Newspaper Reports, 1806

NOTE: Most of the newspaper reports here concern the Lancaster assizes in August 1806 when five men were tried on charges of buggery. See A Sodomite Club in Warrington for a reprint of most of those trials.

Monday 10 March 1806

Number of Criminal Offenders committed to the several Gaols in England and Wales, for Trial in the Year 1805; together with their Crimes, Sentences, &c. &c.

. . .
Sodomy, &c. . . . . . . 15
(Hampshire Chronicle)

Monday, 21 April 1806

OLD BAILEY – April 17.
George Bevan and —— Hemmings were indicted for assaulting the Rev. Craven Ord, on the highway, putting him in fear, and taking from his person a seven shilling piece, and a pocket-book containing a bill of exchange for 18l. and other papers, his property, on the evening of the 14th of March.
          Mr Gurney opened the prosecution, and detailed the facts attending the case to the Jury. – He lamented that the crime with which the prisoners stood charged, was one of a most abominable kind, and such as was too frequently practised by a set of depraved men in this metropolis, that of attacking the character of a gentleman, by charging him with an heinous and unnatural crime, in order to extort money. The learned Counsel explained the law on the subject, that when money was extorted in this way, through fear, it constituted the offence with which the prisoners were charged, that of a highway robbery.
          The following were the principal facts of this case: – The Rev. Henry Craven Ord, a clergyman, residing at North Mimms, Hertfordshire, was accosted in the Strand on the evening of the day stated, by a man who accused him of owing him a debt of 20l. Mr O. denied having any knowledge of the man or his claim, when he said he was poor and must have the money. Mr O. gave him several shillings, in order to rid himself of him, but he persisted in his claim, and was joined by two others, who hurried Mr O. down a dark lane, opposite Southampton-street, Strand, having previously intimated to him that they were Bow-street Officers, in the execution of their duty. The clergyman defied their pretensions, and said he had not done any harm, when he was informed that he would pay the demand if he valued his character; other expressions made use of by the ruffians justified, in his opinion, that they meant to charge him with an abominable crime, and, influenced by the fear of even a charge of that nature, he drew from his pocket a purse, which was snatched fom him, and the ruffians made off, observing that they had got all they wanted. Before the clergyman lost his purse, one of them whispered to him, as if to befriend him, and advised him to pay 20l. for the men who had accused him would not hesitate in swearing. The draft which was in the pocket-book led to the address of Mr Ord's father, in Sackville Street; and, on the second evening after the robbery, Hemmings went thither, in the character of a Bow Street officer, and said he had brought the purse belonging to Mr Ord. He was introduced to Mr Ord's brother, and mistaking him for Mr C. Ord, he said, on being questioned respecting the draft, that he had given it to the gentleman's servant, who made the accusation against him in the Strand, to enjoin secrecy. The fact was most completely brought home to Hemmings, by his confession, and various other circumstances. The morning after the robbery, the two prisoners at the bar, with a third person, of the name of Meure, purchased some garments at the shop of Mr Lingham, in the Strand, where the 18l. draft was passed by Bevan, and which was afterwards stopped at Drummond's banking-house, Charing Cross. Various other facts were adduced, which clearly led to the conviction of the prisoner Bevan; for, on the officers of justice searching him and his wife, on taking them into custody, articles of apparel which had been purchased at Lingham's, were traced to have been pawned by the woman, at the shop of Mr Page, in Sherrard Street, St James's.
          The Judge commented on the enormity and magnitude of the offence with great severity, and the Jury, after retiring about five minutes, returned their verdict Guilty – Death. (Caledonian Mercury, Edinburgh, Issue 13151)

Friday 2 May 1806

At the general quarter sessions of the peace, held at Kirton in Lindsey, on the 22d ult. before Richard Ellisen, Esq., chairman, . . . – George Wiles, late of Hackthorn, yeoman, convicted of assaulting Job Elton, of the same place, yeoman, with an intent to commit an unnatural crime, was sentenced to twelve months' imprisonment, and the last month to be confined in a solitary cell. (Stamford Mercury)

Saturday 10 May 1806

The following persons have been committed to Lancaster Castle, since our last, by J. A. Borron, Esq. of Warrington, for the horrid crime of Sodomy. – viz. Joseph Holland, Alexander Chorley, John Howard, Joshua Smith, John Lightbourne, Thos. Rix, John Powell, John Hebden Cosntantine, James Ackerley, and Thomas Taylor.
          The Manchester Mercury of Tuesday last mentions that two persons have been apprehended in that town, charged with a similar crime, the bare mention of which is nearly sufficient to freeze the blood of a human being. (Lancaster Gazette)

