« PreviousContinue »
and clear, the jury, without going out of court, declared their opinion unanimously by the mouth of their foreman, that the prosecutor was bound in honour to make the sun shine through the criminal, or, as they afterwards explained themselves, to whip him through the lungs.
The Censor knitting his brows into a frown, and looking very sternly upon the jury, after a little pause, gave them to know, that this court was erected for the finding out of penalties suitable to offences, and to restrain the outrages of private justice; and that he expected they should moderate their verdict. The jury, therefore, retired, and being willing to comply with the advices of the Censor, after an hour's consultation, declared their opinion as follows:
That in consideration this was Peter Plumb's first offence, and that there did not appear any • malice prepense’ in it, as also that he lived in good reputation among his neighbours, and that his taking the wall was only se defendendo, the prosecutor should let him escape with life, and content himself with the slitting of his nose, and the cutting off both his ears.' Mr. Biekerstaffe smiling upon the court, told them, that he thought the punishment, even under its present mitigation, too severe; and that such penalties might be of ill consequence in a trading nation. He therefore pronounced sentence against the criminal in the following manner : “That his hat, which was the instrument of offence, should be forfeited to the court; that the criminal should go to the warehouse from whence he came, and thence, as occasion should require, proceed to the Exchange, or Garraway's coffee-house, in what manner he pleased; but that neither he, nor any of the family of the Plumbs, should hereafter appear in the streets of London out of their coaches, that so the foot-way might be left open and undisturbed for their betters.'
Dathan, a peddling Jew, and T. R-, a Welshman, were ining the
dicted by the keeper of an alehouse in Westminster, for break
peace and two earthen mugs, in a dispute about the antiquity of their families, to the great detriment of the house, and disturbance of the whole neighbourhood. Dathan said for him. himself, that he was provoked to it by the Welshman, who pretended that the Welsh were an ancienter people than the Jews;
Whereas, (says he,) I can shew by this genealogy in my hand, that I am the son of Mesheck, that was the son of Naboth, that was the son of Shalem, that was the son of- The Welshman here interrupted him, and told him, “That he could produce shennalogy as well as himself; for that he was John ap Rice, ap Shenkin, ap Shones.' He then turned himself to the Censor, and told him in the same broken accent, and with much warmth, * That the Jew would needs uphold, that King Cadwallader was younger than Issachar.'
Mr. Bickerstaffe seemed very much inclined to give sentence against Dathan, as being a Jew, but finding reasons, by some expressions which the Welshman let fall in asserting the antiquity of his family, to suspect that the said Welshman was a Præ-Adamite,' he suffered the jury to go out, without any previous admonition. After some time they returned, and gave their verdict, that it appoaring the persons at the bar did neither of them wear a sword, and that consequently they had no right to quarrel upon a point of honour; to prevent such frivolous appeals for the future, they should both of them be tossed in the same blanket, and there adjust the superiority as they could agree it between themselves. The Censor confirmed the verdict.
Richard Newman was indicted by Major Punto, for having used the words, Perhaps it may be so,' in a dispute with the said major. The major urged, that the word · Perhaps,' was questioning his veracity, and that it was an indirect manner of giving him the lie. Richard Newman had nothing more to say for himself, than that he intended no such thing, and threw himself upon the mercy of the court. The jury brought in their verdiet special.
i V. Tatler 69 and note at the end of first vol. of Nichols's ed.-G.
Mr. Bickerstaffe stood up, and after having cast his eyes over the whole assembly, hemmed thrice. He then acquainted them, that he had laid down a rule to himself, which he was resolved never to depart from, and which, as he conceived, would very much conduce to the shortening the business of the court; I mean, says he, never to allow of the lie being given by construction, implication, or induction, but by the sole use of the word itself. He then proceeded to show the great mischiefs that had arisen to the English nation from that pernicious monosyllable ; that it had bred the most fatal quarrels between the dearest friends; that it had frequently thinned the guards, and made great havoc in the army; that it had sometimes weakened the city trained-bands; and, in a word, had destroyed many of the bravest men in the isle of Great Britain. For the prevention of which evils for the future, he instructed the jury to 'present' the word itself as a nuisance in the English tongue; and further promised them, that he would, upon such their presentment, publish an edict of the court for the entire banishment and exclusion of it out of the discourses and conversation of all civil societies. This is a true copy,
Charles LILLIE. Monday next is set apart for the trial of several female causes.
N. B. The case of the hassock will come on between the hours of nine and ten.
Sir Richard Steele assisted in this paper. T. a There is humour in this paper. But the pertness of style, and cant of expression, in some places, especially in Dathan's case, shews clearly enough, that Sir Richard Steele had a hand in it. [If Steele had written this sentence our bishop would probably have sent him back to his grammar for the rule of nominative and verb.-G.)
No. 257. TIIURSDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 1710.
In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas
From my own Apartment, November 29. Evray nation is distinguished by productions that are peculiar to it. Great Britain is particularly fruitful in religions, that shoot
other. We are so famous abroad for our great variety of sects and opinions, that an ingenious friend of mine, who is lately returned from his travels, assures me, there is a show at this time carried up and down in Germany, which represents all the religions in Great Britain in wax-work. Notwithstanding that the pliancy of the matter in which the images are wrought, makes it capable of being moulded into all shapes and figures, my friend tells me, that he did not think it possible for it to be twisted and tortured into so many screwed faces and wry features as appeared in several of the figures that composed the show. I was, indeed, so pleased with the design of the German artist, that I begged my friend to give me an account of it in all its particulars, which he did after the following manner :
I have often, says he, 'been present at a show of elephants, camels, dromedaries, and other strange creatures, but I never saw so great an assembly of spectators as were met together at the opening of this great piece of waxwork. We were all placed in a large hall, according to the price that we had paid for our seats. The curtain that hung before the show was made by a master of tapestry, who had woven it in the figure of a monstrous hydra that had several heads, which brandished out their tongues, and seemed to hiss at each other. Some of these heads were large and entire ; and where any of them had been lopped away, there sprouted up several in the room of them ; insomuch that for one head cut off, a man might see ten, twenty, or an hundred of a smaller size, creeping through the wound. In short, the whole picture was nothing but confusion and bloodshed. On a sudden,' says my friend, 'I was startled with a flourish of many musical instruments that I had never heard before, which was followed by a short tune (if it might be so called) wholly made up of jars and discords. Among the rest, there was an organ, a bagpipe, a groaning board,' a stentorophonic trumpet, with several wind instruments of a most disagreeable sound, which I do not so mueh as know the names of. After a short flourish, the curtain was drawn up, and we were presented with the most extraordinary assembly of figures that ever entered into a man's imagination The design of the workman was so well expressed in the dumb show before us, that it was not hard for an Englishman to comprehend the meaning of it.
* The principal figures were placed in a row, consisting of seven persons. The middle figure, which immediately attracted the eyes of the whole company, and was much bigger than the rest, was formed like a matron, dressed in the habit of an elderly woman of quality in Queen Elizabeth's days. The most remarkable parts of her dress, was the beaver with the steeple crown, the scarf that was darker than sable, and the lawn apron that was whiter than ermine. Her gown was of the richest black velvet, and just upon her heart studded with large diamonds of an inestimable value, disposed in the form of a cross. She bore an inexpressible cheerfulness and dignity in her aspect : and though she seemed in years, appeared with so much spirit and vivacity, as gave her at the same time an air of old
and immortality. I found
heart touched with so much love and reverence at the sight of her, that the tears ran down my face as I looked upon
i V. Nichols's note ad. loc.-G.