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the foundation of the Poor Law introduced into Ireland, these peculiar jurisdictions ought no longer to be tolerated, and we trust that they will be shortly swept away.
Local legislation, by means of Private Acts, often grows out of the defective state of the general law. Parliament prefers the tinkering work of special and exceptive legislation, to the enactment of a comprehensive statute which shall contain provisions suited to all varieties of circumstances. The Local Poor Law Acts just mentioned had their origin in this cause: they were partial, unconnected, and imperfect attempts to supply the defects of the general law; useful when they were passed, mischievous now that the general law is amended. The Metropolis at this moment suffers extensively from a similar system of heterogeneous Private Bill Legislation, rendered necessary by the want of adequate general enactments in the Statute Book. The Metropolis, according to the boundaries of the Registrar General, contained, in 1851, a population of 2,362,236, an area of 78,029 acres, and 305,933 inhabited houses ; of which the proportion falling to the City of London proper is a population of 129,128, an area of 723 acres, and 14,693 inhabited houses. Now the City of London alone has a municipal corporation ; and therefore by far the largest part of the Metropolis, comprising 17-18ths of the population, and more than 99-100ths of the area, is without municipal institutions. Outside the boundaries of the City, therefore, the streets of London are left to the operation of the general law; and the general law makes no difference between streets and other highways. Unless, therefore, a Private Act was obtained, Piccadilly and the Strand, Oxford Street and Holborn, would be repaired merely as parish highways: the parishioners must appoint a surveyor, and make a highway rate. The general law, moreover, gives no powers for lighting; so that without Private Bill Legislation the whole of the Metropolis outside the City would be unlighted. This state of things has called into existence a vast number of Special Acts for lighting, paving, cleansing, and other municipal objects in the Metropolis ; the number of which is calculated by one of the witnesses before the late City Commission at not less than 700 (Pulling, 1936.). In the parish of St. Pancras alone there are seventeen independent Paving Boards, created by thirty separate Local Acts; and the powers even of all those Boards do not extend over the entire parish. These Metropolitan Private Local Acts form a perfect chaos of legislation; hatched by a thousand parish attorneys, and embodying all sorts of crude ideas and intricate compromises of petty local interests, in which the public advantage
is often a secondary object. We trust, from statements which have recently been made public, that this highly anomalous and objectionable state of things has attracted the serious attention of the Government, and that we may owe to the new President of the Board of Health a measure which will introduce some order into this wilderness, and will place the Metropolis on a footing of equality, in respect of legislation, with other large towns possessing the advantage of municipal institutions.
If the preceding remarks are well founded, the system of Private Bill Legislation ought to be viewed by the public with jealousy and disfavour, and all attempts to extend its operation ought to be discouraged and repressed. Where it is introduced for local purposes, it is often a partial and imperfect attempt to remedy defects in the general law, which might be removed by a properly constructed public measure; such, for instance, as the General Inclosure Act, which has obviated the necessity for Private Enclosure Bills. Where it is introduced for personal objects, the procedure is often rather of a judicial than of a legislative character, and involves an amount of vexation, delay, and expense, which is detrimental to the community, and discreditable to Parliament. Whenever an endeavour is made to perpetuate the reign of Private Bill Legislation, and to obstruct measures intended to substitute general for special procedure, it is fair to presume that the resistance is dictated by motives of personal interest opposed to the public welfare.
ART. VII. - 1. Mount Athos, Thessaly, and Epirus: a Diary
of a Journey from Constantinople to Corfu. By GEORGE FERGUSON BOWEN, Esq., M.A., Fellow of Brasenose Col
lege, Oxford. 1852. 2. Journals of a Landscape Painter in Albania, &c. By Ed
WARD LEAR. 1851. 3. Diary in Turkish and Greek Waters. By the Right Hon.
. the Earl of CARLISLE. London: 1854. 8vo. The two first of these works take us out of the beaten
track of Oriental tourists: we can speak of both in terms of high commendation; and to a certain extent their characteristic excellences are identical. Both the writers are ardent lovers of nature, and have a keen eye for fine scenery, as well as for the picturesque of man and man.' Both entertain us with sallies of good-natured pleasantry, while they have successfully resisted the disposition to outrageous flippancy, which constitutes
a serious temptation to Eastern travellers in general. But they differ in the precise manner that we might have anticipated: one writes like a skilful artist, and the other like a scholar and a student of history.
Mr. Lear is the author of the Illustrated Excursions in • Italy,' which came before the world a few years since. His present work is on a smaller scale both in a literary and in an artistic point of view. The illustrations in the volume before us do not pretend to the finish and delicacy observable in his Italian works. The smaller size of an octavo volume, and the cheaper price, compelled the artist to adopt a less assuming form of illustration. Still it seems to us that the main object of the representations is gained by their universal fidelity to character. They do not portray scenes whose distances are in one country and climate, while their foregrounds are in another; nor are the accompanying details and figures such as could be found anywhere but in the landscapes with which they are combined. Breadth of general effect, and poetical sentiment, together with strict adherence to the character of the places represented, are artistic qualities far more valuable in our estimation as aids to topographical recollections or descriptions, than higher finish or greater effort. Nevertheless in more than one of the lithographs a greater degree of delicacy in the tinta would not have lessened our pleasure in dwelling on the scenes of so magnificent a country ; and we hope Mr. Lear will profit by our remarks, when, as we trust he will, he makes further use of the extensive and valuable materials which his studio contains, for an illustrated work on Greece in general.
