THE MACARONI CLUB
The Macaroni Club
The following items regarding homosexual scandals involving David Garrick (nicknamed Roscius), Isaac Bickerstaffe (nicknamed Nyky) and Samuel Drybutter (who is usually called a 'toyman') appeared in the English newspapers during 1772, and were intimately connected with the popular term "macaroni". This attack on homosexuals was exacerbated by the scandal involving Captain Robert Jones, who was given a royal pardon after being sentenced to death for sodomizing a boy. Instead of grouping these items in sections relating only to each of these men, I have arranged them chronologically. This illustrates how all these scandals were interrelated with one another in the public perception. For instance, the Morning Chronicle (12 Sept. 1772) reported that Drybutter allowed Captain Jones to lodge in his home immediately after his release from prison and prior to his departure abroad. For an introduction and overview of the Captain Jones affair, see The First Public Debate about Homosexuality in England. For a fuller discussion about the other men, see The Macaroni Club.
23-25 January 1770
Wednesday, January 24. On Monday a man that keeps a toyshop [i.e. Samuel Drybutter] near Westminster-hall, was committed to Tothilfields bridewell, on a charge of attempting to commit a detestable crime. (General Evening Post)
25-27 July 1771
Saturday, July 27. That pest of society, the Westminster toyman [i.e. Samuel Drybutter], notwithstanding the late severe discipline he underwent, has been again attempting to repeat the infamous and detestable crime to which he seems to have so strong, though unnatural, a propensity. On Thursday night, about ten o’clock, he attacked a horse grenadier, who was patroling about the Horse Guards. He wanted him to dismount, and accompany him to a private place; the fellow refusing to comply, he offered him money and used several indecencies with him. The soldier at length seized him, and charged the watch with him; and he was taken to the round-house. The miscreant, being a housekeeper, was indulged with the Gate-house till the morning; but having in his turn charged the grenadier with an attempt to extort money, the latter was likewise taken into custody, and confined in the round-house. In the morning they were carried, in separate coaches, before Justice Wright. The concourse of people to see the offender was so great, that it was thought prudent to drive him up towards Pimlico, lest he should have fallen a prey to the fury of the mob.
When they got to the Justices, he found means by parting with some of the wages of his iniquity, to make the affair up: they were accordingly both discharged; and the catamite, to escape the populace, was carried off in the coach to some place at a considerable distance.
Mr. Drybutter, we hear, is gone for a few days to his seat in the country. (London Evening Post)
Friday 19 June 1772To our Correspondents.
The charge of an abominable crime against a respectable character [i.e. David Garrick], shall not appear in the Morning Chronicle; imputations of this sort, unsupported by proof, are in the highest degree indefensible and cruel; if a plain positive fact can be proved against any persons so unnaturally depraved, we should join most readily in hunting such members from society; but we neither should forgive ourselves, nor do we imagine the world would ever shew us a momentary countenance, were we so lost to consideration, humanity and feeling, as to become the willing instruments of fixing a stigma of the blackest and most indelible kind on an innocent person. (Morning Chronicle)
2-4 July 1772
A certain literary character [i.e. Kenrick] who has lately published a poem [i.e. Love in the Suds] more than insinuating an accusation of a detestable crime against a great actor [i.e. Garrick], acknowledges to all his friends that he believes there is no man in England whose character in the crime alluded to is more unexceptionable ‘But I published the poem (says he) to vex him, and I fancy I have succeeded pretty tolerably.’ Doubtless the great actor is much vexed, so would he be if a fork was stuck into his eye; yet surely the mode of vexing him is base above belief, and the writer alluded to would soon be of this opinion, was the same report to be propagated against himself.
The trial between a great actor and the publisher of a certain daily paper for a defamation of the same kind, which is mentioned in the foregoing paragraph, is put off till Michaelmas term, at the instance of the defendant. (General Evening Post)
7-9 July 1772
A certain literary character [i.e. Isaac Bickerstaffe], who lately absconded in consequence of a detestable attempt, is, we are told, shut up in a little retreat on the sea coast, where he flies to drinking as a refuge from thought, and generally consumes two quarts of spirits in the course of the day. (General Evening Post)
8 July 1772
To the pretended Mother Shipton, author of the elaborate and learned criticism on his ‘Lamentations of Roscius,’ inserted in yesterday’s paper.
THOU, Mother Shipton! Thou hast not her nose.
