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of morphine in the sap. This cultivation takes but three months and-ahalf in the year.
The soil, by rational cultivation, must be plowed and harrowed carefully before the poppy is sown. To an acre, but two pounds of seed are required, which are mixed with earth, so as to throw them thin and regularly enough. Weeds must be rooted out as soon as they spring up, and when the young poppies stand too close, they must be thinned so that every plant has about a square foot room and an easy access to facilitate the collection of the sap, taking heed that the plants, especially on a loose soil, do not stand too thin and can resist the winds. This latter operation is done when the plant has reached two or three inches, before it would disturb it in its growth. A month after the sowing, the ground ought to be hoed, and as soon as the blossoms show, the earth round every plant must be heaped up. No pains in the tillage must be spared, as they will be amply repaid by the increase, and the improvement, too, of the sap of the plant. The Fellaheen, who do nothing of the sort, obtain but pods of the size of a large pigeon's egg, whereas, by rational cultivation, they may be brought easily to four inches diameter, and more too.
After the fall of the blossoms, when the capsules or pods are filled with sap, yet before they harden and turn yellow, horizontal incisions are made with an instrument composed of four or five blades united and shaped so that the rind of the pod cannot be cut through in the operation. As the falling of the blossoms drags on four to five days, this operation has to be attended to every evening about sunset on the newly bared heads. The pods by ripening lose a great part of the morphine salt, so it is not convenient to postpone the bleeding of the pods even for a day. The collection of the sap by scratching off with blunt knives is done at the end of the bleeding operation, no inconvenience to be feared by waiting so long as the sap hardens quick and never drops to the ground.
The ripening of the seeds is not injured by the bleeding of the pods as regards the oil, only for sowing they will not do because the plants they produce are weak and poor in sap and the sap too of inferior quality; therefore the seeds for sowing must be taken from unburt pods. To this purpose large capsules of oval shape are selected, wbich are dried in the shade, then filed on strings by the stems and hung up in a dry room with not too much draft, where they remain unopened till seed time.
An acre of poppies will give from 40 to 50 lbs. of opium by bleeding ; but in Turkey also the stems and leaves (after the pods being removed) are collected and well boiled in water on the spot. The decoction, without being strained, is poured out into pans, mixed up with the sap of the pods, then boiled down to the consistency of soft pitch, formed into loaves of about a pound weight and wrapped into poppy or tobacco leaves to keep them from sticking together. But a trifle of opium in drops, i. e., from the pods merely, is brought to market in the bazaars of Constantinople and Bressa to suit the Theriakees (opium eaters); such opium contains from 12 to 15 per cent of morphine; the decoction from the stems and leaves contains about 5 per cent, and the compound of both from 94 to 10 per cent of the costly salt. Of this latter drug, known as the Smyrna opium, an acre produces largely 120 lbs.
The Turks, in the new treaty of 1840 with their teachers in commercial liberty and morality—the Russians, Austrians and Englishmen-along with the rest of monopolies, had also to surrender the one in opium ; still
the latter cling to the opium monopoly to this day with the same tenacity as our slave aristocracy to their peculiar institution. So the lease-holders of certain districts in British India are bound to produce and to deliver annually a given quantity of this drug to the Colonial Government at the fixed price of $150 the chest, of 140 lbs. of opium, a price which still leaves a small remuneration to the producer. According to information collected personally on the spot, the cost of production of opium in Upper Egypt is about 60 cents, and in Anatolia (Asia Minor) 75 cents the pound. In the latter province, in spite of the abolition of monopolies, the Turkish governors still control this trade to their own benefit.
To secure to the enterprise the speediest success, the operations ought to be entered upon with 10 or 20 Greek families from Magnesia, in the opium districts in Asia Minor, who, along with the production of opium, would devote themselves also to the drying and preserving of figs and grapes and the culture of wine.
The fermentation between the Christian and Moslem subjects of the Porte is growing worse every year, the former, by far the weaker part in the Asiatic provinces, are in constant dread of a repetition of the buteheries of Damascus and Djudda, and will gladly avail themselves of any opportunity to move to better parts, especially if the chance is given to them to continue their mode of living in the accustomed way, and in a country as beautiful, and in a climate as mild as in the land of their birth. This is certainly the case with the southern part of California on the banks of the Gila and Colorado Rivers in the vicinity of San Diego.
