Malay and Thai, Serampore, 1810. It is also given by Crawfurd as dachin, a Malay word from the Javanese. There seems to be no doubt that in Peking dialect ch’eng is ‘to weigh,’ and also ‘steelyard’; that in Amoy a small steelyard is called ch’in; and that in Canton dialect the steelyard is called t’okch’ing. Some of the Dictionaries also give ta ’chêng, ‘large steelyard.’ Datchin or dotchin may therefore possibly be a Chinese term; but considering how seldom traders’ words are really Chinese, and how easily the Chinese monosyllables lend themselves to plausible combinations, it remains probable that the Canton word was adopted from foreigners. It has sometimes occurred to us that it might have been adopted from Achin (d’Achin); see the first quotation. [The N.E.D., following Prof. Giles, gives it as a corruption of the Cantonese name toh-ch’ing (in Court dialect toch’êng) from toh ‘to measure,’ ch’ing, ‘to weigh.’ Mr. Skeat notes: “The standard Malay is daching, the Javanese dachin (v. Klinkert, s.v.). He gives the word as of Chinese origin, and the probability is that the English word is from the Malay, which in its turn was borrowed from the Chinese. The final suggestion, d’Achin, seems out of the question.] Favre’s Malay Dict. gives (in French) “daxing (Ch. pa-tchen), steelyard, balance,” also “ber-daxing, to weigh,” and Javan. “daxin, a weight of 100 katis.” Gericke’s Javan. Dict. also gives “datsin-Picol,” with a reference to Chinese. [With reference to Crawfurd’s statement quoted above, Mr. Pringle (Diary, Ft. St. George, 1st ser. iv. 179) notes that Crawfurd had elsewhere adopted the view that the yard and the designation of it originated in China and passed from thence to the Archipelago (Malay Archip. i. 275). On the whole, the Chinese origin seems most probable.]

1554.—At Malacca. “The baar of the great Dachem contains 200 cates, each cate weighing two arratels, 4 ounces, 5 eighths, 15 grains, 3 tenths.… The Baar of the little Dachem contains 200 cates; each cate weighing two arratels.”—A. Nunes, 39.

[1684-5.—“…he replyed That he was now Content yt ye Honble Company should solely enjoy ye Customes of ye Place on condition yt ye People of ye Place be free from all dutys & Customes and yt ye Profitt of ye Dutchin be his.…”—Pringle, Diary, Ft. St. Geo. 1st ser. iv. 12.]

1696.—“For their Dotchin and Ballance they use that of Japan.”—Bowyear’s Journal at Cochin-China, in Dalrymple, O. R. i. 88.

1711.—“Never weigh your Silver by their Dotchins, for they have usually two Pair, one to receive, the other to pay by.”—Lockyer, 113.

“In the Dotchin, an expert Weigher will cheat two or three per cent. by placing or shaking the Weight, and minding the Motion of the Pole only.”—Ibid. 115.

“…every one has a Chopchin and Dotchin to cut and weigh silver.”—Ibid. 141.

1748.—“These scales are made after the manner of the Roman balance, or our English Stilliards, called by the Chinese Litang, and by us Dot-chin.”—A Voyage to the E. Indies in 1747 and 1748, &c., London, 1762, p. 324. The same book has, in a short vocabulary, at p. 265, “English scales or dodgeons…Chinese Litang.”

DATURA, s. This Latin-like name is really Skt. dhattura, and so has passed into the derived vernaculars. The widely-spread Datura Stramonium, or Thorn-apple, is well known over Europe, but is not regarded as indigenous to India; though it appears to be wild in the Himalaya from Kashmir to Sikkim. The Indian species, from which our generic name has been borrowed, is Datura alba, Nees (see Hanbury and Flückiger, 415) (D. fastuosa, L.). Garcia de Orta mentions the common use of this by thieves in India. Its effect on the victim was to produce temporary alienation of mind, and violent laughter, permitting the thief to act unopposed. He describes his own practice in dealing with such cases, which he had always found successful. Datura was also often given as a practical joke, whence the Portuguese called it Burladora (‘Joker’). De Orta strongly disapproves of such pranks. The criminal use of datura by a class of Thugs is rife in our own time. One of the present writers has judicially convicted many. Coolies returning with fortunes from the colonies often become the victims of such crimes. [See details in Chevers, Ind. Med. Jurispr. 179 seqq.]

1563.—“Maidservant. A black woman of the house has been giving datura to my mistress; she stole the keys, and the jewels that my mistress had on her neck and in her jewel box, and has made off with a black man. It would be a kindness to come to her help.”—Garcia, Colloquios, f. 83.

1578.—“They call this plant in the Malabar tongue unmata caya [ummata-kaya]…in Canarese Datyro.…”—A costa, 87.

c. 1580.—“Nascitur et…Datura Indorum, quarum ex seminibus Latrones bellaria parant, quae in caravanis mercatoribus exhibentes largumque somnum, profundumque inducentes aurum gemmasque surripiunt et abeunt.”—Prosper Alpinus, Pt. I. 190–1.

1598.—“They name [have] likewise an hearbe called Deutroa,

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission.
See our FAQ for more details.