Journal of the House of Lords: Volume 62, 1830. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, [n.d.].
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Die Jovis, 13 Maii 1830.
The Lord President in the Chair.
Sir Thomas Strange is called in, and further examined as follows:
Has it occurred to you that any Improvement can be introduced into the Judicial Administration of the Provinces?
Yes it has; it occurred to me upon a Reference made to me some Months ago, previous to the Appointment of this Committee, by a Noble Lord whose Name I am at liberty to mention, When I had the Honour of being here the Day before Yesterday, I had not obtained that Liberty, but I have subsequently obtained it; it was my Lord Wynford, who addressed a Letter to me, which I received upon the Eve of my leaving Bath for Scotland in the Month of January last; and in the Course of my Journey I turned the Matter in my Mind, and replied to his Lordship's Letter; and I am in the Direction of your Lordships, whether I should state in any general Way what my Suggestions were to Lord Wynford, in answer to that Reference to me, or whether it would be your Lordships Pleasure that I should use the Means of doing so, submitting to your Lordships in Writing an Extract of the Answer I addressed to Lord Wynford upon the Subject of his Note to me.
Sir Thomas Strange is informed, That the Committee are desirous of receiving in Writing his Observations upon the Subject.
The Witness is directed so withdraw.
Stephen Wilson Esquire is called in, and examined as follows:
In what Line of Business are you?
I was a Silk Manufacturer.
Are you still in the Trade?
My Sons are in the Trade; I have in a great degree retired from Business.
For how many Years were you engaged in the Trade?
Very near Forty Years.
Were you, during that Period, an extensive Purchaser both of Italian and of Indian Silk?
What Proportion did your Purchases of Indian Silk bear to your Purchases of Italian Silk?
They very much varied, according to the Prices and the different Purposes to which we could apply them.
Has the Quality of Indian Silk varied during that Period?
Has it improved?
I think it is worse than it was.
Has that Deterioration been gradual?
I think it has of late.
Is there no particular Quality of Indian Silk that has improved of late Years?
I think none, of late Years,
Did you use Indian and Italian Silk in the Manufacture of similar Articles?
I think I may say that I have used them both in the Manufacture of almost every Article in the Silk Trade, except Ribbands.
Do Articles manufactured of Indian Silk bear a lower Price than those manufactured of Italian Silk?
Did it appear to you that there was some natural Deficiency of Quality in the Indian Silk, or that a different Mode of Preparation could make it equal to the Italian Silk?
I think that the Quality, as well as the first reeling from the Cocoones, have been defective.
It was rather then in the Manufacture of the Silk in India than in the natural Quality that the Inferiority existed?
I think more in the Manufacture of the Silk than in the original Quality of the same kinds.
Is there much Variation of kinds in Indian Silk?
A great deal of Difference.
Does that Variety exist in the several sorts of Silk exported from the same Ports of India?
I think that there is good and bad from almost every District of India.
Does any large Quantity of Silk come from any Part of India, except Bengal?
I cannot say.
Can you describe the peculiar Quality of Indian Silk which makes it inferior to that imported from Italy?
I think the Want of Staple and the Want of Cleanness are the Two principal Faults.
Have you ever made any Inquiries relative to the Mode in which the Silk is produced in India?
Some Years ago I took very great Interest on the Subject, and made many Inquiries.
Have the goodness to state the Result of those Inquiries?
