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SUGAR FROM THE AFRICAN SORGHUM.
hteresting Farts Concerning the Sorgho or Chi nete Sugar Cane, and the Imphee.—Specimens of Sugar Exhibited—Manures, &c.
The Farmers' Club was called to order at the rooms of the American Iustitute, at noon, yesterday. Judge Livingston in the chair, and a large attendance of members present.
Horace Greeley introduced Mr. Leonard Wray, of Natal, S mth Africa, who has had more experience in the culture of the various specimens of Imphee,(includingthe Chinese sugarcane,) than perhaps, any other European, and has succeed id in obtaining as fine crystallized sugars directly from the juice as those resulting from the Louisiana sugar cane. He is referred to as the highest authority by M. Vilmorin, of France, Count de Beauregard, and the illustrious gentlemen of the Imperial Acclimation Society, and has visited this country, on invitation of a Governor of one of onr Southern States, for the purpose of cultivating the varieties of the new sugar plant, which he considers most valuable, and to introduce the methods, discovered by himself, for obtaining the valuable product of crystallized sugar. Hisurri val at this moment of our first experience with the sorgho, can not but be considered most opportune, anil the very valuable information which he possesses will be of first consequence in its prospective bearing upon our national revenue.
Mr. Wray commenced by stating that he had diicovered, growing wild upon the southwest coast of Caffraria, the curious plant imphee, which Tag in common use amongst the natives as an article of food. lie had been so favorubly impressed with its qualities as to undertake protracted journeys to collect new varieties, and met with such success as to procure no less than sixteen distinct kinds of greater or less saccharine richness. Some of the more precocious ones will complete their growth in three months, while others require as long as four and five.
The names of the sixteen varieties are as follows: Xe-a-za-na, Oom-se-a-na, Boom-ve-va»a, Skla-gov-va, Slda-grxjnilee, Vimbis-chua pa, E-a-na moo-des, Zim-moo-mana, Zim-bazona, E kith-la, Ethlo-sa, Booee-a-na, En ya"a, Kwm-ba-ua, See-en-gla-na and E-engha. The first four of these are of quick growth, and will produce one crop of sugar at the North; the others are suitable for tbe South, and some of them will give two full crops.
For feeding to stock, Mr. Wray says there are no crops possessing an advantage over these Imphees. They arc fully equal to southern cane, »nd are greedily eaten by every description of ftock. He had fed his horses, cattle and pigs on them. The idea has been advanced by some in 'this country that the bagasses (stalks which have been crushed for sugar-making,) would be good feed for stock, but Mr. Wray had lost some aui
mals from making use of them, and on opening their stomachs after death, the fibrous Sorgho stalks were found to have formed into hard balls and accumulated in such indigestible masses as to cause death. If, however, the bagasse had been fed with the scum which is removed from the boilers, this bad effect would not have been experienced. If fed green, as are cured corn -talks, there can be no more profitable or nutritious article employed, and for this alone its cultivation would be profitable. Thi-so crushed stalks or bagasse, make an excellent paper, and Mr. Wray has samples in England which are superior to straw paper.
Judge Meigs desired to know if there was much value in the seed. Mr. Wray said that for a feed for fowls there culd be no better, and that from his African Imphees very fine bread can be made. The Chinese variety is not so good for this purpose, because of the bitter pellicle which surrounds the seed proper, lying under the outer black hull, but he had a process for obviating this difficulty. The seed would have an immense Viduo for the manufacture of starch. The amount practically obtainable is forty five per cent, and is more easy of extraction than that from the farinaceous Mexican corn; and from the ease of its manufacture and the high price of corn, it is evident that the " Imphee" will be cultivated to a considerable extent for this purpose.
The remarkable vitality of the plant is shown by a statement made by Mr. Wray. He had a plantation of it on his estate in Africa, which he wished to remove to give place to a crop of arrow-root. The field was thoroughly ploughed at the end of the season, and the stumps removed; but the few which escaped the notice of his workmenshot up into gn at luxuriance of growth, and in two months and five days had attained the height of seven feet. As many as twenty-two stalks grew up from a single stump, and the juice of all these made as good sugar as the parent stem.
In our own country there have been similar instances during the past season. Mr. Hrownc, of the Patent Offic?, it will be remembered by those of our readers who saw the articles previously published in the Evening Post, states that five cuttings have been made in Florida from one set of stalks. In South Carolina, Georgia, Illinois and ?sew Hampshire, three and two have been obtained; and we may safely calculate that as a fodder crop both the Chinese and these new African varieties will give us at the North two crops of excellent nutritious forage.
