IN 2002 A BEAUTIFUL SOUTH CAROLINA PROPERTY SET AMID THE "pine woods, open pastures and old rice fields" along the eastern branch of the Cooper River was offered for sale. The estate retained its original 1689 plantation name, "Silk Hope," a name that had looked optimistically forward even as most colonial plantations' monikers harked back to English origins, proud family names, or Native American labels. Although the realtor's brochure noted that the property "embodied significant history," it completely overlooked this plantation's actual connection to the silk of its name, a reflection of how attempts to produce silk in colonial South Carolina have rarely registered in the region's history. (1) Yet these efforts to grow silk also embodied significant history, and silk hopes were fashioned out of several connected forces oriented toward self-advancement: British imperial patronage, Carolinian planter investment, and continental European opportunism. Together these forces shaped innovative legislative activity and encouraged persistent efforts on the ground, mobilizing the labor of a rich mixture of people of different sexes, races, classes, and national origins. Although never coming anywhere near to fulfilling its proponents' lofty ambitions, the production of raw silk nonetheless deployed the labor of many hundreds of colonists and developed Carolina's transoceanic and transnational linkages. (2)
Although historical scholarship has rightly described sericulture in colonial South Carolina as a commercial failure, this article contends that there is much to be rescued from this failure, which has been inadequately documented and understood. One might liken the exercise to salvaging a shipwreck: the goal is not to attempt to refloat the vessel but rather to locate valuable materials. Perhaps the first thing to be rescued involves the methods that were employed to advance silk, which included extensive public incentives (at both imperial and colonial levels) and considerable private investment (of both capital and labor, including slaves). A second point relates to the numerous ways that silk production intersected with the colony's domestic affairs, such as the geography of settlement, intellectual and social currents, gender relations, and the imperial crisis. Finally, a survey of the remains allows for a fuller appreciation of the amount of silk that was actually produced in Carolina. This negligible output arguably assumes a different significance when magnified according to the difficulty of production in the colonial environment. This article treats these three corresponding salvage operations in turn, but first let us establish how colonial South Carolina's silk hopes have been characterized since their wreckage and briefly explain why the ship sank.
In the scholarship of the last half century, colonial sericulture, if mentioned at all, is frequently relegated to references in quirky footnotes or dismissed as a utopian fantasy that was entertained only by metropolitan propagandists and armchair imperialists. Surveys of colonial history, especially, tend to describe how plans to grow silk "quickly disappeared" or "failed miserably," drawing a rather teleological distinction between commodities that had no hope of success and those that were destined to be "developed" by settlers. (3) Rice, indigo, and cotton are often plucked out from a long list of target exotic commodities that contemporaries anticipated in the late seventeenth century. As Robert M. Weir observes, "Silk, olives, wine, oranges, and lemons might do well, it was thought, but they never worked out." (4) Yet evidence of long-standing interest and wide-ranging investment in sericulture across the colonial era indicates that Carolina silk production constituted much more than, in Converse D. Clowse's words, "experimenting" that "did not lead to anything." (5)
It is telling that the early historians of Carolina, far from overlooking silk production, often exaggerated it: they viewed it as a noteworthy subject because it lent credence to the silk hopes of subsequent centuries. David Ramsay in 1809 believed that silk remained a commodity well within "the capacity of the country to yield" in light of colonial production. (6) In 1826--the year the U.S. Congress ordered the preparation of a national manual on silk production--Robert Mills likewise stressed the promising capacity of the land and the climate, on the basis of the ten thousand pounds of silk that he (erroneously) claimed South Carolinians had produced in 1759. (7) Colonial-era production was also invoked at the turn of the twentieth century when a new wave of interest developed, spearheaded by the activity of Henrietta Aiken Kelly, a longtime proponent of sericulture in the New South, and the writings of Ida M. Lining. Both women contributed to an immensely popular silk exhibit at the 1901-1902 South Carolina Interstate and West Indian Exposition in Charleston, a grand fair intended to repackage the city and revitalize the economy. This Progressive wave expressed a growing confidence in female entrepreneurship; as Lining announced, "This is the age of the awakening of 'business sense' in the women of the South." (8) Colonial engagement with sericulture, then, was more highly regarded in nineteenth-century South Carolina than it has been since, as a source of agricultural pride and optimism that had also found expression in the increasingly sectional agricultural reform periodicals of the 1840s and 1850s. (9)
In fairness, a number of scholarly works have engaged more carefully with the history of attempts to produce silk in Carolina, usually as an adjunct to a focus on localities (such as particular townships), peoples (such as the Huguenots), or themes (such as planter enterprise and innovation). (10) In explaining the origins of rice culture, S. Max Edelson rightly first asks, "why rice?" and explores the schemes of early projectors, noting that "[g]inger, silk, wine, indigo, and cotton each seemed more promising staple candidates in the 1670s." (11) Bertrand Van Ruymbeke, in his comprehensive analysis of the early Huguenot population of South Carolina, points out that "French and British settlers alike not only placed great hope in it [sericulture] but also did make silk and even exported some." (12) Joyce E. Chaplin links attempts at silk to the imperial context of the 1730s, British incentives, and Carolina planters' designs, and she emphasizes the ways that silk "encouraged social as well as economic diversity" through the employment of European Protestant labor. (13)
Yet even in these more nuanced works, assertions remain that do not square with the evidence at hand. Some claim that silk was "tried and abandoned" by the mid-eighteenth century, or "abandoned in the face of the successful introduction of rice," whereas others argue that investment and production actually continued and deepened. (14) Some confuse the materials, quantities, or processes involved in silk production. (15) The intention here is not to nitpick over specifics but to synthesize these insights in order to put forward an alternative interpretation to the case made in one of the best-known passages dealing with sericulture in the lower South. Joyce Chaplin has argued that plans for silk in Carolina were "the most notable example" of Lowcountry planters' designs to engineer supportive regional belts around plantation regions; "such places were to remain outposts removed from commercial ambition and from the slave labor that would realize such ambitions." She amalgamates various township schemes in South Carolina and the settlement of Georgia into a model for "the 1730s to 1800s" that makes good sense in terms of the consistency of several geopolitical, mercantilist, racial, and demographic arguments, and her wider analysis of the developing tensions between eastern planters and "western whites" is penetrating. But silk cultivation in South Carolina was more complicated than this: silk culturists, including Lowcountry planters, in fact showed plenty of commercial ambition in their activity, and, rather than just "using white laborers," they were indeed willing to authorize slave labor to realize these ambitions. The Carolina silk industry did not peak "in the year 1750 with a paltry, almost comical, 118 pounds." Nor did British officials reduce incentives in the 1760s because they were "[d]iscouraged by the low output." Rather, because of increasing production and a growing appreciation of what to incentivize (reeled raw silk rather than silkworms' cocoons), they instigated a complex but generous 25 percent bounty. (16) Thanks in part to continued imperial patronage, in 1771 some 592 pounds of raw silk, raised in South Carolina, was carried across the Atlantic in the hold of the Beaufain, which was "counted the richest Ship that ever sailed from this Province in Time of Peace," with its total freight valued at 45,000 [pounds sterling] sterling. (17)
For those 592 pounds exported in 1771, one might expect around 1.8 million Carolina silkworms to have been reared. (18) Given that the processes involved may be as unfamiliar to many readers as they were initially to many colonists, it is worth briefly tracing this silk shipment's path to the Beaufain. The silkworms (Bombyx mori) began as tiny gray-black eggs sealed into linen bags or wrapped into papers that had been stashed in cool, dark places around Carolina households over the preceding winter. They burst into life in the spring, growing quickly and demanding ever-increasing quantities of mulberry leaves and soon making their distinctive ambient gnawing hum. As late spring turned to early summer, the silkworms took up more of their tenders' time and more space on makeshift shelves and surfaces in sheds and huts. Eventually, the worms clambered up supplied twigs to cocoon themselves; all motion now ceased. The individuals who had so carefully nurtured the pupae now carefully killed them before they metamorphosed, usually transporting the cocoons to special ovens where they were baked so as not to be damaged. Following an inspection to remove those with imperfections, the final and most complex task was to reel the silk filaments off the cocoons. Watchful experts in Charleston and Purrysburg worked in specially constructed reeling buildings known as filatures, which housed large wooden reeling machines and copper basins of hot water. In this sweaty and busy environment, silk workers drew off the fibers from the cocoons, which had been loosened by bobbing and swirling in the water, and dexterously combined a number of them into a consistent thread. Workers stretched out and dried the threads, which were next wound into skeins of raw silk. The product was then carefully packed and stored on the wharves before eventually being carried aboard the Beaufain, where it was stowed in such a way as to avoid damage by excess pressure, heat, or water. (19)
This cycle of production posed daunting obstacles for an inexperienced workforce in an imperfect environment. Besides constantly monitoring the welfare of worms, the treatment of cocoons, and the consistency of the reeling processes, which required considerable dexterity, sericulturists had first to secure and sustain a plentiful supply of mulberry leaves, some of which (especially early on) came from indigenous American red mulberry trees (Morus rubra) but later were picked increasingly from imported white mulberries (M. alba). Indeed, some 23,000 mature trees would have been needed for the Beaufain's silk. Little wonder that Scots entrepreneur John Stewart, one of silk's greatest early pioneers, commented suggestively in 1690: "I wish I nev[e]r had a greater task than feed and manage as many worms at on[e] generation or crope as wo[u]ld make 25 p[o]und weight of Raw silk." (20) Of course, many other exotic crops that challenged Carolina's experimenters--rice, indigo, and cotton included--also required the mastery of complex processes, technologies, and environments. But none involved such a symbiotic culturing of plants with fragile insects or such peculiar seasonal intensity of labor in a short six-week burst (after the first eggs hatched in mid-March), and few were so susceptible to bottlenecks in production, due to the required technical reeling expertise.
The reasons for silk's failure were not immediately apparent to contemporaries, which explains why silk was pursued with sporadic zeal over the course of the entire colonial era and by such varied interests as British administrators, Low country planters, and upcountry settlers. Though a range of subsidiary problems will be considered in this discussion, two vital drawbacks that limited colonial sericulture to marginal productivity can be isolated at the outset: the high unit cost of labor and the environmental conditions.
In a carefully constructed critique of Carolina sericulture for British authorities in 1770, South Carolina governor William Bull II emphasized that real progress had been made in silk, "raised here of the finest sort with great ease, and in great perfection." But Bull pointed out that because labor was comparatively expensive in the colony (as compared with high-population regions where silk was common), market conditions drove potential investors to concentrate on economies of scale in crops that were already proven winners. (21) Silk depended on an annual mulberry and silkworm rapid-fire harvest, for which large numbers of cheap hands were required. But over the course of the eighteenth century, the cost of labor in Carolina was increasing alongside export productivity. The concentration of the colonial labor pool--not, importantly, the color of the labor pool--was insufficient for the kind of work that sericulture demanded. (22)
Besides this fundamental problem of labor, mid-eighteenth-century meteorological information also provides clues as to the capriciousness of productivity. "Our Climate is various and uncertain," concluded James Glen, who challenged the relevance of latitude to local conditions; "there are no People on Earth, who, I think, can suffer greater Extreams of Heat and Cold."
(23) Glen compared his own readings with the more rigorous scientific measurements of a fellow Scot, John Lining, whose remarkable experiments in Charleston involved eleven years' monitoring of rainfall and wind direction (1737-1748) and four years' tracking changes in temperature and barometric pressure. (24) Observers remarked on "frequent, sudden and great" temperature drops, recurrent thunderstorms, and heavy rainfall recorded in March during several years. (25) Such weather events potentially damaged the budding M. alba trees and infant silkworms, the consistency of cocoon winding, and the availability of high-quality, dry leaves for springtime feeding. Especially damaging were extreme cold snaps, such as the hard February frosts following mild winters in 1747 and 1748, which destroyed trees accustomed to Mediterranean climes. (26)
Other factors associated with the colonial environment hindered production. Limited access to supplies of mulberry seeds and silkworm eggs, as well as technical and manufacturing capital, made investment risky and required metropolitan connections or elite patronage. Whereas previous European states embarking on sericulture had been able to rely on a reasonably steady stream of migrant experts from neighboring silk-raising regions and a degree of competition, British colonial authorities had to seek out such experts and set them up, often allowing individuals to place themselves in monopolistic positions. It was thus not always in the interest of specialists to share too quickly the mysteries of nurturing or techniques of reeling. (27) In the meantime, few colonists had the ability or time to learn such a complex set of processes from experience, correspondents, or manuals. And importantly, no West Africans brought transferable experience, skills, or familiarity with mulberries or domestic silkworms to South Carolina as they did to some degree for rice and indigo. (28) As a result, the contingencies of colonial life--its wars, distance, epidemics, and instabilities--had more dramatic impact on silk cultivation than on other crops, making rice appear "lucky" without design and silk appear well designed but consistently unfortunate in its implementation. (29)
Tantalizingly, at any given point colonial South Carolinians found this fatal mixture of hurdles to be a fraction short of insurmountable. Yet they persevered, driven on by a range of stimuli, from the lash to cash in the case of many workers, and from the promise of private profit to the esteem of the public good for many investors. The political economy of silk offered other seductions: the imperial arguments of mercantilism (outmuscling France), the provincial advantages of diversification (the price of rice), and the local benefits of mobilizing "idle" labor (such as child slaves and young women). Silk thus morphed from a seventeenth-century prospective role as the star player in the Carolina economy to an eighteenth-century utility role as a secondary but complementary product. When the successful development of indigo in the 1740s usurped this profile, silk was reborn as a peripheral specialty. Like the fabric itself, sericulture proved perennially slight but remarkably resilient.
Silk hopes marked both the start and the end of British colonialism in Carolina. The earliest royal exemptions in the 1660s specifically targeted the production of silk, wine, and dried fruits--crops that Britain could not produce domestically and that might find niches in an Atlantic import market increasingly glutted with Caribbean sugar and Chesapeake tobacco. (30) A century later, silk played a little-known part in the breakdown of the imperial government: it was the commons house's dogged insistence on a sum being paid to the Committee of Silk Manufacture that prompted the governor to dissolve the assembly in 1771, after which "[f]or all practical purposes, royal government in South Carolina ceased." (31) Throughout the intervening years, silk hopes stimulated a range of innovative public initiatives, from direct action in the payment of bounties, to the undergirding of selective migration streams (such as Huguenots and Swiss), to the recruitment of specialists and construction of filatures. Silk hopes also intersected with planters' private interests when, for instance, market diversification, the opening of new lands, or personalized imperial connections added to silk's appeal. The following sections consider this range of public and private efforts diachronically, beginning with a consideration of early attempts at silk production from the 1560s through to the 1720s and culminating with a case study of the silk raising of one renowned planter: Eliza Lucas Pinckney.
