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vers, and even machine makers, have arrived in our sea ports, in the course of the present year, from various parts of Europe, hut chiefly from England, expecting to find here encouragement for their business. Several have inquired of me where they could get employment; and finding none for want of raw silk, most of them have betaken themselves to the cotton manufactories. There is no doubt that many more will come in consequence of the general excirement which the culture of silk has produced in this country, and also because it is well understood that the silk manufactories are in a declining state in England as well as in France, whereby many workmen are thrown out of employ. This was asserted to me, as to the former country, by the English manufacturers who arrived here in the course of the last season.
As to France, I need only refer you, Sir, to the memorial from the merchants of Lyons to their Government, which I had the honor of communicating to the committee during the last session of Congress, where the fact is clearly and distinctly stated; and you will recollect that this decline is chiefly attributed to a great deal of silk badly reeled being brought to the market. Another very remarkable fact will corroborate this assertion. I am informed by my French correspondents, that, as soon as the report of the committee of the 12th March last, with my letter to you annexed, reached Nismes, (a considerable silk manufacturing town in the south of France, in which there are several extensive filatures, the Chamber of Commerce of that city called a meeting of the merchants of the department of Gard, in which it is situated, to consider the expediency of petitioning the French Government to adopt for France the plan which that letter suggests, to wit: the establishment of a school for the instruction of young men, to enable them to become directors of filatures. The meeting was appointed for the Ist of August last. The revolution which took place at Paris at the latter end of July, and which was attended at Nismes with considerable disturbance and bloodshed, by compelling the peaceable inhabitants to fly the city, prevented that assembly from taking place; but I am informed that it is not lost sight of, and that the plan will be resumed as soon as possible. In the mean time, my letters also inform me that an eminent lawyer has been employed to draft the intended petition, and the cities of Lyons and Avignon have been invited to join in the measure.
Such is the importance that is attached in France to the art of reeling silk: and I ought to mention here, that, notwithstanding the great influx into this country of silk manufacturers of every description, not one reeler has appeared, either male or female; and this comes in support of what I have stated in my former letter respecting the difficulty of obtaining such.
Eighteen months have elapsed since M. D’Homergue arrived in this country, at the instance of a society who well understood the importance of the art of reeling. Almost immediately on his arrival, he published his essays, in which he threw all possible light upon the subject: these essays have circulated in America and Europe. The Legislature of the Union have thought them worthy of their particular attention; and yet no reeler, except M. D’Homergue, has appeared in the United States, while silk manufacturers of other descriptions have come here in numbers from various parts of Europe.
Thus, Sir, with the exception of reeling, the United States have all the arts at hand that are necessary for carrying on silk manufactures, for which they only want the raw material properly prepared. I should add that the men who profess those various arts are all in search of labor, and that there is danger of their taking to manufacturing foreign silks, to the great detriment of that of our country. The Republic of Mexico offers a striking example of what may happen here. In that country they manufacture a very great qriantity of sewing silk, besides shawls, and some other articles. They have imported foreign manufacturers, who taught them their arts; but they neglected the planting of mulberry trees, and raising of silk worms, although their soil and climate are admirably calculated for these purposes. The silk they manufacture is imported from abroad, chiefly from China, and a great deal of it passes through this country on its way to them. This sufficiently explains the large importations of raw silk which annually take place in the United States. It appears from the Treasury reports, that, in the year which ended on the 30th of September, 1828, raw silk was imported into this country to the amount of $608,709, which amount, converted into silk stuffs, would produce several millions, but would at the same time destroy the hopes of our agriculturists. By manufacturing foreign silks, the Mexicans encourage their manufactures and commerce at the expense of agriculture. I am told, however, that they are beginning to plant mulberry trees in the neighborhood of Acapulco, on the Pacific; but it is probable they will not succeerd, for want of good reelers, and because bad habits, when once fixed, are with difficulty laid aside. I think there is danger of the same thing taking place in this country. Some coarse articles have already been made in New York out of foreign silks, and offered for sale there and in this city.
