Miscellaneous News Reports, 1845

Saturday 1 February 1845

. . . Samuel Wright, 33, labourer, Claydon, for an unnatural crime; 17th April, 1830. (Ipswich Journal)

Saturday 12 April 1845

Henry Hudson (30), was indicted for having committed an unnatural offence, on the night of the 19th of January. – Mr. W. Cooper prosecuted, and Mr. Palmer defended the prisoner. – The principal witness was a deaf and dumb man, whose examination was conducted partly through an interpreter, by means of the usual signs. This being a very slow process, the questions were put and the answers taken in writing. After the trial had proceeded an hour and a half, sufficient evidence could not be elicited from the complainant to support either the charge of assault or of felony. – The learned JUDGE said, he had no course left him but to direct an acquittal. – The prisoner was then discharged.
          John Alden (41), was indicted for having committed an unnatural offence at Yarmouth, on the 22nd of March last. – The particulars of this case are unfit for publication. – The prisoner was found guilty; and the learned JUDGE said, he should direct sentence of death to be recorded, with a view of applying to her Majesty, that the prisoner's life might be spared, there being some doubt as to the state of his mind; but it was impossible for him to state on what terms this remission of punishment would be granted, till an examination had taken place into certain circumstances. – The prisoner was then removed.
          Robert Leonard (17), was indicted for having committed an unnatural offence on the 6th March last, at Swaffham. – The prisoner had made a confession to a witness; he was now found guilty; and Mr. Justice PATTESON, in passing sentence, said, he wished it to be more known, that this was a capital offence; and he was sorry to learn, that it was becoming more frequent in this county. – Sentence of death was recorded. (Norfolk Chronicle)

Saturday 12 April 1845

Henry Hudson, aged 30 years, was indicted for having, on the night of the 19th of January last, committed an unnatural offence.
          Mr. W. Cooper prosecuted; Mr. Palmer defended.
          The prosecutor was a deaf and dumb person, and was examined through an interpreter; but it was found to be impossible, either from the obtuseness or unwillingness of the prosecutor, fully to prove the offence; and the Jury, under the direction of the learned Judge, acquitted the prisoner.
          John Alden, aged 41, was indicted for having on the 18th of March, at Great Yarmouth, committed an unnatural offence, of so revolting a character, that not the slightest allusion can be made to it. The offence was proved, and the Jury returned a verdict of Guilty against the prisoner, against whom a formal sentence of death was recorded. The learned Judge, in sentencing the prisoner, intimated that it having been represented to him, that the prisoner had formerly been a sailor on board a frigate, and that there was some doubt as to the state of his mind, he should recommend to Her Majesty a mitigation of the extreme punishment.
          Robert Leonard, of Swaffham, Chimney sweep, aged 17, was indicted for having, on the 6th of March, 1845, committed an unnatural offence. Several witnesses were brought forward to the prosecution, but the evidence is of such a nature it cannot be given. After a short consultation of the Jury, a verdict of Guilty was returned against him; and the learned Judge addressed the prisoner most emphatically, stating the heinous nature of the offence, and recommended the case to Her Majesty, for the mitigation of the punishment of death. (Norfolk News)

Friday 25 April 1845

Having for the last Eighteen Years been induced to take a prominent part in political matters, and having thereby incurred much unmerited obloquy and persecution, I deem it imperatively necessary to address you briefly on the subject. . . .
          Since I published a pamphlet in 1827 on the Romish question, and even before that period, I have experienced the ill-will of the Popish party. They have had their spies and emissaries after me everywhere, endeavouring to effect my ruin by continual slander and vituperation; but it was not until the year 1837 that the persecution assumed a visible organisation. In that year three Popish ruffians, of the most infamous character, were hired to abuse me, by day and night, in the public streets of every city and town in which I might reside, and this beastly contaminating system of foul language has been adhered to since without the cessation of a single week. It is at present well known to the inhabitants and authorities of this city [i.e. Dublin]: it is well known to Merrion-square and the neighbourhood. In addition, wretches of the worst description, male and female, have been employed to try to entrap me into wickedness. Poison (Laudanum, antimony, and arsenic) has been administered to me, and swindlilng manoeuvres adopted to plunder me of my property. In short, I have been pursued by poisoners, thieves, swindlers, strumpets, masturbators, and sodomites – some of them from England. . . .
          [Signed] JOHN RYAN. (Statesman and Dublin Christian Record)

