Journal of the House of Lords: Volume 62, 1830. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, [n.d.].
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Die Martis, 25 Maii 1830.
The Lord President in the Chair.
Mr. Arthur Ryder is called in, and examined as follows:
In what Occupation are you engaged?
I am a Cotton Dealer.
How long have you been in that Line of Business?
Throughout my Life; for Seven-and-twenty Years.
In your Business, are you acquainted with the Qualities of the Cotton produced in different Countries?
Have you observed in that Period any Alteration in the Qualities of the Cotton imported from different Countries?
It varies according to Seasons.
Is the American Cotton better than when you were first acquainted with the Business?
What particular Species of Cotton is improved?
The short-stapled Cotton, which is called Upland or Bowed Georgia.
Are you aware of the Means by which Improvement has been accomplished?
I am unable to speak from my own Knowledge, never having been in America; but I have heard it attributed to the continual changing the Seed - using fresh Seed every Year.
Is it not from the Plant which has occupied the Ground on the preceding Year?
Is it usual to bring a different Species of Seed on to the Land of succeeding Years?
I cannot say; but continued renewed planting is necessary, as the Plant degenerates after One Year's Growth.
Does it appear to you that any great Improvements have been made in the Process of cleaning?
A good deal so; the Cotton comes cleaner and more perfect than it used to do formerly.
The Price very much depends upon the Manner of cleaning it, does it not?
The Value of the Article certainly is improved by its being free from any Dirt or Stain.
Is the American Cotton sent to this Country in a Condition very superior to the Cotton of other Countries; is it better cleaned than the Egyptian Cotton?
In some Cases it is; but the Egyptian Cotton for the last Two Years has been very much improved.
Do you mean in natural Quality?
In Cleanness, and generally speaking it has been improved.
Do you know what Methods of Cultivation have been adopted for the Purpose of effecting that Object?
I do not; but of late the Sea Island Seed has been more used, and a valuable Description of Cotton is produced from it.
Has there been a great Variety in the Species of Cotton introduced from America of late Years?
None. The Growth of the United States is confined to Two Qualities; Sea Island and Santu, or long-stapled Growths. All the rest is short-stapled, and denominated Upland.
Is it superior to other Cotton?
The Sea Island and Santu Growths are superior; the Santu, as well as the Sea Island, is superior to all other Growths.
It is understood that the Neighbourhood of the Sea is almost essential, is it not, to the Production of the finest Cotton?
It is so.
Are you acquainted with Cotton of Brazil?
Is it superior to the American?
It is superior to short-stapled American Cotton generally, but not superior to Santu or Sea Island.
Is that as well cleaned as the American Cotton?
Yes, it is so.
Are you aware whether there has been recently any Improvement in the Machinery employed in the cleaning of Cotton?
I am not.
What Relation in point of Price does the best Indian Cotton bear to the best American?
India Cotton, being short-stapled, is governed in Price by the American Growths of short-stapled Cotton; and the Prices of India generally bear a Proportion of Two Thirds of the Value of American. When the latter sells at Sixpence per Pound, India Cotton has been at Three-pence to Four-pence Halfpenny per Pound; when American Cotton sells for Ten-pence to One Shilling per Pound, India sold for Five-pence Halfpenny to Eight-pence per Pound; when American has been Eighteen Pence to Twentyone Pence per Pound, India has sold for Twelve-pence to Fifteen Pence per Pound.
To what do you attribute the great Inferiority of Price of the Indian Cotton?
It is shorter in Staple; has more Dirt, and Waste in being manufactured.
Is it shorter in Staple than the short-stapled American Cotton with which you have compared it?
Very much so.
Is there no long-stapled Cotton from India?
None whatever from India.
Is it inferior in Fineness to the American short Cotton?
It is inferior generally, both in regard to Staple, and requires more Labour to clean it. India Cotton is generally used by itself for making low Goods, or else mixed with American and other Cottons, to reduce the Price of Manufacture. In this Country it is but partially used as a Whole; and whenever American Cotton is at a very low Price, East India Cotton is neglected, and used only in small Quantities. It is much more used Abroad.
Is it at all deteriorated of late Years?
The Quality varies according to Seasons. The last Two Years, certainly, the India Cotton has been of lower Quality, generally, being very dirty, with other Defects.
What Price do you apprehend that Indian Cotton would fetch if it was cleaned as well as the American Cotton?
At the Close of January in this Year, at a Public Sale that took place in the City, there was a small Portion of East India Cottons that sold at Sixpence per Pound; it was very clean, and very perfect in its Fibre or Staple. At the same Time, Cottons from the same Division of India, which is the Malabar Coast, sold at Three-pence per Pound. In reference to the Price of American at that Time, I would say that good short-staple American Cotton was worth 7¼d.; while this Cotton brought 6d.
Do you know from what Part of India particularly that good Cotton came?
I know nothing further, than that it was shipped at the Port of Bombay.
By what House was it imported?
By Smalls, Colquhoun, and Company of the Old Jewry.
When the Cotton comes home in that sort of Condition, what Process do you adopt to attempt to clean it here?
