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was the philosophy of walking. Where imaginary, colloquial, ratiocinatory stroll were the martyrs ? —where the suicides in with a couple of these personified Enthytheir times to be found, who could die in memes—these sappers and miners of Pyrthe cause of cloth ? Alas! these are re- rhonism—these syllogistic engineers; or, served for the present day. Their martyrs by way of variety, spout high-sounding hyand suicides fell principally in the cause of perboles with the orators, and lash my -cloth ? Psha! whip me such dyers of country's oppressors with some of their elocloth ; no, but in the cause of virtue, or quent artifices ! But, good reader, by their country's honour.
this time you have waxed weary of myself How I love o' nights to imitate these and my habits. We shall say no more, worthy philosophers, and to give my limbs therefore, touching clothes, fearing you and mental faculties their legitimate en- may take me for one of Jewry, and ejacufranchisement. In my gown and sandal- luate,-—Verily, is this fellow an oldlike slippers, how I do delight to take an clothes man?"
HISTORY OF THE LINEN TRADE.
“ WHY SHOULD THBY RAISE MORE COMMODITIES SINCE THERE ARE NOT MERCHANTS SUFFICIENTLY STOCKED TO TAKE THEM OP THEM; AND HOW SHOULD MERCHANTS HAVE STOCK, SINCE TRADE 18 PROHIBITED AND FETTRRED BY THE STATUTEY OF ENGLAND ?"-SIR WILLIAM PETTY.*
The early history of the linen trade of Ire- and encouraged as the staple of England, land is involved in much obscurity, the and linens as that of Ireland.”+. But it unelu tion
affords ample scope for fortunately happens that those who assert research ; but however interesting such the claims of England on our gratitude, canmight prove, as it would be somewhat not agree as to the time when, forsaking her foreign to our present purpose, and could wonted policy, she played the benefactress. not tend to much practical benefit, we will Some have named the administration of not enter upon it here, but rather pass on to Strafford—some that of Ormond — while review its history and progress from the others have even said that prior to 1699 we time when its extent and importance as a had no linen manufacture. We will not commercial manufacture, caused its culture stop separately to refute these unfounded and increase to be deemed fit objects for le- assertions, but proceed to lay before our reagislative care. We, consider it necessary, ders the grounds on which we reject all of however, though declining to enter minutely them, as well as the once fashionable theory into the proofs of its antiquity, to refute a of English generosity, which they were fanotion regarding its recent origin, which for bricated to sustain. obvious purposes has been circulated with Hakluyt in his poem entitled “The Promore than ordinary care; and we regret to cess of English Policy," written about the say, that, as a people, so ignorant have we year 1430, enumerates the productions and been kept of the history of our country, by mercantile commodities of different nations. those who, with the key of liberty, held also He represents our exports as including that of knowledge, that this statement now hides, fish, wool, and linens, or to give it in passes current as a truism. But the spirit his own words : that is within us gives strong assurance, that the day is fast approaching in the which
“ Hides and fish, hake, her-ring,
Irish wool and linen cloth, Faldinge." Irish literature will resume its former sta. tion. Already has “the sunburst" appeared, It is evident from this that the manufacture and when its noontide brightness comes, our of linen was a trade of some importance in temple's veil shall be rent, the unhallowed Ireland at this early period, though of its prison-house wherein tyranny hath so long actual extent we have no means of judging, entombed the records of our glory, shall further than appears from the fact of its bebe opened, and the spirits of the illustrious ing an article of export. dead being set free, our children shall re
On referring to our statute book we find ceive their first lessons, in the history of the that a bill was passed in the year 1542, to land which gave them birth.
protect the fair traders in linen cloth from We allude to the prevalent belief that as the injurious practices of forestallers. We knowledge of this branch of trade was con
are aware that this act has been frequently ferred upon us by England in the seven
represented by authors of high character as teenth century, and that the rapid progress referring to linen-yarn only. This mistake, it made in Ulster, owed its origin to the ce which we must suppose to have been uninlebrated compact made between the Lords tentional, may have arisen from an error and Commons of Ireland and England, and which occurs in the report of the Committee ratified by William III. in the year 1698-9, appointed in 1772, to report on the history whereby there was an agreement made be- and progress of the linen trade, I where, purtween both kingdoms, “ that if Ireland gave up her woollen manufacture, that of linen should be left to her under every encourage
* Political Survey of Ireland, p. 96-7.
