THE MOST FLOURISHING
CITY IN THE UNIVERSE.
By establishing an University where Gentlemen may have Academical
Education under the Eye of their Friends.
II. By an Hospital for Foundlings.
III. By forming an Academy of Sciences at Christ's Hospital.
IV. By suppressing pretended Madhouses, where many of the Fair Sex are
unjustly confined, while their Husbands keep Mistresses, &c., and many
Widows are locked up for the sake of their Jointure.
V. To save our Youth from Destruction, by clearing the Streets of
impudent Strumpets, suppressing Gaming Tables, and Sunday Debauches.
VI. To save our lower Class of People from utter Ruin, and render them
useful, by preventing the immoderate use of Geneva: with a frank
Explosion of many other common Abuses, and incontestible Rules for
An effectual Method to prevent _Street Robberies_.
A Letter to Coll. Robinson, on account of the Orphans' Tax.
By ANDREW MORETON, Esq.
THE SECOND EDITION.
Printed for J. ROBERTS, in _Warwick Lane_, and sold by E. NUTT, at the
_Royal Exchange_; A. DODD, without _Temple Bar_; N. BLANDFORD, at
_Charing Cross_; and J. STAGG, in _Westminster-Hall_.
[_Price One Shilling._]
THE MOST FLOURISHING
CITY IN THE UNIVERSE.
A man who has the public good in view, ought not in the least to be
alarmed at the tribute of ridicule which scoffers constantly pay to
projecting heads. It is the business of a writer, who means well, to go
directly forward, without regard to criticism, but to offer his thoughts
as they occur; and if in twenty schemes he hits but on one to the
purpose, he ought to be excused failing in the nineteen for the
twentieth sake. It is a kind of good action to mean well, and the
intention ought to palliate the failure; but the English, of all people
in the world, show least mercy to schemists, for they treat them in the
vilest manner; whereas other nations give them fair play for their
lives, which is the reason why we are esteemed so bad at invention.
I have but a short time to live, nor would I waste my remaining thread
of life in vain, but having often lamented sundry public abuses, and
many schemes having occurred to my fancy, which to me carried an air of
benefit, I was resolved to commit them to paper before my departure, and
leave, at least, a testimony of my good will to my fellow-creatures.
But of all my reflections, none was more constantly my companion than a
deep sorrow for the present decay of learning among us, and the manifest
corruption of education; we have been a brave and learned people, and
are insensibly dwindling into an effeminate, superficial race. Our young
gentlemen are sent to the universities, it is true, but not under
restraint or correction as formerly; not to study, but to drink; not for
furniture for the head, but a feather for the cap, merely to say they
have been at Oxford or Cambridge, as if the air of those places inspired
knowledge without application. It is true we ought to have those places
in reverence for the many learned men they have sent us; but why must we
go so far for knowledge? Why should a young gentleman be sent raw from
the nursery to live on his own hands, to be liable to a thousand
temptations, and run the risk of being snapped up by sharping jilts,
with which both universities abound, who make our youth of fortune their
prey, and have brought misery into too many good families? Not only the
hazard of their healths from debauches of both kinds, but the waste of
their precious time renders the sending them so far off very hazardous.
Why should such a metropolis as London be without an university? Would
it not save considerably the expense we are at in sending our young
gentlemen so far from London? Would it not add to the lustre of our
state, and cultivate politeness among us? What benefits may we not in
time expect from so glorious a design? Will not London become the scene
of science? And what reason have we but to hope we may vie with any
neighbouring nations? Not that I would have Oxford or Cambridge
neglected, for the good they have done. Besides, there are too many fine
endowments to be sunk; we may have universities at those places and at
London too, without prejudice. Knowledge will never hurt us, and whoever
lives to see an university here, will find it give quite another turn to
the genius and spirit of our youth in general.
How many gentlemen pass their lives in a shameful indolence, who might
employ themselves to the purpose, were such a design set on foot?
Learning would flourish, art revive, and not only those who studied
would benefit by it, but the blessing would be conveyed to others by
And in order to this so laudable design, small expense is required; the
sole charge being the hire of a convenient hall or house, which, if they
please, they may call a college. But I see no necessity the pupils have
to lie or diet there; that may be done more reasonably and conveniently
at home, under the eye of their friends; their only necessary business
at college being to attend their tutors at stated hours; and, bed and
board excepted, to conform themselves to college laws, and perform the
same exercises as if they were actually at Oxford or Cambridge.
Let the best of tutors be provided, and professors in all faculties
encouraged; this will do a double good, not only to the instructed, but
to the instructors. What a fine provision may here be made for numbers
of ingenious gentlemen now unpreferred? And to what a height may even a
small beginning grow in time?
As London is so extensive, so its university may be composed of many
colleges, quartered at convenient distances: for example, one at
Westminster, one at St. James's, one near Ormond-street, that part of
the town abounding in gentry; one in the centre of the Inns of Court,
another near the Royal Exchange, and more if occasion and encouragement
The same offices and regulations may be constituted, cooks, butlers,
bed-makers, &c., excepted, as at other universities. As for endowment,
there is no need, the whole may be done by subscription, and that an
easy one, considering that nothing but instructions are paid for.
In a word, an academical education is so much wanted in London, that
everybody of ability and figure will readily come into it; and I dare
engage, the place need but be chosen, and tutors approved of, to
complete the design at once.
It may be objected, that there is a kind of university at Gresham
college, where professors in all sciences are maintained, and obliged to
read lectures every day, or at least as often as demanded. The design is
most laudable, but it smells too much of the _sine cure_; they only read
in term time, and then their lectures are so hurried over, the audience
is little the better. They cannot be turned out, it is a good settlement
for life, and they are very easy in their studies when once fixed.
Whereas were the professorship during good behaviour, there would be a
study to maintain their posts, and their pupils would reap the benefit.
Upon second thought, I think colleges for university education might be
formed at Westminster, Eton, the Charter-house, St. Paul's, Merchant
Tailors, and other public schools, where youth might begin and end their
studies; but this may be further considered of.
I had almost forgot the most material point, which is, that his
majesty's sanction must first be obtained, and the university proposed
have power to confer degrees, &c., and other academical privileges.
As I am quick to conceive, I am eager to have done, unwilling to
overwork a subject; I had rather leave part to the conception of the
readers, than to tire them or myself with protracting a theme, as if,
like a chancery man or a hackney author, I wrote by the sheet for hire.
So let us have done with this topic, and proceed to another, which is:--
_A proposal to prevent murder, dishonour, and other abuses, by erecting
an hospital for foundlings._
It is needless to run into a declamation on this head, since not a
sessions passes but we see one or more merciless mothers tried for the
murder of their bastard children; and, to the shame of good government,
generally escape the vengeance due to shedders of innocent blood. For it
is a common practice now among them to hire a set of old beldams, or
pretended midwives, who make it their trade to bring them off for three
or four guineas, having got the ready rote of swearing the child was not
at its full growth, for which they have a hidden reserve; that is to
say, the child was not at man's or woman's growth. Thus do these impious
wretches cheat the world, and damn their own souls by a double meaning,
which too often imposes on a cautious, merciful, and credulous jury, and
gives wicked murderers means to escape and commit fresh sins, to which
their acquitters, no doubt, are accessory.
