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to enjoy the rights and privileges of men, provided always they swallow some statute oaths which no conscience can digest; not our redoubtable and most doubtable archbishop's liberty of conscience; not liberty of conscience, as understood by the under-graduates of an Orange-lodge; not liberty of conscience in its essentially-Protestant signification;-but true liberty of conscience-Robinson Crusoe's liberty of conscienceNothing else will do. Hitherto you Britons, whether dealers in soft goods or hard-ware, imagined that it could not be in the nature of intelligent and well-conducted Irishmen to aspire to any thing beyond a contemptuous toleration; but the melancholy truth is, they have now come to think so like yourselves, that they look upon your toleration as no longer tolerable. Let then what they thirst for (and theirs is no unhealthy feverish thirst) be given to them. Turn the cock, my dear Cyril, and let their parched lips at length taste those admirable waters which you have hitherto kept barrelled up for your own exclusive use; and then shall chancellors and tipstaffs, archbishops and parish-clerks, -then shall constitutional grave-diggers who had been wont to handle their mortuary shovels in the glorious spirit of 1688,—then shall all the essentially-Protestant old women of both sexes, whether in or out of parliament, behold with wonder how a people, whom no kicks and cuffs could conciliate, no injuries attach, no insults win, no privations enrich, no discords ennoble, no persecutions soften, no disqualifications satisfy, no tracts make tractable, may, by a process that never yet has failed, be rendered orderly and prosperous, and after a season, a benefit and credit to an Empire, of which they now form so disgraceful and worthless a portion.

With regard, my dear friend, to your observation, that hedge-rows in the abstract- -but I am interrupted, and must break off for the present. You shall shortly hear again from

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Yours, though you help to keep him down,


L. A.

HOWL! ye children of rich Tarshish, for your dwellings are laid low,
And a wilderness your streets are made by the spoilings of your foe;
Though joyous once your city shone, uplifted in her pride,

Though her merchants were as princes, and her fame flew far and wide,
Though she stood the queen of nations once, rich, turreted and strong,
She is now a dream that hath been, the echo of a song!

The God of Heaven hath humbled you, to prove how weak and vain
Your boasted power and pageantry, your wealth and purple train ;
He only stretch'd his hand out, and your commerce was no more,
And the ocean waves beat burthenless upon your voiceless shore;
Your structures lie in ruin'd heaps, your riches far are fled,
And where they late were treasured up the Dragon rears his head!
Where are your prince-robed merchants now in costly garments clad,
The feasting and the revelry with which your hearts were glad-
Your full-fraught fleets from distant lands, that on a foreign sea
Spread their exulting sails abroad and sought your haven free?
The blast of desolation hath wreck'd them in the storm,
And of their power there now remains no shadow of a form!

Howl! ye children of rich Tarshish, for your dwellings are laid low,
And a wilderness your streets are made by the spoilings of your foe!


I LOVE improvement. I admire that noble spirit of enterprise, which prompts the achievement of great national benefits; and whether it is by the construction of subways, railways, bridges, tunnels or canals, the projectors have my fuil meed of praise. Mr. MacAdam, who is engaged in the meritorious office of mending our ways; and Mr. Nash, who puts a new face on things, by transmuting rotten bricks into classic edifices through the magic aid of gypsum,-deserve well of their Country; and I could almost pardon the anomaly of building Christian churches like heathen temples, or even making the Parthenon a model for a fish-market, from my admiration of the impulse which has given rise to it.

