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'I pray you, let us satisfy our eyes
That do renown this city.' It was an afternoon walk for the stranger who thus desired to see the reliques' of some ancient Dalmatian town, whose Roman monuments covered a few acres. But London! in what time shall we visit her ‘memorials,' so as to satisfy our eyes ?' What amount of labour does it require to become acquainted with her 'things of fame?' A week, or a month, may indeed enable us to see those
reliques' which every one sees; but memorials' as true and as interesting lie perishing or hidden in dark corners; and there are things of fame' in the meanest alleys. Their chief value, however, consists in the associations which they suggest; and these do not always lie upon the surface. To comprehend modern London we must make a stand upon the ancient way, and then look about us;' to be properly interested in ancient London we must turn from our old Chroniclers, and Topographers, and Poets, and Memoir-writers, and look upon its living scenes, ever changing in their outward forms, but essentially the slow growth of a long antiquity.
We propose in this spirit to produce a NEW WORK ON LONDON; and the principle which we have thus indicated of looking at the Present through the Past, and at the Past through the Present, requires that our Work shall be wholly different from any which has preceded it. It will neither be a 'Survey of London, nor a History of London. Its arrangement will neither be topographical nor chronological. It will not travel with tedious steps and slow' from Portsoken Ward to Westminster ; nor begin at the beginning with King Lud, and end at the end with Queen Victoria. Nor will it, in point of fact, be ambitious of any classification. London, which Camden has called totius Britanniæ epitome, is too vast a thing to be analysed, and sorted, and labelled,—at least in a book which will endeavour to combine amusement with information. The greatest and the meanest features of such a city lie mingled together, in the same way that the mightiest and the minutest works of Nature are presented to the observing eye. That traveller is to our minds the most faithful, the most entertaining, and perhaps the most scientific, who, whilst he is measuring the height of an Alpine mountain, makes himself familiar with the habits of the little marmot that burrows in its crevices. The plan of publication which we shall adopt will also, in some degree, deter