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weed and mould them tenderly, and so on from time to time until all the bank is level to their roots; after which they are weeded occasionally until they grow six or seven feet high; they are commonly ripe in about twelve months from the time of planting.
After the first crop is taken off there springs up a second one, called rattoons, which often is better than the first. If the estate is a poor soil, there are seldom more than two crops of rattoons taken off till the ground is holed and manured again ; but if it be a deep fòil, 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 distance, at every one of which they have long blades, something like flaggers ; ftill, as they grow towards maturity, those blades wicher and become burthensome to the stalk, so 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 sharp knife, and observing the grain : if it appears. soft and moist, like a potatoe or turnip, it is too green : but if dry, and white particles appear, you may be sure that the cane is ripe'; any man, who is a planter, will know when they are ripe by the appearance of the tops and stalks.
It often happens, that through the neglect of the manager, to his disgrace, and that of the
attorney for suffering it, wood for fire and other necessaries are not prepared in time : there are many preparations to be made for crop; the coppers and stills may want repairing or setting; the mill and gutters, pumps and vats, or cisterns, may be in the same predicament. I say, when all these, and many other matters, are not considered of and prepared in time, if the canes are ripe, and dry weather ensues, they will turn red, or (as they say) 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 sort of dirty black sugar without any grain, something like that which the Indians extract from the maple-tree in Canada, which is commonly reserved for the use of the sick negroes, or converted into rum; I saw many fine crops ruined through such neglect, and yet the managers were supported better than many industrious experienced planters.
When canes are once burnt, I would recommend to every manager not to make any more sugar out of them, only what would serve for plan, tation use, to convert the juice of the remainder, without boiling it, into rum, which will yield a greater proportion than otherwise.
I fear I shall be deficient in describing the mill which grinds, or rather squeezes the juice out of the canes : Suffice it to say, that a large shingled roof, of a conical form, about 30 feet diameter, being supported by twelve or fixteen
strong strong hard wood posts, - fix or seven feet high, erected on an eminence consiguous 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 supported on the mill bed, about eighteen inches from the ground, on small pieces of metal about the size and shape of whipping-tops, called capouses; the main or middle roller, being filled with a long bull-tree, which extends to the utmost centre of the roof, where it is steadied by an iron axle, and having six or eight long shafts or arms morriced 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 also; this is what is called a cattle mill; wind and water mills are all differently constructed. 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 small quantities (fix or seven at a time) between the first and second roller, and are drawn in and flattened, so that the juice is pressed out and falls on the middle bed which is lined with lead, from which a gutter, lined with lead, conveys it to the boiling-house as fast as they
pass through the first and second rollers, they are put in again on the other side, between the second and third rollers, so that the canes pass 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 sugar; a prudent manager will always endeavour to keep his trashhouses full, so that at the beginning of crop
he will have plenty of seasoned trash, and will not be obliged to use that which is green.
In the boiling-house there are four or five coppers of different sizes set close 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 soon as it is full, and tempered with a small quantity of Bristol lime and lye-water, the black boiler cries out, 5. Fia! gran-coppa !” i. e. Fire! grand copper ! at which vociferation, a blazing fire is instantly put to the grand copper, by the fire-man who attends outside, (for all the fire-places are outside, at each of which a man attends). As soon as the liquor in the grand copper comes to a finmering, the fire is damped, till all the dirt and traih which gathers to the top is skimmed off with a flat copper skimmer, full of holes like a fieve; after the liquor is properly skimmed and clarified, it is thrown with ladles into the second copper, to which fire is also put, and then shifted from that
to the third copper, and the grand copper filled again; in the fourth copper, called a rach, the liquor is boiled into a thick fyrrup, and by turning up the ladie, and observing the white grain on the bottom thereof, the boilers know when it is sufficiently boiled, and fit to be taken off; there are many gradations to be observed in boiling of sugar; such as sufficient boiling; too much boiling; sufficient 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 moJasses in the sugar, and will be black in the coolers and hogsheads; nor will it cure properly; i. e. the molasses won't drain from it. When liquor has got fufficient temper, it is known by holding up the ladle; if it drips fort it has got enough; but if long, like tar, too little. If liquor is not sufficiently tempered, the sugar will waste more into molasses in the curing than common, and will not have a course grain.
Some people may say, that any man may be a planter ; and that bringing canes to perfection, boiling of sugar, and distillation of rum, &c. &c. are quite simple ; that any man may get knowledge of these, without exposing his conftitution to the menial, coilsome, and painful drudgeries of an overseer's life, for three, four, or five years : He may attempt it,--but how insignificant and aukward must a man appear, who attempts or undertakes a business he knows nothing about; he