hairy 
side of the skin inwards. To the Gauls, who settled on the banks of 
the Po, we are indebted for the useful invention of preserving wine in 
casks or vessels of wood. j 

As chemistry may be said to have formed no part of the general 
knowledge of the ancient Greeks, it would be vain to look for any 
thing like distillation among them ; for, although an ingenious and 
polished people, they do not appear to have been acquainted with that 
art. Medicine was much esteemed by them, but their pharmacopeia, 
until a late period, scarcely ever extended beyond the list of simples 
used by Hippocrates.J Their early intercourse with the Egyptians 
made them familiar with the working of metals, but none of their 
writers anterior to Pliny, whose works have descended to us, shew 
that they were acquainted with the raising of steam or vapour to the 
same extent or in the manner described by that celebrated Roman. 

* Matthew ix. and xvii. f Rollin. 

J For a list of these simples, see Le Clerc s Hist, de laMed.part I. b. iii. cap. 23, 

Vide page 1 1 of this work. 


Dioscorides, who was physician to Cleopatra, and contemporary with 
Pliny, was obliged to collect essential oil on the fleece of a sheep, a 
proof that he knew no other mode of distillation. One hundred and 
thirty one years subsequent to this, Galen, a celebrated physician of 
Pergamus, who wrote many books not only upon medical, but philo 
sophical subjects, speaks of distillation per descensum, but it is conceived 
he meant nothing more by this than what regarded the melting of 

Faber,* a writer in alchymy of some eminence, states that the art 
of distillation was known to Democritus, who was contemporary with 
Hippocrates, " primus enim inter Grsecos distillaudi peritus fuit De 
mocritus distillationis autem peritiam didicit in Egypto," and that 
alchymy flourished in the time of Hermes Trismegistus, in Egypt, 
about A. M. 2434. He admits that neither Hippocrates nor Galen 
knew any thing of distillation ; yet it appears extraordinary, that the 
most enlightened people on the earth should have remained ignorant 
of this art, 561 years after Democritus, unless it was kept a secret by 
him as well as by the Egyptians. In the 12th chapter and 20th 
verse of St. Paul s epistle to the Romans, there is a metephorical 
allusion to the same practice, which is thus beautifully expressed by 
Parnell : 

So artists melt the sullen ore of lead, 

By heaping coals of fire upon its head ; 

In the kind warmth the metals learn to glow, 

And free from dross the silver runs below. 

In like manner, Caligula, according to Pliny, endeavoured to collect, 
by sublimation, gold from orpiment, a mineral substance found in diffe 
rent parts of the woiid.f Theophrastus and Dioscorides also describe 
the extraction of tar as effected by a similar process ; and it is strange, 
that the same mode of obtaining it is still followed by the people of 
the northern provinces of Sweden. 

During the reign of Dioclesian, who succeded Marcus Aurelius 
Numerianus, in the year 284, we find the Egyptians had carried their 
speculations in chemistry so far as to induce that emperor to publish 
an edict for the suppression of all the ancient books that treated of 
the art of making gold and silver, and which he wantonly committed 
to the flames, being fearful, that if they became wealthy, they would be 
induced to resist the Roman yoke, and set him at defiance.^ But 

* Faber wrote in 1627, and his works were printed at Strasburg in 1632. 

f Pliny, b. xxxiii. cap. 4. 

J Vide Suidas in voce X tfJ/#, Gibbon, vol. ii. p. 137, 

although this branch of speculative knowledge gave rise to many useful 
experiments, and was carried to a great height, we learn from the 
commentary on the second book of Aristotle s Meteors, written by 
Olympiodorus, a peripatetic philosopher, who flourished under the 
second Theodosius, that distillation was not then known, at least in a 
more improved state, than it was 400 years before ; for he says, that 
" Sailors, when they labour under a scarcity of fresh water at sea, boil 
the sea-water, and suspend large sponges from the mouth of a brazen 
vessel, to imbibe what is evaporated, and in drawing this off from the 
sponges, they find it to be sweet water." 

It is said that Zosimus, the Panopolite, who lived at the close of the 
4th or beginning of the 5th century, has given some figures of a distilling 
apparatus, which Olaus Borrichius, the learned Danish professor, lias 
exhibited in his Her metis et ^Egyptiorum Chemicorum Sapientia, p. 1 56. 
This Zosimus was the first who used the word c hernia, which, in the 
Arabic language, signifies concealment, and from which Boerhaave and 
others derive the term chemistry, implying the hidden or occult science. 
Zosimus was a man of considerable attainments, he wrote twenty-four 
books of Imouth, or chemistry, addressed to his sister Theosebia. Most 
if not all, of these treatises are preserved in the king s library at Paris, 
but have not yet been translated. From the specimen and account, 
however, which Borrichius gives of them they seem to be mystical and 
enthusiastic.* Zosimus is of opinion, that both the name and science 
of chemistry existed before the flood : and there is certainly reason to 
believe, that as the arts had been cultivated by the antediluvians, that 
the ancient Chaldeans and Egyptians preserved traces of them, which 
were not obliterated when the philosophers and historians of Greece 
visited Africa and Asia ; they are even discernible amidst the confusion 
of names, dates, and lapse of time, in spite of the clouds of fables with 
which they are enveloped. Hence it is not unlikely, that Vulcan and 
Tubal-Cain are the same person, since both were skilled in such works 
as required the operations of fire ; and that Vul-can is but a corruption 
or contraction of Tubal-Cain, appears higlily probable. 

In tracing the etymology of the word chemistry, it seems to be 
derived from the name of the country in which it first had existence. 
Egypt is frequently denominated by the Hebrew writers the land of 
Cham ; and Chami, or Chemi, was the name by which it was most gene 
rally known to the aborigines. Plutarch says, that Egypt was called 
Chemia, from the blackness of the soil. Cham in Hebrew signifies hot, 
Cham also signifies black ; and Chemia,j but with an ain for the final 

Boerhaave s Elementa Chemia?. 
f Valpy s Classical Journal, vol. xviii. p. 229, &c. 

t " 22 

radical, signifies, in Clmldaic, fermentation. From this reasoning, it 
is no stretch of inference to assume, as before hinted at, that the 
doctrine of fermentation was known even before the deluge, and there 
is therefore nothing extraordinary in Noah s having made wine, and 
subjecting himself to its influence. 

Sometime previous to the period in which Zosimus lived, and for 
a series of years afterwards, chemistry was cultivated with great 
earnestness by several Grecian ecclesiastics, but their efforts and 
attentions were principally directed to the art of making gold and 
silver. In the meantime, medicine received considerable improve 
ments from the labours of Oribasius, Actius, Alexander, Paulus, and 

Distillation, it is related, was discovered in the Augustine age by a 
Grecian physician, who, while sitting at dinner, was suddenly called 
away to visit a patient, and found, on his return, that the cover which 
had been placed over a dish of vegetables was dripping with moisture 
evaporated from them. Perceiving that the moisture was an extract 
from the materials in the dish occasioned by heat, he is said to have 
directed his studies to the consequences that might result from expe 
riments made on this principle, and ultimately arrived at the art of 
distillation ; but this story rests on such slender testimony, that it is 
not entitled to more than this incidental notice Some will have it, 
that the invention of distillation is much older, and ground their opi 
nions on the circumstance of a chest having been found in the Alestine 
field, near Padua, in which, it is said, an urn was enclosed by Maxi- 
mus Olybius, devoted as an offering or present to Pluto, containing 
two phials, most curiously wrought, the one of gold and the other of 
silver, both full of an exquisite liquor, which fed a burning lamp for 
many ages. Upon the chest was inscribed : 

This sacred gift to Pluto I forbid 
A thief to touch, (for tis a secret hid), 
With art and pains hath great Olybius pent 
In this small chest the unruly element. 

On the urn were the following couplets : - 

Begone, ye thieves, why dare you here to pry, 
Depart from hence to your god Mercury ; 
Devoted to great Pluto, in this pitcher 
Lies a grand gift, the world scarce knows a richer.* 

This legend, like the other respecting the origin of distillation, rests 
on authority equally trifling, and is one of those fanciful conceptions 

Taylor s Antirjuitates Curiosce. 


of the alchymists, as preposterous as the touch of the philosopher s 
stone is extravagant- This reminds me of the allegory of the cup of 
Jemsheed, the supposed inventor of wine, Avhich, the Persians say, 
was cut out of a ruby or carbuncle, and contains the elixir of life 
buried under the ruins of Istakhar. 

While the Grecian physicians and ecclesiastics were busied in the 
pursuit of chemical knowledge, the Saracens, then an ignorant and 
barbarous race, headed by the Caliph Omar s general, Amru, possessed 
themselves of Alexandria, and, in the madness of their zeal, destroyed 
the famous library in that city ; the Caliph assigning to Ids general 
as a reason, that if the books it contained agreed with the Koran, they 
were useless, and if they differed from it, they were pernicious, and 
ought to be destroyed. The loss of so vast an accumulation of human 
knowledge, not less than 700,000 volumes, which the Ptolomies 
laboured so long in collecting, must ever be lamented, as it deprived 
the world, in a great measure, of the discoveries and learning of 
the ancients, which would have served posterity in the paths of 
literature and the pursuits of science. The traveller, Ali Bey, 
felt this so sensibly, that, on visiting Alexandria, particularly the 
baths of Cleopatra, in that city, in the heating of which the 
library is said to have been consumed, exclaimed, " Nothing, 
absolutely nothing, concerning those distant periods, is handed down 
for our instruction. Oh ! library of Alexandria ! why art thou wanted 1 
What an irreparable loss ! But I respect the decision of the caliph."* 
As the progress of their arms introduced the Saracens to a more 
general knowledge of other nations, a taste for civilization and the 
cultivation of literature, gradually, gained ground. Colleges and semi 
naries of education were erected and endowed, while learned and 
ingenious men were encouraged and sought after. Some of the Caliphs 
themselves excelled in the learning of the day. Almamun, in parti 
cular, who ascended the Moslem throne, in the 198th year of the Hegira, 
(813th of the Christian era,) had attained to great perfection in various 
branches of science. He not only employed learned men to translate 
the books he had purchased, at an enormous expense, from the Chris 
tians of various nations, but likewise promoted, by all possible means, 
the study of every branch of literature on which they were written, 
and even read them himself with an almost unparalleled ardour. 

As might be expected, from the nature and pursuits of the nations 
from which the Saracens imbibed their taste for literature, alchymy 
and medicine became their favourite studies. The works on those 

* Travels of Ali Bey, 4to. vol. i. p. 322. 


subjects are so various and abundant, that the enumeration of them, 
if practicable, would be both unnecessary and foreign to the design of 
this treatise. 

Under the Caliph, Almoktader Billah, who got possession of the caliph 
ate in the 908th year of the Christian era, flourished the celebrated physi 
cian Rha/es, whom Abu lpharagius styles the phoenix of his age. He 
excelled in every branch of knowledge then extant, but principally in 
physic, in which he became so bold and successful a practitioner, that 
he was called the Experimenter, and the Arabian Galen.* He is said 
to have first introduced chemical preparations into medicine ; for, not 
to mention mercury extinct and sublimate, he notices the oil of eggs, 
a chemical medicine ; besides, he gives us the first account of the 
oleum benedictum philosphorum (philosophers blessed oil), and is very 
particular in explaining the manner of making it in a glass retort, 
well luted, (luto sapienter, says the interpreter,) such as will bear the 
fire ; the heat being increased by gentle degrees, till a red oil comes 
off by distillation. 

Whether the retort, alembic, or any regular distilling apparatus 
was earlier employed amongst the Arabians, there is no exact account ; 
for what we find from the old Greek chemists, as they are called, 
relates only to the fusion or transmutation of metals. 

It is said, that Al-Mokanna, the Veiled Prophet, whose life and 
actions are so beautifully detailed by Moore, in his Lalla Rookh, when 
likely to be taken by the troops under the command of Almohdis* 
general, in the year of the Hegira 163, or 780 of our era, to avoid 
falling into the hands of his enemies, after poisoning his whole family 
and followers, threw himself into a vessel of aqua-fortis ; a prepara 
tion which, it is well known, could not be otherwise obtained than by 

In the works of Geber, commonly called the Arab, there are some 
useful directions concerning the manner of conducting the process of 
distillation, and in one of his tracts, in particular, he has given much 
curious matter relative, not only to the nature and formation of aqua 
fortis, but of salts and acids in general. Geber had distinguished 
himself in alchymy, and, from the ambiguity of his writings on this 
subject, our eminent lexicographer, Doctor Johnson, derives the word 
gibberish, or geberish. At what period Geber lived, authors are not 
agreed. According to Leo Africanus, he was a Greek, and flourished 
in the 7th century .f Others say, that he was born at Seville, in 

* Historia Oit. Philosphicc, dc Herbelot. Leo Africanus, &c. 
j Leo Africanus, I. iii. p, I3b 


Spain, but of Saracen origin, and place him in the 8th century ; while 
some state, that he was a Sabsean, of Harran, in Mesopotamia. Blan- 
canus maintains, that lie wrote in the 9th century, and that his real 
name was Abou-Moussah-Ds-Chafar-Al-Soli It is to be regretted, 
that the history of this patriarch of chemistry is so obscure. In a 
copy of his works, printed at Dantzic, in 1682, he is styled Rex 
Arabum, and Indite Rex ; but for what reason seems difficult to 
account : that he was either a prince or a king-, there is no written 
testimony. If Geber lived in the 7th century, which is generally 
supposed to be the true period of his existence, we may the more 
readily give credit to the curious means employed by the Veiled 
Prophet to elude the vigilance of his enemies. 

The following is a translation of the twelfth chapter of the second 
book of Gebev s Liber Investigationis Magisterii. The perusal of it 
will afford the reader an idea of the correct views entertained by that 
author concerning the nature of distillation. His observations run 
thus : 

" Distillation is the raising of aqueous vapour in any vessel in 
which it is placed. There are various modes of distillation. Some 
times it is performed by means of fire, sometimes without it. By 
means of fire, the vapour either ascends into a vessel, or descends ; 
such as when oil is extracted from vegetables. The object of dis 
tillation is to free liquors from dregs and to preserve them fresh ; 
since every thing distilled, possesses greater purity and is less liable 
to putrescency. The object of distillation by a still is to get water 
free from earthy substances, by which both medicines and spirits are 
injured. The motive for conducting distillation by descent is to 
obtain pure oil, as it cannot be raised by heat into a still. The 
motive for distilling by a nitre is to obtain pure water. There are 
two modes of distilling by fire ; the one is performed in an earthen 
vessel full of coals or embers ; the other with water in a vessel, with 
herbs on wood, arranged in order, lest the cucurbit, or still, be burst 
before it is completed. The first is conducted by a strong, the latter 
by a gentle and equal fire. Thus it happens, that the heavy and 
grosser parts are raised by the first means, whilst by the latter, we 
obtain a more subtile spirit, approaching nearly to the nature of com 
mon water. It is well known, tliat when we distil oil by embers, 
we obtain oil without any alteration; but when we distil oil by 
means of water, w r e obtain fair and clean oil from what appeared 
excessively red at first. By means of water, then, we must proceed 
with every vegetable, and things of the same nature, to ascertain their 
elementary parts. By the descensive mode must we proceed with 


every kind of oil. The arrangement of that which is performed by 
embers, is this : take a strong earthen pot, and fit it to a furnace of 
the same shape, as that which is used for [sublimation ; around its 
bottom let sifted embers be placed, and covered with them up to the 
neck ; then put in the substance to be distilled : finally, let the cucur 
bit, or receiving vessel, be attached and luted to the neck of the still, 
that nothing may escape. Let the still and receiver be of glass, and 
increase the fire as circumstances may require, until the whole is dis 
tilled. The second mode is like the first, both in vessel and still, but 
differs in requiring an iron, or brazen pot, fitted to the furnace as the 
former, and then upon the bottom of the pot must be placed two or 
three inches of herbs on wool, to prevent the receiver from being 
broken, and let the receiver be covered with the same herbs in some 
thing similar, up to the neck of the still, and upon these herbs let 
flexible twigs be strewed, and on them let heavy stones be placed that 
may compass the still, receiver, and herbs, to prevent the contents 
from rising, which would break the vessel and destroy the distilla 
tion. Fill the pot with water, and apply the fire until the operation 
is completed. The arrangement of that which is performed by 
descent, is this : take a glass vessel, having a proper descent, with a lid 
which must be luted to the descending vessel, put in what is to be 
distilled, and place the fire upon the lid. The arrangement of that 
which is to be peformed by a nitre is this : place what is to be dis 
tilled in a hollow stone, and let the broad part of the filtre be well 
washed, and water be placed in the hollow part ; let the slender part 
project over the edge of the stone, under which let a vessel be placed 
to receive the filtred substance. If not pure at first, put it back, until 
it becomes sufficiently pure." 

" N. B At first it will send over only the water with which it was 
moistened, then the liquor to be distilled." 

The better to illustrate the foregoing observations, a representation 
of the vessels used by him is subjoined, being curious when compared 
with those of the present day. 

Ampulla recipiens. 

Ignis lloceptaculum. 

Alembicus Lapideus, 

Concha vas recipiens. 




From the remarks of Geber, and his various experiments in chemical 

science, it is clear that distillation was well understood in his time, 

and that the mode of conducting pharmaceutical preparations, both 

X vegetable and mineral, had attained considerable perfection. Avicenna, 

I who flourished after Geber, describes the method of distillation, and 

i particularly mentions distilled w r ater of roses. Avicenna is also reputed 

as the person who discovered the art of making sugar, till then unknown 

amongst his countrymen. About this period, a knowledge of the 

arts and sciences was greatly cultivated, and continued to extend in 

proportion to the conquests of the caliphs ; the example and influence 

of whom diffused a love of literature over an empire, that spread in 

Asia from the Gulf of Persia, and the confines of Tartary to the 

Mediterranean and Indian Seas, and comprised all the habitable parts 

of Africa, from the Isthmus of Suez to the Atlantic ocean. 

During the reign of the Abassides, at Bagdad, the mass of human 
knowledge collected within the walls of that city was astonishing. 
The shelves of its schools and colleges were bent under the weight 
of Grecian, Persian, Roman and Arabian literature, and the taste for 
collections of that nature was carried to such a height, even by pri 
vate individuals, that we are told of a doctor who refused the invi 
tation of the Sultan of Bochara to reside at his court, because the 
carriage of his books would have required four hundred camels. At 
Cairo, in Egypt, the Caliph s library consisted of 100,000 volumes, 
which were elegantly transcribed and bound; these were cheerfully 
lent, without any pecuniary consideration, to the students of the city. 
In Spain, the Caliphs had formed a library of 600,000 volumes, forty- 
four of which were employed in the mere catalogue. Cordova, the 
capital of the Spanish Caliphs, with the adjacent towns of Malaga, 
Almeria, and Murcia, gave birth to more than three hundred writers, 
and above seventy public libraries were opened in the Andalusian 
kingdom. Amidst such a profusion of information, we need not be 
surprised at the acquirements of the Saracens. In chemistry, they 
certainly excelled all the nations which had gone before them ; that 
comprehensive branch of human research was greatly illustrated 
and enlarged by their discoveries ; and, although it may be lamented, 
that a great portion of their knowledge lay concealed under the occult 
mysteries of alchymy, yet, according to Gibbon, the real science of 
chemistry owes its origin and improvement to that people. That 
elegant writer says, that " they first invented and named the alembic 
for the purpose of distillation ; analized the substances of the three 
kingdoms of nature ; tried the distinctions and affinities of alkalis and 
acids, and converted the poisonous minerals into soft and salutary 

medicines."* Their speculative and visionary hope of finding an 
elixir of immortal health, is said to have led them to the discovery of 
alcohol, and entailed upon posterity the manufacture of a beverage, 
which, under the more modern name of aqua vitce, has since proved 
to many a blessing, but to millions a curse. 

Although these are the opinions generally recorded and handed to 
us, respecting the arts, industry, and knowledge of the Saracens, yet, 
I am far from believing, that they are entitled to be accounted the 
inventors of almost any of those discoveries, which are attributed to 
them. The East, being the cradle of the human race, and of all the 
arts, it is clear that the Arabians must have received their knowledge 
from that quarter. With the Egyptians and Indians, they had early 
intercourse, and these nations, it is well known, were far advanced in 
civilization long before, and in the practice of most of the arts, in 
which the Saracens, afterwards, became famous. The very style of 
architecture followed in the Eastern countries, was the model of the 
West, as is confirmed by the excavations of Pompeii, which had 
been buried nearly twenty centuries in the bowels of the earth. So 
skilled were the inhabitants, of that unfortunate city, in every thing 
that related to the comforts, and even the luxuries of life, that a house 
was found with windows of glass, as fine and transparent, as that 
made in modern times ; besides ornaments of gold and specimens of 
art, of exquisite workmanship. The Arabs, it cannot be denied, 
were ignorant and barbarous, when various other portions of Asia, 
as well as some parts of the North of Africa, more particularly 
Egypt, were highly polished ; and from those sources they must have 
acquired, in a great measure, the whole extent of their knowledge, in 
every department of literature. Strabo informs us, that the Arabians 
built their houses and temples after the model of the Egyptians ; and 
that the Egyptians knew distillation, at a more remote period, than 
the Arabs, can scarcely be questioned, since Pliny has nearly des 
cribed the process. If, as has been said, that this art was invented 
by a Grecian physician, and that the vessel first used in the practice 
was called cmbic, to which the Arabians afterwards prefixed their 
definite article /, why attribute the invention to them ? Since the 
very derivation of the term is purely Greek, and as the Arabians were, 
for the most part, indebted to the Grecians for their proficiency in 
medicine and chemistry. From these considerations, and the known 
acquirements of the Syrians, Egyptians, Persians, Chinese, and other 
Oriental nations with whom the Arabians had intercourse, and among 

* Gibbon s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. 


whom a knowledge of distillation appears to have previously existed, 
it is evident that this art was handed to them by others, and that they 
were only pupils, not teachers in geography, astronomy? algebra, 
chemistry, and architecture, as is generally maintained. 

In speaking of the Arabians in this manner, I do not wish to be 
understood as depriving them of merits to which they are confessedly 
entitled, and of which so extensive a view has been just taken ; but 
the discovery of the art under consideration, having been usually 
attributed to them, I was induced to examine minutely the grounds 
. on which this assumption was founded ; and although it cannot be 
decisively ascertained who were really the inventors of distillation, 
yet I am led to conclude, that the Arabians were the mere improvers, 
and not those to whom the art owed its origin ; and from an attentive 
perusal of the various articles in this volume bearing on this point, but 
more particularly the observations on India and China, it is very 
probable the reader will come to the same conclusion. In addition to 
these remarks, it may be observed, that while we love alterations 
and changes, the orientals preserve uniformity ; among us, a dress 
which was in fashion thirty years ago, is now ridiculous ; among them, 
the same dress, manners, and customs prevail, that were in use a 
thousand years since ; the arts which are progressive with us, are, 
with them, stationary. The physical and moral character of the 
orientals reposes on principles like those that existed thousands of 
years past, making a powerful contrast with those now in the west. 
Our mode of life is refined and changeable, theirs simple and perma 
nent ; with us there is a constant incitement to civilization, with them 
rather an inclination to barbarism. Man exists in the east, as it were, 
among the shades of antediluvian devices ; in the west, amidst the 
glare of modern improvements hence the Chinese, Persians, and 
Hindoos are entitled to be considered the inventors of the arts and 
sciences, and the teachers of them to those who visited them in the 
remoter ages of antiquity, not the scholars of a few itinerants, nor from 
having acquired their knowledge from other nations then in a compa 
rative state of barbarism. 

All the works of the Saracens appear to be translations or compi 
lations from the Greek, Roman, Persian, and other oriental writings, 
little originality existing in any of them. A late publication, at 
Madrid, of an Arabian Treatise on Agriculture, from an old manu 
script in the Escurial, by Ibn El Awam, in which one hundred and 
twenty authors are cited as the sources of his information, is a proof 
of this assertion. Among those authorities, he draws largely from M. 
Cato, Varro. Columella, Palladium, and adduces the various practices 


of Egyptians, Persians, and other Easterns, in agriculture, from writ 
ings long since lost.* Mr. Mills says, " that as discoverers and in 
ventors, the Saracens have few claims to praise ; a grateful respect 
for antiquity was corrupted by them into a superstitious reverence, 
which checked all originality of ideas and freedom of thought. But 
they formed the link which unites ancient and modern letters ; and as 
their relative situation with Europe somewhat resembles the relative 
situation between Europe and Greece, they are entitled to a portion 
of our respect and gratitude.f The silence of the Greek writers is 
no proof that distillation was not known in the east before their time. 
It is not likely that a people, whose beverage was wine, in every 
variety, would think of submitting it to the alembic, in order to procure 
another kind of liquor, when they considered and accounted wine a 
drink worthy of the gods. 

From the preceding recapitulation, and a consideration of the 
sources from whence the Saracens drew their stores of knowledge 
in Pharmacy, Chemistry, Mathematics, and the other arts and sciences, 
the deduction is natural, that the distillation of spirits is not their in 
vention ; and that the term alcohol is but another name for arrack, 
or rather for the improvement of that spirit by a higher rectification 
for alcohol with us, is always understood to signify spirit of wine, of 
the highest degree of volatilization, the particle al (the) being pre 
fixed to express something grand or superlative: thus, alcohol means 
the pure spirit ; alchymist, a chemist of the first order ; alchymy, 
the highest degree of chemistry. Again, alcohol is compounded of 
the Arabic article al and the Hebrew word, Kaal, or Chaldaic, cohal, 
signifying to subtilize, make light or thin. Alembic is a compound 
of al with the Greek, etpfii% 9 an earthen vessel, or jar, called from its 
shape the cucurbit, or body. Alchymy is a compound of al and x,W* 
denoting the more sublime or occult part of chemistry. Hence the 
inference is plain, that as the Saracens borrowed those technical terms 
from foreign languages, they also derived from other nations aknowledge 
of the arts to which those appellations belonged. The word al ha hoi, 
or alcohol, was originally applied to the powder, with which the Jew 
ish, Syrian, and other Eastern ladies tinged their hair, and the edges 
of their eyelids, in order to heighten their beauty ; and the name was, 
in consequence, subsequently transferred to spirits of wine rectified 

Libro de Agricultura, su Autor el Doctor Excelentc Abu Zacaria, Ebu El 
A warn Sevillano, traducido al Castellano y anotrado por Don Josef Antonio Bangueri. 
De Orden Superior y a Expensas de la Real Bibliotheca. 

f History of Mahometanism, 8vo. p. 402. 

to the highest perfection, intimating its improved state and fasci 
nating qualities. 

It is a well known historical fact, as given by Ebn Chalican, one 
of their writers, that at the time of the publication of the Koran, 
there was not to be found in the whole district of Yemen, a single 
person who could read or write Arabic, and the prophet himself, 
called the illiterate, was indebted to Warakan, his wife s kinsman, 
and a Christian, for the compilation of the Alcoran, at least so far as 
regards penmanship. In a country so uneducated, no art nor science 
of any importance could have flourished ; and we find, even after the 
Saracens had arrived at considerable eminence as a nation, that one 
of their most enlightened caliphs, Al-Mamon, when reproved by his 
father for selecting Messue, a Christian physician, to conduct the pur 
suits of the learned men he had collected, with great frankness ob 
served, " I have made choice of Messue, as an able preceptor in use 
ful sciences and arts ; and my father well knows that the most learned 
men, and the most skilful artists in his dominions, are Jews and Chris 
tians." Thus acknowledging the weight of obligation due to those 
foreign preceptors. The zeal of Al-Mamon, in collecting informa 
tion, led Takiddin, a bigoted Mahometan, to say, that God would 
punish the caliph for daring by such studies to disturb the devotions 
of the Prophet s followers. Avicenna, one of their most eminent 
physicians, is said to have been indebted to Greek writers for the 
medical works for which he has been celebrated. Averroes is like 
wise under obligations to Aristotle, for his celebrity as a philosopher, 
though it is well known that he was unacquainted with the original, 
and perused the writings of that great man, by means of wretched 
Arabic translations. Galen and Hippocrates were the great guides 
in medicine ; Dioscorides the director in botany. Under the wither 
ing influence of the Koran, it is surprising how any progress what 
ever could be made in the acquisition of knowledge. Divided by 
political dissensions, as well as heretical opinions, and engaged in 
almost continual warfare, the Saracens had not that independent 
spirit of research to think and speculate boldly for themselves, nor to 
rise superior to the trammels imposed on them by others : hence it 
may be asserted with truth, that the moderns owe little to their disco 
veries ; and that the arts and sciences of the present day have 
received almost nothing from their industry, so that, in the language 
of an intelligent writer, it may be said, " Science would suffer no 
material loss, if the writings of the Saracens be permitted quietly to 
repose in that oblivion to which time has consigned them." Posterity, 
however, cannot but cast a grateful recollection to the period when, 


but for their fostering protection, learning would have been over 
whelmed in intellectual darkness, and a vast portion of mental riches, 
and valuable materials lost for ever to the world. 

I shall now proceed to consider the cause of the prohibition of \ 
wine and intoxicating liquors among the followers of Mahomet, illus 
trating the remarks with such anecdotes as shew that the prophet 
could not entirely eradicate that part of human imbecility, which 
renders their use or pleasing qualities in some shape or other desir 
able. According to a writer in the Universal History, Spanheim and 
Reland have asserted that the ancient Arabs abstained from wine 
long before the birth of Mahomet ; but it appears from Strabo, that 
in Arabia Felix, besides the husbandmen, there were many who 
made palm wine, which, he says, was much used by the inhabitants of 
that country, proving that intoxicating liquors were not generally 
forbidden before the time of that prophet. 

The causes which induced Mahomet to prohibit the use of inebriating 
drink, have been stated as various. The Sieur de Ryer, in his life of 
the prophet, attached to his translation of the Koran, page 39, says, 
that in the fourth year of the Hegira, while his army were engaged 
in expeditions against the neighbouring tribes, some of his principal 
men betaking themselves to play and drink, in the heat of their cups 
quarrelled, and raised such disturbances among his followers, that they 
nearly came to blows, and to the overthrow of all his designs. To 
prevent such mischief in future, he forbade the use of wine and all 
games of hazard for ever ; and to render the prohibition of more influ 
ence, he supported it by a fable of two angels, called Arut and Marut, 
who, in ancient times, were sent from heaven to administer and teach 
men righteousness in the districts of Babylon, when a certain woman 
coming to them for justice, invited them to dine with her, on which 
occasion she placed wine before them, which God had forbidden them 
to drink ; but the agreeable nature of the liquor tempting them to 
transgress the divine command, they drank to intoxication, and 
tempted the woman to lewdness ; but this was on condition that one 
of them should carry her to heaven and the other bring her back. As 
the fable runs, when the woman got to heaven, she would not return, 
but declared to the Almighty the whole matter, who, to reward her 
chastity, made her the morning star, and the angels getting their choice 
whether they would be punished for their wickedness at that time, or 
at a future period, chose the former, in consequence of which they 
were suspended by the feet, with an iron chain, in a pit near Babylon, 
where they are doomed to continue to the day of judgment. For 


this reason God forbade the use of wine to his servants ever after.* 
The prophet seems to assign the reason of the prohibition in the Koran 
altogether to the quarrels which wine and games of chance had caused 
amongst his followers ; for in the 5th chapter of that book he says, 
" The devil desires to sow dissensions and hatred among you through 
wine and games of chance ; be obedient to God, and the prophet, 
his apostle, and take heed to yourselves." The learned Mr. Sale 
seems to agree with the Sieur de Ryer, that it was the divisions and 
disturbances in company, and the neglect, or at least indecencies 
in the performance of religious duties, occasioned by inebriety, which 
induced the prophet to pass so strict a prohibition.! In this restriction, 
it is probable that Mahomet was guided by the Mosaic law, under 
which the priests were forbidden to drink wine or any intoxicating 
liquors, when they were about to enter on, or execute, any sacred or 
religious duty. " Do not drink wine," says the inspired writer, " nor 
strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the taber 
nacle of the congregation, lest ye die ; it shall be a statute for ever 
throughout your generations." J The Nazarites and Rechabites, as well 
as many pious persons among the Jews and primitive Christians, ab 
stained altogether from wine, and we find injunctions of a prohibitory 
nature observed among the Egyptians, Carthagenians and Greeks: so 
that the mandate of the prophet in this respect is not without a prece- 
dent.|| The Carthagenian soldiers were forbidden wine while in the 
field, under the severest penalty ; and their magistrates were also 
obliged to abstain from wine during the exercise of their power, though 

* Prideaux s Life of Mahomet, 8vo. p. 111. 

f Sale s Koran, chap. ii. p. 39 ; chap. iv. and v. J Levit. x. 9. 

Doctor Lightfoot, in his work already quoted, thus comments on the 
vow of the Nazarites, as spoken of in the sixth chapter of Numbers : " Whilst 
I a little more narrowly consider, that severe interdiction by which the Naza- 
rites were forbidden the total use of the vine, not only that he should not drink 
t>f the wine, but not so milch as taste of the grape, nor the pulp, nor stone 

of the grape, no, nor the bark of the vine, I cannot but call to mind, 1st. Whether 

the vine might not be the tree in paradise that had been forbidden to Adam, by the 
tasting of which he sinned ; the Jewish doctors positively affirm this without any 
scruple. 2dly Whether that law about the Nazarites had not some reference to 
Adam, while he was under that prohibition, in the state of innocency. For if the 
bodily and legal uncleanness about which there are such strict precepts (Numb, v.) 
especially the leprosy, the greatest of all uncleannesses, did excellently decipher the 
state and nature of sin ; might not the laws about the Nazarites, which concerned . 
the greatest purities in a most pure religion (Lam iv. 7.) be something in comme 
moration of the state of man before his fall?" Jerm. xxxv. 5. 6. 

jj ^Elian, b. IT. Hist. vii. Sap. Plato de Legibus. 


it is doubtful whether this was always strictly observed ; a laudable 
instance of the wisdom of their government. 

Abufcfoda (in his account of the prophet s night journey to heaven,) 
observes, that the angel Gabriel brought him three cups, one full of 
wine, another of milk, and a third of honey ; upon which he took the 
milk and drank it as the most proper of the three, after which a voice 
was heard saying, " Thou hast made a lucky choice, Mahomet, since, 
hadst thou drunk of the wine, thy nation would have deviated from 
the right path, and consequently in their enterprises have proved unsuc 
cessful."* The fact is, that previous to the time of the prophet s pre 
tended mission, the Arabians were given to drink wine to great excess 
whenever they could get it, in consequence of which, Mahomet, as 
already quoted from the Koran, very prudently provided against the 
mischiefs that might ensue from it. But although there is little doubt 
that the prophet intended by his prohibition a strict abstinence from 
all intoxicating liquors, yet some have imagined, as Mr. Sale remarks, 
that excess in the use of wine or in inebriating beverages is alone for 
bidden in the Koran, and that their moderate use is allowed by two 
passages in the same work. The words are, " They will ask you con 
cerning wine and lots ; answer, in both there is great sin, and also 
some things of use unto men ; but their sinfulness is greater than their 
use."f Again, " And of the fruit of palm trees, and of grapes, ye obtain 
an inebriating liquor and also good nourishment." J Such is the weak 
ness of man, that it is easy to give a favourable turn to that which suits 
our inclinations. The more received and general opinion is, that to 
drink any kind of strong liquors, either in a less or greater quantity, 
is absolutely unlawful ; and though libertines may indulge themselves 
in a contrary practice, the more conscientious are so strict, especially 
if they have performed a pilgrimage to Mecca, that they hold it 
unlawful, not only to taste wine, but to press grapes for the making 
of it, to buy or sell it, or even to maintain themselves with the money 
arising from that liquor. Herbelot, the well known French writer, 
in his Bibliotheque Orientale, says, that there were some Mussulmen so 
strict, that they would not call wine by its true name for fear of offen 
ding against the laws of their prophet ; while some of the Arabian 
princes went so far as to forbid the bare mention of it. Such is the 
particularity of others that they will not even touch any matter where 
wine is used. Walpole informs us that, when in Turkey, he was 

* Abulfeda de Vit. Mahomet. 

f Sale s Koran, chap. ii. p. 39. * Ibid. vol. II. chap. xvi. p. S3. 

Vide Preliminary Discourse. 


enjoined by an Aga to be cautious in abstaining from wine in the room 
where he lodged ; lest the carpets or mats, on which the Mussulmans 
said their prayers, might be polluted.* 

We have an early and striking instance of the strenuous observance 
of the prophet s interdictory decree, in the treatment of the soldiers 
under Abu Obeidah, in the reign of the Caliph Omar, who, on hearing 
from that general, that the Mussulmans had learned to drink wine 
during their invasion of Syria, ordered, that whoever was guilty of this 
practice should have fourscore stripes upon the soles of his feet ; the 
punishment was accordingly inflicted, and many were so infatuated, 
although they had no accusers but their consciences, as voluntarily to 
confess their crimes and undergo the same punishment. f 

That the drinking of wine was not so obnoxious to some of the suc 
cessors of Mahomet, there are several examples among the Caliphs. 
Yezid, who commenced his reign in the GOth year of the Hegira, is 
the first of them who made no scruple of the practice. The following 
story is related of Almohdi, father of Haroun Alraschid, the hero of the 
Arabian Nights Entertainments. That monarch, being one day on a 
hunting excursion, strayed from his attendants ; when being pressed 
with hunger and thirst, he was obliged to repair to an Arab s tent to 
procure some refreshment. The poor man immediately brought to the 
Caliph some brown bread and a pot of milk. Almohdi asked him if 
he had nothing else to give him ; upon which the Arab presented him 
with a jug of wine. After the Caliph had drank a good draught, he 
enquired of the Arab whether he did not know him ? The other having 
answered that he did not, " I would have you know then," replied 
Almohdi, " that I am one of the principal lords of the Caliph s court/ 
After he had taken another draught, he put the same question to the 
Arab, as before, who answering, "Have not I already told you that I 
know you not ?" Almohdi returned, " I am a much greater person 
than I have made you believe." Then he drank again, and asked his 
host the third time, whether he did not know him ? to which the other 
replied, " that he might depend upon the truth of the answer he had 
already given him." " I am then," said Almohdi, " no less a personage 
than the Caliph, before whom all the world prostrate themselves." 
The Arab no sooner heard the words, than he tremblingly carried 
away the pitcher, and would not suffer his guest to drink any more. 
Almohdi being surprised at his behaviour, asked him, why he removed 
the wine. The Arab replied, " Because I am afraid that if you take 

* Walpole s Memoirs relating to European and Asiatic Turkey, 4to, 
f Ockley s History of the Saracens, vol. i. p. 171, 324* 


a fourth draught you will tell me you are the prophet Mahomet ; and 
if by chance a fifth, that you are God Almighty himself." This gentle 
rehuke so pleased the Caliph, that he could not forbear laughing ; and 
being soon rejoined by his people, he ordered a purse of silver, and a 
fine vest to be given to the poor man, who had entertained him so 
hospitably. The Arab, in a transport of joy for the good fortune he 
had experienced, exclaimed, " I shall henceforth take you for what 
you pretend to be, even though you should make yourself three times 
more considerable than in this instance." Time, which unhappily too 
often destroys the best resolutions and propensities of our nature, has 
rendered the crime of inebriety less uncommon among the Mahometans 
of the present day than formerly ; but since their intemperance cannot 
be induced by social hilarity, it is always with them a solitary vice, 
and consequently, to use the language of a late writer, though not 
more hateful, is much more odious than when it arises from the desire 
of promoting the exercise of the social feelings. There is an anecdote 
told by Russell, in his History of Aleppo, which, as corroborative of 
what is here advanced, an apology for its insertion is scarcely neces 
sary. It relates to a Sirdar of high rank at Aleppo, who was fond of 
indulging in the pleasures of the bottle. This man, says the author, 
was in the habit of retiring to one of the gardens near the town, to 
enjoy his wine more luxuriously in a kiosk. Returning one summer s 
evening from a debauch of this kind, he observed, as he passed near 
the Christian burial-ground, a Maronite sitting on a grave stone and 
smoking his pipe, who, on seeing him approach at some distance, rose 
up, laid down his pipe, and at the same time attempted hastily to 
conceal something in his pocket. This the Sirdar suspected, and justly, 
to be arrack ; therefore, stopping his horse, he despatched one of his 
attendants to bring the culprit before him. The Christian was not 
only reproached for drinking thus publicly, but threatened with instant 
punishment, for having aggravated the crime by drinking on a tomb 
stone. Upon his swearing, by the Gospel, that he had tasted no strong 
liquor for a week, orders were given to search his pockets ; but he 
had taken care that no testimony should appear against him from that 
quarter, by dropping the empty bottle before he was seized. The 
Sirdar then commanded another of his attendants to try whether the 
charge might not be proved from the criminal s breath. " Breathe ye, 
Giaour," exclaims the Janizary, " breathe full in my face." The 
trembling culprit at first hesitated, but knowing the consequence of 
refusal, was at last obliged to comply. " I knew very well," said the 
Sirdar, " I should detect this Jew of a damned Christian. Does 
he not smell abominably, Mustafa ? bring him nearer me, don t you 


perceive his breath ?" " Wliy, really," replies the half drunken Janizary, 
" that there is a strong smell of arrack among us cannot be doubted, 
but whether it proceeds from yourself, Sir, from me, or from tin s 
damned infidel, may I perish if I can justly determine." 

If Madden, a late writer, may be credited, intoxication is much 
more prevalent with the Mahometans than is generally believed. He 
states that hospitality among the Turks is not surpassed even by the 
Irish. The excellence of their cooking, the number of their dishes, 
and the profusion of their sweetmeats, gave him an exalted opinion of 
their luxurious living. At dinner, he observed upwards of forty dishes 
furnished in succession, and, contrary to our practice, the desert was 
the first, consisting of sweetmeats and preserves. After the desert, 
the appetite was whetted with an abundance of raw spirits, the very 
highest class drinking rum and raki, with the same familiarity 
that we drink beer, ale, or porter. He says the most exalted char 
acters in the empire are addicted to drink, and that the Sultan daily 
receives, from his apothecary, a bottle of Rhenish wine, with the word 
"physic" on the label. Another traveller assures us that drinking is 
common among the most respectable, and mentions a Sirdar of high 
rank, who openly braved, by this practice, the commands of the prophet, 
and confessed that he could not live without the aid of spirituous 
liquors. Even in Mecca, it is said, that there are two shops in which 
intoxicating liquors are publicly sold, during the night, but not in the 
day time. One description of liquor thus sold is made from fermented 
raisins imported from Tayf, and, although diluted with water, a few 
glasses of it produces intoxication ; the other is a sort of bouza mixed 
with spices and called Soubye> a beverage well known at Cairo. Neither 
the sanctity of the Holy City, nor the solemn injunctions of the Koran, 
are able to deter the inhabitants from the excessive use of spirituous 
liquors. Large quantities of Raky are imported from India, which, 
when mixed with an extract of cinnamon sweetened with sugar, is 
sold under the plausible name of cinnamon-water. This liquor is 
drunk by the highest characters, under the impression that it is neither 
wine nor brandy, and therefore not prohibited by the law. Burck- 
hardt saw at Tayf, a Turk, in the suite of Mahomet Ali Pasha, who 
distilled brandy from grapes, and sold it publicly at 40 piasters the 
bottle. Intoxicating liquors are vended at the very gates of the mosque, 
which, although prohibited in every part of the Mahometan states, is still 
more so in a city, the approach to which is forbidden to any but the 
faithful. This impropriety has given rise to the Turkish saying, that 
" the cities forbidden to infidels abound with forbidden things." Dr. 
Madden is of opinion that a moderate use of spirits would be a pre- 


ventive to the plague, and grounds his notion of its value on observ 
ing, that those who were in the habit of attending persons infected, 
and who habituated themselves to inebriety, never caught the contagion. 
These considerations led him to administer wine and brandy to his 
own patients, which treatment was almost invariably attended with 
success. A similar practice for the cure of diseases was long previ 
ously observed by an empiric with success. This quack, who was 
totally ignorant of medicine, made use of warm punch in the cure of 
every disorder. When asked by an old acquaintance how he could 
presume to become a physician and expose his life, should one of the 
faithful fall a victim to his ignorance, he replied, that lie sufficiently 
learned the art from the practice of the physician who had attended 
his late master, whose chief prescription w r as punch, of which the doctor 
himself partook. This gave him a high opinion of its virtues. He 
tried it on himself, and found it so agreeable and salutary that he was 
led to limit his prescriptions to it ; and as it met with general appro 
bation from his patients, he was amply rewarded, not only on that 
account, but for the numerous cures which its use had effected. The 
Sultan, Soliman the first, was such an enemy to intoxication, that he 
had recourse to the most rigorous penalties to check the progress of 
this irregularity. He even caused melted lead to be poured down 
the throats of the obstinate transgressors of the precepts of the Koran. 
Soliman the second, his son and successor, was the reverse of his father s 
character ; he went by the nickname ofmest, or the drunkard, but, amidst 
all his intemperance, he never neglected his daily prayers, though he 
seduced the nation by his example into the most unblushing debauch 
ery. " Let others put their trust in man," said this jovial Sultan, " f 
throw, myself into the arms of the Almighty, and resign myself to his 
immutable decrees. I think only of the pleasures of the day and 
have no care for futurity." Muradthe fourth, seduced by the example- 
of Beari Mustafa, not only drank wine in public, but permitted his 
subjects to use it without restraint, and even compelled the Mufti and 
Cazy-askers to drink it. Busbequis saw an old man at Constantinople, 
who, when he took the glass in his hand, summoned his own soul to 
take refuge in some corner of his body, or to quit it altogether, to 
avoid participating in the crime, or being polluted by such indulgence. 
Thornton tells us that he saw a habitual drunkard carefully remove 
his mustaches to preserve them from defilement before he took his 
draught, and immediately after swallowing it, he distorted the mus 
cles of his face, as if he had been taking nothing but a bitter or disa^ 
greeable medicine.* Slade relates, f that when the Ali Eflendi, 

Present State of Turkey, 2 vols. 8vo. 
f Records of Travels in Turkey, Greece, &c. 2 vols. 8vo. 


governor of a province, received a copy of a Hatti Scheriff, or order 
of the Porte, to enforce the prohibition of wine and spirits ; he and 
the Cadi being- half tipsy at the time, put off its reading to the next 
day ; but having cast their eyes over it, they exclaimed, " Here is an 
order against drinking, and we are drunk when it arrives ; they who 
sent it must surely have been drunk also, for not knowing that we 
would disregard it." 

In further illustration of the propensity of the followers of Mahomet 
towards the use of inebriating liquors, it is related of Achmet Cachef, 
the present governor of one of the provinces in Upper Egypt, that he 
was fond of the bottle. When visited by some English gentlemen, 
who were requested to partake of some refreshment, that Pacha 
directed his attendant to bring him a bottle of the water of which the 
Franks were so fond. Accordingly, a bottle of a strong spirit, made 
from dates, was produced. The guests were pressed to partake of it, 
but declined. The Pacha then said, that although the prophet had 
forbidden raki, he would himself take some, to convince his friends 
that he had no intention of poisoning them. He then took off his 
glass, and repeated the example seventeen times, by way of encou 
ragement for his guests to drink during the four hours they remained 
with him. In the course of the interview, he observed that, "notwith 
standing they seemed shy in drinking with him, he would stake any 
money that their baggage was well stored with all sorts of wine and 
liquors." This being construed into a civil hint to obtain a present of 
that description, the interpreter was directed to say they had a supply, 
and to know what sort he would choose, whether brandy, gin, or rum, 
" Oh !" replied he, " I like them all three" which expression caused 
a hearty laugh, and induced his friends to present him with a bottle 
of each. It was not long after when the corks w r ere drawn, and 
pledging them in a bumper, Achmet observed, that if Mahomet 
should ask him why he drank, he would throw the whole blame on 
his friends, as the liquor was so excellent.* A late traveller states, 
that when he had retired to rest at the house of AH Bey in Damanhur, 
he heard a gentle knock at his door, and, on opening it, found that the 
intruder was the Governor s treasurer, a strict Mahometan, who had 
availed himself of the solitude of the night to communicate a secret 
which was no less than a request that he might be favoured with a 
bottle of rum. Having had a trial of its good qualities before, he was 
in such raptures with it, that he was impelled to make this request. 
It was at first refused, but the Mussulman pressed so hard, and that 

* Webster s Travels, vol. ii. p. 8. 


with an assurance that he would drink it with great moderation, his 
request was granted. On being presented with the bottle, he seized 
it with great eagerness, and placing it under his cloak, with much pre 
caution, he disappeared amidst the windings of the building, in an 
instant, highly delighted, and muttering thanks as he retired.* 

Some of the principal officers of state are so fond of spirits, that 
they procure it at any expense, and convey it home, without the 
knowledge of their servants, carrying it in small leathern bottles, or 
in tubes of the same material twisted round the body. In this manner 
it is brought into the most secret recesses of the Seraglio, even at the 
risk of life ; and we arc assured by Madden, who had access to the 
harems of many of the Turkish nobles, that the ladies consume consi 
derable quantities of wine under the name of an Italian cordial, called 
Rosolio ; whereas, if the wine were offered under its true denomina 
tion, it would be rejected with scorn. Carne saw this exemplified in 
a rich Islamitic merchant, who, when asked to drink wine, expressed 
high indignation, but when the same liquor was presented to him under 
the name of Rosolio, he took off a large bumper with great cheerful 
ness.! Excuses of a very trivial nature are taken advantage of. 
Some affirm, that because the term rum is not in the Koran, the use 
of it was not forbidden by the Prophet. Captain Trant, in his Journey 
through Greece, relates, that while on a visit with the Bey, he got a 
peep into one of his store-rooms, in which he saw a number of bottles, 
labelled with the word Rhum, to which the proprietor had frequent 
recourse.:): The Greeks subject to the Turkish yoke, are often as 
much afraid of being seen by their masters when taking wine, as one 
Mussulman is afraid of being observed using it by another. Carne 
was witness to a circumstance of this kind, in the vicinity of Constan 
tinople. When at a meal with some Grecians, who were regaling 
themselves with white wine, the approach of a body of Turkish cavalry 
so affrighted the poor fellows, that they immediately concealed the 
wine, and substituted water. In a private visit which Doctor Clarke 
was permitted to make at the Sultan s Seraglio, he observed, in the 
secret chambers, labels, bearing Turkish inscriptions, with the word 
Rosolio, golden water, and water of life, a proof that neither the 
Sultan nor his ladies were insensible to the pleasures of intoxication. 
The same traveller tells us, that throughout Turkey, the dervises, 
during the Ramadan, would, when alone, eat pork and drink wine, 
and laugh at the absurdity of considering such things as forbidden. 

* Letters of a Prussian Traveller, 2 vols. 8vo. vol. i. p. 206. 

f Game s Letters from the East, 8vo. p. 203. % Journey, 1830, 8vo. p. 277. 

Clarke s Travels, vol. viii. p. 80, 


Some of our Christian teachers are not more particular in times of as 
great strictness. Since a duty was laid on wine at Constantinople, it 
has proved a more productive source of revenue than that arising- from 
any other article in demand. The annual consumption of the city is 
calculated at 20,000,000 of okes.* But when we consider that there 
are several thousand taverns licensed, in various parts of this immense 
capital (which comprises a population of from 4 to 500,000), it need 
scarcely be a matter of surprise. The Grand Vizier derives a consi 
derable emolument from these houses, which, under various pretences, 
he often causes to be shut in order that he may get a present by 
allowing 1 them to be re-opened. This is a practice of long 1 standing 1 , 
taverns being very ancient in this capital. Those establishments for 
public accommodation are not, however, of Turkish origin, but are 
attributed to the Lydians, they being accounted the first who sold 
wine by retail, and kept eating-houses for public convenience. The 
Jews, under the sanction of the Grand Vizier, make a good wine 
from the grape, called Altyntach, (golden stone,) which is sold so low 
as a penny and three half-pence per quart. All the necessary appa 
ratus for distilling has not only been found here, but also in the pos 
session of rich individuals, in various parts of the Turkish empire. 
Arrack, distilled at Constantinople from the skins of the grapes, is 
rendered aromatic by the infusion of angelica and gum mastic. It is 
a clear and transparent spirit when unmixed ; but when water is added, 
it becomes, first azure ; afterwards opaque and milky. It is a fragrant 
pleasant liquor, and is sold very cheap An inferior kind of Rakki is 
made from prunes. 

In many of the provinces, a preparation of mint and pimento, dis 
solved and digested in water, is a favourite drink. This liquor is 
remarkably strong : the person who drinks it, for the first time, sup 
poses that he has swallowed the most ardent alcohol Sherbet is, for 
the most part, a common drink with the Turks, and is usually pre 
pared from a confection of raspberries, strawberries, or apricots diluted 
in water. Large quantities of conserves made from different fruits, 
are sold in solid lozenges, and in the hot seasons are considered deli 
cious when dissolved in mountain snow. Cherries, gooseberries, 
currants, &c. steeped in rose water, with a slight infusion of musk or 
aromatics, form a beverage in great consumption. At the grand 
bazaar of Ali Pasha in Adrianople, sherbets are carried about Jn long 
bottles, and sold as refreshments : a similar practice prevails in many 
parts of the East. In some places, cakes made of tamarinds are used 

* An oke is 2|lbs. weight. 


for sherbets, and are considered valuable on account of their portabi 
lity. In Mesopotamia, the usual drinks are iced milk and lebben ; 
iced sherbet made of honey, cinnamon-water, and spices, besides the 
juice of pomegranates diluted with water of roses.* The foregoing 
enumeration comprises the chief sherbets in requisition, though fre 
quently they have drinks under this name, which consist merely of 
lemon -juice, mixed with cinnamon- water and sugar, with an infusion 
of violets, raisins, and oranges. 

Were beer, such as we have in Great Britain, brewed in the prin 
cipal cities of Turkey, there is little doubt that the brewers would 
raise rapid fortunes from its sale ; for, as the Mahometans at present 
regard the letter more than the spirit of their law, they would not be 
very scrupulous in drinking a liquor which is not prohibited by name. 
Aaron Hill, in his account of the Ottoman Empire, first published in 
1 709, recommends a speculation of this nature ; his observations being 
much in point, I shall not abridge them : 

" The love of brandy, wine, and other strong liquors, so much 
evinced throughout the Ottoman empire, proceeds," says he, "from 
nothing else but their ignorance in brewing other beverages ; for I 
frequently observed, tliat when an English ship had brought some 
bottles of our country beer, or ale, to Turkey, and presented them to 
such as would afterwards compliment the noted Turks of their ac 
quaintance with a share in drinking them, they constantly express a 
wonderful esteem and eager inclination to obtain a quantity, assuring 
us repeatedly, that could they make such drink themselves, they never 
should be tempted to commit a sin, by breaking tlirough the prophet s 
order to forbear the use of wine and brandy. 

" Nothing can be possibly more easily accomplished than the univer 
sal wish of Turks and Grecians upon this occasion, would some 
English brewer, skilled in his profession, make a voyage to Turkey, 
purposely to use his best endeavours for the introducing of beer or ale 
into common use instead of water. 

" For first, I have sufficiently explained my reasons, to believe that 
the natives of that country would, with pleasure, drink it, and the 
price by no means could retard the practice, for so cheap is malt 
throughout their empire, that they feed their poorest horses with the 
best of barley ; and with so much ease might he expect to thrive 
therein, that though he sold the liquor he should brew at no greater 
price than a penny per quart, he must soon grow rich by more than 
cent, per cent, of clear profit. But so far beyond this lowest compu- 

* Buckingham s Travels in Mesopotamia. 


tation may he reckon his advantage, that I can experimentally assure 
him he might sell it (and be never thought too dear,) at full the price 
it bears in London ; nor would the Turks think more too much, or if 
they should, the very factory itself, excluding all the other Christians 
there residing, would enrich him speedily, provided he took care to 
manage well the brewing of all his liquors. 

" If any timorous man," continues our author," objects to the incon 
venience of so long a voyage, his being altogether unacquainted with 
the country and its language, and his want of friends to help on his 
design, those difficulties will soon vanish, when I tell him that he may 
bargain for his passage in an English ship, arid be supplied with all 
provisions, even to Constantinople, for considerably less than 20 ; 
that he will land within a few stones throw of the ambassador s house, 
to whom the captain must, of course, present him, if designed to settle 
there ; that he is bound to grant him his protection and encourage 
ment ; that he may have a dragoman, or an interpreter, to wait upon 
him for a little charge, and still conversing with his countrymen, 
maintain a trade almost as free and uncontrolled as if in England."* 

Doctor Clarke was witness to the partiality which the Turks shewed 
towards our porter, as he saw them give thirty shillings for a dozen 
of it ; and it was purchased with the greatest avidity, as they seemed 
quite satisfied that it did not come within the forbidding mandates of 
the Koran. A late traveller observes, that it has often been matter 
of surprise to him, that among the trading speculations of his country 
men, no man has ever thought of trying a project of this nature. I 
have at times, says he, questioned merchants on the subject, who have 
urged, as an objection, the difficulty of preserving it in such a climate ; 
yet beer is made in England for exportation to the East Indies.f 
The only plausible objection which appears to such a speculation, is 
certainly the heat of the climate. It is, however, probable, that by 
brewing at particular seasons of the year, or conducting the process 
in cool cellars, or by means of good coolers exposed to the breezes of 
the night, or by approved refrigerators, beer or porter might be made 
of tolerably good quality, at any season or in any climate. 

Certainly a liquor of this kind would not only be vastly superior in 
point of flavour, but more wholesome than bouza, a description of 
drink very common in the Turkish empire, and in great estimation. 
Bouza is generally made from barley, much after the manner of brew 
ing beer, but it is of too inspissated a nature, and so badly fermented 

* See Aaron Hill s Account of the Ottoman Empire, 4to. p. 90, 91. 
f Turner s Journal of a Tour in the Levant, 3 vols., vol. iii. p. 488. 


as to render it unpalatable to Europeans. Wine circulates more 
freely through the dominions of the Grand Seignior, than is publicly 
known. That of the Dardanelles is sent to Constantinople, to Smyrna, 
Aleppo, and even to England. This wine will keep to a great age, 
and, if the vintage be favourable, is preferable to that of Tenedos. 
Both sorts are of a red colour ; that of the Dardanelles, after being 
kept for 20 or 30 years, loses its colour, but not its strength. Jews are 
the chief manufacturers of this wine, which is called in Italian, (the 
language principally spoken throughout the Levant,) vino della Legge, 
because it is pretended that the Jews, by their law, are prohibited the 
adulteration of wine. Its price, when of a prime quality, brings eight 
paras* the oke, or about four-pence the bottle. Doctor Clarke tells 
us, that the Pacha of the Dardanelles was much addicted to this wine ; 
and when he wished to indulge freely, he retired to his villa in the 
umbrageous recesses of Mount Ida, where he gave full scope to his 
love of inebriating pleasures, amidst his concubines, musicians, and 

In many parts of Asia Minor, the farmers, although Mahometans, 
plant vineyards, and cultivate the grape, but do not make w r ine. The 
grapes are consumed as ripe fruit, or made up by drying into raisins. 
From these, a sirup, called petmez, is preserved, and used in their sher 
bets as sugar. In other places, particularly in Mesopotamia and the 
adjoining provinces, this sirup is employed as an indispensable ingre 
dient in all their beverages. 

In the capital of Syria, the distillation of an ardent spirit from raisins, 
with a mixture of aniseed is carried on extensively. The privilege of 
this manufacture, on payment of a certain duty, is alone granted to the 
Christian and Jewish subjects of the Grand Seignior. According to 
Baimigarten and others, f large quantities of beer, or zythum, are 
brewed by the Syrians from the grain of the country ; and we have the 
testimony of Brown, a late traveller, that wine is produced in great 
abundance throughout Syria; a revenue is raised from it, the vineyards 
being charged according to the number of vines they contain. Eacli 
vine, if of good quality, is considered worth one piastre: the miri, or 
land tax, of every hundred vines, is ten paras. On the mountains, the 
vine is now cultivated to some extent, and it is pleasing to see with 
what neatness and industry its growth is effected, where it might be 
thought impossible to preserve it from the torrents. The wine, to 
improve its quality, is prepared by boiling it immediately after the juice 

* A para is about the value of an English halt-penny, 
f In Churchill s Collection. 


is expressed from the grape ; and to preserve it for use, it is put into 
jars or large glass bottles. This mode of boiling wine is not peculiar to 
the inhabitants of that country ; it was in general use among the 
ancients. The Lacedaemonians were famous for it,* and it is still 
practised in some parts of Provence, in France, where it is called the 
vin cuit, or cooked wine ; but there the method is to lodge the wine in 
a large room, receiving all the smoke arising from several fires on the 
ground floors ; an operation more slow, but answering the same 
purpose. The Spanish Vino Tinto, or tent wine, is prepared in the 
same way."|" The most valued wine, in this quarter, is the Vino de Oro> 
or golden wine of Mount Libanus ; this, however, is not boiled, but 
left to purify itself by keeping.}: The wines of Lebanon (of which 
there are upvrards of a dozen species) are equally luscious with those 
of Cyprus, they are very cheap, and might be worth exportation to 
other parts of the world. Jerusalem draws its supplies from the 
neighbouring villages. In the valleys that lie adjacent to that city, 
there are good crops of different kinds of grain and fruit. The vine is 
in a thriving state, and its produce has a rich flavour, not unlike that of 
Muscadell its strength is considerable, as was evident from the effect 
it produced on some of the superstitious devotees who shew the holy 
places in and about the city.|| Chateaubriand says, the wine of Jeru 
salem is excellent, it has the colour and taste of the wines of Rous- 
sillon, and is still furnished by the hills of Engaddi. 

In Damascus, wine is scarcely to be found. The monks in the 
convent there have good white wine, and to them a traveller must be 
indebted for a supply. The sherbet shops are numerous, clean, and 
neat, each having two or three large vessels constantly full of this 
beverage, with ice to cool it : the retailers fill a vase with the sherbet, 
colour it with some fruit, cast a piece of ice or snow into it, and 
directly present it to your lips : this is a grateful draught in sultry 
weather.f Nearclms relates that Damascus received the richest ma 
nufactures of Tyre in exchange for wine of Helbon, which was the 
same as the Chalybon of the Greeks, formerly so highly prized that 
the ancient Persian monarchs drank no other. At Smyrna, a common 
coarse wine, called Crassi, is in current use, which at first is rather 

Archreologia Grjcca, vol. ii. p. 366. 

f The Romans, as appears from Columella, were in the habit of giving to some 
of their wines a rich and precocious maturity by a particular effect of smoke. Vide 
Columella. L. i. c. 6. 

$ Brown s Travels in Africa, Syria, &c. passim. 
Light s Travels, 8vo. p. 214. 
|| Bramsen s Letters of a Prussian Traveller. 
^ Game s Letters from the East. p. 379. 


disagreeable from its having a strong pitchy or resinous flavour. The 
higher classes in Syria often indulge in the luxury of wines, parti 
cularly the Jews and the Christians ; and, according to Russel, it is a 
practice to drink a small cup of brandy before sitting down to dinner. 
The wandering hordes of Turcomans, Curdes, and Bedouins, who 
occupy the mountainous tracts of Syria, are too poor to merit attention ; 
and since nature is easily satisfied where temptations to enjoyment are 
few, what could be expected from those who shelter themselves under 
the frail tent, in the cavities of rocks, or beneath the shade of trees, 
delighting only in the simple repast which their flocks afford. The 
Druzes, or Derouz, another of the tribes that inhabit this part of 
Asiatic Turkey and profess Islamism, cultivate vineyards, and freely 
use wine without regard to the dictates of the Koran. Their man 
ners in this respect are very loose, they curse Mahomet, eat food that 
he has forbidden, and break the fast of the Ramadan. Warm-hearted 
and philanthropic amidst their unfrequented mountains and valleys, 
they share their humble fare with the suppliant or distressed passenger, 
entertaining him with lodging and every other comfort they can afford, 
in the most unaffected manner ; bestowing the reviving juice of the 
vine with the same generosity that they part with the least morsel of 
their bread, in conformity with their own sublime adage, " God is 
liberal and great, and all men are brethren." At a remote period, and 
long before Islamism was known in that region, Syria was remark 
able for its wine and the size of its grapes. Paul Lucas speaks of 
bunches that weighed 451bs. ; and the grapes of Hebron, (mentioned 
in Numbers xiii. 23) were so large that one bunch had to be borne on 
a staff by two men. It was with a grape grown in this region, that 
a favourite lady of the Caliph Jezid was choked ; he having presented 
her with a specimen of the fruit, she let it slip down her throat, 
and, from its great size, it stopped her breath and stifled her in an 

In different parts of Syria, as well as among the Druzes, it is a 
practice to extract from grapes a saccharine substance, called debs, 
which is used as a substitute for sugar. It is manufactured in the 
manner of wine, with the exception of being boiled and cooled twice 
in succession. When the grapes are trodden on, a white earth-like 
gypsum is thrown on them, from time to time, to make them adhere 
together ; the juice is then caused to flow into a stone receiver, from 
whence it is carried to a boiler and from that to a second vessel, where 
it is cooled and skimmed. After this it again undergoes the same 
process, and is then put into large earthen jars, in which it becomes a 
sirup. Perhaps this is the debasli of Scripture, which our translators* 


render honey, 2 Chronicles xxxi. 15. It is brought into Aleppo in 
goats skins, where it is publicly sold in the bazaars. Michaelis con 
jectures, that the honey mentioned as a portion of the present sent by 
Jacob to his son Joseph, at the court of Pharaoh, in Egypt, Gen. xliii. 2, 
was not the common honey of the bee, but a mass of bruised grapes, of 
the consistency of jelly ; and it may probably have been the same as the 
sirup just mentioned. Shaw speaks of the great traffic, carried on by 
the Syrians, in this article ; and says, that from Hebron, alone, 300 
camels, laden with it, are annually despatched to Egypt, besides what 
are sent to other countries.* Debs, when diluted and fermented, forms 
the basis of some of the best brandy, distilled in this country ; and 
vast quantities of the most valuable grapes are converted into this 
luscious material. The Syrian Mahometans take advantage of its 
saccharine qualities to make an intoxicating beverage ; but this they 
do in secret. Franklin gives an amusing account of a party that he 
found making it, amongst a number of tombs, between Berout and 
Mount Lebanon, where they converted one of the stone sarcophagi 
into a cooler for the liquor : a miserable shift, as he justly observes, 
to evade the prohibition of the prophet, and substitute Bacchus for 
in various parts of Syria, honey is largely collected, and the hives 
are formed of the same materials as those of Egypt, namely, of clay, 
being about four feet long and six inches in diameter. They are placed 
one above another to the amount of ten or twelve, presenting each an 
aperture, for the admission of the insects, and bearing a pyramidal 
appearance, protected by an awning, or roof. From the flowers and 
aromatics, so plentiful in Palestine and Syria, the bees collect the most 
delicious and abundant quantities of honey ; hence the appropriate 
language of the Scriptures, " a land flowing with milk and honey." The 
Syrians consume great quantities of it in sherbets and other refresh 
ing liquors ; and of the advantages of honey to the inhabitants of this 
region, Haselquist bears strong testimony. 

In all the countries labouring under the delusion of Mahometanism, 
there is little variety, so far as regards the manners and customs of 
the people. The Arabians, therefore, may be said to differ slightly 
from their neighbours the Syrians. Niebuhr tells us, that in many 
parts of Arabia, the Jews make wine and distill brandy to conside 
rable extent, and that at Sana, in the district of Yemen, if large quan 
tities of these articles are manufactured ; while in other places a sort 

Vide Harmer s Observations on various passages of Scripture, vol. ii. p. 6. 
f Fralclin s Travels, vol. i. p. 371. $ Nicbuhr s Travels, 8vo. vol. i. p. 250. 


*>f beer, something like the Egyptian curmi, was brewed, which 
received an agreeable taste from an infusion of a grey herb, called 
Schoebe,* that served as leaven in the fermentation. From the berry 
of the cebatha shrub,f a very strong kind of spirit was extracted, the 
acid taste of which, he thought, was much improved by sugar. Arrack 
is sometimes imported into Mocha, from India, as well as into many 
of the other parts of the Arabian Gulf. From the Kismis or Kisch- 
misch grape, which, like the arts and sciences of the Arabs, is an 
exotic from India, dibs or dibis is made, in the same manner as by 
the Syrians, and great advantages are derived from it, both in 
domestic and commercial intercourse. Wine, for which the Arabian 
poets have not less than one hundred and fifty appellations, is seldom 
made except by the Jews and Christians An excellent sort is manu 
factured, at the convent of Mount Sinai, from the superior grapes 
grown in the gardens of that establishment, and from the dates cul 
tivated in the vicinity ; and good brandy is made by a distiller kept in 
the convent for that purpose. Grapes are there preserved, by hanging 
them up in cellars, and prove very refreshing throughout the \vhole 
year. The vineyards at Taroot are good and extensive, but are 
sometimes overflowed by the tides. Malte Brun is of opinion, that 
it is here should be placed the Regio Martina of Strabo, where the 
vines, reared in baskets of rushes, were sometimes raised out of their 
situation by the waters of the sea, and afterwards replaced by means 
of oars.| Although the Arabians condemn the European practice of 
drinking to excess, yet they do not disapprove of it, when used with 
moderation, or as a remedy in diseases : it is even considered an 
absurdity to refrain altogether, from what a gracious providence has 
so liberally bestowed. Such, however, is the specious enforcement of 
the law, that if a Jew be convicted of conveying \vine into the house 
of an Arab, he is severely punished, at the same time that the Arab 
will regale himself with impunity, within his own apartments. At 
Suez, the inhabitants make no scruple of taking a moderate quantity 
of brandy, experience having taught them that it is necessary to do 
so, in order to correct the bad effects of the stagnant and brackish 
waters, arising from the saline qualities of the earth. According to 
Doctor Dwight, a similar practice prevails in New England and New 
York, in the vicinity of the salt lakes : in both cases, it may, however, 
be questioned, whether it is not the love of the liquor, rather than 

* Niebuhr s Travels, 8vo. vol. ii. p. 347. The lichen of the plum-tree, a natif 
of the Isles of the Archipelago. 

f Ibid. p. 355. J Malte Brim s Geo, vol. ii p. 210 


the expediency, which is the real cause for what is accounted indis 

The distillation of spirits, in this region, never formed a favourite 
pursuit : the knowledge of the Arabians in this respect was always 
limited, and even when the arts, under the Saracens, were at their 
acme, they had little to boast of, beyond the analysis of simples, 
with their application to medicinal purposes. In the practice of 
alchymy almost all other considerations were forgotten, and, as 
formerly observed, although the honour of the invention of distilla 
tion has been attributed to these people, yet they have not, at present, 
the remnant of an art to shew, that they ever had a pretension to 
that discovery. Niebuhr met with one of their alchymists, who had 
spent a long life in search of the philosopher s stone, and he had only 
then arrived at that point of his experiments, in which he found it 
necessary to procure an herb, that grew on the mountains of Yemen, 
fancying, that because the teeth of the sheep, which fed on it, were 
yellow, it must have the virtue of turning whatever it would touch 
into gold. Thus, it was, that the Arabian alchymists conducted their 
operations under the expectancy of changing the coarser metals into 
gold, and this being the cynosure of all their labours, mystery and 
enigmatical jargon became incorporated with all their writings, and 
they carried their speculations so far, as to suppose, that the very 
elements were under the superintendence of spiritual beings ; and 
that those beings had an influence over human power and human 
action. But that the idea of Fairies, Genii, Gouls, &c. mentioned in 
the splendid machinery of the Arabian Nights Entertainments, could 
have originated in this science, as has been supposed by Sir Humphry 
Davy and Doctor Paris,* there is not a shadow of foundation, unless 
that of mere conjecture. From the manners and habits of the Orien 
talists ; the grandeur of their imagery ; the luxuriance of their fancy ; 
the sublimity of their conceptions, and the metaphysical manner of 
clothing their ideas, together with the notions they have of multi 
farious agents of deity, we need not w r onder at the extravagance of 
their descriptions, and the familiarity with which they introduced 
supernatural agents on fcven the most trivial occasions, to all which, 
the Arabian, as well as other Oriental tales, that have been handed 
down to us, owe their celebrity and fascination. 

The Arabians have been so long degraded, that they now afford 
little interest, either in arts, science, or literature. The Egyptians, 
whose country is contiguous, are nearly in the same state, though, 

* Pharmacqlogia, vol. i. p. 88. 


when treading on their soil, a secret glow of veneration arises for a 
nation, so long distinguished in the annals of antiquity, for all that 
was mighty and majestic, whether we consider its almost superhuman 
structures ; its profound erudition ; its wonderful inventions, or the 
splendour, pomp and glory, which surrounded its early inhabitants 
Once they revelled in wines of the most costly nature now they are 
contented with a spurious description of their ancient curmi, a kind 
of ale fermented from maize, millet, barley, or rice. This liquor is of 
a light colour, and, in the hot season, will not keep above twenty- 
four hours ; it is pleasant to the taste, and, though weak, drunk in 
considerable quantities in this country, as well as at Kaliira, and Said 
(the ancient Sidon), in Syria. The native Christians mostly distil 
for themselves, from dates, a liquor called by the general name, 
Araki, (perhaps the same as that termed Horaky by Belzoni) ; it is 
also made from currants, or the small grapes imported from the Seven 
Islands. When the French were in Egypt, under Buonaparte, the 
want of wine was supplied by a spirit extracted from dates. This 
fruit is manna to the people of Egypt, with whom it is an universal 
article of food ; when ripe, the dates have a sweet but insipid taste, 
and when dried and preserved in lumps, after the stones are extracted, 
they are extremely good. Of the palm tree, from which the date is 
collected, Kenneir reckons forty-four varieties ; that species, cultivated 
in Upper Egypt, is of the best description ; and the wealth of some 
places consists in groves of these trees. At Tor, the plantations are 
registered ; most of them are entailed property, and parents portion 
their daughters with dates, in the same way that the people of Hol 
land portioned off their children with tulips.* Ripe dates, although 
delicious, are never refreshing to the palate, but they suit the Turks, 
who are fond of all kinds of sweetmeats. The tree, which yields 
this fruit, is here an inhabitant of the desert, and near its roots fresh 
water is always to be found. Providence has rendered it an invalu 
able gift to the inhabitants of Egypt, Arabia, and Persia. They not 
only make of its leaves, couches, baskets, bags, mats,f drinking bowls, 
and large plates, by way of salvers ; but from the branches, cages for 
their poultry, fences for their gardens : from the fibres of the boughs, 
thread, ropes, and rigging for ships ; from the sap, a spirituous liquor 
is prepared ; the trunk furnishes fuel ; camels are fed upon the stones, 
after being ground by hand-mills ; and, in some places, meal is ex 
tracted from among the fibres of the trunk, and converted into bread 

* Sir Fred. Henniker s Notes during a visit to Egypt, Nubia, the Oases, Mount 
Sinai, &e. 8vo. p. 217. 

t Savary s Letters on Greece, vol. i. p. 2C7. 


So celebrated is this productive tree, that writers, both in prose and 
verse, have made it the theme of their praises, and enumerated not 
less than three hundred and sixty uses to which the trunk, the 
branches, the leaves, the juice, and the fruit, are skilfully applied. 
Dufard El Haddad, an Arabian bard, thus alludes to it, when describ 
ing the great canal of Alexandria, " The woods," says he, " which 
shade this canal, give to the sailors, who row along its surface, a 
spreading mantle of green. The cool north wind refreshes the surface 
of the waves ; the superb date tree, with its high-moving and majes 
tic-tufted top, crowned with its cluster of yellow red fruit, leans gently 
over its banks like the head of a beautiful virgin asleep." Such is the 
attachment of the people of the East to this tree, that an Arabian, 
having returned home after a visit to Great Britain, said, that England 
wanted but one thing to make it beautiful ; " it has not a date tree in 
it ; I never ceased to look for one all the time I was there, but I 
looked in vain." The date tree can be as easily ascended as a ladder, 
being indented, as if constructed for the admission of the human hands 
and feet, and not by excrescences, as is generally understood ; it has 
no branches, the leaves, which are from six to eight feet long, serving 
for that purpose. In the Oases, that region so insulated from the rest 
of the world, and surrounded by the trackless deserts, the date grows 
to great perfection. Vansleb says the best fruit is brought from El 
Wah, which lies, three days journey, inland above Siout. There, 
dried dates are so fleshy and sweet, that others would be considered 
sour or bitter after them. From El Wall, observes the same writer, 
come raisins and good dates, common wine, dried cherries, and the 
like. Strabo speaks of the mines of the Oases, and both Abulfeda 
and Edrissi notice the luxuriance of its palm trees. The common 
wine, alluded to by Vansleb, is thought to be raki, or date brandy, 
which is in much request by the people of the Oases, who, though 
Mahometans, contrive to persuade themselves that this drink is not 
forbidden by the prophet Of the fertility of this portion of Egypt, 
we have the testimony of Olympiodorus, who wrote in the reign of 
the second Theodosius, and also of the extraordinary fruitfulness of 
tile trees. Corn there, according to him, was whiter than snow, 
barley was produced twice a-year, and millet three times.* Such is 
the fertility oj? Egypt, that Doctor Clarke met with heaps of corn 
extending nearly a mile in length along the banks of the Nile. No 
distillation of spirits from grain has, however, been attempted in Egypt, 

Journey lo Two of the Oases of Upper Egypt by 4 Sir Arch. Edmonstone, Bart. 
8vo. p, 36. 


notwithstanding- its great abundance. Bouza, an inferior sort of beer, 
is the only liquor made from it, of which the Arabs throughout Upper 
Egypt are very fond. They often expose it for sale in a common 
wicker basket, made so close as to be impervious to this and other 
fluids. Sometimes a sherbet is made from oatmeal, boiled with sugar 
mixed with rose water, which is esteemed a cool refreshing beverage ; 
but Bouza is the common article of consumption among the lower 
orders. The grain used in the manufacture of this drink is never 
malted ; it is mixed with ingredients to render it more intoxicating 
and palatable ; yet from its thick and glutinous nature, it grows sour 
in a few days. Palm, or date wine, is also in use, and from the inspis 
sated juice of the palm tree, dipse, or a kind of honey, little inferior 
to that of bees, is extracted, which, after being diluted and fermented, 
makes an agreeable wine. When dipse is intended to be distilled, 
the fermentation is checked before it becomes entirely acetous, and 
from this, as well as dates, arrack is manufactured much in the same 
way as brandy in Europe. It is remarkable, that the spirit made from 
dates, in most parts of Egypt, has a smoky taste or flavour like Scotch 
and Innishowen whiskey, yet mellow as if tinctured with honey. The 
native Egyptians are now so debased, that they have no taste for 
improvement or elegant refinement, either in the arts or comforts of 
life, which so eminently distinguished their ancestors. Still, however, 
they contrive to gratify their appetites with whatever intoxicating 
beverage they can procure, and even though under the strictness of 
the Mahometan discipline, defend the practice of drinking, in various 
ways, some of which are very ingeniously and artfully contrived, 
Bruce, when travelling up the Nile, had with him a Mussulman, 
named Hassan, addicted to drink, who, on one occasion, was desired 
to procure some aqua vitce, if his conscience would permit him. To 
which Hassan replied, " the Prophet never forbade aqua vitce, but the 
drinking of wine only ; and even the prohibition of wine could not 
have been intended for Egypt, for there was no wine in it, except 
bouza, and bouza, said he, I shall drink as long as I can walk from 
the stem to the stern of a vessel." Belzoni found that the scruples of 
the Egyptians were easily overcome, even for drinking wine, which 
he exemplifies by an anecdote of a CachefF, who, on observing that 
traveller drink a cup of red liquor, which he had poured out of a 
bottle, enquired what kind of beverage it was. On being informed it 
was Nebet, (wine,) he said, that having heard the English wine was 
so superior to the date-wine of his own country, he was anxious to 
have some to drink in secret. When presented with a cup full, (and 
his interpreter having first drunk some of it to convince him of its 


purity,) he swallowed the contents with avidity, and became so 
attached to this beverage, that, in three days, he nearly exhausted 
the scanty stock of poor Belzoni.* Under the intelligence of modern 
rulers, this country, it is to be hoped, will emerge from its darkness. 
At present, the sugar cane is cultivated in Upper Egypt, the produce 
and quality of which are good, and, according to Fitzclarence, in the 
years 1817 and 1818, the Pacha Mahomet Ali was making rapid 
advances towards bringing the manufacture of this article and of rum 
to great perfection. A Mr. Brine, who had been a trader to the West 
Indies, conducted the operations, which were on a very extensive 
scale. Hopes were entertained that the quality of the rum distilled 
here would soon compete with the West Indian article in the Medi 
terranean markets, where it has been sent in considerable quantities. 
Thus it appears that the Pacha, though a Mahometan, felt no scruple 
to compound liquors for the infidel Christians, provided he profited by 
the transaction His intelligence and enterprise have enabled him to 
see beyond the boundaries of superstition and folly, and to shew in 
this, as he has done in many other instances, that the real interests of 
a nation are best studied in the pursuit of legitimate gain, and are not 
incompatible with the duties of true and genuine religion. 

Captain Henry Light, f tells us that he found many sugar planta 
tions along the Nile, and that the mode of planting was that of put 
ting the joints of the cane into furrows five or six inches deep, which, 
after covering with earth, were watered copiously by channels filled 
with water from the river raised by means of wheels or buckets. An 
acre and a half thus cultivated, yield about one cwt. of sugar. The 
juice is pressed from the cane by a mill composed of two rollers 
wrought by a horizontal wheel turned by buffaloes. 

Mead is seldom to be met with in Egypt, although honey is plen 
tiful, and this is somewhat remarkable, as there are few countries 
where bees are more attended to. The honey, instead of being 
employed in the manufacture of mead, is used for various other 
domestic purposes ; and transported to different places in the Levant. 
Maillet says, that in Egypt the bees are fed chiefly on Sainfoin, and 
gives a curious account of the manner in which this is practised. The 
hives are made of clay in the same way as in Syria. As soon as the 
Sainfoin ripens in the fields, on the banks of the Nile, in Upper Egypt, 
the inhabitants, from all quarters of the country, collect their hives, 
and place them on board of boats prepared, or hired for the purpose. 

* Travels, p. 93. 

f Light s Travels In E^ypt. Nubia, and Abyssinia, and the Holy Land, S<c. p. 41. 


In these they are conveyed along the Nile, resting occasionally to 
allow the insects to collect the honey in the adjoining districts, and 
move along the river, stopping at intervals until the whole of the wax 
and honey is collected, Having finally arrived at the sea, the res 
pective owners take away the hives which they know by the number 
of the register in which they were set down previous to going out. 
It is an astonishing fact, that notwithstanding the moving habits 
ef those insects, they have never been known to mistake their respec 
tive hives, each instinctively flying to its little cell with undeviating 

The Nubians make bouza in abundance, in drinking which they 
indulge to excess. It is extracted from dhourra, or barley ; is of a 
pale, muddy colour, and very intoxicating.* Although the Nubians 
profess the Mahometan faith, they are characterised as great drunkards. 
Burckhardt, who visited Nubia in 1816, remarked, that during the 
fortnight he remained at Berber, he heard of half-a-dozen quarrels 
occasioned by drinking, all of which ended in knife or sword- wounds. 
In the larger villages of Nubia, palm wine is common ; it is not unplea 
sant to the taste, though too sweet to be taken in any considerable 
quantity : it is usually carried in large goat-skins and drunk out of 
small cups made from calabashes. Palm wine is generally obtained, 
by the following process : As soon as the dates have come to maturity, 
they are thrown into large earthen boilers with water, and the whole- 
is boiled for two days without intermission ; the liquor is then strained, 
and the clear juice is poured into earthen jars, which, after being well 
closed, are buried under ground. Here they are allowed to remain 
for ten or twelve days, during which the liquor ferments; the jars are 
then taken up, and their contents are fit to be drunk ; but this wine 
will not keep longer than a year, or beyond the next date harvest, if 
kept longer it turns sour. . The Nubians are industrious, and in some 
parts of Upper Egypt keep the shops for the sale of bouza. Great 
quantities of the wine and the spirits distilled from dates are consumed 
at Derr, and sold in houses kept for the purpose, to which many of th& 
upper classes resort in the evening to get themselves intoxicated. 
Here Maddox found that the Arabs were the chief distillers of Arrack, 
and which the Mussulmans drunk with satisfaction, and generally 
undiluted : it is inferior to the Arrack of Cairo, which is flavoured 
with aniseed.f 

* Burckhardt s Travels in Nubia, 4to. p. 143, 144. 
| Excursions in Nubia, voJ. i. p. 66. 


Burckhardt observed that from Siout soutlnvard, through the whole 
of Upper Egypt, date spirits were made and publicly sold, and that 
the Pasha levied a tax upon the venders. A revenue is also raised 
by taking from every date tree two clusters of fruit, whatever may 
be the quantity produced, and laying a duty on all vessels that load 
dates at Derr. The quantities of dates sent from Nubia to Upper 
Egypt vary according to the harvest from 1500 to 2000 erdebs annu 
ally, each erdeb weighing about two cwt. The date trade, which is 
extremely profitable, is now for the most part in the hands of the 
government. In Nubia, as well as in Egypt, a kind of jelly or honey 
is extracted from the date, which serves the rich as a sweetmeat. 
Except date trees and a few vines, there are no fruit trees in Nubia.* 
Bouza is made by the Nubians in the following manner : Strongly 
leavened bread made from dhourra is broken into crumbs and mixed 
with water, and the mixture is kept for several hours over a slow fire. 
Being then removed, water is poured over it, and it is kept for two 
nights to ferment. This liquor, according to its greater or smaller 
degree of fermentation, takes the name of merin, bouza, or ombelbel, 
the mother of nightingales, so called because it makes the drunkards 
sing. Unlike the other two, which being fermented together with 
the crumbs of bread, are never free from them, the ombelbel is drained 
through a cloth and is consequently pure and limpid. The ombelbel 
has a pleasant prickly taste, something like champagne turned sour ; 
it is served up in large gourds open at the top, upon which are engraved 
with a knife a great variety of ornaments. A gourd (bourma) contains 
about four pints, and whenever a party meet over the gourd, it is 
reckoned that each person will drink at least one bourma. The gourd 
being placed in the ground, a small gourd, cut in two and of the size 
of a tea cup is placed near it, and in this the liquor is served round to 
each in turn, an interval of six or eight minutes being left between 
each revolution of the little gourd. At the commencement of the 
sitting, some roasted meat, strongly peppered, is generally circulated ; 
but the bouza itself is esteemed sufficiently nourishing, and indeed 
the common bouza looks more like soup or porridge than a liquor to 
be taken at a draught. The Fakirs, or religious men, are the only 
persons who do not indulge, publicly at least, in this luxury. The 
women are as fond of it, and as much in the habit of drinking it, as the 
men. A bourma of bouza is given for one measure of dhourra, three- 
fourths of the measure of dhourra being required to make the bourma, 
and the remainder paying for the labour. Crumbs of the dhourra 

* Vide Burckhardt, p. 132, 103. 


bread are often soaked in water, and after giving it ajsourish taste, it 
is drunk off and called by the traders the caravan beverage, sherbet el 
jellabe. Parties are formed to drink bouza in the same manner as 
tea and coffee parties are in England. At Berber, females prepare the 
bouza, and, when the drinkers of it wish not to be interrupted, they 
generally retire to the apartments of the ladies, where there is no 
intrusion. Nobody goes to a bouza hut without his sword, and the 
girls are often the first sufferers in an affray arising from drunkenness. 
At Shendy, bouza is drunk to great excess, and as tobacco is smoked 
to a degree of extravagance, it is a maxim that he who does not 
smoke largely will never be a hardy bouza drinker. Here also a sort 
of sherbet, made from tamarind cakes dissolved in water, is taken as a 
refreshing, cooling, and wholesome potation. To this place honey is 
brought in great quantities from Sennaar, which is collected by the 
Arabs from wild bees, and it is often converted into hydromel. This 
drink is usually made by diluting honey with water, boiling it, and then 
fermenting it under the influence of the sun, as is the common practice 
in Abyssinia, Lithuania, Poland, and Russia. The most simple beve 
rage used by the Nubians is hour, a mixture of water and the juice of 

At Sennaar, a liquor, similar to date wine, is manufactured from 
dhourra ; it is however much less palatable to Europeans from its 
thick and glutinous quality, and from the burned flavour contracted 
in the dhourra, which is roasted previous to the short fermentation it 
undergoes. Bouza is artfully used in this country to ensnare mon 
keys, as those creatures, like man, seem inclined to partake of the 
pleasures of intoxication. For this purpose, a pan full of the liquor is 
placed at the foot of a tree ; and after remaining there for some time, 
the wary monkey-catcher having retired to a distance and feigning 
himself asleep, the unsuspicious animals come down from the tops of the 
trees and regale themselves so largely with the liquor, that they soon 
become an easy prey to their captors. 

We need not be surprised at those irrational animals being captured 
in this manner, when we find man, even civilized man ! taken captive 
by a like expedient. Captain Boteler relates that, while on the coast 
of Zanzibar, two sailors deserted, and the Arabs, who were employed 
to arrest them, fearful of resistance, placed spirits in the way : the 
men drank it, were therefore easily apprehended, and brought to 
prison in a state of intoxication.* 

The love of strong drink, it is well known, becomes habitual with 

* Owen s Voyage of Discovery in Africa, &e. vol. ii. p, 37. 


monkeys in a domesticated state ; and the Onran-Outang in particu 
lar (which approaches nearer to man than any other animal,) evinces 
towards it the strongest propensity. Doctor M Leod, who had a 
good opportunity of observing the habits of one of these creatures 
during his voyage home from Borneo, assures us that he would drink 
grog and sometimes unmixed spirits, and was actually turned out of 
the boatswain s mess for taking more than his allowance. On his arrival 
in England, he became very fond of porter.* 

On the Gold Coast is found a small quadruped, in appearance like 
a cat, which the Negroes call Berbe, and the Europeans Wine-b.bber, 
on account of its great fondness for palm wine, of which it will drink 
to intoxication. 

According to Bruce, the beer of the Abysinians is of an inferior 
description, and is made chiefly from tocusso ; but sometimes it is 
mixed with wheat or dora, at other times all three are mixed together : 
in general, however, tocusso alone is preferred. The first operation is 
to grind the tocusso or mixed grain, a fourth part of which is kneaded 
with leaven and water. Tin s is afterwards put into a jar where it is 
suffered to remain for two days, and then baked into thin cakes, which 
are dried on the fire till they become quite hard. The cakes are then 
broken into small particles, and put into a large vessel full of water 
capable of holding six times the volume of the grain. Powdered 
leaves of the Ghesh tree, which have a harsh bitter taste, together 
with other ingredients, are put in at the same time. The remaining 
three-fourths of the meal are placed in an oven over a fire with a little 
water, and kept constantly stirring until it becomes a paste ; and as 
the water is absorbed or evaporates, a fresh supply is added, and the 
stirring continued until the entire quantity becomes black like a coal. 
The whole thus prepared, the crumbs, the mass, and the leaves, are 
put together into a large jar, and left to settle for a day, after which 
it is poured off and preserved in jars well stopped : at the end of a 
week, the liquor becomes strong and tartish, and is what the Abyssi- 
nians call bouza.f When only two or thee days old, it is said to drink 
well. This account of the bouza is gathered from Bruce, whose des 
cription of it is far from being clear or satisfactory, a circumstance the 
more singular as coming from so intelligent and indefatigable a traveller,, 
and particularly when the subject affected the moral character of the 
people in no ordinary degree. Teff and Tocusso are the grain from 
which bouza is chiefly made, and teff is the principal article from which 
the bulk of the people make their bread. 

M Leod s Voyage to China, &c. 8vo. p. 3] 7. 
f Brucc s Travels to discover the Source of the Nile, vol. \i. p. 94. 


In making this bread, the dough is permitted to become sour, by 
which means the want of yeast is supplied, owing to the internal 
action which arises from the generation of carbonic-acid gas. Hence 
the ease with which the common people make bouza as the bread re 
quires but a few days in water, to produce it. 

The Teff plant, the poa Abyssinica of botanists, grows to about 
twenty-eight inches in height, not thicker than the stalk of a carna 
tion, smooth and jointed, having at about eight inches from the top, 
a head composed of a number of slender branches bearing a small 
crimson flower with a diminutive seed not as large as the head of the 
smallest pin, but so very prolific as to yield an abundance of meal. 
It is probable this grain is the tiphe, mentioned by Pliny. The 
tocusso is a black grain growing to about twelve inches high, having 
four divisions at the top ; it is said to be a species of the gramcn cruci/f, 
or grass of the cross. Of this a very black bread is made, eaten by 
the lower orders, but it produces the best bouza. Swoir, or Sowa, 
another kind of beer, is a common drink. It is made from crumbs of 
bread, with a mixture of parched barley. They have also a kind of 
ale, called sava, made from barley flour mixed with some intoxicating 

Bouza, the general drink of the country, will appear to be made 
to a great extent, when it is known, that it is not uncommon to order 
at one time, bread and beer or bouza for an army of 30,000 men. 
This, however, is exacted from the peasantry in the provinces through 
which the army passes, and the people are very exact in supplying 
their quota, as, in the event of failure, they should have to pay double 
the value. The distribution to the soldiery is in the proportion of 
twenty pots of beer, ten of mead, and one cow to one hundred loaves 
calculated for the subsistence of a certain number of men. 

The supply of bouza, maiz, or sowa, is carried by women, called 
Gumbones, from the term gumbo, which signifies a jar ; and it is sur 
prising how these poor creatures endure their labour, having often to 
pass over mountains and the worst roads, where at times they are 
obliged to crawl up steep precipices, with the jars on their backs, yet 
they are seldom known to break the jars, though ever so much crowded 
on their inarch. They always keep together in gangs, in the rear of 
the army, and in front of the rear-guard. 

In the household of the Ras, or king, there are two ministers, super 
intendents of the bread, wine, hydromel and bouza. The common 
utensil used in drinking, is the horn of an ox, though some of the 
higher order drink out of a golden or silver cup. Many of those 
horns are so capacious as to hold nearly six gallons, but those of great 


magnitude are employed for conveying liquors from place to place. 
Of this liquor, as well as hydromel, the natives drink largely when 
they visit one another ; and if Lobo is to be credited, there cannot be 
a greater offence against good manners, than to let the guests go away 
sober. The liquor, on such occasions, is always presented by a servant 
who drinks first himself, and then gives the cup to the company in 
order, and agreeably to their rank and station. Hydromel, next to 
bouza, is the most plentiful drink. This is owing to the immense 
quantity of honey which the country affords, and which is so great 
that the king derives from it a considerable revenue. Honey is also 
a principal article of food among all ranks of people, and the bees are 
kept in large cages or baskets hung upon trees ; some attach them 
selves to the branches, others build in the soft wood of the bohabab, 
the large and fragrant flowers of which communicate to the honey a 
strong perfume. The honey in this country always partakes of the 
colour of the flower and shrubs from which it is gathered, and Bruce 
met with some of it like blood, while the honey of those bees that 
build in the earth is nearly black. Travellers have asserted that wine 
is not to be had in Abyssinia, but Bruce says, this is a mistake, since 
strong wine is made at Dreeda, a place about 30 miles from Gondar, 
the capital ; and Salt informs us, that wine is made from a red grape 
which is common in some parts of the country. Poncet, who was at 
Emfras, within a league of Gondar, at the time of the vintage, which 
is always in February and not in autumn as in Europe, saw bunches 
of grapes, some of which weighed upwards of eight pounds ; these 
grapes were of all colours, but the white in particular were extremely 
well tasted. Pearce says, that grapes are found in almost all parts 
of Abyssinia, but no country produces so much as Emfras, owing to 
an ancient custom of the inhabitants following the wine-business. 
Here tribute is paid to the king and the Abuna. Every dass of wine 
pays a jar yearly to the king, as they enter Gondar to the market. 
It is the same in all other capitals of Abyssinia, such as Adowa and 
Antalo. The want of proper vessels to hold the wine is very inju 
rious to its preservation, as they have nothing better than earthen jars 

for the purpose, and these are not glazed within The attachment of 

the people to hydromel and bouza renders, wine from the grape less 
thought of, and, in consequence, the vine is not cultivated so generally 
as it might be. In the province of Tigre, there is a small black grape 
of excellent flavour growing wild, from which good wine could be 
manufactured. Brandy is in use among the Abyssinians, and their 
love of strong liquors often hurries them into excesses, which some 
times lead to fatal consequences, as was experienced by Bruce on many 


occasions. The brandy made by them is very strong, and is distilled 
through a hollow cane, called Shambacco, from the husks and stones 
of the grapes, after the liquor is pressed from them. Great quantities 
are brought daily to Gondar, during the vintage, from Corder Emfras, 
the grape country. One would expect, from the contiguity of this 
nation with Egypt and Arabia, to find in it some degree of 
refinement or advancement in the arts and sciences : on the contrary, 
Abyssinia is buried in the grossest ignorance and barbarism, 
unacquainted with every sort of manufacture, and reckless of every 
species of information, which would either expand the intellect or 
ameliorate its condition. More intent on gratifying the passions 
than in cultivating the social virtues, the Abyssinians indulge in acts 
contrary to the dictates of human nature among the rudest savages, 
eating raw flesh cut from the living animal, drinking afterwards even 
to bestiality, and committing offences against delicacy too obscene to 
be narrated. Eating raw flesh is not altogether confined to the Abys 
sinians, for the Thibetians have a similar practice ; yet the habits of 
the two nations are very dissimilar, the latter being a mild, affable and 
gentle people. 

Strange as this custom may appear, it is not less singular that, accor 
ding to Lobo, the Abyssinians esteem the gall one of the most deli 
cious parts of the animal, and drink glasses of it with the same pleasure 
that epicures drink the most delicate wines. Pearce says that he has 
seen them drink blood warm from the animal with an extraordinary 
degree of relish.* 

Notwithstanding these barbarous practices, the Abyssinians are a 
hospitable people. When a stranger enters a village, he is entertained 
at the expense of the inhabitants, for the master of the house, where 
he stops, has only to proclaim that he has a guest, when food and liquor 
are furnished in abundance. Should the guest complain of insuffi 
ciency, the villagers would be obliged to pay double the value of what 
ought to have been supplied. A traveller may go into any house 
with the same assurance of welcome as into that of an intimate friend 
or near relation. 

Poncet, who travelled through various parts of Ethiopia, found 
mead, called hydromel by Bruce, and maiz by Lord Valentia, to be 
the principal beverage of the people ; and describes the making of it 
nearly as follows : Several ingredients are employed, of which the 
basis is barley ; this is malted, dried, and pounded fine like coffee, an 
indigenous root called taddo, or sadoo, is bruised and mixed with it : 

* Pearce s Adventures in Abyssinia, 8vo. vol. i. p. 95. 


these are put with water into a well-varnished vessel and mixed with 
a fourth part of honey : to ten pounds of this water are put two 
ounces of barley and two ounces of taddo ; the whole is mashed 
together and left in a warm place to ferment ; it is occasionally stirred, 
and in three or four days it becomes excellent mead, pure, clear, and 
of the colour of Spanish white wine. It is considered a delightful 
beverage, is sometimes made of great strength, and brandy of a good 
quality is distilled from it.* 

Mussulmen, as well as Christians, are fond of bouza, and some of 
the former drink so deeply of it that they find it often necessary to 
sleep away its effects. On one occasion, when Salt dined with the 
Ras, he observed three large jars of maiz or hydromel at table, each 
containing about half a hogshead, all of which were emptied during 
the repast. At another entertainment, he saw about sixteen bruhles 
(a Venetian decanter holding about half a pint) drunk by each person 
present, ladies as well as gentlemen, a quantity the quaffing of which 
would put many of our European dames to the blush.f Yet Poncet 
assures us, that if the king happens to commit any excess, and that it 
is hinted to him he has done so, he instantly rises from table and retires : 
a condescension, and sensibility of weakness, to which perhaps no other 
monarch would submit. 

