Between the Mersey and the Trent there were considerable elevations which formed very difficult country for water transport. These elevations had to be overcome by the gradual rising of the canal, by means of locks, to a certain height, by the construction, at that point, of a tunnel through the hills, and by a fresh series of locks on the other side, to allow of a lower level being reached again. The rise of the Trent and Mersey Canal from the Mersey to the summit at Harecastle, near the Staffordshire Potteries, was 395 ft., a final climb of 316 ft. being made by means of a flight of thirty-five locks. Through Harecastle Hill there was driven a tunnel a mile and two-thirds in length, with a height of 12 ft. and a breadth of 9 ft. 4 in.[25] South of this tunnel the canal descended to the level of the Trent, a fall of 288 ft., by means of forty locks. In addition to this the canal, in its course of 90 miles, had to pass through four other tunnels and be carried across the river Dove by an aqueduct of twenty-three arches and at four points over windings of the Trent, which it followed to its junction therewith at Wilden Ferry.

These engineering difficulties were successfully overcome by Brindley, and the canal was opened for traffic in 1777. The benefits it conferred on industry and commerce, having in view the unsatisfactory alternative means of transport, were beyond all question. English traders saw established across the island, from the Mersey to the Humber, a line of inland navigation which, apart from the long and tedious voyage round the coast, and, also, from the scarcely passable roads, was the first connecting link in our national history between the ports of Liverpool and Hull. But of even greater importance were the facilities for making use of either or both of these ports—the one on the west coast, and the other on the east coast—which were opened up to {175}manufacturers and traders in the midland districts, and especially when the Trent and Mersey Canal was supplemented by the Wolverhampton (now the Staffordshire and Worcestershire) Canal, connecting the Trent with the Severn; the Birmingham Canal; the Coventry Canal (which gave through navigation from the Trent via Lichfield and Oxford, to the Thames); and others.

Of the many districts benefitted it was, perhaps, the Potteries that received the maximum of advantage. Fourteen years before the Trent and Mersey Canal was opened for traffic—that is to say, in 1763—Josiah Wedgwood perfected a series of improvements in the pottery industry which foreshadowed the probability of the manufacture of coarse pottery—already carried on in North Staffordshire for many years—developing into the production of wares of the highest excellence, for which a great market would assuredly be found not only throughout England but throughout the world. The one drawback to an otherwise very promising outlook lay in the defective communications. The roads were hopelessly bad and the navigable rivers were far distant. It was almost impossible to get sufficient clay for the purposes of raw material, and the cost and the risk of damage involved in long land journeys before the goods could be put on the water, for carriage to London or the Continent, almost closed those markets for the Staffordshire manufacturer.

In 1760—three years before Josiah Wedgwood started his new era in pottery manufacture—the number of workers engaged in the industry did not exceed 7000 persons; and not only were they badly paid and irregularly employed but in their position of almost complete isolation from the rest of humanity they were, as Smiles puts it in his “Life of James Brindley,” “almost as rough as their roads.” They were ill-clad, ill-fed and wholly uneducated; they lived in dwellings that were little better than mud huts; they had to dispense 杭州丝袜上门保健 with coal for fuel, since the state of the roads made its transport too costly for their scanty means; they had no shops, and for such drapery and household wares as they could afford to buy they were dependent on the packmen or the hucksters from Newcastle-under-Lyme. Their favourite amusements were bull-baiting and cock-fighting. {176}Any stranger who ventured to appear among such a people, devoid as they were of most of the attributes of civilisation, might consider himself fortunate if he escaped rough usage simply because he was a stranger.

Of conditions such as those to be found in the Potteries at the period in question one gets some glimpses in William Hutton’s “History of Birmingham” (1781). He tells of a place called Lie Waste, otherwise Mud City, situate between Halesowen and Stourbridge. The houses consisted 彩蝶杭州按摩养生会所 of mud, dried in the sun, though often destroyed by frost. Their occupants, judging from the account he gives of them, could have been little better than scarcely-clad barbarians. Of a visit he paid to Bosworth Field in 1770 the same writer says:—

“I accompanied a gentleman with no other intent than to view the field celebrated for the fall of Richard the Third. The inhabitants enjoyed the cruel satisfaction of setting their dogs at us in the street, merely because we were strangers. Human figures, not their own, are seldom seen in those inhospitable regions. Surrounded with impassable roads, having no intercourse with man to humanize the mind, no commerce to smooth their rugged manners, they continue the boors of nature.”

How industry and improved communications may tend to civilise a people, as well as ensure economic 杭州夜生活美女 advancement, was now to be shown in the case of the Potteries. Wedgwood’s enterprise led to the employment of far more people; the better means of communication allowed both of the industry being greatly developed and of the introduction of refining influences into a district no longer isolated; and the combination of these causes had a striking effect on the material and the moral conditions of the workers.

In giving evidence before a House of Commons Committee in 1785, eight years after the Mersey and Trent Canal was opened, Wedgwood was able to say that there were being employed in the Potteries at that time from 15,000 to 20,000 persons on earthenware manufacture alone—an increase of from 8000 to 13,000 in twenty-five years, independently of the opening of new branches of industry. Work was abundant, and the general conditions 杭州男士品茶 were those of a greatly enhanced comfort and prosperity.

