A POSTSCRIPT TO JOHN BULL, Containing the HISTORY of the Crown-Inn, With the DEATH of the WIDOW, And what happened thereon.

The Sixth Edition.

LONDON, Printed for J. MOOR, and Sold by the Booksellers of London and Westminster. Price 3 d.

THE HISTORY, &c.

YOU desire me to give you some Account of the Death of the Widow at the CROWN-INN in the Metropolis of this Country; and how Affairs have gone since you left the Place.

The Widow, you know, was a good sort of a Woman; she was Pious and Charitable, and did a great deal of Good among her poor Neighbours: Went constantly to the Parish-Church on Sundays, and in general had the Character of a conscientious motherly Wo­man.

Her Husband, whilst he lived, was one of the honestest Men breathing: 'Tis true he would take his Glass in Company, as all his Countrymen will do: But he was a downright honest Fellow, and lov'd the Town; and we shall never forget how tightly he stood by [...] when Sir Jacob, our High Sheriff, would have infring'd on our Right of Commoning. Poor Man! he kept her from ill Advice whilst [Page 4] he lived, and the whole Country was heartily sorry for his Death, having not left an ho­nester Man behind him in the Parish.

But what need I tell you things which you are as well acquainted with as my self, only to refresh your Memory in some Passages previous to your Request? You desire to know the Disposition of the Estate, and how the Three Farms stand affected at this Day.

You remember at her first coming to the House, she found the Debts of an old Law-Suit to be paid, which had lasted long, and a new one just ready to begin, which no body could guess the Event of. Money there was little or none in the House; and only a few Exchequer Notes, which no body but the Ex­ciseman would take for Ready Money.

Her Tenants and Customers were very un­willing to see her ruined; and as she had treated them very handsomly at her House­warming, they swore they would stand by her against all Opposers. By Opposers you know who they meant: For it was by this time certainly known, that old Savage, the Ex­tortioner, had set up a Competitor against her, Pretending he was a real Branch of the anti­ent Family of the Shute's, formerly Lords of the MANOR, and brought a Writ of E­jectment in his Name, and fee'd Council a­gainst the Widow. This Savage is one who has always made it his business to entertain Renegadoes and Impostors; and by forged Deeds and Wills to take Possession of Estates, [Page 5] and then maintain them by trouble some Law Suits; till at last he has shared a handsome Composition for himself. You cannot chuse too but know, that both by Will and Deed of Gift, the House it self as well as the Three Farms had been settled on her near Kinsman Mr. WRIGHT, (a Man whom all the honest Tenants wished to succeed her) as well in her Life, as in the time of her Predecessor.

To be short (as you must needs know) a hazardous Suit commenced; and because it should not lye too hard upon the Widow, ma­ny of her Friends became Parties to it. Ho­nest John Trusty, by general Consent was made chief Agent in the Cause, who the first Term put the Widow's Affairs in a good Po­sture; and for several Terms following was continually gaining one Advantage or other over her Adversaries; so that they began now to sue for Composition, and a Meeting was appointed on both sides, but refusing to allow sufficient Costs and Damages, the Law went on.

In this promising State stood Affairs, when that furious Pulpiteer, the Curate of High-Ham, came to preach at Hockley, where ha­ving pack'd up a Sermon for the purpose, he infus'd Sedition among the Widow's Tenants and Customers, insinuating that she began to sell in short Measure, Brew'd with Home-made Malt, and let her Lawyers, Book-keepers, Ost­lers, Chamberlain, Tapster, &c. run away with what should pay the Excise. He in­veighed [Page 6] vehemently against the Parson of the Parish, and other Heads of tke Town, for not repairing the CHURCH, one part of which he said was damaged and ready to fall; whilst the Conventicle was upheld by some about her, and a Parcel of GYPSIES kept privately in the Barn to eat her out of House and Home.

The Fellow had a good Talent at Railing, and could run on with as much Impudence as a Mountebank exhibits his Pacquet: In short the Poison worked so subtly, that the whole Country was put in a Ferment. The Curate was taken up, and brought before the Bench of Justices; where tho' he was repri­manded, and ordered to find Sureties for his Good Behaviour for 3 Years, yet it did not quiet the People, who cry'd out, The Church, the Church! and ran up and down in Tu­mults, as tho' it had been falling on their Heads; whilst to strengthen the matter, the Curate took a Journey round the Country, possessing the People that the House was haunted, and bid them take care how they came near it any more, directing them to the Pope's Head and Dagger, near the Cross.

