ABSTRACT

Two features of the historical evidence complicate this task. First, the data are inadequate. Quantitative indices of production and capitalization, to say nothing of innovations, are absent, especially for the late eighteenth century; usually we must accept questionable substitutes. For profits, dissatisfactions, disturbances, etc., only qualitative evidence such as verbal testimony is available. Second, this evidence conceals many simultaneous processes. To cite one example, we shall use raw cotton consumption as an index of production; this is sometimes the only available index. Some of the empirical propositions, however, require the isolation of the components of total production, such as the production of muslins, calicoes, power-loom cloth, etc., which the figures of cotton consumption do not reveal. In such instances we shall rely on plausible movements of the general indices, and strengthen or weaken our impressions by other indirect evidence.