Picture of Daniel Defoe

Daniel Defoe

places mentioned

Letter 5 (London), Part 3: The Court and Westminster

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Having dwelt thus long in the city, I mean properly called so, I must be the shorter in my account of other things.

The Court end of the town, now so prodigiously increased, as is said before, would take up a volume by itself, and, indeed, whole volumes are written on the subject.

The king's palace, tho' the receptacle of all the pomp and glory of Great Britain, is really mean, in comparison of the rich furniture within, I mean the living furniture, the glorious Court of the King of Great Britain: The splendor of the nobility, the wealth and greatness of the attendants, the oeconomy of the house, and the real grandeur of the whole royal family, out-does all the Courts of Europe, even that of France itself, as it is now managed since the death of Lewis the Great.

But the palace of St. James's is, I say, too mean, and only seems to be honoured with the Court, while a more magnificent fabrick may be erected, where the King of England usually resided, I mean at White-Hall.

The ruins of that old palace, seem to predict, that the time will come, when that Phoenix shall revive, and when a building shall be erected there, suiting the majesty and magnificence of the British princes, and the riches of the British nation.

Many projects have been set on foot for the re-building the antient palace of White-hall; but most of them have related rather to a fund for raising the money, than a model for the building: But as I once saw a model for the palace itself, know its author, and when it was proposed, and that I still believe that scheme will, at last, be the ground-plot of the work itself, I believe it will not be disagreeable to give a brief account of the design.


First, it was proposed, That the whole building should be of Portland stone, and all the front be exactly after the model of the Banquetting House, with such alterations only, as the length and height of the building made necessary.

That the first floor of the building should be raised from the present surface, at least eight feet, as the present building of the Banquetting House now is.

That the whole building should make four fronts, one to the water-side and one to the canal in the park, a third to the north facing Charing-Cross, and the fourth to the south facing King-street in Westminster.

That every front should contain 400 yards, or 1200 feet, in length; that there should be four areas or squares in the inside of the building, the first from the north entrance to be oblong, taking up the whole length of the building from east to west, and that then a long building should cross the whole work, eighty feet broad, and from the east range one thousand feet broad to the west; and in the middle of which, should be a great arch or gate looking to the south gate of the palace: That the other side of the palace be divided into three squares, having two ranges of buildings to run cross them from south to north, and each range to joyn the great range of building which runs from east to west.

That the whole building be withdrawn from the river so far, at least, as where the statue of King James II. now stands, and a spacious terras to be carried on into the Thames twelve feet beyond low-water-mark, and over the river a handsome foot-bridge of twelve great arches only, with a causeway at the end over St. George's Fields; That the terras and space between the palace and the water, be made into a fine garden, with an orangery on the north side, reaching to the edge of the terras so effectually, as it may cover the garden from the view of any of the buildings on the Strand side, and a royal bagnio at the other end likewise, to cover the necessary buildings for the kitchins which are behind it.

For the extent north, 'tis proposed, That all the buildings be taken down to the wall of Northumberland House, on that side; and to the north side of the Spring Garden, opposite to Suffolk-street and the Hay-Market on the other side; so the front of the building that way, will extend from the hither part of Scotland-yard-Gate, to Prince Rupert's Garden, and the gate of the palace being in the center of the building, will open in that which is now called the Spring Garden.

One gate of the palace opening thus north, a ballustrade of iron, like that which surrounds St. Paul's Church, should take in a large parade, reaching to the Meuse-Gate, a space for the street only excepted, and in proportion the other way towards Pail-Mall; and here on the east side, and on the west side, two large guard-houses should be erected, fitted, the one for the horse guards, and the other for the foot, both within the ballustrade, but without the palace, and two smaller guard-houses for detachments of both, be likewise placed on the south side, all at a proper distance from the main building, and all low built.

The canal in the park would be necessarily filled up for about a hundred yards, for the extent of the building that way; the street that now is, must, at the same time, be turned, and a large street for communication with Westminster, be allowed to cross the park from the Pail-Mall south, towards Westminster, to come out at the new iron gate, now leading to Queen's-Square and Tottil-street; but no houses to be built in it, and four gates in the said street, to lead over the street, from the first floor of the palace, by galleries into the park; All buildings adjoining to the park to be taken down, nor any private doors or keys to be allowed; a stone wall of twenty feet high and eight feet thick, to be built round the park, and the park to be extended west, by taking in Buckingham House, with its gardens.

In this building, the proposer's scheme was, To have all the offices of the King's Exchequer, the Revenue, the Council, the Secretaries of State, the Admiralty, the Courts of Justice, and both Houses of Parliament, contain'd within the palace, as was the usage in former times.

To this purpose, the cross range of buildings, going from east to west, through the center of the palace, and looking into the great oblong court, which would contain a thousand feet, exclusive of the east and west fronts, and of the great arch or gate in the center, should be divided thus; That part on the east side of the gate to contain two spacious rooms, one for the House of Peers, the other for the House of Commons, with sufficient offices, galleries of communication, rooms of conference for committees, a court of requests, &c. for the use of the members, and rooms for all other occasions of Parliament business.

The west part of this great range of building to contain a hall, as Westminster-Hall now is, with proper separated courts for the King's Bench, Chancery, Common-Pleas, and Exchequer-Bars, and a distinct court fix'd, and suitably prepared, for tryals of peers or others, by the House of Lords, notwithstanding which, this court would be sufficiently large to celebrate the Coronation feast, with all its ceremonies, the building being from the middle arch to the west range of buildings, five hundred feet long at least, and one hundred feet broad.