The idea of growing silk in Carolina in fact predated English settlement under the Lords Proprietors and was a significant justification for earlier European settlement by powers already familiar with silk raising in the Old World. Reports from Jean Ribault, who established the short-lived French Huguenot colony of Charlesfort in 1562 in present-day Port Royal Sound, and from Pedro Menendez de Aviles, who established its Spanish replacement, the mission-fort Santa Elena, in 1566, both hinted at the rich prospects for silk cultivation. (32) In the early seventeenth century, some French Protestants continued to press for a silk-producing colony in the region, and a number of Huguenot refugees in England, led by the Baron de Sance, sought to capitalize on the expanding English colonial activity by establishing a commercial settlement. De Sance wanted to settle families "upon a river where they can traffic in silk and other merchandise," listing the "[a]dvantages to be gained" from exploiting the "[g]reat quantities of mulberry trees for silkworms" found south of Virginia, but in 1630 the visionary plan and partnership quickly collapsed, largely because of inadequate recruitment. (33)
The Lords Proprietors and their propagandists in the late seventeenth century identified silk as one of the natural bounties of Carolina, justifying their claims with latitudinal logic, empirical evidence of wild mulberry trees and native silkworms, and the testimony of expert commentators. (34) The economic, botanical, and political investment in sericultural experimentation, spearheaded by Anthony Ashley Cooper, Lord Shaftesbury, resulted in the beginnings of silk production in the early 1680s. (35) The key to success, auspicious for the remainder of the colonial era, proved to be direct state action to stimulate settler activity. In 1679, thanks in part to the scheming of John Locke, a petition from two Normandy gentlemen requesting English support to transplant a number of Huguenot families to Carolina was bounced around the halls of colonial power, with Shaftesbury quietly supervising the pinball. (36) The petition met the warm approval of the lords of trade, the Carolina proprietors, and the commissioners of customs; King Charles II, who already possessed furnishings made of Virginia silk, agreed to put up 2,000 [pounds sterling] and lend two frigates to transport the Huguenots. (37) The Huguenots were under no illusions about their anticipated role in the young colony, for each household head had signed an undertaking that stipulated, "Wee whose names are underwritten doe hereby ingage & promise every one for himselfe to embarke our Selves & families on board of the Richemont ..., for to settle there [Carolina] ye manufactures of Silke, oyle, Wines &c, which many of us are skilled and practised in." (38) The proprietors instructed their officers to give these newcomers preferential treatment (including choice lands), anticipating "that the English will by them learne to become Skilled in those comodityes." (39)
As the Lords Proprietors had hoped, enough Huguenots attempted sericulture to spread the practice to others. By the start of the eighteenth century a transnational melange of silk raisers was busy each spring. (40) Among them were some of the most colorful characters of early Carolina history, such as Scotsman John Stewart and Quaker preacher and Atlantic traveler Mary Fisher Bayly Crosse. (41) Most prominent was Sir Nathaniel Johnson, the former mayor of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and governor of the Leeward Islands from 1686 to 1689, who threw himself into sericulture upon his arrival in Carolina. Naming his estate "Silk Hope" (the above-mentioned property), Johnson soon planted some 24,000 white mulberry trees; by 1699 his production had endeared him to the Lords Proprietors, who suspended legal proceedings against him, though others who owed dues were followed up. (42)
At the turn of the eighteenth century, silk was a persistent and familiar pursuit in the economic landscape, even if it was already becoming increasingly peripheral to rice. John Archdale noted in 1707 that "Silk is come unto great Improvement, some Families making 40 or 50 [pounds] a Year and their Plantation Work not neglected; little Negro Children being serviceable in Feeding the Silk-worms." The extent of cultivation was also disguised because much of the silk produced was used locally and not exported. Archdale related that silk was "work[ed] up" with wool into drugget, which he described as "an excellent Wear for that Country," presumably because the mixed fabric combined the coarse durability of wool with the comfort and softness of silk. (43) A report sent by the governor and council to the Board of Trade in 1708 explained that while only "a little silk" was exported, "some particular planters who for their own use only make a few stuffs of silk & cotton & a sort of cloth of cotton and wool of their own groath to clothe their slaves." (44)
The best evidence of this active, if low-level, production and exchange system in silk among early Carolinians can be found in the account book of Nicholas de Longuemare. The Longuemare family, goldsmiths by trade from Dieppe in Normandy, took up land on the Santee River and along the Cooper River some thirty miles upriver of Charleston. Longuemare's involvement in silk dealing seems to have originated in his marriage to Marie Soyer, the widow of Jean Aunant, a Languedocian silk throwster who owned a larger neighboring plantation. (45) In 1708 Longuemare's account book recorded in a mixture of French and English exchanges of silk-related products, from silkworm eggs ("de la graine avers") to boxes of cocoons, raw silk, processed silk of different colors and grades (such as "soye blance fine"), and silk thread. Many of the transactions involved neighbors, such as weaver Pierre Du Tartre and a Madame Poulain, from whom Longuemare received three boxes of cocoons valued at fifteen "schelins" (shillings) in May 1710. (46) These silk raisers probably employed the kinds of techniques described by John Locke in his pamphlet on French practices recorded in 1679: hatching worms by wearing them day and night in linen bags kept warm by body heat; not feeding worms red mulberry leaves until the worms were larger: sewing and hanging cocoons selected for breeding on a single thread. (47) The Longuemares likely deployed slave labor in silk, for Marie de Longuemare manumitted an Indian slave and her children in her will of 1712. (48)
Such silk production and networks of everyday exchange elicited comment at higher levels. Edward Randolph concluded his May 1700 report to the Board of Trade with a firm commendation of Carolina's progress: "They are very much improved in making Silk & every body has planted Mulberry Trees to feed their Wormes." (49) John Lawson recounted in his 1709 history of Carolina that the northern and southern parts produced similar commodities, except "Silk, which this Place produces great Quantities of, and very good, North Carolina having never made any Tryal thereof as yet." (50) Such news filtered through to prospective English settlers: for example, Elizabeth Massingberd Hyrne, preparing to depart for Carolina, expected that "we shall be in a way to rais[e] money by raw silk whereof many gitt great estate by there." (51) Even in these early years, metropolitan markets clearly valued Carolina silk: in 1716 Benjamin Godin sold several bales of silk for thirty-three shillings a pound, while a memorial from Richard Beresford the same year declared that Carolina silk "has been manufactured in London and proves to be of extraordinary Substance and Lustre." (52) Six years later, Francis Yonge predicted that Carolinian commerce was in danger of stultifying, forecasting that with rice and tar exports threatened by trading restrictions, and the provisions trade ruined by Indian attacks, "there remains now nothing but silk." (53)
Though its author emphasized silk's presence in the Carolina economy, Yonge's pamphlet was actually an expression of the growing power of rice. (54) During this first period of silk production, from the 1680s to 1719 (when Carolinians threw off proprietary rule), as the colony's rulers and settlers navigated a range of battles for survival, the relationship between local planters and state power stabilized. (55) Moreover, the years surrounding this maelstrom witnessed rice cultivation's meteoric rise to dominance in the Lowcountry. (56) As recent scholarship has demonstrated, this increase owed much to rice's versatility as a food, to enslaved Africans' degree of experience and knowledge with its cultivation, and especially to white planters' innovative use of capital and technology. (57) The expansion also depended in good measure, as Gary L. Hewitt has argued, on planters' enlistment of state power to support their interests, by "subordinat[ing] trade and conquest to the needs of the plantation economy." (58) In order to secure any continued support from the 1720s, sericulture needed to compete in an agricultural world dominated by rice and slaves.
Of the several forces that together sustained interest in silk from the 1730s to the end of the colonial era, some might be described as exogenous--transatlantic echoes of developments in Europe. There, the silk industries were being dramatically recalibrated as a result of the dispersal of Protestants bearing textile skills to new centers, as well as wider global exchanges. (59) The fast-growing capacity and lobbying power of British silk manufacturing went hand in hand with widening consumption, ensuring that the Board of Trade and Parliament kept up substantial mercantilist pressure to target this commodity whose market supply was heavily controlled by foreign powers. (60) The establishment of the neighboring colony of Georgia, numerous instructions to governors and colonial officials, and the patronage of imperial institutions (such as the Royal Society of Arts) all reflected this imperial agricultural mandate. (61) Religious and economic tensions in European states, more broadly, also created a pool of enthusiastic migrants with greater familiarity than had their earlier counterparts with silk production and manufacturing cycles. Such incentives to persist in sericulture were by no means limited to South Carolina, taking shape contemporaneously in Prussia, Sweden, Ireland, and Bengal (under the auspices of the East India Company). (62)
Endogenous, or local, forces also played an important role in sustaining interest in sericulture. The rapid spread of South Carolina rice production in the 1730s led to a precipitate fall in the crop's price, which in turn prompted clamors for diversification--a cry made shriller by racial fears about the growing slave majority. As in the tobacco-mad Chesapeake of the seventeenth century or the cotton-saturated Louisiana of the 1840s, where monoculture met the Atlantic world political economy silk ambitions tended to breed. Carolina planters invested time and resources in sericulture both individually as entrepreneurs and corporately through the colonial assembly. Like other responses to this tougher economic climate (such as changes to patterns of slave and estate management), these investments did not challenge the supremacy of rice but sought to complement it. (63) Many planters were open-minded about silk, a product that they well knew was grown in profitable harmony with rice in southeast Asia and in the Po River Valley of northern Italy. (64) Rather than viewing silk as an anticommercial product, several saw it as an opportunity linked to estate development and the opening of new lands (especially those forested in native red mulberry) to the west and the south of the Carolina Lowcountry. Henry Laurens, for one, did not consider silk as "tried and abandoned," even in the late 1760s; he believed it would transform his plantations on the Altamaha River and the lands around the Long Canes settlement into economic powerhouses that would fill the holds of hundreds of transatlantic ships. (65) Ralph Izard, a Goose Creek planter who spent much time in Europe, was also keen to invest in sericulture in the 1770s, when he ordered that part of his garden at The Elms plantation, "in the field, behind the stables," be sown with "a good quantity of white mulberry-seed," some of which Izard sourced in Italy. (66) Laurens and Izard were part of a self-conscious Carolina elite who, by the second half of the eighteenth century, had bought into a concept of improvement that went further than plantation profit. The challenge of sericulture appealed to their pursuit of autarky, their quest for scientific, technological, and botanical advancement, and their yearning for wider respectability. (67)
These exogenous and endogenous forces coalesced into a package of diverse encouragement schemes over the eighteenth century, as successive planter-dominated assemblies, coaxed on by conscientious governors, discussed and implemented initiatives to cajole, force, or seduce settlers into growing silk. The public schemes involved three overlapping dimensions: the first was to reward production and thereby use state power to inflate the value of the product; the second was to secure large numbers of producers and place them in appropriate geographic environments; and the third was to support the critical process of reeling by funding the construction of filatures and employing managers with technical expertise.
The Carolina assembly was proactive in setting up direct bounties to reward silk production in the 1730s and 1740s. (68) Such incentives have proved easy to disparage, as "economic histories of South Carolina have generally restricted the role of the state to that of bumbling promoter of ill-fated exotic commodities like olives, silk, and wine." (69) Though quite unfashionable by the start of the nineteenth century, bounties had played a significant role in channeling colonial economic energy in Carolina: the production of pitch and tar had dramatically increased in response to a British bounty offered from 1705, and the uptake of indigo cultivation was encouraged by a bounty during King George's War (1744-1748), which was afterward lowered without affecting the crop's newfound profitability. (70) The silk bounties did not just sit on the statute books. The first evidence of payments can be found in the provincial budget of 1736-1737, which noted a disbursement "To Peter Bonneau for Bounty of 23 lbs. Raw Silk ... [[pounds sterling]] 29 10[s] [(S.C.)]." Other payments followed, including to merchant and slave dealer Job Rothmahler in 1739-1740 for producing sixteen pounds of mixed quality in Georgetown. (71)
Such bounties for mulberry trees, cocoons, and raw silk were closely debated in the assembly, revealing a high degree of confidence in the initiatives based on an expanding pool of experience and capital in South Carolina, as indicated by Hercules Coyte's advertised sale of mulberry trees in 1736. (72) Only one bill fell through, one that would have made it compulsory for all planters to plant a specified number of mulberry trees in proportion to their male slaves, thereby starkly linking capital in human beings to progressive economic credentials. This demand proved too radical for the larger slaveholders in the upper house, who dressed up their reluctance in the kind of noble rhetoric that only the myopia of slave ownership could render unironic: "we think everything that relates to settling the Province, and encouraging Trade should have all the Air of Liberty and Freedom imaginable." (73) The most comprehensive system of state-sponsored incentives was enacted in 1744, through a statute that appointed ten named commissioners (mostly rice planters), any three of whom were "authorized to purchase on behalf of the public all such silk balls and even drawn silk of the produce of this Province" at set rates in local currency. The commissioners were explicitly instructed to accept the produce "tendered unto them by any person or persons whatsoever"--a deliberately open-ended constituency that included women, free blacks, and possibly slaves--whether such persons were producing the most inferior "knubbs" (unreelable cocoons) or international quality "organzined" raw silk. (74)
As in the earlier proprietorship period, when Huguenot migration was explicitly subsidized because of this group's purported skills in silk and wine, public funds and energies continued to be channeled into securing labor that was knowledgeable and amenable to raising these products. In their efforts from the 1720s to strengthen and fortify the precarious Lowcountry, Carolinians and imperial officials alike consistently expressed a preference for migration streams promising to transplant silk growers. The model for these western areas, which historian Robert L. Meriwether has described as "the middle country," was elaborated most clinically by Governor Robert Johnson, who had inherited his father's Silk Hope plantation in more ways than one. (75) Johnson's so-called township scheme was an orderly exercise in urban planning that shared much with other contemporary propositions, such as Robert Mountgomery's 1717 proposal for an imagined colony of Azilia and the Board of Trustees' distinctive ambitions for Georgia. (76) Johnson proposed laying out and populating ten 20,000-acre townships on Carolina's frontiers, along strategic rivers. Restrictions were placed to discourage speculators and planters from exploiting these lands, while generous provisions particularly courted non-British subjects--for instance, by offering them equal voting privileges and low-cost grants according to family size. Although the township scheme was implemented somewhat haphazardly, it received the sanction of the Board of Trade and put in place a framework that ultimately brought about a degree of social and economic diversification. (77)
Many migratory Europeans recognized opportunities in the linking of these new townships to silk, wine, and other commodities, for experience had proved that silken promises encouraged imperial patronage. Anglophone writers often expressed misconceptions about French expertise, seeming to assume that all French speakers were innate silk raisers or vignerons. For their part, European colonial schemers happily exaggerated their familiarity with silk or claimed experience in sericulture from experience in silk manufacturing (which many more of them were versed in). Most Huguenots who arrived in Carolina from France, for example, were from the artisan and merchant classes and came from urban areas oriented toward the Atlantic, rather than the Mediterranean, economy; their experience in the various branches of silk manufacturing and marketing did not automatically equate with experience in silk raising. That expertise would have been more common among the rural peasantry of southern regions such as Gascony, Languedoc, Vivarais, Dauphins, and Provence, areas that did not supply large numbers of Carolina immigrants. (78) Assumptions about Swiss immigrants' agricultural skill sets were also somewhat suspect, with one writer arguing that those arriving in 1736 were actually from "but some little Cantons as Apenzel," a German-speaking region in the northeast, and that they brought experience in wheat and flax but little in silk, in which "they must be instructed." (79)
The first township to be populated, Purrysburg, was the culmination of decades of frustrated pamphleteering and scheming by its founder, Jean Pierre Purry, who had pestered innumerable officials across three empires with his climatological theories and plans for administering a colony of Swiss emigrants. Though a wine man by trade, Purry fine-tuned his proposals aimed at British and Carolinian readers to accentuate silk prospects, having "retooled" his colonial strategy "to address specifically the needs of the British Empire." (80) He concluded his 1724 appeal to the Duke of Newcastle, framed as a memorial upon "the means of [Carolina's] amelioration," with the categorical statement, "But here is the principal article upon which I beg you, My Lord, to bestow your particular attention: It is SILK." (81) Purry expanded on this approach in Charleston seven years later when, "to the delight of provincial officials," he penned a promotional tract for Swiss families exalting Carolina's fertile environment. Purry not only applied his particular latitudinal logic but also grounded his far-flung comparisons with hard, local examples: the trunk of a seven- or eight-year-old white mulberry tree in Port Royal was already grown to a circumference of five feet; other four- or five-year-old trees there and on plantations in Goose Creek and Wassamassaw had trunks a foot in diameter. "There presently are lots of silkworms in Carolina," Purry stated, that promised great riches "if this affair was well managed." He thus constructed an enticing mix of old arguments and new evidence to cast Carolina silk as a missed opportunity that had come around again. (82)
Over the course of the next decades and on either side of the Savannah River, the French and Swiss settlers, German speakers from various principalities, and Piedmontese Italians who clustered in and around these townships made the most substantial contribution to silk production of any group in the lower South. One visitor to Purrysburg reported in 1749 that he had seen more than 1,200 pounds of cocoons predicted to yield 120 pounds of "neat" (raw) silk, whose quality "was equal, at least, if not preferable, to any foreign growth." (83) Participation in Purrysburg silk raising was extensive, thanks in part to the township's position near a major center of Georgia production (the Ebenezer settlement of Lutheran Salzburgers) and the possibility of marketing the produce to either Savannah or Charleston; it was the "[o]ne enterprise" that overlapped with dramatically increasing slaveholding and the transition to a plantation economy. (84) Upcountry production broadened with the establishment in 1764 of New Bordeaux as part of the Hillsborough Township, which was the only French settlement in the South Carolina piedmont, and somewhere between three hundred and five hundred Huguenots lived in or around the town in the subsequent decade. (85) Its settlers quickly latched on to the target crops, reporting that, though pressed by sickness and Indian fears, "[t]hey are of opinions, that the lands they have obtained will produce good VINES [and] SILK, (having met with many mulberry trees)." (86) One of the settlement's leaders, the Reverend Jean Louis Gibert, carried back to England some of the raw silk raised in the spring of 1765 "to shew the nature and goodness" of the colonial product. (87) A later party of foreign Protestants (including French Huguenots and Germans) led by Jean Louis Dumesnil de St. Pierre arrived in New Bordeaux in 1768, somewhat by accident--having originally set out from London for Nova Scotia in February 1767. Perhaps benefiting from the insights of his new neighbors, St. Pierre soon boarded the wine and silk bandwagon that had successfully elicited support from British authorities in the past and in 1772 invited subscriptions for a new company intending to pursue viticulture and sericulture using slave labor. (88)
Given that many of these township settlers had not originally possessed the sericulture experience that promoters claimed or expected, the final recurring dimension of public investment involved setting up genuine experts to train and supervise incentivized labor to produce a final product of marketable quality. The colonial assembly and its long-standing Committee of Silk Manufacture commissioned a number of programs to steer production through these key individuals in centralized filatures. These schemes relied on the colony-wide bounties and the European settlers established in western townships. But they also demonstrated that silk was conceived to be eminently compatible with slave labor and plantation production.
