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

Prison Chums

The Trial of Thomas Sylvester

THOMAS SYLVESTER was indicted for a Misdemeanour, in attempting to commit the unnatural Sin of Sodomy.

P. Kirk. The Prisoner had been my Chum in the Fleet-Prison for 6 or 7 Weeks. On Tuesday the 4th of April last, he went to Bed before me, and as soon as I came to Bed to him, he caught me in his Arms and kiss'd me. I desired him to desist, for I did not like such Behaviour. I turn'd about, and went to sleep, and by-and-by he thrust his Y[ar]d so hard agianst my Fun[damen]t, that it waked me. I told him I would bear such Usage no longer, his Inclinations were not for my liking, nor never would; and if he made any farther Offers that Way, I would immediately complain, and expose him to the whole House. He swore, if I spoke of it, he would do me a private Mischief. He had made some such Offers before, and talk'd to me in the most vile Way; and therefore I had desired the Chamberlain to let me be removed, but the House was then so full that I could not be chum'd elsewhere. At last I resolved to discover his Behaviour, notwithstanding his threatning to do me a Mischief, and so I sent to ask an Attorney's Advice how I should proceed, and then on the Sunday following I disclosed it.

Prisoner's Council. Did you never borrow Money of Sylvester?

Kirk. No; He may have laid out 6 d. for me, or so.

Council. Did not you owe him 18 s. before you charged him with this?

Kirk. No.

David Boyse. As I was drinking in the Coffee-Room 2 or 3 Months ago, the Prosecutor seem'd uneasy with his Chum, and said, he wanted another. I asked him why? Because, says he, this would have B[uggere]d me. I told Sylvester of it. He said, that the other was a lying Rascal, and would have served him so. A Day or two after they both met in the Publick Room, and charged one another, and gave one another the Lye, so that the House has a Suspicion of them both, and the Prosecutor, as well as the other, got the Name of a lying, sodomytical Fellow, and it was thought scandalous to keep Company with either of 'em.


SOURCE: The Proceedings at the Sessions of the Peace, and Oyer and Terminer, for the City of London, and County of Middlesex; on Wednesday the 5th, Thursday the 6th, Friday the 7th, and Saturday the 8th of July 1732, London: Printed for J. Roberts, 1732, p. 171.
CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "Prison Chums, 1732" Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook. Updated 25 April 2000 <>.

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