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History of Cotton, Wool and Textiles

pubblicato da Human and Literature Publishing

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On the 3d of May 1734, there was a hanging at Cork which made a good deal more noise than such a very ordinary event generally did in those days. There was nothing remarkable about the malefactor, or the crime he had committed. He was a very commonplace ruffian, and had earned his elevation to the gallows by a vulgar felony. What was remarkable about the affair was, that the woollen weavers of Cork, being then in a state of great distress from want of work, dressed up the convict in cotton garments, and that the poor wretch, having once been a weaver himself, "employed" the last occasion he was ever to have of addressing his fellow creatures, by assuring them that all his misdeeds and misfortunes were to be traced to the "pernicious practice of wearing cottons." "Therefore, good Christians," he continued, "consider that if you go on to suppress your own goods, by wearing such cottons as I am now clothed in, you will bring your country into misery, which will consequently swarm with such unhappy malefactors as your present Object is; and the blood of every miserable felon that will hang after this warning from the gallows will lie at your doors."

All which sayings were no doubt greatly applauded by the disheartened weavers on the spot, and much taken to heart by the citizens and gentry to whom they were addressed.

This is only one out of the many illustrations which might be drawn from the chronicles of those days, of the prejudice and discouragement cotton had to contend against on its first appearance in this country. Prohibited over and over again, laid under penalties and high duties, treated with every sort of contumely and oppression, it had long to struggle desperately for the barest tolerance; yet it ended by overcoming all obstacles, and distancing its favoured rival wool. Returning good for evil, cotton now sustains one-sixth of our fellow-countrymen, and is an important mainstay of our commerce and manufactures.

First imported into Great Britain towards the middle of the seventeenth century, cotton was but little used for purposes of manufacture till the middle of the eighteenth. The settlement of some Flemish emigrants in Lancashire led to that district becoming the principal seat of the cotton manufacture; and probably the ungenerous nature of its soil induced the people to resort to spinning and weaving to make up for the unprofitableness of their agricultural labours.

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Generi Storia e Biografie » Teorie e metodi della Storia

Editore Human And Literature Publishing

Formato Ebook con Adobe DRM

Pubblicato 09/06/2023

Lingua Inglese

EAN-13 9782384691647

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