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COTTON 



GEORGE BIGWOOD 




STAPLE TRADES 
AND INDUSTRIES 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2007 with funding from 

IVIicrosoft Corporation 



http://www.archive.org/details/cottoncottonOObigwrich 



STAPLE TRADES AND INDUSTRIES 

Edited by GORDON D. KNOX 

Vol. II. 



COTTON 

GEORGE BIGWOOD 




COTTON BOLLS. 



[Frontispiece. 



STAPLE TRADES AND INDUSTRIES 

Edited by GORDON D. KNOX 

Vol. II. 



COTTON 

BY 

GEORGE BIGWOOD 



LONDON 

CONSTABLE AND COMPANY LTD 

lo ORANGE STREET LEICESTER SQUARE WC 

1918 






MAIN LIBRARY-AGRICULTURE DEFT. 



Printed in Great Britain. 



PREFACE 

In the following pages I have made a modest 
attempt briefly to trace the beginnings of the cotton 
industry from the earliest times down to the present 
day ; to describe the remarkable inventions which 
from time to time were introduced to the industry 
and which led to its enormous development, and 
to mention some of the more serious difficulties 
which confront those engaged in cotton manufac- 
ture at the present time. 

My aim has been to treat the subject in a popular 
way, and to avoid technicalities. 

For facts and figures concerning the early history 
of the plant I have consulted the classical writers. 
For a much later period I have been guided by 
Baines through his standard work, "The History 
of Cotton Manufacture." I have also been greatly 
assisted by the writings of the late Mr. John 
Mortimer on the process of spinning and weaving, 
and the Reports of the International Cotton Con- 
gresses have proved invaluable in relation to the 
multifarious difficulties and anxieties which attend 
this great industry to-day. 

This preface would be incomplete were I to omit 
mention of the debt I owe to Mr. Charles Stewart, 

V 



419831 



Preface 



for permission to reproduce in an Appendix his 
treatise on "Cotton Futures," and further I must 
acknowledge my great indebtedness to the Fine 
Cotton Spinners and Doublers' Association, Ltd., 
for photographs of the latest cotton spinning 
machinery ; to Sir Herbert Dixon, Bart., Chairman 
of the Fine Cotton Spinners' Association and 
Chairman of the Cotton Control Board, for the 
plate showing the boll weevil at work and for 
kindly reading my proofs ; to Messrs. Henry 
Bannerman & Sons, Ltd., for the photographs of 
"Cotton Bolls"; to Dr. W. Lawrence Balls, 
formerly Botanist to the Khedivial Agricultural 
Society of Cairo, and to the Egyptian Government 
Agricultural Department for the photograph of 
the flower of the cotton plant ; to Professor John 
A. Todd, of the University College, Nottingham, 
author of " The World's Cotton Crops," for some 
valuable suggestions, and to Mr. Arno Pearse for 
photographs taken in the cotton fields. 



GEORGE BIG WOOD. 



" Greenwood," 

Wythenshawe Road, 
Sale, Cheshire. 



VI 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER 
I. 



PAOK 

History of the Cotton Plant . . 1 

II. The Development of Spinning . . 11 

III. The Cotton Fields . . . • . ^^ 

IV. Triumph of Mechanical Invention . 33 
V. Cotton Growing under the- British 

Flag 60 

VI. Classification of the World's Crop . 74 
VII. Modern Spinning and Weaving . 85 
VIII. " Where Merchants most do Con- 
gregate "..... 102 
IX. Gambling in Cotton . . . .119 
X. Cotton Fabrics: An Art Manu- 
facture . . . . .127 
XI. Cotton Organisations and Strikes . 137 
XII. A General Utility Plant. . . 151 

Appendix I. Cotton "Futures" . . 157 

„ II. Spindles and Looms . . 185 

III. The Cotton Trade in War Time . 188 

Index 1^^ 



vii 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



FACING PAGK 



Cotton Bolls . . . Frontispiece 

Flower of Cotton Plant 

Cashmere Woman spinning Cotton Yarn 

The Boll Weevil .... 

Picking Cotton in the United States 

Indians doubling Cotton 

Lagos Plantation : Hauling Cotton to 
Ginnery ..... 

Cotton Growing in the British Empire 

Bales of Cotton (after Sampling) 

Card-room ...... 

Spinning-room ..... 

Manchester Royal Exchange 



4 
12 

26 
30 

48 

62 
72 
86 
90 
96 
110 



Persian Wheel: Irrigating Cotton Fields 120 

Handloom Weaving in North- West Frontier 

Province of India ..... 128 

Indian Agricultural Students (Hoeing 

Competition) . . . . . .152 

Arrival of Cotton at a Ginnery in Burmah 166 

viii 



COTTON 

CHAPTER I 

HISTORY OF THE COTTON PLANT 

Long before the dawn of history the cotton plant 
was cultivated in various parts of the world and 
the earliest records of the processes of spinning 
its fleecy " bolls of wool " into yarn and of weaving 
that yarn into clothing, are of such antiquity as to 
make it difficult to obtain satisfactory evidence of 
their beginnings. According to the Sacred Books 
of the East cotton was in use many centuries before 

the Christian era, and Virgil in his Georgics refers to 

. \ ^ 
" The groves of the Ethiopians, hoary with soft wool." cr^ 

The name " cotton " is of Oriental origin, being 
derived from the Arabic koton or gootn. The de- 
velopment in the cultivation of this plant, mainly 
for the purpose of clothing the people of the world, 
is one of the romances of modern times. The 
world's fields now produce cotton of an annual 
value of hundreds of millions of pounds sterling, 
and millions of people get their livelihood in the 



• • • 

• : : 



Cotton 



production and manufacture of a commodity 
which, it is estimated, provides clothing for nine- 
tenths of the world's population. 

We do not know whether the need for a 
thread led to its invention or whether the accidental 
discovery of the possibility of its construction 
created the need. Matters such as these belong to a 
dim and undefinable past. In either case, hdwever, 
spinning is mentioned in many mythologies, and 
the forming of threads by drawing out and twisting 
various fibres, is said to have been a gift to mortals 
from benevolent deities, Minerva being among the 
goddesses by whom this gift is understood to have 
been bestowed. 

Over three thousand years ago the cotton plant 
was used in Egypt as an ornamental shrub. 
Writing about 306 B.C., Theophrastus, the disciple 
of Aristotle, describes the flower of the cotton plant 
as resembling a " dog " rose, and mentions the 
use made, by the Indians, of the capsules of a 
downy, silvery substance which bursts open some 
two months after the flowers have reached maturity. 
He observes that " the trees from which they (the 
Indians) make their clothes have leaves like those 
of the mulberry. . . . They set them in the plains 
in rows so as to look like vines at a distance." This 
evidence, from a quite independent observer, 
seems to point to the interesting fact that the 



History of the Cotton Plant 



Indians, in these early days, were cultivating the 
plant on a large scale to provide cotton cloths for 
their people. It suggests that weaving and dyeing 
flourished, and, in all probability, coloured goods 
were exported. Theophrastus also mentions the 
island of Tylos as " containing many wool-bearing 
trees, from the fruits of which they obtained the 
wool which they worked into textiles." Aristo- 
bulus, one of Alexander's generals, and Pliny 
had found wool-bearing trees in an island on the 
Persian Gulf " that bear fruit like gourds in 
shape and as big as quinces which, when they be 
full ripe, do open and show certain balls within 
of down ; whereof they make fine and costly 
linen cloths." Herodotus, the Greek philosopher 
and the Father of History, also mentions the cotton 
plant, and notes that the Indians possess a kind of 
" plant which, instead of fruit, produces wool of a 
finer and better quality than that of sheep ; of this 
they make their clothes." 

Of the customs and usages in Egypt, Herodotus 
says : " Amongst them the women attend markets 
and traffic, but the men stay at home and weave. 
Other nations, in weaving throw the wool upwards ; 
the Egyptians downwards." Again, Herodotus 
describes the corselet which Amasis, King of 
Egypt, sent to the Lacedaemonians as a present. 
" This corselet was made of linen, with many 

3 >2 



Cotton 



figures of animals inwrought, and adorned with 
gold and cotton wool." He does not, however, 
mention the existence, in Egypt, of the cotton 
plant. It used to be said that Egyptian mummies 
were wrapped in cotton cloth, but a microscopic 
examination has decided in favour of the employ- 
ment of linen which is now known to have been 
used through successive dynasties. Some Egypto- 
logists are of opinion that the trilingual Rosetta 
stone, now in the British Museum, that eulogises 
Ptolemy Epiphanes (about 196 B.C.), refers in part 
to cotton. 

In China, the original home of silk manufactures, 
the silkworm has been specially cared for from the 
23rd century B.C., and the silken threads have 
been woven into materials which for their work- 
manship and richness of design have never been 
surpassed. The cotton-plant, though not indi- 
genous, was employed as early as the 7th century, 
to assist in the decoration of Chinese gardens, 
and some authorities assert that its introduction 
into that country as a commercial venture was 
as late as the 11th century, and that it came from 
Eastern Turkestan. Cotton now ranks in China 
as one of the products necessary for the comfort 
of their people, and it is extensively grown in the 
Chiang basin, Nanking being the centre for the 
cotton used for nankeen cloth. 

4 



History of the Cotton Plant 



The so-called wool-bearing cotton plant is the 
subject of a curiously interesting myth which seems 
to have originated among the savage and nomadic 
Scythians. The Scythians traded in cotton goods, 
and the soft white wool of the cotton plant, which 
resembled that of a lamb, caused them to declare 
that the plant produced a small lamb, which was 
called at that early period " The Scythian Lamb," 
and later, "The Vegetable Lamb of Tartary," 
or " The Tartarian Lamb." It is hardly likely 
that those who were trading in cotton goods were so 
easily deceived, but the close resemblance between 
the cotton wool and lambs' wool may have en- 
couraged the merchants to invent the " lamb- 
bearing tree " story in order the better to influence 
their markets to their own advantage. It is not 
inconceivable that unscrupulous merchants of the 
class who travelled from market to market would 
contrive to place a fictitious value on the fleeces 
they had to sell, by claiming that they were the 
fleeces of lambs which were growing on trees in 
a distant part of the world. 

The utility of the cotton plant in providing 
material to clothe mankind did not in some coun- 
tries readily suggest itself. There can be no 
question, however, that its potential value in 
commerce was discovered at a very remote period. 
Credit for the discovery is given to the Indians. 

5 



Cotton 



Cotton is thought to have been in use by the 
Indian artisan as early as 800 B.C., while it is con- 
jectured that about three hundred years later the 
Egyptians had learned something of the character 
and usefulness of the plant which had previously 
been growing promiscuously, but not extensively, 
in their country. 

As regards the New World there is substantial 
evidence that cotton was growing wild in America 
before the time of Columbus, and that when Cortes 
conquered Mexico, in 1519, the Mexicans were 
wearing cotton garments. This goes to prove that 
cotton manufacture had by then been firmly 
established by the Mexicans. 

The starting point of textile history in this 
country seems to date from the establishment of 
Flemish weavers in Manchester, a.d. 1363. In the 
Manchester Town Hall there is a series of mural 
paintings by Ford Madox Brown, representing 
some prominent phases in the early history of the 
city. One of these pictures is intended to com- 
memorate the foundation of Lancashire supremacy 
in textile manufacture. Edward III. and his wife, 
Queen Philippa of Hainault, are said to have 
advised the introduction of Flemish weavers into 
England, and tradition mentions yearly visits 
which it was the Queen's custom to pay them. 
The artist depicts the Queen riding on her palfrey 



History of the Cotton Plant 



and accompanied by attendants carrying branches 
of May blossoms, for according to the old English 
custom, they have been in the woods " maying." 
To the right of the picture an old weaver is seated 
beside his apprentice at his loom, which is drawn 
out to the front of their small shop, under the 
shutters, raised pent-house fashion. There is little 
doubt that the Royal favour did encourage the 
weaving industry in Manchester. Some credit, 
too, is due to Lord de la Warre, a baron of 
Manchester who, having raised a company of 
Lancashire men to attend him in the war in 
Flanders, contrived, on his return, to bring back 
some weavers with him, and thereby gave an 
impulse to manufacture. A considerable trade, 
however, seems to have been done during the 
reign of Edward II., for there is said to have 
existed a mill for dyeing goods on the banks of 
the Irk, once a clear stream noted for its fish, 
but now hopelessly contaminated by industrial 
refuse. 

The product of the Flemish weavers was called 
Manchester " stuffs " or Manchester " cottons," 
though from an Act passed in the reign of 
Edward VI. (1552), it appears that no "vegetable 
wool " was used in their production. This Act was 
intended to secure " the true making of woollen 
cloth " and regulated the dimensions of " Man- 

7 



Cotton 



Chester, Lancashire and Cheshire cottons," and 
Manchester rugs or friezes. 

The merchants of those days had warehouses 
of wood and plaster, and carried their goods to 
market on pack-horses. They used to be in their 
warehouses before six o'clock in the morning, 
accompanied by children of their own family and 
apprentices. At seven o'clock they had their 
breakfast, the meal consisting of one large dish of 
oatmeal porridge. At the side of the oatmeal 
was a basin of milk, and into these two vessels 
each one dipped with a wooden spoon, returning 
to work immediately the porridge was finished. 

It is not possible definitely to say at what period 
cotton was first brought to the Lancashire districts 
now famed for their cotton manufacture. One 
historian states that in the year 1635, England began 
to be an important cotton manufacturing country. 
According to another view, cotton was shipped to 
Liverpool in the year 1757. In any case except 
for candle-wicks, cotton was not employed in 
England long before the year 1641, when it was used 
at Manchester for making fustians and dimities. 
The earlier-mentioned " cottons " were made wholly 
of wool. 

The first recorded consignment of American 
cotton to Liverpool was in 1784. It consisted 
of eight bales, and the Custom-house officials 

8 



History of the Cotton Plant 



promptly seized it. The reason for this action is 
not clear, but the officials may have suspected the 
contents of the bales. One explanation offered is 
that they thought the cotton had come from a 
country other than America. Ultimately, this 
(in the light of to-day) insignificant quantity of 
cotton was released. In the year 1785 only five 
bales reached the Mersey port, and six bales in 
1786. 

Several countries claim the honour of having 
introduced to Europe the industries of spinning and 
weaving, but it is practically certain that the 
followers of Mahomet were among the first to extend 
those industries to the West. In the Middle Ages 
the Arabs greatly stimulated cotton cultivation. 
Later, in Egypt, in 1820 Mohammed Ali interested 
himself in the cotton trade enterprise, but till 
then there was no serious attempt to cultivate the 
cotton plant, and even for three further decades 
the export of cotton from that country was insigni- 
ficant. Abbas Pasha (1850) gave greater freedom 
to the fellaheen in the matter of cotton export, 
and a few years later the Egyptians exported some 
680,000 cantars. (A cantar is about 99 lbs.) This 
was the largest consignment of cotton that, up to 
that time, had been sent out of the country. Eng- 
land's share of it was 60 per cent., France and 
Austria were also buyers. It was during the reign 

9 



Cotton 



of Mohammed Ali, that England received her 
first consignment of Egyptian cotton, but both 
in quaHty as well as in quantity it was of little 
account when considered in the light of modern 
requirements and modern inventions. 

When the International Federation of Master 
Cotton Spinners and Manufacturers' Associations 
(formed in 1904) held its Annual Congress m 
Barcelona, in 1911, Senor Calvet, who represented 
Spain on the International Committee, reminded 
the Congress that three hundred years before, Spain 
was the centre of the European cotton industry, 
but the King of Spain, at a reception he gave to 
the International Committee at the Royal Palace, 
Madrid, observed that he feared his country would 
never again occupy the position it once held in the 
cotton industry. When, in 1909, the International 
Committee visited the Quirinal at Rome, and were 
received by King Victor Emmanuel, the King, in 
welcoming the delegates, said that cotton was 
at one time extensively grown in the districts 
surrounding Rome as well as in Southern Italy. 



10 



CHAPTER II 

THE DEVELOPMENT OF SPINNING 

The loaded distaff in the left hand placed. 
With spongy coils of snow-white wool was graced 
From these the right hand lengthy fibres drew, 
Which into thread 'neath nimble fingers grew. 
At intervals a gentle touch was given. 
By which the twirling whorl was onward driven ; 
Then, when the sinking spindle reached the ground, 
The recent thread around the spire was wound. 
Until the clasp within the nipping cleft 
Held fast the newly-finished length of weft. 

Catullus. 

Minerva, as I have already said, was by the 
ancients regarded as the goddess of the art of spin- 
ning, and Catullus is among the poets to sing its 
praises. Up to the middle of the 18th century 
the simplest devices were used for twisting the 
fibres and there was, during this time, apparently 
no demand for anything more elaborate or calcu- 
lated to facilitate the work of spinning. It was not 
a progressive time, or an art so widely practised 
would have called for the employment of greatly 
improved methods. From the middle of the 18th 
century, the inventive mind set itself the task of 

11 



Cotton 



revolutionising the spinning processes, and by con- 
stant application to the work in hand, the product 
of the hand-loom was slightly increased through the 
agency of mechanical means. Experiments with 
more ambitious mechanical devices followed, and 
some of these satisfactorily met the claims advanced 
in their favour by their respective inventors. But 
the opposition of the workers had to be encountered. 
They offered the strongest resistance to any 
modernising of an art which had come down to 
them through successive generations and, in their 
view, it was something in the nature of sacrilege 
to supplant hand-spinning by mechanical means. 
But the conservatism of the humble operatives 
had to give way to the advancing tide of commer- 
cialism. On the horizon far-seeing men could dis- 
cern great markets for cotton garments, and it was 
necessary for the supply of yarn to be increased 
a hundred-fold to meet the demand of those markets. 
Hence we have, to-day, machinery of a wonderful 
range and variety, performing the most delicate 
of operations and producing cotton cloths with a 
texture almost as fine as silk — machinery which is 
the wonder of cotton manufacture. 

The distaff and the spindle about which Catullus 
sang were used exclusively by women. The distaff 
was a cleft stick about three feet long on which wool 
or carded cotton was wound. It was held under 

12 







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1 



The Development of Spinning 

the left arm, and the fibres of the cotton drawn 
from it were twisted spirally by the forefinger and 
thumb of the right hand. The thread, as it was 
spun, was wound on a reel which was suspended 
from, and revolved with, the thread during spin- 
ning. The word " distaff," was at one time 
commonly used to symbolise the work or activities 
of women, a meaning comparable with that of 
the word " spinster " to-day as applying to an 
unmarried woman. Formerly, a woman whose 
occupation was spinning was called a spinster, but 
since men have largely supplanted women in 
the work of spinning in consequence of the 
introduction of machinery, the word " spinster " 
in its relation to the cotton industry has become 
obsolete. 

There has been some speculation as to how and 
by whom the process of spinning came to be 
conceived. It has been suggested that the first 
spinner was a shepherd-boy, and the material 
used a few locks of wool. During the idle hours 
he spent in the fields with his flock, this hypo- 
thetical shepherd-boy might have amused himself 
with a portion of the wool lying near at hand, and 
quite unconsciously, have twisted its fibres round 
his fingers, and in the course of time made a thread 
much longer than the original fibre in much the 
same way as children make a string of flowers. 

13 



Cotton 



It is an interesting and fanciful picture, but it is not 
unlikely that the beginning of spinning originated 
in some such simple manner. 

The distaff was displaced by the hand wheel and 
thereby production was greatly facilitated. What 
was known as the Jersey wheel was introduced 
and adopted toward the close of the 15th century, 
and the beginning of the next century marks the 
period when Lancashire came to be known as a 
spinning centre. Lancashire had already gained 
a reputation for wool spinning, and the new hand 
wheel was used for spinning both wool and cotton. 
The hand spinning was, of necessity, of an inter- 
mittent character, and the inventive mind was at 
work trying to remedy this by giving a continuous 
rotation to the spindle. This mechanical improve- 
ment was found in the Brunswick wheel which was 
worked by means of a treadle. 

A further important development in this direc- 
tion was found in the Saxony wheel. This wheel 
could be fitted with two spindles, so that two 
threads could be spun simultaneously. The chief 
feature of this machine was that the bobbin lagged 
behind what was technically known as the 
" flyer," which had an independent movement, 
the spindle giving the twist to the yarn, and 
the difference of speed of the spindle and bobbin 
causing the bobbin to be wound. This device 

14 



The Development of Spinning 

was invented at Nuremberg, in 1530, and em- 
bodies the vital principle of Arkwright's (1769) 
invention. 

The machinery was rude in structure and slow 
in operation until the 18th century. The cotton 
industry promised to grow enormously, but 
entirely new methods, it was recognised, would have 
to be brought into use if that promise was to be 
fulfilled, and the most important vegetable fibre 
in the world used to the fullest advantage. The 
cotton spinner was not then, as now, working in a 
large factory with machinery kept running during 
specified hours. The cottage and the farmhouse 
were the spinning mill and the weaving shed, and 
wages being high in proportion to the price of 
foodstuffs, each spinner suited her hours of labour 
at the wheel to her own convenience. Consequently 
the spinner was not able satisfactorily to supply 
the requirements of the weaver, notwithstanding 
that there were also supplies of yarn from abroad. 
To the question of supply and demand the woman 
at the wheel was serenely indifferent. Her primary 
consideration in regard to the number of revolutions 
of the wheel was the amount of money required to 
meet the rent of the agricultural holding or cottage. 

It will be interesting here to note how closely 
allied in the 17th century were the two great 
industries — agriculture and cotton. Farms were, 

15 



Cotton 



for the most part, concerned with the production 
of milk, butter and cheese, and in the growing of 
oats which were employed in making meal suitable 
for porridge and cakes for domestic consumption. 
Generally speaking, the farming was of that kind 
which did not call for any attention on the part of 
an expert agriculturist. The work was done by 
the members of the family. Whilst the husband 
and the sons worked in the fields, the wife and 
daughters attended to the churning and cheese- 
making, and when these duties were done they 
turned to "carding" and "slubbing" and the spin- 
ning of cotton or wool, and prepared it for the 
loom. The number of looms in a house varied with 
the size of the family, and when the rent of the 
farm could not be raised from the agricultural aide 
of the family's employments, the profits made on 
the manufacturing side were drawn upon to make 
up the deficiency. 

In the district of Manchester, few farmers raised 
the rent of their holdings directly from the produce 
of the field. As Mr. William Radcliffe, an early 
inventor of textile machinery, has said, the great 
sheet anchor of all cottages and small farms was 
the labour attached to the hand wheel. It required 
six or eight " hands " to prepare and spin yam of 
any of the three materials (wool, linen or cotton) 
sufficient for the consumption of one weaver, so that 

16 



The Development of Spinning 

labour was thus provided for every person, from 
the age of ten to eighty years (provided their sight 
was good and the free use of their hands was 
unimpaired) to keep them above the poverty hne. 

A serious hindrance to the development of the 
trade at this early period was the wide separation of 
the allied branches. To convert the raw cotton into 
the finished commodity was a long and tedious busi- 
ness. The cotton wool was shipped from the East 
Indies to London (Liverpool was not then the great 
cotton port). It was sent from London to Manchester 
where it was turned into yarn. The Manchester 
merchants sent it to Paisley to be woven ; it then 
went to Ayrshire to be tamboured, and returned 
to Paisley to be veined. It was hand-sewed at 
Dumbarton, and returning again to Paisley was later 
sent to Renfrew for the process of bleaching. The 
Paisley merchants handled it again and sent it on 
to Glasgow for the final process, and it was then 
despatched by coach to London. It was calculated 
that the time occupied in bringing the article to 
market in its finished state was three years. It 
must have been conveyed some 5,000 miles by sea 
and about 920 by land ; and contributed to sup- 
port not less than 150 persons, by whom the value 
had been increased 2,000 per cent. 

The Jacquard machine, which is named after 
its inventor and soon proved its value, made the 

17 P 



Cotton 



transition between old and new methods, though, 
as we shall see later; Jacquard was preceded by other 
equally important and notable inventors. Jacquard 
was at one time a straw hat manufacturer. His 
attention had not been turned to mechanical inven- 
tions until the Peace of Amiens again opened up 
the communication of France with England. It 
appears that an English newspaper fell into 
Jacquard' s hands in which it was stated that an 
English company was offering a premium to any 
man who could weave a net by machinery. Jac- 
quard turned his thoughts to the subject and did 
eventually produce a net. But not altogether 
satisfied with his work he threw it aside, and later 
gave it to a friend as a thing of little worth. By 
some means the net passed into the hands of the 
authorities, and was sent to Paris. Some time 
later Jacquard was sent for by the Prefect, who 
said, " You have directed your attention to the 
making of nets by machinery ? " Jacquard did 
not immediately admit it, and the net was pro- 
duced. The Prefect then said, " I require you to 
make the machine which led to this result." The 
inventor asked for sufficient time for the work. 
He was granted three weeks, and at the end of that 
time he brought the machine to the Prefect, who 
pressed a lever with his foot and a knot was added 
to the net. The machine was sent to Paris and 

18 



The Development of Spinning 

Jacquard was arrested. When under arrest he was 
taken before Bonaparte and Carnot. Bonaparte said 
to him : " Are you the man who pretends to do 
that which God Almighty cannot do — tie a knot in 
a stretched string ? " Jacquard repHed by pro- 
ducing the machine and showing how it was worked. 
He was afterwards called to examine a loom on 
which twenty or thirty thousand francs had been 
expended for the production of articles for the use of 
Bonaparte. A little later he made the machine 
which bears his name and returned to his native 
town with a pension. But he suffered great perse- 
cution in consequence of his invention and his life 
was in danger. His machine was broken up, and 
the iron (to use his own expression) was sold for 
iron, and the wood for wood, and Jacquard was 
made to suffer universal ignominy. It was only 
when the French manufacturers complained of 
foreign competition that they turned to his machine 
and, through its use, saved the situation. Jacquard, 
their saviour, had trodden the hard path of many 
inventors. 



W P2 



CHAPTER III 

THE COTTON FIELDS 

And lo ! 

To the remotest point of sight, 
Although I gaze upon no waste of snow, 
The endless field is white ; 
And the noble landscape glows, 
For many a shining league away, 
With such accumulated light 
As Polar lands would flash beneath a tropic 
day ! 

Henry Timrod. 

The many uses to which the cotton fibre is now 
applied have enormously enhanced its commer- 
cial value, and strengthened the demand for its 
increased cultivation. It is computed that nine- 
tenths of the clothing of the inhabitants of the world 
is made of cotton, and that out of a population of 
1,500,000,000, only 500,000,000 are completely 
clothed, 750,000,000 are only partially clothed, and 
that 250,000,000 are without clothing of any 
description. 

To regard cotton only as the raw material for 
the clothing of mankind would be a serious mis- 
conception. The bulk of the world's cotton crop is 

20 



The Cotton Fields 



used for this purpose, but its employment does 
not now end here. The introduction of mechanical 
appliances has greatly extended the utility of 
the fibre, and to-day we cannot overlook or ignore 
its application to science and to the arts, and other 
interests foreign to the cotton industry, in the 
narrower sense of the manufacture of cotton cloth- 
ing. Chemically treated, cotton is a powerful 
explosive ; mechanically treated, it is a highly 
inflammable material. It is used on the battlefield 
as a destroying agent ; it is to be found there 
among the healing agencies. Aircraft, for its 
structure, draws upon the best qualities of cotton, 
and steam has not altogether displaced it in our 
sailing craft. Cotton is extensively used in medi- 
cine and surgery ; the imagination of the artist is 
revealed upon it ; it is indispensable to the motor 
manufacturer ; it is used as a covering for our 
electric and telephone wires ; our homes are largely 
furnished with it. Cotton is a very adaptable 
material, and therefore a commodity of the greatest 
value, and the trade in it has reached gigantic 
dimensions. 

It will be interesting in this and subsequent 
chapters briefly to trace this remarkable growth ; 
to take a comprehensive view of the industry. Let 
us, in imagination, go to the extensive American 
cotton fields and learn something of the work of 

21 



\ 



Cotton 



the planter, and of the system of intensive culture 
which is pursued there both to improve the cotton 
staple and to increase the yield. We will then 
attempt to widen our knowledge in regard to the 
care bestowed on the plant until the flower and the 
" fruit " (bolls of cotton) in their season reach 
maturity ; try to appreciate the care which has 
to be exercised in gathering the cotton, and follow 
the work of ginning and baling that is preparatory 
to its shipment to the cotton-manufacturing 
countries. Then we might conveniently turn to 
the manufacturing side and trace the development 
of mechanical inventions for spinning and weaving ; 
discuss the urgent need for widening the field of 
cotton culture in the British Empire, and deal with 
other matters which so closely affect the future 
welfare of the industry. 

Not one pound of cotton is, or can be, grown in 
these islands, for the plant is extremely sensitive 
to weather conditions. It cannot thrive in our cold 
and variable climate. It flourishes only in tropical 
or semi-tropical countries. On the other hand the 
manufacture of the raw cotton into the finished 
article can best be done in a district where there is 
an abundance of moisture. This may, in part, 
explain the establishment and remarkable growth 
of the spinning industry in Lancashire, for that 
county has gained an unenviable reputation for an 

22 



The Cotton Fields 



excessive rainfall. In the cotton-growing areas of 
the world the climate is not constant. Seed-time 
and harvest come at their appointed seasons, but 
an abnormal rainfall or an extended period of 
drought will seriously affect the crop alike in quality 
and in quantity. Either of these contingencies 
might arise after the size of the crop has been 
estimated, and extensive operations have taken 
place in the cotton markets of the world on the 
assumption that its development would proceed 
unchecked. This explains the eagerness with which 
the meteorological reports are awaited at the 
Exchanges where " merchants most do congregate " 
in this country and on the Continent. A damaged 
cotton crop brings disaster to the planter, great 
anxiety to the spinner and manufacturer who are 
called upon to pay higher prices for the raw 
material, and distress to the millions of operatives 
who depend upon a good supply of cotton reaching 
the mills. 

The cotton-producing region of the United States 
of America stretches 500 miles from north to south 
and 1,500 miles from east to west — a territory of 
750,000 square miles, and includes the States of 
Alabama, North and South Carolina, Louisiana, 
Mississippi, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Florida, 
Georgia, Tennesse and Indian Territory. Ideal 
conditions for the successful cultivation of the 

23 



Cotton 



cotton plant are a soil of fine sandy loam, a 
proportionately high and even temperature and 
humidity, a careful selection of seed, a scientific 
use of fertilising agents, maximum of sunshine 
by day and heavy dews by night, frequent light 
showers shortly after sowing, and an absence 
of frost. 

