Kutun ; Qatan, . ARAB. Kob-ung, . MoNuomA. Fi-hwa-jung, . . CHIN. Pumba, . . . . PERS. Mien-hwa-jung, . „ Bawelna, . . . . POL.
Sz-mieh ; HOa-mien, „ Algodno ; Algbdeiro,PORT. Bomuld,. . . . DAN. Chlopts-chateja, . .Rtis. Boomliol.; Katoen, DUT. Karpasa, . . . SANSK. Coten, . . . . . FR. Kapu, . . . . SING. Banmwolle; Kattnn, GER. Algodon, . . . . SP. Bonbaki; Bomaga, . GR. Bomiil, Siv Kapas ; Rui, . . HIND. Punji • Van-paratie, TAM. Cotone ; Bombagia, . Ir. Patti (in the pod); Dudi, Gossypiuna, . . . LAT. TEL.
Cotton consists of the delicate, tubular, hair like cells which clothe the seeds of species of gossypium. Its commercial value depends on the length and tenacity of these tubular hairs, which, in drying, become flattened, and are transparent, without joints, and twisted like a corkscrew. Under water, they appear like distinct, flat, narrow ribbons, with occasionally a transverse line, which indicates the end of cells.
Iu America, two distinct varieties are in digeilous,—G. Barbadense, yielding the cotton from the United States, and G. Peruvianuna or acuminatum, that which is produced in South America. India also has two distinct species, —G. herbaceum, or the common cotton of India, ivhich has spread to the south of Europe, and G. arboreum, or tree cotton, which yields none of the cotton of comtherce.
Cotton' plants have been characieristic of India from the earliest times ; and at the preSent day the majority of its people are clothed with fabrics made from cotton, which is woven to a large extent in India, but more largely in Europe and America. Indigenous varieties in the tropical regions of Asia, Africa, and America, and in the southern provinces of the United States, have been cul tivated with such success, that its produce is an important article of commerce.
Dr. Cleghorn compared all the species of gos sypium in the herbarium of the Botanical Society (comprising the collections of Buchanan Hamil ton and Lady Dalhousie, with contributions from Dirs. Wight, Campbell, etc.), and also those in the herbarium of Professor Balfour, with a view to expiscate the specific characters by which to discriminate them, from one another. The 'series
showed the striking difference which soil, climate, and culture produce in species, and which may appear in nature, giving rise to a multiplication of species. But the whole group of , soLcalled species seeined to him referable to G. herbaceum, Linn., G. arboreum, Linti., G. Barbadense, Linn., and G. acuminatum, Roxb.
Since 1790, efforts to improve the Indian cotton crops have been almost continuous. Ex perienced planters from America were employed, and Drs. Wight and Watson were long engaged in experiments in Cohnbato,re, Gujerat, and Dharwar. The plant has always been grown in almost every district of India, for local 'use or export, in soils suitable and unsuitable to its growth ; and at the London Exhibition of 1862, the values of 138 samples exhibited ranged from sixpence to three shillings the pound.
Mr. Shaw says (p. 186, Cotton Report) cotten cultivation in India would not be a profitable speculation for Europeans ; the natives can grow it much cheaper. Our function is simply that of buyer. We have no local market for the American cotton. It does not answer for native spinning so well as their own.
The use of cotton dates from a, very early period. Sanskrit records carry it back at least 2600 years, while in Peruvian sepulchres cotton cloth and seeds have been found. It is noticed in the book of Esther, i. 6, where its Sanskrit name Karpas is translated greens ' in the English Bible. Herodotus and Ctesias notice it ; but it was not till the invasion of India by Alexander that the Greeks were acquainted with the plant, as may be seen in Theophrastus, and also in Pliny.
Pliny, writing about 500 years subsequent to the time of Herodotus, mentions (lib. 19, c. 1) that the upper part of Egypt, verging towards Arabia, produces a small shrub which some call gossypion others xylon, and from the latter the cloth made from it, xylina, bearing a fruit like a nut, from the interior of which a kind of wool is produced, from which cloths are manufactured inferior to none for whiteness and softness, and therefore much prized by the Egyptian priesthood.