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Sex and Societies for Moral Reform, 1688–1800

  • Faramerz Dabhoiwala


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1 Ingram, Martin, “Reformation of Manners in Early Modern England,” in The Experience of Authority in Early Modern England, ed. Griffiths, Paul, Fox, Adam, and Hindle, Steve (Basingstoke, 1996), 4788.

2 The indispensable pioneering studies of the early societies are Portus, Garnet V., Caritas Anglicana (London, 1912); Bahlman, Dudley W. R., The Moral Revolution of 1688 (New Haven, CT, 1957); and Craig, A. G., “The Movement for the Reformation of Manners, 1688–1715” (PhD diss., University of Edinburgh, 1980).

3 The societies’ activities against sodomy, which began in the later 1690s, are described in Trumbach, Randolph, “London's Sodomites: Homosexual Behavior and Western Culture in the 18th Century,” Journal of Social History 11 (1977): 133; Craig, “Movement for the Reformation of Manners,” 162–77; Bray, Alan, Homosexuality in Renaissance England (London, 1982), chap. 4; Norton, Rictor, Mother Clap's Molly House: The Gay Subculture in England, 1700–1830 (London, 1992), chaps. 2–8. It is hoped that Professor Trumbach's forthcoming book on same-sex relations in eighteenth-century London will provide a more detailed account of their scope and significance.

4 Thomas, Keith, “The Puritans and Adultery: The Act of 1650 Reconsidered,” in Puritans and Revolutionaries, ed. Pennington, Donald and Thomas, Keith (Oxford, 1978), 257–82; Ingram, Martin, Church Courts, Sex, and Marriage in England, 1570–1640 (Cambridge, 1987).

5 Though an invaluable start was made by Shoemaker, Robert B., Prosecution and Punishment: Petty Crime and the Law in London and Rural Middlesex, ca. 1660–1725 (Cambridge, 1991), chap. 9, and “Reforming the City: The Reformation of Manners Campaign in London, 1690–1738,” in Stilling the Grumbling Hive: The Response to Social and Economic Problems in England, 1689–1750, ed. Davison, Lee, Hitchcock, Tim, Keirn, Tim, and Shoemaker, Robert B. (Stroud, 1992), 99120. Some suggestive material is also included in Trumbach, Randolph, Sex and the Gender Revolution, vol. 1, Heterosexuality and the Third Gender in Enlightenment London (Chicago, 1998), chaps. 3–4; Hurl-Eamon, Jennine, “Policing Male Heterosexuality: The Reformation of Manners Societies’ Campaign against the Brothels in Westminster, 1690–1720,” Journal of Social History 37 (2004): 1017–35. The account in Isaacs, Tina Beth, “Moral Crime, Moral Reform, and the State in Early Eighteenth-Century England: A Study of Piety and Politics” (PhD diss., University of Rochester, NY, 1979), chap. 5, is unfortunately vitiated by an imperfect grasp of legal procedure.

6 On these themes, see esp., Duffy, Eamon, “Primitive Christianity Revived: Religious Renewal in Augustan England,” Studies in Church History 14 (1977): 287300; Isaacs, Tina, “The Anglican Hierarchy and the Reformation of Manners, 1688–1738,” Journal of Ecclesiastical History 30 (1982): 391411; Andrew, Donna T., Philanthropy and Police: London Charity in the Eighteenth Century (Princeton, NJ, 1989); Davison, Hitchcock, Keirn, and Shoemaker, Stilling the Grumbling Hive, esp. chaps. 5–7; Rose, Craig, “Providence, Protestant Union, and Godly Reformation in the 1690s,” Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 6th ser., 3 (1993): 151–69; Walsh, John, Haydon, Colin, and Taylor, Stephen, eds., The Church of England, ca. 1689–1833 (Cambridge, 1993), chaps. 5, 7; Claydon, Tony, William III and the Godly Reformation (Cambridge, 1996).

7 In a few parts of the country, some ecclesiastical jurisdiction over fornication and bastardy was maintained until the middle decades of the eighteenth century. The available evidence is helpfully surveyed in Outhwaite, R. B., The Rise and Fall of the English Ecclesiastical Courts, 1500–1860 (Cambridge, 2007), chap. 9, which I am grateful to have been able to read in typescript.

8 Some Proposals Offered to Publick Consideration, before the Opening of Parliament (London, 1685), 2; Journals of the House of Commons (CJ), 8:630, 9:592–93, 687; A Letter to a Member of Parliament with Two Discourses Enclosed (n.p., 1675), 5–6. Compare A Proclamation against Vicious, Debauch’d, and Prophane Persons (London, 30 May 1660); By the Maior (London, 23 December 1672); By the Mayor (London, 17 November 1676); By the Mayor (London, 31 January 1679); By the Major (London, 29 November 1679); By the King, a Proclamation (London, 29 June 1688); Vertue's Triumph at the Suppression of Vice (London, 1688), 5–8.

9 [Wood, Thomas], A New Institute of the Imperial or Civil Law (London, 1704), 264; Hull, Isabel V., Sexuality, State, and Civil Society in Germany, 1700–1815 (London, 1996), 65, 72–75, 78–79.

10 Israel, Jonathan I., The Dutch Republic (Oxford, 1995), 690–99.

11 See The Book of the General Laws and Libertyes Concerning the Inhabitants of the Massachusets (Cambridge, MA, 1660), 8, 33; Severall Laws and Orders Made at the General Courts (n.p., 1665), 1; Acts and Laws … Of the Province of the Massachusetts-Bay (London, 1724), 11, 70; Acts and Laws … of Connecticut (Boston, 1702), 4, 63–64.

