John Dunmore Lang.

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ABTIFICIAL PRODUCTIONS OP COOKSJLAND. 149

produce could be put on board the steam-vessel from the
proprietor's own boat at no expense whatever, and con-
veyed direct to Sydney, the best market in the Colony,
probably every week. One of the Bonnymuir Ra(£-
cals has not more than three acres of land of this de-
scription rented from my brother, on the Paterson
River, one of the tributaries of the Hunter, in latitude
32^° S., for which he pays a yearly rent of one pound
per acre, and from which he derives a comfortable sub-
sistence for his family ; cultivating tobacco, potatoes,
and such other crops of that description as are suited
to the climate in constant succession, and keeping his
little farm, or rather large garden, in excellent order.
I mention the circumstance to show that, if re«dly in-
dustrious and disposed to avail himself of the advan-
tages of his situation, wherever the soil and dinmte are
so pre-eminently in his fiivour as in. the case under con-
sideration,

Man wants but little here below,

in the article of land ; for as the range of productions
is much more extensive on the Brisbane Biver than on
the Hunter, while the tropical productions that can be
raised on the former of these streams are of much
greater value than those that can be raised on the lat-
ter, the same extent of land in the hands of an indus-
trious person will be of corresj^ndingly greater value
on the Brisbane than on the Hunter,

Tobacco is an article of produce for which the entire
alluvial country throughout the territory of Cooksland
is admirably adapted, and for the cultivAtion of which
persons of the class I have just maationed would be
much better suited, from their previous habits and ex-
perience, than mere agriculturists. If this narcotic
must stiU be supplied in such vast quantities from be-
yond seas, for the consmnption of the smoking and
snuffing population of Europe, why should Great Bri-
tain, with all the pseudo-philanthropy of her abolitionist
agitation in America, and her expensive Guarda Costas



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150 COOKSLAND.

in AMca, neglect the only effectual means of aiming a
decisive blow at the existence of slavery in the United
States, and everywhere else throughout the civilized
world, by encouraging the growth of this and all the
other slave-grown productions of modem commerce by
means of free labour in her own colonies? I do not
mean encouragement in the form of protecting duties in
favour of the colonies, but in the way of affording
facilities for the emigration of her own virtuous and
industrious but redundant population, and of supplying
such emigrants with the necessary assistance and direc-
tion to render their labour available to the utmost ex-
tent, not only for their own individual benefit, but for
the advancement of the general interests of the empire
and of humanity. I confess it is chiefly with a view
to contribute my quota towards the achievement of this
object of transcendant importance, not only to Great
Britain but to the world at large, that I am now em-
ploying the leisure which the long and dreary voyage
to England, by way of New Zealand and Cape Horn,
affords me in arranging and digesting the information
I have acquired, both personally and through the tes-
timony of other credible witnesses, respecting the extra-
ordinary capabilities of the terra incogmta Britanrm*
which forms the subject of this volume.

A gentleman who had for many years been an Indigo
planter in India, but who is now settled on the Bris-
bane River at Moretoff Bay, expressed to me his de-
cided conviction that the cultivation of indigo would
succeed perfectly in that district, the soil and climate
being, in his opinion, remarkably favourable for Uie
purpose. As he was a strong advocate, however, for
the introduction of Coolies into the Australian colonies
generally, he seemed to regard it as indispensably ne-
cessary to the success of that species of cultivation that
the labour should be performed by Coolies ; for as it is
necessary in a certain stage of the process of fermenta-



* Land unknown to Britons.



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ARTIFICIAL PRODUCTIONS OP COOKSLAND. 151

