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MAXIMS CONTROLLED IN IRELAND.a
THE TRUTH OF MAXIMS IN STATE AND
WITH REFERENCE TO IRELAND.
DESCRIBED by Mr. Burke as "a collection of State Paradoxes, abounding with great sense and penetration, and on a very important subject."
THERE are certain maxims of state, founded upon long observation and experience, drawn from the constant practice of the wisest nations, and from the very principles of government, nor even controlled by any writer upon politics. Yet all these maxims do necessarily presuppose a kingdom or commonwealth to have the same natural rights common to the rest of mankind who have entered into civil society; for if we could conceive a nation where each of the inhabitants had but one eye, one leg, and one hand, it is plain, before you could institute them into a republic, that an allowance must be made for those material defects wherein they differed from other mortals. Or imagine a legislature forming a system for the government of bedlam, and proceeding upon the maxim that man is a sociable animal, should draw them out of their cells, and form them into corporations or general assemblies; the consequence might probably be that they would fall foul on each other, or burn the house over their own heads.
Of the like nature are innumerable errors committed by crude and short thinkers, who reason upon general topics without the least allowance for the most important circumstances, which quite alter the nature of
This has been the fate of those small dealers who are every day publishing their thoughts, either on paper or in their assemblies, for improving the trade of Ireland, and referring us to the practice and example of England, Holland, France, or other nations.
I shall therefore examine certain maxims of government, which generally pass for uncontrolled in the world, and consider how far they will suit with the present condition of this kingdom.
First, It is affirmed by wise men that the dearness of things necessary for life in a fruitful country is a certain sign of wealth and great commerce, for when such necessaries are dear, it must absolutely follow that money is cheap and plentiful.
But this is manifestly false in Ireland, for the following reason. Some years ago the species of money here did probably amount to 600,0001. or 700,000l., and have good cause to believe that our remittances then did not much exceed the cash brought in to us. But by the prodigious discouragements we have since received in every branch of our trade by the frequent enforcement and rigorous execution of the navigation act, the tyranny of under custom-house officers, the yearly addition of absentees, the payments to regiments abroad, to civil and military officers residing in England, the unexpected sudden demands of great sums from the treasury, and some other drains of perhaps as great consequence, we now see ourselves reduced to a state (since we have no friends) of being pitied by our enemies, at least if our enemies were of such a kind as to be capable of any regard towards us except of hatred and contempt.
Forty years are now passed since the Revolution, when the contention of the British empire was, most unfortunately for us and altogether against the usual course of such mighty changes in government, decided in the least important nation, but with such ravages and ruin executed on both sides, as to leave the kingdom a desert, which in some sort it still continues. Neither did the long rebellions in 1641 make half such a See an Essay on the Absurdities in England.
a destruction of houses, plantations, and personal wealth, in both kingdoms, as two years' campaigns did in ours, by fighting England's battles.
By slow degrees, as by the gentle treatment we received under two auspicious reigns, we grew able to live without running in debt. Our absentees were but few; we had great indulgence in trade, and a considerable share in employments of church and state; and while the short leases continued, which were let some years after the war ended, tenants paid their rents with ease and cheerfulness, to the great regret of their landlords, who had taken up a spirit of opposition that is not easily removed. And although, in these short leases, the rent was gradually to increase after short periods, yet as soon as the terms elapsed, the land was let to the highest bidder, most commonly without the least effectual clause for building or planting. Yet, by many advantages, which this island then possessed and has since utterly lost, the rents of lands still grew higher upon every lease that expired, till they have arrived at the present exorbitance; when the frog, overswelling himself, burst at last.
With the price of land of necessity rose that of corn and cattle, and all other commodities that farmers deal in; hence likewise, obviously, the rates of all goods and manufactures among shopkeepers, the wages of servants, and hire of labourers. But although our miseries came on fast, with neither trade nor money left; yet neither will the landlord abate in his rent, nor can the tenant abate in the price of what that rent must be paid with, nor any shopkeeper, tradesman, or labourer live at lower expense for food and clothing
than he did before.
