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The History of John Bull by John Arbuthnot

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This is the book which fixed the name and character of John Bull on
the English people. Though in one part of the story he is thin and
long nosed, as a result of trouble, generally he is suggested to us
as "ruddy and plump, with a pair of cheeks like a trumpeter," an
honest tradesman, simple and straightforward, easily cheated; but
when he takes his affairs into his own hands, acting with good plain
sense, knowing very well what he wants done, and doing it.

The book was begun in the year 1712, and published in four
successive groups of chapters that dealt playfully, from the Tory
point of view, with public affairs leading up to the Peace of
Utrecht. The Peace urged and made by the Tories was in these light
papers recommended to the public. The last touches in the parable
refer to the beginning of the year 1713, when the Duke of Ormond
separated his troops from those of the Allies and went to receive
Dunkirk as the stipulated condition of cessation of arms. After the
withdrawal of the British troops, Prince Eugene was defeated by
Marshal Villars at Denain, and other reverses followed. The Peace
of Utrecht was signed on the 31st of March.

Some chapters in this book deal in like manner, from the point of
view of a good-natured Tory of Queen Anne's time, with the feuds of
the day between Church and Dissent. Other chapters unite with this
topic a playful account of another chief political event of the
time--the negotiation leading to the Act of Union between England
and Scotland, which received the Royal Assent on the 6th of March,
17O7; John Bull then consented to receive his "Sister Peg" into his
house. The Church, of course, is John Bull's mother; his first wife
is a Whig Parliament, his second wife a Tory Parliament, which first
met in November, 171O.

This "History of John Bull" began with the first of its four parts
entitled "Law is a Bottomless Pit, exemplified in the case of Lord
Strutt, John Bull, Nicholas Frog, and Lewis Baboon, who spent all
they had in a Law-suit." For Law put War--the War of the Spanish
Succession; for lawyers, soldiers; for sessions, campaigns; for
verdicts, battles won; for Humphry Hocus the attorney, Marlborough
the general; for law expenses, war expenses; and for aim of the
whole, to aid the Tory policy of peace with France. A second part
followed, entitled "John Bull in his Senses;" the third part was
called "John Bull still in his Senses;" and the fourth part, "Lewis
Baboon turned Honest, and John Bull Politician." The four parts
were afterwards arranged into two, as they are here reprinted, and
published together as "The History of John Bull," with a few notes
by the author which sufficiently explain its drift.

The author was John Arbuthnot, a physician, familiar friend of Pope
and Swift, whom Pope addressed as

"Friend to my life, which did not you prolong,
The world had wanted many an idle song;"

and of whom Swift said, that "he has more wit than we all have, and
his humanity is equal to his wit." "If there were a dozen
Arbuthnots in the world," said Swift, "I would burn 'Gulliver's

Arbuthnot was of Swift's age, born in 1667, son of a Scotch
Episcopal clergyman, who lost his living at the Revolution. His
sons--all trained in High Church principles--left Scotland to seek
their fortunes; John came to London and taught mathematics. He took
his degree of Doctor of Medicine at St. Andrews in 1696; found use
for mathematics in his studies of medicine; became a Fellow of the
Royal Society; and being by chance at Epsom when Queen Anne's
husband was taken ill, prescribed for him so successfully that he
was made in 1705 Physician Extraordinary, and upon the occurrence of
a vacancy in 17O9 Physician in Ordinary, to the Queen. Swift calls
him her favourite physician. In 171O he was admitted Fellow of the
Royal College of Physicians. That was Arbuthnot's position in
1712-13 when, at the age of forty-five, he wrote this "History of
John Bull." He was personal friend of the Ministers whose policy he
supported, and especially of Harley, Earl of Oxford, the Sir Roger
of the History.

After Queen Anne's death, and the coming of the Whigs to power,
Arbuthnot lost his office at Court. But he was the friend and
physician of all the wits; himself without literary ambition,
allowing friends to make what alterations they pleased in pieces
that he wrote, or his children to make kites of them. A couple of
years before his death he suffered deeply from the loss of the elder
of his two sons. He was himself afflicted then with stone, and
retired to Hampstead to die. "A recovery," he wrote to Swift, "is
in my case and in my age impossible; the kindest wish of my friends
is euthanasia." He died in 1735.


When I was first called to the office of historiographer to John
Bull, he expressed himself to this purpose:--"Sir Humphrey
Polesworth,* I know you are a plain dealer; it is for that reason I
have chosen you for this important trust; speak the truth and spare
not." That I might fulfil those his honourable intentions, I
obtained leave to repair to, and attend him in his most secret
retirements; and I put the journals of all transactions into a
strong box, to be opened at a fitting occasion, after the manner of
the historiographers of some eastern monarchs: this I thought was
the safest way; though I declare I was never afraid to be chopped**
by my master for telling of truth. It is from those journals that
my memoirs are compiled: therefore let not posterity a thousand
years hence look for truth in the voluminous annals of pedants, who
are entirely ignorant of the secret springs of great actions; if
they do, let me tell them they will be nebused.***

* A Member of Parliament, eminent for a certain cant in his
conversation, of which there is a good deal in this book.
** A cant word of Sir Humphrey's.
*** Another cant word, signifying deceived.

With incredible pains have I endeavoured to copy the several
beauties of the ancient and modern historians; the impartial temper
of Herodotus, the gravity, austerity, and strict morals of
Thucydides, the extensive knowledge of Xenophon, the sublimity and
grandeur of Titus Livius; and to avoid the careless style of
Polybius, I have borrowed considerable ornaments from Dionysius
Halicarnasseus, and Diodorus Siculus. The specious gilding of
Tacitus I have endeavoured to shun. Mariana, Davila, and Fra.
Paulo, are those amongst the moderns whom I thought most worthy of
imitation; but I cannot be so disingenuous, as not to own the
infinite obligations I have to the "Pilgrim's Progress" of John
Bunyan, and the "Tenter Belly" of the Reverend Joseph Hall.

From such encouragement and helps, it is easy to guess to what a
degree of perfection I might have brought this great work, had it
not been nipped in the bud by some illiterate people in both Houses
of Parliament, who envying the great figure I was to make in future
ages, under pretence of raising money for the war,* have padlocked
all those very pens that were to celebrate the actions of their
heroes, by silencing at once the whole university of Grub Street. I
am persuaded that nothing but the prospect of an approaching peace
could have encouraged them to make so bold a step. But suffer me,
in the name of the rest of the matriculates of that famous
university, to ask them some plain questions: Do they think that
peace will bring along with it the golden age? Will there be never
a dying speech of a traitor? Are Cethegus and Catiline turned so
tame, that there will be no opportunity to cry about the streets, "A
Dangerous Plot?" Will peace bring such plenty that no gentleman
will have occasion to go upon the highway, or break into a house? I
am sorry that the world should be so much imposed upon by the dreams
of a false prophet, as to imagine the Millennium is at hand. O Grub
Street! thou fruitful nursery of towering geniuses! How do I lament
thy downfall? Thy ruin could never be meditated by any who meant
well to English liberty. No modern lyceum will ever equal thy
glory: whether in soft pastorals thou didst sing the flames of
pampered apprentices and coy cook maids; or mournful ditties of
departing lovers; or if to Maeonian strains thou raisedst thy voice,
to record the stratagems, the arduous exploits, and the nocturnal
scalade of needy heroes, the terror of your peaceful citizens,
describing the powerful Betty or the artful Picklock, or the secret
caverns and grottoes of Vulcan sweating at his forge, and stamping
the queen's image on viler metals which he retails for beef and pots
of ale; or if thou wert content in simple narrative, to relate the
cruel acts of implacable revenge, or the complaint of ravished
virgins blushing to tell their adventures before the listening crowd
of city damsels, whilst in thy faithful history thou intermingledst
the gravest counsels and the purest morals. Nor less acute and
piercing wert thou in thy search and pompous descriptions of the
works of nature; whether in proper and emphatic terms thou didst
paint the blazing comet's fiery tail, the stupendous force of
dreadful thunder and earthquakes, and the unrelenting inundations.
Sometimes, with Machiavelian sagacity, thou unravelledst intrigues
of state, and the traitorous conspiracies of rebels, giving wise
counsel to monarchs. How didst thou move our terror and our pity
with thy passionate scenes between Jack Catch and the heroes of the
Old Bailey? How didst thou describe their intrepid march up Holborn
Hill? Nor didst thou shine less in thy theological capacity, when
thou gavest ghostly counsels to dying felons, and didst record the
guilty pangs of Sabbath breakers. How will the noble arts of John
Overton's** painting and sculpture now languish? where rich
invention, proper expression, correct design, divine attitudes, and
artful contrast, heightened with the beauties of Clar. Obscur.,
embellished thy celebrated pieces, to the delight and astonishment
of the judicious multitude! Adieu, persuasive eloquence! the quaint
metaphor, the poignant irony, the proper epithet, and the lively
simile, are fled for ever! Instead of these, we shall have, I know
not what! The illiterate will tell the rest with pleasure.

* Act restraining the liberty of the press, etc.
** The engraver of the cuts before the Grub Street papers.

I hope the reader will excuse this digression, due by way of
condolence to my worthy brethren of Grub Street, for the approaching
barbarity that is likely to overspread all its regions by this
oppressive and exorbitant tax. It has been my good fortune to
receive my education there; and so long as I preserved some figure
and rank amongst the learned of that society, I scorned to take my
degree either at Utrecht or Leyden, though I was offered it gratis
by the professors in those universities.

And now that posterity may not be ignorant in what age so excellent
a history was written (which would otherwise, no doubt, be the
subject of its inquiries), I think it proper to inform the learned
of future times, that it was compiled when Louis XIV. was King of
France, and Philip his grandson of Spain; when England and Holland,
in conjunction with the Emperor and the Allies, entered into a war
against these two princes, which lasted ten years, under the
management of the Duke of Marlborough, and was put to a conclusion
by the Treaty of Utrecht, under the ministry of the Earl of Oxford,
in the year 1713.

Many at that time did imagine the history of John Bull, and the
personages mentioned in it, to be allegorical, which the author
would never own. Notwithstanding, to indulge the reader's fancy and
curiosity, I have printed at the bottom of the page the supposed
allusions of the most obscure parts of the story.


CHAPTER I. The Occasion of the Law Suit.

I need not tell you of the great quarrels that have happened in our
neighbourhood since the death of the late Lord Strutt;* how the
parson** and a cunning attorney got him to settle his estate upon
his cousin Philip Baboon, to the great disappointment of his cousin
Esquire South. Some stick not to say that the parson and the
attorney forged a will; for which they were well paid by the family
of the Baboons. Let that be as it will, it is matter of fact that
the honour and estate have continued ever since in the person of
Philip Baboon.

* Late King of Spain.
** Cardinal Portocarero.

You know that the Lord Strutts have for many years been possessed of
a very great landed estate, well conditioned, wooded, watered, with
coal, salt, tin, copper, iron, etc., all within themselves; that it
has been the misfortune of that family to be the property of their
stewards, tradesmen, and inferior servants, which has brought great
incumbrances upon them; at the same time, their not abating of their
expensive way of living has forced them to mortgage their best
manors. It is credibly reported that the butcher's and baker's bill
of a Lord Strutt that lived two hundred years ago are not yet paid.

