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Own. Nothing can be more characteristic than the precedency which it had over woollens, in the favour of the rulers of France; for, as we have already mentioned, it was admired and protected by Francis I. in the year 1520, while the establishment for broadcloths, at Sedan, does not date until 125 years later. The expenses incurred by Henry IV. in the year 1589, and afterwards, together with his efforts to establish the manufacture of silk throughout his realm, were much greater in proportion to his awa dnd situation, than the million which Lewis XIV. contributed, in 1664, toward encouraging woollens; and the attention paid to the fabrication of fine rather than of common cloths, confirms the tendency of the nation to luxurious in preference to necessary industry.
In 1818, the value of silk manufactured in France was computed at .£4,250,000. In 1739, the value of woollens wrought in England was computed to be £ 16,000,000. Now this is a very awkward account for M. Dupin, and we do not know how he will surmount this single fact, even if we were to spare him a legion of others which we have in reserve for him. We here take a staple commodity of each kingdom; we find that the annual value of woollens manufactured in England, in 1739, was four times as great as the value of silk manufactured in France seventynine years later. But the diminution in the value of money during that time has certainly been much more than half; and the increase of industry has been more than four. Hence then a manufacture which, in 1818, produced £8, ought, in 1739, to have produced but £\; and the four millions of silk just mentioned, would have been reckoned at £500,000; that is to say, at T'T of our cloth manufactures in the same year. Now we do not wish to give this fact more importance than it merits; we know that, wherever silks and woollens are worn in European climates, the consumption of the latter is much more extensive; we know too that the cases are not quite parallel; yet, upon the whole, this single fact affords a strong presumption that the superiority of industry was in favour of England at the period related; and one or two facts more of the same nature would be sufficient utterly to disprove M. Dupin's assertion.
Although the staple of England, early as well as late, was woollens—coarse, common, popular woollens—yet it cannot be supposed that a country trading as she does with the whole world, having at her command the produce of every climate, and able to furnish all with what they do not possess, should strictly and eternally confine herself to necessary industry. This indeed must be the first to employ a nation situated amidst superable difficulties; but should such a nation ever prosper, a time must come when when luxury, if not for domestic, at least for foreign uses, will engage her attention; and the fabrication of superfluous elegancies will be added to that of what is good and wholesome. Such has been the progress of the silk manufactures in this island.
In the reign of Henry II. much encouragement was given to the weavers of wool, while large sums were paid to Spain for silken robes. These were worn by the English kings and princes only, and at the coronation of the young king and queen, under Henry II. It is not till nearly three centuries later, that mention is made of any attempt to manufacture this material at home; and even then, in 1455, it was entirely in the hands of women, and was probably confined to needlework and embroidery. Toward the end of the century some small haberdashery was made; but the broad silks were still supplied by the south. The difficulty of procuring the raw substance, notwithstanding many attempts to import it from Persia, and to cultivate the mulberry tree at home, retarded this branch of manufacture until 1620. In forty years, however, it became so extensive as to occupy in London alone, 40,000 throwsters; and, in 1719, Lombes' admirable machine, which spun 23,000 yards of organzine silk in one minute, was introduced. So much indeed was this manufacture then improved, that English silks were preferred, even in Italy; and it was thought expedient to derogate from the navigation act of George II. in favour of the importation of Persian silk through Russia.
The persecution of the protestants by Lewis XIV. drove many useful arts out of France; and the tolerant countries reaped the benefit of his intemperance. So prone are the French to find their own merits every where, that they generally boast more of the civilization which they pretend to have diffused over Europe by the talents of the refugees, than they feel the disgrace and cruelty of the revocation of a just and mild edict. But, in our minds, they have much more reason to be ashamed than vain of such an event. Be this as it may however, the establishments of Spital-fieldswere indebted to their intolerance; and, from this epocha began the flourishing state of the British silk manufactures. Still however their sphere was very limited, until the raw material of India came to increase it; but, since that time, it has increased in extent and importance with a rapidity of which no other manufacture affords an example.
The manufacture of silk is not one of those which we adduce in direct testimony of the superiority of Britain over France, in an sera prior to that of which M. Dupin speaks. We grant that, till within five or six years perhaps, France did carry on a more extensive traffic in this commodity than we did; but we have
E 2 spoken spoken of it principally as characteristic of the industry of both nations; as showing the addiction of the one to luxury, of the other to utility. Of all the views which can be taken of the subject, this is the most interesting and the grandest. Profit and loss may captivate the merchant's mind; the financier, the statesman may consider labour as a mine of national wealth; and ministers will hold it to be a source of taxation. But philosophy, which comprises these and every other view, which presides over them all, will never be satisfied by any inquiry which is not at once the most minute and the most comprehensive. Now let industry be turned on every side, let it be considered by men of every vocation, its most enlarged and noble properties relate to the intellectual history of human beings. This is the aspect by which it will unite at once the views of the merchant, of the statesman, and of the minister; for in tracing up their respective idols to a common origin they will find that the only source of private profit, of public wealth, the only taxable commodity—is Mind. Philosophy too not only directs the present researches and the future prospects of men, it is the great preserver of all that we have acquired, and embalms the memory of all that we know. The art which has deposited its principles in the archives of philosophy will never perish.
