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to descend the steps towards her. The first of these is Imagination, who is sculptured with a harp in her hand, wings on her head, and a crowd of naked boys dancing, as being swift and fruitful; and on the border of her garment is inscribed "non aliunde,” alluding to herself and companions, from whose combined exertions alone the restoration of the city could be looked for. The second is designed for Architecture, and appears with rule and compass in hand, displaying at the same time a plan for the rebuilding the metropolis ; near her is a beehive, the recognised emblem of industry. The third figure is Liberty, with a cap in her hand, on which appears the word “ Libertatis." The Duke of York follows the King, with a garland in one hand ready to crown the rising city, and a sword in the other for her defence. Besides which, there is a representation of Justice and Fortitude ; the latter holding a bridled lion. In the distance a house is building, and a labourer ascending a ladder with a hod at his back, which appears to provoke the anger of Envy, who is seen gnawing a heart, and at the same time breathing flames of fire against the city.
Around the cornices of the pedestal are rich trophy works, surrounding the royal arms, &c., and other emblazonments; and at each angle an admirable representation of dragons, the supporters of the arms of London.
We have been thus particular and minute in our description, as, although our anticipations of violence may not be realized, time, the great destroyer, who spares neither
Regumve turres," will inevitably, ere the lapse of many years, render the deciphering of the inscription, and explanation of the reliefs, (as is indeed the case even now,) a task of no small difficulty. Respecting the former, much has been said of their unclassical Latinity; we, therefore, for the purpose of rescuing the name of Sir C. Wren from any imputation on this head, prefix, from the “ Parentalia,” the Inscription according to his first conception, and leave it to the taste of the public to decide upon its merits, when compared with those of the existing ones :
" Qui celsam spectas molem, idem quoque infaustum et fatalem toti quondam civitati vides locum. Hic quippe, anno Christi MDCLXVI, 2 Sept. altera post mediam noctem hora, ex casa humili prima se extulit flamma, quæ, austro flante, adeo brevi invaluit, ut non tantum tota fere intra muros urbs, sed et ædificia quæcunque Arcem et Templariorum Hospitium, quæcunque denique ripas fluminis, et remotissima civitatis interjacent mania, ferali absumpta fuerint incendio. Tridui spatio, c. templa, plateæ cccc. et plura quam xiv. domorum millia flammis absorpta fuere. Innumeri cives omnibus suis fortunis exuti, et sub dio agitare coacti, infinitæ et toto orbe congestæ opes in cinerem et favillam redactæ. Ita ut de urbe omnium quotquot sol aspexit amplissima, et felicissima, præter nomen et famam, et immensos ruinarum aggeres, vix quicquam superesset.
“ Carolus Secundus, Dei Gratia, Rex Magnæ Britanniæ, Franciæ, et Hiberniæ, Anno Regni xvui, et plerique Angliæ proceres, consumpta incendio urbe penè universa, eademque triennio spatio in ampliorem modum instaurata, et non, ut ante, ligneis aut luteis, sed partim lateritiis, partim marmoreis ædificiis et operibus ita ornata, ut e suis ruinis pulchrior multo prodiisse videatur ; auctis præterea ad immensam magnitudinem urbis pomæriis ; ad æternam utriusque facti memoriam, hic, ubi tantæ cladis prima emicuit flamma,
Monumentum posuere. “Discat præsens et futura ætas, ne qua similis ingruat clades tempestivis numen placare votis: beneficium vero regis, et procerum, quorum liberalitate, præter ornatum, major etiam urbi accessit securitas, grata mente recognoscat.”