Tuesday 13 May 1806

Within these few days, fourteen persons have been committed to Lancaster Castle, (by a magistrate at Warrington) charged with the horrid and unnatural crime of Sodomy! – It is said that two others, charged with the same, have been apprehended at Manchester! (Cumberland Pacquet, and Ware's Whitehaven Advertiser)

Saturday, 17 May 1806

A discovery has lately been made in Warrington, and its vicinity, sufficient to freeze the bosom of humanity with horror. – The detestable crime of Sodomy appears to have been there systemized in such a manner, as to assume the form of a regular society, at the head of which are some of those men whom fortune had placed high in the list of respectability. About seventeen of the delinquents have been committed to Lancaster castle for trial, and some others found means to escape. The volunteers of that town were last week called out, and laudibly exerted themselves not only in securing the prisoners, but in protecting them against popular resentment. – Statesman. (The Newcastle Courant, Issue 6762)

Friday 30 May 1806

This Day is published, price 1s. embellished with a Portrait.
THE TRIAL at Large of DAVID ROBERTSON, Keeper of the Jerusalem Hotel, Charles-street, Covent Garden, and formerly Master of the Standard Tavern, Leicester Fields, for committing an Unnatural Crime with GEORGE FOULSTON. Tried on Saturday last, before Mr. Baron Graham, at the Sessions House, Old Bailey, of which he was found Guilty, and received sentence of Death; with his remarkable Address to the Court, praying an arrest of judgment.
          Sold by J. Day, opposite Roll's Buildings, Fetter-lane, where may be had, price 1s. the Trial of Colonel PASSINGHAM and J. EDWARDS, for a CONSPIRACY; now in Newgate for 3 years.
                    (Public Ledger and Daily Advertiser)

Saturday 31 May 1806

At the Old Bailey sessions, on Saturday last, one Robinson, the keeper of a brothel near Covent Garden [i.e. Robertson, see above advertisement], was convicted of an unnatural crime and received sentence of death. (Dublin Evening Post)

Monday 2 June 1806

Six Prisoners were tried at the Old Bailey on Saturday, one of whom was capitally convicted, viz. David Robertson, for the commission of an unnatural offence.
          He kept a house of ill-fame in Charles-street, Covent-Garden, where the most horrid iniquities were proved to have been practised. After a most deliberate investigation, which reflects honour on the English law, the Prisoner was found Guilty, and received sentence of Death. – When sentence of death was passed on Robertson, he stated, that he was unaware that a prisoner who had employed Counsel was at liberty to speak for himself, until after the Jury had pronounced their verdict, or he could have confuted the whole of the evidence adduced against him. He had witnesses in Court who could have proved a complete alibi, as at the time he was said to have committed the crime, he was at the house of a friend. He had had two wives and fourteen children, some of whom were living. He appeared greatly embarrassed.
          This was the only capital conviction which occurred this Sessions. (Hampshire Chronicle)

Monday 30 June 1806

It was stated about three weeks since that a Gentleman of Fortune, nearly related to a distinguished Nobleman, was held to bail for an unatural attempt on the person of a soldier. The bill was yesterday thrown out with marked disgust. The charge appeared altogether so inconsistent, that the Jury had no hesitation in discerning the motive of the parties. The gentleman was dreadfully cut and beat by the fellow who charged him with the crime, and who was then a sentinel in St. James's Park. (Hampshire Chronicle)

Friday 1 August 1806

A few days ago, in Lancashire, England, 40 men were committed to prison, charged with a most unnatural and horrid crime. Several persons of property are in the number, and all are to abide their trials at the next assizes for that Shire. (Hibernian Journal; or, Chronicle of Liberty)

Saturday 2 August 1806

The assizes for thius county will commence on Monday next at Bodmin, before Sir Alexander Thompson and Sir Alan Chambre. . . . four Frenchmen from the prison ship in Hamoaze, charged with unnatural crimes. (Royal Cornwall Gazette)

Thursday 7 August 1806

After the Levee his MAJESTY held a Privy Council, at which the RECORDER of London attended, and made his Report of the six prisoners capitally convicted at the two last Sessions in the Old Bailey, when, we understand, Robertson, who was convicted of an unnatural crime at the Sessions before last, was ordered for execution on Wednesday next. (Morning Advertiser)

