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THE LUNGS OF LONDON.
“ Moreover he hath left you all his walks,
His private arbours, and new planted orchards
The preservation of public health our judgment is unclouded by the in great cities is an object no less of prospect of imminent risk, and we as paramount importance to the citizen, yet contemplate the danger at a disthan of curious inquiry to the philosopher; and it is truly surprising to re- But the danger never is at a disflect, that in our own country we tance. There exists, in great cities, an should have given to this subject so under-current of pestilence at all times little serious consideration. Abroad, and in all seasons-typhus, for exam. the means of conserving the public, ple, is ever at work among us—it is health, of disarming the malignity of true, at work obscurely, because its epidemic diseases, and of preventing ravages are among the obscuretheir too frequent recurrence, are in- among those who live precariously vestigated by the philosophic physi- from day to day, in low, unventilated, cian,
are carried into practical opera. and densely populated neighbourhoods, tion by a code of sanatory law, and where bad drainage, bad air, bad waare sedulously watched over, as one of ter, and bad smells, perpetuate the epitheir most sacred and important public demics they originate, and whose miduties, by the government of the coun- serable inhabitants form the nevertry. At home, the health, which is failing and ever.dying population of the life of the great mass of the popu- our fever hospitals. We know no lation, is not considered worth a thing of this we see nothing of this; thought, except at times of impend the progress of the sick poor from ing danger, when thought is vain- their miserable “rookeries" to the when the pestilence rages in the midst hospital, and from the hospital to the of us, we run wildly about in search grave, is silent and unobserved. Let of relief-when, having completed its a brace of dukes, however, or a few ravages, it finally disappears from our members of the House of Commons, towns and our cities, we are too happy or even an East India director be carto dismiss it also from our thoughts, ried off, and we begin to hear of the and to forget all enquiries as to the epidemic—it then begins to be s dreadmeans of prevention for the future, ful," “ shocking," and so forth. “ To in congratulation on our preservation think of the Duke of Doodle-so exfor the present. Our Boards of Health, cellent a man, only seventy-six-behastily and crudely organized in the ing so suddenly cut off!" -and Vishour of difficulty and danger, when count Noodle, too, in the prime of the danger and difficulty, by the mercy life-a man equal to two bottles of of Divine Providence, have been got port a-day-'tis dreadful to think of!" over, are immediately dispersed--the The epidemic, dreadful to think of as fast days and the thanksgiving days it is, runs its allotted course, and the have had their day—the contests be- popular alarm keeps pace with it-intween the contagionists and the non- fants yet unborn, and aged people contagionists are contagious no longer yet alive, are reported to have died of -the advocates of tar water, and the it-topers are said to be dead, and advocates of hot water, lay down their have a narrow escape of being buried arms-specifics and the people who alive, who are discovered, on more recommended specifics are alike for- minute examination, to have been only gotten-cajeput oil is a drug in the dead drunk and every soul, without market, and brandy is no longer con- exception, carried off during the episumed under false pretences !
demic, has been carried off, if you beThe pestilence is over-but the lieve your ears, by the epidemicdanger is not; that which has been, physicians are looking up," chemay be again-and the best time to mists and druggists in full workescape a danger is surely that, when post-horses, moreover, are in demand, and the great world gallops off en carrying out the Report of the Metromasse to save itself in the country- politan Improvements Committee, if it while the trading, mercantile, and were only for the novelty of the thing. middling classes, who are compelled It would be worth a statesman's while to remain, bethink themselves of their to give his best energies for once to obunrepented sins, and liberally sub- jects practically philanthropical, than scribe for whitewash!
