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a few days longer, and turn all into Souchong; which it must be remembered, takes all the small leaves above it. If it is the first crop, the Souchong and Pouchong leaves may all be turned into Souchong Tea; but even if it is the second crop, when the Pouchong leaves ought not to be gathered, they are nevertheless plucked and mixed up with the Souchong leaves. Almost all our Black- and all the Green-Teas have just been made from one garden. When the Green-Tea makers complained that the leaves were beginning to get too large for them—that is, they were fast growing out of Souchong and running into Pouchong-the Black-Tea makers took up the manufacture, plucked all the leaves, and made excellent Pouchong; so that between the two, there is not a leaf lost. When the Black-Tea makers have a garden to themselves they are cruel pluckers, for they almost strip the tree of leaves for the Souchong, and are not at all nice in the plucking; the third and even the fourth leaf on a tender twig is nipped off in the twinkling of an eye; they then look about for more young leaves, and away go the Pouchong, and Toychong too, which is the largest leaf of all. But the Green-Tea men pluck quietly, one by one, down to Souchong. The Black-Tea men separate all their Teas into first, second, third, and fourth crop; but the Green-Tea manufacturers make no distinction; they prepare all the Tea they can, throughout the season, box or basket it up, and when the season is over, they set off for Canton with their produce; at least all those who do not wish to sell their Tea on the spot. The different merchants go in quest of it there. It now indiscriminately undergoes the second process; that is, the different crops are all mixed up together. No old leaves can be mixed in the Green, as in the Black-Teas; for the long rolling in the pan crushes them, and the fan blows them away, so that only the young leaves are left.
We shall now take a comparative view of the number of men required by the Black and the Green-Tea makers for one pair of pans. For the Black-Tea makers there will be required,
To keep these men fully at work, from twenty-five to thirty coolies will be required to pluck leaves, and they will turn out about two
boxes of Tea per day, (weighing one maund, or 80 pounds) if the weather be fine and sunny; but scarcely half that quantity it if be rainy, on account of the coolies not plucking so much on a rainy, as they would on a fair sunny day. As the people of the country become acquainted with the gathering and manufacturing, three boxes, of forty pounds each, may be expected in fine weather, adding perhaps a few men to the number of coolies.
A pair of pans for the Green-Tea makers would require during the first process,
Thirty coolies would be required to keep these men in full play, and they would turn out two boxes of twenty-three seers, or forty-six pounds each, per day; in all ninety-two pounds of Tea. If the weather be rainy, of course the produce is much less; as the gatherers then do only half work. Thus the difference between the Black and Green is, that the former requires six manufacturers less; and that when the Black-Tea is finished, boxed, and ready for exportation, the Green has only undergone the first process, and is but half finished; although it is ready for exportation to any appointed place to receive the final and troublesome, as well as most expensive part of the process. Nevertheless the first part of the Green-Tea preparation is easily learnt by the natives of this place in about two or three months. In speaking of the trouble and expense attending the second process of the Green-Tea making, I beg to observe that it appears to me, from what little I have seen of it, that machinery might easily be brought to bear; and as Assam is about to become a great Tea country, it behoves us to look to this. The Tea half made, as above described, I am informed by the Green-Tea Chinamen now with me, is put either into boxes or baskets, with bambooleaves between; it has to make in this state a long journey by land and water, and then to go one or more months in a boat by sea, before it reaches Canton, where it is laid aside for one or two months more, before it undergoes the second process; making in all about five months from the time it was first prepared. All that is required is to keep it dry. Now if all this be true, which I have no doubt it is,
I see no reason why we could not send it to England, and have it made up there. I rather see every thing in favor of such a plan,
and nothing against it. After a year's instruction under Chinamen, it might be left to the ingenuity of Englishmen to roll, sift, and clean the Tea by machinery, and, in fact, reduce the price of the Green-Tea nearly one-half, and thus enable the poor to drink good unadulterated Green-Tea, by throwing the indigo and sulphate of lime overboard. At all events the experiment is worthy of a fair trial, and the first step towards it would be to manufacture the Tea at Calcutta ; or perhaps it would be better to let the China Green-Tea makers go direct to England along with it, and have it manufactured there at once.
