The history of the proceedings in the case of Margaret, commonly called Peg, only lawful sister to John Bull, Esq.







Commonly called PEG, only lawful Sister to JOHN BULL, Esq;

The Second Edition.

Printed for W. Owen, near Temple Bar.


Chap. I. How John quarrelled with Lewis Baboon about dividing the West-common; and how instead of going to law, they came to blows, 16
Chap. II. What sort of fellows John and Lewis were in use to employ to keep their orchards, and their poultry, 23
Chap. III. How John got a terrible fright in his own house of Bull-hall, 36
Chap. IV. How John’s affairs had like to have gone to the Devil, 48
Chap. V. How John consulted with his friends about the method of retrieving his affairs, 59
Chap. VI. How the Nurse dreamt that John Bull had banished all the weavers, 66
Chap. VII. What happened after this conversation with the Nurse, 77
Chap. VIII. Concerning sister Peg, 84
Chap IX. How Lewis Baboon was belaboured and drubbed; and how Jowler behaved, 91
Chap X. How sister Peg began to look about her; and how she wrote a letter to her brother John, 98
Chap XI. How this letter was received by John, 114
Chap XII. How Mrs. Bull’s attendants were prepared on this subject, 119
Chap XIII. How Bumbo discoursed with John Bull’s Nurse, and found her not so great a fool as he thought her, 129
Chap XIV. Showing how it was the fashion to harangue Mrs. Bull, 141
Chap XV. How Mrs. Bull sat still and heard a great deal more on this subject, 152
Chap XVI. How Bumbo gave his evidence, 164
Chap XVII. How Mrs. Bull settled her stomach, 172

[Pg 1]







Commonly called PEG.

There being no history with which every learned reader is better acquainted in general, than that of John Bull, and his sister Peg, we shall spend very little time in preambles or introductions to the present story. John and his sister lived many a day, as every[Pg 2] body knows, in the two adjoining houses which were left them by their father; and it matters not now to say, how much better John was lodged than his sister, and how many more improvements he had made on his farm. We never heard of any difference arising between them on this score, farther than some jeers and taunts between the blackguards or scullions of either house, who generally got themselves bloody noses upon the occasion. As for Peg herself, she was so far from complaining of her portion, that nothing could offend her more, than to be told out of doors, that she was not the richest heiress in the world.

It is not easy to say, whether it was Peg’s own temper, the badness of her[Pg 3] subject, or the perpetual vexations she met with in her youth, that hindered her from minding her domestic affairs, so much as she should have done: but the truth is, that matters were often at sixes and sevens in her family; and her brother and she, to be sure, never could agree about any thing. All the world knows how long their affairs remained in confusion, merely because they would not employ the same attorney, and what an aversion they had to trust their affairs in common to any single person. Peg would say, “I’ll have nothing to do with John’s lawyers; whoever I employ must mind nobody’s affairs but mine. I have as good a right to be served as he; and if he pays more than I do, let it be for services done to[Pg 4] himself, not for cheating me.” John again would swagger and swear, and said, that whoever Peg employed, must be a dirty lousy fellow; and would come to no terms, unless she would take a steward of his choosing.

It happened, however, at last, as every careful peruser of history knoweth, that every man of the law, within the reach almost of John’s knowledge, from the master down to the merest clerk-boy, died, or left the country, or disappeared some how or other, and John was obliged for once to put his papers in the hands of his sister’s lawyer, a very book-learned man, as many people affirm even unto this day. But be this as it will, Peg had the vanity[Pg 5] to boast, that though her lawyer now lived in John’s own house, yet it was she who gave that clod-pated pock-puddened numskull the lawyer at last; and that this same man of the law, if he had any gratitude to the house where he was born and bred, would not let her be wronged, or forget her boys, when the stock came to be divided. She trusted too, that they would remember themselves, and if John or the attorney pretended to cheat them, she talked no less than of beating out both their brains. John was really at bottom a good-natured fellow, and knowing himself to be an overmatch for Peg, did not mind her peevish humours a rush; but he would not have liked her attorney for all that,[Pg 6] if he had not expected to manage him, by keeping him in his own house, and by putting clerks about him, who never had any connexion with Margaret, or her hungry loons, from whom, the truth is, he expected no good.

This affair being settled between the brother and sister, as well as could be expected with so little cordiality on either side, their common concerns began to be a little better managed, and people got some rest in their beds; for they did not harbour vagrants, as they used to do, to hamstring one another’s cattle, to tear up the young planting, and knock out one another’s brains. They differed, it is true, now and then about this thing, and t’other[Pg 7] thing, and about attornies and agents, but it always happened that they employed the same person, even whilst John wished Peg at the bottom of the sea; and Peg sometimes let devilish knocks at him, and the attorney too, when she was jealous of either.

John, however, was so far lucky, that his sister concurred with him very readily in most things of consequence, such as turning off Squire Geoffry, and the like; insomuch, that he himself was not readier to part with this Squire, as every body knows, although he claimed kindred to Peg, as the foster-mother of his family; and to make all sure, she put her hand as freely to the perpetual contract with Sir Thomas. This was a gentleman in the neighbourhood,[Pg 8] of an ancient family, and a pretty fortune of his own: but he was willing to take charge of the brother and sister’s affairs, provided he had some security that he should not be turned out the next moment, which was accordingly granted in the form of a contract, by virtue of which he continues to manage their business in a very orderly regular manner.

This, however, did not hinder some persons in both families, who had a hankering after Squire Geoffry, from being mad enough once and again, to think of restoring him to his office, in spite of John’s and Margaret’s teeth. They came sometimes from the garret, and from the cellar, roaring about this matter; and when they got drunk, they[Pg 9] imagined nothing was easier to be done. The truth is, that if Peg had not been firm to the contract, John would often have been sore beset.

Although the intention of this proem is far from being to give a full account of the affairs of these two families, preceding the present transaction, much less to censure or run down other grave historians, who have published to the learned world any part of their history; yet we cannot altogether pass in silence some few mistakes in the otherwise elaborate work of the celebrated Sir Humphrey Polisworth, bred in the learned university of Grub-street. An historian, in our opinion, should be as mindful of truth in whatever he may occasionally mention, as he is in the main series of[Pg 10] his story. For want of attending to this truth, the learned Sir Humphrey has unguardedly misrepresented the nature of John’s and Peg’s agreement, together with the causes which induced John to sollicit that accommodation. Many learned writers of that time say, that the question was not then about John’s heir, but about the old story the choice of a steward, and the perpetual contract we have mentioned. But be this as it will, there was no disagreement between John and his sister on either of these points, as Sir Humphrey Polisworth himself doth acknowledge. On the contrary, if John roared against Squire Geoffry, Peg tore her cap and her apron in perfect rage, and was like cat and dog with the same Squire and[Pg 11] his gang, all the time they were in the management of John’s business.

The truth of the matter was, that about the time of the great change we have mentioned, many people in both families said, Although we agree now, we may quarrel hereafter, and it will be a plaguey thing to come into the hands of different lawyers and attornies again, who never fail to set people by the ears for their own advantage. John and Margaret have lived so much better, since they came to employ the same lawyer, that it is a pity they should ever be in danger of parting their affairs. The lands of Bull-hall and Thistle-down were never intended for two farms, the same hedge and ditch surround them, and whilst they continue[Pg 12] in one, they may be kept with half the looking after; for nobody can be half so troublesome to either family, as they have formerly been to one another. For these, and many more reasons, an agreement was thought upon; and though it went somewhat against John’s stomach, yet he coaxed and flattered sister Peg till he obtained her consent, not to come to live in his house, as the learned Sir Humphrey Polisworth has erroneously related, but merely to shut up her own compting-room, dismiss her overseers, and send her clerks to John’s house, to manage their affairs together with his accomptant, under the inspection of the great lawyer, as he was then called, in both families.

[Pg 13]

This agreement, however, did not please every body. The servants who attended Peg’s compting-room, were angry at the loss of their vails. The upper servants, as every body knows, mismanaged their part of the business some how or other, and many people said, that the house looked melancholy when the windows of the counting-room just looking to the South were shut up. In short, you could hear a buzz in every corner of the house, that the whole family was undone for ever. Jack himself grew very sulky, and for the turn of a straw would have played the devil. But what will not a little time to. Peg’s people got gradually into better humour; Jack’s zeal for the contract made with Sir Thomas,[Pg 14] soon reconciled him to whatever was connected with it, and Peg’s affairs went on so tolerably, that every body was pacified, except the few who would be pleased with nothing, unless Squire Geoffry was restored.

About the time that Sir Thomas came to the office, there was a great turmoil in John’s kitchin and back-yard, and in Peg’s garret, where indeed she harboured a parcel of curious fellows, who did not mind the business of the family much, but would run you up and down stairs like lightning, sometimes get into the kitchen, the hen roost, or back yard, and snap up any thing their fingers could lay hold of. Their mistress seldom got any rent from them, except a days work[Pg 15] now and then in harvest, or the use of their children to keep the crows from the barley. But the true secret of her liking to them was, that they were excellent fellows at a brawl, and you had as good put your head in the fire, as meddle with their mistress when they were by. But Peg could never get them to agree among themselves till very lately, nor always to behave very respectfully to herself; insomuch, that both John and she were often tempted to condemn that garret. But things must have their course, the garret gentry have sometimes done excellent service, and there is nobody John himself likes better to see about him, when Lewis Baboon or Lord Strutt come about cudgel-playing, which is a very[Pg 16] common case, as the learned Sir Humphrey has very well observed.


How John quarrelled with Lewis Baboon about dividing the West-common; and how instead of going to law, they came to blows.

We account it a great oversight in the learned Sir Humphrey Polisworth, that he has taken little or no notice of John Bull’s land-estate, his orchards, kitchen-grounds, and corn-fields, of which he has always possessed an excellent share; but considered him as a simple clothier and mechanic, merely because he sent goods of this,[Pg 17] and many other kinds to market. John got ready money, it is true, by the sale of his goods; but the great support of his family, and what made him be treated like a gentleman in the neighbourhood, was the excellent manor of Bull-hall, where John and his posterity may find capon and bacon, and beef and mutton, without being obliged to any body, and without cringing to Lord Strutt, Squire South, or Lewis Baboon, for their custom. It is true, that the devil possessed John sometimes to that degree, that you could not hear a word from him but about his cloth, and his iron-work, and his pottery, and you would see him up to the eyes in clay, or steeped, till he grew all the colours of the rainbow, in dyer’s stuff, or[Pg 18] smoaked and roasted like a smith, or sallow and greasy like a weaver, and no gentleman could keep company with him, or any of his family, such low habits they had got behind the counter, or in the work-shop. “Mind your customers, lads,” says John; “Good words go far; Be civil to every body whether they buy or no;” and then he would rap out a string of proverbs, such as, “A penny saved is a penny got; Fast bind, fast find,” and so forth; in short, if it had not been for some good blood which John had still in his veins, he must have grown a mere pedling, sneaking, designing, mercenary rogue, as ever was.

There was, as we say, blood, or something else, that kept up John’s spirit, so that he went abroad now and[Pg 19] then, in as gentleman-like a way as could be wished, although Lewis Baboon used to sit sneering at him sometimes as he passed; but John minded him not a rush.

Now it happened, that John and Lewis had about the same time taken in part of the west-common, and though their fields were not contiguous, they could not agree about their marches. Many meetings they had to settle them, but all to no purpose, for none of them knew well what he would be at. The common saying was, that Lewis wanted to get all the land in the country, and you needed only to tell John so much, in order to put him in a downright foam of rage and fury. However this be,[Pg 20] Lewis tormented his own people enough, with making them stick in posts and stakes in different parts of the common; and when John asked him what he meant, he said, They were only rubing posts for his cows to scratch themselves, in case they strayed so far. But other people told John, that Lewis would some day or other claim every bit of that ground as his own, by virtue of those stakes, if he was not checked in time. Accordingly, John sent him some angry message about them, and Lewis in return, begged leave to present his compliments to John, and allured him, that the thing in the world he wished most, was to live in good terms with his honoured friend and neighbour John Bull. Mean time, some of John’s cow-herds[Pg 21] met with a fellow or two belonging to Lewis, and after a great deal of bad language, painful to repeat, they came to blows, and made a great noise, which brought John and Lewis too, to see what was the matter. John, indeed, happened to be in his barge that afternoon, on the lake to the west of his house, which he affected to call his own fish-pond, and Lewis too being on his way to the common, their barges unhappily met, when John, without any more ado, took up an oar, and aimed a blow at Lewis Baboon’s brains, You damn’d, insidious, fair-tongued villain, this is all your doing, with your stakes and your posts, and your covetousness for land, which nobody will possess under you, you damned, oppressive,[Pg 22] squeezing rascal. My dear John, says Lewis, what is the matter? The matter, you scoundrel! With that John aimed another blow; but their barges ran foul of one another, and he fastened on Lewis Baboon’s wig, tore his bag, and threw it in the water; in short, before you could count six, there was not a hat nor a wig to be seen in the whole boats-crew, of either side. History says, that Lewis had like to have been drowned outright, and was glad to get home with his head broken in many places, and cursing John Bull, for the most rash, cholerick, blunder-headed fellow, that ever was known in the world.

