INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE Cultivating and Raising OF Flax and Hemp: In a better Manner, than that generally Practis'd in IRELAND.

By LIONEL SLATOR of Cabragh, in the County of Cavan, Flax and Hemp Dresser to the Honour­able THOMAS COOTE of Coote-hill, in the said County.

Printed at Dublin in the Year 1724. And now Published for the Benefit of the Inhabitants of New-England, and recommended to their Perusal.

BOSTON: N. E. Printed by S KNEELAND and T. GREEN, for DANIEL HUNCHMAN, in Corn hill. 1735.

[Page iii]

To the HONOURABLE THE TRUSTEES OF The Flaxen and Hempen Manufactures of IRELAND.


IN Obedience to your Commands, I consulted Lyonel Slator, who I take to be one of the most skilful Flax & Hemp Dressers in this Kingdom, and gathered from him what In­structions he was capable of giving me, in order to the cultivating and raising of Hemp and Flax, more skilfully than hitherto has been practis'd in Ire­land; I have endeavoured to place his Instructions un­der proper Heads, and where he used the Terms of Art known in England, yet not generally made use of here, I have taken Care to explain them by the Terms commonly known in Ireland: I have likewise consulted Mr Ri­chard Hall's Report, which he made you, on his first Return from Holland; and least I might mistake his Sense, I had him several Days with me, and settled with him each Section contained in his Part of the ensuing Tract: His had been a compleat System of Directi­ons [Page iv] and Instructions, for the making of Flaxen, Linnen, and Hempen Canvas in all its Parts, from the Seed to the Bleaching, inclusive, could he be perswaded to expose to the Publick, his Observations relating to the Practice of Bleaching of Flaxen Linnen in Holland; for I really believe him extreamly skilful in that Art or Mystery of Bleaching; but as this depends much on the Soil whereof the Bleach-yards are composed, the Nature of the Water wherewith they bleach, and the Difference of Climates, his Fears or Apprehensions of misguiding People, (ere he had himself experienced in Ireland, how his Obser­vations in Holland might best be put in Practice here,) being great, he could not be prevailed on to make his Notions publick: This is a very becoming Modesty in him, and very commendable; for no Body can so readily make the Dutch Practice comport with the Circum­stances of this Kingdom, as Mr. Hall can do, and is determined to make publick, after one or two Years Experience thereof.

Gentlemen, all I can offer as to my own Perfomance in this Matter, is, That I have endeavoured to make these two skilful Mens Nations as intelligible to all Ca­pacities, as I possibly could; and If I have in any Sort contributed to the Service of this Kingdom, and to merit your Approbation, I shall deem my self sufficient­ly rewarded; who am with infinite Respect,

Your most faithful and most devoted Servant, T. COOTE.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR The Cultivating and Raising of Flax and Hemp, &c.

The Choice of the Soil.

THE first Thing which the Husbandman is to do, when he goes about to raise Flax, Choice of the Soil. is to choose a Soil that is naturally proper for his Pur­pose; for thereon the Fruits of of his Labour will very much depend. In the first Place, he must see that his Grounds are in good Heart, free from Rushes, Flags, or other Weeds, that betoken the Lands to be wet or spewey; such Lands never bring good Flax, either in Quality or Quantity, being poor, cold, and hungry. The hot, burning, sandy Grounds, never yield a good Crop of Flax. Grounds which promise well for producing Barley, (known to all Husbandmen) will al­ways yield a suitable Crop of Flax, if they be skilfully cultivat­ed; for Flax may be rais'd on hazily, loamy, or Clay-grounds, provided you give to each of them such Dressing or Plowing, as they naturally require. Ley-grounds are always best for Flax, and preferable to Grounds that have been lately broke up, be the Soil what it will. The Husbandmen should likewise avoid sowing Flax-seed, in Lands lately dunged; for nothing whatever is a greater Enemy to Flaxen Manufactures, than raising Flax in dunged Grounds, because such Flax is always tender, and can scarce be brought to a good Colour. The Reason why wet spewey Grounds, or hot, burning, sandy Grounds, are improper for Flax, is, that the first scalds the Roots, the other binds them so hard, that they never give a good Crop: By no means sow [Page 2] Flax in Soil composed of Turff mold, being too light in dry Weather to afford Nourishment to the Plant, and in wet Wea­ther, it retains too much of the Water.

Of the Plowing the Ground.

THE Situation of Grounds ought to be as well weigh'd and considered by the industrious Husbandman, The Situation of Ground. as the Nature of the Soil; and so ought likewise certain Incidents to Land to be well observed and prevented; for a good Husbandman will readily acknowlege and confess, that Lands which lie flat, whe­ther they be hazily, loamy, or clayey, must be plowed in a dif­ferent Manner, whether they be wet or dry, from other Lands which have more or less of Descent.

In Grounds that are deep and rich, and not over wet or moist, Deep and rich Ground: it is scarcely possible to make your Ridges too broad, and too flat, nor your Furrows too shallow; in such Grounds as these, the Plow need not go deeper than four Inches, there being no Danger of Water lying at the Root of the Flax, in so light a Soil; unless it be from accidental Waters, falling from higher Grounds, which must be intercepted, and conveyed away in such a Manner, so as they may, by no Means, prejudice the Flax.

If loamy Soil lies flat, the Plowing ought to be at least six Inches deep, Loamy Soil. to the end the Rain may sink as far from the Roots▪ (and not scald them) as is requsite; loamy Grounds being less subject to soak in the Water, than hazily Grounds are, especially where the Clay is most predominant: These Ridges ought to be rais'd higher, the Furrows deeper than the hazily Ground, and also the Ridges should be narrower: Eight or ten Foot wide, made flat at the Top, with Furrows proportionable to the Quantity of Water, so as to drain well the Ridges, is the husbandly Way of working such Grounds.

If the Soil be Clay, and the Lands lie flat, you must plow such Grounds still deeper, Clay Soil. in Proportion to the Stiffness of the Clay: You ought to plow this Sort of Land thrice, and cannot possibly give it too much Weathering; whereas hazily or loamy Grounds need no more than one Plowing, provided they are well harrowed first, with a heavy Iron Harrow, that will break the Sods and Clods, after­wards with lighter Harrows, which bring the Mold to be as fine and light as is possible, the better to cling to the Seed. When [Page 3] the Soil is Clay, the first Plowing it has, ought to be in the common Season of fallowing. The second Plowing given it, ought to be the latter End of September, or Beginning of October; and across the Ridges of the former Plowing; then must it be harrowed with a heavy Iron Harrow, not only to break the Sods and Clods sufficiently, but to gather up the Weeds and Grass, after such a Manner placed, as at the third Plowing, they may be conveni­ently cast to the Bottom of the Ridge, so as to warm the Soil as they rot.

The Ridges in the Clay Soil must be equally flat with the others, Ridges. but by no Means so wide; their Breadth ought to be in Proportion to the Stiffness of the Clay, because Clay is apter to retain the Rain Water, than any Soil whatsoever; therefore, to prevent the Rain from settling at the Roots of the Flax, the Ridges ought to be raised higher or lower, Furrows. and the Furrows deeper in Propor­tion to its Stiffness; and also the Furrows ought to have a Communication with each other, and a proper Drain or Drains placed after such a Manner, Drains. as may carry off the Water from them all, and especially the cold Springs, which Clay-grounds are too much incident to.

The third Time which you plow this Ground, ought to be the latter End of March, Plowing the Ground. or the Beginning of April; then are the Ridges and Furrows laid the Re­verse of the second Plowing; and being well plowed, it ought like wise to be well harrowed; the Rubbish, if any, ought to be entirely removed from off the Ground, the Clods compleat­ly broke, and the Mold rendered as fine as is possible; so as when the Seed is sown, the same may more easily be cover'd by the Means of a Thorn bush drawn over it, than it can be by any Harrow, be it never so light.

Of the Choice of the Seed, the Quantity, and Man­ner of sowing it.

THE Goodness or Badness of Flax-seed is easily known by Persons conversant in it; Goodness or Badness of the Seed im­ported. the good Seed is generally of a brownish Yellow, the Husk well fill'd, and not so thin or broad as the decayed Flax-seed is, at the Point of the Seed that which is good, is apt to turn up, and much of it will have a little Turn at the End, the Kernel will be white and hard; whereas the decayed Seed is either a paler yellow, or perfectly black, broader yet thinner by far than the good Seed is, and the [Page 4] Kernel so thin and weak, as not to yield Substance to the Flax.

The Dutch Seed (could we of Ireland have the best of it) is fitter for our Soil and Climate, The Nature of the Dutch Seed. than either the Riga or Nerva Seed; but so many are the Evils incident to Dutch Seed, thro' the Tricks they in Hol­land play with it, that it is hard to say what the Quantity ought to be, sufficient for the sowing of a Plantation Acre: For as they frequently mix decayed Seed along with their best ripled Seed; and sometimes they send us ripled Seed un­mixed, but this is so ill saved and dried, that it frequently heats in the Cask, and possibly not two Thirds of it come up when sow­ed: The Riga or Nerva Seed is generally mix'd with the Seed of the Weeds, so that by the time you have sever'd the good Seed from the bad, you have scarce half of your Measure of Flax-seed.

However, when I sow Dutch Seed, if the Lands are coarse, The Quan­tity of the Seed. I give from three Bushels and a half to four Bushels, but I never exceed four Bushels and a half to the richest Land I have ever seen in Ireland; nor do I think there is occasion for more, if the seed be good. In Lincolnshire they seldom give more than nine Pecks, or ten at the most; their Lands are nothing inferior to the best here in Ireland, save only in the Measure, for their Rod or Perch is but sixteen Foot, ours in Ireland is one and twenty; the Number of Rods or Perches in the Acre, is the same as with us in Ireland, so that their Acre is less than ours, as sixteen Foot and a half is to one and twenty Foot in a Perch. There can be no­thing more pernicious to the raising of the Flax, than the sowing it over thick; Sowing Flax over thick. for by so doing, the Flax can never be ripe, the Harl has no Substance, the Seed produced is bad, both in Quantity and Quality, and the Flax will infallibly lodge, cre it is ripe or fit for Use.

The casting or sowing of Flax-seed in an even and equal Manner, The Casting or Sowing the Seed. is a Matter of more Art than many People in this Kingdom think of, and a great deal depends thereon; husbandly Men may soon be taught the Manner of doing it, but it must be long Practice must make them expert in it.

When you have sown your Seed, you must get a pretty large Thorn-bush, whereon you fix a Weight of Timber, sufficient to make the Thorns to enter in some measure your Ground: This Bush is dragged by a Horse over your new sowed Ground; which covers your Flax seed much better than a Harrow can do; but because the Bush may be apt to be choak'd by the Rubbish, there ought to be a small Cord so fix'd to the Bush, as that a Boy by holding that Cord in his Hand, may, by giving it a [Page 5] Twitch, raise the Bush some what off of the Land, which will make the Dirt and Rubbish to fall down from the Bush; all which must be removed from off of the Ridges, that the Flax may spring equally.

The next thing to be done is, to roll the Ground very well with a Roller, Rolling the Ground. four Foot four Inches long, and about fifteen Inches diameter, made as round as possible; this is to be drawn in a Frame by a Horse; but great Care is to be taken, that the grounds be not Rolled in wet Weather, for if they be, both Soil and Seed will cling to the Roller and spoil all. The End of Rolling of Grounds is, to make the Soil lie close to the Seed, so as neither the scorching, or bleak Winds hurt the Seed, nor the Birds gather it: Besides, the Trouble of it is not great, for one Horse will roll six Acres in a Day.

Of Weeding Flax.

FLAX must be wed when it is about four Inches high, Weeding Flax. the Weeds must be cut with a sharp Knife, as near the Root as you please, but the Roots must not be pull'd up, because that loosens and abuses the Flax. The Weeders cannot hurt the Flax by sitting, or ly­ing on it while they are weeding, but they may do it much pre­judice by standing on it, especially if they have Shoes or Pumps on, by cutting the Flax with the Heels of them.

Of Pulling Flax.

THE way to know when Flax is ripe or fit for pul­ling, Pulling Flax. is to observe when the Boughs become brown, and the Leaves towards the Root fallen from the Stalk, then may the Flax be pull'd; observing to pull the finest Flax by it self, and the coarsest by it self, and so kept apart and wrought seperately, thro' the whole rating and dressing of Flax; for the coarser Flax is much sooner rated than the fine; and should they be promiscuously pull'd, the coarse Flax would be rotten ere the fine was rated: When there is as much Flax of either sort pull'd, as a man can conveniently hold in his Hand, it ought to be bound in such small Sheaves, that a [Page 6] Man may conveniently hold it while he is ripling, and the Teeth of the Ripling comb pass through; and when the fine Flax and coarse are all pull'd, the next thing to be done is to riple it.

Of Ripling of Flax, and Saving the Seed.

FLAX riples and waters better when it is green and fresh pull'd, The Man­ner of rip­ling of Flax. because the Boughs and Leaves quit the Stalk at that time more readily than they do afterwards when the Flax is weather'd; besides I have always observ'd, that the greener Flax is put into the Water, so much the better Colour will it take when properly rated.

The Manner of ripling of Flax is thus: A Ripling comb, made of Iron, is fix'd in a long Form, which Form is placed over a Winnowing-sheet, to receive the Boughs of the Flax; thro' this Comb the Flax is gently drawn, to sever the Leaves and Boughs from the Stalk. The Husbandman's Management of his Flax­seed differs, in proportion to the Quantity which he has under his Care and Management, and the Conveniencies he has for doing it; for if he has but a small Quantity, it may be easily weather'd, spreading the Pods or Boughs which contain the Seed, as thin on Winnowing cloths or Sheets as he possibly can; frequently turn­ing them, as they lie abroad exposed to weather, till the Chaff of the Boughs, and the Seed be throughly dry: And afterwards, the best way to prevent such Seed from heating, is to lay it when dry, on a boarded Floor, spread about four or five Inches thick, and turn it once a Week at the least, till the sowing Season comes on: But by no means do not sever the Seed from the Boughs, until the sowing Season; for tho' the Seed has quitted the Boughs, and that the Boughs are broke in many Pieces by frequent turn­ing, yet do those Boughs contribute much towards preserving the Flax-seed from heating, by giving the Air a better Opportunity to pass thro' the Seed, not suffering it to cling so close together as otherwise it would.

But if the Husbandman has great Quantity of Flax-seed to manage, it will be impossible for him without an unreasonable Expence, to weather his Flaxseed on Sheets abroad in the Air; therefore his Business is, as soon as his Seed is ripled, to sever the Seed-pods with the Seed contained in them, and likewise what Seed happens to be shaken out, from the Leaves and Rubbish, which at first are mixed with them, in the ripling: Let him then spread these Boughs and Seed on the dryest Malt-house Floors, or other boarded Floors that he has: At first they [Page 7] ought not to be spread thicker than a quarter of an Inch, so as the Air may pass thro' them; they should be turn'd once a Day till they are pretty dry, afterwards they may be spread about an Inch thick, but turn'd once in two Days at the least, till they are per­fectly dry, and past the Danger of heating. But in regard Flax­seed is the most liable to heat of any Seed whatever, it is good Husbandry to turn it at least once a Week, and not to sever the Chaff from it, as I said before, till the sowing Season, giving it as much Air as you conveniently can, during the whole time.

It is certain, that the Flax takes a better Colour that is rated the same Season it is pull'd in, Concerning the Colour in rating. than that which is rated in the Spring or Summer following; therefore a good husbandly Man ought to riple as much of the Flax, as he can conveniently water and grass; for tho' it must be confessed that the Seed receives Nou­rishment from the Stalk, as long as it has Sap to feed on, yet con­sidering the Differences of Colour between Flax watered and grass'd the same Season, and that which is watered or grass'd the Spring or Summer following, it is, in my humble Opinion, most adviseable, to riple as much as you can possibly water or grass that Season; and if the seed be preserv'd from heating, and changed every fourth Year, from clay Grounds to loamy Grounds, or from loamy to hazily, they will hold many more Years sowing, and yield good Crops, than is generally believ'd that they would otherwise do.

I have been informed by very skilful Flax-men, that they have found their Flax-seed to hold longer, by giving it a Year's Rest, once in three or four Years, keeping it with the Chaff duly turn'd, till the Spring come twelve-month following, and that Flax-seed thus kept, will yield a better Crop the Season it is sow­ed, than otherwise it would; but I must confess I never experi­enc'd this, and therefore dare not recommend it as a general Practice, but the Curious may easily make a Trial on a small Quantity, without great Detriment to themselves; for this is cer­tain, that nothing can contribute more to the good Success of the flaxen Manufactures of this Kingdom, than the skilful preserving of the Seed, that the Subjects of this Kingdom may depend, as little as possible, for Supplies from abroad. There is one thing that I cannot avoid (on this Occasion) to mention, both for the Honour of the Gentleman who made the Experiment, and the Good it may do the Kingdom in general, if further Tryals be made, till Matters be brought to Perfection (as I am in very great Hopes they may easily be:) The Matter was thus: A worthy Gentleman, Col. Robert Taylor of the Country of Limerick, procured some of the most degenerated Irish Seed he could get, and sowed it in his best Corcus Lands, which having been gain'd from the Sea, were consequently much impregnated with Salts; this Seed so sown produced a Crop of Seed, part of which the [Page 8] Colonel sent to my Master Mr. Justice Coote, who directed me to sow it in the ensuing Season, in the same Soil, and with the like Culture as I gave to my best Dutch Seed; and I had as good a Crop from it as from the Dutch, save only it was not altogether so long as the Dutch; but I was more than recompenced in that Particular by the Quantity, for every Grain took place, and it grew much thicker and finer than the Dutch did, and when I had wrought it with the same dressing that I gave the Dutch, I found it wrought more silky and soft than did the Dutch Flax, neither could the Length of it be complain'd of.