Thus the king's Court of Justice, his High Court of Parliament, and all the affairs of the Administration, would be managed within his own house, as it anciently was; and as the two cross ranges of buildings, which form'd the three courts on the south side of the Parliament House and Hall of Justice, would be very large, they would afford room for the Lord Chamberlain's Office, the Admiralty, the War Office, the Green-Cloth, the Wardrobe Office, and all the other family offices, too many to name here.

Then the main range of building on the north side of the palace, should contain (because nearest the city) the Treasury Office, the Secretary's Offices, the Council Chambers, and the Exchequer Offices.

The apartments of the other three ranges to be wholly taken up with the king's houshold: for example;

  1. For the royal apartments, being the king's lodgings, rooms of state and audience, the closet, the oratory, and all the rooms belonging to the apartment of a king; this to take up the east range, fronting the terras garden and the Thames, and looking directly towards the city.
  2. The queen s lodgings to be in the east end of the south range, fronting the City of Westminster; but between the said city and the lodgings, the queen's garden to be extended from the terras garden mentioned before, to a wall joining a passage from Westminster to the south gate, which wall begins at the iron ballustrade and gate of the great parade before the south entrance of the palace, and ends at the outer stone wall, which surrounds the garden and park. The family for the royal children, to take up the west end of the said south range of buildings, with the like garden also, and a gate joyning the two walls in the middle of the passage, leading to the south gate of the palace, by which, with an easy ascent of steps, a communication should be made between the said two gardens.

The west rouge of buildings fronting the park, should be divided also into two parts, the first being the north end, to consist of royal apartments for the entertainment of foreign princes and foreign ambassadors, at the pleasure of the king, and the other half, or south end to be called the Prince's Lodgings, and to be for the Prince of Wales for the time being, and his family.

The great arch in the center of the whole, and in the middle of the long range of buildings, to support a large church or chapel royal, for the service of all the houshold, and for preaching before the Houses of Parliament on publick days, as is now at St. Margaret's and at the Abbey: over this church a large dome or cupola of stone, covered with copper and double gilded.

At the two angles of the building, fronting the river, two private chapels, the one for the queen and her houshold, and the other for the king and his houshold, and either of these to support a dome covered with copper and gilded, as before, tho' smaller than the other, with a large lanthorn on the top, and a small spire, all of stone.

The fronts to have pavilions and pediments in their proper places; the whole work to be built with the utmost regularity, in the Corinthian order of building, and with all possible beauty and ornament.

The galleries of the royal chapel to be supported with pillars of marble, of the finest and most beautiful workmanship also, the E. end of the building, the altar and balustrade of the same, also niches, with their columns, and pediments of the same, and two pillars of the finest marble, eighteen feet high, standing single, one on each side the steps to the communion table, and on them two statues of the apostles St. Paul and St. Peter, or as the king shall direct, the statues to be large as the life, the capitals of the columns gilded.

All the carv'd work in the walls, and round the cornish, and architrave within and without, double gilded; the ceiling of the chapel to contain one great oval, the rim of it of stone, carved as at St. Paul's, and gilded, and the middle painted by the best masters, with either a figure of the ascention or the resurrection, the device to be new.

All the carved work in wood, and mouldings, and cornish in the quire and over the stalls, to be double gilded, as likewise of the organ and organ loft.

All the gates and door cases in the out-sides of the work, with all the columns and carv'd work belonging to them, especially the north and south gates, and the two fronts of the great arch in the middle, to be of the finest marble.

All the chimneys and foot paces before them, to be of marble of divers colours, as well English as foreign: The steps, also, of the king and queen's great stair-cases to be of marble, all the other stair-cases to be of the finest free-stone, fetch'd from Stamford in Lincolnshire, where is the whitest stone in England, and to be built as the stair-case in that called the Queen's House at Greenwich; no wood to be allowed in any of the stair-cases, except for wainscotting up the side.

All the great stair-cases to be painted in the most curious manner possible, as also the ceilings of all the royal apartments, as well the queen's as the king's.

An equestrian statue of the king in the center of one half of the first great court, and the like of the late King William, in the other half.

Large fountains to be kept constantly playing in the smaller courts, and in the terras garden.

Buckingham-House to be bought, and taken in, to be made a royal lodge for the park, with an observatory, and a chamber of rarities: And Marlborough House to be bought, and be made a green-house for exotick plants, and all botannick rarities, and the old royal garden to be again restored, laid open to the park, and be a planted orangery; all the orange and lemon trees to be planted in the earth, so as not to be removed in the winter, but covered and secured separately, as at Beddington in Surrey.

A large building to be added under the wall in the park, next to Tottil-street, Westminster, with separate wards for keeping the lyons and other the strange and foreign bred brutes, which are now kept in the Tower, and care to be taken to furnish it with all the rarities of that kind that the world can procure, with fowls, also, of the like foreign kinds.

A royal bagnio annexed to the green-house in the terras garden, like that for the ladies in the queen's garden; but both distant from the palace.

A large alottment from the lodgings at the two ends of the N. and E. ranges, for the king's kitchens, which should have also an additional range of low buildings, separate from the palace, and running down to the water-side; this building would stand just between the terras garden wall, which should hide it, and the wall of Northumberland House: And here (a dock being made for that purpose) all heavy things, needful for the kitchens, and for the whole palace, should be brought in by water; as coals, and wood, and beer, and wine, &c. at the east end, and the prince's at the west end; the kitchens for the queen and the younger princes or childrens apartments, to be at the other extremes of their respective appartments.

