Newspaper Reports, 1822


HIGHLIGHTS: In March a man is charged specifically with consenting to sex with another man; his partner had sex with other young men in the area; the two men are convicted and sentenced to be imprisoned in separate cells, and the judge says that at least during that period such crimes will be prevented! Also in March a man is tried for conspiring to accuse another of sodomy in order to gain an inheritance. In August a 71-year-old Chelsea Pensioner is sentenced to be hanged. In September a network of gay men centred upon the Duke of Newcastle's valet is prosecuted. In September a judge sentenced three men to death for sodomy, saying "You have polluted the world, and must depart from it." Their very distressing execution takes place in November (one of them has an effeminate voice).


Thursday 24 January 1822

At Bristol Quarter Sessions on Monday and Tuesday, . . . the following prisoners, were sentenced:–
          IMPRISONMENT. – Eighteen Months: A. Thompson, for an assault on T. Hoare, with an intent to commit an unnatural crime. (Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette)

Friday 25 January 1822

STAMFORD SESSIONS, Saturday, Jan. 19.
Samuel Ellington, late of Crowland, schoolmaster, was convicted of an assault at a public-house in Stamford upon John Jibb, with intent to commit an unnatural crime, and sentenced to 12 calendar months’ imprisonment, (three of which to be in solitary confinement,) to be whipped one month previously to his discharge, and to enter into recognizance in 100l. for keeping the peace. (Stamford Mercury)

Friday 25 January 1822

GEORGE REMINGTON, the landlord of the Savoy Palace, public house, who was detected on the steps of Waterloo-bridge on suspicion of a detestable offence, was admitted to bail, two sureties in 50l. each, and himself in 100l. (Morning Chronicle)

Saturday 26 January 1822

YORK
Since our last were committed to the Castle, . . . ROBT. SELLORS, charged upon oath with suspicion of having committed an unnatural crime. (Yorkshire Gazette)

Friday 15 March 1822

Rutland Assizes,
March 8, 1822, – Before the Hon. JUSTICE BEST.
ISAAC MANTON, alias ISAAC CUBBITT, aged 55, and ROBERT TOMBLIN, aged 18, were tried on an indictment charging the one with committing an assault, and the other with consenting thereto, with intent to perpetrate the unnatural crime of sodomy, in the parish of Langham, on the 24th of August last. An indictment charging the actual completion of the crime was thrown out on the recommendation of the Judge to the Grand Jury, from the insufficiency of the depositions to suipport the capital felony. – The witnesses were Mr. Francis Hillan, baker, of Oakham, and John Wright, labourer, of the same place. The scene of the crime was a close by the Langham road, adjoining to one belonging to Mr. Hillam in which Wright was at work, and the observation was made through a defective place in the hedge. – Mr. Marriott was counsel for the prisoners, and in addressing the Jury on their behalf, mainly relied on the insufficiency of credible proof, from the circumstances of the witness Wright having formerly been convicted of felony at Leicester, and also undergone imprisonment for three months for an offence in this country. – The prisoner Tomblin received a good general character from Mr. Jones, surgeon, of Oakham, with whom he lived as servant, and also from Mr. Thos. Allen, of Loddington, who had known him for three years before this charge. The other prisoner called no witnesses: he was a stay-maker at Oakham, and a married man. – The Jury retired for some time, and returned with a verdict of Guilty against both the prisoners, expressing also an opinion that they had intended to complete the full crime.
          Whilst the first Jury were out of court, Manton alias Cubbitt was tried on another indictment, charging him with an assault on James Peat, labourer, in a field at Oakham, on the 27th of August, with the like bestial purpose stated in the former indictment. – Peat having given his evidence, the prisoner made a most disgusting statement in defence, in which he endeavoured to produce a belief that Peat made the first overtures! The Judge immediately observed to the Jury that they needed no further evidence, for the prisoner had convicted himself.
          In passing judgment, his Lordship said that it was fortunate for the wretch that justice had overtaken him in a case where the severest sentence of the law could not be passed upon him: mercy never was and never court be extended by any Judge to such a criminal, and he would at length certainly have been hanged, but for the intervention of these indictments which fell short of the capital charge. That a man at 55 years of age, when the passions, natural or unnatural, must be abated in force, should be contaminating the young men of the neighbourhood in which he lived, was a most shocking outrage on morality; and when the beastly offender should have passed through the term of imprisonment in this gaol, his Lordship hoped that he would quit the soil which he disgraced every time he set his foot upon it, and fly to some nation where his name and his crime should be unknown. He could not entertain a doubt that it was the intention of both prisoners to perpetrate horrid beastliness. – He then sentenced Manton alias Cubbitt to two years’ imprisonment (one year for each indictment upon which he had been convicted), and Tomblin to one year’s imprisonment; and his Lordship added, he was most happy that the excellent regulations made in the gaol by the Magistrates, admitted of this imprisonment’s being in separate cells, so that at least for the term of it further contamination and crime would be prevented. (Stamford Mercury)

