10 AUGUST 1907, Page 24


A History of Liverpool. By Ramsay Muir. (Williams and Norgate. Os. net.)—Professor Muir, who holds the Chair of Modern History in the University of Liverpool, has already given to the world an account of the municipal government of the city, and now follows up that work with a more general account. We have only one fault to find, and that is tho passing over with a bare mention of two schools which did much for secondary education in the middle period of the nineteenth century,—tbose attached to the Collegiate Institution and the Royal Institution. Old Liverpool was certainly deficient in its interest in education. Tho foundation of John Crosse was allowed to perish, when it might have been developed into something worthy of the place, as has been done with other beginnings not less humble. Happily, the neglect bag been repaired by the noble work done in the setting up of Liverpool University. The story of the town presents some notable peculiarities. Its politics exhibit curious contrasts. It. was strongly Whig when the rest of Lancashire was Tory. After- wards it became a Tory stronghold, and still retains something of that character. In its commercial history time two most prominent timings are the slave trade and the cotton trade. The first lasted for something like a century, and greatly enriched the town. In the decade 1783-1793, 393,737 slaves were carried from Africa to the West Indies at a profit which Professor Muir estimates at three millions. This amount does not include the gain made from West Indian imports. A slaver made a huge profit out of its human cargo, bought for rum, muskets, and beads, and when this was dis- charged came home laden with sugar, tobacco, and rum. Did not Kean, when a Liverpool audience failed, as he thought, properly to appreciate him, address them from before the footlights with the words : " Every stone in your accursed town is cemented with the blood of a slave " ? Liverpool was profoundly convinced that the slave trade was one of tho noblest occupations in which a man could engage,—a fact which the laudator temporis acti would do well to remember. By the time that this business came to an end cotton bad come to take its place, while a vast shipping trade had also settled itself on the banks of the Mersey. These things gave Liverpool a start over its neighbours. It had some- thing of the apx.o.A.0,,,v aw,kwv xdp,s. " Liverpool gentlemen" were distinguished froth the "men" and " fellows " of newer centres of wealth.