Page images
PDF
EPUB

worked, and in quality equal, if not fuperior to the best Whitehaven coal.

And what does Mr. Foster himself fay, in 1799, page 88 of his printed speech? “ Should rashi councils, forget ting the advantages of friendly intercourse, attempt to prohibit or clog our import of raw materials, viz. coals, hops, « bark, rock-fult, &c. with duties, which no man in either

country deprecates more sincerely than I do, necesity may

compel us to search for coal, WHICH EXISTS IN IRELĀND, but which we have never looked for effectually.?

Have we got a woollen manufacture? Is not all the wool we grow now worked up into the ultimate manufacture? In the three years immediately subsequent to the passing the act of the 10 Will. 3. c. 10, to restrain our woollea trade, which is the period alluded to by Mr. Foster, the average export of wool and woollen yarn to England from this country, was 349,410 stone; in the last three years to 1798, the average export was 18,941 stone; fo that it appears that we now work up all our wool to the ultimate stage of manufacture. And how is this done at this day, if the position be true, that the woollen manufacture can exist only in the coal countrics?

I think I may be allowed to assert, that we work up all our wool; for the small quantity of 18,941 stone cannot be reckoned as any thing; and it is curious to see how ever chis small average is yearly decreasing.

The quantity of wool, and woollen and worsted yarn, exported in the last three years, was as follows:

Woolleo and Worsted Yara. 1796,

29,220 ftone. 1797, 88

15,063 1798, 89

12,192 So that it appears that the small export of these articles is decreasing every day: and Mr. Foster himself states, in fame page 72," that Ireland exports no unmanufactured wool; that it works up all it has."

Again : Where is it in Ireland that the woollen manufacture is carried on? In Dublin, in Cork, in Bandon, in Waterford, in Tallow, in Lismore, in Carrick-on-suir, and in the Queen's County. Is there any colliery near any of these places except in the Queen's County?

If thefe facts be fo, does it not appear that a woollea manufacture not only exists at this day in Ireland, but that

Wool.

171 ftone,

it is carried on in those parts of the country where the colJieries do not lie?

In England, there are great manufactures of New Dra. pery in Devonshire and Norwich ; and of Old Drapery, in Wiltfhire, Somersetíhire, and Gloucestershire, where coal is not remarkably cheap.

The two articles of woollen and worsted yarn, afford a strong example of the neceslity of taking the aggregate prices of all the articles necessary for carrying on a manufacture, together with the price of labour in its various branches, into consideration, in any computation which may be made of the relative advantages with which a manufacture may be carried on in two distinct situations; and not concluding upon any one article, such as fuel. For it is a well known fact, that wool is dearer in Ireland than in England, and yet we can very much under sell the English in the articles of woollen and worsted yarn. The reason is, that the price of labour and of wool in each country being added together, the aggregate fum is less in Ireland than in England: and therefore, although the raw material is dearer, yet the manufacture as far as yarn, which may amount to one-third of the value of the ultimate manufacture, is actually cheaper in Ireland than ia England.

As to the manufacture of Cotton, I do not know that fire is an essential article in the carrying it on. All the ma. chinery of Arkwright can be worked by water, as well as by steam-engines, and certainly at a cheaper rate : and surely have an evident advantage over England in the command of water.

With the disadvantages which may be against us, either in the article of firing or other articles, we certainly do carry on at present a considerable Cotton manufacture ; which is increaling every day, and in every part of the kingdom. We have cotton manufactures at Celbridge, at Prosperous, at Malahide, at Balbriggan, at Drogheda, at Belfast, at Clonmell, at Cork, at Kilmacthomas, and at Mountrath, and various other places; and fome of these manufactories carry on the business to a very great extent : which confirms in a very great degree the assertions of the cotton manufacturers of England, who were examined upon this subject in the year 1785. They, in that early state of our cotton manufacture, gave it as their opinion, that from the cheap ness of labour and provisions, exemption from taxes, and having it in our power to obtain the raw material as cheap as they can in England, together with the great advantage

which

which we certainly have in all those branches which were composed of cotton and linen, or bay yarn, we must be able to beat them in our own market, and meet them to a great advantage in every other market.

Upon this occasion, some of the most extensive and principal cotton manufacturers of the kingdom were examined ; men of the first character, for principles, integrity and skill, and the most extensive in their dealings; men who employed great capitals, and had made immense fortunes in the bufiness; such men as Mr. Robert Peele, who now has subfcribed £10,000 a year, to the expence of carrying on the war, Mr. Joseph Smith, Mr. Thomas Walker, Mr. Thomas Richardson, Mr. Thomas Philips, and Mr. Thomas Kershaw; these Gentlemen stated, so early as the year 1785, that Manchester had lost a great part of the Irish trade, since Ireland engaged in the cotton business, in which she had greatly extended her manufacture,

It appeared that there were 50,000 people employed in the cotton manufacture in Lancashire. Mr. Peele and Mr Smith each employed 6000 in the manufacture; and from 800 to 1000 in printing. They each of them 'paid in the year 1784, 620,000 io excise, and on the fame quantity of goods, the excise would be in the year they were examined in £27,000.

