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work, by those whom poverty has not taught severe lessons, from which he would gladly have been excused, were it possible.
Hoping this article, which has cost me some little time to prepare; much more time, yes! years of observation, and months of thought, contains facts valuable to the reader, I bid him God speed in any plan he sees fit to propagate his vines by.
S. J. PARKER, M. D. ITHACA, N. Y., January 1st, 1864.
REPORT OF HON. JOHN STANTON GOULD ON SOR
GHUM AND SUGAR BEET CULTURE.
To the Executive Committee of the New York State Agricultural Society:
Having completed the task which you assigned to me, I offer the following report of my proceedings and the results thereof:
HISTORY OF THE INVESTIGATION. At the August meeting of the executive committee the following resolution was passed on motion of Hon. George Geddes:
“ Resolved, That the Hon. John Stanton Gould be appointed to make an investigation as to the culture and management of sorghum and sugar beet in the western States, and as to the variety of sorghum and sugar beet best adapted to the production of syrup and sugar, and such other facts as he may deem important for a full illustration of the advantages resulting from the cultivation of sorghum and the sugar beet in our State.”
In pursuance of this appointment, and after receiving instructions from Col. Johnson, the Secretary of the board, I left home on the 29th of September and arrived in Chicago on the 3d of October. On conferring with various gentlemen who were well acquainted with the condition and extent of the sorghum crop, with a view to learn the best route for me to take in order to carry out the views of the committee, I was informed that so large a proportion of the crop had been injured by the severe frost on the 26th of August, and by two frosts which occurred subsequently, that I could not possibly obtain a true idea of the normal character of the crop by an examination of it as it now appeared. Many large fields would not be cut at all, and the syrup from the less injured portions would be so inferior, both in quantity and quality, that I could not draw correct conclusions with respect to the future prospects of the sorghum enterprise.
Had I known the extent of the injury which the early drought, and the latter frosts had inflicted on the crop, I should have consulted the committee with respect to the propriety of postponing my journey to the ensuing year, but as I was already in Chicago, it seemed most advisable to learn what I could of the cultivation of the cane and its reduction to syrup and sugar. If this report should present less sanguine views respecting the value of the sorghum and its products than the committee expected, these disasters to the cane which are mentioned above must be taken into account, and due allowances for them must be made.
When I left home, I proposed to visit the States of Iowa, Wisconsin, Missouri and southern Illinois, but in view of the loss of cane in those States, I concluded with the advice of my friends, that I conld learn all that could be learned respecting it within a much narrower area. I accordingly concluded to confine myself to a circle of about one hundred miles on the rail roads radiating from Chicago, then to cross the State of Indiana diagonally from the north-west to the south-east corner, thence from the south-east corner of Ohio to Columbus in the centre of the State, thence to Steubenville in the south-east, thence easterly, via Pittsburgh, through the State of Pennsylvania to Philadelphia. On all these routes I diverged laterally, by wagon or on foot, whenever I could ascertain that I could obtain any valuable information by doing so.
This plan was strictly carried out, over one hundred sugar establishments were visited; I examined many thousand acres of cane and conversed with over three hundred persons, who had acquired more or less experience in the cultivation of the cane, or in the manufacture of syrup, or
sugar from its juice. In the following pages it has been attempted to give . a clear and faithful record of the result of these observations and enquiries.
OF THE EXTENT OF SUGAR PRODUCTION. There seems little danger of producing an over-supply of sugar, or of glatting the market so as permanently to depress its price. As an article of food, it is a universal favorite, and if it could be supplied at a nioderate price, the consumption, without doubt, would be soon more than doubled.
According to the estimate of Dr. Stolle, the annual production of sugar in the world, amounts to five thousand one hundred and fifty-four millions of pounds, derived from the following sources:
Millions of lbs. Per cent. of whole
annually. sugar product. Sugar cane...........
7.3 Palm .......
220 Maple ..................... 45
0.8 Enormous as is this amount, it is still obviously far below the real production, since the sugar derived from sorghum is not taken into the account. The populations of China and Japan, exceeding four hundred millions of souls, derive their sugar almost exclusively from the sorghum, if, therefore, only two and a half pounds of surgar is consumed by each person in these countries, it will increase the above total by one thousand millions of pounds.
The amount of sugar consumed in the United States in the year 1862, was four hundred and seventeen thousand, five hundred and forty-cight tons, divided as follows:
247,015 tons of cane sugar imported ..................59.1 per cent.
....36.2 " 19,431 tons maple sugar......... The amount of molasses consumed in the United States was fifty six millions, three hundred and eighty thousand and forty-five gallons, of which
30,922,633 gallons were imported.................... 54.8 per cent.
7,176,042 gallons sorghum molassos................12.8 " According to the returns collected by Mr. Klepport, the indefatigable secretrary of the Ohio Board of Agriculture, the State of Ohio produced two millions six hundred and ninety-six thousand one hundred and fifty. nine gallons of sorghum syrup. I have not been able to procure the exact statistics of the sorghum production of any other State, but from the best
information I have been able to obtain, I am convinced that the production of syrup in the western States could not have been less than twelve millions of gallons.
