Royal agricultural and commercial society of Briti.

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

. (page 23 of 25)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

hatch over the locust area, being of a pale green colour, rapidly chang-
ing to a dark brownish green and spotted with age. They are
then about half-an-inch in length, and wingless. The wings are de-
veloped after several months, before reaching the* perfect state:



Digitized by



Google



Report of SwieuV's Meetings. 3*97

: Before leaving Friends we were waited upon by several farmer* who
ihold land between Friends and Highbury and all had the < same /pitiful
tale. The condition of their provision grounds was as at Friends,
Philadelphia, etc., and the young were rapidly increasing. They ap-
parently expected payment for the damage done r and yet by their own
4 confession had attempted in no way to lessen the injury.

After leaving Friends we called in at Providence, -and Mr. Bullock
informed us that the locusts •> were in the provisions grounds as in the
other parts of the locust area, but as yet no injury had been? done to
canes. He mentioned having seen. the locusts on wing flying high,
and against the sea-breeze.

Mr. Evans of Ma Retraite reports them on that: estate, but as yet no
damage- to canes.

Dr. Corner informed us that the locusts were not at Highbury t bat
this evidently refers to the canefields, since the farmers report: the
.injury done to their, provisions.

On Tuesday we returned to Georgetown by steamer ^havtng-met Mr.
KeHy the day previous in New Amsterdam on his arrival by: the
.steamer.

It is thus seen that we can confirm in detail the graphic account
i previously :gtven by Mr. Huuter of the locust visitation and which has
since been published. The provision lands have suffered considerably,
and in some cases have been practically destroyed as regards the
present crop. Worse is to be feared from the young ones which will
'be much -more numerous than the old locusts, unless some attempt be
r made to destroy them or lessen their numbers.

The canes which suffered but little real harm from the old locusts,
may suffer from the young ones and most likely will do so .in those
cases where the eggs have been deposited in the canefields in-which the
young will hatch out, and feed— at least until their wings are. developed.
This has happened to a certainty at Friends, as we have since heard,
on Mr. Hunter's authority.

Ar noteworthy faft is the almost entire absence in the locust area of

- special enemies to the locusts: We saw no instances of birds eating or

preying on them, and no case of other inserts, or grubs feeding upon

them. A solitary ant was once observed carrying the body of, a young

; loCUSt.

A striking feature in the locust area is the apathy of the fanners
^whose-pBovision:groundsaare being destroyed. iThey have -made no

PP



Digitized by



Google



298 TlMEHRl.

attempt to catch any locusts nor to destroy the eggs. If a live locust
be taken up by them, they will again drop it down alive, though their
crops are suffering from the ravages of the insects. They, in answer
to a recommendation to destroy at least some of the locusts, shake their
heads and answer that they might as well attempt to kill mosquitoes —
though individual inserts are not hard to catch and the eggs are easily
found. A more pertinent answer was sometimes given when they
replied that their crops being destroyed, how were they to live if they
spent their time catching locusts for nothing. Yet they and their
families in their spare time might do a great deal in destroying the
insects and eggs.

From the special nature of the country, it is a difficult matter satis-
factorily to deal with these locust to lessen their numbers. To exter-
minate them altogether seems to be out of the question when it is taken
into consideration how much woody lands and abandoned plantations
and open savannahs give refuge to the insects. They might, however,
be rooted out in the course of time by persistent effort.

From the wide extent of country and the small and scattered popula-
tion, it seems useless to attempt the system of enforced labour, such as
was enforced during the locust plague in the United States. A good
deal might be done on the estates by enforcing the destruction on all
their lands, of the insects and their eggs. Combined action in this case
is necessary, for one estate or plantation negle&ed becomes a breeding
and supply ground for the others about them.

Harrowing or turning up the earth in which the eggs are deposited,
which has been beneficial in cold climates, has not here been of any or
much service, since the increased temperature from the exposure to the
sun seems only to quicken the hatching of the eggs.

