- Publisher: Cambridge University Press
- Online publication date: September 2015
- Print publication year: 2015
- Online ISBN: 9781316144633
- DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781316144633
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The journalist and politician Edward Baines (1800–90) succeeded his father as editor of the Leeds Mercury and as MP for Leeds. From a dissenting family, he was a social reformer but passionately believed that the state should not interfere in matters such as working hours and education. In this 1835 work, he sees the cotton industry as an exemplar of the unity of 'the manufactory, the laboratory, and the study of the natural philosopher', in making practical use of creative ideas and scientific discoveries. He surveys cotton manufacture from its origins to its 'second birth' in England, and focuses on the current state of machinery, trade and working conditions in all aspects of the business, and its outputs, including cloth, lace, stockings and cotton wool. This comprehensive work was important for its detailed analysis of a vital commercial activity, and remains so today for the historical information it contains.