Newspaper Reports, 1809

Tuesday 3 January 1809

Sheerness, Dec. 30. – Yesterday a Court Martial was held on board the Magnanime, on Mr. M. Casky, acting master of the Spitfire sloop, for an attempt to commit an unnatural crime with his servant boy, 13 years of age, on board the ship: the charges were fully proved, and the Court sentenced him to two years solitary confinement, and to be rendered unfit to serve his Majesty. The President, at the request of the Court, told the prisoner that, had he been tried on the twenty-ninth article of war, his life must have been forfeited, the charges being so strongly against him. (Kentish Weekly Post or Canterbury Journal)

Monday 16 January 1809

The Middlesex Sessions commenced on Monday, at the Sessions-house, on Clerkenwell-green, before Mr. Mainwaring and a crowded bench of magistrates. – The whole of the day was occupied in the trial of two young men, Rd. Thomas Dutman and Edward Wood, the latter not more, apparently, than 18 years old, for unnatural practices. They were indicted, the first for an assault on Robert Hammond, a youth of 16, and afterwards for misconduct together. The Prosecutor was sent, in August last to town, by his brother, resident in the county of Suffolk, to the care of Mr. Dutman, in order to be apprenticed. Upon his arrival, he slept at Dutman's lodgings, Duke-street, Lincoln's-inn-fields, with the two prisoners; and he detailed the conduct which there took place, too indecent for the public eye, though necessary for the ends of justice to be related to the public ear. Having no friends in London, he did not disclose the crime of the prisoners, till the arrival of his brother in town, in the November following. His brother immediately taxed Dutman, by letter, with his depravity, who instantly instituted an action against him for defamation, in the hope of thus getting rid of the charge. In this, however, he was mistaken. On the trial it was endeavoured to invalidate the testimony of the younger Hammond, by the evidence of a young man of the name of Abraham Braithwaite, who, though professing himself to be one of the people called Quakers, submitted to be sworn, and deposed to a conversation with the Prosecutor, in which the latter denied any imputation of guilt imputable to Dutman. His evidence, however, was wholly discredited, both by the Court and the Jury, who found the prisoners Guilty. – They were sentenced to two years solitary confinement in the Coldbath-fields prison, and to be placed at different times, on the pillory, within a month, in that part of Holborn near Lincoln's-inn fields. (Hampshire Chronicle)

Tuesday 17 January 1809

On Saturday last Daniel Jammett, jun. convicted at the last General Sessions at Faversham, of an assault with intent to commit an unnatural crime, was pilloried for two hours, agreeably with that part of his sentence, in the center part of Court street in the said town, during which time the populace manifested their disgust by discharging several barrow loads of filth at the miserable culprit. (Kentish Gazette)

Thursday 23 March 1809

Worcester. Wednesday, March 22. – Committed to our county gaol, . . .by W. Boycot, Esq. David Soloman, charged with having, at Kidderminster, assaulted George Powell, with intent to commit the crime of sodomy. (Worcester Journal)

Saturday 25 March 1809

Thomas Hall was convicted of robbing John Clark, in the Borough, by threatening to accuse him of an unnatural crime. (Morning Advertiser)

Friday 31 March 1809

KENT LENT ASSIZES commenced on Monday last at Maidstone, . . . Frederick Gifford, alias Gilbert, 27, for having at different times between the month of July, and month of Jan. last, in the parish of Littlebourne, feloniously committed an unnatural crime on the bodies of W. Cock the younger, G. Cock, and T. Horne. – Four years imprisonment. (Kentish Gazette)

Saturday 1 April 1809

At the Surrey Assizes, the following capital convicts received sentence of death:– . . . J. Bartlett, for an unnatural offence; T. Hall, for extorting money under a threat of charging J. Clarke, with an unnatural offence; . . . (Norfolk Chronicle)

Tuesday 4 April 1809

Frederick Gilford, alias Gilbert, 27, for having at different times between the month of Jul, and month of Jan. last, in the parish of Littlebourne, feloniously committed an unnatural crime on the bodies of W. Cock the younger, and T. Horne. – Acquitted; but convicted on another indictment for an assault, with intent to commit the above crime on Thomas Horne – imprisoned four years. (Kentish Gazette)

