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Title: A Method of Tanning without Bark
Author: Maple, William
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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correction of the following apparent printing errors:

Page 13 “Extroardinary” changed to “Extraordinary”

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                     Printed by A. RHAMES, MDCCXXIX


                             HIS EXCELLENCY

                         _William Conolly_, Esq;


                                 OF THE

                     House of Commons of _Ireland_.

                         And to the Rest of the

                        _Members of That HOUSE_.




                          TANNING without BARK

                          _Is humbly inscribed_

                             _By Their most_

                           _Obedient Servant_,

                             William Maple.


Method of Tanning



In Political Computations, the following Principles are universally

That the Riches of every Country arise from the Natural Produce of the
Earth; and the Labour and Art, imployed in improving the same.

That the Quantity of Native Commodities, the Source of Riches, is in
Proportion to the Number of People, fully and usefully employed.

That every industrious Person adds to the Wealth, and Support of a
Nation; and every Idler, detracts from both, by living on the Labour of

That it is the best Policy in any Government, to encourage, and provide
for the full Imployment of the People; since thereby, the Number, Wealth,
Strength, and Quiet of the Inhabitants are increased.

That the Gain, or Loss of any Nation by Trade, is known, and determined
by the Proportion, which the Exports bear in Value to the Imports. On
this depends the absolute Quantity of Money in a Nation; the Relative
Quantity of the several Species, that composeth this Money, being
ascertained by the Value imposed on those Species; either as it agrees
with, or differs from the Value set thereon by other Nations.

A Nation certainly loses by a Trade, whose Exports are not compleatly
manufactured, and whole Imports are fully wrought.

A few Manufactures will serve to exchange for great Quantities of the
simple Produce of the Earth. The Value of Manufactures, being principally
owing to Labour and Art.

If upon these Principles, we examine the State of the Trade of _Ireland_;
I fear we shall find it, in a very declining, and ruinous Condition.

Our Exportations are made up of Wool, Woorsted, Linnen, Yarn, Beef,
Butter, Cheese, Tallow, Hydes, Skins, and a few other Articles.

We are not allowed to export our Wool and Woorsted, but to a few Ports
in _England_, and are prohibited from sending thither, or any where
else, any other of our Woollen Manufacture. Linnen, and some tanned
Hides are the only Commodities we export, compleatly Manufactured; Yarn
and Woorsted may be accounted but as half-wrought; Almost all the other
Articles are but little removed from the State, Nature has given them to
us, and have little or no Labour or Art employed about them.

At the same Time, we export so liberally the Growth of our Country,
and so little of our Manufactures, we may observe all our Importations
are of such Commodities, as are not capable of farther Improvement;
such as _East-Indian_ and _West-Indian_ Goods, Druggs, Wines, Spirits,
Manufactures of Wool, Silk, Linnen, Iron, Brass, Glass, _&c._ Nay, the
common Produce of almost all Countries, as Corn, Timber, and Fireing,
are imported in great Quantities to supply our Necessities.

By this Management of our Trade, we maintain many Thousands in foreign
Countries, and drive Numbers of our own People from us, or leave them to
starve at home, for Want of Imployment.

If to this View, we add that mighty Drain of our Bullion, made by those
Gentlemen, who, having great Estates in this Kingdom, choose to spend
them any where, rather than at home: We can not be at a Loss, how to
account for the Ballance of Trade, running against us, for so many Years

The most certain Way left to retrieve our Affairs, is to lessen our
Imports, and to encrease our Exports, especially of Manufactures.

The Commissioners of the Linnen Manufacture, by an unwearied Application
and uncommon Skill, have contributed greatly to the Value of our Exports,
by the Advancement of the Linnen Manufactury. And I don’t doubt but that
in several other Articles, divers Expedients and Means, may be thought
of, for promoting a greater Consumption of our Own, and lessening that or
foreign Commodities; and as one Instance, I shall beg Leave to propose
an Improvement in our Tannage, by which I apprehend, we shall be enabled
to Tan with the Produce of our own Country all the Hydes that now are
Exported Raw; and thereby increase the Value of our Exports, employ many
Thousands of our People, and avoid the Necessity of Importing Bark.

