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duties on raw and thrown silk, and the legalised importation of foreign silks, should be simultaneous and immediate. During the interval that was allowed our manufacturers to make preparations for the change, the French accumulated a large stock of goods to pour into our markets. To quiet the alarm occasioned by this circumstance, a singular device was fallen upon. The French had long been accustomed to manufacture their goods of a certain length: and, in the view of rendering their accumulated stock untit for our markets, a law was passed in 1826, prohibiting the importation of any silks except such as were of entirely different lengths from those commonly manufactured by the French ! No one can regret that this wretched trick, for it deserves no better name, entirely failed of its object. The French manufacturers immediately commenced, with redoubled zeal, the preparation of goods of the legitimate length: and the others, having become unsaleable at any thing like fair prices, were purchased up by the smugglers, and imported, almost entirely, into this country.
But no permanent injury arose from this circumstance; and, on the whole, the effect of the opening of the trade has been such as to justify all the anticipations which the advocates of the measure had formed ot' its success.
Effects of the Change of 1826. -- We do not exaggerate, we only state the plain matter of fact, when we affirm that the silk manufacture has made a more rapid progress since the abolition of the prohibitive system in 1826, than it did during the preceding century. The former disparity in quality between goods of French and English make has been materially abated in most articles, while in a few the superiority is now on our side. Some of our readers will, probably, be not a little surprised to learn that the real or declared value of the silk goods of British manufacture exported to France, in 1842, amounted to 181,9241.
Most of the machines and processes known on the Continent have been introduced amongst us, and some of them have been materially improved. Nor, after what has taken place, can the least doubt remain in the mind of any one, that had full freedom been given to the silk manufacture 50 years ago, it would now have ranked among the most important and valuable businesses in the kingdom. Though a great step at the time, there can be no doubt that the change of system effected in 1826 was far from being sufficiently complete. The duty then imposed of 30 per cent. on the importation of foreign silks is, at least, more than double what it should be. The expenses of smuggling silk goods into England may, speaking generally, be estimated at about 12 per cent. ; so that the high duty, instead of excluding foreign silks, acts as a bounty on their importation through clandestine channels ; and occasions, by the temptation which it holds out to gambling adventures, a larger quantity to be imported than if the duty were more nearly proportioned to the expense of smuggling. The widespread corruption of the officers engaged in the collection of the silk duties in the port of London, should satisfy every one of the folly of attempting to levy duties which exceed the risk of loss by smuggling. Were the duties reduced to 12 or 15 per cent. ad valorem, the legitimate imports of foreign silk goods would be considerably increased; but their clandestine importation would be more than proportionally diminished; and the apparent protection given to the manufacture being reduced, a new stimulus would be applied to industry and invention. Were such a system adopted, we have little doubt that, in no very long time, perhaps not more than 5 or 6 years, our superiority over France in some important departments of the silk manufacture would be little less decided than in that of cotton.
“ I maintain,” said Mr. Poulett Thomson(afterwards Lord Sydenham), in his speech on the state of the silk trade (14th of April, 1829), “ without fear of contradiction, that the very essence of commercial and manufacturing industry is freedom from legislative interference and legislative protection. Attempt to assist its course by legislative enactments, by fostering eare, you arrest its progress, you destroy its vigour. Unbind the shackles in which your unwise tenderness has confined it -- permit it to take unrestrained its own
expose it to the wholesome breeze of competition, -- you give it new life, you restore its former vigour. Industry has been well likened to the hardy Alpine plant ; self-sown on the mountain side, exposed to the inclemency of the season, it gathers strength in its struggles for existence it sboots forth in vigour and in beauty. Transplanted to the rich soil of the parterre, tended by the fostering hand of the gardener, nursed in the artificial atmosphere of the forcing-glass, it grows sickly and enervated, its shoots are vigourless, its flowers are inodorous. In one single word lies the soul of industry - competition. The answer of the statesman and the economist to his sovereign inquiring what he could do to assist the industry of his kingdom was, “Let it take its own way. Such is my prayer. Relieve us from the chains in which your indiscreet tenderness has shackled us; remove your oppressive protection; give us the fair field we ask; and we demand no more. The talent, the genius, the enterprise, the capital, the industry of this great people will do the rest; and England will not only retain her present position, but she will take a yet more forward place in the race of competition for wealth
and improvement which, by the nature of things, she is destined to run amongst the nations of the world. Place us in that condition, not by any violent change, but by slow and easy transition. Here we shall find security for our enterprise, and reward for our labours.
