883. Timothy Takeall
Berkshire Chronicle, 12 June 1788

THE OLD BREECHES.

Th’ Old Breeches, for want of good mending

Are ript and torn in the folds;

And as you walk up street and down,

You shew your bare breech thro’ the holes.

Mr. PRINTER, Observing in your Berkshire Chronicle, No. 3, a piece entitled, The New Breeches,1 and the author requesting some of your correspondents to favour him with a fresh supply of arguments in favour of the old ones; I must beg leave to inform him, that it appears to be a task of considerable difficulty, especially as it is women and children that he hath to reason with, for they have generally conquered the greatest men, not so much by their argumentation, as their assiduity and assurance; and no wonder they favour the new breeches, for women and children are fond of novelties, and they only it is that are fond of the new breeches, and they generally compose so powerful a part of the family, that I believe Mr. Prejudice will be obliged to pull on, and wear them, however they may chafe and gall him; for at present the women and children appear to have the advantage, notwithstanding I am of opinion that much may be said against the new breeches being immediately put on, for the Taylor hath not yet presented his bill for making, he hath only made you debtor for the breeches, and left a blank for the price, to be ascertained when the breeches are fairly on; and should you be unlucky enough to sully or rumple them in the operation, he will oblige you to keep them, whether they fit you or not; then, no doubt, the blanks will be filled up, the bill presented, and payment demanded, which will probably read as follows, viz.

P. P. Dr. to sundries,  £.   .

  • Cutting and making a pair of Legislative Breeches,
    upon a new construction,
  • Executive silk, four skeins, of changeable colour, at
  • Judicial buttons, for a baker’s dozen, with japan’d catgut eyes,
    imported from Britain in the ship Rebellion,
  • Silk twist, for four sticks, at
  • Edging, for two-thirds of 13 yards, at
  • Shoulder-straps, for one large pair of hardbeam,
    overlaid with full faith and credit,
  • Constructing and establishing the above fashion, and
    ordering all Taylors, Journeymen, and Apprentices,
    to govern themselves thereby, any thing in the fashions
    or customs of the people to the contrary notwithstanding,
  • ——  
  • £.  

The only favourable circumstance attending the above bill, is, that however extravagantly he may tax you, he cannot recover any more property than you are possessed of.—These are old sayings, “a burn’d child dreads the fire,” and “a liar is not to be believed, though he speak the truth.” Your Taylor told you, when he made the old breeches, that they would last fifteen years without repairing; but after half of that time is expired, he informs you that they are past mending, and sends you a new pair, which he says are calculated for your benefit, but will not suffer you to try them on, and in case of their illy fitting you, to return them; but if you put them on, you must wear them, and pay the bill which he will then exhibit. Pride and ambition plead for the new breeches; prudence and œconomy for the old ones; and should the new breeches make you sore, as those which the sons of Jacob made for the Shechemites did them, you would as easily be overcome by your Taylor, as they were by the sons of Jacob.

1. “Timothy Takeall” responds to “Peter Prejudice,” The New Breeches (CC:685), first printed in the Philadelphia Federal Gazette, 15 April, and reprinted in the Berkshire Chronicle on 22 May.