When Philip Baboon came first to the possession of the Lord Strutt's
estate, his tradesmen,* as is usual upon such occasions, waited upon
him to wish him joy and bespeak his custom. The two chief were John
Bull,** the clothier, and Nic. Frog,*** the linendraper. They told
him that the Bulls and Frogs had served the Lord Strutts with
draperyware for many years; that they were honest and fair dealers;
that their bills had never been questioned; that the Lord Strutts
lived generously, and never used to dirty their fingers with pen,
ink, and counters; that his lordship might depend upon their honesty
that they would use him as kindly as they had done his predecessors.
The young lord seemed to take all in good part, and dismissed them
with a deal of seeming content, assuring them he did not intend to
change any of the honourable maxims of his predecessors.

* The first letters of congratulation from King William and the
States of Holland upon King Philip's accession to the crown of
** The English.
*** The Dutch.

CHAPTER II. How Bull and Frog grew jealous that the Lord Strutt
intended to give all his custom to his grandfather Lewis Baboon.

It happened unfortunately for the peace of our neighbourhood that
this young lord had an old cunning rogue, or, as the Scots call it,
a false loon of a grandfather, that one might justly call a Jack-
of-all-Trades.* Sometimes you would see him behind his counter
selling broadcloth, sometimes measuring linen; next day he would be
dealing in merceryware. High heads, ribbons, gloves, fans, and lace
he understood to a nicety. Charles Mather could not bubble a young
beau better with a toy; nay, he would descend even to the selling of
tape, garters, and shoe-buckles. When shop was shut up he would go
about the neighbourhood and earn half-a-crown by teaching the young
men and maids to dance. By these methods he had acquired immense
riches, which he used to squander* away at back-sword,
quarter-staff, and cudgel-play, in which he took great pleasure, and
challenged all the country. You will say it is no wonder if Bull
and Frog should be jealous of this fellow. "It is not impossible,"
says Frog to Bull, "but this old rogue will take the management of
the young lord's business into his hands; besides, the rascal has
good ware, and will serve him as cheap as anybody. In that case, I
leave you to judge what must become of us and our families; we must
starve, or turn journeyman to old Lewis Baboon. Therefore,
neighbour, I hold it advisable that we write to young Lord Strutt to
know the bottom of this matter."

* The character and trade of the French nation.
** The King's disposition to war.

CHAPTER III. A Copy of Bull and Frog's Letter to Lord Strutt.

My Lord,--I suppose your lordship knows that the Bulls and the Frogs
have served the Lord Strutts with all sorts of draperyware time out
of mind. And whereas we are jealous, not without reason, that your
lordship intends henceforth to buy of your grandsire old Lewis
Baboon, this is to inform your lordship that this proceeding does
not suit with the circumstances of our families, who have lived and
made a good figure in the world by the generosity of the Lord
Strutts. Therefore we think fit to acquaint your lordship that you
must find sufficient security to us, our heirs, and assigns that you
will not employ Lewis Baboon, or else we will take our remedy at
law, clap an action upon you of 2O,OOO pounds for old debts, seize
and distrain your goods and chattels, which, considering your
lordship's circumstances, will plunge you into difficulties, from
which it will not be easy to extricate yourself. Therefore we hope,
when your lordship has better considered on it, you will comply with
the desire of
Your loving friends,

Some of Bull's friends advised him to take gentler methods with the
young lord, but John naturally loved rough play. It is impossible
to express the surprise of the Lord Strutt upon the receipt of this
letter. He was not flush in ready either to go to law or clear old
debts, neither could he find good bail. He offered to bring matters
to a friendly accommodation, and promised, upon his word of honour,
that he would not change his drapers; but all to no purpose, for
Bull and Frog saw clearly that old Lewis would have the cheating of

CHAPTER IV. How Bull and Frog went to law with Lord Strutt about
the premises, and were joined by the rest of the tradesmen.

All endeavours of accommodation between Lord Strutt and his drapers
proved vain. Jealousies increased, and, indeed, it was rumoured
abroad that Lord Strutt had bespoke his new liveries of old Lewis
Baboon. This coming to Mrs. Bull's ears, when John Bull came home,
he found all his family in an uproar. Mrs. Bull, you must know, was
very apt to be choleric. "You sot," says she, "you loiter about
alehouses and taverns, spend your time at billiards, ninepins, or
puppet-shows, or flaunt about the streets in your new gilt chariot,
never minding me nor your numerous family. Don't you hear how Lord
Strutt has bespoke his liveries at Lewis Baboon's shop? Don't you
see how that old fox steals away your customers, and turns you out
of your business every day, and you sit like an idle drone, with
your hands in your pockets? Fie upon it. Up man, rouse thyself;
I'll sell to my shift before I'll be so used by that knave."* You
must think Mrs. Bull had been pretty well tuned up by Frog, who
chimed in with her learned harangue. No further delay now, but to
counsel learned in the law they go, who unanimously assured them
both of justice and infallible success of their lawsuit.

* The sentiments and addresses of the Parliament at that time.

I told you before that old Lewis Baboon was a sort of a
Jack-of-all-trades, which made the rest of the tradesmen jealous, as
well as Bull and Frog; they hearing of the quarrel, were glad of an
opportunity of joining against old Lewis Baboon, provided that Bull
and Frog would bear the charges of the suit. Even lying Ned, the
chimney-sweeper of Savoy, and Tom, the Portugal dustman, put in
their claims, and the cause was put into the hands of Humphry Hocus,
the attorney.

A declaration was drawn up to show "That Bull and Frog had undoubted
right by prescription to be drapers to the Lord Strutts; that there
were several old contracts to that purpose; that Lewis Baboon had
taken up the trade of clothier and draper without serving his time
or purchasing his freedom; that he sold goods that were not
marketable without the stamp; that he himself was more fit for a
bully than a tradesman, and went about through all the country fairs
challenging people to fight prizes, wrestling and cudgel play, and
abundance more to this purpose."

CHAPTER V. The true characters of John Bull, Nic. Frog, and Hocus.*

* Characters of the English and Dutch, and the General Duke of

For the better understanding the following history the reader ought
to know that Bull, in the main, was an honest, plain-dealing fellow,
choleric, bold, and of a very unconstant temper; he dreaded not old
Lewis either at back-sword, single falchion, or cudgel-play; but
then he was very apt to quarrel with his best friends, especially if
they pretended to govern him. If you flattered him you might lead
him like a child. John's temper depended very much upon the air;
his spirits rose and fell with the weather-glass. John was quick
and understood his business very well, but no man alive was more
careless in looking into his accounts, or more cheated by partners,
apprentices, and servants. This was occasioned by his being a boon
companion, loving his bottle and his diversion; for, to say truth,
no man kept a better house than John, nor spent his money more
generously. By plain and fair dealing John had acquired some plums,
and might have kept them, had it not been for his unhappy lawsuit.

Nic. Frog was a cunning, sly fellow, quite the reverse of John in
many particulars; covetous, frugal, minded domestic affairs, would
pinch his belly to save his pocket, never lost a farthing by
careless servants or bad debtors. He did not care much for any sort
of diversion, except tricks of high German artists and legerdemain.
No man exceeded Nic. in these; yet it must be owned that Nic. was a
fair dealer, and in that way acquired immense riches.

Hocus was an old cunning attorney, and though this was the first
considerable suit that ever he was engaged in he showed himself
superior in address to most of his profession. He kept always good
clerks, he loved money, was smooth-tongued, gave good words, and
seldom lost his temper. He was not worse than an infidel, for he
provided plentifully for his family, but he loved himself better
than them all. The neighbours reported that he was henpecked, which
was impossible, by such a mild-spirited woman as his wife was.

CHAPTER VI. Of the various success of the Lawsuit.*

* The success of the war.

Law is a bottomless pit; it is a cormorant, a harpy, that devours
everything. John Bull was flattered by the lawyers that his suit
would not last above a year or two at most; that before that time he
would be in quiet possession of his business; yet ten long years did
Hocus steer his cause through all the meanders of the law and all
the courts. No skill, no address was wanting, and, to say truth,
John did not starve the cause; there wanted not yellowboys to fee
counsel, hire witnesses, and bribe juries. Lord Strutt was
generally cast, never had one verdict in his favour, and John was
promised that the next, and the next, would be the final
determination; but, alas! that final determination and happy
conclusion was like an enchanted island; the nearer John came to it
the further it went from him. New trials upon new points still
arose, new doubts, new matters to be cleared; in short, lawyers
seldom part with so good a cause till they have got the oyster and
their clients the shell. John's ready money, book debts, bonds,
mortgages, all went into the lawyers' pockets. Then John began to
borrow money upon Bank Stock and East India Bonds. Now and then a
farm went to pot. At last it was thought a good expedient to set up
Esquire South's title to prove the will forged and dispossess Philip
Lord Strutt at once. Here again was a new field for the lawyers,
and the cause grew more intricate than ever. John grew madder and
madder; wherever he met any of Lord Strutt's servants he tore off
their clothes. Now and then you would see them come home naked,
without shoes, stockings, and linen. As for old Lewis Baboon, he
was reduced to his last shift, though he had as many as any other.
His children were reduced from rich silks to doily stuffs, his
servants in rags and barefooted; instead of good victuals they now
lived upon neck beef and bullock's liver. In short, nobody got much
by the matter but the men of law.

CHAPTER VII. How John Bull was so mightily pleased with his success
that he was going to leave off his trade and turn Lawyer.

It is wisely observed by a great philosopher that habit is a second
nature. This was verified in the case of John Bull, who, from an
honest and plain tradesman, had got such a haunt about the Courts of
Justice, and such a jargon of law words, that he concluded himself
as able a lawyer as any that pleaded at the bar or sat on the bench.
He was overheard one day talking to himself after this manner: "How
capriciously does fate or chance dispose of mankind. How seldom is
that business allotted to a man for which he is fitted by Nature.
It is plain I was intended for a man of law. How did my guardians
mistake my genius in placing me, like a mean slave, behind a
counter? Bless me! what immense estates these fellows raise by the
law. Besides, it is the profession of a gentleman. What a pleasure
it is to be victorious in a cause: to swagger at the bar. What a
fool am I to drudge any more in this woollen trade. For a lawyer I
was born, and a lawyer I will be; one is never too old to learn."*
All this while John had conned over such a catalogue of hard words
as were enough to conjure up the devil; these he used to babble
indifferently in all companies, especially at coffee houses, so that
his neighbour tradesmen began to shun his company as a man that was
cracked. Instead of the affairs of Blackwell Hall and price of
broadcloth, wool, and baizes, he talks of nothing but actions upon
the case, returns, capias, alias capias, demurrers, venire facias,
replevins, supersedeases, certioraries, writs of error, actions of
trover and conversion, trespasses, precipes, and dedimus. This was
matter of jest to the learned in law; however Hocus and the rest of
the tribe encouraged John in his fancy, assuring him that he had a
great genius for law; that they questioned not but in time he might
raise money enough by it to reimburse him of all his charges; that
if he studied he would undoubtedly arrive to the dignity of a Lord
Chief Justice. As for the advice of honest friends and neighbours
John despised it; he looked upon them as fellows of a low genius,
poor grovelling mechanics. John reckoned it more honour to have got
one favourable verdict than to have sold a bale of broadcloth. As
for Nic. Frog, to say the truth, he was more prudent; for though he
followed his lawsuit closely he neglected not his ordinary business,
but was both in court and in his shop at the proper hours.

* The manners and sentiments of the nation at that time.

CHAPTER VIII. How John discovered that Hocus had an Intrigue with
his Wife;* and what followed thereupon.

