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immense sums that are now drawn from you every year by the Whitehaven and other colliers, in this so great an article and charge of firing, and when the poorer sort cannot lay in a stock in the proper season. Upon many accounts, as embargoes and many other accidents, the rates and price of coals continually advance and grow more and more. The making use of your own fuel, of what sort soever, it is like the poor man's case, who, when he has a garden of his own well planted, and can dig up his own potatoes, can have no occasion then to buy potatoes from his neighbors.
Since I received this former account, I sent for one hundred weight of Kilkenny coal, which cost 1s., and weighed one-quarter of the hundred of this coal, one quarter of the Whitehaven, and a quarter of a hundred of the Irish coal, so ordered, for an experiment or trial, three separate fires to be made. The latter consumed away very swift, in a blaze, lasted but between two and three hours (from the time the fire was full lighted) leaving little or no cinders, but all ashes.
The Whitehaven coal lasted between four and five hours, and left a small heap of cinders, with some slates, and I find it to abound with slates, and very slaty coal, that flies and crackles in the fire. The Kilkenny fire held good and clear above nine hours, with a great heat. Afterwards my fire-maker washed the cinders thereof, and made as good a fire as before, and so continued the same, which convinced me of the extraordinary goodness of this coal, preferable to all the coals that I ever saw, for several uses the most beneficial coal that I ever yet read or heard of in these kingdoms or in all Europe.
Is it not very surprising? or can any sensible man say that we are in our senses, to encourage and send abroad for coals when we have so good a coal of our own at home, far better than the coal which we pay so much ready money for, and so little to share in the kingdom. Now I may venture to say and affirm it to be the best coal in the world.
Look at your prisons, behold the vast number of poor debtors, and with pity look upon the poor starving in your streets, while the rich and estated men live in pomp and innate folly and prodigality abroad, draining this poor country of their wealth.
And when many poor farmers and other manufacturers for want of due encouragement, are running away and transporting them
selves to the plantations abroad; see the decay of trade in general, and all other the misfortunes that surround you, that which was formerly called the island of Saints, the plentiful island, so swarmed with the poorer sort that it is now almost an island of beggars.
The curious, upon inquiry, may have a full account of these coals by the masters and owners of ships at Aston's Quay, Dublin.
Some papers have been brought here, as proposals, in relation to some new discoveries of more coal-mines, and the more the better, but at first sight they seem to savor too much of self-interest.
Till these projectors bring specimens, and to such a bearing as the Whitehaven, and till there be a security for the ships, where the proposalists call for 10,0001., though, as I am informed, with a great uncertainty of performance, and another call by way of subscription for above 20,0001. But where and how the money will be raised here, and upon what security, will be another question.
I must be so free with those gentlemen projectors, that at this time a much less sum than either would be better laid out for the relief of the poor; and since I can have no other view (no manner of interest there) than serving the public, entitled, without any apology, to a much greater freedom in this city, than poor projectors begging subscriptions to carry on their own works, in the manner and way they have heretofore proposed.
That it is most natural to begin with the coals you have nearest at hand, lying in your own province, and so far preferable, that no other coal here can sink the established credit of the Whitehaven; and the first point that ought to be cleared up, besides the advantage in bringing them up, both by land and by sea, in great quantities to Dublin. And if the Irish coal be rated from 14s. to 17s. per ton, and Whitehaven from 178. to 20s., and the Kilkenny coal, which is three times a more lasting and better coal, and may serve for an alloy to the former, can be brought at a less price by water. carriage, as before mentioned, and as by some persons that made trial and freighted ships from thence at their own expense have found out, why we should not choose the latter seems very strange. And further, that there are several other coal-mines lately discovered there, and those collieries daily improving, that will answer all purposes; and I am sure I can depend upon the credit of so many worthy gentlemen that make a report thereof, and which in a proper time and place you will hear further of.
Excuse haste. I am, with great affection as well as freedom, your most humble, &c.
N. B. This letter (for the benefit of the curious) is to be sold by Christopher Dixon, printer, at the post-office, Dublin. Printed alone, for the conveniency of sending them to the country.
To the Publisher of the Dublin Weekly Journal. SIR,—WE had some time
in your Weekly Journal two letters about the coals for the use of this city: the inserting this third letter, as relates to the former, will be a satisfaction to your correspondents and oblige every one that is a well-wisher to his country. We are, your constant readers, and subscribe,
A.B.C.D., &c. A third letter, in answer to a worthy member of parliament, and in
behalf of many thousand poor inhabitants of this city, concerning the extravagant rates of coals, &c.
Dublin, October 23, 1729. SIR, — Your friends being abroad, I read, as you desired, the
Ι whole budget of papers you sent about the coals.
Proposals, animadversions, with queries, and other remarks, with some ridiculous advertisements in habit and dress more suitable to coal-porters than gentlemen of liberal arts and education. I do not know whose hand the glove fits—but it is not worth the taking up. It seems to be somebody full of scorbutic humor, and who wants Dr. Hinton's receipt.