tion in the manufacture of indigo for the labourers to
descend into the fermenting vats and to move about in
them, stirring up the stuff from the bottom, up to the
neck, a European, he alleged, would look so very hltie
after the process that he would be a white man no
longer — a consummation the very idea of which would,
he thought, be absolutely intolerable to the aristocracy
of colour — whereas the Coolie, being naturally black,
could suffer nothing from a slight change of hue. 1
have no doubt that the soil and climate of any part of
Cooksland would be suitable enough for the cultivation
of indigo, and that that cultivation would answer well
in a pecuniary point of view ; but I confess I am
strongly opposed to the introduction of an inferior and
degraded race, like the Hill Coolies of India, into the
Australian colonies ; and I should be sorry to assent
to such a measure on a great scale, as has been fre-
quently recommended in certain quarters, even to
secure for the colony the extensive cultivation of indigo,
if the plant could be reared and manufactured in no
other way. But I can see no such necessity in the case
at all. There are thousands and tens of thousands of
our industrious countrymen at home who would will-
ingly allow themselves to be dyed all the colours of the
rainbow if they could only make an honest living by
it. But the idea of its being necessary, in the present
state of the arts and manufactures of Great Britain,
to employ men at all for the stirring up or trituration
of the fermenting mass of vegetation in an indigo vat,
is out of the question. Some machine would be invent-
ed for the purpose, which would not only enable us to
dispense with the Coolies but allow the white man to
retain his natural colour. It is worthy of remark that
both tobacco and indigo are indigenous in New South
Wales — in the district of Hunter's River.

As the Mulberry tree grows luxuriantly at Moreton
Bay, the rearing of silk-worms and the production of
raw silk might be carried on in the district to any con-
ceivable extent. This is a species of industry that has
the twofold recommendation of requiring no capital to



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152 COOKSLAND.

commence with and of affording a light and remunera*
tive employment to children and females. In the
neighbourhood of Damascus, in Syria, the small far-
mers pay their rent and taxes with the money they
receive from the silk-merchants for the raw material
with which they supply them, in small quantities indi-
vidually, and which they also exchange for the manu-
factures of England and France ; and there is no reason
whatever why the future farmers of Moreton Bay should
not find a mine of wealth in this important branch of
industry. The production of silk has been introduced
as a branch of agricultural industry, within a compara-
tively recent period, into Lombardy, in Italy, where it
is now extensively and successfully pursued, and great
efforts have also been made within the last few years
to introduce and naturalize it in the United States of
America. Now, I am confident that there is no part
either of the north of Italy or of the United States of
America in which the soil and climate can possibly be
better adapted either to the growth of the mulberry
tree or to the constitution and habits of the silk- worm,
than those of Cooksland. Experiments have frequently
been made with silk-worms in New South Wales, and
with uniform success, but merely, I regret to add, as a
matter of curiosity, and with no idea of following up
the successful experiments by establishing another
branch of colonial industry.

I have observed that the sugar-cajae was growing
luxuriantly in Dr. Ballow's garden at Brisbane; and as
good sugar has actually been manufactured from the
cane many years ago at Port Macquarie, in New South
Wales, nearly four degrees to the southward of the
Brisbane River, there can be no doubt as to the prac-
ticability of carrying on that manufacture to any extent
at Moreton Bay. - There is a very prevalent idea, how-
ever, in England that the cultivation of the sugar-cane
and the manufacture of sugar must always be conjoined
and be carried on by the same persons, and that as
this can only be effected by means of an extensive com-
bination of labour and the investment of a large amount



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AEHFICIAL PRODUCTIONS OP COOKSLAND, 153

of capital in the requisite buildings and machinery, it
is a branch of business that can only be pursued sue*
cessfuUy either in connexion with the system of slavery
or when the party engaged in it has a large capital to
expend in the employment of free labour. But this
idea has arisen entirely from the long prevalence of the
vile system of slavery in our West India Colonies ; for
it appears to me that there can be no better reason
assigned why the colonial farmer who cultivates the
sugar-cane should also be able to superintend and con-
duct the delicate chemical processes of a sugar-manu-
factory, so as to monopolise in his own person both of
these very different and distinct branches of business,
than there can for requiring the British corn-grower
to be also a miller and a baker^ or the British flax-
grower to be also a flax-dresser and a weaver. Nay,
as the operation of transforming the rich juice of the
cane into sugar is a chemical process requiring the
utmost tact and long experience to ensure its success,
while the operations of grinding and weaving are
merely mechanical, it seems to me pre-eminently ab-
surd to identify the cultivator and the manufacturer in
the one case and to keep them distinct in the other.
No doubt when a planter had three or four hundred
negro slaves on his estate, it was desirable, in order to
keep these slaves constantly employed, to transform the
farm, every season after the crop had been got in, into
a manufactory. ; but the combination of the two distinct
branches of business is contrary to the first principles
of political economy and to the uniform practice in
every department of industry in the mother-country.

