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Title: The Phœnix of Sodom; or, the Vere Street Coterie

Author: Robert Holloway

Release date: January 4, 2019 [eBook #58613]

Language: English


Transcribed from the 1813 J. Cook edition by David Price, email

Public domain book cover

Vere Street Coterie.


Ancient Lechers
Sodom and Gomorrah,
Sodomitical Practices,

Vere Street Coterie, of detestable memory.






p. 3THE
The Phœnix of Sodom.

I think it a duty I owe both the reader and myself, to account for my acquaintance with any part of the disgraceful transactions disclosed in the annexed pages.

Some months ago, when I was contemplating the most odious characters on the list of Attorneys, to compose the Fifth Number of my Strictures on the Practice of those voracious vultures, it came to my knowledge that an Attorney named Wooley (with that alacrity with which crows fly to carrion) had repaired to the different prisons, where those wretches apprehended in Vere Street were committed, and, p. 4under pretence of assisting the offenders obtaining their liberty, and enabling them to escape justice, stripped them of every guinea they possessed, and, indeed, of every article that would produce one at a pawnbroker’s.  I therefore sent to Newgate, to learn from Cook, the landlord of the house, whether my information was correct; who sent his wife to me, and related a long history of the means and fallacious pretences by which he obtained above thirty pounds from her, for the purpose of bringing her husband through; that being the phrase of those fellows, who hang about prisons, to tutor their new clients:—(I have made use of the expression TUTOR, because there are degrees of iniquity, that the most atrocious offenders accustomed to a long residence in the cells of Newgate have yet to learn of a certain description of attorneys;) in fine, after he had exhausted every stratagem that his colleague the devil and himself could devise to get money, and finding no more could be extracted from nakedness, he became wholly negligent of his p. 5client; and in order to get rid of Cook’s importunities, told him he must have fifty pounds more, or he could not get him liberated.  On the woman prostrating (as the truth was) that almost every article of wearing apparel had been disposed of to raise the money he already had received, he very friendly suggested to her, that a woman of her appearance might easily raise money by putting off One Pound Bank Notes that he could procure for her at Ten Shillings each! the woman could answer only with a groan—“I am in trouble enough already!” and declined the mode he proposed, to procure liberty for her husband, and a halter for herself!—Here the material part of the negociation ended, and Cook was left by this virtuous one, et cetera, without the least assistance at his trial, not even a guinea for council, or the expence of a single sheet of paper.  In this dreadful situation, I call it a dreadful situation, for whatever crimes a man be charged with, he is certainly entitled to the benefit of a defence; especially when he p. 6paid so amply for it: and though ultimately he was convicted, and sentenced to the Pillory, I would ask, if, under all these circumstances, his virtuous attorney ought not to have been sentenced to a gibbet?—However, it does not appear to me, that had Wooley done all that he was able, he could have saved Cook from his fate; for affidavit men could be of no service: however, as in my next Number of Strictures I have a very long chapter to bestow on the sympathetic feelings, and matchless integrity of this man, in an hundred other instances equally enormous; I shall for the present drop the subject, having afforded my readers a trifling shred, or splinter, of his great stock of virtue.

It will be necessary here to correct a false opinion that is gone abroad respecting the nature of Cook’s offence.—It is generally believed, that he was convicted of Sodomy: but the fact is, that he was neither convicted, or even indicted for that offence, but for keeping a house of resort, or rendezvous for such detestable p. 7wretches to meet at.—I have thought it proper, nay just, to make this distinction, to lessen in some measure the horror that the public in general have felt against him.

