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ACCOUNT OF SOME CURIOUS CLUBS IN
VII. Did you not wantonly, and have told more effectually on the age grossly, and indecently, insult Mr than one year's transactions of the Conway, the actor, in your View of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Those English Stage, and publish A RETRACT- members spokemand what they said ING LIE, in order to escape a caning ? is forgotten. These members wrote VIII. Do you know the Latin for a and what they did write, if not for
gotten, is, at least, not remembered. As soon as Mr Hazlitt answers these But the clubs to which I allude exeight simple questions, other eight of erted a living influence,—they blenda more complex nature, and worded ed with the spirit of the age-they more gravely, await his attention, from coloured it, and were coloured by it An Old FRIEND WITH A New Face. in every company, some
member lurked-their jokes, their gibes, their criticisms, their manners, their speculations, their opi
nions, sometimes won, and sometimes LONDON, ABOUT THE BEGINNING
forced their way into ordinary life,OF THE 18TH CENTURY.
and thus the dress, the language, the MR EDITOR,
deportment, the current ideas of the The perusal of that admirable poem day, were all, by means unperceived of William Wastle, “the Mad Banker by dim-eyed moralists, charactered by of Amsterdam,” in which the Dilet- these all-powerful Associations of contanti Society of Edinburgh makes so vivial spirits. Were any future phidistinguished a figure, recalled to my losopher to attribute to the Dilettanti recollection a curious enough volume or Royal Societies of Edinburgh, an published in 1709, entitled, “ the important influence on the spirit of Secret History of Clubs in London, the age, he might indeed refer to the with their original, and the characters Report of the former on the Church of of the most noted members thereof.” St Giles, and to Mr MʻVey Napier's Perhaps your readers may not be dis- Essay on the writings of Lord Bacon in pleased with some account of these the latter in support of his theory ;clubs of a former age, which seem, but then, it might be shewn that the if I mistake not, to have been wor- magistrates of Edinburgh preferred Mr thy of vying not only with that Elliot's design to that of the “ Comwhich “ is pleased to call itself the mittee of six;" and that, in spite of Dilettanti,” but even with the Anti- even the favourable character given of quarian and Royal Societies of Edin- him by the Librarian of the Writers to burgh, the Union and Bain-Waters. the Signet, Lord Bacon's writings were True indeed, that, unlike some of these, almost as little known in Scotland as they neglected to publish their trans- those of his most erudite eulogist. actions and reports,-by which the But I intend, with your leave, to “ world has been defrauded of many a enter more fully into this subject on a high design.” But they have found a future occasion, and to attempt an contemporary historian, who has philo- “Estimate of the Character and Influsophically described the ruling spirit ence of our present Philosophical Instiof each, and from his work we can tutions, from Bain Waters down to perceive what a powerful influence the Royal Society of Edinburgh inthey must have exercised on the cha- clusive. Meanwhile, allow me to ocracter of the times. Perhaps the influ- cupy a few columns of your
inimitable ence of such clubs was stronger when Miscellany (I observe, the contributors confined to vivâ voce and extempore to Constable's facetiously call his, communications between themselves
your valuable miscellany)," with and the public, than can be justly some details of the principal London claimed by any of the above modern Clubs that flourished about the end of Philosophical Institutions. It is un
the 17th century. deniable that much truth evaporates The volume in which their history in conversation, and is lost-but it is is recorded, is dedicated to that “ luciequally so, that much truth is com- ferous and sublime lunatic, the Empressed in written documents, and is peror of the Moon,” as an expression never found. Thus, one year's un- of the author's gratitude
ilpublished transactions of * the Kit- lustrious highness for the wonderful Cat,” and “ the Golden Fleece," may favours I have oft received, at late
56 I ex
hours, from the refulgent horns of to believe, it can be thought no breach of your revolving throne.'
