Imatges de pÓgina
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trived in the manner they are, in order to avoid all resemblance to those of our Nation : on the contrary, if the former are any way influenced by the latter, it is by the desire of imitating them. A mode begins to be out of date at Paris, just when it has been introduced at London by some English Nobleman. The Court and the first-rate Nobility immediately take it up: it is next introduced about St. James's by those that ape the manners of the Court; and by the time it has reached the City, a contrary mode already prevails at Paris, where the English, bringing with them the obsolete mode, appear like the people of another world. The little hats, for example, at present so fashionable in France, begin to be wore by the Nobility, who borrowed the model from Paris: by degrees the English will come at the diminutive size; but the great hats will then be resumed at Paris. This holds good in general, with regard both to men and women's apparel."

It has long been customary for the lower classes to hold a burlesque election at Wandsworth after a dissolution of Parliament for the choice of a Mayor of Garratt. To describe the strange proceedings of the candidates, who are always selected from the most ludicrous or most hideous of the community, or the riotous freaks of the mob, would be impossible. One vast wave of the populace rolls impetuous from London after the candidates and officers of the election; and, if there is but little taste in their dresses, there is always much“ unreal mockery” of finery disposed in a manner which cannot but excite laughter, and the curiosity of those who are but little satisfied to witness the quarrels and intoxication that distinguish the electors of the borough of Garratt.

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Many whimsical and satirical imitations of speeches and promises are made upon these occasions; but the electors, contrary to the customs of other elections, always treat themselves, though tin sixpences have sometimes been thrown amongst the mob as bribes.

The present member for Garratt is Sir Henry Dimsdale, Citizen and Muffin-seller, one of the oddest productions of injured nature, and an idiot. It is strange that the people who act these follies cannot perceive they are satirizing themselves. If they were not willing to be deceived, promises never meant to be performed would not be made; and, if they would neither receive bribes nor be treated, candidates would never offer the former, or furnish materials for the latter. When they chair a real member through Westminster, after having violated the freedom of election by deeds which deserve hanging, these wanton fools pull the hustings over their own heads, and frequently maim peaceable spectators.--Such are the electors of Garratt and .

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CHAP. IV.

ANECDOTES OF ECCENTRICITY.

To particularise every species of Eccentricity which has distinguished this great community would be useless; but the whims of certain individuals of it ought to be noticed, in order that a just estimate may be formed of the grand whole. In the month of November 1700, an old gentleman was found lifeless on the floor of his apartment in Dartmouth-street by his landlady, who had been alarmed by hearing him fall. He died intestate, and worth 600l. per annum ; but his manner of living was penurious to the most extravagant degree, allowing nature barely fourpenny worth of boiled meat and broth per day. When he went from home he was under the necessity of hiring a boy for a penny to lead him across the Park, as he was near-sighted; but this was almost the only intercourse he had with mankind, except to receive his rents, which

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be imagined from the state of his clothing as he lay dead: the body had seven shirts on it, each dreadfully soiled, and that next the skin actually decayed; and his other clothing was tied on with cords, that had even lacerated the flesh.

Eccentricity my exist in the brain of the most exalted character; the best intentions are often marked by it; therefore the reader must not suppose that censure is implied when good actions are classed under this head: he that deviates from the common path is eccentric; but, if his purposes are virtuous, the good man will forgive the deviation.

Some Professors of Religion are very apt to be eccentric in their conduct. Joseph Jacobs was the leader of a set of enthusiasts in 1702, who preached to his votaries at Turners-hall : he was originally a Linen-draper. “ Observator" says, his congregation were “ the remnant of the tribe of Ishmael ; for their hand is against every body, and every body's hand against them. By their bristles (they suffered their hair to flourish luxuriantly) one would take them to be a herd of the Gaderines swine into which the Devil has newly entered, from whom at latter Lammas we shall have great cry and little wool. They are compounded of Philadelphians, Sweet-singers, Seekers, and Muggletonians. Their system of Divinity is a hodge-podge of Jacobs' putting together,

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and their philosophy is that of Jacob Behmen's. If their women do not backslide from the truth, it is their native virtue keeps them steadfast; for their Pastor by trade is authorised to examine their clouts. He that has the longest whiskers amongst them is by so much the better member; but Jacobs measures their profession by the Mustachio, and not by the ell and yard, as he used to do his linen. By their look you would take them to be of the Society of Bedlam; madmen we found them, and so we leave them.”

This' eccentric preacher died in June 1722. He retained the name of Whisker Jacobs to the day of his death. As he was singular in his life, so was he at his departure, having given orders that no mourning should be used at his interment in Bunhill-fields. Accordingly his executors gave the company white gloves and rings, but no scarfs or hatbands.

It would be extremely wrong not to include Dr. Sacheverell in the list. This gentleman contrived to turn his talents in eccentricity to some account, and was the cause of a wonderful acquisition of members to the class of oddities. I shall leave the Doctor's “ birth, parentage, and education,” to the biographers who have treated of the subject; and introduce him as a singular character, and a willing instrument in the hands of faction, and as one that contrived to confound the State, rouse the passions, and raise a mob

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