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A Method of Tanning without Bark

A Method of Tanning without Bark
Title: A Method of Tanning without Bark
Release Date: 2018-07-24
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
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Transcriber’s Note: This old text is preserved as printed apart from thecorrection of the following apparent printing errors:

Page 13 “Extroardinary” changed to “Extraordinary”

Page 20 “luberous” changed to “tuberous”

Page 26 “perpencular” changed to “perpendicular”

Page 34 “Veiws” changed to “Views”

Page 35 “cheifest” changed to “chiefest”

Text printed in an “Irish” typeface is denoted by use of the font‘Old English Text MT’ or ‘Old English’. Without one of these fonts installedyou may not be able to discern any difference from the surrounding text.


(decorative image)

Printed by A. Rhames, Mdccxxix

His Excellency
William Conolly, Esq;

House of Commons of Ireland.
And to the Rest of the
Members of That HOUSE.
Tanning without BARK
Is humbly inscribed
By Their most
Obedient Servant,

William Maple.


Method of Tanning


In Political Computations, thefollowing Principles are universallyallowed.

That the Riches of everyCountry arise from the NaturalProduce of the Earth;and the Labour and Art, imployed in improvingthe same.

That the Quantity of Native Commodities,the Source of Riches, is in Proportionto the Number of People, fullyand usefully employed.

That every industrious Person adds tothe Wealth, and Support of a Nation; andevery Idler, detracts from both, by livingon the Labour of Others.


That it is the best Policy in any Government,to encourage, and provide forthe full Imployment of the People; sincethereby, the Number, Wealth, Strength,and Quiet of the Inhabitants are increased.

That the Gain, or Loss of any Nationby Trade, is known, and determined by theProportion, which the Exports bear in Valueto the Imports. On this depends theabsolute Quantity of Money in a Nation;the Relative Quantity of the several Species,that composeth this Money, being ascertainedby the Value imposed on those Species;either as it agrees with, or differs fromthe Value set thereon by other Nations.

A Nation certainly loses by a Trade,whose Exports are not compleatly manufactured,and whole Imports are fully wrought.

A few Manufactures will serve to exchangefor great Quantities of the simpleProduce of the Earth. The Value of Manufactures,being principally owing to Labourand Art.

If upon these Principles, we examinethe State of the Trade of Ireland; I fearwe shall find it, in a very declining, andruinous Condition.


Our Exportations are made up ofWool, Woorsted, Linnen, Yarn, Beef, Butter,Cheese, Tallow, Hydes, Skins, and afew other Articles.

We are not allowed to export our Wooland Woorsted, but to a few Ports in England,and are prohibited from sending thither,or any where else, any other of ourWoollen Manufacture. Linnen, and sometanned Hides are the only Commoditieswe export, compleatly Manufactured; Yarnand Woorsted may be accounted but as half-wrought;Almost all the other Articles arebut little removed from the State, Naturehas given them to us, and have little or noLabour or Art employed about them.

At the same Time, we export so liberallythe Growth of our Country, and solittle of our Manufactures, we may observeall our Importations are of such Commodities,as are not capable of farther Improvement;such as East-Indian and West-IndianGoods, Druggs, Wines, Spirits, Manufacturesof Wool, Silk, Linnen, Iron, Brass,Glass, &c. Nay, the common Produce ofalmost all Countries, as Corn, Timber, and[4]Fireing, are imported in great Quantitiesto supply our Necessities.

By this Management of our Trade, wemaintain many Thousands in foreign Countries,and drive Numbers of our own Peoplefrom us, or leave them to starve athome, for Want of Imployment.

If to this View, we add that mightyDrain of our Bullion, made by those Gentlemen,who, having great Estates in thisKingdom, choose to spend them any where,rather than at home: We can not be at aLoss, how to account for the Ballance ofTrade, running against us, for so manyYears past.

The most certain Way left to retrieveour Affairs, is to lessen our Imports, andto encrease our Exports, especially of Manufactures.