[Pg 23]


What sort of fellows John and Lewis were in use to employ to keep their orchards, and their poultry.

History tells us many lies, if this was the first time that John and Lewis came to blows; and Sir Humphrey Polisworth may think to conceal it if he will, but many a time has Lewis, in his youth, lost his hat and his wig in scuffles with John, and as often has John come home with a broken pate, though very few people durst tell it to his wife or his mother. In short, these two had been troublesome rogues to one[Pg 24] another time out of mind; and at the time of which we are now speaking, there was no such thing as law or justice in the whole country. If you could keep your own, it was well; if not, it did not signify complaining; two or three stout fellows at your back, a brace of pistols, or a blunderbuss, was a better title to an estate than the best conveyance in the world. Whilst you thought yourself sure of your lands, two or three fellows in the neighbourhood would be disputing who should have it; and of Lord Strutt, Lewis Baboon, Squire South, Nicholas Frog, John Bull himself, and all the gang of them, there was not one to mend another, they did not mind blowing out one another’s brains one farthing; they[Pg 25] had got honourable names for thieving, robbing, and house-breaking, such as policy, conquest, and invasion; and if you lived in their neighbourhood, they were sure to leave you nothing, unless you could handle a cutlass, or fire a blunderbuss, and kept friends with some one or other of them, who protected you for his own sake, or that he might take all you had at a more convenient time. God help the poor milk-sop that trusted to the goodness of his cause.

This made every body look about him; and John among the rest, for many a day, had as stout a family of young fellows as any in all the neighbourhood, and would not take an affront or an injury from any man. His boys were for the most part sober,[Pg 26] peaceable fellows within doors; but if there was any noise heard over-night among the poultry in the orchard, or the workshop, it needed only the bark of a dog to bring a score of them into the court, and from every corner of John’s house you could hear nothing but striving who should be out first. Every body had his cutlass, or his carabine at his bed’s-head, and it is hard to say which they were most jealous of, their father’s honour, or the preservation of his estate. It was the pride of John’s heart in those days, to see his boys hardy and resolute, and he hated a sneaking, puny, pewling fellow, like the devil.

In this humour John lived for many a day; but many changes happen which[Pg 27] nobody looks for; people persuaded him by degrees, that if he had money enough there was nothing else worth minding. From this hopeful maxim, he even neglected sending his children to school, locked up their cudgels and cricket-batts, and would not let one of them touch a gun, for fear they should hurt themselves. He had got by heart all the stories that ever his nurse had told him, about the accidents which happen at rough play, or in handling firelocks, and would repeat them sometimes, till his wife and his mother were quite ashamed of him.

It would require the pen of a great historian to tell how this great change was brought about. Some people said,[Pg 28] that John was old and began to doat; others said, that it was all owing to an old nurse who lived about the house; but alas, they do not tell us how John came to be directed by old women, or what was the reason that some of John’s neighbours were grown worse than even he was at this time. Lewis Baboon was grown from a spruce forward gallant, a mere priest-ridden, whore-ridden, flimsey periwig-making old fool. Lord Strutt could never be got out of his bed before eleven o’clock in the morning; and Nicholas Frog would rather have taken ready money for a farthing-candle, than see his best friend return from the grave. One stout man could have chaced a hundred of them into the sea, and yet these damned fellows contrived[Pg 29] to be very troublesome for all that, by means of a device of which the devil himself was certainly the author. In their younger days they were all ready enough at a blow, yet as they and every body about them, had some other business besides fighting, they could not well quarrel when they were otherways engaged; but they came at last to keep people on purpose to fight, and as nobody cared what became of these fellows, they would send them out for the turn of a straw, to play the devil in all the neighbourhood; and the rest of the people at home trusting to them, became mere milk-sops and old women.

An historian of great credit affirms, that this practice was grafted on that of keeping a game-keeper; and for this[Pg 30] reason it is, that although there be many more of them in every house than are necessary to keep the game, they are nevertheless known under the title of game-keepers even unto this day. In former times, continues he, every father of a family and his children, were sportmen more or less. It mattered not who started the game, they could all shoot without distinction; and it mattered as little what part of the house a thief attempted to break in upon, the first man he met thought himself obliged to defend the premises. But when they grew lazy, spiritless, and purse-proud, they must needs keep their game-keepers like lords, and each according to his estate, got as many as he could well maintain, and those he[Pg 31] employed not only to knock down a hare, or a partridge, now and then, for the master’s table, but to them he entrusted the whole defence of his estate inclosed and common, barn-yards, orchards, and kitchin-grounds, and it was thought presumption in any body else to do any thing besides running away when any body attempted to disturb the house. Lewis Baboon would have kept you forty or fifty at a time, and this when nobody was meddling with him, as he said, to guard his poultry, and attend him to church.

These fellows did nothing from morning to night, but first turn upon one heel, and then upon another, put a gun sometimes to their hip, sometimes to their nose, sometimes to their shoulder;[Pg 32] and, in short, played so many antic tricks with a musket, that few or none of them could remember or distinguish its real use. But they bilked their landlords, cursed, swore, and bullied, wherever they went, and in many houses where such fellows were kept, nobody durst say his life was his own for them.

It may be hard enough to tell how any matter of a family came to keep such people about him; but the most amazing thing of all is, how John Bull, so kind a father, and so good a master, should ever think of entertaining so many of them, and trust more to their affection, than to that of his own children.

[Pg 33]

It is true, that John’s heart has always misgiven him in this project; he generally keeps a dozen or so, but nobody could ever prevail on him, or Mrs. Bull, to tell how long they were to keep them; and every Saturday night when he pays off his workmen, he always says, Gentlemen, whereas it goes against my conscience, to keep some damned rascals perpetually about my house, you are to remain only for next week, and no longer; but still he keeps them on in this manner from one week to another, for which he has many salvo’s. In the first place, says John, I don’t take any body but my own tenants sons, or now and then an idle fellow from my own farm, and I have always some of my own boys who keep them[Pg 34] company; so that they always behave very respectfully to me, and have often taken my part, when such fellows as Nicholas Frog keeps would have cut my throat. Secondly, says John, I only keep them as long as Squire Geoffrey and his abettors are like to be troublesome, which I hope will not be long. But many of John’s enemies said, that there was a better reason than all these put together, viz. that he was afraid to fire a gun himself, and was frightened out of his senses when he had not some of his bullies by him.

Whether this was the cause, or the effect of his keeping those fellows, it must be owned that John Bull, who used to be a bold hearty fellow, always[Pg 35] master in his own house, and afraid of nothing, began to sneak about the doors, and would start at his own shadow; and when there was any noise in the orchard, or poultry-yard, he would scour up to the garret, and leave the game-keepers and the thieves to do what they pleased with his effects, shutting his eyes, and stopping his ears, that he might not see or hear any shooting of guns, of which in truth he was become marvelously afraid. Lewis Baboon had no more ado, but to give out that he was going to pay a civil visit to John, in order to put the whole house in a pannic: and this word pannic was grown so familiar with John, that he had it always ready as an excuse for running away upon the slightest occasion.

[Pg 36]


How John got a terrible fright in his own house of Bull-hall.

It was not always without cause, that John Bull disliked the visits of Lewis Baboon; he knew what fine sport that rogue might have made for himself in such a house; and that besides cuckoldom, many other misfortunes might have befallen the landlord. But history, with all her gravity, will scarcely make posterity believe, how much John was afraid of his own sister Margaret’s garret lodgers. Once upon a time, two or three of them being seduced by some outlandish[Pg 37] person, who stiled himself young Mr. Geoffrey, got down stairs, ran into Margaret’s dining room and drawing-room, overset the china, drank the cream, and having found one of John’s game-keepers teaching the maids to coddle apples in the back-kitchen, gave him a slap in the chops, and poured the scalding water on him. From thence they proceeded as they thought proper; and though Margaret threw her poker at them as they passed, with an air of great bitterness and vexation, yet John took it in his head that it was all her doing, and sent her word to keep them at home, otherwise he would set fire to her house: but just as he was talking in this strain, and abusing his poor sister as a treacherous vixin, who might have kept better[Pg 38] order in her house if she pleased, he was silenced at once with a knock on the pate; and without staying to see what was the matter, ran up to the leads, called out to his game-keepers, who were gone nobody knows where, then to Nicholas Frog, Rousterdivel, and all the damned names you can think of, to come to the assistance of John Bull, whose throat was just going to be cut in his own house.

Mean time, Mr. Luchar, for this was the ringleader in all this mischief, continued to do what he pleased. Whenever he met any of John’s fellows, he asked, What trade are you? And if they were weavers, he made them furnish what cloth he wanted; threatening[Pg 39] to rip up their guts. In like manner, if they were brewers, tanners, cooks, scullions, or malsters, each in his way had something good for Mr. Luchar, and the fellow had learned not to be afraid, although there were three hundred of them together.

This fray, however, did not last long; Mr. Luchar was tired, and went away home to his garret, and John, who had been more afraid than hurt, came down stairs, and when he saw that the foe was actually gone, called out to set fire to Peg’s house, to burn her, and all her vermin; for, says he, we shall never get any peace for them. Mean time, the game-keeper took heart at last, went up to the garret, and gave[Pg 40] Mr. Luchar a stunning blow in the guts, just as he was stripping to go to bed, and dragged him down to the court, where John was in a little prevailed on to come and see the object of his terror, with his hands tied behind his back. Then, indeed, he began to be ashamed of his own behaviour, and abused all his people for letting him be so much afraid; he scolded the very scullions for letting the bacon be carried off by so paultry a fellow as Mr. Luchar. In short, he and every body else threw the blame upon his neighbour, but all agreed in cursing and sinking sister Peg, to the deepest pit of hell.

It was hard to say what the poor woman had done to deserve all this[Pg 41] treatment; but some people set to work with her merely because it was the fashion, and others found their account in it, some in one way, some in another. As for the game-keeper, it was not very difficult to see his motive; he had never beat any body before in all his life, and wanted now to magnify his feats as much as he could, and accordingly said, that few people knew the amount of what he had done; that if he had not fought with sister Margaret’s people one and all, he was no true man; that he totally subdued them, and knew of nobody to compare himself to, but the ancient conquerors. That if any body said, that the whole of Margaret’s people was not against him, he was a scoundrel, and a rascal, and not to be trusted.

[Pg 42]

After this, who and who were to be trusted became the great question in John’s house. There was no pretending to any thing without being able to talk about trusting; and some people would scarcely let John Bull trust himself. As for poor Peg, he was the finest fellow that spoke the most ill of her. Even some of her own children who took care of nobody but themselves all the time that Mr. Luchar was stirring, came abroad now to confess with regret, that their mother was a sad vixin; that she had given Mr. Luchar a dram of cherry-brandy, before he set out upon that damned unnatural diabolical hell-fire scamper; that for their parts it was true, they had the misfortune to be born in her house, some people said of her own[Pg 43] proper person, but few people know who their real parents are: this, however, they knew, that they had left her very young, and never liked her company. When one had made such a speech as this, another endeavoured still to improve upon it; and if one gave his mother two, three, or more abusive epithets, the next did not fail to give five or six. At last one great dolt of a fellow, called Bumbo, made a shift to get a round dozen of them on his fingers ends, with which he never failed to entertain John Bull as often as he met him.

The sequel of all this spite to their mother, was a great deal of kindness to John Bull. Leave matters to us, said they, we shall take care that so worthy a[Pg 44] man shall not be imposed upon; you should always have some of us about your own person, and give us some decent employment, that no body may suspect the design of our being here; we shall take care to place people in that unnatural sister’s house, so that not a whisper shall be uttered among her gossips, but you shall hear of it; and these speeches they commonly concluded, with a beware of counterfeits. John upon all this looked like a perfect oaff: he thought Mr. Luchar’s knife was at his throat every moment; and these favourable dispositions they took care to improve. One time he was told that a cousin of Mr. Luchar’s had come in secretly at Peg’s garret window; at another time, that Mr. Luchar himself[Pg 45] had bought a pair of new shoes; at another time, that his sister Margaret had laughed at him, when she heard that he went up to the leads; and all this, besides being asked regularly every morning, what would become of him, if he had not some trusty friends to stand between him and that unnatural sister. In short, John was put from his sleep, and his appetite; he stared and stammered in his speech; you could not hear a word of common sense from him; and to have spoken a word of common sense, would have disgraced you with him for ever.

