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'The population of the central part of London, or the City, properly so termed, has decreased three-fifths since the beginning of the last century; a circumstance to be attributed to the streets having been much widened, and to the erection of numerous warehouses, untenanted, except by the stock of their owners. The proportion of males to females is about ten of the former to eleven of the latter, among the resident population, and at par, including the general total of residents and visitors A comparative view of the progress of population in the metropolis for rather more than 100 years past, is exhibited in the subjoined table, in which an allowance is made for the fluctuating accessions of population, arising from the concourse of foreigners and other visitors, engaged in commercial pursuits.
The Climate, like that of the kingdom in general, is very variable, inclined to moisture, but, upon the whole, temperate. It appears from Mr. Kirwan's "Estimate of the Temperature of different Latitudes," 8vo, 1787, that taking the mean of the observations made at the house of the Royal Society, from the year 1772 to 1780, the annual temperature of London is 51° 9', or in round numbers, 52°; the average monthly temperature is stated in the following table:
The greatest usual cold is 20°, and happens in January; the greatest usual heat is 81°, and happens generally in July. The limits of the annual variation are 2o 5', that is, 1o above, and 1° 5' below the mean.*
The greatest variations of the mean temperature of the same month, in different years, are as follows:
* The extremes of heat and cold, which have been noticed in the metropolis at particular periods, have been very remarkable. The highest degree of temperature ever recorded to have been observed, was on the 13th of July, 1808, when the mercury, in a thermometer placed in the shade, in St. James's Park, rose to 94 degrees. On the following day, it stood at 9 degrees; and several days before and after were unusually warm. This violent heat proved fatal to many labourers, and to other persons exposed to it, in various parts of the kingdom. The lowest degree of temperature which has been observed of late years, took place January 24th, 1795, when the mercury fell to 38 degrees below the freezing point in Fahrenheit's
Hence it appears that the summers differ much less than the winters.
The most usual variations of temperature within the space.of 24 hours in every month, are
To this daily mutability of temperature may be attributed the frequency of vernal and autumnal colds.
Mr. Kirwan has shewn that, proportionably to its latititude, it is much colder in London than in Edinburgh ; for the mean temperature of Edinburgh in January is 34° 5′, and that of London is 35° 9′; and this difference he ascribes to the following causes: 1st, that Edinburgh is not exposed to the Siberian winds as London is: 2dly, that Edinburgh is nearer to the sea: 3dly, that the rigour of the northerly winds is very little moderated, perhaps indeed increased, in passing from Scotland to London, particularly if the surface of the earth is covered with snow; and hence we may credit Dr. Smollett (Travels to Italy), who asserts, that the winters are sometimes milder at Edinburgh than at London.
With regard to the diseases and proportion of salubrity usually attaching to London, it is a satisfaction to state generally, that since the complete extinction of the Plague by the great fire of 1666, this metropolis has fully deserved to be considered as one of the most healthy on earth; and that, in consequence of the open mode of building that now prevails, its increase to an almost indefinite extent is not likely to be attended with additional unwholesomeness. There are now no diseases that, properly speaking, can be said to be peculiar to London, although in parts, where its buildings are still confined, there exists, as must always be the case in such circumstances, a predisposition, among the lower orders at least, to low fever and infectious disorders in general. The baneful habit of dram-drinking,
it must, however, be observed, has been found of late years to produce the most melancholy results, in regard to the health, as well as the morals, of the poorer population. Still, upon the whole, the increase of salubrity, within the last seventy years, is proved by the fact, that the annual mortality is now only one in thirty-one; whereas, in 1750, it appears to have been one in twenty-three. Several causes, natural and artificial, conduce to the generally remarkable healthiness of this capital. Cleanliness, above all, is much promoted by the construction of the pavements, which are mostly very compact, that in the middle, for carriages, forming a small convexity to pass the water off by channels; and on each side is a broad level path, formed of flag-stones, raised a little above the centre, for the convenience of foot-passengers. The sewers beneath are large vaulted channels, communicating with each house by smaller ones, and with every street by convenient openings and gratings, to carry off all filth which can be conveyed in that manner into the river: the mud, or other rubbish, that accumulates on the surface of the streets, is taken away by persons employed at the public expence for that purpose. The breadth of the streets, and the space respectively occupied by families residing in London, contribute greatly to the same salutary effects; and, perhaps, among the chief artificial causes, may be reckoned the description and quality of the food of the inhabitants. Probably there is no city in the world where the labouring population, and certainly none where the middling classes, enjoy so large a share of the necessaries and inferior comforts of life, as in the metropolis; and this ease of condition is no doubt a powerful agent towards the health as well as the happiness of a people. In the year 1650, the total number of deaths was 8764; in 1700, they were 19,443; in 1750, they were 23,727; in 1798 and 1799, they were 18,000 in each year; and in 1800, they were 25,068; in 1801, they were 19,574; in 1806, they were 17,938, viz. 9215 males, and 8723 females.
Historical Notices of the Principal Events connected with the Metropolis from the earliest Period to the Present Time.
LONDON is first presented to our notice, in the pages of history, as a Roman town; for the romantic tale of Geoffrey of Monmouth, who ascribes the erection of a city on this spot to Brute, monarch of Britain, 1000 years before the Christian æra, deserves no credit. But though we reject this and similar fables of the Welsh Chroniclers relative to the origin of London, the existence of a British town on the present site may be admitted as extremely probable. Cæsar, in his Commentaries, mentions the Trinobantes, as a tribe inhabiting the northern bank of the Thames, and slightly alludes to their principal settlement, as Civitas Trinobantum. This probably was London, which Ammianus Marcellinus, in the fourth century, designates as Augusta Trinobantum, an ancient town, once called Lundinium." The situation of this place was precisely such as the ancient Britons were accustomed to choose for their stationary towns, as described by the Roman writers. Their establishments were fixed in the midst of woods and marshes, and such was originally the site of London. To the east were woods, of which the forests of Epping and Hainault exhibit the remains. The north side was protected by the fens of Finsbury; on the west flowed the river Fleet, said to have been a navigable stream; and on the south was the Thames, the southern bank of which must then have been a continued morass. The appellation by which this city was known to the Romans, strengthens the opinion that it was originally a British town; for Londinium, or Lundinium, may, with probability, be derived from the British Llyn-Din, the town or fortress on the lake, llyn signifying a lake, or broad stream, and din a fortified town, in the old British language.
Ptolemy, the ancient geographer, has described Roman