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priate to its destinations, and 80 suitable to our climate. What is to happen to the south side of Palace Yard, and the antiquated Exchequer apartments there, perhaps, is not yet determined on. As long as they remain, however, they do afford a partial protection to the lawyer's wigs and the hackney coachmen, dreadfully exposed to the blasts that proceed from the river. Their state, so ragged and ruinous, does not represent the strong box of Great Britain, and an overflowing one : one should be rather inclined to think it the same as in the days of Henry IV. when Falstaff, from the apparent facility of the enterprise, said to his royal companion, « Rob me the Exchequer, Hal.”
If the reader has accompanied me during the whole of the walk to which I invited him from the Regent's Park down to the Thames, and which, although not quite a direct communication, has only two slight deflexions, neither inconvenient nor unpleasant, he will agree with me, that London has therefrom derived a prodigious improvement since the epoch of the peace. Great, however, as this must be allowed to be, there is one which I should have been glad to have seen the earliest adopted, as the most urgently called for. I mean an opening of the Strand, from Charing Cross to the New Church, as it is absurdly called, and will be till it tumbles down.
The great flow of population between the cities of London and Westminster through this artery, with all the business of trade, the inns of court, the public offices, the courts of justice and the houses of parliament, forming, if I may so say, the capital of London itself, seems to call imperatively for its enlargement : it is now in a state of plethora. In aggravation of the narrowness of this part of the Strand itself, the obstructions occasioned by the dragging up of the coals from the wharfs on the Thames, are met with every moment during the greater part of the day, and people are detained both in carriages and on foot, at every corner of the transverse streets and lanes they have to pass. All this is so great a nuisance and hindrance, that it seems astonishing how it should have existed so long without even a projected remedy; especially, as in most other respects things seem to stretch and adjust themselves in proportion to increasing aggrandisement. The theatres become larger, and houses in all directions are approached by broad streets and squares, while this Strand continues to be comparatively a narrow and confined passage, where men, horses, and carriages are jammed and jostled together, and move when they can move as if in procession at a funeral, rather than in progress for the execution of their business. When I say this, I am fully aware of the difficulties which stand in the way of an abatement of the nuisance. There is no crown land here ; and the purchase of all the houses on the left of the Strand from Charing Cross, including Exeter-Change, would prove an estimate of considerable magnitude; but still not such a one as should deter parliament from effecting an alteration so beneficial to all classes, and particularly our men of business. The lanes, courts, and alleys, at the back of this line, are of so inferior a description, that they cannot be regarded as inestimable : and a new range of buildings thrown farther back (equally the Strand, and alway to be so called,) might be raised on the site of those demolished, all the way from Catherine Street to St. Martin's Lane.
What I have said before, I would, if possible, impress more strongly on the minds of our Ediles, or those who have most the charge of such concerns ; namely, to consider what a multitudinous and multifarious people we are become; and that it is absolutely necessary to provide room for them, and the affairs that they have to transact in this region of the town. We hear, every day, of our mails and stage-coaches upset from the increased velocity with which they are obliged to travel, in order to save some minutes of time for our merchants and men of business in the country; while, by an especial contradiction, no attempt has yet been made towards acceleration in the capital; by means of which the economy of whole hours might be effected. Every man who knows the value of money is acquainted with the value of time: and it is therefore not a little surprising that our mercantile men have not been unanimous in declaring the thoroughfare of which I have been speaking to be next to impassable.
Nor ought these suggestions respecting the Strand to be construed as an interference with the project of Colonel Trench, now before the public; for there is full room for the double improvement, by water as well as by land, for the reasons which I have just adduced. The novelty of a bridge by the side of a river, instead of across it, (for such, according to the prospectus in circulation, it seems to promise,) is no otherwise objectionable, in my opinion, than on account of the denomination given to it of a “ Quay."--Hitherto, we have been accustomed to consider quays as ways with buildings, on the banks of rivers, or along the seashore; as the Chiaia at Naples, those at Florence, at Paris, and other cities. According to this plan, there is to be a basin for the small craft, between the intended bridge and the shore. With the exception of the misnomer, I heartily wish success to the project, and hope that, in process of time, it may accompany the course of the Thames on both of its London banks. As an embellishment, it flatters us with the prospect of a magnificent screen that will shut out the degrading appearance of a majestic river at low water; taking away the view of the unsightly mud, and as unsightly small craft lying aground on it. As far therefore as the beautifying of the metropolis goes, there can be but one opinion about it, let who will have the merit of the original design. Sir Christopher Wren,' Mr. John Gwynn, who wrote in 1766, and, not a great many years ago, Messrs. Dodd and Dance published plans of this sort; but they were meant for quays, according to the common acceptation of the word. Should this splendid project not succeed, why. not have recourse to real quays, as far as possible, by raising the banks with the mud of the river, and confining it by parapets breast-high, as before the Penitentiary?
We come now very naturally to the contemplation of our bridges across the Thames, and no nation has so great cause of pride and self-satisfaction as we have, when we look at these magnificent features of our capital. Of the last great work of this sort I have only to speak, as it is of a recent date.