At this time one Robin Sly-boots, a Welch Button-maker, a notorious cunning Fellow, and fam'd for a Conjurer, who had formerly belonged to the Family, but was turned out, for making too bold with the Widow's Secrets. This Fellow took his Opportunity to cor­rupt one of the Widow's Maids, by pretending [Page 7] to tell her her Fortune, which such gigling Wenches are generally fond of; so that taking her one Day, as she was sweeping the Rooms, and making the Beds, he began in this manner.

‘"Nab, says he, I have often taken notice that thou art a Pains-taking, industrious Girl, and hast lived a great while in thy Service without coming to any Advance­ment. 'Tis true, you sweep the Rooms, make the Beds, and get a little sorry Vails of the Guests, but 'tis Mrs. Sarah runs away with all the Profit, and keeps her whole Family at your Mistresses charge. But tho' she now flouts the Widow, and flies and bounces like bottled Ale, thou shalt one day, if thou tak'st my Advice, come to be as high as she: Remember it, Nab, I say, thou shalt come to be a Lady."’

‘"Bless me, says Nab, (with a simpering Countenance, knowing he had long had the Reputation of a Conjurer) is it possible that I should come to such Preferment as you say? That you may believe me, says Robin, go presently, and look on the Bed in the Green Room, there lies a Calicoe Gown and Peticoat, lin'd thro' with the same; ask your Mistress for it, and she will give it you. As you find this true, believe me in the rest."’

Nab, no longer able to contain her self flung down her Besom, and ran to the place, where finding it as he had said, she returned overjoyed.

[Page 8] ‘"But, Mr: Slyboots, says Nab, how is this thing to be effected? I'll tell you, says Robin,—At Midnight, when all things are quiet, you shall plant me in some Cor­ner; and for the greater Solemnity I will have my Conjurers Gown on. You must on your part infuse strange things into her Head, and tell her as many Tales as you can of the Servants. Then bring in some talk of the Curate; tell her what a good Man he is, and that he had always a great Respect for her; insinuate that the Design of bring­ing him before the Bench of Justices was to disgrace the Church; and that those who were his Friends, she may assure her self are hers; and whilst she is musing on these things, for I know it will work on her Re­ligious Spirit, I will appear, and then leave the rest to me."’

Nab, in the mean time, had got the Gown and Peticoat which Robin spoke of, and was pretty sure the rest of his Predictions would follow. In fine, the Widow was so possessed and deluded by Nab's whining, and this Con­juring Rascal's Cant, that, tho' otherwise a Woman of Sense, she grew perfectly en­flam'd, so that without examining farther in­to the matter, giving Ear to Nab's Tales, she presently began to Reform her Family; and a great many of the honestest Tenants had warning given them against the next Quar­ter-day. However the Law-Suit continuing, they did not yet think fit to turn out honest [Page 9] John the Agent, because the taking the Papers out of his Hands might be dangerous to the CAUSE.

Among the rest, to make room for Robin, Ralph the Cash-keeper was dismissed, a down­right honest Fellow, and had held his Place long with great Integrity, tho' many of her best Customers told her they would leave the House, and stand by her no longer, if she took these Courses. But all did not avail; every thing went as Robin advised; in fine, she turn'd away all her old honest Servants, dis­solved the Club that was kept at her House, and none were held in favour, but such as had appeared to be Friends to the Curate, or were Robin's Creatures. Robin was first made Book-keeper and Under-Cash-keeper, and after Head-Cash-keeper, which was what he all along aim­ed at. He grew angry now at being called plain Robin, and nothing would go down but Mr. Slyboots at every word. He changed his Sign, which was before the Three Button-moles, and hung up in the room of it the Star and Garter finely painted, and had Vanity and Im­pudence enough to take the two Angels for Supporters to his Sign-Post. All that he said or did, if it may bear an old Pun, was Bob as a Robin; he brought in all his Friends, Fel­lows as poor as Howlets, to rule the Roast, and fill their hungry Bellies at the Widow's Table; such an avaritious Crew as were hard­ly worth hanging; a Medley of Welch Crate-Carriers, Pedlars, Retalers of Hob-nails, Brick­dust, [Page 10] &c. and among the rest advanced Harry Aucumy, the Brazier, an audacious, lewd young Fellow, to be one of the Clerks of the Brew-house. This was a docible young Dog for Robin's Purpose, and by a pert way of speaking in the Club, dexterously advanc'd the Reputation of Robin's Proceedings. In short, all went swimmingly in the INN for a Year or two, and the Rogues with thriving Faces, caressed one another in their Iniquity.