Between 1737 and 1741, the assembly underwrote a remarkable experiment, paying for two Piedmontese silk experts--John Lewis (Jean Louis) Poyas and his wife, Susanne--to train a handful of publicly purchased slaves and white apprentices. The Poyases had originally taken up a commission to work with the Swiss in Purrysburg but later sought to set up operations in Charleston. Poyas contracted himself to the assembly for seven years' work, for which he would be paid 100 [pounds sterling] in cash for the first three years and receive "all the Profits made ... by the Silk Work" as payment for the remainder. According to the terms, a number of slaves would be bought by the public purse and constitute the Poyases' initial labor force and their first trainees. Poyas would be given provisions for his family and the public slaves for a year, with the expectation that thereafter the slaves would provision themselves (a common phenomenon). Poyas undertook to instruct apprentices, who would "be put to him by the [silk] Commissioners," "in the whole Art and Manufacture of Silk from the Egg to the Organzining thereof inclusive." Moreover, to maximize the take-up that it was hoped would follow Poyas's success, the silk works were to be permanently laid open to "all Persons ... in order to inform themselves in the said Manufacture." (89) Conscious that this project would be looked on favorably by the Board of Trade and enlightened political economists in Britain, the assembly directed the colony's agent, Peregrine Fury, "to sollicit the taking off the Duty on Raw Silk exported from America" as a means of further encouraging potential profitability. (90)
The Poyases began operations some five miles outside Charleston on the eighty-acre plantation of Joseph Wragg, an experienced slave dealer who also procured "six Negroes" for the project at a cost of 900 [pounds sterling] (S.C.). (91) Much of the early work no doubt involved planting out and tending substantial numbers of mulberry trees to add to the stocks on Wragg's lands, building a filature, and sourcing silkworm eggs and machinery from Europe. Poyas owed Sarah Trott over 29 [pounds sterling] (S.C.) for various building materials "for the Use of the Silk Work," including 625 feet of boards that were carted from town and made into special feeding benches for the worms. (92) In 1739 the South Carolina Gazette reported that a training school had indeed opened and would that year admit up to ten apprentices, some maintained at public expense from any of the townships, and others "at the Charges of their Parents." (93)
By 1741 it was clear that the Poyas project was falling short of expectations, and both parties accepted that there were some mitigating factors: Poyas referred in a petition to his "Loss of Time &c.," while the commissioners acknowledged the plantation they had provided was "not very suitable to the Work" and that there had been "several cross Accidents concurring." (94) Charleston had undoubtedly been hit hard by substantial disruptions in this period. Smallpox tore through the population in 1738 and still dogged the colony at the start of the next year, followed by an epidemic of yellow fever in the summer that caused such chaos that the assembly was prorogued, schools closed, newspapers were canceled, and townsfolk fled. Stimulated at least in part by this carnage, the Stono slave rebellion on September 9, 1739, itself provoked widespread upheaval. (95) Also connected with the rebellion was the outbreak of the War of Jenkins' Ear between Britain and Spain. This largely naval conflict, which lasted in effect until 1742, had potentially serious ramifications for Poyas, for the war massively disrupted transatlantic trade and communication, cut off potential sources of silkworm eggs in the Iberian Peninsula, and made procurement from anywhere in the Mediterranean problematic due to large-scale and ruinous Spanish privateering. (96) Finally, in November 1740 a great fire burned a good portion of the Charleston waterfront district. (97) The commissioners evidently also felt that the Poyas family was not fulfilling its mission "to teach and instruct certain Apprentices." The commissioners eventually withheld Poyas's salary and requested that he "return the Slaves, Machines and other Things purchased." (98)
The Poyas project had been launched at a deeply unpropitious time, but it showed a willingness to combine slavery with sericulture in Carolina (something not then feasible in neighboring Georgia, where slaves were prohibited). Poyas remained convinced of his future success and evidently persisted for a few years without public support, as suggested by his postdismissal offer to pay "Four Pounds a bushel" to "any Persons who made any Silk-Worms this Year ... provided they have been baked in an Oven, and not in the Sun." (99) The assembly auctioned off the six trained slaves, and the aggregation of payments made out of the proceeds of these sales, between 1741 and 1744, suggests that the sale brought in over 1,135 [pounds sterling] (S.C.). (100) It is tempting to speculate that this increase in the value of the slaves (around 26 percent) reflected their having acquired new skills, a notion supported by probate inventory analysis that suggests slave "prices in South Carolina collapsed" in the years after 1739, dropping to their lowest level of the century. These six slaves were worth noticeably more in a period when the average price of slaves was dropping and the paper currency was stable. (101)
Subsequently, the assembly tried again to find trustworthy experts capable of centralizing and managing reeling in the colony, and again these initiatives involved important contributions made by planters and slaves. Jean Louis Gibert, fresh from his successful London exposition of Carolina townships' production, proposed in a 1766 petition to erect two new filatures in Charleston and at Long Canes, which would prevent the spoilage of cocoons during the long trip to the seaboard. (102) Gibert presented samples of wrought silk, along with "Certificates of the goodness," and informed the assembly he had sent for three people "from the South of France, who Understands well the Spinning of Silk" and who were expected later in the year and would manage the filature operations with him. (103) Just as it had with Poyas, the assembly seized on these positive developments and backed the proposals with 1,000 [pounds sterling] (S.C.) of public financing. A committee anticipated that "in time that article may be so improved as to be a very Considerable addition to the exports of this province." (104) Over the next year, money was laid out for transforming the buildings and "furnishing Mr. Gibert with materials and necessarys." (105) Copper basins and reeling machines were probably among the "great Number of Implements proper for the Cultivation of raw Silk" shipped from London in August 1766. (106) Anticipating the first year of production in 1767, the silk commissioners arranged a further public loan of 3,000 [pounds sterling] (S.C.) to purchase planters' private cocoons, a sum to be refunded from the sale of the reeled silk back to Britain, with any shortfall covered by the Carolina treasury. Some advocates felt that even this investment was too little. (107)
In May 1767 the several silk-producing enclaves in the colony were listed together as "bear[ing] a promising aspect" for the successful multinational takeoff of the industry. "[A]lmost every family" in Swiss-dominated Purrysburg was raising great quantities, as were the French at Hillsborough, the English and Germans at Long Canes, and "several gentlemen and ladies, near Charles-Town." Area "gentlemen" were invited to travel to the filature at the Old School House to witness Gibert's trailblazing silkworms in action: eating, growing, climbing, and spinning. Such industry was mirrored next door by workmen "employed ... with all expedition," building a giant oven for curing the cocoons and erecting four complicated wooden machines for winding off the silk, along with "other necessaries." Those unwilling to walk or ride out could observe smaller batches of worms on display in the lobby of the Charleston Library Society, raised by the librarian. By the start of June, when the cocoons were spun, Gibert was busily fulfilling his commission "to wind, and teach the winding of silk." (108)
Though written out by later commentators, slaves played an important part in Gibert's well-publicized harvest of silk. Gibert himself was deeply conscious of the extent of their involvement, as reported by the South Carolina Gazette. In August 1765, at his request, the paper published a retraction of its statement that he had "succeeded ... with very little assistance" in raising 620 pounds of cocoons. Rather, readers were informed of the extent of others' participation: "Mr. [Gabriel] Manigault not only encouraged his design by a generous offer of his plantation, but also by the use of a considerable number of negroes; and that he likewise had some assistance from other gentlemen in the neighbourhood of Silk-Hope." (109) The involvement of this considerable number of slaves, when placed alongside Poyas's valuable public slaves and Eliza Pinckney's contemporaneous use of bondpeople (discussed below), affirms that silk and slavery were conceived to be eminently compatible. Therefore, there is absolutely no substance in the arguments offered by later commentators such as George Richardson Porter "that the principal difficulty with which the Americans had to contend in producing silk in these southern colonies arose out of ... negro slaves, who could not be made sufficiently attentive and skilful in the management of the business." (110) Blacks in eighteenth-century Carolina were not viewed as "palpably incompetent to pursue such an occupation," as Gertrude Brown Working claimed in 1932. Marguerite B. Hamer's assertion three years later that "Negro labor was not used in the cultivation of silk, for the 'smell from the negroes' was found to 'be offensive to the Worms'" involved an outrageous omission of a qualifier, since the source reads in full: "For, upon Trial, it appears there is not the least Ground for the Apprehension, some People have had, that the Smell from the Negroes would be offensive to the Worms." (111)
The establishment of state-sponsored filatures in the late 1760s promised to unlock the potential of the bounty system and to link the various enclaves undertaking sericulture--including township settlers, occasional planters, and some of their slaves. (112) In 1769 the sale of 330 pounds of Carolina silk in London brought in over 2,173 [pounds sterling] (S.C.), and at Henry Laurens's suggestion, this sum was immediately returned to the commissioners for purchases in the next year. (113) Hopeful that public support would lead to a self-sustaining production cycle, the assembly voted 1,000 [pounds sterling] (S.C.) toward establishing another filature at Purrysburg in February 1770 and a further 3,000 [pounds sterling] (S.C.) in October 1771 to enable the purchase of "raw Silk of the produce of this Province, to be transported to Great Britain for Sale." (114)
Carolina sericulturists blithely made seasonal progress, even as the storm clouds of the imperial crisis darkened. By 1769, American colonists may have been skeptical about British measures taken to regulate their trade (such as the ongoing Townshend duties), but the new Parliamentary bounty that year on raw silk was warmly greeted, promising a redemptive model of imperial political economy. (115) The South Carolina commons house offered uncharacteristically submissive language, declaring itself "ever grateful for favours conferred on us by the Mother Country" and promising "that there shall be nothing omitted on our part to accelerate" American silk production--a markedly more positive response than those offered elsewhere. (116) After independence was declared, the public treasurers still held a balance of 3,000 [pounds sterling] (S.C.) as a "Bounty on silk manufactory," though the raw silk would no longer generate income from sale in Britain, and provincial finances could not uphold this luxurious commitment once the cost of the Revolution began to bite. (117) The arrival of full-blown war in the southern theater by 1780 disrupted silk operations and had a particularly devastating effect on Purrysburg, one of the principal centers of production. (118) In the war's aftermath, the very forces that had sustained experimental production of silk for so much of the colonial era were dealt a severe blow, with the severing of imperial connections and withdrawal of British patronage, the dispersal of slaves, the destruction in the backcountry, and the weakening of planter interest in the face of more pressing challenges. (119)
Public encouragement schemes brokered by the assembly were vital to the persistence of attempts to grow silk in the face of local obstacles. Nevertheless, they still depended on settlers' willingness and capacity to invest their own labor and capital in the undertaking. This kind of private initiative was easier for some than for others. Governor William Bull perceptively noted in 1770 that plantation overseers rarely shared their elite employers' positivity and were less seduced by the imperial kudos associated with sericulture: "managers ... like pack horses must trot in the beaten tract, which no distant, tho' beautiful prospect will invite them to quit." (120) His reasoning was not explicit, but there is an intuitive logic to this remark: most overseers lacked the training, knowledge, and interest of the planter-botanists and mistress-gardeners who lovingly nurtured early mulberry groves and silkworm stocks. Even the most diligent overseers, employed on rolling contracts, were largely concerned with short- to medium-term profit and maximizing labor efficiency, which left little elasticity for experimental investments in complicated products with a history of failure.
That planters sought out silk with more energy at certain junctures reflected their own shifting economic ambitions. A handful of perennial planter "innovators" tended to be joined during "commercial crises" by "responsive" reinforcements from those usually "bigoted to Rice & their own Notions," as shown in the Charleston filature legislation of 1738 and 1766. (121) What space existed for eighteenth-century planter investment in sericulture, however, was eroded in the Lowcountry by two important clashes. First, silk's and rice's respective periods of seasonal labor demand precluded complementarity. Between March and May the short burst of intensive work required for silk collided with the labor-hungry planting out of rice, which involved drilling, planting, and extensive weeding. (122) The "very time required to look after the silkworms," noted Governor George Burrington of North Carolina in 1732, "is the season of Planting and Cultivating Rice." (123) Second, as Hector Berenger de Beaufain observed in 1755, after midcentury the "unexpected success of indico seems to have left no place" for other promising exports, and writers even began to model their silk hopes on indigo's triumph. (124) James Glen remarked on "how conveniently and profitably, as to the Charge of Labour, both Indigo and Rice may be managed by the same Persons," with indigo grown on higher and drier lands and needing but a little weeding attention in the four months between sowing in early April and first cutting (which occurred before the intensive reaping and processing of rice in late August). (125) It was no coincidence, then, that indigo--even though plagued by deficiencies in quality--ended up as the most viable "colleague Commodity" for rice planters desperate to diversify without compromising plantation organization. (126) To add insult to injury, indigo's initial converts from the late 1740s tended to be, as R. C. Nash has shown, those "larger-scale rice planters" able to experiment with new crops and "best placed to absorb ... losses." (127)
On what grounds, given these clashes, did planters turn to silk at all? One enduring fascination in the Lowcountry, increasingly accentuated over the course of the eighteenth century, was that sericulture would not draw off prime laborers but would instead offer a remunerative role for women, children, and the aged and infirm. (128) William Bull recorded in 1770 that some slaveholders "employ their young Negroes, unfit for field labour, in gathering leaves of mulberry to feed the worms," even though slave children in fact had "other necessary business"--such as, among many other routine chores, the protection of seeds from scavengers--that, if withdrawn, would cause "some loss." (129) More common, silk was associated with female labor (having a long pedigree as a gendered occupation dating back to ancient China). John Oldmixon reported in 1708 that, among their other domestic tasks, "[t]he ordinary women ... wind silk from the worms." (130) Similarly, Moravian Johann Ettwein reported in his 1765 travelogue, "A good housewife with three or four children can get about three ounces of seed, and from that, if they are successful, they can get from 20 [pounds sterling] to 30 Sterling worth of cocoons." (131) Ten years later the author of American Husbandry commented that silk was "a work executed ... by the females of a family, by the young, and aged, that cannot perform laborious work." (132) Silkworm rearing had to be accommodated within households, and it involved tasks of nurturing and reeling that were frequently described in maternalistic or feminine terms, which often betrayed misplaced assumptions about such labor's worth: Governor Bull recommended silk for "the Cherokee women who set no great value on their time." (133)
It is possible to construct something of a case study in silk using Eliza Lucas Pinckney, a planter who has long occupied a prominent position at the nexus of historiographies on female agency and crop experimentation. Pinckney, who in 1989 became the first woman inducted into the South Carolina Business Hall of Fame, is better known for her attention to indigo cultivation, but she also pursued sericulture with characteristic determination. (134) One genealogically biased writer asserted that silk "had fallen out of fashion and was neglected when Mrs. Pinckney took it up" in the 1740s, thereby imputing to her further pathbreaking cachet. (135) Another has conjectured that sericulture was a diversion that Pinckney deliberately cultivated to counter the grief of having lost a newborn child in 1747. (136) Yet Pinckney's interest was not immaculately conceived but was stimulated or at least magnified by the wider wave of Low-country sericultural activity: she took up the challenge in a period when the subject was already firmly in evidence among Purrysburg's Swiss immigrants, Hercules Coyte's mulberry trees, John Lewis Poyas's filature, the assembly's patronage, and the considerable investment taking place across the Savannah River in Georgia.
Indeed, there are good grounds for suggesting that Pinckney's interest in sericulture derived from her husband, rather than his being passive and skeptical, as Frances Leigh Williams has implied. (137) Charles Pinckney, whom Eliza married in 1744, was the author of several agricultural essays under the pseudonym "Agricola." One of the earliest submissions under that name, in 1732, was an account of the silkworm. (138) Charles himself had authored the controversially compulsory sill bill that failed to get past the upper house in 1741, and two days after his marriage to Eliza he was appointed as one of Carolina's new silk commissioners. In 1744 Agricola reiterated the merits of indigo and sill in a public letter, prompted (like Francis Yonge before him) by concerns about the falling price of rice and keen to circulate--and doubtless appropriate--the advances his young bride had made in indigo at her father's Wappoo plantation. Charles Pinckney urged wealthy planters to deploy a third of their slaves in experiments with these diversifying crops, and he explained that just a year or so after planting white mulberries, planters would have "a sufficient Quantity of Leaves to feed your Silk Worms with," drawing attention to the "good Market for the Silk Balls from the Publick, who by Law have obliged themselves to give you Five Pounds a Bushel for them." He closed by reminding planters of his generation that in their fathers' day, rice itself had been "a new Experiment and Undertaking in this Province." (139)
Eliza Lucas Pinckney was, of course, eminently capable of attempting sericulture without a husband's intervention. Before her marriage she had independently experimented with other schemes, including orchards of oak and fig trees, and she is appropriately (though sometimes exaggeratedly) described as a commodity innovator. (140) At Wappoo, a six-hundred-acre plantation that she oversaw for five years, she experimented with a myriad of seeds and plants, including indigo, ginger, cotton, alfalfa, and cassava, though there is no evidence in contemporary records that she grew silk there, contrary to some assertions. (141) Rather, given her husband's preexisting enthusiasm for silkworms and her own "self-conception circumscribed by the 'huswife' ideal," the timing of her silk cultivation at her husband's Belmont plantation suggests a neat merger of husbandly advocacy and her own intellectual and botanical energy. (142)
In her cultivation and winding of raw silk, Pinckney no doubt drew on her experience in working up other textiles, which involved adapting the use of slave labor to new expertise and equipment. (143) Between 1745 and 1747, as part of a scheme to manufacture mixed-fiber clothing for plantation slaves, Pinckney was urged by her father, George Lucas, to "order a Sensible negro woman or two if necessary to learn to spin," and Pinckney also arranged for an enslaved carpenter to build a loom and wheels according to specifications given by Irish operatives. (144) Pinckney's silk operations likewise combined European sourcing and expertise with African labor. She read manuals, "sent for eggs," and "paid great attention to the proper drying of the cocoons" so as to destroy the worms without damaging the filament of the cocoons. (145) The carpenter who made the loom and could "make any thing that is wanting" was named Sogo; he had apparently replaced another slave called Pompey, who was suffering from pleurisy, in 1745. Given the overlap in time and location, it is fair to suppose that one of these two slaves rigged up the shelving for Pinckney's silkworms at Belmont and possibly also constructed the reeling apparatus required to draw off the raw silk from the cocoons. Biographer Harriott Horry Ravenel explained that Pinckney used slaves extensively in her cultivation of silk, "continu[ing] it for many years as an occupation for those of her people who could do no other work." Buildings required construction and scrupulous cleaning, probably with limewash. Slave "children gathered the mulberry leaves and fed the worms," while "she and her maids wound or 'reeled' the silk." (146) That slaves with the kind of dexterity, skill, and practice needed to reel silk were owned by the Pinckneys is shown in their advertising "a handy wench, who is a very good seamstress," for hire in 1755. (147) It was unusual, but not necessarily out of character, that Eliza Pinckney sought to reel the silk onsite rather than send cocoons to the Charleston filature as others did.