The dedica morality or good manners to expose the vation breathes throughout a noble spirit nity of those whimsical clubs, who have of independence, and a strain of dig- been proud to distinguish themselues by such nified satire against the great men of amusing denominations, that the most mothe world, who then, as now, flattered their titles without bursting into laughter; .
rose Cynick would be scarce able to hear poor authors but to betray.
nor have the frantick customs, jomalar dipect nothing but your moonshine to versions, and preposterous government of reward my labours."
such fuddle-cap assemblies been less remarkOur author likewise favours us with able than their several distinctions. a very entertaining little preface, of which the following sentences would 1.-The Virtuoso's Club. almost seem to have been written with
This club was at first established by in these three months, so applicable are some of the principal members of the they to the worthy gentlemen in this Royal Society, and its design was to City, who have sung out so dolefully propagate new whims, advance meagainst the poetry of Mr William chanical exercises, and to promote Wastle.
useless as well as useful experiments.” Tagging of verse, and writing of books,
“ Some, by those hermetical bellows, are become as sharp trades in this keen age, call’d an olipile, would be trying, with as making of knives and scissors ; and if the
an empty bottle, whether nature would adformer, as well as the latter, are not well mit of a vacuum. Others, like busie changround to a smart edge, they may lie upon dlers, would be handling their scales to the bookseller's stall till they are bought up nicely discover the difference in the weight by the band-box maker. Yet, if they hap- betwixt wine and and water. A third sort pen to be so sharp as to scratch a courtier on the forehead, cut an alderman for the sim. smoak of their tobacco into oyl upon their
of phylosophers would be condensing the ples, scarrify a knave that is but rich and pipes, and then assert the same, in spite of powerful, cut off a leg that is not worth her nine lives, to be rank poison to a cat. standing upon, or shave the smooth face of
A fifth cabal perhaps would be a knot of some booby who is fat withal, there is pre- mathematicians, who would sit so long
sently a worse roaring with 'em than there wrangling about squaring the circle, till, is with a foolish child that has hook'd his
with drinking and rattleing, they were ready fingers into a clasped knife,” &c.
to let fall a nauseous perpendicular from Our author then proceeds to deliver their mouths. his sentiments on clubs in general. The object of clubs, he says, is often scription of a full night.
The following is an animated deasserted to be the promotion of trade, humane conversation, the communica- night, when some eminent maggot-munger,
“ This club of Vertuoso's, upon a full tion of curious and scientific matter; for the satisfaction of the society, had apbut, in his opinion,
pointed to demonstrate the force of air, by “ Most considerate men, who have ever some hermetical pot-gun, to shew the difbeen engaged in such sort of compotations, ference of the gravity between the smoak of have found, by experience, that the general tobacco and that of colts-foot and bittany, end thereof is a promiscuous encouragement or to try some other such like experiment, of vice, faction, and folly, at the unneces- were always compos'd of such an odd mix. sary expence of that time and money which ture of mankind, that, like a society of ringmight be better employed in their own bu- ers at a quarterly feast, here sat a nice beau siness, or spent with much more comfort in next to a dirty blacksmith ; there a purblind their several families."
philosopher next to a talkative spectacleHe then declaims with great elo- maker; yonder a half-witted whim of quaquence against all political clubs, lity next to a ragged mathematician ; on which, according to him, have produ- the other side, a consumptive astronomer ced all the revolutions that ever at
next to a water-gruel physician; above flicted mankind; but wishing to give them, a transmutator of mettals next to a no offence to any party or person, he philosopher-stone-hunter ; at the lower-end, excludes such clubs from his work,
a pratting engineer next to a clumsie-fisted
mason ; at the upper end of all, perhaps, and thus limits his subject-matter. an atheistical chymist next to a whimsie
“ But as all ages have been made merry headed lecturer; and these the learned of by the fantastical whimsies, and ridiculous the wise-akers wedged here and there with affections of such humoursome societies as quaint artificers and noisy opperators, in all have made themselues a town-talk by their faculties ; some bending beneath the load of singular follies, inebrious extravagancies, years and indefatigable labour, some as comical projections, vitious encouragements, thin-jaw'd and heavy-ey'd, with abstemious and uncommon practices, I am perswaded living and nocturnal studdy, as if, like Pha
roah's lean-kine, they were design'd by and forsaken frensical claret, for sober wa heaven to warn the world of a famine; tergruel; and worse company, for the peniothers, looking as wild, and deporting them- tential conversation of their own families : selves as frenzically, as if the disapoint. So that upon these misfortunes, the knights ment of their projects had made them sub- put a stop to their collar-days; laid aside ject to a lunacy."
their installment; proclaim'd a cessation of At last this club fell into decay and bumpers for some time, till those who were dissolution.