12 A Collection of all the Acts … relating to the Clergy and Ecclesiastical Affairs within the Kingdom of Scotland (London, 1693), 25; Luttrell, Narcissus, A Brief Historical Relation of State Affairs from September 1678 to April 1714, 6 vols. (Oxford, 1857), 2:81, 120; Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, 1124–1707, 12 vols. (Edinburgh, 1814–75), 2:539, 3:25–26, 213, 6 (pt. 2):152–53, 7:310–11, 8:99, 9:198.

13 Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, 9:198, 327–28, 387–88, 10:65, 279. Compare ibid., 10:67; A Collection of Some Acts of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland … for Suppressing of Vice (Edinburgh, 1714); The Acts of the Town Council of … Edinburgh, for Suppressing of Vice … made since the Happy Revolution (Edinburgh, 1742), 105–9, 121–25, 143–45.

14 See Stephens, Edward, A Specimen of a Declaration against Debauchery, Tendered to the Consideration of His Highness the Prince of Orange, and of the Present Convention of the Nation (n.p., [1689]), A Caveat against Flattery (London, 1689), 2832, 35–36, The True English Government (London, 1689), 78, and Of Humiliation (n.p., [1689]), 4–6; Claydon, William III and the Godly Revolution, 49–50, 57.

15 His Majesties Letter to the Lord Bishop of London (London, 1689; actual pub. 1690), 4.

16 [Stephens, Edward], A Plain Relation of the Late Action at Sea (London, 1690), 29.

17 An Act for the more Effectual Restraining and Suppressing of Divers Notorious Sins, and Reformation of the Manners of the People of this Nation (appended to [Stephens], Plain Relation), 5.

18 [Stephens], Plain Relation, 30.

19 Act for the … Suppressing of Divers Notorious Sins, 6–7.

20 One critic, who noted in passing that Stephens's publication was “much talk’d-of,” conceded that the proposals against adultery and fornication were unobjectionable, “The Penalty's just, tho’ severe; the Methods of Prosecution very adviseable and prudent”: Some Modest Reflections Upon Mr Stephens's late Book (London, 1691), 1, 26. Compare [Jones, W.], Ecclesia Reviviscens (London, 1691), 9; Cruickshanks, Eveline, Handley, Stuart, and Hayton, D. W., eds., The History of Parliament: The House of Commons, 1690–1715, 5 vols. (Cambridge, 2002), 4:231.

21 Act for the … Suppressing of Divers Notorious Sins, 5. This was the norm in civil law and had also been advocated during the Interregnum as a means of strengthening the 1650 Adultery Act: [Wood], New Institute, 261–62; T[aylor], D[aniel], Certain Queries (London, 1651), 910.

22 Luttrell, Historical Relation, 4:349, 354–55; Oldmixon, John, The History of England (London, 1735), 175. Compare An Abstract of the Laws Already in Force against Profaneness, Immorality & Blasphemy … with the Laws and Ordinances … from 1640 to 1656 (London, 1698); and [Defoe, Daniel], The Poor Man's Plea (London, 1698), 30, whose reference to branding, transportation, or hanging for adultery and fornication perhaps reflects current proposals in Parliament. At some point during the bill's amendment, the clauses against sexual immorality were dropped, and ultimately it passed as the 1698 Blasphemy Act (9 Wm. III c. 35): CJ, 12:132, 134, 142, 147, 151, 154–55, 160, 168, 169, 176–77, 183, 258, 269, 276, 280, 284–85, 295.

23 “A Bill for the more effectual Suppressing of Vice and Immorality,” Lambeth Palace Library, London, MS 640:497–99; Hayton, D. W., ed., Debates in the House of Commons, 1697–1699, Camden Miscellany 29 (London, 1987), 373–75.

24 Horwitz, Henry, Parliament, Policy, and Politics in the Reign of William III (Manchester, 1977), 256.

25 Hayton, David, “Moral Reform and Country Politics in the Late Seventeenth-Century House of Commons,” Past and Present, no. 128 (1990): 4891, here 59–60; Cruickshanks, Handley, and Hayton, House of Commons, 1690–1715, 5:139.

26 Hayton, “Moral Reform and Country Politics.”

27 CJ, 12:368, 387, 401–2, 466, 468–69, 484, 494; Luttrell, Historical Relation, 4:468, 471–72, 478, 481; Historical Manuscripts Commission (HMC), The Manuscripts of His Grace the Duke of Portland, 10 vols. (London, 18911931), 3:602.

28 See Reasons Humbly Offered to the Members of Both Houses of Parliament, For Passing the Bill against Vice and Immorality [London?, 1699]; [Bray, Thomas], Reasons for the Passing of the Bill for the more Effectual Suppressing Vice & Immorality (London, 1699), two editions; “A True Narrative or Memorial Representing the Rise, Progress and Issue of Dr Bray's Missionary Undertaking” (1705), University of Maryland Archives, Thomas Bray Collection, box 30, fol. 24v. For poetic allusions, see [Garth, Samuel], The Dispensary (London, 1699), 73; [Ward, Edward], The Weekly Comedy, no. 2 (10–17 May 1699); Defoe, Daniel, “An Encomium upon a Parliament,” in Poems on Affairs of State, 7 vols., ed. Ellis, F. H. (New Haven, CT, 1963–75), 6:56, lines 76–85.

29 Meriton, George, Immorality, Debauchery, and Profaneness (London, 1698), 105; Bellers, John, Essays About the Poor (London, 1699), 16. Compare Reasons Humbly Offered, 1.

30 Portus, Caritas Anglicana, 125n; Hayton, D. W., ed., The Parliamentary Diary of Sir Richard Cocks, 1698–1702 (Oxford, 1996), xxxi, 9–10; Conjugium Languens (London, 1700), 19, 24–26; CJ, 16:532, 536, 544; McClure, Edmund, ed., A Chapter in English Church History: Being the Minutes of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge … 1698–1704 (London, 1888), 319; Bray, Thomas, For God, or for Satan (London, 1709), 28.

