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And this will be the case in all guanos which shall be found where the rain falls upon the deposits, which never occurs in Peru. Now, as respects the position such guanos are likely to takeasa substitute for, or side by side with, the Peruvian, there is but little chance of their being much used until the extinction of the supPlies of the latter, except for the purposes of adulteration. There may chance to be large imports, but it is questionable whether, if imported, they will enter into consumption throughout the country under their true colours as phosphatic manures, or the disguise of Peruvian guano. It is more than probable that many of the practical farmers who now lay out a little money annually in guano, will continue to be guided, as at present, by the smell of the article, which a mere trace of ammonia is sufficient to provide for them ; and they will possibly buy up the New Islands of guano phosphate, if it may be so called, at a higher rate than they need pay for super-phosPhate of lime manufactured at home from bones, 9prolites, apatite, and phosphoritic rocks. But the question arises whether or not large quantities of such manures can be brought and sold at a Price which shall not exceed the home cost of super-phosphate of lime. This may be doubted, although Saldanha Bay guano has been sold at 4l. 10s, but not very extensively or direct to conoumers. There is a difference between the price first-hand from importer to dealer and that from the dealer to the farmer. Still the first importer Will never get more than 3d. or 1d. per lb. for his phosphate, at which price the English tradesman can manufacture it for his own use from the obstances above-named; and although some
*w ships might be found which would take in ||
guano as ballast from the southern seas, &c., still
it is hardly credible that the shipping interest would find it worth while to send vessels expressly on long voyages for an article which could not realize a higher price than that above-mentioned. If this be true, it being also established by the labourers in the field of agricultural chemistry, that the wheat-grower is to seek nitrogen in ammoniacal manures, which these new discoveries certainly are not, the conclusion only remains that the void in the supply of guano has yet to be filled up.
Doubtless, the foregoing, among other considerations, led to the proposition, which emanated in the following form from the Royal Agricultural Society of England:—
GUANo SUBSTITUTE PRIZE. “I.—TERMs of THE PRIzE:—Proposed by Mr. Fisher Hobbs, seconded by Colonel Challoner, and unanimously adopted by the Council on the 7th of July, 1852, subject to such conditions as the Council, on the recommendation of a Special Committee, then appointed, might afterwards approve. “ONE THousAND Pounds and the Gold MEDAL of the Society will be given for the discovery of a manure equal in fertilising properties to the Peruvian guano, and of which an unlimited supply can be furnished to the English farmer at a rate not exceeding five pounds per ton.” (Signed) Ducie, President. II.-Conditions of CoMPETITION:—agreed by the Special Committee at a Meeting held on the 10th of November, 1852– 2. That in the offer of 1,000l. and the Gold Medal of the Society, as a prize for the discovery of a manure equal in every, respect in its fertilisiug properties to Peruvian guano, the 1,000l. shall be offered in one undivided sum. 2. That the standard of such Peruvian guano shall be assumed to be the average result obtained by Prof. Way, the consulting-chemist to the society, and published in his paper in the 10th volume of the Journal, pages 205– 208. 3. That each competitor claiming the prize shall send in with his sample a chemical analysis underseal, together with such practical proofs of the successful application of the manure to the growing crops of grain, roots, and grasses, as he can produce, duly certified by growers. That such samples of manure shall be liable to be subjected to all such further tests, and for such period of trial, as the Council may deem requisite. N.B.-All claimants shall, on application made to them by the Secretary, be expected to supply, free of expense to the Society, such quantity of their respective manures as may be required for trial. “4. That no claim for the prize will be entertained unless the claimant can satisfy the Council that an unlimited supply of the manure at a price not exceeding 5l. perton will at all times be within the reach of the agriculturalist, of the United Kingdom. (Signed) John Will.IERs SHELLEY, Chairman.
III.-CoNFIRMATION by The Council :—These conditions proposed by the Committee were approved and unanimously adopted by the Council, at their monthly meeting held at the Society's house in Hanover Square, London. on Wednesday, the 1st of December, 1852.” s (Signed) Ashburton, President. JAMEs Hudson, Secretary. All prizes offered by the Royal Agricultural Society of England are open to the general competition.