I have been the larger upon this first head, because the same observations will clear up and strengthen a good deal of what I shall affirm upon the rest.
The second maxim of those who reason upon trade and government is to assert that low interest is a certain sign of great plenty of money in a nation, for which, as in many other articles, they produce the examples of Holland and England. But with relation to Ireland this maxim is likewise entirely false.
There are two reasons for the lowness of interest in any country. First, that which is usually alleged, the great plenty of species; and this is obvious. The second is want of trade, which seldom falls under common observation, although it be equally true; for where trade is altogether discouraged there are few borrowers. In those countries where men can employ a large stock, the young merchant, whose fortune may be 400l. or 5007., will venture to borrow as much more, and can afford a reasonable interest. Neither is it easy at this day to find many of those whose business reaches to employ even so inconsiderable a sum, except among the importers of wine, who as they have most part of the present trade in these parts of Ireland in their hands, so they are the most exorbitant, exacting, fraudulent dealers that ever trafficked in any nation, and are making all possible speed to ruin both themselves and the nation.
From this defect of gentlemen's not knowing how to dispose of their ready money, arises the high purchase of land, which in all other countries is reckoned a sign of wealth. For the frugal squires, who live below their incomes, have no other way to dispose of their savings but by mortgage or purchase, by which the rates of land must naturally increase; and if this trade continues long, under the uncertainty of rents, the landed men of ready money will find it more for their advan⚫ tage to send their cash to England and place it in the funds; which I myself am determined to do the first considerable sum I shall be master of.
It has likewise been a maxim among politicians,
Those of Charles II. and James II.
"That the great increase of buildings in the metropolis argues a flourishing state." But this, I confess, has been controlled from the example of London; when, by the long and annual parliamentary session, such a number of senators, with their families, friends, adherents, and expectants, draw such prodigious numbers to that city, that the old hospitable custom of lords and gentlemen living in their ancient seats among their tenants is almost lost in England,-is laughed out of doors, insomuch that in the middle of summer a legal house of lords and commons might be brought in a few hours to London from their country villas within twelve miles round.
The case in Ireland is yet somewhat worse, for the absentees of great estates, who if they lived at home would have many rich retainers in their neighbourhoods, have learned to rack their lands and shorten their leases as much as any residing squire, and the few remaining of those latter having some vain hope of employments for themselves or their children, and discouraged by the beggarliness and thievery of their own miserable farmers and cottagers, or seduced by the vanity of their wives on pretence of their children's education (whereof the fruits are so apparent), together with that most wonderful, and yet more unaccountable, zeal for a seat in their assembly, though at some years' purchase of their whole estates; these and some other motives have drawn such concourse to this beggarly city, that the dealers of the several branches of building have found out all the commodious and inviting places for erecting new houses, while 1500 of the old ones, which is a seventh part of the whole city, are said to be left uninhabited and falling to ruin. Their method is the same with that which was first introduced by Dr. Barebone at London, who died a bankrupt. The mason, the bricklayer, the carpenter, the slater, and the glazier, take a lot of ground, club to build one or more houses, unite their credit, their stock, and their money, and when their work is finished sell it to the best advantage they can. But as it often happens, and more every day, that their fund will not answer half their design, they are forced to undersell it at the first story and are all reduced to beggary: insomuch that I know a certain fanatic brewer, who is reported to have some hundreds of houses in this town, is said to have purchased the greatest part of them at half value from ruined undertakers, has intelligence of all new houses where the finishing is at a stand, takes advantage of the builder's distress, and by the advantage of ready money, gets 50 per cent, at least for his bargain.
