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  • 1851
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A Workhouse on a very extensive scale, capable of affording indoor relief to 1800; a Blind Asylum, celebrated for the singing of the inmates, two Infirmaries, are far from completing the list of public institutions of a town with nearly 400,000 inhabitants; but, in the greater number, resemble all other institutions of the same kind, and, for the rest, a local guide may be consulted.

The best part of the town may be seen in a walk from St. Lukes’ Church at the top of Bold Street, a short distance from the Adelphi Hotel, through Church Street, Lord Street, crossing Castle Street, down to St. George’s Pier. By this line the best and the busiest streets of Liverpool will be seen, with shops nearly equal to the finest in London, and with customers in fine ladies, who are quite as pretty, and much more finely dressed, than the residents of that paradise of provincial belles, Belgravia. Indeed both sexes in this town are remarkable for their good looks and fashionable costume, forming a strong contrast to the more busy inhabitants of Manchester.

In Bold Street is the Palatine, a miniature copy of the Clubs of Pall Mall: at the doors and windows may be seen, in the intervals of business, a number of young gentlemen trying very hard to look as if they had nothing to do but dress fine and amuse themselves. But so far from being the idle fellows they would be thought, the majority are hardworking merchants and pains-taking attornies, who bet a little, play a little, dote upon a lord, and fancy that by being excessively supercilious in the rococo style of that poor heathen bankrupt Brummel, they are performing to perfection the character of men of fashion. This, the normal state of young Liverpool, at a certain period the butterfly becomes a grub, a money grub, and abandoning brilliant cravats, primrose gloves, and tight shiny boots, subsides into the respectable heavy father of genteel comedy, becomes a churchwarden, a patron of charities, a capitalist, and a highly respectable member of society. The Manchester man is abrupt, because his whole soul is in the money-making business of the day; the Liverpool gentleman’s icy manners are part of his costume. The “cordial dodge,” which has superseded Brummel’s listless style in the really fashionable world, not having yet found its way down by the express train to the great mart of cotton-wool.

‘Change hours, which are twice a-day, morning and afternoon, afford a series of picturesque groups quite different to those of any other town, which should be kept in mind when visiting Manchester.

But perhaps the pleasantest thing in Liverpool is a promenade on one of the piers, or rather quays (for they run along and do not project into the river) when the tide is coming in, the wind fair for the Mersey, and fleets of merchantmen are driving up with full-bellied sails to take their anchorage ground before going into dock. An examination of the Docks, with the curious Dock arrangements of the Railway Companies, and the Sailor’s Home, of which Prince Albert laid the first stone in 1846, will take a day. The Cheshire side of the Mersey forms a suburb of Liverpool, to which steamers are plying every ten minutes from the villages of Rock Ferry, Tranmere, Birkenhead, Monk’s Ferry, Seacombe, Liskeard, Egremont, and New Brighton. The best idea of the extent of the Liverpool Docks may be obtained from the Seacombe Hotel, an old-fashioned tavern, with a bowling green, where turtle soup, cold punch, and claret are to be had of good quality at moderate charges.

In fine weather a seat after dinner at the window of this tavern is not a bad place for considering the origin, rise, progress, and prospects of the commerce of Liverpool. There is the river, with its rapidly-flowing muddy waters before you, ploughed in all directions by boats, by ships, by steamers, by river barges and flats; on the opposite side five miles of Docks, wherein rise forest after forest of masts, fluttering, if it be a gala day, with the flags of every nation–Russian, Sardinian, Greek, Turkish, French, Austrian, but chiefly, after our own, with the stripes and stars of the Great Republic.

No better text for such a contemplation can be found than the following inscription, copied from the model, contributed by Liverpool to the Great Exhibition of Industry:–

PROGRESS OF THE COMMERCE OF LIVERPOOL. Under Queen Elizabeth, | Queen Anne, | Queen Victoria, A.D.1570. | A.D.1710. | A.D.1850. | |
Population. 800 | 8,168 | About 400,000 | |
Tonnage {151} 268 | 12,636 | 3,336,337 | |
Number of 15 | 334 | 20,457 Vessels | |
| |
Dock Dues. – | 600 | 211,743 pounds | |
Income of 20 | 1,115 | 139,152 pounds Corporation | |
| |
Customs Dues 272 | 70,000 | 3,366,284 pounds

This extraordinary progress, of which we have far from seen the limits, has been founded and supported by a position which every commercial change, every new invention relating to sea-borne coasting trade, or inland conveyance, has strengthened.

The discovery of the passage around the Cape of Good Hope, and improvements in the art of navigation, destroyed the commercial importance of Venice, and extinguished a line of river ports from Antwerp to Cologne. In our own country, the Cinque Ports, Harwich, Great Grimsby, and other havens, fell into decay when navigators no longer cared to hurry into the first harbour on coming within sight of land. But Liverpool, situated on the banks of a river which, until buoyed and improved at a vast expense, was a very inferior port for safety and convenience, has profited by the changes which have rendered the American the most important of our foreign customers, and Ireland as easily reached as Runcorn in a sailing flat.

The rise of the cotton manufacture has been as beneficial to Liverpool as to those districts where the yarn is spun and woven. The canal system has fed, not rivalled or “tapped,” the trade of the Mersey. The steamboats on which the seafaring population of Liverpool at first looked with dislike and dismay, have created for their town–first, a valuable coasting trade, independent of wind or tide, which with sailing vessels on such a coast and with such a river could never have existed; and next, a transatlantic commerce, which, through Liverpool, renders New York nearer to Manchester than Dublin was five and twenty years ago; while, at the same time, the opposite coast of Cheshire has been transformed into a suburb, to which omnibus-steamers ply every five minutes. And yet little more than five and twenty years ago there was only one river steamer on the Mersey, and that a flat bottomed cattle boat, with one wheel in the centre.

Bristol took the lead in establishing transatlantic steamers; but Liverpool, backed by Manchester, transplanted to her own waters the new trade, and even the steamers that proved the problem.

Railways (the only great idea in this generation that Liverpool has ventured to originate and execute) have not, as was promised, transferred any part of the Liverpool trade to Manchester; but, on the contrary, largely increased and strengthened their connection with the cotton metropolis. An hour now takes the cotton broker to his manufacturing customers twice a week, who formerly rose at five o’clock in the morning to travel by coach in four hours to Manchester, and returned wearied at midnight.

The Electric Telegraph, the next great invention of this commercial age was not less beneficial to this port by facilitating the rapid interchange of communication with the manufacturing districts, and settling the work of days in a few hours. A hundred miles apart merchants can now converse, question, propose, and bargain.

By all these improvements uncertainties have been reduced to certainties, and capital has been more than doubled in value. On the expected day, well calculated beforehand, the steamer arrives from America; with the rapidity of lightning the news she brings is transmitted to Manchester, to Birmingham, to Sheffield, to London, to Glasgow; a return message charters a ship, and a single day is enough to bring down the manufactured freight. Thus news can be received and transmitted, a cargo of raw material landed, manufactured goods brought down by rail from the interior of England, and put on board a vessel and despatched, in less time than it occupied a few years ago to send a letter to Manchester and get an answer.

And under all these changes, while commerce grows and grows, the porters and the brokers, the warehousemen and the merchants, are able to take toll on the consumption of England.

Even the old dangerous roadstead, and far-falling tides of the Mersey, proved an advantage to Liverpool; by driving the inhabitants to commence the construction of Docks before any other port in the kingdom, and thus obtain a certain name and position in the mercantile world, from having set an example which cities provided with more safe and convenient natural harbours were unwilling to follow.

The first Dock ever constructed in England is now the site of the Liverpool Custom House; a large building erected at a period when our architects considered themselves bound to lodge all public institutions in Grecian temples.

This Dock was constructed in 1708, and twelve others have since been added, occupying the shore from north to south for several miles, including one which will accommodate steamers of the largest class. These Docks are far from perfect in their landing arrangements. Cargo is discharged in all but one, into open sheds. The damage and losses by pilferage of certain descriptions of goods are enormous. Attempts have been repeatedly made to establish warehouses round the docks into which goods might be discharged without the risk or expense of intermediate cartage. But the influence of parties possessed of warehouse property is too great to allow the execution of so advantageous a reform. Whigs and Radicals are, in this instance, as determined conservators of abuses which are not time-honoured as any Member for Lincoln City or Oxford University.

In 1764 more than half the African slave trade was carried on by Liverpool merchants. The canal system commenced by the Duke of Bridgewater next gave Liverpool an improved inland communication. After Arkwright’s manufactures stimulated the trade of America, cotton imports into Liverpool soon began to rival the sugar and tobacco imports into Bristol. The Irish trade was rising at the same time, and the comparatively short distance between the midland counties, where Irish livestock was chiefly consumed, soon brought the Irish traders to Liverpool. The progress of steam navigation presently gave new openings to the coasting trade of Liverpool. In 1826 the admirable canal system, which united Liverpool with the coal and manufacturing districts in the kingdom, was found insufficient to accommodate the existing traffic, and the railroad was the result. By the railroad system Liverpool has been brought within an hour of Manchester, two hours of Leeds, and four hours of London; and into equally easy, cheap, and certain communication with every part of England and Scotland; while fully retaining all the advantages of being the halfway house between the woollen districts, the iron districts, and the cotton districts, and America–the intermediate broker between New Orleans, Charleston, New York, and Manchester.

Six-sevenths of all the woollen imported into England comes through Liverpool, besides a large trade in sugar, tobacco, tea, rice, hemp, and every kind of Irish produce.

Thus Liverpool is in a position to take toll on the general consumption of the kingdom; and this toll in the shape of dock dues, added to the increase in the value of landed property, occupied by warehouses, shops, and private residences, has enabled the municipal corporation to bestow on the inhabitants fine buildings, and greatly improve the originally narrow streets. Liverpool has no manufactures of any special importance. Few ships are built there in comparison with the demands of the trade, in consequence of the docks having taken up most of the space formerly occupied by the building-yards. The repairs of ships are executed in public graving docks, chiefly by workmen of a humble standing, called pitchpot masters,–a curious system, whether advantageous or not to all parties, is a matter of dispute.

The environs of Liverpool are particularly ugly, remarkably flat, and deficient in wood and water. There are scarcely any rides or drives of any kind. The best suburb, called Toxteth Park, although no park at all, lies on the southern side of the town, parallel with the Mersey. In this direction the wealthiest merchants have erected their residences, some of great size and magnificence, surrounded by pleasure-grounds and fancy farms, presenting very favourable instances of the rural tastes of our countrymen in every rank of life. But there is nothing in the environs of Liverpool to make a special ride necessary, unless a stranger possesses a passport to one of the mansions or cottages of gentility to be found on each side of the macadamized road behind rich plantations, where hospitality is distributed with splendour, and not without taste.

The north shore of the Mersey consists of flat sands, bounded on the land side by barren sand hills, where, driven by necessity, and tempted by a price something lower than land usually bears near Liverpool, some persons have courageously built houses and reclaimed gardens. On this shore are the two watering-place villages of Waterloo and Crosby, less populous, but as pleasant as Margate, with salt river instead of salt sea bathing, in shade and plenty of dust. The hard flat sands, when the tide is down, afford room for pleasant gallops.

The best settlement on the opposite shore, called New Brighton, has the same character, but enjoys a share of the open Irish sea, with its keen breezes. It must be bracing, healthy, dreary, and dull.

