A Pretty Story (1774)
by Peter Grievous
2909346A Pretty Story1774Peter Grievous




Year of our LORD 2774.


A. B. C. D. E.

Veluti in Speculo.

The Second Edition.

Printed and Sold by JOHN DUNLAP.



A book without a preface is like a face without a noſe. Let the other features be ever ſo agreeable and well poportioned, it is looked on with deteſtation and horror if this material ornament be wanting.

Or rather, a book is like a houſe: The grand portico is the dedication; the flagged pavement is an humble addreſs to the reader, in order to pave the way for a kind reception of the work; the front door with its fluted pillars, pediment, trigliffs, and modillions are the title page with its motto, author’s name and titles, date of the year, &c. The entry is the preface (oftentimes of a tedious length) and the ſeveral apartments and cloſets are the chapters and ſections of the work itſelf.

As I am but a clumſy carpenter at beſt, I ſhall not attempt to decorate my little cottage with any out of door ornaments; but as it would be inconvenient and uncomfortable to have my front door open immediately into the apartments of my houſe, I have made this preface by way of entry.

And now, gentle reader, if you ſhould think my entry too plain and ſimple you may ſet your imagination to work, and furniſh it with a grand ſtaircaſe, with cornices, ſtucco, and paintings. That is, you may ſuppoſe that I entered very unwillingly upon this work, being compelled to it by a chain of ſoft circumſtances: That it was written in the midſt of a great hurry of other buſineſs, and under particular diſadvantages of time and place, and that it was only intended for the inſpection of a few friends, without any expectation of ever ſeeing it in the Preſs.

You may, kind reader, go on to ſuppoſe that when my friends peruſed my work, they were ſtruck with the energy of my genius, and inſiſted that the public ought not to be deprived of ſuch a fund of amuſement and improvement through my obſtinate modeſty; and that after many ſolicitations and powerful perſuaſions I had been prevailed upon to bleſs mankind with the fruits of my labour.

Or, if you like not this, you may ſuppoſe that the following ſheets were found in the cabinet of ſome deceaſed gentleman; or that they were dug out of an ancient ruins, or diſcovered in a Hermit’s Cave, or dropped from the clouds in a hail ſtorm. In ſhort, you may ſuppoſe juſt what you pleaſe. And when, by the help of imagination, you have ſeaſoned the preface to your palate, you may turn over this leaf, and feaſt upon the body of the work itſelf.




Once upon a time, a great while ago, there lived a certain Nobleman,[1] who had long poſſeſſed a very valuable farm, and had a great number of children and grandchildren.

Beſides the annual profits of his land, which were very conſiderable, he[2] kept a large ſhop of goods; and being very ſucceſſful in trade, he became, in proceſs of time, exceeding rich and powerful; inſomuch that all his neighbours feared and reſpected him.

With reſpect to the management of his family, it was thought he had adopted the moſt perfect mode that could be deviſed, for he had been at the pains to examine the œconomy of all his neighbours, and had ſelected from their plans all ſuch parts as appeared to be equitable and beneficial, and omitted thoſe which from experience were found to be inconvenient. Or rather, by blending their ſeveral conſtitutions together he had ſo ingeniouſly counterbalanced the evils of one mode of government with the benefits of another, that the advantages were richly enjoyed, and the inconveniencies ſcarcely felt. In ſhort, his family was thought to be the beſt ordered of any in his neighbourhood.

He never exerciſed any undue authority over his children or ſervants; neither indeed could he oppreſs them if he was ſo diſpoſed; for it was particularly covenanted in his marriage articles that he ſhould not at any time impoſe any taſks or hardſhips whatever upon his children without the free conſent of his wife.[3]

Now the cuſtom in his family was this, that at the end of every ſeven years his marriage became of courſe null and void; at which time his children and grandchildren met together and choſe another wife for him, whom the old gentleman was obliged to marry under the ſame articles and reſtrictions as before. If his late wife had conducted herſelf, during her ſeven years marriage, with mildneſs, diſcretion, and integrity, ſhe was re-elected; if otherwiſe, depoſed: By which means the chidren had always a great intereſt in their mother in law; and through her, a reaſonable check upon their father’s temper. For beſides that he could do nothing material reſpecting his children without her approbation, ſhe was ſole miſtreſs of the purſe ſtrings; and gave him out, from time to time, ſuch ſums of money as ſhe thought neceſſary for the expences of his family.

