Image of two men kissingHomosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook compiled by Rictor Norton

The Shortest Way with Whores and Rogues

I shall next speak of a more Unnatural Act of Uncleanness, I mean Sodomy; which is so called from the Men of Sodom.
      This Sin is an Abuse of either Sex against Nature; and is such a Filthiness as is not to be found amongst the Beasts. For God hath ordained that the Male and the Female should Couple together; and not the Female and Female, nor Male and Male. But in this horrible manner did the Sodomites, Romans, and other of the Gentiles: And of late, several in England have been charged with this Unnatural Sin; as Mr. G— of Manchester, and the (late) Clerk of St. Dunstans. At this day, in the Levant, Sodomy is held no Sin. The Turkish Bashaws have many Wives, but (which is far more abominable) more Catamites: But Sodomy (and Self-Pollution, which is a sort of Murder) is a Sin so against Nature, that Children (Natures End) and Posterity are utterly lost by it; and therefore ’tis said, God gave them up to vile affections: For even their Women did change the natural use into that which is against nature; and likewise also the Men, leaving the natural use of the Woman, burned in their lust one towards another, Men with Men, working that which is unseemly (Rom. I. 26, 27).
      Add unto these the Sin of Buggery, which is such an abominable act of Uncleanness, that Moses tells us, Whosoever lyeth with a Beast, shall surely be put to death. This Unnatural Vice has been often practiced in England, and that (I blush to speak it) by both Sexes. In the Year 1677, there was a strange and wonderful Tryal of a Woman who was proved several times to have Carnal Coupulation [sic] with a Dog, which Dog was brought into Court, and with the Woman afterwards Hang’d at Tyburn. And at the same time, a Man was tryed for Buggering of a Mare. John Atherton (Bishop of Waterford) for this Unnatural Lust, was Arraigned and Executed at Dublin.
      Strange! Whither will these Libidinous Flames carry Men? Sure they are an earnest of those they shall feel hereafter! [pp. 31-2]

      He or she that’s guilty of Self-Pollution should Advertise it in every News Paper a Week together, at their own Cost, and should forfeit 10l. to the Informer. .. [p. 34]

      The Sodomite should be placed in a Tub, and have liquid and burning Brimstone poured down upon him till he expires in a way which Heaven has found out for the Punishment of so Unnatural a Sin. Or, if it may be thought a more speedy way to suppress Sodomy, let every Man guilty of this Sin, have his Genitals cut off, and burnt by the common Hangman.
      He that’s proved guilty of Buggery, should be Repriev’d from Execution, till he hath eaten up the Beast with which he has committed the Sin, at the rate of half a pound a day; when he has done this, he should be Hang’d Heels upwards, to denote that his Sin has been Unnatural. But seeing no Punishment can be bad enough for such a Lewd Sinner, e’en let him be Stoned to Death; and when his Beastly Carkass is Dead, let his Head by fastned to the Mare he has Bugger’d, and made a Spectacle to all the World. [pp. 35-6]

      The Buggerish, Incestuous, and Sodomitish Women, should have the Punishments that are allotted to these sort of Men Sinners.

      Were but these short Methods of Penal Justice set on foot, Debauchery wou’d lose Ground, and the REFORMATION spread more. [pp. 42-3]

SOURCE: The Shortest-Way with Whores and Rogues: Or, A New Project for Reformation. Dedicated to Mr. Daniel de Foe, Author of the Shortest Way with Dissenters. London, Printed in the Year 1703.

NOTES: The sodomite referred to as "Mr. G— of Manchester, and the (late) Clerk of St. Dunstans" is probably named Germain. There is a brief newspaper report in the English Post for 5-7 March 1701: ‘The Parish Clerk of St. Dunstans in the East, being turned out of his Place upon Suspicion of an unnatural Crime &c. Cut his Throat on Wednesday Night almost from Ear to Ear.’ John Dunton, in The He-Strumpets: A Satyr on the Sodomite Club (first pub. 1707, but no extant edition except for its inclusion in his 1710 collection Athenianism) refers (on p. 96) to ‘Jermain, late Clerk of St. Dunstan's in the East, who being charg'd with S—d—y, cut his Throat with a Razor.’ Dunton is actually talking about a mass arrest of sodomites in 1707, but I think he has made a mistake, and is misremembering an event from 1701 in his reference to Jermain. Incidentally, Jermain and Germain are of course the same words (so also Jermyn Street aka German Street). There is no trial record because the man killed himself before going to trial.]

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "The Shortest Way with Whores and Rogues, 1703", Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 15 June 2005 <>.

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