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Title: The Scribbler 1822-05-02 Volume 1, Issue 45

Date of first publication: 1822

Author: Samuel Hull Wilcocke (1766-1833) (Editor)

Date first posted: Feb. 17, 2020

Date last updated: Feb. 17, 2020

Faded Page eBook #20200230

This eBook was produced by: Cindy Beyer & the online Distributed Proofreaders Canada team at https://www.pgdpcanada.net


Montreal. Thursday, 2d May, 1822. No. XLV.

Nescio quo nomine id vocem, hominem ne, an canem, an lupum, an taurum, an serpentem, an draconem, an chimeram. In cunctas enim bestias, ab illis sapientiæ studiosis, commutor, terrestres, aquatiles, volucres, multiformes, agrestes, mutas, vocales, brutas, ratione munitas.


I know not by what names to call them, men or dogs, or wolves, or bulls, or snakes, or dragons, or chimeras. They are changed by the fancies of the learned into all kinds of animals, terrestrial, aquatic, aerial, multiform, gregarious, dumb, noisy, endowed with reason, or destitute even of instinct.

Indigna digna habenda sunt Herus quæ facit.


Crimes which the rich commit are virtues deem’d.


My intelligent Quebec correspondent, the commencement of whose labours appeared in No. XLIV. proceeds thus:

I am the more pleased with the opportunity your paper affords, for correcting the follies and exposing the foibles that prevail with us, as the dull and fearful editors of this place[1] publish nothing but old news, vapid sonnets to imaginary maids, pointless epigrams, and elegies whose only merit consists in raising a laugh, at the expence of the author.

As I have already hinted, a prominent characteristic of Quebec haut ton is the affectation, or the possession, of vulgarity of manners, and an imitation of the habits and language of the stable and the kitchen; and so wonderfully correct is the imitation that you would think it had been “all in all their study.” Here colonels usurp the driver’s place on the box, and captains and lieutenants exclude grooms and guards, whilst the originals stand grinning in the street at the rapid metamorphosis. You are surprised by a fashionable beau in the costume of a jockey, and a stranger would wonder at the familiarity with which the gentle Belles talk to those who seem well dressed servants, and who have the well known vulgar airs of one who is a Dun and a clerk. Whilst fingering the ribbons, (I descend to what they themselves call slang,) they drop the reins of government over their own conduct, and in proportion as they guide their horses with the perfect art of a coachman, they display equal deficiency in the manners of a gentleman. This mania goes so far with some as to make them forget all serious business, and to exclude all rational amusement; and it has been observed of one that if he had bestowed half the attention to the law, which he did to the marshalling of his horses, he would be an honour to himself, and the state would have an useful instead of an inattentive officer. Another peculiarity in the society of Quebec is the decided lead which the sons of Mars are allowed to take, for without a red coat no one can hope to succeed, and indeed its influence is so great that one is apt to think the fair are here all true descendants of the goddess of Cythera, from the attachment they shew to the gallant youths of war. But courage, the common attribute of a soldier, is not so much esteemed as the “swashing and martial outside.” I have now under my eye a noisy, boisterous, soldier, who is here of great resort and good repute, and, who when he saw the hour of danger was at hand, chose rather to trust to the swiftness of his legs than to the courage of his heart, and like a dunghill cock (he ought to burn for shame at the recollection) preferred Montreal to the field of Chrystler. Let his descendants in commemoration of their ancestor’s fame write on their shield Vigilans et Inaudax; vigilant and cowardly; a small alteration from the family motto.

Should you think from these general outlines, that when they come to be more particularly and separately discussed, the characters will afford proper materials for your essays, I will with pleasure continue my remarks, and have indeed not a very small budget whence I can draw supplies.

I am Sir, your obedient servant,


[1] On this occasion, it is well to remark that the letter I sent to the Editor of the Quebec Mercury in reply to an attack upon the Scribbler that appeared in that paper, has received no other notice forsooth, than that “it has been perused with attention.” Its substance was, to state in answer to D. H. (who felt mightily offended that the reverend Dr. Harkforward had been held up to deserved ridicule,) the second of the thirteen reasons which alleged in No. 33 I had for altering my plan as regarded the exclusion of personal satire, and to inform him I was ready with a third, a fourth, a fifth reason, and so on to the thirteenth, every time I was called upon.      L. L. M.

