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Silk culture and manufacture.

James I. tried to establish silk culture in the American colonies, but failed. He sent silk-worms to Virginia and offered a bounty for silk cloth manufactured there; but the planters found the cultivation of tobacco more profitable. Some silk fabric was sent to Charles II. in 1668. Early in the century it was introduced into Louisiana, and the industry was also undertaken in Georgia. In 1734 Oglethorpe took eight pounds of cocoons with him to England. Sir Thomas Lombe manufactured it into, organzine, of which Queen Caroline had a gown made in which she appeared at a Court levee on her husband's birthday. The business became considerable, but finally declined, and the last lot of Georgia silk offered for sale was in 1790. Before the Revolution, silk was grown and manufactured in New England. Governor Law, of Connecticut, wore a silk coat and stockings of New England production in 1747, and three years afterwards his daughter wore the first silk dress of New England manufacture. A silk manufactory was [186] established at Mansfield, Conn., in 1776, where the manufacture is yet carried on. The legislature incorporated a silk manufacturing company in 1788, and the same year President Stiles, of Yale College, appeared at “commencement” in a gown woven from Connecticut silk. After that the silk culture and silk manufacture were carried on in different parts of the Northern and Eastern States, and were fostered by legislative action. About 1836 to 1839 there was a mania for the cultivation of silk and of the Morus multicaulis, or mulberry-tree, on which the caterpillar feeds. As high as $100 was paid for a single plant. The bubble soon burst, but the silk culture and manufacture have gone on moderately ever since.

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