Page images

threads of which it is composed as equal. the mulberry trees, and for breeding and ly stretched and firmly united as possi- feeding the worms; and though, at first, ble; and that the several rounds, as they most persons were probably averse to lie on the reel, should not be glued to such a new undertaking, by the congether. When the skein is quite dry, it tinuance of the royal sanction and supis taken off the reel, and a tie is made port, and the consideration of the great with some of the refuse silk on that part advantages reaped by other European of the skein where it bore upon the bars nations from their silk manufactures, of the reel, and another tie on the op- many people in the course of a few years, posite part of the skein ; after which it is became very earnest for the propogation doubled into a hank, and usually tied of the silk-worm, and of the white mulround near each extremity, when it is berry-tree for feeding it. laid by for use, or sale. In this state, in In 1629, Charles the First granted to which all the silk that is brought from Lord Aston the keeping of the garden India, and a considerable part of what mulberry trees, and silk-worms, near St. comes from Italy and other parts, arrives, James's; but this royal undertaking soon it is called raw silk; the principal part of declined, and the project does not ap. it is afterwards sent to a mill to be pear to have been renewed, on an exthrown; that is, to have two ends of it tensive scale, till many years after. doubled and twisted together, by which In 1718, a patent was granted to John it is converted into tram, or organzine, Appletree, Esq. for producing raw silk of according to the fineness of the silk, and the growth of England, and for raising a the purposes to which it is intended to fund for carrying on the same. The capibe applied in the manufacture. See tal of the undertaking was divided into ORGANZINE.

shares of 51. each; a deed of trust was The culture of silk varies but little in executed and enrolled in Chancery; didifferent countries; it does not require rectors were chosen by the subscribers any great degree of skill, or a great capi. for managing the affairs of the company: tal: and as it is well kown that the silk and Chelsea-park being thought a proworm, with proper care, will breed and per soil for the purpose, and in a convethrive very well in England, it is not nient situation, a lease was taken of it for surprising that attempts should have been 122 years. Here upwards of 2000 young made to establish the culture of it in this mulberry trees were soon planted, and country. The success of Henry the extensive edifices were erected for carFourth of France, in extending the cul. rying on the work; this number of trees ture of silk, which before his time had was however, but a small part of what been confined to a few districts of that the company intended to plant, if they kingdom, excited in James the First an were successful. active zeal for the introduction of it here. In 1719, Mr. Henry Barbam, who was With this view, in 1608, be caused a cir- probably a member of this company, puboular letter of his own writing, to be lished " An Essay upon the Silk-worm," sent to the Lord Lieutenant of every in which he thinks all objections and difcounty, in which he held forth the ex. ficulties against this “glorious undertak. ample of France as affording ground to ing" are shown to be mere phantoms hope for equal success here. He like. and trifles; the event, however, proved wise observed, that from the experience that the company met with difficulties of of many private persons, who had bred a real and formidable nature ; for though silk-worms for their pleasure, nothing the expectation of Mr. Barham, who had appeared to cause a doubt that they questioned not that in the ensuing year may be nourished and reared in England, they should produce a considerable quan. if provision was made for planting mul tity of raw silk, may have been partly acberry.trees; and for this purpose the complished, the violent stock-jobbing persons to whom the letter was address. speculations of that period, which involved, were directed, at the Quarter Ses- ed the shares of all projects of this nasion, or some other public meeting, to ture, must have produced many changes persuade and require those of ability to among the proprietors, and 'deranged buy and distribute in the county the the origional design, in consequence of number of 10,000 mulberry plants, which which it soon went to decay. From that were to be delivered in London at the time there has been no public undertakrate of three farthings a plant. The King ing of the kind; but indviduals have likewise caused printed instructions to be continued to rear the silk-worm as an published for planting and propogating object of curiosity, and have generally

been successful, as it is easy to bestow hands, as in a very short time would a degree of care and attention on a small serve all Christendom. The misfortunes number, which could not be extended which the Colony of Virginia experiencto a large concern. The insurmountable ed, and the dissolution of the company obstacle to raising silk in Great Britain soon after, must have checked the exe. is the climate, which is too cold and cution of this project very materially ; wet; and though expedients might be and though a considerable number of adopted to obviate those inconveniences, trees were planted, and were found to they would render the culture of the flourish, but little silk appears to have article on a large scale, by far to ex- been produced. pensive.

