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the intersection of the roads from Hampstead and from Oxford. This, also, was something like the beginning of London: but Hicks's Hall and St. Giles's Pound have long since vanished; and the milestones which record their faded glory ought also to be swept away. Similar changes have taken place under our own eyes. Some ten years ago Tyburn Turnpike existed. The intolerable nuisance of a gate in one of the most crowded roads seemed to draw a line of demarcation between London and the suburbs; and so the roads were measured from Tyburn Turnpike. Now an inscription tells us where Tyburn Turnpike stood,-a matter upon which we should have no desire to be informed if the milestones onward did not continue to refer to Tyburn Turnpike. Hyde Park Corner is, in the same way, nearly obsolete; but it was a real barrier when its gates stretched across the road, with their wondrous illumination of a dozen oil lamps before the days of gas. The managers of this road have now begun, as they conceive, to reform the mile-stones; and these dumb oracles tell us that we are 66 one mile from London,” or “two miles from London." What is London? Where does it begin? where does it end? Is not the character of London always shifting? We now call Tottenham Court Road, London; but it was not London a century ago. Knightsbridge is now as much London as Tottenham Court Road. In London, then, a stranger is told he is a mile from London. This, of course, is unintelligible. But why not tell the stranger, and at the same time afford most valuable information to the resident, that at Knightsbridge he is four miles from the General Post-office? In the Preface to the Population Returns of 1831 we have a little plan of the places comprised within a circle whose radius is eight miles from St. Paul's. That circle then comprised one million seven hundred and seventy-six thousand inhabitants. Reduce the circle to a radius of four miles, and we have the London of the present day, with as many inhabitants as were contained in the larger circle of 1831, if not more.
"The history of the growth of London is a subject as large as it is interesting. But its local details require to be traced with minute accuracy; and this subject we propose to attempt in a Series of Memoirs on the Maps of London at various periods. We shall at present confine ourselves to some general notices of the progressive increase of the population; which may have some additional claim upon the attention from the circumstance that the new census is to be taken on the 1st of July next.
"It is impossible to turn to any of the ancient accounts of the populousness of London without being satisfied that the number of its inhabitants has been the subject of the most extraordinary exaggeration. Fitzstephen says, "this city is honoured with her men, graced with her arms, and peopled with a multitude of inhabitants. In the fatal wars under King Stephen there went out to a muster men fit for war, esteemed to the number of twenty thousand horse-men armed, and sixty thousand foot-men." Eighty thousand men fit for war living within walled London, and not only living within but going out to a muster! If we suppose that only one-fourth of this number remained at home to carry on the business of the city, and assume (the general proportion) that half the population was under twenty years of age and half above, we have two hundred thousand
males in London in the reign of King Stephen; and this calculation would give us a population of four hundred thousand. In 1821 London within the walls (a distinction which no longer exists for any practical purposes) contained only fifty-six thousand inhabitants. But if the statements of Fitzstephen may be supposed to be somewhat loose, we shall find some calculations still more extraordinary as we enter upon the times of regular legislation, when the increase of population was viewed with alarm or satisfaction according to the theories which prevailed as to the causes of national wealth. The progressive increase of London was always regularly asserted, and it was always a subject of alarm. In 1581 a proclamation was issued forbidding the erection of new buildings within three miles of the city gates, and requiring that only one family should inhabit the same house. The Queen went on proclaiming, and the Parliament went on enacting, in the same spirit to the end of the sixteenth century. In 1602 a proclamation, more remarkable for its stringency than any which had preceded it, was put forth. No new buildings were to be erected within three miles of London and Westminster: No existing dwelling-house should be converted into smaller tenements: If any house had been so divided within the preceding ten years, the inmates should quit it: All sheds and shops erected within seven years should be pulled down: Empty houses, built within seven years, should not be let: Unfinished buildings, on new foundations, should be pulled down. The reasons for these severities are thus assigned in the proclamation :-" Her Majesty foreseeing the great and manifold inconveniences and mischiefs which daily grow, and are likely more and more to increase, unto the state of the City of London, and the suburbs and confines thereof, by access and confluence of people to inhabit the same, not only by reason that such multitudes could hardly be governed by ordinary justice to serve God and obey her Majesty without constituting an addition of more officers and enlarging of authorities and jurisdictions for that purpose, 'but also could hardly be provided of sustentation of victual, food, and other like necessaries for man's relief, upon reasonable prices: and finally, for that such great multitudes of people inhabiting in small rooms, whereof many be very poor, and such as must live by begging or worse means, and being heaped up together, and in a sort smothered, with many families of children and servants in one house or small tenement, it must needs follow, if any plague or other universal sickness come amongst them, it would presently spread through the whole city and confines, and also into all parts of the realm,' &c. &c.
