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Nearly opposite to the island of Ko-hong, inhabited by a curious mixture of Siamese, Kambogians, Anamese, and Chinese, who have erected considerable towns, and are very industrious, stands Chantaban, a port and place of considerable trade, situated on a pleasant but shallow river, near to the mouth of which there are said to be good shelter and good anchorage for European shipping. Within the last two years some American traders have put in here, and made up their cargoes with pepper, which is extensively cultivated by the Chinese immigrants in this neighbourhood. There are other ports annually frequented by junks from China and Anam.
The Chinese settlers alone would render the best part of Siam a trading, prosperous, and rich country, if the government were only a little less tyrannical, and the Siamese and the other elements a little more industrious. But the fact is, the people would work if the sovereign and the mandarins did not so rob them of the fruits of their labour.
NOTES UPON COFFEE. Doubts were long entertained in Europe as to the nature of the tree or shrub which produced the coffee-bean. Nay, some opined that it was not the production of any tree or shrub, but grew in pods, on a short stalk, like our beans, lupines, &c.
The first coffee-plant seen in the west was one which was carried (when young) by some Dutchmen from the island of Java to the city of Amsterdam, where it was regarded as a great curiosity. As it grew apace,
and even flourished and bore its fruit, we must suppose that it was kept in a greenhouse, or otherwise sheltered and supplied with heat. In the year 1714 the magistrates of Amsterdam presented a young tree (a slip or cutting from the one at Amsterdam) to the king of France, who, after keeping it for a time in his garden at Marly, presented it to the Jardin des Plantes at Paris. There it was kept in a large glass case, in a house which contained other productions of tropical climates. It was about five feet high, and it bore its flowers and afterwards its fruit. By this time the parent-tree at Amsterdam was described as being as high as a house of two stories, and proportionably large. The curious flocked to see it, and botanists were enabled to draw up correct scientific descriptions.
The coffee-tree (Coffea Arabica) is an evergreen shrub, with oval, shining, wavy, sharp-pointed leaves, white, fragrant, fivecleft, clustered corollas, with projecting anthers and oblong, pulpy berries, which are at first of a bright red, but afterwards become deep purple. When in flower they diffuse a most delicious, reviving fragrance. The fruit begins to ripen in February, and when the seeds are prepared they are for the most part carried to the city of Mocha. This preparation consists merely of taking the beans from the husk or shell, and then drying them in the sun. The fruit, when ripening on the tree, is not unlike a cherry. The Arabs grow the tree from seed, and do not propagate it from slips. They rear them in nurseries, from which they are transplanted with great care. The foots of mountains and the gentle declivities of bills (in the more shady and moist parts) are the sites which coffee requires. The greatest care consists in turning the course of the springs and rivulets, which descend from the hills, into these nurseries, conveying the water by small canals or trenches to the foot of the trees, which will not thrive unless they be well moistened. But when they see that the coffee is ripening on the tree, they drain off the water, so as to let the fruit dry a little on the branches. The tree is seldom taller than an English apple-tree. It will bear fruit when two years old, but the best beans are not produced until the fifth or sixth year. Among the coffee-plantations in Arabia they intersperse other trees of various kinds, whose shade has a beneficial effect upon the coffee-trees. Some French travellers, who visited the districts at the beginning of the last century, found poplars, plums, almonds, peaches, oranges, citrons, pomegranates, and figs growing among the coffee-trees, and affording them shelter from the too great heat of the sun. Among these pleasant, fragrant groves the natives have their habitations.
As the consumption of the bean so rapidly increased in Europe, fears were entertained that the supply would be insufficient to meet the demand. In the year 1709 some French merchants of St. Malò sent two ships round the Cape of Good Hope, to ascend the Red Sea, visit Mocha, and endeavour to open a direct trade with that place. Up to this period the French had purchased most of their coffee from the English and Dutch, who procured it at Alexandria, Beirout, and Smyrna. It is certain, however, that long before the French visited the Red Sea, both Dutch and English ships had been at Mocha. In 1612 Sir Henry Middleton anchored in the port with three ships of the East India Company, but he does not appear to have concerned himself much about coffee.