Pinckney's silk efforts also demonstrate how elite endeavor was sharpened by metropolitan encouragement and patronage. Pinckney's production between 1744 and 1752 culminated in a much-celebrated piece of material culture, a three-piece, gold damask robe a la francaise proudly retained in the family and still in "superb" condition when it was displayed at the 1901-1902 Charleston exhibition. The New York Tribune deemed the dress "[o]ne of the most interesting of the silken relics," though the article erroneously claimed that "the cocoons ... were produced at Wappoo 150 years ago and taken to England for reeling and weaving." (148) In a letter from 1829, daughter Harriott Pinckney Horry recollected that her mother had "made a sufficient quantity of raw silk to produce many yards of very rich wearing apparel," and Ravenel reported that Pinckney subsequently "had three beautiful dresses woven of it" in England. (149) In the summer of 1753, the Pinckneys had a remarkable two-hour audience with Augusta, Princess Dowager of Wales, and her children at the royal gardens in Kew. The two mothers, each representing matriarchal ideals of their respective worlds, discussed "many little domestick questions"--from breastfeeding to Atlantic seasickness, Indians to indigo birds. But one subject particularly considered was "our manifactures and concerning silk"; Pinckney reported that "we answered her Royal Highness in the clearest manner we could." Augusta's interest was more than polite, for she herself was an enthusiastic gardener and a founder of the botanic gardens. (150) In 1755 Charles Pinckney presented Augusta "with a Piece of Silk Damask of the Growth and Product of his own Plantation ... and dyed a fine Blue with CAROLINA INDICO, which her Royal Highness was pleased to receive very favourably; and to declare her Satisfaction in seeing such Improvements made in the Produce of our Colonies; and so much approved of the same, that she will honour it with her own Wearing." (151)
The Pinckney family and their slaves continued to produce silk through the 1760s, making in 1766 "near fifty bushels of cocoons ... which are esteemed to be of the best kind." (152) Their production left an environmental legacy, for "naturalized" white mulberries continued to grow "in untended thickets" during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as the Belmont area urbanized. (153) Eliza's daughter, Harriott, inherited the technical expertise and shared in the management, reeling, and promotion of South Carolina silk. (154) Yet the year before Harriott married a widower planter, Daniel Horry, she was so paranoid about his impressions of her, and about appearing "simple," that she chose not to "ask him to take a ride and see our little silk work." (155) Such role anxiety displayed by Carolina ladies suggests that the pursuit of silk was felt to be somewhat anomalous to their station--at least before homespun became politicized during the American Revolution. (156)
The Pinckneys were not the only South Carolinians privately distributing raw silk, and there is evidence that other samples were circulated to merchants, throwsters, and interested parties in Britain. Henry Laurens, on a business trip to Manchester in 1748, wrote to London merchant Thomas Withington that "the Carolina Raw silk which I mention'd to you is all dispos'd of by my friend that is he has sent it to A throwster's to be wrought so 'tis not in my Power to send Samples of it as I purpos'd." (157) As in the Pinckneys' case, Laurens seems to confirm both that there was widespread interest in colonial silk and its quality and that there was not very much of it to go around. One writer stated in 1775 that Carolina silk was so reputed that "at some of our mills it is preferred to any we receive either from the East Indies or Italy." (158)
Planters were also encouraged--both in their own efforts and in their proxy patronage of townships and filatures--by the high currency that sericulture held in the overlapping worlds of natural science, political economy, and commerce, which provided credible cultural capital for enthusiasts. Silk cultivation attracted amateur and renowned botanists, physicians, horticulturists, and scientists, such as James Petiver, John Brickell, Peter Collinson, Robert Pringle, and Alexander Garden. (159) Garden closely inspected the mechanics of silk production and the relative contributions of its plant, insect, and human functionaries from 1752, paying close attention to the worms spinning (to "Ocularly Learn their Oeconomy") and to Carolina women reeling the cocoons off, whose "Method of winding the Silk off from the bottoms ... was new to me." He concluded, "There seems to be nothing Wanting but Encouragement to bring this to some Account." (160) Having seen "exceeding good" samples in Britain in 1737, the Atlantic botanist Peter Collinson urged Carolinians that silk "is not to be feared" and framed his arguments around the mobilization and empowerment of female labor. (161) Such naturalists linked South Carolinians to wider circles of association that facilitated the transfer of technical literature, resources, and experimental ideas. Physiologist Stephen Hales, for instance, sent Governor William Lyttelton "a Proposal to keep Silkworms eggs from hatching too soon, by keeping them, in well glazed large Jaws, in Wells, and blowing down some times fresh air to them." (162) Irish cleric and improver the Reverend Samuel Pullein part-translated and part-authored a substantial synthetic guide to silk cultivation in 1758, which became highly prized among Carolina women. (163)
Silk cultivation in the later eighteenth century involved a small number of planters, a disproportionately high number of women, a substantial number of white European migrants, and plenty of slaves (especially those unfit for more conventional springtime labor). As a consequence, one finds diffusion of the subject into the colony's everyday life in a distinctive way. By 1746, newspaper printers offered to sell "Very good SILK-WORM SEED" for ready money. (164) A physician reported that Carolina silkworms were useful as medicine: when "dried, powder'd, and laid to the Crown of the Head, [they] are good in Megrims, Virtigoes and Convulsions, and the Ashes of the Silk cleanseth Wounds, &c." (165) The appetite for relevant literature meant that when John Locke's seventeenth-century observations on sericulture were made public by a descendant of Shaftesbury in 1766, they were quickly circulated in South Carolina. (166)
Mulberry trees had also become important selling points for estates, as indicated by the emphasis on the "great quantity of mulberry, peach and apple trees" situated on a plantation listed for sale in 1761. As early as 1736, a two-hundred-acre plantation on Goose Creek was recorded as including "a nursery of 5 or 600 mulberry trees about two years old, fit to plant out." John Francis Triboudet declared his plot "sufficient to raise 4 or 500 pounds of cocoons"; similarly, Patrick Mackay's 1762 notice claimed that "[o]n this plantation are several hundreds of large white mulberry trees, sufficient for making many thousands of cocoons." (167) Robert Cochran offered land to let on Charleston Neck in 1770 with enough "Mulberry trees to raise at least ten pounds of spun silk every year." (168) The creation and marketing of mulberry orchards both facilitated sericulture and demonstrated dominion over marginal landscapes that helped elites stake their claim to social authority. (169)
Besides altering the shape of estates, the pursuit of silk influenced what international news was deemed of interest to Carolinians. For example, readers of the South Carolina Gazette were informed in 1741, through letters from Turin, that a freak cold snap had done widespread damage to Italian mulberries. (170) A few years later it was reported that a wealthy "gentleman possessed of a large fortune in ready money, lately returned from Italy & France, is determined to plant mulberry trees in Hampshire; and makes no doubt but that he shall be able to breed silk-worms, and manage them at least as well as they do at present in several parts of Germany." (171) In later years, Carolinians were updated on progress in sericulture in Minorca, Ireland, Naples, Prussia, Persia, India, and Sicily; and when silk was taken up more fervently by other American colonies, news of their exploits was, of course, closely monitored. (172)
The scattered references to the quantities of silk produced in or exported from South Carolina allow for only tentative inferences. Contemporaries measured output in different ways: cocoons were sometimes counted and other times measured in bushels or pounds; raw silk was listed in pounds weight, pounds currency, hogsheads, chests, bales, and so forth. This variety caused confusion at the time and for historians. (173) Even where contemporaries clearly specified the quantity (and even quality) of silk produced, which happened more consistently once commissioners had to certify bounties or exports, such estimates did not reflect colonial production in its entirety. There was a high degree of underrecording for at least three reasons. First, families and planters did use their silk domestically, as thread and in the creation and repair of mixed fabrics. Second, much production was concentrated in the upcountry among populations of foreign origin, away from the Anglo-oriented hub of Charleston. Finally, in the years when Georgia authorities offered cash for cocoons or raw silk, plenty of product was either openly transported or clandestinely smuggled across the Savannah River. (174) Put together, the references point to a pattern of consistent but very limited and generally localized output, with some clear indications of increase in uptake, production, and export in the 1760s, largely driven by producers in the interior. This eclectic spotting helps explain how silk could be both dressed up in subsequent histories as a justification for future attempts and dressed down as a non-event.
Overall, silk production never met the imperial- and colonial-level aspirational models of political economy for which it was intended--whether as a staple, a secondary product, or even a remunerative sideline. Considered as an export, silk barely registered: according to one survey in 1747-1748, silk was the twelfth-most valuable commodity exported from Charleston, yet at 1,600 [pounds sterling] (S.C.) silk was worth only 0.14 percent of the total exports, valued at 1,129,557 [pounds sterling] (S.C.), which were dominated by rice (54.78 percent by value), deerskins (22.31 percent), and indigo (10.39 percent). (175) Considered as an import, silk was similarly negligible, for the English silk industry during the eighteenth century probably required around 700,000 pounds of raw silk per annum at its lowest point, and according to the recorded exports of 1769-1774, Carolinians exported to London some 2,165 pounds of raw silk (361 pounds per annum), albeit 90 percent graded "exceeding fine." (176) Yet at a local level, silk raising prompted extensive exertion. From the first French family who generated thirty pounds of raw silk in 1683, to the households John Archdale reported as raising forty to fifty pounds in the 1690s, to the bounty claimants for around eighteen pounds each in 1737-1739 and thirty-nine pounds in 1744-1748, to the more patchy export records of about sixty pounds per annum in 1742-1750, and beyond into the final decades of the colonial era, hundreds of South Carolina feeders and their silkworms were busy in huts, sheds, and specially constructed buildings each spring, consuming the foliage of tens of thousands of carefully planted white mulberry trees. (177)
Although silk never materialized as the savior of South Carolina's economic integrity, it is not quite fair to say that the endeavor did not lead to anything. Silk production had a material, cultural, and environmental legacy in clothing, dresses, and the proliferation of imported M. alba. It played a significant part in influencing schemes for and arguments about economic development and generated innovation in the justification and practice of state investment: taxes paid for public slaves and their training, bounties, and filatures, as well as the global sourcing of technical knowledge, experts, and technology. Silk helped bring Huguenots, Swiss, and Italians to early Carolina, foment schemes for westward expansion, and broaden slave employment. If "global actors, agents, forces, and phenomena underpinned
the establishment of South Carolina's rice export complex," they also shaped the repeated attempts at silk. (178) As an export as well as an import, silk made a significant contribution to the globalizing of South Carolina's horizons: here was an ancient Chinese product carried by Mediterranean experts to an American landscape where, with British patronage, a Caribbean-born woman had trained Africans to generate enough to have some wrought by French weavers into a garment for the German-born Princess of Wales! Above all, the persistence of silk hopes in the face of repeated failures points to the extraordinary self-confidence and tenacity of public bodies and private individuals in the eighteenth-century Atlantic world. Charles Woodmason may have determined that the main problem with South Carolina sericulture was that "preserverance [sic], is not in the Composition of a Carolinian--They axe Volatile--and quickly tir'd of attending the Process of any thing that is teidous [sic] or laborious in the Operation." (179) But if this is how South Carolina failed, it is little wonder that the province was among the most opulent of all British possessions by the time of the American Revolution.
(1) "Silk Hope Plantation," sales brochure issued by Thornhill Properties, Charleston, S.C., available online at http://www.thornhillpropertiesllc.com/images/Internet Silk Hope Brochure 1.pdf. For much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Silk Hope was owned by the prominent slaveholding families the Manigaults and the Heywards. Ironically, Silk Hope was one of the earliest plantations to demonstrate the feasibility of rice culture in South Carolina, which it continued into the antebellum period, and was also famous for its production of indigo in the late colonial era. Henry A. M. Smith, "The Baronies of South Carolina," South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine, 18 (January 1917), 3-36, esp. 12-14; James M. Clifton, "The Ante-Bellum Rice Planter as Revealed in the Letterbook of Charles Manigault, 1846-1848: Part I," South Carolina Historical Magazine, 74 (July 1973), 119-27, esp. 119-21; Maurice A. Crouse, "Gabriel Manigault: Charleston Merchant," South Carolina Historical Magazine, 68 (October 1967), 220-31, esp. 226. For some thoughts on South Carolina plantation names and their '"imperialist nostalgia,'" see S. Max Edelson, Plantation Enterprise in Colonial South Carolina (Cambridge, Mass., 2006), 141-42 (quotation on 141).
(2) On the global integration of South Carolina "from the start," see Peter A. Coclanis, "Global Perspectives on the Early Economic History of South Carolina," South Carolina Historical Magazine, 106 (April-July 2005), 130-46 (quotation on 145).
(3) Richard Middleton, Colonial America: A History, 1607-1760 (Malden, Mass., 1992), 108 (first quotation); Peter Charles Hoffer, The Brave New World: A History of Early America (Boston, 2000), 407 (second quotation); Alan Taylor, American Colonies (New York. 2001), 237 (third quotation). Silk is not mentioned in Russell R. Menard, "Economic and Social Development of the South," in Stanley L. Engerman and Robert E. Gallman, eds., The Cambridge Economic History of the United States. Vol. I: The Colonial Era (New York, 1996), 249-95; or R. C. Nash, "South Carolina and the Atlantic Economy in the Late Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries." Economic History Review, 45 (November 1992), 677-702.
(4) Robert M. Weir, Colonial South Carolina: A History (Millwood, N.Y., 1983), 142. To this list one could add sugarcane, currants, pepper, hemp, cocoa, flax, ginger, tobacco, almonds, madder, cochineal, and other commodities.
(5) Converse D. Clowse, Economic Beginnings in Colonial South Carolina, 1670-1730 (Columbia, S.C., 1971), 136.
(6) David Ramsay, The History of South-Carolina, from Its First Settlement in 1670, to the Year" 1808 (2 vols.; Charleston, S.C., 1809), II, 220.
(7) Nelson Klose, "Sericulture in the United States," Agricultural History, 37 (October 1963), 225-34, esp. 226; Robert Mills, Statistics of South Carolina, Including a View of Its Natural, Civil, and Military History, General and Particular (1826 ed.; reprint, Spartanburg, S.C., 1972), 155. See below, note 173, for a discussion of this figure.
(8) Sidney R. Bland, "Women and World's Fairs: The Charleston Story," South Carolina Historical Magazine, 94 (July 1993), 166-84, esp. 176-79 (quotation on 179). For a range of items and clippings relating to this enthusiasm, see "Biographical and Genealogical Research on Henrietta A. Kelly," File 30-4 Kelly; and "Silk Cultivation," File 30-02-3, both in Vertical Files (South Carolina Historical Society. Charleston, S.C.). One newspaper editorial declared that "every progressive farmer in South Carolina ... should have a hedge or an orchard of these [mulberry] trees." "Silk Culture in South Carolina," Charleston News and Courier, February 6, 1902, p. 4. In a similar vein, the citizens of Orangeburg, South Carolina, announced in the News and Courier, March 17, 1902, p. 6, that they had formed a new silk association and were "looking into the matter of getting the necessary machinery for reeling the silk." On March 5, 1902, the same newspaper reported that "North Carolina already has one silk mill, we believe, and promises to lead the South in the new industry of silk culture." A correspondent for the New York Tribune summed up the most important reason for silk's failure, as presented at the Charleston exhibition: "The one vital lack, they declare, is the patience necessary to be content in the beginning with small gains." "Silk Culture Here," New York Tribune, March 31, 1902, p. 5.
(9) "Commerce, Naval and Military Resources of Charleston," DeBow's Review, 3 (June 1847), 516-28, esp. 524: "Silk and Silk Culture," ibid., 5 (May-June 1848). 411-45, esp. 427-31. On the relationship between southern agricultural periodicals, sectionalism, and proslavery ideology, see John D. Majewski, Modernizing a Slave Economy." The Economic Vision of the Confederate Nation (Chapel Hill, 2009). chaps. 1-2.
(10) Brooke Hindle, The Pursuit of Science in Revolutionary America. 1735-1789 (Chapel Hill, 1956), 199-201; Lewis Cecil Gray, History of Agriculture in the Southern United States to 1860 (2 vols.; Washington, D.C., 1933), I, 53-54, 185-87: Arthur Henry Hirsch, The Huguenots of Colonial South Carolina (Hamden, Conn., 1962), 196-205; Robert L. Meriwether, The Expansion of South Carolina, 1729-1765 (Kingsport, Tenn., 1940), 37, 254; Joyce E. Chaplin, An Anxious Pursuit: Agricultural Innovation and Modernity in the Lower South. 1730-1815 (Chapel Hill, 1993), 158-65: Bobby F. Edmonds, The Huguenots of New Bordeaux (McCormick, S.C., 2005), 52-53, 61-62; Bertrand Van Ruymbeke, Front New Babylon to Eden: The Huguenots and Their Migration to Colonial South Carolina (Columbia, S.C., 2006), 28-35, 113, 191, 206-7: Edelson, Plantation Enterprise in Colonial South Carolina, 38-41, 72; Arlin C. Migliazzo, To Make This Land Our Own: Community. Identity, and Cultural Adaptation in Purissburg Township. South Carolina. 1732-1865 (Columbia, S.C., 2007), 232-38.
(11) Edelson, Plantation Enterprise in Colonial South Carolina, 60 (first quotation), 61 (second quotation).
(12) Van Ruymbeke, From New Babylon to Eden, 206. This emphasis was presumably intended as a response to claims that "'some Huguenots tried to raise silkworms." Walter Edgar, South Carolina: A History (Columbia, S.C., 1998), 149.
(13) Chaplin, Anxious Pursuit, 161-64 (quotation on 161-62).
(14) Edelson, Plantation Enterprise in Colonial South Carolina, 195 (first quotation); Jennifer Lyle Morgan, "This Is 'Mines': Slavery and Reproduction in Colonial Barbados and South Carolina," in Jack P. Greene, Rosemary Brana-Shute, and Randy J. Sparks, eds., Money, Trade. and Power: The Evolution of Colonial South Carolina's Plantation Society (Columbia, S.C., 2001), 187-216 (second quotation on 214n59); Migliazzo, To Make This Land Our Own, 232-38.
(15) For example, Jacob Guerard and Rene Petit carried silkworm eggs, not cocoons (as Van Ruymbeke states), with them on board the Richmond in December 1679; silkworms "disdained leaves" not "from American black mulberry trees," as Chaplin contends, but from the indigenous Morus rubra (red mulberries). Van Ruymbeke, From New Babylon to Eden, 206; Chaplin, Anxious Pursuit, 161.
(16) Chaplin, Anxious Pursuit, 158-65 (first, second, and third quotations on 158; fourth quotation on 165: fifth quotation on 164; sixth and seventh quotations on 162). According to James C. Bonnet, "high production [in 1766] induced the British government to reduce the bounty from three shillings per pound of cocoons to approximately one-half that sum." Bonner, "Silk Growing in the Georgia Colony," Agricultural History, 43 (January 1969), 143-47 (quotation on 147). This is borne out in the generous terms of the complementary new Parliamentary bounty system approved in 1769 and lauded as generous by Benjamin Franklin and Adam Smith, among others. Benjamin Franklin to Noble W. Jones, April 3, 1769, in Allen D. Candler, ed., The Colonial Records of the State of Georgia. Vol. XV: Journal of the Commons House of Assembly, October 30, 1769, to June 16, 1782, Inclusive (Atlanta, 1907), 26-29: Adam Smith outlined the "great bounty" in An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, edited by Edwin Carman (2nd ed., 2 vols.; London, 1920), II, 145. Josiah Tucker described the bounty as "immense" in A Letter from a Merchant in London to His Nephew in North America (London, 1766), 24. See also Migliazzo, To Make This Land Our Own, 237-38.
