Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/325

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285
HIS LIFE, POEMS AND SPEECHES

ton, and that it extended six miles in length and five in breadth. He also stated that fire-brick clay and freestone of the best qualities were in the neighborhood, and that a bed of potter's clay extended there two miles in length and one in breadth. Mr. Clark, on the same occasion, declared that the iron ore was inexhaustible. And a distinguished Irish authority on mineralogical subjects, Mr. Kirwan, affirmed that the Arigna iron was better than any iron made from any species of single ore in England.

There is not a pound of iron dug out of the earth in Arigna, and there never will be till Ireland controls her own resources and can protect them by a proper tariff till they are in full productiveness.

As to water power—Dr. Kane, of the Royal Dublin Society and other eminent scientific bodies, summarizes the surveys and reports: "The water from the rivers of Ireland have an average fall of 129 yards. The average daily fall of water (falling 139 yards) into the sea is 68,500,000 tons. As 884 tons falling 24 feet in 24 hours is a horse power, Ireland has an available water power, acting day and night, from January to December, amounting to 1,300,000 horse power—or, reduced to 300 working days of 12 hours each, the available waterfall for industry represents over 3,000,000 horse power."

But remember, there is hardly a wheel turning in Ireland. All this must go to waste, the people must starve and the land decay, that the mill-owners of Lancashire may thrive. What would the world say of New England, had we the power, were we to suppress all manufacturing and mining industry in the Southern States? New England would earn the execrations of the country and the world for her avaricious selfishness.

So marvelous is the water power of Ireland, that windmills are unknown. A hundred years ago, immediately after the freeing of her Parliament, there sprang up on all the falling streams mills of various kinds—among them, according to Dr. Kane, 240 flour mills. There was not one windmill erected during all this time.

The Parliament of Ireland was free from 1782 to 1801—and during this short period the country advanced like a released giant in every field of industry and commerce. Then the selfishness of England was appealed to by the landlords and the traders, the former leading, and demanding that Irish industry be stopped, suppressed, murdered by act of Parliament. The landlords wished no resource for their rack-rented tenants. If the children of the farmer could go into the mills and shops to work and earn, the father would become independent of the landlord and agent.

In 1729, there were, according to evidence given before the Irish House of Commons, 800 silk-looms at work in Ireland. An act was passed in that year in favor of English silks; and thirty years after,