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John Rae (educator)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 458 pages of information about Life of Adam Smith.

[298] Sinclair’s Memoirs of Sir John Sinclair, i. 36.

[299] Smith, writing from memory and without the book at hand, makes a verbal mistake in the title.

[300] Doubtless John Davidson, W.S., a well-known antiquary of the period, who is mentioned favourably in the preface to Robertson’s History of Scotland as a special authority on certain facts of the life of Mary Stuart.

[301] Probably Lord Rosslyn, for Bentham, in writing to advise Lord Shelburne to procure a copy of this book, mentions that he knew Lord Rosslyn had a copy, which he had obtained from Mr. Anstruther, M.P., who happened to be in Paris when it was printed, and contrived to get a copy somehow there.

[302] Sir J. Sinclair’s Correspondence, i. 388.

[303] Sinclair’s Life of Sir J. Sinclair, i. 39.

CHAPTER XXIII

FREE TRADE FOR IRELAND

1779

In 1779 Smith was consulted by various members of the Government with respect to the probable effects of the contemplated concession of free trade to Ireland, and two letters of Smith still remain—­one to the Earl of Carlisle, First Lord of Trade and Plantations, and the other to Henry Dundas—­which state his views on this subject.  A few preliminary words will explain the situation.  The policy of commercial restriction has probably never been used with more cruelty or more disaster than it was used against the people of Ireland between the Restoration and the Union.  They were not allowed to trade as they would with Great Britain or her colonies, because they were aliens, and they were not allowed to trade as they would with foreign countries, because they were British subjects.  There were various industries they had special advantages for establishing, but the moment they began to export the products the English Parliament, or their own Irish Parliament under English influence, closed the markets against them.  Living in an excellent grazing country, their first great product was cattle, and the export of cattle was prohibited.  When stopped from sending live meat, they tried to send dead, but the embargo was promptly extended to salt provisions.  Driven from cattle, they betook themselves to sheep, and sent over wool; that was stopped, allowed, and stopped again.  When their raw wool was denied a market, they next tried cloth, but England then bargained for the suppression of the chief branches of Irish woollen manufacture by promising Ireland a monopoly of the manufacture of linen.  Other infant industries which gave signs of growing to prosperity were by the same means crushed in the cradle, and Ireland was in consequence never able to acquire that nest-egg of industrial capital and training which England won in the eighteenth century.

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