Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

At the conclusion of the proceedings, the lord mayor, with the duke of York, and the other visitors admitted to the floor of the coffer-dam, retired; after which, many of the company in the galleries came down to view the stone, and several of the younger ones were allowed to ascend and walk over it. Some ladies were handed up, and all who were so indulged, departed with the satisfaction of being enabled to relate an achievement honourable to their feelings.

Among the candidates for a place upon the stone, was a gentleman who had witnessed the scene with great interest, and seemed to wait with considerable anxiety for an opportunity of joining in the pleasure of its transient occupants. This gentleman was P.T. W., by which initials he is known to the readers of the Morning Herald, and other journals. The lightness and agility of his person, favoured the enthusiasm of his purpose; he leapt on the stone, and there

toeing it and heeling it, With ball-room grace, and merry face, Kept livelily quadrilling it,

till three cheers from the spectators announced their participation in his merriment; he then tripped off with a graceful bow, amidst the clapping of hands and other testimonials of satisfaction at a performance wholly singular, because unprecedented, unimitated, and inimitable.

The lord mayor gave a grand dinner in the Egyptian-hall, at the Mansionhouse, to 376 guests; the duke of York, being engaged to dine with the king, could not attend. The present lord mayor has won his way to the hearts of good livers, by his entertainments, and the court of common council commenced its proceedings on the following day by honourable mention of him for this enter\ainment especially, and complacently re

ceived a notice to do him further nonour for the general festivity of his mayoralty.

His lordship's name is Garratt; he is a tex-dealer. Stow mentions that one of similar name, and a grocer, was commemorated by an epitaph in our lady's chapel, in the church of St. Saviour's, Southwark; which church the first pler of the proposed bridge adjoins. He says,

Upon a faire stone under the Grocers’ arms, is this inscription :

Garret some cat'd him, but that was too hye, His name is Garrard, who now here doth lye ; Weepe not for him since he is gone before To heaven, where Grocers there are many more.”

It is supposed that the first bridge of London was built between the years 993 and 1016; it was of wood. There is a vulgar tradition, that the foundation of the old stone bridge was laid upon woolpacks: this report is imagined to have arisen from a tax laid upon wool towards its construction. The first stone-bridge began in 1176, and finished in 1209, was much injured by a fire in the Borough, in 1212, and three thousand people perished. On St. George's day, 1395, there was a great justing upon it, between David, earl of Crawford, of Scotland, and lord Wells of England. It had a drawbridge for the passage of ships with provisions to Queenhithe,with houses upon it, mostly tenanted by p n and needlemakers: there was a chapel on the bridge, and a tower, whereon the heads of unfortunate partisans were placed : an old map of the city, in 1597, represents a terrible cluster; in 1598, Hentzner the German traveller, counted above thirty poles with heads. Upon this bridge was placed the head of the great chancellor, sir Thomas More, which was blown off the pole into the Thames and found by a waterman, who gave it to his daughter; she kept it during life as a relic, and directed at her death it should be placed in her arms and buried with her.

Howel, the author of “Londin polis," in a paraphrase of some lines by Sannazalius, has this—

* Stow's Survey, 1633, page986,

Encominim on London-bridge.

When Neptune from his billows Londou spy'd,
1}rought proudly thither by a high spring-tide,
As thro' a floating wood he steer'd along,
And dancing castles cluster'd in a throng;
When he beheld a mighty bridge give law
Unto his surges, and their fury awe ;
When such a shelf of cataracts did roar,
As if the Thames with Nile had chang'd her shore;
When he such massy walls, such towers did eye,
Such posts, such irons, upon his back to lye ;
When such vast arches he observ'd, that might
Nineteen Rialtos make for depth and height;
When the Cerulean god these things survey'd,

He shook his trident, and, astonish'd, said,
“Let the whole earth now all the wonders count,
This bridge of wonders is the paramount.”

Thus has commenced, under the most favourable auspices, a structure which is calculated to secure from danger the domestic commerce of the port of London. That such a work has not long since been executed, is attributable more to the financial difficulties under which the cororation of London has been labouring for the last quarter of a century, than to any doubts of its being either expedient or necessary. A similar design to that which is now in course of execution, was in contemplation more than thirty years ago; and we believe that many of the first architects of the day sent in plans for the removal of the old bridge, and the construction of a new bridge in its place. A want of funds to complete such an undertaking compelled the projectors of it, to abandon it for a time; but the improved condition of the finances of the corporation, the increasing commerce of the city of London with the internal parts of the country, the growing prosperity of the nation at large, and we may also add, a more general conviction derived from longer experience, that the present bridge was a nuisance which deserved to be abated, induced them to resume it, and to resume it with a zeal proportionate to the magnitude of the object which they had in view. Application was made to parliament for the grant of a sum of money to a purpose which, when considered with regard either to local or to national interests, was of great importance. That application was met with a spirit of liberality which conferred as much honour upon the party who received, as upon the party who gave, the bounty. The first results of it were be