“O quantum tibi debet AUGUSTA,
Tot nascentia templa, tot renata,
MART. Instead of this, however, two inscriptions were substituted. The one on the north side, describing the destruction of the city, as follows:
“ Anno Christi ciɔdcLXVI, die 11, nonas Septembris, hinc in orientem, pedum con intervallo (quæ est hujusce columnæ altitudo) erupit de media nocte incendium, quod vento spirante hausit etiam longinqua, et partes per omnes populabundum ferebatur cum impetu et fragore incredibili. Xxcix teinpla, portas, prætorium, ædes publicas, ptochotrophia, scholas, bibliothecas, insularum inagnum numerum, domuum cciɔɔ000000cc, vicos co absumpsit : de xxvi regionibus, xy funditus delevit, alias viu laceras et semi-ustas reliquit. Urbis cadaver ad cdxxxvi jugera, hinc ab Arce per Tamisis ripam ad Templariorum fanum, illinc ab euro aquilonali porta secundum muros ad fossæ Fletanæ caput, porrexit: adversus opes civium et fortunas infestum, erga vitas innocuum, ut per omnia referret supremam illam mundi exustionem. Velox clades fuit; exiguum tempus eandem vidit civitatem florentissimam, et nullam. Tertio die, cum jam plane evicerat humana consilia et subsidia omnia, Cælitus, ut par est credere, jussus, stetit fatalis ignis, et quaqua versum elanguit. Sed furor papisticus, qui tam dira patravit
, nondum restinguitur.” ** In the year of Christ, 1666, the second day of September, eastward from hence, at the distance of 202 feet, (the height of this pillar) about midnight, a most terrible fire broke out, which, driven on by a high wind, not only wasted the adjacent parts, but also places very remote, with incredible noise and fury. It consumed 89 churches, the city gates, guildhall, many public structures, hospitals, schools, libraries, a vast number of stately edifices, 13,200 dwelling houses, 400 streets; of 26 wards, it utterly destroyed 15, and left 8 others shattered and half burnt. The ruins of the city were 436 acres, from the Tower, by the Thames side, to the Temple church, and from the north-east gate along the city wall to Holborn bridge. To the estates and fortunes of the citizens it was merciless, but to their lives very favourable; that it might, in all things, resemble the last conflagration of the world. The destruction was sudden, for, in small space of time, the same city was seen most flourishing, and reduced to nothing. Three days after, when this fatal fire had baffled all human counsels and endeavours, in the opinion of all, as it were, by the will of heaven, it stopped, and on every side was extinguished. But papistical malice, which perpetrated such mischiefs, is not yet restrained."
The south side inscription is :
“ Carolus II. C. Mart. F. Mag. Brit. Fran. et Hib. Rex. Fid. D. princeps clementissimus, miseratus luctuosam rerum faciem, plurima, fumantibus jam tum ruinis, in solatium civium et urbis suæ ornamentum providit, tributum remisit, preces ordinis et populi Londinensis retulit ad regni senatum, qui continuo decrevit
, uti publica opera pecunia publica, ex vectigali carbonis fossilis oriunda, in meliorem formam restituerentur; utique ædes sacræ et D. Pauli templum a fundamentis omni magnificentia extruerentur; pontes, portæ, carceres novi fierent; emundarentur alvei, vici ad regulam responderent, clivi complanerentur, aperirentur angiportus, fora et macella in areas sepositas eliminarentur. Censuit etiam, uti singulæ domus muris intergerinis concluderentur, universæ in frontem pari altitudine consurgerent, omnesque parietes saxo quadrato aut cocto latere solidarentur; utique nemini liceret ultra septennium ædificando immorari. Ad hæc lites de terminis orituras lege lata præscidit. Adjecit quoque supplicationes annuas; et ad æternam posterorum memoriam, H. C. P. Č. Festinatur undique, resurgit Londinium, majori celeritate an splendore incertum: unum triennium absolvit quod seculi opus credebatur.”
“ Charles II., son of Charles the Martyr, King of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, a most gracious prince, commiserating the deplorable state of things, whilst the ruins were yet smoking, provided for the comfort of his citizens, and the ornament of his city, remitted their taxes, and referred the petitions of the magistrates and inhabitants to the parliament, who immediately passed an act, “That public works should be restored to greater beauty with public money, to be raised by a duty upon coal; that churches, and the cathedral of St. Paul, should be rebuilt from their foundations with all magnificence; that bridges, gates, and prisons should be re-erected, the sewers cleansed, the streets made straight and regular; such as were steep levelled, and the narrow widened, and markets and shambles removed to separate places.' They also enacted, that every house should be built with party-walls, and all in front raised to an equal height, and those walls all of square stone or brick, and that no man should delay building beyond the space of seven years. Moreover, care was also taken, by law, to prevent all suits about boundaries. Anniversary prayers were also enjoined; and to perpetuate the memory hereof to posterity, they caused this column to be erected. The work, on all hands, was carried on with diligence, and London is restored; but whether with greater speed or beauty it is difficult to determine. A three years' time saw that finished which it was calculated would prove the business of an age.”
The east side contains merely the names of the individuals during whose mayoralty the work was in progress, and is as follows :
Prætore Lond. A, D. CIO DCLXXI.
Anno Dni. MDCLXXVII.