The Result of those Inquiries was to convince me that the Principle upon which Silk is obtained in India tends to prevent the Improvement of the Quality; and also the Quantity has been such that it has injured the Quality. I mean that there has always been such a Quantity wanted, and the Demand has been so great, that it has prevented paying requisite Attention to the Quality; for there cannot be so much good Silk produced as there can of the inferior sorts. I have a Copy of a Letter which I have brought with me, which, if I may be permitted to read, will throw some Light upon that Subject. I have preserved it as a valuable Document on the Subject of Silk in India, as it led me to see the Reasons why it was not equal to Italian Silk. It is a Letter from One of the Company's Agents in the East Indies upon this very Subject, written in the Year 1796; by Mr. Atkinson of Jungapore. "The major Part of the Cocoones produced by the large Annual Worm are very superior to those from either of the latter Description of Silk Worm, and may in general be reeled into Silk of a Quality that will bear being thrown into Organzine; yet still a very considerable Portion of the Annual Cocoones is frequently very imperfect, not better than and scarcely to be distinguished from Decey Cocoones. It is not difficult to trace the Origin of the Annual Silk Worm, as its Introduction into these Provinces does not exceed the Period of Eighty or Ninety Years; and, on the most particular Inquiries, I learn from every Quarter, that this Worm was first cultivated at a Village in this Neighbourhood, and that it was originally brought by a Dealer in Elephants from the Country to the Eastward to Tipperah or Sylphat. This Account has been invariably the same. Hence I presume that the Annual Silk Worm is a Native of the Countries bordering on China, or perhaps of the Western Provinces of that Empire. I have discoursed with some Cocoone Cultivators advanced in Years whose Fathers had the first Breed of this Silk Worm, and they informed me, that it is so much degenerated as not to bear any Comparison to what it formerly was. They even assure me that the Cocoones do not yield much more than One Half the Quantity of Silk that they in their Youth remember them to have done. The Causes which have operated towards the degenerating these Cocoones, as well as of the Decey and China Species, I shall endeavour to account for. The real Decey Cocoones are next in Quality to the Annual; but I have Reason to believe that in their Aurung very few of this Description are free from Adulteration, by crossing the Breed with the China or Madrassie Worm, which, from the best Information I can gain, has very materially debased the Quality of the Decey Cocoone. The Period when this Species of Silk Worm was introduced into Bengal is very remote, on which Account it is difficult to trace its Origin; yet, from what I have heard, I think I am warranted in concluding that this, as well as the Annual Worm, originated in China. In favourable Bunds, a Portion of the Decey Worm may be convertible into Silk fit for Organzine, but it will require a careful Selection to procure even a Part sufficiently good for that Purpose; and for the Reasons adduced in the latter Part of the Second Paragraph, the Decey Cocoones will with Difficulty be applicable to any Purpose. The China or Madrassie Cocoone is at present inferior to either of the Two former Species of Cocoones. I believe it was first introduced into these Provinces by a former Resident at this Station, in the Year 1780 or 1781; but having been delivered to the Native Cocoone Cultivators, the Cocoones Quality degenerated, owing to Carelessness and improper Management of the Worms. The Species was again introduced by the present Superintendent of the Silk Investment, Mr Frushard; and whilst under the immediate Inspection of this Gentleman, I have heard that the Cocoones were very good, both in respect to Produce and the Quality of the Silk. I can speak with more Precision as to the Quality of the Cocoones of what I believe was the Third Importation of the China Silk Worm, the Eggs of which were produced from Canton by the late Colonel Kyd in the Year 1788, and being committed to my Charge were cultivated by me for a considerable Time, during which Period the Cocoones continued very good, and from the Care which was taken in the Points of Food and Management they visibly improved every Bund. In respect to the Quality of these Cocoones, which were converted into Silk by my Predecessor on this Station, I shall take the Liberty of quoting the Opinion of the Broker to whom a Sample of this Produce was submitted in England, by The Honourable Court of Directors. This Gentleman says, 'If the Sample of Raw Silk in imitation of that from China was made from Six to Eight Cocoones, it would be quite fine enough for all the Uses of China Silk in Europe.' It is excellent Silk, and well reeled. This Opinion was transmitted