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lations were made respecting broad-cloths, russets, &c. The office of aulnager, is mentioned by Maddox, as existing in the time of Edward I; and thus the very early establishment of woollen manufactures is proved, although, under the Norman race, a common clothing still was leather. But, in 1331, John Kemp, with seventy Walloon families, was invited into England; and Kendal was the metropolis of this branch of industry. Many other towns, as Norwich, Sudbury, Colchester, and York had their own manufactories; and woollens were spun and wove in Devonshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Berkshire, Sussex and Wales.
A table of what the exports and imports of woollen goods were about the middle of the fourteenth century, and not more than twenty years after the arrival of the Flemish artificers, will show the progress which this manufacture had made in a very short time.
and a half of wool at £6 value each sack,
at 40s. value, each hundred at six score, Whereof the custom amounts to Fourteen last, seventeen dicher and five hides of leather,
after six pounds value the last, amount to Whereof the custom amounts to 4,774} after 40s value is 8,061 of worsted after 16s. 8d. value the piece is Whereof the custom amounts to
6,073 1 8 81,624 í 1
89 5 0
6 17. 6 9,549 00 6,717 18 4
215 13 7
} £294,184 17 -2
Summary of the outcarried commodities in value and custom,
IMPORTS. 1,832 cloths after £6 value each, Whereof the custom amounts to 397* quintals of wax after the value of 40s. the quintal, Whereof the custom is 6829) tons of wine after 40s. per ton, Whereof the custom is Linen cloth, mercury, grocery wares and all other man
ner of merchandize, Whereof the custom is
} 23,014 16 0
285 18 3
€38,970 13 3
Summary of the inbrought commodities, Summary of the surplus of the outcarried above the
inbrought commodities amounteth to
} 255,214 3 11
It is remarkable that the value of the imported cloth, per piece, is here three times as great as that of the exported; and it may be inferred that the quality was also superior. It appears then that the fabrication of coarse cloths exclusively occupied the manufacturers of Britain, while the finer cloths were still imported from abroad; that is to say, that hitherto the wants of the people were the regulator of British industry,
But the manufactories of England were not yet sufficiently extensive to employ all the wool produced there; and much was still exported unwrought. They increased however; and, early in the reign of Edward IV. the importation of woollen cloth, caps, &c. was prohibited. The civil wars were of course prejudicial to them; but Henry VII. did more toward their prosperity than any of his predecessors, and gave them greater vigour than they ever had before. Fine cloths, in particular, seem to have been much improved about his time; neither was the end of the fifteenth century too early a period for the introduction of a little luxury into a branch of industry which had so long been devoted to comfort. The ostentațious reign of Henry VIII. gave a further impulse to the woollen trade; even in 1512, the cloth which but fifty years before was sold for forty shillings, was worth four and five marks; and a similar variation took place in the price of labour, so much had the demand increased, in consequence of increasing population, wealth and consumption. Beside the exports to Flanders, English cloth found its way to Holland, Hamburgh, Sweden and Russia; countries where the coarser and the warmer stuffs were the most necessary.
The protestants who fled from the persecutions of the Duke of Alva, in the Low Countries, brought a considerable accession of industry to England; and the woollen manufactures, together with all that related to them, became more flourishing than ever. Queen Elizabeth extended her strong protection to them; insomuch that, although, in 1552, a large quantity of the raw material was exported, in less than thirty years Germany, Poland, France, Flanders, Denmark and Sweden were overrun with British cloths. The price had nearly tripled; yet two hundred thousand pieces were annually exported to those countries.
The processes by which woollens are rendered beautiful were not yet performed in England; and a part of the operation was reserved for the Netherlands. Much of our exports consisted in white undressed cloth; and the profits upon dyeing and finishing, amounting as it was stated to a million a year, were lost to us. The exportation of white cloths was therefore prohibited; but the Dutch and the Germans forbad the entrance of any English woollens dyed in the piece, into their states. The export then
fell immediately from 200,000 to 60,000, when it was found necessary to take off the restriction. This circumstance gave rise to the fabrication of what was termed medley cloths, or mixtures of wool dyed of different colours, and wrought into the same web. The Long Parliament still further promoted this manufacture; and the law enjoining the exclusive use of woollens in burials gave it fresh activity. The processes of dyeing and dressing were improved; and, in 1699, the quantity of manufactured cloth was estimated at eight millions, of which three-fourths were the price of labour. One-half of this quantity was exported; and thus did the woollen trade of England exhibit a very different appearance from what it wore when Flanders absorbed the whole raw material of the country. - Neither can this success be ascribed to the prohibitory laws which were , repeatedly enacted; but to the general expansion of industry, knowledge, and of that exalted civilization which creates and satisfies the noblest wants.
