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

Unhappy Gift from God, 1749

NOTE: This brief information given to Henry Fielding, Magistrate at Bow Street, is exceedingly interesting for demonstrating that one gay man viewed his homosexuality as "an unhappy gift that God has given him, and he coudl not live without it". In other words, he possessed the same kind of feelings that gay men often had in the 1950s, when they regarded their sexuality as a kind of innate curse while at the same time an obsessive pleasure that they would not abandon. The other man involved at the time of the incident, was reported being dead very shortly afterwards, and one wonders if he had killed himself after being discovered.

Middx and Westmr.} to wit

The Information of Mary Griffiths at the Globe Tavern in Fleetstreet[,] Spinster, taken before me this 20th day of April 1749.

Who being upon Oath says that in June last she lived as a Servant with a Person now present who calls himself Robert Fawcet who then Lodged in the house of Mr. Giblett an Engraver at Islington. Says that one day in the said Month of June between Eleven and Twelve of the Clock in the forenoon she this Informt. went up Stairs into her Master's Bed Chamber with an Intent to call him to Breakfast, Says that when she went in, she found her Master (the said Robt. Fawcet) Lying Naked upon the Backside of one Wm. Carpenter since Deceased (the Bed Cloathes not being upon them at that time) and upon this Informts. going Into the aforesaid Room, the said Robert Fawcett gott off the said Carpenter and presently afterward saw him wipe his private parts with his Shirt. And this Informt. further says that from the reasons aforesaid she verily beleives [sic] that they Committed the Detestable Sin of Sodomy betwixt them, Says that upon her asking her Master if he was not ashamed of being Guilty of such An Action, he replyed that it was an Unhappy gift that God has given him, and he could not Live without it. Says that she spoke to Carpenter at the same time and asked him the same Questions, To which he Replyed her Master would never let him alone, and that he the said Fawcet had, ruined the said Carpenter's body and Soul.

Sworn before me this 20th. April 1749.
              H. Fielding

Mary    3    Griffis

SOURCE: Middlesex Sessions: Sessions Papers – Justices' Working Documents;

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "Unhappy Gift from God, 1749", Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 6 January 2011 <>.

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