« iepriekšējāTurpināt »
article can be utterly ruined in preparation. As a whole, the African cottons resemble ours in staple, color, and feeling far more than the Asiatic; but they were, without exception, badly managed and care. lessly packed. The Egyptian cottons did not appear to much advantage; two or three bales were shown below the ordinary average; the fibre is good, the staple fine and long, and the color fair; but it is in most cases very badly handled, and far from being clean. The series from Turkey was tolerably extensive, but it included no great variety; the samples were small, and the character was of that short, crispy, and irregular fibre, which rendered it useless for any but the poorest fabrics.
Peru sent one sample of upland cotton, very nearly resembling the Mississippi. It is said to be easily cultivated there, and that, with proper attention, the whole quantity raised may be as good as this. 'China showed several small bales of a most indifferent quality, though the preparation, like everything from the hands of that pains-taking people, was admirable. Spain sent samples from her irrigated lands, and Algiers some of the same kind—the seed having been obtained from Barcelona; but both were harsh, unfit for the spinner, and good for nothing in the market, unless it might be twisted into candle wicking. Some speci. mens from Portugal were inferior to those of Spain.
The series of cottons in the East India collection were, in fact, the only cottons in the Exhibition which an American would be likely to examine with any degree of interest. From no other part of the world is it probable that any amount of cotton will ever be supplied to the European market sufficiently to come sensibly into competition with the produce of our southern States; and after the conflicting statements which have been made in reference to the growth of market cotion in the English East India possessions, I was anxious to witness for myself, first, what progress had been made up to the present time, and what prospects were fairly opened for the future. This I was enabled to do at the Exhibition better even than by a personal inspection of the Indian plantations themselves, since it has been the purpose of the East India Company, as I very well knew, to exhibit in a great variety of speci mens a fair exponent of the cotton industry of the East.
The East India samples might have been divided into three seriesnamely, the indigencus cottons, the introduced or foreign cottons, and the improved cotions. The last were evidently a cross between the first two, bearing strong resemblance to each, and forming the best results of innumerable experiments and extraordinary care.
The indigenous cottons are all short staple. They lack the silkiness, lustre, and softness of the Barbadoes or Sea Island variety, and the purity, color, and elasticity of the upland cotton. The series of these indigenous cottons was very large. They presented every variety of appearance-from the style in which they were brought to the Calcutta market, fifty years ago, to the most improved manner of cleaning, ginning, and packing introduced by the company. In all of them, each particular sample, when examined with care, one impression was made upon the mind, and that was of carelessness in its préparation. I do not now recall the nunber of samples presented, but there was not one among them all which furnished an exception to this impression. There was injury to one sample from over ripeness; to another from careless picking; to a third from exposure to the weather; to a fourth
from bad packing; and so to the end of the series. In fact everything would seem to be done which is likely to injure the fibre and depreciate its value ; and, after observing the wretched condition of these cottons, I could not but turn with wonder to the beautiful pro. ducts of the looms of Deccan, and ask whether it was possible that the people who were able to manufacture from cotton such beautifully fine fabrics--to which the name of " woven air” seems to be hardly inappropriate—can also be so marvellously careless and slovenly in the preparation of the cotton itself. There are quite a number of varieties of this indigenous cotton, some, of course, greatly surpassing others in natural qualities; but there were none which were presented for exhibition whose merits, under any kind of cultivation or any extent of care, would ever demand for them a good price or a ready sale in the market.
The introduced cottons formed the second series of the East India Exhibition. By these I mean those cottons which have been introduced into India from the United States and other countries, not only with the object of encouraging the production of so important a substance in the British empire, but with the view of rendering them less dependent upon us for so necessary a commodity. It is nearly thirty years since the company first had this subject in view, and it is quite twelve years during which they have given to it a degree of attention, energy, and capital that few articles of natural production have ever received. The samples of this introduced cotton exhibited were, of course, the very best that could be produced. The object was to show to all doubters and inquirers that as good cotton could be grown in India, and furnished to the English market, as that which is imported thence from the United States; and, of course, nothing of pains or expense was spared to produce the desired end. That an entirely different one was produced, it was necessary only to consult the opinion of any experienced cotton broker to know. In the first place, and according to the statements of the company itself, the attempt to introduce the long staple or Sea Island cotton into India has resulted in a total failure. It will not grow there in any perfection. Its silky qualities disappear after two or three successive crops, and that which renders it the choice material for the most beautiful fabrics of Brussels and Paris—its susceptibility to being drawn into the minutest thread—is entirely lost. In the second place, the short staple cotton of the New Orleans and upland varieties, though retaining its original constituents in a greater degree, still seems to me to be a very dubious crop for India. Evidently all of these samples had been judiciously cultivated, carefully picked, and attentively packed; and, to a cursory observer, they presented points of full equality to the American. But such they do not sustain either to the sample broker or the manu. facturer. The staple is of fair length, but it is coarse, crispy, and seems to lack vitality. li would spin badly in mules used for other cotton, and is, in short, entirely another thing in nature by its change of soil.
