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Having already introduced a brief general account of the Cotton Plant*, and of its cultivation, we now proceed to give, more in detail, some particulars respecting its practical uses in commerce and the domestic arts.
The Cotton-wool of commerce is the delicatelysoft down which surrounds the seeds of a tree, or rather shrub, found in most of the warmer latitudes of the earth, both in the Old and New World. Of the genus to which this tree belongs there are at least nine or ten different species, nearly resembling each other; the most common is the Gossypium herbaceum, represented in our former article. The chief distinction between the different species consists in some being annual and others perennial.
The greatest part of the cotton brought into this country comes from the West India islands and Guiana; but before the discovery of America, our whole supply was drawn from the Mediterranean ports, and was the produce principally of the East Indies.
In Guiana, in South America, the land is prepared for the reception of the seed by forming it into beds, about thirty-six feet in width, moderately raised in the centre, and surrounded by trenches to carry off the stiperfluous moisture, which, if allowed to remain, would materially injure the plants. The large beds are again divided into smaller, about five feet square, and, at the intersection of the lines which form these squares, small holes are dug with a hoe, about four or five inches deep, and seven or eight in width; a quantity of light earth is thrown into each of these openings, and a small handful of seed laid upon it, which is afterwards slightly covered with mould. If the weather is favourable, the seed springs up in three or four days, and when the plants have attained the height of six, or seven inches, all but four or five of the most vigorous are removed from each hole. The crop requires weeding, about once a month, and at the third weeding only one plant, of course $ie
• See Saturday Magazine, Vol. I., p. 228.
largest, is left at each corner of the square. If the seeds have been sown early in the year, that is, in January or February, the plant will in June require pruning, to within about three feet of the ground, and at the same time all the lateral shoots which surround the root are removed. Sometimes the earlysown seeds, under favourable circumstances, yield cotton about Christmas in the same year; but, in general, the tree produces no cotton until the second year; after which it continues productive for four or five seasons. When the shrub decays, it is pulled up, and fresh seed sown, not, however, over the whole field, but merely where the old plant has failed,— this is called supplying a field of cotton.
The cotton-tree generally throws out an abundance of blossom about the end of July or the beginning of August, and the picking takes place from October to December. The pods of cotton, when gathered, are dried in the sun, until the seeds become perfectly hard; these are then separated by passing the pods between two grooved rollers, about a quarter of an inch thick. These rollers are fitted into the machine, as seen in the Engraving, and turned round by means of a crank and treddle; this operation is performed by negroes, and is considered extremely laborious.
THE GIOROIAN MODS OF CLEANING COTTOH.
Having described the growth of this valuable product, we shall in another number follow its course across the Atlantic, and trace it-from the hands of the merchant through those of the manufacturer, until it reaches the consumer, in the shape of fabrics of a variety of kinds. In the mean time, we shall conclude the present article by a short account of the progress of this useful manufacture in this country, as it affords a most instructive lesson of the advantages that accrue from the exertion of industry and talent to conquer difficulties, when applied to attain a certain end.
The earliest notice of cotton being brought into England appears about the year 1430, and the whole quantity imported, which was extremely small, evidently reached us by the Mediterranean traders. It was not before the beginning of the seventeenth century that any progress seems to have been made in the manufacture of this useful article.
The first accredited account we have is in the year 1C41, when it is said "the townsmen of Manchester buy cotton-wool in London, that comes from Cyprus and Smyrna, and work the same into fustians, vermillions, and dimities, which they return to London, where they are sold, and from thence, not seldom, are sent into such foreign parts where the first materials may be more easily had for that manufacture." But even as late as 1765, cotton was but little known in England as an article of commerce; by 1788, however, the manufacture had materially increased, and " although there were only 114 water-mills in England, and 19 in Scotland, yet the gross return from the raw material and labour exceeded 7,000,000/. It was estimated that these establishments gave employment to 110,000 persons.