If the West India system of combining the cultiva-
tion of the cane with the manufacturing processes im-
plied in the conversion of its juices into sugar, were
absolutely necessary to the production of that commo-
dity, I should scarcely recommend the cultivation of
the cane at Moreton Bay, as the prospect of deriving
any profit from the investment of so large a capital,
and the maintenance of so extensive an establishment
as the speculation would imply, would be very preca-



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154 COOKSLAND.

nous. But if an establishment were to be formed for
the manufacture of sugar in a central situation in the
district, to be conducted by persons thoroughly ac-
quainted with the process, and making it their exclu-
sive business, (purchasing the canes from the farmers,
either at the Boiling-House or in the field,) I am con-
fident the speculation would prove highly remunera-
tive to all concerned. In that case every small farmer
could have his cane-patch (to use the appropriate phrase
of the West Indies) as well as his portion of ground
under maize, wheat or sweet potatoes, and there would
be just as little difiiculty in disposing of the cane to
advantage, as there is at present in disposing of the
wheat or the maize ; for if the sugar-manufacturer did
not give the Colonial farmer a fair price for his canes,
an opposition-concern would very soon be got up to
ensure justice to the cultivator.

This idea of the separation of the two branches of bu-
siness implied in the production of sugar — the cultivation
of the cane, and the manufacture of the commodity — has
recentiy been urged very strongly on the planters of the
Mauritius by the press of that Colony ; for as the ap-
paratus required for that manufacture is extensive,
while modern science has suggested various improve-
ments which can only be carried into effect on a large
scale, and by persons thoroughly acquainted with the
business, it is conceived that a great saving would be
effected both of materiel and of labour in that Colony,
if the two branches of the business were to be com-
pletely separated. The sugar at present consumed in
the Australian Colonies is imported in great measure
from the Isle of France, although in part from Manilla.
And taking into consideration the fact, that the con-
sumption of sugar in the Australian Colonies is enor-
mous, and that the countries from which that article is
exported take almost nothing from these Colonies in
return, there is every inducement to extend the culti-
vation of the cane, and to introduce the manufacture
of sugar at Moreton Bay, as well as every reasonable
prospect of an adequate return for the capital and la-



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AKTIFICIAL PROPUCTIONS OF COOKSLAND. 155

bour to be invested in the undertaking. Sugar and
tea are prime necessaries of life in New South Wales,
Of the former of these articles, one pound a-week or
52 lbs. a-year is the regular allowance of every hired
servant in the Colony ; the entire consumption of the
article having been calculated very recently at not less
than 90 lbs. a-head, per annum, for every man, wo-
man, and child in the Colony. No doubt a consider-
able proportion of this entire amount was consumed at
the time when the calculation was made in illicit dis-
tillation, to which the maintenance by the Government
of a high rate of duties on imported spirits, notwith-
standing the repeated remonstrances of the Represen-
tatives of the people, aflforded a sort of premium ; but
still that enormous quantity was consumed, and it has
not been very greatly reduced since, although illicit
distillation has in great measure been discontinued in
consequence of the recent reduction of the duties. In
short, with such a home-market for the consumption of
sugar, there is every encouragement for the cultivation
of the sugar-cane at Moreton Bay. And if European
labour can be made extensively available in that Dis-
trict, as I shall prove that it can, for the production of
a commodity which is everywhere else the produce of
black-labour, and everywhere else but in our own Co-
lonies the produce of the labour of slaves, an important
diversion will, I conceive, be made in favour of the
cause of universal freedom, and a most important ser-
vice rendered to humanity.

Having touched at Pemambuco, in the Brazils^ . on
my voyage home, after the completion of this Work
for the press, I bad an opportunity, for the first time,
of observing the various processes and operations in
common use among the Planters of that country in the
cultivation of the sugar-cane, and the manufacture of
sugar ; and the result was very strongly to confirm me
in my previously formed opinion as to the entire prac-
ticability of conducting that branch of cultivation and
manufacture, with the fairest prospect of adequate re-
muneration both for labour and capital, by means of



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156 COOKSLAND.

