Affairs of the East India Company: Appendix A (5) No. 2

Pages 1306-1311

Journal of the House of Lords: Volume 62, 1830. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, [n.d.].

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.


In this section

No. 2

No.2.-Correspondence relating to the Cultivation of Cotton and Tobacco in the East Indies.

(1.)-Copy of a Letter from the Secretary to the Committee of Privy Council for Trade to the Secretary to the Commissioners for the Affairs of India.


Whitehall, 26th July 1828.

The Attention of this Committee has lately been called to the possibility of improving the Culture, in the East Indies, of some Articles which are now chiefly supplied by the United States of America; particularly of Cotton and Tobacco.

It has been represented to their Lordships, that the Cotton of India is inferior to that of Carolina, not through any Inferiority in the Soil in which it is grown, but through a defective Mode of Cultivation; and it is thought that this Deficiency might be supplied by a judicious Application of Skill and Capital.

The same Representation is made as to Tobacco.

A slight Encouragement is about to be extended to the Cotton of India, by the Reduction of the Import Duty upon Cotton Wool from Six per Cent. on the Value to Four-pence per Cwt.; but, if the Lords of this Committee are rightly informed, this Encouragement will not be sufficient to occasion the necessary Improvement of the Cotton, unless Measures be taken in India for applying Skill and Capital to the Cultivation.

The peculiar System of Administration which the Legislature has sanctioned for British India, forbidding Europeans to settle in the Country, prevents the Operation of the Encouragement ordinarily afforded by an extensive Market and a favourable Tariff.

But my Lords conceive that it may be quite consistent with the Maintenance of that System to extend Facilities, liberal in their Character but limited in their Extent, to British Subjects, who may be disposed to settle in the Cotton Districts, and whose Character, Property and Knowledge qualify them for the Object required.

Their Lordships apprehend that the important Article of Indigo has flourished under Encouragement of this Nature.

Under these Impressions the Lords of this Committee direct me to request, that you will move the Commissioners for the Affairs of India to take these Suggestions, as they regard both Cotton and Tobacco, into their Consideration, and to communicate thereupon with The East India Company.

The Court of Directors cannot fail to admit the Importance of the Object, and it is hoped that if they should not consider the Suggestions of this Committee as pointing out the most advisable Method, they will suggest some other Method of obtaining it.

I am to add, that their Lordships are desirous of receiving the fullest Information which the Commissioners may be able to afford them of the present State of the Culture and Trade of Cotton and Tobacco in the East Indies.

I am, Sir,

Your most obedient humble Servant,

George Bankes, Esq. &c. &c. &c.

Thomas Lack.


(2.)-Copy of a Letter from the Secretary to the India Board to the Secretary to the Court of Directors of The East India Company.


India Board, 2d August 1828.

I am directed by the Commissioners for the Affairs of India to request that you will lay before the Court of Directors of The East India Company the accompanying Copy of a Letter, which has been addressed to the Board by the Direction of the Committee of Privy Council for Trade.

The Board are desirous of being furnished with the Sentiments of the Court relative to their Lordships Suggestions as to the Improvement of the Cotton and Tobacco of India; and also of receiving, at the earliest possible Period, the Information requested as to the present State of the Culture of those Articles.

I am, Sir,

Your most obedient and humble Servant,

Joseph Dart, Esq.

George Bankes.

(3.)-Copy of a Letter from the Secretary of the India Board to the Secretary of the Board of Trade.


India Board, 22d September 1828.

The Commissioners for the Affairs of India, in compliance with the Request of the Lords of Privy Council for Trade, as intimated by your Letter of the 26th July last, have directed their Attention to the Suggestions of the Lords of Privy Council for Trade, regarding the possibility of improving the Culture, in the East Indies, of Cotton and Tobacco.

In pursuance of Directions from the Commissioners for the Affairs of India, a Copy of your Letter of the 26th of July was by me transmitted to the Court of Directors, accompanied by a Request that every Information which it might be in the Power of the Court of Directors to communicate on the Subject therein referred to should be furnished at the earliest possible Period.

I am now directed by the Commissioners for the Affairs of India to transmit to you, for the Purpose of being laid before the Committee of Privy Council for Trade, the Copy of a Letter from Mr. Dart, dated the 5th Instant, being in reply to that which I had the Honour to address to him when enclosing Copy of your Letter on the Occasion above referred to.

I am, Sir,

Your most obedient humble Servant,

Thomas Lack, Esq.

George Bankes.

(4.)-Copy of a Letter from the Secretary to the Court of Directors of The East India Company to the Secretary of the India Board.


East India House, 5th September 1828.

I have had the Honour of receiving and laying before the Court of Directors your Letter of the 2d Ultimo, enclosing Copy of a Letter which had been addressed to the Commissioners for the Affairs of India by the Direction of the Committee of Privy Council for Trade, respecting a Department of the Agriculture and Commerce of India, to which the Court of Directors attach equal Importance with His Majesty's Commissioners and the Lords of the Committee of Privy Council.

I am directed, in reply, to communicate to you the following Observations:

There appear to be Two Points on which Information is desired; first, the Sentiments of the Court relative to the Expediency of extending Facilities to British Subjects who may be disposed to engage in the Cultivation and Improvement of the Cotton and Tobacco of India, it being conceived that the important Article of Indigo has flourished under Encouragement of this Nature; and secondly, the present State of the Culture and Trade of Cotton and Tobacco in India.

1. With respect to the first Point, I am directed to state, that the same Encouragement on the Part of the Indian Government is now afforded to the Cultivation and Trade of the Articles in question, as to that of Indigo, alluded to by the Lords of the Committee of Privy Council for Trade. Land is granted to Speculators in these Articles on the same Terms as to those in Indigo; and a Drawback of all Duties is allowed on Export to the United Kingdom.

2. With respect to the second Point, namely, the present State of the Culture and Trade in the Two Articles in question, I am directed to communicate to you the following Particulars; viz.


Memorandum on the present State of the Culture and Trade of Cotton and Tobacco in the East Indies.