Mr Olcott, of the Farm School, asked if the coloring matter from the s<ed bulls could be procured in such quantities as to make it a profitable department of industry? Mr. Wray replied that us yet the mutter had not been definitely settled. He hud not supposed it would; but more extended experiment might prove to the contrary. The tint is abundant in the envelope of the seed of the Chinese variety of sorgho. Fowls which had been fed on the seed were found to have been tinted even to the cellular structure of their bones. Their dung was oolored of a purplish hue, and could be readily distinguished in the yard from that of birds which had not partaken of the seed; but this peculiarity did not lessen its value as a food. He had not tried it as a feed for horses because of its extreme high price; and when he went to Kaffirland the natives told him not to feed horses on it as it made them "puffy." Mr. Olcott exhibited specimens of ribbon colored with the dye from the hulls of the sorgho seed, and stated that he had scraped off some of the waxy efflorescence from the stalk, and it burned with a clear flame. Mr. Wray said this production would not be of consequence, as tho small quantity obtainable and the tediousness of the operation of scraping it from the stalks, would much more than counterbalance any profit from its sale. He thought the computations made by Mr. Hardy, the Director of the Imperial Nursery at Hanima, Algiers, could not be considered as at all practically valuable.
The seed heads should be thoroughly dried before the stripping of the seed is attempted, and can then be threshed out with flails in like manner to wheat, barley or other grain.
Professor Mapes inquired if the sap in the stalks will sour on exposure to the atmosphere, as is the case with the Louisiana cane, and if the crystallizable property was injured?
Mr. Wray stated that on one occasion he had been absent from his estate when the canes were ready to be harvested, and his Kaffirs, thinking he would return within a day or two, had cut up and stacked his entire crop. He was not able to return, however, until after the expiration of a fortnight, and he then found that about one inch of either cud of the stalks had soured; so, without further loss of time, he had set his men to work to remove these portions, and when the juioe from them was boiled down, it made quite as good sugar as any previous sample.
The Zula Kaffirs put the stalks into pits which they dig in the ground, and preserve them perfectly for several months.
In regard to the density of the sap, Mr. Wray adverted to a trial which had been made in Martinique, upon the estate of the Count de Chazelle, the object of which was to decide the comparative density of the sugar-canes from the celebrated Grand Terre districts and of Mr. Wray's Imphees, both of which had been grown by the Count. The result was that the latter showed a density superior to the former by three and one-half degrees. The sugar cane gave 7 deg. Baume, and the Imphee 10 J deg. This richness is quite remarkable, for ordinary Louisiana cane
does not average higher than 7 J to 8, if wo remember aright, and it shows what we may in future expect from the introduction of this'valuable plant to the domain of our national agriculture. •
The quantity of juice to be obtained from the stalks was dependent upon the powerof the mill. Count de Beauregard had sixty per cent; but his mill was an imperfect one. Under favorable circumstances as much as seventy per cent, might be calculated upon, and of this seventeen per cent, was crystallizable sugar. The quantity of sugar per acre he estimated at three thousand pounds, but both quantity and quality would be controlled by the perfection or imperfection of processes of manufacture. Mr. Wray had discovered the only successful method of obtaining the sugar which has been made public. M. de Montigny, Count de Beauregard and others, had sought in vain for it, but he had been fortunate enough to arrive at a complete success, as was proved by tho samples of sugar which he exhibited to the club.
Several specimens were shown. One of them is not purged of the molasses, because Mr. Wray desired to prove that the syrup from the Imphtt possesses no unpleasant flavor. We tasted it, and found it very pleasant in -flavor, reminding one of maple sugar. Another sample had been purged; it presented the appearance of fine clayed Havana. The crystals are firm and sharp, and the taste is not different from good Havanas, which are now selling in the New York market at 11 and 12 cents, by the quantity.
If Mr. Wray is not amiss in his calculations as to the yield per acre, or if we can obtain but one thousand pounds, what an immense gift to American agriculture is he about to make? Our rapidly waning crop of sugar is at once exchanged for the greatest abundance, and a vast source of wealth is opened for our farmers. He has already expended some twenty thousand dollars in his experiments, and attempts to introduce it into Europe, and it is to be hoped that his visit to our country may prove remunerative in proportion to the importance of his discovery to ourselves.