This last Season, I sow'd some of the Seed which I had saved of my first Produce, Seed sowed. with as good Success as formerly, and the Seed of the last Crop pro [...]ises as well as any I have ever seen: I therefore design to sow [...] this ensuing Spring, and bestow on it as good Soil as any I have. I hear that worthy Gentleman has been unfortunately lost, to the great Detriment of his Country; he having been an indefatigable Promoter of the flaxen and hempen Manufactures in Ireland for some Years past, and of every thing else which might conduce to the Good of his Country.

The Flax which is not ripled the Season it is pull'd, Unripled Flax. ought to be made up in Sheaves, about the bigness of the Calf of a Man's Leg, and tied as near to the upper End, as it conveniently can be done; that when it is set on the Butts, those Butts may be drawn out, and the Middle of the Sheaf left as hallow as a Bird cage; these Sheaves ought to be left in the Field, two and two leaning on each other, in long Rows, until they are so dry as that there is no fear of its heating in the Mow; then must the Husbandman proceed as speedily as he can to stack it, in Ricks, rather than Cocks, and give it no longer weathering in the field, or else­where abroad, than is of absolute Necessity to prevent its heating. Now as to the stacking of his Flax, the Length of the Sheaves ought to be well considered, and the Situation of the Ground where his [...]ggort is, in point of Shelter, for accordingly he must put more [...] Sheaves in the Breadth of his Mow or Rick; for if the Rick be over narrow in the Structure, a Storm of Wind and Rain may happen to over-set it, to the Husbandman's great Damage; and if the Stack be made over wide, it must of course rise higher, and expose the Head of it more to the Storms, or not lay it with a sufficient Water-cast; therefore Care and great Judgment are to be used in the erecting or making of a Rick of Flax; [...] of Flax. first, that there be a Foundation made with Stones, sufficiently raised from the Earth, as no Under-water [...] prejudice the Flax; this Foundation ought to be made as firm and even at the Top as possible, that the Rick may have no Bend or Leaning any way. Secondly, the coarse Flax & the fine [Page 9] must be kept apart in the stacking; and when the Breadth of the Rick is well considered, with Regard had to the Length of the Flax, be sure to make the Rick in Point of Breadth, of an equal Number of Sheaves, whether they be six, eight, or more; but I would not willingly exceed eight, unless the Flax was exceed­ingly short; then must the Husbandman carefully lay the Seed­end of his Sheaves outwards, and the Root inwards, till he has done one Half of the Breadth; afterwards he must lay the Sheaves with the Seed-end outward, from the Middle to the other Side of the Rick; this I find to be the best Way to prevent the Seeds heating: I am sensible that this Method is liable to great Ob­jections, because the outward Sheaves may shed their Seed, either by the Boughs falling or opening, as the Rick stands, or they may be injured much, as the Thatch is removing from the Rick; therefore, I submit this to the Husbandman's own Consideration.

In the forming of the Rick, it is requisite, that at every two Foot Distance, The form­ing of the Rick. the Rick be dress'd through­out with Reeds, filled with Poison, herein after di­rected, to prevent the Vermin from coming to the Seed, and knawing the Flax, to make Beds to breed in: When the first Floor is laid, proceed to lay the rest in like Manner, till the Butt is high enough, that it is requisite to form the Eaves to throw off the Drops, that they may not fall on the Butt of the Rick; and after the Eaves are well made, be careful skilfully to draw in by Degrees, at first, by laping the Seed ends of the Sheaves over the Butts, till the Number of the Sheaves be necessarily abated in the Breadth of the Rick; and thus proceed to lap and abate, till the Head of the Rick will hold but one Sheaf across it: Then must there be a good Head of Straw laid after such a Manner, as may protect the Flax from any Rain falling through, and be brought to as narrow a Ridge as is possible.

It is very difficult to make good Ricks of Hay or Corn, The Diffi­culty of making Ricks of Flax. but much more so of Flax, because there is an absolute Necessity of keeping Flax in Sheaves, from the Time it is pulled, to the Time that it is hackled; for if Flax was suffered to mingle promiscuously with each other, it would be an infinite Labour to reduce them to Order again, without which it would be impossi­ble either to swingle or hackle it. Now, in regard that Flax so tied in Sheaves, will be apt to have divers Hollows in the Ridge of the Stack, there must be great Care had to fill up these Hol­lows with Straw, and the whole Ridge made with so so sharp a Cast, and completly thatched with Straw, that the Rain may lie or sink any where into the Stack, but fall off at the Eaves, as from off of the Roof of a well-built thatched House.

The Way to dress the Rick with Poison, The way to dress a Rick. is to have an equal Quantity of white and yellow Arsenick, [Page 10] ground by an Apothecary to a palpable Powder, with this Powder, a sufficient Quantity of Flour must be mix'd, wet the whole with Milk, and a little Canary Wine, with a few Drops of Oyl of Annis-seeds; when the whole Mass is in a Paste, fill the Hollows of the Water-reeds, cut about a Spang long with the Paste, and stop up each End of the Reed, if there be Occasion, with small wooden Pegs, so as the Poison may not drop out; the Smell of the Canary and of the Oyl, will draw the Vermin, and tempt them to knaw the Reeds, which they can­not do without eating some of the Poison, which will make that Part of the Vermin, which are not poisoned, to desert the Stack, and never more come near it.

The Reasons why I advise the making of Ricks, rather than round Cocks of Flax, Reasons why Ricks should be made ra­ther than round Cocks. are these, If you are to break a round Cock, possibly there may not be Room in the Barn to lodge it safe, while the Seed is ripling, and should any Storm of Rain come while the Cock is open, it is great Hazard, but that so much of it as lies thus open, may be lost; whereas in a Rick, so much and no more may be taken, than what may be conveniently housed.

About the latter End of March, the unripled Flax­seed may be ripled, The Time to riple the Seed. or thresh'd out with small light Flails: But I prefer Ripling to Threshing, as not hurting the Harl so much as Threshing would, or the Breaking of the Bunn, Ripling prefered to Threshing. which may do much Mis­chief in the rating or watering it. As soon as the Seed is ripled, sever it from the Chaff; and if the Lands are ready for Sowing, and that the Season of­fers fair, then may the Seed be sowed, covered, and rolled, as spee­dily as possible; for tho' I have seen in Ireland, tolerable Crops produced from Seed sown the latter End of April, or even the be­ginning of May, yet I am confident the Crops had been much better, The Hus­bandman ought to have his Flax Grounds ready by Mid. march. had the same Seed, in the same Soil, been sowed the latter End of March, or Begin­ning of April: Therefore, I advise the industrious and careful Husbandman, to have his Flax-grounds ready for sowing by Mid-March, that he may get his Seed into the Ground as soon afterwards, as Weather and other Things will admit of; he will find his Account therein, in many respects, but more especially by an early Harvest, which will afford him longer Time and probably better Weather, for [...], and grassing of his Flax, and for [...]owing it safely against the Winter Occurencies.

[Page 11]

The Rating or Watering of Flax.

IN England, Rating or watering of Flax. when they speak of watering of Flax, they call it rating it; and when they grass it from the Beginning, without watering it, they call that Dew-rating it; Dew-ra­ting. I have often tried to Dew-rate Flax, without Success, tho' it be much commended by Mr. Cromilin, Rating Flax in wa­ter prefer­able to Dew­rating. in his printed Directions for raising of Flax; and I have likewise observed many Coun­ties in England, to practise it, but they fail both with respect to Colour and Goodness; I therefore prefer the rating it in Water rather than Dew-rating.

The rating of Flax is the nicest Part of Flax-dres­sing: The Nicety in rating Flax. The Husbandman who will take upon him to rate Flax, must be very nice in the Choice of the Wa­ter; in the first Place, it must not [...] in any swift Current, for the Stream would tear the Harl from the Bunn. Secondly, it must not be in hard Water that partakes of Mines or Minerals: Thirdly, it ought not to be in Bog-wa­ters, because they generally are stained by a Shurb that grows on the Bogs, call'd Bog-aulders which Stain can seldom be got out by the best Bleaching. The oest Waters are the standing Wa­ters, therefore the Loughs or the Lakes, which abound in the whole Province of Ulster, rate Flax the best of any Water I ever saw: Lakes. But where Lakes cannot be had conveniently, then must the Husbandman provide himself with a Pond or Ponds convenient and proper for his purpose. Ponds situ­ated. In the first Place, these Ponds must be so situated, as that he can convey his Water from some adjacent Stream, at his Will & Pleasure, in the dryest or drow­thiest Summer which can possibly happen. In the next Place, he should consider the Situation of the Grounds wherein the Ponds are to be made; Situation of the Ground. for provided the Water can be kept upon a Level, from End to End of the Pond; the longer the Pond is, it is so much the bet­ter▪ In the third Place, Gravelly Grounds most proper for the Ponds. Care must be had not to make these Ponds in foul, mouldering Grounds; Gravel or stiff Clay are best for that Purpose. The Ponds which I would choose or rate in should be four Foot and a half wide, and five Foot deep; that I might command my Flax as it rates in the Water, Ponds to rate in, four Foot and a half wide, without abusing the Labourers in their Working, which can be easily done, from Side to Side, or by the Help of a Board or two laid across the Pond. I [Page 12] should likewise advise the making of a small Trench, five Foot deep. to take off the waste Water, yet so contrived, as such Part of the Water as is necessary, may be turned in at the Head of the Pond, at Will and Pleasure; for thereon de­pends the giving the Flax such Colour, as take [...]st with the Country.

In Ireland, they are fond of the white or yellow Flax, In Ireland they are fond of the white or yel­low Flax. but in Holland and Germany, and the East land Country, they rate much more of the Silver-blue; judging that it will be sooner and easier brought to a brighter and higher White, than the pale or yellow Flax could be. I made some Silver-blues in and a­bout Cootehill, The ra­ting of Sil­ver-blues in Holland, &c. in the County of Cavan, and so did Mr. Sutton when he lived there; they proved as good as could be made with Hands, and nothing inferior to what I have seen come from Holland; yet the Spin­ners, Yarn-merchants, Weavers, and Bleachers, durst never meddle with them; for the skilfulest Bleacher at Cootehill, who, for ought as I know, is the best in Ire­land, made a Trial of the White, the Yellow, and the Silver­blue, two Years successively, without being able to bring the Silver-blue to equal the others in Colour: But this, I believe, was owing to his using only Fern-Ashes and Soap in his Bleaching; Fern Ashes and Soap. whereas in Holland, they have Variety of Ashes, the weakest of which is much more effectual in Bleaching, then Fern-Ashes can possibly be.

When the Husbandman has ripled his Flax he designs to water that Season, it is to be hoped, he has filled his rating Ponds with Water, so early in the Year, as that it may be sufficiently softned and qualified by the Weather, to perform its Office: Then must he lay his Flax in the WaterRange, after Range, The laying the Flax in the Water. from one End to the other, until he has rais'd his Flax within fourteen Inches of the Surface of the Water: Then must the Head of the Flax be covered with Fern, two or three inches thick, and over the Fern a Weight of Stones be laid, sufficient to keep the Flax and all under Water, if possible; for as soon as the Flax has been laid four and twenty Hours in the rating Pond, it will ferment so strongly, as to require all Hands at Work, to keep it down, to the end the upper Range may be equally water'd with the lower. When the Flax has been three or four Days in Wa­ter, some few straws may be drawn out of a Sheaf, bend some of them, if they break readily, instead of bending, and the Harl quits the Straw without Difficulty, the Flax is sufficiently rated; but if the Straw does neither readily break, or the Harl quit it, then most the Husbandman repeat this Experiment twice a Day, until he has found thereby his Flax to be sufficiently watered: [Page 13] Yet when the Fermentation (which I formerly mentioned) gives over, so that the Flax sinks of it self, it is a Sign that it is suffi­ciently rated: And as soon as that the Flax is discovered to be sufficiently rated, it must be hastned out of the Pond to be gras­sed as speedy as possible, taking it up Sheaf by Sheaf, and giv­ing each of them a gentle Shake in the Water, to clear them from the Slime and Filth generally contracted on the out­side of the Sheaf, Hard to know a stated time for rating Flax. in the rating. It is impossible to fix upon any stated Time for the compleat rating of Flax, because this Matter depends so much upon the Weather, the Quality of the Water, and the Nature of the Flax, that the Time spent in Rating, will vastly differ; for if the Weather be hot, or hotter than ordinary, Fermenta­tion. so will the Water of course be, and therefore the Fermentation stronger, and the Rating sooner compass'd, especially if the Flax be kindly: But if the Weather be cold, or colder than ordinary, of Course the Fermentation is weaker, To rate the fine Flax & the coarse separately. and longer, coming; and therefore the Rating must be more tedi­ous. This is a certain Rule in rating of Flax, to rate the Fine by it self, and the Coarse apart by it self, because the Fine takes several Days longer to rate than the Coarse will, The fine Flax rated before coarse coloured Flax. therefore the Pine is first rated, as being the most difficult.

The Colour given to Flax depends much upon the Skill and Judgment of the Husbandman who rates it; if he designs to have it a good clear White, he gives it gradually so much the more Water, yet must he still avoid letting it stream in, to occasion a perceivable Stream or Currency in the Water: All that is requisite to be done in that Case is, to keep the Pond constantly full with Water, so as the stain'd Water may proportionably wash over the Banks of the Pond. This Way of watering must be more tedious than ordinary, be­cause the Water which comes into the Pond by way of supply, will of course allay the Fermentation, and probably will harden the Flax, and make it less kindly in working.

If the Husbandman desires his Flax to have a to­lerable good Colour, The Way to let the Flax have a good Colour. and his Flax to work kindly, his Method must be to give it no more Recruits of Water, than what is of absolute Necessity to keep the Stones laid over the Flax continually covered; and then will the Fermentation be vigorous, the Flax well purged, and be soft and kindly in the Harl; and whether it proves white or yellow, it is all one; for it will be sure to bleach so much the better, in proportion to its purging in the rating; and it will shrink much less in the bleaching, after it is woven, and take less Time to rate in.

[Page 14] The Method which I have observed practis'd in England, The Method to bring Flax to a silver-blue. to bring Flax to a Silver blue is, by rating it in the same Water that the former Flax was rated in, giving it longer Time for rating, and no more Supply of Water, than what is necessary to cover the Stones; and let as little Water run over the Banks as possible.

There is yet a darker sort of Flax than the silver­blue, A darker Sort of Flax, than the Sil­ver-Blues. in great Demand in England, for the making of brown Threads and brown Tapes, without dy­ing: This Sort of Flax is only rated in the same Water that the Silver-blues were taken out of, ob­serving the same Cautions, with respect to the Re­cruiting of the Water, as was formerly given, and frequently trying the Experiments, to know when the Flax is sufficiently rated; for to be sure, this Flax will take longer Time to rate, than did the Silver-blue.

If the Husbandman is desirous to have still a more dark Flax, More dark Flax. than the last mentioned, for the Use of the Dyers, to dy black Threads or Tape, he must rate the Flax in the last mentioned Water that the last Flax was taken out of, When Flax is ta­ken out of the Water, it must be immediately grass'd. observing the same Cautions in every Respect, and his Purpose will be answered. This general Rule must be observed, that as soon as Flax is taken out of the Water, and rench'd, it must be immediately grassed, but not all grassed in the same Manner; as will better appear, when I come to treat at large of the grassing of Flax.

When the rating of Flax is over for the Harvest Season, To empty the Ponds when the Flax is rated. then should all the Ponds be emptied by the Means of a large Pipe, laid at the Bottom, which you can open at your Will and Pleasure, and the Ponds made as clean as possible; then stop the Pipe, and let the Ponds be filled three Quarters full and no more, that they may retain as much of the Rain and Snow-water, as they can gather in the Winter; which will very much facilitate the rating of the unripled Flax, the en­suing Spring, about Mid April, which is the best Time for rating unripled Flax; Mid-April the best time for rating unripled Flax. because the Mea­dows can't suffer so much, by the Grassing of it so early in the Year, as they would by treading and trampling on the Grass later in the Year; and on the other Hand, should the Flax be rated earlier, of Course it must be earlier grass'd which would not be consistant with the March Winds, or the Winds which blow too frequently in the Beginning of April. I shall conclude this Section, only with this Observation, that the unripled Flax is be­come more hard and stubborn, than the ripled Flax was; that [Page 15] the Water is colder, and consequently the rating of Flax must be more tedious; so that it behoves the Husbandly Man to be ex­ceeding diligent, in making his Observations to catch the critical Moment, when his Flax is sufficiently watered: For wherever Flax is over-watered, it is fatal, but Under-watering may be re­medied by proper Grassing, as I have experienced my self, and agrees with Mr. Cromilin's Opinion, in his Treatise of Flax

Of Grassing Flax.

I Know not whether I have hitherto been suffici­ently careful in giving Directions concerning the binding of Flax, The binding of Flax. throughout the whole Process which it must undergo, ere it is rated or grassed; therefore I take the Liberty with my Reader, here to treat of it in all its Circumstances, for as they differ, so will the binding.

The Flax design'd to be ripled, The Flax bound up in Bunches the same Season it is pull'd, must be bound at the Middle, in Bunches of such a Size as the Riplers may easily command, and the Teeth of the Ripling comb penetrate, to the very Bottom of the Comb, without tewing or breaking the Flax; yet when all the Flax is ripled, these Bands may be taken off, and the Sheaves enlarged to the Bigness of the Calf of a Man's Leg, The Sheaves enlarged. in order to the rating of it. Now, as to the binding of the unripled Flax, there is no occasion for its being bound, while it stands on the Butts a weathering; because the Seed-pods which are at the End of the Flax, will so lap one within another, that when the Butts are spread out, and two Sheaves are placed to support each other, there will be no danger of their Fall; or if they should happen to fall, they must be as speedily erected as possible. When the Flax is thoroughly dry fit for stacking, the Sheaves must be of the same Size, and bound in the Middle, as the other was.

