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sations against the Company are frequently blended with such irrelevant and silly remarks, as to throw no inconsiderable suspicion upon their general veracity and correctness; as for instance in the following paragraph :
With praiseworthy zeal, and laudable exactitude, they follow the instructions of Mrs. Rundell *, and other eminent professors, for the making of puddings, pies, broths, soups, jellies and caudle; and the boiling of meats, poultry, fish, and vegetables. They calculate, to a grain, the proportion that one ingredient ought to bear to another ingredient: they know, to the fourth part of a minute, how long each article should remain in the saucepan: but-mirabile dictu!-to the quality of the water of which those puddings are made, and in which those meats are boiled, the fair house-keepers of Westminster are less attentive-as I shall presently show-than the inhabitants of rude and uncultivated countries. In the integrity of their hearts, it never enters into their imagination, that any set of men should be so mercenary, so desperately wicked, as to sell to their customers a gift of Heaven, in a polluted and unwholesome state. They will now see, that their confidence has been abused, and that their indifference is culpable. -pp. 9, 10.
"Part I." of The Dolphin embraces three very important subjects of inquiry, under the general title of " the importance of pure and wholesome water for all domestic purposes." It first calls our attention to the "importance of this inquiry to the inhabitants of a thickly-populated metropolis:" and here we are told, upon the authorities of Mr. Abernethy, Dr. Paris, and other writers on health and diet, that most people are better for an occasional dose of country air; that exercise is essential to health; that pure water is an agreeable and wholesome beverage; that people continually confined within doors by sedentary business, are usually pale and sallow and dyspeptic; and that narrow alleys and dirty cellars are very comfortless. and insalubrious.
As we are not indebted to the Grand Junction Company for the supply of foul air as well as of foul water, we cannot see the fairness of mixing up these two inquiries; however, the advantages of pure water are elaborately set forth a few pages
Some idea of the demand for this lady's writings may be formed from the fact, that, first and last, one hundred and twenty thousand copies of her "New System of Domestic Cookery," have been printed; and of its companion, "The Family Receipt-Book," about fifty thousand
further on, not upon the threadbare authority of the peptic empirics of the present day, but upon that of Hippocrates and Sir George Staunton, and of the " amiable Izaak Walton," and the unamiable Count Rumford. These conflicting evidences agree in the main point of showing that pure and clear water is much more agreeable than that which is loaded with filth and soluble impurities: and, as most of our readers will probably grant this point without further proof, we shall not waste their time in extended remarks; observing, however, by the way, that it was probably after reading the convincing facts detailed in these sections, that Sir H. Halford was induced to move, at one of the anti-junctionist meetings, "That a constant supply of pure and wholesome water is essential to the health and comfort of the inhabitants of this great and thickly-peopled metropolis !"
The second part of this pamphlet contains a common-place account of the different water-companies; and the third is particularly devoted to the Dolphin, or Grand Junction Nuisance to this we must at present confine our attention, as it is here that the heavy accusations to which we have above alluded are embodied.
It is well known, that the different water-companies being upon the brink of ruin, entered into a mutual agreement to partition out the town amongst them: this bold, and we must call it, unconstitutional step was carried into effect towards the close of 1817, by the simultaneous retirement from each allotted district, of all the companies previously employed, except the individual one thenceforward to be left in the exclusive possession of the field.
The companies gave no previous notice whatever of their intentions and, in reply to the remonstrances of their customers, they were informed, that, for the future, they could only be supplied by the one-continuing Company; and they were also given to understand, that an increased rate would be shortly exacted. The indecency of the proceeding produced a temporary burst of indignation; but, so deadening are the effects of monopoly, that the imposition was tamely submitted to, and the nefarious scheme brought to completion.
That a combination, bottomed in such a total disregard for the public welfare, should exist for any long period, without producing the train of evils ever attendant upon monopoly, was not to be
expected; but that, in the space of less than nine years, it should have given birth to the frightful enormity which I am about to expose, could not have entered into the imagination.
The Grand Junction Water-Works Company, as I have already shown, was not set on foot by any portion of the inhabitants of the metropolis, who felt themselves aggrieved by the conduct of the existing companies, but originated in a set of "Manchester gentlemen," holding a board in some alley in the City, and looking for their profits solely to an increase in the market-price of the shares, and by realizing the premiums which they could obtain upon a transfer of those shares.
That seven thousand families, in such a city as Westminster, should be bound hand and foot, and placed at the mercy of jobbers of this stamp, for a supply of an article, without the daily use of which they can have no life, is a state of things too frightful to contemplate. That it will be endured, when those families shall see how their comforts and their lives have been sported with by those jobbers, is impossible.-p. 40-42.