Saturday, 23 March 1822

YORKSHIRE LENT ASSIZES.
CONSPIRACY TO CHARGE WITH AN UNNATURAL CRIME.
ROBERT SELLERS, of Cleakheaton, near Leeds, in the West-Riding, was charged with committing an unnatural crime with Joshua Hodgson, of the same place, now deceased. This cases furnishes an instance of one of the most diabolical conspiracies ever formed against the life and character of an innocent man – but fortunately, we ought rather to say providentailly, for the purposes of public justice, the murderous tale was so ill got up – so loaded with improbabiloities and impossibilities, that there probably was not a single individual in court who was not fully convinced (even before a single question had been asked by the prisoner’s counsel) that it was an utter and entire fabrication; but when, in the progress of the cross-examination, the wicked and revengeful motive of the prosecutor stood unmasked, a feeling pervaded the whole court which it is impossible adequately to describe; it was a feeling too deep to be manifested by the usual expression of disapprobation. The bench, the bar, the jury, and the numerous auditory that witnessed the trial, all seemed equally impressed with the same strong and powerful feeling of indignant resentment; and when the witness exchanged places with the prisoner, and was removed out of court in custody, every one felt as if a load had been removed from his own breast, and repeated shouts in the Castle-Yard evinced the exultation with which this triumph of justice was received: Nay, the very prisoners seemed to participate in the same general feeling, and the wretch was received into their society with loud expressions of execration. The circumstances of this case, as far as they can be with propriety detailed, are as follow:–
          Joshua Hodgson, senior, the prosecutor, and the only witness in support of the charge, was the nephew and heir-at-law of a person of the same name, who resided at Cleckheaton, and who died at an advanced age on the 2d of January last. The deceased died possessed of real property to the amount of about one thousand pounds. The prosecutor was passed over in silence in the Will of his uncle, who bequeathed to the prisoner, Robert Sellers, property to the amount of about 200. The prosecutor was at the funeral of his uncle, and hear the Will read; and almost immediately after he applied to Mr. Carr, Solicitor, of Gomersal, to inquire whether the Will would stand? Being informed that there was no ground on which it could be invalidated; he appears to have determined on the most diabolical scheme of revenge that ever was engendered in the human heart, to blast with infamy the character of his deceased relative, and to murder the object of huis bounty by charging them with the horrible crime set forth in the indictment. On the 9th of January, five days before he made a deposition before a magistrate, he had a conversation with Mr. Abraham Squires, when he made the following declaration to him – on Mr. Squires observing, “That there is bonny to do about his uncle’s stuff”: Hodgson replied, “Yes; but there will be more to do yet, for we will hang Bob Sellers, if hemp will hang him.” This threat he did not lose much time in endeavouring to carry into effect; for on the 14th of January the prosecutor went before Thomas Horton, Esq. a magistrate at Halifax, and made a deposition, charging the prisoner and his deceased uncle with having reciprocally committed the crime, the name of which we do not wish to repeat. The son of the prosecutor also made a similar deposition, but varying from it in one essential particular: in the deposition made by the father, it was stated that the crime was first committed by the prisoner, and then by his uncle; the deposition of the son stated the uncle to have first committed it. On the 16th of January the prosecutor was again before Mr. Horton, at Halifax, when he desired to correct his previous deposition, by making it to correspond with the testimony of his son. But upon his examination in Court, he swore as he had sworn in his first deposition. The story he told in Court was this: – On the 8th of December last, he said, his son and himself were in a field, when they saw Bob Sellers and his uncle go into a kitchen at the end of his uncle’s house, in which poultry appears to have been kept: on which he (the witness) ran to the door as fas as he could, and found it a little open. At first he placed his head on the ground, and looked through a hole at the bottom of the door, made to permit the poultry to go in and out. While in this position, he said he saw that which it was evidently impossible he could have seen from the bottom of the door. The prosecutor proceeded to state that he got up, and finding his posture uncomfortable, he looked in at the door, where he saw the crime he imputed to the prisoner twice fully committed. Being asked what time in the afternoon it was when he witnessed the perpetration of these atrocious crimes, he muttered – “How can I tell; I had no clock with me.” And to the question – “When did you first reveal it?” he carelessly answered – “I cannot recollect – I do not know.” And it was not without great difficulty extorted from him that he made no disclosure before the 14th of January, when he made his deposition before Mr. Horton. To the further question b his Lordship – “Why did you not reveal it sooner?” he replied, with unparalleled effrontery – “Oh! I have a good reason for it; the weather was foggy, and I was troubled with an asthma.” He admitted, however, that his asthma did not prevent him from attending his uncle’s funeral: nor from going a distance of three miles to inquire about the validity of the Will. Witness reluctantly admitted that he had been a prisoner in York Castle, in the year 1801, but he had forgotten the nature of the charge upon which he had been committed. His son, he said, had seen all that he had described, but he had left him ill in bed on Monday last, and since that time he had not heard of him. Witness positively denied that he had ever said to Mr. Squires that – “he would hang Bob Sellers, if hemp would hang him,” or any thing to that effect. Our limites will not permit us to detail the repeated endeavours of the prosecutor to evade the questions he did not like to answer; and it is quite impossible to convey an adequate idea of his manner and demeanour, which were such as, independent of the incredible nature of his testimony, could not fail to impress upon every observer, that he was not the witness of truth. His Lordship said, it was altogether unnecessary to call any witnesses on the part of the prisoner, as no one could possibly entertain any doubt of his innocence. With the view, however, of furnishing legal grounds for the immediate commitment of the prosecutor for perjury, the evidence of a Surgeon was given, which demonstrated the impossibility of the story of the prosecutor being true in one most essential particular. The prosecutor was also contradicted in his denial of the conversation with Wm. Squires. The prisoner was provided with a mass of other evidence to prove the falsehood of the charge against him, but the Judge said it was not necessary to call them, as it was perfectly clear that the prisoner was innocent; that no man who had not lost his understanding could have any doubt of it. The Jury, without hesitation, eagerly prounced a verdict of – Not Guilty, and the prisoner was discharged.
          Joshua Hodgson, the prosecutor, was then committed to the Castle on a charge of wilful and corrupt perjury. Sellers is a good looking young man, twenty-seven years of age; and is married to a young woman, by whom he has three children. (Leeds Mercury)