But they found the Law-Suit began to hang heavy on their Hands; they had not the same Credit that the former Servants had to borrow Money, and they had none of their own to lend: The Rino was wanted to pay Fees, and the Tenants were very backward to advance more; so that finding they were like to bring an old House upon their Heads if they went on, they were resolved at any rate to come to an Accommodation; and Harry Aucumy was sent privately to old Sa­vage's House to treat about it, tho' they had still told the Tenants it should be push'd on vigorously next Term, and constantly got Money out of them for that purpose.

Thinking their Business was now done, they put honest John Trusty out of the Agency, and like a Parcel of ungrateful Curs, set their Black Guard to pelt him; but the honest Peo­ple of the Town could not forbear expressing their Love in respect to his upright and judici­ous Dealing, by welcoming him Home with loud Acclamations, which fretted the Rogues [Page 11] to the Plucks to see him so caressed, by whose good Management the Cause had been brought to that Issue, that Judgment was order'd to be enter'd up, and Execution would certain­ly have follow'd the very next Term. It will be tedious to relate all the intricate Passages of the Law, and how the Widow's Friends resolv'd to carry the Cause on without her, but that Robin had ordered the new Agent Jacob Rush to stifle many of the chief Wit­nesses, by which the Adversary's Attorney found means to stop Judgment.

To amuse the Tenants, who they knew would be alarm'd at this Proceeding, it was given out, that the Widow's Friends had not paid their share of the Law-Charges, but that all the Burden had lain upon her, which had run her grievously in Debt, and that she was in a manner forc'd to a Composition, and had Offers now of a very good one, much to the Advantage of her self and her Friends. This took with the silly People, and in spight of all the Intreaties of her honest Tenants, an Agreement soon followed, which however had taken up more Time and Money to effect, than would have decided it at Common-Law.

'Tis true we burnt our Faggot-stacks, set the Bells a ringing, and illumined our Win­dows, but we soon experienc'd, that Humilia­tion would have become us better. The House lost its Trade, and no body in Town almost had any thing to do. People began to see into this, when it was too late, and no Remedy [Page 12] could be found to help them. Our old Friends exclaimed against us, as a treacherous and base sort of People, and shun'd the Town, and our new ones apparently slighted us, tho' we had done them such signal Service: Nor could we so much as obtain to have the Quarter-Sessions kept here, tho' our Credit before used to draw every Body to us.

They began to cavil now at the Widow's Will in favour of Mr. WRIGHT, and tho' they durst not openly declare themselves, yet 'tis known they were endeavouring to invei­gle the People into an Opinion of young Shute's Title, and dispers'd Papers to prove it; nor did they use Mr. WRIGHT as tho' they ever expected he would come to the Estate. All we could do was to wish them hang'd be­fore they should bring it to pass; for you must know we hate the young Fellow hear­tily: His Father, Sir Jacob (if he was ho­nestly begot) used us horribly, quarter'd Soldiers upon us, threaten'd our Charter, and play'd the Devil for God's sake thro' the whole Country till we were fain to send him packing; and 'tis very well known the young Rogue will never forgive us for't.

The Widow being to send one to old Sa­vage's to adjust Accounts on the Accommoda­tion, who should these Achitophels advise her to but Jacob Booty, a notorious Friend to the Fa­mily of the Shute's. This put us in such a Fright that we were ready to offer a Leg or Arm, out of every Family for Indemnity: For [Page 13] we supposed he could have no other Business but to strike up a Bargain at old Savage's; but as it happened we had the good Fortune to see him die in a Ditch before he set out, and save the H—n a labour, whose Occupati­on, 'tis said, he had merited a few Years before by endeavouring to give the Young Gentleman Possession of the North Farm, with design to burn and plunder it, if he could not hold it by Law.

