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THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY

OF CALIFORNIA

LOS ANGELES



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mbp UTsit of 3lubn Jitaiif^tu to Amma^ab



JOHN MANESTY,



THE LIVERPOOL MERCHANT.



BY



THE LATE WILLIAM MAGINN, LL.D.



WITH



illustrations bj) ©eorge Cvuifesfljanfe.

IN TWO VOLUMES.

VOL. L



LONDON:

JOHN MORTIMER, ADELAIDE STREET,

TRAFALGAR SQUARE.

1844.



ill 11^



TO



J. G. LOCKHART, ESQ.



THE OLD AND CONSTANT



FRIEND OF HER LATE HUSBAND,



THIS WORK IS DEDICATED,



BY



ELLEN R. ]\L\GINN.



London,— 16 </t August, 1814.






CONTENTS



OF



THE FIEST VOLUME.



CHAPTER I.

Page

Liverpool as it was and is — The hero introduced —
Merchant life eighty years since 1

CHAPTER II.

Who the Wolsterholmes were, and who was their
successor at Wolsterholme Castle 19

CHAPTER III.
The modem Cymon and Iphigenia 35

CHAPTER IV.

A point of conscience— May an anti-slavery advocate
hold slaves ?— The assembly of the gifted— The
point decided '^^



VI CONTENTS.

CHAPTER V.

Page
The letter and the mystery — John Manesty departs

for the West Indies — A conference between the

nephew and the clerk 81

CHAPTER VI.

A dissertation on cocking — With a cock-fight under
peculiar circumstances — Lancashire gentlemen at
feast and tourney 101

CHAPTER VII.
A dissertation on slavery — The end of the revel . .147

CHAPTER VIII.

A disciple of Chesterfield — A highway robbery in
the good old days 165

CHAPTER IX.

Vulgar robbery objectionable — The amateur high-
wayman traced — The peer discovers his plunderer 179

CHAPTER X.

An interview between father and son — Debate on the
division of the booty — Fatal duel and flight . .189

CHAPTER XI.

Sir llildebrand's guests — Progress of a silent passion —
A rival starts up — True love's greatest difficulty
to hold its tongue— Solid John's return .... 201



CONTENTS. vii

CHAPTER XII.

Page

A second departure for the West Indies .... 223

CHAPTER XIII.
The return — And the accusation 235

CHAPTER XIV.

Suspicions creeping among the saintly — The great
merchant called to account ........ 249

CHAPTER XV.

Religious doubts — Manesty's conscientious perplexi-
ties — He visits Aminadab the Ancient .... 263



JO PIN MANE STY.



CHAPTER I.

LIVERPOOL AS IT WAS AND IS — TUE HERO INTRO-
PUCED MERCHANT LIFE EIGHTY YEARS SINCE,

*' The Mersey," says Camden, " spreading
and presently contracting its stream from
Warrington, falls into the ocean with a
wide channel very convenient for trade,
where opens to view Litherpole, (commonly
called Lirpool, from the water extending
like a pool, according to the common
VOL. I. B



2 JOHN MANESTY.

opinion,) where is the most convenient and
most frequented passage to Ireland ; a town
more famous for its beauty and populousness
than for its antiquity."

What Camden's ideas of populousness
might have been it is hard to say ; but if
in his time he considered Litherpole, or
Lirpool, famous on that account, his re-
verence for its fame would be at present
increased a hundred fold. We iiave an
engraved view of " the West Prospect of
Liverpoole," taken somewhere about a hun-
dred years after the date of his Britannia,
— in 1G80; and in the scanty and scattered
collection of insignificant houses, apparently
intersected but by one regular street, con-
taining witliin its enclosure fields and plan-
tations of trees, and bounded by a stream



JOHN MANESTY. 3

on which seem to float half-a-dozen vessels,
all of the smallest tonnage, most of them
mere barks, we conld hardly recognise the
swelling city adorned with majestic edifices,
traversed by magnificent and crowded
streets, and on its river side flanked by
gigantic docks of almost Titanic masonry.