The Cotton Shrub is indigenous throughout the Peninsula of India, from Ceylon in the South to the Foot of the Himalayah Mountains in the North; and various Kinds have long been known to the Native Cultivators, viz. annual, biennial, and Cotton of several Years Duration; some Kinds scarcely reach the Height of One Foot, others attain Ten or Twelve Feet, and some a still greater Height. The Species which is most generally, indeed it may be said universally, in Cultivation in India, is an annual Shrub, a Variety of the Green Seed Kind, yielding a White Pod; but even of this Variety there are many Sub-varieties, of some of which the Wool is more easily separated from the Seeds than of others. There are likewise Cotton Plants, with Brown, Yellow, Ashcoloured and Iron-grey Pods. Some of the Species have Black Seeds, some Green Seeds, and there is Cotton found with Red Seeds.

The Introduction into India of new and better Species, and of improved Modes of preparing Cotton for the European Markets, has at various Times during the last Thirty Years engaged the Attention of the Court of Directors and of the Indian Governments, and also of the private Residents; and the following Kinds of Foreign Cotton, and probably others, have become Objects of experimental Cultivation in various Parts of India; viz.

Sea Island Cotton,

Barbadoes Cotton,

Brazil Cotton,

Bourbon Cotton, both of the Green Seed Kind and the Black Seed Varieties.

Cotton from China.

It would be Matter of Gratification if it could be said that Success had attended these Endeavours, but the Native Cultivators do not appear to have given any, or at most very little Attention to the Subject; and all the Experiments on a Scale of Commercial Speculation which have been conducted by Europeans have been confined to the Bourbon Species, to which the Court of Directors, in consequence of Representations of its superior Quality and Usefulness, gave particular Encouragement, by importing into India a large Supply of Seed during several Years; but the Cultivation has been checked by an unlooked-for Difficulty, namely, that the Consumption of Cotton having a long silky Staple is very limited, and that the Demand of the British or Foreign Manufacturer does not require, and consequently Purchasers cannot be found for, a large Supply of Bourbon Cotton.

The latest Experiment for the Introduction of Foreign Cotton known to the Court is that of The Marchioness of Hastings, who having procured from England, in the Year 1823, a new Supply of Seeds of the Brazil and Barbadoes Cottons, cultivated the same under her own Inspection at her Ladyship's Farm near Barrackpore, and distributed the Seeds amongst the Husbandmen in the Neighbourhood. Part of the Cotton thus raised from Brazil and Barbadoes Seeds was delivered to the Commercial Residents at the Company's Factories of Santipore and Hurripaul, for the Purpose of being wrought up into Muslins, some Pieces of which are now in the Company's Warehouse in London; but whether the Natives have continued to cultivate the Species of Cotton thus placed within their immediate Reach does not appear.

The delicate Fabrics of Dacca were at all Times manufactured entirely from the Cotton of that District, which is the finest of all the Cotton produced in India, and is probably the finest in the World; but the Growth of this particular Kind of Dacca Cotton is limited to a Space of about Forty Miles in Length by less than Three in Breadth, along the Banks of the Megna, about Twenty Miles North of the Sea. An Attempt was made in the Years 1790 and 1791 to encourage the Cultivation of this Species of Dacca Cotton in the other Parts of Bengal; and the Collectors of the Revenue, with the Residents at the Commercial Factories, were directed to distribute the Seeds amongst the Native Cultivators; but the Endeavour failed of Success.

The Court of Directors are in Possession of various Reports from the Company's Revenue and Commercial Servants, and others, upon the Culture and Management of Cotton in several Parts of India, in which the Times of sowing, gathering, and other Particulars are set forth with great Attention to Details, shewing also the Tenures of Land. The Information contained in these Documents might be useful if digested into an Abstract, but it would require much Time for the Performance of such an Abstract.


Bengal, it is well known, does not produce, and probably never did produce, a greater Supply of Cotton than is required for its internal Consumption; and during the Periods when the Company's Investment of Cotton Manufactures for Exportation to London was in its once large and flourishing State, and at the same Time there was an active Demand for the like Goods by the French, Dutch and Danish Merchants, the Quantity of Cotton grown in the Bengal Provinces did not equal One Eighth Part of the Quantity worked up there into Piece Goods. The necessary Supply was imported from the Deccan, the Dooab and various Parts of the Mahratta Country; and it appears that the Value of the Quantities of Cotton which passed the then Frontier Custom House of Manjee, at the Confluence of the River Gogra with the Ganges, amounted, in one particular Year, to a Crore of Rupees; but a great Portion of this Foreign Cotton was exported from Calcutta by Sea.

The Treaty of The Nabob Vizier of the Year 1801, and Treaties with other Native Princes, have, however, transferred to the Company the Sovereignty over some of the Central Provinces of India, which afford Cotton in great Abundance; and the Supplies of Cotton which arrive at Calcutta are now classed as British Produce; very little Cotton produced in Countries beyond the present British Frontier being now imported into the Company's Provinces. (fn. 1) The Quality of the Cotton, however, remains as hitherto; and as, from its Shortness of Fibre, it is not considered suitable to the Purposes of the British Manufacturer, it meets with little Encouragement in Britain; and Indian Cotton has for some Time past been selling at a lower Price in London than its original Cost in Calcutta.

Besides the general Defect of Shortness of Staple, Indian Cotton is liable to Objection on account of its not being sufficiently cleansed from the Seeds, Leaves and other Matters; to remedy which, the Court of Directors obtained from America Patterns of the most approved Machines in use in Georgia and Carolina for separating the Wool of the Cotton from its Seeds; and they also, in the Year 1813, engaged the Services of Mr. Bernard Metcalfe, a very respectable Man, who had for some Years carried on the Business of a Cleaner of Cotton in Georgia; but this Person, after residing in India some Time, finding that his Endeavours to induce the Natives to use American Machines were fruitless, gave up the Employment, and retired from India altogether.

The following is the Value of the Exports of Cotton from Calcutta by Sea for the Years mentioned; viz.