under the following Observation: 'Enclosed are the Remarks of a very judicious Broker on the Muster of Silk sent of the China Assortments, that it may be seen how much it is worth Culture. I have ventured to intrude these Particulars to demonstrate that the Monthly China Cocoone was originally excellent, yet, when this Breed of Silk Worm was committed to the Charge of Natives, it almost immediately degenerated to the present Standard of China or Madrassie Cocoones, which of late Years have been so bad as to induce my Predecessor, as well as myself, to endeavour to prevail on the Natives to give up the Culture altogether; but these Efforts have been ineffectual, because this Species possesses various Advantages which would be really valuable if the Cocoones were good. These Advantages are: First, That the China Worm, after quitting the Egg, completes his Cocoone in Ten Days, or One Fourth less Time than the Decey Monthly Worm, consequently a shorter Attendance and a less Proportion of Food are requisite: Second, This Worm will feed on harsh and bad Mulberry Leaf, which the Decey Worm would reject: and Third, the China Worm is much more hardly than the Decey Species, in bearing the Vicissitudes of the Weather. These Points are considered by the Natives of so much Importance, that the China Silk Worm is the Favourite in their Aurungs; and in endeavouring to engraft the Advantages thereof in the Decey Worm, the Quality of the latter are greatly injured. The Causes to which the Degeneracy of our Cocoones may be ascribed are various. First, Improper Food, which Point need not be enlarged upon, as the Superintendent of the Silk Investment has frequently noticed the Evils resulting from the rearing the Silk Worms in the dwindling kind of Mulberry Leaf generally appropriated to that Purpose in this Country.' My private Opinion is, that they have not got the proper Mulberry in India. In Italy, the Mulberry which produces the best Silk is the White Mulberry; and from Experiments I have tried in this Country, where I have reeled some of the Produce of the Silk Worms fed on the White Mulberry, it is so very different from that of the Worms fed on the Black Mulberry, that I have Reason to believe that the Difference arises from that 'Secondly, The improper Management of the Silk Worm by the Native Cocoone Cultivator has in my Opinion tended greatly to debase the Quality of our Cocoones. It is not necessary to declare the absurd and superstitious Practices in use among the Natives, although it is certain they are very prejudicial. Moreover, in the general Situation of their Houses, surrounded with Trees and Jungle, the Silk Worms cannot have the Benefit of a free Circulation of wholesome Air; and they are subject to noisome Smells arising from stagnant Water and other Nuisances, which, to a Person acquainted with the Economy of the Silk Worm, are well known to be very pernicious to that Insect. But above all, I cannot help considering the present Mode of conducting the Company's Silk Investment in the Aurungs as having materially conduced towards impairing our Cocoones. Advances being made for an Article, the valuable Part whereof bears so small a Part to the invaluable Part of a given Weight or Number of Cocoones, no Argument is necessary to prove that the Quantity, and not the Quality, is most productive of present Advantage to the Cultivator; for though he may pay some Attention to a Portion of his Cocoones, for the Purpose of delivering the same as a Sample for fixing the Factory Prices for a Silk Harvest, yet no sooner are their Prices established and published, than it becomes his immediate Interest to distribute the Mulberry Plant he can command to as many Silk Worms as the same can possibly keep alive; and if more Care and a larger Proportion of Food are bestowed on a Part of his Worms, the Cocoones thereof are invariably designed for private Trade, and the inferior are only delivered in Liquidation of his Balances. Although it is very certain that the Existence of the whole Crop originated in the previous Advances made to him on account of the Company, yet the Resident has no means of preventing the Practice. It is true that the Evil will in some degree revert on the Cocoone Cultivator, because the Silk Agent must necessarily lower his Prices as he finds the Cocoones decrease in Value; but few or none of the Lower Order of Natives being capable of sacrificing present Interest to any Prospect of future Gain, the Silk Worms of these Provinces have been for many Years gradually declining, and I am afraid will continue to decline until some Remedy can be applied to correct the Evils above mentioned. Previous to the Introduction of the Filatures, the Profits of the Silk Cultivators depended immediately on the Excellence of the Cocoones, as they must be reeled into Silk before the Harvest could be carried to Market. In this Case it was the especial Interest of the Owners to produce the best Cocoones