Monday 11 August 1806

This week the following prisoners were committed to our County Bridewell: . . .
          Francis White, committed by Samuel Jellicoe, Esq. charged on oath, on Monday the 14th day of July last, at Alverstoke, with having unlawfully and wickedly laid hands on William Cresby, with an intent to commit the detestable crime of Sodomy. (Hampshire Chronicle)

Wednesday 13 August 1806

Two Miscreants, the oldest 30, and the younger about 22, having the appearance of brick-makers, were brought before the Magistrate, charged with having been caught by one of the Bow-street Officers in the abominable act of committing an unnatural crime. The Officers of the patrole who caught them in this situation, attempted to secure them, but the eldest made a stout resistance, knocked down the man who first seized him, but was knocked down in his turn, and secured, when he offered all the money in his possession, amounting to 3l. 18s. to procure his liberation. The younger man made no resistance, but the officers found 2l. 9s. in his pocket. The charge was clearly proved, and both wretches were fully committed for trial. (Evening Mail)

Monday 18 August 1806

This morning David Robertson was executed in front of Newgate pursuant to his sentence. – He was convicted of an unnatural crime, and had made several attempts to commit suicide previous to his execution. (Gloucester Journal)

Friday 22 August 1806

The calendar for the ensuing assizes at Lancaster (which commenced on Saturday), presents a dark picture of the human heart. – We are sorry to observe that there are no fewer than fifty-one prisoners committed for trial, among whom are five charged with murder, five with manslaughter, twenty-two with sodomy, four with forgery, two with croft-breaking, seven with burglary, two with picking pockets, and one with bigamy. (Stamford Mercury)

Saturday, 23 August 1806

At Lancaster Assizes, which began on Saturday, there were four to be tried for forgery; fourteen for murder; and twenty-one for an unnatural crime. (Jackson's Oxford Journal, Issue 2782)

Saturday 23 August 1806

True bills were found against Isaac Kitchen, Joshua Newsham, Joseph Holland, John Powell, John Hebden Constantine, Robt Aspinall, Jonathan alias John Denton, Peter Atherton, and John Smith, for sodomy; and against Samuel Stockton, Thomas Rix, Alexander Chorley, James Ackerley, Charles Davenport, George Ellis, and several others, for misdemeanours. – These remain to be tried. (Lancaster Gazette)

Thursday, 28 August 1806

At Lancaster Assizes, five persons were found guilty of forgery, one for a rape, four for stealing; and Isaac Hitchen, Samuel Stockton, Joseph Holland, John Powell, and Thomas Rix, for an unnatural crime; and all received sentence of death. Other four were to be tried on Monday for the same horrible crime. (Caledonian Mercury, Edinburgh, Issue 13206)

Saturday, 30 August 1806

Saturday, Isaac Hitchen, Samuel Stockton, Joseph Holland, John Powell, and Thomas Rix, five of the Warrington men, took their trials at Lancaster, for an unnatural crime, and were all found guilty. (The Ipswich Journal, Issue 3824. Similar brief report in Jackson's Oxford Journal, 30 Aug. 1806, Issue 2783.)

Saturday 30 August 1806

The Court met on Saturday, pursuant to adjournment, when the following persons were convicted:– Joseph Holland (aged 50) of committing an unatural crime upon Thos. Taylor, of Warrington; – Isaac Hitchin (aged 62) of a similar offence upon John Knight, of Warrington; – Samuel Stockton (aged 50) of a similar offence on Thos. Taylor; – Thos. Rix (aged 47) of a similar offence on ditto; – and John Powell (aged 45) of a similar offence on J. Knight, at Great Sankey – Aspinall, Denton, and Smith, charged with similar offences, at Liverpool, were acquitted.
          On Monday, Joshua Newsham (aged 84) was acquitted of a similar charge; but remanded, to take his Trial at the next Assizes, on another indictment; as was also Peter Atherton (ag3ed 72) – George Ellis (aged 50) was convicted of assaulting J. Knight, with an intent to commit a similar offence.
          Joshua Smith, James Ackerley, John Hebden Constantine, and Charles Davenport, charted with similar offences, traversed, and were remanded for want of sureties. – Alexander Chorley, for a simlar offence, traversed, and was admitted to bail. – T. Knight, J. Howard, J. Lightburne, T. Taylor, J. Hill, and F. Smales, were admitted as King's evidence.
          Same day, the Assizes concluded, when Baron Graham, in a solemn and impressive manner, passed sentence of death on the following thirteen capital convicts, viz. – Joseph Holland, Isaac Hitchin, S. Stockton, T. Rix, and J. Powell, for sodomy; . . . George Ellis, for a misdemeanour (see above) to be imprisoned two years, and to stand twice in the pillory at Lancaster, one hour each time; . . .
          Ellis is to be exhibited in the pillory, in our Market Place, this day, at noon.
          It appeared, on the trials of the Sodomites, that they pretended to hold a kind of Masonic Lodge, and had taken a house, to carry on their diabolical purposes, which was kept by old Hitchin, and where they met on Monday and Friday evenings. – They accosted one another with the title of "Brother!" – Holland was an opulent man, as were some of the others: – Powell kept a public-house at Great Sankey. (Lancaster Gazette)

