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the day in draining the camp, found no repose during the night. *
Agriculture.—Immense numbers of cattle of every kind are raised in the natural meadows of the Opelouaas and Atakapas. Some individuals have from 5000 to 6000 head, besides horses and mules. The mutton of this country is superior in flavour to that of the northern states; but the flesh of all other animals is inferior, t Maize is cultivated throughout the state. It is planted in March, April, and May, and even as late as June, and ripens, according to the time of sowing, from August to November. The produce on alluvial lands is from fifty to sixty bushels; and, in some parts, above 100; but towards the north, at some distance from the rivers, on a moderate soil, and in a regular season, fifteen or twenty bushels are considered as a good crop. The usual price is a dollar a bushel. Maize thrives on a blackish light earth, and grows well on every kind of soil where the dogwood is found; and it has been ascertained that the best time for planting is when this tree is in blossom. Along the 35th parallel of latitude, however, it is much more productive than in Louisiana; and the farmers now prefer receiving this article from the countries watered by the Ohio, in exchange for which they can raise to greater advantage, sugar, cotton, and rice. Maize was cultivated by the Indians of this country for their subsistence during
• Report of the Committee of the House of Representatives appointed to investigate the causes of this calamity, f Heustis, &c. p. 43.
great part of the year, and after the French were established it became an article of exportation to the sugar islands. The mode of culture was as follows: The canes growing naturally on the soil were cut down, and the trees stripped of their bark, to the height of two feet from the ground, in the beginning of March, when the sap is in motion. About fifteen days after the whole was set on fire and consumed, and the maize sown the following day in squares four feet asunder; the only trouble afterwards was to destroy the tender and brittle shoots which sprung up from the roots of the cane not destroyed by the fire.
Rice is cultivated below New Orleans, and in those parts which can be laid under water. In common seasons, the produce per acre is estimated at fifteen barrels, each weighing 200 pounds. The nett value arising from 100 acres, cultivated by fifty workmen, is estimated at 700 barrels, which, at six dollars a barrel, gives 4200 dollars, or 84 for each hand. It is calculated, that there are 250,000 acres in Louisiana fit for the culture of this plant, which, yielding seven barrels an acre, at six dollars per barrel, would produce an annual revenue of 10,500,000 dollars. Rice is cultivated in places unfit for any other grain, and the crop is more certain. Wheat, rye, barley, and oats, are little cultivated, the produce being inferior to that of more northerly climates, and of less value than other productions, especially near the coast. In the fat soil the wheat runs to stalk and leaves, producing little seed, and is subject to blight. Near the borders of woods, from the want of free air, water oats, or wild rice, (Zizania aquatica,') grows in the soft marshes of the eastern parts. The harvest of rye and wheat commences about the middle of May. The sweet potatoe (Convohulus batatas) is much cultivated. There are different kinds, red, white, and yellow, which have somewhat the taste of the best chestnuts of Italy or France, and constitute a wholesome and nourishing food of easy digestion. The Irish potatoe is less farinaceous than in the more northern states, and is, therefore, imported from Kentucky snd Tennessee. Pistaches (arachis) grow abundantly, and are much eaten. The grain slightly roasted gives an oil, by expression, which is employed for seasoning sallads.
Sugar-cane was first introduced about the year 1762,* and the culture was encouraged by the unfortunate emigrants from St Domingo: it is now cultivated from the southern extremity, along lakes Ponchartrain and Maurepas, on the borders of the Amite and Ibberville rivers to the Mississippi; along this river to Pointe Coupee and Fausse riviere; thence, west to the Opelousas, along the Teche and Atchafalaya, to their mouths, and along the coast to the point first mentioned, including 10,000 square miles, or 6,400,000 acres of alluvial soil, of which one-tenth, or 640,000 acres, are capable of cultivation, without including lands on the rivers Vermillion and Mermenteau, where the soil is also well adapted to the culture of the cane. Mr Darby, to whom we are indebted for this information, has esti- * Dubreuil, commander of the militia, was the first colonist who constructed a sugar mill at New Orleans.
mated the extent of sugar lands at 1,000,000 of acres, or one-thirtieth part nearly of the whole surface; and deducting three-fourths for other species of culture, there would remain for that of the cane 250,000 acres. Since the date of this statement, in 1814, the sugar-cane has been planted on Red river, where it thrives as well as on the Mississippi, and, owing to the higher temperature of the waters of the former, its growth is more rapid in the months of May and June. Three miles below the town of Natchitoches, in latitude 31* 46', the lands of Mr Bossie produced, as he has himself stated, 2500 pounds of sugar of a good quality, and he is of opinion, that, by a more improved culture, the first cut may amount to 3000 pounds. Another planter, Mr Davenport, states, that, in 1814, he planted five acres, with plants the produce of threefourths of an acre brought from the coast, leaving four feet distance between the rows, and that, in the fall, three-fourths of an acre produced 1000 pounds weight of sugar; and out of twenty arpents or French acres, planted with the remaining plants, eight acres, whose produce he had then ascertained, yielded 9000 pounds, besides molasses. He thinks the produce may be estimated at 1000 pounds an acre. The greatest evil the planter has to contend with is the hard frosts, which destroy the plants, and render annual plantings necessary. But as one-fifth of the surface will be sufficient to plant the whole, the produce will still be more valuable than that of cotton. The culture is besides more easy, and the crop is more certain, for the cane is not subject to those diseases which sometimes
destroy the indigo, nor liable to be attacked by those insects which occasionally devour the cotton. It has been calculated, that if the lands adapted to the sugarcane were brought into cultivation, they would yield at the rate of 800 pounds an acre, 800 millions of pounds weight per annum, which, at the rate of eight cents a pound, would amount to 64,000,000 dollars. The quantity from 150 acres, cultivated by fifty effective workmen, is estimated at 150,000 pounds, which, at eight cents a pound, would give 12,000 dollars, or 240 for each hand. * The cane is planted in January, February, or March, and ripens in October. The stem is eight or nine feet high, and about two inches in diameter. It is impossible to have more than one annual crop, owing to the sudden changes of tempera.ture, and the great difference between that of summer and winter. The canes intended for next year's planting are pulled up about the 15th of October, and preserved in stacks till spring, when they are planted in furrows made by the plough, at the distance of three feet from each other, and cultivated like Indian corn.
* Mr Robin estimates the quantity per acre at 2000 pounds of sugar, and two barrels of syrup. In 1801-2, the product of 75 sugar plantations, the number then in the colony, was estimated at 5,000,000 of pounds of brown sugar, and a proportional quantity of syrup, of which the profits were thus calculated by MrDuvallon: 100 acres cultivated by blacks of both sexes, will produce 120,000 pounds of brown sugar, and the same quantity of syrup; the former at eight dollars the quintal, the latter at fifteen the barrel, will yield a revenue of 11,400 dollars, or 285 per head, or 114 per acre.