The higher classes of Abyssinians mostly have prudence enough 
not to get over-intoxicated ; still there are numbers who drink to 
such excess, that they fall off their mules on their way home, and, if 
no one is at hand to look after them, they are left to the mercy of the 
hyenas, which range all night through the towns and villages. 

Clubs, called marvers, are common, and consist of about twelve 
persons, who meet for friendly communication ; and afford opportu 
nities for drinking immoderately. They assemble once a-month, and 
when a married member happens to be absent, his wife often attends 
in his stead ; and the same practice is observed in the marvers of the 
women, should the wife be absent. Each of these clubs have a priest, 
who drinks and eats at free cost : he opens the meeting, when all are 
assembled, by saying the Lord s Prayer, which they all repeat toge 
ther ; and is too frequently, on these occasions, the most inebriated 
of the party. It is to be lamented that, through all parts of this 
country, the priests are great drinkers ; and Pearce states, that he has 
known instances of some of them being intoxicated when they had to 
administer the sacrament. 

* Lockman s Travels of the Jesuits, vol. i. p. 218. 

f Valentin s Travels, vol. iii. p. 71. Salt s Abyssinia, 4to. p. 412. 


The vessels, generally employed amongst the Abyssinians, for 
drinking, are chiefly formed of bullocks horns, and are of various sorts 
and sizes, handsomely finished and ornamented. Those, who serve 
out liquor, taste it first, by pouring a little into the left hand, from 
which they drink it, and then, wiping the bottle, or horn, with a cloth, 
present it to the master. 

The Abyssinians do not make beer from teff only, but also from a 
plant, called selleh. Bruce mentions different sorts of teff, of which 
perhaps selleh may be one of the species. They have likewise a good 
agreeable liquor made from potatoes and honey, which is very intox 
icating. The honey of Abyssinia is very plentiful, and is white, hard, 
and well flavoured. 

The use of this material in making an intoxicating beverage, is not 
only extensive in this country, but also in the adjoining states, and it 
seems to be a staple commodity. When Alphonsus Mendez passed 
through Dancali, near the coast of Babel-Mandel, it was with this 
liquor he was entertained by the monarch, who, on entering the hall 
of audience, was preceded by a domestic with an earthen pitcher full 
of hydromel, while another attendant carried a porcelain cup, out of 
which, without ceremony, his Majesty pledged his guast in a flowing 

In Bournou, two kinds of fermented liquors are in use ; the one 
called Amderku is made from dates steeped in water, then meal is 
added and the whole squeezed through a cloth. This liquor is used 
after it has stood three or four days. The other drink, called Sza, is 
made from durrah, or maiz, and is extremely intoxicating. 

The inebriating drinks used by the other rude tribes of the African 
continent, whether Mahometan or Pagan, are so much alike, that to 
describe all would be tedious, and were it possible, useless : a few of 
the most interesting may suffice. The beverages of the Negroes are, 
according to Park, beer and mead, sometimes called hydromel, the 
latter is a species of drink very common in Africa, owing to the great 
abundance of honey, w r hile the former is made wherever any farina 
ceous grain is cultivated.* Rice and honey may be said to constitute 
the principal basis of the Negroes sustenance. Honey is commonly 
procured throughout the whole of Africa in a wild state. The Madin- 
goes, differing from most other tribes, induce the bees to hive at their 
farms, in order to obtain a supply without the trouble and fatigue of 
searching the woods. For the accommodation of the bees, the Madin- 
goes use hollowed pieces of bamboo closed at both ends and placed 

Park s Travels, Svo. p. 248. 


horizontally on twa forked poles. In one of the ends of the bamboo 
is a small aperture for the passage of the insects, and when the season 
for taking the honey arrives, the bees are expelled in the same manner 
as in Europe. The mead manufactured among many of the tribes is 
little inferior to that made in our own country. The beer, on the 
contrary, is not for the most part good, because the process is badly 
conducted, and the absence of hops renders it heavy and more liable 
to sour. When Dalzel was at the court of Dahomy, he observed a 
sort of liquor called Pitto, manufactured by the ladies of the palace, 
of an agreeable flavour and heady quality, which was prepared from 
maiz or millet regularly fermented. Visitors are always honored 
with a glass of this beverage, or some other cordial, filled by the king s 
own hand, which, if refused, gives offence. Favours of this kind are 
received with avidity by his subjects as a great honour ; on such 
occasions, the individual lies on his back while the king holds the 
bottle to his mouth, in which posture he must drink till the royal 
hand be withdrawn, which sometimes does not happen until the whole 
contents are emptied, especially when lie has a mind to sport with the 
drinker. No subject can drink out of a glass in presence of the king 
of Dahomy ; and although that monarch does not eat in public, he 
makes no scruple to drink in public. French brandy and other Euro 
pean liquors are plentiful, as well as palm wine ; and convivial saluta 
tions, in the form of toasts, are common. On one occasion, when the 
king was going to battle, a warrior, who accompanied him, drank suc 
cess to his arms, adding, that should he be unfortunate, he hoped he 
would not survive the disgrace, but perish like the glass out of which 
he drank, dashing it to pieces as he spoke. Entertainments are fre 
quently held in the market place of the capital ; and it has been known, 
that 130 of the king s wives have been employed carrying provisions 
for the accommodation of the parties The drinking cups in general 
use are made of gourds, or calabashes, from which are likewise formed 
various utensils, such as bottles, jars, and pitchers : some of these 
gourds are so large as to measure a yard in diameter ; they are often 
converted into washing tubs, or vessels for fermenting the materials 
of pitto. The king of Dahomy, although at the head of a rude and 
barbarous people, displayed, according to Dalzel, sentiments worthy 
of a civilized sovereign. In a speech which he made on hearing what 
had passed In England, on the subject of the slave trade, he used the 
following remarkable observation : " What hurts me most," said he, 
" is, that some of your people have maliciously misrepresented us in 
books which never die, alleging that we sell our wives and children 
for the sake of procuring a few kegs of brandy. No, we are shame- 


fully belied, and I hope you will contradict, from my mouth, the scan 
dalous falsehoods that have been propagated, and tell posterity that 
we have been abused. We do, indeed, sell to the white men a part 
of our prisoners, and we have a right so to do. Are not all prisoners 
at the disposal of their captors, and are we to blame if we send delin 
quents to a far country : I have been told you do the same."* 

Of another Dahoman sovereign, it is related, that he displayed great 
ingenuity and cleverness in subduing a powerful neighbouring 
monarch. Being opposed by a great army, he saw that if he attacked it 
in an open manner, defeat must ensue ; he therefore had recourse to 
the following stratagem. Affecting to retreat, he placed a large 
magazine of spirituous liquors under a strong escort, with directions 
to rest at a neighbouring village. Leaving this in his rere, under the 
expectation that his enemies would indulge themselves to excess, when 
finding that liis stratagem was successful, he returned on the enemy* 
and routed them with immense slaughter. 

Captain Clapperton found at Wow- Wow, the metropolis of Borghoo, 
a kind of ale, bearing the name ofPitto, obtained from the same grain 
as that used for a like purpose in Dahomy, and by a process nearly 
similar to the brewing of beer in England from malt, only that no 
hops were added, a defect which prevented it keeping for any length 
of time.f 

The people of the countries from the Gambia to the Senegal use 
palm wine diluted with water, and a kind of beer called JBalla. 

In the centre of Africa, the same propensity for ardent spirits 
actuates the followers of the Prophet as strongly as in Turkey. The 
drinking of palm wine and bouza prevails to a great extent, particu 
larly after the feast of the Ramadan. On the day following, every 
description of persons, Pagan and Mahometan, forget all distinctions 
of rank, sex, and age, and are to be seen revelling together in all the 
wild extravagance of intoxication. In the records of Clapperton s 
last expedition to Africa, we are assured that inebriety, which was 
probably unknown to the Aborigines, or, if known, partially indulged 
in, is now familiar and carried to great excess ; and to this may be 
attributed a great many irregularities committed in that quarter of the 
globe. All persons, from the king to the beggar, evince an attach 
ment to spirituous liquors. When the king of Badagry, with his attend 
ants, honoured Clapperton with a visit, he drank rum till he forgot 
what was due to Majesty, and became as convivial as the meanest of 

* Dalzel s History of Dahomy, 4to. passim. 

f Records of Captain Clapperton s last Expedition to Africa, 2 vols. 8vo. vol. i 
p. 133 and 187. 


his subjects. Seated with a large umbrella over his head and a 
British flag, held by white men, floating in the air, his spirits exhila 
rated by the soul-inspiring draught, and enchanted by the melodious 
sounds of delicious music, he looked and spoke as if he were the 
happiest man in existence, while the acclamations of the people, accom 
panied by snapping of fingers, elapping[of hands, singing, hallooing, and 
dancing, rendered the scene one of more than ordinary bacchanalian 
cast. The same traveller and his companions were obliged to pay a 
tribute of rum to the chief of a village near Humba, which, when 
received, was taken by this personage in mouthfuls, and squirted so 
adroitly into the gaping jaws of his thirsty attendants, that each aspi 
rant for this mark of distinction, received a portion of the bewitching 
fluid with peculiar satisfaction. Palm wine forms, in Badagry, an 
article of commerce, and is as regularly exposed for sale in the markets 
as any other commodity. At a village called Weza, Clapperton met 
with a beverage termed Otee, which he describes as a kind of ale made 
from millet, and of a very enlivening nature. Another sort of ale, 
styled gear, drawn from Indian corn, was found at Ragada, besides a 
liquor named bum of an intoxicating quality. 

The practice of drinking bouza, as well as that of another 
beverage called Merissah, prevails to a considerable extent in 
Sudan or Dar Fur. The Sultan Abdelrahman, in 1795, published an 
ordinance prohibiting the use of it altogether, under pain of death. 
Even the unfortunate women who made it had their heads shaved 
and were exposed to every possible degradation ; but as the habit of 
using it was of_older standing than the profession of Islamism^com- 
panies are yet known to sit from sun-rise to sun-set, drinking and 
conversing, till a single man will sometimes carry off with him two 
gallons of this liquor.* Bouza having a diuretic and diaphoretic 
tendency, precludes the danger usually attendant on such excesses. 
In Dar Fur, they have a species of bread called Ginscia, prepared from 
the small kassob termed dokn, (millet.) The grain is coarsely ground, 
saturated with water, and allowed to undergo a slight fermentation. 
Tins mixture is worked into paste called Kissery, and, when about to 
be used, water is added, which renders it a palatable food, slightly 
acid, and of an inebriating quality, with a narcotic tendency. This 
preparation is very convenient for travellers, and hence the caravans 
take care to have a constant supply. Perhaps this is the description 
of bread mentioned by Lobo, which so intoxicated him, that one of his 
friends considered it to be the effects of wine. The Lbians of the 

Brown s Travels, 4to. pp. 222, 248, 333. 


desert drink beer, brewed at Alexandria, though they frequently use 
native wine. 

The inhabitants of Fezzan are much addicted to drunkenness : their 
favourite beverage is the fresh juice of the date tree, called lugibi, or 
a drink termed busa, which is prepared from dates, and is very intoxi 
cating. When friends assemble in the evening, the ordinary amuse 
ment is mere drinking and conviviality. A revenue of some conse 
quence arises from the dates, wlu ch, according to Ben Ali, his Fezzanic 
majesty collects by a tax on the trees and not on the quantity of fruit 
they produce.* 

Amidst the beverages which are common among the natives of the 
interior of Africa, we do not find that any of them appears to be pro 
duced by distillation. That art seems to be altogether unknown to 
them, a circumstance the more surprising as they are acquainted with 
other inventions more complicated. The working in iron, tanning, 
and dyeing are familial* to them, in which to such a degree of perfection 
have they arrived in some places as to rival European ingenuity. 
The early acquaintance of the Arabs with the tribes of the interior of 
Africa, might lead one to think that the intercourse would have less 
or more promulgated their acquirements in chemistry and of conse 
quence in distillation ; but we do not find, either from the writings of 
the learned, or the observations of travellers, that even the slightest 
traces of such knowledge are perceptible, a proof that distillation was 
not known or practised by the Arabians at the time of their first con 
nexion with the people of the interior of Africa. 

The tribes inhabiting the western coast are equally prone to the 
pleasures of inebriation as those already described. In Congo, the 
people cultivate the palm for the love of its juice and shew consider 
able expertness in the manufacture of the wine, which is obtained as 
follows : at certain times of the year they ascend the trees by the 
help of a hoop, and when they perceive a flower blown they cut it off 
with a knife, and fasten the point of the cut stalk into a calabash 
called a capasso. It remains suspended in that way for a short time, 
and on being taken down is found full of a liquor as white as whey. 
This they ferment, and having racked off, give it the name ofMilqffb. 
The whole, however large the quantity, must be consumed in three 
days, otherwise it would become sour and turn rancid. In this 
country are to be found eight or nine species of the palm from which 
wine is drawn of various denominations : 1st, Jamata ; 2d, Matoba ; 

* Horneman s Travels from Cairo to Mourzouk, the capital of Fezzan, 4to. 


3d, Coccata ; 4th, Congo ; 5th, Maccebecco, or Maonger ; but of all 
these sorts the Congo is the best. 

In such parts of Congo as do not produce palm wine, a substitute for it 
is procured from Indian corn or wheat soaked in water, pounded and 
fermented in the usual way : this is called Guallo. In the entertainments 
of the Congoese, the master of the ceremonies, after having served the 
company with meat in the most exact manner, holds the moringo, or 
flask, to the person s mouth that drinks ; and when he thinks he has 
got sufficient, he puts it away, and observes the same practice with all 
the other guests to the end of the feast ; for they, with the exception 
of the monarch, never use cups or glasses.* Calabashes are the prin 
cipal drinking vessels used by most of the tribes along the western coast 
of Africa, and they are extremely useful for all manner of domestic or 
household purposes. Small ones are employed for holding snuff, or 
liquids, and they are generally ornamented with figures sometimes cut 
in high and sometimes in low relief. The annexed drawing is a 
representation of the moringo, or flask, formed of the calabash ; and is 
similar to that attached to the branches of the palm tree to receive the 
juice or toddy. 

Voyage to Congo, part i. p. 564, apud ChurchilK 


The Portuguese introduced the vine into Congo, but gave it no 
encom-agement lest it should hurt their home trade, or induce the 
natives to excessive indulgence, who were already too much prone to 
intoxication from their native beverages so much so, that parents have 
been known to sell a child for a bottle of wine or brandy. Here is a 
prodigious quantity of honey ; not a hollow tree, a cliff of a rock, nor any 
crevice in which bees have not combs, the wax of which forms an exten 
sive article of commerce, but whether the honey be converted into any 
kind of beverage is uncertain. A portion of the royal revenue is de 
rived from free-will offerings of palm wine, which not only supply 
the consumption of the palace, but enable the monarch to regale his 
soldiers occasionally. He is not, however, wholly dependent on this 
description of liquor to gratify his appetite, his table being supplied 
by a variety of foreign wines and other liquors. It is a practice with 
the Congo monarch to have his wines tasted, lest they should contain 
some deleterious or poisonous principle. His cups and vessels are made 
of silver, gold, or other materials, consecrated solely to his own use, 
as he always eats and drinks by himself, his nobles and courtiers all 
the while standing. At marriage ceremonies amongst the Congoese, 
the banquets are costly, the guests seldom come to the feasts but 
with whetted appetites, and they never retire till all the victuals and 
liquors are consumed, which, on some occasions, occupies two or three 

In Angola, palm trees grow in great variety and perfection. The 
oil palm (Elceis Guineensis) is common to this country with all Wes 
tern Africa, and its wine is exceedingly pleasant and refreshing ; but 
the natives on the coast prefer the European liquors introduced by 
the Portuguese and Dutch traders and settlers. At marriages and 
funerals, there is a great consumption of native as well as foreign beve 
rages. At an interment, the blood of the victims offered to the manes 
of the deceased, together with palm wine, is plentifully poured over 
the vault or grave in which the body is deposited, while quantities of 
wine are consumed by the mourners. 

The drinks common to Congo and Angola are familiar in Loango. 
The people worship a male idol, called Marambas ; it is carried before 
the chief ruler wherever he goes, to which, whenever he eats or drinks, 
the first bit or first cup of wine is offered. They have also a female 
idol, named Gomberi, whose festivals are celebrated by music and 
excessive drinking ; the priestess on this occasion so modulates her 
voice, as to make the worshippers believe that it is the statue that 
speaks. The practices of the king are equally singular ; he has two 
halls in his palace, one for eating, another for drinking in, and it is 


criminal to look at him while he is at either, in consequence of which he 
is shut up during that time, his nobles waiting in an ante-chamber. 
As soon as dinner is finished, he retires to his drinking hall, one of 
the grandest apartments in the place, accompanied by his nobles. It 
is hung round with costly tapestry, and at one end stands the throne 
made of fine palmetto pillars, white and black, curiously wrought, and 
interwoven in the manner of basket work. Behind a screen in the 
front of the hall, is kept the palm wine from the view of the atten 
dants. On each side of the monarch stand two cup-bearers, one of 
whom hands him the cup when he signs for it, and the other strikes 
two iron rods, not unlike drumsticks, to give notice that he is about to 
drink, upon which all the nobles fall on their faces, and the cup-bearer, 
after presenting him with the wine, turns his back, in which position 
they all remain till notice is given that the monarch has done drinking, 
when they rise quickly and clap their hands in approbation. When 
any one is permitted to drink in the presence of the monarch, he turns 
his back to him, through respect, and no one is ever allowed to drink 
out of the same cup with him. In the neighbouring state of Ardrah, 
these observances are kept up with great precision, and every viola 
tion of them is punished with the utmost rigour. Of this there is a 
melancholy instance of a child that, having fallen asleep by the king s 
side, and awaking at the striking of the two rods, unconsciously cast its 
eyes on his majesty while he was drinking, for which the child was 
immolated on the spot, and the blood of the innocent was sprinkled 
over his majesty, lest any harm should befal him. Various ceremo 
nies connected with the superstitions of their religion give occasion to 
revelry and irregularity. When their idols are consulted, it is usual 
for the priest to obtain a butt of beer, as his reward for the delivery 
of the oracles, and then to give a bumper in honour of the idol, while 
he and his attendants seldom separate till all the liquor is consumed. 
At the funerals of their kings, great quantities of palm wine are 
consumed, not only in offerings, but in regaling the mourners admitted 
within the palisade of elephants teeth by which the monarchs graves 
are surrounded. Palm wine is a useful article in the manufacture of 
their cloth, which is made from the young shoots or leaves of the palm, 
by soaking and softening them in the wine, and afterwards rubbing 
them with the hand until they become so pliant, that they can manu 
facture them into a comfortable article of clothing, of various dyes and 
qualities. From the Metamba tree a pleasant wine is obtained, little 
inferior to that of the palm, while its leaves are so large as to afford a 
complete shelter from excessive heat and heavy rains. The Alicondi, 
a tree of large dimensions, is sometimes hollow, containing a large 


quantity of water, which often yields to the inhabitants a grateful 
supply when other sources fail. The shell of the fruit serves for 
holding- wine, oil, and other liquors, and is usually ornamented with 
carved devices and grotesque figures. From the branches of these 
trees are suspended hollow pieces of timber, that the bees, which are 
numerous in the country, may resort to them, and there deposit their 

With the Giagas, or mountaineers of Congo, the palm wine is a 
favourite drink, and none of their festivities are without it. When 
the king goes abroad, it is customary for his wives to carry his drinking 
utensils, and when he takes a draught, they kneel, clap hands, and 
sing : at funeral rites, they sprinkle palm wine over the grave, and, 
among the rich, libations of this liquor are offered for several days 

The inhabitants of Cacongo, a small kingdom adjoining Loango, 
prepare a wine called Embeth, an extract from the palm tree, as well 
as another agreeable beverage from the juice of plums.* 

In the island of Annabon, in the gulf of Guinea, the rivulets are 
covered with palms, from which the inhabitants draw, by incision, 
quantities of palm wine. In the island of St. Thomas, the sugar-cane 
once flourished to such perfection, that seven ships \vere annually 
freighted with sugar for Portugal, two for Madeira and the Canaries 
and one for England. In 1645. there were in this island up wards of 
54 sugar mills in constant employment, each furnishing annually six 
or seven hundred loads of coarse sugar, or rather of the unprepared 
juice ; the whole computed to amount to forty ship loads. Since the 
sugar plantations in the West Indies have become so extensive, the 
trade of St. Thomas has fallen off. Wines have been made in this 
island from the produce of the native vine, but not to any great 

The kingdom of Benin has, in common with the other parts of 
Africa, an abundance of palm wine, which is daily exposed for sale in 
the streets and places of public resort. There are also two other 
sorts of wine, one called Pali, and the other Pardon or JBordon, drawn 
from a tree of the same name ; the former is drunk in the morning, 
and the latter in the evening. At marriage festivals and funerals, there 
is a great consumption of these wines, as also at the circumcision of 
children. On the last occasion, quantities of these wines, with provi 
sions, are placed in the avenues or entrances to the house of entertain 
ment, in order to appease the evil spirit, and to prevent its doing the 
child any injury. On the demise of a monarch, a splendid banquet is 

* Dambcrger s Travels. 

given, and on his tomb the most delicate wines and dainties, that can 
be procured, are placed, in order to regale the mourners and visitants. 
When they become intoxicated, they rush into the street, kill all they 
meet without distinction, and throw the heads of those they have 
slaughtered into the sepulchre, as a peace offering that the flight of 
the monarch to eternity may not be solitary. The anniversary of the 
great coral feast is productive of much irregularity. On this day the 
monarch makes his grandest appearance, and distributes immense 
quantities of wine and provisions, while the day ends in riot and 

Along the slave coast, Pitto, a refreshing beer, with palm wine and 
most European liquors, is in consumption ; while pitchers and vessels 
made of gourds finely ornamented, are in common use for holding 
these liquors. 

In Whidah an excellent beer is made from two sorts of maize, one 
of a large and another of a smaller description. In the art of brewing 
the women are so well skilled, that they are said to make beer not infe 
rior to any in Europe. Their skill, in this respect, is attributed to 
the danger of drinking the water of the country, and hence even the 
slaves drink nothing but beer. 

On the Gold Coast, the Dutch and Portuguese early established 
settlements, and introduced European liquors. Of their native drinks 
there is nothing differing from those of the states already mentioned. Palm 
wine is an article of great trade, and is sold extensively through the 
country. In the public markets the palm wine merchants commence 
sale at noon, and there is scarcely any other commodity which has so 
quick a sale. In the evening, droves of men and women may be found 
singing and dancing with great happiness. When the palm wine is 
brought into the market place, it is usual amongst the negroes for 
kings, masters, and slaves, to sit down promiscuously and drink to 
gether, without distinction of rank or station, in the most familiar man 
ner and with increasing good humour ; they delight in full bumpers, 
and he who takes a pint at a draught is accounted a clever fellow. 

Of the palm wine used along the Gold Coast, there are four species. 

1 . That made from the palm tree properly so called, which is drawn 
off by incision, after lopping away the branches, when the tree is full 
grown. For this purpose a hole is bored in the thickest part of the 
trunk, into which a small pipe or reed is introduced ; the sap con 
tinues running for nearly a month, and when the tree is apparently 
exhausted, a fire is kindled at the bottom to force out the whole juice. 

2. That called Quaker., which is drawn from a sort of dwarf palm, 
exceeds the other, not only in delicacy of flavour, but in strength. 


3. Pardon, the produce of a peculiar species of palm, which is very pala 
table, but weak in quality. 4. The Kriska, or Crissia, a wine of no 
great strength, but which is said to beget a voracious appetite, a con 
stant desire for eating, and an extraordinary love for sensual grati 

At Sierra Leone, although sugar is cultivated, no rum is manu 
factured, so far as I can learn ; but amongst the Negroes a drink is 
made from the manioc (jatropha manihot,) a plant of great importance 
not only in this quarter, but in most parts of the West Indies and in 
South America, as noticed in the articles relating to those countries. 
Bread, of a very palatable and nutritive kind, is made from the farina 
or meal procured from the roots of the manioc, which constitutes the 
principal food of the lower classes of the natives. 

The oil of the palm trees is used as a substitute for butter, and is 
also employed with the alkaline lixivium of the plantain or banana 
tree, for making soap, and, by incision in the trunk, a liquor is drawn 
from the tree like wine, but, from its proneness to the acetous fermen 
tation, it becomes useless in three or four days. Were it distilled, it 
might afford an excellent spirit, and come much cheaper than what is 
imported by European settlers. As the method of procuring the liquor 
of the palm is different here from that practised elsewhere, a short 
description may be necessary. The trunk of the tree being too rough 
to permit a person to ascend by the hands and feet alone, an elliptical 
hoop of bamboo, open at one side, is made to pass round both the body 
of the climber and the tree, and then knotted. With the hands on 
each side of the hoop, and the feet pressing against the stem of the tree 
he raises himself by a spring, shifting the hoop behind his back each 
time, and then advancing a step with his feet ; and in this manner 
gains the desired height, when with no other support but his back to 
the hoop, and his feet firmly applied to the trunk, he makes a hole 
with an augur about half an inch deep below the crown of the tree, 
into which he inserts a leaf in the form of a tube through which the 
liquor runs into a calabash provided for the purpose, and capable of 
holding several quarts. The liquor flows more freely during the night 
than in the heat of the day. About half a gallon may be procured for 
the space of a month from a single tree each day, without any injury to 
it, for several years. But if the drain of the juice continue longer than 
a month, the tree either dies or requires a very long respite till it 
recovers. After the wine has been drawn off, the auger-hole is 
secured with some clay to prevent insects from leaving their eggs in it, 
the larvae of which would eventually ruin the tree. j 

Bosnian s Description of Guinea, p. 286. 
f Winterbottom s Account of Sierra Leone, 2 vols. 8vo. 


There are three species of the palm in this region yielding wine. 
The first, the sweet kind, is afforded by that named Maha, and the 
second by the Mosombie, the third from the Masongoi of a superior 
quality. The sweet wine, when properly fermented, produces a very 
agreeable beverage. An inebriating drink is also produced from 
maize, called baamboo. From a species of cream fruit found in the 
settlement of Sierra Leone, the natives draw a pleasant saccharine fluid 
to quench thirst ; this, when fermented, quickly intoxicates. Here also 
is a plant called the water-vine, (Tetracera potatoria) the stems of 
which are a sort of vegetable fountain, discharging, when cut across, 
a cool, limpid, and refreshing fluid. In the centre of each town, in 
this settlement, stands a building erected on wooden pillars, and called 
by the natives a kalde, or conversation hall. The doors of it always 
stand open for the free ingress and egress of visitors, and here no one 
can be at a loss for palm wine and cheerful company. The kalde is 
something similar to a coffee-room in Great Britain. 

The vine was introduced by the Portuguese into this colony, the 
plants were brought from Candia, and they are said to yield grapes 
in some parts twice in the year, yet, no wine has been made, owing 
perhaps to the fear of injuring the home manufacture. 

Among the various vegetable productions of Africa, there is none 
more remarkable than the Boabab, or Goui, called also Adansonia 
digitata, from its discoverer, a tree of such stupendous magnitude, that 
it measures, according to Adanson, from 65 to 78 feet in circumfe 
rence, every branch being equal to a moderate tree. When in full 
foliage, it is a forest in miniature ; stripped of its leaves it is like an 
immense wooden tower. The fruit, resembling a gourd, is made into 
drinking bowls and vessels for various purposes ; the bark furnishes 
a coarse thread, which is converted into ropes and cloth : the small 
leaves afford food in times of scarcity, and are commonly employed 
as leaven for bread, and to ferment beer brewed from millet, while 
the larger leaves serve as coverings to the huts ; when burned, their 
ashes form an ingredient in the composition of soap : bees hive in the 
hollows of the trunk the pelican constructs its nest between its mas 
sive branches monkies betake themselves to it for shelter and sub 
sistence, hence the name of boabab or monkies bread while the wan 
dering negro finds refuge from the storm in its time-worn cavities. The 
leaves of this tree, dried and reduced to powder, constitute Lalo which 
the Africans mix with their food, to diminish the excessive perspi 
ration to which they are subject, and Europeans find it serviceable in 
diarrhoea and other maladies incidental to the climate. The pulp of 
the fruit is slightly acid, and so agreeable, that it is frequently eaten ; 


while the juice expressed from it, when mixed with sugar, constitutes 
a refreshing drink possessing many virtues, and is much valued as a 
specific in pestilential fevers fermented, it inebriates, and when ana 
lyzed, the pulp is found to be composed of a gum resembling gum 
Senegal, a sugary matter, starch, and a substance which appears to 
be the malic acid.* This tree, which is chiefly found in Senegal, is, 
in the opinion of Humboldt, " the oldest organic monument of our 
planet." Some of them are supposed to have stood 5000 years. The 
natives hollow its huge trunk into chambers, in which they deposit 
the bodies of malefactors, or persons to whom the rites of sepulture 
are denied : here the bodies become dried up, the tree acting as an 
antiseptic, and preserving them like mummies. 

With the boabab may be associated the Cobai,f a tree little inferior 
in magnitude, the fruit of which, about the size of a hazel-nut, is reck 
oned so delicious, that the inhabitants require no other food when it 
can be procured ; and their ingenuity has succeeded in making it 
subservient to the purposes of drink. 

The people of Gabon, Calbongas, Biafra, and Ashantee, are 
all skilled in the making of intoxicating beverages. Bowdich, 
who visited the latter country in 1817, found its inhabitants well 
supplied with palm wine, of which they are very fond. One of 
the lords of the council, named Oudmata, on one occasion, seemed 
quite astonished at an English gentleman drinking only half a bumper, 
and remarked that he would drink three pots, about fifteen gallons, 
before he went to bed.J 

Among the privations that superstition imposes on them, one day 
of the week is considered fetish or sacred, on which they are exempted 
from labour, and deprived of their favourite beverage. 

It forms a portion of the traffic for slaves in Ashantee to present 
the king and his ministers with different kinds of liquors, the better to 
secure his favour, and at an entertainment given by that monarch to 
Bowdich s mission, they had port, Madeira, spirits, and Dutch cor 
dials, with wine glasses. Healths were frequently drunk, such as 
" The king of Ashantee" " The king of England" " The Governor" 
" The king s captains" " A perpetual union" " The handsome 
women of England and Ashantee." 

Rum is a favourite liquor, both with the king and people ; it is 
poured out along with palm wine, as a peace offering, to the manes of 
the dead ; and in the national processions and celebration of religious 

Hooker s Botan. Magaz. 

t Mollien s Travels to the Sources of the Senegal and Gambia in 1818, 8vo. 
J Bowdich s Ashantee, p. 386. 


rites, the king s cook is obliged to bear, amongst other utensils, silver 
punch bowls, waiters, and tankards, to accommodate the monarch and 
his attendants ; while in sacrifices for deceased relatives, quantities 
of those liquors are consumed in drinking and sprinkling their graves. 

Before the committal of desperate acts, the Ashantees drink largely 
of rum, to inspire courage. One of their monarchs, being unsuccessful 
in war, knew that he must eventually lose his head ; and to prevent 
such disgrace, he summoned his ministers in order that he might sacri 
fice his life for the quiet of his people. They insisted on sharing his 
fate, and a barrel of gunpowder being brought for each to sit on, they 
drank to excess, and blew themselves up, at the same moment, with fire 
from their pipes. 

In paying interest on money, it is accompanied with what is called 
a dash of liquor ; and a portion of the penalties for an intrigue is a 
pot of palm wine, or pitto, which is here accounted as good and plea 
sant as some of our brisk ales ; it is made from dried corn. It is cus 
tomary, when they drink, to spill a little of the liquor on the ground, 
as an oifering to the fetish, somewhat similar to the practice of the 
ancient Greeks, as referred to in Homer s Odyssey. In drinking 
palm wine it is deemed a luxury to suffer the liquor to run over the 
beard, and many pride themselves on the adroitness with which they 
can draw this ornament of the chin tlirough the fingers while wet. 
The drops are usually caught by a boy with a bowl, which he holds 
kneeling, and these precious tricklings are swallowed with pleasurable 
avidity. Feasts are generally held in the market place, and it is 
almost a daily ceremony with the king to drink there in state, seated in 
an elevated chair. On immolating victims for success in war, he holds 
a silver goblet of palm wine in his hand, and when the head of a sub 
ject is cut oif, rising on tip-toe, he imitates a dancing motion, as he 
drinks with joy, inspired by expectations of conquest. A man of con 
sequence, in private circles, never drinks before his inferiors without 
hiding his face from them, believing that at this moment only his ene 
mies have the power of imposing a spell on his faculties in spite of his 
fetish guardian. It is considered, whether at a public or private meet 
ing, a proof of superior strength in those who can drink most without 
being overcome. After marriage, it is usual for the bridegroom to 
present the bride s family with a flask of rum, the day following the 
nuptials ; and as it is presented full or partly so, it indicates either 
her purity or frailty before the marriage. In visiting, the chief gives 
his principal slave a few sips of the liquor offered to himself, not as a 
matter of precaution against poison, as in Abyssinia, but as a testi 
mony of regard. 


Bosman, when he visited the coast of Guinea, found the inhabitants 
willing to barter every thing for brandy. If any of them happened 
to get a mouthful more than another, they began to fight without 
respect to king, prince, or priest. Some joined in the scuffle through 
envy, and lest they might be accused of being idle spectators. It is 
said of one of the chiefs of Bamba, that he refused the crown in order 
to be near the Portuguese, that through their means he might the 
more readily indulge in wine and brandy.* The Negro women of 
the Slave Coast brew an excellent description of beer from milhio, a 
species of millet or maize. Water, being drawn from wells of from 
twenty to thirty fathoms in depth, is so cold as to render the drinking 
of it dangerous : hence beer is in great consumption, being one of the 
safest beverages to allay thirst in that very warm climate. 

Rene Caille, one of the latest travellers in Africa,f has not added 
much to our information respecting that almost unknown quarter of 
the globe. He states, that he found palm wine in use, and, near the 
settlement of St. Louis, he observed that from a fruit called caura> a 
sort of plum, an agreeable beverage was made, which much resembled 
cider : this fruit, when bruised and fermented with water, produced a 
liquor highly intoxicating. He mentions another liquor termed jin- 
jin-di, made from the root of a plant of that name. This root is first 
burned and then pounded with the bark of a certain tree, after which 
it is immersed in water and kept constantly stirring for about the 
space of two hours. It is then left for a few days to ferment, after 
which it is drawn off and becomes a drink of a sweet and pleasant 
flavour. The Koorankos, a people living to the East of Sierra Leone, 
make an exhilarating, effervescing drink, called singin, which they 
extract from a root of the same name. Among the Bagos, an enterpris 
ing tribe, palm wine is plentiful, and as early matrimonial contracts 
are made there, it is a curious regulation, that as soon as an engage 
ment of this kind is entered into, the parties are compelled to live in 
the same house, and are brought up together with the knowledge that 
they are designed for each other. From that time, when they are 
generally about seven or eight years of age, the male is enjoined to 
bring each day to the relations of his intended partner, two calabashes 
of palm wine, one in the morning, and another in the evening. His 
parents supply him with this, until he is himself capable of making the 
wine. Major Laing, speaking of another tribe, { says, that the court 
ship does not employ much time ; for if a man form an attachment 

* Bosnian s description of Guinea,8vo. p. 403. Adanson s Voyage to Senegal, 
t Travels through Central Africa to Timbuctoo, &c. 1824, 1828, 2 vols. 8vo. 
J Laing s Travels in Western Africa, 8vo. p. 83. 


for a female, he never considers whether the feeling is reciprocal, but 
immediately carries to her parents a jar of palm wine, and declares to 
them the object of his visit. Should his suit be approved of, he is in 
vited to return, when a second jar of wine, with some other trifling- 
present, terminates the courtship. A tribe called the Timannus, in 
the vicinity of Sierra Leone, not only employ palm wine in this man 
ner, but use it as offerings to the dead ; for which purpose they 
deposit not only quantities of this liquor, but of provisions in the charnel- 
houses, particularly of their kings and chiefs, under the impression that 
they are necessary for the deceased, and consumed by them as a sup 
port for their spiritual existence ; thus shewing a belief in the immor 
tality of the soul. It is a prevailing practice, among many of the 
pagan nations of Africa, to consign a portion of both food and drink 
to the dead, associating the pleasures of the temporal with the Spiri 
tual world. Their attachment to palm wine is so strong, that many 
are so relaxed by its effects, that they become afflicted with diseases 
not unlike those produced by ava> in the Sandwich islands. 

The Caffres and Tambookies prepare an intoxicating drink from 
millet, or Guinea corn, which they call pombie. It is manufactured 
much in the same way as the liquors already described, and in large 
quantities ; for the longer it remains so as to become tart or sour, the 
better they reckon it and the more eagerly do they covet it, as posses 
sing great virtues.* 

In Morocco, the Jews are extremely active in preparing intoxica 
ting liquors, and making wines both white and red ; and in the pro 
vince of Suse and Tetuan, they not only make wine, which, in Wind- 
hus s opinion, is equal to the sherry of Spain, f but distill brandy from 
the refuse of the grape as well as from raisins. An ardent spirit is 
also extracted from figs called mahayah, which they drink almost 
immediately from the alembic. When it is kept for a year or two, it 
resembles Irish whiskey, and is preferred to European brandy or rum, 
because, as they pretend, it does not heat the blood. A glass of it is 
generally taken before meals : cider is made in many parts of Barbary, 
and affords an excellent drink. Usuph is common, but consists of 
little more than the water in which raisins have been steeped. Sir 
Capel De Brooke, when in Morocco, found that the Moors were not 
scrupulous in drinking wine, which they take after boiling, that pro 
cess, in their opinion, removing the objection made in the Koran, as it 
is the simple fermented juice of the grape which is forbidden : in this 

Joano Dos Santos Hist. Patterson s Travels in Caflfraria, 4to.p. 92. 
f Journey to Mequincz. 
$ Jackson s Account of Morocco, 4to, p. 18. 


state its taste and appearance resemble sour mead. Lempriere 
asserts, that there are very few of the inhabitants who do not joyfully 
embrace every private opportunity of drinking 1 wine and spirits to 
excess. Several of their monarchs were guilty of great extravagancies 
in their drunkenness. Abdelmelech was odious to his subjects on this 
account, and was guilty of the greatest cruelties while under its influ 
ence. Another emperor, in an intemperate moment, caused the teeth 
of a favorite mistress to be drawn out ; and to atone for his barbarity, 
he ordered the dentist to be served in the same manner, whose teeth 
he sent her by way of consolation. Muley Dehaby destroyed his con 
stitution and shortened his reign through an obstinate dropsy, occa 
sioned by an inordinate devotion to wine. 

The materials for which, and the proportion of brandy drawn 
from those materials, as practised by the Jews in their manufacture 
of that spirit, are 

From 1501bs. of pears, which, when in season, cost about ten pence 
they make about two gallons. 

From 1501bs. of raisins, which cost about ten pence, from eight and 
a half to nine gallons are extracted. 

From 1501bs. of figs, which cost about sixpence, they make about eight 

From 1501bs. of dates, costing from twenty-five to twenty-eight 
pence, about seven gallons are obtained. 

The brandy from dates is considered the best, and is sold for 3s. 6d. 
per gallon. 

The brandy from raisins and figs sells for about 2s. 6d. per gallon. 

The brandy from pears brings about 3s. 6d. per gallon. 

From 1501bs. of grapes, about eight gallons of very tolerable wine 
are obtained, and four gallons of brandy. 

Were the Jews more careful in the selection of their grapes, and 
the making of wine, it is considered it would be of good quality. In 
August, the wine is made, and the process of boiling is usually con 
ducted in the open streets. The white grapes are simply pressed 
under foot and then boiled ; the black grapes, or their refuse, undergo 
the process of distillation. The brandy is of a white or clear colour, 
and is generally flavoured with aniseed of which the Jews are very 
fond : a glass is usually taken the first thing before breakfast, and is 
considered very wholesome. To the taking of spirits is attributed the 
freedom of the Jews from the elephantiasis, or swelling of the legs, a 
disease quite common amongst the Mahometans. Both Moors and 
Jews make very good sweet-meats from the orange flower, which the 
rich boil in clarified sugar, and the poorer classes in honey : orange 


peel is also made into a preserve with sugar and honey ; the sugared 
almond cakes are very good. In Morocco, the oath of a principal 
alkaid, or Talib, is equal to the oaths of six common persons,* but 
there are different offences, of which if he be proved guilty, detract 
from the validity of his oaths ; amongst these offences are those of 
drinking wine, smoking, &c. 

The people of Tripoli make an excellent wine from the Lotus tree, 
(zizyphus lotus) the fruit of which is considered superior to that of the 
date : from this tree, it is alleged, that the ancient Egyptians took 
the name of lotophagi. The lotus of the ancients appears to be the 
same plant as the seedra of the Arabs. It is very common in the 
Jereede and other parts of Barbary ; it has the leaves, prickles, flowers, 
and fruit of the zizyplim, orjujeb. The fruit is luscious and in great 
repute ; it tastes something like gingerbread, and is sold in the mar 
kets through all the southern districts of these kingdoms.f The Lybian, 
or Rhamnus lotus of Linnaeus, is a shrub of about four or five feet 
high, bearing berries which are very nutritive, and used in various 
ways as food. Whether this be the same as the lotus mentioned by 
Xenophon, in his address to the Ten Thousand, cannot be determined.}: 
Pliny alludes to it, as furnishing subsistence to the Roman army ? 
when passing through a portion of Africa. Mungo Park notices the 
Rhamnus lotus, the berries of which are, by some of the negro nations, 
termed Tomberongs, and converted into bread by pounding them in a 
mortar till the farina is separated from the stones. This farina, or 
meal, is then mixed with water, formed into cakes, and dried in the 
sun. The stones are put into a vessel of water, and well shaken to 
separate the remaining particles of meal, which communicate an 
agreeable taste to the water, and being mixed with a little pounded 
millet form a pleasant gruel, called fondi, the common breakfast in 
many parts of Ludamar.|| In other places they ferment it, and thus 
make an excellent beverage from it. 

The Jews at Taffilet use beer of their own brewing, but, in the 
vintage season, make a little wine. Palm trees are very abundant in 
Tripoli, and the inhabitants draw from them, by incision, a frothy 
liquor termed laghibi, which, when drunk immediately after being taken 
from the tree, is very palatable. It is also fermented, and produces a 
strong inebriating wine in great request among the people, notwith 
standing the prohibitions of the Koran. The laghibi is obtained from 
the annual buds at the top of the tree, and the juice flowing from the 

Sir Capel De Brooke s Sketches of Spain and Morocco, vol. i. p. 145. 
f Shaw s Travels. J Anab. lib. iii. 

Pliny, lib. v. c. 4 ; lib. xiii. c. 17, 18. || Park s Travels. 


bounds is collected in vessels. Trees, having undergone this opera 
tion, bear no fruit during the next three years ; but, according to Paolo 
Delia Cella, that which is then produced is of a more delicious kind. 
In some parts are excellent grapes, but no wine is made from them 
owing to the indolence and ignorance of the people.* Wine and 
liquor shops, as well as some taverns are kept by the Mahometans of 
Tripoli, who, regardless of the prohibition by the law, drink wine 
without any restraint or limitation : so great is the consumption, that 
it is said to produce a revenue of one hundred thousand francs annu- 
ally.f In the mausoleums have been found various sorts of drinking 
vessels : a proof that the early inhabitants were familiar with wine and 
and other seductive liquors. 

The Deys of Algiers, though possessing one of the most fertile 
States in Barbary, do not encourage the manufacture of inebriating 
liquors ; yet Jamaica rum, as well as good wine, is among the merchan 
dise always in demand. Grapes of a superior quality grow in Al 
giers ; and, according to Shaw, some wine is made not inferior to the 
best Hermitage, both in taste and flavour ; but the locusts are so des 
tructive, that they frequently annihilate whole vineyards. Since the 
conquest of Algiers by the French, in 1831, it is to be presumed that 
their ingenuity has not been slow in bringing to bear the resources of 
that country to supply the wants of the army with such liquors as the 
native fruits afford. In Tunis, the taverns are kept by slaves, who 
have considerable authority, which they sometimes exercise with good 
effect ; for if any one get drunk or behave irregularly, they have the 
power of chastising him at the instant ; by which means taverns and 
public-houses are protected from broils and disturbances. White wine 
made in the country is the common beverage, which is cheap and of 
good quality, but, in order to render it more inebriating, it is mixed 
with quick -lime. 

In Barca, great quantities of a liquor made from the date tree are 
consumed, and which is called date tree water : it inebriates when 
taken to any excess. This country is remarkable for the superior 
flavour of its dates, which are in such abundance, that they are fre 
quently used in feeding cattle. 

Along the Barbary coast, as well as in the Levant, sherbet is 
the common drink. The term sherbet is applied generally to every 
beverage consisting of water holding, in solution, a sweet and an acid ; 
and is preferable to lemonade in its extended acceptation. In Algiers 

* Narrative of an Expedition from Tripoli to the Western Frontiers of Egypt, in 
1817, 8vo. London, 1822, p. 16. 
f Travels of AH Bey, vol. i. p. 238. 


it is made of sugar, juice of lemons, apricots, plums, violets, or other 
fruits. Mead also abounds, honey being gathered in large quantities, 
not only in the Barbary States, but, as already observed, through 
almost every part of Africa. The wealth of many of the tribes, it is 
well known, consists in nothing but honey and wax. The modes of 
rearing bees are various ; the hives are generally shaped like ours, but 
more of a cylindrical form, and placed lengthwise, and are commonly 
suspended from the branches of trees : the entrance is at the bottom 
which is furnished with straw. This, however, is only the case 
where the bees are domesticated ; but wild honey is procured from the 
forests in large quantities. Flowers being very scanty in many States, 
the bees collect the honey from trees, shrubs, and even underwood : 
hence African honey, in general, is coarse and insipid to European 
palates, and is full of particles of leaves that give it a blackish appear 
ance ; some ingenious natives clarify it, and render it beautiful, rich ? 
and agreeable. The art of making brandy from fermented honey is 
said to be practised by some of the native tribes, a use to which it has 
never yet been applied in Europe. Molien, in his Travels, informs 
us that the Poulas make brandy from honey after being fermented in 
the usual manner. The sugar obtained from honey is of two sorts, 
one resembling that of the grape and the other like the granulated pro 
duce of the sugar-cane. In some of the interior districts, a kind of 
beer, called Ballo, is made from rice or millet. 

I shall conclude this circuit of Africa, by observing, that the know 
ledge of its most enlightened inhabitants in chemistry is not more 
solid than their pretended acquirements in alchymy ; since the boasted 
discoveries of the Saracens are to them wholly lost : even in the 
most simple medicinal prescriptions, the Moors, from whom great infor 
mation might be expected, display the grossest ignorance. So limited 
is their education, that the only book in use among them is the Koran 
with its commentaries, to which may be added a few blundering tracts 
on geography, with some historical memoirs for such branches of 
history, as are older than the Mahometan era, are a medley of romance 
and confusion. Thus circumstanced, even did their laws permit, they 
could not manage any experiment in chemistry, much less the process 
of distillation : to the Jews and Christians residing among them, they 
are indebted altogether for the products of the alembic. 

In the Persian empire, as well as in the Turkish, the Mahometan 
faith precludes indulgence in inebriating liquors ; but in few countries, 
perhaps, is there less attention paid to the prohibitory mandate of the 
prophet. Sherbet is the fashionable drink at meals, but wine is the 
favourite in private. The love of the Persians for this liquor is well 


known from the earliest antiquity ; and it often led them into the 
most extravagant excesses. Herodotus tells us, that they were accus 
tomed to debate on matters of the highest moment when heated with 
wine ;* and Strabo, says their counsels and decrees were firmer, if 
made at that time, than when sober .f It was a familiar phrase among 
them, that " there was equal sin in a glass as in a flaggon." So 
impressed are they with the idea that the sole pleasure of wine is in 
its intoxicating effects, that they think Christians are all drunkards ; and 
say, that since it is a privilege of our religion to drink wine, it is neither 
attended with shame, nor disgrace. Hence many of the blunders or 
singularities of Europeans are often attributed by the Persians to 
drunkenness. The following anecdote is a familiar illustration. An 
English officer, riding on one of their most spirited horses, had great 
difficulty to keep his seat, and presented so awkward a display of horse- 
mansliip, that he was laughed at by the spectators. A Persian friend 
who was witness to the scene, in order to save the credit of the English 
man, exclaimed, "Oh! he rides admirably, and as becomes one of a 
nation of soldiers ; but he is drunk, and that accounts for his not keep 
ing his seat as he otherwise would." This had the desired effect, and 
saved the officer from further observation. Hafiz, the elegant and 
favourite poet of the Persians, though he may have indulged his ima 
gination to the extreme of fiction, has strongly marked, in the follow 
ing verses, his attachment to the popular beverage of his country : 

" I am," says he, " neither a judge, nor a priest, nor a censor, nor a lawyer ; 
why should I forbid the use of wine ? 

" Do not be vexed at the trifles of the world ; drink, for it is a folly for a wise 
man to be afflicted. 

" That poignant liquor, which the zealot calls the mother of sins, is pleasanter 
and sweeter to me, than the kisses of a maiden." 

" The only friends who are free from care 4 are a goblet of wine and a book of 

" The tulip is acquainted with the faithlessness of the world ; for, from the time 
that it blows till it dies, it holds the cup in its hand. 

" Give me wine ! wine that shall subdue the strongest ; that I may for a time 
forget the cares and troubles of the world, f 

" The roses have come, nor can any thing afford so much pleasure, as a goblet of 

" The enjoyments of life are vain ; bring wine, for the trappings of the world 
are perishable." 

* Herod, vol. i. s. 133, p. 137. f Strabo, Geo. chap. 15. 

J Johnson called brandy, " drink for heroes." Hafiz distinguishes his liquor by 
an uncommon epithet, " the tercllcr of men " 


This flowery imagery of Hafiz, so descriptive of man s attachment 
to wine, brings to my recollection an epitaph on the tomb of a wine- 
bibber. " Wine gives life ! it was death to me. I never beheld the 
morning sun with sober eyes ; even my bones are thirsty. Stranger f 
sprinkle my grave with wine ; empty the cup and depart." 

Travellers assure us, that intoxication is common in Persia, and that 
the laws of moderation are frequently as little regarded as those of re 
ligion. It is related of a certain Khan of that country* that he was so 
fond of spirituous liquors, that the king had often reproved and even 
chastised him for it ; but finding those measures of no effect, his Ma 
jesty ordered him to continue drinking, which order he so faithfully 
fulfilled, that he was intoxicated during forty days, and, in consequence 
became so disgusted with the practice, that he gave it up altogether, 
and solicited the king to revoke his command.* 

At an entertainment, at which Mr. Morier was present, he de 
scribes very minutely the various articles served up to the guests. 
Amongst these were trays, with fine china bowls filled with sherbets, 
some of which contained sweet liquors, and others a most exquisite 
kind of lemonade ; besides, small cups with delicious liqueurs. While 
in vases of sherbet were spoons made of pear-tree, with deep bowls? 
and made so fine that the long handle gently vibrated, when carried to 
the lips, as if to tantalize the desire of the guest. Wine formed no 
part of the banquet, for the prohibition of the Prophet was religiously 
observed by the entertainer, who was a rigid Mussulman, and an 
exception to the generality of his countrymen. 

The Jews and Armenian Christians are, in Persia, the principal 
manufacturers of wine, and though there is scarcely a province in the 
empire which does not afford it, yet the wine of some is much more 
esteemed than that of others. Shiraz is universally allowed to pro 
duce the best. Tavernier states, that 4,125 tuns of this wine were 
annually made in his time.f It has so strong a body, that it will keep 
from eighty to one hundred years without diminution of colour or 
flavour. To eat the bread of Yezd, and drink the wine of Shiraz, is, 
proverbially in Persia, to be happy. The name of Shiraz, or Sheraz, 
is said to be derived from Sherab, which, in the Persian language, 
signifies a grape, because that fruit abounds in this place and its 
vicinity, where the finest orchards and vineyards in that empire are 
found. Among the grapes most esteemed for wine, the Recsh Baba, 
which is without seed, is luscious and agreeable to the taste : the 

* Kotzebue s Travels, p. 207. 

f Tavernier, p. 421. Waring s Tour to Shiraz. 


Askeri, also wanting seed, is as sweet as sugar; the black fruit of this 
species produces the celebrated Shiraz wine ; and the Sahibi, the 
bunches of which weigh from seven to eight pounds, is a red grape 
of a sharp rough taste that yields a good wine, but is chiefly employed for 
making vinegar. The Kishmish is a small grape, and, like the Askeri, 
without any stone ; in the opinion of Olivier, it is preferable to all 
others, not only for eating, but for wine. The anguur asji, from 
which is manufactured the rich red wine so nearly resembling Her 
mitage, is in high estimation. 

At Shiraz, Ispahan, Casbin, Teheran, and other places, the vineyards 
are numerous, and planted in the most advantageous situations, both 
with respect to soil and exposure to the sun s genial influence. 

In making wine in Persia, the fruit is trodden in a vat, or cistern 
formed of mason work, plastered with a material or stucco like Ro 
man cement. From this the juice is collected into an under vessel, or 
receiver, from which it is conveyed into immense jars, containing 
nearly 100 gallons, to undergo the process of fermentation. In these 
it is left about three weeks, during which it is stirred daily by a person 
appointed for the purpose. The wine is afterwards strained and put 
into other vessels, in which it remains nearly five weeks, and under 
goes another slight fermentation ; after this it is considered fit for use. 
The brandy made from the lees and weaker sort of wine, is ardent, 
harsh, and unpalatable, when compared with that made in France ; 
but what is drawn from the better description of wine is of excellent 
quality. Were the same measures pursued in Persia in the manufac 
ture of wine as those observed in Europe, there is no doubt that the 
produce of that country, already so celebrated, would far excel that 
of any part of the world. 

Both brandy and wine are put up in thin flasks or bottles, and 
packed in chests, to the amount of about twelve English gallons each, 
for transmission through the empire and to different parts of the east. 
The character of the Ispahan wine is not less estimable than that of 
Shiraz ; it is stronger, and is as clear and transparent as glass, owing 
to the white grape from which it is made. The red wine of Teheran 
is preferable to that of Casbin, where it is manufactured in conside. 
rable quantities. There the vine is not supported by props, the stem 
or trunk, rising to the height of five or six feet, is sufficiently strong to 
support the fruit. The Casbin wine is represented as having a disa 
greeable and bitter flavour, supposed to be occasioned by permitting 
the stone of the grape to remain in it to the injury of the fermenta 
tion and the saccharine properties of the liquor. According to Sir 
John Chardin, the finest grape in Persia is that at Casbin called 


i, or the royal grape: itis of a transparent gold colour, and is said 
to produce the strongest and most luscious wine in the world. Some 
of the grapes in this quarter, as well as in other portions of the em 
pire, are so large, that a single bunch is nearly the size of a man s body, 
and one grape is a sufficient mouthful. In many places the grapes are 
kept fresh on the vines, during the winter, by securing them from birds 
and the weather in little bags : thus preserved, when brought to 
table, they display all the luxuriance and freshness of the ripe vintage. 
The Persian historians say, that to this country, wine owes its origin. 
One of their earliest writers asserts that the monarch Jemsheed, famous 
as the founder of Persepolis, was the first who discovered the making 
and use of this liquor. He was long anterior to Cyrus, must have 
lived shortly after the Flood, and is celebrated as the inventor of many 
useful arts, and the introducer of the solar year amongst his country 
men. On the day of the vernal equinox, or when the sun enters 
Aries, he is said to have instituted one of the greatest festivals celebra 
ted in Persia, that called Nouroze, or new year s day ; and there is ye* 
observable, on the sculptured ruins of Persepolis, representations char 
acteristic of this festival. It is observed with great rejoicing and 
public exultation. The affluent relieve the distressed, poverty is dis 
carded, wine flows in abundance, while every species of amusement is 
resorted to, in order to enliven the conviviality of the occasion, and 
render the whole a scene of pleasure and delight. Even the dead 
and the ideal things of futurity are not forgotten, since rich viands 
are exposed on the house tops and towers, to gratify the palates of the 
Peries and the spirits of departed friends.* Jemsheed, it is affirmed, was 
passionately fond of eating grapes, of which Persia was the nursery, and 
desirous of preserving his favourite luxury, he deposited a large quantity 
in a vessel carefully secured in a vault. On repairing to his- treasure 
some time afterwards, he was surprised to find that the fruit had burst 
and become acid. Ignorant of the nature of fermentation, and unac 
quainted with the virtues of the grape, in this new form, he considered 
it to be deleterious and dangerous ; and with this impression he got 
some vessels filled with the juice, on which he inscribed the word 
poison. To prevent bad consequences, he had those vessels placed in 
one of his own apartments. A favourite concubine, then labouring un 
der pain and nervous debility, sought death as a relief from her afflic 
tions ; and observing the word poison on one of the vessels in the 
monarch s room, she opened it, and swallowed the contents with avid 
ity. The draught overcame her, and she soon fell into a sound sleep, 
from which she awoke, to her great surprise, much renovated. 

* D Herbelot. Bib. Orientalc, art Neurouz. Chardin. tome i. p. 173. 


T!harmed with the effects of the restorative, she repeated the draughts 
so frequently, that the poison soon became exhausted, which Jemsheed 
discovering, learned from the lady how her recovery had been accom 
plished. Immediately after this, he caused grapes to be gathered, and 
left in the same manner in large vessels. Wine w<is thus collected 
without further labour, and the court of Jemshee J. soon resounded 
with the pleasure which the Zeher-e-koosh, or the delightful poison, as 
it is called, to this day, inspired.* 

Many of the Persian monarchs, although they prohibited the use of 
wine, indulged privately in it themselves. Ul-Kausim was so enthu- \ 
siastic in supporting the law of the prophet, that he caused all the 
vines, in the vicinity of one of the principal cities, to be cut down, lest 
the disciples of the Koran should be tempted to taste the juice of the 
grape, and hence he was nick-named the destroyer of vineyards. 
When Sir Robert Ker Porter visited Persia, in 1819 and 182Q, a pro 
hibition against the use of brandy was enforced by the reigning mo 
narch, who not only abstained from it himself, but ordered the officers 
of police, on the discovery of any jars containing it, to have them 
broken. This strictness did not, however, extend to foreigners, who 
it appears, are allowed the most liberal indulgence in the use of it, and 
a shop is even licensed in the metropolis for the special accommodation 
of the Russians, or other foreigners, who may be in the service of the 
Sultan. Age and infirmity serve as an excuse to many of the natives 
who secretly apply to this cordial ; but no such indulgence is allowed 
in public under pain of severe punisliment.f When several casks of 
brandy w ere presented to one of the kings of Persia by the Russian am* 
bassador, he, although in the habit of taking wine moderately, fancied 
that he was accused of a fondness for drink, and sent the casks back 
observing that he had no occasion for so much strong liquor, and 
knowing that the ambassador and suite, like all Russians, were accus 
tomed to drink copiously, he was unwilling to deprive them of what 
he was certain, must be so gratifying to themselves. The Sultan* 
Abas Mirza, when visited by the Russian Envoy and suite, regaled 
them with the delicacies of the country, but, when they expected wine 
he gave them nothing but Sherbet, which singularity w r as imputed to 
his taste and love for that beverage, and to impress on their minds the 
strict respect he entertained for his religion and its injunctions ; such 
were his feelings, that, when receiving the presents sent to him by the 
Russian emperor, he observed, on taking up a beautifully ornamented 
goblet, " truly this glass is so fine, that it might seduce 

* Vide Sir John Malcolm s History of Persia, 2 vols. 4tq. 
f Travels in Georgia, Persia, Armenia, &c. 2 vols. 4to. 


me to drink, a crime of which I shall ever be afraid," and returned the 
goblet. How great the contrast between that monarch and Shah 
Abbas, who died in 1628. This emperor was much addicted to wine, 
and instead of treating his guests in the manner of Abas Mirza, he re 
galed them with wine out of golden goblets filled from flaggons of the 
same metal. It is stated that he was accustomed to drink goblets of 
pure wine on every great occasion, and particularly after a battle, 
when he would sit to receive the heads of his enemies until a late 
hour at night. On one of these occasions, a captive Kurd, of gigantic 
appearance, passed his tent, " deliver that prisoner to Roostum Beg," 
said the king, who knew there was an animosity between the friends 
of that chief and the Kurd tribe. " Pardon me," said the noble-minded 
Roostum, " my honour, it is true, calls for his blood, but I have made 
a vow never to take advantage of a distressed and hand-bound enemy." 
Irritated by this reply, the monarch ordered the head of the prisoner 
to be struck off, when on the instant, the athletic Kurd burst the cords, 
by which he was bound, and, unsheathing his dagger, rushed upon the 
sovereign. All was bustle, and confusion, and, in the hurry, the lights 
were extinguished. No one dared to stiike lest the king might fall 
a victim, but, during the awful suspense, Shah Abbas exclaimed, " I 
have seized his hand !" In a moment, the unfortunate Kurd perished 
from the wounds of innumerable swords, and the king, resuming his 
seat with the utmost composure, passed the goblet to the health of his 
attendants ; and continued to receive the heads of his enemies, which, 
the historian states, amounted on this occasion to 20545. Among the 
many anecdotes related of the attachment of Shah Abbas to wine, 
one states that he was, on a certain occasion, so intoxicated and out, 
rageous that he stabbed his favourite queen ; and when he recovered 
from his delirium, and understood the dreadful act he had committed, 
under the influence of the deepest contrition, he issued orders to have 
every wine flask in the kingdom destroyed. The laxity of manners, 
so prevalent in this prince s reign, was suppressed by his son and suc 
cessor, Abbas the II; but he, however, soon neglected the wise coun 
sels of his ministers, and fell a victim to the same excesses as his father : 
so great was his love of wine, that he spared no expense in keeping a 
constant supply of every description, which, not only his own country, 
but foreign nations, could afford ;and this stock he had stored in flasks 
of the purest Venetian crystal. It is related of Soliman, the next sove 
reign, that he was actually addicted to intoxication ; and finding his 
prime minister a censor of his irregularities, he was determined to over 
come, if possible, his extreme prudence and sobriety, " you must 
relax sometimes," said the monarch, to AH Khan, amidst one of his 


drinking parties, " or we never can agree." The minister observed 
that he lived as became his age and character. " Very true !" said 
Soliman, " but your conduct is my reproach, and I can no longer 
endure it," you must get drunk with us immediately, either with wine, 
or a preparation of opium, choose which you like best, but the dose 
must be swallowed ; it is the command of your king, who must be 
obeyed." The minister was obliged to yield, and, preferring the 
opium, soon fell senseless on the ground. In tin s state the virtuous 
Ali Khan, after having his beard shaven, was sent home ; but, on his 
recovery, finding the indignity he had sustained, he refused to return 
to court notwithstanding the repeated entreaties of the king, who 
soon became sensible of the loss of so excellent an adviser. Soliman 
continued to indulge in the same loose habits, and about four months 
after, in a drunken frolic, he condemned to death four of his favou 
rites for a mere trifle ; but the moment that the sentence was about to 
be put in execution, Ali Khan rushed into the presence of the monarch, 
and begged for their pardon " You are very bold," said Soliman, 
" you continue to slight my earnest entreaties that you should again 
serve me, and yet you intercede for others." " I am your slave," said 
the minister, " and ready to obey your commands." " Very well !" 
said Soliman, " I forgive them all on your account, resume your office, 
and I will promise in future to respect both you and myself more than 
I have done." 

Shah Husseyn, son and successor of Soliman, published an edict 
prohibiting the use of wine, as forbidden by the Koran, and ordered 
all wine-vessels, in his own cellars, to be publicly staved, and for 
bade the Armenians to bring any more, under a heavy penalty. This 
gave great alarm to the grandees and eunuchs of the palace, in con 
sequence of which they applied to the king s grandmother, who was 
herself a lover of wine. Resolved to conquer the monarch s scruples, 
she feigned sickness. The physicians prescribed her wine, but this 
she refused to take unless the Shah himself, who had presented it to 
her, should first drink of it. This he was unwilling to do, through 
religious motives, but these she overcame, by quoting the Persian 
maxim, that kings are subject to no law, and that whatever they do, 
they commit no sin. By this artifice the prince was ensnared, he 
drank a large cup of the liquor, which he liked so well that he was 
scarcely ever sober afterwards. 

In several reigns, since the conquest of Persia by the Saracens, in the 
first century of the Hegira, the prohibition of wine and brandy has 
been more or less observed ; but, as already noticed, the morality of 
the Persians has never been strictly regulated by the precepts of the 


Koran, and old habits in a great degree still prevail.* After an even 
ing s repast, supper being a favourite meal, the night is often enli 
vened by music and dancing. On these occasions, they frequently 
deviate from their sober habits by indulging in the use of wine and 
spirituous liquors, and particularly in the latter, as they more speedily 
create a vivacity and cheerfulness, not otherwise so easily excited. 
This indulgence has often been known to hurry them into inordinate 
excesses. Although the liquor, of which they are so passionately fond, 
is, in many instances, a bad quality of spirits manufactured in Russia, 
and fit only for the palate of a Cossack ; yet they express surprise 
when Europeans shew a dislike for it, and even laugh when they see 
them putting water into their wine. The excuses which they form 
for indulging in drink are as ingenious as those resorted to by other 
Mahometans. Kotzebue tells us that, when on his way to Ispahan, he 
observed that the people of Erivan took plenty of frozen punch in the 
form of ice-cream without any scruple of conscience, because it was 
given as an eatable, and as a medicine for strengthening the stomach. 
In many respects, the Persians differ from other Mahometans ; and 
although the religious, or those who have performed the pilgrimage 
to Mecca, do not take wine, yet their good sense often induces them 
to overcome a prejudice imposed on them by the cunning designs of 
the prophet. A pleasing instance of this kind is related of a Mussul 
man who had been employed, for forty or fifty years, about the Eng 
lish factory at Gombroon. Being on the point of death, he was 
ordered a glass of wine by a European physician, which he atfirst 
refused, observing, " I cannot take it it is forbidden in the Koran." 
After a few minutes pause, he turned to the Doctor, saying, as 
he raised himself on his bed, " Although it is forbidden, give 
me the wine ; for it is written in the same volume, that all you unbe 
lievers will be excluded from paradise ; and the experience of fifty 
years has taught me to prefer your society in the other world, to any 
place to which I could be advanced with my own countrymen." 
How contrary is the conduct of Al Malec Al Saleh, a rigid Mahome 
tan, who, when on the point of death, though ordered by one of his 
physicans to drink a little wine, as necessary for the cure of his dis 
temper, chose, from a principle of religion, to die rather than to take it. 
Since chemistry has not been cultivated by the Persians as among 
Europeans, their liquors owe little to its aid ; and hence, from their 
ignorance of the discoveries to which it has led, their arts also remain 
in some measure stationary. They are yet infatuated by the pursuit 

* Kruiiinkis Memoirs, with Ducerceau s Hist, of the Sophies, 8vo. p. 54-56. 


of alchymy In the hope of discovering the philosopher s stone ; but as 
that study is conducted with the greatest secrecy, and under circum 
stances veiled in impenetrable mystery, nothing can be expected that 
would add any thing substantial to their stock of scientific knowledge. 
At what time the use of the still was introduced into Persia is] not 
known, but the export of its distilled waters formed an early item 
in its trade with India. Whatever may have been the knowledge 
of this people, previous to their submission to the Arabs, it is gene 
rally allowed that medical science was soon afterwards cultivated 
among them with considerable success ; and to the preparations which 
that art required, may, perhaps, be attributed the early celebrity of 
their Rose-water, in the distilling of which they excelled all other 
nations, and of which they are considered to be the inventors. The 
Arabians alone rivalled the Persians in this respect, since it appears 
that, in 1188, when Saladin became master of Jerusalem, it required 
upwards of 500 camels to transport from Yemen the quantity of 
Rose-water necessary to purify the temple from the stain it was 
considered to have received from being in possession of the Chris 
tians. Could it have been from the Persians, that the Emperor Helioga- 
balus procured the distilled rose-water, with which, amongst his other 
extravagancies, he filled his fish-ponds ? If so, it would place distilla 
tion as being earlier known amongst them than that of which we have 
any record. Avicenna,who died in 1036, speaks of the distilled water 
of roses, and appears to have been familiar with its properties, and 
the virtues of the flowers from which it was drawn. No country on 
earth, it is thought, can boast of a greater variety of fruits and flowers 
than Persia. There are no less than twelve or fourteen species of 
grapes ; the most esteemed are the violet, the red, and the black. The 
dates are of the richest and best description, and the sirup they yield 
is considered of a very superior quality. All the European fruits 
are found growing in Persia in great luxuriance, with apricots, nec 
tarines, and peaches that weigh sometimes sixteen or eighteen ounces 
each. Oranges, pomegranates, melons, pistachios, almonds, and figs 
abound. Sir John Chardin saw fifty different kinds of fruit produced 
at an entertainment near Ispahan, from a number of which, various 
descriptions of drink were manufactured, some of a mild, and others of 
a very intoxicating nature. Of these we find that, at an early period, 
dates and raisins were converted into a drink called Nubcez, and in 
the first* century of the Hegira, the use of this liquor was permitted 
by certain sectarians who considered it not within the strict meaning 
of the prophet s prohibition. The Gaurs, or ancient Persians, whose 
religion did not prevent them from drinking wine or other strong 


liquors, cultivated dates, not only for their use as food, but in order 
to afford them an exhilarating beverage. The dates of Persia are 
esteemed the richest in the world, their sirup being sweeter and more 
pleasant than virgin honey. The palm, which produces them, is the 
highest of all fruit-bearing trees, and has no branches but at 
the very top : it produces fruit at fifteen years growth, and continues 
bearing till it is two hundred years old. In several places, the date 
stones are ground, from which an oil is extracted, and the residuum, 
or paste, is given to cattle and sheep, and is considered very nutri 
tive. A drink, called jS/ieerah,is also made from theinspissatedjuice 
of the grape, and which is the same as that produced from debs in 
Arabia. Chardin speaks of pomegranate wine being had in great 
quantities, and, in Canticles viii. 1., notice is taken of wine of pome 
granates, which shews that it was in very early use. This fruit is 
frequently alluded to in Scripture ; the modern Turks about Aleppo 
make a description of drink from it, as it is not forbidden by the 
Koran. The fruit is as large as an apple, and is useful in warm 
countries for allaying heat and quenching thirst, as it contains a finely 
acidulated juice, which, as well as every other part of the fruit, is highly 
agreeable. Mr. Harmer, in his observations on various passages of 
Scripture, has made some curious remarks on this description of wine, 
but beseems to be in doubt whether it was pomegranate wine, that is 
to be understood in the portion of Scripture, above quoted. On this 
point there is no difficulty, as it has been made in such quantities as 
to be sometimes exported. The Persians have several sorts of pome 
granate, such as the sour, the sweet, and a mixture partaking of both 

The mild and temperate heat of the climate of Persia has covered, 
as with a carpet, a great portion of the country with flowers of the 
most gorgeous and brilliant hue. Neither those of Europe, nor those 
of India, can vie with them. Their roses are celebrated for uncom 
mon beauty, the bushes bearing often three different sorts on one 
branch, such as yellow, black, and red.* From the neighbour 
hood of Shiraz are yearly exported 2000 chests of rose-water, 
each chest containing twelve English gallons put up in glass flasks, 
while ten times that quantity is consumed in Persia, Arabia, and 
Hindostan.f In India, particularly in the district of Ghazeepoor, are 
extensive rose fields, from which immense quantities of rose-water 
are distilled, and the after, or otto, of roses is made. This valuable 
perfume is obtained, after the rose-water is distilled, by exposing the 

* Univ. Hist. vol. iv. p. 539. Morier s Journey, &o. 

t Hamilton s Account of the East Indies. Bernier, &c. Franklin s Tour; 


Crater to the atmospheric air, in large open vessels during the night, 
and at sunrise skimming off the oil, which floats on its surface. It is 
said that it requires 200,000 well-grown roses to produce one rupee s 
worth of attar. The love of the Persians for the rose is so great, 
that Saadi, one of their most eminent poets, has given the name of 
Gulistan, or Garden of Roses, to one of his poems, and their passion 
for this flower he thus beautifully expresses: " What," says a friend, 
" hast thou gathered for us in this garden of delights ?" " I fancied," 
replied the poet in an ecstacy, " that I was opposite a rose tree, and 
that I filled the skirt of my robe with flowers to present them to my 
friends ; but when I had nearly reached them, the perfume of the roses 
so overpowered me, that my garment slipped from my hands, and 
thus gave to the envious winds the treasures I was about to bestow." 
Various kinds of grain are cultivated in Persia, but few undergo 
the fermenting process. Wheat, barley, rice, oats, rye, and millet, 
are reared with much care and success. Wine and brandy are sold 
by weight and not by measure, and at Shiraz, as well as in most other 
cities of the empire, these commodities are stored in large well-glazed 
earthen jars, or in glass bottles, called Karabas, which are a finger- 
breadth in thickness, and hold near thirty quarts. These are arranged 
in spacious well-built cellars, constructed for coolness with fountains, 
and provided with seats: in these retreats of silence and of solitude, the 
wearied visitants are often made to forget their cares, with copious 
draughts of those exhilarating liquors. 

About Derbent, and its vicinity, the wine jars are buried under 
ground, for the sake of preserving the flavour and strength of the 
liquor, for a longer time than if exposed in the cellars. The juice of 
the grape is converted by the Turcomans, bordering on the Persian 
empire, into a thick jelly by boiling ; and in that state it is carried by 
them, in their warlike excursions, and forms a nourishing kind of food. 
In Persia, according to Sir John Malcolm, a tax is levied on vine 
yards and fruit trees, at the following rates : 


Vineyards, faryab, or " certain water," 6 per vine. 

If bukhs, or " uncertain water," 5 do. 

Apple, pear, peach, &c. 20 per tree 

Walnuts, 100 do. 

Grapes are so cheap, that the finest are obtained in the markets of 
Shiraz, at less than a half-penny the pound ; and in some parts, these, 
as well as other fruit, have hardly any value, so that, with the cheap 
ness of provisions, the lowest order of the people live comfortably. 

* Accounts in Persia are kept in deenars, a nominal coin, of which there are 
1000 to the piastre, or about 500 to the British shilling. 


When Bell was in that country, grapes were so abundant, that they 
were left hanging in clusters on the vines, twisted round the trees in the 
woods, as a prey to the fowls of the air. Though the vine nourishes 
luxuriantly, in the southern provinces, yet, in the north-western, they 
are obliged to bury the shoots, to protect them from the winter frosts. 

In the distillation of brandy and other liquors, the apparatus 
employed by the Persians is simple, and, for the most part, consists of 
earthen vessels, the still being merely ajar, sufficiently strong to bear 
the action of the fire. The condensation of the vapour is effected by 
the old and clumsy method of pouring cold water on the cucurbit, or 
head, which presents a broad surface to the water, that surrounds it 
in the tub, and when the still is to be charged, the lid is removed, 
and the liquid, to be distilled, is poured in by an attendant. The 
time of charging is determined by the weakness of the spirit from the 
condenser, and the whole operation is completed with little fatigue, 
expense, or trouble. 

In the preceding survey of the principal nations, where the influ 
ence of Mahometans has rendered the use of intoxicating liquors 
objectionable and penal, we have seen that tliis prohibition has tended 
to render men artful and hypocritical, and although abstinence from 
inebriation is at all times commendable, yet, when carried to a com 
plete deprivation, it has a contrary effect. The Romans prudently 
forbade their wives to drink wine, lest they should fall into criminal 
intercourse through intemperance.* The Egyptians, from temperate 
motives, would not allow their priests to indulge in wine, but this 
abstinence was not always observed. Their dislike to this liquor is said by 
some to have arisen from the circumstance of Noah s inebriety, 
the recollection of which still excites great abhorrence among them, 
and this is supposed to have been the real origin of the antipathy to 
wine, shewn by many eastern nations. The Jewish Levites were 
forbidden to drink wine, only before their entrance into the sanctuary ; 
but there was no perpetual prohibition, as the great object was to 
prevent the abuse, not the use of a wholesome and exhilarating 
beverage. The Holy Scriptures have no absolute command against 
the use of wine, nor any other liquor, unless it should amount to intem 
perance, and against tliis the sacred volume is explicit and deter 
mined. That an antipathy to wine, founded either on policy, delu 
sion, or superstition, has influenced certain portions of mankind, from 
the earliest ages, is evident, and traces of it are found in the writings of 
Moses, even so early as the time of Joseph. But the prohibition of 

Valerius Maximus, b. ii, ch. 1. 


this drink does not appear to have originated through anxiety for the? 
preservation of health, or purity of morals, but rather from an econo 
mical prudence, or to promote the interests, and secure the policy of 
nations, or individuals. Abstinence from wine was manifestly bene 
ficial to the Egyptians, because their country was not a land of grapes ; 
hence its prohibition was enforced, under the pretext of morality and 
philosophy: it was even forbidden to be used in divine worship, though 
there was no objection to eating the grapes. Moses, to obstruct the 
return of the Israelites to Egypt, enjoined the use of wine, and made it an 
accompaniment of the Jewish offerings, that, as a judicious writer 
expresses it, no person might consider it as impure, or abhor it from 
a motive of religion ; nay, he every where speaks advantageously of 
wine, the principal production of the Land of Promise : thus, although, 
in the earliest ages of its existence, wine met with wise opponents, 
it found, nevertheless, still wiser advocates. The philosophers and 
moralists of ancient times condemned every description of excess : 
Galen, although he called wine the nurse of old age> was against its 

abuse. Mnestheus would indulge men in harmless potations 

Seneca thought the senses ought not to be overcome, but the cares 
of life might be lightened, by an exhilaration of the spirits. Plato 
considered wine as the renovator of old age, and the enlivener of 
society, when kept within the limits of discretion. Pythagoras, with 
all his stoicism, is said not to have been insensible to a well regulated 
indulgence in the use of wine. Asclepiades, a physician, who practised 
at Rome, ninety-six years before the Christian era, successfully 
administered wine, with every remedy, to all his patients, and wrote 
a treatise on its virtues, in which he observed that the gods had not 
bestowed a more valuable gift on man. Diogenes, though so rigid a 
philosopher in self-denial, drank wine with more than common grati 
fication : and though he threw away his water bowl as superfluous, 
when he beheld a man drinking water out of his hands at a brook, yet, 
it is affirmed, that he never refused the wine goblet, when presented 
tojiim at another s expense. Hippocrates, the father of physic, recom 
mends a cheerful glass, and even Rhases, a Mahommetan, says no 
liquor is equal to good wine. Amongst its many modern advocates 
in the medical profession, Doctor Whitaker, physician to Charles the 
Second, undertook to prove, by the use of wine, the possibility of pro 
longing life, from infancy, to old age, without sickness or infirmity. 

The opinion of the prophet is also contradicted by the conduct of 
our Saviour, on the occasion of the marriage at Cana, when he turned 
the water into wine, not only with a view of shewing his miraculous 
powers, but of making the parties more cheerful. From the earliest 


periods, wine seems to have formed a portion of the entertainment, 
not only at marriage ceremonies, but at the most solemn sacrifices 
where libations were poured out ; and it requires no force of argument 
to shew that the moderate use of wine must have been sanctioned by 
the Almighty himself, when our blessed Lord had recourse to a 
miracle, to supply the wants of the guests where he was present. St. 
Paul advisedTimothy to use alittle wine for his stomach s sake,and the use 
of it, in the institution of the Sacrament of the Lord s Supper, isa further 
unquestionable proof of its value and excellence; and that it is the abuse 
of it only that is objectionable. To use the language of Blair, it is 
that thoughtless and intemperate enjoyment of it, which wholly absorbs 
the time and attention of men ; which obliterates every serious thought 
of the proper business of life ; and effaces the sense of religion and of 
God, that is to be dreaded and avoided. 

On what rational grounds, Mahomet forbade the entire use of wine, 
has never yet been determined, but that the prohibition has not been 
accounted just, is proved both from its direct and indirect violation, 
as well as from its having engendered more vicious habits, than it has 
prevented evil consequences facts that have been but too well attested, 
and of which the following is a melancholy illustration. Aureng- 
Zebe in the frenzy of his zeal to support this Mahometan dogma, 
entered the tent of his brother when he knew he was in a state of intox 
ication, and, surrounded by soldiers, directed his head to be taken off, 
which cruel act he justified by saying, that he deserved death for dis 
obeying the laws of his religion, and rendering himself unfit for the 
duties of life. This is but one of a thousand heinous acts that might 
be produced to strengthen the justice of these observations; but 
enough has been said to prove that this extraordinary command of 
the Prophet was issued rather from a view to distinguish his religion, 
and render his doctrine more imposing, than from a principle of moral 
rectitude, or a wish to promote the happiness of mankind. 

The general use of opium and other exhilarating substances, with 
all their concomitant evils, may, therefore, date its origin from this 
mandate of the Prophet, while the restriction shews to what subter 
fuges men have recourse, when injudiciously forbidden to exercise 
their discretion and common sense, in either the gratification of the 
passions, the protection of the moral virtues, or the freedom of opinion, 
whether in religion, politics, or philosophy. The properties and 
consequences of these natural inebriants I shall now proceed to 

The poppy^opaver somniferum in botany, is a plant remarkable for its 
peculiar properties. It was so called, because it was commonly mixed 


with the pap, (/>#/>,) given to eliildren hi ordqr to ease pain, and induce 
sleep. The term papa is also applied by the Peruvians to their chief 
article of subsistence, the potato, which they mix with other ingre 
dients in a very savoury and substantial manner. There are various 
descriptions of the poppy, one of them, papaver album, or white 
garden poppy, is indigenous to most countries, and is so called, not 
from the colour of its flowers, which is diversified, but from the white 
ness of its seed. Its juice is called by the Persians qfioun, and by the 
Arabians aphium, from which, says a learned writer, is derived our 
word opium. Others think it comes from the Greek opos, succus in 
Latin, implying any kind of vegetable juice ; but it has been subse 
quently confined to the juice of the poppy alone. At what time 
opium first came into use is uncertain ; but Homer is reputed to have 
known of its virtues, and the Nepenthe mentioned in the Odyssey, is by 
some supposed to have been a preparation of this drug, which was origi 
nally brought from Thebes, and on that account called the Thebaic tinc 
ture, and known by that name at the present day. The composition 
of the Nepenthe is said to have been imparted to Helen by Polydamna, 
wife of Thonis, king of Egypt.* No allusion is made to this drug in 
Scripture, and it may consequently be inferred that it was unknown 
to the Jews. Herodotus asserts the M assagetse and all the Scythians 
had among them certain herbs, that they threw into the fire, the ascen 
ding fumes of which they anxiously inhaled. With these they became 
as much intoxicated as if they had taken large portions of wine, and 
exhibited in their songs and dances all the ridiculous frolics and ges 
ticulations which are the result of inebriety .f Opium is not mentioned 
by Hippocrates, though it is affirmed that it was known to Diagoras, 
who was nearly his contemporary. Some writers consider the use of 
opium as very ancient, and it is asserted that the Pagan priests had 
recourse to a narcotic, previously to the delivery of their oracles, and 
under the influence of which they acted on such occasions. 

For the sake of this drug, the poppy is cultivated to a great extent in 
several parts of the East. In some of the Turkish provinces of Asia, 
particularly Natolia, it is reared to perfection, and opium of the best 
description is obtained. The poppy of Persia, however, is esteemed 
the finest in the world, not only in respect to its beauty, but because 
its juice is much stronger than the juice of the same plant elsewhere, 
yielding a greater quantity of opium, and therefore in the highest esti 
mation. It grows in some places to the height of four feet and upwards, 
with a beautiful corolla of white leaves at the vertex. In June, when 

* Odyssey, L. iv. v. 228. f Herodotus, b. i. sec. 36. 



it is ripe, the juice is extracted by incisions in the head, and gathered 
every morning before sunrise. The effect of collecting the opium, in 
this manner, is said to have such an influence on those employed for 
that purpose, as to make them appear as if buried and again taken up, 
and their limbs tremble as if they were affected with palsy. Amongst the 
Persian bakers, it is a practice to strew poppy seed on the bread, with 
a view to enhance its sale, and the common people eat the seed at any 
time with pleasure, a practice common in our own country. 

This plant is indigenous to most countries, and the method em 
ployed to procure the drug is almost everywhere the same. In India, 
opium is the staple commodity of many of the provinces; the method of 
cultivating the plant, which requires a dry soil prepared for the purpose, 
and obtaining the opium, is nearly the same throughout Hindostan, 
and is commonly as follows : The seed is generally sown in October 
and November, when the periodical rains cease. The plants are kept 
about eight inches distant, and well watered by means of furrows, till 
they rise nearly six inches above the surface. A fortnight or three 
weeks after sowing, some of the seeds are dug up, in order to see 
whether they have germinated, and if so, the process is commenced. 
If the plants happen to be too near each other, some of them are pulled 
and used as potherbs ; but they cannot serve for that purpose when 
they become more advanced ; being then of a strongly intoxicating 
nature. At these early stages, a mixture of dung, nitrous earth, and 
ashes, is strewed round the plants, and a little before the flowers appear, 
they are again repeatedly watered, till the capsules are half grown or 
the petals of the flowers fall off; the collection of the opium then commen 
ces, because when fully ripe little juice is obtained. The white kind yields 
a larger quantity than the red, but the quality of both is the same, yet 
the white is accounted preferable. When the capsules assume a 
whitish appearance, incisions are made in them with an instrument 
having three teeth at a very small distance from each other, merely 
to perforate the skin without penetrating the cavity. 

These wounds are made from the top to the bottom of the capsule 
so as not to wound the inner membrane, for, should that be the case, 
the root would instantly die. This operation is always performed at 
sun-set, and repeated for three or four successive days, and the juice, 
which is of a milky appearance flowing therefrom, is collected the fol 
lowing morning, and permitted to purify itself by fermentation. In 
this manner the whole crop of a field is wounded, and the opium col 
lected from it in about fifteen days, an incredible number of men, 
women, and children, being employed on the occasion. Thejuice[ 
having exuded and thickened by exposure to the air, is scraped off 


with a shell or little iron instrument, previously immersed in oil. It 
is afterwards worked in an iron pot in the sun s heat, till it is of a con 
sistence to be formed into thick cakes of about forty pounds weight. 
These are covered over with leaves of poppy, tobacco, or some other 
vegetable, to prevent their sticking together, and in tlu s condition 
they are dried. They are usually packed in square boxes lined with 
leather, and wrapped in a kind of canvass named goenje ; the boxes, 
when packed, are weighed, and marked accordingly. 

In India, opium brings about fifteen shillings a pound : in Bahar 
alone, the quantity annually collected is about 16000 maunds, or 
upwards of l,000,0001bs. In Malwa, above 350,0001bs. are yearly 
produced, and of these 140,000 Ibs. are retained for home consump 
tion.* Extensive warehouses for storing this article have been 
erected in different provinces; at Banhypore, a portion of the suburbs 
of Patna, there is a large emporium of this kind. 

In the district of Bahar, irrigation is used in the cultivation of the 
plant, and the juice is gathered in small brass pots or cocoa nuts, each 
having a little linseed oil to prevent the opium from adhering to the 
vessel. It is afterwards pressed in large pots, and left in the oil till after 
the rainy season, when it is removed, and formed into flat cakes of 
about one inch thick and three or four inches in diameter ;over these are 
strewed dried leaves of the poppy, and, in this state, they are left under a 
shade in the air until sufficiently dry. Retail merchants sometimes 
adulterate it with pounded leaves, cow dung, coarse sugar, and other 
ingredients, but it is seldom deteriorated by the growers. The 
culture of this article and the sugar cane is the most profitable of all 
the branches of husbandry in India. The poppy, like both vegetable 
and animal life in all countries, is greatly influenced by the climate. 
India produces opium of the finest quality, while Egypt and Natolia 
furnish it much stronger than any produced in Europe. The manu 
facturers in Bengal generally adopt the Turkish method of making 
opium, and much benefit has been derived from their system. In the 
Nepaul territory, particularly among the hills at the foot of the Him- 
aleh mountains, the opium is gathered from the plant about the end of 
July. All along the valleys which lie at the base of this stupendous 
range, it grows luxuriantly, though an expensive crop, as it requires 
much manure and great attention. It forms a considerable article of 
trade with the people of the plains, who vend it to the merchants of 
Bootan, and those of the adjacent countries. 

Under the Mogul government, opium having been a monopoly 

* Malcolm s Central India, vol. i. p. 8. 


was sold to a contractor. The British Company followed the same 
practice till 1785, when the sale of this article was exposed to public 
competition. At that time, regulations were made not to compel the 
cultivators to grow it at the contractors price ; but as the government 
still held the monopoly, a price wasfixed at which the ryots, or culti 
vators, were obliged to furnish the article, so that the Company were 
both contractors and purchasers ; yet they allowed the grower a fair 
recompense for his labour and industry.* 

In the whole of British India, the estimated revenue arising from 
opium, at the commencement of the new East India Charter, in 1834, 
was 1,427,9 17. 

The revenue arising from the sale of opium to the government of 
Bengal, in 1809 and 1810, amounted to 580,000. The export of this 
article from Bombay, Fort St. George, and Bengal, respectively, to 
the eastward islands, from 1814, to 1818 has been valued at 
8,057,357 rupees.f To China were sent by country ships from Patna 
and Benares in 1817 and 1818, no less than 485 chests, valued at 
611,000 dollars, besides 1950 chests of Bengal opium, rated at 
2,340,000 dollars, imported into Macao. In 1818 and 1819, there 
were 4978 chests, valued at 4,393,000 dollars, sent to Macao from 
Bengal, Malwa, Patna, and Benares.f From 1804 and 1805 to 1817 
and 1818, there were carried 1780 peculs by American ships to 
Canton ; and the whole quantity sent thither by the same traders, 
from 1815 to 1819, appears to be 1834 peculs, which, at 550 dollars 
the pecul, amounts to 1,008,700 dollars.|| The opium, exported in 
1814 and 1815 to 1818 from the united kingdom to Bengal, Fort 
St. George, and Bombay, exclusive of the trade of the East India 
Company, has been valued at 122,815 rupees, or 12,281 lOs.f 

A late writer informs us, that the trade in this article, with the ex 
ception of what is imported into Macao for medicinal purposes, is 
conducted by smugglers ; and so artfully is the practice carried on, 
that about 4000 chests, weighing 533,3331bs. are sent in this contra 
band way, notwithstanding the frequent edicts of the emperor 
against it, and the use of it being rendered a capital offence. From 
ten to twenty Portuguese, American, and British ships, of three and 
four hundred tons burden, freighted with opium, are constantly an 
chored at the small island of Lintin, in order to supply the demand 
for this article. 

* Mills s History of British India, vol. v. p. 4] 9. 

f Parliamentary Report of 7th May, 1821, p. 319. 

% Ibid. pp. 326, 327. Ibid. p. 44. || Ibid, p, 181. f Ibid. p. 238. 


Opium brings such a price in China, varying according to its qua 
lity from 1200 to 2000 Spanish dollars per chest, that merchants run 
every risk to supply the market. The sale is chiefly conducted by 
means of the inferior Mandarins, as well as some of the higher ones, 
who receive considerable bribes for their connivance. Sixty dollars 
at Macao, and the same at Canton, are the common fees. Armed 
boats, known by the name of opium boats, constantly sail between 
Macao and Canton with this drug, sanctioned by the officers of the 
customs, who likewise receive a bribe for their indulgence ; shewing 
that in China, as in other countries, every man has his price.* The 
ridiculous flourish made by the Imperial fleet, to disperse or destroy 
those smugglers, is a farce carried on once or twice a year, the com 
mander, contented with having his coffers well filled, returns to Canton, 
boasting of services which he never intended to perform. The pro 
hibition of opium shews bad policy, as the emperor by this means 
loses, it is said, a revenue of from four to five millions of dollars 
annually, since its use through the empire is as common as tobacco in 
other countries. Opium is prepared for smoking among the Chinese 
in the same way as it is to be found in our apothecaries shops for 
sale. The preparation, necessary to be used at one smoking, is 
weighed and put into a pipe much resembling that common with us 
for tobacco. A tincture, made from this drug, is introduced into a 
tube resembling a flute in size and shape, and, when set on fire, 
the exhalations are inhaled, and the effects are of the most exhilarating 
and rapturous nature. 

The Mandarins, besides smoking, use it also in the form of tincture, 
and usually carry a small bottle of it about them. The present 
emperor of China has been described as incapacitated for any busi 
ness, through the excess to which he has carried the debilitating 
practice of smoking opium. In the Chinese Register for September, 
1833, it is related, that at one time, during a rebellion, the emperor s 
troops were discouraged, and would not proceed against the enemy, 
owing to the want of opium, their accustomed stimulant. 

Besides the quantity of opium that is purchased at the East India 
Company s sales, and sent to China in British country ships, there is 
also smuggled an immensity of Malwa and Smyrna opium. The con 
sumption of this article in 1819, was valued at 4,159,250 dollars, and 
in 1828, at 10,356,833, making, in nine years, an increase of 
6,197,583 dollars. Such is the extent of the opium trade, that from 15 
to 20,000 chests are considered as the nearest approximation to the 
actual quantity sent yearly into China ; and notwithstanding, this 

* Parliamentary Report of 7th May, 1821, p. 18K 


drug has been denounced as a poison, and also prohibited through 
religious scruples, yet it is certain, that it not only makes its way into 
the most remote parts of the Celestial Empire, but even within the 
walls of the Imperial palace at Pekin. Though it is generally con 
sidered that trade is carried on through the ports of Canton and 
Macao only, yet it is known, that cargoes of opium have been landed 
at Clungchoo and Chusen, as well as at places more northerly, and 
also in the islands of Formosa and Hainan. 

The importation of opium is prohibited in Cochin- China, but the 
sale of it is readily effected, through the dexterity of the Chinese 
In 1822, the importation was reckoned at 150 chests, 40 of which 
were for Cambodia, 10 for the capital, and 100 for Tonquin. 
Men and women of the better classes, in Cochin- China, always carry 
about with them a pair of silken bags or purses, either in the hand or 
thrown over the shoulder. In these are kept the betel box, tobacco, 
and opium. Females, of the lower order, are denied this privilege, 
while men of the same grade, when met by a person of condition, are 
obliged to conceal those bags, as a token of respect. 

The export of opium from Turkey is extensive, but confined to a 
limited number of Jewish brokers. These are accused of adulterating 
the article, and it is done so artfully, that the secret is known only to 
themselves. The Americans are the most extensive purchasers, and 
they carry it to China and other parts of the East. The Turks 
accuse them of being slaves to the use of it, and that they purchase it 
for their own gratification ; but the fallacy of this accusation is con 
tradicted by the fact, that the Americans are too fond of ardent 
spirits to become chewers of opium. 

This drug is taken in different ways, and its effects are found to 
vary, according to the constitution and temperament of the indivi 
duals by whom it is used. Some it inspires with grand and sublime 
ideas. The ambitious man beholds at his feet monarchs and slaves 
in chains ; the bilious man is seized with visions of horror and 
dismay ; the mild and benevolent man sees all the world applaud 
him ; while the timid is endowed with courage, the lover with tender 
ness, and the vindictive with ferocity. In some places it is taken in 
pills, and in others smoked with tobacco. In the Ottoman dominions, 
travellers carry it in the form of lozenges, or cakes, upon which is 
stamped in Turkish character, as a legend, " Mash Allah," the gift 
of God.* The Persians take pills of opium, which some of them 
gradually increase to such a dose as would destroy half a dozen 

* Griffith s Travels in Europe, Asia, &c. 4to. pp. 86, 87. Dalloway s Constan 

Europeans. la the course of an hour, when the drug begins to 

operate, a thousand pleasing scenes are presented to the imagination, 

raising the spirits to a degree of enthusiasm and rapture, known only 

to those who have been affected by the delirium. When its influence 

has ceased, the spirits become exhausted, and the votary pensive and 

melancholy, till the dose is repeated. A decoction of poppy seeds, 

termed kokemaar, is sold in the coffee-houses of Persia, and is usually 

drank scalding hot. Tavernter mentions houses called kokemaar 

krone, in which people drink this liquor, and afford considerable 

amusement from the ridiculous postures, and gesticulations, which they 

assume. At first they appear to quarrel with one another, using 

abusive language, without coming to blows. As the drug operates, 

they cease to be boisterous, and gradually becoming peaceable ; one 

utters high-flown compliments, another relates stories, while all are 

ridiculous, both in words and actions.* The drink just described, as 

having intoxicating qualities, could not have been a mere decoction of 

the poppy seeds, but having something superadded, as the somniferous 

effect of this plant resides in the milky juice of the capsules, and the 

narcotic power attributed to the seeds is without foundation, since it 

is well known, that they are eaten without any such effect. 

Doctor Madden relates, that while in Constantinople, he had the 
curiosity to try the effects of opium on himself. For this purpose, he 
repaired to the general rendezvous of the Tkeriakis, or opium eaters, 
which is situated in a large square near the mosque of Solymania, and 
where, on benches outside the door, the votaries await the voluptuous 
and glowing images, which are presented by their excited imagina 
tions. The Doctor s sensations are best described in his own words. 
" I took my seat," says he, " in the coffee-house, with half a dozen 
Theriakis. Their gestures were frightful. Those, who were com 
pletely under the influence of the opium, talked incoherently ; their 
features were flushed, their eyes had an unnatural brilliancy, and the 
general expression of their countenances was horribly wild. The 
effect is usually produced in two hours, and lasts four or five. The 
dose varies from three grains to a drachm. I saw an old man take 
four pills, of six grains each, in the course of two hours. I was told 
he had been using opium for twenty-five years, but this is a very rare 
example of an opium-eater passing thirty years of age, if he com 
mence the practice early* I commenced with one grain ; in the course 
of an hour and a half it produced no perceptible effect ; the coffee 
house keeper was very anxious to give me an additional pill of two 
grains, but I was contented with half a one ; and in another half hour, 

* Tavernier, vol. I. b. v. chap. 1 7. 


feeling nothing of the expected reverie, I took half a grain 
making in all two grains, in the course of two hours. After two 
hours and a half from the first dose, I took two grains more, and, 
shortly after this dose, my spirits became sensibly excited, the pleasure 
of the sensation seemed to depend on a universal expansion of mind 
and matter. My faculties appeared enlarged ; every thing I looked 
on seemed increased in volume, I had no longer the same pleasure 
when I closed my eyes, which I had when they were open. It 
appeared to me as if they were only external objects, which were 
acted on by the imagination, and magnified into images of pleasure ; 
in short, it was " the faint exquisite music of a dream" in a waking 
moment. I made my way home as fast as possible, dreading at every 
step, that I should commit some extravagance. In walking I was 
hardly sensible of my feet touching the ground ; it seemed as if I slid 
along the street, impelled by some invisible agent, and that my blood 
was composed of some ethereal fluid, which rendered my body lighter 
than air. I got to bed the moment I reached home. The most 
extraordinary visions of delight filled my brain all night. In the 
morning I arose, pale and dispirited, my head ached ; my body was 
so debilitated, that I was obliged to remain on the sofa all the day, 
dearly paying for my first essay at opium eating."* Opium is sold 
at the public bazaars, in the drug market at Constantinople, and is 
exposed in large black balls, or cakes, which appear like Spanish 
licorice. These balls are cut smoothly with knives, to shew their 
interior, and half a dozen, or more samples, at different prices, are 
placed together. The cheapest and worst sort, is of a brown colour, 
filled with stalks and leaves ; that of the highest, is almost jet black, 
and is perfectly free from impurities. 

