To the Editor.
Sir —Few subjects can engage the attention of a country more than that agriculture, and the importance of that industry increases the more any of its branches. can he brought to bo tho source of giving skilled labor to any people, and j lie>n.i especially to that of our own colony 1 ai. the present time. J. allude to the growth of European flax. Having read with pleasure Mr. Murphy’s lecture on that subject, I can fully endorse his statements, as I am thoroughly acquainted with every branch of that subject, from the seed till we reach the snow-white linen ready for use. I have often wondered why farmers don’t try tho growth of this flax, when it can he made the source of such an income. We have everything in its favor—climate not too hot nor too cold, land and water suitable, all ready but energy and organisation to bring it to a success. It is astonishing the amount of money sent out of England, Ireland, and Scotland for flax and flax seed annually to France, Belgium, Holland, and Russia ; and New Zealand is content to stick to the shilling-a-bushel oats. My purpose is to suggest the idea of a society such as the Agricultural and Pastoral taking the matter up, to provide suitable seed, instruct the farmer here to grow it, purchase the produce, and the result is certain to be a paying one to the grower and the company, and a profit could be had in all its stages. A society such as this was starred a few years ago, in the North of Ireland with great success, and is still being carried on. Mr. Murphy’s comparison between North and South of Ireland is not overdrawn, and it is just the extension of this branch of industry that makes the difference.
Could not the people of New Zealand have a finger in “ the pie I” If so, I believe the colony’s' 1 borrowing days” would be over. Nor should we be content with mere growing of flax and crushing of seed for oil, but should go in for manufacturing of linen from the raw matertal. Had we once a beginning made, 1 firmly believe the day would not be far distant when the hum of the spinning mill, the dim of the weaving factory mingled with the happy voices of the now unemployed would be heard like music on the plains of Canterbury. —I am, &c.,
W. Alderdice Ashburton, July 23, 1880.
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Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 130, 24 July 1880
EUROPEAN FLAX. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 130, 24 July 1880
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