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  • 1851
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Some time afterwards the woollen manufacturers thought themselves likely to be ruined by the introduction of cotton cloth, “to the ruin of the staple trade of the kingdom,” and succeeded in placing an excise duty upon the new fabric.

The contention between sheepowners and manufacturers continued until, in 1824, when the influence of Mr. Huskisson’s opinions on trade were beginning to be felt in Parliament, and to the disgust of both parties, a compromise was effected by a reduction of all wool duties to a uniform duty of ld. per lb. on the export of British and importation of foreign wool. The last step was a total repeal of all duties.

English wools may be divided into long and short staples. The long is used for worsted, which is finished when it leaves the loom; the short for cloth, which is compacted together, increased in bulk and diminished in breadth, by fulling; that is, so beating as to take advantage of the serrated edges of the wool which lead it to felt together.

Foreign wool, known as merino, has been used from an early period. In the time of the Stuarts, an attempt was made to monopolize all the Spanish wool exported.

Wars and bad government in Spain have destroyed the export trade in merino wool, but the breed, transplanted into Germany, has multiplied and even improved. Our finest wool is obtained from Silesia, and the breed is cultivated with more or less success in many parts of the European continent. In England, all attempts to cultivate the merino with profit have failed. Next to Germany in quality, and exceeding that country in quantity, we obtain our greatest supply of fine wool from Australia, where, in the course of twenty-five years, the merino sheep has multiplied to the extent of twelve or thirteen million head, and is still increasing; thus doubling our supply of a fine article, not equal to German, but, at the low price at which it can be furnished, helping to create entirely new manufactures by intermixing with our own coarse wools, which it renders more available and valuable. We also obtain wool from the Cape of Good Hope, from India, from Egypt, and from South America.

Besides pure wool, our manufacturers use large quantities of goat’s hair, called mohair, from the Mediterranean, of camel hair, of Thibet goat’s hair, of the long grey and black hair of the tame South American llama and alpaca, and of the short soft red hair of the vicuna, a wild animal of the same species. Indeed, almost every year since the repeal of all restrictions on trade, has introduced some new raw material in wool or hair to our manufacturers.

The alpaca and vicuna, now an important article of trade and manufacture, although well known to the native Peruvians at the time of the conquest by the Spaniards, has only come into notice within the last twenty years. The first article of the kind that excited any attention was a dress made for Her Majesty from a flock of llamas belonging to Her Majesty, under the superintendence of Mr. Thomas Southey, the eminent wool broker.

The stock from the small flock of merinos taken out by Colonel Macarthur to what was then only known as Botany Bay, now supports 300,000 souls in prosperity in Australia, and supplies exports to the amount of upwards of a million and a half sterling per annum.

The Great Exhibition afforded an excellent display of the variety and progress of Yorkshire woollen manufactures, proving the immense advantage they derived from choice and mixture of various qualities and materials. In several examples the body was of stout English wool, with a face of finest Australia,–in some cases, of mohair,–and, in one instance, a most beautiful article was produced by putting a face of vicuna on British wool.

As at present conducted, the process of a woollen factory up to certain stages of machinery is the same as that of a cotton factory. But it will be seen that a great deal depends on an ample supply of water of good quality.

Cloth Manufacture.–(1.) The first operation is that of sorting the wool. Each fleece contains several qualities,–the division and arrangement requires judgment; the best in a Silesian fleece may be worth 6s. a pound, and the rest not worth half the money. After sorting, wools are mixed in certain proportions.

(2.) The mixture is first soaked in a hot ley of stale urine and soap, rinsed in cold water, and pressed between rollers to dry it.

(3.) If the cloth is to be dyed in that operation, next succeeds the scouring. Supposing it dyed,

(4) wyllying follows, by which it is subject to the operation of the spikes of revolving wheels, for the purpose of opening the fibres and sending it out in a light cloud-like appearance, to where a stream of air driven through it, clears away all impurities by a sort of winnowing process, and sends it out in a smooth sheet.

(5.) If any impurities remain, it is hand picked.

(6.) It is laid on the floor, sprinkled with olive oil, and well beaten with staves.

(7.) The operation of the scribbling machine follows, by which it is reduced to a fleecy sheet and wound on rollers.

(8.) The carding machine next reduces it to hollow loose short pipes. These are joined

(9) in the slubbing machine into a weak thread, and here we see the use of the young hands, boys and girls, who piece one of these pipes as they are drawn through the machine by a slow clockwork motion, bending one knee every time as they curtsey sideways toward the machine. They earn very good wages and look healthy; but, where the wool is dyed, what with the dye and what with the oil, the piecers are all ready toileted to sing to a banjo; and sometimes, with rubbing their faces with their dirty hands, they get sore eyes.

(10.) Spinning hardens the thread.

(11.) Weaving is done by hand or by power-loom. The power-looms are becoming more common. After weaving, it is washed in soap-water and clean water by machinery,–then stretched on tenterhooks and allowed to dry in a smooth extended state:

(l2) then examined for all hair and impurities to be picked off by “burlers.” After this follows

(13) fulling, or felting, which gives woollen goods that substance which distinguishes them. Every hair of wool is saw-edged, and this by beating will mass together. Superfine cloth with a thick solution of soap spread between each layer, and, folded into many piles, is exposed to the long continued action of revolving wooden hammers on wheels, three separate times, for four hours each time. This process diminishes both breadth and length nearly one half.

After “fulling” cloth is woolly and rough; to improve the appearance it is first

(14) teazled–that is, raked with cylinders covered with the round prickly heads of the teazle plant. Many attempts have been made to invent wire and other brushes for the same purpose, but hitherto nothing has been found more effective and economical than the teazle. To apply them the cloth is stretched on cloth beams, and made to move in one direction, while the teazle cylinders turn in another. When the ends of the fibres have been thus raised, they are

(15) sheared or clipped, in order to produce the same effect as clipping the rough coat of a horse. Formerly this operation was performed by hand. The introduction of machinery created formidable riots in the west of England. At present the operation is performed with great perfection and rapidity, by more than one process.

When the cloth has been raised and sheared once, it is in the best possible condition for wear; but in order to give superfine cloth beauty, it is sheared several times, then exposed to the action of steam, and at the same time brushed with cylinder brushes. Other operations, of minor importance, are carried on for the purpose of giving smoothness and gloss. It may be observed that a brilliant appearance does not always, in modern manufactures, betoken the best cloth. An eminent woollen manufacturer having been asked what cloth he would recommend for wear and warmth to a backwoodsman, answered quickly, “Nothing can wear like a good blanket.” The small manufacturers generally dispose of their cloth in the rough state.

The progress of machinery has called into existence a great number of factories, especially in worsted and mixed stuffs, has given value to many descriptions of wool formerly valueless, and, coupled with the repeal of the duty, brought into the market many kinds unknown a few years ago. “Properties once prized,” Mr. Southey remarks in his Essay on Wools, “have given way to some other property upon which machinery can better operate, and yield more desirable results. Spanish wool, once deemed indispensable, is now little sought after. It is supplanted by our colonial wool, which is steadily advancing in quality and quantity, while angora goat, and alpaca wools are forcing their way into and enhancing the value of our stuff trade.” . . . “Machinery has marshalled before its tremendous power the wool of every country, selected and adopted the special qualities of each. Nothing, in fact, is now rejected. Even the burr, existing in myriads in South America and some other descriptions of wool, at one time so perplexing to our manufacturers, can now, through the aid of machinery, be extracted, without very material injury to the fibre.” . . . “In no description of manufacture connected with the woollen trade has machinery been more fertile in improvements than in what may be termed the worsted stuff trade.”

“The power-looms employed, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, in the worsted stuff trade, increased from 2,763 in 1836, to 19,121 in 1845 (and are probably not far from 28,000 at the present time). Worsted goods formerly consisted chiefly of bombazets, shalloons, calamancoes, lastings for ladies’ boots, and taminies. Now the articles in the fancy trade may be said to be numberless, and to display great artistic beauty. These articles, made with alpaca, Saxony, fine English and Colonial wools, and of goats’ hair for weft, with fine cotton for warp, consist of merinoes, Orleans, plain and figured Parisians, Paramattas, and alpaca figures, checks, etc.”

The machines for combing and carding, of the most improved make, will work wool of one and a half inch in the staple, while for the old process of hand- combing four inches was the minimum.

But we must not enter further into these details, as it is our purpose rather to indicate the interest and importance of certain manufactures than to describe the process minutely.

The Yorkshire woollen manufacture is distributed over an area of nearly forty miles by twenty, occupied by clothing towns and villages. Leeds, Bradford, Halifax, Huddersfield, Dewsbury, and Wakefield, are the great manufacturing centres. Mixed or coloured cloths are made principally in villages west of Leeds and Wakefield; white or undyed cloths are made chiefly in the villages occupying a belt of country extending from near Wakefield to Shipley. These two districts are tolerably distinct, but at the margins of the two both kinds of cloth are manufactured. Flannels and baizes are the principal woollen articles made in and near Halifax, together with cloth for the use of the army. Blankets are made in the line between Leeds and Huddersfield. Bradford provides very largely the spun worsted required for the various manufactures. Stuffs are made at Bradford, Halifax, and Leeds, and narrow cloths at Huddersfield. Saddleworth furnishes broadcloth and kerseymeres. As a specimen of the variety of articles produced in one factory, take the following list, exhibited in the Crystal Palace by a Huddersfield manufacturer:–“Summer shawls; summer coatings; winter woollen shawls; vestings; cloakings; table covers; patent woollen cloth for gloves; do. alpaca do.; do. rabbits’ down do.; trowserings; stockingnett do.”

We may observe, that there is no more pleasant mode of investigating the processes of the woollen manufacture, for those resident in the south of England, than a visit to the beautiful valley of the Stroud, in Gloucestershire, where the finest cloths, and certain shawls and fancy goods, are manufactured in perfection in the midst of the loveliest scenery. White- walled factories, with their resounding water-wheels, stand not unpicturesque among green-wooded gorges, by the side of flowing streams, affording comfortable well-paid employment to some thousand working hands of men and women, boys and girls.


On leaving Leeds there is ample choice of routes. It is equally easy to make for the lake districts of Cumberland and Westmoreland, or to proceed to York, and on by Newcastle to Scotland, or to take the road to the east coast, and compare Hull with Liverpool–a comparison which will not be attended with any advantage to the municipal authorities of Hull.

The aldermen of Hull are of the ancient kind–“slow,” in the most emphatic sense of the term. For proof,–we have only need to examine their docks, piers, and landing-places; the last of which are being improved, very much against the will of the authorities, by a Lincolnshire railway company.

From Hull there is a very convenient and swift railway road open to London through Lincolnshire, which, branching in several directions, renders easy a visit either to the Wolds, where gorse-covered moors have been turned, within the last century, into famous turnip-land, farmed by the finest tenantry in the world; or to the Fens, where the science of engineers learned in drainage, greatly aided by the pumping steam-engine, has reclaimed a whole county from eels and wild ducks.

Lincolnshire is not a picturesque county; both the wet half and the dry half, both the Fen district and the Wold district, are treeless; and the Wolds are only a line of molehills, of great utility, but no special beauty. But it is the greatest producing county in England, and the produce, purely agricultural, is the result of the industry and intellect of the men who till the soil. In Devonshire and Somersetshire we are charmed by the scenery, and amazed by the rich fertility of the soil, while we are amazed by the stolidity of the farmers and their labourers–nay, sometimes of the landlords–whose two ideas are comprised in doing what their forefathers did, and in hating every innovation. There fences, guano, pair-horse ploughs, threshing machines, and steam-engines, are almost as much disliked as cheap bread and Manchester politics. But on the Wolds of Lincolnshire a race of agriculturists are to be found who do not need to be coddled and coaxed into experiments and improvements by the dinners and discourses of dilettanti peers; but who unite the quick intelligence of the manufacturer with the hearty hospitality for which the English used to be famous. Among the Lincolnshire farmers rural life is to be seen in its most agreeable aspect. The labourers are as superior to the southern peasantry as their employers to the southern tenantry. Books, newspapers, and music may be found in the farm-houses, as well as old ale and sound port wine. At Aylsby, six miles from Great Grimsby, Mr. William Torr has a fine herd of short horns and a flock of pure Leicester sheep, well worth a visit. The celebrated Wold farmers are about ten miles distant. Any one of them is worth six Baden barons.

