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the flax for manufacture, and for that grown for cattle feeding one hundred thousand acres more. This cultivation would more than all other tend to make us a manufacturing people, and give large employment. By way of illustration, let us refer again to the report of the Society for the Encouragement of Flax, in the instance of Mr. Blakely's plot of less than two acres, and we find that the produce of that single plot, when manufactured at the rate of 30 hanks of yarn to the pound, would employ during twelve months, 158 women to spin it, 18 weavers to weave it, and when woven, 40 women to hem-stitch it. Thus the agricultural labour of one acre three roods and sixteeu perches would yield employment afterwards from its crop for 210 persons. It is as interesting to mark its monetary productiveness. The yarn would give, when woven, 210 webs of stuff, each containing five dozen cambric handkerchiefs, and every dozen selling at fifty shillings, the whole yielding a produce in money of £2,600. Could our soil be rendere:) so fertile of manufacture, not the golden Indies nor Golconda's diamonded soil were half so wealthy, and no people could be more prosperous.

This valuable produce is no exotic, requiring great care, or a soil not ours to plant it in. It will grow almost anywhere. Bog reclaimed from the desolation of the morass, during so short a space as three years, has produced it luxuriantly, and it has grown on the hills of Wicklow, 1,160 feet above the level of the sea. It is produced in almost every land of the earth. It is indigenous to many of the eastern countries, but its growth is most favoured by temperate climes. It is cultivated in all the northern countries of Europe. In the south it springs in Sicily, Italy, and the coasts of the Mediterranean. India grows it, and in Egypt it has lately increased to a great extent. Into Britain it was introduced by the Romans. Those earlier merchants the Phænicians brought it long before into Ireland. A slow, steady growth produces the fibre in the best perfection. The rapid stimulus of warmer climes affords the finest description of seed. In the northern limits of the temperate zone, the short summers are found to induce too rapid a growth. The quantity of the fibre is good, but the quality is deteriorated. Russia, for instance, exports from 40 to 50,000 tons per annum, but the flax sells no higher than £48 per ton, whilst a very usual price for that of Holland and Belgium is £150, and sometimes £180 per ton. Nothing hinders the Irish flax of being in every respect equal to this. Neither the clime, the soil, nor the opportunities of preparation for the crop, and of the crop after it is gathered. 1841, the Belgian Government published some documents in relation to this crop, which took special notice to this fact. The oflicials appointed to investigate the subject in their report, stated, “ that the Irish flax, when first pulled, is as good as ours, but the Irish are negligent; whilst our flax is immediately put into water, theirs is left to get heated in the air. Our peasants are watchful. After immersing the flax, they take it out at the end of six or eight days according as they find it in condition for removal. The Irish do it just when they please. Our flax, when covered with mnd, is spread out on a meadow in that state, the first shower cleanses it. In Ireland, it is thrown down almost anywhere. The women with us often take the preparation of flax upon

themselves. In Ireland the flax is prepared in mills. We have sent some families to England, who have since returned, and they inform us that very good flax could be reared in that country. During the war, when neither we nor Holland exported flax, the English contrived to produce equally good linen with that which they manufacture at the present time. They then cultivated good flax in Yorkshire and in Ireland, but since that time they have neglected its cultivation.”

Now, this is the testimony of a Belgian commission to the quality of flax produced in Ireland, and it goes to demonstrate that there is no advantage possessed by the Belgians or Dutch over the Irish farmer, as far as natural advantages are concerned. We cannot doubt the accuracy of the decision at which the report reaches, in asserting that any superiority possessed by the Belgian flax over the Irish is to be accounted for in the difference of the treatment adopted by each country when the flax is pulled. Indeed, the general adaptation of any soil or climate in producing flax of equally valuable description to those of any other, is to be found instanced in the case of France. So much dependent for their supply of this material upon other countries were the French, that in 1841, we find that 20,832,875 lbs. linen yarn were exported from those countries to France, being a very close approximation in weight to twenty-one millions of pounds. In 1850, the total exports of flax to the same country were only 690,602 pounds ; in nine years thus we find that the flax imported into France bad dwindled down to less than the twenty-fifth part of its old proportions, a fact indicating that its production in France had increased by beyond twenty millions of pounds in nine years. Valuing this increase in home production at the very moderate sum of sixpence per pound, it represents a gain by home labour of £480,000. This sum, devoted to the profit of the agriculture of a country, represents a great progress in so short a space of time. But its great value is in the fact that besides, it represents a manufacturing increase proportionately profitable, and is a sign at once of diffused wealth as of diffused labour amongst a larger community, a portion of which was before unemployed.

