BLTC Press Titles


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Leaves of Grass

Walt Whitman


Knowledge of Higher Worlds and its Attainment

Rudolf Steiner


Shakti and Shakta

John Woodroffe


Darby O'Gill and the Little People

Hermenie Templeton Kavanagh


History and cultivation of cotton and tobacco

by Robert L. De Coin

Excerpt:

We now leave our pleasant Virginia friends, and cross the Roanoke River into our native State of North Carolina, which occupies 45,000 square miles of territory; contained a population of 992,622 in 1860, and produced 145,514 bales of cotton of 400 lbs. average weight, in 1859; or nearly eleven and a half bales to one bale produced in Virginia. The cotton region of this state extends from the Virginia line to a portion of the South Carolina line; say from about latitude 36i, down to 34|deg. north; and it is almost entirely embraced by the longitudes of 76-|- to 80 deg. west, between the Atlantic coast and the tobacco and grain growing hills westward, which are similar to those of Virginia.

As in the counties of Acomac and Northampton, on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay, and through Nansemond and some other Virginia counties, so there are sandy lands in North Carolina which contain but very little loam. They are to be found at broken, irregular intervals amongst the piney woods that form a belt of from thirty to sixty miles wide, across the state from north to south, and produce but sparingly without a good deal of manure. The surface soil of the pine belt, outside of the very sandy tracts, differs in quality in proportion to the loam mixed with the sand to make a smooth, solid surface. Much of it is capable of producing very fair -growths of cotton; and some of it is planted with cotton; but we cannot pronounce it strictly within the cotton growing region of the state; because the pine trees are more valuable to the owner than cotton would be, and, therefore, he preserves the trees. These yellow pines, so widely celebrated as the best pine timber in the world, shoot their long, large tap-roots far down into deep subsoils composed of mingled, red and yellow clay, and grow up luxuriantly to a great height, and in graceful forms. These pines are boxed in their sides near the ground. Above each box the bark is shaved off; turpentine exudes, trickles down, fills the boxes, and is dipped out and put into barrels. The bark is shaved off a little higher up; and the box is again filled, and dipped; and so on for about seven or eight years, when the tree is cut down, hewed square, and sent in floats, or by rail, to market amongst the saw mills.

The turpentine is distilled, either in the woods, or by some town distiller who buys the crude article in market. The distillation is spirit of turpentine, and the residue is rosin.

The tops and limbs of the pine, left in the woods, turn to fat lightwood which is cut and placed in a kiln. The kiln is embanked and turfed; and fire is placed under the turf. The great heat under the turf causes the tar to exude from the lightwood, run down to the low centre of the kiln, and make its way through a box, to a hole in the ground outside, from which it is dipped and poured into a barrel ready for market. Thus it is seen that no part of the pine is lost; and hence the fortunes it has made for its owners, and the preservation of it in preference to clearing it away for the cultivation of cotton.

In the midst of the yellow pine regions of North Carolina, we sometimes find tracts of fair, good, and even very good land for cotton and grain, where the long-leafed pine does not appear amongst the tall, straight, white and red oaks. We have known some of these lands to produce fifty bushels of corn to the acre; and cotton plants as far north as the Albemarle Sound, that would have produced 400 lbs. of clean cotton to the acre, if they had not been overtaken by the frost; and did produce a very handsome, paying quantity.

The portions of North Carolina cultivated in cotton, are chiefly to the east and west of the yellow pine belt within the longitudes we have named. "We should say that the average crop of cotton in the state, was not more than 200 lbs. to the acre; although there are lands in some of the counties which produce more than twice that quantity. To the east of the pine belt, the country is nearly level; and the best surface soil is of dark sand and loam; and in places, it is very rich, and underlaid with clay often streaked and spotted with marl. To the west of the pine belt, the country becomes gradually more rolling; and as the hills increase in height, the pine almost disappears; giving place to various kinds of oak, hickory, ash, &c; and while the upper soil is of sand and dark loam, the subsoil becomes, by degrees, more uniformly, a brownish red-coloured clay; but not difficult to work. The larger the quantity, and the greater the sizes of oaks and other deciduous growths in North Carolina, the better the lands. We shall find it totally different in some other states farther south.

The woodland growths thus far named, are common in Virginia; but in North Carolina, we find large additions of the maple, blackberry, elm, black and sweet gums, wild poplar, or elegant tulip-tree, with its long, graceful body and umbrageous top; the wild sycamore, ash, willow, and wild fruit trees, all of the deciduous kinds. We also find the cypress, large, tall, and in great abundance; the juniper with its tall, straight body, which is one of the finest and most easily worked woods in the world, for hollow ware; the red bay and magnolia; immense quantities of evergreen shrubbery and vines that bloom, and white bays which, when laden with flowers of snowy whiteness and camellia-like texture, mingle their odours with those of other wild flowers


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