Directly connected with the whole world, through the medium of its shipping and manufactures, Lancashire is commercially to Great Britain what the Forum was to ancient Rome—the centre from which roads led towards every principal province of the empire. Being nearer to the Atlantic, Liverpool commands a larger portion of our commerce with North America even than London: it is from the Mersey that the great westward steamers chiefly sail. The biographies of the distinguished men who had their birthplace in Lancashire, and lived there always, many of them living still, would fill a volume. A second would hardly suffice to tell of those who, though not natives, have identified themselves at various periods with Lancashire movements and occupations. No county has drawn into its population a larger number of individuals of the powerful classes, some taking up their permanent abode in it, others coming for temporary purposes. In cultivated circles in the large towns the veritable Lancashire men are always fewer in number than those born elsewhere, or whose fathers did not belong to Lancashire. No trifling item is it in the county annals that the immortal author of the Advancement of Learning represented, as member of Parliament, for four years (1588-1592) the town which in 1809 gave birth to William Ewart Gladstone, and which, during the boyhood of the latter, sent Canning to the House of Commons.