" . Hie patet ingeniis campus; certusquc merenti'
Stat favor ; ornatur propriis industria donis."" It was not, however, to be supposed, that all departments of the silk manufacture would be equally benefited by the change of system from prohibition to duties. - Non omnia possunius.
The probability is, that the trade, were it placed on a proper footing, would be divided between the English and French. In point of substantial excellence, the plain silk goods manufactured in England are superior to those of France; and the difference in favour of the latter in point of finish has become less perceptible; while in all mixed manufactures, of silk and wool, silk and cotton, silk and linen, &c., our ascendancy is admitted by the French themselves. On the other hand, the ribands, figured gauzes, and light fancy goods, manufactured in France, are superior to those of this country
Even in this department we have made a very great progress; and fancy goods are now produced at Spitalfields, Coventry, and other places, contrasting most advantageously, in point of taste and beauty, with those produced previously to the introduction of the new system. Still, however, we are not sanguine in our expectations of our countrymen being able to maintain a successful competition with our neighbours in the manufacturing of this class of articles. The greater attention paid to the art of designing in Lyons, the consequent better tastes of the artists, and the superior brightness and lustre of their colours, give them advantages with which it will be very difficult to contend.
But supposing that the trade is partitioned between the two countries in the way now stated, it is easy to see that the best share will belong to us, and that that share will be incomparably more valuable than the whole manufacture formerly was. The proofs of the accuracy of this statement are at hand. Notwithstanding the decline of the trade at Spitalfields and a few other places, the manufacture, taken as a whole, has greatly increased. During 1821, 1822, and 1823, when the restrictive system was in its vigour, the entries for consumption, of all sorts of raw and thrown silk, amounted at an average to 2,399,000 lbs. a year. But, despite the sinister predictions indulged in with respect to the ruin of the manufacture, the entries amounted, at an average of 1839, 1840, and 1841, to 4,835,898 lbs. ; being an increase more tha
100 per cent. upon the quantity entered during the monopoly !
The manufacture of silk in France has, we are glad to say (for we have nothing in common with those who grudge or envy the prosperity of others), been materially im. proved of late years, and a large increase has taken place in the value of the silks exported, which amounted, in 1841, to about 162,000,000 fr., or about 6,500,0001. But it is satisfactory to know that we have been able to make head against this formidable competitor, and that, while the value of the exports of our silk goods amounted, in 1823, when the monopoly system was in full vigour, to only 351,409, it amounted, in 1836, to 917,8221., being an increase in the interval of more than 25 times! The exports have not, it is true, been quite so large since ; but this diminution is wholly owing to the distress that has prevailed in the interim in the U. States and the other leading markets for our silks : in fact, we undersell the French in some of the heavier and more important species of goods in every market equally accessible to both parties. The value of our exports of silk goods to the U. States amounted, in 1839, to 410,093l. ; and does any one suppose that the Americans would have bought so largely of us, or that they would have bought anything at all, had the French or any other party been able to supply them on lower terms?
What has now been stated renders it obvious, that though the manufacturers of fine and fancy goods might be obliged, were the silk trade placed on a more liberal and solid foundation, to change their employment, a new, and at the same time a more extensive, secure, and fruitful field would be opened for their exertions. We lament the hardships incident to the transition even from one department of the same business to another, but the suffering thence arising speedily disappears
, and when the change has been effected, the manufacturers enter with fresh vigour on a new career of prosperity.