Inquiry was made by a gentleman present in regard to some suitable crushing apparatus. Mr. Hedges, the inventor of the Little Giant Corn and Cob Mill, said he had invented a mill for this purpose, which he had exhibited at the recent Fair at Washington, and received a silver medal. He had planted some five hundred hills of seed in a hot-house in Philadelphia, and would be able to crush the canes and make sugar as early as June 1st, which would be ample time for the next fall's crop. His mill, of which he showed a cut, consists of three vertical iron rollers, of great strength, one of which is firmly anchored in a beam set in the ground; the other two are attached to the platform, so as to revolve simultaneously with the progress of the horses. The canes are fed to tho rollers from a feeding table, the expressed juice runs down through a shoot, and begasses drop out at the opposite side.
Horace Greeley spoke of Mr. Hedges's new steam boiler, for cooking food for stock, &c, and moved the appointment of a committee to go to No. 197 Water street to examine it. The chair appointed Mr. Greeley and Messrs. Pardee and Olcott on this committee.—If. Y. Eve. Post.
"WATCH AND PRAY, THAT YE ENTER NOT
INTO TEMPTATION." Oh! if upon the secret watch, we stand not night and day,
And in temptation's moment dark, the soul neglects to pray,
No wonder tbat our feet should slip, from that foundation sure
On which alone confidingly, the spirit rests Becure.
No wonder then that conscience wakes the penitential tear,
And the hallowed breath of peace forsakes the fainting
pilgrim here; No marvel is it tbat our God should hide his smiling
That erring ones, beneath the rod, his righteous band may trace.
Oh! it is proof (when this we feel) that He would
spare us still, And by his own omniscient power, would mould us to
For in the school of trial here, his faithfulness we prove,
And read hit lesson ever clear—tokens of Heavenly Love.
And yet in frailty we must own, our spirits turn away, Forgetful of the vow we made in sorrow's cloudy day; Oh! were He faithless in return, where would the
wanderer be 1 ■ But God's compassion faileth not—it follows even me I
For in the solemn midnight hour, when nature fain would sleep,
The swift reprover comes with power, in grief my
joys to steep; Oh tbat my chastened soul once more may find the
Marked out by Him, the Prince of Peace, who bade us "watch and pray."
There is a lesson in each flower,
Education.—Everything is education; the trains of thought you are indulging in this hour; the society in which you will spend the evening, the conversations, walks, and incidents of tomorrow. And so ought it to be. We may thank the world for its infinite means of impression and excitement which keep our faculties awake and in action, while it is our important office to preside over that action, and guide it to some divine result.—J. Foster.
IMPORTANCE OF EXERCISE.
Old age is called the winter of life, and with it are associated pain, infirmity and sorrow. The aged have lost the elasticity and freshness of earlier days. They are gradually sinking beneath the inevitable law that dooms man to the dust. Their sun is setting; their night draweth on.
Under these circumstances, they are sometimes disposed to withdraw entirely from active pursuits, and give themselves up to an indolent repose. They feel the need of rest and quiet in the evening of life; and surely they, if any, should enjoy this blessing. But they should never forget that the due exercise of mind and body is indispensable to happiness. Age brings no necessary exemption from this benevolent law. Said John Newton in his seventieth year, "We must work while it is day, for the night cometh." And he was himself an example of the happy influence upon the health and happiness of his own precept.
We would not here recommend severe and protracted toil, but only regular and moderate exercise, in connection with some pleasing and useful employment. This accords with the laws of our being, whether in youth or age. It affords a healthful invigoration and refreshment. It tends most happily to draw the mind away from tbat melancholy brooding over real or fancied ills, which dries up the fountains of life and joy within the soul, and in which the unemployed, especially in advanced years, are prone to indulge.
It is common to hear men talk of retiring from business, to enjoy at their leisure the fruits of previous toil. But such an expectation generally ends in disappointment. The pleasure so fondly anticipated in a freedom from toil and care, comes not at the bidding. A feeling of uncomfortable lassitude and impatience ensues. The elegant home, with its pleasant arrangements, its shady walks, its cool retreats, whatever taste and wealth can furnish for embellishment and comfort, is irksome to its possessor, and he almost sighs for the bustle and bondage he has left. And there is nothing strange in this. It is the natural result of a violent transition, and of the transgression of that law which makes us happy only as our powers are duly exercised.
It would be better far that instead of a sudden withdrawal, as age approaches, from the accustomed routine of labor, whether on the farm, in the shop, in the family or whatever else, there should be still such a continuance of effort as is proportioned to the gradually declining strength. And we may remark, by the way, that such a course would not only greatly conduce to happiness, but to Christian usefulness. It is by no means true, that a moderate attention even to worldly business, of necessity interferes with spiritual enjoyment and devotedness. We maybe diligent in business, and yet fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. Aud activity tends to avert that lassitude aud dulness, that spiritual depression and decay of body and mind which are such powerful hindrances to usefulness.