Saturday, 8 April 1809

EXECUTION. – James Bartlett, for an unnatural crime; Henry Edwards, for highway robbery; and John Biggs and Samuel Wood, for burglary, were executed yesterday morning, at the usual hour, on the top of the New Prison, Horsemonger-lane, in pursuance of their sentence. The crown assembled on the melancholy occasion was excessive. The unfortunate men met their fate with great fortitude, and died acknowledging the justice of their punishment. Biggs sarcastically observed to the Executioner, when he was pinioning him in the usual way – "I wish you had a better office." – He with the rest died extremely penitent. A hearse conveyed the body of Bartlett to Limehouse, where he is to be interred. – He is stated to have conveyed before his trial upwards of 1500l. to his daughter. (Jackson's Oxford Journal, Issue 2919; the same report appeared in the Public Ledger and Daily Advertiser for 6 April, and in the Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle, Portsmouth, for 10 April, and in many other papers.)

Saturday 6 May 1809

A Court-martial was held last week on board the Salvador, in Hamoaze, for the trial of Wm. Taylor and Thomas Hobbs, two seamen, charged with committing an unnatural crime; which being proved against them, they were sentenced to receive 500 lashes each, to forfeit all their pay, and be imprisoned two years in solitary cell. – They underwent a part of their punishment Monday se'nnight, along the ships in Hamoaze and Cawsand Bay; one of them received 300, and the other 370 lashes. (Bristol Mirror)

Thursday 29 June 1809

Thomas Edwards was charged with a capital offence, for committing an unantural crime.
          The evidence against the prisoner, although extremely disgusting, was not such as to support the indictment to that extent which the law in its strictness requires; he was therefore acquitted; but, by order of the Court, he was detained, for the purpose of having such an indictment preferred against him as will establish the charge in a minor degree, so as to constitute the offence a misdemeanour. (Morning Advertiser)

Tuesday 4 July 1809

Thomas Edwards, whom we understand to be a Gentleman of considerable fortune, stood capitally indicted for the commission of an unnatural crime. We forbear stating the particulars of the evidence of this disgusting scene; but the testimony of the two witnesses who seized him was not sufficient to justify a capital conviction, and he was necessarily acquitted. He was ordered to be detailed and prosecuted for a misdemeanour. (Kentish Weekly Post or Canterbury Journal)

