Early Eighteenth-Century Newspaper Reports: A Sourcebook compiled by Rictor Norton

Insolent Behaviour

21-23 October 1700   Between nine and ten on Sunday night a great body of the mob planted themselves in the Poultry, near the Bank, in form of a lane, and whipp’d every woman that came by; and when any married couple pass’d, they unnaturally forc’d the husband to horse his wife, whilst they whipp’d her for his pains. Which was a very odd way of celebrating His Majesties arrival, especially on such a Day. But every beast after its kind. [English Post]

29-31 January 1701   Last-night, several bullies of the town, meeting with a night-cart, in the Strand, were so offended at the stench thereof, that they drew swords, and stabbed all the horses; whereby they died, immediately, after which the sparks run for it, and are not yet heard of. A valient atchievement! [London Post]

30 July–1August 1701   We hear the Stock-Jobbers meeting daily in Exchange Alley, about Exchange-time, contrary to the Lord Mayor’s Order, some of the House-keepers there on Wednesday last threw a great Pot of Ink upon them, which spoiled divers good suits of Cloaths and Perriwigs, which they were forced to bear patiently. [The English Post]

5-8 March 1709   On Tuesday last, at Guild-Hall, came on the tryal of the Constables, for their insolent behaviour the last year, when the Honourable Plaintiff, at the humble request of the Defendants, out of pure compassion to them and their indigent families, were charitably pleas’d to forgive ’em, upon the following submission.

Whereas we Francis Violet and John Bavis, Constables of the Ward of Broadstreet, did, on the 8th day of Febr. 1707. [i.e. 1708 New Style] rudely take the Right Hon. Bazil, Earl of Denbigh. and William, Lord Craven, Sir Cholmely Dering, Bar. James Buller, Esq; and Thomas Legh, Esq; out of Mr. Cahvac’s house, near the Royal Exchange, and commit ’em to the Poultry-Compter: We do hereby declare, That they were not gaming, or any ways disorderly or offensive in their behaviour: And that we were guilty of this great imprudence without any just Cause; for which we are heartily sorry, and most humbly beg pardon in open Court.

          Francis Violet.
          John Bavis.
                   [Post Boy]

Saturday 3 January 1718   Some days since a porter, belong to the Old Devil in Fleet-Street, was stabb’d by a Gentleman, but he is likely to recover.
          Last Saturday monring one Mr. R—ley being at the King George’s Head Tavern in Russel-Street, Covent-Garden, took occasion to strike the drawer, who waited on him, several times over the head with a pistol, which the fellow complaining of, he then drew his sword and ran him thro’ the shoulder, and thro’ the cheek, the drawer drop and bled near a gallon; and his fellow servant hearing the disorder, came up to his assistance, and was likewise ran thro’ the Hand, and is thereupon fallen ill of a fever. The master of the tavern was also wounded by this dreadful killing Captain, who march’d off with his sword drawn without molestation, it being very early in the morning.
          One Mr. Drake, another of these terrible sort of Gentlemen, has been committed to the Marshalsea for wounding three persons with his sword, insomuch that their lives are in danger.
          Also, the other night, one Mr. Kelly, a very sober inoffensive young Gentleman, passing through White Horse Yard in Drury-Lane, was insulted by a Gentleman bully, and was oblig’d to draw his sword, and after several passes, was thrust pretty deep into the groin, beside another wound less dangerous; the other was much wounded, and both keep their beds.
          The Justices, Clerks, &c. have made a pretty good Christmass on’t; a vast number of disorderly persons having been committed and bound over for riots, the effects of drunkenness. (Original Weekly Journal)

21 February 1719   On Saturday night, or rather on Sunday morning, a link boy going before two gentlemen in the Strand to light them home, they pretended he did not go fast enough, and drew their swords and stabb’d him in the back. We hear, the boy died on Monday of the wounds. The murderers are not yet discover’d. (Original Weekly Journal)