Some filthy male art thou in woman’s clothes:
No, by the beastly look and brazen brow,
No simple fortune-telling bawd art thou:
Thou’rt gallows-Paul*! I know thee by this light,
Roscius’s runner, pimp, and parasite!
*Dr. P[au]l H[ifferna]n, long known by the above appellation among his friends and companions, the Printer’s Devils, of whose consequences he is so very tenacious; he is, however, in the opinion of Roscius, one of the first dramatic writers of the age, and is to father the ambriobrats of the fugitive Nyky, of which he is accordingly preparing to lie-in next winter. (Morning Chronicle) [Note: This alludes to the mock-birth rituals allegedly celebrated in molly-houses.]
17 July 1772
Conscious that his conduct will not bear examination [Garrick] would wish to suppress all conversation about, or enquiry into it. Hence it is that he hath caused it to be industriously reported that his late friend and favourite [i.e. Bickerstaffe] has had the virtue to hang himself; and therefore now, nil nisi bonum de mortuis; the name of Nyky must be buried in oblivion. But till I am better assured of the fact, neither my tongue nor pen shall be so obsequious to the good pleasure of Roscius.
Forbid my tongue to speak of Nyky!
I will go find him when he lies asleep,
And in his ear I’ll holla Nyky!
Nay, I will have a starling taught to speak
Nothing but Nyky, and give it him
To keep his anger still in motion.
18-25 July 1772
A celebrated toyman [i.e. Drybutter], not far from Westminster-hall, has taken a house in Pall-mall for the reception of a detestable set of wretches of his own stamp. A hint to the Magistrates. (The Westminster Journal: and London Political Miscellany) (The same report [but with the word celebrated in italics] appeared in the London Evening Post for 21-23 July.)
25 July 1772
Would ye him, then, defend, Sirs, assert something striking;
Affrirm that foul slander has banish’d his Nykin:
That the tall grenadier, tho’ his head’s held so high,
Has told of poor Bicky an infamous lye.
Give at once to the world a good mouth-stopping answer;
Swear he ne’re fell in love with a masculine dancer;
That G[arric]k ne’er heard, no, nor ever suspected,
To whom brother George, once a letter directed.
25-28 July 1772
Extract of a Letter from Southampton, July 25.
The vice that has so lately excited the talk in London, has made its appearance here. It seems as if the military had taken it intirely up. Mr. B[ickerstaffe] celebrated in Mr. K[enric]k’s poem, being an officer on half-pay; Mr. Jones [i.e. Capt. Robert Jones], lately capitally convicted at the Old-Bailey, a Captain in the Artillery; and our hero at this place also an officer in the army. A report had circulated in a whisper to his discredit, and the Master of the Ceremonies, at the Long Rooms, told him of it, and at the same time hinted that he must clear his character, otherwise he could not possibly be continued any longer a member of that company; this was yesterday evening. He left the rooms, and went home, when the constables came to apprehend him. On being acquainted therewith, he endeavoured to escape by the garret window; but the casement being too small, he was taken with his body half out of the window, and committed to the Bridewel in this town. It appears, that he made the attempt on a journeyman shoe-maker, who works with Mr. Day of this place, who, though offered money, manfully refused it, and insisted upon bringing the culprit to condign punishment. This being market-day, an effigy of him, dressed in scarlet, was set on the pillory, with its arms through, and on one side a roll, on the other a pint of beer; this afternoon it was carried about the town, and in the evening is to be burned in triumph. He has been at this place about three months, and is between forty and fifty years of age. (General Evening Post)
25 July 1772For the Public Ledger.
WEEKLY LIST of DIVERTING PARAGRAPHS
1. The poor Queen of Denmark is now only one and twenty. What a KNOWING HUSSEY of her age!
2. Lady Grosvenor now frequents Kensington Gardens in an EVENING. LOVE and OPPORTUNITY to her Ladyship.
3. The father of Captain Jones was a Taylor, and the Captain himself used to make BREECHES. The Ladies, I fancy, will think him not intitled to WEAR them.
. . .
9. Captain Jones will certainly be pardoned. Some encouragement should, you know, be given to YOUNG BEGINNERS.
10. But what will the world say? Say, that we live in a Reign too PIOUS to punish MEN OF TASTE.
11. A celebrated Toyman is removed from Westminster Hall. It is high time he should pay a visit to MR. AKERMAN.
. . .