European free-labour in the territory of Cooksland.
Pemambuco is doubtless situated in a very low lati-
tude, being in 8° 4' S. ; but the State of Louisiana, in
North America, the principal sugar-growing State of
the American Union, extends from 29° to 33** N., a
range of latitude much higher than that of Cooksland.
The city of New Orleans, near the mouths of the Missis-
sippi, is in latitude 30* N., and with the exception of a
few estates farther down the river, for about thirty
miles, all the sugar-plantations of Louisiana are situated
to the northward of that city, and consequently in a
higher latitude than any part of Cooksland. The cli-
mate of New Orleans, moreover, is one of the deadliest
for Europeans on the face of the globe ; and this ex-
treme insalubrity, greater even than that of the East
and West Lidies, combined with the well-known re-
laxing effects of the constant high temperature of the
latter regions, has tended very much to encourage and
perpetuate the gratuitous and unfounded idea that
European labour is totally inapplicable everywhere to
the branches of cultivation pursued in these regions.
It is worthy of remark, however, that although New
Orleans is situated in a very low country, while the
Clarence River in the corresponding latitude in Cooks-
land flows in the immediate vicinity of much higher
land than there is in any part of the United States, to
the eastward of the Rocky Mountains, the winter at
New Orleans is incomparably more severe than at the
Clarence River ; for while the orange grows luxuriant-
ly in the immediate neighbourhood of Sydney, in New
South Wales, in latitude 34* S., t. e, four and a-half
degrees higher than the latitude of the Clarence, it can-
not be grown either in New Orleans or in Savannah,
in latitude 30* N. But temperature and salubrity de-,
pend upon various other influences, besides that of
mere latitude.

To return toPernambuco.-^I determined, on touching
at that port, to visit one of the Engenhos or sugar
plantations of that part of the Brazils, provided there
should be any withm a reasonable distance of the city.



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ARTIFICIAL PRODUCTIONS OF COOKSLAlfD. . 157

Finding, accordingly, that there was one within a
few leagues, belonging to two brothers,-^the Senhores
Antonio and Francisco, — ^with whom the English agent
of our ship was personally acquainted, I hired a curricle
for three of my fellow-passengers and myself, to visit
the Engenho. The curricle was of European manufac^
ture. It was drawn by three horses abreast, the mid-
dle one being in shafts, with one on each side in traces
attached to an outrigger. It had a hood to shelter the
traveller from the sun, (which was then right overhead
and left us no shadow when we stood erect,) and the de^
luging rains of the tropics, with a box seat for the con^
ducteur or driver. The latter was a respectable young
man both in dress and manners ; but as he spoke no
language but Portuguese, of which we were all equally
i^orant, we could obtain no intelligence whatever,
either respecting the interesting country we passed
through, or the manners, pursuits, and opinions of its
inhabitants, notwithstanding all manner of Procrustean
operations on my part, sometimes upon Latin and some-
times upon French, in the vain hope of manufacturing
something like intelligible Portuguese.

On arriving at the Engenho, we found that the crop,
or canes, had been all cut, and was then undergoing the
operation of being converted into sugar. For this pur-
pose, the canes are cut as near the ground as is thought
proper, to secure the whole of the saccharine matter,
and the leaves and tops being then cut off, the latter
are burnt on the field with the roots, to manure the
ground I presume, for the next crop. The canes are
then pretty much like walking staffs, only a little
longer,* and in this state they are packed into as pri-
mitive a machine as I have ever seen. It is a sort of
wooden pannier, fitted to a correspondingly rude saddle,



* The canes at Pemambuco are of a very small size. The
South Sea Island variety, which is indigenous at Tahiti and New
Caledonia, to the eastward of Moreton Bay, are much larger, and
) should think- correspondingly more productive.



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158 COOKSLAND.

on the back of a horse, and forming a basket or frame,
of which the end view resembles the letter V, on each
side of the animal, and which reaches nearly to the
ground. Into these baskets or panniers, the canes are
packed, and the horse is then led or driven with his
load hj a negro to the Engenho or Mill. The
Engenho consists of a long wooden shed, roofed, as is
usual in the Brazils, with tiles. These tiles are very
differently formed from ours. They are like the ridge
tiles used in England, and the lower series, (for there
are always two,) are laid with the concave side up;
the upper series being laid with the convex side up, so
that each upper row of tiles, from the eaves to the
ridge, covers the edges of the two adjoining rows be-
low, the concave surface of which serves as a channel
or gutter, for carrying off the water from the upper
row in seasons of rain.