We possess advantages beyond France or Belgium, and yet no increase has taken place in our growth of tax during nearly twenty years.

We still produce an average of thirty thousand tons annually. Our climate, which has been blamed for its uncertainty in other agricultural produce, is the most suitable for this crop of almost any in the world. The long droughts of Belgium canse a failure in the growth of flax in that country once in every thiee years. The warm summers of France render the fibre tough and coarse.

But in Ireland there are no such drawbacks. The soft rains that water the seeds after planting with a genial moisture, aid their growth, the more cloudy summers of our land ripen the tender plants with the due de gree of gentle maturity, that suits best their future usefulness for manufacture. Flax occupies the soil just for that period and for those months upon which we can most rely to yield all the facilities required for the proper production of the plant. From March to July is the term required in our country for the process of its growth. This is a period upon which

we can be certaia to have just the kind of weather which will give the best crop and the best opportunities for saving it. That it should be the most remunerative crop is only a question of skill, judicious agriculture, and careful preparation.

Whilst there is no doubt that flax will pay the grower in any soil in wbich it may be produced, there is a necessity that due care should be taken in its sowing and its production for the market, in order that it should be most remunerative. The system here and in Belgium has been to sow it in a soil which is after yielding a crop of potatoes. By this plan frequently a very full crop is produced, but the best system for obtaining a valuable crop is to sow it upon wheaten or oaten stubble. By doing this the fibre is of a finer and more valuable description although the yield is not no large. The situation also deserves some care, the best spots being those unsheltered by trees, which are open and played freely upon by the breezes and sunshine. The best soil in which to grow it is that wherein the subsoil is of clay. The object being to make the soil occupied with fax as valuable as possible, since it occupies the ground only during foar months, there is usually sown with it in this country grass or clover sced, which gives a full crop in the following year. In Belgium, wbich is, par excellence, the country of flax cultivation, as the farmers mainly keep their land in a constant state of preparation for it, they sow white carrots with their flax. The pulling of the flax loosens the soil around the roots of the carrot plants, and thus gives the stimulus to a great growth. They then topdress them with liquid manure, the yield being by this mode of cultivation wonderfully productive.

Irish farmers make one very strong objection to growing flax at all, and that is that it impoverishes the soil. They are right; it does impoverish the soil to the full extent dreaded by them. Science shows us that it abstracts the nitrogen so necessary for fertility, and withdrawing it from the ground, makes an absolute necessity for the addition of manure to add once more the constituents of productiveness to it. Now, science shows us the means to regenerate the soil in which flax is produced, at the least possible expense, and render it as fertile as before. The steepwater in which the fax is immersed, the woody portion of the fibre, and the husks of the seed being saved and restored to the soil, renovate the land and make it as capable of producing a crop as before. These are the waste of the flax; they are easily attainable by the farmer ; they involve no extra expense upon the flax-grower, and they render his crop one of the least exhaustive upon his land. This is the effect which can be gained by some little care, and it does not involve any large exertion on the part of the producer. The only other objection raised against flax is, that its production involves a great deal of labour. No doubt it does. But with the labour the value is increased ; every hand employed is an additional guinea in the grower's pocket; every shilling laid ont by him is an additional value added to his crop, and all outlay in this manner becomes his profit eventually.

Having disposed of those grave objections to growing flax, always

urged in Ireland, and having very great weight, there is one very important point to be considered, which is, that it is found that the value of the crop depends greatly on the quality of the seed. The Riga seed is the best, but there is a plan adopted in Belgium which is found to produce the best plants. The Belgian farmers having sown Riga seed in their ground, devote a portion of it to the purpose of yielding seed for their crop of the next year.