From such a view it is fair to conclude that the nation which principally manufactured the most useful article, wool, was more industrious, more enlightened, and more prosperous than that whose exertions were directed to the most luxurious, silk. Whether M. Dupin by his meditations upon England has sufficiently shaken off the trammels of early impressions and national preconceptions, to feel this deduction, we know not; but we trust that every unbiassed and reflecting mind will at once admit its extreme probability. Men who instinctively, as it were, discover the limits of utility must possess superior intellect; and intellect is prosperity.
The substance which, as applied to human clothing, stands the next in value to wool is cotton. It is almost as warm; it is softer, lighter, more flexible, more glossy, and, if it possessed the same durability, it would be preferable. Cotton then belongs more to necessary than to luxurious industry, and is the legitimate commodity of the nation whose woollen manufactures exceed those of all the world. The prosperity acquired by England, from this branch of trade, principally belongs to the time to which M. Dupin's assertion does not relate; and we ought to confine ourselves to refute him. We shall however offer a summary of the state of our cotton manufactures prior to 1770.
The period when this vegetable wool was introduced into
England is not precisely known; consequently the manufacture, if any such existed, must have been very inconsiderable in early times. In the Itinerary of Leland, who visited Lancashire in the reign of Henry VIII. it is stated that many villages near Bolton make cottons. But an act passed in 1552, during the reign which followed, enjoining that all the stuffs called Manchester, Lancashire and Chester cottons, shall be twenty-one yards in length and | of a yard in breadth, and shall weigh thirty pounds, destroys the supposition that these cottons were really cottons. The same supposition is still further rendered improbable by another order that Manchester frizes, 36 yards long and J broad, shall weigh 48 pounds. Camden, speakingof Manchester in 1590, says,' this town excels the towns immediately around in handsomeness, popu- lousness, woollen manufactures, &,c. which they call Manchester cottons.' This strange misnomer has led to the error that cotton really was largely manufactured in England, at a remote period. The same cause has produced the same effect with respect to Welsh and Kendal cottons, both of which were made entirely of wool.
Before any manufactory of this substance was established here the raw material had long been known. It is certain that, in 1430 at least, cotton was imported from the Levant, by the huge carracks of the Genoese, (Hackluyt's Process of English Policy,) for which they took back wool and woollen cloths. After 1511 'divers tall ships of London and Bristol had an unusual trade to Sicily, Candia, Chios and sometimes to Cyprus and to Tripoli, and Baruth in Syria;' whence, among other things, they brought home cotton-wool. When the merchants of Antwerp engrossed the Levant trade, they continued the importation of this article; and even introduced some from Lisbon, which the Portugueze derived from India. But whether any other use but the fabrication of candle-wicks was made of it at this period, is uncertain; neither does it appear to have been manufactured into stuffs, until the beginning of the seventeenth century.
According to Guicciardini, fustians were first made in Flanders; and Hackluyt meutions them as an early article of exportation from that country. But whether the Netherlands or Italy had the priority; whether we.derived our first knowledge of cottonstuffs from those nations or from India, is of little importance here. Some Flemish protestant refugees established the manufacture at Bolton and Manchester early in the seventeenth century. In the ' Treasure of Traffic,' by Lewis Roberts, published in 1641, it is stated that the Manchester weavers ' buy cottonwool in London, which comes from Cyprus and Smyrna, and work the same into fustians, vermillions and dimities, which they
E 3 return return to London, where they are sold; and from thence, not seldom, are sent into such foreign parts where the first materials may be more easily had for that manufacture.' Thus, at last, Manchester cottons ceased to be a misnomer.
Immediately after this, fustians were manufactured at Bolton, Leigh, and in many of the adjacent towns; and as soon as the other sources—America, for instance, and India—poured in the raw material, the variety and the quantity of stuffs became unlimited; and the quality so superior, that an entirely new career seemed to be opened to industry. The cotton manufactures of England have done more to promote a wholesome spirit of enterprize, and to bring together the minds of the artizan and of the philosopher, than any fabrication of human convenience ever did. As much as the early prosperity of this nation owed to her first great native staple, wool, even so much is her present unexampled greatness indebted to this her second staple, which her trade and exertions have brought home from distances that equal one half of the earth's circumference, and which her genius has converted into a source of noble, honest wealth for herself, and of comfort for mankind.
The history of the cotton manufacture in France is so meagre, and so brief, that it is not worth recounting. At the time alluded to by M. Dupin it was absolutely null, in so much that he could not have founded much of his assertion upon this ground.
On the manufacture of linen we shall not offer many considerations. That fine linens were woven in England at a very early period, appears from an order of Henry III., who, in 1253, enjoined the sheriffs of Wilts and Sussex to send no inconsiderable quantity of it to his wardrobe. In 1386 a company of linen weavers was established in London, composed of Flemings, who had been invited thither by Edward III. About a century and a half later a statute of Henry VIII. ordained that a certain proportion of the arable lands of the realm should be sown with flax or hemp, for the provision of nets for the fisheries; and the fabrication of sail-cloth was begun, or at least much improved and extended, under Elizabeth. But although this manufacture was occasionally encouraged by the legislature, yet the policy of England seemed rather to promote it in those parts of the territory where flax and hemp were more advantageous crops—in Scotland and in Ireland—and to turn her own attention particularly to work the material with which nature had so bountifully provided her. In the sister island this article was of very ancient date; but such was then the want of commercial skill, that it was sent to Manchester to be manufactured. In the beginning of the last century, however, legal encouragement was given to this branch