It is to be regretted, that it is not possible either to abandon a routine system, or to introduce new and improved methods of production, without injury to individuals. But because such is the fact because the bridge cannot be built without displacing watermen, nor the plough introduced without superseding the spade, nor wine brought from abroad without diminishing the demand for ale and beer – is that any reason for proscribing inventions, and denying ourselves gratifications within our reach? To maintain the affirmative, would be evidently absurd, - it would be equivalent to maintaining that the interests of society are best promoted by perpetuating poverty, ignorance, and barbarism! The injury occasioned by the adoption of an improved method of production, the reduction of a duty, or the opening of new markets whence cheaper supplies of sny article may be obtained, is temporary only, and aftects but a very small portion of the community ; while the advantage is permanent, and benefits every individual, even those whom it may, in the first instance, force to resort to other businesses.
Those unacquainted with the history of the silk trade, who may have looked into the pamphlets and speeches of those opposed to the alterations in 1825, and to those that are still required, will probably be disposed to think that, though more limited in point of numbers, the condition of the workmen engaged in the trade was better previously to 1825 than it has been since. But those who have looked, however cursorily, into the history of the trade, must know that such is not the fact; and that, speaking generally, the situation of those engaged in it has been materially improved since 1825. We have already adverted to the state of the trade in 1793 and 1816. At the last mentioned period, 7 years before any relaxation of the monopoly had been so much as thought of, the distress in the silk trade was infinitely more severe than it has ever been since the introduction of the new system. In proof of this, we may mention that, at a public meeting held for the relief of the Spitalfields weavers, at the Mansion-house, on the 26th of November, 1816, the secretary stated, that two thirds of them were without employment, and without the means of support; “that some had deserted their houses in despair, unable to endure the sight of their starving families; and many pined under languishing diseases brought on by the want of food and clothing." And Sir Fowell Buxton stated, at the same meeting, that the distress among the silk manufacturers was so intense, that " it partook of the nature of a pestilence, which spreads its contagion around, and devastates an entire district.” Such was the state of the workmen under that monopoly system that has been the worthless theme of so much eulogy. But such, we are glad to say, is not their state at present. The trade, being now diverted to a considerable extent into those branches in which we have a superiority, is comparatively secure against revulsions: it would, indeed, be an absurdity to imagine, that measures that have about doubled the manufacture, should have reduced the rate of wages, or been otherwise than advantageous to the workmen,
We have already noticed the smuggling of foreign silks carried on in the early part and towards the middle of last century. The evil was not afterwards abated. The vigilance of the custom-house officer was no match for the ingenuity of the smuggler ; and at the very moment when the most strenuous efforts were made to exclude them, the silks of France and Hindostan were openly displayed in the drawing-rooms of St. James's, and in the House of Commons, in mockery of the impotent legislation which sought to exclude them. “ I have lately,” said Mr. Huskisson, in an able speech in vindication of his policy as to the silk trade, “ taken some pains to ascertain the quantity of smuggled silks that has been seized inland throughout the kingdom during the last 10 years ; and I find that the whole does not exceed 5,0001. a year. I have endeavoured, on the other hand, to get an account of the quantity of silk goods actually smuggled into this country. Any estimate of this quantity must be very vague; but I have been given to understand that the value of such goods as are regularly entered at the custom-houses of France, for exportation to this country, is from 100,0001. to 150,0001, a year; and this, of course, is exclusive of the far greater supply which is poured in throughout all the channels of smuggling, without being subjected to any entry. In fact, to such an extent is this illicit trade carried, that there is scarcely a haberdasher's shop in the smallest village of the United Kindom, in which prohibited silks are not sold; and that in the face of day, and to a very considerable extent.
“ The honourable member for Coventry (Mr. Ellice) has mentioned the silk goods from India as those against which anything but prohibition would prove an unavailing protection. Now, in my opinion, it is scarcely possible to conceive a stronger case than those very silks furnish against the honourable member's own argument. I believe it is universally known that a large quantity of Bandana handkerchiefs are sold every year, for exportation, by the East India Company. But does any gentleman suppose that these Bandanas are sent to the Continent for the purpose of remaining there? No such thing! They are sold at the Company's sales, to the number of about 800,000 or 1,000,000 a year, at about 4s. each ; they are immediately shipped off for Hamburg, Antwerp, Rotterdam, Ostend, or Guernsey, and from thence they nearly all illicitly find their way back to this country.