They saved the seed thus produced in their own land, and with it crop the ground in the next spring. The fibru grown thus is the finest and most valuable. They always, however, sow a small plot with the Riga seed, and thus keep up the supply. To this mode of proceeding they owe in a measure the great superiority in price which, in the cheapest times, Belgian flax has produced—sometimes being sold for £1 2s. 6d. per stone, or at the rate of £180 each ton weight. Without attempting to hold this forth as an ordinary price which Irish growers may gain, we may advert to the fact that the Society for the Encouragement of the Growth of Flax, many years ago, desirous to ascertain statistics for the purpose of fixing the value of the fibre to the grower, made a report on the subject. The flax crops of fifty-one farmers were investigated, and it was found that the average profit upon them was £7 1s. 4 d. per acre, from the produce of the fibre only. One grower, more thrifty than his neighbours, saved seed and fibre, and his gains exceeded those from a wheat crop by six pounds sterling per acre. Now, this was made when good flax sold in the market at six shillings and six and sixpence per stone. The same material now produces eleven shillings, or almost double the profit of other times. Twelve pounds per acre profit would be a range of remuneration for Irish farmers which would render them independent; and yet it is not unreasovable rates to look for during many years to come.

In order that flax growing should become general in Ireland, there is something else to be done beside what lies in the hands of the tiller of the soil. Vainly will he cultivate this valuable plant, vainly will he expend his care and labour on it, if he is not affordled a ready market. Some years ago, the Earl of Devon and Lord Monteagle induced their tenantry to sow flax largely. Encouraged by their landlords they did so, and the produce, by its abundance and quality, repaid their industry. But their flax they could not sell, there was no market near them, there were no buyers for the fibre, and all the abundance with which they had been blessed was only a dead loss. In this state of things those two noblemen were compelled, out of compassion, to buy the flax whose growth they had encouraged, and thus save their tenantry from bankruptcy. This is the kind of example people remember, and it is one which clearly shows that it is unjust to ask of those who are distant from the market, to proceed with the cultivation of this plant. To obviate this discouragement, must be the work of manufacturers. If they desire to obtain flax and forward their trade, they must encourage the production of the staple of it, by establishing agencies for the purchase of flax in the various districts of Ireland. They must do this before there is a pound of flax to be sold in them, and

it will be found that, once assured of a market, production will not lag, nor
the native industy of Irishmen be wanting to this great work.

There is a great opportunity for Ireland in all this. We have shown
that, were there no stimulant like the cotton crisis afforded to flax grow-
ing, there is a sum of six millions annually to be gained by our country-
men, which is now paid away to foreign importers. There is vastly more
to be gained ; there is the home industry, besides the employment in prepar-
ation of fabrics, or food, resulting from a native production like this. There
is the commerce resulting from it, there is the enterprise growing out of it,
there is the wealth acquired from it all redounding to Ireland's fortune. This
surely is a great prospect for prosperity, and it is one that Irishmen are
bound to, by charity, by patriotism, and by honour. Our people have been
described by a commission of the Imperial Parliament, as the poorest in
the United Kingdom. Philosopbers like Professor Kay of Cambridge, travel-
lers like J. G. Kuhl, and statesmen like the late Lord George Bentinck, bave
born testimony, that they are the most miserable and wretched in Europe, and
yet they are a glorious people, a people whose very faults are exaggera-
tions of virtue. This matter of flax production, would give them employ-
ment, keep them from the ravages of constant famine, and make them happy
and prosperous. The flax districts of Belgium have no poor. What a
condition to realise in Ireland! Belgium, at a distance from the market,
competes with us in triumph, by having a large sale in England. We
have all the profit of being at its very doors, and yet are not so forward in
the race as we could be. In the district of Flanders, one acre out of twenty,
is devoted to the cultivation of flax, and in Ireland there is not one acre in
one hundred put to the same purpose !


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Of all the different families which have furnished kings to England, the
Plantagenets reigned the longest, and with the greatest glory. The founder
of their line was that wise and politic prince, Henry II. His son, who
succeeded him, still keeps his undiminished fame as the proudest kuight of
the chivalry of the middle ages, and among his later descendants is numbered
the first Edward, illustrious alike as a warrior, a legislator, and a states-
man; Edward III., the conqueror of France; and Henry V., who,
exceeding even Edward's success, extorted from that country the recogni-
tion of himself as its sovereign. It came to an end as a reigning house on
the death of Richard III., who, at the distance of nearly four centuries from
his death, has but recently, for the first time, found a regular biographer.
For many generations no name in English history was held in such anvary-
ing abborrence. Shakspeare's most consummate skill gave substance and
vitality to the stories of his atrocities, which the grandfather of the sovereigu

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