In 1654, it appeared that the culture As the mulberry tree is scarce in some of silk had been revived in Virginia, parts of this country, attempts have been by Mr. Edward Diggs, who was confimade to feed the worms on other plants. dent that he had conquered all the Miss Croft of York, in 1792, sent io the principal difficulties respecting this comSociety for the Encouragement of Arts, modity, and made its profit so evident Manufactures, and Commerce, a specie to all the Virginians, that in a short men of silk produced by worms fed en time there would be great quantities of tirely upon lettuce leaves. The respec. silk made. It does not, however, ap. table society just mentioned, continue to pear that the culture of silk has since offer premiums for the production of silk been carried to any considerable extent in this country; but as all former at. in Virginia, which is probably owing tempts, made at a time when land and more to the attachment of the planters labour were much cheaper than at pre- to the growth of tobacco, than to any sent, have turned out unprofitable, and natural impediment. consequently been abandoned, there can The settlement of the colony of Georbe little ground for hope that better suc- gia was begun in the year 1732, and cess would attend future trials.

the trustees, soon after the commence. King James the First, whose zeal for ment of their undertaking, caused a raising silk in this country has been no. common nursery garden to be laid out ticed, at the same time extended his for white mulberry trees, for the producviews to the Amercan colonies. He se. tion of silk. It was at this time raised in veral times urged the Virginia Compa. Carolina, in small quantities, some fami. ny to promote the cultivation of mul. lies making about forty or fifty pounds berry trees, and the breeding of silk weight in the year. In order to instruct worms, particularly by a letter address. the colonists of Georgia upon this subject, ed to them, in 1622, expressly on this some persons from Piedmont in italy, subject, in which he charged and re. skilled in tending the worms and the quired them to see that the people there winding of silk, were sent thither; and used all possible diligence in breeding notwithstanding the difficulties attending of silk-worms, and erecting of silkthe attempt, and the public misfortunes works, and that they bestowed their of the colony, many persons persevered labour in producing this rich and solid and experienced some success; an act of commodity in preference to tobacco, parliament was in consequence passed, an article to which he had a violent in 1749, for encouraging the culiure of aversion. The company appear to have raw silk in the Amercan colonies, by been determined not to be outdone by which raw silk, certified to be the real the King, in zeal for the accomplish. growth and culture of those colonies, ment of this object, and accordingly was exempted from any duty on importransmitted his Majesty's letter to the tation into the port of London. The Governor and Council of Virginia, with culture increased gradually, though very particular instructions to employ slowly, both in Georgia and the adjoining

all their endeavours for establishing the province of South Carolina; but” a few • staple commodities of silk and wine; years after the produce became more

for the better accomplishment of which, considerable. In the year 1757, 1,052168. they sent a number of copies of a book weight of silk balls were received at the on the subject, written by Mr. John filature in Georgia, and the next year Bonoeil, a member of the company, who produced no less than 7,040lbs. weight engaged earnestly in the attempt, and ihereof. In 1759, there were received was so fully convinced of its practica- at Savannah, the capital of Georgia conbility, that he says, such quantities of siderably above 10,000/68. weiglit of raw silk might easily be made in Virginia, silk, although it was thought an unfa. if there were a sufficient number of vourable season. As the culture of this

valuable article thus appeared to be mak. There are eight principal silk factoing some progress in the southern colo. ries belonging to the company in Bennies, an act of parliament was passed, in gal; and in every filature, or factory, 1769, for the further encouragement of there are employed, according to its the growth of raw silk in America ; by size, from three thousand to ten thou. which a bounty was granted of 251. for sand people; and if to these are added every 1001. value of such raw silk for the the mulberry-planters, worm-feeders, &c. next seven years, and lesser bounties du- from ten thousand to forty thousand ring the two following periods of seven men, women, and children, are attached years. The Society for the Encourage to each filature. Attempts have been ment of Arts, Manufactures, and Com- made to introduce the silk-worm in merce, also offered large premiums for other parts of the company's possessions, encouraging the same object; but still especially on the coast of Coromandel. the quantities raised were but small, and Dr. James Anderson, of Fort St. George, the cost too great, for competition with who has been particularly zealous in prosilk from other parts.

moting this among other useful under. There can be no doubt that, in many takings, introduced mulberry trees at parts of the southern states of America, Madras, about the year 1770, and finding the climate is as favourable to the mulber- they grew luxuriantly, afterwards endea. ry tree and the silk-worm, as in those voured to procure silk-worms' eggs from countries in Europe where they are rais. Bengal ; his two first attempts were uned; the chief difficulty the Americans successful, but the third in 1789 succeed. have to contend with respecting this arti, ed, and the advantages likely to accrue cle is, that in most of the southern states from the culture of silk soon engaged se. the labourers are Negro slaves, who are veral persons on different parts of the not sufficiently attentive and skilful in this coasts in breeding the worms. In a letbusiness.-In Connecticut, where there ter to Sir Joseph Banks, dated 26th Ja. is a sensible and careful white population, nuary, 1792, he says, “I have received and where land is comparatively scarce accounts of the success of the silk-worms and dear, the culture of silk has been at Palamcotta and Musilapatam, as well found to be practicable and profitable. A as of the recovery of those that had been project to extend the white mulberry diseased by the late rains at Tritchinopotree over all the States was formed a few ly; so that a breed of this insect is alyears ago, in consequence of which a ready established in an extent of six considerable number were planted. An hundred miles upon the coast; but it will extensive nursery of these trees was es. rest with the company to render it protablished near Philadelphia, in 1789; an- ductive." other at Princeton, in New Jersey; and The establishment of the silk manufactwo more in New York and Long Island. tory in Great Britain affords one of the The idea upon which these nurseries most complete instances, in which an art, were principally encouraged was,' that borrowed entirely from other nations, and they prepared the States for the recep- employed on a material entirely of foreign tion of emigrants from silk countries; but growth, has been brought to such perfec. no considerable emigration from those tion in this country, as to equal, and in countries has taken place.

