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while on parliamentary duty: their allowance during their stay in London was two shillings a day.
The condition of the worthy personages who composed the common counsel in the
year 1617, offers a strong contrast to that of the gentlemen who constitute that body in these days; for we find it ordered in this year, That
council. man shall come to council clean shaved, and in his long clothes.” The worthies of those days appear also to have been very tenacious of their importance and dignity; for it was determined “That if any person speak evil of the mayor, he shall lose his freedom.” The
year 1619 gave birth to one of the most promising astronomical geniuses that Liverpool has had to boast of; we mean Jeremiah Horrox, who was born in Toxteth Park, and educated at Emanuel College Cambridge. He is supposed to have been the first who ever predicted or observed the transit of Venus over the Sun's disk; and it is said that his theory of lunar motions afforded assistance to Sir Isaac Newton, who spoke of him as a genius of the highest order. On the 24th of November 1639, he observed the transit of Venus over the Sun's disk, and a few days after he had completed his treatise, entitled Venus in sole visa, he expired, on the 3d of January, 1640-1. His other productions were collected and published under the title of Opera Posthuma, by Dr Wallis, in 1673.
King Charles I., in 1626, granted a charter to this borough, making the town of Liverpool a body corporate and politic, under the denomination of Mayor, Bailiffs, and Burgesses; and the office of mayor, under this new charter, was first filled by Lord Strange, who afterwards warmly espoused the cause of Charles, in his war with the parliament, and was ultimately executed at Bolton. In this monarch's unconstitutional and despotic levying of ship-money, it appears that Liverpool was rated at £25, Chester at £26, and Bristol at £1000. About this time we first find mention made of a Playhouse, which is said to have been near the bottom of James's-street. We are now arrived at a period when Liverpool exhibits a degree of importance, unparalleled in its history antecedent to this time; the brave and long resistance made by the inhabitants of this place in support of the parliamentary cause against the daring and impetuous Rupert, had nearly frustrated his plans in this part of the country. The representatives for this borough, in the long parliament, were John Moore, Esq. and Richard Wyn, Knt. and Bart. And in May, 1643, it is related that a ship was taken bere, laden with men and ammunition, which bad been designed for the royalists, and that the earl of Derby endeavoured to regain possession of the magazines in Liverpool, but was prevented by the parliamentarians under the command of Colonel Moore. Immediately after Prince Rupert had taken Bolton, where he put the garrison, amounting to one thousand two hundred, to death, he advanced directly to lay siege to this town. But though he had declared that it could not hold out for a single day against his forces, the garrison made so valiant a resistance under the command of the same Colonel Moore, that they did not surrender until three weeks after the cannon of the besiegers began to play upon the place. Prior to surrendering they shipped off all the arms, ammunition, and portable effects, and most of the officers and soldiers went on shipboard, while a few made good the fort, which they delivered up to the prince on quarter, but were all put to the sword.* Seacombe, in his description of this hard fought siege, has interspersed it with a good share of topographical information, which may enable us to form a tolerably adequate idea of the form and extent of the town at that day. We shall therefore transcribe the following passage. He says,
“This town in the year 1644, was in the hands of the Commonwealth, under the command of Colonel Moore, who defended it for some time for parliament against the army of Prince Rupert, nephew to king Charles I. This prince, about the 26th of June, 1644, sat down before the town,
which at that time was well fortified with a strong and high mud wall, and a ditch twelve yards wide, and nearly three yards deep, inclosing the town from the east end of Dale-street, and so westward to the river; Dale-street end at this time, east and south-east, was a low marshy ground, covered with water from the river, with which it was connected by that part of the town now called Paradise-street, within which batteries were erected, to cover or guard against all passage over or through this water; all the street ends to the river were entirely shut
and those to the town inclosed with strong gates, defended by cannon. There was also a strong castle on the south, surrounded with a ditch twelve yards wide and ten yards deep, from which to the river was a covered way, through which the ditch was filled with water, and by which, when the tide was out, men, provisions, and military stores, were brought, as occasion required.
“In and upon this castle were planted many cannon, which not only annoyed the besiegers at some distance, but also covered the ships in the harbour. At the entrance was a fort of ten guns to guard that, and to prevent all passage by the river at low water; in addition to this security, great quantities of wool were brought here from Ireland by such English protestants as escaped the general massacre. With this wool the be. sieged covered the tops of their mud walls, which saved them greatly from the small shot of the enemy. The town was at that time but small, either in appearance or reality; however, the fortifications then included most of the ground on which the present buildings stand. The prince fixed his main camp round the beacon,* about a mile from the town, and his officers in the villages near it. The batteries were mostly placed upon the ridge of ground running from the top of Townshend mill † to the copperas works, and the trenches in the lower ground under them, from whence he often attacked the town, but was as often repulsed, which made him say that, at first view, he could compare it to nothing but a crow's nest, but he found it an eagle's nest, or a den of lions.”
The same author also informs us, “That the prince, after many fruitless efforts to take it, must at last have raised the siege, had not Colonel Moore surrendered it to save his house and effects at Bank-hall; be that as it may, the works were deserted, and the prince's army entered on that side about three in the morning, and put all to the sword, till they came to the High Cross, the spot where the Exchange now stands, when the rest of the inhabitants were sent prisoners to the tower, and to St. Nicholas's church, the prince taking possession of the castle.”
• The present St. Domingo.
+ Top of Shaw's-brow.