When the Flax is sufficiently rated in the Water, then must it be grass'd in the following manner; When the Flax is sufficiently rated it must be grass'd. first, the Bandage must be taken of, Sheaf by Sheaf, and the Flax spread in Rows, as even at the Roots, and as thin as it is possible, on a new mowed Meadow, leaving at the Butt-end of the Flax as much Room uncovered, as will receive the Flax when turn'd over on the Butts; The Bandage taken off. then proceed to make a second Row with the same Care and Caution, only with this Dif­ference, that there is [...] occasion for leaving greater Distance between the Heads of the first Row, and the [Page 16] Roots of the second, The Flax spread in Rows. than an Inch or thereabouts, that they may not entangle with each other▪ for the Space of Ground that contain'd the first Row, when turned will contain the second; proceed after this manner to spread all the Flax. Mr. Cromilin advises the turning the Flax every Morning, by the means of a long Wand, held in both the Hands of the Person that turns it, and gently thrust under the upper Ends of so much of the Flax, as he de­signs then to turn; thus by bringing the Wand gradually to­wards the Root, till he finds that he can command the Flax to turn over upon the Root, the Heads the other way▪ the Roots still kept as even as possible; The Roots kept even. and so pro­ceed Row by Row, till the whole Meadow is turn'd: But for my part, I do not approve of this Practice of such frequent turning, because it lays the Flax so light, that every Puff of Wind would turn them Heads and Points, and cause the utmost Confusion, or an insufferable Trou­ble and Expence to the Husbandman to re instate them or place them as they ought to be, The Butts must be together. for the Butts must be together when swingled, hackled, or brush'd, nay even when it is spun; if the Spinner spins the long way of the Flax, as the ought to do for fine Linnen, the Butts of the Flax must be always kept to­gether: For my part, tho' I turn my Flax by the help of a Wand, as Mr. Cromilin does direct, yet I do not turn it, till I perceive that the upper part of the Flax has, by Showers of Rain or the Dew, acquired a Colour to my Mind; unless it be that I observe that the Grass grows too fast thro' my Flax, or that my Flax sinks to the Root of the Grass, which may mildew or rot it: In the first Case, viz. when it is come to Colour, I turn it once, till the lower Side has acquired as good a Colour as the up­per had; but in the latter Cases, I choose rather by the help of my Wand, to raise it gently towards the Top of the Grass; which exposes it less to the Power of the Winds, which are much more frequent in Ireland than in Flanders.

When Flax is brought to the desired Colour, which is either the white or the yellow, Flax brought to the desired Colour. the first dry Day that can be had afterwards, it must be taken from off the Grass and laid in Bundles, proportionably to the Largeness of the Sheaves design'd to be made, in which there is no great matter, The Flax taken from off the Grass and laid in in Bundles. but every Man may do as he pleases. These Sheaves must not at first be tied, but placed on the Butts and drawn round at the Bottom, and made as hollow as a Bird-cage, that the Sun, Air, and Wind may dry them suffici­ently, least otherwise they heat; but in case the Weather should prove wet, Flax will not suffer at all by thus standing, till a dry Day can be had to draw it home to the Hug­gort, [Page 17] and stack it in as careful a manner, and as well thatch'd as was before directed. It matters not the keeping of the fine Flax from the coarser, after it has been water'd and grass'd, provided both be well rated & grass'd; for the Swingler Hackler & will bring both to be equally fine, but in case they are not equally rated and grass'd, they caust of necessity be kept apart, and sepa­rately swingled and hackled; Flax se­parately swingled & hackled. for the swingling and hackling of the one, would destroy the other.

Great Care ought to be had in grassing of Flax; and see that the Flax which was not sufficiently wa­tered, lies longer on the Grass than the other, Great Care ought to be taken in grassing Flax. which you may easily know, by taking part of the Flax which you suspect to be under-watered, and holding one Hand above the other at some Distance, crush the Flax between both your Hands and rub it, and if the Bunn breaks readily, Great Care to be taken when Flax is over watered. and the Harl separates well from it, all is well, and there is no Danger; but if it is otherwise, this Flax must be longer grass'd, until the Bunn will break readily, and the Harl se­parate: But if on the other hand, Flax has been over-rated in the Water, a good husbandly Man should be careful and diligent to observe (a Day or two after he has grass'd, If the Bunn of the Flax breaks readily, it must be taken off the Grass immediately and that the Flax is grown stiff) whether the Harl does of it felf quit the Bunn, or will easily strip from the upper End of the Flax to the Root; and if the Bunn breaks readily, such Flax ought immediately to be taken off the Grass and stook'd on the Butts in the Field, till it be suf­ficiently dry, then carried to the Barn or other dry House, and avoid stacking it if possible; for every Moisture encreases the Evil, especially where the Excess in watering is considerable.

This Flax, The Harl of the Flax that has not Sub­stance ought to be first swingled. if the Harl has not any Substance, ought to be the first swingled and hackled, for it will not be the better for keeping; yet if the Harl has Substance sufficient, there is no Danger in keeping and managing of it in the same manner that other Flax is managed, provided it be not over grassed, which would infallibly tender the Harl beyond Reason.

In the grassing of Silver-blues and the other brownFlax, Care to be had in the grassing of Silver-blues. there must be care had not to grass them longer than till the Flax is stiff, then must they be put on the Butts, and stook'd in the Field till dry enough to be out of Danger of heating, and carried home and stacked apart. This Sort of Flax will not admit of long grassing, especially the silver blue, and it is only the proper rating of it, that can bring the Harl to quit the Bunn.

[Page 18] When Flax has been sufficiently grassed, Flax suf­ficiently grass'd. and dry enough to stack, such of the Cautions as I have already given, that are proper to Flax in these Circumstances, ought to be observ'd in the stacking of it▪ Or if there be a large Quantity of it, Long Ricks preferable to round Cocks. prefer long Ricks to round Cocks, for the more convenient dressing of it in the Work-house, without incumbring the Work-house morethan needs must▪ And it would be a double Trouble to fetch it from other Out-houses, admitting they could be conveniently spared from other purposes. Be careful to defend the Flax at all Times, Care to be taken to keep the Flax from Under-wa­ter and Rain, &c. from Under­water or from Rain, from great Winds, and Storms; which cannot be done without good Shelter, the Rick skilfully made, and well thatch'd in every Part of it: For if any Rain drops through, or gets into the Stack, it will mildew, and may be rot as far as it reaches. It is more to be wish'd than hop'd for that Farmers or Husbandly Men had in Ireland, large Barns for the safety of their Hay, If Rain gets into the Stack it will mil­dew the Flax. Corn, and other husbandly Matters, as in England. I am sensible, that the Gentlemen and Farmers of Ireland conceive otherwise; imagining, that they would not agree with this Climate, and be apt to heat or even fire the Barn. But I beg Pardon if I am in an Error in delivering my Opinion, for I humbly think that Barns would do as well in Ireland as in England, and save a vast deal of Hay, that is lost in the Field in Ireland by their Tram­cocking; and keep their Corn much sweeter and freer from Mustiness, Tram­cocking than at present they do: And for the better Support of my Opinion, I have the Opinion of the Right Honourable the Lord Viscount Molesworth; who lived many Years in Yorkshire, and is a most skil­ful Husbandman: he has lived many Years both in Ireland and England, and has experienced both the Climates, and is determi­ned to build, on his Farm near Breckdens- Town, a compleat Barn to receive all his Crops.

Of Breaking Flax.

MR. Cromilin is a declared Enemy to the Use of Breaks, Mr. Cromilin an Enemy to the Use of Breaks. in the breaking of Flax, and recom­mends rather the Use of an Engine for that Purpose to which I refer my Reader; because I prefer the Breaks made use of in Ireland, where we are arrived [Page 19] to a sufficient Degree of Knowledge, in the making of Breaks in such a Manner as to squeeze and break the Bunn, without do­ing the least Injury imaginable to the Harl; and I am confident, that I can break more Flax in an Hour, than the strongest Man living could in a whole Day, Breaking of Flax, the proper Busi­ness of the Swingler. and with less La­bour to my self, were he to work with Mr. Cromilin's Engine, and I with the Breaks. But we must not if well long upon this Subject. Breaking of Flax, be­ing the proper Business of the Swingler, he ought to do it at the same time he swingles.

Of Swingling and Hackling of Flax.

WHAT I call swingling of Flax, others call scutching of it; Swingling called scutching by some. (differing in nothing but the Terms) that is to say, to sever the Harl or Skin of the Flax, from the Bunn or Straw of it. Swingling is a handy craft Trade, and consists so very much in the Slight or Hand of the Artist, that several who have served their Apprenticeship thereto, work much worse than others; so that one Man can swingle a Stone of Flax, consisting of fourteen Pound, more to the Profit of his Employer, by two Pound in the Stone, than another can perform, let him do what he can. The like may be said of Hacklers in every re­spect; which is a national Loss, as well as a particular one.

It is a Matter I have often thought of, Flax and Hemp Dres­sers in every Town in England. and been amaz'd at to observe; in every Town in England, nay, almost in every Village of any Consideration, there are Flax and Hemp-dressers, each of whom live well, and follow their Callings comfortably; yet they in England have no national flaxen, or hempen Trade, as it seems to be the Portion of Trade allotted to Ireland; where there are scarce any Flax or Hemp-dressers, excepting in Dublin and Cork, and some few brought over by the Trustees, and settled here. Differences in swingling If there be such Differencse in swingling and hackling, between Artist and Artist, what must this Nation loose, by the barbarous Me­thods followed by the House-wives? who have neither Tools, nor Skill to use them if they had them. One of the most skilful Women in the North of Ireland, in point of hackling, desired she might have a Parcel of Flax delivered her, equal in Quantity and Quality with what was delivered me: The Gentlewoman for whom I hackled, gratified her, and gave to each of us Half a Stone of the same Flax: The Woman hackled hers, and I [Page 20] mine: Out of her seven Pound of swingled Flax, she scarce had two Pound of good Tare: I had out of mine, considerably more than double of good Tare, besides the Shorts. I write this, The Necessi­ty of having good Flax­men in the Kingdom. to shew the Necessity of having good Flax-men in the Kingdom: The Trustees have long endeavoured it, without much Success: which was more owing to the Knavery and Villany of some of those Persons brought over by them, than Want of Industry in the Trustees, or the Encouragements they readily give to Artists.

If the Gentlemen of this Kingdom, who have Soil proper for Hemp, and others of them that have Soil proper for Flax, would bend their Thoughts towards the cultivating of Hemp and Flax; allowing they have not Hands sufficient in their Country to estab­lish Facturies, yet they have Hands enough to manage their Hemp and Flax, till it is fit for the Market. What pro­digious Benefit might this be to Ireland in general, The Be­nefit that might ac­crue to Ireland by the prevent­ing buying foreign Seed and Flax. by preventing our buying of foreign Seed and Flax, as we annually do at vast Expence; and likewise by employing their own Poor, and drawing about them an industrious Sort of People, which in Time would enable them to establish Facturies at home, and en­rich their Country? Can it be imagined, that the in­dustrious North-country People of Ireland, that now give fifty Shillings per Hundred for foreign Flax, would not much rather purchase Flax of the Growth of the Kingdom, which might be afforded vastly under, and yet be great Gainers? Would also the North-country People purchase foreign Flax seed, under the many Disadvantages I have already mentioned, when they might be better supplied at Home, with relation both to the Goodness of the Seed, and the Price of it? No certainly they would not. Let us of Ireland take Example by the People of Lincohshire, Warwickshire, and divers other Shires in England, who raise vast Quantities of Flax and Hemp, and have not Hands among themselves to work it up; yet it is bought up by People from other Countries, who work it to their great Profit. I wish well to this Country, and have received several Favours in it: I have ventured to write my Thoughts, in hopes of putting Gentlemen in mind, how they might benefit themselves and Neighbours in particular, and the whole Kingdom in general: I cannot have any Views of Profit to my self thereby, being pos­sessed of as great a Share or Portion of the Trade, as I could heretofore have hoped for.

[Page 21]


HEMP requires a much richer Soil than Flax does; The Soil. the richer and deeper the better. Ley-lands yield a better Crop of Hemp and Seed, than Grounds that have been lately broke up, and used to other Purposes.

It is not proper to sow Hemp-seed, in Land that has not been thrice plowed that Season; Plowed. that the Earth may be as mellow about the Roots as possible.

The first Plowing may be about Candlemas: If the Soil be hazily or loamy, it ought to be plowed and fallowed earlier. The second Plowing ought to be across the former; and if the first was begun at Candlemas, the second may be reasonably three Weeks afterwards; and as well harrowed with an Iron-harrow, as the Husbandman can possibly do it. The third Plowing ought to be about the Beginning of April; and the Mold made as fine with a Harrow, as Grounds are made for Onions in a Garden.

The Ridges ought not to exceed four Foot wide; make them as flat and even at the Top as you can. The Ridges. The Reason why they are made thus narrow, is for the more convenient Pulling of the Hemp, Fimble Hemp. which bears no Seed, and is called Fimble-hemp, and is al­ways pulled and carried away, several Weeks before the Hemp that bears the Seed, is ripe or fit for Pulling; this Seed-hemp is that which is called Carl-hemp.

About the Twentieth of April, Hemp-seed should be sown, Hemp Seed sown about the twen­tieth of April if the Weather offers fair; this may be con­tinued till the first Week in May, and covered with a light Harrow, so as neither the Winds nor the Birds may annoy the Seed; cast the Seed as even as possible, that the Hemp may have Room for its Root: In sowing of Hemp, Care and Judgment must be used in sowing Hemp. great Care and Judgment ought to be used, that it be not sowed too thick or too thin: In the first Case, it would be apt to lodge, and so loose the Crop; In the second, the Hemp will run more to Bunn or Straw, than it will to Harl or Skin. When the Seed is once sown of Hemp, the Husbandman need take no further Care of it until the Fim­ble-hemp be ripe; except it be to keep the Fences up, and in good Order, to prevent Cattle getting in, and breaking and treading it down; for Hemp never needs Weeding.

The Fimble-hemp is always a Month sooner ripe than the Carl; the way to know when it is ripe enough for Pulling, is [Page 22] to observe when the Stalks turn yellow, and the Leaves fall off at the Butt; The way to know when the fimble­hemp is ripe. give them a small Shake to some of the Fimble-hemp, and if it is ripe, a Dust will rise from the Head of it; then fall to pulling of the Fimble-hemp, without Delay; be careful that they who pull the Fimble-hemp, do nei­ther break, or even bruise the Carl.

When the Labourers have pulled as much Fimble-hemp as will make a Sheaf, about the Bigness of the Calf of a Man's Leg; then let them tie it pretty tightly, first in the Middle, and afterwards near the Ends of the Sheaf. Hemp is apt to shrink in the Water, Hemp apt to shrink in the Water. for which Reason, the Sheaves ought to be made as tight as possible, and the Bands made of the shortest Fimble-hemp.

When all the Fimble-hemp is pulled, then must it be rated in Ponds, Rating of fimble-hemp. such as has been herein before prescribed, for rating Flax; with this Difference only, that unless the Ponds be made in a gravelly Soil, The Ponds to be made, in a gravelly Soil. the Bottom of the Ponds will be apt to be muddy or foul, which may be injuring to the Hemp; therefore, to prevent such Mudd, the Bottom of the Ponds may be either flag'd or plank'd, where there is not a solid Bottom of Gravel. The Manner of rating the Fimble-hemp, is the same with the Flax, observing always to make the same Trials from Time to Time, to know when it is sufficiently rated, and by no Means to over­rate it.

Hemp must not be grass'd; but as soon as it is sufficiently rated, Hemp not to be grass'd. and renched clean from the Slime or Filth, which it contracted in the Pond, convey it to some Walls or Hedges; there unloose the Bands, and set it on the Butt, spread as thin as possibly you can, leaning against the Wall or Hedge, so as the Air may pass under the Hemp; there let it stand to weather, until such Time as the Bunn breaks easily, and that the Harl quits it without Difficulty.

When the Hemp is in the above Condition, suffi­ciently dry, Housing or stacking of Hemp. and out of Danger of heating, then may it be either housed or stack'd; but if it is stack'd, it must be with the Butt end outwards: In all other Respects, the like Cautions are to be observed in the Stacking of Hemp, as you are desired before to use with relation to the Stacking of Flax; Hemp lar­ge by far than Flax. and if possi­ble to be still more cautious in this Particular, than in the former; because that Hemp is larger by far than Flax, and consequently, the Rain, driven by the Winds, can more easily penetrate the Rick, and the Hus­bandman can never be too careful herein.

[Page 23] Very often the Fault is assigned to the ill rating of Hemp, Ill rating of Hemp. when the Hemp appears to be discoloured, mil dew'd, and sometimes rotten; when, if the Truth were known, it proceeds rather from the ill Stacking of it. I have been informed, that in the Counties of Limerick and Clare, where Gentlemen undertake to raise great Quantities of Hemp, they have not Straw sufficient wherewith to stack their Hemp, but depend on the Butts defending it from the Weather: If this be so, it is a very ill Practice both to them­selves and the Publick.

The way to know when Carl-hemp is ripe, and fit for Pulling, How to know when Carl hemp is fit for pulling. is to observe when the Seeds begin to break out of the Pods, and to look bright, then must it be pulled without Loss of Time, taking great Care not to shed the Seed as it is pulled. As to the Sheaves, they ought to be made in the same Manner as the Fimble-hemp; Care to be taken not to shed the Seed. and as speedily as possible, set on the Butts in the Field in Rows, two and two, lean­ing on each other, frequently turning them to wea­ther, that each Sheaf may be thoroughly dry, and out of danger of Heating; and if any happen to fall, or to be blown down in Weathering, those must be speedily rais'd; the Birds of all Sorts which feed on Grain, are fond of Hemp-seed; therefore, as this Seed is a great Article in the Profit or Loss of the Crop, so much more must the Care and [...]ligence be, in the preserving it from them; it being a Matter of no small Diffi­culty.

