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352 nrsronr or ENGLAND. on. m.
the surrounding country were exposed to sale. There were the great fairs to which merchants came down from London, and where the rural dealer laid in his annual stores of sugar, stationery, cutlery, and muslin. There were the shops at which the best families of the neighbourhood bought grocery and millinery. Some of these places derived dignity from interesting historical recollections, from cathedrals decorated by all the art and magnificence of the middle ages, from palaces where a long succession of prelates had dwelt, from closes surrounded by the venerable abodes of deans and canons, and from castles which had in the old time repelled the N evilles or De Veres, and which bore more recent traces of the vengeance of Rupert or of Cromwell.
Conspicuous amongst these interesting cities, were ommoumry York, the capital of the north, and Exeter, ‘°“'““ the capital of the west. Neither can have contained much more than ten thousand inhabitants. Worcester, the queen of the cider land, had but eight thousand; Nottingham probably as many. Gloucester, renowned for that resolute defence which had been fatal to Charles the First, had certainly between four and five thousand; Derby not quite four thousand. Shrewsbury was the chief place of an extensive and fertile district. The Court of the Marches of Wales was held there. In the language of the gentry many miles round the Wrekin, to go to Shrewsbury was to go to town. The provincial wits and beauties imitated, as well as they could, the fashions of Saint James’s Park, in the walks along the side of the Severn. The inhabitants were about seven thousand.*
" The population of York ap- inhabitants in 1801. The popu
pears, from the return of baptisms and burials, in Drake’s History, to have been about 18,000 in 1730. Exeter had only 17,000
lation of Worcester was num. bered just before the siege in 1646. See N ash’s History of Worcestershire. I have made allowauu‘u
The population of every one of these places has, since the Revolution, much more than doubled. The population of some has multiplied sevenfold. The streets have been almost entirely rebuilt. Slate has succeeded to thatch, and brick to timber. The pavements and the lamps, the display of wealth in the principal shops, and the luxurious neatness of the dwellings occupied by the gentry would, in the seventeenth century, have seemed miraculous. Yet is the relative importance of the old capitals of counties by no means what it was. Younger towns, towns which are rarely or never mentioned in our early history and which sent no representatives to our early Parliaments, have, within the memory of persons still living, grown to a greatness which this generation contemplates with wonder and pride, not unaccompanied by awe and anxiety.
The most eminent of these towns were indeed known in the seventeenth century as respectable seats of industry. Nay, their rapid progress and their vast opulence were then sometimes described in language which seems ludicrous to a man who has seen their present grandeur. One of the most populous and prosperous among them was Manchester. Manchester had been required by the Protector to send one representative to his Parliament, and was mentioned by writers of the time of
of Derby was 4000 in 1712. See Wolley’s MS. History, quoted in
for the increase which must be supposed to have taken place in
forty years. In 1740, the population of Nottingham was found, by enumeration, to be just 10,000. See Dering’s History. The population of Gloucester may readily be inferred from the number of houses which King found in the returns of hearth money, and from the number of births and burials which is given in Atkyns’s History. The population
Lyson’s Magus. Britannia. The population of Shrewsbury was ascertained, in 1695, by actual enumeration. As to the gaieties of Shrewsbury, see Farquhar’s Recruiting Ofiicer. Farquhar’s description is borne out by a ballad in the Pepysian Library, of which the burden is “ Shrewsbury for me."
