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those who were qualified to undertake them ; but how great was the difficulty in the more destitute places! where the landlords were all absentees, where there were few residents of education and property, or perhaps none within a circuit of many miles, inhabited by a dense population, almost all uneducated, and destitute, and needing relief. The want of an upper and middle class is sufficiently obvious, and in many places most grievously felt. Without these classes, it is impossible to carry on the various local institutions of the country.
But how to obviate the difficulty, and to secure the residence of those connected with the locality by property or otherwise, is a very difficult matter. To compel residence by law is out of the question, Even if it were just, or consistent with the constitutional rights of freemen, it would be impossible to carry any plan of taxation into effective operation. It must be made the interest of the proprietors to reside, or they will continue absentees. Non-residence generally results from the embarrasment of the proprietor, from the possession of property elsewhere, from the fear of outrage, or from the want of suitable society. Property cannot be as valuable to a non-resident proprietor, as it might be made by one who would give it his personal attention. If the difficulties were removed which now prevent the free sale of landed property, some one who could attend to it would purchase from the non-resident owner; and if the number of resident proprietors were increased, the inducements to residence would be greater on account of the improved society, whilst the danger of outrage would be less.
Allusion has been already made to the penal code, as having had a serious effect in depressing the industry of the country. It affected the Roman Catholics directly, lessening their motives for exertion, by taking from them the means of investing their profits in land ; and it indirectly affected the dominant class, by creating in them a spirit of pride and exclusiveness, which looked to other means than industry for the acquisition of wealth. It is the unvarying result of partial and oppressive legislation, to injure both the oppressor and the oppressed. In that part of Ulster where the population was almost exclusively Protestant, the linen manufacture has flourished; but the woollen manufacture, which at one time was extensively carried on in the south of Ireland, has almost wholly ceased. It is true that, in accordance with the mistaken policy already alluded to, the manufacture of woollen goods was systematically discouraged by the government; yet its final decay seems due to other causes. It flourished during the period of legal restriction, even to the extent of exporting to England in the face of heavy duties; but has gradually fallen away to its present reduced condition, since the restrictions have been removed, and our woollen manufacturers placed on a par with the English.
Perhaps the main cause of the decay of both the woollen and cotton manufactures in Ireland, has been the growth of the factory system. While the yarn was spun and the cloth woven by hand, and the whole trade carried on without the employment of any very large amount of capital, by individual manufacturers, the small tradesmen in Ireland were on equal terms with their competitors in England, as they possessed fully as much ingenuity and skill, and their pecuniary resources were sufficient for the extent of their business. But when the inventive genius of Watt, Arkwright, and others, changed the character of the manufacturing industry of Great Britain, it became impossible for the manufacturers of Ireland to contend with those of England, unless they also embarked large capitals, and consented to devote the same close attention to the business. To conduct a large manufactory with success requires capital, intelligence, unremitting attention and industry. Few persons in the south of Ireland, possessing these requisites, have been willing to undertake a business involving so much labour, and requiring so large an investment of capital ; which, being sunk in buildings and machinery, could only be made available by the successful working of the concern.
The higher price of coals in Ireland must have had some effect in discouraging the erection of factories; but Sir Robert Kane has clearly shown that this is of far less importance than has usually been supposed.* There are important manufactures in many parts of England, where the price of coals is considerably higher than in the seaport towns of Ireland.
The manufacture of flax has more slowly adapted itself to the factory system, than either that of cotton or wool. Linen is still woven by hand, and flax continued to be spun by hand until recently; the machinery for spinning flax by power not having been invented, until long after that for spinning cotton had been brought to nearly its present state of perfection. The factory system had therefore sufficient time to develope itself in England, as applied to the manufacture of cotton, woollen, and worsted goods, before the linen trade was exposed to its influence. When the contest between the spinning-wheel and the flax-mill commenced, the linen trade of Ulster might have experienced the same fate as the cotton and woollen trades of the south of Ireland, but that it was still necessary to weave by hand, and also that large capitals had been sunk in bleaching establishments, which would be useless unless the linen manufacture were supported. The habits and inclinations of the possessors of capital in many parts of Ulster must also be taken into account, as rendering them more willing to embark in manufactures, and to devote the requisite care and attention to the management of their business.
* See Kane's Industrial Resources of Ireland.
Formerly there were bleach greens in several places in the other three provinces, and a considerable quantity of linen manufactured ; now, this trade is almost wholly confined to Ulster. By a recent return presented to the house of commons, the number of persons employed in flax-mills in the kingdom appears to be as follows, viz. :
In Ulster - - - - - - - 15,292
Total - . 58,258 The trade and manufactures of Ireland have been more impeded by combinations among the work-people than in England. They have not had much direct influence on factory labour, but have affected handicraft trades to a great extent, raising