J. Forbes (John Forbes) Royle.

Essay on the productive resources of India [electronic resource] online

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by Mr. Gilders, ton grown by Mr. Gilders was considered at
Bombay fully equal to any produced in Bourbon,
and in London as the best specimen that had been
imported from Bombay raised from Bourbon seed.
It sold for lod. per lb. With so much saga-
city had Mr. Gilders selected the site of his expe-

by Dr. Bums, rimcuts, that fifteen years afterwards Dr. Burns
collected seed from trees growing apparently wild.
These being sown, produced plants of which the
cotton was pronounced equal to the best from

Cotton of New Orleans. The cotton grown at Laberkowa,
within two miles of Mongrole, though confined to


a space of 200 bee^ahs, or thereabouts, is so hi«jhly cotton of La-

^ o ' o ^ berkowa, near

valued, that on the spot it will fetch six-sevenths Mongroie;
of a rupee per maund more than any other kind
in that part of the country ; yet the natives say they
frequently use seed from Guzerat, or any part of
the country. The superiority must therefore de-
pend either upon peculiarity of soil and climate or
excellency of culture. One point only of the latter £7^^^^°^""^'
is related, but that is one of great consequence.
For instance, the people are in the habit of care-
fully extracting the cotton alone from the pod in
the field; and this is, probably, of considerable
importance, as some of the American planters
are of opinion, that the staple of Indian cotton is
much injured after it is collected, by being al-
lowed to heat when piled up, often for a long
time, before it is cleaned.

As the poorer soils of India have been found Different sofls

* _ to be included

to suit the American cottons better than the in experiments,
black soil, and this latter to agree with the in-
digenous cotton, it is desirable in the Bombay,
as in the other Presidencies, to include, in the
experiments, both the black and the other soils
of the country. Though the cotton is good,
and very abundantly produced, the chief diifi-
culty seems to be the shortness of the season shortness of
for ripening the cotton, conveying it to the out- ripening cotton
ports, and shipping it before the accession of the ^ ^'*^ ^'
rains. This might probably be obviated by earlier
sowing, perhaps, also, by bringing forward the
crop by irrigation, and for this the rivers in the

z 2



Profits of Cot- northern parts of Guzerat afford srreat facilities.

ton culture in

Bombay Pre-

The profits attending the culture of cotton appear
to be considerable, as Dr. Lush says he is " con-
vinced that the grower and the merchant may
get ample profit when the best India cottons are
at 5d. per lb." No one is better acquainted than
Dr. Gibson with the various localities best suited
to the culture of cotton in the Bombay presi-
dency, as well as with the practices of the natives.

Cotton manU'
factures of
Madras coast.

Madras Presidency.

The cotton piece goods which were so exten-
sively exported, and so well known by the name
of Madras Long Cloths, would appear to indicate
the probability of parts of this presidency being-
favourable for the production of good cotton ; but
it has been ascertained that these cloths were
chiefly manufactured from cotton brought to the
coast from the interior of India.

Cotton is, however, extensively cultivated
within the limits of the Madras presidency, and
attempts have for a long time been made to im-
prove its cultivation. As early as 1790, we find
by Dr. Ander- that Dr. Andcrson was employed in sending
Mauritius cotton seeds, as well as " Brown Cot-
ton Seeds," imported from Malta, to different
parts of the peninsula ; and Dr. Roxburgh, who
left Samulcotta in the Northern Circars and
took charge of the Calcutta Botanic Garden in
1793, had already ascertained that the elevated,
dry, and less fertile soil of Coromandel was

Attempts to
improve Cot-


by Dr. Rox-


better suited than that of Bengal to the Bour-
bon cotton. Mr. B. Metcalfe, who had resided the Court of

' Directors send

several years in Georsria and New Orleans in the Mr-BMetcaife

•' c out to India.

capacity of merchant and a cleaner of cotton,
was sent, in 1813, by the East- India Company
with American machines for cleaning cotton, and
directed to be employed at one of the factories in
the Ceded Districts in Tinneveily, or wherever
his services might be thought most useful. Cot- Cotton Farms

. established in

ton farms were directed by the Government, in isia
1818, to be established at Tinneveily, Coimbatore, Cultivated by