31 F. W., , A Letter to a Bishop from a Minister of his Diocess (London, 1691), 1516; [Woodward, Josiah], An Account of the Societies for Reformation of Manners (London, 1699), 23; Disney, John, A Second Essay upon the Execution of the Laws (London, 1710), preface; A Representation of the State of the Societies for Reformation of Manners (London, 1715), 45.

32 Dabhoiwala, Faramerz, “Sex, Social Relations, and the Law in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century London,” in Negotiating Power in Early Modern Society, ed. Braddick, Michael J. and Walter, John (Cambridge, 2001), 85–101, here 91–92.

33 Ibid., 92.

34 Barry, Jonathan and Morgan, Kenneth, eds., Reformation and Revival in Eighteenth-Century Bristol (Bristol, 1994), 2223.

35 A Help to a National Reformation (London, 1700), sig. [C4r].

36 Smalbroke, Richard, Reformation Necessary to Prevent our Ruine (London, 1728), 21.

37 Welch, Saunders, A Proposal to Render Effectual a Plan (London, 1758), 8; cf. Wood, Thomas, An Institute of the Laws of England (London, 1720), 686; Fielding, Henry, A Charge Delivered to the Grand Jury … of Westminster (London, 1749), 4445, 48–50; [Samuel Glasse], The Magistrate's Assistant (Gloucester, 1784), 179.

38 A Complete Collection of State-Trials, 6 vols., 2nd ed. (London, 1730), 1:ix.

39 See, e.g., The Third Charge of Whitlocke Bulstrode (London, 1723), 1011.

40 Corporation of London Records Office (CLRO), Lord Mayor's Charge Books, vol. 5, 16 September and 23 December 1730. Compare A Report of all the Cases Determined by Sir John Holt (London, 1738), 598.

41 Hansard's Parliamentary Debates, 3rd ser., 147 (1857): 1854.

42 Quoted in Pritchard, Stephen, The History of Deal (Deal, 1864), 159.

43 Portus, Caritas Anglicana, 109; McClure, Chapter in English Church History, 71.

44 McClure, Chapter in English Church History, quote on 350; [Woodward], Account of the Societies, 23–26, and An Account of the Progress of the Reformation of Manners, 14th ed. (London, 1706), 318; Portus, Caritas Anglicana, 125–27, 141–55; Bahlman, Moral Revolution, 38–39; Barnard, T. C., “Reforming Irish Manners: The Religious Societies in Dublin during the 1690s,” Historical Journal 35 (1992): 805–38; Barry and Morgan, Reformation and Revival. Although usually explicitly modeled on the metropolitan societies and guided by their published propaganda, these various rural, provincial, and overseas societies evidently differed from them in important respects. Only the Dublin and Bristol groups have yet been studied in any detail: the others warrant further investigation.

45 Dictionary of National Biography (London, 18851901), s.v. “Thomas Tenison”; de Beer, E. S., ed., The Diary of John Evelyn, 6 vols. (Oxford, 1955), 5:7–8; Henri, and van der Zee, Barbara, William and Mary (London, 1973), 387–88; Bahlman, Moral Revolution, 23–27.

46 Petition of the inhabitants of St. Martin in the Fields, London Metropolitan Archives (LMA), MJ/SP/1689/08/10; Shoemaker, Prosecution and Punishment, 238, which unfortunately confuses Tenison with John Tillotson and presumes that Robert Fielding, JP, was a new appointment to the bench, although he had been active for some years before the revolution: see, e.g., LMA, WJ/SR/1703, house of correction calendar (March 1687); The National Archives: Public Record Office (TNA: PRO), KB 10/4 (Hilary 1687), certiorari (cert.) 43 (an indictment initially brought in 1686).

47 By the Mayor (London, 19 November 1689). The consequences are visible in Bethlem Royal Hospital Archives, Beckenham, Kent: Court Books of the Governors of Bridewell and Bethlem Hospitals (BCB), vol. 16.

48 Antimoixeia: or, the Honest and Joynt-Design of the Tower Hamblets for the General Suppression of Bawdy-Houses (London, 18 June 1691).

49 “The Agreement of the Tower Hamlets Society … for the legall suppressing of debauchery and prophaness in the Citys of London and Westminster and all the parishes adjacent both in the Counties of Middlesex and Surry,” Edinburgh University Library (EUL), MS Laing III.394: 447–71, quotes on 447, 465–66.

50 The interpretation presented in this article differs significantly from that offered by the fullest previous account, Craig, “Movement for the Reformation of Manners,” chaps. 2–4, and most importantly regarding the date of the society's foundation, its connection with the earlier Tower Hamlets initiative, its relationship to the wider movement, and its modus operandi. It is based primarily on the extant legal records of all metropolitan jurisdictions (particularly for the years 1693, 1703, 1713, 1723, 1735, 1748, and 1758); EUL, MS Laing III.394; Bodleian Library, Oxford (Bodl.), MSS Rawlinson D. 129, D. 1396–1404; Antimoixeia; [Stephens, Edward], An Admonition to the Magistrates of England [London, 1689], The Beginning and Progress of a Needful and Hopeful Reformation (London, 1691), and A Seasonable and Necessary Admonition [London, 1701]; [Fowler, Edward], A Vindication of an Undertaking of Certain Gentlemen (London, 1692); Proposals for a National Reformation of Manners (London, 1694); Woodward, Josiah, An Earnest Admonition to All (London, 1697), An Account of the Rise and Progress of the Religious Societies (London, 1698), and Account of the Societies; and the societies’ annual published Black Lists and Accounts of prosecutions.

