Imágenes de páginas

scribe 2000, that I had directions from you to apply to him, and a commission to transact for you.

At first he looked very grave and reserved, saying that he doubted I was come too late, for that so many persons of interest and distinction of both sexes had applied, he was afraid that the books would be full before they were opened; however, he said, he would use all his interest, and rather than you should be disappointed he would assign one half of his own subscription to you; at the same time letting me understand, that it was in effect a gift of so much money, with some innuendos as if he expected a premium.

He then ran out in high raptures upon the bank, and upon the great advantages it would be both to the subscribers and to the kingdom; he extolled the conduct of the managers, who had procured this bank from the goverament without any consideration, for which former projectors had offered no less than 50,000. He affirmed that the subscribers could make no more than 25 per cent. for their whole subscriptions, of which only onetwentieth part was to be deposited; and then desired me to compute the value of the present he had made.

I asked him whether he were sure that this bank would succeed? He told me there was not the least doubt of it; that the necessity of affairs required it, whereof the managers were so confident, that they had actually brought over the iron chests to secure the money; that the nobility, gentry, and traders of the kingdom were, upon mature deliberation, unanimously of opinion that a bank was necessary, &c.; that he had particularly discoursed with three eminent persons of great honour, experience, and sagacity, distinguished for the love of their country and their profound knowledge in the general interests of kingdoms, and far above any paltry self-interests, the first of which, with great strength of argument, asserted, That we must have a bank, and will have a bank; the second, That the South-Sea had occasioned such a dearth of money in the kingdom that paper money was as necessary new as brass money was in the time of king James, and make us better able to pay our taxes and our persions; and the third, with greater volubility of tongue and uncommon eloquence, affirmed that if people would not confide and believe in such a set of directors and governors, as were intended to be chosen, nether would they believe in Moses or the prophets.

He then began to enlarge upon the great advantages this bank would be to the public; that it would improve trade, navigation, manufactories, and the eultivation of our land; enable us to govern foreign markets, and make other nations factors for us who were now only factors for them. He then proceeded to a jargon, which I did not comprehend, of imports, exports, building ships, erecting warehouses, draining ogs, opening rivers, finding coals, building towers, raising land, sinking interest, &c. And when he was it of breath presented me with a paper called Reasons for a Bank, written, as he affirmed, with force of reason, conciseness and perspicuity of style, elegancy in phrase, propriety in diction, and with masterly strokes in political calculations; and believing he had now fully convinced me, he advised me, by all means, that the money I was to deposit should be guineas, presuming the crowds would be so great that the clerks would despatch me sooner.

We parted. I prepared my gold and the bond, waited impatiently all the next day when the books were opened, and being informed that vast crowds of coaches were attending in Dirty Lane, and receiving to message from our friend, concluded that the books were filled as he had alleged, but still expected to ne in upon half his subscription; and accordingly I received notice to prepare against next morning. During this time I accidentally heard that some of

the nobility and gentry were violently bent against this project, and among the rest a certain lord to whom I have the honour to be related and well known. I waited on him, and gave him the whole history of my proceedings in this affair, desiring his advice and opinion. I had no sooner ended my story, than he fell into an immoderate fit of laughter, and the first words he was able to speak distinctly were, that he laughed with greater pleasure to himself, and as he hoped less pain to me, because I had neither paid in my money nor given bonds. He begged of me to be in no pain about the cluster of coaches in Dirty Lane, for he suspected that the greatest part of gentlemen's coaches which made that appearance were either lent or hired to make a figure, and he presumed I would be of the same opinion when I saw a list of the subscribers; and I do affirm (says he) that to my certain knowledge, the managers and their understrappers are running about the town all this time persuading, pressing, and perhaps bribing, men, women, and children, to fill their books.