which nothing can be more so than an It is impossible to calculate how attempt to improve the habitations of much human life might beprolonged the poorer classes of the inhabitants of not only prolonged, indeed; but, what the British Metropolis. We are far is of still greater importance, how from having a desire to undervalue much the condition of humanity might the benevolent exertions of those who be improved in great cities--by legis. labour to relieve the spiritual destitu. lative interference. It is melancholy tion of the London poor. Their task to reflect how little has in this respect is a high and holy one, and their in. been done. One of the first, one of tentions must command the respect the surest, one of the most practicable even of those who doubt the efficacy methods of ameliorating the condition of their labours. The more we see, of the poor, is the amelioration of the however, of human nature, whether habitations of the poor. Take two in great cities or in the country, the men; put one into a comfortable cot. more we are convinced that nothing tage-not one of your gimcrack, rose. can be done by the distribution of encircled cottages, constructed to ex- tracts for instance, by preaching in hibit the taste of the landlord more the open air, by visiting the poor at than to administer to the comfort of their wretched habitations, in comthe tenant, but a clean, snug, and parison with the moral predisposition commodious habitation. Locate the that may be induced by the less direct, other in a pig-stye: the one will de- but far more efficacious, system of generate into a hog, the other will improving first their temporal condi“ learn to venerate himself as man." tion. There is very little reasonable doubt, The prime essentials to human exthat if the design of Sir Christopher istence in crowded cities are pure Wren for rebuilding the city of Lon- water, pure air, thorough drainage, don, after the great fire, had been and thorough ventilation-which last adopted, the value of human life in are only applications of the water and the metropolis would have improved; the air-and last, though by no means and it is equally certain that the plan least in importance, the facility of for the regeneration of the city of taking exercise within a convenient Westminster, devised by the learned distance. Thus, every city has its and talented Mr Bardwell, if carried public pulmonary organs_its instruinto effect, would be a good measure ments of popular respiration--as esof morality as well as of architecture. sential to the mass of the citizens as An avenue carried from the east end is to individuals the air they breathe. of Oxford Street through the “rook- Paris boasts her Boulevards, her gareries” of St Giles's into Holborn, dens of the Tuileries, her Champs would be a more effectual, safe, and Elysées, and her Bois du Boulogne, permanent preventive of vice and - Madrid, her far-famed Prado, where crime, than if Meux's Brewery were the monarch and the meanest of the converted into an enormous peniten- people assemble to take the air, “their tiary, and a couple of juvenile thieves custom always of an afternoon,”. were to be suspended in terrorem Rome, her spacious Corso,-Naples, over the principal entrance every her Mola and Strada di Toledo,--and morning before breakfast. The mak- last, Vienna enjoys her Glacis, no ing easy, safe, and accessible roads, is longer bristling with artillery, no the very first element of civilisation, longer enlivened with the “ pride, and is no less applicable to the wil. pomp, and circumstance of glorious derness of London, than to the wil. war," but crowded with a peaceful, derness of the Mississippi. We ven- gay, and happy population. Within ture to hope that the legislature may our own islands, Dublin recreates her spare a little time from the squabbles sons in the Phænix Park, a spot unof contending factions, and petty per- rivalled in its display of the softer sonal triumphs in debate, to devote to features of rural scenery,
rejoices in her King's Park, to which is the northern lobe of the Lungs of there is nothing equal for solitary London. The eastern side of the city grandeur and romantic seclusion with is lamentably destitute of breathingin a like distance of a metropolitan places for the pent-up citizens, as is city anywhere to be found,-and the also the borough of Southwark. Lammighty modern Babylon pours her beth is somewhat more open ; its Bi. pent-up population through the vari- shop's Walk affording a pleasing view ous avenues of her Parks.
Well, of the river, and an agreeable promeindeed, and happily, have these been nade of a too limited extent. designated THE LUNGS OF LONDON.” The several divisions of the great
There is not only much matter of respiratory organs we have noticed are historical importance connected with worth a distinct consideration ; and, the several parks of London scattered as we will understand them better by about in the various statistical books ocular demonstration, the curious of surveys, but a good deal of material reader will take his hat and stick. I for picturesque description. Why it will be his humble cicerone, and tell is that the historical records have not, him all I know of the history of the by some curious enquirer, been col- Parks of our metropolis, as we go lected and arranged, or why the natu- along. ral and artificial advantages of these Follow me, if you please, sir, through charming retreats from the coil and this little gate-take care of the steps hum of men have not been hitherto – there are exactly six-now, give me thought worthy of description, must, I your arm—this is the Birdcage Walk suppose, be attributable to our habi. —that classic structure to our left the tual negligence of that which we see military chapel-to the right you see every day, and which, by being conti- Storey's Gate-immediately in the nually presented to our eyes, takes no
our chambers," and exactly hold upon the imagination or the me- in front, half hidden by its own ummory, but is, as it were, of itself a brageous foliage, is the charming encontinual picture, and of itself a per- closure-step this way—the charming petual record.
