No care is ever taken in propagating or planting clove-trees, as the cloves which fall to the ground produce them in abundance, and the rains make them grow so fast that they give fruit in eight years, continuing to bear for more than an hundred years after. Some are of opinion that the clove-tree does not thrive close to the sea, nor when too far removed; but seamen who have been on the island assert that they are found everywhere, on the mountains, in the vallies, and quite near the sea. They ripen from the latter end of August to the beginning of January. Nothing whatever grows below or near these trees, neither grass, herb, or weed, as their heat draws all the moisture and nourishment of the soil to themselves. Such is the hot nature of cloves, that when a sackful of them is laid over a vessel of water, some of the water is very soon wasted, but the cloves are no way injured. When a pitcher of water is left in a room in which cloves are cleaned, all the water is consumed in two days, although even the cloves have been removed. Cloves are preserved in sugar, forming an extraordinary good confection. They are also pickled. Many Indian women chew cloves to give them a sweet breath. A very sweet-smelling water is distilled from green cloves, which is excellent for strengthening the eyes, by putting a drop or two into the eyes. Powder of cloves laid upon the head cures the headache; and used inwardly, increases urine, helps digestion, and is good against a diarrhoea, and drank in milk, procures sleep.
A few days after the cloves are gathered, they are collected together and dried before the fire in bundles, by which operation they lose their natural beautiful red colour, changing into a deep purple or black. This is perhaps partly owing to their being sprinkled with water, which is said to be necessary for preventing worms from getting into them. Those persons who are sent for this commodity in the company’s ships, practise a fraud of this nature, in order to conceal their thefts: For, having abstracted a certain quantity or proportion from the cloves received