To try is to succeed. The production of opium wants neither chemical or mechanica! skill, no costly apparatus, no large outlay of capital, and in the vicinity of San Diego, land, labor and cattle are at normal prices, un. altered yet by gold excitement or emigration. Any amount of opium produced there would find a ready market in the capital of the State, whose commercial relations with Japan and China are improving daily. Opium in California will lead the Chinese tea over the projected Pacific railroad, and will create a revolution in the Eastern trade, not much to the benefit either of England or France.
THE AMERICAN JUTE.
PAPER BY H. HOWSON, ESQ.
READ AT THE MONTHLY MEETING OF THE FRANKLIN INSTITUTE, OF PHIL
ADELPHIA, OCTOBER 16TH, 1862.
I had the honor of submitting to the members of this Institute, some months ago, several specimens of a fiber similar to, but of a much more crude character than those now before the meeting.
The fiber constitutes the outer covering or bark of the stalks of a North American perennial plant, of the order Malvacece, known as the Hibiscus Moscheutos, or Palustris—the plant as well as the fiber having received the name of American Jute. This term, however, may be considered inappropriate, for the reason that the Jute of the East Indies is the production of the Cochorus Olitorius, or Cochorus Capsularis, neither of which plants has any relation to the order Malvaceæ, and for the further reason that the fibers of the Hibiscus are not so liable to become deteriorated by exposure and washing in alkaline lyes as those of the Jute.*
The utility of the fibers of this plant was brought to light by Mr. W. J. CANTELO, who, during the last three years, has been actively engaged in examining and testing the peculiarities of plants indigenous to the Northern States, with the view of discovering a fiber available as a substitute for linen rags in the manufacture of paper, for hemp in the making of ropes, matting, &c., and as a partial substitute for cotton or woolen in the manufacture of textile fabrics.
A patent was granted on May 13th last, for the utilizing of the fibers of the Hibiscus Moscheutos, and this patent is now owned jointly by Mr. CanTELO, the discoverer, and his assignees, Messrs. STUART and PETERSON, of Philadelphia.
These gentlemen, aided by Mr. CANTELO, have, during the last eighteen months, been actively engaged in investigating the subject, and in prosecuting experiments with the view of determining the properties of the plant, the strength and value of the fiber, the requirements demanded for its proper cultivation, and the amount of fiber which can be obtained from an acre of ground.
The proprietors of the patent are now prepared to lay before the public the satisfactory and highly important results of their very careful experiments.
* We have received from Mr. Howson specimens of rope and cord made of the fiber referred to in this paper, and also specimens of the fiber itself, together with a photograph of the plant, Hibiscus Moscheutos, as grown in the neighborhood of Burlington, N. J., the past summer. Any or all of these we should be happy to exhibit at the office of the Merchants' Magazine, to as many of our readers as may feel an interest in the matter. Certainly all must agree with us, after seeing the specimens we have in our possession, that this discovery promises well, and we trust that the efforts already made in its behalf, will be followed up with energy.- Ed. Merchants' Magazine.
The Hibiscus Moscheutos is indigenous to the Northern States, and grows in abundance in swampy lands of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, &c.; in the marshes of Burlington county, New Jersey, it is especially abundant.
In its natural state, stalks of the plant, when at their full growth, are from five to six, and even seven feet high, and vary from a quarter of an inch to five-eighths of an inch in diameter. The number of stalks from one root vary from eight to sixty; and eighteen stalks of an average size will produce four ounces of disintegrated fiber.
An acre of marsh land, in the neighborhood of Burlington, N. J., was plowed, and seeds of the “ Hibiscus Moscheutos” spread along the furrows on the 28th of April last. On examining the land in September the ground was found to be thickly studded with seedlings, of which the drawing produced represents a specimen. It should be understood that little or no care was taken to weed the ground, and to give that attention to the young plants which will be advisable during their first growth.