28-30 July 1772
Bickerstaff [sic], the compiler of Love in a Village, &. who lately absconded for a detestable crime, died a few days ago in Sussex. [In fact this is inaccurate.] (London Evening Post)
3 August 1772
A celebrated dramatic writer [i.e. Bickerstaffe], who lately absconded for a detestable crime, it is asserted, has drowned himself. (Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser) (In fact this report is inaccurate. It was reprinted in The Craftsman; or Say’s Weekly Journal on 8 August.)
Thursday 6 August 1772On Saturday next will be published,
Price One Shilling and Sixpence,
A Letter to David Garrick, Esq; occasioned by his having moved the Court of King’s Bench against the publisher of ‘Love in the Suds; or, the Lamentation of Roscius for the loss of his Nyky.’ By Dr. Kenrick. Printed for J. Wheble, Paternoster-row. Of whom may be had, Love in the Suds, &c. fourth edition, 4to, price 1s. 6d. (Morning Chronicle)
Friday 7 August 1772UNPARDONABLE SIN.
‘Murd’rers and Sodomites’ (George says) ‘shall live’
So burn at once the statute-book and Bible;
What crime will not a pious Prince forgive?
What sin against the Holy Ghost? A Libel.
Friday 7 August 1772For the Morning Chronicle
Mr. Dr-b-tt-r’s [i.e. Drybutter’s] club are desired to meet at the Gomorrah, to-morrow evening, to consider of a proper address of thanks to the throne for the respite of brother Jones. The Macaroni, Delettanti, and other Italian clubs will bring up the rear of the cavalcade, all dressed in white linen breeches.
Friday 7 August 1772For the Morning Chronicle
The Citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah are desired not to triumph too much on account of a late infamous pardon, which may in the end prove their own destruction. Public censure is the only punishment that now remains for monsters, and they may be assured that the name of every wretch concerned in this dark business shall be dragged to public view, together with every Lord and Macaroni placeman about the Person of our pious Sovereign, known to countenance the Italian art of love. The closet shall not be their sanctuary; nor shall the court of George the Third resemble that of James the First as much in favouritism as in despotism, while there remains in this disgraced country one lover of the fair, insulted sex, &c.
A determined Englishman.
Friday 7 August 1772For the Morning Chronicle.
On a late PARDON.
Stulta est clementia, cum tot ubique occurras.
STILL public justice righteous G[eorge] denies;
Still lifts to Heav’n his hypocritic eyes.
Whom does a pious Prince to save delight?
The murderer foul, and fouler sodomite
If this damn’d crime from God’s own vengeful hand
Drew penal fire upon a guilty land,
What merits HE, in spite of England’s laws,
Whose throne encourages Gomorrah’s cause?
Saturday 8 August 1772This Day is published,
Price One Shilling and Sixpence,
A Letter to David Garrick, Esq; occasioned by his having moved the Court of King’s Bench against the publisher of ‘Love in the Suds; or, the Lamentation of Roscius for the Loss of his Nyky.’ By Dr. Kenrick. Printed for J. Wheble, Paternoster-row. Of whom may be had, Love in the Suds, &c. fourth edition, 4to, price 1s. 6d. (Morning Chronicle)
11-13 August 1772For the London Evening Post.
From the London Gazette, August 13, 1777. [sic]
THIS day Lord Sporus, commonly called Captain Jones, was appointed Groom of the Stool to his M[ajest]y. (London Evening Post)
Friday 21 August 1722For the Morning Chronicle.
From the Court of S[odo]m, in the twelfth æra
and third moon of Jorjie Caliph.
THIS day there was a numerous Divan, when the sons of Gomorrah appeared highly pleased and in great spirits, on one of their fraternity being pardoned a heinous crime against God and Majomet. Mustapha Drbr [i.e. Drybutter] was introduced to the Caliph by Ld Rt B. and was most graciously received. Also a great number of maccaronies, by El Ty [i.e. Earl Tylney], in white Russian cloth supple breeches, as active and passive candidates, who also met with a gracious reception, and were informed they might proclaim in the streets of Sodom and Gomorrah, that the lovers of sy [i.e. sodomy] would be countenanced, and not suffer death, &.
22 August 1772For the PUBLIC LEDGER.
WEEKLY LIST of DIVERTING PARAGRAPHS.
. . .
3. If Jones is pardoned, a Correspondent advises him to visit the Empress of Russia. O Lord! he will meet with no encouragment; her Imperial Majesty loves to FACE all her men.