To set this Matter in a clear Light, I shall lay down, in the first
Place, the Export of Green Hydes, and the Import of Bark, in the seven
following Years, for the Whole Kingdom, as the same has been extracted
out of the Custom-House Books.

    _Years._  _Gr. Hydes._  _Bark B’s._

     1721        46,847      46,556
     1722        86,004      45,794½
     1723       123,514      47,824½
     1724       103,477      60,740½
     1725        69,858      48,407
     1726        60,441      45,279
     1727        57,373      50,598

In the next Place it is to be observ’d,

That Bark, according to its Goodness, is sold from 6 to 10, and in some
Years, 11 Shillings, the Barrel.

That Cow-Hydes weigh from 56, to 84 Pounds each; Bullock Hydes, weigh
from 84 to 140 Pounds each, and both are sold from 15 to 21 Shillings,
the hundred Weight.

That Soles, are generally sold from 8 to 8 Pence half-penny the Pound.

That Hydes generally lose about half their Weight, in Tanning.

From these Principles, when thrown into mean Proportionate Quantities, it
is evident:

That the Quantity of Bark, annually imported, is 50,000 Barrels, and the
Value 21,000 Pounds.

That the Number of Green Hydes, annually exported, are 80,000, and their
Value 57,000 Pounds.

That if these Green Hydes were tanned before Exportation, their Value
would be 123,000 Pounds.

That the Difference, arising from the Different State of these Hydes,
on Exportation, is 66,000 Pounds, which Sum added to the 21,000 Pounds,
the Value of the imported Bark, making in the whole 87,000 Pounds, must
be accounted, as so much gained to the Kingdom, should our Tannage be
effected by our own Produce and Labour.

The Nations, that demand this Export of those Green Hydes, are those,
whose black Cattle are not bred, in such Numbers, as to supply their
indispensable Demands; Nor will their dry Hydes, which they receive
from their Settlements abroad, admit a thorough Tannage; They, in hopes
of putting their Neighbours, who have a Redundancy of Hydes, under a
Necessity, of parting with them unmanufactured, have prohibited, by the
severest Penalties, the sending us any Bark. While we, on the other Part,
have not only complied with this detrimental Export; but also have been
so regardless of our own Interest, as to permit several Tanners, some
from this City, to go, and instruct them in an Art, they almost were
Strangers to.

The _English_, from a true Sense of the Disadvantage of such a Trade,
have subjected the Exporter of a Green Hyde, to the Penalties of 500
Pounds, and a Disability to trade in Leather, ever after. _Ann._ 14.
_Car._ II.

Such an Act, even in our present Circumstances, may, by some, be thought
adviseable for us; Because, such Nations, as now gladly receive our
Green Hydes, finding a Stop, put to their usual Supplies, would be under
a Necessity of receiving our tanned Hydes, and selling us their Bark.
Leather being a Commodity, that does not depend on the Fancy; but,
is absolutely requisite, not only to the Luxuries, but also, to the
Necessities of Mankind.

At present, Our Tanners find a great Scarcity of Bark, except those
residing in some considerable Sea-Port-Town, and are under just
Apprehensions of a greater. Several in the Country have been obliged to
lay aside their Pits, and take to other Imployments; the usual Supplies
failing. Our Neighbours who will permit any Bark, to be sent us, are in
a Manner exhausted. Our _American_ Plantations are too remote to find
their Account, in sending any great Quantity. The Produce of our Country
is scarce a twentieth Part of what is used in Tanning. This renders our
Tannage dear, and often imperfect, so as not to serve a foreign Market,
to Advantage, and Reputation.

But if we had Materials, of our own Growth, easy of Acquisition, and
Propagation, that would tan, in every Respect, as well as Bark; were
these Materials, as to their Powers, well ascertain’d, and confirm’d by
a general Experience, the making an Act, to prohibit the Exportation of
Green Hydes, would be judged by all to be Adviseable, and Useful to the

When the apparent Qualities of Bark, are considered; and that by it’s
insinuating into the Pores, and incorporating with the Substance of
the Hyde, it produces a Firmness, Strength, and Consolidation of the
Parts; It is very surprizing, that other Materials, of the same Apparent
Qualities, have so long remained neglected, and unapplied to the same
Uses; when the Consequence is of such Moment.