I am not sufficiently acquainted with the Process of Manufacture to enter into Details.
Having undergone that Process, is it equal in Cleanness to American Cotton?
Yes; it can be brought to any degree of Cleanness by Labour.
Is the Cotton injured by importing it in that dirty State?
No, I apprehend not.
What is the Expence of cleaning it in that Manner?
I have heard that the Loss in Weight is about Ten per Cent; the Expence, I should think, was trifling.
Would it appear that the Difference is so great as the Difference in Price you have stated?
It would not.
Would it as much answer your Purposes to purchase at 6d. per lb. Cotton clean, as it does to purchase the same Cotton at 3d. in its dirty State?
In giving a Reply to that Question, I conceive it belongs more to the Manufacturer to answer that Question than myself. I should say that Cotton at 3d. per lb., with any sort of cleaning, affords a Profit superior to the taking the Cotton at the Price of 6d. which is already cleaned; and I have heard Spinners say, that they would rather have Cotton from India, and clean it in this Country, than have it tampered with in the cleaning. Either from their Ignorance, or some Circumstance, the Fibre of the Cotton has become injured in the cleaning; but I am unable to give the Information that a Spinner would be capable of doing.
Have you ever attended to the different Mode of packing between the Indian and American Cotton?
I have never been Abroad; but I have seen many Thousands of Bales. They are both pressed, packed and screwed very tight; but nothing equals the screwing of Indian Cotton.
Do you apprehend that the violent Application of the Screw injures the Fibre of the Cotton?
Not at all; it of course expels the external Air; and Cotton will keep with all its Qualities for very many Years.
You have already said that you do not apprehend the Pressure applied to the Cotton, though for a considerable Period, ultimately injures its Quality?
I conceive not.
It is impossible to use the Cotton until it has undergone the Process of cleaning?
It would never answer for any Purposes of Yarn; the Cloth would be full of Specks and Impurities. It is certainly requisite to clean it in all Cases previous to its Manufacture.
Does the Indian Cotton enter in a large degree into the Manufacture of those Articles of Cotton which we export from this Country?
I should conceive not in a great degree; but it varies according to its relative Price with American Growths of short staple.
It is more used in the Manufacture of Articles which are retained for Home Consumption?
I conceive so. My Experience tends to the Feeling, that Indian Cotton is solely used in making very low Goods; so far as low Goods are exported to India, Indian Cotton is applicable to that Manufacture.
You are of Opinion that it is used for the making of inferior Goods, and for effecting a Reduction in the Price?
Is there any further Information which you think it would be desirable to offer the Committee?
I would humbly submit for the Consideration of The Right Honourable Committee, that prior to July 1820 Cotton Wool was permitted to be imported in British Vessels for Home Consumption from any Part, without reference to its Place of Growth, which gave our Manufacturers Advantages they do not now possess. From Holland we could get Surinam and Nickerie Cottons; and from France, Cayenne, Martinique and Guadaloupe Cottons; all of which were used to Advantage; and, more particularly, it tended to equalize Prices all over Europe, which is now not the Case. It is my Feeling, that it would be very desirable for the East India Proprietors to make use of different sorts of Seed. I conceive that it is very possible to improve the Growth of Cotton in India.
Was the Indian Cotton you speak of as having been sold for Sixpence a Pound as well cleaned as the American?
Not quite so well cleaned.
Do you consider the best Egyptian Cotton equal to the American?
The best Species of Egyptian Cotton is superior to every Description of Cotton that is grown, except the Sea Island and Santu or long-staple American Cotton; and we are now receiving from Egypt an improved Culture from Sea Island Seed, which is greatly appreciated by our Manufacturers, and promises to rival the Growth of the Santu Cotton.
Have you ever happened to see any Cotton obtained from the Western Coast of Africa?
Once I did; I do not know whether it came from Senegal or Sierra Leone.
Was that of a good Quality?
It was very long in its Staple, but not strong in its Fibre, and consequently not capable of spinning to any high Numbers.
Is there long-staple Cotton in the Island of Bourbon?
It ranks among other long-staple Cottons; but I should call it, for a long-stapled Cotton, short; it is very fine, and consequently capable of being spun to high Numbers; but since the Sea Island Cotton has been cultivated to the Extent is has, Bourbon Cotton has gone almost entirely out of Use.
Do you know what kind of Cotton the finest Indian Muslins are made of?
I should consider, the common Cotton of the Country, the shortstapled Cotton grown in Bengal; but the whole of the Manufacture in India is by Hand-spinning, consequently there is a greater Tension, from the Moisture which the Hand gives them, than can be had from any thing in the Shape of Machinery; a fine Yarn can be produced by Hand-spinning from a short Staple which Framespinning will not touch at all. The Country of India produces nothing but short-stapled Cotton.
You consider the Manufacture of Muslin as a fine Species of Manufacture?
Certainly. The Thread is spun by the Hand in India. The Muslins made in this Country are spun from long-stapled Cottons and fine-stapled Cottons.
When so spun by the Hand, is it not applicable to the finer Species of Manufacture?
Are you acquainted with Maltese Cotton?
I have seen it; that is an inferior Article.