† Arthur Young's Tour, vol. ii. p. 148-9. ment; that woollens should be considered
I Commons Journal, vol. xv.
porting to give the sense of the act in their yarnė, shall pay for the samie;"* and then own words, the word “cloth" is omitted. follow the penalties, which on flax and linen
This act, the 33rd Henry VIII. ch. ii. was yam was 1s. in the pound duty, and 8d. per entitled “ An act for grey merchants.” The pound for the use of the city, from which it preamble says:
might be exported. "Forasmuch as divers merchants and other
The quantity of flax and yarn exported persons having little or no respect to the wealth of was greatly diminished by this act: and the this land, have of late used to go from towne to merchants who traded in the export of these towne within this land, being no market townes, articles having lost considerably by the deto buy hides, fells, checkers, fleges, yarne, linen crease, sought for redress by endeavouring to cloth, wooll
, and flocks, whereby the fairs, and have the act repealed; but a different course markets within this land be greatly decayed."*
was pursued, which in a great measure met The provisions of this act were, that the wants of the merchants, while it still persons continuing in those practices were kept the raw material at home till it attained tu be in future amenable to the laws al- the highest value which well-directed labour ready in force against forestallers; and be- could bestow upon it. By the 13th Eliz. ing only a temporary act, it was revived chap i., 1571, it was enacted,—“That no in 1569 by 1lth Elizabeth, sess. 1, chap. v. person shall transport any cloth or other -"Whereas, chere was an act established work or stufl'that is wrought or made in this and made by the authority of the said par- realm of Ireland, of wool, flocks, linen yarn, liament (of 1542), that no person to the or woollen yarn, out of this realm; but only intent to sell the same, should buy within a merchant in one of the staple cities or one this land, hides, fells, checkers, fleyes, yarne, of the burroughs or privileged or incorpolinen cloth, wooll, or flocks, in any other rated towns.”+ It is expressly stated in place or places, but only in the open mar- the act, that the object of confining the exket or fayre; the said act shall be continued, port of the manufactured linens to the prirevived, and from henceforth for ever re- vileged towns was not to lessen the export, main as law within this realm, to be ob- but to encourage the merchants who were, served and kept.”+ In tracing its statutary before the passing of the former act, enhistory we find that in the 3rd session of the gaged in the export of flax and yarn. same year, it was enacted,—“ That whereas in the second chapter of the same session divers persons in this realm, carelesse of the we have an act explaining that which was common wealth, doe in season of the year passed in the 11th year of her reign, session lay into rivers, streams, brookes, and other 3, chap. x. : speaking of the intent of the fresh running waters, their hemp and flax to enactment, it says,—“The meaning of be watered :"1 severe penalties should be which act was to stay the said commodities levied for its repetition, and oral procla- to be wrought within this realm, whereby inations to that effect should be made at many now living idly within the said realm stated periods in the public market places. should be set to work.” | We have quoted In the same session, we find a still more im- these several statutes as well for the purpose portant statute, chap. x., entitled —"An act of proving how groundless is the assertion, for staying wooll, flacks, tallow, and other that the linen manufacture of Ireland is of necessaries within this kingdom,” the pre- recent origin, as of showing that, at that
peamble to which says, “ That diverse the riod, the annihilation of the woollen was not commodities of this kingdom are transported considered a necessary prelude to the enout of the same, by sundry private covetouse couragement of the linen. We have quoted persons, to the great hurt and damage these important documents at some length, thereof: that the said commodities may be because it will be necessary to a clear undermore abundantly wrought within this realm standing of the more recent legislation relatere they be transported, than presently they ing to this trade, to have a perfect knowledge are, which shall set many now living idle to of the principles on which it was legislated for work,—be it enacted, that whatsoever person at the period when those statutes were enshall, after the last day of September, in the acted. year 1569, put, carry, or load, in any ship, We may now pass to the important era wool, flockes, flaxe, linen yarne, or woollen of Strafford's lieutenantcy. His name has
* Statutes, vol. i. p. 178. | Ibid, vol. i. p. 319-20.