Thursday, 6 July 1809

          This day a trial came on, in which the Earl of Leicester was the plaintiff, against the printer, publisher, and proprietors of a morning paper, for a libel. – The damages were laid at £20,000.
          Mr Serjeant Best stated the nature of the libel, which went to charge the Noble Lord with more atrocious crimes than those for which Lord Audley was tried and convicted in the reign of Charles I. assisting another to ravish his wife, and for committing an abominable crime. After a most able speech, in which he commended upon the tendency of so infamous a charge, he proceeded to call witnesses to prove the crime and conviction of Lord Audley, the publication of the libels in question, and how they were construed to attach to the Noble Plaintiff.
          Mr Mills, Solicitor to his Lordship, was called, who said, he had no doubt of the paragraphs applying to Lord Leicester.
          On his cross-examination by Mr Serjeant Cockell, he was asked why he supposed the paragraphs attached to Lord Leicester? – Answer: Because they alluded to the son of an English Marquis, who had a suit pending in Doctor's Commons, and who was separated from his wife. – Did not know any other person to whom they could apply. Had heard flying rumours respecting Lord Leicester, and had been requested, by his Lordship, to let him know if he heard any on which he could lay his finger. Had known Lord L. about four years; and had dined at his Lordship's in Westburn-place, just previous to his marriage, with his Lordship's family; his Lordship had been married about twelve months when the separation took place beween him and his Lady; they were not separated till April last.
          A female was then called, who stated that she lived with Lady Leicester at the time of her marriage. Lord Leicester and her Ladyship slept together only three nights. Three men were the constant visitors to his Lordship; Lady L. used to dine with them when she was at the same house with his Lordship; on the last day of August, Lady L. went to Chatris, Lord L. went with her, but continued there only two days; Lady L. stopped till November, but his Lordship did not come down any more.
          Mr Harnden, an artist at Cambridge, knew Lord Leicester at the University. He was then Lord Chartley [a courtesy title]. Neri, one of the persons who visited his Lordship, lived with him as servant at that time.
          Mr John Newby, Chapel Clerk of Trinity College, remembered Lord Chartley at College. Neri was then with his Lordship as his servant. He used to be shut up for four or five days together, when Neri would play on theguitar, and his Lordship sing. Lord Chartley had a peculiar manner of dressing his head like a lady, and wearing women's shoes – was quized by the town, and called Miss Chartley and Lady Chartley. The witness acknowledged he had heard unfavourable reports of his Lordship, but he did not credit them.
          Mr Serjeant Cockell addressed the Jury on behalf of his clients, the defendants. It was plain, that the scandal did not originate with them; so far from it, the only witness his Learned Friend had called, had stated, that flying rumours had existed in town, to such an extent, that his Lordship had directed him to look out for something on which he might put his finger. The plaintiff had called on him to give up the author of the paragraph. Every means had been tried to discover him, without effect; and they had offered to make affidavit of that circumstance. It had been inserted by some person who was in the custom of writing paragraphs for the paper, and who was in confidence of the proprietors. He was no advocate for slander. Much good was derived to the public from the daily prints; and, if it was proper to have daily prints and daily news, great allowance should be made for errors which might unavoidably find their way into the public prints; and, if in the hurry of business, errors were inserted, the proprietors should not be considered as the authors. If, however, they lent themselves as the vile instruments of designing persons, they could not be punished too severely. The happiness of the country was allowed to depend upon the liberty of the press; and, if that was the fact, we ought to take the good with the bad. It was stated on the part of the plaintiff, that such was the purity of character of the Noble Lord, that not even the breath of calumny could wing an arrow against him. But how had that assertion been supported? Had any of that person's noble relatives been called? Had any of the Noble friends, which a Nobleman of his rank might naturally be supposed to have, appeared in his behalf? No such thing. One solitary witness had been called to prove that circumstance, and his Lordship's connubial happiness, and he seemed to have been called for no other reason than because he knew nothing about it! His Lordship had married in 1807, and was separated from his lady in 1808. What had been the state of connubial happiness which that unfortunate lady had experienced in the marriage state? She had passed three or four sleepless nights with her Lord, and no more, for at the end of that time they had totally separated from bed, and almost from board. That unhappy lady concealed her anguish in her own breast as long as possible; but she had been forced to associate, at least to sit at table with wretches, the companions of her Lord, who were a disgrace to human nature! At length, to shun such society, whenever his Lordship was at his house at Paddington, her ladyship was in town; and when he was in town, she was passing her solitary hours at Paddington. Under these circumstances, she had been obliged at last to utter her complaints and sue for a separation; if the Jury should find, that rumours to the discredit of the Noble Lord had been afloat within the narrowest and the broadest, the highest and thee lowest circles in this town, for upwards of twenty years, it wold be for them to consider what injury his character could have sustained from the publication of the libels now complained of.
          Colonel Rainsford, of the guards, was Adjutant in the year 1806, observed then several of the soldiers, when out of regimentals, better dressed than himself. Many of them were in possession of gold watches, among others one Frith, who had a gold watch, which Col. R. discovered to have been sold by a Mr Hamlet to Lord Chartley. Had heard reports that Lord C. had been seen often walking arm in arm with the private soldiers.
          Lord J. Townshend, uncle to Lord Chartley, declared, that his acquaintance with his nephew had ceased since 1804; that all intercourse between Lord C. and his father had ceased, not from any family disagreement, but from his conduct, being highly exceptionable. On his marriage, had permitted Lady J. T. to visit Lady C. but had not visited himself.
          Mr Serjeant Best replied.
          Lord Chief Justice Mansfield summed up at a great length. In the course of which he observed upon the new doctrines broached respecting the liberty of the press. His Lordship said, that persons were at liberty to publish what they pleased; but if they published libels against either the Government or private persons, they were answerable. The plaintiff must have a verdict, and it would be for the Jury to estimate the injury he had sustained. – If reports injurious to the character of the plaintiff had existed previous to this action, they must take into their estimate, whether any injury had arisen from the publication in question to the plaintiff's character. Five witnesses had been examined to prove such reports had existed. The Jury retired for upwards of an hour, and at length returned with a verdict of – One Thousand Pounds damages for the Plaintiff. (Caledonian Mercury, Edinburgh, Issue 13659)

