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Title: The Scribbler 1822-08-15 Volume 2, Issue 59

Date of first publication: 1822

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

Date first posted: Oct. 6, 2021

Date last updated: Oct. 6, 2021

Faded Page eBook #20211005

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


Vol. II.]Montreal, Thursday, 15th August, 1822.[No. 59.


Pretermittam minora omnia.——Nihil dicam nisi singulare, nisi quod in alium rerum diceretur, incradible videretur.      Cicero.

I omit a number of other things. I descant on nothing but what is singular in itself, and which would, if it were related of other persons and places be considered as incredible.

Inde in ferriterium.      Plautus.


Hence let us hie to prison.

Plus toga lsaere Rempublicam, quam lorice.


The demagogues of law, and wranglings of the bar,

Injure the State much more than Soldiers, or than war.


Supplement to the


Record of Justice!!!

Weakly Sessions.  The Hon. Mrs. Slipslop MacRope, Presidentess.

Jack Severe, vs. Billy Pelt.  This was an information against the defendant for driving his horse beyond a moderate trot in the streets of Mount Royal. The prosecutor (who was the informer, and between whom and Billy there had been a quarrel just before) swore positively to the fact. Three other witnesses however (amongst whom was Dick Hard, the police jackall, and who would not in this instance have share of the penalty,) swore the contrary way, and that Billy was not going at more than a moderate trot. Notwithstanding this contradiction, the scales of justice did not long remain suspended, for the Honourable the Presidentess, with that discernment, and impartiality, for which her decisions are so remarkable, reflecting too that Billy not being in her own good graces, and that it is the duty of all magistrates to carry with them to the bench, their private piques and resentments, forthwith condemned him in the penalty imposed upon such offences, most wisely, and à la MacRope, observing that since one witness had sworn positively against him, the other testimony, let it be ever so positive, could not be believed. To which sentiment the barber’s block on her left hand gave an assenting nod, and the affair concluded; to the great satisfaction of those who have to make out the bill of costs, of which we are promised a copy, and which will no doubt shew the extreme moderation and strict equity displayed in all that relates to this most august and most immaculate court.

Eight condemned criminals confined in the bastile, who had been respited to the 21st ultimo, were most humanely, and with the most laudable view to the welfare of their souls, suffered to endure the agonies of suspense, without any notice being taken of them by the highest authority.—Fortunately for them that day happened to be Sunday, and the Sheriff judiciously and properly interpreting the silence of the executive as an intention of further respite, availed of that circumstance not to execute them. We do not know which most to admire, the foresight and accuracy of the counsellors who advised Sunday to be fixed on for an execution-day, or the vigilance and attention exercised in letting the matter take its course, so that the poor fellows might swing or not, just as chance directed.[1]

[1] Mr. Gossip should not, I think, have treated this subject in a ludicrous point of view, considering the awful questions at stake, though I confess the inexcusable inattention on the part of government in this instance, derives every kind of reprehension. Had it not been Sunday, and had it not been for the manly humanity of the Sheriff (whom I gladly take this opportunity to praise, having otherwise so little occasion to speak in his favour) the poor fellows must have been launched into eternity with their pardons perhaps in the breeches-pocket of some dandy-officer. There is no doubt but that they can not legally now be either executed, or any how otherwise punished.

