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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1846,


in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, in and for the Southern

District of New York.


:: 19 Chambers Street, N. Y.


Books describing cities and countries have ever held a high rank among works of general utility and interest. The reasons are obvious: man naturally feels a sympathy with his own species, and reads of his fellow-beings, their habits, manners, and actions, with a reference to his own people and to himself. The places inhabited by other men have attractions for us far above any desert waste; and the cities they have built, and the houses they inhabit, present an irresistible appeal to our national curiosity. Hence it ever has been, and ever must be the fact, that books which de scribe such objects are popular in proportion to the truth and judgment with which they are written, and the taste and intelligence of the readers.

Even a traveller in Africa, or any other uncivilized region of the earth, finds much to say which we are willing and happy to hear; but how much more material for record and perusal is afforded by a country inhabited by men in a refined state of society. If to this be added the memorials of former ages, and a long course of striking events, important in their present consequences, the attractions and value of the work are greatly enhanced. And where would it be possible to find a part of the world more abounding in such points of interest than that which forms the subject-matter of this volume ? In all these respects, Great Britain stands pre-eminent: the most active, powerful, and refined state in Europe; exercising the most mechan. ical skill, carrying on the most extensive commerce; controlling the widest empire ; practising, advocating, proclaiming, and propagating, many of the soundest principles, offers to our view a country, small in extent, and therefore the more easily in. spected and studied, abounding no less in the interesting and instructive memorials of many past ages, than in the most admirable productions of modern science and art. The antiquities, curiosities, and scenery, of the parent land, are surely of the deepest interest to the millions who speak the language of “Old England,” scattered through every quarter of the habitable globe. The antiquities of England are the antiquities of North America, and of Australia—of mighty continents and fertile islands, where the descendants of the Anglo-Saxon have founded “new nations.” They are of especial interest to the Young who are seeking for information on these subjects. So abundant, indeed, are these objects, that many large works have been written on each separate class of them: but as they are far too voluminous and minute for an American reader, it has been our design to select and arrange the most prominent in different departments; and thus to present, in a single volume, all that is of primary interest and importance.

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It will be observed, that a large space has been devoted to LONDON, * BUSY, CLAMOROUS, CROWDED, IMPERIAL LONDON ; and for doing this, scarcely a word of explanation is needed. It is the abode of intelligence and industry ; the centre of trade and commerce; the resort of the learned and the inquiring. Here the poet has sung his sweetest strains, the historian produced the most authentic records, the philosopher made his most elaborate research, and communicated its most satisfactory results. Here has dwelt a Pope, a Hune, a Bacon, a Locke, a Davy, a BOYLE, and a PRIESTLEY. Here a Milton produced the sublimest of all human compositions; and here a SHAKSPERE portrayed the passions in all their various moods, and a GARRICK gave them life and a startling reality. Here, too, Newton found opportunity to explore and lay open the deepest mysteries of Nature, while the glowing canvass of a LAWRENCE gives a present existence to the events of long-past ages. It contains traces of almost every code in history from the age of the Romans to the present day-edifices erected by the most distinguished artists, in different styles; and which have been the residences of whole lines of monarchs, or of more eminent states. men, scholars, and philanthropists ; courts of law, and houses of legislation, which bave not only had their influence on past generations and distant countries, BUT

In London, also we find an impressive epitome of English history and the greatness and frailty of man, in the solemn aisles of Westminster abbey. The very streets of the metropolis, as well as some of its most obscure and humble districts, are celebrated as the abodes or resorts of men, distinguished for learning, taste, or moral worth; for eloquence at the bar or the forum ; for courage or conduct in the field. In London have occurred a large share of those actions by which the destiny of the nation has been influenced or decided ; and whose effects we feel to the present day.


An acquaintance with these scenes and objects is not to be regarded as a means of mere literary recreation. England has not struggled through the trials of successive ages for naught. She does not, like Spain or Italy, or even France, boast of slow improvements in a few matters of secondary importance, while the chief objects of national progress are disregarded. England early accomplished her emancipation from Rome, and has ever maintained it; and not only religion, but literature, art, and the whole civil, and social condition of the people, have received benefits innumerable and inestimable.

In the arts and sciences, London has many memorials and specimens to exhibit. Some of the public edifices are works of the best architects of the kingdom ; and the

* We are apt to imagine here in the United States, that the growth of our towns and cities greatly garpasses in rapidity and extent those of any part of the old world. Some facts about London would seem to contradict this notion. It is stated, for instance, in a recent report to the government, that in a little more than twelve years, twelve hundred new streets have been added to London, which is at the rate of one hundred streets a year. These twelve hundred new streets contain forty-eight thousand houses, most of them built on a large and commodious scale, and in a style of superior comfort. With all this wonderful increase, it is said that the demand for houses instead of diminishing, continues to increase, and that while in many towns of the interior the number of unoccupied houses is augmenting, scarcely is a new street finished, before almost every house in it is fully occupied. One great reason assigned for the rapid growth of London, is the extraordinary facility and despatch with which people are now transported over railroads terminating there. Owing to this cause, it is estimated that the daily influx of individuals is five times greater than it was fifteen years ago. London is now about forty miles in circumference, and numbers about two millions of inoabitants.

collection of ancient arts in the British Museum, and of modern painters and sculptors in the Royal Academy and elsewhere, have much to gratify and improve the taste. The parks of London display, in an eminent degree, the noble features of nature; and to an American this is peculiarly agreeable, as it corresponds with the impressive wildness of our own native forests, as strangely as it contrasts with the feeble and artificial tastes, so prevalent on the Continent. To us, also, the aged oaks of London are connected with interesting associations, not less so than