The following century witnessed a still more astonishing increase of this commodity. Some documents addressed to parliament in the year 1739, assert that one million and a half of British subjects were employed in this manufacture; now allowing to each workman the very moderate pay of 8l. per annnm, the sum
, total of their stipends is twelve millions. But to this must be added, according to the proportion first stated between the material and the labour, four millions for the former: the total value then of cloths manufactured in that year was sixteen millions sterling; and therefore the woollen manufactures had exactly doubled between the years 1699 and 1739, that is to say, in the first forty years of the last century. But, in another period of equal duration, comprising thirty-one years of the last and nine of the present century, when the machinery invented by Arkwright, and used in the cotton manufactories, was, with other improvements, applied to the fabrication of wool, they became more than three times as extensive; and it is no exaggeration to say that, during the eighteenth century our woollen manufactures had increased in the proportion of six to one, and that the time which has elapsed since its conclusion has evinced a similar tendency.We know that M. Dupin's strictures do not fairly go farther back than the year 1770; but we could not resist the temptation of the present statement, though without any reference to him.
A part of the advantage derived from the application of machinery to this branch of industry may be learned from a statement made by his majesty's attorney general before parliament, in the year 1800, that one million and a half of persons were employed in the woollen manufactures of England, the same number as in the year 1739. But, during that time, the produce had been
tripled; and, as no more hands were employed, the increase was entirely due to improved methods of manufacturing. The multiphcation by three, however, would give but a feeble idea of the power of machinery.
In France, the fabrication of woollens was probably practised at as early a period as in England. The demand for English wool was so great, that, early in the fourteenth century, application was made to open a staple for its importation; but the exportation of manufactured woollens did not figure in the commercial balance till three centuries later; neither were the coarser stuffs the most abundant. At the beginning of the seventeenth century, workmen were procured from Flanders for a manufactory of tapestry, but we find no mention of any notable improvement made in the art of weaving for the people. The administration of Cardinal Richelieu encouraged every species of manufacture then known and demanded; but cloths of luxury were more in request than cloths of necessity. It was in 1646, that Nicolas
. Cadeau, with some other Frenchmen, obtained a patent for twenty years, together with various other privileges and immunities for establishing at Sedan a manufactory of black and coloured cloths, made, like those of Holland, of the finest Spanish wool: About fifteen years after this, a treaty between France and Spain put the former country in possession of the finest wool of Europe, which was wrought into stuffs fit for the Levant. The opening which France possessed to the south by means of the Mediterranean, and, still more, her own wants, naturalized the fabrication of thin and light woollens; and her connection with Spain furnished her with the materials. It is rather a subject of astonishment that her vicinity to that country did not put her earlier in possession of a manufacture from which so much benefit was to be derived. In 1664, Colbert, to whose efforts France is so much indebted; invited manufacturers from every country to introduce their industry; and persuaded his monarch to appropriate a million of livres to the encouragement of this manufacture. Now the proportion between the English and the French trade may be estimated by the modicity of this sum, near twenty years after the exportation of raw wool had been absolutely and definitively prohibited by the Lords and Commons in parliament assembled; and two years before the law for burying in woollens.
In 1669, Van Robais, a Dutchman, was induced to settle with 500 workmen at Abbeville, where a new manufactory of superfine broad-cloth was established, and where in less than forty years the number of looms increased from thirty to one hundred. The better to honour this branch of industry the French king permitted the nobility to take a part in it without derogating from their rank.
But the cruel and impolitic revocation of the edict of Nantes soon gave England a share in the advantages which every protestant state reaped from the influx of many industrious families, and proved how much bigotry was preferred to industry in the kingdom of Lewis XIV.
The principal manufactories of fine woollen in France, were, the Gobelins in Paris, Sedan, Abbeville, Louviers, Elbeuf and Rouen. The first has long been celebrated for the luxury of its productions, and most of all for its magnificent tapestry. It was established by two brothers, Giles and John Gobelins, in the time. of Francis I.; but it did not become a royal manufactory till the year 1667, when Lewis XIV. changed its former name of• Folie Gobelins,' into the grandiloquous epithet of Hôtel Royal des Gobelins. The cause of this metamorphosis is characteristic, for it was not any popular or national want, but the desire of the monarch to possess furniture worthy of his splendid palaces, which induced his minister, Colbert, to collect all the ablest workmen and even artists, into this establishment; and to make it the most luxurious of its kind in the known world. But the embroidered battles of Alexander, the four seasons, the four elements, all the exploits of Lewis XIV, however they may ornament regal apartments, and gratify national vanity-however they may speak the splendour of the monarch-are less approved by reason than the homeliest drugget that ever bung upon the backs of our bold peasantry, their country's pride. '
From this very rapid sketch two things are evident: Ist, that the woollen manufactures of France were not, in their general progress, so much directed by the wants of the people as ours; and, for this reason, 2dly, that they were not so extensive. No sovereign, no court, can give such support to a manufacture as to make it rank among the mines of national wealth; while the true customers which make it flourish are the people; the people at home, and the people abroad. The French, we know, are not of that opinion, and we doubt whether M. Dupin does not prefer the Hôtel Royal (even with this title) des Gobelins,' to the sixteen millions of yards of broad and narrow cloths which were milled in the single West Riding of York, in the year 1817. We do not by any means wish to depreciate the merits of beautiful tapestry, or to say that the Gobelins is not a very fine establishment; but, taking all things into consideration, we prefer seeing a peasantry well and warmly clothed, to the finest painting that ever was represented in the most exquisite colours which woollen threads are capable of receiving. In the same manner, we prefer that the richest and greatest man of England should tread upon a carpet worth but three hundred pounds, and that