THE GOOD OLD TIMES.
" THE good Oldlinies" is rather a vague expression : most of those who use it would be puzzled to tell wherein the goodness con- sisted. sisted. In general, however, it may be supposed that when a man" calls old timjs good, be wishes the present were like them. In the eyes of those who cry aloud for penal statutes to enforce Sabbath- observance—in the eyes of the zealous brethren of Edinburgh, whose ,manifesto we some time since presented to one ieiders- '" the.giiod old times" must mean the years of grace 1641-1659. At leait so we infer from some entries in the parish-books of St.
Giles during that period ; of which we subjoin a sample , 1641. Received of the vintner at the Cat in Queens Street, for £ s. d.
permitting of tippling on the Lord's-day 1 10 0 1644. Received of three poore men, for drinking on the Sabbath-
dale at Tottenham Court 0 4 0 1645. Received of John Seagood, constable, which he bad of a
Frenchman, for swearing three oathes 0 3 0 Received of Mrs. Thunder, by the hands of Francis Potter, for her being drunk and swearing seven oathes 0 12 0
1646. Received of Mr. Hooker, for brewing on a Fast-day 0 2 6
Paid and given to Lyn and two watchmen, in consideration of
their pains, and the breaking of two halberts in taking the two drunkards and swearers that paid 1 4 0 Received of fair-men travelling on the Fast-day 0 1 0 1648. Received of Isabel Johnson, at the Coleyard, for drinking on the Sabbath-day 0 4 0 1652. Received of Mr. Huxley and Mr. Morris, who were riding out of town in a sermon-time on a Fast-day 0 11 0 1654. Received of William Glover, in Queen Street, and of Isaac Thomas, a barber, for trimming of beards on the Lord's- day [the sum is not stated.] 1655. Received of a mayd taken in Mrs. Jackson's ale-house on the Sabbath-day 0 5 0 Received of a Scotchman, drinking at Robert Owen's on the Sabbath 0 2 0 1658. Received of Joseph Piers, for refusing to open his doores to
have his house searched on the Lorde's-daie 0 10 0 1659. [There is an entry of " one Brooke's goods sold for breach of the Sabbath," but the produce is not set down.] These entries afford matter for curious speculation as to the opinion entertained of the comparative heinousness of the crimes recorded during the reign of the Saints on earth, as the Cavaliers profanely termed it. Three oaths cost the French- man a shilling each : so that the twelve shillings exacted from Mrs. THUNDER (apt designation ! ) gave 7s. for her seven oaths, and 5s. for getting drunk. " A mayd taken in Mrs. Jack- son's ale-house" on a Sunday is amerced 5s. ; while ISABEL JOHNSON is only fined 4s. for" drinking on the Sabbath-day" ; and "a Scotchman has to pay only 23. for drinking at Robert Owen's on the Sabbath." These variations are inexplicable ; unless, indeed, we assume that IsAHEL JOHNSON tippled quietly at home, and thus gave less scandal; and that 2s. from a Scotchman, with the supposed penurious habits of his country, was deemed equivalent to 5s. from an English " maid." Perhaps ROBERT OWEN, like his namesake in our day, had invented " a new moral world," and thus diminished the turpitude of tippling. Mr. Hooxsa's criminality in brewing on the Fast-day seems to have been esteemed only one-half of the criminality of the " maid" caught in an ale-house on Sabbath, and less than one-half of that of the Fast-day travellers, Messrs. HUXLEY and Morino. The case of JOHN PIERS seems particularly bard: it does not appear that he was doing any thing on the Lord's-day, but on the con- trary, that he refused to assist the spies of the parish authorities in the exercise of their vocation on that day ; and yet his fine is five times that of the tippling Scotchman.