We are certainly "wiser than of yore" in these matters, and contemplate with laudable horror the barbarism of our ancestors, who preferred their oldfashioned blind alleys and crooked lanes to the angular streets and airy improvements of Sir Christopher Wren. The good folks had no notion of wasting ground for mere public convenience: every inch had its value, and they made the most of it. Yet let us do them justice. The sinuosity of their streets was no type of their dealings. They were a straight-forward race, as content in their pent-up snuggeries, and, no doubt, throve as well, as the modern and more modish citizen, who dispenses a yard of ribbon behind a mahogany counter, spreads on the floor of his " Emporium" a Turkey carpet, and looks out for customers through squares of plate-glass, appropriately mounted in brass. The shops of our grand-dads, dark and dirty though they were, were hives pregnant with honey, and were no receptacles for drones. The man, who could not pay twenty shillings in the pound, was no fit associate for tradesmen of character; and a bankrupt was looked upon with that sort of instinctive antipathy we feel when we come in contact with the hangman. The Old English predilection for comfort (a word not to be found in any foreign vocabulary) was evident in all their domestic arrangements. Many houses are yet standing in the by-ways of the City, replete with every convenience,-wide staircases and spacious landings, decorated with pictorial skill; spacious cupboards for the reception of substantial fare; snug closets for the stowage of porcelain rarities and Indian knicknacks; and rooms, lofty and spacious, wainscoted with true British oak, and proof against all the assaults of the weather. These were sterling matters, my masters, that might bear comparison with the refinements of our day; and would make it a question, whether such domiciles, though secluded in a court, and approached under a gateway, were not as good as that human pigeon house, a modern cottage ornée, composed of lath and plaster,—a frail protection 'gainst " the winds of heaven," and where all your furniture must be Lilliputian, or your habitation will not hold half the essentials required by your wants. There was some sociality too in those days, when neighbours could shake hands with each other across the streets, out of their garret windows; when seasons of festivity received their customary observance; and hospitality was shown by plain speech and solid cheer. Fashion had not then taught us the hypocrisy of smiling a welcome, where we meant none; and we rather sought to gratify our guest by the goodness of the banquet, than to excite his envy by the display of our gentility.

For all these reasons, there is lingering in my mind, mixed up with my enthusiasm for local improvements, something like regret, whenever a plan meets my eye for levelling some of those haunts of our forefathers, that are yet spared to us, consecrated as they are by so many heart-cheering associations. It is true, I feel the object to be a noble one; and that London may in time emulate Old Rome in the classic appearance of its buildings; but alas! it will be but the appearance. Roman cement is not Roman marble; sound English brick, I cannot help thinking, would shame the stucco, after the lapse of a handful of years; and though it may be very delightful for milliners' apprentices, of refined feelings, to serve out tape and bobbin under an

Italian piazza; and the tradesman, whose shop ("parvis componere magna”) is constructed on the plan of the Pantheon, may derive some consolation from going into the Gazette as a man of taste, I sometimes have my doubts, whether plain brick and mortar are not best after all. Thus I vacillate between my love of wide streets and stuccoed fronts, my veneration for the architectural achievements of Greece and Rome, with the rapture at seeing them transferred as it were to my own dear Cockney-land, on the one hand; and my equally enthusiastic affection for all that remains of the once-loved abodes of our ancestors, on the other. My fancy is warmed with the first, my heart with the last. I think of them as men,

"Industrious, honest, frugal, and so forth,

Whose word would pass for more than they were worth ;"

and I feel it the very barbarism of taste, to sweep away the few vestiges that are left to us of those days of simplicity and plain-dealing.

A few relics yet remain, not only of such buildings, but of their primitive inhabitants. They sojourn amongst us like antediluvians, unsophisticated by the manners of the times, and regarding every change as an innovation. Gas they hold in abhorrence; and some, resolutely opposing the introduction even of oil, particularly in patent lamps, continue liege adherents to the more ancient and legitimate usage of short sixes. A shop of this kind stood, not long ago, in St. Paul's Churchyard. I have often gazed at it with a combination of singular feelings. It was an old silversmith-and-jeweller's, curiously situate next door to a dashing mercer's. The contrast between the looking-glass windows and fashionable finery of the one, and the antiquated bow-front, diminutive panes, and clumsy frames of the other, was ludicrous enough. I have often wondered by what earthly means the owner managed to keep his shop open; for no one article that he dealt in could have suited a customer of modern times; and I could only attribute his pertinacity in displaying his goods to the circumstance of his having acquired a competence in better days, which enabled him to show his contempt for the new fashions, by his stubborn adherence to the old. Shoe-buckles, knee-buckles, rings, lockets, and brooches, the fabrique of which was, no doubt, mightily the rage in the reign of Queen Anne; gold-headed canes, used as props to physicians' chins, when their skulls carried more brains, or, at least, were heavier than in our time; solitaires, negligées, and stomachers; hair-pins, when ladies wore turrets on their shoulders half a yard high, enveloped in powder and pomatum; with a long et-cetera of similar oddities,-were all duly and daily furbished up, as if our great-great-grand-papas and mammas were yet living to wear them; or, (more miraculous still!) their weathercock descendants had never wished for a change. I was grieved, a short time back, to find no trace of this memento of antiquity, and that my old jeweller's boutique was converted into a hatter's "Repository," and the venerable triple-sided front transmogrified into a dashing exterior, in the very last taste of the nineteenth century.