Every range of building to have double rows of rooms on the same floor; but the royal apartments to have also a long gallery behind them, reaching the whole length, the one end to joyn to the Treasury Office and Council Chamber in the north range, and the other end to reach the queen's royal lodgings at the south range; on the east side of this gallery and in the peers, between the windows on the west side, should be placed, all the fine paintings that the Court are possess'd of, or that can be procur'd.

In the north west angle of the building, a large room or rooms for the royal library, with apartments for the library keeper; galleries in the great room to come at the books, and a cupola upon the top.

In the south west angle, a like repository for the records, as well of the Exchequer as of Parliament, with apartments for the record-keeper, or register, and a dome over it as at the other angle.

The north and south gates of the palace to be embellished in the most exquisite manner possible, and the statues of the king and prince over the arch wrought in marble, in the finest manner possible; the gates to rise twenty five feet above the building, with an attick, and such other work as shall be contrived for the utmost beauty and ornament.

The great stair-cases to be in the angles of the building, built projecting into the squares, that of the king's apartment, to open into the first court, and into the garden also, and in the like manner the queen's stair-case, at the other side, to open into the little square and into the privy gardens.

The stair-cases to land upon the galleries, before they enter the apartments, and for that reason, to be in the inside of the building, and to be distinct from it, to prevent taking up any of the apartments of the angles, which are appointed for other purposes; in the middle of the long's great gallery, doors should be made, leading into the great middle range of buildings; by one of which, his majesty may enter a gallery leading to the House of Lords, and by the other, enter thro' another gallery to the chapel royal: In the great gallery and in the hall, sixteen large bouffetts or cupboards of gold and gilt plate of all kinds, to be set open on publick days.

Likewise by these doors, the king will hare ready access to all the offices, to all the lodgings, and through the gates formerly mention'd, crossing the great New Street, which have steps to pass over their arches, and descend into the park.

This, indeed, is but an embryo; but it must be confessed, it would be a magnificent building, and would very well suit the grandeur of the British Court: Here a King of Great Britain would live like himself, and half the world would run over to see and wonder at it.

This whole building, the person projecting it, offered to finish, that is to say, all the out-side work, masonry and bricklayers work, with plaisterers, glasiers, plumbers, carpenters and joyners work, carvers, stone-cutters, copper work, iron work, and lead, including ballustrade and fine gates, and, in a word, the whole palace, except painting, gilding, gardening and waterworks, for two million three hundred thousand pounds, the king giving timber, but the undertaker to cut it down, and bring it to the place, the king giving the Portland stone also, and bringing it by water to the place.

Also the king to lay in four thousand blocks of Italian marble of the usual dimensions, the builder to make all the imagery that are to be made of stone; but the king to be at the charge of the equestrian statues in brass; the builder to form all the fountains and basins for the water-works; but all the pipes, vasa, busts, and statues in the gardens, to be at the king's expence.

But I return to the description of things which really exist, and are not imaginary: As the court is now stated, all the offices and places for business are scattered about.

The Parliament meets, as they ever did, while the Court was at Westminster, in the king's old palace, and there are the courts of justice also, and the officers of the Exchequer, nor can it be said, however convenient the place is made for them; but that it has a little an air of venerable, tho' ruin'd antiquity: What is the Court of Requests, the Court of Wards, and the Painted Chamber, tho' lately repair'd, but the corps of the old English Grandeur laid in state?

The whole, it is true, was anciently the king's palace or royal house, and it takes up full as much ground as the new palace, which I have given a scheme of, would do, except only the gardens and parks, the space before it, which is still called Palace-yard, is much greater than that which would be at the north gate of the palace of White-hall, as proposed. The gardens, indeed, were not large, but not despicable neither, being the same where my Lord Halifax's house and gardens now are, and took up all the ground which we see now built upon between the river and the old palace, where the tellers of the Exchequer, as well as the auditor, have handsome dwellings and gardens also.

But, alas! as I say, tho' they seem now even in their ruins, great; yet compared to the beauty and elegancy of modern living, and of royal buildings in this age, what are they!

The royal apartments, the prince's lodgings, the great officers apartments, what are they now, but little offices for clerks, rooms for coffee-houses, auctions of pictures, pamphlet and toy-shops?

Even St. Stephen's Chapel, formerly the royal chapel of the palace, but till lately beautify'd for the convenience of the House of Commons, was a very indifferent place, old and decay'd: The House of Lords is a venerable old place, indeed; but how mean, how incoherent, and how straitned are the several avenues to it, and rooms about it? the matted gallery, the lobby, the back ways the king goes to it, how short are they all of the dignity of the place, and the glory of a King of Great Britain, with the Lords and Commons, that so often meet there?

Some attempts were made lately, to have restored the decrepid circumstances of this part of the building, and orders were given to Mr. Benson, then surveyor of the king's buildings, to do his part towards it; but it was directed so ill, or understood so little, that some thought he was more likely to throw the old fabrick down, than to set it to rights, for which ignorance and vanity, 'tis said, some have not fared as they deserv'd.

It is true, the sitting of the Parliament is by the order of the Houses themselves, accommodated as well as the place will admit; but how much more beautiful it would be in such a building, as is above contrived, I leave to the contriver to describe and to other people to judge.

Come we next to Westminster-Hall; 'tis true, it is a very noble Gothick building, ancient, vastly large, and the finest roof of its kind in England, being one hundred feet wide; but what a wretched figure does it make without doors; the front, a vast pinacle or pedement, after the most ancient and almost forgotten part of the Gothick way of working; the building itself, resembles nothing so much as a great barn of three hundred feet long, and really looks like a barn at a distance.