* * * * *

BIRKENHEAD is a great town, which has risen as rapidly as an American city, and with the same fits and starts. Magical prosperity is succeeded by a general insolvency among builders and land speculators; after a few years of fallow another start takes place, and so on–speculation follows speculation. Birkenhead has had about four of these high tides of prosperous speculations, in which millions sterling have been gained and lost. At each ebb a certain number of the George Hudsons of the place are swamped, but the town always gains a square, a street, a park, a church, a market-place, a bit of railway, or a bit of a dock. The fortunes of the men perish, but the town lives and thrives. Thus piece by piece the raw materials of a large thriving community are provided, and now Birkenhead is as well furnished with means for accommodating a large population as any place in England, and has been laid out on so good a plan that it will be one of the healthiest as well as one of the neatest modern towns. It has also the tools of commerce in a splendid free dock, not executed so wisely as it would have been if Mr. Rendel, the original engineer, (the first man of the day as a marine engineer), had not been overruled by the penny-wise pound-foolish people, but still a very fine dock. Warehouses much better planned than anything in Liverpool; railways giving communication with the manufacturing districts; in fact, all the tools of commerce–gas, water, a park, and sanitary regulations, have not been neglected.

Some people think Birkenhead will be the rival of Liverpool, we think not: it will be a dependency or suburb of the greater capital. “Where the carcase is, there the eagles will be gathered together.” Birkenhead is too near to be a rival; shipping must eventually come to Birkenhead, but the business will still continue to be done in Liverpool or Manchester, where are vested interests and established capital.

An hour or two will be enough to see everything worth seeing at Birkenhead. To those who enjoy the sight of the river and shipping, it is not a bad plan to stop at one of the hotels there, as boats cross every five minutes, landing at a splendid iron pontoon, or floating stage, on the Liverpool side, of large dimensions, constructed with great skill by Mr. W. Cubitt, C.E., to avoid the nuisance of landing carriages at all times, and passengers at low tides in boats.

At Liskeard, a ferry on the Cheshire side, Mr. Harold Littledale–a member of one of the first firms in Liverpool–has established a model dairy farm, perhaps one of the finest establishments of the kind in the kingdom.

All the buildings and arrangements have been executed from the plans and directions of Mr. William Torr, the well known scientific farmer and short- horn breeder, of Aylsby Manor, Lincolnshire. No expense has been spared in obtaining the best possible workmanship and implements, but there has been no waste in foolish experiments; and, consequently, there is all the difference between the farm of a rich man who spends money profusely, in order to teach himself farming, and a farm like that at Liskeard, where a rich man had said to an agriculturist, at once scientific and practical, “Spare no expense, and make me the best thing that money can make.”

The buildings, including a residence, cottages, and gardens, occupy about four acres, and the farm consists of 350 acres of strong clay land, which has been thoroughly drained and profusely manured, with the object of getting from it the largest possible crops. Fifty tons of turnips have been obtained from an acre.

Eighty cows are kept in the shippons, ranged in rows, facing the paths by which they are all fed at the head. They are fed on turnips, mangels, or potatoes, with cut chaff of hay and straw, everything suitable being cut and steamed, in the winter–on green clover, Italian ray-grass, and a little linseed-cake, in the summer. They are curry-combed twice a day, and the dung is removed constantly as it falls. The ventilation and the drainage has been better managed than in most houses, so that the shippons have always a sweet atmosphere and even temperature. The fittings, fastenings, and arrangements of the windows, hanging from little railways, and sliding instead of closing on hinges, are all ingenious, and worth examination. Mr. Littledale makes use of a moveable wooden railway, carted over by a donkey in a light waggon, to draw root crops from a field of heavy land.

The churn in use in the dairy makes eighty pounds of butter at a time, and is worked by the steam-engine also used for cutting and steaming the food of the cows. The milk and cream produced at this dairy is sold by retail, unadulterated, and is in great demand. A brief account of this farm appeared in the “Farmer’s Magazine” of May, 1848, with a ground plan; but several improvements have been made since that time. To parties who take an interest in agricultural improvement, a visit to Liskeard Farm will be both interesting and profitable.

We believe that Mr. Torr also farms another estate, which he purchased, in conjunction with friends, from Sir William Stanley, at Eastham, near Hooton (a pleasant voyage of an hour up the river), and cultivates after the North Lincolnshire style, in such a manner as to set an example to the Cheshire farmers–not a little needed. The country about Eastham is the prettiest part of the Mersey.

While on the subject of agricultural improvements, we may mention that Mr. Robert Neilson, another mercantile notability, holds a farm, under Lord Stanley, at a short railroad ride from Liverpool, which we have not yet had an opportunity of examining, but understand that it is a very remarkable instance of good farming, and consequently heavy crops, in a county (Lancashire) where slovenly farming is quite the rule, and well worth a visit from competent judges, whom as we are also informed Mr. Neilson is happy to receive.

If, as seems not improbable, it should become the fashion among our merchant princes to seek health and relaxation by applying capital and commercial principles to land, good farming will spread, by force of vaccination, over the country, and plain tenant-farmers will apply, cheaply and economically, the fruits of experience, purchased dearly, although not too dearly, by merchant farmers. A successful man may as well–nay, much better–sink money for a small return in such a wholesome and useful pursuit as agriculture, than in emulating the landed aristocracy, who laugh quietly at such efforts, or hoarding and speculating to add to what is already more than enough.

If a visit be paid to Mr. Neilson’s farm, it would be very desirable to obtain, if possible, permission to view the Earl of Derby’s collection of rare birds and animals, one of the finest in the world. But permission is rarely granted to strangers who have not some scientific claim to the favour. Lord Derby has agents collecting for him in every part of the world, and has been very successful in rearing many birds from tropical and semi-tropical countries in confinement, which have baffled the efforts of zoological societies. The aviaries are arranged on a large scale, with shrubs growing in and water flowing through them. In fine weather some beautiful parrots, macaws, and other birds of a tame kind, are permitted to fly about the grounds. There is something very novel and striking in beholding brilliant macaws and cockatoos swinging on a lofty green-leaved bough, and then, at the call of the keeper, darting down to be fed where stately Indian and African cranes and clumsy emus are stalking about.

The late Earl was celebrated as a cockfighter, and the possessor of one of the finest breeds of game fowls in the kingdom. A few only are now kept up at Knowsley, as presents to the noble owner’s friends. Knowsley lies near Prescott, about seven miles from Liverpool. The family are descended from the Lord Stanley who was created Earl of Derby by the Earl of Lancaster and Derby, afterwards Henry IV., for services rendered at the battle of Bosworth Field. An ancestress, Charlotte de la Tremouille, Countess of Derby, is celebrated for her defence of Latham House against the Parliamentary forces in the Great Civil War, and is one of the heroines of Sir Walter Scott’s novel of “Peveril of the Peak.” {159}

Liverpool is particularly well placed as a starting point for excursions, in consequence of the number of railways with which it is connected, and the number of steamboats which frequent its port, where a whole dock is especially devoted to vessels of that class.

By crossing over to Birkenhead, Chester may be reached, and thence the quietest route to Ireland, by Britannia Bridge and Holyhead; or a journey through North Wales may be commenced. By the East Lancashire, starting from the Station behind the Exchange, a direct line is opened through Ormskirk to Preston, the lakes of Cumberland, and to Scotland by the west coast line.

From the same station a circuitous route through Wigan and Bolton, on the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway, opens a second road to Manchester, and affords a complete communication with the manufacturing districts of Lancashire and Yorkshire.

On the roads to London it is not now necessary to treat.

The steam accommodation from Liverpool has always been excellent, far superior to that afforded in the Thames. No such wretched slow-sailing tubs are to be found as those which plied between London and Boulogne and Calais, until railway competition introduced a little improvement. The interior fittings and feeding on board Liverpool boats are generally superior. The proprietors have taken the Scotch and Americans as models, and not the stingy people of the Thames.

It is very odd that while the French and Scotch can contrive to give a delicious breakfast or dinner on shipboard, while the Germans on the Rhine are positively luxurious, and while we know that a steam-boiler offers every convenience for petits plats, the real old English steam-boats of the General Steam Navigation Company never vary from huge joints and skinny chickens, with vegetables plain boiled.

We remember, some years ago, embarking on a splendid French steamer, afterwards run down and sunk in the Channel, to go to Havre, and returning by Boulogne to London. In the French vessel it was almost impossible to keep from eating,–soups, cutlets, plump fowls, all excellent and not dear. On board the English boat it was necessary to be very hungry, in order to attack the solid, untempting joints of roast and boiled.

This is a travelling age, and both hotel keepers and steam-boat owners will find profit in allowing the spirit of free trade and interchange to extend to the kitchen. Our public cooks are always spoiling the best meat and vegetables in Europe.

More than twenty lines of steamers ply from Liverpool to the various ports of Ireland; the Isle of Man, which is a favourite watering-place for the Lancashire and Cheshire people; Glasgow and other parts of Scotland, Whitehaven and Carlisle, Bangor, Caernarvon, and other ports of Wales, beside the deep-sea steamers to New York, Philadelphia, and Boston; to Constantinople, Malta, and Smyrna; and to Gibraltar, Genoa, Leghorn, Civita Vecchia (for Rome), Naples, Messina, and Palermo; so that an indifferent traveller has ample choice, which is sometimes very convenient for a man who wants to go somewhere and does not care where.

The amusements of Liverpool include two theatres, an amphitheatre for horsemanship, and several sets of subscription concerts, for the use of which a fine hall has been erected.

The race-course is situated at some miles distant from the town; races take place three times a-year, two being flat races, and the third a steeple- chase. They are well supported and attended, although not by ladies so much as in the Midland and Northern Counties. The Liverpool races are chiefly matters of business, something like the Newmarket, with the addition of a mob. A large attendance comes from Manchester, where more betting is carried on than in any town out of London. Gambling of all kinds naturally follows in the wake of cotton speculation, which is gambling.

The crashes produced in Liverpool by the sacra fames auri are sometimes startling, and they come out in visible relief, because, in spite of its size, gossip flourishes as intensely as in a village. During one of the cotton manias a young gentleman, barely of age, in possession of an income of some two thousand a-year from land, and ready money to the extent of one hundred and fifty thousand pounds, joined an ingenious penniless gentleman in speculating in cotton, and found himself in less than twelve months a bankrupt; thus sacrificing, without the least enjoyment, a fortune sufficient for the enjoyment of every rational pleasure, or for the support of the highest honours in the State.

Such instances are not uncommon, although on a less magnificent scale; indeed, it is well to be cautious in inquiring after a Liverpool merchant or broker after an absence of a few years; a very few years are sufficient to render the poor rich and the rich poor, an eighth of a penny in the pound of cotton will do it.

The Municipal Corporation of Liverpool is the wealthiest in England after London, and virtually richer than London, inasmuch as the expenses are trifling, the property is improving, and the Liverpool aldermen and common- councillors have no vested claims to costly entertainments.

The majority is in the hands of the Conservative party, the Liberal party having only enjoyed the sweets of power for a brief period after the passing of the Financial Reform Bill; but the principle of representation keeps down any inclination toward the inevitable jobberies of a close self-elected body, and pushes local legislators on, quite up to the mark of the public opinion of the locality they govern.

A stranger, who has no interest in party squabbles, must confess that the funds of this wealthy estate are on the whole fairly and wisely distributed.

The Irish population, amounting to many thousands of the poorest and most ignorant class, who find a refuge from the miseries of their own country in the first port from Dublin, and employment in the vast demand for unskilled labour caused by the perpetual movement in imports and exports, impose a heavy tax on the poor-rates and police-rates of this borough.

In the education of this part of the community, the Liberal Corporation made provision in the extensive Corporation schools, by adopting the Irish Government scheme of instruction, permitting the Roman Catholics to make use of their own translation of the Bible, and to absent themselves from the religious instruction of the orthodox.

On this question the municipal elections were fought. The general education party were eventually beaten. The Roman Catholics were withdrawn from the schools, and thrown entirely upon the priests or the streets for education, and great was the rejoicing among the party who carried a large wooden Bible as their standard.

