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´╗┐Title: Recollections of Old Liverpool
Author: Nonagenarian, A
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Recollections of Old Liverpool" ***

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              [Picture: View of Liverpool in the year 1813]

                           ENTERED AT STA. HALL

                                PRICE 3/6

                              J. F. HUGHES,

                               2nd. 1,000.

                          [Picture: Title Page]




Birth of Author; Strong Memory; A Long-lived Family; Tree in St. Peter's
Church-yard; Cruelty of Town Boys; The Ducking-stool; The Flashes in
Marybone; Mode of Ducking; George the Third's Birthday; Frigates; Launch
of the Mary Ellen; The Interior of a Slaver; Liverpool Privateers; Unruly
Crews; Kindness of Sailors; Sailors' Gifts; Northwich Flatmen; The Salt
Trade; The Salt Tax; The Salt Houses; Salt-house Dock; The White House
and Ranelagh Gardens; Inscription over the Door; Copperas-hill; Hunting a
Hare; Lord Molyneux; Miss Brent; Stephens' Lecture on Heads; Mathews "At
Home"; Brownlow Hill; Mr. Roscoe; Country Walks; Moss Lake Fields;
Footpads; Fairclough (Love) Lane; Everton Road; Loggerheads Lane;
Richmond Row; The Hunt Club Kennels.


The Gibson's; Alderman Shaw; Mr. Christian; Folly Tavern; Gardens in
Folly Lane; Norton Street; Stafford Street; Pond by Gallows Mill; Skating
in Finch Street; Folly Tower; Folly Fair; Fairs in Olden Times; John
Howard the Philanthropist; The Tower Prison; Prison Discipline; Gross
Abuses; Howard presented with Freedom; Prisons of 1803; Description of
Borough Gaol; Felons; Debtors; Accommodations; Escape of Prisoners;
Cells; Courtyards; Prison Poultry; Laxity of Regulations; Garnish; Fees;
Fever; Abuses; Ball Nights; Tricks played upon "Poor Debtors"; Execution
of Burns and Donlevy for Burglary; Damage done by French Prisoners; their
Ingenuity; The Bridewell on the Fort; Old Powder Magazine; Wretched State
of the Place; Family Log; Durand--His Skill; Escape of Prisoners--Their
Recapture; Durand's Narrative--His Recapture; House of Correction; Mrs.


The Volunteers; Liverpool in '97; French Invasion; Panic; Warrington
Coach; The Fat Councillor; Excitement in Liverpool; Its Defences; French
Fisherman; Spies; Pressgangs--Cruelty Practised; Pressgang Rows; Woman
with Three Husbands; Mother Redcap--Her Hiding-places; The Passage of the
River; Ferrymen; Woodside Ahoy!; Cheshire an Unknown Country to Many;
Length of passage there; The Rock Perch; Wrecking; Smuggling; Storms;
Formby Trotters; Woodside--No Dwellings there; Marsh Level; Holt
Hill--Oxton; Wallasey Pool; Birkenhead Priory; Tunnel under the Mersey;
Tunnel at the Red Noses--Exploration of it; The Old Baths; Bath Street;
The Bath Woman; The Wishing Gate; Bootle Organs; Sandhills; Indecency of
Bathers; The Ladies Walk; Mrs. Hemans; the Loggerheads; Duke Street;
Campbell the Poet; Gilbert Wakefield; Dr. Henderson; Incivility of the
Liverpool Clergy; Bellingham--His Career and History, Crime, Death; Peter
Tyrer; The Comfortable Coach.


Colonel Bolton; Mr. Kent; George Canning; Liverpool Borough Elections;
Divisions caused by them; Henry Brougham; Egerton Smith; Mr. Mulock;
French Revolution; Brougham and the Elector on Reform; Ewart and
Denison's Election; Conduct of all engaged in it; Sir Robert Peel;
Honorable Charles Grant; Sir George Drinkwater; Anecdote of Mr.
Huskisson; The Deputation from Hyde; Mr. Huskisson's opinion upon Railway
Extension; Election Processions; The Polling; How much paid for Votes;
Cost of the Election; Who paid it; Election for Mayor; Porter and
Robinson; Pipes the Tobacconist; Duelling; Sparling and Grayson's Duel;
Dr. McCartney; Death of Mr. Grayson; The Trial; Result; Court Martial on
Captain Carmichael; His Defence; Verdict; The Duel between Colonel Bolton
and Major Brooks; Fatal Result.


Story of Mr. Wainwright and Mr. Theophilus Smith; Burning of the Town
Hall; Origin and Progress of the Fire; Trial of Mr. Angus.


State of the Streets; Dale Street; The obstinate Cobbler; The Barber;
Narrowness of Dale-street; The Carriers; Highwaymen; Volunteer Officers
Robbed; Mr. Campbell's Regiment; The Alarm; The Capture; Improvement in
Lord Street; Objections to Improvement; Castle Ditch; Dining Rooms;
Castle-street; Roscoe's Bank; Brunswick-street; Theatre Royal Drury Lane;
Cable Street; Gas Lights; Oil Lamps; Link Boys; Gas Company's
Advertisement; Lord-street; Church-street; Ranelagh-street; Cable-street;
Redcross-street; Pond in Church-street; Hanover-street; Angled Houses;
View of the River; Whitechapel; Forum in Marble-street; Old Haymarket;
Limekiln-lane; Skelhorn-street; Limekilns; London-road; Men Hung in '45;
Gallows Field; White Mill; The Supposed Murder; The Grave found;
Islington Market; Mr. Sadler; Pottery in Liverpool; Leece-street;
Pothouse lane; Potteries in Toxteth Park; Watchmaking; Lapstone Hall;
View of Everton; Old Houses; Clayton-square; Mrs. Clayton; Cases-street;
Parker-street; Banastre street; Tarleton-street; Leigh-street; Mr. Rose
and the Poets; Mr. Meadows and his Wives; Names of old streets; Dr.
Solomon; Fawcett and Preston's Foundry; Button street; Manchester-street;
Iron Works; Names of Streets, etc.


Everton; Scarcity of Lodgings there; Farm Houses swept away; Everton
under Different Aspects; the Beacon; Fine View from it; View described;
Description of the Beacon; Beacons in Olden Time; Occupants of the
Beacon; Thurot's Expedition; Humphrey Brook and the Spanish Armada;
Telegraph at Everton; St. Domingo; The Mere Stones; Population of


Everton Cross; Its situation; Its mysterious Disappearance; How it was
Removed; Its Destination; Consternation of the Everton Gossips; Reports
about the Cross; The Round House; Old Houses; Everton; Low-hill; Everton
Nobles; History of St. Domingo, Bronte, and Pilgrim Estates; Soldiers at
Everton; Opposition of the Inhabitants to their being quartered there;
Breck-road; Boundary-lane; Whitefield House; An Adventure; Mr. T. Lewis
and his Carriage; West Derby-road; Zoological Gardens; Mr. Atkins; His
good Taste and Enterprise; Lord Derby's Patronage; Plumpton's Hollow;
Abduction of Miss Turner; Edward Gibbon Wakefield.


The Powder House; Moss Lake Fields; Turbary; Bridge over Moss Lake
Gutter; Edge-hill; Mason-street; Mr. Joseph Williamson; His
Eccentricities; His Originality; Marriage; Appearance; Kindness to the
Poor; Mr. Stephenson's opinion of Mr. Williamson's Excavations; The House
in Bolton-street; Mr. C. H. the Artist; Houses in High-street; Mr.
Williamson, the lady, and the House to Let; How to make a Nursery;
Strange Noises in the Vaults; Williamson and Dr. Raffles; A strange
Banquet; The surprise, etc.


Joseph Williamson's Excavations; The future of Liverpool; Williamson's
Property; Changes in his Excavations of late years; Description of the
Vaults and Passages; Tunnels; Arches; Houses in Mason-street; Houses
without Windows; Terraced Gardens; etc.


The Mount Quarry; Berry-street; Rodney-street; Turning the Tables;
Checkers at Inn Doors; The De Warrennes Arms; Cock-fighting; Pownall
Square; Aintree Cock Pit; Dr. Hume's Sermon; Rose Hill; Cazneau-street;
St. Anne-street; Faulkner's Folly; The Haymarket; Richmond Fair.


Great Charlotte-street; The Sans Pareil; the Audience there; Actors and
Performances; Mr. and Mrs. Holloway; Maria Monk, or the Murder at the Red
Barn; The two Sweeps; A strange Interruption; Stephen Price and John
Templeton; Malibran; W. J. Hammond; the Trick played by him at the
Adelphi Hotel; the Water Drinkers--Harrington or Bootle; Mr. S--- and the
Pew in St Anne's Church.


The year 1816; Distress of all Classes; Battle of Waterloo; High rate of
taxation; Failure of Harvest; Public Notice about Bread; Distress in
London; Riots there; The Liverpool Petition; Good Behaviour of the
Working class in Liverpool; Great effort made to give relief; Amateur
Performances; Handsome Sum realized; Enthusiasm exhibited on the
occasion; Lord Cochrane; His Fine; Exertion of his Friends in Liverpool;
The Penny Subscription; How the Amount was paid.


Fall of St. Nicholas' Church Spire; Dreadful calamity; Riots at the
Theatre Royal; Half-price or Full Price; Incendiary Placards; Disgraceful
Proceedings; Trials of the rioters; Mr. Statham, Town Clerk; Attempts at
Compromise; Result of Trial.


Old Favourites; Ennobled Actresses; John Kemble; his Farewell of
Liverpool Audiences; Coriolanus; Benefits in the last Century; Paganini;
His Wonderful Style; the Walpurgis Nacht; De Begnis; Paganini's Caution;
Mr. Lewis' Liberality; Success of Paganini's Engagement; Paganini at the
Amphitheatre; The Whistlers; Mr. Clarke and the Duchess of St. Alban's;
Her kindness and generosity; Mr. Banks and his cook; Mrs. Banks' estimate
of Actors; Edmund Kean; Miss O'Neil; London favourites not always
successful; Vandenhoff; Vandenhoff and Salter-off.


High Price of Provisions in 1816; Highway Robberies; Dangerous state of
Toxteth Park; Precautions Adopted; Sword Cases in Coaches; Robbery at Mr.
Yates' house; Proceedings of the Ruffians; Their Alarm; Flight of the
Footman; Escape of Thieves; Their Capture, Trial and Execution; Further
Outrages; Waterloo Hotel; Laird's Roperies; The Fall Well; Alderman
Bennett's Warehouse; The Dye House Well; Wells on Shaw's Brow.


  Progress of Liverpool; Privateers; Origin of the Success of the Port;
    Children owning Privateers; Influence, Social and Moral; Wonderful
                         increase of Trade; etc.


The "Recollections of Old Liverpool," contained in the following pages,
appeared originally the _Liverpool Compass_, their publication extending
over a period of several months.

When they were commenced it was intended to limit them to three, or at
the most four, chapters, but such was the interest they created, that
they were extended to their present length.

Those who have recorded the green memories of an old man, as told while
seated by his humble "ingle nook" have endeavoured to adhere to his own
words and mode of narration--hence the somewhat rambling and discursive
style of these "Recollections"--a style which does not, in the opinion of
many, by any means detract from their general interest.

The frontispiece is copied (by special permission) from part of a very
finely-painted view of Liverpool, by Jenkinson, dated 1813, in the
possession of Thomas Dawson, Esq., Rodney-street.  The vignette of the
Mill which stood at the North end of the St. James' Quarry in the title
page, is from an original water colour drawing by an amateur (name
unknown), dated 1821.

_November_, 1863.


I was born in Liverpool, on the 4th of June in 1769 or '70.  I am
consequently about ninety-three years old.  My friends say I am a
wonderful old man.  I believe I am.  I have always enjoyed such excellent
health, that I do not know what the sensation is of a medical man putting
his finger on my wrist.  I have eaten and drunk in moderation, slept
little, risen early, and kept a clear conscience before God and man.  My
memory is surprising.  I am often astonished at myself in recalling to
mind events, persons, and circumstances, that occurred so long ago as to
be almost forgotten by everybody else.

I can recollect every occurrence that has fallen under my cognizance,
since I was six years old.  I do not remember so well events that have
taken place during the last twenty or thirty years, as they seem confused
to me; but whatever happened of which I had some knowledge during my
boyish days and early manhood, is most vividly impressed upon my memory.
My family have been long-livers.  My father was ninety odd, when he died,
my mother near that age at her death.  My brother and sister are still
living, are healthy, and, like myself, in comfortable circumstances.

I may be seen any fine day on the Pier-head or Landing-stage, accompanied
by one of my dear great grandchildren; but you would not take me to be
more than sixty by my air and appearance.

We lived in a street out of Church-street, nearly opposite St. Peter's.
I was born there.  At that time the churchyard was enclosed by trees, and
the gravestones were erect.  One by one the trees died or were destroyed
by mischievous boys, and unfortunately they were not replaced.  The
church presented then a very pretty appearance.  Within the last thirty
years there was one tree standing nearly opposite to the Blue Coat
School.  When that tree died, I regretted its loss as of an old friend.
The stocks were placed just within the rails, nearly opposite the present
extensive premises occupied by the Elkingtons.  Many and many a man have
I seen seated in them for various light offences, though in many cases
the punishment was heavy, especially if the culprit was obnoxious in any
way, or had made himself so by his own conduct.  The town boys were very
cruel in my young days.  It was a cruel time, and the effects of the
slave-trade and privateering were visible in the conduct of the lower
classes and of society generally.  Goodness knows the town boys are cruel
now, but they are angels to what their predecessors were.  I think
education has done some good.  All sorts of mischievous tricks used to be
played upon the culprits in the stocks; and I have seen stout and sturdy
fellows faint under the sufferings they endured.  By the way, at the top
of Marybone, there was once a large pond, called the Flashes, where there
was a ducking-post and this was a favourite place of punishment when the
Lynch Law of that time was carried out.  I once saw a woman ducked there.
She might have said with Queen Catherine:--

    "Do with me what you will,
    For any change must better my condition."

There was a terrible row caused once by the rescue of a woman from the
Cuckstool.  At one time it threatened to be serious.  The mayor was
dining at my father's, and I recollect he was sent for in a great hurry,
and my father and his guests all went with him to the pond.  The woman
was nearly killed, and her life for long despaired of.  She was taken to
the Infirmary, on the top of Shaw's Brow, where St. George's Hall now
stands.  The way they ducked was this.  A long pole, which acted as a
lever, was placed on a post; at the end of the pole was a chair, in which
the culprit was seated; and by ropes at the other end of the lever or
pole, the culprit was elevated or dipped in the water at the mercy of the
wretches who had taken upon themselves the task of executing punishment.
The screams of the poor women who were ducked were frightful.  There was
a ducking tub in the House of Correction, which was in use in Mr.
Howard's time.  I once went with him through the prison (as I shall
describe presently) and saw it there.  It was not till 1804 or 1805 that
it was done away with.

My father was owner and commander of the _Mary Ellen_.  She was launched
on the 4th of June, my birthday, and also the anniversary of our revered
sovereign, George III.  We used to keep his majesty's birthday in great
style.  The bells were set ringing, cannon fired, colours waved in the
wind, and all the schools had holiday.  We don't love the gracious Lady
who presides over our destinies less than we did her august grandfather,
but I am sure we do not keep her birthday as we did his.  The _Mary
Ellen_ was launched on the 4th of June, 1775.  She was named after and by
my mother.  The launch of this ship is about the first thing I can
remember.  The day's proceedings are indelibly fixed upon my memory.  We
went down to the place where the ship was built, accompanied by our
friends.  We made quite a little procession, headed by a drum and fife.
My father and mother walked first, leading me by the hand.  I had new
clothes on, and I firmly believed that the joy bells were ringing solely
because _our_ ship was to be launched.  The _Mary Ellen_ was launched
from a piece of open ground just beyond the present Salt-house Dock, then
called, "the South Dock."  I suppose the exact place would be somewhere
about the middle of the present King's Dock.  The bank on which the ship
was built sloped down to the river.  There was a slight boarding round
her.  There were several other ships and smaller vessels building near
her; amongst others, a frigate which afterwards did great damage to the
enemy during the French war.  The government frequently gave orders for
ships to be built at Liverpool.  The view up the river was very fine.
There were few houses to be seen southward.  The mills on the
Aigburth-road were the principal objects.

It was a pretty sight to see the _Mary Ellen_ launched.  There were
crowds of people present, for my father was well-known and very popular.
When the ship moved off there was a great cheer raised.  I was so excited
at the great "splash" which was made, that I cried, and was for a time
inconsolable, because they would not launch the ship again, so that I
might witness another great "splash."  I can, in my mind's eye, see "the
splash" of the _Mary Ellen_ even now.  I really believe the displacement
of the water on that occasion opened the doors of observation in my mind.
After the launch there was great festivity and hilarity.  I believe I
made myself very ill with the quantity of fruit and good things I became
possessed of.  While the _Mary Ellen_ was fitting-up for sea, I was often
taken on board.  In her hold were long shelves with ring-bolts in rows in
several places.  I used to run along these shelves, little thinking what
dreadful scenes would be enacted upon them.  The fact is that the _Mary
Ellen_ was destined for the African trade, in which she made many very
successful voyages.  In 1779, however, she was converted into a
privateer.  My father, at the present time, would not, perhaps, be
thought very respectable; but I assure you he was so considered in those
days.  So many people in Liverpool were, to use an old and trite
sea-phrase, "tarred with the same brush" that these occupations were
scarcely, indeed, were not at all, regarded as anything derogatory from a
man's character.  In fact, during the privateering time, there was
scarcely a man, woman, or child in Liverpool, of any standing, that did
not hold a share in one of these ships.  Although a slave captain, and
afterwards a privateer, my father was a kind and just man--a good father,
husband, and friend.  His purse and advice were always ready to help and
save, and he was, consequently, much respected by the merchants with whom
he had intercourse.  I have been told that he was quite a different man
at sea, that there he was harsh, unbending and stern, but still just.
How he used to rule the turbulent spirits of his crews I don't know, but
certain it is that he never wanted men when other Liverpool ship-owners
were short of hands.  Many of his seamen sailed voyage after voyage with
him.  It was these old hands that were attached to him who I suspect kept
the others in subjection.  The men used to make much of me.  They made me
little sea toys, and always brought my mother and myself presents from
Africa, such as parrots, monkeys, shells, and articles of the natives'
workmanship.  I recollect very well, after the _Mary Ellen_ had been
converted into a privateer, that, on her return from a successful West
Indian cruise, the mate of the ship, a great big fellow, named Blake, and
who was one of the roughest and most ungainly men ever seen, would insist
upon my mother accepting a beautiful chain, of Indian workmanship, to
which was attached the miniature of a very lovely woman.  I doubt the
rascal did not come by it very honestly, neither was a costly bracelet
that one of my father's best hands (once a Northwich salt-flatman)
brought home for my baby sister.  This man would insist upon putting it
on the baby somewhere, in spite of all my mother and the nurse could say;
so, as its thigh was the nearest approach to the bracelet in size of any
of its little limbs, there the bracelet was clasped.  It fitted tightly
and baby evidently did not approve of the ornament.  My mother took it
off when the man left.  I have it now.  This man used to tell queer
stories about the salt trade, and the fortunes made therein, and how they
used to land salt on stormy and dark nights on the Cheshire or Lancashire
borders, or into boats alongside, substituting the same weight of water
as the salt taken out, so that the cargo should pass muster at the
Liverpool Custom House.  The duty was payable at the works, and the cargo
was re-weighed in Liverpool.  If found over weight, the merchant had to
pay extra duty; and if short weight, he had to make up the deficiency in
salt.  The trade required a large capital, and was, therefore, in few
hands.  One house is known to have paid as much as 30,000 pounds for duty
in six weeks.  My grandfather told me that in 1732 (time of William and
Mary), when he was a boy, the duty on salt was levied for a term of years
at first, but made perpetual in the third year of George II.  Sir R.
Walpole proposed to set apart the proceeds of the impost for his
majesty's use.

The Salt houses occupied the site of Orford-street (called after Mr.
Blackburne's seat in Cheshire).  I have often heard my grandfather speak
of them as an intolerable nuisance, causing, at times, the town to be
enveloped in steam and smoke.  These Salt houses raised such an outcry at
last that in 1703 they were removed to Garston, Mr. Blackburne having
obtained an act of Parliament relative to them for that purpose.

The fine and coarse salts manufactured in Liverpool were in the
proportion of fifteen tons of Northwich or Cheshire rock-salt to
forty-five tons of seawater, to produce thirteen tons of salt.  To show
how imperishable salt must be, if such testimony be needed, it is a fact
that, in the yard of a warehouse occupied by a friend of mine in
Orford-street, the soil was always damp previous to a change of weather,
and a well therein was of no use whatever, except for cleansing purposes,
so brackish was the water.

To return to the launch.  After the feasting was over my father treated
our friends to the White House and Ranelagh Tea Gardens, which stood at
the top of Ranelagh-street.  The site is now occupied by the Adelphi
Hotel.  The gardens extended a long way back.  Warren-street is formed
out of them.  These gardens were very tastefully arranged in beds and
borders, radiating from a centre in which was a Chinese temple, which
served as an orchestra for a band to play in.  Round the sides of the
garden, in a thicket of lilacs and laburnums, the beauty of which, in
early summer, was quite remarkable, were little alcoves or bowers wherein
parties took tea or stronger drinks.  About half-way up the garden, the
place where the Warren-street steps are now, there used to be a large
pond or tank wherein were fish of various sorts.  These fish were so tame
that they would come to the surface to be fed.  This fish feeding was a
very favourite amusement with those who frequented the garden.  In the
tank were some carp of immense size, and so fat they could hardly swim.
Our servant-man used to take me to the Ranelagh Gardens every fine
afternoon, as it was a favourite lounge.  Over the garden door was

    "You are welcome to walk here I say,
    But if flower or fruit you pluck
    One shilling you must pay."

The garden paling was carried up Copperas-hill (called after the Copperas
Works, removed in 1770, after long litigation) across to Brownlow-hill, a
white ropery extending behind the palings.  To show how remarkably
neighbourhoods alter by time and circumstance, I recollect it was said
that Lord Molyneux, while hunting, once ran a hare down Copperas-hill.  A
young lady, Miss Harvey, who resided near the corner, went out to see
what was the cause of the disturbance she heard, when observing the hare,
she turned it back.  Miss Harvey used to say "the gentlemen swore
terribly" at her for spoiling their sport.  This was not seventy years

To return to the Ranelagh Gardens.  There was, at the close of the gala
nights, as they were called, a display of fireworks.  They were let off
on the terrace.  I went to see the last exhibition which took place in
1780.  There was, on that occasion, a concert in which Miss Brent, (who
was, by the way, a great favourite) appeared.  Jugglers used to exhibit
in the concert-room, which was very capacious, as it would hold at least
800 to 1000 persons.  This concert-room was also used as a dinner-room on
great occasions, and also as a town ball-room.  Stephens gave his lecture
on "Heads" in it very frequently.

G. A. Stephens was an actor, who, after playing about in the provincial
highways and bye-ways of the dramatic world, went to London, where he was
engaged at Covent Garden in second and third rate parts.  He was a man of
dissipated habits, but a jovial and merry companion.  He wrote a great
many very clever songs, which he sang with great humour.  He got the idea
of the lectures on "Heads" from a working man about one of the theatres,
whom he saw imitating some of the members of the corporation of the town
in which he met with him.  Stephens, who was quick and ready with his
pen, in a short time got up his lecture, which he delivered all through
England, Scotland, Ireland, and America.  He realised upwards of 10,000
pounds, which he took care of, as he left that sum behind him at his
death, in 1784.  He was at the time, a completely worn-out, imbecile old
man.  Many of the leading actors of his day followed up the lecture on
"Heads," in which they signally failed to convey the meaning of the
author.  I saw him, and was very much amused; but I do not think he would
be tolerated in the present day.  The elder Mathews evidently caught the
idea of his "At Homes" from Stephens's lecture.

Brownlow-hill was so called after Mr. Lawrence Brownlow, a gentleman who
held much property thereabout.  Brownlow-hill was a very pleasant walk.
There were gardens on it, as, also, on Mount Pleasant, then called
Martindale's-hill, of which our friend Mr. Roscoe has sung so sweetly.
Martindale's-hill was quite a country walk when I was a little boy.
There was also a pleasant walk over the Moss Lake Fields to Edge Hill.
Where the Eye and Ear Infirmary stands there was a stile and a foot-path
to the Moss Lake Brook, across it was a wooden foot bridge.  The path
afterwards diverged to Smithdown-lane.  The path-road also went on to
Pembroke-place, along the present course of Crown-street.  I have heard
my father speak of an attempt being made to rob him on passing over the
stile which stood where now you find the King William Tavern.  He drew
his sword (a weapon commonly worn by gentlemen of the time) which so
frightened the thieves that they ran away, and, in their flight, went
into a pit of water, into which my father also ran in the darkness which
prevailed.  The thieves roared loudly for help, which my father did not
stop to accord them.  He, being a good swimmer, soon got out, leaving the
thieves to extricate themselves as they could.  There were several very
pleasant country walks which went up to Low-hill through Brownlow-street,
and by Love-lane (now Fairclough-lane).  I recollect going along
Love-lane many a time with my dear wife, when we were sweethearting.  We
used to go to Low-hill and thence along Everton-road (then called
Everton-lane), on each side of which was a row of large trees, and we
returned by Loggerhead's-lane (now Everton Crescent), and so home by
Richmond-row, (called after Dr. Sylvester Richmond, a physician greatly
esteemed and respected.)  I recollect very well the brook that ran along
the present Byrom-street, whence the tannery on the right-hand side was
supplied with water.  At the bottom of Richmond-row used to be the
kennels of the Liverpool Hunt Club.  They were at one time kept on the


I was very sorry when the Ranelagh Gardens were broken up.  The owner,
Mr. Gibson, was the brother of the Mr. Gibson who kept the Folly Gardens
at the bottom of Folly-lane (now Islington) and top of Shaw's Brow
(called after Mr. Alderman Shaw, the great potter, who lived in
Dale-street, at the corner of Fontenoy-street--whose house is still
standing).  Many a time have I played in the Folly Tea Gardens.  It was a
pretty place, and great was the regret of the inhabitants of Liverpool
when it was resolved to build upon it.  The Folly was closed in 1785.
Mr. Philip Christian built his house, now standing at the corner of
Christian-street, of the bricks of which the Tavern was constructed.  The
Folly was a long two-storied house, with a tower or gazebo at one end.
Gibson, it was said, was refused permission to extend the size of his
house, so "he built it upright," as he said "he could not build it
along."  The entrance to the Gardens was from Folly-lane, up a rather
narrow passage.  I rather think the little passage at the back of the
first house in Christian-street was a part of it.  You entered through a
wooden door and went along a shrubberied path which led to the Tavern.
Folly-lane (now Islington) was a narrow country lane, with fields and
gardens on both sides.  I recollect there was a small gardener's cottage
where the Friends' Institute now stands; and there was a lane alongside.
That lane is now called "King-street-lane, Soho."  I remember my mother,
one Sunday, buying me a lot of apples for a penny, which were set out on
a table at the gate.  There were a great many apple, pear, and damson
trees in the garden.  When the Friends' Institute was building I heard of
the discovery of an old cottage, which had been hidden from view as it
were for many years.  I went to see it--the sight of it brought tears in
my old eyes, for I recognised the place at once, and thought of my good
and kind mother, and her friendly and loving ways.  Where the timber-yard
was once in Norton-street, there used to be a farm-house.  The Moss-lake
Stream ran by it on its way to Byrom-street.  I can very well remember
Norton-street and the streets thereabout being formed.  At the top of
Stafford-street, laid out at the same time, there was a smithy and forge;
the machinery of the bellows was turned by the water from the Moss-lake
Brook, which ran just behind the present Mill Tavern.  There the water
was collected in an extensive dam, in shape like a "Ruperts' Drop," the
overflow turned some of the mill machinery.  Many and many a fish have I
caught out of that mill-dam.  The fields at the back, near Folly-lane,
were flooded one winter, and frozen over, when I and many other boys went
to slide on them.

The Folly Gardens were very tastefully laid out.  Mr. Gibson was a
spirited person, and spared no expense to keep the place in order.  There
were two bowling-greens in it, and a skittle-alley.  There was a cockpit
once, outside the gardens; but that was many years before my time.  It
was laid bare when they were excavating for Islington Market.  When I was
a boy its whereabouts was not known; it was supposed to have been of
great antiquity.  How time brings things to light!  The gardens were full
of beautiful flowers and noble shrubs.  There was a large fish-pond in
the middle of a fine lawn, and around it were benches for the guests,
who, on fine summer evenings, used to sit and smoke, and drink a sort of
compound called "braggart," which was made of ale, sugar, spices, and
eggs, I believe.  I used to sail a little ship in that pond, made for me
by the mate of the _Mary Ellen_.  I one day fell in, and was pulled out
by Mr. Gibson himself, who fortunately happened to be passing near at
hand.  He took me in his arms dripping as I was, into the tavern and I
was put to bed, while a man was sent down to Church-street, to acquaint
my parents with my disaster, and for dry clothes.  My mother came up in a
terrible fright, but my father only laughed heartily at the accident,
saying he had been overboard three times before he was my age.  He must
have had a charmed life, if he spoke true, for I don't think I could have
been above eight years old then.  My father was well acquainted with Mr.
Gibson, and after I had got on my dry clothes, he took us up to the top
of the Gazebo, or look-out tower.  It was a beautiful evening, and the
air was quite calm and clear.  The view was magnificent.  We could see
Beeston Castle quite plainly, and Halton Castle also, as well as the
Cheshire shore and the Welsh mountains.  The view out seaward was truly
fine.  Young as I was, I was greatly struck with the whole scene.  It was
just at the time when the Folly Fair was held, and the many objects at
our feet made the whole view one of intense interest.  The rooms in the
tower were then filled with company.  Folly Fair was held on the open
space of ground afterwards used as Islington Market.  Booths were erected
opposite the Infirmary and in Folly Lane.  It was like all such
assemblages--a great deal of noise, drunkenness, debauchery, and
foolishness.  But fairs were certainly different then from what they have
been of late years.  They are now conducted in a far more orderly manner
than they were formerly.  I went to a large one some years ago, in
Manchester, and, on comparing it with those of my young days, I could
hardly believe it was a fair.  It seemed to be only the ghost of one, so
grim and ghastly were the proceedings.

I recollect the celebrated Mr. John Howard, "the philanthropist," coming
to Liverpool in 1787.  He had a letter of introduction to my father, and
was frequently at our house.  He was a thin, spare man, with an
expressive eye and a determined look.  He used to go every day to the
Tower Prison at the bottom of Water-street; and he exerted himself
greatly to obtain a reform in the atrocious abuses which then existed in
prison discipline.  In the present half-century there has been great
progress made in the improvement of prison discipline, health, and
economy.  Where formerly existed notorious and disgraceful abuses, the
most abject misery, and the very depth of dirt, we find good management,
cleanliness, reformatory measures, and firm steps taken to reclaim both
the bodies and souls of the erring.  It is a most strange circumstance
that the once gross and frightful abuses of the prison system did not
_force_ themselves upon the notice of government--did not attract the
attention of local rulers, and cry out themselves for change.  Still more
strange is it that, although Mr Howard in 1787, and again in 1795, and
Mr. James Nield (whose acquaintance I also made in 1803), pointed out so
distinctly the abuses that existed in our prisons, the progress of reform
therein was strangely slow, and moved with most apathetic steps.  Howard
lifted up the veil and exposed to light the iniquities prevalent within
our prison walls; but no rapid change was noticeable in consequence of
his appalling revelations.  To show how careless the authorities were
about these matters, we can see what Mr. Nield said eight years after Mr.
Howard's second visit, in 1795, in his celebrated letters to Dr. Lettsom,
who, by the way, resided in Camberwell Grove, Surrey, in the house said
to have belonged to the uncle of George Barnwell.  Now, it should be
borne in mind that Mr. Howard actually received the freedom of the
borough, with many compliments upon his exertions in the cause of the
poor inmates of the gaol, and yet few or no important steps were taken to
remedy the glaring evils which he pointed out.  Some feeble reforms
certainly did take place immediately after his first and second visits to
Liverpool, but a retrograde movement succeeded, and things relapsed into
their usual jog-trot way of dirt and disorder.  When Mr. Howard received
the freedom of the borough an immense fuss was made about him; people
used to follow him in the street, and he was _feted_ and invited to
dinners and parties; and there was no end of speechifying.  But what did
it all come to?  Why, nothing, except a little cleaning out of passages
and whitewashing of walls.  I went with Mr. Howard several times, over
the Tower Prison, and also with Mr. Nield, in 1803.  As it then appeared
I will try to describe it.

The keeper of the Tower or Borough Gaol, which stood at the bottom of
Water-street in 1803, was Mr. Edward Frodsham, who was also
sergeant-at-mace.  His salary was 130 pounds per annum.  His fees were
4s. for criminal prisoners, and 4s. 6d. for debtors.  The Rev. Edward
Monk was the chaplain.  His salary was 31 pounds 10s. per annum; but his
ministrations did not appear to be very efficacious, as, on one occasion,
when Mr. Nield went to the prison chapel in company with two of the
borough magistrates, he found, out of one hundred and nine prisoners,
only six present at service.  The sick were attended by a surgeon from
the Dispensary, in consideration of 12 guineas per annum, contributed by
the corporation to that most praiseworthy institution.  There was a sort
of sick ward in the Tower, but it was a wretched place, being badly
ventilated and extremely dirty.  When Mr. Nield and I visited the prison
in 1803, we did not find the slightest order or regulation.  The
prisoners were not classed, nor indeed, separated; men and women, boys
and girls, debtor and felon, young and old, were all herded together,
meeting daily in the courtyards of the prison.  The debtors certainly had
a yard to themselves, but they had free access to the felon's yard, and
mixed unrestrainedly with them.  The prison allowance was a three-penny
loaf of 1lb. 3oz. to each prisoner daily.  Convicts were allowed 6d. per
day.  The mayor gave a dinner at Christmas to all the inmates.  Firing
was found by the corporation throughout the building.  There were
seventy-one debtors and thirty-nine felons confined on the occasion of
our visit.  In one of the Towers there were seven rooms allotted to
debtors, and three in another tower, in what was called "the masters
side."  The poorer debtors were allowed loose straw to lie upon.  Those
who could afford to do so, paid ls. per week for the use of a bed
provided by the gaoler.  The detaining creditor of debtors had to pay
"groating money," that is to say, 4d. per day for their maintenance.  In
the chapel there was a gallery, close to which were five sleeping-rooms
for male debtors.  The size of these cells was six feet by seven.  Over
the Pilot Office in Water-street were two rooms appropriated to the use
of female debtors.  One of these rooms contained three beds, the other
only one.  This latter room had glazed windows, and a fire-place, and
was, comparatively speaking, comfortable.  The same charge was made for
the beds in these rooms as in other parts of the prison.  The debtors
were also accommodated with rooms in a house adjoining the gaol, from
which, by the way, an escape of many of the prisoners, felon and debtor,
took place in 1807--a circumstance which created immense public interest.
When the prisoners were discovered, they stood at bay, and it was not
until they were fired upon, that they surrendered.  The criminals were
lodged in seven close dungeons 6.5 feet by 5 feet 9 inches.  These cells
were ranged in a passage 11 feet wide, under ground, and were approached
by ten steps.  Over each cell door was an aperture which admitted such
light and air as could be found in such a place.  Some improvement took
place in this respect after Mr. Howard's visit.  There was also a large
dungeon or cell which looked upon the street, in which twelve prisoners
were confined.  This dungeon was not considered safe, so that only
deserters were put into it.  As many as forty persons have been
incarcerated in it at one time.  In five of the cells there were four
prisoners; in the other two, there were only three.