That is of the same Species as the Egyptian Cotton, is it not?
No; it is inferior to the Egyptian Cotton; this is long-stapled, whilst the Maltese is short and poor.
The Witness is directed to withdraw.
Mr. John Bruddock is called in, and examined as follows:
In what Line of Business are you?
I am a Cotton Merchant.
Have you ever witnessed the Cultivation of Cotton yourself?
Never in my Life. I have been in the habit of watching every Point I have met with in drawing Cottons, and examining the Pods and Seeds which have been imported into this Country, and making particular Observations upon them.
Have you within the last few Years observed any Improvement in the natural Quality of any Species of Cotton which have been imported?
I have not noticed any Improvement whatever in the Quality or in the Description.
Is there any great Improvement in respect of cleaning?
Yes, there has been; in the American particularly; they send it in the most perfect State, and more fit for a Market of all others. The Brazilians have fallen off in their Cottons.
Does the Imperfection in the Mode of cleaning very materially affect the Value of Cotton?
Undoubtedly; because the least Particle of Dirt or Dust, or whatever it may be, in Cotton, is sure to break down the Thread.
Do you apprehend it is possible to clean Cotton as perfectly after it has been imported into this Country, and packed a Number of Months, as it is at the Time it is first taken from the Ground?
I should think it was. It is some Years since I was in a Factory; more than Forty; but I should think the Blowing Machine would effect that Purpose.
Do you think the Cotton will have been injured by the Presence of the Dirt?
By no means.
Is it injured by strong Pressure?
No, by no means.
Is it injured by Confinement on board a Ship; by the Exclusion of the Air?
No, I should think not; I have known Cotton to be kept for Twenty Years, and then work remarkably well-as well as when it first arrived.
To what Circumstance do you attribute the Inferiority of the Indian Cotton?
It is from the native Seed; I have taken a Seed and stripped it of the Husk, pressed my Thumb upon it, and it breaks more like Dirt. I have taken the Kidney Seed, (for it is in the Form of a Kidney, that is, the Brazilian Seed,) stripped and pressed it, and Oil has appeared, which shows the superior Strength of it. The Pernambucco is the strongest, and will I have no doubt produce the fullest Quantity of all Seeds, and of very good Quality. Cayenne or Surinam is also very good: I have pressed the Oil out of them also; they will produce Quantity and good Quality.
Is the Cotton produced in the Brazils equal to the best American?
No, it is not; it is a very useful Article; of all Descriptions, remarkably useful; but they are not equal to the Sea Island.
Are they long or short stapled?
Do you consider the Brazilian Seed superior to the American Seed?
I think that, considering Quantity and Quality, and treating it with Attention in the Cultivation in the East Indies, it would prove superior to some, and equal to any but the Sea Island, which is grown from Persian Seed taken from the Bahama Islands. I have seen some already produced. I happened to be examining Four Samples at the India House in 1817 or 1818, with Mr. Robert Owen, and on opening One of the Samples a Kidney Seed fell out, and I never saw purer Cotton in my Life; it had a very fine silvery Gloss upon it; and I thought it fit for any Purpose, the Staple being remarkable strong, fine and long.
Where was that grown?
On the Coromandel Coast, I was informed.
What was the Value of that Cotton?
I should think it would fetch, at the present Time, about Ninepence, or from that to Ten-pence, or perhaps up to a Shilling.
Was it long-stapled Cotton?
What would be the Price of the best Sea Island Cotton?
Sea Island Cotton of that Quality is worth Twenty-one and Twenty-two Pence. I used to purchase nearly all the Persian Bahamas Seed at one Time; and I have no doubt, from the Inquiries which I have made, that those Seeds were taken over to South Carolina and Georgia; the Produce of the Sea Island is from those Seeds; and the real Persian Seed produces the finest Cotton of any; but a small Supply only of that Cotton is wanted; we want a more useful Cotton for all general Purposes. I consider the Consumption to have been increasing full Five hundred Bags a Week for Years.
What are the particular Qualities which give to Cotton the Character of Usefulness?
I consider the Brazilian Cotton to be as useful, as a middle Article for nearly all Purposes, as any Cotton which, is grown. The American Cotton is very good; the Reason that it is in more general Use, and that there has been so large a Quantity grown, is, that a Man can adapt his Machinery for the manufacturing of that Description, because the Growth is very nearly alike, and he is always sure of Supply. That is the Case with some Persons who work Indian Cotton.
Is the Indian Cotton exclusively used in the Manufacture of Articles chiefly composed of other Cottons?
No. It is mixed sometimes with Brazilian, Maranham and Bahia, but Maranham chiefly, because that is more close and fit for Twist than the general Growth of Bahia.
Have you communicated with Persons who have been acquainted with the Cultivation of Cotton in the East Indies?
I once wrote a Memorandum, and gave it to Mr. Robert Owen; that was in August 1815. I began to think of the Expediency of it in 1808 and 1809, when the American Embargo and Non-intercourse took place. I have often thought that if another Embargo was now to take place (as they send us such an immense Supply) of Three or Four Years, that it would throw the Country generally into great Confusion. There ought to be an ample and a safe and a sure Supply from our own Possessions; it has become an Article of such immense Magnitude and Importance to our National and Individual Prosperity.