_Tormentil_, and _Cinquefoil_ Roots, are ranged in the same Medical
Class; have the same apparent Qualities, especially the first, in a more
eminent, and evident Degree, than Bark, it self.

On Tryal, they have answered beyond Expectation: The _Cinquefoil_ did
not give so good a Colour, as the _Tormentil_, which in all Respects, as
to Colour, Bloom, Substance, Solidity, and Weight, in the Tanned Hyde,
compleatly answered, and in much less Time, than when Bark, (even of the
best Kind, or Growth) is used.

Tho’, what is here asserted, is grounded on several Years Experience, and
confirmed by the Opinion and Testimony of Mr. _Philip Cooley_, Tanner,
who from the Beginning hath been concerned in the several Tryals, and
to whose Skill and Industry a Part of the Subsequent is owing. Yet to
give the utmost Satisfaction, and as I think my self in the strongest
Manner bound by the Encouragement, hitherto given me, by the _House of
Commons_, to render the best Information I am able, in an Affair of some
Consequence to the Public, I shall give a most faithful Account of the
Progress that has been made, and the Success that hath attended this
Way of Tanning with relation to the Goodness of the Leather, the Time,
and Charge of Tanning, and other Circumstances; and shall add several
Observations, with Directions for finding, and propagating these Roots,
in great Plenty, that all Persons may be encouraged to carry this Method
of Tanning, into a general Practice, which as it will be for their
private Advantage, so it will not fail to promote the Public Benefit.

In Order to this, I shall in the first Place beg Leave to place this
Affair in the Light it appeared in before the _Committee_ of the _House
of Commons_ of _Ireland_, to whom my Petition was referred by the
_House_, in which Petition it was alledged, that I had established a
Method of Tanning, without the Use of any Barks, to as great Perfection,
cheaper, and in less Time, than with Bark, by Vegetables of our Natural
Produce, and of easy Culture.

The _Committee_, were pleased, for their greater Satisfaction, to summon
a Great Number of Tanners, Curriers, Shoemakers, and others, to attend,
to give their Testimony in relation to the several Specimens, and Proofs,
that were to be laid before them.

In respect to the Goodness of the Leather, so tanned, the following
Specimens were exhibited.

Nᵒ. 1. A Calve’s Skin from the Ooze.

Nᵒ. 2. A Calve’s Skin, uncurryed.

Nᵒ. 3. A Calve’s Skin, curried: each of these, when tann’d and dry’d,
weighing about three Pounds.

Nᵒ. 4. A Calve’s Skin, very strong and large, when tanned and dryed,
weighing about Six Pounds.

Nᵒ. 5. Seven or Eight Pair of Soles, of a Calve’s Skin, rais’d.

Nᵒ. 6. A Bend of a Bullock’s Hyde for Harness.

These were all proved by _Thomas Cooley_ and _Patrick Shale_ to be tanned
without Bark, and with the Roots.

Mr. _Henderson_, Master of the Tanners, said he was diffident of
the Goodness of the Specimens, that he should have been thoroughly
satisfyed: had he known, how the Leathers had proved, if worn, by some
Porters, or Chairmen. That the Colour of Number 2, or 3, was not so good
as some tanned with Bark, producing a Calve’s Skin curried, to compare
with them, but did own, all the Specimens were thoroughly struck, and
well tanned: That if they were in a Shop, intermixt with Skins, tanned by
Bark, he could not distinguish them; and that, what tanned Numb. 5 and 6,
would tann, Time and Quantity allowed, the thickest Bullock’s Hyde.

Mr. _Dobson_, Tanner, affirmed the Specimens were not well tanned,
because they did not come up to the Colour of the Skin produced by Mr.
_Henderson_, but in other Respects, the Leathers appeared, to be as good
in their respective Kinds, as any tanned with Bark.

