Page images
PDF
EPUB

To detail manufacturing processes, and to attempt to describe mechanical functions at the present moment, would probably be unwise, and after the working of the machinery of the Exhibition, may be unnecessary.

Of the actual manufactures found in the cotton department of the Exhibition, many articles were of great merit, but as a whole it would be difficult to determine from what precise country the most meritorious product was derived, though it may be assumed, from good evidence, that in many fancy fabrics, where beauty of design, and of colour, and of refined taste appeared, the French and other continental manufacturers took deservedly the highest position; whilst in useful goods, adapted rather for comfort than ornament, British manufactures were pre-eminent, especially if the qualities of the latter be associated with their cheapness. Here, however, a word of advice or of admonition may be offered to both British manufacturers and merchants; there is unquestionably a cheapening tendency pursued by them which, with its consequent deterioration, must inevitably lead to an ultimate diminution of business, and which it is feared is already damaging om national character, and giving to foreign rivals, for their superior productions, fame and profit exceeding our own. Cotton yarns and thread of British and foreign production, from the coarsest to the finest, were shown, establishing great equality of merit, though the actually finest counts were spun in Manchester. Fustians, sheetings, shirtings, calicoes, ginghams, cambrics, muslins, laces, quiltings, and bed and table covers, were exhibited in great variety; but of the improved in this class, figured laces take the highest stand, and bed quilts and table covers may be placed next. Printed muslins, cambrios, and calicoes, for dresses, of great excellence and beauty, were displayed, as also were furniture prints; but for perfection in colours, and good taste in

ELEMENT OF INDUSTRY.
designs, the foreign goods generally were regarded

241

all excellent and

Lyon; nor Glasgow

sound position of the British print trade there can be

most attractive, though of the improving and no question. As specimens, however, of personal afford the proof of superiority which the East Indies skill in manipulation, Europe and America do not have established in spinning and weaving cotton, when the means of the former are compared with those of the latter. For pictorial effect, from arrangement of colours, nothing can exceed the beauty yar span by hand there, a quality is produced which, of the textile manufactures of the East; and in the by the aid of machinery, from the inferior cotton used, would be impossible; but the filmy muslin of exquisite delicacy remains the triumph of manufacturing art. The domestic fabrics of the East are given praise which neither the manufacturers of

useful, but to its muslin must be

can so deservedly aspire to. Actual investigation proves that India has long produced a fineness of fabric which has only of late years been approached in France and in Scotland; but in Tarare and in Glasgow there has certainly been manfactured, from English spun yarn, muslin magical hand of the Hindoo has wrought. No yarn

fineness and delicacy all that the has been spun and woven in the East; but England finer than No. 350, or, at the very utmost, than 400, has spun beyond No. 600 for useful application, and Henry Houldsworth, has ascertained that there are up to No. 2,000 experimentally. My friend, Mr. only four fibres of cotton in the thickness of a single of these fibres would extend in length to 960 yards. thread of No. 2,000, and that a single grain in weight Errors having

appeared in the Exhibition Catalogue not acquainted with the fineness of cotton yarn, this

Cotton,'') which might mislead parties
It is stated that muslin was exhibited

of correcting them may perhaps be

exceeding in

(Class XI i

opportunity

made from No.5,408, instead of from only No.540, and that some yarn was showr. weighing one grain for twenty yards, and described as very fine, though yarn was there of 240 yards for one grain; and, again, some yarn, one pound of which would extend to 167 miles, being equal to No. 350, is stated to be too fine to be woven, yet muslin made from No. 540 was there to be seen. Nettingham has produced most beautiful lace from No. 600; and in Tarare and Glasgow was made from No. 540 the most exquisite muslin ever produced. Recently very fine English spun cotton yarns have been exported to the East Indies, and now a trade from the produce of the combined skill of the most perfect machinery, and the extraordinary art of the Hindoo weaver, may be expected. Very beautiful mixed goods from Bradford were displayed, and some exquisitely fine cotton and worsted merinoes deserved especial attention. To criticise the various contributions in the Exhibition from the industry of the world, would require time beyond the limits of many lectures, and therefore, to those thirsting for more information upon this subject

, the reports of juries, and the catalogues of the Exhibition, may be referred to.

With the teachings and advantages afforded by the late Exhibition, the cotton, as well as every textile and other industry, must proceed in the onward career of improvement. A stationary position will be impossible; retrogression would be ruin; and, therefore, every rational incentive to honourable and useful progress should be extended to those engaged in the pursuits of honest industry. Constituted by physical resources to furnish the moving power of manufacturing greatness, having the sea for our highway approaches, harbours for shelter, rivers for communication, stores of fuel for locomotion and every want, and minerals in abundance, and intelligent labour with practical and scientific direction associated to render these valuable gifts and endowments productive for the nation's benefit; this country will, with the blessing of Providence and wise governing counsels, remain a bulwark of labour's distinguished progress.

The labour of the increasing numbers of the people of this country forms one of the extraordinary raw materials that employment must be provided for; and whether it shall continue to be exerted upon cotton, posterity may know, but we cannot; though in our age and generation we may resolve at least to promulgate sound economical principles, and strive, in providing for the exigencies of our own time, to leave behind us the heir-loom of a national estate nnencumbered with impediments to industry, the present and future source of wealth and comfort. It may be well to advert to the vast extension of trade and commerce which may be effected by moral as well as mechanical advancement. If the labouring classes of the United Kingdom were well educated, their superior attainments would be alike more profitable to their employers by increased skill, and a nearer approximation to perfection; and to themselves, not only in augmented rewards, but in the knowledge that would promote their general cornfort and each other's welfare; for could every worker be well clothed, dwell in abodes furnished with manufactured products, and all requisites for rendering the home fireside attractive, there would arise a universal demand for the results of labour beyond all precedent. If there be no higher motive for removing

the lamentable ignorance which pervades many of the labouring classes amongst us, why does not even the censurable cupidity of the age remove

In concluding my limited observations upon cotton as an element of industry, I cannot withhold the espression of my gratitude to his Royal Highness Prince Albert for having become the champion of uit , manufactures, and of progress, and for the

the stigma?

interest which he has evinced in this, as well as in every other branch of trade and commerce.

For the royal visit, with which our beloved Sovereign, accompanied by her enlightened and distinguished Consort, recently honoured the nursery and abode of the cotton trade, I would record not only my own, but the dutiful thanks of Lancashire. A warmhearted and generous people manifested their joy and loyalty for the presence of their Monarch, and also for that recognition of their labour which had previously been almost unacknowledged by, and unknown to, the previous rulers of Great Britain.

To the Society of Arts, for its powerful aid in promoting the success of the late Exhibition, the industrial community of this, and of every country, is greatly indebted.

Another such Exhibition cannot be anticipated or expected by ourselves, but our successors may gather into a more splendid palace than we hava erected, their achievements of labour, mental and physical, excelling their fathers in every proficiency that can adorn and improve man's sojourn here, and contribute to his domestic comfort and the perfecting of his intellectual powers.

To such “a consuinmation, so devoutly to be wished,” may the heir apparent of the British throne direct his future energies-his royal parents being long spared to minister to the just wants of a faithful and devoted people ; and may the sons of progress, from every country in an improving world, assemble under his auspices, again to proclaim from the side of another and more magnificent crystal fountain who there, in peaceful array, shall have most promoted the interests of art and industry, and the solid and enduring happiness of the whole human family.

« EelmineJätka »