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THE IRON TRADE. -0-

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THE IRON TRADE. -0- The prostrate state of the iron trade has furnished occa- sion for the Mining Journal to give insertion in its columns to some interesting statistics on the subject of the article. It appears that, in the year 1842, the make of pig iron amounted to 1,210,550 tons. The number of furnaces in blast was 339, of those out of blast 190, the total being 529. The produce of the different districts was Forest of Dean, tons 8,000 Derbyshire tons 26 750 South Wales 457,350 Staffordshire, North 21^750 North Wales 19,750 Staffordshire, South 300'000 Yorkshire 42,000 Shropshire 76/200 Northumberland 20,750 Scotland 238 750 In 1829, according to the returns made by Mr. Mushet the number of furnaces in blast was 377, there being an excess over those in the past year of 38, and the make was 1,247,981 tons, the excess over that of 1842 being 37,431 tons. The latter was thus divided Forest of Dean..tons 18,200 Derbyshire tons 34 372 South Wales 453,880 Staffordshire, North 18 200 North Wales. 33,800 Staffordshire, South 346/213 Yorkshire,. 52,416 Shropshire 80849 8 9 Northumberland. 13,300 Scotlan(I lQfi'or.n Going back to the year 1830, it is found that the make was then only 678,417 tons, or little more than half that of the last year and here," says the authority from which we quote, "we arrive at a point of interest, as developing most materially the causes to which may be ascribed the present position of the trade." Refeience is made to Scotland:â In 1830 the make in Scotland was tons 37,500 In 1839 it had increased to 196,960 In 1842 there was a further increase to 238,750 While, at the present time, with a depressed trade, it is taken at 260,000 in the case of Scotland, there is an increase, in twelve years, of no less than 700 per cent., while, at the present moment, pig iron may be bought in the Clyde at less than 40s. per ton. The increased make in Scotland and reduction in price is attributed to the discovery of the discovery of the" black band." and the application of the hot blast;" and these two advantages are considered to have been the cause of the present state of the trade, the existing depression affecting not only the iron master but the collier and furnace-man without, it is contended, a correspondent advantage being derived by the consumer. The great augmentation in the make of iron from 1830 to 1839 is ascribed to the demand which has arisen in conse- quence of its application to a variety of purposes of a novel character, parcularly in the form of castings, and to the demand also for the manufactured article for railways. The increased make in 1840 and decreased demand, owing to the completion of most of the great railways, apart from the general depression in trade towards the close of 1841 induced the iron masters to submit, with few exceptions, to a reduction in price of 20 per cent., calculated on the make of the six months of 1842, and which had the effect of again bringing down the quantity to even less than it was in 1839. The demand for iron for railroad purposes having now become trifling, it is a question of vast importance to the trade how the consumption may be accelerated. A change in the tariff of the United States will, it is hoped, do good, but this is a prospective affair upon which no dependence can be safely placed, and the Mining Journal, quoting from the Globe, notices, as a startling fact, the announcement that the Americans are sending iron ore to this country in face of the low rates at which the native product is selling. The reduction of make" is an expedient that involves a discharge of laboureis, not to be resorted to without great danger of local disturbances, and the very contemplation of such an alternative is painful. But there can be no doubt that the iron masters are losing a great deal of money at the rates now current. THE IRON TRADE.-The population of Merthyr may be stated at 35,000 souls taking Aberdare, Hirwain, and the neighbouring inhabited parts, it may be safely assumed that not less than 10,000 more may be added. Thus we have a condensed mass of 4o,000 people within the compass of what may be estimated as no more than one town, although somewhat partially scattered. Now, the whole of the population of Merthyr and its circumjacent parts is abso- lutely engaged in and dependant upon the great iron works in that town, that is, in Cyfarthfa, Dowlais, Penydarran, Hirwain, Plymouth, Aberdare, &c. The weal or woe, if so revolutions of prices may be characterised, of the iron trade acts and re-acls naturally upon the workpeople, and deter- mines their fate. The special product of the Merthyr iron works (Glamorgan and Monmouth generally as well) is bar iron and bar iron is almost unsaleable at this moment at £ 4. per ton, which five years ago the iron masters were actually unable to supply to crowding orders at £ 9. per ton and even £ 10.; and which, as we are well assured, cannot be produced with the greatest economy of working at less than £ 4. 15s. What is the result ? The Welsh ironmasters wealthy as they are, and far the most wealthy of their class in the kingdomâfor their riches and property are reckoned by hundreds of thousands, or millions-have, with con- stantly accumulating and unsaleable stocks, for the two last years, been compelled to notify to the government, that to go on making iron is impossible, for want of means, to say nothing of positive loss to themselves, whilst to stop is ruin to the workpeople. They have stated that, without assis- tance in means, that is, money advances from the govern- ment, the works must be stopped, and the people thrown out of employ, .inasmuch as the ironmasters have more stock on hand already than they are able to hold. Suppos- ing the iron works of Merthyr, with its contiguous and un- divided suburbs of Dowlais, Aberdare, &c., to be stopped, the furnaces to be blown out, what results 1. Why that some 45,000 people, workmen and families inclusive, will be thrown out of bread, and absolutely consigned to starva- tion, parish relief for so many being out of the question. It may be assumed, that a very much larger working popu- lation still exists through the whole of the two counties. This would give, without exaggeration, 100,000 souls with- out bread, supposing the iron works to be stopped, and the furnaces to be blown out, as must be the case shortly, with- out a remarkably favourable change in the commercial affairs. What, in stich a probable, such a forthcoming crisis, do the government propose to do ? â Morning Ad- vertiser.

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