Countries to which exported. 1820-21. 1821-22. 1822-23. 1823-24. 1824-25. 1825-26.
Sa Rs. Sa Rs. Sa Rs. Sa Rs. Sa Rs. Sa Rs.
United Kingdom 7.16.157 3.54.962 2.88.486 4.51.021 5.01.779 4.76.169
France 1.460 12.782 77.352 -
Sweden 2.196
Sumatra 2.435 12.334 12.583 1.271
Java 782 3.976 13.137 6.362 - -
Coromandel 4.566 - - - -
Penang 8.371 25.215 -
China 37.21.507 30.38.642 9.17.992 18.90.185 26.23.989 25.77.494
Total                             Sa Rs 44.40.881 34.24.311 12.44.980 23.47.568 32.28.335 30.57.130
Total Quantity in Maunds 278,319 239,131 95,244 158,829 251,205 236,141

Fort Saint George.

The Cotton Trade of the Company's Territories under the Presidency of Fort St. George is next to be considered.


The Northern Circars, which extend about 500 Miles along the Coast of Coromandel, from the River Kistnah to the Borders of Cuttack, have, from very early Times, been the Seat of an important and extensive Manufacture of Cotton Piece Goods, of which the Descriptions of Calicoes known as Madras Long Cloths and Salampores were the chief; and, with Masulipatam dyed Handkerchiefs and other Kinds of Goods for the African and West India Trade, have, until lately, been in great Demand. Masulipatam Goods have, however, for some Years been entirely superseded by the Manufactures of Manchester and Glasgow; and in all Appearance the Northern Circars will, at no distant Period of Time, be deprived of the Manufacture of White Calicoes also.

The Cotton which is grown in the Northern Circars is neither abundant in Quantity nor good in Quality; the Weavers have depended for a considerable Part of the Supply of their Raw Material upon the Mahratta Countries to the Westward, from which cheaper and better Cotton was brought by Persons termed Lombadies, who travelled down to the Coast at the proper Season of the Year in large Bodies, and took back Salt, Betel, Copper and other Merchandize in return.

As all the Cotton which was brought from Berar, the Deccan, and other Countries of the Interior, was conveyed by Land, the Mahratta Cotton was dearer at the Sea-ports than the Cotton which was carried to Calcutta by Water; and it does not appear that Cotton has at any Time been an Article of Export by Sea from the Northern Circars.

The Districts to the Southward and to the Westward of Madras afford Cotton of better Staple than the Northern Circars; and The East India Company have had considerable Factories for the Provision of Long Cloths and Salampores in the Territories to the Southward of the Presidency; but the Crops of these Southern Provinces being much subject to the Casualty of uncertain Seasons, the Price of the Cotton has been thereby enhanced, and the Goods were dearer than those of the Northern Districts. The Calicoes of the Southern Division of the Indian Peninsula were early supplanted in the European Market by British Manufactures.

Endeavours to establish the Cultivation of superior Kinds of Cotton in the Southern Division of the Madras Territories have been long in course of Progress. Bourbon Cotton and Brazil Cotton have been cultivated by the Company's Servants and by private Residents; and it is understood the Cultivation of Bourbon Cotton from Seed originally imported by the Company is still carried on to some Extent by a private Resident at Tinnevelly. The Person before noticed as sent by the Court to introduce the American Method of cleaning Cotton resided in these Districts.

The Districts of Canara and Malabar, on the Western Coast of India, constitute Part of the Madras Presidency, and there is some Trade in Cotton between the Province of Canara and Bombay; but the Cotton exported is not the Produce of Canara, but of the Countries above the Ghauts.

The East India Company continue at present to maintain Factories in the Southern Division of the Peninsula, where Cotton is provided chiefly for Exportation to China in the Company's Europe Ships, which touch at Madras on their outward Voyage from England; except which, the Export Trade of Cotton from the Presidency of Madras to Foreign Places is not considerable, as the following Statement shews:

An Account of the Value of Cotton Exported by Sea from the Territories under the Government of Fort Saint George.

Places to which exported. 1824-25. 1825-26. 1826-27.
Madras Rupees. Madras Rupees. Madras Rupees.
To the United Kingdom 1.05.697 1.18.691 49.535
France 33.600 18.348
Bengal 62 1.462
Bombay 1.10.921 4.74.155 1.14.258
Ceylon 136 20
Maldives 1.421 1.089 1.071
Travancore 236 18.052 14.027
Sumatra 4.240 4.000
Malacca 175 180 540
Arabia 958
Mauritius 2.080
Halifax 60 -
China 8.30.108 5.58.225 5.29.691
Total Value          Ms Rs 10.86.460 11.89.894 7.16.684
Total Quantities - Cwts. 44,287 59,030 40,410

In respect of the Trade in Cotton at the Island of Ceylon, if any such exist, Information will, no doubt, be found at His Majesty's Colonial Department.


The Soil of the Northern and North-eastern Districts under the Government of Bombay, and especially of the Province of Guzerat, is equal in Richness and Fertility to any in the World; and these Countries produce Cotton more abundantly than any other Part of the British Dominions in India, the Provinces in the Dooab of the Jumna and Ganges excepted; but the Quality of the Surat Cotton, by which general Name this Produce is known, is, in common with all other Indian Cotton, of a short Staple, and therefore not suitable to the British Manufacturers.


Many Endeavours have been made by European Residents, chiefly the Servants of the Company, for the Amelioration of the Cotton grown in the Bombay Territories. Land has been granted for that Purpose, and every necessary Assistance appears to have been afforded by Government, but the Attempts at Improvement have been confined to the Introduction of Bourbon Cotton only, and have not been attended with Success. No Quantity of improved Cotton has been sent to England from this Side of India; and if the preceding Observations as to the Absence of Demand for Cotton of a long silky Fibre be well founded, it cannot be expedient to extend the Cultivation of this particular Kind in any Part of India.

The Company's Botanic Garden at Calcutta is probably capable of furnishing experimental Cultivators with different Varieties of the best Cotton Plants, and, considering the general Opinion which is entertained of the peculiar Fitness of the Bombay Territories for the Cultivation of Cotton, it would seem to be highly desirable that other Kinds than the Bourbon should be tried upon the Western Side of India.

The Port of Bombay is the general Emporium for all the Cotton produced on the Western Side of India, and for much that is grown in the Interior.

If the Cotton exported by the Company from Bombay to China, in the Year 1825-26, be added to the general Quantities exported, as shewn in the subjoined Account, the Total Export of Cotton from Bombay in that Year (being the latest of which the Accounts are received in London) would be found to have exceeded Sixty Millions of Pounds; and the Total of the Exports of Cotton from British India, in the same Year, must have been little or nothing short of an Hundred Millions of Pounds Weight.