The flourishing state of Liverpool is not
by any means remarkable for antiquity. It
dates from about the beginning of the last
century ; and however it may shock the
fine feelings of the existing race of the men
philosophizing by the side of the Mersey,
its prosperity had beyond question its origin
in the slave-trade, of which Liverpool,
having filched that commerce from Bristol,
became the great emporium. We shall not
fatigue our readers with statistical details,

b2



4 JOHN MANESTY.

•which, if they seek, they may find in many
a bulky volume of parliamentary reports;
nor weary them by discussing the merits or
demerits of a question now set at rest for
ever. The labours of disinterested philan-
thropists, and of philanthropists whom the
most exalted charity can hardly admit to
be disinterested, have removed the stain of
tolerating slavery from the code of British
law. AYe have at all events got rid of the
word; whether we have got rid of the
thing, may be a matter not worth dis-
cussing. Be it sufficient to say that the
slave-trade crammed Liverpool with wealth ;
and that wealth, by its natural operation,
raised Liverpool into importance.

George Frederick Cooke, in one of those
wild and unaccountable sallies into which



JOHN MANESTY. 5

notliiiig ^iit genius, even in drunkciniess,
can burst, while performing the part of
Eichard the Third, in the Williamson-square
Theatre of Liverpool, amid a hissing and
hooting, well earned for having been so
overcome by the poetry of Shakspeare, or
the punch of the Angel, as to tumble about
the stage, obtained attention by crying,
with his wondrous voice, " Silence, and
hear me!" The call was instantly obeyed.
Moulding his features into his most terrific
scowl, he looked on the astonished audience,
and the indignant representative of the last
of the Plantagenets thus shouted forth :—
" It is hard enough to submit to the de-
gradation of such a profession as that in
which I appear ; but it is the lowest depth
of disgrace to be compelled to play the



6 JOHN MANESTY.

buffoon for the amusement of a set of
wretches, every stone of whose streets,
every brick of whose houses, every block
of whose docks, is grouted and cemented
together by the blood and marrow of the
sold and murdered African."

The audience, by their indignation or their
silence, gave at least a qualified assent to
the truth of this unceremonious remon-
strance ; and the attention which was re-
fused by the merchants of Sydney-lane, or
Goree Dock, to the tame eloquence of a
Wilberforce, or the sober preachings of a
Clarkson, was aroused with feelings of
shame by the fierce denunciation of a tipsy
actor. Men are still alive who actually
traded in slavery on the coast of Africa;
and many will remember the days when the



JOHN MANESTY. 7

watchword, " Liberty and the slave-trade,"
floated proudly upon the election-banners of
General Tarleton. Why should we not re-
member it? It was only in 1807 ; and
that to young people like us counts not
much more than if it were yesterday.

Cooke's savage taunt was of course
nothing more, as well may be believed, than
a ferocious exaggeration; but it is unde-
niable that many honourable and upright
men were engaged in this man-traffic, the
propriety of which they never doubted;
and that few of the most unexceptionable
merchants in Liverpool, though closing
their eyes to what was called " the horrors
of the middle passage," refused to accept
the profits which it retui-ned. We have
now nothing further to add in the way of



8 JOHN MANESTY.

introduction to our story, except tluit tliis
pcculiiir trade having liad its nuiin en-
couragement in this country by the Assiento
contract, and its main discouragement hy
what Jolm Wesley called the Grand Revival
of Heligion, our story fixes itself in the
middle time between both — viz., in 1760.

Just only is it to remark, that many per-
sons in Liverpool conscientiously protested
against this traffic — especially Quakers, and
the more austere dissenters. Just, also, is
it to add, that a general suspicion prevailed
that those same Quakers were deeply en-
gaged in the business. This they declared
to be a calumny, and were believed, as
people wished to believe. But of the mer-
cantile world, some, without making any
noisy professions, conscientiously abstained



JOHN MANESTY. \)

from having anything to do with the cap-
ture and sale of their fellow-creatures ; and
among them was the famous house of llib-
blethwaite, Manesty, and Co., of Pool-lane,
Liverpool. This firm, at the time we write
of, was represented by a single individual,
Mr. John Manesty.

Mr. Manesty was about three or four and
forty years of age when our narrative com-
mences. His countenance was cold and
cahmlating — seldom, if ever, relaxing into
a smile, and almost as seldom darkening into
a frown. In stature, he, like one of
Crabbe's heroes —

'* Grave Jonas' kindred, Sibyl kindred's sire,
Was six feet high, and look'd six inches higher ;'

and his massive head, somewhat (contrary

b3



10 JOHN MANESTY.

to custom, lie wore no peruke) touched with
gray, and rapidly inclining to be bald, was
firmly set on a pair of ample shoulders.
His dress, which never varied, was of snuff-
brown broadcloth, a wide-skirted coat, a
deep-flapped waistcoat, and a close-fitting
pail' of breeches, not reaching much beyond
the knee, where they were secured by a
pair of small silver buckles. These gar-
ments were all of the same colour and
material, and for more than twenty years
he had not allowed any change in their
fashion, which, though an object of scorn
in the eyes of the beaux and macaronies of
the middle of the last century, was com-
fortable and commodious. No ruffles graced
his wrists; no tie or solitaire decorated his
stiff cravat, rolled closely round his mus-