The Commissioners of the Linnen Manufacture,by an unwearied Applicationand uncommon Skill, have contributedgreatly to the Value of our Exports, bythe Advancement of the Linnen Manufactury.And I don’t doubt but that in severalother Articles, divers Expedients and Means,[5]may be thought of, for promoting a greaterConsumption of our Own, and lesseningthat or foreign Commodities; and asone Instance, I shall beg Leave to proposean Improvement in our Tannage, by whichI apprehend, we shall be enabled to Tanwith the Produce of our own Country allthe Hydes that now are Exported Raw;and thereby increase the Value of our Exports,employ many Thousands of our People,and avoid the Necessity of ImportingBark.

To set this Matter in a clear Light, Ishall lay down, in the first Place, the Exportof Green Hydes, and the Import of Bark,in the seven following Years, for the WholeKingdom, as the same has been extractedout of the Custom-House Books.

Years. Gr. Hydes. Bark B’s.
1721 46,847 46,556
1722 86,004 45,794½
1723 123,514 47,824½
1724 103,477 60,740½
1725 69,858 48,407
1726 60,441 45,279
1727 57,373 50,598


In the next Place it is to be observ’d,

That Bark, according to its Goodness,is sold from 6 to 10, and in some Years, 11Shillings, the Barrel.

That Cow-Hydes weigh from 56, to84 Pounds each; Bullock Hydes, weighfrom 84 to 140 Pounds each, and both aresold from 15 to 21 Shillings, the hundredWeight.

That Soles, are generally sold from 8to 8 Pence half-penny the Pound.

That Hydes generally lose about halftheir Weight, in Tanning.

From these Principles, when throwninto mean Proportionate Quantities, it isevident:

That the Quantity of Bark, annuallyimported, is 50,000 Barrels, and the Value21,000 Pounds.

That the Number of Green Hydes,annually exported, are 80,000, and theirValue 57,000 Pounds.

That if these Green Hydes were tannedbefore Exportation, their Value wouldbe 123,000 Pounds.


That the Difference, arising from theDifferent State of these Hydes, on Exportation,is 66,000 Pounds, which Sum addedto the 21,000 Pounds, the Value ofthe imported Bark, making in the whole87,000 Pounds, must be accounted, as somuch gained to the Kingdom, should ourTannage be effected by our own Produceand Labour.

The Nations, that demand this Exportof those Green Hydes, are those, whoseblack Cattle are not bred, in such Numbers,as to supply their indispensable Demands;Nor will their dry Hydes, whichthey receive from their Settlements abroad,admit a thorough Tannage; They, in hopesof putting their Neighbours, who have aRedundancy of Hydes, under a Necessity,of parting with them unmanufactured, haveprohibited, by the severest Penalties, thesending us any Bark. While we, on theother Part, have not only complied withthis detrimental Export; but also have beenso regardless of our own Interest, as to permitseveral Tanners, some from this City,to go, and instruct them in an Art, theyalmost were Strangers to.


The English, from a true Sense of theDisadvantage of such a Trade, have subjectedthe Exporter of a Green Hyde, tothe Penalties of 500 Pounds, and a Disabilityto trade in Leather, ever after. Ann.14. Car. II.

Such an Act, even in our present Circumstances,may, by some, be thought adviseablefor us; Because, such Nations, asnow gladly receive our Green Hydes, findinga Stop, put to their usual Supplies,would be under a Necessity of receivingour tanned Hydes, and selling us theirBark. Leather being a Commodity, thatdoes not depend on the Fancy; but, is absolutelyrequisite, not only to the Luxuries,but also, to the Necessities of Mankind.

At present, Our Tanners find a greatScarcity of Bark, except those residing insome considerable Sea-Port-Town, and areunder just Apprehensions of a greater. Severalin the Country have been obliged tolay aside their Pits, and take to other Imployments;the usual Supplies failing. OurNeighbours who will permit any Bark, tobe sent us, are in a Manner exhausted. Our[9]American Plantations are too remote to findtheir Account, in sending any great Quantity.The Produce of our Country is scarcea twentieth Part of what is used in Tanning.This renders our Tannage dear, andoften imperfect, so as not to serve a foreignMarket, to Advantage, and Reputation.