in their Power, and to guard the Breed of Silk Worms from degenerating. But since the Establishment of Filatures has enabled them to put off very bad Cocoones, they have become remiss and negligent; and the more minute, yet still essential Precautions and Attentions necessary to attain Perfection in Cocoones, have, from Disuse, it seems, been entirely forgotten. It being very certain that the above Cocoones do not afford Silk Agents any room for hoping to meet the Expectations of The Honourable the Court of Directors on an Extensive Scale, the Improvement therefore of the Breed of Silk Worms becomes a Consideration of Importance, which I am afraid cannot be effected but by the Introduction from the other Countries of a more perfect Race than we at this Time have in Bengal. Supposing it practicable to procure a Species of Silk Worms superior to those we at present possess, the Mode which most obviously occurs to establish a general Culture thereof is to distribute the same throughout the Cocoone Villages of the different Aurungs; but I greatly fear that the Carelessness and improper Management of the Natives would render this Mode ineffectual, as indeed is evident in the Case of the China or Madrassie Cocoones. The Method which next presents itself is the Establishment of Breeding Houses, or Nurseries, under the Inspection of Silk Agents, for the Purpose of rearing Cocoones for supplying the Filatures. From attending to the Subject for several Years, I am convinced that this Method might be carried to a considerable Extent; yet still the Expence requisite for constructing Breeding Houses equal to the furnishing an extensive Filature with Cocoones renders this Mode exceptionable; and moreover, the Circumstance of ensuring a Sufficiency of Food for the Silk Worms would create a Necessity of distributing the Trading Houses throughout the Aurungs, and consequently remove the greater Number of them from the personal Care of the Agents; in which Case, although healthy Situations might be chosen, yet I apprehend it would be equally difficult to guard against Imposition, and prevent the Quality of the Cocoones from being impaired by Want of Care and judicious Treatment of the Worms especially. They must necessarily be fed on such Mulberry Plant as the Natives are in the habit of cultivating. Under the Presumption that it is very possible to obtain a Renovation of our Breed of Silk Worms, I take the Liberty of offering my Opinion on the Mode of conducting the Business that appears to me the least objectionable. The Method I would propose is the Introduction of Breeding Houses, for the Purpose of producing Lunch, or Silk Worms Eggs alone, there to be distributed to the Cocoone Cultivators at lower Rates than the Market Prices, or, in other Words, that it be made more to the Advantage of the Bussoonah to deliver the whole of his Harvest of Cocoones, than to reserve any Part thereof for Seed. By this Mode, and by due Care and Attention at the Breeding House, I think the Quality of the original Cocoones might be preserved and even improved; and under the above Circumstances, as the Bussoonah could have no Motive for reserving Lunch, the Cocoones would never pass beyond the first Stage to degenerate. I am further of Opinion that the Expence of an Establishment of this Nature would be very trifling; and I think that the Price to be paid for Lunch by the Cocoone Cultivator, considerably below the Market Rates, aided by Silk from inferior Cocoones which it might not be eligible to retain for breeding, would nearly, if not quite, defray the Charge of the Breeding House, to which the Use that might be made of the Cocoones which the Moth had perforated would also contribute. To ascertain the Countries from whence the best Breed of Silk Worms is procurable, I am unalterably of Opinion that nothing more is necessary than to know where the best Raw Silk is produced, for I have no doubt that the most perfect Race of Silk Worms will be found there. Those heretofore produced from China were Natives of the Southern Provinces of that Empire. As I believe The Honourable Company's Raw Silks are obtained from the Northern Provinces, it may fairly be assumed that their Situations are possessed of superior Cocoones; and as I have the fullest Reason for believing that our Annual Worm is from the Western Borders of China, I think that Efforts from the Eastern Districts of the Company's Provinces might be successful in effecting a Renewal of the Breed; and if what I have heard on the Subject is true, this would be of very great Importance. The Italian Cocoones are beyond Comparison superior to those of this Country. In the Course of the last Season I received a Parcel of Eggs of the Italian Silk Worm from Europe, which, to my great Mortification, all perished. Along with these were sent Two Cocoones as a Sample; and although the Culture of the Silk Worm was not unknown to me before I left Europe, I could not examine these