51 The first Black Roll, of sexual offenders prosecuted by the society in 1693 (with a supplement for January 1694), was printed in Proposals for a National Reformation, 34–35. This list of names was very erratically arranged and contained many errors, duplications, and omissions (as appears from comparison with the legal records). The Black Lists that followed were much more carefully produced accounts. The first (published in 1696) listed offenders punished during 1695, though no copy of it now survives. Within a few years these broadsheets included precise figures for recidivists, as well as the grand total since Christmas 1695. The extant editions are A Black List (London, 1698); A Sixth Black List [London, 1701]; A Seventh Black List ([London], 1702); The Eighth Black List ([London], 1703); The Tenth Black List ([London], 1705); The Eleventh Black List ([London], 1706); The Thirteenth Black List ([London], 1708).

52 Disney, Second Essay, 48.

53 Antimoixeia.

54 Shoemaker, “Reforming the City”; Hunt, Margaret, The Middling Sort: Commerce, Gender, and the Family in England, 1680–1780 (Berkeley, 1996), chap. 4.

55 See, e.g., LMA, MJ/SR/1808, indictment (ind.) 45; LMA, MJ/SR/1815, recognizances (recogs.) 143, 170, inds. 28, 68; LMA, MJ/SR/1818, recogs. 65, 153, inds. 46, 51, 85; LMA, MJ/SR/1820, recogs. 183, 233, ind. 51; LMA, MJ/SR/1823, ind. 29 (for which cf. CLRO, SF 397, recog. 36); LMA, MJ/SR/1825, recog. 58, ind. 44; MJ/SBP/8, January–December 1693; TNA: PRO, KB 10/7 (Michaelmas 1693), cert. 29.

56 A Short Disswasive from the Sin of Uncleanness (London, 1701); Some Considerations Offered to such Unhappy Persons as are Guilty of … Uncleanness (London, 1701); [Woodward, Josiah], A Rebuke to the Sin of Uncleanness (London, 1704); The Fourteenth Account of the Progress made in Suppressing Prophaneness and Debauchery (London, 1709). Compare Disney, Second Essay, 207–9.

57 [John Dunton], The Night-walker 1, no. 4 (1697), sig. [A3r]. Compare [Woodward], Account of the Societies, 48.

58 Proposals for a National Reformation, 18–20; By the Queen, a Proclamation for the Encouragement of Piety and Virtue (18 August 1708); [Woodward], Account of the Societies, 139. Compare Act for the … Suppressing of Divers Notorious Sins, 7. The appointment of paid informers in every presbytery to detect and prosecute vice was also ordered by the Scottish Parliament in 1693 to ensure stricter execution of the secular laws against immorality: see Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, 9:327–28.

59 CLRO, SF 391–98; CLRO, SM 63–64; TNA: PRO, KB 10/7; TNA: PRO, KB 29/352.

60 Beattie, J. M., “London Juries in the 1690s,” in Twelve Good Men and True: The Criminal Trial Jury in England, 1200–1800, ed. Cockburn, J. S. and Green, Thomas A. (Princeton, NJ, 1988), 214–53, and “London Crime and the Making of the ‘Bloody Code,' 1689–1718,” in Davison, Hitchcock, Keirn, and Shoemaker, Stilling the Grumbling Hive, 49–76, here 60–63.

61 CLRO, CSP, grand jury presentments of January 1693, July 1693, October 1694, January 1695.

62 See, e.g., Proposals for a National Reformation, 2; Gibson, Edmund, The Bishop of London's Pastoral Letter (London, 1728), 2.

63 Proposals for a National Reformation, 24; [Dunton, ], Night-Walker 2, no. 1 (1697): 28; Woodward, Josiah, The Duty of Compassion (London, 1697), viiviii, and Account of the Societies, 21–23; Bray, For God, 26–29.

64 The Fifteenth Account of the Progress Made towards Suppressing Prophaneness and Debauchery (London, 1710); The Two and Twentieth Account [London, 1717], 1; cf. CLRO, SF 552, 556; CLRO, SM 79 (1713).

65 Simpson, William, The Great Benefit of a Good Example (London, 1738), 1617, 19–21.

66 Although during the 1690s there appear to have been rather more prosecutions for swearing and Sabbath breaking. It was claimed in 1700 that since the beginning of the campaign the societies had convicted “more than twenty thousand persons” of these offenses: [Bray, Thomas], A Short Account of the Several Kinds of Societies, set up of late Years [London, 1700], 2. The figures presented in the societies’ annual Accounts for 1708–38 are reproduced in Portus, Caritas Anglicana, app. 5 (though the 1724 figure for keeping bawdy and disorderly houses should be 29; and the total number in 1728 was 778).

67 There were approximately 1,150 prosecutions of bawdy houses, prostitutes, and their clients across the metropolis in 1693, while the Black Roll for that year includes about three hundred names: BCB 16:215–310; CLRO, SF 391–98; CLRO, SM 63–64; LMA, MJ/SR/1808, 1810, 1813, 1815, 1818, 1820, 1823, 1825; LMA, MJ/SBB/502–9; LMA, MJ/SBP/8, January–December 1693; LMA, WJ/SR/1807, 1812, 1817, 1822, 1826; TNA: PRO, KB 10/7 (Easter 1693–Trinity 1694); TNA: PRO, KB 29/352; A Psalm of Thanksgiving, to be Sung by the Children of Christ's Hospital (London, 1694); Proposals for a National Reformation, 34–35.