In the subsequent stages of the manufacture, the number employed was 240,000, making an aggregate of 350,000, and the quantity of raw material applied to the different branches of the manufacture was computed at 22,600,000 pounds; but since that time the cotton manufacture has increased in a three or four fold ratio, the quantity of cotton employed being probably 80,000,000 pounds a year. The number of persons engaged in all its branches 1,000,000, and the gross value of the goods above 20,000,000/. From being, perhaps, the smallest manufacturers on the face of the globe, we are now decidedly the largest, and thus, by the aid of machinery we shall presently describe, not only are we enabled to supply our home-consumption with fabrics of every degree of fineness, and that too at so low a rate as to place them within the reach of all, but, in
consequence of these great improvements in the manufacture, English cottons are preferred in almost every quarter of the globe; they have even been met with, as forming some of the principal articles of dress amongst the most distant tribes in the wilds of Tartary.
In order to explain the benefits arising from the well-directed application of machinery, we have but to contrast the effects of British mechanism with the simple labour of India, and to explain the relative productive power of each, and the cost of cottonyarns produced by each, comprehending that range of fineness chiefly required for the eastern fabrics.
"The number of mule-spindles in Great Britain appears, by actual survey, to be 4,200,000, producing a quantity of cotton-yarn, at least equal to that which can be spun in the same time by 4,200,000 persons in India, the wages of whom are supposed to be two-pence a day. In Britain 70,000 persons would produce the same effect by machinery at twenty-pence a day, consequently, one person in Britain is equal to twenty in India; but, in consequence of a more expensive apparatus, and various contingencies, it may be stated that one person is equal to forty in India; forty times two-pence is equal «o 6s. 8d., which is the value of labour for spinning in India to correspond with that of one person in Britain, or as 6*. 8d. to Is. 8rf.
"It is, therefore, evident, that one spinner by machinery in Britain, will produce yarn at one-fourth the price It costs for the same quantity of workmanship in India, supposing the wages of the former to be 1*. 8rf., and the latter 2d. a day; and reckoning the mean price of cotton-wool in Britain at 2s. 6rf., and in India at bd., the cost of labour and materials united would be less, upon an average, than onehalf; we are, consequently, able to meet competition in the eastern markets, either in yarn or cloth."
II. Reflections In Mirrors. Ventriloquism. Re Flections In The Clouds, Inverted Ship. Sounds At Sea. Delusions Of The Imagination. Ocular Deceptions. Sleep-walking. The writer knew a young man, who, one sultry summer night, as he rose from his bed to walk his chamber, distinctly saw a man on the opposite sido of the room. He was much alarmed, and stood still for a moment, looking at the man, and then softly slipped down behind the bed to watch his movements. As he stooped, the figure stooped; and he then discovered that he was watching his own reflection in the looking-glass. A person of feebler courage, or of nervous excitability, might have screamed 'a ghost,' and have declared that he could not doubt the evidence of his own senses.
Another circumstance may be mentioned, to show how easily a person may be deceived, by an occurrence which is susceptible of a very easy explanation. An aged lady had long been indisposed, and one afternoon, as she was sitting in her room with a young friend, who was her con stant attendant, the whole room seemed suddenly illu minated. 'What is that?' said the aged lady. They both looked, and beheld the strange light glittering upon the wall. On some one of the family entering, the lady said, 'I have just had a warning, which tells me that I am very near my end. Had she seen the vision alone, there would have been no difficulty in attributing it to a disordered imagination, but the young lady had seen it also; there was no way in which it could be explained, and there the matter rested. The lady felt perfectly satisfied that she had been warned to prepare for death, and in a week or two she died. Soon after tier death, it was discovered that some Bbool-boys had amused themselves, by casting reflections with a large looking-glass into the houses of the village. The whole mystery of the apparition was thus explained. Any one who is acquainted with the wonderful powers of ventriloquism, knows that a person may abuse that power, to the very serious annoyance of those who are easily alarmed. A ventriloquist can, without difficulty, cause strange sounds, groanings, knockings, &c, to be heard in different parts of the house, and he can be all the time moving about with the family, an unsuspected spectator. Many a house has been thus haunted, to the extreme terror of its occupants,and to the great mirth of the mischievous joker.