(17) Charleston South Carolina Gazette and Country Journal, March 19, 1771. Monetary values cited in this article are in pound sterling, unless followed by "(S.C.)," which indicates that contemporary sources used local South Carolina currency. The exchange rate between South Carolina currency and the pound sterling stabilized in the 1720s at [pounds sterling] 7 (S.C.) to [pounds sterling] 1 sterling, and it remained roughly the same for the rest of the colonial period. John J. McCusker, Money and Exchange in Europe and America. 1600-1775: A Handbook (Chapel Hill, 1978), 220, 222-224.
(18) This figure is based on the ratios given in Jacqueline Field, Marjorie Senechal, and Madelyn Shaw, American Silk. 1830-1930: Entrepreneurs and Artifacts (Lubbock, Tex., 2007), 15, which suggests 3,000 cocoons to one pound (weight) of raw silk, which require 38.5 mature mulberry trees. John Locke estimated that eight pounds of cocoons usually produced one pound of raw silk, though it is highly likely that colonial production operated at a higher ratio, perhaps between 12:1 and 16:1. John Locke, Observations Upon the Growth and Culture of Vines and Olives: The Production of Silk: The Preservation of Fruits (London, 1766), 70.
(19) For a fuller description of these processes and their complexities, see Silvio Farago, "Sericulture," in Mary Schoeser, Silk (New Haven, 2007), 60-65; for a comprehensive description of the Piedmontese methods that were most valued by manufacturers, see Claudio Zanier, Where the Roads Met: East and West in the Silk Production Processes (17th to 19th Century) (Kyoto, Japan, 1994), 24-31.
(20) Field, Senechal, and Shaw, American Silk, 15; J. G. Dunlop, comp., "Letters from John Stewart to William Dunlop," South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine, 32 (January 1931), 1-33 (quotation on 7).
(21) "Governor William Bull's Representation of the Colony, [November 30,] 1770," in H. Roy Merrens, ed., The Colonial South Carolina Scene: Contemporary Views, 1697-1774 (Columbia, S.C., 1977), 253-70 (quotation on 266).
(22) For more on the required population density for sericulture, see Joseph Ewan, "Silk Culture in the Colonies: With Particular Reference to the Ebenezer Colony and the First Local Flora of Georgia," Agricultural History, 43 (January 1969), 129-42, esp. 138; Chaplin, Anxious Pursuit, 162-63: and Gray, History of Agriculture in the Southern United States, l, 186-87. For an explication of the value of labor and its relationship to economic growth in Carolina, see Peter C. Mancall, Joshua L. Rosenbloom, and Thomas Weiss, "Agricultural Labor Productivity in the Lower South, 1720-1800," Explorations in Economic History, 39 (October 2002), 390-424. On economies of scale in colonial exports, see Nash, "'South Carolina and the Atlantic Economy."
(23) James Glen, A Description of South Carolina." Containing, Many Curious and Interesting Particulars Relating to the Civil. Natural and Commercial History, of That Colony ... (London, 1761), 11. Writers argued throughout the colonial era that Carolina's latitude was the secret to its potential success. "Whoever consider the Latitude and convenient Situation of Carolina," wrote Irish naturalist John Brickell in 1737, "may easily inform themselves that it is a most delightful and fertil Country, being placed in the same Latitude or part of the World which produces Wine, Oil, Fruit, Grain and Silk, with many other rich Commodities." John Brickell, The Natural History of North-Carolina (Dublin, 1737), 29. Brickell's work derived heavily from that of John -Lawson, who some years earlier had observed, "When we consider the Latitude and convenient Situation of Carolina.... our Reason would inform us, that such a Place lay fairly to be a delicious Country, being placed in that Girdle of the World which affords Wine, Oil, Fruit, Grain, and Silk, with other rich Commodities.'" John Lawson, A New Voyage to Carolina ... (London, 1709), 79 (quotation), 85. For wider discussions of eighteenth-century naturalists' various biogeographical models in relation to latitude, climate, and biodiversity, see Anya Zilberstein, "Planting Improvement: The Rhetoric and Practice of Scientific Agriculture in Northern British America, 1670-1820" (Ph.D. dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2008): Richard W. Judd, The Untilled Garden: Natural History.' and the Spirit of Conservation in America, 1740-1840 (New York, 2009); and Karen Ordahl Kupperman, "Fear of Hot Climates in the Anglo-American Colonial Experience," William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd ser., 41 (April 1984), 213-40. On Low country volatility, see Edelson, Plantation Enterprise in Colonial South Carolina, 98-103.
(24) Glen, Description of South Carolina, 12-28: Everett Mendelsohn, "John Lining and His Contribution to Early American Science," Isis, 51 (September 1960), 278-92, esp. 284-92. Lanarkshire-born Lining was later famous for his work on yellow lever.
(25) B. R. Carroll, ed., Historical Collections of South Carolina ... from Its First Discovery to Its Independence, in the Year 1776 (2 vols.; New York, 1836), II, 210 (quotation); Glen, Description of South Carolina, 23-25.
(26) Carroll, ed., Historical Collections of South Carolina, II, 217. James Glen himself lost some three hundred orange trees and his prize olive tree to an "intense" frost. Glen, Description of South Carolina, 28. On the problems of adverse or changeable weather conditions for moriculture (the growing of mulberry trees) and sericulture, see Luca Mola, The Silk Industry of Renaissance Venice (Baltimore, 2000), 230-32; and Giovanni Federico, An Economic History of the Silk Industry, 1830-1930 (New York, 1997), 13-15.
(27) On the difficulties surrounding the export of expertise, see Giuseppe Chicco, La seta in Piemonte, 1650-1800: Un sistema industriale d'ancien regime (Milan, Italy, 1995).
(28) Some indigenous silk yarn was harvested from protective nests spun by wild Anaphe caterpillars. But the processes were distinct, involving degumming, drying, carding, and spinning the coarse brown nest fibers, before the yarn could be woven into cloth, termed sanyan and tsamiya, respectively, by Yoruba and Hausa peoples. J. Chunwike Ene, "Indigenous Silk-Weaving in Nigeria," Nigeria Magazine, no. 81 (1964), 127-36; Colleen E. Kriger, Cloth in West African History, (Lanham, Md., 2006), 25-26.
(29) The Spanish destruction of Port Royal in December 1686 scuppered plans to raise silk in that promising region. Van Ruymbeke, From New Babylon to Eden, 112-13. The difficulties of transporting eggs across the Atlantic were underlined in the spoilage of some of the first Huguenot attempts. William J. Rivers, A Sketch of the History of South Carolina (Spartanburg, S.C., 1972), 173-74. Besides the diseases and incidents mentioned below in relation to the Poyas project in the late 1730s, other highly disruptive events at points when silk was reported as on the rise in the economy included the ravages of smallpox and yellow fever in 1697-1699 and the terrible hurricane of September 1700, which reportedly "done great Damage to ye Country. Thousands of Trees have been torn up by ye Roots." Gerald N. Grob, The Deadly Truth: A History of Disease in America (Cambridge, Mass., 2002), 74, 76; quotation from Edward Hyrne to Elizabeth Hyrne, October 19, 1700, Hyrne Family Papers (South Carolina Historical Society). Ida Lining described "the legend of an early Swiss or German colony in the Greenville, S.C., vicinity whose attempts to foster silk raising were thwarted by Indian problems." Bland, "Women and World's Fairs," 177n21. Converse Clowse, among others, has argued that "[l]uck, rather than design, was the most important factor in finding the first important staple, rice." Clowse, Economic Beginnings in Colonial South Carolina, 81. Although recent scholars have enlarged our understanding of the origins and development of rice culture, there remains a tendency to exaggerate the agency of what Gary L. Hewitt has described as "the providential appearance of profitable staple crops." Hewitt, "The State in the Planters' Service: Politics and the Emergence of a Plantation Economy in South Carolina," in Greene, Brana-Shute, and Sparks, eds., Money, Trade, and Power, 49-73 (quotation on 49). For a discussion of the historiography of rice culture, see Edelson, Plantation Enterprise in Colonial South Carolina. 58-60.
(30)Thomas Cooper and David J. McCord, eds., The Statutes at Large of South Carolina (10 vols.; Columbia, S.C., 1836-1841), I, 26, 36; hereinafter cited as S.C. Statutes. This concern was also made manifest in the "Barbadoes Concessions" of January 7, 1664, in Collections of the South Carolina Historical Society. Vol. V: Langdon Cheves, ed., The Shaftesbury Papers and Other Records Relating to Carolina and the First Settlement on Ashley River Prior to the Year 1676 (Charleston, S.C., 1897), 29-49, esp. 41. Barbados planters, of course, were keen to ensure that Carolina's economic orientation be complementary not competitive, and therefore they supported the goal of sericulture. See also Duke of Albemarle to Thomas Modyford and Peter Colleton, August 30, 1663, and to Lord Willoughby, August 31, 1663, in Cheves, ed., Shaftesbury Papers, 13-15.
(31) Edgar, South Carolina, 219. See also Edward McCrady, The History of South Carolina under the Royal Government. 1719-1776 (New York, 1899), 694 95. For the commons house records of this impasse, see Journal of the Commons House of Assembly, No. 38, Part 3 (January 15, 1771, to November 5, 1772), 580-83, MS 1761-1776 (South Carolina Department of Archives and History, Columbia, S.C.); hereinafter cited as Commons Journal, 1761-1776.
(32) Ribault justified this outpost to his patron. Admiral Gaspard de Coligny, by emphasizing the prospect of economic production and "the commodities that may be brought thence." He purportedly left a small garrison of around thirty men there with a rousing speech, urging them to "'make triall in this our first discoverie of the benefites and commodities of this newe lande." Ribault felt that Carolina was "a countrie full of hauens, riuers, and Ilands of such fruitfulnes, as cannot with tongue be expressed: and where in short time great and precious comodities might be found," and he had already identified in Terra Florida "Silke wormes in merueilous number, a great deale fairer and better then be our silk wormes." Richard Hakluyt, Divers Voyages Touching the Discovery of America and the Islands Adjacent. edited by John Winter Jones (London, 1850), 113 (first quotation), xcvii (second quotation), 109 (third quotation), 101 (fourth quotation). In a letter informing King Philip II of the eradication of the French, Menendez de Aviles listed silk among the potential high-yield products that would make the region "para Espana valdra masque la Nueva Espana, ni aun Peru [worth more to Spain than New Spain, or even Peru]." Menendez de Aviles to Philip II, October 15, 1565, in Eugenio Ruidiaz y Caravia, La Florida: Su conquista y colonizacion pot" Pedro Menendez de Aviles (2 vols.; Madrid, 1893). II, 100, 104 (quotation; translation by the author). The adelantados (governor-explorers) and some Spanish royal officials had good contractual reasons to pursue remunerative agricultural projects, because their salaries were to be paid out of the produce of the country. "Capitulacion y Asiento," March 20, 1565, in Ruidiaz y Caravia, La Florida, II, 420. But the hardships of sustaining a fledgling settlement among hostile Indians apparently precluded any actual Spanish attempts at silk cultivation in South Carolina before Santa Elena was abandoned in 1587. For a wider discussion, see Woodbury Lowery, The Spanish Settlements within the Present Limits of the United States: Florida. 1562-1574 (New York, 1959), 211-13.
(33) W. Noel Sainsbury, ed., Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series. Vol. I: 1574-1660 (London, 1860), 109-10 (quotations on 110). Like its ill-fated precursor at Charlesfort, this plan was predominantly oriented toward economic ambitions (silk, salt, wine, and olives), with the religious element operating only as an organizing and recruiting structure. See Van Ruymbeke, From New Babylon to Eden, 1-5. De Sance's plan involved recruiting certified artisans from the Atlantic port of La Rochelle (site of a bloody Protestant defeat in 1628) and was for a time entertained as a partnership with Sir Robert Heath to settle Carolana, chartered by Charles I in 1629. Ambitious leaders of the prospective settlement drew up articles of agreement in May 1630, securing themselves monopolies on the "'transportation of people and merchandise." Some few persistent Huguenots may have embarked for Carolina aboard the Mayflower, which was redirected to Virginia in October 1633, allegedly on account of insufficient victuals, but scant records make it impossible to determine this conclusively. In any event, the surviving colonists preferred, with good reason, to take their chances in Virginia, leaving the angry organizers (led by Edward Kingswell) and the merchant shippers (Samuel Vassall) to resolve the legal disputes. Sainsbury, ed., Calendar of State Papers, 1, 115 (quotation in note), 190-91; Weir, Colonial South Carolina, 47-48. For recent accounts with differing interpretations of any Huguenot presence aboard the Mayflower, see Van Ruymbeke, From New Babylon to Eden, 246n12; Robert Brenner, Merchants and Revolution: Commercial Change. Political Conflict. and London's Overseas Traders, 1550-1653 (Princeton, 1993), 135-36; and Paula Wheeler Carlo, Huguenot Refugees in Colonial New York: Becoming American in the Hudson Valley (Brighton, Eng., 2005), 13.
(34) In 1666 Robert Home informed readers in A Brief Description of the Province of Carolina that "Mulbury-Trees, and the Silk-worm breeding naturally on them," were among the many sorts of fertile fruit trees that settlers would find. Carroll, ed., Historical Collections of South Carolina, II, 12. Seeking to recruit migrants from Barbados, the disease-ridden engine of British Atlantic sugar production in the seventeenth century, and to allay concern there about new competition, the proprietors emphasized that silk was one of "those commodyties that will not injure nor overthrow the other plantations." Duke of Albemarle to Thomas Modyford and Peter Colleton, August 30, 1663, in Cheves, ed., Shaftesbury Papers, 13-14 (quotation on 14). For one of the best recent accounts of the proprietorship, with a stress on placing developments in Carolina in their contemporary context, see L. H. Roper, Conceiving Carolina: Proprietors, Planters. and Plots. 1662-1729 (New York, 2004).
(35) A member of the Royal Society, Shaftesbury was keen to link economic profit to more high-minded advances in the natural sciences and was quite willing, as he put it, "to throw away some money in making some experiments" on his plantations. Carolina storekeepers and botanists were directed to obtain a plethora of cuttings, roots, and seeds from a range of regions and to plant them at different intervals and in different seasons and soils to establish what products most thrived. Silk recurred as a product of great potential in these early experiments, alongside tobacco, grapevines, olives, indigo, rice, hemp, flax, and ginger. Fittingly, the council journals recorded at a meeting on March 4, 1672/3, that the 12,000 acres marked out ['or Shaftesbury on "'the Western branch of the North [Cooper] river" were "com[mon]ly called ye Mulberry tree'--later known as Mulberry plantation (now a National Historic Landmark). Shaftesbury was soon receiving positive indications about the climate and soil: whereas Joseph Dalton reported after his first few seasons that winters were too cold for sugarcane and cotton, he affirmed that "Wine Oyle and Silke" could be "propagated to great perfection and profitt." Bolstered by such reports, Shaftesbury warned settlers in 1674 that without some progress in new commodities, the proprietors would not continue "to furnish them with necessarys unpaid for but ... intend[ed] to Icy out their money in procuring skilfull men and fitt materialls for the Emprouvm[en]t of the Country in Wine, Silke, Oyle &c." Cheves, ed., Shaftesbury Papers, 414 (first quotation), 125, 420 (second and third quotations), 376-78 (fourth and fifth quotations on 378), 445 (sixth quotation). See also Charles H. Lesser, South Carolina Begins: The Records of a Proprietary Colony, 1663-1721 (Columbia, S.C., 1995), 29; and Clowse, Economic Beginnings in Colonial South Carolina, 58-59.
(36) Van Ruymbeke, From New Babylon to Eden, 34-37.
(37) Certain stipulations were attached: the migrants had to possess genuine skills, were barred from interference in Virginia tobacco, and were expected to refund the loan through the customs return on their "Manufactures of Silkes Hoyles Wines &c." W. Noel Sainsbury and A. S. Salley, eds., Records in the British Public" Record Office Relating to South Carolina, 1663- (5 vols.: Atlanta and Columbia, S.C., 1928-1947), I, 69, 71, 73-75 (quotation on 75), 79-80; hereinafter cited as RBPRO. On the royal silk from Virginia, see "'Historical and Genealogical Notes and Queries," Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, 20 (April 1912), 199.
(38) St. Julien R. Childs, "The Petit-Guerard Colony," South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine, 43 (January 1942), 1-17 (quotation on 1-2).
(39) RBPRO, I, 95. The two leaders, Rene Petit and Jacob Guerard, were awarded 4,000 acres each. Childs, "Petit-Guerard Colony," 9. Shaftesbury's fall from metropolitan grace amid charges of treason in 1681 and his death in the Netherlands in 1683 by no means quashed silk hopes. The next year, another influential proprietor, Peter Colleton, instructed Charleston governor Richard Kyrle to give "all manner of Incouragem[en]t" to the newly arrived Frenchman Baille, "for hee P[er]fectly well understands Silke wine and Oyle." Nothing further is known about the fate of the "'skillfull" Baille. RBPRO, I, 306.
(40) Louis Thibou to "Gentlemen and Dear Friends," September 20, 1683 (South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia); Van Ruymbeke, From New Babylon to Eden, 39; Molly McClain and Alessa Ellefson, "A Letter from Carolina, 1688: French Huguenots in the New World," William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd ser., 64 (April 2007), 377-94, esp. 392-93; Robert Cohen and Myriam Yardeni, "Un Suisse en Caroline du Sud a la fin du XVIIe siecle," Bulletin de la Soeiete de l'Histoire du Protestantisme Francais, 134 (January-February 1988), 59-71, esp. 70.