They stated that the increase of capital, on account of the advance of duty and price of labour between England and Ireland, was on goods manufactured, £20 per cept. that the price of labour in common articles would make a difference of £20 per cent. and in finer articles more.

That the Irish, after paying roź per cent. duty, could fend their goods to the English market from 12 to 13 per cent. cheaper than the English could.

That by these means the Irish would in time get the manufacture; but that the English, from their superior skill and ingenuity, would retain the printing branch; that the former employs in the proportion of 1% of the hands, the latter o

Mr. Peele said, he was so convinced of the trade's being transferred to Ireland, that he had written there to become a partner; and he also, as well as Mr. Smith aod Mr. Walker declared, that should the resolutions of the Irish Parliament pass into a law, they would carry on their trade in Ireland ; and that they were confident many othors would do the

с

fame,

fame, and that many people of great property and capital, would either settle or form such connections there, as would give the advantages arising from cheapness of labour and provisions their full effect.

They stated that they had no doubt but that skilful workmen would go over with great capitals to Ireland, and that the Irish waat nothing else to aid them, or to establish manufacture.

That formerly, Holland had the whole of what is called the small ware trade yconsisting of tape, garters, binding, &c. but that this was transferred to England by the migra. tion of a single manufacturer, a Mr. Vansandford.

Such is the opinion of men bred up in the cotton manufacture, and who have made immense fortunes in that trade. I have stated their evidence fairly and exactly; and I set it against the opinion of Mr. Foster ; let the public decide which has most weight.

As to the iron trade, and the advantages and disadvantages under which it can be carried on in Great Britain and Ireland respectively, it is a subject of great magnitude; and has been, fince the compact made in 1778, to this day, a matter of difpate and controversy between the two countries : Great Britain insisting upon it, that we had an advantage over her in the great American market, owing to the low duty of 125. 6. Irish, which we pay upon imported bar iron, while Britain pays 21. 16s. 6d. English : and Ireland, on the other hand, asserting, that as England makes from the ore, onehalf of the iron she consumes in manufacture, that ought to have been taken into the scale of computation, in 1778, and of course, the equalizing duty, imposed on the export of our iron manufactures, ought to have been less than 31. 35. vid. the duty agreed upon by the compact.

It is not my intention to enter deeply into this subject; all that I mean to do is to stare a few obfervations on the point asserted by Mr. Foster, of the utter impollibility of Ireland having an iron manufacture, owing to her want of coal.

The firft observation I shall make is, that Mr. Foster himself has pointed out the principal reason, if not the only one, why we have not collieries, and that is, that we have never looked for them as we ought to have done; but, whenever it shall become an object to search after collieries, or to work those properly, which are already dilcovered, it cannot be doubted but that men with capital, and skill in matters of this kind, will come over to this country, and that there will be no want of coal.

I

It is a matter of notoriety that there exists in the county of Leitrim, as I have already stated, not only great collieries, but many species of iron-stone and ores; and that pothing but skill and capital is wanting to establish iron works in that county, on the borders of Lough-Allen, the head of the river Shannon; to which point the two great navigations of this country direct their course, the Grand and the Royal Canal.

Mr. Foster has chosen for his purpose, four of the great and profitable manufactures of England ; and has asserted, that they cannot be carried on in this country for want of fuel proper for the purpose ; and therefore that no capital can or will be brought into this country-arguing from the particular to the general. And in like manner he lates every thing relating to these trades as beft anfwers his purpose, making no distinction in any of them. It is, however, highly necessary that the public should be acquainted, that in the Iron trade there are two branches totally distinct from each other, and having total different interests to pursue; the one is that of the makers of iron from the ore, the other that of the manufacturers of iron after it is made.

It is the interest of the former that there Tould be a very high duty on imported iron, that it may not be able to contend with their iron in the Irish market; on the contrary, it is the interest of the latter, that the duty on imported iron should be as low as possible, that the material of his trade may come to him on as low terms as may be.

The encouraging the making of iron from the ore, in a country which not only supplies itself with every article made of iron, but also exports immense quantities of every manufacture made of that metal, from an anchor to a needle, is an object of very great magnitude ; the importation of iron being from 40,000 to 50,000 tons yearly into England, which at 14. a ton, amounts to from 560,000l. to 700,000l. It is worth their while to encourage the making of iron, to save fuch great sums from going out of the kingdom; and therefore it may be politic to impofe so high a duty as 21. 16s. 6d. on imported iron, which not only protects their own manufacture, but brings in a revenue of 126,000l. a year. But in Ireland, where we are not in the fame siewation, and where the woods which formerly abounded, and with which iron was made, are now exhausted ; and where we have not at present collieries open fufficient to supply our common consumption of coal, it would be madness to entertain the

idea

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

C 2

« PreviousContinue »