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Manifold have been the judgments, which Heaven from time to time for the chastisement of a sinful people has inflicted on whole nations. For when the degeneracy becomes common, 'tis but just the punishment should be general; of this kiod, in our own unfortunate country, was that destructive pestilence, whose mortality was so fatal, as to sweep away, if sir William Petty may be believed, five millions of christian souls, beside women and Jews.
Such also was that dreadful conflagration ensuing, in this famous metropolis of London, which consumed, according to the computation of sir Samuel Morland, one hundred thousand houses, not to men. tion churches and stables.
Scarce had this unhappy nation recovered these funeste disasters, when the abomination of playhouses rose up in this land; from hence hath an inundation of obscenity flowed from the court and overspread the kingdom: even infants disfigured the walls of holy temples with exorbitant representations of the members of generation; nay, no sooner had they learnt to spell, but they had wickedness enough to write the names thereof in large capitals: an enormity observed by travellers to be found in no country but Eogland.
But when whoring and popery were driven hence by the happy Revolution; still the nation so greatly offended, that Socinianism, Arianism, and Whistonism triumphed in our streets, and were in a manner become universal.
And yet still, after all these visitations, it has pleased Heaven to visit us with a contagion more epidemical, and of consequence more fatal: this was foretold to us, first, by that unparallelled eclipse in 1714: secondly, by the dreadful coruscation in the air this present year: and thirdly, by the nine comets seen at once over Soho square, by Mrs. Katharine Wadlington and others; a contagion that first crept in among the first quality, descended to their footmen, and infused itself into their ladies: I mean the woeful practice of Punning. This does occasion the corruption of our language, and therein of the word of God translated into our language, which certainly every sober Christian must tremble at.
Now such is the enormity of this abomination, that our very nobles not only commit punning over tea, and in taverns, but even on the Lord's day, and in the king's chapel : therefore to deter men from this evil practice, I shall give some true and dreadful examples of God's revenge against puusters.'
The right honourable but it is not safe to insert the name of an eminent nobleman in this pa. per, yet I will venture to say that such a one has been seen; which is all we can say, considering the Jargeness of his sleeves : this young nobleman was not only a flagitious punster himself, but was accessary to the punding of others, by consent, by provocation, by connivance, and by defence of the evil committed; for which the Lord mercifully spared his neck, but as a mark of reprobation wryed , his nose.
Another nobleman of great hopes, no less guilty
of the same crime, was made the punisher of himself with his own hand, in the loss of five hundred pounds at box and dice; whereby this unfortunate young gentleman incurred the beavy displeasure of his aged grandmother.
A third of no less illustrious extraction, for the same vice, was permitted to fall into the arms of a Dalilah, who may one day cut off his curious hair and deliver him up to the Philistines.
Colonel F, an ancient gentleman of grave deportment, gave into this sin so early in his youth, that whenever his tongue endeavours to speak common sense, he hesitates so, as not to be understood.
Thomas Pickle, gentleman, for the same crime banished to Minorca.
Muley Hainet, from a healthy and hopeful offi. cer in the army, turned a miserable invalide at Tilbury-fort.
Eustace, esg; for the murder of much of the king's English in Ireland is quite deprived of his reason, and now remains a lively instance of emptiness and vivacity.
Poor Daniel Buttou for the same offence deprived of his wiis.
One Samuel an Irishman, for his forward attempt to pun, was stunted in his stature, and hath been visited all his life after with bulls and blunders.
George Simmons, shoemaker at Turnstile iv Holborn, was so given to this custom, and did it with so much success, that his neighbours gave out he was a wit. Which report coming among his creditors, no body would trust him; so that he is now a bankrupt, and his family in a miserable condition.
Divers eminent clergymen of the university of Cambridge, for having propagated this vice, became great drunkards and tories.
A Devonshire man of wit, for only saying in a esting manner I get up pun a horse, instantly fell
GOD'S REVENGE AGAINST PUNNING, down, and broke his snuff box and neck, and lost the horse.
« From which calamities, the Lord in his mercy defend us all, &c. &c." So prayeth the punless and pennyless J. Baker, knight.
BY THE LABOUR AND INDUSTRY OF TOM PUN-SIBI,
• Ex ambiguâ dictâ vel argutissima putantur; sed non semper in
joco, sæpe etiam in gravitate versantur -- Ingeniosi enim vide. tur, vim verbi in aliud atque cæteri accipiant, posse ducere.”
Cicero, de Oratore, lib. ii. $ 61, 2. “ The seeds of Punning are in the minds of all men."
on, Spect, No. 61.