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negociating like princes, for greater sums of money than were formerly to be met with in the royal treasury.
It was a shrewd observation of Charles II. “ That the tradesmen were the only gentry in England." This monarch had travelled sufficiently to be well acquainted with the world, and had observed, that a country without trade could only boast of needy nobility. In England the case was widely different. The English are a considerate, a thinking nation, and therefore learning and trade have been the two principal channels to nobility; so that the citizens of London, like the Tyrians of old, have justly arrived to the dignity of princes.
Having thus offered a few observations on the great. ness of London, we will add to its dignity a glory in which it is singular;—its Beneficence! The extent of its charitable contributions is unbounded; no city or nation can equal it for humanity. No species of distress exists, but the friendly hand of Benevolence is ready to alleviate the poignancy of the sufferer. Every avenue to the city is ornamented with structures sacred to the most benign of all virtues, Charity !
The history of a metropolis like this, claims the pens of the most exalted writers to do it ample justice. Our readers will therefore consider the labour we have undertaken ; and should any unavoidable mistakes arise, impute the error, not to carelessness or inattention, but to the magnitude of a work which is to describe the remote and recent history, the policy, grandeur, hospitality, population, &c. of the first metropolis in the world--a City without a parallel !
HE prescription of our subject, not permitting us to be
very diffuse concerning the remote history of this mağ. nificent city, we deduce such concise materials only as are merely appropriate to our purpose, and a glance at etymology, therefore, must be sufficient. Cæsar, in his Commentaries, denominates it the chief city of the Trinobantes, which, with submission to higher authority, is easily converted to Tre-yn-y-bant, describing the exact situation of the British town in the valley, the vale of London being certainly one of the most extensive in the British dominions, taking it from Brentwood to Windsor one way, and from Hampstead to the Surrey Hills another.
That London was originally a British town is undoubted; and although it might afterwards be dignified with the names of Londinium, Augusta, &c. it is very evident that the Romans, with the national spirit of all conquerors, affected to bury British under Roman denominations; and we are led to assert this from the conviction, that had this been a town originally constructed by the Romans, they would certainly
VOL. I. No. 1.
have imposed upon it a Roman name. It is most probable therefore, that these conquerors finding a site which had been previously occupied, they necessarily continued the original British name, softened by a Roman termination.
Cæsar and Tacitus inform us, that the British towns were not scenes of regular and general residence; they were only their places of refuge amid the dangers of war, where they might occasionally lodge their wives, children, and cattle, and the weaker resist the stronger, till succours could arrive. These towns were planted in the centre of their woods, defended by the advantages of their position, and secured by a regular rampart and fosse. In their holds, they resisted the attacks of the best troops 'under the command of the most experienced officers in the world, and even gained from the latter, the repeated praise of excellent fortifications *.
As the Romans regularly extended their conquests, they appear to have equally erected stations for themselves, and cities for the Britons, thus Claudius constructed the cities of Glevum or Glouster, Colonia or Colchester, Augustæ Trinobantos, and other lesser places. By such means the fuc. .cess of the Roman arms was distinctly marked, and the face of the island of Britain gradually brightened up by the progress of cultivation. Thus the acts of civil life, and the sweets of social happiness superseded the rough genius of selfish policy.
In the mode of forming towns used by the Romans, their first object seems to have been to construct military ways, consistently with the ancient custom of making new roads, preparatory to the general's approach; hence the Scripture
*"Cognoscit non longè ex co loco oppidam Cassivclauni abesse, sylvis palludibusque munitum ; quo satis magnus hominum pecorisque numerus convenerit. Oppidum autem Britanni vocavt quum sylvas impeditas vallo atque' foss munierunt. Locum reperit egregiè naturâ atque opera munitum. Se in sylvas abdiderunt, locum nacti egregiè natura et opere munitum,-qnem-jam antè præparaverant."
By these and many oiher passages among the Latin authors, it will easily be allowed, that our British ancestors possessed more considerable skill in the art of fortification, than some historians are willing to grant them. Whilaker's Munthesper, &c. 4
text, “ Prepare ye, make ready the way, &c." is erplained. The chief excellence of these roads was their di. rect course; for being constructed at a period when the laws of property were superseded by the power of conquest, they were naturally laid out in the straightest lines from place to place. Many of these roads have continued uninjured to the present period. It appears, however, from undoubted authority, that the two great ways denominated Watling and Ikening Street, were undertaken by the Belgian Britons, before the Roman invasion. These were formed, for the purposes of commerce, and constructed by the concurrent endeavours of the other Britons, so as to traverse the central parts of the island, and lead to such provinces as were stored with vendible commodities.
The modes of Roman policy gaining ground in all their settlements, it is not surprising that the conquered, should also adopt, by their near residence, objects of convenience, to which they were invited by the expansion of Roman manners. Hence we observe, that to the original street others were annexed, and branched out in every direction. In the intervals formed by the intersection of these streets, some vacant space was assigned for a market. This was evidently an introduction by the Romans. Improvements naturally occurred to convenience, and soon established the regular economy of other public and private structures, streets, walls, and towns; magnificent dwellings for the rich soon made their appearance, and necessity impelled an allotment of smaller spaces for the habitations of the useful and labo. rious populace. By adhering to this principle, the greatest political advantages resulted, industry was stimulated, morals were improved by example, and the reciprocal distribution of good offices, incorporated a community of regu. larity, convenience, and prosperity, instead of a heteroge. neous mixture of rudeness, unskilfulness, and disorder,
The streets and buildings of the Romans were not however constructed upon a plan to promote future health, or prevent accident; the first were extremely narrow; the Latter consequently, too lofty. Thus, neglecting to inform
themselves of the peculiarities of climate, these people form. ed the British streets and buildings after models of their own cities, and did not discover that the more temperate air of this island, precluded the necessity of such buildings, as in Rome, to skreen the inhabitants from the heat of the sun, We deduce from this circumstance, the narrowness of most of the streets in the ancient cities of Britain.
The foundations of brick and stone were evidently Roman additions to the British buildings, and the round holes in the roofs of their cabins, were by the former elegantly altered into cupola chimnies. The coverings of these huts, formerly of long reeds, now gave way to the more convenient mantling of straw thatch ; and of such materials was the roofing of buildings in London, within these four eenturies. The respectable structures were, however, more conveniently covered with scindulæ, or shingles, and some with tegula, or tiles. Another kind of covering was that species of light-coloured stones abounding in Britain, deno. minated sglatta, or slate. Some Roman buildings in Britain, appear by their remains, to have been actually roofed with this useful material, which was," as Hearne informs us in his account of the Stunsfield pavement, “ fastened to the roofs with nails of iron, booked, long, and large *.”
Similar to the modern temporary windows of unfinished houses, was the defence against the intrusion of weather, and the medium for the admission of light to the dwellings of our ancestors, Neither the Britons nor Romans had found out the obvious, necessary, convenient, and agreeable application of the metal whence glafs is obtained. The windows + of the gentry were furnished merely with lattices of wood, or sheets of linen; even the windows of our cathe. drals in the seventh century, were composed of only substitutes I.
It Leland, vol. vii. p. 30. + Window is provincially pronounced Windor, or Wind-door, from the Welsh, Uynt Dor, signifying the passage for the wind.-Whitaker.
# Polybius gives us the following description of a Roman inirenchment: The prætorium or square for the general's tent was two hun.