Saturday, 30 August 1806

At these Assizes, which closed on Monday last, thirteen prisoners were capitally convicted, and received sentence of death, viz.
          John Barlow, for stealing six pieces of calico, in the bleaching grounds of S. Nash, T. Jackson, and A. Lloyd, of Failsworth.
          Luke Lockard and Peter Higgins, for having been concerned in forging and uttering a bill of exchange for 29l. 10s. with intent to defraud G. Gardner, J. Hudswell, and J. Thorp, of Salford.
          James Sidebottom, for stealing a waistcoat, &c. the property of Z. Fletcher.
          Ralph Bolton, for a burglary in the house of W. Horrocks, and stealing therein a desk containing a quantity of gold coin.
          Charles Johnson and , for forging a bill of exchange of 30l. with intent to defraud J. and J. Irwin, of Manchester.
          James Yates, for wounding and ravishing Mary Hoyle, of Spolland.
          Isaac Hitchin, aged 62, for an assault, with an intent to commit an unnatural crime on John Knight.
          Samuel Stockton, , and Joseph Holland, for a similar offence on Thomas Taylor.
          And John Powell, for an unnatural crime with John Knight.
          The Judge (Baron GRAHAM), in the most impressive manner, advised the eight last-mentioned malefactors to prepare to meet the fate which the laws of their country had affixed to their heinous offences. Hopes of mercy were held out to the other five.
          It appeared on the trials of Hitchin, Stockton, Fox, Holland, and Powell, that they regularly assembled at the house of Hitchin, on Monday and Friday evenings. The Judge very properly ordered that no notes should be taken of these trials.
                    (Morning Chronicle, London, Issue 11634)

Tuesday 2 September 1806

Lancaster assizes concluded. – On Saturday se'nnight, Isaac Hitchen, Samuel Stockton, John Powell, Thos. Rix, and another, for an unnatural crime, were all found guilty.
          On the trial of Denton, Smales, the only evidence against him, gave such an incoherent testimony, that the jury acquitted the prison; as they also did John Smith and Robert Aspinall, without further examination of Smales, the only evidence against them also.
          On Monday, J. Newsham (aged 34), was put upon his trial for an unnatural crime. The evidence against him, however, not proving the actual commission of the crime [i.e. sodomy with penetration], he was acquitted; but, by the Judge's order, immediately indicted for a misdemeanor [i.e. "attempted sodomy"], and remanded for trial at the next assizes. His Lordship refused to admit him to bail on any condition. Peter Hatherton (aged 72), was tried for a similar offence, and acquitted, but afterwards indicted for a misdemeanor. The indictment of John H. Constantine, as well as those of several others, were also changed to that of misdemeanors, and their trials postponed till next assizes. We understand that two of these wretched creatures are to be executed at Warrington, and the other tree, convicted of the same crime, at Lancaster. . . .
          At the conclusion of this assize, a cause came on, which excited a considerable degree of interest in this city, the defendant being a resident tradesman of respectability, and a member of the volunteer corps, and from having, when upon permanent duty at Warrington, in 1805, been unfortunately introduced to one Robert Ball, late house steward to Colonel Patten, of Bank, near Warrington, who was admitted King's evidence, and who, as it appeared upon the trial, has been an associate in that infernal gang, who have degraded themselves and human nature, by the commission of crimes (in the emphatic language of the law), not to be named among Christians, was by him charged with several indecencies, short of the capital crime [i.e. sex between men but short of sodomy with penetration]. The trial occupied but a short time; the defendant's counsel, Mr. Scarlet (whose well-known abilities, accompanied with the most refined sensibility, need no eulogium from our pen), detected such glaring perjury upon the part of the witness, that, after an address to the jury, his Lordship would not suffer more than three of the defendant's witnesses to be examined, but stopped proceedings to remark to the jury the impossibility of the defendant's guilt, when the Attorney-General, actuated by the same conviction, begged to withdraw the prosecution. It was remarkable, that at the commencement of the trial, so strongly did the defendant's innocence appear, that contrary to the usual practice, he was not placed at the bar, but was allowed to take a seat with his council at the green table. It is almost needless to add, that this honourable acquittal, almost unparalleled in the annals of criminal judicature, was received with the greatest exultation by a crowded court, who heartily and feelingly congratulated each other upon the blessings of an impartial administration of justice, and rejoicing, that even in the moment of indignation, excited by the preceding trials, still the modest voice of innocence was not disregarded. Baron Graham then congratulated the defendant upon his acquittal, and addressed him in these words:– "Young man, you will now return to your friends with unspotted purity of character." His Lordship then ordered that the witness would not be discharged till he had procured bail to the amount of 1600l. to answer a bill of indictment, to be preferred against him next general assize. It is worthy of remark, that so great was the indignation of the populace against the evidence, Ball, that it was not thought advisable to trust him within the reach of their resentment. (Chester Courant)