I wonder so many men of sense as have been on the jury have been so
often imposed upon by the stale pretence of a scrap or two of child-bed
linen being found in the murderer's box, &c.; when, alas! perhaps, it
was never put there till after the murder was committed; or if it was,
but with a view of saving themselves by that devilish precaution; for so
many have been acquitted on that pretence, that it is but too common a
thing to provide child-bed linen beforehand for a poor innocent babe
they are determined to murder.
But, alas! what are the exploded murders to those which escape the eye
of the magistrate, and die in silence? Add to this, procured abortions
and other indirect means which wicked wretches make use of to screen
themselves from the censure of the world, which they dread more than the
displeasure of their Maker.
Those who cannot be so hardhearted to murder their own offspring
themselves, take a slower, though as sure, a way, and get it done by
others, by dropping their children, and leaving them to be starved by
Thus is God robbed of a creature, in whom he had breathed the breath of
life, and on whom he had stamped his image; the world of an inhabitant,
who might have been of use; the king of a subject; and future
generations of an issue not to be accounted for, had this infant lived
to have been a parent.
It is therefore the height of charity and humanity to provide against
this barbarity, to prevent this crying sin, and extract good, even out
of evil, by saving these innocent babes from slaughter, and bringing
them up in the nurture and fear of the Lord; to be of benefit to
themselves and mankind in general.
And what nearer, what better way can we have, than to erect and to endow
a proper hospital or house to receive them, where we may see them
tenderly brought up, as so many living monuments of our charity; every
one of them being a convincing proof of a Christian saved, and a murder
Nor will this be attended with so much charge as is imagined, for we
find in many parishes, that parents have redemanded their children, on
increase of circumstances, and paid all costs, with a handsome present
in the bargain; and many times when a clandestine marriage is cleared up
and openly avowed, they would purchase the first-fruits of their loves
at any rate. Oftentimes a couple may have no more children, and an
infant thus saved may arrive to inherit a good estate, and become a
benefactor where it was once an object of charity.
But let us suppose the worst, and imagine the infant begot in sin and
without the sanction of wedlock; is it therefore to be murdered,
starved, or neglected, because its parents were wicked? Hard fate of
innocent children to suffer for their parents' faults! Where God has
thought fit to give his image and life, there is nourishment demanded;
that calls aloud for our Christian and human assistance, and best shows
our nobleness of soul, when we generously assist those who cannot help
If the fault devolved on the children, our church would deny them
baptism, burial, and other Christian rites; but our religion carries
more charity with it, they are not denied even to partake of our blessed
sacraments, and are excluded no one branch or benefit accruing from
Christianity; if so, how unjust are those who arraign them for their
parents' faults, and how barbarous are those parents, who, though able,
make no provision for them, because they are not legitimate. My child,
is my child, let it be begot in sin or wedlock, and all the duties of a
parent are incumbent on me so long as it lives; if it survives me, I
ought to make a provision for it, according to my ability; and though I
do not set it on a footing with my legitimate children, I ought in
conscience to provide against want and shame, or I am answerable for
every sin or extravagance my child is forced or led into, for want of my
giving an allowance to prevent it.
We have an instance very fresh in every one's memory, of an ingenious,
nay a sober young nobleman, for such I must call him, whose either
father was a peer, and his mother a peeress. This unhappy gentleman,
tossed from father to father, at last found none, and himself a vagabond
forced to every shift; he in a manner starved for many years, yet was
guilty of no capital crime, till that unhappy accident occurred, which
God has given him grace and sense enough to repent. However, I cannot
but think his hard-hearted mother will bear her portion of the guilt,
till washed away by a severe repentance.
What a figure might this man have made in life, had due care been taken?
If his peerage had not been adjusted, he might at least have been a fine
gentleman; nay, probably have filled some handsome post in the
government with applause, and called as much for respect as he does now
Nor is this gentleman the only person begot and neglected by noble, or
rather ignoble parents; we have but too many now living, who owe their
birth to the best of our peerage, and yet know not where to eat. Hard
fate, when the child would be glad of the scraps which the servants
throw away! But Heaven generally rewards them accordingly, for many
noble families are become extinct, and large estates alienated into
other houses, while their own issue want bread.
And now, methinks, I hear some over-squeamish ladies cry, What would
this fellow be at? would not he set up a nursery for lewdness, and
encourage fornication? who would be afraid of sinning, if they can so
easily get rid of their bastards? we shall soon be overrun with
foundlings when there is such encouragement given to whoredom. To which
I answer, that I am as much against bastards being begot, as I am for
their being murdered; but when a child is once begot, it cannot be
unbegotten; and when once born, it must be kept; the fault, as I said
before, is in the parents, not the child; and we ought to show our
charity towards it as a fellow-creature and Christian, without any
regard to its legitimacy or otherwise.
The only way to put a stop to this growing evil, would be to oblige all
housekeepers not to admit a man and woman as lodgers till they were
certified of their being lawfully married; for now-a-days nothing is
more common than for a whoremonger and a strumpet to pretend marriage,
till they have left a child or two on the parish, and then shift to
another part of the town.
If there were no receivers, there would be no thieves; if there were no
bawdyhouses, there would be no whores; and though persons letting
lodgings be not actual procurers, yet, if they connive at the embraces
of a couple, whose marriage is doubtful, they are no better than bawds,
and their houses no more than brothels.
Now should anybody ask how shall this hospital be built? how endowed? to
which I answer, follow the steps of the Venetians, the Hamburghers, and
other foreign states, &c., who have for ages past prosecuted this
glorious design, and found their account therein. As for building a
house, I am utterly against it, especially in the infancy of the affair:
let a place convenient be hired. Why should such a considerable sum be
sunk in building as has in late public structures, which have swallowed
up part of the profits and dividend, if not the capital, of unwary
To my great joy I find my project already anticipated, and a noble
subscription carrying on for this purpose; to promote which I exhort all
persons of compassion and generosity, and I shall think myself happy, if
what I have said on this head may anyways contribute to further the
Having said all I think material on this subject, I beg pardon for
leaving my reader so abruptly, and crave leave to proceed to another
_A proposal to prevent the expensive importation of foreign musicians,
&c., by forming an academy of our own._
It will no doubt be asked what have I to do with music? to which I
answer, I have been a lover of the science from my infancy, and in my
younger days was accounted no despicable performer on the viol and lute,
then much in vogue. I esteem it the most innocent amusement in life; it
generally relaxes, after too great a hurry of spirits, and composes the
mind into a sedateness prone to everything that is generous and good;
and when the more necessary parts of education are finished, it is a
most genteel and commendable accomplishment; it saves a great deal of
drinking and debauchery in our sex, and helps the ladies off with many
an idle hour, which sometimes might probably be worse employed
Our quality, gentry, and better sort of traders must have diversions;
and if those that are commendable be denied, they will take to worse;
now what can be more commendable than music, one of the seven liberal
sciences, and no mean branch of the mathematics?
Were it for no other reason I should esteem it, because it was the
favourite diversion of his late majesty, of glorious memory; who was as
wise a prince as ever filled the British throne. Nor is it less esteemed
by their present majesties, whose souls are formed for harmony, and who
have not disdained to make it a part in the education of their sacred
Our nobility and gentry have shown their love to the science, by
supporting at such prodigious expense the Italian opera, improperly
called an academy; but they have at the same time shown no small
partiality in discouraging anything English, and overloading the town
with such heaps of foreign musicians.
