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Marg. Let me look at the paragraph. [Reads.] « Last night, after eating a hearty Tupper, died
suddenly, with his mouth full of custard, Şir « Thomas Tradewell, knight, an amiable com
panion, an affectionate relation, and a friend " to the poor.”-O'Flam, this is some blunder
for you see, here the gentleman is, and alive.
O'Flam. So he says, but the devil a one in this case would I believe but himself; because why, I was told it by Jeremy O'Turlough, his own body chairman, my dear: by the same token, I treated him with a pint of porter for the good news.
Sir Thom. Vastly oblig'd to you, Mr. O'Flam, but I have nothing to do with this wretched fellow; it is you, Margin, shall answer for this.
Marg. Why, Sir Thomas, it is impossible but now and then we must kill a man by miltake. And in some measure to make amends, you see what a good character the paper has
Sir Thom. Character !
Marg. Aye, Sir, I can tell you I have had a crown for putting in many a worse.
O'Flam. Aye, Sir Thomas, consider of that, only think what a comfort it is, to live long enough after you are dead, to read such a good account of yourself in the papers.
Sir Thom. Ha! ha! ha! what a ridiculous rascal ! but I would advise you, gentlemen, not to take such liberties with me for the future.
[Exit. O'Flam. Indeed and we won't ; and I here give Mr. Margin my word, that you shan't die
again, as long as you live, unless, indeed, we get it from urder your own hand.
Enter Sir Robert Riscounter, and Sir James Bid
dulph. Sir Rob. Where is this Margin, this impudent, rascally Printer ?
Marg. Hey day! what's the matter now?
Sir Rob. A pretty fellow, indeed, that every man's and woman's reputation must be subject to the power of his poisonous pen.
Sir Jannes. A little patience, Sir Robert.
Sir Rob. A land of liberty, this! I will maintain it, the tyranny exercised by that fellow, and those of his tribe, is more despotic and galling, than the most absolute monarch's in Asia.
Sir James. Well, but
Sir Rob. Their thrones claim a right only over your persons and property, whilst this inungrel, squatting upon his joint stool, by a single line, proscribes and ruins your reputation at once.
Sir James. Sir Robert, let me crave
Sir Rob. And no situation is secure from their insults. I wonder every man is not afraid to peep into a paper, as it is more than probable that he may meet with a paragraph, that will make him unhappy for the rest of his life.
Marg. But, Gentlemen, what is all this bufiness about?
Sir Rob. About? zounds, Sir, what right had you to ruin my daughter?
Marg. 1? I know nothing of you nor your daughter.
Sir Rob. Sir James Biddulph, you have it, produce the paper.
Sir James. There is no occasion for that, the affair is fo recent, I dare say the Gentleman will remember the passage ; this, Sir, is the Banker, the father with whose daughter you was pleased to take those infolent freedoms, this morning.
Sir Rob. And this, Sir, the amiable Baronet, from the West end of the Town.
Marg. I'recollect. Well, gentlemen, if you have brought any paragraphs to contradict the report, I am ready to insert them directly.
Sir Rob. And so, you rascal, you want us to furnish fresh food for your paper ?
Marg. I do all I can to keep my scales even; the charge hangs heavy here; on the other side, you may throw in the defence, then fee which will weigh down the other.
Sir Rob. Indeed, Sir James Biddulph, if he does that
Sir James. That! can that paltry expedient atone for his crime? will the snow that is sullied recover its luftre? so tender and delicate, Sir Robert, is the fame of a lady, that once tainted, it is tarnih'd for ever.
Sir Rob. True enough.
Marg. I could bear no ill-will to your daughter, as I know nothing about her.
Sir Rob. Indeed, Sir James, I don't see how he could.
Sir James. Is his being the instrument of another man's malice, a fulficient excuse?
Sir Rob. So far from it, that it enhances the guilt. Zounds, Sir James, you are a ParliaH Н
ment Man, why don't you put an end to this practice?
Marg. Ay, let them attack the press, if
Sir Rob. Have a care of that ; no no, that must not be done.
Sir James. No man, Sir Robert, honours that facred shield of freedom more than my. felf.
Sir Rob. I dare say.
Sir James. But I would not have it serve to shelter these pests, who point their poison'd arrows against the peace of mankind.
Sir Rob. By no means in the world. Let them be dragg'd from behind it directly.
Marg. Ay, do destroy the watchful dogs that guard and cover your flocks.
Sir James. You guard, you cover !
Marg. Ay, who but us alarm the nation when bad designs are on foot ?
Sir Rob. In that respect, they are very useful no doubt.
Sir James. Are they therefore entitled to give the alarm,, when no such design is intended ?
Sir Rob. By no means. A pack of factious, infamous scoundrels.
Marg. It is we that supply the defects of the laws.
Sir James. You !
Marg. By stigmatizing those offenders that they cannot reach.
Sir Rob. That, indeed, serves to keep the guilty in awe.
Sir James. And is a pretence for making the innocent the butts of their malice.
Sir Rob. True, true, all is fish that comes to their nets.
Sir James. Besides, their Nander is scattered so generally, and with so little discretion, that the deformity of vice is destroyed.
Sir Rob. True.
Sir James. Bad men are made worse, by becoming totally callous, and even the good rendered
careless, to that source of patriotism; that pride of virtue, the public opinion.
Sir Rob. And they are much in the right on't.
Marg: What, you are a courtier, I reckon? no wonder you with the press was demolished.
Sir James. If ever that happens, to fuch mifcreants as you 'twill be owing; nor will it furprize me, if all orders concur to give up 4 great public benefit, for the fake and security of private honour and peace.
Sir Rob. Nor me neither.
Marg. You would confent then to surrender the prels?
Sir Rob. I would fooner consent to be hang'd.
Sir James. And its unbounded licence continue?
Sir Rob. I would much rather see it on fire. Marg. With respect to its general use
Sir Rob. Not the smallest doubt can be made.
Sir James. But, Sir Robert, then the abuse
Marg. But, Sir Robert, you would but just howSir Rob. I confess it, I did.