The court-yards (one of which was 20 yards by 30, the other 20 yards by
10) were kept in a most filthy state, although a fine pump of good water
was readily accessible.  The yards were brick-paved.  In one yard I
noticed a large dung-heap, which, I was informed, was only removed once a
month.  There were numbers of fowls about the yard, belonging to the
prison officials and to the prisoners.  In these yards, as may readily be
supposed, scenes of great disorder took place.  The utmost licentiousness
was prevalent in the prison throughout.  Spirits and malt liquors were
freely introduced without let, hindrance, or concealment, though against
the prison rules--not one of which, by the way, (except the feeing
portion) was kept.  The felons' "garnish," as it was called, was
abolished previous to 1809, but the debtors' fee remained.  The prison
was dirty in the extreme; the mud almost ankle deep in some parts in the
passages, and the walls black and grimy.  There seemed to be no system
whatever tending towards cleanliness, and as to health that was utterly
disregarded.  Low typhoid fever was frequently prevalent, and numbers
were swept off by it.  The strong prisoners used to tyrannise over the
weak, and the most frightful cases of extortion and cruelty were
practised amongst them, while the conduct of the officials was culpable
in the highest degree.  At one time the chapel was let as an assembly
room.  The prisoners used to get up, on public ball nights, dances of
their own, as the band could be plainly heard throughout the prison.  The
debtors used to let down a glove or bag by means of a stick, from their
tower into the street, dangling it up and down to attract the notice of
passengers, who dropped in pieces of money for the use of the "poor
debtors," which money was invariably spent in feasting and debauchery.
The town boys used to put stones into the bags, and highly relished the
disappointment of the "poor debtors," on discovery of their "treasure."

I recollect an execution taking place in front of the Tower, which
created an immense sensation throughout the country.  In March 1789, two
men named Burns and Dowling, suffered the extreme penalty of the law for
robbing the house of Mrs. Graham, which stood on Rose Hill.  They broke
into the lady's dwelling, and acted with great ferocity.  It was on the
23rd December previous; they entered the house, with two others, about
seven o'clock in the morning.  One stayed below, while the others went
into the different rooms armed with pistols and knives, threatening the
various members of the family with death if they made any alarm.  They
robbed some guests in the house of nineteen guineas, and some silver; and
from Mrs. Graham they took bills to a large amount.  On the 7th January,
following, Burns and Dowling were arrested at Bristol, in consequence of
an anonymous letter sent to the mayor of that city, giving information of
their being in the neighbourhood.  They were on the point of embarking
for Dublin, having several packages containing Mrs. Graham's property on
board the vessel, besides 1000 pounds in Bills of Exchange.  Dowling made
a fierce resistance, and would have escaped, but was held by the leg by a
dog belonging to one of the constables.  Rose Hill at that time was quite
in the suburbs, and was a very fashionable locality.  The town was
crowded with strangers from all parts to witness the execution of these
villains.  Men of the present day would be horror-struck at the number of
executions that took place at that time in England.  I recollect once
when in London (I was only three days going there) seeing three men
hanging at Newgate, while the coal waggoners were letting off their
waggons as stages for spectators at twopence per head.

The various prisoners in the Tower were all removed to the new gaol, or
French prison, as it was called, on the French being released from
custody, at the peace of 1812.  This prison, which stood in Great
Howard-street--I little thought I should live to see it swept away--was
designed by Mr. Howard.  Great Howard-street was called after him.  The
Frenchmen did so much damage to the gaol, that it cost 2000 pounds to put
it in order after their departure.  These people maintained themselves by
making fancy articles, and carved bone and ivory work.  I once saw a ship
made by one of them--an exquisite specimen of ingenuity and
craftsmanship.  The ropes, which were all spun to the proper sizes, were
made of the prisoner's wife's hair.  I had in my possession for many
years, two cabinets, with drawers, &c., made of straw, and most
beautifully inlaid.

I went with Mr. Nield, in one of his visits to Liverpool, to inspect the
Bridewell which stood on the Fort.  The building was intended for a
powder magazine; but being found damp, it was not long used for that
purpose.  The keeper was Robert Walton, who was paid one guinea per week
wages.  There were no perquisites attached to this place, neither in
"fees" nor "garnish."  In fact, the prisoners confined within its dreary,
damp walls had nothing to pay for, nor expect.  There were no
accommodations of any sort.  The corporation certainly found "firing,"
but nothing else, either in beds or food, not even water.  There was no
yard to it, nor convenience of any kind.  Under ground were two dreary,
damp, dark vaults, approached by eight steps.  One of them was 18 feet by
12, the other 12 feet by 7.5.  They received little light through
iron-barred windows.  Above were two rooms.  One was 18 feet by 10, the
other 10 feet by 9.  Adjoining these two rooms, devoid of fire-grate or
windows, were two cells, each 5 feet by 6 feet high.  The prisoners in
this dreadful place, were herded together, unemployed in any way, and
dependent entirely upon their friends for food.  It was a disgrace to
humanity.  It was damp, dirty, and in a most miserable condition.

An interesting circumstance connected with the Tower I find detailed in a
book of my father's, which he called "_The Family Log_."  It relates to
the escape of some prisoners-of-war confined in the Tower.  My father in
this "Log," used to enter up at the week's end any little circumstance of
interest that might have come under his notice.  At the date of Sunday,
_May_ 6_th_, 1759, I find "That fifteen French prisoners escaped from the
Tower, Durand amongst the number"; and then follows a narrative which I
shall presently transcribe.  I may say, incidentally, that the
prisoners-of-war in the Tower were principally Frenchmen, who had been
captured during some of our naval engagements with them.  They employed
their time in making many curious and tasteful articles, and displayed
great ingenuity in many ways.  Discipline in the Tower was not very
stringent, so that escapes of prisoners frequently occurred.  From the
want of energy displayed by the authorities in recapturing those that did
escape, it was thought that government was not sorry to get rid of some
of these persons at so easy a rate, for they were a great burden on the
nation.  The reason why Durand's name was mentioned as one of those who
had fled, was this:--my mother had a very curiously-constructed foreign
box, which had been broken, and which the tradesmen in the town had one
and all declined even to attempt to repair.  As "the Frenchmen" in the
Tower were noted for their ingenuity, my father made some inquiry as to
whether any of them would undertake the restoration of this box.  Amongst
others to whom it was shown was one Felix Durand, who at once said he
would try to put it in order if my father was in no hurry for it, as it
would be a tedious task in consequence of having so many separate pieces
to join together, and it would be necessary to wait the fast binding of
each cemented piece to its corresponding fragment.

My father often went to see Durand, and was much pleased with his
conversation, amusing stories, and natural abilities.  My father spoke
French well, so that they got on capitally together, and the consequence
was that my father obtained several little favours for him, and even
interceded with some friends in the government to obtain his release.
Durand knew of this, and, therefore, when my father found he had escaped
with the others, he was much annoyed as it completely frustrated his good
intentions towards him.  My father used to tell us that according to
agreement he went for his box on a certain day when it was to be
finished.  On reaching the gaol he was told of the escape of the party,
and that some of them had already been recaptured.  It seems that as soon
as they got into the street the party dispersed, either singly or in twos
and threes; but having neither food nor money, and being quite ignorant
of the English language or the localities round Liverpool, they were
quite helpless and everywhere betrayed who they were, what they were, and
where they came from.  Some fell in with the town watchmen; others struck
out into the country, and after wandering about in a starved, hungry, and
miserable state, were very glad to get back to their old shelter, bad as
they thought it, and hardly as they considered they had been treated.
They admitted that their party was too large, that they had no friends to
co-operate with them outside, and no plan of action which was possibly or
likely to be carried out successfully.  The lot of these, however, was
not shared by all, for Durand, as will be seen by his recital, had not
done amiss, thanks to his wit, ingenuity, and cleverness.

The following is Durand's narrative:--

"As you know, Monsieur Le Capitaine (he always called my father so), I am
a Frenchman, fond of liberty and change, and this detestable prison
became so very irksome to me, with its scanty food and straw beds on the
floor, that I had for some time determined to make my escape and go to
Ireland, where I believe sympathies are strong towards the French nation.
I am, as you know, acquainted with Monsieur P---, who resides in
Dale-street; I have done some work for him.  He has a niece who is _toute
a faite charmante_.  She has been a constant ambassador between us, and
has brought me work frequently, and taken charge of my money when I have
received any, to deposit with her uncle on my account.  I hold that young
lady in the highest consideration.  This place is bad for anyone to have
property in, although we are in misery alike.  Some of us do not know the
difference between my own and thy own.  We have strange communist ideas
in this building.  Now "Monsieur Le Capitaine" you want to know how I got
away, where I went, and how I came back.  I will tell you.  I could not
help it.  I have had a pleasing three months' holiday, and must be
content to wait for peace or death, to release me from this _sacre_
place.  The niece of Monsieur P--- is very engaging, and when I have had
conversation with her in the hall where we are permitted to see our
friends, I obtained from her the information that on the east side of our
prison there were two houses which opened into a short narrow street.
One of these houses had been lately only partly tenanted, while the lower
portion of it had been under repair.  Mademoiselle is very complacent and
kind.  She took the trouble to go for me to the house and examine it, and
reported that there was an open yard under the eastern prison-wall, and
if anybody could get through that wall he might easily continue his route
through the house and into the street.  My mind was soon made up.  I
imparted my intention to my companions.  There were fifteen of us,
altogether, penned up at night in a vile cell or vault, and, of course,
the intended escape could not be kept a secret; what was known by one,
must be known by all.  We all resolved to escape.  Our cell was dirty and
miserable.  We obtained light and air from the street as well as from a
grating over the door.  Choosing a somewhat stormy night, we commenced by
loosening the stonework in the east wall.  Now we knew that after we were
locked up for the night we should not be disturbed, and if we could not
effect the removal of the stones in one night, there would be no fear of
discovery during the next day, as we were seldom molested by any of the
gaolers.  We could walk about the prison just as we liked and mix with
the other prisoners, whether felons or debtors.  In fact your Liverpool
Tower contains a large family party.  We worked all night at the wall,
and just before daybreak contrived to remove a large stone and soon
succeeded in displacing another, but light having at length broken, we
gathered up all the mortar and rubbish we had made, stuffing some of it
into our beds, and covering the rest with them in the best way we could.
To aid us in preventing the gaoler discovering what we had been about,
one of our party remained in bed when the doors were unlocked, and we
curtained the window grating with a blanket, stating that our
_compatriote_ was very ill and that he could not bear the light.  We had
no dread of a doctor coming to visit him, for unless special application
was made for medical attendance on the sick nobody seemed to care whether
we lived or died.  The day passed over without any suspicions arising
from our preparations.  The afternoon set in stormy, as the preceding
evening had done, and in the course of the night of our escape we had a
complete hurricane of rain and wind, which eventually greatly favoured us
by clearing the streets of any stragglers who might be prowling about.
No sooner were we locked in at night than we recommenced our work at the
wall, and were not long in making a hole sufficient to allow a man to
creep through, which one of us did.  He reported himself to be in an open
yard, that it was raining very heavily, and that the night was
_affreuse_; we all then crept through.  We found ourselves in a dark
yard, with a house before us.  We obtained a light in a shed on one side
of the yard, and then looked about.  We found a sort of cellar door by
the side of a window.  We tried to open it: to our surprise it yielded.
Screening our light we proceeded into a passage, taking off our shoes and
stockings first (some of us had none to take off, poor fellows!) so that
we should make no noise.  The house was quite still; we scarcely dared to
breathe.  We went forward and entered a kitchen in which were the remains
of a supper.  We took possession of all that was eatable on the table.
It was wonderful that nobody heard us, for one of us let fall a knife
after cutting up a piece of beef into pieces, so that each man might have
a share.  Although there were people in the house no one heard us; truly
you Englishmen sleep well!  Before us was a door--we opened it.  It was
only a closet.  We next thought of the window, for we dared not climb up
stairs to the principal entrance.  We tried the shutters which we easily
took down and, fortunately without noise, opened the window, through
which one of us crept to reconnoitre.  He was only absent about a minute
or two, returning to tell us that not a soul was to be seen anywhere;
that the wind was rushing up the main street from the sea, and that the
rain was coming down in absolute torrents.  Just as the neighbouring
church clock struck two we were assembled under an archway together.  We
determined to disperse, and let every man take care of himself.  Bidding
my friends good bye I struck out into the street.  At first I thought of
going to the river, but suddenly decided to go inland.  I therefore went
straight on, passed the Exchange, and down a narrow street facing it
(Dale-street) in which I knew mademoiselle dwelt.  I thought of her, but
had no hope of seeing her as I did not know the house wherein she
resided.  I pushed on, therefore, until I came to the foot of a hill; I
thought I would turn to the left, but shutting my eyes with superstitious
feelings I left myself to fate, and determined to go forward with my eyes
closed until I had by chance selected one of the four cross roads [Old
Haymarket, Townsend-lane (now Byrom-street), Dale-street, and
Shaw's-brow] which presented themselves for my choice.

"I soon found I was ascending a hill, and on opening my eyes I discovered
that I was pursuing my route in an easterly direction.  I passed up a
narrow street with low dirty-looking houses on each side, and from the
broken mugs and earthenware my feet encountered in the darkness, I felt
sure I was passing through the outskirts of Liverpool--famous for its
earthenware manufactures.  During all this time I had not seen a living
thing; in fact it was scarcely possible for anything to withstand the
storm that raged so vehemently.  In this, however, rested my safety.  I
sped on, and soon mounting the hill paused by the side of a large
windmill (Townsend mill) which stood at the top of London-road.  Having
gained breath, I pushed forward, taking the road to the right hand which
ran before me (then called the road to Prescot).  I began now to breathe
freely and feel some hope in my endeavour to escape.  My limbs, which,
from long confinement in prison, were stiff at first, now felt elastic
and nimble and I pushed on at a quick pace, the wind blowing at my back
the whole time; still onward I went until I got into a country lane and
had another steep hill to mount.  The roads were very heavy.  The
sidewalk was badly kept, and the rain made it ankle-deep with mud.  On
surmounting the hill, which I afterwards learned was called Edge-hill, I
still kept on to the right hand road, which was lined on both sides with
high trees.  I at length arrived at a little village (Wavertree) as a
clock was striking three; still not a soul was visible.  I might have
been passing through a world of the dead.  After traversing this village
I saw, on my left hand, a large pond, at which I drew some water in my
cap.  I was completely parched with my unusual exertions.  Resting under
a large tree which proved some shelter, I ate up the bread and meat I had
procured from the kitchen of the house through which we had escaped.
Having rested about half-an-hour I again started forward.  I now began to
turn over in my mind what I should do.  I felt that if I could get to
Ireland I could find friends who would assist me.  I knew a French priest
in Dublin on whom I could rely for some aid.  I at length hit upon a
course of action which I determined to pursue.  Through narrow lanes I
went, still keeping to the right, and after walking for more than an hour
I found myself in a quaint little village (Hale) in which there was a
church then building.  The houses were constructed principally of timber,
lath, and plaster and were apparently of great antiquity.  Onward still I
went, the rain beating down heavily and the wind blowing.  In about a
quarter of an hour I gained a sight of the river or the sea, I know not
which, but I still continued my road until I came up to a little cottage,
the door of which opened just as I was passing it.  An old woman came out
and began to take down the shutters.  Now, as I came along the road I had
made up my mind to personate a deaf and dumb person, which would preclude
the necessity of my speaking.  I felt I could do this well and
successfully.  I determined to try the experiment upon this old lady.  I
walked quietly up to her, took the shutters out of her hands and laid
them in their proper places.  I then took a broom and began sweeping away
the water which had accumulated in front of her cottage, and seeing a
kettle inside the door, I walked gravely into the house, took it, and
filled it at a pump close by.  The old woman was dumb-struck.  Not a word
did she say, but stood looking on with mute amazement, which was still
more intensely exhibited when I went to the fire-place, raked out the
cinders, took up some sticks and commenced making a fire.  Not a word
passed between us.  It was with great difficulty I could keep my
countenance.  We must have looked a curious couple.  The woman standing
staring at me, I sitting on a three-legged stool, with my elbows on my
knees looking steadfastly at her.  At length she broke this unnatural
silence.  Speaking in her broad Lancashire dialect I could scarcely make
her out.  My own deficiency in not understanding much English increased
my difficulty, but I understood her to ask "Who I was, and whither I was
going."  This she repeated until, having sufficiently excited her
curiosity, I opened my mouth very wide, kept my tongue quite close so
that it might seem as if I had none, and with my fingers to my ears made
a gesture that I was deaf and dumb.  She then said, "Poor man, poor man,"
with great feeling and gave me a welcome.  So I sat before the fire, and
commenced drying my clothes, which were saturated during my walk.  I
suppose I must have fallen asleep, for the next thing I noticed was a
substantial meal laid on the table, consisting of bread, cold bacon, and
beer.  Pointing to the food the old woman motioned to me to partake, and
this I was not loath to do.  I made a hearty meal.  I should tell you,
before we sat down to the table I had pulled out my pockets to show her I
had no money.  The woman made a sign that she did not want payment for
her kindness.  When we had finished our meal I looked about me, and
seeing that several things wanted putting to rights, such as emptying a
bucket, getting in some coals, and cleaning down the front pavement of
the house, I commenced working hard as some repayment for the hospitality
I had received.  We Frenchmen can turn our hands to almost anything, and
my dexterity quite pleased the old lady.  While I was busily sweeping the
hearth, I heard the sound of a horse's feet coming swiftly onward.
Terror-struck, I did a foolish thing.  Fancying it must be some one in
pursuit of me, I dropped the little broom I was using, seized my cap from
one of the chairs, opened the back door of the cottage, and fled along
the garden walk, over-leaped a hedge, crossed a brook, and was off like a
hunted hare across the open fields.  This was a silly proceeding, because
if the horseman had been any one in pursuit, the chances were that,
should he have entered the cottage, I might not have been recognized; and
if I had simply hid myself in some of the outbuildings that were near I
might have escaped notice altogether, while by running across the fields
I exposed myself to observation, and to be taken.  When half over a field
I found there a small clump of trees, and a little pond.  Down the side
of this pond I slipped and hid myself amongst the rushes; but I need not
have given myself any anxiety or trouble, for I saw the horseman,
whatever might have been his errand, flying along the winding road in the

"Having satisfied myself of my security, I started off and soon found
myself on the highroad again, and after a time I came near a fine old
mansion which presented a most venerable appearance.  I could not stop,
however, to look at it, for I found I had taken a wrong turn and was
going back to Liverpool.  I therefore retraced my steps and passed on,
going I know not whither.  After walking for about an hour in a southerly
direction, feeling tired and seeing a barn open I went to it and found
two men therein threshing wheat.  I made signs to them that I was deaf
and dumb, and asked leave to lie in the straw.  They stared at me very
much, whispered amongst themselves, and at length, made a sign of assent.
I fell asleep.  When I awoke the sun was up and bright, while all trace
of the night-storm had disappeared.  I wondered at first where I was.
Seeing the fresh straw lying about, an idea struck me that I could earn a
few pence by a little handiwork.  I thereupon commenced making some straw
baskets, the like of which you have often seen myself and
fellow-prisoners manufacture.  By the time I had completed two or three
the men came again into the barn and began to work with their flails.  I
stepped forward with my baskets, which seemed to surprise them.  The like
they had evidently never seen before--they examined them with the
greatest attention.  One of the men, pulling some copper money out of his
pocket, offered it for one of them.  Grateful for the shelter I had
received, I pushed back the man's hand which contained the money and
offered him the basket as a present, pointing to my bed of straw.  The
honest fellow would not accept it, saying I must have his money.  I
therefore sold him one of the baskets, and another was also purchased by
one of the other men.  They seemed astonishingly pleased with their
bargains.  Just as they had concluded their dealings with me a big man
came into the barn, who I found out was the master.  The men showed him
the baskets and pointed to me, telling the farmer that I was a "dumby and
deafy."  The big farmer hereupon bawled in my ear the question, "who was
I, and where had I come from?"  I put on a perfectly stolid look although
the drum of my ears was almost split by his roaring.  The farmer had a
soft heart, however, in his big and burly frame.  Leaving the barn, he
beckoned me to follow him.  This I did.  He went into the farm-house,
and, calling his wife, bade her get dinner ready.  A capital piece of
beef, bread, and boiled greens or cabbages were soon on the table, to
which I sat down with the farmer and his wife.  Their daughter, soon
after we had commenced eating, came in.  Her attention was immediately
attracted by my remaining basket, which I had placed by them.  I got up
from the table and presented it to her.  Her father then told her of my
supposed infirmities.  I could scarcely help laughing while I heard them
canvass my personal appearance, my merits and demerits.  Pity, however,
seemed to be the predominant feeling.  When the dinner was over, I
happened to look up at an old clock and saw that it had stopped.  I went
up to it, and took it from the nail.  I saw it wanted but very little to
make it go again.  I therefore quietly, but without taking notice of my
companions, set to work to take off the face and do the needful repairs.
A pair of pincers on the window-ledge and some iron wire, in fact, an old
skewer, were all the tools necessary; and very soon, to the satisfaction
of my host, his wife, and his fair daughter, the clock was set going as
well as it ever had done.  The farmer slapped me on the back and gave me
great encouragement.  I then cast my eyes about to see what I could do
next.  I mended a chair, repaired a china image, cleaned an old picture,
and taking a lock from a door repaired it, altering the key so that it
became useful.  In fact, I so busied myself, and with such earnestness
that by night-time I had done the farmer a good pound's worth of
repairing.  I then had my supper, and was made to understand I might
sleep in the barn, if I liked.  On the next morning the farmer's daughter
found me very busy in the yard with the pigs, which I was feeding; in
fact, the whole of that day I worked hard, because I thought if I could
remain where I was until the wonder of our escapade was over, I might
eventually get away altogether from England by some unforeseen piece of
good fortune.  For some time I worked at this farm, for, as if by mutual
consent of the farmer and myself, I remained, getting only my food for my
work; however, at the end of each week the farmer's wife gave me quietly
some money.  I made several little fancy articles for Mademoiselle which
she seemed highly to prize; but it was through her that I left my snug
quarters.  The principal labourer on the farm was courting, on the sly,
this young woman, and I noticed he became sulky with me, as Miss Mary on
several occasions selected me to perform some little service for her.
From an expression I heard him make use of to one of the other men I felt
sure he was about to do me some act of treachery and unkindness, and, as
I was no match for the great Hercules he seemed to be, I thought it best
to leave the place, as any disturbance might draw down attention upon me
too closely.  I therefore put up my spare clothes, some of which had been
given to me by the farmer's wife--a kindly, Christian woman she was--and
hiding my little store of money securely in my breeches' waistband, very
early one fine morning I set off with a heart by no means light, from the
place where I had been so well-treated, not knowing where on earth to go
or what next to do.  Before I went, however, to show I was grateful for
their kindness, I made up a little parcel which I addressed to the
farmer's wife, in which I put a tobacco-box for Mr. John Bull, a
bodkin-case for herself, and a little ring for Miss Mary, all of which I
had made in my leisure time.  I dare say they were sorry to part with me.
I am sure Miss Mary was, for I fancied she suspected I was not what I
seemed, and had begun to take an evident liking to me.  I had taught her
some French modes of cooking, which excited surprise, as well as
gratification to their palates, and I taught her also two or three little
ways of making fancy articles that pleased her exceedingly.  It was
through her manifesting a preference for me that, as I have told you,
Monsieur le Capitaine, I felt obliged to absent myself from her father's
employment.  It was most difficult at first to restrain myself from
talking.  But I soon got over that, for when I was about to speak I made
an uncertain sort of noise, which turned off suspicion.  That the head
labourer had some doubt about me, I verily believe.  I thought at first I
would try to get to London, but the roads thereto, I learnt, were so bad
and travelling so insecure, even for the poorest, that I considered it
best to remain in this neighbourhood, as I wanted to see Mademoiselle
P--- once more, and settle with her uncle for the money of mine in his
hands.  I thought if I could only communicate with him he would befriend
me, so I went on my way.

"I travelled all that day until I got into a place called Warrington, by
the side of a river.  It is a town full of old quaint houses built of
timber and plaster.  I was very tired when I arrived there at nightfall,
but obtained shelter in an old house near the bridge, and as I had the
money my mistress gave me I bought some food at a little shop; a
Frenchman does not want very heavy meals, so that I did pretty well.  The
next day I went to a baker's and got some more bread.  I interested the
baker's wife, and when she found I was deaf and dumb, she not only would
not take money for her bread, but also gave me some meat and potatoes.
It seemed she had a relation affected as I was supposed to be.  I then
went out to a farm-yard, and having begged some straw I turned to my
never-failing fountain of help--basket making.  I made a number of
baskets and other little things, all of which on taking into the town I
sold readily.  I begged some more straw of a man at a stable, and set to
work again.  I sold off my baskets and fancy articles much quicker than I
could make them.  I soon got so well known that I excited some attention;
but one day being at a public tavern, where I had gone to deliver a
basket ordered, the word 'Liverpool' fell upon my ears and caused me to
tremble.  Near me sat two men who looked like drovers.  They were talking
about Liverpool affairs: one of them told the other that there had been
lately a great fire near the dock, where a quantity of provisions had
been burnt, and much property destroyed besides.  They then spoke of the
escape of my companions and myself, and for the first time I heard of
their fate, and how, one by one, they had been recaptured or willingly
returned.  I then heard of their trials and the miseries they had
encountered.  The drovers also spoke of one prisoner who had disappeared
and got away completely, but that there was a hot search after him, as
he, it was supposed, was the ringleader in the late outbreak, and that it
was planned and carried out by him.  I felt that they alluded to myself,
and that this place would grow too warm for me, as I knew that I was
already an object of public remark, owing to my supposed infirmities and
the extraordinary dexterity of my fingers.  It will be recollected that I
bought some bread at a little shop near the market-place.  Passing there
the day after I arrived, I saw a bill in the window bearing the words
"_lodgings to let_."  I, therefore, by signs made the woman of the shop
comprehend that I wanted such accommodation.  I took the bill out of the
window, pointed to the words, and the to myself; then I laid my hand on
my head as if in the attitude of sleep.  The good woman quite
comprehended me, and nodding her head to my dumb proposition led the way
up a small flight of stairs, and at once installed me in the vacant room.
It was small and poorly furnished, but very clean.  I soon made myself at
home; and never wanted anything doing for me, so that the widow's
intercourse with me was very limited.  I knew I could not write without
betraying my foreign origin, so the way I did first was to get a book and
pick out words signifying what I wanted, and from these words the good
woman made out a sentence.  I wanted so little that we had no difficulty
in making out a dialogue.  After hearing the talk of the drovers I
determined to leave the town without delay, for my fears of recapture
quite unmanned me, making me needlessly dread any intercourse with
strangers.  Having thus resolved to leave Warrington I bade goodbye to my
kind landlady, giving her a trifle over her demand, and then shaped my
way to the northward.  I went to several towns, large and small, and
stayed in Manchester a week, where I sold what I made very readily.  My
supposed infirmities excited general commiseration everywhere, and
numerous little acts of kindness did I receive.  I wandered about the
neighbouring towns in the vicinity for a long time, being loth to leave
it for several reasons; in fact I quite established a connection amongst
the farmers and gentry, who employed me in fabricating little articles of
fancy work and repairing all sorts of things most diverse in their
natures and uses.  At one farm-house I mended a tea-pot and a
ploughshare, and at a gentleman's house, near St. Helen's, repaired a
cart, and almost re-built a boat, which was used on his fish-pond.  I
turned my hand to any and everything.  I do not say I did everything
well, but I did it satisfactorily to those who employed me.  I now began
to be troubled about my money which was accumulating, being obliged to
carry it about with me, as I feared being pillaged of it.  I therefore
resolved on coming back to Liverpool and finding out Monsieur P--- at all
hazards, trusting to chance that I should not be recognised.  Who could
do so?  Who would know me in the town save the Tower gaolers who would
scarcely be out at night; even they would not recollect me in the dark
streets of the town?  When this resolve came upon me I was at a place
called Upholland where I had been living three or four days, repairing
some weaver's looms--for there are a good many weavers in that little
town.  I had nearly finished the work I had undertaken, and was intending
to come to Liverpool direct at the end of the following week, when my
design was frustrated by a curious and most unexpected circumstance.
About three miles from Upholland there is a very high hill called
Ashurst.  On the top of this is a beacon tower which looks at a distance
like a church steeple rising over the top of the hill, just as if the
body of the church were on the other side of the crest.  This beacon is
intended to communicate alarm to the neighbouring country in war time, it
being one of a line of beacons to and from different places.  I had once
or twice walked to this high place to enjoy the fine prospect.  On Sunday
last I had gone there and extended my walk down the hill to a place where
the road, after passing a pretty old entrance-gateway, moat, and old
hall, dips very prettily down to bridge over a small stream.  This bridge
(Cobb's Brow Bridge) is covered with ivy, and is very picturesque.  Just
before the road rather abruptly descends there are, on the right hand
side of it, a number of remarkably old and noble oak trees, quite giants.
Some are hollowed out, and one is so large that it will accommodate
several persons.  This tree has been used by what you call gipsies--and
shows that fire has been made in it.

"Well, on Sunday, in the afternoon, I was sitting under one of these fine
old trees, when I saw a cavalcade coming down the road, consisting of two
ladies and a gentleman mounted on fine horses, and attended by two
serving-men or grooms.  When the party had arrived opposite the trees
they stopped to examine them, when one of the ladies, struck with the
wonderful size of the largest tree, expressed her admiration of it in
very purely-pronounced French.  I was so surprised that I became
completely unnerved, was thrown off my guard, and, in the excitement of
the moment, at hearing my native tongue so beautifully pronounced, sprang
up, and rushing forward echoed in my own tongue the lady's commendation
of those grand old trees.  I immediately found out my error, for, to my
grief, the other young lady, whom I at once recognized, exclaimed--"Why
this is the dumb man who was at the Hall the other day repairing the
broken glass vases!"  I at first denied that such was the case, but on
the grooms coming up they both identified me.  In fact, I knew both from
having applied to the younger of the two, only a few days previously, to
obtain for me employment in the house of his master, in any way my
services could be made available.  Thus I had through him obtained
permission to repair the vases which had been much injured, and which I
had most successfully put in order.  The gentleman then asked me who I
was, called me an impostor, and ordered his servants to seize me.  This
they did, when I at once admitted who I was and where I came from.  The
gentleman, although entreated most earnestly by the ladies to allow me to
go away, would not consent to his servants releasing me, but ordered them
to take me to Ormschurch (Ormskirk), about five miles distant, and have
me put into the little prison there, which you call the cage.  The
ladies, with tears in their eyes, on seeing me thus seized by the
servant-men, bade them not use me roughly, and one of them slipped a gold
piece into my hand, bidding me in French to be of good cheer, for there
was a talk of immediate peace, when I should be released.  The gentleman
rode away calling the young ladies to follow him without delay, bidding,
at the same time, the servants to see that I was delivered over to the
proper authorities at Ormschurch, so that I might be transmitted to
Liverpool.  As soon as the master and the ladies were out of sight, one
of the men, who rode a stout horse, bade me get up behind him, which I
did, and in about an hour we arrived in the town.  It was full of people
in their Sunday clothes.  My appearance attracted some notice, I was
pitied by some, execrated by others, and followed by crowds of boys.
After waiting in the street some time I was taken before a stout,
growling old gentleman, who ordered me to be locked up until the next
morning, and to have meat and drink given me.  I was then to be taken to
Liverpool and delivered over to my gaoler again.  In accordance with this
order I was put into a small square room, on the floor of which was a
quantity of straw.  There were benches fixed in the walls.  There was no
fire-place and it was sadly uncomfortable.  However, soon after I was
locked up, I received a good supply of bread, meat, and beer; and, as the
straw was tolerably fresh and clean, I did not fare so badly.  I
therefore lay down, covered myself up with the straw, and was soon fast
asleep.  I awoke once, but as everything was dark, I composed myself to
sleep again and did not awake until morning.  About six o'clock, as I
knew by the church-clock hard by, I was aroused and told to be ready to
start for Liverpool, whereupon I presented myself at the door, and found
an open cart in waiting.  Into this I was put, and, after a tiresome
journey over some of the worst roads I had ever seen in my life, I
arrived here last night, having enjoyed a three months' holiday to my
great satisfaction.  Here, then, I am, waiting for death or peace to
release me.  I shall now finish your box if you are not too offended with
me for neglecting your commission so long.  I may tell you that
Mademoiselle P--- was here this morning; tears were in her lovely eyes,
and she seemed very glad to see me back, at which I somewhat wondered,
especially if she esteemed me.  I should have thought she would rather
have relished my escaping altogether, than being again caught."

Here ends Durand's narrative.

My father appends a note to the effect that, through the intervention of
Sir Edward Cunliffe, one of the members for Liverpool, Durand was
released from the Tower, and went to reside with Mr. P--- in Dale-street.
At the date of September following there is a memorandum to the effect
that M. Durand and Miss P--- had become man and wife, so that, as my
father quaintly adds, he supposes M. Durand had by that time found out
why it was that old P---'s niece was so glad to see him again in prison.

The House of Correction stood at the back of the present Fever Hospital,
the entrance being in Mount Pleasant.  It was in Mr. Howard's time a most
miserably managed place.  In 1790 it was a vile hole of iniquity.  There
was a whipping-post, for instance, in the yard, at which females were
weekly in the receipt of punishment.  There was also "a cuckstool," or
ducking tub, where refractory prisoners were brought to their senses, and
in which persons on their first admission into the gaol were ducked, if
they refused or could not pay "a garnish."  This barbarous mode of
punishment was common in Lancashire, and Cheshire.  This prison was in
the course of the following years much improved, as it was found by Mr.
Neild very clean and orderly through the exertions of Mrs. Widdows, the
keeper.  Mrs. Widdow's salary was 63 pounds per annum.  She had
resolutely put down the cuckstool, and the whipping-post was becoming in
a complete state of desuetude.  A pump in the men's yard was used as a
place of occasional punishment for the stubborn and refractory.  The
prisoners were without any instruction, secular or religious.  No
chaplain attended.  The allowance to each prisoner was a two-penny loaf,
two pounds of potatoes, and salt daily.  I believe, from all I could
learn, that the Liverpool prisons, bad as they undoubtedly were at the
close of the last and the beginning of the present century, were in
better condition than others elsewhere.


One of my great-grandsons--a fine young fellow, has joined the
Volunteers: and seems determined to work his way to a commission.  I
cannot help smiling when I see him in his uniform, for he reminds me of
my young days, when I was a full private in Pudsey Dawson's Liverpool
Volunteers.  I don't think the volunteers of this day are so
smart-looking as they were of olden time, when they wore blue coats,
white breeches, gaiters and pig-tails, and used pipe-clay in abundance.
When we were reviewed on Moss-Lake Fields we made a gallant show.  There
are fine young fellows now, but somehow the dark rifle-dress looks sombre
and dull.  Pudsey Dawson's regiment consisted of eight companies of
infantry, and mustered 1200 strong.

The mettle of the Liverpool men was shown in 1797, for some time about
the end of February or the beginning of March, in that year the whole
town was put into the utmost fright, confusion and excitement.  Two
French frigates having landed in Cardigan Bay upwards of 2,000 men, it
was reported in Liverpool (the report being traced to the master of a
little Welsh coasting smack, who had come from Cardigan) that the French
were marching on to Liverpool to burn, sack and plunder it, in revenge
for the frigates which had been launched from her yards, and the immense
losses sustained by the French mercantile marine through the privateers
that hailed from this port.  Owing to the low state of education then
prevalent amongst the lower--and, indeed, in the middle classes--very few
knew where Cardigan Bay was situated and I very much question whether, if
a map of Europe, or of England and Wales, had been shown, nine people out
of ten could, without much difficulty, have pointed out the place.  But
that the French had landed in Cardigan Bay was a known fact; and it was
firmly believed that they were on their way to Liverpool, destroying
every thing on their march.  It was fully believed also that the
privateers which swarmed out of our docks were the cause of this
exhibition of ill-feeling towards us.  It may be fairly stated that the
enormous sums obtained by captures from the enemy by Liverpool privateers
proved the main foundation-stone of the present great prosperity of the
port.  I must say I was and am proud of my fellow townsmen's spirit in
'97, and their show of pluck.  No sooner was the report current that the
French might be expected, than meetings took place at which his Worship
the Mayor and the authorities generally, exhibited the most lively
feeling towards supporting their fellow citizens in their intention of
defending the port, their homes, and hearths, from the ruthless invaders.
Men, money, and arms, came forth freely, and even boys--mere
lads--urgently begged to be allowed to join the ranks of England's bold
defenders.  But I must not conceal the fact that, in many cases, great
cowardice was exhibited; as, when the report got current and the cry was
rife that "the French were coming"--a cry that used to frighten naughty
children to the verge of terror--numbers of the inhabitants became
panic-struck, and actually packed up their furniture and valuables, and
commenced a hasty exodus believing that they would be safer inland than
by the seaboard.  I saw cartload after cartload of goods, toiling up
Prescot-road, Brownlow-hill, Mount Pleasant, Oldhall-street, and
Preston-road, accompanied by weeping and terrified women and children,
with the deepest anxiety exhibited on their countenances.  The outskirt
roads were like a fair.  It will scarcely be believed that the price of
cartage rose so high while the panic lasted, that fabulous sums were
asked and obtained for transporting goods out of town.  It at length
became impossible to obtain a vehicle of any description.  Hundreds of
persons might be seen camping along the high roads at some distance from
the town, anxiously awaiting the expected sound of cannon, the clash of
arms, and the cry of contending men.  I laugh at this now--but it was no
laughing matter then.  I recollect one day passing down Dale-street (then
a narrow, inconvenient thoroughfare) to muster, when the Warrington and
Manchester coach was about to start: numbers of frightened people
besieged it and attempted to turn out and off those who had obtained
possession of its lumbering inside and its miserable basket behind.  In
it I remember was seated a tremendous man, a town councillor, who fairly
roared and cried like a child because the driver would not hasten his
departure--the cry of "the French" annihilated him, and I had half a mind
to let off my fire-lock and see what the result would have been.  We were
not much addicted to punctuality in those good old times; so that half an
hour's delay in the starting of a coach was held as nothing very
important--the delay however seemed a year to the worthy magnate.