The improved cottons of India are entirely the result of careful experiment. They include the best varieties of Java and Borneo cottons, and the Arabian and Chinese. They have been selected with a view to the improvement of native cottons by the most careful management and upon the richest soils. In this case the samples in the Exhibition did not consist of mere experimental products, but of the regular crops from the government farms, sent over during the last four years-portions taken as the best specimens from some hundreds of bales lately received and manufactured in Minchester. This cotton was of a good sound fibre, but very short in staple. It had been well cultivated, carefully picked, thoroughly cleaned, and looked like a marketable article. For many purposes it will answer well, and will meet with a ready sale. It is now the favorite cotton of the East India Company, and their endeavors to supply the market will probably be directed towards this alone for the future. It is not a cotton, however, to take the place of any of ours. It will never enter into competition with them. It is an article so widely different, especially in that most important elementthe length of staple—that it must forever occupy by itself a distinct and independent ground.
From what I have said, my convictions must be apparent to the reader, that the cotions raised in the East can never successfully rival those which are the great staple of the South. The reasons for this are undoubtedly to be found in the differences of the soil of the two parts of the world. To the effects produced by climate, although they are doubt. less considerable, I do not attach so much weight. But to the total unlikeness of soil, shown not in appearance, but by chemical analysis, the unlikeness of the United States and the East India cottons is to be attributed. The soil in the former-especially the soil in which the finest long staple cotton is grown-is black, sandy, but rich in decaying organic matter; the suil of the latter is also black, but it is a calcareous, clayey soil, the debris of volcanic rocks. Though both black in color, the two soils are entirely different in chemical and physical characters. The one is rich in organic decayed matter; the other almost sterile from its want. The climates, indeed, widely differ, and by that difference produce their appropriate effects. But the soils, were the climates the same-the black soil of India and the black soil of the United States, so Jong supposed to be identical—are too widely different to produce the same results, and by their opposite natures sufficiently account for the deterioration of the transplanted cotton plant.
Necessity early taught mankind the art of pottery. Long before cloth was woven, or the skins of animals tanned, or wood wronght into articles of utility, or iron hammered, men had been compelled to mould clay into various useful shapes. The art everywhere, in every age and every nation, marks the social progress of the race. As civilization advances among a people, we find a corresponding improvement in its earthenware; and in studying the history of ceramic manufacture, we constantly discover advances and retrogressions in the material employed and the taste displayed, parallel to the condition of the age to which the map. facture belongs. The British Museum has placed in continuous order within its walls the early and later productions of many ancient nations in pottery, and nothing can be more curious than the story of civilization which they record.
Probably at no former time were so many specimens of the ceramic manufacture ever brought together from different nations as were classified in the great Exhibition.
Central Africa furnished specimens of pottery used by the natives in cookery; the Bey of Tunis rauged the rough drinking cups of the country among splendid articles of attire and gilded horse trappings; Burmah and India, beyond the Ganges, sent plates and dishes of the same coarse ware which Strabo described them as manufacturing two thousand years ago; and the Kurch earth potteries of Egypt illustrated by its products both the stationary condition of that wonderful people and the earliest forms into which man had moulded clay to suit his varied purposes.
The establishment of porcelain manufacture in China was of ancient date. Many centuries before the finer materials of ceramic products were at all understood in Europe-before the soils were analyzed or the coarsest compositions made-Canton furnished the boudoirs and draw. ing rooms of the wealthy, all over the world, with an article the fineness and clearness of which all that science has done for the arts to this day has not enabled the most enlightened nations to surpass.
The great porcelain works of King Tih' Chin sent a complete collection of their materials used, and products made, to the Exhibition-for once, opening and explaining to the world that which they have held a secret for ages. In this connexion it may be well to remark that the two principal materials they have always used in the manufacture of porcelain, the kaolin and the soap-stone, differ in no degree from the China clay of Cornwall (elsewhere described) and the magnesian rocks of the Lizard, the two components of the best ware of Great Britain.