L. L. M.

Mr. Editor,

There is a young man generally attends the Roman Catholic chapel, with the troops of that persuasion, green coats, who is remarkable for the little notice he takes of the young females about him, and his devout attention to the priest and service. He never winks, nor nods, nor makes motions to the girls, nor pays his chief devotions to them, as has been calumniously reported of him. Nor does he watch at the chapel door, till the whole congregation is departed in order to leer at the pretty ancles of the maidens. This is certainly a great disappointment to many young ladies, for they do, from the bottom of pretty little hearts, like to be stared at and flowed by military beaux. I am informed too, Mr. Gossip, that this gentleman never stares in a window when he sees a female, nor passes and repasses above a dozen times, in order to catch a glance, or attract notice. He never, like others of the regiment, follows ladies in the street, nor turns round upon passing them to view them from top to toe; nor when he thinks he perceives a look of encouragement, does he address them. In short, sir, he is a very pattern for all the young officers to copy from, and in order that his example may be more generally followed, and his behaviour more admired, I give you the following description of him. In spinning street-yarn, he looks so much at the roofs of the houses that he might be taken for a slater, longing for a job, but finding none from the prevalence of tin and shingle-roofs; About six feet high and as slender as a maypole, his nose is not of the smallest size, and he has a chin to match, between which he generally carries an open mouth of no ordinary dimensions: the gentleman is otherwise passable enough, and many people, amongst whom is himself, think him handsome. In publishing this, Mr. Editor, you will oblige

A Subscriber to your paper.


         Flora to Edwin.


Say Edwin, why so cold thy heart?

  Sure it was never form’d for love,

Or thou wouldst not so soon depart,

  And leave me thus forlorn to rove.


How couldst thou tell me that thy mind

  Would never, never, rove astray,

Then prove ungrateful and unkind,

  And leave me for a nymph more gay.


Seest thou the tulip of the morn,

  Exposed to every wind that blows

And how the cruel, beating, storm

  Will waste the beauty of the rose?


’Tis thus the helpless female lives,

  Exposed to every wile and snare;

And thus vile man her hopes deceives,

  And leaves her wretched, in despair.


But Edwin, let thy heart relent;

  Deceive not her thou dost not love;

If thou on wedlock art intent,

  Let not thy fancy wildly rove.

Dr. Dash, begs to inform the public that he has reduced the engendering of puppies to a system, and flatters himself that its benefits may be extended to the human race, both in the generating and healing arts. Information given gratis to those who wish it, at the sign of


Loveletter from a Schoolmaster.

Dear madam,

If there be yet no preposition towards a conjunction with you, be pleased to accept of this interjection of my pretences, for I desire to be adjective to you in all cases; and positively I declare that, comparatively speaking, I shall be superlatively happy, might I conjugate with you in all moods and tenses; I hope you will not think me so singular as not to desire to have the plural number in my family, or that I am so masculine as to be neuter with regard to the feminine; wherefore, dear madam, let us have our affections in common of two. Do not decline this conjugation, tho’ I am not the first person, nor the second, nor the third, that has solicited you to be subjunctive to his love. I presume you will not be in the imperative whilst I pass from the optative to the potential, and that you will permit me to be a conjunctive copulative with you; this will make a participle of happiness, if you please actively to give your voice to be passive therein. Be you but supine, and I’ll be deponent. My nominative shall be yours, my whole income shall be dative to you for the present, nothing shall be accusative against you for the future, and your dear name shall ever be my vocative, till death the great ablative of all things, part us.

The arrangement which was made soon after the arrival of Mr. Foresight, between him and Lord Goddamnhim deserves every encomium. His lordship having always a fine stud of horses, (which, however, he very seldom indeed uses for the saddle, being a true and excellent Gambado horseman) offered Mr. F. to lend him his prancers to draw his carriage, if, in return, the carriage might be at his service, whenever he felt inclined for a promenade en carosse. Thus, with very laudable economy, have these two poor men contrived to save each other considerable expense. That Mr. F. should have lent himself to such an understanding, seems rather surprising; but as for Lord G. nothing can be too mean for him; and as he probably finds Mount Royal is getting rather too hot for him, he may contemplate returning to his native bleak and barren hills, with as much wealth as he can carry off (raised principally, if not entirely, out of embezzled funds of other people) and which his profligacy and debauchery may have left.

The “Junto for gulling the public” have at length succeeded in hoodwinking the Imperial government, so that they have obtained a charter for the nuisance they set on foot about five years ago, which they pretended was a Bank for the accommodation of the public. How comes it that this Junto have been more favoured than the others of the same nature that were established about the same time?

