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Christianity; and to that cause we are no doubt to attribute the destruction or mutilation of many ancient sculptures and other productions of the arts which had been dedicated to the service of Paganism. Of the few relics of the old religion, besides cineraries, lachrymatories, and some sacrificing vessels, that recent subterranean investigation has brought to light in London, one of the most remarkable is a stone altar, exhibiting a figure of Apollo, which was found some years ago in Foster Lane in digging the foundations for the new Goldsmiths' Hall.
We have already had occasion to notice some of the appearances detected in digging a sewer in Lombard Street in 1786-particularly the remarkable indications of an ancient conflagration which the soil at a certain depth presented.+ Some considerable fragments of building, and other curious antiquities of the Roman age, were also brought to light in the course of that excavation. Near Sherbourn Lane, at about twelve feet under ground, the workmen came upon a pavement of about twenty feet in breadth, running across Lombard Street, “composed of small irregular bricks, in length two inches, in breadth one and a half, mostly red, but some few black and white: they were strongly cemented with a yellowish mortar, and were laid in a thick bed of coarse mortar and stones.” Between this pavement and the Post Office, but along the north side of the street, ran a wall eighteen feet in length and ten feet high, its summit being ten feet under the level of the street, constructed of “the smaller-sized Roman bricks," and remarkable as being pierced by two perpendicular flues, the one semicircular in shape, the other rectangular and oblongthe chimneys, doubtless, of the long untenanted mansion of which the wall had formed a part. Directly opposite to the Post Office was another wall, and near it a tile-pavement; and still more to the eastward, another pavement, of small red bricks, intermixed with a few black ones and some white stones, in a state of great dilapidation. “This pavement,” says the account in the Archæologia,
as well as most of the others, was laid on three distinct beds of mortar: the lowest very coarse, about three inches thick, and mixed with large pebbles; the second, of fine mortar, very hard, and reddish in colour, from having been mixed with powdered brick; this was about one inch in thickness, and upon it the bricks were imbedded in a fine white cement.” Various other fragments of walls and pavements were encountered in proceeding farther to the eastward along Lombard Street—and also in Birchin Lane, where the corner was uncovered of a tessellated pavement, appearing to run under the adjacent houses, which exhibited a border of an elegant design composed of black, red, green, and white dies, each about a fourth of an inch square. Intermixed with these vestiges of a compact population were observed the wood-ashes and other traces of fire in the situation described in a former paper. Great quantities also of Roman coins were found, and of fragments of pottery and glass bottles, together with a few other articles, especially some keys and beads, specimens of which were introduced in one of the cuts in our Ninth Number. I Among the coins were a Galba, a Nero, and an Antoninus Pius, of gold, and an Alexander Severus of silver; three hundred brass pieces, very rudely executed, of Tetricus (who assumed the imperial title
* See Archæologia, vol. xxiv. p. 300.
+ See No. IX. p•
See p. 168.
in Gaul in the latter part of the third century) and of Constantine, were found together in a heap at the end of St. Nicholas Lane. The vessels and fragments of earthenware were of various colours, white, black, red, brown, grey, &c.; some were fine, others coarse; some glazed and some not; some had inscriptions on the rims; and many of those of the finest quality were ornamented with figures on the outside, which were often very spiritedly drawn. A richly-bordered design surrounding a large vessel of red Samian ware (engraved in our Ninth Number) exhibited an animated combat, in which figures both on foot and on horseback were opposed and mingled. Armed men, satyrs, hares, dogs, birds, foliage, a boar's head, and sundry fancy ornaments embellished other specimens. There were also many fragments of the round shallow vessels of close clay which have generally been regarded as mortaria, or triturating instruments; they seemed when entire to have measured about a foot in diameter, and had each a channel running across their broad rim, apparently for the purpose of pouring off their contents when ground.*
When we consider the evidence that the various facts we have enumerated afford of the existence in Roman London of many buildings which must have been of considerable extent and architectural sumptuousness, it naturally becomes matter of surprise that so few fragments should be found either above or below ground of the ornamental stonework which may be presumed to have been employed in their construction—that their chequered floors and unhewn foundations should be nearly all the memorials that remain of edifices whose external splendour must surely in some degree have corresponded with the strength and costliness which these vestiges indicate. A fluted pillar of four or five feet in circumference which was discovered in 1836 in an old wall of the Grey Friars' Monastery, now the Church of Christ's Hospital, and which is supposed to have been Roman, is almost the only specimen of the kind which has been noticed. It is the subject of a communication in the Archæologia from A. J. Kempe, Esq., who accounts for the general disappearance of such remains by the supposition that they were for the most part made use of in the construction of new buildings in the Saxon and early Norman ages. † And this no doubt was the fact in many
William of Malmesbury, writing in the twelfth century, expatiates upon the extraordinary quantity of Roman architecture still to be seen in all parts of England in his day, declaring that it exceeded what any other country on this side the Alps could boast of. That the ruins of the Roman towns served as quarries for the builders of subsequent times we may infer from what is related
* Archæologia, vol. viii. pp. 116–132.