Mr. _Nicholas Gibson_, Master of the Curriers, affirmed that the Skin
produced by Mr. _Henderson_, was of an Extraordinary Colour; That there
were not ten such in _Dublin_; That the Difference in Colour was but very
small, and in regard even to Colour, would choose those tanned by the
Vegetables, as soon as Mr. _Henderson_’s Skin; That all the Specimens
appeared to be very well tanned, and that he could in no wise distinguish
them from Bark-Tannage.

Mr. _Devereux_, Currier, being sent out, returned, producing two Calves
Skins tanned by Bark, which he took indifferently, and without choosing,
from the next Currier’s Shop. They were allowed by all, to be of a
general or common Colour; and being compared were much exceeded by the
Specimens, and particularly, as to Colour.

Mr. _Edmund Sheild_, Currier, said he never saw better tanned Leather,
than the Specimens, that their Colour was very good and, that what tanned
Numb. 5. would tann any Hyde, whatsoever.

Mr. _Brookfield_, Tanner, reported the Specimens exhibited, were well
tanned and thoroughly struck; that neither He, or any other could
distinguish them, from Bark Tannage; and that what tanned Numb. 5, could
not fail in any Tannage.

Mr. _Veckers_, Tanner, allowed the Specimens to be very well tanned; and
gave it, as his Opinion, that what tanned Numb. 5 and 6, would tann the
thickest Sole Leather.

Mr. _John Gades_, Shoemaker, after giving his Testimony, that all the
Specimens appeared to be exceedingly well tanned, produced a Shoe, made
by him, of the Leather of this Tannage, affirming the Leather, wrought
very well, and that the Soles exhibited, under the Hammer, all the Signs
of extraordinary Leather.

Mr. _Ellis_, Shoemaker, reported the Specimens were very well tanned:
That, Leather either dead, or highly tanned, would never carry so
beautiful a Colour as Leather otherwise tanned. That, the Sole Leather
appeared to be very well tanned; and that in his Opinion this Tannage,
would in every respect, answer the same End, or Intentions, as Bark

Mr. _James King_, Shoemaker, said all the Specimens, were effectually

Mr. _Richard Norris_, Shoemaker, produced a Sole of this Tannage, beaten;
asserting he never saw so good a Sole of rais’d Calve’s Skin, that it
beat firm, solid, and without spreading, or Fuzziness: which are the
distinguishing Characters of good Sole Leather, he desired it might be
cut in several Places, that the Closeness, and Firmness might be view’d,
which accordingly was done, and answering Expectation was approved.

There were a great many other Tanners, Curriers, and Shoemakers, who were
of the same Opinion. But considering, their Testimonies, would be but so
many Repititions; I shall not recite them.

Dr. _Richard Helsham_, Professor of Natural Philosophy in _Trinity
College_, said I had communicated to him, what was used in this Tannage,
which appeared to be well adapted to tanning, and would not fail to give
a sufficient Strength, and Rigidity to the Fibres. Adding he wore a pair
of Shoes, the Upper Leathers of this Tannage, daily for four Months, and
being willing to try the utmost of the Leather, had new Soles put to
them; that since he had worn them about a Month: showing them, without
any Cracks, or Defect.

_Patrick Carrol_, produced two Slips of curried Calf Skin; the one tanned
by Bark, the other by the Roots, each three tenths of an Inch broad, and
ten Inches long, the first was the thickest, and weighed, a tenth Part
more than the other. He said, he was present with several others, when it
broke, by a Weight of 129 Pounds being hung to it; That the Slip of this
new Tannage, being tryed with the same Circumstances, bore 29 Pounds more
than the 129 Pounds, before it either yielded, or broke.

In respect to Time.

That the Specimens, Nᵒ. 1, 2 and 3 were tanned in five Weeks, Nᵒ. 4 in
nine Weeks, Nᵒ. 5 in four Months, without any Hurry, extraordinary, or
illegal Methods: was proved by Mr. _Thomas Cooley_, and _Patrick Shale_;
on the other Side, it appeared, that in tanning with Bark, from three
to five Months were required for Calves Skins, from seven to nine were
requisite for Soles of rais’d Calves Skins, and from ten to thirteen
Months for Bullocks Hydes, which by this Tannage, may be effected in
nine or ten.

In regard to Cheapness.