Saturday 23 March 1822

YORK CASTLE.
SATURDAY, MARCH 16.
WILLIAM SELLERS, of Cleckheaton, card-maker, was next placed at the bar, charged with an unnatural crime.
          The only person called to swear to the commimssion of this offence was Joshua Hodgson, sen. of Scholes, in the West Riding. After detailing the facts of the case, so atrocious in its nature, Mr. WILLIAMS, counsel for the prisoner, cross-examined Hodgson with great minuteness; when it appeared that his (Hodgson’s) uncle had died on the 2d Jan. last, possessed of about 1000l.; that although the witness was heir at law, the property was “willed away” from him, and that about 200l. had been left to the prisoner. – Upon this being known, Hodgson and his son repaired to a Justice on the 14th of January, and there deposed to the abominable act charged in the indictment to have transpired between the prisoner and the deceased, on the 8th of December preceding. The deceased was about 70 years of age, and had lost the use of one of his sides in April, 1813, by a paralytic fit. A witness was called, to whom Hodgson had said, when talking about the old man’s money, “We’ll heng [sic] Bob Sellers, if hemp will heng him.” – The surgeon who attended the deceased, also swore positively to the impossibility of Hodgson’s testmony being true. The Jury, of course, Acquitted the prisoner who was instantly discharged; and on the application of Mr. WILLIAMS, Hodgson was committed to the Castle, for wilful and corrupt perjury. Sellers’s father stepped forward, and entered into recognizances to prosecute at the next Assizes. – Sellers is an interesting, respectable-looking young man, aged 27, and has a wife and two children, the youngest only 4 months old. Hodgson is about 52 years of age, and was indicted at the Summer Assizes, 1801, for burglary. As soon as the verdict of Not Guilty was delivered, a thrill of approbation ran through the whole Court, and joy beamed in every countenance. The young man, who had, during the trial, conducted himself with that firmness, which showed his consciousness of innocence, as he left the bar, could not refrain from tears. A rush was made by a great number of the spectators, to get out of Court, to have a glimpse of the old fellow as he was conducted to prison. (Yorkshire Gazette)

Sunday 28 April 1822

LONDON, APRIL 28.
SIR FRANCSI BURDETT’s anxiously-expected motion respecting the Treatment of Mr. HUNT in Ilchester gaol was made last Wednesday, and defeated by the usual majorities, not however until after an animated debate. The statement of Sir FRANCIS was comprehensive and forcible, his argument cogent and manly, with occasional eloquent bursts of feeling which delighted the sincere and appalled the corrupt. He grounded hs motion upon three propositions:– 1. That the sentence on Mr. Hunt was severely disproportioned to the technical illegality of which he was convicted. – 2. That owing to his horrible treatment in prison, his punishment had been enormously aggravated beyond the intention of the judges. – 3. That by his exposure of the shocking abuses in the gaol, under circumstances which reflect great credit on his courage and perseverance, he had rendered an important service both to the people and the government. And for these three unanswerable reasons, the Honourable Baronet maintained that, in common justice, Mr. HUNT should be spared the remainder of his alloted term of confinement. . . .

Monday 17 May 1822

Statement of the Number of Persons committed to his Majesty’s Gaol of Newgate, and convicted in the year 1822, and the nature of their offences, together with the number acquitted, sicharged, sentenced, &c. during the same period. . . .
An unnatural crime . . . 3
Attempting to commit an unnatural crime . . . 6
. . . Statement of the Number of Criminal Offrenders in his Majesty’s Gaol of Newgate, who were executed in the year 1822, with the Nature of the Crimes for which they suffered.
. . . An Unnatural Offence . . . 2
          (Morning Chronicle)

26 July 1822

Notwithstanding the dreadful oppression to which the Greeks have been so long subjected, their numbers, as OLIVIER observes, have been kept up by their correct moral habits, while the vices of the Turks are perpetually diminishing their numbers. Full as all travellers are of these vices, we are really astonished that in a religious country like this, either Minister or Ministerial Journal should dare to say a word in their behalf.