But subsequent events have induced those who have given any attention to the state of the operative classes in Liverpool, of whatever politics, to doubt whether it would not have been better to have been busy, for the last fifteen years, in teaching those classes something, who, knowing nothing, supply very expensive customers to the Liverpool courts of law and jail.

Liverpool returns two members to the House of Commons.

The election contests were formerly wonderfully bitter and absurd, for on one occasion, just before the passing of the Reform Bill, nearly two hundred thousand pounds were spent by two parties, between whose politics there was scarcely a shade of difference.

William Roscoe represented Liverpool for a short time, but was rejected at a second election, in consequence of his opposition to the Slave Trade. He was the son of a publican, and rose from an office boy to be an attorney in large practice, and eventually a banker. He was ruined by the stopping of his bank, which, after being for many years under the taxing harrows of the old corrupt bankrupt system, paid twenty shillings in the pound. William Roscoe was a voluminous writer of political pamphlets and poetry, which are now quite forgotten; his literary reputation deservedly rests upon his lives of Lorenzo de Medici, published in 1796, and of Leo X; the former of which has recently been republished by Mr. Bohn, in his cheap series of reprints.

Of even more value than his literary productions, was the school, or party, which he founded in Liverpool, while he was still wealthy and influential, embracing all who had a taste for literature and art. At that period Liverpool was rising into wealth on a vigorous prosecution of the Slave Trade, of which its parliamentary representatives were the avowed supporters. At that time vulgar wealth was the only distinction, and low debauchery the almost only amusement of the principal merchants. Absurd as it may now seem, when all the well-to-do world profess to be educated and temperate, Roscoe and his friends rendered inestimable service by making elegant tastes and temperate habits respectable, and by raising up an opposition to the old Slave Trade party, whose paradise lay in turtle soup, port wine, and punch. He set an example to merchants of stocking a library as well as a cellar, which has been followed, until now it is considered a matter of course. William Roscoe died in 1831, at a very advanced age. He was a remarkably fine-looking man, with a grand aristocratic head.

In addition to Huskisson and George Canning, Liverpool once very nearly had the honour of sending to Parliament Henry Brougham, in days when the Chancellorship and the House of Lords could scarcely have been expected by that versatile genius, even in a dream.

At present Liverpool interests are well represented in the House of Commons. The borough has had the good sense to prefer a merchant townsman, Sir Thomas Birch, and the son of a merchant, and friend and co-minister of the late Sir Robert Peel, Mr. Cardwell, to a soldier, and the dreamy poetical son of a Protectionist duke. A place like Liverpool ought to find in its own body better men than young lords or old soldiers. But young Liverpool dearly loves a lord, of any politics; and a little polite attention from a duke will produce an unconscious effect even on the trade report of a broker of “fashion.”

Mr. William Brown, at the head of the greatest American house in the world, after Baring’s, represents South Lancashire, but on Manchester influence, scarcely with the consent of Liverpool. Mr. Brown, who is an Irishman by birth, has been entirely the architect of his own fortune, and began business–on a very limited scale indeed–within the memory of persons now living. The firm has now agents in every town of any importance in the United States, and is the means of keeping in active employment hundreds of traders in all our manufacturing districts. The relations with Birmingham and the hardware country are very close. Another Liverpool man of whom the Liverpool people are justly proud, is the best debater in the House of Commons, if he only knew his own mind, the Right Honourable William Gladstone, the son of Sir John Gladstone, Bart., of Fasque, N.B., formerly a Liverpool merchant. Sir John Gladstone is a Scotchman, and in conjunction with another gentleman, also the head of a first-rate Liverpool house, Mr. Sandbatch, went out to the West Indies (Demerara) as journeymen bakers, in the same way that Mr. Miles, the grandfather of the members for East Somerset and Bristol, and founder of the great Bristol banking house, went out to Barbadoes as a journeyman cooper. If we add to these instances that the first Sir Robert Peel and Mr. Brotherton (who himself told the House, in a debate on the Factory Time Bill, that he had commenced life as a factory operative), beside many others, too numerous to mention, it will be found that our House of Commons is not so far out of the reach of industrious merit as foreigners usually imagine.

In conclusion, we may note that Liverpool, which gave very cold and niggard support to the Great Exhibition (chiefly because the project was ill received by the ducal house which patronizes the fashionables of the town), sent a contribution which very completely represented its imports, specifying the scientific and commercial name of each article, country of production, and quantity imported.

This collection occupies a considerable space, but it will be found, on examination, that a few staples employ the greater part of the shipping inwards. Cotton occupies by far the largest place, the air is filled with floating motes of cotton all round the business quarters of the town; timber probably stands next in the tonnage it employs; West Indian produce is less important than it was formerly; a great trade is done with South America, in hides, both dry and salted; tobacco, both from the United States and Cuba, arrives in large quantities. There are several great snuff and cigar manufactories in Liverpool. The hemp and tallow trade is increasing, as is the foreign corn trade. The Mediterranean, and especially the Italian, trade, has been rendered more important by steam communication. The China trade has not increased as much as was expected.

When the Docks and Public Institutions have been examined, and the places of interest on the Cheshire shore visited, Liverpool presents nothing to detain the traveller who has no private claims on his attention.

It must be acknowledged that the general appearance of the town and of the people is more agreeable than that of Birmingham or Manchester, although Liverpool can claim none of the historical and antiquarian interest in which Bristol and Chester are rich. There are parts of the town devoted to low lodging houses, and accommodation for the poor Irish and emigrants, as bad as the worst parts of St. Giles’s or Spitalfields. Indeed, the mortality is greater than that of any other town in England.

Liverpool is a great port for emigration to the United States and Canada. On the line of packet ships the accommodation for those who can pay 5 pounds and upwards is excellent; in the timber ships they are packed like herrings after being lodged like pigs. But what can be expected for the fare. At 2 pounds the shipowners undertake to give a passage, and find two quarts of water and a pound of bread per day. The Government Emigration Agents are indefatigable in their efforts, municipal and Parliamentary regulations have been from time to time applied to the subject, nevertheless the frauds and cruelties inflicted on emigrants are frightful.

An attempt was made some short time since to have an Emigrant’s Home as a sort of Model Barrack, erected in one of the New Docks, so as to form a counterpoise to the frauds of emigration lodging-house keepers, but local jealousies defeated a plan which would have been equally advantageous to the town and the emigrants.

The state of poverty and crime in Liverpool, fed as it is by the overflowings of many districts, is an important subject, which has excited the anxious attention of several enlightened residents, among others of the late Police Magistrate, Mr. Edward Rushton, who died suddenly without being able to bring his plans to maturity.

In conclusion we may say of Liverpool, that it is a town which has a great and increasing population, a wealthy Corporation, a thriving trade, yet less of the materials of a metropolis than many other towns of less commercial importance.

For further temporary information, a traveller may advantageously consult the Liverpool papers, of which there is one for every day in the week–that is to say, an Albion, a Times, a Mail, a Standard, a Mercury, a Journal, a Chronicle–of all shades of politics, of large size, conducted with great ability, and affording, in addition to the news and politics of the day, a great deal of general information, in the shape of extracts from popular works and original articles.

If we would learn why the opinions of inhabitants of towns prevail over the opinions of landowners and agriculturists, we have only to compare the active intelligence of the two as exhibited by such journals as are to be found in Liverpool, Manchester, and Birmingham with those supported by the rural community. A single sect expends more on the support of the press than all the farmers and farmers’ friends united, who are more numerous, more wealthy, not wanting in intelligence in their own pursuits, but quite without cohesion or combination.

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LIVERPOOL TO MANCHESTER.–There are two ways from Liverpool to Manchester, one by the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway, through Bolton, which has a station behind the Exchange, and one by the old route, through Newton. The line by the new one has Bolton upon its course, and renders the Aintree Racecourse half as near Manchester as Liverpool.

For choice take a Tuesday or Saturday, and travel up by the early Cotton Brokers’ Express to Manchester, so as to see one more phase of the English commercial character. The Brokers are a jovial set and hospitable, as keen as Yankees and as industrious. There is a marked difference between them and the Spinners, but they are of no particular country. Liverpool, like Manchester, although not to the same degree, is colonised by strangers. Both Irishmen and Scotchmen are to be found among the most respectable and successful, and a considerable number of Americans are settled there as merchants and shipping agents; indeed it is half American in its character.

In this year of 1851, to describe the Liverpool and Manchester Railway would be absurd; acres of print, in all civilized languages, and yards of picture- illustration, have been devoted to it. At Newton Station you see below you a race-course of great antiquity, and what was once a huge hotel, built to supply a room large enough for the Mother Partingtons of Lancashire to meet and prepare their mops for sweeping back the Atlantic tide of public opinion. There they met, and dined and drank and shouted, and unanimously agreed that it was foolish legislation which transferred the right of representation from the village of Newton to the great city of Manchester; after which they went home, and wisely submitted to the summons which found its speaking-trumpets at Manchester. Fortunately for this country, a minority knows how to submit to a majority, and the Conservative Hall, by a sort of accidental satire on its original uses, has been turned into a printing office.

A little farther on is Chat-Moss, a quaking bog, which the opponents of the first railway proved, to the satisfaction of many intelligent persons, to be an impassable obstacle to the construction of any solid road. We fly across it now reading or writing, scarcely taking the trouble to look out of the window. But if we do, we may see reclamation and cultivation, in the shape of root-crops and plantations, extending over the wet waste.

William Roscoe was one of the first to attempt to reclaim this Moss; and it is worthy of note, that it was among the literary and scientific friends of Roscoe that George Stephenson’s idea of a railroad from Liverpool to Manchester, through Chat-Moss, found its warmest supporters, at a time when support was much needed; for the shares were hawked, and even distributed among friends who were guaranteed against loss, in order to make up a fitting parliamentary subscription to what has proved one of the most successful speculations in public works, of this century.


As we roll into Manchester, and mark by what successive invasions the city has been half-surrounded by railways, it is amusing to remember the fears which landowners expressed in 1829, and really felt, lest the new flaming and smoking carriage-apparatus should damage the value of property which has been more than doubled in value by the new invention.

Manchester is the greatest manufactory in the world. The cradle and metropolis of a trade which employs a million and a half of souls, beside the sailors, the merchants, the planters and the slaves, who grow or carry or buy the raw material, it is the second city in the empire, and perhaps, considered in relation to the commercial influence of Great Britain, scarcely second. Blot out the capital, the credit, the living enterprise, the manufacturing power of Manchester, and we have lost a century of commercial progress. Manchester is essentially a place of work and action, carried on by men recruited from every district where a mental grenadier of the Manchester standard is to be found. Suffolk and Devonshire, Norfolk and Cornwall send their quota, as well as the neighbouring manufacturing schools of Yorkshire, Cheshire, and Lancashire. Scotchmen in great numbers, and some Irishmen, chiefly from the north, are also at home there. We are speaking now not of operatives, but of those who rise to be manufacturers or merchants. The Americans are rather constant visitors than permanent residents; but the Germans are sufficiently numerous to be able to form a society of their own, the most agreeable in Manchester; and the commerce of Greece is represented by a great number of houses, which are increasing in number and importance.

Then Manchester, although only an inland canal port, trades largely and directly, through Liverpool chiefly, to the most parts of the world, consuming one-tenth of the whole imports of that town. The correspondence of a first-class house for one morning would alone be a lesson in geography.

Then again, the ceaseless enterprise and enormous powers of manufacture are supported by a constantly-improving mechanical ingenuity, which seems to those unaccustomed to such works nothing less than miraculous: as, for instance, some of the inventions of Mr. Whitworth and of Mr. Roberts.

