From the Greek sophists they borrowed ingenious ways of playing off one duty against another, or duty in general against self-interest - leaving the doubter in the alternative of neglecting the one and being a knave, or neglecting the other and being a fool.
Knox does not seem to have known beforehand of Rizzio's "slaughter," which had been intended to be a semi-judicial act; but soon after it he records that "that vile knave Davie was justly punished, for abusing of the commonwealth, and for other villainy which we list not to express."
Swift, who was intimate with him, speaks of him as "an arrant knave"; but the dean may have been disappointed at being unmentioned in Rivers's will, for he made a fierce comment on the earl's bequests to his mistresses and his neglect of his friends.
The poor man was obliged to issue a special almanac to assure his clients and the public that he was not dead: he was fatuous enough to add that he was not only alive at the time of writing, but that he was also demonstrably alive on the day when the knave Bickerstaff (a name borrowed by Swift from a sign in Long Acre) asserted that he died of fever.
The knave, double or quits... it can't be!...