Then, also, when John Wesley visited Burslem in 1760 he wrote that the potters assembled to laugh and jeer at him. “One of them,” he says, “threw a clod of earth which struck me on the side of the head; but it neither disturbed me nor the congregation.” In 1781 he went to Burslem again. On this occasion he wrote: “I returned to Burslem; how is the whole face of the country changed in about 20 years! Since which, inhabitants have continually flowed in from every side. Hence the wilderness is literally become a fruitful field. Houses, villages, towns, have sprung up, and the country is not more improved than the people.”

This actual experience of John Wesley’s would seem to confirm the view expressed by Sir Richard Whitworth in the observations he offered to the 杭州按摩好地方 public in 1766 on “The Advantages of Inland Navigation.” It was, he argued, trade and commerce, and not the military force of the Kingdom, which could alone enrich us and enable us to maintain our independence; but there were millions of people “buried alive” in parts of the country where there were no facilities for transport, and where they had hitherto been “bred up for no other use than to feed themselves.” What advantage would not accrue to the nation when these millions were brought into the world of active and productive workers! “Hitherto,” he continued, “the world has been unequally dealt, and, though all the inhabitants of this island should have an equal right to the gifts of nature in the advantages of commerce, yet it has only happened to those who live upon the coasts to enrich themselves by it, while as many 杭州足浴名店 millions lie starving for want of opportunity to forward themselves into the world. Though the city, village, or country in which they live is at the lowest ebb of poverty it will, in a short time, by trade passing through it, alter its very nature and the inhabitants become, from nothing, as it were, to a very rich and substantial people;


their very natural idea of mankind, and their rude and unpolished behaviour, will be altered and soothed into the most social civility and good breeding by the alluring temptations of the beneficial advantage of trade and commerce.”

The opening of the Grand Trunk and other canals connecting with it led to such reductions in the cost of carriage as are shown in the following figures, from Baines’s “History {178}of Liverpool,” where they are quoted as from “Williamson’s Liverpool Advertiser” of August 8, 1777:—
£s.d. £s.d.
Liverpool and Etruria 2100 0134
“” Wolverhampton 500 150
“” Birmingham 500 150
Manchester and Wolverhampton 4134 150
“” Birmingham 400 1100
“” Lichfield 400 100
“” Derby 300 1100
“” Nottingham 400 200
“” Leicester 600 1100
“” Gainsborough 3100 1100
“” Newark 568 200

Thus the cost of transport by canal was in some instances reduced to about one-fourth of the previous cost by packhorse or road waggon.

Under the new conditions the numerous manufactures in the Birmingham and Black Country districts obtained their raw materials much cheaper than they had done before, and secured much better facilities for distribution, the difference in cost in sending guns, nails, hardware, and other heavy manufactures from Birmingham to Hull by water instead of by road being in itself a considerable saving, and one likely to give a great stimulus to the industries concerned. Ores from the north were brought at less expense to mix with those of Staffordshire, and the iron-masters there were enabled to compete better with foreign producers. The manufacturers of Nottingham, Leicester and Derby were afforded a cheap conveyance to Liverpool for their wares. The fine ale for which Burton was famous had been sent to London by way of the Trent, the Humber and the Thames since, at least, the early part of the seventeenth century, and, exported from Hull, it had won fame for the Burton breweries in all the leading Baltic ports and elsewhere. It was now to be conveyed by water to the port of Liverpool, and find fresh or expanded markets opened out for it from the west coast, as well as the east. Cheshire salt obtained a better {179}distribution; the merchants both of Hull and of Liverpool could now send groceries and other domestic supplies throughout the midland counties with greater ease, and with much benefit to the people; while among still other advantages was one mentioned by Baines: “Wheat which formerly could not be conveyed a hundred miles, from corn-growing districts to the large towns and manufacturing districts, for less than 20s. a quarter, could be conveyed for about 5s. a quarter.”

The towns which had least cause for satisfaction were Bridgnorth, Bewdley and Bristol, the traffic that had previously gone by the long land route from the Potteries to the Severn, and so on to Bristol, being now diverted to Liverpool by the Grand Trunk Canal, just as the salt of Cheshire had been taken there on the opening of the Weaver navigation, and the textiles of Manchester on the completion of the Duke of Bridgewater’s canal.

These developments had, consequently, a further influence on the growth of the once backward port of Liverpool, and such growth was to be stimulated by the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

Sanctioned by Parliament in 1769, six years before the Grand Trunk Canal was opened, the Leeds and Liverpool Canal was mainly designed to overcome the natural barrier, in the form of a chain of lofty hills, which separated Lancashire from Yorkshire, serving to isolate Liverpool and to keep back from her the flow of trade and commerce from industrial centres on the other side of the hills which should otherwise have regarded Liverpool as their natural port. The canal was further intended to open up more fully than had been done before the great coal-fields of Lancashire, ensuring a better distribution of their mineral wealth both to Liverpool and to the manufacturing towns of Lancashire; while, by connecting with the Aire at Leeds, the capital of the Yorkshire woollen industry, the canal was to provide another cross-country connection, by inland navigation, between Liverpool and Hull.

The work of constructing the Leeds and Liverpool Canal included (1) the piercing of the Foulridge Hills by a tunnel, 1640 yards long, which alone took five years of constant labour; (2) an aqueduct bridge of seven arches over the {180}Aire; and (3) an aqueduct carrying the canal over the Shipley valley. The total length of navigation was 127 miles, with a fall from the central level of 525 ft. on the Lancashire side, and of 446 ft. on the Yorkshire side. The entire work of construction extended over 41 years, and the total cost was £1,200,000.