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Millington's, which we have given at full length, and went to explain practical details, we have merely selected such parts of it as appear of greatest interest with the public.
Mr. Mead stated his own practical experience, that the new dry process was greatly superior to the old one of dew-retting, which frequently injured the fibre. That the expense of breaking and dressing flax by the old process was from 201. to 251. per ton. That Hill and Bundy's machine does not injure the fibre, nor is it so complicated as to be liable to be out of order. That the opinion of the Yorkshire farmers is, that flax does not injure the ground as a crop, but is objectionable, on account of its producing no manure. That he had seen Mr. Lee's machines worked at St. Pancras workhouse; that the average quantity done there by a man in a day, as appeared by their books, was 2 lbs.* and that the waste on these machines appeared much greater than on those of Hill and Bundy.
Mr. Wood stated that he was acquainted with the cultivation and dew-retting preparation of flax. That the average quantity of stem produced on an acre of land, was from 2 to 3 tons. That the proportion of fibre expected to be obtained from dew-retted flax, was about one in ten or eleven. That dew-retting affects the fibre; and that a considerable loss of flax is attendant upon removing it from the field to the pit where it is steeped, and again in spreading it, and taking it back. That the length of time flax must be steeped, depends upon the weather; and that the process of steeping, is one which requires a great deal of judgment. That flax was not at all an impoverishing crop, that it may be grown upon any land, but that loamy black land was the best for it; that it suits ground which is first broken up; that it is generally followed by a bare fallow, or turnips, and is a good preparation for wheat; and generally, that Hill and Bundy's machines will separate the wood from the fibre, and work the flax at a cheaper rate, and in a better manner, than any other machine he has seen.
This is what Mr. Mead stated, and is correct; but in the printed report of the Committee, the quantity is stated at ten pounds and an half.
Mr. Prentice stated, that he always found the produce from Hill and Bundy's machines, to be one fourth of the weight of the stem used, and that this fourth was in a fine state, ready for the hackle; that he had hackled it, and it produced two thirds flax and one third tow; that one man could turn two breaking machines, two rubbing machines, and one hackling machine; and this would require five boys, viz. two to feed and attend each breaking machine, and one to attend the two rubbers and hackle; that each breaking machine would produce from 80 to 100 lbs. of prepared flax in a day, and each rubbing machine would do half an hundred weight in the same time; so that two rubbers would be necessary to each breaker; that the expence of labour, exclusive of machinery, was something under 5s. per cwt.; that he had done from 9 to 10 lbs. in an hour, when the machine worked by power, but that 7 lbs. per hour he supposed might be done by a man; that he had not found the machines liable to get out of repair.
Lieut. Wright corroborated the testimony of Mr. Millington as before stated, he having been present at the experiments. John Millworth stated, that he had been employed to turn these machines. He could turn two breakers, two rubbers, and a hackling machine. It was tidy work, but he could do it for ten hours a day. He thought he could do 7 or 8 pounds of flax in an hour.
. Mr. Lee then wished to call Mr. Bundy, with a view to establish, by his evidence, that these machines were infringements upon his patent; but this the Committee would not listen to, Mr. Curwen the Chairman stating, that this matter must be left to the consideration of a court of law. Mr. Samuel Hill was then called at the request of Mr. Lee, and stated in answer to the questions put to him, that his charge was 10s. a hundred weight upon the quantity produced, when the two processes were gone through. That he charged 21. 10s. per ton for the use of the machine, 21. for labour, and 15s. for the hacking machine.
Mr. James Leç being examined stated, that the quantity of fibres produced by his machines in ten hours, depended upon the number of persons working; thus two women at the
breaking machine, and one at the refining rollers, will produce 60 lbs. in a day, fit for the hackle. Some alteration had been lately made by the application of machinery. The expense will be the wages of the women; this is a farthing a pound for refining, and for breaking so much a hundred weight; which would make it come to less than a penny a pound, paying the women from 6 to 10 shillings a week. Mr. Lee then stated, that he had never done this quantity by the breaking machine, but he had done it by the other.* That a woman working by the other, and working the number of machines she can work, will finish from 50 to 100 pounds a day, according to the goodness of the flax. That he had never heard complaints made of the breaker injuring the fibre, unless it was injudiciously used. That some caution was necessary in using it, but very little; and he then enumerated the machines he had at work in the workhouses of St. Pancras, Hackney, Kensington, Westham, The Refuge for the Destitute, and at Hull, in Yorkshire.
