2 FEBRUARY 1850, Page 12


" Timms I Thames ! ever while you live, Thames, go between your banks," cries Mr. Puff; but the injunction was a dead letter on Tuesday, to the dismay of neighbouring residents, especially on the right bank. It seemed as though Father Thames, hearing himself so much talked about, had resolved to give London a taste of the true quality, both in the article of water and also in that of agility.

The Commissioners of Sewers having just determined on a covered drainage for the lands on the right shore, but not jerliaps having laid down that position with sufficient emphasis, Thames, sportively shaking his urn, landed a large specimen of hl stream in its actual condition. It is not creditable to the good taste or dili- gence of the Metropolitans. The stream is more fertilizing than salubrious—better for the roots of cabbages than human lungs or stomachs. The manceuvre of the river was a master-stroke of ar- gument: Thames himself appeals to Parliament, the nobffity and gentry of Westminster, on the one side, to the Most Reverend the Archbishop of Canterbury on the other, and to the public in gene- ral, against the representations of Sir John Burgoyne, who main- tains that the stream so little needs purifying as to be benefited rather than otherwise by a little more pollution. But the argu-- mentum ad nasum is irresistible : you perceive at once, that how- ever desirable it may be to irrigate agricultural lands with ferti- lizing streams, however desirable it may be to afford copious sup- plies of manure to the cabbages and cauliflowers in the market- gardens of Chelsea and Fulham, it is not at all a judicious plan to take the manure along with one's tea at breakfast, nor to convey it at all hours by the royal highway. We oppress Thames with abo- Mnations, and he exhibited a specimen of the way he is put upon. Sir John Burgoyne says it is very well; and Thames replies with a jerk of his arm, spreading abroad a sample, as a linendraper's young gentleman jerks out a field of silk for the inspection of the Unpro- tected Female. The mere display is shocking and convincing. " Terruit urbem." The laystall was regurgitated—" terruit gentes gravy ne rediret " ; with many "nova monstra." Besides the water, the retiring stream left on hand, for the inspection of the Commissioners an abundant sample of solid mud, &c. Very good stuff, in its place, we allow—quite ; but not at all adapted to the streets of Lambeth or Westminster, the wash-hand basin, or the tea-table. In the minor branches, we seldom permit the water- pipe and the house-drain to combine their incompatible offices ; and surely Thames has convinced all thinking men that it is not desira- ble to consolidate the great main trunks 0 Another hint the venerable river has thrown out in Thames's broadcast way. Why is it that we habitually apply the principle of averages where averages are not available ? We calculate our dikes and water-walls on the usual high tides, or at least on the highest aquatic sallies of ordinary years, and suffer an occasional excess to convince us how foolish it is not to settle that question once for all. People made preparations for the prophesied high tide last month ; but they made no account of that high tide of un- certain period, predicted by the sure vaticination of past experience, which has come this week. The waters rose within two inches of the wall-tops at the entrance of the Thames Tunnel : in other words, the builder of the walls left them just two inches above a tide not unprecedented. Is two inches the measure of tidal possi- bility? And why leave individuals in the low lying districts to deal with the insurgent flood ? Why not dike it out, once for all P There are plans for doing so, well and handsomely. Or are we, self-boastful Anglo-Saxons, to sit down content with the idle as- surance that it will not -happen again—till the next time?