There is upon record an account of a ship which was lying becalmed, one warm summer afternoon, in the middle of the Atlantic; the atmosphere was clear, and the sky serene, with the exception of a few clouds floating in their fleecy whiteness. As the officers of the ship were reclining upon the quarter-deck, and the sailors lolling in the listlessness of a calm at sea, all were surprised by seeing, far off in the horizon, where the sky and the water seemed to meet, a ship under full canvass, sailing along in the sky; the ship was upside down, and the masts pointing towards the water. The sailors with their customary superstition, were exceedingly alarmed, and they deemed it. the certain foreboding of their own destruction, but the officers, better informed with regard to the laws of nature, saw in the occurrence, a very surprising, and very interesting natural phenomenon. By the peculiar state of the air and the situation of the clouds, a sort of mirror* was formed, in which, by the natural operation of reflected light, they saw the image of a ship, which had not yet ascended the horizon. In a few hours after the appearance of the vision, the ship was distinctly seen, rising over the convex waters. This tale has probably been narrated, with exaggerations of terror, to thousands of seamen.
Another case, somewhat similar, further shows how incidents, at first apparently supernatural, may be explained by known principles. On a calm day, the sailors on board a ship, many miles from land, and with no other sail in sight, had their attention arrested by the sound of a bell. They ascended the top-mast, but far as the eyo could stretch along the unobstructed horizon, nothing could be seen, and the mournful monotony of those mysterious tones, sent paleness into the cheek of many a hardy tar. Scientific men on board, however, accounted for it at once, upon the well-understood principle of an acoustic tube. As the report of a gun discharged upon rocks is thrown in thundering echoes from cliff to cliff, so in the present case, the clouds had reflected the sounds from the bell of a distant ship into the focus in which they were placed. The next day they met the ship whose bell had been heard, and found by inquiry, that at the hour they heard the sound, the crew had been violently ringing for their amusement. How many unusual sounds are capable of an equally simple explanation.
We hear of many extraordinary appearances, which cannot be accounted for from any known laws of matter, but which may be easily explained from the known principles of the mind. The power of the imagination to transform ordinary things, and to call into existence things which are not, is fully known. A man thoroughly frightened, can imagine almost any thing. The whistling of the wind sounds in his ears like dying groans; in the dark, a friendly guide-post becomes a giant, and a tree waving in the wind, a fearful apparition. Who is there that cannot testify from experience, of some such freaks of the imagination. How often may a nervous person wake up in the night and find the clothes upon a chair, or some article of furniture in the room, assuming a distinctly defined form, altogether different from that which it in reality possesses.
There is in the imagination, a potency far exceeding the fabled power of Aladdin's lamp. How often does one sit in wintry evening musings, and trace in the glowing embers, the features of an absent friend. Imagination with its magic wand, will there build the city with its countless spires—or marshal contending armies—or drive the tempestshattered ship upon the ocean. The following story, related by Scott, affords a good illustration of this principle.
"Not long after the death of a late poet, a literary friend, to whom the deceased had been well known, was engaged during the darkening twilight of an autumn evening, in perusing one of the publications which professed to detail the habits and opinions of the
• There are various kinds of mirrors. Sometimes they are made of glass, sometimes of burnished sleel The water is a mirror, in which you see the trees, which wave luxuriantly upon the river's banks; and from the vapours which float in the heavens, as from a looking-glass, images are often reflected.
distinguished individual, who was now no more. As the render had enjoyed the intimacy of the deceased to a considerable degree, he was deeply interested in the publication, which contained some particulars relating to himself and other friends. A visiter was sitting in the apartment, who was also engaged in reading. Their sitting-room opened into an entrance-hall rather fantastically fitted up with articles of armour, skins of wild animals and the like. - It was when laying down his book, and passing into this hall, through which the moon was beginning to shine, that the individual of whom I speak, saw right before him, in a standing posture, the exact representation of his departed friend, whose recollection had been so strongly brought to his imagination. He stopped for a single moment, so as to notice the wonderful accuracy with which fancv had impressed upon the bodily eye, the peculiarities of dress, and position of the illustrious poet. Sensible, however, of the delusion, he felt no sentiment, save that of wonder, at the extraordinary accuracy of the resemblance, and stepped onward towards the figure, which resolved itself, as he approached, into the various materials of which it was composed. These were merely a screen occupied by great coats, shawls, plaids, and such other articles as are usually found in a country entrance-hall. The spectator returned to the spot from which he had seen the illusion, and endeavoured, with all his power, to recall the image which had been so singularly vivid. But this was beyond his power, and the person who had witnessed the apparition, or more properly, whose excited state had been the means of raising it, had only to return into the apartment, and tell his young friend, under what a striking Hallucination, he had for a moment laboured."
