J. Leander (John Leander) Bishop.

A history of American manufactures from 1608 to 1860 ... comprising annals of the industry of the United States in machinery, manufactures and useful arts, with a notice of the important inventions, tariffs, and the results of each decennial census online

. (page 41 of 77)
Online LibraryJ. Leander (John Leander) BishopA history of American manufactures from 1608 to 1860 ... comprising annals of the industry of the United States in machinery, manufactures and useful arts, with a notice of the important inventions, tariffs, and the results of each decennial census → online text (page 41 of 77)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


During the same year, a liberal public offer was made by an individual
in Delaware — which then formed a territory of Pennsylvania — to promote
the industry of the lower counties : To the maker of the finest and best piece
of linen, not less than fifteen yards, a premium of £4 was offered ; for spin-
ning four pounds of the best and finest sewing-thread, 20s. ; for the
largest produce of hemp off an acre, 40s. ; for the finest piece of coating,
40s. ; for the neatest and best hat, 40s. ; for the most flaxseed off an
acre, £4 ; for the most and best cotton off an acre, £4 ; for making the
neatest and best spinning-wheel, 40s. ; for the best dressed deer skin,
40s. ; for the neatest piece of smith's work, 40s. ; for the best and great-
est quantity of strong beer, £6 ; the best and greatest quantity of cherry,
blackberry, and grape wine, 40s. The premiums to be awarded on first
Tuesday in November, 1'J54, and to be increased in following years, by
John Crevet, Surgeon, St. George's Hundred, Newcastle county.

Comptroller Weare, afterward Consul at Madeira, in a letter written
about this time to a British nobleman, after remarking on the " enlarged
utterance" that might be opened in the Colonies for British woolens,
"provided, always, that an effectual stop be put to all clandestine impor-
tation, and that the people be drawn off from interfering in these manu-
factures themselves, not by prohibitory laws, which are too frequently
impracticable, but by leading them into other employments less detri-
mental to the mother country, and more profitable to themselves," pro-
ceeds to observe : " Upon aetual knowledge, therefore of these northern
Colonies, one is surprised to find, that notwithstanding the indifference
of their wool, and the extravagant price of labor, the planters through-
out all New England, New York, the Jersies, Pennsylvania, and Mary-
land (for south of that Province no knowledge is here pretended), almost
entirely clothe themselves in their own woolens, and that generally, the



CLANDESTINE TRADE TO BE STOPPED — TAXATION PROPOSED. 3i1

people are sliding into the manufactures proper to the mother country,
and this not through any spirit of industry or economy, but plainly for
want of some returns to make to the shops ; that their trade, so valu-
able to Gfeat Britain, should, contrary to the policy of all other nations,
be suffered to run off into clandestine channels ; and that Colonies, on which
the fate of this country will be found to depend, should, without the least
regard to influence of impression early made on the human mind, be suf-
fered to remain in this day under these little, factious Democracies which
had their first rise in the republican ideas of licentious times." The clan-
destine trade referred to in the above extract had long been a subject of
complaint, as well with British merchants as with the West India Colonies,
but had been to the Colonial merchant the chief means of making returns
for his large indebtedness for English goods.

But the conclusion, in 1T63, of the wars which had been long waged
between Great Britain and France for supremacy on the American Conti-
nent, opened a new era in the history of the Colonies. Indulgence was
no longer to be allowed to this lucrative traffic. The design, of which
the Colonists had already received distinct intimation, of raising a reve-
nue to defray the future expenses of possessions, which the nation had
incurred an enormous debt to extend and protect, was carried into exe-
cution by the Ministry ; and a short period of misrule was terminated in
a successful revolt. But before narrating the future course of their industry
and legislation in regard to the textile arts, it may not be amiss to
inquire what efforts were made by the Colonies to provide materials,
which, in a measure, employed the labor of several of the southern Pro-
vinces.



