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The Right Honourable
CHARLES ABBOTT, M. P.
SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS:
THE exertions which you have made, during the exercise of your important functions, to preserve and renovate the ancient ARCHITECTURAL BEAUTIES OF WESTMINSTER, induce me to hope, that a volume devoted to HISTORICAL, TOPOGRAPHICAL, and DESCRIPTIVE DELINEATIONS of that CITY and its LIBERTY, may not be deemed unworthy your notice and regard.
By this hope I have been animated in the collection and arrangement of my materials, whilst the condescending politeness which you have
shewn in permitting both myself and Mr. J. P. NEALE, our Artist, to enrich and embellish the Work with views and descriptions of your own House, and of such other places as are immediately under your care and government, have heightened that hope into an assurance, that your wonted liberality will be exercised in excusing whatever imperfections may appear to your culti
The HISTORY and ARCHITECTURAL ANTIQUITIES of WESTMINSTER are closely connected with all that is great and durable in the British Constitution. May I venture to presume, that this humble delineation of them will be accep table during the leisure hours of a Statesman, whose life has been devoted to the preservation of that Constitution; and who, in the midst of contradictory opinions and sometimes jarring interests, has constantly obtained, from all parties, the appellation of an honest, upright, and impartial Servant of the State; alike faithful to his trust, as a Representative of the People, and as Speaker of the House of Commons, and dignified in his support
of the Crown, as a loyal subject of a virtuous and
In perfect reliance on your candour,
Right honourable Sir,
Your most obedient humble
England and Wales.
HISTORICAL AND DESCRIPTIVE SKETCHES OF WESTMINSTER ABBEY, FROM ITS FOUNDATION TO THE PRESENT TIME.
THE history of this City is involved in that of the venerable Abbey from which it derives its name. To the zeal of English monachism, now so much abhorred, are we indebted for some of the finest remains of Gothic architecture, and one of the most ancient and valuable edifices in Europe; but, unfortunately, like all other similar relics of the piety, taste, and skill of our forefathers prior to the Reformation, the iconoclastic zeal and mistaken policy of a purer faith, have involved much of its earliest history in obscurity. The furor of two state ecclesiastical Reformations has lessened the evidence of its former magnificence, by ravaging its archives, and committing to the flames, as records of popery, many documents which are now required in the elucidation of its history. The wonder is, that the last of these religious commotions did not destroy the Cathedral itself: the ignorance of puritanism, combined with the mad and rebellious zeal of its votaries, had doubtless done much greater mischief of this kind, if the head of that regicide sect had not himself secretly aspired to regal grandeur; and like the strutting Daw of the Phrygian fabulist, have hoped to decorate his own aspiring wings with the