NOTE on the Leicester case:   The Morning Herald in 1808 had published a paragraph stating that "Articles have been exhibited against a Noble Lord by his Lady, similar to the articles which were exhibited by Lady Audley against her Lord, upon which he was convicted and deservedly executed." This was a reference to the trial and conviction of Lord Audley in 1631 for having sodomized two of his menservants and having assisted at the rape of his wife. The Morning Herald had previously announced the separation of Lord Chartley and his wife, and they now reported that "The wretched son of an English Marquis has absconded, on charges which Lady C. has exhibited against him. A special warrant has been issued for apprehending this Lord, whose infamies have long rendered him a disgrace to human nature." Leicesterís Italian Secretary named Neri, was a former waiter at the Cocoa-nut Coffee House, and Neri had been visited in his lodgings by Leicester once a week for some eighteen months, and then became Leicesterís servant at Trinity College, Cambridge. At Cambridge, Leicester generally wore a pink gown and pink ribbons to his shoes. The Chapel Clerk of Trinity College acknowledged that "Many Gentlemen in the College were 'like ladies'," and he explained that "Neri was a musical character" and that he and Leicester "often played duets together", with Neri playing on the guitar. It was clear that the Morning Herald could not further damage the reputation of a man who was already notorious. Leicester was awarded damages of only £1,000, much less than he had sued for. Leicester wasnít present in court to hear the derisory judgment, for he had already fled abroad, to Paris. Eventually he settled in a villa near Genoa, where he lived under an assumed name until his death at the age of 77 in 1855.

Wednesday, 12 July 1809

This Day is published.
THE EXTRAORDINARY CAUSE tried on Thursday the 29th of June, before Sir JAMES MANSFIELD, Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas, in which the Right Honourable GEORGE FERRARS TOWNSHEND, commonly called the EARL of LEICESTER, was the Plaintiff, and THE MORNING HERALD Defendant. Taken in Short Hand. In this Report the Arguments of the Counsel and the whole of the Evidence will be given at length, with the most studious correctness. Printed by A. Macpherson, Russell-Court, Drury-lane; and Sold by all the Booksellers in town and country. (Morning Chronicle, Issue 12533)

Wednesday 12 July 1809

An action was lately brought by the Rev. J. N. Jornal, Vicar of West Tarring, in Sussex, against William Long, for wilfully and maliciously accusing Mr. Jordan with having taken indecent liberties with his person, and committed an unnatural crime. The defendant having absconded since the commencement of the action, and let judgment go by default; a writ of inquiry of damages was last week executed before the Sheriff of Sussex, and a most respectable Jury, and a verdict of 2000l. given for the plaintiff, being the full amount of the damages laid in the declaration. (Morning Advertiser)

Thursday 20 July 1809

At the sessions held last week in Warminster, . . . Committed to Newgate, Bristol, Thos. Carter, and John Wellington, for an unantural crime. (Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette)

Thursday 7 September 1809

Tuesday there was an adjournment of the Quarter Sessions for the County of the City of Dublin, held at the Sessions-house in Green-street, before the Recorder and Aldermen Exshaw and Hone for the trial of prisoners and traversers, when among others the following took place:–
          James Munro was indicted for an attempt to commit an unnatural crime on Bonadventure Kelly in the month of August last, also for a common assault; he was, after a trial upon the clearest testimony, found guilty upon both indictments, and sentenced to be publicly whipped on Saturday next, between the hours of twelve and two o'clock in the afternoon, from Newgate to the Royal Exchange and back again; to be imprisoned for 12 months; and to find security for his good behaviour for 7 years, himself in 500l. and two sureties in 50l. each. (Saunders's News-Letter)

Thursday 21 September 1809

Yesterday these Sessions commenced, when R. Oakden formerly a clerk in the Bank, was capitally convicted of an unnatural crime on T. Seager, a boy of 14. We cannot particularize the evidence; suffice it to observe the hoary wretch met the prosecutor on the King's birth day, enticed him to his chambers, after having plied him with liquor, and there perpetrated the fact. (Public Ledger and Daily Advertiser)

Saturday 23 September 1809

On Wednesday the sessions commenced at the Old Bailey, . . . Richard Oakden, 60 years of age, was found guilty of an unnatural crime on a boy of 15 years of age, and received sentence of death. (Oxford University and City Herald)

