George Atherton Aitken.

The life and works of John Arbuthnot, M.D., fellow of the Royal College of Physicians online

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of Sir Roger.

J. Bull. What's the matter now ?

D. Dkgo. You have been endeavouring, for several years, to
have justice done upon that rogue Jack ; but what through the
remissness of constables, justices, and packed juries, he has
always found the means to escape.

J. Bull What then ?

D. TJicgo. Consider then, who is your best friend ; he that
would have brought him to condign punishment, or he that has
saved him. By my persuasion Jack had hanged himself, if
Sir Eoger had not cut hun down.

J. Bull. Who told you that Sir Roger has done so ?

D. Diego. You seem to receive me coldly ; metliinks my
services deserve a better return.

J. Bull. Since you value yourself upon hanging tliis poor
scoundrel, I tell you, when I have any more hanging-work,
I'll send for thee ; I have some better employment for Sir
Roger : in the mean time, I desire the poor fellow may be looked
aftei\ When he first came out of the North countiy into my
family, under the pretended name of Timothy Trim, the fellow
seemed to mind his loom and his spinning-wheel, till somebody
turned his head ; then he grew so pragmatical, that he took
upon him the government of my whole family ; I could never
order anything within or without doors, but he must be always
giving his counsel, forsooth : nevei-theless, tell hmi, I will for-
give what is past ; and if he would mind his business for the
future, and not meddle out of his own sphere, he will find that
John Bull is not of a cruel disposition.

D. Diego. Yet all your skilful physicians say that nothing
can recover your mother, but a piece of Jack's liver boiled in
her soup.

J. Bull. Those are quacks ; my mother abhors such cannibal's
food ; she is in perfect health at present ; I would have given
many a good pound to have had her so well some time ago.
There are indeed two or three troublesome old nurses, that,
because they believe I am tender-hearted, will never let me
have a quiet night's rest with knocking me up ^ : ' Oh, Sir,
your mother is taken extremely ill ! she is fallen into a fainting
* New clamours about the danger of the church.


fit ! she has a great emptiness, wants sustenance ! ' This is only
to recommend themselves for their great care : John Bull, as
simple as he is, understands a little of a pulse.


The sequel of the history of the meeting at the

Salutation ^.

Whex^e, I think, I left John Bull, sitting between Nic. Frog
and Lewis Baboon, with his arms a-kimbo, in great concern to
keep Lewis and Nic. asunder. As watchful as he was, Nic.
found the means now and then to steal a whisper, and l)y a
cleanly conveyance under the table to slip a shoi-t note into
Lewis's hand ; which Lewis as slily put into John's pocket,
with a pinch or a jog, to warn hmi what he was about. John
had the curiosity to retire mto a corner to pemse these hillcts-
doux of Nic.'s ^ ; wherein he found, that Nic. had used great
freedoms both with his interest and reputation. One contained
these words : ' Dear Lewis, thou seest clearly, that this block-
head can never bring his matters to bear : let thee and me
talk to-night by ourselves at the Eose, and I'll give thee satis-
faction.' Another was thus expressed : ' Friend Lewis, has thy
sense quite forsaken thee, to make Bull such offers? Hold
fast, part with nothing, and I will give thee a better bargain,
I'll warrant thee.'

In some of his billets he told Lems, that John Bull was
under his guardianship ; that the best part of his servants were
at his command ; that he could have John gagged and bound
whenever he pleased by the people of his own family. In all
these epistles, blockhead, dunce, ass, coxcomb, were the best
epithets he gave poor John. In others he threatened* that
he, Esquhe South, and the rest of the tradesmen, would lay
Lewis down upon his back and beat out his teeth, if he did
not retire immediately, and break up the meeting.

I fancy I need not tell my reader that John often changed
colour as he read, and that his fingers itched to give Nic. a good

' This was the opening chapter ^ The Congress of Utreclit.

of the fifth and last of the original ^ Some offers of the Dutch at

pamphlets, Lewis Baboon turned honest, that time, in order to get the ne-

and John Bull politician ; but prefixed goeiation into their hands,

to it was the Preface, which is * Threatening that the Allies

now given at the commencement would carry on the war, without

of the History. the help of the English.