History says, however, that John did not continue very long in this humour; and, indeed, it must be owned, that it[Pg 46] was for once a good thing to be of a changeable temper: it would have been the devil indeed, to have continued for ever in the hands of spies and informers, perpetually talking of the miseries of human life; and the truth is, that there was nothing in the world more repugnant to his ordinary temper; so that though he could not all at once return to a perfect cordiality with his sister, yet he listened to people who advised him to take gentle methods with her. He accordingly, let even Mr. Luchar himself off, with little more than an obligation to put on his breeches every morning before he came down stairs among the ladies; and sent a civil message to his sister, to ask her how she did, and to propose taking a lease of her garret, and[Pg 47] said that he would pay her any rent she chose to put upon it. Many odd projects, indeed, were put in his head at this time; such as to turn that garret into a stable and coach-house; to make sister Peg lodge her coals in it, brew her ale, and wash her linen; in short, to make Mr. Luchar himself, besides putting on his breeches, carry up earth, and plant cabbages and turnips upon the leads. It is true, that nothing of all this has been done; but it is not John’s fault, he was at some expence about it, and meant all for the best.

[Pg 48]


How John’s affairs had like to have gone to the devil.

We know how difficult a thing it is to write history. Whenever the reader meets with any thing that exceeds his own pitch, he presently attacks the credit of the historian; and we shall now be asked how came John Bull, who was such a coward in his own house, to be so very rash, as we have said, in that scuffle with Lewis Baboon. The fact is, that John never was slow at getting into a quarrel; he was choleric beyond measure; and as for mischief[Pg 49] out of doors, there was nobody readier. He had a parcel of watermen who feared neither man nor devil, and when he was in his barge, either on the east or the west lake, it was but a word and a blow with him; he never was afraid to meet with Lewis Baboon there, nor any where else, except at home. When you proposed to John, to go over to Lewis’s own house, and break his bones for him, he thought nothing more easy; but alas, if Lewis talked of coming to him, matters went no better than we have said.

You will easily believe, that after that scuffle in the barge, Lewis Baboon must be in a very great passion. Accordingly, he cursed and swore like twenty dragoons, that he would speedily see John in his own house, and show him in the[Pg 50] face of Mrs. Bull herself, what sort of a man he had affronted: this was sooner said than done. But in the mean time, nobody could tell what was become of John, and all his watermen; whilst Lewis Baboon went vapouring about every where, and did what he pleased. He drove John’s cattle out of Cracket-Island, and took possession of it; although John used to think that nobody could ever dispute islands with him, so ready was he with his barge to relieve them: but the truth upon this occasion was, that John had got into one of these pannics we have mentioned, had applied to Nicholas Frog to no purpose, and actually brought over Rousterdivel, to protect him. But the whole neighbourhood laughed at him, when they saw that Lewis Baboon[Pg 51] had no more to do than to talk of going over to John, in order to do what he pleased every where else; and John got into one of the greatest passions that ever he was in in his life. All the historians of that time, ring with the amazing noise which he made about that same Cracket-Island. He swaggered and stared, and roared and swore, that John Bull of Bull-hall was abused and cheated by his clerks, his watermen, his overseers, and every soul about him. When he saw Rousterdivel, he called to his people to turn out that fellow; asked, what the devil had brought him to his house; would not give him a bit of victuals, and threatened to go to law with him about a handkerchief: and in short, obliged the poor fellow to go[Pg 52] away, very much puzzled to make out what sort of a man this same Mr. Bull must be.

Upon this occasion, John made such a noise, that he wakened Mrs. Bull, and brought her down yawning to the parlour, and rubbing her eyes, after one of those drousy fits, to which she had been lately subject. He had already, to her no small mortification, chaced away two or three of her favourite servants, who used to put her to bed every night, and among the rest his own nurse, who was grown of late a great person in all Mrs. Bull’s junketings and private parties; and indeed, for some time, pretended to manage John himself as she thought proper. To do this nurse justice, there were few people had a better hand at a[Pg 53] sack-posset; and though she had no aversion to a glass of liquor in a fair way, yet she never tasted what came through her hands in the way of making cawdle, whey, or panada for the children: we never heard any thing amiss of her, save that she would take the children’s halfpence from them to keep, and therewith make up little sums, which she lent to the servant maids at interest, when they wanted to buy ribbons, or other trinkets. But the love of money may be forgiven in old age, as also that meddling disposition which servants usually acquire when they have been long about a house. The truth is, that nothing could be more ridiculous than to hear this old woman put in her word upon all occasions. There was nothing[Pg 54] in which she did not think herself a perfect oracle; she talked to John not only about his markets and his bargains, and all his dealings with his neighbours, about the choice of schools and masters for his children; game-keepers, hunts-men, whippers-in; but, in short, about his drunken quarrels, boxing matches, cudgel play, and quarter staff. She would govern every part of his house for him, and no servant durst go with a message from his master, without first asking her, if she had any commands?

Hubble-bubble, and this nurse, had gone hand in hand for many a day; but alas! the loss of Cracket-Island fell heavy upon them both at last. Bawd, whore and rogue, were the best names they could get from John upon that occasion,[Pg 55] and Hubble-bubble got out of his way as fast as he could scour; but the nurse broke a cawdle-cup which she had in her hand, and bid him go find another to make slops for himself and his children.

John was greatly helped into this fine humour by one Jowler, for whom he had a great regard at this time. Most historians agree, that the name of Jowler was only a nick-name, which this fellow had got from the boys at school, on account of some odd conceit of a resemblance between him and a hound of that name in John’s pack. They say, moreover, that most of the boys had the name of some dog or other given them, and that they used to make one of themselves the hare, and so hunt him with[Pg 56] a mighty noise, in imitation of John’s pack. As to the dog Jowler, his resemblance to the person we are now speaking of, has procured him a place in the records of history. There we are told, that this dog had a very loud tongue, and that if he could not lead the whole pack, he never failed, at least, to carry off five or six couple, sometimes on a right, sometimes on a wrong scent; that he thereby so often spoilt the sport, that the huntsman was downright crazy with rage, and often threatened to turn Jowler out of the kennel, and sometimes actually tied him up at home; but then he made such a noise, that Mrs. Bull could get no sleep for him in a morning; and the huntsman was as often obliged to leave Mango’s tomb[Pg 57] and plaister in the kennel, whilst Jowler was suffered to lead the pack. Then John had excellent sport, and the huntsman no great cause to complain; for Jowler was tractable enough, and a crack of the whip would make him leave the pursuit of the stag, for that of a pole-cat, or a rabbit, and this not absolutely for want of nose, but for fear of being turned down among the babblers again.

Although we account it below the dignity of history, to adopt, or retail nick-names, yet we think ourselves obliged in this case, to retain a name which has come down to us on the great tide of writers, which watt and carry the transactions of that age. To return,[Pg 58] therefore, from this digression; Jowler no sooner observed the humour which John was in, than he chimed in directly; he told him that his family had never been so much disgraced before; that the scandalous loss of Cracket-Island was more owing to his overseer, than to the waterman who was sent to look after it; that it was ignominious for John Bull, with a house full of fine young fellows, to need the protection of so sorry a fellow as Rousterdivel; that if he did not look about him, he would soon become the jest of all the neighbourhood, and lose all the ground which he had upon the common, or any where else. To approve of a man’s advice in one thing, and trust him with every thing, were inseparable with John; accordingly, he put all his affairs directly[Pg 59] into Jowler’s hands, and for the first fortnight neither Sir Thomas, nor any body else, durst controul him in any thing.


How John consulted with his friends about the method of retrieving his affairs.

John was a great person for collecting his friends together to have their advice, but for the most part he did just what he pleased for all that; and he had always some point or other in his head, in which it was in vain to contradict him. This was the case now about the malversations of his servants,[Pg 60] and though there were many people disposed to soften him, not a mortal durst put in a word. In the height of his passion he abused every thing that had been done, right or wrong, for many years before. They had neglected his new farm upon the common, and sent his horses, his ploughs and carts, to labour Sir Thomas’s land in the east country; they had run him in debt over head and ears, pawned his plate, and mortgaged his estate; they had made his wife, who used to be a notable woman, a mere sot, with ale, brandy, and slops. The nurse had even spoilt his own stomach with nasty mawkish warm drinks, and over-heating his ale. With all this in his head, whenever he went to any of the neighbouring towns, he instantly repaired to the coffee-house,[Pg 61] and poured all forth to the first person he met. All the world admired the vigour of his spirit, and the honesty of his intentions, even when he carried matters too far; and we all know, that if the father of such a family does not make a noise sometimes, affairs will be managed but so so.

About this time of which we are now speaking, John had a circle about him wherever he went, and talked of his affairs from morning to night. He testified a particular aversion to the employing of Rousterdivel any more, swore that he himself never would cross the lake upon any body’s errands, and that if any body came over to meddle with him, he would show them that he could defend himself. In all which, Jowler encouraged[Pg 62] him strongly, and repeated every word John could say, in a much higher tone than himself; and next to the point of getting fixed in the management of the business, seemed to have nothing more at heart, than to break off all idle connections, to keep John at home, and put a gun in his own hands, to avoid the disgrace of running to other people for protection on every trifling alarm. Whatever might be done afterwards, Jowler knew this was no time to baulk John in any of his fancies; and accordingly, he assisted in all his consultations, and nobody so loud as he.

One day, when John’s tongue was running on God knows where, he was asked by some of his friends what he intended to do. Do you intend, said they, to ask Lewis Baboon’s pardon for striking him[Pg 63] in the manner you did, or do you persist in the design of giving him gentlemany satisfaction? I tell you what, says John, if Lewis Baboon had a thousand Cracket-islands of mine, and that he would give me them all for asking his pardon, I would not do it. He is a vile, over-reaching, undermining, treacherous rogue, and there never will be any peace in the neighbourhood, as long as that fair-tongued rascal is out of his grave. Let him come out in his barge again, and I shall meet him; but I know the rascal, he has perpetually some bad design in his head, and when he is found out, he will bow and scrape, and make compliments; but he does not lay it aside for all that, he only waits for a time to put it in execution, not in a fair gentlemany way, but behind[Pg 64] your back, or when you are asleep, or indisposed: but I will dress his jacket for him, if I find him put his nose upon the lake again.

But only suppose then, said they, that he should slip over in the night, as he has often threatened, with a parcel of his game keepers, and take possession of your parlour and bed-chamber, which are worth more than Cracket-Island to him, do you think, he will give you time to send for Rousterdivel, as you used to do?

All the fires of Sodom and Gomorrah seize me, says John, if ever I send for Rousterdivel with his great tobacco-pipe, his sour crout, and his damned lingo, that nobody can understand.[Pg 65] Odds-blood, an’t I as good a man as Rousterdivel or Lewis Baboon? Though I have not so many game-keepers, yet I have as good clean-made fellows about my farm as he; and if my own children will let me be insulted, it is time that John Bull was gone the way of all flesh.

But what can your children do for you, said they, when your wife, and your nurse, and your steward, will not let one of them touch a gun or a cutlass, and think there is no safety but in the dark cellar, or the coal-hole, when there is any disturbance in the yard.

Well, says John, I shall tell them another tale; my boys shall learn to defend[Pg 66] me as they used to do. I have seen the time when the stoutest of them all durst not meddle with me, and that time shall return again, if I can get arms enough to furnish my hall, as I always had it, till now.


How the Nurse dreamt that John Bull had banished all the weavers.

We may believe that after so busy a day, as we have been describing, the Nurse was not likely to get a very good night’s rest; starting, tumbling and tossing she had in abundance, but very little sound sleep. She could not shut an eye, but presently she dreamt[Pg 67] of some mischief or other. One time she thought the pan boiled over in the fire; at another time, that the cat’s paw was in the custard; and finally, about three o’clock in the morning, she dreamt that John Bull had banished all the weavers from his house; she saw the beams, the tradles, the shuttles, the pirns, all tumbled in a heap into a great black boat; she saw all the weavers posting to embark. When she would have seized a piece of broad cloth, behold it was a great iron cannon! When she put out her hand to save a pirn, lo, it perked up in her face in the make of a pistol! Terror and amazement awaked her; she forgot her resolution never to talk any more to John Bull about his affairs, and thought herself now called upon by[Pg 68] heaven, to interpose in behalf of him and his children.

Accordingly, she lost no time in the morning, but went straight to the parlour, where she found John as busy as ever, talking about the orders he was to give in his house: and having told him her dream, earnestly beseeched him to tell her, whether he had any such intention, with relation to the weavers; for she thought that a person, who had ceased to be guided by her, would stick at nothing.

“The woman is crazy,” says John: “I am only thinking how I may best secure the peace and welfare of my family, and how to keep off rogues; and you ask me, if I am to banish my weavers?[Pg 69] I’ll defend my weavers to the last drop of my blood; they shall fare no worse than I do; late or early, if they are molested, I shall be with them, and I know that they will stand by me against all the world.”

“What better protection can you desire for yourself or them,” says the nurse, “than your own game-keeper, or Rousterdivel? It would do one good to see, how that fine tall fellow will stop and turn, and do what he is bid.”

“A plague take the woman,” says John, “with her Rousterdivel; do you think that I am a coward, a scoundrel, a beast, a blockhead, a milk-sop, that I must always run for protection to other people? I tell you again, that I am[Pg 70] able to defend myself, and that I have people enow about my house to stand by me.”

“And how do you propose that they should stand by you?” says the nurse: “When Lewis sends over his game-keepers, with their guns and their sabres, who will stand by you then?”