It is another undisputed maxim in government, "That people are the riches of a nation," which is so universally granted that it will be hardly pardonable to bring it into doubt. And I will grant it to be so far true, even in this island, that if we had the African custom or privilege of selling our useless bodies for slaves to foreigners, it would be the most useful branch of our trade, by ridding us of a most unsupportable burden and bringing us money in the stead. But in our present situation, at least five children in six who are born lie a dead weight upon us for want of employment. And a very skilful computer assured me, that above one half of the souls in this kingdom supported themselves by begging and thievery, two-thirds whereof would be able to get their bread in any other country upon earth. Trade is the only incitement to labour, where that fails the poorer native must either beg, steal, or starve, or be forced to quit his country. This has made me often wish for some years past, that instead of discouraging our people from seeking foreign soil, the public would rather pay for transporting all our unnecessary mortals, whether papists or protestants, to America, as drawbacks are sometimes allowed for
exporting commodities where a nation is overstocked. I confess myself to be touched with very sensible pleasure when I hear of a mortality in any country parish or village, where the wretches are forced to pay for a filthy cabin and two ridges of potatoes treble the worth, brought up to steal or beg, for want of work, to whom death would be the best thing to be wished for on account both of themselves and the public.
Among all taxes imposed by the legislature, those upon luxury are universally allowed to be the most equitable and beneficial to the subject, and the commonest reasoner on government might fill a volume with arguments on the subject. Yet here again, by the singular fate of Ireland, this maxim is utterly false, and the putting of it in practice may have such a pernicious consequence as I certainly believe the thoughts of the proposers were not able to reach.
The miseries we suffer by our absentees are of a far more extensive nature than seems to be commonly understood. I must vindicate myself to the reader so far, as to declare solemnly that what I shall say of those lords and squires does not arise from the least regard I have for their understandings, their virtues, or their persons; for although I have not the honour of the least acquaintance with any one among them (my ambition not soaring so high), yet I am too good a witness of the situation they have been in for 30 years past; the veneration paid them by the people, the high esteem they are in among the prime nobility and gentry, the particular marks of favour and distinction they receive from the court; the weight and con.equence of their interest, added to their great zeal and application for preventing any hardships their country might suffer from England, wisely considering that their own fortunes and honours were embarked in the same bottom.
DISTRESSES, AND MISFORTUNES OF QUILCA.3
PROPOSED TO CONTAIN 21 VOLUMES IN QUARTO. Begun April 20, 1724, and to be continued Weekly, if due Encouragement be given.
BUT one lock and a half in the whole house.
The vessels for drink very few and leaky.
The new house all going to ruin before it is finished. One hinge of the street-door broke off, and the people forced to go out and come in at the back-door. The door of the dean's bedchamber full of large chinks.
The beaufet letting in so much wind that it almost blows out the candles.
The dean's bed threatening every night to fall under him.
The little table loose and broken in the joints. The passages open over head, by which the cats pass continually into the cellar and eat the victuals, for which one was tried, condemned, and executed by the sword.
The large table in a very tottering condition.
But one chair in the house fit for sitting on, and that in a very ill state of health.
The kitchen perpetually crowded with savages. Not a bit of mutton to be had in the country. Want of beds, and a mutiny thereupon among the servants until supplied from Kells.
a Quilca, a country seat of Mr. Sheridan, lent to the dean as a summer residence.
An egregious want of all the most common necessary utensils.
Not a bit of turf this cold weather; and Mrs. Johnson and the dean in person, with all their servants, forced to assist at the Bog, in gathering up the wet bottoms of old clamps.
The grate in the ladies' bedchamber broke, and forced to be removed, by which they were compelled to be without fire, the chimney smoking intolerably; and the dean's great-coat was employed to stop the wind from coming down the chimney, without which expedient they must have been starved to death.
A messenger sent a mile to borrow an old broken tun-dish.
Bottles stopped with bits of wood and tow, instead of corks.
Not one utensil for a fire, except an old pair of tongs, which travels through the house, and is likewise employed to take the meat out of the pot, for want of a flesh-fork.
Every servant an arrant thief as to victuals and drink, and every comer and goer as arrant a thief of everything he or she can lay their hands on.
The spit blunted with poking into bogs for timber, and tears the meat to pieces.