Rigid Mussulmans condemn the use of opium, and their preachers 
declaim against it from the pulpit. One day, a very holy and zealous 
preacher, in holding forth with more than ordinary warmth against 
the pernicious qualities of this drug, by great bad luck, let fall his 
own opium-pouch, among his auditory. Without being in the 
least abashed, he, with the greatest presence of mind, affected to have 
premeditated what had happened so much against his will, and 
exclaimed " Behold the enemy, the demon, the fiend, I have been 
speaking of ! Be upon your guard lest it spring upon some of you, 
and gain possession of your souls !" By this delicate turn he escaped 
from public ridicule or indignation. 

From Salonichi and other parts, the French draw opium to the 
value of 2,400, and the Italians, to that of 3,600. The Turks, 

* Maddcn s Travels, in Turkey, &c. 2 vols. 8vo. vol. i. p. 24. 


according to Beaujour, reserve for their own use, that which flows 
naturally from the head of the poppy, and they dispose of the con 
densed liquor, which they extract from the plant by incision, or 
expression. This fascinating drug, which places its votary, as it were, 
between life and death, or in that state of lethargy, which lulls all 
thoughts asleep without excluding the sensations, is sought after with 
avidity, by the voluptuary and the Epicurean Theriaki. Many 
persons are found to spend their whole lives in drinking coffee, 
smoking tobacco, and swallowing opium. Beaujour gives an account 
of a Turkish Eifendi, who took every day thirty cups of coffee, 
smoked sixty pipes of tobacco, and swallowed three drachms of opium, 
while his solid food consisted of only four ounces of rice. The appear 
ance of this singular character was that of a species of mummy, with 
the muscles apparently glued to the skin : he adds that every opium 
eater becomes in the course of time extremely bent in the back bone ; 
and he tells us that the Janissaries were in the habit, when going to 
battle, of taking opium as an exciter of courage, as the German 
soldiers take brandy for a similar purpose. The Turkish opium is 
said to soothe or excite the senses, according to the preparation it 
undergoes. That, which is mixed with nutmeg or saffron, becomes 
aphrodisiac, and inspires amorous desires. It is made up in small 
pills, of which the wealthy Turks know how to take advantage, to 
administer most to their own sensualities.* Many of the opulent, at 
Surat, indulge in this drug from the same motives ; for which purpose, 
Grose tells us, it is usually taken in milk, boiled from a large to a 
small quantity, and when a check is desired to be put on the effect, a 
spoonful or two of lime juice, or of any equivalent, is applied, which 
instantly destroys the influence the opium had previously excited.! 
Sir Astley Cooper, in his lectures on the principles and practice of 
Surgery, gives it as his opinion, that the use of opium diminishes the 
virile powers and the disposition to sexual intercourse ; for notwith 
standing, it is asserted, that the Turks often take it for the purpose 
of increasing amatory indulgence, he found it to produce an opposite 
effect. This he corroborates, with several examples.}: The justice 
of the remark may perhaps be questioned, since almost every writer, 
who touches on the use of opium, in eastern countries, concurs in the 
opinion, that its stimulating propensity is one of the strongest 
pleasures it affords ; but to reconcile these opinions, it appears to 
operate like the use of ardent spirits in this country, which, while it 

* Beaujour s View of the Commerce of Greece, 8vo. p. 1 76. 

f Grose s Voyage to the East Indies, vol. i. p. 119. 

f Sir Astley Cooper s Lectures on Surgery, 8vo. pp. 450-1-2. 


contributes to indulgence in this respect, eventually diminishes the 
powers of its accomplishment. In Siam, the sale of opium is contra 
band, and many have suffered death for importing it, as its use in that 
empire has been productive of the worst consequences. Mr. Abeel 
relates that the king, on one occasion, finding that Ms son was in the 
habit of smoking opium, immediately commanded his property to be 
sold, and himself to be arrested and imprisoned, for execution ; and it 
was not without the greatest exertions, by the mother and princes in 
authority, that his doom was averted.* The Chinese, however, can 
sell it through the country, without inconvenient restriction. It has 
been known, that a few of their junks have disposed of 100,000 
Spanish dollars w r orth, in a few days. The Siamese use it, first 
beginning with a grain, and encreasing the number to half a dozen, 
or more. It is swallow r ed and smoked indiscriminately, the usual 
effects of which are soon visible, by producing a sleepy drunkenness, 
yet such is their fondness for it, that it sells for its weight in silver ; 
but this is not surprising among a people who believe that dreams 
are books in which the fates are written.f 

The inhabitants of Borneo smoke opium with tobacco in the same 
manner as the people of Sumatra. The mode of preparing- it for use 
is as follows : The raw opium is first boiled in a copper vessel, and 
strained through a cloth, and then boiled a second time ; the leaf of 
the tobacco is cut fine and mixed with it, in a quantity sufficient to 
absorb the whole, when it is made up into small pills, about the size 
of a pea, for smoking. At convivial parties, a dish of this is brought 
in with a lamp, when the host, taking a large pipe, puts into it one 
of those pellets, blowing the smoke through his nostrils, and, if he be 
an adept, through the passages of the ears and eyes. He seldom takes 
more than three or four w^liiffs, ere he passes it round to the rest of 
the company, (one pipe serving them all,) who act in the same manner, 
and so continue smoking until completely intoxicated. They are 
sensible that it shortens life, but that does not cause them to abstain 
from it ; and their women encourage the use of it, because they con 
ceive that it heightens the love of their husbands. This preparation 
of the opium is called maa, and it is often adulterated in the process, 
by mixing jaggory, or palm sugar, with it, as is the raw opium, by 
incorporating the fruit of the plantain. 

On the western coast of Sumatra, about 150 chests, or 20,0001bs. 
weight of opium are consumed annually, where it is purchased on 
an average at 300 dollars the chest, and sold again at 500 or 600 : but 

* Abeel s Residence in China, 8vo. p. 224. 
| Chamont, Voy. dc Sium. 


on occasions of extraordinary scarcity, it lias been known that a 
single chest brought upwards of 3000 dollars. 

The inhabitants smoke it through a pipe, or apparatus, like the 
Turkish hookah. Anderson met a Rajah, who smoked in the even 
ings, until he became so stupified and giddy, that he was incompetent 
to pass his own threshold without support. He told him that he used 
a ball, or catty, annually ; and, like all slaves to this drug, he had a 
very sickly and emaciated appearance. 

It is a curious fact, as remarked by that writer, that in most of the 
places he visited, where opium was in the greatest consumption, there 
were fewer children, than where the people entirely abstained from 
it ; thus furnishing a strong proof, that the inhabitants addicted to it 
were practical Malthusians.* 

Besides opium, the Sumatrans have recourse to other stimulants, of 
native produce, and they are so deeply skilled in their use and power, 
that they ensnare fish by steeping the root of a parasitical plant, called 
tuba., and casting it into the water. This has so great an effect, that the 
fish, as if intoxicated, float apparently dead on the surface ; and while in 
that state are taken up by the fishermen. In the same manner, the 
people of Jamaica employ the Tephrosia Toxicaria, after pounding 
its leaves and branches. These they throw into ponds and rivers, 
and the fish, which greedily eat it, become stupified, and are easily 
caught. It is also used like opium for its intoxicating qualities. 

Maddat is a term for opium on the eastern coast of Sumatra, 
where it is imported at a duty of 20 dollars per chest, and, in some 
parts, at 76 dollars per cake. 

Opium is sold in Sumatra and Borneo by persons authorized to deal in 
it, and a fine of 50 dollars is imposed on any person found selling it illi 
citly. So far back as 1708, the king of Sumatra limited the importation 
of opium to three chests, each containing IGOlbs. weight, and if any 
person were found smuggling this drug, his goods and life were 

Among the Celebes, opium is used in great quantities. Even the 
Rajah and his family are constantly in a state of stupidity from its 
use, and uniformly refuse to admit strangers during the time of its 
influence. At Penang, 28 chests of opium are annually imported for 
the Malay and Chinese inhabitants ; and to retail this drug, the 
farmers pay to the East India Company from 3000 to 4000 Spanish 
dollars per month ; which license, with the prime cost of the article, 
causes the consumer to pay dearly for it. 

* Anderson s Mission to the East coast of Sumatra, Svo. p. 209. 


The people of Java indulge to excess in the use of this drug. Upon 
such of them, as well natives as slaves, who have become desperate 
by the pressure of misfortune or disappointment, it operates in a 
frightful manner, giving them an artificial courage, and rendering 
them frantic, in which state they sally forth, in all the horrors of 
despair, to attack the object of their hatred, crying amok ! amok ! 
which signifies kill ! kill ! Thus infuriated, they indiscriminately stab 
every person they meet, till self-preservation at length renders it 
necessary to destroy them. This is what is termed running a muck. 
Captain Beekman was told of a Javanese, who run a muck at Batavia, 
and had killed several, but being met by a soldier who ran him 
through with his pike, such was the desperation of the wretch, that 
he pressed forward on the instrument of death, until he got near 
enough to stab his adversary with a dagger, when both expired on 
the spot. It is common amongst the Indian soldiery, when about to 
perform some daring act, to intoxicate themselves with opium, in such 
a manner as to render them reckless of danger. 

It is a curious law in Java, that any one crying amok may be 
destroyed ; but, in the event of its being a false alarm, and an indivi 
dual being killed by the crowd, the person that exclaimed amok is only 
liable to be fined. At Batavia, if an officer take a person calling 
amok, his reward is very considerable ; but, if he kill him, nothing is 
awarded : such is the frenzy of those unfortunate beings, that generally, 
three out of four are destroyed in the attempt to secure them. Some 
are of opinion, that the sanguinary achievements effected when 
running a muck, for which the Malays have been famous, or rather 
infamous, are more owing to the inherent ferocity of their nature, 
than to the influence of opium, or any other drug. But it is to be 
feared, that tyranny and oppression have too often driven them to 
seek a fallacious consolation in the use of this article, rendering them 
desperate and reckless of consequences. The Javanese government 
farm the privilege of vending opium in a medicated or prepared state. 
When the supplies were regular, the cost to the consumer was about 
3,500 Spanish dollars per chest, or 787 10s., being an advance on 
the market price of 133^ per cent, upon the monopoly price of 
Bengal, of 168J per cent., and upon the first cost, that of 3025 per 
cent. Were the duties fairly collected in Java, it is computed, that 
the net revenue would be 225,000 sterling. The opium sent from 
Bengal, to the different Indian islands, was, at one time, nearly 900 
chests annually, 550 of which were consumed in Java ; but the extent 
of the consumption, like other articles, greatly depends on the price. 
When the retail price was about 5000 Spanish dollars a chest, the 


consumption was only 30 chests per year ; when 4000 dollars, it was 
50 chests a year ; and when 3,500, it increased to nearly 100 chests 
annually. When the price was moderate, many used it who had 
never done so before ; when it was extravagantly high, several, who 
had used it moderately, desisted from it altogether, while those, 
whose habits were confirmed, had recourse to other stimulants, as 
substitutes. The introduction of Turkish and other opium, into the 
Indies, has caused a great revolution in the sales of this drug ; and 
the American and other free traders, it is thought, will eventually 
put an end to the monopoly of the East India Company. This 
opinion is confirmed by the fact, that a chest, which formerly sold at 
from 1,200 to 1,500 dollars, fell lately to 800, and since that, the 
sales, at Calcutta, have fallen upwards of 30 per cent. Before the 
East India Company commenced dealing in opium with the inhabi 
tants of Sumatra, Malay, and other places, Mr. Lucas, a factor in the 
service at Java, had monopolized the whole trade, and secured to 
himself a property of ,100,000. This beneficial traffic was not 
known to the Dutch before 1 685, when Lucas disclosed the secret. 
Soon after, a society was formed at Batavia, for the purpose of con 
ducting the opium trade. The stock of the society was divided into 
shares of 2000 rixdollars each. Such was the prosperous state of 
the business, that the shares were soon sold at a high premium. The 
affairs of this company were under the control of a director, two 
acting proprietors, a cashier, and book-keeper. Every chest of opium 
delivered to them, by the East India Company, stood the society 500 
rixdollars, or upwards ; and such were the regulations, that they were 
obliged not to sell to any others who might come in competition with 
them. The profits of the society, on every chest, were calculated at 
8 or 900 rixdollars. To prevent smuggling, the society took every 
precaution ; and in order to make their monoply more secure, they 
interdicted the trade to their servants, and particularly to the seamen, 
who were prohibited from dealing in it, on pain of death ; besides, 
ships and cargoes were confiscated, when opium was found on board. 
Notwithstanding all these regulations, the temptation was so great, 
that vast quantities were conveyed into various parts of the East, to 
the injury of the monopolists. The sale of this drug produces to the 
Dutch a revenue of 1,120,000 rixdollars ; but the abuses, which the 
monopoly engendered, brought the trade under the review of the com 
missioners, who, in 1803, sat at the Hague, to examine into the affairs 
of Java, and they found it necessary to limit the sale of it to 1,200 
chests. Upwards of 100,0001bs. weight of opium were annually 
imported into this island from India, whence it was transmitted to the 
Moluccas, and the other eastern parts of Asia. 


Vast quantities are consumed by the crews of the piratical vessels, 
in the Indian Ocean, which are principally composed of Malays 
When they are about to engage in any desperate enterprise, they 
infuriate themselves with opium, in order to strengthen their courage 
and inspire them with a determination to give no quarter. Unfortu 
nately, too many temptations, for acts of this description, present 
themselves in those seas, which have been the means of stamping a 
character on these people, that will require a long lapse of time to 

The Rajpoots, Gracias, and other Hindoo tribes, present opium at 
their visits and entertainments, with the same familiarity as the snuff 
box in Europe.* As they are strongly addicted to this drug, they 
indulge in it to great excess, but they seem to be less affected by it 
than Europeans ; which some attribute to the simplicity of their food, 
and the use of no other stimulant. Their women are also in the 
habit of using it, and even administering it to their new-born children ; 
and it is deemed by both sexes, as constituting one of the chief 
pleasures of existence. Many of these poor creatures, who undergo 
voluntary tortures from religious motives, use opium in order to allay 
the poignancy of their feelings. Heber saw a man having a small 
spear through his tongue, who was so stupified with opium, that he 
appeared insensible to pain. The parts through which the spear was 
thrust, are said to have been rubbed till numbness ensued, and rendered 
them callous.f The Rajpoot princes seldom hold a Durbar, without 
presenting a mixture of liquid opium termed kusoombah, to all present. 
The minister washes his hands, after which some of this liquid 
is poured into the palm of his right hand, from which it is drank, by 
the highest in rank present. He washes his hand again, and pours 
more liquid into the palm for the second in rank, and so on till all the 
company are served. In settling quarrels, the parties drink this 
liquid from the palms of each others hands, as a pledge of the most 
sacred friendship.:): The Rajpoots are remarkable for taking opium 
on a day of battle ; at this time they double the dose, which, says 
Bernier, makes them insensible to danger, and to fight with the 
ferocity of tigers. They never yield, but front the enemy like a 
wall of brass ; and before entering on the contest, embrace one 
another like brothers, resolving to conquer or die. To all classes in 
those regions, opium, whether smoked, eaten, or drunk, affords recrea- 

* Forbes s Oriental Memoirs. f Heber s Journal, &c. 

J Malcolm s Central India, vol. ii. p. 146. 
Bermor s Voyage to the East Indies, 


tion and enjoyment. The Halcarras, a description of persons who 
carry letters and run messages through the provinces of India, with 
a small piece of this luxury, a bag of rice, and a pot to draw water 
from the wells of the charitable, perform incredible journeys ; while 
the messengers of Turkey, in like manner, with a few dates, or a 
lump of coarse bread, traverse the trackless desert, amidst privations 
and hardships only supportable under the influence of this fascinating 
drug. The Pattamars, or foot messengers, who travel between Surat 
and Bombay, use opium, in order, they say, to fortify their minds, and 
increase their strength ; by this means, they will keep running, and at 
the same time apparently dozing, without feeling the fatigues of the 
way. The labouring classes, especially the hamals, or porters, use 
immense quantities of it, and will carry loads, much heavier than 
those usually borne by the stoutest Europeans. Some of them have 
been known to swallow above an ounce of opium at a dose, under the 
pretence, that it supports and strengthens them during the heat and 
toils of the day.* " I once saw/ says the author of the Memoir of 
an officer in the East India Company s Service, " a wretch extended 
on the ground, with glazed eye and sunken features, apparently in the 
last stage of existence, with only just strength enough to mutter 
prayers for a supply of opium. Some was given him by a pas 
senger. I waited to see its effects. They were truly magical. 
From the time he swallowed it, his lamp of life seemed to rekindle ; in 
a few minutes his features became flushed and animated ; he rose up 
on his haunches, twisted his mustachios, sprung upon his feet, seized 
his wallet, and trudged off as quick as a lamp-lighter." It is related 
of a Turkish messenger, who coming from Constantinople, to a mer 
chant at Smyrna, on entering a gentleman s house, fell down in a state 
of insensibility, at which, while the whole family were surprised and 
concerned, one of the servants rightly judging that this swoon was 
occasioned by the stock of opium laid in for his journey being 
exhausted, forced a little of the drug into his mouth ; and by this 
means he revived, and acknowledged that the servant had preserved 
his life. 

Aureng-Zebe and other tyrants used a preparation of opium, called 
poust, to despatch such as were hostile to their interests, and whom 
they could not openly destroy : thus it was, that this despot carried 
off his nephew Sepe Chekauh, liis brothers Dara and Morad, his son 
Mahommed, and others of his relations in the fortress of Gualior in 
the Mahrattas. The manner of effecting this was, by administering 
a cup of this fatal drink, in the morning before eating any thing, which 

* Grose s Voyage to the East Indies, vol. i. p. 119. 


produced loss of appetite, weakness, and insensibility, till, becoming 
debilitated both in body and mind, they gradually grew torpid, and 
passed into the other world, unconscious of sickness, care, or the fears 
which approaching dissolution usually inspire : through this means, 
many of the native princes of India perished ingloriously.* In the 
same way, it is said, that Shah Abbas gave a pill of opium, every 
morning, to Sain Mirza, his grand-son, in order to stupify him, and 
render him less agreeable to his subjects ; he being jealous, and 
fearing that he might have too much influence with his courtiers 
To counteract this, the mother of the young prince made him take 
treacle, and other antidotes. 

Doctor Poqueville, in his Travels through the Morea, gives a minute 
account of the opium eaters termed Theriakis, an appellation by 
which they are designated, in consequence of their being extravagant 
and irregular characters. " They begin," says he, " with only half a 
grain, and increase the dose, as they may find it to produce the desired 
effect. They take care not to drink water after it, as that would 
bring on violent colics, but the man who, at twenty, takes to opium, 
seldom lives beyond the age of thirty or thirty-six. In the course of 
a few years, the dose is increased to upwards of a drachm, or sixty 
grains. At this time, a pallid countenance and extreme leanness 
announce a state of cachexia, which is only a prelude to a general 
marasmus, or consumption of flesh. The infatuation is so great, that 
the certainty of death and of all the infirmities which lead to it, is 
incapable of correcting a theriaki, or a person addicted to the use of 
opium ; he coldly answers, any one who apprizes him of his danger, 
that his happiness is incomparable, when he has absorbed his pill of 
opium. If he be asked to define this supernatural felicity, he only 
says that it is impossible to describe it, as it is a pleasure not to be 
explained. These miserable beings, however, towards the close of 
their life, or rather of that state of stupefaction, into which they are 
plunged, experience the most severe pains, and a continued hunger ; 
they are tormented by a desperate satyriasis, without the capability 
of satisfying their desires ; in short, they experience pains which even 
the delicious paregoric cannot assuage ; and having become hideous, 
deformed by numerous periostoses, deprived of their teeth, their eyes 
sunk into their head, and afflicted with an incessant trembling, they 
cease to exist a long time before their life is at an end.f The Baron 
De Tott, writing on the same subject, gives a miserable picture of 
those who frequent the opium market, at Constantinople, describing 

Bender s East Indies, 
f Dr. Poqueville s Travels through the Morea, Albania, &c. 8vo. p. 132. 


them as having pale and melancholy countenances, with meagre neck*, 
heads twisted to one side, backbones distorted, shoulders drawn up to 
the ears, and other extraordinary appearances. Seated in the twilight 
of the evening, or reclining on sofas in the little shops, ranged along 
the walls of the mosque of Solyman, may be seen the infatuated 
theriakis swallowing their opium pills, in proportion to the degree of 
want, which habit has rendered necessary. Each poor votary anxi 
ously awaits the agreeable reverie that is to follow, as the effect of 
this indulgence. He soon retires to his home, full of an imaginary 
happiness which neither reason nor the realities of life can procure ; 
and in this manner, each succeeding day witnesses a repetition of the 
same irregularity, till, worn out with debility and intemperance, he, at 
last, sinks like a shadow into the grave. In addition to these observa 
tions, the following anecdote will be read with interest : An English 
ambassador, lately sent to a Mahometan prince, was conducted, 
upon his arrival at the palace, through several richly- decorated and 
spacious apartments, crowded with officers arrayed in superb dresses, 
to a room, small in dimensions, but ornamented with the most splendid 
and costly furniture. The attendants withdrew. After a short 
interval, two persons, of superior mien, entered the saloon, followed by 
state-bearers, carrying under a lofty canopy a litter covered with deli 
cate silks, and the richest Cashmere shawls, upon which lay a human 
form to all appearance dead, except that its head was dangling loosely 
from side to side, as the bearers moved into the room. Two officers, 
holding rich fillagree salvers, carried each a chalice, and a vial contain 
ing a black fluid. The ambassador, considering the spectacle to be 
connected with some court ceremony of mourning, endeavoured to 
retire; but he was soon undeceived by seeing the officers holding up the 
head of the apparent corpse, and, after gently chafing the throat and re 
turning the tongue, which hung from a mouth relaxed and gaping, 
pouring some of the black liquor into the throat, and closing the jaws 
until it sank down the passage. After six or seven times repeating 
the ceremony, the figure opened its eyes, and shut its mouth volun 
tarily ; it then swallowed a large portion of the black fluid, and, 
within the hour, an animated being sat on the couch, with blood 
returning into his lips, and a feeble power of articulation. In 
the Persian language he addressed his visiter, and inquired the par 
ticulars of his mission. Within two hours this extraordinary person 
became alert, and his mind capable of arduous business. The ambas 
sador, after apologizing for the liberty, ventured to inquire into the 
cause of the scene which he had just witnessed. 

" Sir," said he, " I am an inveterate opium-taker ; I have by slow 



degrees fallen into this melancholy excess. Out of the diurnal twenty- 
four periods of time, I continually pass eighteen in this reverie. 
Unable to move, or to speak, I am yet conscious, and the time passes 
away amid pleasing phantasies; nor should I ever awake from 
the wanderings of this state, had I not the most faithful and attached 
servants, whose regard and religious duty impel them to watch my 
pulse. As soon as my heart begins to falter, and my breathing is 
imperceptible, except on a mirror, they immediately pour the solu 
tion of opium into my throat, and restore me as you have seen. 
Within four hours I shall have swallowed many ounces, and much 
time will not pass away, ere I relapse into my ordinary torpor." 

When Macfarlane* was travelling in Turkey, he entered into a 
bazaar at Gallipoli, the proprietor of which he found labouring 
under the influence of the madjoom, or opium. He is described 
as an old man with a white beard, sitting on a table with his 
arms crossed over his knees, his head sunk beneath his shoul 
ders, and his eyes fixed in a vacant, immoveable stare. To a 
demand for an okka of tobacco he made no reply ; the words seemed 
to have struck the ear of a statue ; his eyes remained fixed and 
motionless ; nor could any object be procured to attract his attention 
except the white wall opposite, on which hung a pisgillah, the name 
of God in Arabic characters. Conceiving that he was praying, he was 
pulled by the sleeve in order to rouse his attention, which having no 
effect, it was bawled into his ear that an okka of latakia was wanted. 
By this means, his attention seemed awakened for a moment, a wild 
unmeaning smile stole across his countenance, an unintelligible word 
or two escaped his lips and in an instant he became fixed and ab 
stracted as before. Every future effort to arouse him proved unsuc 
cessful, and he remained wrapped up in the enjoyment of the visions 
that his intoxicated fancy had created. It is thus that in many parts 
of the East, the old men and dervises who have, by irregularities in 
early life, blunted and enervated the finer feelings, endeavour to revive 
them by the use of opium, a drug which, sooner or later, annihilates 
all the faculties of the rational man, leaving nothing behind but a 
mouldering temple, and a loathsome ruin. 

The sedative influence of opium is less observable among the Turks, 
than it would be were the people more active, and had less leisure to 
indulge in habits of idleness. Even during the time they devote to 
smoking tobacco, they seldom open their lips except to exhale the fumes 
of their pipes. A striking proof of their perseverance in this lethargic 
and stupifying custom is related by a gentleman, who was eye-wit- 

* Constantinople in 1828. 


ness to the fact of two Turks sitting cross-legged upon a straw mat 
before a door in their loose gowns, exposed to an intense heat. In 
this way, they remained for three hours and a half without once 
uttering a syllable, looking at each other with the same immoveable, 
yet unmeaning gravity ; hence travellers may very readily mistake 
the use of tobacco among them for that of opium, as both arc 
indiscriminately used in smoking, and may, to superficial observers, 
appear to produce similar effects. 

Although opium seems to induce stupor or insensibility, as evinced 
by a heavy look, yet the appearance is deceptive, if we believe various 
anecdotes related on the subject, of which the following is an illus 
tration. A Gentoo rajah and a governor of Surat, attended by their 
respective officers and guards, met by appointment in a garden near 
the city to arrange some affairs of state ; while conversing, the 
governor observed that the soldiers of the rajah squatted down and 
appeared as if nodding or sleeping on their naked swords. Turning 
to his friend he remarked, " you must have a very just opinion of my 
good faith, since you would venture yourself to an interview with me 
with guards so overcome by the influence of opium." " In that you 
are mistaken," said the rajah, " and you may easily put the matter to 
the test by directing one of your attendants, for whom you have little 
regard, to pluck a flower out of the turban of one of my drowsy 
soldiers." A person, deputed for that purpose, proceeded with all 
possible caution to one who appeared the most overcome ; but scarcely 
had he put his hand on the flower, when his arm was severed from 
his body, and all the rest of the guards were on foot in an instant.* 

The effects of opium might be exemplified in many ways, but I do 
not recollect a more singular one than the following mentioned by 
Mrs. Gutherie, who, writing to her husband from Eupatoria, remarks, 
that she observed at a Tartar mosque a sort of holy wheel composed 
of whirling fanatics, who, having indulged in the use of opium, kept 
flying round a circle, more like the votaries of Bacchus, than the dis 
ciples of Mahomet. In the middle of the circle, an aged dervise 
hurried round like a top, muttering all the while, in concert with his 
brethren in the circle, the following maxim from the Koran, " This 
life is precarious ; but it is here, (pointing to the earth,) that we must 
take up our abode." The centre of this curious group is always the 
place of honour and of danger, as the reverend father, who occupies 
it, in right of his years and wisdom, keeps spinning round, till he turns 
his brain, and if he expire on the spot, which sometimes happens, he 
becomes a martyr saint of the Mahometan church, and the envy of hist 

* Grose s Yovaere to the East Indies, 


surviving stronger -headed companions.* It is related of Lord 
Tyrawly, that during his residence in India, in order to punish ine 
briety among the troops under his command, he invented a machine 
similar to that of the Tartars, having a rotary motion, and which served 
to sober such drunkards as were subjected to its rapid evolutions. 
This effect was caused, it is supposed, by the violent shock sustained, 
by suddenly stopping the machine at intervals, that being the inva 
riable practice, until the individual appeared to be in the full exercise 
of his reason. 

That the juice of the poppy in its natural state has any inebriating 
quality, has been questioned ; but Grose relates a circumstance, which, 
if true, would lead to the conclusion that it possesses powers highly 
narcotic, deleterious, and dangerous. A young gentleman belonging 
to an English factory, while amusing himself in the garden of a 
Nabob with whom he was spending the day, thoughtlessly pulled a 
poppy and sucked the head of it, not apprehensive that it possessed 
greater power than those plants usually have in England. The con 
sequence was, he fell immediately into a profound sleep, with which , 
when the nabob became acquainted, he eagerly inquired from what 
bed the poppy had been taken that produced this effect. On this 
being pointed out, he said, he thought the nature of the poppy in India 
was too well known to have required from him any caution against 
it, particularly as the taste was by no means tempting, and lamented 
that the young gentleman was so unfortunate as to pitch on this des 
cription of poppy, it being of so deadly a nature as to admit of no 
human remedy or antidote, as nothing could awake him from that 
sleep, which unhappily proved his last. 

The Lion, it is said, is sometimes taken in India, after having satis 
fied his hungry appetite on the flesh of an ass surcharged with a 
quantity of poppies, and previously put in his way, that by feeding on it, 
the narcotic power of the plant might overcome him, and render him 
an easy prey to the hunter. The truth of this has been questioned, 
but there can be scarcely a doubt that the poppy, if taken internally, 
would have a deleterious or overpowering effect, and it is certain that 
the leaves, which are used in Persia as pot-herbs, will not be employed 
for that purpose, after a certain stage of growth. The effects of the 
poppy on the lion will not appear so incredible, when it is known 
that hyenas are destroyed, in the settlement of the Cape of Good 
Hope, by feeding on lambs poisoned by the fruit of a small tree called 
hyaenanche, which grows in Cafrraria, and different parts about the 
Cape. In order to kill those animals which are so destructive to the 

* Tour in the Crimea, 4to. Letter xviii. p. 65. 


flocks of the settlers, the fruit of the hyaenanchc is pounded and 
mixed with the food given to lambs, after which it is placed in 
the paths of the hyenas ; and these ferocious beasts, fastening on it 
with insatiable appetite, soon fall victims to the insidious venom of 
the plant so craftily administered for that purpose. 

Medical men assert that opium has a greater effect on carnivo 
rous than on graminivorous animals, since a rabbit can take a conside 
rable portion of opium without any fatal consequence, when half the 
quantity would destroy a dog. The jockies of India have recourse 
in the sale of horses, to tricks with opium, unknown in Europe, 
Captain Skinner, in his Excursions in India, relates, that a pony was 
brought into the camp near Cawnpore, for sale, and it appeared so 
gentle that it was eagerly purchased, being pronounced the most 
tractable of its race. Two days after its purchase, there was not a 
man to be found that could ride it. The reason was, it had been 
drugged with opium, and though a most wicked and obstinate creature, 
its vices were perfectly subdued during the time it was under the 
influence of this opiate. 

How this inebriant affects the animal system is a matter yet unde 
termined ; whether it is by action on the nerves, or by absorption 
into the blood : but the recent and generally-received opinion is, that 
it enters the blood-vessels, and produces on their inner coat an impres 
sion which is conveyed along the nerves to the brain ;* and experiments 
have proved that, when directly introduced into the blood, its effects 
are most energetic as a poison. Vinegar, lemonade, and other acids, 
have been administered to counteract the effects of opium, but anti 
dotes of this kind are little to be depended on, unless in certain cases, 
and should always be used in conduction with an emetic. The appli 
cation of the stomach-pump is, perhaps, the most effectual means of 
removing this baneful material. 

The leaves of the hemp plant, (cannabis sativa,} known in India 
by the name of beng or bangue, are often substituted for opium with 
the same familiarity and effect. Ray says that beng is the produce 
of a different plant which grows in Hindostan and the neighbouring 
countries : perhaps he alludes to the datura stramonium. But as the 
natives in those parts are well acquainted with its inebriating powers, 
and as in some places hemp is alike known by the name of datura 
and cannabis sativa, the botanist may have fallen into a mistake. The 
people of the East use it differently ; some take it as an electuary, 
while others either smoke or chew it. Beng, by many of the sects 
in India, is used, as opium is by the Turks, to produce inebriation, as 

* Christison on Poisons, p. (>13. 


they cannot legally, or without the risk of losing caste, drink spirituous 
liquors ; and hence they are even permitted to take ganja, beng, or 
hemp leaves, with impunity. The Sikhs of India do not smoke tobacco, 
but they are allowed to chew beng and drink spirituous liquors. The 
kief, which includes the flower and seeds of the plant, is the strongest ; 
and a pipe of it, half the size of a common English tobacco-pipe, is 
sufficent to intoxicate. Among the Moors, it is usually pounded and 
mixed with el mogin, an invigorating confection which is sold at an 
enormous price ; a piece of this, as big as a walnut, will, for a time, 
entirely deprive a man of all reason and intellect.* This, which the 
traveller Ali Bey calls kiff, is commonly made use of by boiling, 
having been previously dried and nearly reduced to powder. It is 
often mixed with sweetmeats, or swallowed in the form of pills. The 
plant is sometimes boiled with butter in an earthen pot for about 
twelve hours ; it is then strained, and afterwards serves to season 
their victuals.! Brook has fallen into an error in believing that the 
keef is the common hemlock ; the flower, he says, is called el keefe, 
and the leaves hascischa. In Morocco, he adds, the plant is reduced 
to powder, and the quantity of two or three spoonfuls generally taken 
with the addition of sugar and water. It is also prepared with butter, 
honey, and sugar, made into a sweetmeat, most of which the Moorish 
ladies sometimes eat. Those wlio indulge in the use of keefe are 
distinguished by their sallow-jaundiced complexion, and its effects 
are usually those of a slow poison. Many of the Indian nobles and 
military officers take it in the powdered state, and add to it an areca 
or green hazel-nut with a little opium and sugar ;J and, to make the 
visions it occasions the more lively, they mix with it some camphire, 
cloves, nutmegs, and mace, and not unfrequently ambergris and musk. 
Rhumpius says, that it is sometimes taken in a liquid form mixed 
with areca and pinanga. This plant is very aptly called by the 
Malays, jingi, or the " herb of fools." Another description of bangue 
is made from the leaves of the hibiscus sabdariffa and also used in 
India. The cannabis sativa is used in Egypt as an aphrodisiac and 
narcotic ; the Arabs use a preparation of its green leaves for the 
purpose of exhilaration. General Menou, when in Egypt, was obliged 
to prohibit the use of its seed among the French soldiery, and we find 
that, in the time of Galen, cakes were made, infused with this seed, 
and served up after supper to encourage drinking ; but, when eaten 
too freely, they affected the head. In the Barbary states, it is pre 
ferred to opium from the voluptuous sensations which it never fails 

* Jackson s Account of Morocco, p. 78, 79 

f Travels of Ali Boy, vol. i. p. 81. J Vide Acosta. p. 2!>0, c. M. 


to produce. The hashisha, or leaves of the plant, are mostly dried 
and cut like tobacco, with which they are smoked, but the luxurious 
generally smoke them pure. The nuts of tliepalma christi have the 
same effect, and the intoxication produced by them exists for some 
hours, while during their influence the person affected talks without 
reserve or reflection. 

In the Nepaul territory, according to Hamilton, the extract of the 
cannabis sativa is denominated charas. The dried leaves have the 
name of ganja and are said to be of a heating quality, but are not so 
much used as the juice or extract. The best charas is procured by 
making incisions in the stem of the plant, and collecting the exuda 
tions. From the bruised or pounded stalks of the hemp, a coarser sort 
of charas is prepared ; the strongest and best article of this description 
is made in Thibet. Doses of charas are taken in pills of from ten to 
twelve grains and smoked like tobacco. The ganja or dried leaves 
are used in the same way, and both produce the same inebriating 
effects. The inhabitants of those countries are passionately fond of the 
charas, and" indulge in it to excess. It produces all the effects of 
opium, and is sometimes attended with the same fatal consequences, 
Its habitual votary becomes first stupid, weak and debilitated, but 
never irrational, though apparently so ; next he labours under thirst, 
and, in order to allay it, he is induced to repeat the cause of his 
malady, and thus proceeds till death in a short time puts a period to 
his infatuation. While charas has this fatal effect on some, it produces 
different effects on others : it has been known to cause a total depri 
vation of sense, and to subject its votary to incarceration in a mad 
house for life. Mr. Crawford tells an anecdote of the effects 
of the datura or charas on a Javanese boatman, who, while proceeding 
in his canoe up a river, was accosted by a Chinese from the bank, 
requesting a passage, offering payment and a share of refresliments. 
The boatman received him cordially, and ate heartily of the viands. 
These, which had been previously mixed with the datura, immedi- 
diately caused stupor and profound sleep. When the victim of this 
piece of knavish artifice awoke, he found himself lying naked in a 
forest, fifteen miles distant from the place where he had taken in the 
Chinese, robbed of his canoe and all his property. The rogue was 
shortly afterwards apprehended, obliged to confess the fact, and make 

The datura, or ganja, is well known over the East as an intoxicating 
plant, and is, in many places, called gunja. Captain Dillon relates 
that, in his passage to Van Dieman Land, in 1827, he was one day 
alarmed by the fall of a Lascar, from the upper deck of the ship into 


the hold, and found that the accident was occasioned by smoking this 
plant. On examining the chest of the individual, a large parcel of 
this deleterious plant was discovered and thrown overhoard, to the 
great vexation of the voluptuous Lascar, who had secreted the article 
as a solace for his care and anxiety on the voyage.* To a very intox 
icating drug called bung, the Persians are said to have heen early 
attached, even so far back as the first century of the Hegira, and its 
strength is represented as being so great, that it was never taken in a 
quantity larger than a pistachio nut. It was employed to banish 
lowness of spirits, excite cheerfulness, and renovate the mind ; but 
what this drug really was, there is no certain information : it is gene 
rally believed to have been datura or charas. In many places, the 
preparation of bung or beng goes under the name of majoon ; and in 
the Persian empire a confection of this nature is so denominated, as 
it produces the same effects as opium. Among the hills at the foot 
of the Himaleh mountains, the herb bhang or beng grows spontane 
ously, and in its prepared state it meets with a ready sale. Fraser, 
in his tour, says that when tobacco cannot be procured for smoking, 
its place is supplied with bhang and other substitutes of an intoxi 
cating nature, and a number of expedients are made use of when a 
hubble-bubble, or a machine for inhaling its fumes, cannot be had. He 
observed that a refreshment of this nature is indispensable for the 
coolers on the march ; and when allowed to smoke a chillum, and 
take a draught of cold water, they were enabled to proceed with 
vigour ; but whenever they were deprived of the means of inhaling 
the smoke of this stimulant, and quenching their thirst, they were at 
times unable to pursue their journey from exhaustion ; the force of 
habit having rendered such renovation absolutely necessary.f 

During the severe campaigns of the late war, the French surgeons 
were in the practice of administering opium and Cayenne pepper to 
the fatigued soldiers, with a view of recruiting their strength, and exhi 
larating their spirits, and they found them to have the most salutary 

Burckhardt saw in Syria the hemp plant cultivated for smoking, on 
account of its intoxicating qualities. The small leaves, which surround 
the seed, are laid upon the tobacco in the pipe to produce a more ine 
briating effect. The same custom prevails in Egypt, where the hemp 
leaves, as well as the plant itself, are called hashysh ; and the Egyp 
tians are even said to prepare from it an intoxicating liquor ; and 
also by pounding the seeds a description of paste is made to effect 
the same object. In India, a drink called brug is made from hemp, 

* Dillon s Voyage to the South Seas, | Fraser s Journal, p. 217. 


which is also partially used by the Circassians* To form this beve 
rage, the hemp plant is taken while in seed, and, when dried and 
reduced to powder, it is suspended in a small bag in a vessel full of 
water, by which the strength is extracted. This water, when sweet 
ened with honey, produces intoxication. 

The natives of Madagascar chew the leaves of hemp, as well as 
tobacco, which produce a narcotic effect, and they smoke another 
plant resembling hemp, known by the name of Ahets-manga, which 
causes drunkenness approaching to madness, the eyes assuming a 
fierce, fiery look, and the countenance becoming wild and ferocious. 
Like the slaves to opium, those accustomed to its baneful effects are 
stupid and inactive when its influence has ceased to operate ; and 
hence they are obliged to have constant recourse to a repetition of 
the ingredient. The Ahets-manga rises to about five feet in height, 
bearing a pod containing nearly a dozen of seeds, and carrying a long 
slender leaf. The Jermaughla, mentioned by Drury, appears to be 
the same as the ahets-manga, since the description and their effects 
are exactly alike. The seeds of the jermaughla are exposed to the 
sun, for three or four days, till quite dry, and in that state are used. 
The pipes, employed in smoking, are made of reeds or small canes ; 
but sometimes a long shell is used as a substitute. An European, 
who had the curiosity to smoke a pipe of these seeds, was so intoxi 
cated, that his head remained giddy for three days, and it caused such 
a sickness, that he never could be induced to do so a second time. 
The natives are so fond of it, that they smoke it with the same plea 
sure and avidity that our countrymen smoke tobacco.* 

The drug called Chirs^ so much used among the people of Caubul 
to excite intoxication, is made from the cannabis sativa ; and the 
practice of chewing it is carried to some extent in Beloochistan and 
Sinde-t The quantity taken at a time varies in proportion to the 
habits or constitution of the individual. A drachm is a moderate dose ; 
but when we consider that this quantity is sufficient for twenty 
persons unaccustomed to its use, we may conclude that its effects must 
be powerful. Garcias mentions a woman, who took ten drachms 
of opium, daily ; and although she appeared heavy and sleepy, she 
could dispute learnedly on any subject. It is a remarkable property 
both of opium and bangue, that while they give a heaviness to the 
looks, they are productive of great watchfulness. Doctor Edward 
Smith, while at Smyrna, took pains to observe the doses of opium 

* Drury s Account of Madagascar, 8vo. p. 216. 

t Elphinstone s Account of the Kingdom of Caubul, 4to. p. 263. 

% Pottinger s Travels, 4 to. p. 63. 


taken by the Turks in general, and he found that three drachms were 
a common quantity among the larger takers of it, but that they could 
take six drachms a day without danger. A Turk ate this quantity in 
his presence, three drachms in the morning and three in the evening, 
which had no other effect than that of producing great cheerfulness. 

At Djidda, in the Hedjaz, Burckhardt found amongst the shops 
one frequented by the smokers of hashysh, a preparation of hemp 
flowers mixed with tobacco, which produced intoxication. The 
better classes, he says, eat it in a kind of jelly or paste prepared in. 
the following manner : a quantity of the leaves of the hemp, after 
being sufficiently boiled with butter, is put under a press ; the juice 
is then expressed, mixed with honey, and sold publicly in the shops 
held for that purpose. The hashysh paste is termed bast, and the 
sellers basty, (i. e. cheerfulness.) Persons of the first rank use bast, 
in some form or another, to exhilarate the spirits, as it produces all 
the effects of opium. Even in the Holy City, Mecca, there is a coffee 
house, in which are sold preparations of hashysh and bendj, and 
which is frequented by an inferior description of people. On these 
articles, a heavy tax has been imposed in order to discourage their 
sale, but with very little effect.* 

The Turks, besides opium and bangue, usepeganum liar mala, or the 
seeds of Syrian rue, with which, as Belonius relates, the emperor 
Solyman kept himself intoxicated. The seed of the datura stramo 
nium, or thorn apple, is also much employed by them, as well as by 
the mountain villagers, in the province of Sirinagur and other parts 
of India, who use it to increase the intoxicating powers of their 
common spirituous liquors. The datura ferox, so common in China 
and Thibet, is employed in Bootan as a powerful stimulant, and its 
narcotic virtues are well known to the inhabitants of all those 

Pe?iang, or betel, is in great demand all over the East. The 
Indians chew it at all times of the day and night ; like tobacco, it has 
rather an enlivening quality ; though naturally of a bitter taste, yet 
when wrapped round an areca-nut, or mixed with chinam, a species of 
burned lime made of shells, the flavour is not so disagreeable. The 
rich and sensual frequently add perfumes, conceiving it a powerful 
incentive to love. The betel, it is said, is used for preserving the 
gums from becoming foul, giving a sweet breath, fastening the teeth, 
but more frequently for reviving the spirits. It causes an excess of 
saliva, and, to preserve cleanliness, a spitting-box is always kept in the 
apartments of those who chew it. These boxes are frequently richly 

* Burckhardt s Travels in Arabia, vol. i. p. 288. 


ornamented, but the cases in which the betel is enclosed are usually 
made of gold, silver, horn, or some valuable wood, inlaid with preci 
ous stones. In Siam, the king commonly makes his attendant* 
presents of these betel-boxes, which are returned to him at the death 
of the individuals. The contents of one of those boxes consist of cut 
areka, betel leaves, lime, and tobacco, together with a small gold 
handled knife for cutting these materials. Notwithstanding the par 
tiality of the Siamese, and some other orientals, for betel, yet many of 
them loose their teeth by its use, and their tongues become often 
ulcerated from its influence. Many of the Easterns would rather want 
food than betel, and its use is so general in many places that the very 
slaves are allowed a certain quantity daily to prevent them from 
pilfering it. 

At the Cape of Good Hope, there is an herb called dacha, a species 
of hemp, the leaves of which are eagerly sought by the slaves and 
Hottentots, and smoked sometimes alone and at other times with 
tobacco. This plant has strong inebriating qualities, which sometimes 
render its votaries mad ; and it is estimated in proportion to its intoxi 
cating effects. The settlers cultivate the dacha for the use of their 
servants, and from the attachment of the Bushmen, or wild Hotten 
tots to it, they succeed in retaining them in their service. 

In America, some of the native tribes extract a narcotic liquor 
from the root of a species of poppy, bearing a rose-coloured flower, 
which as well as the stem, when touched by the hand, leaves an 
agreeable odour. The plant, says Chateaubriand, which I saw, was 
destined to adorn the tomb of a savage in his native wilds : the roots 
procure sleep, and the perfume of the flower, which survives the 
flower itself, is a pleasing image of the recollections which an innocent 
life leaves behind in the desert. A species of the Cannabis Sativa, 
or hemp plant, is cultivated in New Spain, merely for the purpose of 
smoking or chewing the leaves to excite a narcotic sensation. The 
Othomacos, a people of South America, were in the habit, before they 
entered into battle, of maddening themselves with a snuff, made from 
the grains of yupa, to which the most powerful tobacco is inferior, and 
the most confirmed snuff taker could not bear a pinch of the yupa y 
without sneezing so violently as to threaten death.* Its effects on 
those people were to make them fearless of all danger, and irresist 
ible in their attacks on their enemies. Peru yields a shrub or small 
tree, called coca, about six feet high, the leaves of which serve much 
the same purpose as the opium of the East. The leaves of this plant, 
which are of a pale bright green, are plucked three or four times a 

* Southey s History of Brazil, 


year, and, after being carefully dried, are packed in small baskets. 
Many chew those leaves as others do tobacco, and such is the sus 
tenance derived from them, that they frequently take no food for 
four or five days, though constantly working ; and, while they have a 
good supply, they feel neither hunger, thirst, nor fatigue, and, without 
injury to health, they can remain upwards of a week without the 
refreshment of sleep. Coca proves to the Peruvian the highest 
source of gratification, for under its influence his imagination presents 
the most pleasing and fascinating scenes of voluptuousness. Many, to 
indulge in its use, forsake the rational associations of civilized life, 
and retire in the evening to the woods to revel in the uninterrupted 
enjoyment of its magic qualities. Prostrated under a tree, its votary, 
heedless of the storm, the darkness of night, or the attacks of wild 
beasts, reposes happy and contented, until the morning awakes him 
to a sense of his own degradation, and induces him to return home, 
a frightful picture of unnatural indulgence. When a Peruvian starts on 
a journey, he carries with him a small leather pouch, for holding coca, and 
a calabash for lime, or ashes of the molle to mix with the coca : thus 
equipped a man will undertake to convey intelligence, or letters, 
upwards of one hundred leagues, without any other provision. These 
persons are termed chasquis, or chasqueros, a name given to the con 
ductors of the mails. Men of this description were employed for the 
transmission of intelligence by the Incas, long prior to the invasion 
of the Spaniards, and some of these couriers have been known to 
convey news a distance of six hundred leagues in the course of six 
days.* What a similarity exists between the practice here and that 
observed by the messengers in India and Turkey ! 

The roots of black henbane, or hyoscyamus, are employed as a 
strong inebriant. Three grains of the extract are considered equal to 
one of opium, without its evil consequence ; it is thought however not 
so certain in its operation as that drug, but there are many well- 
attested instances on record of its amazing effects.f Dioscorides 
notices its intoxicating powers ; and the anodyne necklaces, still in 
superstitious use to allay the irritation of teething, are made of the 
roots of this plant. Wilner, on vegetable poisons, relates the history 
of six persons, of the same family, who were destroyed by eating at 
dinner the roots of the hyoscyamus by mistake, instead of parsnips ; 
several were delirious and danced about the room like maniacs ; one 
appeared as if he had got drunk, and a woman became profoundly 
and irrecoverably comatose. With this narcotic, it is stated that 

* Stevenson s Narrative, vol. ii. p. 64. 
f Christison on Poisons, p. 486. 

Hassan Subah, or, as he was called, " The old man of the mountains," 
institutor of the celebrated heretical sect of the Assassins, continued 
to secure the devotion of his disciples. He administered to them doses 
of this drug, which produced sleep, and, while in that state, had them 
conveyed into a splendid palace surrounded by beautiful gardens, where 
they were regaled with whatever could delight the eye, or gratify the 
appetite. The delusion was continued by a repetition of the dose, 
until the victims were restored to their homes, under the impression 
that Hassan had the power of making them partake of the joys of 
paradise. Of what this intoxicating potion was composed seems 
doubtful. Marco Polo says the matter was accomplished by a sleeping 
potion. Von Hammer, in his history of the Asiatics, attributes it to 
hyoscyamus, others to opium, while Sir John Malcolm thinks the 
whole an invention of the Mahometans to bring the sect of Hassan 
Subah into abhorrence. The last opinion seems the more probable, 
from the circumstance that Hassan enjoined the strictest abstinence 
from wine, and two of his sons fell victims to the punishment inflicted 
on them for a breach of the injunction. Nor is it likely, that on the 
summit of the elevated Allahamout, appropriately termed the " Eagle s 
Nest," there could be enchanting gardens, murmuring streams, 
roseate bowers, or conduits flowing with milk and honey, where the 
vine, the pomegranate, the orange, and the nectarine, intermingled 
their attractions, as if the whole formed that sensual paradise pro 
mised by Mahomet to his followers. Neumann says he knew a 
preparation of opium, by which a whole room-full of men may be 
presently stupified, deprived of their senses, and even of their lives, 
without swallowing a single grain ; and he thinks opium operates much 
in the same manner as burning charcoal, or as the exhalations of fer 
menting liquors. By means of soporific exhalations, thieves in China 
commit great depredations. The houses, seldom exceeding one story, 
are fumigated with narcotics and charcoal ; when the inmates are 
overcome by their influence, the robbers easily descend through the 
tiled roofs, and convey away whatever property comes in their reach 
without detection. It is related of a person of considerable wealth, 
whose premises had been entered in this manner, that he lay as if in 
a trance, clearly observing the robbers effecting their purpose, yet 
unable, from the lassitude to which he was reduced, to offer any 
resistance. Hyoscyamus is to be found in almost every country, 
growing spontaneously on road-sides and among rubbish. In many 
botanical gardens, it is cultivated on account of its medicinal proper 
ties, and every where gathered by the misguided slaves to opium, 
when a supply of that drug is scarce, or difficult of procurement. 


The berries and leaves of the atropha belladonna, or deadly night 
shade, hold, if possible, a more intense control over the mind of their 
victim, producing symptoms of the most sottish drunkenness, and, if 
taken too largely, occasion death. To this Shakspeare alludes in his 
Macbeth, when he says, 

Or have we eaten of the insane root, 
That takes the reason prisoner. 

A dose of the dried leaves of this plant, reduced to powder, is usually 
limited to a few grains ; but if taken under the form of an infusion in a 
considerable quantity of water, a scruple has been swallowed in the 
course of the day. Ray relates, that a mendicant friar, having drunk 
a glass of wine in which some of this herb was infused, was seized 
with a delirium and grinning laughter, accompanied by wild and 
irregular movements, which would have ended in death, had not an 
immediate and counteracting remedy been applied. The bad effects 
of the belladonna are said to be most powerfully prevented by a 
glass of warm vinegar. It is stated on the authority of Buchanan, 
the historian, that the destruction of the Danish army, commanded by 
Sweno, king of Norway, when he invaded Scotland, was owing to the 
intoxicating quality of the berries of this plant, which the Scots 
mixed with the drink that they were obliged to furnish their invaders ; 
for while the Danish soldiers lay under its soporific influence, the 
Scotch fell upon them and slaughtered so many, that there were 
scarcely men sufficient left to carry the king on board the only ship 
that returned to Norway Another species of the night-shade, atropha 
mandragora, abundant in Spain, Portugal, Italy, and the islands 
of the Levant, has wonderful soporific virtues, and is supposed to be 
the mandrakes, mentioned by Moses, which were brought by Reuben 
to Leah, and obtained from her by Rachael, under the impression 
that they would render her prolific. It is also recorded, that the 
emperor Julian used an infusion of this plant to excite amorous 
passions. The Turks, in many instances, have yet recourse to it for 
a similar purpose, as well as for the visionary pleasure it occasions. 

The leaves and flowers of milfoil, or yarrow (achillea) inebriate, 
and are used by the Dalecarlians to render their beer intoxicating, 
Several medical practitioners in Ireland have used them with great 
success, in the cure of many diseases. Some of the patients in 
hospitals, who had been addicted to the use of ardent spirits, and 
afflicted with the delirium tremens, or disease of drunkards, when in 
course of recovery, were so fond of the yarrow tea ; that they preferred 


it to almost every other decoction. Clary and Saffron, (crocus offici* 
nalis,) have the same effect. The last exhilarates the spirits to such a 
degree, that when taken in large doses, it occasions immoderate mirth 
and involuntary laughter. Darnel, or lolium temulentum,* vulgarly 
known by the name of sturdy, when malted with barley, a process 
which the seeds of it undergo, causes the ale brewed from it to be 
quickly intoxicating. It produces the same effect when mixed with 
bread and eaten hot. It is not perhaps generally known, that the 
seeds of the field poppy, when ground among meal, have caused sleep, 
and the other affections common to narcotics. Among these inebri* 
ants, the inspissated milky juice of the common garden lettuce is 
considered as powerful in its operation as opium itself. The seda 
tive qualities of the lettuce, (lactuca sativa,) seem to have been well 
known to the ancients, since Venus, after the death of Adonis, is 
represented as reposing on a bed of lettuces, with a view to repress 
her grief, and overcome her affections. This will remind the classic 
reader of its effects on Juno, from the fable of the birth of Vulcan. 
Besides Cybele, the mother of the gods has been drawn, crowned 
with a wreath of poppies as a symbol of fruitfulness, shewing that 
both the poppy and lettuce were regarded by the ancients as 
possessing peculiar powers of solace and fecundity. From experi 
ments, it has been ascertained, that the opium, drawn from the 
lettuce, is identically the same as that of the poppy : many are of 
opinion, that besides diminishing the price of this expensive article, its 
extraction from the lettuce would prove a profitable species of culture. 
Hemlock, cicuta, or conium maculatum, is also a powerful narcotic, 

possessing intoxicating qualities, and dangerous in its application 

By the juice of this plant, state convicts at Athens were put to death, 
of whom were the celebrated philosopher Socrates, and the famous 
general Phocion. Christison, a late writer, is of opinion, that the 
poison, by which criminals were thus put to death, must, from its 
activity, have contained more powerful ingredients. But he was not 
perhaps aware, that, in the southern climates of Europe, the poisonous 
qualities of hemlock are much more intense than in northern lati 
tudes. M. Steven, a Russian botanist, assures us that the peasants 
in the Crimea eat it with impunity, after having boiled it in several 
waters. Conium, another species of hemlock, is inebriating if taken 
in small doses, and is free from the constipating effects of opium. An 
extract from the seeds produces giddiness sooner than that taken 
from the leaves. Digitalis purpurea, or Foxglove, has an intoxicating 

* This plant is the zizanion of St. Matthew, the ziwan of the Arabian botanists, 
the zHvan oT the Turks, and the rosch of the Old Testament. 

effect, and operates on the system, by lowering the pulse, restrain 
ing the circulation, and sensibly affecting the vision ; while its 
application in epileptic attacks has often been attended with fatal 
consequences. M. Richard, in his Dictionary of Drugs, gives an 
account of the attempts of the chemists, who have endeavoured to 
isolate the narcotic, or inebriating principle of foxglove, of which it 
possesses a considerable portion. This is a vegetable to which 
recourse is seldom had except as a medicine. Leopard s-bane, 
(arnica montana), a plant chiefly found on the Alps, and other moun 
tains of Europe, possesses properties nearly the same as hemlock. 
Some of the common people of Germany smoke it, and make snuff of 
it like tobacco, as it possesses an acid taste, and when bruised, emits 
a pungent effluvium, which, while it causes sneezing, gives a sensation 
of giddiness bordering on drunkenness. Betony (betonica offici- 
nalis,) produces the same effects as Leopard s-bane, when powdered 
and snuffed, or smoked ; and, according to Bartholinus and Simon 
Pauli, physician to Christian V., king of Denmark, it affects those 
who gather it, as they would have been if exposed to the exhala 
tions attendant on the mixing, or tunning of spirits. Wolf s-bane, 
(aconitum napellus^) is likewise of an intoxicating and deadly nature, 
and has the peculiar quality, when applied to the head, of occasioning 
a lightness or giddiness, much resembling that produced from spiritu 
ous liquors. The plant epilobium angustifolium, when infused in 
water, is a powerful narcotic, and from the pith an agreeable ale is 
manufactured. This is a ccomplished by drying it first, and then boiling 
it, in order to collect the saccharine matter, which, when duly 
fermented, yields a very inebriating beverage. The fruit, or berries, 
of the menispermum cocculus, or, as it is called, cocculus Indicus, 
have considerable intoxicating properties ; and are too frequently 
employed by brewers as a substitute for hops, and to bring up weak 
ales or porter to the desired strength. These berries are sometimes 
used to catch fish, by throwing them into ponds, or reservoirs, and as 
they eagerly feed on them, they soon become intoxicated, and fall an 
easy prey to their captors. The Hop (humulus lupulus) is soporific, 
and pillows have been filled with it, to procure sleep. During the 
illness of George III., in 1787, he received great relief from a pre 
scription of this nature, and Doctor Thompson tells us of a lady who 
was attacked w r ith fever, and remained perfectly sleepless and deliri 
ous for four weeks, but on recourse being had to a hop pillow, she 
enjoyed an uninterrupted sleep of 14 hours, from which she recovered 
refreshed, invigorated, and free from delirium. In spring, the young 
shoots of this plant are eaten as asparagus, and these hop-tops are 

1 29 

considered a delicacy, while a decoction of the roots is accounted a 
good sudorific. In Siheria, the leaves of the Rhododendron chry- 
santhum are infused in water, and denominated intoxicating tea, from 
their inebriating effects : a weak infusion of it is in daily use among 
the natives, as a substitute for the tea of China ; but its strength is 
sometimes tried beyond the limits of prudence, or discretion. 

The effects of the Amanita Muscaria, a species of reddish fungi, 
or mushroom, plentiful in different parts of the Russian empire, and 
in Kamstchatka, where it is called moucho-more, are familiar. The 
account of it given by Dr. Langsdorff, a Russian physician, is 
worthy of recital. The Amanita Muscaria, so called from its power 
of killing flies, when steeped in milk, though of the most poisonous of 
our fungi, is used by the inhabitants of the north eastern parts of 
Asia, in the same manner as wine, brandy, arrack, opium, &c. are 
used by other nations. It is collected in the hottest months, and 
dried by being suspended in the open air ; some found on the ground, 
naturally dry, is esteemed as the most powerfully narcotic. The 
common mode of using it is, to roll it into the form of a bolus or pill, 
and swallow it without chewing. It is frequently eaten dry, but 
oftener taken when infused in a liquor made with epilobium. It is 
sometimes eaten fresh in soups and sauces, and in this state loses 
much of its intoxicating property. When steeped in the juice of the 
berries of the vaccinium uliginosum, its effects are similar to those of 
strong wine. One large fungus, or two small fungi, is a common 
dose, to produce a pleasant intoxication for a whole day, particularly 
if water be drunk after it, which augments the narcotic principle. 
From one to two hours, after taking the dose, giddiness and drunken 
ness ensue, cheerful emotions of the mind are the first symptoms, the 
countenance becomes flushed, incoherent words and actions follow, 
and sometimes a total want of consciousness. It renders some very 
active, and proves highly stimulant to muscular exertion. Too large 
a dose brings on violent spasmodic affections, and such are its excite 
ments on the nervous system, that it renders many very silly and 
ludicrous. If a person, under its influence, wish to step over a 
straw, or small stick, he takes a stride or jump sufficient to clear the 
trunk of a tree ; a talkative person can neither keep secrecy nor 
silence, and one fond of music is perpetually singing. The most 
extraordinary effect of the amanita, is the change it makes in the 
urine, by impregnating it with an intoxicating quality, which con 
tinues to operate for a considerable time. A man moderately intoxi 
cated to-day, will, by the next morning, have slept himself sober ; but, 
as is the custom, by drinking a cup of his own urine, he will become 



more powerfully intoxicated, than he \vas the day preceding. It is 
therefore not uncommon for confirmed drunkards to preserve their 
urine as a precious liquor, lest a scarcity in the fungi should occur. 
This inebriating property of the urine is capable of being imparted 
to others, for every one, who partakes of it, has his urine similarly 
affected. Thus with a very few amanitae, a party of drunkards may 
keep up their debauch for a week. Dr. Langsdorff states, that by 
means of the second person taking the urine of the first, the third 
that of the second, the intoxication may be propagated through five 
individuals. The relation of Strahlenberg, that the rich lay up great 
stores of the amanitae, and that the poor, who cannot buy it, watch 
their banquets with wooden bowls, in order to procure the liquor after 
a second process, is fully confirmed by the statement of Langsdorff, 
and gives a lamentable picture of the debasement of our species in that 
quarter of the world. 

By experiments made on potatoes, during the manufacture of 
starch, the water which was drained from the pulp, while in thekeive, 
on being carefully evaporated to an extract, gave out a strong odour 
of hemlock. Its narcotic powers were put to the test by two persons, 
one of whom, having swallowed three grains of the recently prepared 
extract, soon fell asleep, out of which stupor he had to be forcibly awak 
ened, after a repose of twenty-one hours. The other, who took three 
grains and a half, fell asleep while undressing, and in that state he 
continued for eighteen hours, till aroused by an accidental visitor. 
No peculiar consequence followed in either case. 

The discovery of Sir Humphry Davy of that species of Gas, 
ermod Nitrous Oxide, which has the power of exhilarating the spirits 
to an extraordinary degree, is not likely ever to be resorted to as an 
inebriant, particularly in those countries where chemistry is little 
practised, and it is therefore unnecessary to enter into a description 
of it. 

In Great Britain, opium has been more used as a medicine than as 
an exciter of the spirits, although its infatuating influence is not alto 
gether unknown in those countries, since the reveries of Asiatic 
luxury and effeminacy have in too many instances infected the man 
ners and habits of the British people. To what extent an Englishman 
may be brought to take this opiate, is exemplified in the admirable 
and well- written " Confessions of au Opium Eater," first published in 
the London Magazine for October, 1821, and since in a separate 
volume. In that work, the writer, speaking from the result of a long 
and profound personal experience, assures us that he had by regular 
gradation brougnt himself to take no less a quantity than 8000 drops 


of laudanum, or 320 grains of opium, per day. The description of 
his pains and pleasures for the space of seventeen years, and the 
struggles he under went to break th? charm which kept him spell-bound 
for such a length of time, are highly interesting and curious. As a 
specimen of the imagery with which he was sometimes haunted, the 
reader is here presented with an extract in his own words : " Under 
the connecting feeling of tropical heat and vertical sun-lights, I brought 
together all creatures, birds, beasts, reptiles, all trees and plants, 
usages and appearances that are to be found in the tropical regions, 
and assembled together in China or Hindoostan. From kindred 
feelings I soon brought Egypt and all her gods under the same law. 
[ was stared at, hooted at, grinned at, chattered at, by monkeys, by 
paraquets, by cockatoos. I ran into pagodas, and was fixed for 
centuries, either at the summit, or in secret rooms ; I was the idol ; 
I was the priest ; I was worshipped ; I was sacrificed. I fled 
from the wrath of Drama through all the forests of Asia; Vishnu 
hated me : Seeva laid wait for me : I came suddenly upon Isis 
and Osiris : I had done a deed, they said, which the ibis and crocodile 
trembled at. I was buried for a thousand years, in stone coffins, with 
mummies and sphinxes, in narrow chambers at the heart of eternal 
pyramids. I was kissed with cancerous kisses by crocodiles ; and 
laid, confounded with unutterable slimy things, amongst reeds and 
Nilotic mud.*" All this, and much more, the reader must enter into 
before he can comprehend the horror which those dreams of 
oriental manners and customs impressed upon him* The power or 
this drug affects the imagination with visions of substantial delights, 
which no other narcotic has ever yet been found to produce ; and 
man under its influence associates, with his own station in life, those 
pleasurable images which he is led to believe would render him 
liappy. But it may be said, that the usual effects of opium are to 
raise the spirits and elevate the mind, and when the body is not 
labouring under disease, it raises the moral affections to a state of 
cloudless serenity, over which the diviner spirit of our nature is para 
mount. This effect of the drug continues so long as the constitution 
is able to bear the ravages of its influence, for its fascinations are 
such, that, like the wand of a magician, it creates a visionary temple 
round its victim, and leads him through the mazes of delights, till 
at length he falls a sacrifice at the altar of his own imagination. 
Willis, in Pharmacop. Ration. Part i., informs us that he has known 
a small doseof opium to take so contrary effect upon some constitutions, 

Confessions of an English O>>ium Eater, Svo. n 171. 


that they could hardly sleep at all, Imt that they quickly became worse 
with respect to their pulse, respiration, and heat ; they became more 
breathless, and could not be restored by cordials, but gradually languished 
till they died. He also tells us, that by means of opium, he knew 
several persons who contracted slowness of genius and stupidity, and 
ethers confirmed folly. And one man in particular, who, by taking 
a large dose of laudanum when he was feverish, lost his memory 

Many of the middle and lower classes in England are opium eaters ; 
and this taste has in a great measure been diffused through the example 
of persons retired from the army. Of this class I was acquainted with 
two persons whose devotedness to opium led them to spend large 
sums in its purchase. The inroad of its effects was visible in both, 
sallow and sunken about the eyes, sometimes pensive, sometimes con 
vivial ; always in proportion to the time of its operation. Neither 
could assign a reason for his attachment, but each felt unhappy during 
its absence ; both admitted, but could not describe, the pleasurable 
sensations it created. One imputed his attachment to it from habits 
of association, the other to disappointment in a love affair, which, 
baring pressed upon Ids spirits, led him to try this mighty assuager of 
care and sorrow. Numbers use it from a notion that it supports 
nature under the privation of food longer than it could otherwise be 
sustained, and therefore many are known to be seldom without a 
piece of it in their mouths. The Turks have an ingenious method of 
using it to prevent hunger. When obliged by their religion to 
abstain long from eating, they take three pills of opium at the same 
time ; the first covered with two folds of paper, the second with one, 
and the third without any : by this precaution the pills dissolve suc 
cessively and retard the cravings of appetite in proportion. Doctor 
Jones, in his book entitled " The Mysteries of Opium Revealed," 
assures us that he knew several persons in England, who were in the 
habit of taking two, three, four, five, and six drachms daily, and that 
he heard of one that could take two ounces in a day, a quantity not 
exceeded, perhaps, in the history of man.* In the Philosophical 
Transactions, we have an instance of a Mr. Lovelock, who, in a fever, 
in the space of three days, took one hundred and two grains. Mus- 
tapha Shatoor, a celebrated opium eater at Smyrna, took only three 
drachms of crude opium daily, yet he was so debilitated, that he 
could not rise in the morning without first swallowing half a drachm. 
I knew something of the habits of a young lady, who being prevented 

* Vide, "Mysteries of Opium Revealed," 8vo. p. 308. 


by her friends from an excessive indulgence in ardent spirits, had for 
a considerable time substituted opium, and, from its constant use, 
could swallow an ounce of it in the crude state, with as much ease 
and indifference as a boy would eat licorice-ball. A gentleman of 
good fortune, in a provincial town in the north of Ireland, had like 
wise allowed this propensity to gain upon him to such an extent, that he 
regularly retired in the evening, to the solitude of his apartment, to 
enjoy the luxury and grandeur of the visions which this favourite 
paregoric occasions. 

From what has been said respecting the infatuating use of this 
drug, it will appear evident, that it is no easy matter to shake off an 
attachment to it, when of any standing ; indeed it is much more diffi 
cult to do so, than for those in this country who have become slaves 
to spirituous liquors, to divest themselves of their enjoyments. That 
it has been condemned by its warmest votaries, there is sufficient 
evidence, and that its consequences lead to pain, anxiety, and death, 
there is no doubt, yet to get rid of its magic influence requires the 
utmost exertion. Mr. Dobell, in his Travels, assures us, that he cured , 
two or tliree of his acquaintance of this mania, by the following 
method. When the person, says he, who was in the habit of smoking 
it, wished for a pipe, I gave him a close of laudanum, nearly equal to 
the quantity of crude opium that he was accustomed to smoke, which 
caused him to sleep ; and, immediately on his waking, he was made to 
swallow a glass or two of Madeira with some substantial food. As 
the laudanum had a less stimulating effect than the opium, by a 
regular observance of this process, and by reducing the quantity daily, 
the individual was in a short time weaned from the use of the opium 
. pipe, and readily substituted that of tobacco, so that by this regimen, 
he soon recovered his wonted strength and constitution. That a 
person, leaving off the use of opium, requires some substitute, or 
stimulant, is further illustrated by the striking anecdote related by 
Acosta and transcribed by Doctor Aliston in the Edinburgh Medical 
Essays.* " There were," says he, " some Turkish prisoners and 
Arabian captives in the ship in which I returned from the Indies to 
Portugal, who had a small quantity of opium concealed and used it only 
as a medicine. When they had consumed it all, one of them, a Turk 
of Aden, said to me, since you have the care of the sick, I must tell 
you, that, unless you give me and my companions opium, we cannot 
live two days. I denied I had any ; the only remedy then, said the 
Turk, whereby we, who have been accustomed to eat opium, can be 

* Vide vol. v. p. 1. art. 12, sec. 3. 


recovered, is by a draught of pure wine every morning ; though this! 
is very hard and uneasy to us, being contrary to our law, yet, since 
our health depends upon it, we must submit. By his advice I gave 
them all wine j they recovered, and in a month s time would take no 
more wine, and neither needed nor desired opium." Ahmed Khan, 
governor of Tauris, in the Persian Empire, was so great a slave to 
opium, that he would be laid up for whole days, in a state of delirium 
or stupefaction, which was the cause of his dismissal from office. 
Being a sensible man, and seeing the disgrace this weakness brought 
upon him, he so far conquered the propensity, that he was restored 
to his former rank and dignity, and when the French embassy, under 
General Gardane, was passing through his government, in 1807, he 
entertained them with a hospitality and splendour becoming an 
oriental prince.* 

Although opium is so destructive to the human constitution, many 
instances might be brought forward of persons, addicted to the use of 
it, who lived to an advanced age. One of a curious nature is related 
of Mahomet Riza Khan Byat, of Shiraz, who had been accustomed to 
cat every day a quantity of this drug, sufficient, according to the cal 
culations of an English Doctor, to poison thirty persons unaccustomed 
to it. He was at the age of sixty-eight, when first advised by this 
Doctor to leave off the practice, or he would destroy himself. Ten 
years after, when he was met by the narrator of this anecdote, he 
looked younger and brisker, than when he first saw him. He 
enquired for the Doctor, and on being informed that he was in India, 
" I am sorry," said he, " that he is not here, I would shew him that 
Christian Doctors are not all true prophets. He told me I should die 
if I did not diminish my allowance of opium, I have increased it four 
fold, since he predicted my demise, and here I am, near four score, 
as young and as active as any of you." On saying this, he put his 
horse to full gallop and fired his match-lock, with the ease and 
precision of a person in the full vigour of life.f 

Christisoii) in his treatise on poisons, records several cases of the 
length of time that some have taken opium, without very material 
injury. 1. A young lady, habituated te it from childhood, was in 
good health at the age of twenty-five. 2. A lady died of consump 
tion at the age of forty-two, though she had taken daily a drachm of 
solid opium, for ten years of her life. 3. A literary character of about 
forty-five years old took laudanum for twenty years, with occasional 

* Tangerine s Narrative of the French Embassy to Persia. 

f Sketches cf Persia, 2 vois, 6\o. vol. i. p. 96, 97. London, 1627. 


intermissions, but sometimes an enormous quantity, yet he enjoyed 
tolerably good health. 4. A lady, who died at fifty, was in the 
practice of drinking laudanum twenty years. 5. Another lady of 
fifty, in good health, in the practice of taking opium for many years, 
used three ounces of laudanum daily. 6. A lady of sixty, gave it up 
after using it for twenty years, during which she enjoyed good health, 
and again resumed her former practice. 7. Lord Mar, after using 
laudanum for thirty years, to the amount at times of two or three 
ounces daily, died at fifty-seven of jaundice and dropsy. 8. A 
woman who took, for many years, two ounces of laudanum daily, lived 
upwards of sixty years. 9. An eminent literary character, novr 
above sixty, and in good health, has drunk laudanum to excess, since 
he was fifteen, and his daily allowance has sometimes been a quart of 
a mixture, consisting of three parts of laudanum and one of alcohol. 

10. A lady now alive, at the age of seventy, has taken laudanum ia 
the quantity of half an ounce daily, between thirty and forty years. 

1 1 . An old woman at Leith, lived to eighty, though she had taken 
about half an ounce of laudanum nearly for forty years, and enjoyed 
tolerably good health. Sir Astley Cooper relates, that he kneAY 
persons to take a drachm of opium daily, in divided portions, without 
any bad effects.* Notwithstanding these examples in its favour, it is~"\ 
well known, that opium, when applied externally, will produce 
poisonous effects, and that if injected into the veins of an animal, it 
will bring on so high a degree of circulation, that it will cause convul 
sions ; how much more fatal then must be its effects when taken inter 
nally ! The action of opium is said to be very analogous to that of 
wine, or vinous spirits ; the good and bad effects of both differ little, 
and it is as common a remark in the Turkish dominions, that, " he 
has eaten opium," as with us, " he has drunk too much wine." Its 
attendants are violent head-ache, furrowed brown tongue, high fever, 
constipation of the bowels, distorted motions in the eyes, pulsation 
frequently too quick to be reckoned, and finally a respite from its, 

pains in the chambers of death Such are the anomalous and 

distressing miseries which the use, or rather the abuse of opium, has 
entailed on man, the origin of which may be dated from the com 
mencement of the Mahometan superstition, which, while it forbade 
our fellow-men even the simple indulgence of an exhilarating and 
wholesome beverage, has permitted a substitute that has proved too 
generally deleterious and destructive. 

The Chinese government seem latterly to have taken up the 

* Lectures on Surgery, &e. 


matter with increased interest, seeing the dangerous consequences 
resulting from the general use of opium in the empire. Several pro 
clamations have been issued, examples made, and every means tried 
to prevent its importation, but to no purpose. Where the infatua 
tion is so general, reform is almost hopeless. The following edict, 
issued by the viceroy of Canton, in 1828, is a sample of the various 
proclamations that have been published on the subject : 

" The use of drink and food is to introduce harmony into the sys 
tem : the gulping of luscious things must be with a desire to obtain 
strength ; but if there exist a drug, destructive of life, incessant 
efforts should be made to keep it at a distance. Having used the drug 
for some time, the men accustomed to it can by no means relinquish 
it, their faces become as sharp as sparrows, and their heads sunk 
between the shoulders, in the form of a dove, the poison flows into 
their inmost vitals, physic cannot cure their disease, repentance comes 
too late for reform." 

The number of chests imported into China, in the following years, 
will shew the extent of this branch of commerce, as conducted by 
private ships from India : 

1832 15,823 Chests. 

1833 21,249 ... 

1834 15,962 ... 

The imports of opium into England, from Bengal and other places,, 
from 1786, to 1801, a period of 15 years, amounted to 286,2711bs. r 
and the consumption to 247,61 9lbs. At the East India Company s 
sales, in 1809, there were 199 libs, of this drug sold for the immense 
sum of 2,249. In 1831 and 1832, the quantity entered for home 
consumption in Great Britain averaged 28,0971bs. per year. 

Having thus detailed the most important facts relative to the 
extent, use, and effects of some of the principal natural inebriants, 
I shall return to the artificial or chemical part of the subject, more 
immediately the object of consideration. 

Among the inhabitants of that extensive region known by the name 
of Tartary, a variety of inebriating liquors is found to prevail. To 
point out the quality of each, with their shades of difference, would 
be extremely difficult, particularly as the tribes are so thinly and 
remotely scattered through a territory of 460,000 square miles in 
extent,* of which the greater part remains as yet but imperfectly 
known. Koumiss, or the vinous liquor, prepared by fermentation from 
mares milk, seems to be the great and leading beverage of the Tartar 

jMaltc-Brun, vol. ii. p, 36, 


hordes. Of its origin we know little, but that it was familiar to 
many of the nations of Asia, long 1 before they had any intercourse 
with Europeans, is unquestionable. Caprini, a friar, sent as an am 
bassador by Pope Innocent IV., to the Tartar, and other nations of 
the East, in 1245, is the first who mentions this liquor, and speaks of 
ale also as a common beverage. At the court of the Khan Batou, he 
met with great hospitality, and he informs us, that a table was per 
manently placed before the door of the tent of the Khan, on which 
stood many superb cups of gold and silver, richly set with precious 
stones, full of cosmos or koumiss, for the accommodation of visiters 
and strangers ; and that neither the Batou, nor any of the Tartar 
princes, drank in public, without having singers and harpers playing 
before them. De Rubruquis, a monk, who went as ambassador from 
Louis IX. of France, in 1258, into different parts of the East, 
describes its preparation with tolerable accuracy ; and says, it was so 
plentiful in his time, that he knew one person alone, who was served 
daily from his farms with a superior kind of it, made from the milk 
of 100 mares, and that a number of his acquaintance together received 
the produce of 3000 mares. This is not to be wondered at, when we 
consider that the riches of a Tartar consists in the multitude of his 
cattle, and that some individuals, according to Pallas, have been 
known to possess 10,000 horses, 300 camels, 4000 horned cattle, 
20,000 sheep, and upwards of 2000 goats, and, in many instances, have 
such a quantity of sheep as to be wholly ignorant of their number. 
Marco Polo, who passed through a great part of Asia, in the 
middle of the thirteenth century, speaks of koumiss as a common 
drink, and tells us that the great Khan of Tartar y had, in his time, 
a, herd of white horses and mares, to the amount of 10,000, of the 
milk of which none but the royal family were permitted to partake ; 
and so artful were some of the attendants at court, that they could 
draw koumiss from a secret reservoir, without the appearance of any 
agency. Late writers describe it as a wholesome, nutritious beverage, 
and allow that it possesses important medicinal qualities.* Koumiss, 
is said to be so healthful and renovating, that the Bashkir Tartars, 
who, from the impoverished state of their living during winter, are 
weak and emaciated, soon after returning to the use of koumiss in 
summer, become fat and invigorated. Those who use it say that 
they have little desire for other sustenance, and that it renders their 
veins replete, infuses animation, prevents langour, without producing 

* Edinb. Phil. Trans, vol. i. p. 17, &c. Outline s Tour, 4to. pp. 277-8-9. 
Whittington s Journey, in 1816, through Little Tartary, &c-. in Walpole s Travels, 
pp. 4fi3 and 4(58. 


indigestion, nausea, acidity, or any of those consequences which 
usually follow excess in other beverages. It renders those who us 
it extremely active. A Mongul, who was accustomed to subsist upon 
it, was able, at the advanced age; of sixty, to ride 200 wersts in a day, 
without being fatigued a proof of its salutary influence. This 
liquor is prepared in various ways, but all coming to the same issue. 
The most simple; mode appears to be the following : To any quantity 
of mares milk, a sixth part of warm water is added, and as it is usual 
to make the liquor in skins, the mixture is poured into a bag of this 
kind, in which had been left as much of the old milk as would render 
the new sour. In summer, fermentation speedily takes place, the first 
l of which are the appearance of a thick scum, or substance, on 
the surface. After this has gathered, the whole mass is blended 
together, much in the manner of churning, but which process lasts but 
a few minutes : it is then allowed to remain quiescent for some hours, 
and again agitated in a similar manner. Thus treated alternately, it 
soon assumes that stage of vinous fermentation necessary to effect its 
completion. In summer, this is accomplished in 24 hours ; but, 
according to Pallas, it can be effected in 12 hours by a forced process. 
In winter, it requires a longer time, say three or four days, with the 
assistance of artificial heat and a greater frequency of agitation. 
Very different from the effect produced by churning milk in this 
country, this process of agitation affords neither cream nor cards ; 
but yields a beverage of a very agreeable vinous flavour, which ine 
briates in proportion to the quantity taken. To throw the milk into 
fermentation, a little sour (tow s milk, koumiss, a piece of sour leaven 
of rye bread, or a small portion of the stomach of a colt, a lamb, or a 
calf, is indispensable, and indiscriminately used as rennet. In making 
koumiss, Strahleriberg says, that the Calrnucks take off the thick 
material at the top of the milk, after it has become sour, and use it in 
their food, leaving the remaining liquid for distillation. This is quite 
erroneous, as a closer acquaintance with the Tartar practice has 
proved; for it is well known, that no perfect fermentation, even 
though the usual ferment be added, can be effected from any one 
of the component parts of the milk alone, nor will it; afford a spirit 
unless the milk has all its parts in their natural proportion. Doctor 
Clarke, in the observations which he makes on koumiss, seems to 
have fallen into a similar error, when he says, that the milk collected 
over night is churned in the morning into butter and the buttermilk 
distilled. This it must appear, from the proceeding remarks, cannot 
be the case, since no butter is obtained from the milk, as koumiss 
be made at all, should any of the constituent* of the milk be 

separated, and therefore- the Tartars must have boon in jest, or h<* 
misunderstood them, when they told the Doctor their brand V \v;w 
distilled merely from buttermilk.* Nieuhoff states, that while in 
China, he drank Samtehoo as strong 1 as brandy, which had been dis 
tilled from ncu milk ; and says, that it was obtained from the Km- 
j>eror s cellar as a fa\ our ; but how this species of lieuor was inanu- 
factured he has given no account. From experiments made on milk 
during- fermentation, it appears that the closer the vessel is in which 
it is kept, and the less fixed air allowed to escape during the process, 
the greater the quantity of spirit obtained, so that the proportion of 
the brandy produced from the material in the close vessel, to that 
fermented in an open one, is as one gallon to three. This experi 
ment shews the policy of conducting the process of fermentation in 
close vessels in our distilleries, in preference to that of open ones, 
since it evidently prevents the escape of a considerable portion of 
alcoholic material. The milk collected for koumiss is fermented 
mostly in leathern bags formed like a stone jar, wide at bottom 
and narrow at top, and containing about an anker each. These uro 
usually made of the hides of cows, goats or horses, fresh skinned ; 
they arc steeped in water till the hair rubs off, and where no astrin 
gent herbjige is to be found, are soaked thoroughly in blood and 
dried in the; most warm and smoky parts of the huts. IJy this means, 
the bags are rendered waterproof, and even made to retain oil. The 
practice of keeping milk in skins is of great antiquity, as we read in 
Judges iv. 19, of .lael, wife of lleber, when Sisera, the Canaanihsh 
general, visited her tent, opening a bottle of milk ami giving him 
to drink because he was thirsty. The Tartars display much ingenuity 
in the construction of these bottles: from the skins of kids they pre 
pare small ones, which answer as well as flasks, and among the 
Calmueks these are rendered transparent and durable by means of 
smoke. This preparation is perhaps similar to that alluded to in the 
119th Psalm, 83rd verse. 

The largest bags of whirh we have any account, were those 
employed by Kutuki, the widow of Alcrgus, one of the Mongnl Khans, 
in order to have revenge of Nawr, a neighbouring Khan, for betray 
ing him into the hands of a prince of China, by whom he was sewed 
up in a sack, and left to expire on a wooden ass. Affecting fl passion 
for Nawr, formerly one of her admirers, Kutuki invited him to an 
interview, which being accepted, she set out to meet him carrying with 
her, on waggons prepared for the purpose, immense vessels made of 

* Clarke s Travel*., 4lo, vol. \, p. 23! . 


ox hides filled with koumiss, together with one hundred sheep and 
ten mares, already prepared for a feast. The meeting was apparently 
joyful, while the prince and his attendants were closely plied with 
liquor until they became intoxicated, when, by a signal from the prin 
cess, the vessels were opened, out of which a number of armed men 
issued and cut Nawr, whom she had already stabbed, and his fol 
lowers into pieces. The ancient Romans, it appears, used skin bags 
of a large size for holding wine ; for in a picture found in the ruins of 
a wine-shop in Pompeii, there is the representation of an enormous 
bag placed on a wine cart, and occupying the whole of the machine, 
which is in the shape of a boat. Two men are seen as in the act of 
drawing off the wine into amphora, or vessels employed for that 

The well known hospitality of the Tartars renders the accumula 
tion of these bags, particularly among the chiefs, sometimes incredible, 
since 500 ankers of koumiss is considered no uncommon stock. At 
marriage ceremonies, (a time of peculiar rejoicing,) it is not unusual 
to see from two to four gallons of that liquor swallowed at three 

The Usbecks, Mandshurs, Monguls, Calmucks, &c., are very 
expert in making koumiss : that properly so called is from the milk 
of mares. When a sufficient supply of this milk cannot be obtained, 
recourse is had to that of the cow, and, amongst the Monguls, to that 
of the sheep and camel, from which a wine is produced, usually called 
koumiss, but by the Tartars termed air en, or airik. The milk of the 
mare is preferred, being more fluid, though imbued with a slight 
alkaline taste much esteemed by all the nomade tribes. 

In distillation, mare s milk yields nearly one-tenth of alcohol, more 
than that of the cow. The spirit from both is indifferently called 
arrack^ araka, or arika, and sometimes koumiss ; it is often pre 
sented under the title of vina. The common people are generally 
content with the spirit obtained from the first distillation ; but the 
wealthy, to encrease its strength, have it distilled a second time, when 
it becomes highly intoxicating. The word arrack is decided by 
philologers to be of Indian origin ; and should the conjecture be 
correct, that it is derived from the areca-nut, or the arrack-tree, as 
Kcempfer calls it,J it is clear, that as a spirit was extracted from that 
fruit, the name was given to all liquors having similar intoxicating 

Sauer s Account of Billing s Expedition, 4to. p. 128. 
t Timkowski s Travels, vol. i. p. 53. 
* Vide Amenitatum Exoticarum Fasciculi. 4to. 


effects. The term arrack being common in eastern countries where 
the arts of civilized life have been so early cultivated, it is more 
reasonable to suppose that the Tartars received this word through 
their eastern connexions with the Chinese, or other oriental nations, 
than to attribute it to a derivation foreign to their language, or as a 
generic term of their own. The great source of all Indian literature, 
and the parent of almost every oriental dialect, is the Sanscrit, a 
language of the most venerable and unfathomable antiquity, though 
now confined to the libraries of the Brahmins, and solely appropriated 
to religious laws and records. Mr. Halhed, in the preface to his 
Grammar of the Bengal language, says, that he was astonished to find 
a strong similitude between the Persian, Arabian, and even the Latin 
and Greek languages, not merely in technical and metaphorical terms, 
which the mutation of refined arts or improved manners might have 
incidentally introduced, but in the very groundwork of language 
in monosyllables in the names of numbers, and the appellations 
which would be first employed on the immediate dawn of civilisation. 
Telinga is a dialect of the Sanscrit, in which the word areca is found, 
it is used by the Brahmins in writing Sancrit, and since to the latter 
all the other tongues of India are more or less indebted, the term 
areca, or arrack, may be fairly traced through the different lan 
guages of the East, so that the general use and application of this 
word in Asiatic countries cannot appear strange.* To these consi 
derations may be added, that in Malabar the tree which yields the 
material from which this oriental beverage is produced is termed 
areca, and, among the Tongusians, Calmucks, Kirghises, and other 
hordes, koumiss, in its ardent state, is known by the general term, 
" Arrack or Rak." Klaproth says, that the Ossetians, (anciently 
Alans,) a Caucasian people, applied the word " Arak" to denote all 
distilled liquorsf a decided confirmation of the foregoing observa 
tions and opinions. 

The distillation of koumiss is generally effected by means of two 
earthen pots closely stopped, the upper one of which is usually 
covered with wet clay, the condensed vapour running slowly through 
a small wooden pipe into a receiver. Some distil it in copper vessels 
after the manner of the Chinese. The spirit is at first very weak, 
but generally brought up by a second operation, when greater 

* Vide the Grammar and Dictionary of the Mahratta Language by Dr. Carey ; 
also the translation of the Laws of Menu, by Sir William Jones, 
f Asia Polyglotta, p. 89. Hist. Tatars, 8vo. vol. ii. p. 517. 


strength is required. Doctor Clarke,* saw this process performed by 
a still constructed of mud, or very coarse clay, having for the neck 
of the retort a piece of cane. The simplicity of the operation, the 
rudeness of the machinery, and the material from which the spirit is 
drawn, are highly characteristic of its great antiquity. The annexed 
is a view of a Calmuck still at work, as above described, with a 
female carrying water to wet the mud on the head of the still and 

In Iceland, several preparations of milk have been long in 
common use, such as struig or whey boiled to the consistence of 
sour milk, and syra, or sour whey fermented in casks, kept and only 
deemed fit for drinking at the end of a year.f But the Icelanders 
were unacquainted with the distillation of fermented milk, so that 
the Tartars appear to be the sole iriventers of this art. Indeed from 
their pastoral habits and from subsisting chiefly on milk, its intoxi 
cating qualities would soon be developed ; for, as want and privation 
lead to many discoveries, and as rural life seeks with avidity what 
ever enlivens a solitary hour or exhilarates the spirits, the Tartars 
would naturally seize on those properties afforded by the milk of their 
flocks and herds to turn them to that account, which would best afford 
pleasure or banish care. That the method of extracting an intoxi 
cating drink from milk was long practised by these people, before the 

Travels in Russia, Turkey, and Asia. 
f Mackenzie s Iceland, 4to. p. loG and 277. 


*rt of distillation was known either to the Saracens or Genoese, 
there cannot be a shadow of doubt. Caprini, De Rubruquis, and 
Marco Polo everywhere found koumiss and other liquors in abun 
dance, at a time when the knowledge of distillation in Europe was 
known only to the learned, and practised as an extraordinary dis 
covery, while the sale of the spirit was confined to the apothecaries ; 
it being considered rather as a medicine than a luxury. In their 
social intercourse, the Tartars have occasional meetings for the pur 
pose of enjoying the produce of their distillations. Clarke, speaking 
of theCalmucks, says, that at such times, every one brings his share of 
brandy and koumiss ; and the whole is placed on the ground in the 
open air, round which the guests, male and female, seated on the 
ground, form a circle. One of the party performs the office of cup 
bearer. The young women all the time chaunt songs of love, or war, 
fabulous adventures, or heroic achievements ; no one rises, the cup 
being passed from hand to hand till the whole is consumed, without 
the least interruption of the harmony, either from inebriety or other 
wise a fine example of propriety to more civilized nations. Like 
the Indians of Paraguay, not only the domestic affairs are committed 
to the women, but like them also, the distilling or manufacturing of 
intoxicating drink is always under their immediate management, 
though they indulge not in its abuses. It is customary, both in tap 
ping the produce of the still and bags of koumiss, to thrust in a tuft 
of camel s liair tied to the. end of a stick, and when saturated wit i 
the liquor, to squeeze some of it into the palm of their hands, tako 
a little, and then scatter it around as an offering to their god : a 
practice common amongst many hcatlten nations in giving tlie first 
fruits to the deity. De Rubruquis observed amongst the Tartars a 
practice in which koumiss was alike rendered sacred, by placing tho 
image of a deceased friend over Ms tomb with the face towards the 
East, holding a consecrated drinking-cup before his stomach. 
At one of these monuments, he saw sixteen horse hides hung 
on high posts, four towards each cardinal point, with koumiss, or 
cosmos for the deceased to drink in order to refresh him in his pas 
sage to the other world. It is usual amongst the Monguls, as a token 
of respect to a deceased friend, to pour on the ground a libation of 
koumiss as a peace-offering to the deity. 

In order to obtain milk from the mare, which is usually done three 
or four times a-day, the foal is generally allowed to be present, from 
the idea that the dam yields a greater quantity in conseqence, and 
more readily than if it were absent. For this purpose, the foal i* 
even allowed fb suck a little from the dam, particularly in rases 


where she is refractory. The animal is all the time fastened to a 
long line between two poles, and to which the foal is likewise secured. 
This singularity of the mare, yielding her milk freely when the foal 
is present, is not to be wondered at when it is asserted that the ass 
gives her milk no longer than the impression of the foal is on her 
mind : Doctor Hunter proved this by an experiment which shewed 
that even the skin of the foal thrown over the back of another was 
sufficient to induce the animal to give her milk without reluctance.* 
In Scotland, it was formerly a practice to place a Tulchan, or calf s 
skin stuffed, before a cow that had lost her calf, in order to induce 
her to part with her milk without opposition.f A reason assigned 
by the Eluths for preferring mare s milk to that of cow s, is not on 
account, in their estimation of its being better and richer, but that the 
latter cannot be so easily procured, because, after the calf is taken 
away, the cow will not suffer herself to be milked with the same ease 
and familiarity : hence necessity induced them to employ mare s milk. 

The horse, which is always entire, is allowed to rove in common 
with the herd, so that a constant succession of breed is kept up 
and milk is in greater abundance. The faculty in this coun 
try recommend the milk of the ass as beneficial in pulmonary affec 
tions, yet it is extraordinary that this milk has never been subjected 
to the same process as that of the mare amongst the Tartars, and 
why the milk of the mare has not been tried with us as a specific 
remedy, in the same manner as that of the ass, has not been explained. 
The scarcity of brood mares need not be urged as an objection, since 
the experiment might be made from a singe animal. It is worthy of 
remark, that Scheele, a Swedish chemist, although he made himself 
early acquainted with the fermenting powers of this liquid, never 
seemed to suspect the possibility of extracting a spirit from it. New 
man, a German, Voltolin, a Hollander, and Macquer, a Frenchman, 
laboured under nearly similar mistaken notions, conceiving that no 
spirit could be obtained from milk without the addition of some vege 
table matter. Doctor Grieve was among the first who determined, by 
experiment, that milk alone was capable of affording spirits without 
the admixture of any extraneous or adventitious substance : a secret 
which, although unknown to us, was familiar for ages to the unculti 
vated wanderers in the Scythian deserts. 

In almost every country, though milk is resorted to as a nutritious 
and agreeable beverage, yet some portions of mankind have been 
found to dislike it. The Cochin-Chinese have an antipathy against 

* Vide Journal of the Royal Institution, No. 2. 
f Tvanlioe, eliap. xxiii. p. 32 ]. 


it, amounting to loathing : they insist that the practice of using it is 
little better than that of using the blood of the animal. Among some 
of the tribes on the Zaire, Captain Tuckey observed,* that, although 
cows were numerous, no use was made of their milk, from some 
superstitious aversion, arising, perhaps, from notions similar to those 
of the Cochin Chinese, or some other unaccountable prejudices. Not 
so in Abyssinia, where the wealth of an individual is estimated by 
the number of his cattle ; for he is accounted rich who bathes several 
times a- year in milk, as every man possessing a thousand cows appro 
priates one day s milk annually to form a bath for his friends. In 
South America, where cattle are numerous, we do not find that they 
are domesticated for the same purposes as those to which they are 
applied by Tartars and Europeans. Nature, however, has been boun 
tiful in giving to man in every part of the world, necessaries to sup 
port his wants and gratify his appetites. " We have seen," says 
Blumenbach, in his Elements of Physiology, " the analogy between 
vegetables and animals in structure and functions, as well as in 
elementary and proximate principles. The secretions of both may 
be innocuous or deleterious. The most remarkable analogy in secre 
tion respects milk."f In South America, Humboldt saw a tree that, 
when wounded, yields abundance of rich milk, which the negroes drink 
and grow fat upon, and which affords a caseous coagulum. The tree 
grows on the barren rock, has coriaceous dry leaves ; for several 
months is not moistened by a shower, yet if an incision be made in 
its trunk, the milk pours forth. This sweet vegetable fountain is 
most copious at sun-rise, and the natives are then seen hastening from 
all quarters with bowls to the cow-tree, or palo de vaca, to collect 
this nourishing fluid. 

. The art of preparing koumiss seems to be familiar or common to 
all the tribes inhabiting the extensive regions of central Asia. The 
yowrt of the Turks and thepwta of the Laplanders are but modifica 
tions of this liquor. That acidulated material in India, called dhy, is 
found among all the Tartars. In the provinces bordering on Bootan, 
it is dried in masses till it resembles chalk, and is used mixed in water 
as a pleasant beverage. The operation of drying the dliy is some 
times performed by tieing it tight in cloth bags and suspending it 
under the bellies of horses. Amongst the Calmucks, Khirghises, and 
other Tartar tribes, the process of distillation is carried on by means 
of fuel collected from the dry dung of their j^mels, horses, and other 

* Tuckey s Narrative of a Voyage to Explore the River Zaire, 4to p. 111. 
f Elliotson s Edit. 8vo., p. 508. 



animals, by slaves, whose province it is to gather it, and carry it home to 
their tents where it is baked into cakes resembling peat or turf: it makes 
a clear and excellent fire, yielding great heat. A similar mode of 
obtaining fuel is practised in India. The women follow the herds of 
horses, sheep and black cattle, and gather the dung, which they carry 
home in baskets. The dung is formed into cakes of about half an 
inch thick and nine inches in diameter. The walls of their best 
houses are frequently stuck round with these cakes. At Seringapa- 
tarn, numerous females are to be found carrying baskets of this dung 
for sale. The horses are so numerous in many parts of Tartary, that 
they are found in herds in a wild state, and some of the tribes procure 
supplies by means of hawks. These birds are taught to seize upon 
the head or neck of the animal, and so tease and weary him, that 
while endeavouring to get rid of his enemy, the hunter approaches 
and captures him. In the same manner wild sheep are taken, many 
of whose tails are said to weigh from 20 to 30 pounds. The expert- 
ness of the Tartars in training falcons or hawks for the chase is such, 
that it is a standing law among the Mongols subject to China, to fur 
nish the emperor with a number of these birds every year. 