Tuesday 26 September 1809

Richard Oakden, 60 years of age, was indicted for committing an unnatural offence on Thomas Seagur, a boy of 15 years of age. It appeared that the Prisoner had chambers in the New Inn, St. Clement's. On the evening of the 5th of June last, the boy called on him, and was induced by the Prisoner to remain until 12 o'clock; at which hour he persuaded him he would act improperly by going home, as it was so late; particularly so, as he could have a share of his bed. The boy consented to remain, and during the night the horrid deed was done.
          The Jury were perfectly satisfied with the prisoner's guilt, and found him Guilty – Death. (Kentish Weekly Post or Canterbury Journal)

Tuesday 26 September 1809

A Court Martial was held on board the Magnanime, on a marine, of the Wrangler gun-brig, for committing an unnatural crime on a boy of that ship. – The charge being fully proved, he was sentenced to be hanged onn board any of his Majesty's ships, the Lords of the Admiralty may think proper. (Kentish Weekly Post)

Thursday 28 September 1809

The Surgeon of the Jamaica is under close arrest, for having been guilty of an unnatural crime with his servant. (Bath Chronicle)

Friday 29 September 1809

Yesterday, a sentence of death was passed on . . . Richard Oakden for sodomy . . . (Morning Chronicle)

Friday, 29 September 1809

OLD BAILEY.   Yesterday . . . sentence of death was passed on . . . Richard Oakden for sodomy . . . (Morning Chronicle, Issue 12601)

Saturday 21 October 1809

Preston Sessions, Oct. 5 – . . . Amos Warburton, charged with having been aiding, abetting, and inciting Richard Shakeshaft to commit an unnatural crime – Eighteen months imprisonment.
          Richard Shakeshaft, charged with having been aiding, abetting, and inciting Amos Warburton to commit a like offence – Eighteen months imprisonment in Lancaster Castle. (Lancaster Gazette)

Tuesday 24 October 1809

Charles Slatter, a youth of respectable appearance, was examined upon a charge of having stolen a number of books on the shop of Mr. Lunn, classical bookseller, in Soho-square.
          It appeared from the statement of the prosecutor, that the prisoner was some time employed by him as shopman; but, that being incompetent to the duties of the situation, he had discharged him. The young man, notwithstanding the dismissal, occasionally called at Mr. Lunn's shop; and at one of these visits, he was detected in staling a book. This gave rise to general suspicion, and induced Mr. Lunn to have his lodgings searched, where several other books of Mr. Lunn's were found; and it was also discovered that seveeral persons had bought books from the prisoner, which Mr. Lunn never remembered to have sold in his shop, but which he still believed to have been his property. These, together with other circumstances which warranted a very strong suspicion that he carried on this dishonest traffic to a considerable extent, induced the Magistrate, Mr. Graham, to commit the prisoner for trial.
          Mr. Lunn now added, that the prisoner came, from Oxford, was strongly recommended to him, and had been employed by a bookseller in that city.
          The prisoner was immediately recognised by Mr. Graham, as having prosecuted a Member of one of the Colleges at Oxford, at the last Assizes, for an unnatural crime; and that notwithstanding the Rev. Gentleman's acquittal, he was obliged, by his Superiors, to quit the college; since which time he has been excluded from all respectable society, under the foul stain past upon his character.
          Rivett, who apprehended the prisoner, had found in his pocket a fabricated letter, the contents of which, with the depraved disposition he had evinced since his arrival in London, connected with other suspicious circumstances, seemed to warrant a suspicion that some foul conspiracy had occasioned the late accusation, and that the Rev. Gentleman had fallen the victim of foul and most unjust slander.
          Mr. Graham pledted himself to investigate the particulars of this mysterious affair, and, if possible to bring the truth to light. (Kentish Gazette; the Rev. Gentleman is identified in other newspapers as the Rev. Dr. Shipley, of All Souls' College.)

Friday 3 November 1809

On Tuesday se'nnight, — Derratt, a French prisoner on board the Bahama prison ship at Gillingham, was committed to Rochester gaol, by John Rabbins, esq. for committing an unnatural crime on — Shelah, a private marine, on board the said ship. Shelah was also committed. (Kentish Gazette)

Saturday, 11 November 1809

Yesterday the Recorder of London made his report of the convicts capitally convicted at Justice Hall in the Old Bailey, at the September Sessions, when Oakden, for an unnatural crime, and Sullivan, and his companion, for a rape in the neighbourhood of Poplar, were ordered for execution next. (Jackson's Oxford Journal, Issue 2950)