4. A Lady doatingly fond of CANNONADING would marry a certain convict, and she offers her friendly hand. Benevolent creature! so LEAD HIM TO THE CHARGE, for fear he should again MISTAKE THE ROAD.
22-25 August 1772
The pardon of Captain Jones, which is the subject of conversation in almost every company; occasioned a whimsicle confusion at a coffee house the other day in the neighbourhood of Covent-garden: It is a shame, says a gentleman, that such a vice should find favour at C[our]t; it has too long offended our eyes and our ears already; it will misinterpret this instance of r[oya]l mercy, and construe impunity into a licence. You would not, surely, hang the man, says a person leaning over the next box, would you? Would I! replies the gentleman, is he not found guilty to the satisfaction of the judge and jury? Was there a doubt about his guilt in any personn present at the trial? But would it not be hard, says the person, that a man should forfeit his life for his particular taste? As he was going on, in comes a porter enquiring if Mr. Dry[butte]r was there; up starts the person, and going up to the porter, takes a letter out of his hand. This company thus discovering who this advocate for the particular taste was, one walks up to him and pours his chocolate over his wig; the enraged advocate asking the meaning of that treatment; it is my particular taste, replies the gentleman; the rest taking the hint, this is mine, says another, pouring a glass of capillaire down his neck, and this mine, cries a third, sousing the milk-pot into his face; it is my particular taste, cries the bar-maid, to pour this dish of coffee into the waistband of your breeches; and mine, says the waiter, who was an honest Irishman, to kick your Old-Bailey face out of the coffee-house. The noise drawing together a mob about the door, the advocate was not at liberty to tell his story to several of his old friends, who immediately knew him, and taking compassion upon his dirty condition, carried him against to the horse-pond in the Meuse, and there sufficiently washed off the milk, capillaire, and chocolate, in that well-known water. (General Evening Post)
Monday 24 August 1772To the Printer of the Morning Chronicle.
AS I would not take up too much of your paper to answer the squeamishly delicate Antipederast’s charging me with a scandalous lie, in asserting that Dr. K[enrick] like Aristophanes, considered this odious vice as a matter of ridicule or satire, I beg leave to submit to his perusal the following queries: has not the Doctor, like Aristophanes, and all other poets and dramatic writers and actors, published a satire on pederasty, in which he has ridiculed some suspected and unconvicted persons? Does he not, by way of defence, plead the usage and practice of Aristophanes, Horace, Pope, Whitehead, Churchill, the modern Aristophanes [i.e. Foote], and Roscius [i.e. Garrick] himself? And is he not at this time under prosecution for considering this odious vice as a matter of ridicule? Does not the Doctor, in answer to those who thought his performance too severe on Roscius, as containing a detestable charge against him, or placing him on a footing with Nyky [i.e. Bickerstaffe], declare, that he neither thought him treated with suficient severity, nor if he were, that any apology was necessary? Does he not assert, that vices of every kind ought to be nipped in the bud, and immorality discountenanced in the first stages of guilt, and that we ought not to wink at theft till it grow bold enough at robbery, or to put up with violence till it proceeded to murder? Is he not for applying the rod of ridicule, instead of the birchen, to the case in question, which he esteems the most odious of all crimes? Does not the Doctor agree with Mr. Dryden, that vicious men may and ought to be upbraided with their crimes, as well for their own amendment as the terror of others? If this, I say, appears to be the Doctor’s opinion in his remarks, notwithstanding, in his plea of the non-criminality of the supposed libel, he, like a good pleader as well as satyrist, has asserted, that had he conceived Roscius to stand in the odious predicament of Nyky, his pen should have lain still, and the executioner left to do his office, as the shameless and abandoned were not the objects of ridicule; with what face, then, could your correspondent charge me with falsehood, or you with being a party to it? So much for the opinion of Dr. K. on a criminal case, and his Counsel may, perhaps, very prudently, be of the same opinion.
But with respect to the charge of my endeavouring to lessen the guilt or criminality of pederasty; I deny it; but the punishment of s[odom]y, as well as perjury, in deliberately murdering a fellow creature by colour of law, and some others seem to me to be somewhat inadequate. But, ye delicately nice Antipederast, would punish a bricklayer with death for laying his brick in mortar; and at the same time suffer Mrs. Pps’s charmers to go intirely unpunished, though both are immoral and sinful?