CHAPTER XV.

or CLOTH AND THE MATERIALS FOR CLOTHING CONTINUED, PROM THE
PEACE OF 1763, WITH ESPECIAL REFERENCE TO THE CULTURE OP
INDIGO, COTTON, AND SILK.

The caltivation of the Indigo plant and the manufacture of the dye
were very early recommended and attempted in the Southern Colonies.
As early as 1650, Gulian Van Rensselaer also made experiments with
wild Indigo seed near Albany, and Augustus Heerraan, near the present
city of New York. By the Navigation Act of 1661, it was enu-
merated among the articles which were to be sent to England alone.
It was introduced into Louisiana by the French in 1^18, and within
ten years became an article of export. The manufacture was encour-
aged by bounties from the French Government. About the year 1740,
when rice had become reduced in price, the seed of the East India
plant, which had been for many years extensively cultivated in the West
Indies, was sent, along with that of cotton, ginger, lucerne, etc., from
Antigua by Mr. Lucas, the governor of the island. His daughter, Miss
Eliza Lucas, the mether of General Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, was
at the age of eighteen in charge of a plantation in South Carolina, where
she planted the seed, and, after one or two attempts, was successful. A
person named Cromwell was then sent from Montserrat to instruct in the
manufacture of the dye. After erecting vats, and producing a quantity
of Indigo, he became alarmed lest he should ruin the manufacture of his
native country, and made a mystery of the art, but did not manage to
conceal the knowledge of it. Indigo in a year or two began to be ex-
ported. Soon after Mr. Pinckney, who had married Miss Lucas, re-
ceived some plants of the indigenous weed, and experiments having
shown its fitness for making the pigment, the planters engaged in its
culture. In 1741,- about 100,000 lbs. of Indigo were exported from
Charleston to England, and in 1747, 134,118 lbs., worth 2s. 6d. sterling
a pound. Though not so well cured as the French, its quality was ap-
proved, and the merchants in the Carolina trade, who, by the commer-
cial statutes, had a monopoly of the article, petitioned for a small bounty
(348)



INDIGO CULTURE IN CAEOIINA AND GEORGIA. 349

to encourage its manufacture. An inquiry elicited the fact that Indigo
'vas one of the most profitable articles of French colonial commerce, her
islands supplying principally the markets of Europe and not less than
600,000 lbs. annually at a cost of 5s. a pound to England alone. The
marfufacturers and dyers now joined their requests for a premium, and in
1748 a bounty was offered of 6d. a pound on all Indigo raised in the
British North American Colonies, and imported directly into England.

In 1754, the Assembly procured the Guatemala Indigo seed, and dis-
tributed it to the different settlements, but the native plant was found
most profitable. Its cultivation now commenced with spirit. Many
planters doubled their capital in three or four years, and American Indigo
undersold the French in some of the markets of Europe. "It proved,"
says Dr. Ramsay, " more really beneficial to Carolina than the mines of
Mexico or Peru are, or ever have been, either to Old or New Spain."
Charleston, in 1753, exported 216,924 lbs., and the two Carolinas, in
1756, produced 500,000 lbs. South Carolina the next year sold to the
value of £150,000 sterling, and, for a few years preceding the war, the
exports were over one million pounds annually, about one-half of which
was re-exported from England. The best Indigo in Carolina was pro-
duced on the Island of Edisto.

