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BY MR. TOWN,
CRITIC AND CENSOR-GENERAL.
No 94. THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 1755.
Militavi non sine gloriâ.
I too from martial feats may claim renown,
As I was going through Smithfield the other day, I observed an old fellow with a wooden leg, drest in a sailor's habit, who courteously invited the passer-by to peep into his raree-show, for the small price of a halfpenny. His exhibitions, I found, were very well suited to the times, and quite in character for himself: for among other particulars, with which he amused the little audience of children that surrounded his box, I was mightily pleased to hear the following:"There you see the British fleet pursuing the French ships, which are running away-There you see Major-General Johnson beating the French soldiers in America, and taking Count Dieskau prisoner-There you see the Grand Monarque upon his knees before
King George, begging his life." As the thoughts of the public are now wholly turned upon war, it is no wonder, that every method is taken to inspire us with a love of our country, and an abhorrence of the French king: and not only the old seaman with his rareeshow, but the public theatres have likewise had a view to the same point. At Drury-Lane we have already been entertained with the Humours of the Navy; and I am assured, that at Covent Garden Mr. Barry will shortly make an entire conquest of France, in the person of that renowned hero Henry the Fifth. And as the English are naturally fond of bloody exhibitions on the stage, I am told that a new pantomime, entitled the Ohio, is preparing at this last house, more terrible than any of it's hells, devils, and fiery dragons; in which will be introduced the Indian manner of fighting, to conclude with a representation of the grand scalping dance with all it's horrors.
While this warlike disposition prevails in the nation, I am under some apprehensions, lest the attention of the public should be called off from the weighty concerns of these papers. I already perceive, that the common news-papers are more eagerly snatched up in the public coffee-houses than my essays; and the Gazette is much oftener called for than the Connoisseur. For these reasons I find it necessary to lay open my own importance before the public, to shew that I myself am acting (as it were) in a military capacity, and that Censor-General Town has done his country. no less service as a valiant and skilful commander at home, than Major-General Johnson in America. Authors may very properly be said to be engaged in a state of literary warfare, many of whom are taken into pay by those great and mighty potentates, the booksellers; and it will be allowed, that they undergo no less hardships in the service, than the common sol
diers who are contented to be shot at for a groat a day.
It has been my province to repel the daily inroads and encroachments made by vice and folly, and to guard the nation from an invasion of foreign fopperies and French fashions. The town has been principally the scene of action; where I have found enemies to encounter with, no less formidable than the Tquattotquaws or the Chickchimuckchis of North America. But as the curiosity of the public is so much engaged in attending to the enterprizes of old Hendrick the Sachem, and the incursions of Indians who have taken up the hatchet against our colonies, I am afraid that my exploits against the Savages, which infest this metropolis, will be wholly over-looked. I have, therefore, resolved to give my readers fresh advices from time to time of what passes here, drawn up in the same warlike style and manner as those very alarming articles of news, which are commonly to be met with in our public papers.
Thursday, Nov. 13, 1755. We hear from White's, that the forces under Major-General Hoyle, which used to encamp at that place, are removed from thence, and have fixed their winter quarters at Arthur's. The same letters say, that an obstinate engagement was fought there a few nights ago, in which one party gained a great booty, and the other suffered a considerable loss. We are also informed, that an epidemical distemper rages among them, and that several of the chiefs have been carried off by a sudden death.
They write from Covent Garden, that last week a body of Irregulars sallied out at midnight, stormed several forts in that neighbourhood, and committed great outrages; but being attacked by a detachment from the allied army of watchmen, constables, and
justices, they were put to flight, and several of them taken prisoners. The plague still rages there with great violence, as well as in the neighbouring territories of Drury.
We hear from the same place, that the company commanded by Brigadier Rich has been reinforced with several new raised recruits to supply the place of some deserters, who had gone over to the enemy: but his chief dependence is on the light armed troops, which are very active, and are distinguished, like the Highlanders, by their party-coloured dress. The enemy, on the other hand, have taken several Swiss* and Germans into pay; though they are under terrible apprehensions of their being set upon by the critics. These are a rude, ignorant, savage people, who are always at war with the nation of authors. Their constant manner of fighting is to begin the onset with strange hissings and noises, accompanied with an horrid instrument, named the cat-call; which, like the war-hoop of the Indians, has struck a panic into the hearts of the stoutest heroes.
We have advice from the Butcher-Row, TempleBar, that on Monday night last the Infidels held a grand council of war at their head-quarters in the Robin Hood, at which their good friend and ally, the Mufti of Clare-market, assisted in person. After many debates, they resolved to declare war against the Christians, and never to make peace, till they had pulled down all the churches in Christendom, and established the Alcoran of Bolingbroke in lieu of the Bible.
All our advices from the city of London agree in their accounts of the great havock and slaughter made there on the Festival, commonly called my Lord
* Alluding to the dancers, employed in the entertainment of the Chinese Festival, at Drury-Lane theatre.
Mayor's Day. All the companies in their black uniform, and the trained bands in their regimentals, made a general forage. They carried off vast quantities of chickens, geese, ducks, and all kinds of provisions. Major Guzzledown of the ward of Bassishaw distinguished himself greatly, having with sword in hand gallantly attacked the out-works, scaled the walls, nounted the ramparts, and forced through the covert-way of a large fortified custard, which seemed impregnable.
The inhabitants of Sussex have lately been alarmed with the apprehensions of an invasion; as the French have been very busy in fitting out several small vessels laden with stores of wine and brandy, with which it is thought they will attempt to make a descent somewhere on our coasts. The independent companies of Smugglers in the service of France are to be sent on this expedition: but if the fleet of Custom-house smacks, &c. do not intercept them at sea, we are preparing to receive them as soon as they are landed.
From divers parts of the country we have advice, that the roads are every where crowded with ladies, who (notwithstanding the severity of the weather) are hurrying up to London, to be present at the meeting of the Female Parliament. At this critical juncture, the fate of the nation depends entirely on the deliberations of this wise assembly: and as there are known to be many disinterested patriots in the House, it is not to be doubted, but that proper measures will be taken by them for the good of their country. Many salutary laws are already talked of, which we could wish to see put in execution; such as- A bill for prohibiting the importation of French milliners, haircutters, and mantua-makers-A bill for the exportation of French cooks and French valets de chambres-A bill to restrain ladies from wearing French