Does the dirty State in which the Indian Cotton arrives in this Country materially diminish its Value?
It certainly lessens the Value considerably; but it is generally worked into very low Cloth, Checks for Sailors, and low Calicoes or Velvets, Velveteens and Cords, and other low heavy Goods.
Are you aware whether we have in this Country superior Machinery for cleaning Cotton to that used in America?
Yes; I think the Blowing Machine is a very superior Machine for taking the Dirt out; but as to the Gins for taking out that Dirt and the Remains of the Seed, I know nothing of them; but I understand The East India Company have sent some out lately on an improved Principle of all others.
Is it necessary that some degree of cleaning should take place in the Country from which the Cotton is brought?
Yes, certainly, that is essential; but the Article from the Kidney Seed is very important, and may be so easily Hand-picked, and cleaned, as the Seed may be taken out whole, and in its natural State.
Supposing Cotton to be imported in the dirtiest State from India, can you tell how much a Pound it would take to clean it?
It would take a good deal of Trouble to do that; it is the most difficult Cotton to get from the Seed. I have taken up some and pulled the Cotton off with my Fingers, and they have been sore for Two or Three Weeks afterwards. I cannot tell how much it would cost to clean it; but there would be an extra Freight to pay for Seeds and Dirt.
Is it not more difficult after its remaining so long a Time as it remains in the Dirt?
No; I think the Seed would become looser; but they must attend to that Abroad.
You cannot tell what it would cost in England to clean it?
No, I cannot, but it would be a very difficult Thing.
Is the Indian Cotton of as good a Quality as it used to be?
Yes; I can recollect it pretty nearly Fifty Years. Some Parcels are better.
Is it better cleaned?
Some Parcels are better cleaned; we get One Fifth Part of it clean from Bombay; the Madras Cotton is well cleaned, and so is that from Bengal. The Bombay is the more useful Cotton of the Three.
Is the Madras Cotton from the Brazilian Seed the only longstapled Cotton from the East Indies?
There were Four Samples at the Time I went to the India House; I never saw a better Sample in my Life; I do not know whether that Seed would not have equalled the best Cotton that ever came from the Coromandel Coast.
Are you acquainted with the Dacca Cotton?
I am not.
Do you know whether that is imported into this Country?
I think there was some Thirty Years ago. The Brother of Sir Home Popham, if I am rightly informed, had an Estate in that Neighbourhood; and the Cotton he sent was very good, fully equal to the best Bourbon; it was called Popham Cotton.
What is the Quality of the Bourbon Cotton?
It is not equal to the Sea Island for Strength; it is a very good Article for fine Cambric and Dress Muslins; but it always degenerates in other Climates. I have known the Seeds to be taken to the Bahamas, and there it produced nothing better in Quality than well-cleaned and fine Surat; and there have been several Attempts in the East Indies to produce Cotton from those Seeds, but hitherto it has always failed; never yet equal to good Bourbon, Mauritius, or the Sechel.
For what Purposes is the very finest Cotton used?
For Muslins, and for fine Veils, and for all the superior kinds of Goods and Thread.
Is the Sea Island Cotton ever used unmixed with any other?
Oh yes, undoubtedly.
It is used for the finest Articles of that sort?
Have you ever observed any Difference between East India Cotton coming from different Parts of the East Indies?
The shortest of the whole is the Bengal Cotton; it is the Cotton for common stout Calicoes for Drawers, and other heavy Goods; the Madras is the next, (that is between the Two;) Bombay is of the longest Staple, and the most useful Article, if properly cleaned.
The Bombay Cotton is not so long-stapled as the American?
It is very near; some Part of it will make very good Yarn indeed; and some Part of the Growth I consider that they very seldom transplant; they let the Tree go on bearing for several Years; they have taken no Pains at all with it, I consider.
You consider that it is best when it is sown annually?
I consider that East India Seed will either do for perennial or triennial Planting.
Does it ever remain in the same Ground longer than Three Years?
I dare say it does so in the East Indies. I have often thought they have not put down new Seed for Ten or Fifteen Years.
Is the Sea Island an annual?
Is the Brazilian an annual?
Are you aware whether the Ground requires any previous Preparation for the Cotton Plant?
I do not understand the Cultivation of it. Ever since the Embargo and Non-intercourse Years I have always been thinking of it, and which would be the best to recommend, because I saw the Importance of an ample and secure Supply.
When you talk of triennial Cotton Growth, do you mean that the Cotton does not bear for Three Years, or that it lasts for Three Years?
It lasts for Three Years, and after that it is pulled up and fresh Seed put in.
Do you conceive that the Inferiority of the East India Cotton arises chiefly from Want of due Cultivation?
No; I consider it to arise from the Want of new Seed. Some of it is nearly Half Dirt; and there is no Strength in it-no Virtue at all.
Have you Reason to believe, that by improved Cultivation, and by Selection of Seed, the Bombay Cotton could be produced to equal, or nearly to equal, the Sea Island Cotton?
