It will be seen further that the act operated almost entirely by means of direct sales by landlords to tenants. Of the total amount advanced up to March 31, 1906, almost one-half was in respect of estates in the province of Leinster, the balance being divided prettyequally between estates in the other three provinces.
Fisheries.—The deep-sea and coast fisheries of Ireland form a valuable national asset, which still admits of much development and improvement despite the fact that a considerable number of acts of parliament have been passed to promote and foster the fishing industry. In 1882 the Commissioners of Public Works were given further powers to lend money to fishermen on the recommendation of the inspectors of fisheries; and under an act of 1883 the Land Commission was authorized to pay from time to time such sums, not exceeding in all £250,000, as the Commissioners of Public Works might require, for the creation of a Sea Fishery Fund, such fund to be expended—a sum of about £240,000 has been expended—on the construction and improvement of piers and harbours. Specific acts have also been passed for the establishment and development of oyster, pollan and mussel fisheries. Under the Land Purchase Act 1891, a portion of the Sea Fisheries Fund was reserved for administration by the inspectors of fisheries in non-congested districts. Under this head over £36,000 had been advanced on loan up to December 31, 1905, the greater portion of which had been repaid. In 1900 the powers and duties of the inspectors of fisheries were vested in the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction. Under the Marine Works Act 1902, which was intended to benefit and develop industries where the people were suffering from congestion, about £34,000 was expended upon the construction and improvement of fishery harbours in such districts.
and coast fisheries and during 1905, 6190 vessels were engaged in these districts, giving employment to a total of 24,288 hands. Excluding salmon, nearly one million hundredweights of fish were taken, and including shell-fish the total money received by the fishermen exceeded £414,000. In the same year 13,436 hands were engaged in the 25 salmon fishing districts into which the country is divided. In addition to the organized industry which exists in these salmon districts, there is a good deal of ordinary rod and line fishing in the higher reaches of the larger rivers and good trout fishing isobtainable in many districts.
Mining.—The mineral produce of Ireland is very limited, and its mines and quarries in 1905 gave employment to only about 6000 persons. Coal-fields are found in all the provinces, but in 1905 the total output was less than 100,000 tons and its value at the mines was given as £43,000. Iron ore is worked in Co. Antrim, over 113,000 tons having been produced in 1905. Alum clay or bauxite, from which aluminium is manufactured, is found in the same county. Clays of various kinds, mainly fire and brick clay, are obtained in several places and there are quarries of marble (notably in Connemara), slate, granite, limestone and sandstone, the output of which is considerable. Silver is obtained in small quantities from lead ore in Co. Donegal, and hopes have been entertained of the re-discovery of gold in Co. Wicklow, where regular workings were established about 1796 but were destroyed during the Rebellion.
Woollen Manufacture.—At an early period the woollen manufactures of Ireland had won a high reputation and were exported in considerable quantities to foreign countries. Bonifazio Uberti (d. c. 1367) refers in a posthumous poem called Dita mundi to the “noble serge” which Ireland sent to Italy, and fine mantles of Irish frieze are mentioned in a list of goods exported from England to Pope Urban VI. In later times, the establishment of a colony from the German Palatinate at Carrick-on-Suir in the reign of James I. served to stimulate the manufacture, but in the succeeding reign the lord-deputy Strafford adopted the policy of fostering the linen trade at the expense of the woollen in order to prevent the latter from competing with English products. An act of the reign of Charles II. prohibited the export of raw wool to foreign countries from Ireland as well as England, while at the same time Ireland was practically excluded by heavy duties from the English markets, and as the Navigation Act of 1663 did not apply to her the colonial market was also closed against Irish exports. The foreign market, however, was still open, and after the prohibition of the export of Irish cattle to England the Irish farmers turned their attention to the breeding of sheep, with such good effect that the woollen manufacture increased with great rapidity. Moreover the improved quality of the wool showed itself in the improvement of the finished article, to the great alarm of the English manufacturer. So much trade jealousy was aroused that both Houses of Parliament petitioned William III. to interfere. In accordance with his wishes the Irish parliament in 1698 placed heavy additional duties on all woollen clothing (except friezes) exported from Ireland, and in 1699 the English Parliament passed an act prohibiting the export from Ireland of all woollen goods to any country except England, to any port of England except six, and from any town in Ireland except six. The cumulative effect of these acts was practically to annihilate the woollen manufacture in Ireland and to reduce whole districts and towns, in which thousands of persons were directly or indirectly supported by the industry, to the last verge of poverty. According to Newenham’s tables the annual average of new drapery exported from Ireland for the three years ending March 1702 was only 20 pieces, while the export of woollen yarn, worsted yarn and wool, which to England was free, amounted to 349,410 stones. In his essay on the Trade of Ireland, published in 1729, Arthur Dobbs estimated the medium exports of wool, worsted and woollen yarn at 227,049 stones, and he valued the export of manufactured woollen goods at only £2353. On the other hand, the imports steadily rose. Between 1779 and 1782 the various acts which had hampered the Irish woollen trade were either repealed or modified, but after a brief period of deceptive prosperity followed by failure and distress, the expansion of the trade was limited to the partial supply of the home market. According to evidence laid before the House of Commons in 1822 one-third of the woollen cloth used in Ireland was imported from England. A return presented to Parliament in 1837 stated that the number of woollen or worsted factories in Ireland was 46, employing 1321 hands. In 1879 the number of factories was 76 and the number of hands 2022. Since then the industry has shown some tendency to increase, though the number of persons employed is still comparatively very small, some 3500 hands.
Linen Manufacture.—Flax was cultivated at a very early period in Ireland and was both spun into thread and manufactured into cloth. In the time of Henry VIII. the manufacture constituted one of the principal branches of Irish trade, but it did not prove a very serious rival to the woollen industry until the policy of England was directed to the discouragement of the latter. Strafford, lord-deputy in the reign of Charles I., did much to foster the linen industry. He invested a large sum of his own money in it, imported great quantities of flax seed from Holland and induced skilled workmen from France and the Netherlands to settle in Ireland. A similar policy was pursued with even more energy by his successor in office, the duke of Ormonde, at whose instigation an Irish act was passed in 1665 to encourage the growth of flax and the manufacture of linen. He also established factories and brought over families from Brabant and France to work in them. The English parliament in their desire to encourage the linen industry at the expense of the woollen, followed Ormonde’s lead by passing an act inviting foreign workmen to settle in Ireland, and admitting all articles made of flax or hemp into England free of duty. In 1710, in accordance with an arrangement made between the two kingdoms, a board of trustees was appointed to whom a considerable sum was granted annually for the promotion of the linen manufacture; but the jealousy of English merchants interposed to check the industry whenever it threatened to assume proportions which might interfere with their own trade, and by an act of George II. a tax was imposed on Irish sail-cloth imported into England, which for the time practically ruined the hempen manufacture. Between 1700 and 1777 the board of trustees expended nearly £850,000 on the promotion of the linen trade,