Many persons, under such circumstances, would have declared unhesitatingly, that the ghost of the departed had appeared to them, and they would have found great multitudes wh» would have believed it. When the imagination has such power to recall the images of the absent, is it at all wonderful that many persons should attribute such appearances to supernatural visitations? Had the poet himself been in the place of the screen, he probably would not have Deen more vividly present How many then of the causes of vulgar fear are to be attributed to the effect of imagination.
When a man is terrified, he becomes disposed to exaggerate; and, if he has been frightened by a trifle, to save himself from exposure to ridicule, he magnifies the trifle into something truly appalling. One of the best authenticated ghost-stories that ever was told, and which, for a long time, remained perfectly inexplicable, was thus accidentally explained. "In the town of Plymouth," (we quote from Sir Walter Scott,) "A club was formed of persons connected with science and literature. During the summer months the society met in a cave by the sea-shore; during those of the autumn and winter, within the premises of a tavern, but, for the sake of privacy, had their meetings in a summer-house, situated in the garden, at a distance from the main building. Some of the members to whom the position of their own dwellings rendered it convenient, had a pass-key to the gardemloor, by which they could enter the garden and reach the summer-house, without the publicity or trouble of passing through the open tavern. On one occasion, in the winter, the president of the evening chanced to be very ill, indeed, was reported to be on his death-bed. The club met as usual, and from a sentiment of respect, left vacant the chair, which ought to have been occupied by him, if in his usual health. The conversation turned upon the absent gentleman's talents, and the loss expected to the society by his death. While they were upon this melancholy theme, the door suddenly opened, and the appearance of the president entered the room. He wore a white wrapper, and a night-cap round his brow, which had the appearance of death itself. He stalked into the room with unusual gravity;—took the vacant place of ceremony—lifted the empty glass which stood before him—bowed around—put it to his lips,—then replaced it on the table, and stalked out of the room, as silent as he had entered it. The company remained deeply appalled. At length, after many observations upon the strangeness of what they had seen, they resolved to despatch two of their number to the house of the president, who had thus strangely appeared among them. They returned with the frightful intelligence, that their friend had died that evening. The astonished party resolved to remain silent respecting the wonderful sight which they had seen; their habits were too philosophical to permit them to believe that they had actually seen the ghost of their departed brother, and they were too wise to wish to confirm the superstitions of the vulgar, by what might seem indubitable evidence of a ghost.
"Several years afterwards, an old woman, who had long practised as a sick nurse, was taken ill, and was attended by a medical member of the club. To him, with many expressions of regret, she acknowledged that she had long
before attended Mr. , naming the president, and
that she felt distress of conscience, on account of the manner in which he died. She said, as his malady was attended by a light-headedness, she had been directed to keep a close watch upon him during his illness. Unhappily she slept, and during her sleep, the patient awoke and left the apartment. When, on awaking, she found the bed empty, and the patient gone, she hurried out of the house to seek him, and met him in the act of returning; she got him, she said, replaced in the bed, but it was only to die there. She added, to convince her hearer of the truth of what she said, that immediately after the poor gentleman expired, a deputation of two members from the club came to inquire alter their president's health, and received for answer, that he was already dead. This confession explained the whole matter. The delirious patient had very naturally taken the road to the club, from some recollection of his duty of the night; in approaching and returning from the apartment, he had used one of the pass-keys already mentioned, which made his way shorter. On the other hand, the gentlemen sent to inquire after his health, had reached his lodging by a more circuitous road, and thus there had been time for him to return to what proved his death-bed, long before they reached his chamber. The philosophical witnesses of this strange scene, were now as anxious to spread this story, as they had formerly been to conceal it—since it showed in what a remarkable manner men's eyes might turn traitors to them, and impress them with ideas far different from the truth.''