The milk of the sheep affords a beverage to the Calmucks, Kerghis, 
and other hordes, to which is given the name of arjan ; it is more a 
preparation of sour milk than of real koumiss. Besides the drinks 
already noticed amongst the Tartars, De Rubruquis met with a 
variety of others, such as wine ; caracina or teracina, a very intoxi 
cating drink made from rice, very like white wine ; caracosmus^ clear 
cows milk or clarified whey ; and ball or mead drawn from honey. 
In the palace of Mangu Khan, he observed a curious artificial tree 
with various devices, intermingled with branches and leaves, inter 
twined with golden serpents. This tree contained concealed pipes 
through which the four kinds of liquor just mentioned flowed in 
abundance, and at the root or base were four silver lions holding the 
different liquors, which were supplied from reservoirs outside the 
palace. On the top of this tree was a figure of an angel with a 
trumpet sounded by artificial bellows whenever a supply of drink 
was wanted. As soon as the sound of this trumpet was heard, a 
man appointed for the purpose poured liquor into the respective 
pipes, from which it was handed to the guests in waiting. This 
elegant piece of mechanism shews to what degree of taste and polite 
ness the Tartar princes had arrived and the luxury which surrounded 
their tables : they still keep up considerable state, and by those tribes 
subject to China, the refinements and customs of that country are 
undeviatingly maintained. Their hospitality, however, is more 


extended, for in every Tartar tent there is always a kettle on the 
fire full of tea, mixed with milk, butter, and salt. Here the weary 
traveller may at all times freely enter and quench his thirst ; but he 
must have his own wooden cup, whicli every Mongol carries about 
him, as an article indispensably necessary. The most esteemed of 
these cups are brought from Thibet ; the rich generally have them 
lined with silver. Two kinds of bowls, of a very costly description, 
are used at their drinking parties. They are richly varnished, and 
adorned with clouded streaks which give them an elegant appear 
ance. One of them is composed of yellow wood, and called djamd- 
jaya ; the other is also of a yellow tinge, and named Kounlar ; both 
are considered to possess the properties of counteracting the effects of 

Besides the public meetings held at certain periods, all the Tartar 
tribes have their private and domestic associations, during which they 
indulge in smoking, drinking, sallies of wit, anecdote, and poetry, 
descriptive of their exploits in hunting, the swiftness of their steeds, 
boldness of adventure, commemorating the deeds of their ancestors, 
or their happy meeting with friends. 

The following Mongol effusion on an occasion of this description, 
which I have versified, may prove acceptable as a specimen of their 
ability and genius for poetry : 

How sweet the draught our generous prince bestows, 
Arrack, than honey sweeter to the taste ; 

Come, let us drink, the sparkling liquor flows ! 
To cheer the silence of the boundless waste. 

Firm on the plain, our tents in order stand, 
The flocks or feed, or indolently rove ; 

Our wives, our children, and our friends demand 
To share the banquet and the smile of love. 
In social converse, let our hours be pass d ; 
But no excess be-cloud the cheerful day 

Like shrubs that bend beneath the sweeping blast 
Are those who drink the strength of life away. 

Past are the steppes,* the arid hills retire 
Far in the distance, clothed in misty hue ; 

Here pastures green our fondest hopes inspire, 
And murky scenes no longer cloud the view. 

Since chance has brought us face to face once more, 
Let us unite to quaff the flowing bowl ; 

What greater joy has life itself in store 
Than brethren met to mingle soul with soul ? 

* Steppes are, for the most part, extensive elevated regions, found in many of the 
northern Asiatic districts in sterility, some of them resemble the Desert of Sahara, 
in Africa, affording scarcely any thing for the subsistence of either man or beast. 


In summer, the men and women of Turkestan assemble under 
trees to drink, dance, ride on horseback, and play on various musical 
instruments: at these, and their other festive meetings, wine, arrack, 
and koumiss, are consumed in abundance. These meetings generally 
take place after their lent, and when the sacrifices, called oshour, have 
been offered for the souls of their relations : the fetes, on these occa 
sions, are termed Nourouz, and are times of great rejoicing. The 
Jakuti Tartars have many ceremonies and festivals, at which they 
use a great deal of liquor. At one of these, where animals are sacrificed 
to idols, they sit in a circle and consume immense quantities of 
koumiss, and become so intoxicated that they are unable to stir 
from their positions for a length of time. Quantities of drink 
are thrown into the air with an unsparing hand, which, they conceive, 
allay the angry feeling of the offended deity and those spirits which 
govern the elements. 

Such of the tribes as profess the Mahometan faith, particularly 
those of Great and Little Bucharia, are forbidden the use of inebriat 
ing drinks ; but with them, as with their more enlightened neighbours, 
a want of attachment to the Prophet s precept occasions excesses, ren 
dered contemptible by the hypocritical arts employed to conceal them. 
When Eversmann and Jakovlew visited Bucharia in the train of the 
Russian Embassy in 1821, wine and brandy were consumed in great 
quantities, chiefly manufactured by the Jews. These people, as well 
as the Armenians, are permitted to make as much as they please, and 
to use it in their houses where they may get intoxicated, but they 
dare not go abroad in that state, lest the Khan would punish them, 
which lie sometimes does with great severity. An instance of his 
cruelty in this respect occurred some years ago, in the treatment of a 
Jewish physician who had got drunk on the occasion of his son s 
marriage. This gave the Khan such offence that he ordered him to 
be immediately executed. The Khan is very capricious in his obser 
vance of this law : sometimes he orders the houses to be searched, 
and where any liquor is found he causes the owners to be beaten, yet 
he himself often drinks to excess. The police never venture to 
examine the houses of the Usbeck officers, though many of them are 
drunkards, but the poorer sort are strictly watched, and if any of 
them are detected in the streets of the capital with a bottle, or intoxi 
cated, they are severely punished, and even sometimes put to death 
if they had ever before been guilty of a similar offence. The wine 
of Bucharia is of strong quality, and of greater body than most 
European wines, being the produce of the richest grapes. Their 
brandy is made of the lees of the wine or from raisins, is always 


rectified, and of a strength equal to West India rum ; it is colourless, 
and has an empyreumatic taste and flavour. The stills employed are 
much the same as those used by the Jews in Turkey. 

It was in this part of Asia, that Tamerlane, or Tirnour the Tartar, 
gave, on the marriage of his six grandsons, the celebrated feast of 
which so many thousands were partakers, and which conveys to us a 
knowledge of the liquors then in use. The scene was truly magni 
ficent : a plain, studded with tents and pavilions, displayed all the 
grandeur of oriental pomp and magnificence ; forests were cut down 
for the supply of fuel, pyramids of meat and vases filled with every 
description of liquor, such as koumiss, oxymel, hippocras, brandy, 
sirma, sherbet, and wines of various countries, attracted the attention 
of the voluptuary, and were presented to the guests, on salvers of 
gold and silver, in cups of agate, crystal and gold, adorned with pearls 
and jewels. At this banquet, all the subordinate rulers and chiefs of 
Tartary, together with ambassadors from European courts and 
envoys from the conquered countries, were assembled ; and the public 
joy was testified by illuminations and masquerades, a general indul 
gence was proclaimed, every law was relaxed, every pleasure was 
allowed, the people were free, and the sovereign presided, a delighted 
spectator. Pearls and rubies were showered on the heads of the 
brides and bridegrooms, and left to be collected by their attendants.* 
At another feast given by a Khan of Tartary, which lasted for seven 
days, there were consumed daily eight waggon loads of wine, two of 
brandy, and twenty of koumis, while, during each day, there was a 
slaughter of three hundred horses, as many cows, and a thousand 
sheep. But, how are the mighty fallen ! those states which were once 
governed by the gigantic powers of a Tamerlane, are now dwindled 
into insignificance, and the intellect of their rulers, narrowed by the 
barbarism which surrounds them, is unable or unwilling to encourage 
the growth of science, or the progress of arts. 

Wherever rice or any other kind of grain is cultivated in Tartary, 
the fermenting process is not unknown : in the same manner, the 
virtues of the grape are not allowed to remain unnoticed by the most 
ignorant of the hordes, since wine is familiar throughout a large portion 
of this extensive region. The beer to be met with is, for the most 
part, of indifferent quality ; that brewed from barley and millet by the 
Turkestans, termed baksoum, more resembles water boiled with rice 
than beer. They admire it, and affirm that it is an invaluable remedy 
for dysentery : it is of an acid taste without smell, has little of an 

* Vide Gibbon s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 


intoxicating 1 quality, and keeps but a short time. Such of the grain as 
they distil, is put into a vessel carefully covered, and, after being 
allowed to run into a slight state of acetous fermentation, it is put into 
the still and drawn off at a good strength, under the usual name of 

The Turkestans have various beverages, among which is an excel 
lent cooling drink obtained from melons. This fruit is of the finest 
description, and so large as to be from three to four feet in circum 
ference ; every part of it, except the rind and seed, is equally good 
for eating and of a most agreeable flavour. The melons are fre 
quently sent to a great distance, even so far as St. Petersburg : those 
of Khorassan are sent to Ispahan, the capital of Persia, for the use of 
the monarch, a journey of thirty days ; and melons are conveyed 
from Agra to Surat, a distance of nearly 700 miles, by pedestrians, in 
baskets hung at the extremities of a pole carried on the shoulders, at 
the rate of seven or eight leagues a day. The emperor Babas says, 
that he shed tears over a melon of Turkestan, which he cut up in 
India, after his conquest, its flavour having brought his native country 
and other tender associations to his recollection. The value of this 
fruit was in such high estimation, that it is related of Aly Sultan, that 
he caused a soldier, who had taken two melons from the field of a 
planter, to be hanged on the spot where he committed the theft. 

Before quitting the subject of Tartary, it may be proper to observe 
that the Mantchoos who conquered China, and whose descendants still 
hold the sovereignty of that empire, prepare a wine of a very peculiar 
nature from the flesh of lambs, either by fermenting it, reduced to a 
kind of paste, with the milk of their domestic animals, or bruising it 
to a pulpy substance with rice. When properly matured, it is put 
into jars, and then drawn off as occasion requires. It has the 
character of being strong and nourishing, and it is said that their 
most voluptuous orgies consist in getting drunk with it. Whatever 
remains, after the supply of domestic wants, is exported into China or 
Corea, under the name of lamb wine.* Gerbillon says, that the rich 
Mongols leave mutton to ferment with their sour milk before they 
distil it. This explains the mystery of the spirit said to be made 
from the flesh of sheep by the Tartars in China, of which it has been 
said the emperors have been so fond. 

During the sojourn of Michailow among the Kiwenses, he saw 
them prepare a drink called bursa from a description of berries 
termed psak, which much resembled dates. This liquor was made 

* The Natural and Civil Hist, of Tonquin, by the Abbe Rickard. 


by boiling the berries, pressing out the kernels, and filtering the 
juice the fermentation followed, and was so rapid that it became 
highly intoxicating, and fit for use the morning after it was made. 
He says that two cups of it inebriated him as much as if he had 
drunk an equal quantity of brandy ; and that its qualities were so 
fascinating that the more he drank, the more he was inclined to drink- 
The Khirghises and Karakalpaks are fond of it, and, when a supply of 
berries can be obtained, they frequently indulge to excess. From the 
strong likeness of these berries to dates, it is not improbable but that 
the bursa is the ancient date wine mentioned in Scripture and so 
celebrated along the banks of the Euphrates as well as in other parts 
of Asia, and is perhaps the same as that which was brought in skins 
down the Tigris and Euphrates to Babylon. Notwithstanding the 
prohibition of Mahometanism and the strictness of Budhism, the love 
for intoxicating liquors is so prevalent in Tartary, that some of the 
northern tribes not only barter their cattle with foreign merchants, 
but even part with their children for the trifling consideration of 
tobacco and spirits. Such is the degradation to which the absence 
of true religion and the refinements of education has reduced so many 
of our fellow creatures! 

In extending our views to India, we are led to contemplate an 
immense portion of our species as existing at a remote period, in a 
very advanced state of civilisation, successfully cultivating the arts 
and sciences, and spreading their renown to distant nations. Although 
some of the wisest philosophers of Greece, viz. Pythagoras, Anax- 
archus, Pyrrho,]and others, visited that country and returned enriched 
by the wisdom of its sages,* yet the early arts of these nations still 
remain unknown. Since, however, we are assured, that they were 
proficients in metallurgy, the manufacture of sugar, indigo, dyeing, 
embroidery, working in ivory, engraving on precious gems and 
stones, in the production of the loom and needle, in mechanics, 
architecture, astronomy, and mathematics, ! it is natural to infer that 
they must have been early acquainted with the composition of some 
kind of intoxicating beverage ; drink being indispensable in tropical 

In the Padma Puran, a sacred book of India, there is sufficient 
evidence that fermented liquors were invented in the days of Noah ; 
.and the story of Satyavarnmn having become intoxicated with mead, 
and in that state discovered by his three sons, Shema, Charma, and 

* Hist Phil, vol i. p. 51. 

f Asiatic Researches, vol. iv. p. 33, 34. 


lya peti, is but another version of the relation contained in the 9th 
chap, of Genesis respecting Noah and his three sons.* 

According to the mythology of the Hindoos, their deities are said 
to have drunk at their feasts a liquor termed amruti, in the same 
manner as the Grecian deities drank their ambrosia ; so that by attri 
buting to their gods a passion for exhilarating drink, they alluded to 
an origin anterior to any human record. 

What the early drinks of the people of India were, there is no 
correct account) but, as sugar was in extensive use, it is likely that it 
formed a principal ingredient of their liquors. The raw juice of the 
cane from its palatable nature, was first made use of; afterwards it 
was boiled, and, in process of time, its inebriating properties were 
developed by fermentation. 

Sugar is supposed to have been one of the articles forming the pre 
sents made by the queen of Sheba to king Solomon ; as fine sugar is 
to this day sent as a present to the Grand Seignior by the Egyp 
tians, in the same manner as Jacob sent honey to a viceroy of 
Pharaoh. Nearchus, the admiral of Alexander, is said to have been 
the first who brought any information respecting sugar into Europe ; 
and although the Arabians cultivated the sugar-cane and supplied 
the city of Rome with its produce, yet it is well known that they 
were indebted to the orientals for it, as well as for the knowledge of 
its manufacture. Soukar, or, Sukhir, the Arabic term for sugar, 
etymologists say, comes from the Hebrew word siker, which signifies 
an intoxicating liquor ; and it is remarkable that this Hebrew term is 
translated in nineteen instances in our Scriptures as implying strong 
drink. Some philologists say, that gur, both in the ancient and 
modern languages of India, signifies raw sugar , and that Sarcara is 
the term applied to it in its manufactured state. 

From the middle syllable of the Sanscrit word ich-sucasa, it is 
alleged that the Arabic name for sugar is derived, and there seems 
to be good grounds for this inference, as the Sanscrit suca, the Hebrew 
siker, the Greek sikera, the Persian shukker, the Indian sukur> the 
German sucker, the Dutch suiker, the Danish sukker, the Swedish 
soccer, the French sucre, and the English sugar, appear to have one 
common origin, if we judge from orthography, pronounciation, and 

But although the Arabians were the first who wrote of sugar 
extracted from the sugar-cane, which they called honey of cane ; yet 
it is not to be inferred, that to them other nations were indebted for a 

* Vide Sir William Jones s Works. 


knowledge of its uses, or the conversion of it into an intoxicating 
liquor. Lucan mentions an Eastern nation, in alliance with Pompey, 
that used this liquor as a common drink. Quintus Curtius, in his life 
of Alexander the Great, states, that at the time of the invasion of 
India by that monarch, the natives made use of a sort of wine which 
is supposed to have been no other than toddy, or the unfermented 
juice of cocoa-nut. Nearchus in his Periplus* mentions an island 
called Oigana or Wroct, now Kismis, which was abundant in vines 
and palm-trees. The latter name it obtained from a grape, called 
kismis, peculiar to it to this day. Doctor Vincent, the translator of 
the Periplus, says, that at that time, a great trade was carried on in 
Arabian and Syrian wines ; but the former, he thinks, was palm or 
toddy wine : of this there can be little doubt, from the great abun 
dance of that wine in use amongst the Arabians, it being an article of 
commerce with them from a remote period, previous to the era of the 
Hegira. The people of Hindostan dealt largely in the importations, 
and their acquaintance with a variety of native drinks shews the 
extent to which they had arrived in their manufacture. From the 
Institutes of Menu,f we learn that the inebriating liquors of the 
Hindoos may be considered as of three principal sorts ; one extracted 
from dregs of sugar, another from bruised rice, and a third from the 
flowers of the Madhuca tree. The latter, which is better known by 
the name of Mahwah, has afforded materials for distillation from time 
immemorial ; and in India, when first visited by Europeans, the 
inhabitants were found in possession of the art of extracting a spirit 
from its flowers. Now, it, may be asked, how could they have 
acquired this art from the Arabians, a people prohibited, even before 
the name of the Saracens became so eminent, from using the mildest 
intoxicating liquors ? Some, however, think that distillation was not 
known to the inhabitants of India before their intercourse with the 
Saracens, and that their drinks were mere extracts procured by com 
pression and fermentation ; but why the era of the introduction of 
distillation into India should be settled at the commencement of the 
Saracen ascendancy, is not only unaccountable, but at variance with 
the historic records respecting the knowledge and acquirements of 
the Eastern nations ; and is purely attributable to that prejudice which 
gives the invention to the Saracens. The trade of the East, which 
had continued long in the hands of the Egyptians, was, in 640, trans 
ferred to the Saracens by the Caliph Omar. It is therefore more 
natural to infer that the Saracens had received, through the Egyptians, 

* Periplus, part i. p. 58. f Chap xi. Inst. 95. 


a knowledge of the use of the still from the inhabitants of India, 
than that they, themselves, had been in possession of the art to which 
the genius of their religion was so directly opposed, because it is 
certain from the researches of Sir William Jones, that the Hindoos 
were acquainted with all the chemical arts which were said to have 
been invented by the Egyptians, apparently before the latter had even 
acquired the rank or title of a civilized people. The expedition of 
Osiris to India, where it is said he reigned 52 years, and established 
many Egyptian colonies, joined to the conquests of Sesostris, furnishes 
proofs that the Egyptians had an early intercourse with India. 
When Cambyses invaded Egypt, it is well known that many of the 
inhabitants fled to India, as a country with which they were familiar. 
It is also asserted, that in the time of Solomon and during the Trojan 
war, the Egyptian and Phoenician fleets, as well as those of the 
Hebrews, visited India and traded thither ; so that there must have 
been a reciprocal interchange of such arts, sciences, and manufactures 
as were at that time known to the world. To use the expressive 
language of Doctor Robertson, " what now is in India always was 
there and is likely still to continue neither the ferocious violence 
and illiberal fanatacism of its Mahometan conquerors, nor the power 
of its European masters, have effected any considerable altera 
tion. The same distinctions of condition take place ; the same arrange 
ments in civil and domestic society remain ; the same maxims of reli 
gion are held in veneration, and the same sciences and arts are 

Wine being, among the Mussulmans, a prohibited article, no com 
merce could be carried on by them in that commodity. The Indians, 
however, continued to manufacture wines from various substances 
and under different names. The chief of these was the Tari, or the 
fermented juice of the palmyra tree, procured from the Borassus 
flabelliformis of Linnseus, the Tal or Tar of Bengal, and the Panna- 
maram of the Tamuls. In some parts of India, this tree grows 
spontaneously ; in others, it is cultivated with great care. When 
planted in a fertile soil, and of thirty years growth, it yields, according 
to Buchannan, callu or palm wine, from the llth of January to the 
llth of June. One active man is considered competent to manage 
forty trees. Previous to the bursting of the membrane which covers 
the flowering branch, called by botanists the spatha or spadix, the 
workman mounts the tree by means of a strap passed round his back^ 
and a rope round his feet, and bruises the part between two flat 

* Robertson s Ancient India, Appendix, p. 152. 


pieces of stick ; this is done for three successive mornings, and on 
each of the four following ones he cuts a thin slice from the top to 
prevent the spatlia from bursting. On the eighth morning, a clear 
sweet liquor begins to flow from the wound, which is collected in a 
pot suspended for that purpose. A good tree will discharge daily 
about three quarts of juice, which, if intended for drinking, will keep 
three days ; in the fourth, it becomes sour, and what is not sold or 
drunk is distilled into arrack. This exudation, if continued for three 
years, will kill the tree ; which, however, is generally considered as 
yielding more profit in this way, than if preserved for the sake of its 
nuts or for any other purpose. As there are different species of 
palm trees, there is a diversity of quality in their respective produce, 
which have accordingly distinct appellations among the natives; but to 
all of which the English apply the general name of Toddy, a corruption 
of the Mussulman common term Tart. The wild date (Elate Sylves- 
tris) the Mahometans call Sinday ; in the Carnatic language, Hinda ; 
and in the Telinga and Tamul dialects, callu. This latter term 
signifies thief, on account of its stealing away the senses. The Sinday 
is never drunk till after fermentation, which is soon effected by the 
influence of the sun, and then the liquor is exceedingly intoxicating. 
When distilled and rectified, it affords a good spirit. Toddy is con 
sidered as a cooling and extremely wholesome beverage, operating on 
some constitutions as a gentle cathartic. European soldiers use it in 
large quantities when they cannot get arrack, and render it more 
potent, according to Captain Mundy, by the addition of chillies.* In 
some parts of India, whole woods of the cocoa-tree are set apart for 
the purpose of procuring toddy, and the saccharine quality of the 
fluid is so great as to produce a yeast or barm, similar to that obtained 
from our malt worts. In the pots intended to receive juice to be boiled 
mtojaggory, (a kind of sugar to which it is occasionally converted,) a 
little quick lime is put to prevent fermentation, or absorb any acidity 
which might arise, and the juice must be boiled the same day on which 
it is taken from the tree. Twelve trees, on an average, daily fill a 
pot, which, when boiled down, gives six gallons of jaggory. In some 
places, the tori is used oidy for drinking ; but where it is very plenti 
ful, it is made into jaggory ; and the poor people use it as a substitute 
for that extracted from the sugar-cane. Forbes says, that three 
quarts of the tari produce a pound of sugar .f 

It is stated, that the wild date tree, from which toddy is extracted, 

* Pen and Pencil Sketches of India. f Oriental Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 452. 


was formerly very abundant in the dominions of the late Tippoo 
Sultan, who, observing that his subjects frequently debased them 
selves with tari, commanded all the trees to be cut down, and in 
places near the capital the order was strictly executed.* He even 
attempted the absolute prohibition of spirituous liquors. 

The order of Tippoo to destroy the palm tree is very extraordinary, 
as this tree has been held in great estimation, from the most remote 
period, both in Asia and Africa; while the followers of Mahomet 
believe it to be peculiar to those favoured countries in which his 
religion is professed, notwithstanding the prohibition in the Alcoran 
of the use of intoxicating drinks. " Honour the palm tree" says a 
Mahometan writer, " for she is your father s aunt," because, says he, 
"this tree was formed from the remainder of the clay from which 
Adam was created." Thus it would seem to have been considered 
a distinguished inhabitant of paradise, and a rival of the vine in its 
use and excellence. 

Heber tells us that the vine seemed to thrive well in some of those 
parts of India which he visited, and that the plants looked beautiful, 
but were not sufficiently trimmed, at least so close as to render them 

When Fitch, a London merchant, was in India, in 1583, he found 
the people well versed in the making of palm wine and its distilla 
tion. In 1644, Bennin met with arrack as a drink very familiar j 
and mentions a liquor called bouleponge, made of arrack, black sugar, 
juice of lemon, water, and a little muscadine. Sir Thomas Roe, who 
visited the Great Mogul, from the court of James the I., found pal- 
miso wine and cocoa milk in current use ; and at that time, the 
people appeared to be well acquainted with wine and various other 
sorts of drink. The cups, then in use, were of massive gold set with 
the most brilliant gems. These were usually handed to the visiter 
on a plate of the same metal : the one presented to Sir Thomas was 
adorned with about 2000 precious stones, and the gold of it weighed 
about twenty ounces. It was customary in those times to mix pearls 
and precious gems witli wine and other strong drink. A present of 
this kind was offered to Mr. Burnes, during his late tour through 
India, by Runjeet Sing, a native prince. 

In India, the sugar-cane is cultivated to a great extent. In the 
whole range from Decca to Delhi, says Heber, and thence through 

* Buchanan s Journey through the Mysore, vol. i. p. 56. 

f Heber s Narrative of a Journey thro the Upper Provinces of India, 2 vols. 4 to. 


the greater part of Rajpootana and Malwah, the raising of sugar is 
as usual a part of husbandry as that of turnips or potatoes in England ; 
and sugar is prepared in every form except the loaf. 

It was a practice among the Mogul monarchs, when in the splen 
dour of power, to have their elephants, usually amounting to 5000, 
fed on sugar and arrack. The Punjabee chiefs still feed their horses 
on sugar, and these animals are very spirited, and do not agree with 
any other food.* 

The jaggory, which is extracted from the sugar-cane, and from 
which the greater part of the native rum is manufactured, is thus 
procured. The canes are cut into pieces six inches long, and bruised 
in a mill ; the juice which flows from them is strained through a 
cotton cloth into a boiler, to which is added a certain quantity of 
lime water. When the evaporation has reduced it to a proper con 
sistence, it is put into a large pot to cool, then poured into a mould 
having a hundred holes, each in shape of a quadrilateral inverted 
pyramid. The frame being turned over, the balls fall out, and after 
being placed on leaves for a day, are exposed for sale, at a price 
varying from six to twelve shillings the hundred weight. Thus 
jaggory appears to contain both sugar and molasses, and resembles 
the product, which in Jamaica comes out of the cooler before it is 
taken to the curing house, being a little more inspissated, and requir 
ing about 37 gallons to the hundred weight. Heber, during his 
perigrination through the upper provinces, observed a very simple 
description of a machine for extracting sugar from the cane. It con 
sisted of a large vat under ground, covered with a stout platform, in 
the centre of which was a wooden cylinder, apparently the hollowed 
stump of a tree. In this was a strong piece of timber fixed as in a 
socket, turned round by a beam, to which two oxen were fastened. 
Behind the oxen, a man sat thrusting in pieces of cane, about a foot 
long, between the upright timber and its socket. These being 
crushed by the action of the timbers, the juice ran down into a vat 
below.j Stones would be preferable to this mode of grinding, on 
the principle of a common mill ; but they cannot be procured thereof 
a durable and proper quality: hence the article produced in the 
remote provinces is of a coarse description. The profit of jaggory 
either from the cane or the palm is equally divided between the farmer 
and the goverment. From palms alone, a considerable revenue is 
raised, the regulations for which differ in different districts. In one 

Jacquemont s Letters from India, vol. ii. p. 215. 
f Heber s Narrative vol. ii. p 252. 


place, when a person plants a garden, the trees are considered as his 
property, he paying one half of the produce to the state ; in another, 
they are let in lots at the rate of 40 per annum. Those are again 
farmed to some of the inferior villagers, who extract and distil the 
juices. Could the jaggory from the sugar cane, observes Buchanan, 
be generally converted either into a palatable spirituous liquor or 
into sugar, the barren plains of the Carnatic might be rendered pro 
ductive. The former suggestion appears to be not impracticable, and 
deserves attention in the way of experiment. If it should answer, 
the whole of the grain distilled in Europe might be saved for food.* 
On the same principle, Heber is of opinion that almost the whole of 
the Deccan might be cultivated with vines ; and that it would be wise 
in the British government to encourage a speculation of that kind, 
were it only for the purpose of obtaining a better beverage for the 
troops than the brandy now in use.f The grapes of Nusseerabad 
are said to equal those of Shiraz, and the vineyards there are become 
famous all over India : a sufficient encouragement to make the plan 
tation of the vine more general in that quarter. Such speculations 
would be well repaid by the employment of so vast a population as 
occupy those regions: 

Throughout the Carnatic, the distillation of rum or brandy is car 
ried on by a particular caste ; and the process observed in some of 
the provinces is described as follows. From the Topala, (Mimosa 
leucophlea,) a tree common in the country, the bark is taken and cut 
into chips, of which about four pounds are added to the twenty -four 
pounds and quarter of sugar-cane jaggory, with a quantity of water 
equal to twice the bulk of this sweet substance. The mixture is made 
in an earthen jar kept in the shade ; the fermentation, commencing in 
about twenty -four hours, is completed on the twelfth day, when the 
liquor is distilled by means of the following apparatus : The body of 
the still (a a a) is a strong earthen jar, capable of containing three 
times the bulk of the materials. On this is luted with cow-dung a 
copper head (b b b) having on the inside a gutter (c c) for collecting 
the vapour that has been condensed into spirit by a constant small 
stream of water, which falls on the head at (f). This water is conveyed 
away by the pipe (g), while the spirit is conducted into ajar by the pipe 
(d). The mode of condensing the spirit is very rude; and the liquor, whicli 
is never rectified by a second distillation, is execrable. The natives allege 
that the bark of the Topala, which is very insipid to the taste, is 

* Buchanan, vol. i. p. 6. f Heber, vol. iii. p. 123. 
t Buchanan, vol. i. p. 39, 


useful, by diminishing the too great sweetness of the jaggery. "To 
me, however," observes Buchanan, " it appears to be rather of use, by 
regulating the fermentation, which in such a warm climate would be 
apt to run suddenly into the acetous."* 

In the first volume of the Asiatic Researches, there is a description 
of a method of distillation practised at Chatra, in Ramgur, and other 
provinces in India, differing but little from that now described. 
Through the kindness of a gentleman for some years resident in that 
quarter, I have been favoured with the drawing of a still, which with 
the section of that used in the Mysore district, as above described, is 

When the material for distilling, whether rice, molasses, or the 
simple fermented juice of the cocoa-nut tree, is ready, a hole is dug 
in the earth suited to the size of the still or jar to be employed ; and 
level with the bottom of this hole there is an underground commu 
nication made for the purpose of feeding the fire with atmospheric 
air ; near the edge of the hole a chimney is erected, which serves as 
well for the supply of fuel, as for the discharge of smoke. A fire of 
dry wood is first kindled in the pit, and, when the ground is thoroughly 
heated,* the still is fixed in it, and so bound round with earth, that 

* This idea was probably taken from the ancient mode of baking bread in the 
East. Instead of what we call ovens, they dug a hole in the ground, in which 
they placed a kind of earthen pot, and to its interior surface, when sufficiently 
heated, thin cakes were stuck and speedily done. 


no heat can escape. When the jar begins to boil, and the steam to 
ascend, an Indian with a pot or kettle pours a gentle stream of water 
upon the head of the still already described, or on the broad and thin 
surface of a plate of tin or copper (Avith a gutter for the water to run 
off, represented above), which is fixed on a pan, with a hole in the 
bottom, luted to the neck of the still, and serving as a condenser. 
The extreme cold excited by the evaporation of the water on so 
broad a surface, occasions the vapour from the still to be immediately 
condensed, and to run in a trickling stream into the receiver. 

Maria Graham, in her Journal of a residence in India, thus des 
cribes the working of a native still, which she had an opportunity of 
observing. The still, says she, was simply constructed. Round a 
hole in the earth, a ledge of clay, four inches high, was raised with an 
opening about half a foot wide, for the purpose of feeding the fire. 
Upon the clay a large earthen pot was luted ; to its mouth was luted 
the mouth of a second pot ; and where they joined, an earthen spout, 
a few inches long, was inserted, which served to let off the spirit 
condensed in the upper jar, which was kept cool by a person pouring 
water constantly over it. When she went into the cottage, or still- 
house, she found a woman sitting with a child on one arm, and with 
the other she was cooling the still, by pouring water on it from a 
cocoa-nut shell ladle. The woman informed her that she sat at her 
occupation from sunrise to sunset without scarcely a change of posi 
tion ; and while they were talking, her husband entered the cottage 
laden with toddy for distilling. He was a bandari, or toddy -gatherer. 
On his head was the common gardener s bonnet, resembling in shape 
the cap seen on the statues and gems of Paris, and from his girdle 
were suspended the implements of his trade.* 

fin 1782, two gentlemen, named Crofts and Lennox, constructed a 
distillery at Sooksagur, near Calcutta, at which spirituous liquors were 
distilled in the European manner, and with all the improvements of 
the day. As these spirits were applied to all the purposes of Batavia 
arrack, the establishment was found to be of much benefit to the 
province of Bengal.f If such undertakings were encouraged by the 
East India Company, they would not only be a means of enrich 
ing individuals, but a source of considerable revenue, particularly 
in a country where there are such abundance of fruits and grain 
of every description, and where the population, exclusive of Euro 
peans, is estimated at 110,000,000; only ten millions of which 

* Foster s Journey from Bengal to England. 

f Journal of a Residence in India, 4to p. 25 and 2C. 


are Mahometans, who are not more strict in the observance of 
their religious duties than their brethren of the Ottoman empire. 
The Hindoos, it is well known, although forbidden to use ardent 
spirits, are not more abstemious in that respect than the natives 
of other countries. They account brandy an infallible medicine, 
and, under that impression, frequently rub their joints with this 
panacea. Even the Brahmins, whose ordinary drink should be water, 
sometimes run the risk of a loss of caste for an indulgence in 
the use of intoxicating liquors. Like the Turks, they drink in 
secret, and like them take every precaution to avoid detection ; but 
their hypocrisy is sometimes discovered, to the no small amusement of 
their neighbours. From Heber, we learn that, in opposition to their 
respective religious creeds, both the Hindoos and the Indian Maho 
metans are great drunkards ;* though, according to Hamilton, the 
civil as well as the ecclesiastical law forbids the use of wine and all 
distilled liquors. Duboisf relates an anecdote of a Brahmin 
in the village of Tanjore, whose house took fire, and he being the 
only person of that caste in the place, the inhabitants flocked from all 
quarters to assist in the removal of his effects ; but what was their 
astonishment, when, among other things, they discovered a large jar 
half full of arrack, with which this luxurious disciple of Vishnu had 
been in the habit of regaling. Tennant says that he, himself heard 
a Hindoo confess that he was drunk, who did not seem to be deserted 
by his companions on account of that misdemeanour. Notwith 
standing the weakness of some, the Brahmins of high caste are very 
scrupulous in taking wine. Heber found much difficulty in con 
quering the doubts of two of them who refused taking physic when 
dangerously ill, for fear of its being mixed with wine, declaring they 
would rather die than taste it. Intoxication amongst the natives is not 
common, but at the time of the Hoolee, or Hindoo carnival, the people 
of central India indulge in all kinds of riot and festivity, and men 
may be there seen inebriated, as in other parts of the world, on similar 

For what object laws were enacted in the East prohibitory of the 
use of all kinds of spirituous or intoxicating liquors, has not been 
explained on any civil or religious principle, whether for the sake of 
health, temperance, or morality. It is, however, a curious fact, that 
amidst the numerous class of gods in the Indian mythology, there 
is none to correspond with Bacchus, except Suraderi, the goddess of 
wine, who arose, say the Hindoos, from the ocean when it was 

" Narrative, vol. iii. p. 26 7. 

f Manners and Customs of the People of India. 4 to. 



churned with the mountain Mandar ; a notion which seems to indicate 
that the Indians came from a country in which wine was anciently 
made, and considered as a blessing ; though the dangerous effects of 
intemperance induced their early legislators to prohibit the use of all 
spirituous liquors.* Picart says, the most probable reason that can 
be given for the prohibition of wine is the high sense entertained for 
virtue by some ancient Brahmins, who had the greatest aversion to 
any thing that might contribute to plunge them into irregularities, or 
disorder the senses. They considered that drink as highly pernicious 
which would extinguish a man s reason, and therefore found them 
selves obliged to inspire the people whom they governed with similar 
sentiments. f 

The manufacture of arrack in India is carried on extensively ; a 
fine description is distilled at Goa, from the Toddy of the cocoa-nut 
trees which grow abundantly in the neighbourhood. It is sold in 
casks of 21 gallons each, and the price differs according to its quality ; 
but it is for the most part cheap. An idea of the importance of the 
arrack trade may be formed from the following account of the imports 
and exports of this article from part of the territory of Tippoo 
Sultan and other districts : 

In 1797. In 1798. In 1799. 

Leagers. Gallons. Leagers. Gallons. Leagers. Gallons. 
Imported from 

Colombo 16 75 210 10 75 

Batavia 73 32 1 1 

Cochin 42 97 12 25 43 

Anjengo 25 11 23 128 

Canara 2 3 

Exported in 1797, 20 18 25 28 12 

Imported by sea, from 1st January to 31st December, 1799, into 
the Pye Nada District, viz. : 

Arrack, 485 canad. Cochin arrack, 4 leagers. Country arrack, 4 leagers. 
96^ leagers, 4 pipes, 1 1 pipes. 

31 casks, 2 casks, 392 canad. 

15 kegs, 92 bottles, 

17^ cases, Cohimbo arrack 16^ leagers, Rum, . . . 2 chests. 

5 jars, 5 casks, 20 cases. 

21 pipes, 4 kegs, Gin, . . 37 do. 

Brandy, . 14 dozen, 7 pipes, 

2 casks, 1 5,000 bottles, 

29 cases, 

Exported in 1799 and 1800, from the above district : 

Arrack, 36|- leagers, Rum, 4 pipes, 4 casks Arrack. 

16 kegs, 1 chest, 2 chests brandy. 
150 bottles, Rum, shrub, 2 boxes, Col. Arrack, 15 leagers. 

Brandy, 7 chests, 30 gallons.; 

Gin, 53 cases, Gin, 10 chests. 

* Vide An Essay on the gods of Greece, Italy, and India, in the Asiatic 
Researches, vol. i. p. 250. 

f Picart s Religious Ceremonies, vol. iii, p. 274. 


The value of the wine and spirits imported from the eastern islands 
into the ports of Bengal, Fort St. George, and Bombay, from 1814 
to 1818, amounted to 1,359,884 rupees.* And of the same articles 
it has been computed that a quantity valued at not less than 9,196,221 
rupees, had been imported into those places from the united kingdom.f 
In the six years ending 5th January, 1820, the free trading ships appear 
to have imported into all parts of India, of beer and ale, 6,282,214 
gallons, valued at 535,358 8s. 5d. ; of British spirits, 24,808^ 
gallons, valued at 16,997 5s. ; of foreign spirits, 907,255 gallons, 
valued at 195,937 Is. Id. ; and of wines 1,351,365 gallons, valued 
at 375,379 9s. Id.J The Company s ships imported of beer and 
ale from 1814 to 1818, 291 hogsheads, valued at 2057. From 
China, 98,099 rupees worth of wine and spirits, exclusive of the 
Company s trade, were also imported into Bengal, Fort St. George, 
and Bombay, during that time ;|| while the export of wine and spirits 
from those places to the eastward and other islands in the same period 
stands as follows : 

In 1814-15, to the value of 425,436 rupees. 

1815-16, do. 293,720 do. 

1816-17, do. 217,354 do. 

1817-18, do. 267,654 do. 

In 1810 were exported from Calcutta to Rangoon, 3,000 gallons of 
rum alone ;f and from 1815 to 1818, there were 794 pipes of Madeira 
wine, valued at 19,290 sicca rupees, and other liquors to the 
amount of 4,840 rupees, carried from this quarter by American 
traders.** For further information the reader is referred to the table 
of imports given in this work at the conclusion of the observations on 
the spirit trade of China. A very considerable commerce is carried on, 
through different parts of India, in the article of jaggory, or native sugar, 
and the imports and exports of it in the Mysore prove highly advanta- 
geous.ff The distillation of the flowers of the Mahwah or Madhuca 
tree (bassa latifolia,) affords a branch of important trade. The 
people of Bahar make a strong spirit from them, which they sell so 

* Parliamentary Report, No. 476, p. 316. The intrinsic value of the Bengal 
sicca rupee is 24d. 566; Madras rupee, 23d. 247 ; and of the Bombay rupee, 23d 
004, the common or average value of which is 23d. 606 ; but to avoid fractions, say 
2s. the rupee. 

f Vide Report, p. 238 and 239. J Ibid. p. 32225. 

Ibid., p. 336. || Ibid. p. 240. 

^[ Franklin s Tracts on the Dominions of Ava, 8vo. 1811. 

** Parliamentary Report, p. 345. 

ft For a more particular account of these matters, see Buchanan s Journey 
through the countries of the Mysore, Canara, and Malabar, 3 vols. 4to, 


very cheap, that upwards of an English pint may be purchased for one 
half-penny, and the most seasoned drunkard can intoxicate himself for 
that sum.* The tree is nearly the size of an oak, which it strongly 
resembles ; its flowers fall towards the end of February, the juice of 
which is fermented and used in various ways. The part chosen from 
which to collect the juice, is the calix or bulb that supports the petals, 
which are of a pale pink colour. When dried, it resembles a small 
raisin both in appearance ami flavour, and tastes like that of Malaga. 
The flowers of the Mahwah differ considerably from those of every 
other tree, bearing a striking likeness to berries, and falling spontane 
ously as they ripen. They are then gathered and dried in the sun. 
Vast quantities of those flowers are consumed during the Hoolee, or 
great Indian carnival, and are conveyed in common with grain and 
other commodities, and sold in various parts of India. Besides their 
inebriating qualities, they form a considerable portion of the sustenance 
of the wilder tribes of the Bheels, who, as well as the low castes of 
Rajpoots, distil them into arrack. The Bengalese also manufacture 
from them a good spirit. The flowers, whether eaten dressed or raw, 
are good nutritive food ; and from them is expressed a kind of oil 
resembling ghee, or clarified butter, with which it is often mixed. 
This oil is frequently burned in lamps, and applied as a salve in cuta 
neous diseases. A more extensive cultivation of the Mahwah could 
not fail of being attended with many advantages in different parts of 
central India, and might be equally as profitable to the natives, as the 
Agave to the Mexicans, even were it merely for the purpose of distil 
lation, independent of its other valuable properties.! As it is, the 
government raises a considerable revenue from it, retaining a right to 
the fruit and timber. In the opinion of Sir William Jones, were the 
sale of the liquor which it affords duly restrained by law, it might be 
applied to sundry serviceable purposes. The same observation is 
applicable to the drink made from toddy, the vending of which, from 
want of being properly regulated, renders it so common and cheap 
that it has been contemptuously called pariah arrack, on account of 
its being a favourite with the lowest order, or pariahs, who rank 
among the meanest castes of India. It is not, however, determined, 
whether the term pariah arrack be used generally to imply an infe 
rior and adulterated spirit, or is only applicable to that liquor with 
which Ganga, (cannabis satwa) and a species of Datura have been 
compounded. At Lahore, drink is taken by weight, and Burnes 

* Asiatic Researches, vol. i. p. 303. Oriental Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 452. 
t Malcolm s Memoirs of Central India, vol. ii. p. 47. 


relates that the prince Rnnjeet Sing usually took about eight pice ; 
at one entertainment, he saw him quaff the measure of eighteen 
pice.* Of this chief it is said that he felt greatly annoyed that he 
could not drink like a fish without being drunk, nor eat like an ele 
phant and escape a surfeit.f His favourite beverage was a spirit 
distilled from Cabul grapes, which is very fiery, and stronger than 
brandy. It is told of one of the Mogul monarchs that he was accus 
tomed to drink upwards of twenty cups a day a quantity equal to 
five wine-bottles of our measure. 

Some of the tribes call spirits Jire water, probably from the circum 
stance of their being easily ignited. Jacquemont,f when in the Thibe- 
tian mountains, was surrounded with a number of the natives, who, 
on seeing him burn a little brandy on a lump of sugar and afterwards 
drink it, exclaimed that he was drinking fire, and must therefore be 
the devil.J 

The different kinds of grain cultivated in the Nepaul territory, 
afford ample materials for making intoxicating drink ; and hence we 
find the various tribes, occupying that region, are much addicted 
to inebriety. So strong are their propensities in this respect, that 
they make offerings in some of their temples to the priests, who repre 
sent their deities, of a portion of their favourite drinks, which they 
quaff out of human sculls, and so largely, as to caus& them to dance 
furiously ; an extravagance often attributed to inspiration. A beve 
rage termed phaur, made from rice or wheat, is brewed much in the 
same manner as our ale wlu ch it strongly resembles, and is in consi 
derable repute ; and, according to Hamilton, the wheat and barley 
are reared for the express purpose of making spirituous liquors. At 
some of the marts where rice or mumma, salt, extract of sugar-cane, 
hogs, dried fish, tobacco, cloths, bang, opium, and other articles are 
sold, inebriating beverages form no inconsiderable portion of the 

As bees are numerous in the north of India, vast quantities of 
honey are collected, and the mode of doing so is without that cruelty 
towards the insect which is the practice in other countries. The 
cottages have either hollow trunks of trees or cylindrical earthen pots 
built into the walls in such a manner, that while the insects have 
access through perforations on the outside to construct their cells, and 

* A small copper coin. Burne Travels, vol. i. p. 30. 
f Jacquemont s Letters from India, vol. ii. p. 22. 
% Ibid. vol. i. p. 271. 
Hamilton s Account of Nepaul, 4to, 


deposit their stores, the cottagers within can open and shut the hive 
at pleasure, by different simple contrivances, such as a lifting shutter 
or sliding door. When the hive has arrived at maturity, the bees 
are expelled by a great noise made at the inner extremity which 
drives them out, and by means of a secret valve they are prevented 
returning until the whole of the honey has been removed. Materials 
are thus easily procured for domestic purposes, as well as for various 
drinks, both cooling and nutritive. 

Fraser, in his tour, informs us, that the people residing among the 
hills at the foot of the Himaleh mountains, make intoxicating liquors 
from grain and other materials, and that they procure from the 
grapes common to the country two sorts of strong drink, one of 
a superior kind used by the higher classes and called sihec, fermented 
in the usual manner ; the other is prepared by pouring hot water on 
the residue of the fruit, fermented and distilled by means of an 
apparatus of a very rude construction.* At Cursalee, on the Jumna, 
lie observed that they intoxicated themselves with a sort of beer 
brewed from grain and particular roots which they sharpened with 
pepper. During his stay there, he witnessed the ceremony attendant 
on the bathing of the images of their gods in the waters of the Jumna. 
The concourse of people was immense ; they danced in the most 
grotesque and savage manner, to the sound of strange music under 
the influence of their liquors, a multitude of men taking hands, some 
times in a circle, sometimes in a line, beating time with their feet, 
bending and distorting their bodies in various ways. The men kept 
dancing all the day, and in the evening were joined indiscriminately 
by the women, who supported the dancing and revelry till the night 
was far advanced. This frantic kind of worship was continued for 
several successive days, and mostly ended with the exhaustion of 
their liquor s.f 

The people inhabiting the Garrow hills, north east of Bengal, 
though extremely rude and uncultivated, have, according to Mr, 
Elliott, various sorts of drinks ; but that most in use is drawn from 
rice soaked in water three or four days. From the kebul, a tree 
resembling the palmira, a fine spirit might be made, as it possesses 
much saccharine matter ; but the inhabitants are too ignorant to 
appreciate its value and turn it to good account.! 

* Tour to the Sources of the Rivers Jumna and Ganges. 
f Tour to the Jumna and Ganges, p. 492. 
$ Asiatic Researches, vol. iii. p. 22. 


In Cashmere, a good wine is made resembling Madeira, and 
brandy is distilled, which, according to Jacquemont, resembles a 
mixture of bad Anisette, with indifferent Kirchenwasser. The vines, 
particularly in the gardens, are gigantic, and some of them, though 
young, have been found to measure two feet in circumference.* 

The Afghanistans prepare a strong drink from the milk of sheep, 
which is said to possess a very invigorating property ."f These people 
are not wholly dependent on this species of liquor, since the Greeks 
and Armenians, who settled in that country, distil spirits and make 
wine to a considerable extent. About Cabul, grapes are so plentiful 
as to admit of exportation ; and cattle are fed on them for three 
months in the year. Of the Afghanistan grapes there are ten diffe 
rent kinds. The best grow on frame works ; the inferior are suffered 
to creep on the ground. Pruning takes place in the beginning of 
May. The people of Cabul convert the grape into more uses than 
the inhabitants of almost any other country ; they employ its juice 
in roasting meat, and during meals have grape-powder for a pickle. 
This powder is made by drying unripe grapes and pounding them 
afterwards : it looks like Cayenne pepper, and has a pleasant taste. 
Grapes are often purchased for a half-penny a pound, large quantities 
are preserved as raisins, and grape sirup is in great consumptio . 
In the city of Cabul, during the month of May, the Falodish is in 
high estimation. This is a white jelly strained from wheat and drunk 
with sherbet and snow. There are no date trees at Cabul, but they 
are to be found about Candahar and Pashawur, yet the people are 
ignorant of extracting from them any intoxicating material. In 
Afghanistan, the grains of a species of rice are so long, that fourteen 
of them are said to make a span. 

The vines in some parts of Afghanistan are not cut or pruned, but 
allowed to ascend the highest trees ; and they are sometimes found 
growing on lilyoaks about eighty feet from the ground. Tiie grapes 
thus produced are inferior to those reared on frame work. The 
amor patricB is so prevalent here, that every one conceives his own 
nation to be superior to all others. Hence the emperor Babu, 
whose memory is still held in the greatest respect in Cabul, thought 
no portion of the world equal to his own, and used exultingly to say, 
" This climate is extremely delightful, and there is no such place in 
the known world. Drink wine in the citadel of Cabul, and send 
round the cup without stopping, for it is at once a mountain, a sea, a 
town, and a desert." 

Forster s Journey, &c. vol. ii p. 21. Jacqucmont s Letters. 
f Elphinstone s Account of Cabul, &c. 4to. p. 236. 


In Cabiil, the Armenians are the principal dealers and manufac 
turers of intoxicating drinks, but the present governor, with the best 
intentions, lias put an end to the Armenian influence by a strict pro 
hibition of wine and spirits. Hence the Armenians, together with 
the Jews, have fled to other countries, as they had no means of sup 
port but that of distilling spirits and manufacturing wine. Previous 
to this edict, 40 bottles of wine or 10 of brandy might have been 
purchased for a rupee. 

Among the fruits of Bokhara, melons are in the highest estimation ; 
water-melons in particular have a superior flavour, and grow to such 
an enormous size, that twenty people may feast on one, and two of 
them are said to form a load for a donkey : they afford a delicious 
cooling beverage. In that country, there is a curious and common 
substitute for sugar, called Turunjubeen. It is a saccharine gum 
which exudes from the well-known shrub called camel s -thorn, or the 
Khari-Shootur. Towards the end of August, when this shrub is in 
flower, it may be seen in the morning covered with drops like dew, 
which, when shaken into a cloth placed beneath the bush, is the Tur- 
^mjubeen. Some hundred maunds of it are collected annually, and 
the whole sweet -meats of the country are prepared with it. From its 
nature and properties, it strongly reminds us of the manna given to 
the Israelites. 

From grape jelly, or sirup mixed with chopped ice, the Bokha- 
rians draw what they term rahut ijan, or the delight of life. Here 
ice is an indispensable article : in winter, it is stored in pits, and sold 
in warm weather at a very low price. No one drinks water in 
Bokhara without icing it, and a beggar may be seen purchasing it, 
while he proclaims his poverty and implores the charitable bounty of 
the passengers. The water, which the king drinks, is brought in 
skins under the charge and seals of two officers. It is opened by the 
vizier, first tasted by the people, and then by himself, when it is 
once more sealed and despatched to the king. The daily meals of 
his majesty undergo a like scrutiny ; the minister eats, he gives to 
those around him ; they wait the lapse of an hour to judge of the 
effect, when they are locked up and despatched. His majesty has 
one key and his ministers another. Fruit, sweet-meats, drinks, and 
every eatable, undergo the same examination. 

In Bokhara, there is a disease called the Mokkom or Kolee, a kind 
of leprosy that renders the skin dry and shrivelled, the hair of the 
body falls off, the nails and teeth drop out, and the whole frame 
assumes a horrible appearance. This disease is prevalent in the rice 
districts, and is said to be caused by the use of bouza> a strong drink 
distilled from black barley. 


Honey is abundant in Bokhara and the adjacent countries ; but it 
is not much employed as an ingredient in the beverages. Captain 
Burnes states that he observed bees feed on mutton, that in winter 
they are often supported with flesh instead of sugar ; that which he 
saw given to them was fresh ; and he adds, that they sometimes 
attacked dried fish. 

Throughout the whole continent of India, the people are well 
acquainted with the different virtues of all the species of palm. Of 
these, the cocoa-nut tree (cocos nucifera) is the mos tvaluable, as it not 
only affords food but a large supply of toddy, though not in so great 
a quantity as the palmira. The date tree (phoenix ductylifera)^ the 
Tamar of the Hebrews, yields toddy also, but neither so much nor of 
so good a quality as that which is produced by the other species of 
palm. This tree, as well as those of the same genus, has been the 
subject of great research and investigation with many eminent 
writers, of whom Larcher, in his learned notes on Herodotus, has 
been elaborate ; after him Pontedora, Tournefort, and Ksempfer may 
be consulted ; the latter, in his Amcenitates Exoticse, has been happily 
minute in illustrating this portion of natural history. 

The skill and ingenuity which the inhabitants of India gene 
rally display in making intoxicating beverages from the produce 
of their trees, as well as from other portions of the vegetable 
kingdom, have been clearly exemplified ; and the ease with which 
they are procured, and the habits, therefore, which their use 
has engendered, have tended much to the injury of Europeans 
and natives, both in a moral and physical point of view. Dr. Bucha 
nan, however, has questioned this, particularly as repects health; and 
observes, that intoxication is less frequently a cause of disease, than is 
usually alleged ; it chiefly, he says, proves injurious to the health of 
our seamen and soldiers in warm climates, by making them impru 
dently expose themselves to other causes of sickness. " The two 
persons in my service," continues the Doctor, " that are most subject 
to fevers are my interpreter and painter, although from their situ 
ation in life, they are exempted from all hardships ; but from their 
caste, they ought not to taste spirituous liquors, and are really sober 
men. At the same time, a man who takes care of my tents, although 
he is exposed to all weathers, and at times to much fatigue, enjoys 
perfect health, probably keeps off the fever by copiously drinking 
spirituous liquors, to the use of which he is exceedingly addicted." 
But with all due respect for the Doctor s opinion, this example should 
not be received as a precedent, because it is well known, that those 
who are addicted to a slavish use of ardent spirits, are more subject to 


disease, tlian those who use them with moderation. In India, as in 
Europe, where the cholera morbus has been so fatal in its effects, it 
has been proved that drunken and dissipated characters were the first 
and most numerous victims of that terrible disease. 

"Drinking spirituous liquors," says Heber, "is highly injurious to 
our soldiery in India. Nothing can be more foolish, or in its effects 
more pernicious, than the manner in which spirits are distributed 
among the troops. Early every morning a pint of fiery, coarse, undi 
luted rum is given to every man ; and half that quantity to every 
woman ; this the greater part of the new comers abhor in the first 
instance ; or would, at all events, if left to themselves, mix with 
water. The ridicule of their seasoned companions, however, deters 
them from doing so, and a habit of the worst kind of intemperance is 
acquired in a few weeks, more fatal to the army than the swords of 
the Jats, or the climate of the Burmese. If half the quantity of 
spirits, well watered, were given at a more seasonable hour, and, to 
compensate for the loss of the rest, a cup of strong coffee were allowed 
to each man every morning, the men would be quite as well pleased, 
and both their bodies and souls preserved from many dreadful evils."* 

Captain Mundy, who had a good opportunity of forming a correct 
opinion of the matter, says, that many a liver complaint, laid to the 
charge of an Indian climate, owes its origin to this lava-like potation ; 
alluding to the general use of arrack, and its cheapness unfortunately 
adds to its fascinating qualities, which are further heightened by an 
infusion of chillies, to render it the more intoxicating.f Speaking 
on this subject, Hamilton observes, that one cause of the prevention 
of the spread of Christianity in India, may have been occasioned by 
the dissolute lives of some of the early Christians ; and the clergy not 
only indulging in the use, but actually trafficking in the sale of arrack ; 
a practice equally obnoxious to the Brahmins and Mahometans.^: 

The kingdom of Thibet, although not so early known to Europeans 
as some other eastern countries, yet we were partially acquainted with 
it from the visit of Marco Polo. He observed that the Thibetians 
had no wine, but an excellent drink made from corn or rice, flavoured 
with various spices. Oderic, in 1318, found bread and rice-wine in 
that country in abundance. Turner, in the account of his embassy 
to the Teshoo Lama, makes us more familiar with the arts, manners, 
and customs of the Thibetians. They cultivate wheat, barley, and 

Heber s Narrative, vol. iii .p. 201. 
f Pen and Pencil Sketches in India, vol. ii. p. 215. 
$ Vide Hamilton s Account of the East Indies. 


rice, although the state of agriculture is not by any means in a 
flourishing condition. They extract from rice or wheat, a drink 
which is called chong : this beverage is prepared by an infusion of 
grain in a state of fermentation ; wheat, rice and barley are used 
indiscriminately. To a given quantity of grain, is added rather more 
water than will completely cover it ; and the mixture is placed over 
a slow fire till it begins to boil. It is then taken up, the water drained 
off, and the residue spread on mats, or coarse cloths, to cool. When 
cold, a ball called bakka, composed of the blossoms of the cacalia 
saracenica of Linnaeus, is crumbled over the grain and mixed with 
it. The common proportion is one of these balls, about the size of a 
nutmeg, to two pounds of the grain. After this process, the grain is 
put into baskets lined with leaves, and slightly pressed down with 
the hand, so as to squeeze out the superfluous moisture It is then 
covered with leaves and cloths to defend it from the air, and put into 
a place moderately warm, where it is allowed to remain for three 
days. At the end of this period, it is put into earthen jars, when cold 
water is poured on the top in the proportion of a tea-cup full, to 
every gallon of grain, and the top of the jar is made close with a strong 
compost of stiff clay. In this state it remains for at least three days, 
before any of it is taken out for use ; but, if suffered to continue 
longer, it improves by age. When chong is wanted, a quantity of 
this fermented mass is put into a capacious vessel on which boiling 
water is poured, until it is completely covered by it. The whole is 
well stirred together, and, after remaining a short time to settle, a 
small basket of wicker work is thrust into the centre, and the infu 
sion called chong immediately drains through and fills the empty 
space with the liquor. The drink is then distributed to those around 
by the segment of a gourd fastened upon a staff in the form of a ladle ; 
each person holding a shallow wooden cup on the points of his fingers 
for its reception. This liquor is accounted pleasing and grateful, 
having a slightly acid taste, but possessing little intoxicating quali 
ties. From the nature of this liquor and the peculiar manner of 
making it, it is evident that the invention is purely oriental, as there 
is nothing in Europe of a similar description from which any idea of 
such a manufacture could have been borrowed. Chong is also used 
for distillation, and from it a very powerfully inebriating spirit is. 
drawn, termed arra, The apparatus employed for this purpose must 
appear, from an examination of the annexed plate and a perusal of its 
description, to be of a simple and rude construction. Chong, or arra, is 
always served to visiters, both on their arrival and at their departure, 


without regard to the hour, and, contrary to the practice of Japan and 
China, it is never drunk warm.* 


A. An earthen vessel, in which the chong is placed, immediately over the fire. 

B. Another without a bottom. 

. C. A smaller earthen vessel, which is the recipient. 

D. An iron basin filled with cold water, renewed occasionally as it grows warm, 
and may be termed the condenser. 

e e e. Three cross staves of wood on which the recipient is placed. 

The junction of three vessels, A, B, and D, being secured with cotton bandages 
and clay lute, a fire is lighted under A, which contains the chong. The spirit 
rises through B, is condensed upon the convex bottom of the basin D, and the 
spirit arra is received into the smaller vessel C. 

f. The fire-place g g g. openings over the fire for the reception of a similar 

Turner s Embassy, 4to. p. 343. 


The religion of the country confines the consumption of cfiong and 
arra to the laity, as those who assume the rohe of Gylong, or priest, 
are bound to abstain from every sort of inebriating drink, as well as 
from animal food, lest they should be the indirect cause of putting an 
end to the existence of any creature. This privation seems to have 
been felt by Gyeung, the mother of the infant Lama, who, when 
entertaining Mr. Turner, at the monastery of Terpaling, complained 
that while nursing the young pontiff, she was not allowed to use any 
kind of fleshmeat, or exhilrating liquor. 

In Bootan, Turner observed thriving crops of wheat and barley, 
and a small grain which he does not designate by any name, from 
which a fermented liquor is made. In this country, the traveller is 
always found with a buffalo s horn slung across his shoulders filled with 
arra to regale himself, whilst struggling among the acclivities of this 
mountainous region. The Rajah of Bootan, the high priest, or pope 
of the country, when he invited Mr. Turner to an entertainment at 
the palace of Tassisudon, declined tasting wine, being contrary to 
the rules of his sacred order ; but here, as elsewhere, human weak 
ness is observable; for claret and raspberry jam, having been left by 
Mr. Turner as a trial of the Lama s virtue, it soon disappeared, and 
application was made a few days after for a fresh supply of the wine ; 
certainly, as the writer observes, with no intention that it should be 
reserved among the relics. Before a battle, the soldiers of Bootan 
take copious draughts of chong or arra, having previously charged 
their stomachs with an ample meal of substantial food. This drink is 
here usually taken warm, a practice recommended for imitation, 
whenever heat and fatigue lead to intemperate thirst. In Bootan, 
the people seem unacquainted with mead, although bees and honey 
abound. So domesticated are these insects, that the honeycombs hang 
from the balconies of the houses clear of the walls, seldom exceed 
ing six inches in thickness and sometimes three or four feet long. 
The bees are not suffered to be disturbed, the Rajah conceiving that 
their labour is employed for the benefit of the community, in laying 
up a stock which serves to rear their young, and as a resource 
when they cease to find food abroad. " Were I," said he, " avail 
ing myself of superior power, to deprive them of this store, accumu 
lated for their future support, how could I expect to enjoy unmo 
lested, that of which I am myself possessed ?" Hence the religious 
protection they experience. 

Although the vine, it may be generally observed, forms no part of 
the common agriculture of the East Indies, yet delicious grapes are 
found to grow luxuriantly in many of the provinces ; those of Malwa 


have been long celebrated, and the wine made at Nishapore is con 
sidered excellent. The grapes of Cabul yield a liquor no way infe 
rior to many of the wines of Europe. Even on the northern slope of 
the Himaleh mountains, reaching towards Thibet, grapes are indi 
genous, and grow in the open fields without any care, save that of 
preserving them from the depredations of the bears. In flavour and 
delicacy, they vie with any hot-house grapes of England ; and are of 
two sorts, white and red. 

In the Birman empire are several kinds of palms ; wheat is com 
mon, and of good quality, in different districts of the country ; the 
cocoa-nut and sago-palm grow wild ; rice and sugar-canes are to be 
met with every where ; vines are found in the forests, and though 
they are at present inferior to those of Italy, Spain, or Portugal, yet 
it is asserted, that the inferiority is owing to want of proper cultiva 
tion. No wheat is reared in Pegu ; but bread made from rice is a 
common article of food: wine from the latter grain, such as is found 
in many other parts of the East, is here familiar, and from which the 
monarch draws a portion of his revenue. Sugar, although it might be 
plentiful in Pegu, and a spirit made from it, yet the elephants are 
permitted to consume the canes with so little restraint, as to render 
its produce unavailable. Here, and in other parts of India, the ele 
phant makes nightly excursions into the plantations ; and when once 
allowed to do so with impunity, he constantly repeats his destructive 
visits. In some places, when the marks of the animal s feet are disco 
vered, in order to prevent a repetition of these predatory incursions, 
sugar-canes filled with bruised fruit, of which this animal is fond, are 
placed in Ms way ; a quantity of poison is infused in the pulpy matter ; 
the outside of the canes is marked with salt, to which the elephant is 
very partial, and having gratified himself by feeding on these mate 
rials, he either dies from their effects, or is so intoxicated that he 
becomes an easy prey to the people. As the Peguesc profess the 
worship of crocodiles, their common drink is the waters of the ditches 
in which those rapacious animals live, though they are often devoured 
by them. A liquor distilled from the cocoa-nut is used in some parts 
of Pegu which differs little from common arrack : this drink is fer 
mented and preserved in well-glazed earthen jars, some of which, 
according to Hamilton, are so capacious as to contain two hogsheads. 
Another description of liquor, very agreeable to the palate, is made 
from juice drawn by incision from a tree called Annipa or Niper, and 
hence termed Niper wine. From Syrian, the Peguese export rice-wine 
of their own manufacture. The city of Pegu receives much of its orna 
ment from the numerous cocoa trees with which the sreets are tastefully 


planted, and while they afford the citizens a supply of fruit, serve as 
a cooling shade from the scorching heat of a vertical sun. Through 
out the whole of the Birman empire, the chief spirit in use is shou 
chouy or that description of ardent liquor wlu ch is distilled in China. 
Symes says, that he met with no other, and that it appeared to him a 
very fiery, deleterious spirit.* More recent visiters met with several 
kinds of wines among the Burmese, and, at the entertainments of the 
higher orders, drinks are served up in small jars, out of which they 
are poured into gold cups, richly embossed with figures and orna 
ments of different descriptions ; amongst some of which were 
observed the twelve signs of the zodiac. These cups, when filled, 
are usually presented by the attendant in a crouching posture, for an 
inferior to stand before a superior is deemed insulting : and when 
water is presented with the liquor, it is taken from a jar of cold 
water, wrapped in a plantain leaf to keep it more cool. During 
the late war with Great Britain, it was found that the Burmese had a 
great predilection for spirits, and would rather be recompensed for 
any exertion by a little English gin or brandy, than with money. 
" Bevandi, pay, tekein" (Give some brandy, prince !) was the con 
stant request; and so much has this request taken root, that it will 
require many regal edicts to make them again abstemious. 

By the laws of Alomprah, the founder of the present empire, 
intoxication was punishable with death ; but, during the prevalence of 
cholera, spirits being deemed useful in checking its progress, the 
interdict was taken off, but again put in force when the disease 

Late travellers have described the remains of religious edifices in 
Pegu and Ava of the pyramidal form ; and of sphinxes, griffins, mer 
maids, crocodiles, and other templar ornaments, so resembling those 
of Egypt, as to lead to the inference that there was a former connex 
ion between the religion of the ancient inhabitants on the banks of 
the Nile and the Buddhists of the East. This is a corroboration 
of what has been already advanced, that the eastern parts of Asia had 
the precedency of the west in a knowledge of the arts; and it is fur 
ther confirmed by the paintings that have been found in some of their 
ancient pagodas, far excelling any thing of the kind at present among 
the Burmese ; while no modern architectural edifice in those coun 
tries can bear a comparison with the structures of modern times, 
notwithstanding the progress of civilisation and the mechanical 

* Symes s Embassy to Ava, 8vo. vol. ii. p. 307. t Two years in Ava, 
8vo. p. 307. 


improvements in other parts of the world a proof that, while we 
have been advancing through their discoveries, they have been retro 

Arrack is drunk in Siam ; but its consumption, as well as its manu 
facture, is confined to the Chinese resident in that country. The pri 
vilege for its distillation brings to the government a sum of 460,000 
ticals, or 57,500 per annum, for the whole kingdom. The greater 
portion of arrack is distilled at Bankok, the capital ; and the rest at 
thirteen other principal towns of the kingdom. The tax on arrack is 
farmed ; hence its amount has been ascertained with a considerable 
degree of accuracy. The following detail will shew the relative impor 
tance of some of the towns at which it is distilled : 


Bankok, or Bangkok ..* "-- l ,T - 144,000 

Yuthia, (the old capital) V 1 . . 48,000 

Sohair, . . . . . . 8,000 

Tachin, 8,000 

Raheng, 8,000 

Kampeng, . . , , . . 8,000 

Chainat, , 1,600 

Lanceang, (capital of Laos) ... 24,000 

Korat in Lao, ... . . . 16,000 

Kanburi, 1,600 

Champon, 2,400 

Patyn, . . . . . . 1,600 

Chaia, 640 

Talung, o . . . . 2,400 

Besides this, there is likewise a tax on fruit trees. At Penang, 
among the duties levied are those on opium, spirits, and hemp used 
as an intoxicating drug. Here the distillation of arrack from rice is 
conducted, but not to any great extent. Tannasserim is celebrated 
for its Niper wine, or rather for the spirits distilled from it, and 
which is considered the best in the East. The Siamese, being strict 
followers of Buddha, like the Mahometans do not indulge in the 
pleasures of intoxication, strictly fulfilling the fifth commandment of 
their religion, which is, " you shall not drink intoxicating liquor, nor 
any substance calculated to intoxicate." Still, however, there are 
amongst them many who, like their fellow-mortals in other parts 
of the world, forget, not only the principles of their religion, but that 
respect which they owe to themselves and to society. Mr. Finlay- 
son, when there in 1822, remarked, that ardent spirits were fre 
quently taken at meals undiluted, but not to such extent as to cause 
inebriety. Most of their liquors are taken warm ; and they assign as 
a reason for using it in that state, that cooling remedies are deadly, 


from a belief that heat is a principle of life. Mr. Crawford is of 
opinion, that a strong passion for arrack, notwith standing the prohi 
bition against it and vinous liquors, appears nowhere more general, 
than amongst the lay Siamese; and although their Talapoins or 
priests, are enjoined to abstain from the use of wine, or intoxicating 
drugs, yet he suspects they are subject to a similar infirmity. They 
freely partake of tobacco and the preparation of betel and areca, 
from which he concludes that they secretly indulge in all these for 
bidden luxuries. The government feigns to take considerable care 
to enforce the observance of the prohibitory law ; but it is certain 
that they wink at its infringement, in a manner very discreditable, 
since they receive the duty not only on its manufacture but on its 
sales. No present is more acceptable to the lower classes than a 
supply of ardent spirits; yet upon the whole, the Siamese are a mode 
rate and temperate people.* The use of the areca and betel-nut is more 
extensive here than in any other part of the east, exceeding even 
in this respect the consumption in Malay. Rich in all the valuable 
productions of nature, Siam lias vast advantages; rice is cultivated 
to great extent, and the sugar-cane affords employment to an immense 
portion of the population. The strength of the soil maybe conceived 
from the enormous size of its yams, one of which was found to weigh 
4741bs. and to measure nine and a half feet in circumference. The 
sugar-cane in Siam has been known from the earliest period ; but its 
culture, in reference to useful and extensive purposes, was little 
attended to before 1810. This favorable change was wholly owing 
to the industry and enterprise of the Chinese settlers, resulting from 
various concessions yielded to them. In 1822, they exported to the 
extent of 60,000 piculs, or about 8,000,0001bs. of sugar, esteemed, 
from its whiteness and flavour, the best in India : this article now 
meets a ready sale in China, the western parts of Hindostan, Persia, 
Arabia, and even in Europe. The canes planted in June are cut in 
December, and the sugar brought to market at Bankok, in January. 
The cultivators of the cane are always Siamese ; but the manufac 
turers of the sugar are invariably Chinese. From some districts, palm 
sugar is largely exported, and such is the abundance of grain, that a 
farmer expects forty-fold for the seed which he sows, and he would 
consider thirty-fold but an indifferent crop. Some of the rigid 
Siamese priests consider that the punishment in the other world, for 
the crime of drinking, shall be to have a stream of melted copper 
poured perpetually down the throat. From the flourishing state of 
: .- "I < ." . .tf^i; L ^1 : : >v -- 

* Crawford s Embassy. 


the sugar plantations, the ingenious Chinese will, no dou1|| manufac 
ture rum from the molasses and render it a staple commodity. The 
chief food in use with the Siamese is rice, and of this, there are several 
kinds, such as white, red, coarse, and fine. Countrymen alone eat 
red rice ; the black is only used mixed with sugar, and the pulp of 
the cocoa nut scraped over it. Fine rice is seldom thicker than a 
needle and is as transparent as crystal; but it is used only in feasts 
and at festivals ; a certain quantity of it is sometimes dressed with a 
fowl, a quarter of a goat, or a piece of fresh pork. This ragout is 
called poulo, and in colour is as white as snow ; but this description is 
seldom or never employed in distillation. The king derives an 
immense revenue from rice ; those dealing in it pay a sort of license 
to the amount of 35 annually ; and of these there is an incredible 
number. This, as well as most other branches of industry, is princi 
pally carried on by the Chinese, whose labours are as conspicuous 
abroad as at home; they, with a peculiar economy, seldom let any 
thing go to loss, and as the distilleries are in their hands, they employ 
the feculence of the stills in feeding pigs, as the sale of all other 
butchers meat is prohibited on the principle of the metempsychosis ; 
animals being considered the sanctuary of their deities. What a ridi 
culous anomaly ; as if pigs were not to be ranked amongst the animal 
creation ! By them, swine s flesh is deemed a great luxury, being, as 
they think, more delicate and easy of digestion than any other food ; 
hence it is prescribed by their Doctors to convalescents, in preference 
to poultry or boiled meats, as the best renovater of the constitution. The 
Chinese are very particular in the feeding of swine, as they study to 
impart a sweetness and tenderness to the flesh seldom observed by 
others. The apparatus employed in the distilleries is on the same 
principle as that generally used by the Chinese elsewhere. The 
Siamese fall short of them even in this respect, as they understand 
nothing of chemistry, although they affect it and boast of profound 
secrets in the art. The mania of discovering the philosopher s stone 
prevailed here, as well as in China; and one of the Siamese monarchs 
is said to have spent two millions of money in search of this visionary 
talisman. The Siamese have also been long occupied in the foolish 
inquiry after an universal elixir to render them immortal. In using 
brandy, they have it served up for the most part in a large 
bowl, on a wooden plate sufficiently capacious to admit a number of 
small pots, in which are commonly either dried or roasted fish, 
fruits both pickled and salted, with baked or hatched eggs; the latter 
of which are considered a great treat. On such occasions, each helps 
himself to whatever is most grateful to his palate, and takes from the 


bowl a draught of the brandy by means of a little cup, which is float 
ing on the top ; conversation being all the time kept up with much 

Honey is very plentiful in Siam and several pleasing beverages 
are made from it. The bees hive on the trees in the open air, 
and those, on which it is intended that they should construct their 
combs, are cut at certain distances, from twenty feet above the base 
to the apex. Holes are made in them, in which are inserted pieces of 
wood projecting about three feet from the trunk. Round this arti 
ficial branch, tiie bees never fail to form their hives ; and it is no uncom 
mon thing to see three hundred of them on a single tree ; the best 
of the produce may be purchased at three half-pence a pound. 

The States of Assam, Laos, Cambodia, and Aracan, furnish few 
materials of interest differing from those of the kingdoms just des 
cribed. They yield the same fruits and the inhabitants apply them 
to the same purpose. In Aracan, they tap the palm, and either 
drink its juice in the state of toddy or distil it into arrack. The 
fertile country of Cambodia produces excellent rice, from which, as in 
Siam, they manufacture a good spirit : sugar is also reared, but in a 
limited manner. In Assam, they make no wine, though they have 
excellent grapes, which they dry to make brandy ; but although the 
more ardent beverage is preferred, yet the people are not character 
ized as drunkards. On the whole, it may be said, that agriculture is 
much neglected in the eastern peninsula of India ; nature being so 
bountiful in the spontaneous productions of fruits and vegetables, as 
to render manual labour almost unnecessary ; hence the natives seldom 
take advantage of the richness of the soil to increase the gifts of 
providence, or administer to their own luxuries. 

In Malacca, rice is the principal grain cultivated : the quantity is 
not sufficient for the support of the people, but the deficiency is sup 
plied by a peculiar preparation of the produce of the sago, or bread 
palm tree. This tree, which requires no cultivation, rises to the height 
of from twenty to thirty feet, and is from five to six feet in circum 
ference. The bark is very thick, and has, within its fibres, a kind of 
gummy powder resembling meal, which is extracted by a scoop. This 
substance, when thus procured, is diluted in water and strained 
through a cloth, and allowed to evaporate for some time : it is then 
put into earthen vessels of various forms, where it remains and 
hardens. This paste or flour may be kept for several years ; it is 
accounted nourishing and wholesome, and considered an excellent 
remedy for many complaints of the stomach. When blended either 


with cold or boiling water, it forms ;v whiteish jelley very palatable; 
und, if fermented, produces an agreeable beverage. The Malay 
chiefs rear considerable plantations of the sago tree, as it forms one 
of their principal sources of subsistence. There are several descrip 
tions of palm in the country, yielding toddy, some of which are 
largely drawn on by the natives. 

In the Nicobar islands, the use of inebriating beverages is very 
prevalent. The inhabitants, being unaccustomed to wine, do not 
like it ; yet they are said to drink bumpers of arrack at their feasts, 
till they can no longer see. Their principal and common beverage is 
the milk of the cocoa-nut, and a liquor called soura^ (in some of the 
islands, tauri/^) which is nothing more than the fermented juice 
of the palm : this, they render highly intoxicating by the method they 
employ of sucking it through a tube made either of a reed or quill. 
These people are so very ingenious, that, according to Forbes,* they 
convert the cocoa tree to almost every possible useful purpose. Their 
A^essels are built of it, the cordage, rigging, and sails are made of it, 
and it furnishes even the cargoes of arrack, vinegar, oil, sugar, 
cocoa-nuts, black paint, and other inferior articles, exported to 
the neighbouring islands. They are so remarkably honest and 
unsuspicious of fraud, that the crime of robbery is so little known 
as not to be dreaded. Their houses are left constantly open, so that 
any one that pleases may enter; and, when going to a distance, the 
traveller is at liberty, when he finds himself either tired, hungry, or 
thirsty, to go into any house, and help himself to both meat and drink, 
which he frequently does, without being questioned, or even inter 
changing- a word with any of the family. Plow happy would it be for 
mankind, were such hospitable practices more common in the world! 
The island of Ceylon, being one of the most remarkable in the 
Indian ocean, deserves particular notice, not only from its soil and 
produce, but from its being the early resort of Europeans trading to 
the Eastern continent. Some assert, that it was peopled by a colony 
of Singhs, or Rajlipoot?, 500 years before Christ; and the people of 
Malabar are said to have invaded it about 300 years after that period. 
The Macedonians, who accompanied Alexander on his Indian expe 
dition, were the first who brought to Europe an account of this island, 
under the title of Taprobane. Dionysius, the geographer, who flou 
rished under Augustus, speaks of its elephants Ovid and Pliny men 
tion it ; and it has been alluded to by several early writers as being 
well peopled, and in a high state of civilisation. With the manners 
and custom- of its ancient inhabitants, we have not been made 
* Oriental Memoirs. 


acquainted; nor with the nature of their beverages; but it is 
unquestionable that they were the same, with, perhaps, some local 
variations, as those of their continental neighbours. At mar 
riages, immense quantities of meat and drink are consumed ; the same 
practice is prevalent at funerals ; but the indulgences on all occa 
sions of death are confined to houses adjoining that of the deceased ; 
and where the male sex are accustomed to assemble and partake 
largely of Soura. On the anniversary of a deceased friend, men and 
women indiscriminately assemble. Soura is consumed in abundance ; 
and when the mind is in a high state! of intoxication, the women, at a 
certain hour of the night, when the commencemeut of the ceremony 
is announced by the striking of gongs, set up the most dismal howls 
and lamentations. The party then walk in procession to the grave 
of the deceased. There, a woman, nearest akin to the inmate of the 
tomb, steps out of the crowd, and, tearing up the skull, she 
screams most piteously ; then washing it with the cocoa juice, or some 
other liquor, rubs it with an infusion of saffron; rolls it carefully up 
in new cloth and replaces it in its mansion of rest. Thus the night is 
spent going from grave to grave, repeating the same ceremonies, and 
the morning sun is welcomed in with copious potations of Soura. The 
modern inhabitants are rather a temperate people ; but, unhappily* 
they have had a bad example set them by Europeans, and many of 
them at present are not exempt from the charge of excessive indul 
gence in the sensual gratification of drinking. At the time the island 
was first visited by the Dutch, intoxication was considered a hei 
nous offence ; and great astonishment was expressed at, the attach 
ment which the Christians evinced for strong liquors. The king of 
Candy, on one occasion, having called a Dutch merchant into his pre 
sence, in whom he placed great confidence ; but who was in the habit of 
indulging in this propensity to excess, exclaimed, " Why do you thus 
disorder yourself so that when I send for you on business, you are 
not in a capacity to serve me ?" The other, who was not altogether 
overpowered by his glass, ingeniously excused himself by replying, 
" that as soon as his mother had deprived him of her milk, she sup 
plied the want of it with wine ; and that ever after he had accustomed 
himself to it." Hence the Cingalese adage" Wine is as natural to 
white men as milk to children.* 

Among the various kinds of trees found in this delightful island is 
the kettulc, which seems to be the same as the hebul already 

* Knox s Ceylon. 


mentioned. It yields a very sweet sap of wholesome quality : one of the 
ordinary size will afford several quarts of juice in a day. From this 
juice, a sweet spirit is made, similar to that drawn from the palm tree. 
When the buds on the top of the kettule become ripe, and wither 
away, they are annually succeeded by others still wearing year 
after year down the branches, until they reach the trunk, and in this 
stage the tree may be said to be worn out. The wood is so hard, 
that it is frequently used for pestles in pounding rice. This island 
bears the sugar-cane, as well as all the fruits of the Indies ; and the 
canes produce every month of tlie year, except the three rainy ones. 
Rice is abundant, of which there are five different species; and 
from this grain, for many years back, large quantities of arrack have 
been manufactured. The average annual export may be estimated at 
5600 leagers of 150 gallons each. The great marts for this article 
have hitherto been Madras and Bombay, with the Malabar and Coro- 
mandel coasts; here, it is sold for about one shilling and three pence 
per gallon; the prime cost varying from eight to ten pence per 
gallon a duty of ten per cent, is levied on the exports. During the 
years 1815, 16, and 17, some hundreds of leagers were brought to 
England, and sold at from five shillings and six-pence, to six and six 
pence per gallon. The revenue arising from arrack, in Ceylon, is very 
considerable ; in the land rents are included the duties on cocoa-nut 
trees, which exceed that on rice by 14,573 annually ; the charge 
on the former being 35,573, and that on the latter, 21,000 The 
following are the particulars of the duties levied on the cocoa-nut 
plantations of 1831 : 

Distillation of arrack, - .. i"v; ** - 3,645 

Retail of do. ..;,.;,; 24,975 

Export of do. . ; . 3,136 

Export of rope made from the tree, . . 153 

Export of jag-gory, . 162 

There are a few Europeans who distil arrack and rum from sugar, 
and which to them is a source of great profit. 

This island is remarkable for its woods of palm trees ; and so 
early as the time of Marco Polo, palm wine was the current beve 
rage ; yet so cautious were the natives of its effects, that those, who 
were addicted to it, were held as disreputable witnesses in a court of 
justice. From the Borassus flabelliformis, sugar is extracted, as in 
India, and the persons employed to manufacture it are denominated 
hakooroo y their business, according to Davy,* is to prepare it from the 

* Davy s Account of Ceylon, 4 to. 


juice of different palms, but chiefly from that species termed ketoolga, 
(caryota urens) which contains the largest proportion of saccharine 
matter. For the lands they farm they have to furnish u certain 
quantity of jaggory annually to the king s stores, and to supply the 
chiefs with that article and with toddy, the drawers of which are 
named usanno, and belong to the caste of the Chandos Mandinno. 

A very strong kind of arrack, possessing an unpleasant heavy 
smell, is distilled from palm-wine and the bark of a certain tree ; this 
spirit is termed vellipatty ; another sort is also made from nearly the 
same materials, and is known by the name of talwagen. Thepalpa- 
lam, or milk-fruit, which abounds in the woods, both in shape and 
size, resembles an olive ; it conceals under a thin yellow rind a white 
gluey moisture, very sweet and tasting like cream. Bears and wild 
boars are fond of it, and the natives dry it in the sun after which it 
tastes like raisins, and might yield a brandy not inferior to that fruit, 
but it has not yet been converted to any fermenting process. Arrack 
is distilled in every village all round the coast, and the great source 
from whence it is drawn is from the juice of the cocoa-nut and pal 
myra tree. Whole woods are set apart for no other purpose than 
that of procuring toddy. The saccharine quality of this liquor is so 
great that it produces a yeast similar to that of our malt worts, and 
is used by bakers instead of barm. Not only in Ceylon, but in vari 
ous other quarters of the east, the cocoa tree is the most valuable 
gift which nature has afforded to the indolent natives, as it yield? 
almost every thing calculated to sustain and sweeten life. Viewing 
it in this light, and in reference to its application to this island, a sen 
sible writer has observed : " Give a man a cocoa tree, and he will do 
nothing for his livelihood he sleeps under its shade, or perhaps builds 
a hut of its branches eats its nuts as they fall drinks its juice, and 
smokes his life away."* The word cocoa is said to be derived from 
the Portuguese coco or coquin, the name for a monkey, the three 
holes at the end of tlie nutshell bearing some resemblance to the head 
of that animal. At the time the two Mahometans visited Ceylon, so 
far back as the year 851, they found the people expert in making 
shirts, vests, and tunics, all of one piece, of the fibres of the cocoa-nut, 
and skilful in various works of mechanism formed from its material?. 
This tree is so productive, and yields its juice so freely that it 
may be said to be choked in its own exuberance, so that to assist 
it in the munificence of its overflowings during the season of its 

* Heber s Journal of a Tour in Ceylon, vol. iii. p. 140, 153, 


vintage, it must be relieved by frequent incisions for the discharge of 
its precious liquor. The Cingalese strip off a species of net-work from 
this tree, and use it as a strainer for their toddy, to free it from 
impurities and the innumerable insects which its sweetness attracts- 
The Otaheitans use this bark net-work as a sieve for straining arrow 
root, cocoa-nut oil, &c. ; they often join pieces of it together, and use 
it as a covering to save their more valuable bark clothing : it is also 
remarkable, that to the water of the green cocoa-nut is ascribed the 
property of clearing the face of all wrinkles and imperfections, and 
imparting to it the rosy tints of youthful days. Besides the copious 
stream of toddy which it affords, by a similar process another fluid of 
a more pure and limpid quality, called mirra, is obtained, from which 
jaggory is manufactured. Cordiner and others assert, that the toddy 
drawn from the palmira tree is considered to make better arrack 
than that procured from the cocoa, and both the toddy and pulp of 
the fruit yield a sugar which is highly esteemed in the neighbouring 
parts of India. This sugar is of a dark colour, an imperfection which 
might be easily remedied by a proper process of refining : when 
exported, it is packed in the leaves of the tree to which it owes its 
origin, and in that state is delivered to the purchasers. Percival calls 
the palm from which this sugar is obtained, the sugar tree, and he 
is of opinion that, if properly attended to, the natives might obtain 
from it such large quantities of sugar as to render it a substitute for 
the cane, and afford sufficient material for the distillation of rum. 
There is not a province in Hindostan in which this tree grows to so 
great a height as in Ceylon. Its umbrageous top gives splendour to 
the humblest hamlet round which it is planted, but, as it is here usually 
to be met with in groves, it is curious to behold with what dexterity 
the natives climb its straight and slender trunk in order to suspend 
the chatty or earthen pot on the branches, for the purpose of procuring 
the juice. Having gained the summit of one tree, their ingenuity is 
such that they have no occasion to renew the toil of climbing, for, by 
means of the branches and some ropes fastened at different places, 
they pass from tree to tree with the greatest ease and facility. In 
this manner they collect the toddy from a whole plantation without 
even once descending ; and their feats of agility, on these occasions, 
are seldom outdone by the most expert sailors in the rigging of a ship, 
or the gambols of the monkey in its native forests. It is not unwor 
thy of observation, that the usual duration of the cocoa tree is from 
sixty to seventy years, and that, about the fifth year, it is capable of 
producing fruit, as if its existence had been measured by providence 


to answer the limited life of man. Its height is from sixty to ninety 
feet, and from one to two feet in thickness. At the top, are about 
twelve or fifteen leaves, each twelve or fourteen feet long, resembling 
an immense ostrich feather. The terminal leaf bud is occasionally 
eaten, when boiled ; it is a substitute for cabbage, and is frequently 
preserved as a pickle : on the removal of these terminal buds, the tree 
dies. The leaves are employed for thatching houses, constructing 
fences, ceiling rooms, and making baskets, some of which are so closely 
worked as to serve for water-buckets, while others are employed for 
catching fish ; the ligneous fibres are used as pins, toothpicks, brooms, 
and several culinary purposes. The young leaves being translucent, 
lanterns are made of them, bonnets for females, hats for soldiers and 
sailors to protect them from the rays of the sun. The leaves are like 
wise used to write on, in the same manner as the papyrus of Egypt. 
Elephants are fed on them, and temporary huts constructed through 
their means, as they resist all kinds of weather. Travelling at night 
being customary, in order to avoid the intolerable heat of the day, 
torches are made of these leaves, and, when burned, the ashes serve all 
the purposes of soap. The cordage that is formed from the fibres is 
equal to that from the best hemp. The root is sometimes chewed 
instead of the areca nut ; the hard bark of the stem is converted into 
drums, and the mid rib of the leaf serves for lancets and for oars. 
The daily produce of sweet juice drawn from a tree is about three or 
four gallons, and it continues to flow for four or five weeks together. 
To prepare the bud for the run of the juice, they check its expansion 
by laying on it a mixture of pepper, lemons, garlic, and salt ; this they 
cover with leaves to preserve it from the sun s influence, and, after 
treating it in this manner, a thin piece is daily cut from its vertex, by 
which means the juice trickles copiously in proportion to the healthy 
state of the tree and the congeniality of the atmosphere. 

The indigenous growth of the palm seems to be circumscribed by 
parallels of latitude, twenty five degrees equidistant from the equator ; 
hence this zone excludes all Europe, and many portions of Asia, 
Africa, and America. But while providence lias bestowed this 
invaluable production on the inhabitants within those boundaries, it 
has compensated other countries lying beyond them with the luxury 
of the vine, so nicely balanced are the gifts of our impartial and 
munificent Creator. 

Though arrack, among the Cingalese, has, from time immemorial, 
been a common drink of the country, yet their method of manufac 
turing it is rude, and indicates an ignorance of chemical knowledge. 


The still employed for this purpose is of earthenware and of the sim 
plest construction: the subjoined is a true representation of the one in 
general use. 

A. b. is the alembic and capital luted together. D. e. a refrigera 
tory and receiver of one piece, and the latter connected with the head 
by a bamboo, c. 

The British settled at Columbo, as well as in other parts of the 
island, have introduced the modern European improvements in this 
branch of business, but the natives, tenacious of their old arts, seem 
insensible of such advantages and continue to use their own rude 
apparatus. In this, however, they are not more singular than in the 
exercise of other arts, which continue to be practised by them as they 
have existed from the most remote antiquity. They cannot even be 
prevailed on to give up some of the most absurd customs. They 
drink water out of a vessel having a tube like a tea-pot, and receive 
the contents in their mouths without suffering the pipe to touch their 
lips. In sharing with a. stranger, rather than suffer him to touch the 
sacred tube, they pour the liquor into his hands. Other habits, 
equally superstitious, prevail, and a slavish reliance on old customs 
renders the progress of knowledge slow and difficult. Their weak 
ness is such, that they become dupes of jugglers, pretending sooth 
sayers, and conjurers. In crossing rivers, they endeavour to avert 
the dangers apprehended from crocodiles, by charms which they call 
pilisuniam, but neither these, nor their numerous magical spells, pre 
vent them from being frequently devoured by those ravenous mon 
sters. Percival informs us, that the conjurers employed at the bay of 
Condatchy to charm or keep away the sharks from divers in the 
pearl fishery, are enjoined neither to eat nor drink during the day, lest 


f heir incantations or prayers might prove ineffectual ; but it fre 
quently occurs that they regale themselves with plenty of toddy or 
arrack till they are no longer able to stand at their devotions, and the 
divers often fall victims to the intemperance of those enthusiasts and 
their own silly credulity. 

At marriage feasts in Ceylon, there is much revelry, such as 
dancing, singing, music, playing at various games, besides drinking 
surie (fresh fermented palm juice,) punch, arrack, and vellipatty.* 
These feasts are held at the bride s house, where the happy couple 
eat out of the same dish, have their thumbs tied together, sleep there 
that night, and repair the next morning to the bridegroom s habitation. 
In the island of Madagascar, where nature has been profusely 
munificent of her gifts, the natives are for the most part temperate 
and abstemious. Their ordinary drink is hot water or the broth of 
boiled meat, except on occasions of ceremony and festivity, when 
wines of their own making are used. Among these wines, great 
quantities of toak, a liquor made from honey, are consumed at a feast 
on the circumcision of their children, when those who drink most are 
considered to have done the greatest honor to the repast. To guard 
against accidents, the men are deprived of their arms before they are 
permitted to drink, after which they are suffered to indulge in riot and 
noise until the whole of the liquor made for the occasion is exhausted . 
Four sorts of wine are made in Madagascar ; the most common is the 
toak, manufactured much in the same way as our mead. In the com 
position, three parts of water are added to one of honey in the combs, 
and the mixture reduced by boiling to one-third of the quantity : it 
is then skimmed and put to ferment in large tubs or pots of black 
earth, after which it has a pleasant, luscious taste. Honey is one of the 
most profitable as well as the most useful articles produced in Mada 
gascar. In the management of bees, there is little trouble. They 
are very numerous, and readily come to their tohokes, or hives ; hence 
is derived the name of toak. These hives are trunks of a tree called 
fontuoletch, cut about a yard long, split, scooped, and again bound 
together in their natural position, leaving a hole at the bottom 
to enter. These hives are placed in the woods to enable the bees the 
more readily to collect the honey from the shrubs and flowers. 

From a tree, called Safer, which resembles the cocoa-nut, but not so 
large, a pleasant liquor, termed Arqffer, is produced. The leaves or 
branches are first burned off, leaving the trunk bare. The top being 
cut away, a hole is formed in the middle by lancets, which, in a short 
time, fills with the juice issuing as if from a spring. The liquor being 
* Haafner s Travels through Ceylon. 


drawn oft , the hole fills again the same day, and thus continues to 
yield a supply for six or seven days before the tree is exhausted. 
This liquid is not like a sirup, but is very sweet, cooling, and refresh 
ing.* If fermented, it intoxicates like other liquors drawn from the 
palm tree. 

From the cane another wine is procured, termed toupare, signifying 
wine from sugar. This is obtained by boiling the canes in water till 
they are reduced to two-thirds of the original quantity, after which the 
liquid is put into calabashes, and, in three days, it becomes so strong 
and corrosive as to dissolve or penetrate an egg-shell in the course 
of eight or ten hours. The toupare has a pungent, bitterish taste, 
much resembling beer highly hopped. In this island are fourteen 
species of the cane much larger and producing more sugar than those 
of the West Indies ; they are used merely for making toupare, the 
natives not knowing the value of them for any other profitable purpose : 
they are as thick as a man s wrist, and a foot of them in length will 
weigh two pounds. The third description of wine is derived from 
the banana fruit (musa-paradisiaca,) by boiling it four or five hours, 
and, after a short fermentation, it becomes in taste and flavour very 
like cider. From the vontaca (cydonium Bengalense,) a fruit, the 
size of a quince, a fourth sort of wine, not unlike beer, is manufactured. 
When the vontaca, or Bengal quince, as it is called, is ripe, the juice 
and pulp have the most delightful flavour, and, when opened, diffuse 
a most agreeable odour. This fruit is highly nutritive, and is there 
fore much used in fattening swine. 

With their drinks the Madagasses mix the red fruit of the aughive 
in the same way, and for the same purpose, that we use lemon and 
limes, to impart a palatable tartness. Vines, bearing grapes of a good 
quality, grow spontaneously in some parts of the island ; but previous 
to the settlement of the French, under Flacourt, in 1 655, they were 
not considered by the natives as eatable. Here also is a curious sort 
of vine which bears a fruit very much admired by Europeans, and 
having a root said to be a species of yam ; it is called the Madagascar 
grape, but, whether the root is used for food or to what purpose it is 
converted, we are not told. In most of the villages of Madagascar, 
it is a prevailing custom to keep an open house for the entertainment 
and accommodation of travellers, and, as indicative of its use, it is 
open on all sides, as if to invite persons from every quarter, and to 
afford shelter indiscriminately to every individual Although hos 
pitable in the extreme, the Abbe Rochon assures us, that in all their 

* Drury s Fifteen Years Captivity in the Island of Madagascar, Svo. 


entertainments they never fall into those excesses, which are but too 
common amongst more polished nations : yet, like other mortals, they 
are subject to occasional aberations from rectitude of conduct and 
sobriety. In the account given of the loss of the Winterten, East 
Indiaman, on the coast of Madagascar, the benevolence and kind 
ness of the king towards the sufferers are spoken of in high terms ; 
but it is said, that although he had one fault in common with many of his 
subjects, that of being addicted to spirituous liquors,he never seemed to 
forget his dignity. Like the Macedonian monarch, he gave frequent 
occasion to appeal from Philip drunk to Philip sober ; and though 
the idea was not clothed in the garb of classic taste, it was perfectly 
intelligible, when he used to say " To day, brandy speak, to morrow, 
king speak !" 

Botanists have enumerated eleven kinds of rice in this island, all 
cultivated to considerable extent, besides the several species of yams 
(ignanames), some of which are as large as a man s body. Fruit is 
abundant and of various descriptions. Water melons are of two 
kinds, one black, and the other with red seeds : both cooling and 
much used in the hot seasons. The gourds are of two sorts, one long, 
the other globular; the former dressed with milk, affords a good 
nutritive dish, and,, after being scooped, the rinds are converted into 
bottles for wine and other liquors. Though they have other vessels, 
the king drinks out of an earthen cup which none is permitted to use 
but himself, not even his wives or children. Toake is most com 
monly drunk out of bowls, and on occasions of rejoicing, the women 
as well as the men indulge in the sympathetic pleasures of quaffing 
this favourite beverage. 

The inhabitants of Madagascar, when first visited by Europeans, had 
no notion of letters, of a horse, nor of any kind of wheel machine or 
carriage ; and to the Mahometans, who first traded with them, they 
are said to be indebted for most of their arts ; yet that of distillation 
seems to have been wholly unknown To this day, they may be said 
to be in a state of barbarism, and, overwhelmed by superstitious 
notions, they yield to the most absurd practices. Infants are sacri 
ficed because they are brought forth on unlucky days, fathers and 
mothers even assisting in the destruction of their innocent offspring. 
The island of Bourbon , when discovered in the sixteenth century, 
presented nothing in the vegetable kingdom of any importance for 
food, the palm tree excepted ; but, since that time, it has been planted 
with various European productions, as well as those of the neighbour 
ing islands. The narrow valleys, the sides of the hills, and the plains, 
the island being chiefly mountainous, are the only parts cultivated. 


and although these amply compensate the labour of the tiller, the pro 
duce is principally taken up in cotton and coffee. Partial attention is 
paid to the sugar-cane, rice, maize, and potatoes, but more particularly 
to the culture of yams, cassava (jatropha,) as they form the chief sup 
port of the slaves. From the cassava, is manufactured a drink com 
mon amongst the lower order, the same as that in the West Indies, 
and, as the cocoa-nut is abundant, arrack is also made : the houses, 
in which this liquor is sold, yield a considerable item of revenue. 
The crops of rice, wheat, and maize, produce sufficient surplus for 
exportation to the Mauritius, while oranges, plantains, pomegranates, 
bananas, melons, raspberries, citrons, tamarinds, and a variety of other 
fruits, may be had almost for nothing. 

The Mauritius, or Isle of France, famed as the scene of the inte 
resting tale of Paul and Virginia, is little distinguished from Bourbon 
in its productions. The great commodity in consumption amongst 
the slaves is thejatropha or cassada, of winch there are two species, 
the jatropha janipha, and thejatropka manihot, both indigenous to 
South America and first brought to this island by M. de la Bour- 
donnois, one of its early governors. The cassada is a strong vege 
table poison before it undergoes the process of boiling ; the manihot is 
a kind of narcotic ; both sorts are easily converted into wholesome 
food by a process described in treating of the West Indies and the 
Brazils. The Mauritians form it into cakes resembling oaten or 
barley bread, and in this state it is called manioc. By a different 
management, the manihot is turned into a pulpy consistence, known 
by the name of tapioca, and some believe that the farinaceous powder, 
Indian arrow-root, is but a more delicate preparation of this substance. 
Tapioca, while it thus serves for food, is also a pleasing anodyne. In 
the Mauritius, sugar is reared nearly equal in quality to that of any 
other country : a considerable quantity of it is consumed in the 
island, some of which is refined, but a great deal is used in its crys 
tallized state, and prepared by many, particularly for tea. The 
planters distil a considerable portion, as the consumption of spirituous 
liquors is carried to some extent, and the blacks, who are passionately 
fond of tippling, inj ure themselves by too free an indulgence in this 
and other beverages of their own making ; hence the cause of the 
early decrepitude so common amongst them. 

