Imágenes de página
[subsumed][ocr errors][merged small]

pect as a place of natural strength; it is


[blocks in formation]





LONDON, the metropolis of England, and of the British empire, is situated in 51 degrees 31 minutes north latitude, and its centre is 5 minutes 37 seconds west of the Observatory at Greenwich. In its relative locality it is 190 miles west of Amsterdam, 225 north-west of Paris, and about 800 north-west of Rome. It is finely situated on some gently rising grounds on the north banks of the Thames, one of the most considerable rivers in Britain, by means of which it is rendered the greatest port, as well as the most extensive and wealthy city in the world.

London appears to have been founded in times prior to the invasion of Caesar, by the inhabitants of Britain, descended from the Goths, who had emigrated from Scandinavia.

In the ancient language of the Goths, Lun signified a Grove, and Den a Town; and, at this day, there are, in Modern Scandinavia, towns or villages which retain the common name of Lunden. The first rude towns of the Goths were places of strength in woods; the northern Gauls, who were Goths from Scandinavia, traded with Britain; and it is probable, the southern parts of the island, with which they carried on their traffic, had been seized and colonized by them.

The situation of London was just such as the ancient Britons would select as a place of natural strength: it is,


therefore, fair to refer to the Celtic for the origin of its name. An immense forest, we are told, originally extended to the river side; and so late as the reign of Henry II. covered the northern neighbourhood of the city; even now its remains appear in Finchley-common, Enfield-chase, and Hainault, and Epping-forests, all within seven miles, It was also defended naturally by fosses: one formed by the creek which ran along Fleet-ditch, and the other af terwards known by the name of Wall-brook. The south side was occupied by the Thames; and another portion protected by a vast morass, the site of which, within memory, retained the name of Moor-fields. To the East lay the marshes of the Isle of Dogs, and to the west, those of St. Peter and Tothill-fields. Thus situated, the appellation of London, implying a town upon the waters, seems peculiarly appropriate. The Surrey side, presenting, in all probability, a great expanse of waters, a lake, a Llyn, as the Welsh call it, which joined to Din, a town, in the same tongue, might have given a name to our capital, Llyn Den, or the city on the lake, or among the waters.

The Roman name Londinum, at another period, was changed by the Romans into Augusta; at a period when London became the capital of the British province, Triers, in Germany, was, for the same reason, called Augusta Treverorum; Basil, Augusta Rauracorum: Merida, in Spain, Augusta Emerita; and Aousta, in Piedmont, another Augusta of the Romans, with almost twenty others of similar etymology.

Ptolemy, and other ancient writers of good authority, have placed Londinum in Kent, on the southside of the Thames, upon the spot called St. George's Fields; a circumstance which has at various times been singularly corroborated by the discovery of Roman fragments; and where no less than three of the Roman military ways from Kent, Surrey, and Middlesex, intersected each other. The station in St. George's Fields was, however, but a kind of out-post, as is proved by the Saxon name of Southwark, implying a southern work of fortification, extended for the defence, perhaps of London Bridge.

The first mention of London by the Roman historians

« AnteriorContinuar »