Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

manifest indication, that they have their graceless designs to promote by it; especially since, at the same time, the want of those parts, which they will not allow them to make use of in a regular way, renders them incapable of being priests, according to their canons; but yet they are so kind to their gelded martyrs, as to allow it to be sufficient, if they have them about them in powder, or any other way.

These things confirm, in a literal sense, the odious characters given the church of Rome, in the Revelations, chap. xvii, xviii. &c. as, “the great whore, with whom the kings and inhabitants of the earth have committed fornication ; the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations, and of the filthiness of her fornications,' &c. Then, since, by the testimony of God and man, the Romish clergy is such an impure and lascivious crew, it makes a law of castration a just and adequate punishment for them.

To conclude : since our King and Parliament have both testified their zeal and forwardness to suppress immorality and profaneness, it follows naturally, that such a law as this deserves their serious thoughts; for it is impossible to suppress reigning vice, so long as those goatish fellows are suffered to swarm among ns. They not only corrupt the morals of people themselves, by such practices and principles as above mentioned, but bring over and encourage others to do it, particularly those Italians, &c. who sell and print Aretin's Postures; and, in order to debauch the minds of women, and to make them guilty of unnatural crimes, invent and sell them such things, as modesty forbids to name. It is evident, that, as popery advanced upon us in the late reigns, debauchery gained ground at the same time, for they naturally make way for one another; and therefore we can never suppress immorality, without securing ourselves effectually against popery. If this should be attempted by a law of castration against Romish priests, it must be owned, that it would be more charitable and humane to save ourselves from popish superstition, and all its mischievous consequences, by that method alone, than to practise it, together with other punishments, upon such of those wretches as come to the gibbet for treason. The cutting off their privities in such cases, and throwing them into the fire, just before they be totally bereft of life, can be of no manner of use; whereas castration alone, before hand, might have saved us from the danger of their plots, and prevented themselves from coming to the gallows.

LABOUR IN VAIN;

OR,

WHAT SIGNIFIES LITTLE OR NOTHING? Viz.

I. The Poor Man's Petitioning at Court.
II. Expectation of Benefit from a covetous Man in his Life-time.
III. The Marriage of an Old Man to a Young Woman.
IV. Endeavours to regulate Men's Manners by Preaching or

Writing.
V. Being a Jacobite.
VI. Confining an Insolvent Debtor.
VII. Promise of Secrecy in a Conspiracy.
VIII. An Enquiry after a Place.
London: Printed and sold by most Booksellers in London and Westminster,

1700. Quarto, containing thirty-two Pages.

W

A Dialogue between the Author and the Printer.

HAT title do you design to give this book? Printer.

Author. Labour in Vain: or, What signifies Little or Nothing?

Printer. Then I am like to make a very hopeful bargain this morning; and grow rich like a Jacobite, that would part with his property, for a speculative bubble.

Author. Be not angry; for the same estimate and epithet the greatest divines give to the whole world.

Printer. I do not like their characters, or epithets ; for I believe there is a real value in our coin; and I know little of their spiritual notions, neither will I puzzle my head about what they tell me, I cannot rightly understand.

Author. I could convince you, that you are in the wrong; in being so indifferent about enquiring into the cause, nature, and value of things.

Printer. I am, in this point, a quaker; and will not by reason be convinced. Pray, Sir, tell me, Am í to buy a shop full of empty pasteboard-boxes, or not?

Author. Sir, they are full.

Printer, Why, then do you put over the door, that the goods Signify Little, or Nothing? It is a strange sort of information, to expect to get customers by.

Author. I had several reasons that induced me to put this title to my book; and, not to keep you longer upon the fret, I will tell you some of them: first, the natural inquisitive humour, that reigns in all mankind, after novelty; for no sooner will the title be

read, or cried, but the reader, or hearer, will query what it is about, conclude it some maggot or other, and, to be satisfied, will buy it; so, you will gain by his curiosity. Then I have known many dull books, that have sold well, by the help of an ingenious, or whimsical title... Puffe me, Puffe mo, Puffe cannot stay, Colle molle Puff;' the odness and maggot of that cry has sold the fellow many a tart; for many persons, who only out of curiosity have peeped into his basket, have found something or other that pleased them. Besides the title is apropo, because the subjects I write about, though they make a great bustle in the world, yet their conclusions, or produce, are very frivolous, insignificant, and answer not the end designed.

Printer. To what purpose, did you spend your time in writing on such subjects? And why should I be at the labour of printing, or charge of paper ?

Author. Print it by all means; it may employ some to add to it the history of the printer.

Printer. What, that my pains was labour in vain, and charge signified little or nothing? I am mightily obliged to you, for the method you have taken, to expose me to laughter: but let it prove as it will, if I buy the devil, I will try to sell him. But, if your whim does not take, I will never buy goods again, before I have looked over the parcel.

The Poor Man's Petitioning at Court, HOW fruitless and empty the requests of the poor have returned at court, whether they have been for justice or mercy, is apparent from a thousand instances: and one I will relate to you, without a peevish design of reflecting upon any particular court, for the pauper's petition is alike neglected, by what I have seen, beard, or read, in every court. A gentleman, fitly qualified, who by permission had purchased an employ for life, under a king, and to his successors, upon a successor's coming to the crown (though he had taken oaths of allegiance, and done what was requisite, according to law, for qualification) to feed the avarice, or gratify the wicked bounty of a certain person, to whose care the managery was intrusted, was turned out, with only the madman's humorous reason, Sic jubeo, sic volo. By which unjust, at least, unkind usage, he had very little left to maintain himself, wife, and four children.