3.54 HISTORY or ENGLAND. 011.111. Charles the Second as a busy and opulent place. Cotton had, during half a century, been brought thither from Cyprus and Smyrna; but the manufacture was in its infancy. Whitney had not yet taught how the raw material might be furnished in quantities almost fabulous. Arkwright had yet not taught how it might be worked up with a speed and precision which seem magical. The whole annual import did not, at the end of the seventeenth century, amount to two millions of pounds, a quantity which would now hardly supply the demand of forty-eight hours. That wonderful emporium, which in population and wealth far surpasses capitals so much renowned as Berlin, Madrid, and Lisbon, was then a mean and ill built market town, containing under six thousand people. It then had not a single press. It now supports a hundred printing establishments. It then had not a single coach. It now supports twenty coachmakers.*
Leeds was already the chief seat of the woollen manufactures of Yorkshire: but the elderly inhabitants could still remember the time when the first brick house, then and long after called the Red House, was built. They boasted loudly oi their increasmg wealth, and of the immense sales of cloth which took place in the open air on the bridge. Hundreds, nay thousands of pounds, had been paid rlown in the course of one busy market day. The rising importance of Leeds had attracted the notice of successive governments. Charles the First had granted municipal privileges to the town. Oliver had invited it to send one member to the House of Commons. But from the returns of the hearth money it seems certain that the whole population of the borough, an extensive district which contains many hamlets, did not, in the reign of Charles the Second, exceed seven thousand souls. In 1841 there were more than a hundred and fifty thousand.* About a day’s journey south of Leeds, on the verge of a wild moorland tract, lay an ancient manor, now rich with cultivation, then barren and unenclosed, which was known by the name of Hallamshire. Iron abounded there; and, from a very early period, the rude whittles fabricated there had been sold all over the kingdom. They had .indeed been mentioned by Geoffrey Chaucer in one of his Canterbury Tales. But the manufacture appears to have made little progress during the three centuries which followed his time. This languor may perhaps be explained by the fact that the trade was, during almost the whole of this long period, subject to such regulations as the lord and his court leet thought fit to impose. The more delicate kinds of cutlery were either made in the capital, or brought from the Continent. Indeed it was not till the reign of George the First that the English surgeons ceased to import from France those exquisitely fine blades which are required for operations on the human frame. Most of the Hallamshire forges were collected in a market town which had sprung up near the castle of the proprietor, and which, in the reign of James the First, had been a singularly miserable place, containing about two thousand inhabitants, of whom a third were half starved and half naked beggars. It seems certain from the parochial registers that the population did not amount to four thousand at the end of the reign of Charles the ‘ Thoresby’s Ducatus Leo- History of the Borough of Leeds.
lation of Manchester in the seventeenth century, is contained in a
" Blomc’s Britannia, 1673; Aikin’s Country round Man
chester; Manchester Directory, 1845; Baines, History of the Cotton Manufacture. The best information which I have been able to find. Luuelllllg the popu
paper drawn up by the Reverend R. Parkinson, and published in the Journal of the Statistical Society for October l842.
356 msronr or ENGLAND. 0mm.
Second. The effects of a species of toil singularly unfavourable t0 the health and vigour of the human frame were at once discerned by every traveller. A large proportion of the people had distorted limbs. This is that Sheffield which now, with its dependencies, contains a hundred and twenty thousand souls, and which sends forth its admirable knives, razors, and lancets to the farthest ends of the world.‘ Birmingham had not been thought of sufficient importance to return a member to Oliver’s Parliament. Yet the manufacturers oi Birmingham were already a busy and thriving race. They boasted that their hardware was highly esteemed, not indeed as now, at Pekin and Lima, a1 Bokhara and Timbuctoo, but in London, and even ar far off as Ireland. They had acquired a less honourable renown as coiners of had money. In allusior to their spurious greats, some Tory wit had fixed or demagogues, who hypocritically affected zeal againsi Popery, the nickname of Birminghams. Yet in 1685 the population, which is now little less than two hundred thousand, did not amount to four thousand Birmingham buttons were just beginning to be known: of Birmingham guns nobody had yet heard and the place whence, two generations later, the magnificent editions of Baskerville went forth to astonish all the librarians of Europe, did not contain 2 single regular shop where a Bible or an almanacli could be bought. On market days a booksellei named Michael Johnson, the father of the grea1 Samuel Johnson, came over from Lichfield, am: opened a stall during a few hours. This supply 0' literature was long found equal to the demand.1'
* Hunter’s History of Hallam- Dngdale’s Warwickshire; North’: shire. (1848.) In 1851 the po- Examen, 321.; Preface to Ab pulationofShefiirld had increased salom and Achitophel; Hutton’: to 135,000. (1857.) History of Birmingham; Bos 'i' Blomc’s Britannia, 1673; well's Life of Johnson. In 169(