4 September 1806

At Lancaster assizes the following prisoners received sentence of death, viz. Isaac Hitchen, Sam. Stockton, Joseph Holland, John Powell, and Thos. rix, for an unnatural crime; James Yates,for a rape, John Barlow, for robbing a bleaching ground; Luke Lickard, Peter Higgins, Charles Johnson, and Robert Thomas, for forgery; and James Sidebotham, and Ralph Bolton, for burglaries. – Geo. Ellis, for an attempt to commit an unnatural offence, was sentenced to two years imprisonment, and to stand twice in the pillory at Lancaster: 6 (charged with the same offence) were admitted king's evidence, and two were remanded. – Yates, Johnson, and Thomas, are left for execution; as are the five wretches convicted of an unnatural crime – It can never be forgotten by a religious and thinking mind, that a whole people were swept from the face of the earth by Almighty vengeance, for this atrocious sin. Nor have we less to fear form offended Heaven if such monstrous practices be not suppressed by the vigilance and energy of the magistrates, aided by individuals. (Bath chronicle and Weekly Gazette)

6 September 1806

At the late Lancaster Assizes, there were four tried for forgery; fourteen for murder; and twenty-one for an unnatural crime.
          At the above Assizes, which closed on Monday se'nnight, 13 prisoners were capitally convicted, and received sentence of death, viz.
          . . . Isaac Hitchin, aged 62, J. Stockton, Thos. Fox, J. Holland, and J. Powell, for unnatural crimes.
          The Judge (Baron Graham), in the most impressive manner, advised the eight last mentioned malefactors to prepare to meet the fate which the laws of their country had affixed to their heinous offences. Hopes of mercy were held out to the other five.
          It appeared on the trials of Hitchin, Stockton, Fox, Holland, and powell, that they regularly assembled at the house of Hitchi, on Monday and Friday evenings; and that they called one another brother. The Judge very properly ordered that no notes should be taken of their trials.
          Five of the persons charged with unnatural offences were admitted as evidence for the Crown. (Manks Advertiser)

Tuesday 16 September 1806

On Saturday last six of the unhappy culprits condemned at the last assizes, viz. two for forgery, one for a rape, and three for sodomy, were executed on the drop behind Lancaster Castle. They all demeaned themselves in a manner becoming their awful situation, except Yates, for the rape, who appeared to meet his fate with a degree of hardened impatience. Johnson and Thomas for forgery, and Hitchen and Fix for sodomy, have been respited – An immense concourse of spectators attended the execution. (Manchester Mercury)

Thursday, 18 September 1806

Six of the unfortunate men, lately under sentence of death, at Lancaster, were, on Saturday the 13th, executed on the new drop, erected at the back of the Castle, viz. James Stockton, James Powell and James Holland, for an unnatural crime; Luke Lockard and Peter Higgins, for forgery; and James Yates, for a rape. Previous to leaving the Castle, the prisoners seemed to join the clergyman in devout prayer, and their awful fate appeared to make a sensible impression on their minds. (Morning Chronicle, London, Issue 11650)

Friday 19 September 1806

Execution of the Malefactors at Lancaster.
Six of the unfortunate men, lately under sentence of death, at Lancaster, were on Saturday last executed on the new Drop, erected at the back of the castle, viz. S. Stockton, J. Powell, and James Holland, for sodomy; Luke Lockard and Peter Higgins, for forgery; and James Yates, for a rape. Previous to leaving the castle, the prisoners seemed to join the Clergyman in devout prayer, and their awful fate appeared to make a sensible impression on their minds. – The other prisoners in the castle, under sentence of death, viz. Chas. Johnson and Robt. Thomas, for forgery; Isaac Hitchen and J. Rix, for sodomy; are respited during his Majesty's pleasure. (Chester Chronicle)