“ Thy forests, Windsor, and thy green retreats,

At once the monarch's and the muses' seats.” Wherever we turn our eyes we perceive some trace of the land of our forefathers; and we can not speak a word without borrowing their tongue. Even in our cradles we are lulled by the sweet music which was wafted across the ocean with the ships of the Pilgrims, coupled with the lofty songs of their poets who have best transferred to modern speech exalted strains of inspiration. In childhood we were surrounded by the guardian hands of mothers, trained on the pure and refined model of Britain ; and prepared to perform our parts in life, under the practical tutelage and daily example of men who have derived their ideas of rights and duties from the most free and intelligent people of the Old World. Though under advantages, which America alone can offer, we have made advances of our own, it becomes us clearly to understand the sources of our blessings, as well as those to which we are indebted for their increase. An obligation results from the principle of gratitude. In the infancy of many of our benevolent institutions we received liberal assistance from our friends across the ocean. In reference to this subject, a late American writer* observes :

We are living on the capital furnished by others, reaping fields not planted by our hands. We are enjoying benefits earned and secured by preceding generations, not by those simply who have lived on this soil, but of multitudes on the other side of the sea. Much of our present prosperity is owing to the timely aid which distant benefactors extended. These goodly churches and institutions which have been the glory of the Atlantic states, were liberally fostered by Christians in Europe. It is doubtful whether some of the more important of them could have survived without this generous sympathy. The munificent founder of Harvard college could hardly be called a resident of this country. It was only a few months of languishing illness that he passed in New England. For a century and a half, Harvard college, so dear to the early churches, was often remembered by the large-hearted Christians of the parent-country. Some of the most eminent men of the seventeenth century vied with each other in their generous donations. Dr. John Lightfoot and Dr. Theophilus Gale gave the whole of their select and invaluable libraries to the college. An English nobleman erected a principal edifice at his sole expense. No father ever provided for his children with more solicitous care than Thomas Hollis, or rather the constellation of generous spirits of that name, who watched the progress of the pilgrims' college. They never saw it; they were three thousand miles away, yet the flame of a most disinterested charity was quenched only by death. George Whitefield, besides those gifts which gold can not purchase, procured valuable donations for the same institution. We might allude to the foreign aid bestowed on almost every other seminary founded in our country before the revolution, and on some since that event. Several bear the name of their British benefactors.

* Professor B. B. Edwards, of Andover, Mass.

But this beneficence was not confined to academical institutions. It flowed wherever a channel could be opened for it. The first printing-press in this country was a donation from Holland. The whole expense of that extraordinary undertaking, the printing of the first edition of John Eliot's Indian Bible, was borne in England. The apostle himself, the Mayhews and other missionaries even down to David Brainerd, were sustained, in a great degree, from the same source. The name of Robert Boyle is scarcely more renowned in science or in piety, than it is from its connexion with our early Indian missions. The great New England theologian, after his disruption from his pastoral charge, was cheered in his exile with the warmest and most generous sympathy from friends in Scotland, who had never seen him. It is not, perhaps, too much to say, that some of the greatest of his productions would never have been written, but for the M•Cullochs and Erskines of that country. Even the enmities excited by two wars have not been able wholly to dry up these streams of benevolence. Within a very recent period, an Englishman has been more ready to bequeath his property for the diffusion of knowledge among us, than the Congress of the United States are to employ the gift.

It is a remarkable fact in relation to these English benefactors, that they were, for the most part, members of different religious communions from those of the pilgrims. Bishop Sherlock made a valuable donation to Harvard college. Bishop Berkeley has immortalized his name in connexion with Yale. The earl of Dartmouth was an episcopal nobleman. Thomas Hollis was a baptist. When he transmitted one of his gifts, he remarked, that he did not know that his portrait would be safe from insult in the hall of the college which he was so liberally endowing.

Besides, these noble benefactors were not discouraged, though some of their funds might be misapplied or wasted. They patiently bore severe disappointments and heartily rejoiced in a small measure of success.

On these various accounts, a “PICTORIAL DESCRIPTION OF GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND," offers an attractive and profitable study to the intelligent of all countries; and especially to the American reader. The present is a period peculiarly favorable for the appearance of a work of this kind, and none could have been more agreeable to the Editor. Gloomy clouds which lately darkened the horizon, have been dispelled ; and the sunshine of PEACE, which now smiles upon us, is doubly delightful. None of us could have entertained so just a conception of the consequences

of a war between England and America, if we had not been forced to look upon it as impending; and therefore, all good nien, we have reason to believe, are now more than ever impressed with the importance and duty of preserving PEACE. To reflect, but for a moment, upon the present state of the world, with the unprecedented means of attack and defence, in the hands of the two nations, on both land and sea i to take into account the moral restraints which must be burst through by such a contest, and devastation of public and private interest to both parties, with the blow which would be given to every measure and hope of improvement in the world, makes an impression on the mind, more appalling than words can describe. To prevent the recurrence of such a danger, to lay as deep, as is possible for human hands, the foundations of permanent peace, immediate measures should be adopted to implant a mutual esteem and friendship between the two people. And nothing can be more reasonable, natural, and easy, than this: identity of origin, and of blood; of language, literature, religion, and principles of civil condition; connexions in

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