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IMPROVEMENT OF THE ROADS.

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pool and Hull in the same manner as the materials are brought from those places.

“Many thousand tons of shipping, and seamen in proportion, which in summer trade to the northern seas, are employed in winter in carrying materials for the Burslem ware; and as much salt is consumed in glazing one species of it as pays annually near £5,000 duty to government. Add to these considerations the prodigious quantity of coal used in the Potteries, and the loading and freight this manufacture constantly supplies as well for land carriage as inland navigation, and it will appear that the manufacturers, sailors, bargemen, carriers, colliers, men employed in the salt works, and others who are supported by the pot trade, amount to a great many thousand people; and every shilling received for ware at foreign markets so much clear gain to the nation, as not one foreigner is employed in, or any material imported from abroad for, any branch of it; and the trade flourishes so much as to have increased twothirds within the last fourteen years.

The potters concerned in this very considerable manufacture, presuming from the above, and many other reasons that might be offered by the pot trade, not unworthy the attention of parliament, have presented a petition for leave to bring in a bill to repair and widen the road from the 'Red Bull’ at Lawton, in Cheshire, to Cliff Bank, in Staffordshire, which runs right through the Potteries, and falls at each end into a turnpike road. This road, especially the northern road from Burslem to the “Red Bull,' is so very narrow, deep, and foundrous, as to be almost impassable for carriages, and in the winter almost for pack-horses; for which reasons the carriages with materials and ware to and from Liverpool, and the salt works in Cheshire, are obliged to go to Newcastle, and from thence to the “Red Bull,' which is nine miles and a half (whereof three miles and a half, viz., from Burslem to Newcastle, are not turnpike road), instead of five miles, which is the distance from Burslem to the 'Red Bull' by the road prayed to be amended."

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In this scheme, as I have before hinted, Wedgwood and his brother manufacturers met with severe opposition, especially from the inhabitants of Newcastle-under-Lyme, who considered that by diverting the traffic into another channel, their town would be ruined, and their trade, especially that of the innkeepers, destroyed. The Act, however, passed with the alteration that it should end at Burslem instead of being continued to Cliff Bank. The formation of this turnpike-road-which has the reputation of being the first in the Potteries—was mainly due to the immense exertions of Wedgwood, who only grew more determined as opposition increased, and eventually carried his point, and thus conferred an incalculable benefit on the neighbourhood, much against its will.

In the course of his own business, as well as upon the schemes of the turnpike-road and canal, Wedgwood had not unfrequently occasion to go to Liverpool, where, indeed, he had already found an important market for his goods. On one of these visits, in consequence of some accidental aggravation of his old complaint, he was laid up for some weeks, and was then under the charge of, I have reason to believe, Dr. Matthew Turner, a man of high intellectual attainments, and an excellent chemist, who resided in John Street, and to whom the merit of the re-discovery of much of the lost art of glass-staining belongs. *

The doctor was an intimate friend of Mr. Thomas Bentley, of Liverpool, a man of superior attainments, of refined taste, and of most agreeable manners and conversational powers, and “ pitying the situation of Mr. Wedgwood, a stranger, and so much afflicted, introduced Mr. Bentley to him as a companion, whose intelligence, vivacity, and philanthropy, would quicken the lingering hours of pain.” From this acquaintanceship, so accidentally and so strangely brought about, sprung up a lasting friendship, which ripened as time drew on, until it culminated in a partnership, and ended only in the death of Bentley.

And here let me correct a wide-spread error regarding this well-known partner of Josiah Wedgwood's, concerning whom I shall have some particulars to give in another chapter. Ward, in his “ History of Stoke-upon-Trent,” a

This clever man, I believe, in conjunction with Mr. Chubbard, executed the south window of St. Anne's Church, Liverpool.

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work written at Burslem, Wedgwood's native place, says, speaking of Josiah Wedgwood,—“He took into partnership Mr. Richard Bentley, son of Dr. Bentley, the celebrated critic and Archdeacon of Ely, a man of great ingenuity, taste, and learning, possessing too a large circle of acquaintance among people of rank and science. To him, it is generally understood, Mr. Wedgwood was chiefly indebted for his classical subjects, for which his establishment became so highly celebrated.” This statement has been repeated with but little variation, in almost every notice which has yet appeared of Wedgwood or of his productions down to the present time. I am enabled, however, to show that this statement is erroneous, and that not only was Wedgwood's partner not the son of Archdeacon Bentley, the critic, but was not even named Richard. The companion, and afterwards partner, of Josiah Wedgwood was, as will be seen from the fac-simile of his autograph, which

Jolanting

I here engrave from a letter in my own possession, Thomas Bentley. The letter from which this autograph is copied, is addressed to “My dear Friend,” “Mr. Josiah Wedgwood, at Etruria,” &c. In connection with this autograph I give in the following illustration an engraving of the beautiful medallion of Bentley, produced by Wedgwood as a companion, probably, to his own, from an example in my own collection. The bust, it will be seen, is remarkably bold and fine, and must have been the work of an artist of no common order.

In connection with this medallion, it will be interesting

to note that a portrait of Thomas Bentley was painted by Wright, of Derby, and is now preserved at Linley Wood. In

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Wright's diary the painting of this portrait is thus entered, under the year 1777 :-“ Copy of Mr. Bentley, K.C., £21." Wright also painted a portrait of “Miss Bentley (full), £31 10s."

In another chapter I shall show that Thomas Bentley, about whom too little has hitherto been known, and concerning whom so many errors have been perpetuated, was a native of Derbyshire, and a member, doubtless, of the old family of that name long connected with that county.

CHAPTER VIII.

INLAND NAVIGATION.- PROPOSED GRAND TRUNK CANAL.— BRIND

LEY'S PLAN.—DUKE OF BRIDGWATER'S CANAL.—MEETING
IN FAVOUR OF THE GRAND TRUNK.-JOSIAH WEDGWOOD's
LIBERAL OFFER.-STATE OF THE POTTERY DISTRICT.-WANT
OF COMMUNICATION. —PACK-HORSES.--CLAY, FLINT, LEAD,
SALT, IRON, ETC. —RICHARD WHITWORTH AND HIS IDEAS.-
STATE OF THE PEOPLE IN BURSLEM.-- REV. JOHN WESLEY.-
HIS FIRST VISIT TO THE POTTERIES.--IS PELTED WHILE
PREACHING.-WEDGWOOD CUTS THE FIRST SOD OF THE
GRAND TRUNK CANAL.—WONDER EXCITED AT BRINDLEY'S
OPERATIONS—WEDGWOOD's ZEAL WITH REGARD TO THE
CANAL.

INLAND navigation, at the period of which I am now writing, was in its veriest infancy; but the advantages which an increased water communication between different towns would give to trade were fully understood by Mr. Wedgwood, whose mind, ever active, grasped the subject in all its bearings, and determined him to bring those advantages to his native place, and to the trade which was its sole support. His mind once made up, nothing was allowed to brook it. Obstacles only increased his determination, and opposition his firmness of purpose. As early as 1755, a scheme had been broached in Liverpool for joining, by means of a canal which should pass through the great towns of Chester, Stafford, Derby, and Nottingham, the rivers Trent and Mersey, and thus connect the important ports of Liverpool on the one hand, and Hull on the other. Surveys were made for this and other schemes, some passing through the “pot district,” and others purposely avoiding it.

The progress of the Duke of Bridgwater's canal inten

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