Nay, if we view the whole building from without doors, 'tis like a great pile of something, but a stranger would be much at a loss to know what; and whether it was a house, or a church, or, indeed, a heap of churches; being huddled all together, with differing and distant roofs, some higher, some lower, some standing east and west, some north and south, and some one way, and some another.

The Abbey, or Collegiate Church of Westminster, stands next to this; a venerable old pile of building, it is indeed, but so old and weak, that had it not been taken in hand some years ago, and great cost bestowed in upholding and repairing it, we might, by this time, have called it a heap, not a pile, and not a church, but the ruins of a church.

But it begins to stand upon new legs now, and as they continue to work upon the repairs of it, the face of the whole building will, in a short while, be intirely new.

This is the repository of the British kings and nobility, and very fine monuments are here seen over the graves of our ancient monarchs; the particulars are too long to enter into here, and are so many times described by several authors, that it would be a vain repetition to enter upon it here; besides, we have by no means any room for it.

The monarchs of Great Britain are always crown'd here, even King James II. submitted to it, and to have it perform'd by a Protestant bishop. It is observable, that our kings and queens make always two solemn visits to this church, and very rarely, if ever, come here any more, viz. to be crown'd and to be buried.

Two things I must observe here, and with that I close the account of it. 1. 'Tis very remarkable, that the royal vault, in which the English royal family was laid, was filled up with Queen Ann; so that just as the family was extinct above, there was no room to have buried any more below. 2. It is become such a piece of honour to be buried in Westminster-Abbey, that the body of the church begins to be crowded with the bodies of citizens, poets, seamen, and parsons, nay, even with very mean persons, if they have but any way made themselves known in the world; so that in time, the royal ashes will be thus mingled with common dust, that it will leave no room either for king or common people, or at least not for their monuments, some of which also are rather pompously foolish, than solid and to the purpose.

Near to this church is the Royal Free-School, the best of its kind in England, not out-done either by Winchester or Eaton, for a number of eminent scholars.

The antiquities of this church, for it is very ancient, are published by two or three several authors; but are particularly to be seen in Dugdale's Monasticon. The revenues of it were very great, and the abbot sat as a spiritual peer in the House of Lords. The revenues are still very large, and the dean is generally Bishop of Rochester; the fate of the late bishop I desire to bury with him, who is gone to oblivion. The Dean and Chapter have still great privileges as well as revenues, and particularly the civil government, or temporal jurisdiction of the city of Westminster, is so far in them, that the High-Steward and the High-Bailiff are named by them absolutely, without any reserve either to king or people. Their present High-Steward is the Earl of Arran, brother to the late Duke of Ormond, and their High-Bailiff, is William Norris, Esq.

Being got into this part of Westminster, I shall finish it as I go, that I may not return; 'Tis remarkable, that the whole city, called properly, Westminster, and standing on the S. side of the park, is but one parish, and is the only city of one parish in England. There is now another great church erected, or rather erecting, by the commissioners for building fifty new churches; but they have been strangely mistaken in the situation, which is a fenny marshy ground, and it is not found so able to support the weight as, perhaps, they were told it would; I say no more. The building was very curious, especially the roof; but the towers are not so beautiful as it is thought was intended, the foundation not being to be trusted.

The Earl of Peterborough's house stands at the extremity of the buildings, and is the point of measurement for the length of London, which from that house to Lime-house, is reckoned seven miles and a quarter, and some rods: This house might have been a monitor for the builders of the new church, for they tell us it has sunk several yards, since it was first built, tho' this I do not affirm.

There are" three chapels of ease to St. Margaret's in this part of Westminster, besides that, great numbers of people go to the Abbey, so that there is no want of churches. There is but one meeting-house in this whole part, which is called Calamy's Meeting, and was formerly supplied by Mr. Stephen Lobb, who, tho' a Dissenter, lived and died a Jacobite.

The Cottonian Library is kept here in an ancient building, near Westminster-Hall gate; we were told it would be removed to the royal library, and then, that it would be removed to a house to be built on purpose; but we see neither yet in hand. This is one of the most valuable collections in Britain, and, the Bodleian Library excepted, is, perhaps, the best: It has in it some books and manuscripts invaluable for their antiquity; but I have not room so much as to enter upon giving an account of the particulars.

This part of Westminster has but one street, which gives it a communication with London, and this is called King-street, a long, dark, dirty and very inconvenient passage; but there seems to be no remedy for it, for most passengers get out of it through the Privy Garden, and some by private passages into the park, as at Locket's, at the Cock-Pit, and the new gate from Queen's-Square; but these are all upon sufferance.

From hence we come through two very handsome, tho' ancient gates, into the open palace before White-Hall and the Banqueting-house.

Having mentioned White-Hall already, I have nothing more to say of it, but that it was, and is not, but may revive. There is, doubtless, a noble situation, fit to contain a royal palace, equal to Versailles; but I have given you my thoughts on that subject at large.

Nor can I dwell here upon a description of his majesty's Court, or an account of the politicks managed there; it does not relate to this work; let it suffice to say, his majesty resides, especially all the winter, at St. James's; but the business of the government, is chiefly carried on at the Cock-pit: This is a royal building, was once part of White-hall, first the Duke of Monmouth lived in it, then Prince George of Denmark and his princess, afterwards Queen Ann, and since the fire at White-Hall, the Treasury, the Secretary's office, the Council Chamber, the Board of Trade, and the Lord Chamberlain, hold all their particular offices here; and here there is also, a by-way out of Duke-street into the park.

