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Liverpool Literature

A DESCRIPTIVE

BIBLIOGRAPHY OF OLD DEEDS, CODICES, MAPS,
AND PRINTED LITERATURE, INCLUDING
MANY PRIVATE PAMPHLETS OF

AN ANTIQUARIAN NATURE,

TENDING TO ILLUSTRATE THE

HISTORY & ANTIQUITIES OF LIVERPOOL,

NORTH WALES, AND NORTH-WEST

BRITAIN,

EMBRACING, TOO, OTHERS OF WIDER INTEREST

GENEALOGICAL, TOPOGRAPHICAL, and BIOGRAPHICAL, with
ANNOTATIONS, APPROXIMATE MARKET VALUE,
and a BRIEF INTROSPECT

BY

WILLIAM JAGGARD

Author of "BOOK PRICES CURRENT INDEX and other works

LIVERPOOL: Published at the SHAKESPEARE PRESS
XIII Moorfields. MCMV

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A BRIEF INTROSPECT.

"Nam ipsa scientia potestas est."---BACON.

UPON the occasion of his last public utterance in this, his birthplace, Mr. Gladstone found, to his surprise and regret that, although the city had more than trebled in size, and prospered amazingly, there were actually fewer bookshops than in his boyhood, some eighty years earlier, and he thought this indicated a sad intellectual falling-off.

But he had overlooked the ceaseless activity Bast of the modern newspaper press. Year in, reading growth. year out, that press knows neither sleep, day of rest, nor holiday. He failed to remember, too, the octopus spread of free libraries; the great network of railway bookstalls; and the hundreds of thousands of newsagents and news-runners who carry reading matter, every hour and at all hours, to each point of the compass. With these and other fresh sources of literary supplies, the wonder is that a single specimen of the genus bookseller exists today. Approximately, the bookvendor's day departed with that of the stage coach, and the preservation of occasional live specimens must be attributed to the good nature of John Bull.

Surely, if slowly, dissolution of book-traders is taking place. One by one the courteous, well-informed booksellers pass out of ken, and no younger men occupy their vacant places. In many existing bookshops some unworthy branch of goods, supposed to be remotely connected with the book world, usurps the position of legitimate literary wares. True, the professional term BOOKSELLER still appears in bold type on

Gladstone's lament.

Booksellers becoming extinct.

Bookshops deteriorating.

the facia, but windows and counters tell quite another tale. Instead of the former display of attractive books, we now find the so-called bookshops filled with cheap stationery, picture postcards, crockery, toys, and trumpery.

For centuries before Mr. Gladstone's boyhood, and fully half a century after, the oldfashioned bookseller was regarded as literary mentor, pilot, and adviser to all and sundry who chose to make use of him, and, fortunately, the educated dealer in old books still retains the confidence of the cultured. Shakespeare, master of all phases and professions, supplies an apt description of a good bookseller :

Booksellers, old and new.

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But he who handled books wet from the press has dropped from his pedestal. Compelled by fierce exigencies of free public library and other competition; constrained by demands of landlord, rate collectors, and tax gatherers; he descended from his proud position to become a specialist and expert in gee-gaws.

Laggards.

Until recently, Liverpool made no pretence Literary to be a literary centre. During the nineteenth century the town possessed, at various periods, institutions and societies devoted to art, science, or literature, but each one seemed stunted for want of enthusiasm. They appear to have lacked the zeal and virility necessary to breed success in any human organisation. But Liverpool is no whit worse in this respect than other seaports. Never yet, perhaps, has it been satisfactorily established why cities on the seaboard do not woo the muses. Whether the odour of the waves is distracting, or a restless feeling engendered by the coming and going of ships is at fault, is difficult to determine without more precise knowledge.

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