William Roscoe by
Martin Archer Shee,
William Roscoe (8 March 1753 – 30 June 1831), was an English historian and miscellaneous writer, perhaps best known today as an early abolitionist, and for his poem for children the Butterfly's Ball.
He was born in Liverpool, where his father, a market gardener, kept a public house called the Bowling Green at Mount Pleasant. Roscoe left school at the age of twelve, having learned all that his schoolmaster could teach. He assisted his father in the work of the garden, but spent his leisure time on reading and study.