John had not run on a madding so long had it not been for an
extravagant wife, whom Hocus perceiving John to be fond of, was
resolved to win over to his side. It is a true saying, that the
last man of the parish that knows of his cuckoldom is himself. It
was observed by all the neighbourhood that Hocus had dealings with
John's wife that were not so much for his honour; but this was
perceived by John a little too late: she was a luxurious jade,
loved splendid equipages, plays, treats and balls, differing very
much from the sober manners of her ancestors, and by no means fit
for a tradesman's wife. Hocus fed her extravagancy (what was still
more shameful) with John's own money. Everybody said that Hocus had
a month's mind to her; be that as it will, it is matter of fact,
that upon all occasions she ran out extravagantly on the praise of
Hocus. When John used to be finding fault with his bills, she used
to reproach him as ungrateful to his greatest benefactor; one that
had taken so much pains in his lawsuit, and retrieved his family
from the oppression of old Lewis Baboon. A good swinging sum of
John's readiest cash went towards building of Hocus's country
house.** This affair between Hocus and Mrs. Bull was now so open,
that all the world was scandalised at it; John was not so
clod-pated, but at last he took the hint. The parson of the parish
preaching one day with more zeal than sense against adultery, Mrs.
Bull told her husband that he was a very uncivil fellow to use such
coarse language before people of condition;*** that Hocus was of the
same mind, and that they would join to have him turned out of his
living for using personal reflections. How do you mean, says John,
by personal reflections? I hope in God, wife, he did not reflect
upon you? "No, thank God, my reputation is too well established in
the world to receive any hurt from such a foul-mouthed scoundrel as
he; his doctrine tends only to make husbands tyrants, and wives
slaves; must we be shut up, and husbands left to their liberty?
Very pretty indeed! a wife must never go abroad with a Platonic to
see a play or a ball; she must never stir without her husband; nor
walk in Spring Garden with a cousin. I do say, husband, and I will
stand by it, that without the innocent freedoms of life, matrimony
would be a most intolerable state; and that a wife's virtue ought to
be the result of her own reason, and not of her husband's
government: for my part, I would scorn a husband that would be
jealous, if he saw a fellow with me." All this while John's blood
boiled in his veins: he was now confirmed in all his suspicions;
the hardest names, were the best words that John gave her. Things
went from better to worse, till Mrs. Bull aimed a knife at John,
though John threw a bottle at her head very brutally indeed: and
after this there was nothing but confusion; bottles, glasses,
spoons, plates, knives, forks, and dishes, flew about like dust; the
result of which was, that Mrs. Bull received a bruise in her right
side of which she died half a year after. The bruise imposthumated,
and afterwards turned to a stinking ulcer, which made everybody shy
to come near her, yet she wanted not the help of many able
physicians, who attended very diligently, and did what men of skill
could do; but all to no purpose, for her condition was now quite
desperate, all regular physicians and her nearest relations having
given her over.****

* The opinion at that time of the General's tampering with the
** Blenheim Palace.
*** The story of Dr. Sacheverel, and the resentment of the House of
**** The opinion of the Tories about that House of Commons.

CHAPTER IX. How some Quacks undertook to cure Mrs. Bull of her

There is nothing so impossible in Nature but mountebanks will
undertake; nothing so incredible but they will affirm: Mrs. Bull's
condition was looked upon as desperate by all the men of art; but
there were those that bragged they had an infallible ointment and
plaister, which being applied to the sore, would cure it in a few
days; at the same time they would give her a pill that would purge
off all her bad humours, sweeten her blood, and rectify her
disturbed imagination. In spite of all applications the patient
grew worse every day; she stunk so, nobody durst come within a
stone's throw of her, except those quacks who attended her close,
and apprehended no danger. If one asked them how Mrs. Bull did?
Better and better, said they; the parts heal, and her constitution
mends: if she submits to our government she will be abroad in a
little time. Nay, it is reported that they wrote to her friends in
the country that she should dance a jig next October in Westminster
Hall, and that her illness had been chiefly owing to bad physicians.
At last, one of them was sent for in great haste, his patient grew
worse and worse: when he came, he affirmed that it was a gross
mistake, and that she was never in a fairer way. Bring hither the
salve, says he, and give her a plentiful draught of my cordial. As
he was applying his ointments, and administering the cordial, the
patient gave up the ghost, to the great confusion of the quack, and
the great joy of Bull and his friends. The quack flung away out of
the house in great disorder, and swore there was foul play, for he
was sure his medicines were infallible. Mrs. Bull having died
without any signs of repentance or devotion, the clergy would hardly
allow her a Christian burial. The relations had once resolved to
sue John for the murder, but considering better of it, and that such
a trial would rip up old sores, and discover things not so much to
the reputation of the deceased, they dropped their design. She left
no will, only there was found in her strong box the following words
written on a scrip of paper--"My curse on John Bull, and all my
posterity, if ever they come to any composition with the Lord

She left him three daughters, whose names were Polemia, Discordia,
and Usuria.**

* Endeavours and hopes of some people to hinder the dissolution of
that Parliament.
** War, faction, and usury.

CHAPTER X. Of John Bull's second Wife, and the good Advice that she
gave him.*

John quickly got the better of his grief, and, seeing that neither
his constitution nor the affairs of his family, could permit him to
live in an unmarried state, he resolved to get him another wife; a
cousin of his last wife's was proposed, but John would have no more
of the breed. In short, he wedded a sober country gentlewoman, of a
good family and a plentiful fortune, the reverse of the other in her
temper; not but that she loved money, for she was saving, and
applied her fortune to pay John's clamorous debts, that the unfrugal
method of his last wife, and this ruinous lawsuit, had brought him
into. One day, as she had got her husband in a good humour, she
talked to him after the following manner:--"My dear, since I have
been your wife, I have observed great abuses and disorders in your
family: your servants are mutinous and quarrelsome, and cheat you
most abominably; your cookmaid is in a combination with your
butcher, poulterer, and fishmonger; your butler purloins your
liquor, and the brewer sells you hogwash; your baker cheats both in
weight and in tale; even your milkwoman and your nursery-maid have a
fellow feeling; your tailor, instead of shreds, cabbages whole yards
of cloth; besides, leaving such long scores, and not going to market
with ready money forces us to take bad ware of the tradesmen at
their own price. You have not posted your books these ten years.
How is it possible for a man of business to keep his affairs even in
the world at this rate? Pray God this Hocus be honest; would to God
you would look over his bills, and see how matters stand between
Frog and you. Prodigious sums are spent in this lawsuit, and more
must be borrowed of scriveners and usurers at heavy interest.
Besides, my dear, let me beg of you to lay aside that wild project
of leaving your business to turn lawyer, for which, let me tell you,
Nature never designed you. Believe me, these rogues do but flatter,
that they may pick your pocket; observe what a parcel of hungry
ragged fellows live by your cause; to be sure they will never make
an end of it. I foresee this haunt you have got about the courts
will one day or another bring your family to beggary. Consider, my
dear, how indecent it is to abandon your shop and follow
pettifoggers; the habit is so strong upon you, that there is hardly
a plea between two country esquires, about a barren acre upon a
common, but you draw yourself in as bail, surety, or solicitor."
John heard her all this while with patience, till she pricked his
maggot, and touched him in the tender point. Then he broke out into
a violent passion: "What, I not fit for a lawyer? let me tell you,
my clod-pated relations spoiled the greatest genius in the world
when they bred me a mechanic. Lord Strutt, and his old rogue of a
grandsire, have found to their cost that I can manage a lawsuit as
well as another." "I don't deny what you say," replied Mrs. Bull,
"nor do I call in question your parts; but, I say, it does not suit
with your circumstances; you and your predecessors have lived in
good reputation among your neighbours by this same clothing-trade,
and it were madness to leave it off. Besides, there are few that
know all the tricks and cheats of these lawyers. Does not your own
experience teach you how they have drawn you on from one term to
another, and how you have danced the round of all the courts, still
flattering you with a final issue; and, for aught I can see, your
cause is not a bit clearer than it was seven years ago." "I will be
hanged," says John, "if I accept of any composition from Strutt or
his grandfather; I'll rather wheel about the streets an engine to
grind knives and scissors. However, I'll take your advice, and look
over my accounts."

* A new Parliament: the aversion of a Tory House of Commons to war.

CHAPTER XI. How John looked over his Attorney's Bill.*

* Looking over the accounts.

When John first brought out the bills, the surprise of all the
family was unexpressible at the prodigious dimensions of them; they
would have measured with the best bale of cloth in John's shop.
Fees to judges, puny judges, clerks, prothonotaries, philisers,
chirographers, under-clerks, proclamators, counsel, witnesses,
jurymen, marshals, tipstaffs, criers, porters; for enrollings,
exemplifications, bails, vouchers, returns, caveats, examinations,
filings of words, entries, declarations, replications, recordats,
nolle prosequies, certioraries, mittimuses, demurrers, special
verdicts, informations, scire facias, supersedeas, habeas corpus,
coach-hire, treating of witnesses, etc. "Verily," says John, "there
are a prodigious number of learned words in this law; what a pretty
science it is!" "Ay but, husband, you have paid for every syllable
and letter of these fine words. Bless me, what immense sums are at
the bottom of the account!" John spent several weeks in looking
over his bills, and, by comparing and stating his accounts, he
discovered that, besides the extravagance of every article, he had
been egregiously cheated; that he had paid for counsel that were
never fee'd, for writs that were never drawn, for dinners that were
never dressed, and journeys that were never made; in short, that the
tradesmen, lawyers, and Frog had agreed to throw the burden of the
lawsuit upon his shoulders.

CHAPTER XII. How John grew angry, and resolved to accept a
Composition; and what Methods were practised by the Lawyers for
keeping him from it.*

Well might the learned Daniel Burgess say, "That a lawsuit is a suit
for life. He that sows his grain upon marble will have many a
hungry belly before harvest." This John felt by woeful experience.
John's cause was a good milch cow, and many a man subsisted his
family out of it. However, John began to think it high time to look
about him. He had a cousin in the country, one Sir Roger Bold,
whose predecessors had been bred up to the law, and knew as much of
it as anybody; but having left off the profession for some time,
they took great pleasure in compounding lawsuits among their
neighbours, for which they were the aversion of the gentlemen of the
long robe, and at perpetual war with all the country attorneys.
John put his cause in Sir Roger's hands, desiring him to make the
best of it. The news had no sooner reached the ears of the lawyers,
but they were all in an uproar. They brought all the rest of the
tradesmen upon John.** Squire South swore he was betrayed, that he
would starve before he compounded; Frog said he was highly wronged;
even lying Ned the chimney-sweeper and Tom the dustman complained
that their interest was sacrificed; the lawyers, solicitors, Hocus
and his clerks, were all up in arms at the news of the composition:
they abused him and his wife most shamefully. "You silly, awkward,
ill-bred country sow," quoth one, "have you no more manners than to
rail at Hocus that has saved that clod-pated numskulled ninny-hammer
of yours from ruin, and all his family? It is well known how he has
rose early and sat up late to make him easy, when he was sotting at
every alehouse in town. I knew his last wife: she was a woman of
breeding, good humour, and complaisance--knew how to live in the
world. As for you, you look like a puppet moved by clockwork; your
clothes hang upon you as they were upon tenter-hooks; and you come
into a room as you were going to steal away a pint pot. Get you
gone in the country, to look after your mother's poultry, to milk
the cows, churn the butter, and dress up nosegays for a holiday, and
not meddle with matters which you know no more of than the sign-post
before your door. It is well known that Hocus has an established
reputation; he never swore an oath, nor told a lie, in all his life;
he is grateful to his benefactors, faithful to his friends, liberal
to his dependents, and dutiful to his superiors; he values not your
money more than the dust under his feet, but he hates to be abused.
Once for all, Mrs. Minx, leave off talking of Hocus, or I will pull
out these saucer-eyes of yours, and make that redstreak country face
look as raw as an ox-cheek upon a butcher's-stall; remember, I say,
that there are pillories and ducking-stools."*** With this away
they flung, leaving Mrs. Bull no time to reply. No stone was left
unturned to frighten John from his composition. Sometimes they
spread reports at coffee-houses that John and his wife were run mad;
that they intended to give up house, and make over all their estate
to Lewis Baboon; that John had been often heard talking to himself,
and seen in the streets without shoes or stockings; that he did
nothing from morning till night but beat his servants, after having
been the best master alive. As for his wife, she was a mere
natural. Sometimes John's house was beset with a whole regiment of
attornies' clerks, bailiffs, and bailiffs' followers, and other
small retainers of the law, who threw stones at his windows, and
dirt at himself as he went along the street. When John complained
of want of ready-money to carry on his suit, they advised him to
pawn his plate and jewels, and that Mrs. Bull should sell her linen
and wearing clothes.

