Newspaper Reports, 1828

Thursday 3 January 1828

[Extract from a letter] The Mary, Captain Henry Plain, left Smyrna on the 16th September last for England, and on the 18th was boarded by a Greek schooner, and plundered of a telescope, a compass, and two drums of figs marked H., and the ship was overhauled. – On the 20th September, at 5 P.M. a squadron of seven or eight Mysticoes boarded us, and plundered our vessel of about half her cargo; ill used every body on board; stript the crew to their skin; and as a finishing stroke to their infamy, were going to commit an unnatural crime; which they were only prevented from doing by the interference of one seeming to have authority amongst them. One of the Mary's crew, who is a Maltese, and understands the Greek language perfectly, heard the conversation gong on – not that any knowledge of their language was necessary to be enabled to comprehend their diabolical project, whjich was too clearly unravelled by outward show to permit a doubt to exist for a moment in any one's mind. They left the vessel at 8 A.M. but one more boat boarded us at day-break, loaded herself, and then went away at 5 A.M. and half an hour after the long boat returned with the mate and the two men, nearly exhausted with fatigue.
          . . . The facts stated in this document are not just now given you as news, but simply as a corroboration of similar details already transmitted to England. Captain Plain certainly makes the case plain enough. I have conversed with him about his mishap, and his verbal statement gives a much more vivid picture of the atrocious character of the pirates than it would have been either decent or proper to have given in the protest. Their unnatural propensities excite horror, and the Captain seemed to be under a fearful impression of them. But for the influence of their own chief, they would in this way, have committed the most abominable excesses. In comparison, however, with the injury which these maurauders do to the trade of the Mediterranean – the frequent immoralities they commit – are held at light in the balance. In fact, unless strong and efficient measurs are immediately adopted at home, with a view to cuit up Greek Piracy by the roots, the entire Mediterranean trade will be ruined. . . . (Leeds Intelligencer)

Saturday 1 March 1828

On the subject of the commitment of a person for threatening to charge an individual with the commission of an unnatural crime, an alteration of the law had taken place by the Acts of the 7th and 8th Geo. IV., and more especially in chap. 29, sec. 8, which still subjected the offender to transportation, at the discretion of the Judge. (Berkshire Chronicle)

March 1829
[See The Case of John Richmond Seymour.]

Tuesday 29 July 1828

George Stamp (24) charged with having, between two and three o'clock on the morning of the 22d of June last, attempted to commit an unnatural crime, at Hull. Mr. Coltman stated the case, and called several witnesses, who clearly proved the guilt of the prisoner. Mr. Blackburne addressed the jury on behalf of the prisoner, and a verdict of Guilty was returned. Mr. Baron Hullock, in passing sentence, said, that no one who had heard the trial could doubt the guilt of the prisoner. Fortunately for him, a few days before the offence was committed, a most material alteration had taken place in the law applicable to such crimes; and had he perpetrated the offence anterior to such alteration, he would, in all probability, have been indicted in a very different manner, and subjected to capital punishment. The offence of which he had been found guilty was of such an aggravated and detestable nature, that it was requisite to pass a severe sentence upon him. The judgment of the Court was, that he be confined in the House of Correction at Wakefield, and there kept to hard labour for the space of two years. (Hull Packet)

Saturday, 2 August 1828

On Saturday, Geo. Stamp, aged 24, for an attempt to commit an unnatural crime, at Hull, was sentenced to 2 years hard labour in Beverley house of correction. (Newcastle Courant)

Wednesday, 17 September 1828

(Before Mr. Baron VAUGHAN)
MARTIN MALLETT and JAMES FARTHING, two Irishmen, were capitally indicted for having committed an unnatural crime on the evening of the 6th of August last.
          Mr. ADOLPHUS (after the Court had been cleared of boys and females) stated the case for the prosecution, and expressed his regret that the only witness he could call to prove the commission of this disgusting offence was a female.
          Alice Triggs, who lodged at the time in question at No. 19, Stephen-street, Lisson Grove, deposed, that the prisoners lodged in the same house, and on the evening of the 6th of August she had occasion to go down into the washhouse, and on opening the door, which was not fastened in any way whatever, found the prisoners in a situation which left no doubt on her mind that the crime had been perpetrated. She underwent a very severe cross-examination, the object of which was to shew that she had been on bad terms with the prisoners, and that her object had been to obtain money by making this charged. She persevered, however, in her statement of having seen the offence committed.
          Edward Burridge, an officer, proved that he had apprehended Mallett; and that Farthing, hearing of the charge, voluntarily gave himself up.
          Another office proved that whe he had apprehended Mallett, he expressed a wish to fine Kelly, whom he believed to be the other man implicated, but Mallett said, "it's no use your going after Kelly, for it was Farthing that was with me in the house."
          This was the case for the prosecution.
          Mallett, who could not speak English, addressed some words to his fellow-prisoner, who said that Mallett did not wish to address the Court, and then declined on his own part making any defence, but solemnly declared he was not guilty.
          Mrs. Munro, the landlady of the house where the prisoners and Alice Triggs lodged, was called, to prove that that witness entertained an ill-will towards the prisoners, and she also stated that she had had occasion to go to the washhouse repeatedly in the course of the evening, and would venture to swear that nothing improper could have occurred in the intervals of her absence from it.
          Several witnesses were called to the character of the prisoners.
          Mr. Baron VAUGHAN summed up the case to the Jury, and left it to them to saw whether they thought the charge had been so fully substantiated as to warrant them in convicting the prisoners.
The Jury, after an hour's consultation, returned a verdict of Guilty against both.
          Mr. Baron VAUGHAN twice asked them whether they were satisfied that the crime was completed? To which they answered in the affirmative, and the verdict was then recorded. (Morning Chronicle)

Wednesday, 26 November 1828

On Monday, the Recorder of London made his Report to his Majesty, at Windsor, of the following prisoners, who were capitally convicted at the last September Sessions, at the Old Bailey, viz.: . . . Martin Mellett, 19, and James Farthing, 19, sodomy; . . . When his Majesty was graciously pleased to command that all the above-named convicts should be respited during his royal pleasure . . . The consideration of the case of Farthing and Mellett is postponed. (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, 1828", Homosexuality in Nineteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 10 February 2015 <>.

Return to Homosexuality in Nineteenth-Century England