“Odso,” says John, “cannot my people have guns and sabres as well as they?”

“Alas! then,” says the nurse, “my dream is read. You will not have a weaver in your house in three days, if you go on at that rate: who do you think will sit quietly on a loom, with guns and pistols pointing at them in every corner, and that boy George putting[Pg 71] crackers in the candles, and firing his pistols at sparrows, and shooting the neighbours cats when they come about the hedges? See who can settle to work for you, if they are in perpetual danger of having their eyes blown out with squibs, serpents and rackets? Do you think a tradesman can do any good if he is scared at that rate?”

“Scared!” says John, “you don’t think that a weaver will be scared when he turns game-keeper, and I have none better on my grounds. If any of my people are afraid of a gun, so much the more shame to them and to me; it is the very thing I want to correct, by using them a little to what may be necessary for their own defence and mine.”

[Pg 72]

“Worse and worse,” says the nurse: “if you use them to guns, you’ll never get them to work a jot; and banishing the trade is worse than banishing the men.”

“A tenfold madness has seized your pericranium,” says John; “do you think that nobody can make broad cloth but cowards; or that a fellow won’t work, because he knows he can defend the fruits of his labour? You have no objection to the taking as many of my tradesmen as you can get, to make game-keepers of them; and because they work none, you imagine that every fellow who takes a firelock in his hand to defend himself and me, is to be idle too. Don’t the game-keepers themselves work when they are allowed,[Pg 73] and are paid for it? have not I known them give money to their overseers, for leave to work at their own trades? and many a good penny has been got in that way. As my people are useful to me, and to themselves, I intend that they shall work in safety, and that nobody shall insult an honest tradesman of mine, whilst they and I have breath in our bodies. Do what you will, you shall never get me disgraced as you have done, with your idle jaw and nonsensical trash.”

“Bless me,” says the nurse, “what a wild project you have got in your head! You’ll tell me you want to defend your house and your estate; but to what purpose keep your estate, if you cannot find time, so much as to eat a bit of warm victuals; hurried late and early,[Pg 74] banged, soused and drenched in all weathers, and this for fear that Lewis Baboon should turn you out of your possessions; and what matter who has your possessions, if you cannot sit down to enjoy them? Et propter vitam vivendi perdere causas.

“Hey-day,” says John, “your humble servant, Latin! I remember you of old.” “But goody,” says he, “I knew you lived among the boys; but don’t think to palm upon me as a commendation of eating and drinking and cowardice, what the old boy for whom I have so often been whipped, damn him, has said against a fellow who would forfeit his honour to preserve his life.”

“Well then,” says the nurse, “see how you can keep your bargain with[Pg 75] Sir Thomas. What will he say, when he sees your house swarming with pistols and carabines, and cutlasses? you know that he does not chuse to trust any body in this house with gun-powder, except the game-keeper.”

“Blood-and-wounds,” says John, “you are more mindful of Sir Thomas than you are of me. I have heard nothing from you these twenty years, but Sir Thomas does not like this, and Sir Thomas does not like that. I was advised to take Sir Thomas into the management of my affairs, because Squire Geoffrey endeavoured to get a game-keeper of his own, and do what he pleased about my house. And now you tell me, that Sir Thomas and[Pg 76] the game-keeper are the only people to be trusted. Those gentlemen, it seems, will trust nobody else, and who the devil will trust them? I never knew any of those suspicious people, that was much to be trusted himself. Ill doers are ill dreaders, as my sister Peg says. Odso, if Sir Thomas does not think himself safe in my parlour with me and my children, he must know of something worse than I thought of. Who was it that brought him about the house? Have not I done all that lay in my power for him? And now you and he won’t let me defend myself, because he won’t trust me. I love Sir Thomas; I mean, that he shall have the disposal of all the arms about my house, and he shall find that I am his friend, when Hubble-bubble and you are in your graves, and all the[Pg 77] nonsense you are perpetually putting in his head and mine, is not worth a curse.”


What happened after this conversation with the Nurse.

Who was listening to all this discourse, but the very boy George himself, whom the nurse was so much afraid of? This youngster, instead of loitering about the kitchen or the nursery, flattering the cook-maid, or the nurse, for slops and tit-bits between meals, was perpetually rambling about in quest of some diversion without doors. He had procured a pistol and a gun, and[Pg 78] powder and shot, all which he hid in the hay-stack, or in crannies of the barn wall. You would think that he minded nothing but climbing walls, and scrambling over hedges; but no sooner did he see two or more people serious about any thing, than he forgot all his play, came to listen, as he did to this conversation between John and his nurse, and gave such attention, that there were few articles relating to the family, of which he had not an excellent notion; and could see the folly and ridicule of people, who thought themselves over wise, as well as another: he was a perfect plague to the nurse, who hated a joke, and was often put downright mad with his dry wipes and arch sayings. He no sooner heard John talk in the peremptory[Pg 79] manner above related, than he ran away to Mrs. Bull as fast as his legs could carry him, and told her all that her husband had said, and a great deal more of his own, without mincing the matter in the least, by which he convinced her that John was not then in an humour to be crossed, and that whether she liked the project or no, it was best to put a good face upon the matter.

Every body knows that John had devolved great part of his business upon Mrs. Bull; no tradesman’s bill could be paid without her authority, nor any receipts granted to any of John’s tenants. In short, neither John himself, nor Sir Thomas, durst go to a fair or a market, till they knew whether she would stand to their bargains. This had often been[Pg 80] very troublesome to Sir Thomas, and till he found out the way of managing her by means of Hubble-bubble, and the like persons, he was obliged to proceed with great caution, and for the most part to stay at home, when he would fain have been a gadding.

John had been so oft married, that it may be said with safety, that no man in the world ever had more experience in matrimony. He had tasted at times both the sweet and the bitter; but it was a maxim of his, that any wife was better than none; and accordingly, no sooner one wife died, than he instantly married another. He never liked a woman the worse for having a spice of the vixen; it pleased him to hear the clack of a woman’s tongue; and the truth is,[Pg 81] that in a family like his, it was no good sign when the mistress was not heard of both late and early. His present wife had got herself a tolerable name in the neighbourhood, as a quiet, discreet, good sort of a woman; and John, accordingly, sometimes almost forgot that she was in the family. She never let him have any of those disputes with Sir Thomas about settling the accounts, with which John had used to be delighted; but commonly passed them in the lump, saying, that every article was just what she would have thought of herself, for the good of the family. With all this good understanding with Sir Thomas, it was suspected that she had not all the respect for her husband that she should have had; and the more that[Pg 82] she never scrupled to talk over all the arts which she had practised in the courtship, and to tell, how many a pot and penny it had cost her, to get a good word with his servants, thereby to secure John to herself, when he might have had his choice of all the country; and then she would talk of her pin-money, and little perquisites, out of which, she was perpetually endeavouring to make up some little stock for herself. The nurse and Hubble-bubble humoured her in all this way of talking, and said, to be sure, nobody would marry such an old fellow as John Bull, except with a view to get something by him. By this, and such like discourse, they had got a great deal to say with her, and could have easily persuaded her at this time to put off the[Pg 83] project of giving out the guns, if they durst have ventured to cross John in a thing he was so much bent upon. The boy George assured Mrs. Bull, that John must have at least fifty or sixty at a time, and all that the nurse could venture upon, was to make her abate one half; with which solacing herself in the mean time, she let an order be signed for the rest.

It is hard to say, what made Hubble-bubble and the nurse so averse to this scheme. As for Hubble-bubble it is probable, as most historians agree, that he did not know very well himself. But the nurse, who was no fool, most people thought, must have some other reasons besides her dream. However this be,[Pg 84] we shall relate facts as they occur in the course of our history.


Concerning sister Peg.

When the accounts were brought to sister Peg of all those fine doings in John’s house; how Jowler was entrusted with every thing, and was driving it away like Jehu; and how John had brought all his arms from the cellar, and was determined to fight with Lewis Baboon himself; and how John’s hall was stuck round, as it used to be, with guns, pikes, bayonets and cutlasses, mixed, as report was, with stags branches, fox skins, and solitairs taken[Pg 85] from Lewis in his youth; Peg expected a message every minute to desire she would garnish her hall in the same manner, and get ready the few young men she had left in her house to oppose Lewis, in case he should attempt to break in that way. But many a day passed without any tidings; and what was most surprizing of all was, that with all this lady’s wonted spleen, and acrimony when she was vexed, there was scarcely a discontented word heard from her on the occasion. One morning, indeed, at breakfast, she said, that she could not blame her brother, but that she could not well understand, what Mrs. Bull meant by putting such a slight upon her, or how it came to pass that her own clerks, whom she sent to the[Pg 86] office, and who had nothing else to do but to mind her affairs, never let her hear a word of the matter.

This was almost all that she said, for a great while, and that with so little appearance of concern, that few historians have taken any notice of it. People who thought of former times, expected bad humour enough from her on this occasion; but the fact was, that this lady was greatly changed in her manners and deportment. From being jealous, captious, and ready to quarrel about a straw, she was grown in a very little time, a quiet easy-tempered, good-conditioned body, as could be wished, and this made some people think that the girl might have been always easy enough to live with, if people had not played[Pg 87] tricks on porpose to vex her, which indeed was so often the case, that you would have thought her in a perpetual passion; and she was, by the habit of continual fretting, so much on the catch, that she thought herself affronted often, when no such thing was meant. In those days her servants had better lose their ears, than slight her in the manner they now did, and they commonly stood as much in awe of her, as the servants in John’s, or any other house could do of their master and mistress. But it was a changed world now. Her elder boys and upper servants passed most of their time out of the house, and sent any orders they pleased, about the kitchen, the cellar, or the farm; and those who stayed at home, and did the work of[Pg 88] the family, forgot the way to complain.

Whilst John’s house perpetually rung with the marrow-bones and cleavers, or cat-calls and groans either in honour or contempt of the upper-servants, according to their behaviour; insomuch, that Mrs. Bull’s own woman durst not give herself any saucy airs; in Peg’s house all was hush, the good and the bad were used almost alike; and as to the business of the office, it was out of sight out of mind with Peg; she sent her clerks to wait upon Mrs. Bull, and although she was at no pains to send people that would not require looking after, yet she never inquired any more about the matter. Accordingly, they not only neglected her concerns, but often[Pg 89] got bits of the best, for abusing her to the nurse and the game-keeper, and others of Mrs. Bull’s gossips; and few or none of them thought of any thing, but how to get a share to themselves of what was going about Mr. Bull’s house. She had even the mortification to see some of the worst of them come home, from John’s counting-room, with directions to keep the keys of her cellar and pantry, and deal out the victuals to her children; in doing which, they had a wonderful jargon, which nobody could understand, but which had a strange effect in benumning and stupifying all their hearers. They talked perpetually of the people above, the great folks, or the people in power; and now and then would whisper Peg herself, that if she[Pg 90] kept her temper, the people above might possibly make her a present of a hood, or a tippet, or a new petticoat, at a proper time; and though she did not know, who the devil these people above were, she was perpetually gulled with this sort of talk. Those who pretend to understand these matters, say, that the people above were such as had the naming of John Bull’s servants, and that they contrived new offices, and a variety of perquisites and vails, on purpose to allure people, who were willing to sell their souls to hell, and cheat their own father and mother.

[Pg 91]


How Lewis Baboon was belaboured and drubbed; and how Jowler behaved.

What we have already set forth, was the real state of sister Margaret’s affairs, when her brother took that sturdy resolution for himself, but left her out. His, indeed, was the best part of the family, and it was well that matters were carried so far. John was likely some time or other to go all lengths for his sister, as well as for himself; and it was the fashion at this time to say, that the great Jowler would never stop, till every good work was accomplished;[Pg 92] but historians do not mention any great things that he did in the matter. It appears, indeed, that this fellow did set himself in earnest to touzle Lewis Baboon, and so beset the lake and the common, that Lewis could no where appear, without getting a knock on the pate with an oar, or a punch in the guts with a hand-hoe, and sometimes had musket-bullets whistling about his ears so thick, that he ran as if all the devils in hell were let loose at his heels.

In short, Jowler went on helter-skelter; and as long as John and his wife were in the humour of paying his bills, he hired all the poachers, game-keepers, and whippers-in in the country, and did not care a farthing for a fellow, unless he could send him off the country,[Pg 93] to do some mischief or other. For this reason he made John get as many game-keepers as possible, but never a word of arming his own children. He made up matters again with Rousterdivel, gave him all he asked, and encouraged him to play the devil in the house of Squire South, John’s old friend. He sent more people to look after Sir Thomas’s farm, than ever were there before in this world. He brought John in bills of expence laid out in the East country, so extravagant, and consisting of so many articles, that you would have thought all the taylors and apothecaries in the country, had been concerned in making them up. But Jowler minded nothing of all this; as long as John was in the humour, he went on, and bullied and[Pg 94] roared, and spent his money, as if the master’s salvation depended on the noise which his man Jowler should make in the neighbourhood; and there was nothing to stop him, for peoples tongues were tied up, some by one thing, some by another; and well did he know how to hold one tongue, that used to be the loudest of all on the like occasions.

