Newspaper Reports, 1764

30 March to 2 April 1764

Friday last at the assizes at Maidstone, Kent, a man was capitally convicted for an unantural crime on an old man upwards of 60 years of age. It appeared on the trial that he met the old man on the road near Rochester, and threatened to rip him up unless he complied with his desire, which he refused; on which the marine stabbed him twice with his bayonet in his breast, and then perpetrated his execrable design, and afterwards robbed him of his coat, which was found in his possession at Rochester. The poor old man recovered, and was evidence against the above villain at Maidstone. (Dublin Courier

Thursday 3 May 1764

Yesterday a Gentleman's Servant who lodg'd at Bath was committed to Shepton-Mallet Bridewell for an Attempt of an unnatural Crime. (Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette)

7–9 June 1764

On Thursday an information on oath was made before a magistrate by a soldier in the foot-guards, of 16 men who have frequent meetings in a room hired by one of them, where they commit the most unnatural crimes. Upon which warrants were granted for apprehending of them; two of them were taken that night, and secured in Westminster Gatehouse; and yesterday the officers went in pursuit of the rest. (The London Chronicle: or, Universal Evening Post)

Saturday 4 August 1764

OXFORD, August 4.
Francis Putlock of Benson in this County, out on Bail, surrendered in Court and took his Trial for an Assault on Thomas Craggs, with an Intent to commit the most detestable Crime of Sodomy; of which he was found Guilty, and ordered to be imprisoned for Six Months, and pay a Fine of 40s. (Oxford Journal)

Thursday 13 September 1764

[A very long review of Churchill's The Times, with many long quotations, of which the following is representative:]

THOSE who have pretended to find Fault with some of our Author's late Poems, we are of Opinion will be very much at a Loss to find out Matter to carp at here. Never, indeed, was Pereformance tinctured with more Severeity; but, on the otheer Hand, never was any Thing more bold, nervous, and animated, and which is sitll more to the Writer's Credit, never did Satyr exert her Power in a juster Cause. . . .
          After a few more Lines to the same Purport, he presents us with the following Accoutn of the Evils derived to this Nation from our Intercourse with foreign Parts.

With our own Island Vices not content,
We rob our Neighbours on the Continent,
Dance Durope round, and visit ev'ry Court
To ape their Follies, and their Crimes import.
To diff'rent Lands for diff'rent Sins we roam,
And, richly freighted, bring the Cargo home;
Nobly industrious to make Vice appear
In her full State, and perfect only bare.
The succeeding Pages are taken up with an Enumerout of the particular Vices imported from every Clime; and from hence the Poet proceeds, by an easy Transition, to the most detestable of all Vices, (Sodomy) which is at once the principal Object of his Poem and of his Indignation.
No longer by vain Fear, or Shame controul'd,
From long, toolong Security grown bold,
Mocking Rebuke, they brave it in our Streets,
And Lumley e'en at Noon his Mistress meets.
So public in their Crimes, so daring grown,
They almost take a Price to have them known,
And each unnat'ral Villain scarce endures
To make a Secret of his vile Amours.
Go where we will, at ev'ry Time and Place,
Sodom confronts, and stares us in the Face;
They ply in public at our very Doors,
And take the Bread from much more honest Whores.
Those who are mean, high Paramours secure,
And the Rich Guilty screen the guilty Poor;
The Sin too proud to feel from Reason Awe,
And Those, who practise it, too great for Law.
The rest of his Poem is taken up in describing, in the strongest Expressions, the great Extent of this Vice, and the Neglect of the Fair Sex. We hope his Stricture on this Occasion are a great Deal too general; but Poets are always allowed a Latitude, adn it is sufficient to justify such Censures, that the Fice is prevailing. If the Writer has any Forgiveness to ask of the Ladies, in whose Cause this Poem is assuredly written, we are persuaded the following Lines will procure his Pardon.
Born in such Times, nor with that Patience curst
Which Saints may boast of, I may speak or burst.
      But, if, too eager in my bold Career,
Haply I wound the nice or chaster Ear;
If all unguarded, all too rude, I speak,
And call up Blushes in the Maiden's Cheek,
Forgive, ye Fair – my real Motives view,
And to Forgiveness add your Praises too.
For you I write – nor with a better Plan –
The Cause of Woman is most worthy Man –
For you I still will write, nor hold my Hand,
Whilst there's one Slave of Sodom in the Land.
                        (Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette)

Thursday 26 September 1764

Bristol, September 21.
Tuesday were also committed David Cummings, a Sailor, born in the County of Kent, aged 35, and John White, late belonging to the Militia for the County of Wilts, aged 20, charged on Oath with having committed the detestable Crime of Sodomy, at a House in Marsh Street, in this City. (Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette)

Thursday 18 October 1764

On Friday last a fanatical Preacher, near Smithfield, was committed to the Compter, charged with an unnatural Attempt. (Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette)

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "Newspaper Reports, 1764", Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 27 August 2003, updated 23 July 2019 <>.

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