“ Mark, then, the effect of this beautiful system. These Bandanas, which had previously been sold tor exportation at 48., are finally distributed in retail to the people of England at about 88. each : and the result of this prohibition is to levy upon the consumer a tax, and to give those who live by evading your law a bounty of 4s. upon each handkerchief sold in this country!" -(Speeches, vol. i. p. 510.).
This, no doubt, is all very true and very striking. But had' Mr. Huskisson been in the House of Commons in 1844, he might have used nearly the same language. He scotched, but did not kill, the snake. The 30 per cent. ad valorem duty which he esta
blished is but littie less productive of smuggling than the prohibition which he repealed ; and has given rise within the port of London, and, indeed, within the very walls of the Custom-house, to a system of fraud ruinous alike to the interests of the revenue and of the honest dealers. . And hence it is that a duty of 12 or 15 per cent., or a duty which should not materially exceed the cost of smuggling, would really afford the manufacturer a more efficient protection than he derives from the existing duty, at the same time that it would place all classes of dealers on the same footing; whereas, the advantage is at present most decidedly on the side of those who engage in fraudulent schemes.
Regulations as to the Importation of Silks. -Silk manufactures are not to be imported in any vessel under 70 tons burden, except by licence from the commissioners of the customs to vessels belonging to Dover, to import such manufactures direct from Calais, though such vessels may not exceed 60 cous burden. Silk goods, the manufacture of Europe, not to be imported except into the port of London or the port of Dublin direct from Bordeaux, or the port of Dover direct from Calais.-- (3 & 4 Will. 4. c. 52. $58.; antè, p. 663.)
When the shout or the warp only is of silk, the article is to be considered as composed of not more than one half part of silk, and subject to the ad valorem duty of 30 per cent. ; but if the shoot or the warp be entirely of silk, and a portion of the other be of silk also, the article is to be considered to be composed of more than one half part of silk, and subject to the rated duties at per lb., or to the ad valorem duties, at the option of the officers. - (Min. Com. Cus. 14th of August, 1829) But in all cases where the duties charged by weight upon mixed articles would manifestly exceed 30 per cent., by reason of the weight of the wool, or other ingredient thereof besides silk, the article is to be admitted to entry at value. - Min. Com. Cus. 19th of December, 1831.)
For the regulations as to the smuggling of silks, see SMUGGLING. 1. Account, illustrative of the Progress of the Silk Manufacture, showing the Quantities of Raw, Waste,
and Thrown Suik imported at different Periods. - (Report of 1832 on Silk Trade, p. 10., and later Parl. Papers.) Average Imports.
. Lle. 1765, 1766, 1767, being the commencement of the absolute prohibition
363,000 713,000 1785, 176, 1787
3.37,000 891,10 1801 to 1812
3.510,000 1,110,00 1915, 1816, 1817, being 50 years after prohibition, and the first 5 years of peace : 1,093,000 27,000 | 293,700 1,415,000 1821, 122, 1823, being the years immediately previous to the abolition of the prohibition
1,970.000 74,000 355,000 2,399.000 1931, 18.32, 1833
3,137,271 688,369 345,270 4,170,210 1839, 1840, 1841
II. Account of the Quantities of Raw, Waste, and Thrown Silk entered for Consumption in each Year from 1814, with the total Amount of Duty received on the same.-(Parl. Paper No. 296. Sess. 1842.)
£ .. di
84,187 0 11 Juiy, 1829.
on organzine ard crape, and 38. on
Sources of the Supply of Silk. – The following Table shows the sources whence we directly derire our supplies of raw and of foreign thrown silk :III. Account of the Quantities of Raw and Waste Silk imported into the U. Kingdom during each of
the 10 Years ending with 1841, specifying the Countries from which they were imported and the Quan. tities brought from each.