held in the operations of to-day; the fur ther results are in the bosom of time; but from the spirit with which the work has been commenced, we have no doubt but they will tend no less to the benefit, than the glory, of the citizens of London.” There is something peculiarly imposing and impressive in ceremonies of this description, as they are usually conducted, and we certainly do not recollect any previous spectacle of a similar nature, which can be said to have surpassed in general interest, grandeur of purpose, or splendid effect, than that just recorded. It is at all times agreeable to a philosophical mind, and an understanding which busies itself, not only with the surface and present state of things, but also with their substance and remote tendencies, to contemplate the exercise of human power, and the triumphs of human ingenuity, whether developed in physical or mental efforts, in the pursuit of objects which comprehend a mixture of both. And perhaps, it is in a good degree attributable to this secret impulse of our nature, which operates in some degree upon all, however silent and imperceptible in its operation, that the mass of mankind are accustomed to take such an eager interest in ceremonials like the present. It is true, that show, and preparation, and bustle, and the excitement consequent upon these, are the immediate and apparent motives; but it does not therefore follow that the other reasons are inefficient, or that because they are less prominent and apparent, they are therefore inoperative. The erection of a

* The Times.

[ocr errors]

TT-----————

bridge, without reference to the immediate object or the extent of its design, is per a op. of art over nature—a conquering of one of these obstacles, which the latter, even in her most bountiful and propitious designs, delights to present to man, as if for the purpose of calling his powers into exercise, and affording him the quantity of excitement necessary to the happiness of a sentient being. But if we | not entertain these sentiments, and give them utterance in so many words, we nevertheless feel and act upon them. We delight to attend spectacles like the present, where the first germ of a stuendous work is to be prepared. We ook round on the complicated apparatus, and the seemingly discordant and unorganized beams and blocks of wood and granite, and then we think of the simple structure, the harmonious and complete whole to which these confused elements will give birth. Such a structure is pregnant with a multitude of almost indefinable thoughts and anticipations. We bethink ourselves of the stream of human life, which, some five years hence, will flow over the new London-bridge as thickly, and almost with as little cessation, as the waters of the Thames below: and then we reflect upon the tide of hopes and fears which that human stream will carry in its bosom 1 One of our first reflections will necessarily be of its adaptation to trade and commerce, of which it will then constitute a new and immense conduit. Trade, and science, and learning, and war, (Providence long avert it!) will at various periods pass across it. Next we consider what will be the immediate and individual destiny of the structure:—is it to moulder away after the lapse of many ages, under the slow but effectual influence of time, or to suffer dilapidation suddenly from the operation of some natural convulsion ? Will it fall before the wrath or wilfulness of man, or is it to be displaced by new improvements and discoveries, in like manner as its old and many-arched neighbour makes way for it—and as that once superseded its narrower and shop-covered predecessor? These are questions which the imaginative man may ask himself; but who is to answer However, even the man of business may be well excused in indulging some speculations such as these, upon the occasion of the erection of a structure, which is to constitute a new artery to and fro in the mighty heart of London—a

fresh vein through which that commerce, which is the life-blood of our national prosperity and greatness will have to flow.”

This is one of those public occurrences which may be considered as an event in a man's life, and an epoch in the city's history—a sort of station in one's worldly journey, from which we measure our distances and dates. To witness the manner and the moment, in which is laid the first single resting stone of a grand national structure—the very origin of the existence of a massive and magnificent pile, which will require years to complete, and ages to destroy, has an elevating and sublime effect on the mind.

Great public works are the truest signs of a nation's prosperity and power; originally its grandest ornaments, and ultimately the strongest proofs of its existence. Its religion, language, arts, sciences, government, and history, may be swept into nothingness; but yet its na

tional buildings will remain entire through,

the lapse of successive ages—after their very o are forgotten—after their local history has become a mere matter of conjecture. The columns of Palmyra stand over the ashes of their framers, in a desert as well of history as of sand. The palaces of imperial Rome are still existing, though her religion, her very language, is dead; and the history of the man-wrought miracles of Egypt, had been looked at but as the vely dreamings of philosophy long before Napoleon said to his Egyp. tian army—“From the summits of these pyramids, forty centuries are looking down upon you.” Of all public edifices, a bridge is the most necessary, the most generally and frequently useful—open at all hours and to all persons. It was probably the very first public building. Some conjecture, that the first hint of it was taken from an uprooted tree lying across a narrow current. What a difference between that first natural bridge, and the perfection of pontifical architecture—the vast, solid, and splendid Waterloo-the monumentum si quaeras of John Rennie. We feel pleasure in learning, that the new Londonbridge has been designed by the same distinguished architect. It falls to the lot of the son to consummate the plans of the father—we hope with equal success,

* British Press.