And what has become of the ancient inmate of the mansion? Could he have willingly quitted a spot, so consecrated as it must have been by all his most fondly-cherished reminiscences?-the scene, which, perhaps, witnessed the fulfilment of his septennial contract, and his succession, by due course of industry and desert, to the business of his patron ;-where pence had grown into shillings, and shillings into pounds; and where rank and beauty had flocked to patronize that bijouterie, which a renegade taste no longer deigns to glance at? Or has death removed him from a sphere of action, in which his energies had become useless, and where he vegetated, a living anomaly among the uncongenial bustle that surrounded him? Fashion could no longer have been fashion to him. Like an arrant jilt, she turned from the offerings which once had won her, and yielded her favours to lighter and less constant suitors. Yes, it must have been so. He must have pined away in a “green and yellow melancholy." I think I see him in his Sunday

suit of brown, snug bob-wig, cocked hat, black velvet breeches, speckled silk hose, smart paste buckles, and gold-headed cane; his eyes bent downwards, brooding over ancient recollections; holding nought in common with the gossamer throng that flitted about him; and mourning the degeneracy of these latter days, when strings have usurped the place of buckles; queues, wigs, and hoops are out of date; and hair-powder itself, become a thing more for show than use," is only visible in the show-glasses of a barber's shop. What could such a "world without souls" have been to this "Last Man" in a peopled desert?....Yes, the solitude of St. Paul's Churchyard has been the death of him! Dollond, to be sure, might have kept his spirits up a trifle longer; for he, like a staunch veteran, still "seeks no change.' Bowles and Carver, too, are laudably primitive; but, ah! how could he survive the apostacy of his old co-mates, Rundell and Bridge?

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"What a falling-off was there, my countrymen !"

To displace the pair of comely, well-grown salmon, that, for a century or two, had persisted, with such an exemplary unity of purpose, in sustaining the numerical designation of the antique establishment in their persevering gills, to displace them, I say, for mere fresh-water trout, a sort of piscatorial dandies, was indeed a scaly action; but actually to level the venerable front with the ground, to replace it with stone, in the triple taste of Egypt, Greece, and Rome; and, to crown all, complete the vandalism by plate-glass windows in gilt mouldings! -was this a matter for flesh and blood to bear?was this a pardonable offence? And could it have been expected, that their old compeer would ever brook such a change? Ah! no.

"There was the weight that pull'd him down!" There was "the respect that made calamity of so long life!"

In Crooked-lane, (what associations does not the very name inspire!) there yet remains a proud relique of what London was, when about a century or two younger. You cannot miss it, though it seems to shrink from its neighbour buildings, as if fearful of contamination. It is an ivory-turner's, of the very oldest school. Disdaining the modern auxiliaries of shop-windows or doors, the achievements of the art court the regards of the passersby, in stoutly fashioned glazed cases, black with the accumulated smoke of at least a century. What an assemblage of antiques! Hornbooks, bonealphabets, wooden-spoons and forks, lemon-squeezers, and punch-stirrers ! Alas! literature disdains the aid of the first; and, for the last, punch has clean gone out of fashion. At the back of the shop is a dark retreat, some two yards square, like the inner den of a spider's web. A tall and somewhat stately damsel, rather quaintly attired, and over whose head forty summers, at least, seem to have passed, sits there from morn till eve, watching the advent of customers, whose visits, I fear, are "few and far between," and beguiling the lengthy intervals by the industrious employment of her needle. Strange speculations had occasionally floated in my brain as to all these matters. A thousand fancies had flitted across my imagination, as to whose was the shop, who was the dame, and who the damsel; and determined not to "burst in ignorance," I ventured a small purchase, to obtain the desired information. I was served by the junior lady herself; and truly, a very pleasant and communicative maiden I found her. I say "maiden," for, alack-aday! she owned with a sigh that she was a spinster. She was delighted with my veneration for the "dreary pile," and readily detailed all its history. Certainly, it was very old; she could not say how old; but coeval, at least, with the Monument. Her father, who died eleven years ago, had been a resident there five-and-fifty years. He had served his time in it; and became, in due course, the successor of his master, who had likewise, in his turn, been a very old occupant. It was, even in her father's time, a place of much repute; the first ivory turner's in London. So extensive was their trade, that a large house opposite had been used as a warehouse; and gentle folk in