Lost, Near the Grey Nunnery about two months ago, A KEY to the Scribbler: whoever has found it, is advised to keep it with extreme care, as after a few years it will become a valuable legacy to bequeath to any of her relations, or it may be returned to the right owner, who the finder will know by the locksmith’s mark.

Printed and published by Dicky Gossip, at the sign

of the Tea-table.

Chambly, 23d July 1822.

Mr. Macculloh,

On Friday last we were agreeably surprised by a visit from the Countess of Northland. Unfortunately, the guns being out of order, no salute was fired on the occasion; but a round of entertainments have since been kept up, amongst the nobles, for the amusement of her ladyship. This day it was proposed, for the purpose of varying the scene, to have a Pic Nic; on which occasion, in imitation of your highly renowned Pic Nics, none but the nobility were admitted. Accordingly about eight o’clock we saw the party proceeding in the following order. Sir Simon Millstone, the young master, and misses Millstone, attended by a domestic in state-livery, carrying a basket with their portion of the feast. Next was the redoubted Captain Skulk (who, by the bye, pokes his red nose, by hook or by crook, into every body’s dish, but never gives to others a like opportunity to do so to his,) supported by his fair disconsolate, having a ridicule[2] stuffed with ration-bones picked. Then we heard general Fleabite (with his delicate consort) floundering along like a lame duck in a puddle, watching Tom for fear he should purloin a bottle of rum out of the basket, and calling out to know whether his friend Sir Simon had gone on. Dr. Great-gun next made his appearance, and cut no small swell. My lord and lady Hatchet, saw from their stoop,[3] their noble friends had all proceeded, now ascended the state-coach, which had first landed their guest lady Northland; and went by a different route to meet the party on the opposite side of the river, followed by a numerous concourse of invisibles who partook of the novelty of the scene. The gents of this place, on this occasion, expressed much dissatisfaction at not being of the party, and some were rude enough to mutter something about a beggar, a horse, and a devil. Amongst these we observed Honesty Hooper, Old Bellow, who regretted much Miss Jack’s not having it in her power to go as she was not invited, and that Miss Sensitive (let her rest in peace) could not attend, being in the city. Lord Have-mercy, Old Bluebottle, alias Shylock, Dr. Jalap, the Hon. Col. Thunder, &c. &c. &c. all mutually agreed, by and with the advice and consent of Swadling Dick to have a fête champêtre, and not invite one of the nobles. Of this Mr. Scrib, when it takes place, you shall have due notice from yours &c.

Baron Harpax.

[2] The attempt to derive this substitute for a pocket, from a latin root, and therefore to spell it reticule, when it has obviously received its name from the ridicule with which its first introduction was greeted amongst the Parisian petits maitres and petites maitresses, puts me in mind of the explanation given by a tutor to one of the dauphins of France of the cognomen of one of his ancestors, Louis le Gros. Gros being, as the learned gentleman said anciently used in the same tense as Grand, the other being too gross an epithet to attach to any of the progenitors of his illustrious pupil—Query: will the present French nation acquiesce in this interpretation of Louis le Gros?

[3] Stoop is an original Dutch word, Stoep, and meant any projecting part in front of the streetdoor of any dwellinghouse, but mostly applied to what we should call porticoes, galleries, or virandas. It is universally used through the middle and eastern States of America in that sense; but scarcely ever in Canada, where it will hardly be understood, and not at all by mere English readers without this explanation.

L. L. M.

For the Scribbler.

The Prisoner’s Soliloquy while in confinement.


    And here have they bound me,

    With damp walls around me?

And here must I languish, and languish alone?

    A crust but to dine on,—

    Not straw to recline on,—

No bed but the earth, and no chair but a stone?


    O! why was I plunged in

    This dark gloomy dungeon?

Why loaded with chains on my feet and my hands?

    These hoarse grating portals

    Shut me from all mortals—

Alas! I’ve no hope—’t is a tyrant’s commands.

