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                      EIGHTH EDITION.

                  AND NUMEROUS ENGRAVINGS.

                         VOLUME XI

            LITTLE, BROWN, AND CO., BOSTON, U.S.

[The Proprietors of this Work give notice that they reserve the right
of Translating it.]

(skip to page 311, bottom right to find:)

        HEMP, a tough fibre yielded by the large annual plant
_Cannabis sativa_, of the natural order Cannabinaceae.  There are,
however, several other fibres known in commerce to which the term is
more or less commonly applied.  for example - Jute hemp is obtained
from _Corchorus capsularis_ and _C. olitorius; Manilla hemp from _Musa
textilis_; Brown hemp from _Hibiscus canabinus; Pite or Pita hemp from
several species of agave and aloe; Sunn hemp, Madras hemp, brown
Bombay hemp and Malabar hemp, from _Crotalaria juncea_; Jubbulpore
hemp, from _Crotalaria tenuifolia_, and several others.

        The true hemp (_Cannabis sativa_) has been recognised as a
useful plant from a very early period, although probably not of the
same antiquity as flax.  Herodotus is the first writer who mentions
it (iv. 74), but he speaks of it in a manner which shows it must have
been then well-known, for he describes the hempen garments made by the
Thracians as being equal to linen (flax cloth) in fineness.  Its use
for making cordage is noted as early as 200 years B.C. by Moschion,
who mentions that a large ship, the "syracusia," built by Hiero II,
was rigged with ropes made from hemp brought from the Rhone.

        The original country of the hemp-plant is not positively
known, but it is generally believed to have been the mountainous
districts in the extreme north of India, whence it spread westward
through Europe, and southward through the peninsula of India.  Its
cultivation in each direction had in all probability a different
object; for it is found to produce under tropical culture an inferior
fibre, and a powerfully intoxicating drug, but in cold and temperate
climates it yields an abundance of strong fibres in great perfection
for textile purposes, and loses its narcotic qualities.  The
similarity of its name in various languages is a strong indication
that it has taken the course here indicated; thus, in the Sanscrit it
is called _goni_, _sana_, or _shanapu_; Persic, _canna_; Arabic,
_kanneh_ or _kinnub; Greek, _kannabis_; Latin, _cannabis_; Italian,
_canapa_; French, _chanvre_ or _chanbre_; Danish, _kamp_ or _kennep_;
Lettish and Lithuanian, _kannapes_; Slavonic, _konopi_; Erse,
_canaib_; Scaninavian, _hampr_; Swedish, _hampa_; German, _hauf_;
Anglo-Saxon, _haenep_; and English, _hemp_.  In India other names are
applied, indicative of its intoxicating or narcotic powers; thus,
according to Dr Royle, it is called the "increaser of pleasure," the
"exciter of desire," the "cementer of friendship," the "causer of the
reeling gait," the "laughter mover," &c.; and he also suggests that it
may have been the _nepenthes_ ("assuager of grief") of Homer, given by
Helen to Telemachus.

        The intoxicating properties of hemp reside in a peculiar
resinous extract naturally secreted by the plant when growing in a hot
climate.  So remarkable is this peculiarity, that botanists until
lately insisted upon the hemp of India being a distinct species (_C.
indica_).  It is now, however, decided that there is really no
specific difference, the change being simply climatal.

