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The History of John Bull

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Author: John Arbuthnot
Language: English
Wordcount: 37,393 / 111 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 55.3
LoC Category: PN
Downloads: 525 619

This is the book which fixed the name and character of John Bull on the English people. Though in one part of the story he is thin and long nosed, as a result of trouble, generally he is suggested to us as "ruddy and plump, with a pair of cheeks like a trumpeter," an honest tradesman, simple and straightforward, easily cheated; but when he takes his affairs into his own hands, acting with good plain sense, knowing very well what he wants done, and doing it.

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years before his death he suffered deeply from the loss of the elder of his two sons. He was himself afflicted then with stone, and retired to Hampstead to die. "A recovery," he wrote to Swift, "is in my case and in my age impossible; the kindest wish of my friends is euthanasia." He died in 1735.


When I was first called to the office of historiographer to John Bull, he expressed himself to this purpose:--"Sir Humphrey Polesworth,* I know you are a plain dealer; it is for that reason I have chosen you for this important trust; speak the truth and spare not." That I might fulfil those his honourable intentions, I obtained leave to repair to, and attend him in his most secret retirements; and I put the journals of all transactions into a strong box, to be opened at a fitting occasion, after the manner of the historiographers of some eastern monarchs: this I thought was the safest way; though I declare I was never afraid to be chopped** by my master for telling of truth. It



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