Early Eighteenth-Century Newspaper Reports compiled by Rictor Norton

Moll Freeman

3 December 1730   Thursd. last the notorious Moll. Freeman, alias Talboy, was brought up to the Kingís-Bench, by Habeas Corpus, &c. It appeared that she was committed to hard labour, till the first day of next quarter sessions, as an idle and disorderly person, by Sir John Gonson, &c. She had 5 counsel, 3 of which pleaded on her behalf, and made some objections against her commitment, which were learnedly answered by the counsel for the King. The L.C.J. [Lord Chief Justice] Raymond, and the rest of the Judges were of opinion, that the commitment was just and legal, and highly commended the proceeding of the Justices, in punishing such vile women; and poor Moll, to her great mortification, was remanded back again to perform her task of beating hemp till the next Quarter-sessions, and then to be farther punished as the Justices shall think fit. — This creature is supported by several noted gamesters and sharpers about Covent-garden, who usually dress her in a very fine habit, the better to get acquainted with, and draw in young cullies, in order to make a prey of them. And the occasion of her present commitment to Bridewell, was for picking up a youth of 15 years of age, as he was running from the play-house, and carrying him to a disorderly house, and causing him to absent from home, and spend great sums of his fatherís money, who is a person of note in the City. To the no small mortification of the gamesters and sharpers about Drury-lane, &c. by whom she has been supported, and who have raised liberal contributions amongst themselves to defray her law and prison charges: she beats hemp one day in velvet, and another day in a gown richly trimmíd with silver. [Grub-street Journal]

17 September 1734   Yesterday Mary Freeman, alias Frisky Nan, but commonly called by the Name of Diving Moll, was committed to the Gatehouse, Westminster, by Justice Cotton, for picking a gentleman's pocket of 15 guineas, a silver snuff box, and two gold rings of considerable value. (Daily 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, "Moll Freeman", 8 June 2002, updated 3 March 2004 <http://grubstreet.rictornorton.co.uk/freeman.htm>

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