From thence we come to the Horse Guards, a building commodious enough, built on purpose, as a barrack for a large detachment of the Horse-Guards, who keep their post here, while attending on duty; over it are offices for payment of the troops, and a large court of judicature, for holding councils of war, for tryal of deserters and others, according to the articles of war.

In the same range of buildings, stood the Admiralty Office, built by the late King William; but tho' in itself a spacious building, is found so much too narrow now the business is so much increased, and as there is a sufficient piece of spare ground behind it, to inlarge the building, we find a new and spacious office is now building in the same place, which shall be sufficient to all the uses required.

This office is, perhaps, of the most importance of any of the publick parts of the administration, the royal navy being the sinews of our strength, and the whole direction of it being in the hands of the commissioners for executing this office. The Navy and the Victualling Offices, are but branches of this administration, and receive their orders from hence, as likewise the docks and yards receive their orders from the navy: the whole being carried on with the most exquisite order and dispatch. The Admiralty has been in commission ever since the death of Prince George; the present commissioners are,

Right Honourable James Earl of Berkeley.
Sir John Jennings.
John Cockburn, Esq;
William Chetwynd, Esq;
Sir John Norris.
Sir Charles Wager.
Daniel Pultney, Esq;

From this part of the town, we come into the publick streets, where nothing is more remarkable than the hurries of the people; Charing-Cross is a mixture of Court and city; Man's Coffee-house is the Exchange Alley of this part of the town, and 'tis perpetually throng'd with men of business, as the others are with men of play and pleasure.

From hence advancing a little, we see the great equestrian statue of King Charles the First in brass, a costly, but a curious piece; however, it serves sufficiently, to let us know who it is, and why erected there. The circumstances are two, he faces the place where his enemies1 triumph'd over him, and triumphs, that is, tramples in the place where his murtherers were hang'd.2

From this place due north, are the king's stables, called the Meuse, where the king's horses, especially his coach-horses, are kept, and the coaches of state are set up; it is a very large place, and takes up a great deal of ground, more than is made use of: It contains two large squares, besides an out-let east, where is the managerie for teaching young gentlemen to ride the great saddle; in the middle of the first court is a smith or farryer's house and shop, a pump and horse-pond, and I see little else remarkable, but old scatter'd buildings; and, indeed, this place standing where a noble square of good buildings might be erected, I do not wonder that they talk of pulling it down, contracting the stables into less room, and building a square of good houses there, which would, indeed, be a very great improvement, and I doubt not will be done.

On the right side of the street, coming from White-Hall, is Northumberland-House, so called, because belonging to the Northumberland family for some ages; but descending to the Duke of Somerset in right of marriage, from the late dutchess, heiress of the house of Piercy.

'Tis an ancient, but a very good house, the only misfortune of its situation is, its standing too near the street; the back part of the house is more modern and beautiful than the front, and when you enter the first gate, you come into a noble square fronting the fine lodgings: Tis a large and very well design'd building, and fit to receive a retinue of one hundred in family; nor does the duke's family come so far short of the number, as not very handsomely to fill the house.

The present duke having married the greatest heiress in Britain, and enjoy'd her and the estate for above forty years, and besides, having been master of the horse many years also, he is immensely rich, and very well merits the good fortune he has met with.

Advancing thence to the Hay-Market, we see, first, the great new theatre, a very magnificent building, and perfectly accom-

modated for the end for which it was built, tho' the entertainment there of late, has been chiefly operas and balls.

These meetings are called BALLS, the word masquerade not being so well relished by the English, who, tho' at first fond of the novelty, began to be sick of the thing on many accounts; However, as I cannot in justice say any thing to recommend them, and am by no means, to make this work be a satyr upon any thing; I choose to say no more; but go on.

From hence westward and northward, lie those vastly extended buildings, which add so exceedingly to the magnitude of the whole body, and of which I have already said so much: It would be a task too great for this work, to enter into a description of all the fine houses, or rather palaces of the nobility in these parts: To touch them superficially, and by halves, is too much to imitate what I complain of in others, and as I design a particular account of all the houses of the nobility and men of quality in London, and the country fifteen miles round, in a work by itself; I bespeak my readers patience, and go on.

The hospitals in and about the city of London, deserve a little further observation, especially those more remarkable for their magnitude, as,

I. Bethlem or Bedlam: This and Bridewell, indeed, go together, for though they are two several houses, yet they are incorporated together, and have the same governors; also the president, treasurer, clerk, physician and apothecary are the same; but the stewards and the revenue are different, and so are the benefactions; but to both very great.

The orders for the government of the hospital of Bethlem are exceeding good, and a remarkable instance of the good disposition of the gentlemen concerned in it, especially these that follow;

  1. That no person, except the proper officers who tend them, be allowed to see the lunaticks of a Sunday.
  2. That no person be allowed to give the lunaticks strong drink, wine, tobacco or spirits, or to sell any such thing in the hospital.
  3. That no servant of the house shall take any money given to any of the lunaticks to their own use; but that it shall be carefully kept for them till they are recovered, or laid out for them in such things as the committee approves.
  4. That no officer or servant shall beat or abuse, or offer any force to any lunatick; but on absolute necessity. The rest of the orders are for the good government of the house.

This hospital was formerly in the street now called Old Bedlam, and was very ancient and ruinous: The new building was erected at the charge of the city in 1676, and is the most beautiful structure for such a use that is in the world, and was finished from its foundation in fifteen months; it was said to be taken ill at the Court of France, that it was built after the fashion of one of the King of France's palaces.

The number of people who are generally under cure in this hospital, is from 130 to 150 at a time.

