Character of a Grumbletonian

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The following was transcribed from an original pamphlet (dated 1689) which is in the Bodleian Library, Oxford

The Character of a Grumbletonian, or, the New Malcontent[edit]

A Grumletonian! What's that -- in the Pope's Name? Why, 'tis the
First and Second Part of
Hickeringel -- a meer Composition of Curse-ye-meroz, and
The Black Non Conformist, as full of contradictions as of Nonsence:
an absolute Civil Quaker, that finds as many faults with the State as he with
the Church, and both for the same No-Reason. Tis a Hodge-podge of Malice,
Scurility, and Illnature, who has seldome Wit enough to keep him from Slavering,
or if he does now and then Stumble on some pleasant Notion; han't manners enough
to keep his Wit from Stinking. 'Tis a thing that was never Born to be contented
-- he's always Twisting and Wrigling, and has a Worm in his Tail as long as that
in his Head, -- see but how tenderly he Treads, you'd think he was under
Harry Hills's Course of Penance, and had all his Pea's in his Shooes
without Boyling 'em. 'Tis a hard matter that's the Truth on't, to tell what he
is, since he hardly knows it himself, nor does the froward Chit know what
'twould have, tho' if any thing, it must be some Bawble or other that guiets
him. He handles the Government as the Turks do slaves, when they come to
be Sold -- Peeps all round it -- Trys and Gropes, whether it be Sound Wind and
Limb -- Looks Marvellous earnestly on its Physiognomy, pretending to Read its
Fortune, and if he has any skill 'twon't be long-liv'd, -- and yet after all his
prying as sharply as the Jesuite with his Prospective, all the Wise faults he
can find in't are, that the Nose and Complexion on't don't please him, He's hard
to be found, and yet every where, for he's as diligent and indefatigable, as
another that runs too and fro on the same business, and for the same Reason too,
because he knows his time is short. And now we talk of the Devil -- there's a
certain place within a Mile of hte Oake, where you are very likely to find him,
Settleing Church and State over a Dozen Bottles of Claret. He's very ready at
Quoting Presidents when they please him, and pretends to carry as Humble an
Implicite Faith about with him as e're a Catholick of 'em all, -- and Reason too
-- for this he finds a good Lazy Compendious way of Grumbling, without the long
Fatigue of Enquiry and Argument. By his Commending Tenderness of Conscience in
others, you'd be almose Tempted to belive he had some such thing himself, -- and
indeed who wou'd think any Man wou'd forswear himself by way of Civil
Conversation or so, a Hundred times a Day, and yet all o' the sudden Start and
Bogle at one single Oath of Allegiance? one would think he own'd a God too when
he seems afraid to Invoke his Name to a Lie, or beleiv'd in a Hell, when he says
he dares not comply for fear of Damnation.
He's an Irish Man Double gilt, -- a meer Teague Christianiz'd and
Reform'd into somewhat that looks like Humanity, -- but with much using the
Gilding wears off agen, and Mistress Puss must have a touch at the Mouse, tho'
she leaves her Spark Catter-wawling for the loss of her. There's so much
Discontent and Ingratitude, and Baseness, mixt with such a Profound Twang of
Laziness and Cowardise in the very Constitution of him, that Nature has as
perfectly markt him out for Slavery, as it he had great Lips and a Flat Nose
--he mainly Resembles the Inhabitants of the Cape -- bring 'em into any Country,
Dress 'em and give 'em Food fit for Humane Creatures, they'l do nothing but lie
upon the Ground, and Pine themselves to Death for their old belov'd Hogsty, and
long as passionately as a Teeming Woman, for a Savoury Mouthful of their old
Guts and Garbage. He's of a very Ancient Family that's the Truth on't and can
run ye up his Pedigree as high as Peter Heylin cou'd his own, or a
High-lander his Princes, for he'le tell ye, (if Modesty don't a little Confound
him) that some of his Relations had a strong Party among the Israelites
in the Wilderness -- and great men in the Congregation, he can assure ye some of
'em were -- no less Names then Korah, Dathan and Abiram. They
call'd 'em Murmerers then, but that's but an old word for Grumbletonians. Tho'
he's heavy enough in some things where hast is requir'd, yet he's Nimble enough
in others -- Woe won't be a Serjeant at Arms if he was oblig'd to follow him a
whole Day to take him into Custody, for he has a Thousand Disguises, and is
almost at once in as many places. -- Here he appears in the shape of a
Gentleman, and Squats him down in a Coffee-House like the Toad at Eve's
Ear: Shakes Empty Poll very Emphatically -- takes up the Votes, finds fault with
one Damn'd Clause or other in 'em, Bites off the corner of 'em, and throws 'em
down in Dudgeon agen -- Snatches up the Gazet -- Men of Merit are not Prefer'd
-- (ay, there 'tis) here's a Company of I known't who got in, and he has nothing
-- not that he'd Act -- no -- not for a World -- he can't accept -- his
Conscience -- O -- it Grumbleth most Obstreperously, and there is no quieting of
the same. -- Look sharp Mr. Officer -- he's pulling up his Hatch, and if ye
don't have a care the Gentleman will be a Baker, and his Calash a Cart before ye
can call a Constable, -- for now all o'th' sudden he's an honest Country Farmer,
and mightily aggrieved that the Affairs of the Nation are settled without his
Spade and Flail to lend Assistance -- thinks he has Sweat and Voted, and Stunk
in a Crowd to some purpose -- Scratches his Head, and with some dry Bob of good
King James -- Exit Hobbinol -- but wou'd ye think it --who is now at the
turning of the next Corner? If these Cheating Eyes don't deceive me ha has got a
Parsons Gown on to hide his Cloven-Foot --nay, -- he'le pretend to be
Hamet -- Ben Hamet, and a Parsons Son too, -- he has his Ticket in's
Hand, and you'le see him at the Feast to Morrow, when the Sons of God met
together, we know who came among them -- Unfrock the Rascal for shame & let him
not abuse that Venerable Order -- d'ye see, he's in the Pulpit already -- his
Prayer is not long -- somewhat the shorter because ye hear no King
William and Queen Mary, -- his sermon -- the Ingratiude of this our
Age -- prepare for Persecution -- Two or Three silent Smiters more -- and he's
Vanished into the Tavern -- where that Disguise is soon thrown off, and he gets
another -- and yet what Reason shou'd there be to say a Man's Disguis'd when you
may Peep into the Soul of him, for row he appears in his proper Shape. -- Now
keep out of the way --for he Vomits all his Soul out -- O this Parliament --
here's Arbitrary with a Vengeance, -- Hoc est Parliamentum -- Habeas
Corpus where art thou? -- this will never do -- we will not suffer our King
to be thus -- these Oaths -- these -- certainly they'l never go down without
Buttering -- Ay, ay, -- teh Lawn Sleeves down next -- ye may see what they'd be
at -- these Pack of -- and then he Tumbles under Board -- and next Morning as
soon as his Head's Cool dispatches Packets to this Mayor, and t'other Alderman
in the Country, to Wheedle or Fright 'em into as great Knaves or Fools aas he
is himself. -- There's one infallible Mark more, by which you may be sure of
knowing him through all his Diguises -- as soon as he takes up this Paper -- (a
better Looking Glass then his own) he Starts back at the sight of his own ugly
Face -- falls a foming like a Sweet Singer, and Swears heartily the Authors a
Fanatick, tho' as Friend Ratcliff says, He might as well have Guest
him a Mahometan.
Licens'd according to Law,
May the I. 1689

LONDON, Printed and are to be Sold by Richard Janeway in
Queens-Head-Alley in Pater-Noster-Row. MDCLXXXIX