There was, however, seldom a day but John had the news of some mischance befalling his foe Lewis, and then he had the marrow-bones and cleavers at his door, and his house rung with dancing of hornpipes, jigs, and country bumkins. It was in vain to tell him that these things would not avail his family a sixpence after all was over, and that he had forgot the fine resolutions he had taken,[Pg 95] about the defence of his own house at home, the clearing up of his old arms, and sending his children to the fencing-school.

Jowler kept him perpetually drunk, in order to get his money to spend; there was seldom a night, but he made him drink twelve bumpers, and dance three hornpipes; so that John frequently exposed himself to the neighbourhood, and in his cups talked no less than of taking the half of Lewis Baboon’s estate to himself.

In all this hurry-scurry, the nurse and Hubble bubble were laughing in their sleeves; they saw their own game played to better purpose, than ever they durst venture to play it. Sir Thomas and[Pg 96] they got the fingering of more money than ever they had seen before in their lives, and they might lay it out where they pleased, so they let Jowler have the honour of the treat: whilst in the mean time they saw no necessity of taking the arms out of the cellar, and they hoped, that John would soon forget all that he ever said upon the subject. And so, perhaps, he would, till Lewis Baboon chose to put him in mind of it again, if it had not been for the boy George, and one or two more. But George never rested till he got his gun again, which the game-keeper had taken from him some time before; and there was no hindering of him, from getting some choice fellows together on holidays to shoot, as he had an[Pg 97] order for it under Mrs. Bull’s own hand.

The nurse then thought that she would give them their bellyful; she said, that Lewis Baboon was coming, and advised Sir Thomas to call them out of their beds, at all hours of the night, to send them over hedge and ditch, from post to pillar, and never give them any rest, in hopes that they would tire of their project; she thought that when they found there was no money to be got by the bargain, they would beg to be off. And here historians observe, that this good woman had forgotten, how much young people like fun better than money. But still she made something of a bad bargain; she advised Sir Thomas never to let these people come home, because[Pg 98] Lewis Baboon was coming, and to send away all the game-keepers to his own farm, because Lewis Baboon was not coming. In short, we can find no clear account of Lewis Baboon’s real intention, in any historian of that age, much less collect any opinion about it from the conduct of John Bull’s advisers at this time.


How sister Peg began to look about her; and how she wrote a letter to her brother John.

Many were the freaks which John had taken in his head at different times: he once thought of turning lawyer, as every body knows;[Pg 99] but he now despised that and every other profession, and would be nothing less than a duke or a lord. He thought that he only wanted a suitable estate to maintain his dignity, and encouraged every scheme that was laid before him for acquiring it. He had, accordingly, twenty proposals brought him every day in writing by Jowler, all entitled, “Speedy and easy methods of acquiring a great land estate, humbly addressed to John Bull, Esq;” Islands were to be seized here and there by main force; the whole common was to be inclosed, without enquiring who had a right there; plantations were to be cut down, and sent to market; farms were to be let to tenants that John could confide in, and every door was to be chalked[Pg 100] with John Bull’s name in great letters.

Why should not I, says he, have a great estate, as well as another? Every body knows, that Lewis did not come honestly by all he has, yet the rogue is never the worse esteemed in the neighbourhood.

Whilst John’s head was busied with these hopeful projects, the news came that Lewis Baboon was coming in earnest. John looked like a person just awake from his first sleep, and made some motions towards the back-door, before he recollected that he had some guns ready in the hall, and that he and his people must be affronted for ever,[Pg 101] if they did not pluck up their spirits. He saw a good many of his people ready to stand by him, and the blood returned to his face; the game-keepers were all brought into the yard; and the nurse herself was then glad to see as many of John’s people in arms as possible; the watermen were sent out in the barge to meet Lewis Baboon; and John, in short, passed the night, as easily as could be expected of a man in his situation.

It is an old saying, Every man for himself, and God for us all. John in his hurry, barricading his doors, and posting his people, forgot his sister Margaret altogether. There was, indeed, a game-keeper lodged in her house, but this poor fellow could scarcely pretend[Pg 102] to secure one door, and Lewis had twenty methods of coming into her house, where there was neither lock nor latch, nor a single pistol to resist any body, that should attempt to force his way; and the worst on’t was, that Lewis had sent a sculler, with some of his game-keepers boys, to take advantage of this situation. What could a poor woman do? the maids and the children screamed in every corner of the house, and Jowler sent a gun to Mac Lurchar, as if Peg’s garret was the only place exposed, and left her pantry and her cellar to take care of themselves.

Many people in the house were of opinion, that she should write immediately[Pg 103] to her brother John, to represent her case, and put him in mind, that when she trusted her affairs to the management of his clerks, it was in hopes that her concerns would be equally looked after with his own. Jack, who by this time had sown his wild oats, and was grown an orderly conversable fellow as you would desire to see, was clear for writing this letter. “From the little I have seen of this troublesome neighbourhood,” says he, “I am convinced that no family is safe from ill neighbours, and thievish servants, without the master and his children can take care of themselves. As arrows are in the hands of a mighty man, says the Psalmist, so are children of the youth. Happy the man that hath his quiver full of them:[Pg 104] they shall not be ashamed, but speak with the enemies in the gate. That is the true defence,” says Jack, “and let us have it. A game-keeper may be out of the way, but the child of the house is always by his father’s side.” In short, as he was no trifler, so he was seldom idle, when there was any thing of consequence to be done, and never minded whether his opinion was asked or no. He spoke loudly on this occasion, and as he kept a regular correspondence with Sir Thomas, never failed to tell him his mind. Peg herself, who, as we have said, was rather gentle and inoffensive in her ordinary deportment, gave some signs of discontent and vexation; you could see a little fierceness return to her eye, and the affection and confidence with[Pg 105] which she had always of late regarded her brother, perhaps, at this time helped to augment her displeasure. It is a grievous thing to be neglected by people to whom we make advances of kindness and respect: this, however, did not extort from her any injurious terms to her brother. If there was a cloud, it was readier to break upon his enemies head than on his. The truth is, that instead of having that waspish cross disposition, which she had often discovered in her youth, she now needed some encouragement and spiriting up, to be able to defend her own. This did not hinder many people from thinking her greatly improved; she had, indeed, more bloom in her complexion, or was rather less pale than formerly, and was[Pg 106] what you may call a tight comely woman to converse with, rather than one of your delicate beauties. But be her person what it would, it was necessary to defend her house and her children; and people told her, that if she would write to her brother, he would not hesitate a moment about putting it in her power to do so. Peg was not near so ready in taking resolutions as she used to be, when left entirely to shift for herself; and even so small a matter as writing a letter, she put off from day to day; at last, she got up one morning very early, and with the assistance of some of her children and relations, drew up a scroll of the following letter, which was afterwards copied out fair, and sent by a careful person to her brother.

[Pg 107]

A copy of Margaret’s letter to her brother John.

“My dear Brother,

“It was with great pleasure that I heard lately from people who frequent your house, that you had taken a resolution not to depend any longer upon Nicholas Frog or Rousterdivel for your defence; that you had collected your spirit very opportunely, and have since found yourself fortified, by what is the real strength of every family, the affection and vigour of your own children. My heart warmed to the prospect of finding myself in the same situation, and I could have almost wished for an opportunity to see your children and mine[Pg 108] fairly united, against some common oppressor, a case in which I hope they will always be invincible. But whatever my situation may be, I do not repine at your prosperity. Our interests, indeed, are unseparable, and I cannot be persuaded, when matters go well with you, that they can, at the long run, go ill with me or my family. This made me bear patiently with your people’s neglect of me, when they ordered your family into a posture of defence; and indeed, unless it had come of yourself at that time, I was unwilling to have any matter started, which might have embarassed you in what you was about, by furnishing, as I was told it might do, the people who were disposed to cross you, with arguments against your scheme. Those[Pg 109] gentlemen, it seems, have a language ready prepared with respect to me, but I enter into no contentions with them. It seems that words have their weight after their meaning has ceased to be believed. It is in this way only, that I can understand, why a suspicion thrown upon me in words should be regarded, whilst your servants in my own sight, carry arms to Mac Lurchar, the only person almost whom you or I have reason to distrust. I do not condemn that proceeding of yours; it is an instance of your openness and good-nature, and I believe has met with a fellow, who has the heart to stand by his friends, and who, if properly directed, will fight for you and me, rather than for any body else.

[Pg 110]

“But whatever my reasons were, for delaying to put you and Mrs. Bull in mind of me, I cannot, in justice to my own family, delay it any longer. Your prosperity I shall always consider as my own; but there are certain distinctions, which if borne in silence by me, must, even in your own opinion, render me unworthy of the relation I bear to you. You used to call me proud. I wish I may not have erred on the other extreme. When you cease to be proud, I shall not esteem my brother the more. But whatever weaknesses I may have, how could you for a moment think of reducing me to the necessity of asking as a favour, what is the birth-right of all mankind, liberty to defend myself? I was possessed of this liberty, before I entrusted my affairs to the management[Pg 111] of your servants; and if you and I both afterwards ceased to use it, that part of our history, perhaps, had better be past in silence. It never occurred to me, that you might perhaps resume it yourself, without offering it to me.

“If a partial distribution of arms in your own family alarmed you, as it must do every man of common reason, what must I think? the only person to whom the means of self-defence are denied, whilst I am surrounded on every hand, by those who carry a badge of superiority, more certain than scepters or empty pageantry. If my neighbours are at variance, whoever is uppermost, it seems, I must be at under, a poor tame drudge, unable to keep my own, or assist my friends.

[Pg 112]

“I should tire you, if I was to say every thing that occurs to me on this alarming subject, and upon an occasion which would justify greater degrees of impatience, than I have hitherto expressed. When I think, that the very enemy against whom your people have taken such care to secure themselves, is now hovering about my doors, where he is sure neither to find lock nor bar, nor a single musket to oppose his entry, I may well lose my patience, and wish at least to hear the cause of this difference explained.

“I shall direct my own people with you, how to act upon this occasion; and I must beg the favour, that you will assist in procuring me directions how to proceed in warding off the blow, with[Pg 113] which I am now threatened; or let me know where I am to find bread for my children, if what I have within my doors is the property of every fool, who may be disposed to take it.

“I am,
with the sincerest esteem
and affection, yours, &c.


This letter had a tone of impatience, perhaps, because it was the sudden burst of a sentiment, which Margaret had been at some pains to stifle. She meant, as historians affirm, only to speak of the present alarm; yet she broke into the subject at once, and then was almost ashamed to own, that she or her children were afraid of Lewis Baboon’s scurvy waterman, though, to say the truth, she could then have made no defence.

[Pg 114]


How this letter was received by John.

Margaret certainly did her brother wrong, if she supposed that he had ever refused her the privilege of defending herself, or that he was in any degree averse, to give his consent to whatever might be necessary for that purpose. The fact was, that he had forgot her altogether, and never once thought of the question, whether she should be put upon the same footing with himself in this particular.

When John Bull acted from his own temper, and without reflection, he never[Pg 115] discovered any remains of distrust or antipathy to his sister: but when any matter came to be seriously considered, and friends, as John expressed himself, were consulted, then he had, indeed, some unfavourable maxims relating to her, which he had retained from his youth, without having ever examined them since; and any ill-disposed person, putting him in mind of a bit of custard or cheese-cake, which she had snatched from him in the nursery, could have revived all his antient prejudices; and then, indeed, from his manner of talking, you would imagine that his pockets were in perpetual danger. And speaking of his sister and her family, you would imagine that he had got a nest of gypsies whom he could not dislodge from his barn, that their fingers[Pg 116] were perfect fish-hooks or harpies claws, perpetually sticking in his back. There were people enow who found it of use, to put him in this mood, and they were sure never to neglect it, when any of Peg’s people whom they did not like, came about the house to sell trinkets, or asking for service. Then they would ask John, whether he meant to bring the itch into his family, or go to bed in perpetual fear of having his throat cut? But if any body came, who was in the use of flattering, lying, or pimping for themselves, then a lousy fellow who had been kicked out of Peg’s house, was the most valuable person in the world, and John could not do too much for him.

You may believe, that if Hubble-bubble or the nurse, had been warned[Pg 117] of a person’s coming with a letter from Peg on this occasion, they would not have failed to have called, Stop Thief; but by good luck the letter was delivered into their master’s own hands, and they durst not for their lives say a word more on the subject at that time. John had got some bumpers that afternoon; his watermen had met with Lewis Baboon’s people, and he was gone abroad with Jowler, to see some boats that had been taken from Lewis, and wrecks that had been driven on shore. When he had read Peg’s letter: “Ah!” says he, “poor sister here is mightily afraid indeed. Here is a spot of work now, Jowler. She is not so much afraid either, but she wants that her young men should be armed as well as mine.”[Pg 118] “Signify to her,” says Jowler, “that the greatness and importance of the affairs, in which you are now engaged, must throw all domestic details into a season of more leisure.” “Ay, ay,” says John, “tell her we are drinking Lewis Baboon’s dirge here, the fellow’s joints are stiff by this time; tell her to open a new tap for her boys, let them be merry, that’s all. She shall not see Lewis Baboon this twelvemonth, I warrant her. However, as to the affair of getting guns in her house, if my wife and she can agree about it, I have no objections.”

