Royal agricultural and commercial society of Briti.

Timehri: the journal of the Royal agricultural and commercial society of British Guiana online

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bited at a previous meeting, Mr. Kirke drew attention
to a recently published letter on the subjeft from Mr.
Thisleton Dyer of Kew. The President promised further
information on the subje£t.

The President's paper on Rice Cultivation in the
colony, read at a previous meeting, was next brought up.
At the close of a short discussion in which Messrs.
Kirke, Hutchehs and Godfrey took part, the President
stated that on the suggestion of Mr. John Imlach he had
sent an order to Carolina for fresh seed, which he hoped
soon to be in possession of. He added that there was
scarcely a part of the colony that was not fit for rice
cultivation, or that could not easily be rendered so. The
cultivation of rice was rapidly extending. It offered a
splendid occupation for young men of energy not afraid
of hard work.

On the motion of Mr. Hutchens, seconded by Mr.
Garnett, a hearty vote of thanks was accorded to Mr.
Russell for his two papers on such pra6lical subjefts ;
and regret was expressed that there was not a larger
attendance of planters present to discuss them.

The meeting then closed.

. Report of the Meeting held 12th August. — The Hon.
W. Russell, President, in the chair.

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286 TlMEHRI.

There were over 50 members present.

Ele6lion. — Member : P. B. Kearns, Pin. Success,
East Coast, was elected an ordinary member.

Mr. M. Garnett brought forward his motion, that the
annual subscription should be reduced. In the course of
an animated speech he said : — The present was
a fitting time for a redu&ion in subscriptions. Not
only does the present subscription, in these days of strift
personal economy, retrenchment, and redu&ion of sala-
ries, press heavily upon many members ; but was it
right in a country such as this, possessed of neither a
free library nor other place of reference, that the high
subscription of the Royal Agricultural and Commercial
Society should prevent many from enjoying that
which in every other country would be offered them
gratuitously ? He believed that the proposed redudtion
of subscriptions would have the effe£fc of largely increas-
ing the list of members, and an increase of members
ought to add to the interest taken in the Society, and
perhaps check the cursed apathy and spirit of indiffer-
ence which is so gradually but surely stealing over the
community in general, and the Royal Agricultural and
Commercial Society in particular. He concluded by
moving that the subscription of ordinary members be
reduced from $16 to $10— town and country alike — and
of associates, from $8 to $5.

Mr. Nind seconded the motion and advocated the
cheapening of libraries as a means of educating the

Archdeacon Austin, Mr. Hutchens. Mr. Braud, Mr.
Kirke, Mr. Winter, Mr. Hodgson, the Secretary, Mr.
Daly and Mr. Darnell Davis, took part in the discussion ;

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Report of Society's Meetings. 287

and on the last named member, who supported the
motion, pointing out that Mr. Garnett's motion, under
the rules of the Society, ought to have come before a
general meeting (of which October would be the first),
and the President having so ruled on a question of order,
Mr. Garnett at once withdrew it, to bring it up at the
right time.

In the course of the discussion it was announced that
the arrears of subscriptions amounted to nearly $5,000
and that the rules of the Society as regards arrears had
been allowed to fall into abeyance.

Mr. Quelch, Curator of the Museum, reported the
following recent additions to the colleftion : —

1. Throat pouch, or vocal drum of red howler, or baboon. It forms
a deep pouch in connexion with the larynx, the vocal part of the
windpipe, into which the air sack dips, so as to form a large resonant
chamber, and the sound emitted is more like the roar of a lion than the
cry of an ordinary monkey. It may be compared to an organ pipe,
it is not so fully developed in any other of the animal kingdom.

2. Marsupium, or brood pouch of the Awarie. It is formed by a
folding of the skin around the nipples into which the young are placed
by the mother. The awarie belongs to the kangaroo tribe. It is an
opossum, and with one exception — the opossum of the United States —
all the allies of the awarie are to be found in Australia.

3. A curve bill creeper, presented by Mr. James Winter, and found at
Massaruni. The bill may be compared to the form of a bill found in
the sickle humming bird in an exaggerated condition. The tail is like
the woodpecker's, stiff and sharp, giving support to the bird on the
trunks of trees when searching for food, which it can get by means of
its long curved-bill from the crevices of the bark. It is the first one
found here, and is not mentioned in the list of birds of British Guiana
published by Salvin.