Being one day in a very extraordinary good humour, he gave his children a writing under his hand and ſeal, by which he releaſed them from many badges of dependance, and confirmed to them ſeveral very important privileges. The chief were the two following, viz. That none of his children ſhould be puniſhed for any offence, or ſuppoſed offence, until his brethren[4] had firſt declared him worthy of ſuch puniſhment; and ſecondly, he gave freſh aſſurances that he would impoſe no hardſhips upon them without the conſent of their mother in law.

This writing, on account of its ſingular importance, was called the great paper.[5] After it was executed with the utmoſt ſolemnity, he cauſed his Chaplain to publiſh a dire Anathema againſt all who ſhould attempt to violate the articles of the Great Paper, in the words following.

“In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghoſt, Amen! Whereas our Lord and maſter, to the honour of God and for the common profit of this farm hath granted, for him and his heirs for ever, theſe articles above written: I, his Chaplain and ſpiritual paſtor of all this farm, do admoniſh the people of the farm once, twice, and thrice: Becauſe that ſhortneſs will not ſuffer ſo much delay as to give knowledge to the people of theſe preſents in writing; I therefore enjoyn all perſons, of what eſtate ſoever they be, that they and every of them, as much as in them is, ſhall uphold and maintain theſe articles granted by our Lord and maſter in all points. And all thoſe that in any point do reſiſt, or break, or in any manner hereafter, procure, counſel, or any ways aſſent to reſiſt or break theſe ordinances or go about it by word or died, openly or privately, by any manner of pretence or colour: I the aforeſaid Chaplain, by my authority, do excommunicate and accurſe, and from the body of our Lord Jeſus Chriſt, and from all the company of Heaven, and from all the ſacraments of holy church do ſequeſter and exclude.”[References 1]


Now it came to paſs that this Nobleman had, by ſome means or other, obtained a right to an immenſe tract of wild uncultivated country[6] at a vaſt diſtance from his manſion houſe. But he ſet little ſtore by this acquiſition, as it yielded him no profit, nor was it likely to do ſo, being not only difficult of acceſs on account of the diſtance, but was alſo overrun with innumerable wild beaſts very fierce and ſavage; ſo that it would be extremely dangerous to attempt taking poſſeſſion of it.

In proceſs of time, however, ſome of his children, more ſtout and enterpriſing than the reſt, requeſted leave of their father to go and ſettle on this diſtant tract of land. Leave was readily obtained; but before they ſet out certain agreements were ſtipulated be tween them—the principal were—the old Gentleman, on his part, engaged to protect and defend the adventurers in their new ſettlements; to aſſiſt them in chacing away the wild beaſts, and to extend to them all the benefits of the government under which they were born: Aſſuring them that although they ſhould be removed ſo far from his preſence they ſhould nevertheleſs be conſidered as the children of his family, and treated accordingly. At the ſame time he gave each of them a bond[7] for the faithful performance of theſe promiſes; in which, among other things, it was covenanted that they ſhould, each of them in their ſeveral families, have a liberty of making ſuch rules and regulations for their own good government as they ſhould find convenient; provided theſe rules and regulations ſhould not contradict or be inconſiſtent with the general ſtanding orders eſtabliſhed in his farm.[8]

In return for theſe favours he inſiſted that they, on their parts, ſhould at all times acknowledge him to be their father; that they ſhould not deal with their neighbours without his leave, but ſend to his ſhop only for ſuch merchandize as they ſhould want. But in order to enable them to pay for ſuch goods as they ſhould purchaſe, they were permitted to ſell the produce of their lands to certain of his neighbours.