“ This pillar was commenced during the mayorality of Sir Richard Ford, in the year of our Lord, 1671. Continued during those of Sirs Geo. Waterman, Robert Hanson, William Hooker, Robert Viner, and Joseph Sheldon, and completed in that of Sir Thomas Davis, A. D. 1677.”
The following accurate account of its quantity by measurements," is taken from Maitland's History of London :
" The solidity of the whole fabric, from the bottom of the lowest
plinth to the black marble under the urn, the cylinder of the
allowed for, is .
From this solidity deduct,
To this, upou the account of the carvings in the front, the four
great dragons and festoons .
Solid feet of stone and marble, ..
Three hundred and forty-three black marble steps.
History of London, p. 835. Such is a concise history of this celebrated and beautiful column, which cost £13,700, and was full six years in its erection, not being fully completed till the year 1677.* In 1760, upon a variety of improvements being projected, it was proposed to remove it from its present site to the spot once occupied by the “Standard" upon Cornhill; and certainly nothing could possibly have contributed more to the ornament of the city, and its own perpetuity; nor would the task have been difficult at the present advanced state of mechanical science. And should the
“ Civium ardor prava jubentium,” which now so extensively and unfortunately prevails, leave it intact, perhaps in a few years this desirable object may be yet accomplished.
Of anecdotes connected with its history there are few, and those of little general interest. It may, however, perhaps not be irrelevant to mention, that in 1815, a Quixotic correspondent in the Gentleman's Magazine, suggested that it was insecure, and hazarded some other remarks, which not only proved him wholly unqualified to form an opinion upon that or any other subject connected with architecture, but called forth the severe sarcasms of two other writers in a subsequent number of the same work.
Wren, in his “ Parentalia,” says, “ The artificers were sometimes obliged to wait for slone of a proper scantling, which occasioned the work to be longer in execution than it otherwise would."
On the 25th of June 1750, a poor man accidentally fell from the balcony; and upon the 10th of January 1810, Mr. Lyon Levi, an eminent diamond merchant, about fifty years of age, precipitated himself therefrom. It is unnecessary to add both were literally dashed to pieces. We have heard that the latter, when too late, apparently repented of the rash act, and was seen by an individual in the street catching at the balcony the moment after he had taken the fatal leap. If this be fact, what must the feelings of the wretched man have been!
Before we conclude these notices, and with a view of setting the matter for ever at rest, and presenting our readers at one glance with a satisfactory though concise history of this pillar, we have a few words more to say respecting the inscriptions which have been the subject of so much controversy; and this we are enabled to do with great accuracy through the kindness of Mr. Frederick Thornhill, of Fish-streethill, who, in the most handsome manner, has obliged us with a variety of interesting documents upon the subject. From these it would appear, that in the original inscription, written by Dr. Gale, (which Pennant ignorantly designates as highly injurious, and written during a melancholy period of party rage,) the offensive passages did not exist: still we are inclined to think the evidence against the papists too strong to be questioned at this remote period. Let us, for instance, consult the speech of Sir Thomas Player, Chamberlain of London, in September, 1769, and we shall find the following assertion :--" It cannot be forgot, that thirteen years ago this city was a sad monument of the papists' cruelty, it being now out of all doubt that it was they that burnt the city." And in January, 1680, the House of Commons came to the same resolution in these words :-" That it is the opinion of this House that the city of London was burnt in the year 1666 by the papists, designing thereby to introduce arbitrary power and popery into the kingdom."
Besides, we have very strong doubts, after a careful perusal of the annexed documents, whether the inscriptions now upon the monuments were those composed by Dr. Gale; for neither in Latinity or good taste do they betray any thing of classical refinement and learning, and therefore, for the sake of the doctor's reputation, it is to be regretted that his MSS. did not form part of the minutes of the Court at the time. Moreover, the Court of Aldermen have no record of the order for the erasure, which took place in 1685, the first year of King James II., when also the stone was removed from its situation over the door of the house where the fire began.* This was probably, therefore, done by an order in council, at the arbitrary command of the popish king; and what portion was actually erased, and what (if any) alteration was made at the Restoration in 1689, becomes a nice question.
• De Laune, in his 'Angliæ Metropolis, says,—“ About the latter end of the first year of King James II., 1685, this stone was taken down, and the aforementioned inscription erased; but it is now, in the second year of their present majesties, King William and Queen Mary, our happy and royal deliverers from popery and slavery, set up and inscribed again, to the great honour of the first orderers of them, and the no less shame, regret, and mortification, of those that caused this to be taken down, and that to be erased."