He told me he had seen the books that very day; that there was not half the capital subscribed, and it was a doubt and matter of great speculation whether all the subscribers had paid in the twentieth part, and given all the bonds and judgments for the remainder. He confessed there were some persons of honour, estates, and good distinction amongst the subscribers, but these were in some alliance with the managers and chief promoters of the bank; and generally speaking the rest consisted of pressed men and French volunteers. He allowed the (since chosen) intended governor to be a person of great integrity and honourable intentions, and gave the greatest credit to the projectors; but was sorry he was drawn in upon any considerations, or by any persuasions, into a project to which the nation was so utterly averse.

I was exceedingly surprised, and entreated him to let me know for what reasons so great a majority could oppose this scheme? His answer was, that he could assign a great number. But the principal which prevailed with him were those that follow:

First, Because he could not conceive that any sufficient security had been offered or could be given by the bank for the properties of the subscribers, and transferrers and their heirs.

Secondly, That no security could possibly be given that the presumptive power, which must be lodged in this bank if it succeeds, may not be exerted to the destruction of the liberties of the people, and then the next evil to that of being dragooned is that of being dragoonable.

Thirdly, Because it is evident if this bank shall take place, and acquire that degree of wealth and power which may reasonably be apprehended, all that wealth and power must be naturally applied to its own preservation, that is to the arbitrary will and power of those to whom it owes its very being and subsistence.

Fourthly, It is highly probable that this is presumed, and actually is now a protestant bank; it may drain the greatest part of the species of money from the protestants, and leave them in lieu thereof only paper, which can be of no effect in times of confusion, either for their defence or subsistence; and consequently the ready money which must be allowed the sinews of war, being in the hands of the Irish papists, may render them more formidable upon such a juncture to the English protestant interest of Ireland than they have ever been since the reformation.

Besides these reasons his lordship further added that he could not well understand how a country wholly cramped in every branch of its trade, of large extent, ill peopled, and abounding in commodities which they had neither liberty to export nor encouragement to

manufacture, could be benefited by a bank which, by all he had read or heard, or observed in his travels, was only useful in free countries where the territory was small, and the trade general and unlimited; and consequently where the profit consisted in the buying and selling of goods imported from other nations, and wholly accrued to the public; whereas the bank proposed amongst us was to be the monopoly of a few. He added that Mr. Maxwell, in his letter to Mr. Rowley, had in several particulars given up the cause; but especially in one, where he allowed that before the convulsion occasioned by the South Sea, from the natural advantages of peace, and the very small share of trade allowed us, the interest of money fell of itself to 6 and 5 per cent., which came very near to the only advantage the bank proposed; and his lordship saw no reason why he might not now hope for the same effect from time, and our natural advantages, when we have recovered this loss, as well as we did the ruins of a long war, upon the revolution, without venturing upon new experiments, under which France, Holland, and England have sunk, and which our poor crazy constitution is ill able to support and less able to retrieve. He said plainly that he looked upon Mr. Maxwell as a gentleman whose intentions were better than his abilities; that from poring upon Davenant, Petty, Child, and other reasoners from political arithmetic, he hath drawn conclusions by no means calculated for the circumstances and condition of Ireland.

As a great part of what he said was above my capacity, so I could never have repeated it, if he had not been at the trouble, at my request, to have given it me in writing, together with Mr. Rowley's letter, where he told me the subject was treated in so handsome a manner that he was sure it would both please and convince me.

he had loudly proclaimed in his speech from the throne, that the people of Ireland should have a bank if they pleased, he did at the same time whisper the managers that they should have a bank whether we pleased or no.

I took leave of his lordship, and in a few days found a great deal of what he told me to be true. For a list of the subscribers being published by order of the governors and directors, there came out a printed paper, with notes and queries, wherein the subscribers were ranked in their proper classes, which placed them in so ridiculous a light, [see preceding tract,] that they all began to be ashamed of one another. I took pains to examine that paper very carefully by the original list, and found it in every article to be a notorious truth, but not the whole truth, for the auther hath omitted,