Japan, too, closely resembling China, however, contributed her beau. tiful red ware, remarkable for the fineness of its structure.
The examples of the ceramic art from the European States were numerous. Among the roughest of these were the wine jars of Spain, manufactured in Toboso, immense in size and uticouth in shape. The royal porcelain manufactory at Copenhagen, celebrated for its reproduction of the classic works of Thorwaldsen, was well represented. By the side of these, and in striking contrast, were the black pots of Jut. land. These are an example of primitive manufacture. They are made by the peasants, and are blackened, during the process of burning, by the smoke generated in the kılı, and which appears to form, with the silica and alkali of the clay employed, a very perfect glaze. A beautiful principle is developed in these two products, (of Copenhagen and Jutland,) of the perfection which will result from the influences of a rational mind imbued with the poetic element. That guiding principle of correct ta: te has produced in the former choice designs and elegant results, while in the latter the useful only has been studied, without the slightest attempt to combine it with the ornanental.
The States of the Zoll Verein afforded the means of studying the raw material, the rudest ware, and the highest degree of manufacture. There were clays, bottles, drain pipes, tiles, and terra cotta ornaments; and in addition and s riking contrast to these, specimens of that beautiful porcelain which owes its urigin to the famous works for which Diesden has been long in high repute.
Frankfort on the Oder, Luxemburg, and Altwasser, in Silesia, each contributed of its most perfect works.
The riyal Saxon manufactory at Meissen exhibited its hard ware for chemical purposes. The imperial porcelain works at Vierna presented a series of vases, dinner and dessert services, flower-baskets, and figures. In these last the paintings are of the highest fiuish, and, as works of art, deserve the first place. Antwerp and Brussels contributed excellent ex. amples of pottery, especially in the biscuit moulding. Russia sent but two specimens, and these below mediocrity. The national manufactory of Fiance, at Sevres, of porcelain and stained glass, has a world-wide reputation for the beauty of its productions. It should never be forgot. ten that the results obtained at Sevres are due to a strict attention to the chemical composition of the clays employed, to their physical character, and to an exactitude in the proportions in which the materials are com. bined. Alexander Brongniart, so well known for his admirable history of the ceramic art, has the direction of the works at Sevres; and Mala. guti, with other eminent chemists, is attached to the establishment.
The English manufactories in this branch owe what of perfection they possess to private enterprise. Whilst the great establishments of the continental countries are maintained by the government, and many of them are employed only in producing works of a highly ornamental character—such as the wealthy only can obtain-the art in England has grown to its present condition unaided by patronage, and stimulated only by the hope of gain.
Under these circumstances, the exhibition of English ceramics was highly creditable to British industry and skill; and though in that higher class of artistic merit, which has made the china of Sevres and the porcelain of Berlin world-wide in renown, there was great room for improvement in the more useful class of practical merit, there was much that deserved commendation.
It is deserving of attention in the United States, that the highest suc. cess in the ceramic art, in all countries, has been intimately connected with the discovery of the proper material from which its best ware is manufactured. That even so ordinary a production as clay is of great value to a country, might be shown from the results that have followed its study, careful analysis, and use in China, Germany, the Zoll-Verein, and France. It is a very striking fact, that, until Mr. Cook worthy, of Plymouth, discovered the deposit of kaolin, on the southern side of the
Tregonning hill, near Helston, in Cornwall, no porcelain was made in England. Cookworthy had obtained possession of some kaolin, sent from China by M. D’Entrecolles, and of some from Limoges, through the celebrated Reaumur, and industriously examined the decomposed granites-granon, as they are provincially called-which occurred in the neighborhood of some property belonging to his family. He ascertained that the clay, which could be artificially separated from this sub. stance, possessed all the chemical and physical properties of the clays of France and of China, and he accordingly patented its application for that purpose, established pürcelain works at Plymouth, and eventually sold his patent. This was in the year 1750), since which time the manu. facture of porcelain in England has been gradually increasing.
Of the exhibitions of clay there were some twenty-four or twenty-five varieties. In all, the adhesive base was alumina silica, other ingredients existing in very variable proportions. The following analysis of a few of these clays will convey some general idea of their composition: Silica. Alumina. Lime.
3 Blue ball clay
1 Cracking clay
1 These clays are usually found united with the coal measures.