A Lancashire Private Cotton Investigation Com- 
mission, in 1906, visited the American cotton 
fields and reported that there were numerous varie- 
ties of temperature, of weather, of humidity, of 
soil, of labour, of land tenure, of methods of culti- 
vation, and of pests. It was possible for the crop 
in one district to be a record success ; in another 
a record failure. Drought on the one hand, or exces- 
sive rains on the other, might turn a promise of 
plenty into a reality of scarcity. In the southern 
portion of the belt, planting might begin in Feb- 
ruary and not be completed in the northern por- 
tion until June. July witnesses the first picking 
in South Texas ; December does not always see 
it completed in North Texas. It will be readily 
understood, therefore, that the great cotton fields 
of America are not likely in any one season to 
possess all the essential conditions which are laid 
down as being necessary for a good crop, nor is the 
quality of the cotton produced in all the areas of 

the same standard or value. 

24 



The Cotton Fields 



The preparation of the field for the cultivation of 
cotton follows much the same lines in all cotton- 
growing countries. The seed is not now sown by 
hand. A machine drill is used, and germination 
takes place very quickly. Ordinarily, about a week 
or ten days after sowing, the plant appears, and 
provided its development is not in any way 
retarded, it will be about four inches high at the 
end of the first month, when the process of thinning 
begins. It is now a question of the survival of the 
fittest. The more progressive farmers arrange the 
plants so that there shall be a space of three feet 
dividing each plant and also the rows of plants. 
This is done in order to secure the maximum 
amount of sun to assist germination and to 
enable the ploughing to be done without damage 
to the crop. The cultivator breaks up the earth 
between the plants once every three weeks until 
the flowers appear and the " boll of wool " is 
formed. Five or six weeks later the cotton is 
ready for picking, provided the sun and rain 
— extremely important factors — have favoured 
cultivation. 

We will assume that the plant has escaped the 
danger arising from too little or overmuch rain ; 
too great heat or excessive cold, or a heavy and 
unseasonable fall of rain. But all danger to the life 
of this sensitive plant has not passed. There are 

25 



Cotton 



enemies lying in wait to attack it. An American 
once said that from the time of planting up to the 
time of maturity cotton was the constant object 
of attack. The slightest frost kills it, and an army 
of " creeping, crawling, boring and flying insects 
is ever trying to destroy it." The notorious boll 
weevil pest was first noticed in 1862, in Mexico, 
and thirty years later it was found in Texas. In 
1906 the weevil infested a third of the cotton 
acreage, and was reported to be within one 
hundred miles of the Mississippi. During the last 
decade it has advanced westward at the rate of 
fifty miles a year. It now infests the whole of 
the cotton belt and is said to be responsible 
for reducing the crop one half. The weevil 
goes on propagating its species as long as the 
cotton plant is allowed to flower. It then hiber- 
nates, reappearing with the first warm days of 
spring, and flies in search of " volunteer," or 
wild, cotton plants. From these it migrates to 
the cultivated crops as soon as they are suffi- 
ciently grown to provide food and shelter. The 
female deposits its eggs as soon as the bolls 
are formed. As it lays three hundred eggs, and 
the cycle of life is but fifteen days, its offspring 
may number hundreds of millions by the end of 
December. 

To allay the ravages of this pest it is recommended 
26 



* * l- 



sfc- 



The perfect insect. 



4^ 



The Weevil emerging through 

the hole which it has eaten in 

the side of the Pod. 



■W 




Section of a vacated Pod, 

showing the interioi* entirely 

eaten away. 




Diseased Pods showing holes made by 
the perfect beetle when escaping^. 



Il^t*% 



Diseased Pods of the Cotton Plant, after 
having been attacked by the Boll Weevil. 



THE BOLL WEEVIL. 



The Cotton Fields 



that early maturing varieties of the cotton seed be 
planted so as to secure, as far as possible, a uniform 
flowering crop, instead of one which continues to 
flower and bring forth fruit throughout the autumn. 
Further that the cotton stalks and leaves should be 
burned without waiting to gather the top crop. If 
these precautions are taken the boll weevil has to 
stop its destructive operations in July and August, 
with descendants numbering thousands instead 
of millions. 

Other pests include the boll worm, the cut worm, 
the cotton worm, and the army worm. The boll 
worm confines its ravages to the boll, the cut worm 
attacks the plant in the early stages, the cotton 
moth produces the caterpillar which devours the 
leaves, and the army worm invades the cotton 
area in large armies and devastates whole fields 
in a comparatively short time. 

A ripe field of cotton presents a highly attractive 
picture. The regulated rows of freely-branching 
shrubs with their yellow-shaded flowers (not 
unlike the hollyhock) which have been blooming 
for months — this is peculiar to malvaceous plants — 
are now covered with tufts of cotton wool which 
glisten in the sunshine. Standing a short distance 
away one can imagine it to be a large field which 
has been visited by a heavy snowstorm. When the 
negroes are in the field gathering the pure white, 

27 



Cotton 



woolly substance one cannot, at first, resist the 
feeling that it must be soiled as their hands 
approach the precious fibre to draw it from the 
bursting capsule. 

The " fields are white unto harvest." Now is the 
time for the most tedious, the most difficult and the 
most expensive of all cotton-growing operations — 
the gathering or picking of the ripe cotton. This 
is, in the main, the work of negroes, and in this 
particular instance, machinery has not supplanted 
hand labour, for although attempts are being made 
to produce an efficient automatic cotton picker, 
it has not yet been possible to invent a machine 
to meet all requirements. The chief difficulty 
in developing a successful cotton-picking machine 
is the irregular ripening and opening of the boll. 
It is hoped that continual cultural research may 
lead to the development of a cotton plant on which 
a large percentage of bolls will mature uniformly. 
If success could be achieved in this direction the 
urgent demand for a cotton-picking machine 
would soon be met, because while one man with 
proper machinery is able to cultivate about 
twenty acres of cotton, the same man cannot pick 
more than 200 lbs. of cotton daily. By this slow 
operation the harvest is delayed, and the expense 
of harvesting is disproportionately increased. It 
is calculated that a good picker may gather from 

28 



The Cotton Fields 



200 to 400 lbs. a day, and the pay ranges from 
60 to 100 cents for every 100 lbs. of cotton picked. 
The work must be done expertly, or serious loss 
might accrue to the farmer by the breaking of the 
silken filaments. 

Cotton has been called " the black man's crop." 
For three-quarters of a century before the War of 
Secession, cotton was cultivated by slave labour. 
During this period the negro had the whip hanging 
over him if he neglected his work. After the 
liberation of slaves, the planter found that, in order 
to keep the negro at work, he had to " hold him " 
financially. In the American fields to-day the 
labour employed is cosmopolitan in character. 
The negro predominates. Next in point of num- 
bers are the European emigrants, mostly Italians ; 
and Mexicans. Their employment is governed 
by the system of land cultivation, and on the large 
plantations uniform conditions do not always 
obtain. Some of the work is done by hand labour, 
and some under what is known as the " cotton 
rent " system and the share system. The latter 
method is the one most generally employed, 
and was introduced in order to secure a hold on the 
negro, whose nomadic peculiarities are not in the 
interest of successful cotton cultivation. Reports 
vary as to the value of the negro as a labourer. 
Some planters give him a good character; many 

29 



Cotton 



planters denounce him as an idle, worthless fellow, 
who must be brought under a rigid discipline if 
work is to be got out of him. The value of the 
negro as a labourer will no doubt largely depend on 
the kind of treatment he receives. 

Women are reputed to be better pickers than 
men, but one professing knowledge of male pickers 
has made the curious statement " that the small, 
compact young man, weighing about 140 lbs. and 
not more than 5 ft. 8 ins. in height, is best adapted 
for the work." 

Cotton picking is a very exacting and monotonous 
work. Mr. J. B. Lyman, an American, writing on 
cotton culture, observes that though too much 
talking and singing must interfere with labour, 
every cotton grower should take care to secure 
cheerfulness, if not hilarity, in the field. It should 
not be forgotten that it is a very severe strain 
upon the patience and spirits of any one to be urged 
to rapid labour of precisely the same description 
day after day, week after week, month after month. 
To relieve the monotony he recommends the cotton 
grower to provide in the field a dish of hot cojffee 
for a cool morning or a pail of buttermilk for a 
hot afternoon, and occasionally a tub of sweetened 
water or a basket of apples. The harmless jest, 
too, should be encouraged during the intervals of 
refreshment, so that when the labour of picking is 

30 





i'} 






■ 

i 






1 




USassnaui 


fv=j*s 






A 


m 


5 '>^'f?V#;^^^M,''^ 


i 




! 
1 

M 

m 

mH'' 





The Cotton Fields 



resumed the fingers may be induced to " spring 
from one snowy boll to another. Hands will not 
pick any the worse the next day for having danced 
till ten or eleven o'clock the night before, and among 
Africans, at least, the best dancer is likely to be the 
best picker." 

When the cotton is picked, it is " ginned " and 
made up into bales and shipped to the spinning 
and manufacturing centres. The " seed cotton '* 
(this is the term applied to the cotton before it 
has undergone the ginning process) must have 
the seed and other foreign substances removed 
before it is pressed into bales and sent to the 
markets. 

In India, as far back as the year 800 B.C., the 
seeds were separated from the fibre by a handmill 
made of two fluted rollers, arranged horizontally, 
between which the cotton was passed. This system 
of cleaning was found to be suitable for long staple 
cotton, but for the short staple cotton it was not 
satisfactory. The saw gin, the first commercially 
successful cotton gin and the prototype of most of 
the gins now in use, was invented in 1793 by 
EU Whitney. This "gin" (an abbreviation of 
" engine ") is made up of circular saws which, in 
their revolutions, draw the cotton lint from the 
seed, and a cylindrical brush removes the cotton to 
a place where the action of a fan carries on the 

31 



Cotton 



cleaning process. In some of the older ginneries 
horse-power is used, but all the modern machinery- 
is driven by steam or electricity. When ginned 
and baled, the cotton is ready for shipment to the 
world's markets. 



32 



CHAPTER IV 

TRIUMPH OF MECHANICAL INVENTION 

As he opened the door, he beheld the form of a 

maiden 
Seated beside her wheel, and the carded wool like a 

snowdrift 
Piled at her knee, her white hands feeding the 

ravenous spindle, 
While with her foot on the treadle she guided the 

wheel in its motion. 

Longfellow. 

Longfellow describes a scene which was 
peculiar to Lancashire and Yorkshire one hundred 
and fifty years ago. At that remote period the 
British cotton industry was in its infancy ; it was 
struggling for its very existence against the bitter 
opposition of the long-established home industries 
of wool and linen, and the old prejudice against 
cotton spinning and the wearing of cotton garments 
which pervaded the operative weavers and the 
working classes generally. 

Old edicts point to the fact that the weaving of 
cotton goods was at one time a crime. To bury a 
dead body in anything but a woollen shroud was 
(declared to be a penal offence, and ladies who wore 

c. 33 » 



Cotton 



cotton dresses were called upon to pay a substantial 
fine. Weavers of woollen fabrics continued to offer 
that determined resistance to the introduction of 
the cotton fibre, until the Legislature, sharing the 
belief that the spinning of cotton would ruin the 
then existing industries, passed a statute prohibit- 
ing the use of cotton manufacture. A penalty 
of £5 was imposed upon the weaver and £20 on the 
seller of a piece of calico. So deep-rooted had 
become the opposition to cotton fabrics that even 
criminals on the scaffold pleaded with the people 
who had gathered to witness the execution, to 
shun the wearing of cotton. 

In the year 1734 there appeared in the Gentle- 
man's Monthly Intelligencer the following : — 
" This day one Michael Carmody was executed for 
felony ; upon which the journeyman weavers 
(who labour under great difficulties by reason of 
the deadness of trade, occasioned by the pernicious 
practice of wearing cottons), assembled in a body, 
and dressed the criminal, hangman, and gallows 
in cottons, in order to discourage the wearing 
thereof ; and at the place of execution the criminal 
made the following remarkable speech : — 

" ' Give ear, O good people, to the words of a 
dying sinner. I confess I have been guilty of many 
crimes that necessity compelled me to commit, 
which starving condition I was in, I am well assured, 

34 



Triumph of Mechanical Invention 

was occasioned by the scarcity of money, that has 
proceeded from the great discouragement of our 
woollen manufactures. 

" * Therefore, good Christians, consider, that if you 
go on to suppress your own goods by wearing such 
cottons as I am now clothed in, you will bring 
your country into misery, which will consequently 
swarm with such unhappy malefactors as your 
present object is ; and the blood of every miserable 
felon that will hang, after this warning from the 
gallows, will lie at your doors. 

"'And if you have any regard for the prayers 
of an expiring mortal, I beg you will not buy of 
the hangman the cotton garments that now adorn 
the gallows, because I can't rest quiet in my grave 
if / should see the very things wore that brought 
me to misery, thievery, and this untimely end ; 
all which I pray of the gentry to hinder their chil- 
dren and servants for their own characters' sake, 
though they have no tenderness for their country, 
because none will hereafter wear cottons, but 
oyster-women, criminals, hucksters, and common 
hangmen.' " 

Despite this bitter denunciation of the practice 
of wearing cottons the trade throve, and forty 
years later our home manufacturers deeply resented 
the competition created by the importation of 
beautifully designed cotton fabrics which the 

35 D2 



Cotton 



people of the East were sending us. There were 
restrictions, too, in the form of taxes which impeded 
the development of the industry. The Government 
imposed a " fustian '* tax by which one penny per 
yard was exacted on all bleached and dyed cotton 
manufactures under three shillings per yard, and 
twopence per yard if exceeding that price. This 
tax was considered to be a serious hindrance to 
trade, and representatives of firms employing 
38,000 workpeople declared " that they were under 
the sad necessity of declining their present occu- 
pations " until Parliament should again meet to 
reconsider the position. Eventually, the tax was 
repealed on the motion of Mr. William Pitt, who was 
mainly responsible for the imposition of the duty. 

In 1788 a meeting was held in Manchester to 
consider the depression of our cotton manufactures 
arising from the " immense importation " of Indian 
goods, and Government assistance was sought. 
At this time it was calculated that the manufacture 
of cotton goods employed at their own homes 
159,000 men, 90,000 women and 101,000 children. 
* » » » * 

From the year 1750 men were at work trying 
to produce a mechanical device which would have 
the effect of greatly increasing the output. They 
had their eyes open to the enormous possibilities 
which the manipulation of the cotton fibre pre- 

36 



Triumph of Mechanical Invention 

sented to the industrial world. But the domestic 
class of spinners and weavers continued to regard 
with the greatest suspicion any and every " new- 
fangled " device. Writers of that time questioned 
whether it would be good policy for a commercial 
state to make use of machines to lessen the price 
of labour. The disturbed operatives failed to see 
that in proportion as the means of production 
increased new avenues for profitable enterprise 
and adventure would be opened up. 

Persecution, disappointment and sometimes 
banishment were the trials that accompanied our 
inventors of cotton machinery and appliances. 
The flying shuttle was one of the earliest and 
most notable mechanical contrivances for spinning. 
John Kay, the inventor, son of a woollen manu- 
facturer of Bury, had spent many years trying to 
devise means whereby the labour of the weaver 
might be reduced and the output at the same 
time increased. In the end he gave to the weaver's 
shuttle a mechanical impulse entirely displacing 
the shuttle which up to that time had been thrown 
backwards across the loom by two operatives. 
This old shuttle was practically the same as that 
mentioned in the Book of Job, and used by the 
Egyptians for the manufacture of linen for mummy 
wrapping. The fly shuttle soon proved its value, 
and Kay established a woollen factory at Colchester. 

37 



Cotton 



Here the operative weavers declined to have any- 
thing to do with his invention and he was eventually 
driven from the town. Some time later Kay had 
settled in Leeds where his experience was again 
distressingly unfortunate. The Yorkshire manu- 
facturers tested the shuttle and saw that it was good. 
They approved and adopted it, but declined to 
recognise the claims of the inventor and he was 
forced to protect his rights in a court of law. 

Some of the manufacturers met together and 
formed a " Shuttle Club," and the avowed purpose 
of this club was to defraud Kay of his just remunera- 
tion. The workpeople too rose against him and by 
their violence compelled him to close his work- 
shops. Once more a wanderer he returned to his 
native place at Bury. Even here, the inventor 
found none to do him honour. A lawless and 
ignorant mob broke into his house, destroyed 
everything they found, and would have killed him 
if, wrapped in a blanket, he had not been con- 
veyed to a place of safety by two friends. About 
the year 1756, having in vain sought the assistance 
of the Society of Arts, he fled in disgust from his 
native town to France. During his stay there 
in exile the British Ambassador learned of his 
misfortune. Encouraged by the Ambassador's 
efforts to gain him some reward from the Govern- 
ment in recognition of his great achievement, Kay 

38 



Triumph of Mechanical Invention 

returned to England. But he was again dis- 
appointed. Hopelessly crushed in spirit, and appa- 
rently quite friendless, Kay returned to Paris, 
where he died in poverty and obscurity — no stone 
marking the place where he lies. His daughter, 
fearing that she too might be the object of scorn, 
sought refuge in a nunnery. 

The increasing demand for fabrics made wholly 
or partly of cotton, and the greatly increased 
productive power of the loom following the applica- 
tion of Kay's fly shuttle, led the Society of Arts 
(1761) to appeal to the inventive minds of the 
time to devote some attention to improving the 
old spinning wheel. In the records of the Society 
it is shown how that having been informed that our 
manufacturers of woollen, linen and cotton found 
it exceedingly difficult, when the spinners were out 
at harvest work, to procure a sufficient number of 
hands to keep their weavers and other operatives 
employed, and that for want of proper despatch 
in this branch of manufacture, the merchants' 
orders for all sorts of piece goods were often greatly 
retarded, to the prejudice of the manufacturer, 
merchant and master in general, the Society 
decided that an improvement of the spinning wheel 
would be an object worthy of their notice. Accord- 
ingly the Society offered two prizes — one of £50 
and one of £25 — for the best invention of a machine 

39 



Cotton 



that would spin six threads of wool, flax, hemp or 
cotton at one time and that would require but one 
person to work and attend it. Cheapness and sim- 
plicity in the construction, it was explained, would 
be considered part of its merit. 

Some years earlier, however, an attempt was 
made to substitute a roller- spinning machine for 
the hand wheel. The names of Lewis Paul and 
John C. Wyatt were identified with this effort. It 
has been stated that the original plan of Wyatt was 
to employ a pair of rollers for delivering, at any 
desired speed, a sliver of cotton to the bobbin 
and fly spindle as in a flax wheel. These roller- 
spinning efforts were not immediately successful, 
but the principle involved found practical expression 
some years later and has been greatly developed 
in the modern mill. It is also recorded that a Mr. 
Earnshaw, in 1753, invented a machine to spin and 
reel cotton at one operation, which he showed to 
his neighbours, and then destroyed it. This extra- 
ordinary action was taken because he feared that 
he might deprive the poor of bread. 

James Hargreaves, the poor weaver of Blackburn, 
was another of the martyrs of scientific industry. 
Hargreaves invented the carding machine — an 
apparatus designed to remove all impurities from 
the raw cotton — and a few years later (1767) 
he introduced to the trade the spinning "jenny," 

40 



Triumph of Mechanical Invention 

a word which Dr. Brewer tells us is a corruption 
of engine ('ginie). It was while working in the 
weaving shed that Hargreaves conceived the 
idea of making a machine that would spin several 
threads at one and the same time. At first the jenny- 
contained eight spindles, and when the spindleage 
was increased to eighty, its labour-saving capabili- 
ties greatly alarmed the workpeople. Hargreaves 
is said to have received the original idea of his 
machine from seeing a one-thread wheel overturned 
upon the floor, when both the wheel and the spindle 
continued to revolve. The spindle was thus thrown 
from a horizontal into an upright position ; and 
this suggested to him that if a number of spindles 
were placed upright and side by side, several 
threads might be spun at once. Hargreaves pur- 
sued this idea, and the specification of his patent 
said that " the machine is to be managed by one 
person only, and the wheel or engine will spin, 
draw and twist sixteen or more threads at one 
time by a turn or motion of one hand, and a draw 
of the other." 

Hargreaves worked at his invention in secret, 
for he feared the consequences of revolt among the 
operatives. In a garret he brought his machine 
to perfection and from it provided himself with 
weft for his loom. But he soon fared the fate of 
Kay. The operatives destroyed his machine, and 

41 



Cotton 



he went to Nottingham, where he patented his 
invention and brought an action against Lancashire 
manufacturers who were alleged to be infringing his 
rights. But the defence of the manufacturers was 
that before leaving Lancashire the patentee sold 
some of his jennies to provide himself with money 
to meet his immediate needs. This defence, which 
could not be rebutted, destroyed his claim to com- 
pensation. At Nottingham, Hargreaves became 
acquainted with a man named James, who declared 
his intention to become a cotton spinner, and the 
two built a small mill which was probably the first 
cotton mill in the world. Hargreaves died in com- 
parative poverty. But his invention lived after 
him and was extensively used until other and 
improved appliances displaced it. 

Arkwright, whom Carlyle mercilessly describes 
as " a plain, almost gross, bag-cheeked, pot-bellied 
Lancashire man, with an air of painful reflection, 
yet also of copious free digestion," was more suc- 
cessful as an inventor of cotton machinery. " In 
strapping of razors, in lathering of dusty beards, and 
the contradictions and confusions attendant there- 
on, the man had notions in that rough head of his : 
spindles, shuttles, wheels, and contrivances plying 
ideally within the same. ' ' The story of Arkwright's 
elevation from a humble and obscure parentage 
to a position of affluence and distinction is as 

42 



Triumph of Mechanical Invention 



remarkable as the evolution of the cotton industry 
with which in his later years he was so closely 
identified. Richard Arkwright, the inventor of 
the power-loom, was the youngest of a family of 
thirteen children. At an early age he was appren- 
ticed to a Preston barber. His adventurous spirit 
(in 1760) led him to Bolton, where he established 
a business of his own. He occupied a cellar (there 
are many underground shops in Lancashire to-day), 
and attracted customers by exhibiting on the foot- 
path the following exhortation to passers-by : 
*' Come to the subterranean barber : he shaves 
for a penny." The Bolton barbers resented this 
stranger coming among them and cutting both the 
hair of their customers and the customary price of 
the trade. They were filled with wrath. But 
Arkwright was capturing their trade and they, too, 
had to drop their charges. The subterranean 
barber reflected. Then he took down his signboard, 
removed the notice that had caused his rivals so 
much anxiety and substituted the following : — 
"Richard Arkwright, Subterranean Barber. A 
clean shave for a halfpenny." 

But Arkwright had other interests far removed 
from hair-cutting and shaving. He was inclined 
to mechanical invention — he dreamed of discover- 
ing perpetual motion. When this began to take 
possession of him it is not unlikely that he 

43 



Cotton 



neglected his tonsorial connection, and this neglect, 
it is conjectured, led his wife to imitate the wife 
of Bernard Palissy, the potter, for one day Ark- 
wright discovered, to his great dismay, that some 
of his most cherished models had been destroyed. 
He never forgave his wife for this sacrilegious 
act and permanent estrangement followed. Ark- 
wright disposed of his shop and travelled the 
country with a hair dye, a concoction of his own 
which was in great demand in a period when wigs 
were the fashion. He was also a familiar figure at 
the country fairs where he had some success as a 
dealer in hair which he used for making wigs. It 
was during this itinerary that the need for an 
improvement on the hand-spinning wheel asserted 
itself and largely controlled his thoughts. At this 
time he lived among the operatives ; he learned 
from them how great was the need for more yarn ; 
questioned them as to their output. By a process of 
sympathetic enquiry he acquired invaluable infor- 
mation as to the character of the work done, and 
with a practical insight into the industrial needs 
of the time, with a remarkable facility for exploiting 
the ideas of others, and with a secretiveness which 
goes to prove that unless he proceeded with caution 
he might share the fate of Kay and Hargreaves, 
he began the work which was destined to revolu- 
tionise cotton manufacture. 

44 



Triumph of Mechanical Invention 

Arkwright's machine was an elaboration of the 
principle introduced by Wyatt of Birmingham, 
who, in 1730, had been proved to be the inventor 
of elongated cotton by rollers in the spinning 
operation. The fibre or short threads of cotton 
were passed through two distinct sets of rollers, 
the second set revolving at a more rapid rate than 
the first. This caused the cotton to be attenuated 
and to be slightly twisted. A repetition of the 
process would make a finer thread and a further 
twist would strengthen it. Arkwright applied this 
machine most satisfactorily to the production of 
water twist which was used for warps instead of 
linen yarn. These inventions of Hargreaves and 
Arkwright effected an entire change in the manu- 
facture of cotton, wool and flax. The men by 
whom they were really invented, Paul and Wyatt, 
did not gain for them the public favour they 
deserved. Arkwright, with indomitable perse- 
verance and with a mind perhaps equally inventive, 
won the prize of fortune and fame in which in a 
large degree the original inventors should have 
shared. 

In order to avoid trouble with the operatives, 
Arkwright went to Nottingham, where he got his 
machine patented and worked it by horse-power. 
Later he entered into partnership with Samuel 
Need and Jedediah Strutt, and built mills at Crom- 

45 



Cotton 



ford and Matlock, where he got his power from the 
waterwheel. Dr. Darwin, in his " Botanic Garden," 
attracted by the picturesque setting of these mills 
on the Derwent — it has been described as "the 
picturesque period of the cotton factory" — gives 
the following poetic description of the Derbyshire 
cotton mills : — 

" Where Derwent guides his dusky floods, 
Through vaulted mountains and a night of woods, 
The nymph Gossypia treads the silver sod, 
And warms with rosy smiles the wat'ry God ; 
His ponderous oars to slender spindles turns, 
And pours o'er massy wheels his foaming urns ; 
With playful charms her hoary lover wins, 
And wields his tridents while the monarch spins. 
First with nice eye, emerging Naiads cull 
From leathery pods the vegetable wool ; 
With wiry teeth revolving cards release 
The tangled knots and smooth the ravelled fleece ; 
Next moves the iron hand with fingers fine. 
Combs the wide card, and forms th' eternal line ; 
Slow with soft lips the whirling can acquires 
The tender skeins, and wraps the rising spires : 
With quickened pace successive rollers move, 
And these retain, and those extend the rove ; 
Then fly the spokes, the rapid axles grow, 
While slowly circumvolves the labouring wheel 
below." 

Derbyshire is no longer a cotton-spinning centre. 
Practically the whole industry is concentrated in 
Lancashire, where everything (even the picturesque) 
is subordinated to commercialism. " Manchester " 

46 



Triumph of Mechanical Invention 

(wrote Carlyle), " with its cotton fuz, its smoke and 
dust, its tumult and contentious squalor, is hideous 
to thee ? Think not so : a precious substance, 
beautiful as magic dreams and yet no dream but a 
reality, lies hidden in that noisome wrappage. . . . 
Hast thou heard, with sound ears, the awakening 
of a Manchester, on Monday morning, at half-past 
five by the clock ; the rushing off of its thousand 
mills, like the boom of an Atlantic tide, ten thousand 
times ten thousand spools and spindles all set 
humming there, — it is perhaps, if thou knew it well, 
sublime as a Niagara, or more so. Cotton-spinning 
is the clothing of the naked in its result ; the 
triumph of man over matter in its means." 

Many manufacturers who used Arkwright's 
water-frame took advantage of the dispute that 
arose in respect of its invention to use his machine 
regardless of the protection which his patent rights 
afforded. It was alleged that the water frame was 
not Arwright's invention at all ; that he had 
appropriated the creation of a poor man named 
Highs. It is not necessary to refer at length to this 
quarrel beyond stating that Mr. Guest, in his history 
of cotton manufacture, claims that the entire and 
undivided invention of the spinning jenny and 
water frame of which Arkwright and Hargreaves 
have been called the originators was the work of 
Highs. 

47 



Cotton 



There is evidence to prove that Highs was an 
inventive genius. At a time when weavers were 
often idle because of the difficulty of obtaining 
weft, he set his mind to work to devise a machine 
which would supply at least enough weft to keep 
the weavers fully employed. Returning to his 
home at Leigh, he confided his proposal to a clock- 
maker named Kay, whom he engaged to make the 
wheels and other parts of the apparatus of which he 
had prepared a rough design. The two worked 
together in a garret at Highs' house, and the Leigh 
operatives, ridiculing the idea that two of their 
neighbours should presume to be so gifted, raised 
derisive cries as they passed to and fro, and would 
jeeringly make a request for weft. After months 
of arduous work and in the face of a growing storm 
of ridicule. Highs was seized with a fit of despon- 
dency, and the machine, which with a little more 
labour might have been brought near to perfec- 
tion, was thrown out of the window and dashed to 
pieces. Kay was asked how much money his 
master had given him for his assistance in the 
abortive attempt at mechanical construction. With 
a laugh he asserted that he had done with spinning. 
He was more successful in making clocks. The fit of 
rage which had so suddenly and unexpectedly 
attacked Highs soon passed over. He had suffered 
defeat in his first attempt, he might be more 

48 



hX 



5 



Triumph of Mechanical Invention 

successful if he persevered a second time. Collect- 
ing the fragments of his machine he returned 
to the garret and in time produced a machine 
which he called a spinning jenny. , ot 

But Arkwright steered for himself a ^\]f>- ssful 
course in this angry sea of controversy. In 1786, 
he attained to the position of High Sheriff of Derby- 
shire, and was knighted in that year by King 
George III. Arkwright died in 1792 in his sixtieth 
year. He had presented on two occasions to each 
of his ten children the sum of £10,000 and he 
left at his death half a million sterling. 

Up to this time the inventive mind had pro- 
duced machinery that would spin the coarser kind 
of yarn. It was left to Samuel Crompton (1779) 
to provide the industry with the famous " mule " 
(so-called because of its being a cross between 
Arkwright's machine and Hargreaves' jenny), for 
spinning the finer cotton fibre. The " mule " is 
one of the most important inventions in connection 
with cotton manufacture, thus falsifying the state- 
ment of the son of a manufacturer who feared 
his father's " mules " would turn out to be asses. 
Crompton was born at Firwood, near Bolton, in 
1753. His father was a small farmer who, according 
to the custom of that period, divided his time be- 
tween the field of growing crops and carding, 
spinning and weaving. At the age of sixteen, Samuel 

c 49 « 



Cotton 



Crompton learned to spin on Hargreaves' jenny, 
and not satisfied with its work, he decided if possible 
to improve it. After five years almost constant 
labour he produced the mule- jenny. The young 
inventtir was at this time living at Hall-i'-th'-Wood, 
near Bolton-le-Moors. The news that a new 
machine was about to be introduced to the trade 
soon spread in the district, and annoyed by impor- 
tunate visitors, Crompton kept it in his bedroom. 
But the adoption of this precaution did not place him 
and his machine out of the reach of his tormentors. 
They got ladders from adjoining premises and 
climbed up to the windows to satisfy their curiosity 
and to cause annoyance. Ultimately some manu- 
facturers paid Crompton £50 for the privilege to 
inspect his work. 