Had it been possible, we would gladly have transferred to our pages the most pleasing specimens of the Landscape Painter's' pencil. But that cannot be done, and Mahomet must go to the Mountain. Some notice, however, of Mr. Lear's artistic excellence may be gleaned from his extremely vivid descriptions. We select the following ideal picture of Albanian scenery, in which its various characteristics are thrown together in a picturesque medley, somewhat after the manner of Turner's * Modern Italy':-
• The general and most striking character of Albanian landscape is its display of objects, in themselves beautiful and interesting, rarely to be met with in combination. You have the simple and exquisite mountain-forms of Greece, so perfect in outline and proро on— the lake, the river, and the wide plain; and withal you have the charm of architecture, the picturesque mosque, the minaret, the fort, and the serai, which you have not in modern Greece, for war and change bas deprived her of them; you have that which is found neither in Greece nor in Italy—a profusion everywhere of the most magnificent foliage, recalling the greenness of our own island — clustering plane and chestnut, growth abundant of forest oak and beech, and dark tracts of pine. You have majestic cliff-girt shores; castle-crowned heights, and gloomy fortresses; palaces glittering with gilding and paint; mountain-passes such as you encounter in the snowy regions of Switzerland ; deep bays, and blue seas with bright, calm isles resting on the horizon; olive-clothed slopes, and snow-capped mountain-peaks ;-—and this with a crowded variety of costume and incident such as bewilders and delights an artist at each step he takes. (Pp. 4, 5.)
Mr. Bowen, who was admirably qualified by extensive classical and historical reading, and above all by an intimate knowledge of Modern Greek, acquired during his four years' residence at Corfu as President of the Ionian University, has executed his task with skill and judgment. Some defects which appear on the surface of the work, are to be regarded as essential parts of its generic character. An occasional looseness of composition, and an overflowing facility of citation, blemishes in a more formal work, are pardonable, and evidences of reality, in a bonâ fide diary. The book has solid merits more than sufficient to counterbalance these external disadvantages, and such as give hopes for the future. A well-stored mind, and an observant eye, cannot fail to produce results of greater pretensions and importance. We shall probably award the author the highest commendation of a traveller, by saying that he has left us with distinct impressions of the scenes depicted by him.*
Mr. Lear made repeated attempts to visit Mount Athos, and was repeatedly foiled. Fortunately for us, the deficiency has been supplied by Mr. Bowen, who has devoted some of the most valuable chapters of his work to the Holy Mountain, and its monasteries. One of the main objects of his labours was 'to • supply full and strictly accurate information with regard to 'the discipline and present state of the Greek monasteries' (p. 3.); and we feel that we shall at once second his design and enable our readers to form a just estimate of his work, by presenting them with a detailed description of that singular spot, gathered from his pages, and from those of other travellers.
The southern peninsula of Macedonia, the ancient Chalcidice,
* We may
be allowed to add that 'the author has presented his share of any profits which may arise from the sale of his work 'to 'the Fund for Colonial Bishoprics, to which are paid also the profits of the “Colonial Church Chronicle,”' in which a portion of the Diary was originally printed. VOL. CI. NO. CCY.
terminates to the south in three subordinate peninsulas. It is with the most eastern of these, known by the ancient name of Acte, and in modern times by that of the Hagion Oros, or Monte Santo, that we are immediately concerned. The name of Athos, commonly applied to it by English writers, belongs properly to the high Pique, or Peer,' (as the Consul Rycaut calls it *), which rises abruptly from its south-eastern extremity, although it makes part of the formal title of the religious community which inhabits it.f The entire peninsula is about thirty miles in length, and six miles and a half at its greatest width: its general bearing is from north-west to south-east: the extremity points in the direction of Lemnos. The isthmus uniting it to the mainland is both low and narrow, scarcely exceeding a mile in breadth ; while a slight alteration in the level of the Ægæan would have cut off Acte from the Macedonian shore, and made its inhabitants by nature what, as Herodotus quaintly phrases it, they became by art, an insular instead of a continental people.'I' Not that the isthmus is a dead level: it is more correctly described by the historian just cited, as • plain grounds with hills of no great size. These hills do not at any point rise more than one hundred feet above the sea, while the bed of a valley which intersects them from gulf to gulf, is little more than clear of the water.
From this point the peninsula widens out, and begins by throwing out a long, narrow, spur-like promontory to the north. Beyond this, some ten miles from the isthmus, the coast-line recedes into a bay on either side, and again dilates, until it terminates in two bold forelands to the south and south-east. The former is Cape St. George, the ancient Nymphæum; the other, now generally known as Cape Monte Santo, is in all probability the site of the_ancient town of Acrathos, or Acrothoi. Pierre Belon, a French traveller of the sixteenth century, compares the ground-plan of the whole peninsula to the figure of a man lying supine, with his feet towards the shore, and his hands extended above his head. He considers that when it was contemplated to form the mountain into a statue of Alexander the Great, nature had half done the work
If this be so, the town which the hero was to hold in
• Present State of the Greek and Armenian Churches. London, 1697, p. 217. * Η Ιερά Κοινότης του Αγίου Όρους "Αθω.
Herod. vii. 22.
Petri Bellonii Rerum Singularium Observationes, 1553, ed. Latinè, 1589, p. 82.