When the Carl-hemp is fit for housing or stacking, then should Winnowing-sheets, Carl-hemp is fit for stacking. or other coarse Sheets be brought to the Butt of the Hemp, on each Side of the Rows, in proportion to the Number of Hands you can spare to the Work; to be sure the more the better; this Sort of Work being generally performed in the Month of September, when the Weather is usually various and uncertain.

When the Sheets are placed on each Side of the Butts, Sheets pla­ced on each Side of the Butts. turn the Heads of the Hemp over gently into the Sheets, and there thresh out the Seed, with very light, short Hand flails; which may be easily mana­ged with one Hand, by the Women or Children as they sit thrashing out the Seed; Thrashing out the Seed. and by this Means avoid breaking the Straw of the Hemp. As the Sheets fill, Women should be there ready with Rid­dles, to winnow and cleanse the Seed from all Rubbish; and so convey it to a Malt-house, or other boarded Floor, where it may be spread three or four Inches thick, and have Air enough: Turn it as frequently with a Malting-shovel, as you would turn Wheat or other Grain: It is not so subject to heat as Flax-seed [Page 24] is; because it does not lie so close: Yet it will heat as readily as Wheat would: But in case the Floors can't be spar'd, Casking of the Seed. it may in November be safely cask'd in dry Casks, provided the Casks be placed in Places that are dry, and not subject to Moisture.

If the Husbandman, or other Person that takes upon him the raising of Hemp, has any great Quantity on his Hands, more than he can furnish Houses to receive it in, it were much better, that as he thrashes out the Seed, the Hemp be re­placed on the Butts, Hemp will be less da­maged by standing than lying. in the same Manner they were before the thrashing, till every thing be ready in the Haggort for the stacking and thatching of it; for Hemp will receive less Damage thus standing, than it would lying promiscuously together; which would discolour it, and render it so black as to be useless; unless it were in the making of what they call the Black-work, Cordage. which is Cordage for Shipping: For all the Bleaching in Nature will not bring it to Colour. Now, assoon as the Weather offers fair and every thing is ready, stack it, in the same Manner as was directed before for the stacking of the Fimble-hemp. And because there may re­main in this Hemp, some few Grains of the Seed unthrash'd, it were convenient to dress the Stack with some of the poisoned Reeds, to prevent the Vermin from doing Mischief.

Carl-hemp need not be water'd till the Mid-summer following; Watering of Carl­hemp. the Water may be sufficiently qua­lified by the Heat of the Sun, and all other Acci­dents of Weather, the better to rate it. It will not take so long Time to rate in as the Fimble-hemp; Carl-hemp rates sooner than fimble. in all other Things, pursue the same Method as has been directed for the Management of the Fimble hemp.

As to the breaking of Carl-hemp, the Mash of the Breaks ought to be deeper somewhat than those employed in breaking of Flax; Breaking of Carl-hemp. and yet not too deep, The Mosh of the breaks must not be too deep. left the Harl be cut by the Bunn. Now, if the Breaker does his Duty sufficiently, frequently bringing and whipping the Hemp, often under the Staves of the Break, there will be no occasion for Swingling. Whipping the Hemp. The Teeth of the Hackles ought like­wise to be larger and wider, if the Hemp be design­ed for Sail-cloth or Cordage: But in regard that very fine Linnen, fit for Shirting or Sheeting, may be made of Fimble-hemp; in this Case, the Hackler ought to dress that sort of Hemp, first in his coarse Hemp-hackles, as fine as he can; and afterwards dress it over again in the Flax-hackles, [Page 25] till it is brought to such a Degree of Fineness as is de­sired. Fine Linnen may be made of Fimble­hemp. I am told by Persons of Credit, that in France they make considerable Quantities of fine hempen Linnen, mostly worn by Persons of Quali­ty and Fashion; they finding it warmer and more lasting than flaxen Linnen. There occurs to me no Objection therein, but the Difficulty of bringing it to a Colour equal with Flax.

A Plantation Acre of very rich Land will take, Six Win­chester Bushels & a half of hemp seed to sow a Plantation Acre. six Winchester Bushels and a half of Hemp-seed to sow it: But if the Grounds are not very rich, in proportion to its Poverty or Riches, the Quantity of the Seed may be abated accordingly. Hemp-seed ought to be laid deeper in the Ground than Flax­seed. There is no occasion to roll it, because the Soil being rich, will of it self sadden and cling to the Seed.


OBSERVATIONS Made by Richard Hall, OF THE City of DUBLIN, Hemp and Flax Dresser; ON The Methods used in HOLLAND, in Culti­vating or Raising of HEMP and FLAX.

And Likewise, His REMARKS on Mr SLATOR's Book.

Printed at Dublin in the Year 1724. And now Published for the Benefit of the Inhabitants of New-England, and recommended to their Perusal.

BOSTON: N. E. Printed by S. KNEELAND and T. GREEN, for DANIEL HENCHMAN, in Corn-hill. 1735.


OBSERVATIONS Made by Richard Hall, On the Methods used in HOLLAND, in Cultivating or Raising of FLAX and HEMP, &c.

Of the Choice of the Soil.

IN the Province of Holland, there is a Country known by the Names of Targou and Gouda; it is there that they raise the best Hemp the Dutch are Masters of: The Soil is exceed­ing deep and rich. They frequently make use of Ley-grounds for sowing of Hemp in; Ley­grounds. yet do they not so far confine themselves in that Particular, but that they often continue to sow the same Soil with Hemp, Every two Years the Dutch re­cruit their Soil. for many Years successively, only every two Years they recruit their Soil thus, viz. When they have pulled their Hemp, they rake together all the Grass, Weeds, and Trash which they find on the Ground, and lay them in large Heaps to rot: These Heaps are made thus large, to the End the Sun may not exhale the Vertue from the Dung ere it is spread over their Hemp-grounds. And they also gather what Slush is wash'd from out of their Lands, into their Trenches or Ditches: This Slush they lay in Heaps, sometime in the Month of August, and there let it lie the whole Winter; only they turn it often with the Spade.

[Page 2] This Targou or Gouda is a large Country, and for near twenty Mile a together, is exceeding fertile and proper for Hemp; which the State observing, they formerly gave great Rewards to the Boors, to induce them to be industrious in the raising of this useful Plant: But these Rewards were not of long Continuance; because the States soon perceived, that the Boors had their Ac­counts sufficiently answered by their Profits.

A Farmer or Boor in Targou or Gouda seldom sows more than two Acres with Hemp, and many of them less, that he may the better manure it; and also, that the pulling of the Hemp may not divert his Servants from their other Business.

Remarks on the Soil of Ireland, as to Hemp.

IReland has great Quantities of Land proper for Hemp, Land proper for Hemp especially in the Counties of Limerick, Clare, Kerry, Tipperary, and some Parts of other Coun­ties. It is not to be expected, that the Lands in each of these Counties, should hold equally the one as the other. Corcus­lands. Doubtless the Corcus lands of the Counties of Limerick and Clare, which have been gain'd from the Sea this many Years, and are vastly rich, Up lands will stand longer under Culture, than even the Up-lands of the same Counties can. Likewise, the Up-lands of the County of Lemerick are much more tertile, than the Generality of the other Lands of the Kingdom. Even those Up-lands last mentioned, ought to be frequently changed, for the Benefit and Advantage as well of the Husbandman as of the Publick; For since three Plowings must be made for Hemp, Three plow­ings to be made for Hemp. the Husbandman must be very much wanting to himself, that does not assoon as his Hemp is off the Ground, give it another Plowing, and sow it with Winter-grain.

The Corcus lands of the Counties of Limerick and Clare are violently hot, Corcus­lands. and therefore apt to throw up large stalk'd Hemp, which never skins so well as the midling Hemp of five Foot high: Yet I am of Opinion, that if these Grounds were successively sown with Hemp for some Years, their Fire would soon abate, so as they might be brought to yield Hemp nothing inferior to the Dutch; provided they were as skilfully and diligently manured.

Holland not only abounds in Canals for publick Use, Canals. but also in a Multitude of private ones; there being scarce any Commodity that is not brought to [Page 3] their Doors by Water. It is true, Ireland has not the Advan­tage of artificial Canals; but there is no Spot of Earth in the World better furnished with Rivers, either naturally navigable, or capable of being made so on easy Terms, than Ireland is: Therefore, to say nothing of the many others Rivers in Ireland, what vast Quantities of Hemp might the Shannon, the Barrow, the Noar, the Sure, and the Black-water furnish to Facturies for Sail-cloth or Cordage? The Facturies for Sail-cloth at Waterford, Rak [...]il, and Dunkittle, are not only well placed for Water-carriage, which is a great Article in such cumbersome Goods as Hemp is; but also are situated in the Neighbour-hood of good Soil. Indeed Dunkittle is the remotest, yet might it be very well supplyed with Hemp; if the People that live on the Black-water were industrious to raise it, and bring it by Water to Youghal, thence it may be boated to Dunkittle with Ease.

Of Plowing for Hemp in Holland.

THEY plow in Holland, especially in Targou or Gauda, Plowing. in a Manner vastly different from ours; occasioned (as I conceive) by the Wetness and Depth of their Soil. Wetness and Depth of their Soil. They plow their Leys in August, and so let them lye till April, that their Grounds may be hard enough to bear their Horses; which does not always happen, Land poachy. for sometime their Land is so poachy, that Horses cannot stand thereon; then are they forced to dig it: Digging the Land. But in case their Horses can stand, they harrow it across with heavy Iron Harrows in April, Harrow­ing which break the Sods with great Ease; they having lain from August to April, that they become rotten.

When they plow their Leys they seldom go deeper than four Inches, Plowing their Leys. which cut the Turff or Sods so thin, Richness of the Soil. that it soon rots; besides the Soil is so rich, and the Frost so constant in the Winter, that their Land is soon mellow'd, Land made mellow. and yields to their Harrows without Obstruction: These Harrows cleanse their Grounds from all Rubbish and Filth: Then do they fall to Plowing their Ley grounds, Plowing their Leys. with as deep a Furrow as the Nature of their Lands will admit of.

The Ridges made for Hemp in Targou, are [...] from twelve to sixteen Foot wide: Ridges. Their Furrows are very narrow and shallow, because [Page 4] they have very large Drains, at every ten or twelve Perches fur­ther Distance or nearer, as their Grounds are more or less wet.

In Utretch, the Lands are a stiffer Clay than in Targou; Targou. they make their Ridges thirty or forty Foot wide, their Furrows deeper; they raise there a very good Hemp, Marshy wet Grounds. and great Quantities of it, they have likewise large Drains, but not so close together; the Grounds about Utretch, not being so marshy and wet as in Targou.

The Author's Opinion, what Culture might be most proper for Lands in Ireland.

IF the Soil be deep and rich, with a good Bottom, distant from hard Gravels, Soil deep and rich. Quarries or blue Clay, (any of which would hold the Water) such Lands need no more Plowing & Harrowing, than just to bring them to be mellow and clean, the Mold made as fine as possible, and the Ridges laid as flat at the Top, as they are in Holland. I approve of Mr. Slator's making his Ridges narrow, for the Conveniency of pulling the Fimble-hemp, Narrow Ridges. be­cause the Labourers in Ireland, are not so expert as yet, at the pulling of Hemp, as the Boors in Holland are: And I likewise approve of his Directions, as to the making of the Furrows and Drains for carrying off the Water.

There are many Places where the Soil is good and proper for Hemp, Places where the Soil is good and proper for Hemp. were it not too thin; Quarries of Stone, or a hard Gravel, or stiff Clay, lying too near the Surface of the Earth; a careful Husband­man might gather this Soil by his Plow, and double, or more, the Depth of it. These Grounds well har­rowed, and laid flat at Top, will bring as good a Crop of Hemp as the other.

Loamy and Clay Grounds require to be thrice plowed, Loamy and Clay Grounds. well broke with Iron Harrows; the Crop will scarce be as good as the former; the Furrows should be deep, Furrows. Ridges. and the Ridges pretty high, then the Husbandman may expect a Crop, which may suffici­ently reward his Labour.

[Page 5]

Of Pulling and Watering of HEMP.

THE Fimble-hemp is the first ripe: Fimble-Hemp. The Way to know when it is so, is by observing when the Leaves turn yellow towards the Roots; To know when it to ripe. and also, if, by touching the Stalk of the Fimble-hemp with a Stick in the Morning, you perceive a Dust, and that the Blossom falls easily off, then is it fit for pulling: But these Signs will not appear in all the Fimble­hemp at one and the same Time; Short Fimble. for the short Fimble is sooner ripe than the long Fimble; yet Care must be taken not to leave the long Fimble­hemp unpulled, after you perceive the other ripe; for if you should let it grow too long a Time, after the above Observations appear, the short Fimble will be over ripe, and be of no Use.

In Holland, they pull the long Fimble-hemp sepa­rately and apart from the short; Pulling the long Fimble­hemp. especially, such as they perceive to have shed its Leaves and Blossoms, because the short Fimble is longer Time a rating than the long Fimble is: They are so careful not to break or bruise the Carl-hemp, as they pull the other, that when they pull their Fimble, they are forced to take off their Coats and Shoes, and tuck the Skirts of their Vests within their Breeches, and also have the Sleeves of their Vests made so tight to their Arms, as none of their Cloaths might break or bruise the Carl-hemp: Ridges wide. And tho' their Ridges be so very wide, that they are forced to walk through the Hemp, yet will they not break any Part of it.

When they have pull'd a large Handful of either sort of the Fimble-hemp, then do they bind them with two Bands, Bindingthe Fimble­hemp. one at a small Distance from the Top, and the other towards the Butts, and let it lie three or four Days in the Air, to stiffen; after which they take thirty or forty of these small Sheaves, and place them on the Butts, with the Heads leaning on each other; so by drawing the Butts of the Sheaves out, they leave the Pile as round and hollow within, as possibly they can; by which Means the Air passes readily through the Hemp, as it stands; thus they leave it till it is thoroughly dry, and the Stalks turned yellow; they then fall to binding of their Hemp in larger Sheaves, about three Foot in Circumference, and on each Sheaf they bind three Bands, viz. one in the Middle, and one towards each End; by [Page 6] which Means, each Sheaf is made exceeding tight, and so pro­ceed to rate it.

The Dutch always rate both their Flax and Hemp in their Drains, which are always large enough to receive their Hemp, in any Manner they are pleased to lay it. The first Range is laid long-ways, which they stitch together with coarse Line, Sheaf by Sheaf, the whole Breadth of their Drain, to the end that the Sheaves may not separate from each other in the Water, and serve as a Foundation for such other Hemp as they design to lay over it. Their Manner of stitching their Sheaves together is thus: They first consider how many Foot wide their Drain is: In the next Place, they consider how many Sheaves, laid Side by Side each other, will fill that Space; so many Sheaves do they accord­ingly lay, and stitch them to each other at both Ends, and in the Middle, with Lines which they have for that Purpose; then they shove into the Water that Parcel, and on the Surface of the Wa­ter they place it in the Manner they design it shall lie, when sunk; Then they proceed to make another in like Form, and shove that also into the Water, and range it so as it lies, at the End of the other. They afterwards make as many of these, and place them according to the Length they design to make their Pile of Hemp: That done, they begin and lay other Sheaves across one End of the former, and continue so to lay Sheaf by Sheaf, till they have quite covered the Sheaves first laid in the Water: Then do they pile up their Hemp of one Sort, till they come within twelve Inches of the Surface of the Water, when the Pile is sunk. The Dutch are forced to sink both Hemp and Flax when they rate them, by covering them with Mudd­sods, and such ponderous Things as they can get; Stones not being to be procured in those Countries. When this Pile is sunk of the short Fimble-hemp, they then apply themselves to the making of another Pile for their long Fimble-hemp: This is made exactly in the same Manner with the former.

When the Hemp has been in Water about four Days, they thrust their Arms down as far as they can reach, and at first draw out a Handful out of the short Fimble-hemp, which they rinse in the Water, and set it on the Butt, leaning on the Horse or Frame herein after described; and when it is dry, they try whether the Harl will easily quit the Bunn; if it does not, they repeat these Trials twice a Day, until they find that it will do; and then do they heave it Sheaf by Sheaf from off the Pile, rinsing each Sheaf from the Slime and Filth which clings to the outside of the Sheaf; that done, they immediately take off the Bands which were tied about the large Sheaves, and likewise those Bands at the Butt end, tied in the Field at the Pulling; and then set up these small Bundles against the Frame or Horse, in the Manner [Page 7] you see herein below described, and there let it stand till it is perfectly dry, at which Time they bind it at each End, into Sheaves of what Size they please, and house it carefully. The long Fimble-hemp must be treated exactly as the former, & kept apart.


In Ireland, we cannot have the Opportunities of these Drains, which are so frequent in Holland; therefore, where we cannot have Loughs or Lakes, Loughs. or other still Wa­ters, we must have Recourse to Ponds made for that Purpose. I do not dislike Mr. Slator's Manner of making his Ponds, from any Experience I have of Inconveniencies which might attend them: Yet I should think, if they were made wide enough to receive at least one Sheaf athwart the Pond, if not more, for the better piling of it under the Water, I should think it were so much the better▪ for in my Opinion, the Dutch have some Reason why they lay their Sheaves across each other in the Ranges, alternately, and not lay it always one Way, Ponds. as they must of Course do, if the Ponds are to be but four Foot and a half wide. It is certain, the Sheaves lie closer when they are all laid in the same Manner, than when they are placed as the Dutch place them; and con­sequently, the Water has a freer Access, which may be of more Importance to the proper rating of Hemp, than at first Sight appears As to the Depth of the Ponds I think Mr. Slator's is sufficient, Depth of the Ponds. considering the great Expence which must attend the making them the same Depth the Dutch have their Drains; besides the Hazard of meeting with Rocks, which they in Holland are in no Danger of.

