Homosexuality in Nineteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook compiled by Rictor Norton

Newspaper Reports, 1882

27 February 1882

SWANSEA. – Alleged Unnatural Offence – Antonio Psaradichi, a Greek sailor, was charged with committing an unnatural offence about a fortnight ago on Joseph M'Lean, a Canadian boy, in a cabin on board the barquentine Annie, now lying in the South Dock. After hearing the evidence the magistrates committed prisoner for trial at the assizes on the charge of attempting to commit the offence. (Western Mail) (See report for 6 May below)

7 March 1882

At the Retford Borough Police-court, yesterday, before Mr. J. Smith (chairman) and a full bench of magistrates, the charge of committing an unnatural offence was preferred against Montague Leach and Henry Langley Mould, gentlemen of independent means, lately residing at Retford. The defendants had been summoned, but when their names were called they did not appear. – Mr. Bescoby, who was instricted to prosecute, remarked that he understood Mr. Clegg, of Sheffield, was instructed to defend, but a clerk from the office of Mr. Clegg was in attendance, and from what he had said, he (Mr. Bescoby) considered it no breach of confidence to state that one of the defendants had already gone out of the country, and that the other was fast on his way. His application would therefore be that a warrant should be made out for their apprehension. The offence, as their worships probably knew, was a very serious one, and its details were of such a disgusting nature as to render it a nameless one. There were two or three charges against the defendants, one of whom was the son of an eminent solicitor and the other was, he believed, also the son of a solicitor, and had occupied a position of respectability. The evidence was of too disgusting a character to submit, and he would therefore only ask that the application should be granted. – Warrants for the apprehension of the defendants were then issued. (Sheffield Independent)

7 March 1882

At the Retford Borough Police Court yesterday, Montague Leech and Henry Langley Mole, of Retford, were summoned for having committed an indecent assault. Defendants did not appear, and Police-sergeant Gee proved service of the summonses on the 24th February. He subsequently saw the defendants, when they said they would attend that day.
          Mr. Bescoby said he was instructed to prosecute in that case, and he understood Mr. Clegg, of Sheffield, was instructed to defend. Mr. Clegg's clerk was presesnt, and from what he had stated it appeared that one of the defendants was already out of the country, and he thought the other was fast preparing to leave it. He (Mr. Bescoby) asked that warrants should be issued. The offence was a very serious one. There were two or three charges against the defendants. The defendants were gentlemen by birth and education; one was the son of a very eminent solicitor, and the other was also the son of a solicitor. They had only been in Retford a very short time. He should not say one word about the offence.
          The magistrates ordered warrants to be issued. (Sheffield Daily Telegraph)

16 April 1882

SHOCKING OFFENCE. – Herbert Milward, 43, a gentleman's servant, and David Eadie, soldier in the Coldstream Guards, were committed for trial for inciting one another to commit an unnatural offence. (Reynolds's Newspaper)

6 May 1882

Antonio Paradchi (23), seaman, was indicted for a terrible offence at Swansea on the 10th February. The plaintiff was a Scotch-Canadian boy, named Joseph McLean. – Mr David Lewis prosecuted, and Mr Abel Thomas (instructed by the Turkish Vice-Consul) defended. – The jury were discharged, being unable to agree upon a verdict – ten were in favour of a verdict for an attempt, and two for the actual commission of the crime. The case was adjourned until the next assizes, the prisoner being remanded in custody. (Cardiff Times) (See report for 5 August below)

1 July 1882

In charging the Grand Jury, the learned Recorder said: . . . Continuing to refer to the case of a man named Lane, charged with attempting to commit an unnatural offence, the learned Recorder said it was a most painful case. With regard to it he would give the Jury one or two cautions. They would see how the witnesses gave their evidence, and unless they considered the story told by one particular witness, a man named Soar, as substantially true – unless the Jury were pretty well sure about its truth – it would be wise to return no true bill, in order to save what must of necessity be a painful public investigation. But still, if the story was considered by the Jury to be substantially correct, and was corroborated by the other witnesses, then, painful as the inquiry would be, it was their duty to return the bill. At this hearing before the Magistrates, the prisoner appeared to have set up a counter-charge aganst Soar, to the effect that that witness had assaulted him, and had arranged the matter with the intention of getting the prisoner into trouble. But it was to be borne in mind that when the police officer came upon the man in the lane where the offence was alleged to have been committed, the prisoner made no such accusation. There was in the case one other witness, a man named Hudson, whose evidence should be looked into. From the depositions it appeared that he followed prisoner about the town to the place where the offence was said to have been committed. He (the Recorder) was unable, from the evidence, to make out whether he was following these men from some pre-arranged scheme or merely because his suspicions were aroused. However, he did follow the prisoner, and perhaps the Grand Jury would be able to ascertain the reason he did so. . . .
Townsend John Lane, printer, was charged with attempt to commit an unantural offence, on the 27th May.
          Mr. Simms Reeve prosecuted.
          In defence prisoner contended that it was Soar that assaulted him, and that he (prisoner) had no intention whatever of committing the offence.
          The Jury, after some deliberation, returned a verdict of not guilty. (Ipswich Journal)

