Silk Manufacture In France. - The total production of manufactured silk in the world per annum is estimated at a value of $325,000,000, and of this at least $100,000,000 is produced in France. About one-eighth of the raw silk is native grown, the remainder being imported from Italy and the East. Switzerland and Germany are serious rivals in point of yards manufactured, but in quality the taste and skill of the French will long maintain supremacy. France and Switzerland each import vast quantities of India and China light goods, known as pongees, corahs and tussahs. These goods are all imported in an unfinished state, and after being dyed and printed at Lyons, are reshipped, chiefly to the United States and England. Of the total quantity of silk manufactures produced in France, the city of Lyons contributes over one half. The industry was introduced into this city in 1466, by Louis, XI, and in order to give it fitting encouragement he decreed that the city should pay for the looms out of its treasury, and that the workmen should be exempt from the payment of duties and taxes for the space of twelve years. The experiment, however, did not meet with conspicuous success. In fact, it was a partial failure, notwithstanding the great demand for silken goods, and would probably have died a peaceful death but for the energetic measures taken for its preservation by Francis I immediately on his succession to the throne. This monarch was a friend to art in every form, and he was besides eminently patriotic. It seemed a monstrous thing to him that the French manufacture should waste away in its infancy; and recognizing that all that was wanted to make it thrive was good nourishment of a pecuniary and encouraging sort, he at once increased the privileges granted by Louis, and held out the most tempting baits in his power to the foreign silk-makers - such as would be sufficient to cause a never-ceasing tide of immigration into the country which should be bold enough to offer them even nowadays. By an edict of December 2, 1536, silk weavers were to pay no taxes, were to be allowed house-rent gratis, were to be non-amenable to imprisonment for debt, and were to be licensed to carry swords - the last a liberty allowed generally only to those who were of noble blood. Men were not slow to avail themselves of these magnificent offers. First came two Genoa manufacturers, Steven Turqueti and Bart. Nariz, who brought with them workers from their native place, and who quickly amassed considerable fortunes. Others lured by the privileges and by the success of Turqueti and Nariz, followed in their wake, and soon a perfect stream of skilled Italians began to flow across the frontier, to acclimatize themselves, and, under the fostering care of successive kings and ministers, the French industry continued to advance to that pinnacle which, with one or two intervals, it has ever since occupied. The majority of the fine silks made at Lyons are woven by hand, and not by power looms, as many suppose. There are 100,000 of these hand looms at Lyons, all owned by individual workmen. There are factories using power looms but these are located in the surrounding country where water-power can be had and labor employed at the lowest possible rates. As a rule, however, the Lyons "manufacturer" has no factory. He has an office and a warehouse combined. He buys the raw silk, designs the patterns, and delivers materials and designs to the weavers, to be woven at the lowest price per meter he can get the work done for, all incidental expenses being paid by the weaver. The weaver delivers the woven fabrics to the warehouse or the finisher. The manufacturer, nine times out of ten, has sold them in advance, which he can do, as he knows the exact cost before the goods are made. It is absolutely neces-to have a good light to make fine silk goods, hence the tenements which the weavers occupy are built on a hill or its sloping sides. Some of these immense tenement houses are occupied by as many as forty families. Three rooms are all that one family rent, and one of these is taken up with the ponderous wooden loom. Often the entire family assist in the work. The wages paid the hand weavers and factory operatives in and around Lyons are low as compared with those paid in some other countries for similar work, but the French workman can live more cheaply in many ways, is satisfied with lighter and less substantial clothing than the operative in a colder and less genial climate. Under exceptionably favorable circumstances, when employed on fine figured stuffs, and working long hours, a weaver can earn $20 a week. From this must be deducted incidental expenses, as he supplies his own loom and pays rent. The average weekly wages earned range from $7 to $10 a week, while the women earn from 60 to 75 cents a day.

The silk industry of England is not like that of France and the United States, confined within one or more districts which can rightfully be called the silk center of the country. Coventry and Spitalfields have lost to a certain extent, the predominance as silk manufacturing centers, although the industry still exists there in a feeble way. England which in 1860 imported $240,000,000 worth of raw silk, now imports but $22,000,000 worth, annually. With the exception of the manufacturers depending on spun silks, all the centers of trade have for many years been in a depressed condition. Thus in twelve years the number of looms was reduced from 150,000 to 65,000, of which 12,500 were power looms. Spitalfields, which in his best days kept 24,000 hand looms at works has now but 1100. The introduction of the factory system and extension of powers loom weaving in the United States, have assisted materially in crushing out the English domestic industry. China, Japan and India are the greatest cheap-silk producing countries in the world. The question is often asked how silks in such large quantities can be imported from these far-off countries and compete with our domestic manufacturers after paying heavy import duties. The reason is easily explained. In China, Japan and India silks are made by hand. This alone gives them great superiority over domestic power-woven goods. They are made by weavers who are content to work for from 15 to 25 cents a day as wages. Moreover, these silks are made from yarn while in the raw state (in the gum), the fabric being boiled after its manufacture. This imparts to it a fineness, a luster, and a delicacy of texture not possessed by silks of machine manufacture. All this might be done by this country, but in the first place it would be too expensive, as labor is high here, and in next place silk yarn cannot be manufactured into silk by power looms until it has been boiled. Power looms also require yarn for weaving of an exact and uniform size; and boiling previous to weaving necessitates the production of artificial luster by calendering, which is never so beautiful or durable as that possessed by the natural silk. Hence this country will always have to depend upon the East for those lustrous, light weight, hand-wrought fabrics known in trade under the general term of China silks. It is true we can imitate them as for weight, but that is as far as the resemblance extends. It is not difficult for the veriest tyro to distinguish between the imitation and the genuine. [See China Silk, Sewing Silk, Designing, Sponge Silk, Satin, Filature, Hank, Tram, Organzine, Loom, Jacquard, Weaving].