We are not to be de. enclosure of terred from our proposed feeble at
St James's Park. tempt at description, by any dread of the suspicion of cockneyism. Nature When I enter this park, my notions is beautiful exceedingly, whether in of government, let me tell you, become the parish of St James's or the parish highly monarchical. I touch my hat of St Kilda; and whatever contributes to the memory of our kings who dematerially to the recreation and the vised and confirmed to us these places health of numbers, is, by that circum- of harmless recreation, and am more stance alone, raised above the level of and more established in my contempt neglect, and has dignity sufficient to for your close-fisted, shabby, commerdemand attention.
cial republicans, who, if they got their The Lungs of London, then, consist greasy paws upon this place once of several great divisions or lobes, em- again, would cut down the timber (as bracing the west end of the town, and they did before), steal the ducks, and extending round to the northward, sell the grounds by auction. Brother commencing, we may say, at the en- Jonathan, when he takes a stroll this trance to the Horse Guards, and ex- way, forgets, for at least five minutes, tending through St James's Park, the to boast his " free and independent" Green Park, Hyde Park, and Ken- citizenship, and begins to think that sington Gardens, forming a continued kings and queens, after all, are not thoroughfare of several miles, in a quite so black as they are painted ! direct line towards the north-west. For this park and the pleasure it affords To the north, the Regent's Park ex. us we are indebted to our monarchs-tends from the upper end of that noble let us enjoy their munificent gift and be avenue Portland Place, as far as the thankful. Let us remember that the base of Primrose Hill, with a trans- citizens have never planted a shrub for verse diameter almost equal to its our recreation--that they have never length, and containing within its set apart an acre of their corporation circumference between five and six lands to give us, our wives, and our hundred acres of valuable land. This children, a mouthful of fresh air ; let
us never forget that they have shut up If there were no more solid reason the noble Thames,
than that monarchs might be enabled “ Deep and yet clear,--though gentle yet the monarchy in splendour, with me,
to be munificent for maintaining not dull ; Strong without rage-without o'erflowing
that reason only would be reason full ;'
St James's Park, sir, let us step for the mere lucre of gain, although aside into this shady walk, if you the sight of it, the Lord Mayor and please_was formerly part and parcel Aldermen know in their hearts, is of the Abbey lands of St Peter's, light to a Londoner's eyes, and music Westminster, and was resumed with to his ears. Let us never forget that others in the reign of King Henry the legislature treated Mr Bucking- VIII. ham's bill for the establishment of public walks near great towns, with
“ His Majesty (Henry VIII.) also enalmost silent contempt; and although the amusement of this (St James's Palace)
closed the park, which was subservient to they pass I know not how many enclosure bills every session, it was not
and the neighbouring palace of Whitehall. without much unseemly debate that planted the avenues, made the canal and
Charles II. was particularly fond of it, they were prevailed upon to grant for
the aviary, adjacent to the Bird cage the recreation of the commoners, Walk, which took its name from the cages thus dispossessed without compensa- which were hung in the trees. Charles,' tion of their immemorial inheritance,
says Colley Cibber, in the apology for his as much of the land to be enclosed as
life,' was often seen here amidst crowds you could whip a cat in. Then, again, of spectators, feeding his ducks, playing as to private individuals, as little or with his dogs, and passing bis idle moless, if less were possible, is to be ex- ments in affability, even to the meanest of pected from them;-an attempt is fresh his subjects, which made him to be adwithin our recollection of the lord of mired by the common people, so fascinatthe manor of Hampstead to enclose ing in the great are the babits of conde. the heath, which, owing to the vigil- scension.'"* ance of an honest independent member
In another account of the metropoof Parliament, was crushed in the bud. lis, ostensibly written originally in Primrose Hill, too, was marked out for Arabic, by Ali Mahomet Hadji, phyenclosure by some of the joint-stock sician to his Excelleney Cossim Ho“sack-em-up” companies, for the pur- jah, late envoy from the government pose of being converted into a second- of Tripoli to this Court, but in rehand coffin manufactory, or something ality supposed to be the production of of that sort ;-this scheme went to the
Grub Street, we are entertained with right-about, and a man may still for- the following :get his cares and troubles, as well as bring home a week's stock of unbought " At the west end of this city, near to health, from a morning or an evening one of the royal houses (St James's Pastroll, to dear delightful rural Prim- lace), is a park-being a large extent of rose Hill. No thanks, however, to ground, with walks set with trees around lord mayors, aldermen, or citizens, it, and a canal in the middle also edged for this-no thanks to either House of with trees, where, in the hot seasons, Parliament-no thanks to lords of his Excellency's servants frequently di. manors, who would enclose the sun of verted themselves with seeing the ducks
swim. heaven himself, if they could let out
Its great beauty consists in its his rays at so much a-year; such is being, as it were, the country in the the selfish love of lucre-natural, I had city; for a late nobleman, who had a seat almost said to man, in an artificial
near it, and being a man of a poetical state of society like ours, at least a
genius, had this elegant couplet or distich second nature, which makes his in- composed on a stone, and placed over his
portal, viz.terest the grand ambition, his breeches pocket the temple of his worship, and "'Tis my delight to be the money within it his god !