An academy, rightly understood, is a place for the propagation of
science, by training up persons thereto from younger to riper years,
under the instruction and inspection of proper artists; how can the
Italian opera properly be called an academy, when none are admitted but
such as are, at least are thought, or ought to be, adepts in music? If
that be an academy, so are the theatres of Drury-lane, and Lincolns-inn
Fields; nay, Punch's opera may pass for a lower kind of academy. Would
it not be a glorious thing to have an opera of our own, in our own most
noble tongue, in which the composer, singers, and orchestra, should be
of our own growth? Not that we ought to disclaim all obligations to
Italy, the mother of music, the nurse of Corelli, Handel, Bononcini,
Geminiani; but then we ought not to be so stupidly partial to imagine
ourselves too brutal a part of mankind to make any progress in the
science? By the same reason that we love it, we may excel in it; love
begets application, and application perfection. We have already had a
Purcel, and no doubt there are now many latent geniuses, who only want
proper instruction, application, and encouragement, to become great
ornaments of the science, and make England emulate even Rome itself.
What a number of excellent performers on all instruments have sprung up
in England within these few years? That this is owing to the opera I
will not deny, and so far the opera is an academy, as it refines the
taste and inspires emulation.
But though we are happy in instrumental performers, we frequently send
to Italy for singers, and that at no small expense; to remedy which I
humbly propose that the governors of Christ's Hospital will show their
public spirit, by forming an academy of music on their foundation, after
this or the like manner.
That out of their great number of children, thirty boys be selected of
good ears and propensity to music.
That these boys be divided into three classes, viz., six for wind
instruments, such as the hautboy, bassoon, and German flute.
That sixteen others be selected for string instruments, or at least the
most useful, viz., the violin and bass-violin.
That the remaining eight be particularly chosen for voice, and organ, or
harpsichord. That all in due time be taught composition. The boys thus
chosen, three masters should be elected, each most excellent in his way;
that is to say, one for the wind instrument, another for the stringed,
and a third for the voice and organ, &c.
Handsome salaries should be allowed these masters, to engage their
constant attendance every day from eight till twelve in the morning; and
I think 100_l._ per annum for each would be sufficient, which will be a
trifle to so wealthy a body. The multiplicity of holidays should be
abridged, and only a few kept; there cannot be too few, considering what
a hinderance they are to juvenile studies. It is a vulgar error that has
too long prevailed all over England to the great detriment of learning,
and many boys have been made blockheads in complaisance to kings and
saints dead for many ages past.
The morning employed in music, the boys should go in the afternoon, or
so many hours, to the reading and writing school, and in the evening
should practice, at least two hours before bed-time, and two before the
master comes in the morning. This course held for seven or eight years,
will make them fine proficients; but that they should not go too raw or
young out of the academy, it is proper, that at the stated age of
apprenticeship, they be bound to the hospital, to engage their greater
application, and make them thorough masters, before they launch out into
the world; for one great hinderance to many performers is, that they
begin to teach too soon, and obstruct their genius.
What will not such a design produce in a few years? Will they not be
able to perform a concert, choir, or opera, or all three, among
themselves, and overpay the charge, as shall hereafter be specified?
For example, we will suppose such a design to be continued for ten
years, we shall find an orchestra of forty hands, and a choir or opera
of twenty voices, or admitting that of those twenty only five prove
capital singers, it will answer the intent.
For the greater variety they may, if they think fit, take in two or more
of their girls, where they find a promising genius, but this may be
further considered of.
Now, when they are enabled to exhibit an opera, will they not gain
considerably when their voices and hands cost them only a college
subsistence? and it is but reasonable the profits accruing from operas,
concerts, or otherwise, should go to the hospital, to make good all
former and future expenses, and enable them to extend the design to a
greater length and grandeur; so that instead of 1,500_l._ per annum, the
price of one Italian singer, we shall for 300_l._ once in ten years,
have sixty English musicians regularly educated, and enabled to live by
There ought, moreover, to be annual probations, and proper prizes or
premiums allotted, to excite emulation in the youths, and give life to
They have already a music school, as they call it, but the allowance is
too poor for this design, and the attendance too small, it must be every
day, or not at all.
This will be an academy indeed, and in process of time they will have
even their masters among themselves; and what is the charge, compared
with the profits, or their abilities?
One thing I had like to have forgot, which is, that with permission of
the right reverend the lords spiritual, some performance in music,
suitable to the solemnity of the day, be exhibited every Sunday after
divine service. Sacred poesy, and rhetoric may be likewise introduced to
make it an entertainment suitable to a Christian and polite audience;
and indeed we seem to want some such commendable employment for the
better sort; for we see the public walks and taverns crowded, and rather
than be idle, they will go to Newport market.
That such an entertainment would be much preferable to drinking, gaming,
or profane discourse, none can deny; and till it is proved to be
prejudicial, I shall always imagine it necessary. The hall at the
hospital will contain few less than seven hundred people, conveniently
seated, which at so small a price as one shilling per head, will amount
to 35_l._ per week; and if the performance deserve it, as no doubt it
will in time, they may make it half a crown, or more, which must
considerably increase the income of the hospital.
When they are able to make an opera, the profits will be yet more
considerable, nor will they reap much less from what the youths bring in
during their apprenticeship, when employed at concerts, theatres, or
other public entertainments.
Having advanced what I think proper on this head, or at least enough for
a hint, I proceed to offer,
_That many youths and servants may be saved from destruction were the
streets cleared of shameless and impudent strumpets, gaming tables
totally suppressed, and a stop put to sabbath debauches._
The corruption of our children and servants is of importance sufficient
to require our utmost precaution; and moreover, women servants (commonly
called maid-servants) are such necessary creatures, that it is by no
means below us to make them beneficial rather than prejudicial to us.
I shall not run into a description of their abuses; we know enough of
those already. Our business now is to make them useful, first by
ascertaining their wages at a proper standard.
Secondly, by obliging them to continue longer in service, not to stroll
about from place to place, and throw themselves on the town on every
Thirdly, to prevent their being harboured by wicked persons, when out
of place; or living too long on their own hands.
As for their wages, they have topped upon us already, and doubled them
in spite of our teeth; but as they have had wit enough to get them, so
will they, I doubt not, have the same sense to keep them, and much good
may it do those indolent over-secure persons, who have given them this
advantage. However, if they are honest and diligent, I would have them
encouraged, and handsome wages allowed them; because, by this means, we
provide for the children of the inferior class of people, who otherwise
could not maintain themselves; nay, sometimes tradesmen, &c., reduced,
are glad when their children cease to hang upon them, by getting into
service, and by that means not only maintaining themselves, but being of
use in other families. But then there ought to be some medium, some
limitation to their wages, or they may extort more than can well be
Nothing calls for more redress than their quitting service for every
idle disgust, leaving a master or mistress at a nonplus, and all under
plea of a foolish old custom, called warning, nowhere practised but in
London; for in other places they are hired by the year, or by the
statute as they call it, which settles them in a place, at least for
some time; whereas, when they are not limited, it encourages a roving
temper, and makes them never easy.
If you turn them away without warning, they will make you pay a month's
wages, be the provocation or offence never so great; but if they leave
you, though never so abruptly, or unprovided, help yourselves how you
can, there is no redress; though I think there ought, in all conscience,
to be as much law for the master as for the servant.