Ibid, vol. i. p. 343. Ilth Elizabeth, ses. 3, c. v.
Statutes, vol. i. p. 349-51. † Ibid, vol. i. p. 376-7. | Ibid, vol. i. p. 383.
been so often associated with this trade, struction which Carte put on the motives of and its origin among us has been so in- Strafford. But let the Deputy himself speak; correctly attributed to him, that it may not and with a becoming candour he will declare be considered superfluous to add his own that his zeal was not for Ireland or her people, testimony to the many proofs we have al- and that his object was “not only to enrich ready given, that however he might have im- them, (the Irish) but make sure still to hold proved or increased it, we are not indebted them dependant on the crown; and for to him for its introduction. Every exer- wholly laying aside the manufacture of tion he used for its advancement we fully cloths or stuffs there, which, if not discouappreciate, and shall as candidly acknow- raged, it might be feared that they might ledge ; but we claim also the privilege of beat us (the English) out of the trade itself scrutinizing his motives. And when his by underselling us, which they are able to countrymen claim for his memory the grate- do."'* Such were Strafford's motives, and ful remembrance of our nation, they should as one who did a partial good that he might be reminded that his private despatches show, inflict a greater evil, let his memory be eswhen he came among us to encourage our teemed amongst us. linen trade, that his secret object was to rear During his administration proclamations it as a scaffolding, based on the gratitude of a were issued, by which a standard length was warm-hearted and confiding people, whereon assigned to the yarn threads; the breadth, his foot might rest secure, while his hand was length, and quality of linen cloth was fixed stretched forth to pull down our then popu- by law, and all cloth and yarn not made lar and extensive woollen manufacture. in accordance with the regulations were
We may be met by the assertion, that forfeited. On the 25th of May, 1641, though the trade had been in existence, the House of Commons resolved " that the prior to the arrival of Strafford, it had fallen proclamations touching linen yarn, pubinto decay. Happily there are documents lished ultimo Maii, 1636, et ultimo Japreserved among the state papers of the nuarii, 1636, and the proceedings and Deputy which prove that this is not correct. consequences thereof are voted by this From a memorandum dated 1633, which is house to be, and to have been, great grieventitled- “ Remembrance of what commo- ances to this kingdom.”+ To this resolution dities serve for Spain and Portugal out of the Lords' committee agreed, and on the Ireland," we extract the following:
- 2nd June,“ the warrant signed by the late “ Gallicia-wheat, rye, some linen-cloth. The
Lord Deputy, and the proclamations were Cannaries--butter, some calves, skins, linen-cloth, voted grievances and contrary to the law iron. Madeira Island-pipe staves, linen-cloth, of the land." Among the many com
plaints which the Lords laid before Charles, Having enquired minutely into the state of were the oppressive effects of these proclaour commerce both prior to and after his mations ; and we learn that—"a reasonable arrival here, he found that in woollens we
provision was made for every one of their were likely to rival England, and to protect linen yarn and cloth, when made of less
complaints, except that about the seizure of her trade, he determined to crush ours. Speaking on this subject, Carte says—" But goodness and length than the regulations whatever reasons there were for it, it would
established."$ Notwithstanding these comhave been barbarous to restrain a people from plaints, we find that the various means employing themselves in one manufacture, adopted for the “increase" of the linen mawithont setting them to work in another.
nufacture produced the desired effect; the With this view he sent into Holland for improvement however was short lived, its flaxseed, (it being of a better sort than any progress having been completely checked they had in Ireland,) and into the Low by the civil wars. Countries and France for workmen.
We learn from Anderson, on the authority
of Mr. Lewis Roberts, that at this period, encourage others he engaged in it himself, venturing his own private fortune and spend - (1641) Ireland possessed a considerable ex
In a small treatise ing £30,000 in a work which nothing could port of linen yarn. have moved him to undertake but a lauda- entitled “The Treasure of Traffic,” Mr.
Roberts ble zeal for the good of the kingdom that he
says,—" The town of Manchester governed.”+ Such was the charitable con
* See Letters.to Chas. I. vol. i. pp. 93, 216, 220.
+ Commons Journal, vol. i. p. 210. * Stafford's Letters, vol. i. p. 105.
Ibid, vol. i. p. 226. | Carte's Life of Ormond, vol. i. p. 85.
