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weed and mould them tenderly, and fo on from time to time until all the bank is level to their after which they are weeded occafionally until they grow fix or feven feet high; they are commonly ripe in about twelve months from the time of planting.
After the firft crop is taken off there fprings up a fecond one, called rattoons, which often is better than the firft. If the eftate is a poor foil, there are feldom more than two crops of rattoons taken off till the ground is holed and manured again; but if it be a deep foil, it may yield good rattoons for ten or fifteen years. As the canes grow, they have joints or knots at every three or four inches diftance, at every one of which they have long blades, fomething like flaggers; ftill, as they grow towards maturity, thofe blades wither and become burthenfome to the stalk, fo that they are obliged to be taken off, and this is called trashing.
When the canes are ripe, it is known by the richness of their juice, or by cutting some of them with a fharp knife, and obferving the grain : if it appears foft and moift, like a potatoe or turnip, it is too green: but if dry, and white particles appear, you may be fure that the cane is ripe; any man, who is a planter, will know when they are ripe by the appearance of the tops and ftalks.
It often happens, that through the neglect of the manager, to his difgrace, and that of the
attorney for fuffering it, wood for fire and other neceffaries are not prepared in time: there are many preparations to be made for crop; the coppers and stills may want repairing or fetting; the mill and gutters, pumps and vats, or cifterns, may be in the fame predicament. I fay, when all thefe, and many other matters, are not confidered of and prepared in time, if the canes are ripe, and dry weather enfues, they will turn red, or (as they fay) get burnt; after which, though they must be cut to clear the field, they are not worth the expence of cutting.
Burnt canes make a fort of dirty black fugar without any grain, fomething like that which the Indians extract from the maple-tree in Canada, which is commonly referved for the ufe of the fick negroes, or converted into rum; I faw many fine crops ruined through fuch neglect, and yet the managers were fupported better than many induftrious experienced planters.
When canes are once burnt, I would recommend to every manager not to make any more fugar out of them, only what would ferve for plantation use, to convert the juice of the remainder, without boiling it, into rum, which will yield a greater proportion than otherwise.
I fear I fhall be deficient in defcribing the mill which grinds, or rather fqueezes the juice out of the canes: Suffice it to fay, that a large fhingled roof, of a conical form, about 30 feet diameter, being fupported by twelve or fixteen
ftrong hard wood pofts, fix or feven feet high, erected on an eminence contiguous to the boilinghouse, beneath the centre of which roof three iron rollers are fixed upright and quite close together; each roller is about two feet in diameter, and three feet and a half in length, the rhind or shell about one inch and a quarter, thick; these rollers being filled with hard wood, and coged all round, and fupported on the mill bed, about eighteen inches from the ground, on small pieces of metal about the fize and shape of whipping-tops, called capoufes; the main or middle roller, being filled with a long bull-tree, which extends to the utmost centre of the roof, where it is fteadied by an iron axle, and having fix or eight long fhafts or arms morticed. therein, which extend to the circumference of the roof; the cattle or mules being chained to those arms, are drove round by little boys or girls, which of course turns the main roller, and thereby the other two alfo; this is what is called a cattle mill; wind and water mills are all differently conftructed. The canes being cut, and all the trash lopped off, are carried in wanes, or if the estate is mountainous, on mules backs, to the mill, and are put in fmall quantities (fix or seven at a time) between the first and second roller, and are drawn in and flattened, fo that the juice is preffed out and falls on the middle bed which is lined with lead, from which a gutter, lined with lead, conveys it to the boiling-houfe as faft as they
pass through the first and fecond rollers, they are put in again on the other fide, between the fecond and third rollers, fo that the canes pafs twice through the mill, after which they are carried and spread about the works till they dry, and then raked up and carried to a long large shade, called a trash-house, where they are piled, as being the only fuel for boiling the fugar; a prudent manager will always endeavour to keep his trafhhoufes full, fo that at the beginning of crop he will have plenty of feasoned trash, and will not be obliged to use that which is green.
In the boiling-house there are four or five coppers of different fizes fet clofe together, about eighteen inches from the floor; the largest of which is called the grand copper, and the first that is filled with liquor; as foon as it is full, and tempered with a small quantity of Bristol lime and lye-water, the black boiler cries out, "Fia! gran-coppa!" i. e. Fire! grand copper! at which vociferation, a blazing fire is inftantly put to the grand copper, by the fire-man who attends outside, (for all the fire-places are outfide, at each of which a man attends). As foon as the liquor in the grand copper comes to a fimmering, the fire is damped, till all the dirt and trash which gathers to the top is fkimmed off with a flat copper fkimmer, full of holes like a fieve; after the liquor is properly fkimmed and clarified, it is thrown with ladles into the fecond copper, to which fire is alfo put, and then fhifted from that
to the third copper, and the grand copper filled again; in the fourth copper, called a tach, the liquor is boiled into a thick fyrrup, and by turning up the ladle, and obferving the white grain on the bottom thereof, the boilers know when it is fufficiently boiled, and fit to be taken off; there are many gradations to be obferved in boiling of fugar; fuch as fufficient boiling; too much boiling; fufficient temper; too much temper; too little temper; rich canes; poor canes; and burnt canes. When liquor gets too much boiling, or too much temper, it hardens the molaffes in the fugar, and will be black in the coolers and hogfheads; nor will it cure properly; i. e. the molaffes won't drain from it. When liquor has got fufficient temper, it is known by holding up ladle; if it drips fhort it has got enough; but if long, like tar, too little. If liquor is not fufficiently tempered, the fugar will wafle more into molaffes in the curing than common, and will not have a course grain.
Some people may fay, that any man may be a planter; and that bringing canes to perfection, boiling of fugar, and diftillation of rum, &c. &c. are quite fimple; that any man may get knowledge of these, without expofing his conftitution to the menial, toilfome, and painful drudgeries of an overfeer's life, for three, four, or five years: He may attempt it, but how infignificant and aukward muft a man appear, who attempts or undertakes a bufinefs he knows nothing about; he