But all this is hidden from the eye of a stranger; and Manchester is a dark and dingy ledger, closely clasped, unless he comes prepared to open a good account, or armed with letters of introduction of a more than ordinarily pressing nature. The gentleman who was all smiles while accepting your civilities, and energetically amusing himself on a tour of pleasure, has scarcely time to look up from his desk to greet you when enthroned in his counting-house. The fact is, that these Manchester men rise early, work hard, dine at one o’clock, work again, and go home, some distance out of town, to work or to sleep,–so they have no time for unprofitable hospitality or civility.

We do not say this by way of idle reproach to the people of Manchester, who follow their vocation, and do work of which we as Englishmen have reason to be proud, but partly by way of warning to travellers who, armed with the sort of letters that have proved passports to everything best worth seeing throughout the rest of Europe, may expect to pass an agreeable day or two in the cotton metropolis; and partly by way of hint to politicians who, very fond of inveighing against the cold shade of aristocracy, would find something worth imitating in the almost universal courtesy of modern nobility, which is quite consistent with the extremest liberality of abstract opinions.

Dr. Dalton, the celebrated natural philosopher, for many years a resident in Manchester, has proved that Manchester is not so damp and rainy a place as is generally imagined; that the mean annual fall of rain is less than that of Lancaster, Kendal, and Dumfries. Nevertheless, it is better to expect rain, for although the day at Liverpool, Halifax, or Sheffield may have been brilliantly fine, the probability is that you will find the train, as it approaches the city, gradually slipping into a heavy shower or a Scotch mist.

The walk from any of the stations is very disheartening; tall warehouses, dingy brick houses, a ceaseless roar of carts and waggons in the main streets, and a population of which all the better dressed march at double quick time, with care-brent brows, and if pausing, only to exchange gruff monosyllables and short words.

At one o’clock the factory hands are dismissed, and the masters proceed to dinner on horseback and in all sorts of vehicles at a thundering pace. The working-class population will be found less unhealthy and better looking than would be expected. The costume of the women, a cap and a short sleeved jacket fitting the waist, called a Lancashire bedgown, is decidedly picturesque. For a quarter of an hour some streets are almost impassable, and the movement gives the idea of a population deserting a city. An hour’s silence follows, after which the tide flows again: the footpaths are filled with the “hands;” and the “heads,” with very red faces, furiously drive their hundred guinea nags back to business. Now this is one of the sights of Manchester.

Again, Tuesday is the business day at the Exchange, in St. Ann’s Square. The room is one of the finest in the kingdom; the faces and the scene generally afford much curious matter for the study of the artist and physiognomist. Compare it with the groups of well dressed dawdlers at Leamington, Cheltenham, Bath, with the very different style of acute intellect displayed at a meeting of the Institute of Civil Engineers, or with the merchants of Liverpool, part of whom also attend Manchester.

The personal appearance of the Manchester manufacturers and their customers, as seen on ‘Change, fully justifies the old saw, “Liverpool gentlemen, Manchester men, Rochdale fellows (fellies), and Wigan chaps.”

In Liverpool all are equal,–merchant deals with merchant; in Manchester the millowner is an autocrat, restrained by customs of the trade and occasional strikes, and he carries his rough ways into private life.

But facts show that, with all its plate and varnish, Liverpool is as inferior to Manchester in an intellectual, as it is superior in an external point of view.

In politics Manchester leads, and Liverpool and Lancashire unwillingly follow,–in the education of the operative and middle classes,–in literary, scientific, and musical associations,–in sanitary measures,–in the formation of public parks and pleasure grounds, Manchester displays an incontestable superiority; being more rapid, more energetic, and more liberal than her more fashionable neighbours.

A list of a few of the institutions and public establishments will show this.

The Royal Institution in Mosley Street occupies a large building, established for the encouragement of the Fine Arts by exhibitions of paintings and sculptures, and the delivery of lectures.

The Philosophical Society was established in 1781, and has numbered among its members Dr. Dalton, Dr. Henry, and Dr. Percival, and has had its Transactions translated into French and German.

The Natural History Society has filled a museum in Peter Street with objects of natural history, and opens it during holiday seasons to the public at a nominal charge, when thousands of visitors, chiefly operatives, attend.

The Mechanics’ Institution, founded in 1824, after surviving many difficulties, has become one of the most flourishing and useful institutions of the kind in the kingdom. Its chief activity is displayed in the education of the operative members in the class-rooms. The library is large, well selected, and in constant requisition. In one department the School of Design is carried on, and could not be conducted in a more appropriate building.

This School of Design, supported by the Government for the purpose of promoting design as applied to the staple manufactures, and diffusing a general feeling for art amongst the manufacturing community, was formerly accommodated within the walls of the Royal Institution as a tenant, paying a rent, strangely enough, for the use of a building which had ostensibly been erected for promoting art and science!

It was not until 1836, that, on the recommendation of a Committee of the House of Commons, active steps were taken to establish in England that class of artistic instruction applied to manufactures which had been cultivated in France ever since the time that the great Colbert was the minister of Louis XIV.

At Manchester, some of the leading men connected with the calico-printing trade and looms of art, established a School of Design within the Royal Institution, where two rooms were lent rent-free; but, as soon as Government apportioned a part of a special grant to the Manchester School, the Committee, who were also as nearly as possible the Council of the Royal Institution, with that appetite for public money which seems incident to men of all nations, all classes, and all politics, voted 100 out of the 250 pounds per annum for rent. This school did nothing of a practical nature, and consequently did not progress in public estimation. The master was a clever artist, but not up, perhaps he would have said not down, to his work. A School of Design at Manchester is meant, not to breed artists in high art, but to have art applied to the trades of the city. The master was changed, and, at the request of the local committee, the Council of the School of Design at Somerset House sent down, in 1845, Mr. George Wallis, who had shown his qualifications as an assistant at Somerset House and as master of the Spitalfields school. At that time the Manchester school had been in existence five years, and had done nothing toward its original object. In two years from the time of Mr. Wallis taking the charge, the funds of the school were flourishing; the interest taken in it by the public was great, and nearly half the Institution was occupied by the pupils, while the applications for admission were more numerous than could be accommodated. Under this management the public, who care little for abstract art, were taught the close connexion between the instruction of the School of Design and their private pursuits.

This is what is wanted in all our towns. It is not enough to teach boys and girls,–the manufacturers and purchasers need to be taught by the eye, if not by the hand.

According to part of Mr. Wallis’s plan, an exhibition was held of the drawings executed by the pupils for the annual prizes, which had a great influence in laying the foundation for the efforts made by Manchester at the Great Exhibition of Industry in Hyde Park.

While matters were proceeding so satisfactorily, the Somerset House authorities (who have since been tried and condemned by a Committee of the House of Commons), proceeded to earn their salaries by giving instructions which could not be carried out without destroying all the good that had been done. The Manchester Committee and Mr. Wallis protested against this red tapish interference. It was persisted in; Mr. Wallis {172} resigned, to the great regret of his pupils and manufacturing friends in the managing council.

The result was that the undertaking dwindled away rapidly to less than its original insignificance,–the students fell off, and a deficit of debt replaced the previously flourishing funds. Out of evil comes good. The case of Manchester enabled Mr. Milner Gibson, M.P. for Manchester, to get his Committee and overhaul the Schools of Design throughout the kingdom.

Certain changes were effected. The school, no longer able to pay the high rent required by the Royal Institution, was removed to its present site in Brown Street, placed under the management of Mr. Hammersley, who had previously been a successful teacher at Nottingham, and freed from the meddling of incompetent authorities. And now pupils anxiously crowd to receive instruction, and annually display practical evidence of the advantages they are enjoying.

The Manchester Mechanics’ Institution was one of the pioneers in the movement which led to the Great Exhibition. In 1831, was held its first Polytechnic Exhibition for the purpose of showing the connexion between natural productions, science, and manufactures. Subsequent Exhibitions were carried out with great effect as a means of instruction and education, and with such success as to pay off a heavy debt which had previously cramped the usefulness of the Institution.

There are also several other institutions of the same class, amongst others Salford, Ancoats, and Miles Platting Auxiliary Mechanics’ Institutes.

The Athenaeum constitutes a kind of literary club for the middle classes, who are provided with a good library and reading-room in a very handsome building.

The Manchester Library contains 10,000 volumes, the Manchester Subscription Library, established 1765, has the most extensive collection of books in the city.

A Concert Hall in Peter Street, exclusively used for the purposes indicated by its name, is supported by 600 subscribers at five guineas each.

The Chetham Society has been founded for the purpose of publishing ancient MSS. and scarce works connected with the history of Lancashire.

The Exchange has upwards of two thousand subscribers.

By way of helping the body as well as the mind, in 1846 the inhabitants of Manchester formed by subscription three public parks, called Queen’s Park, Peel’s Park, and Philip’s Park, in three different parts of the suburbs.

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THE FREE GRAMMAR SCHOOL was founded by Hugh Oldham, Bishop of Exeter, in the early part of the sixteenth century. It was originally founded for the purpose of furnishing simple and elementary instruction to the poor. This design is sufficiently proved by the language of the foundation deed, which describes those sought to be benefited as persons who had been long in ignorance “on account of the poverty of their parents.” The present income of the school is upwards of 5000 pounds a-year, leaving a considerable income over its expenditure, notwithstanding that the operations of the school have been extended by a decree of the Court of Chancery. In the year 1833 the Court authorised the erection of a new building to include a residence for the master. There are two schools, called the Higher and Lower. The instructions given embrace the Greek and Latin, and the French, German, and other modern languages; English literature, mathematics, the modern arts and sciences, etc. A library is attached to the school for the use of the pupils. There are twelve exhibitions, of the annual value of 60 pounds each, for four years, in the gift of the Warden and High Master, who, however, respect the recommendations of the Examiners. These gentlemen are three in number, being Masters of Arts and Bachelors of Law of two years’ standing, two of them appointed by the Professor, and one by the High Master. They each receive 20 pounds for their services. In addition to the twelve exhibitions mentioned above, there are fifteen others connected with the school, the bequest of a merchant named Hulme. These are appropriated to under-graduates of Brasenose College, Oxford. Their value is to be fixed by the patrons, but cannot exceed the sum of 220 pounds a year. They are to be held for four years from the thirteenth term after matriculation. There are sixteen scholarships to the same College; and sixteen to St. John’s, Cambridge, varying in value from l8 to 26 pounds, stand in rotation with the pupils of Marlborough and Hereford Schools, and six scholarships of 24 pounds to Magdalen College, Oxford, Manchester pupils having the preference. The Examiners have also the power of making awards of books or mathematical instruments, to the value of 25 pounds, in any cases of great merit.

The High Master’s salary is fixed not to exceed 600 pounds, with house-rent and taxes free. He is also allowed to take twenty boarders. He has the assistance of an Usher (salary 300 pounds, with house and fifteen boarders); an Assistant (salary 200 pounds, with house and twelve boarders); an Usher’s Assistant (salary 150 pounds, with house and ten boarders). There are, in addition, a Master of the Lower School, a Writing, and a Mathematical Master, a teacher of English literature, and another of foreign languages; all, with the exception of the last, having houses, and their aggregate salaries amounting to 800 pounds.

Four hundred scholars attended in 1850.

MANCHESTER NEW COLLEGE is an institution belonging to the Unitarian body, on the plan of King’s College, London, and was opened for the reception of students on the 5th October, 1840. The curriculum of instruction embraces every department of learning and polite literature.

THE LANCASHIRE INDEPENDENT COLLEGE is one of the affiliated Colleges of the London University, and was established for the education of candidates for the Christian Ministry amongst Congregational dissenters. There are three resident Professors, the principal being the Rev. Dr. Vaughan, formerly Professor of History in the University of London.

OWEN’S COLLEGE has recently been opened on the testamentary endowment of a Mr. Owen, for affording an education on the plan of University College, London.