I am, Sir,
A Friend to Truth.
Tuesday 25 August 1772TO THE K[ING].
May it please your most excellent M[ajest]y;
WE, your M[ajest]y’s most dutiful and loyal subjects, at our General Meeting assembled, beg leave to present our address of thanks to your M[ajest]y, for extending your compassion to our unfortunate Brother Lieutenant R[ober]t J[one]s, of facetious memory.
For the Morning Chronicle.
August 21, 1772.
Last night at a general meeting of the club of Catamites and Macaronies, at Brother Dryb[utte]r’s Hotel, in Pall Mall,
Brother L in the Chair,
The following Address and Petition was unanimously agreed to.
May you persist in your pious resolution of further extending your mercy, till he be restored to us again, whom we long to embrace with open arms; that by his assistance we may be enabled to bring about the salutary work we have long had in view, the future safety of our persons from trial and conviction in any of the courts of Law.
And that your excellent M[ajest]y would be graciously pleased to confer some distinguishing mark of your Royal Favour upon our said worthy brother.
And your petitioners, as in duty bound, shall ever pray, &c. &c. &c.
Signed, by order,
S. DRYB[UTTE]R, Sec.
29 August 1772
The prostitutes about the Strand and other places, have hit upon a mode to obtain money, in which they have been but too successful. Two or three of them attack a gentleman in the street, insist upon his going with one of them to a tavern, or at least to give them something to buy a glass of wine. If he refuses, they grow more rude, impertinent, and clamorous; at length they are so importunate, that he is obliged to act very roughly perhaps to give a blow to get released from them. On this they immediately exclaim, ‘Captain Jones, Capt. Jones; here’s a fellow wants,’ &c. &c. making use of the most shocking expressions. To avoid a mob (which presently begins to gather) and the shame and danger of such a charge to an inconsiderate and now exasperated populace, the gentlemen are glad to give a sum of money to the prostitutes to purchase their safety. This trick has within these few nights been put upon several persons.
The number and depravity of the prostitutes that infest every part of this metropolis is really shocking to humanity; and it is an affecting observation, that the number seems daily to increase instead of lessen. A correspondent says, that, from various conversations, entered into from curiosity, with these unfortunate women, he has discovered the greatest source of this evil, and that it has never been noticed or adverted to, in the many animadversions that have been published on this important subject. This, he says, is no other than that of mistresses turning away servant maids often even at a minute’s warning; and, because of some trifling pique, or misunderstanding, refusing to give them a character. There are numbers of people, almost all indeed, who will receive a character only from a last place; so that if a girl is deprived, by the whim, caprice, or resentment of a mistress, of that indispensable recommendation, she is left to pine in a little lodging, till she has made away with all the trifling property she is possessed of, and then to the fatal alternative of starving or prostitution! Our correspondent affirms, that he has found the ruin of at least one half of the unhappy creatures about the streets to originate in this single circumstance; and therefore strongly hopes that this relation will awaken, in the minds of many unthinking mistresses, a proper sense of their inconsiderate conduct towards these poor victims to their displeasure. (The Craftsman; or Say’s Weekly Journal)
Tuesday 1 September 1772For the Morning Chronicle.
SEVERAL Ladies present their compliments to the Members of the House of Commons, and would be much obliged to them to use their interest in getting the marriage act repealed, in order to encouarage matrimony as much as possible, as they are under great apprehensions of the great increase of s[odomite]s in and about this great metropolis, to the great shame of our English travellers that first imported that detestable crime into this kingdom.
Grosvenor-square, August 24.
5 September 1772
It is said that a measure has been hit upon, which will certainly put an end to every species of Maccaronism for the future, by laughing it entirely out of countenance. Several persons of fortune (Ladies as well as Gentlemen) are subscribing a sum, to purchase a number of dresses in the highest Maccaroni taste. These are to be given to chairmen, porters, carmen, watermen, and other low people, who are to be handsomely paid for wearing them, not only in their several occupations, but in traversing the Park, and other public places, arm in arm, in groupes. Some of the clubs for the Irish chairmen’s air are made as thick as the wearers legs; and all their other habiliments equally outre. (The Craftsman; or Say’s Weekly Journal)
Saturday 12 September 1772
Please to insert the following article of news, which is no less original than true.
