or even example, seems to have formed in 
them all at once the great qualities which it 
required, and to have inspired them both with 
abilities and virtues which they themselves 
could not well know that they possessed. If 
upon some occasions, therefore, it has animated 
them to actions of magnanimity which 
could not well have been expected from them, 
we should not wonder if, upon others, it has 
prompted them to exploits of somewhat a 
different nature
Such exclusive companies, therefore, are 
nuisances in every respect; always more or 
less inconvenient to the countries in which 
they are established, and destructive to those 
which have the misfortune to fall under their 
Though the encouragement of exportation
and the discouragement of importation, are 
the two great engines by which the mercantile 
system proposes to enrich every country
yet, with regard to some particular commodities
it seems to follow an opposite plan: to 
discourage exportation, and to encourage 
importation. Its ultimate object, however, it 
pretends, is always the same, to enrich the 
country by an advantageous balance of trade
It discourages the exportation of the materials 
of manufacture, and of the instruments of 
trade, in order to give our own workmen an advantage
and to enable them to undersell those 
of other nations in all foreign markets; and 
by restraining, in this manner, the exportation 
of a few commodities, of no great price, it 
proposes to occasion a much greater and more 
valuable exportation of others. It encourages 
the importation of the materials of manufacture
in order that our own people may be 
enabled to work them up more cheaply, and 
thereby prevent a greater and more valuable 
importation of the manufactured commodities
I do not observe, at least in our statute book
any encouragement given to the importation 
of the instruments of trade. When manufactures 
have advanced to a certain pitch of 
greatness, the fabrication of the instruments 
of trade becomes itself the object of a great 
number of very important manufactures. To 
give any particular encouragement to the importation 
of such instruments, would interfere 
too much with the interest of those manufactures
Such importation, therefore, instead 
of being encouraged, has frequently been 
prohibited. Thus the importation of wool cards
except from Ireland, or when brought in as 
wreck or prize goods, was prohibited by the 
3d of Edward IV.; which prohibition was renewed 
by the 39th of Elizabeth, and has been 
continued and rendered perpetual by subsequent 
The importation of the materials of manufacture 
has sometimes been encouraged by 
an exemption from the duties to which other 
goods are subject, and sometimes by bounties. 
The importation of sheep's wool from several 
different countries, of cotton wool from all 
countries, of undressed flax, of the greater 
part of dyeing drugs, of the greater part of 
undressed hides from Ireland, or the British 
colonies, of seal skins from the British Greenland 
fishery, of pig and bar iron from the 
British colonies, as well as of several other 
materials of manufacture, has been encouraged 
by an exemption from all duties, if properly 
entered at the custom-house. The private 
interest of our merchants and manufacturers 
may, perhaps, have extorted from the 
legislature these exemptions, as well as the 
greater part of our other commercial regulations
They are, however, perfectly just and 
reasonable; and if, consistently with the necessities 
of the state, they could be extended 
to all the other materials of manufacture, the 
public would certainly be a gainer
The avidity of our great manufacturers
however, has in some cases extended these 
exemptions a good deal beyond what can justly 
be considered as the rude materials of their 
work. By the 24th Geo. II. chap. 46, a 
small duty of only 1d. the pound was imposed 
upon the importation of foreign brown 
linen yarn, instead of much higher duties, to 
which it had been subjected before, viz. of 6d. 
the pound upon sail yarn, of 1s. the pound 
upon all French and Dutch yarn, and of 
L.2 : 13 : 4 upon the hundred weight of all 
spruce or Muscovia yarn. But our manufacturers 
were not long satisfied with this reduction
by the 29th of the same king
chap. 15, the same law which gave a bounty 
upon the exportation of British and Irish 
linen, of which the price did not exceed 18d. 
the yard, even this small duty upon the importation 
of brown linen yarn was taken away. 
In the different operations, however, which 
are necessary for the preparation of linen 
yarn, a good deal more industry is employed
than in the subsequent operation of preparing 
linen cloth from linen yarn. To say nothing 
of the industry of the flax-growers and flax-dressers
three or four spinners at least are 
necessary in order to keep one weaver in constant 
employment; and more than four-fifths 
of the whole quantity of labour necessary for 
the preparation of linen cloth, is employed in 
that of linen yarn; but our spinners are poor 
people; women commonly scattered about in 
all different parts of the country, without support 
or protection. It is not by the sale of 
their work, but by that of the complete work