Edgar Thurston Sir George Watt.

A dictionary of the economic products of India, Volume 6, Part 3 online

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in this scene of distress, and experienced a more than ordinary depression. Great
nnmbers of weavers were out of employ ; the buyers were loaded witn a heavy stock
of silk upon hand ; the East India Company had a large quantity in their ware-
houses unsold ; and the imports in the approaching season were expected to be con-
siderable. Under these drcumstances a memorial was presented to the Company by
the trade, requesting that the September sale of 1793 might be altogether dispensed
with. The Company's exigences were too pressing to admit of this request being
complied with; but, with a view of affording the buyers every relief within their
power, it was agreed to postpone the sale for four months. At the end of that
period no favourable change having taken place, the Company, from their increasing
difficulties, found themselves under the unavoidable necessity of forcing the' market.
A sale was made, and the silk actually disposed of; but at such reduced rates, that
the loss upon the quantity sold on February 25, 1794, was ^'47,746.

** With a view of guarding against future losses, and of enabling Bengal to avail
herself of the advantages she was found in a capacity to derive from the increased
produce of raw silk, the CompaUy proposed the measure of causing the surplus
quantity of silk beyond what the markets could take in its raw state, to be thrown
into organBtne in England, for the purpose of its bdng brought into use as a substi-
tute for part of the thrown silk imported from Italy ; and upon consulting some in-
tellifT^nt persons in the silk line, tnere seemed good reason to conclude that it would
be found sufficiently adapted to the warp of ribbands. An experiment wa.«« therefore
made ; and although.^e issue was in every respect encouraging and satisfactory,
and the leg^ality of the Company's proceedings were strongly combated by those
interested in the imports from Italy, yet there were many persons in the trade
deddedly hostile to the undertaking, and who confidentiy pronounced it was im-
possible it could ever be brought to answer. Amon^ the various objections that were
urged, it was asserted, in a memorial from the silk merchants addressed to the
Lords of Trade, 'that as Benp^ raw-silk had, in the general opinion, attained its
atmo^ possible state of perfection, it could only, when worked into organzine, be
used, in a few articles of the silk manufacture; that in most others, from its irre-
mediable deficiency of staple, it could not be substituted for Italian organzine and that
the attempt to introduce it into a more general consumption would produce the

s. 2139



SILK.



TBADB:

Hlstorle
BeeniHii.



A,D,
1782.



Lopd

CornwalUs

abolishes

Con tracts

in

Silk.

2134



Decline In
Demand fop
Bengal Silk.

2135



A,D.

1793-

BflTects of the
French Revo-
lution.



2136



Intpoduetfon
of Trade tn

Thrown

Indian Silk.

2137



HemoHal

against the

new De^ar-

ture^

2Ii

Furth.

Improvement

Doabted.

2139

Conf, with
pp' S7, 59 f
62, 1S4, etc.



ire.
rther



Digitized by



Google



i88



Dictionary of the Economic



SILK.



Trade in Silk



TRADE:

HIttorie
Beeords.



Indlaii

Thrown Snk

used for.

Warp of

Ribbands.

2x40



Memorial In

fkvour

of Bengal

Silk, thrown

in England.

2X41



Bengal Silk

Improved.
2x42

Conf. wiik

pp. 57, 62,

184, iS5» t86.



Silk largely
used.

2143



A.D.
t8o3.



greatest discontent and tumult among the journeyman weaverf, particularljr oC
Spitalfiddy who univemlly reprobated ifisngal organzine.' The obiect was* however,
too important, and the prospect too flattering, to be hastily abandoned. Further
trials were made, and in proportion as the article became more known, and the views
oC the Company were better understood, much of the prejudice that had been excited
against the measure, subsided.

y The quantities of thrown silk, imported into England in the under-mentioned
oeriods, appear to have been as follow, of which at least nineHenths have been from



In the to years 1776 to 1785 inclusive on an average per annum
In the 5 years 1786 to 1790 ditto ditto

In the 2 years 1 791 to 1792 ditto ditto



SmaUft.
393,918
391*746
453*535



** The silk, when thrown, is used for the warp in the manufacture of ribbands and
broad goods, in each branch of which the consumption is considered nearly equal.

