«Be it therefore enacted, that if any person or persons, of any degree or quality whatsoever, shall by any fraud, cousenage, circumvention, deceit, c. in playing at Cards, Dice, Tables, Tennis, Bowls, Kittles, Shovel-board, or in or by Cock-fightings, Horse-races, Dog-matches, or Foot-races c. or by betting on the sides or hands of such as play, win, obtain, or acquire any sum or sums of money or any other valuable thing; that then every person so offending shall ipso facto forfeit treble the sum or value of money, or other thing, so won, gained, or acquired.
«And for the better avoiding and preventing of all excessive and immoderate playing and gaming for the time to [Pg 149] come, be it further enacted, that if any person shall play at any of the said games, or any other pastime whatsoever (otherwise than with and for ready money), or shall bet on the sides of such as play, and shall lose any sum of money or other thing played for, exceeding the sum of one hundred pounds, at one time or meeting, upon ticket or credit, or otherwise, and shall not pay down the same at the time when he shall so lose the same, the party who loseth the said moneys, or other things so played for, above the said sum of one hundred pounds, shall not, in that case, be bound or compelled to pay or make good the same; and that all Contracts, Judgments, Statutes, Recognizances, Mortgages, c. made, given, acknowledged, or entered for security and payment of the same shall be utterly void and of none effect. And, lastly, it is enacted, that the person, or persons, so winning the said moneys, or other things, shall forfeit and lose treble the value of all such sum and sums of money, or other thing which he shall so win (above the said sum of one hundred pounds), the one moiety to the King, and the other to the Prosecutor.» The passion for gaming at that period, and its consequences to wealthy flats, are thus described by Dryden:
During the reign of Charles II, the business of card-making greatly increased in England: and the game appears to have been so generally understood as to induce many ingenious persons to employ cards not only as a means of diffusing useful and entertaining knowledge, but also of [Pg 150] advertising their wares. The same mode of instruction was adopted about the same period in France; but in England it appears to have embraced a wider range of subjects; in France, scientific cards appear to have been devised for the exclusive use of the nobility and gentry, and to have been confined to their instruction in the conundrums of heraldry and the elements of history and geography; while in England they were «adapted to the meanest capacity;» and in addition to the uses for which they were employed in France, were made subservient to the purposes of communicating knowledge in grammar, history, politics, morality, mathematics, and the art of carving.
De Brainville invented at Lyons, about 1660, a pack of Heraldic cards, in which the Aces and Knaves, «les As et Valets,» were represented by the arms of certain princes and nobles. De Brainville, like Mr. Anstis, does not seem to have rightly understood his own «foolish business» -the plates were seized by the magistrates. As it appeared, however, that he had given offence through pure inadvertence, and not with any satirical intention, the plates were restored to him [Pg 151] on condition of his altering the odious names of «As» and «Valets» into Princes and Chevaliers. «