Liverpool in 1802: 6th April

Tuesday morning, to Liverpool, 8 miles – Last night I had a very entertaining landlord, a sensible man. There had been a public letting of land lately before I was there. The method used was this – the offerers were in one room, the proprietor sat as judge; the articles were read, which could not be altered. Each offerer gave in his sealed ticket or offer; a set time was given opened the tickets, and without more being said declared who was tenant. No further explanation was given; the person preferred subscribed the articles, and all was settled. This is said to be the general mode of letting here. From this place to Liverpool quite a plain country; a good soil, and some parts of it pretty well farmed. Near to the town the soil is excellent, and at this date fit to feed the largest cattle. Three-fourths of the ground is in pasture or for hay crops. Windmills here in every corner for grinding corn; they have few waterfalls for mills. The road for three miles into the town is all covered with a very hard flinty stone, and very uneasy for a horse to travel upon. The town is as large as Glasgow, but not so regularly built, or the streets so fine. A great many buildings shaped out and going on just now show it to be a thriving place, very likely the second port in the British dominions. I made particular inquiry as to their shipping. There were then 700 ships in their different docks and ports; 200 had sailed in a fortnight before-besides all that were in other places at sea. The harbour is upwards of a mile long, almost in a straight line, with curves. In many of these curves you will find twenty or thirty ships lying safely, blow what will. The carts go into the points of these curves upon stone-built ‘keys’ so that, standing at one end and looking along the harbour, you are apt to imagine the horses and carts all on board the ships. I think Liverpool a wonderful place of trade. The river Mersey, upon which it stands, is, I think, two miles broad. The streets in general are narrow, and of very hard stones. They have a good butcher market here. They are in part supplied from Cheshire, on the opposite side of the river.


From Liverpool to Prescote, 8 miles-a small, very neat, clean town. This short stage is very good road, after leaving the hard stone causeway, which comes three miles out of the town. Here I saw a few whins, for a marvel. Fences as bad as ever; the soil but middling. Still the coal trade seems to be the greatest work. I saw many waggons and carts, drawing cotton from Liverpool to the mills up the country to the eastward.

From Prescote to Warrington, 12 miles. Very little variation in this stage; farming is better here than on better soils; saw a great many planting potatoes on “by” ground, which had only got one furrow. Here I saw French “flowing” very well done; one single horse draws a spade plough, which takes the greensward. Then three horses all in a line taking a very deep “fur ” which buries the other one. There can be no grass to trouble the crop after, for one season. Warrington, a large place; a good many of the principal roads from different parts centre here. Some very good inns. Here they manufacture woollen stockings. In this county they sell hay by 120 lbs., average price of it 4s 6d to 5s; potatoes by 84 lbs, 1s 2d; fine red apples, 84 lbs,  1s 8d to 2s. At this season they are in as good preservation as with us in November. Ivy still upon every tree.


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