4. Tarantula spider, with dissection showing the poison glands and
fang, the insertion of muscles which move it backwards and forwards
and also the nerves which control the muscles. The fa£t of its being
bird-eating is fully established.

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*88 TlMEHRI.

5. Leaf insect, allied to the locusts, presented by Mr. James Whiter,
and from the Massaruni. The anterior wings are perfectly leaf-like in
colour and form, the colour assimilating that of a leaf in process of
decay,— a fading leaf bearing a large central vein, lateral reticulate
veins, and brownish spots. When at rest, the hinder wings are folded
together as in a fan, with the anterior wings laid upon them, so that to
its enemy a pair of leaves alone is to be seen and not an inseft.

6. Lantern fly, Guiana, presented by Mr. G. S. Jenman. The front
portion of head is immensely produced to form a thick proboscis, which
is said to be phosphorescent. This luminosity though is open to
doubt. Certain travellers have kept them in captivity with no experi-
ence of their luminosity, but Madame Marion in her account of the
inserts of Surinam states that she observed it, and that it was almost
enough to allow one to read. It is allied to the six o'clock beetle.

7. Specimen of the common migratory locust of central Europe,
Cyprus locust, Berbice locusts mate and female and Venezuela
locusts. The Berbice and Venezuela locusts appear to belong
to the same genus as the United States species. Remedy must
depend upon their abundance and the kind of country in which
they are found. In Cyprus they are exterminated by means of
an arrangement of screens and pits, and in the United States by means
of tanks of kerosine and coal tar. Egg colle&ion has also been com-
bined in both cases, though not satisfactorily.

8. Live specimens of a very ancient and remarkable type of life. —
Peripatus, a worm-like, or caterpillar-like animal, slightly ringed with
lateral feet and two snail-like feelers, or antennae. The nervous
system is a remarkable ancient type intermediate between the lowest
worms and the inseft group. The respiratory system is by air tubes,
which open irregularly over the body not as in other tra&eate animals
along the side of the body by special pores. The development of this
type of life is at present not well known. It is to be found in decaying
wood in moist positions. The specimens exhibited were found in the
Pomeroon district, where they were previously obtained by Mr. im Thurn.
Qther specimens have been obtained in the Hoorabea creek.

Regarding the preservation of the natural appearance
of fruit, as suggested by Mr. Hawtayne, Mr. Quelch
exhibited the results of experiments he had been making
with various preserving liquids, and asked for further

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Report of Society's Meetings. 289

time to continue the experiments, none; of the present
results being entirely satisfa&ory.

The President read a paper on the Slicing ot canes
and Diffusion, in which he said experiments had shewn
him that it was a loss to reduce cane to small dimensions
before subje&ing it to the crushing mills. He believed
in the future of the diffusion process.

The President laid over a few hybrid canes found on
Pin. Greenfield, which were ordered to be handed to
Mr. Jenman for experiment and report.

A letter from Mr. Walker, the Society's Resident
Dire6lor in London, dated 14th July, dealing with
the cataloguing of the books in the library, was referred
to the Book Committee.

A letter was read from Mr. John McKillop, of Tobago,
tendering his thanks for having been elefted an honorary
member of the Society.

The thanks of the Society were accorded to the
Government Secretary of British Guiana and the Trus-
tees of the British Museum for contributions of books*
Statistical Tables and Commercial Reports.

The meeting then terminated.

Cane Slicing and Diffusion. — The following is the
President's paper on the above subje6t read at the
August meeting : —

Since Mr. Matthey read his highly instru&ive paper
on diffusion as applied to the sugar cane, there has been
a considerable amount ot inquiry into the subje6l, includ-
ing a visit from Mr. Shulz, the able agent of an enter-
prising German firm of engineers, whose headquarters


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290 TlMEHRI.

are in Sangerhausen, and who have had very great
experience in the most approved system of extrafting
sugar from the beet. That visit has, I am glad to inform
members, resulted in a contraft to furnish a complete
diffusion plant for Mr. Hogg, to be erefted and worked
by specialists from Germany ; so that before another 6
months are over our heads, I hope diffusion may be
added to the many successful improvements which have
marked the advance of our main industry.

