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London in Modern Times or, Sketches of the English Metropolis during the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries.   By:

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First Page:

LONDON

IN MODERN TIMES;

Or, Sketches of

THE ENGLISH METROPOLIS

DURING THE

SEVENTEENTH AND EIGHTEENTH CENTURIES.

New York

PUBLISHED BY CARLTON & PORTER,

SUNDAY SCHOOL UNION, 200 MULBERRY STREET.

1851

CONTENTS.

Chap.

INTRODUCTION I. LONDON UNDER THE FIRST TWO MONARCHS OF THE STUART DYNASTY II. LONDON DURING THE CIVIL WARS III. THE PLAGUE YEAR IN LONDON IV. THE FIRE OF LONDON V. FROM THE RESTORATION OF THE CITY TO THE CLOSE OF THE CENTURY VI. LONDON DURING THE FIRST HALF OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY VII. LONDON DURING THE LATTER HALF OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY

LONDON

IN MODERN TIMES.

INTRODUCTION.

This history of an old city opens many views into the realms of the past, crowded with the picturesque, the romantic, and the religious with what is beautiful in intellect, sublime in feeling, noble in character and with much, too, the reverse of all this. Buildings dingy and dilapidated, or tastelessly modernized, in which great geniuses were born, or lived, or died, become, in connection with the event, transformed into poetic bowers; and narrow dirty streets, where they are known often to have walked, change into green alleys, resounding with richer notes than ever trilled from bird on brake. Tales of valor and suffering, of heroism and patience, of virtue and piety, of the patriot's life and the martyr's death, crowd thickly on the memory. Nor do opposite reminiscences, revealing the footprints of vice and crime, of evil passions and false principles, fail to arise, fraught with salutary warnings and cautions. The broad thoroughfare is a channel, within whose banks there has been rolling for centuries a river of human life, now tranquil as the sky, now troubled as the clouds, gliding on in peace, or lashed into storms.

These dwelling places of man are proofs and expressions of his ingenuity, skill, and toil, of his social instincts and habits. Their varied architecture and style, the different circumstances under which they were built, the various motives and diversified purposes which led to their erection, are symbols and illustrations of the innumerable forms, the many colored hues, the strange gradations of men's condition, character, habits, tastes, and feelings. Each house has its own history a history which in some cases has been running on since an era when civilization wore a different aspect from what it does now. What changeful scenes has many a dwelling witnessed! families have come and gone, people have been born and have died, obedient to the great law "the fashion of this world passeth away." Those rooms have witnessed the birth and departure of many, the death of the guilty sinner or pardoned believer, the gay wedding and the gloomy funeral, the welcome meeting of Christmas groups around the bright fireside, and the sad parting of loved ones called to separate into widely divergent paths. Striking contrasts abound between the outward material aspect and the inward moral scenery of those habitations. In this house, perhaps, which catches the passenger's eye by its splendor, through whose windows there flashes the gorgeous light of patrician luxury, at whose door lines of proud equipages drive up, on whose steps are marshaled obsequious footmen in gilded liveries, there are hearts pining away with ambition, envy, jealousy, fear, remorse, and agony. In that humble cottage like abode, on the other hand, contentment, which with godliness is great gain, and piety, better than gold or rubies, have taken up their home, and transformed it into a terrestrial heaven.

All this applies to London, and gives interest to our survey of it as we pass through its numerous streets; it clothes it with a poetic character in the eyes of all gifted with creative fancy. The poetry of the city has its own charms as well as the poetry of the country. The history of London supplies abundant materials of the character now described; indeed, they are so numerous and diversified that it is difficult to deal with them... Continue reading book >>




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