After crossing from Hull, if a visit to these Wold Farms be intended, Grimsby is the best resting-place, a miserable town of great antiquity, which, after slumbering, or rather mouldering, for centuries on the profits of Parliamentary privileges and a small coasting trade, has been touched by the steam-enchanter’s wand, and presented with docks, warehouses, railways, and the tools of commerce. These, aided by its happy situation, will soon render it a great steam-port, and obliterate, it is to be hoped, the remains of the squalid borough, which traces back its foundation to the times of Saxon sea- kings. We must record, for the credit of Great Grimsby, that it evinced its improved vitality by subscribing a larger sum to the Exhibition of Industry than many towns of ten times its population and more than ten times its wealth.

The execution of the railway and dock works, which will render Great Grimsby even more important than Birkenhead, has been mainly due to the exertions of the greatest landowner in the county, the Earl of Yarborough, who has wisely comprehended the value of a close connexion between a purely agricultural and manufacturing district.

His patriotic views have been ably seconded by Mr. John Fowler, the engineer of the Manchester and Lincolnshire Railways, and Mr. James J. M. Rendel, the engineer of these docks as well as of those at Birkenhead.

The Grimsby docks occupy thirty-seven acres, cut off from the sea. The work was courageously undertaken, in the midst of the depression which followed the railway panic, by Messrs. Thomas, Hutchins, & Co., contractors, and has been carried through in an admirable manner, in the face of every kind of difficulty, without an hour’s delay. They will open in March next. The first stone was laid by Prince Albert in May 1849, when he electrified the audience at dinner by one of those bursts of eloquence with which the events of the Great Exhibition have made us familiar. It was on the occasion of his ride to Brocklesby that Lord Yarborough’s tenantry rode out to meet the Prince, and exhibited the finest farmers’ cavalcade for men and horses in England.

Lord Yarborough has done for Lincolnshire what the Duke of Bridgwater did for Lancashire; and, like the Duke, he has been fortunate in having for engineering advisers gentlemen capable of appreciating the national importance of the task they undertook. It is not a mere dock or railway that Messrs. Fowler and Rendel have laid out–it is the foundation of a maritime colony, destined not only to attract, but to develop new sources of wealth for Lincolnshire and for England, as any one may see who consults a map, and observes the relative situation of Great Grimsby, the Baltic ports, and the manufacturing districts of Yorkshire, Lancashire, and Cheshire.

For the sake of the future it may be well worth while to visit these great works. It may be a pleasant recollection for the man who, in some ten or twenty years, beholds the docks crowded with steamers and coasters, and the railway busy in conveying seaborne cargoes, to recall the fact that he saw the infancy, if not the birth, of that teeming trade; for it is not to every man that it is given to behold the commencement of such a future as seems promised to gloomy, swampy Great Grimsby.

At Great Grimsby we are in a position to take a large choice of routes. We may go back to London by Louth, famous for its church, spire, and comical coat of arms; {209} by Boston and Peterborough; or take our way through the ancient city of Lincoln to Nottingham and the Midland Counties, where the famous forest of Robin Hood and the Dukeries invite us to study woodland scenery and light-land farming; but on this occasion we shall make our way to Sheffield, over a line which calls for no especial remark–the most noticeable station being East Retford, for the franchise of which Birmingham long and vainly strove. What delay might have taken place in our political changes if the M.P.’s of East Retford had been transferred to Birmingham in 1826, it is curious to consider.


The approach to Sheffield from Lincolnshire is through a defile, and over a long lofty viaduct, which affords a full view of the beautiful amphitheatre of hills by which it is surrounded.

The town is situated in a valley, on five small streams–one the “Sheaf,” giving the name of Sheffield, in the southern part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, only six miles from Derbyshire.

The town is very ugly and gloomy; it is scarcely possible to say that there is a single good street, or an imposing or interesting public building,–shops, warehouses and factories, and mean houses run zigzagging up and down the slopes of the tongues of land, or peninsulas, that extend into the rivers, or rather streamlets, of the Porter, the Riveling, the Loxley, the Sheaf, and the Don. Almost all the merchants and manufacturers reside in the suburbs, in villas built of white stone on terraces commanding a lovely prospect.

The picturesqueness, the wild solitude of the immediate neighbourhood of Sheffield, amply compensates for the grimy gloom in which the useful and disagreeable hardware trade is carried on. All around, except where the Don opens a road to Doncaster, great hills girdle it in, some of which at their summit spread out into heath-covered moorlands, where the blackcock used lately to crow. Almost in sight of the columns of factory smoke, others of the surrounding ridge are wood-crowned, and others saddlebacked and turfed; so that a short walk transports you from the din of the workshop to the solitude of “the eternal hills.” We do not remember any manufacturing town so fortunately placed in this respect as Sheffield. For an excellent and truthful description of this scenery, we may turn to the poems of Ebenezer Elliott, who painted from nature and knew how to paint in deep glowing colours.

“Hallamshire, which is supposed by antiquarians to include the parish of Sheffield, forms a district or liberty, the importance of which may be traced back to even British times; but Sheffield makes its first appearance as a town some time after the Conquest. In the Domesday Book the manor of Sheffield appears as the land of Roger de Busk, the greater part held by him of the Countess Judith, widow of Waltheof the Saxon. In the early part of the reign of Henry I. it is found in the possession of the De Levetot family, and the site of their baronial residence. They founded an hospital, called St. Leonard’s (suppressed in the reign of Henry VIII.), upon an eminence still called Spital Hill, established a corn mill, and erected a bridge there, still called the Lady’s Bridge, from the chapel of the Blessed Lady of the Bridge, which had previously stood near the spot; and their exertions and protection fixed here the nucleus of a town. The male line of the Levetots became extinct by the death of William de Levetot, leaving an infant daughter, Maud, the ward of Henry II. His successor, Richard, gave her in marriage to Gerard de Furnival, a young Norman knight, who by that alliance acquired the lordship of Sheffield. There is a tradition that King John, when in arms against his barons, visited Gerard de Furnival (who espoused his cause), and remained for some time at his Castle of Sheffield.

“On the 12th of November, 1296, Edward I. granted to Lord Furnival a charter to hold a market in Sheffield on Tuesday in every week, and a fair every year about the period of Trinity Sunday. This fair is still held on Tuesday and Wednesday after Trinity Sunday, and another on the 28th of November. The same Lord Furnival granted a charter to the town, the provisions of which were of great liberality and importance at that period, viz., that a fixed annual payment should be substituted for the base, uncertain services by which they had previously held their lands and tenements, that Courts Baron should be held every three weeks for the administration of justice, and that the inhabitants of Sheffield should be free from the exaction of toll throughout the entire district of Hallamshire, whether they were vendors or purchasers.”

About this time Sheffield began to be famous for the manufacture of falchion heads, arrows, files, and whittles. Chaucer tells us of the miller that

“A Sheffield thwytle bare he in his hose, Round was his face, and camysed was his nose.”

The ample water-power, the supply of iron ore close at hand, and in after times, when its value for smelting was discovered, the fields of coal–all helped Sheffield.

“Another only daughter, and another Maud, transferred by her marriage the lordship of Sheffield to the more noble family of Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury. William Lord Furnival died 12th April 1383, in his house in Holborn, where now stands Furnival’s Inn, leaving an only daughter, who married Sir Thomas Nevil, and he in 1406 died, leaving an only daughter, Maud, who married John Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury. George, fourth Earl of Shrewsbury, built the lodge, called Sheffield Manor, on an eminence a little distance from the town, and there he received Cardinal Wolsey into his custody soon after his apprehension. It was on his journey from Sheffield Manor up to London, in order to attend his trial, that the Cardinal died at Leicester Abbey. In the reign of Queen Elizabeth, Mary Queen of Scots, who had been committed to the custody of George, sixth Earl of Shrewsbury, after being confined in Tutbury Castle, was removed in 1570 first to Sheffield Castle, and then to Sheffield Manor House, where she spent fourteen years. It was for the alleged intention of moving her hence that Thomas Duke of Norfolk, an ancestor of the ducal family, still closely connected with Sheffield, suffered on the scaffold. The grandson of this Duke of Norfolk, at whose trial the Earl of Shrewsbury presided as High Steward, afterwards married the granddaughter of the Earl, and thereby became possessed of this castle and estate.” And now, in 1851, another son of Norfolk is about to acquire a large fortune by a Talbot.

During the reign of Elizabeth, the Duke of Alva, whose persecutions did more for extending and improving the manufactures of this country than any amount of parchment protection, drove over, in addition to the weavers of linen and fullers of cloth, artizans in iron and steel. These, according to the wise rule of settling all one craft in one spot, were by the advice of the Queen’s Chamberlain, the Earl of Shrewsbury, settled on his own estate at Sheffield, and the neighbourhood thenceforward became known for the manufacture of shears, sickles, knives of every kind, and scissors.

About this time (1613), according to a survey, Sheffield contained about 2207 inhabitants, of whom the most wealthy were “100 householders, which relieve the others, but are poore artificers, not one of whom can keep a team on his own land, and above ten have grounds of their own, which will keep a cow.” In 1624, an act of the incorporation of cutlers was passed, entituled “An act for the good order and government of the makers of sickles, shears, scissors, and other cutlery wares in Hallamshire and parts near adjoining.”

Gilbert, seventh Earl of Shrewsbury, the last of the male line of the house of Talbot, who inherited the Hallamshire estates, died on the 8th May 1616, leaving three daughters, co-heiresses. The Lady Alethea Talbot, the youngest, married the Earl of Arundel, and the other two, dying without issue in 1654, the whole estates descended to her grandson, Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel, who was restored to the title of Duke of Norfolk by Charles II., on his restoration, and in that family a considerable property in Sheffield remains to this day–not without narrow escapes of extinction. Charles James Fox’s friend, Jockey of Norfolk, was one of a family which seems to afford every contrast of character in possession of the title.

In the great civil wars, Sheffield was the scene of more than one contest. In 1644, on the 1st August, after the battle of Marston Moor, the castle was besieged by twelve thousand infantry dispatched by the Earl of Manchester, compelled to surrender in a few days, and demolished by order of parliament.

The manor was dismantled in 1706 by order of Thomas Duke of Norfolk, and the splendid park, shaven of its great trees, was converted into building land, or accommodation land, part of which is still known by the name of the Park.

During the eighteenth century the Sheffield trade was entirely confined to the home market, and chiefly conducted by pack horses. In 1751 a step toward extension was made by the completion of works, which rendered the Don navigable up to Tinsley. In 1819 the Sheffield and Tinsley Canal was completed; and now Manchester, Leeds, Hull, and Liverpool, are all within a morning’s ride.

The art of silver-plating was invented at Sheffield by Thomas Bolsover, an ingenious mechanic, in the latter half of the eighteenth century, and extensively applied by Mr. Joseph Hancock. This trade has been seriously affected by the invention of electro-plating, which has transferred much of the Sheffield trade to Birmingham. The invention of Britannia metal speedily followed that of plating.

In 1750 a direct trade to the continent was opened by Mr. Thomas Broadbent. The example was soon followed. The first stage-coach to London, started in 1760, and the first bank was opened in 1762.

At present the population can be little short of 120,000. The passing of the Reform Bill gave to Sheffield two representatives. The constituency is one of the most independent in the kingdom. No “Man in the Moon” has any room for the exercise of his seductive faculties in Sheffield.

What is still more strange, until after the enactment of the Municipal Corporation Bill, Sheffield had no local authorities. The Petty Sessions business was discharged by county magistrates, and the Master Cutler acted as a sort of master of the ceremonies on occasions of festivity, without any real power. That honorary office is still retained, although Sheffield has now its aldermen and common councillors.

There is a “Royal Free Grammar School” founded in 1649, with an income from endowments of about 150 pounds a-year. Free to thirty boys, as regards classics, subject to a charge of four guineas per annum for instruction in the commercial department. In 1850 there were eighty-one scholars.