CHETHAM’S HOSPITAL, or, as it is more properly termed, “College,” was founded by Charter in the year 1665, by Humphrey Chetham, a Manchester citizen and tradesman, who had, during his lifetime, brought up, fed, and educated fourteen boys of Manchester and Salford. He paid a heavy fine to Charles I. for persisting in his refusal of a baronetcy, and in 1634 was appointed Sheriff of his county. By his will Chetham directed that the number of boys he had previously provided for should be augmented by the addition of one from Droylsden, two from Crumpsall, four from Turton, and ten from Bolton; and left the sum of 7000 pounds to be devoted to their instruction and maintenance, from six to fourteen years of age, and for their apprenticeship afterwards to some trade. The funds having since increased, 80 boys are now received, in the following proportions, from the several places mentioned in the founder’s will, viz.:–Manchester, 28; Salford, 12; Droylsden, 6; Crumpsall, 4; Bolton, 20; Turton, 10. They are clothed, fed, boarded, lodged, and instructed in reading, writing, grammar, and arithmetic. The boys are selected by the Feoffees in annual meeting at Easter, within six days before the Monday in which week an application must be sent in to the Governor, accompanied by a printed note of recommendation, signed by the overseers and churchwardens of the place in which the candidate resides.

THE COLLEGE LIBRARY is situated in the same old building in which accommodation is found for the College, and is a fine collection of upwards of 25,000 volumes. The germ of this library consisted of the books bequeathed by Humphrey Chetham, many of them of great scarcity and value. The collection contains comparatively few volumes of modern date. The library is open to the use of the public without charge or restriction, and a small, but convenient, reading-room is provided for their accommodation. Books are not allowed to be removed from the premises, and every reader is obliged to make an entry of each volume he wishes to obtain. Notwithstanding the immense population of Manchester and Salford, this valuable institution is comparatively little used, the number of readers averaging less than twenty per day.

SWINTON SCHOOL.–In connexion with the Workhouse an Industrial House and School has been erected at Swinton, five miles from the City, which affords so admirable an example for imitation by all manufacturing or crowded communities, that we are glad to be able to extract the main facts concerning it from a graphic description in the first volume of Dickens’s Household Words:–

“Swinton School cost sixty thousand pounds, and is a handsome building in the Tudor style of architecture, with a frontage of 450 feet, containing more than 100 windows. Pleasure grounds and play grounds surround it, and it resembles more a nobleman’s palace than the Home of Pauper Children. The inmates consist of 630 children, of whom 305 are orphans, and 124 deserted by their parents, under charge of a Chaplain, a Head Master, a Medical Officer, a Roman Catholic Priest, a Governor, a Matron, six Schoolmasters, and four School-mistresses, with a numerous staff of officials, Nurses, and Teachers of Trades, receiving salaries and wages amounting to 1,800 pounds a-year, besides board. Some in the institution are as young as one year and a half.

All are educated, and those who are old enough are taught trades and domestic employments. When they leave they are furnished with two suits of clothes. The character of the Institution stands so high, that the public are eager for the girls as domestic servants. If it has not already been done, we hope that the cultivation of land on the system of market gardens will be added to the trades, as affording a more certain, and, in some respects, more generally useful employment. Educated agricultural labourers are rare, much prized, and soon promoted to be overseers and bailiffs.

The education at Swinton is conducted on the modern plan, which prevails in the best schools under Government inspection. The children are taught to love and look upon their masters and mistresses as friends, to be consulted and applied to as they would to kind parents.

For instance take this bit, familiar to visitors of Infant Schools, but still new to many:–

The children under six years of age, summoned by the sound of a whistle from the play ground, trooped in glad groups to an anteroom, and girls and boys intermixed, at a signal from the Master marched into the schoolroom singing a tune.

Then followed such viva voce instruction as too many better endowed children do not get for want of competent teachers. Indeed a better education is now given in Workhouses than can be obtained for children under twelve years of age at any paid school that we know of. For instance:–

“What day is this?”
“What sort of a day is it?”
“Very fine.”
“Why is it fine?”
“Because the sun shines, and it does not rain.” “Is rain a bad thing, then?”
“What is it useful for?”
“To make the flowers and the fruit grow.” “Who sends rain and sunshine?”
“What ought we to do in return for his goodness?” “Praise him.”
“Let us praise him, then,” added the Master.

And the children altogether repeated, and then sang, a part of the 149th psalm.”

Now all this is very fine, and a wonderful improvement on the old dog-eared Redinmadeasy, but better follows. After a time the children grew tired and sleepy, one fell asleep. Did the Master slap them all round and pull the ears of the poor little fat somnus? No. He marched them all out singing and beating time to play for a quarter of an hour.

We commend Swinton to the consideration of the credulous disciples of the firebrand school of economists, who believe that Manchester men devour little children daily, without stint or mercy for their poor little bodies or souls.

Manchester obtained a municipal corporation under the provisions of the general act for that purpose, passed in the reign of his late Majesty William IV. Gas works, established in 1817, are the property of the town, and produce a surplus income amounting to between three and four thousand pounds a year, which are devoted to public improvements. The corporation have recently obtained power to establish water works, and to purchase up the plant of an existing company.

The guardians of the workhouses of Manchester have a most difficult task to perform, especially in times of commercial depression, as thousands are thrown upon their hands at once. Among the most troublesome customers are the Irish, who flock to Manchester through Liverpool in search of work, and form a population herding together, very ignorant, very poor, and very uncleanly.


It is quite impossible to give the same sort of sketch of the manufactures of this city as we gave of Birmingham, because they are on so much larger and more complicated a scale. One may understand how a gun-barrel or a steel-pen is made at one inspection; but in a visit to a textile mill, a sight of whizzing machinery, under the charge of some hundred men, women, boys, and girls, only produces an indefinable feeling of confusion to a person who has not previously made himself acquainted with the elements of the subject. To attempt to explain how a piece of calico is made without the aid of woodcuts, would be very unsatisfactory. Premising, then, that the cotton in various forms is the staple manufacture of Manchester, and that silk, mixed fabrics of cotton and silk, cotton and wool, etc., are also made extensively, we advise the traveller to prepare himself by reading the work of Dr. Ure or the articles on Textiles in the Penny Cyclopaedia.

A visit to the workshops of the celebrated machinists Messrs. Sharpe, Roberts, & Co. would probably afford a view of some parts of the most improved textile machinery in a state of rest, as well as a very excellent idea of the rapid progress of mechanical arts. Improvements in manufacturing machines are so constant and rapid, that it is almost a proverb–“that before a foreigner can get the most improved machinery which he has purchased in England home and at work, something better will be invented.”

A Manchester manufacturer, on the approach of a busy season, will sometimes stop his factories to put in new machines, at a cost of twenty thousand pounds.

Of equal interest with Messrs. Sharpe, Roberts, & Co., are the works of Messrs. Whitworth, the manufacturers of exquisite tools, more powerful than any elephant, more delicately-fitted than any watch for executing the metalwork of steam-engines, of philosophical instruments, and everything requiring either great power or mathematical nicety. Some of these tools for planing, boring, rivetting, welding, cutting iron and other metals, are to be found in great iron manufactories. Indeed, Mr. Roberts and Mr. Whitworth are of a class of men who have proved that the execution of almost all imitations of natural mechanics are merely a question of comparative expense. If you choose to pay for it, you may have the moving fingers of a man, or the prehensile trunk of an elephant, perfectly executed.

From the manufacture of machines, the next step lies naturally to some branch of cotton manufactures.

COTTON.–The rise of this manufacture has been wonderfully rapid. In the time of Henry VIII., the spinning wheel came into use in England, superseding the spindle and distaff, which may still be seen in the south of France and Italy, and in India, where no other tools are used. In the same reign Manchester became distinguished for its manufactures.

In the seventeenth century, Humphrey Chetham, whose name has already been mentioned as the founder of a splendid charity, was among the eminent tradesmen.

The barbarities of the Duke of Alva on the Protestants of the Netherlands, and the revocation of the edict of Nantes, by which the persecutions of the French Protestants was renewed, supplied all our manufacturing districts with skilful Artisans and mechanics in silk and woollen.

In 1786, the importation of raw cotton only amounted to nineteen million pounds weight, obtained from the West Indies, the French, Spanish, and Dutch colonies, and from Turkey and Smyrna. Two years previously an American ship which imported eight bags was seized, on the ground that so much cotton could not be the produce of the United States!

So early as 1738, one Charles Wyatt, of Birmingham, took out a patent for spinning yarn by machinery, which he tried at Northampton, but reaped no profits from the invention, which was discontinued and forgotten. In 1767, James Hargreaves, an illiterate weaver residing near Church, in Lancashire, who seven years previously had invented a carding machine, much like that in use at the present day, invented the spinning jenny,–by which eighty spindles were set to work instead of the one of the spinning wheel. Hargreaves derived no benefit from his invention; twice a mob of spinners on the old principle rose and destroyed all the machinery made on his plan, and chased him away. In 1769, Richard Arkwright took out his first patent (having Mr. Need of Nottingham and Mr. Strutt of Derby as partners,) for spinning with rollers.

Arkwright was born in the humblest class of life at Preston in Lancashire. At “Proud Preston” he first followed the business of a barber, then became a dealer in hair, travelling the country to collect it, and selling it prepared to the wigmakers. Having accumulated a little money, he set about endeavouring to invent perpetual motion, and, in the search, invented, or sufficiently adapted and improved, a cotton spinning apparatus to induce two practical men like the Messrs. Need and Strutt to join him. His claim to original invention has been disputed. That he was not the first inventor is clear, and it is equally clear that he must have been a man of very considerable and original mechanical genius.

With Arkwright’s patent, the rise of the cotton trade began.

In 1786, Mr. Samuel Crompton’s invention came into use, called the mule jenny, because partaking of the movements of both Hargreaves’ and Arkwright’s inventions, by which, for the first time, yarn fine enough for muslins could be spun. Crompton did not, probably could not, afford to take out a patent, but worked his mule jenny with his own hands in an attic at Bolton, where he carried on a small spinning and weaving business. Already, in 1812, there were between four and five million spindles on this principle, but the inventor continued poor and almost unknown. Mr. Kennedy (author of a brief memoir of Crompton), and Mr. Lee, raised 500 pounds for him by subscription, and he afterwards received a grant of 8000 pounds from Parliament, which his sons lost in business. Mr. Kennedy again exerted himself and raised an annuity of 63 pounds, which the unfortunate inventor only lived two years to enjoy.

The spinning machines threatened to out-travel the weaving powers of the country, when, in 1785, Dr. Cartwright, a clergyman of Kent, with no previous knowledge of weaving, after an expenditure of 40,000 pounds, invented the power-loom, for which he afterwards received a grant of 10,000 pounds from Parliament. To supply our cotton manufactures, there were imported in 1849 1,900,000 bales of 330lbs. each. Of this quantity, 1,400,000 bales came from the United States.

The Manchester manufacturers have lately raised a small fund by subscription, and sent out Mr. Mackay, a barrister, author of The Western World, to examine and report on the prospects of obtaining cotton from India; and the son of the late Mr. John Fielden, a great manufacturer, has embarked a considerable sum at Natal in the cultivation of cotton. The dependence on the United States for such a staple has begun to render our Manchester men uncomfortable. They have not, however, displayed the spirit and energy that might have been expected either from their usual political vigour or from the tone of their advice to the farmers in distress.

The successive improvements in weaving by machinery we shall not attempt to trace. To use the phrase of a Nottingham mechanic, “there are machines now that will weave anything, from a piece of sacking to a spider’s web.” But fine muslins and fancy goods are chiefly woven by hand.

The power-loom has recently been adapted, under Bright’s patent, to weaving carpets, which are afterwards printed.