JOHN MANESTY. 11

cular throat ; no ornament whatever was
worn on any part of Iiis person; but all,
from his well-brushed, broad-brimmed hat,
to his woollen stockings of iron gray — and
his shoes, blackened with whatever art,
before the appearance of Day and Martin
in the world of Japan, could command, and
kept tightly close by a pair of the darkest
buckles — was scrupulously clean, stainless,
and without speck. Such, too, was his
repute among his brother merchants; and
when, at Exchange hours, he made his way,
slowly and steadily pacing among the com-
mercial crowd, with his gold-headed cane,
which he carried more as an emblem of his
caste, than for any purpose of supporting
his brawny hand or strong-set limbs, he
seemed, in more senses than one, a pillar of
'Change.



12 JOHN MANESTY.

Of his partners, the ckler Ilibblcthwaitc
liad died some years before, and his son,
who formed tlie " Co.," preferred cock-
fighting, badger-draAving, bull -baiting, and
other refined Lancastrian amusements-
most of which we have bequeathed as lega*
cies on the other side of the Atlantic — to
the dull routine of the desk and counter.
With great pleasure, therefore, he sold his
interest in the firm to his graver partner,
who, as usual in contracts between such
parties, was no loser in the transaction.
We by no means intend to insinuate that
anything passed which was inconsistent
with mercantile honour, for the purchaser
was not more eager to get than the seller to
get rid of the concern on any terms what-
ever. If the money passed was less than



JOHN MANESTY. lo

what Manesty would have disbursed to a
more sagacious or less hasty customer, it
was far more than Dick Hibblethwaitc
required on the moment for the pui-poses of
squandering.

Those who now visit the Liverpool Ex-
change, in Castle-street, and look upon the
spruce and airy second-hand dandies, who
dispose of millions of money — at least, of
bills — in the jauntiest style possible; or sec
them, at all hours of the day, sipping
claret, swilling grog, or guttling down
bitter beer, according as the goddess La-
verna is propitious to her votaries: or who
meet them in the hundreds of coffee-rooms,
bar-parlours, or taps, so profusely planted
all over their borough, flirting with pretty
Miss Eliza, betting at Jem Ward's, making



14 JOHN MANESTY.

tlicir books at litidlcy's, or " tossing " iit
Jack Langan's, must needs be reminded
that these gentlemen no more resemble
their methodical sires of old, than does the
maintenon cutlet or the ressole des rognons
de Zfo??^ represent the haunch of mutton or
the lordly sirloin. In one art they cer-
tainly far surpass their Withers — what that
art is, we leave to Dale-street on one side
of the ocean, and to Wall-street upon the
other, to disclose. Be that as it may,
among the most methodical men, of this
most methodical time, none could be more
methodical than the bUrly merchant whom
we have just introduced to our readers.

John Manesty was, as we have said,
some three or four and forty years of age,
twenty of which he had passed in indefati-



JOHN MANESTY. 15

gable and unceasing commercial industry in
his native town. The Exchange clock it-
self could not have been more punctual and
unvarying in its movements than he. Six
o'clock every morning of winter or summer
found him seated upon the high stool of his
inner office, turning over his books of busi-
ness with a scrutinizing eye, preparatory to
the labours of the day. Eight o'clock every
evening saw him as invariably occupied,
upon the same stool, over the same books,
which had recorded the results of those now
finished labours. Fcav incidents marked
the interval between- those hours.

Writing letters occupied Manesty's time
until eight o'clock, when he sate down to a
hearty breakfast of northern cheer, to which
his temperate habits and robust frame



16 JOHN MANESTY.

enaljled liim to do ample justice. The mul-
tifarious occupations of commerce engaged
liim until dinner, Avliicli, contrary to the
general habit of the Liverpool merchants —
whose custom it was, then, even more than
now, to dine in taverns — was served at
home, and he shared a plain but solid
repast with a single companion. A tankard
of ale, and sometimes a glass of port, was
its only accompaniment; and dinner con-
cluded, he went upon 'Change, to transact
affairs with his brother merchants.