Theſe preliminaries being duly adjuſted, our adventurers bid adieu to the comforts and conveniencies of their father’s houſe, and ſet off on their journey.—Many and great were the difficulties they encountered on their way: But many more and much greater had they to combat on their arrival in the new country. Here they found nothing but wild nature. Mountains overgrown with inacceſſible foliage, and plains ſteeped in ſtagnated waters. Their ears are no longer attentive to the repeated ſtrokes of induſtrious labour, and the buſy hum of men, inſtead of theſe, the roaring tempeſt and inceſſant howlings of the beaſts of prey fill their minds with horror and diſmay. The needful comforts of life are no longer in their power—no friendly roof to ſhelter them from inclement ſkies; no fortreſs to protect them from ſurrounding dangers. Unaccuſtomed as they were to hardſhips like theſe, ſome were cut off by ſickneſs and diſeaſe, and others ſnatched away by the hands of barbarity. They began however, with great perſeverance, to clear the land of encumbering rubbiſh, and the woods reſound with the ſtrokes of labour; they drain the waters from the ſedged moraſs, and pour the ſun beams on the reeking ſoil; they are forced to exerciſe all the powers of induſtry and œconomy for bare ſubſiſtence, and like their firſt parent, when driven from Paradiſe, to earn their bread with the ſweat of their brows. In this work they were frequently interrupted by the incurſions of the wild beats,[9] againſt whom they defended themſelves with heroic proweſs and magnanimity.

After ſome time, however, by dint of indefatigable perſeverance, they found themſelves comfortably ſettled in this new farm; and had the delightful proſpect of vaſt tracts of land waving with luxuriant harveſts, and perfuming the air with delicious fruits, which before had been a dreary wilderneſs, unfit for the habitation of men.

In the mean time they kept up a conſtant correſpondence with their father’s family, and at a great expence provided waggons, horſes, and drivers[10] to bring from his ſhop ſuch goods and merchandize as they wanted, for which they paid out of the produce of their lands.


Now the new ſettlers had adopted a mode of government in their ſeveral families, ſimilar to that their father had eſtabliſhed in the old farm; in taking a new wife[11] at the end of certain periods of time; which wife was choſen for them by their children, and without whoſe conſent they could do nothing material in the conduct of their affairs. Under theſe circumſtances they thrived exceedingly, and became very numerous; living in great harmony amongſt themſelves, and in conſtitutional obedience to their father and his wife.

Notwithſtanding their ſucceſſful progreſs, however, they were frequently annoyed by the wild beaſts, which were not yet expelled the country; and were moreover troubled by ſome of their neighbours[12] who wanted to drive them off the land, and take poſſeſſion of it themſelves.

To aſſiſt them in theſe difficulties, and protect them from danger, the old Nobleman ſent over ſeveral of his ſervants, who with the help of the new ſettlers drove away their enemies. But then he required that they ſhould, reimburſe him for the expence and trouble he was at in their behalf; this they did with great chearfulneſs, by applying from time to time to their reſpective wives, who always commanded their caſh.

Thus did matters go on for a conſiderable time, to their mutual happineſs and benefit. But now the Nobleman’s wife began to caſt an avaricious eye upon the new ſettlers; ſaying to herſelf, if by the natural conſequence of their intercourſe with us my wealth and power are ſo much increaſed, how much more would they accumulate if I can perſuade them that all they have belonged to us, and therefore I may at any time demand from them ſuch part of their earnings as I pleaſe. At the ſame time ſhe was fully ſenſible of the promiſes and agreements her huſband had made when they left the old farm, and the tenor and purport of the great paper. She therefore thought it neceſſary to proceed with great caution and art, and endeavoured to gain her point by imperceptible ſteps.

