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Is the year 1814 was completed a work on “ LONDON,” edited by CHARLES KNIGHT, which extended to Six large Volumes. It is proposed to publish a digested abridgment of that work, with every necessary addition and correction, that may be completed in one handsome Octavo Volume, and be sold, bound, for Seven Shillings. This new work, issued at this remarkable rate of cheapness, will contain upwards of Six Hundred pages of Text, and numerous Engravings.
To one of observation, and reflection, and adequate knowledge, everything in London is suggestive. In her external features we read the history of her past and the description of her present social state.
“ The things of fame
That do renown this city,—" Churches, Palaces, Offices of Government, Theatres, Exhibitions, Courts of Justice, Prisons, Hospitals, Parks, Squares, Streets, Bridges, Wharfs, Docks, Warehouses, Markets, Shops, Factories, Inns,—Pavements, Sewers, Gas-Lights, Waterpipes,—PostOffices, Railroads, Steam-Boats, Public Carriages,-have each their tale of that mighty stirring of humanity which, in its aggregate, is a spectacle of real sublimity unequalled in the world. The features of such a city, physical and moral, existing and antiquarian, if truly and strikingly presented, may interest every English reader, be he citizen or stranger. In 1851 there will be a gathering from all lands in this, the largest city of the world, whose inhabitants are in intercourse, commercial, political, literary, or religious, with almost the whole human race. We purposely select this period for producing a full, compact, and cheap book on London, that will endearour to combine accuracy with amusement,-a Guide for the Visitor,-a permanent Volume in the National Library.
CYCLOPÆDIA OF LONDON.
As public haunts, the Parks of London scarcely date from an earlier period than the time of the Commonwealth. It may be added that, in their character of royal demesnes, St. James's, Hyde Park, and Kensington Gardens, are no older than the time of Henry VIII., while even the Regent's Park can claim a connection with royalty, more equivocal and less blazoned, it is true, but equally certain. Their common story is briefly as follows:
The fields which now constitute St. James's Park were acquired by Henry VIII. for some lands in Suffolk. The hospital of St. James, which had previously stood there, was pulled down, the sisterhood pensioned off, a “goodly palace” erected on its site, and a park enclosed by a brick wall. Hyde Park came into the possession of the same bluff monarch by a less formal process, at the dissolution of the monasteries. It formed part of the manor of Hyde, the property of the abbot and monastery of St. Peter at Westminster. As mention is made of the keeper of the park very soon after its acquisition by the Crown, and no notice taken of its enclosure by Henry, it has been generally assumed that it was enclosed while yet the patrimony of the convent. A number of manors, previously belonging to monasteries, fell into the king's hands at the same time with the manor of Hyde. Some of these were granted to bishops, and others to secular courtiers; some remained for a time annexed to the Crown. Among the latter seems to have been the manor of Marylebone, attached to which, in the time of Elizabeth, was a park, in which it is recorded that a deer was killed on one occasion for the amusement of the Muscovite ambassador. Some undivided twenty-fourth parts of the manor of Marybourne, and of Mary-bourne Park, have been retained by the Crown to the present day; and these, with some additional lands, now constitute the Regent's Park.
To the passionate fondness of the early English sovereigns for the chase, we owe, in all probability, the parks of London. What was a passion in our Williams and Edwards, became in their successors a fashion also. Even the awkward and timid James deemed it a part of king-craft to affect a love of the chase. Hence the formation of St. James's Park by Henry VIII., and the retention of Hyde Park and Marybourne Park by that king and his successors, when other lands appropriated by the Crown at the dissolution of the monasteries were squandered away as lavishly as they were covetously grasped in the first instance. There are circumstances which would lead us to attribute to Henry VIII. a more extensive project than that of merely studding the country in the vicinity of the royal residence with deer parks. A proclamation issued by Henry in July, 1546, would have had the effect of converting a considerable extent of country round Westminster into a royal chase, within which the parks would have been mere nurseries for the deer. The proclamation announces that, “Forasmuch as the King's Most Royal Majesty is much desirons to have the games of hare, partridge, pheasant, and heron, preserved in and about his honour of the Palace of Westminster for his own disport and pastime; that is to say, from his said Palace of Westminster to St. Gyles in the Fields, and from thence to Islington, to our Lady of the Oak, to Highgate, to Hornsey Park, to Ilampstead Heati and from thence to his said Palace of Westminster, to be preserved and kept for his own besport and pleasure and recreation ; his Highness, therefore, straightly chargeth and commandeth all and singular his subjects, of what estate, degree, or condition soever they be, that they nor any of them do presume or attempt to hunt or to hawk, or in any means to take or kill, any of the said game within the precincts aforesaid, as they tender his favour, and will eschew the imprisonment of their bodies, and further punishment at his Majesty's will and pleasure.”