Manufactures.–Sheffield, through every change, has deservedly retained its reputation for the manufacture of razors, surgical instruments, and the highest class of cutlery, and a considerable number of carpenters’ and other steel tools.

In the coarser steel articles Birmingham does a considerable and increasing business, and Sheffield workmen settling in Germany and in the United States have, from time to time, alarmed their native town by the rivalry of their pupils; nevertheless, it may confidently be asserted, that with its present advantages Sheffield can never lose her pre-eminence in cutlery if her sons are only true to her and themselves.

The steel consumed in England is manufactured chiefly from iron imported from Sweden and Russia. It has not been exactly ascertained whence arises the superiority of this iron for that purpose. But all foreign iron converted into steel is composed of magnetic iron ore, smelted with charcoal. This kind of ore is found in several countries, particularly in Spain. In New Zealand, at New Plymouth it is said to be found in great quantities; but from the two countries first mentioned we obtain a supply of from 12,000 to 15,000 tons, of which about 9000 come from Sweden. The celebrated mines of Danemora produce the finest Swedish iron, and only a limited quantity is allowed to be produced each year. All the steel-iron used in England is imported into Hull. Bar-steel is manufactured by heating the iron, divided into lumps, in pots, with layers of charcoal, closely covered over with sand and clay, for several days. By this means the iron is carbonized and converted into what is commonly called blistered steel. The heat is kept up a longer or shorter time according to the hardness required.

Bar-steel, as it comes from the furnace, is divided and sorted, and the pieces free from flaws and blisters are rolled out and converted into files, knives, coach-springs, razors, and common implements, according to quality. It will be seen that there is a good deal of science and judgment required to manufacture the best steel.

Sheer steel is made from bar-steel by repeated heating, hammering, and welding.

Cast steel, a very valuable invention, which has in a great degree superseded sheer steel for many purposes, was first made in 1770 by Mr. Hunstman, at Allercliff, near Sheffield. It is made by subjecting bar-steel, of a certain degree of hardness, to an intense heat, for two or three hours, in a crucible, and then casting it in ingots.

The Indian Wootz steel, of which such fine specimens were exhibited in the Exhibition, and from which extraordinary sabres have been made, is cast steel, but, from the rudeness of the process, rarely obtained perfect in any quantity. Whenever we have the good fortune to intersect India with railroads, steel-iron will be among the number of our enlarged imports.

The hard and elastic qualities of steel, known as “temper,” are obtained by heating and then cooling rapidly. For this purpose baths of mercury and of boiling oil are used. Some waters are supposed to have peculiar virtues for tempering steel.

Case-hardening, a process much used for tools and plough-shares, consists in superficially hardening cast iron or wrought iron by heating it in a charcoal crucible, and so converting it into steel.

The successful operations for converting steel into various kinds of instruments, depends very much upon manual skill. The mechanics are united in trades’ unions of great power, and have exercised an influence over the manufacturers of the town of a very injurious nature. At one period, the razor-grinders and superior mechanics in several branches, were able to earn as much as five and six, and even ten, pounds a-week. At that period, when they had almost a monopoly of the cutlery trade, on a very trifling excuse they would decide on taking a holiday, or, as it is termed, “playing.” Strikes for higher wages generally took place whenever any good orders from foreign markets were known to have reached the town. By these arbitrary proceedings, arising from an ignorance of the common principles of political economy, which it is to be hoped that the spread of education will remove, the Sheffield cutlery trade has been seriously injured. A few years ago large numbers of the cutlers emigrated.

Further depression was produced by the rivalry of Birmingham in the electrotype process, which has, to a considerable degree, superseded the Sheffield plate and other trades, the latter town being better placed for the foreign trade, while the workmen are less turbulent.

Beside cutlery and Sheffield plate, Britannia metal, and other similar ornamental and domestic articles, a good deal of heavy ironware is made in Sheffield. We may notice the fire-grates, stoves, and fenders, of which all the best, wherever sold and whatever name and address they bear, come from Sheffield. In this branch of manufacture a great deal of artistic taste has been introduced, and many scientific improvements for distributing and economizing heat.

The firm of Stuart and Smith, Roscoe Place, distinguished themselves at the Great Exhibition, by producing a series of beautiful grates, at prices between two pounds and one hundred guineas.

There are some establishments for the manufactory of machinery.

Within the last year or two Sheffield has enjoyed a revival of prosperity, especially in the article of edge tools.

The mechanics of Sheffield are a very remarkable and interesting set of people, with a more distinct character than the mechanics of those towns which are recruited from various parts of the country. They are “Sheffielders.”

A public meeting at Sheffield is a very remarkable scene. The rules of public business are perfectly understood and observed; unless in periods of very great excitement, the most unpopular speaker will receive a fair hearing. A fair hearing does not express it. The silence of a Sheffield audience, the manner in which they drink in every word of a stranger, carefully watching for the least symptom of humbug, and unreduced by the most tempting claptrap, is something quite awful.

A man with a good coat on his back must dismiss all attempts at compliments, all roundabout phrases, and plunge into the middle of the business with the closest arguments he can muster, to produce any effect on the Sheffield blades. Although they look on all gentlemen with the greatest distrust, and have a most comical fear of imaginary emissaries from Government wandering to and fro to seduce them, they thoroughly understand and practise fair play. The sterling qualities of these men inspire one with respect, and regret that they should be imposed upon by such “blageurs” as Feargus O’Connor and his troop. Perhaps they are wiser now.

The Sheffielders, by way of relaxation, are fond of gardening, cricket, dog fighting, and formerly of hunting. They are very skilful gardeners,–their celery is famous. A few years ago, one of the trades hired land to employ their unemployed members. Many possess freehold cottages.

Cricket and similar amusements have been encouraged by the circumstance that, in summer droughts, the water-power on which the grindstones depend often falls short, and then there is a fair reason for turning out to play or to garden, as the case may be, according to taste.

Sheffield bulldogs used to be very famous, and there are still famous ones to be found; but dog fighting, with drinking, is going out of fashion.

But, although other towns play at cricket, and love good gardening and good dogs, we presume that the Sheffielders are the only set of mechanics in Europe who ever kept their own pack of hounds. Such was the case a few years ago, when we had the pleasure of seeing them; and, if they are still in existence, they are worth going a hundred miles to see. The hounds, which were old English harriers, slow and deep-mouthed, were quartered at various cottages in the suburbs. On hunting mornings, when the men had a holiday, the huntsman, who was paid by a general subscription, took his stand on a particular hill top and blew his horn.

In a few minutes, from all quarters the hounds began to canter up to him, and he blew and blew again until a full complement, some ten or twelve couples, had arrived.

The subscribers came up in twos and threes on the hacks of the well known “Shanks,” armed with stout sticks; and then off they set, as gay and much more in earnest than many dozen who sport pink and leathers outside on hundred guinea nags.

Music is a good deal cultivated among all classes in Sheffield. There are two scientific associations, but of no particular mark. Sheffield has produced two poets of very different metal, James Montgomery and Ebenezer Elliott, both genuine; and a sculptor, Chantrey, who was apprenticed there to a wheelwright.

The railway communications of Sheffield were long imperfect,–they are now excellent. The clothing districts of Yorkshire are united by two lines. The North Midland connects it with Derbyshire, and affords a short road by Derby and through Leicestershire to London on one side, and by Burton to Birmingham on the other. The Lincolnshire line has shortened the distance to Hull, whence the steel-iron comes, and fat cattle; the Manchester line carries away the bars converted into cutlery, and all the plated ware and hardware, by Liverpool, to customers in America, North or South.

We must not forget that there are coal-pits close to the town, of extensive workings, which are extremely well suited for the visit of an amateur. Even a courageous lady might, without inconvenience, travel underground along the tramways in the trucks, if she did not mind the jolting.

The miners are not at all like our Staffordshire friends, but are very decent fellows. There are a good many Wesleyan Methodists among them, and hymns may be heard sometimes resounding along the vaulted galleries, and rising from behind the air-doors, where children sit all day on duty,–dull work, but not hard or cold.

A well managed coal mine is a very fine sight.


From either Sheffield or Manchester a most delightful journey is open through Derbyshire to a good pedestrian, or to a party of friends travelling in a carriage with their own horses. For the latter purpose an Irish outside car, fitted either with a pole or outrigger for a pair of horses, is one of the best conveyances we know. The front seat holds the driver; two ladies and two gentlemen fill up the two sides. The well contains ample space for the luggage of sensible people; umbrellas and waterproof capes can be strapped on the intermediate cushion, and then, if the horses are provided with military halters and nosebags, you are prepared for every eventuality. To other impedimenta it is not amiss to add a couple of light saddles, so that, if necessary, some of the party may ride to any particular spot.

This mode of travelling is particularly well suited for Derbyshire, Wales, Devonshire, and all counties where there are beautiful spots worth visiting to which there are no regular conveyances, and which, indeed, are often only accidentally discovered. By this mode of travelling you are rendered perfectly independent of time and taverns, so long as you reach an inn in time to go to bed; for you can carry all needful provant for both man and beast with you.

Derbyshire is in every respect one of the most beautiful counties in England, and deserves a closer investigation than can be obtained from the outside of a coach, much less from the windows of a flying train, whenever the promised railway line, which we propose to traverse, shall be completed.

Derbyshire possesses two kinds of scenery totally distinct in character, but both remarkably picturesque, several natural curiosities of a very striking character, two very pleasant bath towns,–Buxton and Matlock; beside the antiquarian glories of Hardwicke and Haddon, and the palatial magnificence of Chatsworth, with its porticoes, its fountains, its pleasure grounds, its Victoria Regia, and the House of Glass that has been the means of making Joseph Paxton famous all over the civilized world.

While the country round the Peak is wild, bare, and rugged, the line of valleys and dales on which lies the road from Matlock to Burton and Manchester, presents the most charming series of pictures of undulating woodland scenery, adorned by mansions and cottages, that it is possible to imagine. The high road continually runs along the steep side of valleys,–on one side are thick coverts climbing the rocky hill-sides, all variegated with wild flowers, briars, and brushwood; on the other side, sometimes on a level with the road, sometimes far below, a river winds and foams and brawls along; if lost for a short distance, again coming in sight of the road, enlivening and refreshing the scene.

In the main avenue of the Crystal Palace, Mr. Carrington exhibited a model which represented with extraordinary accuracy all this country, and which gave a very exact picture of Derbyshire, with all the undulations of its hills and rivers worked to a scale. Those who have never been in the county should endeavour to see it, as it will teach them that we have a Switzerland in England of which they knew not.

One charm of this part of Derbyshire is the intermixture of cultivation and wild nature, or woods so planted as to well emulate nature. On bits of level space you meet a cottage neatly built of stone, all covered with roses and woodbines, which flourish wonderfully on the loose soil in the showery atmosphere. The cottages of Derbyshire are so pretty that you are at first inclined to imagine that they are for show,–mere fancy buildings. But no; the cheapness of good building stone, the suitability of the soil for flowering shrubs, and perhaps something in the force of example, create cottage after cottage fit for the dwellings of Arcadian lovers. And every now and then the landscape opens on a villa or mansion so placed that there is nothing left for the landscape gardener to do.

The farm buildings, and corn mills, and silk mills, are equally picturesque: game abounds. Early in the morning and in the evening you may often see the pheasants feeding close to the roadside, and, in the middle of the day, the sudden sharp noise of a detonating ball will set them crowing in the woods all around.

We cannot say that the streams now swarm with trout and grayling as they did when honest Isaac Walton sung their praises in quaint poetical prose, although they still twine and foam along their rocky beds all overhung with willows and tufted shrubs; but, where the waters are preserved, there good sport is to be had.

The roadside inns are not bad. The half-mining, half-farming people are quaint and amusing. The caverns of the Peak and the lead mines, afford something strange and new. Altogether we can warmly commend a trip through Derbyshire, as one affording great variety of hill and dale, wood and stream, barren moors, and rich cultivation, fine parks and mansions, and beautiful hamlets, cottages, and roadside gardens, where English peasant life is to be seen under most favourable aspects.

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HARDWICKE.–Supposing that we proceed from Sheffield, we would take the railway to Chesterfield, which is not a place of any interest. Thence make our way to Hardwicke, on the road to Mansfield.