With respect to spinning; fine yarns which cost twenty guineas a pound have been reduced to four shillings by improved machinery, and in the Great Exhibition of Industry Messrs. Houldsworth exhibited as a curiosity, a pound of cotton spun 2,000 miles in length.

Arkwright, among the early improvers, was the only one who realized a large fortune, which his patience, his energy, his skill, his judgment, his perseverance well deserved, whether he was an original inventor or not.

The large supplies of cheap coals by canal soon made Lancashire the principal seat of the manufacture.

Among the many who realized great wealth by the new manufacture, was the first Sir Robert Peel, who began life near Bolton as a labouring man, by frugality accumulated enough money to commence first with a donkey a small coal trade, and then to enter on a cotton mill, which eventually placed him in a position to become a Member of Parliament and a baronet, and to give his son that starting place in education and society of which he availed himself so wisely and so patriotically, to his own honour and the permanent benefit of his country.

There are several mills and factories in Manchester in which the most perfect productions of mechanical skill may be seen in operation; but it is a trade which will be seen under much more favourable circumstances in some of those valleys near Manchester, where the masters of the mill provide the cottages of their “hands,” or where the cottages are held in freehold by the more frugal workmen themselves, with little gardens attached, in pure air in open situations.

There are many cotton lords, and the number is increasing, who take the warmest interest in the condition of the people in their employ, and who do all they can to promote their health, their education, and their amusements. A visit to one of these establishments, will convince those who have taken their ideas of a manufacturing population from the rabid novelettes and yet more rabid railings of the Ferrand school, that there is nothing in the factory system itself, properly conducted, opposed to the permanent welfare of the working classes. On the contrary, in average times, the wages are sufficient to enable the operatives to live in great comfort, and to lay by more than in other trades; while between the comfort of their position and that of the agricultural labourer there is no comparison, so infinitely are the advantages on the side of the factory hand. There have also been a series of legislative and other changes during the last twenty years, all tending to raise the condition of this class. At the same time, it is impossible not to observe that, quite irrespective of political opinions, there is a wide gulf between the great mass of the employers and the employed. There is dislike–there is undefined distrust. Those who doubt this will do well to investigate working-class opinions for themselves, not at election time, and in such a familiar manner as to get at the truth without compliments. Probably in times of prosperity this feeling is not increasing–we are strongly inclined to think it is diminishing; but it is a question not to be neglected. Manchester men, of the class who run at the aristocracy, the army, and the navy just as a bull runs at a red rag, will perhaps be very angry at our saying this; but we speak as we have found mobs at fires, and chatty fustian jackets in third class trains on the Lancashire and Yorkshire line; and, although a friend protests against the opinion, we still think that the ordinary Manchester millhand looks on his employer with about the same feelings that Mr. John Bright regards a colonel in the guards. We hope we may live to see them all more amiable, and better friends.

Manchester during the last seventy years, has been peopled more rapidly than the “Black Country” which we have described, with a crowd of immigrants of the most ignorant class, from the agricultural counties of England, from Ireland, and from Scotland. These people have been crowded together under very demoralising circumstances.

But we do not dwell or enter further into this important part of the condition of Manchester, because, unlike Birmingham, the Corn Law discussions have, to the enormous advantage of the city, drawn hundreds of jealous eyes upon the domestic life of the poor; and because men of all parties, Church and Dissent, Radicals and Conservatives, are trying hard and as cordially as their mutual prejudices will allow them, to work out a plan of education for raising the moral condition of a class, who, if neglected in their dirt and ignorance, will become, in the strongest sense of the French term, Dangereuse!

But to return to the Manchester of to-day; it has become rather the mercantile than the manufacturing centre of the cotton manufacture. There are firms in Manchester which hold an interest in woollen, silk, and linen manufactures in all parts of the kingdom and even of the continent.

From a pamphlet published last year by the Rev. Mr. Baker, it appears that there are five hundred and fifty cotton manufactories of one kind or other in the cotton district of Lancashire and Cheshire. Of these, in Ashton-under- Lyne, Dukinfield, and Mosley, there are fifty-three mills, Blackburn fifty- seven, Bolton forty-two, Burnley twenty-five spinning manufactories, at Heywood twenty-eight mills, Oldham one hundred and fifty-eight, Preston thirty-eight, Staley Bridge twenty, Stockport forty-seven mills, Warrington only four, Manchester seventy-eight.

The following is a brief outline of the stages of cotton manufacture which may be useful to those who consider the question for the first time.

When cotton has reached Manchester from the United States, which supplies 75 per cent. of the raw material; from Egypt, which supplies a good article in limited quantity; from India, which sends us an inferior, uncertain, but increasing, quantity, but which with railroads will send us an improved increasing quantity; or from any of the other miscellaneous countries which contribute a trifling quota–it is stowed in warehouses, arranged according to the countries from which it has come. It is then “passed through the willow, the scuthing machine, and the spreading machine, in order to be opened, cleaned, and evenly spread. By the carding engine the fibres are combed out, and laid parallel to each other, and the fleece is compressed into sliver. The sliver is repeatedly drawn and doubled in the drawing frame, more perfectly to strengthen the fibres and to equalize the grist. The roving frame, by rollers and spindles, produces a coarse loose thread, which the mule or throstle spins into yarn. To make the warp, the twist is transferred from cops to bobbins by the winding machine, and from the bobbins at the warping machine to a cylindrical beam. This being taken to the dressing machine, the warp is sized, dressed, and wound upon the weaving beam. The weaving beam is then placed in the power loom, by which machine, the shuttle being provided with cops with weft, the cloth is woven.”

Sometimes the yarn only is exported, in other cases the cloth is bleached, or dyed, or printed, all of which operations can be carried on in Manchester or the surrounding auxiliary towns.

The best mode of obtaining a general idea of the trade carried on in Manchester will be to visit two or three of the leading warehouses in which buyers from all parts of the world supply their respective wants. For instance, Messrs. J. N. Phillips and Co., of Church Street; Messrs. Bannermans and Sons, York Street; Messrs. J. and J. Watts and Co., of Spring Gardens; and Messrs. Wood and Westhead, of Piccadilly. Next, to go over one of the leading Cotton Mills, say Briley’s or Houldsworth’s; then Messrs. Lockett’s establishment for engraving the plates used in calico-printing, and Messrs. Thomas Hoyle and Son’s print works. This work completed, the traveller will have some idea of Manchester, not without.

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SILK.–The silk trade of Manchester and of Macclesfield, which for that purpose is a suburb of Manchester, arose in the restrictions imposed upon Spitalfields, at the request of the weavers, by successive acts of Parliament, for the purpose of regulating employment in that district. In 1830 there were not 100 Jacquard looms in Manchester and its neighbourhood, whilst at the present time there are probably 12,000 employed either on silk or some branch of figure weaving. The most convenient silk manufactory for the visit of the stranger is that of Messrs. James Houldsworth of Portland Street, near the Royal Infirmary. This firm was established by a German gentleman, the late Mr. Louis Schwabe, an intelligent German, who introduced the higher class of silk manufacture with such success as to enable him to compete with even the very first class of Lyons silks for furniture damasks.

In addition to the extensive application of the Jacquard loom, Mr. Schwabe introduced, and Mr. Henry Houldsworth improved and perfected, the embroidering machines invented by Mr. Heilmann of Mulhausen. The improvements are so great that the original inventor cannot compete with them. Rows of needles elaborate the most tasteful designs with a degree of accuracy to which hand labour cannot approach.

Messrs. Winkworth and Proctor are also producers of high class silks for ladies’ dresses and gentlemen’s waistcoats.

Manchester is particularly celebrated for plain silk goods of a superior quality at a moderate price. There are also manufactories of small wares, which include parasols and umbrellas. A parasol begins at 4.5d. wholesale.

In Manchester the tastes and costumes of every country are consulted and suited. The brown cloak of the Spaniard, the poncho of the Chilean, the bright red or yellow robe of the Chinese, the green turban of the pilgrim from Mecca, the black blanket of the Caffre, and the red blanket of the American Indian may all be found in bales in one Manchester warehouse.

In passing through the streets, the sign “Fents” is to be seen on shops in cellars. These are the odd pieces, of a yard or two in length, cut off the goods in the manufactories to make up a certain even quantity; and considerable trade is driven in them. Selections are sometimes bought up as small ventures by sea captains and emigrants.

Paper-making is carried on extensively in the neighbourhood of Manchester from cotton waste. This was formerly thrown away; scavengers were even paid to cart it away. After a time, as its value became quietly known among paper-makers, parties were found willing to take on themselves the expense of removing it. By degrees the waste became a regular article of sale; and now, wherever possible, a paper-mill in this part of the country is placed near, or worked in conjunction with, a cotton-mill. The introduction of cotton waste has materially reduced the price of paper. No doubt, when the excise is abolished, many other articles will be employed for the same purpose.

To describe the railroads, which are every hour departing for every point of the compass, would take up too much space. But the railway stations, several of which have been united by works as costly, and almost as extensive, as the Pyramids of Egypt, are not among the least interesting sights. At these stations barrels of flour will be found, literally filling acres of warehouse room, and cucumbers arrive in season by the ton.

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THE CANALS must be mentioned, and remind us that at Worsley, near Manchester, the Duke of Bridgwater, “the Father of Inland Navigation,” aided by the genius of Brindley (another of the great men, who, like Arkwright and Stephenson, rose from the ranks of labour, and directly contributed to the rise of this city) commenced the first navigable canal constructed for commercial purposes in Great Britain.

At the present day the construction of a canal is a very commonplace affair, but it is impossible to doubt the high qualities of the mind of the Duke of Bridgwater, when we consider the education and prejudices of a man of his rank at that period, and observe the boldness with which he accepted, the tenacity with which he adhered to, the energy and self-sacrifice with which he prosecuted the plans of an obscure man like Brindley.

A disappointment in love is said to have first driven the Duke into retirement, and rendered him shy and eccentric, with an especial objection to the society of ladies, although he had once been a gay, if not dissipated, young gentleman, fond of the turf. He rode a race at Trentham Hall, the seat of his brother-in-law, the Marquis of Stafford.

When he retired from the pleasures of the fashionable world, his attention was directed to a rich bed of coal on his estate at Worsley, the value of which was almost nominal in consequence of the expense of carriage. He determined to have a canal, and, if possible, a perfect canal, and who to carry out this object he selected Brindley, who had been born in the station of an agricultural labourer, and was entirely self-educated. To the last he conducted those engineering calculations, which are usually worked out on paper and by rule, by a sort of mental arithmetic. Brindley must have been about forty years of age when he joined the Duke. He died at fifty-six, having laid the foundation of that admirable system of internal commerce which is better described in Baron Charles Dupin’s Force Commerciale de la Grande Bretagne than in any English work.

One often-told anecdote well illustrates the characters of the nobleman and his engineer, if we remember that no such works had ever been erected in England at that time. “When Brindley proposed to carry the canal over the Mersey and Irwell Navigation, by an aqueduct 39 feet above the surface of the water, he desired, for the satisfaction of his employer, to have another engineer consulted. That individual, on being taken to the place where the intended aqueduct was to be constructed, said, that ‘he had often heard of castles in the air, but never was shown before where any of them were to be erected.'” But the Duke had faith in Brindley, persevered and triumphed, although, before the completion of all his undertakings, he was more than once reduced to great pecuniary difficulties.

The canal property of the Duke of Bridgwater, with the Lancashire estates, are now vested in the Earl of Ellesmere, a nobleman who well knows, and conscientiously works out, the axiom, “that property has its duties as well as its rights.” A visit to Worsley will prove what an enlightened and benevolent landowner can do for a population of colliers and bargemen.

The educational and other arrangements of a far-sighted character show that there are advantages in even such large accumulations of property as have fallen to the share of the present representative of the Duke of Bridgwater.

