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CAMELFORD—CAMELLIA

savage and dangerous, uttering a loud bubbling roar and engaging in fierce contests with their fellows. The female carries her young for fully eleven months, and produces only one calf at a time, which she suckles for a year. Eight days after birth the young Arabian camel stands 3 ft. high, but does not reach its full growth till its sixteenth or seventeenth year; it lives from forty to fifty years. The flesh of the young camel resembles veal, and is a favourite food of the Arabs, while camel’s milk forms an excellent and highly nutritious beverage, although it does not furnish butter. The long hair is shorn every summer, and woven into a variety of stuffs used by the Arab for clothing himself and his family, and covering his tent. It was in raiment of camel’s hair that John the Baptist appeared as a preacher. The hair imported into Europe is chiefly used in the manufacture of small brushes used by painters, while the thick hide is formed into a very durable leather. The droppings are used as fuel, and from the incinerated remains of these sal-ammoniac is extracted, which was at one time largely exported from Egypt.

The Bactrian camel is, if possible, of still more importance to many of the central Asian Mongol races, supplying them alike with food and raiment. It is, however, as “the ship of the desert,” without which vast tracts of the earth’s surface could scarcely be explored, that the camel is specially valuable. In its fourth year its training as a beast of burden begins, when it is taught to kneel and to rise at a given signal, and is gradually accustomed to bear increasing loads. These vary in weight from 500 to 1000 lb., according to the variety of camel employed, for of the Arabian camel there are almost as many breeds as there are of the horse. When crossing a desert camels are expected to carry their loads 25 m. a day for three days without drink, getting a supply of water, however, on the fourth; but the fleeter breeds will carry their rider and a bag of water 50 m. a day for five days without drinking. When too heavily laden the camel refuses to rise, but on the march it is exceedingly patient under its burden, only yielding beneath it to die. Relieved from its load it does not, like other animals, seek the shade, even when that is to be found, but prefers to kneel beside its burden in the broad glare of the sun, seeming to luxuriate in the burning sand. When overtaken by a dust-storm it falls on its knees, and stretching its neck along the sand, closes its nostrils and remains thus motionless till the atmosphere clears; and in this position it affords some shelter to its driver, who, wrapping his face in his mantle, crouches behind his beast.

The food of the camel consists chiefly of the leaves of trees, shrubs and dry hard vegetables, which it is enabled to tear down and masticate by means of its powerful front teeth. As regards temperament, if, writes Sir F. Palgrave, “docile means stupid, well and good; in such a case the camel is the very model of docility. But if the epithet is intended to designate an animal that takes an interest in its rider so far as a beast can, that in some way understands his intentions, or shares them in a subordinate fashion, that obeys from a sort of submissive or half-fellow-feeling with his master, like the horse or elephant, then I say that the camel is by no means docile—very much the contrary. He takes no heed of his rider, pays no attention whether he be on his back or not, walks straight on when once set agoing, merely because he is too stupid to turn aside, and then should some tempting thorn or green branch allure him out of the path, continues to walk on in the new direction simply because he is too dull to turn back into the right road. In a word, he is from first to last an undomesticated and savage animal rendered serviceable by stupidity alone, without much skill on his master’s part, or any co-operation on his own, save that of an extreme passiveness. Neither attachment nor even habit impresses him; never tame, though not wide-awake enough to be exactly wild.”

For extinct camels see Tylopoda.  (R. L.*) 

The Biblical expression (Matt. xix. 24, &c.), “it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye,” &c., is sometimes explained by saying that the “needle’s eye” means the small gate which is opened in the great gate of a city, when the latter is closed for the night; but recent criticism (e.g. Post in Hastings’ Dict., under “Camel”) throws doubt on this explanation, and assumes that the more violent hyperbole is intended. There is a various reading κάμιλος (cable) for κάμηλος (camel), but Cheyne, in the Ency. Biblica, rejects this (see Cable).


CAMELFORD, THOMAS PITT, 1st Baron (1737–1793), English politician and art patron, was a nephew of the 1st earl of Chatham. He sat in parliament from 1761 till 1784, siding against his uncle and following George Grenville, who was also a relative; and in 1784 he was raised to the peerage. He dabbled in architecture and the arts generally, and was a prominent figure in the artistic circles of his day. His son Thomas Pitt, 2nd Baron Camelford (1775–1804), who succeeded him in 1793, had an adventurous and misspent career in the navy, but is principally remembered for his death in a duel with Mr Best on the 10th of March 1804, the title becoming extinct.


CAMELLIA, a genus or subgenus of evergreen trees or shrubs belonging to the natural order Ternstroemiaceae, with thick dark shining leaves and handsome white or rose-coloured flowers. The name Camellia was given by Linnaeus in honour of George Joseph Camellus or Kamel, a Moravian Jesuit who travelled in Asia and wrote an account of the plants of the Philippine Island, Luzon, which is included in the third volume of John Ray’s Historia Plantarum (1704). Modern botanists are agreed that the tea-plant, placed by Linnaeus in a separate genus, Thea, is too nearly allied to Camellia to admit of the two being regarded as distinct genera. Thea and Camellia are therefore now considered to represent one genus, which has been generally called Camellia, but more correctly Thea, as this name was the earlier of the two. Under the latter view Camellia is regarded as a subgenus or section of Thea. It contains about eight species, natives of India, China and Japan. Most of the numerous cultivated forms are horticultural products of C. japonica, a native of China and Japan, which was introduced into Europe by Lord Petre in 1739. The wild plant has red flowers, recalling those of the wild rose, but most of the cultivated forms are double. In the variety anemonaeflora nearly all the stamens have become transformed into small petaloid structures which give the flower the appearance of a double anemone.

Another species, C. reticulata, a native of Hongkong, is also prized for its handsome flowers, larger than those of C. japonica, which are of a bright rose colour and as known in cultivation semi-double or double.

Both C. sasanqua and C. drupifera, the former inhabiting Japan and China, the latter Cochin-China and the mountains of India, are oil-yielding plants. The oil of C. sasanqua (of which sasankwa is the native Japanese name) has an agreeable odour and is used for many domestic purposes. It is obtained from the seeds by subjecting them to pressure sufficient to reduce them to a coarse powder, and then boiling and again pressing the crushed material. The leaves are also used in the form of a decoction by the Japanese women for washing their hair; and in a dried state they are mixed with tea on account of their pleasant flavour. The oil of C. drupifera, which is closely allied to C. sasanqua, is used medicinally in Cochin-China. The flowers of these two species, unlike those of C. japonica and C. reticulata, are odoriferous.

Camellias, though generally grown in the cool greenhouse, are hardy in the south of England and the south-west of Scotland and Ireland. They grow best in a rich compost of sandy peat and loam, and should not be allowed to get too dry at the roots; a liberal supply of water is especially necessary during the flowering period. The best position—when grown out of doors—is one facing north or north-west, with a wall or hedge behind for protection from cold winds. July is the best time for planting; care must be taken that the roots are evenly spread, not matted into a ball.

The plants are propagated by layers or cuttings, and the single-flowered ones also by seeds. Cuttings are taken in August and placed in sandy peat or loam in a cold shaded frame. In the following spring those which have struck are placed in a gentle heat, and in September or October the rooted plants are potted off. Camellias are also propagated by grafting or inarching in early spring on stocks of the common variety of C. japonica.

The scale insect sometimes attacks the camellia. To remove