Cocoones without the utmost Astonishment. I shall only observe, that with such Cocoones I should not have a doubt of obtaining every Perfection that Raw Silk is capable of. I take the Liberty of mentioning that the above was written several Months ago; but I delayed submitting it to your Perusal 'till I had verified, by the Test of Experiment on the November and January Bund Cocoones, my Ideas how far it was possible to manufacture Silks equal to the organzining Operation. From the uncommon Scarcity of Mulberry Plants, owing to the Inundation in October last, the Cocoones of the above Bunds have been very indifferent, especially those of the Annual January Bund, which could hardly be distinguished from the Produce of the Monthly Worm. Repeated Attempts were made by the most experienced Spinners to reel Silk fit for the Fabric of Organzines from these Cocoones; but after every possible personal Attention I found, that although Silks might be made to look well in the Skein, yet on a minute Examination they were so loaded with fine Waste that I had not a doubt of the ruinous Consequences of submitting such Silks to the Operations of the Mills. Indeed, in general these Cocoones were of so flimsy and weak a Texture, that a large Portion of them were not all equal to the Formation of the common Letter A Silk, nor could they be reeled into that Letter without considerable Loss of Produce; besides which, the Silk was of very indifferent Quality. On the whole, I have at present no Reason for indulging a Hope of being able to fulfil the Expectation of The Honourable Court of Directors, until a Species of Silk Worms more capable of yielding good Silks may be introduced into this Part of the Country."
Are you aware whether any Measures had been adopted according to the Suggestions contained in that Letter for improving the Breed of Silk Worms in India?
I am afraid not since Mr. Frushard, the Gentleman mentioned, who went out to India, and improved the Quality, particularly of the Gonatea Silk.
Have you made any Inquiries as to the Quality of the India Mulberry; whether it really differs from the Mulberry in this Country?
I have understood the Mulberry there is generally raised from very inferior Shrubs, merely the Seed planted, and therefore inferior low Shrubs.
Do you know whether it is by Nature the same Plant?
I should suppose it must be the same; it came from China, and all Silk originally came from China.
Is the China Mulberry a White Mulberry?
I should think not. In Italy they have the Black Mulberry as well.
Have you at any Time received any further Information on the Subject of the Culture of Silk in India?
Upon the same Points as referred to in that Letter, I have.
If you can give any further Information upon the same Point, the Committee would be desirous of hearing it?
I conceive One of the great Evils is the purchasing of Cocoones by Weight. My Opinion is, that it is possible to get as good Silk from India as Italy can now produce; I can produce some Cocoones raised in this Country very good indeed.
Can you state the relative Prices of Indian and Italian Silk, Thirty-five Years ago and now?
I think, since the Time of Mr. Frushard's Improvement, the Indian Silk is deteriorated.
Can you furnish the comparative Statement of Prices at which you have purchased the Indian and Italian Silk?
I am afraid that would furnish no Criterion, for it has often been nothing but a gambling Trade. The Supply has frequently been unequal to the Demand; then the Prices went up enormously; and this has been one great Cause of the Deterioration of the Company's Silk. Orders have been sent out for more Silk than could be well furnished, and the Consequence has been, that the Supply of the Quantity was looked to, to the Injury of the Quality.
The Price then has not been a Proof of the Quality?
It has not. I happened by Chance to hear from a Friend, that the Worm which produces that Silk (producing some Cocoones of White Silk) was a different Worm from that which produces the Yellow Silk. He procured me some Worms; and I found that, instead of being a White Worm, it was a Black Worm.
Do you perceive any Inferiority in that Silk you have produced to that produced in Italy by a similar Worm?
Not the least.
Do you apprehend, from what you have understood, that Climate does not materially affect the Quality of the Silk produced?
As the Silk Worms are all kept under Cover in Doors, I cannot conceive that Climate can make any Difference. Wherever Mulberry Trees will grow, I conceive good Silk may be produced.
Are they kept within Doors in India?
Will you state the Measures which in your Opinion will enable them to produce Silk equal to that produced in Italy?
I think the Breed of the Worm being improved, the best Breed being got, and proper Attention to their Food and to the reeling, would produce it equal to that of Italy.
Have you at any Time seen any Sample of Indian Silk which in your Opinion was equal to that of Italy?