In order to this, ſhe firſt iſſued an edict ſetting forth, That whereas the tailors of her family were greatly injured by the people of the new farm, inaſmuch as they preſumed to make their own clothes whereby the ſaid tailors were deprived of the benefit of their cuſtom; it was therefore ordained that for the future the new ſettlers ſhould not be permitted to have amongſt them any ſhears or ſciſſars larger than a certain fixed ſize. In conſequence of this, our adventurers were compelled to have their clothes made by their father’s tailors: But out of regard to the old gentleman, they patiently ſubmitted to this grievance.

Encouraged by this ſucceſs, ſhe proceeded in her plan. Obſerving that the new ſettlers, were very fond of a particular kind of cyder which they purchaſed of a neighbour who was in friendishp with their father (the apples proper for making this cyder not growing on their own farm) ſhe publiſhed another edict, obliging them to pay her a certain ſtipend for every barrel of cyder uſed in their families. To this likewiſe they ſubmitted: Not yet ſeeing the ſcope of her deſigns againſt them.

After this manner ſhe proceeded, impoſing taxes on them on various pretences, and receiving the fruits of their induſtry with both hands. Moreover ſhe perſuaded her huſband to ſend amongſt them from time to time a the moſt lazy and uſeleſs of his ſervants,[13] under the ſpecious, pretext of defending them in their ſettlements and of aſſiſting to deſtroy the wild beaſts; but in fact to rid his own houſe of their company, not having employment for them; and at the ſame time to be a watch and a check upon the people of the new farm.

It was likewiſe ordered that theſe protectors as they were called, ſhould be ſupplied with bread and butter cut in a particular forms.[14] But the head of one of the families[15] refuſed to comply with this order. He engaged to give the gueſts, thus forced upon him, bread and butter ſufficient; but inſiſted that his wife ſhould have the liberty of cutting it in what ſhape ſhe pleaſed.

This put the old Nobleman into a violent paſſion, inſomuch that he had his ſon’s wife put into gaol for preſuming to cut her loaf otherwiſe than as had been directed.


As the old Gentleman advanced in years he began to neglect the affairs of his family, leaving them chiefly to the management of his ſteward.[16] Now the ſteward had debauched his wife, and by that means gained an entire aſcendancy over her. She no longer deliberated what would moſt benefit either the old farm or the new; but ſaid and did whatever the ſteward pleaſed. Nay ſo much was ſhe influenced by him that ſhe could neither utter Ay or No but as he directed. For he had cunningly perſuaded her that it was very faſhionable for women to wear padlocks on their lips, and that he was ſure they would become her exceedingly. He therefore faſtened a padlock to each corner of her mouth; when the one was open, ſhe could only ſay Ay; and when the other was looſed, could only cry No. He took care to keep the keys of theſe locks himſelf; ſo that her will became entirely ſubject to his power.

Now the old Lady and the ſteward had ſet themſelves againſt the people of the new farm; and began to deviſe ways and means to impoveriſh and diſtreſs them.

They prevailed on the Nobleman to ſign an edict againſt the new ſettlers, in which it was declared that it was their duty as children to pay ſomething towards the ſupplying their fathers table with proviſions, and to the ſupporting the dignity of his family; for that purpoſe it was ordained that all their ſpoons, knives and forks, plates and porringers, ſhould be marked with a certain mark,[17] by officers appointed for that end; for which marking they were to pay a certain ſtipend: and that they ſhould not, under ſevere penalties, preſume to make uſe of any ſpoon, knife or folk, plate or porringer, before it had been ſo marked, and the ſaid ſtipend paid to the officer.