Saturday, 20 September 1806

Charles Johnson and Robert Thomas, under sentence of death in Lancaster castle, for forgery, are reprieved until his majesty's pleasure be known: and on Friday night a respite was received, by express, for Isaac Hitchin and T. Rix, found guilty of sodomy. The other six unfortunate men, viz. Joseph Holland, S. Stockton, and J. Powell, for sodomy; Luke Lockard and Peter Higgins, for forgery, and Jas. Yates, for a rape, were executed on Saturday. (The Newcastle Courant, Issue 6780)

Saturday 20 September 1806

Six of the unfortunate men, sentenced to die, at our last Assizes, were on Saturday last executed on the drop, at the back of the Castle, viz. Saml. Stockton, John Powell, and Joseph Holland, for sodomy; Luke Lockard, and Peter Higgins, for forgery, and James Yates, for a rape. – Soon after twelve o'clock, Stockton ascended the scaffold; he appeared much agitated, indeed his tembling limbs seemed almost inadequate to their task; Powell was the next, he seemed much affected; although he did not display such dejection as the former; Holland then ascended the steps, he appeared in a state of the greatest agitation, the contrition of his countenance truly indicating the penitence of his mind; on the scaffold his feelings appeared the most acute, he seemed impressed with all the horrors consequent to a situation so awful, and to implore the pardon of Almighty God with the greatest fervency, and scarcely seemed to bestow a single glance on the surrounded multitude; he was a man advanced in years, of a gentlemanly appearance, and was possessed of very handsome property. Yates (a young man) ran up the scaffold steps in a manner extremely indifferent, and seemed little affected; Lockard and Higgins, (young men) appeared both very much affected. – About half past twelve o'clock, when an awful silence prevailed, these poor unfortunate wretches were precipitated into eternity! – Isaac Hitchen, and Thomas Rix, for sodomy, are respited for a fortnight from Saturday last.
          At Chester city sessions, which commenced on the 3d inst. John Vaughan, aged 79, for assaulting Samuel Jones, with an intent to commit an unnatural crime, was found guilty, and sentenced to be imprisoned in the House of Correction twelve calendar months, and during that time kept to hard labour. (Lancaster Gazette)

Saturday, 20 September 1806

Six of the unfortunate men, lately under sentence of death at Lancaster, were executed on Saturday last, viz. S. Stockton, J. Powell, and J. Holland, for an unnatural crime, L. Lockard and P. Higgins, for forgery, and J. Yates, for a rape; Stockton seemed much agitated, and Holland, a man advanced in years, of a gentlemanly appearance, and possessed of handsome property, appeared extremely agitated. Hitchen and Rix, for an unnatural crime, and Johnson and Thomas, for forgery, are respited during his Majesty's pleasure. (Jackson's Oxford Journal, Issue 2786)

Saturday, 27 September 1806

At Chester city sessions on the 3d inst. John Vaughan, aged 79, for assaulting Samuel Jones, with an attempt to commit an unnatural crime, was sentenced to 12 months hard labour in the house of correction. (The Newcastle Courant, Issue 6781)

Saturday, 4 October 1806

On Saturday last, Isaac Hitchen and Thomas Rix, two of those who were convicted at our last Assizes, of sodomy, and whose sentences had been respited for fourteen days, were executed on the drop, behind the Castle. – They behaved with much fortitude, and appeared penitent. – Very few spectators attended the execution. (Lancaster Gazette)

Thursday, 9 October 1806

On Saturday last, HITCHEN and RIX, two of the persons convicted of an unnatural crime at last Lancaster assizes, and who had been respited for fourteen days, were executed at Lancaster. (Caledonian Mercury, Edinburgh, Issue 13224)

Monday 27 October 1806

[Westminster Sessions, Saturday 25 October]
John Greenough, a private in the Coldstream Regiment of Guards, was convicted of an assault upon Joseph Turner, a boy 12 years of age, with intent to commit an unnatural crime. – He was sentenced to be imprisoned twelve months in the House of Correction, and during the first month to stand one hour in the pillory, at Charing-cross.
          Thos. Peat, convicted on Thursday of an assault on Mr. Jennings, jun. brewer, with an intent to commit an unnatural crime, was sentenced to be imprisoned two years in the House of Correction.
          W. Walkington, found guilty on Friday of a similar assault on W. Churchill, a soldier, while on duty in St. James's Park, was sentenced to one year's imprisonment in the House of Correction, and to be once put in the pillory, at Charing-cross. (Public Ledger and Daily Advertiser. Reports in other newspapers gives the names, respectively, as John Greenno, Thomas Peate, and William Worthington.)