some instances to surpass, the producIn the British settlements in the East tions of those countries from which it was Indies, the culture of silk has been long derived. The use of silk was introduced established, particularly in the island of into this country gradually, being at first Cossimbwzar and its neighbourhood, in confined to small ornamental articles. In the province of Bengal ; and since, about the year 1455 there appears to have been the year 1760, when the company be. a company of silk women in England, who came the rulers of the country, and adopt. most probably only used silk in embroied a new system of trade for the purpose dering and other kinds of needle-work; of realizing the surplus revenue, the cul- but their performances at least contribut. ture of raw silk has been promoted, and ed to bring this elegant material into more the quantity considerably increased. Of general notice. By an act of Henry VIIth, late years, considerable attention has entitled “ Silk-work,” it appears that, been paid both to the quality of the silk, about 1504, the smaller manufactures of and to the mode of reeling it, by which it silk were executed in England, as it was has been very materially improved, so as among other things enacted, that from to rival, in most respects, the produce of thenceforth no person should import into Italy.

England for sale any kind of silk wrought by itself, or with any other material, in any times, a Protestant of some denomination place out of the realm, in ribbands, laces, or other? But many similar ivstances may or girdles ; but none of the more impor. be found, in which bigotry and party zeal tant branches of the manufacture could imposed injudicious restrictions on trade then have existed here, or such goods and manufactures. would certainly have been included in the In 1661 the silk throwsters petitioned prohibition. The king sometimes obtain. parliament, in order to obtain the legislaed a pair of silk stockings, which were tive sanction to some regulations that brought from Spain, the making of silk were thought necessary for the security hose not having yet been attempted in of their trade, which they asserted em. England ; it was, however, introduced ployed above forty thousand men, women, about the year 1561, when Queen Eliza and children ; and, in consequence of this beth was presented with a pair of black application, the privileges of the compasilk knit stockings, and is said to have ny were extended to twenty miles round been so pleased with them, that she never London; and it was enacted, that none wore cloth hose after. Elizabeth's fund should set up the trade of a silk-throw. ness of dress must have inclined her to ster, but such as had served seven years' countenance every branch of this manu- apprenticeship to it, and should make facture; but little was done for its im. themselves free of the company. provement till the reign of her successor, In 1680 the Weavers' Company peti. whose active measures for establishing the tioned the House of Commons against culture of silk, and increasing the impor. the importation of foreign silks from tance of the manufacture in this country, France, and the wear of East India were by no means fruitless. The broad. wrought silks, which bad then become silk manufacture was introduced here very general; but it does not appear that about the year 1620; and a Mr. Burlamach, any thing was done in consequence of a merchant much employed by the King, this application. The Turkey Company by bis direction, brought from abroad silk about the same time renewed a complaint throwsters, dyers, and broad weavers; they had before made at different times whose assistance so materially contributed against the East India Company, for imto the improvement and increase of the porting raw silk ; this article having for. manufacture, that in 1630 it was thought merly been wholly imported from Tur. proper to incorporate the silk throwsters key, and being a valuable branch of the of London, and within four miles thereof; commerce of that company, which they and in the following year the silk-men were now rapidly losing, it induced were likewise incorporated : the weavers them soon after to make a formal com. had been incorporated long before. In ad. plaint to the Privy Council; on which dition to these favours from Charles I. he occasion, among other assertions, they endeavoured to protect the trade from denominated the new silk which had what appeared to be an improper prac. been imported from Bengal, “ a deceit. tice, by issuing a proclamation respecting ful sort of raw silk.” The India Company, the increase of weight of silk dyed black unable wholly to deny this charge, con. upon the gum, which was then considered tented themselves with saying, that, with as a great fraud, and prohibited accor- respect to the quality of Bengal silk, it dingly; but upon better information the was, like all other commodities, good, bad, King thought proper, in 1633, to revoke and indifferent; and rested their defence this prohibition. About the same time a chiefly on the more general ground of the new charter was granted to the Weavers' importance of the manufacture, and the Company, and by a proclamation issued propriety of encouraging it, asserting that soon after, they were empowered to admit raw silk had become so essential, that into the freedom of their company, a com- it might be compared with sheep's wool petent number of such persons, as well and cotton wool; and that since their imstrangers as natives, as had exercised the portation thereof, the silk manufacture trade of weaving at least one whole year had increased in the proportion of one