The inhabitants of the new farm began to ſee that their father’s affections were alienated from them; and that their mother was but a baſe mother-in-law debauched by their enemy the ſteward. They were thrown into great confuſion and diſtreſs. They wrote the moſt ſupplicating letters[18] to the old Gentleman, in which they acknowledged him to be their father in terms of the greateſt reſpect and affection—they recounted to him the hardſhips and difficulties they had ſuffered in ſettling his new farm; and pointed out the great addition of wealth and power his family had acquired by the improvement of that wilderneſs; and ſhewed him that all the fruits of their labours muſt in the natural courſe of things unite, in the long run, in his money box. They alſo, in humble terms reminded him of his promiſes and engagements on their leaving home, and of the bonds[19] he had given them; of the ſolemnity and importance of the Great Paper with the curſe annexed. They acknowledged that he ought to be reimburſed the expences he was at on their account, and that it was their duty to aſſiſt in ſupporting the dignity of his family. All this they declared they were ready and willing to do; but requeſted that they might do it agreeable to the purport of the Great Paper, by applying to their ſeveral wives[20] for the keys of their money boxes and furniſhing him from thence; and not to be ſubject to the tyranny and caprice of an avaricious mother-in-law, whom they had never choſen, and of a ſteward who was their declared enemy.

Some of theſe letters were intercepted by the ſteward; others were delivered to the old Gentleman, who was at the ſame time perſuaded to take no notice of them; but, on the contrary, to inſiſt the more ſtrenuouſly upon the right his wife claimed of marking their ſpoons, knives and forks, plates and porringers.

The new ſettlers obſerving how matters were conducted in their father’s family became exceedingly diſtreſſed and mortified. They met together and agreed one and all that they would no longer ſubmit to the arbitrary impoſitions of their mother-in-law, and their enemy the ſteward. They determined to pay no manner of regard to the new decree, conſidering it as a violation of the Great Paper. But to go on and eat their broth and pudding as uſual. The cooks alſo and butlers ſerved up their ſpoons, knives and forks, plates and porringers without having them marked by the new officers.

The Nobleman at length thought fit to reverſe the order[21] which had been made reſpecting the ſpoons, knives and forks, plates and porringers of the new ſettlers. But he did this with a very ill grace: for he, at the ſame time avowed and declared[22] that he and his wife had a right to mark all their furniture, if they pleaſed, from the ſilver tankard down to the very chamber pots: that as he was their father he had an abſolute controul over them, and that their liberties, lives, and properties were at the entire diſpoſal of him and his wife: that it was not fit that he who was allowed to be omnipreſent, immortal, and incapable of error, ſhould be confined by the ſhackles of the Great Paper; or obliged to fulfil the bonds he had given them, which he averred he had a right to cancel whenever he pleaſed.

His wife alſo became intoxicated with vanity. The ſteward had told her that ſhe was an omnipotent Goddeſs, and ought to be worſhipped as ſuch: that it was the height of impudence and disobedience in the new ſettlers to diſpute her authority, which with reſpect to them, was unlimited: that as they had removed from their father’s family, they had forfeited all pretenſions of being conſidered as his children, and loſt the privileges of the Great Paper: that, therefore, ſhe might look on them only as tenants at will upon her huſband’s farm, and exact from them what rent ſhe pleaſed.

All this was perfectly agreeable to Madam, who admitted this new doctrine in its full ſenſe.

The people of the new farm however took little notice of theſe pompous declarations. They were glad the marking decree was reverſed, and were in hopes that things would gradually ſettle into their former channel.


In the mean time the new ſettlers increaſed exceedingly, and as they increaſed, their dealings at their father’s ſhop were proportionably enlarged.

It is true they ſuffered ſome inconveniencies from the protectors that had been ſent amongſt them, who became very troubleſome in their houſes: They ſeduced their daughters; introduced riot and intemperance into their families, and derided and inſulted the orders and regulations they had made for their own good government. Moreover the old Nobleman had ſent amongſt then a great number of thieves, raviſhers, and murderers, who did a great deal of miſchief by practiſing thoſe crimes for which they had been baniſhed the old farm. But they bore theſe grievances with as much patience as could be expected; not choſing to trouble their aged father with complaints, unleſs in caſes of important neceſſity.