“And who is this, his coat bedeck’d with lace,

True blue the colour, but how out of place?

A dabbler he in doggerel, and hath writ

Satire devoid of point, still more of wit,

Where tiny truths with weighty falsehoods blend;

A fawning sycophant, and faithless friend.”

          Canadian Courant. Feb. 1819.

Inter quadrupedes gloria prima lepus.   Martial.


Amongst all quadrupeds the hare claims highest rank.


Montreal, March 1822.

Mr. Scribbler,

Permit me to recommend to your notice, for the information of his illustrious friends and associates whilst in this city, amongst whom stood conspicuous the principal men of the “copartnery to do the devil’s business without mentioning his name in the firm,” the all important Mr. Commissary Tailor of Hare-hatch, a hamlet situated between Maidenhead and Reading, in England, who is now performing at Quebec as an amateur with unbounded applause.[2] You have no doubt heard of the urbanity of this chip of the new nobility, who, on account of his noble blood, (part of which, it is whispered, he has occasionally lost by accidentally pricking his finger with a genuine white-chapel,) scorned the idea of treating with vulgar civility any body below the rank amongst which he aspired to move. Anecdotes of the eccentric habits of illustrious characters can not fail to be amusing to your readers, and you may rely the following are genuine. He has been known, with the assistance of a fair cousin, to mount the table, and with his legs in appropriate position, make up his own theatrical dresses, and occasionally do any little jobs his wardrobe might require. On these occasions he was particularly careful in locking the door, fearing he should be discovered in his elegant amusements, but unfortunately he once neglected to take this necessary precaution, and his servant entered the sanctum quite unexpectedly. The surprise both of master and man may easily be conceived, but the former soon hit upon an expedient for securing the servant’s secrecy; being accustomed to oaths, he called for his bible, and in due form bound the man never to divulge the secret, but he, happening soon afterwards to marry, and considering that man and wife are one, thought it no harm to share it with his moiety, and so it was no wonder that the cat is let out of the bag. When Mr. Tailor removed from Montreal to Quebec, his amazing fondness for cabbage induced him to take a large stock with him, fearing he should not be able to procure sufficient supply there; but the cabbage turning sour upon his stomach, he returned it to Montreal, lest it should prove dangerous to his constitution.


[2] It is said that it is from the two places just named he derived his proneness to gallantry, and his ambition of shining in literature.

Quebec, Upper-Town, 9th April.

Mr. Scribbler,

The grand agricultural and cattle show and fair, of to-day, attracted crowds. The distinguished brutes of Quebec that were to be bought and sold appeared with their prices affixed, and with their several qualities set forth; and this was the most remarkable fair that has been known in this quarter of the globe. The swine stood first in point of numbers and of size; the air of this city being so congenial to their nature that they could claim kindred in all its quarters. An enormous pig that rivalled even the corpulent Mr. Mancolt stood first. The next specimen was produced by a Judge, and there was no fault to be found with her, for in spite of her dirty condition she had brought up a fine litter of pigs. The third was ready for any body’s knife, of Irish breed, and imported by one of the few emigrants from the Emerald Isle that have improved their condition here. But it is needless to enumerate the varieties of this animal, they so glutted the market that it reminded me of the old ditty I heard in my childhood;

“A long tail’d pig, and a short tail’d pig,

And a pig without e’er a tail.”

The horses were few in number and bad in condition; the one that obtained most notice was a spavined half-bred dun; he would not have been much noticed had it not been for a string of bells which hung round his neck, and which were known all over the town by their eternal clatter. A large Devonshire bull came next of a motley hide, but his head was too large, and his legs too long to deserve a premium. There was also a mountain-goat, with the usual wildness of his species; and amongst the other varieties there was an ass, perceived by all, bedecked with a golden flower, laden with firkins of butter and well ridden by a blooming city-dame. There was one pretty sample of sweet hay, but the other hay was sour and musty stuff; the only consolation we had for the exhibition of so bad a commodity was that it was well mauled. Wood also was there, with which, though faulty and hollow, it is intended to make a good blaze in boiling some of George King’s pork; but some good forest-timber met its reward by gaining the prize as being sound. In the midst of the show, a cock attracted notice by crowing loudly on the pillory stand in the market place: It was the general opinion that he would have made a better capon, as he was not worth much as a cock, a reward having been in vain offered for the first of his breed: his hen was the most disconsolate bird in the market, neither full in feathers nor in flesh. There was a noisy starling brought to the show by a well grown porter, but no price was offered. Amongst the manufacturers a tailor exhibited a new sort of green baize that he had had made on speculation for those who might have a well frequented billiard-table: This gentleman also brought a flock of what he called swans, but they all proved to be geese; and he got a rebuff, remembered his cue, and went off. There was Harvey’s sauce which was acid and had lost its flavour by change of climate which proved that it was not genuine. The salmon to this sauce, though taken from the lakes had lost its colour. Carding mills were shewn that were best set in motion by ardent spirits; also rye was put in for a prize, but proved ergotted from the land on which it was grown. A number of sheep were produced, some of which were fine and fleecy, and others rotten. These formed the principal exhibitions of the day, which was closed, according to ancient custom, by a dance round the hawthorn to the tune of “the mucking of George’s byre.”

