!! Ballina Chronicle; Feb 13, 1850 "Flax"
- BALLINA CHRONICLE
Ballina, Mayo, Ireland
Wednesday, February 13, 1850
ROYAL SOCIETY FOR THE PROMOTION AND IMPROVEMENT OF THE GROWTH OF FLAX IN
The monthly committee meeting was held in the society's rooms, Belfast, on
30th January. There were present - E. Grimshaw, Esq, J.P., Mossley, in the
Chair; Sir R. Bateson, Bart, Belvoir Park; J.T. Reilly, D.L., Searva House; W.G.
Andrews, Comber; George Greer, J.P., Lurgan; John Herdman, Robert M'Kibbin,
M.D., William Valentine, John Preston, William Coates, J.P., R. Hull, R. Niven,
Chrome-hill; and James Campbell, Esqrs.
A variety of correspondence was submitted to the meeting, chiefly from
landed proprietors, throughout Ireland, who are anxious to have the services of
the society's agriculturists, this year. Among the districts from which these
applications came were localities in the counties of Clare, Tipperary, Limerick,
Kilkenny, Cork, Wicklow, Sligo, Dublin, Galway, Kerry and Queen's county.
A discussion having arisen relative to the value of Schenck's patent system
for steeping flax, in consequence of complaints, that the linen made from flax
thus prepared was inferior in quality.
Two gentlemen stated, that if they had spun a good deal of this flax, and
that the yarn was strong and of good quality, which they considered conclusive
as to the inaccuracy of the report, as, if the flax had been weak, the yarn
could not have been strong.
Sir Robert Bateson said that Sir R. Ferguson had just been with him, after
inspecting the sleeping concern at Cregagh, near Belfast, and that he appeared
satisfied with what he had seen. On a former occasion he had doubts as to the
truth of the statements made respecting the advantages of the system arising
from an unfavourable report made to him by a person whom he had sent to inspect
the concern at Newport, Mayo.
Mr. Valentine said that the quality of the flax at Newport was very
inferior and that the person sent thither had a prejudice against Schenck's
Mr. Borthwick cited an instance of a crop grown near Carrickfergus and
prepared at Cregagh, which was valued at 63s per cwt.
It was arranged that a sub-committee, consisting of R. M'Kibbin, Mr.
Preston, and the Secretary, should have a trial made in order to have the
opinion of competent judges.
A sample of flax, grown in 1849, by Mr. M'Carten of Warringstown, sent by
Messrs. Dunbar, M'Master and Co., Gilford, was exhibited with a letter from Mr.
M'Carten, from which the following is an extract:-
"I got 13s. per stone for what flax I grew last year, one acre and a rood,
Irish measure, produced me £32 10s. I got the seed (Riga) from the Messrs. J.
Preston & Co. My average price, since I began to grow flax under the directions
of your society- say the last five years - has been 14s 5d per stone."
It was stated by a member of the committee, that Mr. M'Carten's flax had,
one season, brought the high price of £150 per ton in Leeds, and was considered
good value by the purchaser.
The Secretary introduced to the meeting Matthew J. Anketell and James
Stirling, Esqrs, as a deputation from the Royal Dublin Society, to request the
co-operation of the Royal Flax Society, in the organization and arrangement of
the triennial exhibition of manufactures, to be held in Dublin in July next.
These gentlemen addressed the meeting in reference to the subject.
Mr. Stirling read to the meeting a list of the prizes proposed to be given.
In the class of "raw material" there would be medals to the value of £20 and
eighteen certificates. In that of "manufactures," £40 in medals, and eighteen
certificates. In "machinery," £30 in medals and six certificates. In "fine
arts", £40 in medals and four certificates. And, further, twenty-four
certificates to be reserved for allocation, as the committee may deem advisable,
under the sanction of the judges.
A resolution, that the request of the Royal Dublin Society be acceded to,
was then adopted and the meeting separated.
Cathy Joynt Labath
Ireland Old News