As the question of slicing has given rise to the idea of
its being the right thing to adopt for preparing canes for
a mill, my friend Mr. McConnell, through Messrs. Aitken
McNeil & Co., has sent me an improved slicing machine
somewhat on the lines of those at work in Aska Works,
Madras, and I have it erefted at Uitvlugt for experimen-
tal purposes. The machine is vertical with a heavy
faced wheel, 6 feet in diameter for holding the cutting
knives. Motion is given to it by the same engine which
works the dynamo for eleftric lighting, and which works
up to 14*1 H P. In a trial, working the slicing machine,
this engine exerted 7*1 H.P. cutting 2 tons of canes per
hour, into most suitable chips for diffusing, thus; for 12
tons of canes calculated to make a ton of sugar by diffu-
sion process, this represents 42.6 H.P. or just half the
power called for to crush a similar quantity of canes by
mill, extra&ion being 63 per cent, of juice from the weight
of the canes representing 2,000 pounds of sugar.

To feed the machine kept a man hard at work feeding
while the canes were placed to his hand. This is almost
exaftly the same man power as is required to throw canes
on- to a cane carrier, so that with our water carriage, I
estimate: that a slicing machine will call for double the

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Report of Society's Meetings. 291

manual power now used for feeding mills. In India or
the islands where the canes are brought in bullock carts
it would be different, as a man could handle the canes
from the cart direft into the machine. Everything else
being equal, this tells seriously against our much vaunted
water carriage.

Mr. Owen Alexander in writing me from the U.S.,
strongly recommends the cane chips being passed through
a mill, when he thinks the extraftion would possibly reach
80 per cent., and if so it might be found more profitable to
stop at this, stage, and so utilize the spent chips as fuel
and reduce the quantity of water of evaporation in carry-
ing out the full diffusion process. Following up this
recommendation, the chips were carefully fed through the
mill with a ton and quarter on the hydraulic bearings,
and while the chips came through like sawdust, strange
to say they were quite damp, and it was observed that
the run of juice was very small indeed, indicating about
58 0/0 of the weight of the chips against 65 0/0 grinding
canes. At first -sight this was a puzzle, but on looking
more closely into the operation it became manifest that
the tight block of chips that were forced up against the
peripheries of the top and back rollers left no space for
the juice to escape, consequently when the chips came
into contaft with the final grip, the result was that the
juice simply rolled along with the chips, being absorbed
by them on the delivery side.

This important behaviour of canes reduced to shavings
in passing through a three-roller mill strengthens an
opinion I have long held regarding the absorption of
juice when a slow heavy feed is passed through one of
our large mills, and of which I shall have something to

00 2

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292 TlMEHRI.

say later on, after I have had time to verify trials on a
large scale.

The Uitvlugt experiment is quite sufficient to prove
that there is no gain, but an aftual loss, in reducing canes
to fine dimensions before undergoing pressure in one of
our ordinary rolling mills.

Report of the Meetings held gth September, — The
Hon. W. Russell, President, in the chair.

There were 20 members present.

Ele&ion. — Member : The Rev. A. C. Pringle was
elefted an ordinary member.

The appointment of Mr. F. A. Conyers (in the room of
Mr. Bugle, left the colony) as Hony. Treasurer, to aft
until Mr. Imlach's return, was notified and approved.

Mr. Kelly referring to the Locust Commission, of
which he had been appointed a member, explained that
he had not visited Berbice along with Mr. Russell and
Mr. Quelch, the other two commissioners, solely because
he had received no official intimatidn of the Direftors
having appointed him. The first communication he
received was when he was on board the steamer on his
way to Essequebo. He wished to explain the matter to
show that he meant no discourtesy to the direftorate.
The Secretary and President explained how the Com-
mission was appointed, and had left for Berbice before it
was possible to communicate with Mr. Kelly, who at the
time was out of town.


The President moved the eleftion of Colonel Figyel-
iriesy, American Consul, as an honorary member. The
Consul had furnished the Society with very val-
uable reports from the Agricultural bureau of his country,

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Report op Society's Meetings. 293

and had at all times taken a special interest in strength-
ening the commercial bonds between the States and this
colony. The appointment was unanimously adopted.

