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finess goes forward with success. When the poor are to be relieved, the officers appointed to deal out public charity assemble and eat upon it: nor has it ever been known that they filled the bellies of the poor, till they had previously satisfied their own. But in the election of magistrates, the people seem to exceed all bounds; the merits of a candidate are often measured by the num. ber of his treats; his constitutents assemble, eat upon him, and lend their applause, not to his integrity or sense, but to the quantities of his beef and brandy.
And yet I could forgive this people their plentiful meals on this occasion, as it is extremely natural for every man to eat a great deal, when he gets it for nothing; but what amazes me most is, that all this good living no way contributes to improve their good humour. On the contrary, they seem to lose their temper as they lose their appetites ; every morsel .they swallow, and every glass they pour down, serves to increase their ani. mosity. Many an honest man, before as harmless as a tame rabbit, when loaded with a single election dinner, has become more dangerous than a charged culverin. Upon one of these occasions I have actually seen a bloody-minded man-milliner sally forth at the head of a mob, determined to face a desperate pastry-cook, who was general of the opposite party.
But you 'must not suppose they are without a pretext for thus beating each other: on the contrary, no man here is so uncivilized as to beat his neighbour without producing very fufficient reasons. One candidate, for inAtance, treats with gin, a spirit of their own manufacture; another always drinks brandy, imported from abroad. Brandy is a wholesome liquor; gin, a liquor wholly
their own. This then furnishes an obvious cause of quarrel ; whether it be most reasonable to get drunk with gin, or get drunk with brandy? The mob meet upon the debate; fight themselves fober; and then draw off to get drunk again, and charge for another encounter. So that the English may now properly be said to be engaged in war; since, while they are fubduing their enemies abroad, they are breaking each others heads at home.
I lately made an excursion to a neighbouring village, in order to be a spectator of the ceremonies practised upon this occasion. I left town in company with three fiddlers, nine dozen of hams, and a corporation poet, which were designed as reinforcements to the gin-drinking party. We entered the town with a very good face; the fiddlers, no way intimidated by the enemy, kept handling their arms up the principal street. By this prudent maneuvre, they took peaceable possession of their head quarters, amidst the shouts of multitudes, who seemed perfectly rejoiced at hearing their music but above all at seeing their bacon.
I must own I could not avoid being pleased to see all ranks of people, on this occasion levelled into an equality, and the poor, in some measure, enjoying the primitive privileges of nature. If there was any diftin&tion shewn, the lowest of the people seemed to receive it from the rich. I could perceive a cobler with a levee at his door, and a haberdasher.giving audience from behind his counter. But my reflections were soon interrupted by a mob, who demanded whether I was for the distillery or the brewery? As these were terms with which I was totally unacquainted, I chose at first to be filent; however, I know not what might have been the consequence of my reserve, had not the attention of the mob been called off to a skirmish between a brandy drinker's cow, and a gin drinker's mastiff, which turned out, greatly to the satis. faction of the mob, in favour of the mastiff.
This spectacle, which afforded high entertainment, was at last ended by the appearance of one of the candidates, who came to harangue the mob; he made a very pathetic speech upon the late excessive importation of foreign drams, and the downfal of the distillery ; I could see some of the audience shed tears. He was accompanied in his procession by Mrs. Deputy and Mrs. Mayoress. Mrs. Deputy was not in the least in liquor; and for Mrs. Mayoress, one of the spectators assured me in my ear, that,-she was a very fine woman before she had the small-pox. - Mixing with the crowd, I was now conducted to the hall where the magistrates are chosen ; but what tongue can describe this scene of confusion! the whole crowd seemed equally inspired with anger, jealousy, politics, patriotism, and punch: I remarked one figure that was carried up by two men upon this occasion. I at first be. gan to pity his infirmities as natural, but soon found the fellow so drunk that he could not stand. Another made his appearance to give his vote, but, though he could stand, he actually lost the use of his tongue, and re. mained silent, A third, who, though excessively drunk, could both stand and speak, being asked the candidate's name for whom he voted, could be prevailed upon to make no other answer but tobacco and brandy. In short, an election-hall seems to be a theatre, where every passion
is seen without disguise, a school, where fools may rea. dily become worse, and where philosophers may gather wisdom. Adieu.
FROM THE SAME.
I HE disputes among the learned here are now carried on in a much more compendious manner than formerly. There was a time when folio was brought to oppose folio, and a champion was often listed for life under the banners of a single forites. At present, the contro. versy is decided in a summary way; an epigram or an acrostic finishes the debate, and the combatant, like the incursive Tartar, advances, and retires with a single blow.
An important literary debate at present engrosses the attention of the town. It is carried on with sharpness, and a proper share of this epigramatical fury. An author, it seems, has taken an aversion to the faces of several players, and has written verses to prove his dislike; the players fall upon the author, and assure the town he must be dull, and their faces must be good because he wants a dinner; a critic comes 10 the poet's assistance, asserting that the verses were perfe&tly original, and so smart, that he could never have written them without the assistance of friends; the friends thus arraign the critic, and plainly prove the verses to be all the author's own. So at it they are, all four together by the ears, the friends i
at the critic, the critic at the players, the players at the author, and the author at the players again. It is imposfible to determine how this many-sided contest will end, or which party to adhere to. The town, without fiding with any, view the combat in suspense, like the fabled hero of antiquity, who beheld the earth-born brothers
give and receive mutual wounds, and fall by indiscri: minate destruction.
This is, in some measure, a state of the present dispute; but the combatants here differ in one respeĉt from the champions of the fable. Every new wound only gives vigor for another blow; though they appear to strike, they are in fact mutually swelling themselves into consideration, and thus advertising each other into fame. To-day, says one, my name shall be in the gazette; the next day my rival's; people will naturally enquire about us ; thus we shall at least make a noise in the street, though we have nothing to sell. I have read of a dispute of a similar nature, which was managed here about twenty years ago. Hildebrand Jacob, as I think he was called, and Charles Johnson were poets, both at that time possessed of great reputation ; for Johnson had written eleven plays, acted with great success, and Jacob, though he had written but five, had five times thanked the town for their unmeritted applause. They soon became mutually enamoured of each other's talents; they wrote, they felt, they challenged the town for each other. Johnson assured the public, that no poet alive had the easy simplicity of Jacob, and Jacob exhibited Johnson as a master-piece in the pathetic. Their mutual praise was not without effect, the town saw their plays, were in rapture, read, and, without censuring them, forgot them. So for