* Talk of peace, and the struggle of the party against it.
** The endeavours made use of to stop the Treaty of Peace,
*** Reflections upon the House of Commons as ignorant, who know
nothing of business.

CHAPTER XIII. Mrs. Bull's vindication of the indispensable duty
incumbent upon Wives in case of the Tyranny, Infidelity, or
Insufficiency of Husbands; being a full Answer to the Doctor's
Sermon against Adultery.*

* The Tories' representation of the speeches at Sacheverel's trial.

John found daily fresh proofs of the infidelity and bad designs of
his deceased wife; amongst other things, one day looking over his
cabinet, he found the following paper:--

"It is evident that matrimony is founded upon an original contract,
whereby the wife makes over the right she has by the law of Nature
in favour of the husband, by which he acquires the property of all
her posterity. But, then, the obligation is mutual; and where the
contract is broken on one side it ceases to bind on the other.
Where there is a right there must be a power to maintain it and to
punish the offending party. This power I affirm to be that original
right, or rather that indispensable duty lodged in all wives in the
cases above mentioned. No wife is bound by any law to which herself
has not consented. All economical government is lodged originally
in the husband and wife, the executive part being in the husband;
both have their privileges secured to them by law and reason; but
will any man infer from the husband being invested with the
executive power, that the wife is deprived of her share, and that
she has no remedy left but preces and lacrymae, or an appeal to a
supreme court of judicature? No less frivolous are the arrangements
that are drawn from the general appellations and terms of husband
and wife. A husband denotes several different sorts of magistracy,
according to the usages and customs of different climates and
countries. In some eastern nations it signifies a tyrant, with the
absolute power of life and death. In Turkey it denotes an arbitrary
governor, with power of perpetual imprisonment; in Italy it gives
the husband the power of poison and padlocks; in the countries of
England, France, and Holland, it has a quite different meaning,
implying a free and equal government, securing to the wife in
certain cases the liberty of change, and the property of pin-money
and separate maintenance. So that the arguments drawn from the
terms of husband and wife are fallacious, and by no means fit to
support a tyrannical doctrine, as that of absolute unlimited
chastity and conjugal fidelity.

"The general exhortations to fidelity in wives are meant only for
rules in ordinary cases, but they naturally suppose three conditions
of ability, justice, and fidelity in the husband; such an unlimited,
unconditioned fidelity in the wife could never be supposed by
reasonable men. It seems a reflection upon the Church to charge her
with doctrines that countenance oppression.

"This doctrine of the original right of change is congruous to the
law of Nature, which is superior to all human laws, and for that I
dare appeal to all wives: It is much to the honour of our English
wives that they have never given up that fundamental point, and that
though in former ages they were muffled up in darkness and
superstition, yet that notion seemed engraven on their minds, and
the impression so strong that nothing could impair it.

"To assert the illegality of change, upon any pretence whatsoever,
were to cast odious colours upon the married state, to blacken the
necessary means of perpetuating families--such laws can never be
supposed to have been designed to defeat the very end of matrimony.
I call them necessary means, for in many cases what other means are
left? Such a doctrine wounds the honour of families, unsettles the
titles to kingdoms, honours, and estates; for if the actions from
which such settlements spring were illegal, all that is built upon
them must be so too; but the last is absurd, therefore the first
must be so likewise. What is the cause that Europe groans at
present under the heavy load of a cruel and expensive war, but the
tyrannical custom of a certain nation, and the scrupulous nicety of
a silly queen in not exercising this indispensable duty, whereby the
kingdom might have had an heir, and a controverted succession might
have been avoided. These are the effects of the narrow maxims of
your clergy, 'That one must not do evil that good may come of it.'

"The assertors of this indefeasible right, and jus divinum of
matrimony, do all in their hearts favour the pretenders to married
women; for if the true legal foundation of the married state be once
sapped, and instead thereof tyrannical maxims introduced, what must
follow but elopements instead of secret and peaceable change?

"From all that has been said, one may clearly perceive the absurdity
of the doctrine of this seditious, discontented, hot-headed,
ungifted, unedifying preacher, asserting 'that the grand security of
the matrimonial state, and the pillar upon which it stands, is
founded upon the wife's belief of an absolute unconditional fidelity
to the husband;' by which bold assertion he strikes at the root,
digs the foundation, and removes the basis upon which the happiness
of a married state is built. As for his personal reflections, I
would gladly know who are those 'wanton wives' he speaks of? who are
those ladies of high stations that he so boldly traduces in his
sermon? It is pretty plain who these aspersions are aimed at, for
which he deserves the pillory, or something worse.

"In confirmation of this doctrine of the indispensable duty of
change, I could bring the example of the wisest wives in all ages,
who by these means have preserved their husband's families from ruin
and oblivion by want of posterity; but what has been said is a
sufficient ground for punishing this pragmatical parson."

CHAPTER XIV. The two great Parties of Wives, the Devotos and the

*Those who were for and against the doctrine of nonresistance.

The doctrine of unlimited fidelity in wives was universally espoused
by all husbands, who went about the country and made the wives sign
papers signifying their utter detestation and abhorrence of Mrs.
Bull's wicked doctrine of the indispensable duty of change. Some
yielded, others refused to part with their native liberty, which
gave rise to two great parties amongst the wives, the Devotos and
the Hitts. Though, it must be owned, the distinction was more
nominal than real; for the Devotos would abuse freedoms sometimes,
and those who were distinguished by the name of Hitts were often
very honest. At the same time there was an ingenious treatise came
out with the title of "Good Advice to Husbands," in which they are
counselled not to trust too much to their wives owning the doctrine
of unlimited conjugal fidelity, and so to neglect a due watchfulness
over the manners of their wives; that the greatest security to
husbands was a good usage of their wives and keeping them from
temptation, many husbands having been sufferers by their trusting
too much to general professions, as was exemplified in the case of a
foolish and negligent husband, who, trusting to the efficacy of this
principle, was undone by his wife's elopement from him.

CHAPTER XV. An Account of the Conference between Mrs. Bull and Don

* A Tory nobleman who, by his influence upon the House of Commons,
endeavoured to stop the Treaty.

The lawyers, as their last effort to put off the composition, sent
Don Diego to John. Don Diego was a very worthy gentleman, a friend
to John, his mother, and present wife, and, therefore, supposed to
have some influence over her. He had been ill used himself by
John's lawyers, but because of some animosity to Sir Roger was
against the composition. The conference between him and Mrs. Bull
was word for word as follows:--

DON DIEGO.--Is it possible, cousin Bull, that you can forget the
honourable maxims of the family you are come of, and break your word
with three of the honestest, best-meaning persons in the world--
Esquires South, Frog, and Hocus--that have sacrificed their
interests to yours? It is base to take advantage of their
simplicity and credulity, and leave them in the lurch at last.

MRS. BULL--I am sure they have left my family in a bad condition, we
have hardly money to go to market; and nobody will take our words
for sixpence. A very fine spark this Esquire South! My husband
took him in, a dirty boy. It was the business of half the servants
to attend him.* The rogue did bawl and make such a noise:
sometimes he fell in the fire and burnt his face, sometimes broke
his shins clambering over the benches, and always came in so dirty,
as if he had been dragged through the kennel at a boarding-school.
He lost his money at chuck-farthing, shuffle-cap, and all-fours;
sold his books, pawned his linen, which we were always forced to
redeem. Then the whole generation of him are so in love with
bagpipes and puppet-shows! I wish you knew what my husband has paid
at the pastry-cook's and confectioner's for Naples biscuits, tarts,
custards, and sweetmeats. All this while my husband considered him
as a gentleman of a good family that had fallen into decay, gave him
good education, and has settled him in a good creditable way of
living--having procured him, by his interest, one of the best places
of the country. And what return, think you, does this fine
gentleman make us? he will hardly give me or my husband a good word,
or a civil expression. Instead of Sir and Madam (which, though I
say it, is our due), he calls us "goody " and "gaffer" such-a-one;
says he did us a great deal of honour to board with us; huffs and
dings at such a rate, because we will not spend the little we have
left to get him the title and estate of Lord Strutt; and then
forsooth, we shall have the honour to be his woollen-drapers.**
Besides, Esquire South will be Esquire South still; fickle, proud,
and ungrateful. If he behaves himself so when he depends on us for
his daily bread, can any man say what he will do when he is got
above the world?

* Something relating to the manners of a great prince, superstition,
love of operas, shows, etc.
** Something relating to forms and titles.

D. DIEGO.--And would you lose the honour of so noble and generous an
undertaking? Would you rather accept this scandalous composition,
and trust that old rogue, Lewis Baboon?

MRS. BULL.--Look you, Friend Diego, if we law it on till Lewis turns
honest, I am afraid our credit will run low at Blackwell Hall. I
wish every man had his own; but I still say, that Lord Strutt's
money shines as bright and chinks as well as Esquire South's. I
don't know any other hold that we tradesmen have of these great
folks but their interest: buy dear and sell cheap, and I warrant ye
you will keep your customer. The worst is, that Lord Strutt's
servants have got such a haunt about that old rogue's shop, that it
will cost us many a firkin of strong beer to bring them back again;
and the longer they are in a bad road, the harder it will be to get
them out of it.

D. DIEGO.--But poor Frog, what has he done! On my conscience, if
there be an honest, sincere man in the world, it is that Frog.

MRS. BULL.--I think I need not tell you how much Frog has been
obliged to our family from his childhood; he carries his head high
now, but he had never been the man he is without our help.* Ever
since the commencement of this lawsuit, it has been the business of
Hocus, in sharing out expenses, to plead for Frog. "Poor Frog,"
says he, "is in hard circumstances, he has a numerous family, and
lives from hand to mouth; his children don't eat a bit of good
victuals from one year's end to the other, but live upon salt
herring, sour curd, and borecole. He does his utmost, poor fellow,
to keep things even in the world, and has exerted himself beyond his
ability in this lawsuit; but he really has not wherewithal to go on.
What signifies this hundred pounds? place it upon your side of the
account; it is a great deal to poor Frog, and a trifle to you."
This has been Hocus's constant language, and I am sure he has had
obligations enough to us to have acted another part.

