Lotteries had been resorted to in England, as a means of raising the public revenue, both in the 16th and the 17th centuries. Private lotteries were prohibited by Act of Parliament in 1696: but in 1709 the practice was systematically established of using public lotteries, with the authority of Parliament, as sources of revenue. Swift and Addison thus assisted at a drawing very early after the beginning of a vicious system destined to continue for more than a century until its final abolition in 1823. In the Tatler for July 27th, Steele moralizes on the same subject, having just been present at the first drawing. He speaks of Swift's 'jackanapes of Blue Coat boys,' as `the impartial and equal dispensers of the fortunes which were to be distributed to the crowd.'