Hardwicke Hall is a good specimen of the style of domestic architecture in the time of Queen Elizabeth, which has remained unaltered since that period. Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned here, and some remains of tapestry worked by her are exhibited, as well as furniture more ancient than the house itself. It belongs to the Duke of Devonshire.

From Hardwicke we proceed to Matlock, which may be reached by an unfinished railway, intended to traverse the vales, and thence run into Manchester.

The village and baths are in the centre of a dale through which the river Derwent flows, along between overhanging trees, except where, in some parts, its course lies through the narrow gut of perpendicular rocks. On either side rise hills, for the most part adorned with wood, to the height of three hundred feet.

The waters, which are supplied to several small and one large swimming bath, have a temperature of from 66 to 68 degrees of Fahrenheit. They are not now much in fashion, therefore the village has continued a village, and is extremely quiet or dull according to the tastes of the visitor. At the same time, there are a number of delightful expeditions to be made in the neighbourhood, on foot or horseback, and on donkeys,–hills to be ascended and caves to be explored.

By permission of Sir Richard Arkwright of Willersley Castle, close to Matlock and several other river preserves, good fishing may be obtained.

From Matlock, the next halt should be at Bakewell, where there is an excellent inn, which is a good encampment for visiting both Chatsworth and Haddon Hall.

Chatsworth is three miles from Bakewell. The present building occupies the site of that which was long occupied by Mary Queen of Scots during her captivity, and which was taken down to make room for the present structure at the close of the seventeenth century.

The park is ten miles in circumference, and is intersected by the river Derwent, which flows in front of the mansion.

This place has long been celebrated for its natural and artificial beauties, but within the last few years the Duke of Devonshire has largely added to its attractions, by alterations carried on at an immense expense, under the direction of Mr. Joseph Paxton, which, among other things, include the largest greenhouse in the world–the house where the Victoria Regia was first made to flower, and a fountain of extraordinary height and beauty.

These grounds, with the house, containing some fine pictures, are open to the visits of all well-behaved persons. Indeed, from the arrangements made for the convenience of visitors, it would seem as if the Duke of Devonshire has as much pleasure in displaying, as visitors can have in examining, his most beautiful domains, which is saying a great deal.

Haddon Hall, one of the most perfect specimens of a mansion of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, is situated on the left bank of the Wye, at a short distance from Bakewell. The “interiors” of Mr. Joseph Nash have rendered the beauties of the architecture of Haddon Hall well known, but it also enjoys the advantage of a very fine situation, backed by old trees. It is the property of the Duke of Rutland, uninhabited, but perfectly preserved. Good fishing is to be obtained near Bakewell, through the landlord of the hotel.

BUXTON may be the next halt, the Leamington of Manchester, but although more picturesquely situated, it has not enjoyed anything like the tide of prosperity which has flowed for the Warwickshire watering place. The thermal waters of Buxton have been celebrated from the time of the Romans.

The town is situated in a deep basin, surrounded by bleak hills and barren moors, in strong contrast to the verdant valley in which the village of Matlock lies. The only entrance to and exit from this basin is by a narrow ravine, through which the river Wye flows on its way to join the Derwent toward Bakewell.

The highest mountains in Derbyshire are close at hand, one of which is one thousand feet above the valley in which Buxton stands, and two thousand one hundred feet higher than the town of Derby. From this mountain four rivers rise, the Wye, the Dove, the Goyt, and the Dean.

Buxton consists of a new and old town. In the old town is a hall, in which Mary Queen of Scots lodged whilst visiting the Buxton waters for her health, as a prisoner under charge of the Earl of Shrewsbury. A Latin distich, a farewell to Buxton, scratched on the window of one of the rooms, is attributed to the hand of that unhappy princess.

The new part of the town commences with the Crescent, which contains two houses, a library, an assembly-room, a news-room, baths, and other buildings, and is one of the finest structures of the kind in the kingdom. The stables, on a magnificent scale, contain a covered ride, a hundred and sixty feet long. This immense pile was built by the late Duke of Devonshire in 1781, and cost 120,000 pounds.

The public baths are very numerous and elegant; and indeed every comfort and luxury is to be obtained there by invalids and semi-invalids, except that perpetual atmosphere of amusement, without form, or fuss, or much expense, which forms the great charm of German watering places.

We cannot understand why at the present moderate price of all kinds of provisions in England, a tariff of prices, and a set of customs of expense are kept up, which send all persons of moderate fortune to continental watering places, or compel them to depart at the end of a fortnight, instead of staying a month.

Why do we English,–after dining at a table d’hote, all the way from Baden- Baden to Boulogne, for something not exceeding half-a-crown a-head, without drinking wine, unless we like,–find ourselves bound, the moment we set our foot in England, to have a private or stereotyped dinner at five or six shillings a-head, and no amusement. In London, for gentlemen only, there are three or four public dinners at a moderate figure. When will some of our bell-wethers of fashion, to whom economy is of more consequence than even the middle classes, set the example at Leamington, Tunbridge Wells, Buxton, and Cheltenham, of dining with their wives and daughters at the public table? How long are we to be slaves of salt soup, fried soles, and fiery sherry?

The decayed watering places, ruined by the competition of the continent, should try the experiment of commercial prices, as an invitation to idlers and half-invalids to stay at home.

Another great help to our watering places and farmers, would be the repeal of the post-horse tax. It brings in a mere trifle. The repeal would be an immense boon to places where the chief attraction depends on rides and drives. It would largely increase the number of horses and vehicles for hire, and be a real aid to the distressed agricultural interest, by the increased demand it would make for corn, hay, and straw. Besides, near a small place like Matlock, or Ilfracombe, in Devonshire, farmers would work horses through the winter, and hire them out in summer. It is a great tax to pay four shillings and sixpence as a minimum for going a mile in any country place where flies and cabs have not been planted.

The environs of Buxton afford ample room for rides, drives, picnics, and geological and botanical explorations. Beautifully romantic scenes are to be found among the high crags on the Bakewell road, overhanging the river Wye. Among the natural curiosities is a cave called Poole’s Hole, five hundred and sixty yards in length, with a ceiling in one part very lofty, and adorned with stalactites, which have a beautiful appearance when lighted up by Roman candles or other fireworks. As Buxton is only twenty-two miles from Manchester, travellers who have the time to spare should on no account omit to visit one of the most romantic and remarkable scenes of England.

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MACCLESFIELD.–From Buxton it will not be a bad plan to proceed to Macclesfield, and again in Cheshire, on the borders of Derbyshire, take advantage of the rail. The turnpike road to that improving seat of the silk manufacture is across one of the highest hills in the district, from the summit of which an extensive view into the “Vale Royal” of Cheshire is had. The hills and valleys in the vicinity of Whaley and Chapel-en-le-Frith are equally delightful. Macclesfield has one matter of attraction–its important silk manufactories. In other respects it is externally perfectly uninteresting. The Earl of Chester, son of Henry III., made Macclesfield a free borough, consisting of a hundred and twenty burgesses, and various privileges were conferred by Edward III., Richard II., Edward IV., Elizabeth, and Charles II.

One of the churches, St. Michael’s, was founded by Eleanor, Queen of Edward I., in 1278. It has been partly rebuilt, but there are two chapels, one the property of the Marquis of Cholmondeley, which was built by Thomas Savage, Archbishop of York, whose heart was buried there in 1508. The other belongs to the Leghs of Lyme. A brass plate shows that the estate of Lyme was bestowed upon an ancestor for recovering a standard at the battle of Cressy. He was afterwards beheaded at Chester as a supporter of Richard II. Another ancestor, Sir Piers Legh, fell fighting at the battle of Agincourt. We do not know what manner of men the Leghs of Lyme of the present generation are, but certainly pride is pardonable in a family with an ancestry which took part in deeds not only recorded by history, but immortalized by Shakspeare.

There is a grammar school, of the foundation of Edward VI., with an income of 1500 pounds a-year, free to all residents, with two exhibitions of 50 pounds per annum, tenable for four years. But there must be some mismanagement, as it appears from Parker’s useful Educational Register, that in 1850 only twenty-two scholars availed themselves of these privileges; yet Macclesfield has a population exceeding thirty thousand.

The education of the working classes is above average, and music is much cultivated. We abstain from giving the figures in this as in several other instances, because the census, which will shortly be published, will afford exact information on all these points.

The establishment of silk factories on the river Bollen brought Macclesfield into notice in the beginning of this century. Unhampered by the restrictions which weighed upon the Spitalfields manufacturers, and nurtured by the monopoly accorded to English silks, the silk weaving trade gradually attained great prosperity between 1808 and 1825. At that period the commencement of the fiscal changes, which have rendered the silk trade quite open to foreign competition, produced a serious effect on the prosperity of Macclesfield.

In 1832 the number of mills at work had diminished nearly one-half, and the number of hands by two-thirds. Since that period, after various vicissitudes, the silk trade has acquired a more healthy tone, and we presume that the inhabitants do not now consider the alterations commenced by Huskisson, and completed by Peel, injurious to their interests; since, at the last election, they returned one free-trader, a London shopkeeper, in conjunction with a local banker and manufacturer.

Macclesfield has now to contend with home as well as foreign competition, for silk manufactories have been spread over the kingdom in many directions.

We may expect to see in a few years, as the result of the universal extension of railway communication, a great distribution and transplantation of manufacturing establishments to towns where cheap labour and provisions, or good water or water-power, or cheap fuel, offer any advantages, There is something very curious to be noted in the manner in which certain of our principal manufactures have remained constant, while others have been transplanted from place to place, and in which ports have risen and fallen.

The glory of the Cinque Ports seems departed for ever, unless as harbours of refuge, while Folkestone, by the help of a railway, has acquired a considerable trade at the expense of Dover. The same power which has rendered Southampton great has reduced Falmouth and Harwich to a miserably low ebb. The sea-borne trade of Chester is gone for ever, but Birkenhead hopes to rise by the power of steam.

No changes can seriously injure Hull, although railways will give Great Grimsby a large share of the overflowings of the new kind of trade created by large steam boats and the repeal of duties on timber; and so we might run through a long list of commercial changes, past, present, and to come.

Macclesfield has shared largely in these influences. Having acquired its commercial importance as one of the glasshouses in which, at great expense, we raised an artificial silk trade, when it lay at a distance of at least three hours from Manchester for all heavy goods, and at least three days from London; it has now communication with London in five hours, and with the port of Liverpool, through Manchester, in two hours if needful. Thus it enjoys the best possible means of obtaining the raw material and sending off the manufactured article.

In the time of Queen Charlotte, the wife of George III., it was contrary to the laws of the palace for any servant to wear a silk gown; but extended commerce and improved machinery have rendered it almost a matter of course for the respectable cook of a respectable lawyer or surgeon, to afford herself a black silk gown without extravagance or impertinence,–which is so much the better for the weavers and sailors.

We shall not attempt to describe the silk manufacture, which is on the same principles as all other textiles, except that less work can be done by machinery. But it is one of the most pleasant and picturesque of all our manufacturing operations. The long light rooms in which the weaving is conducted are scrupulously clean and of a pleasant temperature,–no dust, no motes are flying about. The girls in short sleeves, in the course of their work are, as it were, obliged to assume a series of graceful attitudes. The delicacy of their work, and the upward position in which they hold them, render their hands white and delicate, and the atmosphere has something of the same effect on their complexion. Many of the greatest beauties of Belgravia might envy the white hands and taper fingers to be found in a silk mill.

Unfortunately this trade, which in factory work is healthy and well paid, is, more than any other, subject to the vicissitudes of fashion. The plain qualities suffer from such changes less than the rich brocades and fancy patterns.

It must be remarked that, although the repeal of protective duties to eighteen per cent. produced a temporary depressing effect on the trade of Macclesfield, the general silk trade has largely increased ever since 1826, and has spread over a number of counties where it was before unknown, and has become an important article of export even to France.