Georgia, in 1754, exported 4,508 lbs. ; in 1757, 18,150 lbs. ; and in
1772, 55,380. Twenty-five negroes could manage a plantation of fifty
acres and complete the manufacture of the drug, besides providing their
own subsistence and that of the planter's family. An acre yielded an
average of 50 lbs. The apparatus was not very expensive, consisting
chiefly of vats and tubs of cypress wood. Great skill and care were re-
quired in the several stages of the process, but, when properly conducted,,
the manufacture was an extremely profitable one. A premium for im-
provements in the manufacture was offered by the Society of Arts in
London. After the Revolution, the increased attention to the manu-
facture of Indigo in British India, and to the cultivation of Cotton in
the Southern States, caused a rapid decline in the quantity produced.
In 1794, the whole Union exported 1,550,880 pounds. But for many
years past. Indigo, which was once the most profitable commodity of
Carolina and Georgia, has not been taken into account in the census.
We annually import over one million pounds. Its cultivation could still
be made a remunerative business, especially in Carolina. But Indigo,
once the leading article in the exports of Charleston, has now wholly'
" disappeared from the list, and the loud call, said a hundred years ago to
exist for the encouragement of Cotton in the State, has been answered
by a yearly export of ten or twelve millions of dollars worth of an



350 COLONIAL CLOTH-MANUSAOTUEE.

article then merely named among the exports, and considered not worth
estimation.

The Colonists were not unprovided with other native dye-stuffs, and
were cheaply supplied with logwood, fustic, cochineal, and other materials
from the West Indies. The cochineal insect is also found in South Caro-
lina and Georgia, and its cultivation was an object in the first settlement
of the latter Province. Its production was encouraged by the Society
of Arts, which in lt62 offered a premium of £40 for the largest quantity
imported from the Colonies. Madder and woad were also introduced
and encouraged long before the Revolution. The native plants which
yield dye-stuffs are very numerous in America, and some of them were
used by the natives with great success. In 1630, Mr. Higginson, of
Salem, wrote, " also here be divers roots and berries wherewith the In-
dians dye excellent holiday colours that no raine nor washing can alter."
Dr. Ramsay gives a long list of native plants in Carolina yielding dyers'
colors, and observes that the art of dyeing ought to make a conspicuous
figure among the arts of the Carolinians, on account of the profusion of
the materials. He says : " A Captain Felden, near Orangeburg, ob-
tained, during the Revolution, a guinea a pound for a paste made from
the leaves of the sweet leaf (hopea tinctoria) and those of the yellow
Indigo, a species of cassia." He was also informed by Dr. Bancroft, the
author of " Researches concerning the Philosophy of Permanent Colors,"
that his patent for introducing into England certain dye-stuffs yielded
him, for several years before its expiration, £5,000 per annum. He
found some materials in the woods of America equal to those obtained
at a high cost from other countries. He annually imported and sold of
black oak bark {quercus tinctoria) to the above value.'

(1) Among the materials for Black JJyc» tree {hetttla) ; saw wort {teraiula tinctoria),

he enumerates the juice of the poison oak and common knapweed {centaura jacea) ;

(rA«« (oa:?corfeHrfron); the leaves and berries spotted ar^^smurt {polygonum peraicaria);

of the gall berry bush ; the juice of the ber- yellow willow herb, or loose strife



ries of the water hoarhound, or gipsy wort cTiia vulgaris) ; leaves of the devil's bit

{Lycoput MuroptRua) J the capsules and bark {acahioBa aucciaa) ; the flowers of St. John's

of the red oak [quereua ruftro). wort {hypericum perforatum) ; the petals of

Blue. — Common Indigo (/«dzgfq/era ftnc- garden marigold {caisndula offieinalia) ;

toria) ; false Indigo {amorpJia frutieoea) ; American dodder, or love vine {cutcata

the inner bark of the common ash tree Americana) ; leaves of horse laurel, sweet

(fraxinua exceleia) ; bluestone or sulphate or yellow leaf {hopea tinctoria); petals of

of copper was also used. the Jerusalem artichoke, or tuberose sun-

Tbllow. — Koots of the common settle flower {kelianthua tuberoaa) ; yellow wort,
(Vrtioa dioica) ; the bark of the blackberry orparsley-leavedrootfzantAoj-Aizaapit/bft'a)/
bearing elder [rhamnua frangula) ; root of yellow root {hydraitia canadeniia).
the berberry bush {Berberia vulgaris); bark Red. — Blossoms of the bastard saffron
of common plum tree [prunut chicaaa), and {earthamua tinctoritui) ; roots of common scr-
apple tree {pyrut malaa) ; leaves of the birch rel {rumex aeetoaella) j roots of cross wort,



