Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/550

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had been exceptional in the fourteenth century, had come to be an ordinary arrangement in the principal manufacturing centres.

The freedom thus obtained for capitalist administration proved of immense importance in facilitating the planting of industries at new centres and in undeveloped lands. Under no circumstances is this a simple task; but in the Middle Ages and in the earlier part of modern times it could only be accomplished by transferring skilled labour from one place to another. It was through the migration of great employers, with the labour which followed in their wake, that the silk-trade was developed in Venice, Bologna, Genoa, Florence, ^.nd France; that an improved manufacture of woollen cloth was introduced into England under Edward III; that the Spanish cities responded in some degree to the call made upon them by colonial demand, and that the manufactures of linen, glass, and pottery were introduced into France. A most remarkable development of industry in the fifteenth century seems to have been carried through by the Florentine capitalists, who were interested in the dressing and dyeing of cloth. They devoted themselves to encouraging the weaving of cloth in the wool-growing lands of the North, in order to command a supply of the half-manufactured goods which could be so finished at Florence as to be a most valuable article of commerce. In medieval times the industrial system had been intensely local in character; but as capital and capitalist organisation were introduced, the local attachments were severed one by one; in the new era the great employer is prepared to carry on business in any place and under any government where there is good prospect of working at a profit.

In the preceding sections an attempt has been made to show how the rising power of capitalism broke down the medieval forms of commercial and industrial regulation; the capitalists, who could not dominate them, migrated to places where they were free from old-fashioned restrictions. Capital offered facilities for the planting of new industries, the development of trade, and the opening up of mines and other natural advantages; so that the means lay at hand for promoting material progress of every kind. Hence new questions of economic policy came to the front. The efforts of traders were no longer confined to retaining exclusive commercial rights; but they began to consider how the various resources within a given area might be developed, so that by the interaction of different interests the greatest material prosperity might be attained in the community as a whole. We have already seen that in the fifteenth century the French monarchs had come to be directly interested in the welfare of the trading as well as in that of the landed classes; and at this period some of the German princes were becoming alive to the necessity of paying attention to all the different elements in the community. Other