There are great additions now making to this hospital, particularly for the relief and subsistence of incurables, of which no full account can be given, because they are not yet finished, or the full revenue ascertained: The first benefactor and author of this design itself, was Sir William Withers late alderman, and who had been lord mayor, who left 500l . to begin it with.

II. The hospital of Bridewell, as it is an hospital, so it is also a house of correction. The house was formerly the king's city palace; but granted to the city to be in the nature of what is now called a work-house, and has been so employed, ever since the year 1555.

As idle persons, vagrants, &c. are committed to this house for correction, so there are every year, several poor lads brought up to handicraft trades, as apprentices, and of these the care is in the governors, who maintain them out of the standing revenues of the house.

There are two other Bridewells, properly so called, that is to say, houses of correction; one at Clarkenwell, called New Prison, being the particular Bridewell for the county of Middlesex, and another in Tuttle-fields, for the city of Westminster.

The other city hospitals, are the Blue-coat Hospital for poor freemens orphan children, and the two hospitals for sick and maimed people, as St. Bartholomew's and St. Thomas's: These three are so well known by all people that have seen the city of London, and so universally mention'd by all who have written of it, that little can be needful to add; however I shall say something as an abridgment.

III. Christ's Hospital was originally constituted by King Edward VI. who has the honour of being the founder of it, as also of Bridewell; but the original design was, and is owing to the lord mayor and aldermen of London, and the Christian endeavours of that glorious martyr, Dr. Ridley then Bishop of London, who never ceased moving his charitable master, the king, till he brought him to join in the foundation. The design is for entertaining, educating, nourishing and bringing up the poor children of the citizens, such as, their parents being dead, or fathers, at least, have no way to be supported, but are reduced to poverty.

Of these, the hospital is now so far increased in substance, by the benefactions of worthy gentlemen contributors, they now maintain near a thousand, who have food, cloathing and instruction, useful and sufficient learning, and exceeding good discipline; and at the proper times they are put out to trades, suitable to their several genius's and capacities, and near five thousand pounds a year are expended on this charity.

IV. St. Bartholomew's Hospital adjoyns to Christ Church, and St. Thomas's is in Southwark, both which, however, being the same in kind, their description may come under one head, tho' they are, indeed, two foundations, and differently incorporated: The first founder is esteem'd to be King Henry VIII. whose statue in stone and very well done, is, for that very reason, lately erected in the new front, over the entrance to the Cloyster in West-Smithfield: The king gave 500 marks a year, towards the support of the house, which was then founded for an hundred poor sick, and the city was obliged to add 500 marks a year more to it.

From this small beginning, this hospital rose to the greatness we now see it arrived at, of which take the following account for one year, viz. 1718;

Cur'd and discharg'd, of sick, maimed and wounded,
from all parts
} 3088
Buried at the expence of the house 198
Remaining under cure 513

V. St. Thomas's Hospital in Southwark, has a different foundation, but to the same purpose; it is under the same government, viz. the lord mayor, aldermen and commonalty of the city of London, and had a revenue of about 2000l . per annum, about 100 years ago.

This hospital has received greater benefactions than St. Bartholomew's; but then 'tis also said to have suffered greater losses, especially by several great fires in Southwark and elsewhere, as by the necessity of expensive buildings, which, notwithstanding the charitable gifts of divers great benefactors, has cost the hospital great sums. The state of this hospital is so advanced at this time, that in the same year as above, viz. 1718, the state of the house was as follows;

Cur'd and discharg'd, of sick, wounded and maimed,
from all parts
} 3608
Buried at the expence of the house 216
Remaining under cure 566

Adjoining to this of St. Thomas's, is lately laid a noble foundation of a new hospital, by the charitable gift and single endowment of one person, and, perhaps, the greatest of its kind, next to that of Button's Hospital, that ever was founded in this nation by one person, whether private or publick, not excepting the kings themselves.

This will, I suppose, be called Guy's Hospital, being to be built and endowed at the sole charge of one Mr. Thomas Guy, formerly a bookseller in Lombard Street, who lived to see the said hospital not only design'd, the ground purchased and cleared, but the building begun, and a considerable progress made in it, and died while these sheets were in the press. It was not till this gentleman died, that the world were told it was to be a separate hospital; but it was generally understood to have been intended for a ward, or an addition to the old hospital of St. Thomas's, for the reception of such as were accounted incurable.

But when Mr. Guy died, his will being made publick, it appeared, that it was really a separate, independent and distinct hospital, under distinct governors, and for a separate purpose, to wit, for receiving such poor persons as have been dismissed from other hospitals as incurable.

Nor are these restrained to the patients of the adjoining hospital of St. Thomas only; but they are allowed to receive such from St. Bartholomew's also, and also from Bethlehem, only with this restriction as to the latter, That the number of incurable lunaticks shall never exceed twenty at a time. This hospital is, by Mr. Guy's will, to consist of two great squares of buildings, in which, besides the offices and accommodation for necessary servants and overseers, who must be lodg'd in the house, such as stewards, treasurer, masters, matrons, nurses, &c. are to be beds and appartments furnished for four hundred patients, who are all to be supplied with lodging and attendance, food and physick.