slap on the choj^s ; but he wisely moderated his choleric temper.
'I saved this fellow,' quoth he, 'from the gallows, when he
ran away from his last master \ because I thought he was
harshly treated ; but the rogue was no sooner safe under my
protection, than he began to lie, pilfer, and steal like the devil '■.
When I first set him ^x^ in a warm house, he had hardly put
up his sign, when he began to debauch my best customei-s
from me. Then it was his constant practice to rob my fish-
ponds, not only to feed his family, but to trade with the
fishmongers : I connived at the fellow, till he began to tell
me, that they were his as much as mine. In my manor of
Eastcheap, because it lay at some distance from my constant
inspection, he broke down my fences, robbed my orchards, and
beat my servants. When I used to reprimand hmi for his
tricks, he would talk saucily, lie, and brazen it out, as if he
had done nothing amiss. " Will nothing cure thee of thy pranks,
Nic. ? " quoth I, " I shall be forced some time or other to chastise
thee." The rogue got up his cane, and threatened me, and was
well thwacked for his pains. But I think his behaviour at
this time worst of all ; after I have almost drowned myself to
keep his head above water, he would leave me sticking in the
mud, trusting to his goodness to help me out. After I have
beggared myself with his troublesome lawsuit, with a pox to
him, he takes it in mighty dudgeon, because I have brought
him here to end matters amicably, and because I won't let hmi
make me over by deed and indenture as his la"wful cully ; which
to my certain knowledge he has attemj)ted several times. But,
after all, canst thou gather grapes from thorns ? Nic. does not
pretend to be a gentleman ; he is a tradesman, a self-seeking
wretch ; but how camest thou to bear all this, John ? The
reason is plain ; thou conferrest the benefits, and he receives
them ; the first produces love, and the last ingratitude. All !
Nic, Nic, thou art a damned dog, that's cei-tain ; thou knowest
too well, that I will take care of thee ; else thou wovxldest not
use me thus. I won't give thee up, it is true ; but, as true as
it is, thou shalt not sell me, according to thy laudable custom.'
Wliile John was deep in this soliloquy, Nic. broke out into the
following protestation : —

* Philip II, King of Spain, whose ^ Complaints against the Dutch

yoke the Dutch threw off with the for encroachment in trade, fishery,
assistance of the English. East Indies, &c.


' Gentlemen, I believe everybody here present will allow me to
be a very just and disinterested person. My friend John Bull
here is very angiy with me, forsooth, because I won't agree
to his foolish bargains. Now I declare to all mankind, I
should be ready to sacrifice my own concerns to his quiet ;
but the care of his interest, and that of the honest tradesmen
that are embarked with us, keeps me from enteiing into
this composition. "What shall become of those poor crea-
tures ? The thoughts of their impending ruin disturbs my
night's rest, therefore I desu-e they may speak for themselves.
If they are willing to give up this affair, I shan't make two

words of it.'

John Bull begged him to lay aside that immoderate concern
for hmi; and withal put hun in mind, that the interest of
those tradesmen had not sat quite so heavy upon him some
years ago, on a like occasion. Nic. answered little to that, but
immediately pulled out a boatswain's whistle. Upon the first
whiff, the tradesmen came jumping into the room, and began
to surround Lewis, like so many yelping curs about a great
l)oar ; or, to use a modester simile, like duns at a great lord's
levee the morning he goes into the countiy. One pulled him
by his sleeve, another by the skirt, a third hallooed in his
ear : they began to ask him for all that had been taken from
their forefathers by stealth, fraud, force, or lawful purchase ;
some asked for manors, others for acres, that lay convenient
for them; that he would pull down his fences, level his
ditches : all agreed in one common demand, that he should
be purged, sweated, vomited, and stan^ed, till he came to a
sizeable bulk, like that of his neighbours. One modestly asked
him leave to call him brother ; Nic. Frog demanded two things,
to be his porter and his fishmonger, to keep the keys of his
gates, and furnish the kitchen. John's sister Peg only desired
that he would let his servants sing psalms a Sunday. Some
descended even to the asking of old clothes, shoes, and boots,
broken bottles, tobacco-pipes, and ends of candles.

'Monsieur Bull,' quoth Lewis, 'you seem to be a man of
some breeding ; for God's sake use your mterest with these
Messieurs, that they would speak but one at once ; for if
one had a hundred pair of hands, and as many tongues, he
cannot satisfy them all at this rate.' John begged they might
proceed with some method ; then they stopped all of a sudden,


and would not say a word. 'If this be your play,' quoth
John, ' that we may not be like a Quaker's dumb meeting, let
us begin some diversion ; what d'ye think of rolly-polly, or a
countxy dance ? What if we should have a match at football ?
I am sure we shall never end matters at this rate.'

How John Bull and Nic. Frog settled their accounts.