68 The figure of 875 is calculated by multiplying the number of individuals listed (628) by the probable rate of recidivism (1.39). Although no copies survive of the Black List for 1703, these numbers can be surmised from the accounts for 1702 and 1704 (see n. 51 above). The ratio of repeat offenses was very similar in the other years for which accounts survive. The overall total for the year is estimated from BCB 18:128–88; CLRO, SF 472, 476; CLRO, Minutes of the Court of the President and Governors for the Poor of the City of London; LMA, MJ/SR/2005, 2016; LMA, MJ/SBP/9, January–December 1703; LMA, WJ/SR/2008, 2013, 2018, 2023, 2363, 2368; TNA: PRO, KB 10/10 (Hilary 1703); TNA: PRO, KB 10/11 (Easter–Michaelmas 1703); A Psalm of Thanksgiving to be Sung by the Children of Christ's Hospital (London, 1703; actual pub. 1704); Stow, John, A Survey of the Cities of London and Westminster, 6 bks., ed. Strype, John (London, 1720), 1:202.

69 See Craig, “Movement for the Reformation of Manners,” 162–77; Bray, Homosexuality in Renaissance England, chap. 4; Norton, Mother Clap's Molly House, chaps. 2–3.

70 LMA, MJ/SR/2402, 2407, 2409; LMA, WJ/SR/2008, 2013, 2018, 2023, 2363, 2368, 2378, 2430.

71 Hunt, Middling Sort, 114; cf. Curtis, T. C. and Speck, W. A., “The Societies for the Reformation of Manners,” Literature and History 3 (1976): 4564, here 60.

72 See, e.g., EUL, MS Laing III.394: 237–40, 447–71, 507–10. On the reform societies’ significance as pioneers of new forms of voluntary civic association, see Clark, Peter, British Clubs and Societies, 1580–1800 (Oxford, 2000), 6069.

73 [Woodward], Account of the Societies, 11 (his earliest account, written in 1696, spoke of “about Sixty persons”: Earnest Admonition, 173); EUL, MS Laing III.394: 447–71. The quorum for the acting committee was five members, that for the society as a whole, only twelve, and no new members (as opposed to mere subscribers) were to be admitted without the consent of the majority (EUL, MS Laing III.394: 449–50). The constitution of the original initiative had been very similar (Antimoixeia).

74 EUL, MS Laing III.394: 465–70, 509–10; Proposals for a National Reformation, 24–25.

75 Notable examples, in addition to those described below, include James Jenkins (1692–95); James Cooper (ca. 1694–97); Richard Hemmings, Thomas Jackson, John Holdway, and John Beggarly (1698–99 onward); Jonathan Wright (ca. 1704–16); Philip Cholmondely (ca. 1709 onward); and Edward Vaughan (ca. 1720–23).

76 EUL, MS Laing III.394: 49–57, 307–22, 447–64; Craig, “Movement for the Reformation of Manners,” 31–34.

77 EUL, MS Laing III.394: 507–10; for its similar levels of expenditure in subsequent years, see Woodward, Earnest Admonition, 175–76, and Account of the Rise, 93.

78 EUL, MS Laing III.394: 464.

79 [Woodward], Account of the Rise, 76–77. Compare Barry and Morgan, Reformation and Revival, esp. 31.

80 Radzinowicz, Leon, A History of English Criminal Law, 5 vols. (London, 1948–86), 2:14, citing Lecky, W. E. H., A History of England in the Eighteenth Century (London, 1921), 3:33; Langford, Paul, A Polite and Commercial People: England, 1727–1783 (Oxford, 1989), 128.

81 See BCB 12:180–366; BCB 14:191–272; CLRO, SF 206, 207, 211, 288, 292, 347, 351; LMA, WJ/SR/1593, 1599, 1602, 1605, 1703, 1708, 1713, 1718; TNA: PRO, KB 9/918, ind. 24; TNA: PRO, KB 9/919, ind. 28; TNA: PRO, KB 9/920, ind. 66.

82 LMA, WJ/SR/1812, 1817, 1822, 1826.

83 Compare Shoemaker, Prosecution and Punishment, 262–65, 267–70.

84 EUL, MS Laing III.394: 424–25.

85 See Bodl., MSS Rawlinson D. 1396–1404: ledgers recording many thousands of prosecutions for trading on the Sabbath (and a few hundred cases of tippling, drunkenness, or swearing) between 1704 and 1716, apparently representing the bulk of the campaign's efforts against Sabbath breaking during those years. Most were instigated by a handful of informers, in particular by Jonathan Wright and John Beggarly.

86 The fullest exposition of these disincentives, and the arguments deployed to try to overcome them, is Disney, Second Essay.

87 EUL, MS Laing III.394: 365, 368; CLRO, SF 441, recog. 73 (April 1699); Bodl., MSS Rawlinson D. 1397, 1401; Bray, Thomas, The Good Fight of Faith (London, 1709), 2, 15–16.

88 Antimoixeia; TNA: PRO, KB 10/7 (Easter 1693), cert. 18; LMA, MJ/SR/1820, prosecution (pros.) recog. 43; LMA, MJ/SR/1827, inds. 20, 45; LMA, MJ/SR/1829, ind. 4; LMA, MJ/SR/1837, recog. 183; The Proceedings of … the Old-Bayley (18–20 April 1694), 4; CJ, 11:246, 308; Hardy, W. J., ed., Middlesex County Records: Calendar of the Sessions Books, 1689–1709 (London, 1905), 105, 308, 310.