Elizabeth Wilson stated, that she had worked Mr. Lee's machines, and instructed others for 12 months; that she had done a pound of flax in an hour, by the breaking and scraping machines; that at Hull, three or four of the machines do 11 lbs. a day; that many of them do 9, and none less than 7 lbs. a day.
Sarah Smith stated, that she worked at Mr. Lee's machi
Meaning the fluted rollers. To comprehend Mr. Lee's evidence and the following witnesses, the reader is requested to refer back to p. 333 of our last Number, where his machinery is described, and where it will appear that the work alluded to, is simply putting the flax in between the rollers and taking it out again; while those rollers would be completely ineffective unless they were moved by wind, water, steam, or some considerable power. This, therefore, is merely attendance upon the machine, and not a word is mentioned about the expense of the power, or its necessity; while in the account of Hill and Bundy's machines, the man's power to produce motion is always admitted. We hope that the information contained generally in this evidence, and the account of the machinery given in our last Number, will enable the public to estimate the important advantages likely to accrue to the nation, from the new process of husbanding and manufacturing flax, and to form a pretty accurate judgment of the respective values of the machines of Messrs. Hill and Bundy, and Mr. Lee.-Editors.
nery, did 8 lbs. an hour generally; thought she could do 12 lbs. if the flax was dry and good; could keep at it all day, was paid 128. a week, and worked 11 hours daily; she had passed 70, 76, and 79 lbs. through the refining machinery in a day. There was not a bit of labour in it; a girl of 12 or 13 years old could have done it as well as herself. She served 18 refining machines. There was machinery at Merton to enable her to do this. (Mr. Lee here remarked, that the refining machinery worked by water, and that steam was to be applied in addition to that, to increase the quantity.) Witness continued that her work was merely to feed the machine, and to form the flax into a skain,* and to take it out again.
ART. IV. Remarks on the natural Family of the Grasses. From the Latin of ALEXANDER Baron von HUмBOLDT. Paris, 1817.
HAVE, in a former part of this work, classed the Orders Gramineæ (Grasses), Cyperaceae (Club-rushes), and Juncea (Rushes), in one natural family, under the denomination of Glumacea (the plants with a chaffy flower), and shall now proceed to a summary notice of the species, in regard to number, configuration, and geographical distribution. We may form a conception of the richness of America in plants of this nature, and of the smallness of the proportion of those which had come to the knowledge of the botanists of Europe, when we find, that of 343 species, observed by M. Bonpland and myself in the course of our travels, scarcely a fifth or sixth part had been recorded. In casting up the Glumaceæ, enumerated in Persoon's Synopsis Plantarum, those found by Mr. Brown in New Holland and Van Diemen's Island, and the new ones published by myself and fellow-traveller, we find that we are now acquainted with about 1200 Gramineæ, 900 Cyperaceae, and 100 Junceæ, forming a total of 2200 Glumaceœ.
*This was shewn to be by uniting the two ends of the quantity used.
But, although this may appear a considerable number, and one that has, of late, received very extensive additions, it turns out, in fact, to be a proof of the negligence of botanists in respect to these three orders. It has been already shewn, that these three orders form one-tenth part of the Phænogamous vegetation of the earth; so that, in the 30,000 Monocotyledonous and Dicotyledonous species, which have been recorded, we ought to have met with, at least, 3000 Glumaceae, if they had received from travellers an equal share of attention, with that which has been bestowed upon Composite and Leguminosa.
All over the world the Glumacea are found to increase their number in a wonderful proportion, either as you recede from the line, towards the poles, or as you ascend the mountain, from the level of the sea. But then this augmentation of number takes place in a far smaller ratio, from the line to the temperate zone, than that in which is found to take place from the latitudes of France and Germany, towards the polar circle. In Lapland, for instance, there are three times more Glumacea than Composite; while, in the temperate parts of Europe, the families are nearly equal. On the other hand, in North America, from the 32d to the 45th degree of latitude, the Composite are already found to exceed the Glumacea by a fourth: a proportion which becomes still greater in the tropical regions of that continent. I have purposely taken the Glumacea and Composite for points of comparison, as being the two families which, in every part of the world, comprise the largest portion of vegetable species, and display the greatest variety of configuration. Next, in point of numbers, to the Glumacea and Composite, as far as I am able to judge, are the Caryophyllea, Amentacea, and Ericine, in the frozen zone; the Leguminosa, Cruciferæ, and Labiatæ, in the temperate zone; the Leguminosa, Rubiacea, and Malvacea, in the torrid zone.
In considering, separately, the three natural orders which compose the family of the Glumacea, we shall find, that the respective relations of the Graminea, Cyperaceae, and Junceæ,