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a family of helpless infants, and encouraged them, in defiance of the law's intelligible axiom, to presume that they had a father, and that I was the man.
Being thus, as Father Luke has it," settled for life,” I had a spare stock of floating dissimulation on hand, which I determined on laying out on the canvassing of a borough. Here, Sir, I could tell you much of the false promises, falsely made and falsely received, in the obtaining a seat; the false interests represented by the sitting member ; the false suppositions admitted in the forms of the house; the false tergiversations of rats, and the falser steadiness of more thorough-going partizans; the false arguments used to carry a cause, and the false statements made to cover deficiencies; but "lightly tread, 'tis hallowed ground.” There are certain "sis acts," which must cut short the thread of my narrative. Referring you, therefore, to Major Cartwright, Lord L-, and other early friends of reform, I shall content myself with remarking, that in my own case the voters were worthy of the representative and the representative of his constituents. “ Practices as notorious as the sun at noon-day,” gave me the right of selling what I had bought; and in this part of my life I in no respect derogated from the dramatic unity of all my actions.
My next step in mendacity was made in diplomacy. But I was so far false to the definition of an ambassador, that all my lies were not told for the good of the country. Indeed, it would not be easy to say what good was intended by the greater number of them ; for few of our plans had any intelligible scope. We most frequently struck into crooked paths and by-ways for the sole purpose of avoiding the high road of honesty and fair dealing : “ Politiques aux chour et aur raves," we were not unfrequently the dupes of our own art, and were often deceived by our eagerness to escape deception.
Notwithstanding the general belief that John Bull is not good in this department of state, and that, let him treat with whom he will, he generally ends, like a cully in a bad house, by being forced into a fight, and compelled to pay for the broken heads and glasses, to tip the watchman, and find bail for his good behaviour; still I should feel disposed to flatter myself with some success in this line, were I not obliged to confess, that in the modern way of doing business, more is obtained by the downright path of corruption, than by the most complicated scaffolding of ingenious fibs. It has now, indeed, become an axiom, omnibus et lippis notum et tonsoribus, that lying is only useful when you want to spin out a negotiation, but that for bringing matters to a conclusion, there is nothing like a Bank-note or a diamond snuffbox.
About this time I got (for once in my life against the grain) into another lie, quite equal to the rest-I was engaged in a duel! The affair originated in a lie; the courage with which I went out was a lie (for in reality it was sheer dread of being called a coward, and so losing the emoluments of office and the pleasures of society, that induced us to go out); the pretence on which we arranged an accommodation was a lie; the profession of regard which accompanied our re. conciliation was a lie; the narrative we printed in the newspapers of the transaction was an abominable lie; and nothing was sincere in the whole business, but the satisfaction with which we left Chalk Farm in a whole skin, and the chagrin of the by-standers that nothing worth the telling had happened to repay them the trouble of looking on.
Having thus arrived at the top of the wheel of fortune, by a natural consequence I began to decline. A series of unforeseen accidents have hurled me from prosperity. My diplomacy being rendered ineffectual by superior mendacity, I lost my place; a more promising and plausible candidate threw me out of parliament; a lie on 'Change, of which I was not in the secret, made me “ a lame duck," and the false accounts of my partner put me into the Gazette. The only instance in which the Genius of falsehood has proved true to her disciple was in the lie which lost me my wife :--the poor woman happened to lie in a damp bed, and went off in a nine-day fever. I am now once more where I started in life,-a little, perhaps, richer in experience, but much poorer in character. If you, Mr. Editor, will get me a few articles to write for the Review, well and good : if not, I must e'en take to writing lottery-puffs ; or, if that fails like the rest, betake me to the least profitable, and, therefore most persecuted, of all lies-common mendicity. In the mean time oblige me by printing this letter ; and it may meet the eye of some one who is willing to pay a good price for a good commodity, and once more set me a-going by employing the talents of your obedient humble servant,
FERDINAND Mendez Pinto. P.S. If you object to some parts of this narration as being commonplace, please to observe that the traits of falsehood and hypocrisy best worth relating, in my adventurous life, could not be told without subjecting your Journal to the suspicion of glancing at characters too elevated to ridicule, and too powerful to censure. I'd tell you more if I dared.
Quel vago impallidir, che 'l dolce riso.
Which chased her smiles, but such sweet union made
As if a passing cloud had veild her with its shade:
Gaze on each other in their perfect bliss,
So pure, so tender, so serene as this.