Sunday 27 July 1845

Mr. George Robinson, alias Beauclerk, a stout, fine-looking man, of respectable, or shabby-genteel appearance, was charged before Mr. Jardine, at Bow-street Police-court, on Wednesday, with having attempted a nameless offence. Mr. Jardine committed him for trial at the next sessions. His worship consentend to accept bail in the event of any being offered. (The Era)

Sunday 27 July 1845

DISGUSTING CHARGE. – A stout elderly man of good address,but of rather shabby appearance, was charged with attempting a nameless offence in Wilson-street, Drury-lane, on Tuesday evening. – The defendant said that his name was George Robinson, but he was known in court as the illegitimate son of a distinguished Royal personage (deceased). – The charge was preferred by two working lads, whjo deposed to having been accosted by him in the street. A constable who was present stated that the defendant was drunk. – The defendant said that the accusation was wholly false, and had been instituted by the boys merely with the view of extorting money from him. He added that he had been many years a teacher of the English language at Versailles, and was now returning to his home in Dorset. He had lost all his friends and was now reduced to a comparatively low condition, besides which he had been latterly a great sufferer fromm indisposition, having been for several months an in-patient of an hospital at Bristol. In a state of mental disquietude, increased by drinking, he might have spoken to the boys, but was wholly unconscious of having done so. – Mr. Jardine committed him for trial at the sessions. His worship consented to take bail if offered. (Bell's New Weekly Messenger)

Sunday 27 July 1845

A SON OF GEORGE IV. – A man named George Robinson, sixty-eight years of age, who was said to be an illegitimate son of George IV., was charged at Bow-street Police-court, on Wednesday, with having, when intoxicated, indecently assaulted three boys. He was ordered to find bail, and answer the charge at the sessions. (Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper) (See report for 19 August below)

Tuesday 5 August 1845

[Trial on Wed. 23 July:]
          John Apps, 31, labourer, (neither read nor write), was charged with having on the 22nd June last, committed an unmentionable crime in the parish of Mountfield in which he resided. The particulars of this case were unfit for publication. The jury after a very short consultation found a verdict of guilty, and His Lordship after a few observations upon the disgusting enormity of the crime, ordered that sentence of death should be recorded against him, and that without hope of mitigation of his sentence he should be transported for the rest of his life.
          Noah Baldwin, hawker, was arraigned upon the charge of attempting to commit an unnatural crime in the parish of Rotherfield, on the 11th of May last. The grand jury had ignored the bill charging him with the actual commission of the crime, and now only the minor offence was charged.
          Mr. Johnson for the prosecution; Mr. Creasy for the defence.
          It appears that the only evidence in support of the charge was that of a brother hawker and a policeman, and that all three had been drinking together previous to the alleted commission of the crime, and also when the policeman had the prisoner in custody, and that great suspicion was attachable to the testimony of the principal witness, the policeman.
          The jury returned a verdict of not guilty. (Sussex Advertiser)

Tuesday 19 August 1845

George Robinson, a well-dressed man, aged 61, was indited for unlawfully assaulting a youth, named John Morris.
          It appeared by the evidence, so far as it can be published, that the prisoner met with the prosecutor, in company with another person, in Long-acre. In the first instance he laid his hand on the person of the companion of Morris, and afterwards on him.
          Wm. Anderton, the person alluded to, was called to confirm the statement of Morris, and they both detailed the indelicate behaviour of the prisoner.
          When called upon for his defence, the prisoner addressed the jury for some time, but in so low a tone that very little could be heard by the reporters. His manner was rather theatrical, and he was understood to deny the charge, and insinuate that it was preferred for a sordid purpose.
          The judge summed up the evidence with great care, and minuteness, and
          The jury, without hesitation, acquitted the prisoner, who bowed respectfully, and left the bar.
          The court adjourned at five o'clock untill nine this morning. (Morning Chronicle)

Saturday 25 October 1845

REMANDED TO THE ASSIZES. – John Parker (25), and William Beck (49), charged with attempted to commit sodomy at Leeds. (Leeds Times)