The number of acres planted during the present year was fully one-third more than was planted in the year 1862; yet owing to the protracted drouth of the summer, succeeded by the severe frosts of the autumn, the whole product will not exeeed five and a-half millions of gallons, notwithstanding the great increase of area. This striking evidence of the instability of the crop, has been very discouraging to many hitherto sanguine cultivators.
I obtained statements from a great number of individuals in the States of Iowa, Indiana, Illinois and Ohio, respecting the crop of 1863. Reducing these individual statements to an average, it would appear that the crop of 1863 was about five-eights of the crop of the preceding year; that of Illinois one quarter; Indiana gives about 1,100 gallons for the same weight of cane which last year produced 2,000 gallons; Ohio has about half as much as last year.
I saw several samples of sugar made from the Chinese .cane in the year 1862, but they were so small in amount that their influence could not be felt in the market in the slightest degree. I was repeatedly told of tons that had been made at this or that place, but on going there I found that nothing of the kind had been seen there, but that at some other place I should find it in great quantities; but on going to the place referred to, the sugar was not to be found I grew tired at last of following up these dissolving views, and grew quite faithless about sugar by the ton. The largest sample that I met with was fifty pounds, which was made by Wm. Edgerton, of Spiceland, Henry co., Indiana, as this was the largest, so it was also the best sample that I saw. A bottle of it is deposited in the museum of the society.
The Ohio board of agriculture report 27486 lbs. of sorghum sugar, as the production of Ohio in 1862. I have no doubt that these returns were actually made to the excellent secretary of the board, but I am very confident that the amount of dry merchantable sorghum sugar made in the Northern States in the year 1862, would not exceed ten thousand pounds.
I did not meet with a single specimen of sugar made in 1863, nor did I see a single person who expected to make any.
COMPOSITION OF SUGAR. There are several varieties of sugar, differing considerably from each other in their physical appearance, and atomic constitution. Pure Cane sugar free from water consists of Carbon.......
...... 44.92 per cent. or 12 atoms.
...... 48.97 " " " 10 " It is found in many plants, as the sugar cane sorghum, the maple and birch, the turnip and beet and in many others. It crystalizes in forms having the figure of a modified oblique rhombic prism. When perfectly pure it is quite colorless and free from odor. Its specific gravity is 1.6. It freezes at a temperature of 350 deg. F. into a clear yellow liquid, on cooling, it [Ag. Trans.]
hardens into a brittle mass called barley sugar, which after some weeks becomes opaque, white and crystalline. If sugar is heated to 630 deg. water is given off, it assumes a dark brown color and in this condition is known as caramel, it appears as a porous glossy black mass which is completely soluble in water, and is free from any empyreumatic taste.
Cane sugar dissolves in one third of its weight of cold and in all proportions in boiling water. If a strong solution of sugar be kept for some time near its boiling point, it is gradually changed into uncrystallizable sugar; hence arises the necessity for rapid evaporation at low temperatures and from thin masses. When acted upon by dilute acids cane sugar is converted rapidly into grape sugar, but with stronger acids, it is changed into two brown substances insoluble in water, one of them soluble the other insoluble in alkaline liquors. The substance soluble in alkalies is called sacchulmine the other sacchulmic acid. Grape sugar, dried at 250° Fahrenheit consists of Carbon ......................
....... 40.47 per cent., or 12 atoms.
.............. 52.94 " It is less sweet than cane sugar. Two parts of the latter will impart as much sweetness to water as five parts of grape sugar. It crystalizes into hard, colorless tables, or in hemispherical grains, consisting of minute needles closely aggregated together. Its specific gravity is 1.38. It is less soluble in water than cane sugar. It is found on dried raisins, in the form of little rounded grains. It gives sweetness to the apple, pear, apricot, and most other fruits. It is the sweet principle of the chestnut and beech nut, of brewers' wort, and of, all fermented liquors. It is the solid sugar which floats in rounded grains in liquid honey, and which increases in apparent quantity as the honey by keeping becomes more and more solid. There are several methods by which cane sugar and grape sugar can be discriminated, and the amount of each in a given compound aceu- • rately determined; but they involve manipulations requiring more dexterity than can be expected from farmers and sugar boilers. The following rough method may, however, be used successfully by inexpert bands: Heat a solution and add a few drops of sulphuric acid. Cane sugar will be decomposed, and blacken, and made to fall as a black or brown powder; while grape sugar will be only slightly discolored. If, instead of sulphuric acid, caustic potash be employed, the cane sugar will be unchanged, while the grape sugar will be blackened and thrown down. Grape sugar is the only form that is fermentable. There are several other kinds of sugar, as sugar of milk, manna sugar, sugar of mushrooms, sugar of manna, and sugar of licorice; but as they are not found in the juice of the sorghum, it is unnecessary to speak at length of their properties.
Dr. C. A. Goessmann, in Transactions New York State Agricultural Society for 1861, gave the following as the composition of fresh cane:
... 78.94 per cent.
10.22' " of which 9.-9 5 are cane sugar. ; Cellulose.............................. 8.20 " Cerosine and insoluble earthy compounds. 1.24 "
Albuminous matter ...................,