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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/628

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

Although, the plants were neglected, they throve and increased to such an extent that finally the people looked upon them as troublesome weeds, and as such they were often destroyed. Their usefulness, however, was evidently appreciated by a few; for, as Sir Ambrose Shea, the present Governor of the Bahamas,

PSM V38 D628 Branch of the pole of the sisal plant.jpg
A Branch of the "Pole" of the Sisal Plant.

told the writer, he was one day passing the house of a native, when a piece of rope attracted his attention. On inquiring where he obtained it, the negro replied that "it growed in de yard" and showed the governor the plant, and explained the way in which the rope had been made. Now, Sir Ambrose happened to be a native of Newfoundland, and hence knew a good rope when he saw it; so inquiries were at once made, and the value of the plants was learned.

The people, however, were slow to realize the importance of the subject, but the governor evinced great energy and enthusiasm in keeping it before them, and when some of the fiber obtained from old plants sold in London at the rate of fifty pounds per ton, and was declared to be superior to that produced in Yucatan, sisal in the Bahamas had somewhat of a "boom," and people carefully guarded the very plants that formerly they would have destroyed as weeds. Everybody became enthusiastic, and sisal plantations were everywhere started, not only by the