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Part 2 Chapter 6

Of Hats.

Wild had now got together a very considerable gang, composed of undone gamesters, ruined bailiffs, broken tradesmen, idle apprentices, attorneys’ clerks, and loose and disorderly youth, who, being born to no fortune, nor bred to any trade or profession, were willing to live luxuriously without labour. As these persons wore different PRINCIPLES, i.e. HATS, frequent dissensions grew among them. There were particularly two parties, viz., those who wore hats FIERCELY cocked, and those who preferred the NAB or trencher hat, with the brim flapping over their eyes. The former were called CAVALIERS and TORY RORY RANTER BOYS, &c.; the latter went by the several names of WAGS, roundheads, shakebags, old-nolls, and several others. Between these, continual jars arose, insomuch that they grew in time to think there was something essential in their differences, and that their interests were incompatible with each other, whereas, in truth, the difference lay only in the fashion of their hats. Wild, therefore, having assembled them all at an alehouse on the night after Fierce’s execution, and, perceiving evident marks of their misunderstanding, from their behaviour to each other, addressed them in the following gentle, but forcible manner: [Footnote: There is something very mysterious in this speech, which probably that chapter written by Aristotle on this subject, which is mentioned by a French author, might have given some light into; but that is unhappily among the lost works of that philosopher. It is remarkable that galerus, which is Latin for a hat, signifies likewise a dog-fish, as the Greek word kuneae doth the skin of that animal; of which I suppose the hats or helmets of the ancients were composed, as ours at present are of the beaver or rabbit. Sophocles, in the latter end of his Ajax, alludes to a method of cheating in hats, and the scholiast on the place tells us of one Crephontes, who was a master of the art. It is observable likewise that Achilles, in the first Iliad of Homer, tells Agamemnon, in anger, that he had dog’s eyes. Now, as the eyes of a dog are handsomer than those of almost any other animal, this could be no term of reproach. He must therefore mean that he had a hat on, which, perhaps, from the creature it was made of, or from some other reason, might have been a mark of infamy. This superstitious opin............

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