Ponds should be made in stiff Clay, rather than in gravelly Grounds, Ponds should be made in stiff Clay. there being less Danger of meet­ing with Rocks in Clay-grounds than in Gravel: For should a Husbandman happen to light on a Rock or Rocks in sinking his Pond, he must either lose what Labour he has been at, or be at the Expence and Trouble of bringing the Bottom to a Level, and also to a Face fit to receive Flax or Hemp: For if the Points or sharp Edges of Rocks lie near to the Harl of Flax or Hemp, Edges of Rocks. whether on the Sides or in the Bottom, they will cut the Harl as far as they reach; besides, Clay­water is generally preserved more soft than in gravelly Grounds: For these Reasons, I prefer Clay to Gravel.

[Page 8] But Mr. Slator is much in the Right, in preferring Gravelly Grounds to Grounds composed of loose Earth, Gravelly Grounds. or boggy Soils, for making the Ponds in; for to be sure, these loose Grounds will be always falling in, and not only foul the Water, but be apt to let the Water go: I scarce think, that Ponds made in such Sorts of Soils as these, will ever turn to account; for flag them or plank them, it would be all one; the Water will wash under and be­hind them, and it must be an immense Charge to keep them in Repair.

The Dutch always house their Hemp after it is rated, Housing Hemp. because their Quantity is not so great, but that they can afford it House-room: And they have been in the Enjoyment of this Husbandry for so many successive Ages, and their Profits so great thereby, that it is not a Matter of Wonder that they are supplied with every thing requi­site thereto: Whereas our People of Ireland are Novices therein, and as it were, making Essays to see, first, whether the Thing is practicable: Secondly, whether it is worth their Time. It is to be hoped, that some are convinced of both, yet it is evident, that many are not; and until this Sort of Husbandry be more generally known in those Parts of the Kingdom proper for raising Hemp, and also practised, the Profits will be in particular Hands, who will not launch out their Money in the making of Barns, and other Improvements proper for this Culture, in which they have had hitherto so little Experience.

However, Mr.Slator has very justly stated the Conveniences and Inconveniences attending the present Practice in Ireland, by the Want of convenient Barns. I shall conclude this Section with this general Apology in my own behalf, for being so large in my Ob­servations and Remarks though this System of flaxen and hem­pen Agriculture, That I conceive it to be so much my Duty, fully to inform all Persons engaged or to be engaged in this im­portant Matter, that I submit rather to be censured as prolix than deficient.

Of Breaking of Hemp.

THE Dutch use a Method in breaking of their Hemp, Breaking of Hemp. rarely practised in England, that I know of, which is thus: They make a very large Kiln, A large Kiln. sometimes built with Brick, but more frequent­ly with Sods; which Kiln is made about five Foot high, ten Foot long, and eight Foot wide, flat at [Page 9] the Top; over which, cross Pieces of Sticks are laid, which are wattled thin: On this they lay their Hemp in the small Bundles they were at first tied in the Field, then with the Hurds or bro­ken Straw of the Hemp, or some such combustible Matter, they dry it well, and afterwards take it thence, and cover it close a­bout three Hours, there to sweat: Then they proceed to break it, in Breaks made much like ours, save only they are not so deep mash­ed. In the breaking, they begin at the Tops of the Hemp, and work it downwards till the Shoves are sufficiently wrought out; and they never swingle Hemp in Holland.—When they have wrought to the Butts or Roots, they turn the Butt-end the other Way to break it; and if all the Butts do not readily break, they have a blunt Knife lying by them, wherewith they scrape such of the Roots and Butts, as the Breaks did not effectually divide the Harl from the Bunn, until the Harl and Bunn are well sepa­rated: This Scraping they perform across their Knee, as fre­quently as requisite.

The pulling of the long Fimble hemp apart from the short, is not only necessary with regard to the Watering, but also of absolute Necessity in the working of them; for should the long Fimble-hemp be broke, and hackled promiscuously with the short, it would occasion vast Waste; for the Artist always holds the Roots in his Hands, as evenly as he can. When he breaks or hackles, he must work the whole Hemp equally down to the Roots; and if they be of a very unequal Length, the Tops of the long Fimble will be over wrought, and rendered useless, if any of them should happen to remain.

Mr. Slator has given the proper Reasons against grassing of Hemp, therefore I shall take no Notice of that here.

They have in Holland about a Guilder per Hundred for break­ing of Hemp, which is two Shillings English.

Of Pulling and Saving the Carl-Hemp.

THE People in Holland who are best skill'd in raising of Hemp, determine their Carl-hemp to be ripe and fit for pulling, by the following Methods. First, they observe whether any of the Seed begins to appear, and has burst the little Carl, or Seed bed that Nature has provided for it. Secondly, whether those Seeds so appearing, have the Kernel of them perfectly formed, or whe­ther it be soft and like a Jelly; if so be that it is soft, they al­low it to stand longer to ripen; but if the greater Part of the Seeds be hard and well filled, they do not defer pulling of it longer: And their Method of pulling the Carl, is the same with [Page 10] that of the Fimble in every Respect; especially pulling the long Carl apart from the short, and binding them in small different Bundles, viz. as much as a Man can well hold in his Hands.

These small Bundles of Hemp being bound at each End, as the Fimble-hemp was, they raise up upon the Butts, on each side of the Frame or Horse formerly described: They make these Frames or Horses with any Rubbish of Wood they can get; they are far from being costly, tho' they have many of them; because they in the drying of their Hemp, are so very careful, as not to dry their long Carl hemp at the same Frame with their short, left the long might shade the short, or else over top them, and prevent their drying: Sometimes they venture to put three or four Sheaves, one over the other, as they stand leaning on the Frame; but if they do so, they are sure to remove them, and turn them after such a Manner, as that all the small Sheaves may be equal­ly weathered; thus do they let it stand till the Leaves are per­fectly dry, and the Seed ready to shed.

They then provide Sheets or Winnow cloths, and spread them in some convenient Place in the Field, and thereon lay two Pie­ces▪ Timber, about eight Inches square, and ten Foot long; these Pieces of Timber are placed just opposite each other, at five Foot Distance; over which they lay the Tops of the Hemp hang­ing: About a Foot beyond the Timber two Men stand, within the Winnow-cloth or Sheet, and with Flails thrash out the Seed, as the Sheaves hang over; and at the Butt-end of each Sheaf stands a Woman, who constantly turns the Sheaves, still as the Seed is beat out. When the Sheets begin to fill with Seed, Wo­men come and take it thence to riddle it; which they do through a wide meshed Riddle, & sever the Seed from the Leaves, Stalks, and grosser Part of the Filth, which was before mixed with it. Yet, as to the Dust and Chaff which passed through the Riddle along with the Seed, they leave that to remain with the Seed, until such time as the Seed is compleatly dry; because it is their Opinion, that this Dust and Chaff prevents the heating of the Seed as it lies drying.

When the Seed is thus thrash'd out of their Hemp, they con­vey it to a well boarded Floor, where it is laid much in the same Manner, is Malters lay their Couch of Malt, about two or three Inches thick; and they turn it once a Day regularly, during the first three Weeks, not suffering the Man who turns it, to have either Shoes or Pumps on, lest he should break or bruise the Seed by treading on it. About three Weeks afterwards, they clean their Seed again, but not entirely from the Chaff or Dust: For the former Reason, they continue the Seed still on the boarded Floor, and observe to turn it twice a Week, till the Season comes for sowing it.

Hemp seed is generally sold in Holland at eight Guilders per Hog­shead, which is sixteen Shillings English Money: Their Hog­sheads [Page 11] sheads ought to hold seven Bushels of their Measure; each of their Bushels being an eighth Part less than our Winchester Bushel. The Dutch are a very frugal People, yet I think Mr. Slator's Me­thod of thrashing out his Seed, is much more saving than theirs; for when Hemp is dry, it is very apt to shed its Seed, great Part of which must be lost, by removing it Sheaf by Sheaf to the Place where it is thrash'd; and there are in Holland many more Hands less usefully employ'd, by thrashing out the Seed in their Manner than in his: Therefore as it was my Duty, not only to observe their Practice, but likewise to display to the Publick (in Obedi­ence to the Commands of my Employers) the best Practice, ac­cording to the best of my Judgment, without copying the Dutch beyond Reason.

Of Dressing or Peeling of Carl-hemp.

THE Dutch never break their Carl-hemp with Breaks▪ left the Bunn should cut the Harl; they therefore peel it in the following Manner; that is to say, they break with their Fingers, the Bunn or Straw of the Hemp, about six Inches from the Top or smaller End of it; then they bruise the Stalk or Straw of it between their Thumb and Fingers, down to the Butt or Roots; which causes the Harl or Skin to split, so as the Bunn is easily taken out: They afterwards clear the Tops that they have broken off from the Bunn; then hang the Harl on a Chair Back, or a Pin set up for that Purpose, till they have gathered a­bout a Pound or two of Harl; and keeping the Butt-ends of their Hemp all together, as even as they can, they lap the last mentioned Harls up in Bundles, and lay it by. Yet all this While they never mingle their long Carl with their short, but constantly work them apart.

Their Time for peeling the Carl-hemp is, either during the long Winter Nights, or such wet Days, as they cannot work abroad in the Fields. This is the merriest Time in the Year for the Boors; for then it is, that the Neighbours make their Visits to each other; and assist to peel the Hemp. The Man of the House then treats his Neighbours in a very commendable, friendly, yet frugal Man­ner; he lays Pipes and Tobacco before them; the Frow brings in a Slice of Rye-bread, exceedingly thin spread with Butter, and a thin Slice of Wheat-bread, nothing better furnished with But­ter than the former; between these two Pieces of Bread and But­ter, is placed a Piece of Cheese, so exceedingly thin, that ten of them would scarce make an Inch; these are delivered to every one of the Guests, which they eat with great Comfort, and wash down with a Draught of their brown Beer, much like to our [...] [Page 12] Shilling Beer, in point of Strength; then, in order to warm their Stomachs, they have a Viol of Geneva, which they call a Bub­blekee, and holds about half a Pint; this Viol is contrived to be so narrow at the Throat, as that the Geneva can't come out more than Drop by Drop; and a Man must be exceedingly well breath'd, that can suck thence more than half a Spoonful at one Pull; for it is not customary to take a second Pull at it, and the Dutch are strict Observers of their own Customs and Manner of living, so that after one Man has had his Pull at the Bubblekee, he must in good Manners deliver it over to his Neighbour, and so it goes round

I have made this Digression, without Design of reflecting in the least on the Dutch for their Frugality; but on the contrary, to shew my Countrymen how the Dutch have acquired, and do still acquire, that vast Wealth of which they are Masters. I have in part given them a Specimen of their Industry, and now an Instance of their Frugality and Abstinence; and with Concern I speak it, were these merry Meetings made at English or Irish Houses, the Mut­ton, the Poultry, and the Bacon, as well as the Beer, Ale and Brandy must have paid the Shot: Besides, the Mistress and her Family must have been diverted, each of them from their Hous­hold Affairs, to attend the Affairs of the Kitchen and Pantry.

In Muscovy and other Parts of the East-land Countries, where they raise vast Quantities of Hemp, they have Wind-mills, or Water-mills so contrived, with Rollers one after another, as they can break the Hemp with Safety, and with such Dispatch, as to afford the doing it at sixteen Pence per Hundred. In those Coun­tries where these Mills are, they have the Conveniency of Wa­ter-carriage, by the Means of their Canals and navigable Rivers. It is true, we have no Canals, but we come no ways be­hind them with respect to navigable Rivers. If the Publick is disposed to have such a Mill made, I dare venture to direct the making of it exactly.

Foreign Countries are very careful to promote their Manufac­tures, by the Help of Engines that dispatch more Business, and frequently better than many Hands can perform; by which Means they always under-sell us in foreign Markets. We may easily in Ireland arrive at such a Degree of Perfection, as to furnish Great Britain, our selves, and the foreign Plantations with Sail-canvass and Cordage; which ought to be vended as cheap as our Neigh­bours can afford them: But if ever we expect to have Share of Trade in foreign Markets, it must be by exceeding them in point of Goodness, and by selling at Rates as reasonable; these can never be compassed, but by acquiring the best Engines proper for Trade, that are used any where with Success; or by contriving at home, others equally good.

[Page 13]

To what Uses the Dutch convert their Fimble-hemp, and Carl-hemp.

THE Fimble-hemp is in Holland, for the most part, employ­ed to the making of Sail-cloth, they seldom making hem­pen Linnen; it is sold there generally, from two and twenty to thirty Shillings per Hundred.

The larger Carl they generally work into white Cordage; some­times they mix their own with the Riga and East-land Hemps, wherewith they make Cables; but generally speaking, they make their large Cables of Riga Hemp, the Dutch themselves being of Opinion, that their own Hemp would contract, or draw up in the Salt-water, should any of the large Carl-hemp be employ'd to the making of Cables. This long Carl sells in Holland, from four­teen to twenty Shillings per Hundred.

The short Carl, they cause it to be beaten well in their Hemp­mills, and afterwards hackled, for making of Twine for Fishing­nets, or for the Sail-makers Thread, wherewith they sow the Sails. Pack-threads and Shop-threads are made with the Tow or Hurds of the short Carl, which last mentioned Hemp sells ge­nerally in Holland, from two and twenty to five and twenty Shil­lings per Hundred.

The Dutch never make Sail-cloth of either of their Carl-hemps; and we in Ireland have endeavoured to make a Tryal, how far we could work up their Carl-hemps in Sail-cloth, but we could not make it do, any more than they. Tho' we make tolerable Sail­cloth with the Carl-hemp which grows in this Kingdom, yet I am very sure, that the Facturies for Sail-cloth in Ireland, would find more their Account in making all their Sail-cloth of Fimble­hemp; because it is much more easie to bring this to Colour, than they can possibly bring the other.

Of Hemp-Mills.

IT is scarce possible to keep a Sail-cloth Factury, without Hemp­mills to beat their Hemp: There are four of these Mills e­rected in Ireland, at the Expence of the Publick, exactly in Imita­tion of the [...] but these are found too costly for private Un­dertaking. In England, they have found out a Way of making their ordinary Corn-mills, with a very small Expence, in compa­rison of the others to answer all the Ends and Purposes of Hemp­mills: [Page 14] It is thus, They make the Beam of the Mill-wheel so much longer than usual, and place the Cogs they design to employ in the Hemp-mill, in proportion to the Number of Beaters they have Occasion for. Any Mill-wright that has once seen a Hemp-mill, and consider'd it, may soon make a Corn-mill to perform this Of­fice. The Dutch beat their Hemp in their Mills after this Man­ner, they take about two Pound of their Hemp, which they turn over at the Middle, they then fold down the two Ends, and tuck them into the first Fold, as close to the Head as is requisite to make the Truss of Hemp, very near the Length of the Trough, and the Breadth of the Beater or Stamper: These Beaters or Stampers are raised by the Cogs fix'd in the Mill-wheel Beam, and the Beaters being made of large weighty Timber, come down with great Force and Violence, and are so contrived, to turn the Hemp in the Troughs, each Stroke they give it: When the Hemp begins to be warm with beating, they take that Bundle or Truss out, and put in another, and while that is beating, they open the former Truss, give it a Shake, and adjust the Butts as evenly as they can, and so truss it again, and lay it on the Bench by them, made for that Purpose; by this time, the second Truss is suffici­ently hot, which they therefore take out, and supply with a third: They manage the second as they did the first, and lay it on the same Bench, i [...] Course and Order as it was beaten; so they pro­ceed, till they have beaten as many Trusses, as the Miller judges will hold beating alternatively, so as the first Truss may be cold enough to be beaten a second Time: Then they proceed to beat and manage the Trusses, one after another, in the Order and Course they were laid, and in the same Manner exactly with the first. These Beatings must be repeated, until the Hemp is soft enough to be spun.

In Holland, the Hemp-millers is a Trade of it self, and re­quires much Judgment and Experience, to know to what Degree of Heat the Hemp may with Safety be beaten, without firing or discolouring it: You ought also to know when it is soft enough for the Spinners: And a good Miller of Hemp ought to be handy in the Repair of his Mill, whenever there is Occasion, else the whole Factury may be kept idle, and the Employer at great Ex­pence for dead Wages. The Miller, together with the Owner or Occupier of the Mill, have in Holland eight Stivers per Cent. for each Hundred of Hemp they beat and truss, which is about ten Pence Irish, and is two Pence less than what is at present paid in Ireland: This may be thought an inconsiderable Difference in Trade, but they who consider Manufactures rightly, must en­deavour to save the minutest Part of all Fractions, on every Bolt or Piece of Canvas they make, else these Fractions in a bulky Trade, may be a great Loss to the Nation. I have never obser­ved the Dutch to lose in the beating or hackling of their Fimble-hemp, more than ten Pounds in five Score; sometimes, nay very [Page 15] often, their Loss is less: I fear it is much greater in Ireland: I am sure it was so when I was concerned at Dunkittle near Cork, be­fore I went to Holland. Since my Return, I have not had either Leisure or Opportunity to be informed how that Matter is; for if the Loss be greater here than in Holland, it may proceed from many Reasons, as well from the Nature and ill Management of the Hemp, as from the Faults in beating and hackling.

Hackling Hemp for Sail-cloth.

THE Hackles which the Dutch make Use of for hempen Sail­cloth, are much finer than those employed to the same Pur­pose in Ireland; on their coarsest Hackle, they make their first Hackling, and dress the Butts, and other the coarsest Part of the Hemp, to be of equal Fineness with the rest, they finish on a Hac­kle as fine as those which came from Coventry, called Number four; by which Means they dress their Hemp of equal Fineness to the Flak, wherewith Yarn of two Dozen in the Pound Statute Reel, and Count, is usually made in Ireland: They hackle their Tow or Hurds as free from Knots as may be, and place them in the Inside of the Tare: This Tow or Hurds will never spin well, if it be knoted; and it is of them that the Worst-yarn is always spun.