•'' 'Mr. Heath,

Masulipatam, and Vizagapatam. To Mr. Heath,
who was commercial resident at Coimbatore, we
are indebted for the publication of the best in-
structions on the Culture of Cotton in India.
These refer tothe sevei-al subjects of Soil, Climate,
Culture, Pruning, and Cleaning. He obtained
them from Mr. Hughes, who had for some time byMr.Hu^es.
been engaged in the culture of cotton in the Tin-
neveily district, and whose success was so con-
siderable with the Bourbon cotton, that for
twenty years " Hughes's Tinneveily Cotton" con- Goodness of
tinned to be quoted in the Liverpool market as cotton^ ^
the best from India, and sold at higher prices than
the American short staple cottons, and 3d. per lb.
above the best Surats. The fact is important, on
account of the latitude of Tinneveily being only
8A°, and because the success was evidently the '^e result of

•^ skill applied to

result of skill applied to the culture. The pro- the culture.
duce, though only 100 lbs. per acre, was fine in
quality and much esteemed.


Dr. Wight In March 1836, Dr. Wiarht was appointed by

appointed to i i./r i /-i . .

report on the Madras Government to inquire into the state

Cotton culture /. • i • o i t t

in Madras oi agriculturc m iSouthem India, and to report on

I^rc sid 6n c v»

the best methods of cultivating cotton and the
other valuable products of the country. The
collectors of districts having been required to
send in reports on the statistics and peculiarities
of the culture of cotton in their respective col-
lectorates, have furnished materials for a valu-
able report. From this, we learn that in Vizaga-
patam, about north latitude 17°, the return is
much greater than in any other district, as the
Produce per producc is Said to amount to " forty-six maunds, or

acre in Vizaga- *^ *'

patam, 1,150 Ibs., of sccd cotton per acre, nearly equal to

the best, and exceeding the ordinary American
crops." The culture here is peculiar, as very

jnTrichinopoiy. liberal pruning is practised. In Trichinopoly,
with a fertile soil, 783 lbs. which is the next
highest, is the greatest return, which, though
so much less than the above, is still more than
double the average return from other districts.
But no reports had then been received from North
Arcot, Bellary, and Cuddapah ; the two last are
stated by Dr. Wight to be the principal cotton
districts of the peninsula.

Experiments As the objccts in establishing experimental

over a wide ^ .

space of terri. farms, Under the superintendence of experienced
American planters, are not only to find the best lo-
calities for growing good cotton, but also to ascer-
tain the modifications of culture which may be
best suited to different soils andclimates, it would


be desirable to have these farms established over ^^lure'orcot-

as wide a space of territory as possible. It is fortu- *°"*

nate, therefore, that two of the districts which now Localities for

yield the largest produce are also the most widely **™^^'

separated, Vizagapatam being in the north, and

Trichinopoly in the south ; while Bellary or Cud-

dapah, intermediate in position, may with] them

be indicated as eligible sites for the farms. The

best of these may be selected as that in which the

joint experiment should be made in the first


Dr. Wight's scientific knowledge and practical
acquaintance with the subject would be ex-
tremely valuable, as affording information res-
pecting the peculiarities of soil, climate, and cu -
ture in each district. He has published a valu-
able paper and a table, embracing the results of
his investigations of the reports sent in by the
officers of Government of thirteen districts in the
Madras Presidency. This embraces the several
items of the kind of cotton cultivated, the times of
sowing and of obtaining the produce, produce
per acre, charges on the culture, the amount of
the assessment or the land-tax, and the profit of
the cultivator. Every item differs very consider-
ably in the different districts. In Masulipatam,
where the expenses are Rs. 2.11.6, and the as-
sessment Rs. 2.17.7, and the produce of clean
cotton 150lbs. per acre, the profit is stated as
being only 8 anas and 11 pice, while in Vizaga-
patam the expenses are Rs. 18.8, the assessment



in different

Rs. 14, the return per acre 290lbs., and the profit
is Rs. 12.8.

As the native species of cotton succeeded only
in the black cotton soils, and the foieign species
in the poorer sandy soil, it would be desirable
to make the experiments in a situation where both
soils might be tried.

Good Cotton
cultivated all
over India.