5 August 1882

Antonio Barradachih (23), a Greek sailor, was indicted for committing an abominable offence. The jury found the prisoner guilty of the attempt, and his lordship sentenced him to the full term of two years' imprisonment with hard labour. (South Wales Daily News)

5 August 1882

Justice Williams then charged the grand jury. . . . In a case of unnatural offence, he would suggest to the grand jury whether it would not be better to return an indictment for an attempt, as this was an offence in which there was no option but to pass sentence of penal servitude, and he had observed that juries shrank from finding verdicts of guilty. A prisoner might plead guilty if charged with an attempt, and the public discussion of a trial of this objectionable charcter be thus avoided. . . . [Subsequently, the jury] ignored the bill against William Busby, charged with an unnatural offence at Minchinhampton, but found a true bill for misdemeanour. (Gloucestershire Chronicle)
[CONTEXT: This was clearly a case of bestiality, for which the penalty required by law was penal servitude for ten years; but if the indictment was changed to an attempt at bestiality, which was a misdemeanour, the sentence could be reduced, usually to six months' hard labour. All such reports of "unnatural offences" ending in long terms of penal servitude are reports about bestiality, whereas reports of "unnatural offences" which result in imprisonment for two years or less can sometimes be reports of homosexual offences, as well as reports of the misdeameanour of attempted bestiality. If the trial for an "unnatural offence" ends in acquittal, we cannot deduce if their offence was bestiality or homosexuality.]

9 September 1882

SERIOUS CHARGE. – Edward Lynch, alias Carter, was brought up in custody charged with attempting to commit an unnatural offence at Wokingham, on Monday night. After hearing the evidence (which was voluminous) the Magistrates committed the prisoner for trial at the next Quarter Sessions. (Reading Mercury) [The report for 21 October in the Reading Observer notes that he was "aged 38".]

9 September 1882

THE ALLEGED UNNATURAL OFFENCE. – Edward Carter [Edward Lynch] was charged on remand with indecent assault and attempting an unnatural offence at Wokingham, on Monday night. – The prosecutor is a signalman in the employ of the S.E.R., and it appeared from the evidence that the prisoner went to the signal box at half-past ten o'clock at night and enquired if he could go on to London that night. Finding he could not, he remained in the box with the prosecutor and his nephew and the night signalman for some time and paid for drink. The prosecutor then took the prisoner to his house where he said he could sleep for the night, and the offence was alleged to have been committed. Prosecutor said the prisoner was drunk. – The prisoner who appears to be respectably connected, and had about 3 in his possession, was committed for trial at the next Quarter Sessions and the Bench said they would take bail. (Reading Observer) (See report for 21 October below)

9 October 1882

At the Oldbury Police Court this afternoon, the Rev. Ernest George Hexall, alias Shenton, was charged with committing an unnatural offence on a young man named Henry Haden, 19, of Churchbridge, on the 3rd of December last, and with attempting a similar offence upon Thos. Tilton, 20, of Round's Green, in the month of March, this year. – Mr. Sharpe, of West Bromwich, appeared to prosecute, and Mr. Shakespeare (Oldbury) defended. – Mr. Sharpe said defendant stood charged with a most odious and abominable crime, which it was most repugnant to think of and dwell upon. It appeared that the defendant for some time past had been acting in the capacity of an open-air preacher in and near Oldbury, and called himself an evangelist, and assumed the title of reverend. By means of public subscriptions he erected a wooden structure, which he used as a chapel. He had induced large numbers of persons from time to time to go to see his form of religious worship, and he issued some publications stating his ideas on religious subjects. That had continued for about two years. The defendant was possessed of a superior education to the people he had got about him, and he thus gained an ascendancy over them, and under certain pretexts he had induced some of them to stay at his house, and it was then that the offences were alleged to have been committed. – Haden was called to corroborate this statement. – Thomas Tilston also gave evidence as to the second charge. – After hearing Mr. Shakespeare and a witness for the defence, the Bench dismissed the case on the ground that the evidence was not sufficient to place the prisoner on his trial. The decision was greeted with applause by the audience in the Court, and upon making his appearance in the street Mr. Hexall was greeted with cheers. (Birmingham Mail)

21 October 1882

EDWARD LYNCH, alias CARTER, who had been admitted to bail, failed to surrender to a charge of attempting to commit an unnatural assault upon Charles Sage, at Wokingham, on Sept. 4th.
          Mr. H. D. Greene, for the prosecution, applied that a warrant might be granted for the apprehension of the prisoner, and that his recognisances might be estreated.
          The application was granted. (Berkshire Chronicle)

SOURCE: Various newspapers, dates as given.

CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (Ed.), "Newspaper Reports, 1882", Homosexuality in Nineteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 18 July 2019 <http://rictornorton.co.uk/eighteen/1882news.htm>.

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