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with goods of every description, which are now principally carried by land. This short obstacle of four miles once removed, boats might be loaded at the London Docks, at Paddington, Birmingham, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, or Manchester, and conveyed by water, without being unloaded, to Preston, Lancaster, and Kendal. The finances of the canal company have not yet been thought equal to so great an undertaking as the building of an aqueduct over the Ribble; but it is hoped that the increasing profits of the concern, even under its present disadvantages, will soon enable the proprietors to fulfil their original engagements with the public.
In the general account of this town it may be thought proper to mention that, by the combined exertions of the trustees of the different roads with the commissioners of police within the borough, the main approaches to Preston have within the last few years been greatly improved ; the entrance from Liverpool, by Fishergate in particular, may be said to equal that of most provincial towns. The plan of flagging the parapets has also been lately introduced, and a considerable part of Church street and Fishergate already enjoys the benefit of this convenience, but owing to an economising spirit among the commissioners, the improvements in this respect are at present discontinued : in the year 1821, the parish of Preston contained 27,362 inhabitants, and 4,723 houses.
This town, from its situation, has been an important post in the civil commotions of this kingdom, and the scene of various military actions; the following account of the one that happened in 1642, is printed from the original in the British Museum, and is thought worthy of insertion.
The true relation of the taking of the town of Preston by
Colonell Seaton's forces from Manchester, sent in a letter from a worthy minister (an eye witness thereof) to an emminent divine in London.
Be pleased to accept this poor rude paper, it is a messenger sent to tell you good tidings. We have assaulted and taken Preston, a town very considerable, and which much tends to the advancement of the publike worke in this county, and so not altogether impertinent to the kingdome. We were about 900 or 1000 firemen, horse and foot, and about 600 bill-men, halberdiers and clubmen ; our march in the night was tedious, especially to many who had marched the night before, and to accomodate us in that, God gave us a faire night, such as
had not beene of a space before, yea, and indeed the day forerunning threatned us a very foule night-this was of God. Our men assaulted it a little before sun rising, in an houres time they were masters of it; it was well fortified with brick walls, outer and inner ; our men (but especially three companies that came from Manchester) fell on with notable resolution. Captain John Booth scaled their walls, bidding his souldiers either follow him or give him up; but they, forgetting their owne safety, followed him. The garrison fought it out stoutly, they kept their inner works with push of pike, and also the breach they kept with their swords, which aggravates the matter.
We have not lost above three or four men, (very strange) falling upon thern in their workes; of theirs I saw lying dead in one street end at least five or six, besides other parts of the towne severall, and many in the houses not calling for quarter. And as if men must have been singled out for slaughter, wee could have scarcely have picked out better ; the major (that was resolute to desperatenesse in the cause, that had oftentimes been heard sweare he would fire the towne ere he
up, and begin with his owne house,) was slain, and that very day he had appointed to constrain the well-affected, or to have seized on their estates ; Sir Gilbert Houghton's brother, a captain, and a desperate papist; Mr. Westby, a physitian, and a desperate, a serjeant to the freehold, that came lately out of Ireland, a most wicked wretch, were of the number of the slain. Several of our men are shot, but not mortally (its notable); many are shot in two or three, or four severall places, and neither to death nor dangerously; we have taken some prisoners of note. Captain Farrington, Sir John Talbot's sonne, one Fleetwood, and they say Anderton of Clayton, if so,
he is one of the most considerable men for estate and activity in the county, and many others, with many arms and a large part of things justly, and by plunder (alas, that that is so much lamented, but most hard to be prevented) seized on, more prisoners of note, we had been possessed of, but that honest flight rescued them. The fruit of this design is not yet perceived, but will shine forth more and more I am confident ; it blocks
way, that all the north-vast part of Lancashire, where were the chief malignants, and the cream of the earl's forces, yea, and indeed, they will come in (I am perswaded and partly perceive already) and subscribe to the propositions. So soon as matters were settled, we sung praises to God in the streets, (sir, it was wonderful to see it) the sun brake forth and shined brightly and hot, in the time of the exercise, as if it had been midsummer. Truely, sir, we owe (subordinate to God) a great deal to Sir John Seaton ; things are artificially and methodically done, past what they were before; he is a man of wonderful care and unwearied industry, onely rather too harsh for our northern, knotty rigged dispositions, had he the meek spirit, and smooth tongue of S. M. Sparrow, he were peerlesse, and without parallell, doubtlesse. Sir, I am in haste, just come from Preston, and the poste about to take horse, pardon my rudnesse, and brevity, onely, I beseech you assist us in praises, that we may not loose God for want of praises, and pray for us, that plunder cry not louder for justice than prayer for mercy, remember
my love and service to your wife. Farewill is the wish of your humble servant and respective friend,
Postscript.-Anderton of Clayton is out of question taken, Captain Preston taken also, he, with Captain Farrington came this night to Preston, the Serjeant mentioned before, was an Irish rebell, and Fleetwood, before named, was he that killed the man in Manchester, at that time the earl came thither a little before the late siege.
But the most considerable of these was in 1648, when the