Saturday 1 November 1806

At Lancaster assizes, in August last, five persons were tried for an unnatural crime, and capitally convicted, viz. – Isaac Hitchins, Joseph Holland, John Powell, Thomas Rix, and Samuel Stockton. Sixteen others were to be tried for the same offence at next assizes, but six of them have been admitted King's evidence. These persons pretend to hold a Mason Lodge, and took a house to carry on their diabolical purposes at Warrington. They were almost all young men of fortune. – Hitchins was worth L. 60,000. Holland possessed a fortune of L. 2000 a-year. The agitation of this poor man, when sentence was pronounced, was shocking in the extreme. He wrung his hands, beat his bosom and forehead, and shewed all the symptoms of the utmost extremity of despair. A rich Lancashire attorney, worth L. 40,000, implicated in the same crime, has absconded. On Saturday Sept. 13th, three of these unhappy men (Powell, Holland, and Stockton,) were executed on the drop behind Lancaster castle, alongst with two others for forgery, and one for a rape, amidst an immense concourse of spectators. Hitchins and Rix were executed at the same place on the 27th of Sept. They all demeaned themselves in a manner becoming their awful situation. (Scots Magazine)

4 December 1806

This day the Old Bailey Sessions commenced before Mr. JUSTICE GROSE, Mr. BARON GRAHAM, the Lord Mayor, the Recorder, and other city Officers.
          Watkin Herbert, a soldier in the Guards, was indicted for feloniously and violently assaulting, on the King's highway, Samuel James, putting him in fear, and taking from his person, and against his will, a silver tooth-pick, a key, and a ten pound note, the property of the said Samuel James. It appeared in evidence that the Prosecutor, who was a servant to Mr. Richard Fitz-George Stackpole, in the course of going after his master's business, had occasion to go through the Park on the evening of Saturday the 1st of Nov. last, about 9 o'clock in the evening. Near to Cumberland-gate he saw the Prisoner, who passed him, and returning, kicked up his heels, giving him, at the same time, a blow on the side of his head. The prisoner then, with an oath, demanded the Prosecutor's property, and attempted to seize on his watch, which the Prosecutor saved, by keeping fast hold of it. The Prisoner, however, forced his hand into the Prosecutor's breeches pocket, out fo which he succeeded in taking a silver tooth-pick, a key, and a 10l. note, as specified int he indictment. The note had the name "Richard Fitz-George Stackpole," written on the back of it. There were, besides, in the same pocket, a 1l. note, a guinea, and some silver, which the Prisoner did not carry off. The Prosecutor, soon after the robbery, suspecting the person who had committed it to belong to the Barracks, as he was in the drill dress, went there, and lodged an account of what had befallen him, with description of the Prisoner. He was afterwards sent for by Captain Rainsford, on the 9th of November, for the purpose of pointing out the person by whom he had been robbed. He could not go that day, but went on the 10th, when he picked out the prisoner from among seven, all pretty like him, and dressed in the same manner. This evidence was confirmed by a soldier of the name of Gibbons, who was on guard on the evening of the 1st of November, and saw the Prisoner go hastily into the Barracks, about twenty minutes before the Prosecutor came to inform of the robbery. Next morning the same soldier wakened the Prisoner, and informed him of a person having called and lodged an information against one of their men, for robbing him of two 1l. notes. The Prisoner laughed, and shewing his companion the papers which were in his pocket, among which he (Gibbons) thought he saw something like a bill, or bills, begged of him to put them into his (Gibbons's) great-coat pocket, that if the gentleman called, and should know the Prisoner, nothing might be found on him. the Prisoner and Gibbons, on coming off guard the following day, went to the house of a publican of the name of Shaw, where they got change for the note, which they at first believed to be only a 1l. note.
          The Prisoner gave to Gibbons 4l. and some silver, and kept the remaining 5l. to himself. – Shaw, the landlord, proved that the name "Fitz-George," was written on the back of the note which the two soldiers changed with him; and the prosecutor being again desired to look at the Prisoner, and Gibbons, and saw which of the two was the person who robbed him, declared that he had no hesitation in saying the Prisoner was the person.
          In his defence the Prisoner alleged that he had not robbed the Prosecutor. On the evening alluded to, he admitted he was in the Park. The Prosecutor came up to him and entered into conversation, asking him to go with him, and making to him proposals of a shameful and unnatural kind. The Prisoner expressed his disapprobation of such proceedings, when the Prosecutor held out to him a piece of paper like a note, which the Prisoner laid hold of, and giving the Prosecutor a push, made off with it. In other respects he agreed with the story of Gibbons.
          Mr. Justice GROSE, after recapitulating the evidence remarked on the improbability of the tale now told by the Prisoner, while he might have developed it with so much propriety to his companion Gibbons, when he first informed him of the person who complained of the robbery having called at the barracks. Had his tale been true, no robbery had been committed; but he (the Prisoner), was bound, as a good member of society, to see the guilt of the Prosecutor detected. When called on first for his defence, however, he had stated that he would reserve it till he came before a magistrate; and even when he came there, so far from appearing, as he ought to have done, if his story was true, the accuser of the Prosecutor, he still allowed himself to appear as the criminal, and now, for the first time, brought forward his unsubstantiated charge against the Prosecutor. On the whole he left the Jury to consider the probability of the statement of the Prisoner, above that given by the Prosecutor, substantiated as the latter had been, and to give such verdict as they might think best.
          The Jury immediately found the Prisoner Guilty. (Morning Chronicle)