As the pleasures of the future will be spiritual and pure, the object of a good and wise man in this transitory state of existence, should bo to fit himself for a better, by controlling the unworthy propensities of his nature, and improving all his better aspirations, to do his duty, first to God, then to his neighbour, to promote the happiness and welfare of those, who are in any degree dependent upon hira, or whom he has the means of assisting, never wantonly to injure the meanest thing that lives, to encourage, as far as he may have the power, whatever is useful, and tends to refine and exalt humanity, to store his mind with such knowledge as it is fitted to receive, and he is able to attain; and so to employ the talents committed to his care, that when the account is required, he may hope to have his stewardship approved.—Southey.
Thb great moral satirist, Hogarth, was once drawing in a room where many of his friends were assembled, and among them my mother. She was then a very young woman. As she stood by Hogarth, she expressed a wish to learn to draw caricature. "Alas, young lady," said Hogarth, "it is not a faculty to be envied. Take my advice, and never draw caricature; by the long practice of it, I have lost the enjoyment of beauty. I never see a face but distorted; I never have the satisfaction to behold the human face divine." We may suppose that such language from Hogarth, would come with great effect: his manner was very earnest, and the confession is well deserving of remembrance.—Bishop Sandford.
"It is the heaviest stone," says the amiable Sir Thomas Browne, " that melancholy can throw at a man, to tell him he is at the end of his nature; or that there is no further state to come, unto which this seems progrcssioncd, or otherwise made in vain." The Christian faith leaves no room for this miserable anticipation. "We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed: the dead shall rise incorruptible, and we shall be changed." Such is the comfortable declaration of eternal truth
Idle and indecent applications of sentences taken from the Scriptures, is a mode of merriment which a good man dreads for its profaneness, and a witty man disdains for its easiness and vulgarity,—Johnson,
Conscience is the moral feeling of a man with respect to his actions; whether a man's actions be right or wrong in his own estimation, depends upon his judgment; thus conscience depends upon judgment. The judgment of man consists of his reason or mind, and his information or knowledge,—as the knowledge of a law, which his reason considers of binding authority; thus, again, conscience depends upon a man's knowledge. If a man's moral feeling is filled with approbation and delight, after an action has been tried by his judgment, he is said to have a clear and good conscience: so, if a man is filled with remorse and regret, after any of his actions have been so tried, he is said to have a guilty conscience. But a man may, on such an occasion, neither feel self-approbation nor remorse, and then, and it is a fearful state, his conscience is seared and dead. Thus, conscience, where it exists, and it exists in every breast, until extinguished by repeated opposition and neglect, punishes the transgressor of a law, and rewards the obedient. "And therefore," to use the words of the eloquent Jeremy Taylor, " conscience is called the Household Guardian, the Domestic God, the Spirit or Angel of the place; and when we call God to witness, we only mean that our own conscience is right, and that God and God's vicar, our conscience, know it."—Rule of Conscience, b. i., ch. 1. Whether, then, any particular action be against my conscience, depends upon the verdict of my judgment passed upon such action, depends upon what rule or law respecting such action is known to my reason or mind. May I smuggle goods, if I am ready on discovery to pay the penalty? This depends on two questions. 1. Are the revenue laws binding on me' 2. Do they give an option, either to obey or pay the penalty? It is quite clear, that revenue, and all municipal laws, not contrary to the law of God, are binding on the subject. It is equally clear they do not give an option; the penalty is not intended to be a substitute for the performance of their requirements, but it is the best means the legislature can devise, to prevent the infraction of its demands. Hence, it follows, that the municipal laws in question cannot be safely broken, on the ground that we are ready, if called upon, to pay the penalty. And I venture to say, happy is it for the State and society, that the observance of the laws is a matter of conscience. "The voice within, which approves or disapproves, has in it a restraining force, more powerful than a thousand gibbets."—Law Magazine.
