The wealth and importance of the City of London are due to a variety of causes, of which its geographical position must certainly be esteemed not the least. The value of such a noble river as the Thames was scarcely over-estimated by the citizens when, as the story goes, they expressed to King James their comparative indifference to his threatened removal of himself, his court and parliament, from London, if only their river remained to them. The mouth of the Thames is the most convenient port on the westernmost boundary of the European seaboard, and ships would often run in to replenish their tanks with the sweet water for which it was once famous.(1)
After the fall of the Western Empire (A.D. 476), commercial enterprise sprang up among the free towns of Italy. The carrying trade of the world's merchandi
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