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nizance of real authority, I hope it will be granted, that an idle man could not be more usefully employed. Among all the irregularities of which I have taken notice, I know none so proper to be presented to the world by a Censor, as that of the general expense and affectation in equipage. I have lately hinted, that this extravagance must necessarily get footing where we have no sumptuary laws, and where every man may be dressed, attended, and carried, in what manner he pleases. But my tenderness to my fellowsubjects will not permit me to let this enormity go unobserved.
As the matter now stands, every man takes it in his head, that he has a liberty to spend his money as he pleases. Thus, in spite of all order, justice, and decorum, we, the greater number of the queen's loyal subjects, for no reason in the world but because we want money, do not share alike in the division of her majesty's high road. The horses and slaves of the rich take up the whole street; while we Peripatetics are very glad to watch an opportunity to whisk across a passage, very thankful that we are not run over for interrupting the machine, that carries in it a person neither more handsome, wise, nor valiant, than the meanest of us. For this reason, were I to propose a tax, it should certainly be upon coaches and chairs: for no man living can assign a reason, why one man should have half a street to carry him at his ease, and perhaps only in pursuit of pleasure, when as good a man as himself wants room for his own person to pass upon the most necessary and urgent occasion. Until such an acknowledgment is made to the public, I shall take upon me to vest certain rights in the scavengers of the cities of London and Westminster, to take the horses and servants of all such as do not become or deserve such distinctions, into their peculiar custody. The offenders them
selves I shall allow safe conduct to their places of abode in the carts of the said scavengers, but their horses shall be mounted by their footmen, and sent into service abroad; and I take this opportunity, in the first place, to recruit the regiment of my good old friend the brave and honest Sylvius, that they may be as well taught as they are fed. It is to me most miraculous, so unreasonable a usurpation, as this I am speaking of, should so long have been tolerated. We hang a poor fellow for taking any trifle from us on the road, and bear with the rich for robbing us of the road itself. Such a tax as this would be of great satisfaction to us who walk on foot; and since the distinction of riding in a coach is not to be appointed according to a man's merit or service to his country, nor that liberty given as a reward for some eminent virtue, we should be highly contented to see them pay something for the insult they do us, in the state they take upon them while they are drawn by us.
Until they have made us some reparation of this kind, we the Peripatetics of Great Britain cannot think ourselves well treated, while every one that is able, is allowed to set up an equipage.
As for my part, I cannot but admire how persons, conscious to themselves of no manner of superiority above others, can out of mere pride or laziness expose themselves at this rate to public view, and put us all upon pronouncing those three terrible syllables, Who is that?' When it comes to that question, our method is, to consider the mien and air of the passenger, and comfort ourselves for being dirty to the ancles, by laughing at his figure and appearance who overlooks us. I must confess, were it not for the solid injustice of the thing, there is nothing could afford a discerning eye greater occasion for mirth, than this licentious huddle of qualities and
characters in the equipages about this town. overseers of the highways and constables have so little skill or power to rectify this matter, that you may often see the equipage of a fellow, whom all the town knows to deserve hanging, make a stop that shall interrupt the lord high-chancellor and all the judges in their way to Westminster.
For the better understanding of things and persons in this general confusion, I have given directions to all the coachmakers and coachpainters in town, to bring me in lists of their several customers; and doubt not, but with comparing the orders of each man, in the placing his arms on the door of his chariot, as well as the words, devices, and ciphers to be fixed upon them, to make a collection which shall let us into the nature, if not the history, of mankind, more usefully than the curiosities of any medallist in Europe.
But this evil of vanity in our figure, with many others, proceeds from a certain gaiety of heart, which has crept into men's very thoughts and complexions. The passions and adventures of heroes, when they enter the list for the tournament in romances, are not more easily distinguishable by their palfreys, and their armour, than the secret springs and affections of the several pretenders to show amongst us are known by their equipages in ordinary life. The young bridegroom with his gilded Cupids and winged Angels, has some excuse in the joy of his heart to launch out into something that may be significant of his present happiness. But to see men, for no reason upon earth but that they are rich, ascend triumphant chariots, and ride through the people, has at the bottom nothing else in it but an insolent transport, arising only from the distinction of fortune.
It is therefore high time that I call in such coaches
as are in their embellishments improper for the character of their owners. But if I find I am not obeyed herein, and that I cannot pull down those equipages already erected, I shall take upon me to prevent the growth of this evil for the future, by inquiring into the pretensions of the persons, who shall hereafter attempt to make public entries with ornaments and decorations of their own appointment. If a man, who believed he had the handsomest leg in this kingdom, should take a fancy to adorn so deserving a limb with a blue garter, he would justly be punished for offending against the Most Noble Order; and, I think, the general prostitution of equipage and retinue is as destructive to all distinction, as the impertinence of one man, if permitted, would certainly be to that illustrious fraternity.
** The Censor having lately received intelligence, that the ancient simplicity in the dress and manners of that part of this island called Scotland begins to decay; and that there are at this time, in the good town of Edinburgh, Beaux, Fops, and Coxcombs; his late correspondent from that place is desired to send up their names and characters with all expedition, that they may be proceeded against accordingly, and proper officers named to take in their canes, snuffboxes, and all other useless necessaries commonly worn by such offenders.
END OF VOL. III.
Printed by J. F. Dove, St. John's Square.