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admired valley of Lonsdale. Pursuing a soutlı-westerly course, it reaches the county town, where it becomes navigable; and, at the distance of about two miles from Lancaster, is calculated to bear ships of considerable burthen. “ Few streams can equal the Lime in beauty, from Sedberylı where it enters a cultivated and inhabited district, to its conflux with the sea; nor can many of the vales of England vie with the Lonsdale. Gray's celebrated view of it is taken from an eminence above this river, near tlie third mile stone from Lancaster, from whence almost the whole of this delightful district is visible, abounding in villages, with the town and castle of Hornby in the centre, finely intersected by the Lune, winding between hills cloathed with wood, and backed by the high mountain of Ingleborough in Yorkshire. The approach to Lancaster is indescribably striking, where the river becoming wider, and winding in several bolder sweeps, opens to the view of that singular town, descending from a high hill, whose summit is crowned by the bastions of its castle, and the lofty tower of its church,
Proceeding southward, the next considerable river is the Wyer, or Wyre, which, taking its source among the moors, on the northeastern part of the county, meanders through a very romantic district; and, pursuing a south-westerly course towards the sea, receives the waters of several other mountain streams before it reaches Garstang church town. Near this place its current is greatly augmented by the waters of the rivers Calder, &c. and passing near the town of Poulton, expands into a broad bason called Wyer-water; and, again contracting its banks, joins the Irish Sea between Bernard's-Wharf, and the North-Scar.
The Ribble river, like the Loyne, unites to the sea by a very broad estuary, and like that has also a Roman station on its banks. “ This river," observes Dr. Whitaker, “ by the general consent of most antiquaries, has been understood to be the Belisima of Ptolemy.” And this hypothesis is supported by the resemblance, and by the etymology of the two words, as well as by the
bearings Skrine's Account of Rivers, &c.
bearings and distances laid down by that geographer. “This beautiful stream," continues the Doctor, “ intersecting in its sinuous course the whole county of Lancaster, receives, near Mitton, the Hodder, which, coming down from Cross of Grete, for several of the last miles, forms the boundary of Yorkshire and Lancashire, as it must originally have done between two British tribes: the word Oder, in that language, signifying a limit, or bound.” The Ribble is one of the largest rivers in the north of England, and bas its source in the high moors of Craven in Yorkshire. Taking first a southerly course, it passes by the town of Clithero, and, forming the boundary of the county for a short space, is joined by the Hodder, and the Winburne from Whalley. In a devious westerly course to Ribchester, it also receives three other smaller streams, whence flowing through the romantic valley of Ribblesdale, it passes near the populous town of Preston, and soon afterwards joins the Irish Sea. The chief course of this river is through a highly commercial and well cultivated country; and near the thriving town of Preston its banks are bold, grand, and finely adorned with hanging woods. Two handsome bridges, in the vicinity of this town, combine to enrich and dignify the scenery. A little west of this place, the Ribble forms a spacious estuary, which is enlarged by the mouth of the river Douglas. This has its source in the vicinity of Rivington-pike, and after passing the town of Wigan, proceeds north-westerly by Newburgh, and near Rufford is joined by the Elder brook from Ormskirk. After receiving the united streams of the Yarrow and Lostock rivulets, it empties itself into the estuary of the Ribble, at a place called Muck-Stool. • The Alt river, rising near Knowsley Park, and flowing in a north-westerly direction, joins the Irish Sea, near Formby Point, There are several small streams, that join the river Mersey, on the north side of the county; the chief of which is the
Irwell. This stream appears to originate in the moors, about the parallel of Haslingden, near the Yorkshire and Lancashire boundaries, whence it flows, swelled by other small streams, through the manor of Tottington to Bury. Below this place it
forms a junction with the Roch, and then makes a considerable curve to the west; but meeting with a rivulet from Bolton, the Irwell then winds suddenly towards the south-east, and proceeds in that direction to Manchester, where it unites with the Medlock and the Irk. Again changing its course to the west, and passing through Barton, where the Duke of Bridgewater's canal is carried over its surface, by means of a grand aqueduct, it falls into the Mersey, below Flixton. The course of this river, from Bury to Manchester, is through a very romantic, and extremely populous country. Its banks are bold and grand, and in many parts richly adorned with hanging woods. The scenery from Lever to Clifton is particularly striking, and eminently picturesque. Mr. Whitaker, having occasion to mention this river, describes its course, &c. in the following terms : “ Welling gently from a double fountain, near the upper part of an hill, betwixt Broad-Clough and Holme in Rossendale, wantoning in wild meanders along the vale of Broughton, and wheeling nearly in one vast circle about the township of Salford, the torrent carries its waters along the western side of Mancenion, and was therefore denominated Ir.guiel, Irwell, Ir-will, or the Western Torrent.” Vol. I. p. 222.