Crompton had set himself the task to produce 
a finer yam. Of the labour it involved, he said : — 
" The next five years had this addition added to 
my labour as a weaver, occasioned by the imperfect 
state of cotton spinning ; and though often baffled, 
I as often renewed the attempt, and at length 
succeeded to my utmost desire at the expense 
of every shilling I had in the world.'* 

Crompton's machine was called the Hall-i'-th'- 
Wood Wheel, or Muslin Wheel, because its capabili- 
ties rendered it available for yarn for making 
muslins ; and finally it got the name of " mule." 

50 



Triumph of Mechanical Invention 

Crompton's first suggestion was to introduce a 
pair of rollers, which by pressure would elongate 
the rove (attenuated thread). In this he was dis- 
appointed, and later he saw the necessity of adopt- 
ing a second pair of rollers. These rollers were 
made of wood and covered with sheepskin and are 
said to have been neither more nor less than a 
modification of Mr. Arkwright's roller beam. Only 
twenty spindles were introduced into the *' mule,'* 
and they required all the skill and talent of its 
inventor to manage them ; but with the mecha- 
nical improvement and final perfection of it, the 
number of spindles allotted to the care of one man 
with a few children to assist, extended to 200, 
then to 2,000 — and for some yarns to 4,000 spindles. 
The mule has become almost an automaton, and 
its self-acting principle has further economised 
human labour. 

The inventor of the mule did not escape the 
violent attentions of the operatives, and as he could 
not patent his machine, he gave it to the public 
on condition that a sum of money was raised for 
him from among those who intended to make use 
of it. A sum of under £60 was promised, but many 
of the promises were not fulfilled. Crompton was 
denounced as an impostor ; as one who endeavoured 
to make money out of an invention which really 
belonged to another. But with a sum of £500 

51 «2 



Cotton 



(raised principally in Manchester), Crompton 
started a little spinning business at Bolton, where 
he *' spun the finest and best yarn in the market." 
With a good supply of muslin yarn the weavers 
had an exceptionally prosperous time. In 1793, 
they received four guineas for weaving a piece 
24 yards long. " The trade was that of a gentleman. 
They brought home their work wearing top boots and 
ruffled shirts, carried a cane and in some instances 
took a coach." It is also related that many 
weavers at that time used to walk the streets with 
a five-pound Bank of England note displayed in 
their hat bands. They smoked nothing but long 
churchwarden pipes, and objected to the intrusion 
of any other handicraftsmen into their particular 
rooms in the public- houses which they frequented. 

Crompton had the mortification of seeing his 
machine appropriated by men who declined to 
recognise his claim to any remuneration for the 
great endowment he had made to the cotton trade. 
Happily there were a few interested persons who 
made it their business to see that his merits were 
not entirely ignored. Parliament was petitioned 
to make him a grant, and £50,000 was suggested as 
a reasonable sum to recompense him for his labours. 
He received only £5,000. It is not unlikely that 
Crompton would have got a larger sum but for a 
tragic event in the House of Commons on May 11, 

52 



Triumph of Mechanical Invention 

1812, when Mr. Perceval (Prime Minister) was shot. 
A memorandum concerning a vote for £20,000 was 
found in Mr. Perceval's possession when he fell. 
Crompton died in 1827, and thirty years later the 
inhabitants of Bolton erected a bronze statue to 
perpetuate his memory. 

Dr. Edmund Cartwright, the inventor of the 
power-loom, was a man of many parts. He was 
educated at Oxford, where he distinguished him- 
self at an early age by the publication of some 
poems. He studied medicine, adopted " the 
Church " as a profession, and in the midst of his 
ministrations applied himself to mechanics. A 
country parson of the old school, he entered com- 
pletely into the everyday life of his parishioners. 
He was controlled with the desire to be of practical 
assistance to his " flock." In the spiritual sense 
he was well equipped for his work, but he soon 
discovered that the demands made on a country 
parson were not confined to matters pertaining to 
the next world ; he must also be prepared to give 
advice on affairs in this. Accordingly he made 
a study of just those things which were likely to 
be of service to the poor. It is related of Dr. Cart- 
wright that on one occasion he was visiting a lad 
who was ill with fever. Remembering a case in 
which putrefaction was, as he believed, arrested 
by the administration of brewer's yeast, and learn- 

53 



Cotton 



ing that this commodity was then in use in another 
part of the cottage, he got possession of some, 
diluted it with water, and in small quantities, 
gave it to the patient. When the clergyman 
left the cottage he began to show some uneasi- 
ness concerning his action ; he entertained some 
doubts about the antiseptic qualities of the remedy 
he had so suddenly called to his aid. The boy, 
however, took a favourable turn and eventually 
recovered, and the medicinal qualities of yeast 
were not soon forgotten. Farming implements, 
too, attracted his attention, and although he did 
not claim to have studied the science of mechanics, 
he was able to suggest some improvements in the 
tools then in everyday use. 

Dr. Cartwright had reached middle age when he 
turned his thoughts to the weaving industry. In 
a letter to a friend he described the incident which 
prompted him to make an attempt to construct 
his power-loom : — Happening to be at Matlock in 
the summer of 1784, he met some gentlemen of 
Manchester, when the conversation turned on 
Arkwright's spinning machinery. One of the 
company observed that as soon as Arkwright's 
patent expired, so many mills would be erected, 
and so much cotton spun, that hands could never 
be found to weave it. To this observation Cart- 
wright replied that Arkwright must then set his wits 

54 



Triumph of Mechanical Invention 

to work to invent a weaving machine. This brought 
on a conversation on the subject, in which the 
Manchester gentlemen unanimously agreed that 
the thing was impracticable ; Cartwright, however, 
controverted the impracticability of the thing 
by remarking that he had lately seen an auto- 
maton playing chess. Was it more difficult to 
construct a machine that would weave, than one 
which would make all the variety of moves which 
were required in that complicated game ? Some 
little time afterwards, a particular circumstance 
recalling this conversation, it struck the inventor 
that, as in plain weaving, according to the concep- 
tion he then had of the business, there could only 
be three movements which were to follow each 
other in succession, there would be little difficulty 
in producing and repeating them. 

Full of these ideas, he employed a carpenter 
and smith to carry them into effect. As soon as 
the machine was finished he got a weaver to put 
in the warp. The machine was set in motion, 
and to his great delight a piece of cloth was 
the result. As he had never before turned his 
thoughts to anything mechanical, either in theory 
or practice, nor had ever seen a loom at work or 
knew anything of its construction, it will be readily 
, understood that his first loom was a rude piece of 
machinery. The warp was placed perpendicularly, 

55 



Cotton 



the reed fell with the weight of at least half 
a hundredweight, and the springs which threw the 
shuttle were strong enough to have thrown a 
congreve rocket. In short, it required the strength 
of two powerful men to work the machine at a slow 
rate, and only for a short time. " Conceiving in 
my great simplicity," writes Cartwright, *' that I 
had accomplished all that was required, I then, on 
the 4th April, 1785, secured what I thought a valu- 
able property by a patent. This being done, I con- 
descended to see how other people wove ; and you 
will guess my astonishment when I compared their 
easy modes of operation with mine. Availing my- 
self, however, of what I then saw, I made a loom 
in its general principles nearly as they now are 
made. But it was not till the year 1787 that I 
completed my invention, when I took out my last 
weaving patent, August 1st of that year." 

Dr. Cartwright was too neglectful of his interests 
to make a financial success of his power-loom. He 
entered the field of invention because his genius 
forced him there, and when he reached the height 
of his ambition — ^to demonstrate the practicability 
of mechanical weaving — he displayed a too generous 
disposition ; he disregarded entirely the financial 
prospects which his genius had opened up. The 
consequence was that he was exploited by unscru- 
pulous manufacturers who, having learned of the 

56 



Triumph of Mechanical Invention ' 

utilitarian character of his loom, adopted it and 
then attempted to deprive him of the credit that 
was due to him for the eminent service he had done 
the trade. The demolition of a large factory- 
together with hundreds of his machines, and other 
untoward events, added to the growing mistrust 
with which he regarded the commercial world, 
led him to lament the condition to which his unre- 
quited labour had reduced him. But he was not 
permitted to go unrewarded. Some merchants and 
manufacturers of Manchester petitioned Parlia- 
ment to recognise the value of his work and a grant 
of £10,000 was made to him by the State. 

Another man who greatly assisted the cotton 
industry by his inventive genius was Richard 
Roberts, a Welshman. When a boy Roberts made 
a spinning wheel for his mother. His great achieve- 
ment was in connection with the self-acting mule. 
A period had been reached when Crompton's 
hand mule could not produce enough yarn to keep 
the steam looms running, and during a strike of all 
the operatives for more pay, some of the leading 
employers appealed to Roberts to help them. 
Roberts was too busy to listen to their early appeals, 
but, presently, he was constrained to help them. 
He directed a Crompton's hand-mule to be erected 
in his works, so that he might familiarise himself 
with its motions and study how to produce a mule 

57 



Cotton 



that should work automatically. The result was one 
of the greatest triumphs of mechanical genius. 
The new machine was at once adopted by the 
Lancashire spinners, for it dispensed with much of 
the manual labour hitherto employed for the 
various processes. 

I have said enough to show that handlooms now 
belong to the historic province of antiquarian 
curiosity. It only remains to be said that the 
wonderful growth of the manufacture of cotton has 
been made possible by the extraordinary inventive 
genius of our race. Inventors of cotton machinery 
exercised their brains and brought their mechanical 
appliances to perfection in the face of serious 
opposition, and the fact that they worked in secret 
led the operatives to regard them as men who 
were deep in intrigue against them. Alarmists 
prophesied the end of labour ; the workpeople 
were to be ousted from the mill to face starvation ; 
populous districts now dependent for their very 
existence on spinning and weaving were threatened 
with depopulation. The operatives believed all 
this, and they "rose" against these " designers of 
mischief " and reduced the pioneers to destitu- 
tion. 

Yet, victimised by the capitalist and in fear of 
their lives from the melancholy short-sightedness 
of the operatives, these intelligent, untiring, clever, 

58 



Triumph of Mechanical Invention 

ingenious men could not be subdued. Out of their 
labours have come the wonderful machines that 
form the equipment of the modern mill. By their 
ingenuity the growing demands of the trade could 
be fostered, and to the solid possession of accu- 
mulated manufacturing skill and knowledge we are 
indebted for the extraordinary development of the 
industry as we know it to-day. 



59 



CHAPTER V 

COTTON GROWING UNDER THE BRITISH FLAG 

To provide cotton clothing for the human race 
it is calculated that 42,000,000 bales of cotton, or 
15 J lbs. for every human being, would be required 
each year. The world's consumption of cotton 
to-day is, approximately, 23,000,000 bales, and 
of this, during the last decade, the American crop 
has averaged about 13,000,000 bales. 

The market for British goods extends through- 
out the world, and the industry, so far as it concerns 
this country, is unique in that it possesses about 
two-fifths (60,000,000) of the world's spindles, 
and has to depend entirely upon other countries 
(chiefly America) for its raw material. Herein lies 
a serious danger to the future well-being of Lanca- 
shire's premier industry. Our American kinsmen 
have always boasted that the Almighty had given 
to them the only soil and climate where good cotton 
could be grown in sufficient quantity to meet the 
world's needs ; and that any attempt to grow 
cotton where God never intended it to grow, was 
doomed to failure. ] 

60 



Cotton Growing under the British Flag 



COTTON 


MILLS OF THE WORLD. 






1 








Consump- 


Hands 


Country. | 


Mills. 


Spindles. 


Looms. 


tion, 


Em- 












Bales. 


ployed. 


Great Britain 


. 1915 


2,009 


59,904,873 


808,145 


3,881,230 


655,000 


U.S. North* . 


. 1915 


697 


19,663,294 


436,638 


2,900,790 


— 


U.S. South . 


. 1915 


754 


12,737,498 


253,202 


3,164,896 


— 


Canada . 


. 1915 


42 


1,405,656 


31,979 


184,685 


18,055 


Garmany 


, 1914 


372 


10,162,872 


230,200 


1,979,958 


375,000 


Russia . 


. 1915 


99 


7,665,654 


213,179 


1,400,000 


370,000 


Poland . 


. 1914 


38 


1,322,257 


31,000 


325,000 


50,000 


Finland, etc. . 


. 1914 


6 


236,752 


i,741 


25,000 


6,857 


France . 


. 1914 


430 


7,400,000 


108,000 


1,120,000 


160,570 


Austria-Hung 


ary . 1914 


160 


4,941,320 


170,000 


842,591 


175,000 


Switzerland 


. 1915 


62 


1,385,441 


21,561 


99,000 


21,000 


Italy . 


. 1915 


480 


4,600,000 


140,000 


850,000 


170,000 


Spain . 


. 1915 


257 


2,100,000 


55,000 


420,000 


70,000 


Portugal 


. 1914 


35 


428,000 


12,000 


56,000 


25,000 


Belgium 


. 1914 


53 


1,775,000 


24,000 


250,000 


11,000 


Holland. 


. 1914 


65 


606,646 


39,800 


105,000 


25,000 


Sweden . 


. 1914 


49 


461,764 


12,442 


100,000 


11,810 


Norway . 


. 1915 


13 


81,814 


2,626 


14,255 


2,878 


Denmark 


. 1914 


5 


88,700 


4,850 


27,500 


1,150 


Bulgaria 


. 1914 


5 


19,539 


350 


5,000 


632 


Turkey , 


. 1914 


9 


70,000 


— 


40,000 


2,000 


Cyprus . 


. 1915 


1 


1,574 


— 


500 


54 


Greece . 


. 1914 


19 


73,898 


1,360 


23,250 


3,503 


Egypt . 


. 1914 


1 


20,000 


525 


7,000 


550 


Asia Minor 


. 1914 


7 


41,000 


— 


47,400 


3,030 


India 


. 1914 


271 


6,778,895 


104,179 


2,143,126 


260,276 


China . 


. 1913 


34 


1,000,000 


4,755 


525,000 


— 


Japan . 


. 1915 


175 


2,657,000 


25,443 


1,553,919 


111,712 


Indo-China 


. 1915 


5 


700,000 


500 


27,000 


3,000 


Philippines 


. 1914 


1 


7,440 


272 


1,560 


300 


Brazil . 


. 1913 


171 


1,520,000 


50,000 


330,000 


106,200 


Argentina 


. 1914 


6 


9,000 


1,200 


— 


1,600 


Uruguay 


. 1911 


3 


— 


800 


— 


— 


Chile . 


. 1911 


3 


5,000 


400 


— 


— 


Peru . 


. 1910 


7 


62,260 


1,750 


12,600 


— 


Columbia 


. 1914 


9 


20,000 


941 


3,520 


2,591 


Ecuador 


. 1911 


4 


§,000 


200 


— 


— 


Venezuela 


. 1915 


4 


19,000 


500 


6,216 


1,800 


Guatemala 


. 1911 


1 


8,000 


250 


2,000 


550 


Mexico . 


. . 1913 
3timated) . 


139 


762,149 


27,019 


160,000 


34,500 


Total (e. 


6,483 


150,737,290 


2,819,607 


22,633,996 


2,680,618 



* Includes Western States. 
From "Annual Cotton Handbook. 



It has long been the avowed intention of the 
Americans, sooner or later, to consume in their 
mills all the cotton grown in the States. But they 

61 



Cotton 



regard with disfavour any attempt to extend the 
cultivation of the fibre in other countries. European 
and American cotton manufacturers, meeting in 
conference at Atlanta, in 1907, were told by the 
American cotton growers that they could rely with 
confidence upon the American cotton belt furnish- 
ing the world's ever-increasing demands, and that 
they might cease from troubling themselves about 
opening up other cotton fields. The Director of 
the Bureau of Agriculture told the Cotton Manu- 
facturers at Washington that he thought the visit 
of the European delegates to the United States 
was the acceptation of the idea that America must 
continue to be the principal source whence the 
industry of every country in Europe would come to 
draw its supply, and that all other cotton planta- 
tions which existed, or were being founded, or 
existed only in imagination, were relatively of 
little importance. " I look forward," the Director 
added, " with confidence to a future when the United 
States, instead of exporting two-thirds of their crop, 
will work up the greater part of it at home, thus 
realising for their own country the enormous profits 
which accrue from the treatment of this textile." 

What measure of success has been attained in 
furtherance of this ideal ? During the five years 
ending 1895, the cotton crop of the States 
averaged 8,000,000 bales. In the following five 

62 



Cotton Growing under the British Flag 

years the average production was raised (in round 
numbers) to 9,000,000 bales, with a minimum of 
7,000,000 and a maximum of 11,000,000 bales. 
This increase of 1,000,000 bales was accompanied 
by an increased consumption in America, which 
rose from 2,000,000 to 2,500,000 bales, or half the 
increased production. The result was a considerable 
shortage in the available supply of the raw material 
for the rest of the world. In the year 1900 the total 
crop was only 9,500,000 bales, and many mills 
in Lancashire in that year had to reduce their 
consumption by working short time, with a serious 
loss both to capital and to labour. Coming to more 
recent times we find that the American consump- 
tion in 1913-14 was 5,500,000 bales ; in 1914-15 
6,000,000 bales, and in 1915-16 7,250,000 bales. 
It is of supreme importance, therefore, that 
England should develop the growth of the cotton 
plant in her own colonies and dependencies, for 
it is economically and commercially unsound to 
depend almost wholly on one continent alone 
for the supply of the raw material to feed the 
world's spindles. The American Civil War revealed 
to spinners and manufacturers in this country 
how utterly helpless they are when unable to 
procure their main supply of raw cotton. The 
American crop in 1861 dropped from 3,826,000 
bales (2,175,000 came to England), to 300,000 bales, 

63 



Cotton 



DISPOSITION OF AMERICAN COTTON CROPS. 



Year 
ended 


_ 


United States 
MiUs. 




Aug. 
31. 


Crop. 






Exports. 




South. 


North. 






Bales. 


Bales. 


Bales. 


Bales. 


1880 


5,761,252 


179,000 


1,610,978 


3,885,003 


1881 


6,605,750 


208,000 


1,730,937 


4,589,346 


1882 


6,456,048 


236,000 


1,728,535 


3,582,622 


1883 


6,949,756 


340,000 


1,733,096 


4,766,597 


1884 


5,713,200 


337,000 


1,539,683 


3,916,581 


1885 


5,706,165 


298,000 


1,455,125 


3,947,972 


1886 


6,575,691 


345,000 


1,817,544 


4,336,203 


1887 


6,505,087 


401,452 


1,710,080 


4,463,009 


1888 


7,046,833 


456,090 


1,804,993 


4,685,031 


1889 


6,938,290 


479,781 


1,785,979 


4,830,463 


1890 


7,311,322 


546,894 


1,799,258 


5,000,879 


1891 


8,652,597 


604,661 


2,027,362 


5,856,194 


1892 


9,035,379 


686,080 


2,190,766 


5,917,249 


1893 


6,700,365 


743,848 


1,687,286 


4,500,047 


1894 


7,549,817 


718,515 


1,601,173 


5,336,553 


1895 


9,901,251 


862,838 


2,083,839 


6,889,577 


1896 


7,157,346 


904,701 


1,600,271 


4,751,602 


1897 


8,757,964 


1,042,671 


1,804,680 


6,092,537 


1898 


11,199,994 


1,231,841 


2,211,740 


7,690,477 


1899 


11,274,840 


1,399,399 


2,190,095 


7,454,161 


1900 


9,436,416 


1,597,112 


2,068,300 


6,055,874 


1901 


10,383,422 


1,620,931 


1,967,570 


6,649,152 


1902 


10,680,680 


1,937,971 


2,050,774 


6,740,538 


1903 


10,727,559 


2,000,729 


1,967,635 


6,771,398 


1904 


10,011,374 


1,919,252 


2,026,967 


6,114,498 


1905 


13,565,885 


2,163,505 


2,282,145 


8,773,037 


1906 


11,345,988 


2,374,225 


2,349,478 


6,763,551 


1907 


13,510,982 


2,439,108 


2,526,390 


8,503,270 


1908 


11,571,966 


2,193,277 


1,896,661 


7,573,349 


1909 


13,825,457 


2,559,873 


2,680,118 


8,574,024 


1910 


10,609,668 


2,341,303 


1,993,904 


6,339,428 


1911 


12,120,095 


2,363,616 


1,993,576 


7,770,842 


1912 


16,138,426 


2,744,067 


2,631,432 


10,506,465 


1913 


14,140,000 


2,772,000 


2,619,000 


8,780,000 


1914 


14,552,000 


3,037,000 


2,466,000 


8,866,000 


1915 


15,136,000 


3,271,000 


2,817,000 


8,369,000 


1916 


12,862,000 


3,933,000 


2,877,000 


6,051,000 



64 



Cotton Growing under the British Flag 

and for four years hardly any American cotton was 
exported. 

It is predicted that in a few years time the 
world's spinning trade will require annually above 
35,000,000 bales of cotton and the growers in the 
States hope to maintain the monopoly. What are 
we doing to meet the threatened danger to which 
I have referred ? 

There is no cotton-growing country in the world 
outside India — not even the cotton - growing 
States of America — which has such a happy com- 
bination of suitable conditions for the cultivation 
of cotton — fertile soil, excellent climate, a large 
agricultural population, and a great network 
of railways — but the population require the guiding 
hand of the Government in the development of 
this highly important native industry. India at 
one time had a large market in Great Britain for 
cotton fabrics of very fine texture. Tavernier, 
in his diary (in the year 1600), notes that " if a 
person puts such garments on his body it is visible 
just as if he were naked. The merchants are not 
allowed to buy this cloth. All of it must be de- 
livered into the hands of the King who has gar- 
ments made of it for the inmates of his harem and 
the wives of noblemen, as the King and the noble- 
men find great pleasure in seeing their women 
attired in this wonderful texture." But times have 

65 



Cotton 



changed. Indian cotton, for the most part, is too 
coarse for English spinners, and India is now the 
largest market for British goods made largely from 
American cotton. Above thirty millions' worth of 
cotton yarn and cloth are sent to India from this 
country every year. 

It is to India that spinners and manufacturers 
are now looking for relief in the production of raw 
cotton, for the opinion is firmly held that any 
increase in the American crop will only follow 
the stimulating influence of high prices. It is 
true that England consumes a comparatively 
small quantity of Indian cotton, but the tendency 
is for that quantity materially to increase. Indian 
cotton has been largely used in Germany. The 
spinners of that country, before the European war, 
used yearly about 400,000 bales of the cotton grown 
in India — ^practically one quarter of Germany's 
yearly consumption of cotton. Other demands on 
the Indian product come from Austria, Italy, 
Belgium and Japan. The Japanese use approxi- 
mately 1,000,000 bales annually. English spinners, 
speaking generally, produce the finer yarns, whilst 
Continental, Indian and the Japanese spin the 
coarser " counts," and therefore use vastly more 
cotton per spindle. Whilst Lancashire owns two- 
fifths of the spindles of the world, she only con- 
sumes, on account of the fineness of her produc- 

66 



Cotton Growing under the British Flag 

tions, about one-fifth of the annual cotton crop of 
the world, thus showing how important it is to deal 
with the question of the further development of 
cotton growing from the international point of view. 
The world's cotton crop, to-day, is three times 
greater than it was forty years ago, and if the raw 
material is to keep pace with the demand for cotton 
goods the extension of the cotton fields must be 
taken in hand immediately. 

On four occasions since 1910, a deputation of the 
International Federation of Master Cotton Spinners' 
and Manufacturers' Associations has been received 
by the Secretary of State for India at Whitehall, 
when the vital importance of improving the quality 
and extending the cultivation of cotton in India has 
been urged and assistance from the Government 
sought. This International Federation, of which 
Sir Charles Macara, Bart., was the first President, 
was inaugurated in 1904, to further the welfare of 
the world's cotton industry, and includes within 
the scope of its operations everything in which 
interests common to all are involved. Lord Morley, 
when Secretary of State for India, said that the 
Government could not approve a policy which 
would mean the extension of cotton cultivation at 
the expense of food crops, but there does not seem 
to be the remotest possibility of cotton encroaching 
on the area under food crops, because, for example, 

67 ^2 



Cotton 



in the United Provinces alone (containing 61,000,000 
acres) the food crops extend over 36,000,000 
acres, while only one and two-fifth million acres 
are on the average under cotton, and there are 
still 10,000,000 of cultivable waste. If certain 
types of cotton were more extensively grown 
in India there would not only be a great increase 
in the consumption of Indian cotton in England, 
on the European Continent, in India, and in 
Japan, but Indian millowners would not be con- 
fronted with the necessity of importing American 
cotton. 

Since the re-conquest by England of the 
Sudan in 1898, cotton culture has been carried 
on there with the assistance of the Government. 
The Agricultural Department has been organised 
specially with a view to ensuring that men 
shall be at work who are experienced in the culti- 
vation of cotton, and who are able to contend 
with the dangers which attend the growing crop. 
Knowing that cotton can be grown in the Sudan, 
the Government have made experiments as to 
what was the largest extent and the greatest 
scale on which the growth of cotton could be en- 
couraged. 

This chapter must not end without some refer- 
ence to the development of cotton-growing in 
the tropical possessions of the British Empire. 

68 



Cotton Growing under the British Flag 

The British Cotton Growing Association was 
brought into existence in 1902, to develop and to 
extend the production of cotton in new fields in 
the British Empire. The predominating idea of 
the late Sir Alfred Jones (who was the mainspring 
of the Association's activities in its early days) 
and those associated with him, was that the 
industry should endeavour to free itself from its 
dependence on the American crop. The proposal 
was in the interest alike of the spinners and manu- 
facturers and their workpeople, and the represen- 
tative organisations of each gave their support 
to the project. After years of pioneer and experi- 
mental work, moderately large quantities of British- 
grown cotton entered the market, and as the 
experts say " quickly went into consumption." 
The increase in the acreage under cultivation and 
in the production of a good staple and the demand 
it has created during recent years, are such as to 
justify the claim advanced by the Association 
" that it is now definitely established that cotton 
of sufficient quantity and of every grade required 
for Lancashire needs can be produced within the 
Empire," and that by broadening the basis of 
supply, the evil of manipulation, so prevalent 
in the past, will be checked, and, in all probability, 
in the course of time stamped out. 

Every year, in Europe, the forecast of the Ameri- 
69 



Cotton 



can crop is awaited with almost feverish anxiety. 
There are 150,000,000 spindles waiting to spin 
each year's cotton crop into yarn, and millions 
of looms depend on the spinner for yarn to weave 
into cloth. If the crop should not come up to the 
average because of unfavourable climatic con- 
ditions, or the operations of speculators prevent a 
considerable quantity of it entering the markets of 
the world, the textile industry is brought face to 
face with disaster. In such a contingency millions 
of operatives may have to be placed on short- 
time working until the new crop arrives, or the 
" cornered " cotton is released. 

The work of the British Cotton Growing Associa- 
tion has extended over a large area. Experimental 
and pioneer work has been done in India, East, 
West and South Africa, the West Indies and 
Australasia. There was hardly a part of the British 
Empire, where the conditions offered any prospect 
of success, which did not receive attention from the 
Association's agents. 

Africa is by some regarded as the cotton field of 
the future. Nigeria and Uganda are admirable 
places for cotton cultivation. There is a fertile 
soil, favourable climate, intelligent agriculturists 
and good transport facilities. The building by 
the British Government of a railway along the 
Niger has been primarily responsible for the great 

70 



Cotton Growing under the British Flag 



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71 



Cotton 



extension of the work in recent years. To-day 
good and cheap cotton is being grown in that 
country in largely increasing quantities. Fifty- 
four bales of cotton came from Uganda in 1904. 
Four years later 4,000 bales were shipped and, in 
1911 there was a further increase to 20,000 bales. 
In 1914 it was estimated that the crop was double 
that of three years earlier, which, together with the 
seed, would represent not less than £500,000. This 
is the result of twelve years' working. It is confi- 
dently asserted that if the efforts of the Association 
are not in any way relaxed or hampered for want 
of financial support, the raw material to feed 
British spindles may in course of time be grown 
on British soil. 

The British Cotton Growing Association does not 
actually grow the cotton. Its aim is rather to 
encourage in that work the natives and settlers 
in the different Colonies and Protectorates ; to 
develop large plantations and model farms, and 
to act as agents for the distribution of good seed ; 
to train the natives in modern methods of agri- 
culture, to educate them in the use of up-to-date 
implements, and to establish ginning and baling 
factories so that cotton when grown can be effi- 
ciently cleaned, handled and marketed. Perhaps 
the greatest difficulty attending the work arises 
from the inadequacy of transport faciUties, and it 

72 






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Cotton Growing under the British Flag 

is in this direction especially that the Government 
can render valuable assistance. 

It has been said that " cotton is the thread which 
unites the interests of the industrial democracy 
with the development of our great possessions 
across the sea," and the more these interests are 
developed and encouraged the greater will be 
the security of this vast British industry and the 
greater the prosperity of our colonies and depen- 
dencies. 



78 



CHAPTER VI 

CLASSIFICATION OF THE WORLD 's CROP 

It has not yet been possible completely to estab- 
lish and classify the species of cotton (Gossypium), 
The varieties of cotton now grown and the confusion 
of the species through hybridisation make it diffi- 
cult for botanists to come to any definite con- 
clusion as to their origin. Still there are certain 
leading peculiarities which have enabled botanists 
to reduce the cultivated kinds to four primary 
groups. They are : (1) Gossypium barbadense ; 
(2) Gossypium herbaceum ; (3) Gossypium peru- 
vianum ; and (4) Gossypium arbor eum. 

The bulk of our cotton comes from the exten- 
sively cultivated fields of the United States. The 
species grown there is Gossypium barbadense, and 
it is divided into two clearly defined varieties. 
One of these varieties, Sea Island, is the best grade 
of cotton obtainable, whilst the American mainland 
crop, because of its size, grade and average length 
of staple practically regulates the price of cotton 
throughout the world. Sea Island cotton, said to 
have been introduced from the Bahamas in 1785, 
is in great demand for the better class of cotton 

74 



Classification of the World^s Crop 



A LIST OF COTTONS. 

THEIR LENGTH, COLOUR, AND THE COUNTS FOR 
WHICH THEY ARE SUITABLE. 



Variety. 


Average 
Length. 


Relative 
Price.* 


Colour. 


Counts 
up to. 


Remarks. 


Sea Islands ... 


If 


230 


Cream 


200 


Very silky and 
regular 


Egyptian — 












Joannovitch ... 


n 


140 


Dark cream 


150 


Silky 


Sakellarides ... 


