Early Eighteenth-Century Newspaper Reports compiled by Rictor Norton

The Hell Fire Club

6 May 1721   The following Account of the infamous and detestable Practices of those People mention'd, or rather meant, in his Majesty's Order afore-mention'd, is given by some Persons, who take upon them to say their Information is good, we shall give it in their own Words, because cannot take upon us to attest the Particulars.
          We are inform'd the Hell-Fire Club consisted of about forty Persons of both Sexes, fifteen of them are said to be Ladies of considerable Quality; their chief Places of Rendezvous was some Times at Somerset-House, at a House in Westminster, and another House in Conduit-Street near Hanover-Square: The Purport of their Meetings was to ridicule, in the most audacious manner, the Person and Power of Almighty God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, together with all the Sacred Mysteries of Religion, Blaspheming and Impugning the same in a manner very unfit to be here mention'd; some of them assuming the Names of the Patriarchs, Prophets, and Martyrs, mention'd in Holy Writ, making them the Subject of their Blaspheming Mirth and Pastime.

It is to be fear'd that four of these daring Insects were cut off by the Hand of Divine Justice, in the midst of their Impieties; two of them in a Debauch in Somerset-House, on the Lord's Day, caused Musick to be plaid in Time of Divine Service; the one who toasted such a Blasphemous Health as was certainly never heard of before, in any Age or Nation, died the same Evening; and the other in a few Days after. A young Lady, who, as 'tis said, called herself the Blessed Virgin, died, after a short Indisposition, in the Flower of her Youth and Beauty; and the other, a Woman of Distinction, who died suddenly at her Dinner. (Applebee's Original Weekly Journal)

20 May 1721   On Thursday three persons were apprehended at a tavern in the Pall-Mall, and carried before the Justices who were sitting to take informations of the blasphemous clubs, being accused of belonging to those infamous societies. (Applebee's Original Weekly 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, "The Hell Fire Club", 4 August 2004 <http://grubstreet.rictornorton.co.uk/hellfire.htm>

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