CANALS, in a commercial and manufacturing country, are of almost incalculable utility and importance: and, from the natural peculiarities of rapid rivers, and expensive tediousness of land car, riage, are now very generally appreciated, and well understood in England. Their origin in this country is, however, very recent; and from the best authority, it appears that the first complete artificial canal was planned and formed in Lancashire. This was known by the name of the Sankey; but, long previous to the making of this canal, different acts of parliament had been obtained, and companies formed, for rendering the rivers Irwell and Mersey, also the Weaver, &c. navigable. By the assistance of the tide, which flows with rapidity up the channel of the Mersey, vessels were enabled, without any artificial help, to navigate nearly to the town of Warrington. To render the higher parts of the river, through its communicating branch the Irwell, accessible for vessels as far as
Manchester, was an improvement much wanted by the manufacturers of that town, and its vicinity. To effect this, an act of parliament was obtained in 1720, whereby certain persons of Manchester and Liverpool, but mostly those of the former town, were empowered to make the rivers Irwell and Mersey navigable between those towns. Though the act specified this extent of river, yet, as the Mersey was already navigable from Liverpool to Bank-key, near Warrington; and as all the stipulated demand for tonnage is confined to the navigation between that place and Manchester, it appears that the undertakers meant only to open the upper part of the river. This has been effected by means of wears, locks, &c. and in places where the stream formed consider
able curvatures, cuts were inade across the necks of the principal · bends. By these contrivances a navigable communication was
opened between the two towns: but the later improvements in the Duke of Bridgewater's canal, which is not dependant on droughts and tides, have nearly superseded the use of the former channel. *
Whilst the navigation of the Merscy was thus an object of commercial speculation ; that of the Douglas was equally attended to. The country round Wigan being particularly rich in coal, the proprietors of the mines in that district obtained an Act of Parliament in 1719, for rendering this river navigable. This being completed in 1727, enabled the speculators to convey their coals, &c. readily and cheaply to the mouth of the Ribble; and thence coastwise to send them to the northern parts of Lancashire, Westmoreland, &c. “ The Douglas navigation has since been purchased by the proprietors of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, who have in part substituted an artificial cut for the natural channel of the river." +
The SANKEY CANAL originated with a company of gentlemen and merchants, who, in 1755, obtained an act of parliament, authorizing them to make Sankey brook navigable from the Mersey river, which it joins about two miles west of Warrington, to near St. Helens. This act empowered certain commissioners to
purchase * For an account of this Canal, &c. see Beauties, Vol. II. p. 195.
† Aikin's Descriptiov of the Country round Manchester.
purchase land and other things necessary for the intended navigation. In the first place, it was intended to extend and deepen the bed of the brook; but, after due deliberation, it was ultimately determined to cut a separate and detached channel, or canal. To effect this more completely, a new act was obtained in 1761, wherein it is specified that part of the plan was then executed; but that in neap tides the navigation was rendered impracticable for want of water in the brook. The undertakers were therefore empowered to make a Canal, to extend from a place called Fiddlers' Ferry, on the Mersey, to a spot about 250 yards from the lowest lock. This new part is about one mile and three quarters in length ; and in consideration of it, the proprietors are allowed to charge 2d. per ton, in addition to 10d. which was chargeable by the former act. Thus navigable canals had their rise in Enge land, and the peculiar advantages and success of this at Sankey led to many other similar undertakings ; in the execution of which, the genius of the Engineer, and speculating spirit of the English, were fully called into action. But many things which were then imagined to be unattainable, and insurmountably impracticable, have been recently effected. As the Sankey Canal was the first ex: ample, it may afford satisfaction to some readers to know its present state. “ It runs entirely separated from Sankey brook, excepting crossing and mixing with it in one place about two miles from Sankey bridges. Its length from Fiddlers' Ferry to where it separates into three branches, is 9. miles. From thence it is carried to Penny Bridge and Gerrard's Bridge, without going further ; but from Boardman's Bridge it runs nearly to the linits of 2000 yards, making the whole distance from the Mersey 111 miles. There are eight single, and two double locks, upon the Canal, and the fall of water is about 60 feet. The chief article carried upon it is coal, of which, in the year 1771, by an account given to parliament, there were taken to Liverpool 45,568 tons. and to Warrington, Northwich, and other places, 44,152 tons. There are, besides slate brought down, corn, deal-balk, paving and lime stone, carried up. This navigation is never obstructed by floods, and seldom for any length of time by frosts. The bigliest spring tides rise within a foot of the level of the Canal at