Mr. _Philip Cooley_, affirmed that six Pounds of the Dry Roots, added
to some old expended Ooze, tanned Six Calves Skins, three of which were
produced under the Nᵒ. 1, 2, and 3; and that he believed sixteen Pounds
would have done as much from the first, or without any old Ooze.

In relation to the Cheapness.

Part of the Roots, I have used, I purchased at three Farthings, the
Pound; but of late Years, and being willing to engage the Privacy of
the Gatherer; I have given a Penny; they lose about a third in Drying:
Allowing these as Facts and taking it at the dearest, less than five
Shillings worth of Roots, will go farther, than a Barrel of the best Bark.

As to their Plenty and Propagation, Dr. _Helsham_ testified, they grew in
great Plenty as he had observed, in several Counties of this Kingdom, and
were very easily propagated.

Dr. _William Stephens_, Botanic Professor in _Trinity College, Dublin_,
in his Examination declared, that they grew in great Plenty about
_Dublin_, and in several Counties he had observed great Quantities,
chiefly on Mountains, and barren Places: That, they were easily to be
propagated, in almost any kind of Soil, and that he had some flourishing
in the Physick Garden, belonging to the University.

The Resolutions, that the House entred into _January 10_, might very well
have sufficed to have recommended a General Practice. But to remove some
Prejudices and to obviate some false Representations, I have impartially
recited the several Facts and Testimonies, on which they were founded.

That all People may easily know and find out these Plants, I shall here
give a Description; which though tedious, I hope will be excused.

_Cinquefoil_, in _Latin_, _Pentaphyllum vulgare_, in _Irish_, ~Tuigbeag~
(_Tuigbeag_) ~Tuigvear Muirre~ (_Tuigvear Muirre_) and in some Counties,
~Meagigh~, (_Meagigh_) is a Plant, whose Roots are very long, about
a Finger’s Thickness, of a dark brown or reddish Colour, and very
astringent in Taste; the Leaves are born at the Extremity of a small
Stem, five together, deeply indented on their Edges, of an oblong Form
and hairy; on the Grand Stem, at the Nodes, shoot forth several smaller,
terminating with a small Yellow Flower, composed of six small Leaves
surrounding a Number of Threads, from whence ariseth a Cluster of Seeds.

It flourishes in every Hedge, sandy, loose and deep Soil: the Roots which
are to be preferred, are the thick, long, and of the darkest Colour.

_Tormentil_, or _Septfoil_, in _West Meath_, called ~Neauhnadis~
(_Neauhnadis_) in _Ulster_, ~Menedin~ (_Menedin_) or ~Neauhnid~
(_Neauhnid_) in _Connaught_, ~Levenet~ (_Levenet_) in the County of
_Mayo_, ~Fenede na Muc~ (_Fenede na Muc_) this Plant, hath a thick,
tuberous Root, of a reddish brown Colour, sometimes covered with a black
Skin, of a very astringent Taste, and shooting out many Fibres; the
Leaves are generally seven, set on the Extremity of a Foot Stalk, of a
dark Green Colour, deeply indented on the Edges and hairy, from amidst
them ariseth several small weak Stalks, of a reddish Colour, and hairy,
about 12 or 18 Inches in Height, knotted; at every Knot, or Joint, is
a Foliage, and two or three Foot Stalks, some bearing Leaves, and one
longer than the rest the Flowers consisting of four Leaves, of a light
Yellow Colour, to which succeeds the Seeds; the flower Cup, hath Eight
Leaves, four large and four small, the Root when Vigorous sends forth
several Runners, the Stalks of which are of a reddish Colour, and hairy
that spread over the Ground; at every Joynt, from one Part ariseth two or
three Stems, each bearing at the Extremity five Leaves, from the other
Part, descend several Fibres that become Roots.

It grows almost every where, but chiefly delights in mountainy, barren
and shallow Soils; the Roots seldom striking four or five Inches deep.
It hath been observed by Dr. _Stephens_, to grow all along the Banks of
the _Doder_, from _Donore-Brook_ to _Old Baun_, upon Roch Town Hills; it
grows on the Borders of a great Bog for several Miles, by _Rathmullian_
in the County of _Meath_. In the County of _Wicklow_, Thousands of
Cart-Loads might be with Ease collected; Nor do I know a Mountain or Bog
without Plenty of it.