(41) On Stewart, see Alan Gallay, The Indian Slave Trade: The Rise of the English Empire in the American South, 1670-1717 (New Haven, 2002), 156-64; and Dunlop, comp., "Letters from John Stewart to William Dunlop," 6-7, 17. On Mary Fisher Bayly Crosse, see "Mary Fisher," in John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography (24 vols.; New York, 1999), VIII, 15-16; Carla Gardina Pestana, "The City upon a Hill under Siege: The Puritan Perception of the Quaker Threat to Massachusetts Bay, 1656-1661," New England Quarterly, 56 (September 1983), 323-53; Timothy Marr, The Cultural Roots of American Islamicism (New York, 2006), 2-4; and Randy J. Sparks, "Mary Fisher, Sophia Hume, and the Quakers of Colonial Charleston: 'Women Professing Godliness,'" in Marjorie Julian Spruill, Valinda W. Littlefield, and Joan Marie Johnson, eds., South Carolina Women: Their Lives and Times (3 vols.; Athens. Ga., 2009-2012), I, 40-59, esp. 45-46.
(42) Ramsay, History of South-Carolina, II, 475-80; Carroll, ed., Historical Collections of South Carolina, II, 118, 460; Dunlop, comp., "Letters from John Stewart to William Dunlop," 7; RBPRO, IV, 109, 117-18.
(43) Carroll, ed., Historical Collections of South Carolina, II, 118. For another reference to bondpeople working on silk cultivation, see Morgan, "This Is 'Mines,'" 202.
(44) RBPRO, V, 203-11 (first quotation on 204: second quotation on 207). Writers later in the eighteenth century also emphasized this domestic use; William Bull recollected that "French Protestants ... made and manufactured silk here for their own use." "Governor William Bull's Representation of the Colony. 1770," in Merrens, ed., Colonial South Carolina Scene, 266.
(45) Samuel Gaillard Stoney, "Nicholas de Longuemare: Huguenot Goldsmith and Silk Dealer in Colonial South Carolina," Transactions of the Huguenot Society of South Carolina, 50 (1950), 38-42. Throwsters manipulated the raw silk fibers, wound from the cocoons, into consolidated threads by twisting, doubling, winding, and other processes. This was a critical step between sericulture and weaving, since silk (excepting so-called waste silk) was not carded and spun. Schoeser. Silk. 232-41, esp. 236-37.
(46) Samuel Gaillard Stoney, ed., "Account Book of Nicholas de Longuemare, 1703-1711," Transactions of the Huguenot Society of South Carolina, 55 (1950), 43-69 (first and third quotations on 66: second quotation on 64). For a brief discussion of Du Tartre and Huguenot weaving, see Van Ruymbeke, From New Babylon to Eden, 79-80.
(47) Locke, Observations Upon the Growth and Culture of Vines and Olives, 63, 68-70.
(48) Will of Marie de Longuemare, October 18, 1712 (Charleston Museum Archives, Charleston, S.C.).
(49) RBPRO, IV, 189-90 (quotation on 190).
(50) Lawson, New Voyage to Carolina, 5. Two years earlier, Robert Holden informed the Board of Trade in his survey of the Carolinas that the southern province "produceth Rice; silk and Tobacco" in addition to its vibrant fur and provisions trades. William L. Saunders, ed., The Colonial Records of North Carolina (10 vols.; Raleigh, 1886-1890), 1, 663-64 (quotation on 664).
(51) Elizabeth Hyrne to Burrell Massingberd, April 2, 1700, LAO 2MM/B/7/5 (Lincolnshire Archive Office, Lincoln, Eng.). Hyrne's husband aimed to buy a plantation with "a good house upon it several out houses for (?) Negroes [and] about five hundred head of cattle" but required capital that was protected in trust to her; she requested that her family release the principal. See also Pauline M. Loven, ed., "Hyrne Family Letters, 1699-1757," South Carolina Historical Magazine, 102 (January 2001), 27-46; and Albert J. Schmidt, ed., "Hyrne Family Letters," South Carolina Historical Magazine, 63 (July 1962), 150-57.
(52) Hirsch, Huguenots of Colonial South Carolina, 197; Saunders, ed., Colonial Records of North Carolina, II, 229-33 (quotation on 232).
(53) Francis Yonge, A View of the Trade of South-Carolina ... (London, 1722), in Merrens, ed., Colonial South Carolina Scene, 68 75 (quotation on 72).
(54) Yonge was part of a prolonged lobbying effort that secured a Parliamentary decree in 1730 to ease the passage of Carolina rice to markets south of Cape Finisterre. Kenneth Morgan, "The Organization of the Colonial American Rice Trade," William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd ser., 52 (July 1995), 433-52, esp. 439; Peter A. Coclanis, "Rice Prices in the 1720s and the Evolution of the South Carolina Economy," Journal of Southern History, 48 (November 1982), 531-44, esp. 534-35.
(55) Roper, Conceiving Carolina; Edgar, South Carolina, chaps, 6-7. These conflicts included major contests between settlers and Indians, Anglicans and dissenters, and proprietors and planters.
(56) Coclanis, "Rice Prices in the 1720s."
(57) For the most comprehensive recent discussion on the origins of rice culture, see Edelson, Plantation Enterprise in Colonial South Carolina, 53-91. For a firm refutation of umbilical links through the transatlantic slave trade between Upper Guinea Africans and the establishment of Lowcountry rice culture, see David Eltis, Philip Morgan, and David Richardson, "Agency and Diaspora in Atlantic History: Reassessing the African Contribution to Rice Cultivation in the Americas," American Historical Review, 112 (December 2007), 1329-58. For an explanation of the swift integration of rice into the Atlantic economy, see Nash, "South Carolina and the Atlantic Economy"; Peter A. Coclanis, "Distant Thunder: The Creation of a World Market in Rice and the Transformations It Wrought," American Historical Review, 98 (October 1993), 1050-78; and Kenneth Morgan, "Organization of the Colonial American Rice Trade."
(58) Hewitt, "State in the Planters' Service," 68.
(59) For Asian-European trade networks and the development of the European textile industry in an earlier period, see Beverly Lemire and Giorgio Riello, "East and West: Textiles and Fashion in Early Modern Europe," Journal of Social History, 41 (Summer 2008), 887-916.
(60) Frank Warner, The Silk Industry of the United Kingdom: Its Origin and Development (London, 1921); Natalie Rothstein, "Huguenots in the English Silk Industry in the Eighteenth Century," in Irene Scouloudi, ed., Huguenots in Britain and Their French Background, 1550-1800 (London, 1987), 125-40: Gail Malmgreen, Silk Town: Industry and Culture in Macclesfield, 1750-1835 (Hull, Eng., 1985); Chicco, La seta in Piemonte, 51-119; Chaplin, Anxious Pursuit, 159-60. On mercantilism and the Carolina colonies, see C. Robert Haywood, "Mercantilism and South Carolina Agriculture, 1700-1763." South Carolina Historical Magazine,
60 (January 1959), 15-27; John J. McCusker, "British Mercantilist Policies and the American Colonies," in Engerman and Gallman, eds., Cambridge Economic History of the United States, I, 337-62: and Peter A. Coclanis, The Shadow of a Dream: Economic Life and Death in the South Carolina Low Country, 1670-1920 (New York, 1989), 14-21.
(61) For some eclectic literature on Georgia and silk, see Mary Thomas McKinstry, "Silk Culture in the Colony of Georgia," Georgia Historical Quarterly, 14 (September 1930), 225-35; Marguerite B. Hamer, "The Foundation and Failure of the Silk Industry in Provincial Georgia," North Carolina Historical Review, 12 (April 1935), 125-48; Pauline Tyson Stephens, "The Silk Industry in Georgia," Georgia Review, 7 (Spring 1953), 39-49; Ewan, "Silk Culture in the Colonies"; Bonnet, "Silk Growing in the Georgia Colony"; W. Calvin Smith, "Utopia's Last Chance? The Georgia Silk Boomlet of 1751," Georgia Historical Quarterly, 59 (Spring 1975), 25-37; and Chicco, La seta in Piemonte, 80-92. Founded in 1754, the "Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce" was frequently known in its early years as the premium society because it offered prizes and medals for individuals who advanced husbandry, manufacturing, and science and technology. The society made silk one of its many priorities in its first forty years and used colonial corresponding members--including Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Garden--to gather information and disseminate patronage. Derek Hudson and Kenneth W. Luckhurst, The Royal Society of Arts, 1754-1954 (London, 1954), esp. 5, 15-16, 91-92, 151-59.
(62) See, for example, Herbert Kisch, Prussian Mercantilism and the Rise of the Krefeld Silk Industry: Variations upon an Eighteenth-Century Theme (Philadelphia, 1968); Regula Schorta, ed., 18th-Century Silks: The Industries of England and Northern Europe (Riggisberg, Germany, 2000); Randolph Vigne and Charles Littleton, eds., From Strangers to Citizens: The Integration of Immigrant Communities in Britain, Ireland, and Colonial America, 1550-1750 (Portland, Ore., 2001); and Roberto Davini, "Bengali Raw Silk, the East India Company and the European Global Market, 1770-1833," Journal of Global History, 4 (March 2009), 57-79.
(63) Menard, "Economic and Social Development of the South," 281.
(64) South Carolina rice planters compared cultivation methods from China and Sumatra with those in northern Africa, Italy, and Spain. Chaplin, Anxious Pursuit, 146-50.
(65) Edelson, Plantation Enterprise in Colonial South Carolina, 195 (first quotation), 258-59; Henry Laurens to Richard Oswald, July 7, 1764, in Philip M. Hamer et al., eds., The Papers of Heno, Laurens (16 vols.: Columbia, S.C., 1968-2003), IV, 331-38 (quotation in note on 337); Henry Laurens to Jonathan Bryan, September 4, 1767, in Hamer et al., eds., Papers of Henry Laurens, V, 288-91. Laurens felt that Long Canes, though unsuited to rice or cotton. might afford in due course "good Silk, fine Indigo, large herds of Cattle, a valuable breed of Horses, [and] abundance of Hemp.'"
(66) Ralph Izard to Henry Laurens, October 18, 1774, in Ralph Izard, Correspondence of Mr. Ralph Izard of South Carolina, from the Year 1774 to 1804: With a Short Memoir (New York, 1844), 15-18 (quotations on 16). See also Izard's aims to expand cotton textile production due to concerns about "clothing and blanketing" the slaves: Ralph Izard to Edward Rutledge, November 15, 1774, ibid., 29-31 (quotation on 31). Izard was still attempting sericulture after the Revolution. See Ralph Izard to Jeremiah Wadsworth, September 25, 1791, Folder 140, Box 20, Jeremiah Wadsworth Papers (Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford, Conn.).
(67) For a comprehensive explication of planters' drive for self-improvement, see Chaplin, Anxious Pursuit. Wealthy planter Gabriel Manigault exemplified these stimuli in relation to his silk experimentation, according to David Duncan Wallace, The History of South Carolina (4 vols.; New York, 1934), 1, 386-89. esp. 387.
(68) The first statute, "An Act for Encouraging the Raising of Hemp, Flax and Silk," which was passed in 1736 and lasted for three years, promised twenty shillings (S.C.) for each pound produced of "good and merchantable raw silk, even-drawn, and fit for any foreign market" and a higher rate of thirty shillings (S.C.) for each pound above the tenth. Moreover, the raiser was expected to swear an oath affirming that the silk was "the produce and growth of land under your improvement." S.C. Statutes, III, 436-37 (quotations on 437).
(69) Hewitt, "State in the Planters' Service," 50. Thomas Cooper, who began compiling the colonial-era Carolina statutes in 1836 in the midst of heated national debates about protectionism, grumpily demanded, "What right has the legislature to tax the citizens generally, that an unprofitable occupation may become profitable to the pursuer?" S.C. Statutes, III, 786.
(70) Later textile products also had bounties lifted with some self-congratulation, the incentives "hav[ing] fully answered the salutary purposes for which they were enacted, and by the great increase and flourishing condition of the manufactures of this State are now become unnecessary." "An Act to repeal several Acts ... granting bounties on the culture and manufacture of Hemp, Flax, Linen, Thread and Cotton," March 28, 1778, S.C. Statutes, IV, 428. On pitch and tar, see Menard, "Economic and Social Development of the South," 276. For the successful incentivization of indigo, see "An Act ... to repeal that part of an Act which gives a bounty upon Indigo ...," April 16, 1746, S.C. Statutes, III, 670-71; and Ramsay, History of South-Carolina, II, 211-12. The best surveys of indigo's introduction are David L. Coon, "Eliza Lucas Pinckney and the Reintroduction of Indigo Culture in South Carolina," Journal of Southern History, 42 (February 1976), 61-76; Chaplin, Anxious Pursuit, 190-208; and Virginia Gall Jelatis, "Tangled Up in Blue: Indigo Culture and Economy in South Carolina, 1747-1800" (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Minnesota, 1999). R. C. Nash has recently challenged the linking of protectionism to production in "South Carolina Indigo, European Textiles, and the British Atlantic Economy in the Eighteenth Century," Economic History, Review, 63 (May 2010), 362-92.
(71) J. H. Easterby et al., eds., The Colonial Records of South Carolina: The Journal of the Commons House of Assembly. 1736-1761 (14 vols.: Columbia, S.C., 1951-1989), I, 322 (quotation), 379,447, 732; II, 317; hereinafter cited as Commons Journal, 1736-1761.
(72) It is testament to the continued local production of South Carolina silk from the 1730s that when the Georgia trustees sought to make that commodity the economic linchpin of their utopian experiment, their main agent sought to source materials from the older colony. In a notice in the Charleston South Carolina Gazette, Georgia authorities offered "to give 3 Pounds Currency [in South Carolina cash] to every Bushel of good Silk Balls, that shall be brought to Mr. Paul Amatis, in Broad-Street in Charlestown." South Carolina Gazette, April 20-27, 1734. Locally raised supplies of trees were also advertised in the 1730s, such as the "'great quantity of young Mulberry Trees, which I will warrant to be of the best white sort," offered by Hercules Coyte, who had been raising silk for ten years by 1736. He cautioned in his first advertisement that buyers could "be supplied with any number of Trees not exceeding 200,000" but was subsequently confident enough to promise that "any Person may be supplied with any Quantity" of trees "from one to three Years Growth." Noting the colonial assembly's recent legislation encouraging silk production, Coyte claimed these leaves would be "fit for making the Choicest of Silk, therefore any Person minded to begin and carry on that noble design, may treat and be supplied by the Subscriber at Mr. Beresford's Plantation, or Mr. Tho: Bolton in Charlestown." South Carolina Gazette, December 11-18, 1736 (first and second quotations), January 15-22, 1737 (fifth quotation), November 2, 1738 (third and fourth quotations).
(73) Commons Journal, 1736-1761, II, 560. This bill was presented to the commons house by Charles Pinckney on March 17, 1741. Though insisting that "scarce any Encouragement too great can be given" to sericulture, and willing to back substantial bounties, the upper house refused to sanction penalties for those planters who failed to maintain even the comparatively small ratio of "five Mulberry Trees for every male slave" they owned, declaring themselves "intirely against the compulsive Part of the Bill." Neither house proved willing to compromise on the matter. The commons house refused to strike out the clause on slave ratios and insisted that planters "return an Account of the Number of their Mulberry Trees on Oath." With various counterproposals summarily rejected by both sides, the matter of a silk bill was dropped on May 26 and did not resurface for some three years. Ibid., 522-24, 535, 546-48, 552, 554 (third quotation in note), 555, 560 (first and second quotations in note), 562-63; ibid., III, 35, 38-40. The average number of slaves owned by the nine royal councillors for whom we have extant slave-owning records, 1720-1763, was 234. M. Eugene Sirmans, "The South Carolina Royal Council, 1720-1763," William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd set., 18 (July 1961), 373-92, esp. 375.
(74) "An Act for the further improvement and encouraging the produce of Silk and other manufactures ...," May 29, 1744, S.C. Statutes, III, 613-16 (first and second quotations on 613; third and fourth quotations on 614). Hercules Coyte was appointed special inspector, who countersigned a certificate verifying the produce (whether cocoons or reeled raw silk) and its quality. There was some tinkering in the legislature with the original bounty levels that suggests an overriding concern about the industrial production of raw silk (raised from thirty to forty shillings [S.C.] per pound) rather than cocoon proliferation (lowered from twenty to sixteen shillings [S.C.] per bushel); knubbs were valued at just eight shillings (S.C.) per bushel. For this silk bill's progression through the legislature, see Commons Journal, 1736-1761, IV, 258, 305, 342, 351, 506, 509-10, 530, 533,540, 549, 551-54; V, 43, 51, 96, 171, 178, 181-82, 188, 190-92, 194-97, 202. Records indicate that a number of payments were made to silk raisers in South Carolina. Sums of 250 [pounds sterling] (S.C.) were laid out as the bounties for cocoons or silk produced in 1744 and 1745. The amount disbursed dropped to 200 [pounds sterling] (S.C.) a year for the period 1746-1749. Commons Journal, 1736-1761, V, 428; VI, 61, 157; VII, 363; VIII, 380; IX, 162. Even after the act expired, ad hoc bounties continued to be granted to petitioning producers, as in the case of Anthony Carouse, an expert who had relocated from Georgia and in 1750 "wrought up eighty-five Pounds Weight of best organzined Silk" for which he was granted around 600 [pounds sterling] (S.C.). Commons Journal, 1736-1761, IX, 381-82 (quotation on 381), 404.
(75) Richard P. Sherman, Robert Johnson: Proprietary and Royal Governor of South Carolina (Columbia, S.C., 1966), 107-29; Meriwether, Expansion of South Carolina, 33.
(76) Robert Mountgomery, A Discourse Concerning the Design'd Establishment of a New Colony to the South of Carolina, in the Most Delightful Country of the Universe (London, 1717); Trevor R. Reese, ed., The Most Delightful Country of the Universe: Promotional Literature of the Colony of Georgia, 1717-1734 (Savannah, 1972).
(77) Meriwether, Expansion of South Carolina, 19-20; Sherman, Robert Johnson, 107-12; Gary Livingston Hewitt, "Expansion and Improvement: Land, People and Politics in South Carolina and Georgia, 1690-1745" (Ph.D. dissertation, Princeton University, 1996), 178-206.
