« PreviousContinue »
this being scraped off and washed, gradually sinks to the bottom of the water, which is poured off; then the remaining moisture being placed over a slow fire, and the farina constantly stirred, it concretes into grains resembling sago, which become hard. The Indians prepare a very intoxicating liquor from the Cassava cakes, which taken in any large quantity, frequently, prove very injurious. The Cassada flour is left untouched by every description of insect.
The shell of the testaceous (60) animal, called Tortoise, used in inlaying, for boxes, combs, &c. The outward covering is composed of two large shells, the one laid upon the other, only touching at the edge. There is a bole' at each extremity of this curious body, one for the small head, shoulders, and arms, to peep through, the other for the feet and tail. There are two kinds of Tortoises, distinguished by the name of Tortoise and Turtle; the former living in holes in the mountains, and the latter in rocks or in the sea. The caretta or hawksbill, a species of sea tortoise, furnishes us with the shell so much in repute. The under shell alone is used, and this easily separates with the point of a knife, as soon as it becomes warm, which is effected by a little fire placed beneath it. There are thirteen leaves or scales, eigbt flat and five rather bent, which, when good, are thick, clear, and transparent, of a yellow and brown colour. When softened by boiling water it may be pressed into any form; and two plates are frequently united into one, when properly beated, so closely as to render the join imperceptible. The polishing is effected by friction with the bands. It may be stained a variety of colours. Tortoises and Turtles consume numbers of shell fish; and the strength of their jaws is reported to be so great, as to enable them with facility to macerate the strongest and roughest shells. All parts of this animal appear to possess uncommon strength, notwithstanding its torpid appearance, as it has been said to bear the weight of five men upon its back, without any apparent inconvenience to itself The flesh of the Turtle is considered as a great delicacy among epi
The Mediterranean Turtle is the largest of its species, but its flesh is unpalatable.
A thick, black, unetuous substance, obtained from old pines and fir trees, and from the distillation of coals for gas. In the spring the bark of these trees is pared off, when the sap flows freely into vessels placed to receive it; this is the common turpentine, which is fit for use directly; the trees are then cut
up into pieces, and thrown into a pit, with a hole in the bottom, and burnt in a close smothering heat, when the tar runs through the hole like oil; this is put into barrels for sale, and it only requires to be boiled, without any addition, to become pitch, which in cooling concretes into a black hard mass. Considerable quantities of the tar are made in Britain, but a great deal is brought from Russia, Sweden, and other countries. It is of use in many manufactures, and was formerly in great repute as a medicine (61).
An annual plant, a species of Nicotiana, growing in the East and West Indies. The two varieties most in use are the Oronoko or long Virginian Tobacco, and the sweet scented. It was first discovered by some Spaniards, in America, and is generally supposed to have been introduced into this country by Sir Walter Raleigh, about 1585. Large quantities are cultivated in America, Greece, Italy, Turkey, &c. and it is commonly used among the Oriental nations. This annual plant attains the height of from six to nine feet, with a stalk near the root of a yellow velvety appearance. The leaves grow two or three inches from each other, of a dark green colour. The stem and branches are terminated by clusters of delicate red flowers. It forms the basis of snuff, and is recommended in some It possesses very narcotic qualities. When the plants bave attained about two feet, they are generally topped, and then left till the leaves assume a motley yellow appearance, when they are cut off close to the roots, and dried by the sun. They are then laid in a heap for a few days to ferment, and afterwards suspended for a month upon strings, when they are again fermented and pressed with heavy logs of wood for a week. The leaves being next stripped from the stalks, are tied up in bunches or hands for use. The Tobacco is then considered perfectly cured and ready for manufacturing. Tobacco is made up into rolls by the inbabitants of the interior parts of America, by a machine called a tobacco wheel, with wbich they spin the leaves into a twist of any size, and then fold them into rolls of about 20 lbs. each. Some lay a number of leaves together, and roll them round with packthread until they are cemented together. The Tobacco plant suffers much from a worm peculiar to itself, and called by the Americans, Tobacco worm. The method of smoking with cigars was introduced before the invention of pipes. A cigar is formed by a leaf of Tobacco, made up into a small twisted roll, and the smoke is conveyed through the winding folds, which prevent it from expanding. By the Indians this plant is considered so valuable, that they use it in all their ceremonies,
and it forms a very considerable article of commerce (62). By distillation it yields an oil, which has been found, from repeated experiments, to be poisonous to some animals. A species of this plant is sometimes cultivated in our English gardens. The leaves possess narcotic qualities similar to the benbane.
The fruit of the Tamarindus or Tamarind tree, a native of the East and West Indies, America, Arabia, and Egypt. It grows to the height of thirty or forty feet, with large extending branches, and the trunk is covered with a rough greyish bark. The blossoms appear in clusters of of a yellowish hue, with red veins. The fruit resembles a bean pod, containing several hard seeds, together with a dark-coloured viscid pulp, of a pleasant acid taste. When ripe the fruit is gathered, taken from the pods, and preserved with sugar. Those exported from Jamaica are esteemed the finest.
VANILLA, VANILLO, OR EPIDENDRUM.
An exotic plant, growing in Mexico, with long slender pods, containing numerous black grains, which are exported to Spain, and thence to England. They are used chiefly for imparting an agreeable flavour to chocolate.