Knowledge Is Power
Excerpt: ...also. Cotton, for instance, was cultivated from time immemorial in Hindustan, in China, in Persia, and in Egypt. Cotton was a material easily grown and collected; Pg 215 and the patient industry of the people by whom it was cultivated, their simple habits, and their few wants, enabled them to send into Europe their manufactured stuffs of a fine and durable quality, under every disadvantage of land-carriage, even from the time of the ancient Greeks. Before the discovery, however, of the passage to India by the Cape of Good Hope, cotton goods in Europe were articles of great price and luxury. M. Say well observes that, although cotton stuffs were cheaper than silk (which was formerly sold for its weight in gold), they were still articles which could only be purchased by the most opulent; and that, if a Grecian lady could awake from her sleep of two thousand years, her astonishment would be unbounded to see a simple country girl clothed with a gown of printed cotton, a muslin kerchief, and a coloured shawl. When India was open to the ships of Europe, the Portuguese, the Dutch, and the English sold cotton goods in every market, in considerable quantities. These stuffs bore their Indian names of calicoes and muslins; and, whether bleached or dyed, were equally valued as amongst the most useful and ornamental articles of European dress. In the seventeenth century France began to manufacture into stuffs the raw cotton imported from India, as Italy had done a century before. A cruel act of despotism drove the best French workmen, who were Protestants, into England, and we learned the manufacture. The same act of despotism, the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, caused the settlement of silk-manufacturers in Spitalfields. We did not make any considerable progress in the art, nor did we use the material of cotton exclusively in making up the goods. The warp, or longitudinal threads of the cloth, were of flax, the weft only was of cotton; for we could not...
- 189 x 246 x 7mm | 254g
- 13 Sep 2013
- Illustrations, black and white