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CHAPTER XII.-363 TO 372.
CHAPTER XIV.-378 TO 384.
CHAPTER XIX. 430 TO 453.
Coals, Pharmacy, Freedom at Fairs, 459. Juries, ibid.
A Picture of London, however faithful and interesting for a time, cannot remain so long; for this metropolis, like the seasons of the English climate, seems doomed to perpetual change, to constant fluctuation, to endless vicissitudes. Queen Elizabeth, as well as James I., attempted to prohibit the enlargement of London; but since the time of the latter monarch, it may be safely said that it has extended over three times the area of ground; and since the accession of George IV. to the throne, its increase, and its numerous improvements, are at once immense and astonishing. After the great fire of 1666, the citizens had a most favourable opportunity of laying out their streets, and of building their houses with some regard to domestic comfort, convenience, and beauty; but whoever traverses the lanes and narrow passages which are situated between the Thames and Cheapside, will conclude that the enlightened merchants and tradesmen were more mindful of the contents of their warehouses and shops, than of the approaches to, or prospects from them. Huddled and packed together, like their own bales and casks of goods, they seemed to be regardless of the air, sun, and light of heaven. A better era has arrived: men of all classes, except the wretched miser and misanthrope, (those pests of society,) are improved in intellect and taste; and hence find it conducive to their own happiness to respect that of their neighbours. Not only the interiors of houses
are now improved in every part, but the streets are widened, better paved, better lighted, and better watched than at any former time.
The continued changes and the rapid augmentation of London, render it necessary for the Editor to be ever watchful and inquisitive. His task is no sinecure; for, to make his Picture faithful, and to "touch in" all the novelties and prominent incidents which perpetually occur, he must keep all his faculties awake, and also keep them in constant exercise. The Picture, which was put into his hands in 1825, was made up of such heterogeneous parts and colours, that he found it as difficult and laborious to erase, to alter, to abridge, and to amend, as it would have been to produce an entirely new work. Different revisals, since that time, have enabled him to amalgamate the whole with some degree of consistency and congruity of parts, and, he hopes, with as much fidelity and minuteness as can be reasonably expected in a volume of such compass and of such a class. Accurate information is the primary object of the work; matters of criticism and taste are secondary, but still are kept in view; for every literary work should honestly endeavour to refine as well as inform the reader. Where so many names are recorded, so many facts stated, and such numerous references made to persons, and particularly to professional characters, - where the stranger is directed to a multiplicity of objects and places, and where such a variety and dissimilarity of matter is introduced as in the present " Miniature Picture of the British Metropolis," the Editor, though desirous of pleasing and anticipating the wants of all, cannot flatter himself with the expectation of having fully accomplished this desired end: yet, if anxious solicitude and care on his own part—if the co-operation
and assistance of several other persons, and friends experienced in literature — and if correspondence, with personal examination and enquiry, are jointly sufficient to secure exemption from error, and attain accuracy and utility, this volume must possess those qualities in a superior degree. It is therefore submitted to the reader, with a confidence proportionate to these exertions; the Editor being assured that whoever considers the complexity and difficulties of the task, with the requisite brevity which it was essential to secure, will not be in haste to censure, where so much has been accomplished.
Though intended chiefly to direct and advise the foreigner and stranger, this Picture may be viewed with advantage by various classes of Londoners; for whatever be the profession or predilection of the reader, he will most probably find something herein either to inform or to amuse him. If Commerce or Trade be the chief object of enquiry, he will ascertain the seat, and present state of the imports and exports, in the river Thames the history of the Customs - the manufacturing and trading establishments. In describing the Exhibitions and various Works of Art, he is provided with a scale by which London may be compared with itself at any previous period, and also with other cities. The review of the present state of Literature will afford also an important subject of parallelism with other times. and other countries. These two subjects, in particular, as well as many others belonging to London, will be found, on enquiry, and when compared with corresponding features in other capitals, to surprise the foreigner and gratify the inhabitant.
London being the focus of Wealth of Fashion of Legislation - of Law-of Literature-of the - of Commerce - of Science of the most
intellectual, as well as the most depraved and vicious, orders of Society, commands the admiration, but demands the caution, of the Stranger. He may study and examine its present state of unparalleled prosperity with interest and advantage; but he will do well to remember, that in such a vast mass of population, assembled from almost every quarter of the globe, there are hypocrites, sharpers, and rogues of various orders. It is, however, a vulgar error to suppose that a foreigner, or person from the country, cannot pass through, or reside in London, without being plundered or imposed upon. A man of com. mon discretion, and of sober habits, may live and act for years with perfect security and ease in this city, and be much more exempt from personal annoyances than in almost any country town of England, and certainly with great advantages over most of the continental cities and towns. * The fact is, the police magistrates are generally impartial, independent, and well informed their officers are well disciplined the streets admirably paved and lighted numerous institutions are established to protect the stranger, the poor, and the houseless to punish the vicious, and reform the repentant delinquent; whence London may now be regarded rather as the seat of science and morality, than of ignorance and crime.
A most important, and interesting, but deplorable picture of a certain class of persons in London, is drawn in a 66 Report from the Select Committee of the
The writer of this preface has lived forty years in London, - has traversed the streets by day and night,-frequented all its public places, and consequently mixed with various classes of society, and has never been robbed, ill-treated, or suffered any personal injury on these occasions.