Newspaper Reports, 1764–1766

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 perpectrated his execrable design, and afterwards robbed him of hius 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 Chuirchill'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)

11–18 January 1765

Tuesday Noon Fawcett and Bark stood on the Pillory in Cold-Bath-Field, near the Small-Pox Hospital, for extorting Money from the Turnpike Man near that Place, under Pretence of swearing Sodomitical Practices against him, and were severely pelted by the Populace. The above Wretches are to stand twice more; and the first to suffer four Years, and the latter two Years Imprisonment, in New-Prison, Clerkenwell. (Derby Mercury)

15–22 March 1765

We hear that a Bill, more effectually to prevent the unnatural Crime of Sodomy, and sodomitical Practices, and to make it a capital Offence, is preparing to be laid before an august Assembly. (Derby Mercury)

Thursday 26 September 1765

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 17 October 1765

On Monday Night a Man, genteelly dressed, was detected by a Soldier in the Guards, in the Bird-Cage Walk, in an unnatural Crime. (Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette)

Saturday 26 October 1765

IPSWICH, October 25. – On Monday last Joseph Clark, Mariner, was committed to our Goal, being charged on the Oath of John Nunn, a Musician in the 43d Regiment of Foot, with an Attempt to commit Sodomy on the Body of him the said John Nunn. (Ipswich Journal)

Monday 19 May 1766

A tradesman of this city [London] was found guilty of making an attempt, a few weeks ago, to commit an unnatural crime on a soldier in Moorfields, &c. and was sentenced to suffer three months imprisonment in Newgate, to pay a fine of 10l. and to give security for his good behaviour for two years, himself in 200l. and his two securities in 100l. each. (Salisbury and Winchester Journal)

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "Newspaper Reports, 1764–65", Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 27 August 2003, updated 19 January 2012, 29 Dec. 2015 <>.

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