British Colonial Developments, 1774-1834

By Vincent Harlow; Frederick Madden | Go to book overview

informing their Lordships that in obedience to their request he had laid the specimen of Persian cotton which was transmitted to him by their Lordships' direction on the Ist ultimo before the principal persons who are supposed to understand best the quality and specific value of raw cotton, and that the general opinion upon the quality is that of being extremely fine, and if it could be planted in any of our own colonies so as to retain its native quality it would certainly be a valuable acquisition to the planters as well as to the cotton manufacturers, believing at an average price it would fetch in this market 3s. per pound or upwards1 and returning thanks in the name of the manufacturers of Manchester for the very particular attention their Lordships have shown on this and every other occasion to promote and encourage their cotton manufactories.

Ordered that a letter be written to Sir Joseph Banks, bart., President of the Royal Society, transmitting to him a copy of the above mentioned letter and desiring that he would communicate his opinion whether in consequence of the information therein given this Persian cotton can be cultivated to advantage in our West India Islands and that he would suggest any steps which the Committee can properly take for encouraging the growth of it.2


69
DOMINICA: GOVERNOR SIR JOHN ORDE TO LORD SYDNEY, 30 March 17883

Dominica.

. . . It would also give me great pleasure to receive His Majesty's directions, for which I have been anxiously waiting, respecting the

____________________
supply the new machines, a problem which occupied a large part of the Committee's time in this period. Sir Joseph Banks had submitted a specimen of Persian cotton on 29 August which was sent to Frodsham for a report. In November the Committee were delighted to hear from Banks that the specimen had actually been grown from Persian seed in Barbados by a Mr. Millington.
1
Representatives of the Manchester cotton manufacturers on 26 February had stated in evidence that prices varied from 13d. a pound for cotton from Smyrna to 36d. for that from Surat--West India cotton fetching prices from 14d. to 20d.
2
Banks was examined by the Committee on 15 December and brought with him Langford Millington who had grown the specimen cotton in Barbados on half an acre of land. Millington offered 18 ounces of picked, and half a pound of unpicked, cotton for the Manchester manufacturers to experiment with, and the Committee, on forwarding the samples, asked the manufacturers what price they were prepared to pay for the encouragement of further cultivation (ibid., pp. 409 ft.). Seeds were sent to West India governors by order of the Committee on 31 October 1788 (B.T. 5/5, P. 156).
3
C.O. 71/14. Sir John Orde had been Governor of Dominica since 1783. In March and April 1786 Sydney had instructed Orde to do all he could to encourage the cultivation of cotton in Dominica. The Governor considered himself powerless to grant lands for that purpose and required further instructions. A proclamation of September 1786, which provided for grants of 30-60 acres for cotton growing, does not seem to have been approved by Sydney.

-387-

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