In the town and the countrie !"
“ This is the place where people go to
to think which set of company he shall get rid of the dust, confusion, and noise annex himself to; and, to avoid the fatal of the city, and where the ladies, in fine consequences of making a false step, use weather, display their ornaments and as much caution as a prudent parent would charms, as well as their signals for intri- do in the matrimonial disposition of a guing. There are seats placed at con- daughter. An escaping eye has often venient distances for refreshing the wea- passed over a gentleman usher, when a ried joints of reduced officers, disap- groom of the bedchamber has been dilipointed courtiers, and broken tradesmen ; gently pursued from one end of the Park and those, whose fortunes as well as their to the other. A plain Irish lord shall be linen are generally reversed, sit promis- able to lead half a dozen laced coats up and cuously together, debating on the fate of down, like so many beagles in a string; and princes and nations, as pertinently as
I have ere now seen him as much neglectthough they were the immediate minis- ed as an honest poor family in distress, ters and agents of all the powers in Eu- upon the sight of a ribbon, though 'tis surrope, although, unhappy wretches, not one prising to think what an attractive quality in nineteen of them knows where to pro- every ribbon, according to its colour, hath cure a meal's meat. Yet, by their con- in this place. stant attendance on these seats, they are “ I once happened to fall into a file of called Benchers of the Park, sitting with very fine fellows in this place, and rememas much state and solemnity as those of ber that, when we began our march, we the Inns of Court do at their halls in Com- reckoned one French suit, though somemons !”
thing sullied, three pair of clock stockings, The anonymous author of A Trip
one suit of Paduasoy, two embroidered through the Town ; or, a Humorous
waistcoats, the one a little tarnished, and
two pair of velvet breeches. We made a View of Men and Things, gives the
most formidable show, carrying the whole following amusing account of the Park
breadth of the Mall, and sweeping all beof St James's as it was :
We thought ourselves at least " For the benefit of this part of the me- capable of acting on the defensive ; but, tropolis, which includes the beau monde, by that we had got opposite to Godolphin the King has given liberty to all idle people House, we were convinced of our error, to walk in St James's Park. Here is the for here a puppy, in a French suit, pulling Mall, famous for being the rendezvous of
out a most extravagantly rich snuff-box, the gay and gallant, who assemble here to no less than three deserted at once, and see and be seen, to censure and be cen- went over to the enemy. As one misforsured—the ladies to show their fine tane seldom comes alone, a modern goldclothes, and the productions of the toilet headed cane, in the hands of a gamester, -the men to show their toupees, observe deprived us of two more of our company; all the beauties, and fix upon some favour- so that, all on a sudden, our corps was ite to toast that evening at the tavern. dwindled away, like the South Sea project, Every one here is curious in examining and began to look as thin as a House of those who pass them, and are very nice Parliament on a thirtieth of January serand very malicious. In this place of gene- mon, or as an independent company of ral concourse, people often join into the foot! company of those whom they either deride
“ In this plight the remains of us stood, or hate; for company is not sought here staring upon each other stupidly as the for the sake of conversation, but persons country people do when they go to view couple together to get a little confidence, the royal apartments at Hampton Court, and embolden themselves against the gene- not knowing whether it was best to advance ral reflections of the place. They talk or retreat ; fortunately for us, in this dicontinually, no matter of what, for they lemma we enlisted one of the most beau. talk only to be taken notice of by those tiful sword-knots that ever came into the who pass by them ; for which reason they kingdom ; we could perceive recruits raise their voices for them who know coming to us from every quarter, and, in them, not to pass without a bow en passant. less than seven minutes, got ourselves into At this place ladies walk four or five miles
Several revolutions of this in a morning, with all the alacrity imagi. kind happened to us in the space of about nable, who at home think it an insupport- two hours, till at last I was left only with able fatigue to journey from one end of a little strutting fellow, who called himself their chamber to another.
secretary to a foreign mission, and him I “ I have seen a beau stand reconnoitring got rid of by his fixing his eye upon a pethe Mall, divided within himself in as riwig that appeared to be made about a many minds as a lady in a lace chamber, month later than mine w.is."