Now, the ſteward continued to hate the new ſettlers with exceeding great hatred, and determined to renew his attack upon their peace and happineſs. He artfully inſinuated to the old Gentleman and his fooliſh wife, that it was very mean and unbecoming in them to receive the contributions of the people of the new farm, towards ſupporting the dignity of his family, through the hands of their reſpective wives: that upon this footing it would be in their power to refuſe his requiſitions whenever they ſhould be thought to be unreaſonable, of which they would pretend to be judges themſelves; and that it was high time they ſhould be compelled to acknowledge his arbitrary power, and his wife’s Omnipotence.

For this purpoſe, another decree[23] was prepared and publiſhed, ordering that the new ſettlers ſhould pay a certain ſtipend up on particular goods, which they were not allowed to purchase any where but at their father’s ſhop; and that this ſtipends ſhould not be deemed an advance upon the original price of the goods, but be paid on their arrival at the new farm, for the expreſs purpoſe of ſupporting the dignity of the old Gentleman’s family, and of defraying the expences he affected to afford them.

This new decree gave our adventurers the utmoſt uneaſineſs. They ſaw that the ſteward and their mother-in-law were determined to oppreſs and enſlave them. They again met together and wrote to their father, as before, the moſt humble and perſuaſive letters; but to little purpoſe: A deaf ear was turned to all their remonſtrances; and their dutiful requeſts treated with contempt.

Finding this moderate and decent conduct brought them no relief, they had recourſe to another expedient. They bound themſelves in a ſolemn engagement not to deal[24] any more at their father’s ſhop until this unconſtitutional decree ſhould be reverſed; which they declared to be a violation of the Great Paper.

This agreement was ſo ſtrictly adhered to, that in a few months the clerks and apprentices[25] in the old Gentleman’s ſhop began to make a ſad outcry. They declared that their maſter’s trade was declining exceedingly, and that his wife and ſteward would, by their miſchievous machinations, ruin the whole farm; they forth with ſharpened their pens and attacked the ſteward, and even the old Lady herſelf with great ſeverity. Inſomuch that it was thought proper to withdraw this attempt likewiſe upon the rights and liberties of the new ſettlers. One part only of the new decree remained unreverſed—viz. the tax upon Water Gruel.[26]

Now there were certain men[27] on the old farm who had obtained from the Nobleman an excluſive right of ſelling Water Gruel. Vaſt quantities of this Gruel were vended amongſt the new ſettlers; for it became very faſhionable for them to uſe it in their families in great abundance. They did not however trouble themſelves much about the tax on Water Gruel: they were well pleaſed with the reverſal of the other parts of the decree, and conſidering Gruel as not abſolutely neceſſary to the comfort of life, they were determined to endeavour to do without it, and by that means avoid the remaining effects of the new decree.

The ſteward found his deſigns once more fruſtrated; but was not diſcouraged by this diſappointment. He formed another ſcheme ſo artfully contrived that he thought himſelf ſure of ſucceſs. He ſent for the perſons who had the ſole right of vending Water Gruel, and after reminding them of the obligations they were under to the Nobleman and his wife for their excluſive privilege, he deſired that they would ſend ſundry waggon loads of Gruel[28] to the new farm, promiſing that the accuſtomed duty which they paid for their excluſive right ſhould be taken off from all the Gruel they ſhould ſend amongſt the new ſettlers: And that in caſe their cargoes ſhould come to any damage, he would take care that the loſs ſhould be repaired out of the old Gentleman’s coffers.

The Gruel merchants readily conſented to this propoſal, knowing that if their cargoes were ſold, they would reap conſiderable profits; and if they failed, the ſteward was to make good the damage. On the other hand the ſteward concluded that the new ſettlers could not reſiſt purchaſing the Gruel to which they had been ſo long accuſtomed; and if they did purchaſe it when ſubject to the tax aforeſaid, this would be an avowed acknowledgment on their parts that their father and his wife had a right to break through the tenor of the Great Paper, and to lay on them what impoſitions they pleaſed, without the conſent of their reſpective wives.

