August 16, 2004

Trial Proceedings from London's Old Bailey -- 100,000 fully searchable cases heard between 1674 and 1834, including details of the crime, the offender, and sentencing. The site also has essays about policing, crime, gender and general life in 17th century London. The Old Bailey remains a fixture of London's criminal justice system and has some of the nicest courtrooms I've ever been in (lots of dark wood and men in wigs).

Interesting to see what kinds of things you could get your knuckles rapped (or worse )for. Sample: today in 1728, Julius Cesar Taylor was indicted for assault, with "Intent to commit that horrid and detestable Sin of Sodomy." He had been found on the lap of John Burgess, with whom he was committing effeminate Actions the court deemed too indelicate to enumerate. Taylor was also known to entertain "wicked abandon'd Men, who commit sodomitical Practices" and to rechristen with a female name all men who entered his Society. Scandalous! [he was found guilty and fined] I found this site while doing some research a few months ago, but was reminded of it when it appeared in the New York Times of all places, in an article that also mentions another site of some fame.

  • Tee hee. And once Julius Cesar Taylor had assaulted John Burgess, John Burgess just went and assaulted him right back. John Burgess was indicted for assaulting Julius Cesar Taylor , with an Intent to commit that detestable Sin of Sodomy with the said Julius Cesar Taylor. Thomas Holstone and Richard Blackwell Severally depos'd, That they saw the Prisoner and Julius Cesar Taylor commit filthy lewd Actions, which will not bear mentioning to a modest Ear; that they appeard equally pleas'd, Julius Cesar Taylor using undecent Gestures, and Burgess suffering them. The Prisoner deny'd the Fact they charg'd him with, and call'd several to his Character. Ann Zachary depos'd, That she had known him several Years, and that he never was suspected of Sodomy, but on the contrary, had the Character of a vertuous modest sober Man. Katherine Maranda thus depos'd, I know the Prisoner to be an honest Man, and too fond of a pretty Girl, to fall into sodomnitical Actions; and this I know by Experience, upon my Word, and my oath, and my Honour. Several others depos'd to the like Effect, but the Evidence of two Witnesses being positive, that they saw him in filthy ludicrous Actions, with Julius Cesar Taylor , at the House of the said Taylor in Tottenham-Court Road, on the 15th of August last, the Jury found him Guilty of the Assault. Great stuff, ilyadeux. I hope that somebody more mature than I will use it well, and not just for doing a keyword search for "sodomy"...
  • One of the first and most talkt of Tryals at this Sessions, was for such an abominable Crime, attended with such odious Circumstances, as 'tis thought scarce any Story can parallel it, especially in this our more modest and chaster Climate, hitherto a stranger to such unnatural wickedness; and we hope the Justice executed on this wretched Criminal will deter all others from any the like detestible inclinations for the future. A married woman lately living without Cripplegate, that appeared to be between 30 and 40 years of age, was arrigned, For that she having not the fear of God before her eyes, nor regarding the order of Nature, on the 23. of June last, to the disgrace of all womankind, did commit Buggery with a certain Mungril Dog, and wickedly, divellishly, and against nature had venerial and Carnal copulation with him, &c. It was was proved that the Prisoner was a person of a lewd conversation, and lodging in a Room into which there were several holes to look in at from the next house, they had often seen her in the very acts of uncleanness with Villains that followed her; but one day one of the Witnesses (a young woman) happening to cast her eye in, saw her use such actions with a Dog as are not fit here to be recited: At which being amazed, she called up another woman, and after that a man, who all saw her several times practising this beastliness, and fully evidenced the same in Court, where the Dog was likewise brought, add being set on the Bar before the Prisoner, owned her by wagging his tail, and making motions as it were to kiss her, which 'twas sworn she did do when she made that horrid use of him. For her self she had nothing to say, but denying the fact, alleadging it was mallice in the Witnesses, which her Husband, who appeared in her behalf likewise suggested, but could not make out any quarrel or occasion of any such malice in the least; whereupon after full consideration of all circumstances she was brought in guilty. OK, I'll stop now.
  • You'll never take me alive, copper! /woof woof
  • Well, this should keep me in juicy reading matter for the rest of my days. Wow. Bow. Wow.
  • ))) Fascinating.
  • Absolutely great resource, although IAMNALNOAIASS. Some SS could write a higher degree about this site (I mean Mofi) if desired. This sounds poncy, but the data is there. WTF (hits "post", regrets later).
  • hmmm...thinking.... IAMNALNOAIASS: "I'm a Moonie?" no. Perhaps: "I am morosly not a lawyer nor [something that starts with 'o'] am I a social scientist" I have no idea.
  • No, you are very close. I am not a lawyer, nor am I a social scientist. *Sends 'yadeux small packet of flowers*
  • Finish your stuff up, darling, and I'll endeavour to do the same. We'll both feel better afterwards. -- It's terrible how I bang on at 'yadeux on these pages. I find her provoking in the extreme. Cor blimey! Shall I press "post" and splash it all over the Western Hemisphere?
  • you're drunk, aren't you, and it's only mid-afternoon there (oh, wait - counts on, it's mid-afternoon here). I will graciously accept your flowers and lay them down in Czeslaw Milosz's honour - he died yesterday, and a great loss to poetry and politics both. (ah sorry to be serious a moment not to mention derail my own exquisite thread. He deserves as much recognition as can be snatched from the jaws of fleeting celebrity fame). Ahem. Oh, yes, I'm provoking. Poke, poke. I've been trying to think of an o word ... orinthographically? Perhaps you're "maddeningly not a lawyer" ? That can be very frustrating, I've heard.
  • I have to go to bed now. But I have had drinks with Cszeslaw Milosz. True.
  • *sends 'yadeux small packet of flowers* We usually call these seeds.
  • That's not social scientist territory - it's social history! Actually, the social history of crime is a richer field thanks to these kinds of records - and they can also be used (as flashboy so quickly discovered) to research sexuality and all sorts of other things. One man wrote about time and the work day based on court records - people would say what time it was, and what they were doing.
  • I put "knob" into the search engine.
  • wot? Sodomy? Cor, blimey! *snort!* 'eeah! Let go me y-fronts!
  • Summer Night A beautiful summer night. The tall houses leave their balcony shutters open to the wide plaze of the old village. In the large deserted square, stone benches, burning bush and acacias trace their black shadows symmetrically on the white sand. In its zenith, the moon; in the tower, the clock's illumined globe. I walk through this ancient village, alone, like a ghost. --Antonio Machado, trans. W. Barnstone