WHAT IS NOT CLEAR ABOUT THE
WE have not yet formed a very strong opinion on the question, whether we shall keep the glass building, euphuistically called '`The Crystal Palace," on its present site " and have riding and walking in al1 weather among flowers, fountains, and sculpture," as the pamphlet of Denarius proposes. To the question put by the title-page of Mr. Paxton's pamphlet, " What is to become of the Crystal Palace ?" we have nothing yet ready in the way of a distinct reply. There are gentlemen, however, who consider that notes of interrogation addressed to the public, must receive answers from each member of the public individually. A portion of the stream of answers consequently pouring in upon us we divert through our own proper channel and distribute for the irrigation of the country. The following is from a gentleman, who signs himself "A Neighbour to the Nuisance."
"Sir,In the old days, when a true Briton lived in his hut, and made his fire on the clay floor, and received morning calls from stray dogs, pigs. or other parlour-guests of the period, a law was made, to which I now call your considerate attention, Sir, by the laws of Hoel Dha, it was decreed, that if a pig scatter fire and burn a house, his master pays; but if the house and pig be burnt together, nobody shall pay, ' because they both are stupid.' Sir, I own more than one house in the immediate neighbourhood of the Great Exhibition; that speculation, sir, has been the pig that scattered, and at this moment is scattering, the fire about my property. Out of the value of my estate, during the present year. ten thousand pounds have been taken. by what I (speaking of the thing as I find it) call a Monster Nuisance. It is to me as if this pig, scattering fire, had burned down one or two of my best houses. Am I to have no compensation for this injury ? ' If a pig scatter fire and burn a house, his master pays.' The master of the pig in question is the public. 'If house and pig,' says Hoel Dha,' be burnt together, nobody shall pay.' Is, then, the Exhibition stupid? No, sir, the porculation, or the fattening thereof, goes on- from day to day, although from day to day my substance lessens. The master of this monster can afford to pay me compensation, will he do so, sir, or will he not ? Etymologists derive the hog's name from a Hebrew verb, which means, they tel1 us, to encompass or surround. This verb may typify the bulk of the whole nuisance, which extends- to us unfortunate surrounding householders.- And alas! there is another theory, deriving hog from an Arabic word, which means, sir, to have narrow eyes. To retain this Exhibition Building for some yet unsettled purpose, will I have no doubt, benefit the public; and it would be well if a general gain could be obtained in a matter like this, without the infliction of a private loss. But I fear the our hog means, in the present instance, to have narrow eyes, and shut out of view you humble servant."
The next letter is dated from the shop of a distinguished quack professor.
" Mr. Conductor,I hope you know better . than to see the public gammoned into a continuance of the advertisement of Morrisons Pills in the Great Exhibition for a constancy. I understand that an idea has been broached of perpetuating the present industrial display, by permitting those who have stalls to retain them, for to make exhibition from year to year of their improvements. To the regular trader this would be unjust. It is no joke to me, Mr. Conductor, to go now into that gallery, where I see a case full of medals that . is put in on account of Morrison's Pills, with a long description about Morrison's discovery, when my discovery is noninwentus, where I didn't send it in. It is a mixture of which, one teaspoonful took fasting will reduce a fracture, and dislocations are reduced in one minute by smelling at the bottle. If inventions are to be continually exhibited, then let us inventors all come in, or let a pick and choice be made of me and other good ones, leaving out Morrison. I am."
The next is a short note from a young lady. ~
" Dear, dear Mr. Conductor, Mamma tells me that people are at a loss what to do with the Crystal Palace, if they do not take it down. Do, please, dear, dear sir, put a word in for those lovely shawls, and those sweet muslin dresses. It is so tiresome having to stop in those nasty streets, where people smoke and push about; and it's so nasty always that one cannot see for dust, or else so dirty, that one is knee-~ deep in puddle. I never enjoyed shop window' till now, and I have looked at many. O the dear Exhibition, where you look at all the shops, and need not buy! but, if you can persuade dear pa to get you anything, there's always the address attached, and you know where to tell him to go. Dear Mr. Conductor' we shall never love shop windows in the dirty streets again. For. the sake of the ladies, l appeal to you, sir, as a gentleman, to recommend the Commissioners to give the down stairs part to Mr. Swan and Mr. Edgar, for show room of drapery, and. let Mr. Hunt and Mr. Roskell have the galleries for darling jewels; and please tell them to send away the policemen who stand at the jewel cases, and keep crying - the parrots - Move on, ladies; move on, if you please ~ les barbares. Dear Mr. Conductor, please, dear, help me, and I will never use anything but Household Words for curl-paper, to the last moments of my existence. I am."