Bellum atque fæminam: or a kitchen war between nurse and a nasty crew of both sexes; she to preserve order and cleanliness, they to destroy both; and they generally are conquerors.
April 28. This morning the great fore-door quite open, dancing backward and forward with all its weight upon the lower hinge, which must have been broken if the dean had not accidentally come and relieved it.
A great hole in the floor of the ladies' chamber, every hour hazarding a broken leg.
Two damnable iron spikes erect on the dean's bedstead, by which he is in danger of a broken shin at rising and going to bed.
The ladies' and dean's servants growing fast into the manners and thieveries of the natives; the ladies themselves very much corrupted; the dean perpetually storming, and in danger of either losing all his flesh or sinking into barbarity for the sake of peace.
Mrs. Dingley full of cares for herself, and blunders and negligence for her friends. Mrs. Johnson sick and helpless. The dean deaf and fretting; the lady's maid awkward and clumsy; Robert lazy and forgetful; William a pragmatical, ignorant, and conceited puppy; Robin and nurse the two great and only supports of the family.
Bellum lactaum: or the milky battle, fought between the dean and the crew of Quilca; the latter insisting on their privilege of not milking till eleven in the forenoon, whereas Mrs. Johnson wanted milk at eight for her health. In this battle the dean got the victory; but the crew of Quilca begin to rebel again, for it is this day almost ten o'clock, and Mrs. Johnson has not got her milk.
A proverb on the laziness and lodgings of the servants: "The worse their sty-the longer they lie."
Two great holes in the wall of the ladies' bedchamber, just at the back of the bed, and one of them directly behind Mrs. Johnson's pillow, either of which would blow out a candle in the calmest day.
A SHORT VIEW
OF THE STATE OF IRELAND.
I AM assured, that it has for some time been practised as a method of making men's court when they are asked about the rate of lands, the abilities of the tenants, the state of trade and manufacture in this kingdom and how their rents are paid; to answer that
in their neighbourhood all things are in a flourishing condition, the rent and purchase of land every day increasing. And if a gentleman happen to be a little more sincere in his representation, besides being looked on as not well-affected, he is sure to have a dozen contradictors at his elbow. I think it is no manner of secret, why these questions are so cordially asked or so obligingly answered.
But since, with regard to the affairs of this kingdom I have been using all endeavours to subdue my indignation; to which indeed I am not provoked by any personal interest, not being the owner of one spot of ground in the whole island; I shall only enumerate, by rules generally known and never contradicted, what are the true causes of any country's flourishing and growing rich; and then examine what effects arise from those causes in the kingdom of Ireland.
The first cause of a kingdom's thriving is the fruitfulness of the soil to produce the necessaries and conveniences of life, not only sufficient for the inhabitants but for exportation into other countries.
The second is the industry of the people in working up all their native commodities to the last degree of manufacture.
The third is the conveniency of safe ports and havens, to carry out their own goods as much manufactured, and bring in those of others as little manufactured, as the nature of mutual commerce will allow.
The fourth is that the natives should, as much as possible, export and import their goods in vessels of their own timber, made in their own country.
The fifth is the privilege of a free trade in all foreign countries which will permit them, except those who are in war with their own prince or state.
The sixth is by being governed only by laws made with their own consent, for otherwise they are not a free people. And therefore all appeals for justice or applications for favour or preferment, to another country, are so many grievous impoverishments.
The seventh is by improvement of land, encouragement of agriculture, and thereby increasing the number of their people, without which any country, however blessed by nature, must continue poor.
The eighth is the residence of the prince or chief administrator of the civil power.
The ninth is the concourse of foreigners, for education, curiosity, or pleasure, or as to a general mart of trade.
The tenth is by disposing all offices of honour, profit, or trust, only to the natives, or at least with very few exceptions, where strangers have long inhabited the country and are supposed to understand and regard the interests of it as their own.
The eleventh is when the rents of land and profits of employment are spent in the country which produced them, and not in another, the former of which will certainly happen where the love of our native country prevails.