This might, however, be useful when the eggs are freshly laid.
Deep ploughing in the special cases can scarcely be recommended ; and
from the small extent of country over which trapping engines and
screens, such as have been made use of in the United States and in
Cyprus, could be easily worked, there is little promise that they would
repay their expense. Large and shallow trays of kerosine and coal-tar
such as were used in the States, are not fitted for use in the canefields
and plantations ; and canvas soaked in kerosine, as also used in the
States, gives but little satisfaction— as judged by experiments on a
small scale at '« Friends."

A modification of the coal-tar trays and canvas -screens, as used by Mr.



Digitized by



Google



Report of Society's Meetings. 299

Hunter at " Friends," gives excellent results and is to be strongly
recommended. Screens of canvas, of the shape best suited to tbe vege- .
tation to be protected, to be covered with tar and brushed up against- or
in the way of the young locusts. When the tar is covered over with the
young ones, a fresh layer to be laid over it Screens of convenient size
to be used, with handles by which they can be easily manipulated —
from 4 to 6 feet in length, not counting the handles, and from 2 to 4
feet in width.

As both young and adult locusts tend to congregate about their food
plants which fall on the ground, heaps of cassava and maize may be
made in the fields and plantations, and these heaps be treated with the
screens or be surrounded with fuel and burnt when covered by locusts,
and these may be usefully sprinkled with a mixture of one part arsenic
by weight, x of sugar or molasses, and 5 of bran, made to a thin paste
with water. This poison which was used in the vineyards of the United
States for locusts ought to be useful for the winged inserts.

To supplement methods, it seems advisable for the Government to
offer a reward of 2s. a gallon for young locusts and eggs, separately or
mixed, and 6d. a gallon for the winged forms, to be paid by the managers
of estates such as Mara, Ma Retraite, Highbury, Friends, Providence,
Rose Hall, and Adelphi on the authority of the State.

Signed, W. RUSSELL,

JOHN J. QUELCH.

In the course of a short conversation on the subje6t, Mr.
Kelly mentioned having received a letter from Pin.
Friends, Berbice, telling him that the labourers were now
industriously engaged in the locust colleftion, and that
$240 had been paid to them within two or three days, and
that about $800 would be required for the current week's
colle&ion. The President said that that amount of
money represented the collection of 1,600 gallons of
locusts, — which would give the public some idea of the
great extent of the pest.

Mr. Kirke, the Vice-President, narrated his experience
of locusts in the north-west provinces of India, where they

PP 2



Digitized by



Google



30O* TlMftHRU



came and; went with certain winds and were looked upom
simply as an ordinary visitation*

Mir. Qfuelclr exhibited specimens of the Berbice locusts
in various stages from the egg to the fully developed in-
seflv and referring to their rapid growth suggested that.
the< rewards first offered for their collection by measure*,
might be modified accordingly. This however was con-
sidered unadvisable at present.

The President stated that Mr. Jenman, Government
Botanist, had planted in the gardens. the hybrid canes,
submitted at the Society's last meeting, and would watch
their development; and report in due course; Mr.
Monkhouse, Pin. Providence > said, Mr. Douglas,, chemist
of. Pin. Diamond, was preparing a paper, for the Society
on the different varieties of canes, which he hoped to.
bring forward at the next meeting.

The afting Treasurer laid over statements of the
financial affairs of the Society, — showing its funds,
also its income and its probable expenditure the lat-
ter well within the former. These statements were or-
dered to be published for the information of members
pending Mr. Garnett's motion for reduftion of subscrip-
tion.

Several communications from Mr. Hawtayne, C.M.G.
one of the Commissioners at the Colonial Exhibition, were
read, bearing on certain Minor Industries; notably flower
cultivation for perfumery purposes, the development of
plants useful in medicine, and a possible trade-in walking
sticks. He also forwarded specimens of small articles;
pipes, studs, &c, made from native seeds and sold at the
exhibition.
. In a letter dated ioth August, Mr. Walker noted a



Digitized by



Google



Report of Society's Meetings. 301

, .1 ... 1 * , fi .

payment of £3 13; 10 by Mr.. Stanford, as credit balance
for sales of Timehri to 30th- June.

Mr. Wiley, Chemist to the United States department
of Agriculture, forwarded reports of the Chemistry divi-
sion, and asked for an exchange of the Society's Journal.
The thanks of the meeting were awarded him, and his
name* added to the Timehri list.