sick had recover'd their health, and others “ Many jests, by the ridiculers of ingi. their senses ; and then, the better to prevent muity, usd to be put upon this grave assem
the debasement of their honour, by its grow. bly of philosophizing vertuoso's, till, at ing too common, they adjourn'd their socielength, quite tir'd with the affronts of the ty from the Fleece in Cornhill, to the Three town, and their own unprofitable labours, Tuns in Southwark, that they might be they dwindi'd from an eminent club of ex
more retir'd from the bows and compliments perimental philosophers, into a little cinical of the London apprentices, who usd to sacabal of half-pint moralists, who now meet lute the noble knights by their titles, as they every night at the same tavern, over their pas'd too and fro about their common occafive-penny nipperkins, and set themselves sions.” up for nice regulators of their natural appetites, refusing all healths, each taking off his thimble-full according to the liberty of
III.-The No Nose Club. his own conscience, paying, just to a farthing, what himself calls for; and starting at The origin of this club is thus, faa minute, that they may have one leg in cetiously related. A certain whimtheir beds exactly as Bow-bell proclaims the sical gentleman, having taken a fancy hour of nine.
to see a large party of noseless per
sons, invited every one he met in the II.-The Order of the Golden Fleece. streets to dine on a certain day at a The worthy knights of this order are
tavern, where he formed them all inthus emphatically described.
to a brotherhood bearing the above “ This rattle-brain’d society of mechanick worthies, were most solemnly establish’d, ing order'd a very plentiful dinner, ac
“ The gentleman, against the time, hav. several years since, by the whimsical contrivance of a merry company of tipling citi quainted the vintner who were like to be zens, and jocular change-brokers, that they
his guests, that he might not be surpris'd at might meet every night, and wash away that respect, when they came to ask for him,
so iil-favour'd an appearance, but pay them their consciences with salubrious claret, that that might encourage them to tarry; When the mental reservations, and falacious assurances, the one had us'd in their shops ; and
the morning came, no sooner was the hand the deceitful wheedles, and stock-jobbing the hour prefixʼd, but the No-Nose com
of Covent-Garden dial upon the stroak of honesty, by which the other had out-witted their merchants, might be no impediment heads and cripples to a mumper's feast, ask,
pany began to drop in apace, like scaldto their nights rest, but that they mighting for Mr Crimpton, which was the feign'd sleep without repentance, and rise the next day with a strong propensity to the same succeeding one another so thick, with jar
name the gentleman had taken upon hini, practice.”
ring voices, like the brazen strings of a Each member, on admittance, had a
crack'd dulcimore, that the drawer could name assigned to him, descriptive of
scarce shew one up stairs before he had anhis peculiar character and endowments, other to conduct ; the answer at the bar beas, for example, Sir Timothy Addle- ing, to all that enquir'd, that Mr Crumppate, Sir Talkative Dolittle, Sir Ninny ton had been there, and desir'd every one Sneer, Sir Skinny Fretwell, Sir Rum- that ask'd for him would walk up stairs, and bus Rattle, Sir Boozy Prateall, Sir he would wait upon ’em presently. As the Nicolas Ninny, Sir Gregory Growler, number encreas'd, the surprise grew the Sir Sipall Paylittle, &c. This club greater among all that were present, who
star'd at one another with such unaccusflourished amain till the suicide of its tom'd bashfulness, and confus'd odness, as leading member, the effects of which if every sinner beheld their own iniquities in are thus stated.
the faces of their companions. However, “ And then the dull fraternity, thro' want seeing the cloth laid in extraord’nary order, of a merry Zany to exercise their lungs with every one was curious, when once enter'd, . a little seasonable laughter, and unhappily attend the sequel :
length a snorting neglecting to be shav'd and blooded, fell old fellow, whose nose was utterly swallow'd into such a fit of the melancholly dumps, up by his cheeks, as if his head had been that several of the order were in great dan- troubl'd with an earthquake, having a little ger of a straw-bed and a dark-room, if they more impudence than the rest of the snufflehad not neglected their nocturnal revels, tonians, · Egad,' says he, if by chance we
should fall together by the ears, how long tradiction ; and to teach and perfect one might we all fight before we should have another in the art and mistery of foul lanbloody noses?