*'\n 1796 the reputation of the article was so far established that a great number
of the most eminent houses in the various branches of silk manufacture presented to
the Court of Directors a memorial, dated L.ondon, February 5, 1795, of which the
following is a copy : —

** 'We, the undersigned silk manufacturers understanding from the reports pub-
lished by the East India Company, that the Bengal Provinces are caiMible of furnish-
ing a more abundant supply of raw-silk than hitherto, are of opinion, if due attention
is paid, in the first instance to reel the same of proper sizes, that, after making a due
provision for singles, trams, and sewing silks, the surplus, by being thrown into
organzine in this country, can be succnsf ully brought into use in our respective
manufactories to a very considerable extent lin lieu of part of the thrown silk
prssentlv supplied from Italy. Consklerin^, therefore, the measure now carrying on
Dy the East India Company as highly biudable, and meriting every degree of support,
we trust they will jiersevere in the same with firmness, bemg well convinced tMt it
cannot fail of proving highly beneficial to the national interests.

** 'Ftrst, by pving to a country which makes part of the British dominions,^ the
advantages desirable from the production of a commodity which forms the Imuus of
one of the most important of the national manufactures.

'^'Secondly, by creating employment at home for a numerous class of our poor,
particularly women and children in the throwing of it into organzine.

"'Lastly, by affording a large and more certain supply to the manufacturers in
general, it may have a tendency to lower the prices of the raw matorial, and in future
to shelter the silk market from the alarming fluctuations that have repeatedly taken
place, and probably increase greatly the general consumption of the silk-manufac-
turers.'

''Thus pointedl3r called upon by the principal consumers, the weight of whose
testimony was sufficient to silence all doubts with regard to the propriety of the
measure, the Company sent directions to the Bengal Government to extend their
consignments to 4,000 bales per annum. Instructions were also forwarded, require
ingthem to pay the most unremitting attention to the quality; means were also
tu»estedfor remedjring exiting defects, and samples were transmitted for their
guidance in regard to sizes : in consequence of which, the quality has in general been
in a progressive state of improvement, and in some instances has arrived at such a
degree of excellence, as to nval the most perfect productions of Italy.

*' In consequence of this improvement, the use of Bengal organzine has not been
confined merely to the warp of nbbands but it has been intniduced with equal success
in Sarcenets, rlorentines^ modes, handkerchiefs, velvets, &c. ; and Ben^ raw and
thrown silks in their present improved state are fully competent to most of the
material and extensive purposes to whk:h the raw and thrown silks of Italy have
hitheoio been exclusively applied ; and if they could be furnished in sufficient quan-
tities, they would supplant at least three-fourths of the silks at present drawn from
Italy."

/^Oi.— " It appears that from the period the measure of throwing Bengal sHk
Into organMtng was resorted to, in 1794 to 1803, a period of ten years, there were
thrown 1,453 bales, or rather more than 140 bales per annum; and that this quantity

S. 2143



Digitized by VjOOQIC



Products of India.



189



and Silk Goods.



(G. Wait)



SILK.



sold at the sales for ^368,^5, the whole of which sum would have gone to the ag-
grandisement of Italy. This sum may be thus divided :—

. ^ i

Bengal benefited in the prime cost, or* in other words, in the
manufacture and culture . • • . • • • 124,711

And the remainder, which is thus appropriated, is added to the
riches of the country, vijr., the charge of throwing which
gave emplovment to the industrious poor . , • • 7^**^

In freight and duties which benefit navigation and assist the
revenue 35,066

And after deducting from the sale amount 5 per cent, for the
charges of merchandise which are principally labour • • 1 3*4^0

it yielded the Company a profit in the last five years of
^28,688, from which deducting a loss in the former five
years of £1,6^7$ leaves a net gain oft 27,031



Total



. 268,395



"The following is an account of the quantities of raw-silk imported into Great
Britain from Bengal. China, Turkey, and all other places, in the thirty years, 1773
to 1802 inclusive, likewise the quantity of thrown silk imported during the same
period:^



Ybar.