In southern
latitudes chiefly
from the influ-
ence of Euro-
peans ;

by natives in
northern lati-

Causes which
favour the
production of

We perceive that cotton is produced of good
quality over vast tracts of Indian territory, by the
application of European skill and energy, as far
south as Tinnivelly; and in Vizagapatam, eight
degrees further north, in large quantities per acre,
chiefly through the introduction of American modes
of culture. This was one of the sites of the former
Cotton Farms, and a part of its effects, as well
as of the example of Europeans, is evident in the
liberal pruning which is there practised. The
fine cottons produced by the unaided efforts of
the natives are in the more northern provinces
both of the Bombay and Bengal Presidencies.

The cotton of Central India finds its way on
the west to Surat, and on the east to Mirzapore,
which has long been the great Cotton mart of that
side of India. The causes which favour the
growth of cotton, asteemed both in India and
England, in the tract of country extending from
Surat and Ahmedabad, or from about lat. 21° and
23^, in a broad band across Malwa to Banda and
Rajakhaira,in about 25° and 27°, near the banks of


the Jumna, are no doubt physical. The black cot- sonrndcompa-

rative dryness

ton soil which is spread over a great portion of this ofcHmate&-
tract has undoubtedly a considerable share in pro- cotton in the
ducing the effect; but good crops of cotton are pro-
duced in some parts where there is no black soil,as
immediately on the banks of the Jumna and in the
Doab. It will therefore probably be found, that
the comparative dryness of the climate after the
plant has got well established in the ground,
checks the vegetative vigour, and favours the pro-
duction of proliBc fruit. The native modes of Native modes

* of culture best

culture are chiefly characterized by close sowiner, suited to such

•'^ 1 o situations.

crowded plantations, and unchecked growth.
These and the mixture of crops even, are better
suited to a dry soil and climate, than to a rich
soil and moist atmosphere. Hence the culture
has proved more successful in the hands of the
natives in the northern than in the more sou-
thern latitudes of India.

The same effects may, however, be produced The same

effects fljid

by culture in a rich soil and climate. Frequent successful re-
ploughing and turning up of the ground will pro- produced every
duce dryness of the soil ; open planting and the free m adtmer^^
admission of air will equally increase evaporation
from the leaves. These, combined with topping
the plant and pruning, will check its tendency to
run into stalk and leaf, but favour the production
of flower-buds, fruit, and abundance of cotton.
It may therefore, perhaps, be grown as well in
the southern as in the northern parts of India.
Taking into consideration the facts we have


Conclusion. before US respecting the native culture of Cotton,
and the results of the numerous experiments which
have been made to improve it, there is sufficient
satisfactory evidence to justify confidence in the
complete and profitable success of the cultivation
of very superior kinds of cotton in various parts of
India. But the American or European Planters
who thoroughly understand the Practice, must
also pay sufficient attention to the Principles, so
as to be able to modify the former to suit it to
the soil and situation in which they are placed.
They must also make it their principal business
to establish the Culture, and to succeed as Cot-
ton Planters. But attention is necessary to soil
and climate, and every part of the improved
culture of the present day, as well as to careful
picking, early drying, and complete cleaning by
effective machinery, before Cotton is packed and
can be presented to the Merchant for transmis-
sion to the Manufacturer.*

* The foregoing observations having been written to accom-
pany documents referring to the important experiment which
is in course of being tried, to improve the culture of Cotton in
India, the means by which it is to be effected, have rather
been referred to, than detailed. This will account also for
some of the repetitions of what had been before treated of,
and for a few alterations subsequently made, to suit the pur-
poses of this work. It has been seen that various measures
have been adopted for a series of years by the Court of Direc-
tors and the Indian Governments to improve the culture and
cleaning of Cotton. Notwithstanding the success which has
attended many of the experiments, no permanent improve-


ment has yet taken place in the Cottons of India ; in fact, ac-
cording to the testimony of practical men^ both in Liverpool and
Manchester, it has even deteriorated, as they are unable to pur-
chase as good and as clean Cotton now as they used to do fifteen
years ago. A more complete experiment than any that had been
instituted was yet required, before the question could be con-
sidered as finally settled, of the capability of India for produc-
ing superior kinds of Cotton. This was determined upon, as
related at p;> 9, and is so complete in every point as to leave
nothing more to be desired for the satisfactory settlement of
this imjwrtant culture.