“The Musselmen abandon themselves (says OLIVIER) without shame to the taste with which they are infected, and of which they have contracted the habit in their early youth. Far from blushing at this vice, they make it a subject of boast, and point with pride to the object of their affections. This passion is so powerful with them that they seek to gratify it by all possible means, often by violence.”

Has the Courier no feeling for the many parents whose children have been torn from them to minister to the unnatural vices of these monsters inhuman shape? Good God! that in England they should have their apologists – that any members of a Christian community should view their conduct with indifference, nay, should even talk of them as exercising a legitimate sway! (Morning Chronicle)

Thursday 22 August 1822

SOMERSET ASSIZES. – . . . ROBERT CHITCOTT, a wretched-looking man of 71 years old was this morning put to the bar charged with a detestable offence. The evidence was most clear against the prisoner, and the jury, after about two minutes’ consideration, found him GUILTY.
          The Judge (Mr. Justice Burrough), in passing sentence of death, advised the wretched man to make the best use of the short time which yet remained to him, for that beyond a doubt sentence would be carried into execution on the day appointed. The awful sentence was then pronounced during which the prisoner was not in the least moved. – While the Judge was addressing him, he two or three times repeated “I am as innocent as a baby.”
          The case of this wretched being was rather singular. – We were informed that about 20 years ago, he was tried, convicted, and received sentence of death for burglary and robbery, but he contrived to make his escape from the gaol along with another convict. After this, he entered as a seaman on board a man of war, where he remained many years, and received seeral wounds in action. At length he was discharged, being then upwards of 60 years old, and rated as an out-pensioner of Greenwich Hospital, with a pension of 14l. per annum, which he has since enjoyed. – For the last few years he has practised as a chimney sweeper in this county.
          There were two other capital indictments against him before the Grand Jury, but we believe they were not found. The crime for which he is to suffer was committed nearly 2 years ago. When called upon for evidence to his character, prisoner said there was nobody in court to speak of him but his wife. (Devizes and Wiltshire Gazette)

Saturday, 31 August 1822

QUEEN-SQUARE. – GEORGE KELLY, a private soldier in the fifth company, first battalion of the third regiment of foot Guards, was brough up on a charge of an indecent assault upon the person of a boy ten years of age, with intent to commit an unnatural crime.
          It appeared that he had decoyed the boy away from Tothill-court, Westminster, by the promise of a few halfpence, if he would show him the way to St. Martin’s-lane, and, after treating him with some oysters and plum-pudding, he took him up Prince’s-street and through Storey’s gate into St. James’s Park, where he lifted him over the rails into the enclosure on the south side of the canal, by the Birdcage-walk, and then got over himself. From the boy having a pin-a-fore on, a woman, who from a distance saw the soldier lift him over the rails, thought it was a very young girl, and persuaded a respectable man, Mr. John Smith, water-colour preparer, of No. 22, Piccadilly, to go over after them, in order to prevent the scandalous intercourse which she suspected with such a child. He accordingly followed the direction pointed out by the woman, and found the prisoner and the boy lying on the grass under one of the trees nearest to the canal, and demanded the reason of their being there. The prisoner said he was the father of the boy, but the latter immediately denying the relationship, Mr. Smith took him in custody to a public-house near this office, and then delivered him in charge to Cooper the officer.
          The boy gave a very explicit and inartificial account of the whole of his intercourse with the prisoner, which left so little doubt of the intentions of the latter, though the timely interference of others had fortunately prevented the perpetration of the crime, as to induce the Magistrate to commit him in default of bail, to take his trial for the assault, and to require twenty-four hours’ notice of bail, should any be tendered.
          The parties were then bound over to prosecute and give evidence.
          A mob of people having collected in the vicinity of the office to see this wretched creature conveyed to Tothill-fields Prison, the utmost exertions of the officers were required to prevent his becoming a victim to the summary vengeance of the exasperated populace; and it was only by running at their greatest speed that they succeeded in extricating him from their fury, with the infliction of a single blow rather heavily dealt upon the back of his neck. (Morning Chronical)

Thursday 12 September 1822

R. Chilcott, the wretch who was convicted at the Somerset Assizes of a detestable offence, was executed on the new drop in Ilchester Gaol on Wednesday last, at a quarter before twelve o’clock. He strenuously persisted in declaring his innocence of the crime for which he suffered, to the last moment. (Exeter Flying Post)