An Account shewing the Value of Cotton Exported by Sea from the Presidency of Bombay, exclusive of Cotton exported by The East India Company.

Places to which exported. 1820-21. 1821-22. 1822-23. 1823-24. 1824-25. 1825-26.
Bombay Bombay Bombay Bombay Bombay Bombay
Rs. Rs. Rs. Rs. Rs. Rs.
United Kingdom 3.33.588 8.40.586 24.10.219 20.56.372 34.81.089 44.63.603
France 36.195
Bengal 17.000 1.15.939 36.660 -
Coromandel 100 7.125 - - -
Malabar and Canara 28.530 1.06.980 70.391 1.11.799 45.669 41.571
Goa and Concan 14.000 33.184 3.840 400 -
Cutch and Sind 58.321 9.000 15.900 150 34.235 740
Persian Gulf 26.565 18.365 12.150 18.097 7.400 15.205
Arabian Gulf 2.80.677 3.45.485 2.02.941 1.09.488 1.49.827 93.610
Coast of Africa 1.225 5.800 15.191 12.950 8.280 12.805
Penang, &c. 57.150 1.53.800 29.250 84.740 1.37.940 30.875
Manilla 7.600
China 44.89.062 32.36.019 30.07.096 36.83.338 53.72.775 72.88.149
Total, Bombay Rs 52.89.118 47.49.319 57.91.103 61.92.873 92.74.275

The Quantities are not reported.


Tobacco is cultivated in every Part of Hindostan. The general Opinion is, that it is a Plant of comparatively modern Introduction into India; the Practice of smoking Hemp Leaves and other intoxicating Drugs is, however, very ancient.

The Tobacco grown in the Mahratta Territories is the most esteemed, in particular that which is produced near Bilsea, a Town in Malwa. Bengal does not yield good Tobacco; but the Company's Territories in the Guzerat, being principally of a rich Black Soil, are considered to be eminently suitable to its Cultivation.

Small Quantities of Tobacco have not unfrequently been brought from India, as Specimens. About Ten Years ago some private Merchants transmitted from Bombay a regular Consignment of about Twenty thousand Pounds Weight of Guzerat Tobacco; but the Result was unfavourable, and it has not been repeated.


The Bombay Government, in the Year 1823, sent to the Court about Eighty Pounds of Tobacco, the Produce of the District of Pelland, under the Collectorate of Karia, which they represented to be of a very superior Description, and the staple Produce of that Pergunnah. This Tobacco was of Two Kinds; the Price paid to the Cultivator for One of which seems to have been about Threehalfpence per Pound, and for the other One Penny per Pound, exclusive of any Charge for Management, Packing or Transportation to the Presidency.

This Tobacco was delivered to Messrs. Taddy and Co. eminent Tobacconists in London, with a Request that they would carefully ascertain its Quality. Messrs. Taddy and Co. manufactured it into Cheroots, Snuff, and Cut or Smoking Tobacco, which they returned to the Court of Directors, expressing their Regret that they could not hold out any Expectation of its being an Article of advantatageous Commerce at that Time, particularly from the very low Price of American Tobacco, and from the superior Colour of the Turkey Tobacco, which the Guzerat Tobacco very much resembled in Quality and Flavour, and that unless it could be brought of a very fine Gold Colour, it could not sell for more than Two-pence per Pound, and that for Exportation.

Messrs. Taddy and Co. furnished the Court with a Paper of Information, and also with Specimens of Turkey and American Tobacco, which, with Part of the Karia Tobacco manufactured by Messrs. Taddy and Co. as above, were transmitted by the Court to Bombay.

On their Arrival at Bombay, The Governor in Council forwarded the Specimens to the Collector of Karia, who forthwith proceeded to obtain other Samples, in the Provision of which the Collector notices (in a Letter dated 29th April 1826) that more Care was bestowed than was usual in growing Tobacco for general Exportation; that if the Colour and Flavour of it should be suited to the European Market, and it proved an Article worth exporting to England, further Improvement in its Quality could, by additional Attention to its Culture, be effected, and that he considered these Specimens superior to the Specimens sent to the Court in 1823, particularly in point of Colour. The Cost of this Tobacco was not sent to the Court.

These Specimens were, with the like Request as on the former Occasion, delivered to Messrs. Taddy and Co., who reported that they considered the Quality superior to that of 1823, but from the Nature of the Tobacco, being full of Oil, it required to be packed up still drier, and rather loose, as in Turkey; that they could not hold out any Encouragement as regards the Consumption in this Country; but, as a fair Trial, recommended the Importation of about One hundred Bales, to be sold at the Company's Sales.

The Court requested Messrs. Taddy and Co. would proceed to manufacture the Tobacco in various Ways, and report their further Opinion thereupon; with which Messrs Taddy and Co. complied, and reported that it was not fit for Cut Tobacco, which is the Article of principal Consumption (fn. 2) in this Country, and that it would not answer for Cheroots, being a different Leaf from that used in India for the Manufacture of them; that it appeared to answer better for Snuff, but the Consumption would never make it answer as an Article of Commerce.

The Matter at present rests in this Stage; but the Court will probably resume the Consideration very soon.

I have the Honour to be, Sir, Your most obedient humble Servant,

George Bankes, Esq.

J. Dart, Secy.

(5.)-Copy of a Letter from the President of the India Board to the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of The East India Company.


India Board, 7th October 1828.

I have considered with much Attention the Letter of Mr. Dart to Mr. Bankes, dated the 5th Ultimo, respecting the Culture of Cotton and Tobacco in the East Indies.

I know you must be strongly impressed with a Sense of the great Importance of improving the Cotton grown in the East Indies, of extending thereby the Export Trade of the Territories of The East India Company, and of rendering this Country independent of Foreign Nations for the Supply of the Raw Material of our most considerable Manufacture; and I am therefore satisfied that you will give your favourable Consideration to the Suggestions I am about to offer to you on this Subject.


