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PART II. On the " Drainage of Towns and Buildings," is in the press and will be published shortly.

G. Woodfall and Son, Printers, Angel Court, Skinner Street, London.


A FEW years since, the subject of the following volume would have been considered scarcely a necessary theme for one of a series of works intended to bear a popular as well as a technical character. The entire subject would have been deemed sufficiently disposed of by describing the subterranean works of the navigator and the bricklayer, and the sub-aquatic and rude operations of the ditcher. Now, however, our subject occupies a prominent position in the public thought, and may be regarded as nearly a new branch of practical art, based, or to be based, upon principles of science, and essential to the health, life, and morality of our race.

Urged, almost insensibly, by the strong earnestness and foresight of a few leading minds, the British public and Legislature have been brought to discern the urgent need of reforming the substructures of their dwellings and highways, and to feel affrighted at the dangerous apathy in which they and their ancestors have hitherto innocently indulged. The rudeness of our past practice is indeed the subject of our astonishment; the facts adduced are but the pictures of our


individual experience, and the simplicity of the principles now first recognised brings them home to us with all the familiarity of things known long ago. We now wonder at the folly of digging holes beneath houses for the accumulation of filth, till the surrounding ground becomes overcharged, and the bulk demands periodical removal. We can see clearly enough that the pursuits of the scavenger are offensive equally to common sense and to common decency, and admit, without further proof, the sanitary axiom, that the infusion of the refuse of a town in the water which serves at once the libations and ablutions of its people, is not adapted either to perfect the purity of the liquid, or promote the health of the human system. And in that great branch of the subject which is devoted to agricultural practice, by which the farmer is endowed with all the valuable experience of the most intelligent inquirers, and taught the art of economizing the natural resources of his streams and watercourses, and the fructifying products of his farm-yard, Drainage has acquired a well recognised value in the estimation of the scientific public, and is daily recording results of the highest prae

tical character.

The general principles which are now commonly entertained upon the subject of Drainage, maintain its primary value as a branch of sanitary science, and its claim to be regarded among the paramount duties of every civilized Legislature. District Commissions are disbanded as incapable of achieving the great purposes

which the health of the people demands, and which can no longer be intrusted in the hands of incompetent authorities. Cleanliness and health are now considered in the relation of cause and effect; and the first requirements of the physician's success are admitted to consist in the constructive conditions of the patient's dwelling. Medical philanthropists have explored the hidden horrors of our metropolis and towns, and shown that the open sewer and the offal heap are the contaminators of the rich, and the agents of death to the poor. And, akin to these public pestilences, we are now made aware that a cesspool, or an imperfect drain in a house, is to be reckoned only as a means of gathering fever and disease; and that the cleansing of the rooms above, while one of these radical abominations is sending forth its putrid gases from below, is but an illustration of the ancient error of rectifying secondary, in mistake for primary, evils.

While thus the subject of Drainage is attaining a commanding importance among the social necessities of our times, a corresponding occasion has arisen for its thorough examination as a branch of practical science. Its principles are, or must be, determined, and its rules thence deduced and embodied among the vital applications of the useful arts. The future works of the engineer, the architect, and the builder, must be regulated by considerations of the available methods of securing ample water-supply and efficient drainage; and these considerations will present themselves with that

imperative character which they derive from the public will, and which cannot be countervailed by any scruples of private economy, or any opposition of corporate prejudice.

To collect carefully the records of the experience of the past, to compare results and deduce principles with critical anxiety, and upon these principles to establish practical rules, propounded and illustrated with exactness and fidelity, will doubtless become the common object of many of the students of practical art. The following elementary treatise cannot attempt so extensive and laborious a range, but it aims at accomplishing a general survey of the subject, and a brief enumeration of the details which properly belong to it.

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