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From the Book of Heads entitled HUMAN PASSIONS DELINEATED


Tim Bobbin (self-portrait)
May 1773
3 1/2" w x 6" h

THE said T. B. is apprehensive that some few of his Subscribers (other folks he cares little about) will think he has made too free with Pluralists, &c., whilst others have plainly told him he cannot expose them too much : more he was unwilling to do than he has done, and less would not have pleased the majority of his friends.

He believes also, one inquisitive person or other will say, Who is this T. B.? where does he live? and what business does he follow? He says mum — to the two last queries: but he thinks it a little incumbent upon him to answer ingeniously to the first, as it may in some sort apologise for his ludicrous draught of that (should be) Reverend Order the Clergy.

He's Lancashire born; and, by-the-by, all his acquaintance agree, his wife not excepted, that he's an odd fellow.

In the reign of Queen Anne he was a boy, and one of the nine children of a poor Curate in Lancashire, whose stipend never amounted to thirty pounds a year; and consequently the family must feel the iron teeth of penury, with a witness. These indeed were sometimes blunted by the charitable disposition of the good Rector (the Rev. Mr. H——n, Wi——n) so this T. B. lived as some other Boys did, content with water-pottage, buttermilk and jannock, till he was between thirteen and fourteen years of age, when Providence began to smile on him in his advancement to a pair of Dutch-looms, when he met with treacle to his pottage, and sometimes a little in his buttermilk, or thinly spread on his jannock.

However, the reflections of his father's circumstances (which now and then start up and still edge his teeth) make him believe, that Pluralists are no good Christians that he who will accept of two or more places, of one hundred pounds a year, would not say, I have enough, though he was Pope Clement, Urban, or Boniface, could affirm himself infallible, and offer his toe to kings. That the unequal distribution of church emoluments are as great a grievance in the ecclesiastical, as undeserved pensions and places are in the state ; both of which, he presumes to prophesy, will prove canker-worms at the roots of those succulent plants, and in a few years cause leaf and branch to shrivel up, and dry them to tinder.

What can be greater tyranny in these diminutive popes, these luxurious lollers at ease, than to starve the far more laborious and religious part of their brethern, the lower clergy?

Or, how comes it, that all the pious instructions and florid preaching of our most learned divines, have not similar effects with the plain speeches of illiterate fishermen and mechanics on the first promulgation of the gospel? The answer is easy, for the reasons are plain: The life and doctrines of these last were of a piece ; they had not or wanted, the honours, power, or wealth of this world: they endured poverty, with all its biting attendants; ran all hazards to reform the ignorance and follies of those times, by inculcating virtue, and truths appertaining to happiness in another life: so their audiences saw no reason to doubt but they believed what they taught; whilst our elevated ecclesiastics only now and then vouchsafe to point us out the road to future crowns of glory, whilst their mimic humility is content with mere dross, — the pomps and vanities of this present world.

These oppressing Dignitaries should blush, instead of complaining, that libertinism and freethinking drive like Jehu, whilst they court simony in public advertisements, make use of bribery to procure Dispensations, Pluralists, and Nonresidencies. The common people are not so hoodwinked now as in the time of yore: — They cannot but have some doubts of that religion which is only made a stalking-horse of by those who should be their honest and holy guides. They see their actions — and know the marks they shoot at——.

Some of these dignitaries, it must be owned, are more honest in one point than common, for they scorn that sneaking and fanatical sin of hypocrisy: they not only buy and sell the highest church preferments without a blush, or prick of conscience, but they would establish Judaism by law, to please their court-patrons! — turn Mahometans for greater revenues: — or worship a Lama for —— . Hold, hold, — what will this Timothy say? Why the fool's growing angry because his father was poor : — but give him a ————————— and he'll be as hush as a Bishop * * * * * , till then, 'tis thought Timothy will do things his own way —————.


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