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London may be compared to a great hive, where the drones are as busily employed in trifling life away, as the industrious bees are in collecting honey for their winter store ; and the busy throng from morn to night, and night to morn, are ever on the wing. There is no city where there are so many spectacles, exhibitions, plays, museums, gardens, and lectures as in London, to occupy the time of the wealthy, the learned, and the gay. It has been stated that thirty or forty years ago there were about 200,000 persons passing and repassing London, Westminster, and Blackfriars Bridges in a day; but what must the floating circulation of a dense population of so great a city as at present, where perhaps there may be above 400,000 persons moving daily by land and water: as an example, I recollect in the summer either of 1836 or 1837, in walking from Gower Street along the New Road to the Bank, I met about thirty omnibuses, and I was overtaken by about twenty going to the Bank.
It is stated in the Morning Post of 2d October, 1837, that within the limits of the three-penny post there are 850 short stages.
In 1826 there were 1,150 hackney coaches and cabriolets. 1828
1,265 The number at present licensed is 1797,
It may be further stated, that above forty steam-vessels a week clear out to all parts beyond the Thames, or about 2,500 steam vessels per annum, which clear out from the Port of London, exclusive of those that go daily from
Gravesend and Margate, which go many hours in the day, as well as those that ply from London to Westminster Bridge every quarter of an hour in the day.
It has been estimated that about 400,000 persons in a year go from London by steam-boats to Margate and places adjacent.
COMMERCE AND ENGLAND.
It is not intended, in a little tract of this nature, to enter into speculative discussions, but, perhaps, when some other objects are intimately connected with the state of society and our prosperity, to allude to them as points that have contributed to make many changes in the state of England, may not be uninteresting.
England, for its extent, may be considered one of the most interesting and important countries in the world as to population, wealth, agriculture, commerce, and manufactures. Its territory may be divided into tillage, pasturage, woods, forests, with many navigable rivers. Its tillage affords wheat for men, oats for horses, and barley for beer and spirits. It possesses coal, iron, copper, lead, and other mines, and produces wool and timber, and has extensive fisheries. About 961,134 families were employed in Great Britain in agricultural pursuits in 1831. Manufactures, trade, and commerce with other avocations employ the rest.
Since 1763 its tillage and pasturage have increased by enclosures, improvements, and cultivation. Roads, canals, and railways have favoured the above objects, and strangers greatly admire the fertility, verdure, enclosures, and woods in this country.
The population of England may be divided into two classes, the rich and the poor; which, like the oak growing with its growth and strengthening with its strength, are the support of each other, and the wealth of the one and the labour of the other not only contribute to the union and happiness of both, but give vigour and power to this favoured land we live in; and it may truly be called Britain the Great.
There are few countries like ours as to population, civilization, education, industry, morals, justice, and commerce, with such laws for the protection of person and property, and the administration of justice and good order.
It may not be uninteresting in this place to give a statement of the population of England, Wales, and Scotland, taken from Parliamentary Reports for the years 1811, 1821, and 1831.
The population of England has much increased within the last sixty or seventy years; but little can be relied upon beyond the Population Returns of 1811, 1821, and 1831,
Agriculture has in like manner much increased, nearly keeping pace with the increase of population ; and it will appear that tillage and pasture, under the many inclosure acts passed during the last fifty years, and an improved system of the rotation of crops with the aid of potatoes now to be found all over the country, and other improvements in agriculture, have made a most rapid progress, and have brought an immense extent of country into cultivation for the food of man and beast.
It appears from tables taken from authorities of an early date that the state of production of corn in England was as follows:
1700. Qrs. 1,750,000
Smith's Corn Tracts,
1765. 4,046,603 4,603,272 4,240,947 1,063,652
3,375,000 2,000,000 1,250,000