Captain Bayles, with the ten experienced American planters,
has also brought seed of the best kinds, especially of the Mexi-
can Plant, now the most valued in Louisiana and Southern Ala-
bama. Also Saw-gins by several makers, as Brookes, Carver,
Idler; but the instrument of Mr. Jones seems best adapted to
the Indian cotton seed.

The author has derived much valuable infbrmatioa on the
culture of Cotton in America from Mr. Mercer and the other
planters, who he has no doubt will succeed in growing it equally
well in India.

The opportunity being too favourable not to be taken advan-
tage of. Captain Bayles, with Messrs. Mercer, Finney, Blunt,
and Terry, the American Planters for Bengal, accompanied by
the Author, visited brokers, spinners, and manufacturers, in
London, LiverpocJ, and Manchester, to make inquiries on va-
rious points relating both to Indian and the other Cott(ms which
are imported.

A few preliminary experiments were also made on the powCTS
of the American Machines in cleaning Indian Cotton. All
experiments on cleaning cotton are however made here rfnder
the most unfavourable circumstances, as the Indian Kupas (that
is cotton with the seed) has been imperfectly dried, and this of
itself injures the staple. It has also been kept for many years,
which has further dried up both the seed and the staple,
making the latter more brittle and easily injured by the process
of cleaning.


From inquiries made to ascertain what kinds of cotton it is
most desirable to cultivate in India, it appears best, as a general
rule, to imitate the American short and long staple cottons as
nearly as possible. It has by some been thought unadvisable to
increase the supply of long staple cottons, such as Sea Island,
Pernambuco, &c., to a great degree ; but of this there is no
fear. If the supply were abundant and regular, the prices might
fall, and long staple Cottons would be used for many of those
purposes for which short staple cottons are now alone em-
ployed. But it will not be easy to increase the supply, if regu-
lar, beyond the demand.

With regard to Indian Cotton, satisfactory information was
obtained respecting its qualities, and that it is not its cheapness
only which causes it to be employed in our cotton manufactures.
The objections to it are no doubt great, inasmuch as there is
always one-fourth, and often more, of loss from the intermixture
of dirt, and yet more from waste in consequence of the very
short staple or nap being mixed with the long staple. These,
in the process of cleaning by the saw-gin, are separated by
the great draught created by the rapid revolution of the clean-
ing brush. The Indian Cotton is also short in its staple, and
liable to break, apparently from the imperfect drying it receives
at the time that it is picked. Notwithstanding these imperfec-
tions, it is extensively employed in our manufactures, partly
no doubt owing to its cheapness, but also in consequence of
possessing some positive good qualities, and which distinguish
it from the American short staple cottons. The first of these
is colour, by which yarn and cloth in which it is employed are
much improved in appearance ; the second, with which the
manufacturers of Dacca* are as well acquainted as those of

* " The general distinction in quality, the natives of Dacca
make, is whether the thread made therefrom swells or not in
the bleaching." — Bebb on Cotton of Dacca, in Reports, p. 350. —
This property, which is not possessed by the Cotton of Dacca,
makes this preferable for the fine muslins of that city, but


Manchester, is, the swelling of its thread, which, when the cloth
is bleached, enables the intermediate vacancies to be filled up,
giving the whole a more substantial appearance. The third
good quality is, that in dyeing, it takes the colour more uni-
formly than the other cottons.

The great importance attached by the Court of Directors of
the East-India Company to this great experiment in all its
bearings is evident, from the pains which have been taken, and
the expense which has been incurred in rendering it complete
in every point. As the saw-gins had arrived at Liverpool, it
was determined that their powers of cleaning Indian Cotton
should be carefully tested before they were dispatched to their
destination : the results were reported in the Liverpool TimeSf
Sec. and in the London Journal of Commerce, which says, —
" We perceive, by the accounts from Liverpool, that, on Friday
the 17th ultimo, the Chairman and Deputy-chairman (W. BuT-
TERWOBTH Bayley, Esq., and George Lyall, Esq.) accom-
panied by Sir Robert Campbell, Sir J. L. Lushington, Sir
Richard Jenkins, M. P., and John Loch, Esq., Directors of
the East-India Company, James C. MELviLL,Esq., Secretary to
the Court, Dr, Royle, and Mr. Greene, of the Correspondence
Branch, arrived at that time, where the machinery had been
previously landed from America, for the purpose of witnessing
certain experiments which the Directors had ordered to be made
with the saw-gins procured by Captain Bayles. The immediate
object being to ascertain whether the action of so powerful an
instrument could, without alteration, be made available in clean-
ing the Cotton of India, which is of a staple somewhat shorter,
and possessing less tenacity than that of the United States.