Carte, vol. i. p. 141.
buys the linen-yarn of the Irish in great nufacture received during Ormond's admi. quantity.”*
nistration may be judged of by referring to Shortly after the restoration of Charles II. the Commons journal of the time: the Duke of Ormond was appointed Lord Lieutenant, and one of his first acts was to
“ September 18th, 1662.-It is ordered, upon form a council of trade. His instruc- question, that the report of the committee of trade tions to this council were—“ You are to cloth within this kingdom, be taken into debate on
for the encouragement of the manufactory of linentake into consideration all the native com- Tuesday next."* “February 8th, 1665, Sir Peter modities of the growth and production Pett reported that the committee met, and having of his Majesty's kingdom of Ireland, considered the bill for advancement of the trade and how they may be ordered, nou
of linen manufacture, found the same to be a bill
of public use and advantage to this kingdom.”+ rished, increased, and manufactured, to the best advantage of the public; and to con- This bill (17th and 18th Chas. II. chap. sider by what way any of the manufactures ix.) was entitled—“ An act for the advanceof the said kingdom are corrupted, debased, ment of the trade of linen manufacture." and disparaged, and by what means they By it the grand juries were empowered to may be restored and maintained in their levy twenty pounds annually in each county, ancient goodness and reputation.”. Speak- (except Dublin and Kerry,) to be distriing of that branch more immediately under buted in premiums of £10, £6, and £4, for our consideration, he says,–"You are to the best three pieces of linen of stated length consider how a manufacture of linen-cloth and breadth. Money was granted for the and linen-yarn may be advanced and settled building of a bleach-yard in each province; in this kingdoin, with most advantage to his penalties were imposed on such landowners Majesty and his people." +
as should set land without covenanting that His biographer, speaking of the interest a certain portion be sown with flax or hemp; Ormond took in advancing the commerce and and on farmers who should not sow a stated manufactures of the nation, says, “but of all quantity in proportion to the amount of land the schemes of this sort there was none that they tilled. By it also a freedom from state his Grace was so fond of as that of the linen service was granted to all weavers for a limanufacture. As soon as he came over into mited period. It was during his admiIreland he undertook its revival, and got nistration that “an act of the English acts of parliament passed for its encourage- parliament declared the exportation of our ment. He built tenements for the recep- black cattle and sheep a common nuisance, tion of as many of those as were to be em- and prohibited the same perpetually;"$ and ployed at Chapel Izod, near Dublin, where, the generous Scotch, profiting by the exbefore he went the next year to England, ample set them, “did likewise.” The Duke there were 300 hands at work in making of Ormond now became our avowed advocordage, sail-cloth, ticking, and as good cate; he represented to his Majesty the linen cloth and diaper, of Irish yarn, as was great loss we sustained by the recent acts made in any country of Europe."! Many for the encouragement of English trade," of our landowners followed his praiseworthy which left us without a market for our beef, example, and, among others, Lord Dungan- by shutting us out from both the English non, in the north, so effectually succeeded and American trade :in reviving the linen trade of Ulster, that a writer of the day says, in reference to it,- be disposed of in all places, being deemed of little
value in most parts of Europe ; though after being “ The Scotch and Irish of that province addict- husbanded in England, it passed for English beef, ing themselves to spinning of linen-yarn, attained and was famous all over the world.|| to vast quantities of that commodity, which they transported to their great profit; the conveniency
Have we not the same prejudice to conof which drew thither multitudes of linen wea- tend with at present ? Have not our manuvers, so that my opinion is, there is no greater quan- factures, at this very day, to be sent to tity of linen produced in the like circuit in Eu- England to acquire caste, before they will rope."S
meet with purchasers—not abroad—but in The legislative attention which this ma- IRELAND ?
a “For (says his Grace) Irish beef was not to
History of Commerce, vol. ii. p. 317. † Laurence's Interest of Ireland, introduction, London, 1682.
| Carte's Life of Ormond, vol. ii. p. 343. & Laurence's Interest of Ireland, p. 189.
Commons Journal, vol. i. p. 540. † Ibid, vol. i. p. 702.
Statutes, vol. iii. p. 157.
Hints for Hardinge, p. 42. || Carte, vol. ii. p. 317.