Hemp for Sail-canvas must be hackled very fine, else the warp­ing Yarn, which is always made of Tare, will not be sufficiently plyant, and yield to the Slay in the beating up of the Woof, be the Slay-board never so weighty. The Warp-yarn for Canvas must be both strong and plyant, to prevent the Yarn's breaking, which composes the Warp, which otherwise would be attended with many Inconveniencies: As, in the first Place, many Knots spoil the Skin of the Canvas; to conceal which, the Weavers, as they weave, cut these Knots as close to the Skin of the Cloth, as they can: By which [...], as soon as the Canvas is strain'd by the Wind, it runs into Holes immediately. In the next Place, it occasions great Delay to the Weaver: But that which is the worst of all, is, that in case the Warp be not plyant, the Woof can ne­ver be close enough beded, admitting it to be three Stroke Work, which is what is generally given to Sail-canvas; and if the Woof be not close beded, the Canvas will draw a Wind, and prevent the Ship from lying by the Wind, when there is Occasion.

The Hackling the Tare fine, must of Necessity make more Tow and Hurds, than otherwise; but that is no Loss to any Body, because the Tow or Hurds are always spun into Woof yarn, which is equally valuable with the former, when wove into Canvas.

[Page 16] The Tow or Hurds which are taken off the Butt-ends, and coarsest Part of the Hemp, in the Dressing, the Dutch never suf­fer to be wrought into Canvas, but apply these last sort of Hurds to the making of Bed-cords, or Cords made use of in Packing.

Each Hundred of good Hemp produces in Holland, from 42 to 48 Pounds of good Tare. The Hackler has five Stivers (which is Six-pence English Money) for every twelve Pounds of clean hackled Hemp, which is near one half cheaper, than it is done in Ireland; and consequently a heavy Clogg on our Trade. I can­not see any Remedy thereto, but by increasing the Number of Hacklers and Swinglers, from all Parts of the World where they can be had, and by instructing the Natives of the Country, to be sufficiently skill'd therein; for each of these Artists are exceed­ingly requisite to this Kingdom, both of them necessary to the breaking, swingling, and hackling of Flax, and also requisite to the breaking and hackling of Hemp, allowing the People here should conform to the Dutch, and never swingle Hemp.

Of Spinning Hemp for Sail-canvas.

THE Wheels which they make Use of in Holland, where­with they spin the Warp-yarn for Sail-canvas, are much the same with those commonly used in the Irish Factories; yet the Dutch are more careful in the proportioning of their Whirl, Spool, and Flyers, to their Wheel, and also in making the Whirl, the Spool, and the Flyers, conform to each other; without which it is difficult for the Spinners to make the Thread equal, and the Twist to be neither more nor less than it ought; for thereon de­pends the making good Sail-cloth: For if it be over twisted, it will never be plyant, which is so great a Requisite, that without it, it is impossible to make a good Cloth, for the Reasons already given. And on the other Hand, if it be under-twisted, the Warp will be weak, and the Woof start into Holes immediately. I could never yet see a Wheel-wright that could determine what the exact Proportions of these Things ought to be, with regard to each other, so as they might be reduced to some Certainty, by Geometrical Rules in Mechanism. It is certain, that each Wheel-wright has some Rule by which he makes his Wheels and Tackle; but either he cannot or he will not make that Matter intelligible to others, so as a good Mechanick-head might bring this Machine under some certain Regulations: For my Part, it is a Province I dare not undertake; for should I be guilty of the least Mistake, the Errors might be attended with very ill Consequences.

[Page 17] In the fixing the Tare to the Spinner's Waste, the Dutch always have an Apron on, they Place the Harl equally before them at the Waste, lapping the two Ends between their Body and the Apron-strings, and draw the Thread from their Waste into a small Hole that is made for that Purpose, at the End of the Spool. They always spin their Warp in this Manner, because it twists less, and they find they can dispatch more Work that Way. A good Spinner in Holland, can, with Ease, spin from nine to twelve Pounds of Tare in a Day.

The Woof is all spun on Wheels like to those which we call here in Ireland, long Wheels: This they likewise spin from the Waste, and is performed in the same Manner as the white Cord­makers spin their Yarn, of which they make their Ropes; the Spinner going back to a proper Distance, while another turns the Wheel: And when he has gone as far back in spinning as is pro­per, he there stops a very little Time, and then advances, till the Thread he has spun, be wound up: By this Means, the Woof has a softer Twist than the Warp. A good Hemp-spinner will spin from fifteen to eighteen Pounds a Day, of Woof-Yarn. The Price for spinning of Warp, is there eighteen Stivers per Dozen, which is between one and twenty and two and twenty Pence Eng­lish. The Price for spinning of Woof-yarn is fifteen Stivers per Dozen. A good Spinner will spin a Dozen & a Half of a Woof­yarn in a Day. I know not what Wages is now given at the Fac­turies, for spinning of Warp and Woof for Sail-cloth; but if a Man may be allowed to form a Judgment of spinning of Hemp, by the proportionable Hire given generally to Spinners, for spin­ning of Flax, it will be found, that Hemp-spinning might be af­forded in Ireland, vastly cheaper than in Holland: For if two Pence a Hank be in Ireland, thought good Wages for spinning of flaxen Yarn, of two Dozen in the Pound, Statute Reel and Count; and, generally speaking, the Flax spinners do not spin more than a Hank and a half, one Day with another, of Yarn of that Set, whereby the Spinner earns three Pence a Day: How comes it to pass, that the Hemp-spinner should be allowed to earn one and twenty Pence a Day, on Warp, and seven and twenty Pence a Day, by spinning of Woof? The Difficulty is soon solved. There are in Ireland, two thousand Flax-spinners, for one Hemp-spinner; and if I have Flax to spin, the Spinners being many, court my Work: If I have Hemp to spin, the Spinners a few, & I must court them. Therefore, to diffuse this Art of spinning of Hemp, and make it more general, it were adviseable, that all the poorer sort of People thoroughout the whole Province of Munster, and such Parts of Con­naught and Leinster, as have the Conveniency of the Shannon the Barrow, and the Noar, be taught to spin Hemp, both Warp and Woof; that the Owners of the Facturies be obliged to have Agents in proper Places, for the more convenient and easy car­rying on of this Trade: By this Method, the Facturies will be [Page 18] supplied with Spinners, at easy and cheap Rates; and, by the Means of Water-carriage, divers other Advantages will accrue to the Publick, which might be now demonstrated, were I not a­fraid of trespassing too much on the [...] Time.

Of Bleaching Sail-canvas Yarn.

THE Dutch bleach their Canvas-yarn with a Boiler, which they call a Tirnine. This Engine is made of Brass, narrow at the Bottom, and widens gradually as it rises to the Top: It has a close Cover made of the same Metal, in which there are Vent-holes of about three Inches Diameter; over which Holes they place small sliding Covers, by Means whereof they can give Vent to their Lees, when boiling; for otherwise, all would fly as the Heat increased: For sometimes the Lees boil with that Violence, that they will shoot through those Vent-holes, six or eight Inches high above the Cover: For which Reason, the Boil­er it self, and the Lid which covers it, are so contrived, as to be somewhat hollow at the Top, to receive the Lees again as they fall down on the Lid, whence they easily pass down again into the Boiler. They are so apprehensive of the Violence that these Lees may possibly arise with, they have a strong Bar of Iron pla­ced cross the Funnil, to which another Iron-bar is fixed, that comes down to the Lid of the Boiler, in order to keep the Lid fixed in its Place, till they see Occasion to remove it. These Tir­nines can boil about a hundred and twenty Pound Weight of Yarn at a Time; they are fixed in Brick and Lime, exactly in the same Manner with our Furnaces, with proper Grates for the Fire; and as near to the Bottom of this Tirnine as they conveniently can, they place a Cock, to let go the Lees, when the Yarn is suffici­ently boiled.

Their Manner of boiling their Yarn is thus: They take about ten Pound Weight of the Hanks of Yarn, and lap each Hank over the other, round like a Ball; they have ten of these Balls lying by them: They then fill their Tirnine three Quarters full of cold Water, then make their Fire under the Tirnine or Boi­ler, till the Water is Milk-warm. In this Water, they place first one Range of the Yarn, lapt up as aforesaid; they are ex­ceeding careful in the laying their Yarn in the Boiler, lest it may tangle; and over the Yarn that is first laid in the Boiler, they strew about five Pounds of Ashes, mixed and prepared in the Manner herein after mentioned; then they put in another Layer of Yarn, and straw the like Quantity of Ashes over it: Thus they proceed in the laying in of their Yarn, constantly strewing over [Page 19] each Range five Pounds of Ashes, till all the Yarn, with its Pro­portion of Ashes, is laid in the Tirnine: They are forced to press the Yarn hard down, that they may put on the Cover. Thus, at every Boiling, they use about sixty Pound Weight of Ashes; they make a sharp Fire, under the Tirnine, so as to cause the Lees and Yarn to boil for three Hours, as sharply as they can, opening the Vent-holes gradually as the Heat encreases; or rather as they see there is Occasion for giving it Vent, they will close and open these Vent-holes neither more nor less, than absolute Necessity requires; so desirous are they to preserve the Spirit of their Lees from flying away as they boil, that it may remain and do its Office on the Yarn.

When the Yarn has thus boiled during three Hours, they open the Cock which is placed near the Bottom of the Tirnine, and let go the Lees: After the Lees are gone, they pour cold Water into the Tirnine over the Yarn: The Quantity of cold Water is much the same with that which the Yarn was boil'd in, having first removed the Fire from under the Tirnine; they then let go this Water at the Cock, and load in fresh cold Water, and as it empties at the Cock, they continue lading in of more Water, till the Yarn is pretty cold, and has done smoaking; then is the Yarn carefully taken out of the Tirnine, and opened Hank by Hank, constantly throwing cold Water thereon, till all the Hanks which were in the Tirnine, are perfectly cold.

The Yarn being sufficiently cold, they first rinse it very well, in fair, cold Water, and afterwards lay as many Hanks on the Bat­ting plank, as they can conveniently spread thereon, and their Batting-sticks can reach. They never lay their Yarn thicker than two Hanks, while they batt; and their Manner of making of their Batts is, by tying two Sticks together like Flails, but that which comes down on the Yarn, is always made as smooth and even, as they possibly can get them, lest the Knots in the Sticks might break the Yarn While the Yarn is a batting, another Person with a Scoop casts cold Water continually on it; When one Side is sufficiently batted, they turn up the other, till they have batted that Side likewise in the same Manner: They then rinse it well, and wring it on the Engine hereafter mentioned, till it is freed from the Water. Their next Care is to put these Hanks one by one, on smooth Poles which they have for that Purpose, and shake the Yarn very well, and spread it on the Poles, so as none of it may cling together; that done, they lay carefully Poles and all on the Grass in their Bleach-yard, during three Days and three Nights, turning it every Day in order to bleach it; yet they never suffer it to lye longer Time on the Grass, but afterwards raise it with the Poles, on the Horse prepared for that Purpose, where it hangs till it is dry.

That which I here call the Horse, are square Pieces of Timber, of about six Inches square, ten Foot high above the Surface of [Page 20] the Bleach-yard; they are Fixed in the Ground at the Edges of the Grass plot, pretty deep, that they may stand the firmer, and at the Distance from each other, in proportion to the Length of the holes, which generally are between five and six Foot long; in these Posts there are Catches fixed on that Side next the [...], and they always put as many of these Pegs or Catches one under another, as they conceive the Horse can bear, in proportion like­wise to the Length and Depth of the Hanks and Poles as they hang; taking great Care, that the upper Ranges of the Yarn beat not on the lower, as they are moved by the Air or Wind: On these Horses the Poles are hung, with as much Yarn thinly spread, as can well stand between each Post, and there they let it hang till it is dry.

While the Bleacher was thus managing of the first hundred and twenty Pound of Yarn in his Bleech-yard, in order to bring it to Colour, the Boiler or Tirnine does not during that Time stand idle, but is filled with a second, and after that with a third, fourth, and fifth Proportion of Yarn, each of them equal to the Quantity first boiled; by which Means, they have in a few Days boiled, and prepared six Hundred Weight of Yarn fit for bucking.

Before I proceed to describe the Manner of the bucking of their Yarn, it is requisite that I acquaint my Reader with the many other Conveniences in and about the Bleach-yard, which the Dutch are very careful to provide, so as nothing may be want­ing, that is either necessary, or convenient for to compass their Ends: For this Reason it is, they have always their Bleach-yards at a Distance from any High-ways, or other Places where the Dust may be [...]ised by the Wind, which may drive over their Bleach-yards, and [...]ully their Work. And to the end nothing offensive might come into the Bleach-yard, they have a Wall a­bout eight or nine Foot high, built at the Extreams of all the Bleach-yard; under the Shelter of these Walls they build Pent­houses, wide enough to set their Yarn with the Poles across them, when the Weather is so wet or windy, as that it is not convenient to have the Yarn hang abroad on the Horse; therefore, let the Wind blow from what Point of the Compass it will, they are provided against any Inconveniences of Wind or Weather: And lest the Turf of their Graf-plot should be either foul'd, or dirtied, or worn out by their Labourers treading on it, more than what is of absolute Necessity, there is always a Walk of six Foot wide, between the Pent-houses and the Green, where the Labourers perform all their Labour or Work; excepting only when they spread their Yarn on the Green, or when they mow, sweep, and roll it; for they keep their Green as fine as a Bowling green, left their Yarn be stain'd, either by long Grass or Flowers; this they would infallibly be, if the Green was not kept with the utmost Exactness.

When they have boiled five times a hundred & twenty Pound Weight, and prepared every Part of the Yarn, so as to have six [Page 21] hundred Weight ready for bucking, (counting five Score to each Hundred) then they proceed to buck this six hundred Weight of Yarn altogether, after this Manner:

They have in their Buck-house, close to their Tirnine or Boil­er, an Engine made in the Form of a Chest, of two inched Plank, about eight Foot long, five Foot wide, and six Foot deep; this Chest is so contrived on the Outside of it, that the Planks may slide up and down and be taken out, for the more convenient fill­ing the Chest with the Yarn and Ashes; and the Joynts are so contrived, as to shoot into each other, & so retain the Lees while the Yarn is bucking: In the Bottom of this Chest they have Holes made by an Augre, somewhat larger than an Inch, each Hole a Foot Distance from each other; they stop these Holes with Plugs, and when they see occasion to let go the Lees, they take out as many of the Plugs as is necessary. This Chest is placed a little in the Ground, over a hollow Drain made with Brick and Lime after such a Manner, that all the Lees that come from the Chest, pass thro' a Gutter, ( [...] likewise of Brick & Lime) to an open mouth'd Vessel, placed there on purpose to receive it and the other Lees thrown out of the Tirnine each Time they boil: When this Vessel is full, they empty it into old Hogsheads, after having filter'd or pass'd them thro' spent Ashes and Straw: These Lees serve better to boil Yarn in, than fair Water can, and by their passing them thro' spent Ashes and Straw, they are purged from any Filth they contracted in the boiling or bucking, yet do they retain some Part of the Strength of the Ashes.

Their Method of bucking of Yarn is thus: They take twenty Pound of Zuda Ashes and the like Quantity of Ashes called dou­ble Deprise, with these they make a strong Lee; and having placed one Range of their Yarn Hank by Hank, so as to cover the Bot­tom of the Chest, in the smoothest Manner they can possibly lay it, they gently pour over this Layer [...] of Yarn, as much scalding Lees as will wet it quite through, then do they lay an­other Layer of Yarn, over which they pour Lees as before, and when there is occasion, they put the [...] their proper Places, still as the Yarn and Lees rise higher in the Chest, and proceed to range the Yarn Hank by Hank, pouring on of Lees, over each Range, till the whole six hundred Weight of Yarn be compleatly stowed in this Chest or Engine, which in Holland is called a Lough Bank, whereto they have a Lid or Cover to keep in the Steam, which they are so exact to prevent its coming out that they stop up every Crevis in their Laugh-Bank, and cover it all over very carefully with Cloths, so as neither the outward Air, or the inward Steem, should get in or out to obstruct the bucking.

Thus they continue their Yarn, for the Space of twenty four Hours compleat; during which Time they having prepared ano­ther Lee, made of Z [...]da, and double Deprise Ashes, of each seven­teen Pound and a half, they let go the former Lees, and so pour [Page 22] on the fresh ones, and there let them lye for the Space of twenty four Hours more, observing the same Cautions as before, to keep the Lees from evaporating: When the Yarn has lain thus long a bucking, they let go the Lees a second Time, and when it is cool'd, [...] [...]nse it very well in cold Water, and proceed to wring it on the Engine they have for that Purpose: When it is well wrung, they place their Poles in the Hanks about a Foot Distance from each Ley-band, and shake it and spread it on the Poles, so as the Yarn may lye as loose without clinging together as is possible: They then spread the Yarn, Poles and all, on the Grass, for three Days and three Nights, turning it every Day, and afterwards hang the [...] and Yarn on the Horse, till it is perfectly dry; or if the Weather will not suffer it to hang on the Horse, they then hang their Yarn and Poles under their Pent-houses till it is compleatly dry, so as to weave it.

