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and, as may be feared, made so many atheists in the world; and I cannot but stand amazed, when I hear him extolled by some, not ignorant of his practices, knowing in religion, and, as I hope, fearing God.
Now I will suppose, I may be suspected to have been injured, or disobliged by Oliver; but I can with truth affirm, I never received either good or evil from him in all my life, more than in common with the whole kingdom, which I think, may be allowed to render. me the more a competent judge in his case; and, that I am so far from being moved unto this, out of any quarrel to him, that, as I have here mentioned some few of many injustices and state-errors, that he was guilty of in his short time, if I were conscious of any thing more, during his protectorship, worthy applause, than I have here mentioned, I should not envy it him, but freely remember it; and, if any think I have not said enough on his behall, and too much to his disadvantage, I have this for my buckler, that I wish I could have said more for him, and had known less against him; professing, that, besides what I have here hinted, I am wholly ignorant of any one action in all his four years and nine months time, done either wisely, virtuously, or for the interest of this kingdom, and, therefore, that I am none of his admirers, I ought to be pardoned by my readers. Much more might be said upon this subject, but this may
suffice to shew, that, if Mazarin, at the hearing of Oliver's death, thought he had then reason for calling him a fortunate fool, if he were now living he would find more cause for it, Cromwell's lot, as to reputation, having been exceedingly much greater since his death, than whilst he was in the world: And that from forgetfulness of his impolitick government, from whose entrance we may date the commencement of our trade's decay; and, through want of memory, in men's giving to him the cause of our former wealth and prosperity, which truly belongeth to others. But, what opinion soever Ma. zarin may have had of Oliver, he was, without all peradventure, a person of more than ordinary wit, and no otherwise a fool than as he wanted honesty, no man being wise but an honest man.
THE NICKER NICKED:
THE CHEATS OF GAMING DISCOVERED.
THE THIRD EDITION.
Felix quem faciunt aliena pericula cautum.
Licensed November 4, 1668. Printed in the Year 1669. Quarto,
containing nine Pages.
Leathermore's Advice concerning Gaming.
and avarice; which has this ill property above all other vices, that it renders a man incapable of prosecuting any serious action, and makes him unsatisfied with his own condition; he is either lifted up to the top of mad joy with success, or plunged to the bottom of despair by misfortune; always in extreams, always in a storm.
Hannibal said, of Marcellus, that Nec bonam, nec malam ferre potest, i. e. He could be quiet neither conqueror nor conquered. Thus (such is the itch of play) gamesters neither winning, nor lo. sing, can rest satisfied ; if they win, they think to win more; if they lose, they hope to recover.
One propounded this question, Whether men, in ships at sea, were to be accounted amongst the living or the dead, because there were but few inches betwixt them and drowning ? The same query may be made of great gamesters, though their estates be never so considerable, whether they are to be esteemed poor or rich, since there are but a few casts at dice, betwixt a person of fortune (in that circumstance) and a beggar?
But speculation in this particular will not be convincing, unless we shew somewhat of the modern practice; we must therefore lay our scene at the ordinary, and proceed to our action.
Betwixt twelve and one of the clock, a good dinner is prepared by way of ordinary, and some gentlemen of civility and condition oftentimes eat there, and play a while for recreation after dinner, both moderately, and most commonly without deserving reproof.
Towards night, when ravenous beasts usually seek their prey, there come in shoals of hectors, trepanners, gilts, pads, biters, prigs, divers, lifters, kidnappers, vouchers, mill-kens, pyemen, decoys, shop-lifters, foilers, bulkers, droppers, gamblers, donnakers, crossbiters, &c. under the general appellation of rooks; and in this particular it serves as a nursery for Tyburn, for every year
• See a letter from a minister to his friend, concerning the game of Chess, Vol. VIII. p. 361,
some of this gang march thither! One Millard was hanged in April 1664, for burglary; and others since.
When a young gentleman or apprentice comes into this school of virtue, unskilled in the quibbles and devices there practised, they call bim a lamb; then a rook (who is properly the wolf) fol. lows him close, and engages him in advantageous bets, and at length worries him, that is, all his money, and then they smile and say, "The lamb is bitten.'
Of these rooks some will be very importunate to borrow money of you, without any intention of repaying, or to go with you seven to twelve, half a crown, and take it ill if they are refused; others watch, it, when you are serious at game, your sword hang loose behind, and lift that away; others will not scruple, if they espy an opportunity, directly to pick your pocket; yet, if all fail, some will nim off the gold buttons of your cloke, or steal the cloke itself, if it lie loose; others will throw at a sum of money with a dry fist, as they call it, that is, if they nick you, it is theirs; if they lose, they owe you so much, with many other quillets; or, if
you chance to nick them, it is odds they wait your coming out at night, and beat you, as one Cock was served in June, 1664.
Blaspheming, drunkenness, and swearing are here so familiar, that civility is, by the rule of contrarieties, accounted a vice. I do not mean swearing, when there is occasion to attest a truth, but upon no occasion; as, “God damn me, how dost? What a clock is it, by God?' &c. Then, before two hours are at an end. some one who has been heated with wine, or made cholerick with loss of his money, raises a quarrel, swords are drawn, and perhaps the boxes and candlesticks thrown at one another; and all the house in a garboil, forming a perfect type of hell.
Would you imagine it to be true? That a grave gentleman, well stricken in years, insomuch as he cannot see the pips of the dice, is so infatuated with this witchery, as to play here with others eyes, of whom this quibble was raised, That Mr.
such a one plays at dice by the ear. Another gentleman, stark blind, I have seen play at hazard, and sure that must be by the ear too.