89 See references cited in n. 67 above; EUL, MS Laing III.394: 233–40, 366, 509–10; BCB 16:327, 329, 333, 357, 358, 385, 420, 452, 453, 454, 456; BCB 17:2; CLRO, SF 399, 401, 402, 404, 405, 406, 407, 410, 411; Calendar of Treasury Books (CTB) 1696–1697, 227; CTB 1697–1702, 523; CTB 1704–1705, 417; CLRO, CSP May 1697, deposition of Sir Edward Clarke; CLRO, CSP February 1700, deposition of Bodenham Rewse; LMA, DL/C/156, fols. 237–38; LMA, DL/C/199, fol. 373; LMA, DL/C/255, fols. 366–83 (1715); Guildhall Library, London, MS 9173/57, “Rewse”; Guildhall Library, London, MS 9174/44, “Rewse” (1725); Wales, Tim “Thief-Takers and Their Clients in Later Stuart London,” in Londinopolis: Essays in the Cultural and Social History of Early Modern London, ed. Griffiths, Paul and Jenner, Mark S. R. (Manchester, 2000), 6784; Beattie, J. M., Policing and Punishment in London, 1660–1750 (Oxford, 2001), 237–46.

90 For this paragraph and the next, see Dabhoiwala, “Sex, Social Relations, and the Law,” 94–97; Beattie, Policing and Punishment, chaps. 3–4, 8; Reynolds, Elaine A., Before the Bobbies: The Night Watch and Police Reform in Metropolitan London, 1720–1830 (Basingstoke, 1998), chaps. 1–3; Landau, Norma, “The Trading Justice's Trade,” in her Law, Crime, and English Society, 1660–1830 (Cambridge, 2002), 4670.

91 The Vices of the Cities of London and Westminster (Dublin, 1751), 14–15; Brewer, John, “The Wilkites and the Law, 1763–1774,” in An Ungovernable People: The English and Their Law in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, ed. Brewer, John and Styles, John (London, 1980), 128–71, here 170.

92 Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, 2004), s.v. “William Payne (1717/18–1782)”; Joanna Innes, “William Payne of Bell Yard, Carpenter, ca. 1718–1782: The Life and Times of a London Reforming Constable” (I am most grateful to Ms. Innes for permission to cite this unpublished paper), and “Politics and Morals: The Reformation of Manners Movement in Later Eighteenth-Century England,” in The Transformation of Political Culture: England and Germany in the Late Eighteenth Century, ed. Hellmuth, Eckhart (Oxford, 1990), 57–118; Roberts, M. J. D., Making English Morals: Voluntary Association and Moral Reform in England, 1787–1886 (Cambridge, 2004). As these studies elucidate, the presumptions and priorities of later eighteenth- and nineteenth-century moral reformers were often significantly different. As far as sexual indecency was concerned, for example, the prosecution of obscene literature took on a new prominence in the later eighteenth century, while less importance was attached to punishing prostitutes. Nevertheless, the example of the original reform societies continued to serve as an inspiration to later activists, even as late as the 1880s: see, e.g., Wesley, John, A Sermon Preached before the Society for Reformation of Manners (London, [1763]), 5; Innes, “Politics and Morals,” 72–74; Roberts, Making English Morals, 255.

93 Clark, British Clubs and Societies, 67, 102–3, 434–35.

94 Beattie, Policing and Punishment, 376–83, 401–23, and the literature cited therein.

95 See esp. Hay, Douglas and Snyder, Francis, eds., Policing and Prosecution in Britain, 1750–1850 (Oxford, 1989); Brooks, Christopher W., Lawyers, Litigation, and English Society since 1450 (London, 1998), esp. chaps. 3–4; Champion, W. A., “Recourse to the Law and the Meaning of the Great Litigation Decline, 1650–1750,” in Communities and Courts in Britain, 1150–1900, ed. Brooks, Christopher and Lobban, Michael (London, 1997), 179–98; Muldrew, Craig, The Economy of Obligation: The Culture of Credit and Social Relations in Early Modern England (Basingstoke, 1998), chap. 8; Lemmings, David, ed., The British and their Laws in the Eighteenth Century (Woodbridge, 2005).

96 Bahlman, Moral Revolution, 83–104.

97 Yonger, W[illiam], The Nurses Bosome a Sermon … hereunto is added, Iudahs Penance (London, 1617), 54.

98 The Athenian Mercury 3, no. 7 (18 August 1691); John Shower, A Sermon Preach’d to the Societies for Reformation (1698), 4. Compare [Woodward], Account of the Societies, 45; Disney, John, An Essay upon the Execution of the Laws, 2nd ed. (London, 1710), 125–27.

99 Mainly, it seems, in cases of profanity: see, e.g., EUL, MS Laing III.394: 197–202; Luttrell, Historical Relation, 2:346; HMC, Manuscripts of His Grace the Duke of Portland, 3:472; Pritchard, History of Deal, 161; Bahlman, Moral Revolution, 22; Barry and Morgan, Reformation and Revival, 20–21.

100 Shower, Sermon Preach’d to the Societies, 23–24.

101 [Defoe], Poor Man's Plea, quoting sig. [A], 6. Compare his Reformation of Manners (London, 1702), and More Reformation (London, 1703).

102 Birch, Charles Eaton, “Defoe and the Edinburgh Society for the Reformation of Manners,” Review of English Studies 16 (1940): 306–12. When he joined the Edinburgh society in 1707, Defoe was also described as a current member of “the Societies for Reformation in England” (307).

103 Hare, Francis, A Sermon Preached to the Societies for Reformation (London, 1731), 2324.

104 Fielding, John, A Charge Delivered to the Grand Jury, at … Westminster … April 6th, 1763 (London, 1763), 11.

105 Roberts, M. J. D., “The Society for the Suppression of Vice and Its Early Critics, 1802–1812,” Historical Journal 26 (1983): 159–76, here 171, 173, and Making English Morals, 50. Outrage at the apparent impunity of aristocratic adulterers did, however, form part of the background to the unsuccessful adultery bills of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries: Andrew, Donna T., “‘Adultery à-la-Mode’: Privilege, the Law, and Attitudes to Adultery, 1770–1809,” History 82 (1997): 523.