Upon your request, I inquired into this affair of coal; and to strengthen and preserve the poor, weak, disordered habit and constitution of body, that this city labors under, with a complication of distempers, requires some remedies, without jarring at one another.
One great disorder and complaint about coals (which the drapier most justly observes) is, that there was a considerable sum of money advanced for the encouragement of Irish coals, for laying in, namely, a sufficient stock of our own coals to lower the extravagant rates of the Whitehaven coal.
When the city was starving all the last winter for want of coals, there was not one barrel of this Irish coal to be had at any rate, and for want of that stock the Whitehaven colliers imposed upon us what rates they pleased.
He also tried the nature and quality of the several sorts of coals, and sent for one hundred of Kilkenny coal, which cost a shilling, and weighed one quarter of an hundred of that coal, one quarter of
the Whitehaven, and a quarter of an hundred of the Irish coal, and so ordered, for an experiment or trial, three several fires to be made. The latter consumed away very swift in a blaze, lasted between two and three hours (from the time that the fire was full lighted), leaving little or no cinders, but all ashes.
The Whitehaven coal lasted between four and five hours, and left a small heap of cinders; and find it to abound with slates, a very slaty coal, that flies and crackles in the fire. The Kilkenny fire held good and clear above nine hours, with an exceeding great heat; afterwards the fire-maker washed the cinders thereof, a great quantity, and made as good a fire as before, and so continued the same. It is the most beneficial coal ever yet heard of in these kingdoms; a coal that has no waste in it, and one ton thereof will outlast two of the Whitehaven. In the Irish-history, province of Leinster, county of Kilkenny, this coal is particularly mentioned. It supplies great part of Leinster and Munster; there is a very large description of the qualities and goodness of this coal for many uses too tedious here to insert, and far exceeding any other coal for the common use and lasting fire.
Whatever new discoveries there are of more coal-mines, (as I am informed of one in the county of Meath,) the more the better; and let all the encouragement that can be given for finding out the same.
We ought first to begin with the coals we have found to be so good, that we have so near at hand, lying in our own province; so far preferable, that no other coal as yet found here can sink the established credit of the Whitehaven, for lasting, except the Kilkenny coal.
And I can find no manner of objection but what is all fully answered in the DRAPIER's postscript and letter which you received in May last.
There is one of these gentlemen (mentioned in your letter) has frankly confessed, that the Kilkenny coals are preferable for kitchen uses; and if what are commonly called Kilkenny coals could be brought up in quantities sufficient to supply this city, yet they would not answer all uses, so in consequence other sorts of coals will be sought after.
But I think the coals for kitchen use, as he calls it, is the chief and most use in the city; and pray if it be a better coal for the
a kitchen, (which is the greatest article in firing,) is it not good enough for the parlor ?
If he wants an extraordinary swift fire for my lady's dressing-room, he may get faggots, and abundance of tallies when he wants faggots.
I have often wondered why the same sort of tea in the county of Kilkenny has a sweeter flavor and drinks better there than the Dublin; and I find the cause proceeds frequently from the smoke of the coals here, notwithstanding all the care that can be taken, leaves some tincture in the water and spoils the taste of the tea. By the two different fires
will find a great difference in your tea. Some will have it to be the difference in the water; but I assure you upon
will find it to be in the fire and and smoke. There is a great deal in the quality and nature of the coal, those fiery particles that set the water in a ferment; the more easily discerned before it is infused and sweetened.
It is not upon account of recommending this dear-bought East India commodity, nor the modish custom of drinking tea; nor on the other hand, am I for disobliging the fair sex in so small a trifle as tea-equipage and china-ware; but rather to prevent the many disappointments they met with in their entertainments occasioned by the base stinking smoky coals used here.
And I must further remark, as to the Kilkenny fire, that notwithstanding all the variety, French, English, and all sorts of cooks in Dublin, their entertainments in Kilkenny are more palatable, pleasing to the taste, their meat relishes, and much better dressed there than here, and sometimes by the same hand, so that it is altogether owing to their sweet clear and lasting good fire.
I have heard the master cooks own all this to be a matter of fact, and so often recruiting and mending the fire, condemn the sea-coal for dressing meat on account of the smoke. So plain a demonstration may
very easily tried for our own satisfaction. The Ballycastle or Irish coal, (so called for distinction from the Kilkenny,) a small quantity thereof mixed with the Kilkenny coal, has been tried, and makes a brisk clear and ready fire, and answers both purposes; and therefore due encouragement ought to be given to both.
In every half barrel of coals you have the one-half of it slack, and that slack of little use. In the Kilkenny, you have all coal and no slack. But I am told by those who have tried it, and it is very natural, that the slack, wet, and thrown upon the Kilkenny fire by suppression, causes a much greater heat than before, and ful to both.
The methods proposed for bringing the Kilkenny coal by water are much cheaper than by land-carriage, and in both they have the advantage of any other colliery.