One French corn-cutter,
One French drawer,
One deal merchant,

One French apothecary,

One anabaptist clothier, One barrack-master, One butcher,

One agent's clerk, Besides several South Seaers and Mississippians. When I saw this list, and observed the situation of the subscribing ladies betwixt the soldiers and traders, I was highly delighted that you were not one of the number. I was intimately acquainted with one of them, and going to pay her a visit was, with some difficulty, admitted. She told me that she had kept her chamber some days since the publishing of that scandalous list; that she had been rallied to death by all her acquaintance; that she had endeavoured to get her money back, or at least her bond and judgment, but could prevail for neither; that she resolved to petition the lord chancellor for relief, and confessed freely to me that a proposal was made her of a very advantageous match, which was brought almost to a conclusion, but was broken off when the gentleman came to know that her fortune was in the bank, alleging that he could not depend upon it, because that her bond and judgment was lodged in the bank and that any part, or the whole thereof, was liable to the demands of the directors.

After these general arguments he got up and shut the door, and in a very low voice told me in confidence the history of this project from its first commencement, comparing it to the machine of a watch, with its various wheels and movements, while the main spring was out of sight, yet plainly discovered where the hands pointed and directed. I dare not trust to your eyes what he could hardly trust to his own ears; but I was so thoroughly convinced from what he whispered, OR, PARLIAMENTARY SECURITY FOR ESTABLISHING that I instantly wrote a note to your friend and told him you had altered your opinion, and would not subscribe to the bank, desiring he would give himself no further trouble.

After this I presumed to ask his lordship two questions; first, Whether the report were true that the lord-lieutenant had interested himself in favour of the bank? He assured me it was notoriously false and groundless; for his grace had behaved himself with the utmost candour and indifferency, which appeared throughout the whole transaction betwixt his grace and the negotiators, leaving it to the wisdom of the nation to determine what might be profitable for us, whereof I hope the whole kingdom, without distinction of party, will ever retain a grateful remembrance.

My second question was, How came it to pass that the commissioners and managers of the bank opened the books and proceeded to take subscriptions after the king in his speech, in tenderness to his people, had left it to the consideration of parliament, and after it appeared that a great majority of both houses, with the voice of the nation without doors, had declared against it. He answered with a smile that, for his own part, he could conceive no possible reason for this proceeding, but that the managers were resolved, at all hazards, to recover the expenses they had been at in negotiating the affair of the bank in England; that by this bold attempt, they seemed wholly to misrepresent and misapply the gracious intentions of his majesty, as if after



"Si populus vult decipi, decipiatur." "To believe everything that is said by a certain set of men, and to doubt of nothing they relate, though ever so improbable," is a maxim that has contributed as much, for the time, to the support of Irish banks as it ever did to the Popish religion; and they are not wholly beholden to the latter for their foundation, but they have the happiness to have the same patron saint; for Ignorance, the reputed mother of the devotion of one, seems to hear the same affectionate relation to the credit of the other.

To subscribe to banks without knowing the scheme or design of them, is not unlike to some gentlemen's signing addresses without knowing the contents of them: to engage in a bank that has neither act of parliament, charter, nor lands to support it, is like sending a ship to sea without a bottom; to expect a coach and six by the former, would be as ridiculous as to hope a return by the latter.

It was well known some time ago that our banks would be included in the bubble-bill; and it was believed those chimeras would necessarily vanish with the first easterly wind that should inform the town of the royal assent.

It was very mortifying to several gentlemen who dreamed of nothing but easy chariots, on the arrival

of the fatal packet, to slip out of them into their walking shoes. But should those banks, as it is vainly imagined, be so fortunate as to obtain a charter, and purchase lands; yet, on any run on them in a time of invasion, there would be so many starving proprietors, reviving their old pretensions to land and a bellyful, that the subscribers would be unwilling upon any call to part with their money, not knowing what might happen; so that in a rebellion, where the success was doubtful, the bank would infallibly break.

Since so many gentlemen of this town have had the courage, without any security, to appear in the same paper with a million or two; it is hoped, when they are made sensible of their safety, that they will be prevailed to trust themselves in a neat skin of parchment, with a single one.

To encourage them, the undertaker proposes the erecting of a bank on parliamentary security, and such security as no revolution or change of times can affect.