106 Compare Harrison, Brian, “State Intervention and Moral Reform in Nineteenth-Century England,” in Pressure from Without in Early Victorian England, ed. Hollis, Patricia (London, 1974), 289322.

107 Radzinowicz, History of English Criminal Law, 2:138–55; Beresford, M. W., “The Common Informer, the Penal Statutes, and Economic Regulation,” Economic History Review, n.s., 10 (1957): 221–37; Goldie, Mark, “The Hilton Gang and the Purge of London in the 1680s,” in Politics and the Political Imagination in Later Stuart Britain, ed. Nenner, Howard (Rochester, NY, 1997), 4373.

108 Chadwick, Daniel, A Sermon Preached at … Nottingham to the Society for Reformation of Manners (London, 1698), 22–23. Compare Disney, Second Essay, esp. 60–72.

109 Fourteenth Account.

110 Gibson, Edmund, A Sermon Preached to the Societies for Reformation (London, 1723; actual pub. 1724), 14. Compare Disney, Essay, 103–9, which is notable also for its equivocal denial that the London societies relied on informers who “make a Trade of it, by being rewarded for their Informations, if not directly hired to inform.”

111 Ward, Edward, The London Spy Compleat (London, 1703), 362, 366; cf. The Invisible-Observator (London, 1705), 78.

112 A Project for the Advancement of Religion (London, 1709), 44; cf. 37–38.

113 Pix, Mary, The Different Widows: or, Intrigue All-A-Mode (London, [1703]), act 4.

114 Farquhar, George, The Constant Couple (London, 1700), act 2.

115 Baker, Thomas, An Act at Oxford (London, 1704), act 1, sc. 1, act 5, sc. 2. Compare his The Humour of the Age (London, 1701); Griffin, Benjamine, Love in a Sack (London, 1715); Bullock, Christopher, The Per-juror (London, 1717).

116 Compare Shower, Sermon Preach’d to the Societies, 23.

117 Ward, London Spy, 361; Roberts, “Society for the Suppression of Vice,” 169–71.

118 Woodward, Josiah, A Sermon Preach’d … at the Funeral of Mr. John Cooper (London, 1702); Bray, Good Fight; Malcolm, James Peller, Anecdotes of the Manners and Customs of London during the Eighteenth Century (London, 1808), 258, 277–78.

119 Luttrell, Historical Relation, 6:437, 463, 510, 514; Raymond, Robert, Reports of Cases (London, 1743), 12961303; The Tryals of Jeremy Tooley, William Arch, and John Clauson (London, 1732), quotes on 18–19; Cases Determined by Sir John Holt, 485–92 (quotes on 489, 491).

120 Shoemaker, Prosecution and Punishment, 263–65.

121 For example, Theophilus Eyton in the 1690s (LMA, MJ/SR/1808, 1810, 1813, 1815, 1818, 1820, 1823, 1825; LMA, MJ/SBB/502–9) and John Ellis in the 1710s and 1720s (Shoemaker, Prosecution and Punishment, 258–59).

122 See Dabhoiwala, Faramerz, “Summary Justice in Early Modern London,” English Historical Review 121 (2006): 796822, here 797–98.

123 James, G. P. R., ed., Letters Illustrative of the Reign of William III, 3 vols. (London, 1841), 2:133–34.

124 See Clark, Anna, Women's Silence, Men's Violence: Sexual Assault in England, 1770–1845 (London, 1987), 121–23, and The Struggle for the Breeches: Gender and the Making of the British Working Class (London, 1995), 51–52; Henderson, Tony, Disorderly Women in Eighteenth-Century London (London, 1999), 115–40.

125 Tryals of Jeremy Tooley, 29.

126 See, e.g., CLRO, Lord Mayor's Charge Books, vol. 5 (1729–30); Guildhall Justice Room Minute Books, vols. 1–3 (1752, 1761–62).

127 Battestin, Martin C. and Battestin, Ruthe R., Henry Fielding: A Life (London, 1989), 709; Malcolm, Anecdotes, 116; Henderson, Disorderly Women, 114.

128 3 Geo. IV c. 40 (1822); 5 Geo. IV c. 83 (1824).

129 27 & 28 Vict. c. 85 (1864); 29 & 30 Vict. c. 96 (1866); 32 & 33 Vict. c. 86 (1869); Walkowitz, Judith R., Prostitution and Victorian Society: Women, Class, and the State (Cambridge, 1980).

130 Estimated from CLRO, SF 206–7, 211; CLRO, SM 36–38; LMA, MJ/SR/1402, 1413; LMA, WJ/SR/1405, 1415; LMA, MJ and WJ/SBB/275, 277, 282–83; LMA, MJ/SBP/6; LMA, WJ/SBP/1; TNA: PRO, KB 9/918–20.

131 Based on analysis of CLRO, SF 472, 476, 552, 556, 632, 636, 729, 733, 830, 833; CLRO, SM 72, 73, 79, 90, 102, 115; LMA, MJ/SBP/9, 11, 12, 14, 15; LMA, MJ/SR/2630, 2640, 2641, 2894, 2905; LMA, WJ/SR/2008, 2018, 2207, 2216, 2401, 2411, 2632, 2643, 2896, 2907; TNA: PRO, KB 10/10, 10/11, 10/15, 10/18, 10/22, 10/23, 10/28, 10/29, 15/23; Welch, Saunders, Observations on the Office of Constable (London, 1754), 8, 3032.