Of the minor islands lying in this direction, there is nothing remark 
able, except the coco de mer. an indigenous production of Praslin, one 
of the Sechelles adjacent to Mahee. This fruit, found in no other 
part of the habitable globe, was first discovered on the shores of 
India, whither it had been carried by the gales and currents from 


Praslin ; hence, its name, the coco of the sea. Prior describes it to be 
a large species of the cocoa nut, commonly double, frequently triple, 
quadruple, and sometimes quintuple, enclosed within one common 
rind and fibrous coat ; each of the nuts is about the size of a large 
melon, distinct in itself, though united on the outside to the others ; 
the whole is of an oval shape, resembling three or four large eggs, 
united in a circle and slightly flattened at the point of contact. The 
Indians valued it highly, from supposing it to stimulate the worship 
of the Paphian goddess ; and while some considered one side of the 
nut an active poison, the other bore equal reputation as an antidote. 
The coco de rtier is not only an object of curiosity, but an article of 
the utmost utility to all classes of the people. Yet Boteler says, 
although the fruit is so valuable, it is unbearable on account of its 
strong, offensive smell, resembling that of urine, and increasing the 
longer it is kept. The timber, which is sufficiently firm, except in the 
heart of the tree, may be used for many domestic purposes. At 
the summit of the tree, which is from 60 to 89 feet high, is the cab 
bage, which, though more bitter than that of the common palm, forms 
an excellent pickle. One hundred of its leaves make a good house, 
including roof, sides, partitions, doors, and window shutters ; and of 
such materials the majority of the houses in Praslin are constructed. 
The down of the leaves is used in mattresses and pillows ; the stalks 
are formed into baskets and brooms, and the heart of the younger 
stems cut into narrow lengths, from which hats for both sexes are 
made, and scarcely any others are worn in the island. The fibrous 
covering of the nut is coverted into ropes, and the shell is univer 
sally employed as a pitcher, and commonly holds six or eight pints : it 
is divided longitudinally, and makes plates and dishes for the Negroes ; 
and when small, forms drinking cups. Within the island, this homely 
furniture takes the name of the " Praslin crockery ware." No part 
of this tree is lost, and, without it, the inhabitants, simple as they are, 
would, perhaps, be ill supplied with many domestic comforts. Besides, 
the drink which this tree affords, other beverages are made from fruits, 
particularly from citrons ; while rum and arrack are procured from 
the different vessels trading to those parts. 

When Marco Polo visited Sumatra, he observed, that there was 
excellent wine, both red and white, made from the palm tree, 
and considered good for consumption, dropsy, and disorders of the 
spleen. The cocoa nuts that he saw were as large as a man s head, 
and full of a pleasant liquor, in his opinion, better than wine. In 
1599, Davis found aqua-ritce, arrack, and brandy, quite common; and 
he describes one of the kings as having a number of attendants to 


supply him with those beverages, in which he indulged to excess, in 
company with his women, banqueting from morning till night. 
Mechanics and tradesmen, of various descriptions, were then nume 
rous, among whom he particularly mentions distillers of aquavitce 
(arrack) from rice ; as being Mahometans, drink from the grape was 
prohibited.* A rude species of distillation was known to the Suma- 
trans from a more remote period, and is supposed to be of their own 
invention. It was practised only in the preparation of the oil of 
Benjamin, with which they perfumed their hair. The still consisted 
of a prceoo, or earthen rice-pot, covered closely ; in the side, was 
inserted a small bamboo, well luted with clay and ashes, tlirough 
which the oil dropped into a receiver. What was brought over in 
this way was empyreumatic ; and valued by them at so high a price, 
that it could only be procured by the affluent. This mode of distil 
lation still continues in some parts of Sumatra,! 

The inhabitants import immense quantities of sugar and arrack from 
Java ; but as this island produces sugar-canes in abundance, and is 
stocked with great plenty of the anou, an excellent species of palm, 
together with rice and other grain, it was expected, in Marsden s 
time, to rival Java in the manufacture of those articles of trade. The 
expense of employing slaves in the labours of the field was found at 
one time to exceed the advantages ; but it was seen while the manage 
ment of the plantations and works were under the care of an Eng 
lish gentleman of the name of Botham, that the end was to be 
obtained, by employing the resident Chinese, and allowing them a 
proportion of the produce. From the juice of the anou, called neero, 
or toddy, a description of drink is made, termed brum, which, from 
the process, similarity of taste, and name, with the brow, of Java, seems 
to indicate a common origin. The late discovery of coal mines in this 
island, may lead to improvements in all the arts of civilized life, and 
tend much to give an impetus to the physical as well as the intellec 
tual energies of the people ; while it may lead adventurers and 
capitalists to take advantage of the immense resources of the coun 
try ; and when coupled with steam navigation, it opens a prospect of 
incalculable benefit to our connexions and settlements in the East. 

Ardent spirits are manufactured in larger quantities in Java than 
in any other island in the Indian ocean ; this may be accounted for 
by the great industry of the Dutch, and the celebrity which the arrack 
of Batavia so early acquired under their auspices. According to Sir 

* Voyage of Captain Davis, in 1598. 

f Marsden s History of Sumatra, 4to. p. 14G. 


Thomas Raffles, the manner of making it is as follows : About 701bs. 
of ketan, or glutinous rice, are filled up in a small vat ; round this 
heap, a hundred cans of water are poured, and on the top, twenty cans 
of molasses ; after remaining two days in this vat, the ingredients are 
removed to a larger vat adjoining, when they receive the addition of 
four hundred cans of water and a hundred cans of molasses. Thus 
fur the process is carried on in the open air. In a separate vat within 
doors, forty cans of palm wine, or toddy, are immediately mixed with 
nine hundred cans of water and one hundred and fifty cans of molasses, 
both preparations being allowed to remain in this state for two days. 
The first of these preparations is carried to a still larger vat within 
doors; and the latter, being contained in a vat placed above, is poured 
upon it through a hole bored for the purpose near the bottom. In this 
state, the entire preparation is allowed to ferment for two days, when 
it is poured into small earthen jars, containing about twenty cans 
each, in which it remains for the further period of two days, and is 
then distilled. The proof of a sufficient fermentation is obtained by 
placing a lighted candle or taper about six inches above the surface of 
the liquor in the fermenting vat ; if the process be properly advanced, 
the fixed air rises and extinguishes the light. Another mode of 
apportioning the materials for the making of arrack is, 

62 parts molasses, 
3 do. toddy (or palm wine), 

35 do. rice. 

One hundred parts of these yield, oa distillation, twenty-three and 
a-half parts of proof arrack. The stills are made of copper, and are 
much like those used in the West Indies ; the worms consist of about 
nine turns of Banca tin. The spirit runs into a vessel under ground, 
from whence it is poured into receiving vessels, and is- called the third, 
or common sort of arrack, which by a second distillation in a smaller 
still, with tlie addition of some water, becomes the second sort ; and 
by a third operation is what is called the first sort. To ascertain the 
strength of the spirit, a small quantity of it is burned in a saucer, and 
the residuum measured ; the difference between the original quantity 
and the residuum gives the measure of the alcohol lost. The com 
pletion of the first sort does not require more than ten days, six hours 
being sufficient for the original preparation to pass through the first 
still. The Chinese residents who conduct the whole of this process, 
call the third, or common sort, sichew, the second, tanpo, and the first, 
kiji. The two latter are distinguished as arrack apt. When cooled, 
it is poured into large vats in the store-houses, where it remains until 
put into casks. The making of arrack is distinct from that of sugar, 


which is manufactured to a considerable extent in Java. The arrack 
distillers purchase the molasses from the sugar manufacturers at the 
rate of about a dollar and a-half a picul, delivered at the distillery. 
The best arrack is made for seven Spanish dollars the picul ; or 
2 T Vo- dollars the cubic foot.* In 1795, the receipts on arrack at home 
and in India, exclusively of the trade to China, being 140 leagers, 
amounted to 46,000 florins. The export duty on arrack from Bata- 
via rates as follows : on the leager (of 388 jugs) of first quality, at 
lOf ; on the second, at 8f ; and on the third, or lowest quality, at 6 
florins; rice and maize are the chief articles of home consumption, and 
therefore cultivated to very great extent : some wheat is likewise 
raised, but the staple article is rice. Two kinds of fermented liquor 
is prepared from the latter grain by the natives. In making the first, 
called badek, the rice is first boiled and stewed with a ferment called 
razi, consisting of onions, black pepper, and capsicum, mixed up into 
small cakes, and daily sold in the markets. After frequent stirring, 
the compound is rolled into balls, wliich are piled upon each other in 
a high earthen vessel ; and when fermentation has commenced, the 
badek exudes and is collected at the bottom. The remainder, after 
fermentation is completed, has a sweet taste, and is sold as a dainty 
in the markets under the name of tape. Brom is the second kind of 
liquor, and it is made from ketan. This glutinous substance is boiled 
in large quantities, and, being stirred with razi, remains exposed in 
open tubs, till fermentation takes place, when the liquor is poured off 
into close earthen vessels. It is generally buried for several months 
in the earth, by which means the fermentation is checked, and the 
strength of the liquor increased it is sometimes made strong by 
boiling. The colour varies from brown to red and yellow, according 
to the ketan employed. Brom, kept for several years, is considered 
excellent by the natives, and is very intoxicating. It is, however, 
ardent and apt to give a head-ache.f The white arrack, called kneip y 
is generally boiled strong, and sent to India; the brown arrack 
receives that tinge from the cask, and it is that description of this 
liquor which is sold in Europe. The casks are made from 
the teak tree, which imparts to the liquor a particular flavour, 
much relished, and which is supposed to arise from an essen 
tial oil peculiar to this wood. The Chinese drink the weaker 
sort warm, as is the practice in their own country.^ The Batavia 

* Crawfurd s Hist, of the Indian Archipelago, vol. i. p. 478. 
f Raffles Hist, of Java, vol. i. pp. 176, 177. 
% Thunberg s Travels, vol. ii, p. 283. 


arrack is celebrated all over the East for its superiority ; and when 
mellowed by time, is certainly an excellent spirit. The Chinese, to do 
them justice, have arrived at a degree of perfection in its manufacture 
not equalled by any other people. Here the palm is of the 
greatest importance, as it yields sugar and toddy so indispensable to 
those distillers. Of this tree, there are many varieties in the island ; 
that termed Sagivire, or Gomuti palm (Borassus Gomutus) affords 
to the inhabitants abundance of fruit, about the size of a medlar and 
of a triangular form : the fruit of a single shoot yields a sufficient 
load for a man. From the inside of the fruit, a good sweet-meat is 
prepared, while the outside rind is of a poisonous quality, and when 
macerated, the infusion is, from its peculiar pungency, termed by the 
Dutch " hell water? The native Javanese turn the material of this 
tree to various useful and domestic purposes ; so that not a particle 
of it maybe said to be thrown away. 

The enterprise and energy displayed in the working of the coal 
mines in the district of Bantam, cannot fail of adding much to the 
facilities of trade and manufactures in Java, and ultimately serve to 
enhance its commercial interests. Wood is the chief fuel ; but its 
price and bulk are, from many considerations, a considerable draw- 
back to its general usefulness. 

At Batavia, the Dutch make a kind of beer of a very effervescent 
nature, called klein bier, which they usually drink in the evenings. 
This beverage not being hopped, merely serves for present use, and has 
good medicinal effects ; when the calabash, or vessel in which it is con 
tained, is opened, a very loud report is heard, and in the glass it sparkles 
Jike champagne. Were more care taken in the brewing of this liquor, 
it might supersede, in a great degree, the importation of a foreign 
article, and prove more wholesome than many of the native drinks. 

Although sugar is extensively manufactured in Java by the Chi 
nese, no rum is made : in refining sugar, the process followed is much 
like that observed in the West Indies. The quality is considered 
equal to that made at Manilla, or the Antilles, though the machinery 
is rude. Considerable quantities are sent to the Malabar coast ; but 
the principal exportation is to Japan and Europe. The sugar 
produced in Java amounted, in the year 1818, to 200,000 piculs, or 

Here, as w r ell as in other of the East India islands, where Euro 
pean influence has made an inroad, the revenue is collected by farm 
ing it either to the natives, or to Chinese speculators, who are usually 
the chief contractors and manufacturers. The better to secure it, 
the farms are put up to public auction; which is often the cause of 


fraudulent and exorbitant exactions. A leager of arrack, of the highest 
proof, including duties, sells at the merchants stores at from 60 to 75 
dollars ; or 45 cents of a Spanish dollar per gallon ; and a leager of 
the second quality at from 45 to 55 dollars, or 33 cents per gallon. 
Sometimes the best sort may be had for 20 pence; and the ordinary 
kind for about 15 pence a-gallon. 

At a remote period, the proprietors of inns and taverns were obliged 
to pay two rials per month for their Ucense ; besides, 70 rials excise on 
every pipe of Spanish wine which they sold ; while the distillers of arrack 
paid 50 rials for every chaldron, or gosper , which they manufactured. 

As the great portion of the population of Java, computed at 
5,000,000, are Mahometans, an indulgence in intoxicating liquors is 
not prevalent, though the people often barter their credit and char 
acter in private for the produce of the still. Crawford says, that 
notwithstanding the professors of the Mahometan faith, in this island 
are no drunkards, all classes partake of wine, or spirituous liquors, with 
out reserve. Among the native cliiefs of highest rank, he found but 
three examples of persons refraining from the open use of these 

Many of them, during their convivial moments, when excited by 
bacchanalian frenzy, often commit the most extravagant acts. On 
one of these occasions, the son of a chief, professed with a belief of 
his own invulnerability, put the matter to the test, by drawing his kriss 
and killing himself on the spot. 

To the widows, who immolate themselves on the funeral piles of 
their husbands, it is customary to give, the night before the ceremony, 
whatever tends to the gratification of the senses ; and among these, 
wines and spirits form no inconsiderable share. They are given in such 
quantities that few objects appear terrific : hence the horrors of the 
burning sacrifice are met in a state of excitement or stupefaction, 
which deprives death of all its terrors. 

At feasts and entertainments, there is much conviviality, with great 
indulgence in the pleasures of the table. The cups used by the 
princes, chiefs, and most of the higher orders, are costly and splendid, 
buing studded with precious stones and otherwise highly ornamented. 

Batavia, the capital, from being situated in a low, swampy ground, 
intersected with foetid canals, and surrounded by stagnant marshes, 
is so unhealthy, that few Europeans, who can avoid it, even sleep in 
the city. Soldiers and seamen have often neglected this precaution ; 
hence a night or two spent there has proved fatal. Much of tlus is 

* Hist, of the Indian Archipelago, vol. ii. p. 270, 


to be attributed to excess in eating, but a great deal more to excess 
in drinking- arrack; a liquor so cheap that a man may get drunk for a 
half-penny. Hence, it has been observed, that a person found 
drunk at Batavia is a fit subject for a doctor s care ; and this remark, 
which is there prevalent or, rather a common adage, has often had 
the good effect of preventing repetitions of inebriety; as a regimen 
suited to the nature of the indiscretion, added to a fear of death, 
carries with it a cure for the most determined drunkard. Such is the 
mortality which sometimes prevails among new-comers and settlers, 
that when a lady, who kept lodgings, was applied to for accommoda 
tions, she regretted her inability to comply, but exclaimed, with flip 
pant earnestness, " Do not be impatient ; my lodgers are foreigners 
or strangers, and you know we are certain of death-vacancies in a 
short time !" As a provision for contingencies, in consequence of the 
mortality that prevails, it is common to have graves ready made for 
the first that may offer, as it too unhappily occurs, that the influx 
of strangers is a constant source of support for the speculation of 
the undertakers. It has been remarked, that Europeans are here the 
principal sufferers ; next the Creoles, and half castes ; then the Chinese, 
Javanese, Malays, Baliers, Buggese, Amboynese, Negroes, &c. 

The next island that claims attention is Borneo, a place, which from 
its being, with the exception of New Holland, the largest island in the 
world, ought to afford ample materials for an extended article ; but, 
like many other portions of the globe, it is yet little known. The 
coasts are possessed by the Malays and other settlers, while the abo 
rigines occupy the inland parts, and are styled Beajus, a term, which, 
in the Malay language, signifies a wild man. Some accounts say, 
they are little better than men in a wild state, and if Commo 
dore Roggewein relate facts, we ought to consider them among the 
basest, most cruel, and perfidious people in the world.* Perhaps the 
most authentic account of this island is that given by Antonio Venti- 
miglia, an Italian missionary, sent from Macao, in order to convert, 
the natives to Christianity he died there in 1691. His account is 
more favourable to their moral habits, as he represents them, par 
ticularly the Beajus, as honest and industrious, having a strong affec 
tion for each other ; sowing and reaping for mutual benefit ; each 
taking what serves his family, and leaving the remainder to the tribes 
in common. By this means, both scarcity and disputes arc prevented, 
and general harmony prevails. 

The Chinese early traded to this island, and many of them 
hecaming settlers, instructed the natives in tho^e arts with which 

* Voyage round the World by Roggewein, in 1721-1723. 


they were themselves familiar. Magellan found arrack in abundant 
use among them, and Captain Beckman* was regaled with the 
beverages peculiar to other equinoctial regions. As Borneo furnishes 
most of the trees and fruits common to the East, hence the same 
description of liquors are prevalent toddy and arrack from the palm ; 
sugar and rice ; with cooling draughts from melons, oranges, citrons, 
bananas, pomegranates ; a variety of other fruits and honey. Their 
Pagan practices have many offerings and ceremonies connected with 
the worship of their idols, which, with their feasts and superstitious 
observances, give occasion to the consumption of a vast quantity of 
their intoxicating beverages. Besides the native supply, a large pro 
portion is imported from Java, for which gold and diamonds, so 
abundant in the island, are bartered. The ava, or intoxicating 
pepper plant (piper methysticum)^ is much cultivated by the Beajus, 
and affords them equal pleasure with the betel and areca, of which 
they chew immense quantities. The ava is a shrub with thick roots, 
forked branches, long leaves, and bearing a clump or spike of berries. 
The root being chewed, a little water or milk from the cocoa-nut is 
poured upon the masticated pulp, and from the fermentation which 
ensues, a strong inebriating drink is produced, in which the natives 
delight, and indulge often to excess. Their physicians, as among 
other rude nations, have recourse in the cure of diseases, to charms 
and necromancy ; and most of their incantations and mummeries are 
the effects of intoxication. The piedro di porco, or pork stone, 
which is so highly esteemed among them, that it some times brings 
300 crowns, is exhibited with the liquor in which it is steeped before 
the draught is administered, in order that the doctor may infallibly 
ascertain whether his patient is to live or die. 

Throughout the whole of the Sunda islands, a vast number of 
the Chinese are scattered ; and their affairs are managed for the most 
part agreeably to their own national observances. Those in the island 
of Timor have a code of laws by which they are governed ; and 
amongst other regulations, they have secured to themselves an exclu 
sive right to manufacture a spirituous liquor called anis, a description 
of arrack highly esteemed. The natives extract from the fan-palm, 
a beverage termed bacanassi ; this is fermented in baskets made of 
the leaves of the pandanus, and suspended from the branches of the 
tree for a few days till it becomes fit for use. 

In examining the group of islands classed under the name 
of Celebes, or Macassar, I find that naturalists are very little 

* Capt. Beckman s Voyage to Borneo, 1718, 8vo. 


acquainted with the interior of any of them ; they seem, however, to 
differ scarcely any thing in their productions from those already 
described. Most of the oriental grains and fruits abound, and rice 
is reared in such quantities, as even to afford much for exportation . 
cocoas, sugar, betel, areca, and different kinds of palms are plentiful. 
The plantain is of the very best description, and the natives in a 
great measure exist on the fruit and regale themselves with its inebri 
ating juice. From the Sagwire, (Gomuti palm) a very strong species 
of wine is made, which, in Macassar, goes by the name of the tree 
from whence it is drawn. The religion in those islands, being chiefly 
Mahometan, has hitherto prevented the inhabitants from carrying on 
distillation to any extent, although they are supplied with every 
article necessary for the purpose. The arrack and foreign liquors 
consumed here are principally brought from Batavia ; but, since 
many of the natives have become Christians, it is not likely that they 
will continue so scrupulous as the followers of the prophet. The 
introduction of the Mahometan faith is somewhat singular one of their 
kings having heard of various modes of w r orship, particularly the 
Christian and Mahometan, became dissatisfied with his own religion. 
He convened a general assembly, and, ascending an eminence, with 
fervour addressed the deity, entreating him, as he had the winds and 
waves in his own hand, to send first to those islands those mission 
aries who taught the true religion, declaring, that he would reckon 
such an arrival a declaration of heaven in their favour ; and disclaim 
ing all blame, if he were thus misled. The Mahometans first arrived, 
and their religion was instantly embraced) as that for which heaven- 
had openly declared. 

The next islands that arrest attention are the Molucca or Sprce 
islands, with which, although there is constant communication, our 
acquaintance is but slender. With their valuable products, which 
have added so much to the refinements of luxury, all are familiar ; but 
the manners, habits, and domestic economy of the inhabitants, are yet but 
imperfectly known to us. Fruit is rather scarce, and grain is but partial! y 
cultivated, the whole attention of the people being directed to the 
rearing of spices. In Ternat, which is the largest of the groupe, a 
meal is extracted from the pith of a species of palm, thought to be 
a description of sago. From a luscious root of this name, which is 
sold in bunches, a kind of bread rs made, held in high estimation. 
Canes, yielding a liquor between the joints, afford a cooling drink, 
while the defect of native beverages is supplied by foreign importa 
tions. In the Moluccas, some sugar-canes are grown, but they are 
of little importance ; the bread-fruit abounds, and a kind of honey is 


obtained from a fly (a species of bee), scarcely the size of an ant. 
The rapacity of the Dutch and their fear of invasion have induced 
them to discourage the cultivation of the various esculent commodities 
which the nature of the climate and the richness of the soil would 

Amboyna is noted for an excellent description of Sagwire; the 
tree from which it is extracted, is of the same genus as the cocoa-nut, 
sago, siri, and date-tree ; from sago and siri, it appears to derive its 
name, as if the liquor were indiscriminately made from each. To keep 
this beverage for any length of time, the roots of a tree called the 
Sasoot, or Oubat, are infused, which occasion fermentation, and the 
process is usually completed in eight hours. It is generally bottled 
for convenience and safety, and is considered wholesome, refreshing, 
and strongly inebriating. The juice or toddy is collected in the 
same manner as elsewhere described, and is here called tyffering.* 
From the Sagwire, an arrack is distilled, and sold so cheap as a 
farthing a glass. When Arago touched at the island of Rawack, one 
of the Moluccas, he observed, that both before and after a repast, a 
libation was made, in honour, as lie supposed, of some deity the milk 
of the cocoa-nut appeared to be the principal beverage.]" 

In the Manillas or Phillippine islands, the sugar-cane is success 
fully cultivated ; the valleys are fertile in Sago and many kinds of 
fruits, and the bread-fruit has lately become an article of importance. 
The aborigines are called Negrellos, and, it may be presumed, they 
are much attached to inebriety, as they make drinking vessels of 
the skulls of such unfortunate Spaniards as fall into their hands, owing 
to the gross treatment they received from the first invaders. 

At Manilla, the largest of these islands, palm trees grow in great 
perfection, and there is not less than forty species : such is the magni 
tude of some of them, that a Jesuit missionary having touched there^ 
had, through the kindness of a friend, a place prepared for him so- 
capacious, that under two leaves of one of those trees, he was enabled 
to say mass and to sleep securely from the most violent rain. The 
palm to w T hich these leaves belong, is somewhat similar to the talipot 
of Ceylon (licuala spinosa) the leaves lie in folds like a fan, and 
are so large, when expanded, that they measure five feet every way. 
Here they are used as umbrellas, and are sufficient to protect five or 
six persons from the heaviest rain. This tree rises to a great height, 
and never blossoms but once, and that is said to be in the year in 

* Stavorinus s Voyage to the East Indies, vol, ii. p. 349. 
t Arago s Voyage, 4 to. p. 234. 


which it dies, when some beautiful yellow flowers appear at the top 
ornamenting- the wide-spreading- branches, and these are surrounded 
by a fruit as large as a cherry, of which no use is made, except that 
of preserving it for seed. Thunberg, speaking 1 of the talipot, says, 
that when the sheath, which envelopes the flower on its lofty sum 
mit, comes to maturity, it bursts with an explosion like the report of 
a cannon, and after that it shoots forth branches on every side to the 
surprising height of thirty or forty feet. When cut down for the 
sake of its seed, the pith, like the sago-tree, yields a sort of meal which 
is made into cakes, and tastes like fine bread, forming a good substi 
tute for rice. Davy, in his account of Ceylon, questions the reality 
of what is related respecting the talipot, and says that a good deal of 
it is fabulous, but that the leaves are from twenty to thirty feet in 
circumference. Here, as well as in Mindora, another of these islands, 
a liquor called tuba is drawn from a palm much like the cocoa: large 
quantities of it are consumed in the country, and produce a consider 
able revenue. This beverage obtains the name of tuba, in conse 
quence of the liquor being infused with calinga, the bark of a tree 
like cinnamon, which is put into it, in order to give it a colour and 
a more pungent taste. Large quantities of cocoa-nut wine are 
consumed in that country, producing a considerable revenue. The 
ricli distil this juice either once or twice, as they wish it stronger or 
weaker ; it is a clear spirit of an astringent quality. 

The liquor called Chilang is a simple beverage, made by first 
boiling the juice of the sugar-cane, and then allowing it to ferment, 
after which it assumes the colour of wine. Another drink, termed 
Pangati, is made by first putting some herbs with leaven into a pot, 
then covering them with rice till the vessel is half full and afterwards 
pouring water on the entire mass. When fermentation has subsided, 
water is again added, and the liquor thus diluted is usually consumed 
by sucking it through a cane tube. A substance, not unlike marma 
lade, is made from toddy, enclosed in sections of the cocoa-nut shell, 
and exposed in that state in the public bazaars for sale. Sugar, 
however, is so abundant, that the manufacture of this article is ren^ 
dered less necessary. Rice is reared with little labour, and even 
grows on the tops of the mountains without being watered ; it affords 
the Chinese, who live on and frequent the islands, an opportunity for 
the exercise of their ingenuity in all the varieties of the brewing pro 
cess. Abundant materials for the making of an excellent brandy are 
obtained from the cocoa, nipe, and cabenegro trees : the nipe or nipah 
is chiefly cultivated for its juice ; it is a low description of palm, 
seldom exceeding the height of a man j the fruit affords an excellent 


sweet-meat, and the leaves, called atap by tlie Malays, are employed 
in covering cottages and constructing mats. 

As Manilla is the great mart and centre of all the Spanish traders 
in the East, and the several nations with whom they deal, much of 
the luxuries and comforts of other countries are brought thither. The 
viceroy lives in great splendour, and at his table, as well as at the 
tables of the higher order of merchants, may be found most of the 
wines, spirits, and liquors of Europe, Asia, Africa, and America. 
The imports are chiefly brandy, gin, and wine: sugar is exported to 
the amount of 75,000 piculs annually, which, at 1421bs. the picul, is 
equal to 10,650,0001bs. The sugar is equally packed in earthen 
vessels, called pelons, three of which contain two piculs; the export 
duties are 12 cents, the picul. In 1817, the revenue on cocoa-nut- 
wine, was 153,641 dollars, and on rum 483 dollars. 

In Mindanao, another of the Phillippine islands, among the various 
fruits, plants, and grain which it produces, there is a tree, called libby 
by the natives, yielding a kind of sago, and of which there are groves : 
and plantations several miles in length. It resembles the cabbage- 
tree, or rather the bread-palm of Malacca, having a strong bark and 
hard wood, the heart of which is full of a w T hite pith like that of the 
elder. When the tree is cut down, the pith is extracted and beaten 
in a mortar until it becomes a complete pulp ; in this state it is laid on 
a cloth, or sieve, water is poured on it and kept stirring until all the 
farinaceous, or mealy substance, is strained into a receiver. When 
settled, the water is drained off, and the residuum or sago baked into 
cakes and used as bread. Considerable quantities of this valuable 
article are exported to different parts of the East and eaten with milk 
of almonds, being deemed, from its astringent nature, an excellent 
remedy in diarrhoea. 

The interior and mountainous parts of Mindanao produce honey in 
such abundance, that bees wax is an article of export, and the inhabi 
tants are not ignorant of the uses to which the honey may be converted 
in administering to the comforts of life. The Phillipine islands are 
also noted for a water drawn from a tree justly termed " the fountain 
tree" and for a kind of cane called by the Spaniards vaxuco, each joint 
of which yields sufficient for an ordinary draught ; and it is singular 
that the vaxuco abounds in the mountainous and barren parts, where 
a cooling beverage is most required. 

Leaving the extensive range of islands connected with the two great 
Indian Peninsulas, the first kingdom on the Asiatic continent that 
daims notice, is Cochin-China, in which the manufacture of rice-wine 
and distillation from that grain are carried on to great extent. 


Plantations of sugar-cane are very numerous, and sugar of prime 
quality is made, in the refining of which the inhabitants have arrived 
to a degree of perfection unknown, perhaps, in any other part of the 
world.* This is accomplished by intermixing layers of the sugar-cane 
of one inch in thickness with similar layers of the herbaceous parts of 
the plantain tree. The aqueous juices which exude from this filter, 
carry along w r ith them all impurities, and leave the sugar clear and 
crystallized. In this state, it is light and porous as a honeycomb. 
The trade in this article is immense, the Chinese alone are said to take 
800,000 quintals yearly. It is, however, strange, that the inhabitants 
do not manufacture rum. Vines are said to grow spontaneously, and 
grapes are produced in abundance, but they do not appear to be con 
verted into wine. This has been attributed to their ignorance of 
knowing how to check the fermentation of the juice of the grape or 
of other vegetables before they pass from the vinous to the acetous 
state, else it is most likely that wine would have been common with 
them instead of distilled liquors. 

From the periodical rains and consequent inundations, Cochin" 
China is remarkably fruitful in rice, which is divided into two classes, 
one growing on a dry soil, the other on a soil that is wet. In all the 
provinces, there are great granaries filled with it, where it is some 
times kept in good preservation for upwards of thirty years. Of 
this grain, there are six different sorts ; one description is long, fari 
naceous, and opaque, from which arrack is chiefly made.f This pre 
servation of grain is not uncommon ; for we find that in some of the 
Barbary states, corn is kept in the matamores, subterraneous vaults, 
or holes made in the form of a cone, for thirty years or more. 
These vaults are closed at the opening, and atmospheric air carefully 
excluded. J In distilling from rice, the Cochin-Chinese are not 
inferior to any other eastern nation. Their arrack is their chief and 
favourite drink ; and " they have it in such plenty," says Borri, " that 
all people in general drink as much as they will, and become as drunk 
as people among us with wine. Graver persons," he adds, "mix that 
liquor with some other water distilled from calamba, which gives it a 
delicious smell, and forms a delicate composition." Calamba is a 
wood of the Kemois mountains ; a species of lignum aloes. When 
cut young, it is denominated Aquila or Eagles-wood-, when old, it is 

The curious reader may find this described at large in Staunton s Embassy, 
vol. i. p. 258. 

f White s Voyage to Cochin-China, 8vo. p. 252. 

% Jackson s Account of Morocco, p. 102. 

Borri s Account of Cochin-China, Churchill s Coll. vol. ii. p. 801, 


called Calamba. This wood is so celebrated for its perfume and 
virtue, that it belongs only to the king* ; and it is said of it that, even 
though buried four feet under ground, it is discovered by its 
fragrance. Lord Macartney and the gentlemen of his suite were 
regaled with a portion of this spirit at an entertainment given by the 
governor of the town of Turon, while the ships were anchored in the 
bay. It was served in small cups, and resembled, in Staunton s opinion, 
Irish whiskey. The host on that occasion, by way of setting a good 
example to his guests, filled his cup to the brim, in a true European 
style of joviality, and after drinking, turned it up, to shew that he had 
emptied it to the bottom.* The Cochin-Chinese are a kind-hearted 
people, and do not bear the character of intemperance. Hospitality 
is common amongst them, and as practised in the Nicobar islands, a 
traveller in want of money is always sure to obtain subsistence at any 
house he may choose to enter, partaking, in common with the family, 
every thing at table, and retiring without any body inquiring his 
business, whence he came, or whither he goeth, it being enough for 
them to know that he is a fellow-mortal in distress."}" Various descrip 
tions of drink are made from the fruits and vegetables with which the 
country abounds. The areca-nut and betel are in much request, and, 
before they are used, are formed into a paste with lime and water. 
For the purpose of carrying this material about them, the inhabitants 
go to great expense in making pouches and boxes, which both sexes 
wear indiscriminately. The men carry their s suspended by a riband 
from the shoulders in the form of a belt, while the women attach 
their s to a girdle round the waist. To the practice of chewing betel 
and smoking tobacco may be attributed the chief cause of the great 
consumption of rice-wines, in order to supply the constant drain on 
the animal juices. 

Betel is a favourite over all the East, and its general use is such 
that no feast or occasion of ceremony is observed without it ; and to 
partake of it in company with persons of high rank is accounted an 
honour. It is related of the king of Quedah, that in order to express 
a high mark of his respect for any of his courtiers or visiters, he made 
him sit near his throne, and having chewed a little betel, sent it fresh 
from the royal mouth on a gold saucer to the distinguished indivi 
dual, who was obliged, as a matter of courtesy, to chew it after him 
with every apparent mark of satisfaction. 

The highest affront one can offer to an Oriental is to refuse his 
betel. Bernier tells a story of a young nobleman, who, to prove his 

* Staunton s Embassy, vol. i. p. 255. 

f Le Poirre * Observations on Various Nations, 12mo, 


loyalty, took and swallowed the betel from Shah Jehan, though he 
knew it to be poisoned. 

As the kingdoms of Tonquin and Chochin- China were at one 
period governed by the same laws, there still exists an affinity in the 
manners, customs, arts, and sciences of the inhabitants. A reciprocity of 
habit prevails, and we do not find that the Tonquinese are acquainted 
with the making of any beverage with which their neighbours are not 
familiar. The fertility of the country and temperate nature of the 
climate are said to enable them to cultivate a great variety of grain. 
Besides the rice common to the rest of India, they rear five other 
kinds peculiar to the soil. The first is the small rice, the grain of 
which is long, thin, and transparent ; it is accounted the most delicate, 
and is generally the only kind which the physicians allow their patients. 
The second is the long thick rice, the form of which is round. The 
third is the red rice, it is so called because its grain is covered with a 
reddish coloured pellicle. These three kinds of rice require much 
water, and never grow but on lands that are frequently overflowed. 
The dry rice, which is of two kinds, grows in a dry soil, and has no 
occasion for any water, but what falls from the heavens. These 
two last kinds produce a grain as white as snow, and are the principal 
articles of their trade with China. They are never cultivated but on 
the hills and mountains, w r here they are sown in the same manner as 
our wheat, about the end of December, or beginning of January, at 
which time the rainy season ends. The dry rice is generally three 
months in the ground and is very productive.* The wine from these 
appears to be excellent ; and the arrack, of which large quantities are 
distilled, is much esteemed throughout the East. In Tonquin, there 
is also an odoriferous kind of rice, which is said to intoxicate by 
merely eating it without its undergoing any process of fermentation ; 
but as this is contrary to the quality of any other grain, the truth of 
the statement is questionable this rice, however, yields by distillation 
a strong kind of arrack. From the palm, which is abundant, toddy 
is extracted, but it is reckoned by Barron to be bad for the nerves ;f 
not from any peculiar quality in the juice, as obtained from the tree, 
but from the mode in which the fermentation is conducted. The 
sugar-cane abounds, being indigene us to the country. Two kinds are 
common, the one is large and exceedingly high, with long joints, 
appearing always green, and is very full of juice; the other is smaller, 
of a yellow colour, and although it affords less liquor, it furnishes more 

* Grosier s China, vol. i. p. 292. 

f Barren s Description of the Kingdom of Tonquin. 


sugar. Until lately, the Tonquinese were ignorant of the mode of 
refining it, contenting themselves with bruising the canes, boiling the 
juice twice, and allowing it to settle into a thick sirup called honey of 
sugar : perhaps it is well for the peace and happiness of the inhabi 
tants that the art of making spirits from molasses or sugar is to them 
still a secret. Even the vine, the natural production of the climate, 
is neglected, and the art of making wine from the grapes unknown. 
Rice-wine, the common liquor, is drunk warm, and much of it is used 
at religious sacrifices. On those occasions, a strange custom prevails, 
of trying the animals intended as offerings, by pouring warm wine 
into their ears : if they shake their heads, they are judged proper to 
be sacrificed; but if they make no motion, they are rejected. In the 
course of the ceremony, the flesh of the victim sacrificed is uncovered, 
and the priest, raising a vessel filled with spirituous liquor, (arrack), 
sprinkles it over a human figure made of straw, invoking the spirit of 
Confucius to be their tutelary guardian and benefactor. After a 
lengthened orison, the priest regales himself with the remains of the 
liquor, which he cautiously secures for that purpose. A custom 
equally ridiculous, as the one of choosing the animals for sacrifice, 
prevails amongst the people of Laos that of rubbing the head of ari 
elephant with wine, enriched with a drop or two of human gall, under 
the impression that the beast will thereby become more robust, and 
the owner more courageous. 

The mountaineers of Tonquin, denominated Miao-tse, have devised 
a peculiar system of religion and rites, of which their priests are at 
the head. It is generally in the house of one of those spiritual father* 
that their gods are consulted and deliver oracles. On sucli occasions, 
a great noise announces, as is supposed, the arrival of their deities. 
Previous to this, the time is passed in drinking and dancing, but, on 
this announcement, all diversions cease, and the multitude send forth 
loud shouts of joy, crying, as they address themselves to their princi 
pal god, " Father! art thou already come?" A voice answers, " Be 
of good cheer, my children; eat, drink, and rejoice; it is I who procure 
you all those advantages which you enjoy !" Having listened to these 
words with profound silence, they again return to their pleasures and 
revelry. The gods, becoming thirsty in turn, ask for something to 
drink, when vases ornamented with flowers and full of liquor are 
immediately presented, which the crafty priest insidiously carries to 
the gods, he being the only person permitted to approach or converse 
with them. 

IlieMiao-tse collect large quantities of honey from the bees, which 
feed on the wild flowers tlmt everywhere adorn the sides and valleys 


of the mountains where they reside ; this honey they convert to various 
purposes, and prepare a beverage from it which is considered very 
palatable and wholesome. Honey is held in such high estimation 
among these people, that they believe it forms an essential ingredient 
in the food with which the souls of their departed relatives are nou 
rished in the paradise of their gods. 

The Tonquinese are of a social disposition ; but too much form 
and ceremony are observed in their visits and entertainments to 
render them agreeable to strangers. Father Horta saw a card of 
invitation for dinner couched in the following terms : " Chao-ting has 
prepared a repast of some herbs, cleaned his glasses, and arranged hig 
house, in order that Se-tong may come and recreate him with the 
charms of his conversation and the eloquence of his learning; he there 
fore begs that he will not deny him that divine pleasure." When all 
the persons invited on such occasions are assembled, and before the 
entertainment begins, the master of the house takes a cup of gold or 
silver filled with wine, either of the country or the Mandarin of China, 
and proceeding to the outer court, with his face turned towards the 
south, pours it out as a peace-offering or libation to the tutelary spirit 
of his dwelling. This ceremony being over, the guests approach the 
tables, and before they commence eating, waste an hour in compli 
menting each other. The person of the greatest distinction in com 
pany drinks first, all the rest in succession, and each salutes the master 
of the house. The cups employed to hold the liquor are very small, 
being scarcely deeper than the shell of a walnut ; these, however, are 
often replenished, which make amends for their diminutive size. If 
the guests chance to play at small games, the losing person is con 
demned to drink freely as a forfeit for his ill luck. Being great 
lovers of tea, they frequently mix arrack with it and drink to intoxi 

The end of these entertainments is generally suited to the begin 
ning, pompous and formal. The guests praise in detail the excellence 
of the dishes and the politeness and generosity of their host, who, on 
his part, makes a number of excuses, and begs pardon, with many low 
bows, for not having treated them according to their merit. 

In this country, the adoption of children is customary, and it is a 
practice on the occasion, for the person so adopted, when presenting 
himself before his patron, to give him a hog with two jars of arrack. 
A similar ceremony is observed in courtships; the lover or his parents 
offering the father or mother of the lady a jar of arrack, a hog, a box 
of betel, or some other gift, which is either accepted or rejected accor 
ding as the young man appears eligible or otherwise. At weddings, 

and on all occasions of ceremony, the people indulge freely, though 
they seldom go to excess, in drinking strong liquors, except persons 
about the court and the military, of whom it is said " that the greatest 
drinker is the bravest man." 

Here also is a singular mode of settling quarrels : when the parties 
are obliged to appear before a magistrate, the usual adjudication 
being that of ordering the offender to treat the injured person with 
arrack, fowl, and pork, so that, by thus feasting together, they may 
forget the injury and put a stop to future animosity. Not less re 
markable is the annual renewal of allegiance to the Choua, which is 
performed by cutting the throat of a fowl, and receiving the blood in 
a basin filled with arrack ; after which, each in his turn drinks a glass 
of the mixture, repeating aloud his professions of loyalty this is 
accounted one of the most solemn and binding obligations, and is fre 
quently had recourse to on various occasions. The arrack and rice 
wines are sold everywhere throughout Tonquin ; and in the public 
markets, held every fifth day, they are exposed for sale like any other 
article of traffic. A very nice description of cider is made from the 
miengou, a fruit resembling the pomegranate, the tree producing it is 
somewhat like the fig ; its branches are pliant and delicate, the wood 
soft and porous, its leaves nearly circular and of a pale green colour. 
In wet weather, a tart milky sugar runs from it, which the peasants 
collect in small porcelain vessels, it soon hardens, and is said to be 
very efficacious in curing head-aches, fevers, and dysenteries. Various 
other beverages are prepared from the different fruits of the country, 
consisting of pine-apples, oranges, bananas, pomegranates, and a red 
species of fig, which, in taste and smell, resembles those of Turkey or 

When going to any distance, they bring with them a supply of these 
liquors to allay their thirst and recruit their strength. Throughout 
the whole of Tonquin, during the different festivals, some of which 
last ten or twelve days, there is a great consumption of arrack and 
other exhilarating beverages, and, on these occasions, recourse is had 
to every of kind amusement resulting from intemperance. 

China, a country which has preserved its civil polity for so many 

msand years, the art of distillation was known far beyond the date 
of any of its authentic records. The period of its introduction into 
that country, in common with the rise and progress of other chemical 
arts, is, however, concealed amidst the darkness of ages. But taking 

* Les Voyages et Missions de P. .Alex, de Rhodes, 4to. Relation Nouvelle et 
Curieuse du Royauvne do Tonquin, et de Laos, Traduitc de 1 Italien du P. de 
Marini, 4to, 


dates as we find them, sanctioned by respectable authority, and leav 
ing the assumed antiquity of the nation as a point for the discussion 
of clu-onologists ; I am led to attribute to the people of this empire 
the merit of an invention which seems to have eluded the grasp of the 
human intellect in the rest of Asia, Africa, and Europe, until a more 
advanced period in the history of the world. 

There is no doubt whatever, that from the earliest ages the Chinese 
were acquainted with many of those useful and ingenious preparations 
which are still considered indispensable in the practice of the arts and 
manufactures of every civilized country. Their knowledge of gun 
powder, before it was discovered in Europe, seems to be a fact undis 
puted, and appears coeval with that of their most distant historic 
events. An intelligent Chinese writer states, that it was used by them 
in fire-works upwards of 2000 years ago ; but its application to the 
purposes of war was of a late introduction. Shut up within the 
bosom of a country yielding in abundance all the necessaries and even 
luxuries of life, and satisfied with the articles which it aiforded, they 
felt no desire to seek or encourage an intercourse with foreign nations.* 
The first missionaries, who visited China, also assure us that the pro 
perties of the loadstone were early known to the inhabitants, and the 
compass used as a guide in their journies through the empire. 
Marco Polo is said to have brought the invention with him in 1260 ; 
and it is even affirmed, that the emperor Chiningus, a famous astro 
loger, had a knowledge of it, 1120 years before Christ. Their inven 
tions, therefore, appear to be entirely their own ; the annals of the 
empire, in the language of Staunton, bear testimony to the fact, and 
it is confirmed by the consideration of the natural progress of those 
inventions and of the state of the Chinese arts at this time.y Estab 
lished authority in China is decisive of public opinion, and abridges 
the liberty of private judgment, error is consecrated by antiquity, 
and the free excursions of genius are unknown. Further advances, 
therefore, are not likely to be made until the prejudices of habit and 
the clouds of ignorance shall have been dispelled by the diffusion of 
scientific knowledge on sound philosophical principles. 

That the Chinese were versed in all the secrets of alchymy; or 
rather in that branch of it which had for its object a universal panacea, 
long before this fancy engaged the speculations of European practi 
tioners, there is abundant proof, J since some of their empirics have, 

* Barrow s Travels in China, 4to. p. 276 and 434, &c. 

f Embassy to China, vol. ii. p. HjO and 162. 

Du Halde, Le Compte, Martini, Chbeek, Grower, &c., &c. 


from an early period, boasted of a specific among their drugs, which 
ensures an immortality like that conferred on Godwin s St. Leon. 
The search after this elixir vitce originated, it appears, among the 
disciples of the philosopher Lao-kiun, who flourished six hundred 
years before Christ. Not content with the tranquillity of mind which 
that teacher of wisdom endeavoured to inculcate, and considering 
death as too great a barrier to its attainment, they betook themselves 
to chemistry, and after the labour of ages in a vain endeavour to pre 
vent the dissolution of our species, and after the destruction of three 
of their emperors who fell victims to the immortalizing draught, they, 
like the alchymists of Europe, ended their researches under the pre 
tence of discoveries which were never made, and of remedies that 
could only be administered under all the extravagancies of magic. 
The emperor Hyen-Tsong, in the year 820 of the Christian era, pro 
cured some of this liquor, with which it is thought his eunuchs mixed 
poison, as he died immediately after drinking it, at the age of forty- 
three.* Swen-Tsong^ it appears, had no sooner taken it in the year 
859, than he became a prey to worms and died in a few days.f Shi- 
Tsong, or Kya-Tsing, also died of the effects of this liquor in 1556. 
This monarch built a place called Van Xeutien, or the palace of ten 
thousand lives, for the express purpose of distilling these waters of 
immortality. It was surrounded by a high wall and battlements per 
fectly round, as were also the halls and chambers, presenting in the 
interior, hexagons or octagons. The architecture was beautifully 
magnificent, and very romanticly situated on the great artificial lake 
within the enclosures of the monarch s residence in Pekin.f 

The emperor Vu-Ti, who reigned in the year 177 before Christ, 
when about to put one of his ministers to death for drinking a cup of 
this liquor which had been prepared for himself, was convinced of his 
weakness and folly by the following wise and sensible remonstrance 
of his minister : " If this drink, Sire, hath made me immortal, how can 
you put me to death ? but if you can, how does such a frivolous theft 
deserve it ?" 

In any country, where medicine has not been established as a 
regular study, it can scarcely be expected that the profession of a 
chemist could be supported with dignity or respectability. But, 
whether to this search, or to other circumstances, the early knowledge 
of the Chinese in distillation is to be ascribed, it would be no easy 
matter to determine. Their acquirements in medicine are so limited, 

* Du Halde, Annals of the Monarchs, vol i. p. 200. f Ibid. 202. 
J Magaillan s China, p. 317, and 327. 
Du Halde, p. 177. 


that Navarette says, the greatest part of their physicians are mere 
farriers ; that they know nothing of potions, and their chief care and 
skill consist in little more than the recommendation and observance of 
a regular diet.* 

From this unimproved state of an art so important to human exis 
tence, it is clear that they owe nothing to foreign or factitious aid ; 
and although it might be urged that the Arabians, at an early period, 
advanced as far as Canton, where they might have communicated 
some of the discoveries of their physicians and philosophers, it ought 
to be recollected that it was the spirit of commerce which carried the 
Mussulmans to the confines of this remote region,! and that the power 
of the still, if known to them at that time, was altogether applied to 
the improvement and advancement of medical knowledge ; a use to 
which, as far as I can learn, it has never yet been devoted in China. 
That the Arabs knew any thing of distillation previous to their inter 
course with this empire, appears strongly questionable. It was under , 
the Caliph Walid, in the year 715, that they sent ambassadors and 
merchants to that country. In 850, they had carried their commer- \ 
cial intercourse so far as to have an agent for conducting their affairs 
stationed in the province of Canton, and they were then permitted to 
extend their trade to some towns of the interior. Now, it is natural 
to infer, that a people so ingenious as the Chinese, and whose inven 
tions do not seem to have been borrowed from any other nation, were 
more likely to impart information respecting the properties of the still 
than to procure it, as they had at a date long anterior to this period, 
possessed all those drinks with which they are familiar at the present 
day. Further investigation confirms this inference, and it is strength 
ened by the opinion, of Humboldt, who says, that the process used by 
us in making sugar was brought from oriental Asia, and that even the 
cylinders placed horizontally and put into motion by a mill, with 
cauldrons and purifying apparatus, such as are to be seen in the West 
Indies, are purely of Chinese origin, and were in use at a period long 
anterior to the visit of any European to that country. 

We find from the two Mahometan travellers who visited China in 
the ninth century, that the Chinese had no wine, but drank a liquor ; 
made from rice, a proof that they were acquainted with the great 
staple of the country then as at present, that of a distilled liquor from 
that grain ; and Marco Polo tells us, that in his time arrack paid a 

* Vide Navarette s Account of China. Barrow s Travels in China, 4to. p, 344, 
Abel s Journey, Staunton, c. 

f Robertson s India, 12mo. pp. 92, 93. 


duty of three and a-lialf per cent, to the government, and he observed 
shops for the express purpose of selling rice-wine. 

The Chinese annals trace a communication with other countries 
2000 years before Christ ; and their intercourse with Hindostan and 
Persia is familiar in their records 1000 years previous to the Chris 
tian era. Doctor Morrison, who has thrown considerable light on the 
history and antiquities of this interesting portion of the globe, states 
in the Chinese Repository for January, 1833, that the people of India, 
Egypt, Arabia, and other countries, came by the southern sea to Canton 
with tribute (gifts) and for trade. Besides, it is certain, that in the 
seventh century, the Chinese monarch sent ambassadors to the sur 
rounding nations for social and commercial purposes. Silk and many 
other commodities were, it is well known, originally brought from 
India and China ; and we have the testimony of Ptolemy, that Maeses, a 
Macedonian merchant, sent an agent to China, a distance of 2,800 
miles, for the purpose of procuring this and other commodities, the 
luxuries of the times.* In the reign of Augustus Csesar, among 
other eastern nations that sent embassies to Rome to court the em 
peror s friendship, are mentioned the Seres, now the Chinese, who, 
after a journey which occupied four years, presented him with pearls, 
precious stones, and elephants. 

As learning leads to the highest posts of honour, the love of litera 
ture has long prevailed among this people ; and their progress in moral 
philosophy and the belles-lettres has been by no means inconsider 
able. To this advancement the knowledge of printing has greatly 
contributed ; but although that art, according to Trigaucius and others, 
has been known to them above 1776 years, or as some affirm, beyond 
the date of the records respecting gunpowder, it has remained 
comparatively stationary, doubtless from the nature of the language, 
which renders the printing of books troublesome and tedious. It is 
said to consist of 60,000 characters and upwards : those employed 
for the ordinary purposes of life do not, however, amount to any con 
siderable number. He who is acquainted with from 15 to 20,000 
characters, is esteemed very learned, and he may well be accounted 
so, since it takes nearly half his life to acquire them. People in trade 
are conversant with such of the characters only as answer the despatch 
of business, depending on the more intelligent when any difficulty 
arises. The printer, or rather the engraver of a book, has to trace 
the characters of each leaf on a piece of plank, or a block of hard wood ; 


* Ptolem. Gcogr. Lib. VI. c. xi. xviii. Vide M. de Guignes Memoirs of the 
Commerce of the Romans with the Tartars and Chinese. 


and Abel says, that nothing could be more simple than the method of 
printing which he saw. On a piece of wood, mostly pear-tree, about 
two feet square, carved into the necessary characters, and covered 
with ink, a thin paper was laid, which, being pressed down by the 
hand, received the desired impression. The use of moveable types 
in wood is confined to the printing of the Pekin Gazette and a few 
other periodical works. All others are printed in stereotype. The 
use of moveable metallic types may, perhaps, at no distant period? 
become general in the empire, as a manufactory of them in block tin 
is already established at Macao for the use of the British factory. 
The founders and cutters are Chinese, who execute their work with 
great precision and despatch.* For printing a work of any extent, 
a store of some magnitude is required. What must have been the 
room requisite for the materials of one of their dictionaries, consisting 
of 120 large volumes; or for the ancient and modern laws of the 
country which the emperor Tay-tsuf ordered to be printed in 1380 
in three hundred volumes ! It was a whole age after its commence 
ment before this work was completed. 

But, notwithstanding this apparent difficulty, books are said to be 
numerous ; they are printed on one side only, and stitched in thin 
white paper, their size answering generally to that of our royal 
octavo.J The emperor Tay-Tsong is represented to have had a 
library of 80,000 volumes, the composition of native authors, which 
were neatly distributed in three large rooms, richly adorned ; and 
that monarch was so fond of reading, that he daily turned over one or 
two volumes ; and the famous library of Ywen-ti, which was burned 
in 552, consisted of 140,000 volumes. 

The whole nation, says a Jesuit missionary, who had a good oppor 
tunity of observation, is much addicted to study and learning. In one 
province, we are told, there are sometimes upwards of 10,000 licen 
tiates and bachelors, and the number of candidates for degrees, at a 
moderate computation, amounts to 2,000,000. In the Southern pro 
vinces of the empire, there is scarcely a Chinese that cannot read and 
write. " I have met," says Navarette, " men on the road in sedans and 
palanquins on men s shoulders, with a book in their hands. In cities, 
I have often seen Mandarins occupied in the same manner ; and to 
induce their children to learn, the tradesmen and shopkeepers might 
be seen sitting behind their counters with books before them." For 
<****Vih >-.-: : ^ 

* Abel s Narrative of a Journey in China, 4to. p, 229. 

t Du Haldc, vol. i. p. 2 1 8. 

% Oshcck s Voy. to China, 8vo. vol. i. p, 277. 


the encouragement of students, says the same writer, the example i$ 
related of a poor young man who herded cows and rode upon one of 
them, as is usual in the country, keeping a book on her horns in such 
a manner that it served as a desk, and enabled him to read all the 
day ; by which means he attained to a high station in the state. 
Another instance is mentioned of a youth, who being so poor that he 
could not buy oil for his lamp, studying at night by the light of the 
moon and the stars ; his erudition procured him equally honorable 
advancement. But, although the application of the Chinese has been 
sufficiently laborious, we have no account of any of their publications 
on the useful or speculative arts. To this circumstance, combined 
with a constant jealousy and fear of imparting to others a knowledge 
of their inventions, which they consider purely their own, is, perhaps 
to be attributed the very brief and unsatisfactory accounts, which 
writers have been able to collect, of the nature and extent of their 
inebriating beverages. We read that, under the government of the 
emperor Yu or Ta-yu, before Christ 2207,* the making of ale, or 
wine from rice, was invented by an ingenious agriculturist named 
I-tye ; and that as the use of this liquor was likely to be attended 
with evil consequences, the emperor expressly forbade the manufac 
ture or drinking of it under the severest penalties. He even re 
nounced it himself, and dismissed his cup-bearer, lest, as he said, the 
princes, his successors, might suffer their hearts to be effeminated 
with so delicious a beverage.j This, however, had not the desired 
effect, for having once tasted it, the people could never afterwards 
entirely abstain from the bewitching draught. Some have conjec 
tured, with seeming plausibility, that I-tye was a near descendant 
from Noah. This is supported by the opinion of Doctor Hales, given 
in his Analysis of Chronology, who thinks that it was the family of 
Shem that peopled China. But the writers of the Universal History 
allege, that Noah himself being discontented with the party that had 
been formed to build the tower of Babel, separated from the main 
body, and with some followers, travelling eastwards, at last entered 
China, and laid the foundation of that vast empire. /Be that as it may, 
a love for rice-wines was, at a very early date, carried to such excess 
and consumed in such abundance, that the emperor Kya, the Nero of 
China, in 1836 before Christ, ordered 3000 of his subjects to jump 
into a large lake which he had prepared and filled with it; while Chin- 
vang, in 1120, thought it prudent to assemble the princes to suppress 

* Du Halde, vol. i. p. 145. 
f Ibid, p. 433. 


its manufacture, as it was the source of infinite misfortune in his 

dominions. *H 

- , * 

It is related of Kee, that he carried his propensities for drinking 
and extravagance so far, that, to indulge a favourite mistress, he built 
a room coated with jasper, had the furniture adorned with precious 
stones, and constructed ponds for wine in his palace. f 

The produce of the grape, it would seem from this, was not so 
early attended to, although the cultivation of the vine had been known 
and practised in China from time immemorial. All the songs, which 
remain of the early dynasties down to that of Han, which commenced 
206 years before the Christian era, confirm this statement, and 
give reason to believe that the Chinese have always been fond of wine 
made from grapes. Grosier says that the emperor Ouenti, of the 
dynasty of Ouei, celebrated it with a lyric enthusiasm worthy of 
Horace or Anacreon ; and we find in the large Chinese Herbal, book 
133, that wine made from grapes was the wine of honour, which 
several cities presented to their governors and viceroys, and even to 
the emperor. In 1373, the emperor Tay-tsu, who ascended the throne 
five years before, accepted some of it for the last time from Tai-yuen, 
a city in the province of Chensi, and forbade any more to be pre 
sented. " I drink little wine," said the prince, " and I am unwilling 
that what I do drink should occasion any burden to my people. * 
According to the same writer, the vine has undergone many revolu 
tions in China. When orders were issued for rooting up all trees 
that encumbered the grounds destined for agriculture, the vine suf 
fered in common with the others ; and the extirpation of it has been 
carried so far in most of the provinces, during certain reigns, that 
even the remembrance of it was entirely forgotten. When it was 
afterwards allowed to be planted, it would appear from the manner 
in which some historians express themselves, that grapes and the vine 
began then for the first time to be known. This probably has given 
rise to the opinion that the vine has not been long introduced into 
China ; it is however certain, without speaking of remote ages, that the 
vine and grapes are expressly mentioned in the Chinese annals, under 
the reign of the emperor Vou-ty, who came to the throne in the year 
140 before the Christian era; and that since his time the use of wine 
maybe traced from dynasty to dynasty; or as we may say, from reign 
to reign even to the fifteenth century. With regard to the present 
state of the culture of vines in China, Grosier declares that the two 

* Du Halde, vol. i. p. 150, 159. 

f Gutzlaflf s Hist, of China, vol. i. p. 149. 


preceding emperors to Kien-long, with that monarch himself, who 
was on the throne when Lord Macartney visited the country, caused 
a number of new plants to be brought from foreign parts, and that 
three of the provinces in particular, viz. Honan, Shan-tong, and 
Shan-si, repaired their former losses by the cultivation of them.* 
Barrow remarked, that in his time no wine was made from the juice 
of the grape, except by the missionaries near the capital.j Bell, speak 
ing of this wine, of \vhich he partook at an entertainment given by the 
Jesuits, says it was not of the best quality, although the grapes of the 
country were excellent. According to Ellis, who left China in 1817, 
the vine is cultivated to considerable extent in diiferent parts of the 
empire, and the Chinese having an abundance of grapes, he was sur 
prised that they should not have wines of the choicest quality. Our 
wines, liqueurs, and cordials are, if possible, more relished by them 
than by ourselves, from which, and their general attachment to the 
richest and most expensive sorts of drink, it is singular that they have not 
had recourse to the manufacture of those beverages common in other 
countries. This, however, like their other peculiarities, may chiefly be 
accounted for by their jealous policy of not imitating foreign nations. 
But it might be attributed to another cause, namely, the quantity of 
rain, which, at the time of the ripening of the grape, falls for a period of 
five or six weeks, to the great injury of its vinous quality. Besides,the 
people look more to the size of the fruit than to its produce in wine, 
and for that purpose, as if not content with the quantity of rain which 
falls in this season, they cut trenches for the conveyance of water to 
the roots of the vine, in order to increase the size of the fruit. Ta 
cultivate the vine successfully in any country requires heat, a good 
soil, with little humidity. At Pekin, during the winter, the vine must 
be buried in the same manner as practised by the Cossacks of the 
Don, and put into training in summer. Dried grapes are in great 
demand. The finest description is brought from the Ha-mi country. 
Lord Macartney was presented by the emperor with grapes of an un 
common form, being more oblong than olives and about the same size. 
The people of Turkestan pay to the Chinese court a part of their 
taxes in grapes ; from which, and the considerations just enumerated, 
it is manifest that the Chinese only partially cultivate the vine, and 
even that for the mere sake of the fruit as a table luxury. Such is 
their frugality, that they consider it a sin against humanity to cul 
tivate fruit on account of its liquor; whilst the ground, that its growth 

* Grosier s Description of China, vol. i. chap. v. 
| Barrow s Travels in China, 4 to. p. 304. 


would occupy, could produce sustenance for many individuals who 
might otherwise perish from hunger. 

Of rice-wines there are different sorts, but none of them have any 
resemblance to the wines of Europe, either as to taste or quality; 
being variously compounded, and never allowed in the manufacture 
to preserve the mere flavour of the original material. That called 
mandarin, being considered of a superior class, is drawn from rice of 
a particular description, different from that which is eaten.* The 
grain is steeped for twenty or thirty days in water, and then gently 
boiled. When it is quite soft and pulpy, and completely diluted and 
dissolved by the heat, it is allowed a considerable time to ferment in 
proper vats prepared for the purpose, generally of glazed earthen 
ware. The yeast employed is made from wheat, in which several 
wholesome ingredients are added during the process of fermentation. 
These consist of such fruits and flowers as impart an agreeable flavour 
and pleasing colour. At the end of several days, when the motion, or 
agitation occasioned by the fermenting process, has subsided, and 
when the liquor has thrown up all the scum or dross, it is drawn off 
into glazed vessels, where, by a second species of fermentation, it 
clears itself and developes, by the taste and smell, its good or bad 
qualities. When sufficiently fined, so as to show by standing for some 
time, its body and colour, it is put into small jars, in which way it is 
commonly sold and sent through the empire, or to Tonquin and Corea. 
This wine is usually so strong, that it will keep for a great many 
years, or, as some say, for ages. Within the empire it is principally 
consumed among the higher orders, who can afford to buy it ; and 
when exported it sells very dear. The lees are distilled, and yield a 
strong agreeable kind of spirit, like brandy. This is called show, ckoo, 
sau-tchoo, sam-tchoo, (literally burnt) or hot wine. The town of 
Cha-tching, north-west of Pekin, near the great wall, is celebrated for 
sam-tchoo. The city of Kyenchang, in the province of Kyang-li, is 
also noted for a fine species of this wine, while that of Vu-si-hyen in 
Kyang-nan, is in great esteem, owing its excellence to the goodness of 
the water found there.f The city of Ta-chew is a great mart of this 
spirit, from which it is exported to all parts of China. Navarette, in 
his journey to the imperial residence, remarks, that in the district of 
the city of Kian-hoa, the liquor of this class was made so good, that 
he felt no regret for the wines of Europe. He represents it as exceed 
ingly wholesome, and gives a proof of it in the instance of a person of 
rank, above seventy years of age, with whom he was acquainted, and 

* Du Haklc, vol. i. p. 303. f Ibid. 


who had been in the habit of drinking at breakfast, for the greater 
part of his life, a pint and half of this wine. Some of the rice-wines 
are so highly perfumed, and so odoriferous, that on opening a bottle 
the air of the apartment assumes an agreeable fragrancy ; such is the 
state of perfection to which these people have arrived in the making 
of this luxury. Captain Hall, when in Chili, met with a kind of lemon 
ade, the fragrance of which filled the whole house.* A description 
of liquor termed Sew-heng-tsow is distilled in China from millet, or 
kao-laing, (the holcus sorghum of naturalists) which is very pala 
table, and, from its mildness, gently excites the animal spirits without 
producing intoxication, or any other bad effects, unless immoderately 
taken. This is a favourite beverage used even at the breakfast table 
of every man of quality, where it is always drunk hot, and seldom in 
less quantity than two cups at a time by any individual. 

The denominations of the wines made from rice and other grain 
are distinguished by their respective colours, which are generally 
yellow, red, white, or pale ; hence if the wine be yellow, it is called 
hoang-tsieou, hoang signifying yellow, arid tsieou fermented liquor. 
But it has different names, and is differently estimated from the res 
pective places of manufacture as before stated. A bottle of Kian- 
nan wine, there called hosi-kuen from the name of a fountain, is sold 
for about eight pence. A wholesome and much esteemed liquor, 
termed Chao-tsing-tsieou is so called from a town in the province 
where it is made, and is sold at a moderate price, being from four 
pence to six pence the bottle. Tse-kiang, another fermented beverage, 
has an agreeable tartish flavour, with strong intoxicating qualities, and 
is in high repute. To tell a man that he drinks Chao-tsing-tsieou, or 
Tse-kiang, is the same as to say, he lives too voluptuously, or drinks 
too deeply. 

In many of the provinces, an excellent description of wine is made 
from the palm-tree, and is called Cha, a term which, in the amplitude 
of the Chinese language, is also given to tea ; but the process of 
making it differs little from that as practised in India, and already 
described. Navarette says that a ;most superior and delicate species 
of wine is prepared from the quince. But in a country so extensive 
as China, abounding in every variety of fruit that grows in other 
parts of the world, as well as some peculiar to the soil, with grain and 
esculent substance that contain saccharine matter, what, it may be 
asked, in the hands of so ingenious a people, must be the number of 
wines or vinous liquors that daily sparkle on the tables of the luxurious? 

* Capt. Hall s Journal, vol. i. p. 31. 


The festivals and private entertainments of the Chinese, which arts 
numerous, give consumption to every description of drink. At all 
their entertainments much ceremony is used, but this need not be 
wondered at, when it formed a matter of state policy to regulate even 
the etiquette to be observed at social and convivial parties. When 
an invitation for dinner is given, a large sheet of red paper is sent 
several days before, couched in terms of the most polite nature, and 
written in all the pomposity of the oriental style. The following is 
a copy of a note of invitation sent from a Chinese of consequence at 
Canton, to a foreigner, inviting him to a marriage feast : 

" To the great head of literature, venerable first-born, at his table 
of study. On the 8th day of the present moon, your younger brother 
is to be married. On the 9th having cleansed the cups, on the 10th 
he will pour out wine, on which day he will presume to draw to his 
lonely abode the carriage of his friend. With him he will enjoy the 
pleasures of conversation and receive from him instruction for the well 
regulation of the feast. To this he solicits the brilliant presence of 
his elder brother ; and the elevation to which the influence of his 
glory will assist him to rise, who can conceive ?" 

Nor is such an invitation supposed to be given with sincerity, until it 
has been renewed three or four times in writing. On the day previous 
to the feast, another solicitation is sent on rose-coloured paper, by way 
of a remembrancer, and in order to ascertain whether the guest will 
attend. Besides, on the day appointed, the invitation is again repeated 
to inform the persons invited that the feast is ready, and nothing 
wanted but their presence. When the company have arrived and 
partaken* of some refreshments, the dinner commences, the wine cups 
are filled with Sew-heng-tsow, the host arises, all the guests follow 
his example, and each holding a cup in both hands, and saluting each 
other, drink the contents and sit down to the repast. The cups are 
sometimes replenished with other domestic liquors, or cordials made 
from lytchees, oranges, pine-apples and other fruit, which, although 
rather strong, are pleasing to the taste. Sam-tchoo, or Fan-Tsow, is 
always offered after the commencement of the second course, and on 
the serving of every new dish, cups of Sew-heng-tsow are swallowed. 
During the repast, the guests pledge each other after the European 
manner, and sometimes with such etiquette that, with the cups held 
by both hands, the parties remove to the centre of the room raising 
and lowering their cups even to the ground, repeating the ceremony 
three, six, or nine times, watching each other s movements strictly, 
till their cups are brought to their lips at the same instant, when they 
empty them of their contents; and, turning 1 them downwards, shew 


that not a drop has been left, after which they retreat in the same 
ceremonious order to their seats. Every movement from the begin- 
ing to the end of the entertainment is equally formal. Instead of grace 
or a prayer before dinner, as is the custom in Christian countries, the 
master of the house, when his guests are assembled, takes a cup of 
wine, and after bowing to the company, solemnly advances to the 
court-yard and raising his eyes and the cup to heaven, pours out the 
contents on the ground as an offering of respect and satisfaction to 
the deity, to whom he thus expresses gratitude for the pleasure of 
seeing his friends. Each guest at these entertainments has a table to 
himself, and the one for the master is always below the rest to shew 
his regard for the company. It is customary on those occasions to 
call in strolling comedians to add, by their performance, to the plea 
sures of the social circle, which are seldom considered complete with 
out them. When the guests are about to sit down to dinner, four or 
five actors richly dressed enter the room, and, as a mark of reverence 
to the assembly, bow so low that their foreheads touch the ground, 
which ceremony they repeat four times. Then one of them presents 
a book in which are written, in letters of gold, the titles of a number 
of comedies that they can perform. One being chosen, the acting 
commences to the music of drums, flutes, fifes, and trumpets. A 
large vacant space left between the tables, which are placed in two 
rows, serves for the stage ; and instead of side-scenes, the actors make 
use of the adjoining rooms, from which they come to perform their 
parts. A number of persons are frequently admitted into the court 
yard to enjoy the performance, but they form no part of the guests. 
The women are also present without being seen, having accomoda- 
tions behind a lattice, through which they can behold all that passes. 
Jugglers and mountebanks are often engaged to enliven the entertain 
ment, and their pranks and deceptions are wonderful. One of them 
will desire a guest to choose a glass of some favourite liquor ; when, 
by boring a hole with a gimlet in any of the pillars by which the roof 
of the apartment is supported, he will draw through a quill the liquor 
required. In a similar way, other extraordinary feats of leger 
demain, with pantomimic tricks, are exhibited. A dessert, or supper, 
follows the dinner, when the same ceremonious conduct is observed. 
Larger cups, however, are then used, and the master of the house 
drinks with less reserve in order to encourage the company to follow 
his example, which they generally do pretty freely. All is over 
about midnight, when the party repair to their respective homes, 
carried in chairs, preceded by domestics who have large lanterns of 
oiled paper, on which the name and rank of their master are usually 


inscribed. Without these precautions they would be stopped by the 
watchmen, to whose officer a card of thanks is usually presented the 
next morning. On the day after the dinner, the host sends a large 
red paper to each of the guests apologizing for the badness of the 
dinner (which, by the bye, always consists of the greatest delicacies), 
and an immediate reply is returned on the same sort of paper, praising, 
in the like bombastic style, the unbounded gratification his feast had 
afforded, and complimenting him on the polite manner with which he 
conducted himself towards all his guests. 

Dinners, when given to Europeans, are sometimes served in the 
English fashion, with such meat and wines as they have been accus 
tomed to at home ; and on these occasions the usual ceremonies are 
dispensed with. In Pekin, it is common for some of the higher orders to 
resort to hotels or taverns for the purpose of entertaining their friends, 
where a dinner of twenty different dishes may be had at from nine to 
ten francs for each person.* The Tartars have a good deal altered 
the ancient ceremonial of the Chinese repasts, but there is still too 
much form observed to render their entertainments pleasing, parti 
cularly to strangers. 

The following mode of making beer is observed in China. The 
liquor is called tar-asun, and is extracted from barley or wheat. 
The grain from which it is produced undergoes a certain degree of 
malting, and after which it is coarsely ground and put into a keive, 
where it is moistened slightly with warm water, and closely covered. 
After it has stood for some time, boiling Avater is again poured upon 
it, and the whole is stirred until it appears completely wetted and 
mixed. This operation being performed, the keive is covered a third 
time, and permitted to stand as before. It is then opened again, 
stirring the whole contents and pouring in boiling water, until the 
light material rise to the top, and the liquor assumes the strong 
flavour of the grain, which is known by its having gained a deep 
colour, and an adhesive or glutinous consistency. When the liquid 
has become lukewarm, it is poured into a narrower vessel than the 
keive ; and after being mixed with a small portion of Chinese hops, 
the vessel containing the liquor is put down into the earth for the 
purpose of fermentation. The Chinese hop is a prepared one which 
bears its leaven within itself, and excites fermentation, though the 
humulus lupulus, or common hop, is found climbing through the hedges.f 
As soon as the working has ceased, and the liquor has begun to sub 
side, large bags are filled with it, or rather coarse sacks made of a 

* Timkowsld s Travels, vol. ii. \\ 173. 
f Osbeck s China, vol. i. p. 33C. 


thickness suitable for tlie purpose, after which they are put into ii 
press. The liquor extracted is poured into barrels, bunged up with 
care, and immediately after placed in a cellar, as without this precau 
tion it would soon become sour. In the distilleries, the same process 
is observed for the preparation of the wort, or wash, from wheat, rye, 
or millet, except that no hops are used when the liquor from the grain 
is intended to be distilled. Before this extract is submitted to any 
kind of fermentation, it is mixed with a preparation called pe-ka, con 
sisting of rice-flour, licorice-root, aniseed, and garlic ; this, it appears, 
not only accelerates fermentation, but is supposed to impart a peculiar 
flavour. The whole of the mixture being duly fermented, undergoes 
distillation, and the Sau-tchoo thus prepared, may, as Barrow remarks, 
be considered as the basis of the best arrack, which in Java, as already 
noticed, is exclusively the manufacture of the Chinese, and is nothing 
more than a rectification of the above spirit, with the addition of mo 
lasses and juice of the cocoa-nut tree.* Before distillation, the liquor 
is simply called tchoo or wine; after that, the word show, sau, or sam, 
is added, to express its hot, burning, or fiery nature. The tar-asun 
is a sweet liquor, sometimes equal in strength and purity to Canary 
wine ; but to strangers it has a disagreeable flavour. Bell, who 
accompanied the Russian ambassador to Pekin, in the year 1720, 
observed, that the emperor Kanihi and his courtiers were very fond 
of this liquor, and a good cup of it warm, was presented to him of a 
cold morning by the emperor s own hands, which he found very 

The great materials of distillation tlu oughout all China are rice and 
millet, the former of which, according to Sir George Staunton, is 
produced in great abundance in the middle and southern provinces of 
the empire; while the latter supplies its place in the northern. The 
millet of the northern provinces is the holcus sorghum, or Barbadoes 
millet : the Chinese call it koiv-leang, or lofty corn. It is worthy of 
remark, that as the barley-corn was made a standard of measure by 
Europeans, so the Chinese formed their measures of capacity by the 
number of grains of millet which they contained. May it not, there 
fore, from the antiquity of this nation, be inferred, that the practice 
of measuring by grain was borrowed from them, when it appears 
from their most ancient records to have been in use from the earliest 
period. An idea can scarcely be formed of the immense culture of 
rice and millet, even on learning that the mere tribute, paid from the 

* Barrow s Trav. p. 304. 
f Bell s Travels, vol. ii. p. 9. 


different provinces into the royal treasury, yearly, as a duty on the 
lands, amounts in those different kinds of grain to 40,155,490 sacks.* 
According to the Chinese geography, Daisin-y-tundshi, the tribute 
of wheat in Chinese da?i, or bushels, amounts to 6,396,286.f But 
when the steepest hills and mountains are brought into cultivation, we 
need scarcely wonder at the agricultural riches of China. The vrater 
which runs through the level of the valley, is there taught to flow 
across the mountain, and from terrace to terrace, to give nourishment 
to vegetable matters, and assist the hardy labours of the husbandman. 
The principal depot for rice and other grain is at Pekin. In that 
city are immense magazines for storing the contributions from the 
several states. The corn and rice are conveyed to the capital by 
small boats, or junks, to the number of 10,455. The barges appointed 
by the government for the conveyance of provisions, silk, rice, and 
other necessaries from the southern provinces to Pekin, amount to 
9,999, which number is kept up with a sort of religious punctuality. 
The canal by which these are conveyed is said to have been con 
structed for that special purpose, and was, therefore, denominated Yun 
leang /to, which signifies the " grain -transmitting river." At every 
dike, the cargo is shifted into other boats placed on the opposite side ; 
and thus, at immense labour, is transported the produce of the extre 
mities of the empire to the central parts. For the convenience of 
removing the cargo from one boat to another, the rice is carried in 
sacks and stowed on deck. Adjoining these magazines, is one belong 
ing to the government, for the express purpose of holding rice-wine, 
arrack, and other commodities. A missionary relates that, in the year 
1664, he bought the very best wheat for three ryals (eighteen pence), 
and rice of the first quality, " every grain as big as the kernel of a pine 
apple," for five ryals (half-a-crown) the bushel. In the province of 
Shan-tong, in the same year, wheat was sold for one ryal, or six-pence 
the bushel. The wheat sent yearly to the treasury from this province, 
is upwards of 1,271,494 dans. The produce of this empire being 
so little liable to change, unless from unfavourable seasons, I am 

* In 1696, the quantity of rice and corn brought into the emperor s stores con 
sisted of 43,328,834 sacks with 38,550lbs. of dried fruits, viz. grapes, figs, nuts, 
and chesnuts. 

f The dan is equal to 12, 070 cubic inches French. The Daisin-y-tundsJd is very 
scarce, and not to be had even among the booksellers at Pekin ; and if a copy of it 
could be procured, it would cost at least 200 rubles of silver. Timkowski, who 
was in China, in 1820, was informed by Father Hyacinth, of the Russian college, 
that he had translated the greater part of this valuable work into the Russian 
language, and it is to be hoped that it will speedily make its appearance in an Eng 
lish dress. 


inclined to think that the prices are still the same. When Barrow 
was at Pekin, rice sold from three -halfpence to two-pence per lh., 
bread four pence, and wheat-flour from two-pence halfpenny to three 
pence. Dobell, a late writer,* makes the price of rice cheaper, it 
generally selling from three quarters of a dollar to one and a quarter 
dollars the picul of 133^ English pounds. 

As there does not appear any regulation confining distillation to 
particular individuals, all the makers of wine distil from the lees, wliile 
other persons manufacture from the grain direct. The produce is 
*^ distinguished in Europe under the general appellation of rack, raki, or 
arrack, a term in use from the earliest dawn of civilisation. The 
manufacture of this liquor, Grosier tells us, is carried on to a great 
extent through the whole of the Chinese dominions. Its strength 
generally exceeds the common proof, and is free from that empyreu- 
matic odour so often perceptible in European spirits. Numbers of 
carts laden with it enter Pekin daily. The duty is paid at the gates, 
which are nine in number, three on the south front, and two on the 
other three sides, and the liquor is sold publicly in more than a thou 
sand shops that are dispersed through the city and suburbs. The 
sale of this attractive article is conducted in the same way through the 
whole of the cities, towns, and villages in the fifteen provinces ; and 
it is not a little surprising that, amidst a population of 333,000,000, 
the consumption of so dangerous a beverage should be attended with 
so few fatal consequences, since we are assured on the testimony of 
the most respectable writers,f that a quarrel or murder occasioned by 
intoxication is rarely or ever heard of. But, I apprehend, that to the 
strictness of the police, and to a regulation rendering every tenth 
housekeeper accountable for the conduct of the nine neighbouring 
families, J more than to the steadiness of the Chinese, must be attri 
buted this forbearance, since human nature is much the same in every 
region of the world. As to the population of this empire, writers 
disagree. Lord Macartney and Staunton rate it as just stated ; the 
Abbe Grosier makes it 200,000,000; and Father Allerstain, 
198,213,713; others limit it to 150,000,000. Most writers, how 
ever, agree with Staunton, and from the opportunity he had of 
obtaining accurate information, it may be presumed his estimate is 
more to be relied on than any other. The population, as given by 
order of the emperor Kea-king,in 1812, appeared to be 360,279,897* 

* Travels, vol. ii. p. ) 92. 

f De Guignes, Barrow, Osbeck, Van Praam, Sil. t!et Sacy, &c. 

J Staunton Embassy, vol. ii. p. 56. 


The census of this vast empire is taken annually, and therefore ought 
to be more accurate than that of any other nation, as officers appointed 
for the purpose visit every village, town, and city, to collect the 
returns of the householders, who are obliged to attach, on the outside 
of their doors, the number of the inmates, male and female, attested 
by their signature. These returns are made up and forwarded to the 
government. No kind of imposition can be practised, as the reporter 
is held accountable for the truth of his statement ; and any deviation 
from accuracy is most severely punished. Were such a practice 
adopted in this country, parliament could never be at a loss to ascertain 
the physical and disposable strength of the empire at any time, and thus 
make a considerable saving in the expense of obtaining such returns. 

In so dense and populous a country, houses for general accommo 
dation are very numerous. Abel gives the following picture of the 
public houses he had an opportunity of visiting, while the embassy 
stopped at the city of Tong-chow, on its return from Pekin : These, 
says he, were large open sheds, fitted up with tables and benches, and 
affording means of gambling and drinking to the lower orders of the 
people. They were generally filled with players at dominos or cards, 
who seemed to enter with intense earnestness into their game. The 
cards were small pieces of pasteboard, about two inches long, and 
half an inch wide, having black and red characters painted on them. 
The beverages most largely partaken of in those houses were tea, 
wine, and Sam-su. All the guests were smoking from pipes of 
various lengths, from two to five feet, formed of the young and tender 
twigs of bamboo, fitted with bowls of white copper about the size of 
a thimble.* Every person smokes to excess, and should any one in 
company refuse to smoke, he is accused of affectation, as it is deemed 
necessary that every man should make a chimney of his mouth.f The 
Chinese, in their cheerful and idle moments, amuse themselves at a 
game on the fingers to procure drink and enjoyment, called houa 
thsionan, or tsoey-moey. It is thus described by Dobell: The wine- 
cups being filled, the two persons engaged stretch forth their right 
hands towards the centre of the table, with their fingers closed. When 
the hands come almost in contact, they open as many fingers as they 
please, and each person cries out the number he opens, as one, three, 
five, &c. Whoever hits on the exact number of fingers presented by 
both persons, obliges his adversary to drink. " I have seen," says 
he, "this game continued for an hour, until one of the parties, finding 
himself the loser, and his head affected, is forced to retire. It is an 

* Abel s Narrative, p. 117. f Dobell, vol. ii. p. 264. 


extremely noisy amusement when any number of guests engage in it. 
In passing up and down Canton river on a holyday, one s ears are 
assailed on all sides with this boisterous merriment." Another festive 
trick, which they practise, is that of rapidly passing a bunch of flowers 
from hand to hand, during which a kettle-drum is kept beating ; and 
whoever holds the flowers, the instant the drum is stopped, is 
obliged to drink a cup of wine as a forfeit. The public inns 
and victualling houses have their fiddlers and comedians to entertain 
their guests at meals, and other occasions of refreshment.* Such 
houses, however, are seldom frequented for the mere love of drink 
ing, and although intoxication is not unusual, that vice forms no part 
of the general character of the people. Mr. Dobell says, that the 
Chinese are in general sober, and that habitual intoxication is very 
rare.f JUuus of a contrary opinion, for he says, that whatever may 
/ have been the assertion of travellers, his experience led him to con- 
1 sider the Chinese scarcely less addicted to the use of spirituous liquors 
than Europeans ; and that it is only their superior sense of decorum 
that prevents them from exhibiting themselves as often in public 
under the influence of spirits. There are likewise laws to regulate 
the sale of spirituous liquors and to guard against irregularities. One 
of these enactments says, " A man, who, intoxicated with liquor, 
commits outrages against the laws, shall be exiled to a desert country, 
there to remain in a state of servitude." This judicious ordinance 
can scarcely fail in producing the desired effect, as the dread of punish 
ment ought to counterbalance every inducement to criminal indulgence. 
Martini and Navarette have stated, that the Chinese sometimes 
drink to excess, although they are the reverse of a drunken people. 
Occasional intoxication is not considered shameful, but treated with 
ridicule or pity ; and the enactment here cited is only to restrain 
habitual and egregious offenders. 

The rice-wines are all drunk warm, as indeed is almost every 
other kind of fluid. Whether this practice is owing to national habit, 
or that it is more salutary to the people, who are of weak constitu 
tions and subject to pulmonary and bowel complaints, it is not so easy 
to determine ; but a general opinion prevails that fermented and spiri 
tuous liquors made hot, are accounted not only agreeable, but preven 
tives of disease, and hence one reason why the custom is so preva 
lent. In warm climates, it is considered that heated beverages are the 
most wholesome, and contribute to alleviate the sensations of fatigue. 
Even in the parching climate of Hindostan, weak but warm liquors 

* NieuhofTs Travels in China. f Travels, vol. ii. p. 239. 


are ready for all travellers at the public inns or choultries. Through 
China, in like manner, warm tea and other hot beverages are sold at 
public inns, along the roads, canals, and rivers ; and it is not un 
common to see porters or carriers lay down their burdens to refresh 
themselves with a cup of tea, and afterwards pursue their journey. 
In Bootan and Thibet, it is the first object of a traveller to procure for 
himself a dish of hot tea, which is generally served to him the moment 
he arrives at a caravansary. The Chinese, rather than drink their 
liquor cold, plunge the jug in which it is contained into boiling water, 
until it obtains the proper temperature ; but the general practice is to 
warm it over a fire. So careful are persons of rank respecting the 
quality of their drinks, that besides the heating of all manufactured 
liquors, they seldom take water without its being first subjected to 
distillation, in order to free it of animalcule or other impurity. Some 
philosophically account for the Chinese and other Orientals drinking 
their liquors warm, on the grounds that in all hot countries the 
stomach loses its activity by a too copious perspiration ; and conse 
quently, every thing which warms it, not only invigorates it but 
repairs its losses. The contrast is remarkable ; when we compare 
the Chinese custom of drinking warm beverages even on ordinary 
occasions, with that of the Russians, who, when in a profuse perspi 
ration after coming out of a warm bath, drink copious draughts of 
mead as cold as it can be procured, without sustaining the least injury. 
It is customary in China to eat cold meats, though the drinks are 
warm, and they are so particular in this respect, that attendants are 
appointed at feasts to pour hot wine into the cups, and remove that 
which is cold. The drinking cups usually employed by these people 
are either of silver, porcelain, or precious wood. Very small cups 
are used at first, but about the middle of an entertainment they are 
changed for larger. They are always presented full, having no idea 
of half -measures. It is facetiously related that a parsimonious host, 
afraid of filling a bumper, presented a friend with a glass only half 
full, when the guest, attentively looking at it, said, " This glass is 
too deep ; one half must be cut off." The astonished host inquired 
the reason, to which the other replied, " If the upper cannot hold 
wine, of what use is it ?" 

Among the Chinese, it is a common saying that wine is the way 
to try people s strength ; and that those, that are strong always 
shew it by their eating and drinking ; but that there are only three 
occasions on which it is strictly proper ; and for eacli of these, three 
cups are allowable ; these are for friendship, mirth, and to satisfy 
nature. Sir William Tt-mple s regulation, mentioned in the Spectator, 


far surpasses this for its temperance. " Let the first glass be for 
myself, the second for my friends, the third for good humour, and the 
fourth for mine enemies."* After dinner, in order to promote a relish 
for a cup, some highly seasoned or salt meat is used, which they term 
a guide, and among friends when the liquor begins to exhilarate, or 
the party are desirous of retiring, the same enticing inducements to 
detain them are practised as in Europe ; so that social moments, we 
may see, greatly assimilates man in every country. 
/ As distillation occupies the attention of multitudes in China, it is 
/ generally conducted on a limited scale by each individual. The 
machinery of a still-house much resembles that in use on the continent 
of Europe, or what is employed in this country by illicit distillers, 
with the exception that the head and condenser of the still are of a 
different construction, having no worm-tub. The condensation is effected 
by a cylinder full of water surrounding the head, and kept full either 
by a small stream or being poured in by the hand. The head is, for 
the most part, globular, with a neck to fit into the breast or body of 
the still. Near the neck, inside the head, is a gutter from which a 
tube projects through the cylinder of water to convey the condensed 
vapour into a receiver, as shewn in the annexed drawing. 

* Spectator, vol. iii. No. 105. 


The process of distillation is laborious, but, as already observed, 
the mechanical arts in this country are not progressively advancing, 
and, therefore, the Chinese are regardless of the toil, which a little 
exertion and ingenuity might obviate. The still is placed in a furnace 
of brick work, and the fire so directed that the whole force of the 
flame may bear on the central parts of the bottom. By this means 
much saving of fuel is effected, and the economy of the people is 
shewn here as in the other pursuits of life, it being a maxim among 
them to let nothing go to loss that can be turned to advantage. 

Although coal is plentiful in some of the provinces, yet a great deal 
of it is deficient in that gaseous quality which renders it valuable. 
Hence wood becomes expensive, and is for the most part sold by 
weight, bringing a price in proportion to its goodness for fuel. Soft 
pine is the cheapest, because it is easily consumed. Charcoal is com 
mon, but very expensive. Under these circumstances, great caution 
is displayed in every instance in which fuel is requisite. 

When scarcity or famine is dreaded, distillation is prohibited, as in 
Great Britain, by proclamation. Where stills are found afterwards 
at work, the still-houses are destroyed, the workmen thrown into 
prison, whipped, and condemned to carry the cangue or kia, a degrad 
ing frame of wood placed round the neck, weighing from one to two 
hundred pounds, which renders the culprit unable to do any thing for 
himself so long as he is obliged to wear it.* The facility with which 
fuel is conveyed by canals through the provinces, and the ease of pro 
curing grain in every town and village, tend greatly to the encou 
ragement of distillation. 

The skill of the Chinese in distillation is not confined to the manu 
facture of brandy from rice or millet alone. Besides the quantities 
that are distilled from the produce of the palm and other fruits, a very 
ardent spirit, said not to be unworthy of the emperors, is produced 
from the flesh of sheep.j 

The nature of the process seems to be as yet a secret to Europeans ; 
some indeed have stated, that several vegetable substances are em 
ployed, but this assertion appears to rest on mere conjecture. The 
use of this liquor was first introduced by the Tartars, whose fondness 
for the repasts which the flocks and herds of their native wilds afforded, 
induced them to subject to the action of the still, the flesh of an 
animal that had long formed the basis of a more simple, though per 
haps not less intoxicating beverage. I allude to their lamb wine. 

* Staunton s Translation of the Penal Code of China, 4to. p. 12 
f Du Halde, vol. i. p. 303. Duvis s China, volt i. p. 330. 


The Chinese term for this liquor is Kau-yang-tsyew. It is said to 
be a very strong, nutritious beverage, and the Tartars delight to get 
drunk with it.* Kang-hi, who was of Tartar origin and wielded the 
Chinese sceptre for sixty years, encouraged the manufacture of this 
spirit by the use he made of it himself. It has, however, never been 
a favourite in China, and we have little reason to expect that its 
admirers, should any of them visit Europe, will ever be regaled with 
a cup of this exhilarating draught. Of a similar description is, per 
haps, the spirits made at Surat, denominatd spirit of mutton, spirit 
of deer, spirit of goat > which derive their names from the practice of 
throwing into the still a joint of mutton, a haunch of venison, or a 
quarter of goat, with a view, as is conceived, to add a mellowness 
and softness to the spirit.f 

The inhabitants of the province of Quang-tong distil a very plea 
sant liquor from the flowers of a species of lemon tree, which are said 
to possess an exquisite odour, and like those of the Mahwah or Mad- 
huca of Bahar, in India, have a strong saccharine quality. The fruit 
of the tree is almost as big as a man s head ; its rind resembles that 
of the orange, but the substance within is either white or reddish, and 
has a taste between sweet and sour 4 The spirit is perfectly clear 
and transparent and is held in high estimation. 

From the refuse of their sugar plantations, in which the cane grows 
to great perfection, particularly in the southern provinces, much rum 
might be manufactured, but no attempt has yet been made to distil 
that article. So great is the trade in sugar, that 10,000,0001bs. were 
exported from the country in 1806. The sugar exported from Canton 
for American consumption in four years, from 1815 to 181 9, amounted 
to 39,670 piculs ; and from that port, in the same period, were ex 
ported for European use, 21,400 piculs. The entire quantity car 
ried from Canton by the American traders, from 1804 to 5th January, 
1819, appears to be 67,673 piculs ;|| and the quantity imported into 
Great Britain, the produce of the East Indies and China, for seven 
years from 5th January, 1815, to 5th January, 1821, amounts to 
1,073,730 cwt., which, at 2. 2s. per cwt., gives a sum of 2,254,833, 
being at the rate of 4\d. per Ib. The Chinese are expert in the 
manufacture of sugar and sugar-candy ; the latter has been celebrated. 

* Grosicr, vol. ii. p. 319. 

f Grose s Voyage to the East Indies, vol. i. p. 112. 

J Du Halde, vol. i. p. 109. 

Parliamentary Report, 7th May, J821, p. 183. 

}| Ibid. p. 315. 


So far back as 1637, both these articles could have been purchased 
for three half pence per Ib. of a quality as white as snow. 

In their sugar establishments, simplicity seems to be the prevailing 
consideration. Mr. Abeel, who visited one of these manufactories in 
the island of Whampoa, describes the mill which expressed the liquor 
from the cane, as composed of tliree vertical cylinders made of coarse 
granite, with wooden cogs. The coppers or boilers were made of 
cast iron, which the Chinese have the art of reducing almost to the 
texture of common paper, and of welding, when broken, with entire 
facility and firmness. These boilers were arrayed triangularly, and 
with little regard to those principles of granulation which are else 
where observed. All were performed by manual labour ; the mill 
was placed below the level of the boilers, and the liquor carried in 
tubs from the one to the other. As it attained consistency in each 
of these vessels, instead of being passed through a strainer into the 
next, it was transferred by hand to another part of the building, 
whence, after the process of filtration, it was returned to its appro 
priate cauldron.* 

The wines of Europe are now imported into China, like other 
articles of merchandise, and are often sold to considerable advantage. 
The Xeres, or Sherry wine, is preferred on account of its strength, 
and because it is not liable to change by heat. The Spaniards send 
wines to Manilla, Macao, and other parts, from whence the Chinese 
bring a considerable quantity, especially for the court of Pekin.f J) 

The East India Company exclusively exported to China in ten 
years, from 1810 to 1820, beer alone to the value of 14,309, and 
wine in bottles and packages for the same period to the amount of 
7,383. This trade is on the increase, and the reader is referred to 
an account of all beer, ale, and spirits, both British and foreign, as 
well as wine, exported from Great Britain to the East Indies and 
China for a period of seven years, as given in the Addenda, for the 
purpose of shewing at one view the extent of this commerce, and its 
importance as a source of wealth and consumption to our home and 
foreign manufacture. The Americans also are carriers of these 
articles. In the year ending 5th January, 1819, one thousand gallons 
of gin were imported by them into Canton. The superior quality of 
European spirits renders their importation desirable, as much confu 
sion and danger have arisen in the immoderate use of the ardent 

* Abeel s Journal of a Residence in China, p. 83. 
f Osbeck s Voyage to China, vol. i. pp. 315, 31fi. 


spirits of the country by the British sailors who frequent this port, 
and of whose habits the Chinese take advantage by mixing their 
liquors with ingredients of an irritating and maddening effect. It 
superinduces a state of inebriety more ferocious than that occasioned 
by any other spirit, and leading the men into the most riotous ex 
cesses, tends to establish in the minds of the peaceable inhabitants 
the most unfavourable opinion of the English character. When a 
European vessel touches at Canton, it is common for the natives to 
come on board and barter whatever articles may mutually answer the 
parties. Among these, sam-su is not the least in request. This 
liquor is generally carried in small pots ; and is so cheap, that nearly 
three pints may sometimes be purchased for about three pence half 
penny ; and for a small coin called joss, value about one-tenth of a 
penny, a very strong dram of sam-su may be obtained. The gentle 
man who assured me of this, was some time in China, and was often 
surprised when his vessel lay in the roads off Whampoa, to see with 
what despatch a quantity of sam-su, when ordered, was brought on 
board from the shore. He was informed by the inhabitants that there 
was no restriction on the making of it by any enactment of the state. 
The sam-su brought to the vessel was generally of a yellowish colour, 
and to his taste rather disagreeable ; but custom rendered it palatable. 
He also added that he had drunk arrack distilled from rice, not infe 
rior either in strength or quality to any of our best whiskey. Two 
boats, called hoppoo-boats, are usually fastened to the stern of every 
ship anchoring at Whampoa. lliese are supplied with every neces 
sary that the sailors stand in neechof, and among the rest with a large 
store of sam-su* Notwithstanding this convenience, adventurers 
throng from the shore carrying quantities of drink and other articles ; 
an intercourse often attended with unpleasant consequences. The 
liquor now distilled at Canton is of a superior description to that 
formerly manufactured, owing to a Chinese from Penang having 
lately introduced the making of rum, since which that spirit can be 
purchased at a cheap rate. 

rln contrasting the habits of the Chinese with those of other 
nations, we cannot but admire the general regularity and tempe 
rance of this people, and the wisdom of the government by which they 
are held in such moderation. Montesquieu has asserted, that drunk 
enness increases in proportion as we recede from the equator to the 
poles.* This assumption is highly questionable, particularly as 
regards China, for, if such were the fact, the Chinese in the northern 

* Spirit of Laws, vol. i. b. 14, chap. If). 


provinces would be greater drunkards than those of the southern ; 
although the contrary is the case. For it does not appear that inebriety 
prevails more at Pekin than at Canton, and still much less in many 
parts of Europe, than in several portions of the torrid zone. To 
other circumstances, therefore, rather than to approaches towards 
the poles, should the love of strong drink be attributed. We find 
that man in every clime has recourse to inebriants, either in a liquid or 
in a vegetable form, and that more is to be imputed to the genius of 
the religion than to either the climate or the want of inclina 
tion for indulgence in intoxication. The Mahometans, the Budhists, 
or Lamaics, the Brahmins, and other sectarians of the East, although 
prohibited the public use of wine, often indulge in it to excess ; and 
when it cannot be procured, they purchase enjoyment of a similar 
nature, not so favourable to the prolongation of animal existence. 
The sobriety and moral rectitude of the Chinese have been secured, 
through a long succession of ages, by a systematic combination of 
laws which have so blended the wisdom of the government with the 
virtue of the people, that the stability of the empire has been preserved 
unshaken from all external force and internal commotion, since the 
days of Confucius to the present time. 