No friend is admitted,

    However I’m pitied;

Not even the wife of my bosom I see:

    She might weep beside me,

    But that is denied me—

All shadow of comfort is taken from me.


    How fickle is fortune!

    How soon she cuts short one!

I once was as happy as mortal could be;

    My parents they bless’d me,

    My friends they caress’d me—

But, ah! recollection—how painful to me!


    My smiling babes round me,

    How sweet their arms bound me,

How lovely they welcomed me when I came home!

    But now, who befriends them?

    But now, who defends them?

Or who provides for them? Alas! there is none.


    My fields may all bloom, and

    Emit their perfume, and

The music of morning may break from the thorn;

    My flocks they may ramble,

    And o’er the meads gambol;

But I am distracted, distress’d, and forlorn.


    The gush of the fountain

    That breaks from the mountain,

And spreads, slowly winding, my pastures around,

    Which gave me enjoyment,

    And found me employment,

Now rises to view but my feelings to wound.


    Bright Phœbus may rise, and

    Illumine the skies, and

The seasons may roll o’er, and roll o’er again;

    I’ve nought for each morrow

    To bring me but sorrow—

Alas! how reflection increases my pain.


    My heart and breast languish,

    My soul burns with anguish;

Around my dark mansion distracted I stare:

    My reason’s perverted;

Kind hope has deserted,

And left me a prey to black, howling, despair.


Port Talbot, U. C.

Quebec, July 30, 1822.

“The first thing we do let us kill all the lawyers.”



“Crack the lawyer’s voice, that he may never more false title plead.”


Sir, Leaving for a time the light and airy circles of fashion, I will visit a grave and sober race, who so often attract our attention as with solemn pace, thoughtful countenances, and ponderous tomes that proclaim the man of learning, they march attended by a spruce dapper clerk, from their stage of quibble and of railing to their own dark and dingy habitations. To count this tribe of “black lettered fowl,” would be as difficult as to estimate the moments that have been lost, in listening to their tedious and disjointed harangues: each dark nook sends forth its little horde, and were they mustered in the place d’armes, they would amount to a regiment; and should they be able to make as destructive attacks on an enemy’s country as they do daily on common sense, they would prove themselves the most dangerous body of men in His Majesty’s service. With minds bound in the trammels of their profession, guided in every thing by authority, at a distance from all liberal science, they judge of men by books, and know little of either; presumptuous because ignorant, they freely decide on questions, that Newton or Locke would have approached with awe and spoken of with diffidence; the names of great men are as “familiar in their mouths as household words” of whose writings indeed they have only heard; some few have seen the title pages of the works they mention so freely, but far the greater number judge by report. These men have so great an opinion of themselves, that I suppose they have never dreamed of being spoken of by Tom Brown; before long I shall be thundered at by some heated and self elected champion of the cause, who describing the monstrous abuse that has been suffered to remain so long, and fulminating against those who support it, will at the end of the prosy epistle with pretensions equal “to the brute with long ears,” when he boldly assumed the lion’s hide modestly subscribe himself, Lucius or Scævola[4]

“Thou wear a Lion’s hide! doff it for shame

And hang a calf’s skin on those recreant limbs.”

The leader of this august band is a General by rank; the silk gown decorates his broad shoulders, and he looks a pillar fit to prop a falling state—he is an importation from a sister colony, who wished to astonish us by this giant specimen of her sons, but nature alas! has made the intellectual inhabitant of this bulky body of such disproportionable dimensions that it is bewildered in its vast dwelling place, unable to communicate a ray of soul to the heavy countenance that surrounds it, the unhappy sufferer is condemned to wander over a barren waste obscured by fogs and darkness. I am obliged to pass lightly over this gentleman when I consider the character of his swarthy supporter. Compared to him he appears all goodness, and to much intellect neither can aspire. This last is one who could shed a tear for the misfortunes of his client, and take the poor man’s silver teapot for the payment of his dirty fee. Stealing along in the dark night with his legal plunder hidden beneath his cloak, he seemed the counterpart of him

“That from the shelf the precious diadem stole

And put it in his pocket.”