A letter from Ellis Barton, " native expert sugar
chemist and sugar matmfatturer" was read, asking the
Society's help towards patenting his invention of a
" compound steam percolator and cane- juice extra&ion
mill. 11 The assistance could not be granted, there being
no funds of the Society available for such purpose.

A letter from the London Chamber of Commerce in
reference to a proposed establishment of Commercial
Museums in the United Kingdom was taken for notifica-
tion, pending receipt of further information promised
after a visit of inspefiion to similar institutions on the
Continent!

The thanks of the Society were accorded to Colonel
Flgyelmesy for a presentation copy of "The Report of
the U. Si Department of Agriculture for 1885."

The meeting then terminated.



Meeting held 14th Oftober. — The Hon. , W. Russell,
President in the chair,.

* There were 58 members present.
Election. — Member : Mr. W. Morison, Goedverwag-

ting, was elected a member.
Mr. Conyers laid over a statement of the accounts to
the 30th September shewing a credit balance of $2,380 78



Digitized by



Google



302 TlMEHRl.



audited by Mr. Kelly and Mr. Pitman ; also a statement
and recapitulation of the subscriptions paid and in
arrear.

In answer to Mr. Garnett, the Secretary said the
amount of arrears in August was $5,278, now, according
to this statement, reduced to $3,680. On looking through
the list, however, he found a good many names that might
have been struck off long ago — some of them were dead
and others had left the colony — so that he thought the
most practical way to deal with the list would be to
appoint a Committee to weed out the hopeless names,
and take proceedings against those in arrears who could
be got at.

Mr. Braud moved that the Secretary be instructed to
strike off the names of all the dead members and those
who had left the colony for good, and that the list as
amended be handed over to a lawyer for the collection of
the arrears. ^

Mr. Cameron seconded the proposition which was
carried.

The President said that before proceeding to the order
of business he wished to refer to the matter of Timehri,
the Society's Journal and to enquire what connection
there was between the Society's Journal and the Society
from a financial point of view ? He saw from the
accounts that an amount of $500 had been paid to the
publisher from the Society's funds.

The afting Treasurer, Mr. Conyers, said he could get
no information about it from the publisher beyond the
fa£l that this amount, (which had been paid before he
took charge of the accounts) was an advance to meet the
cost of publication of the Journal pending the collection



Digitized by



Google



Report of Society's Meetings. 303

of. subscriptions ; but he was led to believe that the
cost of publication was never fully met by the sales, so
that a certain loss might be anticipated, but not of any
large amount.

After some conversation, in course of which the editor
was complimented on the scientific charadler of the
Journal, regret was expressed that it did not contain
fuller reports of the proceedings of the Society, and
it was decided to refer the matter to the Committee of
Correspondence.

The next business was the motion standing in Mr,
Garnett's name, that the society's subscription should be
reduced.

Mr. Garnett stated that at a former meeting he gave
notice of a resolution to the effe6l that the subscription in
connection with the Society should be reduced to $10 for
members and $5 for associates. At that meeting he endea-
voured to point out to what a great extent the Society
would benefit by such a move, by extending its usefulness,
by putting it more within the reach of a larger number of
the community, and by adding to its list of members, in-
creasing the interest taken in the Society. Further
discussion, it would be remembered, waspostponed in order
to conform to the rules of the Society. Well, if his
resolution had done nothing else, it had had the eflfeft of
adding new life to the Society. Arrears of subscription
had been accounted for to some extent and as much as
$300 had been paid in in one day. Now, let him for a
moment adapt his resolution to the circumstances of the
case, and they should find that they had at present 163
ordinary members and 90 country members, in all 253
members, which at $10 each would give $2,530. They



Digitized by



Google



,304 TlMBHRl.



had 169 associates which at $5 would give $845, making
<a total of $3,375, which compared with their present
income from this source of $5,040, would show a decline
of $1,635, but which, dedudled from their present annual
surplus of $3,300, would still leave an annual amount to
the good of $1,635. This was on the basis of the present
list of members but* surety it would be altogether against
the laws of effeft if with a reduced subscription the
list of members was not very largely increased. He
begged to move that the subscription be reduced to $10
for members and $5 for associates, for town and country
members alike, from the 1st January next year.