Great was the deference which John
Manesty there met; and for a couple of
hours, bills, bonds, obligations, bargains,
li'eights, insurances, speculations, contracts,
shipments, ladings, entries, consignments,
and a host of other words familiar to mer-



JOHN MANESTY. 17

cantile ear in ii great emporium of trade
and shipping, were despatched by him witli
the rapidity acquired by long practice, and
a decision which is the sure attendant upon
a heavy purse. His dealings were upright,
his engagements punctually observed; and
though in doing business with others who
were not so punctual or so solvent as him-
self, he had no scruple to enforce his claims
in such manner as the law allows and the
court awards, yet the very greatness of his
transactions precluded him from being, in
general, mixed up with needy or embar-
rassed parties, and his wealth often allowed
him to display the semblance, and perhaps
the reality, of generous and kindly dealing
towards the fallen or broken adventurer in
trade.



18 JOHN MANESTY.

At five, tea, followed by an hour's in-
dulgence in smoking, (his only luxury,
and conscientious scruples occasionally re-
proached him for indulging in this slave-
raised weed,) brought the merchant again
to his books; a bread and cheese supper,
sometimes relieved by a glass of hot rum
and water, followed, and ten o'clock con-
signed him to his bed, thence to rise at six
o'clock the next morning and repeat the
labours of the bygone day.

Such was the sober and unvarying life of
Manesty, and many more besides of his
contemporaries.



JOHN MANESTY. 19



CHAPTER 11.

WHO THE WOLSTERHOLMES WERE, AND WHO WAS
THEIR SUCCESSOR AT WOLSTERHOLME CASTLE.

From Manesty's business, as we have
already stated, African traffic was wholly
excluded; he had taken a very decided
part in protesting against the slave trade,
then principally opposed by the dissenters,
which threw him much into their company ;
and though not departing from the church
of England, in which he was reared, he



20 JOHN MANESTY.

seldom attended its services, preferring, in-
stead, to frequent the chapel of the Ecv.
Mr. Zachariah Ilickathrift, called by his
admirers Zealous Zachariah, and by all
whom they would consider the ungodly,
Old Cuff- the- Cushion, l)oth titles being
derived from the energy with which he en-
forced the extreme doctrines of Calvinism,
The house had, indeed, formerly been some
what connected with the West Indies, but
that branch of the business had been en-
trusted to the elder Hibblethwaitc. Manesty
never liked it ; and, on the old man's death,
this dislike was still further increased by
reports of the proceedings of the younger
gentleman, while on a visit to Port Royal,
proceedings which, in the opinions of his
grave partner, were by no means calculated



JOHN MANESTY. 21

to reflect credit on the character of the
firm. This was, indeed, one of the prin-
cipal causes of the dissolution of partner-
ship, after which event Manesty gave up
the West Indian and African connexion
altogether.

When it was pressed upon the merchant
that there were other things besides slaves
to be traded in — as palm oil, or gold dust —
upon the Gambia, he used sternly to reply—

" No — no, it is best not to touch the
thing at all ! Have I no consideration for
the souls of my sailors, whom I should, by
despatching them thither on any mission
whatever, expose to the contamination of
being the associates of murderers, pirates,
and manstealers?"

In all other branches of commerce Ma-



22 JOHN MANESTY.

nesty zealously engaged, and so monotonous
was his life, that for more than twenty
years he was never known to have left
Liverpool for a further distance than Man-
chester, a journey then performed with ease
and expedition in six hours, except some
twice or thrice on short business expedi-
tions to London, and once a year, when he
paid a visit to an estate which, much to
the astonishment of his commercial friends,
he had purchased in one of the wildest
parts of Yorkshire.

Wolsterholme manor was seated amid the
rugged and then almost inaccessible moor-
lands on the Lancastrian border. Before
the union of the kingdoms it could boast
of a castle, the inmates of which were
continually occupied either in border war-



JOHN MANESTY. 23

fare against tlie Scotch, or in the civil con-
tentions of the Plantagenets. The castle
gradually made way for a strong castellated
house, which had the honour of having kept
off Sir Arthur Haslerigge in the war of
Charles and his Parliament : that in its
turn was in more peaceful times succeeded
by a modern mansion, built in the quaint
fashion of the days of Anne ; and the waste
moorland was made to blossom with the
rose in a curious garden, ornamented with
the innumerable devices, which the per-
verse ingenuity of the queer gardeners who
flourished at the commencement of the last
century was fond of puzzling forth.

