CULTURE of HEMP – Sunday 28 April 1805, Article as it appeared in The Sydney Gazette @HemporiumSA
It does not appear that the ancients were acquainted with the use of hemp, in respect of the thread it affords. Pliny, who speaks of it in his Natural History, says not a word of this, contenting himself with extolling the virtues of its stem, leaves, and root.
To the moderns, the use of hemp has be- come very extensive and important, it en- ters largely into the dress of men, but vastly more so into the dress of ships. The sails ard cordage of a first rate man of war require 180,000 lb. of rough hemp forth their construction. It is now much cultivated in
England, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, and above all in Russia. From the latter kingdom were imported into the British do- minions in the year 1788, 58,464 tons, whicn at £20 per ton, amounted to £1.269.280 sterling. The hemp however which is raised in England, tho’ in a great amount, is none of it used for sails or cordage. Being finer as well as stronger than that from Russia, it is wholly applied to finer fabrics, and makes a large portion of the cheapest, and most du- rable clothing that is worn in Great Britain. Cloths made of hemp are as suscetible of bleaching, in any mode hitherto practised, as those madefrom flax ; and their colour im- proves by wearing, while that of linen decays. It would be humiliating, and probably exceed belief, to state the quantity of hemp imported to the United Sates, even to supply their own manufactories, in addition to what comes in sail cloth and cordage, when it is known that they might with profit, raise enough, not only to supply themselves, but for all Europe.
Hemp delights in rich strong loams, but may however be cultivated upon ground of every kind, the poorer land producing that which is finer in quality, tho’ in smaller quantity ; whereas strong and rich lands produce a great quantity but coarser. It does not exhaust the land on which it grows like flax, amd may, with the aid of manure, be continued without diminution, twenty or thirty years on the same ground. An acre requires about two bushels of seed, and produces from four to six hundred weignt. The seed will not grow well after it is more than one year old ; and as there are two kinds of hemp, the male and female, the former only or which produces seed, some regard must be had to this circumstance Where labour is cheap the kinds are often pulled separately; in which case little paths are made lengthwise through the field about 7 feet distant from each other, to allow a passage for the person who pulls up the female hemp from among the other the latter
requiring to stand a month longer to ripen the seed. The female hemp is known to be ripe by the fading of the flowers, and some of the stalks turning yellow : but where labour is dear, the best way is to let a patch stand for feed, male and female together : the latter is much less in quantity than the former, and the skin of both is of use after the feed is ripened, though of less value than at an earlier period.
(From an American Paper.)