My original inquiry into the conduct of Wooley was, merely to punish him for his shameful conduct as an Attorney, by making an application to the Court of King’s Bench for restoration of the money he robbed Cook of; and to shew the Court and public of what pernicious materials some attorneys are composed:—therefore, if Wooley thinks it any degradation to be acquainted with Cook, he must remember, it was his own infamy that brought it on; and I shall never be ashamed to advocate the cause of the oppressed, or terrified at the task of reprobating the oppressor.  It has been observed by an elegant writer, that “the man who allows the oppression shares the crime;” and I certainly shall shew that Cook has endured a scene of oppression that the laws of this country never did, and I never will sanction, for the purpose of p. 8screening opulent infamy; the crime of the man is no justification of the brutality with which he was treated—a brutality repugnant to the feelings of every man possessing the generous bravery of Englishmen, who are ever merciful.  Cowards only are cruel; and the man who would put a rat to death by wanton torture is at best but an eminent ruffian! but more upon this subject when I have gone through the offensive part of my task, which is some slender description of the enormities committed in various parts of the town by these Sodomitical miscreants.

Cook and his wife, elate with the prospect of procuring justice for the injury they had received from Wooley, considered me their friend, and disclosed all the circumstances that follow; and in answer to some inquiries that curiosity led me to make, I received a long written history of iniquities (which I shall partially relate) prefaced by the following paragraph.

“I do not plead any thing in extenuation of p. 9the offence for which I have been convicted and punished; I confess I merited all I met with; I own I participated in all the guilt except the final completion of it, which is abhorrent to my nature.  I am, therefore, the more criminal, because I had no unnatural inclinations to gratify:—I was prompt by Avarice only, and not by the indulgence of vicious propensities;—if I had, there would be witnesses enough against me, among the detestable crew I am about to expose.”

Cook, though an illiterate, man, possesses a strong mind, and an accurate memory.  He states, that he unfortunately met a man named Yardley, at the King’s Arms, Round Court, in the Strand, who proposed taking a Public House, and making it a joint concern: he, by degrees, opened to Cook his plan, and told him he was acquainted with a great number of gentlemen, some hundreds, who would frequent a house that he kept; and who were so generous in payment, that he knew a man p. 10who kept a house of the same kind, who, in three years, got money enough to live upon and retired.

This picture of advantage caught Cook;—and he closed with the proposals, having about one hundred and fifty pounds in his pocket; and, in conjunction with this man, took the Swan in Vere-street, the fatal house in question; which was entered upon, and furnished in a style most appropriate for the purposes it was intended.  Four beds were provided in one room:—another was fitted up for a ladies’ dressing-room, with a toilette, and every appendage of rouge, &c. &c.:—a third room was called the Chaple, where marriages took place, sometimes between a female grenadier, six feet high, and a petit maitre not more than half the altitude of his beloved wife!  These marriages were solemnized with all the mockery of bride maids and bride men; and the nuptials were frequently consumated by two, three, or four couple, in the same room, and in the sight of each other! incredible as this circumstance p. 11may appear, the reader may depend it is all provable:—the upper part of the house was appropriated to wretches who were constantly in waiting for casual customers; who practised all the allurements that are found in a brothel, by the more natural description of prostitutes; and the only difference consisting in that want of decency that subsists between the most profligate men and depraved women.—Men of rank, and respectable situations in life, might be seen wallowing either in or on the beds with wretches of the lowest description: but the perpetration of the abominable act, however offensive, was infinitely more tolerable than the shocking conversation that accompanied the perpetration; some of which, Cook has solemnly declared to me, was so odious, that he could not either write, or verbally relate.  It seems many of these wretches are married; and frequently, when they are together, make their wives, who they call Tommies, topics of ridicule; and boast of having compelled them to act parts p. 12too shocking to think of;—an instance of which I must relate, because the history of the country furnished a precedent, that consigned a Peer of the realm, and his infamous associate, to the gallows: I allude to Lord Audley’s case, who was convicted of rape and sodomy at one time with his own wife.—The instance I shall relate was told at Vere-street by the husband, to many of the wretches, and the partner of his guilt, then present, who joined in the relation, as if it had been a meritorious act:—this ill-fated woman had been brought to that pitch of infamy, that she frequently endured it, as if it was no offence even to modesty! the dreadful fellow, who is the subject of the narration, is one of three miscreants living together in the same public office in the city, one of whom is known by the appellation of Venus.

