15 SEPTEMBER 1855, Page 13


TirsuE is to be a bridge across the ornamental water in St. James's Park; but is it a great road bisecting the rustic retreat with a hideous highway, or is it only a footpath with a light bridge across P George the Fourth, who disfigured London and Brighton with teapot architecture in the days of his Chinese mania, expiated that sin by adopting Nash, who was an idiot in architecture but an angel in gardens. Even Regent Street was an improvement

upon London, by breaking up its narrow ways and starting the idea of improving our architecture; but the gardens were a real gift to the Metropolis.

Whether Sir Benjamin Hall ever intended a broad highway, or whether the old idea of a light bridge and footway was all that he meant, is an historical question. His friends aver that he never intended to be the highwayman he was painted. We are glad of it. When Queen Anne was told by her facetious Minister that to enclose the Parks would not cost more than "three crowns," he recorded a great fact ; and the constant repetition of the witticism shows how the truth is felt. A modern Minister might think that to cut the Park in half would only cost half-a-crown, but it would be a sad mistake to suppose that so unpopular an act would cost the Queen no more than two-and-sixpence. Assuredly Mr. Chan- cellor of the Exchequer would have to pay a heavy fine at the next settlement.

Sir Benjamin Hall, however, might not only spare the Park, but improve it. There is room. If the public lost anything in the bisection by a footway, it might be more than compensated close at hand. Could not the Green Park be rendered green, and its desert prairie somewhat enriched by the resources of the gardening art ?