An example of the readiness with which, in these railroad days, a manufacture can be transplanted, was exhibited at Tewkesbury four years ago. The once- fashionable theatre of that decayed town was being sold by auction; it hung on the auctioneer’s hammer at so trifling a sum that one of the new made M.P.’s of the borough bought it. Having bought it, for want of some other use he determined to turn it into a silk mill. In a very short space of time the needful machinery was obtained from Macclesfield, with an overseer. While the machinery was being erected, a bevy of girls were acquiring the art of silk weaving, and, in less than twelve months, five or six hundred hands were as regularly engaged in this novel process, as if they had been so engaged all their lives. Without railroads, such an undertaking would have been the work of years, if possible at all.

Raw silk is obtained from Italy, from France in small quantities, as the exportation of the finest silk is forbidden, from China, from India in increasing quantities, and from Brusa in Asia Minor through Constantinople.

The raw silk, imported in the state in which it is wound from the cocoons, has to be twisted into thread, after being dyed, so as to approach the stage of yarn in the cotton manufacture. This twisting is technically called throwing, and is one of the departments in which the greatest improvements have been introduced, as shown by silk throwers from Macclesfield in the machine department of the Great Exhibition; and, by the improvements, the cost of throwing, or twisting, has been reduced from 10s. per lb. to 3s.

It takes about twelve pounds of cocoons to make one pound of reeled silk, and that pound will produce from fourteen to sixteen yards of gros de Naples.

Many attempts have been made to naturalize the silk-worm in this country, but, after rather large sums have been expended on it, it is now quite clear that, although it be possible to obtain large quantities of silk of a certain quality, the undertaking cannot be made to pay: the climate is an obstacle.

For centuries the silk-worm was only known to the Chinese,–the Greeks and Romans used the substance without knowing from what it was produced or whence it came. In the sixth century, in the reign of Justinian, the eggs of the silk-worm were brought secretly to Constantinople from China by the Nestorian monks in a hollow cane, hatched, and successfully propagated. For six centuries the breeding of silk-worms was confined to the Greeks of the Lower Empire. In the twelfth century the art was transferred to Sicily, and thence successively to Italy, Spain, and France.

Great efforts were made in the reign of James I. to promote the rearing of silk-worms in England, and mulberry trees were distributed to persons of influence through many counties. The scheme failed. But in 1718 a company was incorporated, with a like purpose, and planted trees, and erected buildings in Chelsea Park. This scheme also failed. Great efforts were made to plant the growth of silk in the American colonies, and the brilliant prospects of establishing a new staple of export formed a prominent feature in the schemes for American colonization, of which so many were launched in the beginning of the eighteenth century. But up to the present time no progress has been made in it in that country, although silk-worms are found in a natural state in the forests of the Union. Indeed, it seems a pursuit which needs cheap attentive labour as well as suitable climate. Some attempts have been made in Australia, but there again the latter question presents an insurmountable obstacle. If the mulberry would thrive in Natal, where native labour is cheap, it would be worth trying there, although we cannot do better than develop the resources of the silk-growing districts of India, where the culture has been successfully carried on for centuries.

At the Great Exhibition an extremely handsome banner was exhibited, manufactured from British silk, cultivated by the late Mrs. Whitby of Newlands, near Southampton, who spent a large income, and many years in the pursuit, solely from philanthropic motives, and carried on an extensive correspondence with parties inclined to assist her views; but, although to the last she was sanguine of success in making silk one of the raw staples of England, and a profitable source of employment for women and children, we have seen no commercial evidence of any more real progress than that of gardeners in growing grapes and melons without glass-houses.

Almost every country in Europe has made the same attempts, but with very moderate success. Russia has its mulberry plantations, so has Belgium, Austria Proper, Hungary, Bavaria, and even Sweden; but Lombardy and Cevennes in France bear away the palm for excellence, and there is an annual increase in the quantity and quality of silk from British India. But no matter where it grows, we can buy it and bring it to our own doors nearly as cheap as the natives of the country, often cheaper.

In Macclesfield every kind of silk article is produced, including ribbons, narrow and richly-ornamented satin, velvet, silk embroidered for waistcoats and gown pieces.


On leaving Macclesfield we are, as usual, embarrassed by a choice of routes, due to the perseverance of Mr. Ricardo, one of the members for the Potteries, who has endowed his constituents with a set of railways, which cut through their district in all manner of ways. These North Staffordshire lines, Tria juncta in uno, form an engineering continuation of the Trent Valley, and are invaluable to the manufacturers of porcelain and pottery in that district. To the shareholders they have proved rather a disappointment. The ten per cent. secured to the Trent Valley Company, by the fears of the London and North- Western, has not yet rewarded the patriotism of the North Staffordshire shareholders. But to our route, we may either make our way by Leek, Cheadle, Alton, and Uttoxeter to Burton, famous for the ale of Bass and game of cricket nourished on it, and through Burton to Derby. (The learned and lively author of the “Cricket Field” remarks, that the game of cricket follows malt and hops–no ale, no bowlers or batsmen. It began at Farnham hops, and has never rolled further north than Edinburgh ale.) Or by Congleton, Burslem, Hanley, and Stoke upon Trent (the very heart of the Potteries), then either pushing on to Uttoxeter to the north, or keeping the south arm past Trentham to Norton Bridge, which will convey you to the Trent Valley Line, the shortest way to London.

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CONGLETON is an ancient borough of Cheshire, on the borders of Staffordshire, containing a number of those black and white oak frame and plaster houses, which are peculiar to that county, and well worth examining. It is situated in a deep romantic valley on the banks of the river Dane, and enjoys a greater reputation for health than commercial progress. The population does not appear to have increased between the two last census. The Municipal Corporation dates from a remote period. It appears from the Corporation Books that the Mayor and Aldermen patronised every kind of sport–plays, cock fights, bear baiting, morris dancing. So fond were they of bear baiting, that in 1621, by a unanimous vote, they transferred the money intended for a bible to the purchase of a bear.

Times are changed; every inhabitant of Congleton can now have his own bible for tenpence. Bear baiting and cock fighting have been discontinued; but we hope the inhabitants have grown wiser than they were some fifteen years ago, when they allowed themselves, for the sake of petty political disputes, to be continually drawn through the Courts of Law and Chancery–a process quite as cruel for the suitors, and more expensive and less amusing than bear-baiting.

At the Town Hall is to be seen a “bridle” for a scold, which the ladies of the present generation are too well behaved ever to deserve. President Bradshaw, the regicide, was a Cheshireman, born and christened at Stockport. He practised as barrister, and served the office of mayor in 1637, at Congleton, of which he afterwards became high steward. At Macclesfield, according to tradition, he wrote, when a boy, on a tombstone, these prophetic lines:–

“My brother Henry must heir the land, My brother Frank must be at his command, Whilst I, poor Jack! will do that,
That all the world shall wonder at.”

Bradshaw became Chief Justice of the County Palatine of Chester under the Commonwealth, was dismissed by Cromwell for his Republican opinions, died in 1659, was magnificently buried in Westminster Abbey, and disinterred and gibbeted with Cromwell and Ireton at the Restoration. A piece of vengeance on poor dead bones that remained unimitated until one of the mobs of the first French Revolution scattered the bones of the French Kings buried in the vaults of St. Denis.


Some of our readers may feel disposed to visit the charming scenery with which Cumberland and Westmoreland abound; and that they may be assisted in their route thereto, and in their rambles through that beautiful district, we will furnish a few notes descriptive of the most convenient and pleasant routes.

From Congleton an easy diversion may be made, by railway, to Crewe, and from thence the journey, along the North-Western line, passing Northwich (Cheshire) and Warrington (Lancashire), via Parkside, to Preston, Garstang, and Lancaster, is rapid and agreeable. The approach to Preston is remarkably pleasing, the railway being carried across a magnificent vale, through which the river Lune, a fine, wide stream, equalling in beauty the far-famed Dee, runs towards the Irish Channel.

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PRESTON is a populous manufacturing town, in which cotton-spinning is carried on to a very large extent, and is surrounded by a rich agricultural district, which furnishes in abundance every kind of farming produce. The borough returns two members to Parliament, is a corporate town, and has acquired a distinction by its Guilds, which are conducted with great spirit every twenty years. The market, which is held on the Saturday, is well supplied with fruits, vegetables, and fish, salmon included, taken from the river Lune.

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LANCASTER, twenty miles northward, is also a borough town, returning two members to Parliament, and is governed by a mayor and town council. It is one of the ancient ports of Lancashire, and, being the county town, the assizes for North Lancashire are held there. Some years ago the assizes for the whole of Lancashire were regularly holden at Lancaster, and in those palmy days, as the judicial sittings generally extended to sixteen or twenty days, a rich harvest was reaped, not only by “the gentlemen of the long robe,” but also by the numerous innkeepers in the place. The assize business for South Lancashire was at length removed to Liverpool, as the most convenient site for the large number of suitors from that part of the county; and since that period the town of Lancaster has lost much of its importance. There are many objects of especial interest within the town and in the immediate district. The ancient castle (now the county gaol), once the residence of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster; the Nisi Prius Court, an elegant and spacious building from a design by the late Mr. Harrison of Chester; and the old parish church, are worthy of close inspection; whilst from the castle terrace and churchyard delightful views of the river, Morecambe Bay, and the distant hills of Cumberland and Westmoreland, are commanded. The village of Hornby, a few miles northward, situated on the banks of the Lune, is one of the most picturesque and retired spots in the kingdom. The river, for several miles from Lancaster, is studded with enchanting scenery, and is much frequented by the lovers of the rod and line.

From Lancaster the tourist may proceed easily, via the Lancaster and Carlisle railway, into the very midst of the Lake district. Kendal is about twenty miles from Lancaster, and from the former pretty town a branch line runs direct to Windermere, whence parties may proceed to Bowness, Ambleside, Keswick, and other delightful and time-honoured places in Westmoreland and Cumberland. From Kendal also Sedburgh, Orton, Kirkby Stephen, Shap, Brough, and the high and low lands circumjacent, may be visited. Ulverston, Ravenglass, Whitehaven, Cockermouth, all nearly equally accessible from the Kendal railway station, will furnish another interesting route to the traveller.

The midland part of Cumberland consists principally of hills, valleys, and ridges of elevated ground. To the tourist the mountainous district in the south-west is the most interesting and attractive. This part comprises Saddleback, Skiddaw, and Helvellyn, with the lakes of Ulleswater, Thirlmere, Derwent-water, and Bassenthwaite. Besides these lakes there are several of smaller size, equally celebrated for their diversified and striking scenery. Buttermere, whose charms are sweetly sung by many of our poets, Crummock- water, Loweswater, Ennerdale, Wast-water, and Devock-lake, are frequented by hosts of travellers, and retain no small number of admirers. The most remarkable phenomena connected with the Lakes are the Floating Island and Bottom-Wind, both of which are occasionally seen at Derwent-water, and neither of which has yet received a satisfactory explanation. Most of the lakes abound in fish, especially char, trout, and perch; so that anglers are sure of plenty of sport in their visits to these fine sheets of water. In Cumberland there are several waterfalls, namely, Scale Force and Sour Milk Force, near Buttermere; Barrow Cascade and Lowdore Cascade, near Keswick; Airey Force, Gowbarrow Park; and Nunnery Cascade, Croglin. The highest mountains in the same county are,–Scaw Fell (Eskdale), 3166 feet, highest point; Helvellyn (Keswick), 3055; and Skiddaw (Keswick), 3022. The climate of Cumberland is various; the high land cold and piercing; the lower parts mild and temperate. The district is generally considered to be healthy, and many remarkable instances of longevity are noted by the local historians.

The oldest inhabitants on record are John Taylor, of Garrigall, who died in 1772, aged 132 years, and Mr. R. Bowman, of Irthington, who died June 13, 1823, aged 118 years. The oldest oak tree in Cumberland of which there is any record–a tree which had stood for 600 years in Wragmire Moss, Inglewood Forest–fell from natural decay on the day of Mr. Bowman’s demise.