HIS Majesty has been gracious pleased to grant a free pardon to Captain Jones, and every S[odomit]e in England is pleased with his Majesty’s conduct; and immediately after Captain Jones’s discharge, Mr. Dry[butte]r was graciously pleased to give him an invitation to occupy a back room of his first floor. It is imagined that Mess. Jones and Dry[butte]r intend to take a house for the convenience of the my [i.e. molly?], and several others of the first fashion, where they intend to carry on a private trade only among the St. James’s Gentlemen, many of whom have promised to become subscribers; and that a convenient back door is to be provided for the admission of members. (Morning Chronicle)
12 September 1772
One day last week the famous, or rather infamous Dr [i.e. Drybutter], went to a noted eating-house in Honey-lane-market, in order to dine on pig; but seating himself unfortunately at a table where some of the company knew him, he was presently saluted with a pint of liquor in his face, with a promise, that as he loved pig, he should not want for sauce. The oddity of this reception could not fail drawing the attention of the whole company, who quickly hearing the occasion, very readily acquiesced in shewing their resentment, by forcing him to the fire, where some of them basted him, with the contents of a bountiful dripping-pan, whilst others applied the reeking spit to his nose: greasy dish-clouts in abundance were occasionally made use of, and after rolling him in saw-dust, they suffered him to decamp. (The Craftsman; or Say’s Weekly Journal)
3 October 1772
Intelligence from the Public-Office, Bow-street.
. . . A gentleman appeared against the driver of the Key-bridge stage, No. 262, for assaulting and insulting him on the highway. The owner of the stage attended, and declared that the man was run away, but a warrant was immediately made out, and delivered to the master, who will be bound to prosecute the man. The prosecutor, instead of telling a simple tale, read a long formal narrative of the insult, in which he charged the driver with assaulting him, and calling him by the new-fashioned name, Maccaroni, as he was riding on horseback, Single and unattended, with no other armour than his whip and spurs. (The Craftsman; or Say’s Weekly Journal)
24 October 1772
To the PRINTER of the CRAFTSMAN.
BEING last night in a certain coffee-house, not a mile from the Queen’s Pavilion, I saw four or five young gentlemen come in, dressed quite in the macaroni stile: I shall not be minute in their description, I shall only say, that they excited the wonder of the company, and especially one of them, who was six feet high, and brawny as the fat butcher in Whitechapel, whilst his hat was not big enough for a boy of ten years old, and the factitious tail of his hair not inferior to the size of an African sheep’s tail; the whisper at once ran about to know who this prodigy was, when behold it was found to be one of the most gallant officers that parades the Park; an Italian gentleman, who happened to be present, declared, that he would never more pique himself on the fashion of Italy, which was so much eclipsed by the refined English. Britains, rouse, throw off that effeminancy [sic] for which you were wont to despise other nations; be yourselves again, I say, and rather be called the feroces Brittanici quam imbelles columnbæ. I trust I shall never see such another sight, and in that hope conclude.
(The Craftsman; or Say’s Weekly Journal)
Tuesday to Thursday, 27 to 29 October 1772In the London Packet.
Phetion, on the appointment of Lord Clife to the Lieutenancy of a county, says, ‘that the moment a man becomes thoroughly infamous, he is immediately taken under the protection of the Ministery. Hence the palace becomes the sink, into which murderers, sodomites, patricides, and all sorts of desperadoes and villains stow. Has a young necessitous prodigal of a Lord gamed away his estate, and rendered himself fit for the highway? he is immediately let loose upon the Treasury, and the people pay for his folly. Has a ruffian by the murder of electors deserved the gallows? he is directly pensioned, in order to be ready for the like exploit upon a future occasion. Has a catamite officer been condemned for seducing an unfledged pathick? the ministerial sons of Sodom make him, without hesitation, an object of clemency and favour. A Nobleman’s prostitute (and where is the Nobleman that has not a prostitute?) can obtain a reprieve for a wanton murderer.
‘If by chance a man of merit should be found in the abandoned group, he is soon banished or destroyed. Nero first dispatched his preceptor and counsellor, the philosopher Seneca. The patriotic statesmen, Thrasa and Loranus, soon followed. Nero was at the commencement of his reign a mild and benevolent Prince, so benevolent that he pardoned murderers and sodomites. But when, by such detestable acts, he found himself become the object of public detestation, his brutality displayed all its horrors. Instead of altering his conduct, and endeavouring to regain the peoples lost affections, he meditated the most extensive revenge, and wished that all the Ropmans had but one neck, that he might cut off their heads at one blow. Being ignorant, and therefore obstinate, he persisted in his mad career, till he fell himself a victim to public rage, and had his body, like that of parricides, thrown into the Tyber.’ (The Middlesex Journal, or Universal Evening-Post)
27-29 October 1772To the Printer of the Middlesex Journal.
