Obrázky stránek

But the greatest incitement to industry is the cer. tainty of protection from rapine. Equitable laws not only protect the persons and property of the inhabitants of London, but enjoin many excellent regulations for the preservation of the public tranquility, unknown in other populous cities. It is to the original excellence of the English constitu, tion that we are principally indebted for the present opulence and refinement of the nation. The disposition of the people has been gradually meliorated by the rewards of industry, and the urbanity of the natives of London renders it a most desirable place of residence. —Among other local advaatages, the convenience of the houses, the cleanliness of the people, and the excellence of the necessaries of life, give this city a decided superiority over all others.

London is situated in latitnde 51 degrees 31 minutes North. It is built on the banks of the river Thames, about sixty miles from the s?a, and consists of three divisions. The eastern division contains the ancient city of London, with its suburbs, and is the great centre, not only of the commerce of the British isles, but of all Europe ! Westminster, the central division, is also an ancient city, which occupies the northern bank of the Thames, to a considerable extent. It is chiefly remarkable for being the seat of Government, and of course, the centre of elegance and politeness. Another principal division of the metropolis is the parish of St. Mary-le-bone, which within the last fifty years, has increased from a few houses, to upwards of 8000, built with the most perfect regularity, and forming a variety of beauti

tiful streets and squares, the residence of several of the nobility, gentry, and merchants. It is to be Tegretted, indeed, that some streets in this quarter of the Town are principally inhabited by demireps, prostitutes, pettifoggers, panders, and swindlers. On the other hand, several houses in the environs, are the residence of authors and artists, and are thus consecrated by genius and virtue. Southwark is apother division of this capital. It is a borough of Surry, and occupies the southern bank of the Thames for several miles.

In consequence of the continual improvements of London, especially the environs, it is difficult to ascertain its extent. • This great City,” says Mr. Colquhoun, “ comprehends, besides London, Westminster, and Southwark, no less than 45 villages now exceedingly enlarged, independent of a vast accession of buildings upon the open fields in the vicinity. It extends to nearly eight miles in length, is three miles at least in breadth, and not less than twenty-six in circumference; containing above 8000 streets, lanes, alleys, and courts; and 65

squares ; in which are more than 160,000 houses, warehouses, and other buildings, besides churches and chapels for religious worship. The number of inhabitants occupying these various houses and buildings, may be rationally estimated at one million at least."

It appears, however, that Mr. C.'s estimate is inaccurate. The following abstract of the population of the metropolis, taken in March 1801, ascertains the real number of houses and inhabitants.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

The accuracy of the foregoing abstract is indisputable, as the estimate was taken in the course of one day, the 10th of March, and it has been published by the authority of parliament. Consequently Mr. Colquhoun bas over-rated the population and the number of buildings. The population abstract however, did not include the churches, and other edifices,

The disparity between the number of males and females, must strike the reflecting mind. It appears that the number of females exceeds that of males by 78,107 persons, which is puincipally to be accounted for by the metropolis being a maritime town, and consequently males adventure to different parts of the globe. This superfiux of women, however, is one great source of evil to that amiable sex; for many of them are seduced, who, if the number of the sexes were equal, would in the connubial state have contributed to the strength and beauty of the social edifice.

The situation of London, on the banks of a wide and deep river, is admirably adapted to foreign commerce; and the completion of the Granel Junction Canal has, by a general inland navigation, facilitated its intercourse with the interior, which supplies it with abundance of necessaries, and receives the produce of every clime in return.

London and Westminster occupy the northern bank of the Thames, and are built on a gravelly soil, on hills which gradually rise from the water side ; while Southwark is built on a plain, along the Southern bank of the river. Its situation is salubrious; and the Thames, which is nearly a quarter of a mile broad, and twelve feet deep, is alternately

agitated by the tide, or, a brisk current, which brings constant supplies of fresh air. The sewers, which convey the filth into the river, are also conducive to the cleanliness of this capital and the health of the inhabitants.

This metropolis is viewed to the greatest advantage from the bridges. The prospect from Westminster Bridge is truly magnificent, especially in the afternoon, when the sun illumines the buildings and spires. From this point of view, the city appears semicircular, along the bank of the Thames, which flows majestically, and presents its broad and curvated stream, interspersed with boats and barges.

From Blackfriars bridge the prospect is still more interesting and delightful: westward, the superb front of Somerset-Place, the light and graceful architecture of Westminster-Bridge, and the Gothic grandeur of the Abbey, are noble objects. Towards the East, St. Paul's Cathedral towers in unrivalled magnitude and elegance, “amongst ten thousand eminently fair ;" beyond its stately cupola numerous Gothic spires and towers rear their airy piles in beautiful variety, and amongst these the Monument is a conspicuous object. LondonBridge interrupts a distinct view of the shipping which extends along the river for some miles; but enough appears of the numerous masts to give an idea of foreign commerce.

From this general sketch of the metropolis, we shall now proceed to particularize the most remar, kable and prominent beauties which are worthy the observation of the stranger, beginning with a description of that celebrated river from which Lon, don derives its opulence and grandeur.

« PředchozíPokračovat »