John JjiiU. During this general cessation of talk, what if you
and I, Nic, should inquire how money- matters stand between

JV/c. Frog. With all my heart, I love exact dealing ; and let
Hocus audit ; he knows how the money was disbursed.

John Bidl. I am not much for that at present ; we'll settle
it between ourselves : fair and square, Nic, keeps friends to-
gether. There have been laid out in this lawsuit, at one time,
36,000 pounds and 40,000 cro^vns : in some cases I, in othei-s
you, bear the greatest i^roportion.

Nic. Eight : I pay three-fifths of the greatest number, and
you pay two-tliii'ds of the lesser number ; I think this is fair
and square as you call it.

John. Well, go on.

Nic. T^A'o-thirds of 36,000 pounds are 24,000 pounds for
your share, and there remains 12,000 for mine. Again, of the
40,000 crowns I pay 24,000, which is three-fifths, and you pay
only 16,000, which is two-fifths; 24,000 crowns make 6,000
pounds; and 16,000 cro^^^ls make 4,000 pounds; 12,000 and
6,000 make 18,000 ; 24,000 and 4,000 make 28,000. So there
are 18,000 pounds to my share of the expenses, and 28,000 to

After Nic. had bamboozled John a while about the 18,000
and the 28,000, John called for counters ; but what mth sleight
of hand, and taking from his own score, and adding to John's,
Nic. brought the balance always on his own side.

J. Bull. Nay, good friend Nic, though I am not quite so
nunble in the fingers, I understand ciphering as well as j^ou.
I will produce you my accounts one by one, fauiy writ out
of my own books ; and here I begin with the first. You must
excuse me if I don't pronounce the law terms right.


[John reads \]

For the expenses ordinary of the suits, fees to judges,
puisne judges, lawyers innumerable of all sorts.

Of extraordiiiaries, as follows per account

To Esquire South's account for i)Ost terminions .

To ditto for non est fadums .....

To ditto for noli proseguls, discontinuance, and retraxit

For Wilts of error .......

Suits of conditions unperformed ....

To Hocus for clcdimiis potestatcm ....

To ditto for a capias ad computandum

To Fi'og's new tenants, per account to Hocus, for audita
querelas ........

On the said account for \\Tits of ejectment and distringas

To Esquire South's quota for a return of a non est invent.
and nulla hahet bona ....

To for a pardon in forma pauperis .

To Jack for a melius inquirendum upon a felo de se .

To coach liii'e ........

For treats to juries and witnesses ....

John, ha\dng read over his articles, with the respec-
tive sums, brought in Frog debtor to him upon the
balance ........ .£3382 12 o

Then Nic, Frog pulled his Ijill out of his pocket and began
to read :

Nicholas Frog's Account.

Remains to be deducted out of the former account.
Paid by Nic. Frog, for his share of the ordinaiy expenses

of the suit .........

To Hocus for entries of a rege inconsulfo ....

To John Bull's nephew for a venire facias, the money not

yet all laid out ........

The coach-hire for my wife and family, and the carriage of

my goods duiing the time of this lawsuit
For the extraordinaiy expenses of feeding my family duiing

this lawsuit ........

To Major Ab. .........

To Major Will ■

* Some of the items are given i^hlet, and the amount of eacli
differently in the original pam- charge is there set forth in detail.


And, summing all up, found due upon the balance by-
John Bull to Nic. Frog £946

Jolin Bull As for your venire facias, I have paid you for one
already ; in the other I believe you will be non-suited. I'll
take care of my nephew ^ myself. Your coach-hhe and family-
charges are most unreasonable deductions ; at that rate, I can
bring in any man in the world my debtor. But who the devil
are those two Majors that consume all my money ? I find they
always run away with the balance in all accounts.

Nic. Frog. Two very honest gentlemen, I assure you, that
have done me sei*vice. To tell you plainly, Major Ab. denotes
thy greater ability, and Major Will, thy greater willingness to
cany on this lawsuit. It was but reasonable that thou
shouldest pay both for thy power and thy positiveness.

J. Bull. I believe I shall have those two honest Majors
discount on my side in a little time.

Nic. Frog. Why all this higgling with thy friend about such
a paltry sum ? Does this become the generosity of the noble
and rich John Bull ? I wonder thou art not ashamed. Oh
Hocus ! Hocus ! where art thou ! It used to go another guise
manner in thy time. When a poor man has almost undone
himself for thy sake, thou art for fleecing him, and fleecing
him ; is that thy conscience, John ?