Had this attempt been strenuously insisted upon and carried through by the Crown, it might have proved more effectual than the frequent proclamations issued in subsequent reigns to prevent the extension of the buildings of the metropolis. New houses might have been pulled down, on the plea that they were encroachments upon the royal chase, and interfered with the preservation of the game. This belt of royal hunting-ground might have kept London cabined in within the liberties, or driven it across the Thames, or down into the marshes of Essex. But Henry did not long survive, and in Edward's brief boy reign there were more serious matters to attend to than hunting, and Queen Mary hunted heretics, not hares, and Queen Elizabeth had too many reasons for keeping on good terms with the merchantprinces of London to insist upon a measure always so unpopular in England as an extension of the royal hunting reserves. So the plan, if ever seriously entertained, broke down, and the city corporation hunted the bare at the head of the conduit, where Conduit Street now stands, and killed the fox at the end of St. Giles's ; and a flood of stone and mortar, leaving the royal parks isolated and far apart, like mountain peaks in the deluge, rushed from London, covering the meres and brooks, along which bluff Harry had sprung the heron and flown his hawk at her, and over the dry uplands, where the quick-eared hare had trembled to hear the coming route of “mayor, aldermen, and many worshipful persons, the masters and wardens of the twelve companies, and the chamberlain.”
This forgotten proclamation of Henry VIII. marks the turning of a tide. William the Conqueror made new forests. One of the most bitter causes of quarrel between Charles I. and his subjects, was the attempt of that monarch to enclose some new lands within a large park he attempted to erect between Richmond and Ilampton Court. William carried his point ; Charles's attempt helped to cost him his life ; Henry only failed. Henry's attempt was made under the culmination of the star of feudal times. Looking back, we can see that it was impossible that the public should long be kept from sharing with the monarch in the good things he took from the church.
ST. JAMES'S PARK. It is impossible to saunter about St. James's Park without being struck by its beauties. If, however, any person wishes to enjoy them like a true epicure-to take as much of the beautiful and exclude as much of the common-place as possible--to heighten the pleasure of each succeeding morsel hy a judicious regard to harmony in the order in which they succeed each other-it will be advisable to enter through
the Green Park by the gate opposite Hamilton Place, at the west end of Piccadilly. Lounging onwards by the walk that descends close by the spot formerly occupied by the ranger's lodge, the eye passes along a vista between trees to rest upon a beautiful line of wood in the middle distance, out of which rise the towers of Westminster Abbey. A massive corner of the palace is seen between the trees nearer at hand. The walk here parts into two—that on the left hand descending into what has all the appearance from this point of a woody dell; the otber carrying us into an open space, where we have a view of the unobtrusively wealthy mansions of Piccadilly on the other, and the more decorated line of buildings which form the eastern boundary of the Green Park in front. The pictures on every hand are at this point perfect in regard to composition: the arrangement of trees, lawn, and architecture is simply elegant. Turning to the right hand, at the mansion of the Duke of Sutherland, we come into St. James's Park. The palace itself presents a front of some magnificence, from its large breadth and height; and is now seen to better advantage, since the removal of the marble arch. Crossing the mall, enter the ornamented enclosure in front of the palace. Once here, it is a matter of perfect indifference what way the loiterer turns-only, if it be possible, he ought to get upon the grass as soon as he can. From the side at which we have supposed him to enter, he catches through the trees as he moves along such partial glances of the palace, or of the Government offices at the oppositc end of the park, as make pretty pictures out of very questionable architecture. Opposite him he has the majestic receptacle of the dead royalty of old England. If he prefer the opposite side of the central sheet of water, the most eligible point of view is on the rising near the angle at Buckingham Gate, affording a fine view, closed by the dome of St. Paul's.
This is the still life, but in the “enjoyment of prospects” the shifting of the human and other figures is the most material source of pleasure to the spectator. Along the track which we have been pursuing in imagination, there is rich variety: from the glance and dash of equipages along Piccadilly to the pedestrians of the Green Park; thence to the stately noiseless sweep of the privileged vehicles of the nobility along the mall, enlivened by the occasional passage of a horseman, who rides as if the fate of empires depended on his keeping the appointment to which he is bound; and thence again into the ornamented enclosure, where, in the absence of other company, we are sure of the birds. Many an hour of pleasant intercourse may be spent with the water-fowl in St. James's Park, whether they be showing the ease with which habit has taught them to mingle in crowded society; or with their heads under their wings sleeping on the smooth water at eight o'clock in the morning -for, like other inhabitants of the pleasure-seeking world of London, they have acquired bad habits of late rising; or in the intoxication of returning spring, wheeling in pursuit of each other in long circles overhead, then rushing down into their native element, and ploughing long furrows in it on St. Valentine's Day. These birds are the property of the Ornithological Society.
During the reigns of Elizabeth and the first two Stủarts, St. James's Park can only be considered as a nursery for deer and an appendage to the tilt-yard. The frequent allusions to it as a place of rendezvous by the dramatists of the age of Charles II. are sought in vain in Shakspere and his contemporaries, with whom St. Paul's occupies its place. It could not well be otherwise. A visit to the palace at Westminster was then going out of London, and to have gone out of the palace into the park would have been in the way of pleasure-hunting a work of supererogation-gilding refined gold. A passage occurs in Pepys's Diary,' which enables us to form an idea of the comparative seclusion of the park in these days. The date of the