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In 1607, in consequence of the vast consumption of timber in the metropolis, which rendered that material “scarce for shipping," all new buildings were again prohibited within one mile of the City, and it was ordered, that “ for decency, as by reason that all great and well grown woods were much spent and wasted, all persons thenceforward should build their fore-fronts and windows either of brick or of stone." Among other arguments for limiting the increase of metropolitan buildings, was the notable remark by King James, that “ the growth of the Capital resembled that of the head of a rickety child, in which an excessive influx of humour drained and impoverished the extremities, and at the same time generated distemper in the overloaded part.*
During the early part of Charles the First's reign, the suburbs of London, particularly in the neighbourhoods of Spitalfields and Westminster, were greatly increased; and, although the Civil War put a stop to any further extension for some years, the
rage for building became so general after the settlement of the Commonwealth, that in 1657, it was judged necessary to pass an Act of Parliament, which inflicted a penalty of £100 upon every person who should erect any dwelling-house, out-house or cottage, without assigning four acres of ground to each respectively," in and about the suburbs of the metropolis. This ordinance proved as ineffective as all former ones; the impulse of population overpowered restraint, and new streets and clusters of buildings progressively sprung up on all the outskirts of London, which, from the vast augmentation in modern times, are now become integral parts of the capital.
* Lord Bacon informs us, that this “ Scottish Solomon," who dealt out his wishes like commands, in oracular apothegms and pedantic proverbs, was wont to be very earnest with the country gentlemen to abandon London for their country seats; and that he would sometimes say to them, “Gentlemen, at London you are like ships in a sea, which shew like nothing ; but in your country villages you are ships in a river, wbich look like great things.”
The view of “ LONDON in 1657," which fronts the title-page, was copied from Holiar's etching, which is attached to Howel's “ Perlustration of the Cities of London and Westminster.” The original sketch was most probably made at an earlier period, by some years, than the date specified, and, like Hollar's larger prospect of London before the Fire in 1666, was chiefly taken from the tower of St. Mary Overy's Church. It is particularly curious from shewing the state of Winchester House, and the sites of the different Theatres on Bankside, as well as of the numerous buildings on London Bridge, and generally, of the Cathedral of St. Paul, and of the Churches and Castles of the metropolis, as they appeared before the Great Fire.
END OF VOLUME II.
LONDON: SHACKELI AND B.AYLIS, JOHNSON'S-COURT, FLEET-STREBT.