The twelfth is by the public revenues being all spent and employed at home, except on the occasions of a foreign war.
The thirteenth is where the people are not obliged, unless they find it for their own interest or conveniency, to receive any moneys, except of their own coinage by a public mint, after the manner of all civilized nations.
The fourteenth is a disposition of the people of a country to wear their own manufactures, and import as few incitements to luxury either in clothes, furniture, food, or drink, as they possibly can live conveniently
There are many other causes of a nation's thriving, which I at present cannot recollect; but without advantage from at least some of these, after turning my
thoughts a long time, I am not able to discover whence our wealth proceeds, and therefore would gladly be better informed. In the mean time, I will here examine what share falls to Ireland of these causes, or of the effects and consequences.
It is not my intention to complain, but barely to relate facts, and the matter is not of small importance. For it is allowed, that a man who lives in a solitary house, far from help, is not wise in endeavouring to acquire in the neighbourhood the reputation of being rich, because those who come for gold will go off with pewter and brass rather than return empty, and in the common practice of the world, those who possess most wealth make the least parade, which they leave to others, who have nothing else to bear them out in showing their faces on the Exchange.
As to the first cause of a nation's riches, being the fertility of the soil, as well as temperature of the climate, we have no reason to complain; for, although the quantity of unprofitable land in this kingdom, reckoning bog and rock and barren mountain, be double in proportion to what it is in England, yet the native productions, which both kingdoms deal in, are very near an equality in point of goodness, and might, with the same encouragement, be as well manufactured. I except mines and minerals, in some of which, however, we are only defective in point of skill and industry.
In the second, which is the industry of the people, our misfortune is not altogether owing to our own fault, but to a million of discouragements.
The conveniency of ports and havens, which nature has bestowed so liberally on this kingdom, is of no more use to us than a beautiful prospect to a man shut up in a dungeon.
As to shipping of its own, Ireland is so utterly unprovided that, of all the excellent timber cut down within these 50 or 60 years, it can hardly be said that the nation has received the benefit of one valuable house to dwell in, or one ship to trade with.
Ireland is the only kingdom I ever heard or read of, either in ancient or modern story, which was denied the liberty of exporting their native commodities and manufactures wherever they pleased, except to countries at war with their own prince or state; yet this privilege, by the superiority of mere power, is refused us in the most momentous parts of commerce,-besides an act of navigation, to which we never consented, pinned down upon us, and rigorously executed; and a thousand other unexampled circumstances, as grievous as they are invidious to mention. To go on to the rest.
It is too well known that we are forced to obey some laws we never consented to, which is a condition I must not call by its true uncontroverted name, for fear of lord chief-justice Whitshed's ghost, with his Libertas et natale solum written for a motto on his coach, as it stood at the door of the court, while he was perjuring himself to betray both. Thus we are in the condition of patients, who have physic sent them by doctors at a distance, strangers to their constitution and the nature of their disease, and thus we are forced to pay 500 per cent. to decide our properties; in all which we have likewise the honour to be distinguished from the whole race of mankind.
As to the improvement of land, those few who attempt that or planting, through covetousness, or want of skill, generally leave things worse than they were; neither succeeding in trees nor hedges; and, by running into the fancy of grazing, after the manner of the Scythians, are every day depopulating the country.
We are so far from having a king to reside among us, that even the viceroy is generally absent four-fifths of his time in the government.
a The Appeal to the house of Peers.
No strangers from other countries make this a part of their travels, where they can expect to see nothing but scenes of misery and desolation.
Those who have the misfortune to be born here have the least title to any considerable employment, to which they are seldom preferred but upon a political consideration.
One third part of the rents of Ireland is spent in England, which, with the profit of employments, pensions, appeals, journeys of pleasure or health, education at the inns of court and both universities, remittances at pleasure, the pay of all superior officers in the army, and other incidents, will amount to a full half of the income of the whole kingdom, all clear profit to England.