If advauced years bring increased leisure, how well for the aged as well honoring to God, that it be employed in his direct service. What a delightful field of activity is here opened before a Christian in the evening of life! How pleasing to see him, as he gradually retires from worldly pursuits, turning with increased interest to the contemplation of heavenly things! Here his mind may be exercised according to the measure of its ability, and in a way most favorable to that calm and holy repose so desirable for the aged. Iu the exercises of devotion, in spiritual conversation, in ministering the sweet charities of the gospel to the poor and sick, and needy, aud in other ways seeking the religious welfare of the community, as he has opportunity or ability, the aged saint would renew his strength; though old he would still be young. Many such we can recall to mind with their labors of love. They bear fruit iu old age. They are fair and flourishing. Their hoary head, found thus in the ways of righteousness, is a crown of glory. And while they honor God, he honors and blesses them. From not a few of the evils incident to age, are they in a measure or wholly preserved.
Even when the saint, through extreme infirmity, is a "prisoner of the Lord" at home, he may exercise his mind and brighten his declining days by nurturing the " hidden life" of piety. Such an earnest devotion to God, so long as the ability is granted, will prove a refreshing cordial to the soul. Aud that cheerfulness which is connected with the spirit of benevolence, is one of the sources of a vigorous old age.
Familiar converse with the writings of the good and gifted will afford a pleasing exercise to the mind, amid growing iufirmities. Here, while the strength fails, the miud may be renewed day by day. Beside these fountains of holy thought aud feeling, may the aged pilgrim sit and be refreshed. Here, by his fireside, what a noble company he may gather round him! with what glorious thoughts hold communion!
I have now in mind an aged saint, bent beneath the burden of more than fourscore years, a plain uneducated woman moving in a humble sphere, but favored with an excellent understanding, to whom a book, and especially the "book of books," was an unfailing companion. By this habiiual communion with the pure and great, her mind, through the divine blessing, retained to the last almost the sprightliness of youth, even when the frail body was bowed and ready to fail. Well do 1 remember how her eye would kiudle whin .-he was presented with a new religious nook ; and ihe sublime views she would express of the majesty of God her Saviour
and the glory of heaven, were a pleasing proof of the happy influence of the practice we recommend; for who can doubt, that a premature decay of mental vigor would have resulted from the opposite course. Exercise, with the divine blessing, enabled her to maintain a vigorous life even to the borders of eternity.
When the sight at last crows dim, then highly favored is the aged Christian to whom some loving voice conveys those thoughts, which his eyes can no longer trace upon the printed page. And the aged should, if possible,enjoy this daily privilege. Without it, we have known them to spend their last days iu sadness and suflFer a premature decay.
If at length the mind of the aged becomes too weak to follow even the reading of a book, the contemplation of divine love, will warm the heart, and enkindle the miud, even when exhausted by extreme old age.
But heart aud flesh at last must fail,—be dissolved. Then will the saint leave behind forever the weakness of earth. * * • * Extract from " The Evening of Life."
THE BOTANY OF A LUMP OF COAL.
Had such an idea been started sixty years ago, as that a piece of coal could have any connection with botauy, it would probably have been Bet down as the inveution of some fanciful brain. Strange, however, as it may seem, every piece of coal which contributes to the warmth and comfort of our dwellings in winter, has a history which, read aright, reveals metamorphoses more wonderful, because true, than those of fairy tales. Is not coal, then, a mineral? It is, and it is not. Possessed of all the appearance and external characters of a mineral, it yet reveals to him who knows how to interrogate it aright, proofs of an organic origin, which show that its present place is not its birthplace. It was once a vegetable: it is now a mineral, or at least has most of the characters of one. If we take a piece of coal and grind it down to a film so thin that light will pass through it (and this may be done,) we shall probably find, on submitting it to the microscope, that it possesses some traces of organic structure; and if we take one such section which is better preserved than many, and compare it with a very thin slice of some kind of wood (a very thin deal shaving, for example,) it will immediately be found to present so many features of resemblance, that it would seein hardly possible to escape from the conclusion that this seeming mineral was once itself wood. But how, then, has the strange alteration in its appearance, character, and properties been effected? It is the object of this paper to explain the mystery, so far as the light of science has hitherto enabled us to penetrate it.