1773
»774
»775
1776

"777
1778
1779
17S0
1 781
1782
1783
1784
1785
1786
1787
1788
1789
1790
1 791
1793
1793
«794
«795
1796

«797
1798

1799
1800
iSoi
i8oa



Raw Silk imported by Great Britain.



Bengal.
I.



Sman
145»777
2i3>549
208,881

5i5,9«3
56«,i2i
602,964
737*560
235,216
7«5.«73

77,610
611,071
149.394
324f307
252,985
178,180
305.965
427,263
320,826
373.503
380,107
736,081
521,460
380,352
347,936

92,204
353*394
644,819
583,086
444,862
242,809



China.
II.



Italy and
Turkey.
111.



lb|SmaIl lb
203,401
276,781
167,229

244.839
221,902
266,678
234.906
301,300
301,301
79*735

24I,»07
100,602
98,930

59,551
366,878
313,183
357,033
316,005
303,539
104,830
165,435
99*356
154,590
13,968
78,520
136,196
63,604
93,385
131*335

75,5^



Small ft

187*099
330,933
372,782

5 '5,335

3^o,64o

133*636

850

844

33^78

37*894

140,866

363,419

345*330

333,175

»85*9«3

148,932

148,583

"94*974

394,103

358,500

1 10,376

44*911

8«,579

19,045

4*058

11*455
40,339
62,364
179,009



Other

Parts.

IV.



SmaUib

6,190

3,610

13*380

33,048

43,45 i

13,558

•30,503

309,557

388,906

178,084

139,758

74.688

35,996

35,101

31,583

33*207

23,881

25*953

38,288

45,881

8,3 16

17,501
"0,995

107,683

91*494
241,295
520,594
117,862

193*503

193*395



Total.
V.



Small lb

543,467

713*873

662,272

1,398,035

1,178,114

1,013,836

1,103,819

445*617
1,701,058

373*313
1, 1 33,803

1*587.103
694*453
569,813
753,634
790,376
856,748
757,758
909*433
889,318

1,020,008
683,338
736,416
487,631
266,276
730*885

1,240,832
833*572
831.964
692,801



Thrown

silk
imported.



Small lb

234*906

428,978

4i»*895

454*414

396,543

186513

383*042

487*678

443*384

331,685

495*303

406,468

344*251

361,448

389,381

306,640

393,258

SoSfios

470,195

436,875

241*955

330,978

336,995

398,948

401,662

402,917

467*349

333*717

275.149

396,210



Total of

raw and

thrown

silk

imported.



Small lb

777,373
1,142,851
1,074,167
1,752,449
1,574*657
1*199*348
1,486,861

933*295
2,144,442

704,998
1,618,005

1*993*571
1,038,704
931*260
1,142,005
1,096,916
i,350/x}6
1,365,763
1*379*638

1,336,193
1,261,963
1,014,306
1,063,411
886,579
667,938
1,133,802
1,708,181
1,167,389

1*107*113
1,089,011



TBADB :

HIttOPle
■•eopdi*



Gain to
Britain and
Loss to Italy

Intha

Opcmn^e

TnUto.

2X44



Impoptsof

Britain.
2Z45

Conf.witk
tabu on

Exports

from

Bengal.

Column III,

2X46



AM, t8o2.



••The greater part of which is consumed in the manufactures, as will aopear from
the following accounts of the quantities of the different kinds of raw and thrown silk

S. 2146



Digitized by



Google



190



Dictionary of the Economic



SILK.