Thursday 16 November 1809

Yesterday morning, Charles Oakden, D. Fitzgerald, and C. Sullivan, the first for an unnatural crime, and the two last for a rape, were executed, opposite to the debtors' door of Newgate. A more than usual degree of interest was excited in the public mind by the execution of these unfortunate men, from the unsuccessful attempt made by Sullivan, on Sunday last, to escape from Newgate, disguised in women's clothes; and a vast concourse of spectators were assembled in the Old Bailey at an early hour.
          Soon after eight o'clock Sullivan and Fitzgerald appeared on the platform, accompanied by a Catholic clergyman; and a short time after Oakden came forward, attended by the Ordinary of Newgate. The prisoners severally passed a few minutes in prayer, and each of them appeared duly impressed with the justice of his sentence, and contrition for the crime he had been guilty of.
          About a quarter after eight o'clock the awful signal was given and these unfortunate men were launched into eternity. After being suspended the usual time, the bodies were cut down and delivered to their respective relatives. (Morning Post) (The gay minister Rev. John Church officiated at Oakden's funeral.)

Tuesday 21 November 1809

Yesterday (13) Cornelius Sullivan, Denis Fitzgerald, and Richard Oakden, were executed, pursuant to their sentence, in the Old Bailey. They appeared to meet their awful fate with firmness and resignation. Sullivan and Fitzgerald were attended on this melancholy occasion by a Roman Catholic Clergyman, and Oakden by the Ordinary. None of the prisoners uttered a word on the fatal platform, except to the Clergymen by whom they were respectively attended. But it was clearly observable, that Sullivan and Fitzgerald, during the awful ceremony, regarded, with seeming horror and indignation, their fellow sufferer Oakden, who was tied up at some distance from them, until the signal for suspension terminated all feeling upon the contrast of their crimes. – Oakden suffered for an unnatural crime. (Saunders's News-Letter)

Tuesday 21 November 1809

Joseph Derrett, and William Shelah, charged on the oaths of John Irdall, and Robert Powell Bilbee, with having on the 27th day of Sept. last, on board his Majesty's ship Bahama, in the River Medway, feloniously committed an unnatural crime. (Kentish Weekly Post. According to the Kentish Gazette for 27 March 1810 they were tried and convicted at the Kent Lent Assizes in March: "Joseph Derrett, 39, William Shelah, 15, for having on the 24th day of Sept. last, on board his Majesty's ship Bahama, on the River Medway, feloniously committed an unnatural crime. – Imprisoned 2 years.)

Thursday, 23 November 1809

Wednesday morning, Oakden, for an unnatural crime, and Sullivan and Fitzgerald, for a rape, were executed before the debtors' door, in the Old Bailey: the two latter were attended by a Catholic Priest, and the former by Dr. Ford, the Ordinary of Newgate. – The unfortunate men seemed to die very penitent. – A great crowd assembled on the occasion, particularly Irish. – Sunday, when the above unfortunate culprits were about to be locked up, after attending divine service, Sullivan was missing; immediate search was in vain made in every part of the prison, and a universal consternation took place among the turnkeys; at length, a close investigation was made among a group of women, who had assembled at the main gate, to go out, but who had been detained when the search was made; when he was discovered among them, completely attired in female garb, having already passed two gates without suspicion. (The Derby Mercury, Issue 4044)

Thursday 14 December 1809

Horse-Guards, 9th Dec. 1809. – At a General Court-Martial held at Ipswich, on the 27th of October, 1809, and continued by adjournments to the 9th of November following, Captains RICHARD GOAKMAN, THOMAS KEELING, and ROBERT ALEFOUNDER, of the Hertfordshire regiment of militia, were arraigned upon the undermentioned charge, viz.:–

"For base and scandalous conduct in them the said Captains Richard Goakman, Thomas Keeling, and Robert Alefounder, in calumniously raising and circulating a report, particularly at Sunderland, in or about the month of April last, and in Hull and the neighbourhood thereof, in the months of June and July last, prejudicial to the honour, character, and reputation of Lieutenant John Kingston, by insinuating that he had unnatural propensities, and thereby tending to deprive the said Lieutenant John Kingston of that influence, authority, and command, necessary to the discharge of his duty as an Officer in his Majesty's service."