In the town the utmost excitement prevailed.  At the Pier Heads, at the
Fort, and in St. Nicholas's churchyard (in the lower part of which there
was a battery of six guns) might have been seen hundreds of stalwart
fellows strengthening the fortifications; men in and out of uniform were
marching through the town with drum and fife, some armed and some
unarmed, coming and going from or to the rendezvous.  The jolly sailors
in the port mustered strong, and hearty were their demonstrations of
enthusiasm.  The shops were shut in many of the streets, while barricades
were prepared at the street ends leading out of town, ready to be put up
at any moment.  Information was then so slow in its journeyings that
falsehood became as strong-looking as truth, and it was easy to keep up a
ferment for some time.  Any atom of news became a mountain, until the
fresh air of truth melted it away.  We were therefore kept for days in a
state of great excitement, and it certainly was some time before our
warlike spirit subsided, and I must say that although we were somewhat
laughed at for our extraordinary haste in coming to the conclusions we
did, we had nothing to be ashamed of.  We Liverpool men showed our pluck
on that and many other occasions during the French war.  I fear we were a
little too much alive.  We had too much pugnacity about us if anything.
I recollect some poor simple looking French fishermen in that year put
into Liverpool, in order to sell some oysters, when it was all once taken
for granted that they were spies, sent to ascertain what we were doing.
The mayor at a meeting held to consider the state of the
harbour-defences, actually alluded to these poor fishermen as having in
their possession the soundings and bearings of the harbour and
river-entrance.  I, for one, did not believe in their being spies, never
having seen such a lot of harmless, stupid-looking men.

About this period the press-gang was very actively engaged in taking men
for the navy.  These gangs were made up of the very worst and most
violent men in the service.  They were by no means particular whom they
took: to them a man was a man, and that was a sufficient reason for
securing him.  Cases of horrible cruelty and great hardship frequently
occurred to individuals.  Men were constantly torn from their homes,
wives, and families, without a moment's warning.  They disappeared and
were not heard of for years, or perhaps not at all.  There was a man I
knew who was seized in Pool-lane and hurried off to the tender, and was
not heard of for four years, when he returned suddenly as his wife was
about to be married for the third time since his departure.  His arrival,
with a good store of pay, and prize-money, was ample compensation for the
loss of the new husband.  Terrible rows took place between the
press-gangs and the sailor-men--the latter resisted to the very death any
attempt to capture them.  Blood was frequently shed, and loss of life was
not uncommon.  I recollect one murderous business with which I should
have been mixed up if I had not made my escape by running into a house in
Atherton-street.  The men used to get across the water to Cheshire to
hide until their ships were ready to sail.  Near Egremont, on the shore,
there used to be a little low public-house, known as "Mother Redcap's,"
from the fact of the owner always wearing a red hood or cap.  This
public-house is still standing.  I have often been in it.  At that time
there were no inner walls to divide the room on the upper floor; but only
a few screens put up of about seven or eight feet in height to form
apartments.  The roof was not latted or plastered.  When I last saw it,
some twenty-five years or more ago, the joists and timbers were all open
to view.  Mother Redcap was a great favourite with the sailor-men and had
their entire confidence.  She had hiding-places for any number, and the
men used, on returning from their voyages, to deposit with her their pay
and prize-money, until they wanted it.  It was known, or at least, very
commonly believed, that Mother Redcap had in her possession enormous (for
her) sums of money, hidden or put away somewhere; but where that
somewhere was, it was never known; for, at her death, very little
property was found in her possession, although only a few days before she
was taken ill and died, a rich prize was brought into Liverpool which
yielded every sailor on board at least a thousand pounds.  Mother
Redcap's was swarming with sailors belonging to the privateer, directly
after the vessel had come into port, and it was known that the old lady
had received a good deal of the prize-money on their account, yet none of
it was ever discovered.  It is a very remarkable circumstance that some
few years ago, I think about ten or twelve, but I forget exactly when, a
quantity of money in spade-ace guineas was found in a cavity by the
shore, not far from Mother Redcap's.  It has always been a firm belief
with me that some day a rich harvest will be in store for somebody--a
case of treasure trove like that which some years ago was known as "the
Cuerdly Find."  Mother Redcap's was the resort of many a rough,
hard-hunted fellow, and many a strange story has been told, and scene
enacted, under the old roof.

The passage of the river then and at the beginning of the last century,
until steam-boats were introduced, was a complete and serious voyage,
which few undertook.  The boatmen used to run their boats at one time on
the beach opposite the end of Water-street and ply for hire.  After the
piers were ran out they hooked on at the steps calling aloud, "Woodside,
ahoy!" "Seacombe, ahoy!" and so on.  It is a fact that thousands of
Liverpool people at that time never were in Cheshire in their lives.  We
used to cross in open or half-decked boats, and sometimes we have been
almost as many hours in crossing as we are now minutes.  I recollect once
wanting to go to Woodside on a stormy day, to see a man who lived in a
small house between the Ferry-house and Wallasey Pool, and which, by the
way, was the only house then standing thereabout.  The tide was running
very strong and the wind blowing hard, and, after nearly four hours hard
work, we managed to land near the Rock Perch, thankful for our lives
being spared.  The Rock Perch was a pole with a sort of beacon or basket
at the top of it, implanted in the rocks on which the lighthouse now
stands.  There were no houses then anywhere about what is now called New
Brighton.  The country was sandy and barren, and the only trees that
existed grew close to the mouth of the river near the shore.  There was
scarcely a house between the Rock and Wallasey.  Wirrall at that time and
the middle of the last century was a desperate region.  The inhabitants
were nearly all wreckers or smugglers--they ostensibly carried on the
trade and calling of fishermen, farm-labourers, and small farmers; but
they were deeply saturated with the sin of covetousness, and many a
fierce fire has been lighted on the Wirrall shore on stormy nights to
lure the good ship on the Burbo or Hoyle Banks, there to beat, and
strain, and throb, until her timbers parted, and her planks were floating
in confusion on the stormy waves.  Fine times, then, for the Cheshire
men.  On stormy days and nights, crowds might have been seen hurrying to
the shore with carts, barrows, horses, asses, and oxen even, which were
made to draw timber, bales, boxes, or anything that the raging waters
might have cast up.  Many a half-drowned sailor has had a knock on the
sconce whilst trying to obtain a footing, that has sent him reeling back
into the seething water, and many a house has been suddenly replenished
with eatables and drinkables, and furniture and garniture, where
previously bare walls and wretched accommodation only were visible.  Then
for smuggling--fine times the runners used to have in my young days.
Scarcely a house in north Wirral that could not provide a guest with a
good stiff glass of brandy or Hollands.  The fishermen used to pretend to
cast their nets to take the fish that then abounded on our coasts, but
their fishing was of a far different sort.  Formby, on this side, was a
great place for smugglers and smuggling.  I don't think they wrecked as
the Cheshire people did--these latter were very fiends.  The Formby
fishermen were pretty honest and hardworking, and could always make a
good living by their calling, so that the smuggling they did was nothing
to be compared to their Cheshire compatriots.  Strings upon strings of
ponies have I seen coming along the road from Formby, laden with the
finny spoil.  The ponies had panniers slung over their backs, while
sometimes the fisherman's wife or child, if the horse could bear the
double burden, was seated between them.  These were called "Formby
Trotters."  There were good fish caught in the river at that time; and I
have heard say that herrings used to be taken in great profusion in our
vicinity until the people fought at the Fish Stones by St. Nicholas's
Church wall, and blood was shed on the occasion.  Many a fisherman
steadfastly believed that the herrings then left the coast, and never
returned in consequence.  Wallasey was certainly, at one period, a great
place for the curing of herrings, as can be proved by tradition as well
as written history.

How well I recollect the Woodside Ferry when I was a boy.  There was a
long causeway at it, which ran into the river, formed of logs of wood and
large boulder stones.  Up this causeway you walked until you came to the
overhanging shore which on the left hand was cut away to admit the
causeway continuing up into the land.  There was a small thicket of trees
on the rock-top and a patch of garden which belonged to the ferryman.
The only house visible was a farm-house which stood on the spot where the
(Gough's) Woodside Hotel may now be found.  It had a garden enclosed by a
hedge round it.  The road to Bidston was a rough, rutted way, and the
land was for the most part marshy between Woodside and Bidston, and the
country looked very desolate, wild, and rugged.  There were some pretty
walks over the fields.  There was one from Holt Hill to Oxton which I was
very fond of.  When the weather was fine I have had many and many a
pleasant ramble over land where now houses show themselves in hundreds,
nay, thousands, and where I have gone bird-nesting, and picking wild
flowers, and mushrooming in their season.  Lord! what changes I have seen
and yet live to see; and I am very thankful for His mercies, which have
been manifold and abundant.  Wallasey Pool was a glorious piece of water
once, and many a good fish I have taken out of it in the upper waters.
The view of Birkenhead Priory was at one time very picturesque, before
they built the church near it and the houses round it.  I recollect when
there was not a dwelling near it.  It seemed to stand out well in the
landscape, and certainly looked very pretty.  It was a great shame that
persons should have been permitted to carry away the stones for building
or any other purpose.  Had not a stop at last been put to this sort of
work there would not in time have been a vestige of the old Abbey left.
I recollect that there was a belief that a tunnel or subterraneous
passage ran under the Mersey to Liverpool from the Priory, and that the
entrance in 1818, when the church was built, had been found and a good
way traversed.  That passage was commonly spoken of as being in existence
when I was a boy, and I often vowed I would try to find it.  I have been
up the tunnels or caves at the Red and White Noses many a time for great
distances.  I was once fishing for codling at the Perch, and with two
young companions went up the caves for at least a mile, and could have
gone further only we became frightened as our lights went out.  It was
thought these caves ran up to Chester Cathedral--but that was all stuff.
I believe they were excavated by smugglers in part, and partly natural
cavities of the earth.  We knew little then of archaeology or geology, or
any other "ology," or I might be able to tell a good deal about these
caves, for I saw them more than once, but I now forget what their size
and height was.  The floor, I recollect, was very uneven and strewed
about with big stones, while the roof was arched over in the red
sand-stone.  The encroachment of the sea upon the Wirral shore has been
very gradual, but regular, for many years.  Within the memory of man the
sea has made an inroad of nearly, if not quite, a mile from its former
high-water mark.  It was not until the erection of the Wallasey
embankment that a stop was put to its ravages.

When I stand on the Pier-head, or take my daily walk on the
Landing-Stage, I often pause and revolve in my mind the wonderful changes
that have taken place in my time in this native town of mine.  The other
day, soon after the completion of the large Landing-Stage, I sat down and
thought would any man then making use of the old baths, swimming inside
the palisade, have not considered me, some eighty years ago, a mad fool
to have predicted that before I died I should sit on a long floating
stage two or three hundred yards from where we were swimming, that would
be about a quarter of a mile in length, and that between it and the shore
there would be most wonderful docks built, in which the ships of all
nations would display their colours, and discharge their precious
freights?  As I sat there the other day, I thought of the one bath and
the old houses by the river's brink, and the Bath-street, along which
came, in the summer-time, such strings of country "dowkers."  Beyond the
baths there were no houses, all was open shore consisting of boulder
stones, sand, and pools, such as may be seen on any sea-beach.  There was
hot as well as cold water bathing in the baths, and a palisade ran out
into the river, within which, at high-water, persons could swim, as in a
plunge-bath.  These baths were erected originally by Mr. Wright, who sold
them to the corporation in 1774, by which body they were enlarged and
greatly improved.

I recollect the bath-woman sold a sort of parliament cake, covered over
with coloured sugar plums, and also some sweet things which in appearance
resembled slugs.  I never see these caraway-cakes and confections in the
low shops in which they are now only sold, without thinking of the fat
old bath-woman, who was a terror to me and others of my size and age.  In
1816 these baths were discontinued and pulled down on the opening of
George's Pier-head baths.  For a mile or more there was good bathing on
the shore.  The bathing machines were introduced about the end of the
last century.  The keeper of the "Wishing Gate-house" had several, and an
old man who lived in a low hut near the mill (the remains of which still
stand in the Waterloo-road) had two or three, and made money by them.  At
that time Bootle and Bootle Marshes were wild places, the roads
execrable, and as for frogs (Bootle organs), the noise they made at night
was wonderful.  I recollect all the docks and streets from Bath-street
downwards being sand-hills and salt-marshes.  New Quay, of which
Bath-street was a continuation, was a sort of haven, into which small
vessels, at certain times of the tide, ran to discharge their cargoes.
On the tide receding the vessels were left high and dry upon the bank.
Bathers used to be seen in any number on the shore.  Decency was so
frequently outraged that the authorities were at last compelled to take
steps to redress the grievance.  Not far from the baths was once a
pleasant public walk of which I have often heard my father and mother
speak.  It was called the "Ladies Walk," and extended from the site of
the present Canal bridge by Old Hall-street, down to the river.  It was a
sort of a terraced gravel walk, having four rows of fine Lombardy
poplars, and seats underneath.  On fine evenings all the gay and
fashionable world of Liverpool used to take the air and show off their
hoops and high heels, and the gentlemen their brocaded silk coats, and
three-cornered hats.  The sword was often drawn by the gallants for some
fancied affront, and occasionally a little blood was spilt, a matter of
no moment in those days.  Great was the grief when it was announced that
the Leeds and Liverpool Canal Company had resolved on the destruction of
the Ladies Walk.

There was another Ladies Walk in Duke-street, which extended from
opposite the present York-street (then called Great George-street) to
Berry-street.  This was afterwards converted into a ropery and succeeded
by Parr-street.  By the way, Duke-street, which occupies a portion of its
site, has been famous for notable persons residing in it.  In the third
house from Colquitt-street Felicia Hemans was born, and she wrote some of
her early poetry there.  In the yard of the next house was once a tree,
the last remnant of the Ladies Walk, which had two rows of trees down the
sides and centre as in the other Ladies Walk previously mentioned.  Mrs.
Hemans apostrophizes this tree in one of her early poems.  I recollect
her very well, for she was intimate with my friends, the Nicholsons, who
lived at the top of Richmond-row some forty years ago.  Miss Browne
received much advice and encouragement from Mr. Nicholson, and she was a
most pleasing person.  As Mrs. Hemans, her life was not happy.  She
resided at one time at Wavertree, in one of those cottages on the left
hand side of the road just beyond Orford-street.  The present
"Loggerheads Tavern Revived" was Mr. Nicholson's house.  It was a
public-house, called "The Loggerheads" before he converted it into a
private dwelling.  Where Soho-street now begins there was a dyer's pond
and yard; over it was a fine weeping-willow.  In Duke-street also lodged
at one time Thomas Campbell, the poet.  He occupied part of the house now
converted into a cabinet-maker's shop by Messrs. Abbot.  I visited Mr.
Campbell several times when he was preparing "The Pleasures of Hope" for
publication.  He was a very handsome young man, with a fine face and
bright eyes.  Mr. John Howard lodged in Duke-street in the house directly
facing Cornwallis-street, then newly built.  At this time his "Report on
Prisons" was passing through the Warrington Press; and he used to journey
backwards and forwards to correct the proofs.  The Rev. Gilbert Wakefield
lodged in Duke-street, near the bottom, when he was first appointed
curate to St. Paul's church, then just erected.  Dr. Henderson was the
first incumbent of that church.  Strangely enough, he seceded from the
Dissenting body, while Mr. Wakefield joined it from the Church.  Curious
stories were told of Dr. Henderson's ministration.  Mr. Wakefield
complained bitterly of the unkindness and inhospitality of the Liverpool
clergy.  He said he never was invited but by one brother clergyman to
visit him during his stay in Liverpool.

In 1812, Bellingham, who shot Mr. Percival in the House of Commons, on
the 11th of May, also lived in Duke-street, about the sixth house above
Slater-street.  His wife was a dressmaker and milliner.  She was a very
nice person, and after Bellingham's execution the ladies of Liverpool
raised a subscription for, and greatly patronized her.  Bellingham was
born at St. Neot's, in Huntingdonshire, about 1771.  His father was a
land-surveyor and miniature-painter.  Becoming insane, he was for some
time confined in St. Luke's Hospital, London; but being found incurable
he was taken home, where he died soon afterwards.  Bellingham, at the age
of fourteen, was apprenticed to a jeweller in Whitechapel, named Love,
from whom, after giving much trouble and annoyance, he ran away.  In 1786
his mother's sister's husband, a Mr. Daw, yielding to the solicitations
of his wife and Mrs. Bellingham, fitted the young man out for India,
whither he sailed in the ship _Hartwell_, in the Company's service.  This
vessel was wrecked off one of the Cape de Verd Islands, and young
Bellingham managed to get home again, penniless--having lost everything
he possessed.  Still influenced by his female relatives, Mr. Daw next
took a shop in the tinware trade for Bellingham.  This shop was in
Oxford-street; but a fire occurring in it, Bellingham asserted that he
had a large number of bank-notes destroyed.  It was suspected he was
cognizant of the origin of this fire; but nothing could be proved against
him.  In 1794 he became bankrupt; but his creditors were so disgusted
with the statement of his affairs, that they would not grant him his
certificate, and he never obtained it.  We next find him obtaining
employment in a merchant's counting-house; and after being with them some
time he was sent out by them to Archangel.  He remained there about three
years, and then entered into partnership with a firm there.  He then came
to Hull where he entered into contracts for the delivery of 12,000 pounds
worth of timber, but only 4,000 pounds worth was ever delivered upon the
bills drawn, accepted, and paid.  Upon this transaction Bellingham was
arrested and imprisoned in Hull, where he remained seven months.  On his
release he went back to Archangel, where he had no sooner arrived than he
was again thrown into prison.  He appealed vehemently against this arrest
to the English Consul, and also to the British Ambassador at St.
Petersburg, Lord Levison Gower; but they both declined interfering, as
they considered his arrest legal and justifiable.  On his release he came
to Liverpool, whence he went to Dublin, where he met his future wife,
Miss Neville, a native of Newry.  Having become possessed of a legacy of
400 pounds, left him by his aunt, Mrs. Daw, he returned to Liverpool,
where he commenced business as an Insurance and General Broker.  He now
began memorializing the government on the subject of his claims upon
Russia.  General Gascoigne presented his petitions.  All he got was a
constant refusal of interference.  There is no doubt that some of the
wrongs he complained of were partly imaginary, and that he perhaps
inherited his father's malady.  Finding his appeals of no avail he
determined upon being revenged in some way or other upon somebody.  On
the 11th May, 1812, he posted himself, soon after five o'clock, near the
door of the lobby of the House of Commons, and as Mr. Spencer Percival
approached, he drew a pistol from his breast pocket, and fired at the
right honourable gentleman.  The shot took effect, and Mr. Percival died
almost immediately afterwards.  General Gascoigne, one of the members for
Liverpool, was one of the first to recognize the assassin, and, in fact,
seized him and took from him his pistols.  It was not thought he had any
particular enmity against Mr. Percival, but that he would have
assassinated any other of His Majesty's Ministers had they fallen in his
way at the time.  He said he had been a fortnight making up his mind to
this bloody deed.  He bought his pistols from a well-known gunmaker in
Fleet-street, and so desirous was he that they could be depended upon,
that he went to Primrose Hill, in the outskirts of London, to try them.
It was said that he had his coat altered, and a capacious and readily
accessible pocket made in it; in which pocket, in fact, the discharged
pistol was found.  Bellingham to the last maintained his contumacious and
determined character.  He justified his frightful deed, and expressed
himself resigned to his fate and prepared to meet it.  His atrocious act
caused a great sensation in the town.  The news that it had been
perpetrated, had, however, scarcely reached us in Liverpool before we
heard of his trial and execution.  He was tried on the 16th of May and
executed on the 18th.  Short shriving was then the mode!

In Suffolk-street, which runs out of Duke-street, there once dwelt a
droll person named Peter Tyrer.  He let out coaches and horses for hire.
Many funny stories were current about him.  I recollect one to the effect
that a customer of his, a gentleman residing in Duke-street, complained
several times that Peter had supplied him with a coach so stiff in the
springs as to be quite unpleasant to ride in it.  The next time a coach
was sent for by this gentleman, Peter sent him a hearse!  On being asked
his reason for so doing, his reply was that "so many people had ridden in
that vehicle and never made any complaint, that he supposed it must be a
very comfortable conveyance."


Before I exhaust my recollections of Duke-street and its celebrities, I
ought not to omit mention of a worthy gentleman who resided in it, and
whose name occupied the attention of the public in many ways, in all
honourable to himself, as a man, a soldier, and a citizen.  I refer to
Colonel Bolton, whose mansion in Duke-street, between Suffolk-street and
Kent-street (called after, and by Mr. Kent, who lived at the corner of
the street, and who also named the streets adjacent after the southern
counties), was in bye-gone years the head-quarters of the Tory party in
Liverpool, in election times.  From the balcony of that house, wherein
the utmost hospitality was always exercised, the great statesmen who have
represented Liverpool in Parliament--George Canning and William
Huskisson--have many a time poured forth the floods of their eloquence,
stirring up the heart's-blood of the thousands assembled in the street to
hear them, making pulses beat quicker, and exciting passions to
fever-heat.  Mr. Canning used also to address the electors from Sir
Thomas Brancker's house in Rodney-street.

The lengths to which election zeal carried men may be understood, when,
during the progress of an election, business was suspended in the town
for days and days.  Hatred, envy, and malice were engendered.  Neighbour
was set against neighbour, and I have known many instances where serious
divisions in families have taken place when opposite sides in politics
have been chosen by the members of such families.  It has required years
to heal wounds made in family circles, and time in some instances never
succeeded in bringing relatives to esteem each other again.  The small
knot of reformers in this town stuck manfully together and fought their
battles well; and if the Tory side could boast of substantial names
amongst their ranks, those of Henry Brougham, Egerton Smith, Dr.
Shepherd, Mr. Mulock, Edward Rushton, and many others, occupy a place in
the pantheon of worthies who stood forward on all great and public
occasions when improvement in the constitution was to be advocated.  I
recollect a time when it was scarcely wise for a man to confess himself a
reformer.  At the beginning of this century, when the horrors of the
French Revolution were fresh in all men's minds, and knowing so well as
we did that there were many mischievous, dangerous, and disaffected
people amongst us, ripe and ready to foment and foster broils, bringing
anarchy and confusion in their train, it seemed to be the duty of all men
who had characters and property to lose, to stick fast to the state as it
was, without daring to change anything, however trifling or however
necessary.  A man was almost thought a traitor to talk of reform or
change at one time, for there were not a few influential men who would
rather have risen on the ruins of Old England than have fallen with her
glory.  Ticklish times we had in the beginning of the present century.

On the subject of Reform, it was said that an elector one day meeting Mr.
Brougham in Castle-street, thus accosted him:--"Well, Mister, so you are
going to try for Reform again?"  "Yes," said the great orator, "and I
hope we shall get it."  Elector:--"Very good, Mister, we really do want a
reform in parliament, for I think it is a very hard thing that a man can
only get a paltry 5 or 10 pounds for his vote.  There ought to be some
fixed sum--certainly not less than 25 pounds."

One of the most remarkable election events that has taken place in
Liverpool was that in which Messrs. Ewart and Denison were engaged in
1830.  Remarkable not only for the vigour with which it was carried on,
but for the intense excitement that it created, the number of days it
occupied, and also for the enormous sums of money it cost.  The bribery
that took place on both sides and all sides was really frightful.  It was
a positive disgrace to humanity.  The contest was continued for seven
days.  While it was carried on business in the town was partly suspended,
and all men's thoughts, and acts, and interests, seemed engrossed by the
one prevailing subject.  On the death of Mr. Huskisson, those interested
in political matters set about to look for a successor to represent their
interests in parliament.  Several distinguished gentlemen were invited to
stand; amongst others were Sir Robert Peel, and the Right Hon. Charles
Grant, both of whom, however, declined the honour.  Mr. Grant had had
enough of an election contest to last him for some time, his success at
Inverness had only been won by too hard fighting to be lightly thought
of; while Sir Robert Peel freely confessed that the duties of Home
Secretary were such as to prevent him from devoting sufficient time to
the interests of so large and important a constituency as that of

By the way, I recollect a rather curious anecdote of Mr. Huskisson, which
may perhaps not be devoid of interest.  About 1834 I was dining on board
one of the beautiful American sailing-packets, the _George Washington_.
It was only a small party, and amongst others present was the late Sir
George Drinkwater, who related the following curious circumstance
connected with Mr. Huskisson:--Sir George told us that the day before the
lamentable occurrence took place, which deprived this town of a valuable
representative, and the country of so distinguished a statesman, Mr.
Huskisson called upon him at the Town Hall (Sir George being then Mayor),
and asked permission to write a letter.  While doing so an announcement
was made that there was a deputation from Hyde, near Manchester, wishing
to see Mr. Huskisson.  "Oh!" said that gentleman, "I know what they want;
but I will send them back to Hyde with a flea in their ears!"  The
gentlemen of the deputation having been ushered into the room, they
stated their case, to the effect that they solicited Mr. Huskisson to
support a petition in parliament to enable them to construct a railway
between their town and Manchester.  They had no sooner stated their
errand than Mr. Huskisson, angrily throwing down his pen, in very few
words refused their request, winding up his reply with these memorable
words--remarkable not only for the fallacy of his then opinions, but also
in connection with the calamitous event of the next day--"Gentlemen, I
supported the scheme of the railway between Liverpool and Manchester as
an experiment, but as long as I have the honour to hold a seat in
parliament, _I will never consent to see England gridironed by
railways_!"  What would Mr. Huskisson say now-a-days, when a map of
England shows it not only gridironed, but spread over as with an iron
net-work of railroads, that to the eye appear in a state of a
inextricable entanglement?

To return to the election of 1830.  During seven days the town was kept
at fever-heat, each day its intensity becoming heightened.  Denison, in
his opening address on 'Change, on the 14th October, in appealing to the
constituency for support, avowed himself entitled to it, not only as
being Mr. Huskisson's friend--"the friend of your friend"--but an
enthusiastic admirer of his principles.  Mr. Denison was son-in-law to
the Duke of Portland.  Mr. Ewart was a townsman, and a barrister, and had
represented the town of Bletchingly (or Bl_ee_ching_ly_, as they call it
in Surrey), so that both candidates came well recommended.  The writ was
moved for in the House of Commons on the 17th November, and received in
Liverpool on the Friday following.  An army of canvassers was organised
on both sides, who plied their vocations in all directions.  Mr.
Denison's friends mustered on Tuesday morning, 23rd November, in front of
Mr. Bolton's house in Duke-street, and moved in grand procession to the
Town Hall.  Amongst them were Mr. Bolton, Mr. Gladstone, Sir J. Tobin,
Messrs. Wm. Brown, Ritson, Shand, and Garnett.  Mr. Ewart's friends met
opposite to the Adelphi Hotel.  The horses were taken from Mr. Ewart's
carriage, which was then drawn by the people.  With Mr. Ewart were
Messrs. J. Brancker, Hugh Jones, W. Wallace Currie, W. Earle, jun., Hall
(barrister), Captain Colquitt, Rev. Wm. Shepherd, etc.  The processions
were both got up in admirable style; splendid and costly banners and
flags of all descriptions were displayed, while ribbons, of which
Denison's were scarlet, and Ewart's blue, fluttered in the wind in all
directions.  The following was the result of the polls.  I give it to
show how remarkably close the contest was carried on, and how the tide of
favour ebbed and flowed: 1st day--Denison, 260; Ewart, 248.  2nd
day--Denison, 583; Ewart, 568.  3rd day--Denison, 930; Ewart, 918.  4th
day--Denison; 1320; Ewart, 1308.  5th day--Denison, 1700; Ewart, 1688.
6th day--Denison, 2020; Ewart, 2008.  7th day--Denison, 2186; Ewart,
2215.  The number of freemen who voted was 4401.

If ever a borough deserved disfranchising, it was Liverpool on that
election.  The conduct of the freemen was atrocious.  I speak of them as
a body.  The bribery on that occasion was so broad, barefaced, and
unblushingly carried on, as to excite disgust in all thoughtful men's
minds.  Sums of money 3 to 100 pounds were said to have been given for
votes, and I recollect that after the heat of the election had subsided,
a list of those who voted was published, with the sums attached, which
were paid to and received by each freeman.  I have a copy of it in my
possession.  Whether true or false who can tell?  Where there is fire
there will be smoke.  It is a well-known fact that many of the canvassers
never looked behind them after that memorable time, and numbers of
tradesmen signally benefited by the money that was spread about with such
liberal hands.  In some cases money was received by freemen from both
parties.  In one case I find a man (among the H's) voting for Mr.
Denison, who received 35 and 10 pounds.  Amongst the C's was a recipient
of 28 and 25 pounds from each side; and another, a Mr. C., took 50 pounds
from Denison and 15 pounds from Ewart, the said voter being a
chimney-sweeper, and favouring Mr. Denison with the weight of his
influence and the honour of his suffrage.  In looking over the list I
find that the principal recipients of the good things going, were ropers,
coopers, sailmakers, and shipwrights.  Yet the name of "merchant" and
"tradesman" not unfrequently occurs in the descriptions of borough
voters.  Amongst the W's there appears to be scarcely a voter that
escaped "the gold fever."  Amongst others who declined taking any part in
the election was Mr. Brooks Yates; he, feeling so disgusted with the
veniality of the voters, and the bribery that was going on, publicly
protested on the seventh day against the conduct of all parties, and said
"he lifted up his voice against the practice of bribery, which was so
glaringly exercised, and which had been carried on by both parties to the
utmost extent.  The friends of Mr. Ewart had made use of his name to fill
up their complement without his authority, and he begged to withdraw it,
for he was resolved to remain decidedly neutral.  The corruption was so
gross and flagrant that he would not give his vote on either side."  It
is said that this election cost upwards of 100,000 pounds, of which sum
Colonel Bolton supplied 10,000 pounds.  Mr. Ewart's family it was
understood, entirely furnished his expenses amounting to 65,000 pounds.
Mr. Denison's reached from 47,000 to 50,000 pounds.

Amongst those who addressed the various meetings during the week of the
election, and previous to the commencement of the polling, were Mr.
William Rathbone, Mr. Henderson, barrister (afterwards recorder), Rev. W.
Shepherd, Captain Colquitt, Mr. James Brancker (who proposed and seconded
Mr. Ewart), and Mr. Falvey.  The orators on the part of Mr. Denison were,
Mr. Edward Rushton (afterwards stipendiary magistrate), Messrs. Shand, W.
Brown (now Sir William Brown), John Bolton, W. Earle, Leyland, Sir John
Tobin, etc.  About the fourth day of the election the real excitement
commenced, and the baneful system of bribery was resorted to.  On the
fifth day the prices of votes advanced from 20 to 25 pounds, and as much
as 40 to 50 pounds were asked and obtained.  It was expected that on the
sixth day the contest would close, but it seemed to be then continued
with unabated vigour.  On the seventh day voters were brought from all
parts of England, Scotland, Ireland, and wherever they could be met with.
The tricks played by both parties on voters were most amusing, either to
deter or compel them to vote.  Nearly four hundred freemen declined or
were unable to record their votes.

Even in the elections for mayor the most inconceivable interest was
excited, and in one case, that of 1828, between Messrs. Porter and
Robinson, from 16,000 to 20,000 pounds, if not a larger sum, was said to
have been expended in carrying the day.  I recollect a worthy
tobacconist, who kept a little shop in the town, who had a vote and was
not inclined to sell it cheap.  In every insidious way was he assailed to
part with his vote.  On the occasion of this election the list of voters
was rapidly running out to the last drop; the hour of closing the poll
was approaching, and it was found impossible to keep the poll open
another day.  "Come, Mr. Pipes, what about your vote?--it's half-past
three!"  "Call again in a quarter of an hour."  In this quarter of an
hour the little tobacconist's shop was besieged by canvassers on both
sides, when the tempting sum of 30 pounds was reached.  The cunning
little Abel Drugger knew his value, but no higher sum would either party
advance.  Pipes had, unfortunately, gone into the back part of his shop
for a few minutes, when a wag put his clock back thirteen minutes.
Keeping his eye, while in the shop, on the clock, every now and
then--although, as he admitted afterwards, it seemed a long quarter of an
hour--he still kept off his persecutors.  When the hand approached the
quarter on the false-telling dial, one canvasser, bolder than the rest,
laid 35 pounds on a box of cigars, as the bid for it.  But Master Pipes
only was sold, for just as he was about to take up the tissue paper
bearing the magic name of Henry Hase, St. George's church struck four,
and the prize was re-pocketed to the great discomfiture of "Pipes," and
the merriment of his customers.  Of electioneering tricks I could tell a
full score.

The practice of the "Duello" is, happily, now gone quite out of fashion,
but in my young days any and every occasion of offence was seized upon as
a _casus belli_.  Duels were fought on the most frivolous occasions and
for the slightest possible affronts, intentional or supposititious.

This taste has subsided, as well as that for hard drinking.  I can
remember both being carried to a lamentable state of excess; but these
practices have grown out of date.  I have seen, thank goodness, other
equally salutary improvements in morals, customs, and manners.

Two remarkable hostile meetings, I recollect, took place in Liverpool at
the commencement of the present century, and caused an immense sensation,
from the known position and high standing of all the parties concerned.

The first duel I shall mention was that between Mr. Sparling, late of St.
Domingo House, Everton, and Mr. Grayson, an eminent shipbuilder.  Both
gentlemen moved in the first circles of society in the town.  It took
place on the 24th of February, 1804.

The occasion of the duel was a conversation that occurred in Mr.
Grayson's carriage, between that gentleman and Major Brooks (who was shot
by Colonel Bolton in the ensuing year), on their way to dine at Mr.
Grayson's, at Wavertree.  Mr. Grayson, it seems, called Mr. Sparling "a
villain," for breaking off the marriage between himself and a relative of
Mr. Grayson's.  Major Brooks repeated this conversation to Mr. Sparling,
who instantly commenced a correspondence with Mr. Grayson, calling upon
him to apologise for his language.  This correspondence continued from
October until the time the duel was fought--the meeting being the
consequence of the unsatisfactory results of the communications between
the parties.  They met at a place called Knot's Hole, near the shore by
the Aigburth-road.  Mr. Sparling was attended by Captain Colquitt,
commanding the _Princess_ frigate, then in the river.  Mr. Grayson's
second was Dr. MacCartney.  After the fatal shots were fired Mr.
Grayson's servant found his master alone, lying on the ground with his
face downwards.  He was desperately wounded in the thigh, and was taken
back to Liverpool as quickly as possible.  He lingered until the
following Sunday, when he died.  Mr. Sparling and Captain Colquitt were,
at the coroner's inquest, found guilty of murder, and were tried at
Lancaster, on the 4th of April, before Sir Alan Chambre.  Sergeant
Cockle, Attorney-General for the County Palatine of Lancaster, led for
the crown; with him were Messrs. Clark and Scarlett (afterwards Sir
James); attorneys, Messrs. Ellames and Norris.  For the prisoners,
Messrs. Park (afterwards Baron Park), Wood, Topping, Raincock, and Heald;
attorney, Mr. William Statham.

