Early Eighteenth-Century Newspaper Reports compiled by Rictor Norton


25 December 1725   Whereas the town has been lately alarm’d, that the famous Fawks was robb’d and murder’d, returning from performing at the Dutchess of Buckingham’s House in St. James’s Park to Chelsea; which report being rais’d and printed by a person to gain money to himself, and prejudice the abovemention’d Mr. Fawks, whose unparalell’d performances has gain’d him so much applause from the greatest of Quality, and most curious observers. We think, both in justice to the injur’d gentleman, and for the satisfaction of his admirers, that we cannot please our readers better, than to acquaint them, that he is alive, and will not only perform his usual surprizing dexterity of hand, posture master, and musical clock: but, for the greater diversion of the Quality and Gentry, has agreed with the famous Powell of the Bath, for the season, who has the richest, largest, and most natural figures, and finest machines in England, and whose former performances in Covent-Garden were so engaging to the town, as to gain the approbation of the best of Judges, to shew his puppet-plays along with him, beginning in the Christmas Holidays next, at the old Tennis-Court in James-Street, near the Hay-Market; where any incredulous persons may be satisfy’d he has not left this world, if they please to believe their hands, tho’ they can’t believe their eyes. [Mist’s Weekly Journal]






16 July 1726   The ingenious Mr. Fawkes, who has diverted Kings, Ambassadors and Ladies, with the magick of his art, has desir’d us to inform the world, that he intends to be present at Bristol Fair with his wonderful posture master, and that he intends to march there with his whole equipage of cards, dice, cups and balls, parrots, perroquets, mice, rats, as well as with his auxiliary spirits and demons, shut up in a bottle for the conveniency of carriage, and that he intends to shew there a fine musical clock, which of it self imitates the musick of several different instruments, as well as the singing and whistling of various birds, so exactly as not to be distinguish’d from the instruments or birds themselves.

Then Ralph upon Dobbin,
      and Joan upon Ball,
Jog away to the Fair
      both the great and the small,
But be sure don’t forget
      this strange Man to behold,
Who turns cards into mice,
      and from nothing makes gold.

[Mist’s Weekly Journal]

24 February 1732   Wednesday, Feb. 23. They write from Lansworney in Glamorganshire, that a poor fellow of that place hang’d himself there a few days ago, the cause of which was very whimsical; it seems he had for some years past set up for a fortune-teller among the vulgar, and to gain himself the greater repute in the knowledge of astrology, pretended to foretell the year, month, day, and hour of his death, but happening to continue in perfect health to the time, and fearing he should be banter’d if he outliv’d it, he chose to dispatch himself as aforementioned, in order to verify the prediction. DP.— This Welch Fortune-teller might be a Gentleman, but he was certainly no Conjurer. (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, "Magicians", 19 April 2002, enlarged 31 January 2006 <http://grubstreet.rictornorton.co.uk/magician.htm>

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