I have no doubt that as good and as useful Cotton can be grown in the East Indies as in America; and the Cotton from this or Kidney Seed will produce, I have no doubt, Four Times the Quantity which the present Growth of Indian Cotton does, and be much more easily cleaned.
Do you conceive that from its being so much more easily cleaned superior Machinery is not necessary?
By no means; it can be so easily done by the Hand.
You stated that there are a Variety of Species of Qualities of Seeds; will you state what they are, and what you consider to be the best?
The best for producing Quantity and Quality are undoubtedly the Black Kidney Seeds; the Kidney Seeds I should recommend in particular are those I did to Mr. Robert Owen, whom I addressed once on that Subject; the Surinam, the Pernambucco and Cayenne; those are the Three I should recommend.
Is that the Species of Seed from which the Sea Island Cotton is grown?
That is from Persian Seed. I never saw a complete Pod of it; but I know it is a very small Seed, as compared with the Brazilian, and very heavy of the kind; it produces the very finest Cotton. There is some Growth of it now in our Island of Barbadoes which fetches a very high Price.
You have spoken of the same Cotton Plantation remaining for a Number of Years in India; do you mean to say there is any Cotton which never requires being renewed?
Certainly there is. We have had sent us over so much of the inferior Article, I think it has been gathered in in the most slovenly Manner, and most negligently attended to in the Cultivation.
Is the Plant there perpetual?
It is triennial, I should apprehend.
Have you seen any Cotton from the Western Coast of Africa?
Yes; I once saw Two or Three Parcels that John and Alexander Anderson imported; but it was grown from the wrong Seed-the Carthagena, which Seed will not answer any where, I am sure; the Seed was taken from Carthagena, the worst Cotton almost to manufacture of any that is grown; it lies in Strings.
Has there been any Change in the Cottons brought from India, within your Knowledge?
No; no Change in the Seed; we have had nothing but the old native Growth.
Nor much Change in the Manner of sending it over?
The very same.
There has been considerable Variety in the different Parts of the Country from which it comes?
No; it runs very much alike in Staple; some is better cleaned; but in the length of the Fibre there is very little Difference, if any, in the Growth of the Three Presidencies singly.
Does the Facility of cleaning the Cotton vary according to the Seed from which it has been grown?
No doubt of that. The Green Seed always requires ginning; but the Black Seed, I consider, can be taken out by the Hand, which no doubt is an Advantage to the Article, as the Gin not unfrequently cuts the Fibre.
Do you know any thing of the Cotton manufactured at Dacca?
I do not recollect ever seeing any from Dacca. I once saw in the East India House an Article which was sent over fro the Mauritius as Cotton, and was brought on at the India House to be sold as Cotton. I could not tell what to make of it; and my Remark upon it in Writing was, "Thistledown of Gold Colour;" and I saw another of Silver Colour. I got the Hatters to make Trial of it instead of Beaver; but they could make nothing of it; it was too weak in the Staple; but I think, if grafted on a good fine healthy Cotton Tree of the Black Kidney Seed, it would strengthen it, and give it Substance for carding and spinning.
The Witness is directed to withdraw.
Mr. George Agneu Carruthers is called in, and examined as follows:
In what Line of Business are you engaged?
I was engaged in the Brazils as a Shipper of Cotton.
Were you long in the Brazils?
I went there in 1813, and at different Periods to the Year 1827.
Were you extensively engaged in the Purchase of Cotton?
Very much so.
Was the Cultivation of Cotton in Brazil extended during that Period?
It was rapidly, at that Period, owing to high Prices; but it is decreasing at present, from the extremely low Prices in the Brazils and in Europe.
Is there a Difference in the Quality of Brazilian Cotton?
Yes, there is; the Cotton produced in the Southern Provinces is of a shorter Staple and an inferior Article.
Is there any Cotton in the Brazils at a Distance from the Sea?
It can be cultivated in any Part; but the Want of Roads makes it not worth while.
Is the Cotton cultivated in the Interior of as good Quality as that cultivated near the Sea?
The Cotton in the Interior is better; the Cotton near the Coast is woolly, from the Sandy Nature of the Soil; the Upland Cotton has a better Staple, but the Produce is smaller.
Is the Cotton very superior in the Interior?
It is. The Coast near the Sea, in the Northern Provinces, has evidently been recovered from the Sea, at no very remote Period: the Soil is Sand and Shells, and very arid.
Does Cotton require a very rich Soil?
No; a Soil which has produced a good deal of Timber. No Land can be appropriated to Cotton which has not been covered with Trees, (they are burned for Manure,) which is a positive Proof it is a strong Soil; but there is no very strong Soil in Brazil.
Will you describe what are the other Peculiarities of Soil and Climate which in your Opinion are most conducive to the Perfection of the Cotton Plant?
I can only speak from the positive Experience I have had of what the different Climates produce. I found that in the warm Countries near the Line the Cotton is best; and when we come southerly it is very short in the Staple, and very woolly.
Is the Seed the same in both Places?
Whence was the Seed used in the Brazils imported?
I do not believe it is known. It is cultivated very differently from the North American, I understand.
