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may think, and say, “ My overseers and drivers will instruct me--they will direct me, and I will be the cowskin hero;” in this case he will find himself miserably mistaken; for they will secretly laugh at him, and impofe upon him to his face ; when a man is diffident of his abilities, he will act timerously; and when a subordinate person knows the ignorance of him who should direct and give instructions to carry on business like clock-work, he will take advantages; and knowing his own abilities and value, thinks himself entitled to rest and refreshment; and very justly he is, to as much or more than the ignorant man who is obligated to him for instruction, and supported in a more elevated station ; and thereby the business is of course neglected, and the proprietor in England, through the ignorance of his attorney, or his good nature to support one of his poor friends, is materially injured. He that would wish to be a planter, should attend the field from morning until night, observe the nature of different soils, line the ground, keep a journal for his own instruction, pay strict attention to the cattle and mules, learn to dress them when maimed, to cure them when fick, and to pamper and keep them in good order; he should observe the dispositions of the Naves, their abilities and strength; and in crop time-stand at the coppers, and pack whole hours daily and nightly, and take his monthly spell in the distill-house; but the generality of managers think they have got a proper
knowledge knowledge of all these, without ever handling a line, ladle, or skimmer. Though I see many a fine house built, I might just as well attempt, with a few negroe masons or carpenters, to build an elegant structure, ornamented and decorated in a mechanical manner; or, though I learned the theory of navigation, I might just as well attempt, without any practice at sea, with a few ignorant seamen, to conduct a ship through the deep and pathless ocean to any port in any diftant clime.
The greatest care and attention of the manager and overseers during crop are requisite; for the whole produce of the year, which cost such vast labour and expence, go through hands in threeor four months; and good or badınanagement then may affect the proprietor very much.
When I was one of the humble fraternity of book-keepers, or, as they are called in the Wind ward Inands, overseers, or negroe-drivers, during crop I never got more than three or four hours sleep out of the twenty-four: when it was my weekly turn to go to bed nightly at eight or nine o'clock, P. M. I was roused with the dreadful alarm of uc spell's called maffa,” at high twelve, and obliged to sit up until eight or nine o'clock next night; or if it was my weekly turn to sit up until twelve at night, I was roused at five in the morning
A respite very short to sleep or to wake,
Taking off crop is a very laborious piece of business, and yet it is very amazing how cheerfully the negroes begin and go through with it; how, instead of getting weak and meagre, like the cattle and mules, they like rats fatten upon the canes, and sops of liquor, and fyrrup, they get about the works.
The distill-house is commonly annexed to the boiling-house, or very contiguous to it, wherein the cisterns, or vats, for fermenting the skimmings and molasses are placed. At the beginning of crop great care should be taken to have them all scoured well with lime and hot water, to have trash burnt in them, and scalded and washed quite clean. As soon as the vat which receives the skimmings from the boiling-house (which are conveyed by a gutter) is full, they are put into a large cooler to cool, from thence let run into the cisterns, or vats; the dross which remains in the cooler should be given to the hogs, and the cooler washed each time. If skimmings remain ten or twelve hours unset, they will turn ropy and spoil, after which, if they are set, they will prevent the other sweets from yielding a due
proportion of rum, and will set the distill-house foul, by yielding bad lees; for lees is a principal part of the mixture; and there is a material difference
* A name of girls of colour.
in that of good strong fermented liquor, and that of bad; five gallons of skimmings is supposed to be equal to one gallon of molasses; I always found that fourteen gallons of sweets in every hundred gallons of the mixture yielded the best proportion of rum, though some distillers use more, and some less.
At the beginning of crop, probably there may not be good lees remaining since the last year, in which case there must be a greater quantity of skimmings than usual set; if there are no molasses, feventy per cent. of skimmings, and thirty per cent. of water will answer; but if there are molasses, fifty per cent. of skimmings, four per cent. molaffes, and forty-six per cent. of water will answer very well; the mixture always should be no more than luke warm when fet; either of those mixtures would ferment, and be fit to distill in seven or eight days.
As soon as the first charge is run off, the lees are let run into a cistern for that purpose, from which they are pumped with a copper pump into a large cooler; when they cool and settle they are then mixed with the sweets, and serve as yest or balm in haltening a fermentation. Eight per cent. of molasses, thirty per cent. of skimmings, thirty per cent. of lees, and thirtytwo per cent. of water, will, if set pure and cool as I have mentioned, ferment in a few hours, and be ready to distill in three or four days, and will yield a good proportion of rum; too much
care cannot be taken to have the skimmings and lees pure and cool when fet; the liquor should be skimmed three or four times daily, and the vats or cisterns, every time when emptied, should be washed well; if the mixture when set is too hot, it will ferment strongly for about twentyfour hours, and fall flat suddenly, and will not yield a due proportion of rum. An accident may happen with the most careful distiller through hurry, or neglect of negroes; but when a miltake or error is once comınitted, a person should be cautious to avoid a repetition of the like again ; therefore observe, that when a charge of liquor has been set too hot, or when ropy skimmings have been set, or when any charge does not yield a proper quantity of low wines, to throw the lees of such charges away, and to get the lee cistern washed well; for the lees of any bad charge, as I have already mentioned, will, though set ever so pure and cool, spoil any other mixture they are put to; this I have learned from experience. I have always found that cisterns funk in the floor, rammed well round with tough clay, about five feet square, and five feet deep, answer better than vats; they should be fixed in rows with covers to them, built some distance afunder, so that a man may walk between them, and fee that they are scoured and washed properly each time, and at one view fee how they all ferment; and it will be an amusement to him, when they are in a seeming boiling fermentation, to take a skimmer