1^ 


145 


Dark cream 


150 


Silky and soft 


Nubari 


If 


130 


Light brown 


100 


Silky, but rather 
irregular 


Abassi 


If 


132 


White 


100 


Now little grown 


Brown 


If 


125 


Deep brown 


100 


Very regular 


Upper 


li 


115 


Muddy brown 


60 


Weak and dirty 


Brazilian— 












Pernams.etc.... 


H 


105 


Dull white 


60 


Harsh 


Ceara, etc. 


1 


103 


Dull white 


60 


Harsh 


Peruvian— 












Rough 


li 


117 


Cream j 
Cream ( 


For mix- 


1 Harsh and wiry 
1 Harsh 


Mod, Rough ... 


li 


109 


ing wool 


Smooth 


H 


113 


White 


60 


Soft, similar to 
American 


Sea Islands ... 


If 


132 


Variable 


100 


Silky, but irre- 
gular 


American— 












Orleans 


14 


105 


White 


60 


Clean, soft, and 

strong 
Clean and strong 


Texas 


1 


100 


White 


50 


Uplands 


1 


100 


White 


50 


Softest of Ameri- 
cans 


Mobile 


i 


95 


White 


50 


Dirtier and 
weaker than 
other 


Indian — 












Surtee, Broach, 












etc 


1 


80 


Light brown 


20 


Clean and strong 


Scinde 


& 


55 


Dull white 


10 


Poor and dirty 


Bengal 


f 


55 


Light brown 


10 


Dirty and harsh 


Tinnivelly ... 


J 


82 


White 


20 


Best of Indians 


Madras, 












Western 


J 


71 


Light brown 


20 


Fair class 


China 


i 


85 


Dull white 


20 


Clean, rather 
harsh 


Smyrna 


1 


85 


Dull white 


20 


Rather harsh 


West African... 


1 


90 


White 


50 


Similar to Ameri- 
can 



* Approximate price on the basis of Middling American, 100. 
From " The Cotton Year Book." 

goods. Its qualities are a staple of from If to 
2 J ins. in length, uniformity, strength, cleanness, 

75 



Cotton 



and flexibility, and it possesses a silken appear- 
ance not to be found in any other cotton. For 
this reason it is in great demand for the manu- 
facture of mercerised fabrics. This variety of 
cotton is cultivated exclusively on the islands 
off the coast of Florida and on a portion of 
the mainland of Georgia, South Carolina, and 
Florida. The plant grows to a height of from 6 ft. 
to 12 ft. 

American cotton is divided for commercial 
purposes into four distinct varieties, excluding 
the famous Sea Island variety, which for the pur- 
poses of commerce is not " American." These 
varieties are : Mobile, Orleans, Texas and Upland, 
and all are included under the term " Mainland," 
because grown in the mainland cotton belt which 
extends from south-east Virginia to Texas. The 
Orleans or " Gulf " cotton (so named because 
grown in the Gulf of Mexico) has a longer staple than 
any of the other kinds of " American Mainland." 
It is about 1 J in. long and of a light creamy colour 
and fairly flexible. Texas cotton differs from 
Orleans in that it is a little deeper in colour and is 
shorter in staple. In the matter of strength it is 
above the American average. It is largely used for 
twist yarns. The cotton known by the name of 
" Upland," because grown on the uplands of 
Georgia and the district of South Carolina, is noted 

76 



Classification of the World's Crop 



H 
P? 

<1 

P5 -- 
O CO 

EH ft 

|g 

> 
o 

o 

< 

I— I 
H 

Ph 

l>H 



05 
l-H 


65,369 
215,544 
265,679 
428,154 
126,900 
245,877 
13 


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77 



Cotton 



for its cleanness. This fibre is used principally 
for weft — ^the cross threads which are woven into 
the warp for which the stronger cottons are used. 
" Mobile " cotton (the name is derived from the 
port of shipment) is the poorest quality of 
American cotton. Whilst the length of staple of 
the Uplands cotton is about one inch, the Mobile 
variety is J in. 

Egypt supplies the staple for the superior class 
of cotton goods. Excepting the Sea Island, there 
is no cotton grown which has such a silky appear- 
ance, and which possesses all the other charac- 
teristics of a really good cotton. In the cotton 
markets of the world the Egyptian crop is divided 
into classes according to colour and length of staple. 
Mitafifi (known also as Afifi or Brown Egyptian) 
was the standard cotton of the Nile country. 
The length of staple is about 1 J to 1 J in. The name 
of this variety is derived from that of a village 
in the Province of Galioubieh. 

The cotton known as Assili is a newer variety. 
It is a strong regular and clean cotton of a distinctly 
brownish colour, but it is now dying out. Abassi 
is Egypt's white cotton. It is grown in the Delta 
of the Nile. Ashmouni, cotton grown in Upper 
Egypt, and Joannovitch, in its day a superior 
cotton and named after the grower who began its 
cultivation, have now practically gone out of 

78 



Classification of the World's Crop 

cultivation. Sakellarides is a fine, glossy, long 
staple cotton resembling silk and approaches 
more than any other cotton to the famous Sea 
Island fibre. This variety is largely used in England 
for mercerised fabrics. Nubari and Voltos are other 
grades of Egyptian cotton fibre. 

The alleged deterioration in the quality and 
colour of Egyptian cotton, about which there have 
been complaints during recent years, is said to 
date from a time following closely upon the erection 
of the dam at Assouan. In consequence of the 
general absence of rain in the Nile Valley the cotton 
and rice fields depend for irrigation upon the 
annual overflow of the Nile. The extent of the 
annual inundation was for many years the deter- 
mining factor in the success or failure of the crop. 
The richer the alluvial sediment brought down 
from the washing of the Abyssinian Mountains, 
the more cultivable was the soil, and the finer 
was the quality of the cotton produced. About 
twelve years ago the dam erected at Assouan to 
regulate the irrigation of the valley and adequately 
to provide for years when the Nile was low, 
was completed. It is urged in some quarters that 
this great engineering work has done one great 
service at the' expense of another. To-day the 
crop is larger because of a more efficient system of 
irrigajtion, but the river does not, as formerly, leave 

79 



Cotton 



a covering of rich alluvial sediment. This sediment 
is said to be lost in the modern system of irrigation. / 

It falls to the bottom of the river before flooding 
takes place. 

Some users of Egyptian cotton have declared that 
since the dam was erected, the cotton has steadily 
but perceptibly deteriorated ; that if the cotton of 
to-day had been delivered to a cotton-spinning 
mill twenty-five years ago, it could not at that time 
have been spun with the machinery then in use. 
" In order to build up the strength of the cotton the 
spinner of Egyptian cotton adopts the expedient 
of mixing with it the longer staple cottons, so that 
with the improved machinery and a poorer quality 
of Egyptian cotton, much the same result is reached 
as when Egypt provided the industry with some 
of the finest raw material. The characteristic 
brown colour of the best Egyptian cotton has, 
however, been lost." A few years ago the owner 
of a yacht complained to a manufacturer that his 
new sails were not of the same brown colour as those 
he had had on a previous occasion. The yachts- 
man invited a representative of the firm pro- 
viding the sails to explain the reason, and the 
yachtsman was told that the sails were made of the 
best Egyptian cotton obtainable, and that it was 
impossible now to get the old rich brown colour. 
This, he thought, was due to the absence of the silt 

80 



Classification of the World's Crop 

which the high Nile, in former years, deposited 
on the cotton fields. 

On the other hand, the dam has been successful 
in that it has raised the annual crop over 7,000,000 
cantars, and even now the demand for Egyptian 
cotton largely exceeds the supply. Moreover, the 
harnessing of the waters of the Nile, while improv- 
ing the yield of cotton, has lessened the risks of a 
shortage in other crops. But whilst the Egyptian 
grower may be invited to direct his attention 
to improving the quality of cotton sent to the 
Lancashire mills, it must be recorded that eminent 
authorities on the Egyptian product entirely 
disagree with those who assert that the dam has 
been in any way responsible for producing an 
inferior cotton. 

The time of planting in Egypt is generally in 
March, and the picking season in Upper Egypt is 
in August and in Lower Egypt a month later. The 
picking is done mostly by children, who are closely 
watched and punished if they neglect their work. 
The cotton is carried away from the fields to the 
ginneries on the backs of camels. 

Indian cotton on the Liverpool market is divided 
into three groups or classes — Surat, Bengal and 
Madras. The Surat group includes the varieties 
of cotton of which Surtee is the best and Scinde the 
poorest. The other cottons in this group are : 

81 o 



Cotton 



Broach, Dhollera, Bhownuggar, Dharwar, Oomra- 
wuttee, Comptah, Khandeish and Bagalkote. 
The Bengal cotton is very Hke that grown in Scinde. 
It is coarse and dirty and short in staple. Of the 
Madras cotton, Tinnevelly is the superior product. 
Cambodia is used in England, but is now deteriorat- 
ing. Spinners at one time regarded it as on an 
equality with American Uplands. Other cottons 
of the Madras group are known as Westerns, 
Northerns, and Coconda, but they are too coarse 
for the English market. During the American 
Civil War, which caused a cotton famine in Lanca- 
shire, the group of Indian cottons known as Surat 
had to take the place of American, and this 
coarser cotton sorely tried the operatives who had 
to spin it. " O Lord, send us more cotton, but pre- 
serve us from Surat," was the oft-repeated appeal 
at prayer meetings, and when the war ended, and 
the first consignment of bales of the American 
variety reached the Lancashire operatives, they were 
so overjoyed as to join with one accord in singing 
" Praise God from whom all blessings flow." 
A small quantity of cotton is grown in Burmah. 

The cotton-growing fields in the Russian Empire 
are in Turkestan and the Caucasus, and the crop 
is largely used by Russian spinners. The length 
and quality of the Russian fibre have been improved 
since the farmers used the seed of the American 

82 



Classification of the World's Crop 



Upland variety. The indigenous cotton is of a 

coarse short staple. 

The cotton grown in China is sometimes used in 

England when there is a shortage of American cotton. 

It is about f in. in length, and is clean and white. 

THE WORLD'S COTTON CROP RETURNS. 
(In Thousands of Bales.) 



Season. 


America. 


India. 


Egypt. 


Brazil, etc. 


Total. 


1915-16 


12,953 


3,819 


_ 


_ 


. 


1914^15 


15,607 


4,703 


812 


t6,973 


28,095 


1913-14 


14,885 


6,149 


970 


t7,796 


29,800 


1912-13 


14,129 


4,692 


969 


17,716 


27,506 


1911-12 


16,043 


4,978 


965 


t6,374 


27,560 


1910-11 


12,132 


4,587 


984 


t6,324 


24,027 


1909-10 


10,651 


5,317 


673 


12,768 


19,409 


1908-09 


13,829 


4,779 


898 


t2,885 


22,391 


1907-08 


11,582 


4,445 


908 


t2,916 


19,851 


190&-07 


13,550 


5,197 


923 


t2,803 


22,473 


1905-06 


11,320 


4,797 


798 


t2,542 


19,457 


1904-05 


13,557 


4,061 


843 


t2,172 


20,633 


1903-04 


10,124 


4,471 


797 


t2,760 


18,152 


1902-03 


10,758 


4,183 


768 


t2,804 


17,913 


1901-02 


10,701 


4,122 


864 


*1,052 


16,739 


1900-01 


10,425 


3,377 


711 


900 


15,513 


1899-1900 


9,440 


3,099 


855 


1,000 


14,394 


1898-99 


11,235 


3,477 


730 


1,000 


16,442 


1897-98 


11,181 


2,844 


919 


1,015 


15,959 


1896-97 


8,714 


2,999 


778 


1,010 


13,501 


1895-96 


7,162 


3,296 


695 


770 


11,923 


1894-95 


9,893 


2,656 


610 


460 


13,619 


1893-94 


7,527 


2,995 


707 


542 


11,771 


1892-93 


6,717 


2,751 


684 


438 


10,590 


1891-92 


9,038 


2,869 


625 


310 


12,842 


1890-91 


8,655 


3,022 


545 


300 


12,522 


1889-90 


7,314 


3,361 


431 


270 


11,376 



* Including China 200 and Asiatic Russia 400. 

t Including all other countries. 

Note. — The American bale weighs about 500 lbs., the Indian 
bale 400 lbs., and the Egyptian bale 700 lbs. Bales of other countries 
vary in weight. 

From the "Annual Cotton Handbook." 



83 



a 2 



Cotton 



Brazilian cotton is also used in England, and if 
it were picked better, handled more efficiently, 
and sent to tKe market in a cleaner state its use 
by English spinners would greatly increase. The 
cotton-growing land in Brazil is extensive and the 
meteorological conditions are favourable, but the 
methods employed in marketing the crop greatly 
depreciate its value. 

In Asiatic Turkey a small crop of cotton is grown. 
Here, as in parts of Russia, instead of picking the 
cotton in the fields the bolls are cut from the shrubs, 
and the cotton removed from them in the homes 
of the growers. This method of harvesting the 
cotton is not recommended by spinners. They 
complain that the fibre, when treated in this way, 
is too leafy and dirty. 

There are three varieties of Peruvian cotton — 
Peruvian Sea Island and Rough and Smooth 
Peruvian. The first of these has a silky appearance 
and the fibre is above the average in length. But 
it varies too much in colour and in length of staple 
to be mistaken for the Sea Island cotton. The 
plant of the rough Peruvian grows to a height of 
from 9 ft. to 10 ft. Its product is a coarse and wiry 
cotton and is generally used for mixing with wool. 
The third variety is a much softer cotton and is 
more extensively grown than the other two. 



84 



CHAPTER VII 

MODERN SPINNING AND WEAVING 

" The most striking actions of machinery," 
Professor George Wilson has said, " are those which 
involve not only swift irresistible motion, but also 
transformation of the materials on which the moving 
force is exerted. Take, for example, a cotton mill. 
On the basement story revolves an immense steam 
engine, unresting and unhasting as a star in its 
stately orderly movements. It stretches its strong 
iron arms in every direction throughout the build- 
ing ; into whatever chamber you enter, as you 
climb stair after stair, you find its million hands in 
motion, and its fingers, which are skilful as they are 
nimble, busy at work. They pick cotton, and 
cleanse it, card it, rove it, twist it, spin it, dye it, 
and weave it. They will work any pattern you 
select, and in as many colours as you choose ; 
and do all with celerity, dexterity, and unexhausted 
energy and skill. For my part I gaze with extreme 
wonder on the steam Agathodaemons of a cotton 
mill, the embodiments, all of them, of a very few 
simple statical and dynamical laws ; and yet able, 
with the speed of race-horses, to transform a raw 

85 



Cotton 



material, originally as cheap as thistle-down, 
into endless and beautiful fabrics." 

Now that we have brought the raw material 
to Lancashire — the greatest cotton manufacturing 
centre in the world — we will trace its manufacture 
(through its various stages) into yarn and from 
yarn into cloth. 

We begin our inspection in the engine room — 
the source of the motor power which gives life 
to the wonderful cotton machinery and sends 
thousands of spindles rotating with their thousands 
of miles of thread. In the modern mill, and in 
some of the old-established mills, steam has been 
supplanted by electricity. It is claimed for elec- 
trically-driven over steam-driven machinery that 
a larger production can be secured from the same 
machines, and that owing to the smoother running 
the quality of the yarn is greatly improved. 

In the mixing and cleaning room we see the bales 
of cotton as they are received from America or 
Egypt. The American cotton is badly baled. It 
is packed in coarse, dirty sacking and bound with 
hoops of iron. Spinners have a long-standing 
grievance with the Americans as to the way they 
ship their product. For years efforts have been 
made to get the growers to improve upon the old 
and wasteful manner of baling and handling cotton ; 
they have been urged to imitate the excellent 

86 



, i 



Modern Spinning and Weaving 

packing of the Egyptian bale. In recent years 
some improvement has been made, but the careless 
method of baling is to-day responsible for a con- 
siderable waste. Although the seed has already 
been separated from the fibre through the agency 
of the ginning machine there is much extraneous 
matter to be removed, including seed and leaves 
of the plant, before the cotton is started upon the 
initial stage of manufacture. Such curious things 
as stones, logs of wood, and even cartridges have 
been found buried in the bale. 

When released from its wrappings the cotton is 
in a very rough and matted state, and is thrown 
into what is known as a Bale-Breaker. The cotton 
is carried by travelling bands between rollers which 
are either fluted or spiked. By this means the 
fibre is separated before it passes on to the 
" Opener," another mechanical device for remov- 
ing all impurities from the raw material. The 
" opener " has within it special appliances for 
continuing the process of breaking-up the matted 
cotton and removing foreign matter. Sometimes 
a " beater," working like the sails of a windmill 
at the rate of 1,000 revolutions a minute, is em- 
ployed. 

From the " opener " the cotton is delivered 
loose, to be drawn forward once more, pneumati- 
cally, within an iron tube, which carries it to the 

87 



Cotton 



level of the ceiling of the adjoining blowing and 
scutching room and drops it again on the floor 
beneath. Scutching is a further process of cleaning 
the cotton by blowing and beating. One of the 
main features of cotton spinning, which applies 
to all the processes, is securing regularity and 
evenness. In these early stages careful regard is 
had to principle, inasmuch as an error in quantity, 
if not rectified, would materially affect the ultimate 
result to the extent of changing what is called the 
" count " of yarn. To secure this regularity, when 
the cotton has been taken by women and placed 
as evenly as possible on the lattice creepers which 
convey it to the scutcher, there is at the point 
where it enters the machine, an arrangement of 
rollers, with compensating movements, so that only 
a certain amount is allowed to pass in at a time. 
Within the scutcher it is again beaten and sub- 
jected to strong currents of air whereby more dust 
and dirt are taken from it, and it is eventually 
discharged between cylinders as a smooth felted web 
like a sheet of wadding rolled up in the form of a 
bobbin, and known as a " lap." Sometimes the 
intermediate travelling of the cotton from the 
" opener " to the first scutcher is dispensed with 
by a machine which affects the two processes 
continuously. 

Further to purify the cotton and to attain the 
88 



Modern Spinning and Weaving 

desired regularity and evenness, five of the " laps " 
are taken and placed upon the creeper of the 
finishing scutcher, and are finally drawn out into 
one large lap, ready for the carding machine. This 
finished lap is weighed to ascertain that it contains 
the required quantity for the count of yam which 
has to be spun. In the Card-room the cotton under- 
goes its final cleansing process and receives treat- 
ment of the most delicate and important kind. 
Hitherto no attempt has been made to separate 
and arrange the fibres of the cotton. Though 
partly cleansed and delivered in a smooth-web-like 
form, the original confusion of fibres still prevails. 
In the carding engine the visitor sees a machine 
into the back of which the web from the scutcher 
is placed on a roller. He sees it gradually disappear 
as it is being drawn into the interior, and then, 
passing to the front, he is shown the result in the 
shape of a fine ribbon-like gossamer film, technically 
called a " sliver," which is seen issuing from the 
machine, and coiling itself up in a can prepared to 
receive it. The processes by which this is obtained 
are hidden and are of a complicated kind. They 
may be briefly described as consisting of a series of 
large and small rollers working on a cylinder and 
called rollers and clearers. They are covered with 
fine wire teeth arranged in opposite directions, 
working with varied speeds and presenting oppos- 

89 



Cotton 



ing forces to the cotton which passes between them, 
the effect of which is to clear away the last of the 
impurities, comb out the fibres and arrange them 
parallel in the film-like form shown in the sliver. 
The appearance of this carded gossamer-like 
cotton as it comes from the machine, and is seen 
converging to a point and resolving itself into the 
sliver, is very interesting and in striking contrast 
with the matted web of which it originally formed 
a part. In this carding process all short and useless 
fibres have been thrown off with the waste, and as 
the scutching machine has been made to render 
a certain weight of felted web, so from this web 
is procured a certain length of sliver in proportion 
to the fineness of the thread which is to be spun. 
This is accomplished by arranging the speed or 
" draught " as it is called, so that from a given 
inch of web a certain length of sliver will be pro- 
duced. One of the chief objects of carding is to 
free the cotton from all dirt and other impurities, 
because any defect in this direction will be seen 
in the last process and affect the quality of the 
yarn. 

Two forms of carding machine are in use — the 
"roller and clearer" and that which consists of 
" revolving flats." It is not necessary to enter 
into minute descriptions of the differences in these 
machines, except to say that in the case of one the 

90 



Modern Spinning and Weaving 

card clothing is placed upon rollers, and in the other 
upon a series of jointed flats which present an un- 
broken surface to the cotton as they revolve round 
the cylinder. 

The element of waste enters into all the processes 
of cotton spinning. It exists in the form of refuse 
from the blowing, and scutching, and " fly " from 
the carding machines ; in sweepings from the 
floors, and in various other forms. Consequently, 
from 100 lbs. of raw cotton, 10 lbs. will be thrown 
off in this way. Some of the finest portions of it 
disappear in the atmosphere, and form what is 
called " invisible waste." A large quantity of 
that which is secured is sold to waste dealers, 
who dispose of it again for manufacturing purposes. 

The whole process of cotton spinning resolves 
itself into a series of drawings, doublings, and 
twistings. We have seen the cotton after being 
placed in the scutcher come out in a flat lengthened 
web. Then, from the carding machine it has issued 
in the form of a ribbon-like sliver. Now it is taken 
to what is called a Drawing Frame, where a 
number of these slivers will be united in one. 
The Drawing Frame is an interesting machine. 
It consists of three parts or " heads," each acting 
independently of the other. To the first of these 
heads six cans are taken from the carding machine 
for the formation of each sliver. The slivers from 

91 



Cotton 



these are taken hold of by rollers running at varying 
and nicely-adjusted speeds which deal with them 
with a finger-and-thumb movement, uniting the 
whole of the slivers in one, at the same time draw- 
ing this out to the required length, and by an 
ingenious movement, coiling it once more into a 
can. Six of these slivers are then taken to the next 
head and the process is repeated. A third time a 
combination of six is made and the sliver drawn 
out which now contains within itself 216 of the 
original slivers as they issued from the carding 
machine. To such automatic perfection has this 
machine been brought that if one of these light 
filmy slivers should happen to break, the machine 
is instantly stopped. This appearance of conscious 
movement is a very curious and attractive feature 
of the drawing frame. 

Up to this time the cotton has had no twist 
imparted to it. It has simply been drawn out 
with the fibres arranged as parallel as possible. 
It is now taken to the slubbing frame. Here the 
slivers are treated very much as in the drawing 
frame, save that after passing from the rollers they 
are wound upon bobbins, arranged in connection 
with spindles, at the front of the machine. These 
bobbins work in conjunction with a spindle and 
flyer, revolving at the rate of 600 revolutions a 
minute, and in this operation the sliver is consider- 

92 



Modern Spinning and Weaving 

ably reduced in bulk and gets its twist. The cotton 
is now taken to the intermediate frames where the 
contents of two bobbins are united and wound 
upon one, the cotton being made finer and more 
round and the result is a combination of 432 of 
the original slivers. The mechanism of these fly- 
frames is very similar, their object being gradually 
to bring the cotton into a condition for spinning. 
The difference in treatment consists in the arrange- 
ment of the speed of the rollers for the delivery 
of a fixed quantity and giving the needful twists 
to the strands. In the working of these fly-frames 
the visitor's attention is drawn to the manner in 
which the roving is wound upon the bobbin, it 
being necessary to adapt the motion to the increas- 
ing or diminishing bulk, the bobbin, when it is full, 
having tapering cone-like ends. This apparently 
simple result involves some of the nicest calcula- 
tions in mechanics, and is far too complex to be 
understood by the casual, unscientific observer. 
It is sufficient, perhaps, to say that it is accom- 
plished by an ingenious arrangement of wheels 
working with differential movements, in conjunc- 
tion with a pair of cones which give compensating 
effects as the roving assumes the cone shape on the 
bobbin. As the strands get finer, the bobbins are 
proportionately smaller, and the number of them 
is increased, as shown in the " Jack " or roving 

93 



Cotton 



frame, which is the last of the preparatory processes. 
In this frame two bobbins are wound into one, 
giving a result in the united doublings of 864 of the 
original carding slivers. In all these operations 
of drawing, the workpeople engaged are mainly 
women and girls. 

At this point the roving is tested, a given number 
of yards being taken and weighed to see that 
the result is in accordance with the count which 
has to be spun. What is meant by " counts " of 
yarns ? Cotton yarn, if wound into hanks from 
the cop, contains 840 yards in each hank. The 
" count " means the number of these hanks to a 
pound weight of yarn. So that if " sixties " are 
being spun, there will be sixty hanks, of 840 yards 
each, in a pound ; and so on with the " counts," the 
number increasing with the fineness of the yarn 
to be spun. 

When it has left the jack frame, the roving is 
ready to be converted into yarn, and for this pur- 
pose is taken to the spinning room. The machines 
used for spinning are self-acting mules of the latest 
construction. There are two other ways of spinning 
yarn — by the throstle and by ring spinning, but it 
is not necessary here to describe them, except to 
say that they represent a continuous motion as 
distinguished from an intermittent one which 
characterises the mule, and that they dispense 

94 



Modern Spinning and Weaving 

with the carriage which is necessary in the 
latter. 

In the Spinning room the visitor will see a number 
of mules ranged opposite each other in pairs and 
extending the whole length of the room. Dividing 
these at certain distances are headstocks, each of 
which is a wonderful combination of wheels, levers, 
and other complications which work right and left, 
and control the movements of the mule. At the 
back of each mule the bobbins of rovings to be 
spun are arranged in creels. Beneath these on the 
beam or fixed portion of the mule are rollers which 
act upon the rovings with differential movements, 
as on the drawing frames uniting the contents of 
two bobbins into one and drawing it out to the 
required length. In front of this mixed portion is 
a wheeled carriage which works on a tramway 
and moves backward and forward in the inter- 
mediate space. On the front of the carriage the 
spindles are placed to the number, in some cases, 
of 1,500 to each mule. 

The roving having been attached to the spindles, 
which revolve at the rate of about 10,000 revolu- 
tions a minute, as the carriage moves away from the 
rollers outwards, it draws with it the yarn, the 
revolution of the spindles also giving the twist to 
the strands. When the carriage stops, there is a 
pause in which the spindles stop and the rollers 

95 



Cotton 



cease to give out rovings. The spindles then per- 
form a reverse movement of short duration to 
unwind the thread attached to them, called " back- 
ing off." Then the carriage moves back to the 
frame, and in this movement the yarn is wound 
round the spindles, an ingenious contrivance of 
wire, called a " faller," acting like a finger in 
arranging the thread. When the spindle is full, 
the yarn is cone-shaped at each end, and is called 
a " cop." When the cops are perfectly formed and 
complete the machine is stopped. It is then neces- 
sary to clear the spindles and start them again with 
fresh yarn. This is called " doffing," an expression 
which survives in the west country word " doff," 
which means to put off, a contraction of " do off." 
The operatives employed in spinning are men 
and boys, called " minders " and " piecers." Each 
minder takes charge of a pair of mules which 
work opposite each other. He has under him a big 
piecer and a little piecer, whose duties are to piece 
the ends of any broken threads, keep the mules 
clear of waste and gather the cops from the 
spindles. The yarns spun from these mules are of 
two kinds, warp and weft. The warps have a 
harder twist given to them than the weft. Looking 
at the fine thread which is being spun from these 
mules, it is not easy for the visitor to realise the 
fact that in it is the combined result of 1728 of 

96 



Modern Spinning and Weaving 

the filmy ribbons of cotton which he saw coming 
out of the carding machine. The length that is 
spun is also another source of wonder, when he is 
told that if 60's are the " counts " required, the 
pound of yarn representing that number would 
measure 28f miles. 

When the cops pass from the hands of the spinner, 
they are taken to the weaving shed, and are of 
two kinds — warp and weft. The warp of a cloth 
consists of the threads which run the whole 
length of it, while the weft goes across, and is 
limited in its progress by the width. The cops which 
contain this weft, which is usually a little softer 
than the warp, are retained in their original form 
to be placed in the shuttles, while the cops of warp 
are placed in the hands of women who are called 
*' winders." It is their duty to wind the contents of 
the cops upon bobbins, which is done in a Winding 
Frame, the threads being guided by gauges fixed 
in the frame, and brushed in their progress from the 
cop to the bobbin. The warps thus wound are taken 
to the beam warpers who are also women, who 
arrange the bobbins in a creel in numbers corre- 
sponding with the threads required. These threads 
are then wound on a larger roller, very much like 
a huge bobbin, and called a " warper's beam," care 
being required to have them laid side by side, a 
process which is assisted by the threads passing 

c. 97 H 



Cotton 



through a wire frame. When five of these rollers 
are filled, they form what is called a set, and, after 
being weighed, are taken in hand by men who 
are called " slashers," who arrange the five in a 
frame, from which they are wound on to another 
roller, the accumulated threads laid side by side 
forming the width of the cloth. Attached to this 
frame is a trough containing size, through which 
the threads are passed as a certain amount of 
stiffening is necessary for warps. After being dealt 
with here between rollers and brushes, they are 
passed over a hollow cylinder heated by steam 
and are quickly dried. 

It is a curious fact in connection with this warp 
dressing that when Dr. Cartwright had invented 
his power-loom, and established a weaving factory 
at Doncaster which failed, one cause of failure 
" arose out of the circumstance that cotton requires 
dressing while being woven, and that the wages paid 
to the men who had to dress the warp went very far 
to counterbalance all the economical advantages 
belonging to the power-loom itself. At length 
Mr. Radcliffe, of Stockport, invented the dressing 
frame, or machine by which the yarn is dressed 
before being placed in the loom." From the cylin- 
der, the warps are wound forward continuously 
to another large bobbin-like roller, called a "weaver's 
beam," which eventually is taken to the loom. 

98 



Modern Spinning and Weaving 

An intermediate process, however, is necessary, 
and that is called " dra wing-in." In the weaving 
of cloth, all the threads of the warps are passed 
through the eyes or loops of what are called 
" healds," which perform a very important 
part in the process. These healds are strong 
polished threads, suspended and arranged between 
shafts of wood. The number of these threads 
correspond with those of the warps. To under- 
stand the work of these healds, it should be ex- 
plained that there are three important movements 
in weaving. First, the lifting of the threads of 
warp to allow the weft to pass through by means 
of the shuttle. This movement is called ' ' shedding. ' ' 
The second is the shuttle movement, from side to 
side, by which the weft is conveyed. This is called 
" picking," and the weft threads are called " picks." 
The third motion is the beating up of these weft 
threads to each other, when they have been passed 
through the warp. The healds lift the threads, 
and perform the work called " shedding." For the 
accomplishment of this purpose we are shown a 
frame containing healds, and a warp beam above 
it. A girl seated below draws each thread 
of the warp down, and passes it in its turn 
through the eye or loop of the suspended 
heald. On the other side of the frame is another 
girl who is called a " reacher-in," who takes 

99 H2 



Cotton 



the threads as they are passed to her, and 
places them in turn between the wires of a 
narrow frame called a " reed," which, when in 
the loom, will perform the motion of beating up 
the weft. 