Cumberland is wholly in the diocese of Carlisle, with the exception of the wood of Allerdale-above-Derwent, in the diocese of Chester, and the parish of Alston, in that of Durham. It contains 104 parishes. It is comprehended in the province of York, and in the northern circuit. The assizes are held at Carlisle twice a-year. The principal coach roads in Westmoreland are the old mail road from Lancaster to Carlisle and Glasgow; and the road (formerly a mail road) through Stamford, Newark, Doncaster, and Greta Bridge, to Carlisle and Glasgow. There is a second road from Lancaster to Kendal, through Milnthorp. Roads lead from Kendal south-westward to Ulverston and Dalton-in- Furness; westward to Bowness, and across Windermere by the ferry to Hawkshead, and Coniston Water in Furness, and to Egremont and Whitehaven in Cumberland; north-westward by Ambleside to Keswick, Cockermouth, and Workington, in Cumberland; north-eastward by Orton to Appleby, with a branch road to Kirkby Stephen to Brough; eastward to Sedbergh, and onwards to Yorkshire.

The railways in the district are, the Preston and Carlisle, the Kendal and Windermere, the Cockermouth and Workington, the Furness (between Fleetwood, Furness Abbey, Ulverston, Broughton, and the Lakes), the Maryport and Carlisle, Whitehaven Junction, and Whitehaven and Furness Junction (between Whitehaven, Ravenglass, Bootle, and Broughton).

Wordsworth, whose soul, as well as body, was identified with this district, says of the mountains of Westmoreland, that “in magnitude and grandeur they are individually inferior to the most celebrated of those in some other parts of the island; but in the combinations which they make, towering above each other, or lifting themselves in ridges like the waves of a tumultuous sea, and in the beauty and variety of their surfaces and colours, they are surpassed by none.”

The lakes are numerous, beautiful, and extensive in size. Ulleswater is embosomed in the centre of mountains, of which Helvellyn forms part. The upper part of it belongs wholly to Westmoreland, while its lower part, on the border of Cumberland and Westmoreland, is about seven miles long, with an average breadth of half a mile. The higher portion of the lake is in Patterdale. Haweswater is formed by the expansion of the Mardale-beck; and all the larger affluents of the Eden, which join it on the left bank, rise on the northern slope of the Cumbrian ridge. The river Leven, which flows out of Windermere, belongs to Lancashire; but the Rothay, or Raise-beck, which drains the valley of Grasmere, the streams which drain the valleys of Great and Little Langdale, and the Trout-beck, which all flow into Windermere, and may be regarded as the upper waters of the Leven, belong to Westmoreland. Elterwater, Grasmere, and Rydal Water, are connected with the streams which flow into Windermere. This last-named lake has been described as situated in Lancashire; whilst in a county survey, and in the court rolls at Lowther Castle, it is included in Westmoreland. All the lakes, large and small, have some distinguishing feature of beauty. Their boundary lines are either gracefully or boldly indented; in some parts rugged steeps, admitting of no cultivation, descend into the water; in others, gently sloping lawns and rich woods, or flat and fertile meadows, stretch between the margin of the lake and the mountains. Tarns, or small lakes, are generally difficult of access, and naked, desolate, or gloomy, yet impressive from these very characteristics. Loughrigg Tarn, near the junction of the valleys of Great and Little Langdale, is one of the most beautiful.

The county of Westmoreland is divided between the dioceses of Carlisle and Chester. The parishes are only thirty-two in number. The population in 1841 was 56,454. Of monumental remains there are but few in the county. “Arthur’s Round Table,” near Eamont Bridge, is worthy of a visit, as well as other fragments, supposed to be druidical, in the same district. There are several ancient castles which will attract the attention of the antiquary, if he should be near, in his journeyings, to the site of any of them. The most conspicuous remnant of other days in Cumberland is the druidical temple near Kirkoswald, consisting of a circle of sixty-seven unhewn stones, called Long Meg and her Daughters.

A brief description of the leading towns within the Lake District will be useful.

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KENDAL, as we have already stated, is about twenty miles by railway from Lancaster. It is a market-town, pleasantly situated on the slope of a hill rising from the river Kent; contains two churches, and several dissenting places of worship; the ruins of the old castle of the barons of Kendal; and a town-hall, the town being governed by a Corporation under the Municipal Reform Act.

The Kendal and Windermere Railway runs no farther than Birthwaite, which is nine miles from Kendal, two from Bowness, and five from Ambleside. From the railway terminus coaches and omnibuses meet all the trains in the summer, and convey passengers onwards to Bowness, Ambleside, and other places.

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BOWNESS is a picturesque village placed on the banks of Windermere, and contains an ancient church, with square tower, dedicated to St. Martin. In the churchyard are deposited the remains of the celebrated Bishop Watson, author of “The Apology for the Bible,” he having resided at Calgarth Park, in the neighbourhood, for several years. In the vicinity are the residences of Professor Wilson (Elleray), the Earl of Bradford (St. Catherine’s), and the Rev. Thomas Staniforth (Storrs Hall, formerly the residence of Colonel Bolton, of Liverpool, the intimate friend of the late Mr. Canning). From the school-house, which stands on an eminence, delightful views of Windermere, and other parts of the district, are seen to great advantage, Belle Isle, on the lake, appearing to be part of the mainland. This island is more than a mile in circumference, and comprises about thirty acres. We may add, that Storrs Hall, whilst occupied by Colonel Bolton, was frequently the retreat of many “choice spirits,” Canning, Wordsworth, Southey, and Wilson, of the number. Mr. Bolton was a princely merchant of Liverpool, and Colonel of a Volunteer Regiment whilst England was in dread of French invasion. He was one of Mr. Canning’s warmest political friends, and always took an active part in the electioneering contests for Liverpool in which Canning was engaged. Lockhart, referring to one of these “gatherings,” says:–“A large company had been assembled at Mr. Bolton’s seat in honour of the minister; it included Mr. Wordsworth and Mr. Southey. There was high discourse, intermingled with as gay flashings of courtly wit as ever Canning displayed. There were beautiful and accomplished women to adorn and enjoy this circle. The weather was as Elysian as the scenery. There were brilliant cavalcades through the woods in the mornings, and delicious boatings on the lake by moonlight; and the last day Professor Wilson (‘the Admiral of the Lake,’ as Canning called him) presided over one of the most splendid regattas that ever enlivened Windermere. The three bards of the lakes led the cheers that hailed Scott and Canning.” Looking back on that bright scene, of which nothing now remains but a melancholy remembrance, Wilson remarks, “Windermere glittered with all her sails in honour of the Great Northern Minstrel, and of him the Eloquent, whose lips are now mute in dust. Methinks we see his smile benign–that we hear his voice–silver sweet.”

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WINDERMERE has been termed, not inaptly, the English Zurich. Before its diversified beauties were “married to immortal verse,” it was the favourite resort of thousands who admired external nature. But the “Lake Poets,” as Wordsworth, Southey, Coleridge and others were once derisively termed, have linked the Lake District with the language of the nation. Windermere Lake is eleven miles in length, and one mile in breadth. Numerous islands diversify its surface, one of which (Belle Isle) we have already referred to. Its depth in some parts is about 240 feet. “The prevailing character of the scenery around Windermere is soft and graceful beauty. It shrinks from approaching that wildness and sublimity which characterise some of the other lakes.” It abounds with fish, especially char (salmo alpinus), one of the epicurean dainties.

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AMBLESIDE, fourteen miles north-west of Kendal, is partly in Windermere, but chiefly in Grasmere parish. This is one of the favourite resorts of travellers in quest of pleasure. It has been compared to a delightful Swiss village, the town reposing in a beautiful valley, near the upper end of Windermere Lake; “no two houses being alike either in form or magnitude,” and the entire place laid out in a rambling irregular manner, adding to its peculiarity and beauty. The pretty little chapel which ornaments the place was erected in 1812, on the site of an older structure. The neighbourhood is studded with attractive villas; but the most interesting of the residences is that of the lamented Poet Wordsworth, at Rydal Mount.

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RYDAL VILLAGE is one mile and a quarter from Ambleside, and is planted within a narrow gorge, formed by the advance of Loughrigg Fell and Rydal Knab. Rydal Hall, the seat of Lady le Fleming, stands in the midst of a finely-wooded park, in which are two beautiful waterfalls, shown on application at the lodge. RYDAL MOUNT, Wordsworth’s residence for many years, stands a little above the chapel erected by Lady le Fleming. Mrs. Hemans describes it as “a lovely cottage-like building, almost hidden by a profusion of roses and ivy.” “From a grassy mound in front, commanding a view always so rich, and sometimes so brightly solemn, that one can well imagine its influence traceable in many of the poet’s writings, you catch a gleam of Windermere over the grove tops.” “A footpath,” Mr. Phillips says, “strikes off from the top of the Rydal Mount road, and, passing at a considerable height on the hill side under Nab Scar, commands charming views of the vale, and rejoins the high road at White Moss Quarry. The commanding and varied prospect obtained from the summit of Nab Scar, richly repays the labour of the ascent. From the summit, which is indicated by a pile of large stones, eight different sheets of water are seen, viz., Windermere, Rydal, Grasmere, and Coniston Lakes, and Loughrigg, Easdale, Elterwater, and Blelham Tarns. The Solway Firth is also distinctly visible.” Knab, a delightful residence formerly occupied by De Quincy, “the English Opium Eater,” and by Hartley Coleridge, eldest son of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, is situated close by. In the walk from Ambleside to Rydal, should the tourist pursue his course along the banks of the Rothay, he will, having crossed the bridge, pass the house built and inhabited by the late Dr. Arnold, Master of Rugby School.

Grasmere Village is a short walk from Rydal, and only four miles from Ambleside. Wordsworth lived here for eight years, at a small house at Town End; here he wrote many of his never-dying poems; to this spot be brought his newly-wedded wife in 1822; and in the burial ground of the parish church are interred his mortal remains. Wordsworth quitted this sublunary scene, for a brighter and a better, on April 23, 1850. Gray once visited Grasmere Water, and described its beauties in a rapturous spirit. Mrs. Hemans, in one of her sonnets, says of it:–

“——————— Fair scene,
Most loved by evening and her dewy star! Oh! ne’er may man, with touch unhallowed, jar The perfect music of the charm serene! Still, still unchanged, may one sweet region wear, Smiles that subdue the soul to love, and tears, and prayer.”

A comfortable hotel has recently been opened, from which, as it stands on an eminence, a fine view is obtained; and at the Red Lion and Swan Inns every necessary accommodation for tourists may be had.

In the neighbourhood there is some delightful panoramic scenery. From Butterlip How and Red Bank the lake and vale are seen to great advantage. “The Wishing Gate,” about a mile from Grasmere, should be visited. It has been so called from a belief that wishes indulged there will have a favourable issue. Helm Crag, a singularly-shaped hill, about two miles from the inn, commands an extensive and delightful prospect; Helvellyn and Saddleback, Wansfell Pike, the upper end of Windermere, Esthwaite Water, with the Coniston range, and Langdale Pikes, are all distinctly visible. The Glen of Esdaile, marked by highly-picturesque features, lies in a recess between Helm Crag and Silver How, and the ascent commands fine retrospective views. Throughout this district the hills and dales are remarkably interesting, and offer numerous attractions to the tourist. Delightful excursions may be made from Grasmere into Langdale and Patterdale, and the ascent from Grasmere to the top of Helvellyn, to Langdale Pikes, and to Dunmail Raise will be events not easily to be forgotten. A heap of stones on the summit of Dunmail Raise marks the site of a conflict in 945 between Dunmail, King of Cumberland, and Edmund, the Saxon King. In descending this hill Thirlmere comes into view. Thirlmere lies in the Vale of Legberthwaite, and the precipices around it are objects of special admiration. The ascent of Helvellyn is sometimes begun at the foot of Thirlmere.