(78) Around two-thirds of French immigrants to Carolina arrived from urban areas, especially the northern or western port towns of Dieppe, Le Havre, La Rochelle, and Bordeaux. Bertrand Van Ruymbeke, "The Huguenots of Proprietary South Carolina: Patterns of Migration and Integration," in Greene, Brana-Shute, and Sparks, eds., Money, Trade, and Power, 26-48, esp. 32, 37; Van Ruymbeke, From New Babylon to Eden, 207. Molly McClain and Alessa Ellefson touch on this point: "Many skilled silk workers from Lyon, Tours, Gaillard, and Nimes had fled France for England and the Netherlands, though few of them made their way to Carolina." McClain and Ellefson, "Letter from Carolina," 383-84. On Protestant entrepreneurs in the French silk industry, see Warren C. Scoville, "The Huguenots in the French Economy, 1650-1750," Quarterly Journal of Economics, 67 (August 1953), 423-44, esp. 431.
(79) Saunders, ed., Colonial Records of North Carolina, IV, 159-62 (first quotation on 160; second quotation on 161). For this reason Johann Rudolff Ochs recommended Samuel Jenner's scheme for transplanting the remaining Swiss, inured to "high and dry Country in a serine air," to the mountains of North Carolina. The Board of Trade acceded to this suggestion in its May 1736 memorandum to George II, though it could not resist claiming that the Swiss would also "raise silk." Ibid., 161 (first quotation in note), 166 (second quotation in note); Mills, Statistics of South Carolina, 370.
(80) Arlin C. Migliazzo, ed., Lands of True and Certain Bounty: The Geographical Theories and Colonization Strategies of Jean Pierre Purry (Selinsgrove, Pa., 2002), 13-42, 118 (quotations). Purry's earlier writings, such as his two 1718 memorials for the Dutch East India Company "on the Country of Kaffraria and the Terre de Nuyts," made little specific mention of silk and were more firmly aimed at wine. Ibid., 45-114.
(81) Jean Pierre Purry, "Memorial ... Upon the present condition of Carolina, and the means of its amelioration" , ibid., 120-28 (quotation on 128).
(82) Migliazzo, ed., Lands of True and Certain Bounty, 132 (first quotation): Jean Pierre Purry, "A Brief Description of the Current State of South Carolina" [new ed.], ibid., 136-63 (second quotation on 153: third quotation on 143-44). With proprietary disputes, pirates, Spanish invasions, and Indian wars now in the colony's past, Purry emphasized that the newly stable, peaceful, and expanding province evinced an appetite for manufactures and promised "liberty of conscience and commerce." While enthusing about almost every commodity, he stressed silk as a product from which "one can certainly enrich himself." Purry, "Brief Description of the Current State of South Carolina," 146 (first quotation in note), 143 (second quotation in note). His pamphlet was published in numerous editions in multiple languages, including Gentleman's Magazine, 2 (August 1732), 886, 894-96. Later editions appended an "Extract of a Letter from Charles Town, South Carolina October 5th 1733," affirming Purry's expectations that "this country of Carolina will become one of the richest and most flourishing provinces of America by means of commerce in silks." Purry, "Brief Description of the Current State of South Carolina," 162.
(83) Further, this correspondent wrote, Carolinians "have some hopes of making that manufacture a considerable branch of our trade. The mulberry trees grow wild, and very fine there, and the whole work, from raising the worm to putting up the balls, takes up but six weeks, at a time of the year, when our planters have the least to do." R. T., "Extracts of Some Letters from Carolina," Gentleman's Magazine, 19 (September 1749), 410. For a later example of positive publicity linking Swiss immigrants to silk culture, see Walter L. Robbins, ed. and trans., "John Tobler's Description of South Carolina (1754)," South Carolina Historical Magazine, 71 (October 1970), 257-65, esp. 263-64. Tobler, a deposed governor of a portion of the Swiss canton of Appenzell, had arrived in Charleston via Falmouth, England, in 1737 with around two hundred fellow settlers. Charles G. Cordle, ed., "The John Tobler Manuscripts: An Account of German-Swiss Emigrants in South Carolina, 1737," Journal of Southern History, 5 (February 1939), 83-97.
(84) For the best contextual biography of Purrysburg, the most important township to silk production, see Migliazzo, To Make This Land Our Own, esp. 209-15, 232-38 (quotation on 232).
(85) New Bordeaux was located at the confluence of Long Cane Creek and Little River, tributaries of the Savannah River, in present-day McCormick County. Edward M. Riley, Survey of the Historic Sites of the Clark Hill Reservoir Area, South Carolina and Georgia (Athens, Ga., 1949), 10-11; Edgar, South Carolina, 54; Nora Marshall Davis, "The French Settlement at New Bordeaux," Transactions of the Huguenot Society of South Carolina, 56 (1951), 28-57; Edmonds, Huguenots of New Bordeaux, 43-73.
(86) South Carolina Gazette, October 1-8, 1764.
(87) Petition of Jean Louis Gibert, June 24, 1766, in Commons Journal, 1761-1776, No. 37, Part 1 (October 28, 1765, to May 28, 1767), 177. Metropolitan experts, despite a few concerns about "the late disturbances in America," were impressed enough to pledge monies amounting to 100 [pounds sterling]; and when Gibert returned to Carolina in June 1766, he brought endorsements from "Persons known to be well acquainted in the Culture and Winding of Silk," including a Mr. Delamere, a high-ranking silk merchant in London. Ibid., 177 (first quotation in note); Message from Lieutenant Governor William Bull, June 7, 1766, ibid., 145 (second quotation in note).
(88) In light of progress in silk elsewhere, St. Pierre did not feel the need to devote much time to its propagandizing, simply stating in a postscript to his newspaper announcement that "[w]ith relation to the culture of Silk ... seeing it has been entirely established by his endeavours, and that there are thirty thousand white mulberry-trees actually planted, all of which are in much forwardness[,] The Sieur de St. Pierre proposes to prosecute that establishment ... and the Publick may be assured of his diligence and perseverance in bringing to perfection a plan which he has so successfully begun." Charleston South Carolina and American General Gazette, March 30-April 6, 1772. See also the announcement of his recommendation by the Board of Trade in South Carolina Gazette and Country Journal, June 2, 1772. On St. Pierre, see Edmonds, Huguenots of New Bordeaux, 54-67. The manufacture of silk was apparently ongoing in New Bordeaux in 1809. Ramsay, History of South-Carolina, II, 221.
(89) Commons Journal. 1736-1761, 1,336-37, 344, 395, 423 (first, second, and third quotations), 424 (fourth quotation), 447, 464-65, 479, 514, 528, 534, 536, 541-43; "An Act for Encouraging the Manufacture of Silk in this Province, under the direction of Mr. John Lewis Pogas [sic], for seven years," S.C Statutes, III, 487. This act is listed in S.C. Statutes as having passed on March 11, 1738, but the original piece of legislation is "not to be found." Poyas's wife's name was shown as "'Susannah" on the occasion of the birth and christening of their daughter in 1738, as recorded in A. S. Salley Jr., ed., Register of St. Philip's Parish, Charles Town, South Carolina, 1720-1758 (Charleston, S.C., 1904), 80, 126. She is listed as "Sussanne" in the Poyas Family History and Genealogical Research Files, File 30-4 Poyas, Vertical Files (South Carolina Historical Society).
(90) Commons Journal. 1736-1761, I, 562.
(91) Ibid., I, 395, 634 (quotation), 660. For Wragg's actions as a slave-trading agent, see James A. Rawley and Stephen D. Behrendt, The Transatlantic Slave Trade: A History (rev. ed.; Lincoln, Neb., 2005), 160.
(92) Commons Journal, 1736-1761, III, 317 (quotation), 375. The committee on petitions and accounts determined that it would pay only the portion of the debt that Poyas had accrued while under the public's employ, which came to just over 12 [pounds sterling] (S.C.). Ibid., 375.
(93) South Carolina Gazette, February 15, 1739. The commissioners "ready to treat with the Parents of any Children who are willing" were Ralph Izard, Isaac Mazyck, and Benjamin Whitaker.
(94) Commons Journal, 1736-1761, II, 481 (first quotation), 484 (second and third quotations).
(95) Peter H. Wood, Black Majority: Negroes in Colonial South Carolina from 1670 through the Stono Rebellion (New York, 1974), 312-14. Health problems among the "Negroes belonging to the Public.... for the Use of the Silk Work," also contributed to its struggles; over 14 [pounds sterling] (S.C.) was spent on medicines for them in this period. Commons Journal, 1736-1761, II, 480.
(96) Carl E. Swanson, Predators and Prizes: American Privateering and Imperial Warfare, 1739-1748 (Columbia, S.C., 1991), 142.
(97) Matthew Mulcahy, "The 'Great Fire' of 1740 and the Politics of Disaster Relief in Colonial Charleston," South Carolina Historical Magazine, 99 (April 1998), 135-57.
(98) Commons Journal, 1736-1761, II, 481 (second quotation), 483-84 (first quotation on 484), 500-501. Joseph Blake was later paid 75 [pound sterling] "for the Hire of a Plantation for the Use of the Silk Work." Ibid., 531 (quotation in note), 542.
(99) South Carolina Gazette, April 30-May 7, 1741 (quotations), April 3-10, 1742. Payment was presumably made in South Carolina currency, though not stated explicitly.
(100) Commons Journal, 1736-1761, II, 500, 551; V, 146. Proceeds were apportioned toward an armory (500 [pounds sterling]), the council's doorkeeper (68, [pounds sterling] 17s, 4p), and easing the tax (566 [pounds sterling], 16s, 9p), all in South Carolina currency.
(101) Peter C. Mancall, Joshua L. Rosenbloom, and Thomas Weiss, "Slave Prices and the South Carolina Economy, 1722-1809," Journal of Economic History, 61 (September 2001), 616-39 (quotation on 627); Richard M. Jellison, "Paper Currency in Colonial South Carolina: A Reappraisal," South Carolina Historical Magazine, 62 (July 1961), 134-47, esp. 134; McCusker, Money and Exchange in Europe and America, 220-23.
(102) Commons Journal, 1761-1776, No. 37, Part 1 (October 28, 1765, to May 28, 1767), 177. The South Carolina Gazette published a favorable report about the new manufactory's prospects and explained why the suggestion of a second upcountry filature was eventually dropped in favor of centralization at Charleston. This was first because the ease of transporting "the Cocoons to market" would incline "inhabitants of the remote settlements" toward silk rather "than any other commodity," and second because it was commonly known that cocoons made at Purrysburg were routinely "carried to the Filature at Savannah ... [and] shipped from thence as the produce of Georgia." South Carolina Gazette, June 30-July 7, 1766.
(103) Commons Journal, 1761-1776, No. 37, Part 1 (October 28, 1765, to May 28, 1767), 177. Gibert had hoped to bring considerably more settlers with him from silk-growing regions, but many had diverted to East Florida, and his ambitious proposals dating back to 1761 were heavily reined in by first British and then Carolinian authorities. "Memorial of Pastor Jean Louis Gibert to the Lords of the Treasury, Read in Council, 6 July, 1763," Transactions of the Huguenot Society of South Carolina, 19 (1912), 14-23.
(104) Commons Journal, 1761-1776, No. 37, Part 1 (October 28, 1765, to May 28, 1767), 183-84 (quotation on 183). The South Carolina Gazette reported in June 1766 that the assembly had "voted the sum of One thousand pounds towards establishing a SILK FILATURE in this town, under the direction of Rev. Mr. Gibert, and the inspection of a number of gentlemen particularly named for that purpose," who included Isaac Mazyck and Gabriel Manigault (both long-standing silk encouragers) as well as several new names. South Carolina Gazette, June 23-30, 1766. The commissioners' names are listed in Commons Journal, 1761-1776, No. 37, Part 1 (October 28, 1765, to May 28, 1767), 194, 202.
(105) Commons Journal, 1761-1776, No. 37, Part 1 (October 28, 1765, to May 28, 1767), 203.
(106) South Carolina Gazette and Country Journal, October 7, 1766.
(107) Commons Journal, 1761-1776, No. 37, Part 1 (October 28, 1765, to May 28, 1767), 374; ibid., Part 2 (November 3, 1767, to November 19, 1768), 633, 659, 675. Charles Woodmason lamented, "'They have given 100 [pounds sterling] Sterling for setting up a Public Filature in Charles Town which is thrown away, because not enough--They should grant a premium on all Cocoons, brought there which would set all our Young, Idle, lazy People to work." Richard J. Hooker, ed., The Carolina Backcountry on the Eve of the Revolution: The Journal and Other Writings of Charles Woodmason, Anglican Itinerant (Chapel Hill, 1953), 254.
(108) Identical reports in South Carolina Gazette, April 27-May 11, 1767; and South Carolina and American General Gazette, May 1-8, 1767, p. 87.
(109) South Carolina Gazette, July 27-August 3, 1765 (first quotation), August 3-10, 1765 (second quotation). Gabriel Manigault was described as "very active" in the attempts to establish silk culture. Ramsay, History of South-Carolina, II, 501-4 (quotation in note on 502). Manigault bought the Silk Hope estate (then 5,518 acres) from the Johnson family in May 1739. Smith, "Baronies of South Carolina." 13.
(110) George Richardson Porter, A Treatise on the Origin, Progressive Improvement, and Present State of the Silk Manufacture (London, 1831), 35.
(111) Gertrude Brown Working, "The History of Silk Culture in the North American Colonies" (Ph.D. dissertation, Radcliffe College, 1932), 38; Hamer, "Foundation and Failure of the Silk Industry in Provincial Georgia," 140. The original source is Allen D. Candler et al., eds., The Colonial Records of the State of Georgia, Vol. XXXIII (microfilm; Georgia Department of Archives and History, Atlanta), 574. See also Gerald B. Hertz, "The English Silk Industry in the Eighteenth Century," English Historical Review, 24 (October 1909), 710-27, esp. 718.
(112) See, for instance, "Letter from Edmund Caiger of Charlestown on the Culture of Silk in Georgia," September 15, 1766, RSA/PR/GE/110/22/78 (Royal Society of Arts Archive, London).
(113) Commons Journal, 1761-1776, No. 38, Part 1 (March 14, 1769, to November 7, 1769), 11.
(114) Ibid., Part 2 (November 28, 1769, to September 8, 1770), 247: ibid., Part 3 (January 15, 1771, to November 5, 1772), 543 (quotation). There was reportedly a dispute between the colonists and Gibert over some of the new equipment, however, as on September 7, 1770, one John Lewis Gervais was sent back to the old Bordeaux in France to investigate an order for "12 copper kettles for winding silk." Gibert himself died in August 1773 at the age of fifty-two, apparently "having eaten 'poisonous mushrooms.'" Davis, "French Settlement at New Bordeaux," 51 (first quotation in note), 41 (second quotation in note).
(115) One writer lamented that the public money spent on political statues and funding American resistance to the new British measures could have been "applied to planting of Orchards, or Mulberry Trees." Hooker, ed., Carolina Backcountry on the Eve of the Revolution, 254.
(116) Commons Journal, 1761-1776, No. 38, Part 2 (November 28, 1769, to September 8, 1770), 193. This declaration was made in response Governor Charles Montagu's belaboring of the bounty in June 1769 as one of "the many and great benefactions, you have received from your Mother Country." Ibid., Part 1 (March 14, 1769, to November 7, 1769), 11-12. In North Carolina, for example, the upper house's response to the news of the 1769 bounty was limited, insofar as it merely shared Governor William Tryon's hope that the new act would induce North Carolinians to pursue silk: the assembly did not set up any additional local infrastructure or incentive. Similarly, the elected lower house found the Parliamentary act "pleasing and agreeable" and assured the governor in rather deflective terms that sericulture "shall meet with such encouragement (consistent with the true interest of this Colony) as so Interesting an object may require." Saunders, ed., Colonial Records of North Carolina, VIII, 87-88, 92, 114 (quotations).
(117) William Edwin Hemphill, Wylma Anne Wates, and R. Nicholas Olsberg, eds., Journals of the General Assembly and House of Representatives, 1776-1780 (Columbia, S.C., 1970), 155.
(118) Migliazzo, To Make This Land Our Own, 238, 266-75.
(119) The inhabitants of New Bordeaux continued to supply "sewing silk" to interior areas during the war, and other locally oriented production trickled on. House Documents, 20 Cong., 1 Sess., No. 158: Letter from the Secretary of the Treasury ... in Relation to the Growth and Manufacture of Silk, Adapted to the Different Parts of the Union (Serial 172; Washington, D.C., 1828), 15-17 (quotation on 16). South Carolinians may have been no longer reliant on foreign supplies of silkworm eggs: sporadic evidence shows that private persons continued to raise small amounts of silk in and around Charleston in the 1780s. One Mr. Van Haslet was reportedly raising silk near Charleston in 1787, according to Ramsay, History of South-Carolina, II, 221; Elizabeth Tavener was selling "the curiosity of silk worms making silk" for two shillings per head in her Charleston house, as reported in the Charleston City Gazette and Daily Advertiser April 29, 1788.
(120) "Governor William Bull's Representation of the Colony, 1770," in Merrens, ed., Colonial South Carolina Scene, 266.
(121) Chaplin, Anxious Pursuit, 187-226 (first, second, and third quotations on 187); "Letter from Charles Woodmason about cultivation of various crops in Carolina including gum, aromatic bark, sugar maple, hemp and wine, corn and mulberry trees," May 25, 1763 (fourth quotation), RSA/PR/GE/110/4/62 (Royal Society of Arts Archive).
(122) "An American," American Husbandry: Containing an Account of the Soil, Climate, Production and Agriculture of the British Colonies in North-America and the West-Indies (2 vols.; London, 1775), I, 392; Glen, Description of South Carolina, 7; Edelson, Plantation Enterprise in Colonial South Carolina, 106-13.
(123) Working, "History of Silk Culture," 89-90 (quotations on 90).
(124) "Letter from H. Beringer and William Bull on the cultivation of silk in South America," September 27, 1755, RSA/PR/GE/110/2/69 (Royal Society of Arts Archive). On writers modeling silk on indigo, see, for instance, Edmund Burke and William Burke, An Account of the European Settlements in America, in Six Parts (2 vols.: 3rd ed., London, 1760), II, 261-63.
