« AnteriorContinuar »
LAW IS A BOTTOMLESS PIT:
A MANUSCRIPT FOUND IN THE CABINET OF THE FAMOUS SIR H. POLESWORTH, IN THE YEAR 171a.
• The History of John Bull, when first published in detached parts by J. Morphew in 1712, was said to be " by the Author "of the New Atalantis." As it now stands, the whole has been methodised, and some few passages omitted. See particularly chap. xiii.
The occasion cf the lawsuit.
1 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 .f-, and a cunning attorney J, 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.
• Charles II. of Spain died without issue, and
t Card. Portocarero and the
X marshal of Harcourt, employed, as is supposed, by the house of Bourbon, prevailed upon him to make a will, by which he settled the succession cf the Spanish monarchy upon
|| Philip of Bourbon duke of Anjou, though his right had by the most solemn renunciations been barred in favour of
§ the archduke Charles of Austria;
K 4 You
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, &V. all within themselves; that it has been the misfortune of that family to be the property of their stewards, tradesmen, and inferiour 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 butchers and bakers 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 f the linen draper: they told him, that the Bulls and Frogs had served the lord Strutts with drapery-ware 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 English and
f the Dutch congratulated Philip upon a succession, which they were not ab'.c to prevent: but to disappoint the ambition of
CHAP. CHAP. II.
How Bull and Frog grew jealous, that the lord Strutt intended to give all his custom to bis 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 itj a false loon, of a grandfather, that one might justly call a Jack of all trades f; sometimes you would see him behind his counter selling broad-cloth, sometimes measuring linen; next day he would be dealing in mercery-ware: high heads, ribands, 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 shoebuckles; 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 J, 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)
• Lewis the XlVth, and hinder the French nation, whose
•f trade and character are thus described, and whose king had a
X strong disposition to war, from becoming too potent, an
alliance was formed to " procure a reasonable satisfaction to the
"house of Austria for its pretensions to the Spanish succession,