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The process of dying the silk commences with a second decoction, and scouring of the substance again with soap-lees; after which it is steeped in alum-water, preparatory to receiving the various colours which that salt is useful in fixing. The painting of the silks is done in the fame manner as the cottons, with the difference only of abler artists and more delicate pencils being employed. The weaving it into tapestry and carpets, an art in very early practice among the Indians and Persians, is among the most curious and elaborate efforts of Indian
ingenuity, and, the silk being the finest in the world, the work would be the most valuable of any produced by the artists of Asia, were the elegance of the design and the justice of the perspective at all correspondent to the fineness and beauty of the materials. The greatest part, however, of the silk produced in Bengal and other parts of India is exported raw> and in its original yellow colour. In this state many thousand bales, weighing after the rate of one hundred and fifty pounds each, are annually imported into Europe, and evince as well the immense quantities of siik-worms bred in that country
as the unwearied industry of the natives in the cultivation of them.
Silk having been thus abundantly and immemorially made in India, and probably in still greater profusion in China, it is rather furprising that this valuable article should, from its scarcity, be esteemed at Rome of equal value to its weight in gold, and continue so for two hundred and fifty years, till the time of the Emperor Aurelian, who is said to have refused his empress a suit of silk, on account of its excessive dearness. When the feat of empire was transferred to Constantinople, the Roman nobility, being nearer the region where it was fabricated, and sparing neither pains nor cost to obtain all the articles of Eastern luxury, were universally clothed in vests of silk; but their Persian neighbours and rivals, who for a time monopolized that lucrative branch of commerce, fold it in the Byzantine markets at. so exorbitant a price, as incited the Emperor Justinian to many earnest but fruitless efforts to obtain a part of that trade by other less difficult and expensive channels. While engaged in these speculations, an incident occurred which greatly facilitated his design of wresting this
monopoly monopoly from the hands of the Persians, and terminated in making his own capital the principal mart to Europe of that envied manufacture. Dr. Campbell having entered pret-^ ty much at large into this subject, and traced the progress of this traffic to the British ifles, as the subject-also descends to ages below the period of Indian Antiquities, and as I have many other interesting matters still to investigate relative to the arts and sciences of the Indians, the reader will excuse my inserting the account of that well-informed writer.
Two Persian monks, - that had travelled to the Indies, went to the emperor, and told him, that they could very easily settle that manufacture amongst his subjects, so as that they might never be under the necessity of dealing with any strangers, much less with the Persians, for that commodity. This silk, said they, which is so precioUs here, is, in Serinda, (the most populous and most civilized country in the Indies, where we have spent many years,) spun by certain little worms, which instinct they receive from nature. As for these worms, it is impossible to transport them; but their eggs may be brought thence without any difficulty, and
hatched hatched here by giving them a certain degree of heat.
Such were the proposals made by the monks to Justinian, who readily closed with them, making them great promises, in cafe they were able to bring this matter to bear, which, without much difficulty, they did; for, returning to the Indies, they brought thence a considerable quantity of the eggs, nourishing the worms, when they came out, with the leaves of mulberries; and thus, according to Procopius, was the art of making silk introduced into the Greek empire.*
This transaction fell out A. D. 550, but it was a long time before it spread itself much beyond the bounds of the Greek empire for, we find, that, A. D. 1130, Roger, King of Sicily, having conquered a part of Greece, brought over into his own country the art of managing silk-worms, which was quickly transferred thence to Calabria, and other parts of Italy, where it flourished for some ages, before it was transferred to the southern parts of France, which, the great historian
* Procopius de Bello Gothic, lib. iv. cap. 17.
Vot. VII. B b Mezeray Mezeray tells us, happened under the reign of Francis the First, in which, however, he is deceived; for, Lewis XI. A. D. 1470, introduced it into his dominions, and sent for persons, skilful in the art of managing silk, not only from Genoa, Venice, and Florence, but also from Greece; and, by his letters patent, dated in the year 1480, granted them considerable privileges. But the price of this commodity was still kept up at a great height.
That magnificent prince, Henry VIII. wore commonly woollen hose, unless by chance he had a pair of silk from Spain. His son, Edward VI. had a pair of silk stockings presented him by Sir Thomas Gresham, which present of his was much taken notice of. Queen Elizabeth, in the third year of her reign, had a pair of black knit silk stockings given her by Mrs, Montague, and she never wore worsted af~terwards. In the year 1600, Mr. William Lee, a native of Nottingham., invented the aft of frame-work knitting, which has been since carried, with the manufacture itself, iri all its various branches, to -such a high