• Ads-flesh,' says ano- guage, that they might not want impudence ther, now you talk of noses, I have been to abuse passengers upon the Thames, genlooking this half hour to find one in the tlemen in the street, lash their horses for company. God be prais'd,' says a third, their own faults, and curse one another
tho' we have no noses we have e'ery one a heartily when they happen'd to meet and mouth, and that, by spreading of the table, jostle at the corner of a street. He that seems at present to be the most useful could put on a countenance like a boatmember.' • A meer trick, I dare engage,' swain in hard-weather, and growl and snarl says a bridge-fallen lady, that is put upon like a curst mastiff over a bullock's liver, us by some whimsical gentleman, that loves was a member fit for the thwarting society ; to make a jest of other peoples misfortunes.' and the more indirect answers, or surly im
Let him jest and be damn'd,' cries a dub- pertinent returns he could make to any snouted bully, if he comes but among us, question, the more he was respected for his and treats us handsomely. If he does not,' contradictory humour, and cross-grain'd says he, I'll pull him by the nose till he abilities : for if any grumbling associate wishes himself without one, like the rest of was so far corrupted with good manners, as the company.' Pray, gentlemen and la- to make a civil reply to any thing that was dies,' cries an old drowthy captain of ask'd him, he was look'd upon to be an Whitefriers, who had forsaken the plea- effeminate coscomb, who had suck'd in too sures of whoring for those of drinking, .don't much of his mother's milk ; and for his aflet us sit and choak at the fountain-head ;' fectation of gentility, was turn'd out of the and with that they knocked for the drawer, company, for by the orders of the society, and asked him, If they might not call for their whole evenings conversation was to wine without the danger of being stop'd for consist of nothing but surly interruptions, the reckoning ? Who answer'd, yes, for and cross purposes. And when any new what they pleas'd, only the gentleman de candidate made a tender of his service to sir'd it might be the forfeiture of a quart, the noisy board, if the responses that he if any one should presume to put their nose gave upon his knotty examination, were not in the glass.'”
as opposit to their queries, as the petulant This club met once a month for a answers of a provok'd wife, to the whimsi. whole joyous year, when its founder cal interrogatories of a drunken husband, and patron died, and then “ the flat- he was rejected, as unworthy of any post in faced community were unhappily dis
contumacious assembly.” solved." An Elegy was recited at the final meeting, from which the follow, V.-The Club of Ugly Faces. extract is not without pathos.
“ To answer the tallyman's superabound. “ Mourn for the loss of such a generous ing snout, a second had a chin as long as a friend,
grave patriarchal beard, and in shape like a Whose lofty Nose no humble snout disdain'd; shoeing-horn. A third, disfigurd with a But tho' of Roman height, could stoop so low mouth like a gallon-pot, when both sides are As to sooth those who ne'er a Nose could squees'd near close together. A fourth, with shew.
a nose like the pummel of an andiron, and Ah! sure no noseless club could ever find as full of warts as the beak of a cropper One single Nose so bountiful and kind. pidgeon. A fifth, with eyes like a tumbler, But now, alas ! he's sunk into the deep, one bigger than the other. A sixth, with a Where neither kings or slaves a Nose shall pair of convex cheeks, as if, like Æolus, the keep.
god of the winds, he had stop'd his breath But where proud Beauties, strutting Beaux, for a time, to be the better able to discharge and all,
a hurrican. A seventh, with as many wens Must soon into the noseless fashion fall; and warts upon his forehead as there are Thither your friend in complaisance is gone knots and prickles upon an old thornback. To have his Nose, like yours, reduced to An eighth, with a pair of skinny jaws that none."
wrap'd over in folds, like the top of an old boot, or the hide of a rhinoceros. A ninth,
with a tush strutting beyond his lips, as if IV.—The Surly Club.
he had been begot by a man-teger. A tenth “ This wrangling society was chiefly com- with a hair-lip that had drawn his mouth posed of master carmen, lightermen, old into as many corners as a minc'd pye, made Billingsgate porters, and rusty tun-belly'd by the hussifly wife of a formal mathemabadge watermen, and kept at a Mungril tician. The eleventh, with a huge Laudertavern near Billingsgate-Dock, where city dale head, as big, in circumference, as the dames us'd to treat their journey-men with golden ball under St Paul's cross, and a sneakers of punch and new oisters. The face so fiery, that the ruddy front of the principal ends that the members propos’d, orbicular lump, which stood so elevated upin thus convening themselves together once on his lofty shoulders, made it look like the a weak, were to exercise the spirit of con- flaming urn on the top of the monument.