But that house, at the time of our story,
was almost in ruins. The lands, never
carefully cultivated, had nearly ceased to



24 JOHN MANESTY.

be cultivated altogetlicr, and now afforded
but scanty pasturage for a few straggling
sheep; the garden alone retained some
semblance of its pristine pomp. The house
supplied a dwelling-place, such as it was,
for a poor old man, who liad been under-
gardener, many years bygone, in the days
of the last Wolsterholme, and by his zeal,
exerted to the utmost of his power, the
winding walks were kept in order; the
evergreens clipped and trimmed into their
original shapes of heraldic griffins — the
armorial bearings of the family; the fruit
of bush or tree preserved from totally
perishing ; the flower-knots still disposed in
their whimsical mazes ; the green border of
the long fish-pond — fish-pond, indeed, no
more! for the fish liad long vanished —



JOHN MANESTY. 25

cleaned find cleared — the rose was reared,
the weed uprooted — all with as much care
as if the eyes of its former masters rested
upon the scene.

But there they rested not. With a
fatality common to many of our ancient
families, the Wolsterholmes had always
adopted the losing side : their manors were
confiscated by the Yorkists, and but par-
tially restored by Henry VII. In the days
of his successor, their attachment to the
Romish faith lost them all their influence in
court or county, and many a broad acre
beside, in the mad insurrection known in
history by the name of the Rising of the
North. When the deluded followers of the
standard of the Five Wounds of Christ
hoped that,

VOL. I. C



26 JOHN MANESTY.

" If their enterprise had sped,

Change far and wide the land had seen —
A resurrection from the dead,
A spring-tide of immortal green,"

but were mercilessly taught to see their
mistake by Sir George Beaumont, the Wol-
sterholmes took an active part, and suffered,
some in person, all in estate ; and lastly, in
the Parliamentary war, they as Cavaliers
were made to groan heavily under lines
and sequestrations, for which, when the
days of royalty returned with Charles II.,
it was but sorry recompence, on their pre-
sentation at court, that they were pro-
fusely complimented, heartily shaken by the
hand, heavily laden with promises, laughed
at as country pests by the courtiers, and if



JOHN MANESTY. 27

remembered at all, remembered only as
bores by the king.

These being the annals of their house, it
is no wonder that the Revolution found
them in possession of a sadly dwindled
estate, which possessed few temptations for
the spoiler ; but untaught by experience,
they still clung with constant fidelity to
that White Rose which had been so fatal
to their fortunes. The cowardice of James
was, however, kinder to his followers than
the courage of his father had been ; for his
precipitate flight afibrded his partisans no
opportunity for an English insurrection,
and the followers of William had no pre-
text for dealing as liberally in confiscations
on the eastern as they did on the western
side of St. George's Channel. Wolsterholme

c 2



28 JOHN MANESTY.

Castle, as it was still called, was thus saved
to its owners, who would infallibly have
followed the standard of James, if he had
raised one ; and it became the theatre of
many a political intrigue, with which ap-
pellation tlic " honest men " thought proper
to dignify their drinking bouts.

In 1715, the Sir Thomas of that day
was " out " with the Earl of Mar, and,
obliged to fly to France, he died at St. Ger-
mains, in sad poverty. The relics of this
once great property, now reduced to little
more than this barren waste, were finally
dissipated by his son, also a Sir Thomas,
who, witli the hereditary wisdom of the
family, threw down the last stake of the
Wolsterholmes, and lost it in the cause of
Charles Edward. He, like his father, was



JOHN MANESTY. 29

obliged to fly to the Continent; and enter-
ing the French service, had the good fortune
of being shot dead, before absolute penury,
which had been long staring him in the
face, had actually come down upon him like
an armed man. His only sister, either im-
patient at increasing a burden already too
weighty to be borne, or else, as a few
persons conjectured, yielding to the solicita-
tions of some unprincipled admirer, had
disappeared, none knew whither.

Sir Thomas's younger brother, who, amid
the loud remonstrances of his kindred,
had adopted the Hanoverian side of the
question, obtained a commission in Ligo-
nier's troop, and perished, in some obscure
skirmish in the American plantations, a few
years before Sir Thomas's death. And the



so JOUN MANESTY.

land knew their place no more. Their
honours were attainted, their manor seized
hy the crown. The memory of the family
was still cherished by the peasantry, to
whom they had always been kind, but
there was, for many reasons, an evident
reluctance to speak of the old people, and
they were gradually forgotten as years
rolled away.

On the flight of the last baronet, some
five-and-twenty years before this story be-
gins, the crown agents parcelled the estate —
which, though small in value, was spacious
in acres — into many petty holdings, princi-
pally among the tenants of the late pos-


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