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The Scotch Smoke Act
From Tait's Edinburgh Magazine (1857)


Scotland obtained a Smoke Act last year,with notice of operation in the present year. The 1st of August was the day named for the purification of the atmosphere. Twelvemonths’ notice bad been given to the interested parties, the producers of smoke; and if they had been inclined to prepare for that date, they had abundant opportunities. Years have passed away in the discussion of smoke. Ten years since furnace-improvers proposed schemes for its prevention. They have been adopted in several cases, but few persons are inclined to do this sort of good on the voluntary principle. Even in London, where many small steam-engines work on the land and in the river, and coals are dear as they are distant, an Act of Parliament was required before furnace-owners would save their money. The Temple Gardens were formed long ago on the banks of the Thames, they have been exposed for nearly forty years to the smoke of numerous steamers, and of the engine-furnaces on the south side of the river. Their gardener was skilled in his profession, yet he was unable to produce many flowers common to the country. The soil was not blameable, for its quality could be easily seen. All the appliances ef horticultural skill were tried, and all, failed in the production of those results which were the objects of the gardener’s ambition. Flowers will not be doomed to grow out of place, although human beings may be forced into existence and through it in clouds of smoke.

The Act of Parliament came to the deliverance of the gardener. The smoke from the steamers was reduced. The air became comparatively clear and pure. The plants that would scarcely bud before, sent out leaves and flowers in their season. The small squares of grass and trees were enlivened by flowers of many shades, and the "Templars” enlivened them farther by throwing open their gardens to the little children of the neighbourhood and their guardians. The children and the flowers thrive together because the proprietors of the steamers ou the Thames have been compelled to save their money, and use their smoke.

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