[ocr errors]
[graphic][graphic]

and with similar benefits, as well to the conductor as to the public. Old London-bridge, for which the new one is intended as a more commodious substitute, was the first that connected the Surrey and Middlesex banks. It was built originally of wood, about 800 years ago, and rebuilt of stone in the reign of king John, 1209, just two years after the chief civic officer assumed the name of mayor. Until the middle of the last century, it was crowded with houses, which made it very inconvenient to the passengers. The narrowness and inequality of its arches, have caused it to be compared to “a thick wall, pierced with small uneven holes, through which the water, dammed up by this clumsy fabric, rushes, or rather leaps, with a velocity extremely dangerous to boats and barges.” Of its nineteen arches, none except the centre, which was formed by throwing two into one, is more than twenty feet wide. This is but the width of each of the piers of Waterloo-bridge. It is the most crowded thoroughfare in London, and, in this point, exceeds Charing-cross, which, according to Dr. Johnson, was overflowed by the full tide of human existence. It has been calculated, that there daily pass over London-bridge 90,000 foot passengers; 800 waggons; 200 carts and drays; 1,300 coaches; 500 gigs and tax carts; and 800 saddle horses. The importance of this great point of communication, and the necessity of rendering it adequate to the urposes of its construction, are proved, y the numbers to whom it affords a daily passage at present, and, still more, by the probable increase of the numbers hereafter. The present bridge having been for some years considered destitute of the proper facilities of transition for passengers as well as for vessels, an Act of Parliament, passed in 1823, for building a new one, on a scale and plan equal to the other modern improvements of the metropolis. The first pile of the works was driven on the west side of the present bridge, in March, 1824, and the first coffer-dam having been lately finished, the ceremony of laying the first stone of the new bridge, has been happily and auspiciously completed.”

MRs. BARBAULD The decease of this literary and excel

* New Times.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small]

Your sighs shall aid reflection's serious hour, And cherished virtues bless the kindly shower: On the loved theme your lips unblamed shall dwell; Your lives, more eloquent, her worth shall tell. –Long may that worth, fair Virtue's heritage,

From race to race descend, from age to age : Still purer with transmitted lustre shine The treasured birthright of the spreading line ! For me, as o'er the frequent grave Ibend, | And pensive down the vale of years descend; Companions, Parents, Kindred called to mourn, Dropt from my side, or from my bosom torn; A boding voice, methinks, in Fancy's ear Speaks from the tomb, and cries “Thy friends are here"

Summer Evening's Adventure in JPales.

Mr. Proger of Werndee, riding in the evening from Monmouth, with a friend who was on a visit to him, heavy rain came on, and they turned their horses a little out of the road towards Perthyer. “My cousin Powell,” said Mr. Proger, “will, I am sure, be ready to give us a night's lodging.” At Perthyer all was still ; the family were abed. Mr. Proger shouted aloud under his cousin Powell's chamber-window. Mr. Powell soon heard him; and putting his head out, inquired, “In the name of wonder what means all this noise! Who is there !” “It is only your cousin Proger of Werndee, who is come to your hospitable door for shelter from the inclemency of the weather; and hopes you will be so kind as to give him, and a friend of his, a night's lodging.” “What is it you, cousin Proger ? You, and your friend shall be instantly admitted; but upon one condition, namely, that you will admit now, and never here. after dispute, that I am the head of your family.” “What was that you said?" replied Mr. Proger. “Why, I say, that if you expect to pass the night in my house, you must admit that I am the head of your family.” “No, sir, I never will admit that—were it to rain swords and daggers, I would ride through them this night to Werndee, sooner than let down the consequence of my family by submitting to such an ignominious condition. Come up, Bald ! come up!” “Stop a ‘moment, cousin Proger; have you not

[ocr errors]

often admitted, that the first earl of Pein

broke (of the name of Herbert) was a younger son of Perthyer; and will you

set yourself up above the earls of Pem

broke " “True it is I must give place

to the earl of Pembroke, because he is a

peer of the realm; but still, though a peer, he is of the youngest branch of my family, being descended from the fourti, son of Werndee, who was your ancestor, and settled at Perthyer, whereas I am descended from the eldest son. Indeed, my cousin Jones of Lanarth is of a branch of the family elder than you are; and yet he never disputes my being the head of the family.” “Well, cousin Proger, I have nothing more to say: good night to you.”—“Stop a moment, Mr. Powell,” cried the stranger, “you see how it pours; do let me in at least; I will not dispute with you about our families.” “Pray, sir, what is your name, and where do you come from ?” “My name is so and so ; and I come from such a county.” “A Saxon of course; it would indeed be very curious, sir, were I to dispute with a Saxon about family. No, sir, you must suffer for the obstinacy of your friend, so good night to you both.”

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

1722. John Churchill, the great duke of Marlborough, died at Windsor-lodge, in a state of idiocy. He was son of sir Winston Churchill, an English historian, and born at Ashe, in Devonshire, 1650 At twelve years of age he became page to the duke of York, afterwards James II.; at sixteen he entered the guards, and distinguished himself under Turenne. He was called the handsome Englishman, married Eliss Jennings, (the celebrated duchess of Marlborough,) obtained distinguished rank and offices, suppresse. the duke of Monmouth's rebellion, and served king James with apparent fidelity in the wane of his fortune, while he faithlessly made court to the prince of ()range. His great military achieve.

* Williams's Monmouth. App. 168.

« ZurückWeiter »