We are denied the liberty of coining gold, silver, or even copper. In the Isle of Man they coin their own silver; every petty prince, vassal to the emperor, can coin what money he pleases. And in this, as in most of the articles already mentioned, we are an exception to all other states or monarchies that were ever known in the world.
As to the last, or fourteenth article, we take special care to act diametrically contrary to it in the whole course of our lives. Both sexes, but especially the women, despise and abhor to wear any of their own manufactures, even those which are better made than in other countries, particularly a sort of silk plaid, through which the workmen are forced to run a kind of gold thread, that it may pass for Indian. Even ale and potatoes are imported from England, as well as corn; and our foreign trade is little more than importation of French wine, for which I am told we pay ready money.
Now, if all this be true (upon which I could easily enlarge), I should be glad to know by what secret method it is that we grow a rich and flourishing people, without liberty, trade, manufactures, inhabitants, money, or the privilege of coining, without industry, labour, or improvement of land, and with more than half the rent and profits of the whole kingdom annually exported, for which we receive not a single farthing; and to make up all this, nothing worth mentioning, except the linen of the north, a trade casual, corrupted, and at mercy, and some butter from Cork. If we do flourish, it must be against every law of nature and reason, like the thorn at Glastonbury that blossoms in the midst of winter.
Let the worthy commissioners who come from Eugland ride round the kingdom; and observe the face of nature, or the face of the natives; the improvement of the land, the thriving numerous plantations; the noble woods, the abundance and vicinity of country seats; the commodious farms, houses, and barns; the towns and villages, where everybody is busy, and thriving with all kind of manufactures; the shops full of goods wrought to perfection, and filled with customers; the comfortable diet, and dress, and dwellings of the people; the vast number of ships in our harbours and docks, and ship-wrights in our sea-port towns; the roads crowded with carriers laden with rich manufactures; the perpetual concourse to and fro of pompous equipages.
With what envy and admiration would those gentlemen return from so delightful a progress! what glorious reports would they make when they went back to England!
But my heart is too heavy to continue this irony longer, for it is manifest that whatever stranger took such a journey would be apt to think himself travelling in Lapland or Ysland rather than in a country so favoured by nature as ours, both in fruitfulness of soil and temperature of climate. The miserable dress and diet, and dwelling of the people; the general deso
lation in most parts of the kingdom; the old seats of the nobility and gentry all in ruins, and no new ones in their stead; the families of farmers, who pay great rents, living in filth and nastiness upon buttermilk and potatoes, without a shoe or stocking to their feet, or a house so convenient as an English hogsty to receive them. These indeed may be comfortable sights to an English spectator, who comes for a short time, only to learn the language, and returns back to his own country, whither he finds all his wealth transmitted.
Nostra miseria magna est.
There is not one argument used to prove the riches of Ireland which is not a logical demonstration of its poverty. The rise of our rents is squeezed out of the very blood, and vitals, and clothes, and dwellings of the tenants, who live worse than English beggars. The lowness of interest, in all other countries a sign of wealth, is in us a proof of misery, there being no trade to employ any borrower. Hence alone comes the dear- | ness of land, since the savers have no other way to lay out their money; hence the dearness of necessaries of life, because the tenants cannot afford to pay such extravagant rates for land (which they must take or go a-begging) without raising the price of cattle and of corn, although themselves should live upon chaff. Hence our increase of building in this city, because workmen have nothing to do but to employ one another, and one half of them are infallibly undone. Hence the daily increase of bankers, who may be a necessary evil in a trading country, but so ruinous in ours; who, for their private advantage, have sent away all our silver and one third of our gold; so that within three years past the running cash of the nation, which was about 500,000, is now less than two, and must daily diminish unless we have liberty to coin as well as that important kingdom the Isle of Man, and the meanest principality in the German empire, as I before observed.
I have sometimes thought that this paradox of the kingdom's growing rich is chiefly owing to those worthy gentlemen the BANKERS, who, except some custom-house officers, birds of passage, oppressive thrifty squires, and a few others who shall be nameless, are the only thriving people among us; and I have often wished that a law were enacted to hang up half a dozen bankers every year, and thereby interpose at least some short delay to the further ruin of Ireland.