CULTIVATION OF COTTON— ^COTTON GINS. 351

The very early introduction and cultivation of the valuable Cotton plant,
including " the Cyprus and Smyrna sort,'' with a view to domestic use,
has been already incidentally mentioned. The fitness of the soil and cli-
mate for Cotton, and its occasional production, are frequently noticed by
early writers on America. Peter Pnrry, in his description of Carolina, in
lt31, says, " Flax and Cotton thrive admirably, and hemp grows 13 to
14 feet in height ; but, as few people know how to order it, there is very
little cultivated." Cotton seed, probably from the Levant, was carried
into Carolina by Mr. Purry, who settled a colony of Swiss people near
Purrysburg, in 1183. The cultivation of the plant in gardens was fre-
quently to be met with as early as USB in the southern Provinces, as far
north as the thirty-ninth degree. A year or two later, Miss Lucas, who
introduced the Indigo culture, also planted Cotton seed, and, in her jour-
nal, in 1'739 and 1741, speaks of the pains she had taken to bring Cotton
and Indigo to perfection. An exportation of seven bags, valued at £8
lis. bd. per bag, was made from Charleston, between November, 1141,
and November, 1148, but it is not clearly ascertained to have been of
native growth. Among the exports of Carolina, in 1153, and of Charles-
ton, in 1151," "some cotton" is mentioned ; and a London publication,
in 1162, says "what Cotton and Silk both the Carolinas send us is ex-
cellent, and calls aloud for the encouragement of its cultivation in a place
well adapted to raise both."' Cotton was one of the articles Intended
to be cultivated by the founders of Georgia, and a paper of the seed was
received by the trustees from Philip Miller, of Chelsea, England, which
was planted in 1134. It appears, also, to have been early cultivated,
Cotton gins °" ^^^ ■^^'■y limited scale first attempted, by the French inha-
introdttced. ijitg^tg of Louisiana. In 1142, a French planter of enterprise
and capital, M. Dubreuil — who, a few years after, erected on his plantation,
now covered by the lower portion of the City of -New Orleans, the first
sugar-mill in Louisiana — invented a Cotton gin, for separating the fibre
from the seed. The invention greatly stimulated the culture of Cot-
ton in that Colony, by partially removing the greatest obstacle to the

mudder {galium loreale), and of othte bark of the common maple (acer campeitris)

species of galium ; roots of puocoon, or and tops of the wild marjoram {origanum

bastard turmeric (Hanguinaria canadensia) ; vulgare) im-part a hrown ; the inner bark of

prickly pear {cactus opuntia), • red oak {quercua ruh'a) produces an orange,

Crimson. — Juice of the poke berry, or a reddish brown with alum, and a, black

American night-shade {phytolacca decan- with copperas; the bark of black walnut

dra) s with lime as a mordant, it produces a {juglana nigra) a dark olive ; common hops

yellow color. {humuliu lupulua), a good brown ; common

Gbeeh. — Leaves of the common reed or agrimony (ojrimojiioeupnfona), a gold color,
carfe {arundo phragmitea), (1) Amer. Gazetteer, vol. iii., London:

Brown, Gold, and Olive shades. — The Art. Charlestown.