The English, it is true, have enriched themselves by the manufacture of silk, although their country does not produce the raw material, which they are obliged to import from abroad; but there is no doubt that they would be much richer if they raised it at home. Of this they are very sensible, and it is evident from the efforts they made to introduce the culture of silk into the United States while British colonies. They raise a great deal of it in their possessions in Bengal, which is said to be the finest in the world, but it comes to Europe badly reeled, and otherwise ill prepared, and therefore is considered inferior to all others. (See the Manual published under the authority of the House of Representatives, in 1828, page 172.) In addition to this, and in support of the importance of good reeling, I beg leave to insert here the statement of an English silk broker, communicated in a letter from the respectable house of Rathbone, Brothers & Co., of Liverpool, to a genuleman of South Carolina, who published it in the Sumter Gazette of the 1st of May last: “ Although,” says the writer, " our importations from the East Indies are great, and this trade is of vital importance to our successful competition with the continent, it is to be regretted that neither the East India Company nor the private merchants have hitherto employed any competent persons to superintend the reeling of the silk; if that was done, I have not the slightest doubt but that silks of the eastern production would render us altogether independent of France or Italy; for it is an established fact that silk of the best quality can be produced in the East Indies, at a lower rate than in Europe.”
It is also an established fact that America produces silk of the best quality; and experiments have shown that M. D'Homergue possesses the necessary qualifications for directing a filature, and for giving instruction in the art of reeling. In addition to the evidence which results from these experiments, I beg leave to state, that, in the course of last summer, some small samples of Pennsylvania raw silk, recled by M. D’Homergue, were sent to Lyons and Nismes, in bo'h of which places it was much admired. At Lyons, the Chamber of Commerce caused the samples to be submitted to the proper tests by a sworn assayer, who pronounced it well reeied; and in the account of these proceedings, which was inserted in a Lyons newspaper, called the Précurseur, it was said to be worth there twenty-six francs (five dollars) a pound. At Nismes, it was estimated at thirty francs. I have no doubt that it will produce at least those prices in our sea ports, to which it is understood that orders will be sent from France, as soon as it is known that it may be obtained in sufficient quantities. In England, the prices of silk follow pretty nearly those of France. In Mexico, our raw silks of the second and third quality are most in demand, and will produce good prices. It is a remarkabie fact that they lay heavy duties there on the importation of raw silk, which they manufacture, and do not produce. With this system, they are not likely soon to rival us, if we should adopt one capable of bringing our native resources into full activity.
The only system, in my opinion, that will produce that effect, is the introduction of a good method of reeling silk, and its equal dissemination through the United States. This done, every thing else will follow. The agriculturist will raise cocoons, because he will find purchasers; and the raw silk will be purchased by the foreign agents, or employed by the manufacturer at home. I have received several letters from North and South Carolina, informning me that a great many cocoons are raised there, but that, for want of a market, they are devoured by rats and insects. A lady writes to me that she has lost this year, in that way, near one hundred bushels. A general desire is expressed, from one end of the United States to the other, to see this rich production turned to a profitable account. I have received numerous letters to that effect from almost every State in the Union. The excitement in favor of the silk culture appears to me to be general, and numbers are preparing to apply themselves to it.
It remains now with Congress to take such measures as they shall think most proper for the attainment of that object. In making experiments and collecting facts, in order to throw some more light upon the subject, I have done my duty as a citizen, anxious for the welfare of his country, The committee will be pleased to recollect that I have not obtruded upon them my opinions or my advice, and that, in addressing them at the last session, I only yielded to their most flattering invitation. At present, it is a duty that I owe to them, as well as to myself, to support by facts the theory that I have advanced, and which they have sanctioned by their approbation.
I have only to add, that M. D’Homergue persists in the offer he made of his services, and I in that of my gratuitous assistance. Should the bill proposed by the committee be brought again to the consideration of Congress, it is to be observed that three years are no longer required, and that M. D'Homergue will be ready to begin the instruction of the sixty young men on the first of July next. This will require an alteration in the terms of payment of the forty thousand dollars. He suggests four equal half-yearly instalments, the first to be immediately after the passing of the act.
It is with pleasure that I mention that M. D'Homergue, having inspected several of our manufacturing establishments, has been astonished at the pro. ficiencythat this country has made in mechanics and the mechanical arts, which will, in a great degree, supersede the necessity of importing machinery from abroad, when the same effects can be obtained here from the ingenuity of our workmen.
I haye the honor to be,
PETER Š. DU PONCEAU
of the House of Representatives of the United States..