“He with a robber’s haste steals his rich thievery up” & skulks away to bestow it with the rest of his spoils. We may from this, estimate his compassion, and be convinced that he has a ready tear for their misfortunes, who have silver teapot for his fee.

But who is this that “like the croaking raven doth bellow forth revenge,” to whom so many listen anxiously, and who appears the oracle of a junior tribe. I well remember how I was on the tiptoe of expectation when I first heard the learned counsel; there was a sort of buzz that always attends a favourite speaker. And I hoped some reward for the patience with which I had listened to their empty nonsense and noisy dispute. I had at the time I am now speaking of, some foolish ideas, (though I learned them, I believe, from Quinctilian) concerning grace of action and attitude, as well as of grace of delivery; but this is here considered as exploded nonsense, and of no use whatever to an orator, however I was not then enlightened by Canadian learning, and was therefore surprised by the attitude of the speaker; the watch-chain, the gown slipping off the shoulders, a broken quill, a piece of paper, seemed all of infinite importance, now twirling the one, now twitching this, and now tearing the other, gave an inexpressible charm to the whole figure; the uplifted and open hand, like an axe often falling with heavy stroke on the unoffending desk, added not a little to its grace and dignity; but in all this I could find no similitude to the action of Tully

“Gathering his flowing robe, he seemed to stand

In act to speak and graceful stretch’d his hand.”

Still I remained in hopes of being instructed, if not amused; it happened to be a case of much interest, and there was room for pathos and irony, the orator I believe attempted both, but I was not well able to distinguish one from the other. At first he seemed much in the situation of a dumb man, feeling some passion that he was unable to communicate, he strained for expression but the hard bound brain could not supply it and when at length he found a word, the tongue remained using it like a continued note in music, filling up the time, while the brain was gone in search of another; the attempted sarcasm, the strained and uncomprehensible metaphor were brought in to aid the orator, but they served only to retard his progress, and place him in the situation of the aged Priam whose javelin fell short of the mark on account of the weakness and impotence of the hand that launched it. Disappointed, I was now fully satisfied that I should have no amusement, and very little instruction: I asked, however, the name of this Canadian Cicero, and was told that he bears the name of an unhappy race of our kings. “But see the chield that has just banged up” (said the person with whom I had entered into conversation) “he now, is one of acknowledged talent, but there are some things in him that I would see mended, he has an end in his public conduct and no decency in his private life—if you will listen to him a few moments you will find him fluent, clear and sometimes witty, he has more liberality of thought and a greater range of ideas than any of his tribe: but yet there is something wanting, he is like a cuirass of polished steel, that often emits a ray of sparkling light but which while it dazzles is cold and powerless: he always amuses, sometimes convinces, but it is difficult to separate the man from the advocate, and for that reason we can seldom place confidence in him in his latter capacity, in fact he is a clever libertine guided by no principle and careless of public opinion; and to this we may ascribe the rivalry that yet subsists between him and the last speaker, who has had the art to make the world believe that he is always in earnest, that what he asserts may be relied on, and that he is incapable of falsehood. They are both libertines, but the one has some decency and has cast a shade over his follies; the other, though married, makes no secret of his many amours: study this character, and you will find it Real.”—“There” said my communicative friend “is one who has just wisdom enough to see that with his stock of knowledge, he could not support himself at the bar, and therefore sagely determined to make the country do that for which his own brains were insufficient, and so he obtained a place; a place! I believe I may say a dozen, and how do you think he got them? by some ability, I suppose. No sir, you are wide, very wide of the mark, I will, in the words of Sir Pertinax, tell you how he got them. Sir, he got them by bowing, by bowing, sir, he could never stand straight in the presence of a great man, but always bowed and bowed, as if it were by instinct.” He now alternately figures as a secretary and a lawyer, how he appears in the one situation, you can judge for yourself, and taking this as a specimen of the other, you can not think much of him in either.—Like many a stupid fellow he has enshrined himself in a sort of mysterious gravity, the strong hold of fools, and has resolved to say upon all occasions, as little as possible, as he knows that by five minutes continued conversation he would discover himself, but with all his care and circumspection, his secret is like that of the unfortunate king Midas, the empty head of the one, and the long ears of the other being matters of equal notoriety.—My friend’s narrative was interrupted by an oration proceeding from the trumpet of a worshipful speaker, this was happily cut short by the bench, else probably it might have lasted till midnight; as it was I had a pretty good specimen of his worship’s powers: it was a common action upon a simple debt, he was determined however, to make no simple case of it, he launched boldly on the stormy sea of metaphysical argument, proved himself justified in his cause, by numberless precedents, for some of which he went as far back as the flood, he then proceeded to the original contract, the truth of which he said he was about to defend, the bench, however, I believe for fear of the consequences, took it for granted; still pertinacious, he said he would at least shew their honors how he would have defended it, he then began upon the first principles of jurisprudence, went through the Roman law, then that of France, concluded by comparing these with the law of England, and in truth he was going on to give us his whole stock of knowledge, metaphysical, chimical, astronomical, geometrical, mechanical, and the whole matter he was discussing did not amount to more than a few pounds; the torrent was at length stopped, and my friend proceeded. The worshipful magistrate, said he, is a strange compound, and was once possessed of much talent, but it has taken its departure from the frequent use of a certain favourite beverage which with the aid of something like constitutional cowardice, has made his worship very nearly a fit subject for Bedlam, every shadow he sees he conjures into an assassin, and he is at this moment convinced that there are no less than a hundred such plotting his death; and most probably should he hear me mention the words plotting, assassin, treason &c. his fears would lead him to apprehend me, indeed “there is no more valor in this Poins than in a hurt wild duck.” To sum up all we can say of these as of the lawyer described by Ben Jonson