SINCE Macaroni is a word that of late has been very much in vogue, I will now inquire whether it is used with any degree of propriety. But in order to do it, it is necessary to trace it to its first rise. To the Italians it owes its origin. When they say that any one is a rude, low fellow, they call him Macarone: whence macaronic poetry, which is a kind of metre, generaly burlesque, wherein the native words of a language are made to end in a Latin termination. But, to come nearer to our purpose, there is a common proverb in Italy to this effect, ‘As insipid as a dish of macarony-broth;’ from which source our expression springs. Allowing this, we have no authority ot use it in any other sense, but insipid, dull, and the like.
Short letters, I imagine, suit you best; else I have much more to say upon this subject. If you insert this, you shall hear from me again.
Oct. 28, 1772.
The future correspondence of the writer of the above will be esteemed a favour. From this specimen we shall not think a long letter tedious. (The Middlesex Journal, or Universal Evening-Post)
2 November 1772
Exeter, Oct. 23. We had the other Day many Macaronies at our Assembly; but the most remarkable one was the Hon. Mr. , Lord ’s Son, who appeared in a white Sattin Coat, Waistcoat, and Breeches, white Silk Stockings with large Gold Clocks, black Sattin Shoes with red Heels, black Silk Hat with Pink Lining, Hair dressed to the Extremity of the Maccoroni [sic] Taste, with a Club to it of an enormous Size, an huge Nosegay which hid one Side of his Face, in the middle of which was an elegant Essence Bottle. (Daily Advertiser)
7-10 November 1772To the Printer of the Middlesex Journal.
IT is a common practice with the vulgar, whenever a well-dressed person passes, to call out Macaroni; whether young or old, male or female, ’tis just the same. This method of behaviour, certainly proceeds, either from ignorance, custom, or envy. The two first motives are rather excuseable; but the last is unpardonable. Let us suppose, (which is very seldom the case) that the dress of the person exclaimed against, is preposterous. If it is inconvenient, who feels the effects of it but himself? Does it concern any one, how another dresses, to whom he is a stranger, so he offends not the laws of decency? Has not every one a right to please his fancy in this respect? Are we to esteem or hate according to the colour of mode of apparel? It cannot, therfore, be right to judge from the superficial dictates of fancy.
I have before shewn the derivation of Macaroni; wherefore I think it necessary to enquire its present meaning. If I consult the prints, ’tis a figure with something uncommon in its dress or appearance; if the ladies [i.e. prints or periodicals aimed at women], an effeminate fop; but if the ’prentice-boys [i.e. prints or periodicals aimed at the working class], a queer fellow with a great large tail. ’Tis remarkable, that the ladies never thought effeminacy was its characteristic, ’till the affair of Capt. Jones.
Nov. 4, 1772.
(The Middlesex Journal, or Universal Evening-Post)
21 November 1772
The Author of a Pamphlet entitled LOVE in the SUDS, is much concerned to find it has been conceived that he meant to convey a Charge of a scandalous and detestable Nature against DAVID GARRICK, Esq; who, under that Impression, has had Recourse to the Court of King’s Bench for Redress. He thinks it incumbent on him, therefore, as well in Justice to himself as to Mr. Garrick, thus publicly to declare, that he had no Intention whatever to convey or insinuate any such Charge against him; being well convinced there is no Ground for casting an Imputation, or even harbouring a Suspicion of the Kind against his Character. He thinks it also farther incumbent on him to apologize to Mr. Garrick, as a Gentleman, for the Uneasiness he may have unintentionally given him on this Occasion; at the same Time assuring him he will suppress the Sale of the Pamphlet and reprint it no more.
(London Evening Post)
23 January 1773
Thursday night last a gentleman’s chariot standing at the Pantheon, the horses taking fright ran with the utmost violence by the door keepers into the said building, to the inexpressible terror and amazement of a great number of Macaronies, and their effeminate companions of both sexes. (Morning Chronicle)
30 January 1773
Formerly the merry drolls, the common people of all countries, admire, and seem to love so well, that they could eat them, according to the old proverb, derived their titles thus: these circumforaneous [sic] wits, whom every nation calls by the name of that dish of meat which it loves best; are in Holland termed Pickled Herrings; in France, Jean Pottages; in Italy, Macaronies; and in England, Jack Puddings: but now-a-days instead of the latter, the former are transplanted from Italy into the British soil.