* Complaints of the House of Commons of the unequal burden of the

D. DIEGO.--No doubt Hocus meant all this for the best, but he is a
tender-hearted, charitable man; Frog is indeed in hard

MRS. BULL--Hard circumstances! I swear this is provoking to the
last degree. All the time of the lawsuit, as fast as I have
mortgaged, Frog has purchased: from a plain tradesman, with a shop,
warehouse, and a country hut with a dirty fish-pond at the end of
it, he is now grown a very rich country gentleman, with a noble
landed estate, noble palaces, manors, parks, gardens, and farms,
finer than any we were ever master of.* Is it not strange, when my
husband disbursed great sums every term, Frog should be purchasing
some new farm or manor? so that if this lawsuit lasts, he will be
far the richest man in his country. What is worse than all this, he
steals away my customers every day; twelve of the richest and the
best have left my shop by his persuasion, and whom, to my certain
knowledge, he has under bonds never to return again: judge you if
this be neighbourly dealing.

* The Dutch acquisitions in Flanders.

D. DIEGO--Frog is indeed pretty close in his dealings, but very
honest: you are so touchy, and take things so hotly, I am sure
there must be some mistake in this.

MRS. BULL--A plaguy one indeed! You know, and have often told me of
it, how Hocus and those rogues kept my husband, John Bull, drunk for
five years together with punch and strong waters: I am sure he
never went one night sober to bed, till they got him to sign the
strangest deed that ever you saw in your life. The methods they
took to manage him I'll tell you another time; at present I'll read
only the writing.

Articles of Agreement betwixt JOHN BULL, Clothier, and NICHOLAS
FROG, Linen-draper.*

* The sentiments of the House of Commons, and their representation
of the Barrier Treaty.

I. That for maintaining the ancient good correspondence and
friendship between the said parties, I, Nicholas Frog, do solemnly
engage and promise to keep peace in John Bull's family; that neither
his wife, children, nor servants, give him any trouble, disturbance,
or molestation whatsoever, but to oblige them all to do their duty
quietly in their respective stations. And whereas the said John
Bull, from the assured confidence that he has in my friendship, has
appointed me executor of his last will and testament, and guardian
to his children, I do undertake for me, my heirs and assigns, to see
the same duly executed and performed, and that it shall be
unalterable in all its parts by John Bull, or anybody else: for
that purpose it shall be lawful and allowable for me to enter his
house at any hour of the day or night, to break open bars, bolts,
and doors, chests of drawers, and strong boxes, in order to secure
the peace of my friend John Bull's family, and to see his will duly

II. In consideration of which kind neighbourly office of Nicholas
Frog, in that he has been pleased to accept of the aforesaid trust,
I, John Bull, having duly considered that my friend, Nicholas Frog,
at this time lives in a marshy soil and unwholesome air, infested
with fogs and damps, destructive of the health of himself, wife, and
children, do bind and oblige me, my heirs and assigns, to purchase
for the said Nicholas Frog, with the best and readiest of my cash,
bonds, mortgages, goods and chattels, a landed estate, with parks,
gardens, palaces, rivers, fields, and outlets, consisting of as
large extent as the said Nicholas Frog shall think fit. And whereas
the said Nicholas Frog is at present hemmed in too close by the
grounds of Lewis Baboon, master of the science of defence, I, the
said John Bull, do oblige myself with the readiest of my cash, to
purchase and enclose the said grounds, for as many fields and acres
as the said Nicholas shall think fit; to the intent that the said
Nicholas may have free egress and regress, without let or
molestation, suitable to the demands of himself and family.

III. Furthermore, the said John Bull obliges himself to make the
country neighbours of Nicholas Frog allot a certain part of yearly
rents, to pay for the repairs of the said landed estate, to the
intent that his good friend, Nicholas Frog, may be eased of all

IV. And whereas the said Nicholas Frog did contract with the
deceased Lord Strutt about certain liberties, privileges, and
immunities, formerly in the possession of the said John Bull, I, the
said John Bull, do freely by these presents, renounce, quit, and
make over to the said Nicholas, the liberties, privileges, and
immunities contracted for, in as full a manner, as if they never had
belonged to me.

V. The said John Bull obliges himself, his heirs and assigns, not
to sell one rag of broad or coarse cloth to any gentleman within the
neighbourhood of the said Nicholas, except in such quantities and
such rates as the said Nicholas shall think fit.
Signed and sealed,

The reading of this paper put Mrs. Bull in such a passion that she
fell downright into a fit, and they were forced to give her a good
quantity of the spirit of hartshorn before she recovered.

D. DIEGO--Why in such a passion, cousin? considering your
circumstances at that time, I don't think this such an unreasonable
contract. You see Frog, for all this, is religiously true to his
bargain; he scorns to hearken to any composition without your

MRS. BULL.--You know the contrary.* Read that letter.

[Reads the superscription.] For Lewis Baboon, Master of the Noble
Science of Defence.

"SIR.--I understand that you are at this time treating with my
friend John Bull, about restoring the Lord Strutt's custom, and
besides allowing him certain privileges of parks and fish-ponds; I
wonder how you that are a man that knows the world, can talk with
that simple fellow. He has been my bubble these twenty years, and
to my certain knowledge, understands no more of his own affairs than
a child in swaddling clothes. I know he has got a sort of a
pragmatical silly jade of a wife, that pretends to take him out of
my hands; but you and she both will find yourselves mistaken; I'll
find those that shall manage her; and for him, he dares as well be
hanged as make one step in his affairs without my consent. If you
will give me what you promised him, I will make all things easy, and
stop the deeds of ejectment against Lord Strutt: if you will not,
take what follows. I shall have a good action against you, for
pretending to rob me of my bubble. Take this warning from
"Your loving friend,

* Secret negotiations of the Dutch at that time.

I am told, cousin Diego, you are one of those that have undertaken
to manage me, and that you have said you will carry a green bag
yourself, rather than we shall make an end of our lawsuit: I'll
teach them and you too to manage.

D. DIEGO.--For God's sake, madam, why so choleric? I say this
letter is some forgery; it never entered into the head of that
honest man, Nic. Frog, to do any such thing.

MRS. BULL.--I can't abide you. You have been railing these twenty
years at Squire South, Frog, and Hocus, calling them rogues and
pickpockets, and now they are turned the honestest fellows in the
world. What is the meaning of all this?

D. DIEGO.--Pray tell me how you came to employ this Sir Roger in
your affairs, and not think of your old friend Diego?

MRS. BULL.--So, so, there it pinches. To tell you truth, I have
employed Sir Roger in several weighty affairs, and have found him
trusty and honest, and the poor man always scorned to take a
farthing of me. I have abundance that profess great zeal, but they
are damnable greedy of the pence. My husband and I are now in such
circumstances, that we must be served upon cheaper terms than we
have been.

D. DIEGO.--Well, cousin, I find I can do no good with you; I am
sorry that you will ruin yourself by trusting this Sir Roger.

CHAPTER XVI. How the guardians of the deceased Mrs. Bull's three
daughters came to John, and what advice they gave him; wherein is
briefly treated the characters of the three daughters. Also John
Bull's answer to the three guardians.*

* Concerns of the party, and speeches for carrying on the war, etc.
Sentiments of the Tories and House of Commons against continuing the
war for setting King Charles upon the throne of Spain.

I told you in a former chapter that Mrs. Bull, before she departed
this life, had blessed John with three daughters. I need not here
repeat their names, neither would I willingly use any scandalous
reflections upon young ladies, whose reputations ought to be very
tenderly handled; but the characters of these were so well known in
the neighbourhood, that it is doing them no injury to make a short
description of them.

The eldest* was a termagant, imperious, prodigal, lewd, profligate
wench, as ever breathed; she used to rantipole about the house,
pinch the children, kick the servants, and torture the cats and the
dogs; she would rob her father's strong box, for money to give the
young fellows that she was fond of. She had a noble air, and
something great in her mien, but such a noisome infectious breath,
as threw all the servants that dressed her into consumptions; if she
smelt to the freshest nosegay, it would shrivel and wither as it had
been blighted: she used to come home in her cups, and break the
china, and the looking-glasses; and was of such an irregular temper,
and so entirely given up to her passion, that you might argue as
well with the North wind, as with her ladyship: so expensive, that
the income of three dukedoms was not enough to supply her
extravagance. Hocus loved her best, believing her to be his own,
got upon the body of Mrs. Bull.

* Polemia.

The second daughter,* born a year after her sister, was a peevish,
froward, ill-conditioned creature as ever was, ugly as the devil,
lean, haggard, pale, with saucer eyes, a sharp nose, and hunched
backed; but active, sprightly, and diligent about her affairs. Her
ill complexion was occasioned by her bad diet, which was coffee**
morning, noon, and night. She never rested quietly a-bed, but used
to disturb the whole family with shrieking out in her dreams, and
plague them next day with interpreting them, for she took them all
for gospel; she would cry out "Murder!" and disturb the whole
neighbourhood; and when John came running downstairs to inquire what
the matter was, nothing forsooth, only her maid had stuck a pin
wrong in her gown; she turned away one servant for putting too much
oil in her salad, and another for putting too little salt in her
water-gruel; but such as by flattery had procured her esteem, she
would indulge in the greatest crime. Her father had two coachmen;
when one was in the coach-box, if the coach swung but the least to
one side, she used to shriek so loud, that all the street concluded
she was overturned; but though the other was eternally drunk, and
had overturned the whole family, she was very angry with her father
for turning him away. Then she used to carry tales and stories from
one to another, till she had set the whole neighbourhood together by
the ears; and this was the only diversion she took pleasure in. She
never went abroad, but she brought home such a bundle of monstrous
lies, as would have amazed any mortal, but such as know her: of a
whale that had swallowed a fleet of ships; of the lions being let
out of the Tower, to destroy the Protestant religion; of the Pope's
being seen in a brandy-shop at Wapping; and a prodigious strong man
that was going to shove down the cupola of St. Paul's; of three
millions of five pound pieces that Squire South had found under an
old wall; of blazing stars, flying dragons, and abundance of such
stuff. All the servants in the family made high court to her, for
she domineered there, and turned out and in whom she pleased; only
there was an old grudge between her and Sir Roger, whom she mortally
hated and used to hire fellows to squirt kennel water upon him as he
passed along the streets; so that he was forced constantly to wear a
surtout of oiled cloth, by which means he came home pretty clean,
except where the surtout was a little scanty.

* Discordia.
** Coffee-house tattle.

As for the third* she was a thief and a common mercenary. She had
no respect of persons: a prince or a porter was all one, according
as they paid; yea, she would leave the finest gentleman in the world
to go to an ugly fellow for sixpence more. In the practice of her
profession she had amassed vast magazines of all sorts of things:
she had above five hundred suits of fine clothes, and yet went
abroad like a cinder wench. She robbed and starved all the
servants, so that nobody could live near her.

* Usuria.

So much for John's three daughters, which you will say were rarities
to be fond of. Yet Nature will shew itself. Nobody could blame
their relations for taking care of them, and therefore it was that
Hocus, with two other of the guardians, thought it their duty to
take care of the interest of the three girls and give John their
best advice before he compounded the lawsuit.