In short, every Day produced fresh Instances of our Misfortunes, and of the Villanies of those who had betray'd us: Old Savage, who be­fore we had reduced to be as poor as a Church Mouse, so that he lay even at our Mercy, be­gan to bully us again, reserving many of the Conditions of the Agreement unexecuted. He demolished a Turn-pike upon the River, which had been a great Annoyance to our Trade, but fallaciously erected another a lit­tle nearer home, and eluded the chief Article of the Accommodation; he promised to dismiss young Shute out of his Family, and with a mental Reservation only sent him to board with one of his Tenants at next Door. More­over he engaged to use his Interest with young Savage his Grandson in behalf of some Poor People that lay at his Mercy on account of serving the Widow, who appear'd under a great concern for them, instead of which like an accomplish'd Hypocrite, he sent his Mirmi­dons and Bayliffs to haul them to Execution.

[Page 14] Every thing was acted with the same Can­dour, and seem'd to be pulling on our Ruin, whilst our Agents at home, out of the poor­ness of Spirit, durst not wag a Tongue, or a Finger against him, they lay so open and so exposed by the Rogueries he was privy to. Ah poor Country! What could relieve thee but a Miracle? Or what animate thy Hopes, but the Interposition of Providence, that dear, that eternal Providence, which had rescu'd thee in the like Cases of imminent Danger? Would you believe it, Sir, that these Despe­rados having no other way to shelter them­selves, were just entering into a Conspiracy to undermine Mr. WRIGHT's Interest, and carry the Trade to the Pope's-Head.

It could not be expected that Men associated in Mischief should long agree among them­selves, which Maxim 'tis very probable pro­duced the old Proverb; When R—s and W—s fall out honest Men come by their Goods. You may apply it as you please; the use I shall make of it is only to tell you that the House began to be divided against itself, and so could not stand long; Robin had now brought up a Bird to pick out his Eyes; his Pupil Harry had got the Start of him, and jock­eyed him out of the Widow's Favour. Harry took up a Resolution to spur at all, aut Caesar aut nullus; but Robin, who had always a great Veneration for his Neck, was willing to jog on soberly; Harry, out of the Vivacity of his Temper, told him, he was a Fellow of no Spi­rit, [Page 15] and that his Cowardice quite baulk'd the Cause: Yes, says Robin, (very dryly) but it may be a means of saving your Neck, if you take Example by it, and act with a little more Deliberation and Gravity. This in the end came to an open Rupture, so that one Day a­bove the rest they fell to it Pel mel before the Widow. Robin among other things charged him with Ingratitude, and told him, ‘"He took him up an idle, loose, young Fellow, stragling about the Town, when he had hardly nine Pence in his Pocket to go to a Whore withal; that he brought him ac­quainted at the Widow's, and put him into Business he might live handsomely upon, if he had the Grace to follow it; but that it was plain he was as loose as ever, and his Management would be the Ruin of his Mi­stress, if he went on as he begun."’ Harry justly fired at this Language, call'd him muddy-headed Fellow, and said, ‘"If it had not been for him, his Mistress might have made a more advantageous Composition."’ Robin, in return to that, upbraided him with his hair­brain'd Negotiations, and that he suffer'd him­self to be made drunk, and over-reach'd at old Savage's, where, says he, unless your Inter­view with young Shute (for which I hope to see you hang'd,) a few fine Congees, and two or three lewd Intrigues, the rest was owing to your Companion Matt. the Tavern Boy, who was fain to carry Brains for his Master. Harry could hardly contain him­self, [Page 16] but with a very cloudy Brow told him, he had neither Brains nor any other Merit to raise him above the Character of a Trickster: We know now, says he, why none but Cou­sin Tom could be trusted at Mr. WRIGHT's; but thou wast ever a trimming, equivocal Rascal, and woo't so continue.