No servant should quit a place where they are well fed and paid,
without assigning a good reason before a magistrate. On the other hand,
they should receive no abuse which should not be redressed; for we ought
to treat them as servants, not slaves; and a medium ought to be observed
on both sides. But if they are not restrained from quitting service on
every vagary, they will throw themselves on the town, and not only ruin
themselves, but others; for example, a girl quits a place and turns
whore; if there is not a bastard to be murdered, or left to the parish,
there is one or more unwary youths drawn in to support her in lewdness
and idleness; in order to which, they rob their parents and masters,
nay, sometimes, anybody else, to support their strumpets; so that many
thieves owe their ruin and shameful deaths to harlots; not to mention
the communication of loathsome distempers, and innumerable other evils,
to which they give birth.
How many youths, of all ranks, are daily ruined? and how justly may be
dreaded the loss of as many more, if a speedy stop be not put to this
growing evil? Generations to come will curse the neglect of the present,
and every sin committed for the future may be passed to our account, if
we do not use our endeavours to the contrary.
And unless we prevent our maid-servants from being harboured by wicked
persons when out of place, or living too long on their own hands, our
streets will swarm with impudent shameless strumpets; the good will be
molested; those prone to evil will be made yet more wicked, by having
temptations thrown in their way; and, to crown all, we shall have scarce
a servant left, but our wives, &c., must do the household-work
If this be not worthy the consideration of a legislature, I would fain
know what is. Is it not time to limit their wages, when they are grown
so wanton they know not what to ask? Is it not time to fix them, when
they stroll from place to place, and we are hardly sure of a servant a
month together? Is it not time to prevent the increase of harlots, by
making it penal for servants to be harboured in idleness, and tempted to
theft, whoredom, murder, &c., by living too long out of place? and I am
sure it is high time to begin the work, by clearing the public streets
of night-walkers, who are grown to such a pitch of impudence that peace
and common decency are manifestly broken in our public streets. I wonder
this has so long escaped the eye of the magistrate, especially when
there are already in force laws sufficient to restrain this tide of
uncleanness, which will one day overflow us.
The lewdest people upon earth, ourselves excepted, are not guilty of
such open violations of the laws of decency. Go all the world over, and
you will see no such impudence as in the streets of London, which makes
many foreigners give our women in general a bad character, from the vile
specimens they meet with from one end of the town to the other. Our
sessions' papers are full of the trials of impudent sluts, who first
decoy men and then rob them; a meanness the courtesans of Rome and
How many honest women, those of the inferior sort especially, get
loathsome distempers from their husband's commerce with these creatures,
which distempers are often entailed on posterity; nor have we an
hospital separated for that purpose, which does not contain too many
instances of honest poor wretches made miserable by villains of
And now I have mentioned the villany of some husbands in the lower state
of life, give me leave to propose, or at least to wish, that they were
restrained from abusing their wives at that barbarous rate, which is
now practised by butchers, carmen, and such inferior sort of fellows,
who are public nuisances to civil neighbourhoods, and yet nobody cares
to interpose, because the riot is between a man and his wife.
I see no reason why every profligate fellow shall have the liberty to
disturb a whole neighbourhood, and abuse a poor honest creature at a
most inhuman rate, and is not to be called to account because it is his
wife; this sort of barbarity was never so notorious and so much
encouraged as at present, for every vagabond thinks he may cripple his
wife at pleasure; and it is enough to pierce a heart of stone to see how
barbarously some poor creatures are beaten and abused by merciless dogs
It gives an ill example to the growing generation, and this evil will
gain ground on us if not prevented; it may be answered, the law has
already provided redress, and a woman abused may swear the peace against
her husband, but what woman cares to do that? It is revenging herself on
herself, and not without considerable charge and trouble.
There ought to be a shorter way, and when a man has beaten his wife,
which by the by is a most unmanly action, and great sign of cowardice,
it behoves every neighbour who has the least humanity or compassion, to
complain to the next justice of the peace, who should be empowered to
set him in the stocks for the first offence; to have him well scourged
at the whipping-post for the second; and if he persisted in his
barbarous abuse of the holy marriage state, to send him to the house of
correction till he should learn to use more mercy to his yoke-fellow.
How hard is it for a poor industrious woman to be up early and late, to
sit in a cold shop, stall, or market, all weathers, to carry heavy loads
from one end of the town to the other, or to work from morning till
night, and even then dread going home for fear of being murdered? Some
may think this too low a topic for me to expatiate upon, to which I
answer, that it is a charitable and Christian one, and therefore not in
the least beneath the consideration of any man who had a woman for his
The mention of this leads me to exclaim against the vile practice now so
much in vogue among the better sort as they are called, but the worst
sort in fact; namely, the sending their wives to madhouses, at every
whim or dislike, that they may be more secure and undisturbed in their
debaucheries; which wicked custom is got to such a head, that the number
of private madhouses in and about London are considerably increased
within these few years.
This is the height of barbarity and injustice in a Christian country, it
is a clandestine inquisition, nay worse.
How many ladies and gentlewomen are hurried away to these houses, which
ought to be suppressed, or at least subject to daily examination, as
hereafter shall be proposed?
How many, I say, of beauty, virtue, and fortune, are suddenly torn from
their dear innocent babes, from the arms of an unworthy man, whom they
love, perhaps, but too well, and who in return for that love, nay
probably an ample fortune and a lovely offspring besides, grows weary of
the pure streams of chaste love, and thirsting after the puddles of
lawless lust, buries his virtuous wife alive, that he may have the
greater freedom with his mistresses?
If they are not mad when they go into these cursed houses, they are soon
made so by the barbarous usage they there suffer; and any woman of
spirit, who has the least love for her husband, or concern for her
family, cannot sit down tamely under a confinement and separation the
most unaccountable and unreasonable.
Is it not enough to make any one mad to be suddenly clapped up,
stripped, whipped, ill-fed, and worse used? To have no reason assigned
for such treatment, no crime alleged, or accusers to confront? And what
is worse, no soul to appeal to but merciless creatures, who answer but
in laughter, surliness, contradiction, and too often stripes?
All conveniences for writing are denied, no messenger to be had to carry
a letter to any relation or friend; and if this tyrannical inquisition,
joined with the reasonable reflections a woman of any common
understanding must necessarily make, be not sufficient to drive any soul
stark staring mad, though before they were never so much in their right
senses, I have no more to say.
When by this means a wicked husband has driven a poor creature mad, and
robbed an injured wife of her reason, for it is much easier to create
than to cure madness, then has the villain a handle for his roguery;
then, perhaps, he will admit her distressed relations to see her, when
it is too late to cure the madness he so artfully and barbarously has
But this is not all: sometimes more dismal effects attend this
inquisition, for death is but too often the cure of their madness and
end of their sorrows; some with ill usage, some with grief, and many
with both, are barbarously cut off in the prime of their years and
flower of their health, who otherwise might have been mothers of a
numerous issue, and survived many years. This is murder in the deepest
sense, and much more cruel than dagger or poison, because more
lingering; they die by piecemeal, and in all the agonies and terrors of
a distracted mind.