Mr. Addison said, he heartily wished that there was an act of parliament for prohibiting the importation of French fopperies. He observed the female inhabitants of our island have already received very strong impressions from this ludicrous nation, though by the length of the war they were pretty well worn out. He remembered the time when some of our well-bred countrywomen kept their Valet de Chambre, because forsooth, a man was much more handy about them than one of their own sex. I myself, (says he) have seen one of these male Abigails tripping about the room with a looking glass in his hand, and combing his lady's hair a whole morning together. He makes a doubt whether there was any truth in the story of a lady's being got with child by one of these her handmaids; but he thought at present, (what, if living now, he could not think) the whole race of them is extinct in our own country. (Morning Chronicle)
13 February 1773
The masquerade at Almac’s on Thursday night, though not crowded, was an agreeable entertainment: too many beautiful women of fashion eclipsed their forms by covering themselves in mens Domino’s. Lady Archer’s Blue-coat Boy, was a spirited mask; and the group of penitent Macaronies was a severe satire upon the fraternity; their dress down to the ground of white flannel, and cape the same; instead of the friars beads, their cordons were fastened to a string of cards; they wore nosegays; as far as action and dress constituted excellence, the Physician was a good mask the group of noblemen Pisants [?] were all elegance, and exceeded by nothing but the divine forms, beauty and taste of their female companions The Elfrida and her partner were, (I almost think) the most compleat masks the scorcing charms of Cleopatra put all other masks out of countenance; here dress was magnificent, but her loosly flowing tresses too much eclipsed her handsome face. (Morning Chronicle)
24-26 August 1773
The well known Mr. D. has lately taken a very elegant house near Gray’s Inn, which he letts out to single gentlemen. (London Evening Post)
1 July 1777
Yesterday evening the celebrated Mr. Drybutter was very roughly handled by the populace, in consequence of a failure in one of his amorous pursuits; he accosted a Gentleman that was walking in the Park, but who, not being being inclined to be picked up in that style, represented the nature of the attack made upon him to two soldiers, who securing Mr. D escorted him into Pall-mall, and after proclaiming the nature of his offence, delivered him up to the populace, by whom he was pumped very handsomly: they afterwards pelted him with mud, and beat him so unmercifully, that he was in great danger of his life; however, he at length got into his own house, which was beset by many hundreds of the mob, who had broke all the windows, and were pulling down the house, when our correspondent who furnished this article, left the scene of action. (Morning Post)
Tuesday, 1 July 1777
Yesterday evening Mr. D. a notorious slave to the most abominable of all vices, was detected in an unnatural attempt, in St. James’s park, when the mob proceed to deal with him, according to their custom, in a summary way: after most heartily pumping him they went in a body to his house in Pall-mall, which they would have totally erased had not a party of the military come to preserve the building after the windows, shop, &c. were demolished. (Morning Chronicle)
Wednesday, 2 July 1777
On Monday Evening a Man was detected in an unatural Attempt in St. James’s Park, when the Mob, after heartily pumping him, went in a Body to his House, which they would have demolished had not a Party of the Military come to preserve the Building, after the Windows, Shop, &c. were much damaged. (Daily Advertiser)
Thursday, 3 July 1777
The celebrated Mr. D. received so much ill-treatment from the incensed populace on Monday night, that he had one of his arms broke in a dangerous manner, and was otherwise so much bruised, that his life is despaired of. (The Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser)
Friday, 4 July 1777
Mr. D. now lies without Hope of Life, from the ill Treatment which he met with from the Mob on Monday Evening; he had one of his Arms broke, and was otherwise inwardly bruised. (Daily Advertiser) (Also reported in the London Chronicle for 3-5 July, dateline 4 July)
Tuesday, 8 July 1777
Saturday evening it was reported, that the famous, or rather infamous Mr. D, died that morning of the wounds he received a few days since in the Park. (Morning Chronicle)
CITATION: If you cite this Web page, please use the following citation:
Rictor Norton (ed.), "The Macaroni Club: Newspaper Items",
Homosexuality in Eighteenth-Century England: A Sourcebook, 19 December 2004, updated 16 June 2005
Return to The Macaroni Club,
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