A twelfth, with a countenance as if his pare mischievous fools had thus shaken off their ents, when he was young, had clap'd his humanity, and taken upon 'em the bestial chin upon an anvil, and gave him a knock imitation of hounds, wolves, and tigers, upon the crown with a smith's sledge, that they would lie perdu upon the grass in one had shorten’d his phiz, and struck all his of the borders of the fields, till they heard features out of their proper places; with some single person treading along the pathmany other such comical, clownish, surly, way; then up would they all start with antick, moody, booby faces, that the wood. their swords drawn, and running furiously en gravers, who cut the prints for the fright- towards him, would cry aloud, " That's ful heads, upon stone-bottles, and the car. he; bloody-wounds, that's he :" Upon vers, who us'd to noch out preposterous which, away would run the person, whethcherubs upon base-viols, and stern whiskers er gentle or simple, as if the devil drove upon barbers blocks, were often introduc'd him, with the pack of two-leg'd whelps, upon their club-nights, by some interest making such a noise at his heels, that the peror other, on purpose to oblige their fancy secuted mortal, to escape the fury of his folwith new originals, that each might sell their lowers, would spur on nature with his fear commodities, for the singularity of the faces to such a violent speed, that, with overstrainwith which they had adorn'd 'em.”
ing, the poor hunted runaway, especially if a Both the above clubs dwindled away
coward, generally drop'd something in his
breeches that made him stink as strong as in a few years. The SURLY CLUB SO
either a fox or pole-cat. Thus they scour'd growled that they were indicted as a
him along like a buck in a paddy-course, nuisance; and the UGLY FACES hav- till he had taken sanctuary in some of the ing behaved very unhandsomely in adjacent streets, where he would run comblack-balling a candidate whose quali- monly into an ale-house, half dead with fications were indisputable, the presi- fear, to recover breath, and to mundify his sident, who was esteemed the ugliest breeches ; and there amuse them with such man of his day, left the chair; and
a terrible story, as if he had not only run, the club having thus lost its chief de- but fought the gantlope thro' a reyiment of
ruffians, and bravely defended himself by formity, the members no longer felt a
his hands as well as his heels, from a gang pride in belonging to it;-the secre
of rogues, or a drunken company of madtary-treasurer resigned, the funds,
If they happend to bolt upon a amounting to 175. 4d., were equally sturdy gentleman, that would rather chuse divided among thirty-seven persons, to die in the bed of hononr than to owe his and the Club of Ugly Faces was safety to a nimble pair of heels, the cowards no more. No less than thirty other
would shear off ; cry they were all misclubs are described in this singular
taken ; that it was not he: But who ever volume. But I fear that I have al
ran for it, they pursu'd as close as if they ready occupied too much of your pages, murder ; that their game being terrify'd
were fully resolv'd both for robbery and so shall conclude my extracts with the with dreadful apprehensions, would scour following account of a singular associ- o'er the field like an insolvent debtor before ation, the MAN-HUNTING CLUB. a herd of bailiffs, or a new marry'd seaman
“ A parcel of wild young rakes, whose from a gang of pressmasters. "And when principal education had been in Chancery the rakehelly hunters had thus delighted Lane, among those vertuous accademies the themselves with the mad recreation of three sober offices of the law and equity, frequent- or four chases, then tir'd with their sport, ing a tavern near the Tenniscourt play-' they would return to the club, and enterhouse, on the back of Lincolns-Inn Fields, tain their associates with the particulars of at length settled a club there, that they their pastime.” might every evening project new extravagancies to exercise the ungovernable fury of their uncultivated youth. Among the rest of their wild maggots, and whim- ANALYTICAL ESSAYS ON THE EARLY sical contrivances that they put in practice, to entertain the brutality of unpolish'd nature, they had form'd a new sort of pastime,
No V. which was hunting of men over Lincolns. Inn Fields, that they should happen to The White Devil; or, Vittoria Corommeet crossing at ten or eleven a clock at
bona.-WEBSTER. night; so that about those hours two or three couple of hair-brain'd puppies us’d This Play is so disjointed in its action; frequently to be commanded out by the Chairman (to which honourable post the
-the incidents are so capricious and first comer was intituled), who were to beat
so involved and there is, throughout, about for game, and to report, upon their such a mixture of the horrible and return, what sport they had met with, for the absurd—the comic and the trathe diversion of the company. When the gic--the pathetic and the ludicrous,