In the Jaintia Hills lands are classified as follows: Hali Lands or Irrigated Paddy Lands. Raj lands, which used to be the property of the Raja of Jaintiapur, now the property of Government, which are assessed to land revenue. Service lands, which are lands given rent free to dolois, pators, and other officers who carry on the administration.
Among them was the cultivation of ginger, of the vanilla bean, of flax, hemp, and coffee. In all of them he obtained more or less success; but the difficulty of obtaining labor, and the necessity of devoting more and more attention to the increasing flocks, herds, and irrigated land, prevented him from carrying them out on a large scale.
It was a vast estate, having something of the farm and something of the house of pleasaunce, which stretched between the banks of the river and the foothills of the Libyan chain, over an immense extent of ground, covered during the inundation by the reddish waters laden with fertilising mud, and which during the rest of the year was irrigated by skilfully planned canals.
On the day following, having passed those Alps which descend from the high mountains towards the south, we entered a most beautiful plain, having high mountains upon our right hand, and a sea or lake on our left, which is fifteen days journey in circumference . This plain is watered or irrigated at will, by means of streams descending from these mountains, all of which fall into the before mentioned lake.
Great buildings like Ctesiphon near Baghdad or traces of the vast irrigation works of the past are full of interest, but for romance and mystery there is no piece of the world more fraught with meaning than this site of the city of Nebuchadnezzar, nearly 200 square miles in extent, and now, but for the comparatively small tract of irrigated land, a desert.
I gazed with amazement for many hours as we flew over the marvelously fertile and beautiful prairies of Kansas; here miles upon miles of wheat, corn, and alfalfa waving like vast seas, irrigated by means of numberless windmills; there, herds of cattle, numerous as the leaves of autumn; here, long lines of steam plows breaking thousands of acres of virgin soil; there mammoth steam reapers devouring vast areas of gold mines of grain; the food of the nations pouring into bags at one end, while the stalks were bound midway ready for the fattening of cattle.
Work may not be so hard, but the facts of life are a great deal harder, the hardest, barest of them being the here-and-now of all things, the dead levelness of forty an irrigated plain that has no hill of vision, no valley of dream. But it may have its hill in Hingham with a bit of meadow down below.
It was made of boxes, six feet long and two feet wide, containing, a two-inch layer of earth, held in place by a wire netting, and planted with South African dew plant, dense, green and hardy and thriving in this climate. Those boxes, when piled to a height of several feet, made a rustic wall of great beauty, Moreover, they could be continuously irrigated by a one-inch perforated line of pipe.
A portion of the surrounding district was appropriated to agriculture, the land being, as I before observed, irrigated by small canals, which conducted the water from the river. The Alamo is now in ruins, only two or three of the houses of the inner square being inhabited.
Those parts which are too wet are drained, whilst beds are regularly irrigated by water-courses and ridges: we had afterwards occasion to admire the very extensive draining which has been effected among the hills. Cassava is cultivated on ridges along all the streets in the town, which give it a somewhat regular and neat appearance.