Saturday 11 April 1719   The Chairman, who spit at the Princess, and call’d his Majesty an usurper, has been try’d and convicted at Westminster Sessions, and is sentenced to be whipt 4 times thro’ the Pall-Mall. (Applebee’s Original Weekly Journal)

Saturday 25 April 1719   A debtor on the Master’s side of Newgate, is confin’d in the dungeon in irons, for cursing his Majesty, and the Parliament, because the Bill for Relief of Insolvent Debtors did not pass before the conclusion of the Session; and, we hear, a Bill of Indictment will be prefered against him the next Sessions for the same. (Applebee’s Original Weekly Journal)

Saturday 2 May 1719   Moor, the chairman, whipt for spitting at the Princess, &c. lyes very ill in Newgate; but is not dead, as hath been reported. (Applebee’s Original Weekly Journal)

25 January 1721   Some of the Roe-Buck Mobb have been committed to the Compter for coming on Wednesday night last, in a riotous manner, into the White Horse Ale-House in Great Carter-Lane, where they assaulted the landlord and his wife, and turned them out of doors, and cut a carman’s nose off who was drinking in the house; and this all done without the least provocation. (Applebee's Original Weekly Journal)

11 March 1721   On Wednesday last the House of Lords pass’d the Callicoe Bill, upon which occasion the weavers made bonfires in many places, especially in Spittle-Fields, where at the Coffee-House in the Market-Place, there was a very stately bonfire, and a hogshead of home-brew’d-ale given away, by Mr. Ben. Powel the Coffee-Man, and the drums, trumpets, and other musick were brought in to promote the rejoycings, that were made on that occasion. (Applebee’s Original Weekly Journal)

3 June 1721   On Tuesday last a Bailiff that attempted to Arrest and carry off a certain Person in the Mint, was laid hold on, and severely handled according to the Laws and Discipline of that Republic: Being first drench'd several Times in a Horse Pond; they afterwards carried him to the Dog and Duck in St. George’s Fields, which it seems is in their Liberty, and wash'd him very Clean in a watering Pond for Cows; and then upon his owning himself a great Transgressor against the Rights of the Place, and asking Pardon upon his Marrow-bones, and promising Amendment of Life for the future in that particular, they dismiss’d him. When the Operation was over, the five Spirits (as they call them there) alias five lusty young Fellows in Disguise, or Masquerade Habits, who were deputed to perform the Operation, went about to several Inhabitants in their antick Dress, with a Beadle before them, gathering Money for that piece of good Service; and got a round Sum. The next Day the Spirits aforesaid, assum’d Flesh and Blood, and liv’d very Merrily while the Money lasted. (Applebee’s Original Weekly Journal)

Wednesday 8 July 1724   On Monday night the High Constable of the Tower Division, assisted by several Petty Constables, went to search a house of evil repute on Tower-Hill, which being frequented by soldiers of the Tower Garrison; they fell upon the Peace Officers, and beat them in a most barbarous manner, not sparing the High Constable: Complaint whereof, we hear, has been made to the Government. (The Daily Journal)

1 February 1735   Thursday in the evening a disorder of a very particular nature happened in Suffolk-street: ’Tis said that several young gentlemen of distinction having met at a house there, call’d themselves the Calf’s-Head Club; and about seven o’clock a bonfire being lit up before the door, just when it was in the height, they brought a calf’s-head to the window dress’d in a napkin-cap, and after some Huzza’s, threw it into the fire: The mob were entertained with strong-beer, and for some time halloo’d as well as the best; but taking a disgust at some healths which were proposed, grew so outrageous, that they broke all the windows, forc’d themselves into the house, and would probably have pull’d it down, had not the Guards been sent for to prevent further mischief. The damage done within and without the house, is computed at some hundred pounds. The Guards were posted all night in the street, for the security of the neighbourhood. (Weekly Oracle)

(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, "Insolent Behaviour", 3 March 2004, updated 9 April 2007 <http://grubstreet.rictornorton.co.uk/insolent.htm>

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