Nay, it is murder upon murder, for the issue that might have been begot
is to be accounted for to God and the public. Now, if this kind of
murder is connived at, we shall no doubt have enough, nay, too much of
it; for if a man is weary of his wife, has spent her fortune, and wants
another, it is but sending her to a madhouse and the business is done at
How many have already been murdered after this manner is best known to
just Heaven, and those unjust husbands and their damned accomplices,
who, though now secure in their guilt, will one day find it is murder of
the blackest dye, has the least claim to mercy, and calls aloud for the
How many are yet to be sacrificed, unless a speedy stop be put to this
most accursed practice, I tremble to think; our legislature cannot take
this cause too soon in hand. This surely cannot be below their notice,
and it will be an easy matter at once to suppress all these pretended
madhouses. Indulge, gentle reader, for once the doting of an old man,
and give him leave to lay down his little system without arraigning him
of arrogance or ambition to be a lawgiver. In my humble opinion, all
private madhouses should be suppressed at once, and it should be no less
than felony to confine any person under pretence of madness without due
For the cure of those who are really lunatic, licensed madhouses should
be constituted in convenient parts of the town, which houses should be
subject to proper visitation and inspection, nor should any person be
sent to a madhouse without due reason, inquiry, and authority.
It may be objected, by persons determined to contradict every thing and
approve nothing, that the abuses complained of are not so numerous or
heinous as I would insinuate. Why are not facts advanced, they will be
apt to say, to give a face of truth to these assertions? But I have two
reasons to the contrary; the first is, the more you convince them, the
more angry you make them, for they are never better pleased than when
they have an opportunity of finding fault; therefore, to curry favour
with the fault-finders, I have left them a loophole: the second and real
is, because I do not care to bring an old house over my head by
mentioning particular names or special cases, thereby drawing myself
into vexatious prosecutions and suits at law from litigious wretches,
who would be galled to find their villanies made public, and stick at no
expense or foul play to revenge themselves. Not but I could bring many
instances, particularly of an unhappy widow, put in by a villain of a
husband, and now continued in for the sake of her jointure by her
unnatural son, far from common honesty or humanity. Of another, whose
husband keeps his mistress in black velvet, and is seen with her every
night at the opera or play, while his poor wife (by much the finer
woman, and of an understanding far superior to her thick-skulled
tyrant,) is kept mean in diet and apparel; nay, ill-used into the
bargain, notwithstanding her fortune supplies all the villain's
extravagances, and he has not a shilling but what came from her: but a
beggar when once set on horseback proves always the most unmerciful
I cannot leave this subject without inserting one particular case.
A lady of known beauty, virtue, and fortune, nay more, of wisdom, not
flashy wit, was, in the prime of her youth and beauty, and when her
senses were perfectly sound, carried by her husband in his coach as to
the opera; but the coachman had other instructions, and drove directly
to a madhouse, where the poor innocent lady was no sooner introduced,
under pretence of calling by the way to see some pictures he had a mind
to buy, but the key was turned upon her, and she left a prisoner by her
faithless husband, who while his injured wife was confined and used with
the utmost barbarity, he, like a profligate wretch, ran through her
fortune with strumpets, and then basely, under pretence of giving her
liberty, extorted her to make over her jointure, which she had no sooner
done but he laughed in her face, and left her to be as ill-used as ever.
This he soon ran through, and (happily for the lady) died by the justice
of heaven in a salivation his debauches had obliged him to undergo.
During her confinement, the villain of the madhouse frequently attempted
her chastity; and the more she repulsed him the worse he treated her,
till at last he drove her mad in good earnest. Her distressed brother,
who is fond of her to the last degree, now confines her in part of his
own house, treating her with great tenderness, but has the mortification
to be assured by the ablest physicians that his poor sister is
Numberless are the instances I could produce, but they would be
accounted fictitious, because I do not name the particular persons, for
the reasons before assigned; but the sufferings of these poor ladies are
not fictitious, nor are the villany of the madhouses, or the unnatural,
though fashionable barbarity of husbands, chimeras, but too solid
grievances, and manifest violations of the laws of God and man.
Most gracious and august queen Caroline! ornament of your sex, and pride
of the British nation! the best of mothers, the best of wives, the best
of women! Begin this auspicious reign with an action worthy your
illustrious self, rescue your injured sex from this tyranny, nor let it
be in the power of every brutal husband to cage and confine his wife at
pleasure, a practice scarce heard of till of late years. Nip it in the
bud, most gracious queen, and draw on yourself the blessings of
numberless of the fair sex, now groaning under the severest and most
unjust bondage. Restore them to their families; let them, by your means,
enjoy light and liberty; that while they fondly embrace, and with tears
of joy weep over their dear children, so long withheld from them, they
may invoke accumulated blessings from heaven upon your royal head!
And you, ye fair illustrious circle! who adorn the British court! and
every day surround our gracious queen: let generous pity inspire your
souls, and move you to intercede with your noble consorts for redress in
this injurious affair. Who can deny when you become suitors? and who
knows but at your request a bill may be brought into the house to
regulate these abuses? The cause is a noble and a common one, and ought
to be espoused by every lady who would claim the least title to virtue
or compassion. I am sure no honest member in either honourable house
will be against so reasonable a bill; the business is for some
public-spirited patriot to break the ice by bringing it into the house,
and I dare lay my life it passes.
I must beg my reader's indulgence, being the most immethodical writer
imaginable. It is true I lay down a scheme, but fancy is so fertile I
often start fresh hints, and cannot but pursue them; pardon therefore,
kind reader, my digressive way of writing, and let the subject, not the
style or method, engage thy attention.
Return we, therefore, to complain of destructive gaming-houses, the bane
of our youth, and ruin of our children and servants.
This is the most unprofitable evil upon earth, for it only tends to
alienate the proper current of specie, to maintain a pack of idle
sharping rascals, and beggar unwary gentlemen and traders.
I take the itch of gaming to be the most pernicious of vices, it is a
kind of avaricious madness; and if people have not sense to command
themselves by reason, they ought to be restrained by law; nor suffered
to ruin themselves and families, to enrich a crew of sharpers.
There is no playing on the square with these villains; they are sure to
cheat you, either by sleight of hand, confederacy, or false dice, &c.;
they have so much the odds of their infatuated bubbles, that they might
safely play a guinea to a shilling, and yet be sure of winning. This is
but genteel pocket picking, or felony with another name, and yet, so
fond are we of it, that from the footboy to the lord, all must have a
touch of gaming; and there are sharpers of different stations and
denominations, from Southwark-fair to the groom porters. Shame, that
gentlemen should suffer every scoundrel to mix with them for gaming
sake! And equal shame, that honest laborious tradesmen should be
obstructed in crossing the public streets, by the gilt chariots of
vagabond gamesters; who now infest the land, and brave even our nobility
and gentry with their own money.
But the most barbarous part of this hellish trade is what they call
setting of young gentlemen, apprentices, and others; this ought to be
deemed felony without benefit of clergy; for it is the worst of
thievery. Under pretence of taking a bottle, or spending an evening
gaily, they draw their cull to the tavern, where they sit not long
before the devil's bones or books are found accidentally on purpose, by
the help of which they strip my gentleman in an instant, and then
generously lend him his own money, to lose afresh, and create a debt
which is but too often more justly paid than those more justly due.