(125) Glen, Description of South Carolina, 10; Mancall, Rosenbloom, and Weiss. "Agricultural Labor Productivity in the Lower South," 394-99: Philip D. Morgan, Slave Counterpoint: Black Culture in the Eighteenth-Century Chesapeake and Lowcountry (Chapel Hill, 1998), 160-63.
(126) Commons Journal, 1736-1761, IX, 99: see also Coon, "Eliza Lucas Pinckney and the Reintroduction of Indigo Culture in South Carolina," 64.
(127) Nash, "South Carolina Indigo," 379.
(128) See, for example, a letter from Charles Pinckney, "Letter from Thomas Pinckney [incorrectly attributed] on Plantation of Mulberry Trees in Carolina and Georgia," April 1, 1755, RSA/PR/GE/110/1/19 (Royal Society of Arts Archive): Thomas Boreman, A Compendious Account of the Whole Art of Breeding, Nursing, and the Right Ordering of the Silk-Worm (London, 1733); and Samuel Pullein, The Culture of Silk: or, An Essay on Its Rational Practice and Improvement ... (London, 1758). On Georgia women and silk, see Ben Marsh, Georgia's Frontier Women: Female Fortunes in a Southern Colony (Athens, Ga., 2007), 53-61.
(129) "Governor William Bull's Representation of the Colony, 1770," in Merrens, ed., Colonial South Carolina Scene, 266.
(130) Carroll, ed., Historical Collections of South Carolina, II, 460.
(131) George F. Jones, ed., "Report of Mr. Ettwein's Journey to Georgia and South Carolina, 1765," South Carolina Historical Magazine, 91 (October 1990), 247-60 (quotation on 259).
(132) "An American," American Husbandry, I, 179.
(133) "Governor William Bull's Representation of the Colony, 1770," in Merrens, ed., Colonial South Carolina Scene, 266.
(134) Constance B. Schulz, "Eliza Lucas Pinckney and Harriott Pinckney Horry: A South Carolina Revolutionary-Era Mother and Daughter," in Spruill, Littlefield, and Johnson, eds., South Carolina Women, I, 79-108, esp. 84-88; Sam S. Baskett, "Eliza Lucas Pinckney: Portrait of an Eighteenth Century American," South Carolina Historical Magazine, 72 (October 1971), 207-19, esp. 210: Coon, "Eliza Lucas Pinckney and the Reintroduction of Indigo Culture in South Carolina," 65-68.
(135) Harriott Horry Ravenel, Eliza Pinckney (New York, 1896), 130.
(136) Frances Leigh Williams, Plantation Patriot: A Biography of Eliza Lucas Pinckney (New York, 1967), 158-59.
(137) Ibid., 155.
(138) South Carolina Gazette, January 29-February 5, 1732, and February 5-12, 1732. That Charles Pinckney used this pseudonym is suggested in Susan Scott Parrish, "Women's Nature: Curiosity, Pastoral, and the New Science in British America," Early American Literature, 37, no. 2 (2002). 195-245, esp. 230n43.
(139) Commons Journal. 1736-1761, V, 202; South Carolina Gazette, October 8, 1744 (quotations). Pinckney added that ventures into the unknown were the hallmark of all great civilizations and rendered them distinct from "the numerous Tribes of Indians surrounding us."
(140) For an excellent recent summary, see Schulz, "Eliza Lucas Pinckney and Harriott Pinckney Horry." For a good discussion of Pinckney's iconic reputation and its exaggeration, see Barbara L. Bellows, "Eliza Lucas Pinckney: The Evolution of an Icon," South Carolina Historical Magazine, 106 (April-July 2005), 147-65.
(141) Elise Pinckney, ed., The Letterbook of Eliza Lueas Pinckney, 1739-1762 (new pbk. ed.; Columbia, S.C., 1997), 8. Constance Schulz has most recently suggested that Eliza Pinckney's sericulture at her husband's Belmont plantation was "a continuation of her attempts at Wappoo to create a silk industry in the Carolinas." Schulz, "Eliza Lucas Pinckney and Harriott Pinckney Horry," 88.
(142) S. Max Edelson, "Reproducing Plantation Society: Women and Land in Colonial South Carolina," History of the Family, 12, no. 2 (2007), 130-41 (quotation on 138); Darcy R. Fryer, "The Mind of Eliza Pinckney: An Eighteenth-Century Woman's Construction of Herself," South Carolina Historical Magazine, 99 (July 1998), 215-37.
(143) Unfortunately, Pinckney's early pursuit of sericulture coincides with a major gap in her letterbook from 1743 to 1753, and only a few scattered letters survive from this period. But it is possible to speculate about the shape of silk cultivation at Belmont plantation on the basis of letters quoted or paraphrased in the 1896 biography written by her great-great-granddaughter Harriott Horry Ravenel. Pinckney, ed., Letterbook of Eliza Lucas Pinckney, 71 n88; Ravenel, Eliza Pinckney.
(144) Ravenel, Eliza Pinckney, 125 (quotation), 128-29. George Lucas's plans were to wind the flax and hemp that had been processed on the plantation of "Mr. Cattle." Ibid., 124. William Cattell (also written Cattel) and his plantation at Dorchester were also mentioned in relation to the Poyas filature project, indicating that Cattell was an experimental and progressive planter. It may well be that "the Slaves, Machines and other Things purchased for carrying on the said [Poyas] Manufacture," which had been ordered to be handed over to Cattell on January 30, 1741, after the project's failure, subsequently found their way into the Pinckney textile processing. Commons Journal, 1736-1761, II, 481. Cattell died aged seventy, "one of the first Settlers and richest Men in this Province," on August 18, 1752. A. S. Salley Jr., comp. and ed., Death Notices in the South-Carolina Gazette, 1732-1775 (Columbia, S.C., 1917), 24.
(145) Ravenel, Eliza Pinckney, 130. Pinckney likely baked the cocoons in ovens or exposed them to hot sunlight.
(146) Ibid., 127-31 (first quotation on 128; second quotation on 130; third and fourth quotations on 131).
(147) South Carolina Gazette, April 10-17, 1755.
(148) "Silk Culture Here," New York Tribune, March 31, 1902, p. 5. After a long loan. this dress was finally donated to the National Museum of American History costume collection in April 2008. "Dress from the Pre-Revolutionary War-Era Added to Smithsonian Costume Collection," April 24, 2008, http://americanhistory.si.edu/news/pressrelease.cfm?key=29& newskey=698. An additional image of the dress is found in the plates between pages 92 and 93 in Pinckney, ed., Letterbook of Eliza Lucas Pinckney.
(149) Harriott Pinckney Horry to Mrs. [Margaret Anne] Waties, ca. 1829, Harriott Horry Papers (South Caroliniana Library); Ravenel, Eliza Pinckney, 131. The other two dresses reportedly were not kept in the family but given to high-profile metropolitan figures: "One of these she presented to the Princess Dowager of Wales (mother of George III.), and one to Lord Chesterfield." Ravenel, Eliza Pinckney, 131. The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon Museum (122 East Bay Street, Charleston) claims that a dove's neck brocade dress it displays, listed as on loan from the Collection of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of South Carolina, is one of the supposed dresses: "[T]he third is the one you see here in Charleston." It is said to date from between 1770 and 1780 and "was worn by [Harriott Pinckney Horry] ... while entertaining George Washington at Hampton Plantation during the President's southern tour in 1791." But this claim is spurious and does not match up with descriptions elsewhere. It is also clear that there were not multiple Pinckney silk dresses in South Carolina, for Harriott Horry in her 1829 letter cited above mentioned only "one of these ancient dresses of hers I still have."
(150) Ravenel, Eliza Pinckney, 144-53 (first quotation on 151; second and third quotations on 152); David Coombs, "'The Garden at Carlton House of Frederick Prince of Wales and Augusta Princess Dowager of Wales: Bills in Their Household Accounts, 1728 to 1772," Garden History, 25 (Winter 1997), 153 77.
(151) South Carolina Gazette, April 3-10, 1755. The other purported recipient of a Pinckney silk dress, the veteran aristocrat Philip Stanhope, fourth Earl of Chesterfield, is often assumed to have been selected due to his critique of the unpopular Stamp Act in 1765, which he described as "a most pernicious measure." Lord Mahon, ed., The Letters of Philip Dormer Smnhope. Earl of Chesterfield; Including Numerous Letters Now First Published from the Original Manuscripts (4 vols.; London, 1845), IV, 414-15, 418 (quotation), 420. For example, Williams, in Plantation Patriot, 162, writes that Chesterfield was chosen "because he had proved himself such a good friend of the American colonies." But perhaps a more significant reason was Chesterfield's longtime interest in advancing husbandry and manufactures in Ireland, where he had served as lord lieutenant and a vigorous president and patron of the Royal Dublin Society. Chesterfield's letters do indicate an interest in sericulture: for example, he congratulated the Bishop of Waterford in 1762 for his "extremely good" sample of raw silk and urged him, despite the difficulties, to continue to pursue cultivation in Ireland. Mahon, ed., Letters of Philip Dormer Stanhope, IV, 349 (quotation): Henry F. Berry, A History of the Royal Dublin Society (London, 1915), 46-48.
(152) South Carolina Gazette, June 23-30, 1766.
(153) Caption under illustration "Dress of Carolina Silk." in Pinckney, ed., Letterbook of Eliza Lucas Pinckney, unpaged (following p. 92).
(154) Surviving letters from Harriott Pinckney to her friends reveal a few more details about the silk operations. See Harriott Pinckney to Dolly Golightly, July 20, 1763; to "Miss R" in Santee, April 1766, January 14, 1767, and n.d. (probably spring 1767); and to Becky Izard, December 20, 1766, and n.d. (probably late 1767), in Harriott Pinckney Horry letterbook, 1763-1767, Folder 11/332/8, Pinckney Family Papers, 1694-1847 (South Carolina Historical Society).
(155) Ravenel, Eliza Pinckney, 240.
(156) In 1829 Harriott was still downplaying silk's importance to her, as she described the cultivation of silkworms as merely "for some time a favourite amusement of my mother & myself many years back." Harriott Pinckney Horry to Mrs. [Margaret Anne] Waties, ca. 1829, Horry Papers.
(157) "Correspondence of Henry Laurens," South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine, 31 (July 1930), 209-27 (quotation on 213).
(158) "An American," American Husbandry, I, 466 (quotation); Warner, Silk Industry of the United Kingdom, 257-58.
(159) In the spring of 1700, Nathaniel Johnson played host to two botanists who sent samples and correspondence from Silk Hope plantation to James Petiver, a fellow of the Royal Society and future Demonstrator of Plants at the Apothecaries' Garden at Chelsea. Petiver, an apothecary by trade, was one of Britain's leading botanists and entomologists. W. H. G. Armytage, "Letters on Natural History of Carolina 1700-1705," South Carolina Historical Magazine, 55 (April 1954), 59-70, esp. 59-62. On other scientists, see Brickell, Natural History of North-Carolina, 29; Walter B. Edgar, ed., The Letterbook of Robert Pringle (2 vols.; Columbia, S.C., 1972); and Walter B. Edgar, "Robert Pringle and His World," South Carolina Historical Magazine, 76 (January 1975), 1-11.
(160) Joseph I. Waring, ed., "Correspondence between Alexander Garden, M.D., and the Royal Society of Arts," South Carolina Historical Magazine, 64 (January 1963), 16-22 (quotations on 18). After numerous experiments and dissections of silkworms in various states of development, Garden posited that feeding them on the native red mulberries from time to time "purges them gently," allowing for a healthier and more efficient crop. He reported that two unnamed "Ladies in the Neighbourhood ... raised large Quantitys," but that more generally silk was "the Amusement of some Curious people who have got a number of Young Negroes to attend them and who have Curiosity and Assiduity enough themselves to Attend their little but Valuable Animals." Ibid., 18. The Royal Society was prescient in warning Garden that too often metropolitan political economists were "Zealous" and "if their [colonial] Correspondents have not their Schemes as much at Heart to execute them Abroad, as they to project them at Home, in the End all must become Abortive." Ibid., 20.
(161) Collinson had seen "samples of exceeding good [silk] from Carolina worth 18 shillings the pound" and bemoaned its status as a peripheral product. In a letter to merchant Samuel Eveleigh, he argued, "I see no way so effectual to introduce it by degrees into a staple manufacturer; but by making it the good woman's property and that the produce be solely at their disposal which would save the husband many pounds a year in his pocket for millinery wares and a number of other articles that ladies are fond of. Besides as it is a light, easy, indoors work so it seems calculated the more for their management and was the property secure to them." Peter Collinson to Samuel Eveleigh, April 22, 1737, copy in "'Silk Cultivation," File 30-02-3, Vertical Files (South Carolina Historical Society).
(162) "Letter from Dr Stephen Hales on Book on Silk Worms," April 8, 1755, RSA/PR/GE110/1/16 (Royal Society of Arts Archive).
(163) Pullein, Culture of Silk: Ravenel, Eliza Pinckney, 239, 254.
(164) South Carolina Gazette, March 10, 1746; repeated on March 17 and 24, 1746.
(165) Brickell, Natural History of North-Carolina, 155.
(166) South Carolina Gazette, July 14-21, 1766.
(167) Ibid., June 12 19, 1736 (second quotation), November 21-28, 1761 (first quotation), September 4-11, 1762 (fourth quotation), April 9, 1763 (third quotation). Mackay's 2,300-acre plantation in Purrysburg was still listed for sale in August 1763. South Carolina Gazette, supplement, August 27, 1763.
(168) South Carolina and American General Gazette, May 30-June 8, 1770, p. 107.
(169) For a discussion of elite gardens and orchards, see Edelson, Plantation Enterprise in Colonial South Carolina, 146-51.
(170) South Carolina Gazette, September 26-October 3, 1741.
(171) Ibid., January 27, 1752.
(172) See, for example, ibid., May 14-21, 1750, March 16, 1752, May 7, 1753, June 2-9, 1759, April 30-May 7, 1763, January 7-t4, 1764, November 12, 1764, May 18-25, 1765, May 25-June 1, 1765, August 25-September l, 1766, September 10, 1772, December 31, 1772; South Carolina Gazette and Country Journal, January 21, 1766, September 16, 1766, November 4, 1766, December 3, 1771, October 27, 1772; and South Carolina and American General Gazette, August 29-September 5, 1766, pp. 85-86, June 5-12, 1769, p. 118, July 24 31, 1769, p. 157.
(173) Robert Mills claimed in 1826 that raw silk production in South Carolina had reached 10,000 pounds in 1759, but this figure seems highly dubious. Mills, Statistics of South Carolina, 155. The explanation may rest in a report printed in the South Carolina Gazette. June 2-9, 1759, that announced "considerably above 10,000 lb." was produced, though this figure referred to the weight of "SILK BALLS" (COCOONS) received at the filature in Savannah. Some of this production was likely South Carolinian in origin. The figure was repeated that year, again as the weight of silk balls (which may later have been misinterpreted), in Jared Eliot, The Sixth Essay on Field-Husbandry, As It Is. or May Be Ordered in New-England (New Haven, 1759), 33. The 10,000 pounds of raw silk statistic, from Georgia in 1759, was included in L. P. Brockett, The Silk Industty in America. a History: Prepared for the Centennial Exposition (New York, 1876), 29. An estimate in 1993 claimed that silk "exports from the port of Charleston averag[ed] between $5000 and $10,000 annually for over a century before King Cotton began to reign." Bland, "Women and World's Fairs," 177. Bland's figures derive from early-twentieth-century propagandistic literature, cited but not quoted: "The Huguenots of Charleston made silk raising profitable, exporting from $5000 to $10,000 worth annually for nearly a century. Then began the reign of King Cotton, and all other occupations were for the most part forgotten." "Reviving Silk Culture," Worcester (Mass.) Post, October 2, 1903.
(174) Hamer, "Foundation and Failure of the Silk Industry in Provincial Georgia," 138-39; Migliazzo, To Make This Land Our Own, 235-36.
(175) This ranking is taken from Coclanis, Shadow of a Dream, 80-81, whose table is aggregated from Glen, Description of South Carolina, 50-55.
(176) Hertz, "English Silk Industry in the Eighteenth Century," 711, 721; statistics between 1769 and 1774 calculated from reports in Commons Journal, 1761-1776, No. 38, Part 2 (November 28, 1769, to September 8, 1770), 247; South Carolina Gazette, January 18, 1770 (a "box" of silk is estimated at eighty pounds, based on figures in this report), February 28, 1771, March 14, 1771, March 8, 1773; and South Carolina Gazette and Country Journal, March 19, 1771, January 14, 1772, February 8, 1774.
(177) Louis Thibou to "Gentlemen and Dear Friends," September 20, 1683 (South Caroliniana Library); Carroll, ed., Historical Collections of South Carolina, II, 118 (Archdale); records of bounty payments in the 1730s and 1740s from Commons Journal, 1736 1761, I, 322, 379, 447, 732; II, 317; V, 428; VI, 61, 157; VII, 363; VIII, 380; IX, 162; export records from Glen, Description of South Carolina, 54, 96. In fact, Glen listed, on page 96, that raw silk was exported in only six years: 1742 (18.5 pounds), 1748 (52 pounds), 1749 (46 pounds), 1750 (118 pounds), 1753 (11 pounds), and 1755 (5.5 pounds). However, Glen also stated, on page 54, that eight boxes of raw silk were shipped between November 1747 and November 1748, with a cumulative value of 1,600 [pounds sterling] (S.C.). I have assumed that these boxes contained the total production of the years 1743-1747 and that they contained approximately 300 pounds of raw silk (assuming a market price of 15 shillings sterling per pound of raw silk), meaning 60 pounds per annum.
(178) For an insightful exploration of South Carolina's formative relationship with globalization, see Coclanis, "'Global Perspectives on the Early Economic History of South Carolina," 130-46 (quotation on 141). On the globalization of silk between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, see Zanier, Where the Roads Met.
(179) Hooker. ed., Carolina Backcountry on the Eve of the Revolution, 254.
MR. MARSH is a lecturer in the School of History and Politics at the University of Stifling.