To take away all jealousy of any private view of the undertaker, he assures the world that he is now in a garret, in a very thin waistcoat, studying the public good; having given an undeniable pledge of his love to his country, by pawning his coat in order to defray the expense of the press.

It is very well known that, by an act of parliament, to prevent profane swearing, the person so offending, on oath made before a magistrate, forfeits a shilling, which may be levied with little difficulty.

It is almost unnecessary to mention that this is become a pet-vice among us; and though age renders us unfit for other vices, yet this, where it takes hold, never leaves us but with our speech.

So vast a revenue might be raised by the execution of this act, that I have often wondered, in a scarcity of funds, that methods have not been taken to make it serviceable to the public.

I dare venture to say, if this act was well executed in England, the revenue of it, applied to the navy, would make the English fleet a terror to all Europe.

It is computed by geographers that there are 2,000,000 in this kingdom (of Ireland), of which number there may be said to be 1,000,000 of swearing souls.

It is thought there may be 5000 gentlemen; every gentleman, taking one with another, may afford to swear an oath every day, which will yearly produce 1,825,000 oaths; which number of shillings makes the yearly sum of 91,2501.

The farmers of this kingdom, who are computed to be 10,000, are able to spend yearly 500,000 oaths, which gives 25,000l.; and it is conjectured that, from the bulk of the people, 20,000l. or 25,000l. may be yearly collected.

These computations are very modest, since it is evident that there is a much greater consumption of oaths in this kingdom, and consequently a much greater sum might be yearly raised.

[ocr errors]

to defray all expenses of servants, salaries, &c. However, there will be the clear yearly sum of 100,000., which may very justly claim a million subscription.

It is determined to lay out the remaining unapplied profits, which will be very considerable, toward the erecting and maintaining of charity schools. A design so beneficial to the public, and especially to the protestant interest of this kingdom, has met with so much encouragement from several great patriots in England, that they have engaged to procure an act to secure the sole benefit of informing on this swearing act to the agents and servants of this new bank. Several of my friends pretend to demonstrate, that this bank will in time vie with the South Sea Company: they insist, that the army dispend as many oaths yearly as will produce 100,000/. nett.

There are computed to be 100 pretty fellows in this town that swear 50 oaths a-head daily; some of them would think it hard to be stinted to a hundred : this very branch would produce a vast sum yearly.

The FAIRS of this kingdom will bring in a vast revenue; the oaths of a little Connaught one, as well as they could be numbered by two persons, amounted to three thousand. It is true that it would be impossible to turn all of them into ready money, for a shilling is so great a duty on swearing, that if it was carefully exacted, the common people might as well pretend to drink wine as to swear; and an oath would be as rare among them as a clean shirt.

A servant that I employed to accompany the militia their last muster day had scored down, in the compass of eight hours, three hundred oaths; but, as the putting of the act in execution on those days would only fill the stocks with porters, and pawn-shops with muskets and swords; and as it would be matter of great joy to papists and disaffected persons to see our militia swear themselves out of their guns and swords; it is resolved that no advantage shall be taken of any militiaman's swearing while he is under arms; nor shall any advantage be taken of any man's swearing in the four courts, provided he is at hearing in the exchequer, or has just paid off an attorney's bill.

The medicinal use of oaths is what the undertaker would by no means discourage, especially where it is necessary to help the lungs to throw off any distilling humour. On certificate of a course of swearing prescribed by any physician, a permit will be given to the patient by the proper officer of the bank, paying no more than sixpence. It is expected that a scheme of so much advantage to the public will meet with more encouragement than their chimerical banks; and the undertaker hopes, that as he has spent a considerable fortune in bringing this scheme to bear, he may have the satisfaction to see it take place for the public good, though he should have the fate of most projectors, to be undone.

That it may be collected with ease and regularity, it It is resolved, that no compositions shall be made, is proposed to settle informers in great towns in propor- nor licences granted, for swearing, under a notion of tion to the number of inhabitants, and to have riding-applying the money to pious uses; a practice so scanofficers in the country; and since nothing brings a greater contempt on any profession than poverty, it is determined to settle very handsome salaries on the gentlemen that are employed by the bank, that they may, by a generosity of living, reconcile men to an office that has lain under so much scandal of late as to be undertaken by none but curates, clerks of meetinghouses, and broken tradesmen.