their coaches (this was uttered with a smile of infinite complacency) ca ne far and near to purchase their wares. Modern innovation ultimately dethroned its proprietor from this high eminence; but though hints were ever and anon thrown out as to the policy of modernizing his boutique, and his neighbours, right and left, and opposite, evinced symptoms of defection by gradually becoming smitten with the mania of smart shop-windows, nothing could induce him to listen to aught that savoured of change. If folks (ie said) would rush headlong to ruin, what was that to him? Why should he follow their example? When he first came to London, there was not a single shop in the city with so superfluous and impertinent an appendage. Then why should he shut out the blessed air of Heaven? For his part, he loved fresh air; ergo, he loved to live in Crooked-lane, and abominated shopwindows. To the visitors, who now and then dropped into his nest to chat with him-incited more by curiosity than business-he was garrulous in its praise. He had lived there, he said, man and boy, upwards of half a century; and, thank Heaven and his own industry, he was pretty warm. He loved his shop; and, with his own free-will, would never leave it till he was borne to his last home. In this wish he was gratified; and his venerable relict, thoroughly imbued with the prejudices of her mate, still maintains, with becoming consistency, the primeval appearance of their ancient domicile. Not that the profits would now defray the board of her four-footed domestics, but she has not the heart to leave it, and cannot abide the removal of a single article attached to it, save those ouly which are made for sale. An hour-glass, which has its prescribed station at one end of the counter, is, I will be bound, held so sacred, that no money could achieve its purchase. I hinted at the changes that must have passed around them; the many new occupants of the neighbouring shops, they must have seen in the long period of their establishment; a truth to which the junior damsel assented with a smile of triumph. But there was one change, she said, more mournful than any; a change that she feared her mamma would never survive. Indeed, it was a doubt whether the anticipation of the event would not produce all the consequences of the reality. This awful circumstance was the rebuilding of London Bridge, and the consequent destruction that awaited Crooked-lane. I was condoling with her on this event, and suggesting that a young lady, like her, should be more modern in her notions, and hail the alteration as a great national improvement,-when I was interrupted by the entrance of a smirking Quaker, of some forty or thereabouts, who evidently came for a flirtation with the fair spinster, incited, doubtless, by the well-known weight of her expectancies. His mode of courtship was curious enough; being oddly interspersed with compliments to the lady, and accounts of his prowess in the newly-revived science of gymnastics; the one idea which seemed to have put all his other faculties to flight. My object being accomplished, I took my leave, considerately recollecting an adage, to the truth of which I readily assented in my own billing-and-cooing days, that though two may be company, three are none.

The banking-houses of Hoare, Child, and Gosling and Sharpe, (the gosling, doubtless, a lineal descendant from her of the golden eggs) are equally singular mementoes. They remind us of the Old Dorntons and Thorowgoods of a by-gone era; and the Leather Bottle of the first is an object deserving the highest veneration of the antiquary. Much, however, as I admire the good sense, which still preserves the primitive appearance of the establishment, I must quarrel with that obliquity of judgment, which prompted the gilding of that ancient symbol; assuredly, as ill-advised a proceeding, as the modern barbarism, that decreed a similar fate to the Pewter Platter in Gracechurch-street.

A few more edifices of the kind might be adduced; but to revert to the subject of improvements. There is now lying before me a project for levelling that venerable structure, Exeter 'Change, the quondam nursery of aspiring shopkeepers, who here adventured ou a moderate territory of some six

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