Mirror of Literature,  9 (1827), 257–60.

The Jew Slopseller



Miscellaneous, Extract

Publications extracted:

Monthly Magazine


Human Species, Commerce, Race, Monstrosities, Natural History, Religion, Genius, Exhibitions

    The writer begins by observing quizically: 'We know not if, among the several qualities, to the possession of which philosophers have ascribed our superiority over frogs and jackdaws, the spirit of commerce has been duly registered—whether the continually working principle of barter, wanting in all other animals, has given a triumphant distinction to humanity, and thus proved the immortal essence of man in his day-book and ledger' (257). Describes the 'Jew slopseller' in terms that are sometimes those of natural history. Observes of his appearance, 'Horace himself never imagined such a monster; it would be the head of a fox on the body of a mastiff—of a cat, fixed on the neck of an antelope'. States of his behaviour, 'it would seem some spirit of gain inhabited his every tendon and nerve, and that his body echoed and throbbed throughout with their clamour and their stirring'. Considers that his 'prime god is made at his majesty's mint' and observes: 'If he can give to second-cloth the passing freshness of superfine, he is, in his own esteem, a second Descartes; if he can replace copper for gold, another Newton'. States that he 'has no love of nature, animate or still', except with a view to making money: 'Shew him Mount Vesuvius in full eruption, and he will speculate on getting it up in a raree-show'. Describes the slop-seller as preying, crocodile-like and fox-like, on honest sailors. (258)

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