One of the earliest of the geological 'eras of the world's history is that known as the carboniferous period, during which a series of strata or beds of rock, clay, etc., were accumulated 4000 or 5000 feet in thickness, and which are found to a greater or less extent in almost every part of the globe. In some parts of these strata are found those wonderful beds of coal which are of such vast importance to our country, and which have contributed so greatly to its prosperity. The carboniferous group of strata may be divided into three principal beds, each of which is composed of many lesser layers. The first of these is the mountain limestone, attaining in England a thickness of 2400 feet, and so called because of the many mountains which are in part at least formed of it. In Derbyshire and Ireland it is extensively found, and it contains the remains of corals, shells, and zoophytes, in such vast numbers that they constitute in some places three-fourths of its mass. The beautiful •' encrinital marble," so often used for mantelpieces, is mountain limestone. Most of the lead ore found in England is discovered in this rock. Over the mountain limestone lie the coal beds, and over that the "millstone grit." These tbree form the carboniferous group; but it is to the coal beds only that we shall now pay attention. It must not be supposed that the coal lies in one solid mass or stratum, and that miners have only to penetrate this to get out all that they require. The coal str.ita consists of a very numerous series of layers of different kinds, which are, as it were, interleaved with beds of coal of varying thickness aud at uncertain intervals. Thus, in the colliery at Tividale, near Birmingham, no less than sixty-five layers or beds, all of which belong to the " coal measures," are found to overlie the mountain limestone, and to contain, interspersed among them, eleven beds of coal, which vary in thickness from 9 inches to 10i feet. As a specimen of the manner in which they occur, we will quote the following from the list of the strata: it is a descending aeries.
48th bed—Slate clay,
4i)th" Bituminous shale,
50th « Main coal, 10£ feet thick,
51st" Slate clay,
53rd" Slate clay; and so forth. At Ashby-de la-Zouch, in Leicestershire, the coal formation includes 130 beds of various substances, in all, 600 feet thick, and comprising thirteen beds of coal. In some of the beds of slate clay, which lie next to the strata of coal, the clay or shale is found full of the leaves of plants in the most beautiful preservation, except that they are turned perfectly black. The shale may generally be easily split into thin leaves, upon the surface of which these remains of the coal plants will be found. Indeed, so abundant are they, that a colliery can hardly
be visited, where some of these remains may not be detected on a slight search. The leaden ^olor of the slate clay shows the forms of the leaves in the most perfect manner; ami although their substance is carbonized or converted into coal, every vein and markiug are as admirably preserved as if it were a beautifully dried specimen for the herbarium of the botanist. This fact strongly corroborates what the microscope has told us respecting the vegetable origiu of coal.
But it will be interesting to know something respecting the plants of which these long entombed relics tell us the existence and history. The most numerous remains are those of various kinds of ferns or brakes, many presenting the most elegant forms, while some h5ve evidently been true ferns, a branch of this beautiful family now found only in the warmer climates of our earth as at present constituted. Another common plant in the coal strata is the " astrophyllites," of which various species are found. It much resembles in form the " wcodruffe" of our thickets, or the goosegrass or cleavers of our hedges, though it is manifestly different in botanical structure from either. Leaves of various palms are also among these remains. Stems and trunks of various kinds of trees are found. Of these, two or three are especially remarkable. The lepidodendron was a tree of which there were several kinds, and which had a tall, scaly, branched trunk, often seventy or eighty feet high—for some have been found of that length. There is no modern plant which seems to bear any resemblance to this beautiful denizen of the ancient forests. Their nearest living allies as to structure would appear to be the humble clubmosses of our heaths and moors. In boggyditches and in damp corn fields, a plant with a scored, jointed stem, and slender, wborled leaves, is very common in England—the horsetail, or equisetura, of which there are several species. A very abundant fossil in the coal shales—the calaniitis—was of a similar kind, but of* immensely larger size. Our existing equisetums seldom exceed three feet in height, and the stems are not often more than a quarter of an inch thick, and commonly are much smaller than that j but their relatives of the coal period were mostly fourteen or fifteen feet high, with stems from six to twelve inches thick. Another remarkable tribe, for which no living representative has been found, were sigillarias—plants with large fluted stems and a soft interior. Their roots, as thick as a man's arm, are very common in the shale, and are known by the name of stigmaria, being until lately supposed to have been the stems of a distinct plant. Trunks of coniferous trees (t. e. similar to the pine and fir) are also fouud in the coal beds. Some fruits have also been met with. Three-cornered nuts, generally acknowledged to be the fruits of some species of palm, are found in clusters; while others (Lepidostrobi,')