At once, bis quondam friends sounded retreat,
Would scarce afford good words, and much less meat:
To see his face, they'd never after care,
As if his very looks infectious were:
Like careful bees, to their own hives, they flew,

As he from fortune, they from him withdrew. I cannot forbear, in this place, putting the epithet wicked, to that generous virtue, bounty ; since here it was a powerful robbery committed upon one mau's right, to seem bounteous in a bequest to another. The deprived man, hurt, complained with all the respect, a supplicant should use ; but his prayer was answered with a negative. Afterwards he served that king without pay in his army abroad, and, upon the death of the possessor of his employ, he again prayed to be restored; upon which prayer, he had an order for the next vacancy, which when happened, a certain gentle. man, who but a short time before had presented the deprived man to the king, in the army, and had given it under bis hand, that he had been turned out, without cause, and that he served as a volunteer; gave it again under his band, that the poor petitioner's alledging to have served in the army, was a mistake; and his last act (the former, in good manners, I will believe, being forgot) was credited; so order and petition were both dismissed, to the ruin of the man, and his family.

Observation. By this true relation, is evident the little success, that is to be expected from the poor unhappy man's petitioning against a man in power; for, when he pleases, he blackens and misrepresents an underling; and what a favourite says is easily believed.

Then tell me how the poor shall find relief,
Or gain a cure for undeserved grief,
Their fate depending on a king's belief.

In such a case, a prince is the easiest man in the world to be imposed on, considering the vast multitude of affairs, that center in his ordering and manage, the particular cognisance of all which it is impossible for bim to take; for, upon a kind of necessity, he is obliged to have his knowledge of several affairs, from the report that those about him are pleased to make; and what man will tell a story to his own disadvantage? And who can tell it but the favourite, whilst the poor petitioner is debarred access ?

Before a fav'rite, none shall be believ'd,
And 'gainst the rich, 'tis hard to be reliev'd :
In vain you offer up an empty prayer,
Which fattens not the courtier, or his heir;
Something that's solid, and of real good
(At least for such by worldlings understood)
Must be presented, if you'd favour find,
Which rarely warms th' endowments of the mind :
But to the fortunate, and rich, are kind.
Since money weighs down justice and desert,
The poor's desires don't signify a fart.

}

Expectations of Benefit from a covetous Man, in his Life-time. QUIS Pauper ? Avarus: an admirable and proper answer to the question ; because the covetous man wanteth that which he bath,

as well as that which he hath not; as proves true, by the following relation. A friend of mine, if a covetous man can be so, of genteel extraction, and suitable education, having a competent estate of four hundred pounds per annum, and a thousand pounds in money, left him; which revenue as far exceeding his desire of living, as it came short of his desire of acquiring; for he no sooner had the possession, but he retrenched the usual expences of the family; he saved charge, by putting away the mouths that caused it; and the only servant that he kept lived almost like a bear in Greenland, on the nourishment he bad got in the summer of the father's life-time. In short, no anchorite lived more sparing than he, unless it were upon another's cost, and then it was a covetous humour made him eat and drink like a glutton and a drunkard. In all his actions he was base; he would steal his own goods, to make bis servant pay for them. By such sordid ways bis wealth was accumulated ; he sold the mansion-house, because the purchase money would yield a greater profit, than the rent amounted to; and retired from a great house (not from plenty and abundance) to a less, that he could not rent out. By such niggardly methods, in process of time, he had heaped up a very great treasure.

There was a young hopeful gentleman, his nephew, who expected to reap the fruits of his covetousness, that often came to visit him, and was always complaisant, soothed, and commended every humour, which I take to be the right way of pleasing; for certain (at least, during the time of prevailing fancy, or action) every man is pleased with his own sentiments, or doings; so consequently loves to have them approved and applauded.

He gratified the miser's appetite at his own expence, his pantry and his cellar were always ready to gratify his least motion of desire, his coach and horses attended his occasions. He baulked his own humour, neglected his pleasant and facetious companions, and confined himself to oblige his sordid temper. Though, it must be confessed, self interest moved him, yet it pleased the wretch, when he advised him to secure his treasure, that no Rachel, or other, might steal his god. He christened his son of the Jew's name; he did, what not? to oblige him. He defended him from robbers, at the peril of his own life : nay more, he justified his base principles, contrary to his conscience; but all the returns, that were paid to these services, were mountain promises, whilst in his cups; but mole hills, or no performances, when sober.

Afterwards this obliging gentleman fell by misfortune into straits and necessities, so that his family wanted convenient subsistence; yet the other, pitiless, and unconcerned, returned no good nature, no charity, no grateful act, for all his generous obligations; not so much as even common humanity would, out of mercy, oblige a very Jew to shew to a stranger in misery. After the miser had bought what he had left, for half the value, he forbid him his house, and, whenever he met him, be passed by him as a stranger. At last, intestate the miserable rascal dies; for the very thought of disposing of his riches would have been as mortal as a cannon-shot:

« ForrigeFortsæt »