It appears, undoubtedly, that Measures have been taken at different Times by The East India Company for introducing into India the Culture of various Sorts of Foreign Cotton; and it seems, that on one Occasion a Gentleman conversant with the cleaning of Cotton in Georgia was engaged by The East India Company for the Purpose of giving Instruction in the Use of the American Machines for separating the Wool of the Cotton from its Seeds, but that the Attempts hitherto made for the Improvement of the Culture and Management of Cotton have not been successful. It does not appear, however, that Experiments have been made in many different Parts of India for the Purpose of ascertaining whether in some Districts of that vast Country in which the Cotton Plant is indigenous it may not be possible to raise some of the superior Sorts of Foreign Cotton. Experiments made in the Botanical Garden of Calcutta, where Cotton Plants from different Soils and Climates are cultivated in the same Soil and in the same Climate, must necessarily be productive of no satisfactory Result.

I must therefore suggest to you the Expediency of attempting, on a small Scale, the Cultivation of all the finer Sorts of Foreign Cotton in different and distant Parts of India, under every different Circumstance of Soil and Climate; and of transmitting to England, cleaned in the American Manner, and with every Precaution to protect them from the Weather, Samples of the Cotton so raised, for the Purpose of Comparison with the Cottons of other Countries.

As it is understood that the Value of Cotton depends very much upon the Care with which it is cleaned, and on its being protected from the Weather, it is deserving of your Consideration whether it may not be advisable for the East India Company to receive a Portion of the Land Tax in Cotton at a fair Valuation, and to manage, on its own Account, the cleaning of the Cotton so received, and its Transport to the Place of Shipment. Should it be found practicable to raise, in India, any of the superior Sorts of Cotton, it would be for the Interest of The East India Company to encourage the Culture of such Cotton by taking it at a higher Valuation in the Payment of the Land Tax.

I cannot entertain a Doubt of the Disposition of The East India Company to permit the Residence, in the Interior of India, of British Merchants who may be willing to employ their Knowledge and their Capital in the Culture of an Article of which the Production, in any Quantity of a superior Quality, would conduce in so great a degree to the Interests, not only of The East India Company, but of this Country.

I trust that you will persevere in your Endeavours to produce a Species of Tobacco suitable to the British Market.

I have the Honour to be, Gentlemen, Your most obedient and humble Servant,


The Chairman and Deputy Chairman of The East India Company.

(6.)-Copy of a Letter from the Secretary of the India Board to the Secretary of the Board of Trade.


India Board, 16th October 1828.

In reference to your Letter of the 26th of July last, I have received the Directions of the Commissioners for the Affairs of India to transmit to you, for the Information of the Lords of the Committee for Trade, the inclosed Copy of a Letter which has been addressed by the President of this Board to the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of The East India Company, on the Subject of the Culture of Cotton and Tobacco in the East Indies.

I am, Sir,

Your most obedient and humble Servant,

Thomas Lack, Esq.

George Bankes.

(7.)-Copy of a Dispatch from the Court of Directors of The East India Company to The Governor in Council at Bombay, dated 18th February 1829.

1. During many Years past we have been strongly impressed with a Sense of the great Importance of improving the Quality of the Cotton grown in India, and have directed our Attention to the Introduction of new and better Species of Cotton, with the view of rendering the Produce of British India fit for the general Consumption of the Manufactures of Great Britain; and it would have been Matter of great Satisfaction if our Endeavours had been attended with Success.

2. This Failure has not been owing to Want of Co-operation on the Part of our Governments, Supplies of Cotton Seed having been imported into India, and Land granted to Europeans for experimental Cultivation; but the Experiments, upon a Scale of commercial Usefulness, have been confined to the Bourbon Species; and the Cultivation of this Kind, which we understand is of the Black Seed Description, and yields a longer Staple than any other Kind of Cotton, has been checked by the unexpected Difficulty of finding a Market for the increasing Supply of long and silky Cotton. As to the former Supply of this Cotton, there has been added, since the Year 1823, the Growth of Egypt to a considerable Extent, and of other Places, which has produced an important Change in the relative Value of the Green Seed and Black Seed Kinds, and at the present Time the Stock of Black Seed Cotton on hand bears a much larger Proportion to the Consumption than the Green American Descriptions.


3. The Native Cultivators do not appear to have given any, or at best very little, Attention to the Improvement of their Cotton; on the contrary, limiting our present Observations to the Produce of your Presidency, the late Consignments of Cotton to England are represented to be almost entirely deficient of every Property which is esteemed by the British Manufacturer, insomuch that many Persons who were previously in the habit of using Surat Cotton have discontinued their Purchases; and it is only from very great Improvement that they can be expected to return to its Use.

4. The Course of public Affairs at the present Time has caused us to direct our Attention in an especial Manner to this Subject, and to look to India for the Means of rendering Great Britain independent of Foreign Countries for a considerable Portion of a Raw Material upon which her most valuable Manufacture depends; the effecting of which would also lead to another not less important Object, namely, that at the same Time as it would add to the Agricultural Resources of our extensive Possessions, it would also facilitate the Remittance of the annually increasing Political and Commercial Debt, for which India becomes liable to the Mother Country.

5. We are informed that at least Three Fourths of the Cotton which is manufactured in Britain is the Produce of Georgia and New Orleans, in the United States of America, being known in Mercantile Language as Georgia Upland Cotton and New Orleans Cotton, and is exclusively the Wool of the Species of Cotton which produces a Green Seed; and we are further informed, which is exceedingly material in the present Consideration, that the Bombay Cottons, particularly those of the Growth of the Districts near Surat and Broach, are little or nothing inferior to the Upland American Descriptions above named, the Item of Cleanness alone excepted; and that such Indian Cotton might readily be brought into Competition with the Upland American. We are aware that it has been stated in a Letter in your Commercial Department, that the Seed of the Cotton which is cultivated near Surat is Black; but as the Cotton usually grown throughout India is almost universally of the Green Seed Species, and we find that the Seeds which are very commonly intermixed with the Cotton imported into London from Bombay are also Green, we think it probable that your Information may not have been correct on this Point; but whether the Seed of the Surat Cotton be Green or Black is of secondary Importance, as the Produce which it yields, when carefully prepared, is much esteemed in the British Market.

