By Lance Bertelsen
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Additional info for Henry Fielding at Work: Magistrate, Buisnessman, Writer
For as Fielding himself would surely have recognized, there was something in the choice of the term “Universal” itself to designate the scope of the office that threatened to recall both the Duncean lunacy of totalizing projects and the brilliance of Augustan parodic entertainments based upon them. Indeed, Smart himself invoked this relationship in two later squibs in The Midwife. On June 29, 1751, Mary Midnight advertised her own plans to open (“at the Sign of the Mop Handle in Shoe-Lane”) a similar institution: An Office for the IGNORANT OR, A Warehouse of Intelligence Where Physicians may learn the true Practice of Physic, Divines the true Practice of Piety, and Lawyers the true Practice of Law.
In fact, a summary of the most spectacular cases sounds remarkably like a preview of weekly offerings on today’s talk-show circuit: January 10—A woman of 70 says a young man and two female accomplices raped her. Then it turns out he’s wanted on a robbery charge. He brings in a woman as his alibi, but she turns out to be one of the accomplices. January 24—A husband accuses his wife and her two sons of beating him unmercifully. But the neighbors say she’s an honest, hard-working woman whose husband regularly took her money, beat her, and threatened to kill her.
Folding’s Register Office; but not finding the success he expected, he called often, and, by calling became so familiar as frequently to make Registries for him in his Books, which he did for a considerable time, without the least Gratuity; but at length liking the Business and finding, by Mr. Folding’s Acknowledgement, that he was singularly useful to him, he proposed his being taken in as a Partner, but received several evasive Answers. ”18 Having been denied a partnership by Fielding, D’Halluin went into business for himself, opening the Public Register Office with persons who “are not only Englishmen, but Englishmen who claim this Undertaking as their own, and whose Fortune, Honesty, and Honour they would think injured by being compared to .