« AnteriorContinuar »
coming from the sea up the river Thames; and partly with fresh fish, by land carriage, from every distance within the limits of England, and part of Wales: this market is held daily. The Coal Exchange, in Thames Street, is an open market, but the great dealers having obtained a complete monopoly, the consumers are prevented from buying.
Various other markets, for butcher's meat, vegetables, &c. are held in different parts of the metropolis, making a total of sixteen flesh markets, and twenty-five of corn, coals, hay, vegetables, &c.
PLACES OF WORSHIP.
As a general toleration in religion prevails in this kingdom, London is distinguished by the number and variety of its places of worship.
London contains 113 churches of the established religion; 66 chapels of ease, being chapels of the established religion in parishes the population of which is too great for the magnitude of their respective churches; 11 Roman catholic chapels; 17 churches and chapels belonging to foreign protestants, and synagogues, or places of worship of the Jews; and 200 meeting houses, or places of worship belonging to different English protestants and methodists, dissenting from the established religion; making a total of 407.
Hospitals and Charitable Institutions.
Among the moral features of the metropolis, and its environs, is the multitude of its institutions for the relief of the indigent and the diseased in their various wants, besides two hospitals, supported at the public charge, one for the maintenance of invalid seamen, at Greenwich, and the other for invalid soldiers, at Chelsea. London has 22 hospitals or asylums for the sick and lame, and pregnant women; 107 alms houses, for the maintenance of old men and women: 18 institutions for the maintenance of indigent persons of various other descriptions; 20 dispensaries for gratuitously supplying the poor with medicine, and medical aid, at their own dwellings; 41 free schools, with perpetual endowments, for educating and maintaining 3,500 children of both sexes; 17 other public schools, for
deserted and poor children; 165 parish schools, supported by their respective parishes, with the aid of occasional voluntary contributions, which on an average clothe and educate 6000 boys and girls; and in each parish a workhouse, for maintaining its own helpless poor.
But this ample list of public charities does not include the whole account.
In the City of London, belonging to its corporation, there are 94 public companies, who distribute above 75,000l. annually in charity; and the metropolis has besides a multitude of institutions, either for the education or relief of those who are actually distressed, of a less public and prominent nature than the above, but which immensely swell the aid given to the indigent. It is difficult even to discover each of these institutions, many of them being in obscure parts of the town, and so little ostentatious, as to assume no public mark of their existence; but the sums annually expended in the metropolis, in charitable purposes, independently of the private relief given to individuals, have been estimated at 900,000l.
The wards of a London hospital do not form a contrast with exterior magnificence, by inward filth and a niggardly measure of the aid afforded to the unfortunate inhabitants. The medical assistance is the best the profession can supply; the attendance is ample, and the persons employed in that office as humane as its nature admits: the rooms cleanly, and as wholesome as care can render the dwelling of a multitude of diseased persons: and the food is proper for the condition of the patient. In the alms houses and other buildings, for the maintenance of indigent old age, and other decayed people, there is not only an air, but a real possession of competence and ease that cannot be too highly spoken of. From the free schools, youth as learned have been sent to the universities of the kingdom, as from any of the most expensive seminaries for private tuition; whilst all the public scholars receive an education completely adapted to the stations for which they are designed.
Means of Intellectual Improvement.
The following summary will, in some measure, shew
that more has been done within the bills of mortality, with a view to benefit and improve the inhabitants, than in any other part of the kingdom.
There are 407 places of public worship.
4050 seminaries for education, including 237 parish charity schools,
8 societies for the express purpose of promoting good morals.
12 societies for promoting the learned, the useful, and the polite arts.
122 asylums, and alms houses, for the helpless and indigent, including the Philanthropic Society for reclaiming criminal children.
30 hospitals and dispensatories for sick and lame, and for delivering poor pregnant women.
700 friendly or benefit societies and institutions for charitable and humane purposes.
There are also about thirty institutions for teaching some thousands of poor children the arts of reading, writing, and arithmetic, on the plans introduced by Mr. Joseph Lancaster, and the Rev. Dr. Bell.