It came out in evidence during the trial, that the hour of meeting was
seven o'clock on Sunday morning, February 24th.  Mr. Sparling and Captain
Colquitt arrived first at Park Chapel; on alighting the Captain carried
the pistol-case, and the two gentlemen went through a gate into a field
opposite, to the place of rendezvous.  Soon after Dr. MacCartney and Mr.
Park, the surgeon, arrived in a carriage.  Mr. Park had been induced to
accompany the Doctor on the representation that he was about to attend a
patient of some consequence, and required his (Mr. Park's) advice and
skill.  Soon after Mr. Grayson arrived on foot, attended by his servant,
when, finding the two gentlemen in waiting, he pulled out his watch, and
remarked that he feared he was rather late, but that it was all his
servant's fault.  Dr. MacCartney then took out the pistol-case from the
carriage (leaving Mr. Park in it, who had declined proceeding any
further), and with Mr. Grayson passed through the same gate as did Mr.
Sparling and the Captain.  They then went down the field towards the
river, and soon afterwards a shot or shots were heard by Mr. Park, Mr.
Grayson's servant, and the post-boys.  Mr. Grayson's servant ran into the
field, and met Mr. Sparling and Captain Colquitt hurrying up the
foot-road, the former asked him "what he wanted?" he told him who he was,
when Mr. Sparling informed him his master was severely wounded.  The two
gentlemen then ran onward when they met Mr. Park, who had got out of the
carriage on seeing them coming towards the road in such a hurry.  They
bade him "make haste, for Grayson was badly wounded."  They then got into
their carriage and told the coachman to drive back to Liverpool.  The
other driver asserted he heard Captain Colquitt say, "by G---, it has
done me good."  The two gentlemen were driven first to Mr. Ralph Benson's
in Duke-street, to whom a message was sent up that Mr. Sparling "had been
in the country and was quite well."  They next called on Mr. Stavert,
when Mr. Sparling said, "I have put a ball into Grayson this morning."
Mr. Stavert replied, "I hope he is not much hurt," when Mr. Sparling
exclaimed, "I think not, for he made too much noise for it to be of any
consequence."  They were next driven to the Royal Hotel and thence to the
Pier Slip, where a boat was in waiting, in which they were rowed off.

Mr. Park, on hurrying forward to Knot's Hole, found Mr. Grayson supported
by his servant and Dr. MacCartney.  His breeches were soaked with blood
at his right thigh.  There appeared to be a shot-hole at the upper part
near the hip.  He complained of being in acute pain, and that he had lost
the use of his limbs; he said he could no longer stand, but must be
allowed to sit down.  The party, however, bore him to the carriage, and
got him home as soon as possible.  Mr. Park attended him until he died.
The ball had perforated the thigh-bone, and was not extracted until after
death.  It was produced in court.

Mr. Grayson was fully aware of his approaching end.  On the Wednesday
after the duel, he told Mr. Park that "he was going to meet his God."  On
the following day he said that "he hoped for mercy, and that he might
have gone with greater guilt on his head, if he had killed Sparling,
instead of Sparling killing him"; and added, "whatever his opinions of
Mr. Sparling's conduct might be, he truly forgave him the injury he had
done him, in giving him his death-wound, and hoped, in the event of his
decease, that his friends would not prosecute him."  Mr. Grayson
repeatedly said Mr. Sparling was an utter stranger to him, and that he
did not know him even by sight.

At that time counsel were not allowed to make any appeal to a jury for a
prisoner.  Mr. Sparling's defence was therefore read by one of his
counsel, Mr. Park.  It was very ably got up.  He bitterly protested
against the outcry that had been made against him in public, from the
pulpit and by the press.  He wholly denied bearing any malice towards Mr.
Grayson, and justified himself, declaring his act was a mere vindication
of his honour and good name, and that he had, in conjunction with Captain
Colquitt, repeatedly asked Mr. Grayson to withdraw his insulting words
and threatening speeches, but without avail, and the meeting was the
consequence of his obstinacy.  He said of Mr. Grayson, as Mr. Grayson had
said of him, that he was an utter stranger to him.  Captain Colquitt made
an able defence, wherein he justified himself and his conduct.  A number
of gentlemen of high character and distinction spoke to the kindliness of
manner of Mr. Sparling at all times, and also of Captain Colquitt, and
completely exonerated them from the imputation of entertaining vindictive
or malevolent feelings.  Amongst others who appeared for Mr. Sparling
were Sir Hungerford Hoskins, Captain Palmer, Rev. Jonathan Brooks, His
Worship the Mayor (William Harper, Esq.), Soloman D'Aguilar, Lord
Viscount Carleton, Major-General Cartwright, Lord Robert Manners, Lord
Charles Manners, Lord James Murray, Colonel M'Donald, and Major Seymour.
For Captain Colquitt many equally honourable gentlemen and officers in
His Majesty's service gave evidence in his favour.

The judge on summing up decidedly leaned towards the prisoners, and the
result was a verdict of "Not Guilty."  The same jury was afterwards
empanelled to try Mr. Sparling, Captain Colquitt, and Dr. MacCartney on
another indictment, but no evidence being brought forward, they were all

Thus terminated a trial which created an immense amount of interest, not
only in Liverpool, but throughout the whole of the northern counties.

Before I relate the incidents of the second duel that took place in
Liverpool, I will briefly give the particulars of another affair, which
happened in the same year (July, 1804), which gave the gossips and _quid
nuncs_ of the town ample food for conversation.  This was the
court-martial on Captain Carmichael, the Adjutant of Colonel Earle's
regiment of Fusiliers, and formerly adjutant of Colonel Bolton's regiment
of "Royal Liverpool Volunteers."  He was charged with "disobedience of
orders, and with addressing Colonel Earle in abusive and scandalous
language respecting the officers of the regiment."  The court-martial was
held by virtue of a warrant from His Royal Highness Prince William
Frederick of Gloucester, the General commanding the district.  The
president was Colonel Bolton; the judge-advocate, Fletcher Raincock,
Esq., barrister-at-law.

It appeared that on the 12th of June the Fusiliers were drilling on
Copperas-hill (fancy _our_ Volunteers drilling on Copperas-hill!), at the
manual and platoon exercise, when they were commanded to "order arms" and
"stand at ease" by the Colonel; his intention being to keep the regiment
for the remainder of the morning at firelock exercise.  Something was
said of a private nature by Colonel Earle to the Adjutant Carmichael,
who, instead of replying, took no notice of the observation.  He
subsequently spoke to the Colonel in an insulting and impertinent manner,
treating him at the same time with marked indignity--calling out, loud
enough for the men to hear, "that he insisted upon the officers being
called together to inquire into his conduct, for such things were said of
him as he could not bear."  On being told that that was not the time nor
place to bring charges against the officers, and that he should put down
in writing what he had to say, and he would then be attended to, he did
not seem satisfied, but continued to demand the calling of the officers
together.  Colonel Earle told him to go on with his duty.  Captain
Carmichael still took no notice of these orders; but said his feelings
were "worked up to a fiddle-string."  Still disobeying Colonel Earle's
commands, he was told "to go home if he could not do his duty."  He was
then heard to say that the officers, or some of the officers, were "a set
of blacklegs."  For this offence Captain Carmichael was tried.  He denied
at first the right of the court to sit in judgment upon him, and raised
three objections, two of which were read, and the third was stopped in
the middle, being overruled by the court.  The court-martial sat five
days, and the result of it was that Captain Carmichael was acquitted of
disobedience, but found guilty of addressing abusive language to his
commanding-officer.  His sentence was "to be reprimanded at the head of
his regiment."  Colonel Bolton was delegated to administer this reproof.
Colonel Bolton spoke highly in the Captain's favour, and stated that he
had presented him with a piece of plate which he had bought for him when
in London, to mark his respect for him, and his efficiency in drilling
his (Colonel Bolton's) regiment.

In the following year, 1805, the second duel was fought, which created as
great a sensation as that between Mr. Sparling and Mr. Grayson, in the
previous year.  In this encounter the principals were Colonel Bolton and
Major Brooks, the same party who had caused the mischief in the
previously-mentioned affair.

The origin of the quarrel arose in this way:--Colonel Bolton, who had
raised a regiment of volunteers, in 1803, which he had entirely clothed,
armed, and equipped, mustering ten companies of sixty men each, was held
in high respect and possessed great influence with government.  On the
death of Mr. Bryan Blundell, who held the appointment of Customs Jerker,
Colonel Bolton obtained the vacant office for Major Brooks, who had been
formerly in the Lancashire Militia.  After enjoying this place for a
time, Major Brooks applied for an increase of salary.  His application
was referred to the West India Association, of which Colonel Bolton was
President, to report upon whether an increase in the pay of the office
was desirable or deserved.  The Association reported adverse to Major
Brooks' application.  He immediately, publicly, and in the most
disgraceful manner, accused Colonel Bolton with being the cause of this
refusal, as he had learnt that the Colonel had said that "700 pounds a
year was quite income enough for a comparatively young, unmarried man."
Major Brooks, forgetting that Colonel Bolton's friendship and influence
had obtained for him, in the first instance, his appointment, did his
utmost to force his benefactor into collision with him, and to such an
extent was this annoyance carried, that at length a hostile meeting was
arranged between the parties.  As a soldier and gentleman, Colonel Bolton
could no longer keep quiet.  Major Brooks possessed, unfortunately for
himself, a great amount of irritable vanity and pugnacity.  He had been
"out," as it was then called, not long before with Captain Carmichael,
whose trial by court-martial I have just detailed, upon some point of
difference in military discipline.  The meeting took place on Bootle
Sands, and, to show Major Brooks's temper, on Captain Carmichael firing
in the air, he exclaimed: "D--- it, why don't you fire at me--we did not
come here for child's play!"  In those days duelling was very prevalent,
and small words brought out pistols and coffins for two.

The first meeting between Colonel Bolton and Major Brooks was to have
come off on the 20th December, 1804, at a place called Miller's Dam, off
the Aigburth-road, which, if I recollect rightly, was a small creek which
ran up to a mill--long and long ago swept away.  The circumstance of the
quarrel, however, having by some means got abroad, the authorities
interposed and both gentlemen were arrested on their way to the
rendezvous.  They were both bound over, in very heavy penalties, to keep
the peace to all and sundry of His Majesty's subjects, and each other in
particular, for twelve calendar months.  Brooks, on being arrested,
exhibited the utmost rage and virulence, and expressed himself in strong
language against the Colonel, accusing him roundly of being the cause of
the arrest, and the interference they had met with.  There was not word
of truth in this charge, Colonel Bolton, though forced into the matter,
according to the laws of honour, kept the meeting a secret, and it was
afterwards actually proved that the secret of the meeting oozed out from
one of Major Brooks' own friends.

During the twelve months the two gentlemen were bound over, Brooks let
slip no opportunity of insulting Colonel Bolton, as far as he dared
without coming into actual collision.  He said he was the cause of their
meeting being interrupted, although he had been frequently assured of the
truth.  As the twelve months were about to expire, Major Brooks increased
his violence.  On the day the bond ceased to have effect, the Major,
meeting Colonel Bolton walking with Colonel Earle past the shop, kept at
present by Mr. Allender, in Castle-street, then and there publicly again
insulted him, and called him by a name which no gentleman could put up
with.  A challenge was the consequence.  The report of the disturbance
soon reached the Exchange, and the authorities again stepped forward to
prevent hostilities.  Colonel Bolton was again arrested and bound over,
and Major Brooks was taken into custody.  The latter denied the right of
the authorities to arrest him, asserting that he had done nothing of
sufficient weight to break his bond, and that he could not be again bound
over until the year of bondage had expired.  The Major was some hours in
custody, but was at length released without promising anything.  He was
no sooner at liberty than he sent a friend to Colonel Bolton, who
consented to a meeting for that very afternoon.  This was on the 20th of
December, 1805.  The place of rendezvous on this occasion was in a field
at the foot of Love-lane (now called Fairclough-lane), which was skirted
by it.  The exact spot of meeting was in a field about half-way between
the present Boundary-street (then a narrow lane with hedges) and St.
Jude's Church.  It was near Fielding's nursery ground, which occupied the
land now used as a timber-yard.  It was quite dark when the combatants
arrived.  Major Brooks was accompanied Mr. Forbes.  Mr. Park, surgeon,
who resided at the corner of Newington-bridge, was taken up by Colonel
Bolton on his way to the place of meeting in his carriage.  Mr. Harris
was Colonel Bolton's second.  When the parties got over into the field it
was found that they could not see to load the pistols.  It would then be
about six o'clock.  Candles were therefore procured to enable them to
complete the necessary arrangements.

As soon as the combatants had taken the places allotted to them, Colonel
Bolton observed that, according to the laws of honour and duelling, the
Major was entitled to fire first.  To this the Major assented, and fired
immediately, the shot passing harmlessly by the Colonel, who then fired
in his turn, hitting Major Brooks in the right eye.  The Major instantly
fell and died.  Colonel Bolton was hurried off and remained in
concealment for a short time.  It was said that the firing of the pistols
was heard in Major Brooks' house at the corner of Daulby-street.  An
inquiry was held, when a verdict of wilful murder was found, but in
consequence of the strong recommendations of Major Brooks's friends,
admitting that he was entirely to blame, and that his dreadful fate was
entirely brought on by himself, the matter passed over without further
notice, everyone admitting that Colonel Bolton had conducted himself with
the utmost forbearance as well as courage, and that he deserved the
highest encomiums for his gentlemanly and straightforward behaviour
throughout this most painful affair.


Some five years previous to this event, about the month of June, 1800, a
circumstance occurred which created a great sensation in the town, and
occupied public attention in a most remarkable degree.  It seems rather
out of chronological order to go back five years; but the reader who
favours me with his attention must be content to obtain my information as
I can impart it.  My head is not so clear as it used to be in the
arrangement of such matters.

In the year mentioned there was a merchant established in Liverpool of
the name of Wainwright, who was one of the actors in what nearly proved
to be a tragedy.  At a place called Tunstall, near Burslem, in
Staffordshire, resided an earthenware manufacturer named Theophilus
Smith.  This Smith was in difficulties and his affairs were in much
disorder.  His creditors were hostile to him, and he for some time had
been endeavouring to obtain a settlement with them.  Amongst other
creditors was Mr. Wainwright.  He, however, was not one of the hostile
party, but was very well-disposed towards Mr. Smith.  One day, in the
month of June, Mr. Wainwright received an anonymous letter, requesting
him to meet the writer at a small public-house near the "Olympic Circus,"
which was a temporary place of amusement erected in Christian-street,
then beginning to be built upon (the Adelphi Theatre in Christian-street
succeeded the Circus--in fact, this place of amusement was called "the
Circus" for many years).  Mr. Wainwright, on carefully examining the
letter, fancied he recognised Smith's handwriting, and resolved upon
keeping the appointment, supposing that Smith, fearing arrest, dared not
openly wait upon him.  An arrest was an easy matter then.  It was only
necessary to swear to a debt and take out a writ and you could arrest
anybody at a moment's notice, whether they actually owed you anything or
not.  There used to be tough swearing in olden times.  Mr. Wainwright
went to the house indicated and there, as he anticipated, found
Theophilus Smith.  Mr. Wainwright concluded that Smith was about to make
some disclosures relative to his affairs and that was the reason he had
sent for him.  But Smith only produced a printed statement of his
accounts, which had been previously circulated, and made no new discovery
of any consequence; he, however, most strongly and earnestly entreated
Mr. Wainwright to accompany him to Tunstall, where, he said, on the
following afternoon, his creditors would meet, and where Mr. Wainwright's
presence would be conducive to their coming to terms.  Mr. Wainwright at
first refused to accede to this request, having important business of his
own to attend to, but Smith was so importunate that he at length
consented to accompany him, and they set out on the same afternoon in a
chaise and pair.  On their way, Smith was very friendly with Mr.
Wainwright, and conversed with him as any man would with a friendly
traveller on a long journey.  On arriving within a mile of his house at
Tunstall, Mr. Smith ordered the chaise to be stopped, and got out, and
requested Mr. Wainwright to do the same, saying that a mile could be
saved by walking across some fields adjacent.  Mr. Smith at the time
expressed his dread of being arrested if he were seen on the road along
which the chaise would have to be driven.  Mr. Wainwright, however,
declined to get out; stating it was quite unnecessary to take so much
precaution; but at length, in consequence of Smith's earnest entreaty, he
consented.  They then proceeded across the fields on foot.  As it was
commencing to rain, Mr. Smith pressed on Mr. Wainwright the use of his
cloak; but this Mr. Wainwright declined.  Smith then led the way across
the fields, by a stile path, till they arrived at length at a small
thicket, through which they proceeded, when Smith stopped short, and said
he knew a nearer way.  Smith then led Mr. Wainwright into a meadow, and
standing before him drew out a pistol.  Mr. Wainwright immediately
concluded that his fellow-passenger intended to put an end to his own
life, and, after a sharp struggle, got the pistol from him, remonstrating
with him upon the wickedness of the act.  Smith, however, drew another
pistol, and fired it at Mr. Wainwright, fortunately without effect.  The
latter instantly sprang upon Mr. Smith and got him down, uttering loud
cries for assistance.  Smith begged hard for mercy, and on promising not
to repeat his murderous attack, was allowed to get up.  He was no sooner
released and on his legs than he drew a third pistol, fired, and hit Mr.
Wainwright in the body.  The men again closed, when Smith drew a knife
and made several attempts upon his companion's life by attempting to cut
his throat, which was fortunately well protected by the thick rolls of
cambric it was then the custom to tie round the neck, as well as by a
thick scarf, which was cut through in several places.  Mr. Wainwright,
however, never left hold of Smith until they reached his house when, the
door suddenly opening, he rushed in and quickly closed it.  He then came
to the window and ordered Mr. Wainwright away, refusing him shelter,
although it was growing dark and raining heavily.  Mr. Wainwright
contrived to crawl to a cottage, where he was laid up for some time, but
eventually recovered from the cuts and wounds inflicted upon him.  Smith
absconded, and a reward of 50 pounds was offered for his capture.  This
was effected after some time in Pall Mall, London, by two Bow-street
runners.  Smith was committed for trial at Stafford assizes, where he was
found guilty and sentenced to be hung.  He, however, escaped that
punishment by destroying both himself and his wife in his cell in
Stafford gaol, while awaiting his sentence.  What Smith's motive could be
for his conduct no one could conjecture.  He would give no explanation on
the subject though pressed to do so.  It was supposed that a sudden fit
of insanity had seized him, and that his violence was the result of it.
During the journey the two gentlemen were on the most friendly terms,
taking their meals together and acting as travellers thrown together
usually do.  Mr. Wainwright's presence was most essential to Smith to
allay the hostility of his creditors, and therefore, the attempts to make
away with him were still more incomprehensible.

As I sit by my fire-side with two or three old friends--friends, indeed,
for I have known them all for fifty, sixty, and seventy years--we talk
over old times, faces, scenes and places, in a way that calls up the
ghosts of the past to our dim eyes.  If my readers could listen to our
stories of the old town they would hear more about it in a night than my
little amanuensis could write down in a day.  Many curious anecdotes and
circumstances are called to remembrance by us, and I must say we talk of
old times with a regretful yet pleasant feeling.  I know I often startle
some of my young friends by telling them of scenes I have witnessed in
the last century, and I have often noticed them in their minds putting
one year and another together, or subtracting one from another so that
they might ascertain whether I was telling the truth or not.

I don't believe there is another man in Liverpool alive at this time who
saw the Town Hall on fire in 1795.  I saw it, I may say, almost break
out, for I was in Castle-street in ten minutes after the alarm had spread
through the town, and that was soon done, for Liverpool was not of the
extent it is now.  I believe half the inhabitants turned out into the
streets to witness that awful sight, although it was at five o'clock on a
frosty Sunday morning in January.  For my part, I was aroused by the
continuous springing of rattles by the watchmen, and the rushing sounds
of people running along the street.  I was soon out of bed and joined the
throng of people who were hurrying to the scene of disaster.  When I
arrived there, a crowd had already assembled.  Castle-street was then
very narrow.  It was quite choked up with people.  Dale-street was
beginning to be crowded while High-street and Water-street were quite
impassable.  From the windows of all the houses the terrified inmates
were to be observed _en dishabille_, and the large inn in Water-street,
the Talbot, which was nearly opposite the Town Hall, had people looking
out at every window.

The smoke first made its appearance at the lower windows of the Town
Hall.  The doors having been forced, a party of men got into the interior
of the building, and brought out for safety the books of the various
departments, and some of the town's officers having arrived, something
like system took the place of the dreadful confusion which prevailed.
The town records, the treasurer's accounts, and the muniments, etc., were
safely removed to a house at the end of High-street.  I helped to keep
order.  Assisted by many other volunteers for the work we formed a lane
so that there should be no impediment to a quick removal of anything that
was portable.  The fire was first discovered about five o'clock in the
morning by the watchman on duty in the street.  They were dull old
fellows, those watchmen, and of but little use, for in calling the hour
nine times out of ten they made a mistake.  The thieves laughed them to
scorn.  When the watchman saw smoke issuing from the windows he gave the
alarm without delay.  The fire soon showed itself, when it had once got
ahead.  When the new Exchange was erected, after the former one had been
taken down in 1748, somebody persuaded the authorities to have the
woodwork and timber of the new building steeped in a composition of rosin
and turpentine, so as to make the wood more durable.  It may therefore be
readily imagined how inflammable such a composition would make the wood,
and how fiercely it burned when once ignited.  There had been a
perceptible odour of some sort experienced in the Exchange building for
some days, and this was afterwards discovered to have arisen from the
woodwork under the council-chamber having taken fire through a flue
communicating from the Loan-office; and there is no doubt it had been
smouldering for days before it actually made its appearance.  It could
not have been ten minutes after I arrived on the spot before the flames
burst out in all their fury.  It was an awfully grand sight.  It was yet
dark.  What with the rushing and pushing of the anxious crowd, the
roaring of the fierce flames, and the calling of distracted people, it
was an event and scene never to be forgotten.  The building was soon all
in a blaze, and nothing on earth could have stopped that frightful
conflagration.  It was a mercy it was a calm frosty morning or the houses
in the four streets adjacent must have caught the flame.  From the age of
these houses, the quantity of timber in them, the narrowness of the
streets, and the absence of a copious supply of water, I am sure
Liverpool would have been half consumed if a wind had sprung up.  I
thought the building looked like a great funeral pile as the flames
roared out on all sides.  It was a grand, yet dreadful sight.  The whole
of Castle-street was occupied by people, although, from the position of
the Exchange, a full front view could not be obtained, it being almost
parallel with the west side of Castle-street.  The best view of it was
where I stood at the top of Dale-street, by Moss's bank.  The dome, being
constructed of wood, soon took fire, was burnt, and fell in.  We had not
then as now powerful engines, long reels of hose, and bands of active men
well trained to their arduous and dangerous duties, still, everybody did
his best and seemed desirous of doing something.  We did that something
with a will, but without much order, system, or discretion.  The engines
in use were not powerful, and the supply of water was not only tardy but
scanty, as you may believe when I tell you it had to be brought from the
town wells, the Dye-house Well in Greetham-street, the Old Fall Well in
Rose-street (where Alderman's Bennett's ironwork warehouse stands, near
the corner of Rose-street--by the way, Rose-street was called after Mr.
Rose, who lived in the house next the Stork Hotel), and the wells on
Shaw's-brow; indeed, every possible source where water could be obtained,
was put in requisition.  The inhabitants allowed the rain-water to be
taken from their water-butts in the vicinity to such liberal extent that
I verily believe there was not a drop of rain-water to be got for love or
money when that eventful day was out.  Staid housewives for many a day
after complained of the dirt the trampling of feet had made in their
lobbies and yards, and deplored the loss of their stores of soft-water.
At that time water was precious, every drop that could be obtained was
saved, garnered, and carefully kept.  Every drop of hard-water we
consumed had to be brought to our doors and paid for by the "Hessian" or
bucket.  The water-carts were old butts upon wheels, drawn by sorry
horses and driven by fat old creatures, half men half women in their
attire and manners.  The buckets were made of leather and the water was
sold at a halfpenny per Hessian.  They were so called, I believe, from
their fancied resemblance to the Hessian boots.  You may judge how
inadequate a supply of water we had when our wants were dependent upon
such aid.  The water-carts came rumbling and tumbling along the streets,
in many cases losing one-half of their loads by the unusual speed at
which they were driven and the awkwardness of their drivers.  Water was
also carted from the river, and I helped with others to push the carts up
Water-street.  The steep ascent of this street in its badly paved
condition made this work extremely laborious.  But everybody helped and
did what they could, and those who did nothing made up for deeds by words
and shouted and bawled and told the others what they ought to do.

Fortunately, only one life was lost, that of a fool-hardy young man who
would press forward to see the fire better--he rushed up to the
High-street door and a piece of timber fell on him.  The surging of the
crowd caused several persons to be struck down and trampled upon.  I
saved one woman's life by beating off the people who would have crushed
her.  By twelve o'clock the fire had slackened considerably, and by the
evening it was to all appearance subdued.  But the fire in the interior
remained smouldering for some time afterwards.  In the churches on that
day the event was alluded to in a very feeling manner, and in St. Peter's
Church the rector offered up a prayer of thanksgiving that the town had
been spared from a more extensive calamity.

At this time High-street (there was a famous tavern called the
"Punch-Bowl" in this street) was the communication between Castle-street
and Old Hall-street, and it is a most strange circumstance that the
direct line of road was not retained instead of cutting the new street
called Exchange-street East through the houses and gardens between
Tithebarn-street and Dale-street.  It was a great mistake, and everybody
said so at the time.  Many great mistakes have been made in respect to
our streets and public buildings, not the least of which was the blunder
of filling up the Old Dock, and erecting that huge and ugly edifice, the
Custom-house, thereon.

I believe if the conflagration had extended from the Exchange to some
distance in the adjoining streets, we should have had some vast
improvements effected.  From the narrowness of Castle-street may be
imagined what a scene of confusion it must have been during the fire.  It
is quite a wonder that many lives were not lost during that morning of
terror.  The inhabitants of the four streets in many cases prepared for
flight, for the fire raged so fiercely at one time that the escape of the
houses in the vicinity from destruction seemed miraculous.  While I was
helping to draw water from the yard of some people I knew in
Castle-street, a burning ember or piece of timber fell into a lot of
dirty paper which would in five minutes have been alight if I had not
been there to extinguish it.  There were many such wonderful escapes

The trial of Mr. Charles Angus for the alleged murder of Miss Margaret
Burns (who was his late wife's half-sister) in 1808, may be considered as
one of the _causes celebres_ of the time.  It took place at Lancaster, on
the 2nd of September, before Sir Alan Chambre.  Sergeant Cockle, and
Messrs. Holroyd, Raine and Clark, were for the Crown; Mr. T. Statham,
attorney.  Messrs. Topping, Scarlett, and Cross for the prisoner; Mr.
Atkinson, attorney.  Mr. Angus was a gentleman of Scotch birth, and
resided in Liverpool--in King-street, I think.  He had been at one time
an assistant to a druggist, where he was supposed to have obtained a
knowledge of the properties of poisons, and he was charged with putting
this knowledge to account in attempting to produce abortion in the case
of Miss Burns, who was suspected of being pregnant by him, and thereby
causing her death.  Miss Burns was Mr. Angus's housekeeper, and governess
to his three children.  The case rested entirely on circumstantial
evidence, made out against the prisoner by his conduct previous to the
supposed commission of the deed, by his conduct at the time and
afterwards.  At the time the strongest prejudice ran against Mr. Angus,
and it must be said that the public were not satisfied with the verdict
of the jury; but at this distance of time, those who had an opportunity
of looking over the evidence, and remembering the case in all its
bearings, will at once say dispassionately that there was not a shadow of
evidence against Mr. Angus.  Miss Burns, who had been unwell for some
time, was noticed previous to the 23rd of March, 1808, to be ailing, and
that her size had materially enlarged; and it was suspected, as adduced
by several witnesses, that she was _enceinte_.  On the 23rd of March she
complained of being very unwell, and went to lie down on a sofa in the
breakfast-room where she remained the whole of the day, thirsting and
vomiting.  Mr. Angus would not allow his servants to sit up with Miss
Burns, but remained in the room with her the whole of that night, the
next day, and the following night.  On the 25th Miss Burns said she felt
better.  A servant on that morning was sent to Henry-street for some
Madeira that Miss Burns fancied.  On her return, not seeing the lady on
the sofa, where an hour previous she had left her, she looked round the
room and discovered her doubled up in a corner of the room with her face
towards the wainscot, while Mr. Angus was asleep sitting in a chair
covered by a counterpane.  The evidence was most conflicting.  Several
witnesses declared Miss Burns was not pregnant, others that they believed
she was.  The medical evidence was also of a most bewildering and diverse
nature.  Some of the most eminent surgeons in Liverpool were examined,
and none of them agreed on the case.  This fact came out that no signs of
childbirth were visible as having taken place--no dead infant was
discovered.  The room in which Miss Burns and Mr. Angus were, was at all
times accessible to the servants, and no cries of parturition were heard
during the lady's illness.  The fact of the matter was, Miss Burns had
suffered from an internal complaint, and died from natural causes.  This
was shown by Dr. Carson, then a young and rising physician at the time,
and who afterwards published a pamphlet in which he utterly demolished
the medical evidence given at the trial for the crown.

The jury, after a few minutes' deliberation, returned a verdict, finding
the prisoner "Not Guilty," on grounds as unimpeachable as the trial.  In
some of the circumstances attending and resulting from it, it was
disgraceful, especially on the part of the medical witnesses for the
crown, in their conduct towards the one for the defence--Dr. Carson.  I
have before me an authentic "Report of the Trial," "A Vindication of
their Opinions," published by those witnesses, and Dr. Carson's "Remarks"
on that publication, in which he exposes their shortcomings with a
master's hand, in a style as terse as it is bold, and as elegant as it is
severe; never were the weapons of irony, satire, and invective more
effectively used; his impeachment is as withering as his victory at the
trial was complete.  The authors of the "Vindications" had not only done
what in them lay to ruin him in every conceivable way, public and
private, but they had exposed themselves to his "Remarks," all-pungent as
they were, by going into court and giving opinions founded upon "the most
disgracefully deficient dissection ever made."  The sore which they had
inflicted upon themselves at the trial did not heal under the caustic of
the "Remarks"; and so the doctor became a victim to local prejudice,
passion, and persecution.  But he gained to himself a world-wide
reputation which outlived them all; the honours of the French Academy
were bestowed upon him, and he took his stand among the literary and
scientific magnates of the day.  As to the trial, the theory of the
prosecution was that the prisoner caused the lady's death by
administering a poison to procure abortion, and it was based upon a hole
in the coats of the stomach, and a peculiar mark in the uterus; the
medical witnesses for the crown affirming that the former could not have
arisen from any other known cause than poison, and the latter a sure sign
of recent delivery.  No poison was found in the stomach or intestines,
nor were the supposed contents of the uterus ever found, and no other
part of the body was examined.  The hole in the stomach presented the
same appearance, and was described in the same terms as those which John
Hunter had called attention to as occurring in certain cases of sudden
death, where there was no suspicion of poisoning, and caused by the
action of the gastric juice.  Doctor Carson accepted Hunter's facts, but
propounded a theory of his own, being guided to his conclusions by the
experiments of Sir John Pringle and Dr. Bride, in reference to water at
the temperature of 90 degrees dissolving animal substances.  He
successfully combated the notion about poisoning from another point of
view, namely, the symptoms during life, the comparative mildness of which
did not correspond with the usual effects of the poison fixed upon.  As
to the mark in the uterus, he gave his opinion that it might have arisen
from other causes than the one alleged; two phenomena were absent, and
upon this fact he asserted it to be physically impossible that there
could have been a recent delivery; and, moreover, in his "Remarks," he
proved mathematically that the mark was four times the size it ought to
have been on that hypothesis.  Miss Burns had not been attended
professionally by any one as she was averse to doctors.  Mr. Angus in his
defence ascribed the whole of the legal proceedings against him to the
malevolence of two interested parties, and had it not now been for their
influence, the circumstance of Miss Burns' death would have passed over
without remark.  Mr. Angus, so far from desiring to harm Miss Burns,
expressed himself as deeply indebted to her for her care of his children
and the affection and attention to his comforts she had always
manifested, and emphatically declared he "loved and respected her too
well to dream of doing her any harm."


When I look around and see the various changes that have taken place in
this "good old town" I am sometimes lost in wonderment.  Narrow,
inconvenient, ill-paved streets have been succeeded by broad
thoroughfares--old tumble-down houses have been replaced by handsome and
costly buildings, while the poor little humble shops that once were
sufficient for our wants have been completely eclipsed by the gigantic
and elegant "establishments" of the present day.

I recollect Dale-street when it was a narrow thoroughfare, ill-paved and
ill-lighted at night.  It was not half the present width.  In 1808, as
the town began to spread and its traffic increase, great complaints were
constantly being made of the inconvenience of the principal streets, and
it was agreed on all sides that something should be done towards
improvement.  The first movement was made by widening Dale-street; the
improvement being by throwing the thoroughfare open from Castle-street to
Temple-court, but it really was not until 1820 that this street was set
out in anything like a bold and handsome manner.  Great difficulties were
constantly thrown in the way of alterations by many of the inhabitants,
who had lived in their old houses, made fortunes under their roofs, and
were hoping to live and die where they had been born and brought up.
Many tough battles had the authorities to fight with the owners of the
property.  Some were most unreasonable in the compensation they demanded,
while others for a time obstinately refused to enter into any
negotiations whatever, completely disregarding all promised advantages.
The most obtuse and determined man was a shoemaker or cobbler, who owned
a small house and shop which stood near Hockenall-alley.  Nothing could
persuade him to go out of his house or listen to any proposition.  Out he
would not go, although his neighbours had disappeared and his house
actually stood like an island in the midst of the traffic current.  The
road was carried on each side of his house, but there stood the cobbler's
stall alone in its glory.  While new and comfortable dwellings were
springing up, the old cobbler laughed at his persecutors, defied them,
and stood his ground in spite of all entreaty.  There the house stood in
the middle of the street, and for a long time put a stop to further and
complete improvement, until the authorities, roused by the indignation of
the public, took forcible possession of the place and pulled the old
obnoxious building about the owner's ears, in spite of his resistance and
his fighting manfully for what he thought were his rights; nor would he
leave the house until it had been unroofed, the floors torn up, and the
walls crumbling and falling down from room to room.  The cobbler stuck to
his old house to the last, showing fight all through, with a
determination and persistence worthy of a nobler cause.  Some few years
ago a barber, also in Dale-street, exhibited an equal degree of
persistence in keeping possession of his shop which was wanted for an
improvement near Temple-street.  This man clung to his old house and shop
until it was made utterly uninhabitable..

