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WHERE IS THE WRONG ?
cerones are often wrong. Depend on thine own observation ; spy out abuses and oppressions of every name: be candid ; be truthful ; and when thou dost return, I charge thee before God, tell us an honest
I shall contemplate the society and institutions of England with the eye of a Republican. This I must do. Every American knows that, in a country which presents such a striking contrast of princely wealth and abject poverty, of lordly power and cringing servility, as the traveller discovers in England, there must be something radically wrong somewhere. Where the wrong exists I will not pretend to determine, until my own observations shall satisfy
There are many glorious things in England. It abounds in associations, which to us are greatly enriched by their connexion with our paternal history. In stepping upon its green shores, I felt like a wanderer returned to the home of his fathers.
London, May -, 1841. DEAR My first acquaintance in the metropolis I formed under peculiar circumstances. This morning, before breakfast, as I was turning a corner in the hall, under rapid motion, I came in contact with a gentleman who was advancing as fast towards me, and
the shock was so violent that it threw us both upon the floor. Our hats went in one direction, our canes in another, and our persons were displayed at full length upon the carpet, very much to the amusement of the chamber-maid, who had the impudence to laugh at our misfortune. When I had recovered my senses, so as to ascertain what had happened, I turned to the gentleman and remarked, that if he would have the goodness to wait till I had more leisurely taken my bearings, I would make all proper apologies ; but that just at present I felt more inclined to look after myself, to know to what extent I had been knocked to pieces by the concussion. “And I, sir,” he replied, as he rose up far enough to take a seat upon the floor, " should like the same privilege. I declare for it, sir, that shock was worthy a tournament ground. I'll exchange cards with you if you please, sir, and we may hope that our acquaintance may be prosecuted in a more agreeable manner.”
I have many times since blessed the good fortune which brought us together. Nothing could have happened better. We gathered up our goods and chattels, which lay dispersed about the hall, and breakfasted in company. Before we rose from the table, each had told his story, and felt on terms of intimacy. “Now,” said Captain Manners (this is not the real name), "you are anxious to see London, and I have nothing to do but show it to you. I believe I am familiar with almost every part of the me
tropolis; for I have passed the last ten years here, and I do not know that I was ever tired of wandering round London. It is a glorious place : nothing would tempt me to live anywhere else. I can tell you a thousand things about it which I think you will not be able to find in the books; and if you are a good walker, we will set out, and a walk of twenty or thirty miles will give you a general idea of this immense city.”
We turned down into Cheapside, St. Paul's Churchyard, Ludgate Hill, and Fleet-street (which is all one great thoroughfare under different names), and stopped at Cruchley's shop, where we obtained his fine pocket map, with which a stranger may pass through every part of London without asking his way. The crowd which is continually pouring, like a rushing torrent, through the great thoroughfares of the metropolis, can scarcely be conceived of, until one mingles in it. We were in the midst of a dense mass of human beings, each of whom seemed to be bent upon his own business with so much earnestness as to have no care for the thousands who were drifting by; and all hurrying on with that restless gait with which people walk in large cities; careless of the occupations, the joys, or the sorrows of all but themselves. Yes, I was in London, the largest city in the world, where there are nearly as many people crowded together into an arena of 14,000 square acres, as there are in the whole city and state of New-York; a city whose foundations
were laid so long ago as when Paul was preaching on Mars Hill: where the Romans, the Britons, the Saxons, the Danes, and the Normans have come, one after another, to erect their thrones and pass away. We stood on Waterloo Bridge, and looked down upon the Thames, which has rolled his current changelessly along, while hundreds of successive generations have come and gone upon its banks. It is a narrow, turbid stream; and when the tide, which rises very high, is down, the shores are intolerably filthy, composing a grand arena of mud, which makes one wish that the Ohio could once roll her waters through the channel of old Thames, and show him how pure they would leave his banks. But some philosophers have said that utility is one element of beauty; and, if so, the Thames is certainly a beautiful stream; for London would do but poorly without this little river. The paddy remarked of his friend who lost his head in the rebellion, that although his head was of no great value to others, it was “a sore loss to himself.” To an American, the Thames seems like a mere eel-creek; but it is, nevertheless, the life-blood of London. On the bosom of this river, insignificant as it may seem, rides no inconsiderable proportion of the commercial wealth of the world. It is spanned by six stately bridges, built of stone or iron. They are all grand structures, and present a fine view from the water, with the crowds which continually throng them. Their order, commencing at the west, is Vauxhall,
which is of cast iron, with 9 arches, each span being 78 feet, and completed in 1816, at a cost of $720,000. Westminster is built of stone, of 5 arches, 1223 feet in length, completed in 1750, and cost $1,870,000. Waterloo is a grand structure of granite, with 9 arches, 1242 feet in length, and was opened June 18th, 1817, the anniversary of the battle of Waterloo. Blackfriars is built of stone, 1000 feet in length, has 9 arches, and was completed in 1768, at an expense of $733,000. Southwark is a cast-iron bridge of only 3 arches, and was finished in 1819. The middle arch is the largest in the world, being 240 feet; the side arches are 210. Many single castings in this bridge weigh ten tons each; and the whole weight of the iron is said to exceed 5308 tons. It is opposite Guild Hall, the centre of the old city of London, and cost $3,840,000. But the New London is by far the most magnificent of all these noble works. A few years ago the Old London Bridge, which had borne the moving stream of mortals, beasts, and carriages upon its back for hundreds of years, gave place to this stupendous structure. It is built of Scotland granite, and rests upon five arches. It cost the enormous sum of $7,500,000 : nearly as much as the grand Erie Canal, which is 363 miles long. Although the London Bridge forms the separation between the river and the sea navigation, and no vessel with standing masts can go above it, yet it is but a little below the centre of the metropolis. It is supposed to