Friday 13 September 1822

On Monday last, Benjamin Candler, late valet to the Duke of Newcastle, was committed to Lincoln Castle, (by Sir R. Heron, Bart.) charged with an unnatural offence. – On the same day was committed to the same place (by the Alderman of Grantham), William Arden, Esq. of Great Pulteney-street, Golden-square, London, charged with the same offence. – And on Tuesday was committed to the Castle, (by the Alderman of Grantham,) John Doughty, of Grantham, joiner, charged with the same. – A discovery of the abominable intercourse which had been carried on, it is stated, was made through the circumstance of a letter from Grantham, intended for the valet at Clumber, but accidentally not addressed on the outside, falling into the hands of the Duke of Newcastle. His Grace, on discovering the nature of the contents, proceeded with due caution for furthering the purposes of justice, and the consequence has been the commitment of the above persons to Lincoln Castle for trial at the next assizes. The person committed as an Esquire, was apprehended in London after the first examination of the others at Grantham, and was brought down in safe custody in one of the mail-coaches, on Sunday morning. We understand that he had apartments at Grantham during the last hunting season. (Stamford Mercury) [The same report appeared in The Examiner on Sunday 15 September 1822, which added: "The letter-writer, it is said, has implicated many." For their trial see News Reports for 14 March 1823.]

Monday 16 September 1822

R. Chillcott, the wretch who was convicted at the late Somerset assizes of a detestable offence, was executed on the drop in Ilchester Gaol on Wednesday se’nnight, at a quarter before twelve o’clock. The number of spectators to witness the ignominious fate of this man was comparatively few; and there was nothing remarkable in his final exit, except that he strenuously persisted in declaring his innocence of the crime for which he suffered, to the last moment. (Salisbury and Winchester Journal)

Monday 16 September 1822

True bills were on Thursday night found against the Bishop, Jocelyn, and the soldier, Moverly. Plant only was examined, his evidence being considered by the Grand Jury as more than sufficient to criminate the parties. All the witnesses were ordered to be in readiness to go to Ireland. (Bristol Mercury)

Thursday 19 September 1822

A violent war rages at this moment between Cobbett and Hunt, whose hostilities afford a curious insight into Radical politics and principles: A few weeks ago the Times gave Cobbett a well-merited and well-applied flagellation for his abandoned endeavours to give all possible publicity to the revolting details connected with the crime of the Bishop of Clogher. The circumstance of a Minister of Religion having been discovered in the commission of so horrible an offence, seems to have been caught at by this man with avidity if not with pleasure.
          It is an unpleasant part of our duty to record another melancholy instance of the prevalence of a detestable offence. – On Monday last, Benjamin Candler, late valet to the Duke of Newcastle, William Arden, Esq. of Great Pulteney’street, London, and John Doughty, of Grantham, joiner, were committed to Lincoln Gaol to take their trial at the next Assizes for this horrible crime.
          True bills were on Thursday night found against the Bishop Jocelyn, and the soldier Moverly. – Plant only was examined, hsi evidence being considered by the Grand Jury as more than sufficient to criminate the parties. All the witnesses were ordered to be in readiness to go to Ireland. (Worcester Journal)

Monday 23 September 1822

A wretch, named Wm. North, aged 61, who had been many years a schoolmaster int he navy, was this day convicted at the Old Bailey sessiosn of committing an unnatural offence with a boy nine years of age. Sentence of death was passed on him. (Salisbury and Winchester Journal)

Wednesday 25 September 1822

SENTENCE OF DEATH.
Soon after the RECORDER entered the Court this morning, the following culprits wereushered to the bar, in order to receive the awful sentence of death, viz.:– John Holland, aged 42, Wm. King, aged 32, and Wm. North, aged 61, who were convicted, during the present Sessions on the most conclusive evidence, of the commission of detestable offences.
          To see our fellow-creatures standing on the brink of an eternal world, and about to be ushered thereto, by the dread sentence of the Minister of Justice, seldom fails to excite commiseration; but on this occasion the spectators seemed rather to feel disgust at the degradation of their national character than pity to the criminals who were about to expiate with their lives the abominable offence which they had committed.
          The Prisoners, with downcast looks, approached the bar. On being asked what they had to say why sentence of death should not be passed on them according to law, Holland, in tears, begged for mercy, on account of his wife and children. North stated that he had long served on board the Aurora, from which he was discharged, owing to a contusion on his head, for which he was alloed a pension. He was subject to fits, and particularly affected at the change of the moon, when he was frequently deprived of knowledge of his actions. King said nothing, but seemed absorbed in reflection.
          Silence being proclaimed, the RECORDER addressed the prisoners to the following effect:– “Prisoners, you have been convicted of a detestable crime during the present Session. – The Learned and excellent Judge who presided on your trial implored the Jury not to return that verdict which must inevitably deprive you of life unless the evidence was conclusive beyond all doubt. That attentive and intelligent Jury have been forced, by the power of evidence and flash of truth, to come to that dreadful conclusion without hesitation; indeed, it was impossible they could have returned a different verdict. You have, by your abominations, disgraced human nature, and dishonoured the country in which you live. In the early ages of the world, the Almighty destroyed whole cities through the commission of crimes like yours; you have polluted the world, and must depart from it. – Those unfortunate men who have forfeited their lives, feel a repugnance to ascending the same scaffold with you, therefore the Court order that you be executed at an earlier and distinct period. Degraded a syou are, let me exhort you to devote the little time you have to live, in imploring forgiveness of that Being who is able and willing to extend mercy to the violest sinner. It is my earnest wish that by your contrition, you may avoid that fire in an eternal world which consumed in former ages the inhabitants of whole cities, for a similar offence to yours.”
          During this address, North listened with profound attention. After a short pause, the RECORDER passed the sentence of death on the prisoners in the usual form, but mentioned no day when the execution was to take place. (Morning Post)