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KESWICK is a market town, in the county of Cumberland, and parish of Crosthwaite, and is situated on the south bank of the Greta, in a large and fertile vale, about a mile from Derwent Water. Coleridge, describing the scene, says:–“This vale is about as large a basin as Loch Lomond; the latter is covered with water; but in the former instance we have two lakes (Derwent Water and Bassenthwaite Mere), with a charming river to connect them, and lovely villages at the foot of the mountain, and other habitations, which give an air of life and cheerfulness to the whole place.” The town consists only of one street, and comprises upwards of two thousand inhabitants. Some manufactures are carried on, including linsey-woolsey stuffs and edge tools. Black-lead pencils made here have acquired a national repute: the plumbago of which they are manufactured is extracted from “the bowels of the earth,” at a mine in Borrowdale. The parish church, dedicated to St. Kentigern, is an ancient structure standing alone, about three-quarters of a mile distant, midway between the mountain and the lake. Within this place of worship the remains of Robert Southey, the poet and philosopher, lie buried. A marble monument to his memory has recently been erected, representing him in a recumbent position, and bearing an inscription from the pen of Wordsworth, his more than literary friend for many years, and his successor to the poet- laureate-ship. A new and beautiful church, erected at the eastern part of the town by the late John Marshall, Esq., adds much to the quiet repose of the scene. Mr. Marshall became Lord of the Manor by purchasing the forfeited estates of Ratcliffe, Earl of Derwentwater, from the Commissioners of Greenwich Hospital, to whom they were granted by the Crown. The town contains a well-stocked public library, purchased from funds left for that purpose by Mr. Marshall; two museums, containing numerous specimens illustrating natural history and mineralogy; and a model of the Lake District, made by Mr. Flintoff, and the labour of many years. The residence of the poet Southey (Greta Hall) is, however, perhaps the most interesting object in the neighbourhood to visitors. The house is situated on an eminence near the town. Charles Lamb, describing it many years since, says:–“Upon a small hill by the side of Skiddaw, in a comfortable house, quite enveloped on all sides by a nest of mountains” dwells Robert Southey. The poet himself, who delighted in his beautiful and calm mountain-home, and in the charming scenery by which he was surrounded, remarks:–“Here I possess the gathered treasures of time, the harvest of so many generations, laid up in my garners, and when I go to the window there is the lake, and the circle of mountains, and the illimitable sky.” On another occasion, when dallying with the muse, he says, in his finely-descriptive verse:–

“‘Twas at that sober hour when the light of day is receding, And from surrounding things the hues wherewith the day has adorned them Fade like the hopes of youth till the beauty of youth is departed: Pensive, though not in thought, I stood at the window beholding Mountain, and lake, and vale, the valley disrobed of its verdure; Derwent retaining yet from eve a glassy reflection, Where his expanded breast, then smooth and still as a mirror, Under the woods reposed; the hills that calm and majestic Lifted their heads into the silent sky, from far Glaramara, Bleacrag and Maidenmawr to Grisedale and westernmost Wythop; Dark and distant they rose. The clouds had gather’d above them, High in the middle air huge purple pillowy masses, While in the west beyond was the last pale tint of the twilight. Green as the stream in the glen, whose pure and chrysolite waters Flow o’er a schistous bed, and serene as the age of the righteous. Earth was hush’d and still; all motion and sound were suspended; Neither man was heard, bird, beast, nor humming of insect. Only the voice of the Greta, heard only when all is stillness.”

The scenery in the neighbourhood of Keswick is replete with beauty, and the numerous walks and rides possess brilliant attractions. Villas and prettily- built cottages add grace and quietness to the landscape. Gray, on leaving Keswick, was so charmed with the wonders which surrounded him, that he felt great reluctance in quitting the spot, and said, “that he had almost a mind to go back again.” From the eminence near Keswick on which the Druidical circle stands a magnificent view is obtained of Derwentwater, Latrigg, Skiddaw, Helvellyn, Dunmail Raise, with the vale of St. John and the Borrowdale mountains.

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BUTTERMERE stands near the foot of the lake, and by Seatoller is fourteen miles from Keswick. Taking the vale of Newlands by the way, the distance is much less. In the vicinity of Seatoller is the celebrated mine of plumbago, or black lead. “It has been worked at intervals for upwards of two centuries; but, being now less productive, the ore has been excavated for several years consecutively. This is the only mine of the kind in England, and there are one or two places in Scotland where plumbago has been discovered, but the lead obtained there is of an inferior quality. The best ore produced at the Borrowdale mine sells for thirty shillings a pound. All the ore extracted from the mine is sent direct to London before a particle is sold.” Buttermere is a mere hamlet, comprising a small episcopal chapel, only a few farm-houses, with the Victoria and another inn for the accommodation of visitors. De Quincy, who has long been a resident of the Lake District, and a fervent admirer of its many beauties, describes this secluded spot as follows:–“The margin of the lake, which is overhung by some of the loftiest and steepest of the Cumbrian mountains, exhibits on either side few traces of human neighbourhood; the level area, where the hills recede enough to allow of any, is of a wild, pastoral character, or almost savage. The waters of the lake are deep and sullen, and the barren mountains, by excluding the sun in much of his daily course, strengthen the gloomy impressions. At the foot of this lake lie a few unornamented fields, through which rolls a little brook, connecting it with the larger lake of Crummock, and at the edge of this miniature domain, upon the road-side, stands a cluster of cottages, so small and few, that in the richer tracts of the island they would scarcely be complimented with the name of hamlet.” The well-known story of Mary, the Beauty of Buttermere, with the beautiful poem describing her woes, entitled, “Mary, the Maid of the Inn,” has given to the village a more than common interest. As the melancholy tale is told, Mary possessed great personal beauty, and, being the daughter of the innkeeper, she fulfilled the duty of attendant upon visitors to the house. Among these was a dashing young man who assumed the aristocratic title of the Honourable Colonel Hope, brother of Lord Hopeton, but whose real name was Hatfield, and who had taken refuge from the arm of the law in the secluded hamlet of Buttermere. Attracted by Mary’s charms, he vowed love and fidelity to her, and she, in the guilelessness of her youth, responded to his overtures, and became his wife. Soon after her marriage her husband was apprehended on a charge of forgery–a capital crime in those days; he was convicted at Carlisle of the offence, and forfeited his life on the scaffold. Mary, some years afterwards, took to herself a second husband, a respectable farmer in the neighbourhood, with whom she lived happily throughout the remainder of her days. She died a few years ago amidst her native hills.

While in this district the tourist will derive pleasure from visiting Crummock Water, Lowes Water, and Wast Water.

A coach travels daily between Birthwaite (the terminus of the Kendal and Windermere railway,) and Cockermouth, connecting the Whitehaven and Maryport line with the former railway. By this or other conveyances Cockermouth may easily be visited, as well as Whitehaven, Maryport, etc.

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COCKERMOUTH is a neat market-town, and sends two members to Parliament. The ancient castle was a fortress of great strength, but since the Civil Wars it has lain in ruins. Traces of a Roman castrum, with other antique remains, are to be seen in the neighbourhood. Wordsworth was a native of Cockermouth, and Tickell, the poet, and Addison’s friend, was born at Bridekirk, two miles distant. Inns:–The Globe and Sun. Maryport is seven miles from the town, Workington eight miles, Keswick (by Whinlatter) twelve miles, by Bassenthwaite Water thirteen and a half miles, Whitehaven fourteen miles, Wigton sixteen miles, and Carlisle twenty-seven miles.

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WHITEHAVEN, a market-town and seaport, in Cumberland, near the cliffs called Scilly Bank, in the parish of St. Bees, contains about 16,000 inhabitants. The Lowther family have large estates around the town, with many valuable coal-mines. Coarse linens are manufactured in the place; and a large maritime and coal trade is carried on there. There is a spacious harbour, giving excellent accommodation to vessels within it. “The bay and harbour are defended by batteries, formerly consisting of upwards of a hundred pieces, but lately suffered to fall into decay. These batteries received extensive additions after the alarm caused by the descent of the notorious Paul Jones in 1778. This desperado, who was a native of Galloway, and had served his apprenticeship in Whitehaven, landed here with thirty armed men, the crew of an American privateer which had been equipped at Nantes for this expedition. The success of the enterprise was, however, frustrated by one of the company, through whom the inhabitants were placed on the alert. The only damage they succeeded in doing was the setting fire to three ships, one of which was burnt. They were obliged to make a precipitate retreat, and, having spiked the guns of the battery, they escaped unhurt to the coast of Scotland, where they plundered the house of the Earl of Selkirk.” Among the principal residences in the neighbourhood of Whitehaven are, Whitehaven Castle, the seat of the Earl of Lonsdale, and Moresby Hall, built after a design by Inigo Jones.

Inns.–Black Lion and Golden Lion.

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ST. BEES, in which parish Whitehaven is situated, is four miles to the south of Whitehaven. The church, dedicated to St. Bega, is an ancient structure, and is still in tolerable preservation. Until 1810 the chancel was unroofed, but in that year it was repaired, and is now occupied as a college, for the reception of young men intended for the church, but not designed to finish their studies at Oxford or Cambridge. The grammar-school adjacent was founded by Archbishop Grindal. Ennerdale Lake is nine miles to the east of Whitehaven, from which town it is easily reached.

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MARYPORT is a modern seaport on the river Ellen. The town is advancing in prosperity, and the population rapidly increasing: an excellent maritime trade is carried on between Maryport, Liverpool, Dublin, and other places. The village of Ellenborough, from which the late Lord Chief Justice Law derived his title, is in the vicinity of the town.

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WORKINGTON stands on the south bank of the Derwent. Workington Hall afforded an asylum to Mary Queen of Scots when she visited the town.

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PENRITH, an ancient market town, containing about 7000 inhabitants, is on the line of the Preston and Carlisle railway. The ruins of the Castle, supposed to have been erected by Neville, Earl of Westmoreland, overlook the town from the west. It is built of the red stone of the district, and has suffered much from the action of the weather. The court is now used as a farm-yard. The parish church, dedicated to St. Andrew, is a plain structure of red stone. There are several ancient monuments within the church; and in the south windows are portraits of Richard, Duke of York, and Cicely Neville, his wife, the parents of Edward IV. and Richard III. In the churchyard is a monument called the “Giant’s Grave,” said to be the burial-place of Owen Caesarius, who was “sole king of rocky Cumberland” in the time of Ida. Not far distant is another memorial, called the “Giant’s Thumb.” Sir Walter Scott, on all occasions when he visited Penrith, repaired to the churchyard to view these remains. The new church, recently built at the foot of the Beacon Hill, is in the Gothic perpendicular style of architecture. “The Beacon,” a square stone building, is erected on the heights to the north of the town. “The hill upon which the beacon-tower stands,” we are informed by Mr. Phillips, “is one of those whereon fires were lighted in former times, when animosities ran high between the English and the Scotch, to give warning of the approach of an enemy. A fiery chain of communication extended from the Border, northwards as far as Edinburgh, and southwards into Lancashire. An Act of the Scottish Parliament was passed, in 1455, to direct that one bale should signify the approach of the English in any manner; two bales that they were coming indeed; and four bales that they were unusually strong. Sir Walter Scott, in his “Lay of the Last Minstrel,” has given a vivid description of the beacons blazing through the gloom like ominous comets, and startling the night:–

“A score of fires
From height and hill and cliff were seen; Each with warlike tidings fraught,
Each from each the signal caught, Each after each they glanced to sight
As stars arise upon the night.”

The antiquities in the neighbourhood are numerous and interesting; and the prospects from the heights are extensive and picturesque. Ulleswater, Helvellyn, Skiddaw, Saddleback, some of the Yorkshire hills, and Carlisle Cathedral can be distinctly seen on a clear day. BROUGHAM CASTLE is situated one mile and three-quarters from Penrith. It was one of the strongholds of the great Barons of the Borders in the feudal times. At present it is in a very decayed state, but still is majestic in its ruins. Its earliest owner was John de Veteripont, from whose family it passed by marriage into the hands of the Cliffords and Tuftons successively, and it is now the property of Sir John Tufton. Tradition records, but on what authority we know not, that Sir Philip Sidney wrote part of his “Arcadia” at this baronial mansion. Wordsworth’s “Song at the Feast of Brougham Castle” is one of his noblest lyrical effusions. “The Countess’s Pillar,” a short distance beyond the castle, was erected in 1656 by Lady Anne Clifford, as “a memorial of her last parting at that place with her good and pious mother, Margaret, Countess Dowager of Cumberland, the 2nd of April, 1616, in memory whereof she has left the annuity of 4 pounds, to be distributed to the poor, within the parish of Brougham, every 2nd day of April for ever, upon a stone hereby. Laus Deo.” This was the Lady Anne Clifford of whom it was said by the facetious Dr. Donne, that she could “discourse of all things, from predestination to slea silk.” Her well-known answer, returned to a ministerial application as to the representation of Appleby, shows the spirit and decision of the woman:–“I have been bullied by an usurper (the Protector Cromwell), I have been neglected by a Court, but I’ll not be dictated to by a subject–your man shan’t stand!”