I think Silk comes over for every Sale that in point of Quality is equal to that of Italy.
Is that in small Quantities?
In very considerable Quantities; but owing to the Way in which it is reeled it is very foul and much inferior. I conceive there are Four particular Properties in Silk, which are Cleanness, Evenness, Staple and Quality. By Quality, I mean bright and pale, soft and mellow or harsh and hard. The greatest Fault of all is Want of Cleanness, and that Fault the East India Silk particularly has.
Does that Deficiency of Cleanness apply to the best Qualities of Indian Silk?
Yes; little Nibs upon the Thread which prevent its being applied to the best Purposes. This (producing a Sample) is a Skein of East India Silk of very excellent Quality; but it has the Nib, which makes it what we call foul.
Is that from Want of Attention in the reeling?
Have you a Skein of Italian Silk with which it could be compared in point of Cleanness?
The Witness produces several Skeins, and states the Prices of them respectively to their Lordships.
In your Opinion, is the natural Quality of the Italian you have produced, which cost Twenty-one Shillings a Pound, superior to that of the Indian Silk which cost Twelve Shillings and Sixpence a Pound?
I think not.
What gives it a greater Harshness?
It may arise from several Causes; from the Warmth of the Water in which they reel it, or from the bad Food of the Worm.
There is no Difference in Quality?
I think the constituent Principles of Silk are all the same; let it be produced from what Worm it will, its Properties and Quality will be owing to the Mode of its Culture, and in a greater degree to the Difference in the Manufacture.
Is it not owing also to the Difference of Management of the Worms?
If they are stinted in their Food, very inferior Silk is produced.
Is not that the Case generally in India?
I think it is.
Do you conceive that arises principally from the Want of Integrity of the Natives who conduct it?
From their aiming at Quantity rather than Quality, it being their Interest to do so.
Does any Method occur to you by which that might be obviated, by an Interference of Europeans?
My Opinion is, that it is of so much Importance to the Silk Trade of this Country, in its present State, to have Quantity, that I should hesitate very much to deprive the Trade of Quantity, even to improve the Quality.
The inferior Quality is wanted to be used in the Manufacture of inferior Articles?
We cannot improve Quality without enhancing Price, and in the present State of Competition of the Silk Trade with other Countries, it is China and Bengal Silk which alone can enable us to compete with them.
Is it the Custom to mix different Qualities together in producing the same Article?
The Price regulates in a great degree. In Italy the Filatures descend from one Generation to another; and they are so particular in the reeling, that the Silk when it leaves the Filature is sealed up, and never opened 'till it comes to the Mill; they know the Mark, and can rely upon it, and will often throw it into Organzine for Two per Cent. Waste without opening it, knowing they can always rely upon the Quality.
What is the Difference of Expence of Freight from India to this Country?
I cannot answer that Question.
There is a ready Market for the inferior Qualities of Silk, and has been for a length of Time?
I think that since so large a Quantity of Brussa Silk, Turkey Silk, has been introduced, the inferior Bengal Silks have not found so ready a Sale.
Do you apprehend that it would cost more in India to produce the clean Silk than it does to produce the Silk in the State in which you have exhibited it to the Committee?
I have no doubt that to produce a fine clean Silk they could not produce above Two Thirds of the Quantity that they could of the inferior Quality; perhaps not more than One Third.
Would not that materially affect the Price?
As far as the Expence of Labour, the Expence of the Filatures, and the Factory.
Can you at all state the Proportion which the Price of Labour on the Silk bears to the total Price?
No, I cannot.
Is it not possible that Carelessness in the Workmen may produce a considerable Proportion of that Inferiority?
Principally; I think more probably Want of Skill.
Has there been of late Years any Improvement in the Machinery for reeling Silk?
I have not heard of any in India.
Has there been in this Country or in Italy?