[Pg 119]


How Mrs. Bull’s attendants were prepared on this subject.

Margaret could scarcely expect any other answer from her brother; he might, indeed, have talked to his wife, and it would have become him to have done so very loudly; but the settling matters of that kind, was left entirely to her and Sir Thomas. This circumstance Peg knew, and accordingly wrote to Mrs. Bull, Sir Thomas, and all her own clerks in the office, to each in the stile which was proper for her to make use of; and as[Pg 120] all the originals are in our hands, not to interrupt the course of our narration, we intend to defer the publication of them, with that of many other original papers, to the conclusion of this great work.

Notwithstanding that Peg had taken all this trouble, many people were of opinion that the affair would never be heard of in the counting-room, so much were they used to see Peg’s affairs overlooked; but they were mistaken. Gilbert told Mrs. Bull the first or second time he saw her, what a suit he was to present from her sister, and two or three of Peg’s boys were determined that it should not go without a hearing. Mean time, the nurse and Hubble-bubble were not idle. The scheme[Pg 121] which they thought to have frustrated was taking place very fast. The boy George and his companions were laughing at them as usual, and the young men who had been sent out to watch Lewis Baboon’s motions, past their time merrily in the fields, playing at cricket, pitch-bar, and foot-ball, from morning to night, eat their victuals with a good appetite, and slept as sound in a barn, as ever they had done in the best bed in John’s house: all which, the nurse would not have believed, if you had sworn it to her on all the four evangelists. In short, there was no appearance of their tiring, and they would have held out through mere spite, if they had been tired, when they found that there was any intention to vex them.

[Pg 122]

All this was sore enough upon the nurse, without being obliged to see her predictions equally falsified, by having the same thing tried in sister Peg’s house. This she could by no means think of with any patience, and she determined to do all she could with Mrs. Bull to prevent it. For this purpose, Hubble-bubble and she took their opportunity to talk to many of Mrs. Bull’s attendants. They put them in mind of all the perquisites, presents and vails, which had been so kindly thrown in their way; observed of what consequence the present affair was to them, and that if they suffered their friends to be baffled, and discredited, they must not expect to be served so, in time coming. You may soon get other people in our places,[Pg 123] said they, who will be willing to court you for the sake of your mistress; but can you go as familiarly to a new comer, to ask for a bit of victuals, or a glass of liquor between meals? By this and such like talk, they contrived to secure the people who had Mrs. Bull’s ear. And though they were sure of herself at last, yet matters would go much more smoothly, if they could get any of sister Peg’s own clerks to give up the affair, as if she was not very much bent upon it herself.

Historians agree, that they tampered with many people for this purpose; but it is well known that not a soul of them would listen to proposals of that kind, till they came to Bumbo, whom they would have tried sooner, if they had[Pg 124] not thought themselves sure of him, and at the same time known what degree of credit he was likely to bring them. They had sometimes let him loose upon Mrs. Bull before, to very little purpose; although for discourse he was always ready, and had stuff in his head, which might be turned into jocular sayings, serious sentences, pathetic declamations, angry ebullitions, or plaintive ditties, with equal propriety. He made the same thing pass in all these shapes, but the hearers did not know either when to laugh or cry, unless he gave them a signal, by a slap in the chops, a remarkable roar, or a doleful whine, by means of which it was dangerous to sit near him; and whether you was near him or no, the changes of his voice produced an odd sort of mounting and dipping,[Pg 125] like the heaving of waves, and had the same effect in raising a violent inclination to vomit. They say, that he had often turned Mrs. Bull’s stomach, and that she always took cordials when she expected a visit from him. This being the case, he was to be employed with caution; but he had still one quality, from which they expected some good, and that was his precise and accurate method of dividing mankind into Thomists and Geoffrites; in the last of which classes, he commonly put his mother Peg.

A Geoffrite originally meant any person who was for restoring Squire Geoffrey to the management of John Bull’s business, and a Thomist the opposite. What this gentleman meant by[Pg 126] these appellations nobody could find out, for he sometimes bestowed them indifferently on Sir Thomas’s best friends; and what is more surprizing still, on people who never thought of Sir Thomas nor Squire Geoffrey in all their lives; as well as some others, who never thought of any thing at all, but how to fill their own bellies and their pockets. He himself, it was said, was a Thomist of this kind; but whilst he did nothing himself, but swallow the warm pottage he had got from John Bull’s nurse, he wanted to persuade you, that other people’s heads were constantly taken up about the divine right of attornies to treat their clients as they pleased. A Geoffrite was his favourite topic to speak upon; but whether it was to show his sagacity in finding out what escaped[Pg 127] other people, or merely because he had never seen any body paid for finding out Thomists, it is certain, that for one Thomist, he would point you out a dozen of Geoffrites; and you would be surprized, how the devil Sir Thomas got into the management of John Bull’s or sister Peg’s business at all, as Bumbo certainly was not in the way to help him to it.

With all these considerations pro and con, the nurse was extremely desirous to see him; and as fortune would have it, he was no less anxious to see her. He wanted at this very time a special reward for all his services, no less than to be appointed major-domo in Peg’s own house: this was a sort of a man house-keeper, and was commonly a[Pg 128] grave elderly person who kept the keys of Peg’s pantry, and entertained as he thought proper any of the tenants, who had affairs about the house. The last major-domo was lately dead; and as John Bull’s nurse took the charge of all pantries and nurseries far and near, and would let nobody meddle with them, but who was of her own chusing, it was not doubted at this time, that her favourite Bumbo would be the man. But in order to secure it the more, he furnished himself with a list of some dozen of Geoffrites, picked up nobody knows how, and containing some of those who were likely to oppose himself, in getting the major-domo-ship in Peg’s family. With this provision he went down stairs, and so across the court to John Bull’s house.

[Pg 129]


How Bumbo discoursed with John Bull’s Nurse, and found her not so great a fool as he thought her.

Bumbo, without staying to speak with any body, went straight to the nurse’s closet, where he found her very melancholy, lamenting her connection with such a fool as Hubble-bubble, and not much comforted with the thought of having nobody now to trust to but Bumbo. However, as the saying is, a drowning man will catch at a straw; whenever he appeared, she got up and embraced him. Which he understanding to be as much as to say, My[Pg 130] dear major-domo, I am glad to see you, was going to thank her, when she broke out into a perfect rage against sister Peg and her family.

What, says she, is the meaning of this impertinent saucy letter, you have sent from your house to Mr. Bull? have I not enough to do with his own humours and his freaks, without your refreshing his memory, and pretending to copy after him like the ass in Æsop? Set you up, indeed! we should bring our matters to a fine pass, if we minded all your letters and remonstrances.

I hope your ladyship, says Bumbo, does not imagine that I had any hand in writing that letter, or would put any thing in Peg’s head, which I knew to be[Pg 131] so disagreeable to your ladyship; indeed, I could not shew myself any where, without the hazard of being absolutely worried by the people who were for writing that insolent letter.

What shall we do then? says the nurse; if that vixen is so much bent upon this whim, Mrs. Bull cannot possibly refuse her husband’s own sister, what the world will call so poor a favour; it would look like mere jealousy and spleen, and might breed heart-burnings between the two families.

Here Mr. Bumbo, perceiving the good woman’s extreme distress, thought how he best might comfort her, and thereby turn the discourse to the affair of his own major-domo-ship. My dear madam, says he, don’t be uneasy; this[Pg 132] letter was written by a parcel of Geoffrites, of whom I have a list in my pocket; the few Thomists that are in that house, would sooner be hanged than do any thing so disagreeable to your ladyship.

Yours are right Thomists, says the nurse; ours here are more troublesome about those matters, than any body; but assure me, says she, that this letter is a forgery, and I shall love you as long I breathe.

A mere forgery upon my salvation, says Bumbo.

Well said, says she, what comfort you give me! Let us away to Mrs. Bull, and have those forgers tried to the utmost.

[Pg 133]

Before your ladyship goes, says Bumbo, I have a little affair to mention: your ladyship knows, that the major-domo is dead, may not I presume to hope, that your ladyship will do me a good office with Sir Thomas on this occasion?

Assure yourself that you shall be major-domo, says the nurse; but you must not go, till Mrs. Bull has heard your evidence about the forgery.

Upon my honour and reputation, says Bumbo, there is no occasion; the forgery will appear quite plain, every word of it forged, as I declare to you; but that unnatural woman was persuaded to desire me to second her application, and your ladyship knows, that even a major-domo leads but a dog’s-life, if[Pg 134] the mistress and every body be against him. There is Small-Trash, the Laird of Lick-pelf’s brother, will give his oath about the forgery; and that is the same thing as if I did it myself, for every body knows that we always swear the same things.

I don’t understand your scruples now says the nurse; would any woman desire you to second a forged application? Besides nobody ever heard of Small-Trash; and we cannot be answerable for trusting his evidence. Stay, stay, my dear major-domo, and give us your own proper evidence in this important point of forgery.

I pray, says Bumbo, that your ladyship would consider my straits; I dare not say a word about Geoffrites; every[Pg 135] body will roar, and say, they knew what was a coming; nor dare I speak my mind about Peg; I beg that your ladyship would not expose me like a bawd on the pillory, to be pelted, battered, and splashed with rotten eggs, chewed apples, and street dirt, for the faithful counsel which I give in your private ear. I will do twice as much for you in another way.

Well, well, says the nurse, I see the matter is hard, Gilbert and James will carry all before them. I shall neither meddle nor make; Sir Thomas will be imposed upon about the major-domo-ship. There are many people looking for the place, and let me tell you it is an office of great consequence. You are young, Mr. Bumbo; and they say,[Pg 136] you are hot when my back is turned, and you do not understand much of the larder or the pantry, and you huff the poor tenants when they come about the kitchen, and that Margaret herself has not that confidence in you, which the mistress of a family should have in a person, who has such a trust about her house. In short, I have had many disputes on your account, and now I am an old woman, and don’t meddle much. There is little appearance of my being able to obtain this favour for you; but you may talk to Sir Thomas about it yourself. I am, indeed, very much out of order; old age has many infirmities; a very severe cough I have, and am troubled with wind; indeed, I have not eat an ounce of victuals for these three days.

[Pg 137]

It is impossible to describe what passed in Bumbo’s countenance during this harangue. It changed from suspence to embarrassment, from embarrassment to confusion, from confusion to absolute despair; and there it settled, when the nurse concluded her speech and was just a going. Well, says he, with a faultering voice, I have got many enemies on your account and Sir Thomas’s; here they are, pulling the list out of his pocket, sworn Geoffrites, as I hope to be saved.

That will not do, Mr. Bumbo, says the nurse; we do not care a rush for your Geoffrites or your Thomists either. They do well enough in their time, but when one is about serious business, I[Pg 138] hate trifling. If John Bull and his sister take the defence of their houses upon themselves, we may all go packing. What influence can any body have in a family, where he has little or nothing to give away? I have been all my life contriving things for Sir Thomas and myself, to take to ourselves, or to give away, and now you would have us part with one of the best things we have. I have found, Mr. Bumbo, that a person’s influence in any family, depends on the number of good things he has to give; you must have caps, ribbons and petticoats for the maids, sugar-plumbs for the children, and luncheons for the clerks, and be able to help a footman now and then out of livery, otherwise they will not give an old song for you; and Sir[Pg 139] Thomas has found plenty about John’s house, otherwise Mrs. Bull and he would not be so good friends as they are. People must have their vails and their perquisites. Many a time has Sir Thomas obliged his friend with a game-keeper’s place or so; and consider with yourself, that if John continues to do any part of that business himself, what numbers, not only of game-keepers, foresters and whippers-in, but even weavers, taylors, smiths, accountants, bakers, tanners, and shoe-makers, will forget the way to Sir Thomas’s closet, and never think more of Hubble-bubble, or your humble servant. And then the management of Rousterdivel’s affairs when he was brought over, was an excellent thing; trust me, many a pretty fortune has been got by Rousterdivel. But it[Pg 140] is all over, Mr. Bumbo, all over; and now a person who comes to ask for a major-domo-ship, thinks he may do what he pleases.

Much honoured madam, says Bumbo, I hope you do not consider the scruples of a friend as an absolute refusal. I have always been ready to swear what you please, and if my oath be required to this forgery, I am ready to give it.

That was spoken like a major-domo, says the nurse; let us away to Hubble-bubble, and settle the tenour of your evidence.

[Pg 141]


Showing how it was the fashion to harangue Mrs. Bull.