Lbs. Lbs. L. Lbs. Lhs. Lbs. Los. Lbr. Lba. Las. Voiland
126,142 221,921 73,021 211.998 93,499 49,898 39,397 81,112! 204,060 16,977 France
1,000,433 1,316,247 1,235,104 1,826,717 2,018,611 1,219,173 1,615,576 1,387,653 1,584.950 1,543,18 Utaly & Italian Is, 361,156 575,156 403,214 521,271 467,493
241,291 379,794 618.362 200,34 750,130 Turkey
457,866 369,6691 419,368 677,561 678,751 383,855 E. Ind. Co.'s ter.
478,775| 751,905 725,189, 732,676 and Ceylon
• 1,652,858 989,618 1,798,637 1,105,297 1,450,922' 1,296,037 1,151,399'1,387,944' 4,108,465 1.175,308 China
28,105 22.141 582,634 737,479 1,277,2511,760,112 702,677 360, All other countries 312,171 137,258 144,285 79,081
56,806 16,936 21,060 89,259 $2.433 Total • 4,047,731 3,434,960 4,656,463 3,159,441 6,461,370 4,089,7112 1,491,354 4,748,738 7,459,312 4,734,753 IV, Account of the declared or real Values of the Silk Manufactures exported from the U. Kingdom
during each of the 10 Years ending with 1841, specifying the Countries to which they were sent, and the Value of those sent to each.
19,376 19,171 21,494 20,953 11,374 11,937) 15,280 17,135 18,270 92,346 Holland
17,771 21,713 66,5) 21,905 35,46 2.3,154 11,96 25,784
9,197 6,116 Belistan
27.249 18.440 17,173 14.2451 13,90 15,596 10,516 12,773 16,3114 Prance
75,187 76,325 61,.346 45,12 18,160 43,144 36,598 44,628 48,5) 117,313 Spun and the Balearic Islands 14,76 17,197,11 4,153.116!
1,484 1.145 6,627 8,39 Gibraltar
5,618 9,814 4,256 9,147 8,049 7,341 3,6751 Italy and the Italian Islands
1,135 2,663 %,1293,124 Cupe of Good Hope
11.00! 8,212 10.45 8,931 17.6.13 22.707 32,134 9,132 15,639 11,81 Mannius
2,655 1,613 2.500 2,173 2,216 3,513 10, 3,33% 6,114 6,736 E. India Comp. territ. and Ceylon 17,365 *20.337 7,435 8,619 15,641 9,430 14.954 17,41.3 16,333 17,5+1 British settlements in Australia 12,719 22ND) 31,035 27,35 %7,326 49,497 33,439 46,724 57.945 30.377 North American colonies
90,665 94,104 69 463 $5,179, 90,106 76,598 74,5611,3,750121.5 93,162 West Indies
82,596 39,012 33,124 31,212 32.84 36,916 36.548 38,467 56,43) 2.5,155 (uba and other foreign West Indies. 14.137 10,15 13,4471 85611 7,843 15.9 15.366 9,131 13,9 14,1121 sed tates of America
92,233 251,278100 3116 537,0140 324,1107,629 348,416 410,1793 274,159 346,757 Maio
2,471 5,40 5.00 5,1.59 6.132 11.80) 8,99 14,920 12,142 20,4317 Pravil
12172 27,75.3. 27,600 20,137 33,102 12,0.31 12.469 23,117 23,15 29,417 States of the Rio de la Plata
21,6 11,735 19,474 15, 2017 9,514 13,3 11,17% 16,669 31,024 26,00 Chin
23,15 20,6,75 3,7 8,1293 10,113 6.216, 44,733 30,681 Peru
12.070 22.589 16,89 8,758 9,77 10,074 10,199 15,146 23,8 10,415 All other countries
33,061 31,126 41,366 44,901 19,524 17,519 17,088 15,166 14,623 11,002 Total . 529,691 737,404 637,198 973,786 917,822 503,673 777,280 900,818 812,648 788,894 * In these two sums are included the exports to China In 1832 and 1853.
The silk exported from Canton consists of two leading varieties, known in commerce by the names of Canton and Nanking. The first, which is raised principally in the province of Canton, is divided into 5 sorts. At an average, the picul of Canton silk brought at Canton, in 1531-32, 158 dutiars. The Nanking silk, produced in the province of Kiangnan, is divided into 2 sorts, known in commerce by the names of Tratlee and Taysaam. It is very superior to the other, and usually fetches more than double its price.
