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be the most crowded thoroughfare in the world. More than one hundred and fifty thousand people, it is estimated, pass it daily. Its architecture is perfect, and it will stand until it is shaken down by some great convulsion, or decays by the lapse of ages.
As the Thames enters London from the west, at Old Chelsea, it bends towards the north, and continues in this direction for about two miles; then it passes Whitehall, and turns away to the east, penetrating in that direction the heart of the metropolis. It divides London into two parts, although by far the larger part lies on the north side. London is about 60 miles from the sea, occupying a gentle slope on the north side of the river, with an almost uniform flat surface on its southern side. Considered as the capital of the British empire, it includes not only the old city and its liberties, but Westminster, Southwark, and many villages, both in Middlesex and Surry. Its extent from east to west is about eight miles, and its breadth from north to south is nearly five. There are five grand popular divisions of London. “ THE WEST END,” which consists of numerous handsome squares and streets, occupied by the town houses of the nobility and gentry, and the most fashionable shops. It is the great arena of wealth, folly, and splendid sin. The parks, gardens, squares, and streets of this part of the town probably exceed everything else of the kind throughout the world, CHE CITY” includes the central and most ancient division of the metropolis. It was once surrounded by a strong wall, which was defended
DIVISIONS OF LONDON.
by fifteen towers and bastions of Roman masonry. It is the emporium of commerce and of business of every description, and is occupied by shops, warehouses, public offices, and the houses of tradesmen and others connected with them. “ THE EAST END” bears no greater resemblance to the West End than a desert to a green field. Its inhabitants are devoted to commerce, to ship-building, and to every collateral branch connected with merchandise. Some portions of it embrace a vast amount of extreme poverty and wretchedness.
“SOUTHWARK,” and the whole of the southern bank of the Thames, from Deptford to Lambeth, bears some resemblance to the “ East End” of the town, being occupied principally by persons engaged in commercial affairs. But in one respect it differs from every other part of London ; it abounds with numerous manufactories : iron-foundries, glass-houses, soapboiling and dye houses, shot and hat manufactorie, and many other similar establishments. It is chiefly occupied by workmen and others of the lower classes. “ WESTMINSTER” contains the palace, the Abbey, the parks, the houses of Parliament, the courts of justice, and the various offices connected with government. Says Leigh, in his work on London, "The increase in the size and population of the British metropolis within a few years is truly amazing. It is no unusual event to meet in society persons who recollect those portions of what must now be called the metropolis, when they were nothing but fields
or swamps." There are some parts of London which have grown as rapidly as our own cities at the West.
There are two grand arteries which run through the metropolis from east to west. The most southern of these, for the greater part of the way, is within a quarter of a mile of the Thames. It commences at St. James's Palace, in Pall Mall, and is continued through the Strand, Fleet-street, St. Paul's, Watling-street, Cannon-street, and East Cheap, to the Tower. The northern line commences at Bayswater, and passes through Oxford-street, Holborn, Skinner, Newgate, Cheapside, Cornhill, Leadenhall, and White Chapel, to Mile End, a distance of about sex en miles; and the entire course is more densely populated than any portion of New York. These great avenues run nearly parallel to each other, and in no part of London can a stranger be far distant from one or the other of them. At this time London is computed to contain upward of 80 squares, and 10,000 streets, lanes, rows, places, courts, &c., and the number of houses exceeds 200,000.
“ You will not have been long in London,” Captain Manners remarked, as we made an inquiry of one of the policemen, “without perceiving the immense advantages of this metropolitan police It is probably the most efficient police in Europe. Property and life are as secure here, I suppose, as in any part of the world. I have walked thousands of miles at night through the streets and lanes of London, and yet I never was assaulted or treated in
MISERY IN LONDON.
a rude manner but once, and then I called a policew man to my aid in less than a minute.”
We have to-day taken a view of each great section of London, from the scenes of unbounded opulence and fashion of the West End, to the povertystricken and squalid abodes of Spitalfields. I have seen more magnificence and display than I ever wish to see in my own country, and more wretchedness than I ever supposed could exist in “merrie England." There is something very painful in the contemplation of a state of society so bighly artificial. I love the spirit of American democracy better than ever. I love the interminable woods and prairies, which stretch away towards the shores of the Pacific, offering a home to the poor, oppressed, taxed, degraded lower classes of Great Britain. What motive, thought I, as I to-day passed through some of the dark lanes of Spitalfields, what motive have the ignorant and depressed multitudes who inhabit such abodes as these, for exertion? What hope have they that they will ever know what it is to own one foot of the earth, and call it their own home?
“ Half the time," said my companion," they cannot find employment; and when they can, what do they get for their labour ? Not enough to satisfy the simplest wants of nature! They and their wives and children may work hard all the time, and yet not be able to get a compensation for it sufficient to procure any of the means of social or inoral elevation. In England, the poor must labour
or starve; and they must let their employers fix the price of their labour; and although some trades and employments receive good wages, yet the proportion of these to the whole is very small. I never was so much affected by the sufferings of the labouring classes in England until I returned from a residence of eighteen months in the United States; and I declare to you that there is more wretchedness and pinching poverty, more disgusting and heartsickening degradation here, in this lane in Spital. fields, than I saw during the whole of my residence in the United States. The contrast between the working classes of this country and yours struck me very forcibly when I landed in America ; and more so, if possible, when I returned. I do not pretend to meddle much with politics; but I have not yet been able to rid myself of the painful conviction, that oppression and misrule have produced very much of this suffering and vice. For it is universally acknowledged, I think, that England can maintain even a much larger population than she now does, if she will remove the heavy burdens which the government and aristocracy have imposed upon the people. But when they will do this no one can tell.”
I feel to-night as I have sometimes felt after awaking from a feverish dream, in which an ideal world of Oriental magnificence and of abject suffering had floated before my fancy, in one bewildering spectacle. But good-night.