This is very strong language,-in our opinion much too strong we wonder the author risked it; however, it is followed up by what may to some appear its justification, namely, a contrast between the promises and performances of the said Grand Junction Company. These we shall condense as far as is consistent with perspicuity.
They promise, by advertisement under the date of November 15, 1810, to supply abundance of pure and excellent water, even in the upper stories of houses; and to do this at a comparatively small expense: and in a second advertisement, they promise to give a supply so copious and regular, that the water is always on, pure in the pipes, and constantly fresh. They moreover undertake to make no additional charge for high service, and to avoid all delay in cases of fire, by keeping the pipes constantly full, and the supply always on. The water, they say, being perfectly clear, would not, in case of fire, tarnish the furniture. (This savours of quackery.) They then tell us that "the annexed analyses show the water to be peculiarly adapted to all domestic purposes :" but to us these analyses are sadly disappointing; in fact, they are merely a few lines signed by Mr. Aikin and Mr. Accum, attesting its general purity and fitness for domestic use; but what it contains, or what are its impurities, we are not told this deficiency we shall therefore endeavour in due time to supply.
These, and others which we have not thought it necessary to transcribe, were the tempting promises held out by the Grand Junction Company. Come we now to their performances as enumerated by the author of The Dolphin.
No sooner was the confederacy completely established, than the Grand Junction Company began to give proof of the mischief ever attendant upon the possession of exclusive powers. Instead of the promised "daily supply" of water, it was sent into the houses of their customers only three days out of the seven. Instead of "increased security against the ravages of fire," it is a singular fact, that after almost every fire that has happened in the division, since the combination of the companies, complaints have been made in the public journals, of the much greater delay which has taken place, than was formerly known. Instead of selling it at a "comparatively small charge," they exacted, in August 1819, an increased rate, equivalent, in no case, to less than 50 per cent., and extending, in most instances, to 90 and 100 per cent. Instead of making " no additional charge for high service," an advance, in some instances, amounting to 100, 150, and even 200 per cent., was demanded.—pp. 49, 50.
We are afraid that most of this statement is not true, but we shall for the present reserve our own opinion, and hasten to the pith of the pamphlet, which is contained between the fiftyeighth and eighty-seventh pages.
It is here maintained that the Company instead of supplying the pure streams of the Colne and Brent, and valley of Ruislip, draw their water from the Thames, at the foot of Chelsea Hospital, and within a few yards of a large common sewer, thus sending to the inhabitants of London "a fluid saturated with the impurities of fifty thousand houses; a dilute solution of animal and vegetable substances in a state of putrefaction, alike offensive to the sight, disgusting to the imagination, and destructive to health." Now, to substantiate this thundering accusation, we did hope that the author of The Dolphin would have had a careful analysis made of the said water, and that its results would have justified the violence of his assertions. But no such thing; his analysis is still less satisfactory than that which we have above complained of, as published by the Company. It was performed by Mr. Joyce, the successor of Mr. Accum, and the following is its amount:-" The water sent for assay was found to be loaded with decomposed vegetable matter, and in such quantity as to be unfit for use without
tedious purifications." The right way of proceeding in these cases would have been, not to send a bottle of the water in question to the first person that occurred, but to have requested one or more respectable chemists to have examined the water as coming directly from the mains of the Company, and to collect and experiment upon it in their own way. We think, therefore, that no weight whatever can be attached to the above, or any analogous analysis; nor are the opinions of the medical men which follow of much more importance, for they are but opinions after all, and those upon one side of the question only, for we could easily obtain a similar number of equally respectable certificates in favour of the water, as are here so formidably arrayed against it: however, it is but fair to let some of these gentlemen speak for themselves.
Mr. Abernethy here stands forth in the foremost rank, to whom our author addressed a letter, with a sample of the water, informing him, that instead of pure water the Grand Junction Company supplied a fluid loaded with all sorts of filth and impurities, drawn from within a few yards of the great common sewer: he then proceeds to inquire whether such water is not more fit to engender disease than to make soups and puddings. Now for the answer:
Scarcely had I put the above letter into Mr. Abernethy's hand, when I unfortunately held up the specimen bottle, and asked him, "whether he thought such water could be wholesome." Never shall I forget the countenance of this eminent man at that moment! The very sight of the turbid fluid seemed to occasion a turmoil in his stomach. He began pacing the room backward and forward, and the only words I could extract from him were, "How can you ask me such a question? How can you ask me such a question? There is such a thing as Common Sense! There is such a thing as Common Sense!"
Mr. Pope tells us, that
"Great wits sometimes may gloriously offend,
There was a sort of honest and so may great professional men. brusquerie in Mr. Abernethy's conduct, that pleased me beyond measure; and I left his house, satisfied that I had not only established my case, but supplied my intended publication with an excellent motto.
In a communication which I have since been favoured with from Mr. Abernethy, he has had the goodness to confirm my interpre