Those who desire to pursue closely the state of the operative population in Manchester, will find ample materials in the annual reports of factory inspectors, and school inspectors, under the Committee of the Council of Education, and of the municipal officers of health.

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FIRES.–Dreadful fires occur occasionally in Manchester. If such a catastrophe should take place during the stay of a visitor, he should immediately pull on an overcoat, even although it be midnight, and join in the crowd. An excellent police of 300 officers and men renders the streets quite safe at all hours; and a fire of an old cotton factory, where the floors are saturated with oil and grease, is indeed a fearfully imposing sight. It also affords an opportunity of some familiar conversation with the factory hands.

* * * * *

In taking leave of Manchester, which is indeed the great heart of our manufacturing system, we may truly say that it is a city to be visited with the deepest interest, and quitted without the slightest regret. On our political railroad we are under deepest obligations to the Manchester stokers; but Heaven forbid that we should be compelled to make them our sole engineers.


MIDDLETON.–And now, before taking a glance at the woollens and hardware of Yorkshire, we suggest, by way of change from the perpetual hum of busy multitudes and the whizzing and roaring of machinery, that the traveller take a holiday, and spend it in wandering over an agricultural oasis encircled by hills, and so far uninvaded by the stalks of steam-engines, where the air is comparatively pure and the grass green, although forest trees do not flourish.

The visit requires no distant journey. It is a bare six miles from the heart of Manchester to Middleton. Nine times a-day omnibuses ply there. These original, if not primitive vehicles, are constructed to carry forty-five passengers, and on crowded market-days may sometimes be seen loaded with seventy specimens of a note-worthy class.

Middleton, lately a dirty straggling town, of 15,000 inhabitants, a number at which it has remained stationary for ten years, built without plan, without drains, without pavement, without arrangements for common decency, stands on the borders, and was the manorial village, of the Middleton and Thornham estates, which had been in the family of the late Lord Suffield for many hundred years. In the village, land was grudgingly leased for building, and no steam-engine manufactories were permitted. The agricultural portion of some 2500 acres of good land for pasturage and root crops, celebrated for its fine supplies of water and for its (unused) water-power, was divided into little farms of from twenty to seventy acres, very few exceeding fifty acres, inhabited by a race of Farmer-Weavers, who, from generation to generation, farmed badly and wove cleanly in the pure atmosphere of Middleton. They were, most of them, bound to keep a hound at walk for the Lord of the Manor.

Now the old Lords of the Manor and owners of the estate of Middleton (the Harbords, afterwards Barons Suffield), were proud men and wealthy, who despised manufactures and resisted any encroachment of trade on the green bounds within which their old Manor House had stood for ages. So when the inventions of Crompton, Hargreaves, Arkwright, and Cartwright began to coin gold like any philosopher’s stone, for well-managing cotton manufacturers, speculators cast their eyes upon the pleasant waters of Middleton and Thornham, proposing to erect machinery and spin the yarn or thread, and otherwise to use the abundant water-power. But the Lords of Middleton would have none of such profits, (and if they could afford to reject them, we will not say that up to a certain point they were not wise), and so they gave short answers to the applicants, who went away and found, half-a-mile off, on the borders of Yorkshire, similar conveniences and more accessible ground- landlords in the Byrons, Lords of the Manor of Rochdale. And when, some time afterwards, a like application met with a like answer, other manufacturers went away to another corner, and built Oldham.

So the Middleton farms continued very pretty picturesque farms; Middleton village grew into a miserable town, and was passed over in 1830, when every population was putting forth its claims to a share in making the laws of the United Kingdom; while Oldham, with 30,000 inhabitants, was allotted two members, (an honour which cost the life of one of them, our best describer of English rural scenery, in racy Saxon English, William Cobbett); Rochdale, with 24,000, obtained one, and eventually made itself loudly heard in the House, in the person of John Bright, a gentleman of pluck not without eloquence, who has done a good deal, considering the disadvantages he has laboured under, in not having been brought to his level in a public school, and in having been brought up in the atmosphere of adulation, to which the wealthy and clever of a small sect are as much exposed as the scions of a “proud aristocracy.”

A few years ago, the late lord, who had occasionally lived on the estate, died. His successor pulled down the Manor House, became an absentee, always in want of ready money, and introduced the Irish system into the management of his estate. That is to say, good farming became a sure mode of inviting an increase of rent–for indispensable repairs no ready money was forthcoming, so tenants who had an indisputable claim to such allowances, received a reduction of rent instead; they generally accepted the reduction, and did no more of the repairs than would just make shift. The land in the town suitable for building was let at chief rents to the highest bidder, with no consideration for the mutual convenience of neighbours, or the welfare of future residents.

Thus mismanaged and dilapidated, the estates were brought into the market, and purchased for Messrs. Peto & Betts, by their land agent, Mr. Francis Fuller, for less than 200,000 pounds; and the lands of the aristocracy of blood passed into the possession of the aristocracy of trade. Here was a subject for a doleful ballad from “A Young Englander,” commencing–

“Ye tenants old of Middleton ye cannot need but sigh, Departed are the traces of your own nobility, The Locomotivocracy have gone and done the trick, And England’s aristocracy’s obliged to cut its stick.”

A visit to Middleton, however, will show that on this occasion the tenantry have no reason either to sigh or weep, and the visit is worth making, independently of the pleasantness of a change from town to country, because it affords an opportunity of seeing what can be done with a neglected domain when it passes into the hands of men of large capital, liberal views, and a thorough determination that whatever they take in hand shall be done in the best possible manner.

Messrs. Peto & Betts are managing this estate on the same principles that they have conducted the undertaking by which, in a very few years, they have acquired a large fortune and an influential position. Not by avariciously grasping, and meritlessly grinding all the subordinates whose services they required; not by squeezing men like oranges, and throwing them away when squeezed; but by choosing suitable assistants for every task they undertook, and making those assistants, or advisers, feel that their interests were the same, that they were prepared to pay liberally for services strenuously rendered. By this system servants and sub-contractors worked for them with all the zeal of friends, and by this system the tenantry of Middleton will attain a degree of comfort and prosperity hitherto unknown, while the estate they occupy will be largely increased in value.

It is most fortunate that, at a time when so much landed property is passing into the hands of men of the class of which these gentlemen may be considered the intellectual leaders, an example has been set, by them, of liberal and judicious management.

For this reason we do not think these rough notes on Middleton will be considered a useless digression.

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DRAINS AND REPAIRS.–Instead of the ordinary system of bit-by-bit repairs and instead of arrangements for the tenants to execute drains, as the first step after the change of proprietorship, a complete survey was made of the defects and of the value of all the holdings. On this survey the rents were fixed, with the understanding that while no increase of rent would be imposed on a good tenant, lazy slovenly farming would be forthwith taxed with an additional ten per cent.

The landlords have themselves undertaken to execute a complete deep drainage of the whole property at a cost of 20,000 pounds. For this they charge the tenants five per cent. on the outlay per acre occupied. Farm buildings and farm houses are being put in thorough repair, and tenants are expected so to keep them.

In the course of these repairs farm houses were found in which the windows were fixtures, not intended to open! While as to the farming, it is scarcely possible to imagine anything more barbarous. It is not a corn-growing district, and what corn is grown these weaver farmers, indifferent apparently to loss of time, first lash against a board to get part of the grain out, and then thrash the rest out of the straw!

Market garden cultivation, stall feeding, and root crops would answer well, but at the time of the survey only two gardens were cultivated for the sale of produce in the unlimited markets of Oldham, Rochdale, and Manchester; and little feeding except of pigs.

Orchard trees are now supplied by the landlords, free of cost, to all willing to take charge of them.

It will be very difficult to induce these people to change their old slovenly style of farming, for their chief pride is in their weaving, which is excellent, and many of them are in possession of properties held for two and three generations without change. But the system of encouraging the good, and getting rid of the lazy, will work a reformation in time, especially as there are some very good examples on the estate. For instance, Benjamin Johnson, who, paying the highest rent per acre, has creditably brought up ten children on nine acres of land, without other employment.

Middleton is a district especially suited for small farms, so much so that it has been determined to divide one or two of the larger ones.

Altogether it is a very primitive curious place, with several originals among the tenantry, and some beautiful natural scenery, among whom a morning may be spent with profit and pleasure.

With the town and building land an equally comprehensive system has been adopted.

The defects of the existing buildings are to be cured as soon as, and in the best manner, that circumstances will admit; while all new houses are to be built and drained on a fixed plan, and all roadside cottages to have at least a quarter of an acre of ground for a garden.

It will take some years to work out complete results; it is, however, gratifying to see a landowner placing himself in the hands of competent advisers, planning not for the profits of the hour, but for the future, for the permanent health, happiness, and prosperity of all dwelling on his property.

The pecuniary results promise to be highly satisfactory; it is already evident that increased rents will be accompanied by increased prosperity, and it is thought in the neighbourhood that in the next ten years, the property will, from the judicious expenditure of 30,000 pounds, be worth at least 300,000 pounds.

So much for employing a scientific and practical agriculturist as land agent, instead of a fashionable London attorney. {193}


From Manchester to Leeds is a journey of forty-five miles, and about two hours. We should like to describe Yorkshire, one of the few counties to which men are proud to belong. We never hear any one say, with conscious pride, “I am a Hampshireman or an Essex man, or even a Lancashireman,” while there are some counties of which the natives are positively ashamed.

But we have neither time nor space to say anything about those things of which a Yorkshireman has reason to be proud–of the hills, the woods, the dales, the romantic streams,–above all, of the lovely Wharfe, of the fat plains, the great woods, the miles of black coal mines, where we have heard the little boys driving their horses and singing hymns, sounding like angels in the infernal regions, the rare good sheep, the Teeswater cattle, that gave us short-horns, of horses, well known wherever the best are valued, be it racer, hunter, or proud-prancing carriage horse; hounds that it takes a Yorkshire horse to live with; and huntsmen, whom to hear tally-away and see ride out of cover makes the heart of man leap as at the sound of a trumpet; foxes stanch and wily, worthy of the hounds; and then of those famous dalesmen farmers, tall, broad-shouldered, with bullet heads, and keen grey eyes, rosy bloom, high cheek bones, foxy whiskers, full white-teethed, laughing mouths, hard riders, hard drinkers, keen bargainers, capital fellows; and besides those the slips, grafts, and thinnings from the farms, who in factories, counting-houses, and shops, show something of the powerful Yorkshire stamp. Everything is great in Yorkshire, even their rogues are on a large scale; in Spain, men of the same calibre would be prime ministers and grandees of the first class; in France, under a monarchy, a portfolio, and the use of the telegraph, with no end of ribands, would have been the least reward. Here the honours stop short between two dukes, as supporters arm in arm; but still we are obliged to own that no one but a Yorkshireman could have so bent all the wild beasts of Belgravia and Mayfair, from the Countess Gazelle to the Ducal Elephant, to his purpose, as an ex-king did. Our task will be confined on the present occasion to a sketch of Huddersfield and Leeds, centres of the woollen manufacture, which forms the third great staple of English manufactures, and of Sheffield, famed for keen blades.

* * * * *

HUDDERSFIELD, twenty-six miles from Manchester, is the first important town, on a road studded with stations, from which busy weavers and spinners are continually passing and repassing. It is situated in a naturally barren district, where previously to 1811 the inhabitants chiefly lived on oaten cake, and has been raised to a high degree of prosperity by the extension of the manufactures, a position on the high road between Manchester and Leeds, intersected by a canal, uniting the east and west, or inland navigation, and more recently by railroads, which connect it with all the manufacturing towns of the north. An ample supply of water-power, with coal and building stone, have contributed to this prosperity, of which advantage has been taken to improve the streets, thoroughfares, and public buildings. The use of a light yellow building stone for the houses has a very pleasant appearance after the bricks of Manchester and Liverpool.