16 October 1822

MARLBOROUGH-STREET. – Yesterday Mr. S——, a Gentleman of fortune who has estates in Ireland, charged WM. TOWNSEND, a youth, with extorting from him various sums of money, under a threat to charge him with unnatural propensities. It appeared in evidence that the prosecutor lately arrived in England from Dublin, and occupied apartments in Bryanstone-street, Portman-square. On the 6th of September it appeared the prosecutor was going to a party in Berners-street, Oxford-street, and he hired a coach to take him there. The prisoner requested to ride in the coach with him, which he consent to, but the prisoner gave orders for the coach to drive in a contrary direction to that in which witness was gong and he left the coach. The prisoner afterwards met the prosecutor at his hosue, and threatened to charge him with mal-practices if he did not supply him with money, and he gave him 12l. He afterwards made repeated calls and received money from him under a similar pretence, and on one occasion, in the absence of prosecutor, his wife had an interview with the prisoner, who called for 50l., saying that her husband had been guilty of a crime for which he ought to be shot, and that he, the prisoner, had two coachmen to prove it, each of whom were to have 20l. and prisoner 10l. to keept it secret. Mrs. S–– made an appointment for the prisoner to call, when Clements and Jefferies, the officers, were in attendance, and took him into custody.
          The prisoner, in his defence, confessed having received the money from the prosecutor, but explained the reasons why he did so.
          Sir G. FARRANT said, that the law would protect even guilty persons from being thus imposed on. The prisoner would have performed a less heinous offence by placing a pistol at the head of Mr. S. and demanding 50l.; and his case was more aggravated by threatening to destroy the peace of mind and happiness of Mrs. S., and to deprive her husband of his character.
          The prisoner was much affected during examination, and he was fully committed for trial for the capital offence. (Morning Chronicle)

9 November 1822

In The Dublin Herald of Tuesday last we find the following extraordinary article, which purports to have been extracted from The Weekly Register of Saturday, the 2d inst.: – “We have been just made acquainted with a circumstance which, when fully disclosed, will excite in the public mind no little horror and astonishment. We are in possession of all the facts, but do not wish to defeat the ends of justice by stating more, at present, than that an unfortunate youth is under sentence of death in a certain gaol – that his supposed crime had some connection with an abominable offence – that his prosecutor was a Gentleman belonging to this country – that it has been discovered that this Gentleman had been detected, formerly, in unnatural practices – that there are several witnesses to bring the charge home – that the Police, and the Chief Secretary, have come to the knowledge of the transactions of which these witnesses are cognizant – and also that a special messenger had been sent off to stay the execution of the wretched young man who had been doomed to suffer. Efforts will be made to bring the Gentleman to justice – and this is our reason for not being explanatory at present. We will merely add, that he will turn out to be one of the sanctimonious gentry – a person interested in charities, and remarkable for his attendance at Bethesda and other places of worship and spiritual instruction!!!” (Morning Chronicle)

