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Linen

flax, romans and indeed

LINEN, in commerce. The linen ma nufacture was probably introduced in to Britain with the first settlements of the Romans. The flax was certainly first planted by that nation in the British soil. The plant itself indeed appears to have been originally a native of the east. The woollen-drapery would naturally be prior in its origin to the linen, and the fibrous plants from which the threads of the lat ter are produced, seem to have been first noticed and worked by the inhabitants of Egypt. In Egypt, indeed, the linen ma. nufacture appears to have been very ear ly ; for even in Joseph's time it had risen to a considerable height. From the Egyptians the knowledge of it proceed ed probably to the Greeks, and from them to the Romans. Even at this day the flax is imported among us from the eastern nations ; the western kind being merely a degenerate species of it. In order to succeed in the linen manufac ture, one set of people should be confin ed to the ploughing and preparing the soil, sowing and covering tile seed, to the weeding, pulling, rippling, and taking care of the new seed, and watering and dressing the flax till it is lodged at home : others should be concerned in the dry ing, breaking, scutching, and heckling the flax, to tit it fin' the spinners ; and others in spinning and reeling it, to fit it for the weaver : others should be con cerned in taking due care of the weaving, bleaching, beetling, and finishing the cloth for the market. It is reasonable to

believe, that if these several branches of the manufacture were carried on by dis tinct dealers in Scotland and Ireland, where our home-made linens are manu factured, the several parts would be bet ter executed, and the whole would be af forded cheaper, and with greater profit.