Latè at night, when the company grows thin, and your eyes dim with watching, false dice are often put upon the ignorant, or they are otherwise cosened with topping, or slurring, &c. And, if you be not vigilant, the box-keeper shall score you up double or treble boxes, and, though you have lost your money, dun you as severely for it, as if it were the justest debt in the world.
There are yet some genteeler and more subtle rooks, whom you shall not distinguish by their outward demeanor from persons of condition; and who will sit by, a whole evening, and observe who wins; and then, if the winner be bubbleable, they will insinuate themselves into his acquaintance, and civilly invite him to drink a glass of wine; wheedle him into play, and win all his money, either by false dice, as, high fullams, low fullams, 5, 4, 2, s. &c. Or by palming, topping, knapping, or slurring; or, in case he be past that classis of ignoramusses, then by crossbiting, or some by the
other dexterity, of which they have variety unimaginable. Note
way, that when they have you at the tavern, and think you a sure bubble, they will many times purposely lose some small sum to you the first time, to engage you more freely to blerd (as they call it) at the second meeting, to which they will be sure to
A gentleman, whom ill fortune had hurried into passion, took a box and dice to a side table, and there fell to throwing by himself; at length swears with an emphasis, Damme, now I throw for nothing, I can win a thousand pounds; but, when I play for money, I lose my arse.'
If the house find you free to the box, and a constant caster, you shall be treated below with suppers at night, and cawdle in the morning, and have the honour to be styled, A lover of the house, whilst your money lasts, which certainly will not be long; for, as the Lamiæ destroyed men, under pretence of kindness, so it is here.
In a word, this course of life shall afford you so many affronts, and such a number of vexations, as shall, in time, convert both your soul and body into anguish; and anguish, in some, has tur. ned to madness. Thus one Bull, a young fellow, not many years since, had, by strange fortune, run up a very small sum to fifteenhundred pounds, and put himself into a garb accordingly; could not give over, plaid on, fortune turned, lost it all, run mad, and so died.
If what has been said, will not make you detest this abominable kind of life, will the almost certain loss of your money do it? I will undertake to demonstrate, that it is ten to one you shall be a loser at the year's end, with constant play upon the
square. If then twenty persons bring two-hundred pounds a-piece, which makes four-thousand pounds, and resolve to play, for example, three or four hours a day, for a year; I will wager the box shall have fifteen-hundred pounds of the money, and that eighteen of the twenty persons shall be losers.
I have seen (in a lower instance) three persons sit down at twelve-penny In and In, and each draw forty shillings a piece; and, in little more than two hours, the box has had three pounds of the money, and all the three gamesters have been losers, and laughed at for their indiscretion.
At an ordinary, you shall scarce have a night pass without a quarrel, and you must either tamely put up an affront, or else be engaged in a duel next morning, upon some trifling insignificant occasion, pretended to be a point of honour,
Most gamesters begin at small game, and, by degrees, if their money, or estates, hold out, they rise to great sums; some have plaid first all their money, then their rings, coach and horses, even their wearing-cloaths and perukes, and then such a farm, and at last, perhaps, a lordship. You may read in our histories *, how
* Stowe's Survey, p. 357.
Sir Miles Partridge plaid at dice, with King Henry the Eighth, for Jesus Bells, so called, which were the greatest in England, and hung in a tower of St. Paul's church, and won them; whereby he brought them to ring in his pocket, but the ropes afterwards catched about his neck, for, in Edward the Sixth's days, he was hanged for some criminal offences.
Consider how many persons have been ruined by play. Sir Arthur Smithouse is yet fresh in memory: He had a fair estate, which, in a few years, he so lost at play that he died in great want
Since that, Mr. Ba--, who was a clerk in the sixclerks office, and well cliented, fell to play, and won by extraor. dinary fortune two-thousand pieces in ready gold; was not content with that, plaid on, lost all he had won, and almost all his own estate; sold his place in the office, and at last marched off to a foreign plantation, to begin a new world with the sweat of his brow: For that is commonly the destiny of a decayed gamester, either to go to some foreign plantation, or to be preferred to the dignity of a box-keeper.
It is not denied, but most gamesters have, at one time or other, a considerable run of winning, but (such is the infatuation of play) I could never hear of a man that gave over a winner (I mean, to give over so as never to play again ;) I am sure it is rara avis : For, if you once break bulk, as they phrase it, you are in again for all. Sir Humphry Foster had lost the greatest part of his estate, and then, playing, as it is said, for a dead horse, did, by happy fortune, recover it again, then gave over, and wisely too.
If a man has a competent estate of his own, and plays whether himself, or another man, shall have it, it is extreme folly: If his estate be small, then to hazard the loss even of that, and reduce himself to absolute beggary, is direct madness. Besides, it has been generally observed, that the loss of one-hundred pounds shall do you more prejudice, in disquieting your mind, than the gain of twohundred pounds shall do you good, were you sure to keep it.
Consider also your loss of time, which is invaluable, and remember what Seneca says--Nulla major est jactura, quam temporis amissio. *.
Lastly, consider the great damage the very watching brings to your health, and in particular to your eyes (for gamesters work most by night) confirmed by this distich:
Allia, vina, Venus, fumus, faba, lumen et ignis,
A PENITENT SONNET, Written by the Lord Fitz-Gerald (a great Gamester) a little before his Death, which was in the Year 1580.
BY loss in play, men oft forget
The duty, they do owe
And thousand millions moe.
* The greatest loss is the loss of time.
See The Improvement of Time, p. 576.