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Tuesday, December 18.
-Linguæ centum sunt, oraque centum, Ferrea vox
VIRG. Æn. 6. ver. 625. A hundred mouths, a hundred tongues, And throats of brafs inspir’d with iron lungs. DR YDEN.
There is nothing which more astonishes a fo
reigner, and frights a country 'squire, than the cries of London. My good friend fir Roger often declares, that he cannot get them out of his head or go to Deep for them, the first week that he is in town. On the contrary, Will Honeycome calls them the Ramage de la ville, and prefers them to the sounds of larks and nightingales, with all the music of the fields and woods. I have lately received a letter from some very odd fellow upon this subject, which I shall leave with my reader without saying any thing further of it.
• I AM a man out of all business, and would willing• ly turn my head to any thing for an honeft livelihood. • I have invented several projects for raising many mil
lions of money without burdening the subject, but I * cannot get the parliament to listen to me, who look
upon me, forsooth, as a crack, and a projector, so that
despairing to enrich either myself or my country by 'this public-spiritedness, I would make some proposals
to you relating to a design which I have very much at • heart, and which may procure me a handsome subfift
ence, if you will be pleased to recommend it to the cities of London and Westminster.
• The post I would aim at, is to be comptroller-general • of the London-cries, which are at present under no
manner of rules or discipline. I think I am pretty well
qualified for this place, as being a man of very strong • lungs, of great insight into all the branches of our Bri• tish trades and manufactures, and of a competent skill « in niusic.
· The cries of London may be divided into vocal and • inftrumental. As for the latter, they are at present une
der a very great disorder. A freeman of London has the privilege of disturbing a whole street for an hour together, with the twanking of a brass kettle or a frying-pan. The watchman's thump at midnight startles
us in our beds, as much as the breaking in of a thief. • The low-gelder's horn has indeed something musical in • it, but this is seldom heard within the liberties. I would " therefore propose, that no instrument of this nature • should be made use of, which I have not tuned and • licensed, after having carefully examined in what manner it may affect the ears of her inajesty's liege subjects.
• Vocal cries are of a niuch larger extent, and indeed ! so full of incongruities and barbarisms, that we appear • a distracted city to foreigners, who do not comprehend
the meaning of such enormous outcries. Milk is generally sold in a note above E la, and in sounds so exceeding Thrill, that it often sets our teeth on edge. The
chimney-sweeper is confined to no certain pitch ; he • fometimes utters himself in the deepest base, and some
tiines in the sharpelt treble ;- sometimes in the highest, rand soinetimes in the lowest note of the gamut. The • fame observation might be made on the retailers of
small-coal, not to mention broken glasses or brick-duft. * In these therefore, and the like cales, it should be iny
care to sweeten and mellow the yoices of these itinerant tradesmen, before they make their appearance in our streets, as also to accommodate their cries to their
respective wares ; and to take care in particular, that ' those may not make the most noise who have the leaft
to sell, which is very observable in the venders of card
matches, to whom I cannot but apply the old proverb • of “ Much cry but little wool.”
• Soine of these last-mentioned musicians are so very • loud in the sale of these trifling manufactures, that an • honeft splenetic gentleman of my acquaintance bar
gained with one of them never to come into the street • where he lived: but what was the effect of this con• tract? why, the whole tribe of card-match-makers • which frequent that quarter, passed by his door the
very next day, in hopes of being bought off after the
• fame inanner.
• It is another great imperfection in our London cries, • that there is no juft time or measure observed in them. • Our news should indeed be published in a very quick
time, because it is a commodity that will not keep • cold. It should not, however, be cried with the same
precipitation as fire: yet this is generally the case. A bloody battle alarms the town from one end to another in an instant. Every motion of the French is publifhed in so great a hurry, that one would think the enemy were at our gates.
This likewise I would take upon ine to regulate in fuch a manner, that there should be * some distinction made between the fpreading of a vic
tory, a march, or an incainpment, a Dutch, a Portu
gal, or a Spanith mail. Nor muft I omit under this "head those excessive alarms with which several boister
ous rustics infest our streets in turnip-feason; and which are more inexcufable, because these are wares which are in no danger of cooling upon their hands. • There are others who affect a very low time, and are, in my opinion, much more tunable than the former ;
the cooper in particular swells his last note in an « hollow voice, that is not without its harmony ; nor can • I forbear being inspired with a moft agreeable melan
choly, when I hear that fad and folemn air with which • the public are very often asked, if they have any
chairs « to mend? Your own memory may suggest to you many • other lamentable ditties of the fame nature, in which • the music is wonderfully languiflıing and melodious.
* I am always pleased with that particular time of the year which is proper for the pickling of dill and cucumbers; but alas, this cry, like the song of the night
ingale, is not heard above two months. It would there• fore be worth while to confider, whether the same air
might not in fome cases be adapted to other words.
• It might likewise deserve cur most serious considera<tion, how far, in a well regulated city, those humorists
are to be tolerated, who, not contented with the tra• ditional cries of their forefathers, have invented parti• cular songs and tunes of their own: such as was, not
many years since, the pastry-man, commonly known • by the name of the Colly-Molly-Puff; and such as is at : this day the vender of powder and wash-balls, who,
• if I am rightly informed, goes under the name of • Powder-Watt.
· I must not here omit one particular absurdity which runs through this whole vociferous generation, and • which renders their cries very often not only incom
modious, but altogether useless to the public; I mean, • that idle accomplishment which they all of them aim
at, of crying so as not to be understood. Whether or no • they have learned this from several of our affected
singers, I will not take upon me to say, but moft certain it is, that people know the wares they deal in
rather by their tunes than by their words ; insomuch • that I have fometimes seen a country boy run out to • buy apples of a bellows-mender, and gingerbread from
a grinder of knives and scissars. Nay so strangely in• fatuated are fome very eminent artists of this particular
grace in a cry, that none but their acquaintance are • able to guess at their profession; for who else can know,
that work if I had it," should be the fignification of a corn-cutter?
• Forasmuch therefore as persons of this rank are sel• dom men of genius or capacity, 1 think it would be
very proper, that some man of good sense and sound • judgment should preside over these public cries, who • Thould permit none to lift up their voices in our streets,
that have not tunable throats, and are not only able
to overcome the noise of the croud, and the rattling of • coaches, but also to vend their respective merchandises
in apt phrases, and in the most distinct and agreeable • sounds. I do therefore humbly recommend myself as • a person rightly qualified for this poft ; and if I meet ' with fitting encouragement, shall communicate some • other projects which I have by me, that may no less • conduce to the emolument of the public.
· I am, Sir, &c.
RALPH CROTCH ET.'
How to be made easy, ibid.
city of ceremonies in the Jewish religion, N. 213.
About the lottery-ticket, 19.1.
times as hurtful to the princes who are led by it as the
Of use when rightly directed, 219.
abject of wishes, ibid.
frequented, and for what purpose, N. 223.
Argumentum Bafilinum, what, 239. Socrates his way
and communities, ibid.
AUDY-HOUSEs frequented by wise men, not out of
Boileau censured, and for what, N. 209.