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a doubt, strip the bales and give us the actual tare, the same as is done in regard to a hundred other articles that are bought and sold in quantities, probably as valuable as cotton, — I mean in the aggregate amount, as, for instance, sugar, molasses, hay, silk; and I might go on, and enumerate many others. There is probably no article of the magnitude of cotton that is so badly handled from the time it leaves the planter until it is in the hands of the manufacturer. I might speak of its being rolled in mud, laid out in the rain, handled by any man, I was going to say, who chooses to take a knife, and cut a bale and sample it. There is simply no rule of conduct, or of common honesty (I know it is a strong term), in regard to the matter of handling cotton, from the time it leaves the planter's wagon until we buy it. Now, I claim that if England has the six per cent, and it is admitted that we have our cotton just as cheap as they do, there ought to be a universal six per cent. Why not give it to us, and then let us fight the battle just as John Bull does? He won't buy cotton that has been dragged in all the mud from Arkansas to New York, and pay for mud as cotton; he insists upon a deduction, and he gets it, I am informed.
Now, I say that this Association ought to agitate this matter right upon its merits. If England is allowed six per cent (and of course Mr. Nourse's position is exactly right, that the price of cotton in this country is governed by the price of the cotton exported), why not put us all on the same footing? If there is no wrong in it, why not adopt it? But I complain more upon the subject of the manner of handling cotton, and no reclamation, than I do upon the five or six per cent which we know that the baling and the hoops or ropes come to. It is time that the subject was taken up intelligently and understandingly. I claim that cotton ought to be dealt with precisely the same as any other great staple. This argument that it is no use to try to do any thing is the argument which was used in 1866, I think it was, at the meeting of the Cotton Manufacturers' and Planters' Association in New York; but we know that the English manufacturer will not accept cotton that has got six per cent additional mud upon it, over and above his six per cent bagging and hoops.
Mr. CUMNOCK. Mr. Goulding makes a point on which I would like to say a word, as to this not being the proper body before which to bring this matter. Every mill-agent in New England
has cotton sent to him from Boston, or from whatever point it may be purchased at, and he starts in the first place with about five per cent of tare on hoops and bags, and with about two per cent additional for loss in weight from sand and other foreign substances; so that every mill-agent has to face a bale of cotton with seven per cent loss on it to begin with, to make cotton cloth, and then he is expected to send his cloth back to Boston, or wherever it is to be consigned, with a very low waste account. I think this is the place to bring this matter up. I do not know any class of men more affected by the loss of weight and tare on cotton than the mill-agent.
Mr. GARSED. There is one point upon which I think it may be just as well for an outsider like me to touch. I have heard the remark before in this room that the agents of the mills had nothing to do with buying cotton, but I think I can tell you where they are sufferers. If the treasurer of a mill buys cotton that has extra bagging or hoops upon it, or has additional dirt upon it, and it goes to the mill, it would seem that the agent of that mill, if he should make no dividends, would be blamed, and probably placed in a very unpleasant position, because he fails to make a profit where other mills are making one. But the trouble is, that the treasurer of his mill has sent cotton to him to spin which has not the stuff in it to spin, and make a profit. Therefore, it is the duty of the mill-agents, as represented in this Association, to insist that they know what they spin; for they have a reputation at stake.
Mr. GOULDING. I would like to correct myself, if I gave the impression that I thought this was not the proper place to introduce this subject. I did not mean to, I introduced it because I thought it was the proper place. But, when the matter was first introduced here, the suggestion was made that we agents had nothing to do with buying cotton, and we could not
any thing; and I say that argument had some force with me at the time. But, on reflection, I have come to the conclusion that it is fallacious; that the treasurers, to a great extent, are under the influence of those gentlemen who sell cotton, and we are the real sufferers.
I was very happy to hear the remarks of the gentleman from Philadelphia. He strikes at the root of the matter. Why should not cotton be treated like every thing else that we buy? If we buy a barrel of kerosene oil, we measure it; and, if it falls
short, we go for the difference. So it is with coal, and all our supplies: we must be made whole. If we buy a hundred gallons, we must have a hundred gallons: we are not going to pay for a hundred gallons, and take ninety or ninety-five or ninetyeight. But on cotton, which is the article upon which we suffer the most, we have no reclamation. I have weighed a great many bales, with a view to inform myself on this subject. I will not undertake to give the figures, because I have not my memoranda with me; but the number of hoops, the weight of the bagging, and, as suggested by the gentleman from Philadelphia, the amount of mud or dirt that is often found on a bale of cotton, are surprising. If we accomplished nothing more, if we can teach the South, and the factors who handle the cotton between the field and the factory, to handle it more carefully, and give it to us in a clean and dry condition, we shall do a great deal. I am satisfied, from the course that this discussion has taken, that very many here are interested in this matter, and are ready to press it forward.