Now for a word about the Lead-canister maker, who is a very important man in our establishment; for without him, we could not pack our Teas.-On two tiles about an inch thick and sixteen inches square, is pasted, on one side, a sheet of very fine thick paper, said to have been made in Cochin-China, over this another sheet is pasted only at the edges. The paper must be very smooth, and without any kind of hole, knob, or blemish. To make it answer the purpose better, fine chalk is rubbed over it. The tiles thus prepared are laid one over the other and moved backwards and forwards, to ascertain if they work smoothly. The lower tile rests on two pieces of wood, about four inches in thickness, and the exact length of the tile. The room where the sheets of lead are made must be very smooth and level, as the tiles are apt to break when there is any unequal pressure on them. In the corner of the room there is a sunken brick fire-place, the upper part of which rises just a little above the floor; into this fireplace is inserted one of the cast iron pans used for making Tea, and in one corner of the masonry is a vent hole on which in general a Tea-kettle stands. The pan is heated by a wood fire; an iron ladle with a handle, about six or eight inches long, answers the purpose of taking the lead out of the pan when required. The pan may hold about twenty pounds. There is also another ladle with a long handle, and holes at the bottom, to take the dross off. When lead for the sides of the boxes is required, the proportion of one maund of lead to five seers of tin is put into the pan. When well melted and freed from dross, the two tiles above mentioned are placed on the two pieces of wood, one piece being nearly under the centre, and the other at the edge of the lower tile; the upper tile is placed on the lower tile even and square, projecting perhaps a little backward towards the operator. The tiles being thus placed near the melted lead, the Chinaman squats down on them, placing his heels near the edge, with his toes towards the centre; while with his left hand he lays hold of the corner tile, and with the right holds the short ladle, which he dips into the boiler, and takes out
about half a ladleful of the molten metal, tipping up the upper tile with the left hand about three inches, at the same time assisting this operation by pressing on his heels and gently lifting his toes. The upper tile being thus raised he dashes in the contents of the ladle between both, lets go with the left hand, and presses on with his toes, which brings the upper tile with some force to its former position over the lower one, and occasions the superfluous lead to gush out right and left and in front. The upper tile is then raised like the lid of a box, while the lower one rests on the piece of projecting wood underneath, and a fine thin sheet of lead, nearly the size of the tiles, is taken out, and thrown on one side; the upper tile is then gently lowered down, another ladle of hot lead dashed in, and so on in quick succession, about four sheets of lead being made in one minute. The lower tile projecting a little beyond the upper one assists the man to lay the ladle on, and pour in the metal firmly and quickly. To vary the operation, the man sometimes stands up and places one foot on the upper tile, working with his heel and toes, the same as if both feet were on, and just as quickly. Many interruptions take place, such as examining the papers on the tiles, rubbing them with chalk, turning them round, and reversing them. Sometimes half a split bamboo is placed in front and under the tiles, with a piece of paper on it, to receive the lead that falls down, so that it may not come in contact with the ground. This lead is every now and then taken up and put back into the boiler. A maund of lead may make about twelve or thirteen boxes, which will hold forty pounds. There are also two other tiles, about a cubit square; these are used for making the tops of the canisters, which are generally of tin only, but can also be made from the above mixture. It is necessary in making this sheet-lead, to hold the sheets up and examine them; for if not properly prepared, there are sometimes a number of very fine holes in them, which are not perceptible when lying on the ground or table. On this account the first twenty sheets of lead are thrown aside and rejected, even without any examination. When the tiles have become nice and warm, it is then the fine and even sheets, without holes, are obtained. Before a sheet-lead canister can be made, it is necessary to have a model box made to fit into the wooden box, that is to hold the sheet-lead canister; on this box or shell the sheet-lead canister is made. It has a hole at the bottom to prevent any suction in putting it in, or drawing it out of the box or canister; and instead of a top it has a bar of wood across, by which it is drawn out. For soldering, tin, with the eighth or twelfth part of quicksilver, and some rosin are used. The wood part of some of the boxes is covered with paper pasted on and dried in the sun. To give the paper on the boxes a yellow colour, a mixture of paste with
pulverized and sifted saffron is laid on and dried.
The paper on the
corners of the boxes is ornamented by means of a wooden block with flowers carved on it; on this bit of wood very thin paper, cut to its size, is placed, and a mixture, consisting of pulverized saffron, indigo, and water, having a deep green color, is laid singly on each bit of paper with a brush made of cocoanut fibres. These slips of paper are put one above the other, twenty thick, or as long as the paper takes the impression of the carved wood below. When the corners of the boxes have been ornamented with this paper and dried, another mixture, about the proportion of four seers of oil to three seers of rosin, boiled together, is applied with a cocoanut brush over all the boxes as a finish; after these are dry they are ready for the Tea.
The following table will shew the size and produce of the Tea tracts now worked, and the probable amount of Tea for this and the next season.