It is resolved that none shall be preferred to those employments but persons that are notorious for being constant churchmen, and frequent communicants; whose piety will be a sufficient security for their honest and industrious execution of their office.

It is very probable that 20,000%. will be necessary

dalous, as is fit only for the see of Rome, where the money arising from whoring licenses is applied ad propagandam fidem: and to the shame of Smock-alley and of all protestant whores (especially those who live under the light of the gospel-ministry), be it spoken, a whore in Rome never lies down but she hopes it will be the means of converting some poor heathen or heretic.

The swearing revenues of the town of Cork will be given for ever by the bank to the support of poor clergymen's widows: and those of Ringsend will be allowed to the maintenance of sailors' bastards.

The undertaker designs in a few days to appoint time and place for taking subscriptions; the sub

scribers must come prepared to pay down one-fourth on subscribing.

P.S.-The Jews of Rotterdam have offered to farm the revenues of Dublin at 20,000l. per annum. Several eminent quakers are also willing to take them at that rent; but the undertaker has rejected their proposals, being resolved to deal with none but christians. Application may be made to him about them, any day, at Patt's coffee-house, where attendance will be given.


the game, I am not yet qualified to keep a greyhound. If this should be the test of squirehood, it will go hard with a great number of my fraternity, as well as myself, who must all be unsquired, because a greyhound will not be allowed to keep us company; and it is well known I have been a companion to his betters. What has a greyhound to do with a squireship? might I not be a real squire, although there was no such thing as a greyhound in the world? Pray tell me, sir, are greyhounds to be from henceforth the supporters of every squire's coat of arms? Although I cannot keep a greyhound, may not a greyhound help to keep me? May not I have an order from the governors of the bank to keep a greyhound, with a non obstante to the act of parliament, as well as they have created a bank against the votes of the two houses? But however this difficulty will soon be overcome. I am promised 1251. a-year for subscribing 5007.; and of this 5001. I am to pay in only 257. ready money: the governors will trust me for the rest, and pay themselves out of the interest by 251. per cent. So that I intend to receive only 40%. a-year to qualify me for keeping my family and a greyhound, and let the remaining 851. go on till it makes 500, then 10007., then 10,000l., then 100,000, then a million, and so forwards. This, I think, is much better (betwixt you and me) than keeping fairs, and buying and selling bullocks; by which I find, from experience, that little is to be gotten in these hard times.

[blocks in formation]

IN a late printed paper, containing some notes and queries upon that list of the subscribers' names which was published by order of the commissioners for receiving subscriptions, I find some hints and innuendoes that would seem to insinuate as if I and some others were only reputed esquires; and our case is referred to you, in your kingly capacity. I desire you will please to let me know the lowest price of a real esquire's coat of arms, and if we can agree, I will give my bond to pay you out of the first interest I receive for my subscription; because things are a little low with me at present, by throwing my whole fortune into the bank, having subscribed for 5001, sterling.

I hope you will not question my pretensions to this title when I let you know that my godfather was a justice of peace, and I myself have been often a keeper of it. My father was a leader and commander of horse, in which post he rode before the greatest lords of the land [a postilion]; and, in long marches, he alone presided over the baggage, advancing directly before


My mother kept open house in Dublin, where several hundreds were supported with meat and drink bought at her own charge, or with her personal credit, until some envious brewers and butchers forced her to retire.a

