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The East India Company were steady importers of cotton manufactures to the close of the eighteenth century. Chintzes, muslins, and calicoes, were brought from the East Indies; and that useful fabric known as nankeen, was imported directly and indirectly from China to a large extent. Manufactured goods had, however, begun to be so rapidly produced in Great Britain at this period, and at rates so greatly below the prices of foreign manufactures, that the latter ceased to be profitable imports, and consequently were discontinued. Perhaps the earliest efforts in manipulating cotton in this country originated in the simple conversion of raw cotton into candle-wicks : and this first manufactured cotion wool would probably be obtained from Turkey, the Levaut, or Italy. Now, because a manufacture begins its career in a comparatively rude application, it does not follow that its early or distant development should be regarded as unimportant, as, indeed the results of the industry exerted upon cotton have taught this country and the world at large. No law has been more amply vindicated than that which controls supply and demand. Wants arise, interest prompts exertion and industry, and products of capital, skill, and labour, relieve the indicated necessities of society where unshackled and intelligent efforts can be employed. Persecution under the Duke of Alva became to England a manufacturing monitor. Artisans and weavers were expelled from their abodes in Flanders, and were welcomed here by the wise, energetic, and reigning sovereign, Elizabeth, whose peaceful triumphs have been more enduring and profitable to the nation than were her achievements in war. Here, then, were the expatriated' sons of industry-their country's true wealth-received, hospitably cherished, and located. May the industrious and oppressed ever find a refuge here! Aided by the Flemings, the manufactures of England rapidly extended; flax arl sheep's wool were home-spun in insufficient quantities to meet the demand of the weavers, and the latter could not adequately supply the growing consumption of a people increasing in civilisation and in intelligence also. Linen yarn was imported from Germany to be made into warps, the woof for which was generally of sheep's wool, hence came the old household stuff, “linsey woolsey;"' but those materials were inadequate to supply the weavers' aad consumers' wants, and the distaff and spindle, Low more actively employed, found in cotton the Leans of giving a new yarn and a new trade to a rising manufacturing country. Skins had become less wom as clothing; sheep's wool was not yielded by oar flocks in sufficient quantities to employ our then increasing artisans, nor was flax grown and spun to meet their demands; silk was only beginning to be known; and thus cotton almost became the peoples' and their country's necessity. Hitherto the want of cotton wool had been irregular, and its supply precarious; but the time had evidently arrived when it should be procured in considerable quantity and of good quality. Especially in the infaat trade of any manufacture is it requisite that the raw material should be excellent and well-suited by every perfection to prevent obstacles in manipulating it; the cotton, therefore, which was produced then, as now, in the East Indies, being exceedingly short in fibre, and of very inferior quality in other respects, it became alike the duty and the interest of the young manufacturer to secure himself from interruption and annoyance, and he consequently availed himself of the long stapled and more perfect cotton of the Levant.
For all useful purposes the real data of the origin of the cotton trade in Great Britain may commence with the eighteenth century. An intelligent and tuiring Anglo-Saxon race had attained a position without parallel in the history of nations. Science had begun to aid mechanical skill; labourers who had partaken of the fruit of their own toil were anxiously waiting to see extended for themselves, their families, and friends, those agents of production which, though only in the initiative, were still in very successful, profitable, and improving application; and merchants and capitalists found, in these new circumstances, that energy and enterprise, if generously directed in the channel of the rising tide of trade, might conduce, not only to their own, but to their country's weal.
Events having thus -conspired to prepare this country for the reception of a new source of industry, the manufacture of cotton was introduced with a celerity as wonderful as were the inventions and improvements upon which the new trade was founded. From the commencement to the middle of the eighteenth century, there was unprecedented activity in the domestic manufacture of both sheep's and cotton wool, the weavers during that period having frequently to wait for yarn, which had to be spun to enable them to weave the cloth then in demand. This difficulty in obtaining requisite yarns existing, and the spirit of improvement and invention having been quickened by an intelligent perception of advantages in prospect, many clever and ingenious men directed their attention to the construction of machinery intended to diminish human labour, and to increase manufactured productions by mechanical means and skill. Several competitors for the honour and profit of inventing spinning-machines brought their contrivances into existence, though ultimately Wyatt of Birmingham, in 1730, has been proved to be the inventor of elongating cotton by rollers in the spinning operation,* but the useful and bene
* Since the delivery of this lecture, Mr. Robert Cole, of 52, Upper Norton-street, Portland-street, London, has expressed his strong conviction that Paul was the inventor, and Wyatt only his assistant.
ficial maturity of the principle was certainly developed by Arkwright, who patented it in 1767, and having constructed his machine called the waterframe for spinning with rollers, he applied it mest satisfactorily to the production of watertwist, which was used for warps instead of linen yarn. In this same year, 1767, Hargreaves completed his very inspirant invention of the spinning-jenny, a machine aluirably adapted to spin the weft-yarn requisite for the shoot of the warps spun upon the water
Thus were simultaneously developed two inst valuable machines, whereby the growing demands of industry could be fostered. About the same tittie the cleaning, carding, and preparation of cotton wool, derived great benefit from many curious and opportune contrivances. A period more fertile in useful inventions than this now placed under our Contemplation has, probably, never before existed. Machines for aiding the progress of industry were cale) into matured existence with a rapidity and precision not less astonishing than beneficial; and these machines, as if conscious of requiring a inainspring of action beyond the physical power of man, sten..d to plead with the mechanic and engineer for aid from some latent force, which could be applied to give them motion, without exhausting that strength which the artisan could better employ in combination with his intelligence to control, direct, and elicit their productive powers. Beasts of burden, wind, and water, were made the drudges of the new industry; but the former failed from physical weakness and inharmonious action, whilst the latter, precarious and often exhausted, directed the specuIntive philosopher and practical engineer to that dormant and unsurpassed power which all-potent steam was reserved to yield. Many were the sanguine spirits of improvements, from Hero to Savery, who knew the power heat acting upon water, could produce; but there had been found no deve
lopment of this power till Watt, the master magician of the age, called forth, in perfect control, and directed in usefulness for the increase of the world's comfort, the giant force which had baffled in defiant and unbound strength the skill of those who had hitherto endeavoured to subdue it without effect. Again, Kay of Bury had given to the weaver's shuttle a mechanical impulse, which superseded the necessity of throwing it by hand; and at this extraordinary time, Dr. Cartwright, at Doncaster, shadowed forth the power-loom, which was only perfected a quarter of a century afterwards. Proceeding still in the career of invention and improvement, the amiable, talented, and ingenious Crompton, of Bolton, produced in 1787, the now well-known spinning-machine called the mule, the leading peculiarity of which is, that he united the rollers of the waterframe with the advancing and receding carriage of the jenny, whereby he effected the attenuation and spinning of cotton to a degree of fineness that neither of the other two machines could approach; and by his invention and application the production of fine cotton yarn, suitable for the manufacture of the finest muslin and lace, was secured. These have been the inventions which, in an incredibly brief space of time, have arisen chiefly in connection with the industry now under examination. And if these discoveries and this progress were not anticipated, a silent and unostentatious reception had been prepared for them which most certainly gave them successful effect. Domestic artisans, amongst whom the expatriated Flemings were absorbed, could aid and appreciate; and there existed in Lancashire, where chiefly these new inventions were conceived and matured, an intelligent body of mechanical artificers, whose labours were devoted to the construction of clocks and watches, all of wlion contributed to render practical the hemes then propounded, their services being re