When the warps with the healds and reed are 
placed in the loom, the three movements of shed- 
ding, picking and beating up, begin. The healds are 
seen lifting up the required threads of warp, the 
picking stick is propelling the shuttle and carrying 
the weft, and the reed is moving backward and 
forward among the warp threads beating up the 
weft threads and so the cloth is gradually woven. 
To distinguish the various makes of cloth, a 
heading is frequently introduced, which con- 
sists of coloured threads of weft, put in at the 
commencement of the weaving. The operatives 
engaged to watch this work are men and women, 
and sometimes one person has charge of four 
looms. It is the business of these weavers to keep 
the shuttles supplied with cops, and to see that 
the cloth is evenly woven, every piece being after- 
wards examined to detect the existence of any 
faults. If a warp thread breaks in the process of 
weaving, the weaver takes one of a tuft of short 
threads called '* thrums " attached to the loom and 
joins the broken ends. If a weft thread breaks, the 
loom is immediately stopped by a simple mechanical 

100 



Modern Spinning and Weaving 

arrangement similar to that of the drawing frame 
in spinning. 

Differences in the production of woven fabrics 
are brought about in one respect by changes in 
the number and working of the healds, ingenious 
appHances beneath the loom called " tappets," 
governing these movements and producing the 
various complications among the threads of warp 
and weft, and so producing endless varieties of 
cotton cloths. 



101 



H-.' 



CHAPTER VIII 

" WHERE MERCHANTS MOST DO CONGREGATE " 

Manchester Royal Exchange — a building de- 
signed for and dedicated to the cotton-trade — may 
be said to be the centre from which the many 
individual spinning mills and weaving sheds 
derive their dynamic force. All the branches of 
cotton manufacture — spinning, weaving, bleach- 
ing, finishing, printing and dyeing, etc. — represent 
a capital estimated in round figures at £250,000,000, 
and it is computed that a population of at least 
3,000,000 is directly dependent for their daily bread 
upon the transactions which are entered into upon 
" the boards " of this Exchange. 

The first Exchange synchronises with the begin- 
nings of the cotton industry, but it was in no way 
comparable to the institution as we know it to- 
day. The Exchange has grown and developed with 
the trade, and culminated in the dignified building 
— now being greatly extended — which stands in 
the centre of the city. 

The merchants who, in the latter part of the 17th 
century and the beginning of the 18th century 
" well and truly laid " the foundation of the cotton 

102 



" Where Merchants Most Do Congregate '* 

industry, did not cultivate expensive tastes. They 
had their club where " the expense of each person 
was fixed at 4J<Z., viz. ; 4d. for ale and a half- 
penny for tobacco " ; and Dr. Aitken, writing over a 
century ago, gives us a description of what seems 
to have been the origin of the Cotton Exchange : 
" There now resides in the Market Place of Man- 
chester, a man of the name of John Shawe, who 
keeps a common public-house in which a large 
company of the respectable Manchester tradesmen 
meet every day after dinner, and the rule is to call 
for sixpenny-worth of punch. Here the news of 
the town is quickly known. The ' high change ' 
at Shawe's is about six, and at eight o'clock every 
person must quit the house, as no liquor is ever 
served out after that hour, and should anyone 
ever be presumptuous enough to stop, Mr. Shawe 
brings out a whip with a long lash, and proclaiming 
aloud, ' Past eight o'clock, gentlemen,' soon clears 
the house. For this excellent regulation Mr. Shawe 
has frequently received the thanks of the ladies of 
Manchester and is often toasted." 

In the year 1729, Sir Oswald Mosley, the Lord of 
the Manor, appreciating the difficulties attending 
the absence of a recognised meeting-place for 
traders, erected a building in the Market Place not 
far from Shawe's. It was intended " for chapmen 
to meet in and transact their business." The heads 

103 



Cotton 



of three rebels who swore allegiance to the Pretender 
— Captain Thomas Deacon, Adjutant Syddall and 
Lieutenant Chadwick, who were executed in 
London, — were displayed from the top of this 
Exchange, as was the gruesome custom of those 
days. For above forty years this building was 
the centre of some kind of trading activity, and for 
a considerable time it was regarded as little more 
than a " nursery school for petty crimes ; a nest 
for disease." By common consent it was known as 
the " Lazaretto." The trading was not confined to 
cotton merchants as was the intention of the founder 
and builder. Butchers set up their stalls there, 
and the place gradually degenerated into a kind of 
fair ground with all the associations common to 
such a spot. This alienated the cotton merchants 
and they surrendered their right to meet there. 
They much preferred to negotiate in the narrow 
streets or on a piece of ground known as " Penniless 
Hill " where (in 1794), those who had developed 
a foreign trade formed a Society " to resist and 
prevent as much as possible, the depredations com- 
mitted on mercantile property in foreign parts, 
detect swindlers, expose chicanes and persons 
void of principle and honour in their dealings." 
Means were also devised to promote the safety 
of trade generally, and a " black " list of 
names of foreign firms who had surrendered their 

104 



" Where Merchants Most Do Congregate " 

right to be considered honourable traders was 
compiled. 

The trade was now rapidly developing, and mer- 
chants and manufacturers set to work to provide 
for themselves an Exchange which should meet 
their growing business requirements. At a meeting 
of merchants in 1804 it was resolved to erect a 
building in Exchange Street " for the purposes of 
a commercial coffee room and tavern." But the 
building was more dignified in character than the 
use to which it was to be put seemed to suggest. 
We read that the porters' dress consisted of a 
" cock'd hat, a staff with silver head, on which was 
engraved the Manchester Arms, and the words 
' Manchester Exchange,' a dark blue cloak-coat 
with gold lace at the collar and gold twist at the 
button holes." Another interesting record of this 
Exchange relates to the illumination of the 
general room with candles. Sometimes the large 
dining-room was used for Town's meetings. In 
1812 a meeting was arranged to take place there 
to consider a proposal to present an address to the 
Prince Regent. Serious opposition, however, was 
threatened. On the appearance of the notice con- 
vening the meeting the following statement was 
printed and circulated among the cotton operatives 
and artisans of Manchester and the neighbour- 
hood : — 

105 



Cotton 



" Now OR Never. Those inhabitants who do not 
wish for an Increase of Taxes and Poor Rates — an 
Advance in the Price of Provisions — a Scarcity of 
Work — and a Reduction of Wages — will not fail to 
go to the Meeting on Wednesday morning next, 
at the Exchange, and oppose the 154 persons who 
have called you together ; and you will then do 
right to express your detestation of the conduct of 
those men who have brought this Country to its 
present distressed state and are entailing misery 
on Thousands of our industrious mechanics. 

" Speak your minds now before it is too late ; let 
not the Prince and the People be deceived as to your 
real sentiments. Speak and act boldly and firmly, 
but above all be peaceable." — {London Courier, 
April 10, 1812.) 

The meeting was abandoned. On the appointed 
night, however, an angry mob assembled and 
declining to believe that the meeting was not to 
take place, broke into the room and wrecked the 
furniture. The military stationed in Manchester 
and Salford at the time were summoned to restore 
order. This was speedily done, but already damage 
estimated to exceed £600 was reported. The 
Committee passed a vote of thanks to the four 
Commanding Officers of the garrison and to the 
officers and men under them for services rendered ; 
and from that time until Manchester ceased to be 
a garrison town all military officers in garrison in 
Manchester and Salford had the privilege of free 
admission to the Exchange — a concession allowed 

106 



'' Where Merchants Most Do Congregate " 

to no other persons except elected life members 
(those who have been continuous subscribers to 
Exchange for sixty years). 

The Committee of the Exchange afterwards 
refused to allow their building to be used for public 
meetings and rules were framed embodying the 
Committee's decision. In 1842 this prohibition 
seems to have been ignored by Mr. John Bright, 
who at this time was an unknown member. In his 
report of the occurrence the then Master of the 
Exchange said : 

" On Tuesday, about five minutes after one o'clock, 
and during the most crowded time of 'Change, my 
attention was drawn to the room from which pro- 
ceeded very great noise and disorder. I instantly 
went into the room where I perceived a gentleman 
(whose name I was after informed was Mr. John 
Bright, of Rochdale) standing upon one of the seats 
and addressing the subscribers. I immediately 
approached Mr. Bright and intimated to him that 
his mode of proceeding was an infringement of the 
laws of the institution, and requested him to desist 
from speaking in the room. He took no notice, but 
proceeded with his address amidst cries of ' go on,' 
' turn him out,' ' pull him down,' etc. Finding that 
I could not be answerable for the consequences if 
he were allowed to proceed, I took the liberty of 
removing him from the seat on which he was stand- 
ing. I had no sooner done this than I was elbowed 
and pulled about by Mr. Bright's friends who advised 
him to proceed. Mr. Bright still attempted to go 
on with his address, and I then informed him that 

107 



Cotton 



if he was still determined to proceed, I must give 
him into the hands of the police. This latter threat 
had the desired effect, and a cry of ' adjourn ' was 
raised, Mr. Bright and his friends leaving the room 
(in the rush to get out breaking a window) and 
addressed the people in Ducie Place from a staircase 
window near the Times office." 

Queen Victoria paid a visit to Manchester in 
October, 1851, and the Cotton Exchange was used 
as the place for the reception. In the " Life of the 
Prince Consort," by Sir Theodore Martin, an extract 
is given from the Queen's Journal describing Her 
Majesty's visit to Manchester, in which the follow- 
ing passage occurs : — " We drove through the 
principal streets, in which there are no very fine 
buildings — the principal large houses being ware- 
houses — and stopped at the Exchange, where we 
got out and received the Address — again on a 
Throne — to which I read an answer. The streets 
were immensely full, and the cheering and en- 
thusiasm most gratifying. The order and good 
behaviour of the people, who were not placed 
behind any barriers, were the most complete we 
have seen in our many progresses through capitals 
and cities." A month later, Sir George Grey 
(Home Secretary) informed the Mayor of Man- 
chester that it was the Queen's pleasure that the 
Manchester Cotton Exchange should henceforth be 
known as the " Royal " Exchange of Manchester. 

108 



*' Where Merchants Most Do Congregate " 

The exterior of the modern Exchange is famiUar 
to the many ; the interior is familiar only to the 
comparatively few, for the " boards " are forbidden 
ground to all non-members. The " stranger's " 
gallery is the only part of the building where other 
than members are admitted, and to gain access to 
this gallery one must be introduced by a member. 

On the " boards " King Cotton reigns supreme. 
It is rank heresy to talk about anything else. 
Indeed the merchants have not the time, much less 
the inclination, to think of other than " counts," 
" points " and grades of cotton. Their presence on 
the boards means business and nothing but busi- 
ness, so that words are not wasted in any direction 
except only as an introduction to negotiation. 
Hence the customary formula of the merchant 
of an earlier generation which has not yet fallen 
into desuetude : " Mornin', Owt ? Nowt, mornin'." 

Politics may occasionally be privately discussed, 
but only when the Legislature threatens to turn 
its attention to some branch of cotton manufac- 
ture. In March, 1917, the Directors suspended the 
rigorous rules of the Exchange in regard to politics 
in order to give the merchants the opportunity 
to pass a resolution against the new Indian import 
duties on cotton goods. The resolution was read to 
the merchants at " High 'Change " by Sir Arthur A. 
Haworth, and on being put to the vote was by him 

109 



Cotton 



declared "carried by about 5,000 to 10." Mr. 
Joseph Chamberlain, during one of his visits to the 
city, was introduced to the gallery of the Exchange. 
His presence was soon made known to the multi- 
tude of merchants below and there were cries 
of " Speech." Mr. Chamberlain expressed the 
pleasure it gave him to visit " this great and impor- 
tant centre of Lancashire commercial life," and in 
an unguarded moment or, perhaps, in complete 
ignorance of the rule against political argument, 
he turned away from cotton and had begun an 
excursion into the political sphere. The great 
Protectionist orator started off with some arresting 
phrases which would have culminated in much 
cheering had he happened to be in the right 
atmosphere for political dialectics. But Mr. 
Chamberlain was greatly surprised when he dis- 
covered that those who had just previously 
clamoured for a speech, were now shouting, " No 
politics ! " Mr. Chamberlain waited for a lull in 
the disturbance to offer thanks and then gracefully 
to retire. Presently the shouting ceased, leaving 
just a murmur of disapproval. Welcoming this 
opportunity to touch, as he thought, non-con- 
tentious ground, Mr. Chamberlain essayed to 
express thanks " on behalf of His Majesty's Govern- 
ment," and was again interrupted. The distin- 
guished visitor now betrayed a feeling of uneasiness 

110 



'.'^ ^» *■/ tttr p^ - 









.U.J. .^ €.^. *n^^^ 









"l^ii^;: Jifc 









!:L V- I 



*f i !•> 



*4.. 






W pi 

o ^ 
o '^ 

CO 






" Where Merchants Most Do Congregate " 

until it was explained to him that any remarks 
with just a flavouring of politics were prohibited. 
Mr. Chamberlain offered a gracious apology for his 
transgression and shortly afterwards withdrew. 

Other distinguished visitors to the Exchange 
include the late Lord Salisbury, Lord Rosebery, and 
Dr. Nansen, the Arctic explorer. Lord Rosebery 
did not fall into Mr. Chamberlain's mistake. His 
politics were never so obtrusive. Lord Rosebery 
satisfied himself by saying that the sight before 
him was the greatest he had ever seen. He could 
only compare it to one other and that was the 
blessing of the people by the Pope of Rome. 
Nansen observed that he had visited territories 
where very little cotton clothing was used. Mer- 
chants declare that one of the greatest sights ever 
seen on the " boards " was on the occasion of the 
coronation of King George when about 5,000 men 
sang the National Anthem and raised cheers for the 
new Sovereign. 

If one would see the Exchange at the height of its 
business activity a visit must be paid at what is 
called " High 'Change," when the large room 
with an area of 7,000 square yards (including the 
new extension), the largest of its kind in the world — 
is crowded with merchants. This is a remarkable 
sight from the gallery. From 2 o'clock until 2.45 
the room is filling up rapidly and at High 'Change-—- 

111 



Cotton 



2.45 — practically every square yard is occupied. 
We will suppose that Mr. H. wants to see Mr. T. 
and there are 5,000 men on the floor. Mr. H. 
knows that Mr. T.'s " stand " is immediately under 
one of the huge pillars which form a colonnade 
on either side of the room and that the " stand *' 
of another of his customers is two or three feet to 
the right or left of another pillar. Looking down 
on this crowd of humanity from the gallery, and 
amidst all the apparent confusion, one can see 
individual merchants pushing and pressing their 
way to one special part of the house or specially 
marked pillar. Their course is often a sinuous one 
for they have to steer round groups of men who are 
earnestly striving to negotiate a bargain at the 
market price of cotton as quoted for that day and 
hour. Many attempts have been made adequately 
to describe the peculiarly muffled sound that 
reaches the gallery from the " boards." To the 
writer the confused and intermingled sound of 
this babel and the incessant shuffling movement 
across the crowded floor, united to produce some- 
thing like the roar of a London Tube train when 
approaching a railway station. 

But you tell me that this is the great Exchange 
where cotton yarn and cloth are bought and sold ? 
Where are the goods ? To the visitor there are 
no material evidences of the business in hand. 

112 



" Where Merchants Most Do Congregate " 

The bales of cotton are at Liverpool — Lanca- 
shire's " spot " cotton market — (or warehoused 
at the Port of Manchester) and it is on the 
Liverpool market price that all the business is 
done. The primary work of the Exchange is the 
transference of commodities. It is here that the 
products of the spinning mills and weaving sheds 
are disposed of for the home trade and the 
shipping houses for export. Under the central 
dome of the Exchange there is the following 
proverb : "A good name is rather to be chosen 
than great riches, and loving favour rather than 
silver and gold." The standard of trading on the 
Exchange is very high. 

New York and Liverpool are the great cotton 
distributing centres. The bulk of the cotton for 
the Lancashire and Yorkshire mills comes from 
Liverpool, where, as I have already indicated, all 
the dealings are in " spots " and " futures." On 
this market the visitor will perhaps appreciate 
more readily than on the Manchester Exchange, 
the shades of difference in price. Not only are 
fractional coins dealt with, but these are divided 
into " points," each of which represents the 
one-hundredth part of a penny. In America the 
cent is divided into a hundred points, two one- 
hundredths of these approximating to a point on 
our market. Cotton is sold according to sample, 

113 



Cotton 



and it is the business of the broker to act as 
.intermediary between buyer and seller. No one 
is more expert than he in testing and selecting 
just the grade of cotton required by spinners 
for certain classes of work. In the testing of 
samples of cotton a northern light is admittedly 
the best, and you will rarely find a broker with 
an office which does not provide a room with a 
northern aspect. " Through the medium of his 
conversation," wrote the late Mr. John Mortimer, 
" the broker leads you to fields that to you 
are fresh and new, and in imagination you become 
an extensive traveller. His knowledge of the fibre 
he deals in is more than superficial. He handles 
the cotton as one who is familiar with it. Long 
use has induced a sensitiveness of sight and 
touch in testing it, which enables him to arrive 
quickly at an estimate of its quality. His eye has 
become microscopical, and fine distinctions which 
would escape the ordinary observer are clearly 
revealed to him, and the way he gauges the staple 
of the lint by tension between his index fingers 
and thumbs has something in it of the nature of a 
fine art. As you converse with him you become 
aware that his office is the medium of strange 
currents of business flowing in and out, and extend- 
ing from ' the flags ' close by, to transatlantic 
distances. Now it is the telephone that is at work, 

114 



" Where Merchants Most Do Congregate '* 

then messengers pop in and out with verbal 
quotations relating to the state of the market ; 
next comes a cablegram from New York which you 
are told left that city only a few minutes before. 
The air seems electrical, and as an illustration of 
the rapidity with which transactions are sometimes 
effected you are informed of one in which a message, 
involving a purchase, was sent from the office to 
New York, an answer received, and the business 
satisfactorily completed in fifteen minutes." 

But cotton landed at Liverpool is some miles 
away from the spinning mills, and the cost of transit 
from that seaport to East Lancashire is not incon- 
siderable. One of the primary objects in con- 
structing the Manchester Ship Canal, twenty- two 
years ago, was that those who had cotton to supply 
to the mills of Lancashire might be able to send 
their bales direct to Manchester — ^the centre of the 
spinning industry — where, if necessary, it could 
be warehoused and conveniently distributed by 
canal or railway to the mill gates at little cost 
compared with the transport charges from Liver- 
pool. Another important proposal was the estab- 
lishment of a " spot " cotton market. With this 
end in view the Manchester Cotton Association 
was formed in 1894. The Manchester Ship Canal 
has greatly benefited the Lancashire Cotton and 
other industries by considerably reducing the cost 

115 12 



Cotton 



of distribution, but the original shareholders in the 
undertaking have not reaped the harvest which 
they anticipated. The late Mr. J. K. Bythell, who 
was for many years chairman of the Ship Canal Co., 
in 1916 explained that the disastrous event that 
so seriously prejudiced the position of the original 
shareholders was that the calculations on which 
the estimated revenue was based were completely 
upset. The Parliamentary Committees were induced 
to pass the Bill because it was proved that on the 
basis of the then existing cost of getting goods to or 
from Manchester from or to vessels in the Liverpool 
docks, it would be possible to give importers and 
exporters a large saving as compared with using 
the Port of Liverpool, and yet give the Ship Canal 
sufficient revenue to pay a dividend. But what 
happened ? The Liverpool dock dues on cotton 
were reduced from Ss. 6d, to 2^. per ton. The 
railway rates on cotton from Liverpool to Man- 
chester from 9s. to 7s, 2d. and on Manchester goods 
to Liverpool from IO5. to 8s. The advent of the 
Ship Canal competition also reduced the railway 
rates of cotton yarn to the East coast ports and 
sea to Rotterdam from 32^. 6d. to 225. lOd., and on 
machinery to Hamburg from 275. 6d. to 175. 6d. 
The railway rate on cotton from Liverpool to 
Manchester in 1916 was 75. 5d. inclusive. The Ship 
Canal toll and wharfage rate paid for passing over 

116 



*' Where Merchants Most Do Congregate " 

the Ship Canal and the use of the Manchester docks 
was 6s, per ton, and this sum did not include pay- 
ment for labour in loading and unloading, so that 
the railways had been forced to reduce their 
charges for the transport of cotton since the Canal 
entered into competition with them for traffic. 

The facilities for handling cotton at the Port 
of Manchester are generally admitted to be excel- 
lent, and the traffic over this waterway is growing. 
Normally the imports of American cotton at the 
Manchester docks amount to about 450,000 bales 
annually. The imports of Egyptian cotton amount 
to 220,000 bales. Roughly, the Egyptian cotton 
handled is one-half of the total import of Egyptian 
cotton into England. But Manchester is still with- 
out its " spot " market. The reason is that Liver- 
pool with her great shipping facilities and her big 
market for cotton is rather too near her great rival. 
Merchants, too, hesitate to interfere with their 
existing associations with Mersey-side although 
they recognise that the warehousing accommoda- 
tion and the methods of handling and distributing 
the goods at Manchester are not inferior — indeed 
in some respects are superior — to what Liverpool 
offers. But there is a growing opinion in favour 
of Manchester having her own market now that the 
large overseas ships come to the city. 

A " spot " market in Manchester would have its 
117 



Cotton 



effect on the business done on the Manchester 
Exchange, and much of the cotton now warehoused 
in Liverpool would come to Manchester, thus 
considerably increasing the traffic on the Ship 
Canal. 



118 



CHAPTER IX 

GAMBLING IN COTTON 

Raw cotton of the value of between two and 
three hundred milHon pounds sterHng — at an 
average price of 5d. to 6d, per lb. — (it is not likely 
that cotton will be so cheap again) is consumed 
yearly by the world's spindles, and the manu- 
factured goods which in any one year are distri- 
buted over the world's markets are valued at over 
£500,000,000. The most serious evil to attend this 
great industry is the manipulation of the markets 
by the speculator. There are fluctuations in the 
crop from year to year. But the fluctuations in 
the price of cotton are not wholly governed by good 
or bad crops, for there exists the illegitimate as well 
as the legitimate speculator, and the operations of 
the former have occasionally crippled the market 
to an alarming extent and brought distress to the 
millions of operatives whose prosperity depends 
upon a good supply of cotton at a reasonable 
price. The lowest point reached for " middling " 
American (the standard cotton) was 3d. per lb., 
or £6 5s, per bale of 500 lbs., in February, 1895. 
The highest point reached (excepting the period 
of the American war, when cotton was 2s. 7d, 

119 



Cotton 



per lb.) was when Sully, by cornering cotton in 
February, 1904, brought about an advance in 
price from 5d. per lb. to ^d. per lb., or £18 155. per 
bale. In the summer of 1915 the price of raw 
cotton was about 7\d. per lb., or £15 25. Id. per bale, 
and in 1916 the price advanced to the hitherto 
unheard-of figure (again excepting the period of the 
American Civil War) of Is. per lb., or £25 per bale. 
In June, 1917, cotton cost Is. Srf.per lb., or £40 per 
bale. Every variation in the price of only one penny 
per lb. represents £2 Is. Sd. per bale, and on the 
average cotton crop of the world a penny per lb. will 
represent about £50,000,000. It will be seen, there- 
fore, that the interference of a speculator who may 
not have even one bale of cotton to sell may easily 
dislocate this huge industry by gambling, for it is not 
the people who grow cotton or the people who use it, 
but the speculators, who largely determine the price. 
The excesses indulged in in the " futures " market 
are considered to be the cause of high prices and 
violent fluctuations which so frequently attend 
the cotton industry. What are " futures " ? It is 
a method of dealing in the raw material which, to 
the uninitiated, is most bewildering. The dealer 
in " spot " cotton (a term which denotes cotton 
which actually exists either at Liverpool or Man- 
chester) is the man who buys his cotton at the 
then market price and settles for it promptly. 

120 



Gambling in Cotton 



But to operate in " futures " is a process by which 
a merchant either buys or sells cotton to be delivered 
at a distant date and is therefore opposed to 
" spot " transactions. The more intricate side of 
cotton buying is that dealing with " futures." 
To-day, operations in " futures " are conducted 
on a very extensive scale, but as far back as 1876 
the practice of buying " futures " called into exist- 
ence a cotton clearing house in order, effectively, to 
deal with debits and credits. The spinner who is 
asked to quote a price for yarn for delivery in (say) 
six months' time would,in the absence of a "futures" 
market, find himself faced with a very difficult 
problem. On the day of the enquiry the price of 
the raw material we will assume to be 6d, per lb. 
If the spinner were to give a quotation on the 
asumption that that will be the price six months 
later he would incur all the risks of fluctuating 
prices. But the spinner, through the operation 
of " futures," obtains from the cotton broker 
quotations for the delivery of cotton at specified 
times, and upon these quotations he bases his 
own for yarn, securing himself against loss by 
compensating transactions called "hedging." All 
"futures" are based on one class of cotton, viz., 
"middling" American, a fibre about | in. long; 
but arrangements are made whereby the various 
grades of cotton are tenderable against " futures." 

121 



Cotton 



At the first International Cotton Congress, at 
Zurich, held in the year in which Sully had operated 
in cotton with such disastrous effect, it was decided 
to bring before the notice of the Cotton Exchanges of 
New York, New Orleans, Liverpool and Alexandria, 
the great injury done to the cotton industry by the 
enormous speculations and urge these Exchanges 
to consider what means could be adopted to prevent 
persons who had no interest in the trade, either as 
growers, merchants, spinners or manufacturers, 
from operating in the market to the detriment of 
the whole industry. It was further decided to 
bring the matter before the respective Govern- 
ments of the countries represented at the 
Congress. 

But the only practical way to end this gambling 
in cotton seems to be the extension of cotton 
culture in other fields. As the supply of cotton 
increases the danger arising from speculation 
decreases, and the difficulty attending financiers 
who attempted to " corner " it will be greater. 
Spinners and manufacturers do not desire that the 
price of cotton should either be too low or too high, 
but they do protest against the advancing of the 
market price to a prohibitive figure by the " dealer 
in differences." 

The cotton crop of 1903-4, in which so much 
speculation took place, is computed to have cost 

122 



Gambling in Cotton 



the spinners the enormous sum of £100,000,000 
more than the planter got. 

Cotton planters have been urged from time to 
time to hold for extreme prices, but it is doubtful 
if the adoption of such advice would in the long 
run be to their advantage. It must never be lost 
sight of by the grower that cotton supplies the 
clothing for the poorest people of the world in 
every country, and that applies more particularly 
to the 700,000,000 in India and China, to whom a 
great rise in price certainly means a limitation of 
their purchasing power, with consequently reduced 
employment for the spinners and manufacturers 
of the world upon whom growers of cotton are 
dependent. *' So far as we in England are con- 
cerned," said a prominent Lancashire cotton spinner 
to the cotton growers, at Atlanta, in 1907, " we 
can tell you that it is the price that the poor Indian 
can afford to pay that determines what you will 
get for your cotton. If cotton gets below a certain 
price, then the Indian will purchase two or three 
shirts in a year, whereas when cotton is higher he 
will have to content himself with one. When he 
purchases two or three shirts there is such a boom 
in the cotton trade that everyone benefits. There 
is an old proverb in the best book of political 
economy that the world knows : ' There is that 
scattereth and yet increaseth, and there is that 

128 



Cotton 



withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth 
to poverty.' " 

It has been the aim of all engaged in the manufac- 
ture of cotton goods for many years to reduce the 
cost of production by taking full advantage of 
science and invention, and great economies have 
been effected. The three sections of the cotton 
trade — ^producer, spinner and the manufacturer — 
have placed their brand of disapproval on the 
cotton gambler, and although there is a section of 
the trade who declare that it is not possible success- 
fully to eradicate all speculation, there is a con- 
sensus of opinion that the destructive competition 
of the manipulator of cotton " futures " — who 
either buys or sells on the Exchange cotton 
which he does not intend to take or deliver, and 
creates an artificial price which for the time 
determines the price of the cotton crop, is unfair 
to the grower, who is deprived of the right to fix 
the price of his product, and disastrous to the 
spinner and manufacturer, and the labour em- 
ployed, inasmuch as it seriously affects the whole 
industry. 

At the Zurich conference a distinction was drawn 
by a member of the English Federation between the 
legitimate and the illegitimate speculator. The 
legitimate speculator in cotton he described as the 
grower who sold for future delivery with a view 

124 



Gambling in Cotton 



that prices would decline, or held stock with a view 
that prices would advance : one who sold cotton 
that he expected to have or already had in his 
possession. Again, the legitimate speculator was 
the spinner who bought for future delivery or with- 
held from buying cotton which he required for his 
mill. It was held to be perfectly legitimate specu- 
lation on the part of the spinner who, whether he 
had orders for his yarn or not, bought cotton when 
the market seemed to be in his favour, or to buy 
from hand to mouth if he thought that prices were 
on the descending scale. The illegitimate specu- 
lator, on the other hand, was the grower, the mer- 
chant, or the spinner who simply dealt in " futures," 
selling that which he did not possess, or buying 
that which he did not want to use. The legitimate 
buyer acts on his best judgment to provide cotton 
for his mill. The illegitimate buyer acts for his 
own personal gain, and has proved himself, whether 
grower, merchant, spinner, manufacturer or finan- 
cier, to be a pure gambler, and the greatest menace 
to the industry. Gigantic speculation in cotton 
robs the grower, the spinner and the manufacturer 
of the legitimate return on their capital and for 
their labour. It robs the labourer of his work 
and his wages ; it prevents men using their best 
energies in the growing, the spinning, the manu- 
facture and the sale of their productions. 

125 



Cotton 



But it is not an easy matter to free the industry 
of this speculating menace. Three years later, at 
the International Cotton Conference at Atlanta 
(1907), it was urged that spinners must sweep 
away the wild and unreasoning alteration and 
variation in prices forced by the Cotton Exchanges 
of Europe and America. Spinners recognise the 
honest, the honourable middleman and admit 
that he is a necessity between the grower and the 
manufacturer of cotton, but when a large percentage 
of the operations on these Exchanges are nothing 
but gambling deals it is considered that the time 
has arrived when these Exchanges should introduce 
a system of dealing which will have the effect of 
eliminating the highly speculative side. 



126 



CHAPTER X 

COTTON FABRICS : AN ART MANUFACTURE 

With wonderful skill and precision the decorative 
art of the calico printer has kept pace with the 
ingenuity of the spinner and manufacturer. From 
the hands of the designer and the printer all the 
forms of flowers of the field have proceeded, charged 
with the mingled colours of the rainbow, decorating 
calico or muslin, and by means of the Jacquard, 
manufacturers produce figures which approach the 
perfect embroidery of the needle. All the branches 
of the industry — the spinning, the manufacturing, 
the designing, the dyeing, the printing and the 
finishing — by their co-operation in the manufac- 
ture of the single vegetable product of cotton, are 
making fabrics of the most artistic kind, which so 
closely resemble the more expensive products as to 
puzzle any but the expert in this class of goods. 