A letter from the Government Secretary, thanking the
Society for affording the Government the benefit of Mr.
Quelch's services in the Locust enquiry, was read. The
report of the Commissioners was laid over as follows :—


Report on a Journey to Berbice to examine the Locust Visitation,
Sir,— Agreeable with the desire of His Excellency the Governor, as
transmitted to us by the Secretary of the Royal Agricultural and Com-
mercial Society, that an enquiry should be made into the present locust
visitation in Berbice,

We have now to report that we (our colleague Mr. R. J. Kelly being
unavoidably absent in Essequebo, whither he had departed previous to
the constitution of the Committee of Inquiry) left Georgetown overland
to Berbice on Wednesday morning (August 25th), and arrived at Rose
Hall on the same afternoon. We found that nothing had been seen of
the locusts in this locality. On Thursday morning, in company with
the manager, we rode all over the plantation, which embraces a con.
siderable area of country extending almost to the Corentyne public
road, and in all that ride we saw neither locusts nor traces of their
ravages. Later in the day we drove to Friends, calling in on the way
at Everton, where we found that locusts had been plentiful in the provi-
sion grounds. Mr. Welchman of Everton kindly showed us over the
provision grounds close to the labourers' dwellings, where great damage
had been done. The locusts had decreased in number to a very great
extent ; many dead and sickly ones were scattered over the grounds,
and the larger number of the living ones proved to be males. Very
few young ones had as yet been seen ; and the canes had not suffered*
At Friends the condition of things was much worse* for not only had
the provision grounds been greatly damaged, but the canes also had
suffered to some extent, while young locusts were rapidly hatching.
As it was too late in the day then to examine this state of things, we
arranged with Mr. Hunter to return on the following Monday. On the
way back we were informed by Mr. J. Gray of the Public Works that he
had seen swarms of locusts swimming across the Berbice river, but this
we had no opportunity of witnessing.

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294 TlMEHRI.

On Friday morning we drove along the right bank of the Canje.
At an abandoned plantation, called Speculation, now planted in patches
with provisions, we found decided marks of depredation by locusts*
The inserts, which were chiefly males were in a sickly condition. Maize
and cassava were the plants which had suffered most. The maize
plants presented quite a withered aspect, the mid rib of the leaves being
alone left ; while the cassava, which had also been stripped of their
leaves were crowned by a rosette of young leaves which had since
sprouted." We were informed that this destruction of the cassava
leaves quite spoiled the roots for food, owing to the absence of the
starch, and that this condition was rendered still worse by the re-
growth of the young leaves.

The road through this district of abandoned estates is surrounded on
both sides by a second growth of indigenous plants with patches of
ground provisions and plantains, and though the locusts had done great
damage in the district, yet it was not unusual to find, interspersed
among the woods and grass, patches of cassava and maize which had
escaped injury. At Bachelor's Adventure we met an intelligent African
who gave a very minute description of the appearance of the insects, of
their pairing, and of the egg deposition in soft pegassy land from which
he had turned them up in quantities.

Arrived at Port Mourant shipping house, at Vrieden Vriend Schap,
where the watchman has a very fine and isolated provision garden, we
could find no traces of locusts ; nor did we meet with any in the course
of our ride along the shipping canal right through to the sea margin on
the Corentyne Coast.

On Saturday we rode about the plantation and made enquiries as to
the visitation of the locust to the Coast districts. We were told that
they were to be found at Good Hope, higher up the coast, and on to
Skeldon ; but, from specimens brought us by Dr. Massiah from Good
Hope, it turned out that the locusts of that district were of a different
kind and of a much greater size. They are common in these districts
and they had previously been seen by one of us (Mr. Russell) in various
stages of development along the sandy lands embracing the mouth of
the Corentyne River ; and, from what we have been able to learn,
these insects feed upon forest trees and cocoanut palms. We were not
able to ascertain that they attacked the provisions. Mr. Reid, in a
recent letter to the Daily Chronicle, evidently alludes to this same in-
sect, and it might be well to verify what is stated of its habits.