TRADE}

Historie
^eeordi.



A*D* tyoo.



PpofltofSUk
Trade sinee

Introduetion

of Affeney

System.

2147

{Conf, with

Previous loss,

p. t86.)



A.D. 1803.



Imppoyement

of Indian

silk.

2x48

Conf, with
pp. S7f ^2, 184,
iSs, 186, 187,
. 188,

Net Profit

£90,419 per

annum.

2x49



Trade in Silk



exported in the years 1790 to 1796 inclusive, bein^ three years previous to the year in
which the war commenced, and three years after : —









Bengal.


China.


Italy and
Turkey.


Thrown.


Total.




lb


lb


lb


fb


lb


1790


i « • •


43.500


10,758


15.285


20,064


89,607


1791






36,456


8,309


21,847


22,428


88,940


1792






13,406


5,310


15,798


10^79


45.093


1793






19,397


3,572


5»590


2,607


31,166


1794






61,989


7>5o3


13,643


24.385


107,519


1795






39»547


3,622


11,640


27,425


82,334


1796 ....


70,113


7,279


11,289


38,927


127,608



'* The exports in 1796 were to the following places: Russia 24,9640), Holland
299ft, Germany 10,5771b, Italv 1,0071b, GibrsUtar 3,oS4lb, Turkey 9448^ and the
remain in {f 86,733ft to Ireland."

*' From the establishment of the agency system in Bengal, which took place in
1786, till 1803, the Company's investments of raw-silk in generaJ have been productive,
as will appear from the following account of the prime cost, including freight and
charges m each^ year; the sale amount in England during the same period, and the
profit or loss arising in each of the above years :—





Prime cost








Season. '


including

freight and

charges.


Sale
amount.


Profit.


Loes.


1786


£

192,898


198,507


5,609


£


1787 .










133,795


145,712


11,917


•%•


1788 .










212.357


321,888


9.531


...


1789 .










276,732


289.271


"2,539


...


1790 .










268,790


302,993


34.203


...


1791 .










290,159


330,395


30,236


...


1792 .










263,902


276,317


"3,4«5


...


1793 .










274.553


221,329


...


53.234


1794 •










290,419


309,743


19,324
2,873


...


1795 •










378,512


381,385


...


1796 • ,










335,3 "5


327,427


...


7,888


1 797 .

1798 .










262,917


358,644


...


4,273










277,990


322,873


1^S3




1799 •










324.460


390,149


65,689


...


1800 •

1801 .










208.969
262,428


297,64s
395,410


88,676
133,982


...


1802 •










156,502


269,249


112,747


...


1803


195,117


292,659


97,542


...




-


1


^OTAl





4,604,815


5,221,596


682,166


65,38s



^leaving a net profit in 18 years of £616,781, which on an average is £34,266 per an-
num, or about 13 per cent.

'* During the seven years, 1786 to 1793, the provisions were made under many
unpropitious circumstances, sucn as storms, inundations, droughts. &c., the sdlcs
which were produced during that period yielding a net profit of £ii7,450* In 1793,
1 796, and 1 797 there were losses ; during this penod the sUks were gradually approach-
ing to that degree of excellence to which they have ultimately arrived. In the six
years, 1798 to 1803 inclusive, it appears by the above statement, that the silk, which
amounted in prime cost and char^ to £1,435,466, produced at the Company's sales
£1,967,085, leaving a net profit of £542,S»a. on an average £9o,4i9->6s. ^d. per
annum."

S. 2149



Digitized by



Google



Products of India.



191



and Silk Goods.



(G, Watt)





Sicca






rupees.




1795-6


5,81,183


1801-2 • • . •


"796-7


3,40,975


i8o2-3 • • • •


1797-8


6,12,253


1803.4 . . . .


« 798-9


6,67,300


1804-5 . . . .