6. Assuming that the Quality and Condition of the Surat Cotton shall become equal to that of the common Upland American Cotton, the next Question that presents itself is the Rate of Cost at which it can be produced. The Price of American Cotton delivered at New York has been lately at Ten Cents, or Five-pence Sterling, per Pound, and that Cotton now sells in London at from Sixpence to Sixpence Halfpenny per Pound; but both the Rate of Cost at New York and the selling Price in London are considered to be uncommonly low, the Produce of Cotton in the Year 1827 having exceeded the general Demand, and the Importations into Great Britain of the Year 1828, although much short of the preceding Year's Supply, have been very ample. The Price at the Place of Growth of the Broach Cotton, which was exported to China per Hythe on the Company's Account, in the Year 1826-27, appears by the Invoice to have been 120 Rupees per Surat Candy, including Factory Charges, which, at the Rate of Exchange of Two Shillings Sterling the Rupee, gives the Cost Three-pence Three Farthings per Pound, to which being added the Expence of Transportation to the Presidency and packing for Europe, amounting to Ten or Fifteen per Cent. more, gives a Price of at at least Four-pence per Pound for inferior Cotton deliverable at Bombay, and worth in London at the present Time not more than Four-pence Halfpenny per Pound, against good Cotton, deliverable at New York at the Cost Price of Five-pence per Pound, and selling in London for Sixpence Halfpenny per Pound.

7. A slight Encouragement has been extended by Parliament during the last Session (9 Geo. 4, Cap. 76.) to the Cotton, in India, (in common with that of other British Possessions,) by the Reduction of the Import Duty from its former Rate of Six per Cent. on the Value to a fixed Rate of Four-pence per Cwt. so that the Quantity of Cotton in a Surat Bale will pay a Consumption Duty of about One Shilling and Two-pence, whereas the same Quantity of Upland American Cotton pays about Twelve Shillings; and, as we think it may be reasonably supposed that the present exceedingly low Prices of Cotton Wool of all Kinds may not be permanent, the recent Alteration in the Consumption Duty will operate in favour of Indian Cotton in an increased Ratio as the general Prices of Cotton may increase; but it must be evident from what we have above said, that this Parliamentary Encouragement will not be sufficient to introduce Indian Cotton into general Use in the Home Market, unless Measures shall be taken in India for applying greater Skill as well as Capital to its Cultivation.


8. Experience has convinced us, that the improved Cultivation of Indian Cotton, so as to render it fit for the British Market, will not be effected merely by the Countenance and occasional Encouragement of Government. We have therefore resolved that an experimental Plantation for Cotton shall be established, at the Expence of the State, within the Territories under your Authority. The Manner of carrying this into Operation we are disposed to commit entirely to your Judgment and local Knowledge. It appears, however, that it will be advisable, in the first instance, that a Piece of Ground, either in the Possession of Government or to be hired for the Purpose, should be selected in the most suitable Place that can be found, say to the Extent of perhaps 200 English Acres; and that a Person, either Native or European, of competent Skill in this Branch of Agriculture, should be entrusted with its Management, at a moderate Monthly Salary, under the general Superintendence of the Collector of the District, or the Magistrate, or the Commercial Resident, as you may appoint.

9. The first Object to be attempted should be careful Cultivation of Cotton raised from Seed of the best of the indigenous Plants of India, such as the Bhyratta Copass of Bengal, (for a Supply of which you will make Application to our Governor General in Council,) or the best Kinds at present grown about Surat or Broach, which will give sufficient Employment for the first Season, and before a second Season shall arrive we will endeavour to furnish you with a Supply of Green Seed from Georgia and New Orleans, which you will afterwards cultivate exclusively, or in addition to the Native Kinds, as Experience shall render advisable.

10. You will issue Instructions for furnishing the necessary Funds from the Territorial Department, and keep us fully advised of your Proceedings herein. The Cotton which may be grown upon this Plantation you will consign to London, with a proper Mark of Distinction.

11. We have before shewn, that the cleaning of the Cotton from its Seeds and Impurities is a Point of nearly equal Importance with that of improving its Staple. Upon a former Occasion we transmitted to India Machines for cleaning Cotton, of the best Construction at that Time in use in the United States of America, and we also engaged the Services of a Person who had long resided in Georgia, and was skilled in the Use of them; but the Object failed of Success. We understand that the excellent Condition (fn. 3) in which American Cotton is now brought to Market is owing to the almost exclusive Use of a Machine of more modern Invention, called Whitney's Saw Gin, which is represented to be so simple in its Construction, and so easily worked, that the cleaning of the Cotton, which was formerly performed by separate Tradesmen, is confided to the Management of Slaves. We shall supply you with a Number of Whitney's Saw Gins as soon as they can be procured.

12. Although it is our Desire that your Attention should be chiefly given to the Improvement of the Native Cotton which we have particularly specified, and to the Introduction of the Upland American Cotton, we see it right to suggest to you the Expediency of further attempting, on a small Scale, in different Parts of the Territories under your Government, the Cultivation of all the finer Sorts of Foreign Cottons, in different Situations as to Soil, and particularly in Districts bordering on the Sea Coast.

13. We shall endeavour to procure various Kinds of Cotton Seed, and transmit them to you for this Purpose.

14. After what has been stated in the preceding Paragraphs, it cannot be necessary to go into any lengthened Course of Observation to impress upon our Governor in Council the Importance of the Object of our present Dispatch; and we confidently rely upon your zealous Co-operation in carrying into immediate Effect the experimental Measure which we have directed you to institute on the Part of the Company.

15. It will still be expedient that the Native Growers of Cotton should be incited to the Improvement of its Cultivation, and particularly to the rendering it more merchantable by careful cleaning; to which End you will give Publicity to your Undertaking, and distribute the Seed gratis, or at a low Price, as you shall see right, and also award Premiums, or other Encouragement, to such Natives as may exhibit the most approved Specimens, not less in Quantity than Five Surat Candies, whether grown from the Seed supplied to them from the Government Farm, or from Seed of the indigenous Sorts.

