« ZurückWeiter »
mine the miscellaneous character of the proposed work. We shall publish a Weekly Sheet, devoted, for the most part, to some portion of the great total of London which shall be complete in itself. This subject must necessarily be of no abstract nature—no mere disquisition upon remote and lifeless matters, but something which can be seen, and thus copied for the reader's eye, or made more intelligible by the graphic art. Our LONDON WILL BE PICTORIAL. The several artists of eminence who will be engaged upon this undertaking will labour upon a well-defined principle—that of uniting to the imaginative power the strictest fidelity in every detail of Architecture and Costume. In the same spirit will the writers work. The time is past when it was thought that what was accurate could not be amusing; and in the great subject before us, whether in its modern or its ancient aspects, the truest delineation will, unquestionably, be the most interesting
Of the probable extent of this work the editor can at present form no very exact notion. It is the less necessary that he should do so, as every number, every part, and every volume, will be, as far as it goes, complete in itself. If the encouragement of the public should enable this work to be carried forward to something like a general completeness, its miscellaneous character may be reduced into system by chronological and topographical Indexes. But, as it proceeds, it will have all the charm of variety. For example :-A Memoir on the Maps of London for three centuries, showing the gradual spread of the great Babel, may fitly be in company with a picture of its locomotive facilities, through all the phases of Wherry, Sedan, Hackney Coach, Cabriolet, Omnibus, and Steam-Boat. We may linger about Smithfield, with its horse-races of the days of Henry II., its tournaments, its wagers of battle, its penances, its martyrdoms, its Bartholomew fairs, and its cattle-market, without feeling that any of its associations are incongruous or unworthy of description and reflection. The Cock-Lane Ghost is a matter of history as much as the records of that fatal Traitor's Gate of the Tower, over which might have been written the terrible words of Dante
All hope abandon, ye who enter here.' The City Poet, with his tawdry Lord Mayor's state and doggrel verses, belongs to the social history of London as distinctly as the classical inventor of the Masques in which James and Charles delighted. The Christmas revels of the Lord of Misrule in the Temple, and the triumphant entry of Henry V. after the battle of Agincourt, have each had their historians, and they may each form episodes in our pages. Tempest drew from the life the Cries of London in the days of Anne, and they may be found in company with some account of Catnach's ballads in our day. The glorious picture-satires of Hogarth may tell us of a generation that is past, whilst the splendid caricatures of Gillray may slide into the generation that is present.
There are many aspects of Society in London which are not fit to be described; there are scenes, past and present, which are improper to be exhibited to the general eye. Those which a parent would not wish his child to look upon will never be delineated in this book. We shall not, however, from any false refinement, confine ourselves to what is the most agreeable. All reasoning beings should know that there is crime, and ignorance, and suffering, and sorrow, in such an immense city, as well as propriety, and elegance, and comfort, and pleasure.
But, by a careful attention to what we are and what we were-to our improvements, as well as to some things in which we begin to find out we have not improved—we may indirectly show how the condition of every Londoner is to be ameliorated; and how, by diminishing ignorance, we may diminish crime; and, by cultivating innocent pleasures, do something to drive out unlawful excitements.
We have a few observations to add. Such a work as we hope to produce may interest every English reader, whether he be a resident in London or in Australia. It treats of the largest city in the world, -whose inhabitants are in intercourse, commercial, political, or religious, with almost the whole human race, which has been the scene of the most stirring events of history,—which has been a city of progress from its first foundation,-which has sent forth its literature through four centuries to the uttermost ends of the earth,—and which is full, therefore, not only of material monuments of the past, but of the more abiding memorials which exist in imperishable books. If the Tabard Inn at Southwark is now but a waggoner's yard, with its accompanying liquor-shop and tap-room, we have Chaucer's immortal picture of 'that hostelrie,' and its guests
*Well nine-and-twenty in a compagnie
Of sundry folk ;'and he will tell us
•The chambres and the stables weren wide.' If East Cheap has lost all its ancient characteristics in the improvements of Lon. don Bridge, Lydgate will show us that there
• Pewter pots they clattered on a heap;
There was harp, pipe, and minstrelsy.' If Finsbury and Islington are covered with interminable rows of houses, Ben Jonson shall call to mind the archers of Finsbury, or the citizens that come a-ducking to Islington ponds.' If Spring Garden be no longer green, Garrard, the gossiping correspondent of the great Lord Strafford, shall inform us of its · Bowling,' its' Ordinary of six shillings a-meal, continual bibbing and drinking wine all day long under the trees, and two or three quarrels every week.' If the Devil Tavern, with its Apollo Club, has perished, Squire Western's favourite song of 'Old Sir Simon the King' shall bring back the memory of Simon Wadloe, its landlord, with Jonson's verses over the door of the Apollo Room. If the River Fleet no longer runs across Holborn, Pope shall recall that polluted stream,—
Than whom no sluice of mud
With deeper sable blots the silver flood.' If the glories of White's, and Will's, and the Grecian, and the St. James's, have passed away, in the fall of Coffeehouses and the rise of Clubs,—if the stranger can no longer expect to walk without obstruction into a common room where wit is as current as tea and muffins, and a Dryden stands by the fire with a young Pope gazing upon him,-- he may yet live in the social life of the days of Anne, and people the solitary Coffeehouses with imaginary Swifts, and Addisons, and Steeles. Such, and so various, are the literary ‘memorials' of London; and these literary ‘memorials' are, in truth, amongst her best antiquities. As a city of progress, her material remains of the past are comparatively few; but the mightiest of the earth-those who have made our language immortal and universal--have dwelt within her walls, and their records have outlived brick and stone.
To one of observation, and reflection, and adequate knowledge, everything in London is suggestive. In her external features we read the history of her past, and the description of her present social state.
*The things of fame
That do renown this city,'Churches, palaces, theatres, exhibitions, courts of justice, prisons, hospitals,— parks, squares, streets, bridges, wharfs, docks, warehouses, markets, shops, factories, inns,—pavements, sewers, gas-lights, water-pipes,-post-offices, railroads, steam-boats, public carriages—have each their tale of that mighty stirring of Humanity which in its aggregate is a spectacle of real sublimity unequalled in the world. It is the more sublime and the more wonderful that all this masswith its manifold associations of Government, Municipal Arrangements, Police, Supply of Food, Population, Disease, Mortality, Industry, Wealth, Poverty, Crime, Religion, Charity, Education, Literature, Science, Arts, Amusements, Dress, Manners, Domestic Life—is ever-growing and ever-changing. While we are putting down the figures the facts are shifting. We shall not, therefore, trouble our readers with many figures. But the great aspects of London humanity are written in tolerably permanent characters, whether of the past or the present. It will be our duty sometimes to digest the abiding facts that are not likely to elude our vision or our grasp-sometimes to
'Catch ere she flies the Cynthia of the minute.' If what is permanent, and what is fleeting, shall be found equally without attraction, the fault will be in ourselves and not in our subject. The interest of that subject we believe to be universal. The features of such a city, physical and moral, present and antiquarian, if truly and strikingly presented, are to be looked upon with interest and curiosity, by the stranger as well as the citizen who daily hears the sound of Bow-bell. London is not England, as Paris is said to be France; neither is she the head and England the body, as used to be set down ; but she is so identified with the whole empire-she absorbs and returns again so much of the general prosperity—that what belongs to her belongs to all. To the British public, then, we offer, in confident hope of their support, our
In the Introduction, or rather Prospectus, of London,' we have said—“If the encourage-
ment of the public should enable this work to be carried forward to something like a