But the new ſettlers were well aware of this decoy. They ſaw clearly that the Gruel was not ſent to accommodate, but to enſlave them; and that if they ſuffered any part of it to be ſold amongſt them, it would be deemed a ſubmiſſion to the aſſumed Omnipotence of the Great Madam.[29]


On the arrival of the Water Gruel, the people of the new farm were again thrown into great alarms and confuſions. Some of them would not ſuffer the waggons to be unloaded at all, but ſent them immediately back to the Gruel merchants: others permitted the waggons to unload, but would not touch the hateful commodity; ſo that it lay neglected about their roads and highways until it grew ſour and ſpoiled. But one of the new ſettlers, whoſe name was Jack,[30] either from a keener ſenſe of the injuries attempted againſt him, or from the neceſſity of his ſituation, which was ſuch that he could not ſend back the Gruel becauſe of a number of mercenaries whom his father had ſtationed before his houſe to watch and be a check upon his conduct: he, I ſay, being almoſt driven to diſpair, fell to work, and with great zeal ſtove to pieces the caſks of Gruel, which had been ſent him, and utterly demoliſhed, the whole cargoe.

Theſe proceedings were ſoon known at the old farm. Great and terrible was the uproar there. The old Gentleman fell in to great wrath, declaring that his abſent children meant to throw off all dependence upon him, and to become altogether diſobedient. His wife alſo tore the padlocks from her lips, and raved and ſtormed like a Billinſgate. The ſteward loſt all patience and moderation, ſwearing moſt prophanely that he would leave no ſtone unturned ’till he had humbled the ſettlers of the new farm at his feet, and cauſed their father to trample on their necks. Moreover the Gruel merchants roared and bellowed for the loſs of their Gruel; and the clerks and apprentices were in the utmoſt conſternation leſt the people of the new farm ſhould again agree to have no dealings with their father’s ſhop.—Vengeance was immediately ſet on foot, particularly againſt Jack. With him they determined to begin; hoping that by making an example of him they ſhould ſo terrify the other families of the new ſettlers, that they would all ſubmit to the deſigns of the ſteward, and the Omnipotence of the old Lady.

A very large Padlock was, accordingly, prepared to be faſtened upon Jack’s great gate;[31] the key of which was to be given to the old Gentleman; who was not to open it again until he had been paid for the Gruel he had ſpilt, and reſigned all claim to the privileges of the Great Paper: nor then neither unleſs he thought fit. Secondly, a decree was made to new model the regulations and œconomy of Jack’s family in ſuch manner that they might for the future be more ſubject to the will of the ſteward: and, thirdly, a large gallows was erected before the manſion houſe in the old farm, and an order made that if any of Jack’s children or ſervants ſhould be ſuſpected of miſbehaviour, they ſhould not be convicted or acquitted by the conſent of their brethren, agreeable to the purport of the Great Paper, but be tied neck and heels and dragged to the gallows at the manſion houſe, and there be hanged withot mercy.

No ſooner did tidings of this undue ſeverity reach the new farm, but the people were almoſt ready to diſpair. They were altogether at a loſs how to act, or by what means they ſhould avert the vengeance to which they were doomed: but the old Lady and ſteward ſoon determined the matter; for the Padlock was ſent over, and without ceremony faſtened upon Jack’s great gate. They did not wait to know whether he would pay for the Gruel or not, or make the required acknowledgments; nor give him the leaſt opportunity to make his defence—The great gate was locked, and the key given to the old Nobleman, as had been determined.

Poor Jack found himſelf in a moſt deplorable condition. The great inlet to his farm was entirely blocked up, ſo that he could neither carry out the produce of his land for ſale, nor receive from abroad the ncceſſaries for his family.

But this was not all—His father, along with the Padlock aforeſaid, had ſent an overſeer to hector and domineer over him and his family; and to endeavour to break his ſpirit by exerciſing every poſſible ſeverity: for which purpoſe he was attended by a great number of mercenaries, and armed with more than common authorities.