Dale-street, when I was a boy, was not very much broader than Sir
Thomas's Buildings; in some parts it was quite as narrow, especially
about Cumberland-street end.  The carrying trade at one time from
Liverpool was by means of packhorses, long strings of which used to leave
the town with their burthens, attended by their drivers, and always
mustered together in considerable number in Dale-street previous to
starting.  This they did that they might be strong enough to resist the
highwaymen who infested the roads at the end of the last century.  I have
often heard my father talk of these free gentlemen's exploits, and the
sometimes droll adventures arising from their presence.  He used to tell
a story of three volunteer officers going to Warrington by the stage to a
county muster, being stopped by a pretended footpad (a friend in
disguise) the other side of Prescot, and ignominiously robbed of
everything they possessed, even their very swords.  I cannot say I
believed the story, because I felt sure no officers, whatever service
they might be in, would have allowed themselves to be so treated.  My
father frequented the tavern which stood where Promoli's Bazaar now
stands, and where all the leading tradesmen used to assemble, and he told
us that the three officers were there one night and were terribly
"trotted" about their losses and that they did not altogether "deny the
soft impeachment."  There was a good story current in Liverpool, I have
been told, in 1745, touching the doings of Mr. Campbell's regiment which,
when the rebellion broke out in that year, was suddenly called into
active service with orders to march to Manchester, by way of Warrington,
to resist a party of Scots said to be in that neighbourhood.  The
regiment marched at night, and of course threw out an advanced guard.
When about two miles this side of Warrington, the vanguard fell back
reporting that they had seen a party of the enemy bivouacking in the road
about a quarter of a mile ahead, and that they could see them quite
plainly lying on the ground, at the sides and in the middle of the road.
A halt was called, and a council of war summoned.  Hearts beat quickly in
some hardy frames who boldly advised an onward march, while others were
for retreating until some good plan of attack could be determined upon.
Some were for diverging from the road and continuing the march through
the lanes and bye-ways, so that, if necessary, the enemy could be
outflanked.  One bolder than the rest offered to go forward as a scout.
His proposition was eagerly accepted.  Away he went, and soon in the
distance a terrible uproar was heard--the volunteers flew to arms, and
waited in breathless suspense.  They were surprised, however, to hear the
alarm raised, but no shots fired.  The row subsided, when presently the
gallant scout was seen approaching with a prisoner he had bravely
captured--in the form of a fat goose.  The fact was that a flock of geese
had got out into the road, and they presented an appearance to the
advanced guard of troops bivouacking.  The bold men of Liverpool were
then led undauntedly forward, and it was said that every other man
marched into Warrington with his supper on his knapsack.

The most admirable improvements that the town underwent was when
Lord-street was widened and the Crescent formed, the completion of which
undertaking cost upwards of half a million of money.  Castle-street was
narrow, badly paved, and badly lighted at night, as, indeed, was the
whole town.  Yet, I recollect there were some people who objected to the
improvements at the top of Lord-street, who clung pertinaciously to the
old Potato Market, and the block of buildings called Castle Hill.  The
houses that were erected upon the site of Castle Ditch had the floors of
some of their rooms greatly inclined in consequence of the subsidence of
the soil.  There was a joke current at the time that these apartments
ought to be devoted to dining purposes, as the gravy would always run to
one side of the plate!

A great increase has taken place in the value of property in every part
of the town.  In Castle-street sixty years ago a house and shop could be
had for 30 pounds per annum.  The premises in which Roscoe's Bank was
carried on, and now occupied by Messrs. Nixon, were purchased by Mr.
Harvey who, finding his property remaining unoccupied for so long a time,
began to despair of letting it, and grew quite nervous about his bargain.
On the formation of Brunswick-street, projected in 1786, this handsome
thoroughfare was cut through Smock-alley and the houses in
Chorley-street, and swept away a portion of the old Theatre Royal in
Drury-lane; it then ran down to the old Custom-house yard, on the site of
which the Goree Piazzas and warehouses were erected.  Drury-lane was
formerly called Entwhistle-street, after an old and influential family
who filled high offices in the town in their day.

Any one can fancy what Castle-street must have been when the market was
held in it, by filling Cable-street with baskets of farmers' produce, and
blocking it up with all sorts of provisions and stalls, in which the
usual marketable commodities would be exposed for sale.

The introduction of Gas in the town was an immense stride in the march of
improvement; yet there were not a few persons who bitterly complained of
the Gas Company so often disturbing the streets to enable them to lay
down their pipes.  Frequent letters appeared in the papers of the time to
that effect.  Previous to 1817 the town was wretchedly lighted by oil
lamps which used to go out upon all trifling occasions and for
insufficient reasons.  They only pretended to show light at the best of
times.  The lamps were not lit in summer nor on moonlight nights.  They
were generally extinguished by four or five o'clock in the morning.

The gentry were at one time attended by link-men or boys in their night
excursions.  These links were stiff, tarred ropes about the thickness of
a man's arm.  They gave a flaring light with any quantity of
bituminous-odoured smoke.  In front of one or two of the old houses of
Liverpool I have seen a remnant of the link days, in an extinguisher
attached to the lamp iron.  I think there is (or was) one in Mount
Pleasant, near the house with the variegated pebble pavement in front
(laid down, by the way, by a blind man).  The link-extinguisher was a
sort of narrow iron funnel of about six inches in diameter at the widest
end.  It was usually attached to a lamp-iron, and was used by thrusting
the link up it, when the light was to be put out.

People in those days seldom went out at night without a lantern, for what
with the ruggedness of the pavements and the vile state of the roads it
was by no means safe to life or limb to go without some mode of
illuminating the way.

Gas was introduced in 1816 and 1817.  Only one side of Castle-street was
lighted at first.  While we now acknowledge the invaluable introduction
of this fluid, when we consider the vast area over which it casts its
pleasant and cheerful beams, and the price we also pay for such an
unmistakable comfort and blessing, we shall not fail to peruse the first
advertisement of the Gas Company with intense interest.  With this belief
I insert a copy of it.  The rate of charge and the mode of ascertaining
the quantity of light consumed cannot but prove curious to us and rather
puzzling perhaps to understand.

                         LIVERPOOL GAS-LIGHT COMPANY.

    SCALE OF CHARGES per Annum for Burners of various sizes, calculated
    for lighting to the hours below mentioned:--
            Till        Till        Till        Till        Till
            8           9           10          11          12 o'Clock.
            o'Clock.    o'Clock.    o'Clock.    o'Clock.
Argand.     l.  s.  d.  l.  s.  d.  l.  s.  d.  l.  s.  d.  l.  s.  d.
No. 1,      3   0   0   3  18   0   4  16   0   5  12   0   6   8   0
No. 2,      2  14   0   3   5   0   4   0   0   4  14   0   5   8   0
No. 3,      2   2   0   2  14   0   3   7   0   3  18   0   4  10   0
Batwing.    2  14   0   3   5   0   4   0   0   4  14   0   5   8   0

    Persons who wish to take the Light, may make application at the
    Company's Office, Hatton-garden, where their names will be entered
    numerically in a Book, and Branch-pipes laid in rotation, the Company
    only contracting to fix the pipes just within the house, and to
    supply the Light when the interior is fitted up, and made air-tight
    and perfect, which must be done by each individual, and approved by
    the Company's Engineer.

    No extra charge will be made, if the Light be extinguished in a
    quarter of an hour after the time contracted for, and on Saturday
    evenings the Company will allow burning till twelve o'clock.

    The Rents will be collected at the commencement of each Quarter, and
    will be apportioned as follows: Two-thirds of the above prices for
    the two winter quarters, and One-third for the two summer quarters.
    If the Lights amount, by the above table, to 10 pounds per annum, a
    Discount of 2.5 per cent. will be allowed; if to 20 pounds, 5 per
    cent.; if to 30 pounds, 7.5 per cent.; if to 40 pounds, 10 per cent.;
    and if to 50 pounds, 12.5 per cent.

                                                By Order of the Committee,
                                                        CHARLES ROWLINSON,

    6_th_ _June_, 1817.

Just fancy such a tariff to be in existence at present!

Lord-street, previous to 1827, was very narrow; it was not so wide even
as Dale-street.  The houses and all the streets in Liverpool were just as
we see in third-rate country towns, having bowed shop-windows, or square
ones, projecting from the side of the house.  I recollect Church-street
and Ranelagh-street being paved in the centre only.  Cable-street,
Redcross-street and Park-lane were only flagged in 1821; and nearly all
the houses in these streets were then private dwellings.  In
Ranelagh-street the houses had high steps to the front doors.  The
porches of the old houses in Liverpool were remarkable for their handsome
appearance and patterns.  Many still remain but they are yearly
decreasing in number.  I recollect when the only shops in Church-street
were a grocer's (where part of Compton House now stands) and a
confectioner's at the corner of Church-alley.  Bold-street was nearly all
private houses, and there were very few shops in it, even some forty
years ago.  Seventy years since there was scarcely a house of any sort in
it.  I have been told that where the Athenaeum now stands in
Church-street, there was once a large pond on which the skaters used to
cut a figure, and that a farm-house stood at the corner of
Hanover-street.  Some houses in Hanover-street will be noticed as being
built out at angles with the street.  This was to secure a good view of
the river from the windows.  At the corner of Bold-street some ninety
years ago was a milkman's cottage and dairy.  Whitechapel, when I was a
lad, was a dreadful thoroughfare.  I have seen it deep in water, and
boats rowed about, conveying people from house to house, in times of
flood.  There used to be a channel with water running down the centre of
the street, which was considerably lower than it is at present.  It was
no uncommon thing for the cellars of all the houses to be filled with
water, and even now, I believe, some portion of the neighbourhood is not
unfrequently rendered damp and uncomfortable.  In the cellars under the
Forum, in Marble-street, there is a very deep well which is at all times
full; this well drains the premises.  This Forum, about fifty years ago,
was a well-known and much frequented arena for disputations of all sorts.
Many a clever speaker has addressed audiences now passed away.  Speaker
and spoken to are for the most part gone.  A great change took place some
forty years ago in the locality where St. John's Market now stands.
There was a ropewalk here which extended from where the angle of the
building faces the Amphitheatre, as far as Renshaw-street.  There was a
field at one time to the north of the ropery skirted by hedges which went
down the site of the present Hood-street, and round to where there is now
a large draper's shop in the Old Haymarket; the hedge then went up
John's-lane, and so round by the site of the lamp opposite the Queen's
Hotel, along Limekiln-lane to Ranelagh-street.  These were all fields,
being a portion of what was anciently called "the Great Heath."  It was
at one time intended to erect a handsome Crescent where the cab-stand is
now.  The almshouses stood on this ground.  Limekiln-lane, now
Lime-street, was so called from the limekiln that stood on the site of
the present Skelhorn-street.  Here were open fields, which extended to
the London-road, quite famous for the assembling of all sorts of rough
characters, especially on summer evenings, and on Sundays.
Cock-fighting, dog-fighting, and pugilistic encounters used to be carried
on daily, and scenes of the utmost confusion took place, until public
murmurings compelled the authorities to keep order.  It was in the fields
about where the Lord Nelson-street rooms stand, that my grandfather
recollects seeing three, if not four, men hung for being mixed up in the
rebellion of '45.  They were hung there in chains for some time, and
afterwards buried at the foot of the gallows as a warning to evil-doers.

There were several mills in this vicinity, one of which was called the
White Mill, and there was a very curious story once commonly current
about it, in the town to the effect that the owner of it had been
murdered by a friend of his who kept a mill lower down the hill.
Whitemill-street is called after this White Mill.  The lower mill stood
where Hotham-street is now, which formerly was called Duncan-street.  The
mill occupied the site of the Quaker's school, which was pulled down to
make room for the railway yard.  When this mill was razed to the ground,
a grave was discovered in the foundation, in which was a skeleton, and it
was freely said that this was the White Mill miller, who had so
mysteriously disappeared some years previously.  It was the talk of the
town at the time, and crowds of persons went to the spot to look at the
grave.  When the mill in Duncan-street was taken down it was so rotten
that it was razed to the ground in one day.  Where St. George's Hall now
stands was the Infirmary.  It faced Islington Triangle, afterwards
converted into a market-place, being built round with small shops, having
a pump in the middle.  When this market was discontinued in 1848, the
tenants were removed to Gill-street, on its opening in September of that
year.  The Infirmary consisted of two wings and a centre; at the back was
a spacious garden or airing ground.  On Shaw's Brow lived the potters.
There were upwards of 2,000 persons engaged in this trade, which was
carried on to a very great extent.  Pottery in Liverpool was a
considerable manufacture, and it is said that it was Mr. Sadler, a potter
who lived in Harrington-street, that first discovered the art of printing
upon earthenware, through seeing his children stick pieces of printed
cotton fabric on some damaged plates they were playing with.  There were
many other large potteries in Liverpool at one period, besides those on
Shaw's Brow.  There was one at the corner of Fontenoy-street, of which
Alderman Shaw was proprietor.  There was one at the bottom of
Duke-street.  This was kept by Mr. Drinkwater, who married Captain
Leece's daughter, after whom Leece-street is named.  Pothouse-lane is a
reminder of the old trade.  There were other potteries on Copperas-hill.
I do not recollect much about these potteries; but I have heard my father
and mother talk about them amongst their "Recollections."  This trade
seems to have departed from this town most strangely.  The last remnant
of it was in the works that were in operation down by the river-side near
the present Toxteth Docks.  Watch-making has always been a great trade in
Liverpool.  The first introducer of it was Mr. Wyke, who lived in
Dale-street, on the site of the present public offices.  Mr. Wyke came
from Prescot, and carried on a large trade in watches about the year
1758.  Mr. Litherland, the inventor of the chronometer, died in
Church-street.  On Mr. Wyke's premises and garden the Gas Works were
afterwards erected, which were removed to Newington some few years ago.
Amongst many others I have seen some very remarkable changes that have
taken place about Bevington-hill.  I recollect very well what is now
called "Summer Seat" being gardens, and the view from them to the river
quite uninterrupted.  There was near them a house built by a shoemaker
who had made a fortune by his trade; it was called "Lapstone Hall."  The
inn called the "Bush" had a bough hanging out with the motto "Good Wine
Needs no Bush."  The sailors were very fond of going up to Bevington-Bush
on Sundays with their sweethearts, and many a boisterous scene have I
witnessed there.  The view was really beautiful from the gardens.  Where
the market stands in Scotland-road there used to be a large stone quarry.
The houses in Scotland-road beyond the market are all of very late
erection.  I can well recollect open fields and market gardens
thereabouts, and, indeed, all the way up where Scotland-road now is,
there used to be fields.  The Preston-road wound round up Bevington-Bush.
The Everton range looked very pretty from the Kirkdale-road, especially
when handsome mansions began to dot its crest.  I recollect along this
road cornfields, meadows and gardens.  Scotland-road is a comparatively
newly-formed thoroughfare.  Any one turning to the left at the bottom of
Scotland-road, and going to Bevington-Bush will see, in those old houses
on the right hand, of what Liverpool, in my young days, was composed.
Very few specimens of the old town houses are now remaining, so speedily
do they become modernized and altered.  I like those quaint old buildings
although they were not very comfortable within, from their narrow windows
and low ceilings, but there has been a great deal of mirth and jollity in
some of those old low-roofed houses in the town, in our great
privateering and slave-dealing times.

I have often heard old people talk about _their_ "Recollections" of the
town.  I have heard them speak of Clayton-square being laid out in the
memorable year of 1745.  Mrs. or Madame Clayton to whose family this part
of the town chiefly belonged, was the daughter of Mr. Clayton who was
Mayor in 1689, and who represented the town in parliament for eight
sessions.  Madame Clayton's house stood near Cases-street.  Her garden
was said to have been the best kept and most productive in the town.  It
was this lady who started the first private carriage in Liverpool.  I
have heard it said that people used to stare at it, as if it was
something wonderful.  The streets about Church-street are all called
after the old families.  Parker-street was called after Mr. Parker, of
Cuerdon, who married Miss Ann Clayton.  Their daughter Jane married one
of the Tarletons.  Tarleton-street is named after Colonel Banastre
Tarleton.  Banastre-street is named after him also.  Houghton-street is
after the old Houghton family.  Williamson-square was laid out in 1745 by
Mr. Williamson.  Basnett-street was called after the Basnetts, at one
time a very influential family of old Liverpool; Leigh-street after the
Leighs; Cases-street after the Cases.  Mr. Rose, who projected many
streets at the north end of the town on his extensive property, seems to
have adopted the poets' names to distinguish his thoroughfares, as in
Chaucer, Ben Jonson, Juvenal, Virgil, Dryden, Milton, Sawney (Alexander)
Pope-street, etc.  Meadows-street, Scotland-road, was named after Mr.
William Meadows, who married six wives.  His first wife lived two years.
He next married Peggy Robinson, who lived twenty years, and bore him
children; after being a widower a month, he again married.  This wife
lived two years.  After remaining a widower seven weeks, he married his
fourth wife, who lived eighteen years.  After a nine months' single
blessedness he again married.  After his fifth wife's death he remained a
widower thirty-four weeks, and at the age of seventy-five, on the 10th of
June, 1807, he married Miss Ann Lowe, of Preston-street.  William Meadows
was thought to be a bold man.  Maguire-street was named after Mr. Maguire
who kept a shop in Lord-street.  Benson-street was called after Moses
Benson, Esq.  Bixteth-street after Alderman Bixteth, who is said "to have
been publicly thanked by the authorities for paving the front of his
house with his own hands."  Pudsey-street after Pudsey Dawson.
Seel-street after Mr. Seel, who lived at the corner of it.
Wolstenholme-square and street, after an influential family of that name.
Bold-street after the Bolds, who built the first house in it: now
occupied by Mr. Dismore.  Colquitt-street after the Colquitts, whose
mansion was converted into the Royal Institution.  Berry-street, was
named after Captain Berry, who built the first house at the corner of
Bold-street.  Cropper-street after the Cropper family.  Fazakerly-street
after the Fazakerlys.  Oakes-street after Captain Oakes, who died in
1808.  Lydia Ann-street after Mademoiselle Lydia Ann De La Croix, who
married Mr. Perry, the originator of Fawcett's foundry, and the Coal
Brook Dale iron works.  Mason-street, Edge-hill, was named after Mr.
Mason, who built and endowed Edge-hill church, and whose mansion stood at
the corner of Mason-street, the gardens of which extended to the bottom
of Paddington.  James-street was named after Mr. Roger James, who held
large property in it.  Preeson's-row was named after Alderman Preeson,
who built his house and two others of the old Castle materials.  Part of
Castle-street is also constructed of the timbers and stones.  Old
Peter-street which ran out of School-lane has disappeared.
Crosshall-street was called after the Hall and gardens of the Crosses
which stood on the site of (or about) Manchester-street.  Part of
Fenwick-street was called Dry Bridge, a bridge passing over the Old
Ropery, the name of which is perpetuated in that street.  Holden's Weint
was re-named Brook-street.  Lower Stanley-street was re-named
Button-street, after Mr. Button, who lived to a great age, and saw I
don't know how many king's reigns.  The streets of Liverpool seem to have
been named, in some parts of the town, as it were, in classes, as I have
mentioned.  Mr. Rose called his new thoroughfares after the poets, and in
another neighbourhood we find the names of celebrated commanders
affording street-titles as in Blake-street, Duncan-street (afterwards
Hotham-street), Clarence-street, Russell-street,  Rodney-street,
Seymour-street, Rupert-street, etc.  While on the site of the old Botanic
Gardens at the top of Oxford-street, we find Laurel-street, Grove-street,
Oak, Vine, and Myrtle-streets.  In Kensington, on the site of Dr.
Solomon's property, we have streets named after celebrated lawyers, and
this locality is jocosely called "Judge's Land."  We have streets
thereabout bearing the names of Cottenham, Coltman, Wightman, Patteson,
Pollock, and Coleridge, and there may also be found a Gilead and a

By the way, a reference to Dr. Solomon's property, at Kensington, reminds
me of the good stories that were current in Liverpool about the worthy
doctor himself.  I recollect one wherein the laugh was loud at the
Custom-house authorities, who had been nicely bitten by a seizure they
had made of some of the doctor's "exports."  It was said that a quantity
of "Balm of Gilead," upon which drawback was claimed, had been seized by
the Custom-house people as not being of the specified value to entitle
Dr. Solomon to claim so large an amount of drawback.  The doctor was, as
may be supposed, very wrath at his "goots" being waylaid, but he
determined upon revenge.  Making up a lot of sugar and water,
well-flavoured with spice, the doctor entered a large case "outward,"
declaring it to be of the same value as the former seized case.  The trap
fell, and the Custom-house authorities were caught, to the intense
satisfaction of the doctor, who told them he "vould teach them to seize
his goots!"

Another story is told of the doctor once entertaining a party of
gentlemen at Gilead House (as was often his custom), and towards the
close of the evening, some one began joking the doctor about his "Balm of
Gilead."  The doctor bore the jesting very well, and on being told he
ought to let those present taste it, readily consented to open a few
bottles.  Now this Balm, I believe, was very good, and was made, it was
said, of strong alcohol or brandy, and the richest spices.  The bottles
of "Balm" passed round and were duly appreciated.  On the guests
preparing to leave, they were presented with "a little bill" amounting to
about a guinea each for the Balm of Gilead which had been consumed.  The
doctor telling them that it was by means of the "Balm" he lived, and
through the "Balm" he was enabled to invite them to partake of his really
bountiful hospitality.  Each guest paid his bill, admitting that the
doctor was right, and that they had merited the reproof so properly
administered to them.

The doctor used to drive a handsome team of four horses, and, of course,
attracted a good deal of attention whenever he made his appearance in the
streets.  On one occasion the late Lord Sefton, who was through life a
first-rate whip, drove up to Heywood's bank in his usual dashing style.
Dr. Solomon was tooling along behind his lordship, and desirous of
emulating his mode of handling the reins and whip, gave the latter such a
flourish as to get the lash so firmly fixed round his neck as to require
his groom's aid to release him from its folds.

I will now give the derivations of a few more streets, as I have heard
them spoken of by old people; they may be interesting to my readers:
Benn's Gardens was called after Mr. Benn, who was bailiff, in 1697.  He
resided in Pool-lane, now South Castle-street; his garden occupied this
locality.  Atherton-street was named after Mr. Peter Atherton, who was
bailiff, in 1673.  Bird-street was named after Mr. Joseph Bird, who was
bailiff, in 1738; mayor in 1746.  In Birch-field resided Mr. Birch.
Roscoe lived here at one time, and it was here he wrote the greater part
of the lives of "The Medici."  I recollect a great many fine trees being
in and about this vicinity.  Bolton-street was named after John Bolton,
Esq., or Colonel Bolton as he was called.  Byrom-street was named after
Octavius Byrom.  Chisenhale-street is named after Chisenhale Johnson.
Chorley-street is called after Mr. Chorley, who was recorder of Liverpool
from 1602 till 1620.  Canning-street is named in honour of the statesman.
Cleveland-square takes its name from the Clevelands; it was formerly
called Price-square.  The Prices were lords of the manor of Birkenhead.
Gildart Garden is named after Mr. Gildart, who was bailiff in 1712, and
mayor in 1714, 1731, and 1736.  Gill-street is named after Mr. Gill, who
owned the land thereabouts.  Harrington-street is called after the
Harrington family, who once held considerable property in Liverpool.
Hackin's-hey is called after John Hackin, who was a tenant of the More's
of olden time.  Huskisson-street is named after the statesman at one time
member for Liverpool.  Cresswell-street after Sir Cresswell Cresswell,
also an ex-borough member.  Brougham-terrace, after Lord Brougham.
Hockenhall-alley is called after a very old Liverpool family.
Lord-street is named after Lord Molyneux.  Redcross-street was so named
in consequence of a red obelisk which stood in the open ground, south of
St. George's Church.  This street was originally called Tarleton's
New-street.  Shaw-street was named after "Squire Shaw," who held much
property at Everton.  Sir Thomas's Buildings is called after Sir Thomas
Johnson, who, when Mayor, benevolently caused St. James's Mount to be
erected as a means of employing the destitute poor in the severe winter
of 1767.  Strand-street derived its name from being the strand or shore
of the river.  Hunter-street and South Hunter-street, Maryland-street,
Baltimore-street, etc., were named after Mr. John Hunter, an eminent
merchant trading with the States, who dwelt in Mount Pleasant, and whose
gardens extended to Rodney-street.


In 1801, my wife being out of health, I was advised to take her from
town.  As Everton was recommended by Dr. Parks, I looked about in that
neighbourhood, and after some difficulty obtained accommodation in a neat
farm-house which stood on the rise of the hill.  I say it was with
difficulty that I could meet with the rooms I required, or any rooms at
all, for there were so few houses at Everton, and the occupants of them
so independent, that they seemed loth to receive lodgers on any terms.
It must appear strange to find Everton spoken of as being "out of town,"
but it was literally so then.  It was, comparatively speaking, as much so
as West Derby, or any of the neighbouring villages round Liverpool, are
at present.

The farm-house in which we resided has long since been swept away, with
its barns, its piggery, and its shippon.  Never more will its cornricks
gladden the eye--never more will busy agricultural life be carried on in
its precincts.  Streets and courts full of houses cumber the ground.  No
more will the lark be heard over the cornfield--the brook seen running
its silvery course--or the apple in the orchard reddening on the bending
bough.  The lark is represented by a canary in a gilded cage hanging out
of a first-floor window--the corn-field by the baker's shop, with flour
at eight pounds for a shilling--the brook is a sewer, and the apple is
only seen at the greengrocer's shop at the corner, in company with
American cheese, eggs, finnon-haddies, and lucifer matches.  Ditch and
hedge--the one with waving sedges and "Forget-me-nots" the other with the
May blossom loading the evening air with its balmy breath--were as
prevalent, at the time I speak about, in Everton, as you will now find in
any country district.  It was a pleasant place in summer and autumn time.
The neighbourhood of the Beacon was our favourite resort.  Many a
pleasant day we have spent at the top of it.  The hill was covered with
heather and gorse bushes.  In winter it was as wild, bleak, and cold a
place as any you could meet with.

In the summer it was the delight of holiday-makers.  A day's "out" to the
Beacon, at Everton, was a very favourite excursion.  The hill-side on
Sundays used to be thronged with merry people, old and young.  The view
obtained from Everton Beacon-hill was a view indeed.

And what a prospect!  What a noble panoramic scene!  I never saw its
like.  I do not think, in its way, such an one existed anywhere to be
compared with it.  At your feet the heather commenced the landscape, then
came golden corn-fields and green pasture-lands, far and wide, until they
reached the yellow undulating sand-hills that fringed the margin of the
broad estuary, the sparkling waters of which, in the glow and fulness of
the rich sunshine, gave life and animation to the scene, the interest of
which was deeply enhanced, when on a day of high-tide, numbers of vessels
might be seen spreading their snowy canvas in the wind as they set out on
their distant and perilous voyages.  In the middle ground of the picture
was the peninsula of Wirral, while the river Dee might be seen shimmering
like a silver thread under the blue hills of Wales, which occupied the
back ground of the landscape.  Westward was the ocean--next, the Formby
shore attracted the eye.  The sand-hills about Birkdale and Meols were
visible.  At certain seasons, and in peculiar states of the atmosphere,
the hummocks of the Isle of Man were to be seen, while further north
Black Combe, in Cumberland, was discernible.  Bleasdale Scar, and the
hills in Westmoreland, dimly made out the extreme distance.  Ashurst
Beacon, Billinge, and at their back Rivington-pike, were visible.
Carrying the eye along the Billinge range, there were Garswood-park,
Knowsley and Prescot; the smoke from the little town of St. Helen's might
have been seen behind them.  Far away to the eastward were the
Derbyshire-hills.  Then we saw those of Shropshire, until the eye rested
on the Chester ranges, Beeston and Halton Castles being plainly before
us.  The old city of Chester was discernible with a good glass.  The eye
moved then along the Welsh hills until it rested on the Ormeshead and
travelled out upon the North sea.  Below us, to our left, was the town of
Liverpool, the young giant just springing into vigorous life and
preparing to put forth its might, majesty and strength, in Trade,
Commerce, and Enterprise.  The man of 1801 can scarcely believe his eyes
in 1862.  The distant view is still there, from the top of Everton church
tower, but how wonderfully is all the foreground changed.

The Beacon stood on the site of the eastern corner of Everton church.  It
was a square tower of two stories, and approached from the present
Church-street by a little lane.  Church-street was then a sandy winding
road, having on one side the open heathery-hill, and on the other a low
turf wall which enclosed the fields called "the Mosses," which were
indeed little better than marshes.  The Beacon was constructed of the red
sandstone taken from the vicinity.  I am no antiquarian, so that I can
give but a poor opinion of its original date of erection.  It was said by
some to have been of great age--long previous to the time of Queen
Elizabeth.  Some even ascribed it to the time of the Earl of Chester; but
a learned friend of mine once told me, when talking on this subject, that
that could not have been the case, as Beacons were not erected in tower
shapes until after the time of Edward the Third.  Beacons, previously to
that period, were merely lighted fires in cressets, grates, baskets of
large size, or of faggots piled up.  Everton Beacon certainly looked very
old and dilapidated, and had stood the shock and buffet of some
centuries.  Its size was about six yards square; its height twenty-five
feet.  The basement floor was on a level with the ground, and was a
square room in which there was, in one corner, a fireplace, much knocked
about and broken.  There was also a flight of narrow stone steps which
led to the upper chamber.  It was utterly bare of any fittings whatever;
but in the walls were indications of there having been fixtures at some
time.  There being no door to it the cattle which grazed on the hill had
access to it at all times of storm or wind or heat, or as their bovine
inclinations should prompt them to seek shelter, so that the floor, which
was unflagged, was always in a very dirty state.  On ascending the stairs
access was obtained to the upper apartment which was lighted by a broad
window facing the westward.  This room had been used as a sleeping
apartment by the guard or custodian of the Beacon, the window serving as
a look-out.  I believe the combustibles used in lighting up the signals
were stored in it, the lower room being occupied as the common living
chamber.  From the upper room a flight of stone steps led upon the roof
or outer platform.  In the south-west corner was a large stone tank in
which the signal fires were lighted.  It seemed to have been subjected to
the action of intense heat.  At one corner was a sort of pent-house which
served as a shelter for the watchman in inclement weather.  On the east
wall a gooseberry bush flourished surprisingly.  How it came there no one
knew--it had long been remembered in that position by every one who knew
anything about the Tower.  A few years previous to the date I speak
about, the Beacon was occupied by a cobbler who carried on his trade in
it, and eked out a living by grazing a cow and some goats on the common
land in the vicinity.  He looked after them while he made, mended, or
cobbled.  It was a very current tradition in Everton that during the
early part of the reign of Charles the First, people came up to Everton
Beacon to be married, during the proscription of the clergy.  When
Thurot's expedition was expected in 1760, it was said that Everton Hill
was alive with people from the town waiting the freebooters' approach.  A
party of soldiers was then encamped on the hill, and I have been told the
men had orders, on Thurot's appearance, to make signals if by day, and to
light up the Beacon if at night, to communicate the intelligence of the
French fleet being off the coast to the other Beacons at Ashurst and
Billinge, Rivington-pike and elsewhere, and so spread the news into the
north; while signals would also be taken up at Halton, Beeston, the
Wreken, and thence to the southward.  The most perfect arrangements for
the transmission of this intelligence are said to have been made; and I
knew an old man at Everton who told me that he had on that occasion
carted several loads of pitch-barrels and turpentine and stored them in
the upper chamber of the Beacon to be ready in case of emergency.  He
said that during the French war, at the close of the reign of George the
Second, the Beacon was filled with combustibles, and that there was a
guard always kept therein.

I am not sure if it is very generally known that it was to a Liverpool
captain the discovery of the sailing of the Armada must be ascribed, and
through him was made public in England.  This captain's name was Humphrey
Brook.  He was outward bound from Liverpool to the Canaries when he saw
the Spanish fleet in the distance, sailing north.  Suspecting its errand
he put his helm up and hastened back to Plymouth, where he spread the
intelligence and caused it to be transmitted to London.  He received
substantial marks of favour from the Government for his foresight,
prudence, and activity.

In 1804 a telegraph station was established at Everton.  It stood where
the schools are now built.  It was discontinued in 1815.  It consisted of
an upright post whence arms extended at various angles--there was also a
tall flag-staff for signals.  While we were at Everton, a Mr. Hinde
erected a house at the corner of Priory-lane, which he intended should
represent the Beacon; but it was not a bit like it originally, nor at the
present time (for I believe the house is still standing).  Mr. Hinde had
not long erected his Tower before he found that it was giving way.  To
prevent it falling he ran up a wing to the westward.  He then found that
it was necessary to erect a southern wing to keep that side up also.
Hence the present appearance of the house which has always been a subject
of wonder and remark by strangers at its eccentric and unusual aspect.

I recollect St. Domingo Pit being much more extensive than it has been of
late years.  At one period it was fully one-third larger than it is now.
Those large stones that stand by its brink are the "Mere Stones."  There
were several more stones about which marked Everton's ancient boundaries.
There was one, I recollect, in the West Derby-road, near the Zoological
Gardens.  I often wonder if this relic of the past has been preserved.  A
branch of the Pool ran up the westward and formed an ornamental water in
the grounds that skirted the Pool, a rustic bridge being thrown over it.
The cottage at one corner of the Pool is the ancient pinfold, and the
rent of it was paid to the lord of the manor.  The view from this part of
Everton was very fine before houses began to spring up in its vicinity.
I do not know a finer prospect anywhere about Liverpool.  When we were
staying at Everton there were very few houses.  I dare say there were not
fifty houses in the whole district, and the inhabitants did not muster
more than 400 souls; and it was not until 1818 or 1820 that much increase
took place in its population.


In 1820, a rather curious circumstance transpired, which created a good
deal of conversation, and even consternation amongst the inhabitants of
Everton.  This was the extraordinary and mysterious disappearance of the
Cross which stood at the top of the village, a little to the westward of
where the present Everton road is lineable with Everton-lodge.  This
Cross was a round pillar, about four feet from the top of three square
stone steps.  On the apex of the column was a sun-dial.  This Cross had
long been pronounced a nuisance; and fervent were the wishes for its
removal by those who had to travel that road on a dark night, as frequent
collisions took place from its being so much in the way of the traffic.
When any one, however, spoke of its removal, the old inhabitants so
strongly protested against its being touched, that the authorities gave
up all hope of ever overcoming the prejudice in favour of its remaining.
However, a serious accident having occurred, it was at length determined
by the late Sir William Shaw, to do what others dared not.  One dark and
stormy winter's night, when all Everton was at rest--for there were no
old watchmen then to wake people up with their cries--two persons might
have been seen stealing towards the Cross, in the midst of the elemental
war which then raged.  One of them bore a lantern, while the other
wheeled before him a barrow, laden with crowbar, pickaxe, and spade.  The
rain descended in torrents, and the night was as dark as the deed they
were about to commit could possibly require.  They approached the ancient
gathering place, where, in olden times, during the sweating sickness, the
people from Liverpool met the farmers of the district and there paid for
all produce by depositing their money in bowls of water.  Amidst the
storm the two men for a moment surveyed their stony victim, and then
commenced its destruction.  First, with a strong effort, they toppled
over the upper stone of the column; then the next, and the next.  They
then wheeled them away, stone by stone, to the Round House on
Everton-brow, wherein each fragment was deposited.  The base was then
ruthlessly removed and carried away, and at length not a vestige was left
to mark the spot where once stood Everton Cross--raised doubtless by
pious hands on some remarkable occasion long forgotten.

The Cross was thus safely housed and stored away in the Round House, and
no one was the wiser.  When morning dawned the astonishment of the early
Everton birds was extreme.  From house to house--few in number, then--ran
the news that Everton Cross had disappeared during the storm of the
previous night.  The inhabitants soon mustered on the spot, and deep and
long and loud were the lamentations uttered at its removal.  Who did it?
When?  How?  At length a whisper was passed from mouth to mouth--at first
faintly and scarcely intelligible--until, gathering strength as it
travelled, it became at length boldly asserted that the Father of Lies
had taken it away in the turbulence of the elements.  And so the news
spread through Liverpool, in the year 1820, that the Devil had run off
with the Cross at Everton.  My old friend, who many a time chuckled over
his feat, and who told me of his doings, said that for many years he
feared to tell the truth about it, so indignant were many of the
inhabitants who knew that its disappearance could not have been
attributable to satanic agency.  My friend used to say that he had hard
work to preserve his gravity when listening to the various versions that
were prevalent of the circumstance.

Opposite the Cross there were some very old houses of the same type,
character, and date as that known as Prince Rupert's cottage.  The latter
was a low long building, constructed of stone, lath, and plaster, and
presented the appearance of an ordinary country cottage.  Prince Rupert's
officers were quartered in the village houses.  At the back of the
cottage, Rupert constructed his first battery.  It was a square platform,
and was used as a garden, until cottage and all were swept away for the
new streets now to be found thereabouts.  I can recollect the whole of
the land from Everton Village to Brunswick Road being pasture land, and
Mr. Plumpton's five houses in Everton Road, overlooking the fields,
commanded high rents when first erected.  Low-hill at this time was a
rough, sandy, undulating lane with hedges on both sides.  The only
dwellings in it were a large house near the West Derby-road, and two low
cottages opposite Phythian-street, still standing.  The public-house at
the corner of Low-hill and the Prescot-road is of considerable antiquity,
there having been a tavern at this spot from almost all time, so to
speak.  Hall-lane was then called Cheetham's-brow.