132 TNA: PRO, KB 10/28 (Hilary 1748), presentments 32, 39; TNA: PRO, KB 10/28 (Easter 1748), presentments 39, 43; TNA: PRO, KB 10/28 (Trinity 1748), presentments 64, 66, 67, cert. 6; TNA: PRO, KB 10/29 (Michaelmas 1748), presentments 53, 54, certs. 10, 11; TNA: PRO, KB 15/23. Obtaining convictions was not necessarily, of course, the only aim of legal action—but their total absence is nevertheless striking.

133 See, e.g., [Cleland, John], The Case of the Unfortunate Bosavern Penlez (London, 1749); Linebaugh, Peter, “The Tyburn Riot against the Surgeons,” in Albion's Fatal Tree: Crime and Society in Eighteenth-Century England, ed. Hay, Douglas, Linebaugh, Peter, and Thompson, E. P. (Harmondsworth, 1975), 65117, here 89–100; Nicholas Rogers, “Confronting the Crime Wave: The Debate over Social Reform and Regulation,” in Davison, Hitchcock, Keirn, and Shoemaker, Stilling the Grumbling Hive, 77–98.

134 25 Geo. II c. 36; deemed “useful and beneficial” and made perpetual by 28 Geo. II c. 19 (1755).

135 Welch, Saunders, An Essay on the Office of Constable (London, 1758), 3233.

136 Estimated from CLRO, SF 909, 913; CLRO, SM 125; LMA, MJ/SR/3073, 3081; LMA, MJ/SBB/1147; LMA, MJ/SBP/16; LMA, WJ/SR/3074, 3083; TNA: PRO, KB 10/32 (1758); TNA: PRO, KB 15/24. For Welch's actions, see LMA, MJ/SR/3073, pros. recog. 19, recog. 83; LMA, MJ/SR/3081, recogs. 69, 70, 103; LMA, WJ/SR/3074, pros. recog. Sarah Smart, recogs. 28, 29, 36; LMA, WJ/SR/3083, pros. recogs. Samuel Williams, Margaret Read, recogs. 12, 18, 19, 20, 30, 31, 109, 110.

137 A Sermon Preached before the former Societies for Reformation of Manners … Whereunto is Subjoined, A Declaration from the Present Society (London, 1760), 3436; Downing, George, A Sermon Preached before the Society for Reformation of Manners (London, 1760), 2728, 34–35; Chandler, Samuel, The Original and Reason of the Institution of the Sabbath (London, 1761), 75 (MS correction to the copy in the British Library, pressmark 225.a.25); Wesley, Sermon Preached before the Society for Reformation, 6–11, 27–28, 31; Gentleman's Magazine (23 February 1763); Conder, John, A Sermon Preached before the Society for the Reformation of Manners (London, 1763), 30; Browne, Moses, The Causes that Obstruct the Progress of Reformation (London, 1765), 2931; An Extract of the Rev. Mr. John Wesley's Journal … 1762, to … 1763 (Bristol, 1768), 102 (4 November 1764); An Extract of the Rev. Mr. John Wesley's Journal … 1765, to … 1768 (Bristol, 1771), 2829 (2 February 1766); Wilson, George, Reports of Cases (London, 1770), 160–62; Innes, “William Payne.”

138 See Dabhoiwala, “Sex, Social Relations, and the Law,” 90.

139 Bedford, Arthur, A Sermon Preached to the Societies for Reformation (London, 1734), 18.

140 See, e.g., Cases Determined by Sir John Holt, 406–7; Raymond, Reports, 562, 699, 1197; Strange, John, Reports of Adjudged Cases (London, 1755), 882; Leach, Thomas, Modern Reports, 12 vols., 5th ed. (London, 1793–96), 5:415–16.

141 Beattie, J. M., Crime and the Courts in England, 1660–1800 (Oxford, 1986), 278–79, 356–76, Scales of Justice: Defense Counsel and the English Criminal Trial in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries,” Law and History Review 9 (1991): 221–67, and Policing and Punishment, 393–401; Langbein, John H., The Origins of Adversary Criminal Trial (Oxford, 2003), chaps. 3–5; Shoemaker, Prosecution and Punishment, 264. The rising involvement of defense lawyers was especially notable and has been mainly studied in respect of felony trials, in which before the early eighteenth century most defendants had no right to legal representation in court. Although their employment in cases of sexual crime and other misdemeanors had a much longer history, it appears to have undergone a similar expansion at this time.

142 See, e.g., Burrow, James, Reports of Cases, 5 vols. (London, 1766–80), 5:2684–86; cf. Holloway, Robert, The Rat-Trap (London, [1773]), 7074.

143 Maddox, Isaac, The Love of Our Country Recommended (London, 1737), 910; Roberts, “Society for the Suppression of Vice,” 169–70.

144 As a result of these trends, there were also recurrent proposals to punish brothel keeping summarily (a measure finally introduced by the 1885 Criminal Law Amendment Act): Fielding, John, Extracts from such of the Penal Laws, as particularly relate to the Peace and Good Order of this Metropolis, 2nd ed. (London, 1762), 67; Malcolm, Anecdotes, 122; Henderson, Disorderly Women, 101–2.

145 Radzinowicz, History of English Criminal Law, 3:193–203; Stone, Lawrence, Road to Divorce (Oxford, 1990), 257, 287–88, 335–39, 380–83; Andrew, “Adultery à-la-Mode.” Compare The Evils of Adultery and Prostitution (London, 1792), 6570.

146 Though such litigation attracted considerable attention, the numbers of actions remained comparatively small; in the case of criminal conversation suits, moreover, the real purpose was often simply to facilitate a mutually agreeable divorce, rather than to punish infidelity: Stone, Road to Divorce, 81–95, 231–300.

Sex and Societies for Moral Reform, 1688–1800

  • Faramerz Dabhoiwala


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