Sim the Scrivener put in a word on the same side, whom Robin took up very smartly. As for your part, says Robin, did I not raise you from a Petifogger to be what you are, took you from writing hackney up and down, lent you Mo­ney to pay your Debts, and help'd you to live like a Man, and you to conspire against me too: But by Jove, rapping his Knuckles upon the Ta­ble, I'll make you all as poor and beggarly as I found you! Thou wert always a Trickster, reply'd Sim. I hated you before, but now I de­spise you. Nab. too open'd her Quail pipe at Robin, but what she said is not recorded.

The Widow heard all this with a Mixture of Grief and Surprize; but above all she won­dered to hear them talk of a better Compositi­on, when she had all along been told, it was a very good one; she plainly perceived now she had been trick'd, especially by Robin, who she declar'd, had not told her one word of truth from the beginning; so that Harry for the present seem'd to carry his Point. Robin was order'd to deliver up his Books, which were soon after given to the Chamberlain, one of the honestest Servants in the Family, which partly shew'd the Widow's good Disposition; [Page 17] for as he was known to be very well affected to Mr. WRIGHT's Title, it shewed her own Inclination thereto, by pitching on a Person so very acceptable. This rejoic'd People strangely, and the more, because there had passed a current Rumour for some time, that they had been tampering with her to transfer the Estate to young Shute, after her Decease, contrary to Law. How true it is, God knows; but it seems they were disappointed. And I can assure you she told some of her Friends, that she had often repented the dismissing her old Ser­vants, who had served her faithfully, and given Content to her Customers; and if it pleased God to grant her Life and Health, she would make a very great Alteration in Affairs.

But in short, what thro' the Grief and Fright she had conceiv'd at their unmannerly Behaviour before her, and the Anguish of a former Distemper, it threw the Pain into her Head with such Violence, that it soon put an end to her Life, for which the whole Town shew'd a general Concern, and la­mented her as a pious, good, and charitable Woman, whom it may be truly said, they brought with Sorrow to the Grave.

Immediately after she expir'd, the Tru­stees took Possession of the Premises in Mr. WRIGHT's Name. I cannot describe the infinite Joy on this Occasion, and that won­derful Satisfaction that appear'd in People's [Page 18] Countenances: All was acted with that Calmness and Unanimity, that Cheerful­ness and Alacrity, as seemed plainly to prog­nosticate our future Good: No one was wanting to do his part; nay, even the Par­son of the Parish, tho' crazy with Age and Infirmities, yet appear'd abroad that Day to countenance Mr. WRIGHT's Title, being one of the Feofees in Trust for him.

Poor Harry Aucumy, indeed, appear'd un­der a very deep Pressure of Mind; not so much for the Loss of the Widow, as the sole Power and Grandeur he conceiv'd himself fallen from, and the Inconveniences his past Conduct might bring him into; for he knew in his Conscience he should find it a difficult Matter to acquit himself honestly to Mr. WRIGHT. This occasion'd a visible Alte­ration in his Countenance, and poor Harry looked as queer and dejected as one of the Vulgar. He put himself in close Mourning, and exploded all Lewdness for nine Days, which you know is the ultimate Date of all Wonders, especially with Harry. John Squeamish, the Head-Tapster, a queer insig­nificant Fellow of Bob's preferring; Sam. Pe­ticoat, the Warehouse keeper; Will. Wildfire, Harry's Intimate; Dick, the Powder-Mon­key, and Nab, his Sister, with some others, seem to lament with the same Humiliation and Concern the great Vicissitude of For­tune.

[Page 19] We expect our new Landlord with the ut­most Impatience; and then you shall have a farther Account of what happens; assuring you, that this leaves us under the most pro­mising Aspect of having our Affairs retriev'd again from the languishing Condition the last three Years had thrown them into; and perhaps you never saw a more visible Spirit of Joy than appears at present.

Yours, &c.

P.S. As I divined, poor Harry is dismiss'd from his Clerkship, by order of Mr. WRIGHT, and a Padlock clapp'd on the Counting-house: Just now I learn from a Friend, that his Ac­counts are very confused, and occasion di­vers Speculations. We are like to have a great Sessions on't next time. Bob laughs in his Sleeve.

Adieu.

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