In the Figure, (_a_) denotes the Root, (_b_) the Flower in the Bud,
(_c_) the Flower expanded, (_d_) the Knob of Seeds, (_e_) the Runners,
(_f_) the Flower Cup. I have exhibited but few of the Leaves, Stems, and
Runners to avoid Confusion.

It is observable, that from the Bark of the Stalk of this Plant, at
its breaking forth from the Root, excrementitious Tubercles or Knots,
resembling Oak-Galls have been often discovered, and like them are
subservient to the Propagation of Insects; which, considering the extream
nice, and distinguishing Taste of those Animalculas, may well be allowed
as a Proof, that their Juices are similar.

The Roots growing on Mountains are small, strong, and often have a black
Coat; those that grow on the Sides of Loughs, and in Bogs, are large, of
a lighter Colour; some I have had of the Latter, that have weighed each
above half a Pound.


When you chose the Roots, prefer the large, knotty Roots, that when
broken exhibit a blood red Tincture intermixt with the Brown, and those
that when cut, leaves on the Knife a strong purple Colour.

The best Time for collecting these Roots is in the Winter Season, or
early in the Spring, and tho’ the Seed-bearing Stalks, and Foliage are
decayed, yet there are several Foot Leaves, that remain and direct the

And tho’ these Plants grow wild all over the Country, in such Plenty,
as to be more than sufficient to tann all the Hydes, and Skins of the
Kingdom; and little Apprehension of a Deficiency, for in digging up the
Roots, there will be left some broken Parts, some Fibres, which will
Vegetate and give a Supply. A common Root, on a moderate Computation will
produce 8 or 10 hundred Seeds, these shedding, and dispersed by Winds,
and other Accidents, some will take Root, and carry on a Succession.

And in regard, it may be objected, that the Trouble and Expence, in
gathering them, when in so dispers’d a Manner, would be very great; and
a constant Supply uncertain: And because the Roots, if raised in such
Soils, as shall be found to agree with them, would thereby become larger,
stronger, as well as cheaper, I have endeavoured the Culture, especially
of the _Tormentil_, and with such Success, as to have from each square
Yard three Pounds weight of the Roots.

An Acre contains 7,840 square Yards; but, for Paths, Wastes, and
inclosing, I would allow 1,800 Yards, not to be employed; As the first
Year they will be little more than fibrous, I would allow three Years for
their Growth, tho’, if another Year was added, the Crop by an Increase
would sufficiently reward, not only as to Quantity but Quality; as the
best of Lands are not required; I would state the Expence of that Culture
as follows,

    Three Years Rent at 5_s._ the Acre,  0 15 0
    Plowing twice and Harrowing,         0 12 6
    Planting,                            0  7 6
    Houghing,                            1
    Digging up the Roots,                1
                                  Total  3 15 0

Suppose each square Yard, should produce but the Moiety of what before
was mentioned, and sold but at three farthings the Pound, the Amount will
be 27_l._ 3_s._ 6_d._ from whence a Profit ariseth beyond most of our
Cultures, now in general Use, and the Tannage may be accomplished, at
about a Moiety of the present Expence.

Probably, this Estimate of the Charge and Profit, may not be so exact
as to be strenuously defended; but if defective, there is Room enough
for any reasonable Addition or Deduction, without much Prejudice to
the Argument; different Soils, often one and the same will be attended
with different Charges; The finer, the Earth is made, or the more it
is broken, before Planting the better Vegetation succeeds; at first
shooting up of the Herbage, particularly where the Ground is foul,
houghing, or pulling up the large Weeds, will be necessary, that the
Growth of the _Tormentil_ may not be chequed; in a little Time it will
clear its self. As the Roots run superficially, not streeking at most 5
or 6 Inches in perpendicular Depth, the Charge of digging them up cannot
be so much, as that which attends Potatoes.