Altho’ Mrs. Bull, in all matters of consequence, generally took her resolution before she came into the office, yet it was the fashion to talk to her, as if she was undetermined to the last; and she herself humoured people in this whim, by listening to them, as if she was drinking in instruction at both her ears, from every word they said. This same had its consequences, for she got the habit of doing nothing, unless some body spoke to her more or less, and then if she was never so much determined upon a point, she was often[Pg 142] out of countenance, when all the talk and the noise was on the other side.

This circumstance made Jowler so precious a fellow, that Hubble-bubble himself, at the time he had most to say with Mrs. Bull, would have given a piece of his ear to have had Jowler hold his tongue; which he, however, would never do, till he saw time and place convenient. Then do historians say, that they have seen him as silent as a lamb, or making his noise on t’other side of the same question.

However this be, you may believe that this affair of sister Peg’s was not to pass without talking enough. Mrs. Bull was no sooner seated, than there were people enow ready to advise her;[Pg 143] she was told to put off the matter to another time, that it was an affair of great consequence, and that Peg appeared to be in too great a hurry. Which was scarcely said, when she was told, that her ladyship was no stranger to such subjects, that she had heard enough of it lately from her own husband, and given her opinion; that the people who spoke of Margaret’s hurry, were certainly in jest, and meant to ridicule the poor woman for her long patience and forbearance.

In short, some people said, that they did not think it was safe to trust sister Peg with any arms at all. They bid Mrs. Bull recollect, whether she had not heard, that Peg had been in the practice of biting and scratching her brother,[Pg 144] when they were both in the nursery; and asked, what security John now had, that she might not beat him out of his own house, or otherwise use him as she thought proper.

Mrs. Bull herself was ashamed of this argument; for a woman, whatever she may think, cannot bear to hear her husband meanly spoke of. But she was soon relieved of this distress, by a person who set forth John’s manhood to some purpose; and in short, gave his opinion, that to be afraid of so inferior a force was mean and dastardly, to express any jealousy of Margaret’s dispositions was injurious and abominable, as they had every reason to believe, that she was well satisfied with her brother, and only meant to tread in his steps, in[Pg 145] a matter which would be so honourable for both.

One fellow came running from the pantry, with a bib and an apron, and quoted the nurse’s dream; he said, that although John Bull had banished the weavers, it was no reason why his sister Peg should do the like; that she had more need to have a piece of cloth sent her to make coats for her children, than authority for any such pernicious scheme; and that if she and her whole house were at the door, he would not grant so ruinous a favour; that he remembered to have heard the condition that both houses were in, when every body thought himself qualified to fight, that there was then neither wheel nor loom within the door, and nobody wrought any[Pg 146] at all; and he asked Mrs. Bull, whether she would have those times revived?

To this it was said, that every body might have heard of times, when people wrought very little, but that they always wrought more or less; and that if there was less work done formerly than now, it was because fewer people were bred to business, and because there was not so ready a market for fine cloaths or other niceties, by which tradesmen get their livelihood; but that now when every body is bred to business, and a tradesman’s work is well paid for, it was absurd to say, they would grow idle, merely because they could keep their own, and were put in a condition not to be robbed and plundered.

[Pg 147]

This did not hinder others from talking on without end. Some of your fine-spun faint-hearted thinking people declared, that they did not think that John Bull or his sister could prosecute this scheme; it was a fine one indeed, they said, but the brother and sister were now too old to think of such projects; a good warm bed, an elbow-chair, or a couch, a glass of cordial, or a bit of comfortable dinner, were properer subjects for them to think of, than scrambling over hedges, lying out of nights, and dry blows: That game-keepers might be dangerous within doors, but that John had now no other chance to keep off roguish neighbours: That either his own game-keepers, or those of other people, would lay him in his[Pg 148] grave at last: That it became him and his sister who had so many marks of age about them, rather to think of preparing themselves for the other world, than to talk of vapouring any longer in this. In short, there was no end of the impertinencies which were spoken in this strain, all giving Mrs. Bull a speedy prospect of widowhood, and turning her thoughts toward Sir Thomas, or some other of your spruce young gallants.

Some said it was lucky that John heard nothing of all this, for he was sometimes as jealous as ten furies, and if he had symptoms of age, he had likewise remains of youth, which would have very ill brooked such insidious attacks on his honour. For our parts we wish that he[Pg 149] had heard every word of it, and had given the person who spoke so, a slap in the face; for we do not see what any body has to do putting people in mind of their age, and we are very sure that John will not die the sooner, for doing all he can to keep himself alive; and if he was to die to-morrow, we would rather see him hearty and well while he lives, were it but for an hour, than moping and drooping his head, and in terror not only of what is to come in the other world, but even of every fool who may think to tread upon him in this.

No sooner the rustling, whispering and hubbub which this speech had occasioned was over, then in steps a game-keeper, to tell how much better he could defend the house than any body else.[Pg 150] For you must know that the game-keepers were very angry, and treated John Bull as little better than a poacher, for pretending to keep a gun in his own house.

He told Mrs. Bull that her husband and his family were mere aukward lubbers, who never could get the strut nor the air of a game keeper to the end of the world; that a man could not fight unless he gave his whole time to it; and that unless a man could fight to purpose, he had better not fight at all.

This speech met with an answer too. It was said, that every body would fight till he ran away; that some people ran away sooner, and others later; that nobody, however, could do it sooner than[Pg 151] the game-keepers themselves had done upon occasion; whether their manner of running away was better than any that John or his sister could attain, this speaker would not pretend to say; but he saw no harm in letting them have a gun in their hands now and then, to use them to it, in order that they might stand as long as possible, if any body came to attack them; and he could see no objection to this, unless it was said, that people were the worse for being used to a firelock, and fought best when they knew nothing of the matter, which from what he had heard of new hired game-keepers might possibly be the case; but that people would probably not urge that argument; and for his part, he had always considered a previous use[Pg 152] of arms, as an advantage in times of danger; and therefore, he thought that not only Mr. Bull, but his sister too, should have as much of it, as was consistent with their situation.


How Mrs. Bull sat still and heard a great deal more on this subject.

We cannot well tell how it happened, that although Mrs. Bull was considering only, what answer should be given to sister Peg’s letter, yet John’s own affairs were brought in head and shoulders, and it seemed as if people were afraid to hurt Peg, except through John’s sides. The truth was, that though some people did not like to see the[Pg 153] humour spreading, they did not chuse to stop it by objections peculiar to Peg, in which they could have been contradicted; and as the state of disparity to her brother, in which she was put, could by no means be glossed over, they chose to keep away from it as far as possible, and speak only in general terms, Peg’s clerks found themselves obliged to do the same thing. One of them told Mrs. Bull, that he came there to sollicite a piece of justice for an aged parent, and was surprized to find so many people ready to dissuade her from granting it.

If there are, says he, sufficient objections to the use of arms in a family, discontinue it in your own; if there are not, why disgrace one part of your house, by refusing what all mankind[Pg 154] know to be the great distinction between masters and slaves?

I am surprized, however, to hear so much concerning the absolute inconveniencies of this measure. It may be inconvenient for a man to do any thing at all for his own defence; but if it be necessary for his preservation, to what purpose talk of inconveniencies? It is certainly meant by people who speak in this strain, that the method now in question is more inconvenient than that by game-keepers, which is the only other one that I have heard of. If this is their opinion, they should have entered somewhat farther into the question, than at present they appear to have done.

[Pg 155]

This family has been for some time in the practice of committing their defence intirely to a certain class of people, whom they call game-keepers. Those are the only persons about the house, supposed to know any thing at all of the use of arms; they are set apart from the rest of the family, and by their manner of life, are made to shake off all connection with them as much as possible; and this, I suppose, that they may be at all times ready to go any where, or do any thing that their profession may require, without any regret of their own, or incumbrance from other people.

They are taught, for the same reason, to obey their leader implicitly, and to know no law but his commands; to all which conditions they bind themselves[Pg 156] for life; and in the mean time, do no work either in seed-time or harvest, but are fed at the expence of the family.

This, I apprehend, to be a very fair description of a game-keeper, as that profession is now maintained. Every body knows that Mr. Bull has chosen this expedient with great reluctance. He was always apprehensive, that whoever was master of the only arms in a house, might soon become master of the house itself. The practice, however, stole upon him, and for ought I know he might have gone all lengths in the use of it, if he had not been ashamed of a sudden, to find himself and all his family afraid to look any enemy in the face. He bethought himself of the wretched[Pg 157] condition he must be in, either if his game-keepers should turn against him, should desert him, or even be out of the way at an unlucky time. And to fortify himself against those calamities, he has distributed a certain quantity of arms among his children; a certain number are to be named in their turns; to learn the use of those arms, under the direction of a person, to whom all his other affairs are so happily intrusted. The people who receive this instruction live in the family, and mind their business, with the single interruption, which some days of practice, or necessary service may occasion. When they have taken their turn, they leave that station to others, and live as before; with this only difference, that if the house is[Pg 158] alarmed, they are readier to act a part, in which they have already had some practice.

We have heard enough of the impossibility of putting this scheme in execution; but, I think, it is found sufficiently practicable, when we want to have somebody in place of the game-keepers, whom we employ so liberally elsewhere; and therefore, I shall not now say any thing at all upon that point.

Has it then any inconveniencies which do not attend every other method of self-defence? The expence, the interruption of business, the trouble attending it, do certainly not exceed what is found of the same kind, in maintaining the profession of game-keepers. In point of[Pg 159] expence, it is evident we can afford a much more numerous body of men in this way than in any other, if instead of augmenting our game-keepers without end, to vie with our neighbours, we are satisfied with a moderate number in ordinary times, and prepare this resource for ourselves, against any sudden alarm.

With respect to the interruption of work, it must be allowed, that nobody can possibly work less than a game-keeper. To have so many people idle in succession, or the same number of individuals idle for their whole lives, appears to me precisely the same thing, with this only difference, that a game-keeper is idle, whether there be occasion to employ him in his profession or no, the other is not.

[Pg 160]

As for the trouble, I do not know any body who can have cause to complain of it, except Mr. Bull and his sister; and when they are tired, they will probably let it alone, without troubling your ladyship for any orders about the matter.

But I find people of very solemn authority, who tell us that it is dangerous to trust the youth of a family with arms. That besides quarrelling among themselves, they will fly in the face of every body else. That they may even drag your ladyship off that couch where you sit, and kick us your clerks down stairs. I should be glad to know from whom it is you are to fear these outrages; or if any body in reality was to offer them, to whom would you apply for protection,[Pg 161] but to those who call you their lawful superior and their parent. It is strange, that a parent should be supposed to have no hold in the affections of her own children, or that they who stand first in point of esteem and respect in the family, should be in danger of being maltreated by those with whom they are so nearly connected. For my part, if the children of this family improve in their courage, their vigour, and their spirit, I expert to improve with them, and should be ashamed to own, that I fear losing, in that case, the respect and affection, with which I am now received among my companions.

At any rate it seems it is owned, that we may quarrel among ourselves; and pray who is it we would have to be[Pg 162] worsted, in case of such a quarrel? Can we foresee who will be in the right, that we may arm them, and nobody else? It seems, we are sure, the game-keeper, at least, will be always in the right, since we are for keeping him perpetually armed, and for rendering all the rest as tame and helpless as possible, that he may have the less trouble, or find them ready subdued to his hand. Or do those who alarm us with the fear of domestic quarrels, pretend that the game-keeper will never quarrel with any body? I would gladly avoid this subject, but the question is forced upon us. I honour the profession of which I speak, and would often in my life have gladly embraced it. But when I was describing it to you, I thought that I was pointing out the most dangerous[Pg 163] quarter, into which the spirit of domestic faction can come. Here is an order of men, who are always in readiness to act, whose leader is always prepared; in possession at all times of great power, and at all times desirous of more. Other factions may lurk under-ground in the seed, or spring into view to be crushed as they appear. But this is at all times a full grown plant. There needs no giant to tear it from the roots, nor is there any great address required, with the help of this weapon, to confound and destroy all the civil and domestic institutions of men.

I speak not with a view to excite groundless jealousies; I speak in behalf of an institution, which is now compleated in one part of the family, and[Pg 164] which, if carried to the other, must prove our best security against ill-designing men, from within, or from without, in either house. If it be an advantage where it is already established, I hope that your ladyship will not refuse to share it with an only sister, who would be glad to employ all her force in your service, and now only claims her privilege as a piece of justice, from a person to whom she has intrusted the management of her affairs.


How Bumbo gave his evidence.

We are far from commending the practice of certain historians, who pretend to give the compleat[Pg 165] speeches which were spoken many ages before, by leaders of armies, members of councils, and orators in popular assemblies; we maintain that nobody can do this, except the devil, or some person to whom the speaker himself gave a copy of his harangue in writing. This not being our case, we content ourselves with giving a few broken hints, such as we have been able to collect from the best authorities, in order to give our reader some notion of the substance of what was said to Mrs. Bull upon this great occasion. With respect to the contents of this chapter, indeed, we are singularly happy, in having met with the memoirs of Suck-Fist, a very learned man of that age, who used to feed the game-keeper’s pointer, and being present with Mrs. Bull on this occasion,[Pg 166] has transmitted to posterity the particulars of Bumbo’s appearance.

