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Bristol, January ig, 173S.
HEREAS on or about the 10th day of November last I did
"* say in the Presence of Several People, That Anthony Coller, living at the Sign of the Ship and Dove in the Pithay in Bristol, was sent to Newgate for putting Live Toads in his Beer, in order to fine it; I do solemnly declare, That I never knew any such Thing to have been done by the said Coller nor do I believe he was ever guilty of the aforesaid or any like Practice; I am therefore heartily sorry for what I have said and hereby ask Pardon for the same of the above said Person, who, I fear, has been greatly injur'd by the unguarded Tongue of Joseph Robins.
To this curious confession, which was evidently extorted from the imaginative but timid Joseph, four witnesses appended their names. The next gentleman to whom our attention is directed was still more unfortunate than Mr Robins, for he received punishment without having committed any particular offence. He, however, seems to have been made of very different mettle from the Bristol man, for he is anxious to try his chances on better terms with those who assaulted him. The advertisement is from the Daily Post of January 22, 1739-40 :—
■\ 1 7HEREAS on Saturday the 12th instant between six and seven at
* * night, a gentleman coming along the north side of Lincolns Inn fields was set upon by three persons unknown and receiv'd several blows before he could defend himself, upon a presumption, as they said that he was the author of a Satire call'd "the Satirist." This is to inform them that they are greatly mistaken, and that the insulted person is neither the author of that Satire nor of any Satire or Poem whatever, nor knows what the said Satire contains : and therefore has reason to expect, if they are Gentlemen, that they will not refuse him a meeting, by a line to A. Z., to be left at the Bar of Dick's Coffee House, Temple Bar, in order to make him such atonement as shall be judged reasonable by the friends on each side; otherwise he is ready to give any one of them, singly, the satisfaction of a Gentleman, when and wherever shall be appointed, so as he may not have to deal with Numbers.
A. Z. must have been possessed of a considerable amount of faith if he believed that the rufflers who set upon him unawares would consent either to expose themselves, or to give what he and others called,in a thoughtless manner, "the satisfaction of a gentleman." It must have been rare satisfaction at any time to be run through the body or shot through the head, after having been insulted or injured. In the London Daily Post and General Advertiser, shortly after this (February 5, 1739-40), is an advertisement which looks suspiciously like a hoax, unless, indeed, it was believed at the time that one swallow would make a summer. As the advertiser was probably devoted to the agricultural interest, this is a not unlikely solution of the problem, more especially as a caged bird would naturally not be expeeted to possess the desired power:—
T F any person will deliver a Swallow, Swift (commonly called a ■"• Jack Squeeler) or Martin, alive to Mr Thomas Meysey, at Bewdley in Worcestershire, before the 22d day of this instant February, he shall have Ten Guineas Reward paid him, and all reasonable charges allowed him for his journey by the said Thomas Meysey: Or if any person will deliver either of the said birds to Mr John Perrins, Distiller, in Butcher Row, London, soon enough to send it to the said Thomas Meysey at Bewdley before the 22d Instant February, and the bird shall be alive when delivered, or come to live after it is delivered to the said Thomas Meysey, he shall have Ten Guineas Reward paid him, and all reasonable charges allowed him by the said John Perrins.
These birds are oftentimes found in the clifts in great rocks, old chimneys, and old houses, seemingly dead; but when they are put before a fire, they will come to life.
N.B.—It must not be a Swallow, Swift or Martin that has been kept in a cage.
There must have been much capturing of small birds, and many may have been roasted alive in attempts to preserve them for the benefit of Thomas Meysey. It certainly does appear as if about this time humour was so rife that it had to find vent in all sorts of strange advertisements, and the quacks were not slow to follow the lead thus set, as is shown by the exercising swindle which follows, and which certainly must have exercised the minds of many who read it at the time. It appears in the same paper as the foregoing, on March 7, 1739-40. (It is almost time by March to know what year one is in.)
FULLER on Exercise.
(A Book worth reading) "NT OTIIING ought to be thought ridiculous that can afford the least
'ease or procure health. A very worthy gentleman not long ago had such an odd sort of a cholick, that he found nothing would relieve him so much as lying with his head downwards; which posture prov'd always so advantageous that he had a frame made to which he himself was fastened with Bolts, and then was turned head downwards, after which manner he hung till the pain went off. I hope none will say that this was unbecoming a grave and wise man, to make use of such odd means to get rid of an unsupportable pain. If people would but abstract the benefit got by exercise from the means by which it is got, they would set a great value upon it, if some of the advantages accruing from exercise were to be procured by any other medicine, nothing in the world would be in more esteem than that Medicine.