| Id. vol. xxvii. p. 410.
by Matthew Paris of two abbots of his monastery of St. Alban's in the tenth
* Viginti trium Abbatum S. Albani Vitæ.
It is probable, indeed, that Roman London, a commercial emporium rather than a luxurious capital, was distinguished not so much by any works of extraordinary architectural splendour as by the general prevalence of neatness, comfort, and a modest elegance in the dwellings of its inhabitants. The climate, for one thing, would probably be felt to be unsuited to any great attempts in the only style of architecture then known-both the lowness of the temperature for a great part of the year exacting sacrifices for the sake of internal accommodation unnecessary in the classical regions of the south, and the moisture of the atmosphere operating with more or less of injurious effect upon every species of external decoration ;-obstacles that have yet only been partially overcome by the invention of another style better adapted to a northern sky. But the evidence both of remains and of records warrants the belief that, though it may not have been a magnificent, it was still both a populous and opulent city, and that here too grew and flourished that earlier civilization, which, differing in so many respects from our own, and presenting deficiencies which to our view seem so striking and so fundamental, was nevertheless undoubtedly one of the noblest forms into which our common humanity has ever expanded, and, besides a renown that can never die, has left some of the brightest examples and highest lessons in the arts, in letters, and in morals to all coming time, in virtue of which and of what of its institutions, or their spirit, ages of barbarism were not able to destroy, it must always remain a principal basis and active element of the civilization at least of our western world.
In spite of steam Piccadilly continues to be one of the great vomitories of London. The Birmingham, Great Western, and South-western Railways have eclipsed the glories of long-stage coaching. The White-horse Cellar is no longer what it was. The race of long-stage drivers, in white milled box-coats, multitudinous neckhandkerchiefs, and low-crowned hats, who gave law to the road, and were the "glass of fashion and the mould of form” to the ingenuous youth of England, are disappearing. * Never again shall we, diffident of our own powers of early rising, and distrustful of those of our whole family, take a bed at the Gloucester, when intending to start next morning with some early coach for the West of England, and, between the stirring influence of spring and the anticipation of rural drives, watch from the window the first faint glimmer of the reservoir in the Green Park, till broad day come, and with it Boots, to warn us that the hour of starting draws
* Hazlitt has done justice to the imposing appearance of the mail-coaches in Piccadilly :—“The finest sight in the metropolis is that of the mail-coaches setting off from Piccadilly. The horses paw the ground and are impatient to be gone, as if conscious of the precious burden they convey. There is a peculiar secrecy and despatch, significant and full of meaning, in all the proceedings concerning them. Even the outside passengers have an erect and supercilious air, as if proof against the accidents of the journey. In fact, it seems indifferent whether they are to encounter the summer's heat or the winter's cold, since they are borne through the air in a winged chariot. The mail-carts drive up—the transfer of packages is made—and, at a given signal, they start off
, bearing the irrevocable scrolls that give wings to thought, and that bind or sever hearts for ever! How we hate the Putney and Brentford stages that draw up in a line after they are gone! Some persons think the sublimest object in nature is a ship launched on the bosom of the ocean; but give me, for my private satisfaction, the mail-coaches that pour down Piccadilly of an evening, tear up the pavement, and devour the way before them to the Land's End." Pursuing bis reverie Hazlitt remarks that in the time of Cowper mail-coaches were bardly set up; and already they are far advanced in their “decline and fall.” Even the "Putney and Brentford stages" are being superseded by the Putney and Brentford omuibuses.