By him we are informed, that Bumbo, after all, was not put to his oath; that the terrors of a formal oath approaching, he so explained what he had said about the forgery, that it was not thought expedient to put him to it in public; and the nurse thought it was better to hazard a speech from him at large, which if the lady’s bowels could bear to an end, would at least show the world, that there was one of Peg’s own people against granting her request.

Bumbo therefore appeared with this view, as no better could be made of it. Suck-Fist relates, that he began with declaring the instructions he had got[Pg 167] from Margaret, to second her application. He said, that for his part it was his opinion, that nothing could be more reasonable than the proposal she made; that if John Bull had arms in his house, or sent his children to the fencing school for a month or two, there was no reason why Margaret should be hindered from doing the same thing; and that there was nothing more desireable than to have every distinction between the two families abolished.

Were not Suck-Fist a writer of good authority, both in point of judgment and veracity, we should be apt to question the following particulars of his narration; they are so repugnant to what went before, and so totally void of sense or coherence, that not only we, but all future historians will hesitate before they[Pg 168] transcribe this part of his memoirs into their works. But as fiction is often more probable than truth, we draw a presumption of veracity from the very want of likelihood in the case, and are sure that such things could never have come into any body’s head, if they had not been true. To dissuade Mrs. Bull from signing the order, which, it seems, was brought her ready written, relating to Peg’s people, he tells her, that it was exactly like that she had already given in her own house. He did not pretend, at least in public, that the Geoffrites were many in Peg’s house, yet he would not even let Sir Thomas pick and chuse, but said, it was giving arms indiscriminately, to raise turbulent spirits. He commended Mac Lurchar extremely, and said it was a pity to take him off his loom, except he was to be transported;[Pg 169] that giving him arms would spoil his hand as a weaver, and hinder his fighting, in which he had behaved so gloriously, that he did not deserve to be discouraged, much less annihilated, till John had made up matters with Lewis Baboon. He pointed at many bad consequences, that would attend employing Mac Lurchar, for the defence of the house, such as spoiling a good weaver, and the like; but he insisted, that no distinction should be made between him and any body else, by pushing a line, or any other method that could separate the house into two parts; I implore, beseech, and intreat, says he, that you would not push any such line across our house; let us all be treated alike, and if there be any of us who are not in danger of being molested, or others who are[Pg 170] not fit to carry arms, let us all be refused them together, that nobody’s mind may be ruffled, nor any heart-burnings be left, but those which do or may subsist between John Bull himself and his worthy sister Margaret; they have been used to more dust than any can raise between them, and can bear it all. He advised Mrs. Bull to do nothing at all in Peg’s house, lest she should forget something; when you have shown to us, that you can remember every circumstance at once, then we will apply for your directions, or devise a method of our own; and as Margaret has already born the disgrace of this difference so long, I see no reason why she may not bear it some time longer; her house can never be more open, or more defenceless than it is now, nor her children less qualified to resist thieves; and I see no[Pg 171] reason to hurry the supply of defects, to which she is now so well accustomed. He concluded by telling Mrs. Bull, what a dangerous thing it would be to give any orders in Peg’s house, when he was told that her ladyship was just going to give some fresh order in her own.

These particulars, posterity will no doubt admit upon the testimony of Suck-Fist; especially as he adds, that if any body shall say, that Bumbo reasoned upon other principles, he is ready to contradict them, by saying it is not true. He subjoins, that Jowler paid him great respect in speaking after him; and we ourselves know, that Small-Trash exclaimed, that he had gained immortal honour.

[Pg 172]


How Mrs. Bull settled her stomach.

Mrs. Bull, in the course of the foregoing speech, was observed by many people to change colour, and before it was done, hartshorn-drops and smelling-bottles were produced in abundance. Every one said, that nobody but Jowler could settle her stomach, for he used to stun her sometimes, so as to take away the sense of every thing else, which has often been observed to have very good effects in trifling illnesses, by drawing off the patient’s attention, as the fear of drowning will do in the case of sea sickness, and blisters, caustics, and stimulusses, in the case of other[Pg 173] disorders. Jowler accordingly set to work with her: but for want of the big words, with which he used to coax John Bull, and which he avoided now for reasons best known to himself, he could produce nothing that day, but a maukish sort of stuff, that was little better than the warm water, which people are made to drink after a vomit.

In short, Mrs. Bull was up and just going, when one of Peg’s clerks begged her not to be rash in dismissing a business, in which the interest, the honour, and the preservation of her husband’s family, were so deeply involved; he told her, that he was surprized, to find any objections made to the terms of the order that was laid before her, as they did not pretend to ask any more at that[Pg 174] time, than that she should appoint a day to consider that order, and correct it if she thought proper; that if she refused that request, the whole world must say, that she was determined to hear no reason on the subject, and would be left to suspect, that she had as little inclination to the measure in Mr. Bull’s own house, as in his sister’s; for he had scarcely heard one argument, that was not equally strong against it in both. That whether this was the case or no, he never could think the establishment secure, whilst it reached only to one part of the family, nor the union between the two houses compleat, whilst some were treated like step-children or bastards, and others like gentlemen and heirs to the paternal estate.

[Pg 175]

It were painful, says he, to lay before you at large the iniquity of such a conduct, of which I believe you incapable; but if you are disposed to hear what may be offered on the point in general, I have yet those impressions deeply rooted in my breast, which made me wish for this establishent in your house, as the best security to your fortune, your honour, and your life. Impressions, which make me behold with joy, the steps you have pursued, altho’ I am now reduced to the necessity of begging as a favour, in behalf of a parent, what, on the foot of equal treatment, she has a right to demand; and what, if refused, must appear as a stain to her honour, and a mark of disparity which she was not born to endure. But her[Pg 176] opposers have saved us the trouble of enlarging on this topic, and wisely made it unnecessary to prove, what is already too plain.

The arguments are such as would make us believe, that every moment which is bestowed by individuals for the good of the public, is lost to that family for which it is bestowed. They talk of the advantage of private industry, but speak of every practice that connects an individual in his views or affections with the family to which he belongs, as an allurement to idleness and sloth. To act for the family, to defend it in times of peril, is the noblest office to which any individual can aspire; and if he labours within your doors to heap up wealth, without having a soul capable[Pg 177] of this office; you may call him, indeed, a gainful property, but will scarcely show him among your children, when they come to appear before those who are judges of men. Who upon such an occasion would point out a sneaking mercenary selfish coward, and call him his child? Yet such is the race which we are desired to propagate, and such is the character which we are cautioned not to corrupt.

We have heard from many the praise of industry, as if any body were inclined to dispute that praise. We have heard at large, the advantages of wealth, as if wealth and industry were inconsistent with the measure for which we contend. From this source, say they, your store-houses and your granaries are filled: let them tell us then from what[Pg 178] source the defence of our stores are to proceed? Will our wealth deter a rapacious enemy? Are the eagles intimidated, when they are told that the doves are fatter than they? No; but our wealth will hire a protector. Who then will defend us against the protector whom we have hired? Is the gripe of a rapacious hireling less to be feared, than that of a rival at the gate? But our wealth, we are told, will enable us to maintain a large and a numerous family. But what is it will render that family worth maintaining, or make the company of those numbers that we hear of desirable? For my part, I never thought it a blessing to be placed in a multitude of base, degenerate, and selfish men. If the people we live with are vile, the more there are of them, just so much the worse.

[Pg 179]

I have been surprised, therefore, to hear gentlemen speak of filling a house with men, without ever mentioning the quality of those numbers they mean to assemble; and speak of cloaths and food, as of consequence, whilst the character of him who is to use them is neglected. A little reflection will convince, that the soul of a man is of more value than his possessions, and that the happiness of individuals, as well as that of the families which they compose, depends more on the generosity, justice and fortitude of their spirit, than on the trappings in which they are cloathed, or the quantity of merchandize they sell to their neighbour. They, however, who contend that the present measure is inconsistent with the success of industry and traffic, throw these advantages[Pg 180] into a light of greater contempt, than I am disposed to do. We excell our predecessors in the art of procuring wealth; we excell them in the knowledge of domestick oeconomy; why should we not excell them too in the skill and resolution to defend advantages, which so far exceed what they ever possessed?

Without we carry this quality along with us, other advantages are of little avail; wealth and affluence are but allurements to rapine; even a disposition to gentleness, humanity and candour, but exposes the more to the assaults of others, and doth not secure the integrity of him who inherits it. If I contend with a knave in behalf of the innocent, and dare not stand the hazard of a contest when brought to extremes,[Pg 181] my antagonist knows how to prevail from the first, for I shrink from the countenance of a person who is hardier than I. I am prepared on the slightest trial to betray my friend, my brother, my father, and the honour of my race. I am already formed for a slave, and hold my safety and my life by the tenor of another’s will. There is no vice, which may not be grafted on cowardice, as successfully as upon avarice itself, that other stock which we are so willing to cultivate.

I shall be told that the people of this house are yet far removed from this despicable extreme. I hope they are, and that every assault of injustice would meet with a hardy and resolute opposition in the members of this family;[Pg 182] but let us beware of the extremes, to which our maxims and our practices may finally carry us.

We educate a few only to the use of arms; them, indeed, we endeavour to inspire with courage and a contempt of danger, but we endeavour at the same time, by throwing them into a separate way of life, to weaken their connection with the family, and to stifle the sentiments of filial tenderness and respect, under the load of artificial subordinations, to which they are bound for life. The familiar use of arms may fortify the breast; but more is required to accomplish a faithful and dutiful child, a tender, a generous affection, to that parent, whom he is bound to defend.

[Pg 183]

The flower and choice of our young men, croud into the profession of which I speak: for what station is more desireable to a man of spirit, than one in which he can exert the native vigor of his mind, and stand in the light of a protection and defence to his father’s house? They place themselves in this station with a glowing and ardent mind, but their continuance in it seldom fails to extinguish or depress those sentiments, and leave no impression but that of a servile dependance on the persons under whose directions they are placed.

Whilst we thus educate one part of the family, the remainder, we say, are left to cultivate pacific arts; and those arts must be pacific indeed, which render[Pg 184] the ability of self-defence unnecessary, by which men are made tools to procure the means of life, and are scarcely put in mind, that they have a right to defend the privileges of men, against all who shall presume to attack them. The former are bred to commit acts of violence, in cold blood, the latter to bear them with a tame and dejected soul. Did we resolve to try what the utmost corruption could do, to debase, to sink and destroy a race of men, a more ingenious contrivance could not be found than this we are disposed to follow.

It is the business of one man, it seems, to think of nothing but quarrels and violence; to another, it is not even permitted to defend himself. In this[Pg 185] hopeful partition of your children, where are you to find the generous, the manly, and the dutiful spirit, equally prepared for times of quiet and of trouble? A spirit, which the suspension even of domestic government will not discompose, but which can, by a well-directed resolution and vigor, restore that order, which it is so well qualified to adorn and maintain.

If we would have any vestige of such spirit remain among us, let those who have the habits and affections of children, be likewise endowed with the force of men; let those who call you parent be inspired with a resolution to stand by you in all your distresses and difficulties; and whilst they enjoy the privileges and immunities of children, be taught to know that it is their duty to defend them.

[Pg 186]

I was always fond of the measure now under consideration, because it aimed at producing those happy effects. You need not be told in what manner it tends to produce them, for your family has already gained strength by pursuing it; and I feel with pleasure, the hopes of a gallant and happy race of men, likely to continue in this house. But let not so wise a measure be partially pursued; let not one part of your race be doomed to baseness and servility, whilst the other is formed to elevation and honour. One rotten member is sometimes found to spread corruption over the whole, and a lurking humour in one corner, to destroy the soundest constitution.

Your wisest establishments, when confined to a part, may perish for want of[Pg 187] that emulation, which, when all are equally engaged, must kindle the ardor and spirits of generous minds. And the implements of slavery may one day be brought from that corner, to which you now deny the privileges of free-men. Into other families we have heard that a master has come, who turned his dwelling into a jail, where nothing is heard but the clank of chains, and the crashing of iron bars. He himself is distinguished by the gloomy depression of his look; the whip, which he holds in his hand, and the instruments of death which are carried before him. But where are the ministers of his cruel purpose to be found? They are purchased with gold in those obscure corners of[Pg 188] his neighbourhood, where every man that is born is a slave.

It has been the practice of other families to condemn a particular race to servile purposes. Their names were never reckoned in the list of the family, their numbers never estimated as any part of their strength. For they were such as by their crimes deserved no better treatment; or by the baseness and servility of their minds, had naturally sunk into this station. But never did the father of a family, by any supercilious neglect or act of violence, throw down the offspring of his own blood, into a state of such deplorable inequality.


Transcriber’s Notes

Minor errors in punctuation have been corrected.

Page 81: “in the neighbourhod” changed to “in the neighborhood”

Page 126: “more surprizng” changed to “more surprizing”

Page 165: “learned manl” changed to “learned man”