Thus may you perceive what Quantity of Ashes are made use of in the bleaching of six short Hundred of Yarn; but lest there might be a Miss computation or Mistake in this Matter, which is so essential to the Trade, I shall cast up the Quantity of the Ashes made use of on each Occasion: First, there are sixty Pound Weight of Ashes employed in the boiling of each hundred and twenty Pound Weight of Yarn, and there being five times that Quantity boil'd ere they buck; these Boilings take up three Hundred Weight of Ashes, & the twice bucking takes from seventy five Pound Weight to eighty, according to the Strength or Goodness of the Ashes, or the Yarn is more or less kindly in the bleaching; so that the whole six Hundred Weight of Yarn may be reasonably computed to take three hundred and eighty Pound of Ashes, which will sufficiently bleach this Quantity of Yarn, provided the Hemp was well saved and watered, and is of a kindly Nature in it self, for it may be hard and fullen, from some Imperfection in the Soil; in either of which Cases, the Dutch themselves are forced to give their Yarn a second Buck, ere they can bring it to that bright Colour they so much affect in Holland. I must here beg my Reader's Pardon, that I make this general Observation on the whole Matter, relating to the bleaching of hempen Yarn for Sail-canvas, That the Bleacher and those employed under him, can never be over cautious or careful, that all Parts of their Yarn have equal Share of the Lees, both in boiling & bucking; there­fore, the round Balls put into the Boiler, must not be drawn hard, so as to prevent the Lees piercing them through and through with Ease: It is true, the Ley-bands must be kept on each Hank, but not so straitly tied as to make the Yarn cling together; therefore, they lay their Hanks in the Lough bank, and spread it as even and light as possibly they can, so as the Lees may pene­trate each Thread of it in the bucking: And when they are to weather it on the Poles, they shake and divide each Thread from the other, so as no Part of it may cling together, for otherwise [Page 23] some of it would be rowy, and make Rows in the Canvas, which cannot afterwards be retrieved. or cured.

The Names of the several Sorts of Ashes made use of by the Dutch, and the Prices they are sold for in Holland. viz.
  • Ellibanks—8 and half Doyts per Pound.
  • Double Deprise—10 Doyts per Pound.
  • Sattiens—9 and half Doyts per Pound.
  • Cassoepes—11 and half Doyts per Pound.
  • Kerrisouse—10 Doyts per Pound.
  • Zeuda—11 and half Guilders per Hundred.

I have already observed, that a Guilder contains twenty of their Stivers, and is equal to two Shillings English; their Stiver con­tains eight Doyts; so that it is an easy Matter to reduce their Money to ours of England, and afterward, that of England to ours of Ireland.

When they boil their hempen Yarn, they use an equal Quan­tity of Ellibanks, double Deprise, Sattiens, Cassoepes, and Kerrisouse, mingled all together; but when they buck, they use none but Zeuda and double Deprise Ashes. All these Sorts of Ashes when used, must be well ground and fitted; or well pounded and fitted; when they grind them, they have Mills in Holland, which go in the Manner as the Stones do for grinding of Rape-seed; but some pound it, with a Beater made of a hard Piece of Wood, a­bout twelve by fifteen Inches oblong square, and two Inches and a half thick, well shod with a Plate of Iron, about a Quarter of an Inch thick, with a Handle made after the Fashion of Mr Slator's Beaters, for beating out Flax-seed; with this, they beat the Ashes on an old Mill-stone, or a large Flagstone fix'd in the Floor.

The Engine for wringing Yarn, its Description.

A. The Sill, 12 Foot long in the Clear, 12 by 9 Inches square, setled about 2 Foot in the Ground.


[Page 24] B. B. The upright Post, 8 Foot long, 12 by 9 Inches square.

C. The Trough to carry off the Water, by the Spout at S

D. The Winlace 1 Inch and a half diameter, and about 3 Foot and a half long, made with a Shouldering at C, 3 Inches dia­meter, with Teeth for the Catch R.

E. The Hook, 12 Inches within the Upright, to answer the Winlace D.

F. F. Two Braces put to the Sill and upright Posts of B. B.

G. The Supporters for the Trough C.

H. H. Braces from the Sill to the upright Posts, from A. to B.B.

The Use of the Engine for wringing of Yarn.

PUT one Hank of Yarn double over the Hook E keeping the two Ends open, through which they thrust another Hank, and so continue linking them together, till they will reach to hang on the Hook of the Winlace D. wring them very hard, and the Catch R. will hold them to the Degree they were wrung to, while the Wringer runs his Hands along the Yarn, to sweep off all the wet which remains on the Outside of the Yarn, to make it as dry as possible, then they put it on the Poles, as was before directed.

Of Weaving Sail-canvas.

THE Dutch weave their Sail-canvas in Looms, made much after the same Manner and Form as those are which are made Use of at Dunkittle, by Colonel Edward Hoar in his Factury, for the making of Sail-canvas, only the Scantling are somewhat larger in Holland, especially the several Beams made Use of in the Loom.

The Yarn-beams of each Loom are all contrived with Shoul­derings at each End of them, in Proportion to the Breadth of the Canvas, which keeps the Yarn from Rolling from its proper Place; by which Means they make the Selvages of their Canvas exceeding even and strong, and is of great Consequence to the Sails: These Shoulderings are rais'd about four Inches higher than the rest of the Yarn-beams; their Tradles and Spring staves are linked to­gether with Iron-links, and also their Seats are made with a Sloap towards their Tradles, so that the whole Weight of the Weaver lies on the Tradle, to keep it firm while he strikes the Woof to its Place, with the Slay-board. I presume the Dutch Weavers now at Dunkittle, have thus fitted the Looms wherein they work; but if they have not, it is requisite they should, for the Goodness of the Canvas very much depends thereon.

[Page 25] The Dutch count the Number of Threads which compose each Beer by single Threads▪ but in England and Ireland, they are al­ways counted by double Threads; therefore, when they in Holland are about to warp a Canvas of thirty Inches broad, they usually put from thirty nine to forty five Beers therein, according as they intend to slay higher or lower: But in England and Ireland, their Manner of the Count of the Beers is thus, that is to say, their thirty nine Dutch Beers make but nineteen and a Half of ours, and the forty five Beers of their makes twenty two and a Half of ours, for the Reason I have already given.

When the Dutch weave Sail-canvas, they make their Dressing of Buck Wheat-meal; whereas we make ours of Wheat. Theirs is much better, which is a great Defect in us, considering Buck­wheat would grow any where in Ireland, if it were cultivated, and be of great Use to other Purposes at well as this.

They do not tallow their Warp with hard Tallow, as we do, but they dress it with green soft Soap, which makes the Warp much more plyant than Tallow does, half a Pound of their soft Soap will dress a Bolt.

Their Manner of computing what the Proportion ought to be of Warp-yarn and Woof-yarn is thus: That is to say, they first compute how many Pound Weight of Warp and Woof-yarn the Bolt will take; then they apportion to the Warp, such a Weight, and to the Woof such another Weight; as for Instance, if a Bolt of Canvas is designed to weigh forty five Pounds, the Woof of it ought to be twenty seven Pound Weight, so as the Weight of the Warp, compared to the Weight of the Woof, is as eighteen is to twenty seven; so likewise, when a Bolt is intended to weigh thirty nine Pound, the Woof must be twenty two.

The Wages given in Holland, for weaving of Sail-canvas, is much the same with what is given at Dunkittle, viz. nine Shillings per Bolt, to ten Shillings, where the Sail-canvas is thirty Inches wide, and contains forty five Beers of theirs, or twenty two Beers and a Half of ours; but if the Canvas be thirty Inches wide, and contains only thirty nine of their Beers, or nineteen and a Half of ours, then they have only from seven to eight Shillings per Bolt for weaving. A Bolt of Sail-canvas in Holland, contains fifty Dutch Ells in Length, which is thirty seven Yards and a Half of our Measure, and each Bolt is sold there, from fifty eight Shillings to three Pound per Bolt.

The Method of making Brass-reeds for Sail-canvas.

IN Holland, they make all their Reeds or Slays of Brass splits; for which purpose they choose the toughest and cleared [Page 26] Brass plates that they can get, being the tenth Part of an Inch thick: They then divide the Plate, marking out the Length of the Split, and cut so much off the Plate, from End to End. Af­ter this they divide this Piece of Brass plate, into so many Splits as they judge proper; and with a Hammer and File, they beat them out, and file them to a Truth, and set them in the Reed or Slay, in an Engine herein described.

A. The Frame eight Foot long, eight by six Inches square, in the Manner of a Lath with Popots

B. B. The two Popots about twelve Inches above the Frame with Tenent coming thro' at Q.

C. C. Iron Clasps for fixing the Ribbs of the Reed F. with two Screws in each.

D. The Screw with its Nut on B. and Swivel in C. to strain the Ribbs of the Reed F.

E E. The Standard for A. about three Foot and a half high.

G. The Pot with Duff coal to melt the Wax-thread, when lap­ing in the Splits.

H. The Center with a Butten s [...]ivel in C. to answer D.

I. The Driver twelve Inches long, two broad and two tenths to drive the Splits close.


Of Sowing and Saving of Flax.

IN those Parts of the United Provinces where Flax is mostly cul­tivated, they choose their best Barley-grounds, therein to sow their Flax-seed; but those Sort of Grounds are with them so light, and at the same time so good, that with twice plowing and harrowing, they are better fitted or prepared for the Reception of either Barley or Flax seed, than any of our Grounds would be [Page 27] by four times that Labour: It is true, that their Grounds are na­turally good, and probably in some measure better than ours; yet I cannot say but that there are many Grounds in Ireland, es­pecially in the South [...] of it, if they were as frequently turn'd up and enriched with Dung, Marl, Compost, &c. or other Im­provements proper to the Soil, as is from time to time given to their Grounds in Holland, we might expect Crops of all Sorts, nothing inferior to theirs: For it their Grounds met with such lazy and unskilful Treatment, as the Generality of our Grounds here in Ireland meet withal, their Crops in Holland, would then be little better than ours: But as they have vastly more Hands to employ, in proportion to the Extent of their Grounds, than we have, and consequently their Farms are not so extensive as ours, their Labour is confin'd to a small Pittance of Earth, improved by Industry and Skill to the greatest Degree of Perfection that A­griculture can attain to.

The Dutch sow their Flax about the Middle of April, and when it is grown about six Leaves high above the Ground, they roll it with a Roller made eight Square, six Foot long: This Roller is drawn by a Horse, shod with broad leathern Shoes, to prevent his cutting the Flax as he treads thereon, or his sinking too far into the Soil. Their Way of judging when their Flax is ripe, is exactly the same with what Mr. Slator has set forth.

Their Manner of saving of Flax differs much from what is practis'd, either in England or Ireland that I know of; tho' as to the pulling of it, I did not observe that the Dutch pull the fine Flax, and the coarser Sort separately, as Mr. Slator very well ad­vises; for certainly there is some Difference in point of rating them; however, the Dutch do not heed it, but when they have pulled as much Flax as they can well hold in their Hand, they lay that down and pull another Handful, which they lay across the first, till they have as much as will make a Sheaf, and there let it lye for six or seven Days to weather; then they turn the Inside out of their Flax, as they bind it into Sheaves; eight or ten of these Sheaves are by them placed on the Butts, in a round or circular Form, with the Heads leaning on each other, so as the Wind may pass thro' them: Thus they proceed with all their Flax, and leave it there eight or ten Days more, until it is per­fectly dry; then carry it to their Barn, and riple in the Manner herein after described, such Part of their Flax as they design to riple that Season.

The Flax which they reserve for Seed, the Dutch never riple the same Season they pull it, but keep the Flax and Seed together till the ensuing Spring, and in the mean time, either house it or stack it, in such a Manner as may best preserve it from Rain or other Water, until they have occasion to sow it.

[Page 28] When they have ripled as much Flax as they design to riple that Season, they gather all the Boughs, and lap them up in round bundles with the Rubbish and waste Flax, and lay these bundles Side by Side on a plain Floor, paved for that Purpose; the Floor is about forty Foot square; they then bring the Carriage of a Wagon, drawn by two Horses, and thereon lay a considerable Weight; which Horses and Wagon they drive over these bundles, until they conceive they have broke the boughs & trod out the Seed; but lest there might be some Inequality in the Pressure, they very carefully turn the bundles, as the Horses and Wagon pass over them; this they continue doing, till they conceive that the whole Seed is perfectly trod out, and the boughs broke.

Their Manner of separating the Seed, with the broken Pieces of the boughs or pods from the grosser Part of Rubbish, is in this Manner: They have a large mesh'd Riddle, which is fix'd in a Frame contriv'd for that Purpose only, which suffers nothing to pass through it, but the Seed and the Shells of the boughs or pods; these they convey to an upper boarded Floor, and spread them as thin thereon as possibly they can, allowing as much Air thereto, as is requisite to keep the Seed from heating, and turn it every Day constantly, till the Seed be sufficiently dry: After­wards they turn it every Week at least twice, till such Time as there is a Demand for it in the Market: Then have they Sieves made with a large Parchment Bottom, punch'd as full of small round Holes, as close and contiguous as can be, so as not to suffer the Flax-seed it self to pass through, but only the Dust and the Seeds of the Weeds: This done, they have another Parchment Sieve, punch'd with oblong Holes, through which they sift the Flax seed, and sever it from the Pieces of boughs or pods which till then the Seed was mix'd with: There is now at the Board of Trustees, one of each of these Sorts of Sieves, and a Sieve­maker may easily imitate them.

They have another Way in Holland of cleaning their Flax-seed, but it is very seldom used, neither does it clean Flax-seed so well as the Parchment Sieves do, therefore I decline describing them.

Remarks on the Ripling of Flax.

THE Reasons why the Dutch when they pull their Flax, lay the Handfuls across each other, and suffer it so to remain for six or seven Days till it is weathered, before they bind it up in Sheaves, is that they may the better manage it when they riple, without breaking or bruising the Harl or Straw of their Flax; by this Means, each Handful clings together, and readily separates [Page 29] from the rest of the Sheaf when they are about to riple, for more than one Handful cannot be ripled at a Time.

In my humble Opinion, the ripling of Flax is much preferable to the thrashing of it in any Manner whatever, for the following Reasons: First, their Ripling▪comb not only severs the Boughs or Seed-pods from the Flax, but it also severs the Leaves and Branches from it, which thrashing cannot do, the same Season it is pull'd. Secondly, the Flax lies better in the Water, & spreads more easily on the Grass, when by ripling, the superfluous Bran­ches are removed; and it likewise swingles better.

I have already observ'd how careful the Dutch are, not to se­ver the Seed which they intend to sow themselves, from the Stalks of the Flax, till the ensuing Season for sowing it: Their Reasons for so doing are, that they conceive the Seed is not only less lia­ble to heating, but that it likewise attracts further Nourishment from the Stalks, than what it had when pull'd. In Holland they seldom sow themselves any of the first ripled Seed, but convert it either to Oyl, or export it to foreign Markets.

Many are the Devices and Tricks which the Dutch put in prac­tice with their export Flax-seed: First, they are not always very careful that the Seed they export, be all of it well preserved from heating on the Floor or in the Cask: Secondly, if they have any old Seed by them of a former Season, which has slipt the Market, they make no Scruple of mixing it with the fresh Seed; neither do they scruple to mix decayed or degenerated Seed with their fresh Seed: Thirdly, the Flemings set little or no Value up­on their Seed, save only such Seed as they reserve for their sow­ing; therefore pull their Flax before the Seed is half ripe, that the Flax might work so much the finer; these Seeds the Dutch buy from them, and mix with their own, in such Proportion as not to be easily discern'd by the Buyers: Fourthly, the Dutch supply themselves from Riga, Nerva, or other of the East-land Countries with Flax-seed, from time to time as they have occasi­on; but because the East country Flax-seed is universally mixed with the Seeds of the Weeds which grow along with the Flax, they are very careful to separate the one from the other; they keep the good Seed to themselves, but they never fail to make their foreign Customers pay equally for these Seeds of Weeds, as they do for their best Flax-seed; for they divide them con­stantly into each Cask or Hogshead which they export: And if they intend to impose their own Seed on the Buyer, they mingle these Seeds of Weeds with some of their own Flax seed, and cask them up in small Casks, containing three bushels and a half, in Imitation of those made use of in other Countries.

Thus are Foreigners who deal with the Dutch for Flax-seed impos'd on, and I cannot think of any Expedient to prevent it, unless the Board of Trustees find out some Way to have this Kingdom supply'd with the East country Flax-seed, in as cheap [Page 30] and beneficial a Manner as the Dutch are: Our People here may soon learn to separate the Flax-seed from the Seeds of the Weeds, in the same Manner as the Dutch do, by the Means of their Parch­ment Sieves; or these Seeds may be separated by the Care and Diligence of the Factors, in those Countries where the Seed is bought; whereby the Expences of Casking Freight, Portrage, and other incident Charges, may be very much lessen'd or saved, and these noxious Weeds kept out of our Country, and not foul our Grounds as they will infallibly do, unless each Flax-man be very careful and diligent, are he sows his Flax-seed, to cleanse it from all other Seeds.

The most pernicious of all these Weeds, is that which is called in England, Heighop: I know not by what Name it is called here, but the Weed it self grows among the Flax, and twines it self a­bout it, as Hops do round a Pole; by which Means, the Harl of the Flax is cut or towed, or else makes it so rotten, that it won't work. It is hard to distinguish at weeding Time, this plaguey Weed from the Flax; the Seed of this Weed is easily distin­guished from the Flax-seed; for it is shaped like white Mustard­seed, somewhat less in Size, and of a bright yellow Colour.

In Holland, when they sell their Flax-seed to the Oyl-mills, they generally sell it at thirteen Guilders per Hogshead, which is twenty six Shilings English Money.

A Description of the Ripling comb.

A The Bench eight Foot long, fifteen Inches broad, and two Inches thick.

B. Is the Comb it self, the Teeth whereof ought to be of Iron, and fifteen Inches long; the Edges of the Teeth ought to stand directly opposite to each other, the better to catch the Boughs of the Flax as it is ripling.