Monday 27 October 1845

(FROM OUR BOMBAY CORRESPONDENT.) . . . It is said that one of Sir C. Napier's latest contributions to the Anglo-Indian press, consists of a letter signed "Omega," lithographed for Scinde circulation, and afterwards communicated to the Bombay Gentleman's Gazette, his excellency's organ. This precious production, which the Times and Courier have declined republishing, prefers the most revolting charges against the Ameers of Scinde, particularly Shahdad Khan, affirming that they were habitually guilty of what the delicacy of western civilization terms a "nameless offence," and asserting to the effect (I have not the paper before me) that those who question the justice of their dethronement impugn the act of the Almighty in destroying Sodom and Gomorrah! this is tantamount to saying that Sir Charles Napier had a divine commission to appropriate Scinde and depose its princes; and the blasphemy of the expression is about equal to that clap-trap passage in his brother's book, where he is represented as going out at night into the field of battle, and standing amongst the slain, and asking his conscience whether he was guilty of the slaughter that had taken place, and the bleeding proofs of which lay grim and ghastly around him. It is not, per se, impossible that such crimes as those described by the writer of the abominable letter have been committed by the Ameers; but it is well known, that if there be any sort of accusation which ought to be founded on the most clear, distinct, and respectable testimony, and which should never be preferred without such testimony to support it, that brought forward by "Omega" is the one. The Ameers are helpless and in exile, and have not the means of defending themselves. It is, therefore, most mean, base, and cowardly, to adduce such charges; and should they turn out, as it is believed they are, entirely untrue, the guilt of those who have published them will be indeed enormous. I have not the shadow of a doubt that all sorts of stories respecting the Ameers are rife in Scinde, for these princes were not immaculate, and they have, doubtless, left many enemies behind them; but ought such tales to be picked up and published without evidence as to their truth. Nobody who has ever been in Scinde, or knows anything about its afffairs, believes one tittle of the extravagant statements relative to the Ameers which are put forth in General Napier's book. In all likelihood these are not mere inventions of the author, but were received by Sir Charles from native informants who hated the Talpoors, and, seeing him ready to listen to their tales, crammed him with all kinds of fabulous enormities. Let any one ask himself from whom information as to the offences described by "Omega" is likely to have been obtained? The answer must be, from pimps and prostitutes, from the lowest and most degraded wretches in Scinde; from men and women (if they deserve the name) who have from their youth upwards thriven on the bread of iniquity! . . . (Morning Chronicle)

Saturday 6 December 1845

For the Yorkshire Winter Gaol Delivery, to be holden at the Castle of York . . .
          . . . JOSEPH CARTER, 55, charged for that he, at Sheffield, did feloniously assault one Henry Brown, and commit the abominable crime of sodomy.
          . . . JOHN BARKER, 26, and WM. BECK, 47, charged for that they, at Leeds, did commit with each other the abominable crime of sodomy. (Yorkshire Gazette)

Friday 12 December 1845

Sodomy at Sheffield. – Joseph Carter (55) was charged with having, on the 12th of October last, at Sheffield, assaulted Henry Brown, and committed a nameless offence. The prisoner was further charged with committing a similar offence on George Brown, a younger brother of the prosecutor in the last case. Not Guilty. (Hull Advertiser and Exchange Gazette)

Saturday 13 December 1845

JOSEPH CARTER (55), was charged with having, on the 12th of October last, at Sheffield, assaulted Henry Brown, and committed the crime of sodomy. Mr. Oerend and Mr. Monteith were for the prosecution; the prisoner was undefended. The details, or course, are unfit for publication. The prosecutor is fifteen years of age, and the son of a table knife cutler. He lodged at the same house with the prisoner, viz., at Mrs. Laws', in Matthew Street, Sheffield, where the alleged offence was committed.
          The jury found the prisoner Not Guilty.
          The prisoner was further charged with committing a similar offence on George Brown, a younger brother of the prosecutor in the last case. – Not Guilty. (Leeds Times)

Saturday 13 December 1845

The Grand Jury ignored the bill which charged JOHN BARKER (26), and WILLIAM BECK (47) with the committal of an abominable crime at Leeds.
          The Grand Jury also ignored the bill against JOSEPH MOULDEN (22), charged with committing an abominable crime at Bingley. (Leeds Intelligencer)

Saturday 13 December 1845

A rather respectable looking young man named John Roughsedge, 19, was indicted for having committed an unnatural crime at Liverpool on the 21st October last.
          Mr. Drinkwater appeared for the prosecution and Mr. James for the prisoner.
          The jury, after being out of court for about an hour, found the prisoner guilty of a common assault only. (Liverpool Mail)

Saturday 13 December 1845

John Roughsedge, aged 19, was charged with having committed an unnatural crime in the town of Liverpool. The jury after being absent from court upwards of an hour considering upon their verdict, returned, when the foreman asked if they could find the prisoner guilty of an assault, apart from a criminal offence. On being answered in the affirmative, the jury returned a verdict of guilty of an assault only. Sentence imprisonment and hard labour for 12 months. (Bolton Chronicle)

SOURCE: Various newspapers, dates as given. (Some 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.), "Miscellaneous News Reports, 1845", Homosexuality in Nineteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 8 November 2016 <http://rictornorton.co.uk/eighteen/1845news.htm>.

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