Mr. BARKER (of Lewiston). I was very much interested in the remarks of the gentleman from Philadelphia, Mr. Garsed. I think he has hit the nail on the head exactly. I can see no possible reason, and there is no good reason, why the manufacturers of the United States should not be put on the same footing precisely with the English manufacturers. I know by what I read in the papers, and hear from parties who belong on that side, that if they buy cotton that is loaded down with dirt, or over-weighted with ropes and bags, they do just what he has said they have done. A certain number of bales are stripped, fifty or a hundred bales, bags and ropes weighed, and the tare on the lot is determined according to that standard.
It has been said here, by my friend Mr. Goulding, that the agents of the mills in New England do not buy the cotton, and they do not; but we have a large influence in that direction. I apprehend, that, if the six or eight hundred agents that there must be in New England should set themselves at work to change this custom, they would accomplish something. We should certainly have their influence in that direction, if nothing more. And, in my judgment, the men who control the mills of New England have some influence in controlling the action of our treasurers in buying cotton. Hence I believe that there can nothing but good come from a committee that shall look
this matter up, and report at a future meeting; and I do believe, that, with persistent effort on the part of this Association, we can reform the abuse. It is an abuse that we would not stand in any other single instance. If we bought a forty-gallon barrel of oil, and found, when it came to us, that there were but thirtyeight or twenty-eight gallons in it, we would not have it: we would ship it back to the party of whom we purchased. And so it is with every thing else we buy,-coffee, sugar, meat,— every thing we eat and every thing we wear: we pay our money, and we expect to have full value. But But suppose I go to Nashville, and buy a hundred bales of cotton. It is shipped to my mill, and I find it falls short five pounds, on the average, to the bale. Well, they say, unless it falls short six pounds, I have no right to make any reclamation. Six pounds, I believe, is the standard that has been adopted. Such a case has happened, and I wrote to the man of whom I bought (I had not paid the bill), and told him to take the cotton back, or I would send him my check for the bill, less the amount it fell short. He took the check. All this talk that we cannot get a reclamation is only talk. There is not a word of truth in it. I believe, that if the treasurers of the cotton-mills of New England would put their strength into this matter, and insist on having what they pay for, we would get it. Hence I am in favor of Mr. Goulding's motion, and hope it will pass.
Mr. PAINE. There is one point raised by Mr. Barker that I am glad he has presented, for this reason. As I stated last fall, I have taken the ground this year that I would not buy cotton of any party who would not agree that in case the cotton fell short over five pounds per bale I could make reclamation. It is very difficult to bring the brokers into that arrangement. One broker, of whom I was buying largely, absolutely refused to agree to any thing of the kind. I told him, "Very well; that is my rule. If I buy any thing of you, that is my rule." Time passed along, and up to the 1st of March I had not bought any thing of that broker. He came along, and asked for an order. I told him, "There is my rule.
Any thing over
five pounds to a bale, I have the right to make reclamation. I
have not given an order except on that condition, and if I give you one that is the rule." "Give me an order," he said. So it
will be in every instance. If we will only take that ground, and stand firmly upon it, we shall get what we ought to have.
The motion for the appointment of a committee was carried, and the chair announced the committee as follows: Messrs. William F. Goulding, of Lewiston, Me.; Walter Paine, 3d, of Fall River, Mass.; Hervey Kent, of Exeter, N.H.
Mr. PAINE. I notice that Lowell is not represented on the committee, a large market for cotton; and I think it would be well to have our friend from Philadelphia upon it, because it brings in an additional locality. I move that the committee be enlarged by the addition of the chairman (Mr. Cumnock) and Mr. Garsed.
This motion prevailed, and the gentlemen named were added to the committee.
Mr. ATKINSON. I have a few things here, which I think will interest you very much, and which I would like to get upon the record.
In connection with this subject of improvements in the treatment of cotton, I desire to call your attention to the treatment of cotton-seed by our friend Mr. Adamson, who once made us an address. I am sorry to see that I have but one sample; I thought I had two. The ordinary method of treating cotton-seed is to take off the hull, and burn or waste it, and extract the oil by pressing; the residue making that cake which is ground and fed to cattle or sheep. It is indigestible, as it contains still a good deal of oil. Mr. Adamson's process is to treat the kernel of the cotton-seed with naphtha, to save the naphtha with very slight waste, to take out every particle of oil there is in the seed, and to get a cotton-seed oil such as has been seldom seen, fifteen per cent more oil than you can get by any other method. The remainder is then a white, light, sweet, digestible, and nutritious food for cattle or sheep. The day will come when wool and cotton will be alternated on the same field, fertilizing the field by the sheep as in England, doubling the crop of cotton, and adding the wool-clip thereto. Here is a sample of that food, and it is not unpleasant to the taste, although it leaves a little tang in the mouth. The hull, instead of being wasted, may be converted into nearly pure potash by calcination; it may be treated for the dyestuff that it has in it, for there is a great deal of tannic acid in it, and the residuum makes admirable paper-stock. As they use up the little end of the pig in treating hogs, they will use up the little end of the cotton-plant in treating cotton-seed; and