to before the date of the new charter, “ who four. This contest between the two com. shall be conformable to the laws of the panies for the importation of raw silk realm, and the constitutions of the Church proves that it was a valuable branch of of England.” It has been justly asked, trade; and it appears that the manufacWhat had the constitution of any church ture was increasing rapidly; but nothing to do with the trade of weaving? What contributed so much io its full establishother political qualification could be re. ment in this country, as the cruel per. quisite, but that the weaver should be a secution of the Protestant Christians in peaceable subject, and, considering the France, on the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, in 1685. Of the multitudes who In 1713, the Weavers' Company, alarmfled at that period, upwards of fifty ed at the tendency of a treaty of commerce thousand took refuge in England, the which had been concluded with France, greater part of whom settled in the under which the general introduction of suburbs of London ; those who had been French silks would soon have ruined the engaged in silk-weaving, chiefy, fixed English manufacture, petitioned parliatheir residence in Spitalfields, where ment against the bill for rendering effecthey added to the branches of this art, tual the eighth and ninth articles of the already known, those of modes and lug. treaty, and in their petition they represent trings, which articles had hitherto been the state of the manufacture at ihat pe. imported from France; they also instruct. riod in the following words : “That by ibe ed our weavers in brocades, satins, man- encouragement of the crown and of dia tuas, and velvets. Soon after the revo. vers acts of parliament, the silk manufaclution, in consequence of the war, an act ture is come to be above twenty times was passed prohibiting all trade and com as great as it was in the year 1064; and merce with France, a measure which that all sorts of as good black and coloured must have co-operated very materially silks, gold and silver stuffs and ribbons, are with the arrival of the new workmen to the now made here as in France; that black success of the silk trade in this country, silk for hoods and scarfs, not made here as the annual importation of French silks above twenty-five years ago, hath amount. had been very great for some years before. ed annually to above three hundred thouIn 1692, lustrings and modes being much sand pounds for several years past, which in fashion, and the fabrication of them but before were imported from France, &c. recently introduced here, the makers, for As not only persons concerned in the their encouragement, had a patent grant. silk trade, but most other manufacturers ed them, and soon brought this branch to and merchants, were against the articles the greatest perfection ; upon which, of the treaty which caused this petition, about five years after, foreign lustrings the bill was rejected by the House of and modes were entirely prohibited, and Commons, to the great joy of the drapers, the sole privilege of making these silks mercers, and weavers of London, who ex. confirmed to the company by Act of Par. pressed their satisfaction at the event by liament for the term of fourteen years; bonfires and illuminations. but with the change of fashion this com. A few years after, the art of throwing pany came to nothing. In 1697, the weav. fine raw silkinto organzine was introduced ers of London became very tumultuous, into this country by Messrs. Thomas and on account of the great quantities of silks, John Lamb; but some impediments arisstained calicoes, and other Persian and ing to the success of the undertaking, Indian manufactures, imported by the their machinery was afterwards applied East India Company, and worn by all to throwing train and singles. See Orsorts of people.

GANZINE. To remedy these complaints, a bill was 'The decline of the Turkey trade being brought into parliament to restrain the attributed at this period to the French wearing of these foreign goods, and the exporting woollens to Turkey, and taking House of Lords heard counsel and wit raw silks in return, which were afternesses for and against it: the India Com. wards brought from Italy into this counpany on this occasion engaged the cele- try, an act was passed prohibiting the im. brated Dr. Davenant to write in their de portation of raw silk, the produce of Asia, fence, who, in his essay on the East India from any ports in the Straits or Levant Trade, asserted, that since the goods im- seas, except such ports and places as are ported by the Company had been in use, within the dominions of the Grand Seig. the price of silks froin France, Spain, and nior. It was also thought proper to pass Italy, had fallen at least twenty-five per an act for encouraging the consumption cent; and endeavoured to show, that the of raw silk, by rendering more effeciuala intended prohibition would be destructive former act respecting the trifling articles to the India trade in general, and hazard of buttons and button holes. In 1721, a its being utterly lost to this country. The much more important act was passed, alcontention between the old and new East lowing drawbacks on different descripIndia Companies greatly increased the tions of manufactured silk goods, when importation of India wrought silks and exported. In 1750, an act was passed for calicoes, and the wear of them became reducing the duties then payable on the universal, till prohibited by an act of par. importation of China raw silk, to the same liament passed in 1700.

duty as was payable on raw silk imported

« PreviousContinue »