Amongst other objects of interest that have disappeared at Everton, may
be numbered "Gregson's Well," which stood on the left hand side of the
gateway of Mr. Gregson's mansion.  This well, before water was brought
into our town in such abundance, was a great resort for the matrons,
maids, and children of the neighbourhood, and slaked the thirst of many a
weary traveller.  It was a fine spring of water, and was approached by
stone steps: the water issuing from a recess in the wall.  "Gregson's
Well" was a known trysting-place.  There was an iron railing which
enclosed the side and ends of the well, to prevent accidents.  The water
from the well is still flowing, I have been told.  The stream runs
underground, behind the houses in Brunswick-road--or, at least, it did so
a few years ago.  I have seen the bed of the stream that ran in the olden
time down Moss-street, laid open many times when the road has been taken
up.  There was a curious story once current about the way that
Brunswick-road obtained its name.  It is said that when the new streets
in that vicinity were being laid out and named, the original appellation
which it bore, was chalked up as copy for the painter; but a patriotic
lady, during the absence of the workman rubbed out the old name and
substituted for it "Brunswick-road," which name it has ever since borne.

Where Mr. Gregson's house stood, or nearly so, there was a house which,
in the early part of the last century, belonged to a gentleman and his
sister named Fabius.  Their real name was Bean; but, after the manner of
the then learned, they assumed the name of Fabius, from "Faba."  Mr. or,
as he was called, "Dr."  Fabius was an apothecary, and received brevet
rank--I suppose from being the only medical practitioner about.  At any
rate, from the limited population of the vicinity, he was doubtless
sufficient for its wants.  This Mr. Fabius was one of the first Baptists
in this part of the country, and in 1700 obtained a license from
Manchester, to use a room in his house as a prayer-room for that
particular class of worshippers.  Mr. Fabius and his sister Hanna built,
after a short time, a chapel or tabernacle of wood, in their garden, and
gave to the Baptists "for ever" the "piece of land adjoining the
chapel-field," as a burying-place; and in this little cemetery have all
the earliest leading members of this influential body been interred.  It
has been quite full for some years, and in consequence the Necropolis
Cemetery sprung as it were from it, where dissenters of all denominations
could be buried.  The Baptists, increasing in numbers, quitted Low-hill,
and built a chapel in Byrom-street, which is now St. Matthew's church.
When this chapel was built it was thought to be too far out of town to be
well attended.

There once lived a curious person at Low-hill who had peculiar tastes.
He built a place which was called "Rat's Castle."  It stood on the brink
of a delf, the site of which is now occupied by the Prescot-street
Bridewell.  This person used to try experiments with food, such as
cooking spiders, blackbeetles, rats, cats, mice, and other things not in
common use; and, it is said, was wont to play off tricks upon
unsuspecting strangers by placing banquets before them that were quite
unexpected and unprecedented in the nature and condition of the food.

While lingering over my "Recollections" of Everton, I ought not to forget
mentioning that, as time went on and Liverpool became prosperous, and its
merchants desired to get away from the dull town-houses and imbibe
healthy, fresh air, this same Everton became quite the fashionable suburb
and court-end of Liverpool.  Noble mansions sprung up, surrounded by
well-kept gardens.  Gradually the gorse-bush and the heather disappeared,
and the best sites on the hill became occupied.  The Everton gentry for
their wealth and their pride were called "Nobles," and highly and proudly
did they hold up their heads, and great state did many of the merchants
who dwelt there keep up.  The first mansion erected was on the Pilgrim
Estate; the next was St. Domingo House.  A brief history of these estates
may not be uninteresting.  In 1790 the whole of Everton hereabouts was
owned by two proprietors.  When Everton was all open, waste, and
uncultivated land, one portion of it was enclosed by a shoemaker who
called his acquisition "Cobbler's Close."  This property was bought by
Mr. Barton, who realized upwards of 190,000 pounds through the capture of
a French vessel called _La Liberte_, by a vessel owned by Joseph Birch,
Esq., M.P., called _The Pilgrim_.  The estate of Cobblers' Close was then
re-named "Pilgrim."  The property next passed into the hands of Sir
William Barton, who sold it to Mr. Atherton.  It was this gentleman who
gave the land on which Everton Church is built, with this stipulation
only--that no funerals should enter by the West Gate.  The reason
assigned for this was because Mr. Atherton's house was opposite to it.

Mr. Woodhouse purchased the Pilgrim estate from Mr. Atherton, and
re-named it "Bronte,", from his connection with the Bronte estate in
Sicily, which had been bestowed on Lord Nelson for his great services.
When Lord Nelson received his first consignment of Marsala wines ordered
for the fleet from his estate, he was asked to give the wine a name so
that it might be known to the English people.  Nelson said "call it
Bronte."  His lordship was told that "Bronte" meant "thunder."  "Oh,"
replied the hero, "it will do very well; John Bull will not know what it
means, and will think all the better of it on that account."

The St. Domingo Estate, in this vicinity, was originated by Mr. Campbell,
who in 1757 purchased the estate.  He continually added to it, as
occasion presented, and called the whole "St. Domingo," in consequence of
a rich prize taken by a privateer which he owned when off that island.
These two contiguous estates may be said, therefore, to have been
purchased by English bravery.

Mr. Crosbie was the next proprietor.  He purchased it for 3500 pounds,
paying 680 pounds as deposit money.  On his becoming bankrupt the estate
was again put up for sale.  It remained some time on hand, until Messrs.
Gregson, Bridge and Parke purchased it for 4129 pounds.  They sold it for
3470 pounds, losing thereby.  In 1793, Mr. Sparling, who was Mayor of
Liverpool in 1790, bought it.  He took down the house built by Mr.
Campbell and erected the handsome mansion now standing.  This gentleman
stipulated in his will that the house should be only occupied by a person
of the name of Sparling, and that it was not to be let to any person for
longer than seven years.  In 1810 the legatees got the will reversed by
an act of Parliament.  The Queen's Dock was projected by Mr. Sparling,
and Sparling-Street was called after him.  The St. Domingo Estate was
next sold for 20,295 pounds.  It was afterwards resold for 26,383 pounds,
and used as barracks.

The objections made by the people of Everton to barracks being formed in
their neighbourhood were very great.  A strong memorial was numerously
signed by the inhabitants against the movement.  The memorialists
represented the demoralization attendant upon the introduction of numbers
of soldiers into a respectable and quiet neighbourhood, and the
annoyances that would have to be endured.  But the prayer failed, and St.
Domingo House, for a time, became barracks accordingly.  Everton appears
always to have been a favourite locality for the quartering of soldiery,
when it has been necessary or expedient to station them in the vicinity
of Liverpool.  On several occasions entire regiments have been quartered
at Everton.

The encampment of soldiers in the fields near Church-street, which a few
years ago attracted great attention and curiosity, is of too recent
occurrence to require remark from me, as also the occupancy of the large
houses on Everton-terrace and in Waterhouse-lane and Rupert-lane by
officers and men.  As of old, the inhabitants of the present day sent up
a remonstrance to the authorities at the Horse Guards, against soldiers
being located in the neighbourhood, but with the same want of success.  A
most intolerable nuisance, amongst others, entailed upon the inhabitants
was the beating of what, in military parlance, is called "the Daddy
Mammy."  This dreadful infliction upon light sleepers and invalids
consisted of half a dozen boys at military daybreak (that is, as soon as
you can see a white horse a mile off) learning to beat the drum.  The
little wretches used to batter away in Mr. Waterhouse's garden and
Rupert-lane half the day through, until several letters appeared in the
newspapers on the subject, which excited the wrath of the commanding
officer of the regiment then stationed there, who vowed vengeance on all
civilians daring to interfere with, or comment on, the rules of the

The Breck-road, and indeed all the roads about Everton were, but a few
years back, mere country lanes, along which little passed except the
farmers.  There was no traffic on them as there was no leading
thoroughfare to any place in the neighbourhood of the least importance.
It is only within the last ten years that Everton can be said to have
been at all populous.  It was in my young days out by Breck-road and
Anfield (originally called Hangfield), Whitefield-lane, and
Roundhill-lane, completely open country.  On Breck-road or Lane the only
house was that at the corner of Breckfield-road, called the "Odd House."
It was then a farm.

Connected with Whitefield-lane I recollect a good story told by a
gentleman I knew, of his getting a free ride to Liverpool, behind the
carriage of a well-known eccentric and most benevolent gentleman, some
thirty years ago.  My young friend who was then but lately come to
Liverpool, had been invited to spend Sunday at Whitefield House, which
stands at the corner of Whitefield-lane and Boundary-lane.  At that time
there was not a house near it for some distance.  Boundary-lane was a
narrow, rutted road, with a hedge and a ditch on each side, while the
footpath--on one side only--was in a most miserable condition.  There was
then adjoining West Derby-road a large strawberry garden, which in summer
time was the resort of pleasure-seekers, and it was the only approach to
neighbourship along the whole length of the lane.

On leaving Whitefield House the night proved so intensely dark that my
young friend found himself quite bewildered, and scarcely know whether to
turn to the right or the left, being unacquainted with the locality.
Fortunately turning to the right, he stumbled along the miserable road,
and with the utmost difficulty made his way onward, but not without
misgivings of being knocked down and robbed, as there had been several
daring attacks made upon people at night in that vicinity.  He fervently
wished himself in Liverpool, but shortly arriving at the West Derby-road
he began to understand his "whereabouts."  Having proceeded a few yards,
a carriage passed him driven by a postilion.  There was an unoccupied
dicky behind, which my young friend thought it seemed a pity not to
appropriate.  Quick as youth and activity prompted, he climbed upon the
carriage with the notion of the Dutchman "that it was better to ride than
walk," and found his condition materially benefited by being carried
through the darkness of the night instead of walking.  When the carriage
reached the London-road my friend thought it was time to alight, as he
was then near home; but to his dismay he found that, although it was very
easy to get up, it was not very easy to get down in safety.  On he went
with the carriage until it arrived at Lime-street, and began to turn down
Roe-street, which was a good mile from my friend's lodgings.  What was to
be done?  A bold thought struck him.  "Hallo, hallo!  I'll get down
here!" he cried.  Upon this the postilion pulled up short, when down came
the window of the carriage, and an inquiry from it took place as to the
reason of the stoppage.  My friend had by this time managed to drop off
his perch, when he found the head protruding was that of the excellent
lessee of the Theatre Royal, Mr. Lewis.  As he was quite as polite a man
as the worthy lessee himself, on finding to whom he had been indebted for
his ride, he made a very low bow, with thanks for his most welcome
"lift," exclaiming with Buckingham, "I will remember that your Grace is
bountiful."  In very sharp tones "John" was told to drive on, while my
friend walked away, quietly laughing in his sleeve at the success of his
impudence, but regretting that he had not alighted sooner to be nearer

Surprising are the changes that have taken place on the West Derby-road
of late years.  It was originally called Rake-lane, and Rocky-lane from
Richmond-hill.  A complete little town has sprung up upon its pleasant
meadows and bountiful cornfields.  The Zoological Gardens, within a very
few years, was the uttermost verge of this suburb.  I recollect very well
the opening of those once beautiful gardens.  They were projected by the
late Mr. Atkins, a gentleman who was the proprietor of the largest
travelling-menagerie in the country.  The place he had selected for his
undertaking was called "Plumpton's Hollow."  This was originally a large
excavation, whence brick-clay which abounds in the neighbourhood had been
obtained.  Mr. Atkins, possessing great taste and judgment, was highly
favoured and much thought of by the late Lord Derby, who consulted him on
many occasions and honoured him with his patronage, benefiting the
gardens as much as he could, by adding to the collection.  Mr. Atkins
chose this site for his gardens, believing it to be far enough out of
town for the convenience of the public, and healthy enough for the due
growth of his trees and plants, and the well-being of his animals.  The
Zoological Gardens were, under Mr. Atkin's management, very different, by
all accounts, from what they are now.  I have seen on fine summer days,
numbers of ladies of the highest respectability taking the air in them,
accompanied by their children, while at night the attendance was most
excellent, being patronized by the highest families in the town who
seemed to enjoy the amusements provided with the utmost zest and relish.
The collection of animals was remarkable at that time.  Captains of
vessels frequently brought rare and curious animals as presents, so that
every week some new specimen of interest was added.  I look back with
pleasure to the many hours I have spent in the Gardens shortly after
their being opened.  They were admirably conducted, and in great repute
as a zoological collection.  Mr. Atkins took his idea of forming them
from the success of the Gardens then lately established in Regent's Park,
and at Kennington, in Surrey.

A great sensation was once produced by the abduction of a Miss Turner
from Miss Daulby's School, on the West Derby-road, by Mr. E. Gibbon
Wakefield.  This is the white house that stands retired a field distant
from the road, on the right hand side, about a quarter of a mile beyond
the Zoological Gardens.

The abduction took place in March, 1826.  It caused immense excitement
throughout England.  Miss Turner was the daughter of Mr. Turner, of
Shrigley Park, Cheshire.  By means of a forged letter addressed to Miss
Daulby, intimating that Miss Turner's mother was dangerously ill, the
young lady was permitted to leave the school for the purpose of going
home.  In the carriage in waiting was Mr. E. Gibbon Wakefield, a widower
with one child (a perfect stranger to Miss Turner).  It is believed he
had been put up to this disgraceful act of villainy by a Miss Davies,
with whom he was acquainted in Paris, and who was a member of a small
coterie of friends, meeting for social purposes at each other's houses.
This Miss Davies afterwards became the wife of Mr. E. G. Wakefield's
father.  She was tried with her two stepsons for the conspiracy.  The
object in taking Miss Turner away was the large fortune in expectancy
from her father as his sole child and heiress.  Miss Turner was taken
from Liverpool to Manchester, next to Kendal, and on to Carlisle, and
thence across the borders and there married to Mr. Wakefield; he having
represented to her that by marrying him, he could save her father from
impending ruin.  From Scotland, they went to London, thence to Calais,
where Miss Turner was found by her relatives and taken away.

The Wakefields were tried at Lancaster.  Edward was found guilty of
abduction and sentenced to transportation.  He went to Australia in
pursuance of his sentence, and after some years became the Government
commissioner.  The marriage with Miss Turner was not consummated.  Miss
Turner stated that she had received the utmost politeness and attention
from Mr. Wakefield, and had been treated by him with deference and
respect throughout.  Had it not been for Mr. Wakefield's forbearance, it
was thought that his sentence would have been different.  Edward Gibbon
Wakefield was said to have been a natural son of Lord Sandwich.  He wrote
some exceedingly clever works upon colonial matters, and on emigration.


In the fields at the top of Brownlow-hill lane, just where Clarence and
Russell-streets now meet, there was once a Powder House, to which vessels
used to send their gunpowder while in port.  This Powder House, in the
middle of the last century, was a source of anxiety to the inhabitants of
the town, who fully anticipated, at any moment, a blow-up, and the
destruction of the town.  The Powder House was afterwards converted into
a receptacle for French prisoners.  My grandfather knew the place well.

It does not require a man to be very old to remember the pleasant
appearance of Moss Lake Fields, with the Moss Lake Brook, or Gutter, as
it was called, flowing in their midst.  The fields extended from
Myrtle-street to Paddington, and from the top of Mount Pleasant or
Martindale's-hill, to the rise at Edge-hill.  The brook ran parallel with
the present Grove-street, rising somewhere about Myrtle-street.  In olden
times, before coal was in general use, Moss Lake Fields were used as a
"Turbary," a word derived from the French word _Tourbiere_, a turf field.
(From the way that the turf is dried we have our term _topsy turvy_,
_i.e._, top side turf way).  Sir Edward More, in his celebrated rental,
gives advice to his son to look after "his turbary."  The privilege of
turbary, or "getting turf," was a valuable one, and was conferred
frequently on the burgesses of towns paying scot and lot.  I believe
turf, fit for burning, has been obtained from Moss Lake Fields even
recently.  Just where Oxford-street is now intersected by Grove-street,
the brook opened out into a large pond, which was divided into two by a
bridge and road communicating between the meadows on each side.  The
bridge was of stone of about four feet span, and rose above the meadow
level.  The sides of the approach were protected by wooden railings, and
a low parapet went across the bridge. {167}  Over the stone bridge the
road was carried when connection was opened to Edge-hill from Mount
Pleasant, and Oxford-street was laid out.  When the road was planned both
sides of it were open fields and pastures.  The first Botanic Gardens
were laid out in this vicinity; they extended to Myrtle-street, the
entrance Lodge stood nearly on the site of the Deaf and Dumb Asylum.  In
winter the Moss Lake Brook usually overflowed and caused a complete
inundation.  On this being frozen over fine skating was enjoyed for a
considerable space.  The corporation boundary line was at this side of
the brook.  In summer the volunteers sometimes held reviews upon these
fields, when all the beauty and fashion of the town turned out to witness
the sight.  At this time all the land at the top of Edge-hill was an open
space called the Greenfields, on part of which Edge-hill church is built.
Mason-street was merely an occupation lane.  The view from the rising
ground, at the top of Edge-hill, was very fine, overlooking the town and
having the river and the Cheshire shore in the background.  Just where
Wavertree-lane, as it was called, commences there was once a large
reservoir, which extended for some distance towards the Moss Lake Fields,
Brownlow-hill Lane being carried over it.

While we are wandering in this neighbourhood there must not be forgotten
a word or two about Mr. Joseph Williamson (who died about 1841) and his
excavations at Edge-hill.  As I believe there is no authentic record of
him, or of them, so far as I can recollect, a brief description of him
and his strange works may not be uninteresting to the old, who have heard
both spoken of, and to the present generation who know nothing of their
extent and his singularity.  It certainly does appear remarkable, but it
is a fact, that many people possess a natural taste for prosecuting
underground works.  There is so much of mystery, awe, and romance in
anything subterranean, that we feel a singular pleasure in instituting
and making discoveries in it, and it is not less strange than true that
those who once begin making excavations seem loth to leave off.  Mr.
Williamson appears to have been a true Troglodite, one who preferred the
Cimmerian darkness of his vaulted world, to the broad cheerful light of
day.  He spent the principal part of his time in his vaults and
excavations, and literally lived in a cellar, for his sitting room was
little else, being a long vault with a window at one end, and his bedroom
was a cave hollowed out at the back of it.  In his cellar it was that he
dispensed his hospitalities, in no sparing manner, having usually casks
of port and sherry on tap, and also a cask of London porter.  Glasses
were out of use with him.  In mugs and jugs were the generous fluids
drawn and drank.  When Williamson made a man welcome that welcome was
sincere.  Before I say anything about the excavations, a few
"Recollections" of Joseph himself are worthy to be recorded.  He was born
on the 10th of March, 1769, at Warrington, and commenced his career in
Liverpool, with Mr. Tate the tobacco merchant, in Wolstenholme-square.
Williamson used to tell his own tale by stating that "I came to Liverpool
a poor lad to make my fortune.  My mother was a decent woman, but my
father was the greatest rip that ever walked on two feet.  The poor woman
took care that all my clothes were in good order, and she would not let
me come to Liverpool unless I lodged with my employer.  I got on in the
world little by little, until I became a man of substance, and I married
Betty Tate, my master's daughter.  When the wedding day arrived I told
her I would meet her at the (St. Thomas') church, which I did, and after
it was all over I mounted the horse which was waiting for me, and told
Betty to go home and that I would come to her after the Hunt.  I was a
member of the then famous 'Liverpool Hunt,' and when I got to the Meet
somebody said, 'Why, Williamson, how smart you are!'--'Smart,' said I,
'aye!--a man should look smart on his wedding day!'  'Wedding day,'
exclaimed some of the fellows, 'Who have you married?'  'I haven't
married anybody,' I said, 'but the parson has married me to old Tate's
daughter!'  'Why, where's your wife?'  'She's at home, to be sure, where
all good wives ought to be--getting ready her husband's dinner.'  I'll
tell you what, Betty and I lived but a cat and dog life of it, but I was
sorry to part with the old girl when she did go."  On the day of Mrs.
Williamson's funeral, the men employed on the works were seen lounging
about doing nothing.  Williamson noticed this, and inquired the reason?
They told him that it was out of respect for their mistress.  "Oh!
stuff," said Williamson, "you work for the living, not for the dead.  If
you chaps don't turn to directly, I shall stop a day's wages on

Mr. Williamson's appearance was remarkable.  His hat was what might have
been truly called "a shocking bad one."  He generally wore an old and
very much patched brown coat, corduroy breeches, and thick, slovenly
shoes; but his underclothing was always of the finest description, and
faultless in cleanliness and colour.  His manners were ordinarily rough
and uncouth, speaking gruffly, bawling loudly, and even rudely when he
did not take to any one.  Yet, strange to say, at a private dinner or
evening party, Mr. Williamson exhibited a gentleness of manner, when he
chose, which made him a welcome guest.  His fine, well-shaped, muscular
figure fully six feet high, his handsome head and face made him, when
well-dressed, present a really distinguished appearance.  He seemed to be
possessed of two opposite natures--the rough and the smooth.  It was said
that once, on a Royal Duke visiting Liverpool, he received a salute from
Williamson, and was so struck with its gracefulness that he inquired who
he was, and remarked that "it was the most courtly bow he had seen out of
St. James's."  Williamson was very fond of children.  The voice of a
little one could at any time soothe him when irritable.  He used to say
of them, "Ah, there's no deceit in children.  If I had had some, I should
not have been the _arch_-rogue I am.".  The industrious poor of Edge-hill
found in Williamson a ready friend in time of need, and when work was
slack many a man has come to the pay-place on Saturday, who had done
nothing all the week but dig a hole and fill it up again.  Once, on being
remonstrated with by a man he had thus employed, on the uselessness of
the work, Williamson said, "You do as you are told--you honestly earn the
money by the sweat of your brow, and the mistress can go to market on
Saturday night--I don't want you to think."  He often regaled his
work-people with a barrel of ale or porter, saying they "worked all the
better for their throats being wetted."  His vast excavations when they
were in their prime, so to speak, must have been proof of the great
numbers of men he employed.  He always said that he never made a penny by
the sale of the stone.  He gave sufficient, I believe, to build St.
Jude's Church.  He used vast quantities on his own strange structures.

A lady of my acquaintance once caught Williamson intently reading a book.
She inquired its purport.  He evaded the question, but being pressed,
told her it was the Bible, and expressed a wish that he had read much
more of it, and studied it, and that he always found something new in it
every time he opened it.  This lady said that the touching way, the
graceful expression of Mr. Williamson's manner, when he said this, took
her completely by surprise, having been only accustomed to his roughness
and ruggedness.  He added, "The Bible tells me what a rascal I am."  Mr.
Stephenson, the great engineer, inspected the excavations, and it was
with pride Mr. Williamson repeated Mr. Stephenson's expressions of high
estimation of his works.  Mr. Stephenson said they were the most
astonishing works he had ever seen in their way.  When the tunnel to
Lime-street from Edge-hill was in progress, one day, the excavators were
astonished to find the earth giving way under them, and to see men
actually under the tunnel they were then forming.  On encountering Mr.
Williamson, he told them "he could show them how to tunnel if they wanted
to learn a lesson in that branch of art."  It seemed a strange anomaly,
and quite unaccountable that Mr. Williamson should be so chary in
allowing any strangers to visit his excavations.  He seemed to keep them
for his own gratification, and it was with the greatest difficulty
permission could be obtained to go through them.  He would say to the
numberless persons who applied, "they were not show-shops, nor he a
showman."  When he did grant permission he always gave the obliged
parties fully and unmistakably to understand that he was conferring upon
them a great favour.  His temper was suspicious.  I recollect being told
of a person calling on him, to pay a long over-due rent account for
another person, when, as Williamson was handing over the receipt, and
about to take up the money, he suddenly fixed his keen eye upon his
visitor, and asked him what trick he was going to play him, as it seemed
strange that he should pay money for another man.  "Take your money away,
sir," said he, "and come again to-morrow; there is something underhand in
your proceedings, and I'll not be done."  For some of his tenants he used
to execute cheerfully the most costly alterations, while for others he
would not expend a shilling, and would let his premises go to rack,
rather than put in a nail for them.

There was a house of his once standing at the corner of Bolton-street,
which he built entirely for a whim.  It was a great square house, with
enormously wide and long windows.  It was of three stories, two upper
tiers and a basement.  There was no kitchen to it, no conveniences of any
kind sufficient to render it habitable.  From the cellar there was a
tunnel which ran under Mason-street to the vaults opposite.  He built it
intending it for his friend, Mr. C. H---, the artist, who had one day
complained of the bad light he had to paint in, and Mr. Williamson told
him he would remedy that evil if he would wait a bit.  Presently he
commenced the house in Bolton-street, and when it was completed the
artist was sent for, and told that it had been built for him as a studio.
Mr. H--- stood aghast on seeing the immense windows, and could not make
Mr. Williamson understand that an artist's light was not wanted in
quantity but quality.  Williamson swore lustily at H---'s obstinacy, and
could not be made to understand what was really required.  A reverend
gentleman, still living and highly respected, who happened to be passing
along the street, was called in to give his opinion on the subject by Mr.
W.  He, however, joined issue with Mr. H---, but neither could make Mr.
W. understand the matter.  The rooms were very lofty and spacious, and if
I recollect rightly each floor consisted of only one room.  I believe it
was never occupied.  In High-street, Edge-hill, Mr. Williamson also built
some houses which were skirted by Back Mason-street.  The houses at the
corner of High-street and Back Mason-street were built up from a quarry.
They are as deep in cellarage as they are high, while the rooms in them
are innumerable.  Williamson used to call himself "King of Edge-hill,"
and had great influence over the work people residing in the
neighbourhood.  I knew a lady who once had an encounter with Williamson
wherein she came off victorious, and carried successfully her point.  The
affair is curious.  This lady, about 1838 or '39, wanted a house, and was
recommended to go up to Edge-hill and endeavour to meet with Mr.
Williamson and try to get on the right side of him, which was considered
a difficult thing to do.  She was told that he had always some large
houses to let, and if she pleased him he would be a good landlord.  Mrs.
C---, accompanied by a lady, went up to Edge-hill and looked about as
they were told to do for a handsome-looking man in a shabby suit of
clothes.  They were told that they were sure to find Mr. W. where men
were working, as he always had some in his employ in one way or another
in the neighbourhood.  On arriving at Mason-street, sure enough, they
espied the object of their search watching the operations of some
bricklayers busily engaged in erecting the very house in Bolton-street
just spoken of.  Mrs. C---, who was a sharp, shrewd person, good looking
and pleasant in her manners, sauntered up to Williamson and inquired of
him if he knew of any houses to be let at Edge-hill.  "Houses!" replied
Williamson in his roughest and rudest style: "What should I know of
houses, a poor working man like me!"  "Well," said the lady, "I thought
you might have known of some to let, and you need not be so saucy and
ill-tempered."  Williamson roughly rejoined, and the lady replied, and
thus they got to a complete wordy contest attracting the attention of the
bystanders, who were highly amused to find that Williamson had met his
match.  The lady's sarcasms and gibes seemed to make Williamson doubly
crusty.  He at length asked the other lady--who, by the way, was becoming
nervous and half-frightened at what was going on--"what this woman,"
pointing to Mrs. C---, "would give for a house if she could meet with one
to her mind."  Mrs. C--- told him 30 pounds per annum.  Williamson burst
out with an insulting laugh, and called all the men down from the house
they were erecting, and when they had clustered round him he told them
that "this woman wanted a house with ten rooms in it for 30 pounds a
year!  Did they ever know of such an unreasonable request?"  Of course
the men agreed with their employer, and they were all dismissed after
being regaled with a mug of porter each.  Mrs. C--- narrowly watched
Williamson and saw through him at once, and was not surprised on being
invited to step into a house close by and see how she liked it.  She
found fault with some portions of the house and approved others.
Williamson at length, after a short silence, inquired whether she really
did want a house and would live in Mason-street.  Mrs. C--- replied that
she did really require one and liked the street very much.  Williamson
then asked her if she was in a hurry.  On being told she was not, he bade
her return that day fortnight at the same hour and he would try then to
show her a house he thought would suit her exactly.  With this the ladies
departed, Williamson saying:--"There now, you be off; you come when I
tell you; you'll find me a regular old screw; and if you don't pay your
rent the day it is due I shall law you for it, so be off."  Mrs. C---
then said, "My husband is a cockney, and I will bring him with me, and we
will see if we can't turn the screw the right way."  The ladies had no
sooner arrived at the end of Mason-street, when on turning to take a last
look of their singular friend they saw the men from the house in
Bolton-street all following Williamson into the house they had just left,
and as it eventually proved he had set them there and then to work to
make the alterations she had suggested and desired.

On the termination of the fortnight the ladies called on their remarkable
friend, and found him in waiting at the house with two great jugs of
sherry and some biscuits on a table.  He then took them over the house,
and to their surprise found everything in it altered: two rooms had been
opened into one, one room made into two, two had been made into three,
and so on, and he asked Mrs. C--- if she was satisfied and if the house
would suit her?  He appeared to have completely gutted the house and
reconstructed it.  Putting it down at an unusually low rent for what had
been done, the bargain was struck between the parties, and the landlord
and his tenant were ever after good friends.  He told the lady he liked
her for sticking up to him "so manfully" and "giving him as good as he
sent."  Mr. Williamson took great delight in this lady's children and
made great pets of them.  On her family increasing the lady and her
husband frequently asked Williamson to build her an extra room for a
nursery, reminding him that as he was always building something, he might
as well build them an extra room as anything else.  He, however, declined
until one day the lady sent him a manifesto from the "Queen Of
Edge-hill," as he had been accustomed to call her, commanding him to
build the room she wanted.  Williamson, thereupon, wrote her a reply in
the same strain, promising to attend to her commands.

A few mornings after his reply had been received the lady was busy in her
bedroom dressing her baby, when she suddenly heard a loud knocking in the
house adjoining, and down fell the wall, and amid the falling of bricks
and the rising of dust Mr. Williamson himself appeared, accompanied by
two joiners, who fitted a door into the opening, while two bricklayers
quickly plastered up the walls.  Through the door next stepped the
landlord.  "There, madam, what do you think of this room for a nursery,"
he exclaimed, "it is big enough if you had twenty children."  Mr.
Williamson had actually appropriated the drawing-room in his own house to
her use.  She thanked him, but said he might have given her some warning
of what he was going to do, instead of covering her and the baby with
dust, but Williamson laughed heartily at his joke, while the lady was
glad to get a noble room added to her house without extra rent.  This
lady told me that one night just previous to this event they had heard a
most extraordinary rumbling noise in Mr. Williamson's house which
continued for a long time and it appeared to proceed from one of the
lower rooms.  On inquiring next day of Mr. Williamson what was the cause
of the disturbance he took the lady into a large dining-room, where she
found about fifty newly-painted blue barrows with red wheels all ranged
along the room in rows.  These had been constructed for the use of his
labourers and were there stored away until wanted.

My acquaintance told me that one night they heard in the vaults below
their house the most frightful shrieks and screams, and the strangest of
noises, but they never could ascertain what was the cause of the
commotion.  The noises seemed to proceed from directly below their feet,
and yet they fancied they came from some distance.  The cries were not
those of a person in agony, but a strange mixture of most unaccountable

A good story is told of a quaint speech made to Williamson by the Rev.
Dr. Raffles.  The Doctor and the Rev. Mr. Hull, who were neighbours, and,
I fancy, tenants of Williamson's, were once met by him walking together,
when W. exclaimed "I say, if I'd my way you two should be made bishops."
Dr. Raffles very quickly replied, "Ah, Williamson, you ought to be an
_arch_bishop!" alluding to his well-known predilection for vault
building.  He once invited a party of gentlemen to dine with him.  The
guests were shown into a bare room with a deal table on trestles in the
middle, with common forms on each side.  Williamson, with the utmost
gravity, bade his friends take their seats, placing himself at the head
of the table.  Facing each of the guests was a plate of porridge and some
hard biscuits of which they were invited to partake.  Some of the party
taking this as an insulting joke, rose and left the room.  Williamson,
with the utmost grace, bowed them out without explanation.  When the
seceders had retired, a pair of folding doors were thrown open,
exhibiting a large room with a costly feast prepared, to which the
remainder of the party adjourned, laughing heartily over the trick that
had been played and the agreeable surprise in store for them.  Another
good story is told of Mr. Williamson.  He possessed some property at
Carlisle which gave him a vote at the elections.  Sir James Graham's
committee sent him a circular, as from Sir James, soliciting his vote and
interest.  On receipt of this letter Williamson flew into a violent
passion, went down to Dale-street there and then, took a place in the
North Mail, proceeded to Carlisle, obtained one of Sir James Graham's
placards from the walls, and posted back to Liverpool without delay.  On
his arrival at home he enclosed the obnoxious circular and placard in a
parcel which he addressed with a most abusive letter to Sir James Graham,
in which he charged him with such a string of political crimes as must
have astonished the knight of Netherby, winding up the abuse by asking
how he dared to solicit an honest man for his vote and by what right he
had taken so unwarrantable a liberty.


In the last chapter of my "Recollections" I spoke of the man--Joseph
Williamson; the present will be of his "excavations."  In various parts
of the world we find, on and under the surface, divers works of human
hands that excite the wonder of the ignorant, the notice of the
intelligent, and the speculation of the learned.  Things are presented to
our view, in a variety of forms, which must have been the result of great
labour and cost, and which appear utterly useless and inapplicable to any
ostensibly known purpose.  Respecting many of these mysterious records of
a past age, page after page has been written to prove, and even disprove,
the supposed intent of their constructors; and it cannot but be admitted
that after perusing many an erudite disquisition, we are sometimes as
well-informed, and as near arriving at a conclusion as to the original
purpose for which the object under discussion was intended, as when our
attention was first engaged in it.  In some instances, those who have
discovered uses for the strange remnants of, to us, a dark age, have
exceeded in ingenuity the projectors of those relics.

Could we draw aside the thick veil that hides the future from us, we
might perhaps behold our great seaport swelling into a metropolis, in
size and importance, its suburbs creeping out to an undreamt-of distance
from its centre; or we might, reversing the picture, behold Liverpool by
some unthought-of calamity--some fatal, unforeseen mischance, some
concatenation of calamities--dwindled down to its former insignificance:
its docks shipless, its warehouses in ruins, its streets moss-grown, and
in its decay like some bye-gone cities of the east, that once sent out
their vessels laden with "cloth of blue, and red barbaric gold."  Under
which of these two fates will Liverpool find its lot some centuries
hence?--which of these two pictures will it then present?  Be it one or
the other, the strange undertakings of Joseph Williamson will perhaps,
some centuries from now, be brought again to light, and excite as much
marvel and inquiry as any mysterious building of old, the purpose of
which we do not understand, and the use of which we cannot now account
for.  They will be seemingly as meaningless as any lonely cairn, isolated
broken piece of wall, or solitary fragment of a building, of which no
principal part remains, and which puzzles us to account for at the
present time.

Mr. Williamson's property at Edge-hill, was principally held under the
Waste Lands Commission.  His leases expired in 1858.  It commenced
adjoining Miss Mason's house, near Paddington, and extended to
Grinfield-street.  It was bounded on the west by Smithdown-lane, along
which ran a massive stone wall of singular appearance, more like that of
a fortress than a mere enclosure.  Within this area were some of the most
extraordinary works, involving as great an outlay of money as may be
found anywhere upon the face of the earth, considering the space of
ground they occupy.  In their newly-wrought state, about the years 1835
and '36, or thereabouts, they created intense wonder in the minds of the
very few who were permitted to examine them.  During the last few years,
I believe they have been gradually filled up and very much altered, but
they are still there to be laid open some day.  Few of us know much of
them, though so few years have elapsed since they were projected and
carried out, since the sounds of the blast, the pick, and the shovel were
last heard in their vicinity.  Now what will be said of these minings,
subterranean galleries, vaults and arches, should they suddenly be
discovered a century hence, when their originator as well as their origin
shall have faded away into nothing like the vanishing point of the
painter?  Here we behold an astonishing instance of the application of
vast labour without use, immense expense incurred without hope of return,
and, if we except the asserted reason of the late projector that these
works were carried on for the sole purpose of employing men in times of
great need and depression, we have here stupendous works without
perceptible motive, reason, or form.  Like the catacombs at Paris,
Williamson's vaults might have been made receptacles for the dried bones
of legions of our forefathers.  Again, they might have been converted
into fitting places for the hiding of stolen goods, or where the illicit
distiller might carry on his trade with impunity.

