JF Ptak Science Books Post 1841
Who Is that man pointing and speaking from the preacher barrel?
This quaint woodcut appeared as the cover illustration to a pamphlet entitled A Word to Fanatics, Puritanism and Sectaries1; or, New Preachers New, and it answers my question: the screamer is Mr. Praise-God-Barebone who is attended by his attender, a more-commonly named Mr. Green ("the Feltmaker"), and is shown preaching to a small crowd, many of whom are shown with long faces and in deep caricature, more so to mirror words they are hearing. Barebones is not presented in a friendly light, as the pamphlet was a warning to the general reader of the rising crowd of untrained and possibly heretical religicos who were gathering attention in and about London in the (Cromwellian fanatical) 1640's. They were seen as diffident, destructive, and definitely of the dimpled damaged variety of street entertainer. The interestingly-named pamphlet and Mr. Barebone was reported by the magazine, The Mirrour, (July 19, 1823) as "the object of the work is to ridicule such persons without education undertake to expound the Scriptures, and who, ignorant themselves, have the vanity to pretend to teach others". The powers that be were not amused.
After dispatching the screamers The Mirrour then lists a number of very compelling and some-never-heard-of-before-by-me nicknames, like Barebone's brother "Christ Came Into the World to Save" Barebone, followed by these examples: Accepted Trevor, of Norsham; Redeemed Compton, of Battle; Faint Not Hewit, of Hearthfield; Make Peace Heaton of Hare; God Reward Smart, of Firehurst; EarthAdms, of Warbleton; Called Lower of Warbleton; Kill Sin Pimple, of Witham; Return Spelman, of Watling; Fly Debate Roberts, Britling; Be Faithful Joiner, of Britling; Mare Fruit Fowler, of ast Hadley; Weep Not Billing, of Lewes; and Meek Brewer, of Okeham. The magazine claims official records as the source for these names, but, well, who knows--perhaps the editors were just attempting to put a larger exclamation point on their biting article.
- For this blog's other posts on nicknames (as parts of a longer thread called Naming Things, see War of Nicknames: 19th Century Criminals vs. Modern Mobsters vs. mid-Century Baseball vs. Mathematicians & Physicists, and The Advancing Frontier and the Increase in Bloody Names of Literary Heroes, here.
These are extraordinary names in some ways similar to the passive reportage nastiness of H.L. Mencken's nickname walk-through in his The American Language, but not quite so--in that book, the old problematic sage of Baltimore staggers his way through unbridled American enthusiastic for the common person's testing and misunderstanding of English. The religious nicknames seem more like baseball nicknames from the 1920's, or earlier. But of course these names predate those efforts by nearly 300 years.
Somehow I'd like to see trading cards for these guys--although half-ancient that don't give much leeway to their modern sports varieties. Baseball has provided ceaseless though a little limited entertainment, tending sometimes toward the poetic overstatement (the Chairman of the Board, The Mighty Slider, The Great Significance) though it does get down to business in the ‘40’s and ‘50’s (the golden age of BB nicknames). Here are a few examples, minus the racist stuff: Pork Chop, Tater, Gummy, Whale, Pickles, Rawmeat, Spud, Bunny, Beast, Kitten, Possum, Slug, The Rat, Pudge, Tomato Face, Buttercup. (The most effective nicknames could've been made by combining two of the single names: "Spud Rawmeat", "Pudge Slug" or "Gummy Buttercup", for example.) There’s an awful lot of them dealing with food, and a whole heck of a lot dealing with facial features; they all seem to outweigh ball playing ability, by far. All this said, I do have a sweet pull for the religious nicknames.
1. Sectraries: members of a sect, especially those who belongs to a religious sect that is regarded as heretical or schismatic.