As to myself, I have been for several years a footofficer; and it was my charge to guard the carriages, behind which I was commanded to stick close, that they might not be attacked in the rear. I have had the honour to be a favourite of several fine ladies; who each of them, at different times, gave me such coloured knots and public marks of distinction, that every one knew which of them it was to whom I paid my address. They would not go into their coach without me, nor willingly drink unless I gave them the glass with my own hand. They allowed me to call them my mistresses, and owned that title publicly. I have been told, that the true ancient employment of a squire was to carry a knight's shield, painted with his colours and coat of arms. This is what I have witnesses to produce that I have often done; not indeed in a shield, like my predecessors, but that which is full as good, I have carried the colours of a knight upon my coat [as a footman]. I have likewise borne the king's arms in my hand, as a mark of authority [as a constable]; and hung them painted before my dwelling-house, as a mark of my calling [as an innkeeper]; so that I may truly say, his majesty's arms have been my supporters. I have been a strict and constant follower of men of quality. I have diligently pursued the steps of several squires, and am able to behave myself as well as the best of them whenever there shall be occasion.

I desire it may be no disadvantage to me that, by the new act of parliament going to pass for preserving a His mother kept an eating-house.

I am, sir, your friend and servant to command, A. B., ESQUIRE. P.S.-I hope you will favourably represent my case to the publisher of the paper above-mentioned.

Direct your letter for A. B., esq., at ***, in *** and pray get some parliament-man to frank it, for it will cost a groat postage to this place.


I AM now going to suffer the just punishment for my crimes prescribed by the law of God and my country. I know it is the constant custom that those who come to this place should have speeches made for them, and cried about in their own hearing as they are carried to execution; and truly they are such speeches that, although our fraternity be an ignorant, illiterate people, they would make a man ashamed to have such nonsense and false English charged upon him even when he is going to the gallows. They contain a pretended account of our birth and family, of the fact for which we are to die, of our sincere repentance, and a declaration of our religion. I cannot expect to avoid the same treatment with my predecessors.

However, having had an education one or two degrees better than those of my rank and profession, I have been considering ever since my commitment what it might be proper for me to deliver upon this occasion.

And First-I cannot say from the bottom of my heart that I am truly sorry for the offence I have given to God and the world; but I am very much so for the bad success of my villainies in bringing me to this untimely end; for it is plainly evident that after having some time ago obtained a pardon from the crown, I again took up my old trade; my evil habits were so rooted in me, and I was grown so unfit for any other kind of employment And therefore although in a A malefactor executed for street robbery. His parents, according to Faulkner, were rigid dissenters, had given him a settled him in that profession, which he gradually exchanged good education, put him apprentice to a silk-weaver, and for those of a fine gentleman, a gamester, and a housebreake.

compliance with my friends, I resolved to go to the gallows after the usual manner, kneeling, with a book in my hand and my eyes lifted up; yet I shall feel no more devotion in my heart than I have observed in my comrades, who have been drunk among common whores the very night before their execution. I can say further, from my own knowledge, that two of my fraternity, after they had been hanged and wonderfully came to life and made their escapes, as it sometimes happened, proved afterwards the wickedest rogues I ever knew, and so continued until they were hanged again for good and all; and yet they had the impudence at both times they went to the gallows to smite their breasts and lift up their eyes to heaven all the way. Secondly. From the knowledge I have of my own wicked dispositions, and that of my comrades, I give it as my opinion that nothing can be more unfortunate to the public than the mercy of the government in ever pardoning or transporting us, unless when we betray one another, as we never fail to do if we are sure to be well paid, and then a pardon may do good: by the same rule, That it is better to have one fox in a farm than three or four. But we generally make a shift to return after being transported, and are ten times greater rogues than before and much more cunning. Besides, I know it by experience, that some hope we have of finding mercy when we are tried, or after we are condemned, is always a great encourage

ment to us.

Thirdly. Nothing is more dangerous to idle young fellows than the company of those odious common whores we frequent, and of which this town is full. These wretches put us upon all mischief to feed their lusts and extravagancies: they are ten times more bloody and cruel than men; their advice is always not to spare if we are pursued: they get drunk with us, and are common to us, and yet if they can get anything by it are sure to be our betrayers.