HOCUS.--What makes you so shy of late, my good friend? There's
nobody loves you better than I, nor has taken more pains in your
affairs. As I hope to be saved I would do anything to serve you; I
would crawl upon all fours to serve you; I have spent my health and
paternal estate in your service. I have, indeed, a small pittance
left, with which I might retire, and with as good a conscience as
any man; but the thoughts of this disgraceful composition so touches
me to the quick that I cannot sleep. After I had brought the cause
to the last stroke, that one verdict more had quite ruined old Lewis
and Lord Strutt, and put you in the quiet possession of everything--
then to compound! I cannot bear it. This cause was my favourite; I
had set my heart upon it; it is like an only child; I cannot endure
it should miscarry. For God's sake consider only to what a dismal
condition old Lewis is brought. He is at an end of all his cash;
his attorneys have hardly one trick left; they are at an end of all
their chicane; besides, he has both his law and his daily bread now
upon trust. Hold out only one term longer, and I'll warrant you
before the next we shall have him in the Fleet. I'll bring him to
the pillory; his ears shall pay for his perjuries. For the love of
God don't compound. Let me be damned if you have a friend in the
world that loves you better than I. There is nobody can say I am
covetous or that I have any interests to pursue but yours.

SECOND GUARDIAN.--There is nothing so plain as that this Lewis has a
design to ruin all his neighbouring tradesmen, and at this time he
has such a prodigious income by his trade of all kinds, that, if
there is not some stop put to his exorbitant riches, he will
monopolise everything; nobody will be able to sell a yard of drapery
or mercery ware but himself. I then hold it advisable that you
continue the lawsuit and burst him at once. My concern for the
three poor motherless children obliges me to give you this advice;
for their estates, poor girls, depend upon the success of this

THIRD GUARDIAN.--I own this Writ of Ejectment has cost dear, but
then consider it is a jewel well worth the purchasing at the price
of all you have. None but Mr. Bull's declared enemies can say he
has any other security for his clothing trade but the ejectment of
Lord Strutt. The only question, then, that remains to be decided
is: who shall stand the expenses of the suit? To which the answer
is as plain: who but he that is to have the advantage of the
sentence? When Esquire South has got possession of his title and
honour is not John Bull to be his clothier? Who, then, but John
ought to put in possession? Ask but any indifferent gentleman, Who
ought to bear his charges at law? and he will readily answer, His
tradesmen. I do therefore affirm, and I will go to death with it,
that, being his clothier, you ought to put him in quiet possession
of his estate, and with the same generous spirit you have begun it
complete the good work. If you persist in the bad measures you are
now in, what must become of the three poor orphans! My heart bleeds
for the poor girls.

JOHN BULL.--You are all very eloquent persons, but give me leave to
tell you you express a great deal more concern for the three girls
than for me. I think my interest ought to be considered in the
first place. As for you, Hocus, I can't but say you have managed my
lawsuit with great address and much to my honour, and, though I say
it, you have been well paid for it. Why must the burden be taken
off Frog's back and laid upon my shoulders? He can drive about his
own parks and fields in his gilt chariot, when I have been forced to
mortgage my estate; his note will go farther than my bond. Is it
not matter of fact, that from the richest tradesman in all the
country, I am reduced to beg and borrow from scriveners and usurers
that suck the heart, blood, and guts out of me, and what is all this
for! Did you like Frog's countenance better than mine? Was not I
your old friend and relation? Have I not presented you nobly? Have
I not clad your whole family? Have you not had a hundred yards at a
time of the finest cloth in my shop? Why must the rest of the
tradesmen be not only indemnified from charges, but forbid to go on
with their own business, and what is more their concern than mine?
As to holding out this term I appeal to your own conscience, has not
that been your constant discourse these six years, "One term more
and old Lewis goes to pot?" If thou art so fond of my cause be
generous for once, and lend me a brace of thousands. Ah, Hocus!
Hocus! I know thee: not a sous to save me from jail, I trow. Look
ye, gentlemen, I have lived with credit in the world, and it grieves
my heart never to stir out of my doors but to be pulled by the
sleeve by some rascally dun or other. "Sir, remember my bill.
There's a small concern of a thousand pounds; I hope you think on't,
sir." And to have these usurers transact my debts at coffee-houses
and ale-houses, as if I were going to break up shop. Lord! that
ever the rich, the generous John Bull, clothier, the envy of all his
neighbours, should be brought to compound his debts for five
shillings in the pound, and to have his name in an advertisement for
a statute of bankrupt. The thought of it makes me mad. I have read
somewhere in the Apocrypha, "That one should not consult with a
woman touching her of whom she is jealous; nor with a merchant
concerning exchange; nor with a buyer, of selling; nor with an
unmerciful man, of kindness, etc." I could have added one thing
more: nor with an attorney about compounding a lawsuit. The
ejectment of Lord Strutt will never do. The evidence is crimp: the
witnesses swear backwards and forwards, and contradict themselves;
and his tenants stick by him. One tells me that I must carry on my
suit, because Lewis is poor; another, because he is still too rich:
whom shall I believe? I am sure of one thing, that a penny in the
purse is the best friend John can have at last, and who can say that
this will be the last suit I shall be engaged in? Besides, if this
ejectment were practicable is it reasonable that, when Esquire South
is losing his money to sharpers and pickpockets, going about the
country with fiddlers and buffoons, and squandering his income with
hawks and dogs, I should lay out the fruits of my honest industry in
a lawsuit for him, only upon the hopes of being his clothier? And
when the cause is over I shall not have the benefit of my project
for want of money to go to market. Look ye, gentlemen, John Bull is
but a plain man, but John Bull knows when he is ill used. I know
the infirmity of our family: we are apt to play the boon-companion
and throw away our money in our cups. But it was an unfair thing in
you, gentlemen, to take advantage of my weakness, to keep a parcel
of roaring bullies about me day and night, with huzzas and hunting
horns, and ringing the changes on butcher's cleavers; never let me
cool, and make me set my hand to papers when I could hardly hold my
pen. There will come a day of reckoning for all that proceeding.
In the meantime, gentlemen, I beg you will let me into my affairs a
little, and that you would not grudge me the small remainder of a
very great estate.

CHAPTER XVII. Esquire South's Message and Letter to Mrs. Bull.*

* Complaints of the deficiencies of the House of Austria, Prince
Eugene's journey and message.

The arguments used by Hocus and the rest of the guardians had
hitherto proved insufficient. John and his wife could not be
persuaded to bear the expense of Esquire South's lawsuit. They
thought it reasonable that, since he was to have the honour and
advantage, he should bear the greatest share of the charges, and
retrench what he lost to sharpers and spent upon country dances and
puppet plays to apply it to that use. This was not very grateful to
the esquire; therefore, as the last experiment, he was resolved to
send Signior Benenato, master of his foxhounds, to Mrs. Bull to try
what good he could do with her. This Signior Benenato had all the
qualities of a fine gentleman that were set to charm a lady's heart,
and if any person in the world could have persuaded her it was he.
But such was her unshaken fidelity to her husband, and the constant
purpose of her mind to pursue his interest, that the most refined
arts of gallantry that were practised could not seduce her heart.
The necklaces, diamond crosses, and rich bracelets that were offered
she rejected with the utmost scorn and disdain. The music and
serenades that were given her sounded more ungratefully in her ears
than the noise of a screech owl. However, she received Esquire
South's letter by the hands of Signior Benenato with that respect
which became his quality. The copy of the letter is as follows, in
which you will observe he changes a little his usual style:--

MADAM,--The Writ of Ejectment against Philip Baboon (pretended Lord
Strutt) is just ready to pass. There want but a few necessary forms
and a verdict or two more to put me in the quiet possession of my
honour and estate. I question not but that, according to your
wonted generosity and goodness, you will give it the finishing
stroke: an honour that I would grudge anybody but yourself. In
order to ease you of some part of the charges, I promise to furnish
pen, ink, and paper, provided you pay for the stamps. Besides, I
have ordered my stewards to pay out of the readiest and best of my
rents five pounds ten shillings a year till my suit is finished. I
wish you health and happiness, being with due respect,
Madam, your assured friend,

What answer Mrs. Bull returned to this letter you shall know in my
second part, only they were at a pretty good distance in their
proposals; for as Esquire South only offered to be at the charges of
pen, ink, and paper, Mrs. Bull refused any more than to lend her
barge* to carry his counsel to Westminster Hall.

* Sending the English Fleet to convoy the forces to Barcelona.



The world is much indebted to the famous Sir Humphry Polesworth for
his ingenious and impartial account of John Bull's lawsuit. Yet
there is just cause of complaint against him, in that he relates it
only by parcels, and won't give us the whole work. This forces me,
who am only the publisher, to bespeak the assistance of his friends
and acquaintance to engage him to lay aside that stingey humour and
gratify the curiosity of the public at once. He pleads in excuse
that they are only private memoirs, wrote for his own use in a loose
style to serve as a help to his ordinary conversation. I
represented to him the good reception the first part had met with;
that, though calculated only for the meridian of Grub Street, it was
yet taken notice of by the better sort; that the world was now
sufficiently acquainted with John Bull, and interested itself in his
concerns. He answered with a smile, that he had, indeed, some
trifling things to impart that concerned John Bull's relations and
domestic affairs. If these would satisfy me he gave me free leave
to make use of them, because they would serve to make the history of
the lawsuit more intelligible. When I had looked over the
manuscript I found likewise some further account of the composition,
which, perhaps, may not be unacceptable to such as have read the
former part.

CHAPTER I. The Character of John Bull's Mother.*

* The Church of England.

John had a mother whom he loved and honoured extremely, a discreet,
grave, sober, good-conditioned, cleanly old gentlewoman as ever
lived. She was none of your cross-grained, termagant, scolding
jades that one had as good be hanged as live in the house with, such
as are always censuring the conduct and telling scandalous stories
of their neighbours, extolling their own good qualities and
undervaluing those of others. On the contrary, she was of a meek
spirit, and, as she was strictly virtuous herself, so she always put
the best construction upon the words and actions of her neighbours,
except where they were irreconcileable to the rules of honesty and
decency. She was neither one of your precise prudes, nor one of
your fantastical old belles that dress themselves like girls of
fifteen; as she neither wore a ruff, forehead-cloth, nor
high-crowned hat, so she had laid aside feathers, flowers, and
crimpt ribbons in her head-dress, furbelow-scarfs, and
hooped-petticoats. She scorned to patch and paint, yet she loved to
keep her hands and her face clean. Though she wore no flaunting
laced ruffles, she would not keep herself in a constant sweat with
greasy flannel. Though her hair was not stuck with jewels, she was
not ashamed of a diamond cross; she was not, like some ladies, hung
about with toys and trinkets, tweezer-cases, pocket-glasses, and
essence-bottles; she used only a gold watch and an almanack to mark
the hours and the holy days.

Her furniture was neat and genteel, well fancied with a bon gout.
As she affected not the grandeur of a state with a canopy, she
thought there was no offence in an elbow-chair. She had laid aside
your carving, gilding, and Japan work as being too apt to gather
dirt. But she never could be prevailed upon to part with plain
wainscot and clean hangings. There are some ladies that affect to
smell a stink in everything; they are always highly perfumed, and
continually burning frankincense in their rooms. She was above such
affectation, yet she never would lay aside the use of brooms and
scrubbing-brushes, and scrupled not to lay her linen in fresh

She was no less genteel in her behaviour, well-bred, without
affectation; in the due mean between one of your affected,
curtseying pieces of formality and your romps that have no regard to
the common rules of civility. There are some ladies that affect a
mighty regard for their relations. "We must not eat to-day, for my
uncle Tom, or my cousin Betty, died this time ten years. Let's have
a ball to-night, it is my neighbour Such-a-one's birthday." She
looked upon all this as grimace, yet she constantly observed her
husband's birthday, her wedding-day, and some few more.