        The secretion is deposited by exudation upon the surface of
the leaves, the slender branches, and the flowers.  According to Dr
O'Shaughnessy, it is collected during the hot season by men clad in
leathern dresses, who rush with violence through the hemp fields; the
resin adheres to their dresses, from which it is scraped off and
kneaded into lumps which have the appearance of pieces of linseed oil
cake in colour and  texture, and a peculiar and by no means agreeable
smell.  In this state it is called "churrus;" and there are evidently
several varieties of the substance, as Dr Pereira describes it as
being "in masses of the shape and size of a hen's egg, or of a small
lemon, and formed by the adhesion of superimposed elongated pieces. It
has dull grayish-brown colour, and not much odour;"  whereas one
specimen in the writer's collection differs in being in large
shapeless fragments of the colour of amber, with the loose friable
texture of linseed cake, and a heavy unpleasant odour.  Another
specimen has a resinous lustre, a dark brown colour, and is formed
into an elongated oval shape, but not larger than half a hen's egg.
This is almost odourless, and is probably the _momeea_ or _waxen
churrus_, said to be collected with great care by the hand, and to be
highly prized.  The dried plant after it has flowered, and from which
the churrus has not been removed, is compressed into bundles of
twenty-four plants each, and is sold in the bazaars of India under the
name of gunjah.  The larger leaves and capsules, without the stalks,
are also compressed into irregular sized masses, which receive the
names of bang, subjee, or sidhee, in India.  The hashish of the
Arabians consists of the tops of the small branchlets after
inflorescence, carefully gathered and dried.  Both this and the two
previously mentioned preparations are extensively used for smoking and
chewing - the gunjah and bang in India and Persis, and the hashish in
Africa.  When the bushmen of Southern Africa were brought to England,
they passed much of their time in smoking this narcotic in pipes made
of the long teeth of alligators, hollowed out for the purpose.  Its
use as a means of intoxication is said to have given rise to our word
assassin, from the fact that the low Saracen soldiery, called
_hashashins_, when intoxicated with hashish, were sent into the camps
of the crusaders for the purpose of killing whomsoever they met, the
drug rendering them quite regardless of the consequences.  The
physiological effects of the various preparations above mentioned are
most remarkable, and are unlike every other narcotic at present known.
It produces inebriation and delirium of decidedly hilarious character,
inducing violent laughter, jumping and dancing.  The writer several
times witnessed its effects upon the bushmen.  After inhaling the
smoke for some time they rose and began a very slow dance, which was
gradually quickened until they became perfectly frenzied, and finally
fell down in a state of complete insensiblity, from which they were a
considerable time in recovering.  Dr O'Shaughnessy relates some most
remarkable effects of the churrus, particularly its power in producing
a state of true catalepsy.  The same effects do not appear to take
place upon Europeans, but this point has not yet been fairly tried, as
the drug evidently suffers some change in its transmission by sea.

        But it is not as a narcotic and excitant that the hemp plant
is most useful to mankind; it is as an advancer rather than a retarder
of civilization, that its utility is made most manifest.  Its great
value as a textile material, particularly for cordage and canvas, has
made it eminently useful; and if we were to copy the figurative style
of the Sanscrit writers, we might with justice call it the
"accelerator of commerce," and the "spreader of wealth and intellect."
for ages man has been dependent upon hempen cordage and hempen sails
for enabling his ships to cross the seas; and in this respect it still
occupies a most important place in our commercial affairs.

        For its valuable fibre hemp is very largely cultivated in
Europe, but chiefly in Russia and Russian Poland.  It undergoes the
same process for decomposing the parts of the stem as that described
in the article on FLAX, called _water-retting_, by which the cellular
tissue of the bark and medulla is destroyed, and the long fibres of
the woody part are set free.  This is not done by simply soaking in
the waters of ponds and streams, for it requires to be dried both
previously and subsequently to the retting process; after which it is
beaten with wooden beetles or mallets, or by an apparatus called a
_break_ or _brake_ worked by a treddle.  Sometimes, however, this
laborious operation is effected by water or steam-power.  Some of the
finer kinds of hemp are more carefully prepared; the seed is sown
broad-cast instead of in drills, by which the stems are grown more
slender and the fibres finer; and after the water-retting each stem is
taken in the hand, and the epidermis is stripped or _peeled_ off, and
the reed or boon is then submitted as before mentioned to the
_breaking_ process.  In both cases after _breaking_ the stalks are
conveyed to the _scutching-mills_, where the separation of the fibres
is still further effected by rubbing and striking, after which it is
heckled or hackled - the heckler taking as much as he can conveniently
hold and drawing it through a number of iron spikes fixed in a board
forming a kind of comb.