Which several institutions, including the poor's rate, are supported at the almost incredible cost of one million per annum.
Palaces, Courts of Justice, &c.
London is the seat of government; and contains four palaces belonging to the crown, besides the Queen's Palace and Carlton House, which is the residence of the Prince Regent; 9 supreme courts of justice; 38 inferior courts, besides 4 ecclesiastical courts; 4 institutions for the study of the law, called inns of court, or chancery, viz. the Inner Temple, Middle Temple, Gray's Inn, and Lincoln's Inn, and 8 smaller, subordinate to some one of them; and a multitude of public offices, for the fiscal and other departments of government.
For the administration of justice, there are provided the following courts, offices, &c.
Thirteen supreme courts.
Forty-eight subordinate courts, including quarter-sessions, courts of requests, &c.
There are above eight thousand lawyers practising in these several courts.
There are fourteen gaols, and five houses of correction.
Public learned Societies in London.
The character of the English nation, in literature, science, and the arts, is not to be sought in the colleges, and other learned public societies of the metropolis. When polite knowledge, in its various branches, began to prosper in England, the country already was freed from a great portion of feudal tyranny, and the monarch was no longer deemed the only source of light, the only patron of arts and letters. For improvement in these, England depended less than other countries on public institutions. Those in the metropolis did not appear till the genius of the people had taken that form of freedom, which separated the island from the rest of Europe, no less by its moral and political character, than by its seas; and in fact, they were not, however well meant, the schools to which the English temper could cordially resort. In London there are five royal and national institutions for the advancement of polite arts and letters; five colleges for various uses; eighteen public libraries; four literary institutions, supported by private subscription; and one national museum.
Places of Public Amusement.
The capital of England is not celebrated for the number of its places of public amusement; but that defect is, perhaps, compensated by the moral worth of some, and the splendour of others.
The first to be noticed is the King's Theatre, or Opera House, which is open in the winter, and till Midsummer, for Italian operas and French ballets, in which are united all the charms of music, dancing, scenery, and decorations.
Two royal theatres, Drury Lane and Covent Garden, are open nine months in the year, for the performance of English dramatic pieces; and may challenge Europe for
Several subscription concerts are conducted in the best style.
The Olympic Pavilion, in Newcastle Street, and Sans Pareil, in the Strand, are open on a similar plan, during the winter, with the summer theatres.
An evening promenade at Vauxhall, in one of the southern outlets of the town, is the most splendid example of the kind, and has long been the resort of the gay world.
In summer, a royal theatre (usually called the Theatre Royal, in the Haymarket), is open for English dramatic pieces; and also the Lyceum in the Strand, for the English Opera, in a style of great elegance; together with Astley's Amphitheatre for equestrian performances, pantomimes, &c.; the Surrey Theatre, and another, Sadler's Wells, for pantomimes, and feats of vaulting and rope dancing. These, and some others, which we shall describe in the following pages, are the principal amusements of London, to which may be added rowing and sailing matches on the Thames in summer, exhibiting scenes of manly contest, equally delightful and laudable.
London has only one annual FAIR, that of St. Eartholo mew's, which is held in Smithfield, and continues for three days. It is mostly devoted to objects of amusement, such as shows, exhibitions of beasts, birds, slight of hand, and the very lowest species of diversion. Hence it is mostly frequented by the lowest and most depraved classes of society.
Architecture and the Fine Arts.
A stranger who rambles through London will be satisfied with the general style of the public buildings, and chilled with the poverty of thought and invention, that leaves the noblest situations unadorned with monuments of the arts, or disfigured with poor and frigid examples of them. If the outsides of the cathedral of St. Paul, the inside of Stephen's church, Walbrook, the portico of St. Martin's, near the Strand, and the fragment of the Palace of Whitehall, be excepted, there were, until lately, scarcely a building of eminent grandeur or exquisite beauty in this metropolis; but now we have the beautiful buildings at Somerset House, the new Mint on Tower Hill, the Trinity House near to it, and the new Custom House; all of which reflect much credit on their architects. In statues, the