About two miles from Penrith is the curious antique relic called Arthur’s Round Table, already referred to. It is a circular area above twenty yards in diameter, surrounded by a fosse and mound. Six miles north-east of Penrith are the ancient remains, Long Meg and her Daughters. DACRE CASTLE is situated five miles west-south-west of Penrith. BROUGHAM HALL, the seat of Henry, Lord Brougham and Vaux, stands on an eminence near the river Lowther, a short distance from the ruins of Brougham Castle. It has been termed, from its elevated position and the prospects it commands, “The Windsor of the north.” The mansion and grounds are exceedingly beautiful, and will repay the tourist for his visit thereto. LOWTHER CASTLE, the residence of the Earl of Lonsdale, is in the same district, and is one of the most princely halls in the kingdom, erected in a park of 600 acres. Hackthorpe Hall, a farm- house, is contiguous, and was the birth-place of John, first Viscount Lonsdale. Shap (anciently Heppe), a long straggling village in the vicinity, and near which is a station on the Preston and Carlisle Railway, has derived some note from the elevated moors close by, known by the name of Shap Fells. Shap Spa, in the midst of the moors, attracts crowds of visitors during the summer season. The spring is said to yield medicinal waters similar to those of Leamington.

Inns.–Greyhound, and King’s Arms.

In closing this rapid sketch of the Lake District we may add, that the leading mountains in Cumberland and Westmoreland are thirty-five in number; the passes, five; the lakes, eighteen; and the waterfalls, twelve. “WANDERINGS AMONG THE LAKES,” a companion volume to this, now in preparation, will form a useful illustrated guide to their most remarkable features.


Following that plan of contrasts which travellers generally find most agreeable, we should advise that tourists, taking their route southward, will avail themselves of the North Staffordshire lines to visit two of the most beautiful mansions, if they were foreign we should say palaces, in England–Alton Towers, the seat of the Earl of Shrewsbury, and Trentham Hall, the seat of the Duke of Sutherland, and conclude by investigating the Porcelain Manufactories, which, founded by Wedgwood, are carried on with excellent spirit and taste by a number of potters, among whom Alderman Copeland and Mr. Herbert Minton are pre-eminent.

Alton Towers stand near Cheadle, on the Churnet Valley Line; Trentham Hall not far from Stoke.

A day may be pleasantly spent in examining the elaborate gardens of Alton, which are a magnificent specimen of the artificial style of landscape gardening. Mr. Loudon gives a very elaborate description of them in his large work on the subject of gardens to great houses.

At Cheadle the Earl of Shrewsbury has erected at his own expense, Mr. Pugin being his architect, a small Roman Catholic Church, which is a magnificent specimen of that gentleman’s taste in the “decorated” style. “Heraldic emblazonments, and religious emblems, painting and gilding, stained glass, and curiously-wrought metal work, imageries and inscriptions, rood loft and reredos, stone altar and sedilia, metal screenwork, encaustic paving, make up the gorgeous spectacle.”

The doors of the principal entrance are painted red, and have gilt hinges fashioned in the shape of rampant lions spreading over nearly their entire surface.

In one of the canopied niches is a figure, representing the present Earl of Shrewsbury kneeling, with a model of the church in his hand as the founder, with his “patron,” St. John the Baptist, standing behind him.

This Cheadle Church, in which Mr. Pugin has had full scope on a small scale for the indulgence of his gorgeous faith and fancies, reminds us that at Oscot College, within sight of the smoke of Birmingham and Wolverhampton, towns where the best locks, clasps, hasps, bolts, and hinges can be made; the doors and windows, in deference to Mr. Pugin’s mediaeval predilections, are of the awkward clumsy construction with which our ancestors were obliged to be content for want of better. On the same principle the floors ought to have been strewed with rushes, the meat salt, the bread black rye, and manuscript should supersede print. But it is not so, there is no school in the kingdom where the youth are better fed, or made more comfortable than at Oscot.

TRENTHAM has a delicious situation on the Trent, which forms a lake in the park, inhabited by swans and monstrous pike. The Hall used to be one of the hideous brick erections of the time of pigtails and laced waistcoats,–the footman style of dress and architecture. But the genius of Barry (that great architect whom the people on the twopenny steamboats seem to appreciate more than some grumbling members of the House of Commons) has transformed, without destroying it, into a charming Italian Villa, with gardens, in which the Italian style has been happily adapted to our climate; for instance, round- headed laurels, grown for the purpose, taking the place of orange trees.

This Trentham Hall used to be one of the magical pictures of the coach road, of which the railway robbed us. For miles before reaching it, we used to look out for the wooded park, with its herds of mottled deer, and the great lake, where the sight of the swans always brought up that story of the big pike, choked like a boa, with a swan’s neck. A story that seems to belong to every swan-haunted lake.

But what one railway took from us another has restored much improved. So we say to all friends, at either end of the lines, take advantage of an excursion, or express train, according to your means, and go and see what we cannot at this time describe, and what exceeds all description. For the hour, you may enjoy Trentham Hall as much as if it were your own, with all the Bridgwater Estates, Mines, Canals, and Railways to boot. And that is the spirit in which to enjoy travelling. Admiration without envy, and pity without contempt.

From Trentham you may proceed through the Potteries. You will find there a church built, and we believe endowed, by a manufacturer, Mr. Herbert Minton. And then you may have a choice of routes. But to London the most direct will be by Tamworth and Lichfield, on the Trent Valley line.

To those who look below the surface, who care to know something about the workman as well as the work, such a tour as we have traced could not fail to be of the deepest interest. It embraces the whole course of the emigration from low wages to higher that is constantly flowing in this country. New sources of employment daily arising in mines, in ports, in factories, demand labour; to supply that labour recruits are constantly marching from the country lane to the paved city.

The agricultural districts of Staffordshire have a population of under two hundred souls per square mile. The pottery and iron districts of the same county of over seven hundred. These swarms of men are not had where they labour, they are immigrants. Take another instance, in Kent and Devonshire, the wages of farm labourers are eight to nine shillings a-week. In North Cheshire they are fifteen. The cost of living to the labourer in both places is about the same; fuel is cheap in Cheshire. What makes the difference in the demand for labour in Cheshire but the steam-engines?

Towns must be prepared to lodge decently, and educate carefully, children of rural immigrants, or woe betide us all. It is education that has saved the United States from the consequences of the tide of ignorant misery daily disembarking on the Atlantic shores.

Sometimes we hear fears for the condition of farmers under manufacturer landlords. Those who express these fears must have travelled with their ears shut. More than seventy per cent. of the great landowners in the great travelling counties are manufacturers, or merchants, or lawyers, by one or two descents. In Lancashire, Cheshire, Yorkshire, or Warwickshire, examine closely, and you will find it so. As a general rule, a rich pawnbroker retired will make a better landlord than a poor baronet. But in this country two generations will make one of the baronet’s sons a successful shopkeeper, and the pawnbroker’s a baronet, or even a peer.

“I tell you what, sir,” said a talkative stud groom once, in charge of race horses for Russia, and travelling first class, “I’ve been in Petersburg, in Vienna, and in Berlin, and I lived ten years with the Earl of —-. For all the points of blood our aristocracy will beat any of these foreign princes, counts, and dukes, either for figure or for going; but it won’t do to look into their pedigree, for the crosses that would ruin a race of horses, are the making of the breed of English noblemen.”

Here our irregular imperfect guidance ceases. Perhaps, although deficient in minuteness of detail, this pot pourri of gossip, history, description, anecdote, suggestion, and opinion, may not only amuse the traveller by railway, but assist him in choosing routes leading to those scenes or those pursuits in which he feels an interest.


{67} The operation of this personal influence on the individual boys with whom he was brought into contact, was much assisted by the system which about this time began to prevail at public schools, of giving each boy a small room called “a study” of his own, in which he might keep his books, and where he could enjoy privacy. The writer, who was at a public school both when all the boys lived in one great school-room in which privacy was impossible and after the separate studies were introduced, would wish to record his earnest conviction of the advantage of the present plan of separate studies,–of the vital influence it has on the formation of character, no less than of habits of study in the young. He can well remember how every better impression or graver thought was effaced, often never to return, as the boy came out from the master’s room or from reading a letter from home, and was again immersed in the crowd and confusion of the one common school-room of such a school as Winchester. He would here venture to suggest that the plan of separate sleeping-rooms, like those in the model lodging-houses, would present equal advantage with that of separate studies, and might be introduced at little expense in public schools. It has already been introduced in the Roman Catholic College at Oscot.

{71} He appeared, in religious feeling, to approach the Evangelical party at more points than any other; pungently describing them, nevertheless, when he said–“A good Christian, with a low understanding, a bad education, and ignorance of the world, becomes an Evangelical.” He appears to have died before he came to the application of the rules of German criticism (in which he followed Niebuhr in history) to theological subjects. It is curious to speculate on what the result would have been in the mind of this ardent Anglo-Protestant and lover of truth.

{81} These letters, full of information and suggestion, are attributed to Charles Mackay, Esq., LL.D., the well-known poet and prose writer.

{113} We were happy to find, while these sheets were passing through the press, that the Birmingham Corporation have introduced a Bill for absorbing the petty commissionership of the suburbs, which, once distant villages, now form part of the borough; and that they seek for power to compel efficient drainage and ample supply of water. To do all this will be expensive, but not extravagant; nothing is so dear to a town as dirt, with its satellites, disease, drunkenness, and crime. We sincerely trust that the Corporation will succeed in obtaining such ample powers as will render thorough drainage compulsory, and cause clean water to be no longer a luxury. Some of the opposition call themselves Conservatives. In this instance it means of dirt, fees, and bills of costs.

{125a} 1 Eliz., c.15.

{125b} Edited by the Rev. Montgomery Maherne.

{126} “Touchinge an anvyle wch he did sett for a yere. The bargayne is witnessed by two persons, viz., John Wallis Clerke, minister of Porlocke, and John Bearde of Selworthye, who sayeth that about our Lady-day last past, R. H. did sell to heire the said anvyle to the said Thomas Sulley at a rent of iii.s. iiii.d. for the yere.”

{127} Showing that the manufactory of muskets had then commenced in England, contrary to Hutton’s statement, see p.85 ante.

{130} The best way to Wednesbury is by an iron Canal Boat, drawn by horses, at ten miles an hour. The Inn is the Royal Oak, kept by a droll character. The event of his life is having seen the Duke of Wellington driving over Westminster Bridge in a curricle. To obtain a good view, as the horses went slowly up the ascent, he caught hold of a trace and hopped backwards for twenty yards with his mouth open.

{138} See Cathrall’s Wanderings in North Wales.

{144} See Heberts on Railroads, p.19.

{151} We may add that, in 1850, about 160,000 emigrants embarked from the port chiefly for the United States, employing 600 large vessels of 500,000 tons.

{159} The Earl of Derby has died while these sheets were passing through the press.

{172} At the Great Exhibition of Industry of 1851, Mr. G. Wallis, at the suggestion of the Board of Trade, had the management and arrangement of the department of manufactures.

{193} Mr. Francis Fuller, whose plan of management on this estate affords a model for both English and Irish landowners, is the gentleman, who, after taking most active and vigorous means, in co-operation with Mr. Scott Russell and Mr. Henry Cole, for bringing before the public Prince Albert’s plan of a Great Exhibition of Industry of All Nations, alone saved the whole scheme from being abandoned before it was made public, by finding contractors in Messrs. Mundays to advance the 100,000 pounds, and who did actually advance 21,000 pounds, without which the President of the Board of Trade refused to issue the Royal Commission, on which the whole success of the scheme rested. Until the scheme was safely launched, Mr. Fuller, as a Member of the Executive Committee, devoted his time, and freely expended his money, for the purpose of supporting this great undertaking. When it was fairly launched the care of his important business, of which Middleton forms a very small part, occupied the greater part of his time, and hence his name has appeared less in conjunction with that splendid triumph of Industry than those of other gentlemen.

{209} A little boy undergoing the operation of being flogged, in the manner