        The process called dew-retting, described in the article on
FLAX, is also adopted for very fine varieties of hemp, such as the
white crown Marienburg, and the Italian garden hemp; and in Russia and
Sweden another method called snow-retting is used.  After the first
fall of snow the hemp which has been put up in stacks is spread out
over the snow, and left to be buried by successive falls.  It thus
remains covered until the snow disappears, and is then sufficiently

        We have hitherto received the largest quantity of hemp from
Russia - St Petersburg, Memel, and Riga being the chief ports of
shipment; but the late war, which put a stop to the supply from this
source, is likely to produce a beneficial result to our colonies.  The
indefatigable exertions of Dr Royle on behalf of the Indian government
have led to the knowledge of various fibrous substances which are
prodeuced in the greatest abundance in our Indian empire, in the
manufacture of cordage and canvas; so that having been forced into a
knowledge of our own resources, it is not probable we shall ever be so
dependent upon Russia in future for this necessary article.

        The best substitute appears to be the Caloee or Rheea fibre
produced by a plant of the nettle tribe (Urticaccae), _Boehmeria
nivea_.  The Rheea fibre can, it is expected, be produced very much
cheaper than Russian hemp, and it is nearly twice as strong.  Hitherto
hemp has had one great advantage over all other fibres in the
manufacture of cordage, and it remains to be seen whether the Rheea
fibre has this qualification.  When a hempen rope is worn out, if it
has not been tarred, it is valuable for making paper; and if it has
been tarred, it is even more useful for oakum.  This is not the case
certainly with the fine ropes of Manilla hemp (_Musa textilis_),
which, though stronger than the best Russian hemp, are almost useless
when worn out.  The same may be said of the admirable coir ropes now
so extensively used for ship's hawsers and other corage exposed to
water.  These ropes are made of the fibres from the husk of the common

        The fibre called New Zealand flax, which is procured from
the long sword-shaped leaves of _Phormium tenax_, a liliaceous plant,
has been much recommended of late; but whether from the difficulty of
preparing it, or from the inadequacy of the supply, it has not yet
become a regular article of commerce.  The epidermis of its leaves is
more compact and harder than that of the stalks of the plants
previously mentioned, and this may cause great difficulty both in
retting and scutching.

        We import hemp from Russia, Italy, Holland, Turkey, the East
Indies, and latterly from the United States.  That from America,
however, is of inferior quality and blackish colour.  The East Indian
hemp is coarse, and is in small hanks plaited about the thickness of a
man's arm.  The Italian hemp is very fine, that variety called
garden-hemp being the longest of any kind; its superiority is supposed
to be the result of spade culture in very suitable soil.  It is also
as white and soft as the finest white Russian.

        Of the Russian kinds the St Petersburg clean and the Riga
rein (or clean) are the best for general purposes.  The variety called
white crown Marienburg is remarkably short, white and soft; it is only
fit for fine canvas.

        The quantity of hemp imported into the United Kingdom was-

                From Russia      |                 From other countries.
     In 1851.........33,229 tons |  In 1851..........31,441  tons
     .. 1852.........26,857 .... |  .. 1852..........26,551  ....
     .. 1853.........40,320 .... |  .. 1853..........20,619  ....
     .. 1854......... 1,044 .... |  .. 1854..........35,927  ....
     .. 1855......... nil.  .... |  .. 1855..........28,010  ....

        The price of Russian hemp has ranged from L38 to L90
(L=pound) per ton during the last five years, the maximum price being
caused by the war.  Considerable quantities are also raised in England
and Ireland.

        Of the figures just given those relating to Russia may be
depended upon, but those referring to the imports from other countries
are by no means satisfactory; for owing to the slovenly manner in
which our commercial statistics are collected by the government, all
articles which bear the trade name of hemp are included, such as
Manilla hemp, and very often even jute.

        There is one other useful quality in the hemp plant; it
produces an abundance of seed, which not only yields a valuable oil,
but the seed is extensively used in feeding singing birds.  As the
hemp is _diaecious_, only about one half the plants produce seeds; but
these yield it in such abundance that an acre will yield from three to
four quarters at about 40s. per quarter.  As this is independent of
the fibre produced it is a profitable crop in countries like Russia
where the land is not too valuable.

        For fuller information upon the subject consult Dr Royle's
_Illustrations of the Botany of the Himalayan Mountains_, and his
_Fibrous Plants of India_; Dr. O'Shaughnessy on the _Preparation of
the Indian Hemp or Gunjah_; and the erudite work _Textrinum
Antiquorum_, by James Yates, Esq., M.A. (T.C.A.)