There is an infinite variety of cotton fabrics 
— coarse and fine, plain and fancy — and in 
Lancashire certain districts specialise in goods to 
meet the demands of the particular market they 
serve. The mills of Blackburn and the district 

127 



Cotton 



manufacture the loin cloths (dhootees) for the 
Hindoo, and other of the coarser goods for the 
Indian market. Coarse goods are also manu- 
factured at Oldham and in the Rossendale Valley. 
Burnley supplies printing cloths, whilst goods of 
a finer quality and more elaborate in character 
come from Bolton and Preston. The Bolton mills 
are noted for their fine cambrics as well as for 
quiltings and for coloured material generally. 

Cotton fabrics derive their names in many 
ways — from their texture, mode of weaving, 
their colour or mode of colouring, their surface 
finishing or place of manufacture. *' Grey cloth " 
is a general term for all unbleached cotton cloth 
(it is called unbleached or brown calico in the South 
of England), which forms the largest part of Lan- 
cashire's export trade. " Shirtings " are exten- 
sively shipped to the Eastern markets, and shirt 
cloth is the material used for the manufacture of 
shirts and for other plain or fancy goods. " Sheet- 
ing " is the term used to describe ordinary bed 
sheeting as well as a grey calico sent to China and 
other markets ; a plain, heavy grey calico is known 
in the trade as " Mexican." " T Cloth " is a plain 
grey calico very like the " Mexican," and is thought 
to derive its name from an old trade mark. 
" Domestic," as its name implies, refers more 
particularly to goods for home use, and " mediimi " 

128 



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a ea 



Cotton Fabrics: An Art Manufacture 

is a plain grey calico used in the home and colonial 
markets. There are many kinds of " raising 
cloths." These have a weft which provides plenty 
of nap, but with sufficient fibre to maintain the 
strength of the web. Wigan cloth, manufactured 
in the town and district of Wigan, is a heavy 
fabric. " Croydon " is the name given to a plain 
calico with a glossy finish. Jaconet is a plain 
cloth but lighter than shirting, and " Sarong," 
a Malay word for a cloth used to wrap round 
the loins and used by both men and women, 
is now a comprehensive term in the Lanca- 
shire trade for printed cloths which are sent to 
India. Jean is a twilled cloth, and "Oxford" 
is a plain woven cloth specially manufactured for 
shirts, blouses, and dresses. " Harvard " approxi- 
mates to the "Oxford" cloth, and "Regatta" is 
a stout coloured shirt cloth and is used largely in 
making sports' garments. Other cotton goods are 
classified as baize, brocade, bombazine, chintz, crepe, 
cretonne, dimity, drill, flannelette, fustian, gauze, 
gingham, nankeen, print, rep, twill and velveteen. 

Cotton is extensively blended with silk in many 
useful fabrics. Excellent sheeting is made from 
linen and cotton yarn, and the goods so produced 
are known as " union cloths." 

Calico printing is the most important branch 
springing from the parent stem of the cotton trade. 

129 ^ 



Cotton 



It is the art and process by which colours are placed 
on the plain fabric, giving variations of form 
and gradations of colour more cheaply and expe- 
ditiously than in the loom. The art seems to have 
come from the inherent love of man (and woman) 
for decoration. The early Britons had no clothes 
except the skins of animals they killed in the chase. 
They could neither sew nor weave, but they liked 
to decorate their bodies. They used to paint their 
skins in patterns with woad, a plant that produced 
a blue dye. 

Calico printing is of very ancient date in India, 
and derives its name from Calicut, a district where 
it has been practised from time immemorial. The 
Egyptians appear also, from Pliny's testimony, to 
have carried on, at a remote period, some of its 
refined processes. England received the art from 
France about the end of the 17th century, soon after 
the repeal of the Edict of Nantes, it having been 
previously derived by her from Central Germany. 
The trade first planted itself in London. A number 
of small establishments sprang up, and in 1700 it 
had so taken root as to obtain in its favour a pro- 
hibition of the cheap and beautiful printed goods of 
India. This Act was intended to protect woollen 
and silk manufactures from the competition of 
Indian goods : it had, however, the effect of stimu- 
lating and increasing the then infant calico print- 

130 



Cotton Fabrics: An Art Manufacture 

ing trade. The English had become accustomed 
to the use of printed calicos and chintzes, imported 
by the Dutch and English East India Companies, 
and they were spoken of as highly fashionable 
for ladies' and children's dresses, as well as for 
drapery and furniture, while the coarser calicos 
were used to line the garments. 

In 1702, the print trade attracted the attention of 
the then Chancellor of the Exchequer and a duty 
of Sd, per square yard was imposed on calicos 
printed, stained, painted or dyed. Ten years 
later this duty was raised to 6d. By the same 
statutes, half these duties were laid on printed 
linens, the latter being a home and the calico a 
foreign manufacture. Notwithstanding the pro- 
hibitory law of 1700, Indian goods were largely 
introduced by the smuggler and freely consumed, 
in spite of a penalty of £200 imposed on the buyer 
or seller of Indian prints. A law, therefore, was 
passed in 1720, prohibiting the use or wear of any 
printed or dyed calicos whether printed at home or 
abroad, and of printed goods in which cotton 
formed a part, excepting only calicos, dyed all 
blue, muslins, neck cloths and fustians. The 
effect of this law was to put an end to the printing 
of calicos in England, and to confine the printers 
to the printing of linens. In 1736, so much of this 
Act was repealed as forbade the use or wear of 

131 »« 



Cotton 



printed goods of a mixed kind containing cotton, 
and these fabrics were allowed to be printed, 
weighted with a duty of Qd. per square yard. 

In 1764, calico printers established themselves 
in Lancashire, and after a period of 140 years from 
the first introduction of duty the print trade was 
allowed to enter into competition with other 
fabrics on an equal footing. The cloth at this time 
was a calico made of linen warp, crossed with a 
cotton weft, and was called Blackburn Grey. 

Mr. Robert Peel, the father of the first baronet 
and grandfather of the great Sir Robert, who 
lived near Blackburn, was a cotton manufacturer 
and calico printer. Robert Peel made his first 
printing experiments secretly. There is a story 
that one day, in his kitchen, he was experi- 
menting on some handkerchiefs when his young 
daughter came in from the garden carrying a 
parsley leaf. She suggested that it might make a 
pretty pattern. Her father looked at it, and com- 
plimenting her on her taste, immediately set to 
work to transfer its outlines to a piece of cotton 
cloth. It proved a success and the design became 
as popular in the cotton trade as the willow pattern 
in crockery ware. Robert Peel, " Parsley Peel " 
as he was afterwards called, was to calico printing 
what Arkwright was to spinning — a man of great 
business talent and prudence with a genius for 

132 



Cotton Fabrics: An Art Manufacture 

invention. The son of " Parsley Peel " the first 
Sir Robert, established printworks at Bury, and 
in a cottage not far from his works, his eldest son, 
Sir Robert Peel the distinguished statesman, was 
born. 

Up to the year 1785, block printing, aided by 
the flat copperplate printing press, was the only 
method of calico printing. The block, with the 
impression cut upon its surface, was dipped on a 
stretched cloth or sieve, previously brushed over 
with colour and then printed on the cloth. It 
required 448 separate dippings and impressions to 
print one piece of calico 27 inches wide and 28 yards 
in length. This process, a very slow one, especially 
when more than one colour was used, was super- 
seded by the cylinder printing machine, invented, 
it is said, by a Scotsman of the name of Bell. The 
engraving in this process was prepared on a cylin- 
drical copper roller, by pressing the cloth in contact 
between this roller placed on an iron centre and a 
weighted iron cylinder placed above it, and as the 
copper cylinder revolved the cloth was drawn 
between the two and the impression made upon it. 
Whilst the block process produced six pieces a day, 
the machine with the same number of hands 
would produce any one or more colours from 200 to 
500 pieces with fewer defects and greater accuracy. 

The modern calico printing machine is made up 
183 



Cotton 



of a large central drum which is covered with a thick 
blanket. Engraved copper cylinders which print 
the pattern are placed against this large central 
cylinder round which the calico runs, the engraved 
cylinders taking their colour from revolving wooden 
rollers which are immersed in the dye. When roller 
printing was first introduced, over 100 years ago, 
only one colour was printed at a time. To-day, 
machines are made to print sixteen colours at one 
working. 

Since the beginning of the great European war the 
industry has been greatly handicapped for want of 
special dyes. Hitherto the industry had largely 
depended upon Germany for these dyes. Since 
the Government interested itself in the manu- 
facture of dyestuffs the position has been greatly 
relieved, and it is hoped to make the calico printing 
trade entirely independent of Germany in the future. 
To this end a staff of distinguished chemists is 
experimenting with a view to securing the brilliant 
and fast dyes which are so necessary to the industry. 

Lord Moulton, who was chairman of the com- 
mitee appointed by the Government to investigate 
the position caused by the stoppage of the supply 
of German dyestuffs, told a meeting of north- 
country calico printers, at Manchester, that when 
he began to investigate the lack of dyes he found 
England consuming some two million pounds' 

I34i 



Cotton Fabrics : An Art Manufacture 

worth of dyes per annum. They were essential to 
an industry of something Hke £200,000,000 per 
annum, on which at least 1,500,000 workmen were 
dependent. Further, that of the two million 
pounds' worth of dyes that was required year by 
year barely one-tenth was produced within our own 
boundaries. The reason given by Lord Moulton 
for the decline of the coal-tar industry in England 
was " the English dislike of study. The English- 
man is excellent in making the best of the means at 
his disposal, but he is almost hopeless in one thing. 
He will not prepare himself by intellectual work for 
the task that he has to do." By way of illustrating 
German concentration, Lord Moulton related the 
following story : — 

"Once I found myself on the top of one of the 
Dolomite Mountains, and the only other person 
there besides the guides was a German. I found 
out that he was a chemist, and I began to talk upon 
a chemical subject. He told me he was only an 
organic chemist. He had not exhausted my 
resources, and I began to talk of coal-tar and phar- 
maceutical products. Then he told me that he was 
a coal-tar by-product chemist. That did not beat 
me, because I had just been fighting a case of canary 
yellow. I thought I would get some subject which 
was common to us, and I slipped into the subject of 

canary yellow. Still the same ominous silence for 

185 



Cotton 



a time, and then he said : ' I am only a coal-tar 
chemist dealing with blues.' But I had not finished. 
With an Englishman's pertinacity, not believing 
I was beaten, I racked my brains for a coal-tar 
blue — and I gradually, without a too obvious change 
of subject, slipped into that. Then he finally 
defeated me because he said in equally solemn 
tones, but equally proud of the fact : ' I only deal 
with methyl blues.' " 

For the improvement of the coal-tar industry 
in this country. Lord Moulton suggested the for- 
mation of a large company — a company with a 
national control so far as to keep it in the right 
path ; a company which was co-operative between 
the producer and the consumer. Hence the forma- 
tion of British Dyes, Limited, to supply the aniline 
dyes for calico printing. 



136 



CHAPTER XI 

COTTON ORGANISATIONS AND STRIKES 

A REVIEW of the cotton industry would not be 
complete if it omitted to say something about the 
powerful combinations of the masters on the one 
side and of the workpeople on the other. These 
organisations have existed through good report and 
ill, for many years, enabling the representatives of 
capital and labour to assemble together to discuss 
the propriety of advancing or reducing wages, and 
to consider and, if possible, adjust any differences 
that may be said to exist in any mill or mills. 

To-day the masters welcome the opportunity 
to meet the representatives of the workers, for the 
spirit of conciliation is happily abroad. Strikes 
and lock-outs may sometimes affect their immediate 
purpose, but these arbitrary methods cause a great 
deal of unnecessary suffering, and bad feeling is 
engendered between the parties to the dispute which 
is not easily removed. In the early days, the 
masters regarded the development of the trade 
union movement with deep distrust. The leaders 
were *' organisers of mischief " ; emissaries to 
organise and wage civil war. They were certainly 

137 



Cotton 



not authors of peace and lovers of concord. Wars 
and rumours of wars prevailed, and there were 
displayed feelings of general misgiving as to the 
wisdom of legalising these " tyrannical combines." 
In this early period there was a constantly-recurring 
state of civil war between masters and men. The 
cotton trade was agitated with strikes — sometimes 
occurring in one firm, sometimes in several firms 
at the same time. Victory went at one time with 
the masters ; at another time with the men, 
and in some instances the struggle became so 
violent that the masters had to apply to the police 
for protection. 

The repeal, in 1825, of the Laws of Combination, 
gave to workpeople the right to combine to secure 
adequate remuneration for their labour, and to 
demand some amelioration of the conditions under 
which they worked. Before 1825 it was a punish- 
able offence for workmen to combine to raise their 
wages, and it had repeatedly been made the subject 
of trial and punishment. But under a statute 
called Hume's Act, all the old statutes on the sub- 
ject were repealed and simple combination, either 
on the part of the masters or workmen, was legalised 
subject only to certain restraints in the event of 
violence, molestation, or intimidation being proved 
against the members of the combination, or persons 
employed by them. There was a constant struggle 

138 



Cotton Organisations and Strikes 

going on at this time between the capitaHsts and 
the operatives in the cotton trade. The former 
were striving — and with a measure of success — to 
make wages low and profits high ; the latter to 
make wages high and profits low, and the argu- 
ment of those who called for the repeal of the 
old laws against combination was that the great 
contest could not be conducted on terms of equality 
so long as the operatives were prohibited from com- 
bining. The masters were always able to meet 
together and effectively to combine against their 
workpeople's claims. In the debates on the subject 
it was urged that while the laws against combina- 
tion failed in their object, the terror they inspired 
from being sometimes, though but rarely enforced, 
produced in the workmen a feeling of hostility 
against their masters, and a growing dissatisfac- 
tion with the laws of their country. It was thought 
advisable, therefore, to try whether a more lenient 
and liberal system might not be productive of good 
effects, and produce by the sense of mutual bene- 
fits and independence a good understanding between 
workmen and their employers. 

The Lancashire Cotton Operative Spinners did 
not permit any delay in the formation of organisa- 
tions, and in the year 1836, following a period of 
unprecedented prosperity, they engineered a disas- 
trous strike (which lasted three months) for higher 

189 



Cotton 



wages, and the example thus set was followed by 
the operatives at Glasgow, with equally disastrous 
results. The Lancashire cotton workers " struck " 
the mills at Preston, in November, 1836, and 
returned to work, without gaining any concession, 
early in February of the following year, leaving 
a net pecuniary loss to the 8,500 operatives of 
£57,210 and a total loss to the town and trade of 
Preston of £107,196. Of the 8,500 operatives only 
660 (all the spinners), voluntarily left their work, 
the greater part of the remaining 7,840 (piecers — 
children employed by the spinners — cardroom 
workers, reelers and power-loom weavers, and over- 
lookers) being thrown out of employment through 
their dependence on the spinners. 

When the mills had been closed for one month, 
the streets began to be crowded with beggars ; 
the offices of the overseers were besieged with 
applicants for relief; the inmates of the work- 
houses began to increase rapidly, and scenes of 
the greatest misery and wretchedness were of con- 
stant occurrence. The spinners on strike received 
some financial assistance from their union ; the 
cardroom hands and power-loom weavers were 
unassisted and helpless. Towards the end of the 
year the funds of the union were exhausted, and 
distress of the most acute kind was widespread. 
The masters were prevailed upon to open the mills 

140 



Cotton Organisations and Strikes 

to give those operatives who wished to return to 
work an opportunity to do so. They, however, 
announced their determination to abide by their 
former offer of an increase of ten per cent, in the 
rate of wages, and required from all those who 
should enter the mills and resume work a written 
declaration to the effect that they would not at 
any future time, whilst in their service, become 
members of any union or combination of workmen. 

The strike did not end until the first week in 
February, 1837. We are told that no systematic 
acts of violence or violations of the law took place 
during the trouble. Detachments of the military 
patrolled the streets to preserve order, but their 
services were not required. Some of the operatives 
died of starvation, thousands suffered severely 
from cold and hunger ; in almost every family 
much wearing apparel and articles of furniture 
were pawned, the savings of years were entirely 
exhausted ; heavy debts were contracted and 
shopkeepers were ruined. 

The Glasgow strike continued for a period of 
seventeen weeks, and on an average weekly wage 
of thirty shillings, the direct loss to the operatives 
in wages was £91,290, and the total loss to Glasgow, 
£207,290. Three days before the operatives gave 
way the Strike Committee had been arrested in 
consequence of information connecting them with 

141 



Cotton 



8L series of outrages, terminating in murder. The 
following statement published by the cotton manu- 
facturers of Renfrewshire about this time will give 
some idea of the way in which life and property 
were assailed : — 

" The master cotton spinners of Renfrewshire, con- 
sidering that, on the night between the 2nd and 3rd 
of May last, the cotton mill of Messrs. Robert Freeland 
and Company, at Bridge of Weir, was wilfully set fire 
to ; that, on the night of the 9th September last, Robert 
Todd, cotton spinner at Arthurlie, was barbarously 
shot at when in his own house, and severely wounded ; 
that, on the night of the 26th November last, William 
Kerr, cotton-spinner at Bridge of Weir, was waylaid 
on his return home, and also severely wounded by the 
discharge of a pistol ; and that, on the morning of the 
13th December last, an attempt was made to set fire 
to the cotton work of Mr. William Arrol at Houston ; 
and considering that anonymous letters have been sent 
to various operative spinners and to several masters 
threatening assassination if particular workmen remain 
in employment ; and that it has been discovered that 
other acts of felony are in contemplation similar to 
those which have already occurred ; and whereas it 
has been ascertained that these atrocious crimes have 
been committed and are intended by incendiaries and 
assassins, hired and paid by an Association of Operative 
Spinners in this county, whose purpose is to control 
the masters in the choice of their servants ; and it is 
known that almost the whole operative spinners of the 
district regularly contribute money towards the pay- 
ment of rewards for the destruction of property and 
perpetration of murder — therefore, the master cotton 
spinners feel themselves bound to come forward in a 

142 



Cotton Organisations and Strikes 

body, and in aid of the police of the county to adopt 
the strongest measures for the suppression of a system 
of crime so degrading to the character of the operatives, 
so injurious to their true interests, and so dangerous 
to the public peace. Accordingly, notice is hereby 
given, that this mill has stopped work, and the whole 
operative spinners who were employed at it are dis- 
missed. And notice is further given, that as the mill 
will remain idle until the existing conspiracy among 
the operatives is completely subverted, it is in like 
manner determined that hereafter, so soon and so often 
as any symptom of the renewal of such a system of 
conspiracy and contribution shall be discovered, the 
whole mills of the county will instantly be again thrown 
idle, and work shall be suspended till the complete 
suppression of such renewed conspiracy and the detec- 
tion of its principal instigators, the masters being re- 
solved that no consideration will induce them to prose- 
cute their business while their servants are concerned 
in designs so criminal and alarming." 

In 1853, there was another disastrous strike in 
Preston. It lasted nearly six months. There were 
few among the strikers who remembered the great 
failure of the Preston spinners to dictate terms 
to the masters in 1836. The operatives at this 
time were getting about 265. weekly and as work- 
men in other trades had received advances in 
wages, they decided to seek better remuneration 
for their labour. Attempts to come to an agree- 
ment between employer and employed failed. The 
masters were firm against an advance and the 

148 



Cotton 



operatives were equally determined on their side. 
There was nothing for it but an appeal to the 
strike. 

The masters issued a manifesto which did not 
tend to conciliate ; it rather deepened the estrange- 
ment between their workpeople and themselves. 
The masters stated that after agreeing to give an 
advance on the rate of wages, they regretted to 
find that the operatives had put themselves under 
the guidance of a designing and irresponsible body, 
who, having no connection with the town, nor 
settled position anywhere, but living upon the 
earnings of the industrious operative, interfered 
for their own purpose and interest in the relation 
between master and servant — creating, where it 
did not exist, and fostering and perpetuating 
where unhappily it did, a feeling of dissatisfaction 
and estrangement — and, in a spirit of assumption, 
arrogating to themselves the right to determine, 
and dictate to the operatives the means of enforc- 
ing the conditions upon which they should be per- 
mitted to labour. To this spirit of tyranny and 
dictation the masters decided that they could no 
longer submit, in justice either to the operatives 
or themselves ; hence they were compelled reluc- 
tantly to accept the only alternative left — ^to close 
their mills until those operatives on strike were 
prepared to resume their work, and a better under- 



144) 



Cotton Organisations and Strikes 

standing was established between the employer and 
the employed. 

In adopting this course the masters were fully 
sensible of the serious evils, moral and social, 
which must attend it, and which the sad experience 
of 1836 must have painfully recalled to the recol- 
lection of many. They felt, however, that the 
responsibility was not theirs ; that it rested with 
those who had recklessly created the difficulty 
and forced this decision upon them. 

The community generally were greatly relieved 
when the mill gates were again thrown open to the 
operatives. The tradesmen rejoiced to hear the 
familiar clatter of the clogged workpeople in the 
early morning as they hurried to the mill. The 
curling columns of smoke coming from the factory 
chimneys, which had stood lifeless for so long, 
meant a return to much-needed prosperity ; 
the hum of the spinning machinery was music 
to the ear. The homes of the workers gradually 
assumed a brighter appearance and a note of thanks- 
giving was heard in the churches. The districts 
involved in the strike had passed through a severe 
affliction and here was the dawn of a brighter day. 
But the operatives' organisation in other districts 
were soon involved in disputes with the masters' 
organisations. Discontented with the amount of 
wages they received or the number of hours they 

145 



Cotton 



worked, the operatives were ever ready to " strike " 
the mills if the masters refused to accede to their 
requests. The operative's rights, real or imagined ; 
his wrongs, questionable or unquestionable, formed 
the issue of many a conflict. The Bolton strike 
in the autumn of 1877, lasting nine weeks, involving 
a loss of £90,000 and ending in a reduction of 
5 per cent, in wages, was the beginning of a more 
general strike in the following year — a strike dis- 
tinguished from all others as the " great Lancashire 
strike." In this fight 300,000 people were imme- 
diately concerned, involving a large sum in 
wages. It was a time of general trade depression. 
The markets were greatly overstocked, and the 
operatives maintained that this was the result of 
increased machinery. The employers of North 
and North-East Lancashire proposed a reduction 
in wages of 10 per cent., and in Manchester a 
meeting of the Masters' Association, presided over 
by Colonel Raynsford Jackson, resolved that a 
10 per cent, reduction should be universally 
enforced. The masters refused to submit the point 
in dispute to arbitration, and this deepened the 
hostility between masters and men. Realising 
that the strikers were partly maintained in the fight 
by the operatives at work, the masters added fuel 
to the flames by closing all the mills, and the opera- 
tives, although they feared that they would not 

146 



Cotton Organisations and Strikes 

be able successfully to fight the organised combina- 
tion of the masters, resolved to resist this proposed 
reduction of wages until starvation enforced sub- 
mission. But resistance offered was not of a passive 
character. Infuriated mobs thronged the cotton 
weaving districts and great disorder broke out 
everywhere. Factory windows were smashed, 
vitriol was thrown at those regarded as oppressors, 
serious rioting became general, and the house of 
Colonel Jackson (whose life was in great danger) 
was pillaged and burned to the ground. 

The Lord Chief Justice, in sentencing the men 
found guilty of this crime, pointed out that workmen 
had no right of power to compel the employer to 
pay for their labour the price that they chose to set 
upon it. The strike ended after nine weeks' struggle, 
the operatives having lost in wages during that 
period £700,000. Other disturbances occurred 
in the cotton districts in the period from 1878 to 
1891, but they were of a sectional character. The 
year 1892 will be remembered for the twenty weeks' 
disastrous conflict which was ultimately settled 
by compromise and the adoption of a famous agree- 
ment (since abandoned by the operatives), which 
regulated negotiations between employers and 
operatives in the cotton spinning trade for above 
twenty years. This agreement was known as the 
Brooklands Agreement, because it was signed after 

147 1.8 



Cotton 



an all-night conference at the Brooklands Hotel, 
in Cheshire, where the parties to the agreement 
had secretly assembled in order to avoid any 
publication of the negotiations until a final settle- 
ment had been reached. This agreement, in its 
preamble, declared that " the representatives of 
the employers and the representatives of the 
employed hereby admit that disputes and differ- 
ences between them are inirtiical to the interests 
of both parties, and that it is expedient and desir- 
able that some means should be adopted for the 
future whereby such disputes and differences may 
be expeditiously and amicably settled and strikes 
and lock-outs avoided." This agreement did not 
admit of more or less than a 5 per cent, rise or fall 
at a time and this only after an interval of two 
years from the last alteration of wages. The com- 
parative freedom from general stoppages in the 
cotton industry for twenty years was attributed 
to the operation of the Brooklands Agreement. 
Since the abrogation of this industrial treaty by 
the Operative Spinners' Amalgamation (because 
of the alleged unnecessary delay in settling " bad 
spinning " disputes) and the consequent withdrawal 
of the Cardroom Workers' Amalgamation, the 
industry has been greatly irritated by sectional 
strikes and threatened with *' lock-outs." 

Of the 55,000,000 cotton spindles in England, 
148 



Cotton Organisations and Strikes 

44,000,000 are controlled by the Master Cotton 
Spinners' Federation, and 4,000,000 by the Cotton 
Spinners and Manufacturers' Association, the latter 
being an organisation in which the weaving section 
of the industry is most largely represented. This 
leaves about 7,000,000 spindles outside the Em- 
ployers' Associations. 

Practically all the operatives are members of 
their trade unions. There is not a body of workers 
in the country better organised, and their leaders 
are quite as well informed about the cotton trade 
and as familiar with all its technicalities as the 
employers. When there is a dispute representatives 
of both sides meet in conference with a view to 
settling it without an appeal to the arbitrament 
of the strike or lock-out. On these occasions little 
time is wasted in preliminary manoeuvres. The 
whole position has been well reconnoitred before- 
hand. It is simply a hard fight for a position, and 
when (as is frequently the case) the parties to the 
dispute are equally determined not to give ground, 
the conference ends in a deadlock, and if the good 
sense of the combatants do not find a way out of 
the impasse by way of compromise, the operatives 
declare a strike and the masters counter-attack with 
an order to close their mills. But there is still time 
to avert a disastrous stoppage, and it is not unusual 
for an eleventh-hour peace to be announced. 

149 



Cotton 



The principal operatives' organisations are the 
Amalgamated Association of Operative Cotton 
Spinners, the Amalgamated Association of Card- 
room and Blowing-room Operatives, and the 
Northern Counties Amalgamated Association of 
Weavers. The United Textile Workers' Association, 
representing above 400,000 cotton operatives, is 
the body which deals with all legislative enactments 
affecting the cotton industry. 



150 



CHAPTER XII 

A GENERAL UTILITY PLANT 

The fibrous contents of the pod was for centuries 
the only commercial product of the cotton plant, 
and when the silken filaments and the seed had 
been collected, the plant was treated as refuse and, 
as such, was either burned or used as a fertiliser. 
Scientific investigation, however, has brought other 
parts of the plant into commercial use, and in com- 
paratively recent years other large and important 
industries in connection with it have sprung up 
and been greatly developed. The leaves and empty 
capsules and the seed of the plant are now prepared 
as fodder for cattle. The seed also furnishes an oil, 
resembling olive oil, which is used in the manufac- 
ture of margarine and for cookery, and soap is 
manufactured from cotton-seed oil mucilage. The 
bark of the cotton stalk is converted into bags and 
mats, and paper is manufactured from the fibrous 
waste. Our felt hats, floorcloths and upholstering 
materials are made from the gossamer fibres that 
cling to the seed after ginning. The roots have been 
found to contain medicinal properties, the ashes 
of burned husks are used by tobacco planters as 

151 



Cotton 



a substitute for potash, whilst from the waste 
cotton which is not convertible into yarn and cloth 
we get the wick for candles and oil lamps, brushes, 
coarse wrapping material and the powerful explosive 
— ^gun-cotton. 

The most important manufactures, other than 
cotton, which depend upon the cotton plant for the 
raw material are : — Gun-cotton, paper-making, 
cotton-seed oil, and cotton-seed meal and cakes. 

Gun-cotton is a substance of variable composi- 
tion. It is obtained by soaking cotton in a mixture 
of nitric and sulphuric acids, and is remarkable 
for the low temperature at which it explodes. 
Dissolved in ether gun-cotton forms collodion, now 
extensively employed in photography. Collodion 
is also used by surgeons for cut and flesh wounds. 
The discovery of gun-cotton is attributed to 
Professor Schonbein, of Basle. It is related that 
when the discovery was first announced in England 
(1846) Professor Schonbein exhibited the properties 
of this new explosive to the Prince Consort at 
Osborne House, Isle of Wight, and a quantity of it 
was exploded in his hand without any untoward 
result. Encouraged by this innocent experiment 
a military officer offered his hand for a similar 
demonstration. This officer had previously declined 
the invitation of the Professor, but as the Prince 
Consort assured him that he had not suffered any 

152 













i 




f^^^ 


^^^^^^^^^^K^ ^ 





A General Utility Plant 



inconvenience, the officer stretched forth his hand. 
The inventor placed a portion of the gun-cotton 
on his palm and ignited it. Then the officer sud- 
denly jumped away with a shriek. What was to 
the Prince an innocent experiment proved a most 
disagreeable one to the officer. The Professor 
showed a feeling of alarm and commiserated with 
the victim. The injury, however, was not serious, 
and the company laughed heartily since the officer 
only submitted to the test after it was thought 
that the Prince had proved how simple and harm- 
less it was. Since this time gun-cotton has been 
made into an explosive of great power and has 
largely superseded gunpowder. The use of the 
latter caused too much smoke for modern war and 
readily fouled the firearm. Gun-cotton, on the 
other hand, is practically smokeless and is largely 
used on that account. 

After the spinner and manufacturer have wrought 
all the fibres of cotton which they can control into 
yarn and cloth, there remains a portion of waste 
inconvertible into those products. This waste 
has long been one of the valuable materials very 
extensively used by the paper-maker, to be ulti- 
mately applied to literary purposes. From this 
waste cotton excellent paper is made for the letter- 
press printer. 

The crushing of the cotton seed for the oil it 
153 



Cotton 



contains has grown into an important commercial 
undertaking. One hundred years ago the first 
oil mill for cotton seed was built in Carolina, and so 
slowly did this new industry develop that during 
the next forty years there existed in the whole of 
the States only seven oil mills. In the next decade 
the number had increased to forty-five, and in the 
year 1900 the number of cotton-seed mills in 
America had increased to 357 and 2,500,000 tons 
of seed were dealt with. To-day there are about 
840 mills engaged in the business of crushing cotton 
seed in the Southern States. The seed produced 
in any one year may be estimated (in round 
figures) at 7,000,000 tons. Of this amount about 
5,000,000 tons are taken by the mills, and from this 
material is manufactured not less than 200,000,000 
gallons of oil and 2,000,000 tons of cake and 
meal. 