What the revenue, when settled, will be; what the building will amount to when finished; what the purchase of the land, and what the expence of finishing and furnishing it, cannot be estimated, 'till it be further look'd into; but we are told without doors, that besides all the expence of purchase, building, furnishing and finishing as above; there will be left more than two hundred thousand pounds for endowing the hospital with a settled revenue, for maintaining the said poor, and yet the charitable founder was so immensely rich, that besides leaving four hundred pounds a year to the Blue-coat Hospital of London, and besides building an hospital for fourteen poor people at Tamworth in Staffordshire, where he was chosen representative; and besides several considerable charities which he had given in his life-time; He also gave away, in legacies, to his relations and others, above a hundred thousand pound more, among which 'tis observable, That there is a thousand pounds a piece given to near eighty several persons, most of them of his own relations; so that he cannot, as has been said by some, be said to give a great charity to the poor, and forget his own family. How Mr. Guy amass'd all this wealth, having been himself in no publick employment or office of trust, or profit, and only carrying on the trade of a bookseller, till within a few years of his death, that is not the business of this book; 'tis enough to say, he was a thriving, frugal man, who God was pleased exceedingly to bless, in whatever he set his hand to, knowing to what good purposes he laid up his gains: He was never married, and lived to be above eighty years old; so that the natural improvements of this money, by common interest, after it was first grown to a considerable bulk, greatly increased the sum.

This hospital is left to the immediate direction of his executors, and the governors, named in his will, who are at present most of them, if not all, governors of St. Thomas's Hospital, and he has appointed them to apply to his majesty and the Parliament to have them incorporated. The executors are as follows;

Sir Gregory Page, Bart, ap-
pointed also to be first presi-
dent of the corporation,
when obtained.
Charles Joy, Esq; appointed
also treasurer of the house.
William Clayton, Esq;
Mr. Thomas Hollis Sen.
John Kenrick, Esq;
John Lade, Esq;
Dr. Richard Mead
Moses Raper, Esq;
Mr. John Sprint.

Also he desires, That when the corporation shall be obtained as above, either by Letters Patent or Act of Parliament, all the nine persons named as above, to be his executors, with the fourteen following, may be the first committee for managing the said charity, viz.

Mr. Benj. Braine, Sen.
Mr. Thomas Clarke
William Cole, Esq;
Dr. William Crow
Dr. Francis Fanquier
Dr. Edward Hulse
Mr. Joshua Gee
Mr. Matthew Howard
Mr. Samuel Lessingham
Mr. Henry Lovell
Mr. Samuel Monk
Mr. Joseph Price
Mr. Daniel Powell
Mr. Thomas Stiles.

Next to these hospitals, whose foundations are so great and magnificent, is the work-house, or city work-house, properly so called, which being a late foundation, and founded upon meer charity, without any settled endowment, is the more remarkable, for here are a very great number of poor children taken in, and supported and maintained, fed, cloath'd, taught, and put out to trades, and that at an exceeding expence, and all this without one penny revenue.

It is established, or rather the establishment of it, is supported by an old Act of Parliament, 13, 14. Car. II. impowering the citizens to raise contributions for the charge of employing the poor, and suppressing vagrants and beggars, and it is now, by the voluntary assistance and bounty of benefactors, become so considerable, that in the year 1715 they gave the following state of the house., viz.

Vagabonds, beggars, &c. taken into the house,
including fifty-five which remained at the end
of the preceding year
- - - - - - - - - - - -
} 418
Discharged, including such as were put out to
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
} 356
Remaining in the house 62
Not one buried that whole year.

But the supplies and charities to this commendable work, have not of late come in so readily as they used to do, which has put the governors to some difficulties; upon which, anno 1614, the Common Council, by virtue of the powers above-mentioned, agreed to raise five thousand pounds upon the whole city, for the support of the house; but we do not find that any new demand has been made since that.

There are three considerable charities given by private persons in the city of Westminster, viz.

  1. The Gray-coat Hospital, founded by a generous subscription or contribution; but chiefly by the charity of one ----- Sands, Esq; It maintains 70 boys and 40 girls, cloathed, fed, and taught, and in some measure provided for, by being put out to trades.
  2. The Green-coat Hospital, in the same Fields, founded by King Charles I. for poor fatherless children of St. Margaret's parish; and next to this hospital is the house of correction, or the Westminster Bridewell.
  3. The Emanuel Hospital, founded by the Lady Ann Dacres, for ten poor men, and ten poor women, in the forty-third year of Queen Elizabeth. Near this, are seven several setts of alms-houses; but not of any magnitude to be called hospitals. There has been, also, a very noble hospital erected by contribution of the French refugees, for the maintenance of their poor: It stands near the Pest-house, in the foot-way to Islington in the parish of Cripplegate, and two ranges of new alms-houses in Kingsland Road beyond Shoreditch Church.

The hospital calPd the Charter House, or Sutton's Hospital, is not by this supposed to be forgot, or the honour of it lessened. On the other hand, it must be recorded for ever, to be the greatest and noblest gift that ever was given for charity, by any one man, publick or private, in this nation, since history gives us any account of things; even not the great Bishop of Norwich excepted, who built the great church of Yarmouth, the cathedral at Norwich, and the church of St. Mary's at Lynn; The revenue of Mr. Sutton's hospital being, besides the purchase of the place, and the building of the house, and other expences, little less than 6ooo/. per annum revenue.

The Royal Hospitals at Greenwich and Chelsea, are also not mentioned in this account, as not being within the reach of the most extended bounds of the city of London.

These are the principal hospitals, the rest of smaller note are touch'd before; but it will not be a useless observation, nor altogether improper to take notice of it here, That this age has produced some of the most eminent acts of publick charity, and of the greatest value, I mean from private persons, that can be found in any age within the reach of our English history, excepting only that of Sutton's Hospital; and yet they tell us, that even that of Mr. Sutton's is exceeded in this of Mr. Guy's, considering that this gentleman gave a very noble gift to this same hospital before; besides that as before, he had left an hundred thousand pounds in private gifts among his own relations; as to children he had none, for he never was married.