You have witnessed the Cultivation in the Brazils?
Repeatedly; and the Process of cleaning.
Describe the Difference in the Manner of cultivating the Cotton in North America and the Brazils?
In the Province of Pernambucco, which is the best Cotton Province, after the Land is cleared, at the Commencement of the Rainy Season, about the Month of March, the Seed is planted, at considerable Intervals. The Plant gives the first Season, is still more productive the second Year, and tolerably productive the third; and after the third Year it is usually abandoned.
Is the same Land again cultivated with Cotton?
No; it must be fresh Land.
What Interval of Time is necessary?
After the third Year, it is usually abandoned, and the Land left fallow.
For how long a Time must it continue fallow before it is grown upon that Land again?
They have it so very plentifully, that they seem never almost to resume it.
Describe the Mode of Cultivation in the United States?
I never have been there.
Describe the Mode of cleaning the Cotton in the Brazils?
Three Bars of Iron, about the Size of that Candle, revolve one upon another, turned generally by a Hand-wheel; the Cotton in its rough State is placed on the one Side, and drawn through by the Motion of the Rollers, subsequently beat with Sticks to take out the Dust, and finally the broken Seeds and other Impurities are picked out. Children generally are employed in this Operation.
What Part of that Operation is called ginning?
We have not the improved Machinery of the United States.
Have you ever had an Opportunity of comparing the Machinery used in the Brazils for cleaning the Cotton with that used in North America?
There was an Englishman brought out a most expensive Machine for cleaning the Cotton, but it failed entirely.
Is great Care required to effect the cleaning of the Cotton?
The Brazilian Cotton is very clean; they are very careful to take any thing like Seeds or Yellow Spots from it.
Is Labour very cheap there?
Yes, in respect of cleaning of the Cotton, as it furnishes a useful Employment to the Children of the Negroes, who would otherwise be doing nothing.
Probably it is cleaned in the Brazils with much more Labour and Toil than it would be if Labour was dearer?
I think it is.
Do you think that increases the Value?
Certainly; because there is less carding at Manchester in consequence.
Can you at all estimate its increased Value in consequence of its superior cleaning?
It would not be less than 5 per Cent, certainly.
Is the Cotton hard packed for its Transport to this Country?
Not so hard as it is in India.
Do you consider that the Pressure deteriorates the Value of the Cotton?
I cannot answer that Question.
Do you think that if the Brazilian Cotton were shipped in a dirty State, the cleaning could be performed so well in this Country as it is in Brazil?
Never having been engaged in Manufacture, having been a Merchant, I am not capable of answering that Question.
Would it be possible by any Machinery to clean it so perfectly as it is done by Hand?
I have been told that the Effect of Machinery is to hurt the Cotton; that the great Tenderness of the Brazilian Cotton will not sustain it.
Is there such a Quantity of Land applicable to the Cultivation of it in that Country as to produce any Quantity of Cotton which may be demanded?
I should think there is; but the Cultivation of Cotton labours under a great Drawback in consequence of the Exactions of the Government; Cotton pays a very exorbitant Duty, which was laid on when Cotton was Three Times its present Price, and which has never been reduced in consequence of the Fall; I wonder how the Planters keep on at all.
Are the Districts from which the Cotton comes now almost entirely on the Sea Coast?
The only Part of Brazil cultivated is the Sea Coast; all along the other is perfectly uncultivated.
By what Labour is Cotton produced; by Free or Slave Labour?
By Slave Labour exclusively.
What is the Price of Free Labour?
That is not known in the Brazils, except in Handicraft Trades.
Have you estimated what is the Value of Labour in the Brazils as compared with Labour in England?
Consequently much higher than it is in India?
Much more so. There is a sort of qualified Labour of the native Indians; Individuals who are in the Hands of a Conductor, and made to work; but they are so very lazy it is almost impossible to get them to work, especially where there are Fruits and other Vegetable Food in Season; they will elope.
You can hire Slave Labour, which gives you a Guess at the Price?
There are some Persons who live by that alone; but it is extremely high.
Can you state at all what it is?
I could not get a Slave at the very lowest under 2s. 3d. a Day, besides giving him Food; and there are only certain Periods of the Day they can work; from the Heat of the Sun, they are obliged to retire.
Is the Labour required for the Cultivation of Cotton severe?
Indeed I do not think it is; it is severe clearing the Land in the first instance, as they have to cut down the Timber and burn it; but afterwards it is by the Hoe.
What becomes of the Land which has been abandoned for Cotton Cultivation?
They very often resume it for the Growth of the Farina or Tapioca.
It is never again applied to the Produce of Cotton?
It might, after a distant Period, if they wanted the Land; but they have a very extensive Country uncultivated.
Has any Instance come within your Knowledge of its being so re-applied to the Production of Cotton?
Do you consider it to be improper for that Purpose?
I do not think it would be, after it has lain a proper Time; the only Manure they apply is the Ashes of Wood; and as soon as a sufficient Quantity of Vegetation has sprung up to burn over again, they can cultivate the Land with Ash, as it affords a Sufficiency of Manure.
