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as they passed along the street, on a public festival, by singing “ Room for cuckolds, here comes a great company; Room for cuckolds, here comes my lord mayor.” This parrot was a very old offender; much addicted to scurrillity; and had been several times convicted of profane cursing and swearing. He had even the impudence to abuse the whole court by calling the jury rogues and rascals; and frequently interrupted my lord judge in summing up the evidence, by crying out“ old bitch.” The court, however, was pleased to shew mercy to him, upon the petition of his mistress, a strict Methodist; who gave bail for his good behaviour, and delivered him over to Mr. Whitfield, who undertook to make a thorough convert of him.
After this a Fox was indicted for robbing an hen. roost. Many farmers appeared against him, who deposed, that he was a very notorious thief, and had long been the terror of ducks, geese, turkies, and all other poultry. He had infested the country a long time, and had often been pursued, but they could pever take him before. As the evidence was full against hiin, the jury readily brought him in guilty; and the judge was proceeding to condemn him, when the sly villain, watering his brush, flirted it in the face of the jailer, and made off. Upon this a country squire, who was present, hollowed out stole away, and an hue and cry was immediately sent after him.
When the uproar, which this occasioned, was over, a Milch-Ass' was brought to the bar, and tried for contumeliously braying, as she stood at the door of a sick lady of quality. It appeared, that this lady was terribly afflicted with the vapours, and could not bear the least noise ; had the knocker always tied up, and straw laid in the street. Notwithstanding which, this audacious creature used every morning to give her foul language, which broke her rest, and
Very flung her into hysterics. For this repeated abuse the criminal was sentenced to the pillory, and ordered to lose her ears.
An information was next laid against a shepherd's Dog upon the game-act for poaching. He was accused of killing an hare, without being properly qualified. But the plaintiff thought it adviseable to quash the indictment, as the owner of the dog had a vote to sell at the next election.
There now came on a very important cause, in which six of the most eminent counsel learned in the law were retained on each side. A Monkey, belonging to a lady of the first rank and fashion, was indicted, for that he with malice prepense did commit wilful murder on the body of a lap-dog. The counsel for the prosecutor set forth, that the unfortunate deceased came on a visit with another lady ; when the prisoner at the bar, without the least provocation, and contrary to the laws of hospitality, perpetrated this inhuman act. The counsel for the prisoner, being called upon to make the monkey's defence, pleaded his privilege, and insisted on his being tried by his peers. This plea was admitted ; and a jury of beaux was immediately impanelled, who without going out of court honourably acquitted him.
The proceedings were here interrupted by an Hound, who came jumping into the hall, and running to the justice-seat, lifted up his leg against the judge's robe. For this contemptuous behaviour, he was directly ordered into custody ; when to our great surprise he cast his skin, and became an ostrich; and presently after shed his feathers, and terrified us in the shaggy figure of a bear. Then he was a lion, then an horse, then again a baboon ; and after many other amazing transformations, leaped out an harlequin, and before they could take hold of him, skipped away to Covent-Garden theatre.
It would be tedious to recount the particulars of several other trials. A sportsman brought an action against a Race-Horse, for running on the wrong side of the post, by which he lost the plate and many considerable bets. For this the criminal was sentenced to be burnt in the forehand, and to be whipped at the cart's-tail. A mare would have undergone the same punishment, for throwing her rider in a stag-hunt, but escaped by pleading her belly; upon which a jury of grooms was impanelled, who brought her in quick. The company of dogs and monkeys, together, with the dancing bears, who were taken up on the licence act, and indicted for strollers, were transported for life.
The last trial was for high treason. A lion, who had been long confined as a state-prisoner in the Tower, having broken jail, had appeared in open rebellion, and committed several acts of violence on bis majesty's liege-subjects. As this was a noble animal, and a prince of the blood in his own native country, he was condemned to be beheaded. It came into my thoughts, that this lion's head might vie with that famous one, formerly erected at Button's for the service of the Guardian ; I was accordingly going to petition for leave to put it up in Macklin's new coffeehouse; when methought the lion, setting up a most horrible roar, broke his chains, and put the whole court to flight; and I awaked in the utmost consternation, just as I imagined he had got me in his gripe.
No. XIII. THURSDAY, APRIL 25.
Commota fervet plebecula bile.
Inspir'd by freedom, and election ale,
I SHALL this day present my readers with a letter, which I have received from my cousin Village ; who, as I informed them in my first paper, has undertaken to send me an account of every thing remarkable, that passes in the country.
Dear Cousin, I HAVE not been unmindful of the province, which you was pleased to allot me: but the whole country has been lately so much taken up with the business of elections, that nothing has fallen under my notice, bui debates, squabbles, and drunken rencounters. The spirit of party prevails so universally, that the very children are instructed to lisp the names of the favourite chiefs of each faction; and I have more than once been in danger of being knocked off my horse, as I rode peaceably on, because I did not declare with which party I sidled, though I knew nothing at all of either. Every petty village abounds with the most profound statesmen : it is common to see our rustic politicians assembling after sermon, and settling the good of their country across a tomb-stone, like so many dictators from the plough; and almost every cottage can boast its patriot, who, like the old Roman, would not exchange his turnip for a bribe.
I am at present in where the election is just coming on, and the whole town consequently in an uproar. They have for several parliaments returned two members, who recommended themselves by constantly opposing the court: but there came down a
few days ago a banker from London, who has offered himself a candidate, and is backed with the most powerful of all interests, money. Nothing has been since thought of but feasting and revelling; and both parties strive to outdo each other in the frequency and expence of their entertainments. This, indeed, is the general method made use of to gain the favour of electors, and manifest a zeal for the constitution. I have known a candidate depend more upon the strength of his liquor than his arguments; and the merits of a treat has often recommended a member, who has had no merits of his own. For it is certain, that people, however they may differ in other points, are unanimous in promoting the grand-business of eating and drinking.
It is impossible to give a particular account of the various disorders occasioned by the contests in this town. The streets ring with the different cry of each party; and every hour produces a ballad, a set of queries, or a serious address to the worthy electors. I have seen the mayor with half the corporation roaring, hollowing, and reeling along the streets, and yet threatening to clap a poor fellow into the stocks for inaking the same noise, only because he would not vote as they do. It is no wonder, that the strongest connexions should be broken, and the most intimate friends set at variance, through their difference of opinions. Not only the men, but their wives are also engaged in the same quarrel. Mr. Staunch the haberdasher used to smoke his pipe constantly, in the same kitchen corner every evening, at the same ale. house, with his neighbour Mr. Veer the chandler, while their ladies chatted together at the street-door: but row the husbands never speak to each other; and consequently Mrs. Veer goes a quarter of a mile for her inkle and tape, rather than deal at Mr. Staunch's shop; and Mrs. Staunch declares, she would go without her tea, though she has always been