Upon which charge the Court came to the following decision:–

"The Court having given its best attention to the whole of the proceedings, and maturely considered the same, and deliberated thereon, is of opinion, that the prisoner, Captain Robert Alefounder, is not guilty of the crime stated in the charge, or any part thereof, and doth therefore acquit him thereof."
          "The Court is under the painful necessity of finding that the prisoners, Captains Richard Goakman, and Thomas Keeling, are guilty of part of the crime stated in the charge, viz. 'That of having calumniously circulated a report, in the months of June and July last, prejudicial to the h onour, character, and reputation of the Prosecutor, Lieutenant John Kingston, by insinuating that he had unnatural propensities, thereby tending to deprive him of that influence, authority, and command, necessary to the discharge of his duty as an officer in his Majesty's service'; the Court, however, does not find that there is sufficient evidence before it to warrant it in adjudging that either of the prisoners, Captains Richard Goakman, or Thomas Keeling, was the author of such a report.
          "In order to make its abhorrence of the crime, of which the Court has been thus painfully compelled to find two Officers of his Majesty's service to have been guilty, the Court doth adjudge, that they, the prisoners, Captains Richard Goakman and Thomas Keeling, shall be dismissed from the Hertfordshire regiment of militia.
          "The Court cannot close its proceedings without doing justice to Lieutenant John Kingston, by a declaration of its firm conviction, that there is not the slightest imputation whatever on the honour and character of that Officer, touching the base calumnies contained in the charge.
          "The Court feels satisfied that Lieut. John Kingston had no other motive in sending for the drummers to his room, than that of ascertaining the progress which they had made whilst in the regimental school, an act of good-will towards them, more deserving of praise than censure.
          "The Court feels itself bound to say, that there does not exist in the mind of any member of it, a doubt as to the purity of intention of Lieutenant John Kingston. His character remains in the estimation of every member of it, pure, untainted, and unblemished.
          "It is with considerable conceern that the Court is compelled to observe on the party spirit and dissension which appears to exist in the Hertfordshire regiment of militia. It has been strongly manifested in the course of the proceedings before this Court, and the Court could not avoid observing by the manner in which Lieutenant Hubback delivered his testimony, that if not completely actuated by the baneful influence of party feeling, he was not entirely divested of it, and that he appeared to forget the true character of a witness, an attention to which is so necessary to the attainment, in all cases, of the deeds of justice.
          "Whether the prisoners (and here the Court does not confine its observations to Capt. Goakman and Capt. Keeling, but as well to Capt. Alefounder), or either of them, have had any reason to complain of harsh treatment on the part of Major Fowle, the Court has not had an opportunity of judging by evidence, as it did not conceive itself warranted to comply with Major Fowle's request, of allowing him to appear a second time before the Court, for the purpose of explanation, as to his own conduct, and of doing away any unfavourable impression which he supposed might have been made in the minds of the Court by the assertions in the defence of the prisoners; but the Court is of opinion, that the manner in which the grievances were complained of, and the language in which they were conveyed, evinced a want of proper respect in their Commanding Officer, which no circumstance could justify."

His MAJESTY has been pleased to approve and confirm the opinion and sentence of the Court, and was further pleased to observe, that the conduct of Lieut. HUBBACK, as particularly noticed by the Court, together with the circumstance, which has been stated in evidence, of his having offered wagers on the event of the trial of the Officers against whom he was to attend as a witness, appeared to his MAJESTY to have betrayed a spirit of prejudice and party feeling highly subversive of discipline and good order: in consideration of which impropriety of conduct, his MAJESTY has been pleased to command, that Lieutenant HUBBACK shall be dismissed from the Hertfordshire regiment of militia, &c.
          By order of the Right Honourable the Commander in Chief, HARRY CALVERT, Adjutant-General. (Morning Post)

Saturday, 16 December 1809

PORTSMOUTH, Dec. 12. – A Court Martial has been held on Nehemiah Taylor, surgeon of his Majesty's ship Jamaica, for an unnatural crime with a boy belonging to the same ship. The Court sat yesterday, and to-day till 12 o'clock, when the crime being fully established, he was sentenced to be hanged. Captain Richard Lee, President. (Caledonian Mercury, Edinburgh, Issue 13727) (For Taylor's confession, see news reports for January 1810.)

SOURCE: Various newspapers, dates as given.

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "Newspaper Reports, 1809", Homosexuality in Nineteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 5 May 2008, updated 19 January 2012, enlarged 26 January 2016 <>.

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