** The experiments were conducted at the manufactory of
Messrs. Fawcett and Co., and the result proved to the satisfac-

the cotton of northern India, which does possess this property,
seems to be valued by the manufacturers of piece goods of Be-
nares, V. p. 19, as it is in the present day by those of Man-


tion of the party assembled on the occasion, consisting of the
principal manufacturers, brokers, spinners, and mechanics of
Liverpool and Manchester, that, with some trifling modifica-
tions in the saws and plates, the machines in question may be
used in India, under proper superintendence, with complete

" We have been favoured with samples of the cotton produced
on this interesting occasion. The Surat Kupas selected for the
gins is in a dirtier condition than any we have before met with,
but when ginned, although evidently cut in the staple, presents
a fair sample of " prime Surat ;" it appears also to have come
freely through the cards. We understand that the average time
consumed in ginning eighty-four pounds of the Kupas (equal
to an Indian maund), by one gin containing sixty saws, may be
taken at twenty-five minutes ; the average quantity of clean
Cotton produced being 201bs. ; seed, 601bs. ; waste, 31bs. ; and
the average price placed by the valuers on the clean cotton,
4^d. per lb.

" We shall most probably have occasion shortly to recur again
to this subject ; in the mean time, we cannot but sincerely con-
gratulate the public on the fair promise which the liberal
measures adopted by the East-India Company hold out, if
vigorously prosecuted, of securing to this country a supply of
cotton from our own possessions, at a considerably reduced
cost, and to an almost unlimited extent."

The success was complete, much more so indeed than would
appear from the above quoted average price, as some experi-
enced brokers were of opinion that the cotton cleaned by the
gins had been under rather than over-estimated, and that the
best might fairly be valued at 5|d. per lb. One sample, sent to
a broker, without any notice of the mode of cleaning or any
other particulars respecting it, was pronounced worth 6d. a
pound, and that several hundred bales might be sold at that
price. Of the cotton cleaned by the saw-gins, the staple is, no
doubt, slightly injured, but much less so than could have been
anticipated from the former accounts of the action of the saw-
gin on Indian Cotton. That the injury was then exaggerated.


or proceeded from inexperience in the use of the saw-gin, is
evident from one of Whitney's machines, which had been re-
turned from India, having been included in the experiments.
It must not be omitted, that one of the instruments did not act
so well as was expected, in consequence of the newness of the
saws. This is always obviated by the planters in America, by
making new saws act in the first instance upon seeds mixed
with sand, which reduces the rough and fine edges so as to
injure the cotton in the least degree. This precaution had been
taken with two of the instruments, but not with the third,
which will account for the average value of the cotton not
being so high as it otherwise would have been. An engineer
was heard to observe, that the teeth of the saws should be ap-
proximated as nearly as possible to the curved thorn of a rose,
which with its sharp point would lay hold of and carry forward
without injuring the staple of the cotton.

The benefit of the introduction of such an instrument as the
present American saw-gin, will undoubtedly be considerable, as
it is easily able to turn out 600 pounds of clean cotton a day.
The Indian planter will thus receive the full value of his article,
instead of having it depreciated, in consequence of its being
mixed up with one-foiu-th of dirt, upon which he has to pay
expenses in packing, conveyance to the sea-port, freight, and
insurance, as well as upon the cotton. He will at the same time
not lose the sale in India of the waste and short nap, which
will be as useful as better cotton for quilting garments, &c in
that country. The demand in England will, at the same time,
very considerably increase, as a manufacturer stated, that in-
stead of using it only in small quantities, it would be preferred
and employed in millions of pounds, if only brought to them
in the state it was turned out before them by the saw -gin.

The satisfactory nature of the result is still further proved by
the following documents. The first and second, referring to cot-
ton cleaned at Liverpool ; and the third, to the opinion of the

Online LibraryJ. Forbes (John Forbes) RoyleEssay on the productive resources of India [electronic resource] → online text (page 24 of 32)