"In a proclamation of Charles I., twenty-eight years afterwards, pretty nearly the same commands were issued; and the heads of families were also, as they had formerly been, forbidden to receive inmates,—the facilities for residing in London being such, it was alleged, as would multiply the inhabitants to so great a degree that they could neither be governed nor fed. The measures which were taken to prevent the increase of buildings no doubt tended to produce the evil of great multitudes of people inhabiting in small rooms;' for it is perfectly clear that no statute or proclamation could prevent the rush of strangers to the City whenever there was a demand for their industry. It was sensibly enough observed,
in 1662,' that the City is re-peopled, after a great Plague, in two years.' The christenings are properly considered by this observer as a standard of the increase or decrease of the inhabitants; and he tells us that in 1624, the year preceding a great Plague, they amounted to 8299; in 1626, the year after the Plague, they were only 6701; but in 1628 they reached a higher number than in 1624, being 8408. This decrease in the births would show a decrease of 45,000 persons during the year of the Plague; and which void was filled up in another year. That the proclamations of Elizabeth and Charles, inoperative as they might be for any large results, were in some measure carried into effect, there can, however, be no doubt. Houses were pulled down-when the owners could not manage to bribe those in power to let them remain. The buildings went on increasing; and soon after the Restoration they had increased so much that an ingenious and accurate observer, one of our best of letter-writers, Howel,—had persuaded himself, and attempted to persuade others, that London contained a million and a half of people :- For number of human souls, breathing in city and suburbs, London may compare with any in Europe in point of populousness. The last census that was made in Paris came under a million; but in the year 1636 King Charles sending to the Lord Mayor to make a scrutiny what number of Roman Catholics and strangers there were in the City, he took occasion thereby to make a census of all the people; and there were of men, women, and children, above seven hundred thousand that lived within the bars of his jurisdiction alone; and this being one and twenty years passed, 'tis thought, by all probable computation, that London hath more by the third part now than she had then. Now, for Westminster, and Petty France, the Strand, Bedford Berry, St. Martin's Lane, Long Acre, Drury Lane, St. Giles of the Field, High Holborn, Gray's Inn Lane, St. James and St. George's Street, Clerkenwell, the outlets of Red and Whitecross Street, the outlets beyond the Bars of Bishopsgate, Aldersgate, and Southwark Bars, beyond the Tower, &c.,-take all these places, with divers more which are contiguous and one entire piece with London herself,-I say, take all these buildings together, there will be found, by all probable conjecture, as many inhabitants at least as were found before within that compass where the point of the Lord Mayor's sword reacheth, which may amount in all to a million and a half of human souls. Now, one way to know the populousness of a great city is to observe the bills of mortality and nativities every week. I think there is no such custom in Paris; but for Amsterdam, which is a very populous mercantile place, the ordinary number there of those that go weekly out of the world is but fifty, or thereabouts, and about so many come into the world every week.'