In the tributary state of Ha-mi, which, though surrounded by 
deserts, is accounted one of the most delightful countries in the world, 
pomegranates, oranges, peaches, raisins, and prunes are of the most 
exquisite taste ; and the jujubes, or dates, are so juicy, and of such 
delicious flavour, that the Chinese call them perfumed jujubes. The 
melons are brought to Pekin for the emperor s use, and have the 
singular property of keeping fresh during the greater part of the 
winter. Raisins are a most important production, and are of two 
kinds ; one like the Corinthian, and the other like those of Malaga. 
They are said to possess high medicinal virtues, and are much extolled 
for their efficacy in many obstinate diseases. Wine is made, and of 
such excellent quality, that it is transported in skins by means of 
camels into various parts of China. It was from this region, that 
Tai-song caused the vine plants of the species called majou to be 
brought and planted in the imperial gardens at Pekin, and it is 
asserted by some, that the art of making wine was first learned here 
by the Chinese. The climate of Ha-mi, it is thought, is more favour 
able to the culture of the vine than that of France; and the quality 
of the grapes far exceeds that of most European states. The coun 
try is embosomed in mountains, which protect it from the north and 
east winds, and as it seldom or never rains, the vineyards are watered 
from reservoirs constructed at the foot of the mountains, from which 


they arc supplied by copious streams that trickle from the melting 
snows on their lofty summits. Vast quantities of the grapes are 
preserved, and form a valuable branch of commerce. They are not 
pulled until quite ripe, and being carefully picked and dried in the 
sun, are packed in mats, in which they become shrivelled, but without 
losing much of the richness and flavour for which they are so remark 
able. Large packages of these grapes form a portion of the annual 
tribute sent to the government stores at Pekin. After supplying the 
imperial tables, they are sold to the Mandarins and such of the inha 
bitants as can afford to buy them. A most excellent description of 
brandy is distilled at Ha-mi ; and drinks of various kinds are made 
from the fruits which so plentifully abound. Many of the nomade 
tribes of Eastern Tartary consume a good deal of the liquors of this 
oasis of the wilderness, for which they barter a variety of articles. 

The island of Hainan, although between four and five hundred 
miles in circumference, has not been described by modern geogra 
phers with that accuracy of delineation which an island of such mag 
nitude merits, owing to the paucity of information arising from the 
want of that intercourse which the extent of European enterprise 
lias enabled us to obtain concerning other portions of the globe. The 
defect, however, is in a great degree supplied by the late journey of 
a gentleman from Manchao, in the south coast of Hainan, to Canton, in 
the years 1819 and 1820. He describes the inhabitants to be in a high 
state of civilisation ; the towns and villages numerous, and some of the 
cities so populous as to contain 200,000 inhabitants. The agricultural 
products of the island are much the same as those on the continent ; 
and every portion of it is well cultivated. Rice is the principal 
grain raised for food, and from which the wine used in the island is 
principally made. The palm abounds, and cocoa-nuts form an article 
of export. The cane is cultivated so extensively as to afford a 
considerable supply of sugar for China. In the towns and cities, the 
shops are represented as highly respectable, while the artisans have 
arrived at an astonishing degree of perfection in the mechanic arts. 
In carving, polishing, and mounting cocoa-nut shells, they display great 
ingenuity, forming out of this material various domestic articles of 
a beautiful jet black, elegantly ornamented with silver. 

The liquors of Hainan are much the same as those used in the 
Chinese empire, and are all drunk warm. An anecdote is related by 
the traveller just mentioned, who, having called on the governor of 
Keung-chow-foo, the capital, was treated with wine : but the servant 
who attended him, in his officiousncss to fulfil his master s orders, 
poured the hot liquor down the traveller s throat, cup after cup, in 


such quantities, and so rashly, that he made him not only tipsy, but 
scalded his month into the bargain. The inhabitants of this island, 
in their commerce with China, employ a great number of junks, some 
of 400 tons burthen. They generally go in fleets ; that in which our 
traveller passed into China was very numerous ; ihe river, for a con 
siderable distance, as he expresses it, being covered with a forest of masts. 
The cargoes, in general, consist of sugar, betel-nuts, salt, indigo, tanned 
hides, tobacco, and cinnamon, for which are brought in return the 
various matters necessary for the wants of the Hainanese. Among 
these are cotton, furs, English broad-cloths, sweet-meats, liqueurs, 
flints, porcelain, and opium. The habits and moral conduct of the 
people of Hainan resemble those of China so much, that further 
observation on that head is unnecessary. As in Tonquin and Cochin- 
China, they distil arrack mixed with ealamba, which imparts to that 
liquor a flavour highly esteemed by the natives. This wood grows 
in the wild and mountainous parts of the island, and has a most deli 
cious perfume. It is highly valued both in China and Japan, where 
it is sold in logs at the rate of 200 ducats the pound, to make articles 
of furniture for the courts. Being chipped and pounded, it is mixed 
with the fermented rice, and in that state distilled like the juniper in 
Holland. This wood is so hard, that the mountaineers of Hainan 
make spades of it to dig gold from their mines, which they barter 
with the people of the plains for such matters as they may stand in 
need of. 

In the island of Tai-oun, or Formosa, situated in the Chinese sea, 
the inhabitants, particularly those on the coasts, manufacture rice-wine, 
and distil a spirit from it, much in the same manner as already des 
cribed. But the people of the interior, who are less civilized, make 
their drink in a very different manner. Like their neighbours, they 
plant rice and live on the produce ; but as they have no wine, or 
other strong liquor, they make in lieu of it another sort of beverage, 
which, if we may believe Georgius Candidius, a missionary, is very 
pleasant, and no less strong than other wine. This liquor is made 
by the women in the following manner : They take a quantity of 
rice and boil it until it becomes soft, and then bruise it into a sort of 
paste. Afterwards they take rice flour, which they chew, and put 
with their saliva into a vessel by itself, till they have a good quantity 
of it. This they use instead of leaven or yeast, and mixing it among 
the rice paste, w r ork it together like baker s dough. They then put 
the whole into a large vessel, and after having poured water upon it, 
let it stand in that state for two months. In the mean time, the liquor 
works up like new wine, and the longer it is preserved, the better it 


becomes ; and, as is said, will keep good for many years. It is an 
agreeable liquor, as clear as pure water at the top, but very muddy 
and thick towards the bottom. Though this residuum cannot be used 
as a beverage, it is too precious to be thrown away or lost ; hence, to 
make it potable, itr is sometimes diluted with water, but more fre 
quently supped with a spoon, as a ragout or exhilarating pulp. 

When the labourers go to work in the fields, they bring with them 
some of this thick or muddy substance in cane vessels, which they 
blend with fresh water, and after the mixture has stood a little time 
for clarification, it is taken as a refreshment during the heat and 
labour of the day.* The Formosans have another liquor, called 
Masakhauw, or MacJiiko, made from rice. A vessel, about the sJze of 
a hogshead, is nearly two-thirds filled with rice, chewed, and boiled ; 
and then filled to the top with water. It is then luted and buried 
seven feet under ground, where it is suffered to remain for a year, 
when it is taken up and the liquor pressed from the grain by the 
bands. In about eight days, during which it w r orks and settles, it 
becomes a clear, wholesome beverage, equal to the strongest wine, 
and will keep good for twenty or thirty years. Some of the wealthy 
inhabitants Lave 200 or 300 vessels of it at one time stored in their 
cellars. At the birth of a child, the parents prepare some vessels 
of this liquor, and preserve it till the time of marriage. They have 
another sort of drink called Cuihay, which is nothing more than the 
second washings of the pressed rice, made by putting a small quan 
tity of it into a calabash containing about two gallons of water. It 
makes a cool, refreshing drink, having a slight flavour of the Masak- 
hauw, bearing the same proportion to it in strength as small beer does 
to strong. In the northern parts, between Keylang and Tamsay and 
between Tamsay and Mount Gedult, a drink is made from wood ashes, 
of considerable strength, but injurious to Europeans, from its excoriating 
effects on the bowels, which usually lead to dangerous hemorrhage. Al 
though these liquors are common as well as many others from China, yet 
the natives seldom indulge in them to any degree of excess, j The palm 
grows luxuriantly. Toddy is drawn from it, and the uses of the tree 
for the various purposes of life are known to many of the inhabi 
tants. The leaves are sometimes formed into cylindrical caps with 
crowns, one above another, and surmounted with waving plumes, 
which give them a majestic appearance. 

Candidius s Account of the Island of Formosa, apud Churchill, vol. i. p. 405* 
Ogilby s Atlas Chinensis, Fol. Lond. 1671, p. 10. 
f Ogilby s Atlas Chinensis, p, 22, 


The products of this island are sugar, corn, rice, with most other 
grains, fruits, and vegetables, common to the continent of China. But, 
though fertilized and intersected by a great number of rivulets from 
the mountains, it is very extraordinary that every kind of water in 
the island is said to be a deadly poison to strangers, for which no 
remedy has hitherto been found.* This, however, can only apply to 
the water in its simple state, as by boiling, nitration, and other precau 
tions, it may be rendered sufficiently safe for every purpose of life. 
Neither is it natural to suppose, that a place of such magnitude as 
Formosa would be unprovided by Providence in so essential an article 
as that of good water, without which neither man nor beast can exist. 
The climate is represented to be salubrious, the soil fertile, the ani 
mals vigorous and numerous ; and the ox, a creature greatly depen 
dant upon water, capable of exerting a strength and speed unknown 
in any other part of the world. This assertion, respecting the delete 
rious quality of the water, seems to be as preposterous as the story of 
John Strays, who would make us believe that he saw a man with a 
tail more than a foot in length, covered with red hair, and greatly 
resembling that of an ox ; and that this deformity proceeded from 
the climate, and was peculiar to all the inhabitants of the southern 
parts of the island a relation too extravagant and incredible to 
require refutation. Stripped of the marvellous, Formosa is a valu 
able acquisition to China ; and were it not for the exactions of the 
Mandarins from those who emigrate to it, numerous manufactories 
would be established, and that island would rank high in commercial 
importance; since it is known, that immense quantities of rice are , 
raised in the plains, and that to the amount of 100,000 bushels are 
annually exported from its harbours. The tribute imposed by the 
Chinese on the inhabitants is paid in grain, and the contributions of 
this article to the government stores are as respectable as many of 
those from the most fertile parts of the empire. 

The Coreans, an ingenious and enterprising people who inhabit 
that extensive peninsula washed by the sea of Japan, and lying to 
the north-east of the Chinese territory, manufacture a species of wine, 
or vinous liquor, from a grain called paniz, (panicum or millet), or 
from a coarse kind of rice.f They distil arrack in the same man 
ner as the Chinese. In this country there are numerous taverns, but 
no regular inns for the accommodation of travellers. In these houses, 

* Grosier, vol. i. p. 227. 

f Mod. Univ. Hist. vol. vii, p. 329. Malte-Brun, vol. ii. p. 498. P. Regis 
Geog. Observ. in Du Haldc, vol. ii. p. 376, &e. 


music and dancing are kept up with the use of betel, tobacco, and 
drink in the style and manner of the Chinese, whose habits and 
customs they greatly imitate. Their subjection to the Chinese, and 
their consequent intercourse with that people have given to the 
Coreans a knowledge of almost all the liquors to be met with in 
China. The southern districts are very productive in wheat, millet, 
barley, rice, and a variety of fruits. The mountains are cultivated 
in many instances by terraces to the tops, and the hand of industry is 
visible in almost every part of the country. Traders from Corea go 
every year to Pekin with the ambassadors, and carry with them whatever 
articles of rarity they consider acceptable to their neighbours, and in 
return, bring home a supply of all the productions of the capital, 
among which the choicest wines form no inconsiderable portion. 

Of this country it is to be regretted that so little is known. The 
voyage lately undertaken by Captain Lindsay, in the Amherst, at the 
instance of the president and committee of super-cargoes at Canton, 
gives us little more than a glimpse of the country, as the jealousy of 
the people prevents foreigners of free intercourse or even entrance 
into their towns and villages. Captain Lindsay was accompanied 
by the Rev. Mr. Gutzlaff, a zealous and pious missionary, and after 
several vain attempts to procure an interview with the king, for 
whom they had a letter with some presents, all they could effect was 
a meeting with some of the chiefs, who entertained them in a tempo 
rary shed, where they were served with some wine, or rather with 
a spirit resembling once-distilled whiskey. Of this the chiefs par 
took first, not through any incivility to the strangers, but as a national 

Of Japan, as of the other distant and oriental nations, the early 
history is but little known. Marco Polo, in the third book of his 
account of eastern countries, imperfectly describes it under the name 
of Zipangri. The Portuguese, about the year 1542, were the first 
who laid open to Europeans a knowledge of those islands.j The 
inhabitants, though far advanced in civilisation, appeared altogether 
unacquainted with chemistry as a science. In the practice of several 
of the useful and ingenious arts they had made astonishing proficiency, 
and in the manufacture of Sacki, a strong and wholesome beer pro 
cured from rice, they were not excelled by any other people.J This 

* Documents of a voyage to the North-East coast of China, in the Amherst, 
printed by order of Parliament, 1833. 

f Koempfer s Introd. Hist. Japan, vol. i p. 32. Thunberg, &c, 
% Koempfer, vol. i. p. 121. 


liquor lias been the favourite drink from the most remote ages ; and 
it is related of one of their emperors that, taking precedent from the 
Chinese monarch Kya, he employed 2000 men to dig a large lake, 
and having filled it with Sacki, sailed over it in a stately barge. 
Captain Saris, while in Japan in 1613, met with several kinds of 
strong liquor ; and when he delivered his presents to the emperor, 
amongst which was a large drinking cup of superior workmanship and 
value, the monarch proposed to drink, standing, the health of his Bri 
tannic majesty, in a cup of spirits distilled from rice and as strong as 
brandy, termed Sotschio. Having filled his goblet, containing about 
a pint and a-half, he drank it off, ordering his secretary or cup-bearer 
to see that every individual present had followed liis example. Sacki 
is the beverage in general use.* It is as pure as wine, of an agree 
able taste, and intoxicating if taken to any extent. When fresh, it is 
whitish, but if permitted to remain long in the cask, it becomes 
brown. Koempfer met with it in all the inns at which he stopped on 
his journey to the metropolis ; and although no person whatever is 
exempt from brewing it, yet there are numbers in the empire who 
follow no other business than that of making sacki. It is manufac 
tured to great perfection in the city of Osacca, and in such abundance 
that it is sent from thence all over the kingdom, and even exported 
to other countries by the Dutch and Chinese.f The term Sacki is 
said to be derived from the name of this city, being the genitive case 
of the word, omitting the initial letter. It is very probable that our 
wine called sack had its name from this Japanese liquor, as that term 
must have been introduced into Europe by the Spanish and Portu 
guese traders, by whom sack was first made and sent from Malaga, or 
the Canaries. This seems the more likely, as both those nations were 
early acquainted with Eastern countries, and the names by which they 
distinguished their favourite. The writers of the Universal History 
state that Sacki was first brewed in the city of Jenkinosari, in the 
year of the era 1347, answering to our A. D. 687 ; but this is at 
variance with the annals of the country, in which it is mentioned 
many years previous to that period. 

The town of Muru, in the province of Bisen, is inhabited chiefly by 
the brewers of Sacki, and the quality of the liquor made there is said 
to be excellent. In 1825, the Dutch alone exported to the value of 
nearly 14,000 florins. This liquor, for the most part, bears a great 
resemblance to Canary wine, is sold in every tavern like our beer, and 

* Titsingh s account of Japan, Ogilby s Atlas Japanensis. Folio, London, 1670. 
f Koempfer, vol. ii. b. v. p. 426, 469, and 477. 


is used by the wealthy at their ordinary meals.* The common mode 
of using it is by heating it in a kettle, and then pouring it into tea 
cups made of lackered wood. At Batavia, sack! is drunk out of 
wine glasses before meals to excite an appetite, the white or purest 
kind being preferred on such occasions. Although Sacki is drunk 
freely by all descriptions of persons, from the emperor to the meanest 
subject, its immoderate use is seldom productive of much mischief. 
Some, indeed, of the lower orders have been known to be beheaded 
for being drunk and quarrelsome ;f but this is of rare occurrence. 
The beer of Japan, as already remarked, is considered wholesome 
and pleasant to the taste, but it is of such a nature, that it should be 
taken not cold but moderately warm ; for when it is not heated, it 
frequently occasions that dreadful and endemial species of colic, 
which the Japanese call sen/ti, a disease which has proved fatal to 
many, as well foreigners as natives. To cure this distemper various 
means are used, but the principal is the acupunctura, or pricking of 
the abdomen with a needle, so as to let out the hidden, or morbific 
vapours. " I have been myself," says Kxempfer, " several times an 
eye-witness, that in consequence of these three rows of holes, (Tor 
such are the number of punctures) made according to the rules of art, 
and to a reasonable depth, the pains of the colic have ceased almost 
in an instant, as if they had been charmed away."^ Surgeons are 
usually furnished with drawings of the parts where it is proper to 
apply the needle. This instrument is generally made of gold or silver, 
and the operation seems to be a species of cupping as practised by 
the faculty in Europe. Caron informs us that the higher orders are 
always entertained at visits with wine served out in varnished cups 
called beakers, and when a person happens to be overcome by drink 
he retires to sleep off his intoxication. Like wine and spirits in our 
own country, sacki is made a medium of social intercourse, and intro 
duced not only on joyous but on solemn occasions, such as holydays, 
festivals, marriages, and funerals. The holydays are numerous, 
being two in every month, besides five great annual festivals which 
some devote to piety, but the greater number to amusement. These 
afford opportunities of great indulgence in the use of national beve 
rages, and those days being considered unlucky and all business stopped, 
great liberty is taken, and few restraints are imposed either on the 
passions or the appetites. Drinking parties are never held in public 

* Thunberg s Travels, vol. iv. p. 39, 40, 41. 

f Koempfer, vol. ii. p. 667. 

$ Kcempfer, vol. ii. b. v. p. 426, 4G9, and 477. 


taverns in Japan, but always in private houses. The inns and 
taverns are numerous, but they are chiefly appropriated to travellers 
and strangers : hence there is seldom any public exhibition of intem 
perance or irregularity. To be drunk in the day time, is, according 
to Golownin, considered disgraceful; hence the lovers of drinking 
do not indulge their propensity until evening, after the termination 
of all labour and business. The Japanese are said to exceed most 
other nations in the magnificence of their entertainments and fes 
tivals. To these they invite not only their living but their dead 
relations and friends ; the latter, by going in troops to their graves with 
burning lamps in their hands, calling them by their names, and 
entreating them to favour them with their presence. This is a 
superstitious but innocent weakness, which influences many of the 
oriental nations to pay respect to the memory of the departed by 
frequent and ceremonious visits ta the city of the silent. 

The following anecdote related by Titsingh, while it shews the 
partiality of the Japanese for their Sacki, gives an interesting speci 
men of their capabilities of sincere friendship, somewhat similar to the 
well-known affecting story of Damon and Pythias : A certain 
prince, named Tchouya, having conspired against the ruling monarch, 
was condemned to death with some of his accomplices. At the 
moment of execution, a man carrying two gold-hilted sabres and 
covered with a flowing mantle, rushed through the crowd, and 
addressing himself to the commandant, said, " My name is Sibata- 
Zabrobe ; I am the friend of Tchouya, and am come to embrace 
him, and to suffer with him." " You are a worthy man," replied the 
commandant, " it wereto be wished that all the world were like you 
I give you permission to speak to Tchouya." The two friends con 
versed together for some time. Sibata expressed the extreme pain 
he felt at his condemnation, and that he had come to Yeddo to share 
his fate, as he would be ashamed to survive him. He then took from 
the sleeve of his robe a small pot of sacki, and, after drinking it, the 
two friends bade farewell to each other. Tchouya was melted into 
tears ; he thanked Sibata for his kind and courageous resolution, and 
declared that he was most happy in the opportunity of once more 
embracing him before he died. Sibata weeping, replied, " our body 
in this world resembles the flower Asa-gawa, which before sun-rise 
is beautiful and magnificent, but immediately after fades and dies ; 
or like the kogero insect, that exists only for a day : but after death 
we shall be in a better world, where we shall enjoy each other s 
society without interruption." With these words he rose, thanked 
the commandant, and retired. The executioner had done his office, 



and Tchouya with his fellow-sufferers lay prostrate on the scaffold. 
Sibata approached, and offering the commandant his two sabres, said, 
" To you I am indebted for the consolation of having conversed 
with my friend, taking a cup of Sacki, and bidding adieu to him 
before his removal to a better world ; I entreat you to denounce me 
to the governor of Yeddo, that he may order me to suffer like my 
friend." " The gods forbid," replied the commandant, " were I to 
do what you desire, you would die like Tchouya ; your courage 
deserves a better fate. While all his other friends are hiding them 
selves in dens and caverns, you have braved death to embrace him ; 
such men as you are rare, and I could not betray them." The drink 
ing of Sacki forms the last ceremony of those condemned to commit 
suicide, which is an established punishment for all offenders against 
the state. When the culprit receives the order for self-destruction 
he invites his friends to meet him on the day appointed, and regales 
them with sacki. Having drunk together for some time, till, perhaps, 
the spirits have become exhilarated, the victim takes leave of them, 
and the order of the court being read, he addresses the company in 
a farewell complimentary speech ; then bending his head towards the 
mat, he draws his sabre, cuts himself across the belly? penetrating to 
the bowels, w r hen one of his confidential servants, placed behind for 
the purpose, instantly strikes off his head. No disgrace is attached 
to this unnatural mode of punishment ; on the contrary, the son 
inherits all the father s property and honours, and none but persons of 
the higher grade are privileged to be their own executioners. 

Independent of Sacki, the Japanese have a variety of exhilarating 
liquors made from wheat, rice, and other grain, and from these they 
distil spirits to some extent. From the fruits of the country a very 
nice description of wine is produced. Ko3mpfer, during his stay at 
Jeddo, tasted an excellent sort made from plumbs. They tap the 
palm, birch, and other trees, from the juice of which they manufac 
ture various beverages with no inconsiderable skill. The vine is 
planted merely as a curosity in the manner that w r e plant oranges and 
lemons ; because the grapes do not readily ripen, and the people are 
so attached to sacki, that they rarely think of any more agreeable 
substitute. Grapes, however, according to Thunberg, are reared in 
such quantities as to form a portion of the dessert at the dinners of 
persons of rank. 

Sacki, distilled from the flowers of motherwort, (a splendid odori 
ferous plant, supposed to be the chrysanthemum Indicum, or the 
hiou-hoa of the Cliinese, and celebrated by all the poets of that 
country,) is a favourite drink at the court of the Dairi, being 


considered to Lave the properties of prolonging life. These flowers , 
as soon as they open, are gathered ; and it is usual to mix leaves and 
petals with boiled rice, from which a fermented beverage is prepared 
and used in celebrating one of their favourite festivals. The partiality 
for this drink is traced to the following traditionary legend : From 
the sides of a hill near a village in the province of Nanyo-norekken, 
a stream of pure water was formed from the dews and rains that 
washed the luxuriant flowers of the motherwort with which this place 
abounded. This stream, in its passage through the valley, served 
the villagers for their ordinary drink, to the virtues of which the 
extraordinary longevity of the inhabitants was attributable, some 
living to the age of 100, others to 120, and 130, while a person 
dying at 70 was considered to have a premature demise. 

It is also customary to drink sacki distilled from peach blossoms for 
the purpose of obtaining long life and good health, as the peach is 
supposed by them to possess the properties of repelling all kinds of 
infection. This practice originated in the following Chinese tale : 
A female of exquisite beauty, said to be one of the immortals, having 
presented one of the emperors with a peach, he was so struck with 
its appearance, richness, and delicious odour, that he inquired where 
it was procured. She replied, it was the produce of a tree not of 
earthly growth, but came from one that bore fruit but once in 3000 
years, and assured him that if he ate it, he would attain that age. 
From this superstitious fable, the Chinese and Japanese regale them 
selves with a beverage extracted from peach blossoms at the second 
of their great annual festivals. 

The apparatus for distilling is here, as in other countries, in pro 
portion to the extent in which the manufacture is carried on ; and to 
such perfection have they brought the art of distillation, that indivi 
duals have been known to carry a portable still. Golownin saw one 
in the possession of a Japanese traveller, with which he made spirits 
from rice, drank freely of it himself and shared it liberally with others.* 
The ingenuity of these people in the mechanic arts is well known, 
and is nowhere more conspicuous than in the neatness and perfection 
to which they have arrived in the formation and elegance of the bowls 
and cups used for holding sacki. Many of them are so large as to 
admit of ornamental figures, some of which are so artfully contrived 
as to represent the actions of real life. Titsingh describes two of 
this kind, one representing a young lady, and the other a servant 
holding a parasol, which, when floating in a bowl of sacki, the servant 

* Golownin s Captivity in Japan, vol. i. p. 273. 


would open the parasol, and follow his mistress, who always took 

The brewing vessels and stills in Japan are made of copper, a 
metal very abundant in the country. Those used in the making of 
sacki at the court of the Dairi, or spiritual prince, are only once 
employed for that purpose, so that on all occasions of brewing and 
distilling a new apparatus must be procured. In like manner, the 
culinary utensils, in which his meat is prepared, are changed, and the 
plates, dishes, bowls, and other table appointments, are broken after 
each repast. 

Rice is the principal food, tea is the common beverage, and as all 
liquors are drunk warm, the kettle is seldom or never off the fire. 
There are no casks for liquids ; but tubs that hold ten or twelve 
gallons. These are broader above than below, and are bound with 
wooden hoops, and have a small square hole at the top. The best 
sacki, as well as sotschio is kept in large glazed earthen jars, or 
lacquered and gilt flasks. 

The early missionaries affirm that wine was common in Jesso and 
in the vicinity of Matsmai, and that it was drunk freely, yet, as before 
observed, grapes do not flourish in the country ; those which are found 
are wild and tart, but are salted and eaten as a salad by the common 
people. The sugar-cane is reared, but not to any extent, and its pro 
duce is of a black colour. The principal supply is imported, and the 
neglect of its culture is owing to the scarcity of land and the ease 
with which it can be procured from the neighbouring countries. 
Thunberg says that no canes have been imported for cultivation ; 
and that the Japanese shewed him the juice of a tree that grows on 
the adjoining islands, from which sugar was manufactured. This 
juice had a disagreeable appearance, and was of a brownish hue. 
According to this writer, the sugar-maple does not grow in Japan ; it 
is, therefore, probable, that the juice alluded to was obtained from 
the birch, which abounds in various parts of the empire.* 

Honey, though frequently found in Japan, is confined to medicinal 
purposes, mead being unknown. Many of the native fruits are pre 
served in sacki, the acid of the liquor imparting to them an agreeable 
flavour, highly prized by the people. It is common to see firkins of 
cucumbers, immersed in sacki, exposed for sale in the public markets, 
and to give a zest for drinking this favourite beverage, dhulish, from 
which sloak is made, is frequently eaten before and after meals.f 

Cordials of the nicest quality are prepared by the Japanese, and 

Thunberg vol. iv. p. 93. f Golownin s Recollections of Japan, passim. 


what are prized as luxuries in many places are with them quite fami 
liar. Buck- wheat (polygonum fagopyrum,) is reared to great extent, 
and forms a portion of the food of the inhabitants. It is to be found 
at the inns and places of refreshment on the roads, in the form of 
cakes, and a pleasant beverage is brewed from it. But although the 
hop (humulus lupulus,) was observed by Thuriberg to grow wild in. 
the country, the people seemed altogether ignorant of its application 
to the purposes of brewing.* In the ceremonies of drinking, in pre 
senting a cup to a friend, it is usual to make a slight bend of the body^ 
and lifting the left hand to the forehead, first taste the spirits to show 
there is nothing in it injurious, and then hand it to the guest* 

The passion for strong liquors among the Japanese is much the 
same as that of other orientalists ; and it is held by them as a maxim, 
that " to drink seldom but heartily when at it, is better than to tipple 
frequently and in small quantities," an adage, however, little attended 
to, as many of them take it as often as they can conveniently procure 
it, and that without any restraint. It is a custom before dinner to 
drink to the health of the guests, which act is always accompanied 
with a profound bow. The women eat by themselves during the 
courses, they drink a glass of sacki, and repeat the draught occasionally* 
It has, notwithstanding, been said, that spirituous liquors are not used 
by the women, except on some extraordinary occasions, or on public 
festivals ;f but from the picture which Krempfer gives of a large 
portion of the Japanese females, I am disposed to think that they are 
not quite so abstemious. Thunberg asserts that sanctuaries for 
women of pleasure are very numerous, and commonly the handsomest 
houses, frequently situated in the vicinity of their idol temples. Such 
is the want of decency, that these places are indiscriminately resorted 
to by male parties as taverns for drinking sacki. Many of the Chinese 
repair to Japan to mingle in its debaucheries ; hence it has been deno 
minated the brothel of China, though at home, frailties of a similar 
description are not wanting to stigmatize the character of the Celestial 

The trade with Japan has, for a series of years, been confined to- 
the Dutch, who are allowed to send thither only two ships annually, 
so that we know little of the internal policy or commerce of this 
interesting empire, but what has been communicated through the 
medium of writers, who, it may be feared, would not disclose what 
might be prejudicial to the monopoly of their countrymen. Since 
the year 1601, when the Dutch were first permitted to trade there, 

* Thunberg, vol. iv. p. 85. f Mod. Univ, Hist. vol. vii. p. 376. 


those islands may be said to be shut up from every other nation ; 
and we are taught to believe that every precaution is observed, with 
which jealousy can inspire ingenuity, to keep foreigners from their 
shores, and to prevent them from acquiring their language. Were 
an embassy sent from Great Britain to Japan, it is not improbable 
but that it would be followed by favourable results, and an immense 
trade opened for the enterprise of English speculators. That the 
Japanese are not averse to an intercourse with British merchants, is 
evident from the circumstance that during the late war several of our 
vessels were received at Nangasaki as Dutch ships, although the 
people were well aware that they were English, but they could not 
acknowledge them under any other flag than that of the Dutch. This 
opinion of their favourable disposition towards the British is confirmed 
by the fact of a ship from Bengal having got on their coast, to which 
the natives rep-aired in great numbers to purchase such articles of 
British manufacture as tliey could procure. Even the government 
officers, who liad boarded the vessel for the purpose of directing the 
captain to leave the country, shewed an anxiety to purchase cloth 
such as that worn by him. When he said he had none, they desired 
him to be sure to bring articles of that kind on his return ; adding 
ironically, " But on no account was he to come back." 

When the Portuguese were in possession of the trade of this 
country, the export in gold alone, according to Koempfer, amounted 
to 300 tons annually, making the enormous sum of 2,500,000 ster 
ling. In exchange for this, the articles were various, and among 
these, wines formed no inconsiderable share. 

There can be no doubt that were judicious efforts made to promul 
gate a true knowledge of Christian principles among a people so 
shrewd and intelligent as the Japanese, free intercourse would be the 
result, and the prejudices of paganism would fade away before the 
superior light of the gospel. 

Between the island of Kinsire, the most southerly of that group 
Avhich forms the empire of Japan, and Formosa, are situated the Loo- 
Choo islands, which have lately attracted considerable attention from 
the interesting accounts given of them by Dr. M JLeod and Captain 
Hall of the Alceste and Lyra. The inhabitants are represented by 
these gentlemen as possessing most amiable dispositions, and enjoying 
all the comforts of a land rich in every beauty which nature can 
bestow. The orange, the lime, the tea-plant, and sugar-cane abound, 
while rice, wheat, peas, melons, pine-apples, &c. are reared in great 
plenty. Samtchoo is distilled by them to considerable perfection, and 
is made much in the same manner as in China. Becchey speaks of a 


drink called Mooroofacoo, a dark-coloured cordial, possessing 1 a bitter 
sweet taste, but inferior in strength to samtchoo. At a repast wit 
nessed by this navigator, the company were closely plied with samtchoo, 
or, as it is sometimes here called, sackee, in small opaque wine-glasses 
which held about a tliimble-full : the example set by the host was 
followed by the guests, each turning down his glass when empty. 
This spirit is very ardent, and hence the propriety of using such 
small glasses ; but the Mooroofacoo, which was distilled from grain 
was drunk out of a small enamelled cup.* Of the samtchoo, or spirit 
made from rice, nine jars, each containing about fifteen gallons, were 
sent on board the Alceste and Lyra during their stay at Loo-choo. 
Sacki is in use, and of a good quality, little inferior to that of Japan ; 
besides which they have a liqueur named Chazzi, which resembles 
rosolio, and is of a strong intoxicating quality .f 

Gutzlaff, in his late visit to these islands, tasted some of their spiri 
tuous liquors, which he says were v^ry clear and of excellent flavour. 
Among the articles of export from Loo-choo, samtchoo spirits form 
a portion, and are sent to Japan and China, J where they meet a ready 

It is customary with the inhabitants of these islands, as with the 
people of China, to have games for the encouragement of drinking 
and social intercourse. One of these consists in holding the stalk of 
a tobacco pipe over the head, in which position the individual, by the 
motion of his hands, turns it quickly round. And when he stops 
twirling it in this way, whatever person in company the open bowl 
of the pipe points towards, must drink a cup of wine. Another game 
is that of forfeits by the fingers, which subjects the performer or his 
opponent to drink a cup of wine, should either be unsuccessful in 
calling the number extended by the sudden opening of the hand. It 
is not a little remarkable, that a similar game, termed Mora, is prac 
tised in the South of Europe, where it is generally played to deter 
mine who shall pay the reckoning. 

This game is said to have been known to the ancients, and would 
imply an early intercourse with Eastern nations. 

In some of the adjacent islands, they make a strong drink from the 
remainder of their crops of corn, rice, pulse, &c. called Awamuri. 
On the island of Jesso, although the people are but little advanced 

* Beechey s Voyage, vol. ii. p. 473-4. 

"j" M Leod s Voyage to China and Loo-Choo, 8vo. p. 78. 

J Beechey s Voyage, vol. ii. p. 198. 

Mod, Univ. Hist, vol. vii. p. 993. 


beyond the state of hunter* and fishers, they make a kind of wine 
resembling sacki, which is very strong. This they drink in great 
quantities, although they are seldom intoxicated ; a circumstance 
ascribed by Father de Angeles, a Jesuit, to their use of the todo- 
noovo, a kind of oil drawn from a fish of the same name, with which 
they season their rice, and almost all eatables.* This fish, sometimes 
spelt todo-noevo, a species of seal, is described as a small fish covered 
with hair, having four feet like a hog s ; its oil is said to be an infal 
lible preventive of inebriety. There seems nothing extraordinary 
in the effect attributed to this oil, since it is common in our own 
country to have recourse to melted butter to recover persons labour 
ing under excessive intoxication. Ovalle, in his History of Chili, 
mentions a similar effect to that produced by the todo-noovo, from 
the use of certain star-fish caught on the coasts. These, when 
reduced to a powder and mixed with wine, have the effect of making 
the individual who drinks it abhor wine as much as he before loved 
it. Another singular remedy for drunkenness mentioned by Ovalle, 
is that of drinking the sweat of a horse infused in wine, which ever 
after causes an utter dislike for that liquor. In many parts of Jesso, 
Avild grapes are abundant, while millet and other grain are plentiful, 
but the chief beverages drawn from these are manufactured by the 
Japanese settlers, who have imparted to the Aborigines a taste for 
those luxuries. 

The islands lying near Jesso and Kamtschatka are commonly called 
the Kuriles ; several of these, such as Kunashir, Exetooroop, and 
Saghalien may be considered Japanese colonies, and have their chief 
supplies of rice, tobacco, sacki, and other luxuries, from the mother 
country. The Kurilians are warmly attached to tobacco and strong 
liquors ; the former, often moistened by sacki, is sold by them without 
restriction, but the latter only to a limited extent, lest excess in their 
use might lead to the dangerous consequences of sickness, discord, or 
criminal indiscretions. 

In casting our eyes over the broad expanse of the Pacific Ocean, 
we are presented with so many states and islands, that to describe all 
would be superfluous ; and as they greatly resemble each other in 
the productions of the soil, it may be sufficient to give a general idea 
of the most considerable. The Mariana isles, about twelve in number, 
were first discovered by Magellan, who had reason to form so unfa 
vourable an opinion of the inhabitants, that he bestowed on them the 
name of Ladrones, or island of thieves, in memory of the repeated 

Pe Angeles apiul Charlevoix. Hist. Japan. Mod, Univ. Hist. vol. vii. p. 442, 


thefts which he experienced. The people were found to be extremely 
rude and ignorant, but subsequent navigators have represented them 
in a more favourable point of view. Wallis, in 1 767, remained upon 
Tinian a month, and seemed pleased with the refreshment he pro 
cured. The people speak a language bearing so close a resemblance 
to that of the Philippine islanders that they are supposed to have sprung 
from one common stock ; the productions are much the same, and they 
closely resemble each other in many respects. Since the establish 
ment of the Dutch in Guam, one of the principal settlements of this 
group, the inhabitants have become better acquainted with the enli 
vening qualities of the cocoa-nut tree, and of the rice cultivated at 
Rota. In the island of Guam, a liquor called Touba is in use, of 
which the natives seem to be extremely fond. De Pages represents 
the brandy made from the fermented juice of the cocoa-tree as excel 
lent.* The Manilla ships usually touch at these islands for refresh 
ments in their voyage from Acapuleo. The Carolines, a cluster of 
islands which lie to the south of the Ladrones, are but little known. 
They are said to resemble the latter, both as to the natural produc 
tions and the manners of the people. Captain Wilson, whose ship was 
wrecked in 1783 upon the coast of Pelew, one of the principal of the 
group of islands of that name, gives a pleasing picture of the inhabi 
tants. The island is stocked with a great variety of plants and with 
trees of various kinds ; among these may be reckoned the cabbage- 
tree, the bread-fruit, and a tree producing a fruit like an almond. 
Plaintains, bananas, oranges, and lemons are found. The leaves of 
the palm serve as thatch for their houses, the milk of the cocoa sup 
plies them with drink. A kind of sherbet is made, to which the 
juice of the orange is added. It is remarkable that the crews of the 
ships which were sent from Bombay to these islands, in 1790, among 
the other supplies, introduced liquors to the notice of the inhabitants, 
who thus acquired a taste for the luxurious drinks of their more 
enlightened visitants. Captain M Clure, who commanded the ships, 
remained on this island, resolved to pass the remainder of his life 
among these ingenious and virtuous people Of New Britain and 
New Ireland we know little, but such parts of them as have been 
explored are considered abundantly fertile. The cocoa and different 
kinds of palm trees flourish in the forests, while numbers of esculent 
roots and vegetables are met with in the plains and valleys. The 
natives are said to be unacquainted with the juice of the palm. The 
Solomon islands seem to be as little known as the two just mentioned, 

* Travels round the World, vol. i. p. 171. 


writers being divided as to their number and extent. Alvaro <le 
Mendana, the Spanish navigator who discovered them in 1567, gives 
a description of their inhabitants, little different from that applicable 
to other islanders in the Pacific, their arts and habits being much the 
same. When Cook visited the islands of the New Hebrides in 1773, 
about sixteen in number, he found them well wooded and stocked 
in abundance with sugar-canes and yams. The plantain, cocoa, 
banana, bread-fruit, figs, oranges, and other fruits, appeared, though 
not so abundant as in some of the other islands of this occean, but 
from the fertility of the soil, they might be augmented with very 
little labour to a supply sufficient for any exigence. Vegetables grow 
in great profusion, and where the hills are covered with trees to the 
top, the juice and intoxicating effects of the palm, or other material, 
we may reasonably conclude, are not unknown. 

Among the Friendly, Society, Feejee, Sandwich, and Navigators 1 
islands, the Cava is in general used as a beverage. The best descrip 
tion that has been given of it is by Mariner, who resided in the Friendly 
Islands for many years, and was familiar with all their manners and 
customs.* The cava plant, partly described under the appellation of 
ava in the article on Borneo, is a species of pepper cultivated solely 
for the purpose to which it is applied. It seldom exceeds five feet, 
and has large leaves shaped like a heart with jointed stalks. The 
root is carefully dug up, scraped clean with muscle-shells, and split 
into small pieces. It is then distributed among the people, seated in 
two circles, to be chewed. The deadly silence which had previously 
prevailed is then broken by the cry of " my ma cava ; my ma cava ; 
my lie cava" give me some cava, give me cava, some cava, by each 
of those who intend to chew it. No one attempts to chew it but 
young persons with good teeth, clean mouths, and free from disease. 
Women often assist, and it is curious that in the process of chewing, 
the root is kept wonderfully dry. In some places, says Kotzebue, 
the old women only chew the root, and the young women merely 
spit on it to thin the paste. The chewing of each mouthful occupies 
about two minutes, and when thus masticated, it is placed on a piece 
of plantain or banana leaf, and handed to persons appointed to collect 
and place it in a wooden bowl of about three feet in diameter and 
one foot in depth. In this vessel it is arranged in distinct and 
separate portions, in order to give an idea of the quantity of drink 
that it will make, to ascertain which it is shewn to the chief, 

He was one of the crew of a vessel that was seized by the natives in the 
year 1806. 


who, if lie considers that it will produce enough, gives orders 
for its preparation, or directs an additional quantity to be 
chewed. Two men, w r hose business it is to mix the material in the 
bowl, sit opposite to each other with the bowl between them, one of 
whom fans off the flies with a large leaf, while the other pours in 
water from cocoa-nut shells. Then, with his hands carefully washed, 
he intermingles and compresses the chewed matter; water contriving 
to be poured in until it is deemed necessary to stop. Having gathered 
all the ingredients equally and firmly together, a large quantity of 
the fibrous substance is thrown over the entire surface of the infusion, 
after which the man who manages the process commences the most 
difficult part of the operation. By various, curious, and singular 
evolutions of his hands and arms, he succeeds in working the fibrous 
subject round the pulp, till it encircled by it in a roll, as if screwed 
in a net. The mass is then taken out of the fluid, and raising it 
breast high, is twisted more firmly by other surprising and graceful 
motions of the arms, the muscles swelling and playing all the time in 
an extraordinary manner. Great strength is exerted on these occa 
sions, and the dexterity with which the whole is accomplished never 
fails to excite admiration from all present. " Every tongue," says 
Mariner, "is mute and every eye is upon him, watching each motion 
of his arms, as they describe the various curvilinear turns, essential 
to the success of the operation." Three times the fibrous substance 
is thrown on the surface of the fluid, and the same operation each 
time repeated, in order to collect all the dregs from the liquor, and the 
roll is twisted and suspended over the bowl till not a single drop 
will exude from the substance. In the mean time, some are distri 
buting provisions, consisting of yams, ripe bananas, or plantains, to 
be eaten with the cava, while others are busy making cups of leaves 
of the banana tree. These leaves, having been cut into lengths of 
about nine inches square, are folded in a particular manner, and 
secured with a fibre of the stem, so as to form a cup not undeserving 
of praise and imitation. In other islands, the drinking cups are made 
of the cocoa-nut, rendered transparent, sometimes curiously carved, 
but generally plain and of a yellow colour. The cava being strained 
and clear, a ball of the fibrous matter already mentioned, which acts 
like a sponge, is then dipped into the fluid, and squeezed out into the 
cups which are alternately held over the centre of the bowl, giving to 
each about the third of a pint. The cups are distributed with great 
regularity according to the rank or stzitbn of the individual, whose 
name having been announced, he claps his hands to shew in what part 
of the circle he is seated, If he be a chief, the bearer presents the 


cup kneeling, but to every other person it is presented standing. On 
one occasion, where Cook was present at a funeral ceremony, a bowl 
of this drink, containing about a gallon, was prepared ; the first cup, 
(which was formed of a plantain leaf,) being presented to the king, he 
ordered it to be given to another person, the second he drank himself? 
and the third was handed to Captain Cook ; cups were then given to 
the other persons present, until the liquor was exhausted. Each cup, 
as it was emptied, was thrown upon the ground, whence it was taken 
up and carried to be filled again. Scarcely a w r ord was uttered during 
the whole of this drinking bout ; but the utmost gravity was observed 
by all, from the king to the meanest person present. On those habi 
tuated to the use of cava, it has no great effect, but on strangers it 
operates like spirits, occasioning intoxication, or a stupefaction like 
opium, that deprives its votary of appetite, and renders him averse to 
every kind of noise. From the ease with which it is procured, it may 
be considered as a common beverage ; and there is no feast, nor cere - 
mony, however trifling, without cava. The term cava, or ava, is 
applied to every thing of a heating or pungent nature, whether relat 
ing to ardent liquors or spices. At Otaheite, the cava root is for the 
most part bruised, instead of being chewed before the infusion ; and 
the leaves are also used in the same manner. This root, or drink, is 
known in the Feejee islands by the name of Angona, and in most of 
the neighbouring islands it is denominated ava, or uva. The com 
mon drink among the South-Sea islanders is water, or the milk of the 
cocoa-nut ; cava being only their morning beverage, or that which is 
used at feasts, or on occasions of ceremony. It is taken to excess in 
many places ; and its pernicious effects have been observed by several 
navigators. Captain King saw a man who had drunk of it to such 
excess, that he became delirious and convulsed. While in this situa 
tion, he was held by two men, who busied themselves in plucking out 
his hair by the roots as a sovereign restorative.* Its frequent use 
has a tendency to emaciate tlie body, as testified by Captain King, 
who, after an absence of some time, was surprised to find, on his 
return, many of those who had been corpulent, in a short period 
reduced to mere skeletons by the inordinate use of this liquor. When 
a man first gives himself up to drinking ava., he breaks out in scales 
about the head, while the eyes become sore and red. The infection 
spreads gradually downwards over the body, till it is entirely covered 
with a scale, or scurf, resembling a scurvy. These scales gradually 
drop off, leaving the skin beautifully clear and smooth, and the body 

* Cook s Voyage, vol. i. p. 350, 


free of all disease. It is said to be a cure for the venereal ; b lit from 
the women riot being permitted to use it, the baneful infection brought 
to those islands by Captain Cook s vessel still remains to pollute and 
punish the inhabitants. The latest accounts respecting this drink are 
given by Captain Beechy, in his voyage to the Pacific and Beering s 
Straits, who relates, that a course of it is most beneficial in renovat 
ing constitutions worn out by hard living and long residence in warm 
climates. He gives an instance of a gentleman who had undergone a 
course of it to cure a cutaneous disease, similar to St. Anthony s fire : 
he took twice a day, half-a-pint, one before breakfast, and the other 
before dinner, and at the end of six weeks there was a visible amend 
ment ; the skin w r as freed of scrofula, and the whole system was 
improved.* Spirituous liquors are in great repute amongst the chiefs, 
one of whom thinks nothing of swallowing a tumbler of rum at a 
draught. Women of the higher classes are, if possible, the greatest 
drunkards. Dillon, in his narrative of a voyage for the discovery 
of the fate of La Perouse, confirms this by a circumstance M hich 
occurred at New Zealand ; proving, that no rank nor condition 
amongst them is free from its influence. The high priestess, a 
woman regarded by her country as more than mortal, came on board 
the vessel to make some inquiries, and being invited into the cabin, 
she seated herself without embarrassment, and after remarking that 
the day was cold, demanded if there were any rum on board, and if 
so, requested that some might be given to her. A full decanter being 
placed before her, she filled a tumbler nearly to the brim, and quaffed 
it to the bottom without hesitation. ] The missionaries have succeeded, 
in a great measure, in putting down the use of ava, this drink benig 
no longer allowed to be prepared, nor the root allowed to be culti 
vated ; but unfortunately, its place has been partially supplied by the 
introduction of wine and brandy. Kotzebue, however, who lately 
visited those islands, says he never saw a drunken person during his 

The intercourse, which these children of nature have lately had 
with the civilized world, has put them in possession of different arts, 
of which they were before ignorant, amongst the rest, distillation to 
a certain extent. 

In the Marquesas Islands, the aborigines use not only ava, but 
procure a strong liquor from the root of ginger, for the purpose of 
enjoyment, forgetting care, and sinking into profound sleep. In 

* Beechy s Voyage to the Pacific and Beering s Straits, vol. ii. p. 434. 
f Dillon s Voyage, vol. i. p. 228. 

Santa Christina, one of those islands, the sugar-cane was observed to 
grow spontaneously to the height of six or seven feet, but the natives 
were unacquainted with its properties and the uses to which it could 
be converted. The cocoas, witli the bread-fruit, are the chief food 
of the inhabitants. Here also is found a kind of nut, called #/ , as 
well as the Ti root, which, when baked under ashes, is an agreeable 
and wholesome article of subsistence.* The inhabitants are so hospi 
table, that they not only freely share their liquors with their guests, 
but they consider it an act of kindness to give their friends food 
already chewed, that they may have only the trouble of swallowing 

In the Sandwich Islands, an excellent spirit is distilled from the 
Tec root, Draccena, resembling the Draccena terminalis, something 
like the beet of this country, and which is found growing wild about 
the mountains and valleys. The leaves of this plant, which are broad 
and oblong, are woven into a sort of cloak by the mountain inhabi 
tants, resembling that made from the palm leaves as used in various 
parts of the East. The stalk is used like the olive as a symbol of 
peace, and of this plant the Otaheitans reckon six species ; three with 
red and three with white flowers. In the Pitcairn and the other 
adjacent islands, the Tee plant is extensively cultivated. Its leaves 
are the common food of hogs and goats, and serve the natives for 
wrappers in their cooking. The root affords a very saccharine juice 
resembling molasses, which is obtained by baking it in the ground. 
The plant requires two or three years to arrive at maturity. It is 
then about 2 J inches in diameter. It is long, fusiform, and beset 
with fibres. From the root a tea is made, which, when flavoured with 
ginger, is not unpleasant. The root of the plant is larger and much 
sweeter than that of the beet ; it is of a brownish appearance, 
and is in perfection all the year round. When the natives collect a 
quantity of this root, they bake it well under ground ; when suffi 
ciently baked, they pound it up in an old canoe kept for that purpose, 
mixing water with it, and leaving it to ferment for several days. 
Their stills are formed out of iron pots, which they procure from ships 
that call there. These they can enlarge to any size, by fixing cala 
bashes or gourds with the bottom cut off, and made to fit close on the 
pot, cemented well with a sort of clay called peroo, a copper cone is 
also affixed, with which an old gun-barrel is connected, and passes 
through a calabash of cold water wliich condenses the spirit. The 
stills are commonly placed by a stream of water ; they take the water 

* Roqucfcuil s Voyage Round the World. 


when warm out of the cooler, and replace it with cold, by which sim 
ple process a spirit is produced, not unlike whiskey, only not so strong 1 . 
This spirit is called by the natives Y-wcr-a, which signifies warm 
water, or luma, in the imitation of the word rum. A man named 
William Stephenson was the first who introduced distilling*. He was 
a convict who had escaped from New South Wales, and lived on the 
island, for many years. The credit of first discovering this mode of 
distilling has been claimed by a person named Young ; but as it has 
been justly observed, neither of them deserves much praise for the 
introduction. Manning, who left Nootka Sound on the North-west 
coast of America, at the time when the Spaniards formed an estab 
lishment at that place, has cultivated the grape and peach on the island 
of Woahoo, one of the most important of the Sandwich group, 
from the former he makes very good wine, and from the latter good 
peach brandy.* Arago says,f that Francis Marini, a Spaniard, was 
the introducer of the vine into the Sandwich Islands ; and Captain 
Lord Byron, who visited those islands in 1824, 1825, and 1826, J 
attributed the introduction of the vine to the same person, and 
expressed his approbation of some of the native wine. These islands 
appear well adapted for the cultivation of the vine, provided that the 
situations for the plantations be well chosen. Notwithstanding that 
grapes are partially planted, and wine produced from them, the pre 
vailing drink is ava, which most take for the love of it, while 
others drink it to prevent corpulency. Kotzebue, one of the latest 
circumnavigators, says that although ava has been represented as 
tending to shorten life, particularly of those who use it freely, he met 
several of its votaries in a very advanced stage of life. The chiefs 
claim the drinking of it as their exclusive privilege, every one freely 
partakes of it, but not until after he attains a certain age. Kotzebue 
saw the son of a chief, a boy of ten years old, who boasted of having 
obtained the right of drinking ava, and shewed, with much pride, a 
spot on his loins where the irruption was already visible. The king 
Tameamea II. was so addicted to drunkenness, that he would empty 
a bottle of rum at a draught, a taste which unhappily tended to retard 
the civilisation of his subjects. In Hanaruro, one of those islands, 
runaway sailors have erected taverns, and have held out every induce 
ment to profligacy in drinking, by the introduction of gaming and 
other amusements. 

* Vide Literary Gazette, November, 1821. 

j- Arago s Voyage Round the World, 4to. p. 193. 

$ Voyage to the Sandwich Islands. 

Kotzebuc s New Voyage Round the World in 1823-4-5 and 6, vol. ii. p. 170. 


At Eimeo, one of the Georgian Islands, a group to the east of the 
Friendly Islands, when visited by Mr. Ellis, intemperance prevailed 
to a great extent; and he found that they were in possession of the 
art of distillation from the Ti or Tee root (draccena terminates), which 
art had been introduced some years previous to the Sandwich island 
ers. Here as in other of the Polynesian islands, whole districts con 
gregate to erect a public still, the apparatus of which, though rude, 
answers the purpose intended. The body of this still consists of a 
large stone, hollowed in the form of a pot, and placed on stones with 
space beneath for a fire ; and on the top of this pot is placed a hollowed 
trunk of a tree by way of a head, in which is inserted a long cane of 
bamboo, conducted through a trough filled with cold water serving 
as a condenser. Into this still the fermented Ti root, previously 
macerated in water, is thrown, and the spirit runs into a calabash, 
cocoa-nut, or other vessel used for the purpose. Annexed is a repre 
sentation of a still of this description used in Tahite, the largest of the 
Georgian Islands. 

The process is conducted in a temporary shed erected on the occa 
sion ; and here the men and boys of the district are anxiously awaiting 
the produce. The first draught of the spirits, or ava, is given to the 
chief, and which is denominated ao, the remainder is distributed 
among the people who continue at the still for several days, or till 
all the materials are exhausted, during which horrible excesses are 
committed. At the preparation and work of these stills, the people 
are insensible to every other pursuit, and often appear, in the course 
of the revelry, more like demons than human beings. Sometimes in 


a deserted still-house might be seen the fragments of the rude boiler, 
and the other appendages of the still, scattered in confusion on the 
ground, and among the dead and mangled bodies of those who had 
been murdered with axes or billets of wood in the quarrels that had 
terminated their dissipation.* 

It is consoling to the friends of humanity to find, that since the 
introduction of Christianity into the South Sea islands, intoxication 
has become less frequent, and the stills have shared the fate of many 
of their idols, having been either broken or hidden under ground. As 
the sugar-cane abounds in most of the islands in the Pacific Ocean, the 
distillation of rum might become an article of traffic; but to the use 
of this liquor the chiefs of the Society Islands are opposed ; and their 
attachment to Christianity has led them to consider the use of spiri 
tuous liquors as the greatest curse with which they could be inflicted. 
So destructive were the effects of intoxication in the Georgian and 
other islands, that in many places the country was nearly depopulated ; 
for people living on such low vegetable diet could not bear the stimu 
lus and violence which ardent spirits give to the constitution. Even 
so prevalent was its baneful influence, that the priests, before going to 
the temples to sacrifice to their gods, among which sacrifices infan 
ticide formed no small portion, intoxicated themselves to render their 
feelings callous. 

Of late, drunkenness has become so hateful, that in a code of laws 
established at Huahine, one of the Society Islands, the following 
enactment forms the twentieth article, the bearing of which would 
do honour to any nation : " If a man drink spirits till he becomes 
intoxicated (the literal rendering would be poisoned), and is then 
troublesome or mischievous, the magistrates shall cause him to be 
bound or confined ; and, when the effects of the drink have subsided, 
shall admonish him not to offend again. But if he be obstinate in 
drinking spirits, and when intoxicated become mischievous, let him 
be brought before the magistrates and sentenced to labour, such as 
road-making, five fathoms in length, and two in breadth. If not 
punished by this, a plantation fence, fifty fathoms long. If it be 
a -woman that is guilty of the crime, she shall plait two large mats, 
one for the king, and the other for the governor of the district, or 
make four hibiscus mats, two for the king and two for the governor, 
or forty fathoms of native cloth, twenty for the king and twenty for 
the governor."! 

* Ellis s Polynesian Researches, vol. i. p. 231. 
. Ibid. vol. ii. 433. 


Many islands in the Pacific Ocean produce wheat, rice, Indian corn, 
and every description of frnit peculiar to the West Indies. In 
Otaheite, the sugar-cane grows so luxuriantly, that from two small 
enclosures five tons of white sugar are annually manufactured. 

With a great number of the islands classed by modern geographers 
under the head of Polynesia and Australasia, our acquaintance is very 
limited and comparatively superficial. Previous to the residence of 
the missionaries in New Zealand, the inhabitants are said to have been 
so ignorant as not to know the simple process of preparing food by 
boiling ; and that differing from the tastes of men in other regions, 
they abhorred all kinds of intoxicating liquors. Unfortunately, how 
ever, the crews of the Southern whalers have made these people 
familiar with the use of rum, brandy, and other inebriating beverages, 
and the pumpkin is now cultivated for drinking vessels. 

The natives of New Holland were represented as equally unac 
customed to the use of any kind of spirits ; but the colonization of 
that country and the number transported thither, have completely 
altered their habits, and given them a thirst for the vice of intoxica 
tion. Reid, who some time since visited the colony, remarked that 
one could scarcely pass through the streets of Sydney without meet 
ing them in a state of inebriety.* This indiscriminate censure is, 
however, really applicable to such alone as were permitted to amuse 
themselves for a certain time in the week, a liberty that was found 
to be grossly abused, and which is now mostly restricted, if not alto 
gether abolished, by the governor.f 

The policy of licensing stills has hitherto been discountenanced by 
the government ; but from the rapid progress of agriculture, nothing, 
it is conceived, would tend more to the relief of the industrious than 
the adoption of such a measure. It has been strongly urged by the 
landholders, merchants, and other respectable inhabitants of the 
colony, in a petition to the British cabinet, dated the llth February, 

The advantages attendant on a permission to distil are forcibly 
illustrated by Wentworth, in a short review of the actual loss which 
the colonists have sustained from the want of it during the last fifteen 
years. This loss he calculates to be not less than 250,000, a sum 
which, had it been applied to the immediate encouragement of agricul 
ture, would have imparted life and vigour into the whole community. 
Allowing the colony, says that writer, to require 60,000 gallons of 

* Reid s Voyage to New South Wales and Van Diemen s Land, 8vo. p. 266. 
f Parliamentary Report on the State of the Colony of New South Wales, 183 2,p. 30. 


spirits annually, 20,000 bushels of grain would be expended in dis 
tillation, the whole of which, when necessity required, might be 
turned into the ordinary course of consumption, and directed to the 
purposes of subsistence.* 

That the erection of distilleries would be much to the advantage of 
New South Wales, there can, from the improved state of that settle 
ment, be no manner of doubt, and I see little more evil to be dreaded 
from the domestic than from the foreign manufacture. The import 
duty on spirits is ten shillings per gallon, while on wine it rates only 
at nine pence. If spirits be abundant at this high rate of duty, why 
need they be more so under a proper system of restriction and taxa 
tion, although made within the boundaries of the colony ? The adop 
tion of such a measure would not only improve the revenue, but offer 
a sure and ready market to the farmer, as an encouragement for a 
great portion of his labour and industry. 

The manufacture of peach brandy, which is chiefly confined to the 
Americans, might be successfully carried on by the people of New 
South Wales, since the peaches grow in such abundance throughout 
the colony, that the inhabitants employ them for no other purpose than 
that of feeding pigs. This useful fruit appears to thrive in every 
situation, as well on the most barren, as on the most fruitful soil. 
Barley, rye, wheat, and oats grow in great perfection. 

In the woods of New South Wales, wild honey is to be had in 
abundance ; the natives are very fond of it, and in traversing woods 
their eyes are continually cast up towards the trees in search of it, 
or in watching the direction in which the bees fly when proceeding 
to their retreat, and by these means their hives are easily discovered. 
Bees generally fly in a right line when returning home, and, on this 
principle, the Americans have invented several plans of ascertaining 
the position of their nests. One of these is, that of procuring two 
bees and marking their bodies by some white substance ; then two 
persons, having each one of these, remove to some distance, and per 
mitting them to escape at the same instant, and observing the line of 
their direction, they easily determine where their cells are situated. 
Some reckon the honey of New South Wales superior to European 
honey ; the bee which makes it is very small, has no sting, and is 
rather longer and more slender than a common fly, but very much 
resembles it in other respects. The bees usually build at the joint of 
a high branch to which the natives ascend by cutting notches in the 

* Wentworth s Statist. Hist, and Political Description of New South Wales, 8vo, 
pp, 114, 253, and 259. 


trunk. Mead, however, has not been manufactured, as the natives 
are ignorant of this beverage, but, as English bees have been lately 
introduced, this liquor may soon become familiar.* 

The spirits with which the colony is supplied are principally fur 
nished by merchants in India. At first, no person could trade in this 
article to the settlement without a license ; but the restriction was 
abolished a few years ago, and permission given for any one to sup 
ply it witli this commodity, in consequence of which a considerable 
quantity was sent thither in 1822. The spirits imported from 1831 
to 1832 amounted to 352,549 gallons, and the imports of wine for the 
same period to 104,406 gallons. The quantity of spirits exported 
was 29,256 ; and of wine 37,548 gallons. During this time, 11,000 
gallons of gin were distilled in the colony of which none were 
exported. There consequently remained 334,283 gallons of spirits, 
and 66,858 gallons of wine. 

By an act of 3d Geo. IV. c. 96, distillation was permitted in this 
colony, and regulations for conducting it issued by the governor, and 
published in the Sydney Gazette on the 3d of February, 1821. 
Liberty was given to commence on the 1st August, 1822. By these 
regulations, it appears that no still of less capacity than forty-four 
gallons is to be licensed, and that no grain whatever shall be distilled 
but that grown in the colony. The governor has the power of 
suspending distillation, when the price of wheat in the Sydney market 
shall exceed 10s. per bushel for two successive days ; but in that case 
distillation from fruit will be permitted. The spirit is required to be 
of a strength of at least seven per cent, above hydrometer proof, and 
a duty of 2s. 6d. per gallon is to be paid for as much spirit of that 
strength as every still shall be found capable of producing from the 
number of charges that can be worked oif in the space of 28 days. 

The system of charging the duty on working against time, as 
practised in Ireland, was adopted as better calculated for the security 
of the revenue, in a colony possessing such imperfect means for its 
collection, than any mode of survey by officers. The form arid 
dimensions of stills were fixed in proportion to the diameter and 
altitude ;| but whether the extension of the plan under which the 
distilleries of the united kingdom are conducted at present, namely, 
that of working according to the gravity of the worts and the spirits 
drawn therefrom, under the regulations of the 4th Geo. IV. c. 81, 
should be extended to this settlement, is a matter of serious considera 
tion for the legislature, inasmuch as they are better calculated than 

* Breton s Excursions in New South Wales, &c. 8vo. p. 277. 

f Set! the description of these proportions in the article on Ireland. 


any other to prevent fraud and dereliction of principle, on the park of 
those engaged in so important a branch of trade. 

To prevent the sale of spirits in small quantities from the distilleries, 
it is provided that no person who shall be a partner, or have an 
interest in a licensed distillery, shall have a license to retail spirits, 
and no licensed distiller is permitted to sell at any time a smaller 
quantity of spirits than 100 gallons. 

Great care has been taken to prevent a monopoly, and, to avoid the 
expense and inconvenience of carrying grain to particular markets, 
stills are allowed to be set up in any part of the colony. By recent 
accounts from this settlement, it appears that at Sydney there is now 
a number of breweries dispersed about the town, and at about a mile 
distant an extensive new distillery, named the Brisbane, which pro 
duces a good spirit from native grain, and also cordials of excellent 
quality. In a different direction of the town, there is another estab 
lishment of the same kind, not less respectable. Those concerns 
furnish annually several hundred thousand gallons of a pure spirit 
from barley and maize, while 8,000 hogsheads are the yearly average 
of ale and beer supplied to the colony by thirteen breweries, the pro 
duce of various descriptions of native grain. In the Sydney Monitor 
of the 27th April, 1833, a gentleman who opened an extensive malt- 
house and brewery at Windsor, proposed to supply the neighbour 
hood with beer and ale equal to those of Edinburgh, while other 
accounts shew the increase and efficiency of similar concerns. It 
is a great encouragement to brewers, that the hop-plant thrives well 

It may be worth recording, that a Mr. Squires was the first brewer 
in New South Wales, and his beer was of so good a quality, that to 
commemorate its worth and the value of the manufacturer, the follow 
ing doggerel couplet was placed on the tomb of one of its votaries 
buried in the church-yard of Paramatta, now called Rosehill : 

Ye who wish to be here 
Drink Squires s beer. 

The duty on spirits distilled in the colony, as before stated, is 2,s\ 
6d. per gallon from grain, and 4s. 2d. from sugar and molasses, while 
West India rum pays 6s. and all other imported spirits a duty of 7s. 
6d. per gallon. These protecting duties secure a ready market to 
the distiller when grain is low; but when it is high, the foreign article 
is perhaps too nearly on a par with the colonial. 

The duty is levied on the strength of all spirits imported in pro 
portion to the degree in which they may exceed hydrometer proof. 


The rum sent from Bengal to the colony has been estimated as high 
as thirty and forty per cent, above proof, while that brought from 
other places seldom exceeded from twenty to thirty. In 1819, the 
quantity of spirits issued from the bonded store to dealers, amounted 
to 58,079 gallons, and in 1820, to 69,745 gallons. To which if we 
add in the first year 18,743, and in the second, 17,062 gallons, given 
out on account of government, the annual consumption of the colony, 
making some allowance for the strength, and for what is sold directly 
from the importer, may be estimated at 100,000 gallons. This is a 
prodigious quantity, when we consider the population, which, in 1820, 
did not exceed 28,939 persons, and of these there were 5,668 chil 
dren. Making no allowance for the latter, the quantity of spirits 
swallowed by each individual, yearly, comes to somewhat better than 
five gallons and three pints, which exceeds the consumption of the 
proportion for the population of Ireland by four gallons, and of that 
of Scotland by more than three. If to this consumption of ardent 
spirits there be superadded the same quantity of wine and malt liquors, 
the amount will vastly exceed that used by the same number of inha 
bitants in any part of the world. This statement may be illustrated 
by the following anecdote told by an Irishman, located there with 
many of his countrymen, as characteristic of the habits of these people, 
some of whom are seldom sober during the whole year : " Why, 
Denis," says an observer to one who was a great votary of St. 
Patrick, " surely the saint could not be born on every day in the last 
week ?" Och ! replies Denis, " it is only my own bad memory that 
makes me so particular, for having a mighty love for St. Patrick, I 
always begin keeping his birth a fortnight before hand, lest I should 
forget the day ; and after it is over, why the devil burn me but I 
always forget to leave off." 

Masters are allowed, by an act of council, to pay servants part of 
their wages in spirits, as they are found to be the best stimulants to 
exertion ; and in order to prevent them from repairing to public- 
houses to spend their earnings, which, before this regulation, was a 
common practice, and productive of bad consequences. Servants 
have been known to travel upwards of thirty miles to a public-house 
to spend the few dollars which they had earned by hard labour. This 
species of payment is a melancholy proof of the fondness of the inha 
bitants for spirituous liquors. Breton states that a party of six 
emancipated convicts drank, at one sitting, six bottles of sherry and 
forty-one of porter. From this we need scarcely wonder at the 
enormous consumption of the colony. 

After the first settlement of New South Wales, it was a practice 

lo license military men to sell rum and arrack, which, while it les* 
sened the dignity of the army, increased the demoralization of the 
people. To remedy this evil, alterations were made in the retail of 
spirituous liquors, and the government took the control into their own 
hands and established a store at Sydney ; but this being attended 
with inconvenience, the sale got into the hands of the people, and 
licenses were granted accordingly. The amount of a license is 25 
per annum. In 1823, the number of licensed publicans was eighty- 
tliree, the free population at the time being nearly 9,000, while in 
1832 and 1833, the licensed persons were one hundred and ninety- 
five ; and in 1834, the number was two hundred and seventeen, the 
licenses producing 5,425 ; and the direct duties on spirits for the 
whole colony, 80,000. 

Delirium tremens is a disease of frequent occurrence in this quarter. 
Dr. Lang,* who had good opportunities of seeing the awful effects of 
ardent spirits when used to excess, pathetically describes this malady ; 
and in the case of a person whom he in vain endeavoured to dissuade 
commencing the trade of a publican, gives a specimen of its frightful 
workings. A short time after this person entered on business, he was 
attacked with this distemper, and the Doctor, on visiting him, found 
him apparently in the jaws of death his distracted wife and children 
standing at the bedside in the utmost agonies. The patient labour-, 
ing under this malady is distracted with imaginary horrors, he fancies: 
himself haunted by apparitions, the whole frame trembles convul 
sively under the influence of a disordered imagination, and the nervous 
system is so frightfully excited, that the bodily functions are totally 
enervated, and,, in many instances, death only brings relief to the 
unhappy sufferer. 

It is to be lamented, that although the settlers of New South Wales 
are represented by Mr. Bigge as treating the Aborigines with kind 
ness and humanity, yet they have adopted the practice of supplying 
them with spirits, which sometimes stimulate them to the commission 
of the most shocking outrages upon each other, and to acts very offen 
sive to delicacy.f At Sydney, tho natives barter fish for old clothes, 
bread, and rum, and their fondness for the last article has led to, 
debaucheries of the most brutal nature so much so, that the hus 
band disposes of the favours of his wife for a small portion of this 
liquor ; and, shocking to relate, the offspring of such intercourse is 

, f. . , ..;.,}.,.. c. . Cj \.^ 

Account of New South Wales by Dr. Lang. 

t Commissioners Report, printed by order of the House of Commons, 1823, 
p. 59. 


generally sacrificed at the instance of the unnatural husband.* 
Scarcely, says a voyager, do the intoxicating fumes get into their 
heads, when they breathe nothing but battle, and shout forth their 
war-cries. Impatient for murder, they seek antagonists, provoke 
them by ferocious songs, and demand death in the hope of inflicting 
it. They find but too readily the opportunity they desire ; and their 
war-hoop is answered by whooping not less terrible. Then the com 
batants, drawn up in two lines, perhaps twenty steps from each other, 
threaten mutually with their long-pointed spears, launch them at their 
adversaries with wonderful strength and dexterity, arid finally attack 
each other with ponderous and formidable clubs, called waddles, 
JLimbs are fractured, bones smashed, skulls laid open ; no exclama 
tion of pain escapes from these ferocious savages, the air resounds 
only with frightful vociferations. He who falls without having found 
a victim, dies rather of despair than from the hurts he has received ; 
and the warrior, who has laid low a few enemies, soon expires, with 
out regretting the loss of life.j In those conflicts, it is common to 
see the combatants alternately stooping the head to receive the blow 
of an antagonist, it being deemed cowardice to avoid a stroke. 
Many of these rencounters are occasioned by the want of prudence in 
Europeans, who exchange with them spirits for the skins of serpents 
and other animals, instead of giving them such matters as would 
administer to the comforts, ease, and civilisation of life. Fortunately 
for the peaceable portion of society in that quarter, these scenes are 
not of frequent occurrence, and the exertions of government are not 
wanting to check them altogether. The settlers have succeeded to 
engage many of the natives in the labours of the field ; and these poor 
creatures ask no other reward for their toil than a good feast of boiled 
pumpkin and sugar. Care is taken not to give them any drink till 
their day s work is over, for, were their appetites satisfied, they would 
do nothing after, hunger alone having the power of compelling them 
to work. A draught of the washings of a sugar bag, which is called 
lull, or a drink of grog, at the conclusion of the harvest, sends those 
simple mortals happy and delighted to rove again among their native 
wilds. Dawson, a late visitant, speaking of the Aborigines, says that 
they are inordinately fond of bull ; which they sometimes prepare by 
cutting up a sugar bag and boiling it in water. This they reckon 
one of the greatest treats, and drink it till they are blown out like 
an ox swelled with clover and can take no more.J They have an 

* Cunningham s Residence, vol. ii. p. 20. f Arago s Voyage, 4to. p. 172. 
% Dawson s Present State of Australia, 8vo. p. 60. Breton s Excursions in 
New South Wales, 8vo. p. 1U5. 


ingenious mode of making drinking vessels of the bark of the tea-tree^ 
a species of myrtle, and which display more ability than is usually 
attributed to these savages. They strip the trunk of its bark, and 
after neatly rolling it up, tie it at one extremity, and thus furnish a 
goblet sufficient for the purpose. Of this bark they also make 
baskets, and use its broad lamina as a shelter from rain ; it is 
often spread as a carpet to keep out damp, and is as soft as velvet. 
It grows in lairs, and is taken off the tree without a hatchet ; the 
nearer the wood, the softer the coating, sometimes scarcely exceeding 
brown paper in thickness. 

Dawson assures us that the colony of New South Wales is in a 
prosperous condition, and that at Sydney, houses are erecting on 
every side, while distilleries are at work and steam-engines are com 
mon. Grapes are found to succeed in every favorable situation 
throughout the country. Not only does every establishment prosper, 
but the vine is likely to afford a supply of wine. The sugar-cane is 
said to thrive in many places, and fair samples of rum have been pro 
duced. A plantation at Port Macquarie contains upwards of ninety 
acres. As almost every species of fruit known to other countries 
grows here, materials are afforded for the manufacture of all kinds of 
drinks found elsewhere. In 1826, Mr. Townson, the author of 
Travels in Hungary, with other enterprising gentlemen, was actively 
engaged in the manufacture of Australian wine, and one of them, Mr. 
George Blaxland, had succeeded so well as to have six pipes and a half of 
it in his cellar. At present there are many acres of vineyards in the 
colony; those of the more wealthy proprietors being, for the most 
part, under the management of scientific and practical vine-dressers 
from the south of Europe. Wine and brandy have been manufac 
tured to a considerable extent from the grapes of the vineyards of 
the Messrs. Macarthur at Camden, on the Cow-pasture river. The 
quality hitherto produced had a strong resemblance to Sauterne, in 
taste, strength, and appearance. The latest accounts say, that the 
wine-crops afforded the best promise of a plentiful supply, and gave 
every hope that tlu s portion of the globe may yet become a flourishing 
wine country. The wine made in 1834, by Sir John Jameson, at 
Regentville, was of a superior quality, and the saccharine property 
of the grapes was such, that scarcely any brandy was deemed 

Cuttings of European and African vines have frequently been 
imported into this settlement. Mr. Redfern, a respectable colonist, 
brought with him from Madeira a number of cuttings, and encouraged 
some Portuguese families acquainted with the culture of the vine, to 


emigrate to New South Wales, for the purpose of training the plants 
and laying down vineyards. Mr. James Busby, British resident in 
New Zealand, brought to New South Wales upwards of a hundred 
varieties which he procured in France, and gave them for general 
cultivation. On the policy of cultivating the vine in this colony, Dr. 
Lang has made some judicious remarks tending to show, that if wines 
were manufactured to any considerable extent, it might be the means 
of advancing the cause of temperance, by placing within the reach of 
the people a cheap and wholesome beverage, to the exclusion of those 
inflammatory, deleterious, and expensive liquors so prejudicial to 
health and morality.* 

Temperance Societies are now established in this settlement, 
which originated in Van Diemen s land through the instrumentality 
of Mr. Backhouse, a member of the Society of Friends, and salutary 
effects may be anticipated. Few places, perhaps, on the face of the 
globe require the exertions of such institutions more. 

The only drawback on distilleries and breweries is the scarcity of 
barley, but this grain is likely to become more extensively cultivated, 
being so essential to distillation and brewing. Manufactories of this 
description have every facility for promoting the interests of the pro 
prietors. Though wood is the chief material for fuel in the country 
portions of the colony, native coal is used in great abundance, and 
may be had at the Newcastle pits for five shillings the ton, and at 
Sydney for twenty shillings ; the freight being fifteen shillings of the 

In 1833, the following beverages rated at: 


English Ale perhhd. 6 to 6 5 

Do. per doz.O 11 to 13 

Colonial do. per hhd. 60 to 80 

Do. do. per doz. 6 to 8 

English beer per hhd. 5 Oto5 3 

Do. do. per doz. lltoO 13 

Colonial do. per hhd 45 to 55 

Do. do. per gal. 2 to 

Rum per gallon 9 to 10 

s. d. f. 

Brandy per gal. 12 6 to 14 
Gin do. do. 12 6 to 14 
Colonial do. do. 7 6 to 
Wine(port)per doz. 35 to 40 
Madeira do, do. 35 to 40 
Sherry do. do. 35 to 40 
Claret do. do. 50 to 60 

Cape per gal. 3 6 to 4 

Elder per dozen 5 6 to 

The imports into New South Wales for 1833, were : 


Beer and Ale . . 244,490 
Cider and Perry . . 2,718 

Rum .... 335,134 

Brandy .... 20,899 


Geneva . . 17,368^ 

Whiskey . . 112 

Other Spirits . . 86 

Wine . . 161,410 

An Historical and Statistical Account of New South Wales, by the Rev. Dr. 
Lang, 2 vols. 8vo. London, 1834, vol. i. pp. 363 to 369. 
f Cunningham s New South Wales, vol. ii. p. 3. 


Duty on Spirits imported in 1832 .? . , . . 
Do. on ditto distilled in the Colony .... 

Licenses to retail Wine, Malt, and Spirituous Liquors 
Licenses to Distil Spirits ........ 

Department of the Surveyor of the Distilleries 


81,585 1 




520 16 



The settlements of New Holland and Van Diemen s Land are 
become places of such importance, that the government has turned a 
great portion of the tide of emigration to their shores ; and many now 
prefer going to those distant regions, than to those of the United 
States or Canada ; the climate being more congenial to British settlers. 
The agricultural products are valuable, and the efforts that are now 
making by the settlers, who have already established themselves in these 
quarters, as well as of those who emigrate there, are calculated to raise 
the best expectations. Such is the fertility of Van Diemen s Land, 
that Edward Curr, in his account of that settlement, relates that in 
1821, fifty-thousand bushels of wheat were exported from that island 
to Port Jackson,* besides what was sent to the Cape of Good Hope, 
Isle of France, and Reio Janeiro : more recent accounts lead us to 
conclude, that crops are as abundant there as in England. The 
wheat is said to yield from 60 to 651bs. per bushel, and, what is sin 
gular, it is not subject to the weevil. 

In Hobart s Town, as well as in other parts of the settlement, are 
several breweries and distilleries ; but the manufacture is not equal 
to the consumption; hence there are considerable importations to 
supply the defect, as is shewn in the following table : 






Beer, in value . * 











Brandy, (Proof), . 






Geneva, .... 


4,420 4,231 





77,132 24,441 20,204 




30,458 15,198 16,084 


New South Wales is represented to be rather barren immediately 
about the coast, but beyond that the country improves, and the trees 
of the forest rise to the most stately dimensions. When a tra 
veller has advanced about twenty miles into the interior, he beholds a 
country truly beautiful, displaying an endless variety of hill and dale. 

An Account of the Colony of Van Diemen s Land, 12mo. London, 1824. 


clothed in the most luxuriant herbage, and disclosing regions fit to be 
inhabited by civilized man. In those countries, the arts and manu 
factures are progressing, and promise in a reasonable process of time 
to emulate those in many parts of Europe. 

Coasting along the east of Africa, little interest or information has 
been obtained respecting the various nations extending from Abys 
sinia to the settlements bordering on the Cape of Good Hope. In 
the kingdoms of Adel and Ajan, the inhabitants are generally Maho 
metans ; and though they pretend to comply with the restrictions of 
the Koran, yet they indulge in the use of bousa and other intox 
icating beverages. In Ajan, a species of brandy is made from dates 
and raisins furnished by the Arabians, with whom the inhabitants 
carry on a considerable intercourse. In Monemugi, which lies 
west of Zanguebar, abundance of palm-wine is manufactured, and 
honey is so plentiful that above the one-half of it is lost, the natives 
not being able to consume it ; and therefore it might be to them a 
valuable article, had they a regular intercourse with civilized 

In Mozambique, the chief article of cultivation is the manioca or 
mandioca root. The principal trees are the cocoa-nut, cachew, 
mango, papaw, and orange. The natives are skilled in making beve 
rages from the cocoa in the manner practised by the other nations. 
They deal in palm-wine, and the Portuguese settlers have made them 
acquainted with those liquors which they import from Europe. 

The Zoola nation, which lies in the interior, between Delagoa bay 
and the bay of Natal, has a description of beer with which the natives 
regale and intoxicate themselves. This beer they make from a seed 
termed loopoco : it is somewhat like rape in size and colour. It con 
tains very powerful fermenting properties ; and when drawn off from 
the vessels in which it has been prepared, it forms an excellent beve 
rage, both potent and stimulating, and has a red or light brown tinge. 
Mr. Isaacs, a late sojourner in this country, often partook of this 
liquor, and acknowledges its enlivening and refreshing virtues. He 
usually received it from the king, or as a present from some of his 
chiefs.* They likewise make several sorts of drinks from their fruit ; 
but the most common liquor used in the country is made from millet, 
and is termed huyembo or puembo. 

The Delagoa territory produces rice and maize to a great extent, 
and from the latter grain are made various beverages. The sugar- 
Isaacs Travels and Adventures in Africa, descriptive of the Zoolas, their 
manners and customs, &c. 2 vols, 8vo. vol. ii. p. 319. 


cane is also found in great abundance, but it is not turned to the 
advantage it might afford. The Persees on the coast of Malabar send 
spirits to this territory, with other articles in exchange for the teeth 
of the elephant and hippopotamus, ambergris, and gold dust. Besides, 
since Delagoa bay has become the resort of many South- Sea 
whalers, different liquors are sent thither from the Cape ; and the 
Portuguese, carrying on a trade with the natives, introduce 
wines, and other beverages. When a vessel arrives, an officer, 
called the king of the waters, informs the chief, who imme 
diately attends; and after receiving a present from the captain 5 
makes a more than ample return in provisions. By securing the 
friendship of the king of the waters, for a few empty bottles, or some 
old clothes, buttons, or iron hoops, a constant supply of animal and 
vegetable food may be obtained. The inhabitants of the interior have 
two kinds of native spirituous liquors peculiar to themselves ; one 
termed Epeahla, and the other Wocahnyvye. The first is pre 
pared in the following manner: A large quantity of maize, with a 
certain proportion of water, is put into a wooden mortar, and pounded 
for half an hour, after which it is placed in the shade to ferment. 
At the end of two days, it is taken out and boiled, and, when cold, a 
small quantity of grain called Andrealo, a sort of millet well pounded, 
is added to it, and the whole, after standing a few hours, is strained 
through a mat bag, from which the Epedhld oozes out perfectly pure 
and of a milk-white colour. In one day it is drinkable, and on the 
next it is sour, and less than two bottles will occasion inebriation. 
The Wocahnycye is obtained from the Makkahnyeyc, a fruit resem 
bling guava, and which grows on a lofty tree of a whitish appearance, 
called the Kahnyeye. When the requisite quantity of fruit is picked, 
a small hole is cut in each, through wliich the juice is squeezed into a 
large boiler, where, after having stood for some time over the fire, it 
remains to ferment until the next day. More juice is then added, 
and the same operation is repeated with the whole. At the close of 
the second day it is drinkable, and will continue so for three days ; 
yet its nature is not half so intoxicating as that of the Epeahla. It 
is almost colourless, and has a sweet and pleasant flavour.* 

In Sofala is made a beer from rice and millet, as well as other 
liquors drawn from honey, palm, and different sorts of fruit. In 
their feasts and funeral ceremonies, larger quantities of these liquors 
are consumed. At stated periods of the moon, they pay an offering- 

* Owen s Voyage to Africa, &c. edited by Boteler, 2 vols. 8vo, vol. i. p. 91. 


to their dead friends, particularly to their parents, before whose bones 
which they collect after the flesh has been consumed, they place 
victuals and liquors, and ask requests of them as if they were still living. 
Immediately after this, they eat and drink those offerings to the dead 
in social harmony. 

In Moriomotapa, the beverages are made from honey, millet, and 
rice. Palm-wine is esteemed a royal liquor, because it is chiefly used 
at court. It is preserved in curious vessels made of horn, and is 
commonly mixed with manna, ambergris, musk, and other highly- 
scented perfumes. At the court of some of the monarchs of Mono- 
motapa, it was customary for some of the musicians to be veiled 
during the time of the emperor s repast to prevent them seeing him 
eat or drink, while the courtiers cried aloud on the drinking of a 
goblet, " Pray for the health and prosperity of the emperor. 

In Quiloa, it was formerly a practice to drink human blood and 
other liquors out of cups made of human skulls ; but since the slave 
trade has diminished and civilisation advanced, this barbarous custom 
has almost entirely disappeared. 

At the Cape of Good Hope, since its colonization by the Dutch 
under Van Riebeck, in 1650, the vine has been cultivated with con 
siderable success. This was owing to the encouragement given to a 
number of French families, who had emigrated from their native 
country and settled in this colony, in consequence of the revocation 
of the Edict of Nantes. A place is still pointed out, within a mode 
rate distance of Cape Town, which is named after the circumstance 
Fransche hoek t or French corner ; and here the vine was first planted 
and the foundation of the wine trade of the colony originated. 

The wine called Constantia, so much prized in Europe, is the pro 
duce of two farms known by that name, and situated within eight or 
nine miles of the Cape, close under the mountains on gently undula 
ting grounds between Table Bay and False Bay. These farms, on 
an average, yield about 75 leagers* per year, which, at 160 gallons the 
leager, gives a quantity equal to 12,000 ; but De la Caille and Barrow 
have calculated the produce at a great deal more. According to 
Stavorinus, these two farms cover about 40 acres, and their annual 
produce is about 60 pipes of red and 90 of white wine ; the latter is 
made on the farm called little Constantia. Besides this excellent 
wine, many other sorts are made of different flavours. Among these, 

A leager is nearly four awms, and an awm contains about forty gallons, 
English . 


the Madeira of the Cape, which is sent to Holland, America, the 
Dutch settlements in India, and to England, is considered the best. 
It is a boiled wine, and is said to be much improved by the voyage. 
From 20 to 30 rix-dollars the leager, according to Barrow and 
others, is the common price that the farmer obtains for his wine at 
Cape Town, where it is afterwards sold at the rate of from 40, 50, 
CO, to 80 and 100 dollars; and that too, perhaps, after undergoing 
adulteration. Since the war has ceased, new common wine may be 
had for a penny or three half-pence per bottle. A half awm, or 20 
gallons of good wine may be procured for six dollars, or nine shillings. 
Pontae rates at from 40 to 50 dollars the leager of 152 gallons; 
others rate at from 25 to 30 dollars. 

The trade in this article is of great consequence at the Cape, and 
the merchants are particular in the mode of storing and securing the 
wine. They generally keep it in vaults and cellars in large vessels 
made of mahogany, or a wood resembling it, very thick, highly polished, 
and shaped like a hogshead. These vessels are kept as clean as our 
dining tables, and are bound round with great hoops of brass, while 
the edges are secured with clasps of the same metal, so that neither 
time nor accident can damage them. One of these tuns, or reservoirs, 
will contain from six to seven hundred and even one thousand gallons. 
The bung-holes are secured with plates of brass hasped down and 
locked. The cocks are also strong and large, with locks aud keys to 
them, so that the servants or slaves are prevented from abstracting 
any of the wine, as the casks are never opened, except in the pre 
sence of one of the proprietors. Many of these tuns are elegantly 
carved and ornamented with figures.* A man-hole is usually made 
near the cock and secured by brass screws ; it is occasionally opened 
for the purpose of cleansing the vessel of the lees. Some of the 
cellars are so spacious as to contain one hundred of these very large 
casks. The wines are racked from vessel to vessel till completely 
fined ; should any acidity appear, it is checked by simply dipping a 
piece of rag in melted brimstone, and, when ignited, it is suspended 
in the casks from the bung-hole, which has the effect of checking its 
further progress. The lees of the wine is converted into argol, and 
exported to England and other places for the use of dyers. The 
licenses on the canteens are high ; they are mere dram-shops and 
monopolies of the brewers, frequented only by the lower class of 
people. When Mr. Barrow visited the Cape, a pint of good wine 
might have been purchased for three -pence ; and, had it not been for 

> * Pcrcival s Account of the Cape of Good Hope, 4to. 


the license on the privilege of retailing, it might have been obtained 
for three half-pence. 

There is no duty on wine in the colony except upon what is brought 
to the Cape market, and there it is subject to a tax of three rix- 
clollars the leager. Brandy or Brandewyn, as it is called at the Cape, 
is also exempt, except on passing the barrier, when it is charged at 
the same rate of duty as the wine. 

With the manufacture of this spirit the vine-growers seem not to 
be well acquainted, as it has been hitherto considered of an indifferent 
quality. The brandy of the Cape is principally extracted from the 
husks and stalks of the grapes, mixed up and fermented with the lees 
of wine ; other ingredients are sometimes used of a less grateful 
nature ; hence it is so fiery and unwholesome as to be rather a source of 
disease than of assistance to the functions of life. The whole of the 
operation is generally committed to the care of a slave, who, having 
neither knowledge of nor interest in the process, pays no attention to 
the quality of the spirit. Through this neglect it contracts a strong 
empyreumatic flavour, which it never loses.* This spirit has been 
long in use at the Cape, though the better sort of people among the 
Dutch seldom drink of it, yet it is eagerly purchased by the Hotten 
tots and Caffre hordes, who barter their cattle and other commodities 
for it. This branch of industry, if well conducted, offers a good 
opportunity to persons of capital and ingenuity, and besides affording 
a lucrative article of commerce by which a fortune might be realized, 
it would improve the quality as well as enhance the character of the 
wines. The stills are small, averaging from 40 to 80 gallons, they 
are made for the most part at Cape Town ; and are sometimes made 
wholly of copper, yet commonly have only the bottom of that metal. 
!N T o art is displayed in their erection, they being frequently worked 
in the excavation of a bank, or in an open shed, without any mecha 
nical contrivance or convenience of buildings. Francis Collison, an 
Englishman, in 1832, erected a respectable distillery in Cape Town, 
and made brandy from the wine purchased on his own account, or 
distilled for the growers at a certain premium for his trouble. Reeves 
and Mills had a distillery at work in 1833, but, from losses in 
trade, it ceased in its operations. At Stellenbosch, a village about 
five hours ride from the Cape, the firm of Muller and Company have 
a good distillery, an excellent supply of water, and facilities for car 
rying on business extensively. This concern is worked on the same 
principle as that of Mr. Collison. 

* Barrow s Travels in Southern Africa, 4to. vol. ii. p, 320. 


The following quantities of wine and brandy, gtated by Barrow to 
Lave passed the barrier, will shew the extent of the trade for a period 
of four years : 

1799 6,953f leagers of wine and 598 J leagers of brandy. 

1800 5,199J do. 472J do. 

1801 5,463J do. 320 J do. 

1802 4,03lf do. 273J do. 

This includes the consumption of the town, the army and navy, as 
well as the exportation for that time, which is said to be from 400 to 
800 leagers of wine, and from 30 to 100 of brandy annually, besides 
the produce of the Constantia farms. Since that settlement camo 
into the hands of the British, this trade has gradually increased, 
owing in a great measure to the salutary enactments of the legislature. 
The revenue arising from spirits, beer, and brewing licenses, for the 
year 1820, amounted to 1,527 10s. Od. 

Great quantities of brandy are carried by means of waggons through 
the most remote parts of the colony, and disposed of by persons deno 
minated Smouses. The Dutch settlers prefer drinking brandy raw 
or unmixed with water, and say of the English that they all murder 
good brandy by making grog of it, adding, that punch and wine 
are but foul water when compared to the pure, unpolluted, high- 
flavoured brandy. A dram of this liquor is termed soopie, a word 
synonymous with our glass. Drinking is often carried to excess, and 
here, as elsewhere, productive of evil consequences, and sometimes 
exciting to extraordinary feats. It is related of an individual, that 
in his cups he laid a wager, that he would go into the forest and pluck 
three hairs out of an elephant s tail, which he performed with great 
eclat. Not satisfied with this chivalrous act, he made another bet, 
that he would return to the forest and shoot the same animal. His 
aim proving unsuccessful, the provoked beast rushed on him, forced 
his tusks through his body, and trampled him to a mummy in an 
instant. The negroes at the Cape, who sometimes carry their baccha 
nalian propensities to excess, expose themselves to the damp of the 
night. Quarrelling, arising from inebriety, is, however, rare ; nor 
can it be said that the habitual drunkard is a character to be met with 
in common. Many of the poor Hottentots, led astray by their weak 
nesses, and exposed to the influence of the moon, have paid dearly 
for their revels ; for strange as it may appear, it is unquestionable that 
the lunar beams have produced the same effects as the solar, causing- 
a mental derangement similar to that of a vertical sun. While meat 
exposed to the influence of the moon, ha* been knowa to become 



putrid in the course of a night, whereas, if secured from the lunar 
influence, and exposed to that of the night air only, no bad conse 
quences have been observed to follow. 

The quantity of wine imported from the Cape into Great Britain, 
&c. will be found in the Addenda. 

The whole produce of the Cape is supposed at present to be about 
12,000 Icagers, comprising only what crosses the barrier; with the 
waste it may be computed at about 14,000 pipes. The consumption of 
the colony is calculated at 6,000, the shipment to St. Helena about 
2,000, arid the remainder is for this country and its dependencies.* 
There are no breweries deserving of notice, though a kind of beer is 
said to be made by the Dutch, in which a species of bitter herb is 
used instead of hops. The whole of the malt drink comes from Europe, 
and is of course very dear. 

This colony is susceptible of great improvement, and might be made 
of essential benefit to the British empire. Were the vine plantations 
properly managed, and a due regard paid to the selection of the 
grapes, and the manufacture of wine, much of the money that is sent 
to foreign countries for this article might be saved and turned to our 
own advantage. The vines, according to Latrobe, are permitted to 
grow without espaliers, placed in rows like currant-bushes in our 
gardens, in order to afford room to the vine-dressers to go between 
them to weed them without injury. When arrived at a certain 
height, the upper shoots are taken off to increase the quantity of 
grapes, a method very different from that practised in Europe. 
According to Stavorinus, a thousand of them will produce a leager 
of wine and sometimes more. In the Constantia vineyards, few of the 
planks exceed two feet in height, though some of them have been in 
the ground for one hundred years. This peculiarity is said to be very 
advantageous, for the fruit hangs so near the ground and is so shel 
tered by a leafy screen of fine tall oaks, that the reflection of the sun 
from the white earth below is nearly as powerful as his rays from 

The mdde of pressing the grapes in this colony, was formerly con 
ducted in the following simple manner : The fruit is thrown into a 
vessel, the bottom and sides of which are perforated with holes ; and 
this is placed upon a cross piece of wood within another larger vessel 
having a spigot and fauset through which the juice flows into a receiver 
underneath. The grapes in the wine vessel are trodden by three or 
four slaves, who support themselves during the operation by a rope 

* Parliamentary Report, No. 70S,, 1821, p. 56, &c. 


from the coiling, continuing to trample till all the juice is expressed. 
Since the time of the Cape wine getting into demand, presses of wood 
have been introduced possessing a greater power in obtaining a larger 
quantity of must, than what could be procured by the treading of the 

To the farmer the vine is the most profitable object of considera 
tion, and may be considered the staple article of culture. The size 
and flavour of the grapes in the colony are not inferior to those of the 
best description in other countries ; but there are only certain portions 
of the settlement consisting of light, dry soil which are the most con 
genial to the production of good wines. That of Constantia, more 
resembling a liqueur than a wine, is the best ; and it is singular, that 
the vine, from which it is produced, loses its richness and luxuriance, 
if removed to the distance of half a mile from that plantation. The 
wines produced at the Drakenstein farm are said to be equally good 
as the Constantia, though on account of the high character of the 
latter, they do not bring one-sixth of the price. Ten or twelve diffe 
rent kinds of wine are manufactured in the several districts, having 
each a distinct flavour and quality, according to the situation and 
nature of the soils in which they are produced. When the Dutch had 
possession, the directors reserved to themselves the exclusive sale of 
the Constantia wine, and as it could not be exported by others to 
Europe under that name, the planters when thus prohibited, adopted 
the expedient of giving to their wines the name ofmaag, or stomach- 
wine, to secure a demand. 

Much rain is unfavourable to the culture of the grape, and the juice 
will not contain the same quantity of saccharine matter when exposed 
to moisture, which it does when under a genial sun, and protected 
from the coldness which always accompanies showers. To what cause 
the poverty and want of richness and body in many of the Cape wines 
may be attributed, it would be difficult to determine whether the 
vines, if supported by trellis work, or planted like currant-bushes, 
might flourish best and be most productive. It appears, however, 
that more is owing to the mode of making the wine than to the quality 
of the grape ; and this will appear evident when it is known that the 
grapes of every description, good and bad, ripe and unripe, clean and 
unclean, are all put together with the stems into the same press, shew 
ing that the quantity more than the quality is the object ; and it is 
therefore clear, that the liquor must partake of the consequences of 
such admixtures. It has been alleged that even where great pains 
were taken to make wine of the best possible kind, the attempt has 
fallen short of producing- an article equal to that made in France, 


Portugal, or Madeira. Strange as it may appear, it is a certain fact 
not yet accounted for, that good grapes sometimes produce inferior 
wine, while bad grapes on the other hand have been known to yield 
good wine. The grapes of Gascon y, Burgundy? and Champagne, as 
well as those of the many celebrated vineyards on the Rhine, are 
rather insipid. Other circumstances, therefore, besides fine materials, 
seem to be required for the production of wine of a good quality. 
A good deal must depend on the management of the fermentation, 
and the fining of the liquor; while the bad quality of the brandy made 
at the Cape and mixed with the wines must tend to injure them in 
proportion to the use made of that spirit. 

To whatever cause it may be attributed, the wines of the Cape do 
not rank in such high estimation as those produced elsewhere. Some 
endeavour to account for the earthy flavour of the wine as to its slightly 
acid taste, by the shortness of the stems on which the grapes are 
borne, as being consequently more exposed to the damps and vapours 
of the soil from their low situation ; others think that these peculiar 
ities are the consequence of the destructive effects of the east winds 
bending the bushes to the ground, and causing the fruit to imbibe that 
earthy flavour just alluded to. Perhaps a good deal is owing to the 
soil, as well as to the salt-petre with which, it is said, the sands of the 
country are impregnated. More, however, may be attributed to the 
negligence of the vine-growers themselves, than to any other cause, 
since the bunches of grapes are permitted to rest on the ground and 
become coated with clay, in which state they are thrown into the 
Avine-press, and consequently impart a disagreeable taste to the liquor. 
The casks too, are bad, and often so much smoked with sulphur as to 
leave its effects perceptible in the wine for two or three years ; and 
often causing it to sour, especially if exported. The vines of different 
countries ought to be tried here, as there are some better adapted to 
particular soils than others. The muscadel grape is the one from 
which the Constantia wine is principally made ; to this as well as to 
the precaution of the farmer in not using the fruit nor bruising the 
stalks until fully ripe, may be attributed the estimable qualities of 
that wine. Were the grapes properly picked and assorted, previously 
to being pressed, and strict cleanliness observed, there is nothing to 
prevent the wines of the Cape from bearing a fair competition with 
those of any other country, The earliest fruit of the season here is 
the purple grape, next the hauny pod, both of Avhich are fleshy and 
most used for the table or are made into raisins. The crystal grape, 
which comes in last, is sweet and luscious, being all juice and quite 


The practice of the government in farming 1 the retail licenses, has 
tended to injure the character of the Cape wines, as the purchaser, 
with the view of making the most of his speculation, employs tho 
retailer to sell the very worst description of the article ; hence there 
is a continual run on an inferior, cheap wine, to the total exclusion of 
useful competition. Thirty three rix-dollars have been given by one 
person for a year s privilege of licensing the retailers, and, like every 
monopolist, the purchaser is always watchful of his own interest. 

