Government Plans for Silk Raising

Boston Herald

I shall ask Congress to give me ten thousand dollars for the purpose of making experiments in the raising of silkworms and the production of raw silk," said Secretary of Agriculture Wilson the other day. "Last year we imported more than forty-five million dollars worth of raw silk, which, according to my notion, might just as well have been produced in this country. Some day, perhaps, we may produce all the silk we require for our own uses, but first it is necessary that we shall learn something more about the business than we know at present.

"Silk culture is not, and never has been, an exceedingly remunerative business, but it adds vast wealth to the nations engaged in it, for the simple reason that it can be pursued by the humblest and poorest, requiring only small outlay. There are hundreds of thousands of families in the United States to-day which would be glad to add a few dollars to their annual income by giving light and easy employment for a few months each year to the more aged, to the young, and especially to the women of the family, who may have no other means of employing their time profitably. This holds true especially of the people of the Southern States, which are pre-eminently adapted to silk culture. The girls of the farm, who devote a little time each year to the raising of cocoons, may not earn as much as their brothers in the field, but they may earn something, and that something represents an increase of income.

"The raising of a few pounds of cocoons each year does not materially interfere with the household and other duties that now engage the time of the farm girls, and it is by each household raising a few pounds of cocoons that silk culture must be carried on in this country, as it has always been in other countries. In France, I am told, cocoons are regularly produced by more than one hundred and fifty thousand families.

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

June 27, 1901

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.