Do you know the comparative Price of Brazilian Cotton in the Liverpool Market with American Cotton?
It is more valuable, except occasionally the very fine Orleans or the Sea Island.
From what Cause did the Machine imported by the Englishman fail?
He found it impossible to get the Country People to bring their Cottons to his Machinery; by doing so they put out of Employ numerous Hands that could not be otherwise employed.
Have you not stated that you thought the Fibre of the Cotton was injured by the Machinery?
They had an Opinion there that the Fibre of Cotton was injured by Machinery. I saw some Cotton cleaned by this Machinery; it was remarkably clean. I do not mean to say that the Fibre might not be hurt. It would not pay; the Trade did not give it that Preference which I think they ought. It was a Transaction we all had our Eyes fixed on.
Was that Machine you speak of a very large Machine?
Yes; a very large complicated Machine.
The other Machine of which you spoke is a small Machine?
Yes; and it is in use at this Time.
Are the Slaves you mention African Slaves?
Yes; African Slaves, or the Descendants of African Slaves.
Are there no Slaves obtained from the Indians?
No; the Slaves come from Mozambique, Angolla, Benguella and, contraband, also from the North of the Line.
Are the Indians in the Interior ever reduced to Slavery?
A qualified Slavery; they are obliged to work under the Care of a Conductor, who receives a Portion of their Labour.
Can you state whether the Slave Population upon a Cotton Plantation keeps itself up generally?
On no Plantation in Brazil do the Slave Population keep themselves up. I do not know whether they will now; but they, the Masters, went on the Principle of neglecting their Slaves, and supplying themselves at a very cheap Rate; I have known them sold at Twenty Pounds apiece.
During the Time you were there, there was a constant Importation of Slaves?
Very great indeed.
The Witness is directed to withdraw.
Mr. Allan Campbell Dunlop is called in, and examined as follows:
What is your Occupation?
I have been an Indigo Planter.
In what Part of India have you resided?
In Bengal, in the District of Jessore.
How far is that from Calcutta?
About 130 to 150 Miles.
Did you become acquainted while you resided in India with the Cultivation of Cotton, and any other Indian Products except Indigo?
In what Year did you go out to India?
Had you a Licence from The East India Company?
You obtained when you arrived a Permission from the Company?
A local Licence from the Government Four Years afterwards.
How did you occupy yourself in those Four Years?
As a Planter; learning the Plantation System.
You carried out no Capital of your own, probably?
I found a Capital when I went there.
You borrowed it?
I had it given me by a Relation.
Had you likewise borrowed Money?
What Interest did you pay?
Generally Twelve per Cent.
What Security, if any, did you give to the House that advanced you Money?
After getting into Debt, Securities by insuring my Life.
What Extent of Land did you occupy?
About 25,000 Begas, or 12,000 Acres, probably.
Do you mean that you advanced to the Ryots who occupied that Quantity of Ground?
Did you hold a Lease?
To what Extent?
That I cannot say.
Did you cultivate yourself any Portion of that Land you held on Lease, or only make Advances to Ryots, in the same Manner as you made Advances to other Ryots?
I held very little on Lease; my Cultivation was all through the Ryots.
By Advances to them?
What Advantage did you derive from possessing that Lease?
Merely to keep out Competition; to keep the other Planters from possessing that Land.
From interfering with you in your Engagements with the Ryots?
When did you leave India?
Did your Business continue profitable?
At first it was very unprofitable; up to the Year 1819 it was very much involved in Debt.
It afterwards became more profitable?
Was the Profit such as to enable you to pay the Twelve per Cent. Interest you engaged to pay to the Person who advanced the Money to you?
Not for the first Twelve to Fifteen Years.
During all that Time you carried it on to a Loss?
Do you apprehend there were any particular Circumstances in your Position which occasioned that Loss, or that it was the usual Debt of other Adventurers?
It was from the Competition in Bengal in general; from the great Number of Foreigners allowed to settle there, retiring from the Native Services in the Conquered Territories. The Company allowed all their Pensioners withdrawn from the Native Powers to settle, to save the Pensions; and they were not allowed to go into the Interior of India, but to settle in Bengal, near Calcutta; and from the great Competition for Ten or Fifteen Years there was no Profit.
Did any Native Zemindars engage in the Manufacture of Indigo?
A great many.
Whom did they employ to superintend the Manufacture; Natives or Europeans?
Did that Competition materially interfere with your Profits?
Are they at present Manufacturers of Indigo to as large an Extent as the Europeans?
Not to the Extent of the Europeans.
But the Manufacture by them is increasing?
I believe it is.
Do they carry on their Business with borrowed Money?
I should suppose not.
What was the Interest to be obtained in the Government Funds at the Time you paid Twelve per Cent. to the Houses from which you borrowed?
At first, when I arrived in India, Eight and Nine per Cent; it afterwards fell to Five and Six.
Did the Interest you paid continue the same?
Yes; while I was in Debt it continued the same, up to 1819.
What Reduction took place then?
I got out of Debt, and no longer borrowed any Money after that; then I think it continued Eight or Nine per Cent. to the Agents.
Do you know what Interest they allowed their Customers?