Though she was a truly good woman, and had a sincere motherly love
for her son John, yet there wanted not those who endeavoured to
create a misunderstanding between them, and they had so far
prevailed with him once that he turned her out of doors, to his
great sorrow, as he found afterwards, for his affairs went on at
sixes and sevens.

She was no less judicious in the turn of her conversation and choice
of her studies, in which she far exceeded all her sex. Your rakes
that hate the company of all sober, grave gentlewomen would bear
hers, and she would, by her handsome manner of proceeding, sooner
reclaim than some that were more sour and reserved. She was a
zealous preacher up of conjugal fidelity in wives, and by no means a
friend to the new-fangled doctrine of the indispensable duty of
change. Though she advanced her opinions with a becoming assurance,
yet she never ushered them in as some positive creatures will do,
with dogmatical assertions. "This is infallible; I cannot be
mistaken; none but a rogue can deny it." It has been observed that
such people are oftener in the wrong than anybody.

Though she had a thousand good qualities, she was not without her
faults, amongst which one might, perhaps, reckon too great lenity to
her servants, to whom she always gave good counsel, but often too
gentle correction. I thought I could not say less of John Bull's
mother, because she bears a part in the following transactions.

CHAPTER II. The Character of John Bull's Sister Peg,* with the
Quarrels that happened between Master and Miss in their Childhood.

* The nation and Church of Scotland.

John had a sister, a poor girl that had been starved at nurse.
Anybody would have guessed Miss to have been bred up under the
influence of a cruel stepdame, and John to be the fondling of a
tender mother. John looked ruddy and plump, with a pair of cheeks
like a trumpeter; Miss looked pale and wan, as if she had the green
sickness; and no wonder, for John was the darling: he had all the
good bits, was crammed with good pullet, chicken, pig, goose, and
capon; while Miss had only a little oatmeal and water, or a dry
crust without butter. John had his golden pippins, peaches, and
nectarines; poor Miss, a crab-apple, sloe, or a blackberry. Master
lay in the best apartment, with his bedchamber towards the south
sun. Miss lodged in a garret exposed to the north wind, which
shrivelled her countenance. However, this usage, though it stunted
the girl in her growth, gave her a hardy constitution; she had life
and spirit in abundance, and knew when she was ill-used. Now and
then she would seize upon John's commons, snatch a leg of a pullet,
or a bit of good beef, for which they were sure to go to fisticuffs.
Master was indeed too strong for her, but Miss would not yield in
the least point; but even when Master had got her down, she would
scratch and bite like a tiger; when he gave her a cuff on the ear,
she would prick him with her knitting-needle. John brought a great
chain one day to tie her to the bedpost, for which affront Miss
aimed a penknife at his heart. In short, these quarrels grew up to
rooted aversions; they gave one another nicknames, though the girl
was a tight clever wench as any was, and through her pale looks you
might discern spirit and vivacity, which made her not, indeed, a
perfect beauty, but something that was agreeable. It was barbarous
in parents not to take notice of these early quarrels, and make them
live better together, such domestic feuds proving afterwards the
occasion of misfortunes to them both. Peg had, indeed, some odd
humours* and comical antipathy, for which John would jeer her.
"What think you of my sister Peg," says he, "that faints at the
sound of an organ, and yet will dance and frisk at the noise of a
bagpipe?" "What's that to you?" quoth Peg. "Everybody's to choose
their own music." Then Peg had taken a fancy not to say her
Paternoster, which made people imagine strange things of her. Of
the three brothers that have made such a clutter in the world--Lord
Peter, Martin, and Jack--Jack had of late been her inclinations.
Lord Peter she detested, nor did Martin stand much better in her
good graces; but Jack had found the way to her heart. I have often
admired what charms she discovered in that awkward booby, till I
talked with a person that was acquainted with the intrigue, who gave
me the following account of it.

* Love of Presbytery.

CHAPTER III. Jack's Charms,* or the Method by which he gained Peg's

* Character of the Presbyterians.

In the first place, Jack was a very young fellow, by much the
youngest of the three brothers, and people, indeed, wondered how
such a young upstart jackanapes should grow so pert and saucy, and
take so much upon him.

Jack bragged of greater abilities than other men. He was well
gifted, as he pretended: I need not tell you what secret influence
that has upon the ladies.

Jack had a most scandalous tongue, and persuaded Peg that all
mankind, besides himself, were plagued by that scarlet-faced woman,
Signiora Bubonia.* "As for his brother, Lord Peter, the tokens were
evident on him -- blotches and scabs. His brother Martin, though he
was not quite so bad, had some nocturnal pains, which his friends
pretended were only scorbutical; but he was sure it proceeded from a
worse cause." By such malicious insinuations he had possessed the
lady that he was the only man in the world of a sound, pure, and
untainted constitution, though there were some that stuck not to say
that Signiora Bubonia and Jack railed at one another only the better
to hide an intrigue, and that Jack had been found with Signiora
under his cloak, carrying her home on a dark stormy night.

* The Woman of Babylon, or the Pope.

Jack was a prodigious ogler; he would ogle you the outside of his
eye inward, and the white upward.

Jack gave himself out for a man of a great estate in the Fortunate
Islands, of which the sole property was vested in his person. By
this trick he cheated abundance of poor people of small sums,
pretending to make over plantations in the said islands; but when
the poor wretches came there with Jack's grant, they were beat,
mocked, and turned out of doors.

I told you that Peg was whimsical, and loved anything that was
particular. In that way Jack was her man, for he neither thought,
spoke, dressed, nor acted like other mortals. He was for your bold
strokes. He railed at fops, though he was himself the most affected
in the world; instead of the common fashion, he would visit his
mistress in a mourning-cloak, band, short cuffs, and a peaked beard.
He invented a way of coming into a room backwards, which he said
showed more humility and less affectation. Where other people
stood, he sat; where they sat, he stood; when he went to Court, he
used to kick away the state, and sit down by his prince cheek by
jowl. "Confound these states," says he, "they are a modern
invention." When he spoke to his prince, he always turned his back
upon him. If he was advised to fast for his health, he would eat
roast beef; if he was allowed a more plentiful diet, then he would
be sure that day to live upon water-gruel; he would cry at a
wedding, laugh and make jests at a funeral.

He was no less singular in his opinions. You would have burst your
sides to hear him talk of politics. "All government," says he, "is
founded upon the right distribution of punishments: decent
executions keep the world in awe; for that reason, the majority of
mankind ought to be hanged every year. For example, I suppose the
magistrate ought to pass an irreversible sentence upon all blue-eyed
children from the cradle; but that there may be some show of justice
in this proceeding, these children ought to be trained up by
masters, appointed for that purpose, to all sorts of villany, that
they may deserve their fate, and the execution of them may serve as
an object of terror to the rest of mankind."* As to the giving of
pardons, he had this singular method:** that when these wretches
had the rope about their necks, it should be inquired who believed
they should be hanged, and who not? The first were to be pardoned,
the last hanged outright. Such as were once pardoned were never to
be hanged afterwards for any crime whatsoever. He had such skill in
physiognomy, that he would pronounce peremptorily upon a man's face.
"That fellow," says he, "do what he will, can't avoid hanging; he
has a hanging look." By the same art he would prognosticate a
principality to a scoundrel.

* Absolute predestination and reprobation.
** Saving Faith: a belief that one shall certainly be saved.

He was no less particular in the choice of his studies; they were
generally bent towards exploded chimeras*--the perpetuum mobile, the
circular shot, philosopher's stone, silent gunpowder, making chains
for fleas, nets for flies, and instruments to unravel cobwebs and
split hairs.

* The learning of the Presbyterians.

Thus, I think, I have given a distinct account of the methods he
practised upon Peg. Her brother would now and then ask her, "What
dost thou see in that pragmatical coxcomb to make thee so in love
with him? He is a fit match for a tailor's or a shoemaker's
daughter, but not for you that are a gentlewoman?" "Fancy is free,"
quoth Peg; "I'll take my own way, do you take yours. I do not care
for your flaunting beaus, that gang with their breasts open, and
their sarks over their waistcoats, that accost me with set speeches
out of Sidney's 'Arcadia' or the 'Academy of Compliments.' Jack is
a sober, grave young man; though he has none of your studied
harangues, his meaning is sincere. He has a great regard to his
father's will, and he that shows himself a good son will make a good
husband. Besides, I know he has the original deed of conveyance to
the Fortunate Islands; the others are counterfeits." There is
nothing so obstinate as a young lady in her amours; the more you
cross her, the worse she is.

CHAPTER IV. How the relations reconciled John and his sister Peg,
and what return Peg made to John's message.*

* The Treaty of Union. Reason of it: the Succession not being
settled in Scotland. Fears for the Presbyterian Church Government,
and of being burdened with the English National Debts.

John Bull, otherwise a good-natured man, was very hard-hearted to
his sister Peg, chiefly from an aversion he had conceived in his
infancy. While he flourished, kept a warm house, and drove a
plentiful trade, poor Peg was forced to go hawking and peddling
about the streets selling knives, scissors, and shoe-buckles; now
and then carried a basket of fish to the market; sewed, spun, and
knit for a livelihood, till her fingers' ends were sore; and when
she could not get bread for her family, she was forced to hire them
out at journey-work to her neighbours. Yet in these her poor
circumstances she still preserved the air and mien of a gentlewoman-
-a certain decent pride that extorted respect from the haughtiest of
her neighbours. When she came in to any full assembly, she would
not yield the pas to the best of them. If one asked her, "Are not
you related to John Bull?" "Yes," says she, "he has the honour to
be my brother." So Peg's affairs went till all the relations cried
out shame upon John for his barbarous usage of his own flesh and
blood; that it was an easy matter for him to put her in a creditable
way of living, not only without hurt, but with advantage to himself,
seeing she was an industrious person, and might be serviceable to
him in his way of business. "Hang her, jade," quoth John, "I can't
endure her as long as she keeps that rascal Jack's company." They
told him the way to reclaim her was to take her into his house; that
by conversation the childish humours of their younger days might be
worn out. These arguments were enforced by a certain incident. It
happened that John was at that time about making his will* and
entailing his estate, the very same in which Nic. Frog is named
executor. Now, his sister Peg's name being in the entail, he could
not make a thorough settlement without her consent. There was,
indeed, a malicious story went about as if John's last wife had
fallen in love with Jack as he was eating custard on horseback;**
that she persuaded John to take his sister into the house the better
to drive on the intrigue with Jack, concluding he would follow his
mistress Peg. All I can infer from this story is that when one has
got a bad character in the world people will report and believe
anything of them, true or false. But to return to my story. When
Peg received John's message she huffed and stormed: "My brother
John," quoth she, "is grown wondrous kind-hearted all of a sudden,
but I meikle doubt whether it be not mair for their own conveniency
than for my good; he draws up his writs and his deeds, forsooth, and
I must set my hand to them, unsight, unseen. I like the young man
he has settled upon well enough, but I think I ought to have a
valuable consideration for my consent. He wants my poor little farm
because it makes a nook in his park-wall. Ye may e'en tell him he
has mair than he makes good use of; he gangs up and down drinking,
roaring, and quarrelling, through all the country markets, making
foolish bargains in his cups, which he repents when he is sober;
like a thriftless wretch, spending the goods and gear that his
forefathers won with the sweat of their brows: light come, light
go, he cares not a farthing. But why should I stand surety for his
contracts? The little I have is free, and I can call it my awn--
hame's hame, let it be never so hamely. I ken him well enough, he
could never abide me, and when he has his ends he'll e'en use me as
he did before. I'm sure I shall be treated like a poor drudge--I
shall be set to tend the bairns, darn the hose, and mend the linen.
Then there's no living with that old carline his mother; she rails
at Jack, and Jack's an honester man than any of her kin: I shall be
plagued with her spells and her Paternosters, and silly old world
ceremonies; I mun never pare my nails on a Friday, nor begin a
journey on Childermas Day; and I mun stand beeking and binging as I
gang out and into the hall. Tell him he may e'en gang his get; I'll
have nothing to do with him; I'll stay like the poor country mouse,
in my awn habitation." So Peg talked; but for all that, by the
interposition of good friends, and by many a bonny thing that was
sent, and many more that were promised Peg, the matter was
concluded, and Peg taken into the house upon certain articles:***
one of which was that she might have the freedom of Jack's
conversation, and might take him for better and for worse if she
pleased: provided always he did not come into the house at
unseasonable hours and disturb the rest of the old woman, John's

* The Act of Succession.
** A Presbyterian Lord Mayor.
*** The Act of Toleration.