Tuesday, 19 November 1822

DARING ATTEMPT TO EXTORT MONEY

BOW STREET. . . . Just as the Magistrate was about to leave the Bench in the afternoon, there was a great bustle in the avenues, and at the door of the Office, and a young fellow completely soaked in mud from head to foot, was lugged in by the collar by a waterman, and one of the Thames Police, who were followed by the crowd of people. – The prisoner was put to the bar, and gave his name WILLIAM BAKER. He appeared to be about 18 years of age.
          Henry Goldsmid, Esq. of Crick Howell, Brecknockshire, stated that he had been in London from his seat in Wales, a few days only, and was residing at present at no. 8. Norfolk-street, Strand. That morning he had been out with two young ladies of his family, and on his return home, had scarcely entered the house when he was informed that he was wanted at the door. He found a young man on the theshold, who said, “Mr. Goldsmid, there is a young man round the corner in Howard-street, who wants to speak to you most particularly.” Witness went into Howard-street, which was only a few yards off, and there saw the prisoner, who said, upon seeing him, “Mr. Goldsmid, you must give me money, or I will charge you with an unnatural crime!” “Me!” exclaimed the witness in perfect amazement, “you filthy wretch, what do you mean?” “Yes,” replied the prisoner, “you were in a coach with me on Wednesday night, and I must have money.” The other fellow, who came to the door, said at the same moment, “if you don’t give him money you will have plenty more of this sort.” This was all the work of a moment, and witness having recovered from his astonishment, said, “by [God], you rascal, I’ll have you,” and made a rush at the prisoner, but he got from him and ran away (as did his companion in a different direction) into Surrey-street, and down towards the Thames. Witness pursued, calling “Stop thief!,” but no one seemed to regard him until he called out, “he has charged me with an infamous crime,” and then several joined in the pursuit, and he was taken half buried in the mud of the river.
          George Heath, Junior, a waterman, said, he heard the cry, and saw the prisoner jump into the mud of the river from the Surrey-street steps, and crawl under the archway of a Gentleman’s house; he pursued the dragged him out. This and several other witnesses deposed, that the prisoner, when asked if he had any charge of the nature mentioned to prefer against Mr. Goldsmid? said he had not, and declared he never had made any such charge.
          The prisoner, when questioned by Sir. R. Birnie, denied, that he had attempted to charge Mr. Goldsmid with any crime, and said he had seen Mr. Goldsmid a few days before, and asked him to procure a situation for him, and he sent for him that morning only to know if he had done so?
          Mr. Goldsmid denied the whole of this story. He remarked how strange it was that the prisoner and his companion should be so well acquainted with his name.
          Sir. R. Birnie said it was an easy matter to obtain the name of a Gentleman.
          Mr. Goldsmid said, that within the last few days he had been accosted by two or three different men in the street, one of whom said, “How do you do, Mr. goldsmid? How long have you been from the country?” He attributed this at the time to mere impertinence, but he now thought differently.
          The prisoner was fully committed for trial for the misdemeanour in attempting to extort money. (Morning Chronicle; virtually the identical report appeared in The Times on the same day, which gave the added information that the would-be blackmailer was “in a dandified dress”. It also added: “It was dreadful that a man should be subject to such horrid attacks. Sir R. Birnie. – I will answer for it, Sir, you will not be attacked in this manner again. You have done your duty too well for them; and I wish every man under similar circumstances would act as you have done. Mr. Goldsmid said he thought that an innocent man who had any feeling could have but one impulse when such an attack was made upon him, and that was to seize instantly the ruffian who dares to accuse him.”)

Wednesday 20 November 1822

It is said that Mr. Seymour (who charged Townsend with extorting money from him, by threatening to accuse him of an unnatural crime, for which he was tried and sentenced to death) has, in consequence of certain affidavits sent from Ireland by a King’s Messanger to the Secretary of State, which will probably have the effectof saving Townsend’s life, obtained a passport, and left this country under a feigned name. – Times (Bury and Norwich Post)

Monday 25 November 1822

MARLBOROUGH-STREET. – On Friday evening two pe5rsons were charged with having committed a detestable offence in Hyde Park. The principal gave his name Lambert Fowler, (a man of fortune), 72, Gloucester-place, New-road; his companion, a half-starved wretch, gave his name William Attredge, a helper in stables. They were both committed for want of bail. (Salisbury and Winchester Journal)

Tuesday 26 November 1822

Recorder’s Report. – Yesterday his Majesty held a Privy Council, at his Palace, in Pall Mall, when the Recorder made his Report of the following convicts who were capitally convicted at the last September Sessions, viz. – . . . John Holland, William King, and William North, for an unnatural crime. . . . John Holland and William King were ordered for execution on Monday next, the 25th instand. . . . The case of William North stands over for further consideration. (Manchester Mercury)

Thursday 28 November 1822

EXECUTION. – On Monday morning, John Holland, aged 48, and Wm. King, aged 50, were executed in front of the debtors’ door of Newgate, for an unnatural crime. Holland, when on his trial, was apparently in perfect health, but on Monday morning he was little better than a skeleton, and was so weak as to be almost incapable of sustaining the weight of his emaciated frame. He has left a wife and two children, of whom he took leave on Sunday, after attending the condemned sermon. – King has been attended since his condemnation by the Rev. Mr. Baker, to whose advice he paid respectful attention, but observed a sullen taciturnity till the moment of his death. – Holland acknowleded his crime, and the justice of his fate, and ever since the arrival of the warrant for his executing, his time, night and day, has been employed in loud exclamations and petitions to the Supreme Being for mercy and pardon. At a quarter before 8 o’clock, Holland was relieved of his irons. This man had a very effeminate voice, and his screams of mental anguish were most appalling. His whole frame was agonized with terror. King was brought from his cell next, and he approached the anvil, to be relieved of his irons, with the greatest firmness. At a quarter past eight o’clock the executioner said that all was prepared, Dr. Cotton commenced a reading a prayer, and in the middle of it took out his handkerchief, and gave the customary signal, the bolt was drawn, and the men launched into eternity. The instant the drop fell, the mob shouted loud execrations repeatedly, and there were cries of “Where’s the Bishop?” [An allusion to the Bishop of Clogher.] (Devizes and Wiltshire Gazette)