If we look into some late bankruptcies we shall find some noted
gamesters the principal creditors; I think, in such cases it would be
but justice to make void the gamester's debt, and subject his estate to
make good the deficiencies of the bankrupt's effects. If traders have no
more wit, the public should have pity on them; and make it as penal to
lose as to win; and, in truth, if cards, dice, &c., were totally
suppressed, industry and arts would increase the more; gaming may make a
man crafty, but not polite; one may understand cards and dice perfectly
well, and be a blockhead in everything else.
I am sorry to see it so prevalent in the city among the trading part of
mankind, who have introduced it into their clubs, and play so high of
late that many bankrupts have been made by this pernicious practice.
It is the bane of all conversation; and those who can't sit an hour
without gaming, should never go into a club to spoil company. In a word,
it is mere madness, and a most stupid thing to hazard one's fortune, and
perplex one's mind; nay, to sit up whole nights, poring over toys of
pipped ivory and painted pasteboard, making ourselves worse than little
children, whose innocent sports we so much ridicule.
To sum up all, I think it would be a noble retribution, to subject
gamesters' estates to the use and support of the poor widows and orphans
of their unfortunate bubbles.
Sunday debauches are abuses that call loud for amendment; it is in this
pernicious soil the seeds of ruin are first sown. Instead of a day of
rest, we make it a day of labour, by toiling in the devil's vineyard;
and but too many surfeit themselves with the fruits of gluttony,
drunkenness, and uncleanness.
Not that I am so superciliously strict, to have the sabbath kept as
rigidly here as in Scotland, but then there ought to be a medium between
the severity of a fast, and the riot of Saturnalia. Instead of a decent
and cheerful solemnity, our taverns and publichouses have more business
that day than all the week beside. Our apprentices plume themselves;
nay, some scruple not to put on their swords and tie wigs, or toupees,
and the loose end of the town is their rendezvous, Sunday being
market-day all round the hundreds of Drury.
While we want servants to do our work, those hundreds, as they call
them, are crowded with numbers of idle impudent sluts, who love sporting
more than spinning, and inveigle our youth to their ruin; nay, many old
lechers, beasts as they are! steal from their families, and seek these
harlots' lurking holes, to practise their unaccountable schemes of new
invented lewdnesses; some half hang themselves, others are whipped, some
lie under a table and gnaw the bones that are thrown them, while others
stand slaving among a parcel of drabs at a washing tub. Strange that the
inclination should not die with the power, but that old fools should
make themselves the prey and ridicule of a pack of strumpets!
Some heedless youths are wheedled into marriage, which makes them and
their unhappy parents miserable all their lives; others are drawn into
extravagancies, and but too often run into their master's cash, and for
fear of a discovery, make away with themselves, or at least run away and
leave their distracted parents in a thousand tears; not to mention the
frustration of their fortune, and the miseries that attend a vagabond
life. Thus honest parents lose their children, and traders their
apprentices, and all from a liberty we have of late given our youth of
rambling abroad on Sundays; for many, nowadays will lie out all night,
or stay out so late to give no small disturbance in sober families. It
therefore behoves every master of a family to have his servants under
his eye; and if the going to church, meeting, or whatever place of
worship suited their religion, were more enforced, it would be so much
In short, the luxury of the age will be the ruin of the nation, if not
prevented. We leave trade to game in stocks; we live above ourselves,
and barter our ready money for trifles; tea and wine are all we seem
anxious for, and God has given the blessings of life to an ungrateful
people, who despise their own productions. Our very plough-fellows drink
wine nowadays; our farmers, graziers, and butchers, are above malt
liquors; and the wholesome breakfast of water-gruel and milk potage is
changed for coffee and tea. This is the reason provisions and corn, &c.,
are so dear; we all work for vintners, and raise our prices one upon
another to such a degree, it will be an impossibility to live, and we
shall, of course, become our own devourers.
We strain at a gnat and swallow a camel; and, in this instance, the
publichouses are kept open to furnish our luxury, while we deny
ourselves other necessaries of life, out of a scruple of conscience. For
example; in extreme hot weather, when meat will not keep from Saturday
to Sunday, we throw, or cause to be thrown away, vast quantities of
tainted meat, and have generally stinking dinners, because the butchers
dare not sell a joint of meat on a Sunday morning. Now, though I would
not have the Sabbath so far violated as to have it a market-day, yet,
rather than abuse God's mercies by throwing away creatures given for our
use, nay, for our own healths and cleanliness sake, I would have the
same indulgence in extreme hot weather, as there is for milk and
mackerel; that is to say, that meat might be killed in the cool of the
morning, viz., one or two of the clock, and sold till nine, and no
longer; nor should villanous informers have power to molest them in this
innocent and reasonable amendment of a ridiculous vulgar error.
I cannot forbear taking notice of the extravagant use, or rather abuse,
of that nauseous liquor called Geneva, among our lower sort. Those who
deny that an inferior class of people are most necessary in a body
politic, contradict reason and experience itself, since they are most
useful when industrious, and as pernicious when lazy. By their industry
our manufactures, trade, and commerce are carried on; the merchant in
his counting-house, and the captain in his cabin, would find but little
employment were it not that many hands carried on the different branches
of the concern they superintended.
But now, so far are our common people infatuated with Geneva, that half
the work is not done now as formerly. It debilitates and enervates them,
and they are not near so strong and healthy as formerly. This accursed
liquor is in itself so diuretic, it overstrains the parts of generation,
and makes our common people incapable of getting such lusty children as
they used to do. Add to this, that the women, by drinking it, spoil
their milk, and by giving it to young children, as they foolishly do,
spoil the stomach, and hinder digestion; so that in less than an age, we
may expect a fine spindle-shanked generation.
There is not in nature so unhealthy a liquor as Geneva, especially as
commonly sold; it curdles the blood, it stupefies the senses, it weakens
the nerves, it spoils the eyesight, and entirely ruins the stomach; nay,
some stomachs have been rendered so cold by the use of Geneva, that lamp
spirits have not been a dram warm enough for them. Surely they will come
to drink aquafortis at last!
On the contrary, our own malt liquors, especially common draught beer,
is most wholesome and nourishing, and has brought up better generations
than the present: it is strengthening, cooling, and balsamic; it helps
digestion, and carries nourishment with it; and, in spite of the whims
of some physicians, is most pertinent to a human, especially a good
wholesome English, constitution. Nay, the honest part of the faculty
deny not the use of small beer, well brewed, even in fevers. I, myself,
have found great benefit by it; and if it be good in its kind, it is the
finest jalap upon earth.
If this abuse of Geneva be not stopped, we may go whoop for husbandmen,
labourers, &c. Trade must consequently stand still, and the credit of
the nation sink; nor is the abatement of the excise, though very
considerable, and most worthy notice, any ways comparable to the
corruption of manners, the destruction of health, and all the train of
evils we are threatened with from pernicious Geneva.
_An effectual method to prevent street robberies._
The principal encouragements and opportunity given to street robbers is,
that our streets are so poorly watched; the watchmen, for the most part,
being decrepit, superannuated wretches, with one foot in the grave and
the other ready to follow; so feeble that a puff of breath can blow
them down. Poor crazy mortals! much fitter for an almshouse than a
watchhouse. A city watched and guarded by such animals is wretchedly
Nay, so little terror do our watchmen carry with them, that hardy
thieves make a mere jest of them, and sometimes oblige even the very
watchman who should apprehend them to light them in their roguery. And
what can a poor creature do, in terror of his life, surrounded by a pack
of ruffians, and no assistance near?