It is quite certain that Mocha could not long have continued to supply the European demand; but some ingenious, speculative Dutchmen carried a number of young plants to their settlements in the island of Java, where the circumstances of soil and climate were found to to be highly favourable. From Java the Dutch carried the cultivation to Surinam in South America. This was about the year 1718. From Surinam the plant scon found its way to our West Indian islands--to Cuba, St. Domingo, and other regions. A great branch of commerce was thus created at no remoter period than the beginning of the eighteenth century; and nearly all the coffee which now comes to Europe is the produce of trees propagated from those first carried by the Dutch from Mocha to Java. Even in the East, in Turkey, Persia, Syria, and Egypt itself-nearly all the coffee consumed is of West Indian growth, conveyed to the Levant in English, American, Dutch, or French ships, and sold by our merchants at Constantinople, Smyrna, Beirout, Alexandria, and other ports. Except in visiting a pasha, or other very great personage, one never gets a cup of real Mocha at Constantinople, or in any other part of the Ottoman empire.
The production of coffee in the regions to which it was not indigenous, and into which it was introduced by Europeans, is now enormous, amounting in dead weight to above 120,000 tons annually. A few years ago the following statement was drawn up, as exhibiting as near an approximation as could be made to the quantities which, on an average, were annually shipped from the different places of its production :Brazil
64,000,000 Hayti (in St. Domingo)
32,000,000 British West Indies
25,000,000 Dutch Guiana
10,000,000 States of South America
8,000,000 French West Indian Colonies
4,000,000 Porto Rico
269,000,000 Thus we see that the country of its original production, and from which alone we derived cur supplies down to the year 1725, now furnishes the smallest of the quantities we annually import. These are curious facts in the history of the coffee trade, and such, we believe, as are not found in the history of any other commodity, except sugar and cotton.
It was a fine morning in the early part of the year when Mrs. Seymour and her daughter, Mrs. Hartwell, were seated in an elegant apartment of the splendid mansion belonging to the husband of the latter.
“Mrs. Monckton,” said a servant, throwing open the door. The VOL. II.
lady entered, followed by a respectable-looking woman bearing an infant. Mrs. Hartwell rose to meet her. “I am very glad to see you out again,” said she, taking her by the hand.
“And I, too,” exclaimed Mrs. Seymour, "very glad indeed.”
Mrs. Monckton, on whose pleasing countenance the utmost good humour was expressed, with a smile, bowed her thanks.
“It is my first call,” said she, as she placed herself on the sofa near Mrs. Hartwell. “I should not be happy if I did not come here before I went anywhere else ; you have been so very kind to me, both in your inquiries, and in the presents from the garden, which
have sent us. I have brought my babe for you to see. Such a boy! Mine are always large children, but this
“Lovely children, you mean,” interrupted Mrs. Hartwell.
Mrs. Monckton's bright eyes looked brighter still, and a gratified smile played round her full and glowing lip.
“Yes, indeed," said Mrs. Seymour, "yours is the sweetest family I ever saw; your little girl, in particular, is beautiful.”
“Do you think so ?” cried she, not that she had the slightest doubt of such being the case. “But to fancy that she is the only girl out of six children!"
“Six children !” repeated Mrs. Hartwell, “ is it possible ?”
“ It is very true," replied she; “ baby makes up that fearful number-bring him, nurse, to Mrs. Hartwell."
The female advanced, carefully removing the folds of the mantle in which the babe was enveloped.
“Did you ever see such a little monster?” exclaimed Mrs Monckton, as both ladies continued to gaze on the infant.
“You lovely little thing,” cried Mrs. Seymour, taking it out of the nurse's arms, and raising it to her lips.
“ Anything but little,” observed Mrs. Hartwell, with a half smile.
“Certainly,” returned Mrs. Seymour ; “ but the word “little' has a meaning of its own which no other so well conveys. feel its weight," and she laid the babe in her daughter's arms.
Mrs. Hartwell coloured, as if taken by surprise at having done that which she would rather have avoided. She hastily kissed the child, exclaiming, “Oh! take it, nurse; I shall drop it."
“Then you will not envy me,” said Mrs. Monckton, with a laugh, “the nursing of him continually, for come to me he must is frightful to think of.” (Mrs. Seymour cast a glance at her
What I shall do when nurse is gone I know not-it which seemed to infer there was a contradiction in her words.)