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On the second shelf are several miscellaneous works; as,
On the third shelf, A bundle of letters unopened, indorsed, in the hand of the deceased, - Letters from the old gentleman.'
Lessons for the flute.
Toland's Christianity not mysterious: and a paper filled with patterns of several fashionable stuffs.
On the lowest shelf,
A mourning hatband; and half a bottle of usquebaugh.
There will be added to these goods, to make a complete auction, a collection of gold snuff boxes and clouded canes, which are to continue in fashion for three months after the sale.
The whole are to be set up and prized by Charles Bubbleboy, who is to open the auction with a speechi.
MR. JOHN HUGHES.
TRIAL OF THE HOOP pertICOAT. Nc. 116.
The court being prepared for proceeding on the cause of the petticoat, I gave orders to bring in a criminal who was taken up as she went out of the puppetshow about three nights ago, and was now standing in the street with a great concourse of people about her. Word was brought me that she had endeavour. ed twice or thrice to come in, but could not do it by reason of her petticoat, which was too large for the entrance of my house, though I had ordered both the folding-doors to be thrown open for its reception.Upon this, I desired the jury of matrons, who stood at my right hand, to inform themselves of her condition, and know whether there were any private reasons why she might not make her appearance separate from her petticoat. This was managed with great discretion, and had such an effect, that, upon the return of the verdict from the bench of matrons, I issued out an order forthwith, that the criminal should be stripped of her incumbrances, until she became little enough to enter my house. I had before given directions for an engine of several legs, that could contract or open itself like the top of an umbrella, in order to place the petticoat upon it, by which means I might take a leisurely survey of it, as it should appear in its proper dimensions. This was all done accordingly; and forthwith, upon the closing of the engine, the petticoat was brought into court. I then directed the machine to be set upon the table, and dilated in: such a manner as to show the garment in its utmost cir cumference: but my great hall was too narrow for the experiment; for, before it was half unfolded, it described so immoderate a circle that the lower part of it brushed upon my face as I sat in my chair of judicature. I then inquired for the person that belonged to the petticoat; and, to my great surprise, was directed to a very beautiful young damsel, with so pretty a face and shape that I bid her come out of the crowd,
and seated her upon a little crock at my left hand, My pretty maid, said I, do you own yourself to have been the inhabitant of the garment before us ? The girl I found had good sense, and told me with a smile, that, notwithstanding it was her own petticoat, she should be very glad to see an example made of it; and that she wore it for no other reason, but that she had a mind to look as big and burly as other persons of her quality; that she had kept out of it as long as she could, and until she began to appear little in the eyes of all her acquaintance; that, if she laid it aside, people would think she was not made like other wo: men. I always gave great allowances to the fair sex upon account of the fashion, and therefore was not displeased with the defence of my pretty criminal. I then ordered the vest which stood before us to be drawn up by a pulley to the top of my great hall
and afterwards to be spread open by the engine it was placed upon, in such a manner that it formed a very splendid and ample canopy over our heads, and covered the whole court of judicature with a kind of silken rotunda, in its form not unlike the cupola of Saint Paul's. I entered upon the whole cause with great satisfaction as I sat under the shadow of it.
The counsel for the petticoat was now called in, and ordered to produce what they had to say against the popular cry which was raised against it. They ans swered the objections with great strength and solidity of argument, and expatiated in very florid harangues, which they did not fail to set off and furbelow, if I may be allowed the metaphor, with many periodical sentences and turns of oratory. The chief arguments of their client were taken, first from the great benefit that might arise to our woollen manufactory from this
invention, invention, which was calculated as follows: the common petticoat has not above four yards in the circumference; whereas this over our heads had more in the semi-diameter ; so that, by allowing it twenty-four yards in the circumference, the five millions of woollen petticoats, which, according to sir William Petty, supposing, what ought to be supposed in a well-governed state, that all petticoats are made of that stuff, would amount to thirty millions of those of the antient mode. A prodigious improvement of the woollen trade! and what could not fail to sink the power of France in a few years.
To introduce the second argument, they begged leave to read a petition of the rope-makers, wherein it was represented that the demand for cords, and the price of them, were much risen since this fashion came up. At this, all the company who were present lifted up their eyes into the vault; and I must confess we did discover many traces of cordage, which were interwoven in the stiffening of the drapery.
A third argument was founded upon a petition of the Greenland trade, which likewise represented the great consumption of whale-bone which would be occasioned by the present fashion, and the benefit which would thereby accrue to that branch of the British trade.
To conclude, they gently touched upon the weight and unwieldiness of the garment, which they insinuated might be of great use to preserve the honour of families.
These arguments would have wrought very much upon me, as I then told the company in a long and elaborate discourse, had I not considered the great and additional expense which such fashions would bring upon
fathers and husbands; and therefore by no means to be thought of until some years after a peace. I further urged that it would be a prejudice to the ladies themselves, who could never expect to have any money in the pocket, if they laid out so much on the petticoat. To this I added, the great temptation it might give to virgins, of acting in security like married women, and by that means give a check to matrimony, an institution always encouraged by wise societies.
At the same time, in answer to the several petitions produced on that side, I showed one subscribed by the women of several persons of quality, humbly setting forth that, since the introduction of this mode, their respective ladies had, instead of bestowing on them their cast gowns, cut them into shreds, and mixed thenr with the cordage and buckram, to complete the stiffening of their under petticoats. For which, and sundry other reasons, I pronounced the petticoat a forfeiture: but to show that I did not make that judgment for the sake of filthy lucre, I ordered it to be folded up, and sent it as a present to a widow gentlewoman who has five daughters; desiring she would make each of them a petticoat out of it, and send me back the remainder, which I design to cut into stomachers, caps, facings of my waistcoat-sleeves, and other garnitures suitable to my age and quality.
I would not be understood that, while I discard this monstrous invention, I am an enemy to the proper ornaments of the fair sex. On the contrary, as the hand of nature has poured on them such a profusion of charms and graces, and sent them into the world more amiable and finished than the rest of her works; so I would have them bestow upon themselves all the additional beauties that art can supply them with, provided it does not interfere with, disguise, or pervert those of nature. I consider woman as a beautiful romantic animal,