16. At the same Time, it appears desirable to obtain the Advantage of the Application of European Skill and Industry to the Attainment of the Object in view; to which end you are authorized to grant to British Subjects, (resident in India under our Authority,) properly qualified by Character and by Command of Capital, a sufficient Quantity of Government Land for the Establishment of a Cotton Plantation, the Land to be secured to the Parties on Lease at a low Rent for a Term of Years, on the Condition of its being used for the Cultivation of Cotton; and in the event of Difficulty occurring as to Government Lands of a proper Description and in suitable Situations, Permission may be granted to such British Subjects to enter into Engagements, under the usual Limitations, with Native Proprietors, for Land to be applied to the like Purpose.

(8.) - Copy of a Dispatch from the Court of Directors of The East India Company to The Governor General in Council at Bengal, dated 8th July 1829.


1. You will have observed in our Letter in this Department to the Presidency of Bombay, under Date the 18th February last, that the Course of Public Affairs at the present Time has caused us to direct our Attention in an especial Manner to the great Importance of improving the Cotton grown in India, and also to the Introduction of the Seed of new and better Species, together with the best Machines for cleaning Cotton from its Seeds and Impurities, with the view of rendering the Produce of our Territorial Possessions fit for the general Consumption of the Manufactures of Great Britain. Extract of our Letter to Bombay is sent in the present Packet for more immediate Reference, as also Extract of our Letter to Bombay in the Commercial Department, dated 3d June, upon the same Subject.

2. We are in daily Expectation of the Arrival in London of the Cotton Seed noticed in our Letter to Bombay, and also of a Supply of Machines for cleaning Cotton; and it is our Intention to send to your Presidency a Portion of the Cotton Seed, together with One or Two of the Machines.

3. We advise you at this Time of the intended Consignment, in order that you may issue such preliminary Instructions as to you shall seem proper, for selecting a favourable Situation or Situations for instituting, upon the Arrival of the Seeds, an experimental Cultivation of Cotton upon a small Scale; and we doubt not of your zealous Co-operation in carrying this Object into successful Effect.

4. We have perused the Papers laid before you by Mr. Assistant Surgeon Henderson, commencing 4th October 1825, and the subsequent Correspondence with the Board of Trade thereupon, respecting the Cultivation at Alighur of Cotton which had been some Years previously raised from American Seeds of a casual Importation into India. We observe with Concern that this Attempt has failed, as the Board of Trade, after advising with Persons able to form a competent Judgment of its Quality, have, in their Report of 4th August 1826, pronounced it to be inferior to the common Cotton of the Country.

5. We have submitted the Three Samples of Mr. Henderson's Cotton, received per Minerva in 1828, to the Inspection of an experienced Dealer, who reports that Two of the Samples appear to have been produced from North American Upland Seed, but are not superior in Value to middling Bengal Cotton. The Third Sample, from which the Seed has not been separated, appears to possess a longer Staple, but so little of the Wool remains upon the Seeds that it is difficult to form a full Opinion; and Cotton in such a State would be of no marketable Value here.

6. We take the present Opportunity of adverting to the Specimens of Cotton produced in the Tenasserim Provinces, noticed in your Letter in the Secret Department, dated 29th December 1826. The Specimens in question, which were received per Princess Charlotte of Wales in 1828, are considered to be superior to any Cotton that has been imported from Bengal, and, if in a perfect Condition, would rank in the London Market with very good Surat Cotton and middling North American Upland; but it is remarked, that this Cotton, although not sufficiently divested of the Seed, has nevertheless been somewhat injured in its Staple by the Process of cleaning to which it has been subjected. It is desirable that a Supply of Cotton Seed should be obtained (if not already done) from the Tenasserim Coast, for Cultivation in our Possessions in the Peninsula of India, and particularly in the Maritime Districts.

7. Tobacco is another Article of Commerce, the Consumption of which is very great, and although it is believed not to be an indigenous Production of India, it is nevertheless in general Cultivation there. Occasional small Consignments of Tobacco have been made to Europe by the Company and by Individuals, but without Success, arising from the Cheapness of American Tobacco, and the higher Cost and inferior Quality of the Indian.

8. In the Year 1824 our Bombay Government sent to London a Sample of Karia Tobacco, which we entrusted to the Management of Persons eminent in that Business, but the Result was unfavourable. Part of this Tobacco, manufactured in various Ways, was sent back to Bombay, with Specimens of approved Kinds of American and Turkey Tobacco; and in 1827 our Bombay Government sent us a further Parcel of Karia Tobacco, prepared with greater Care than the former. This has been delivered to the same Manufacturer; whose Report admits it to be superior to the former Parcel, but still objectionable, and unfit for the British Market.

9. The Difference between the Freight of Ships from India and from America will, perhaps, be a permanent Obstacle to the general Importation of Indian Tobacco into Europe, unless it can be overcome by Superiority of Quality; but even if a Market cannot be opened in Europe for the Indian Tobacco, an Improvement in the Article for the internal Consumption of India is a very desirable Object.

10. Under this View we have taken Measures for procuring Supplies of Tobacco Seed from Virginia and Maryland, a Portion of which will be sent to you with the Cotton Seeds mentioned in the preceding Paragraphs.

(9.) - Copy of a Dispatch from the Court of Directors of The East India Company to The Governor in Council at Bombay, dated 4th November 1829.

1. Our Letters, noticed in the Margin, have acquainted you with the Measures we were taking for obtaining from the United States of America various Kinds of Cotton Seeds, as well as the most approved Machines used in the Southern States of North America for cleaning Cotton Wool from its Seeds and Impurities.


2. We have received the first Supply of American Cotton Seeds, which have been drawn from the Crop of the Year 1828. This Supply comprises Seeds of the Species known as Upland Georgia Cotton, and Seeds of the Cotton of Louisiana, known in Commerce as New Orleans Cotton, both being of the Description called by the Planters "Green Seed Cotton," the Wool of which adheres to the Seed with a considerable degree of Tenacity, fully as much as in the common Cotton of India. These are the Kinds of American Cotton which are most extensively used by the Manufacturers of Britain. We also transmit a Supply of the Seeds of Sea Island Cotton, (which are Black,) the Wool of which is much esteemed for the Fineness and Length of its Fibre.