I am, Sir, Your humble servant,

The Reporter to the Agricultural Society.

The following account, in the real Grub-street style, of a late squall in the N. W. lower regions, has been sent to me by my friend Tom Bowling.

When Hurlothrumbo lock’d the cupboard-door,

And beef and pudding graced the shelf no more,

Oh! how the little foot-boy stamp’d and swore,

And kicked his heels against the kitchen-floor.


Cook Sally bit her lips and nothing said;

But James the coachman scratch’d his chuckle-head,

Swearing he’d give ’em all a damn’d good rub,

And know the reason why they stopp’d the grub.


Beau Billy swore he never would go up,

Without they’d let him on potatoes sup,

And if he had not choc’late every morning,

He’d quit the counting-house, and ne’er give warning.


When lady Loverule heard this dreadful row,

She quick descended to the realms below,

To learn the reason why such din was made;

When Sally cook replied, not much afraid,


You know my lady that we once had plenty,

Of prog of all kinds, now and then a dainty,

But since the cursed union has been made,

Goddamnhim means to starve us we’re afraid.


We know, him, Sally, he’s a horrid dog;

I wish him drown’d in some deep filthy bog;

And to say truth, to him we’ve been too civil;

Meaning to hold a candle to the devil.[3]


But bring an ax, my lady loudly call’d;

Fetch the crow-bar, maid Sally stoutly bawl’d;

When with one blow my lady split the door,

And beef and pudding graced the shelf once more.

[3] A stanza is here omitted, which Mr. Bowling must excuse, as, tho’ it is perfectly apropos as to Lord Goddamnhim and his evil propensities, is too gross to put into the mouth of his aunt.

L. L. Macculloh, Esq.

Sir,—A writer in one of your late numbers who signed himself Crossmyloof, complains of the want of attention to real worth in this good city, if it does not appear clothed in the garb of riches. His remarks are but too well founded. Is it not a lamentable fact that wealth, in whatever way acquired, whether thro’ honest industry and laudable enterprise, or by the baser methods of artifice and deceit, is the only requisite for attaining eminence and consideration in society here? The possessor of riches is courted and sought after by all; whatever he says or does is applauded, and if at any time his remarks approach the standard of common sense, he is looked up to as a prodigy of learning and judgement, and becomes “one of the ornaments of human nature and blessings to society.” If, on the other hand, as is oftener the case, his conversation abounds in gross vulgarity, oversteps the boundaries of decency and decorum, and is replete with oaths and blasphemy, he is a privileged character, and no notice is taken of what in another would be reprobated, and resented; nay, ladies of the nicest feelings, of unsullied characters, and who otherwise are good judges of propriety of behaviour, can listen to such language without blushing and even laugh at it, because,—it is his way, and he is a rich man. But these are not all the privileges that riches procure; does it not enable the possessor to lord it over his less fortunate neighbours, to crush and oppress those against whom he may entertain animosity—has it not on many occasions restrained the arm of justice, and on others added weight to the heavy hand of the law; nay if we are to believe the protestations of some men, will it not purchase even the joys of heaven.



Much postponed. Flora will have a place. Sappho will oblige the editor for an address to which he may direct a reply to her favour of the 27th.


Misspelled words and printer errors have been corrected. Where multiple spellings occur, majority use has been employed.

Punctuation has been maintained except where obvious printer errors occur.


[The end of The Scribbler 1822-05-02 Volume 1, Issue 45 edited by Samuel Hull Wilcocke]