The oil from the cotton seed is largely used as a 
substitute for olive oil. For a long time the cotton- 
seed oil had to fight against the opposition of the 
olive oil industry and public prejudice. It was 
declared to be unfit for human consumption. The 
bitter taste which the oil had in its crude state, 
when first placed upon the market, did not help this 
new industry in its competition with the old estab- 
lished oil, but methods of refining it were soon dis- 
covered, and in recent years it has been made more 

154 



A General Utility Plant 



palatable and so like olive oil in taste and colour 
as to puzzle any but the keenest expert to detect 
the difference between olive oil and that extracted 
from the cotton seed. The virtues of this oil has 
long since been established, and the highest grade 
of it is now used in the manufacture of margarine, 
as a salad dressing, and for other culinary pur- 
poses. 

The value of cotton-seed meal for the feeding of 
cattle was discovered soon after the oil mills were 
established, but was not extensively used at that 
time. During the last twenty years the value of 
the meal has been demonstrated and the trade in it 
has been greatly extended. 

To sum up, this tropical shrub provides us with 
clothing, with food for ourselves and fodder for 
cattle, with the raw material for paper ; it furnishes 
us with artistic tapestries for our furniture ; all 
the peaceful arts draw largely upon it, whilst the 
scientist has converted the white fibrous substance 
into a destructive agent. The cotton plant is indeed 
a plant of general utility, and notwithstanding 
its deadly use on the battlefield, may be said to have 
exerted a wonderfully civilising influence in many 
parts of the world's hinterlands. We are told, 
indeed, that the natives of the New Hebrides 
have been converted from naked cannibals into 

cotton-clad Christians. 

155 



APPENDIX I 



The following paper on Cotton " Futures " is 
regarded as the leading exposition on what is an 
extremely technical and highly important subject. 
It was written by Mr. Charles Stewart, proprietor 
and editor of the Cotton Gazette, and was read by 
him before the members of the British Associa- 
tion, at the annual meeting of that body at Liver- 
pool in 1896. Mr. Stewart has kindly given me 
permission to reproduce it : — 

What are ** futures ? " Their very name denotes 
that they have nothing to do with what is past 
or present — and let me state here at once that I 
am dealing particularly with American Cotton 
*' Futures" (the greatest field for the exercise of 
this special kind of operation), although, broadly 
speaking, the system is applied to other growths of 
cotton and other kinds of produce. A cotton crop 
or a cotton stock in a marketable centre is a thing 
which exists. When such is offered for sale in bulk, 
either by sample of the actual thing or by recog- 
nised standard, that stock is called "spot" cotton. 

157 



Appendix I 



It is on the spot — there to see, to handle, to be 
bought, a something tangible ; and in the proper 
places, instituted by respective markets and asso- 
ciations, a faithful record of the quantities is kept 
for statistical and general purposes. In days gone 
by, such known stocks, whether in the United 
States or Great Britain, or the Continent, were 
the only cotton that could be bought or sold ; 
and as, say, during the period of the American 
War, where a consumer could not put his hands on 
the actual supplies required for the engagements 
of his spindles and looms, he had terrible possi- 
bilities of loss and uncertainty staring him in the 
face. He could not re-spin his yarn, he could not 
re- weave his cloth. He could not substitute any 
other produce for that hungry machinery, although 
perhaps supplied with its proper food for one 
month ahead ; he knew nothing, saw nothing, 
but what was, even if it were not immediately 
wanted for use. 

Without going into unnecessary details as to 
how, in the gradual expansion of commerce, a new 
system grew side by side with increased produc- 
tion and telegraphic developments in particular, 
it is enough to say that one step followed another 
in a process of evolution — until nowadays in addi- 
tion to what is offered for sale in the nearest and 
most convenient market, a man may buy or sell 

158 



Appendix I 



(as the case may be) upon an acknowledged 
basis of quality, an equivalent to his actual require- 
ments, or possibilities of production for delivery to 
him if a consumer, or from him if a producer, quite 
easily for twelve months ahead, before even the 
ground is prepared for the crop which the neces- 
sities of the world will require in due time. In other 
words, from a consumer's point of view (and I 
specially rather favour here a description of his 
position, as w^e in Great Britain are consumers and 
not producers of the raw material), if a spinner or 
manufacturer is offered a contract that will employ 
his machinery and hands profitably for, say, 
twelve months ahead, the, at first sight, awkward 
fact that he does not possess the actual cotton for 
the work, nor the hard cash to buy it, need occasion 
him no special alarm. With calm quiet merchant- 
ing he can protect himself at once. How does this 
come about ? We are in the month of November. 
Looking at a Liverpool cotton market report in 
the columns of the daily or weekly press in normal 
times one would find a table of abbreviations and 
figures, thus : — 



7.04 


Nov. 


6.87 Peb.-Mch. 


6.89 


Nov.-Dec. 


6.88 Mch.-Apl. 


6.87 


Dec. -Jan. 


6.88 Apl.-May 


6.87 


Jan.-Feb. 


etc. etc. 



Alongside these abbreviated months, which ar 

159 



Appendix I 



called " positions," are figures. The first signifies 
pence, and the following figures so many one- 
hundredths of a penny per lb. Thus 6.88 means 
6.88/lOOcZ. What does this mean exactly ? First 
of all let it be understood that the standard pre- 
viously referred to is the " Middling " grade of 
American cotton, the standard of the trade. Any 
cotton expert knows what " Middling " American 
is, just as well as any ordinary man knows what a 
shilling-piece is. Cotton is classed into various 
grades, fixed authoritatively by experts, for which 
grades type standards exist. The ruling standard 
is always "Middling." There are higher grades, 
there are lower grades, but the standard is fixed. 
Therefore if a merchant sells a contract for future 
delivery, say, in November or December, for 
"Middling" cotton at a given price, both seller 
and buyer know perfectly well what they are deal- 
ing with. Nothing else is intended, and nothing 
else can be substituted, except under certain 
conditions, and anyhow the basis is unaltered. It 
is a safe contract for both. Such contracts, however, 
are subject to a clause which guarantees that the 
seller shall not tender any cotton below " Good 
Ordinary," which is lower than " Middling " — 
he may tender as much higher as he pleases. It 
may reasonably be objected, " Yes, but if he 
tenders below the standard grade at his option, how 

160 



Appendix I 



is it fair to the buyer? " The answer is, that the 
buyer in this case has full recourse to an arbitration 
on the samples of the tender ; and just so much 
as the tender is below the standard, so is he awarded 
by experts (subject to a right of appeal to a fixed 
committee) exactly such monetary compensation 
as the tender is below the strict contract. But 
observe, it must be within the limit of " Good 
Ordinary " ; anything lower than this is rejected, 
or a penalty is exacted. On the other hand, if 
the season be one in which high grades are com- 
paratively very plentiful, the seller may possibly 
tender higher than the standard ; and, subject to 
arbitration and appeal as above, just so much as 
the tender is better than the standard, at the ruling 
prices of the day of test, does the seller receive from 
the buyer so much more money than the actual 
price of the contract. 

The explanation of the character of the contract 
carried to finality may be amplified by the remark 
that a seller who contracts to deliver to the buyer 
a November and/or December contract is bound 
to fulfil his engagement on or before December 31 
(he may do it at his convenience upon about every 
alternate business day between November 1 and 
December 31) or be liable to a penalty. This 
remark, however, does not altogether explain all, 
for this reason : — A man who buys " futures " 

161 



Appendix I 



\ 



does not as a rule want the cotton itself ; a man 
who sells " futures " does not want to provide 
the cotton. More generally in practice each man's 
turn is served (as I shall explain later) by his 
having concluded a contract, in the terms of which 
he gets perfect protection, for a standard quality 
at a given price with a responsible firm, and has, 
therefore, a guarantee which serves as a basis for 
some other operation of which this is only a 
part. 

Having explained briefly what a contract is, let 
me show how it works as a contract in suspense, 
not yet fulfilled. For the working of " futures " 
contracts a most elaborate and complete machinery 
exists in what is known as the Clearing House of 
the Liverpool Cotton Association. Starting, say, 
with any day during the week, Monday to Saturday, 
A. may have bought from B., and therefore vice 
versd, say, 1,000 bales of cotton in the manner 
cited. For simplicity's sake, let us assume that all 
these contracts have been concluded on the basis 
of 46?. per lb. Whatever contracts A. has bought 
from B. by the Saturday (from the previous Monday) 
stand good for next week's settlement, because 
once in each week the difference in price between 
buyer and seller must be adjusted in cash. At 
eleven o'clock on each Monday morning a Com- 
mittee adjusts what are called the " settlement 

162 



Appendix I 



prices " of the different positions on the board. 
This adjustment is open to no question. It is dis- 
interested, and the prices fixed for the different 
months or positions at eleven o'clock on Monday 
morning are the exact values of all contracts at 
that hour. Supposing values have gone up during 
the week, since the contracts were made, say, JcZ. 
per lb., then the seller is indebted to the buyer for 
that difference of a farthing. But if values have 
gone down in the meantime, then the buyer is 
indebted to that extent to the seller, and the debit 
balance must be paid by either the one or the other 
into the Clearing House on the following Thursday 
morning at 1 p.m., or the defaulter is posted. 

Although only the difference between the price 
of the contracts and the value on the day on which 
the settlement price is fixed, passes between A. 
and B. through the medium of the Clearing House, 
it must not be assumed that a ^d, per lb. is of 
little consequence. Such a difference on the con- 
trary, is a very important one (there are less differ- 
ences ; there are greater, for prices are constantly 
fluctuating). It means roundly at least £50 every 
100 bales, and as many firms may easily be "long " 
or " short " 10,000 to 50,000 bales, 10s. per bale 
is a decidedly important item. To be " long " 
is to have bought ; to be *' short " is to have sold. 
So long as a contract is " open," that is, either not 

163 M 2 



Appendix I 



matured or not " rung out " as the saying is (a 
process which comes about by the seller becoming 
a buyer, and the buyer becoming a seller of the 
same quantity and the position — a practice, with 
greater or less detail, constantly in operation) the 
differences have to change hands every week on 
the basis of the last Monday's striking prices, quite 
irrespective of the full value of the number of bales 
interested. This full value, say £8 to £10 per bale, 
never comes into consideration at all until and 
unless an actual tender takes place. 

The proportion of cotton actually tendered and 
accepted is in the highest degree quite infinitesimal 
compared with the contracts entered into. It 
must not be assumed, however, that a contract 
can only be reversed and closed out on a Monday 
at 11 a.m. simply because the striking price is 
fixed then. A contract is liable to be closed at 
any time ; and if this, for example, should be done 
on Tuesday, or Wednesday morning or afternoon, 
and so on, the difference due on that contract is 
that between the Monday's striking price and the 
value at the time of closing. In plain English let 
me state further — because I know that much mis- 
conception obtains on the point — that if a buyer 
or a seller, through his broker, buys or sells to-day 
100 bales or more for Jan.-Feb. delivery, and his 
purpose served, he sells or buys again in November, 

164 



Appendix I 



or at any intervening time, the same quantity of the 
same position, his responsibility in such contracts 
terminates at once. All that he has to do with is 
the difference between the price at which he bought 
and at which he sold, and his liability in a contract 
is at an end, whether it applies to a delivery one 
month away or twelve months away ; and it is of 
no consequence whatever to him if the purchase 
is from Smith and the sale is to Jones. The responsi- 
bility rests with the broker, and it is adjusted 
between him and the Clearing House. 

Now, having, as I think, made this tolerably 
clear, let me ask you to follow me in my attempt 
to explain how this " futures " machine works 
in its various ramifications towards the attainment 
of its great objective, viz., in its movement and 
moving and use of the American cotton crop. 
With this object I divide my subject into two 
main divisions — the first dealing with "Futures" 
as Sales, the second as Purchases. I will take the 
Sales first, as the first transaction that can happen 
with a marketable commodity necessitates that 
the possessor must be a willing seller. We will 
divide this consideration of " sales " into three 
sections: — (1) The use of "futures" to enable a 
planter to secure a favourable price while his crop 
is growing. In times gone by the tiller of the soil 
toiled away until harvest time, gathered his crop, 

165 



Appendix I 



got it to market somehow or other, and sold his 
produce for what it would fetch ; generally speak- 
ing, when thousands of his neighbours were doing 
the same thing. The natural result was congestion, 
a universal demand for cash or exchange, and 
according to circumstances a greater or less diminu- 
tion in value. For the farmer must have bread and 
clothing for his family, fodder for his cattle, oil 
for his lamps, fuel for his fires, and stores of all 
kinds for consumption. His cotton was of no use 
to him itself. It was his currency to buy the 
necessities of life, and must be exchanged. With 
it he bought, and buys, the dollars with which to 
pay his rent and other charges ; and if he could 
unload only at the time of harvest his property 
ran a great chance of depreciation, because every- 
one else was unloading about the same time. 

Well, it may be asked. Where do " futures " 
come in ? They come in here. No man knows 
better than the farmer what his green and after- 
wards snow-white acres are likely to yield him. His 
crop may be according to locality — a quarter, a 
third, half, or even a bale to the acre (a standard 
bale weighs 500 lbs. ). Let us assume that some great 
financial or commercial depression appears to be 
looming ahead in the autumn, or other violently 
disturbing feature like a presidential election, with 
the possibilities of a congestion at harvest time of a 

166 



.' i 




Appendix I 



great crop, and values down in the commercial 
marts of the world to all but the bare cost of pro- 
duction, if not below it. What a gloomy outlook 
for the realisation of hours and days and weary 
months of labour ! Without the " futures " 
market the planter would be at the mercy of events, 
or the money-lender. In the July of 1896, " Mid- 
dling " American in Liverpool was as low as 
S^d, per lb. ; the same standard for delivery in 
November was 3|cZ. per lb., while 75 per cent, of 
the cotton world confidently expected, and with 
some reason, that it would go down to 3d. — a price 
which would have meant dead loss on the plan- 
tation. What happened in August ? From various 
causes prices shot up Id, per lb. in a few weeks — 
and from comparative ruin every planter was 
raised into opulence if he could have sold then. 
Yes, but he could not exchange for cash what did 
not exist except in green stalk and undeveloped 
cotton bolls ! But he could and no doubt did, 
in many cases, protect himself and although 
prices might go higher (and did go higher) at 3 to 
5 cents per lb. above cost of production, he was well 
off if he could realise his probable out-turn, whether 
100 or 500 bales. How could he do it ? Easily 
enough. He had only to give a responsible broker 
in any recognised Cotton Exchange an order to sell 
so many hundred bales of "futures" for October, 

167 



Appendix I 



November, December, or any other month's de- 
livery, at the current good prices then ruHng, 
and sit on a fence whittHng sticks if he Hked, while 
his crop matured, was picked, delivered and sent 
to market. His price was secured ; all he had to do 
was to deliver. Could he have done this without 
the aid of the "futures " market ? Certainly not. 

We will now consider what I have classed as 
the second section under the heading of Sales of 
** futures." This section is second to none in import- 
ance, if, indeed, it is not the most important and 
legitimate function of the system, viz., the sale of 
cotton "futures " as a " hedge " by importers against 
shipments. Even by many people interested in 
the cotton trade this is only indifferently understood, 
and I have no hesitation in affirming with emphasis 
that were it not for the " futures " market, the 
crop nowadays simply could not be moved, except 
in the light of a sheer speculation. To bring this 
home it is necessary again to revert to the time 
when no " futures " market existed, bearing in 
mind, too, that crops then were only one-third to 
one-half the size of what they are to-day. In that 
out-of-date period then, the importing of American 
cotton was in comparatively few hands. The firms 
who did the merchanting were generally very 
wealthy, and their capital made them monopolists. 
Their agents in the States bought when they thought 

168 



Appendix I 



the article cheap, negotiated their drafts on the 
home house or paid cash, shipped the produce, and 
trusted to luck or good judgment as to what kind 
of market the cargo would reach on arrival upon 
this side. 

As it is only within recent years that the supply 
of the raw material has for any length of time 
materially overtaken the demand in Europe, the 
main purchases were only concluded in a time of 
congestion at the sources of supply, and the 
farmer's necessity was the merchant's opportunity. 
Remember there were no telegraphic advices in 
those days. Invoices and bills of lading came with 
the goods ; ocean transit was much more tedious 
if not more dangerous, and many causes of more 
or less local interest sometimes occurred and com- 
bined — so that, while it is quite true that the cotton 
might arrive upon a market greatly advanced 
in price between the time of shipment and arrival, 
it was also equally liable to arrive on a market 
depressed, thus making the venture a serious loss, 
if realisation had to take place. 

Fluctuations in those days were great. One 
half-penny or one penny or twopence per lb. 
variation in the course of a few days or weeks was 
not at all an uncommon thing ; and when I remind 
you that ^d. per lb. profit or loss means, on 1,000 
bales no less than £1,000, the risk is apparent. 

169 



Appendix I 



Profits were greater than to-day, and this fact no 
doubt answered in compensation for losses on a 
year's trading ; but it was only the large capitalist 
who had a ghost of a chance to succeed and the 
trading was not regular as we know it to-day, it 
was opportunist. Yet wealthy as many of the great 
houses were, the immense failures and losses which 
the " flags " of Liverpool have seen in consequence 
of the utter absence of protection against loss, 
are to-day spoken of as expreiences completely out 
of question, in the light and practice of the facilities 
offered by " futures " for modern commerce. 

To-day, an importer, through his agent buys 
in America a line of cotton. It may be 100 ; 
it may be 10,000 bales. The purchase is advised 
home by cable instantly, a drawee is found, the 
cotton is shipped, and by a sale of " futures " 
either in Liverpool, New York, or New Orleans, or 
any port where a " futures " market exists, to the 
exact weight — or as near as possible — of the pur- 
chase, the importer is absolutely protected against 
loss, whether the market declines 1/lOOc?. or Id, 
per lb. before its arrival. How does this operate ? 
In the first place, naturally the purchase is made 
upon a recognised basis of quality, which is not only 
effective here but in the United States also. To the 
cost of the cotton is added the freight and insurance 
necessarily incurred in transport, financing, landing 

170 



Appendix I 



and warehousing charges here, a small commission 
for profit (for a rapid turnover is what is generally 
aimed at), and all these charges, say, bring out the 
actual value to 5d, per lb. (any price will do for 
example's sake). A sale, therefore, of " futures " 
of a position, say, October and/or November at 
this price, during which months the actual cotton 
would be due to arrive, would be a perfect " hedge " 
— because if necessary the cotton on arrival could 
be tendered against the sale, and would be a com- 
plete fulfilment of a " futures " contract if carried 
to finality. 

This purchase and shipment, if properly con- 
ducted, will, therefore, just work out at the market 
price of " futures " delivery for the month or 
months in which the cotton is due to arrive as 
described ; for (putting it in another way) from the 
price of the " future " have to be deducted all the 
costs of the transaction before the price can be 
fixed for the original purchase, minus charges. 
Now all this being effected, it is of no consequence 
whatever, broadly speaking, whether the cotton 
markets rise or fall between the time of the purchase 
and the arrival of the shipment. Why ? All 
" spot " business is based upon the value of 
" futures." As these latter advance or decline, 
so generally does the value of spot " middling." 
If general values have declined before the arrival 

171 



Appendix I 



of the cotton, so that the actual bales of the raw 
material must be sold to the consumer at a lower 
rate than the original cost, therefore showing a face 
loss — ^then also the " future " contracts sold as a 
" hedge " against the purchase before shipment, 
have declined, and can be bought back again at 
the decline. For example, if the entire consign- 
ment were to be sold on arrival, the " futures " 
"hedge" would simultaneously be bought in the 
open market. One leg of the transaction would show 
a loss; the other leg would show a corresponding 
profit. So far as the " hedge " was concerned, the 
loss on the one leg of the transaction would be 
balanced by the profit on the other. Let it be remem- 
bered that the question of profit on the shipment 
has already been taken into consideration before 
the contracts were entered into, for if a reasonable 
profit were not assured or anticipated the trade 
would not have taken place. The principles laid 
down here are fixed ; they regulate the business 
done, and it is only upon, the basis of them that 
modern importing is conducted with any degree 
of safety. 

Let us, however, go into everyday practice a 
little further than in assuming that a cargo is 
sold immediately upon arrival. It is not always 
so treated by any means — witness the fact that 
American cotton stocks fluctuate in Liverpool 

172 



Appendix I 



between, say, 500,000 and 2,000,000 bales. A 
shipment arrives in dock, is warehoused and sam- 
pled, and on these samples it is offered for sale. 
The shipment is, say, 1,000 bales, possibly divided 
into ten lots of 100 bales, each slightly differing 
in character and value from the others. Neverthe- 
less, the basis on which they were bought is 
unalterable and unaltered. It is most important 
to remember this. It frequently takes some time 
to dispose completely of a shipment ; once ware- 
housed, it is quite the exception for a big block of 
cotton to be sold at once. How are the " futures " 
dealt with ? A thousand bales were bought and 
1,000 " futures " sold as a " hedge." Just so. And 
if to-day from the warehouse, 100 out of the 1,000 
are sold to a consumer, and 100 " futures " are 
bought in at the same time, the " hedge " expires 
for that 100 and so on until the lot is cleared out. 

It is not difficult to see now that, granted a com- 
mon basis for business, such trading can go on all 
the year round so long as there is 100 bales 
of cotton offering from the other side. Thus 
the trading is not opportunist, it is regular. It 
is immaterial to the shipper whether price be high 
or low. With his basis right (and the planter 
cannot sell if it is not), and his " hedge " assured, 
the business — that is, the moving of the crop, 
can go on with regularity utterly independent of 

173 



Appendix I 



whether values are rising or falling — down at 
bottom prices, or away up out of sight ; and the 
small capitalist can avail himself of this system 
as well as the great. Further, not only is the trading 
not opportunist, but it cannot be monopolised. 
Congestion and its necessary accompaniment, 
unduly low prices, are avoided. 

I have not used the term before, but I think the 
" hedge " of cotton by a sale of " futures " against 
a shipment will have suggested already to the 
reader's mind that it is a perfect form of insurance 
— insurance against loss in value. And to whom ? 
The merchant only? Not at all, but also to one 
without whom the merchant or importer simply 
could not get along. I mean the banker. I am not 
referring at all to marine or fire insurance ; that 
is another matter, with which we have nothing to 
do here. Our insurance is against loss in value, and 
it affects the banker equally with the merchant. 
Why ? Simply because with very few exceptions 
indeed a merchant is very rarely drawn upon direct 
by the original seller of the cotton. Some well- 
known financial house is drawn upon, accepts the 
bills, and holds the documents and warehouse 
receipts. The handling of the cotton in such a case 
is only done by the importer on trust for the banking 
house, although the profit or loss belongs to the 
importer. The *' hedging " of the shipment by a 

174 



Appendix I 



sale of " futures " is as important to the banker 
as it is to the merchant ; it is his guarantee and 
insurance that whether the cotton upon arrival be 
worth the original drawing price or whether it be not, 
the sale of " futures " has protected the transaction 
to the extent of the decline, and that whatever 
deficit on one account may occur before realisation 
is complete, it is fully made up on the other. 

Try to imagine what a security to a bank this 
" hedge " is if you can. One bank alone may very 
easily be financing 500,000 bales of cotton. A 
drop of Id, per lb. between the acceptance of the 
drafts and maturity for such a quantity would mean 
a deficit of £250,000. Such a possible risk if there 
were no protection by the " futures " sale would 
stop business almost altogether. In a word, any 
merchant nowadays importing cotton without 
" hedging " it by a sale of " futures " would be 
carrying on his business as a sheer speculation, 
and whatever his reputed means, no bank would 
trust him any farther than his available securities 
in its hands would warrant. Indeed, it would 
rather not have the account at all. 

We will now consider a third manner in which 
*' futures " are profitably employed as " hedge " 
sales, viz., in protection to spinners, manu- 
facturers, and their agents, against unsold and 
possibly accumulating stocks of yarn and cloth. 

175 



Appendix I 



Imagine a period of distressed or disturbed trade, 
when producers cannot sell their goods, and yet 
where they are not compelled to stop their 
machinery. Under these conditions a producer 
is " making to stock." Nothing is more likely than 
that he is doing so in falling markets, that every 
pound of yarn and piece of cloth added to stock 
is losing in value every day. Not only is he pro- 
ducing at a loss in an idle market, but that which 
he has produced is also further losing day by day 
in value. 

A man may have to wait months before he can 
dispose of his yarn or cloth. In the meantime 
he may easily be ruined. He can sell cotton 
"futures" in the twinkling of an eye. There is 
always a market ; always and immediate. Cotton 
" futures " are the consols of produce. They may 
not be a perfect " hedge " as a sale against manu- 
factured goods ; as a matter of fact they are not 
so, but they at least are the most perfect " hedge " 
obtainable in the world. Pound of raw cotton for 
pound of yarn or cloth they are the best sale he 
can make, and he " covers " himself accordingly 
until the tide turns and better markets are secured. 
As the value of his yarn and cloth declines, the 
value of his " futures " also gets less than the price 
at which he sold them ; and at least to some extent 
what he loses on the one hand he reaps on the other 

176 



Appendix I 



— for it can easily be understood that the value of 
raw cotton affects all plain cotton goods. Of course, 
here is a case, distinct and plain, in which a seller 
has no intention in the world of tendering the 
actual cotton against his sale ; still less does he 
want to tender either cloth or yarn, although he 
may possess it. He could not do the latter, even 
if he wished, but he makes a convenience of selling 
a paper contract of so many pounds of the raw 
material on a given basis, at a given time, and when 
the convenience is served, he buys back a paper 
contract which cancels that representing the sale, 
any conditions of differences in and between being 
dealt with as they arose. 

We have now done with the general utility of 
** futures " as " hedges " against stocks of the raw 
material, whether on the plantation, on shipboard, 
or in the warehouse, or as " hedges " against 
accumulated stocks of manufactured or manipu- 
lated cotton goods, and will, therefore, proceed 
to deal with " futures " in an exactly opposite 
sense to that already considered. We have dealt 
with them as sales ; we will now treat with them 
;as purchases — the whole idea of their utility in 
either capacity being one of insurance against loss 
in value in other operations, having one recognised 
standard of the raw material as a basis. 

In the first place, then, as purchases we will 
177 ^ 



Appendix I 



treat them " as ' hedges ' by shippers against sales 
of forward deUveries, when the actual cotton for 
this delivery has still to be brought from the pro- 
ducer or his factor." In much the same way as a 
planter wants to sell " futures " against his growing 
crops, and thus secure what he considers a fair 
price for his work long before he is ready to market 
his produce, so does a shipper, conscious or antici- 
patory of a good trade ahead, want to have some- 
thing in hand, while his agents are busy (say in 
Europe) getting orders for that which is growing 
and coming on to market for use. The practice, 
therefore, comes about in the following manner: 
All cotton is not bought by a customer from a 
known stock, neither will a purchase of " futures " 
for delivery to him in any of the months on a basis 
" Middling " standard suit his exact requirements. 
Yet it is not only quite possible but also quite 
frequent for him to make a contract termed a 
" c.i.f." contract, with a merchant, to deliver to him 
at a specified time a special description of cotton, 
a special length of staple, a special strength, a 
special grade, a special style. The letters c.i.f. 
(or, strictly speaking, c.f.i.) mean, C. cost (the 
original cost of the article), F. the freight, and I. the 
insurance. 

Upon calculations, unnecessary to detail here, 
a shipper of cotton will offer, generally during the 

178 



Appendix I 



summer months, to deliver consignments ahead 
with the above specialities, to any consumer who 
wishes to buy them. Contracts pass between seller 
and buyer, and are equally binding upon the one 
to provide and the other to receive. The seller 
to some extent naturally takes a legitimate mer- 
chant's risk while the crop is growing. His emis- 
saries are all over the cotton field, on the look-out 
to secure the raw material to fill the contracts made 
and report the progress of the growing plant. 
Crop prospects, let us say, deteriorate ; the possi- 
bility of being able to secure the exact thing required 
becomes doubtful. Meantime prices show a ten- 
dency to rise, and the price at which the sale was 
made runs a chance of being passed. The planter 
turns stubborn, and holds for higher prices, a 
" bull " fever takes possession of the world, and by 
leaps and bounds cotton gets upon a higher plane 
of value. 

This would be particularly embarrassing to the 
shipper if he had no loophole through which to 
extricate himself. He is already in a temporary 
dilemma in being placed in a position in which he 
cannot lay his hands upon what he actually wants 
and has sold, but this is a mere detail, and secon- 
dary to the importance of values getting away out 
of his reach. It is value, and the difference between 
loss and profit, which is all important to him. What 

179 K2 



Appendix I 



does he? He covers his financial responsibihty 
by buying " futures " in an accredited market. 
The market, then, broadly speaking, may do what 
it likes. If he has a thousand bales sold c.i.f. 
ahead, and local or general circumstances combine 
to prevent him from providing himself with the 
actual thing wanted, but he has a thousand bales 
of " futures " bought as a " hedge " against pos- 
sible advancing value ; he is fairly safe. As much 
more as he may have to pay for the actual require- 
ment in order to fulfil his contract, so much more 
is the difference on the " futures " contract worth 
to him to fill up the deficiency ; and when he has 
secured by purchase and selection that which he 
has contracted to deliver he sells out his " futures " 
contract, which is no longer necessary to him. As, 
however, " futures " exercise one great function 
as sales — that of " hedges " against the imports 
already described — so do they exercise one special 
great function as purchases. This undeniably 
immense field covers those operations in which 
they are bought as " hedges " against sales ahead 
of yarn and cloth by producers of these, by their 
agents, and ofttimes by the merchants who ship 
goods abroad. 

At the outset I alluded to the fact that if a pro- 
ducer of cotton goods is offered a contract that will 
keep his spindles and looms going and his work- 

180 



Appendix I 



people employed for twelve months ahead — even 
if he did not possess the raw material required, 
nor the available cash with which to purchase it, 
even also if it were (as it is not always) in existence 
to be purchased — he need experience no special 
alarm ; for with quiet, calm merchanting he can 
protect himself at once. 