Great doubts have been expressed whether any person who had made such a discovery would
It is now proposed to describe the fisheries guano of Mr. Pettitt, discarding, for the time being, the question of its superseding Peruvian. M the Agricultural Commissioner of the “Times,” has forcibly remarked, that the number of acres of wheat in England is five millions, and that is exactly the number of quarters of wheat and flour annually imported; and that, by the application of 2 cwt. of guano to each acre, the deficient quarter of produce might and ought to be raised. Were this advice acted on, to a very moderate extent, there would be evidently required 500,000 more tons of fertilizing matters annually—a quantity which would give a fair field for all the guano dealers, all the manure inventors, and all the sewerage purifiers in this country.
It appears needful, in illustrating Mr. Pettitt's proposi. inje value, according to the scale before alluded to is as follows:–
tion, to consider the following points or queries:— 1st.-Can the fish guano be made of use and value 2 2nd.—Can the raw material—fish—be obtained in sufficient quantities? 3rd.-Can the process be carried out at such cost as to leave a o 4th.-Will there be a sale for the article when made?
ANALYSIs III. By Lewis Thompson, Esq., M.R.C.S., Consulting Chemist.
- - per cent. Organic matters, containing 12.9 parts of ammonia, equal to ...i of sulphate of ammonia - - - - 72.50 Inorganic matters, containing 23.2 parts of phosphate of lime and 2.2 of alkaline salts - - - - 25.40 Moisture - - - - - 2.10 It)0.00
The alkaline salts contained some potash,
ANALYSIS IV. By J. C. Nesbit, Esq., Consulting Agricultural Chemist.
Mr. James Caird, well known as Analysis of Sample, of Fish Manure from Mr. Pettitt, 145,
Upper Thames Street.
Moisture . - - - - P.
Phosphoric acid, soluble, equal to 0.8 phoshate of lime . - - - 0.39 Alkaline salts and phosphate of lime - 4.97 100.00
Nitrogen 9.31 per cent—equal to ammonia 11.29. Hero are three specimens before the meeting. Their
The manufacture of this guano, on a large scale, will
To the first query, supposing the science of agricultu- be carried on by a Process of the following nature: A
ral chemistry, as at present established, to be sound, the given weight of fishy matter is §. in a large tank,
following analyses furnish an answer:—
and sulphuric acid of commerce ad
ed to the mass. This
may be called the digestive process, for the action of the acid is so powerful as speedily to reduce the organic matter to a soft pulpy consistency, resembling in appearance the fecal matter of the birds, This pasty mass being placed in a centrifugal drying machine, and the superabundant moisture forcibly driven off, the partially dry matter is now submitted to a heat not exceeding 212° Fahrenheit, supplied by warm air or steam, and afterwards pulverized in a suitable manner. In this process, the oily matter of the fish separates itself, and swims upon the surface of the liquid, hence it can be easily separated, and forms an important item in the economy of the manufacture; since, taking all kinds of fishy matter, we obtain an average of 3 per cent of oil, worth £25 per ton, or, as will appear hereafter, three-fourths of the whole expense of the raw material. Another process might in some cases be adopted with advantage, especially with cartilaginous fish, such as skate and dog-fish, namely, by submitting a given weight at once to the drying process by warm air or steam heat, and then moistening with dilute sulphuric acid, which, in this case, acts simply as an antiseptic. But this process is rather more expensive, and is therefore only useful with cartilaginous matter, on which it is found, by experience, that acid hardly acts. . There is another form of fishery manure, and a most interesting one, reference being had to the manufacture in Ireland. The specimen No. 5, is a mixture of fish reduced to pulp by acid, and dried by the admixture of peat charcoal. In this form all the nitrogenous liquids, spun out by the former process, are retained, and there is full half in bulk of a very pure form of carbon. “ Powdered charcoal,” says Liebig, “ surpasses all other substances in the power which it possesses of condensing ammonia, Within its pores it absorbs ninety times its volume of ammoniacal gas, which may again be separated by simply moistening it with water. It is not only a slow and constant source of carbonic acid, but it is also a means whereby * necessary nitrogen is conveyed to the plants.” Now, carbonic acid may be termed the breath of plants, and they inspire it as animals expire it. By the processes of ecomposition and recomposition, the carbon of charcoal arrives at the form of the fat of a prize beast; hence, in like manner as ammoniacal manures are suitable for Wheat, the staff of man's life, so are manures like this, rich in carbon and phosphate of lime, the element of bone, are the most valuable of stimulants for green crops, the staple food of our beasts. The simplicity of the preparation of this manure should enable it to be sold at a low cost; and the preparation of the charcoal makes another branch of indistry which might