I hardly know in what tense to speak of those excavations, not being
aware in what state they are at present.  A strange place it is, or was.
Vaulted passages cut out of the solid rock; arches thrown up by
craftmen's hands, beautiful in proportion and elegant in form, but
supporting nothing.  Tunnels formed here--deep pits there.  Yawning
gulfs, where the fetid, stagnant waters threw up their baneful odours.
Here the work is finished off, as if the mason had laboured with
consummate skill to complete his work, so that all the world might see
and admire, although no human eyes, save those of the master's, would
ever be set upon it.  Here lies the ponderous stone as it fell after the
upheaving blast had dislodged it from its bed; and there, vaulted over,
is a gulf that makes the brain dizzy, and strikes us with terror as we
look down into it.  Now we see an arch, fit to bridge a mountain torrent;
and in another step or two we meet another, only fit to span a simple
brook.  Tiers of passages are met with, as dangerous to enter as they are
strange to look at.  It must ever be a matter of regret that after Mr.
Williamson's death, some one able to make an accurate survey of the
property did not go through and describe it, because it has been greatly
changed since then by the accumulations of rubbish that have been brought
to every part of it.  All the most elaborate portions of the excavations
have been entirely closed up.  In one section of the ground (that near
Grinfield-street), where there was of late years a joiner's shop, the
ground was completely undermined in galleries and passages, one over the
other, constituting a subterranean labyrinth of the most intricate
design.  Near here also was a deep gulf, in the wall sides of which were
two houses completely excavated out of the solid rock, each having four
rooms of tolerable dimensions.

This chasm is now quite filled up.  The terrace extending from
Grinfield-street to Miss Mason's house is threaded with passages, vaults,
and excavations.  At the northern corner there is a tunnel eight feet
high, and as many wide, which runs up from what was once an orchard and
garden, to a house in Mason-street.  The tunnel is, I should think, 60
yards long.  As the ground rises up the hill, there are several flights
of stone steps with level resting-places.  About two-thirds up, where the
first flight is encountered, may be seen a portion of a large vault which
runs a short way southwardly.  A small portion of the top of the arch,
between it and the steps, is left open, but for what reason I never could
make out.  The further end of this vault opens into another great vault,
which I shall presently describe.  The passage is very dry, but the air
has a cold "gravey" taint, very unpleasant to inhale.  At the second
landing there is a sort of recess, into which rubbish from the garden
above is shot down through a spout or funnel.  At the top of the passage
is a doorway opening upon the back of a house in Mason-street.  This
passage or tunnel was evidently intended for a mode of communication
between the house and the orchard.  In the garden or orchard, and near
the tunnel mouth, were four lofty recesses, like alcoves, three of which
were four feet deep.  In one of those recesses, which was carried much
further back than the others, the stones were lying as they fell, and
there was a channel on one side of the flooring which seemed to have been
intended for a drain.  Through a large folding gate access is obtained
from Smithdown-lane into a wide passage or vault, in shape like a
seaman's speaking trumpet.  It is broad enough to accommodate two carts
at least, and has been used when the stone has been carted away from the
delph at its eastern end.  This vault is constructed of brick.  It
gradually deepens at the eastern end, and is about 15 feet wide, and 20
high.  At the opening it is not more than 15 high.  The top outside is
covered by soil, and forms part of the garden previously mentioned.  At
the left hand side of the tunnel end will be found a vault, running
northward for about fifty or sixty feet.  The end of this vault is the
limit of Mr. Williamson's property.  The tunnel already described as
running up to Mason-street crosses the top of this vault.  This vault is
about thirty-six feet wide and perhaps thirty feet high, but the floor
has been considerably raised since Mr. Williamson's time by debris and
rubbish of all sorts thrown into it.  In the right hand corner of the
vault, about ten feet from the ground, there is the mouth of a tunnel
which runs up first towards Mason-street, it then turns and winds in a
variety of ways in passages continuing under the houses in Mason-street,
and opening upon many of the vaults.  To the left of the entrance vault,
there is a large square area from which immense masses of red sandstone
have been quarried.  It is forty feet from side to side.  There is a
vault in the southern wall opposite the wall just described.  It runs
towards Grinfield-street, and is composed of two large arches side by
side, surmounted by two smaller ones.  In the eastern face of the quarry
there is an immense arch perhaps sixty feet high; and about thirty feet
from its entrance there is an immense and massive stone pier from which
spring two arches on each side, one above the other, but not from the
same level.  The pier is hollowed on the inside by three arches.  On the
left hand wall inside the arch there are two large arches, from which
vaults run northwardly, and on the right hand side of the wall there are
also two vaults which extend to a great distance in a southwardly
direction, towards Grinfield-street.  From these vaults, other vaults
branch off in all sorts of directions.  The houses in Mason-street all
rest upon these arches; and as you passed along the street, the depth of
some of them at one time was visible through the grids.  The construction
of these arches is of the most solid description, and seems stable as the
earth itself.  There are some openings of vaults commenced at the end
near Grinfield-Street, but discontinued.  These arches seem to have given
way and presented a curiously ruined aspect.  In the lower range of
vaults there was a run of water and what Williamson called "a quagmire."
In several places there are deep wells, whence the houses in Mason-Street
seem to be supplied with water.  Sections of arches commenced, but left
unfinished, were visible at one time in various places.  The lowest range
of arches opening from the Grinfield-street end run to the northward.
From the roof of many of these vaults were stalactites, but of no great
length.  The terraced gardens are ranged on arches all solidly built.
The houses in Mason-street are strange constructions.  In one house I saw
there was no window in one good-sized room, light being obtained through
a funnel carried up to the roof of the house through an upper floor and
room.  This strange arrangement arose from Mr. Williamson having no plan
of the house he was building for the men to work by, consequently it was
found the windows had been forgotten.  He never had, I believe, any
drawings or plans of either his houses or excavations.  The men were told
to work on till he ordered them to stop.  In another house I went through
there was an immense room which appeared as if two stories had been made
into one.  The bedroom--I believe there was only one in the house--was
gained by an open staircase, run up by the side of the west wall of the
large room.  After passing the room door you mounted another flight of
stairs which terminated in a long lobby, which ran over the top of the
adjoining house, to two attics.  The gardens of this house were
approached by going down several stone steps (all was solid with Mr.
Williamson) past the kitchen, which was also arched, and thence down
another flight of stone steps until you came to a lofty vaulted passage
of great breadth.  You then entered a dry, wide arch.  From this another
arch opened in a northwardly direction.  At the end of the principal
vault was a long, narrow, vaulted passage, which was lighted by a long
iron grating which proved to be a walk in a garden belonging to two
houses at a distance.  This passage then shot off at right angles, and at
length a garden was gained on a terrace, the parapet wall of which
overlooked the large opening or quarry previously described; and a
fearful depth it appeared.

Some of the backs of the Mason-street houses project, some recede, some
have no windows visible, others have windows of such length and breadth
as must have thrown any feeble-minded tax-gatherer when he had to receive
window duty into fits.  These houses really appear as if built by chance,
or by a blind man who has felt his way and been satisfied with the
security of his dwelling rather than its appearance.  The interiors of
these houses, however, were very commodious, when I saw them years ago.
They were strangely arranged, with very large rooms and very small ones,
and long passages oddly running about.

I recollect once going over a house in High-street which Williamson
erected.  The coal vault I went into would have held at least two hundred
tons of coals.  In all these vaults and places the rats swarmed in
droves, and of a most remarkable size.  I once saw one perfectly white.
Wherever Williamson possessed property there did his "vaulting ambition"
exhibit itself.

Such is a brief account of Williamson and his works.  A book might be
filled with his sayings and doings.  Amid all his roughness he was a kind
and considerate man, and did a great deal of good in his own strange way.
His effects were sold by Trotter and Hodgkins on the 7th June, 1841, and
one of the lots, No. 142, consisted of a view of Williamson's vaults and
a small landscape.  I wonder what has become of the former.  Lot 171 was
a "cavern scene" which showed the bent of the man's taste.


The conversion of the huge stone quarry at the Mount into a cemetery was
a very good idea.  This immense excavation was becoming a matter of
anxiety with the authorities, as to what should be done with so large an
area of so peculiar a nature.  To fill it up with rubbish seemed an
impossibility; while the constant and increasing demand for stone added
to the difficulties of the situation.  The establishment of a cemetery at
Kensal Green in Middlesex, suggested the conversion of this quarry to a
similar purpose.  A feeling in the minds of people that the dead should
not be interred amidst the living, began to prevail--a feeling that has
since grown so strong as to be fully recognised in the extensive
cemeteries now formed at the outskirts of this and all large towns.
Duke-street used to be called "The road to the Quarry," and was almost
solely used by the carts bringing stone into the town.  Eighty years ago,
there were only a few houses at the top of this street, having gardens at
the back.  There was a ropery which extended from the corner of the
present Berry-street (called after Captain Berry, who built the first
house in it), to the roperies which occupied the site of the present
Arcades.  All above this was fields, with a few houses only in
Wood-street, Fleet-street, Wolstenholme-square, and Hanover-street.  This
latter street contained some very handsome mansions, having large gardens
connected with them.

Rodney-street was laid out by a German named Schlink, who, being desirous
to perpetuate his name, called his new thoroughfare Schlink-street.
Several houses were erected in it, but the idea of living in
"Schlink"-street--the word "Schlink" being associated with bad
meat--deterred persons from furthering the German's speculation.  In
deference to this notion, the name of the then popular hero, "Rodney,"
was given to the street; and it has continued to be occupied by families
of the highest respectability, and especially of late years by the
medical profession.

I recollect a rather curious circumstance, connected with one of the best
houses in this street, which caused some amusement at the time amongst
those who were acquainted with the particulars and the parties.  It was a
complete instance of "turning the tables."  About thirty years, or more,
ago, a gentleman lived in Rodney-street, whose commercial relations
required him to be frequently in the metropolis.  He found his presence
there was likely to be continuous, and determined to give up his house in
Liverpool and reside permanently in London.  He, therefore, took steps to
let his house (which he held under lease at one hundred and five pounds
per annum) by advertising it, and putting a bill in the window to that
effect.  To his surprise he received a notice from his landlord informing
him that by the tenure of his lease, to which he was referred, he would
find that he could not sub-let.  Finding this to be the case, he went to
the owner of the property, and expressed a desire to be released from his
occupancy on fair terms, offering to find a substantial tenant and pay
half a year's rent.  The landlord, knowing he had a good tenant, rejected
this offer in a way somewhat approaching to rudeness.  Finding himself
tied to the stake, as it were, the gentleman inquired under what terms he
could be released?  The answer was, that nothing short of twelve months
rent and a tenant, would suffice to obtain a release.  Without making a
reply to this proposal, the gentleman went his way.  A few mornings after
this interview, the owner of the house, in passing, saw a man painting
the chequers {197} on the door cheeks, and on looking up found that "---
--- was licensed to sell beer by retail, to be drunk on the premises."
Astonished at this proceeding, he ordered the painter to stop his work,
but the painter told him he was paid for the job, and do it he would.  On
being told who it was that spoke to him his reply was that he did not
care, and that he might go to a place "where beer is not sold by retail
nor on the premises," for aught he cared.  Furious at this insolence, the
angry landlord sent word to his tenant that he wanted to see him, at the
same time giving him notice of what he would do if he persisted in
appropriating the house to the purpose intimated.  The only answer
returned was, that the tenant would be at "the beer-shop" at ten in the
morning, where he would meet his landlord.  At ten, accordingly, the old
gentleman went to his tenant, and on meeting him asked him what was the
meaning of his proceedings.  "Why," replied the tenant, "I find by my
lease that it is true I cannot sub-let, and as you will not accept what I
consider fair terms of release, I intend, for the remainder of my term,
to keep the place open as a beer-shop.  I have taken out a license,
bought furniture for the purpose, and here comes the first load of forms
and tables" (at that moment, sure enough, up came a cart heavily laden
with all sorts of beer-house requisites).  "I intend to make the
drawing-room a dancing saloon, and the garden a skittle alley.  I have
engaged an old warehouseman to manage the business for me, and if we
don't do a roaring business, I hope to make enough to pay your rent, and
become free from loss."  The intense anger of the landlord may be
imagined; and he left the house uttering threats of the utmost vengeance
of the law; but on an interview with his attorney he found there was no
redress--a beer-shop was "not in the bond."  He, therefore, went again to
his refractory tenant, for it was clear that if the house was once opened
as a beer-shop, the adjoining property would be deteriorated.  He was
smilingly greeted, and his tenant regretted that he had not tapped his
ale, or he would have offered him a glass.  "Come, Mr. ---," said the
landlord, "let us see if we cannot arrange this matter.  I am now willing
to accept your offer of half a year's rent, and a tenant."  "No," said
Mr. ---, "I cannot think of such terms now."  "Well, then, suppose you
give me a quarter's rent, and find me the tenant."  "No!"  "Then the rent
without the tenant."  "No!"  "Then a tenant without the rent."  "No; but
I will tell you what I'll agree to, my good sir--you see, I have been put
to some expense.  I made you a fair, and, as I think, a liberal offer,
which you would not accept.  Now, if you will reimburse me all the
expense I have been put to, and pay 10 pounds to the town charities, I
will abandon my beer-house scheme, undertake to give up the key, and
close the account between us."  With these terms the landlord eventually
complied, thus having "the tables fairly turned" upon him.

Cock-fighting was at one time a favourite sport in Liverpool, amongst the
lower orders, and, indeed, amongst all other classes too.  In a street
leading out of Pownall-square (so called after Mr. William Pownall, whose
death was accelerated during his mayoralty in 1708, in consequence of a
severe cold, caught in suppressing a serious riot of the Irish which
occurred in the night-time in a place near the Salthouse Dock, called the
Devil's acre), there was a famous cock-pit.  The street is now called
Cockspur-street.  Where the cock-pit stood there is a small dissenting
chapel, and the entrance to it may be found up a court.  This cock-pit
was the resort of all the low ruffians of the neighbourhood.  In
consequence of the disturbances which continually took place, it was
suppressed as the neighbourhood increased in population.  It is rather
singular that in more than one instance cock-pits have been converted
into places of public worship.  The cock-pit at Aintree, for instance,
was so converted; and the first sermon preached in it was by the Rev. Dr.
Hume, who skilfully alluded to the scenes that had been enacted in it,
without in the least offensively describing them.  That sermon was a
remarkable one, and made a great impression on the congregation assembled
there for the first time.  The late Lord Derby was an enthusiastic
cock-fighter, and kept a complete set of trainers and attendants.  When I
was a boy, it was thought nothing of to attend a cock-fight, and, such
was the passion for this cruel sport, that many lads used to keep cocks
for the purpose.

It is a curious thing to watch the changes that have taken place from
time to time in different neighbourhoods as to the character of the
inhabitants.  Where at one time we may have found the aristocracy of the
town assembling, we have noticed its respectability gradually fading
away, and those who inhabited large mansions removing elsewhere.  For
instance, Rose-hill, Cazneau-street (called after Mr. Cazneau; at one
time a pretty street indeed, with gardens in front of all the houses),
and Beau-street, were fashionable suburban localities.  St. Anne-street
abounded in handsome mansions and was considered the court-end of the
town.  The courtly tide then set southward; Abercromby-square, and its
neighbourhood sprung up, and so surged outward to Aigburth one way and to
West Derby another.  Everton I have already spoken of.  I remember the
houses in Faulkner-terrace remaining for years unfinished, and it was at
one time called "Faulkner's Folly," from the notion that no one would
ever think of living so far out of the town.  Mr. Faulkner, however,
proved himself to be more long-sighted than those who ridiculed his

I remember the present Haymarket a field with a rivulet flowing through
the midst of it, and the whole of this neighbourhood fields and gardens.
In Cazneau-street there was an archery lodge, a portion of which is still

I remember, too, the erection of Richmond Fair, in 1787.  It was
projected by a Mr. Dobb, who dwelt in a bay-windowed house still standing
in St. Anne-street.  He intended it for a Cloth Hall for the Irish
factors to sell their linens in, which they brought in great quantities
at that time to Liverpool.  The Linen Hall at Chester gave him the idea
of this undertaking.  It took very well at first, but in consequence of
complaints being made by the shopkeepers in the town that the dealers in
linen, instead of selling wholesale were carrying on an extensive retail
trade and injuring their business, the authorities stopped all further
traffic in it, and, after remaining some years unoccupied, it has of late
been converted into small tenements.


Thirty years ago Great Charlotte-street, at the Ranelagh-street end, was
a narrow, poorly-built thoroughfare.  On the left hand side, looking
south, between Elliot-street and the present coach-builders'
establishment, there was a timber-yard, in which stood a small wooden
theatre, known as "Holloway's _Sans Pareil_," and truly it was _Sans
Pareil_, for surely there was nothing like it, either in this town or
anywhere else.  Both inside and outside it was dirty and dingy.  There
were only a pit and gallery, the latter taking the place of boxes in
other theatres; and, yet the scenery was excellent, the actors, many of
them, very clever, and the getting up of the pieces as good as could be
in so small a place.  The pantomimes at Christmas were capital.  The
charges of admission were: to the pit 3d., and to the gallery, 6d.  The
audiences, whether men or women, boys or girls, were the roughest of the
rough.  The quantity of copper coin taken at the doors was prodigious;
and I am told that it occupied two persons several hours, daily, to put
the money up into the usual five-shilling packages.  Mr. Holloway used to
stand at one door and his wife at the other, to receive the admission
money.  When the audience was assembled, the former would go into the pit
and there pack the people, so that no space should be lost.  He would
stuff a boy into one, or a little girl into another seat, and leave them
to settle down into their proper places; giving one a buffet and another
a knock on the head, just to encourage the others to keep order and be
obedient to his will and wish.  There was no space lost in the pit of
Holloway's theatre, whatever there might be anywhere else.  A thriving
business was carried on in this little bit of a theatre, and if the
highest class of performances was not produced, nothing at any time
offensive to order and morality was permitted.

I remember a good joke in which a gentlemen whom I knew, connected with
one of our newspapers, and a leading actress at the Theatre Royal, were
concerned, in connection with a visit to the _Sans Pareil_.  The lady was
very desirous to see a piece which was got up with great _eclat_ at the
_Sans Pareil_, and which was attracting crowds of people to see it.  I
think it was entitled "Maria Martin; or, the Murder at the Red Barn."
Having expressed her wish to my friend, he at once offered to escort her
any evening on which she was disengaged.  Fixing, therefore a night when
her services in Williamson-square were not required, my friend and the
fair _comedienne_ betook themselves to Great Charlotte-street and
presented themselves at the gallery door where the gentleman tendered the
price of their admission.  Now the lady had a thick veil on that she
might, as she hoped, conceal her well-known features.  But it seems that
Mr. Holloway had at once recognised his fair visitor.  On the money being
tendered to Mrs. Holloway at the gallery door, Mr. H. called out from his
door, "Pass 'em in--all right, missus."  Now my friend was well aware
that Mr. Holloway knew him, and therefore supposed that as a press man he
would not allow him to pay--not supposing for a minute that the muffled
up figure of his companion had been recognised.

So in they went and managed to climb up the half ladder, half stair, that
led to the "aristocratic" region of the auditory part of the theatre.
These stairs were frightfully dirty and steep.  A broom had not been near
them for months, and the lady, picking up her ample skirts, endeavoured
to avoid all contact with both stairs and walls.  On emerging from the
top landing into the theatre, they found the place in a state of
semi-darkness.  They could just make out a few rows of benches, and
clustering in the middle front were about thirty people.  The noise was
horrible, and seemed more so through the prevailing darkness.  Shoutings,
bawlings, whistlings, and screamings were in full swing, and the lady
paused for a moment, whispering to her companion, "Oh, let's go back--I
can't stand this at any price."

My friend, however, urged his companion to remain, and at length they
managed to scramble forward, and secure a front seat at one side.  The
clamour was now added to by the entrance of the band, who mingled the
sounds of tuning instruments with the other discords prevalent.  Just at
this juncture in came Mr. Holloway, who commenced the packing process,
much to the amusement of our lady friend, who now began, in spite of the
heat, the offensive smells, and the row, to become curious, and
determined to see all that was to be seen.  Presently the lights were
fully turned on, and the orchestra struck up a lively medley tune,
suitable to the taste of the audience.  The orchestra, though small, was
a good one, and some very clever performers were amongst its members.
The play at length commenced, and appeared to create great interest and
command attention.  The lady admitted that the characters were well
represented, and the drama very creditably got up.  At length came a very
sensational portion of the play.  That part where _Maria Martin_ is
enticed into the Red Barn by _Corder_.  In this exciting scene, _Maria_,
as if having a presentiment of her fate, stands still and refuses to
move.  She appears in a state of stupor and _Corder_ endeavours to urge
her to accompany him.  Now there were seated in the middle of the pit two
sweeps, who appeared deeply interested in the performance, and finding
that _Corder_ could not induce _Maria_ to go forward, one of them, amidst
the silence that the cunning of the scene had commanded, screamed
out--"Why don't you give her some snuff, and make her sneeze!"  The
silence thus broken was broken indeed, and the house roared with
laughter.  Our two friends were not backward in partaking of the
merriment.  The lady went almost into hysterics, so violent were her
paroxysms of mirth.  In the midst of the clamour, Holloway, hearing these
loud bursts of laughter at a time when there should be complete silence,
rushed on to the stage, fancying something had gone wrong.  Darting to
the footlights, as well as his little fat figure would let him, he roared
out, "What's all this here row about?" and glancing round to see on whom
he could heap his vengeance, he caught sight of our two friends, and
looking up indignantly at them, he continued--"I von't have no row in my
the-a-ter.  If you vants to kick up a row you'd better go the The-a-ter
R'yal."  The audience seeing Mr. Holloway addressing the gallery, all
eyes were now turned up to where our friends were seated, and the lady,
(who had thrown up her veil in consequence of the intense heat) being
recognised, was saluted by some one shouting out "Three cheers for Mrs.
---," whereupon the audience began hurrahing, in the midst of which our
two adventurers made off as quickly as they could.  They declared that
neither of them could tell how they did so, being conscious of nothing
until they found themselves breathing the fresh air in Lime-street.

When Stephen Price, the American manager, was in Liverpool beating up
recruits, in, I think, 1831, Templeton, the tenor singer, was playing at
the Theatre Royal.  At that time Madame Malibran had made Templeton
famous, by selecting him to enact the part of _Elvino_ to her _Amina_,
and thus a very second-rate singer suddenly jumped into the first place
in public opinion, by his association with the gifted woman who enchanted
all her hearers.  Templeton waited on Price relative to an engagement in
America, when the following conversation took place:--"I should like to
go to America, Mr. Price, if you and I could agree about terms."  "Very
good, Mr. Templeton.  What would you expect, Mr. Templeton?"  "Well, I
should just expect my passage out and home, and thirty 'punds' a week,
Mr. Price, to begin with."  "Very good, Mr. Templeton."  "And all my
travelling expenses, from toun to toun."  "Very good, Mr. Templeton.
Anything else, Mr. Templeton?"  "My board and lodging in every toun, Mr.
Price." "Very good, Mr. Templeton.  Any thing else, Mr. Templeton?"  "And
a clear benefit in every toun, also, Mr. Price."  "Very good.  Anything
else, Mr. Templeton?"  "Well--no--I--ah--no!--nothing occurs to me just
now, Mr. Price."  "Well, then," said Mr. Price, "I'll see you d---d
first, Mr. Templeton."

There was a very good story current in Liverpool, some twenty-five years
ago, about Mr. W. J. Hammond, a then great favourite, both as actor and
manager, and an acquaintance of mine.  About that time a very flashy
gentleman went into the Adelphi Hotel, and after making minute inquiry as
to the bill of fare, and what he could have for dinner, at length ordered
"a mutton chop to be ready for him at five o'clock."  Five o'clock came,
and also the traveller, who sat down in the coffee room to his banquet.
He helped himself to the water at his own table and then emptied the
bottles at the next, and at length called on the waiter for a further
supply.  When the mutton chop was duly finished, the waiter inquired what
wine his "lordship" would take.  "Oh!--ah!--wine!  I'll take--another
bottle of--'water.'"  "Pray, sir," said the waiter (leaning the tips of
his thumbs upon the table) with a most insinuating manner--"Pray, sir,
would you like the _Bootle_ or the _Harrington_ water?"  Hammond heard
this, and agreed, with the friend referred to, to enter the Hotel, one at
each door, and severally call out, one for a glass of "Harrington," and
the other for a glass of "Bootle" water.  "Waiter, some Bootle water!"
came from a voice at the Copperas-hill door.  "Waiter, some Harrington
water!" was the order proceeding from the traveller entering by the front
door.  These strange orders, breaking upon the stillness that pervades
this well-conducted hotel, seemed to excite great surprise in one or two
aristocratic guests, who were standing in the lobby, when just at the
moment Mr. Radley came out of one of the rooms and recognised the jokers.
Taking them into his sanctum, he provided them with something stronger
than the stream from the good old red sandstone.  After a short time Mr.
R. was called out, and the two guests began to get impatient at his
non-return.  Hammond declared that he must go--so did his friend; but
they both thought it would seem unmannerly to leave the hotel without
seeing their entertainer.  Which should remain?  However, Hammond soon
cut the matter short by bolting out of the room and locking the door.
His friend sat patiently enough for some little time, fully expecting Mr.
Radley's return, but, while waiting, fell asleep.  When he awoke he found
himself in darkness, wondering where he could possibly be.  After groping
about some time, he discovered that the door was locked.  The trick
Hammond had played him then flashed across his mind.  Hunting about, he
at length found the bell which soon brought some one to the door, and on
its being opened a rather severe questioning took place, as to how the
visitor got there and what was his object.  Mr. Radley having in the
meantime gone home, he could not be referred to.  It was only after
sending for some person who knew the gentleman that he was released, and
certainly not without some suspicions attaching to his visit and his
peculiar position.

I recollect a good anecdote of a favourite actor in Liverpool some twenty
years ago, when he was engaged at the Theatre Royal as one of the stock
company.  Mr. S--- was a constant church-goer, as many actors and
actresses are, although those who do not know them fancy they cannot be
either good or religious--a great mistake.  Mr. S--- was accommodated by
a friend, who had a very handsomely fitted up pew in St. A---'s Church,
with the use of it, and Mr. S--- occupied it so long that he quite
considered it to be his own; and it was a standing joke amongst his
intimates that on all occasions "my pew" was referred to.  Being out one
night rather late, with some "jolly companions," he and they found, on
comparing timepieces, that if they were not quick in getting home
unpleasant consequences would ensue amongst their domestic relations.
Said one, "I must be off."  Said another, "If I don't make haste shall be
locked out."  "My boy," said S---, "never mind being locked out, I'll go
and get the key of St. A---'s church, and you shall _sleep in my pew_!"


On turning over my "Recollections" of our theatre, there was one
circumstance connected with the drama in Liverpool that I shall not
forget.  It made a great impression on my mind, as it did no doubt upon
all those who, at the time, interested themselves in the success of the
movement.  I allude to the brilliant demonstration that took place in
December, 1816, when an amateur performance was got up in aid of the
distress experienced in Liverpool, a distress felt in common with the
whole nation.  All the leading theatrical and musical amateurs in the
town took part in that performance.  I dare say that, at this distance of
time even, it is well remembered by those who assisted at it, if there be
any of them still amongst as.  I am quite certain that the patriotic
feelings which urged them to unite and give their valuable services at so
trying a time must still and ever be a source of gratification to them of
the highest order.

At the date I refer to, great commercial distress prevailed.  Amongst the
working and lower classes the most frightful indigence and destitution
were experienced.

After the battle of Waterloo all sorts of property depreciated in value.
Everything previously was at a "war price."  The amount of taxation which
the country had to endure may be judged when I state that for a house
rented at forty pounds per annum the following were the taxes levied upon
its occupier:--Window tax, 11 pounds 4s. 6d.; inhabited house duty, 2
pounds 18s. 6.; land tax, 1 pounds 16s.; highway and church rates, 2
pounds 13s. 9d.; poor rates, 18 pounds; making a total to be paid of 36
pounds 12s. 9d.!  The failure of the harvest that year added also to the
general distress so that the nation might have been said to have been on
the very eve of bankruptcy.  So bad was the flour in 1816, and so scanty
the supply, that everybody seemed occupied in hunting up and inventing
new modes of preparing it for consumption, as well as appropriating
unheard of articles as food.  I recollect even "saw-dust" was attempted
to be converted into bread, while horse-beans were cooked in all sorts of
ways to be made palatable, and were also ground down to a sort of flour
as a substitute for wheat.  The newspapers teemed with cautions to the
public to use the utmost economy, while recipes without end appeared as
to how bad flour could be best used and made wholesome.  It will scarcely
be credited that even a public notice emanated from the Town Hall on this
subject, signed by Mr. Statham, the Town Clerk.  I have by me a copy of
it, which, as it may interest some of my readers, I will give entire.  It
is headed--

                             JOHN WRIGHT, MAYOR.

                               MAKING OF BREAD.

                           NOTICE TO HOUSEKEEPERS,
                            AND DEALERS IN FLOUR.

    Complaints having been made against some of the Flour Dealers in this
    town for having sold Flour unfit for the making of Bread, the Mayor
    thinks proper to acquaint the Public that, upon an investigation of
    such complaints, it appeared that in many instances blame was not
    imputable to the Flour Dealer, but to the Purchaser of the Flour in
    not having taken proper precautions in the Making of the Bread,
    which, owing to the state of the Flour this season, it was necessary
    to have taken, and which had been pointed out to the party by the
    Flour Dealer.

    From the above circumstance, the Mayor has been induced to recommend
    to all Dealer's in Flour upon the Sale of any Flour which, although
    not unsound, may render proper precautions necessary in the use of
    the same, to apprise their several customers thereof; and the Mayor
    has been further induced to recommend to all Housekeepers the
    adoption of the following system in the Making of Bread:--

    To boil the water and let it stand till of a proper heat, to knead
    the Flour well, using as little water as possible, and let it stand a
    sufficient time to rise; to use fresh Water Barm, and bake the Bread
    on the oven bottom, in small loaves of not more than 2lb. to 3lb.
    weight; to use, as much as possible, Cakes or Hard Bread, and not to
    use the Bread new.

                                                    By Order of the Mayor,
                                                      STATHAM, TOWN CLERK.

    22 _Nov._ 1816.

In London the distress was so great that the people there were full of a
rebellious element; at a meeting in Spitalfields, whereat the celebrated,
or, if the term be more appropriate, "notorious," Henry Hunt was present,
and addressed a numerous assembly, frightful disorders took place.
Meetings of large bodies of the people were held in all the leading
cities and towns throughout the kingdom to petition the Prince Regent and
parliament to do something effectual to stay the tide of calamity that
seemed to be setting steadily in to overwhelm the nation.

The petition from Liverpool was most numerously and respectably signed;
and I recollect that so determined were the memorialists to ascertain
whether their petition had been properly presented that a correspondence
took place on the subject and was made public, between his worship the
mayor, Sir W. Barton, and General Gascoigne, one of our members, relative
to its having reached its destination.

The price of wheat in the month of December, 1816, was 21s. per 70lbs.,
while the quartern loaf of 4lb. 5oz. cost 1s. 6.75d.  The penny loaf only
weighed 3oz. 1.25 dr.

To the credit of the working classes in Liverpool, the utmost patience
and forbearance was exhibited under intense sufferings.  I recollect well
the energy exhibited by the gentry of the town, in their endeavours to
raise funds for the general relief.  The Dock Trustees employed numbers
of people at 2s. a day.  A large loan was raised to enable them to give
unlimited employment.  The leading firms in the town were subscribers to
this loan, which was headed by the Norwich Union Life and Fire Office
with 1000 pounds.  In the churches and chapels charity sermons were
constantly preached, and the clergy of all denominations urged their
flocks to give anything at all, and not to withhold even their mites.

Gentlemen formed themselves into parties to canvass subscriptions for the
poor from house to house, while the ladies left no stone unturned to
further the cause of charity.  It was a most remarkable epoch in the
history of this country, and certainly in Liverpool the time was as
trying as could possibly be conceived.  Merchants and tradesmen were
daily failing.  Great houses, apparently able to stand any amount of
pressure, gave way, and many of the provincial banks succumbed, adding to
the horrors of the time.  Amongst other schemes afloat to relieve
distress in Liverpool was the benefit got up at the Theatre Royal, to
which I have referred.  The prices of admission were doubled on the
occasion.  The box tickets were 9s., the upper boxes, 8s., the pit, 6s.,
and the gallery, 2s.; and the proceeds realised no less a sum than 610
pounds!  The performances were the "Poor Gentleman," "A Concert," by
musical amateurs, and the burlesque of "Bombastes Furioso."  The
characters were personated for the most part in each of the pieces by
amateurs, amongst whom were several of the leading gentlemen of the town,
who spared no pains, study, nor cost to render their exertions

There may be still left amongst us some of those who took part in the
glory of that memorable evening of Saturday, December 7, 1816.  At this
distant time, they may still indulge in a feeling of pride at their
successful endeavours to further a good cause, and they will not, I am
sure, be offended at an old man recording the amount of talent they
exhibited, nor the zeal they manifested in fully carrying out the plan
proposed for the public amusement and the welfare of the poor.  I
recollect there was an admirably written prologue, by Dr. Shepherd, which
was as admirably delivered by Mr. J. H. Parr, in the character of
_Stephen Harrowby_, a character which he personated in the play with all
the finish of an experienced actor, his exertions drawing forth frequent
and loud applause.  _Dr. Ollapod_ was personated by Dr. Carter, who
excited roars of laughter.

I recollect the names of Messrs. Aldridge, Bartleman, Cooper, Greaves,
Halewood, Hime, Jackson (a distinguished violoncello player, by the way),
Langhorne, Maybrick, Tayleure (a distinguished double bass), and Vaughan.
In "Bombastes Furioso," _King Artaxomines_ was personated by Mr.
Richmond; _Fusbos_ by Mr. Clay; _General Bombastes_ by Mr. J. H. Parr,
who elicited shouts of laughter by his drollery and admirable acting.
Miss Grant, of the Theatre Royal Company, played _Distaffina_.  The house
was crowded in every part, the whole town seemed to take an interest in
the matter, and every nerve was strained to command success.  In fact so
well did those who had undertaken the disposal of tickets succeed, that
numbers of persons could not gain admission although possessing tickets,
while hundreds who in vain crowded round the doors were unable to obtain
entrance "for love or money."  A more cordial display of goodwill was
never known in this town, nor was there ever a more enthusiastic,
elegant, or better pleased audience assembled within the walls of the
Theatre Royal than on that occasion.

