One would like to bespeak for this little book a special welcome from the Irish public, and especially at the present time. It is an essay in Irish economic history: in itself of great interest, telling a tale fascinating and full of suggestion, bringing lights from the past, of value to us now, upon some of the factors of Irish industrial development, including the factor of labour. In itself the essay is all this. But it is more for what it represents that one hopes it will be welcomed. It represents an endeavour, a very modest but a systematic endeavour, to promote in Ireland a living interest in the study of political and social science. Who does not feel to-day, with the horizon that is opening around us, that that is the subject perhaps of all others the most important to have systema tically studied in Ireland now This work is a Coyne Scholarship essay. It is the first of the Coyne Scholarship essays to be published; others have been written by the scholarship holders during the last nine years, but this is the first which has been thought suitable for publi.