On Sunday we returned to the Canje, and with the estate's launch

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Report of Society's Meetings. 295

steamed down to Philadelphia, on the left bank of the Canje, where, we
had been told, the locusts had done great damage. The lands of this
old sugar estate which is rented out by a number of Africans and coolies,
have been much more efficiently cultivated than those on the right bank
of the creek immediately opposite, viz., Goodland, and the locusts have
done much more destruction in them. The maize and cassava
have been completely stripped over large areas, the former being re-
duced to dry stems and midribs, the latter to long sticks, in many cases
denuded of bark and not crowned by the more usually occurring re-
growth of young leaves. Locusts of the old stock, chiefly males, were
hopping about in considerable numbers — but they seemed in a sickly
condition. Dead inserts of both sexes strewed the ground in a dried
up state ; very few shewed any marks of having been destroyed by ants
or other enemies. The young inse&s had already begun to hatch
throughout the plantations ; and on the lower section of the estate we
found them in swarms, covering indiscriminately all green matter and,
in many parts resting on the ground or dried leaves and fallen timber.
When disturbed they rose by short hops and produced a sound like fall-
ing rain.

They seemed very gregarious, and completely to cover the object on
which they settled. The leaves of the young plantains which touch, or
are close to the ground, are readily attacked, and the young trumpet
trees seemed to be particularly attractive. Objects on or close to the
ground are much more liable to be attacked by the very young locusts.

The eggs were found in astonishing quantities and in faCt formed' the
chief part in the cassava heaps in different parts. When the total
number has been hatched the ground will literally be covered by them.
The people had made no attempt to destroy either the locusts or the
eggs — the coolies accustomed to such visitations in their own country,
appear to attach very little importance to the subject. The rice had
apparently not suffered at all. The cleared land and cultivated district
of Philadelphia, amid the surrounding woods, had offered peculiar
advantages to the locusts, and these had been readily seized by

We returned to Rose Hall on Sunday evening. On Monday morning
we started early for Friends to examine into what we heard of on the
Thursday previous. In company with Mr. Hunter, we rode through
a high mora reef with very stiff and hard soil to the provision grounds
at the back, where some abandoned canefields had been taken up by
the labourers and had been planted out with the usual kinds of

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296 TrMEHftl.

provisions common to these gardens, such as maize, cassava, plantains,
yams, tannias, etc. We fotind the old locusts in actual flocks which
hopped away before us into the grass and weeds, in the cross sucker
drains and into adjoining beds' of indigenous bush growth. The larger
proportion of these live ones were males/ -and many of them were
paired off with females, nor did they separate except to escape capture.
A few sickly ones lay on the ground, but the generality of the live ones
were quite healthy and the females dissected were provided with eggs.
Pairing and egg-depositions are- thus not yet completed; Several dead
specimens lay on the ground, but these, as at Philadelphia, seem to
have died naturally or have been killed by disease— rarely were they
in a condition as though eaten by ants. On proceeding into the' parts
of the field where newly-hatched insects had been observed, we found a
condition similar to that at Philadelphia — and perhaps worse. The
young locusts swarmed over the place and were heaped' together in
parts in great masses like so many large bunches. The small drains
which are covered with bizzy-bizzy and other grasses were simply alive
with them. The eggs were being rapidly hatched ; and the vegetation
that the original locusts had spared but waited the attacks of the -grow-
ing brood. Large numbers of the young ones were being destroyed by
sweeping them from their perches by means of a ladle of ignited
parafine into which they fell and were burned. A few stray canes
springing from abandoned shoots shewed traces of the injury by the
old locusts and several of the shoots were now infested by the young
ones. The maize, cassava, plantains, 'etc. were as at Philadelphia.
Riding down to No. 15 where the locusts had first appeared, we
found several old insects feeding upon vegetation in the fields — several
dead ones lay about. Many of the canes shewed instances of locust
injury, the leaves being reduced to midrib. Eggs were present in large
numbers, and the young ones were being hatched and were taking up
positions on the leaves of the canes, in several places in large swarms.
It seemed that the canes would necessarily suffer, tor although the
adult locusts had forsaken the canes for the provisions, yet these young
ones would have nothing else to subsist on, at least until the winged
state Was reached. The young locusts were evidently just beginning to

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Online LibraryRoyal agricultural and commercial society of BritiTimehri: the journal of the Royal agricultural and commercial society of British Guiana → online text (page 22 of 25)