At this time there was considerable ferment in the public mind, relative
to, and consequent upon, the escape of Lord Cochrane from the King's
Bench prison, and when the gallant and noble lord was re-captured and
re-committed with a fine of 100 pounds inflicted upon him, the men of
Liverpool were early astir in the noble sailor's behalf--a subscription
box was opened instantly the matter became known in Liverpool, and it was
resolved that not more than a "penny" should be given by each person
towards the fine, and each subscriber should, on payment of his money,
sign his name and address.  A shop at the corner of John-street and
Dale-street, was one place appointed for the reception of pence and
names, while another was in Mersey-street opposite the end of
Liver-street.  Crowds of persons were assembled round these places who
loudly and admiringly canvassed the noble lord's conduct.  He was quite
the hero of his day, and in no place had his lordship more enthusiastic
admirers than in Liverpool amongst the liberal party.  By the people
generally, he was quite idolized.  In a very short time 2500 pence and
names were obtained, and had 25,000 been wanted, I am sure they would
have been as readily subscribed.  As it may be interesting to some of my
readers to know how the 100 pounds fine was paid, I can give them some
particulars thereupon, 85 pounds was paid in bank notes, 5 pounds in
silver, and 10 pounds in copper.  It was said in a joke, that if the
whole amount had been tendered in brass it would have been readily
accepted, so glad were authorities to get rid of so troublesome a


On Sunday morning, February 11, 1810, I was standing in St. Nicholas
churchyard, in company with two old friends.  We were waiting the arrival
of the congregation, and the commencement of the morning service.  The
second bells were chiming.  We had been looking on the river with that
interest which is always felt in gazing upon such a scene.  Our
conversation had turned upon the benefits which a good sound Christian
education must confer upon the lower classes of society.  Education at
the period to which I refer was then beginning to take hold of the public
mind, as an essential to the well-doing of the people.  This subject in
later years, as is known, has become an absorbing question.  Our remarks
had been evoked by the neat appearance of the children of the Moorfields
Schools, who had just passed near where we stood, as they entered the
church.  One of us remarked in reference to the Tower close by, that it
was the dower of the Lady Blanche, the daughter of John O'Gaunt, who,
although occupying so eminently marked a place in history, was a man so
narrow-minded that he would not allow any of his vassals to receive the
least education as he held that it unfitted them for the duties of their
station, and gave them ideas far above their lot in life.  A curious
speculation was hazarded by one of my friend's that as Water-street was
anciently called "Bank-street," whether the word "Bank" ought not to have
been "Blanche"-street; a name given to it in honour of the lady to whom
the principal building in the street belonged, when, just as he had
finished speaking, we heard, as if above us, a smart crack.  On looking
round to ascertain the cause, a sight burst upon our view, that none who
witnessed it could ever forget.  The instant we turned, we beheld the
church tower give way, on the south-west side, and immediately afterwards
the spire fell with a frightful and appalling crash into the body of the
building.  The spire seemed at first to topple over, and then it dropped
perpendicularly like a pack of cards into a solid heap, burying
everything, as may be supposed, below it.  There were many persons in the
churchyard, waiting to enter the sacred edifice, and, like ourselves,
were struck dumb with horror and dismay at the frightful catastrophe.  We
were soon aroused to a state of consciousness, and inaction gave way to
exertion.  In a very short time, the noise of the crash had brought
hundreds of persons into the churchyard to ascertain the cause.  Amidst
the rising dust were heard the dreadful screams of the poor children who
had become involved in the ruins; and not long after, their screams were
added to by the frantic exclamations of parents and friends who, in an
incredibly short time had hurried to the scene of the disaster.  Crowds
of people rushed into the churchyard, some hurrying to and fro, scarcely
knowing what to fear or what to do.  That the children were to be exhumed
was an immediate thought, and as immediately carried into execution.  Men
of all ranks were seen, quite regardless of their Sunday clothes, busily
employed in removing the ruins--gentlemen, merchants, tradesmen, shopmen
and apprentices, willingly aiding the sturdy labourers in their good
work, and, in a short time, first one little sufferer, and then another,
was dragged out from the mass of stone and brick and timber that lay in a
confused heap.  Twenty-eight little ones were at length brought out, of
whom twenty-three were dead; five were alive, and were taken to the
Infirmary, but of these, only three survived.  They were horribly maimed,
and so disfigured that they were scarcely recognizable.  These
twenty-eight poor little bodies were at first laid in rows in the
churchyard to be claimed by their parents and friends, many of whom were
to be seen running to and fro looking distracted with the great calamity
that had befallen them.  Of all the pitiable sights I ever beheld, the
sight of these little things laid on the grass was the most piteous; and,
as, one by one they were claimed and taken away--in some instances
parents claiming two, and in one instance, three children--the utmost
sympathy was felt for those who had been so suddenly bereft.

It was most fortunate that the accident did not occur half an hour--nay,
a quarter of an hour--later, or the calamity might have been such as
would have marked the day as one of the darkest in our annals--a
frightful spot in our calendar.  Beside the children, there were only
about twenty people seated in the church, far from the scene of the
disaster, and they, on the first indication of danger, had fled and
sought safety outside the building.  How the bell-ringers escaped, it is
impossible to tell, but escape they did, and that unhurt, with the
exception of one, who rushed back to get his clothes and was killed.  It
was to their intense stupidity and obstinacy that this catastrophe may be
ascribed.  Previous to the accident, they had been told that the tower
was unsafe, and on that very morning, they were advised not to ring the
bells again, until an examination of the building had taken place: but
ring they would, and ring they did, and the result of their ringing was a
death-knell unmatched in local history.

Nor were the authorities altogether free from blame.  It was said that
they were apprised of the insecurity of the tower, and yet did not take
steps to avoid the accident.  The escapes of people on their way to
church were wonderful, and many traced their good fortune to being tardy
in getting ready, or from leaving home at an usually late moment.  The
scene of the disaster was for a long time an attraction to people
residing miles from Liverpool, and the country around sent thousands to
gaze on the unusual sight presented to their view.

In the same year the sad calamity I have just recorded took place, the
Theatre Royal was the scene of a frightful disturbance, which ended in
the trial at Lancaster of several highly respectable men, for being
partakers in it.  I have a distinct recollection of this affair, and a
more disgraceful one to all parties concerned in it, cannot be imagined.
These riots were termed the H. P. riots.

In the September of the preceding year there had been considerable
agitation in the theatrical world of London, and dreadful riots had taken
place as to the old prices, and the question was whether new and advanced
prices should be charged for admission to the theatres.  A number of
individuals, as many as forty, were tried for the offence of rioting at
Covent Garden, when, to the surprise of everyone, the whole of the party
were found "Not guilty."

There is no doubt that this strange verdict in reference to most
outrageous and unjustifiable conduct had put it into the heads of many
people in Liverpool that similar conduct might be indulged in, with like
impunity, respecting the Theatre Royal.  There had been frequent attempts
made to induce the lessees of the theatre, Messrs. Lewis and Knight, to
permit a half-price to be taken.  The plea for the request was that
numbers of persons who would like occasionally to visit a theatre were
debarred doing so from the fact that their hours of employment were so
late that they could not get away in time to attend when the performances
commenced, and they thought it a hard case that they should be obliged to
pay full price for only half the quantity of amusement.  The lessees
pleaded their expenses were just the same, whether the people came at
full price or half-price, and since the Theatre Royal had been
established no such arrangement had been attempted, and as it would not
pay them to concede a half price they declined to do so.  They said their
undertaking in the theatre was a private speculation for a public
purpose, and they had no right to be compelled to do, what no other
tradesmen would be expected to do, that is, prosecute their business at a
loss.  The play-goers, however, seemed determined to carry things with a
high hand, and endeavour to force Messrs. Lewis and Knight to come to
their terms.  The season was announced to commence on the 11th of May,
1810, when there appeared, a few days previously, on the walls of the
town the following placard:--

                              THE THEATRE OPENS
                          ON MONDAY NEXT, 11TH MAY.

                                 THE MANAGERS
                  Have been requested to permit admission at


    As in London, etc. (and elsewhere), but they still persist in the
    injustice of demanding FULL PRICES, from those who have it not in
    their power to attend until a very late hour, when a good and
    material part of the performance is over!  We have even a greater
    right to the indulgence than the London audiences--

                                    LET US
                               BOLDLY CLAIM IT
                              WE MUST SUCCEED!!

This placard was followed by others.  An abusive letter also made its
appearance, as well as a pamphlet equally offensive, in which the lessees
were held up to scorn, ridicule, and opprobrium.  In fact, every step was
taken to excite the (play-going) public mind on the subject of
"half-price or full-price."

When the opening night arrived, crowds of people assembled outside the
theatre, and the rush to get in, when the doors opened, was immense.
Numbers of places had been previously taken in the boxes, by persons who
were seen to be most actively engaged in the riots in the theatre
afterwards.  No sooner had the curtain rose to the play of "Pizarro" than
the row began--shoutings, bawlings, whistlings, hornblowings, turnings of
rattles, flappings of clappers, and every noise that could be made by the
human voice was indulged in, and the uproar seemed to increase as the
night went on--such a scene of confusion can hardly be conceived, and
amidst the turbulence that reigned placards were exhibited demanding
"half-price."  In vain the managers attempted to obtain a hearing--in
vain favourite actors came forward, hoping to be heard--the play
proceeded, but all in "inexplicable dumb show and noise."  These riots
were repeated on the nights of the 14th and 16th, when it was found
necessary to close the theatre.  Each night the same riotous behaviour
was exhibited.  In fact, to such an extent had it arrived that the Mayor
was at length sent for, and read the Riot Act.  The mob outside threw
brick-bats, stones, and all sorts of missiles at the windows, which they
completely smashed, breaking away even the woodwork of the frames.  The
people outside kept bawling "Half-price!" and when any of the known
adherents of the full price attempted to get out of the theatre they were
driven back and insulted, while those in favour of "Half-price" were
cheered and applauded most vociferously.  At length, it was determined by
the magistrates that the strong arm of the law should be stretched out,
and in consequence, six persons who had been most active in the
disturbances were arrested, and brought to trial at the autumn assizes at
Lancaster, for conspiracy and riot.  These delinquents were all gentlemen
of position in the town, and, as may be supposed, the case excited the
utmost attention and interest.  The case was tried on the 14th September.
Sir Robert Graham was the judge.  I remember Serjeant Cockle was for the
prosecution, assisted by Messrs. Park, Topping, Holroyd, and Clark,
nearly all of whom, by the way, I think, have since obtained seats on the
judicial bench.  The council for the defence were Messrs. Raine, Scarlett
(afterwards Sir James Scarlett), Raincock, and Richardson.  Sergeant
Cockle, in opening the case highly lauded Messrs. Lewis and Banks as
actors, men, and citizens, and pointed out to the jury how monstrous the
conduct of the prisoners had been, in attempting to force an unprofitable
movement upon anyone.  I recollect he made use of this remarkable
expression, "that every person resorting to a theatre has a right to
express his dissatisfaction against any thing he sees, either of the
plays performed or the actors, and that he must do this honestly: but if
he conspire with others to damn any play or condemn any actor, punishment
should follow such conspiracy."

At the trial Mr. Statham, the Town Clerk, gave also evidence for the
prosecution.  After the court had been occupied some time, and many
witnesses had been examined, an attempt was made on the part of the judge
to effect a compromise, His Lordship remarking that he thought the ends
of justice had been served in the public exposure and annoyance which the
defendants had been put to, and that as the temper of the people had
subsided, and even a better understanding existed between the public and
the lessees than before, he thought it was of no use to carry the case
any further.  The council for the prosecution, however, would not consent
to this; at the same time they assured the judge and the court, that the
prosecution was not carried on by the lessees, but by the magistrates of
the borough, who were determined to put a stop, by all means in their
power, to a recurrence of such disgraceful proceedings, and attempts on
the part of an unthinking public to force gentlemen to do what they did
not consider right or equitable.  The verdict returned was "guilty of
riot, but not of conspiracy."


I have never been much of a play-goer, but have occasionally visited the
theatres when remarkable performers have appeared.  I recollect many of
the leading actors and actresses of the close of the last century, while
all the great ones of this I have seen from time to time.  Joe Munden,
Incledon, Braham, Fawcett, Michael Kelly, Mrs. Crouch, Mrs. Siddons,
Madame Catalani Booth, and Cooke, and all the bright stars who have been
ennobled--Miss Farrell (Lady Derby), Miss Bolton (Lady Thurlow), Miss
Stephens (Countess of Essex), Miss Love (Lady Harboro), Miss Foote
(Marchioness Harrington), Miss Mellon (Duchess of St. Alban's), Miss
O'Neil (Lady Beecher)--but I must say the old and the new style of
acting, appear to be very different.  Mrs. Siddons exhibited the highest
perfection of acting.  I cannot conceive anything that can go beyond it
in dramatic art.

I was present when John Kemble bade farewell to the Liverpool audiences.
It took place in the summer of 1813.  The play was "Coriolanus."  The
house was crowded to excess, and the utmost enthusiasm was exhibited in
favour of the great tragedian; who, although not a townsman, was at any
rate a county man, he having been born at Prescot.

Mr. Kemble, when addressing the audience on that occasion, made a very
remarkable declaration.  He said that "it was on the Liverpool stage he
first adapted the play of 'Coriolanus,' and produced it, as they had just
seen it performed, and that it was the earnest encouragement he then
received that proved a great stimulus to him in after life."

A statement of the sums of money received at benefits amongst the "old
stagers" may perhaps interest some of my readers.  I am going back a long
way, but I do so that those who know or who guess at the receipts of the
"moderns" may compare them with those of the "ancients."  In 1795 Mrs.
Maddocks, a most delightful actress, and an immense favourite in
Liverpool, drew 213 pounds; Mrs. Powell, 207 pounds; Mr Banks, 183
pounds; Mr. Whitfield, 135 pounds.  Mr. Kelly, the Irish singer, and Mrs.
Crouch, a most charming and fascinating woman, with a lovely voice,
realised together 136 pounds; Mr. Hollinsworth, 124 pounds; and Mr. Ward
119 pounds.  In modern days the Clarkes (the manager and his wife) have
received as much as 300 pounds at their benefits.  One of the best
speculations Mr. Lewis ever made was the engagement of Paganini, shortly
after his first appearance in the metropolis, in, I think, 1829 or 1830.
This wonderful genius had taken the musical world of London by storm, and
struck terror and despair into the hearts of the violinists of his day;
one and all of whom declaring, as a friend of mine said of his own
playing--although eminent in his profession--"that they were only
fiddlers."  Paganini's playing was most unearthly and inhuman.  I never
heard anything like the tones he produced from his violin--the sounds now
crashing as if a demoniac was tearing and straining at the strings, now
melting away with the softest and tenderest harmonies.  He kept his
hearers enthralled by his magical music, and astonished by his wonderful
execution.  I shall never forget hearing him play the "Walpurgis Nacht,"
when he appeared at the Amphitheatre in 1835 or 1836.  It was painting a
picture by means of sounds.  His descriptive powers were wonderful.
Anybody with the least touch of imagination could bring before "his
mind's eye" the infernal revel that the artist was depicting.  The
enchantments of the witches were visible.  You could hear their
diabolical songs, you could fancy their mad and wild dances; while, when
the cock crew (imitated by the way in a most astonishing manner), you
would feel that there was a rushing of bodies through the air, which were
scattering in all directions.  Then the lovely melody
succeeding--descriptive of the calm dawn of summer morning--came
soothingly on the senses after the strain of excitement that the mind had
experienced.  In that delicious melody you could fancy you saw the rosy
colours of the breaking day and gradually the rising of the sun, giving
light and beauty to the world.  That performance was the most wonderful I
ever listened to, and I feel confident no one but those who did hear this
strange man can ever entertain any notion of his style or performance.
His first engagement in Liverpool was at the Theatre Royal, and a
characteristic anecdote is related of the Signor in this transaction.  At
the Amphitheatre, Signor De Begnis, the great harp player--the husband of
the fascinating Ronzi de Begnis, and who ran away with Lady Bishop, (he
was the ugliest man for a Cavaliero I ever saw, being deeply pitted with
the smallpox)--had been giving some concerts which were exceedingly
unsuccessful.  The people engaged got no money, De. Begnis having
completely failed in the speculation.  The news of this having reached
London, Paganini heard of it, and when Mr. Lewis proposed to engage him,
he jumped at the conclusion that this was the same as De Begnis's
speculation and that there could be only one theatre in Liverpool.  He
accordingly declined to come to Liverpool, unless the money to be paid to
him was first lodged at his bankers (Messrs. Coutts) in London.  Mr.
Lewis saw through the Signor's error at once, and immediately remitted
1000 pounds to ratify the engagement for ten nights.  Paganini played his
ten nights and drew on each of them from 280 pounds to 300 pounds, so
that, great as the risk was, the speculation was a most advantageous one
to the lessee.  When Paganini came to the Amphitheatre in 1835 or '36 (I
think) with Watson as his manager, and Miss Watson as his _Cantatrice_,
he did not draw as on his first appearance, although the houses were very
good.  I recollect talking to Mr. Watson on the stage between the parts,
when the gods, growing impatient, whistled loudly for a re-commencement
of the performance.  Paganini, who happened to be near us, seemed rather
surprised at the noise, and turning to Watson he inquired _qu'est que
c'est ces tapageurs ces siffleurs_? and on being told, he grinned
horribly, and said in a low voice--_Bah_! _betes_!

I once was told, by one of the actors employed at the Theatre Royal, a
curious anecdote of a remarkable and distinguished lady.  I don't
recollect the year it happened, but I think it must have been about 1829.
In that year a carriage drove up to the Theatre Royal, containing two
ladies, attended by a man-servant in green and gold livery.  The servant
went into the theatre to inquire if Mr. Clarke, the stage-manager, was
in.  On being answered in the affirmative, the stoutest of the two
ladies--for the other lady was quite young--stepped out of the carriage,
and without ceremony walked through the lobby straight upon the stage, to
the utter surprise of the hall-keeper who, like a masonic tyler, allows
no one to pass without a word or sign of recognition that they are of the
privileged.  The man followed the lady, who, stepping to the footlights,
gazed around on that most desolate of all desolate, dreary, dingy places,
the inside of a theatre by daylight.  On her still handsome countenance
alternated emotions of pride, regretful feeling, as well as of deep
interest.  After looking across the pit for a few moments, she turned to
the hall-porter and requested him to announce to Mr. Clarke that a lady
wished to see him for a few minutes.  The man quickly returned,
requesting the lady to follow him, but she, passing him, made her way to
the treasury with the air and mien of one who well knew the way to that
place of torture when a "ghost does not walk."  The lady accosted Mr.
Clarke with a winning air, and seeing that she was not recognised, said,
"So you don't recollect me?"  "No, indeed, I do not."  "Well, that is
strange, considering the money you have paid me.  Why," she continued,
"do you not recollect who played _Little Pickle_ at Swansea and Bristol
in 18--?"  "Bless me!" exclaimed Mr. Clarke.  "Ah! I see you know me
now," said the lady laughing.  "And many a week's salary I have had
there," continued the buxom visitor, pointing to the pay-place, "and now
just let me have something paid to me to remind me of old times."
Whereupon she went to the pay-place, when the gallant stage-manager put
down a week's salary as of old, which the lady took up, returning it
however, and placing at the same time in Mr. Clarke's hand, a note for 20
pounds, which she desired him to distribute amongst the most needy of the
company.  The lady was the Duchess of St. Alban's.  When Miss Mellon, she
had been engaged at the Theatre Royal, and the first benefit she had was
in Liverpool.  I knew a gentleman who exerted himself greatly on her
behalf on that occasion, and the success of it was mainly attributable to
his efforts.  This she always gratefully acknowledged, and I recollect
his telling me that once, being in London, this admirable and
kind-hearted lady--who so worthily used the wealth at her command, after
she was ennobled--recognised him while passing down Pall Mall and
beckoned him to the side of her magnificent equipage, and there recalled
the old time to his recollection acknowledging the old obligation,
assuring him that if she could in any way serve him she would be
delighted to do so.

The Theatre Royal, about forty odd years ago was under the lesseeship of
Messrs. Lewis and Banks.  Mr. Banks was extremely fond of a good and
well-dressed dish; he had a person as cook who had been with him some
years, and who suited his taste in his most choice dishes.  The two had a
serious quarrel, which ended in cooky giving her master notice of leaving
his service.  Mr. Banks took this somewhat to heart as he thought if he
parted with his cook--and such a cook as she was--he might not be able to
replace her.  To put it out of her power to give him notice again, he
offered her marriage, and was accepted.  Mrs. Banks sometimes used to
visit the theatre, and generally took her seat at the wing by the
prompter's table, where she could see tolerably well what was going
forward on the stage.  On one occasion the tragedy of "Venice Preserved"
was being performed.  Edmund Kean was _Jaffier_ and Miss O'Neil
_Belvidera_.  They were playing to a greatly excited house, as may well
be supposed when two such artists were upon the stage.  Mr. St. A---, who
was then ballet-master at the theatre, and who, by the way, was a most
graceful dancer, seeing Mrs. Banks, went up to her to exchange
compliments.  Having done so, Mr. St. A--- remarked how seldom they had
the pleasure of seeing Mrs. Banks.  "Oh," replied she, "I never come to
the theatre--not I.  There's no good actors now-a-days--there ain't
anybody worth seeing."  "Dear me, Mrs, B., how can you say so?  Who have
we on the stage now?  There's Mr. Kean"--"Mr. Kean, indeed," exclaimed
Mrs. B., "I can't abide him; he's my abortion."  "Well, then, what do you
think of Miss O'Neil?"  "Miss O'Neil!--Miss O'Neil, indeed; do you call
her a hactress?--I can't abide her.  There she is--see how she lolls and
lollups on the fellows--it's quite disgusting!"  Now the fact was that
Miss O'Neil who was chastity itself off the stage, and who lead a most
blameless life, showed, when performing, such _abandon_ and _impressment_
in her actions as to be quite remarkable, especially in parts where the
intensity of passion had to be displayed, and this Mrs. Banks "couldn't
abide."  "Well, then," continued Mr. St. A---, "who do you call a good
actor?"  "Who do I call a good actor! you wait till my dear John Emery
comes down, and then you'll see a good actor; and if I live as long, I'll
make him such a pudding, please God, as he hasn't had this many a day!"
Old Mrs. Banks was about right as to John Emery; he was an actor of the
first-class, and has never been replaced in his peculiar line.  I have
seen Emery play _Tyke_ in the "School of Reform."  It was a wonderful
impersonation.  I have seen nothing like it since.

It has always appeared to me to be a remarkable circumstance that many
actors and actresses who have been great favourites in the metropolis,
have not stood in the same light with the Liverpool audiences.  I have
seen, occasionally, some remarkable instances of this.  Dowton, a great
actor, never drew; James Wallack never attracted large audiences.  I have
seen the whole Adelphi company--including Frederick Yates, his charming
wife, Paul Bedford, John Reeve, O. Smith, and others--fail to draw; in
fact at one engagement they played night after night to almost empty
benches.  This was, I think, in 1838.  I recollect, on one occasion,
Yates seeing a band-box on the stage, went up to it and gave it a kick,
and looking significantly at the state of the house, exclaimed, "Get out
of my sight--I hate empty boxes!"

Vandenhoff was always a great favourite with the Liverpool audiences.
There was a tremendous row once got up at the Theatre Royal, in which he
was concerned.  About 1825, I think, Vandenhoff went to try his fortune
on the London stage, and there, if he did not altogether fail, he did not
succeed commensurate with his great expectations; and after knocking
about at several theatres, playing, I believe, at some of the minors--the
Surrey, Coburg, and Sadler's Wells--he came back to Liverpool, where a
Mr. Salter had taken up the position he had vacated.  A strong move by
Mr. Vandenhoff's friends was made to reinstate him on the Liverpool
Tragic Throne.  This Mr. Salter's friends would not allow.  The
consequence was that several noisy demonstrations took place on both
sides, and considerable confusion was created during the time the row was
kept up.  To show to what length things went, I may just mention that
placards were freely exhibited in the theatre bearing the sentiments on
them of the particular side which exhibited them.  I recollect one caused
great fun and laughter.  It was headed "Vandenhoff" and "Salter-off."

Kean thought highly of Vandenhoff.  I have seen a letter of his in which
he highly extols him, considering his style to be the purest acting since
the retirement of John Kemble.

In the autumn of 1824, there was a great row at the Theatre Royal, which
was excited in favour of Miss Cramer, a most popular and able vocalist.
At that time the Music Hall in Bold-street had just been opened, and
concerts were being given under the management of Mr. Wilson, the dancing
master, whose niece by the way (Miss Bolton) was married to John Braham,
_il primo tenore d'Europa_, as the Italians termed him.  Braham has often
said that this Music Hall was a finer room for sound than any that ever
he was in; and at these morning concerts he frequently sang.  It was the
custom to enlist the aid of the vocalists, if there were any, at the
Theatre Royal, to add to the attractions of these concerts.  The manager
was always willing to allow his singers to avail themselves of the
occasion.  However, on Miss Cramer being offered an engagement, the
manager refused to allow her to appear.  Miss Cramer, feeling the
injustice of the case, nevertheless sang at one of the morning concerts,
and was consequently dismissed from the Theatre Royal.  The young lady
instantly issued a handbill stating her case, and the consequence was
that the theatre was crowded at night, and calls for "Miss Cramer" were
incessant.  Mr. Banks came forward to justify himself, hoping that both
sides might be heard, but he could not obtain a hearing.  At length the
audience grew so excited that they tore up the seats, smashed a splendid
chandelier that had only just been purchased at a cost of 500 pounds,
broke all the windows in the house, and did a great deal of damage.  The
row was continued on the night but one following, when other damage was
effected, and it was only by closing the theatre for a few days that
peace could be restored.  Some of the rioters were afterwards tried at
Lancaster, and, I think, heavily fined.


In the year 1816, in consequence of the high price of provisions, as
mentioned in a former chapter, many persons rendered desperate by their
wants, formed themselves into gangs of robbers, and committed many daring
acts of depredation.  Travellers were constantly stopped, ill-treated,
and robbed on the roads in the vicinity of the town; and scarcely a day
passed, without intelligence arriving of some house in the outskirts
being attacked and plundered.  To such an extent was this carried, that
people commenced forming themselves into associations for their mutual
protection.  In Toxteth Park, this was especially the case, as several
very serious robberies had been reported in that neighbourhood.  It must
be remembered that at that time Toxteth Park was but thinly populated.
There were only a few good houses in it, occupied by highly respectable
families, for the salubrious air of "the Park," and the beautiful views
of the river from many parts of it, gave it attractions to those who
could live out of town.  It was, amongst other things, proposed, I
recollect, to have as protection, large and sonorous bells put up on the
tops of the houses, so that on the least alarm of thieves, the bells
might be rung to arouse the neighbours.  Such precautions will be laughed
at now-a-days, but something was necessary to be done at that time, when
policemen were unknown, and personal protection was by no means much
regarded.  It was no uncommon circumstance for persons who had occasion
to go out at night, to carry a brace of pistols with them; but whether
they would have had courage to use them or not, I cannot say, but the
fact of having such things at hand were crumbs of comfort to timid

I dare say many of my readers will remember having seen in old carriages
and gigs, a sort of round projection at the back, forming a recess from
the inside of the vehicle.  These boxes were used for the purpose of
depositing therein a sword and pistols, so that they might be ready at
hand in case of necessity.

The extent to which robbery was committed in Liverpool at this period,
may be judged by the following circumstance, which many may still
remember.  On the particulars being made public people were completely
terrified at the state to which things had arrived, and several families
living in the suburbs, seriously thought of returning to reside in the
town again.

About the month of August, 1816, an old woman was seen prowling
constantly about the vicinity of Mr. J. A. Yates' house, in Toxteth Park.
She made a great many inquiries about the members of that gentleman's
family, whether there were men servants in the house, and whether a dog
was kept.  In fact, she made herself fully acquainted with Mr. Yates'
domestic arrangements.  This was thought nothing of at the time, but the
old crone's curiosity was recalled to mind after the event took place,
which I shall briefly mention.

On the night of Friday, 16th August, 1816, about ten o'clock, six men
wearing masks, and armed with pistols, might have been seen approaching
Mr. Yates' house.  Two of them took their position outside as sentinels
to give alarm to their companions, if necessary.  The other four
approached the back of the premises, and entered the house.  Passing
through the scullery they went into the kitchen, where they found a
servant-maid and a footman.  Threatening them with instant death if they
gave any alarm, one of the four remained in the kitchen to watch the
girl, while the other three compelled the footman to show them over the
house.  Proceeding up stairs, they encountered Mr. J. B. Yates, who was
on a visit to Mr. J. A. Yates.  On seeing the men approach, he inquired
their business, when one of them aimed a blow at him, which, however,
fortunately missed its mark, and only inflicted a slight wound on Mr.
Yates's mouth.  They then ordered Mr. Yates to give up his money, which
he did, fearing further violence.  Driving him before them, they next
entered a room, in which Mrs. J. B. Yates was sitting.  They compelled
her also to give up her money, watch, and the jewellery she wore.  While
this was going on, Mr. J. A. Yates arrived from Liverpool, and was seized
by the two rascals stationed outside.  They demanded his money, putting
pistols to his head.  Mr. Yates, however, with a good deal of nerve,
rushed past the fellows, threw his watch away, and seized hold of the
handle of the door bell, which he rung with considerable force.  The men,
however, again seized him, and told him his ringing would be of no use,
as there were fellows inside who could overmaster any effort of his.  But
the ringing of the door-bell had seriously alarmed the party within, who
were then robbing Mrs. Yates, as just mentioned.  Snatching up whatever
they could, which was portable and seemed of value, the fellows rushed
down stairs, ordering the footman to open the hall-door.  This he did,
and availed himself of the opportunity of making his escape.  He ran
across the fields and speedily gave an alarm, but too late to be of any
service; for, when assistance arrived, the thieves had decamped, taking
with them about 14 pounds in money, and a quantity of valuable plate and
jewellery.  The man left in the kitchen had contrived to secure the stock
of plate.  Four of the robbers were captured in September following, and
committed to take their trial at Lancaster, where they were found guilty
and sentenced to death.  They were hung in October following, and it is a
rather curious circumstance that the very week these men suffered the
extreme penalty of the law for their misdeeds, a daring burglary was
committed one night at the mill near Mr. Yates' house, when five sacks of
flour were stolen, put into a boat in waiting by the mill dam, and
successfully carried off.

The Waterloo Hotel was originally Mr. Gore's house.  It was afterwards
occupied by Mr. Staniforth, who was in partnership with the present Mr.
Laird's father as ropers.  The roperies occupied the site of the present
Arcades, and extended to Berry-street.

I recollect the Fall Well occupying the site of Mr. Alderman Bennet's
warehouse near Rose-street.  It was covered over with several arches;
access to it was obtained down a flight of steps.  A tavern was
afterwards built on its site, and was known for many years as the "Fall
Well Tavern."  It stood at the corner of Rose-street at the back of the
Amphitheatre.  The Dye-House Well was in Greetham-street.  I believe
access is still obtained to the water, at least it was a few years ago.
The wells on Shaw's brow were all laid open when the alteration took
place in that vicinity.  One of the wells was used at an emery mill,
which was once the cone of a pottery.  One of the wells was found where
the Library is now erected.


As a young boy and an old man I have seen my native town under two very
diverse aspects.

As a boy, I have seen it ranked only as a third-rate seaport.  Its
streets tortuous and narrow, with pavements in the middle, skirted by mud
or dirt as the season happened.  The sidewalks rough with sharp-pointed
stones, that made it misery to walk upon them.  I have seen houses, with
little low rooms, suffice for the dwelling of the merchant or well-to-do
trader--the first being content to live in Water-street or Old
Hall-street, while the latter had no idea of leaving his little shop,
with its bay or square window, to take care of itself at night.  I have
seen Liverpool streets with scarcely a coach or vehicle in them, save
such as trade required, and the most enlightened of its inhabitants, at
that time, could not boast of much intelligence, while those who
constituted its lower orders were plunged in the deepest vice, ignorance,
and brutality.

But we should not judge too harshly of those who have gone before us.  Of
the sea-savouring greatly were the friends and acquaintances of my youth.
Scarcely a town by the margin of the ocean could be more salt in its
people than the men of Liverpool of the last century: so barbarous were
they in their amusements, bull-baitings and cock and dog-fightings, and
pugilistic encounters.  What could we expect when we opened no book to
the young, and employed no means of imparting knowledge to the
old?--deriving our prosperity from two great sources--the slave-trade and
privateering.  What could we expect but the results we have witnessed?
Swarming with sailor men flushed with prize money, was it not likely that
the inhabitants generally would take a tone from what they daily beheld
and quietly countenanced?  Have we not seen the father investing small
sums in some gallant ship fitting out for the West Indies or the Spanish
Main, in the names of each of his children, girls and boys?  Was it not
natural that they should go down to the "Old Dock," or the "Salthouse,"
or the "New Dock," and there be gratified with a sight of a ship of which
they--little as they were--were still part-owners?  We took them on deck
and showed them where a bloody battle had been fought--on the very deck
and spot on which their little feet pattered about.  And did we not show
them the very guns, and the muskets, the pistols and the cutlasses, the
shot-lockers and magazines, and tell them how the lad, scrubbing a brass
kettle in the caboose, had been occupied as a powder-monkey and seen
blood shed in earnest?  And did we not moreover tell them that if the
forthcoming voyage was only successful, and if the ships of the enemy
were taken--no matter about the streams of blood that might run through
the scuppers--how their little ventures would be raised in value many
hundredfold--would not young imaginations be excited and the greed for
gain be potent in their young hearts?  No matter what woman might be
widowed--parent made childless, or child left without protector--if the
gallant privateer was successful that was all they were taught to look
for.  And must not such teaching have had effect in after life?  I have
seen these things, and know them to be true; but I have seen them, I am
glad to say, fade away, while other and better prospects have, step by
step, presented themselves to view.

As a man, I have seen the old narrow streets widening--the old houses
crumbling--and the salty savouring of society evaporate, and the sea
influence recede before improvement--education and enlightenment of all
sorts.  Step by step has that sea-element in my townsmen declined.  The
three-bottle and punch-drinking man is the exception now, and not the
rule of the table.  The wide, open street and the ample window is now
everywhere to be found, while underneath that street the well-constructed
sewer carries off the germs of disease that in other times rose up
potently amongst us, and through that window comes streaming the sunlight
of heaven, cheering and gladdening every heart.  Scarcely can the man of
old, who has outlived his generation, believe in the huge edifices that
now the merchant occupies, or credit his sight, when he looks at the
great shops that display their costly goods of all descriptions, with the
best of taste.  Nor is there a less remarkable aspect presented in the
appearance of the people.  Of old one scarcely met a well-dressed
man--now scores upon scores.  In bye-gone times, we scarcely beheld a
carriage, lumbering and uneasy as those things were--now we see elegant
equipages of every make, shape, and build, suitable for every style of
locomotion.  In all things have we progressed; nor are we yet standing

We are doubling our trade.  We are doubling our imports and exports; we
have been doubling them since 1749--about every 16 years.  In that year
the total tonnage of vessels that entered the port of Liverpool was
28,250 tons.  In 1764 it was 56,499 tons, in 1780 it was 112,000 tons, in
1796 it was 224,000 tons, in 1811 it was 611,190 tons, in 1827 it was
1,225,313 tons, in 1841 it was 2,425,461 tons, in 1857 it had reached
4,645,362 tons, so that by the same rule that doubled the tonnage of the
port, between 1749 and 1764, the tonnage doubled itself between 1841 and
1857.  It occupied 134 years to produce an increase equal to that which
had taken place between 1841 and 1857.  The value of exports in the whole
kingdom in 1857, amounted to 110,000,000 pounds sterling, out of which
55,000,000 pounds passed through Liverpool alone.  One hundred and fifty
years ago there was not a dock in England.  In Liverpool they now extend
over five miles in length.  An hundred years hence?--and what then?

His tale being told the old man bids his readers farewell.  He has
chronicled a few odd matters relating to his native town.  He has spoken
of what it was, and of what it is.  If it increase in wealth and extent
during the next century as it has done in that which is past, our
descendants may be so much in advance of us in wisdom and knowledge as to
look slightingly upon us.  But if our sons' sons will only emulate our
good and graceful actions, and avoid that which in us is wicked and
ignoble, they will have better reason to be proud of their ancestors than
we have of ours, or even of ourselves.


{167}  This bridge has lately been a subject of remark, it having been
laid bare in making some excavations for houses in Oxford-street.  But
this bridge is not the one alluded to previously which was constructed of
wood, and was merely a foot-bridge, whence two paths diverged to
Edge-lane and Smithdown lane.

{197}  By the way, checkers on ale-house doors originated, I have been
told, in a curious circumstance.  They are the arms of the De Warrennes,
who, at one time, had a right to grant a license to all tipsters for a
certain fee.  The De Warrennes arms on all house-doors indicated that the
house was duly licensed.  This grant was given to the De Warrennes by
King John who is said to have bestowed it in recompense for breaking the
head of one of the family during a game of "check" in which the King was
conquered.  He, in vexation, struck De Warrenne with the board.  Touching
these said "checkers," I once heard a good story told of a Scotch lady
resident in this town.  Checkers in Scotland are called "dam-boards."
The lady wanting to purchase some table-cloth with a "check pattern,"
went into a draper's shop and asked to be shown a few.  The assistant
brought out several sorts, but none of them were large enough in the
pattern; the lady, at length, told the young man that she wanted some of
a "dam-board pattern."  Not understanding the lady, but supposing she
meant a d---n broad pattern, he meekly replied that they had none so
broad as that!

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