The Propagation may be effected by planting the Crowns of the Roots,
(that Part, from whence the Herbage ariseth) in either Autumn or Spring,
in the same manner as Horse Raddish, splitting the Crown, so as to leave
a Bud on every Slice, then setting them in the Ground, about an Inch in
Depth and allowing each Set, 5 or 6 Inches square of Ground. When you
take up a Plantation, you will have an Abundance of small Roots that
arose from the shedding of the Seed, and from the Runners, that will
scarce be worth the Drying, but very proper for Planting: If you cut from
either Extremity of the Root, a Piece of about half an Inch in Length,
it will grow very well. The whole Root, if cut into such Pieces, may be
planted. In all these I believe the Charge of Planting might be saved; if
you scatter them before Harrow, the passing of that over them, will cover
them with Earth sufficient; or at least, the most Part of them.

You may Plant the Runners, as you do Strawberries, in the mention’d
Seasons and Distances, and considering the Numbers of fibrous Roots,
already shot forth, it may be allowed the speediest Method.

The Seeds ripen about _August_ or _September_, when ripe, they are of
brownish Colour; as they are very apt to shed, the Time of ripening must
be heedfully regarded; It would be adviseable to cut the Hawm or Herbage,
a little time before the Seeds ripen, laying it on a Cloth, or winnowing
Sheet in the Sun, when dry, rub the Seeds out with your Hands, and
separate them from the Chaff. In _March_ the Ground being prepared, you
may sow and harrow, or rake them into the Ground.

The Cutting of the young Stems, if planted in _May_, will grow.

The Roots when collected, are to be washed very clean, from the Earth
that will remain with them, for otherwise, that Dirt when in the Layers,
settleth into the Pores of the Hyde or Skin, and causeth Numbers of
Spots, and Discolourations.

In fair Weather, it not being a succulent Root, they will sufficiently
dry if spread on a Floor, or a clean Part of the Field; a little Wet,
will in no case damage them. In case of very wet Weather, and continued,
they may be Kiln dryed, in the same Manner as Bark.

When dryed, they must be bruised or ground, either more or less,
according to the Uses design’d, or to the Proportion you require them to
spend in. In case they should not be sufficiently washt, when they are
pounded, or ground a little, it would be adviseable to sift the Dirt, or
Earth, which by this Means is broken, and seperated from them.

When thus prepared, you must proceed in the same Manner, and lay away,
intirely, with the same Circumstances as with Bark.

It hath often been objected, That if this Method should obtain, Planting
would be discouraged, and so prejudice the landed Interest. That it is
used in the _Canary Islands_ and that though it may be done effectually
there, yet the Produce of our Country might have Qualities very
different, or not exalted to such a Degree, as to be of a requisite Force.

To these, I would answer.

That Bark would always bear a Price, in Proportion to the Rate of what is
substituted in lieu thereof; It would be far from being rendered useless,
but only suffer a Diminution in Value.

That Diminution would be more than ballanced by the accelerated Growth,
and Worth of the Timber. At present we fall our Woods so young, and
at such improper Seasons, on Account of the Bark, that the Timber is
neither so good, and little more than fit for Ribberies, and Cabbins;
whereas otherwise, was the present Inducement, the great Price of Bark
diminished, we should have full, and well grown Timber, cut at a due
Season, and proper for Edifices, and Shipping.

The Improvement of those Lands that now are unprofitable, or not far
from such, would be another Ballance, if not wholly, yet in Part, to the
apprehended Injury.

The Use of this Root hath not been confined to the _Canaries_. The
Reverend Mr. _Lucas Jacobson Debes_, in his History of the Islands of
_Feroe_ says Page 120, “Here groweth a huge Quantity of _Tormentil_,
which the Inhabitants, having no Bark of Trees to tan their Hydes with,
make Use of; God and Nature having revealed to them the Dryness of that
Herb, so that they tan their Skins with it, and therefore call it Bark.”
And Page 271. “The Men wear Shoes of Neats Leather, tanned with the Roots
of _Tormentil_.”

The first of these Islands, is in the Latitude of 28, the other in 62.
Yet we find the same Roots used for the same Purposes, though probably
they may differ in Degrees of Power.