Wine, at the Cape, generally sells at from 20 to 40 rix-dollars the 

half awm, or 20 gallons. In the frontier settlements, some thriving 

vineyards are to be found, and the wine, particularly that kept for 

the use of the owners, is of a superior quality. The vine-growers 

have much to contend with from the nature of the seasons and the 

rapid transitions which frequently occur in the state of the atmosphere, 

while the labour of some years is destroyed by a sudden deluge of rain 

or the sweeping blasts of an unexpected whirlwind. Many planters can 

do little more than support a respectable appearance ; and although the 

British government gave great encouragement to the cultivation of 

the vine, yet the trade has not been successful in proportion to the 

capital invested in it. Mr. M Kinnon, in his place in parliament in 

September, 1830, stated that there were 1,900,000 embarked in the 

Cape wine trade by British merchants alone. Every inducement was 

held out to further the interests of the planters, and the consequences 

were for some time visible ; but it is to be feared, as already stated, 

that the quantity was the object of greater consideration than the 

quality, which, in a great measure, has entailed upon it the character 

of inferiority ; besides which, there is, no doubt, a prejudice against it, 

through the influence of those whose interest it is to extol the virtue* 

of other wines. The wine districts do not extend farther than 30 or 

40 miles from Cape Town, and from the sandy nature of the roads it 

requires 18 oxen to convey two leagers, or 304 gallons, from the most 

remote of these districts to that place ; but as conveyance of this 

nature is easily procured, it is attended with very little expense. 

This colony derives much advantage from the interchange of its wine 

with other articles, from the Mauritius, Brazils, Van Diemen s Land, 

and New South Wales. 

The scenery connected with the vineyards does not convey any 
thing striking or sublime, and the boundaries of many of them are 
only distinguished by small pillars. The settlements of great and 
little Drakenstein, however, are singularly beautiful, and embrace a 
tract of country six or eight miles in circumference. They are 
situated about seven hours ride from Cape Town. Here, both red 


and white wine of excellent quality are made, and that called pontac, 
(an imitation of port,) when of a proper age, is a superior article. 

The Wagon -maker s Valley, as it is termed, is three hours ride 
from Drakenstein, and is one of the most enchanting places in the 
South of Africa. It is embosomed in hills, clothed with groves of 
orange and citron, pomegranates and peaches, apples and shaddocks, 
and every species of delicious fruit, which, heightened by the radiance 
of a cloudless sun, and fanned by gently cooling breezes, render it 
one of the most agreeable and fascinating retreats in nature. 

The barley grown in the colony is of an inferior quality, resembling 
bigg. Whether the process of malting is not there properly under 
stood, or that there is a defect in the grain, is not well known, but it 
does not germinate like the same description of grain in Great Britain. 
For this reason, the breweries at Cape Town have been supplied 
with malt chiefly from England, and the beer is of good quality and 
in general use. The present brewing concerns are those of De Neys 
and Co., Van Reenan, Letterstead, Le Britton and Co., Lyngenfelter 
and Co., Whiskin and Co. The beer and porter made by these 
traders are chiefly from sugar ; but all of them use grain in greater 
or less quantities ; and, latterly, they have got into the practice of 
malting the grain of the colony more extensively than formerly. The 
Dutch Company, at an early period of this settlement, introduced the 
Deventer method of brewing under the superintendence of Jacob 
Lonwen. Hops are brought from Europe for the use of these esta 
blishments, although it is thought that they might be cultivated in 
some places of the settlement with success.* Maize is reared in 
several varieties, particularly among the Caffres, one species of which 
tastes like the sugar-cane, but is astringent and of a bitter flavour. 
This kind is cultivated solely for the purpose of making beer, which is 
conducted in the following manner : The grain is first malted, 
afterwards dried and ground, and then boiled to a thick consistency 
which is subsequently mixed with two parts of water. Before it is 
completely cooled, a portion of the malt finely powdered is thrown 
into the mixture, fermentation speedily commences, and the liquor is 
in a short time fit for use. This beer is said not to be unpleasant, 
and that with a little care it might be rendered valuable.f 

Amongst the tribes on the coast of Caffraria, grain is preserved in 
small pits about a foot in width at the surface, but gradually widening 

Vide Notes on the Cape of Good Hope, 8vo. passim. 

f Vide Appendix to 2d vol. p. 360, of Thompson s Travels in South Africa, 


to the bottom, all the sides being plastered with a mixture of sand 
and cow-dung, and holding from about 10 to 28 bushels. The top is 
secured by a flat stone, arid the whole is rendered impervious to water. 
A similar practice is current in Malta, Egypt, and other parts of the 
world. Dumont, when in slavery among the Koubals in Africa, 
describes the matamores of this people as vast souterrains or immense 
granaries of wheat, lodged under ground for its better preservation. 
The excavations are made to the depth of 80 feet, wide in propor 
tion, arid sometimes equal to a whole field in extent. The flooring 
and walls are of timber, over which mats are spread, and over them 
planks are placed. These reservoirs are filled to the height of 70 
feet, and they are covered at the top with mats and planks as at the 
sides and bottom. Over the whole, earth is spread to such a depth 
that it may be cultivated with the same ease and success as any part 
of the adjoining lands. This contrivance prevents strangers or 
invaders from discovering those valuable repositories ; and the grain 
within these souterrains keeps fresh for twelve or fifteen years. 
Similar contrivances for the preservation of grain were resorted to 
in France ; and during a season of scarcity, M. Ternaux, the cele 
brated agriculturist, opened siloes or subterraneous granaries which 
had been several years closed, out of which he supplied the public 
with fresh and wholesome corn. 

The Moors in Spain were likewise in the habit of depositing grain 
in the caverns of rocks, lined with straw, the mouths of which were 
covered with the same material, where it was preserved for a long 
succession of years. On the birth of every child, a cavern was filled 
with corn, which was destined to be its portion when it arrived at 

Distillation is unknown to the Caffrarian tribes, most of whom 
have scarcely a vessel that would endure fire. The Caffres make a 
sort of coarse earthen-ware by kneading clay and fine sand together, 
and afterwards shaping the paste into a vessel with the hand. They 
are again exposed to the influence of the sun for some time, and 
hardened in a fire made of cow-dung ; these vessels serve for cooking 
victuals and other culinary purposes. Notwithstanding they are so 
numerous, yet the people carry their milk and other liquids in baskets 
made from rushes, which are so close as to prevent the escape of any 
fluid. One tribe of Cafires, the Amazizi, have the art of making a 
spirituous drink from millet. A wine of fine flavour and of highly 
intoxicating quality is made from a fruit, termed yayahoguhct, by the 
Jamatians, a Caffre race that resides to the south of Mucaranga. 


During the stay of Damberger with the Jamatians, he often drank of 
this liquor, and warmly enjoyed its taste, flavour, and influence. 

The Koramas possess the method of making a very intoxicating 
sort of mead or hydromel, by fermenting honey with the juice of a 
certain root, and the colonial Hottentots, who are in possesion of the 
secret, frequently sell portions of this fermenting substance for spirits 
and tobacco. Of the latter article, the Bushmen at the Cape are so 
excessively fond, that they smoke it with such adroitness as to diffuse 
the steam through both the mouth and nostrils ; the pipe used by 
these people is the shank-bone of a sheep. One circumstance 
attending the weddings of the Hottentots is laudable, which is that, 
though at other times prone to drunkenness, they never drink on these 
occasions, neither do they dance nor play upon musical instruments. 
Honey is plentiful in various parts of the interior ; the bees gene 
rally construct their cells in the hollows of trees or cavities of rocks, 
which are frequently discovered by means of a bird, known to natu 
ralists by the name of the honey-bird. This creature serves as a 
guide to the Hottentots for finding out the honey of the country. 
When the voice of the bird is heard, the Hottentot answers by a 
whistle and follows it, still whistling his response to every note, till 
at length the little warbler conducts him to the luscious treasure from 
which neither returns without the object of the pursuit. The honey 
is, for the most part, mixed with an umbelliferous plant, termed Gli, 
first reduced to powder and then blended with cold water ; after 
letting it ferment for a night, a sort of metheglin is obtained, two 
glasses of which are sufficient to produce intoxication. Of the pulve 
rized root of this plant, two handfuls are considered quite enough to 
make a few gallons.* 

The sugar-cane might be cultivated to any extent, and rum and 
sugar manufactured of a quality not inferior to any that are made 
elsewhere. How far it might be the interest of government to give 
a preference to the plantations in this quarter, I am not prepared to 
say ; but, unquestionably, the country in the vicinity of the Cape is 
more congenial to health) and affords better promise of a redundant 
population than most of our other foreign colonies. For the emigrant, 
it possesses many advantages and inducements, particularly as the 
government patronise colonization ; but the prevalence and effects of 
certain periodical winds render many parts of the country not so 
healthy to Europeans as could be wished : still, however, from the 

* Thunberg s Travels, vol. ii. p. 3J. 


productive nature of the soil, it seems to offer a sufficient remunera 
tion for the toil of the agriculturist. Wheat, Indian corn, and other 
grain thrive well, and tobacco coidd be made a most productive and 
valuable source of commerce : hitherto the colonists have not cultivated 
more than what serves domestic consumption ; but what has been 
raised is not inferior to the best tobacco of Virginia growth. Of the 
vine enough has been said to show how far a person might embark 
with safety in its cultivation ; and from the local position of the Cape 
arid its facilities for trade, an adventurer could scarcely fail of success 
in embarking a capital in speculations in this colony in preference to 
many others. 

The island of St. Helena has little to attract attention ; but as it 
is a sort of rendezvous for vessels passing to and from India, it merits 
some notice here not from anything indigenous, but from its locality 
and its having been the residence of Napoleon Buonaparte. In 
Brooke s History of this island, are found some curious and quaint 
regulations of its early governors. From 1673 to 1687, a tax of 10s. 
was imposed on every hogshead of wine and arrack that was landed 
on the island, and to prevent a scarcity of timber, which was much 
consumed in the distillation of spirits from potatoes, an impost of 12d. 
was levied for every hundred weight of wood appropriated to that 
purpose, besides 4d. for every gallon of liquor so manufactured. Not 
withstanding this restriction, the number of stills in the island became 
at length such a nuisance, that it was found necessary to suppress 
them entirely, which was effected by an order from England in 1700. 
By an edict of one of the governors, in 1709, to regulate the sales of 
the public houses, it was ordered that a bowl of punch, made with 
one pint of arrack and having a due proportion of sugar and lemon, 
should be sold for two shillings and no more, while arrack rated at 
six shillings per gallon ; and a violation of this order was followed by 
the forfeiture of the license and double the value of the liquor. If 
any person considered this a grievance, he was at liberty to give up 
his license for any unexpired portion of the year, and be refunded 
for that time at the rate of A per annum. In 1754, the East India 
Company issued laws to prevent intemperance in drinking ; for the 
first offence, admonition only was resorted to ; for the second a fine 
of five shillings was to be exacted ; and persons of rank were to pay 
in proportion to their station, as it was expected that they should be 
an example to others. 

From a species of the gum-tree, which grows from 20 to 30 feet 
in height, a kind of toddy is extracted by the inhabitants ; but it is 
not collected nor used to any extent. Almost every valley in the 


island produces vines but in too scanty a portion to afford wine ; the 
supply of this and other liquors being- brought from other parts of the 
world. The only revenue accruing to the East India Company, 
according to Lord Valentin, was that derivable from the rents of the 
lands and the monopoly of the arrack imported into the island, which 
annually netted 6,000. 

Passing to the islands in the Mexican gulf, known by the general 
name of the West Indies, we find the distillation of ardent spirits 
carried on there to an extent not surpassed within the same limits of 
territory in any other quarter of the world. The time at which the 
manufacture commenced there is not exactly ascertained, but the first 
plantation of sugar-canes was established, according to Oveido Valdes, 
in Hispaniola or St. Domingo, by the Spaniards, in 1520.* The rapi 
dity of the culture was such, that, in 1535, there were not less than 
thirty plantations on the island ; and, according to Bingo, there were 
in 1544, thirty four sugar-mills established. As the use of the still 
was then known, it may be conjectured that not long after this period 
the distillation of rum suggested itself, as the only means to compen 
sate the planter for the loss incurred in disposing of the skimmings 
and molasses, after their separation from the sugar. 

As to the name given to this spirit, writers are at variance, some 
attributing its derivation to one thing and some to another. In the 
German language, it is simply termed rum ; in the Dutch rum, and 
keelduivel ; in the Danish, rom, and geldyvel ; in the Swedish, rom, 
rum ; in the French, rum, gueldive ; in the Italian, rum, taffia ; 
in the Spanish ron, rom, tafia ; in the Portuguese, ron ; and in the 
Russian, rom. The word rum seems to have been formerly used in 
Great Britain to convey the idea of any thing fine, rich, best, or excel 
lent ; thus to express a superior brandy, it was common to say rum 
Nantz, because the best description of that liquor was distilled at 
Nantz; and as spirits extracted from molasses could not well be 
classed under the terms of whiskey, brandy, arrack, &c. it was called 
rum, to denote its excellence or superior quality. This term is proba 
bly taken from the last syllable of the Latin word saccharum (sugar) ; 
and it is not a little singular, that the liquor itself has been always 
known among the native Americans by the name of rum. 

The process of manufacturing sugar from the cane, is too well 
known to require a description here, and the molasses, from which 
the rum is principally made, is the sirup of the sugar (or the drain- 
ings after it is put into the hogshead), which no course of boiling can 

Ilistoriu Nalui al. dc las Iiidias. Foyer s Hist. Barbadoes, 4to. p. 40. Alceda s 


bring 1 to a thicker consistence. The distillation of this substance, 
together with the skimmings of the boilers, has been thus described 
to the author by a gentleman long resident in Demerary and the 
West Indies : 

From the liquor of the cane, which runs warm from the coppers 
through a trough to a receiver prepared for that purpose, the skim 
mings are taken, and, with some of the liquor itself, are pumped from 
a cistern containing from 300 to 800 gallons, when the fluid is mixed 
with water and molasses in the proportion of twenty-five gallons to 
one hundred. When this mixture is sufficiently blended together in 
the vats (which in some plantations amount to thirty), it is covered 
over with boards or mats made of plantain leaves, and allowed to 
ferment for three or fcfur days, or longer, should there be a want of 
yeast or other ferment to make it work, which often occurs at the 
commencement of the season. When reduced to a due degree of 
acidity, which is ascertained by the subsiding of the fermentation, it is 
run into a still proportioned to the vat, and wrought off as low wines, 
in which state it is put into the still again. The first run, or discharge 
after it is thus returned to the still, is taken off for high wines (as 
they are termed), or strong rum, in the proportion of 25 gallons to 
300, the strength of which, when tried by a glass-bead instrument, is 
from 18 to 22. The second run of the still, which is drawn off in 
cans and carried by negroes to another vessel, is of a strength from 
23 to 26. From these two runnings of the still, the rum exported 
from the colony of Demerary is made up. The deficiency in the 
strength of the second distillation is supplied by an addition from the 
first, which is always stronger than that exported, and of too ardent 
a nature to be used by itself, 25 being colony proof. In the Wind 
ward islands, one-third of the skimmings is mixed with one-third of 
the lees, or dander, and one-third of water. When these begin to 
ferment, which they usually do in twenty-four hours, the first mixture 
of molasses takes place in the proportion of six gallons for every 
hundred gallons of the fermenting liquor, and a day or two afterwards 
an additional quantity of molasses is added. The fermentation is 
tempered by the addition of cold or warm water. D under , a term 
unfamiliar to the ear of a European distiller, is the lees or feculencies 
of former distillations, serving all the purposes of yeast in the fermen 
tation. It is derived from a Spanish word, redunder, the same as 
redundans in Latin, and is well known among the planters in the West 
Indies. The attenuating properties of this ferment are such, that the 
materials, with which it is mixed, are said to yield a much greater 
proportion of spirit than could be obtained if they were fermented 


without it.* It serves the same purpose as jalap mixed with molasses, 
which has been sometimes employed in Great Britain for cutting down 
the frothy head at the close of the fermentation ; and it is usually 
preserved from one year to another for this purpose ; and in such 
large quantities as to fill most of the backs or fermenting tuns. 
Dunder soon becomes covered with so thick a film as to exclude the 
air, and the sediment leaves the intermediate fluid pure and of a 
bright amber colour, which, when carefully drawn off, is employed as 
already described, in proportions suited to the nature of the fermen 
tation, and to this dunder many attribute the best flavour of the 
rum. Besides this very essential ingredient, various mixtures are 
used in the fermenting process, such as tartar, nitre, sea-water, or 
common salt. In some of the islands, a still usually makes about 
220 gallons of rum in the day. These are produced from about 530 
gallons of low wines ; or 113 of rum from 1200 gallons of wash ; 
this liquor is of such a strength that olive oil will sink in it, and seldom 
exceeds proof, though, sometimes, by double distillation, it is made to 
approach the strength of alcohol. The process of distilling is in 
general slow, and much caution is observed in the condensation of the 
spirit. To provide against a scarcity of water, which often occurs in 
the islands, they preserve, in large tuns or tanks, a sufficiency of rain 
water to enable them to mix the molasses, &c. and to cool the worm 
of the still. As the water becomes heated in the worm-tub, it is car 
ried to coolers or cisterns, and, when cold, is run again upon the 
worm. In most of the islands, the curing-houses for sugar and the 
distilleries for rum are constructed on the sides of canals, and the 
canes are carried either in boats or by negroes from the plantations 
to these houses. From five to six immense copper boilers are kept 
in each of those houses, while the greatest cleanliness is preserved in 
the distillery, a precaution highly necessary in every concern of this 
kind, and which must contribute largely to the strength and purity 
of the rum.f In Jamaica, the operations go on without intermission ; 
the negroes being formed into what are called spells or divisions, two 
or three occasionally relieving each other at stated intervals. 

The richness of flavour peculiar to this spirit, which has rendered 
it famous in almost all parts of the world, is supposed to be derived 
from the raw juice and the fragments of the sugar-cane, which are 
mashed and fermented with the other materials in the tun. The 
essential oil of the cane is thus imparted to the wash, and carried 

* Edwards History of the West Indies, vol. ii. p. 232, 233. 
f Williams s Tour through Jamaica, 8vo. p. 6. 


over in the distillation ; for sugar, when distilled by itself, has no 
peculiar flavour different from other spirits. Time adds much to the 
mildness and value of rum, which the planters often improve by the 
addition of pine-apple juice. 

To calculate the cost of rum to the sugar planter is difficult ; in 
general, it is estimated that one-fourth of the entire produce of a plan 
tation may in point of value consist of rum, and accordingly one- 
fourth of the expenditure may be taken as the first cost of the rum, 
and the remaining tliree-fourths as that of the sugar. Some say that 
the charge of making rum bears a similar proportion to that of home 
made spirits, but this is an erroneous assumption. Rum is made from 
the molasses or that part of the cane-juice which will not crystallize 
into sugar as also from the scum which is taken off during the 
saccharific process, and which in sweetness is equal to one-fifth of 
molasses, Let us take, as a standard, a distillery on a plantation 
producing 250 hogsheads of sugar yielding 15,000 gallons of molasses 
and scum equal to 5,000 gallons, netting in all 20,000 gallons of 
molasses. These would produce about 15,000 gallons of proof rum, 
which, when brought to the British market, would be reduced by 
the voyage to about 13,500 gallons, the average loss being ten per 
cent. These would cost the manufacturer throughout the islands 
from Is. 4d. to Is. Id. per gallon, independent of all charges for 
puncheons, freight, commission, and other unavoidable expenses. 

From this statement, it must appear that the distiller of rum has 
little or no profit, but being the grower of the material, arid having 
his capital embarked in the trade, he is compelled to manufacture it 
from necessity, and the sooner he can turn the article to account the 
better he is enabled to bear loss and meet his engagements. 

The average exports of rum from the principal islands, in 1787, 
amounted to 6,345,966 gallons. From Barbadoes, in the medium of 
eight years, from 1740 to 1748, the export amounted to 12,884 
puncheons of 100 gallons each. In 1810, as appears from the Parlia 
mentary reports, 3,428,452 gallons were exported to Great Britain 
from Jamaica alone, and in 1813, not less than 3,763,281 gallons. 

In the island of St. Domingo, the juice of the cane is chiefly con 
verted into sirup and afterwards distilled into taffia or rum, of which 
there is a very large consumption ; it being the favourite liquor of 
the natives. In the neighbourhood of Cayes, on this island, there are 
eighty-one small distilleries, or, as they are termed by the inhabitants, 
gueldiveries, which consume about two millions of pounds of sirup, 
annually affording about one hundred and eighty thousand gallons of 
taffia, an inferior kind of spirit. Four thousand five hundred 


hogsheads of this liquor, with six hundred hogsheads of rum 
of sixty gallons each, were made in 1826, most of the molas 
ses having been purchased for the distillers ; the proprietors of 
the plantations being generally too poor to erect distilleries. When 
this island was in possession of the French, the manufacture of sugar, 
both clayed and raw, was carried on to considerable extent : molasses 
was then a limited export. In 1789, there were 25,7491bs. of it 
shipped; in 1801, the quantity was 99,41 91bs., while for the nine 
years previous to 1826, only once, (in 1822) were 211,9271bs. 
exported ; the whole of the sirup being used in the manufacture of 
taffia.* The quantity of rum sent out of this island has always been 
limited ; all that is now made is required for home consumption ; but 
considerable quantities of wines, brandies, and beer, are imported from 
France ; Hock, Rhenish wines, and gin from Holland, with porter 
and cider from the United States. In order to form a correct idea 
of the extent of the rum trade of the West Indies, it may be sufficient 
to state that from the 5th of January, 1829, to the 5th January, 1830, 
there were exported to Great Britain and Ireland alone, 6,901,607 
proof gallons, and in 1832, 6,934,759 gallons, a detail of which, as 
sent from each of the islands, will be found in a Table of the Addenda. 

It has been calculated that the quantity of rum consumed in the 
United Kingdom amounted in 1800, to 3,049,590 imperial gallons, 
while the consumption of 1829 was 3,375,866, shewing an increase 
in the use of this spirit of upwards of ten per cent. Notwithstanding 
this increase, the planters complained of the distressed and almost 
ruinous state of the trade, alleging, that although they contributed 
considerably towards the revenues of the empire, and had important 
claims on the government, yet the consumption of home-made spirits 
was encouraged to a degree highly injurious to their interests. In 
1829, there were 22,690,270 imperial gallons of British spirits con 
sumed, while in 1800, there were only 5,386,313 used, thus showing 
in that period a preference to the use of the home-manufacture of 
420 per cent., a measure calculated to bring destructive consequences 
on the West India planter. 

The superior quality of the rum manufactured in the colony of 
Demerary has, it is thought, injured the demand for the rum of the 
islands. Its distillation, as appears from Bolingbroke, has been 
carried to a high state of perfection by the perseverance and skill of 
several scientific men, who have succeeded in causing the rum of 
Kssequibo and Demerary to be as much in request in the American 
market as that of Jamaica is in England. 

* M Kenzic s Notes on Hayti, vol. ii. p. 160. 


The following exports of rum , since the last establishment of the 
British custom-house on that settlement are thus recorded : 

From the 1st October, 1803, till September 10th, Pimchs. Hhds. 

1804, 4,887 

Ditto, 10th of September, 1804, till January 5, 

1805. 504 

Ditto, 5th January, 1805, till January 5th, 1806, 3,611 17 

Ditto, 5th January, 1806, till January 5th, 1807, 4,722 17 

Ditto, 5th January, 1822, till January 5th, 1823, 20,059 1839 

The export from this colony into Great Britain for the year end 
ing 5th January, 1823, amounted to 1,193,556 gallons; and for the 
year ending 5th January, 1829, to 1,358,458 proof gallons. 

The produce expected by a planter in Demerary is at the rate of 
80 gallons for every hogshead of sugar which his estate produces, 
each hogshead averaging 12001bs. The rum made on a sugar estate 
is generally calculated to pay all its expenses.* In the West India 
islands also, it has been computed, that if a plantation be carefully 
managed, the sale of the molasses and rum together will defray the 
ordinary charges of the estate. 

Besides rum, the beverages common to most Europeans are fami 
liar in the islands. Hospitality is a prevailing characteristic of the 
inhabitants ; and the practice of drinking is too often carried to excess. 
Most other liquors are preferred to new rum, which is considered 
very unwholesome, and is not unaptly termed by the inhabitants 
" kill devil." To its excessive use may be attributed the death of many 
brave men in our naval and military service. A seaman, says Boling- 
broke, belonging to one of his Maiesty s ships, stationed in the West 
Indies, suddenly turned quite black in several parts of his body, and 
was evidently in a putrescent state. The surgeon requested leave of 
the captain to open and examine him, when a quart of new rum, 
nearly as clear as when first issued from the still, was found in his 
stomach, which had evidently caused his death. 

Mr. M Kenzie, during his residence in St. Domingo, remarked, 
that the victims to the climate were chiefly the crews of foreign 
vessels who made too great a use of new rum, which, with the climate 
itself, proved overwhelming.f 

In a country where the heat of the climate must tend to relax the 
strength of the body, we need not wonder at the fatal consequences 
of drinking to excess : even at home we have too many deplorable 

* Bolingbroke s Statistical Account of the Settlements on the Demarary, &c. 
4to. p. 100. 

f Notes on Hayti, vol. i. p. 14. 


instances of a similar fatality caused by even a smaller portion of 
ardent spirits. Moderation in all situations is conducive to health, 
but in the warm regions of the tropics, where there are so many 
sources of disease, forbearance and caution are especially neces 

The cultivation of sugar has been lately introduced into the island 
of Cuba ; but, from the indolence of the inhabitants, it is very unpro 
ductive. In 1763, bees were introduced by emigrants from Florida, 
and they multiplied so much in the hollows of the trees that they 
soon obtained honey enough for their annual consumption. In 1777, 
they exported honey to the amount of 715,0001bs. 

Madeira, claret, punch, porter, and cider, are favourite liquors in 
many of the islands, as also a drink, termed Sangaree, which consists 
of half Madeira and half water, acidulated with lime juice and sweet 
ened with sugar. This drink is also in much request in New Galli-. 
cia, and other ports of South America. The ingredients in its coin- 
position are a mixture of wine, sugar, lemon-juice, and spices. The 
practice of partaking of these at all hours pretty generally prevails ; 
even in the senate house at Barbadoes, the members drink punch. 
On one occasion, when Pinckard was there, two persons suddenly 
appeared with a large bowl and a two-quart glass filled with punch 
and sangaree. These were first presented to the speaker, who, after 
dipping deep into the bowl, passed it among the members. Nor were 
the audience forgotten, as it was considered to be correctly in order 
for strangers to join in this part of the debate.* The practice of late 
breakfasts in different parts of the West Indies, particularly in St. 
Domingo, has given rise to the introduction of wine and spirits at 
those meals, and a succession of excess in their use through the day 
has often been the consequence. Persons have been known to drink 
so deeply on those occasions as to be carried off wholely senseless, 
while the necessaries of life being procurable for a mere trifle, the 
lower orders are thereby enabled to indulge more freely in the luxury 
of their favorite drink, rum or tafia. 

It is a custom in most of the West India islands to place on the 
side-board a capacious bowl of cold punch, to allay thirst during the 
heat of the day. To this a peculiar flavour is usually imparted by an 
infusion of the juice of the acajou apple. 

In the island of St. Kitts, a drink called Swizzle is much used ; it 
is a mixture of rum with about six times the quantity of water, 
rendered palatable by the infusion of some aromatic ingredients, 


" Pinckard s Notes on the West Indies, vol. i. p. 469. 


This beverage is often expensive, because water has frequently to be 
brought from the neighbouring islands, and sometimes rum and wine 
are given in exchange. 

From the fruit of a tree called Mamme, or Mamme-Sapota (Achras) 
is made the highly esteemed cordial, L eau des noiaux. This fruit 
the French term U apricot de Saint Dominique; it contains two 
large stones, which are employed in giving spirits a ratafia flavour. 
The Mamme is a splendid tree, lofty, shady, and green, shooting up 
into a pyramidal figure, and producing only one large fruit in the 
year. If eaten raw, it is indigestible, yet it makes an exquisite 

When the negroes cannot procure rum, they make a fermented 
liquor from cassada, resembling beer, which in Barbadoes is termed 
piworree^ and in other places owjcou. This plant, the manioc or 
mandioc of America, grows to the size of a large shrub, or small tree, 
and produces roots somewhat resembling parsnips.J From both the 
bitter and sweet cassada a nutritious bread is made, which is thus 
prepared by the natives : When the roots are washed and scraped 
clean, they are grated very fine and squeezed through a coarse bag 
or sieve, either of hair or hemp, into pot or stone vessel, and dried by 
a gentle heat, until the mixture becomes farinaceous or mealy. In 
this state it is fit for use, and is frequently made into excellent pud 
dings ; previously it is a deadly poison. From the roots a starch 
called tapioca is prepared, which is a profitable export to the Brazi 
lians. In some of the islands, the juice expressed from the cassada 
is made into starch by the simple process of letting it stand until the 
heavier parts collect at the bottom of the vessel. The water being- 
drawn off and the residue dried in the sun, the tapioca of commerce 
is produced. 

The ouycou is sometimes brewed very strong, and it is considered 
both nourishing and refreshing. Molasses and yams are used in the 
preparation, and the liquor, after fermentation, is of a reddish colour. 
Great quantities of this beverage are consumed at feasts, of which we 
shall have occasion to speak hereafter. Anciently they had a liquor 
like the Mexican Atolle, which was of thick consistence, and composed 
of maize and flour seasoned with sugar and spices. The ouycou was 
made thus : An earthen vessel, containing about sixty quarts, was 
nearly filled with water, into which were thrown two pounded roots 

* West India Skctcli Book. 

f Vide Pinckard s Notes, p, 420. 

| Robertson s Hist. America, vol. li. p. 7. 


of cassada with twelve sweet potatoes, a gallon of juice of sugar 
cane, and a dozen of ripe bananas. The vessel being closed, the mix 
ture was left to ferment for two or three days, and when completely 
attenuated, the scum was removed from the surface, and the liquor 
was then fit to be used. Though the material of this drink was said 
to be strong and exhilarating, yet it was considered inferior to Maby 
or Mobby, which is said to resemble French wine. The Maby is 
made by mixing about half a gallon of clarified sirup with about 30 
quarts of water, twelve oranges cut into quarters, with a like number 
of red sweet potatoes. In about thirty hours after, during which it 
has undergone the operation of fermentation, it is ready for the goblet. 
This drink, as the name imports, is probably an imitation of the fer 
mented juice of the Mabal palm found in the districts lying along 
the Congo, from which many of the negroes in these settlements 
have been carried as slaves, and no doubt brought the term with 

The bitter cassada is poisonous when raw, but heat deprives it of 
that quality. Raynal asserts, that the cassada or manioc plant was 
originally introduced into the West Indies from Africa, and that the 
Indians were first instructed by the negroes in the art of converting 
the poisonous root into wholesome food. Edwards contradicts this, 
and shews from the first decad of P. Martyr, which bears date Novem 
ber, 1493, that the cassada furnished the islanders with the principal 
part of their food at the time when they were visited by Columbus, 
and long before any of the negro tribes were brought thither.* 

The attachment of the aborigines to the pleasures of intoxication is 
well illustrated in the following circumstance, and shews that when 
drink could not be obtained to effect this delightful sensation, they 
had recourse to many subterfuges to supply the defect. Among 
others, the fumes of tobacco were a favourite substitute. These they 
exhaled through a tube formed like a Y, the two branches of which 
were inserted into each nostril, while the stem was embedded in a 
vessel of burning leaves. The vapour thus communicated soon 
affected the brain of the inhaler, and produced all the stupifying 
results and visionary pleasures usually ascribed to opium. This mode 
of intoxicating was often preferred to that excited by drinking, and 
so sudden were its consequences, that the stoutest individual has been 
prostrated in a few minutes. But since the introduction of distilla 
tion into these islands, forced methods of inebriation are seldom 

* Edwards Hist, of W. Indies. Also Robertson s Hist, of America, vol. ii. note, p. 5J>. 


In tho Antilles, the vine never succeeded to any extent, but 
formerly the Spaniards resident in the north side of Jamaica, culti 
vated considerable vineyards, and made a good wine resembling 
claret. But the ease with which the wines of Europe can be procured, 
renders the cultivation of the vine for that purpose unnecessary. In 
many of the sugar plantations on the island of Jamaica, each of the 
negroes is allowed to take in calabashes about half a gallon of hot 
purified cane juice, which he sometimes ferments by means of the 
chewstickwithe, or chewed cane, making thereby a palatable kind of 
beer. At other times he uses it in the simple, unfermented state, to 
refresh him during the toils of the day. The overseer often carries 
a quantity of it in a bamboo staff, but more frequently substitutes 
rum in preference, and may be seen occasionally walking with one 
end of his cane elevated to the clouds, while he is regaling himself 
out of the other. It is a custom among the negroes here, which has 
been carried from Africa, to make a libation, or first-fruit offering, by 
pouring a little liquor on the ground before they drink any of it them 
selves, a practice also prevalent in several parts of Asia. 

For a view of the extent and importance of the revenue arising to 
Great Britain from the rum imported from those islands, the reader 
is referred to that part of this work which treats of home distillation. 

To enter into a detail of the value of rum as an article of consump 
tion for the British nation, and the advantages which might arise 
from its unrestricted importation, would lead to the introduction of 
considerations foreign to the design of this work. But it may be 
observed, that a preference ought to be given to this article as exclu 
sively the production and manufacture of colonies subject to our own 
laws and government, rather than to the consumption of foreign grain 
brought into Great Britain, and made into spirits at considerable 
expense, to the injury of our agricultural .interests at home, and of 
those of our dependencies abroad. 

Prejudices injurious to the West India planters have too frequently 
been formed from erroneous impressions of the condition of the 
slaves ; and, therefore, a disinclination is manifested to encourage any 
branch of manufacture in which they are employed. But without in 
the most remote degree advocating slavery, which, in its mildest state, 
must always tend to the degradation of our species, it may be proper 
to shew that the manner in which the negroes are generally treated is 
different from what is commonly represented. Most of the regula 
tions affecting the slave population are not determined by the will 
of the proprietor, but are settled by law and are calculated to promote 
the comforts of the slaves. They are either provided with provision. 


ground, which they are permitted to cultivate, or furnished with an 
equivalent in money or food. They are also clothed, and when ill, 
have medical attendance and medicine. When old, their infirmities 
are provided for hy a sort of superannuation allowance, averaging ten 
pounds per annum. These regulations vary in different islands accord 
ing to circumstances and localities, but all tend to soften the aspe 
rities of slavery. In many of the islands it is the practice to give 
each slave, in the morning before going to work, a cup of coffee, a 
glass of rum, or some other warm beverage, such as ginger tea; 
besides which he gets, once or twice a day, weak diversion, that is 
rum and w r ater sweetened with molasses. That cruelties from harsh 
and brutal taskmasters have been inflicted on many of those unfor 
tunate beings, there can be no doubt ; but to brand all the planters 
with a savage barbarity and want of feeling, would be wanton and 
unfounded. Man here in a civilised state is not insensible to the feel 
ings of humanity, nor does he act in opposition to those laws which 
regulate society in other countries. 

Since writing the foregoing, slavery in the colonies has, by an act 
of the British legislature, been abolished; and it remains to be 
seen whether, under a different system of treatment, the condition of 
the Africans in the West Indies will be more conducive to their hap 
piness by putting them on an equality with the intelligent and 
polished inhabitants of those regions. 

The Church of England, the Wesleyan Methodists, and other mis 
sionaries have been, for some time, engaged among them in the incul 
cation of sound religious principles, w r hich have for their object the 
fear of God, the love of their fellow-men, and a respect for the laws 
and regulations of civilized society. These, with the influence of the 
useful arts of agriculture, manufactures, and trade, must prove of the 
highest benefit not only to the well-being of the present generation, 
but to the descendants of those who have been emancipated from the 
thraldom of slavery. 

On directing our observations to the American continent, we find 
that when the Spaniards first visited Mexico and Peru, the inhabi 
tants understood the preparation of several intoxicating drinks procured 
from maize or Indian corn, from the manioc or roots of the yueca y and 
from the agave or maguey^ a species of aloes. The Indian corn, 
when bruised and fermented into a kind of inspissated drink, was 
called chica,* and much resembled beer in its qualities. Chica is a 
generic term for any sort of inspissated drink, such as the juice or 
the grape simply boiled, or the liquor of the sugar-cane. Acosta is 

* Skinner s Present State of Peru, 4to. p. 258. 


of opinion that this word is of Ilaytian origin, as it does not belong to 

any known language in the Indies; the same observation applies to 

the word maize. Chica, denominated the nectar of the Peruvians, 

is made by pounding the maize into a fine powder and placing it in a 

heap, around which a number of females place themselves, and chew 

the material into a sort of paste. After chewing, it is taken from the 

mouth and rolled between the hands into round balls, which are placed 

in the form of a pyramid, like cannon shot in a fortification. This 

operation being finished, they are then baked over a fire and put into 

a, certain quantity of water where they ferment and form the fluid now 

under consideration. Chica tastes like a mixture of table beer and 

cider. It is considered as nutritious as porter, and, notwithstanding 

the forbidding mode of preparation, is extremely grateful in hot 

weather, and not by any means prejudicial to health. During the 

time of the carnival, great quantities of Chica are consumed, as the 

people, on such occasions, are permitted to amuse themselves in 

various indulgences. Even females are often seen on horseback at 

full gallop, contending for no more than a draught of Chica. In Peru, 

is another kind of Chica, made from the Algaroba tree, accounted 

very pleasing, and of which the people are extremely fond. When 

taken moderately, it is considered wholesome, and conducive not 

only to exhilarate the spirits, but to strengthen the constitution. 

No Irishman shews greater partiality for his native whiskey, nor 
indulges in it more freely, than the Peruvian does in his attachment to 
his beloved Chica. To make the drink from the manioc or yueca, the 
roots are boiled and bruised into a paste, which, as in the case of 
Chica from maize, the women, by the application of their saliva, convert 
into a fluid, called masato* in the manner practised for a similar 
purpose by the inhabitants of Formosa, the South Sea islanders, and the 
Brazilians. This fluid is left for three days to ferment, which, by the 
infusion of some water, becomes a very powerful, intoxicating liquor. 
When strained, it is sometimes called Kicbla, and the spirit distilled 
from it puichiu. The Peruvians cultivate the yueca, and, in clearing the 
forests for that purpose, they use hatchets made of stone, resembling 
ours, but having, instead of a handle, two ears with a channel to secure 
the extremity by means of cords.f Temple mentions a singular super 
stition of the Peruvians, who, on one of their chiefs being slain, dipped 
pieces of the clothes of the deceased in his blood, and afterwards sold 
them to the women employed in making Chica, in order that these 
rags might be thrown into it on particular occasions to produce a 

* Skinner s Present State of Peru, p. 380. t 

t Bonnyeastle s Account of Spanish America, vol. ii. p, 189. 


charm, when all the Indians in the neighbourhood, male and female, 
assembled to drink of this horrible beverage. At dinner parties, it is 
customary to have on a side-table several bottles of rum, spruce beer, 
and other liquors, with cakes and confections, of which the guests par 
take on entering the room. The same glass is used by the whole 
company, and it would be deemed uncourteous if any hesitated to 
drink after another. The more lips the glass has touched, the more 
friendship in the acceptance ; and should any individual from squeam- 
ishness look for a place that had been untouched, he would be treated 
with contempt by the rest of the company. When a lady honours a 
gentleman by drinking to him, he takes her glass and cautiously 
observes to place his lips on the very spot which she had touched with 
hers, and then drains the contents to the last drop. It is usual at 
parties, when the guests become mellow and a favourite toast is drunk, 
to shiver the glasses to atoms, implying that the subject is too good 
ever again to suffer the same glasses to be denied by being made to 
contain a bumper to any less exceptionable sentiment.* The juice of 
the Agave is by the Peruvians fermented in the same way as in 
Mexico, where it is made into a kind of wine called pulque orpouchra, 
by others denominated octli. When Francis Pizarro had his first 
interview with the Inca Atahualpa, he was presented with a golden 
goblet of this wine. The Inca, holding a similar one in his hand, 
pledged him on the occasion of his visit, which he hoped would lead 
to the good of himself, his country, and his people. Pizarro observed 
that the inhabitants, at that time, understood the brewing of beer from 
oats, and found ale-houses established for its sale. Pulque, orPouchra, 
is at present in great demand all over the South American continent, 
and the spirit extracted from it is known by the name of Mexical, or 
agua ardiente de Maguey, from the circumstance of its distillation 
having been first introduced at Mexico by the Spaniards. The 
manufacture of this liquor was prohibited by the Spanish government 
as injurious to the trade of their brandies ; but as it was a general 
favourite among the inhabitants, and smuggled to a great extent 
through the country, its distillation was at length publicly permitted 
on the payment of a certain duty. 

In the Theatro Americano, published at Mexico, in 1746, it appears 
that 161,000 peros were raised by the tax on pulque.^ The consump 
tion of this liquor, in 1791, amounted to 294,790 cargoes, that of 
wine and vinegar to 4,507 barrels of 4^ arobas, and 12,000 barrels 

* Temple s Travels, vol. ii. p. 311. 

"j" Robertson s America, vol.iii. note, p. 196. Bonnvcastle s Account of Spanish 
America, 8vo. vol. i. p. 63. 


of brandy. Since that period, wine is much more in use, and of pulque 
the enormous quantity of 44 millions of bottles, each containing 
58,141 cubic inches, have been annually consumed. 

When Humboldt visited New Spain in 1804, the cultivation of the 
maguey had become of great im portance to the exchequer. The 
duties of entry on this article paid in Mexico, Puebla, and Toluca, in 
1798, amounted to 817,739 piasters, or 178,880 sterling. The 
expense of collection was 55,608 piasters, and the net profit to the 
crown was 761,131 piasters, or 166,497. The entire revenue 
derived from the fermented juice of the agave, through the whole of 
New Spain, is said to exceed 800,000 piasters ; but it must be con 
siderably greater, since a late writer computes the annual consump 
tion in the city of Mexico alone at 1,000,000 of piasters. The 
houses in that capital, for the sale of it, have of late become so nume 
rous, that the police, to check the great irregularities which they 
occasion, allow them to remain open no longer than from ten o clock 
to four in the day.* This drink is allowed to enter the city only by 
one gate, that of Guadaloupe ; and a similar regulation prevails in 
most of the other cities of New Spain. 

Large plantations of maguey are now under cultivation, both by 
the natives and Spaniards ; and the mode of conducting the crops is 
thus described : 

The plants are set about nine feet asunder in rows, and require 
little attention until the season of flowering, which has been averaged 
at a period of ten years. In a plantation of 1000 aloes, it is calculated 
that about 100 are in flower every year. The Indians know the 
exact time at which the stem or central shoot, from which the flower 
springs, is about to appear, when they instantly cut out the whole of 
this stem, leaving a hollow or cup, formed by the rind, a foot and a 
half in diameter and nearly two feet in depth. This is covered with 
leaves, and the juice, which otherwise would have served for the 
nourishment and support of the central stalk, flows into this cavity, 
and in such quantities as to require its removal two or three times 
a day. This sap is called aguamiel, or honey-water, from its ropy or 
honey-like taste and consistency. A thriving plant yields from eight 
to fifteen pints of this sap in a day. The exudation continues two or 
three months, and each plant produces on an average about 150 quarts 
annually. Great judgment is required in extracting the central 
portion of the stem which bears the flower, for, if the operation be 
made either too early or too late, the plant is wholly destroyed and 
rendered unproductive. 

* Bonnycastle a Account of Spanish America, TO!, i. p. t>3. 


A mistake prevails in Europe respecting the time which -the aloe 
or agave takes to floweju which is said to be but once in a century ; 
but we find that on the American continent, it blossoms after the date 
of its being planted in a period varying from 8 to 18 years. The 
plant is composed of a number of strong indented leaves at the base, 
of from five to eight feet in length, with a stalk twenty-five feet high, 
having twenty or thirty branches diminishing in proportion as they 
are elevated from the base, and form a kind of pyramid bearing a 
greenish yellow flower, standing erect in thick clusters from every 
joint. Such is the majestic appearance of this plant, if undisturbed, 
and it continues to produce these flowers for upwards of three months 
successively. But it is at the critical moment that the central or 
flower stem is about to appear that the ingenious planter extracts the 
heart or central portion of the stalk, when, instead of an immediate 
efflorescence, a flowing of juice commences and continues during the 
period that the plant itself would have been ornamented with blossoms. 
Annexed is a representation of the agave in the state at which the 
juice is collected, with the skin, scraper, and gourd : the latter of 
which has its smaller end terminated with a horn, and is used by the 
planters in the same way as brewers in EuVope take samples from the 
bungs of beer or porter barrels. 


In the preparation of the pulque from the juice thus obtained, no 
barm or yeast is employed to cause fermentation. A quantity of the 
sap is allowed to stand in a vessel for ten or fifteen days, in which 
time it ferments and is termed madre pulque -, or the mother of * pulque. 
This is distributed in small portions into the troughs or skins along 
with the aguamiel to excite fermentation, and in twenty-four hours 
after, the pulque is finished and in the very best state for drinking. 
The Mexicans attribute to pulque the same virtues that the Irish do 
to whiskey. Europeans dislike it at first from its heavy smell, some 
what like sour milk or slightly tainted meat ; but in a little time, when 
this disagreeable flavour has become familiar, it is esteemed both a 
wholesome, cooling, and nutritious beverage, being always drunk in 
a state of effervescence, and no bad effects arising from its slightly 
intoxicating qualities. Some plantations of agave have been known 
to bring in upwards of 1,666 annually. 

It is surprising that in a country where heat is excessive and water 
scarce, that some better and speedier mode than that of conveying this 
drink to the great towns in skins on the backs of asses has not been 
adopted. By this means much time is lost and the liquor suffers in 
flavour, becoming heavy in the smell, and its freshness and cooling 
properties are in a great measure destroyed. Writers differ as to the 
cause of the foetid odour of the pulque, some attributing it, as already 
stated, to the skins in which it is conveyed. Others say that it has 
the same disagreeable flavour when preserved in vessels. " Perhaps," 
says Humboldt, " the odour proceeds from the decomposition of a 
vegeto-animal matter, analogous to the gluten contained in the juice 
of the agave" In some parts of Mexico, there is a species of the 
maguey which is inferior to that in the vicinity of the capital, as just 
described. No pulque is made from it, but it is distilled into a strong 
spirit called Chinguerite. 

The utility of the agave or aloe plant is not restricted to the pro 
duction of pulque, but its leaves and fibres have been converted to 
many useful purposes. The Aborigines used the leaves, after a cer 
tain preparation, as a substitute for paper on which their hieroglyphics 
were written ; and pieces of it are still to be found in the country 
resembling pasteboard, and some like Chinese paper. A durable good 
sort of twine is manufactured from the fibres and twisted into ropes, 
which are in great demand in the mining districts, and sometimes 
employed as cordage for shipping. This is known in Europe by the 
name ofpite thread, and preferred by naturalists to every other, as it 
is not liable to twist. The plantations of maguey or agave are very 
profitable, and, as the plants are propagated with great ease and 
facility, many are engaged in its cultivation, from which an income of 


from 10 to 12,000 dollars has been annually derived by one individual. 
This plant requires little or no water, and, although the parent one 
withers as the sap is exhausted, a multitude of new suckers spring 
from the root, and, Avhen transplanted, more of them supply its place. 
The length of time that must elapse from the first laying down of a 
plantation till it begins to prove productive, which, as already stated, 
is from eight to eighteen years, proves a great drawback and discou 
ragement to agriculturists. But, when once a good establishment has 
been effected and matured, the proprietor is soon amply repaid for 
his toil, as, henceforward, there is an annual succession of plants to 
afford a constant supply for the market. A planter, who lays down 
from 30 to 40,000 plants, is sure, according to Humboldt, to estab 
lish the fortune of his children. The same writer thinks that the 
agave used for distillation is different from that used for pulque, 
although the produce of both is occasionally subjected to distillation, 
and the brandy made from them is very intoxicating. It is worthy 
of remark, that the juice of the agave, before the period of its efflor 
escence, is very acrid, and is successfully employed as a caustic in 
the cleansing of wounds ; or, if the leaves are bruised and boiled, they 
produce a balsamic sirup used to cleanse and cure ulcers. The prickles 
which terminate the leaves served formerly like those of the cactus 
for pins and nails to the Indians. The Mexican priests pierced their 
arms and breasts with them in acts of expiation, analogous to those of 
the Budhists of Hindostan. 

If proper attention were bestowed on the distillation of pulque, it 
would yield an excellent spirit ; but many obstacles have been raised 
against this measure by the rapacity of the Spanish merchants, 
These gentlemen, at one time, carried their efforts so far as to solicit 
the government to extirpate the plant altogether, but as the country 
has passed into more liberal hands, a better order of things may be 
expected to arise, and in the course of some time, the spirit of the 
maguey may be brought to rival the brandies of Europe. As it is, 
pulque-brandy forms a considerable branch of the trade of the pro 
vinces, through which it is transported in leathern bags on the backs 
of mules. Whether, however, the use of this liquor, generally speak 
ing, may not be of more injury to the morals of the people than the 
good it would produce either in an agricultural or a commercial view, 
is not here a point for discussion ; but the ease with which intoxi 
cating liquors are procured by the Indians of New Spain tends much 
to shorten their lives and demoralize their characters. Rum, spirits from 
maize, and the root of the jatropha manihot, with pulque, are the 
favourites. Pulque, when not subjected to distillation, is nutritive on 
account of its saccharine nature, and hence those who are addicted to 


it use little solid food ; used moderately it is nourishing and healthy. 
Among those who inhabit the valley of Mexico, the environs of 
Puebla and Tlascala, or wherever maguey or agave are extensively 
cultivated, drunkenness is most predominant. In the city of Mexico, 
tumbrels are sent round to collect the drunkards of the night who may 
be found lying in the streets. They are carried to a watch-house in 
the morning, and an iron ring is closed round their ankles, and in this 
state they are compelled to cleanse the streets for three days succes 
sively, as a punishment for their irregularities* a policy of proceeding 
that does credit to the government. 

The sugar-cane is also productive ; and in Mexico, as well as in 
some of the other principal districts and towns, sugar-mills and distil 
leries of rum on a large scale are kept at work. The cultivation of 
the cane has become a matter of great importance in New Spain. 
When Humboldt was there, the exportation from Vera Cruz alone 
was 13,793,7501bs., valued at 312,525, which has since consider 
ably increased. Little is now exported to Peru, as that country pro 
duces more than sufficient for its own consumption. Some of the 
plantations in New Spain are known to yield from 1,103,500, to 
l,655,2501bs. of sugar annually. The quantity and quality of the 
produce have been found to be in proportion to the nature of the soil, 
and the elevation of the land on which it is cultivated. Such is the 
fertility in some parts of the torrid zone in America, that it has been 
estimated that all the sugar consumed in France, say 44,140,0001bs. 
might be produced on a surface of seven square leagues, an extent, 
according to Humboldt, not equal to the thirtieth part of the smallest 
department of France. The chief bulk of the sugar of New Spain is 
consumed in the country, which has been calculated at 35,000,0001bs. 
annually. In most of the plantations, rum is distilled from the mo 
lasses and the refuse of the mills ; and it forms no inconsiderable por 
tion of the beverages of the country. From the molasses of a sugar 
plantation, 30,000 barrels of coarse rum are made yearly, and the 
speculation in this kind of trade is found to be lucrative, as the barrel 
of rum sells in Mexico for 32 dollars, netting, after paying duty and 
carriage, 24 dollars* 

Vines are cultivated in these settlements to great extent, and the 
wine in some places is not inferior to the best Spanish wine. In the 
environs of Passo del Norte, the vineyards produre such excellent 
wines, that they are preferred to those of Paras, in new Biscay, so 
much celebrated as being the produce of the Vitis Vinifera of Asia, 

* Humboldt s Political Essay on the Kingdom of New Spain, vol. i. t p. 150. 


planted there by the first settlers. Under the old government, the 
vine could hardly he included among the territorial riches of Mexico, 
the quantity being so inconsiderable. But the political changes which 
have taken place in that country, have given encouragement to the 
plantation of the vine and the consumption of native produce, 
tin shackled by the prohibitory and tyrannical laws of the mother 
country. The inhabitants of Mexico and New Spain will soon be 
enabled to supply not only their home consumption, Ibut that perhaps 
of the whole of North America ; and Mexico may yet serve to that 
portion of the globe, what France, Spain, Portugal, and Italy, have 
long proved to the rest of Europe. 

In so extensive a region as that of New Spain, where the heat is 
intense and drink in great demand, ice is considered indispensable and 
an article of great luxury. The right to sell it was a monopoly of 
the crown, and the poor Indian, who had scaled the summits of the 
highest mountains to collect this important material, could not dispose 
of it without paying a duty to the government. Humboldt informs 
us that a similar monopoly existed in France, to which a stop was put, 
as the magnitude of the duty produced a rapid diminution in the use 
of cooling liquors. The sale of snow in New Spain amounted, in 
1803, to 26,000 piasters. 

To enter upon a minute detail of the vegetable productions of 
Mexico would be irrelevant to this work and extend beyond its limits. 
It is sufficient to observe, that the gardens contain all the fruits of 
Europe, and the fields are cultivated with various sorts of grain. 
The food of the people is chiefly composed of banana, manioc, maize, 
wheat, potatoes, &c. The maguey, or agave, may be considered as the 
Indian vine, which forms the basis of most of their beverages. In 
some places a drink is used called pinole, which is Indian corn baked, 
ground, and the flour mixed with either milk or water, having a little 
cinnamon or sugar superadded. Maize is cultivated to the utmost 
extent, and witli a success hardly credible. The majority of the popu 
lation of New Spain subsisted entirely on the flour of the maize ; it 
is used in various ways, and is eaten boiled or roasted. When made 
into bread it is very nutritive, and it is often used under the form of a 
gruel, called by the natives atolle, with which are mixed sugar, honey, 
and often ground potatoes. Hernandez describes sixteen different 
sorts of atolle. Maize is sold cheap ; even in the capital it is bought 
for two dollars the fanega of 1501bs. At present, a very palatable 
kind of beer or fermented liquor is made from this grain, as well as 
from the stalks denominated pulque demaize (llalli, tlaolli), and which 


is composed of a sugary juice or sirup, extracted by pressure from 
the stalk. This compressed juice was formerly substituted for sugar.* 
The Mexicans and Peruvians, previous to the arrival of Europeans 
among them, were in the habit of pressing sugar from the stalks of 
the maize, and were able to concentrate its juice by evaporation, as 
well as to prepare the coarse sugar by condensing the sirup. Cortez 
described to the Emperor Charles V. the Mexican sugar whicli he 
saw exposed in the markets for sale, as " honey from the stalks of 
maize and honey from the shrub maguey." The stalks of the maize 
are so exceedingly sugary, that Humboldt says the Indians suck it as 
the sugar-cane is sucked by the negroes, and it appears that they 
were unacquainted with the sugar-cane previous to the landing of the 

The Mexicans domesticate bees for the purpose of obtaining honey. 
As the insects are naturally prone to construct their cells in the 
hollows of trees, the inhabitants excavate the trunks in portions of 
from two to three feet in length, which they close at both ends with 
clay, and bore a hole in the centre for the egress and ingress of the 
bees. These receptacles are then suspended on a tree in a horizontal 
position, and are soon occupied by an industrious colony. The honey 
comb is so constructed, that it is unusual to have recourse at any time 
to the destruction of the inmates ; all that is necessary being to 
remove the stopper, introduce the hand and withdraw the honey- 
sacks, for the Mexican bee forms cells for the reception of the larvae, 
distinct from the combs. The hive generally affords two harvests in 
the season. The honey is of good flavour but thin ; it is inferior to 
that of Europe, and not easily fermented ; yet a good description of 
hydromel is occasionally made of it, and much used in the country.f 

The maguey is very common in Peru, a country susceptible of cul 
tivation in such parts only as lie adjacent to the rivers, or whicli can 
be conveniently irrigated. It makes a good hedge in consequence of 
the strong prickles on the edge of its leaves, which prevent animals 
from passing. The Indians build their houses of its flower stalks and 
cover them with the leaves ; the fibres are converted into thread and 
woven into clothing, while the prickles serve in the place of pins and 
needles. The juice, when mixed with water, is allowed to ferment, 
and forms a similar beverage to the Mexican pulque. Its leaves 
supply the place of soap, for after the clothes are wetted, if they be 
beaten with a bruised leaf of maguey, a thick white froth is produced, 

* Ward s Mexico, (1827), 8vo. vol. i. p. 41, passim. 

t Bcecliy s Narrative of a Voyage to the Pacific Ocean, vol. ii. p. 357. 


out of which, when the clothes are rinsed, they become perfectly clean : 
even the flower buds, when boiled or pickled, are delicate eating. Of 
the two varieties of maguey found in Peru, the leaves of the one are 
of a deep green, while those of the other are of a beautiful pale green ; 
but the latter is the most useful. 

The soil of Peru, though unfavourable to the growth of Tegetables, 
yields crops of potatoes, wheat, and rice, which, with the sugar-cane 
and vines, are reared chiefly on the banks of ravines where vegetation 
is extremely rapid. The grapes are highly flavoured but afford indif 
ferent wine : notwithstanding, this article, as well as brandy, has been 
for many years of some commercial importance. Pisco has long been 
famous for its manufacture of brandy. Near the city of Conception 
de Mocha, the vine-yards are numerous and fertile, producing a large 
supply of wine for home consumption, as well as for the Lima market, 
the cultivation of the vine not being forbidden here, as it is in Mexico 
and New Granada. For want of proper vessels a large quantity is 
either lost or injured ; and a wine is made called Muscadel, superior 
to that of the same name in France, and not inferior to Frontignac. 
The simple vessels used at this place to ferment and preserve the 
wine are made of baked clay, having only a wooden cover, and hence 
their brandy is greatly deteriorated. The vines grow chiefly on espa 
liers, and are not on detached stems as are the generality of Euro 
pean vines. The wine and other liquors are carried in goats skins 
tanned for the purpose. These animals are carefully nurtured for 
this object, as well as for their fat and for cord wain. A palatable 
species of red wine with a flavour peculiarly aromatic, and denomi 
nated Matte, is here prepared from the berries of a tree of that name. 
These berries are black and formed in clusters round the slender 
branches, being about the size of peas. Another beverage called 
Theka, is made from the fruit of the maguc tree, and which somewhat 
resembles a wild cherry. It grows in the woods in great abundance, 
and the people make parties to gather it. From the city of Concep 
tion, there are exported, at an average, 2,000 jars of wine containing 
18 gallons each, chiefly to Lima, where Chili brandy may be had at a 
very reasonable rate. About Lima, a great portion of the native 
sugar is employed in making a drink called guarapo, which is the 
expressed juice of the cane fermented ; it is the principal drink of the 
coloured people, and of which the Indians of the interior purchase 
great quantities, it being sold very cheap. Europeans consider this 
an agreeable beverage, and when thirsty or heated, it is preferred by 
many to every other sort of liquor. The Spanish monarchy, in con 
junction with the Pope, prohibited the manufacture of rum among the 


Peruvians under heavy penalties, in order to secure the monopoly of 
making spirits to the proprietors of vineyards, which privilege was, 
however, attended with weighty exactions and imposts. 

About 150,000 gallons of brandy are annually made at Pisco from 
the vines in that neighbourhood. It is usually kept in jars in the 
form of an inverted cone, the insides of which are coated with a species 
of naphtha, and usually contain 18 gallons each. Pisco brandy is well 
flavoured and tinged with colouring matter as in France. That termed 
arguardiente de Italia is of a mild nature, possessing a flavour like 
Frontignac, and therefore much valued. Owing to the trade in 
brandy, little wine is made, and that even of an inferior character, as 
it is too thick and sweet to be esteemed, which is attributable to the 
practice of boiling the grape, a considerable time before it is fermented. 
There is in the neighbourhood of Pisco, a remarkable vineyard called 
de las hoyas, formed in the pits and holes which were excavations origi 
nally made by the aborigines in search of water for irrigation. Here 
the vines produce in great abundance, requiring no care save that of 
pruning, for the branches are allowed to stretch along the sands 
without any other support or protection. 

Cider is very common in Peru, and is made in the following 
manner : The women, after gathering a quantity of apples from the 
woods, place them in a kind of trough formed by scooping the trunk 
of a tree. They are then beaten until they become soft, when a 
female presses them with her hands, and the juice is collected into 
large gourds, calabashes, or prepared goats skins.* It is then poured into 
earthen jars, some of which contain upwards of 1,000 gallons, and left 
to ferment. This cider is usually drunk out of horns, and sometimes 
to excess. Any redundance of this liquor is carried by the Indian 
women into the neighbouring towns, and sold under the name of 
chica. From a species of myrtle berry called mutillas, which is about 
the size of a pea, of a deep red colour and aromatic flavour, the 
Indians prepare a pleasant beverage called chica de mutilla. This 
is effected by breaking them down in water, and allowing them to 
ferment for a few days. Some wine and a bad description of brandy 
are made from the wild grape of the country. Great quantities of 
drink are consumed at the marriages and festivals of the Indians, to 

* In Peru there are many varieties of the gourd. Of the white flowered, gene 
rally called calabashes, there are twenty species, of which two are sweet and eatable. 
The bitter kinds are remarkably serviceable when dried, as the cshells serve for dishes, 
bowls, plates, bottles, tubs, trays, barrels for water, and baskets for fruit, butter, 
and eggs, and are often cut, stained, and bound with silver. 


tlie amount, sometimes during a feast, of 1,000 jars, each containing 
18 gallons. Even on the tomb or grave, liquor is poured by the 
relatives of the deceased, as the last token of respect at the interment. 
At the anniversary of a Saint, an Indian gives an entertainment to 
all who choose to enjoy it ; when calabashes of chica, some holding 
five or six gallons, are placed before the guests, with a number of 
smaller ones, each containing about a pint. After the first course, 
the chica is circulated freely, as well as during each successive 
remove, and when about to depart, the stirrup cup is demanded, 
much like the parting glass of the Irish, called deoch-a-doras. 

Another curious practice among the Peruvians at their festivals, is 
when at that stage of the repast where the women hand the small 
tutema shells full of masato to the men ; all rise, and holding the cup 
to the mouth, turn the head to the right and squirt the fluid through 
the teeth as an offering to their departed friends, and afterwards 
resume their seats. The same ceremony is again repeated as a pro 
pitiatory offering to the aerial spirits, that they may protect their 
property from the attack of wild beasts or the destructive influence 
of the elements. The palm in Peru, as in other countries, adds a 
luxury to the table. The leaves and stem, to which the nuts are 
attached, yield by boiling an agreeable beverage, which, after fermen 
tation, acquires a delicious flavour and vinous quality. 

Large quantities of maize are, in various parts of Peru, converted 
into chica, and it is remarkable that the grain used in all such cases 
has been made to undergo the process of malting, a proof that the 
making of malt must have been known to the Peruvians from the 
most remote period. In making other ingredients are mixed 
with the malted maize, called Jora ; when sufficiently boiled in 
water, the fluid ferments like our ale or porter, and the produce is 
very intoxicating. In some places, the natives believe that fermen 
tation will not ensue if the malted grain be not previously subjected 
to mastication. From this circumstance, many old men and 
women assemble at the house where chica is to be made, and 
are employed in chewing the Jora or malt. Having masticated a 
sufficient quantity, they lay the chewed substance in small balls on a 
calabash. These are suffered to dry, a little after which they are 
mixed with newly made chica while it is warm. On account of a pro 
hibition, no distillation of this article is carried on. The consumption 
of chica in Peru is very considerable. In making one sort of it from 
the grape, two or three hides are fastened together in the form 
of a large sack, suspended by posts, and into this bag the grapes 
are thrown. They are then trodden by a man, who is, during the 


process, often immersed to his shoulders, and occasionally relieved by 
another. All the time the juice is running through a small leathern 
tube placed at the bottom, and one is constantly employed carrying a 
fresh supply of grapes which he throws into the sack till a sufficient 
quantity of chica is manufactured. Another kind of chica is made 
from the pods of the Algaroba, a sort of Acacia, by infusing them in 
water, straining them, and allowing the residue to ferment. At the 
end of three or four days it is palatable, and it is thought it would 
produce a delicate species of wine. Two kinds of chica are usually 
made from the same grain : one is called cluro, the water in which 
the malt has been infused. This, when drawn off, is afterwards boiled, 
and has then some resemblance to cider. Another is made by boiling 
the grain with water for several hours, after which it is strained, fer 
mented, and termed neto. The sediment is used as a kind of yeast 
in making bread. The great antiquity of this beverage is proved, 
beyond all doubt, to have been familiar among the aborigines before 
they were visited by the Spaniards, as Mr. Stevenson affirms that he 
drank chica that had been found in the huacas, or burying places, 
where it must have remained upwards of three centuries. This chica 
must have been of a very strong quality to have preserved its strength 
so long, particularly without hops or other antiseptic ingredients. In 
some places, chica is made so strong, that from three bushels of jora 
only 18 gallons are obtained. 

The Peruvians are not habitual drunkards, although they some 
times indulge themselves beyond what prudence would dictate ; and 
a late respectable writer assures us, that, during twenty years resi 
dence amongst them, he never saw a female intoxicated. In Quito, 
rum and brandy are most in consumption. From the rum distilled 
here, a variety of liqueurs are made, but the lower orders prefer 
chica from the maize, and in order to excite thirst or increase appe 
tite, an Indian will sometimes swallow 20 or 30 pods of capsicum or 
pepper, with some salt and bread, washing them down with two or 
three quarts of his favourite beverage. Here, in the manrfer of the 
Mexicans, delicate ices and ice beverages are made ; and at enter 
tainments, ices are the greatest ornaments of the table, appearing 
under every form and representing fruit of all descriptions so nicely 
delineated, that, when mixed with real fruit, they cannot be distin 
guished from it. 

The Masato used by these people is a drink made by boiling a 
quantity of ripe plantains, till they are quite soft, after which they are 
reduced to a pulp by beating them in a trough. The matter is then 
put into a basket lined with leaves, where it is left to ferment for 



some days. When about to be used, it is put into a fruit-shell or per 
forated vessel, to which a quantity of water is added ; the whole is 
compressed, and the filterings are collected in another vessel and drunk 
with much pleasure ; the taste, though sub-acid, is very agreeable. 

In parts of Peru, the natives distil rum from the sugar-cane in a 
very simple manner. After the juice has been sufficiently fermented 
it is put into a deep earthen pot having a hole in the side near the top 
through which passes a wooden conductor with a groove or duct in 
the handle. To the top of the pot a pan is luted with clay, constantly 
full of cold water, serving as a condenser .and causing the spirit to fall 
into the spoon, it flows along t!ie groove into a bottle which serves 
as a receiver for the spirit. 

This apparatus seems to be peculiar to the Peruvians, and would 
lead us to suppose that distillation was in some degree known in the 
New World before the intercourse with Europeans ; and we are told 
that the Peruvians had discovered the art of malting before that 
period, and the Sora, a kind of beer, of a very intoxicating nature, 
was made from it and prohibited by the Incas, because it intoxicated 
sooner than the other liquors of the country. It is not improbable 
that this Sora, as well as the Vinafer spoken of by Garcilaso de la 
Vega, might have been a distilled liquor. This conjecture is the more 
reasonable when we take into consideration the advanced state of 
civilisation among the Peruvians, and the monuments which still 
jemain as specimens of their industry and art. One of these in par 
ticular, the great road from Cusco to Quito, a distance of 700 leagues, 


is not to be surpassed by the labour of man, except by the great wall 
of China.* Even the ruins of their temples evince such elegance in 
architecture, that the very interstices of the stones are scarcely per 
ceptible. From an infusion of ripe bananas in water, spirits are dis 
tilled ; after the infusion has fermented, it is carefully strained before 
the process of distillation, by which means the spirit is protected from, 
any empyreumatic flavour which might arise from the sediment. 

Chili is in fertility not inferior to any part of South America, and 
is peculiarly adapted to European productions, as the corn, wine, and 
fruits that flourish there sufficiently prove. In many parts the wine 
forms a chief article of culture, and is planted in rows as at the Cape 
of Good Hope, the plants being supported at intervals only as occa 
sion requires. The wine-presses in general use are similar to those 
of Spain, and the wine itself is stored in capacious cellars, in jars 
termed batejas, each holding a quantity not less than a tun. Brandy 
is distilled not only from the lees but from the inferior wines ; both 
articles are transported in skins carried by mules to the neighbouring 
provinces, as well as to Lima and to other cities, where they are sold 
at a very moderate rate. At St. Jago, Valdivia, and Valparaiso, 
wine can be had for three half-pence and two-pence the bottle. 
Captain Hall observed, during his residence in Chili, that the natives 
seemed to be well supplied with a good description of agua ardiente, 
which was drunk after being made into punch ; and that it was cus 
tomary to have at dinner a copious bowl of this beverage, out of 
which, in common with wine, the guests pledged each other and toasted 
their sentiments.f 

Notwithstanding that aguaardiente not only abounds here but in 
the other states of South America, it does not appear that the distil 
lation of any kind of spirit was known before the discovery of this 
region by the Spaniards ; for although we find in their arts considera 
ble ingenuity and progress in civilisation, yet none of their inventions 
seem to have extended so far as a chemical preparation of intoxicating 

Ovalle, in his History of Chili, says, that grapes were so plentiful 
in 1646, that they could not be disposed of; and the wine was a 
source of great injury to the Indians by their drinking it to excess. 
White wines were made from that species of grape called Uba Tor- 
routes and Albilla, which were much valued ; red wines were made 
from the ordinary grape and a species called Mollar. The bunches 

* Some parts of this road being conducted across the Cordilleras, are at the 
astonishing elevation of 12,475 feet ahove the level of the sea. 
f Hall s South America, vol. i. p. 180. 


of grapes, he says, were enormously large ; and lie mentions one that 
filled a basket, and served as a meal for a numerous convent of friars. 
The branches of the vine he describes as very large, and the trunks 
of the trees as thick as a man s body. 

Although the Chilian vines have been very productive ; yet, from 
some cause or other, they do not rank very high. The vino depenco 
made near Conception, on the banks of the Itali, is most in esteem, 
and in taste and flavour it resembles Malaga more than any other. 
When Captain Beechey, in 1825, touched at this place, he found the 
wines greatly deteriorated, and the only palatable wine which he 
could procure was that made from the grapes on the estate of General 

From the borders of Peru to the river Maule, the mode of cul 
tivating vines is by raising the sets to the height of three or four feet 
by means of props or forked stakes. Beyond that river, they are 
planted on the declivities of hills and reclined on the ground. The 
vintage usually occurs in the months of April and May. 

The lower orders of the Chilians have little inclination for wine, 
their drink being chiefly water and Chica made from the grapes, 
(which abound in the woods Avhere the birds deposit their seed,) by 
pressing out the juice and boiling it, without reference to fermenta 
tion. From the variety and luxuriance of the fruits such as quinces 
as large as a man s head, peaches weighing upwards of a pound, with 
apples, pears, oranges, lemons, and citrons of the finest description, 
valuable domestic wines might be procured. Even from the fruit of 
the myrtus luma, a species of myrtle which frequently grows to the 
height of 40 feet, a pleasant wine is made, which is a good stomachic, 
is held in high estimation, and by strangers is often preferred to Mus- 
cadel. From the fruit called quelu, which is very sweet, small, and 
of a colour between red and yellow, a very palatable drink is drawn : 
from Molle, another fruit of the shape and colour of pepper, is made 
a drink termed Huigan by the natives and Molle by the Spaniards. 
This liquor is very agreeable, and in great request by people of respect 
ability. Of Molle there are two kinds, the common (schinus mollis) is 
usually found in the marshes, and the other is termed schinus huigan. 
From the berries of these, a kind of red wine of an agreeable flavour, 
but very heating, is prepared. The Indians manufacture a beverage 
from those berries as strong and as pleasant as wine. Antonio de Her- 
rera describes a beverage of a bright golden colour made from the fruit 
of the Murtilla-tree, which strongly resembles the grape. This liquor is 

* Beechey s Voyage to the Pacific , 4to. vol. i. p. 29. 


warm, very agreeable to the taste, and highly salutary, as it increases the 
appetite, and never produces any painful consequences to the head, 
though it bears a greater proportion to water than wine does. 
From the grain of quinua (a species of chenopoduiin from tliree to 
four feet high,) a very pleasant stomachic beverage is made. From 
the berries of the maqui (cornus Chilensis) a species of wild grapes 
which are very pleasant for eating, the Indians prepare a liquor, 
termed theca, which is held in considerable estimation and is common 
in Peru. 

The aboriginal Chilians, long before the landing of the Spaniards, 
employed leaven in making bread, and they were, besides, acquainted 
with the process of fermentation, by which they obtained from their 
grain and fruits, several kinds of inebriating liquors which they kept 
in jars after the manner of the Greeks and Romans. From the clay 
of the country they made every species of vessel suited to domestic 
purposes, well glazed, and polished by a mineral varnish called colo. 
Wooden vessels were also common, and even vases of marble of 
excellent workmanship. According to Don Ulloa, the guaqueros, or 
drinking vessels of the inhabitants of Quito, were of a very fine black 
earth, and the place at which they were originally formed is unknown. 
In shape they were round, having a handle in the middle with the 
mouth on one side, and a representation of an Indian s head on the 
other, whose features were so naturally expressed, that few workmen 
of the present day could surpass it. Besides these, he adds, that 
various sized vessels made of red and white earth were found among 
the cemeteries of the aborigines, for the purpose of making and pre 
serving the chica. Lane, in his account of the modern Egyptians, 
says that he saw in the tombs at Thebes, many similar jars containing 
the dregs of Bousa.* Some of the native Chilian earths have such 
peculiar quality that the vessels made of them are said to communi 
cate an agreeable flavour and smell to the liquors they contain. 
Some of these vessels are handsomely ornamented with plants and 
animals, and bring a great price in Peru and Spain. 

At the interment of the dead, great quantities of chica are con 
sumed, first in the entertainment of friends, and afterwards when they 
arrive at the grave-yard. Here both provisions, and vessels filled 
with chica and wine, are placed beside the corpse with a view of sus 
taining it during its passage to the other world. Besides these, the 
mound raised over the dead body is moistened with a quantity of chica y 
as a libation to the memory of the departed. The attachment of 
the people to fermented liquors is such, that they consider every 

* Lane s Account of the Modern Egyptians, &c. 2 vols. 8vo. vol. ii. p. 34. 


entertainment a mockery unless they have abundance to drink ; yet, 
generally speaking, their habits are temperate. 

The aborigines use beer and cider as their common beverages, 
which they make from Indian corn and apples ; yet they are 
extremely fond of wine, which they procure from the Spaniards. At 
their banquets, at which it is common for 300 persons to be present, 
more meat, grain, and liquor are consumed than would be sufficient 
to support a whole family for two years. These feasts are called 
Cahuin, or circles, from the company seating themselves in a circle 
around a cinnamon tree.* No entertainment, however, of any sort is 
considered worthy of the name of a feast, unless there is drink in 

At Potosi, wine is seldom used except at great dinners. Claret 
rates at 12s. the bottle ; Champagne from 12s. to 16s. ; English cider 
from 6s. to 8s. At Cinti, about 40 or 50 leagues from Potosi, a 
good wine is made which is sold from about 2s. to 2s. 6d. the bottle, 
and which is said to resemble Burgundy. Rum and brandy sell from 
8s. to 10s. the bottle. The cultivation of the vine and wine-making 
might be a speculation useful in many parts of South America. In 
the province of Tarija, good wine is produced little inferior to Bur 
gundy. In the vicinity of San Lucas, fine wine and brandy are made, 
even to the extent of exportation, and after leaving this village and 
entering the valley of Cinti, it is a continued vineyard for nearly 
twenty leagues. This place is celebrated for its wines and brandies 
which are in great demand and sent to all the upper parts of Peru : 
\vine is sold at Is. 3d. per bottle. 

The genial warmth of the climate and soil in the valleys and plains 
under the Andes, are particularly favourable to the growth of the 
vine. Some of the vineyards, especially those in the vicinity of 
Mcndoza, are said to contain 60,000 plants. The grapes are large, 
black, and highly flavoured, resembling the Hambro species more than 
any other. A duty of one dollar is imposed on every cask of brandy, 
and four reals on every cask of wine. The wines and brandies of 
Mendoza, San Juan, and Rioja, make their way to the Rio de la 
Plata to the extent of 12,000 barrels annually, where they are 
bartered for English merchandise, besides which, large quantities are 
sent to Potosi, Santa Fe, and other places. In transporting these 
over the immense plains of the Pampas, oxen and mules are 
employed ;f the former, to the number of six in a wagon, travelling 
about eight leagues in a day ; and the latter laden with skins in pack- 

* Molina s History of Chili. 

f Yide Account of the United Provinces of Rio de la Plata, from the Spanish, 
8vo. 1825. 


saddles, travel in troops together at the rate often or twelve leagues 
u day. At night their saddles are carefully placed in a circle in 
which the muleteers make a fire and repose themselves after the 
fatigues of their journey.* While treating of the Pampas, the method 
of preserving the grain, as resorted to by the inhabitants, is so curious 
as to be worth relating. The entire skin of an ox is taken, the legs 
are sewed up, and the whole is filled with corn. It is then suspended 
between four stakes, the legs hanging downwards, so that it has the 
appearance of a living animal. In this state, it is covered with hides 
to prevent rats, birds, or vermine getting at it, as well as to preserve 
it from any external injury. 

The province of Paraguay consists chiefly of extensive prolific plains. 
Among their vegetable productions, may be mentioned maize, wheat, 
palms, figs, peaches, pomegranates, lemons, with innumerable others, 
together with the vine, many of which are found even in a wild state. 
Real wine is made of a good quality, and pulque from the maguey y 
while in Buenos Ayres, liquors of every sort may be obtained. The 
Indians cultivate maize from which they make their favourite drink, 
and from a root resembling a chestnut in taste, they make an intoxi 
cating liquor of an agreeable flavour. Schemdel calls this root man- 
dioch pobiore, and the liquor drawn from it mandebocre. Mead is 
a favourite beverag-e, honey being abundant, and the only process 
observed in its formation is the mere boiling of the honey. From a 
vegetable termed Arrachaca, cultivated in Paraguay, but more parti 
cularly about Santa Fe, is obtained an inebriating liquor. The arra- 
chaca when reduced to a pulp, and combined with other materials, fur 
nishes a drink of a most agreeable and refreshing description. This 
plant is said to be one of the most valuable in South America, as its 
properties are such as to compete with, if not excel, those of the 
potato. It is used in the same manner, is grateful to the taste, and 
the most delicate appetite may use it without the dread of unpleasant 
consequences, being nutritive and easy of digestion. Superior starch 
is made of it, and it forms the basis of a variety of confectionary. 
Spain always shewing herself unfriendly to agricultural extension, 
issued at Mexico, in 1803, an order to root up all the vines in the 
Northern provinces, merely because the merchants at Cadiz com 
plained of a diminution in the sale of their wines. Fortunately this 
order was never executed, under the impression that it might drive 
the natives into hostility with the government, as the culture of the 
vine formed no inconsiderable portion of their agricultural pursuits, 

* Colt-lough s Travels in South America, 2 vols. 8vo. vol. i. p. 165. 


The greatest enemies to the vine in this country are the ants, 
which give the planters the greatest trouble to subdue them. Owing 
to the same jealous principle of the Spaniards, just alluded to, at Buenos 
Ayres, grapes could not be cultivated but by special appointment, and 
that only for the supply of the table. Grape-brandy was, until lately, 
chiefly furnished from Europe, but at present it is principally distilled 
in the country. The lower orders in Buenos Ayres are much prone 
to irregularities, many of whom, when inflamed by spirits, are hurried 
into the committal of very brutal acts. To repress extravagancies of 
this nature, the government have put heavy licenses on the pulperias 
or spirit-shops, from which a considerable revenue is obtained, while 
25 per cent, duty is levied on all vines and liquors imported. Tra 
vellers say that the effects of drinking are more perceptible here than 
in England. In many it produces derangement, and others it incites 
to the committal of suicide. In some of the South American districts, 
the natives, in their drunken moments, carry gambling to such a 
height, that even their wives are staked on the result of a game, and 
the forfeit given up in case of loss. To the ease with which drink is 
procured, the heat of the climate, and the consequent lassitude, may 
be attributed those fatal consequences. To the native tribes border 
ing on Paraguay and Brazil, the mandioc affords a drink both cooling 
and renovating. The roots of this plant are sliced and boiled till they 
become soft, they are then allowed to cool, the young women chew 
them, and they are afterwards put into the same vessel which is filled 
with water and again boiled, during which they are kept stirring all 
the time. The unstrained juice is put into large jars which are buried 
in the floor of the house for about half their depth. They are then 
closely stopped and allowed to ferment for two or three days. A 
notion is prevalent that if the liquor be made by men it is good for 
nothing ; hence the labour falls to the lot of the females. On a day 
set apart for drinking this beverage, the women kindle fires round the 
jars, out of which they serve the men in half gourds with the hot 
liquor, which they receive singing and dancing, and always empty at 
one draught. Here it may be remarked, that no man when single is 
suffered to partake of the drinking feast. During this drinking bout, 
they smoke an herb called petun either in pipes of clay, the shells of 
fruit, or in leaves rolled together in the form of a tube, forcing the 
smoke through their nostrils, mouths, and artificial holes in their 
cheeks. All this time the young married men dance with rattles on 
their legs, but never eat anything during the interval, nor leave the 
house until every drop is exhausted. In this manner they remove 
from house to house, till all in the place or village is finished. These 


meetings are commonly held once a month, and have been known to 
continue upwards of three days and nights. There are two kinds of 
this liquor called Caou-in or kaatoy, red and white, and in taste 
resemble milk. There is a great similarity in name between the 
kaawy and the cava of Otaheite, and, as they are both made by masti 
cation, seem to be nearly the same liquor, and produce nearly similar 
effects.* Wherever the mandioc is cultivated, it is chiefly from it 
that drink is manufactured. Many of the Brazilian tribes prepare a 
better liquor from the acajee, the fruit of the acayaba. The acajee 
is a kind of wild apple, and is in great request among the people of 
this country. It is held in such estimation, that the ages of persons 
are numbered by it, because it bears fruit but once a year, which 
ripens about the close of December or early in January. If the rains 
be moderate in Brazil at the time of the equinoxes, they are hailed 
by the people as a promise of plenty of the acajee, and hence they are 
sometimes called the rains of the acajee. The juice of this fruit fur 
nishes an excellent cider. This liquor is obtained by squeezing the 
fruit or bruising it in a wooden mortar. At first it is white but in a 
few days it gets paler, having an astringent effect, and, after fermen 
tation, becomes highly intoxicating. In about the course of half a 
year it gets like vinegar, but, with care in the process of making, it 
might keep much longer. Of the pulp, a sort of flour is made which 
the natives value as the highest dainty. From the fermented juice of 
the Cashew-nut, (anacardium occidentale,) a native of Brazil, is 
obtained a spirit which some account not inferior to the best arrack, 
rum, or brandy. Nine different kinds of liquors are said to be made 
by the Brazilians, each possessing peculiar qualities, and it is related 
of these savages they are as choice in the selection of the water as the 
Europeans are in the choice of wine. The reason assigned for making 
the women plant the maize, prepare their drinks, and attend to the 
labours of the field, is, " because," say they, " women know to bring 
forth, which is a thing that we do not know : when they sow and 
plant, the stalk of maize produces two or three heads ; the root of 
mandioc two or three baskets full, and every thing multiplies in like 
manner from their hands. Why ? because women know to bring 
forth and to make the seeds and roots bring forth also." A drinking 
bout is customary at sowing time and at harvest. When a guest 
arrives, this is his welcome ; when they rejoice, they get drunk ; and 
when sorrowful, they get drunk likewise : thus making pretexts for 
indulging in intoxication at all times. The liquors are kept not only 

* Southey s History of Brazil, vol. i. p. 65. 


in large jars, as already stated, but in vessels hollowed in solid wood, 
and in large baskets so close in their texture, that with a little gum 
and calking they are perfectly water-tight. 

In Brazil, the policy of the government had prevented the appli 
cation of its native produce in the composition of liquors for the 
sake of encouraging the consumption of wines and brandy from Por 
tugal. But since the removal of the Braganza family from the 
mother country and the establishment of a regular government, the 
manufactures of the Brazilians are better supported and more extended. 
Sugar plantations are numerous, and the exportation of that article 
has considerably increased, although the apparatus of the sugar-house 
is very simple, without any of the large machines used by the West 
India planters. Rum is distilled, of which great quantities are sent 
to various parts of the New World as well as to Europe. To almost 
every sugar plantation a still is attached, but, in too many instances, 
of very rude materials and awkward construction. The still is a 
mere earthen jar w r ith a long narrow neck, on the top of which is 
placed a head or cap having on one side a pipe about six inches long, 
into which is fixed a brass tube four feet in length. This tube is put 
through an earthen vessel sufficiently large to hold a quantity of water 
for the condensation of the spirit, forming a substitute for the worm 
and worm-tub. The liquor, in many instances, undergoes only one 
distillation; but when a superior article is required, it is distilled a 
second time. The wash is fermented in large earthen jars, but no 
rules have been established for regulating the quantities of the mate 
rials employed for its preparation. A strong lee is said to be poured 
on the sugar juice in order to thicken arid purify it. This lee is 
procured by infusing in water the ashes of a kind of polygonum, 
which, by the Indians, is called Cataya, by the Portuguese herva 
debichu. Tin s plant has a bitter pungent taste like pepper, and is 
considered of use in the making of rum. Many of the planters dispose 
of the molasses to small distillers, who are generally of the lower class, 
and, with two or more of these rude stills, obtain a livelihood without 
much trouble ; for fuel being abundant, and the apparatus simple, the 
men often leave the management of the still-house to women, while 
they are at other pursuits. Lately, however, copper-stills have been 
procured from Europe, the introduction of which among the more 
wealthy planters has produced a great reformation in this branch of 
business, and enabled them to manufacture the whole molasses on 
their own plantations. 

The sugar works in Brazil have become, in many parts, respect 
able. These are usually erected near rivers, and some of them employ 


one hundred and fifty slaves. Besides the rum, from 4 to 5,000 
arobas of sugar are made in one year. So far back as 1801, there 
were calculated to be then in Paraiba and Mariache 180 sugar works, 
\vhich have been greatly improved by the introduction of the steam- 

Among the slaves and aborigines, besides rum, various other intoxi 
cating liquors are used. A mixture of bleak sugar and water called 
(jrapa is made by the negroes, which, although never fermented, is 
drunk, on account of its cheapness with avidity, both by men and 
women, who continue at it whole days, dancing and singing. To 
give it a more intoxicating effect, the leaves of the acajee tree, which 
are of a hot quality, are added. Cider is made by the Portuguese, as 
well as another drink called kooi, of the apple acajee, and a sherbetta 
of sugar, water, lemons, and nutmeg. The kooi is prepared by bruis 
ing the acajee apples to obtain the juice, which is strained and allowed 
to remain until cleared by fermentation. 

From the root aipimakakara, a kind of manioc, a wine is prepared 
called aipy. The roots are first sliced and chewed by the females, 
then put into a pot of water and boiled until fit for expression. The 
liquor thus obtained is called kaviaraku, and drunk lukewarm. 
Sometimes the sliced roots are well mixed with warm water, and the 
decoction is swallowed with avidity. In appearance, it is like butter 
milk, and not having undergone any degree of fermentation, it can 
not possibly keep many days. A better kind is made from barley or 
maize, and likewise another liquor called vintro de batatas from the 
batata root. 

Drunkenness is not a prevailing vice amongst the Brazilians, but 
the slaves are fond of indulging themselves in the pleasures of intoxi 
cation when they can do so with convenience. Many excuses are 
formed to effect this purpose, and some of them are ingenious enough 
to defend this weakness. It is related of an old negro, who, as well 
as others of his class, was supported at the expense of a neighbouring 
monastery, that he would travel to a great distance to obtain liquor, 
and, when reproved for his irregularity, he justified himself by saying 
that he and his companions were not slaves to the monks but to their 
patron saint ; and that the monks were only the distributers of the 
saint s property in this world. The manner in which this honest 
negro justified his attachment to spirituous liquors is, it is to be 
lamented, much the same as that which is practised in more civilized 
countries. It strongly reminds us of the reply of the Russian peasant 
to his master on being reproved for intoxication : when asked how 
he could reconcile such irregularity to his conscience, he replied that 


he could only have to make application to his saint to arrange all that 
was requisite on that score. 

As Brazil is now under a monarchy friendly disposed towards 
Great Britain, and as vast advantages appear to offer to men of 
capital and enterprise in the cultivation of the sugar-cane, it seems to 
hold out inducements of no ordinary description to the adventurous. 
The country is healthy, fruitful, and agreeable, and better adapted to 
European constitutions than any part of the West Indies. From 
these considerations it might be a good speculation to make an expe 
riment in that part of the American continent. Agriculture is almost 
unknown there, much less the improvements and machinery which 
have advanced the arts and facilitated the labours of the industrious 
artisans of this country. In Brazil, there is a species of myrtle called 
pitanga,) (myrtus pitanga) which bears a fruit about the size of a small 
plum, and is of a bright red colour, ribbed on the surface. It is of a 
pungent, harsh nature, in consequence of which it is used as a conserve, 
and from it a very agreeable spirit is distilled. Port is not so much 
in use at Rio Janeiro as the Catalonian wine, or Cachaca, which is a 
species of rum. When Dr. Walsh visited this country in 1829, he 
found native Caxas, clear and transparent like water, much resembling 
Scotch whiskey. In consequence of its cheapness, it has many 
votaries, among whom sailors are not the least in number, as 
it is found a salutary antidote against the effects of cold or damp. 
The natives have a peculiar custom of bathing in a tub of punch 
made of Caxas immediately before going to bed by way of refresh 
ment, and as a preventive against cold. Servants have been known 
to take a draught of it mixed with salt as if water, although it was 
nearly as strong and pungent as aquafortis. The blacks are fond of 
taking it in this way ; but it has less intoxicating effects on them than 
on white people, which is no doubt attributable to habit. Some of 
the negroes in the vicinity of Rio Janeiro meet annually and drink 
for the space of sixteen days, during eight of which a sort of flagel 
lation is inflicted daily on each of the parties. This is effected by 
means of a thong with a small stone at the end. The tribes of the 
Guaycuans never permit females to drink intoxicating liquors. A 
species of snuff from the roasted fruit of the parica tree is prepared 
by the women, and in the use of this powder a tube is applied alter 
nately by one individual to the nostril of another, which, with the 
drink, effects intoxication to such an extent that some lose their senses 
and many their lives. 

In the various towns of this territory are houses for the sale of 
wines, and such other liquors as the country affords. In Rio Janeiro 


alone, there were, according to Luccock. in 1821, one hundred vint 
ners, commonly called vinder-keepers^ besides a vast number of other 

Brazil abounds with a species of wild ananas,\)ut the edible sort of 
this fruit is cultivated in the plantations on account of its being large, 
juicy, aromatic, and possessing great nutritive properties. Brandy, 
(sometimes called Nandi,) of good quality, is made from it, as also from 
the fruit of the anacardium and the cajueiro, which is found in all the 
brandy districts. Some of the savage tribes, according to M. de la 
Condamine, have an intoxicating liquor called kakouin, for which they 
evince a warm attachment. From the alfarroba or algarroba tree the 
people of Santiago del Estero collect pods which they pound and press 
into a mass, and mould into cakes or square boxes. This is called 
patay, and is much used for feeding horses. When infused in 
water, it soon ferments and produces a wholesome intoxicating 
beverage. The Jesuits, aware of its fascinating qualities and the facility 
with which it could be converted to sensual purposes, very prudently 
obstructed the cultivation of the alfarroba in the settlements over which 
they had control.f The cakes made from the pods of the algarroba 
are sometimes called arepas, and, though very coarse, are not unpala- 
table.f From the fruit of the Buriti, one of the loftiest and most 
beautiful of the palm tribe, is prepared a liquor which is said to be 
nutritious and palatable, but has the singular property of tinging the 
whites of the eyes without injuring the constitution. The fruit, which 
is covered with red scales, is about the size and shape of a hen s egg, 
and under these scales there is an oily pulp of the same vermillion 
colour. From the fruit or nut of the pot tree (lecythis ollaria) beau 
tiful drinking cups are made. This tree, which rises to the height of 
100 feet, bears at the top a majestic crown of rose-coloured leaves 
vaulted in the form of an umbrella. The nut is about the size of the 
cocoa, and is borne on a stem, which, as the fruit gets ripe, bends with 
the pressure, till at length a sort of lid at the top of the shell is obliged 
to give way and the kernel falls to the ground. In high winds, it is 
dangerous to walk within the range of these trees, on account of the 
fall of the nuts from so great an elevation. 

The mandioc plant in Brazil is of infinite importance, and is used 
as food not only in that country, but through all South America. The 
flour made from the root is called farinha de pao, or stick-flour. Cattle 
are fed on the roots and stems, after being cut small and exposed for 

* Luccock s Notes on Rio Janeiro. 

f Southey s History of Brazil, vol. iii. p. 439. 

% Stevenson s Narrative, vol. ii. p. 186 . 


some time in the sun to take away their noxious qualities ; though 
some oxen from habit have been known to eat the roots quite fresh 
without the least injury. Koster relates* that he had one of these 
animals which was so attached to the mandioc that he would escape at 
night from his stall and tare up the plants with such dexterity that it 
was only from the marks of the feet that the thief could be discovered. 
Yet it is singular, that although it has this attractive quality, its juice, 
while pressing from the root in making tliefarinha, has produced fatal 
effects. An instance of this given by the same traveller, in the case 
of a sheep, which, in attempting to get some of the roots, had taken a 
very small quantity of the liquid, the deleterious qualities of which 
operated in a few seconds. The animal tottered, fell, rose, and fell 
again ; and, although oil was administered, its body swelled to an 
enormous size, and it died in about ten minutes afterwards. The 
farinha of the mandioc is prepared much in the same way as that of 
the Cassada in the West Indies and Mauritius. The roots are scraped 
and then ground into a receiver, forming a pulp, which is afterwards 
enclosed in long bags made of bark or reeds, and then hung up to 
permit the juice to ooze from the material. The pulp, when thus 
drained, is put on a pan either of copper or burned clay, to be dried, 
during which operation it is kept constantly stirred to prevent burn 
ing and to detach the mass into mealy particles. 

The majority of the people use the mandioca, not merely as a 
substitute for flour, but even in preference. It yields two crops in 
the year, and is prepared by boiling and expressing the juice, which is 
poisonous ; the sediment which remains after pouring off the water, is 
the tapioca of the shops. 

Patagonia is a region cold and inhospitable, consisting for the most 
part of open deserts and savannas, yielding nothing but a few willows 
on the rivers, without a single tree or shrub adapted for any mecha 
nical purposes. Cayenne or French Guiana, celebrated for its pepper, 
(capsicum armuum) affords little interest, though sugar, maize, cassia, 
Indian corn, and several kinds of fruits are there to be found. Ama 
zonia being little known and still uncivilized, nothing can be said of 
it, except that it produces corn, grain, all kinds of tropical fruits, and 
great quantities of wild honey, but to what purpose or advantage these 
are converted remains yet to be ascertained. 

Surinam, though fertile in general, is intersected by deep marshes, 
or swamps, and extensive heaths, and the uncultivated parts are covered 
with forests, rocks, and mountains. Sugar and other vegetable pro 
ductions are to be found, among which the quassia tree, or bitter 

* Korter s Travels in Brazil, vol. ii. p. 175. 


drug, well known by the porter brewers, grows wild in the woods, and 
was first exposed for sale by a native called Quas, from whom it 
derives its appellation. The sugar plantations are numerous along 
the banks of the Surinam and Marivine. The city of Parimaribo, the 
capital, is beautifully diversified with orange and lemon trees, and 
fruits hanging in all directions in the utmost profusion. The whole 
resembles an immense garden, affording to the passenger a most 
grateful perfume and a refreshing shade. Rum and sugar are manu 
factured in this settlement which give an impulse and interest to the 
speculation of the inhabitants. On the coast of Surinam, the Indians 
have various sorts of inebriating liquors, among these the juice of the 
conmoo fruit is the most esteemed. The conmoo tree is one of the 
smallest of the palm species ; the berries grow in bunches of a purple 
colour, resembling grapes, and from a solution of them in boiling 
water, mixed with cinnamon and sugar, an agreeable drink is obtained, 
having the flavour of chocolate. From Cassava bread, the females 
make a drink, termed piworree^ similar to that bearing the same name 
in Demerara and Barbadoes. This bread is chewed and fermented, 
and the taste of the liquor which it produces has a strong resemblance 
to ale. Piworree, or Pywarree, is also made by the females chewing 
the cassava flower and spitting it into a wooden trough. This matter, 
by the addition of water, soon runs into fermentation and yields the 
desired beverage. When a sufficient quantity is produced, a feast 
ensues, and the parties drink so freely that they roll on the ground in 
a complete state of intoxication, while the revelry is frequently kept 
up for several days. Piworree, however, is a harmless species of 
exhilarating drink, as it leaves no bad effects ; for, after a sound sleep, 
the votary is perfectly restored to his wonted health and vigour. 

From maize or Indian corn, a drink is manufactured by maceration, 
and which is called chiacoar. The grain is first baked into bread, and 
after being crumbled and macerated with water, it is duly fermented 
and produces the liquor just mentioned. They make another drink 
from yams, cassava, sour oranges and sugar, or treacle mixed, mace 
rated and fermented with water. This drink is much used by the 
Indians, but rum is the favorite beverage. Palm wine is in abundance, 
and generally procured from the fallen trunk of the tree by making 
incisions about a foot square in which the juice is collected, and after 
a short exposure to the sun, it ferments and yields an intoxicating 

Here the vine fvitis campestris) grows in abundance without culti 
vation. The grapes are large and of various colours, having a rich, 

* Stedman s Surinam, vol. i. p. 392 ; vol. ii. p. 115. 


sweet juice. The Indians gather them and prepare them for keeping 
by first sweating them on hurdles over a gentle fire, then drying them 
in the sun, and afterwards storing them for provisions. These vines 
are more of a creeping than of a climbing nature, extending their 
branches horizontally to a considerable distance, and the pending fruit 
almost touching the ground. 