This is to answer some objections to the book of the Chamber Horse (for exercise) invented by Henry Marsh, in Clement's Inn Passage, Clare Market; who, it is well known, has had the honour to serve some persons of the greatest distinction in the Kingdom; and he humbly begs the favour of Ladies and Gentlemen to try both the Chamber Horses, which is the only sure way of having the best. This machine may be of great service to children.
Mr Marsh may have been clever at making horses for chamber use, but he doesn't seem to have understood argument much; for whatever pleasure there may be in bolting oneself on to a board, and then standing on one's head, it isn't much in the way of exercise, even though Fuller may have been at the bottom of it. We beg his pardon on it. Still, the idea is ingenious, and in a population, the majority of which, we are informed, consists mainly of fools, would succeed now. From this same London Daily Post and General Advertiser, which is full of strange and startling announcements, we take another advertisement, that is likely to arouse the attention and excite the envy of all who nowadays suffer from those dwellers in tents and other forms of bedsteads, the "mahogany flats" or Norfolk Howards, who are particularly rapacious in lodgings which are let after a long term of vacancy. This knowledge is the result of actual experience. The date is March 15, 1740:—
Successor to John Southall, the first and only person that ever found out the nature of BuGGS, Author of the Treatise of those nauseous venomous Insects, published with the Approbation (and for which he had the honour to receive the unanimous Thanks) of the Royal Society,
'T'HAT since his decease she hath followed the same business, and * lives at the house of Mrs Mary Roundhall, in Bearlane, Chris' Church Parish, Southwark. Such quality and gentry as are troubled with buggs, and are desirous to be kept free from those vermin, may know, on sending their commands to her lodgings aforesaid, when she will agree with them on easy terms, and at the first sight will justly tell them which of their beds are infested, &c, and which are free, and what is the expense of clearing the infested ones, never putting any one to more expense than necessary.
Persons who cannot afford to pay her price, and is willing to destroy them themselves, may by sending notice to her place of abode aforesaid, be furnish'd with the Non Pareil Liquor, &c. &c.
Bugs are said to have been very little if at all known in the days of our ancestors. It is indeed affirmed in that valuable addition to zoology, SouthalFs "Treatise of Bugs" (London, 1730, 8vo), referred to in the advertisement just quoted, that this insect was scarcely known in England before the year 1670, when it was imported among the timber used in rebuilding the city of London after the fire of 1666. That it was, however, known much earlier is not to be doubted, though probably it was far less common than at present, since Dr Thomas Muffet, in the " Theatrum Insectorum," informs us that Dr Penny, one of the early compilers of that history of insects, relates his having been sent for in great haste to Mortlake in Surrey, to visit two noble ladies who imagined themselves seized with symptoms of the plague; but on Penny's demonstrating to them the true cause of their complaint—viz., having been bitten by those insects, and even detecting them in their presence—the whole affair was turned into a jest. This was in the year 1583. It is a somewhat remarkable fact, well known to those whose misfortunes subject them to contiguity with these highlyscented bloodsuckers, that within the past few years bugs have altered considerably. The old, nearly round-bellied, and possibly jovial fellow, has given way to a long dangerous creature who is known to experts as the " omnibus bug," not so much on account of his impartiality as because of his shape. It is believed by some that this change is the result of bugs being discontented with their position, and their natural (and laudable) attempt to become something else in accordance with scientific theory; but we fancy that the true reason of this change is that foreign bugs have been imported in large numbers among cargoes, and not infrequently about passengers, and that the original settlers are being gradually exterminated in a manner similar to that which led to the extirpation of the black rat in this country. There is yet another theory with regard to the change which it would be unfair to pass over. It is that the bugs have altered—it is admitted on all sides that the alteration first exhibited itself at the East End of London—in consequence of feeding on mixed and barbarous races about Ratcliffe Highway and other dock purlieus. Any one who pays his money for this book is at liberty to take his choice of hypotheses, but we can assure him that the change is undoubtedly matter of fact.
The next specimen taken is of a literary turn, and appears in the Champion, or the Evening Advertiser, of January 2, 1741. From it we may judge of the number of burlesques and travesties which, some large, some small, were called into existence by the publication of what many consider to be Richardson's masterpiece. Whatever rank "Pamela" may hold as compared with "Clarissa Harlowe," "Sir Charles Grandison," and other works by the same author, it is very little regarded now, while one of the books to which it gave rise is now a representative work of English literature. Here is the literary advertisement of the day:—