A great Degree of Heat is not a Quality requisite to the Perfection of
all Vegetables. _Saffron_ in _France_ exceeds the Produce of _Spain_, as
much as the little we have in _Ireland_ excells the Product of _England_.

Our Temperate Climate seems in some Degree, to be more adapted to
Vegetables of this Species of Power, than those that are deemed hot. Our
Bark is allowed to excel the Bark of those warmer Climates, as also our

It is a contested Point, whether the _Tormentil_ is not the Plant, the
_Greeks_ called _Britanica_; probably so named from its plentiful Growth
in that Island.

One great Advantage, arising from this Tannage should it become general,
will be, that it will give Imployment to a great many Poor People,
that will be set to work in gathering, or raising such a Quantity of
those Roots, as will answer the present annual Import of Bark; as also
the Tannage of some, if not the Whole of those Hydes, we now export
unwrought; besides the great Numbers, that will be employed in the
encreased Tannage.

Thus, with as much Brevity, as the Nature of the Subject would admit of,
I have given a Narrative, of what I hope will be as satisfactory, on a
candid Perusal as I am assured, it will be beneficial to the Publick, in
all its Consequences; if the Method laid down be but pursued with common
Care, and Assiduity. It requiring no greater Skill than what at present
is used in Bark Tannage; no Alterations in Forms, or Utensils.

If the Instructions, laid down, should appear to Any insufficient, or
imperfect; I shall always with Pleasure be ready to render them, if in my
Power otherwise. I have made a Plantation, very near this City, that if
the Curiosity of Any should prompt them to a farther Information, in that
Particular, they there may meet with it. As this Tannage is constantly
carried on; it is open to the View of Any that desire it. I have several
Thousands of Pounds weight of these Roots by me; I never refusing the
buying of any brought to me. If any Tanner wants, he may have it at
the Price, I gave to the Countryman, or be directed where, or how to be
supply’d, until a Demand makes it a Market Commodity.

Our Necessities, and those daily encreasing, first prompted to this
Essay. The Authority of Books, I have not relied on, but a Series of
Experiments that employed several Years in the Pursuit. If I have pointed
out, or cleared from Incumbrances, an advantageous Path that may lessen
the Import of Bark, extend our Tannage by our own Produce, and give a
Support to any Number of Poor; I regard it in no other Sense, than having
done Part of that Duty, I owe to a Country, which in Gratitude, I would
call mine.

I might justly incur a severe Censure, if I should conclude, without
testifying with all due Acknowledgements, a grateful Sense of my
Obligations, to the Honourable _House of Commons_, for the Vote they were
pleased to pass in my Favour, on the Report of the _Committee_; that I
had, after a full Enquiry, answered the Allegations of my Petition; and
for the Resolution, they entred into, of giving all proper Encouragement
to so useful a Proposal.

Far from being insensible, that all new Attempts of this Kind, are apt
to subject the Author of them, to the Name of a Projector, and render
him the Object of Reproach and Suspicion; when I was fully satisfied in
the Facts, on which this Method is grounded; I communicated it to some
Persons, who are as little liable to be impos’d on themselves, as they
are above all Suspicion of imposing on others; under the Sanction of
whole Characters, such an Imputation would at once be removed. By their
Directions I preferred my Petition, and notwithstanding the Success was
not altogether such as they desired; I hope they will not deny me the
indulging a sincere Gratitude, in particulary owning the Obligations
to them, who so warmly espoused my Interest, grounded upon that of the
Nation. I shall venture to say no more, than as I flatter my self they
can clear me from any Imputations of Sinister or Mercenary Views; So I
can promise my Endeavours shall always tend to hinder a Blush, for the
Kind Representations, they have been pleased to make in my Favour; and
that I shall always study to approve my self what is my chiefest Ambition
to be, and what only intitles me to their Patronage; a Pretender to no
other merit, but Plain dealing.

I should have published this sooner, but that I waited the Success
of some repeated, as well as new Experiments; all which on the
best Examination I am capable of making, have tended to an intire
Confirmation; That the _Tormentil_ Roots Tan all Hydes and Skins
as effectually, cheaper, and in less Time than Bark, and is easily


*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Method of Tanning without Bark" ***

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