But if we had Materials, of our ownGrowth, easy of Acquisition, and Propagation,that would tan, in every Respect, aswell as Bark; were these Materials, as totheir Powers, well ascertain’d, and confirm’dby a general Experience, the making anAct, to prohibit the Exportation of GreenHydes, would be judged by all to be Adviseable,and Useful to the Kingdom.

When the apparent Qualities of Bark,are considered; and that by it’s insinuatinginto the Pores, and incorporating with theSubstance of the Hyde, it produces a Firmness,Strength, and Consolidation of theParts; It is very surprizing, that other Materials,of the same Apparent Qualities,have so long remained neglected, and unappliedto the same Uses; when the Consequenceis of such Moment.


Tormentil, and Cinquefoil Roots, are rangedin the same Medical Class; have thesame apparent Qualities, especially the first,in a more eminent, and evident Degree,than Bark, it self.

On Tryal, they have answered beyondExpectation: The Cinquefoil did not giveso good a Colour, as the Tormentil, whichin all Respects, as to Colour, Bloom, Substance,Solidity, and Weight, in the TannedHyde, compleatly answered, and inmuch less Time, than when Bark, (even ofthe best Kind, or Growth) is used.

Tho’, what is here asserted, is groundedon several Years Experience, and confirmedby the Opinion and Testimony ofMr. Philip Cooley, Tanner, who from theBeginning hath been concerned in the severalTryals, and to whose Skill and Industrya Part of the Subsequent is owing.Yet to give the utmost Satisfaction, and asI think my self in the strongest Mannerbound by the Encouragement, hithertogiven me, by the House of Commons, to renderthe best Information I am able, in anAffair of some Consequence to the Public,[11]I shall give a most faithful Account of theProgress that has been made, and the Successthat hath attended this Way of Tanningwith relation to the Goodness of theLeather, the Time, and Charge of Tanning,and other Circumstances; and shalladd several Observations, with Directionsfor finding, and propagating these Roots,in great Plenty, that all Persons may beencouraged to carry this Method of Tanning,into a general Practice, which as itwill be for their private Advantage, so itwill not fail to promote the Public Benefit.

In Order to this, I shall in the first Placebeg Leave to place this Affair in the Lightit appeared in before the Committee of theHouse of Commons of Ireland, to whom myPetition was referred by the House, inwhich Petition it was alledged, that I hadestablished a Method of Tanning, withoutthe Use of any Barks, to as great Perfection,cheaper, and in less Time, than withBark, by Vegetables of our Natural Produce,and of easy Culture.

The Committee, were pleased, for theirgreater Satisfaction, to summon a Great[12]Number of Tanners, Curriers, Shoemakers,and others, to attend, to give their Testimonyin relation to the several Specimens,and Proofs, that were to be laid beforethem.

In respect to the Goodness of the Leather,so tanned, the following Specimenswere exhibited.

Nᵒ. 1. A Calve’s Skin from the Ooze.

Nᵒ. 2. A Calve’s Skin, uncurryed.

Nᵒ. 3. A Calve’s Skin, curried: eachof these, when tann’d and dry’d, weighingabout three Pounds.

Nᵒ. 4. A Calve’s Skin, very strong andlarge, when tanned and dryed, weighingabout Six Pounds.

Nᵒ. 5. Seven or Eight Pair of Soles, ofa Calve’s Skin, rais’d.

Nᵒ. 6. A Bend of a Bullock’s Hyde forHarness.

These were all proved by Thomas Cooleyand Patrick Shale to be tanned withoutBark, and with the Roots.

Mr. Henderson, Master of the Tanners,said he was diffident of the Goodness ofthe Specimens, that he should have been[13]thoroughly satisfyed: had he known, howthe Leathers had proved, if worn, by somePorters, or Chairmen. That the Colourof Number 2, or 3, was not so

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