35S COIONIAL CLOTH MANTJFACTTIEE.

business as a profitable industry. The separation of the seed had
previousljfr been effected by picking it from the wool by the fingers, at the
rate of one pound a day. This operation, as the evening task of the
women, children, or other members of the household, long continued to
be the practice in the Cotton regions, until an increased production called
for mechanical appliances. The bow-string, which had been used imme-
morially in India for the purpose, was first introduced into Georgia, "
whence originated the commercial term of "Bowed Georgia Cotton."
Mention is made, in \\*l% of another contrivance for the same purpose,
which appears to have been a form, original or derived from the East, of
the roller gin, the best contrivance for cleaning Cotton, until the inven-
tion of the saw gin, by Whitney, in 1193, introduced a new era in Cotton
husbandry. This article was used by a Mr. Crebs, the alleged inventor,
upon his plantation, on the Pascagoula river, in West Florida, now Ala-
bama, where the owner grew Cotton, which he packed iu canvas bags
suspended between two pine trees, by treading it down until each bag
contained three hundred pounds, about the present capacity of a bale.
The machine is described, by Bernard Romans, as consisting of four
upright posts, about four feet high, strongly framed together at the top,
and supporting two polished spindles or rollers grooved longitudinally,
and, by means of treadles, made to revolve in opposite directions. The
Cotton, thinly spread, entered upon one side, and the lint passed between
the rollers, while the seed fell down upon one side in a separate pile. The
French improved upon the device, by the use of a large wheel, which
turned two of these mills with such velocity as to clean seventy pounds
of Cotton in a day.' Among the documents in the Archives of the Co-
lonial Department at Paris, there is said to be " a most curious report on
Cotton, in 1760, of the great advantages Louisiana might derive from
its culture — the difficulty of separating the seed from the wool — its intro-
duction from St. Domingo — a report of M. de Mauripas on that matter,
suggesting the importation from the East Indies of machinery to sepa-
rate the seed, &c." Early in the Revolution, Kinsey Borden, to whom

(1) In Chambers' Cyclopedia of Arts and d^y, for vrhich he .received 6J pounds of
Sciences, (London, 1728,) it ia said: "The grain in payment. To these suoeeeded the
peed of the Cotton being mixed in the fruit bow-string, which has been used there for
together with the Cotton itself, they have ages, and the rollers, at first roughly con-
invented little Machines which, being play- structed, which are mentioned by Nearohus,
cd by the motion of awheeljthe Cotton falls a!n ofScer in Alexander's Indian expe-
on one side and the seed on the other; and dition. These were made of two rollers of
thus they are separated." The primitive teak wood, fluted longitudinally with se-
mode in India was to separate the seed by veral grooves, and revolving nearly in con-
t'he fingers, and another still used there, was tact. They seem to have been the origijial
that of beatini/, by which, according to Dr. of the roller gin long used in this country.
Buchanan, u man sej)arated 4i pounds a



EAELT CONTBIVANOES FOR CLEANING COTTON. 853

Carolina is indebted for the silty Cottons of her sea islands, constructed
a roller-gin, which is believed to have been among the first made or used
in that State, and enabled him to clothe his negroes in garments of domes-
tic fabric. It was composed of "pieces of iron gun-barrels, burnished an
fixed in wooden rollers, with wooden screws to secure them, and wooden
cranks to turn in the manner of the steel corn-mill. " It was turned by one
person, and fed by another. Mr. Bissell, of Georgia, in 1T88, resorted to
the " simple plan of a bench, upon which rose a frame supporting two short
rollers revolving in opposite directions, and each turned by a boy or girl,
and giving, as the result of a day's work, five pounds of clean Cotton."
This seems to be nearly the same as the earlier contrivance of Crebs. In
December, of the same year, Richard Leake, of Georgia, who that year
led the way in Cotton-growing on a large scale, wrote to Thomas Proc-
tor, of Philadelphia, " The principal difficulty that arises to us is the clear-
ing it from the seed, which I am told they do with great dexterity and
ease in Philadelphia, with gins and machines made for that purpose. I
shall now esteem it a singular favor your procuring me one, and I
will thankfully pay whatever the cost of it may be. I am told they
make them that will clean from thirty to forty pounds clear cotton per
day, and upon a very simple construction." This passage has led to the
inference that the foot gin, or some equally efficient instrument was in
use at the north, while only a rude hand-mill was employed in Georgia.
In the neighborhood of Philadelphia, where those instruments are now
extensively manu^'iictured, Cotton was grown at the commencement of
the Revolution ; in Cape May County, New Jersey ; Sussex County, De-
laware, and St. Mary's County, in Maryland ; and the product being sold
in the seed, doubtless gave employment to such machines. About two
years after, Joseph Eve, or Eaves, of Providence, Rhode Island, then
residing in the Bahamas, introduced what was long considered in Georgia
a great improvement on the treadle gin. It was a double gin, with two
pair of rollers placed obliquely one above another, and could be worked by
horses, oxen, or water-power. It was patented in 1803, previous to which,
a number of patents for ginning machinery had been issued : the first
being that of Whitney, in March, 1194. The present form of the foot
or treadle gin first used in Georgia, is said to have been introduced about
two years after Whitney's, by William Brisbane, to whom several were
pent from Bahama by his father-in-law. Various modifications of these,
ns to mechanism and power, followed in rapid succession. These con-
trivances for preparing the fibre for the spindle, gave increased value to
the crop for domestic consn;nption, and its importance was, at the same
time, daily augmented by the train of splendid inventions going forward
in England for converting it into Cloth with a facility previously deemed
23



