18th century newspapers

Old newspapers

The C-18L list has provided another fun diversion. While most literature people will be familiar with the phrase “Grub Street Hacks,” it takes on new meaning when you actually read some of their work. Rictor Norton has compiled some excerpts from early 18th century newspapers guaranteed to amuse. I was particularly taken by the description of some visiting Cherokee in 1730:

Friday night about 11, the Indian Prince walking in Covent Garden, was pick’d up by the infamous Jenny Tite, who took 2 rings off his fingers, and made off with them. — I think this Lady for the future deserves the title of the famous Jenny Tite, on account of this amour with his R. Highness, who not knowing the use of money on these occasions, might present her with these 2 rings.

There’s always a Jenny Tite somewhere about, now isn’t there?

There’s just too much great stuff here to mention, Sodomites, for example. A letter to the editor suggests that they be punished in a rather severe way, “that a skilful surgeon be provided immediately to take out his testicles, and that then the Hangman sear up his scrotum with an hot iron.” But there are also some touching love stories too:

William Gardham and Mary Langhorne, that were taken [in bed together] at an inn in this city, and after examination were committed to Newgate, the former on suspicion of poisoning his wife, and the latter of poisoning her husband, were try’d at York the last Assizes, and both acquitted; thereupon they were immediately married.

Sounds like true love to me.