We will now go on with the " purchase of 
' futures ' as a * hedge ' against sales of yarn." 
On the boards of the Manchester Royal Exchange 
are to be found, practically every day in the week, 
the principals or representatives of every cotton 
spinning mill in the kingdom. Spinners from all 
parts congregate there to sell their yarn. We will 
imagine a busy time, meaning considerable demand. 
Large lines are being placed. Buyers are more 
needy than sellers, and they are not merely anxious 
to purchase a quantity of any special firm's pro- 
duction for immediate delivery, but possibly still 
more anxious to enter into engagements for the full 
or main part of the production of such and such 
a firm for many months even up to twelve months 
ahead. The spinner has capital, it is true, but if 
his consumption of the raw material were only 100 
bales per week, and the contract offered were only 
for six months — under old conditions of only being 
able to lay his hands upon what was, in the shape 
of cotton, available, and pay cash for that, he would 

181 



Appendix I 



have to expend no less than £26,000, and stow the 
cotton away somewhere until it was used up ; 
either this, or take his luck or chance in picking 
it up in driblets as he could, or as his spare money 
allowed him to do. 

Thus with the aid of the " futures " market any 
spinner of decent repute and very moderate capital 
can quietly consider such a long contract as sug- 
gested, accept it, and " cover " himself in five 
minutes, insuring himself against all loss. As I 
have said before, on the basis of " future " values 
is the value of all cotton, therefore of cotton goods. 
On that basis or about it, after much bargaining, 
the contract for yarn is concluded ; therefore 
without waiting to proceed to the raw material 
market to select his actual and special requirements, 
the spinner has simply to telephone or telegraph 
down to Liverpool to his broker to buy so many 
hundreds or thousands of bales of "futures" — 
200 of this month, 200 of next month, and so on ; 
and all risk to his profit, so far as providing his 
requirements for his engagements, is past and gone. 
He can go home and sleep, leaving it to more 
convenient seasons to effect his actual purchases 
and requirements of the raw produce. As he effects 
this latter from time to time in lots of 100 to, say, 
500 bales, so does he part to the same extent 
with the " futures " already bought. If the market 

182 



Appendix I 



has risen in the meantime, as much more as he 
may have to pay for his actual wants, practically 
so much profit has he upon his " futures " con- 
tracts — ^the one balances the other. We have 
already seen the reverse of the operation in other 
business. If the market has fallen in the meantime, 
true, he will have a loss upon his " futures," but 
then he has the less to pay for his actual cotton. 
The basis of the trade is not altered one whit. In 
other words, granted that his first calculations 
are correct, based on the value of "futures" at 
the time he enters into an agreement to supply 
yarn for forward delivery, and that he buys his 
" futures " there and then, so far as his buying or 
selling are concerned risk and loss are out of the 
question. 

This is no less true when applied to purchases 
of "futures" as against sales of cloth by manu- 
facturers. A maker of cloth, like a producer of 
the yarn which makes the cloth, frequently sells 
his production for many months ahead. True 
he cannot weave "futures" any more than a 
spinner can spin them ; but oftentimes he cannot 
get the yarn he wants, any more than the spinner 
can select ^^^ secure the actual cotton which 
he requires. The manufacturer, therefore, cannot 
afford to run the risk of making a loss by waiting 
on the yarn market to accommodate him as to 

183 



Appendix I 



price. He therefore buys cotton " futures " equiva- 
lent in poundage to the weight of yarn he needs ; 
and he also is protected at once. There is plenty 
of yarn for him, he knows ; but he may get a better 
chance of securing his possibly 1,000,000 weight of 
yarn than at the moment of his sale of cloth. As 
he picks up his yarn, so to the same weight does he 
dispose of his " futures." He has been insured 
against loss. Yarn agents and cloth agents follow 
the same process ; so do the merchants who ship 
and contract to ship goods abroad. 

The value of a house may have nothing in the 
world to do with the current prices of bricks and 
mortar, iron and timber. But cotton goods are not 
made out of these, nor out of wool or sugar, but 
out of cotton alone ; and a rise or fall in the value 
of the raw material is a sure indication of a rise or 
fall in the value of the yarn or cloth made from it. 
Therefore on broad lines of value a purchase or sale 
of a " futures " cotton contract, which is always 
possible, is the next best purchase or sale to that 
of the manufactured article, which at the moment 
is not always possible. 

These are the broad principles regulating the 
legitimate use of " futures," and Mr, Stewart 
claims that these broad principles are constantly 
in practice and unassailable. 



184 



APPENDIX II 

SPINDLES AND LOOMS 

The following statistical table giving the number 
of spindles and looms in Lancashire and immediate 
district is based on information supplied in Worrall's 
" Cotton Spinners' and Manufacturers' Directory " 
for 1916. Messrs. Worrall state that the year ending 
December, 1916, witnessed a considerable increase 
in the total number of spindles employed in Lanca- 
shire, amounting to 1,162,159 (including doubling 
spindles). This is the largest increase since 1909. 
The looms for the same period show a decrease 
of 1,253. 





Number 


Number of 


Number 


— 


of 


Spinning 


of 




Firms. 


Spindles. 


Looms. 


Accrington and 








district 


63 


726,980 


39,764 


Ashton-under-Lyne 








and district 


36 


1,964,996 


10,782 


Bacup and district. 


25 


344,452 


8,535 


Blackburn ,, ,, 


133 


1,240,150 


97,799 


Bolton 


112 


7,397,642 


24,030 


Burnley „ „ 


146 


540,376 


111,914 


Carried forward 


515 


12,214,596 


292,824 



185 



Appendix II 





Number 


Number of 


Number 


— . 


of 


Spinning 


of 




Firms. 


Spindles. 


Looms. 


Brought forward 


515 


12,214,596 


292,824 


Bury and district 


45 


1.060,524 


22,454 


Chorley „ „ 


38 


865,298 


26,464 


Clitheroe , 






18 


150,136 


9,863 


Colne , 






85 


147,500 


27,070 


Darwen , 






51 


274,256 


39,241 


Denton 






2 


63,982 


534 


Dukinfield 






15 


843,912 


971 


Farnworth . 






46 


1,502,384 


12,838 


Garstang 






2 


— 


318 


Glossop 






17 


914,592 


14,270 


Golborne 






4 


112,296 


2,110 


Great Harwood 








and district 


14 


64,376 


17,188 


Haslingden ,, ,, 


26 


161,726 


14,002 


Heywood 


>j 




44 


1,145,300 


6,890 


Hyde 


j> 




13 


863,958 


11,028 


Lancaster 


?j 




4 


33,484 


798 


Leigh 


J? 




28 


2,664,094 


8,098 


Littleborough 




7 


133,804 


6,033 


Manchester and 








Salford 


135 


3,690,936 


23,562 


Middleton and dis- 








trict . 


20 


1,252,458 


2,193 


Mossley and district 


17 


1,387,469 


834 


Nelson „ „ 


134 




61,325 


Oldham „ 




245 


17,286,492 


16,792 


Padiham „ 




19 


136,032 


15,297 


Preston „ 




87 


2,183,130 


72,059 


Radcliffe „ 




48 


259,892 


12,190 


Ramsbottom 




27 


95,592 


10,038 


Carried forward 


1,706 


49,508,219 


727,283 



186 



Appendix II 





Number 


Number of 


Number 


— 


of 


Spinning 


of 




Finns. 


Spindles. 


Looms. 


Brought forward 


1,706 


49,508,219 


727,283 


Rawtenstall and 








district 


22 


310,344 


9,831 


Rochdale „ ,, 


114 


3,671,322 


20,229 


Stalybridge „ „ 


19 


1,199,606 


6,742 


Stockport ,, „ 


67 


2,308,160 


9,787 


Todmorden „ ,, 


42 


399,296 


17,940 


Uppermill „ ,, 


6 


109,800 


— 


Warrington „ „ 


3 


70,000 


2,400 


Waterfoot ,, ,, 


7 


47,910 


2,004 


Wigan „ „ 


18 


1,115,652 


11,527 


Total 


2,004 


58,740,309 


807,743 



The total number of doubling spindles is 
2,233,072. Doubling is the process of forming a 
sliver from two or more smaller slivers to produce 
a uniform roving. 



187 



APPENDIX III 

THE COTTON TRADE IN WAR TIME 

The cotton trade, for the first time in its history, 
was temporarily (August, 1917) controlled by a 
Government department — the Board of Trade — 
and in order successfully to deal with all the 
technicalities and ramifications of the industry, the 
Government wisely set up a Board of Control, com- 
posed for the most part of representatives of cotton 
employers, operatives, importers and distributors. 

The industry was threatened with a famine in 
American cotton in the third year of the war, in 
consequence of the severe restrictions placed on 
shipping and also because of the submarine menace, 
and the price per bale rapidly advanced from £25 
per bale to nearly double that amount. The stocks 
at Liverpool in June (1917) were only sufficient to 
keep the mills running a few weeks at the then rate 
of consumption, and it was in order to check 
speculation and to secure that the available stocks 
of cotton should be more equally distributed and 
not allowed to fall below a certain level that 
Government assistance was sought. A deputation 
from the Liverpool Exchange and another deputa- 

188 



Appendix III 



tion representing the spinning and manufacturing 
interests went to London, and in conference with 
Sir Albert Stanley, the President of the Board of 
Trade, they explained how near was the danger of 
industrial collapse failing drastic regulations which 
only the Government could impose. The position 
summarised was that the stock of American cotton 
at Liverpool and in the mills was, approximately, 
700,000 bales. The normal weekly consumption 
was 62,000 bales, the actual weekly consumption 
was not less than 50,000 bales, whilst the weekly 
import was at the rate of 21,000 bales. 

If the cotton were all of one sort and could be 
distributed in the right proportion this should 
mean a supply for something like twenty weeks, 
but in practice it would not work out like that. It 
is understood, too, that the above figures included 
cotton in process of manufacture. If the figures 
did include " clothing the mills," then the figures 
did not adequately represent the seriousness of the 
situation. 

A month later it was reported that the quantity 
of cotton afloat for Great Britain totalled 97,000 
bales against 206,000 in 1916, and that the Ameri- 
can amounted to 57,000 against 173,000 in 1916. 

The Government did intervene in the first in- 
stance by stopping the speculation in cotton on the 
Liverpool market, and later by controlling, through 

189 



Appendix III 



the Cotton Control Board, the raw cotton. The 
regulations for trading in the Liverpool cotton 
** futures " market were as follows : — 

1. Trading in " futures " to be confined to — 

(a) Buying by spinners in the United Kingdom 
to cover sales of yarn and buying by importers 
against sales of actual cotton to spinners in the 
United Kingdom. 

(b) Selling of "hedges" by importers and 
spinners against purchases of actual cotton, for 
shipment to, or in, the United Kingdom. 

(e) Liquidation of open contracts. As regards 
open contracts, no transfer of these to any other 
position can be made except in the case of "hedges" 
by importers against actual cotton shipped to the 
United Kingdom, and in the case of purchases by 
spinners in the United Kingdom against sales of 
yarn. 

Note. — From the above it will be seen that no 
* * straddles ' ' or speculative business can be transacted 
by or for members, or on account of clients. 

2. Prices of "futures" to be advanced or reducd 
from time to time by a committee, who will use as 
their basis the prices prevailing in the Southern 
States of America for American "futures," and in 
Alexandria for Egyptian "futures." The Com- 
mittee, however, to have discretion to fix a lower 
price than would be indicated by this basis. 

190 



Appendix III 



The differences between all months to remain as 
fixed. No tenders will be allowed until further notice. 
Note. — Some of these restrictions have since 
been removed. 

The next step taken by the Government was to 
give the necessary authority to the new Board of 
Control by issuing an order of which the operative 
clauses are as follows : — 

1. A person shall not without a licence (general 
or special) granted by or under the authority of the 
Board of Trade, nor otherwise than in accordance 
with the conditions, if any, subject to which such 
a licence is granted, purchase any raw cotton, and 
a person shall not sell or offer to sell raw cotton to 
any person except the holder of such a licence, nor 
to the holder of such a licence otherwise than in 
accordance with such conditions as aforesaid. 

The conditions imposed by the Board of Trade 
may include conditions as to maximum price, pro- 
vided that any price so fixed shall not apply to the 
sale of any particular parcel of raw cotton by a 
person who had previously entered into a contract 
for the purchase thereof, so as to reduce the selling 
price of that parcel below the cost incurred by that 
person in purchasing the cotton and bringing it to 
the United Kingdom, together with such margin to 
cover incidental expenses and profit as the Board 
of Trade may think reasonable. 

191 



Appendix III 



2. All importers and dealers in raw cotton and 
cotton spinners shall comply with any general or 
special directions which may be given by or under 
the authority of the Board of Trade as to the sale, 
disposal, delivery, or use of raw cotton. 

3. Infringements of this order are summary 
offences, subject to penalties under the Defence of 
the Realm Regulations. 

The Cotton (Restriction of Output) Order, 1917, 
is dated August 9, and was made by the Board of 
Trade pursuant to regulations 2F, 2GG and 2JJ 
of the Defence of the Realm Regulations. This 
Order reads : — 

WHEREAS the Board of Trade deem it expedient 
to make further exercise of the power vested in them by 
the Defence of the Realm Regulations as respects 
cotton including Cotton Waste. 

NOW THEREFORE the Board of Trade in exercise 
of their said powers and of all other powers them enab- 
ling do hereby order as follows : — 

1. The Cotton Control Board may from time to time, 
by notice exhibited in the Manchester Royal Exchange, 
and advertised in such other manner as they think fit, 
give instructions as to the number or percentage of 
spindles or looms that may be worked in any cotton 
mill or weaving shed as from the date or dates specified 
in the notice, and may cancel or vary such instructions 
as occasion may require by similar notice. 

2. The Cotton Control Board may grant licences 
enabling a greater number of percentage of spindles 
or looms to be worked than that authorised by such 

192 



Appendix III 



instructions upon such terms and subject to such condi- 
tions as may be specified in the notice. 

3. Where restrictions are placed upon the number or 
percentage of spindles that may be worked such restric- 
tions shall be deemed to affect any preparatory 
machinery worked in connection therewith. 

4. All persons shall obey any instructions that may 
be issued by the Cotton Control Board under this 
Order. 

5. If any person acts in any manner contrary to the 
instructions issued by the Cotton Control Board under 
this Order he is guilty of an offence under the Defence 
of the Realm Regulations. 

Signed on behalf of the Board of Trade, 

H. Llewellyn Smith, 

Secretary, 

Board of Trade, 

7, Whitehall Gardens, S.W. 1. 

The Cotton Control Board, over which Sir Her- 
bert Dixon, Bart. (Chairman of the Fine Cotton 
Spinners' Association), presides, immediately took 
control of the stocks of cotton and made enquiries 
as to the stocks of cotton at the mills and in the 
warehouses. Upon the information thus obtained 
the Board formulated a scheme intended to distri- 
bute as equally and fairly as possible the inevitable 
burdens upon all sections of the industry. This 
scheme came into force on Monday, September 10, 
1917, for a period of three months. It has since been 
agreed to extend its working to June, 1918. It is 

193 



Appendix III 



hoped that at the end of this time normal work may 
be resumed since the Shipping Controller promised 
to increase the tonnage available for cotton. 
Appended is the full text of the scheme : — 

THE COTTON CONTROL BOARD. 

The Cotton (Restriction of Output) Order, 1917. 
INSTRUCTIONS, 

Issued by the Cotton Control Board Pursuant to the 
above Order, 

1. Subject to the provisions of paragraph 7 hereof, 
on and after the 3rd September, 1917, no person shall 
work or allow to be worked in any cotton or cotton 
waste mill occupied by him, more than 60 per cent, of 
the total number of mule and/or ring spindles, and 
necessary preparatory machinery, contained therein 
without a licence from the Cotton Control Board. 

2. Licences may be granted by the Cotton Control 
Board to spinners of Egyptian and Sea Island Cotton 
and to spinners of cotton waste to work more than 60 
per cent, of the total number of mule and/or ring 
spindles and necessary preparatory machinery in any 
mill during such time as may be prescribed by the 
licence, on payment of — 

l^d. per mule spindle per week, and 
l^d, per ring spindle per week. 

on all spindles worked above 60 per cent, of the total 
number. 

Example : — 

A mule spinning mill containing 100,000 spindles, 
194 



Appendix III 



60,000 spindles may be worked without any 
payment. 

63,000 may be worked on payment of a weekly 
levy of Hd, per spindle on the extra 3,000 spindles, 
and so on. 

3. Licences may be granted by the Cotton Control 
Board to spinners of American and all growths of 
cotton, other than Egyptian and Sea Island, to work 
up to 70 per cent, of their total number of mule and/or 
ring spindles during such time as may be prescribed by 
the licence, on payment of l^d. per mule spindle, and 
l|d. per ring spindle per week on the spindles in excess 
of 60 per cent, of the total spindles in the mill. Pro- 
vided that where a spinner of any such cotton proves 
to the satisfaction of the Board that he is engaged on a 
Government contract or contracts, a licence to work 
spindles in excess of 70 per cent, may be granted, on 
payment of the weekly levies mentioned in the last 
paragraph. 

4. Where a mill contains both ring and mule spindles 
the occupier shall before the 3rd day of September, 
1917, apply to the Cotton Control Board for directions 
as to the proportion of ring and mule spindles respec- 
tively that may be worked, and the Board shall give 
such directions as they think fit, provided that they 
shall allow 60 per cent, of the total of such spindles to 
be worked. 

5. Subject to the provisions of paragraph 7 hereof, 
on and after the 3rd September, 1917, no person shall 
work or allow to be worked more than 60 per cent, of 
the total number of looms in any weaving shed occupied 
by him, without a licence from the Cotton Control 
Board, provided that any beams actually in looms at 

195 o2 



Appendix III 



the date of these instructions may be woven out within 
four weeks of the date hereof. 

Example : — 

A manufacturer has 100 looms all working. 
He may on and after September 3rd run 60 looms 
without payment of levy, and is allowed four 
weeks from August 22nd in which to weave out the 
remaining 40 looms. Should he intend, however, 
to keep running, say, 80 looms, he must declare 
this number now, and pay the levy, as shown in 
Clause 6, on the extra 20 looms from September 3rd, 
the remaining 20 looms being allowed four weeks 
from August 22nd in which to weave out. 

6. Licences may be granted by the Cotton Control 
Board to work during such time as may be prescribed 
by the licence extra looms upon payment of 2^. 6d. per 
week for each loom up to 72 inch reed space, and 5*. 
or each loom over 72 inch reed space worked in excess 
of 60 per cent, of the total number. 

7. Where two or more mills or two or more weaving 
sheds are occupied by the same person the Cotton 
Control Board may direct the number of mule and/or 
ring spindles or looms that may be worked in each 
separate mill or weaving shed occupied by the same 
person, so that the total number worked by any one 
person without a licence shall not exceed 60 per cent, 
of the total number contained in his mills or weaving 
sheds. 

8. All applications for licences shall be made upon a 
form to be obtained from the Cotton Control Board, and 
must reach the Board not later than the Wednesday 
morning in the week preceding the week during which 
the licence is to commence. 

196 



Appendix III 



9. No person shall make any false statement or 
representation for the purpose of obtaining a licence. 

10. The expression " person " includes a firm or 
other association of persons, and a company. 

The expression " mill " includes any place where 
yarn or waste is spun. 

The expression " weaving shed " includes any place 
where looms are worked. 

For the Cotton Control Board, 

H. D. Henderson, 

Secretary, 
August 22nd, 1917. 

[Note. — The operation of the scheme was postponed 
by the Cotton Control Board until September 10 in 
consequence of the closing of many mills for the 
holidays in the week beginning September 3.] 

The intention of the Board was to reduce the 
consumption of cotton to 40 per cent, below pre- 
war consumption except in so far as further con- 
sumption is allowed under licence. 

The following suggestions applying to spinning 
mills were adopted at a representative conference 
of employers and operatives : 

1. Where possible all machines should be fully 
and efficiently staffed and preference should be 
given to older men and to heads of families. As a 
general rule the services of the latest comers should 
be dispensed with first. 

2. Where, after fully and efficiently staffing the 
60 per cent, or other percentage of machinery, there 

197 



Appendix III 



is still a surplus of labour there might then be set up 
a system of rotation of workpeople. This applies 
to mule spinning rooms. 

3. Local committees will be set up to deal with 
the questions arising out of the displacement of 
labour, and where employers' or- operatives' com- 
mittees already exist they will be utilised. 

Note. — The scheme affects 2,000 firms with 
58,740,000 spinning spindles and 807,543 looms. 



198 



INDEX 



Africa, cotton field of the 

future, a, 70 
America, cotton growing 

wild in, 6 
American Civil War, 82 

„ cotton crops, ex- 
tent of, 60 
,, cotton, early con- 
signment of to 
England, 8, 9 
,, cotton fields, 23, 

24 
„ cotton fields, la- 
bour employed 
in, 29 
,, cotton monopoly, 
65 
Arabs, cotton cultivation 

by, 9 
Aristobulus on wool-bearing 

trees, 3 
Arkwright and Highs' inven- 
tion, 47 
„ and the opera- 

tives, 44 
,, the subterranean 

barber, 42, 43 
Asiastic Turkey, cotton 

grown in, 84 
Assouan, the dam at, 79, 80, 
81 



Baling of American and 

Egyptian cotton, 86, 87 
" Black man's crop," 29 
Bonaparte and Jacquard, 19 



Bolton strike of, 1877, 146 
Brazilian cotton, 83, 84 
Bright, John, ignores Ex- 
change Rules, 107, 108 
British Cotton Growing 

Association, 69, 70 
British Dyes, Limited, 136 
British goods, market for, 66 
British Government experi- 
ments in Sudan, 68 
Brooklands' agreement, 147, 

148 
Brunswick spinning wheel, 
the, 14 



Candlewicks, use of cotton 

for, 8 
Calico, penalty imposed on 
seller of, 34 
printing, 127, 128, 
129 
Camels for transport, 81 
Carding machine, 40 
Card-room, in the, 89 
Carlyle's description of Ark- 
wright, 42 
Cartwright at Matlock, 54, 

55, 56 
Cartwright's machines de- 
stroyed by 
fire, 57 
,, power-loom, 53 

Catullus, the poet of spin- 
ning, 11 
Chamberlain, Mr. Joseph, 
on 'Change, 110 



199 



Index 



China, cotton growing in, 4 
,, original home of silk 
manufactures, 4 
Chinese gardens, cotton 
plant used as a decoration 
for, 4 
Clothing for world's popula- 
tion, 2 
Cotton as an explosive, 152 

,, American, where 
grown, 23, 24 

,, ** Black man's crop," 
a, 29 

,, broker, the, 114 

,, classification, 74, 75, 
76,78 

,, clothing, the demand 
for, 20 

,, Congress, Interna- 
tional, 10 

,, crops, extent of 
American, 60 

,, cultivation, 24 

,, flower, its resem- 
blance to a dog 
rose, 2 

,, garments, prejudice 
against wearing, 
33,34,35 

„ ginning, 31, 32 

,, machinery, trials of 
inventors of, 37 

,, manufacture, early 
history of, in Lan- 
cashire, 8 

„ manufacture, serious 
hindrance to the 
development of, 
17 

,, manufactures, de- 
pression of, 36 

„ monotony of pick- 
ing, 30, 31 

,, pests, 25, 26, 27 

,, picking by negroes, 
27 

,, picking machine, 28 



Cotton plant, a decoration 
for Chinese gar- 
dens, 4 
,, plant, as an orna- 
mental shrub, 2 
„ plant, early history 

of, 1 
,, sampling of, 114 
,, seed oil, 153, 154 
,, statute prohibitmg 

the use ot, 34 
„ a utilitarian plant, 

151 
„ World's consump- 
tion of, 60 
" Counts " of yarn, 94 
Criminal on scaffold, appeal 
against cotton garments 
by, 34, 35 
Crompton and the opera- 
tives, 51 
,, denounced as an 

impostor, 51 
,, works at his in- 
vention in secret, 50 
Cromp ton's " mule," 49, 50 

Derbyshire cotton mills, 46 
Disastrous wages dispute at 

Preston, 143, 144 
Distaff and spindle, 12, 13 
Drawing frame, the, 91, 92 

Egyptian cotton, deteriora- 
tion, of, 79 
,, cotton, early con- 
signment of, to 
England, 9 
,, customs, Herodo- 

tus on, 3 
,, mummies, wrap- 
ping, of, 4 
Egyptians, use of cotton 

plant by, 6 
Egypt, King of, present to 
Lacedaemonians, 3 



200 



Index 



Egypt, the cotton plant in, 2 
Eli Whitney's "gin," 31 
Exchange of, 1804, 105 



Fibre, the cotton, its utility, 

21 
Fibres, separating the, 89 
First cotton mill in the 

world, 42 
Flemish weavers in Man- 
chester, 6, 7 
Fluctuations in cotton prices, 

119, 120 
Fly frames, 93 
Flying shuttle, 37 
Fustian tax imposed, 36 
** Futures," operations in, 
121 



Gambling in cotton, 122, 

123 
Germany, use of cotton in, 

66 
Glasgow operatives on 

strike, 141 
'* Great Lancashire Strike " 

of 1878, 146 



Hall-i-'th'-Wood wheel, 50 

Handling cotton in Man- 
chester, 117 

Handloom, operative spin- 
ners oppose mechanical 
devices, 12 

Hargreaves, inventor of 
carding machine, 40 

Hargreaves' machine de- 
stroyed, 41 

Herodotus, cotton plant 
mentioned by, 3 

" High Change " a century 
ago, 103 
to-day. 111 



Highs and the clockmaker 
48 



India as a cotton growing 
country, 65 
,, market for British 
goods, 66 
Indian cotton fabrics, fine 
texture of, 65 
„ cotton, groups of, 

81 
,, import duties, 109 
Indians and the commercial 
,, value of cotton 

plant, 5 
„ use of cotton plant 
by, 2 
International Cotton Spin- 
ners' Federation and 
Colonial office, 67 
" Invisible waste," 91 
Italy, King of, on cotton 
growing, 10 



Jackson's, Colonel, house 

burned down, 147 
Jacquard, arrest of, 19 

„ machine, the, 17 
,, Paris authorities 

and, 18 
,, persecution of, 19 
Japan, use of Indian cotton 

in, 66 
Jersey wheel, the, 14 



Kay, troubles and 
appointments of, 38 
Kay's flying shuttle, 37 



dis- 



Labour employed in Ameri- 
can cotton fields, 29 



201 



Index 



" Lamb, the Scythian," 5 
Lancashire as a spinning 
centre, 14 
„ calico printing 

established in, 
132 
,, cotton famine, 

82 
Lancashire's annual con- 
sumption of 
cotton, 66, 67 
,, textile supre- 

macy, 6 
Laws of combination re- 
pealed, 138, 139 
" Lazaretto," the, 104 
Legitimate and illegitimate 

speculation, 124, 125 
Lock - out in Lancashire, 
146 



Manchester Cotton Asso- 
ciation, 115 
„ cotton imports, 

117 
" Cottons," 7 
„ Royal Ex- 

change, 102 
„ Ship Canal and 

the Port of 
Liverpool, 
115 
„ soldiers, free 

admission to 
Exchange 
of, 106 
"spot " 
market, 117 
Machinery, cotton, 85, 86 
Mahomet's followers extend 
spinning and weaving to 
West, 9 
Manipulation of markets, 

119 
Masters' and workers' or- 
ganisations, 137 



Mechanical inventions, 
workers opposition to, 58 

Mexicans, early use of cotton 
garments by, 6 

Military summoned to Royal 
Exchange, 106 

Minerva, goddess of spin- 
ning, 2, 11 

Mixing and cleaning cotton, 
86,87 

Morley, Lord, on cotton 
culture in India, 67 

Moulton, Lord, on aniline 
dye industry, 134, 135 

Mulberry, leaves of cotton 
plant like those of, 2 

Mule, Jenny, the, 49, 50 

Mules, the, 95 



Negro, '^s labourer, the, 29, 

30 
Negroes, cotton picking by, 

27,28 
New York and Liverpool : 

cotton distributing 

centres, 113 

Operations in " futures," 

121 
Operatives' organisations, 

150 

Packhorses, use of, in Man- 
chester, 8 

Parliamentary grant for 
Crompton, 52 

" Parsley Peel," 132, 133 

Penniless hill, 104 

Persian Gulf, wool-bearing 
trees in, 3 

Peruvian cotton, 84 

" Piecers," big and little, 96 

Planting and picking in 
Egypt, 81 

Pliny on cotton, 3 



202 



Index 



Prince Regent and opera- 
tives, 105, 106 

Printing process, 133, 134 

Production and consump- 
tion of American cotton, 
62, 63 

Protection of wooUen manu- 
factures, 130 

Queen Victoria visits Ex- 
change, 108 

Raw Cotton, the supply of, 
60,61 

Roberts, Richard, and the 
self-acting mule, 57 

RoUer spinning machine, 40 

Rosebery, Lord, on the 
Exchange, 111 

Royal Exchange, Manches- 
ter, 108, 109 

Russian Empire, cotton 
growing in, 82 

Sampling cotton, 114 
Saxony spinning wheel, 14 
Sohonbein's, Professor, ex- 
periment with giincotton, 
152, 153 
" Scythian Lamb," the, 6 
Sea Island cotton, 74 
Self-acting mule, 50, 51 
*' Shuttle Club," the, 38 
Silk mamiiactures, China, 

original home of, 4 
" Sliver," the, how obtained, 

89, 90 
Slubbing frame, the, 92 
Spain, centre of European 
cotton industry, 10 
King of, 10 
Spindles controlled by Mas- 
ter's Federation, 
148, 149 
,, in England, num- 
ber of, 148 



Spinner ? Who was the first 

13 
Spinners' Federation, Inter- 
national, at Colonial Office, 
67 
Spinning and weaving, early 
records of pro- 
cesses of, 1 
and weaving, 

modem, 86 
early methods of, 

12, 13 
in the cottage, 16, 

16 
jenny, 40, 41 
the beginnings of, 
13 

,, wheel, need of im- 
provements in the, 39 
" Spinster," a, 13 
Statute prohibiting the 
wearing of printed calicos, 
131 
Strike of operative spinners, 

139, 140, 141 
Sudan, cotton culture in the, 

68 
" Sully," year, the, 122 
Surat cotton, the operatives, 
and, 82 



** Tartart, the Vegetable 
Lamb of," 5 

Textile manufacture, start- 
ing point of British, 6 

Theophrastus on cotton 
plant, 2 

Thread, need for a, 2 

Twisting the strands, 92, 
93 

Tylos, wool-bearing trees in 
the island of, 3 



Virgil's reference to cot- 
ton, 1 



203 



Index 



Weavers' prosperity, 52 
Weaving and dyeing, anti- 
quity of, 3 
„ industry, Eoyal 

encouragement for, in 
Manchester, 7 
Weaving in farmhouses, 15, 

16 
Whitney's **gin," 31 



Women cotton pickers, 30 
Workers' opposition to me- 
chanical inventions, 58 
Wool-bearing trees, Theo- 

phrastus on, 3 
World's consumption of 
cotton, 60 
„ cotton fields, 1 



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