Now as I am a dying man I have done something which may be of good use to the public. I have left with an honest man (and, indeed, the only honest man I was ever acquainted with) the names of all my wicked brethren, the present places of their abode, with a short account of the chief crimes they have committed, in many of which I have been their accomplice, and heard the rest from their own mouths: I have likewise set down the names of those we call our setters, of the wicked houses we frequent, and of those who receive and buy our stolen goods. I have solembly charged this honest man and have received his promise upon oath, that whenever he hears of any rogue to be tried for robbing or housebreaking, he will look into his list, and if he finds the name there of the thief concerned, to send the whole paper to the government. Of this I here give my companions fair and public warning, and hope they will take it.

In the paper above mentioned, which I left with my friend, I have also set down the names of several gentlemen who have been robbed in Dublin streets for three years past; I have told the circumstances of those robberies, and shown plainly that nothing but the want of common courage was the cause of their misfortune. I have therefore desired my friend that whenever any gentleman happens to be robbed in the streets, he will get that relation printed and published, with the first letters of those gentlemen's names, who by their own want of bravery are like to be the cause of all the mischief of that kind which may happen for the future. I cannot leave the world without a short description of that kind of life which I have led for some years past; and it is exactly the same with the rest of our wicked brethren.

Although we are generally so corrupted from our childhood has to have no sense of goodness, yet some


thing heavy always hangs about us, I know not what it is, that we are never easy till we are half-drunk among our whores and companions, nor sleep sound unless we drink longer than we can stand. If we go abroad in the day, a wise man would easily find us to be rogues by our faces, we have such a suspicious, fearful, and constrained countenance, often turning back and slinking through narrow lanes and alleys. I have never failed of knowing a brother thief by his looks, though I never saw him before. Every man among us keeps his particular whore, who is, however, common to us all when we have a mind to change. When we have got a booty, if it be in money, we divide it equally among our companions, and soon squander it away on our vices in those houses that receive us, for the master and the mistress, and the very tapster, go snacks, and besides make us pay triple reckonings. If our plunder be plate, watches, rings, snuff boxes, and the like, we have customers in all quarters of the town to take them off. I have seen a tankard worth 15l. sold to a fellow in street for 20s., and a gold watch for 30s. I have set down his name and that of several others in the paper already mentioned. We have setters watching in corners and by dead walls to give us notice when a gentleman goes by, especially if he be anything in drink. I believe in my conscience that if an account were made of 10007. in stolen goods, considering the low rates we sell them at, the bribes we must give for concealment, the extortions of ale-house reckonings, and other necessary charges, there would not remain 501. clear to be divided among the robbers. And out of this we must find clothes for our whores, besides treating them from morning to night, who in requital reward us with nothing but treachery and the pox. For when our money is gone, they are every moment threatening to inform against us, if we will not go out and look for more. If anything in this world be like hell, as I have heard it described by our clergy, the truest picture of it must be in the back room of one of our alehouses at midnight, where a crew of robbers and their whores are met together after a booty and are beginning to grow drunk; from which time until they are past their senses, is such a continued horrible noise of cursing and blasphemy, lewdness, scurrility, and brutish behaviour, such roaring and confusion, such a clatter of mugs and pots at each other's heads, that bedlam in comparison is a sober and orderly place. At last they all tumble from their stools and benches, and sleep away the rest of the night, and generally the landlord or his wife, or some other whore who has a stronger head than the rest, picks their pockets before they wake. The misfortune is that we can never be easy till we are drunk, and our drunkenness constantly exposes us to be more easily betrayed and taken.

This is a short picture of the life I have led, which is more miserable than that of the poorest labourer who works for 4d. a day; and yet custom is so strong, that I am confident if I could make my escape at the foot of the gallows, I should be following the same course this very evening. So that upon the whole we ought to be looked upon as the common enemies of mankind, whose interest it is to root us out like wolves and other mischievous vermin, against which no fair play is required.

If I have done service to men in what I have said, I shall hope I have done service to God, and that will be better than a silly speech made for me full of whining and canting, which I utterly despise and have never been used to; yet such a one I expect to have my ears tormented with as I am passing along the streets. Good people fare ye well; bad as I am, I leave many worse behind me. I hope you shall see me die like a man the death of a dog.

E. E.

« AnteriorContinuar »