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land and Salford, which form its northern and eastern boundaries. Near the middle of this district, and at its eastern border, are some large tracts of mosses; and in the vicinity of Up-Holland and Wigan are some pits of the cannel coal. A small elevated ridge crosses this hundred from south to north; and besides several rivulets that fall into the Mersey, this district is abundantly supplied with turnpikeroads, and canals. West Derby, that gives name to the hundred, is now an inconsiderable hamlet, contiguous to Knowlsley Park, the proprietor of which takes the title of Earl from this obscure place. The principal town in this hundred is the populous and prosperous sea-port of


“Where Mersey's stream, long winding o'er the plain,
Pours his full tribute to the circling main,
A band of fishers chose their humble seat;
Contented labour bless'd the fair retreat;
Inur'd to hardship, patient, bold, and rude,
They brav'd the billows for precarious food:
Their straggling huts were rang'd along the shore,
Their nets and little boats their only store.”


AMong the number of commercial towns in Great Britain, it may safely be said, that not one has so rapidly advanced to great extent, and great opulence, as that of Liverpool. From a small inconsiderable hamlet, merely a member of the parish of Walton, this thriving sea-port, by the spirited industry, enterprising pursuits, and speculating habits of its chief inhabitants, has, within the last century, been singularly advanced in the scale of national importance; and whilst many cities and boroughs have gradually sunk into that insignificance and degradation, which almost inevitably close the career of corruption and vassalage, Liverpool has extended her streets, augmented her commerce, and improved in the riches, arts, and luxuries, of civilized life. Though it would be no very difficult task to ascertain the cause, and develope the effects of this progressive amelioration, yet the enquiry would extend to a M 2 length length incompatible with the limited nature of this work; and I am therefore compelled to confine my observations to a few leading points in the history of the place, and dwell only on its most prominent objects.


A magnanimous and liberal spirit has certainly impelled the corporate body, and many individuals of this town, to the adoption and prosecution of several schemes, of great local advantage and public good. In the course of the present essay, I shalf have ample occasion to illustrate and establish this proposition.

“Far as the eye can trace the prospect round,
The splendid tracks of opulence are found.
Yet scarce an hundred annual rounds have run,
Since first the fabric of this power begun;
His noble waves inglorious, Mersey roll'd,
Nor felt his waves by labouring art control’d.
Along his side a few small cots were spread,
His finny brood their humble tenants fed;
At op'lling dawn, with fraudful nets supply'd,
The padding skiff would brave his specious tide,
Ply round the shores, nor tempt the dang'rous main,
But seek ere night the friendly port again”.”

A history of Liverpool must be an account of the people rather than that of the place; for if the town be divested of its complicated traffic, increased shipping, and nautical erections, it presents little else to recompence enquiry, or gratify curiosity.

Concerning the original name of this place, and the different modes in which that has been written at various periods, it would neither be very amusing, or useful, to enter into particulars: for though all the topographers of Liverpool have said a good deal on this subject, they have not developed much substantial information by their dissertations +. It may, however, be safely . . . asserted

* W. Roscoe—from a deseriptive poem entitled Mount-Pleasant.

* Some writers have deduced the name from the Saxon word Lither-pool:


asserted that there is more reason in deriving the original name of
places from peculiarity of situation, than from Patronymic dis-
tinction; for though this may be frequently the case in distinctive
appellations, yet it will generally be found that families have rather
derived their names from places, than on the contrary. The an-
cient history of Liverpool is extremely meagre; and it can scarcely
lay claim to one object of antiquity. Camden states, that Roger de
Poictiers, who had lands given him, in this part of the county, by
William the Conqueror, built a Castle here, “the custody of which,”
he says, “has now, for a longtime, belonged to the noble and knight-
ly family of Molyneaux, whose chief seat is in the neighbourhood
of Sefton, which Roger, aforesaid, in the early Norman times, gave
to Vivan de Molyneaux. This Roger held, as appears by Domes- )
day-book, all the lands between the rivers Ribble and Mersey.”
The statement of Camden, relating to the original castle at
Liverpool, is extremely equivocal; but it is probable that Prince
John, son of Henry the Second, erected a fortress here. For that
monarch having granted his son the Lordship of Ireland, with its
dependencies, and as the newly constituted port of “ Lyrpul"
was most conveniently situated for shipping stores, &c. for that
island, it became necessary to secure the place by a military esta-
blishment. Besides, it appears that the town had acquired some
comparative distinction, as Henry the Second, in the year 1173,
granted it a charter, wherein it is stated, “that the whole estuary
of the Mersey shall be for ever a port of the sea, with all liberties
to a port of the sea belonging; and that place which the men of |
Lyrpal call Litherpul, near to Toxteth, from each side of the
water they may come and return with their ships and merchan- -
dize freely, and without obstruction *.” In this document we re-
M 3 cognize |

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others from a bird called Liver or Lever, though no such bird has been found

here. Another author derives it from a species of the Hepatica, or Liver

wort; and another from a family named Lever, who were settled here at an

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* Translation of the Chatter in a late “History of Liverpool.” There

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cognize the origin of a town, which was then a place of trifling im-
port, and which continued so for many centuries. Yet in dif-
ferent subsequent charters, it is spoken of by each monarch as
“our borough or vill” of Liverpool; and mention is made of per-
sons holding burgages under the crown. A second charter was
granted to the town by king John, in the ninth year of his reign,
A. D. 1209 *, who is therein styled “Lord of Ireland,” a place
that was not mentioned in the preceding charter. This only al-
ludes to burgage houses, and the free possession of the same by
any of the king’s “faithful subjects.” In the next reign, (Henry
the Third), the burgesses renewed their charter, but were obliged
to pay “a fine of ten marks in money;” and “a merchant-guild,
or society,” was then established. It was stipulated that “no
strangers should then carry on business in the town, without the
consent of the burgesses.” This prohibitory and impolitic clause
seems to have continued in force till about the middle of the reign
of George the Second, when strangers were allowed to settle in the
town, upon the payment of a small fine. “Since the beginning
of the present century this demand has been discontinued; and
the town, although a borough, may be considered as perfectly free,

for the purpose of commerce, to all the world.”
In adopting this wise principle, the burgesses of Liverpool have
set an example peculiarly worthy of imitation; for by encour-
aging the industrious and speculating tradesman to settle here,
the town consequently increases its population, commerce, and
riches. Whilst the selfish and slothful proprietors of those

appears some ambiguity relating to this Charter; for in a petition from the corporation to the king, 1751, the petitioners state that Liverpool “ is a very ancient borough by prescription, long before the time of king John, who granted its first charter.”

* In the history of Liverpool now publishing in numbers, there appears some confusion respecting this date: as at page 42 it is said that the Charter of John is dated A. D, 1207; afterwards it appears to be given in the 9th year of his reign, (1209) and in the next page it is said to be “granted to Liverpool in the year 1203.”

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