Mr. Nind, who rose to second the motion, said that
it was somewhat of a formidable pleasure to have to face
the sea of faces he saw before him, especially when one
was of rather a nervous temperament, but when he con-
sidered the immense amount of interest that had been
excited by this resolution, he was sustained in endeavour-
ing to add his quota 4.0 what had fallen from the lips
of Mr. Garnett. After disposing of the several objec-
tions that had been raised to the' motion at a former
meeting, the speaker continued, Mr. Hodgson had also
raised some obje&ions at last meeting. "He felt per-
fectly certain," Mr. Hodgson was reported to have said,
" that if the Government knew that the members of the
society could afford to have a redu&ion of their subscrip-
tion, the question would arise whether the Government
should continue the subsidy which they were now giving
the society." In other words, that meant that the
Government would cease to subsidise this society if it
found that it was endeavouring to extend its sphere. of
.usefulness among other classes than those at present.. .He



Digitized by



Google



Report of Society's Meetings. 305

would say at once, however, that he did not think Mr.
Hodgson could have meant that, nor could he believe
for one moment that the Government, several members
of which he saw present, would Withdraw their subsidy
just when the society was throwing open its doors to a
larger number of people. Government should bestri&ly
impartial, but if it were to side with a party, it would
naturally side with the poor rather than with the rich.
Governments in these days had to show a justification for
their existence, and the Government ought to be able to
show that it exists, not for the good of a class, but for the
good of all those it governs ; and he believed the Govern-
ment of this colony too was ready to take that view.
In fa&, his opinion was that there were members of the
Government sitting in the Court of Policy who, far from
wishing to withdraw the subsidy paid to the Society, if
the society had 400 members, would rather say, " we
would give you a capitation grant for every member you
get beyond the present number of enrolled members ;"
and in that way too they might very well push forward
the interests of the colony to a true development, be-
cause it was only through public institutions of this kind
that the. Government could do any real good.

Rev. John Foreman said that as a country member of
eighteen years' standing, while he agreed with the princi-
ple which Mr. Garnett had laid down, he could not agree
with the terms of the motion itself, whereby town mem*
bers would receive a redu&ion of $6, associates of $3,
and country members of only $2. He thought, if the
principle of reduftion were to be admitted, it Should be
carried out systematically over the three grades which
now existed ; aftd therefore, he moved as an amend*



Digitized by



Google



3p<> Timehw.

ment that there should he a redu&iop of 25 per Gent, on
the present rates of subscription.

The amendment was not seconded.

Mr. Hodgou ssaid, He should vote jigainst the motion,
especially as he wished to support the direftors, vfho hf
beUeued had done honest work for the society, although,
perhaps, with one or- two matters they had npt earned
out the obje&s for which the society was primarily
formed, notably the offering of premiums {or Agri-
cultural purposes which heretofore had keen left to the
generosity of a few individual members.

Mr* Davis said that Mr. Hodgson had complained that
the motion brought forward by Mr. Garnett took rather
the form of a vote of censure on the hoard of Dife&ois ;
but so far from this being so, the censure came from Mr.
Hodgson himself who, had pointed out that the Directors
had negle&ed to offer premiums for certain obje&s, or
to establish an experimental garden, as provided for by
one of the bye-laws. He was not aware that the PSrecr
tors had ever carried out this bye-law, and it seemed to
him that this point that had been raised at the present
meeting as well as at a former one, was very much like
a red herring being drawn across the trail Un-
doubtedly this society had been suffering fropi feeing
oyet ricb,-r-4isgustmgly so. According to, the sta$e-
ment laid over at last meeting, the cash in bandon the
30th June was $1,463, while the arrears of subscriptions
^mounted to $5^63. Adding these sums to tbe> $900,
which were lent fc*r a purpose that h^4 b^n n^pie^ and
to th& $1,90.0, lost by Messrs. Ridgway'? feUnefc-ftt
total was $9,436. So that if the finances Had been <safe-»
fully managed* tk* Society should b^ve hid, £&om*b M»



Digitized by



Google



Report of SCfctftrv's Meetings. $oj

-

ctedit at thcf £te£eiit tiihe, and rid ddiibt thi Dire&dts
cohhl hav<b dtirttb gredt things with siich a balahce. fte
fduhd that a great number of people, and Some of tk^th
fery ititelHgent people though £oor, were very aiixidiis
that the &t& of subscription should be reduced, and be-
lieving as hfc did that the society required tb have neW
Mood ifaftis^d iiit6 it, he should support the motion.

