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Though Franklin never visited China, he was fascinated by the Chinese, especially their agricultural practices.

• Franklin knew Chinese silkworms could produce fabric without using many resources. He believed silkworms were the reason China could clothe its many inhabitants without interfering with agriculture. In 1769, he wrote a treatise on the management of silkworms in America.

• In 1771, Franklin sent a Chinese rhubarb seed to John Bartram, America’s botanist to the King. This type of rhubarb was used for medicinal purposes, unlike the edible rhubarb that was already grown in America.

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