J. Bull. Very pleasant indeed ! It is well known thou re-
tainest thy lawyers by the year, so a fresh lawsuit adds but
little to thy expenses ; they are thy customers ; I hardly ever
sell them a fai-thing's worth of anything : nay, thou hast set
up an eating-house, where the whole tribe of them spend all
they can rap or run I If it were well reckoned, I believe thou
gettest more of my money than thou spendest of thy own ;
however, if thou wilt needs plead poverty, own at least, that
thy accounts are false.

Nic. Frog. No marry won't I ; I refer myself to these honest
gentlemen ; let them judge between us. Let Esquire South
speak his mind, whether my accounts are not right, and
whether we ought not to go on with our lawsuit.

J. Bull. Consult the butchers about keeping of Lent. Dost
think that John Bull will be tried by Piepowders ' ? I tell

' The Elector of Hanover, after- and Flanders,
wards George I. ^ The Court of Piepowder (Curia

^ The money spent in Holland pedis pulverizati) was a eoui't of re-



you once for all, John Bull knows where his shoe pinches ;
none of your Esquii'es shall give him the law, as long as he
wears this trusty weapon by his side, or has an inch of broad-
cloth in his shop.

'Nk. Frog. Why there it is ; you will be both judge and
party ; I am soriy thou discoverest so much of thy headstrong
humour before these strange gentlemen ; I have often told
thee it would prove thy ruin some time or other ^ : let it never
be said that the famous John Bull has departed in despite of

J. Bull. And will it not reflect as much on thy character,
Nic, to turn barrator in thy old days ; a stirrer up of quarrels
amongst thy neighbours ? I tell thee, Nic, some time or other
thou wilt repent this.

But John saw clearly he should have nothing but wrangling,
and that he should have as little success in settling his accounts,
as ending the composition. ' Since they will needs overload
my shoulders,' quoth John, 'I shall throw down the burden
with a squash amongst them, take it up who dares ; a man has
a fine time of it amongst a combination of sharpers, that vouch
for one another's honesty. John, look to thyself : old Lewis
makes reasonable offers ; when thou hast spent the small
pittance that is left, thou wilt make a glorious figure, when
thou art brought to live upon Nic. Frog and Esquire South's
generosity and gratitude ; if they use thee thus, when they
want thee, what will they do when thou wantest them ? I say
again, John, look to thyself.'

John wisely stifled his resentments, and told the company,
that in a little time he should give them law, or something

All Law! law! Sir, by all means'. What is twenty-two
poor years towards the finishing a lawsuit ? For the love of
God, more law. Sir !

J. Bull. Prepare your demands; how many years more of

cord incident to every fair ; whereof mined the same day, that is, before
the steward was judge, and the trial the dust left the feet of the plain-
was by merchants and traders in the tiffs and defendants,
fair. It was so called, because it was ' What follows, down to 'John
most usual in the summer ; and saw clearly,' is not in the original
because of the expedition in hearing pamphlet.

causes, for the matter was done, ^ Clamours for continuing the

complained of, heard and deter- war.


law do you want, that I may order my affairs accordingly ? In
the meanwhile farewell.


How John Bull found all his family in an upeoar


Nic. Frog, who thought of nothing but carrying John to the
market, and there disposing of him as his own proper goods,
was mad to find that John thought himself now of age to look
after his own affairs. He resolved to traverse this new project,
and to make him uneasy in his own family. He had corrupted
or deluded most of his servants into the most extravagant
conceits in the world ; that their master was run mad, and
wore a dagger in one pocket, and poison in the other ; that he
had sold his wife and children to Lewis, disinherited his heir,
and was going to settle his estate upon a parish-boy ; that, if
they did not look after their master, he would do some very
mischievous thing. When John came home, he found a more
surprising scene than any he had yet met with, and that you
will say was somewhat extraordinary.

He called his cook-maid Betty to bespeak his dinner : Betty
told hmi, that she begged his pardon, she could not dress
dinner, till she knew what he intended to do with liis will.
'Why, Betty,' quoth John, 'thou ai-t not run mad, art thou?
My will at present is to have dinner,' 'That may be,' quoth
Betty, 'but my conscience won't allow me to dress it, till I
know whether you intend to do righteous things by your heir. '
* I am sorry for that, Betty,' quoth John, ' I must find somebody
else then.' Then he called John the barber. 'Before I begin,'
quoth John, ' I hope your honour won't be offended, if I ask
you whether you intend to alter your will ? If you won't give
me a positive answer, your beard may grow down to your
middle, for me.' "Igad, so it shall,' quoth Bull, 'for I will
never trust my throat in such a mad fellow's hands. Where's
Dick the butler?' 'Look ye,' quoth Dick, 'I am very willing
to sei-ve you in my calling, d'ye see ; but there are strange
reports, and plain-dealing is best, d'ye see ; I must be satisfied
if you intend to leave all to your nephew, and if Nic. Frog is