Ye are idle! ye are idle! answered Pharaoh to the Israelites when they complained to his majesty that they were forced to make bricks without straw.
England enjoys every one of those advantages for enriching a nation which I have above enumerated, and into the bargain a good million returned to them every year without labour or hazard or one farthing value received on our side; but how long we shall be able to continue the payment I am not under the least concern. One thing I know, that when the hen is starved to death there will be no more golden eggs. I think it a little inhospitable, and others may call it a subtile piece of malice, that, because there may be a dozen families in this town able to entertain their English friends in a generous manner at their tables their guests upon their return to England shall report that we wallow in riches and luxury.
Yet I confess I have known an hospital where all the household officers grew rich, while the poor, for whose sake it was built, were almost starving for want of food and raiment.
To conclude; if Ireland be a rich and flourishing kingdom, its wealth and prosperity must be owing to certain causes that are yet concealed from the whole race of mankind, and the effects are equally invisible. We need not wonder at strangers when they deliver
such paradoxes, but a native and inhabitant of this kingdom who gives the same verdict must be either ignorant to stupidity, or a man pleaser at the expense of all honour, conscience, and truth.
STORY OF THE INJURED LADY;
WRITTEN BY HERSELF,
IN A LETTER TO HER FRIEND;
WITH HIS ANSWER.
SIR,-Being ruined by the inconstancy and unkindness of a lover, I hope a true and plain relation of my misfortunes may be of use and warning to credulous maids never to put too much trust in deceitful man.
A gentleman [England] in the neighbourhood had two mistresses, another and myself [Scotland and Ireland]; and he pretended honourable love to us both. Our three houses stood pretty near one another; his was parted from mine by a river [the Irish Sea], and from my rival's by an old broken wall [the Picts' wall]. But before I enter into the particulars of this gentleman's hard usage of me I will give a very just and impartial character of my rival and myself.
As to her person, she is tall and lean, and very ill shaped; she has bad features and a worse complexion; she has a stinking breath and twenty ill smells about her besides; which are yet more insufferable by her natural sluttishness; for she is always lousy, and never without the itch. As to her other qualities, she has no reputation either for virtue, honesty, truth, or manners; and it is no wonder, considering what her education has been. Scolding and cursing are her common conversation. To sum up all, she is poor and beggarly, and gets a sorry maintenance by pilfering wherever she comes. As for this gentleman, who is now so fond of her, she still bears him an invincible hatred, reviles him to his face, and rails at him in all companies. Her house is frequented by a company of rogues and thieves and pick pockets, whom she encourages to rob his henroosts, steal his corn and cattle, and do him all manner of mischief. She has been known to come at the head of these rascals, and beat her lover until he was sore from head to foot, and then force him to pay for the trouble she was at. Once attended with a crew of ragamuffins she broke into his house, turned all things topsyturvy, and then set it on fire. At the same time she told so many lies among his servants that it set them all by the ears, and his poor steward [Charles I.] was knocked on the head; for which I think, and so does all the country, that she ought to be answerable. To conclude her character, she is of a different religion, being a presbyterian of the most rank and violent kind, and consequently having an inveterate hatred to the church; yet I am sure I have been always told that in marriage there ought to be a union of minds as well as of persons.
I will now give my own character, and shall do it in few words, and with modesty and truth.
I was reckoned to be as handsome as any in our neighbourhood until I became pale and thin with grief and ill usage. I am still fair enough, and have I think no very ill features about me. They that see me now will hardly allow me ever to have had any great share of beauty, for besides being so much altered I go always mobbed, and in an undress, as well out of neglect as indeed for want of clothes to appear in. I might add to all this, that I was born to a good estate, although it now turns to little account under the oppressions I endure, and has been the true cause of all my misfortunes.
Some years ago this gentleman, taking a fancy either