To him she loved, would cold and rayless be
Earth ward, with angel sympathy, on me,
THE LONDON 'PRENTICES. The Author of Waverley is again upon English ground : Auld Reekie has been abandoned for “the faire and renowned citie of London-the blooming Augusta of the West—the seminary or seed-plot of martiall spirits;” and after having had evoked by this potent unseen wizard the spirits of malignants, whigs, and covenanters, of Scotia's bold chieftains, and rapparees, of our own King John and his haughty barons, we are at last presented with a view of the brave 'Prentices of Fleet-street, such as they were in the days of peaceful King Jamie. It may, perhaps, be imagined, that the might and importance of the 'Prentices with their clubs is exaggerated in “ The Fortunes of Nigel;” but it is to be remembered, that in those days women, and not men, served in the mercers' and haberdashers' shops (Stowe's Survey); and that the 'Prentices were very different persons from the essenced petits-maîtres, who in our times value themselves not on their play at bucklers or broad-sword, but on the glories of ambitious Dandyism. So considerable a body were they, that a tumult excited by them in the year 1517, occasioned the happy holiday of Spring to bear the name of “ Evil May-day.”
“ The sage Cardinal, whom the proud King of France did not disdain to court, and the great Sir Thomas More, who once bore the title of undersheriff of London, were both made anxious by this affray: and the Duke of Norfolk, the scourge of the Scots, as King Henry called him, with 1300 men, entered the city to subdue the rioters! On the morrow, to the number of 400, some men, some lads but thirteen or fourteen years of age, they were led to Westminster Hall, when with halters round their necks they awaited the King's grace; and three queens, savs the old Chronicler, Queen Katharine, his majesty's consort, Mary, the French queen, and Margaret of Scotland, his majesty's sisters, long time upon their knees implored the King to pardon the delinquents : which he did after a severe monition.”
As during the French Revolution Paris was emphatically France, and concentrated within itself the energies of the empire, so did London and her population once hold in our own island a pre-eminence and importance, of which the progress of population, the growth of the wealth of the country, and the advancement of civilization, have now bereft her. Ere this change took place, her stout young tradesmen formed in the mass a body of no inconsiderable physical force, ready, moreover, and immediately applicable upon an emergency. We find accordingly that in all times of commotion the Apprentices were active and forward. During the Civil Wars, and the struggle with prerogative which preceded them, “the resolved," or " well-affected Apprentices," as they styled themselves, drew up many petitions and protestations and declarations. In the affair of the Bishops they were very active. Clarendon has inserted a petition which they on this occasion subscribed ; and there is extant **
“ A true Relation of the most wise and worthy Speech made by Captain Ven, one of the burgesses of the Parliament, to the Apprentices of London, who rose in Cheapside upon the combustion at Westminster, on Wednesday last at night, Dec. the 19th, 1641, as also the randevowes they had that night at the Counter in Wood-street * * *
The apprentices waiting at the Parliament-House three days without giving affront or ill-language to any, they did only with a full consent cry down ‘Bishops and Popish Lords ;' but coming home by slender companies were set upon by divers cavaliers, who did cut many, and misused most with base language, not only apprentices, but men of good rank and quality (calling them ram-headed rognes) to the great disparaging and disheartening of them in their trades and callings. But many apprentices being committed, and the others countenanced, caused them to swell in blood to adventure the losse of their lives; and they met to the number of 2000 on Wednesday last with clubs, swords, halberts, &c. and were resolved to go to the White Lion ; and others cried, 'to my Lord Mayor,' but by the providence of God, and the grave wisdom of Captain Ven, they were prevented by the grave speech that followeth * *.”
* Printed for R. H. Lond. 1641.
Wespare our readers this oration. After its conclusion the narrative proceeds: “So they all cried “home, home,' with a mighty noise ; but some would not be satisfied, but went down to the Counter in Woodstreet.” The affair ended in the sacking of that prison, and the deliverance of the turbulent Apprentices there confined.