East India native silk comes wholly from Bengal. About the year 1760, the East India Company intro. duced the Italian mode of reeling silk, which was productive of a very great improvement in the quality of the article ; but we are not aware that any subsequent improvement has been effected. The silk goods brought from India are not only inferior, in point of quality, to those of Europe, but also to those of China. The quantity imported of late years is specified in the Table No. III.
Turkey silk wholly consisted some years back of what is termed long reel and short reel brutia, a rather ccarse description, suited to few buyers, and chiedy used in the ribbon trade of Coventry; but of late it has been imported of a very far superior texture and quality, coming successfully into competition with Italian and China silk. The qualities now known as brutias may be classed as under, and the following are the present (March, 1843) nominal quotations with a dull market :
8. d. $. d. Long reel brutia
96 10 6 per lb. Short reel brutia
110 116 Long reel Mestup (being a finer thread than common brutia)
11 Short reel Mestup
12 6 Sele (a tiner sort, generally in loose skeins)
15 6 Demirdask (a superior kind).
16 6 18 6 At Brussa, the seat of the silk trade in Asia Minor, it is now sold by the oke of 400 drams, and not by the te fee of 610 drams, as formerly: the teffee is, however, still used at Constantinople. The plaius of Brussa and the adjacent villages produce different qualities, varying considerably in size, colour, and quality. The village of Demirdask produces the finest, owing to the care taken by the natives in sejectiug the best cocoons, and attending carefully to the evenness of the thread throughout the process of reeling ; consequently this description commands a high price, and is approved by our throwsters.
The water of this place is considered favourable to the brightness and glossiness of the silk, by which it may be distinguished from that of Brussa. The silk at Brussa is taken by the country people in small parcels to the bechestar or customs, where it pays duty. The proprietor, with a broker, then takes it to the silk bazaar, where it is handed round to the different stands and sold to the highest bidder, resembling, in this respect, the mode of selling the ores in Cornwall to the different smelters.
Thus a person buying okes at a time, assorts as well as he can the different qualities for packing. It is generally bought by speculators for the Constantinople market, and is forwarded to Ghemlek on camels for shipment per 'steamers to Constantinople, where it finds its way to the Mizam or some broker's room, where it is sold to the different merchants. The finest longs are mostly bought for the French and Russian markets, generally the latter. The long reels are going out of use in this country, as the more modern machinery is not adapted to its use.
The prices of silk at Drussa in September, 1842, were :- Carriage from Brussa to Constanti-
$284 per oke,
Buls, lading, and petty expenses
Inward duty, 70 okes 60 drarns, at or ca. 134 Long Mestups
$18, and 1 010 thereon
2,115 Long Brussas
Expert duty, 70 okes 60 drams, at $6,
Carriage of money, 4 per cent.
531 stantinople for London. 1 case 46 teffees = 70 okes 60 drams, at $2164 $13,167
$19,241 Packing charges and commission
Ex. 118. 1551. - 46 at 41, 194 lbs. = 168. 6d.
183. 3d. By far the greater part of the raw and thrown silk that comes to us from France is not the growth of that country, but of Italy; being principally conveyed by the canal of Languedoc and the Garonne to Bordeaux, whence it is shipped for England. So much is this the case, that it appears from the official accounts published by the French government, that while the aggregate quantity of the French and foreign raw and thrown silk exported from France in 1841 amounted to 1,074,144 kilog., the portion which was of French origin amounted to only 12,294 kilog,1- (Administration des Douanes for 1841, p. 241.)
SILVER (Ger. Silber; Du. Zilver ; Da. Solo ; Sw. Silfver ; Fr. Argent ; It. Argento ; Sp. Plata ; Port. Prata ; Rus. Serebro; Pol. Srebro; Lat. Argentum; Gr. åp yupos ; Arab. Fazzeh), a metal of a fine white colour, without either taste or smell; being in point of brilliancy inferior to none of the metallic bodies, if we except polished