THE AIR VOLCANOES OF TURBACO.
These curious indications of the mighty operations that are going on in the bowels of the earth, although not equal in grandeur to the volcanoes of the Mediterranean or the Andes, are curious, as pointing out to the inquirer the working of the same causes under a different form.
To avoid the excessive heats and the diseases which, during the summer, are prevalent at Carthagcna, and on the arid coasts of Baru and Ticrra Bomba, Europeans, not accustomed to the climate, take refuge in the interior at the village of Turbaco. This little Indian village is placed upon a hill, on the borders of a majestic forest, which extends, in a south-easterly direction, as far as the canal of Mahatcs and the river Magdalen. The houses are, for the most part, built of Bamboo, and covered with palm-leaves. Here and there limpid streams issue from a limestone rock, which contains numerous fragments of petrified corals; these are overshadowed by the splendid foliage of the Anaeardium caracoli, a tree of a colossal size, to which the natives attribute the property of attracting, from a distance, the vapours which are distributed through the air.
The, country about Turbaco being elevated nearly a thousand feet above the level of the sea, the inhabitants enjoy a most delightful freshness in the air, especially during the night. We had rested in this beautiful spot, when, after a wearisome journey from the Island of Cuba to Carthagena, we were preparing ourselves for a long voyage to Santa- Fe de Bogota, and to the plain of Quito.
The Indians of Turbaco, who accompanied us in our botanizing excursions, spoke of a marshy country, situated in the midst of a forest of palmtrees, and called by the Creoles the Little Volcanoes, los Volcanitos. They related that, according to a tradition preserved among them, this spot had formerly been on fire, but that a religious man, the curate of the village, and famed for his great piety, succeeded, by frequent sprinklings of holy water, in extinguishing this subterranean flame. They added, that since that time this fire-volcano had become a water-volcano, Volcan de agua.
Having dwelt for ;> long time in Spanish colonies, we were sufficiently aware of the ridiculous and astonishing talcs, by means of which the natives were fond of fixing the attention of travellers on natural phenomena. We had learnt that these tales were generally to be attributed less to the superstitions of the Indians than to that of the whites, the Creoles, and the African slaves; and that the reveries of some individuals, when reasoning on the progressive changes on the surface of the globe, assumed, in process of time, the character of historical traditions. Without believing in the existence of land that had been formerly on fire, we were conducted by the Indians to the Volcanitos de Turbaco, and the excursion disclosed to us phenomena much more important than those we were in expectation of.
The volcanitos are situated nearly four miles to the east of the village of Turbaco, in a thick forest,
abounding in Balm of Tolu trees, Gustavte, the flowers of the Nymphea, and in Cavanillesia moctendo, whose membranous and transparent fruit resembled lanterns suspended at the ends of the branches. The ground gradually rose to the height of 140 or 160 feet above the level of the village of Turbaco, but the soil being every where covered with vegetation, we could not ascertain the nature of the rocks that were placed above the .shell-bearing limestone. The Engraving represents the most southern part of the plain, where these volcanitos are found.
In the centre of a vast plain, fringed with Bromelia karatas, eighteen or twenty little cones are raised, of the height of not more than thirty-five feet. These cones are formed of a darkish-gray clay, and on their summit is found an opening filled with water. In approaching these little craters, a dull but tolerably loud sound is heard, which precedes, by about fifteen or eighteen seconds, the expulsion of a great quantity of air. The force with which this air is propelled above the surface of the water, makes it probable that it undergoes a heavy pressure in the bowels of the earth; I counted generally five explosions in two minutes. This phenomenon is frequently accompanied with a shower of mud. The Indians assure us that these cones have not sensibly changed their forms for a long course of years; but the force with which the gas ascends, and the frequency of the explosions, appear to vary according to the seasons. I have found, by an analysis made by means of nitrous gas and phosphorus, that the disengaged air does not contain a two hundredth part of oxygen. It is, in fact, Azote, more pure than we generally prepare it in our laboratories.
Affliction teacheth a wicked person some time to pray; prosperity never. Ben Jonson.
JOHN WILLIAM PARKER, WEST STRAND.
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