On his firſt arrival in Jack’s family he was received with conſiderable reſpect, becauſe he was the delegate of their aged father: for, notwithſtanding all that had paſt, the people of the new ſettlements loved and revered the old Gentleman with a truly filial attachment: attributing his unkindneſs entirely to the intrigues of their enemy the ſteward. But this fair weather did not laſt long. The new overſeer took the firſt opportunity of ſhewing that he had no intentions of living in harmony and friendſhip with the family. Some of Jack’s domeſticks had put on their Sunday clothes, and attended the overſeer in the great parlour, in order to pay him their compliments on his arrival, and to requeſt his aſſiſtance in reconciling them to their father: but he rudely ſtopped them ſhort in the midſt of their ſpeech; called them a parcel of diſobedient ſcoundrels, and bid them go about their buſineſs. So ſaying, he turned upon his heel, and with great contempt left the room.


Now Jack and his family finding themſelves oppreſſed, inſulted, and tyranniſed over in the moſt cruel and arbitrary manner, adviſed with their brethren what meaſures ſhould be adopted to relieve them from their intolerable grievances. Their brethren, one and all, united in ſympathiſing with their afflictions; they adviſed them to bear their ſufferings with fortitude for a time, aſſuring them that they looked on the puniſhments and inſults laid upon them with the ſame indignation as if they had been inflicted on themſelves, and that they would ſtand by and ſupport them to the laſt. But, above all, earneſtly recommended it to them to be firm and ſteady in the cauſe of liberty and juſtice, and never acknowledge the Omnipotence of their mother-in-law; nor yield to the machinations of their enemy the ſteward.

In the mean time, leſt Jack’s family ſhould ſuffer for want of neceſſaries, their great gate being faſt locked, liberal and very generous coutributions were raiſed among the ſeveral families of the new ſettlements for their preſent relief. This ſeaſonable bounty was handed to jack over the garden wall—all acceſs to the front of his houſe being ſhut up.

Now the overſeer obſerved that the children and domeſticks of Jack’s family had frequent meetings and conſultations together: ſometimes in the garret, and ſometimes in the ſtable: underſtanding, likewiſe, that an agreement not to deal in their father’s ſhop, until their grievances ſhould be redreſſed, was much talked of amongſt them, he wrote a thundering prohibition, much like a Pope’s Bull, which he cauſed to be paſted up in every room of the houſe: in which he declared and proteſted that theſe meetings were treaſonable, traiterous, and rebellious; contrary to the dignity of their father, and inconſiſtent with the Omnipotence of their mother-in-law: denouncing alſo terrible puniſhments againſt any two of the family who ſhould from thenceforth be ſeen whiſpering together, and ſtrictly forbidding the domeſticks to hold any more meetings in the garret or ſtable.

Theſe harſh and unconſtitutional proceedings irritated Jack and the other inhabitants of the new farm to ſuch a degree that **********

Cætera deſunt.

  1. This is a true and genuine denunciation copied from the archives of the family.
  1. King of Great Britain
  2. through the Manufactories
  3. the Parliament
  4. a Jury
  5. Magna Charta
  6. North America
  7. Grants and Charters to the Colonies
  8. Laws of England
  9. the Indians
  10. Ships and Navigators
  11. a Legiſlative Aſſembly
  12. the French in Canada
  13. Troops
  14. Billeting Act
  15. New York
  16. Prime Miniſter.
  17. The Stamp Act
  18. Petitions
  19. The Charters
  20. Legiſlative Aſſemblies
  21. Repeal of Stamp Act
  22. The Declaratory Act
  23. Act laying a duty on Glaſs, &c.
  24. Non Importation
  25. Manufacturers and Merchants
  26. Tea
  27. Eaſt India Company
  28. Ships with Tea
  29. the Parliament
  30. Preſton
  31. Boſton Port Bill

This work was published before January 1, 1929, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

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