C. C. D. D. Are the Feet with their Braces, which support the Bench, and are about two Foot and a half high.


The Method observed in Holland in ripling of Flax, is thus: They first spead a large winnowing Sheet on the Floor, over which they place their ripling Bench, to which Place they bring [...] of Flax, in order to be ripled; then two Men mount [Page 31] the Bench, or sit astride thereon, one on the one Side, the other on the other of the Comb, each of whom is served by a Person, whose Care is to open the Sheaves, and to hand to his Ripler the Handfuls of Flax, of which the Sheaf was composed, and I for­merly mentioned: And as the Ripler riples that Handful, the Per­son who tends him receives that back again, and supplies him with another Handful. The ripled Flax is laid by it self, observing still to keep the Handfuls together, till they have a sufficient Quan­tity wherewith to make a Sheaf; then the Person who tends the Ripler, binds it into a Sheaf about thee Quarters of a Yard in Circumference: When they have thus ripled all the Flax they design to riple that Season and bound it into Sheaves, their next Care is to rate it.

But before I proceed to acquaint you with their Manner of rating, it is requisite I should inform you, that the Dutch are very curious and neat in the making of all and every of their Engines, so as they might best answer their Purposes in every Respect▪ therefore in the making of this Ripling-bench, they do not make it flat at the Top, but on the contrary, make it as round at the Top as they conveniently can, to the End the Persons that sit upon them, might sit with Ease, and each of them strike their Hand­ful of Flax into the Comb alternately; by which Means, they riple their Flax with fewer Combs, and with greater Dispatch than otherwise they could do. There is yet a further Conveni­ency in the rounding of this Bench, which is, that neither the Seed, Leaves, nor Branches of the Flax lye on the Bench to cum­ber it, but constantly fall on the Winnowing-sheet, as the Riplers proceed in their Work.

The Manner of Rating of Flax in Holland.

THEY always choose in Holland standing Water for rating Flax in; and to the End they may perform their Work with the utmost Exactness, they measure the Depth, the Breadth, and the Length of the Water they design to employ; they know by the Number of the Sheaves of Flax, what Space they shall fill; they generally rate their Flax in the Dreins about their Lands, which for the most Part are from eight to ten Foot deep, and from ten to sixteen Foot wide, more or less, according as their Land is, swampy or wet.

Those Sheaves that they design to lay in the Bottom of their Water they tie with strong bonds, within six Inches of each End of the Sheaf. Then draw some strong Twine through the middle of the Sheaf, between the Bands: With this Twine, they tie their Bands Sheaf by Sheaf, till they have formed a Platform of [Page 32] equal length and breadth with the Water they rate in. This is always done on the banks of the Water; and when they have stitched together as many of these Sheaves as is necessary, they shove the whole Platform into the Water, which floats thereon; whereby they have an Opportunity to lay another Range of Sheaves athwart the other, till they have compleatly covered their Plat­form: They constantly observe in rating of their Flax, to lay first the Platform with their Flax, the long Way of the Canal: The next Range of Sheaves is laid across the Canal; and so they pro­ceed alternately, till their Flax is piled up as high as they design to raise it: but to the end they might sink it gradually, they always stand on their Flax in the Water, after they have laid two or three Ranges; by which Means, they are readier in the pla­cing of the Sheaves on the Pile, till they conceive that the Pile of Flax when sunk, will be about fourteen Inches under the Sur­face of the Water; and because they have no Stones in that Coun­try, to sink it withal, they are forced to sink it by the Weight of such Slush or Mudd, as they can get from the Bottom of their Drains.

When their Flax has been in Water about four Days, they thrust their Arm as far into the Water as they can, and draw forth a Handful of the Flax by the Butts, which they spread thin on the Grass: If they observe when this Flax is dry that it is suffici­ently rated, they then raise all their Flax from out the Water; but if they perceive it is not sufficiently rated, they repeat this Experiment twice a Day, until they are satisfied that the whole is watered enough: Their next Care is to discharge it of the Mudd and Slush that was on it, and raise their Flax, Sheaf by Sheaf, till they have taken it all out of the Water; yet as they raise it, they never fail to rinse each Sheaf in the Water, to cleanse it from the filth it contracted in the Water, as it lay therein, purg­ing and fermenting.

Having thus rais'd their Flax, and cleansed it, they open the Sheaves, and spread their Flax as thin on the Grass, Row by Row, as Mr. Slator has mentioned; where they never suffer it to lie more than two Days, in order to stiffen it, unless they perceive some Part of it to have been under-rated: In which Case they leave such Part on the Grass till it be sufficiently rated; but if they find on the grassing of their Flax, the Water has had its Effect, they (after two Days Time) gather as much of the Flax as they conceive will make a Sheaf; this they open very wide at the Butt, in the form of a Bird-cage, giving the upper End a little Twist, to make it cling together: Thus they set all their Flax thro' a whole Field, Sheaf by Sheaf, in Rows; and if any happens to be overturned by the Wind, they set it up again; and there let it stand, till it is sufficiently dried and weathered.

[Page 33]

Reasons why Flax ought to be rated in running Waters.

IF Water has any great Currency through Flax, it will fret and tear the Harl to such a Degree, that allowing it should not spoil the whole, yet will it cause so great a Waste in the working, as that the Owner will be a great Sufferer thereby; but further, the Harl which remains untorn will not be worth the working, it will be so very hard and wiery. In proof of what I here assert, be pleased only to observe, that whenever Oak or solid Timber is cut down when the Sap is in it, be the Beams never so large; if you place them for two or three Months in running Water, the Sap will be as effectually wash'd out of the Timber, as if it had been cut down in the Depth of Winter: And if running Water has such Power over large Logs of Timber, what must its Power be over so tender a Plant as Flax is. There is yet a further & more essential Reason why Flax ought not to be watered in a running Water, which is this, the Water running through the Flax will keep it so cold, that it would never ferment. Now Fermentation is as requisite to make the Flax purge it self from the Filth which it brings with it from the Soil, as any thing which happens in the rating: Therefore a skilful Flax-man uses his utmost Industry to keep his Flax under Water while this Fermentation lasts, that all the Flax may partake thereof.

I would not be understood by this▪ as if I were for encouraging the pernicious Practice of rating Flax in Bog-holes, too frequent in Ireland, which I fear occasions the Rows in their Linnen, and the dark and sullen Cast which commonly attend the Irish Linnen, though the Bleacher has performed his utmost Skill; for it is evi­dent that Turff mold will always stain the Water which stagnates or stands therein; and tho' Water which stands in stiff Clay is not liable to this Objection, yet I would not have it altogether stagnated Water, but have my Rating-pond so contrived, that I could give it a Recruit of fresh Water gradually, or by such De­grees as might neither occasion a great Currency of the Water in the Pond, or prevent the Fermentation of my Flax.

Lough-water (in those Parts of this Kingdom where it can con­veniently be had) if it will bear Soap, is preferable to any Ponds whatever; because those Waters are better weather'd than any other, and consequently more soft: But where Lough or Lake­water can't be had, it is then of absolute Necessity that Ponds be made, after such a Manner as to be sufficiently supply'd at all times, with Water drawn from Rivers or Brooks. I see no Rea­son why the Rating ponds should be made so narrow as Mr. Slator [Page 34] has directed; for if they be made ten or twelve Foot wide, con­sequently the Pile of Flax will be so much the larger, and the Fermentation quicker and more effectual: The Charge will be much the same, provided the Soil be free from Rocks, which of all Things must be avoided in Rating-ponds. And as to the Depth of them, they ought never to be less than five or six Foot deep, nor more than ten.

The Reasons why the Dutch do not grass their Flax, so much as in England or Ireland.

THE Dutch having stiffened their Flax on the Grass, they raise it on the Butts, and open it as evenly as they can possi­bly at the Butts, in order to give it all the Benefit and Advan­tage it can have from the Sun, the Wind, and the Air. They judge that it is the Water which rots the Bunn or Straw of the Flax, and causes the Harl to separate readily from it. They are very fond of having their Flax of a beautiful Colour which they conceive they can't have, if their Flax be suffered to lie long on the Grass, which would infallibly grow through it, and con­sequently would shade the Flax, and prevent the Air from passing so readily thro' it, as it would otherwise do, when placed (as aforesaid) on the Butts. They likewise judge, that whatever Rain or Dew falls, in the aforesaid Position, will sink readilier down to the Earth, and less hinder the Bunn from drying, than it will when laid flat on the Grass. For my own Part, I am hum­bly of Opinion, that this Way of Management, were it put in Practice in Ireland, would turn to good Account. In point of Co­lour of their Linnen, there stands one Objection in the Way of this Practice, which must be obviated, else I fear Ireland can scarce comply with it; for should any great Storms of Wind catch the Flax thus erected on the Butts, it would have much more Power over it, and be apt to mingle their Butts and Ends so together, as it would create a vast deal of Trouble in the setting all right again; for to be sure, the Butts of Flax or Hemp must be always kept to­gether, else it could never be dress'd; therefore the Season or Time of the Year when Flax is grassing and weathering, after it is rated, ought to be very well weigh'd and considered; for should it be during those great Storms which are vulgarly called in Ire­land, the Michaelmas Rigs, it would be impossible to raise Flax in the Manner practised in Holland, or indeed to grass it flat on the Ground, without being toss'd and tumbled by the Storms. The only Way to remedy this Evil is, to sow early in April, that the Flax may be the earlier ripe, pulled, and rated, ere these Storms usually happen.

[Page 35]

Of the Management of Flax reserved for Seed.

I Have already acquainted you, that the Dutch never sever the Seed which they themselves intend to sow, from the Flax, the same Season it was pull'd in: therefore when they are just ready to sow, they fall to ripling of it as fast as they can, and cleanse the Seed from all its Filth and Seeds of Weeds, in like manner as they did the former; then do they either rate the Flax immediately, in the Drains which they have in their Grounds, or defer the rating it, till they fall to rating of the ensuing Crop; but they never rate them both in the same Pile, because the Seed­flax will take somewhat longer Time to rate it in, than the other; but in all other Respects it is managed exactly conformable to the other; and if the Flax-man be skilful that rates it, I could never observe much Difference between either the Goodness or Colour of the Flax, the one from the other.

Of Breaking, Swingling, or Scutching Flax.

THE Dutch before they break their Flax have a large Oven, which they make so Warm as they can put their Flax with Safety therein, placing it on the Butts; having first untied the Sheaves, they stop the Mouth of this Oven as close as possible and there let the Flax stand for the Space of twelve Hours to sweat; this done, they remove it thence, and bind it into Sheaves as large as they please, and cover these Sheaves with Cloths as close as they can, and there let it lye for six Hours more. The Way they have to judge whether the Oven be in Temper or not, is by putting in a Handful or two of their Flax on the Butts into the Oven, ere they venture to expose any Quantity of Flax there­in; and accordingly they either encrease the Heat, or suffer the Oven to cool till it is in Temper.

When Flax has been thus managed, during eighteen Hours, they apply themselves to the breaking of it; which they do in Breaks made with three Bars under, and two above; the Mash of their Breaks is made shallower than those generally made in England or Ireland; the Rollers of theirs are square, and not roun­ded off as ours are, which keeps their Work tighter and steadier than ours do; their Breaks are somewhat shorter than ours; which has a good Effect on their Flax, because they can manage them more nimbly and readily, and whip their Flax and turn it under [Page 36] the Break, so as to break and squeeze the Bunn to Pieces; and the Mash of their Breaks being so shallow, the Harl runs no Risque of breaking or tewing.

This Practice in Holland of thus baking their Flax, is not only very rational, but expedient to be imitated; because it is freed from all Inconveniences of Fire or Smoak, which generally at­tends the kilning or drying of Flax over Fire; and at the same Time, it makes the Bunn to break, and the Harl to separate readily in the swingling, and not run so much to Tow or Back­ings, as otherwise it would.

The Scutching-boards which they make use of in Holland, are much the same with those we of late make use of in Ireland; but their Scutching-handles differ much from ours, as appears by the Figure. They break and scutch six Pound of Flax for five Stivers which is equal to our English Six-pence; so that it amounts ex­actly to a Penny a Pound, which is much after the same Rate that is paid in Ireland, to the most skilful of our Swinglers.

Of Hackling of Flax.

THEY generally hackle their Flax in Holland by the Wo­men, who are exceedingly skilful and dextrous therein: Their Hackles are much finer than those which came from Coven­try; yet I have seen some made here by Mr. Taylor, which he called his▪ superfine Hackles, which are as fine as any I ever saw in Holland. I see no Reason why the Woman here might not be instructed to hackle as well as the Men; the Labour is not so great, but that the Women might undergo it. As to the breaking, swingling, or scutching, that I must acknowledge to be laborious; yet every Boor in Holland, and every good Husband­man in the Isle of Axom in Lincoh shire, not only raise great Quan­tities of Flax and Hemp annually for Sale, but they likewise rate, break, and swingle it, either by themselves or their Labourers very skilfully And I am the more inclined to wish that young Girls were taught to hackle in Ireland, to that Perfection they ought to be instructed; because it will be much easier to persuade young Girls to apply themselves to that Sort of Work, than it has hitherto been found to persuade Boys: And as a great Share of the national Profit arising from the Linnen Manufacture depends on the well or ill hackling of Flax, it should seem to me to be expedient to lose no Time in the teaching and instructing Girls, as well in hackling as in spinning.

[Page 37]

Of the Spinning of Flax.

THEIR Wheels in Holland are much after the same Form with ours in Ireland, called Dutch Wheels; only they are made firmer, and the Rims heavier: The Axis on which it turns, altho' it be made of Iron, as ours are, yet is it turned in a Lath to a Truth: Whereas every bungling Smith in Ireland, pretends to bring it to a Truth by a File, which is scarce practicable.

Flax-wheels require to be made with an exact Proportion be­tween the Wheel, the Whirl, the Spool, and the Flyers. I have endeavoured to inform my self of the true geometrical Proportions of each of these, by discoursing with the ablest Wheel-wrights that I could meet with, wherever I came; but it has been hither­to all in vain: For either they could not, or would not tell how and in what Manner this Mystery in the Trade, might be brought to a more mechanick Regulation than at present it is under.

These Observations might have great Influence on the Improve­ment of spinning Linnen▪yarn in Ireland; for if the Wheels and Axes be made to a Truth, and a just Proportion observed between the Wheel, the Whirl, the Spool, and the Flyers, the whole will move regularly without hobling; the Yarn will be equally twisted, and it must be the Spinner's own Fault, if the Yarn has not a proper Twist: It is certain, that Yarn designed for Warp, ought to have somewhat more Twist than Yarn designed for Woof, because the latter ought to be more plyant and readier to yield to the Slay, and is easier struck up; for which Reason, a skilful House-wife's Bolt of Linnen-cloth is, generally speaking, preferable to a Master-weaver's Bolt, of the same Degree of Fine­ness, because she has taken care to give a proper Twist both to the Warp and Woof.

The Spinners in Holland have a Piece of fine woollen cloth, pasted round the Rock, purposely to prevent the Flax from com­ing down too fast, as the Spinner draws: Besides, they have a Piece of Oyl-leather, which they bind gently over the Flax, while it is tied to the Rock, to prevent its drying too fast, and to preserve it from Dust.

[Page 37]

The Description of the Scutching-handle.

THIS Instrument is commonly made of Walnut; from A. to B. is about sixteen Inches; four of which are taken up in the Handle, from C. to C, nine Inches. There runs a Rib in the Middle, from the Point B. down to the Handle, falling off thin towards the Edges at C. C. as per Shade on the ride Side C.


Of Bleaching of Linnen-cloth, Yarn, Thread, &c.

I Have been twice of late Years in Holland, to inform my self the best I could, of all and every the Mysteries and Practices in Holland, in Bleaching of Linnen-cloth, Linnen-yarn, Thread, Tape, &c. I have the Vanity to believe, that there is not one Branch in the whole Bleaching-trade that I have not acquired the Knowlege of in Theory; but as to the practising it my self in that Country, I could by no Means attempt the doing it: For it is well known to all Persons conversant of late Years in Holland, that the Dutch are very jealous of the Endeavours used in Ireland, to compass flaxen and hempen Manufactures; they are aware of the Benefits which will accure not only to this Kingdom, but to all His Majesty's Dominions thereby; and the immense Loss it must be to themselves, should the People of this Kingdom attain to the Perfection which they in Holland have attained to, with great Labour and Industry, during these two last Centuries.

[Page 39] I had frequent Specimens of their good Nature, whenever I at­tempted the transporting hither either Artists or Seed from thence: For altho' the Magistrates in the united Provinces, are always cautious and fearful how they behave towards any of His Majesty's Subjects, left they should draw upon themselves His Royal and Powerful Resentments: Yet are the Populace so jealous of their Trade, and so ready to insult the Person of any Man against whom they have any Umbrage, that it is impossible for any Stran­ger, not naturalized, to practise any of the Mystery the Dutch are peculiarly skilled in. I my self escaped very narrowly from being mobbed twice or thrice by them; and, had I not been very well befriended there, I am confident I should have felt the utmost of their Fury, which seldom terminates with less than the Destruction of the Party.

The Rules and Practice observed by Bleachers in Holland, I found Ways and Means to be informed of; but as Bleaching very much depends on the Climate, the Water, and likewise on the Ground made Choice of to compose the Bleach-yard; I dare not venture (before Trial made here my self) to give any Direc­tions how to bleach conformably to the Dutch. The Honourable the Trustees of the flaxen and hempen Manufactures of Ireland zealous to discharge their Trust to the Publick, have caused a con­venient Bleach-yard to be made near to the City of Dublin. The Choice of the Ground and Water they gave me Leave to make, after they had well weighed and considered the Reasons by me offered, for such Choice: They also gave me Leave to make the Buck-house, Trenches, and Utensils, requisite to this Work, after the Dutch Model. I hope by the next ensuing Spring or Summer, at the farthest, to put in Practice what Knowlege I have acquired in bleaching, either in Holland or elsewhere: And when I have made full Proof to my own Satisfaction, how far the Rudiments of this Craft are best practicable here, I shall chearfully and in­genuously communicate them to the Publick, in Discharge of my Duty to my Employers, and of the sincere and high Honour I bear to the Kingdom of IRELAND.


This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.