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At present the custom is inverted; the laity feast, while the priest stands by as an humble spectator. This necessarily puts the good man upon making great ravages on all the dishes that stand near him, and distinguishing himself by voraciousness of appetite, as knowing that his time is short. I would fain ask these stiff-necked patrons, whether they would not take it ill of a chaplain that, in his grace after meat, should return thanks for the whole entertainment, with an exception to the dessert ? And yet I cannot but think, that in such a proceeding he would but deal with them as they deserved. What would a Roman Catholic priest think, who is always helped first, and placed next the ladies, should he see a clergyman giving his company the slip at the first
appearance of the tarts or sweetmeats ? Would not he believe that he had the same antipathy to a candied orange, or a piece of puff paste, as some have to a Cheshire cheese, or a breast of mutton ? Yet to so ridiculous a height is this foolish custom grown, that even the Christmas pie, which in its very nature is a kind of consecrated cate, and a badge of distinction, is often forbidden to the Druid of the family. Strange! that a sirloin of beef, whether boiled or roasted, when entire, is exposed to his utmost depredations and incisions ; but if minced into small pieces, and tossed up with plums and sugar, changes its property, and, forsooth, is meat for his master.
In this case I know not which to censure, the patron or the chaplain ; the insolence of power, or the abjectness of dependence. For my own part, I have often blushed to see a gentleman, whom I know to have much more wit and learning than myself, and who was bred up with me at the University upon
the same foot of a liberal education, treated in such an ignominious manner, and sunk beneath those of his own rank, by reason of that character which ought to bring him honour. This deters men of generous minds from placing themselves in such a station of life, and by that means frequently excludes persons of quality from the improving and agreeable conversation of a learned and obsequious friend.
Mr. Oldham lets us know, that he was affrighted from the thought of such an employment, by the scandalous sort of treatment which often accompanies it.
Some think themselves exalted to the sky,
I rate my freedom higher. This author's raillery is the raillery of a friend, and does not turn the sacred order into ridicule, but is a just censure on such persons as take advantage from the necessities of a man of merit, to impose on him hardships that are by no means suitable to the dignity of his profession.
No. 256. TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 1710.
-Nostrum est tantas componere Lites. Virg. The proceedings of the Court of Honour, held in Sheer Lane,
on Monday, the 20th of November, 1710, before Isaac Bickerstaffe, Esq., Censor of Great Britain.
PETER Plumb, of London, merchant, was indicted by the Honourable Mr. Thomas Gules, of Gule Hall, in the county of Salop, for that the said Peter Plumb did in Lombard Street, London, between the hours of two and three in the afternoon, meet the said Mr. Thomas Gules, and after a short salutation, put on his hat, value five pence, while the Honourable Mr. Gules stood bare-headed for the space of two seconds. It was further urged against the criminal,
that, during his discourse with the prosecutor, he feloniously stole the wall of him, having clapped his back against it in sich a manner that it was impossible for Mr. Gules to recover it again at his taking leave of him. The prosecutor alleged, that he was the cadet of a very ancient family, and that, according to the principles of all the younger brothers of the said family, he had never sullied himself with business, but had chosen rather to starve like a man of honour, than do anything beneath his quality. He produced several witnesses, that he had never employed himself beyond the twisting of a whip, or the making of a pair of nutcrackers, in which he only worked for his diversion, in order to make a present now and then to his friends. The prisoner being asked what he could say for himself, cast several reflections upon
the Honourable Mr. Gules: as, that he was not worth a groat; that nobody in the city would trust him for a halfpenny; that he owed him money which he had promised to pay him several times, but never kept his word: and in short, that he was an idle, beggarly fellow, and of no use to the public. This sort of language was very severely reprimanded by the Censor, who told the criminal, that he spoke in contempt of the court, and that he should be proceeded against for contumacy, if he did not change his style. The prisoner, therefore, desired to be heard by his counsel, who urged in his defence, " That he put on his hat through ignorance, and took the wall by accident.” They likewise produced several witnesses, that he made several motions with his hat in his hand, which are generally understood as an invitation to the person we talk with to be covered ; and that the gentleman not taking the hint, he was forced to put on his hat, as being troubled with a cold. There was likewise an Irishman who deposed, that he had heard him cough three and twenty times that morning. And as for the wall, it was alleged, that he had taken it inadvertently, to save himself from a shower of rain which was then falling. The Censor having consulted the men of honour who sat at his right hand on the bench, found they were of opinion, that the defence made by the prisoner's counsel did rather aggravate than extenuate his crime; that the motions and intimations of the hat were a token of superiority in conversation, and therefore not to be used by the criminal to a man of the prosecutor's quality, who was likewise vested with a double title to the wall at the time of their conversation, both as it was the upper hand, and as it was a shelter from the weather. The evidence being very full 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. Bickerstaffe, 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 indicted by the keeper of an alehouse in Westminster, for breaking the peace and two eartben 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 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 show 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 John
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 appearing 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
of the court. The jury brought in their verdict special.
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