receive fresh impulse from the carrying out of Mr. Pettitt's scheme. Now, as to the supply of the raw material. Attention was, of course, turned to this at an early stage of the allir. Information was collected at the outposts on the British and Irish coasts, and from persons resident in or well acquainted with our Colonies; and much information was collected from the voluminous report of H. M. Commissioners of Irish Fisheries, and the report of Mr. J. D. Andrews, “On the Resources of our North American Colonies" prepared by order of the Congress of the United States, in 1851. The sum total of the evidence collated from the parliamentary report of 450 pages, from the reports of boat. owners, of fishermen, of visitors, of persons specially charged to investigate these points, and of others who are at the present time actually engaged in Mr. Pettitt's manu: facture, must be given very shortly, as the time allowed for this paper does not permit the reading of a great number of documents ... had been prepared. It appears, then, that the whole of our sea-board swarms with fish. That seals, whales, and sunfish are to be taken on the coasts of Scotland and Ireland, in astonishing numbers ; and are now useless except for their livers and skins.
That many thousand barrels of the waste of the fish
eries (the most nitrogenous parts) are annually thrown away at the curing stations, and that in Devon and Cornwall thousands of tons of pilchards would be taken principally for their oil, were the oil makers and boat owners only secure of a nominal price for the crushed refuse. That, from the wonderful reproductiveness of fish, it is practically impossible to exhaust the British much less the Irish Atlantic waters. That the trawl-boats throw overboard dead fish to the weight of 13 to 2 tons for each ton ny w brought to shore. That fishing solely for manure is carried on to a great extent round the Channel and eastern shores of England, and that in no case which has come under notice does the price of such manuring fish come up to 30s, or even 25s. a ton. That the price of fish is found to be occasionally as low as 2s. 6d. per boat-load, and that over 100 tons of sprats, bought at 10s, a ton, are now under treatment and being made into manure. And lastly, which must not be lost sight of, that for every sort of eatable fish, there is another which prejudice or good taste has allowed to range the seas in large shoals, uncared for and hitherto unmolested, and these also are equally applicable with sprats and pilchards to the purposes of the guano maker. It appears from Mr. Andrews' report to the American Congress that the Great Bank Fishery of Newfoundland, which formerly employed 400 sail of square-rigged vessels and 25,000 men, is now entirely deserted, owing to the withdrawal of bounties. It is a submarine elevation, 600 miles long and 200 broad, covered with cod fish, of which 10 or 12 men can take 50 tons in a short season, yielding four tons of oil. He gives the exports in fish of the British Colonies as under:—
From Newfoundland, in 1850, Cwt. 949,169 ,, Cape Breton, in 1848, , 41,364 ,, Nova Scotia, in 1851, ,, 196,434 ,, Canada, in 1851, ., 224,000 ,, New Brunswick, in 1850, lb. 263.500 dols. worth ,, Labrador, in 1851, , , 1,000,000 * *
It may be imagined what a vast quantity of valuable manure might be made from the mere refuse of the curing establishments at work to procure the above vast total of dried cod fish only, seeing that fully one-third of the gross weight is thrown into the sea as the waste of the manufacture(a). This was stated by a member of the Council of Newfoundland to be in some places an absolute nuisance to the community of that island, from the formation of banks of refuse matter on the shores. Although the demand for dry salt fish is not very likely to increase more than pari passu with the Roman Catholic population of the world, it may well be imagined that were a new market opened, we might hear of the Great Bank of Newfoundland being again covered with the cloud of shipping which was withdrawn after the year 1814. Another extract from the writings of Professor Way will conclude this division of the subject. He says, very briefly, “Fish may be taken as the type of animal, wheat of vege: table life; and there can be no doubt of their mutual convertibility when placed in the proper circumstances. I have dwelt upon this point in order to show how very valuable a source of manure, and consequently of food, we have in the waters that surround our shores, if we could work out the problem as one of economy. Practic cally, we do so this day by bringing guano, which is digested fish, from foreign parts.” in the third place we have to consider the cost of this manufacture, or, to use the expression just quoted, “how to work out the problem as one of economy.” Estimates are, as is well known, most treacherous ground, and in those which here follow it must be borne in mind that, from the well-known variation in the prices of fuel and
(a) It will also be remembered that the annual take of seals from these colonies is one million, of which the blubber, skin, and hair only are now made objects of merchandise.