1799-1800 .


. i4,33»75i


1805-6 . . . .


1800-1


• 10,51,957





'^The following is a statement of the value of raw silk exported from Bengal
exclusive of the East India Company's, in the years 1795-6 to 1805-6 inclusive :—

Sicca
rupees.

13.65.882
16,38,467
19,10,398
33.82,000
30,86,491



" Forming a total in 11 years of 1,60,70,657. of which only 40,13,177 sicca rupees
was e xported to London, the remainder to the coasts of Malabar and Coromandel,
^e Gulfs of Arabia and Persia, and a small portion to Pulo Pinang and places to the
eastward."

1810.— ''Previous to the year 1801, the private imports of raw-silk from Benral
were very trifling,^ nor were they much extended in the two succeeding years; but the
whole is brought into one point of view by the following account of the raw-silk im-
porteid from Ben|^ on account of the East India Company, and that imported by
individuals in private trade and privilege and sold at the Company's sales, in the
years j8oi to 1810 inclusive; together with the sale amount of each, and the aver-
age price per pound at each of the Company's sales during the same period : —



en £



01



a

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O

s

>

S






. a.



«



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^^11



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t> e« ^ a -^
^ t^ ot -« 00






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w? f^ t^



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. ui . w ^. cn w. u5 ^ w ^. 05 «^. «« o) ^ w ^ (/5

S. 2151



SILK.



TRADE t

fflftopie
Baeords.

Bzpoptt
other than

the
ComiMuiy'i.

2X50



A,D. i8io.



Total of Alt

ialesln
Bengal Sillc

215I



Digitized by



Google



193



Dictionary of the Economic



SILK.



TimdeinSilk



TRADE:

aiitorle
Itooopds*



nikMportad
birPrtvato
AMnetot
Inldriop to
thatofth*
ComiMmy*

2x52



AJ>. tSto,

SnkTrada

of Great

Britain

•zeluslva of

Imlla*

China.

2153



Attained a
lleffpeoof
pemetion
•upposed to
have bean
Impossible*

2154

Omf.wUk

pp. 57$62, tS4,

§85, rS6, 187*

188, 190.



£ ». d.
*' From the foregoing statements some idea may be

formed of the profit which was attached to the

trade in raw-silk, as carried on by individuals from

Bengal; taking the exports from Bengal of six

years, 1800-1 to 1805-6 inclusive, as the prime coet,

and which amounted to Sicca R35,59,369, which at

35. 6d. per rupee is 444f9e8 I3 6

The sales of privilege and private tiade silk m the

six years, 1801 to 18c 6, was .... 547,083 o o

Leaving an apparent probt, in the period of six years,

of 102,173 7 6

" From whkh are to be deducted the freight, amounting to about 3 per cent.,
the premiums of msuraoce, commission, fees of office, &c. It must, however, be
obs^ed that the above period includes the years in which the silk trade was
very much depressed, and when much of the silk imported by indivkluals turned out
very inferior to the Company's, being badlv worked, foul, and gouty, and partakmg
largelv of those defects for which Beng^ silk was formerly so much reprobated."

"k^rom the foregoing accounts it appears that 10 the thirty-five years, 1776 to
1810 inclusive, the sale amount of the raw-silk imported from Bengal into Great
Britain, on account of the East India Company, hi the private trade of the Com*
mandrrs and officers of their ships, and in tne privilege tonnage allowed to individu-
als by the Act of 1793, was as follows :—

£

In 10 years, 1776 to 1785 indnsive • • • • 3>449>757

In 18 ,» 1786 to 1803 „ • • . • 5*33i,596

In 7 „ i8o4toi8io „ .... 3»i 15*044



Forming a total in 35 years of



"»786,397



exdttsive of prise and neutral property, whkh has been, to a very trifling extent, in
the vears 1793 to 1810 amounting to only £6,4S5''*

*' The following is an account of the value of the raw and thrown silk imported
into Great Briuin, exclusive of East India and China silk, in the years ending 5tb
January, 1807-8-9, likewise of the value of the manufactured silk-goods, and raw and
thrown silk exported during the same period, taken from the papers annnally laid
b^ore the House of Commons :—



1807
1808
1809



Importbd.