Saturday, 30 November 1822

EXECUTION. – On Monday morning, John Holland, aged 50, and William King, aged 47 years, pursuant to their sentences, for an unnatural crime, suffered the dreadful punishment of the law, at the usual place of execution, in front of the debtors’ door at Newgate, in the Old Bailey. The crowd collected upon the occasion was rather inconsiderable. The Rev. Mr. Devereux, a Catholic Clergyman, attended Holland, he being of that persuasion; and King, who was a Protestant Dissenter, was attended by Dr. Cotton, and during the earlky part of Monday morning, by the Rev. Mr. Baker. King, who has left a wife and two children, evinced, to the last, the most extraordinary taciturnity. Holland acknowledged the crime of which he had been convicted, and the justness of the doom. At ten minutes past eight, the unhappy wretches were launched into eternity, amid the loud execrations of the populace. (Leeds Mercury)

Wednesday, 11 December 1822

OLD BAILEY.
Yesterday WM. BAKER was indicted for feloniously attempting to extort money from Henry Goldsmid, by threatening to accuse him of an unnatural crime.
          Henry Goldsmid usually resided at Crick Howell, in South Wales. He came thence for London on the 9th Novembver last. He first had an apartment at the Hummums, and after a few days at No. 8, Norfolk-street, Strand. On the 18th of November he had been walking out with two ladies, and he afterwards returned home with them. While he was at home, about three or four in the afternoon, a message was brought by a person unknown, that he (witness) was wanted in Howard-street. He went there and found the prisoner, who said, “don’t you recollect being in a coach with me on Saturday week?” Witness replied, “no; I was then 160 miels distant.” Prisoner replied, “no matter; if you don’t give me money I waill accuse you of an unnatural crime. I saw you go into the Hummums on Wednesday night, and I will accuse you of the crime that night. You had better give the money, else you will have plenty of our sort after you.” Witness upon this called the prisoner a filthy beast, and attempted to seize him,but he ran down Surrey-street to the river. Witness followed, calling “stop thief!” but nobody interfered or attempted to seize the prisoner, until witness cried out, “he has accused me of an unnatural crime.” Upon this several persons joined in the pursuit, and brought prisoner to the witness all covered with mud. Witness then said to prisoner, “you have charged me with an unnatural crime, and I shall take you to Bow-street.” Prisoner replied, “I have no charge to make against you; but when I met you in the street the other day, you said you were a pawnbroker’s clerk and would get me a situation, for which purpose you directed me to call upon you in Norfolk-street. Witness denied all this, and the prisoner was taken to Bow-street.
          George Heath, a waterman, was at the Surrey-stairs upon the day in question. He heard the cry of “stop thief!” and saw the prisoner endeavouring to escape, which he did not by taking a boat, but by running into the mud. When witness heard of the charge that had been made, he went into the mud, brought out the prisoner, and brought him to the prosecutor. He corroborated the testimony of the prosecutor as to the conversation which had taken place after the prisoner was apprehended.
          Mr. Joseph Huggins, a resident in Howard-street, corroborated the testimony.
          The prisoner in his defence stated, that he called on Mr. Goldsmid in consequence of that Gentleman having promised to find him a situation. Whilst he was conversing, a cry of “stop thief!” was raised, a rush of people took place, he joined, and in his hurry fell into the mud. He declared himself innocent of the charge.
          The Recorder summed up; and the Jury returned a verdict of Guilty.
The RECORDER addressed thje prisoner in nearly these terms:– If any sense of decency, morality, or religion be left you, you will feel glad that you have not succeeded in the infamous design which you formed against this Gentleman. You have, according to your own statement, been associating with wretches of the very worst character – with beings who are unworthy to live in the society of Christians, or to associate with any creatures but the beasts of the field. If the Gentrleman upon whom you attempted to practice your abominable crime, had been intimidated by you, and had given you only a single farthing, you would now have had but a few days to live. The sentence of the Court upon you is, that you be transported beyond seas for the term of seven years; and let me entreat you to warn the horrid wretches with whom you resort, that if they get money by the practices to which you have resorted, they will die by the hand of the common executioner; and if they should attempt and fail, as you have done, they will meet the same sentence as you.
          The RECORDER then called up Heath, the waterman, gave him the thanks of the Court for his activity, and assured him that he would receive as his expences the utmost that the law would allow. (Morning Chronicle)

Thursday 19 December 1822

It is with migled feelings of shame, grief, and indignation, we state that a Clergyman, named Milles, was yesterday charged before our city magistrates wtih an attempt to commit an unantural crime! The delinquent was held to bail to appear at our next city session and take his trial for the offence, himself in 200, and two sureties in 100 each. – Bath Gaz. (Devizes and Wiltshire Gazette)

Friday 20 December 1822

It is with mingled feelings of shame, grief,, and indignation, we state that a Clergyman, names Milles, was yesterday (Monday) charged before our Magistrates with an attempt to commit an unnatural crime! The delinquent was held to bail to appear at our next City Session, and take his trial for the offence, himself in 200l., and two sureties in 100l. each. – Bath Paper. (Morning Chronicle)


SOURCE: Various newspapers, dates as given. (Many reports were repeated verbatim across several newspapers, but I have not included them all.)

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "Newspaper Reports, 1822", Homosexuality in Nineteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 29 December 2014 <http://rictornorton.co.uk/eighteen/1822new1.htm>.


Return to Homosexuality in Nineteenth-Century England