materials, in cost of transit, and in rates of wages, there is no pretence of anything beyond a fair approximation. The cost of fish is arrived at from due consideration of the two methods of obtaining it, which are—1st, Fishing for it in your own boats; or, 2nd, Purchasing it by contract. The first of these plans is open to objection prima facie, as having an appearance of centralization; and it has, moreover, been always found that Associated Fishery Companies have met with ill success. Still, however, whole fishing communities have been found willing to exchange their uncertain gains for regular pay. The second method has been also hailed as a boon in numerous places on the coast, where the ideas of the fishery populalation have been sought for on the subject. Those unacquainted with the subject, will scarcely credit that the fish which appears at Billingsgate at 6d. to 1s. P. lb., hardly fetches more on the Yorkshire coast than £1 10s. to £2 10s. per ton, and very often less; and that thousands of tons of coarse, common, waste, and broken fish are annually taken round our shores for manure only, and delivered into farmers' carts at from 8s. to 10s. a ton. We may safely count on a great quantity of fish, either taken by the fleet of an Association or bought by contract, at a cost all round of £1 to ton.
On a floating capital of £4,000 at most, and a fixed capital in plant and machinery of £1,000. In this estimate advantage has been taken of the profits from the fish oil, to reduce the price of the manure to 7l., while its intrinsic value, as previously shown, is 91.7s. 7d. perton. Were the whole of the charges incidental to the manufacture to be thrown upon the guano, it appears that its production would cost 4l. 18s. per ton, and that it shorld realise 71. at least; and this is the answer to the third question. The fourth query, it will be remembered, was whether a sale would be found for the manure when made. It is almost superfluous to enter upon an argument which can after all only arrive at a probability; but the reason why a strong probability exists will be touched upon, simply to obviate a possible objection that this point has not been considered. It is assumed that there is a very great necessity and ready market for some manure, and that the fisheries guano can be sold at the price before stated. It remains to bc seen whether it has the qualities of a saleable article. The great features of the science of agricultural chemistry applied to manures are set forth in a few words of the celebrated Liebig, who says—“Carbonic acid, water, and ammonia contain the elements necessary for the support of animals and vegetables; the same substances are the ultimate products of the chemical processes of decay and putrefaction. All the innumerable products of vitality resume after death the original form from which they sprung, and thus death, the complete dissolution of an existing generation, becomes the source of a new one."
The most indispensable organic element of man is nitrogen, and it is as indispensable to the plants on which he lives. The means whereby the vegetable world appropriates its normal proportion are so mysterious that it would be superfluous here to speculate upon them; but this is a demonstrated fact, that if we would give an extra stimulus to the nitrogenous yield of the earth we must pour into her storehouses fresh supplies of nitrogen or food for plants, and that in its most assimilable form. This form is ammonia, and the guano of Peru has been appreciated as the most highly concentrated source of ammonia, fulfilling also other conditions of chemical and commercial importance in a good and perfect manure. This reasoning has also since the rapid spread of the knowledge of agricultural chemistry, practically governed in their transactions both the judicious buyer and the honest dealer in manures. Hence any nitrogenous preparation can take a position in the market according to its value as apparent on chemical analysis, subject only to a discount, so to speak, for the probabilities of prejudice, doubt, and want of practice; and hence the demand for the new guano in large quantities which has actually arisen before a ton of it was made, or any publicity given to the idea. This division of the subject demands no further illustration. As logical proof is out of the question, and we have but presumption from analogy as our terminus, the answer to the fourth query, (which after all is mainly involved in those to the first and third), may here rest.