The English have been in all times distinguished by that wholesome and honest pride which manifests itself in conforming to the condition of life, whatever it may be, into which the individual may be thrown: the national temperament is strongly opposed to the petty vanity of arrogating an equality with any class in society, to be ranked with which they do not possess solid and indefeasible claims. The English yeoman glories in his trim jacket, clean smock-frock and clocked hose; and is far above any attempt, ridiculous and abortive as it must prove, to ape the dress or manners of his superiors ; but at the same time that he thus feels all the proprieties of subordination, such is the admirable effect of our institutions and free polity, that he has the fullest and most lively sense of the equality of all in the eye of the law. The sturdy Englishman will not abate a jot of the important privileges belonging to him as a freeman ; but neither will he depart from what befits his station. Notwithstanding this is all true, and, though we have chosen our illustration from a different order, it is as certainly true of our traders as any order in the whole community, yet it does seem that vanity of a certain sort did at one period excite some emotions among the people of the city; that all were not of honest Sir Ven's sentiment, (see “ Fortunes of Nigel," vol. 1.) and that Tunstall was not without sympathy in his lamentations upon the ignobility of the mechanic arts. There is a curious pamphlet entitled “The Citie's Advocate in this Case, or Question of Honour and Arms, whether Apprenticeship extinguisheth Gentry. * " It appears to have been written in consequence of the anxiety entertained by a certain gentle Apprentice, of a temperament such as Tunstall's, who, in a letter to his father, prefixed to the dissertation on this notable question, explains with great naïveté the origin of his sorrows. “ By reading certain books,” he says-we quote the passage in order to warn folk against the practices which may, it seems, tend to unsettle their minds”_" and conferring with some who take upon them to be well-skilled in heraldry, I am troubled with apprehensions that by becoming an Apprentice I lose my birth-right, which is to be a gentleman, and that I had rather die than endure." Whereupon the worthy old sire, with very proper spirit, declares, that
Printed for Wm. Lee, at the sign of the Turke's Head, next ye 'Miter and Phænix in Fleet-street, 1629.
he will not have the boy wronged, and says that the round sum of five hundred pounds shall not be withheld if needful. It, we should opine, must have been such a compliment as the very Garter principal King of Arms himself would have, in those days, been mightily moved by: how far it was the moving consideration, as the lawyers' phrase is, to the inditer of this argument in favour of the Apprentices, must remain a question for more subtle antiquaries and commentators than we pretend to be. But he does certainly with ardent zeal set about refuting
“That pestilent error grounded upon the learned folly of Erasmus and the incircumspection of Sir T. Smith*, a wandering conceit hatched among trees and tillage, whereby the odious note of bondage and the barbarous penalty of losse of gentrie is laid upon the hopeful and honest estate of apprenticeship.” The writer takes notice of the connexion between the City and the Blood Royal of England. He next introduces Tubal, the first smith, and the Emperor Rodulphus. The dignity of the Corporation is next shewn. The charters of John are appealed to, and Matthew Paris cited—“ Londonienses quos propter civitatis dignitatem et civium antiquitatem Barones consuevimus appellare.” We have then an enumeration of the great personages members of the twelve principal companies, or monopolies, “the zodiack of the city, in whose ecliptick line the Lord Mayor must ever run his year's course.” And lest we might form disparaging notions of the duties and offices appertaining to an Apprentice, we are presented with an enumeration of them :
“ He goes bareheaded, stands bareheaded, waytes bareheaded before his master and mistresse, and while yet he is the youngest apprentice he doth for discipline-sake make overnight old leather shine for the morning, or perchance brusheth a garment, runs of errands, keeps silence till he has leave to speak, followes his master or ushereth his mistresse, and sometimes my young mistresses their daughters (among whom some one not rarely turns out the apprentice's wife), walkes not far but with permission; and now and then, as offences happen, he may chance to be terribly chidden or renaced, but all in ordine and in the way to mastership or the estate of a citizen.”
Mark, gentle reader, for “discipline sake” is all this humbleness, but all “in ordine." The Apprentices of old were, however, hewers of wood and drawers of water. It was the general use and custom (says Stowe +) of all, except merchants' Apprentices, to carry the water tankard, to serve their masters, from the Thames and common conduits of London.
The name Apprentice is derived from the French apprendre, to learn, and strictly signifies a learner; in which sense it was formerly used to designate law-practitioners under the degree of serjeant (serriens ad legem): the old style was apprenticius ad legem, or apprenticius ad barros. The earliest occurrence of the term appears to be in a charter of the 12th of Edward III. A. D. 1172, “ Confirmavi Willielmo fratri meo apud London." &c. &c. Henry de Knighton, A.D. 1381, mentions it, and Walsingham, Ric. II. p. 301. See Selden's Fortescue, p. 2, and Kennett's Parochial Antiquities, p. 449.
The citizens have been charged with entertaining a most especial solicitude for the ample sustentation of their bodies; but a care where
See his book de Republicâ Anglorum, p. 169. + Stowe's Survey, p. 1040.