and in addition parliamentary bounties were paid on a considerable scale. In 1727 Arthur Dobbs estimated the value of the whole manufacture at £1,000,000. In 1830 the Linen Board ceased to exist, the trade having been for some time in a very depressed condition owing to the importation of machine-made yarns from Scotland and England. A year or two later, however, machinery was introduced on a large scale on the river Bann. The experiment proved highly successful, and from this period may be dated the rise of the linen trade of Ulster, the only great industrial manufacture of which Ireland can boast. Belfast is the centre and market of the trade, but mills and factories are to be found dotted all over the eastern counties of Ulster.
58; in 1905 the corresponding figures were 826,528 and 34,498. In 1850 the number of persons employed in flax mills and factories was 21,121; in 1901 the number in flax, hemp and jute textilefactories was 64,802.
Cotton Manufacture.—This was introduced into Ireland in 1777 and under the protection of import duties and bounties increased so rapidly that in 1800 it gave employment to several thousand persons, chiefly in the neighbourhood of Belfast. The trade continued to grow for several years despite the removal of the duties; and the value of cotton goods exported from Ireland to Great Britain rose from £708 in 1814 to £347,606 in 1823. In 1822 the number of hands employed in the industry was stated to be over 17,000. The introduction of machinery, however, which led to the rise of the great cotton industry of Lancashire, had very prejudicial effects, and by 1839 the number of persons employed had fallen to 4622. The trade has dwindled ever since and is now quite insignificant.
Silk Manufacture.—About the end of the 17th century French Huguenots settled in Dublin and started the manufacture of Irish poplin, a mixture of silk and wool. In 1823 between 3000 and 4000 persons were employed. But with the abolition of the protective duties in 1826 a decline set in; and though Irish poplin is still celebrated, the industry now gives employment to a mere handful of people in Dublin.
Distilling and Brewing.—Whisky has been extensively distilled in Ireland for several centuries. An excise duty was first imposed in 1661, the rate charged being 4d. a gallon. The imposition of a duty gave rise to a large amount of illicit distillation, a practice which still prevails to some extent, though efficient police methods have largely reduced it. During recent years the amount of whisky produced has shown a tendency to decrease. In 1900 the number of gallons charged with duty was 9,589,571, in 1903 8,215,355, and in 1906 7,337,928. There are breweries in most of the larger Irish towns, and Dublin is celebrated for the porter produced by the firm of Arthur Guinness & Son, the largest establishment of the kind in the world. The number of barrels of beer—the inclusive term used by the Inland Revenue Department—charged with duty in 1906 was 3,275,309, showing an increase of over 200,000 as compared with 1900.
Other Industries.—Shipbuilding is practically confined to Belfast, where the firm of Harland and Wolff, the builders of the great “White Star” liners, have one of the largest yards in the world, giving employment to several thousand hands. There are extensive engineering works in the same city which supply the machinery and other requirements of the linen industry. Paper is manufactured on a considerable scale in various places, and Balbriggan is celebrated for its hosiery.
Commerce and Shipping.—From allusions in ancient writers it would appear that in early times Ireland had a considerable commercial intercourse with various parts of Europe. When the merchants of Dublin fled from their city at the time of the Anglo-Norman invasion it was given by Henry II. to merchants from Bristol, to whom free trade with other portions of the kingdom was granted as well as other advantages. In the Staple Act of Edward III., Dublin, Waterford, Cork and Drogheda are mentioned as among the towns where staple goods could be purchased by foreign merchants. During the 15th century the trade of these and other towns increased rapidly. With the 17th century began the restrictions on Irish trade. In 1637 duties were imposed on the chief commodities to foreign nations not in league with England. Ireland was left out of the Navigation Act of 1663 and in the same year was prohibited from exporting cattle to England in any month previous to July. Sir William Petty estimated the value of Irish exports in 1672 at £500,000 per annum, and owing principally to the prosperity of the woollen industry these had risen in value in 1698 to £996,000, the imports in the same year amounting to £576,000. A rapid fall in exports followed upon the prohibition of the export of woollen manufactures to foreign countries, but in about 20 years’ time a recovery took place, due in part to the increase of the linen trade. Statistics of exports and imports were compiled for various years by writers like Newenham, Arthur Young and César Moreau, but these are vitiated by being given in Irish currency which was altered from time to time, and by the fact that the method of rating at the custom-house also varied. Taking the figures, however, for what they are worth, it appears that between 1701 and 1710 the average annual exports from Ireland to all parts of the world were valued at £553,000 (to Great Britain, £242,000) and the average annual imports at £513,000 (from Great Britain, £242,000). Between 1751 and 1760 the annual values had risen for exports to £2,002,000 (to Great Britain, £1,068,000) and for imports to £1,594,000 (from Great Britain, £734,000). Between 1794 and 1803 the figures had further risen to £4,310,000 (to Great Britain, £3,667,000) and £4,572,000 (from Great Britain £3,404,000). It is clear, therefore, that during the 18th century the increase of commerce was considerable.
In 1825 the shipping duties on the cross-Channel trade were abolished and since that date no official figures are available as to a large part of Irish trade with Great Britain. The export of cattle and other animals, however, is the most important part of this trade and details of this appear in the following table:—
certain standard rates) at about £14,000,000.
Since 1870 the Board of Trade has ceased to give returns of the foreign and colonial trade for each of the separate kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland. Returns are given, however, for the principal ports of each kingdom. Between 1886 and 1905 these imports at the Irish ports rose from £6,802,000 in value to £12,394,000 and the exports from £825,000 to £1,887,000.
The following table shows the value of the total imports and exports of merchandise in the foreign and colonial trade at the ports of Dublin, Belfast and Limerick in each of the years1901-1905:—