The other benefactions, I speak of which this age had produced, are already touch'd at in this work, and may be referred to in the reading, such as Dr. Ratcliffs Gift, amounting to above forty thousand pounds to the university of Oxford: The gift of ten thousand pounds to Magdalen College in the same university, by their late representative; the several charities of Sir Robert Clayton, Alderman Ask, Sir Stephen Fox, Dr. Busby, Sir John Morden and others.

These, added to the innumerable number of alms-houses which are to be seen in almost every part of the city, make it certain, that there is no city in the world can shew the like number of charities from private hands, there being, as I am told, not less than twenty thousand people maintained of charity, besides the charities of schooling for children, and besides the collections yearly at the annual feasts of several kinds, where money is given for putting out children apprentices, &c. so that the Papists have no reason to boast, that there were greater benefactions and acts of charity to the poor given in their times, than in our Protestant times; and this is indeed, one of the principal reasons for my making mention of it in this place; for let any particular age be singled out, and let the charities of this age, that is to say, for about fifteen or twenty years past, and the sums of money bestowed by protestants in this nation on meer acts of charity to the poor, not reckoning gifts to the church, be cast up, it will appear they are greater by far, than would be found in England in any the like number of years, take the time when we will.

Nor do I conclude in this, the money collected by briefs all over England, upon casualties by fire, though that is an eminent act of charity as any can be; nor the money given either in publick or private, for re-building St. Paul's and other churches demolished by the Fire of London, or the augmentation of poor benefices by the bounty of Queen Ann, and many other such gifts. I come now to an account of new edifices and publick buildings, erected or erecting in and about London, since the writing the foregoing account; and with this I conclude.

  1. The fine new church of St. Martin's in the Fields, with a very fine steeple, which they tell us is 215 feet high, all wholly built by the contribution of that great parish, and finished with the utmost expedition.
  2. The new Admiralty Office near White-hall, being on the same ground where the old office stood; but much larger, being both longer in front and deeper backward, not yet finished.
  3. Mr. Guy's new hospital for incurables, mentioned above, situated on ground purchased for that purpose, adjoyning to St. Thomas's Hospital in Southwark, being a most magnificent building not yet quite finished.
  4. Two large wings to the hospital of Bedlam, appointed also for incurables; proposed first by the charitable disposition of Sir William Withers deceased; this also not yet finished.
  5. A large new meeting-house in Spittle-fields, for the sect of Dissenters, call'd Baptists, or Antepsedo Baptists.
  6. The South-Sea House in Threadneedle-street, the old house being intirely pulled down, and several other houses acijoyning being purchased, the whole building will be new from the foundation; this not finished.
  7. Several very fine new churches, being part of the fifty churches appointed by Act of Parliament, viz. One in Spittlefields, one in Radcliff-High-way, one in Old-street, one at Limehouse, with a very beautiful tower, and one in Bloomsbury, and five more not finished.
  8. The parish church of St. Botolph without Bishopsgate, pulled down and re-building, by the contribution of the inhabitants, not as one of the fifty churches.

    N.B. In removing the corpses buried in this church, they found the body of Sir Paul Pindar, buried there about eighty years before, which was taken up and deposited again; and we are told, a new monument will be set up for him by the parish, to which he was a good benefactor.
  9. The Custom-house, which since the late fire in Thames-street, is ordered to be inlarged; but is not yet finished. All these buildings are yet in building, and will all, in their several places, be very great ornaments to the city.
  10. A new street or range of houses taken out of the south side of the Artillery Ground near Morefields, also an enlargement to the new burying ground as it was formerly called, on the north side of the same ground.
  11. The iron ballustrade, or as others call it, balcony, on the lanthorn upon the cupola of St. Paul's Church, gilded. It was done at the cost and as the gift of an Irish nobleman, who scarce lived to see it finished.
  12. A new bear-garden, called Figg's Theater, being a stage for the gladiators or prize-fighters, and is built on the Tyburn Road.

    N.B. The gentlemen of the science, taking offence at its being called Tyburn Road, though it really is so, will have it called the Oxford Road; this publick edifice is fully finished, and in use.

I conclude this account of London, with mentioning something of the Account of Mortality, that is to say, the births and burials, from whence Sir William Petty thought he might make some calculations of the numbers of the inhabitants, and I shall only take notice, that whereas, the general number of the burials in the year 1666, and farther back, were from 17000 to 19000 in a year, the last yearly bill for the year 1723, amounted as follows,

Christenings 19203.
Burials 29197.

Here is to be observed, that the number of burials exceeding so much the number of births, is, because as it is not the number born, but the number christened that are set down, which is taken from the parish register; so all the children of Dissenters of every sort, Protestant, Popish and Jewish are omitted, also all the children of foreigners, French, Dutch, &c. which are baptized in their own churches, and all the children of those who are so poor, that they cannot get them registred: So that if a due estimate be made, the births may be very well supposed to exceed the burials one year with another by many thousands. It is not that I have no more to say of London, that I break off here; but that I have no room to say it, and tho' some things may be taken notice of by others, which I have pass'd over; yet I have also taken notice of so many things which others have omitted, that I claim the ballance in my favour.

I am, SIR,

Yours, &c.




1 The statue faces the broad place before White-Hall, where the king was beheaded.

2 The gibet, where the regicides were executed, stood just where the statue now stands.

Daniel Defoe, A tour thro' the whole island of Great Britain, divided into circuits or journies (London: JM Dent and Co, 1927)

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