The next is from a gentleman signing himself a " Practical Man;"
" Mr. Conductor, Sir,A pamphlet, b' Mr. Joseph Paxton, has just come to hand forwarded by a friend who requested that I would read it and send you my opinion: have the honour to inform you that I have read the publication with much care, and find that it contains the following proposal, viz. To complete the Industrial Exhibition at the close of the term originally assigned thereto and retaining the building to complete it: glazing and make certain other changes, preliminary to the formation of a permanent Winter Park and Garden.' Mr. Paxton says that, in the Winter Park and Garden he proposes, 'climate would be the principal thing studied, all the furnishing and fitting up would have special reference to that end; so that the pleasures found in it would be of a character which all who visit it could share; here would be supplied the climate of Southern Italy, where multitudes might ride. walk, or recline, amidst groves of fragrant trees, and here they might leisurely examine the works of nature and art' (art meaning statues) 'regardless of the biting east-winds or the drifting snow.' Mr. Paxton proposes also to introduce into the building a collection of live birds and geological specimens. 'The advantages derivable from such an appropriation of the Crystal Palace,' says Mr. Paxton, would be many, and may be thus summed up:
"'First. In a sanitary point of view, its benefits would be incalculable
" My opinion upon this is, that a gentleman or lady who walks out of an English winter 'to recline amidst groves of fragrant trees,' for an hour or two, and then walks out again into the winter's day, would be much more damaged than benefited in the article of lung. To leave England for a change of climate, to walk' rice, eat, and sleep, week after week,' in the climate of Southern Italy,' is one thing, and to play bobcherry with climates, is another. If a sanitary view is to be taken of the subject and the building is to be appropriated to the use of healthy people, not adapted to a certain class of invalids, it will be fair to dwell on the advantage of a covered space for those to use during foul weather, who otherwise might stay at home. But a healthy man iu his own country will soon be an unhealthy man if he do not consent to inhale copious and free draughts of his native atmosphere.
"'Although the Crystal Palace,' Mr`P. goes on to say, at present, with its magnificent display of useful and ornamental articles, is truly wonderful; yet if the building be converted into a winter park and garden, and arranged as I propose, I feel confident it would become a still more extraordinary and beautiful object.' This is Mr. Paxton's last card, and it is a trump. Most beautiful it would be made, there is no doubt; and nobody knows better than Mr. Paxton knows how (if made) such a winter garden ought to be laid out.
" My opinion is, therefore, and I have pleasure in handing it to you, that Mr. Paxton's proposed winter garden would be beautiful and agreeable. The pamphlet closes with an estimate that it would cost 12,0001. a year, 'which might be obtained, either by a national grant, or by making the building itself self-supporting.' As a commercial man, I think the idea of a national grant for such an object wouldn't pay; and as a tax-payer, the Chancellor of the Exchequer shall have my support if he declines to honour Mr. P.'s draft. The question therefore is, whether the glazed park, proposed by Mr. P., could produce for itself, by admission money, or in any other way, 12,000 l. a year. I decline solving the same. Sugar being the article in which I deal, I will not venture to decide upon the trade prospect of a concern so foreign to my own experience. I am." '
In the pamphlet of Denarius, we may remind our practical friend that some suggestions are contained which would add greatly to the usefulness, as wel1 as to the commercial solvency, of the proposed winter garden. Denarius so calls himself, because he proposes a charge of a penny for admission to the covered promenade; denarius being that conventional Latin for a penny, whose initial d. follows £. s. Denarius is penny wise and we think not pound foolish. He would have in the projected garden an annual Sculpture show, and Flower shows, of course. "With the co-operation of the Agricultural, Horticultural, and Botanical Societies," he says, "various popular schools, lectures, and exhibitions connected with the objects of these societies, would arise naturally out of such an arrangement, and might be made to have a most important bearing both on the productive resources of the country and on our decorative manufactures." Elsewhere he suggests that " spaces at the extreme sides of the building might be kept vacant, to be applied to various public purposes, such as periodical exhibitions of agricultural produce, colonial raw produce, machinery, perhaps models of objects claiming patent rights, manufactures, and fine arts. These should not be permanent exhibitions, to become stale and provoke comparisons with the present Great Exhibition, but essentially temporary exhibitions for short periods, answering ~o the wants and circumstances of the times as they mav arise. As agriculture and horticulture have made such great progress since periodical exhibitions of them were established, we may infer that analogous exhibitions would promote silk-weaving or cotton-printing, &c., and will be likely to arise. The great City corporations, the Goldsmiths, the Ironmongers, the Mercers, the Dyers, &c., might again ally themselves' with the practical development of the manufactures from which they take their names."
The success of the Exhibition has been perfect. It is the grandest feature of the age in which we live. It is the property of 1851, and must be history to 1852. It must go, and we wish it to go,its part will have been played, and it must not remain superfluous upon the stage. Only, we do not like to lose the theatre it filled, since we may use that for another work. We have a theatre of glass, then, covering twenty acres, which we wish to keep; and what we shall do with it or in what way it shall be made to pay, is a problem not quite elear. A coming man ma burst upon us with some fine and feasible idea, if not, we are disposed to think the whether the palace go or stay, we may congratulate ourselves. If it remain as a winter park, London gains one more pleasure: if i be removed, the moral power of the Exhibition will be strengthened for the time that is to come, because it will stand out then as a single perfect feat. After uses of the building would to some extent shade off the distinct edges of our picture.