HC Deb 18 May 1822 vol 7 cc701-2
Sir George Hill

rose to move for the appointment of a select committee to inquire into the laws which regulated the Linen Trade of Ireland, and to report thereon. He remarked, that nothing was of more importance to the sister kingdom than her linen trade, and more particularly in the province of Ulster, where it was carried on to a great extent. The object of his committee was, to simplify the numerous and complicated acts of parliament which had been passed at different periods re specting this trade. Many difficulties arose respecting the arrangement of the officers, who were, as the law stood, to superintend the different markets in Ireland. The applications which were made on the subject from the counties of Down, Armagh, Londonderry, and Antrim, varied considerably in their nature, and it would be the business of the committee to investigate the several statements, and then consider under what regulations these officers should be appointed. It was his anxious wish to see the linen trade of Ireland extend and increase its branches. Wherever its industry existed, the moral and religious habits of the people were always remarkable; and it war gratifying to know, that the part of the country of Cork in which a linen manufactory was in some degree established was comparatively free from disturbance. He had no hesitation in saying, that the province of Ulster would have largely partaken of the heavy distress which oppressed so large a part of Ireland, were it not for the success with which the linen trade was there conducted, and which enabled the tenants to pay their rents.

Mr. Denis Browne

entirely concurred in what had fallen from the right hon. gentleman on the value of the linen trade. He hoped the attention of the committee would be directed generally to the whole linen trade in Ireland, and not to any partial purpose.

Mr. Spring Rice

spoken in favour of the Irish linen trade. Whatever measure was calculated to improve it must confer a great national benefit. He would suggest to the right hon. secretary for Ireland, the propriety of encouraging the growth of flax, and thereby opening a source of employment to the people, in the preparation of the article for the linen trade. This was a very favourable moment for giving effect to the report of the commissioners upon that subject.

The committee was then appointed.