There remains for the consideration of this Society one point which should by no means beforeign to its objects. These are the possible national and social advantages of the scheme. The depressed condition of much of the fishing population of Ireland, and many parts of Scotland, have been too long and too often before the public to need detail here. It was possible that the alleged distress might be only the vain cry of interested greivancemongers, and such, strange to say, have invariably met this proposition for amelioration with a simple denial of its possibility.
Steps, therefore, were taken to search for facts, and it is a fact that there is an inconceivable amount of wretchedness to be relieved, and the prosecution of this scheme might aid it to relieve itself, which we all know is the truest and best of charity. Since the withdrawal of the fishery bounties for the last time in 1827, which had in five years doubled the number of men employed, the fisheries of the west have again receded to their old level. The Crown commissioners have most honourably and sagaciously administered, since the commencement of the present century, more than 250,000l. in the relief of the Irish fisheries alone, but with comparatively little result. It was vain that piers were built, harbours deepened, and loans in boats and nets made to the fisherman. For a time he caught the fish, but who was to buy it? The state could not give the Irish population money to buy what they had paid the fisherman to catch. The fisheries have therefore obstinately declined, in face of state encouragement and of chartered companies, which had for their object the providing vast quantities of edible fish for the great markets. But if we demand of the fisherman ten, twenty, or one hundred tons of marine matter of all sorts and conditions, instead of his customary selection; if, in fact, we nail over the factories the homely old proverb– “All is fish that comes to our net," we surely must and shall drag forth more labour, and fully employ all who at present wretchedly divide their time between sea and land; and, half-farmer, half-sailor, are comparatively cripples in either vocation. As a nation, we are thankful that the sea-faring life has always been most alluring to the natives of these islands. Those who pursue their business on the waters, are fain to continue their calling in spite of grinding poverty in every form. The heart of 'many an observing traveller has been moved at the sight of the wretched man, the crazy ill-found shallop, and the
ruinous hut, that compose, so to say, an Irish or Hebri
dean fisherman and his stock, and at the reflection that this should be the raw material of the British sailor. The fisheries have always, with the sea-borne coal trade, been esteemed the nurseries of our national navy; and we have now more than a little difficulty in manning our fleets, to speak in the most reserved manner; and that difficulty will not diminish with an increase in the number of ships of war, unless, indeed, there were at the same time a vast and lamentable reduction in the commercial shipping of the country. This very commercial marine is now inadequate to the work of the traders. More ships and more men are wanted for commerce; more ships and more men are called for to protect British rights and serve British interests in every quarter of the globe. It cannot surely then be out of place to suggest that a plan which, having borne investigation, in a commercial and scientific point of view, shall offer even a symptom of benefit to the nurseries of our sailors, becomes of almost national importance and worthy of public consideration.(a)
The second paper read was—
ON FISH MANURE AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR
Some years ago, a gentleman, who possesses a large property in Newfoundland, and who carries on an extensive business in salting cod-fish, requested me to make some experiments, with a view to converting the unsaleable fish and cod-fish offal into a manure, and also to ascertain whether the dried cod fish would be valuable as a food for animals. An account of some of the trials of the died fish itself as food for animals, is now in print, and will shortly appear in the “Journal of the Royal Agricultural Society of England.” To explain, however, the conclusions arrived at in reference to the use of the oilal fish and refuse as manure, the following short statement of the process employed in curing the fish for food may be given –Platforms project out into the sea, upon which stand the men who cure the fish. The fish are handed up from the boats, and the curers split them down with a knife, take out the back-boné and the osal and throw it into the sea; and, having sprinkled some salt over the fish, it is removed and dried in the sun. The quantity of offil thus thrown away amounts to some hundred thousand tons.
The question was not whether such matter, when Properly prepared, would be a good manure—for of this there could be no doubt—but it was, whether a manure “ould be prepared which would, in point of composition, *"Poly, certain constituents at a cheaper rate than guano and other manures already in the market.