It is to be regretted that, according to suggestions, submitted to high authorities, and even approved by them, something more than the alteration of the insignificant name of the Strand to Waterloo Bridge was not adopted ; and that by the erection of a triumphal arch at each end of it, one in honor of the army, and the other of the navy, it did not receive a more splendid and monumental character. To place the two services, as claiming an equal share of our gratitude, on precisely the same footing, was an obvious and an equitable object: it would have been attended with a moderate expense, and it would have rendered the call for the £450,000 voted by parliament for monuments, of whatever other description, for such purposes, unnecessary.
It is only under the peculiar circumstance of this bridge being horizontal that their adaptation would have been practicable with effect; for only here the two arches would have been seen proudly and distinctly in their whole elevation, from each end, over the level surface. If, instead of the barbarous blocks called columns in the inter-arches of the bridge itself below, niches had been formed to receive the statues of our most celebrated commanders in either service, they would have been filled up appropriately. These statues must have proved works of time, but they might have given successively employment to our sculptors; they might have been formed of rude materials (such as Portland stone) not requiring the highest finish, but sufficient to produce effect when viewed from the river :—The names of these commanders might have been inscribed, in large characters, on their pedestals, and
i The rejection or non-adoption of the plans of this grrat man for the improvenient of the metropolis after the fire of 1666, will always remain a stigma on the pitiful spirit of his time.
these accessories might have have been afforded by government, and it is a great pity that they were not. This great work,' even as it is, excited the admiration of that excellent artist, Canova, when he paid us a visit after the peace; and great was his astonishment, when he learned that it had been raised by individuals, during the most expensive war that the nation had ever been engaged in.
Such was the ill-humor prevailing amongst the subscribers to Waterloo Bridge, partly, and not unnaturally, from the failure of the beneficial part of the speculation, and partly, as it was said, because government would not come to their assistance, that it was not without difficulty that they could be induced to agree to the act of parliament for changing the name of the “Strand Bridge," under which description it had been raised by the first act, to the immortal one of Waterloo. The author of these observations flatters himself that a letter signed Pontifex, which he wrote at the time to the editor of the Courier newspaper (the substance of which is contained in another to the same paper, on the subject of the London Bridge, now building, and which is hereafter recited), did actually produce the effect of the conversion. It was copied into other journals, and became so much the subject of conversation as, at last, to produce a monument without the expense of one shilling ! vox, et præterea nihil !2
Passing from the consideration of this great work to that of another of the same description now erecting, and which is to replace the still existing London Bridge; I shall take the liberty of transcribing the second of my letters to the Courier newspaper just alluded to, (but inserted in a garbled manner,) and, as there is so much reason in the thing, I am induced to hope that it will produce at least as good an effect as the first. It is as follows:
A scientific tract, published at Basle, on the subject of the Simplon road from Geneva to Milan, states, that it cost the French Republic.seventeen millions of livres, about 650,0001. which is less than half the cost of this single bridge with its approaches.
2 The following verses are extracted from, and form the conclusion of a poem, written in praise of this bridge, at the time, by the author of these observations. The conclusion was meant for an inscription.
En Pons sublimis ! huic magnum imponere nomen
Convenit, ut dignum nobilitetur opus :
Mærenti mundo; non quia major erat.
Clarum et TRAFALGAR dat, sine fine, sonum.
Stent, hic, pro cunctis, facta suprema sua.
Utilis et votis debita solvet honos.
« The advantage derivable from the most simple, yet lucky idea, and such as might occur to the most ordinary mind, might be lost to the public, if not properly suggested and sufficiently circulated. It must be the wish of every true Englishman, be he of what party he may, that the two services, naval and military, should be placed on the same footing, as being equally entitled to our admiration and gratitude ; and, consequently, that no difference should be distinguishable between the monuments raised to the fame of their respective achievements. As you were pleased, Sir, to give a ready insertion in your widely diffused paper of a letter, bearing the same signature with the present; and the date of the 21st December, 1815 ; I have no doubt but that you will also give this a place as soon as convenient; the nature of the two appeals being perfectly similar. My first (as perhaps you may remember) recommended, most earnestly, the change of the undignified name of the « Strand Bridge” into the imperishable one of « Waterloo.” The reconstruction of London Bridge, we understand, is now determined on: my object is therefore to suggest the application to it of the immortal name of Trafalgar ; by so much the more convenient and appropriate, as it will belong especially to the naval part of this city, and be at the head of the greatest port in the known world. Through the exigency of our finances, but little prospect is afforded of any other monument worthy of our gallant seamen and their commanders ; let us avail ourselves, then, of this opportunity, which will cost nothing!
“ As there can be no necessity for the farther developement of a suggestion so obvious and intelligible, I shall finish this letter with the conclusion, mutatis mutandis, of that which I addressed to you on the 21st of December 1815, above quoted.
“ After all, and supposing this appeal should meet with no attention, either from the legislature or the parties interested in the building itself, I see no reason why the British public may not trespass on the authority of both; and by a kind of Plebiscitum, with one voice, and by acclamation, decree, That London Bridge be no other than Trafalgar Bridge ; and that it be so called as long as the sun shall shine on it, the Thames flow under it, or one stone of it remain standing on another.
« I am, &c.
espione voithan The me on ito other.
Five or six years must elapse before this new bridge can be finished ; there will, therefore, be sufficient time to consider not only of the most eligible name to give to it, but of the decorations of which it may be susceptible: and it is to be hoped that this