354 COLONIAL OLOTH-MANTJPACTURE.

unattainable. Scarcely an attempt had yet been made, however, to pro-
duce Cotton for exportation. In ItTO, there were shipped to Liverpool
three bales from New York, four from Yirginia and Maryland, and three
barrels full from North Carolina. Of hemp, flax seed, and Cotton, toge-
ther, the exports from Virginia, before the War amounted to near £2,000
in value. The convention held in Williamsburg, Yirginia, August, 11^4,
in view of the altered relations of the country with Great Britain, resolved
that attention should be turned " from the cultivation of tobacco to the
cultivation of such articles as may form a basis for domestic manufactures,
which we will endeavour to encourage throughout this Colony to the
utmost of our abilities." Cotton is not mentioned in the resolutions, which
had, among many others, the influential signatures of Washington, Jefferson,
Lee, and Peyton Randolph ; but, on the 27 th March, of the following
year, the Assembly of the Province adopted, unanimously, a plan for the
encouragement of arts and manufactures, including resolutions of non-
importation, and, " that all persons having proper land ought to cultivate
and raise a quantity of flax, hemp, and Cotton, sufficient not only for the
use of his own family, but to spare to others on moderate terms." The
planting of Cotton had been also recommended, in the previous January,
by the first Provincial Congress held in South Carolina. But very little
attention appears to have been paid to the recommendation of either body
in regard to Cotton.

In 1T84, an American ship which imported eight bags of Cotton into
Liverpool was seized on the ground that so much Cotton could not be

the produce of the United States. The first regular expor-
gins to be tation of Cottou from Charleston commenced in ItSS, when

one bag arrived at Liverpool, January 20th, per Diana, to
John and Isaac Teasdale & Co. In the same year, twelve additional
bags from Philadelphia and one from New York were received at that
port. During the next five years, the receipts of American Cotton were
respectively 6, 109, 389, 842, and 81 bags, estimated at 150 lbs. each, or
1441 bags, weighing 216,150 lbs., in six years,.'from 1785" to 1790 inclu-
sive. The increase was progressive, but not uniform, and probably cor-
responded to the nature of the demand.' The green seed, or sh.ort

(1) Cotton, consisting of the wild produce should not be a sufficiency for the country.

of the country, and lampwiok made by the As an evidence of the limited demand for

natives, was first exported to Europe from Cotton in Europe, it is mentioned that a

Brazil, about the year 1760, by the Company Portuguese merchant, in 1762, purchased



Online LibraryJ. Leander (John Leander) BishopA history of American manufactures from 1608 to 1860 ... comprising annals of the industry of the United States in machinery, manufactures and useful arts, with a notice of the important inventions, tariffs, and the results of each decennial census → online text (page 41 of 77)