When Ferdinand de Soto invaded the Floridas in the middle of 
the sixteenth century, the inhabitants wre familiar with the use of 
the maguey, and had even converted it into conserves. Ponce de Leon, 
an adventurer of a romantic and chivalrous spirit, was the first of the 
many enthusiasts led to this region under the imaginary delusion that 
in Florida there existed a fountain which had the power of restoring 
youth and giving immortality to those who should drink of it ; a 
notion quite in accordance with the superstition of the times and the 
visionary pursuits of the alchymists of the age. No such fountain, 
however, was discovered, many of those who attempted to find it, 
never returned ; hence it was inferred by the votaries of the day, that 
those persons had drunk of the immortalizing liquor, and had 
discovered a spot too delightful to be abandoned through any 
worldly or human consideration. That they had inebriating drinks 
is certain; but it was beyond the range of intellect of the poor 
Indian to ever think of a liquor that could render him immortal. 
Their inventions never went further than the making of liquors from 
indigenous fruit and grain. An acquaintance with the Spaniards, 
however, soon familiarized them with European luxuries, and imparted 
a taste for all exhilarating drinks. In the course of time, this incli 
nation became so insuperable that the Spanish government, always 
having a view to its own aggrandisement, encouraged distillation, and 
in the Floridas as well as in the neighbouring districts, drew from it 
a considerable revenue. But the manufacture at best was inconsi 
derable when compared with the overflowing fertility of the country 
a country deriving its name from the very appearance of the efflor 
escence of its groves, hills, and valleys. And where nature is thus 
bountiful, to what advantages, under a liberal government, might not 
her gifts be turned. Nothing remarkable is recounted as peculiar to 
the natives different from those of the surrounding nations ; their 
feasts, entertainments, and ceremonies being characterized by the same 
uniformity that marks other American tribes, in a similar state of 
uncultivated nature. Bartram, in his Travels,* describes an assembly 
of natives which he witnessed at Attasse, exhibiting a striking picture 

* Travels through North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, &c. 8vo. pp. 449, 
50, 51. Also Adair s History of the American Indians. 


of the aboriginal Floridans. During the ceremony, two slaves entered 
the place of entertainment, carrying a couple of very large conch-shells 
full of a sort of black beer. After various evolutions and move 
ments, each presented his shell, one to the king, and the other to the 
next in rank, uttering two notes extended as long as he could without 
breathing, during which time from the king to the meanest individual 
at the ceremony, each continued drinking. These two notes are of 
such long and solemn duration that a spectator is struck with the awe 
which they inspire, sounding somewhat like a-hoo-ojah and a-lu-jah t 
and resembling the hallelujah of a Christian assembly. This cere 
monious mode of drinking is continued as long as any of the liquor 
remains. At the close of the autumn, the savages hold a solemn fast 
in honour of the first fruits, or new crops having arrived at maturity. 
To render this the more dignified, they renew their clothing, house 
hold furniture, and cast away not only the old materials of this des 
cription, but even the remaining grain, as well as the old provisions. 
These are usually gathered into a heap and burned. To render the 
ceremony still more imposing, they fast for three days, take medicine, 
and put out all the fires in their villages, abstaining from the gratifi 
cation of every appetite and passion. At this period, a general 
amnesty is proclaimed, and even the captive is suffered to return 
unmolested and rejoicing to his home. On the morning of the fourth 
day, the sun illumines a scene of a very different description. Intoxi 
cating beverages flowing in torrents, are accompanied for three days 
by all the concomitant excesses which undue indulgence in every 
gratification produces. 

From a close observance of the manners and customs of the inha 
bitants of the New World, and contrasting them with those of the 
Old, a striking similarity in some instances appears. An attempt to 
account for this would be foreign to the design of this work ; but it 
may not be irrelevant to observe, that many are of opinion that the 
American continent was peopled by adventurers from Africa, Asia, 
or Europe. A very plausible conjecture is, that the posterity of 
Japhet diverged eastward and westward throughout the whole extent 
of Asia, so that those who arrived at the Pacific Ocean may have 
passed to America by the way of Beering s Straits. Those who 
came to the Atlantic shores may have crossed to this continent in the 
direction of Newfoundland ; and others coasting along Africa may 
have been driven to Brazil or the West India islands by chance, 
through severity of weather or a deficiency in the knowledge of navi 
gation. The description given by the Mexicans of their forefathers, 
is a proof of this hypothesis, since they are described as having come 


from the north-west, and agreeing in their characteristics with the 
Asiatic wandering Tartars. This opinion is strengthened by the 
recent discoveries of Baron Humboldt and other scientific men ; and 
it is almost certain that America was known to the Phoenicians. 
Count Roehenstart, the Russian traveller, during his residence at 
Mexico, writing to the Count De Legarde, says, that " guided by the 
learned observations of the Baron," he was enabled to procure sepul 
chral monuments of these people, which prove beyond a doubt the 
fact of this matter. It is, however, to be regretted, that when the 
Count was on his passage to Europe, these precious fragments of 
antiquity, with a rare collection of natural and artificial curiosities, 
were thrown overboard by a band of pirates who attacked and 
plundered the vessel. 

Portuguese writers allege that when they discovered in Tercera, 
one of the Azore islands, an equestrian statue, made from a slab 
of stone, was found, bearing an inscription on a rock beneath. The 
head of the man was bare, his left hand rested on the mane of his 
horse, and his right hand pointed towards the west, as indicating the 
situation of another continent. If this be true, it evidently goes to 
prove that the New World must have been known to the inhabitants 
of the Old. 

As it is well authenticated by Pliny* and others, that the Phoeni 
cians frequently made voyages through the Red Sea, doubling the 
Cape of Good Hope, and coming home by the Straits of Gibralter, 
^here is no improbability of one of these vessels having been driven 
westward and having arrived at last in America. One of these 
vessels, it is said, was driven to an island very far west, (perhaps the 
same as Plato s Atlantis) larger than Asia and Africa together, having 
a fruitful soil and navigable rivers ; and that through the Phoenicians, 
the Carthaginians came to the knowledge of it, in which new region, 
says Diodorus Siculus, the Carthaginians would not permit any other 
nation to settle, but reserved it for themselves, that if ever they should 
be driven from their native soil, they might have an asyulm. ^Elian 
says, Silenus asserted that there was an extensive continent beyond 
Europe, Asia, and Africa, from which it has been inferred that the 
inhabitants of the Old World had some faint knowledge of the New. 
Another circumstance, which gives additional strength to this reason 
ing, is, that Professor Seyffarth, of Leipsic, in 1827, found among the 
learned and curious repositories at Rome, a Mexican manuscript in 
hieroglyphics, marked with the Mexican zodiac, from which it was 

* Pliny s Nat. Hist. L. ii. s. 67. 


manifest that the Mexicans and Egyptians had intercourse in the most 
remote antiquity, and that they had one and the same system of 
mythology. Humboldt affirms that the ape forms one of the Mexican, 
Mongul, Mandslmr, Tartar, and Chinese zodiacs ; and this analogy 
is a further confirmation of the migration of the Americans from the 
Old World. 

It is remarkable that the people have preserved, in their traditions 
and paintings, a record of the creation of the world, the building of 
Babel, and the consequent confusion of languages. The artificial 
mounds and apparent sites of extensive cities, the weapons of war 
and other implements which have been found, some bearing Roman 
characters indicative of their being made in the time of the CaBsars, 
together with utensils composed of alloyed metals denoting the past 
existence of an art at present unknown to the natives of the new con 
tinent, are further proofs that the last hypothesis is more than conjec 
tural, and that there is every reason to believe the inhabitants of 
America had their origin from the Eastern hemisphere. Mr. Ferrell 
states, that at the Bull Shoals, each a branch of White River in 
Missouri, several feet below the surface, relics were found which 
indicated that the spot had formerly been the seat of metallurgical 
operations, where the alloy appeared to be lead united with silver. 
Arrow heads cut out of flint and earthenware that had undergone 
the action of fire, were also found in the same place. Lieutenant- 
Colonel Galindo, while governor of Poten in Central America, 
discovered the ruins of an extensive city called Palenque, extending 
for more than 20 miles along the summits of the ridge which separates 
the country of the wild Maya Indians from the State of Chicapas, in 
the ancient kingdom of Gautemala. The principal buildings were 
erected on the most prominent heights, and in several of them there 
exist remains of stairs formed of stone and plaster. The stones of 
the edifices are about 18 inches long, 9 broad, and 2 thick, gradually 
inclining where they form a roof, but always placed horizontally. 
The eaves are supported by large stones which project about two 
feet. The wood-work lias disappeared, and the windows are small, 
circular, and square perforations. Human figures in alto-relievo are 
frequent on small pillars, and filigree work imitating boughs and 
feathers, is perceptible in several places. Some of the sculptured 
ornaments looked like the Corinthian foliage of the ancient architects. 
These ruins are buried in a thick forest ; and the adjacent country 
for leagues contains remains of the ancient labours of the people, con 
sisting of bridges, reservoirs, monumental inscriptions, &c. Baron 


Humboldt observes, that the half civilized people met with in 1537, 
by the conqueror Queseda, were clothed in cotton garments, and had 
the most intimate relation with the people of Japan. Colonel Galindo 
is decidedly of opinion that the Mayscas or Maya language was 
derived from the Japanese, and that the builders of the city of Palen- 
que must have dated their antiquity at a period long anterior to that 
of Mexico, and their civilisation must have surpassed that of the Peru 
vians. In fact, Palenque is, in its historical importance, considered the 
Thebes of America. 

A circus and several stone pyramids in the valley of Copon, in 
Honduras, are rather more celebrated than the ruins of Palenque, 
or those formed near Ocosingo, in the same part of this continent, and 
bespeak a high state of civilisation. 

Other testimonials have been found, intimating that the inhabitants 
of the old world had early visited America. A circumstance related 
in the Universal Gazette of Bogota for 1832, is worthy of notice. 
A planter discovered a tumulary stone near the village of Dolores, 
about two leagues from Monte Video, covered with unknown 
characters. On removing this stone, he found a vault of brick-work 
containing antique swords, a helmet, and buckler, much worn with 
rust, and an earthen amphora of large dimensions. The following 
words in Greek characters were deciphered : " Alexander son of 
Philip, was king of Macedon, about the sixty-third Olympiad In 
these places Ptolemy" On the hilt of the sword was an engraved 
portrait, which appeared to be that of Alexander ; and on the helmet, 
chased work representing Achilles dragging the dead body of Hector 
round the walls of Troy. From this it has been inferred that Brazil 
was explored by a contemporary of Aristotle, and that it is probable 
that Ptolemy, the celebrated commander of Alexander s fleet, driven 
by tempests into what the ancients called the Great Ocean, was cast 
on the shore of the new continent, and had marked the event by the 
erection of this monument. 

During an expedition to the west of Montreal, undertaken by some 
French travellers, pillars of stone were found at a distance of 900 
miles from that capital, of great magnificence, and manifestly of 
human structure, but of which the natives had no tradition ; nor did 
they exhibit any marks relative to their origin or purport. One 
stone, however, was discovered having another set in it bearing an 
inscription in unknown characters, which was afterwards sent to 
France to be deposited in the Royal Museum. The country in 
which these pillars were discovered had the appearance of having been 


once the seat of civilisation, still retaining the vestiges of agricultural 

From the preceding facts and observations, as well as the high 
state of civilisation found in Mexico and Peru, when first visited by 
the Spaniards, it is evident that the inhabitants were descended from 
a superior race of people ; and that the knowledge of malting, brew 
ing, and fermenting, so well known to those two nations in par 
ticular, indicates an origin from a country in which these were 
perfectly familiar. 

In the United States, the distillation of spirits is a manufacture of 
considerable importance. It was practised, though rudely, by some 
of the early settlers, and has continued to increase in proportion to 
the progress of agriculture. The resources of the country are great, 
and, as fuel is plentiful, there is scarcely any check to the efforts of 
the industrious in this branch of trade. In a table of the Addenda 
will be found a summary of the distilleries and breweries existing in 
the United States, the only collected view that could be obtained. 
This return was made by the marshals of the districts, and by the Secre 
taries of the territories ; but it is thought to fall considerably short of 
the actual number of stills and gallons of sp rits, &c. The value 
of the whole distilled and fermented liquors of the States, in 1810, 
was said to amount to 16,528,207 dollars; and if its increase have 
kept pace with the population, the amount must now be prodigious. 
Mr. Seybert, in his Statistical Annals of the States, published in 
Philadelphia, in 1818, says that the number of the distilleries was 
about 15,000. To encourage these and the brewing establishments, 
as well as the making of wine, government has made such salutary 
regulations, as cannot fail to render them of great service to the 
agricultural interests of the country. The restriction on home-manu 
facture is comparatively trifling, and lias been computed to amount 
to little more, throughout all the States, than about one cent or 
scarcely a penny per gallon, while on all beer, ale, and porter, imported 
in bottles, a duty is imposed of fifteen cents, or if imported other 
wise than in bottles, of ten cents per gallon ; and on spirits from grain, 
first proof, forty-two ; second, forty-five ; third, forty-eight ; fourth, 
fifty-two ; fifth, sixty ; and on all above the fifth proof seventy-five cents 
per gallon. If the spirits should be made from any other materials 
than grain, the duty on the first and second proof is thirty-eight 
cents ; on the third, forty-two ; on the fourth, forty-eight ; on the fifth, 

* Vide Kahn and Carver s Travels through North America. 

fifty-seven; and upon all above that number, seventy cents per gallon. 
On wines imported from Madeira, on Burgundy, Champagne, 
Rhenish, and Tokay, one hundred cents ; and on Sherry and St. 
Lucar wines, sixty cents. On wines not enumerated above, when 
imported in bottles or cases, seventy cents. Lisbon, Oporto, and 
other wines of Portugal and Sicily, fifty cents. On the wines of 
Teneriife, Fayal, and other western islands, forty cents; and on 
different kinds not imported in cases and bottles, twenty-five cents 
per gallon. The foreign spirits imported into America are consi 
derable. It appears by the public returns, that in the year 1790, 
3,678,199 gallons were imported; and in 1792, 4,869,992 gallons j 
while in the latter year, 948,115 gallons of spirits, the produce of the 
United States, were exported. During the years 1806 and 1807, 
9,750,000 gallons a year were imported. The imports from various 
parts of the world were, at a medium, during the same years, for 
wine 3,881,000 gallons ; while those of rum from the United Kingdom 
of Great Britain and Ireland, amounted to 41,836 proof gallons in the 
period of five years, from 1826 to 1830, both inclusive.* 

The Americans export spirits to Manilla, the Philippine islands, 
and other parts of the East Indies ; to the Floridas, Honduras, Cam- 
peachy, and the Mosquito shore ; also to the Spanish West Indies, 
to their colonies, and even to China. In 1812, 101,243 gallons 
of whiskey, besides wine and geneva, were sent to those places. 
Large importations of wine are made from Madeira in return for 
other merchandise. The wine is purchased at about 160 dollars a 
pipe, and what is not consumed in the States is carried to the East 
and West Indies. 

The immense number of navigable lakes and rivers which intersect 
this vast continent, affords great facility for the transportation of 
spirits, and the interchange of commodities between the different 
States. In the course of eleven months, terminating on the 1st July, 
1811, among other articles, 3,768 barrels of whiskey were sent down 
the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers ; whilst the spirits made at 
Brownsville, near Pittsburg, are in such repute that they are fre 
quently sent to New Orleans, a distance of nearly 2,000 miles. In 
the year 1822, 7,500 barrels of whiskey, value 500,000 dollars, 3,000 
barrels of cider, value 9,000 dollars, and 3,000 barrels of porter, 
value 15,000 dollars, were sent from the Western States for consump- 

* Vide Parliamentary Papers. 


tion ; giving a tolerably correct view of the increase of agriculture 
and husbandry in this portion of America.* 

In 1810, as appears by the report of the Secretary of the Treasury, 
the quantity of malt liquors made in the States was nearly equal to 
the consumption. The annual importation was reduced to 185,000 
gallons, while the exportation of native beer, ale, and cider amounted 
annually to 187,000. According to Bristed, 25,000,000 gallons of 
spirits were yearly distilled and consumed in the United States, as 
calculated in 1817, which must have since considerably increased. 

In the early stages of the manufacture, the distillers and brewers 
seemed to have no other object in view than to meet the consumption 
of the States, and of the Indian tribes connected with them. But 
they have long since turned their attention to foreign markets ; and 
from the ease and cheapness with which they can now procure and 
manufacture the raw materials, they are likely to become successful 
rivals of all the nations of Europe. The government viewing this 
trade as of some consequence to the revenue of the country, in 
1813, imposed a duty on all the stills, and the spirits distilled within the 
states. This duty stood as follows : viz. 

Stills employed in distilling from native materials, such as rye, Indian 
corn, apples, &c. including the content of the head : 

Dol. Cents. 

For two weeks .... Qi> 

onemonth 18 

two do 32 

three do 42 

four do 52 

six do 70 

twelve do 1 00 

Stills employed on foreign materials, such as molasses, &c : 

Onemonth 25 

three do 60 

six do 1 05 

twelvedo 1 35 

In 1814, these duties were increased ; but at the close of the war 
in 1815, the additional duties were repealed. The internal imports 
remaining in 1817, were those on licenses for stills, boilers, refined 
sugar, &c., the collection of which depended on the oath of the manu 
facturer, a collector, but no other officer, being employed. To collect 
any description of revenue by means of oaths, is manifestly impolitic, 

* Vid Excursion through the United States and Canada, in 1822 and 3, p. 118. 


as it is well known that to evade enactments of this nature, perjury 
is unfortunately too seldom considered a crime ; and certainly a 
low duty, such as that detailed, is less calculated to induce persons to 
swerve from the strict path of rectitude, than when the duties are 
high and oppressive. 

The distilleries, for the most part, are conducted on a small scale ; 
and, as might be expected when the trade is committed to a vast 
number of people of opposite interests, a great deal of competition 
as well as of ignorance prevails. Breweries not being generally 
established, the want of barm has not failed to produce great 
inconvenience; and the distillers in many of the principal towns, 
as well as in the most remote parts of the Union, are obliged to 
have recourse to various deleterious substitutes, for the fermentation 
of their wash. Hence, combined with a want of due attention 
to the attenuation of their pot-ale, arises that ardent quality which 
renders their whiskey in many instances disagreeable to foreigners. 
Great improvements, however, are said to have taken place ; and 
their peach-brandy, which is now made in abundance, is allowed, 
when matured by age, to be one of the most exquisite spirits in the 
Vorld ;* yet, in making it, the peaches are suffered, in some instances, 
to remain in the vat, till they are in such a state of putrefaction as to 
be offensive.f Fifteen bushels are allowed to yield about six gallons 
of strong brandy. In preparing them for the fermenting tuns, the 
seeds are carefully taken out, and the substance of the peach is bruised 
to a pulp and left for three weeks or a month in that state to ferment ; 
a proper allowance of water is then added, and they are distilled. 
Peaches are abundant in most of the States ; at Philadelphia, there 
were 2,107 baskets of them at one market, and they sold for 12 cents 
(6J.) per bushel ! The price at the same time in New York, was 
about one dollar a bushel : a single orchard has been known to 
produce 1,1 00 bushels. 

Brandy is manufactured in America from various fruits ; and from 
the persimon apple a valuable spirit is made by putting a quantity of 
the fruit into a vessel for a week until it becomes quite soft. Water 
is then poured in and left for fermentation, without the addition of 
any other ingredient to promote it. The brandy is then made in the 
common way, and it is said to be much improved when mixed with 
sweet grapes that are found wild in the woods. 

* Cox s View of the United States, p. 176. 

f The peach tree on the river Ohio comes to maturity in three years. Hellish. 
p, 343. 


Another kind of palatable liquor is procured from this apple. The 
ripe fruit is bruised and mixed with wheat or other flour, and formed 
into cakes which are baked in an oven. These are afterwards placed 
over the fire in a pot full of water, and when they become blended 
with the fluid, malt is added, and the brewing- completed in the usual 
manner : thus is produced a beer preferable to most others. 

In all the States, apples are abundant, particularly in New England 
and New York, and therefore cider is the common drink of the inha 
bitants. In a fruitful year, apples are so plentiful as to be given to 
whoever will take the trouble to gather them. Vast quantities 
are also consumed by cattle and swine. The cider, when well 
made, is of excellent quality, and the least juicy apples afford the best 
liquor. A barrel of cider sells from about one and a half to three 
dollars. A field containing a thousand trees is not uncommon, and a 
single tree has been known to produce six barrels of cider in one 
season, a circumstance the more extraordinary when it takes three 
barrels of apples to make one of cider. Mr. Stuart, a late writer, 
says that much cider is made from the crab-apple, which is worth 
about six-pence per bushel ; but that a considerable quantity of 
engrafted fruit is usually mixed w r ith it. This liquor, he adds, is for 
the most part generally inferior to English cider. The Shakers, a 
religious sect, have two establishments in the State of New York, at 
which they manufacture cider of an excellent quality, which sells so 
high as ten dollars per barrel.* 

From the maple, which abounds in Massachusetts, Vermont, Penn 
sylvania, Rhode Island, Ohio, Tenessee, North Carolina, and other 
states, an extensive supply of sugar is drawn. Of this tree, there are 
three varieties, -hard, black, or rock maple ; white, silver, or middle 
maple ; and soft, swamp, or red maple. Chemists have proved that 
the saccharine matter is abundantly diffused through the vegetable 
kingdom. Plants from which it is produced are most numerous in 
the East and West Indies, and of these the maple is next in eminence 
to the sugar-cane. Of the various kinds of this tree, the sugar-maple 
(acer saccharinum), and the silver maple facer dasycarpum), are the 
most productive. To the Americans it has proved a source of wealth 
and domestic luxury. Even in Germany, it is asserted that those 
trees will afford sugar equal in quality to any Muscovado of our islands, 
and so cheap as 4d. or 5d. per pound.| 

The sugar-maple trees grow to the height of from 80 to 120 feet, 
and from 2 to 5 feet in diameter. They put forth a beautiful white 

* Stuart s Three Years in the United State*, 2 vols. 8vo., vol. i. p. 267. 
f Philosophical Magazine, vol. iii. p. J05. 


blossom in spring before they show a single leaf, and arrive at full 
growth in about 20 years. The wood is very strong and of a fine 
texture ; being very inflammable, it is not employed in building, but 
is used chiefly for fuel. The mode of tapping the tree is by perfo 
ration with an axe or auger, the latter is the preferable instrument. 
The incision being about three-fourths of an inch in an ascending 
direction, is afterwards gradually deepened to two inches. A spout 
made of sumach or elder is introduced about half an inch into the hole, 
and projects from 3 to 12 inches from the tree and 2^ feet from the 
ground. The sap flows from four to six weeks, and in greater abun 
dance where there is frost in the night and a thaw during the day, and 
in fact, does not flow at all without frost. There are three modes of 
converting the sap into sugar, viz., evaporation, freezing, and boling, 
the last of which is the most general and rapid. Farmers have no 
better apparatus for conducting the process, than one or two small iron 
kettles, and with these they will make 200 or 3001bs. of sugar in the 
space of a fortnight or three weeks. Others, however, carry on the 
manufacture more scientifically, on an extensive scale. For the collection 
of sugar from the maple tree at the time when the frosts are breaking 
up in the Ohio and other States, whole families from neighbouring 
villages and towns resort to those woods where the trees abound. Here 
they pitch their tents, and the rendezvous is called ^sugar-camp. There 
is no means employed but that of reducing down the sap by boiling 
from its limpid state to a pulpy or inspissated consistence, and, while 
cooling, it is stirred a little with a stick in order to granulate more 
readily until converted into sugar. There are several modes by 
which it is graned by the French settlers, who make it into a hard 
substance. Those practised in the West Indies are probably the best. 
The grane of this sugar is sometimes as large and as fine as that of 
the best Muscovado. The sap of this tree is a very pleasant drink, 
and the sirup is by many preferred to honey. A single maple will 
produce in the season from 8 to 14lbs. of sugar, and one family has 
been known to collect from 9 to 20 cwt. in a good year. One hundred 
trees tapped in April with the attention of one man for fifteen days, 
have been known to yield 1121bs. of sugar, 10 gallons of molasses, 
and 1 barrel of vinegar. The trees, when properly heated, do not 
suffer by this exudation, and when the sap has ceased to flow from the 
incisions, plugs of wood are introduced into the auger-holes, which 
in the course of two or three years are covered with them. The 
maple is a hardy tree, and found to grow well in the cold climate of 
Canada. It has been suggested that it might thrive in Great Brituiu 


and Ireland, and be productive of employment and profit to those who 
would encourage its cultivation a speculation that might not be un 
worthy of a trial. The aborigines collect twice a year, (during- the 
spring and fall of the leaf,) large quantities of this sugar, which is of 
a greenish hue, and in taste a little acid. The first collection takes 
place in February, March, or April, according to the latitude and 
climate ; the second occurs when the juice has not a sufficient body to 
become sugar, and when it is converted into a sort of molasses, which, 
mixed with water, affords a cooling draught during the heat of summer : 
some boil it with hops and make it into beer. The time of collecting 
the sugar is a period of great feasting amongst the poor Indians, who, 
at intervals, are seen in groups of both sexes at the foot of the trees ; 
the young dancing and playing at different games, the children bath 
ing under the direction of the different Sachems, while the aged, 
awaiting at intervals the collection of the sap, enjoy the festivities of 
the scene, and occasionally partake of the innocent delights of the 
season. The profits of the maple tree do not arise from its sugar 
alone, for it affords most agreeable molasses and excellent vinegar. 
The sap, which is suitable for these purposes, is obtained after that 
which affords sugar has ceased to flow. 

These sugars and molasses form the basis of a large proportion of 
the rums at present manufactured by the Americans, to the great 
injury of the British colonies, as is manifest from the great decrease 
in the exports of these articles from thence to the States. The extent 
and value of the maple sugar manufactory will be best illustrated by 
the subjoined view of the returns of a few of the Sates for the year 

Massachusetts 422,0001bs value, 82,400 dollars. 

Vermont 1,200,000 120,000 

Delaware 755,859 150,000 

Virginia 1,659,447 

Ohio 3,023,806 309,932 

Indiana 50,000 

Kentucky 2,471,647 308,932 

Tennessee 162,340 

Illinois 15,600 

New York 64,000 10,000 

The price varies from 7 to 16 cents per Ib. but it is in general cheap, 
compared with that which is imported. It has been computed that 
at least 71,000,0001bs. of sugar are required in the United States for 
the annual consumption. Of this quantity, it will be seen that the 
maple forms no inconsiderable portion. That made from the cane is 


rapidly increasing, particularly in Louisiana and Georgia. Cane 
plantations are extending as far as 150 miles north of New Orleans, 
along the banks of the Mississippi. Though the cane does not succeed 
every year, yet the profit of one good season is a sufficient remune 
ration for several indifferent crops. The canes are generally cut in 
November and December, and the sugar is immediately pressed out 
by rollers. 

The maple sugar has arrived to that importance that it forms an 
article of export : in one year this export amounted to 4,374 dollars. 
This article is in such demand at home, and so cheap, that it always 
meets a ready sale. 

The sap of the hickory becomes a fine white sugar merely by drying, 
and is, in its native state, a very pure and sweet sirup. The juice of 
the beech and birch, when fermented, affords a good liquor resembling 
beer. Indian corn, which is nearly the staple grain of all the States, 
affords a never varying supply of material for distillation. This grain 
rising to the height of from 7 to 12 feet, is well calculated for a climate 
where there is little rain in the summer, as from the peculiar construc 
tion of its leaves it has the power of retaining in the interstices a quan 
tity of dew or rain for its nurture. Although Indian corn (zea mays) 
is more productive than any other kind of grain, yet it often suffers in 
common with other vegetable productions from the various changes of 
the seasons ; but in particular from the ravages of squirrels. When 
the common food of the squirrel, such as nuts, masts, &c. fails in their 
native forests, those animals, congregated in legions, leave their 
wonted haunts, and spreading in every direction, devastate whole 
plantations of Indian corn. So numerous, destructive, and greedy, 
are those mischievous little creatures, that sometimes three or four 
of them have been seen on the same stalk contending for the ears. 
The farmers unite for their destruction ; and it is said that in one 
week upwards of 20,000 have fallen victims to their vengeance. 

The vine is found in America both indigenous and exotic. Its 
abundance in the wild state induced one of its earliest discoverers, 
according to Icelandic records, to give it the name of Vinland, in the 
year 1001, after which dried grapes or raisins became an article of 
export from that country to Norway. The fruit of the vine, in the 
northern parts of America, is of a diminutive size. In Canada, the 
grapes are very small, and although Ellis, in his voyage, tells us that 
grapes grew spontaneously about Hudson s Bay, yet 1 cannot agree 
with him, that the fruit was equal to the currants of the Levant, 
owing to the coldness of the climate, and the stunted growth of the 
plant. The French settlers in the Illinois territory, have turned the 


wild grape to some account ; and finding it growing there in luxuri 
antly wild abundance, have made from it considerable quantities of 
excellent wine, which they dispose of to the neighbouring settlers. 
Hunter, in his Memoirs, says, when speaking of the Missouri and 
Arkanzas country, that the grape vines producing black, red, flesh 
and white-coloured fruit, are to be met with in astonishing quantities 
in the hollows of prairies, the natural results when this plant is 
exposed to a free circulation of air and the direct rays of the sun, 
both of which it enjoys in the open prairies. He saw hundreds, 
nay thousands of acres, covered with the vines, and loaded with the 
most delicious grapes. And were it not for the wild animals, which 
make paths in order to feed on the fruit, it would be impossible to 
pass through the thickly intertwined branches. In parts of the country 
bordering on the Osage river, the crab-apple, plum, and wild cherry- 
tree abound, which serve as supporters to the vine, whose branches 
are so thickly interwoven as to exclude the sun s rays from the ground 

The vine of late years has been much cultivated among the 
Americans. In 1805, a company of emigrants, from the Pays de 
Vaud, settled at New Switzerland, in Indiana, with a view of culti 
vating the vine ; and formed an establishment there, extending about 
seven miles along the Ohio. The vineyards are now very extensive, 
and the settlement is in a prosperous state. In 1810, the crop of that 
district exceeded 2,400 gallons; and in 1811, upwards of 2,700 
gallons. The wine was allowed by correct judges to be nowise infe 
rior to the claret of Bourdeaux. Vines have been also successfully 
cultivated in some parts of Pennsylvania, and excellent wine made of 
them.* Many sorts of foreign grapes grow luxuriantly in New Eng 
land, and yield excellent fruit. The most delicate require to be 
covered during the winter : the purple Madeira grapes bear the 
winter very well. The grapes that have succeeded best are those 
from the Cape of Good Hope and the Island of Madeira. Those of 
the country yield wine of tolerably good quality, and from them, in 
1810, there were produced 96 barrels, valued at 6,000 dollars. These 
successes joined to other considerations, have given rise to the belief 
that America, in a few years, will be completely independent of France, 
as well as of the other European States, in the article of wine. 

The severity of the winters in America, is, in Mr. Cooper s 
opinion, no objection to the successful cultivation of the vine ; for, in 

* Neilson s Recollections of six years Residence in the United States, Svo. 
1830, p. 174. 


a country which extends from the 27th to the 47th degree of latitude, 
it is scarcely possible to suppose that the vine cannot flourish. The 
grape that affords good wine is rarely fit to be eaten ; hence Mr. Cooper 
says, that had the Americans patience to try the experiment, the com 
mon little fox-grape would in time afford a fine wine. This grape 
greatly resembles that of the best vineyards of Switzerland, and the 
fact of its not being a good eating grape is altogether in its favour. 
This writer is of opinion, that to a fat soil, should be prefered a 
gravelly hill side, well broken up with a good exposure to the sun, 
for the site and produce of a good vineyard, which might be easily 
found in any of the middle states of the Union.* The fox-grape, 
(vitis vulpinum) is remarkable for the large size of its vine, which, 
in many places, climbs to the tops of the highest trees, and takes such 
full possession of them, that, after the fall of the leaf, the tree to 
which it is attached seems to be loaded with its fruit. The vine at 
the bottom, is commonly six or eight inches in diameter ; and instances 
have been found of its measuring thirty-seven inches in circumference 
near the ground. The fruit is very good after the frosts have 

In some of the plantations, brandy is made from the lees of the 
wine ; but the apparatus is often ill adapted to the purpose. It may 
be observed in general, that in the manufacture of spirits, the 
Americans seldom practise that cleanliness and caution in brewing, 
fermenting, and distilling, which, in other countries, are so essential to 
flavour and quality. They ferment the wash, in many instances, on 
the grain, and put the mixed mass into the still a practice calculated 
to give the spirits a strong ernpyreumatical flavour, as no machinery 
is used. 

The error of mixing extraneous ingredients with the proper mate 
rials is very prevalent ; among those is salt, which in Indiana is used 
in great quantities. This custom prevailed a long time in Great 
Britain and Ireland ; and in the highlands of Scotland, it is in some 
places observed to this day. The affinity which salt possesses for the 
watery particles of the material in the still, may, perhaps, render it 
useful, but it is at present rejected by the great body of the distillers 
of Europe. 

The rums of New England are considered of good quality, and 
some deem them not inferior to the best that are produced in the West 
Indies. In 1810, they distilled in this State 2,472,000 gallons of rum ; 
from grain, 63,730 gallons ; from cider, 316,480 gallons, while the 

* Cooper s Residence in France. 


breweries yielded 716,800 gallons. Besides this extensive manufac 
ture, much is imported. Geneva is successfully imitated, particularly 
since the tide of emigration has brought many intelligent men from 
Holland, who possess sufficient knowledge of this branch of trade, to 
render the American article equal to that manufactured in the Nether 
lands. Many of the Irish emigrants distil, in genuine purity, that des 
cription of spirits commonly called Innishowen or potheen, which is no 
less a favourite on the other side of the Atlantic, than on the shores 
of Magilligan, or the banks of the Shannon. The following mode of 
making it at an early period, is thus described by an eye-witness : 
To a bushel and a half of rye, four quarts of malt, and a handful of 
hops, were added fifteen gallons of boiling water, which were allowed 
to stand for four hours. These being increased by sixteen gallons 
more, two quarts of home-made yeast were thrown in, and in this pro 
portion either a large or small quantity of worts was prepared, which, 
after being allowed ample time to ferment, was distilled in a simple 
apparatus. One bushel of rye produced about eleven quarts of 
a weak and inferior spirit, and sold at the rate of 4si 6d. per gallon. 
The refuse of these small stills was used in feeding swine. 

The use of malt liquors is increasing in all parts of America. Bot 
tled porter is an article in much demand, but it is greatly inferior to 
that made in Great Britain. Newburg, a town about 60 miles above 
New York, is fanred for the brewing of good ale. Albany is also 
celebrated for the excellence of its ale, which is sent all over the 
States and greatly admired. This branch of manufacture, like many 
others in America, is becoming of great interest and value. Besides 
the advantages they possess in grain and water, hops are now culti 
vated in different districts. New England affords a greater quantity 
than any other spot of equal extent in the Union, yielding from 1,000 
to l,5001bs. an acre, and sell for 6d. per pound. The manufacture 
of malt liquors, although on the increase, is much below that in dif 
ferent parts of Europe, but the preference is given to spirits, and 
hence the distillery establishments are vastly more prosperous. 

Honey is plentiful in different parts ; the bees are not only domes 
ticated, but are often found lodged in the hollows of trees in the 
forests, and men skilled in the business discover their retreats and 
obtain great supplies. From the white clover which abounds, honey 
is procured of the most pure and perfect sort, and might be increased 
to any extent. In the Carolinas, there are prodigious quantities of 
it, from which are made excellent spirits and very fine mead. There 
is no plant in the States to which the bees are more attached than 
buck-wheat. This is not, however, generally cultivated in Kentucky, 


which is one of the principal reasons why honey is not collected to 
any extent in that settlement^ In many parts of the States, bees are 
partial to the rich low grounds commonly called bottoms, from their 
abounding in a variety of plants, shrubs, and flowers ; among which 
the Polygonum scandens (wild buck-wheat) is peculiarly attractive. 

In the enumeration of the various kinds of drink common in 
America, it would be unpardonable to omit noticing the Ballston 
Waters, in the State of New York, which possess qualities highly 
exhilarating, sometimes producing vertigo, that has been followed by 
inebriety and drowsiness. These waters are considered by the 
farmers of the neighbouring districts as an excellent beverage, and 
are sent for at a distance of from 6 to 10 miles for refreshment to the 
labourers during the hay-making and harvest ; thus superseding, in a 
great measure, the use of any kind of ardent spirits.* The proper 
ties of the Saratoga water, situated seven miles from that of Ballston, 
are of the most remarkable nature, and the quantity of gas it contains 
is such, that a very nice sort of breakfast-bread is baked from it 
instead of yeast. 

To entitle persons to retail wine and spirituous liquors, they are 
obliged to take out a license at the following rates, viz : 

Retailers of wine and spirits, including merchandise, 25 dollars. 

Wines alone, 20 

Spirits alone, 20 

Domestic spirits, 15 

Merchandise, other than wine arid spirits, 15 

But in all places in which the population does not exceed one hun 
dred families to the square mile : . 

Retailers of wine and spirits, including merchandise, 15 dollars. 

Wine and spirits, 15 

Spirits alone, 12 

Domestic spirits, 10 

Merchandise, other than wine and spirits, 10 

These licenses are generally obtained from the mayor or chief 
magistrate of a city or town. In New York, both wholesale and 
retail wine and spirit dealers are termed grocers, and their premises are 
labelled with the words " grocery stores" The small retail shops, com 
monly called "grog shops" are for the most part at corners of streets, 
and the proprietors are chiefly Irishmen. The principal article for 
consumption is Yankee, or New England rum. The price varies 
according to the quality from 2d. to 6d. the glass ; and it is rarely 
drunk otherwise than with cold water. Any infringement on the 

* Dwight s Travels in New England and New York, vol. iii. p. 399. 


regulations by which licenses are governed is visited by different 
degrees of punishment. All spirits brought into the city of New 
York from the country are inspected on their arrival, as also the 
spirits made in the city, by officers appointed for the purpose. One 
is called Inspector General of domestic spirits, with five others who 
act under him. In Connecticut, persons selling spirits without license 
forfeit 10 dollars for the first offence, 20 for the second, 40 for the 
third, and so on in proportion. 

The following is a pretty correct view of the rates at which the 
different kinds of liquors are sold in the United States : 

Brandy from 11 dollars (5s. 8d.) to 2 dollars (9s.) per gallon. 
Holland Gin, 11 do. 2 do. do. 

Jamaica rum, 1 do. (4s. 6d.) 1J do. (5s. 8d.) do. 
New England rum and whiskey, 33 cents (Is. 3d. or Is. 

6d.) to 50 cents (2s. 3d.) do. 

Madeira wine, 12 to 18 dollars per dozen. 

Claret, 3 to 15 do do. 

Table beer, 6d. per quart. 

Bottled beer, 6jd. do. 

Common ale, 5^d. do. 

Best ale, 7d. do. 

Porter, 6jd. do. 

Cider, 1 1 s. 3d. per bar. 

From the cheapness with which spirits can be procured in the 
United States, averaging scarcely more than 38 cents the gallon, the 
people indulge themselves to excess, and run into all the extravagancies 
of inebriety. Notwithstanding this round charge against the Americans, 
it would be doing them injustice not to state that the beastly slave to 
habitual intoxication is not a common character among them, although it 
is admitted that there is a greater consumption of liquor in the States in 
proportion to the population, than in any other quarter of the known work . 
How this happens it is difficult to determine ; some attributing it to 
one cause and some to another. That it is a great evil all admit, and 
it can oidy be accounted for from a combination of circumstances 
which rarely occur in other places. The influx of emigrants, their 
lack of acquaintance, want of employment, habits of former living, 
new associations, excessive heat in summer, and cold in winter, alike 
conspire to work on the frailties of human nature, and to reduce indi 
viduals to this debasement of character. Indeed, when the moral 
habits become once depraved, it is difficult to restore the mind to the 
exercise of religious pursuits. 



From the reports of several societies to the government oil tlie 
growing evils of intoxication, it was found necessary that some active 
and determined measures should be taken ; and in order to check this 
baneful vice, the American legislature, in 1821, wisely enacted a law 
which places the concerns and property of habitual drunkards in the 
hands of a committee appointed by the Court of Chancery, thus ex 
tending to them the jurisdiction, exercised by the court with regard to 
the estates of lunatics. 

So great was the consumption of spirits, that in New York, there 
were not less than 1600 spirit sellers; and throughout the whole of 
the Union, the number of dram-shops exceeded that among us in a 
tenfold proportion. One-tenth of the entire population of the States 
resides in that city, which, it is said, consumed spirits to the amount 
of three millions of dollars ; and allowing for the remaining nine-tenths 
a consumption in the same ratio, the money squandered in this way 
would amount to six millions of dollars. 

By a report of the trustees of the alms-house for the city and 
county of Baltimore in 1827, it appears that of 623 adults, admitted 
into that asylum during the year ending April, 1826, it was positively 
ascertained that 554 of that number had been placed there from the 
necessitous circumstances to which they were reduced by excessive 
drunkenness. No wonder that so awful and calamitous a state would 
await such a number of individuals, when we find that even boys 
acquire the habits of drinking much earlier than they do in Europe* 
Not only to the causes enumerated as laying the foundation of such 
vicious propensities, but to the practice of smoking may be attributed 
a great deal of this weakness. It is no uncommon thing to see a boy 
of 12 or 14 years old, with a cigar in his mouth, walk into a tavern in 
the forenoon to take a glass of brandy and bitters to quench that 
thirst which the free use of tobacco always occasions ; and it is well 
known that habits , when early contracted, become in some measure 
constitutional. A bad practice also prevails in America of breakfast-* 
ing very early, which creates a desire for food in the middle of the day, 
at which time a glass or two of ardent spirits is taken, and hence the 
excitement which this custom has established, was kept up during the 
day. And we find that at taverns it was common to see a tub of 
water, with a ladle in it, placed constantly on the counter, from which 
every man that comes in, helps himself, while a decanter of spirits is 
given to take out of it what quantity he may think proper, it being 
considered that water taken without such mixture was dangerous. 


An American for the most part justifies his grog-drinking propensity 
by alleging the deleterious qualities of the water a circumstance 
confirmed in an anecdote told of a European emigrant \vlio had resided 
many years in the New World, and who on visiting the Southern 
States, was asked what kind of water they had in New York. 
" Really," replied he, " I cannot pretend to say, as I never tasted 
water there that was not mixed with some kind of liquor." By the 
general practice of tippling a great deal of time is squandered and the 
moral principles at length sink into degeneracy. Captain Basil Hall, 
in his Travels through the States in 1827 and 1828, says that he did 
not witness any extraordinary excesses, though he saw sipping to be 
a universal practice, that is, taking a little at a time and that every 
hour of the day,* though he adds, that in the aggregate they, perhaps, 
do not take more than in other countries^ where the means of procur 
ing ardent spirits are as ample, and the liquor is as abundant. If general 
report respecting the character of the Americans be true, there is less 
of social intercourse and enjoyment in their drinking than among 
Europeans, for, instead of indulging themselves in chat over a glass, 
they generally swallow at the bar of a tavern whatever they wish to 
take, rather than retire to a room for the sake of conviviality. These 
solitary drunkards usually distinguish their draughts by the low, cant 
terms of "phlegm dispensers" " eye openers, * "perfect love" " life of 
man" " mint-julep" c. Forty millions of dollars, it is thought, are 
thrown away annually on spirits in the States, and it is frightful to 
think that among the prosecutions for irregularity in one year at New 
York, 800 of these cases arose from intemperance, while of 730 per 
sons committed the same year to the work-house in Baltimore, 554 
were for intoxication ; and in the entire of the States, it is conjectured 
that not less than 31,000 fall annual victims to this debasing propensity. 
No wonder, then, that the people of the States should be so anxious 
for the establishment of Temperance Societies, since the good order of 
the community depends upon its regular and moral constitution; 

A brief sketch of the rise, progress, and effect of these societies 
may not be uninteresting. The first meeting for the suppression of 
intemperance was called at Boston, in February, 1824, and the result 
was the formation of a society, the leading features of which were, 
that its members pledged themselves to abstinence from drink, and to 
endeavour to change the habits of the nation with regard to the use 
of intoxicating liquors, as much as lay in their power. Subscriptions 
were entered into to the amount of 2,480, and such was the increase 
* Travels in North America, 3 vols. 8vo. vol. ii. p. 90, 


of those societies, that in the close of 1 829, there had been formed 
more than 1,000 Temperance Societies, upwards of 50 distilleries 
stopped, above 400 merchants relinquished the sale of spirits, and 
upwards of 1,200 drunkards had been reformed. The crew of the 
United States sloop of war (Falmouih), was amongst the first of the 
seamen that shewed an example of abstinence, 70 of them having 
resolved to abstain from spirits, while between 40 and 50 of the crew 
of the Brandy wine frigate followed the example. In 1824, the 
imported spirits amounted to 5,285,000 gallons, while in 1830 they 
amounted only to 1,195,000, shewing a difference in the consumption 
/ of 4,090,000 gallons in the course of six years, which is mainly attri 
butable to the influence of these societies. Between the 1st January, 

1830, and 1st January, 1831, one hundred and fifty vessels sailed from 
the port of Boston without carrying ardent spirits. On the 1st May 

1831, the number of Temperance Societies had increased to 2,200, 
and that of the members to 170,000, giving an addition of 179,000 
members, being 70,000 members, and 1,202 societies increased in the 
space of two years. 

From their influence, and the state of public opinion, it was com 
puted that 300,000 more had formed the resolution of not using 
strong liquors, nor furnishing them for the use of others. One thou 
sand distilleries had been stopped, and the use of ardent spirits excluded 
from more than one hundred public-houses. The following year the 
Society extended its efforts by a promulgation of its principles through 
all parts of the States, Canada, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, 
Mexico, all Europe, Palestine, and the Sandwich r lslands. In 1832, 
the clergy endeavoured to exclude drunkards from the communion 
table, and preached strongly against the use of intoxicating liquors, 
which was a powerful auxiliary to this w r ork of sobriety. In 1831, 
fifty thousand members were added to the Temperance Society of 
the State of New York, and it was computed that in that year, 
1,500,000 people of the States abstained from the use of ardent spirits, 
and from furnishing them to others. There were then 4,000 Tem 
perance Societies, embracing 500,000 members; 1,500 distilleries had 
stopped, 4,000 merchants gave up the spirit business, and 4,500 drunk 
ards were reformed. To aid these moral efforts, the Adjudant General 
issued an order prohibiting the distribution of spirits amongst the 
army, and substituting Slbs.of sugar, and 4lbs. of coffee for every 100 
rations as an equivalent for the spirits formerly in use. The same 
order prohibited the introduction of spirits, into any fort, camp, or 
garrison of the Union, and the selling of them to the troops. In 1833, 


a " Congregational Temperance meeting" was held at Washington, at 
which the Secretary at War, Mr. Lewis Cass, presided, when it was 
declared that " The liherty and welfare of the nation are intimately 
and indissolubly connected with the morals and virtues of the people ; 
and that in the enactment of laws for the common benefit, it is equally 
the duty of the legislative body to guard and preserve the public 
morals from corruption, as to advance the pecuniary interest, or to 
maintain the civil rights and freedom of the community." In that year, 
the American Temperance Society contained 2,000,000 of members 
out of a population of 15,000,000, of which 2,000,000 were slaves, 
consequently every third man in the country was engaged in the 
suppression of intemperance. In 1834, the number of Temperance 
Societies had increased to 7, 000, while the same number of merchants 
had ceased to sell ardent spirits, and 1,000 vessels belonging to the 
States were performing their voyages without them. Even onboard 
the steamers, through the influence of these societies, the practice of 
giving brandy to the passengers has been discontinued, and a regula 
tion, somewhat similar, has been introduced into many of the public- 
houses, now almost wholly frequented by travellers, not to sell wine 
or liquor of any description except to boarders. 

As a further inducement to Temperance, the Boston Insurance 
Company agreed to return 5 per cent, on the premium of every 
vessel navigated without spirituous liquors, and such general encou 
ragement to abstinence continues to be given, that the societies are 
progressing with vigour and efficiency. 

It must be admitted that few countries required a greater regene 
ration in point of sobriety, and it is much to their credit that they 
have as yet surpassed all other nations, who have followed their 
example in this work of reformation. 

The proximity of Canada to the United States, has rendered the 
propensities of drinking familiar and habitual to many of the inhabi 
tants, among whom the practice of manufacturing liquors is pursued 
nearly in the same manner, but the trade is not equally extensive. 

Numbers of distilleries are now to be found both in Upper and Lower 
Canada. The Canadian distilleries arp mostly made of wood and 
worked by steam. On the river Humber, seven miles from the city 
of Toronto, a distillery has been erected by Mr. Robson, with a 
description and drawing of which I have been favoured by a gentleman 
lately resident in that country ; and the annexed engraving has been 
expressly executed for this work. 



A is the brick work, in which the iron boiler, with A cylindrical 
flue running through the centre, is inserted. B and C are the first 
and second wooden stills of the same size, being 4 feet 8 inches at 
bottom and 4 feet, 6 inches at top, with an altitude of 6 feet. D is 
the doubling or low wines still, 2 feet 10 inches at bottom, and 2 feet 
4 inches at top, the altitude being 3 feet, 9 inches. E is the worm- 
tub, 6 feet at bottom, 5 feet at top, and 9 feet in altitude, supplied by 
a copious stream of water. F the low wines and feints receiver. G 
is the recipient for the spirits previous to passing through the recti 
fiers or filtering vessels, and is 2 feet at bottom, 2 feet, 4 inches at 
top, by 2 feet in height. The top diameter of H and I is 2 and the 
bottom 3 feet ; the altitude being 5 feet. The vessels (H and I) are 
filled with charcoal and other material tlirough which the liquor gra 
dually descends in a limpid, gently-flowing current into J, the final 
receiver or store cask. K is a tank or large vessel for holding warm 
water for distilling purposes, supplied from the top of the worm-tub, 
the heat of which is supported by steam from the tube c connected 
with the boiler, and having a stop-cock for regulation at e. The tank 
is a reservoir for supplying the mash-tubs with water, of which in the 
concern there are 14, each measuring 3 feet 4 by 3 feet 6 inches in 
diameter, ranged on a loft above the stills, in such a manner that after 
the worts have undergone fermentation in these tubs, they are let 
clown by a leader or trough into the second still C at g. When the 
first charge is worked off, the remainder is let into the first still and 
the second still is charged from the mash-kieve. To facilitate the 
operation, there are pipes with proper stop-cocks from still to still, 
such as that at/, and it will be perceived that the whole process of 
distillation is effected by means of steam admitted through the tube d, 
projecting from the main upright pipe of the boiler into the first still, 
B, and so proceeding by other pipes through the other stills. The 
tubes which convey the steam into the stills, descend to nearly 3 or 4 
inches of the bottom. 

All the vessels and pipes, as well as the stills, are made of pine ; 
the pipes are 9 inches square with a bore of 2^ inches in diameter. 
The steam-boiler is 7 feet deep, the height of which, at the fire-place, 
is 8 feet, and it is supplied by water from the worm-tub by the 
pipe , regulated by a stop-cock or ball of lead which is worked 
by the cord b. It is not necessary to describe the other vessels 
of this concern, as they are similar to those employed in the 
distilleries of Scotland and Ireland. The greatest disadvantage 
attending this apparatus, is the liability of the timber becoming soon 
unserviceable when the operations are discontinued far any time; but 


in a country like Canada, where wood is so plentiful, this inconvenience 
is easily remedied. 

The wash is usually made from rye, wheat, or Indian corn, with a 
mixture of one-twentieth part of barley-malt, or one pound to the 
bushel of mixed grain : some use more. This is ground or crushed 
in a mill, and then mashed with water at a heat from 158 to 162, 
others go so so high as 180 and 190 Fahrenheit. The mashing 
continues till the material is well mixed, and the quicker the mashing, 
it is considered the better. When mashed, a cover is immediately 
put on the tub or tubs, or kieves ; in order to preserve the heat as 
much as possible. The mash is then allowed to remain, with an occa 
sional stir of the rakes, for about two hours, until the liquid attains 
its proper sweetness ; at this stage, cold water is added to reduce the 
heat to 60 or 64, but mostly to 70 and 74, when yeast is added. 
This yeast is home-made, in country places in particidar, but in the 
towns it is usually procured from brewers. The tubs or kieves are 
again covered and allowed to stand until completely fermented, when 
the operation of distilling commences. The grains and all are put 
into the still. 

Brewing and distilling are generally carried on in the Canadas from 
the beginning of October till May. Every person is at liberty to 
distil as much as he pleases on paying 3s. 9d. for the annual registry 
or license of Ms still, besides Is. 3d. per gallon on its contents ; yet 
it is asserted that excess in the use of spirituous liquors is not common, 
particularly in country places. Distillers are not allowed to sell in 
quantities less than three gallons without a license, which is obtained 
from the clerk of the court of the district, and is termed " a store 
license." For an offence against this regulation, a fine of from 5 to 
25, according to the culpability of the offender, is imposed, on the 
testimony of a credible witness. The half of this fine was at one time 
given to the informer, but latterly he gets nothing. Spirits thus made 
are commonly sold at from Is. 8d. to 2s. 6d., Halifax currency, or 
about Is. 4djf. to 2s. Id. sterling, per wine gallon. The spirits is 
generally of an inferior strength. 

No duty is charged on malt in the Canadas ; and the distillers have, 
therefore, every encouragement to make use of it in what proportion 
they may deem necessary for the production of a good and palatable 
spirit : the ale made from it is celebrated in the West Indies. 

Hops grow in abundance, but particularly flourish in the London 
and Western districts of Upper Canada. Besides this native supply, 
quantities are brought from the States and sold generally in bales at 
from lie?, to I5d. (Halifax currency) per Ib. 


The Dutch settlers cultivate apples to great extent, and make 
a corresponding 1 quantity of excellent cider, the climate being 1 
extremely favourable to the growth of this fruit and that of melons. 
Culinary vegetables arrive to great perfection, as well as most of the 
European fruits. Currants, gooseberries, and raspberries are very 
fine ; the latter are indigenous and found every where. A sort of 
native vine is also very common, bearing poor sour grapes not much 
larger than currants. In almost every part of the country, are to be 
found two species of the sugar-maple, one is called the swamp-maple, 
from its being found in the savannahs or plains, the other is called 
the mountain, or curled-maple, from its growing on hills or high dry 
grounds and also from the grain of its wood being beautifully varie 
gated with stripes and curls. The swamp-maple yields more sap 
than the mountain-maple, but affords less sugar ; two or three gallons 
of the one producing as much as six or seven gallons of the other. 
The maple juice is collected in the early part of the spring, which is 
a laborious business, as it is obtained from a vast number of trees 
widely dispersed over a great space of ground, and the approach to 
which is difficult in consequence of the snows. The process of making 
the sugar is nearly the same as in the States. The juice when boiled 
is thrown into vessels where it cools in the form and consistence of 
cakes, and is sometimes mixed with flour, which renders it thick and 
heavy ; but this is to augment the weight and is considered necessary. 
It is seldom clarified, though in Upper Canada, it is often made very 
white and nearly equal to loaf sugar. These cakes of maple-sugar 
are so hard that they must be scraped down with a knife the better to 
enable them to dissolve in fluids, and the flavour strongly resembles 
Canadian horehound, besides which they are said to possess strongly 
medicinal qualities.* A sampleof the common maple-sugar given to me 
by a settler, manufactured by himself, resembles the brown sugar of 
Jamaica ; but is more strongly granulated, and without any other 
peculiar characteristic. A large quantity of this sugar is annually 
manufactured, but not to that extent which the country could afford, 
owing to the cheapness of the article imported from the East and 
West Indies. 

In the making of maple-sugar, in order to render it as white as 
possible, it is customary, after the molasses has been partially drained 
off from the tubs, to lay a piece of cotton cloth over the sugar and 
apply a cake of rye dough, about one inch thick, which causes the 

* Lambert s Travels through Canada and the United States, vol. i. p. 83. 


dregs of the sugar to rise and adhere to the cloth, which must be 
occasionally removed and cleansed, until the sugar has been fully 

Rum might he manufactured from the maple sugar, but that liquor 
is principally brought from the West Indies. The great consumption 
of foreign spirits lessens the demand for those distilled in the 
province, the French settlers preferring the imported article. 

The following are the imports (in gallons) of the different kinds 
of liquors at Quebec, Montreal, Gaspe, and New Carlisle, for seven 
years : 








Madeira wine 








Port . . 
















Faval . . . 







Sicilian and ) 
Spanish > 








Other kinds . 








Brandy . . 








Gin . . . 








key, &c. 5 








In 1836, the following were the prices of the several beverages 
in consumption in the principal towns of Lower Canada : 

Wine Champagne per doz., from .. 

Claret, do. 

Madeira, per 110 gallons, 

Port, per 130 do. 

Figuiera, per do. 

Sicilian red, per 120 gallons, ., 

Sherry, first quality, 130 gal.., 

Common, per gallon, 
Spanish red, first quality, 120 gals. . 

Do. common, do. 

Teneriffe, L. P. do. 

Cargo, do. 

Canadian strong beer per gallon, 

Table do. 
Brandy Cogniac per gallon, 

Bourdeaux, do.. 

Spanish, do. 

Canadian, do. 
Hollands Pale in casks, do. 
Montreal gin, do. 

Do. Whiskey, do. 


























6 ... 






















6 ... 


3 ... 




6 ... 




9 ... 




6 ... 




6 ... 


6 ... 


6 ... 




s. d. 5. ct. 

Montreal, made in imitation of Scotch, 5 .. 6 3 

Rum Leeward Islands, (1 a 5) do. ... 3 3 ... 034 

Demerara, (1 a 4) do. ... 3 4 ... 3 6 

Jamaica, (1 a 2-J) do. ... 4 ... 4 1 

The number of inn-keepers in Lower Canada, in 1836, was 1180, 
and of spirit stores 966 ; while the distilleries amounted to 85. The 
import duty on wine, rum, brandy, and gin, is 6d. and on whiskey, 
3d. per gallon, as an encouragement to British manufacture. 

The number of inn-keepers in Upper Canada, in 1836, exceeded 
(according to Evans,) 1007, whose licenses varied from 3 to 10 ; 
and there were 1063 merchants shops, besides 138 storehouses, in 
most of which spirits were sold. The license for selling spirits and 
wines in quantities not less than one quart, was 5. 3s. The penalty 
for selling without a license, or less than tine regulated quantity, 
was 20. 

The stills as measured by gallons in the several districts of Upper 
Canada, in 1836, were as follow : 



Prince Edward, 

... 150 




... 1463 



Toronto city, 


Johnstown ... 



... 967 




... 824 






1 089 

Total, 6,466 

From the increase of emigrants, Canada is fast advancing in agri 
culture and commerce ; the exports of grain to England alone, are 
said to have been, in one year, nearly three millions of bushels. 
Besides wheat, barley, rye, oats, &c., buck-wheat is reared to consi 
derable extent in Lower Canada. At present there are upwards of 
107,000, acres under cultivation of this grain, and large quantities are 
consumed in the distilleries. In the States, buck-wheat is much 
grown, and cakes made of its flour are the bread most in consumption 
at breakfast : in this custom they resemble the Japanese. This grain 
is also in use among the distillers of the Union. In Canada, Indian- 
corn has been found an uncertain crop, owing to the coldness of the 
climate, and the hardier grains are those most in requisition. 

The beet-root, or mangel-wurzel, is cultivated, but not to any 
extent ; although it is reared in the United States to such advantage, 
that they, in the present year (1837), have sent a deputation to France 
in order to ascertain the best mode of extracting sugar from it. 


Wines are manufactured from the different fruits which are common 
in the country. From frosted potatoes, the Canadians manufacture 
a good wine, especially if the potatoes are not so much frosted as to 
become soft and watery. They crush them to a pulpy consistence, 
and to each bushel add ten gallons of water, which is first prepared by 
boiling for one half-hour with -^Ib. of hops and ^lb. of common ginger. 
This mixture is thrown upon the potatoes in a suitable vessel, and 
allowed to stand for three days, after which a little yeast is added. 
When the fermentation has ceased, the liquor is drawn off into a cask 
clear of the dregs, when -Jib. of raw sugar is added to every gallon 
which the cask contains. Here a partial fermentation takes place, and 
after three months it is deemed fit for use. Some add the sugar in 
the first instance. 

The distillers make whiskey from potatoes when injured by frost, 
and allege that they produce a greater quantity and a finer quality of 
spirit than if they were used fresh ; the frost having more strongly 
developed the saccharine principle. To promote the fermentation, 
about one-fourth of malt-wash is added ; care, however, should be 
taken to allow the malt-worts to ferment at least six hours before the 
potato-wash is added ; otherwise the potato-wash, which runs quickly 
into fermentation, will be sooner ready for the still than the malt- 
wash. Hence the effect would be to generate an acid which would 
render the spirit coarse, and, when diluted with water, produce a 
milky or bluish colour, offensive both to the taste and to the eye. 

The Canadas afford a sufficient supply of honey for the manufac 
ture of mead, though wild and not of first rate quality. In the hollows 
of the trees in the woods, bees nests are abundant, but these sweet 
treasures are unsought for by any but the bears. Chateaubriand asserts, 
that bees are imports, not indigenous, in the New World, and that 
they were emigrants with Columbus. " These pacific conquerors," he 
says, " have robbed the flowers of the New World of such treasures 
only as the natives knew not the use of, and these treasures they have 
employed solely to enrich the soil from whence they derived them. 
What a happy world if all invasions or conquests resembled that of 
those children of the sky I" On the contrary, Dr. Dwight affirms that 
the honey-bee is a native of America, since it was found in the forests 
too early, and at too great a distance from European settlements, to 
have been derived from importation. 

Among the drinks of the Canadians, spruce beer is in considerable 
repute. The mode of making it is, by first boiling the shoots, leaves, 
chips, and cones, of the black pine tree in water, to which highly- 
dried rye, barley, or maize-meal is added. The mixture is then 


fermented by means of barm, but in order to overcome the resinous 
flavour of the fir, sugar, or molasses, is superadded. This liquor, which 
is fit for drinking on the second day, is of a fine amber colour ; it is 
diuretic, wholesome, agreeable, and will keep for a length of time 
without becoming acid, owing to the influence of the resinous principle 
of the fir. A more simple mode is practised in Lower Canada, 
namely, The top branches of the spruce tree are boiled, and molasses 
added to the liquid, and then fermented, after which it is commonly 
bottled and fit for use. 

As country taverns are numerous, they are generally established 
on the public roads during the summer ; but in the winter, temporary 
wooden establishments are erected on the rivers which are then frozen, 
and are the public thoroughfare of travellers. Sometimes fatal acci 
dents occur by sudden thaws and floods, by which these floating 
taverns are swept away with their inmates. The trunks of trees are 
sometimes scooped out and made convenient resting places, having 
accommodations for travellers ; they are so large as to admit of being 
moulded into temporary dwellings. An inn of this kind was made in 
a sycamore growing on the banks of the Mohawk river, in Oneida 
County. When cut down, it took 31 yoke of oxen to remove it, 
though denuded of its branches. It formed a saloon, was handsomely 
furnished, and sufficiently capacious to contain upwards of forty 

The numerous hordes of savages who wander through the vast 
woods and deserts of this great continent, use, for the most part, 
beverages either made by themselves or furnished by their civilized 
neighbours. Their propensity to intoxication is in general very 
strong, but their poverty prevents them from indulging in it. Brandy, 
says Kalm, has killed more of them than any of the diseases with 
which they have been infected. That liquor was unknown to them 
before Europeans visited the country. To die by drinking brandy 
was considered a desirable and honourable death. A savage being 
asked by a French officer what he thought this drink was made of, 
gave for answer " It is made of tongues and hearts ; for when I 
have drunk of it, I fear nothing, and I talk like an angel." These 
kind-hearted creatures, when a stranger appears among them, conduct 
him to a hut where he is presented with the calamut of peace, and a 
bowl, sacred to friendship, filled with maple juice, when after having 
taken his pleasure of the liquor, the host quaffs the residue as a pledge 
of future confidence and alliance. When they assemble together for 
any purpose, they never separate without a drunken revel, which 


often continues for several days. Regardless of what may be the 
fatal effects, they continue till the last drop is exhausted. 

One very extraordinary meeting, at which a great deal of the 
native and foreign beverages is consumed, is termed the feast of the 
dead. It is peculiar to all the American savages residing in the Gulf 
of Mexico, the Mississippi, and the Ohio, and is strikingly worthy of 
attention. During the feast, which is probably a remnant of Mexican 
superstition, the bodies of all who have died since the last solemn 
festival of the kind are taken out of their graves, though they may- 
have been interred at the greatest distance, and brought to the carnival 
or rendezvous of carcasses. It is not difficult to conceive the horror 
that must be excited by this general disinterment, but the enthusiasm 
of the [ndian mind renders it insensible to that feeling. When the 
feast is over, the dead bodies are again interred ; and some indivi 
duals perform incredible journeys with their deceased friends on their 
backs to deposit them in the grave from which they had been raised.* 
This ceremony of respect, though so rudely performed to the memory 
of departed friends, is in coincidence with the annual festival kept in 
Bengal, Thibet, and other Eastern nations, in honour of the dead ; 
and it corroborates the opinion that the Americans are descendants 
of the great Asiatic family. 

The practice observed by many members of the Greek Church in 
Albania, in Europe, is a further illustration of this fact. They hold 
feasts at their interments, and have commemorations on the 15th, 21st, 
and 40th days after, with repetitions at the end of the third, sixth, 
ninth, and twelfth months ; and at the expiration of three years, when 
the bones are disinterred, washed with wine, tied in a bag, and depo 
sited in a church for three days before they are placed in the ceme 
tery. Even the relatives give entertainments on those occasions in 
in proportion to their circumstances.f 

The Brazilian savages usually meet, on the day appointed for 
a feast, early in the morning at the first house of the village, where 
they consume most of the liquor, and make themselves merry with 
dancing; They afterwards remove to the next house, and then pro 
ceed until nothing is left, or until they can drink no longer ; the 
scene that follows this general intoxication is disgusting in the 

Some of the tribes, bordering on the United States sensible of .the 
dangers attendant on such excesses, have wisely decreed a prohibition 
of spirituous liquors^ and one infringing this law is deprived of the 

* Bolingbroke, &c. 4td; f Hughcs s Travels, vol. ii. p. 85 


right of citizenship. The Ricaras evinced great resolution in this 
respect, refusing, with a degree of indignation, an offer of whiskey 
from an American party, and testifying surprise that their great 
father, the President, should send them a liquor which possessed the 
quality of making them fools. The Muscogulges, in a treaty with 
the whites, stipulated that the latter should not sell spirituous liquors 
to the allied nations ; these they called " French poison or liquid fire." 
A warrior of the Kansas tribe exhorted his countrymen " not to 
drink the poisonous strong water of the white people. It was sent 
by the bad spirit to destroy the Indians. I have seen its evil effects, 
but its victims are all gone ; like a decayed prairie tree, I stand alone, 
the companions of my youth, the partakers of my sports, my toils, 
and my dangers, recline their heads on the bosom of our mother : 
my sun is fast descending behind the western hills, and I feel that it 
will soon be night with me. Beware of the destroyer arid the magic 
charms of its influence." 

It is remarkable, says Dr. Robertson, that the women are not per 
mitted to participate in the debauches of the Indians. Their pro 
vince is to prepare the liquor, to serve it about to the guests, and to 
take care of their husbands and friends, when their reason is over 
powered. Although this observation is applicable to some tribes, it 
is not universally so. A recent traveller assures us, that a drunken 
Indian and his squaw act more like demons than rational beings when 
under the paroxysm of inebriation ; and that sometimes a whole 
village, both men and women, is so debased by it, as to bear no inapt 
resemblance to the infernal regions. The white traders often unge 
nerously take advantage of such occasions to defraud the Indians, who, 
when they become sober, seek a desperate revenge either in the 
destruction of life or property. A gentleman, who was an eye-witness, 
gives the following description of a scene, that took place after the 
interment of an Indian of the Occoquan tribe : - 

The dance, says he, took place by moonlight, and it was scarcely 
finished when the chief or principal warrior produced a keg of whiskey, 
and having taken a draught, passed it round among his brethren. 
The squaws now moved the tomahawks into the wood, and a scene of 
riot ensued. The keg was soon emptied. The effects of the liquor 
became apparent in the looks and motions of the Indians. Some 
rolled their eyes with distraction, others could not keep on their legs; 
At length succeeded the most dismal noises. Such whoops, such 
shouts, such roaring, such yells, all the devils of hell seemed collected 
together. Each strove to do an outrage on the other* This seized 
the other by the throat, that kicked with raging fury. And to com- 


plete the scene, the whole warrior was uttering the most mournful 
lamentations over the keg 1 he had emptied ; inhaling its flavour with 
his lips, holding it out with his hands in a supplicating attitude, and 
vociferating to the byestanders, Scuttawawah ! Scuttawawah ! 
More strong drink ! More strong drink ! 

Amidst the weakness and depravity into which intoxication betrays 
those uneducated beings, some admirable specimens of presence of 
mind and firmness of disposition are related, that would do honour to 
any country. An old warrior is said on one occasion to have been 
placed in a very embarrassing situation, through the insulting conduct 
of a set of drunken fellows that he met accidentally in a dram-shop, on 
the borders of one of the States. This chief, after taking some drink 
by way of refreshment, was so affected by it, that he seemed to forget 
his native dignity, and entered into very familiar conversation with 
the whites. Advantage was taken of this weakness, and the party 
insisted on his drinking more, threatening, in case he did not, to drench 
him w r ith whiskey. The man, with a noble and fearless countenance, 
turned upon the company, and addressing himself, with a contemptuous 
and scowling aspect, to the landlord, who was a highly respectable 
person, said " No blood when much talk chattering belongs to 
women and wild geese." Then snatching a board on which was 
pinned a piece of w r hite paper, he placed it at the distance of a hundred 
yards ; and, taking aim with his musket, shot a ball through the centre ; 
reloaded, and repeated the act with the same success. Immediately 
after he grasped his tomahawk and threw it against a tree, with such 
force and precision as to cleave the part intended. " Thus," said he, 
addressing the astonished beholders, " Indian man provide for his wife 
and little ones in peace thus defend them in war." The effect was 
such as anticipated, and his rude opponents retired without oifering 
him further molestation. Another anecdote favourable to the char 
acter of the American savages is related by Dr. Dwight. An Ame 
rican called one evening at an inn in the town of Lichfield, and 
requested of the landlady to furnish him with some drink and a supper, 
observing at the same time, with great candour, that he could not then 
pay for either, as he had no success that day in hunting. Both drink 
and supper were refused, and he was ordered to go about his business 
for a lazy, drunken, good-for-nothing fellow. The Indian was about 
to retire, when a man that was present, observed that he appeared 
much distressed, and showed by his countenance that he was suffering 
very much from want and weariness. He directed the hostess to 
supply him with what he desired and that he would pay the expense. 
Accordingly, drink and supper were served up, which, Avhen the 


Indian had finished, ho turned with a grateful heart to his benefactor, 
and assured him that he should remember his kindness, and whenever 
he was able he would recompense it. For the present, he observed, 
lie could only reward him with a story, which he would relate if the 
landlady would permit him. She having consented, and addressing 
himself to his benefactor, he said, " I suppose you read the Bible." 
The man assented. " Well," said the Indian, " the Bible says, God 
made the world, and then he took him and looked on him, and says its 
all very good. Then he made light, and took him, and says its all very 
good. Then he made dry land and water, and sun and moon, and 
grass and trees, and took him and looked on him, and say its all very 
good. Then he made man and took him, and looked on him, and 
say its all very good. Then he made woman, and took him and looked 
on him, and he no dare say one such word ;" after saying which, the 
Indian withdrew. Some years after, the man who had thus treated 
the Indian was captured by a native tribe and carried into Canada, 
where he would have suffered death but for the interference of an old 
Indian woman, who adopted him in the room of a son that she had 
lost in the wars. There he lived for an entire winter,, and, in the 
course of the following summer, when one day working alone in the 
forest, he was accosted by an unknown Indian, who desired him to 
meet him on a given day, at a place which he pointed out. The fear 
of fatal consequences deterred him from fulfilling his engagement ; 
but, soon after, he was again accosted by the same Indian, who eluded 
him for not performing his promise. The man apologized, when the 
Indian told him he would be satisfied if lie would meet him at the 
same place on a future day, which he named. He complied, and found 
the Indian punctual to his appointment, and provided with two mus 
kets, ammunition, and two knapsacks, which he divided between them. 
Bending their course towards the south, they travelled for several 
days, shooting such game as came in their way, and sleeping by night 
in the forest, at a fire kindled for their preservation, till at length they 
reached an eminence which presented a cultivated country interspersed 
with houses, and bearing all the appearance of civilisation. The 
Indian stopping short, turned to his companion, and asked* him if he 
knew the ground. " Yes !" replied the man eagerly, " there is Lich- 
field !" His guide, who had been mysteriously silent during the 
course of the journey, then reminded him that many years before he 
had relieved the wants of a famishing Indian in that town, and exclaimed, 
" I that Indian, now I pay you ! Go home !" Having said this, he 

2 A 


bade him adieu, and the man joyfully returned to his own home."* 
D wight, in describing the savages of New England, says, their 
devotion to strong drink is excessive, and that they will part with 
every thing they possess for ardent spirits or cider. The pleasures 
which intoxication excites, vary the dull course of feeling, and impart 
visions of transport which nothing else seems so well calculated to 
elicit. To this passion for drink, the poor Indian is chiefly directed 
by the allurements of the white traders, a great portion of whose 
profits is derived not only from the sale of the spirits, but from the 
advantage obtained by them over the natives in the moments of intoxi 
cation. To encourage this "Vice among them seemed a part of their 
trade, and the Indians, becoming familiar with the licentiousness of 
these traders, imbibed a dislike and a distrust for all Christians ; and 
hence the difficulties which missionaries have had to encounter 
amongst them. The extravagance and folly which too often occur 
among the white?, in their intercourse with the natives, have been 
productive of great mischief to their moral habits : ever ready 
to grasp at whatever would afford immediate enjoyment, they held 
strong drink to be foremost in the comforts of life, exiling it, in 
the language of the Shakers, " one of God s good creatures." It was 
a maxim among the Iroquois,that a drunken man ought not to be held 
responsible for his actions, nor be accounted as a moral agent ; hence 
at times they became intoxicated, that they might quarrel without 
disgrace, as they never disputed unless when under the influence of 
liquor ; it being considered scandalous for a man to fight when he 
was sober. An old chief of this nation, being in Albany upon one 
occasion, got intoxicated to such excess, that in the morning he found 
himself lying in the streets naked, and, revolting at his self-degra 
dation, he resolved never again to deliver himself over to the power 
of strong water a resolution he was never known to violate. The 
fatal effects of ardent spirits among the native Americans, are too well 
known to require further illustration, indeed these liquors have done 
more mischief than their diseases and wars combined. Humboldt, 
however, states, that in the forests of Guiana, on the banks of the 
Orinoco, the Indians shewed an aversion to brandy; and he met with 
several tribes who were very sober, and whose fermented drinks were 
too weak to intoxicate. The missionaries have done a great deal 
towards the reformation of the natives of North America. Some of 
them are now preachers, and in many parts of Upper Canada, 

* Dwight s Travels in New England and New York, vol. i. pp. 87, 88. 


in particular, they will not allow spirits to be vended amongst 

Kotzebue, in his account of New California, describes the town of 
Pueblo (a new Russian settlement), as seated in the midst of orchards 
and hedges of vines bearing luxuriant clusters of the richest grapes ; 
and good wine is consequently obtained. About Ross, another 
Russian settlement in New California, (lat. 38J) he thinks that the 
vine might be cultivated to great advantage, as wild grapes were 
found in abundance on the banks of the rivers, the clusters large, the 
fruit sweet and well-flavoured, and eaten without any inconvenience 
both by settlers and Indians. The vitis vinifera of the Greeks and 
Romans was first planted in California by missionaries in 1769, though 
they found a species of wild vine bearing large grapes of a sour 
quality. Since that period, good wine is produced in various districts 
of the country to a considerable extent. The natives manufacture 
vases from the stalks of rushes, which they render impenetrable to 
water by a lair or varnish of asphaltes, and in these they carry wine 
and other liquors to suit their convenience. When the Californians 
were solicited to carry on a trade with the Mexicans, they resisted 
the measure nearly in the following words : " There is amongst us 
no quarrelling, nor fighting for another man s property ; we live happy 
and contented ; we are trained to valour, not to revenge. How diffe 
rent is the conduct of Christians ! They drink fire (spirits) ; they 
beat their families, assassinate their friends, rob each other, and, under 
the mask of religion, persecute the helpless, and betray the strong. 
How then can we suffer Christians to come among us ?" 

The Californians intoxicate themselves by a species of beverage made 
from an herb, which they chew in the same way as some of the South 
Sea Islanders inebriate themselves withava. They also make use of 
drink from the infusion of the pod of the mosquite tree steeped in 
water. It is naturally of a saccharine nature, and, when fermented, 
readily intoxicates. Wine is made in some parts of California from 
the grape, and a spirit from the Mezcal, a species of socotrine aloe. 
In making this spirit, the green leaves of the mezcal are cut off to 
prevent them from giving a bad taste to the spirits. The heart of 
the plant is roasted in an oven, which is merely a hole three or four 
feet deep, and twelve feet in diameter. This hole is heated by wood 
until reduced to charcoal, when stones are spread over it, and when 
they become hot the prepared hearts of the mezcal plant are piled on 
them, and then covered with grass to keep in the heat. When suffi 
ciently roasted, they are taken out and thrown into leathern sacks, 


into which is poured a proportionable quantity of water which pro 
duces fermentation. In the course of six or eight days, the liquor, is fit 
for the still, and, after double distillation, acquires great strength and is 
then marketable. The wild bears are so fond of the fermented mezcal, 
that they often visit a distillery to obtain a draught of it, on which a 
watchman is ever on the look out to prevent their dcpradations. The 
vine yields excellent fruit, producing wine resembling Canary. Here 
also maize and the jatropha manihot flourish luxuriantly. Roque- 
feuil, in his Voyage round the World, describes that portion of Cali 
fornia along the San Sacramento river as very fertile, vines growing 
spontaneously, and maize so productive, as hardly to require any 
attention. Jewett, in his account of the inhabitants of Nootka Sound, 
says, that they were unacquainted with ardent spirits before their 
intercourse with the whites ; but they soon became fond of rum, and 
preferred it to any other liqtior. From a people so extremely rude, 
that their choicest viands are eaten with a profusion of train-oil for 
sauce, not excepting even the most delicate fruit, strawberries and 
raspberries, little can be expected, particularly as they knew no other 
mode of boiling them than that of throwing burning stones into the 
water. The yama, a species of berry that grows on bushes, like 
currants, of about two or three feet high, is black and about the size 
of a pistol-bullet, of an oblong shape, and open at top like the blue 
whortle-berry. The taste is sweet, mixed with a little acidity. The 
women gather them chiefly on the mountains : great quantities are 
collected, and, to preserve them, they are pressed, dried, and laid up 
in baskets for use. Strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries 
abound ; from all of which it is singular that the natives have never 
discovered the art of extracting any inebriating liquor.* 

Leaving the Western World, the first islands of any consideration 
in the wine and brandy trade in the Atlantic Ocean, are the Azores 
nnd the Canary Islands. The Azores are fruitful in grain, and the 
vine is cultivated so extensively, that the island of Pico alone, accord 
ing to Captain Mundy, produces 20,000 pipes of wine annually.| 
The chief vineyards in this island are planted on the sides and base 
of the peak, which is a conical mountain, giving name to the island, 
iind rising to the height of 7,000 feet above the level of the sea. As 
the peak was generated by the eruption of fire from the bottom of 
the ocean, its soil is decomposed lava lying on a stratum of lavatic 

_ * Jewell s Advenlures and Sufferings among the Savages of Nootka Sound, 
8vo. 1824. 

f Pen and Pencil Sketches of a Tour in India, vol. ii. p. 371. 


stone. Hero the vines grow luxuriantly, and nothing can exceed the 
grandeur of the decorations on the sides and base of this majestic cone, 
consisting of gardens, vineyards, and corn-grounds, with groups of 
people perpetually occupied, exhibiting a wonderful contrast to the 
rude uncultivated summit of its snow-topt apex. This extraordinary 
volcanic production has the singular property, that when the peak 
is struck accidentally, or intentionally, it reverberates sounds causing 
sensations as if the vibrations were issuing from unfathomable caverns 
equally unknown as the depths of the ocean that surrounds it. 

The wine is of the colour and flavour of Madeira, is cheaper by 50 
per cent., and held in great estimation in the West Indies, from its 
superiority over the wines in a hot climate. On this acccount the 
colonial merchants keep an agent at Fayal, who contracts for the 
principal portion of each vintage of the island ; same of thgse are so 
fertile as to afford two crops in the year, and the export of grain and 
pro visions is so considerable, as, in good seasons, to freight 70 vessels, 
each from 80 to 100 tons burden. For the preservation of corn, pits 
are dug with an entrance large enough to admit a man, and to receive 
about three lasts of corn, each containing 108 bushels of 401bs. a 
bushel. Here the grain is stored in July, and secured by a stone-lid 
with a lock, which is then carefully covered with earth to keep it air 
tight. In this manner it is preserved to suit the convenience and meet 
the wants of the inhabitants. A spurious spirit is frequently imported 
into these islands from the Brazils, which the common people use in 
preference to their own wine ; but the consumption has been nearly 
counteracted by the pure West India rum and the liquors of their 
own distillation.* 

The Canaries, which at one time had large sugar plantations, and 
were the only settlements likely to cope with our colonies in the West 
Indies, have been long devoted to the cultivation of the vine. The 
brandies distilled in those islands, particularly in that of Grand Canary, 
are in great demand in the foreign settlements of the Spaniards and 
in North America. The island of Teneriffe alone, produces about 
25,000 pipes of white wine annually, of which the greater portion is 
exported, and the remainder is kept either for home consumption, or 
to be manufactured into brandy.f M. Bory estimates the average pro 
duce of wine in this island to be but 22,000 pipes, while the whole of 
the Canaries are said to yield 40,000 pipes. Among the Teneriffe 
wines is to be included the vin de malvasia, or malmsey, a very rich 
and luscious sack, which was, in the seventeenth century, a great 

* History of the Azores, 4lo. p. 294. 
f Staunton * Embassy, vol. i. p. 88. 


favourite in England. Sac was the beverage so highly prized by 
Falstaff, and administered to the dying Lefevre, by the philanthropic 
and warm-hearted hero of Sterne in his Tristram Shandy. This wine 
was denominated Malvasia, or Malmsey, from the name of a town in 
the Morea, and supposed to be a corruption from Malea, the ancient 
name of a portion of Laconia, in the Grecian Peleponnessus. Various 
reasons have been assigned for the application of the term sac, some 
referring it to one origin, and some to another. Whether sac be a 
corruption of the word sec(dry), or is derived from Xeque, a town of 
Morocco, where this wine was produced in abundance, or else from 
being made from half-dried grapes, as was frequently the practice, or 
from the skins, sacks, or bags, in which the Spaniards preserved their 
wine ; or from sacco, (saccus in Latin) the Spanish for a linen bag, or 
that sac signified a white wine as being clarified by filtration through 
a linen bag, as was the case with some of the wines of the ancients, 
must ever remain a matter of mere conjecture, or of hypothetic assump 
tion. For the probable derivation of the term (sack), which has 
caused, perhaps, more research than the matter deserves, the reader 
is referred to page 239. Sweet woods are so plentiful, that the 
common utensils of the vineyards, as well as the wine-casks, are made 
of them, which are said to impart to the liquor an odoriferous flavour. 
A view of the quantity of wine shipped from the Canaries to Great 
Britain, for a series of years, will be found in a Table of the Addenda. 
The island of Madeira is remarkable for being the first place in the 
western hemisphere, in which the Arundo saccharifera, or sugar 
cane, was cultivated. Little sugar, however, is now raised in this 
island, the grapes engrossing the whole attention of the inhabitants. 
The little sugar that is made is uncommonly fine, and said to emit an 
odour similar to that of the violet. It is a boast of the inhabitants 
that they have the best wheat, the finest sugar, and the finest wines 
in the world, besides the clearest water, the most salubrious air, and 
a freedom from all noxious animals. The vine was introduced into 
Madeira from Cyprus, by Prince Henry of Portugal, some time pre 
vious to the year 1445, or, as Chaptal has it, to 1420. The cultiva 
tors say, that the varieties of this plant in the island are unlimited. 
The best wine is that made in the south ; the wines of the north 
are very inferior, and remarkable for their acidulous qualities. 
What is called Tinta, or tent, resembles Burgundy, when new, both 
in colour and flavour. Age gives it the appearance of port : it is the 
only red wine made on the island, and, to fix its colour, it is allowed 
to ferment with the husks of the fruit ; but a great portion of it is 
mixed with other wines. Here it may be remarked, that in making 


Madeira wine, grapes of every description are mixed together, 
except the Malmsey and Sercial grapes. The former affords a wine 
superior to any sweet wine, and the latter, another preferable to any 
dry wine, combining, as a late writer expresses it, with the ordinary 
richness and flavour of the Madeira, an serative property and stimu- 
lancy, as it were of spirit, that leaves nothing to be desired : the 
grape from which the sercial is made, is said to have come from 
Hockheim. The Bual, another wine of a rare grape, is excellent, 
and said to be of Burgundy descent.* Of Malmsey there are three 
kinds, the fermentation of which is checked at an earlier stage than 
that of any other description made in Madeira, in order to increase 
its richness and sweetness : about 500 pipes of Malmsey are the 
annual productions of this article alone. It is calculated that one 
pipe of wine to an acre is the average produce of the vineyards of the 
island, making in all, according to Staunton, about 25,000 pipes, of 
120 gallons each.f This produce, however, must vary in proportion 
to the favourable or unfavourable nature of the seasons. In 1813, 
the produce of the whole island was 22,314 pipes, of which 101 went 
to the Bishop ; that of Porto Santo, was 695 pipes ; according to 
Walsh, who visited this island in 1828, the produce was about 30,000 
pipes. In the management of the vineyards, the practice is much 
the same in Madeira as in France, and the other wine countries of 
Europe. The propagation is by cuttings, and it is only about the 
fourth year after planting, that the fruit produces wine. It was not 
until after disappointments in the produce of the grapes, that the 
inhabitants were persuaded to engraft their vines, a practice which 
has since proved to be of great advantage. The vines are supported 
on trellis work of cane about three feet from the ground. Grapes 
grow in Madeira, at an elevation of 2,700 feet above the level of the 
sea, but no wine can be made from any reared at a greater elevation 
than 2080 feet. The stony and poorest soils produce the best wines, 
resembling in those respects, the vineyards of the Rhine, where 
the vine grows among the dry shingles with scarcely a particle of 
mould. The mode of obtaining the juice from the grape is pressure 
with the feet and arms on the fruit, when collected and placed in a 
trough, or reservoir, constructed for the purpose. The stalks are 
afterwards subjected to the force of a lever, which, acting on a board, 
causes the remaining fluid to exude, and thereby increase the 
quantity of the must. Sufficient care was not taken for a long time, 

* Rambles in Madeira and Portugal, 8vo. pp. 155, 156. 
f Staunton s Embassy, vol. i. p. 52. 


in Madeira, to separate good grapes from those of an inferior quality ; 
and hence the produce was often of an indifferent description. Of 
late years, however, the greatest possible care has been taken to 
select the best fruit for the wine- press ; and to that is owing the 
character of the wines of this island. The general average growth 
is from 25,000 to 30,000 pipes, the annual exports of which are said 
to be from 15,000 to 16,000 pipes ; 7,000 of these are sent annually 
to England, 3,000 to America, and 5,500 to India. 

Madeira wine will not bear the sea without a powerful admixture 
of brandy ; and this is generally added, immediately after the fer 
mentation, and before it is refined with isinglass. But this opera 
tion is often performed in England, after which it is termed London 
particular, and the brandy is added more or less, according to the 
climate for which it is designed. 

In the making of the wines, gypsum is used to clarify and mellow 
them, but how far this practice is valuable, must be for the considera 
tion of those conversant with the manufacture. When one or two of 
the planters have taken in their vintage, which happens in Septem 
ber, all must immediately follow,* the example ; otherwise the rats, 
the lizards, and the wasps, would commit great ravages, being the 
principal enemies to be encountered. Besides those, the dogs have 
to be chained, or muzzled, to prevent them from devouring the grapes, 
of which they are so excessively fond. The brandy used in the 
vineyards is made chiefly from the wines manufactured in the north 
of the island, and from the lees of the several vintages. The streets of 
the towns in Madeira, particularly those of Funchal, the capital, are 
exceedingly steep and paved with small stones, set edgewise, which 
render the way sharp and slippery. To carry burdens up those 
ascents, a small breed of bullocks are trained for the purpose, and 
yoked two a-breast. In the removal of wine, as well as of other 
articles, a slide capable of holding two casks, is attached by ropes to 
the bullocks, which are guided by a peasant with a prong, and having 
a cord running through the tips of their horns, by which they are 
managed. Another person keeps the slide constantly moistened with 
a wet cloth, by which it glides along freely. The skins of goats and 
calves are dressed whole and inflated, preserving the shape and size 
of the animal, and employed for carrying water and wine occasionally. 

Flowers and slirubs being abundant, bees are numerous, and honey 
is to be had of the finest description. The people are so particularly 
careful in their treatment of those insects, that they extract the 
honey from the hive without killing any of them. This is effected by 
means of a tube filled with dry cow-clung, which being ignited, the 


smoke is driven into the hive, foul the bees forced from their cells, 
to which they return their labours, after being deprived of their 
former treasure. Mead, however, forms no part of the native 
beverages, though it might be manufactured to an extent capable of 
supplying a larger population. 

For an account of the extent of the wine trade of Madeira for 
several years, see the table in the Addenda. 

As there are not any other islands in the Atlantic, -which afford 
materials connected with this subject, and a survey having been 
taken of the various beverages, wliich foreign nations have at dif 
ferent times invented, Europe is next to be considered, as being the 
most important portion of the civilized world, where the arts and 
sciences have made the greatest advances, and where luxury is car 
ried to a pitch of refinement hitherto unknown. To the efforts of 
the Greeks much is to be attributed, and from them the Romans bor 
rowed most of those inventions, the knowledge of which they dissemi 
nated wherever their conquests extended. The crusades also laid 
open to the observations of Europeans, a state of existence superior 
to their own, that seemed to elevate the human character beyond 
that of which they had any previous conception. To acquire the 
luxuries of the East, a spirit of enterprise was excited, and an 
impulse given to commerce that led men to the exercise of every 
faculty, which could tend to surpass, enable them to imitate, or serve 
to procure, whatever was considered in other countries as valuable, 
rare, or magnificent. To these purposes, the discovery of the art of 
printing and the application of the mariner s compass contributed 
not a little. 

Of the chemical attainments of the Saracens, a brief history has 
already been given ; but whether to them is to be attributed the 
introduction of the still into Spain, or to other factitious circum 
stances, cannot be accurately determined. Anderson, in his History 
of Commerce, has placed the date of the introduction in the year 
1150, but on what authority he has not related. That this art was 
known at an early period, there can be no question, even sup 
posing that the Saracens were the first who introduced it into 
Europe. From the writings of Rhazes and Geber, the former of 
whom resided in Seville, at the court of Almanzor, in the ninth cen 
tury, it appears that distillation was practised with success in their 
time, proving that Anderson had not made himself sufficiently 
acquainted with its origin and progress. When, therefore, this art 
was so familiar in the ninth, why fix its introduction in the twelfth 
century, as has been done by the various compilers of almost all our 


Encyclopaedias ; thus resting on the solitary assertion of a writer, 
who seems to have been little conversant with the subject, and who 
displays neither research nor accuracy in so important a matter. In 
a former part of this work, it was shown that the art of distillation 
was practised by the people of the East, long before it was known to 
the Arabs ; and this is further confirmed by the authority of an 
ancient Hindu manuscript, cited by the Asiatic Journal, from which 
it appears that a distilled liquor, resembling brandy, was known, 
under the name of Kea-Sum, from an early period of antiquity. 
Amongst the African Moors, it was practised with a rude apparatus 
in the same way, as it is, at the present day, in many parts of the 

The first spirit of which there is any account in Europe, was made 
from the grape, and sold as a medicine both in Italy and Spain, 
under the Arabic term alcohol. The Genoese, in the thirteenth 
century, dealt largely in it, and are said to have acquired consider 
able sums in the sale of this article, named likewise aqua vitce. They 
were the first Europeans who prepared this liquor from grain, and 
they sold it in small bottles at a very dear rate. In 1270, a Floren 
tine physician recommended spirit of wine, as possessing great 
virtues and effecting valuable medicinal purposes. Mariana tells us, 
that the vine was among the first objects of the early husbandry of 
the Spaniards ; and that although the primitive inhabitants com 
monly drank water, yet they were no strangers to wine, hence 
affording them, from the most remote antiquity, an article on which 
to exercise their inventive powers. If, according to this writer, 
Tubal,the son of Japheth, were the first man that peopled Spain, after 
the flood, no doubt the art of wine-making, as practised by Noah, 
was made familiar to the Spaniards.* Strabo states, that although 
the making of beer was peculiar to the Egyptians, yet it was com 
mon in other countries, where different methods were employed in 
manufacturing that liquor ; and that the ancient Lusitanians (Por 
tuguese,) before wine was plentiful among them, used zythum as a 
substitute, which, of course, must also have been familiar in Spain. 

Polybius speaks of a Celtic king of part of Iberia, or Spain, who 
affected great pomp, and had, in the middle of his hall, golden and 
silver bowls full of barley-wine, of which every one quaffed at 
pleasure ; a custom that afterwards prevailed in different parts of 
Europe. The Egyptians, no doubt, communicated the invention of 

Mariana s History of Spain, folio, pp. 2 and 5. Stephen s Translation, 


this liquor to the Babylonians and Hebrews, who, it is probable, 
transmitted it northwards to the Thracians and CeltH, both of Spain 
and Gaul, and thence to the British Isles. Aristotle s notion of this 
liquor is rather extraordinary. Those intoxicated with it, he says, 
fall on the back of their heads, whereas those deeply affected with 
wine fall on their faces. This wine from barley was called %vrov 
(brutonj, by the Greeks, which, in all likelihood, w r as its original 
Egyptian or Celtic name, and from the same word may have been 
derived our familiar term brew. 

A long period elapsed after the introduction of alcohol^ before it 
was used in the preservation of wine. The improvements, which 
were subsequently introduced in the manufacture, brought the spirit 
into frequent and common use, and hence it became an article of 
great value in commerce. 

At present, brandy is distilled in almost every province of Spain ; 
but the quantity produced and consumed is much smaller than that 
of wine, the manufacture of which is carried on to a vast extent. 
From Catalonia alone, it is computed that England receives annually 
10,000 pipes ; Guernsey and Alderney, 4,000 ; Holland and the 
north of Europe, 20,000. To other countries, 350,000 pipes have 
been frequently exported. Valencia and Malaga, since the establish 
ment of a free trade to America and elsewhere, export upwards of 
12,000 pipes yearly.* 

The quantity consumed in the kingdom is very considerable : 
5,000 hogsheads, according to Townsend, are required for the supply 
of Madrid alone, besides 18,000 arrobas of brandy.f From this state 
ment and an inspection of the annual exports to Great Britain, con 
tained in a table of the Addenda, a tolerably correct estimate of the 
magnitude of the Spanish wine-trade may be formed. 

Spain was at one time most extensive in the spirit business, and, 
it is said, even more so than France ; but, the regulations of the 
government, which obliged the manufacturer to vend his spirits to 
none but the farmers of the revenue, with a heavy taxation on the 
article, tended to cripple the trade, and eventually operated almost to a 
prohibition. At preseut,one-eighth of the produce goes to the crown, 
which claims, besides, the right of purchasing the remainder. The 
provinces, however, to prevent confusion or embarrassment, generally 
agree upon a composition for these exactions. The greater number 
of the brandy distilleries are in Catalonia, Valencia, Murcia, and 

* Burgoing s Modern State of Spain, vol. iii. p. 277. 
f The arroba weighs 25lbs. 


Gallicia. At Mataro, in Catalonia, there are six distilleries, and at 
Villa Franca, twelve. In the entire province are made about 35,000 
pipes annually, and in Valencia from 500,000 to 600,000 cantaras of 
4 English wine-gallons each. The taverns, in which wine, brandy, 
beer, and other liquors, are sold, pay a license for the privilege, 
which, in Madrid alone, amount in one year to upwards of 2,300. 

It may be here interesting to detail the process observed by the 
Spaniards in the distillation of brandy. 

Wine to the amount of four-fifths of the content of the still, is thrown 
in, the head is luted on, the fire kindled, and in abont one honr and a 
half, the still begins to run, producing a spirit of fifteen per cent, above 
hydrometer proof, and equal in quantity to one-twentieth of the charge. 
Afterwards it declines to glass proof, and then to feints. The over 
proof and glass proof are drinkable immediately, and the feints are 
either distilled again with the next charge of wine or rectified by them 
selves. When wines used for distillation are old, heavy, or over 
charged with thick substances, and when a very fine clear spirit is 
desired a quantity of pure spring-water is thrown into the still along 
with the wine ; but this expedient is regulated by the judgment of 
the distiller, nor is it universally practised. No other ingredient is 
employed in the distillation of brandy : but liqueurs are scented by 
different aromatics, of which considerable quantities of a very inferior 
sort are distilled for country consumption. 

Brandy of the first distillation, retains more vinous flavour than 
when rectified. When the wine is good, and a high proof is not 
required, the first distillation is preferred. No brandy can be pro 
duced from unfermented liquors, nor are grapes, in their natural state, 
ever thrown into the still. About a gallon of the first run is put in 
with the feints, rather for being of a low proof, than for any great 
quantity of the essential oil that it contains, or for any bad taste that 
it may have. All the art practised for preventing any disagreeable 
flavour, consists in the skill with which the fermentation of the juice 
of the grape is conducted, and in a proper management of the fire, 
that the vegetable essential oil may not be too much raised, nor the 
volatile salts forced over, in too great a quantity. The spirit, as it 
comes from the still, is perfectly transparent ; but it frequently receives 
a change of colour from the wood of the cask, or the contrivance of 
the dealer. 

It has always been supposed by merchants and distillers, that a 
rapid distillation produces a fiery brandy, of a bad, disagreeable, 
empyreumatical taste ; nor, is there any practicable method for pre- 


venting the liquid from boiling over, or remaining foul, but a proper 
management of the fire. 

Iw Spain, stills are made of copper, as also are the heads and worms ; 
but few of them are tinned. Those in general use, with few excep 
tions, differ little from each other in shape, being cylindrical from the 
bottom to the shoulder, commonly 33 inches in diameter, and the same 
in altitude, but about two inches deeper in the centre than at the side. 
The breast of the still is convex, the head is in the form of a com 
pressed globe, and the pipe, which connects it with the worm, is joined 
to the lowest part of the circumference, where a kind of gutter, or 
canal, is formed in the inside, for the purpose of conveying the con 
densed liquor to the pipe. The worms are small, only two inches 
and a half in diameter at the mouth of the condenser, and fifteen feet 
in length, making about five circular turns. A correct representation 
of the whole is given in the annexed engraving. 

The worm-tub is usually from five to seven feet high, and from four 
to five feet in diameter ; some of them are built round with brick and 
mortar. The furnaces are like ovens, the bottom of the still falling 
about a foot under the line of the dome, or breast, arid about two feet 
from the ground, on which the fuel is laid, without any grate, -vsh-pit, 
or stopper to the entrance of the furnace. The still, when charged 
with wine, is run off in about fourteen hours ; but, when rectifying, 
in about eighteen or twenty-two hours, wood being principally used 
for fuel. Distillation from grain is not practised. 

The aloe, or pita plant, is much celebrated in Spain, and, possess 
ing much mucilage, it yields, when fermented and distilled, a good 
brandy ; and were not wine so plentiful, it would afford a supply of 


this spirit, sufficient, perhaps, for the country. Sugar is made from the 
fruit of the arbutus, and an excellent spirit is distilled from it. 

The excise on brandy was first imposed in Spain under Philip II., 
in 1590 ; but the administration and monopoly were given up by 
Philip V. in 1717, when a duty of three reals vellori* for every arroba 
of brandy of all sorts was laid both on the exports and imports, and six 
reals vellon for every arroba of aniseed, cordial, and all other waters.f 
In 1747, brandy again became a royal monopoly, at which period 
public warehouses were appropriated for its sale. 

According to the statement of an early writer, quoted by Towns- 
end,t three and one-eighth gallons of wine, (the amount of twice that 
quantity of grapes,) as it comes from the press, cost one shilling and 
two-pence for the labour ; and it requires four hogsheads of ordinary 
wine to yield a hogshead of brandy, Holland s proof ; hence it has 
been inferred, that corn would be a more profitable crop ; but the 
attachment of the Spaniards to the cultivation of the vine has been so 
long established, that, in many parts of the kingdom, they neglect 
almost every other kind of agricultural pursuit. 

During the time that the Moors had possession of the southern 
parts of Spain, the cultivatio