I have understood there was in this Country; that Mr. Gibson had made some Improvements in the reeling of Silk. I conceive one great Defect in Bengal Silk is what is called Want of Staple- Want of Strength in the Thread, which I am of Opinion is entirely from a Defect in the reeling; and I am more convinced of this from an Extract of a Letter of July 1797, which seems to confirm that Idea, that the Silk was not sufficiently crossed.-"Mr. Touchet, at Radnagore, desires to have a Hundred Sets of Brass Cog-wheels for the Perfection of Silk." It cost the Company a large Sum for the Consignment of this Article, which was totally abandoned. It is to be feared the Process of crossing, even by the simple Process of the Country, is neglected. It benefits the Silk, but it is against the Facility of winding. He is desired to report how they answer.- "Royaucalty, 15th September 1787. I am not partial to the crossing Machine; where Cocoones are remarkably good, they may be of Service; but there is seldom Two Bunds throughout the Year that produce Cocoones of Stamina strong enough to resist their Effects, and when this is the Case the Machines do more Harm than Good." In Italy, when the Silk is reeled they reel Two Threads at Once, those Threads meet together, and are crossed round each other Fifteen or Sixteen Times, then they separate again, and go to the Reel, and form Two Skeins. Now, your Lordships must see immediately, that if there comes a Nib or Gout when it crosses so often it breaks there, consequently the Thread cannot go upon the Reel with those little Nibs. What they call the Staple is occasioned by the Threads being thus crossed; it makes the Fibres of the Cocoones more compact together. The Gum is of such a Nature the hot Water softens it, and makes the Threads unite together, and makes a firm round Thread; and in every Process of the Manufacture this first uniting together of the Fibres gives Staple, which it never loses afterwards. Now, that Process not being enough made use of in India sufficiently accounts for the Complaints we have of the East India Silk being of a soft Nature, and not so firm.
Can you see, by examining the East India Silk, whether that Process has been performed?
I am afraid not, because it is of so fine a Nature no Glasses would enable us to discover it.
Is there any other Information upon this Subject which it occurs to you it would be desirable to communicate to the Committee?
I am not aware of any.
You have said there is, in your Opinion, no Difference in the Quality of Silk from whatever Worm it is produced?
What I meant to imply was, that the Silk was of the same Nature or Property, a Species of Gum or Resin, from whatever Worms produced; but I conceive the Quality must in some degree vary, from the Food or the bad Treatment of the Worms.
Do you conceive the Silk from the Indian Worm to be inferior to that from the Italian?
Yes, from Want of Attention to the Food and the Breed.
Do you know whether those Improvements which you understood Mr. Gibson had lately made have been Improvements by which reeling has been more effectually done, or by which manual Labour has been saved?
I think it is an Improvement of the Quality in reeling.
Is the Mode of reeling you have spoken of as being so useful in Italy pursued here?
There is no Silk grown in this Country for Consumption; only for Experiment.
Is not Raw Silk reeled in this Country?
No; there has been, for Experiment; but Labour in this Country is much too dear to reel it here; the Freight and the Carriage of the Cocoones would also be too great an Expence.
The Improvement Mr. Gibson has introduced in the reeling is not carried on in this Country?
I believe it has, more by way of Experiment than in any other Circumstances.
Have Mr. Gibson's Improvements been adopted?
I think they have been adopted Abroad, in France and Italy.
Do you believe they have been adopted in India?
I am not aware that they have.
Have you seen lately any fine Samples of Indian Organzine?
I have not; I never saw any Indian or China Organzine. All the Indian Goods I have seen have not been made with Organzine, but with Single Warp.
What is the Quality of China Silk as compared with Indian?
I think the Quality of China Silk is equal to that of any in the World, and the Colour superior to any other; it is all White, or at least principally White, and of the most beautiful Colour.
What is the Price the China Silk bears in this Country, as compared with Indian?
It is much about the same as the best Company's Silk.
It is inferior to the Italian?
Has it the same Defects as the Company's Silk?
In general it is not near so foul, and it has more Staple.
Is the Quality of Italian Silk supposed to be improving, or degenerating?
I think improving; some has arrived at Perfection; it cannot be better.
The Witness is directed to withdraw.
Ordered, That this Committee be adjourned 'till To-morrow, One o'Clock.