Add to this, that our rogues are grown more wicked than ever, and vice
in all kinds is so much winked at, that robbery is accounted a petty
crime. We take pains to puff them up in their villany, and thieves are
set out in so amiable a light in the Beggar's Opera, that it has taught
them to value themselves on their profession rather than be ashamed of
There was some cessation of street robberies, from the time of Bunworth
and Blewitt's execution, until the introduction of this pious opera. Now
we find the Cartouchian villanies revived, and London, that used to be
the most safe and peaceful city in the universe, is now a scene of
rapine and danger. If some of Cartouch's gang be not come over to
instruct our thieves, and propagate their schemes, we have, doubtless, a
Cartouch of our own, and a gang which, if not suppressed, may be full as
pernicious as ever Cartouch's was, and London will be as dangerous as
Paris, if due care be not taken.
We ought to begin our endeavours to suppress these villanies, first by
heavenly, and then by earthly means.
By heavenly means, in enforcing and encouraging a reformation of
manners, by suppressing of vice and immorality, and punishing
profaneness and licentiousness. Our youth are corrupted by filthy, lewd
ballads, sung and sold publicly in our streets; nay, unlicensed and
unstamped, notwithstanding acts of parliament to the contrary.
Coachmen, carmen, &c, are indulged in swearing after the most
blasphemous, shocking, and unaccountable rate that ever was known. New
oaths and blasphemies are daily uttered and invented; and rather than
not exercise this hellish talent, they will vent their curses on their
very horses; and, oh stupid! damn the blood of a post, rather than want
something to curse.
Our common women, too, have learned this vice; and not only strumpets,
but labouring women, who keep our markets, and vend things about street,
swear and curse at a most hideous rate. Their children learn it from
their parents, and those of the middle, or even the better sort of
people, if they pass through the streets to school, or to play, catch
the infection, and carry home such words as must consequently be very
shocking to sober parents.
Our youth, in general, have too much liberty; the Sabbath is not kept
with due solemnity; masters and mistresses of families are too remiss in
the care of the souls committed to their charge. Family prayer is
neglected; and, to the shame of scoffers be it spoken, too much
ridiculed. All ages and sexes, if in health, should be obliged to attend
public worship, according to their respective opinions. Were it only to
keep youth out of harm's way it would do well. But it is to be hoped, if
their parents, masters, or mistresses, should oblige their attendance at
public devotion, they would edify by what they should hear, and many
wicked acts would be stifled in their infancy, and checked even in the
intention, by good and useful doctrine.
Our common people make it a day of debauch, and get so drunk on a
Sunday they cannot work for a day or two following. Nay, since the use
of Geneva has become so common, many get so often drunk they cannot work
at all, but run from one irregularity to another, till at last they
become arrant rogues. And this is the foundation of all our present
We will suppose a man able to maintain himself and family by his trade,
and at the same time to be a Geneva drinker. This fellow first makes
himself incapable of working by being continually drunk; this runs him
behindhand, and he either pawns or neglects his work, for which reason
nobody will employ him. At last, fear of arrests, his own hunger, the
cries of his family for bread, his natural desire to support an
irregular life, and a propense hatred to labour, turn but too many an
honest tradesman into an arrant desperate rogue. And these are commonly
the means that furnish us with thieves and villains in general.
Thus is a man, that might be useful in a body politic, rendered
obnoxious to the same: and if this trade of wickedness goes on, they
will grow and increase upon us, insomuch that we shall not dare to stir
out of our habitations; nay, it will be well if they arrive not to the
impudence of plundering our houses at noonday.
Where is the courage of the English nation, that a gentleman, with six
or seven servants, shall be robbed by one single highwayman? Yet we have
lately had instances of this; and for this we may thank our effeminacy,
our toupee wigs, and powdered pates, our tea, and other scandalous
fopperies; and, above all, the disuse of noble and manly sports, so
necessary to a brave people, once in vogue, but now totally lost among
Let not the reader think I run from my subject if I search the bottom
of the distemper before I propose a cure, which having done, though
indeed but slightly, for this is an argument could be carried to a much
greater length, I proceed next to propose earthly means in the manner
Let the watch be composed of stout able-bodied men, and of those at
least treble the number now subsisting, that is to say, a watchman to
every forty houses, twenty on one side of the way, and twenty on the
other; for it is observable that a man cannot well see distinctly beyond
the extent of twenty houses in a row; if it is a single row, and no
opposite houses, the charge must be greater and their safety less. This
man should be elected and paid by the housekeepers themselves, to
prevent misapplication and abuse, so much complained of in the
distribution of public money.
He should be allowed ten shillings per annum by each housekeeper, which
at forty houses, as above specified, amounts to 20_l._ per annum, almost
treble to what is at present allowed; and yet most housekeepers are
charged at least 2s. 6d. a quarter to the watch, whose beat is,
generally speaking, little less than the compass of half a mile.
This salary is something of encouragement, and a pretty settlement to a
poor man, who with frugality may live decently thereon, and by due rest
be enabled to give vigilant attendance.
If a housekeeper break, or a house is empty, the poor watchman ought not
to suffer, the deficiency should be made up by the housekeepers
Or, indeed, all housekeepers might be excused, if a tax of only one
shilling per annum were levied on every bachelor within the bills of
mortality, and above the age of one-and-twenty, who is not a
housekeeper: for these young sparks are a kind of unprofitable gentry to
the state; they claim public safety and advantages, and yet pay nothing
to the public; nay, indeed, they in a manner live upon the public, for
(on a Sunday especially) at least a million of these gentlemen quarter
themselves upon the married men, and rob many families of part of a
week's provision, more particularly when they play a good knife and
fork, and are of the family of the Tuckers.
I beg pardon for this whimsical proposal, which, ludicrous as it seems,
has something in it; and may be improved. Return we, in the mean time,
to our subject.
The watch thus stationed, strengthened, and encouraged, let every
watchman be armed with firearms and sword; and let no watchman stand
above twenty doors distant from his fellow.
Let each watchman be provided with a bugle-horn, to sound an alarm, or
in time of danger; and let it be made penal, if not felony, for any but
a watchman to sound a horn in and about the city, from the time of their
going on, to that of their going off.
An objection will be here made on account of the postboys, to obviate
which, I had thoughts of a bell, but that would be too ponderous and
troublesome for a watchman to carry, besides his arms and lantern. As to
a fixed bell, if the watchman is at another part of his walk, how can he
give notice? Besides, rogues may play tricks with the bell; whereas a
horn is portable, always ready, and most alarming.
Let the postboys therefore use some other signal, since this is most
convenient to this more material purpose. They may carry a bell in a
holster with ease, and give notice by that, as well as those who collect
That the watchmen may see from one end of their walks to the other, let
a convenient number of lamps be set up, and those not of the convex
kind, which blind the eyes, and are of no manner of use; they dazzle,
but give no distinct light: and further, rather than prevent robberies,
many, deceived and blinded by these _ignes fatui_, have been run over by
coaches, carts, &c. People stumble more upon one another, even under
these very lamps, than in the dark. In short, they are most unprofitable
lights, and in my opinion, rather abuses than benefits.
