Page images
PDF
EPUB

farthing candle I paid for? Did you not come before your time into dirty sheets of brown paper? And have not I clothed you in double royal, lodged you handsomely on decent shelves, laced your backs with gold, equipped you with splendid titles, and sent you into the world with the names of persons of quality ? Must I be always plagued with you? Why flutter ye your leaves and flap your covers at me? Damn ye all, ye wolves in sheeps cloathing ; rags ye were, and to rags ye shall return. Why hold you forth your texts to me, ye paltry sermons? Why cry ye,-at every word to me, ye bawdy poems? - To my shop at Tunbridge ye shall go, by Ğ-, and thence be drawn like the rest of your predecessors, bit by bit, to the passagehouse; for in this present emotion of my bowels, how do I compassionate those who have great need.

Having said this he abated of his fury, and with great gravity applied the unfinished sheets of the conduct of the Earl of Nottingham. '

A strange but true RELATION how Mr. Ed

MUND CURLl, of Fleet-street, Stationer, out of an extraordinary Desire of Lucre, went into 'Change-alley, and was converted from the Christian Religion by certain eminent Jews; and how he was circumcised, and initiated into

their Mysteries. A VARICE (as Sir Richard, in the third page of

his Essays, hath elegantly observed) is an inordinate impulse of the soul towards the amassing or heaping together a superfluity of wealth, without the least regard of applying it to its proper uses.

And how the mind of man is possessed with this vice, may be seen every day both in the city and the suburbs thereof. It has been always esteemed by Plato, Puffendorff, and Socrates, as the darling vice of old age : but now our young men are turned usurers and stockjobbers; and, instead of lusting after the real wives and daughters of our rich citizens, they covet nothing but their money and estates. Strange change of vice! when the concupiscence of youth is converted into the covetousness of age, and those appetites are now become VENAL, which should be VENEREAL.

In the first place, let us shew you how many of the ancient worthies and heroes of antiquity have been undone and ruined by this deadly sin of avarice.

I shall take the liberty to begin with Brutus, that noble Roman. Does not Ætian inform us, that he received fifty broad pieces for the assassination of that renowned Emperor Julus Cæsar, who fell a sacrifice to the Jews, as Sir Edmund Bury Godfrey did to the Papists?

Did not Themistocles let in the Goths and Vandals into Carthage for a sum of money, whereby they barbarously put out the other eye of the famous Hannibal ? as Herodotus hath it in his ninth book upon the Roman medals..

Even the great Cato (as the late Mr. Addison hath very well observed), though otherwise a gentleman of good sense, was not unsullied by this pecuniary contagion; for he sold Athens to Artaxerxes Longimanus for a hundred rix-dollars, which in our money will amount to two talents and thirty sestertii, according to Mr.Demoivre's calculation. See Hesiod in his seventh chapter of Feasts and Festivals.

Actuated by the same diabolical spirit of gain, Sylla the Roman Consul shot Alcibiades the Senator with a pistol, and robbed him of several bank-bills and 'chequer-notes to an immense value; for which he came to an untimely end, and was denied Christian burial. Hence comes the proverb, Indicat in Syllam.

To come near to our own times, and give you one modern instance, though well known, and often quoted by historians, viz. Echard, Dionysus Halicarnasseus, Virgil, Horace, and others: It is that, I mean, of the famous Godfrey of Bulloigne, one of the great heroes of the holy war, who robbed Cleopatra Queen of Egypt of a diamond necklace, ear-rings, and a Tompion's gold watch (which was given her by Mark Anthony); all these things were found in Godfrey's breeches pocket, when he was killed at the siege of Damascus.

Who then can wonder, after so many great and illustrious examples, that Mr. Edmund Curll the stationer should renounce the Christian religion for the Mammon of unrighteousness, and barter his precious faith for the filthy prospect of lucre in the present fluctuation of stocks?

It having been observed to Mr. Curll, by some of his ingenious authors, (who I fear are not over-charged

with any religion, what immense sums the Jews had got by bubbles a, &c. he immediately turned his mind from the business, in which he was educated, but thrived little, and resolved to quit his shop for 'Change-alley. Whereupon falling into company with the Jews at their club at the sign of the Cross in Corn. hill, they began to tamper with him upon the most important points of the Christian faith, which he for some time zealously, and like a good Christian, obstinately defended. They promised him Paradise, and many other advantages hereafter; but he artfully insinuated, that he was more inclinable to listen to present gain. They took the hint, and promised him, that immediately upon his conversion to their persuasion he should become as rich as a Jew.

They made use likewise of several other arguments; to wit,

That the wisest man that ever was, and inasmuch the richest, beyond all peradventure was a Jew, videlicet, Solomon.

That David, the man after God's own heart, was a Jew also. And most of the children of Israel are suspected for holding the same doctrine.

This Mr. Curll at first strenuously denied; for indeed he thought them Roman Catholics, and so far was he from giving way to their temptations, that to convince them of his Christianity he called for a pork grisking.

They now promised, if he would poison his wife, and give up his grisking, that he should marry the rich Ben Meymon's only daughter. This made some impression on him.

a Bubble was a name given to all extravagant projects, for which subscriptions were raised, and negociated at vast premiums in 'Change-alley, in the year 1720. A name which alluded to their production by the ferment of the South-sea, and not to their splendor, emptiness, and inutility; for it did not become a name of reproach in this case, till time completed the metaphor and the bubble broke.

They then talked to him in the Hebrew tongue, which he not understanding, it was observed, had very great weight with him.

They now, perceiving that his godliness was only gain, desisted from all other arguments, and attacked him on his weak side, namely, that of avarice.

Upon which John Mendez offered him an eighth of an advantageous bargain for the apostles creed, which he readily and wickedly renounced.

He then sold the nine and thirty articles for a bull"; but insisted hard upon black puddings, being a great lover thereof.

Joshua Pereira engaged to let him share with him in his bottomrye; upon this he was persuaded out of his Christian name; but he still adhered to black puddings.

Sir Gideon Lopez tempted him with forty pound subscription in Ram's bubble; for which he was content to give up the four evangelists, and he was now completed a perfect Jew, all but black pudding and circumcision; for both of which he would have been glad to have had a dispensation.

But on the 17th of March, Mr. Curll (unknown to his wife) came to the tavern aforesaid. · At his entrance into the room he perceived a meagre man, with a sallow countenance, a black forky beard, and long vestment. In his right hand he held a large

[ocr errors]

6 Bulls and bears. He who sells that of which he is not possessed, is proverbially said to sell the skin before he has caught the bear. It was the practice of stockjobbers in the year 1720, to enter into contract for transferring S. S. stock at a future time for a certain price; but he who contracted to sell had frequently no stock tu transfer, nor did he who bought intend to receive any in consequence of his bargain; the seller was therefore called a bear, in allusion to the proverb; and the buyer a bull, perhaps only as a similar distinction. The contract was merely a wager to be determined by the rise or fall of stock; if it rose, the seller paid the difference to the buyer proportioned to the sum determined by the same computation to the seller.

« PreviousContinue »