It has been discovered by previous experiment that on cutting one of the stalks one season, a dozen or more would take its place the next, and that the plants would require no attention after the first year's growth. As to any liability of the plants becoming deteriorated from the ravages of insect, it was found that in no instance could any marks of insect depredations be observed on the stems, leaves, or roots of the plant.
The next point to be ascertained was the amouut of fiber which could be produced from an acre of ground, planted with the Hibiscus Moscheutos.
This has been determined by a close observation of the plant in its natural state, and by weighing the fiber taken from a number of stalks of average dimensions. At a moderate calculation, and taking into account the probability of loss from unforeseen causes, three and a half tons of disintegrated fiber can be derived from one acre of ground.
Another important point decided was the facility with which the fiber or bark of the stalks could be separated from the pith.
It was discovered that this could be accomplished with ease and rapidity, even without the aid of machinery, which can readily be applied to
The bark after being detached from the pith is at once removed to a very simple apparatus, invented by Mr. CANTELO, when the bark is reduced in a comparatively short time to the disintegrated fibrous condition shown by the specimens exhibited—the fiber in this state being ready for the market, either for conversion into rope or for paper stock.
As to the value of the fiber, it has been declared by experienced rope manufacturers to be far superior to manilla hemp or Jute—the specimens of rope exhibited being fully equal in strength and pliability to ordinary hempen rope.
Two prominent paper manufacturers of this city have estimated the fiber to be worth $100 per ton, to be used as a substitute for linen rags in the manufacture of paper.
The utility of the fiber as a substitute, or as a partial substitute, for cotton, woolen, or flax, in the manufacture of textile fabrics, has not yet been fully tested, but I am satisfied that the members will, after an examination of the specimens before them, be convinced that the utilizing of the fiber is not limited to the making of rope and paper, but that it is admirably adapted to the manufacture of many textile fabrics.
When we take into account the fact that fiber of the value of at least three hundred dollars can be derived from one acre of ground; that the ground best adapted to its growth is of such a swampy character as to be uatit either for cultivating ordinary farm produce, or for grazing purposes ; that the plants require no attention after the first year's growth, but, unaided by any chemical or mechanical appliances, present a yearly supply of stalks ready to be converted into fiber; when we consider the hardihood of the plant and its freedom from the ravages of insects, we must admit that the greatest credit is due to Mr. Cantelo, and that his discovery is of the greatest importance, as it opens new avenues for the exercise of agricultural, mercantile and mechanical pursuits, and tends to the utilizing of the swampy deserts with which our Northern States abound.
I am anxious, Mr. President, that the members present should understand that the specimens of fiber have been prepared without the aid of any complex machinery or elaborate chemical apparatus—the appliances which the inventor has called to his aid being of the most simple character.
The samples of rope were made by hand; the maker asserting that bad they been manufactured by the usual machinery the rope would have been of a much superior character.
Although the specimens are most satisfactory, and are sufficient to convince the most sceptical observer of the importance of the discovery, its value must necessarily be still further developed by the aid of appliances which may be demanded by the preparation of the fiber on a large scale.
The attention of Mr. CANTELO has not been confined to the fibers of the Hibiscus Moscheutos alone. Few plants in this and the neighboring State of New Jersey have escaped his searching investigation and his elaborate tests.
He has discovered thst the plant next in importance to the the Hibiscus, as regards its fiber bearing qualities, is the Abutilon Avicenno, an annual, readily cultivated, and hitherto considered a useless weed. The fibers of this plant, a specimen of which I submit for inspection, are of a silky character and extraordinory strength.
The utilizing of the fibers of the Abutilon, as well as the disintegrating process alluded to, form subjects for further applications for patents.
In conclusion, I would remark that a company-of which the proprietors of the patent will be members—is about being organized for the cultivation, or I should rather say planting, (cultivation, as the term is usually understood, being unnecessary,) Hibiscus Moscheutos, and the preparation of the fibers for the market. The members present will be satisfied that success must attend the efforts of an enterprising company who follow up with energy the prosecution of this important invention or discovery, which has been developed with such praiseworty zeal by Mr. Cantelo and his assignees.