Besides, I see no reason why every ten housekeepers cannot find a lamp
among themselves, and let their watchman dress it, rather than fatten a
crew of directors; but we are so fond of companies, it is a wonder we
have not our shoes blacked by one, and a set of directors made rich at
the expense of our very black-guards. Convenient turnpikes and stoppages
may be made to prevent escapes, and it will be proper for a watchman to
be placed at one of these, fixed at the end of a lane, court, alley, or
other thoroughfare, which may happen in any part of his beat, and so as
not to obstruct his view to both ends thereof, or being able to give
notice, as aforesaid; for the watch ought to be in view, as well as in
the hearing of each other, or they may be overpowered, and much danger
The streets thus guarded and illuminated, what remains but that the
money allotted by the government be instantly paid on conviction of
every offender; for delays in this case are of dangerous consequence,
and nobody will venture their lives in hopes of a reward, if it be not
duly and timely paid. If there is reason of complaint on this head, it
ought to be looked into by those at the helm; for nothing can be more
vile than for underlings to abuse the benevolence of the public, or
their superiors, by sinking, abridging, or delaying public or private
benefits. And it is by no means below the dignity or care, even of the
greatest, to see the disposal of their own bounty and charity; for it
loses but too often by the carriage: and where a nobleman or other
generous person has ordered five guineas to be given, it is well if the
proper object has had even one.
Something allowed by the Chamber of London to every person apprehending
a robber, would have a good effect, especially if it be not told over a
gridiron, but paid without delay or abatement. And what if the fewer
custards are eat, so it augment the public safety.
Some of our common soldiery are, and I hope unjustly, suspected. This
may be easily confuted, if strict orders are enforced, that none but
commission or warrant officers shall be out of their quarters after ten
at night. But if we consider, that neither Blewit, Bunworth, or their
gangs, were soldiers, and that of those who have been executed for ten
years past, not one in ten were soldiers, but, on the contrary, seamen
discharged and thrown on the public without present subsistence, which
makes them desperate; but I hope the act now depending for the
encouragement of seamen, &c., will sufficiently remove that obstacle
also. This, I hope, will stop the mouths of censorious persons, who
unjustly arraign our soldiery for the vices of others. However, to make
all easy, I believe the generality of them will gladly submit to the
restraint proposed, merely to show their innocence.
Mean time, would his most sacred majesty let them partake of his bounty,
as the officers, &c., have done, and raise their pay, were it but one
penny _per diem_, it would be a most royal bounty, would considerably
contribute to their support, and put them above any sordid views: and
there was never more occasion than now, when provisions of all kinds are
so excessive dear.
Having offered my little mite to the public, I beg they will excuse the
deficiency of my style, and multitude of my errors, for my intention's
sake. I write without prospect of gain; if I am censured, it is what I
can but expect; but if among all my schemes one proves of service, my
desires and labours are amply answered.
In my scheme for an university in London I proposed only a hall or
public room; on recollection I find it should be a large house or inn,
in the nature of a college, with store of convenient rooms for
gentlemen, not only to study separately, but wherein to lodge their
books, for it would be most inconvenient to lug them backwards and
forwards. They may indeed breakfast, sup, and sleep at home, but it will
be highly necessary they should dine in commons, or at least near the
college; not that I would have cooks, butlers, caterers, manciples, and
the whole train of college cannibals retained; but for fear they should
stay too long at home, or be hindered from returning to study in due
time, some proper place or person might be pitched upon to keep an
ordinary, at a prefixed price and hour, and for the students only.
My reasons are these:--
First, A young gentleman may live too far from college.
Second, The college hours for dinner may not agree with those of the
Third, Company may drop in and detain him.
These being, I think, the only material objections could be offered, I
hope I have amply provided against them, and rendered my project more
perfect and unexceptionable.
* * * * *
One omission I made in the discourse on madhouses, &c., is, that maiden
ladies as well as widows and wives are liable to the inquisition there
complained of, and I am informed a good estate is lately come to a
worthless family by the death, or rather murder, of an innocent young
creature, who being left very rich, chose to live with her friends; but
well had it been for her had she taken up her abode among strangers, for
they staved off all proposals for marriage a considerable time, and when
at last they found the lady would not be hindered from altering her
condition, she was hurried away to a madhouse, where she miserably ended
her days, while they rioted in the pillage of her fortune. Thus neither
maid, wife, or widow, are safe while these accursed madhouses are
suffered; nay, I see no reason, if the age improves in wickedness, as in
all probability it may, but the men, _per contra_, may take their turns.
Younger brothers, &c., may clap up their elders, and jump into their
estates, for there are no questions asked at these madhouses, but who is
the paymaster, and how much; give them but their price, mad or not mad,
it is no matter whom they confine; so that if any person lives longer
than his relations think convenient, they know their remedy; it is but
sending them to a madhouse and the estate is their own.
Having answered all that I think liable to objection, and recollected
what I had omitted, I desire to stand or fall by the judgment of the
serious part of mankind; wherein they shall correct me I will kiss the
rod and suffer with patience; but if a pack of hackney scribblers shall
attack me only by way of a get-penny, I shall not be provoked to answer
them, be they never so scurrilous, lest I be accounted as one of them.
TO LIEUTENANT-COLONEL SAMUEL ROBINSON.
I shall congratulate you on your election into the chamberlainship of
the city of London, or otherwise, as you shall acquit yourself in
answering candidly and impartially to the following queries.
I. whether there is not money sufficient in the chamber of London to pay
off the orphan's fund? Or if not a sufficient sum, what sum it is, and
what is the deficiency? How long it has lain there, and what interest
has been made upon it?
II. If there are not considerable arrears due from many wards, and what
those arrears are?
III. Who are these poor orphans we pay so much money to? and whether
they are not some of the richest men in the city of London, who have got
the stock into their own hands, and find it so snug a fund they do not
care to get out of it.
IV. If it would not be much better to gather in the arrears, join them
to the money in the office, and collect the overplus at once, rather
than suffer the tax to become eternal, and to pay so much interest.
This is but a reasonable request; and if colonel Robinson is the honest
gentleman fame reports him to be, he will make no scruple to give a
ready answer. And indeed it will be but a handsome return made to his
fellow citizens for their choice of him, to begin his office with such
an act of justice, honesty, and public satisfaction, for many people do
not know what is meant by the orphan's tax; they pay it with remorse,
and think themselves aggrieved. Even those who know the reason of the
fund think it has been continued long enough, wish it were once paid
off, suspect some secret in the affair, and give their tongues the
liberty all losers claim; Our fathers, say they, have eaten sour grapes,
and our teeth are set on edge, we are visited for their transgressions,
and may be to the world's end, unless we shall find an honest
chamberlain who will unveil this cloudy affair, and gives us a prospect
Thus, sir, it lies at your door to gain the applause of the whole city,
a few misers excepted, by a generous and gentlemanlike discovery of this
affair. And you are thus publicly called upon, that your discovery may
be as public and beneficial to all. If you comply, I shall think you an
honest man, above a fellow feeling, or being biassed, and most worthy
your office; if not, give me leave to think, the citizens of London have
made but an indifferent choice.
Yours, as you prove yourself,
* * * * *
The transcriber made these changes to the text to correct obvious
p. 16, Christain --> Christian
p. 26, coachmam --> coachman
p. 35, nothwithstanding --> notwithstanding
p. 38, sound on alarm --> sound an alarm
p. 38, cary --> carry