"Nothing can be more precise and circumstantial than this statement. 'The last census that was made in Paris came under a million.' No doubt it did. The population of the Department of the Seine, extending eight miles from the centre of Paris, was, in 1829, only thirteen thousand above a million. But fifty years after this statement of Howel's, the annual number of births in Paris was 16,988, which, multiplied by 28, the probable proportion then of the births to the population, the number of inhabitants was under half a million. Howel compared London with
Amsterdam his computation of the population by the births would only give a result of about seventy thousand inhabitants for that city. The births in London were about four times as many as those of Amsterdam when Howel wrote. The scrutiny' to which he refers of the actual inhabitants of the City took place in 1631: and it is, perhaps, the first approach to a regular enumeration of the people which we possess. The government did not desire to know the number of Roman Catholics and strangers; but it was afraid of an approaching dearth and in those days, when the corn-merchants, who were called monopolists and forestallers, were not permitted to mitigate the evils of scarcity by buying up corn in times of plenty, the government called upon the Lord Mayor to know what number of mouths were in the City and the Liberty,- how much corn was requisite to feed that number for a month,—where the corn was to be kept, when the city intended to make this provision,-what stock of money was provided, &c. The number of people in each ward was accordingly ascertained, and it was returned to the Privy Council as 130,268. The foundation of Howel's calculation is thus demolished. Statistical documents were then not printed, but talked about; and such an exaggeration would be easily enough received. But his account is still valuable and curious. It shows us in what directions London was increasing. Howel has one of his characteristic gossipping passages upon this matter: The suburbs of London are larger than the body of the city, which make some compare her to a Jesuit's hat, whose brims are far larger than the block; which made Count Gondomar, the Spanish ambassador, to say, as the Queen of Spain was discoursing with him, upon his return to England, of the City of London-" Madam, I believe there will be no city left shortly, for all will run out of the gates to the suburbs.” Captain Graunt, who published his Observations on the Bills of Mortality' in 1661, says that the trade and very City of London removes westward, that the walled city is but a fifth of the whole pile.' But he shows us how, even in the walled city, the population was increasing-great houses, formerly belonging to noblemen, had been turned into teneThere were two reasons, according to this accurate writer, why London increased in a westerly direction :-the Court now resided entirely in Westminster-the old streets of the city were too narrow for the use of coaches, and the new streets towards Covent Garden were broad enough. This was before the Great Fire. That event silenced for ever all the attempts to restrain the growth of the city beyond the walls and liberties. Under the Commonwealth the contest between the government and the owners of land and builders, who acted upon the irresistible impulse of demand and supply, became an affair of compromise. Fines upon new buildings were levied to the use of the Commonwealth, instead of houses being pulled down. The statute gravely says, by the law the said houses and nuisances ought to be abated; but as the severity of the law would be the undoing of divers persons, one year's clear annual value of each house shall be taken in full satisfaction and discharge.' We may form some notion of the increase of building from a pamphlet published in 1673, entitled 'The Grand Concern of England Explained,' in which the writer, who is also for putting down the abomination of stage-coaches,
maintains that the increase of London is the ruin of the country:-'I desire every serious, considerate person that knew London and Westminster, and the suburbs thereof, forty or fifty years ago, when England was far richer and more populous than now it is, to tell me whether, by additional buildings upon new foundations, the said cities and suburbs since that time are not become at least a third part bigger than they were; and whether, in those days, they were not thought and found large enough to give a due reception to all persons that were fit or had occasion to resort thither, whereupon all further buildings on new foundations, even in those days, were prohibited? Nevertheless, above thirty thousand houses, great and small, have been since built, the consequences whereof may be worthy of our consideration. These houses are all inhabited. Considering, then, what multitudes of whole families, formerly dwelling in and about the said cities, were cut off by the two last dreadful plagues, as also by the war abroad and at home, by land and by sea, and how many have transported themselves, or been transported, into our foreign plantations, and it must naturally follow that those who inhabit these new houses, and many of the old ones, must be persons coming out of the country; which makes so many inhabitants the less there where they are most needful and wanting.' But pamphlets were as ineffectual as proclamations to stop the increase. The writer of 'The Grand Concern' lets us into the secret of the moving power which compelled the increase, in a few simple words: In short, these new buildings are advantageous to none but to the owners of the ground on which they are built, who have raised their wonted rents from a hundred pounds to five or six hundred pounds per annum, besides the improvements in reversion; or to the builders, who by slight buildings on long leases make ten or twelve pounds per cent. of their moneys.' The advance of rents from one hundred pounds to six hundred, and twelve per cent. upon the cost of building, were arguments such as Parliament or pamphleteer could do little to overturn. Fashion, too, had something to do with the extension of the suburbs. When the great merchants had their City mansions, the wealthy ladies of the City were content with their narrow lanes. But the Great Fire destroyed something of the love of the old localities. Dr. Rolles, who wrote a book in 1668 on the rebuilding of London, says that the marring of the City was the making of the suburbs; and some places of despicable termination, and as mean account, such as Houns-ditch, and Shor-ditch, do now contain not a few citizens of very good fashion.' The notion then of the probable extension of London was much the same that we have been accustomed to hear in our own daythat London was going to Hammersmith, to Brentford, to Hounslow,or to Paddington, to Kilburn, to Edgware, or to Camden Town, to Hampstead,—and so forth. In 'The Play House to Let' of D'Avenant we have this passage :—
"We'll let this theatre, and build another, where,
At a cheaper rate, we may have room for scenes.
Perhaps 'tis now somewhat too far i' th' suburbs ;