“Gives forked counsel, takes provoking gold

On either hand, and puts it up.

So wise, so grave, of so perplexed a tongue

And loud withal, that would not wag and scarce

Lie still without a fee.”

I am Sir, your obedient servant,


[4] Scævola—one of the most noted lawyers of Rome and a signature lately assumed by a certain young gentleman here, who is much more likely to live (according to Lord Monboddo’s principle) until he get a tail like a monkey than that he ever should equal Scævola as a lawyer—should he wish to figure again before the public. I would recommend Lasac or Nanzepal as a signature; he can not doubt that this publication of the Sub—are equal to those of the lawyer.

T. B.

Lasheen turnpik gait, 4th oggust, 1822.

Mister Skribbler,

As i see yew pit fokes down in blac and wite who dus durty things,—I thoght as hou i wood cend you notis about an og’s tric was plaid me last sundai. Yov cee i ham kipper hof the Lasheen turnpik gait, and ham an onest old feller. Thogh i sai it miselff, and ham no wis unseevil to foke—so as i was standen at mi post, hup cums fowr gantlmin on orsebac, and wile ane putt is and in is pocett has iff goin to pai mee, the huthers started throgh the gait, and run licke damnashun off, and wile I stude hastonichd luking hafterr them, The huther feller who seemed going to pai me, bolted past me, and maid hoff after the restt. By Geesus i never fellt suche a noshun to be veckst in hall mi liffe—not so mush at locing my tole as hat the fellers stoppen about fortee rods hoff and maiken fases at me.

Pit this in your buk and shaim the blacgards, and yew will oblige


Junius and Observator from Quebec, Look Out from Chambly, Larry O’brien and Randolph, are received, and will be availed of; and so will M’s communication, but not without softening. Will o’ the Wisp, is welcomed again with great pleasure, his carpet being an excellent job shall be put up the first opportunity.


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 1822-08-15 Volume 2, Issue 59 edited by Samuel Hull Wilcocke]