* Clamours about the danger of the succession.
T 2


still your executor, d'ye see ; if you will not satisfy me as to
these points, you may drink with the ducks.' 'And so I will,'
quoth John, ' rather than keep a butler that loves my heir better
than myself.' Hob the shoemaker, and Pricket the tailor told
him, they would most willingly sei-ve him in their several
stations, if he would promise them never to talk with Lewis
Baboon, and let Nicholas Frog, linen-draper, manage his concerns ;
that they could neither make shoes nor clothes to any that
were not in good correspondence with their worthy friend

Jolm Bull Call Andrew my journeyman. How goes affairs,
Andrew ? I hope the devil has not taken possession of thy
body too.

Anclreiv. No, Sir, I only desh-e to know what you would do
if you were dead ?

/. Bull. Just as other dead folks do, Andrew. This is

amazing ! [Aside.

Andrew. I mean, if your ne^^hew shall inherit your estate ?

J. Bull. That depends upon himself. I shall do nothing to
hinder him.

Andrew. But will you make it sure ?

J. Bull. Thou meanest, that I should put him in possession,
for I can make it no surer without that ; he has all the law
can give him.

Andrew. Indeed possession, as you say, would make it much
surer ; they say it is eleven points of the law.

John began now to think that they were all enchanted ; he
enquu-ed about the age of the moon ; if Nic. had not given them
some intoxicating potion, or if old mother Jenisa ^ was still alive ?
'No, on my faith,' quoth Hariy, 'I believet here is no potion in
the case, but a little aurum potabUe. You will have more of
this by and by. ' He had scarce spoke the word, when ^ another
friend of John's accosted him after the following manner ^ :

' Since those worthy persons, who are as much concerned for
your safety as I am, have em^^loyed me as their orator, I desire
to know whether you will have it by way of Syllogism, Enthy-
niem. Dilemma, or Sorites.'

* The mother of the Duchess of his tenants and workmen, came

Marlborough. rushing into the room. — D. Biego.

'' The original pamphlet reads, 'Since,' &c.

' when of a sudden Don Diego, ^ The presentment of the Lords'

fallowed by a great multitude of address against peace.


John now began to be divei-ted with theii- extravagance.

J. Bull. Let's have a Sorites by all means ; though they are
all new to me.

Friend '. It is evident to all who are versed in history, that
there were two sisters that played the whore two thousand years
ago ; therefore it j)lainly follows that it is not la^vful for John
Bull to have any manner of intercoui-se with Lewis Baboon : if
it is not lawful for John Bull to have any manner of intercourse
(coiTespondence, if you will, that is nuich the same thing), then,
a fortiori, it is much more unlawful for the said John to make
over his wife and children to the said Lewis : if his wife and
children are not to be made over, he is not to wear a dagger
and ratsbane in liis pockets : if he wears a dagger and I'atsbane,
it must be to do mischief to himself, or somebody else : if he
intends to do mischief, he ought to be under guardians, and
there is none so fit as myself, and some other worthy persons,
who have a commission for that purpose from Nic. Frog, the
executor of his will and testament.

J. Bull. And this is your Sorites, you say, —With that he
snatched a good tough oaken cudgel, and began to brandish it ;
then happy was the man, that was first at the door ; crowding
to get out, they tumbled down stairs ; and it is credibly reported
some of them dropped very valuable things in the huriy, which
were picked up by others of the family.

'That any of these rogues,' quoth John, 'should imagine 1
am not as much concerned as they about having my affairs in a
settled condition, or that I would wrong my hen- for I know
not what ! Well, Nic, I really cannot but applaud thy diligence ;
I must own this is really a pretty sort of a trick, but it shan't
do thy business for all that.'


How Lewis Baboon came to visit John Bull, and what


I think it is but ingenuous to acquaint the reader, that this chapter
was not wrote l)y Sii' Humphiy hunself, but by another
veiy able pen of the university of Grub Street.

John had (by some good instructions given him by Sir Eoger)

got the better of his choleric temper, and wrought himself up to

^ D. Diego, in tlie original pam- '^ Private uegociations about Dun-

Online LibraryGeorge Atherton AitkenThe life and works of John Arbuthnot, M.D., fellow of the Royal College of Physicians → online text (page 25 of 47)