CHAPTER V. Of some Quarrels that happened after Peg was taken into
the Family.*

*Quarrels about some of the Articles of Union, particularly the

It is an old observation that the quarrels of relations are harder
to reconcile than any other; injuries from friends fret and gall
more, and the memory of them is not so easily obliterated. This is
cunningly represented by one of your old sages called Aesop, in the
story of the bird that was grieved extremely at being wounded with
an arrow feathered with his own wing; as also of the oak that let
many a heavy groan when he was cleft with a wedge of his own timber.

There was no man in the world less subject to rancour than John
Bull, considering how often his good nature has been abused; yet I
don't know but he was too apt to hearken to tattling people that
carry tales between him and his sister Peg, on purpose to sow
jealousies and set them together by the ears. They say that there
were some hardships put upon Peg which had been better let alone;
but it was the business of good people to restrain the injuries on
one side and moderate the resentments on the other--a good friend
acts both parts, the one without the other will not do.

The purchase-money of Peg's farm was ill paid;* then Peg loved a
little good liquor, and the servants shut up the wine-cellar; but
for that Peg found a trick, for she made a false key.** Peg's
servants complained that they were debarred from all manner of
business, and never suffered to touch the least thing within the
house; if they offered to come into the warehouse, then straight
went the yard slap over their noddle; if they ventured into the
counting-room a fellow would throw an ink-bottle at their head; if
they came into the best apartment to set anything there in order,
they were saluted with a broom; if they meddled with anything in the
kitchen it was odds but the cook laid them over the pate with a
ladle; one that would have got into the stables was met by two
rascals, who fell to work with him with a brush and a curry-comb;
some climbing up into the coachbox, were told that one of their
companions had been there before that could not drive, then slap
went the long whip about their ears.

* The equivalent not paid.
** Run wine.

On the other hand, it was complained that Peg's servants were always
asking for drink-money; that they had more than their share of the
Christmas-box.* To say the truth, Peg's lads bustled pretty hard
for that, for when they were endeavouring to lock it up they got in
their great fists and pulled out handfuls of halfcrowns, shillings,
and sixpences. Others in the scramble picked up guineas and
broad-pieces. But there happened a worse thing than all this: it
was complained that Peg's servants had great stomachs, and brought
so many of their friends and acquaintance to the table that John's
family was like to be eaten out of house and home. Instead of
regulating this matter as it ought to be, Peg's young men were
thrust away from the table; then there was the devil and all to do--
spoons, plates, and dishes flew about the room like mad, and Sir
Roger, who was now Majordomo, had enough to do to quiet them. Peg
said this was contrary to agreement, whereby she was in all things
to be treated like a child of the family. Then she called upon
those that had made her such fair promises, and undertook for her
brother John's good behaviour; but, alas! to her cost she found that
they were the first and readiest to do her the injury. John at last
agreed to this regulation: that Peg's footmen might sit with his
book-keeper, journeymen, and apprentices, and Peg's better sort of
servants might sit with his footmen if they pleased.**

* Endeavoured to get their share of places.
** Articles of Union, whereby they could make a Scot's commoner, but
not a lord a peer.

Then they began to order plum-porridge and minced pies for Peg's
dinner. Peg told them she had an aversion to that sort of food;
that upon forcing down a mess of it some years ago it threw her into
a fit till she brought it up again. Some alleged it was nothing but
humour, that the same mess should be served up again for supper, and
breakfast next morning; others would have made use of a horn, but
the wiser sort bid let her alone, and she might take to it of her
own accord.

CHAPTER VI. The conversation between John Bull and his wife.*

* The history of the Partition Treaty; suspicions at that time that
the French King intended to take the whole, and that he revealed the
secret to the Court of Spain.

MRS. BULL.--Though our affairs, honey, are in a bad condition, I
have a better opinion of them since you seemed to be convinced of
the ill course you have been in, and are resolved to submit to
proper remedies. But when I consider your immense debts, your
foolish bargains, and the general disorder of your business, I have
a curiosity to know what fate or chance has brought you into this

JOHN BULL.--I wish you would talk of some other subject, the
thoughts of it makes me mad; our family must have their run.

MRS. BULL.--But such a strange thing as this never happened to any
of your family before: they have had lawsuits, but, though they
spent the income, they never mortgaged the stock. Sure, you must
have some of the Norman or the Norfolk blood in you. Prithee, give
me some account of these matters.

JOHN BULL.--Who could help it? There lives not such a fellow by
bread as that old Lewis Baboon: he is the most cheating,
contentious rogue upon the face of the earth. You must know, one
day, as Nic. Frog and I were over a bottle making up an old quarrel,
the old fellow would needs have us drink a bottle of his champagne,
and so one after another, till my friend Nic. and I, not being used
to such heady stuff, got very drunk. Lewis all the while, either by
the strength of his brain or flinching his glass, kept himself sober
as a judge. "My worthy friends," quoth Lewis, "henceforth let us
live neighbourly; I am as peaceable and quiet as a lamb of my own
temper, but it has been my misfortune to live among quarrelsome
neighbours. There is but one thing can make us fall out, and that
is the inheritance of Lord Strutt's estate: I am content, for
peace' sake, to waive my right, and submit to any expedient to
prevent a lawsuit; I think an equal division* will be the fairest
way." "Well moved, Old Lewis," quoth Frog, "and I hope my friend
John here will not be refractory." At the same time he clapped me
on the back, and slabbered me all over from cheek to cheek with his
great tongue. "Do as you please, gentlemen," quoth I, "'tis all one
to John Bull." We agreed to part that night, and next morning to
meet at the corner of Lord Strutt's park wall, with our surveying
instruments, which accordingly we did. Old Lewis carried a chain
and a semicircle; Nic., paper, rulers, and a lead pencil; and I
followed at some distance with a long pole. We began first with
surveying the meadow grounds, afterwards we measured the cornfields,
close by close; then we proceeded to the woodlands, the copper and
tin mines.** All this while Nic. laid down everything exactly upon
paper, calculated the acres and roods to a great nicety. When we
had finished the land, we were going to break into the house and
gardens, to take an inventory of his plate, pictures, and other

* The Partition Treaty.
** The West Indies.

MRS. BULL.--What said Lord Strutt to all this?

JOHN BULL.--As we had almost finished our concern, we were accosted
by some of Lord Strutt's servants. "Heyday! what's here? what a
devil's the meaning of all these trangrams and gimcracks, gentlemen?
What in the name of wonder, are you going about, jumping over my
master's hedges, and running your lines cross his grounds? If you
are at any field pastime, you might have asked leave: my master is
a civil well-bred person as any is."

MRS. BULL.--What could you answer to this?

JOHN BULL.--Why, truly, my neighbour Frog and I were still hot-
headed; we told him his master was an old doting puppy, that minded
nothing of his own business; that we were surveying his estate, and
settling it for him, since he would not do it himself. Upon this
there happened a quarrel, but we being stronger than they, sent them
away with a flea in their ear. They went home and told their
master. "My lord," say they, "there are three odd sort of fellows
going about your grounds with the strangest machines that ever we
beheld in our life: I suppose they are going to rob your orchard,
fell your trees, or drive away your cattle. They told us strange
things of settling your estate--one is a lusty old fellow in a black
wig, with a black beard, without teeth; there's another, thick squat
fellow, in trunk hose; the third is a little, long-nosed, thin man
(I was then lean, being just come out of a fit of sickness)--I
suppose it is fit to send after them, lest they carry something

MRS. BULL.--I fancy this put the old fellow in a rare tweague.

JOHN BULL.--Weak as he was, he called for his long Toledo, swore and
bounced about the room: "'Sdeath! what am I come to, to be
affronted so by my tradesmen? I know the rascals: my barber,
clothier, and linen-draper dispose of my estate! Bring hither my
blunderbuss; I'll warrant ye you shall see daylight through them.
Scoundrels! dogs! the scum of the earth! Frog, that was my father's
kitchen-boy, he pretend to meddle with my estate--with my will! Ah,
poor Strutt! what are thou come to at last? Thou hast lived too
long in the world, to see thy age and infirmity so despised! How
will the ghosts of my noble ancestors receive these tidings?--they
cannot, they must not sleep quietly in their graves." In short, the
old gentleman was carried off in a fainting fit, and after bleeding
in both arms hardly recovered.

MRS. BULL.--Really this was a very extraordinary way of proceeding!
I long to hear the rest of it.

JOHN BULL.--After we had come back to the tavern, and taken t'other
bottle of champagne, we quarrelled a little about the division of
the estate. Lewis hauled and pulled the map on one side and Frog
and I on t'other, till we had like to have tore the parchment to
pieces. At last Lewis pulled out a pair of great tailor's shears
and clipt a corner for himself, which he said was a manor that lay
convenient for him, and left Frog and me the rest to dispose of as
we pleased. We were overjoyed to think Lewis was contented with so
little, not smelling what was at the bottom of the plot. There
happened, indeed, an incident that gave us some disturbance. A
cunning fellow, one of my servants, two days after, peeping through
the keyhole, observed that old Lewis had stole away our part of the
map, and saw him fiddling and turning the map from one corner to the
other, trying to join the two pieces together again. He was
muttering something to himself, which he did not well hear, only
these words, "'Tis great pity! 'tis great pity!" My servant added
that he believed this had some ill meaning. I told him he was a
coxcomb, always pretending to be wiser than his companions. Lewis
and I are good friends, he's an honest fellow, and I daresay will
stand to his bargain. The sequel of the story proved this fellow's
suspicion to be too well grounded; for Lewis revealed our whole
secret to the deceased Lord Strutt, who in reward for his treachery,
and revenge to Frog and me, settled his whole estate upon the
present Philip Baboon. Then we understood what he meant by piecing
the map together.

MRS. BULL.--And were you surprised at this? Had not Lord Strutt
reason to be angry? Would you have been contented to have been so
used yourself?

JOHN BULL.--Why, truly, wife, it was not easily reconciled to the
common methods; but then it was the fashion to do such things. I
have read of your golden age, your silver age, etc.; one might
justly call this the age of the lawyers. There was hardly a man of
substance in all the country but had a counterfeit that pretended to
his estate.* As the philosophers say that there is a duplicate of
every terrestrial animal at sea, so it was in this age of the

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