At the extremity of the shed, there was a common
undershot water-wheel — for there seemed to be no
want of water in the vicinity — which set in motion in
opposite directions two rollers, leaving a space between
them sufficient to admit the end of a single sugar-cane,
which a negro, conveniently seated for the purpose on
an elevated bench, supplies one after another, as the
former disappear, and which are handed to him by
another negro from the heap of canes outside, on which
the horses, with the letter V panniers, have discharged
their loads. The cane very speedily disappears between
the rollers, a few revolutions of which are sufficient to
bruise it into a flat ribbon, and to express the whole
of its juice ; a third negro being employed in removing
the bruised canes, on which some cattle were feeding
near the mill. Beneath the rollers there is a receptacle
for the juice, which runs foaming like milk from a cow
in the pail, along a wooden trough which conveys it
through a strainer, into a large vat, formed apparently
of common clay. At this vat a fourth negro stands
with a pole about twelve feet long, having a large tin
ladle at the end of it, the pole being suspended at about
four feet from the ladle by a cord from the roof. This



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ARTIFICIAL PRODtJCnONS OF COOKSLAND. 159

ladle the negro ever and anon dips into the liquid, by
topping up the extremity of the pole ; and then de-
pressing the latter, he raises up the ladle somewhat
above the level of the first vat, and pushing it in the
proper direction, pours its contents into one or other
of three or four boilers ranged along the wall, and con-
siderably elevated on a sort of platform, in which the
liquor is boiled. A fifth negro is employed in skim-
ming off the scum from the surface of the boiling vats,
and a sixth in supplying fuel, chiefly twigs and sap-
lings, to the furnace which heats the boilers below.
Under this process the juice, when cooled, acquires a
very agreeable taste, and may be drunk with im-
punity.

When the process of boiling has been carried to a
sufficient extent, the liquor is transferred into earthen
coolers, like large flower pots, arranged longitudinally
along a series of planks, laid across a portion of the
shed, having a round hole excavated right through the
plank, under the spot where each cooler rests, that the
molasses which escape from the crystallizing mass of
syrup, by a hole in the bottom of the cooler, may run
off freely. At the opposite extremity of this part of
the shed, there is a common receptacle for the molasses,
which flow from the whole of the coolers.

When it is intended to improve the colour and
quality of the sugar, at the expense of quantity, the
simple application of clay to the crude mass produces a
remarkable change in its whole substance, of which
however, it is not necessary to explain the rationale.

When the mass in the coolers has been sufficiently
crystallized, and the molasses drained off, the sugar is
spread out upon a series of tables, having each a
wooden rim to prevent any from falling off, and it is
then dried in the sun, and forthwith packed up for
sale or exportation. In short, the whole process is ex-
ceedingly simple, and the machineryj although of the
rudest and cheapest description imaginable, is quite
sufficient for the manufacture of an article of produce
which forms one of the great staples of the country.



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160 COOKSLAND.

I should have formed a very different, estimate of the
real requisites for the manufacture of sugar, if I had^
only seen one of our own great estates in the West
Indies, under the old regime, having an estahlishment
perhaps of 500 or 600 slaves, with extensive buildings
and costly machinery.

In regard to the cultivation of the cane, it appeared
to be still more simple than the manufacture of the
sugar. All that is requisite is to cut the cane into
proper lengths, (for it is propagated from shoots, which
spring from the joints,) and to place these at proper
distances in the ground, after it has been duly pre-
pared for the purpose, covering them over slightly with
earth. When the shoot, (which exactly resembles that
of the maize-plant,) has attained a proper height, it is
hilled round, or earthed up, to keep it clear of weeds,
and to stimulate the growth of the plant ; and this is all



Online LibraryJohn Dunmore LangCooksland in north-eastern Australia: the future cottonfield of Great ... → online text (page 15 of 47)