Raw and
thrown silk.

£
1,333,033
711,343
343*901



EXPORTBD.



Silk Raw and

manufacture, thrown silk.

£ £

833*035 99*063

804,178 118,891

473*078 67,053

" It is impossible to ascertain, with any degree of corre ctn ess, the extent of the
manufuctured goods consumed in Great Bntain ;. but from the general use of silk in
every class of society, from the throne to the cottage, the quantity must be im-



TOTAL.

£
953,097
933*069
540,131



'* Owing to the unremitting care and attention that have been for years past
given to raw-silk, both at home and abroad, it has been progressively improving, and
continues to improve in its quality. It has already attained a degree of perfectwn
which it was formerly pronounced to be altogether incapable of reaching, and is per^
haps susceptible of still further improvements under the vigilant and active superin*
tendence of Uie Company."

'' The principal market whkh the English manufacturers have hitherto looked up
to for a ver> large proportkn of this important raw material, has been Italy In the
present shite of continental affairs, it is impossible to calculate upon events.^ Cir*
cumstances may arise, and recourse may be nad to measures, the direct operation of
which might tend to check or impede tne supplies whk^ have hitherto been drawn
from that quarter. In this view of things, Bengal raw-silk has a claim not only to
commercial, but to great political, oonsideratkn. Tkg tUep^ooted pr^udices tkai

S. 2154



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Google



Products of India.



'93



and Silk Goods.



(G. Watt.)



SILK.



formerly ^reoaiUd against it, are daily vanishing, and the article is proportion-
obly rising in the public esteem ; but it is evident that its future success will al-
together defend upon the degree of attention that shall continue to be paid to its
quality. It there shall be the least relaxation on this important point, the character
to which it has arrived by slow {nidations, wfll at once be lost, and the flatterinflf
hopes which the Company have been looking to, of retrievinsf the heavy sums which
have been sunk in bringing it to its present state of perfection, will be annihilated."

The passages, which the writer has italicised above, show how tho-
roughly the silk trade of India was understood at the banning of the
century. The East India Company had beeun to realise that the pre-
servation of a high quality was an essential in tne compelition with the silks
of Europe. The statistical information ^iven will show how rapid a pro-
gression had been made by Italy, and later on by France. Turkey had
practicallv ceased to be of moment, but new competitors sprung into exist-
ence, as the demands for silk widened into numerous and distinct markets.
So far the Company had conquered deep-rooted prejudices, as the result
of an enlightened policy. The ouality of the silk had been improved by
the education of the Natives in the European methods of reelinif^ and by
the introduction of superior breeds of silk-worms. All this was, however,
recognised as contrary to the wishes and inclinations of the Indian people,
and d^eneration was foreseen as inevitable, if at any future period the
degree of attention, which had hitherto been bestowed on it, should be
relaxed. The reader, who may have followed the facts placed before him
in the various chapters of this article, will doubtless concur with the author
in the opinion that while spasmodically and more as the result of private
than oflScial enterprise, effort has been made to revive or preserve the trade
of India in reeled silk, it has nevertheless seriously declined in quantity.
But influences have for years been in operation which were destined to
change the silk trade of India. With the advance of manufacturing skill in
Europe, new uses were discovered for the various kinds of Indian silk. Spe-
cial properties were also seen to be possessed by the superior silks of Italy
and France with which India might relinquish all hope of successful com-
petition. Hence it came about that white for forty years after the date



Online LibraryEdgar Thurston Sir George WattA dictionary of the economic products of India, Volume 6, Part 3 → online text (page 33 of 76)