Eight per Cent.
At the Time you paid Twelve?
When the Interest you paid was at Eight or Nine per Cent, what Interest did they then allow to their Customers?
Six and Seven per Cent.
A little above the Rate of Interest that was obtained in the Government Funds?
Do you apprehend that a very large Portion of the Capital engaged in the Manufacture of Indigo was lent by those Houses?
I believe the greatest Part.
There were very few Indigo Manufacturers who had Capital of their own?
Very few, or none.
Do they find any Difficulty in disposing of Manufactories, when they leave the Country?
Have there always been Persons ready to borrow Money, and take their Places?
Yes; Agents; Friends whom they push on Merchants.
Is the Capital engaged in that Speculation much larger now than it used to be?
A great deal, I should suppose.
Is it the Profit to be made for the Speculation, or any other Circumstance, to which you attribute the Increase of Capital employed in that Manner?
I do not think the Profit is so great.
There is a greater Difficulty in Remittance to England, which detains Money in England?
Has it appeared, that upon the whole it made a profitable Speculation to those engaged in it?
Yes; the last Ten Years in particular.
Is it at present?
I cannot say; it is Four Years since I left.
You say that the Cultivation of Indigo, though unprofitable for many Years, then became profitable?
For how many Years was it profitable?
About Six Years before I left India.
It was upon the whole profitable?
Yes; the Price of Indigo rose so much.
Have you seen Cotton cultivated in India?
In what Part of India?
Near the Sea?
No; not near the Sea; in the Interior.
Was it an annual or a triennial Plant?
Annual, in Bengal.
Did it appear to be a profitable Cultivation?
Rather so to Natives; more Attention is paid to it by them than Indigo generally.
Does it require Manure?
The Natives in India do not give Manure generally.
Did they use the same Land for Cultivation of Cotton in successive Years?
I believe they did.
For several successive Years?
Did you see any Machines used by them for the Purpose of cleaning it?
In Calcutta I did, but not in the Country.
Of what Nature were those Machines?
A kind of Bowstring.
You saw no European Machinery?
No; there has been no great deal cultivated in the Part of the Country where I was.
In what Manner was the Bowstring applied to the cleaning the Cotton?
Entirely by the Hand.
Was it done by Children?
No; by Men, and sometimes by Females.
Did they appear to take great Pains in cleaning the Cotton?
I am not aware of that; I did not see any particular Attention.
At what Rate can you obtain Labourers for the Cultivation of Cotton or Indigo?
About Six to Eight Shillings a Month; Three to Four Rupees.
Do they feed themselves?
Yes, they do; the common Labourers.
Do they do much Work?
They must be very strictly looked after, and kept to their Work.
Were you ever in a Country in which Slave Labour was employed?
I have been in America.
Did the common Labourers of India perform the same Work as the Slaves in America?
Not so much.
Did you employ any Europeans in your Manufactory?
At what Wages?
Generally about 100 Rupees a Month to 200 Rupees.
Were they Native Europeans or Half-caste?
Generally Europeans, but I have had both.
What could you have obtained the Services of Natives for to perform the same Work?
We could not have trusted to Natives to have done the Duty in the same Way. I got them at from Thirty to Forty Rupees.
How did those Europeans get out to India?
Most generally young Men that went out on board Ship, Stewards of Ships, and others that got their Friends to transmit them out, and left the Ship.
Do the Natives who manufacture Indigo pursue exactly the same Process of Manufacture pursued by Europeans?
Yes, but not with the same Attention.
Are they improving in their Mode of Manufacture?
Yes; they are paying more Attention; formerly they were very careless and inattentive to the Manufacture.
Did it appear to you, while you resided in the Country, that more Capital was employed in the Cultivation of Land than had been when you first went there?
Yes, a great deal more.
Did the People appear to improve in Conduct?
You speak only of Jessore?
Of Jessore particularly; I have not been out of Bengal.
Have you had an Opportunity of seeing Sugar cultivated?
Has there been much Improvement in the Quality of Sugar grown?
I do not suppose there has been much; the Natives are generally against all Improvement, or breaking through any of their old Customs; they are generally very indolent.
Are you acquainted with the Mode of the Cultivation of Sugar yourself?
No; but I have seen it; it is very common in the Part where I was.
Do you think it could be materially improved without the Aid of Machinery?
I think it could.
You think that if Europeans were allowed to cultivate it, a very material Improvement might take place?
Yes, I think that it might.
Have not Europeans the same Facility for engaging in the Cultivation and Manufacture of Sugar as they have for engaging in the Culture and Manufacture of Indigo?
I should suppose they have the same.
Is the Manufacture of Sugar carried on by Natives of the Description to whom you have already alluded?
At about the same Rate of Wages?
Are there any Sugar Plantations carried on by Europeans?
I believe there are in the Interior, but not in my Neighbourhood.
Do you conceive the Natives better calculated or more likely to engage with Advantage, in the Manufacture of Sugar, Indigo or Cotton?
In Sugar and Cotton, rather than in Indigo.
The Witness is directed to withdraw.
Ordered, That this Committee be adjourned to Friday next, One o'Clock.