Wednesday 10 December 1806

This was an information against the Defendant, for publishing certain most obscene and abominable libels.
          Mr. GARROW observed, that he was sorry it fell to his share to have to state a case of such iniquity as that of the Defendant, who biy the libels he had published had so materially contributed to ruin the morals of society. The crime was that of selling books of a most scandalous and infamous nature, the contents of which were so disgusting, that they were unfit to be repeated even in a court of justice. This prosecution was at the instigation of a number of the most respectable gentlemen, who had formed themselves into a public body, called the Society for the Suppression of Vice; and though public calumny, with its thousand tongues, had been let loose against them, they would not be deterred from pursuing a plan for the advancement of virtue, and the general happiness of mankind. The Defendant kept a kind of book-stall near the Admiralty, and as he appeared to be a petty vender, he would not be supposed to be also the wholesale dealer in these books, so greatly tending to destroy the morals and the health of youth, by encouraging unnatural propensities. He had been offered his liberty, if he would give up the name of that wholesale dealer, but he had obstinately refused to do so. One of the persons belonging to the Society he had before named, was passing the stall of the Defendant, when he was struck with a large bill advertising a work of the most infamous obscenity. He inquired the price of it, and was informed, that it was eighteen pence; he purchased it, when the Defendant drew him aside, and shewed him another book of the same description, for which he demanded a guinea; but for which he accepted eighteen shillings. The Defendant afterwards produced a third, of a still worse description, which the Gentleman the Learned Counsel alluded to refused to purchase. Two other persons of great respectability, had likewise bought the same books, with the like purpose, from the Defendant.
          Mr. Macauley, Mr. Royle, and Mr. Clarke, all members of the Society for the Suppressiono f Vice, were then called, who proved the circumstances stated by Mr. GARROW.
          Mr. LAWES, for the Defendant, lamented that it had fallen to his lot to defend this unfortunate man. In doing so, he laboured under twofold difficulties; first, with respect to the nature of the offence; and, secondly, in opposing the decision which the honorable feelings of the Jury might lead them unwarily to make. But he was consoled when he reflected, that he was addressing Englishmen, whose minds were open to conviction, and who would not suffer themselves to give a verdict, before they had fully weighed and considered the case: It was true that the Defendant had published the books in question; but as it was charged on the record, that he published them with a view to destroy the morals of youth, it was necessary that that fact should be proved; and as it had not been done, the Defendant was entitled to an acquittal.
          Lord ELLENBOROUGH did not agree with the law laid down by the Learned Counsel; for though the fact of the destruction of morals might not be proved, the law always implies it, and it was always charged. – Guilty. (Evening Mail)

Monday 15 December 1806

The Master's mate, belonging to his Majesty's ship St. George, of 98 guns, lying at Spithead, was this day tried by a Court Martial, and sentenced to death, for an unnatural crime. (Hampshire Chronicle)

Wednesday 17 December 1806

Monday last Mr. Hepburn Graham, master's mate of his Majesty's ship St. George, was tried by a court-martial on board the Gladiator, at Portsmouth, for an unnatural crime. The chartge was fully proved, and he was sentenced to be hung. (Hereford Journal)

SOURCE: Various newspapers, dates as given.

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "Newspaper Reports, 1806", Homosexuality in Nineteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 5 May 2008, updated 17 February 2013, enlarged 19 January 2016, 18 April 2020, 12 Aug. 2023 <>.

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