The Huddersfield Canal, which connects the Humber and Mersey, is a very extraordinary piece of work. It is carried through and over a backbone of hills by stairs of more than thirty locks in nine miles, and a tunnel three miles in length. At one place it is 222 yards below the surface, and at another 656.5 feet above the level of the sea.

When we examine such works, so profitable to the community, so unprofitable to the projectors, how can we doubt the capability of our country to hold its own in any commercial race? Men make a country, not accidents of soil or climate, mines or forests. For centuries California and Central America have been in the hands of an Iberian race, fallow. A few months of Anglo-Saxon rule, and land and sea are boiling with fervid elements of cultivation, commerce, and civilization. With time the dregs will disappear, and churches and schools, cornfields and fulling-mills, will supersede grizzly bears and wandering Indians.

All the land in Huddersfield belongs to the Ramsden family, by whom the Cloth Hall was erected. Six hundred manufacturers attend this hall every Tuesday.

The principal manufactures are of broad and narrow cloths, serges, kerseymeres, cords, and fancy goods of shawls and waistcoatings, composed of mixed cotton, silk, and wool.

The neighbourhood of Huddersfield was the centre of the Luddite outbreak, when a large number of persons engaged in the cloth manufacture, conceiving that they were injured by the use of certain inventions for dressing cloth, banded together, traversed the country at night, searching for and carrying off fire-arms, and attacking and destroying the manufactories of persons supposed to use the obnoxious machines.

Great alarm was excited, some expected nothing less than a general insurrection; at length the rioters were attacked, dispersed, a large number arrested, tried, and seventeen hanged. Since that period not one but scores of mechanical improvements have been introduced into the woollen manufacture without occasioning disturbance, and with benefit in increased employment to the working classes.

The case of the Luddites was one of the few on which Lord Byron spoke in the Upper House, and Horace Smith sang for Fitzgerald . . .

“What makes the price of beer and Luddites rise? What fills the butchers’ shops with large blue flies?”

The population is about 30,000, and returns one member to the House of Commons.

About half a mile from the town is Lockwood Spa, of strongly sulphurous waters, for which a set of handsome buildings have been provided.


LEEDS, seventeen miles from Huddersfield, is the centre of five railways, by which it has direct connection with Hull, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, on the east, and Carlisle on the west coast, Sheffield, Nottingham, Derby, and Birmingham, in the Midland counties, possesses one of the finest central railway stations in the kingdom, and has also the advantage of being in the centre of inland navigation (a great advantage for the transport of heavy goods), as it communicates with the eastern seas by the Aire and Calder navigation to the Humber, and westward by the Leeds and Liverpool to the Mersey. The town stands on a hill, which rises from the banks of the river Aire. Leeds has claims to antiquity, but few remains. When Domesday Book was compiled it appears to have been an agricultural district.

Wakefield was formerly the more important town. Lord Clarendon, in 1642, speaks of Leeds, Halifax, and Bradford, “as three very rich and populous towns, depending wholly upon clothing.”

The first charter was granted to Leeds by Charles I., and the second by Charles II., on petition of the clothworkers, merchants, and others, “to protect them from the great abuses, defects and deceits, discovered and practised by fraudulent persons in the making, selling, and dyeing of woollen cloths.”

The principal manufacture of Leeds is woollen cloth. Formerly the trade was carried on by five or six thousand small master clothiers, who employed their own families, and some thirty or forty thousand servants, and also carried on small farms. But the extension of the factory system has somewhat diminished their numbers. There are still, however, in connection with Leeds, several small clothing villages, in which the first stages of the operation are carried on, in spinning, weaving, and fulling.

Large quantities of worsted goods are brought to Leeds to be finished and dyed, which have been purchased, in an undyed state, at Bradford and Halifax. The dye-houses and dressing-shops of Leeds are very extensive. Goods purchased in a rough state in the Cloth Halls and Piece Halls are taken there to be finished. There are also extensive mills for spinning flax for linen, canvas-sailing, thread, and manufactures of glass and earthenware. In connection with Messrs. Marshall’s flax factory, the same firm are carrying on extensive experiments near Hull in growing flax.

Cloth Halls.–Previous to 1711, the cloth market was held in the open street. In 1755, the present Halls were erected, and in them the merchants purchase the half manufactured article from the country manufacturers.

The Coloured Cloth Hall is a quadrangular building, 127.5 yards long, and 66 broad, divided into six departments called streets. Each street contains two rows of stands, and each stand measures 22 inches in front, and is inscribed with the name of the clothier to whom it belongs. The original cost was 3 pounds 3s. This price advanced to 24 pounds at the beginning of the present century; but it has now fallen below its original value–not owing to a decrease in the quantity of manufactured goods, but owing to the prevalence of the factory system–in which the whole operation is performed, from sorting the piece to packing the cloth fit for the tailor’s shelves–over the domestic system of manufacturing. An additional story, erected on the north side of the Coloured Cloth Hall, is used chiefly for the sale of ladies’ cloths in their undyed state. The White Cloth Hall is nearly as large as the Coloured Cloth Hall, and on the same plan. The markets are held on Tuesdays and Saturdays, on which days alone the merchants are permitted to buy in the Halls. The time of the sale is in the forenoon, and commences by the ringing of a bell, when each manufacturer is at his stand, the merchants go in, and the sales commence. At the end of an hour the bell warns the buyers and sellers that the market is about to close, and in another quarter of an hour the bell rings a third time, and the business of the day is terminated. The White Cloth Hall opens immediately after the other is closed, and the transactions are carried on in a similar manner.

The public buildings of Leeds are not externally imposing, and it is, without exception, one of the most disagreeable-looking towns in England–worse than Manchester; it has also the reputation of being very unhealthy to certain constitutions from the prevalence of dye-works.

The wealthy and employing classes in Leeds (we know no better term) have a reputation for charity, and good management of charitable institutions. Howard the philanthropist visited the workhouse, and praised the management, at a period when to deserve such praise was rare. The subscriptions to public charities are large, and there is an ancient fund for pious uses, said to amount to upwards of 5000 pounds a-year, managed by a close self-elected corporation, about the distribution of which they do not consider themselves bound to give any detailed information. Dr. Hook, the Vicar of Leeds, has organized a system of house-to-house visitation, for the purpose of affording aid, in poverty and sickness, to the deserving and religious, and educational instruction to all, which has effected a great deal of good, and would have done more, had not well known circumstances shaken the confidence of the Leeds public in the honesty of some of the teachers. All parties agree, however differing in opinions, that Dr. Hook himself is a most excellent, charitable, self-sacrificing man.

A New Grammar School–first founded in 1552 by the Rev. Sir William Sheafield, and since endowed by several other persons–is lodged in a building of ample size, with residence for the head master, and enjoys an income of 2000 pounds a-year; and there are four Exhibitions of 70 pounds a-year to Magdalen College, Cambridge, tenable till degree of M.A. has been taken; one Exhibition of 100 pounds a-year, tenable for five years, at Queen’s College, Oxford, open to a candidate from Leeds school; and four of 50 pounds each, at Oxford or Cambridge, for four years. There were 174 scholars in 1850. It is open to the sons of all residents in Leeds, without any fee to the masters, who are liberally paid. The elements of mathematics are taught. The Charity Commissioners reported it to be satisfactorily and ably conducted.

The Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society, the Leeds Literary Institution, and the Leeds Mechanics Institute, are all respectable in their class. The Mechanics Institute forms the centre of a union of Yorkshire associations of the same kind.

Three newspapers are published in Leeds, of large circulation, representing three shades of political opinion.

The Leeds Mercury–which has, we believe, the largest circulation of any provincial paper–was founded, and carried on for a long life, by the late Mr. Edward Baines, who represented his native town in the first reformed parliament, and for some years afterwards–a very extraordinary man, who, from a humble station, by his own talents made his way to wealth and influence. He was the author of the standard work on the cotton trade, as well as several valuable local histories. The Mercury is still carried on by his family. One son is the proprietor of a Liverpool paper, and another, the Right Honourable Matthew Talbot Baines, represents Hull, and is President of the Poor-Law Board.

Among the celebrated natives of Leeds, were Sir Thomas Denison, whose life began like Whittington’s; John Smeaton, the engineer of Eddystone Lighthouse, the first who placed civil engineering in the rank of a science; the two Reverend Milners (Joseph, and Isaac, Dean of Carlisle), great polemical giants in their day, authors of “The History of the Church of Christ;” Dr. Priestly, inventor of the pneumatic apparatus still used by chemists, and discoverer of oxygen and several other gases; David Hartley, the metaphysician whom Coleridge so much admired that he called his son after him; and Edward Fairfax, the translator of Tasso. Nor must we forget Ralph Thoresby, author of “Ducatus Leodiensis, or the Topography of the Town and Parish of Leeds”–a valuable and curious book, published in 1715; and of “Vicaria Leodiensis, a History of the Church of Leeds,” published in 1724.

Wool Growing, and Woollen Manufactures.–Yorkshire is the ancient seat of a great woollen manufacture, founded on the coarse wools of its native hills; but coal and cheap conveyance, with the stimulus mechanical inventions have applied in the neighbouring counties to cotton, have given Yorkshire such advantages over many ancient seats of manufacture, that it has transplanted and increased a considerable portion of the fine cloth trade formerly carried on in the west of England alone, besides engrafting and erecting a variety of other and new kinds of textiles, in which wool or hair have some very slight part.

It is quite certain that woollen garments were among the first manufactured among barbarous tribes. We have seen this year, in the Exhibition in Hyde Park, specimens of white felted cloth from India, equal, if not superior, to anything that we can manufacture for strength and durability, which must have been made with the rude tools, of the form which has been in use for probably at least two thousand years.

English coarse wools have been celebrated, and in demand among foreign nations, from the earliest periods of our history. In the time of William the Conqueror, an inundation in the Netherlands drove many clothiers over, and William of Malmesbury tells us that the king welcomed them, and placed them first in Carlisle, where there are still manufactories, and then in the western counties, where they could find what was indispensable for their trade–streams for washing and plenty of wood for boiling their vats. Very early the manufacturers applied to restrain the exportation of English wool. In the time of Edward I., we find a duty of twenty shillings to forty shillings per bag on importation. Edward III. prohibited the export of wool, at the same time he took his taxes and subsidies in wool, which became a favourite medium of taxation with our monarchs, and sent his wool abroad for sale. Under his reign, Flemish weavers were encouraged to settle here and improve the manufacture, which became spread all over England thus–Norfolk fustians, Suffolk baize, Essex serges and says, Kent broadcloth, Devon kerseys, Gloucestershire cloth, Worcestershire cloth, Wales friezes, Westmoreland cloth, Yorkshire cloth, Somersetshire serges, Hampshire, Berkshire, and Sussex cloth: districts from a great number of which woollen manufactures have now disappeared. We have Parliamentary records of the mutual absurdities by which the woollen manufacturers, on the one hand, sought to obtain a monopoly of British wool, and the wool growers endeavoured to secure the exclusive right to supply the raw material. Act after act was laid upon everything connected with wool, so that it is only extraordinary that, under such restrictive trammeling, the trade survived at all.

“Odious! In woollen! ‘twould a saint provoke! Were the last words that poor Narcissa spoke.”

In 1781, when, the price of wool being low, the Lincolnshire woolgrowers met under the chairmanship of their great landowners, and resolved on petitions praying “that British might be exported and that Irish wool might be excluded from England;” thereupon the Yorkshire manufacturers met and resolved that “the exportation of wool would be ruinous to the trade and manufactures of England,” that the manufacturers would be obliged to leave the kingdom for want of employment, and that the importation of Irish woollen yarn ought to be interdicted.

The manufacturers were under the impression that no other country than England could produce the long wools suitable for the manufacture of worsted.