Looking at the question in this point of view, the inquity showed that there were difficulties in the way of attaining such a result, which were sufficient at the time "lead to an abandonment of the idea of converting this *use into a marketable manure. Thus, the fishing sea* confined to a short period during summer, and time and labout are then so valuable, that every man, woman, and child is employed in some process connected with the Proparation of the cod as food. Indeed, so important is * that the population should not be occupied with other Pursuits, that the cultivation of the land is neglected; and the proprietors of the fisheries supply the people with
(a) Since the foregoing paper was written, a singular confirmation of the author's views as to the supplies of Peruvian
ano, has been made public in the Report of Admiral
orosby, of the Pacific station, to the Board of Admiralty in England. It appears that the gallant officer, accompanied by the Goverment 3. of Peru, and the resident agent of Messrs. Gibbs and Co., landed on the island, and took plan, *ion and elevation of the deposits. His deliberate conclusion * official report was to the effect that, “at the present average * of exportation, the islands would be exhausted of the guano opy fight, or boxicable in the English market, in eight or nine years."
food and other necessaries imported from other countries. Under these circumstances, it was evident that, in order to convert the offal into manure, one of two things must take place: either part of those already employed in catching or curing fish for food, must leave that occupation for the other, or a large number of people must be brought from elsewhere, and be maintained by the proprietor for the sole purpose of making manure. With regard to the first of these alternatives, it is clear that, so long as a ton of dried fish would sell for much more than a ton of the manure, it could not be to the advantage of the proprietor to change the occupation of the people; for the cost of the fish itself, apart from that of the labour employed in preparing it, would be comparatively small, whilst that of the latter would be nearly as great to convert a ton of offal into manure as a ton of the codfish into food. On the other hand, to maintain a larger number of people on the island for the purpose of converting the offil fish and refuse into manure, seemed not likely to be profitable, unless the manure were to sell for a higher price than its composition and the relative value of other manures in the market would justify. Under these circumstances, it appeared to me that unless the offal-fish and offal could have been kept until the busy season was over, and then worked up for manure, it would not be profitable to engage in the manufacture; and as this even involved some immediate expenditure of labour, and as such matters enter very rapidly into putrefaction, I could not see that the undertaking of converting the Newfoundland offal-fish and offal into a portable manure for competition with others in the market was practicable. With regard to the more special subject, Mr. Pettitt's Fisheries Guano—I see, that a discussion has taken place on this subject before the Royal Dublin Society; from the report of which I think we may gather that large quantities of offal fish and fish offal, which at present are thrown into the sea, would be brought to shore, provided they could be sold on the spot at a price of from 30s. to 2. perton. I also gather from the same paper, that Mr. Pettitt's process consists in mixing sulphuric acid with the fish-material, and drying it. It certainly appears to me, that a fish manure, prepared by such a process, although undoubtedly an excellent Inanure, is nevertheless widely different from guano, both as to the constituents which it supplies and to the state of combination of those constituents. ... In guano we find large quantities of phosphate of lime (in a state of comininution in which it is more readily available than in most other manures), whilst, judging from the analysis by Professor Way, the product of Mr. Pettitt's process contains only a very small quantity of phosphate of lime. In guano, again, the whole of the nitrogen, or nearly so, exists, either in the form of amInonia or of other very readily active nitrogenous compounds, the products of the perfect chemical destruction in their passage through the body of an animal, of those more stable nitrogenous compounds of which the bodies of the fish so largely consist. In the product of Mr. Pettitt's process, however, I presume there can be but little of the salts of ammonia or the other compounds resulting from the digestion, assimilation, and retransformation of the substance of the fish when it has been used as food. In fact, the proposed fish manure is dried animal matter, with but little chemical alteration; in which, therefore, a large proportion of the nitrogen will still exist in its original state of combination. However valuable, therefore, such a substance may be as a manure, it can certainly with no propriety be called a guano. The chemical effect of the sulphuric acid on the animal matter, and its utility in the process, are, indeed, not very obvious. It would probably serve, on the one hand, somewhat as an antiseptic; and on the other, to retain the small quantity of ammonia which might still be formed. Again, the sample of fish-manure analysed by Professor Way contained only about 5 per cent. of water. But as the quantity of water in fresh fish is not much less than