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be put forth at will in friendly competition on equal terms, in any of the world's markets.
The Irish parliament having thus nearly destroyed the woollen manufacture of their country, sought to make amends for the mischief by encouraging that of linen. The ancient Irish were so partial to their linen as an article for clothing, that, under Henry VIII., laws were enacted limiting the quantity to seven yards for a garment, in making which thirty had previously been employed : the reason of this interference does not appear; but, as we have already seen, the Irish parliament at a later period regarded the “ dress” of the people as within the province of legislative cognizance. Whatever censure may justly attach to Wentworth, Earl of Strafford, it is not to be denied that he was a great and lasting benefactor to Ireland in one particular. Observing, when lord deputy, of how much advantage to the country the linen manufacture might become, and how well adapted the soil was for the growth of flax, he devoted thirty thousand pounds of his own money to promote the culture of the plant and the increase of the trade. By an act of the eighth year of Queen Anne, a board of trustees was constituted with extensive powers for advancing the manufacture and sale of linens. They first rented a room on Cork Hill as their place of business; but that accommodation being soon too small, apartments were assigned them in the castle. By the year 1719 the erection of a “ Linen Weaver's. Hall in or near the city of Dublin," was resolved on, parliament voting £3000
towards the undertaking. On the 14th of November, 1728, the great linen hall at the top of Capel street was opened by public advertisement. For many years it presented all the stir of a firstrate mart; but, through changes in mercantile intercourse, it is now deserted and pervaded by the stillness of a sepulchre, so far as regards occupation for its original purpose.
French refugees brought the silk manufacture to London; and to their brethren who settled in Dublin, as already described, that city owes its
Spitalfields.”. The progress of this branch of trade will be noticed hereafter.
We have mentioned the birth of Swift. It was in 1713 that he became Dean of St. Patrick's. Neither his general conduct nor his writings were always consistent with his profession as a minister of religion, yet he is said to have made some reforms in the chapter of his cathedral, and he proved himself earnest for his country. In 1720, he acquired great popularity by publishing “A Proposal for the Universal Use of Irish Manufactures.” That, however, was not the chief service he rendered to the public. 1722, the Duchess of Kendal obtained through Lord Sunderland an exclusive patent for coining half-pence and farthings for Irish circulation, to the amount of £100,800, and then sold the patent to a person of the name of Wood, at Wolverhampton. Wood, to make the best of his bargain, prepared a coinage of the basest metal, striking off a few of the standard value, as specimens for ap
In the year
proval at the Mint in London. The whole power of the government was engaged to force the new coinage on the Irish public. Archbishop King protested; but Swift wielded his pen, under the assumed name of M. B. Drapier, with resistless force against it, in four letters, during the year 1724. The authorities offered a reward of “three hundred pounds” (the largest that had ever been offered for the discovery of the writer, but in vain. The printer was seized; but the grand jury ignored the bill, notwithstanding that the violence of a corrupt judge was exerted to induce them to send the case for trial. The next grand juries of Dublin city and county proscribed all such persons as should attempt to impose Wood's coin upon the kingdom, as enemies of his majesty's government, and acknowledged " with all just gratitude, the services of such patriots as had been eminently zealous in detecting this fraudulent imposition, and preventing the passing of this base coin.” At length, the government, in September, 1725, found themselves unable to continue the struggle, and refrained from any further attempt towards making the people submit to the gross and scandalous imposition. The “Drapier" had been throughout known, though not betrayed. He now came forth from his re-. treat, beloved, revered, idolized, as the deliverer of his country. At his death, in 1744, he bequeathed a large portion of his property to found a hospital for lunatics and idiots. As he advanced in years, his own mind
gave way, and he became
a fit object for an asylum, such as he was providing for others. The hospital was begun in 1749, and finished in 1757.
Previous to the founding of Swift's Hospital, several other public buildings, besides the Linen Hall, had been completed, or at least comme
menced, in Dublin, since the century began. Of these may be named the Workhouse, (ehanged in 1730 into a foundling hospital,) and the Royal Barracks, ain 1704; in which year also the Castle Market was opened by the civic authorities with “beat of drum.” The foundation of a new Custom House, on what is now Wellington Quay, was laid in 1707. In 1720, Stevens's Hospital was begun; in 1728, the “Charitable Infirmary” on Inn's Quay, now the hospital in Jervis street, was founded; in 1729, the “North Wall,” and in 1748, the South Wall from Ringsend, were commenced. In 1732, the building of the College Library, which was preparing for early in the century, as before noticed, was finished, as was also the Mercer's Hospital in the year following, on what had been the site of St. Stephen's Church. But the principal undertaking of this period was the erection of a building for the accommodation of the parliament. The foundation of this magnificent structure—which since its completion has stood almost unrivalled, for its size, in dignified simplicity and elegance—was laid in 1729. The site chosen for it was College Green. The main portion of the building was completed in ten years afterwards, at an expense
of £40,000.* In 1785, an eastern front was added to afford a separate entrance for the lords, who, however, showed their authority more than their good taste in requiring that its columns should be adorned with Corinthian capitals, instead of Ionic as in the rest of the building. This exception in the architecture is the only blemish in the odifice. Two years afterwards, a western front was supplied, but the example of the lords was not followed, the capitals being: Ionic. These additional fronts cost, the eastern £25,000, and the western £30,000.
A Royal College of Physicians had been established by charter from Charles II., renewed by William III. ; but the metropolis of Ireland had no general institution for advancing science and the arts previously to 1731. In that year, several gentlemen, of whom the most active were Dr.
* John Wesley, in his Journal for August 21, 1747, thus speaks of Dublin : “ The town has scarce any public building, except the Parliament House, which is at all remarkable. The churches are poor and mean, both within and without. St. Stephen's Green might be made a beautiful place, being abundantly larger than Lincoln's Inn Square; but the houses round about it (besides that some are low and bad) are quite irregular, and unlike each other; and little care is taken of the Green itself, which is as rough and uneven as ao common. (It was so then.) The college contains two little quadrangles, and one about as large as that of New College, in Oxford. There is likewise a bowlinggreen, a small garden, and a little park, and a newbuilt, handsome library.”-- EDITOR.