Early Eighteenth-Century Newspaper Reports compiled by Rictor Norton

Bawdy Literature

6 March 1732   Monday, March 13. Jos. Taylor, committed to Tothill-fields Bridewell, as an idle vagrant, and for hawking scandalous, lewd, and obscene pamphlets, was yesterday brought before the R. Hon. the L. Raymond, at his chambers in Serjeants Inn; who, upon hearing the matter, remanded him again to Bridewell, to be kept to hard labour. C. — My brother DJ. mentions the Pamphlet called the Fair Concubine, or, The secret History of Vanella, which he had puff’d in his paper of Mar. 9. and 11. and very tenderly here says, his Lordship ordered the prisoner to be continued in custody ’till next term. (Grub-street Journal) [The book was originally published in 1675.]

23 March 1732   Friday, March 17. Yesterday Mary Price, commonly called the Witch of Westminster, and several other hawkers and venders of pamphlets, were taken up in Westminster-hall, and the Court of Requests, and committed to hard labour in Tothill-fields Bridewell, for uttering a scandalous pamphlet. DP. (Grub-street Journal)

30 March 1732   Thursday, March 23. Last night, between 11 and 12, one Sam. Slow, who keeps a pamphlet shop without Temble-Bar, was committed, by 6 Justices to Newgate, for publishing a pamphlet called, Vanella, or, the fair Concubine. And we hear by the intercession of several eminent Jews, there are warrants out against the publishers of a pamphlet called, An Historical and Law Treatise against Jews and Judaism. WE. (Grub-street Journal)

30 March 1732   Monday, March 27. Wednesday last Sam. Slow was committed to Newgate, by 6 of his Majesty’s Justices, for publishing a pamphlet, in which were contained several leud and scandalous paragraphs, or passages, full of the most obscene ribaldry, the spreading whereof has a tendency to corrupt the minds and manners of the youth, and others, of both sexes of this kingdom. Warrants are granted by the said Magistrates against others for the like offence. C.
        Not for the Historical Treatise against the Jews;
         But for vile bawdy Books, fit only for the stews.
         And ’twould be for the benefit of the whole nation,
         If themselves, as well as
Jews, were to suffer castration.
                                                                                           (Grub-street Journal)

15 June 1732   Monday, June 12. We hear there is a very merry Allegoricdo-Botanico-Badinical [sic] piece handed about, entitled the natural History of Arbor Vitae, or The Tree of life. P. (Grub-street Journal)

15 June 1732   Tuesday, June 13. A fellow was yesterday taken up and committed to Tothill-fields Bridewell, for hawking and selling about the streets a lewd and obscene pamphlet, entitled Vanella. C. (Grub-street Journal)

20 July 1732   Saturday, July 5. On thursday morning an Irish ballad singer, who frequently cries and sings about streets very scandalous songs and ballads, and thereby raises mobs and riots in the streets, as well as occasions the picking of pockets, &c. was committed to Tothill fields Bridewell to beat hemp, by Sir JOHN Gonson, &c. DP. (Grub-street Journal)

3 August 1732

E P I G R A M.
         Charg’d with writing of bawdy, this was F–’s reply:
         Tis what DRYDEN and CONGREVE have done as well as I.
         Tis true — but they did it with good pretence,
         With an ounce of rank bawdy went a pound of good sense:
         But thou hast proportion’d, in thy judgment profound,
         Of good sense scarce an ounce, and of bawdy a pound.
                   MAEVIUS,
                (Grub-street Journal)

(Texts have been modernized with regard to capitalization, italicization, and punctuation, but original spelling has been retained. This edition copyright Rictor Norton. All rights reserved. Reproduction for sale or profit prohibited. These extracts may not be archived, republished or redistributed without the permission of the compiler.)

CITATION: Rictor Norton, Early Eighteenth-Century Newspaper Reports: A Sourcebook, "Bawdy Literature", 30 January 2006 <http://grubstreet.rictornorton.co.uk/bawdy.htm>


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