DUNDEE – FROM THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE TAY

BUY A PRINT

Print Size – 9 x 12

Printed in 80 lb coated cover stock.

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“Our present engraving depicts a scene of great natural beauty, and a faithful
picture of one of the most thriving of the Scottish seaports. Few towns in the United
Kingdom have advanced so rapidly in commercial importance. The manufactures
of Dundee have become of great interest not only to the town, but to the nation
at large. The proportion which they bear to the general produce of the industry of
the state is very high; and their rapid and continued progress holds out the most
encouraging prospect of still greater accessions in every department of trade. Of these
manufactures, the linen trade holds the first place; it employs the greatest number of
hands and the greatest capital, and gives a stimulus to all other branches of trade and
commerce. The materials for this branch of manufacture are imported from Russia,
Prussia, Holland, and Brabant, and thus employ a great number of ships and seamen.
Up to the beginning of the present century, all the linen yarns manufactured here were
hand-spun; and in 1811 there were only four spinning-mills driven by steam: at the
present time there are upwards of 100 flax spinning-mills, employing more than 8,000
hands, of who nearly one half are females. The following figures exhibit the progressive
increase of this trade: — the importation of flax in 1790 was 2,700 tons; in 1850, 55,000
tons. The export of linen in 1790 was 8 millions of yards; in 1850, 85 millions of yards.
The yarns thus manufactured are generally sent from the mills direct to the bleach-
fields, or to the wash-mill, where they are scoured or whitened, and prepared for the
loom. In weaving sail-cloth, and other heavy goods, men only are employed; but, in the
lighter fabrics, women perform the work as well as the men. Formerly, the women were
employed in spinning only; but here, as everywhere else, where steam is employed;
the introduction of machinery has wholly superseded the use of the domestic wheel
and distaff, and compelled the females to earn a scanty subsistence in a much less
appropriate labour.

Within the last thirty years the population of Dundee has been more than
doubled; its charitable contributions have risen from under £2,000 to nearly £2,000 per
annum; its shipping has increased fourfold; while its linen trade has been called almost
entirely into existence. But the reverse of the picture must not be concealed — the
assessment of the poor has advanced tenfold; in 1701, it was £400, it is now upwards
of £10,000. This is an evil, it has been said, inseparable from prosperous communities,
fur the poor generally flock to, or are increased in them; and where multitudes are

gathered together at various employments, example does not always favour economy,
industry, and virtue. Nor is it easy, amidst the spirit of enterprise which is now abroad, to
suggest any improvement for the town which the resident authorities have not already in
contemplation. Full tide in the estuary of the Tay is generally said to occur, on the days
of the new and full moon, at a quarter past two o’clock, but in the harbour of Dundee it
flows till about half past two. The average height of the spring-tides, as measured by
an index at the entrance to King William’s Dock, Is about seventeen feet, while that of
the neap-tides is about eleven feet. The water opposite the town, though saline, is not
wholly marine, but considerably diluted by the fresh water flowing down the river; and
this is the reason, probably, why sea-water insects never attack the piles, buoys, or
beacons about the harbour. Opposite the town, the river Tay is very nearly two miles
broad. The channel across is much interrupted by a sand-bank, which, though formed
within the last forty years, has now at full spring-tides only about ten feet water over its
surface, and at neap- tides scarcely more than four. Its position is not far from midway
across; its form is spindle-shaped; its length, as seen at low water, upwards of a mile;
and its course parallel with that of the river. At present, Its lower or eastern extremity is
stretching down in the form of a curve, concave towards the harbour of Dundee ; but It
Is so constantly altering its features, that no further remark need be made upon it than
this, that it is always accumulating, and slowly moving down the river. This sand-bank,
in reference to the navigation of the Tay, is naturally an object of no small interest and
solicitude.

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