Mr. D. C. Catairoii in supporting the Spirit of the
riibtioh, tooVed as ail atriendiherit, that the ritfeS for
town members be r&dufc6d frcrttt $t6 to* $10, of country
members from $12 to $8, and of associates from $8 to
$5 ; Which he thought would be dealing justly and
equally With dlt grades.

Rev. j. Format! seconded the iteeridriient.

The President said that feefoite putting the motion to
die vote, he wotild like, as President of the society
and as having been connected with it for veVy many
years, to explain his position there and also to say some-
thirig about his brother Direfloirs. tt must be gratifying
indeed to members of the society met here to-day to be
told that the society was possessed of siieh a plethora of
Wealth as to fee described as disgustingly rich. He could
orify tell members that when he joined the society and
Was Ask6d to accept the President's chair, the then Secre-
tary, tfr£ late Mr. W. H. Campbell, who took a warm
ihtitest in and did much to advance the position of the
society, came tb him and said, u Mr. Russell, unless you
catt do something to put life into the dry bones of the
society, we are going to be hbpelessly bankrupt.'* Such
was tie stale of the society. .He promised to do what
He could as the President, and according to his lights
he infused a little fresh lite into the Society. They were



Digitized by



Google



308 TlMEHR!.

not then in a position to aft as Mr. Davis had pointed
out was the duty of the society, but private individuals
filled that gap and offered premiums for years for various
subjefts in conneftion with agriculture, and by degrees
got the overseers throughout the length and breadth of
the land to take a greater interest in the society. He
believed that through those means new life was infused
ipto the society, and partly accounted for the large sur-
plus in the hands of the Treasurer. He said that if that
surplus had been available 104 15, or 20 years ago, there
would have been established in conneftion with the
society such works as Mr. Darnell Davis had alluded to,
and which the Direftors had been blamed for not estab-
lishing, but in those days the society instead of " suffer-
ing" from a plethora of wealth, lived as it were from
hand to mouth. At the present time, he felt that they
were very remiss in not doing more than they had done
but it seemed entirely due to this being a Commercial
and not an Agricultural Society. He thought the word
" agricultural " should be expunged from the name of
the society altogether, so little was the interest evinced
when agricultural topics came to be considered, but now
that a commercial topic like pounds, shillings and pence
had to be considered to-day, gentlemen were found
forsaking their business, even on mail day, to come here
and vote in favour of red u 61 ion. He only trusted that
the reduction of the rate of subscription would have the
effect of introducing new brooms into the Society, and
he could only say that the present directorate would be
very happy indeed to hand over their batons to their
successors. Mr. Nind had referred to the glowing
articles which bad appeared in the local press as regards



Digitized by



Google



Report of Society's Meetings. 309

the past of this great society. Now, he (Mr. Russell)
had been here for nearly 40 years, and must say that in his
early connection with the society, it was just about. as
dead as it was possible to be. This would also apply to
the earlier stages of the existence of the society, except
perhaps for a year or two when Croal and Stuart, giants
of that age, took an interest in it ; but the society had
done more within the last ten or fifteen years, to be an Agri-
cultural Society, or what he would like to see it, a
" farmers' club," than all the time before. So that he
could not allow it to go through the press to the public that
the directorate of the society was effete and played out.
He said that the society was now in a better positioa
than at any previous time since its formation.
On a show of hands being taken there voted,

For the amendment 18

Against 27

Mr. Garnett's motion was then put and carried, with
only 3 dissentients.

The Secretary was instructed to advertise the altera-
tion of by-law in the Official Gazette in accordance with
the ordinance.

At this stage of the meeting a large number of mem-
bers left the room, and it was with some difficulty a quo-
rum could be maintained, the President remarking that
now the commercial question was decided, only the agri-
cultural interest was left to complete the business of the
meeting.

Col. Figyelmesy conveyed by letter his thanks for the


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 23 25