3. We have likewise received Six of the Machines for cleaning Cotton, called Whitney's Saw Gins, Two of which we shall transmit to your Presidency with the Cotton Seeds. We have desired our Agent to send us a Description of the Method of using the Saw Gins in North America, and you shall be furnished with a Copy as soon as it comes to hand. It is sufficiently clear, from an Inspection of the Machine, that it is put into Motion by Manual Labour, by means of a Wheel and Winch, with a revolving Strap upon the small Pulley Wheel that forms Part of the Machine itself, as shewn in a Sketch Drawing which will be found in the Packet. The large Wheel or first Motion is very simple; upon which Account, we suppose, it has not been transmitted to us from America with the Machines. A Wheel of this Kind can however be readily constructed in India.

4. We have caused a Trial to be made in our Presence of the working of the Saw Gin, upon a small Quantity of Indian Cotton, happening to be in our Warehouses, which had been very imperfectly, if at all, divested of its Seeds; and although this Experiment was made under the Disadvantage of the Cotton being old, very dry, and much pressed together, the Result seemed entirely to establish the Merit of the Invention.

5. The Whitney Machine, which it is our Desire to introduce into India, has been noticed in the Parliamentary Papers of the Year 1828, in a Report of an American Committee of Commerce, where it is said to be "so simple in its Construction, and so easily worked and managed, that the Negroes in the Southern States are employed to work it." We cannot, therefore, entertain any doubt of the Saw Gins being suitable to the Process of cleaning Cotton by the Natives of India. We also conclude, that the Indian Workmen will be competent to fabricate such Machines for general Use; but in order to facilitate the bringing them into Practice without Loss of Time, it is our Intention to send you some separate Sets of the Circular Saws, which are of Iron, (not Steel,) as the only Part of the Machine in the making of which there can be Difficulty. These detached Saws will also be useful as Patterns for the Native Smiths, for the Guidance of whom we propose also to send a complete Set of all the other Parts of the Machine, which are of Metal.

6. You will receive with the before-mentioned Articles a small Quantity of Cotton Seed of the Growth of Demerara in South America, which, although it is not unknown in India, we are desirous should be planted as a renewed Experiment. It is of the Black Seed Kind, like the Sea Island, of which the Wool readily parts from the Seeds, and probably will not require the Application of a Saw Gin. This Kind of Cotton is cultivated with great Success in the Brazils.

7. We shall also send a Case containing Twenty-five Pounds of Maryland Tobacco Seed, and another Case containing Two Pounds of Virginia Tobacco Seed, which, we are informed, will be sufficient for Cultivation on a large Scale, and it may therefore be tried experimentally in a Variety of Situations.

8. We take the present Opportunity of adverting to the Specimens of Guzerat Tobacco, the Growth of the Country in the Vicinity of Karia, which you consigned to us by the Ship Pyramus in the Year 1827. We delivered this Tobacco to Messrs. Taddy and Company, the Manufacturers who had on a former Occasion examined and reported upon an experimental Consignment of Tobacco from your Presidency of the Year 1823, the unfavourable Result of which, with Samples of the Produce, and also of Turkey and American Tobacco, were transmitted with our Letter in the Commercial Department of 2d of February 1825.

9. Your Consignment of Tobacco by the Pyramus has been manufactured in various Ways by the same Persons, and although the Quality was pronounced superior to that of your Consignment of the Year 1823, we did not, considering the very low Price of American Tobacco, see it advisable to prosecute the Importation as an Article of Commerce.

10. Letters from Messrs. Taddy and Company, dated 20th September 1827 and the 19th February 1828, are sent in the Packet.

11. We transmit in the Packet the following Papers, having Reference to the Culture of Cotton and Tobacco; viz.

1. Remarks on the Culture of Cotton in the United States of America, which we have received from our Agent with the Cotton Seeds.

2. Paper on the Culture of Tobacco in Virginia, received in like Manner.

3. Statement of the best Method of cultivating New Orleans Cotton, received in like Manner.

4. Extract of Captain Bazil Hall's Travels in North America, so far as regards the Cultivation of Cotton; but we must remark, that this Author's Statement of the Mode of cleaning Cotton by what he denominates Whitney's Saw Gin is not applicable to the Machines now sent to you, but evidently refers to another American Gin, probably like that which we sent to India several Years ago.


12. We are strongly impressed with the Opinion that nothing but Attention and Perseverance is required to make Indian Cotton Wool a productive Article of Export to Europe; and there is no Commercial Object connected with our Indian Possessions of greater National Importance. We desire, therefore, that the Arrival of the Saw Gins in India be made Matter of general Publicity; and that such Extracts from the Papers now sent in the Packet as you may consider likely to be useful to the general Cultivators be published at Intervals in the Newspapers, and that the Methods pointed out be tried, as far as Circumstances will permit, in the Management of the Government Farm.

13. We shall divide the Consignments of Gins and Seeds upon the Two first Ships that may sail for Bombay.

14. We have prepared the like Supply of Machines and Seeds for Consignment to our Government of Bengal.


  • 1. Value of Cotton imported into Calcutta by Land. 1820-21:                                     Sa Rs. From Company's Territories     47.88.986 From beyond Frontier               23.367 Total imported                          48.12.353 1821-22: From Company's Territories     44.72.161 From beyond Frontier               1.72.337 Total imported                          46.44.498 1822-23: From Company's Territories     26.32.485 From beyond Frontier               2.44.038 Total imported                          28.76.523 1823-24: From Company's Territories     17.62.904 From beyond Frontier               3.40.461 Total imported                          21.03.365 1824-25: From Company's Territories     42.71.368 From beyond Frontier               2.26.630 Total imported                          44.97.998 1825-26: From Company's Territories     23.79.224 From beyond Frontier               5.07.968 Total imported                          28.87.192
  • 2. N. B.-The Price in London, at this Time, of a whole Cargo of Virginia Tobacco is Two-pence per lb. or Two-pence Halfpenny per lb.
  • 3. The American Cotton is not only free from any Admixture of Seeds, but is also divested in the most complete Manner of broken Fragments of the Pods, and other extraneous Matters, as well as of discoloured and damaged Heads. Indian Cotton, on the contrary, is greatly mixed with both. Samples of several Kinds of Cotton, with the current selling Prices in London at this Time, are sent in the Packet, together with a List of the same.