It seems the greater part of these reptiles assume feigned names, though not very appropriate to their calling in life: for instance, Kitty Cambric is a Coal Merchant; Miss Selina, p. 13a Runner at a Police office; Black-eyed Leonora, a Drummer; Pretty Harriet, a Butcher; Lady Godina, a Waiter; the Duchess of Gloucester, a gentleman’s servant; Duchess of Devonshire, a Blacksmith; and Miss Sweet Lips, a Country Grocer.  It is a generally received opinion, and a very natural one, that the prevalence of this passion has for its object effeminate delicate beings only: but this seems to be, by Cook’s account, a mistaken, notion; and the reverse is so palpable in many instances, that the Fanny Murry, Lucy Cooper, and Kitty Fisher, are now personified by an athletic Bargeman, an Herculean Coal-heaver, and a deaf tyre Smith: the latter of these monsters has two sons, both very handsome young men, whom he boasts are full as depraved as himself.  These are merely part of the common stock belonging to the house; but the visitors were more numerous, and, if possible, more infamous, because more exalted in life: and these ladies, like the ladies of the petticoat order, have their favorite men; one p. 14of whom was White, a drummer of the guards, who, some short time since, was executed for a crime of the most detestable description with Hebden an Ensign.  White, being an universal favorite, was very deep in the secrets of the fashionable part of the coterie; of which he made a most ample confession in writing, immediately previous to his execution; the truth of which he averred, even to his last moments; but it is impossible to give it literally, for the person who took it, in the presence of a magistrate, said that the recital made him so sick he could not proceed.

It seems that these odious practices are not confined to one, two, or three houses, either public or private; for there are many about town: one in the vicinity of the Strand; one in Blackman-street in the Borough; one near the Obelisk, St. George’s-fields; one in the neighbourhood of Bishopsgate-street, kept by a fellow known by the title of the Countess of Camomile; perhaps the title was derived from his ancient place of residence!—This p. 15wretch was sent to the cold bath of Newgate for two years, by way of quenching a flame that had been raised by the charms of an uncomplying boy.  The old worn-out catamites are stationed in different lodgings, and maintained, for the purpose of entrapping servants out of place, and other distressed characters; and as distress is the most potent enemy to virtue, they too frequently succeed in the objects of their employers:—no expence is spared for clothes, public places, or pocket money, till the ends are obtained.  Many of these breeches-clad bawds have chambers in the different Inns of Court, the Temple not excepted, where they carry on their practices with greater security from detection; which is somewhat extraordinary, when we consider that lawyers are not very partial to any description of monsters but their own!

There is now a wretch in Newgate, under sentence of three years, for this abominable crime, and that, too, for the third time!—this lump of excremental filth (known among the p. 16gang by the appellation of Miss Fox) has been a common hack ever since he was twelve years old, and is now about seven and twenty: it is said that he is at this hour the darling of a young man of rank, who audaciously introduced him to his family as a fellow-student at college; and, in one year, squandered seventeen hundred pounds upon this miscreant.

It is a melancholy consideration that there is not some mode of restraining this vice, either by castration, or some other cogent preventative, without waiting for the completion of the offence, which enacts the penalty of death:—the moment it is discovered that the purposes of our creation are defeated, and that nature revolts from the ordinances of God, existence is uselessly lavished upon a being, more unworthy animation than a mandrake.  To eradicate this evil, should Divine Vengeance resist to another fire, let the people of England devoutly pray, that the flames may extend to the Brimstonic part of Attornies, whose crimes cry equally loud for sulphurous purification.

p. 17That the reader may form some idea of the uncontrolable rage of this dreadful passion, Cook states, that a person in a respectable house in the city, frequently came to his sink of filth and iniquity, and stayed several days and nights together; during which time he generally amused himself with eight, ten, and sometimes a dozen different boys and men!—There can be no doubt of the truth of this assertion, for an explanation took place before some of the parties connected with him in business, when Cook sent to the house for a bill that the wretch owed him.  It is said that this animal is now in a mad-house; which, in my apprehension, is the natural consequence of transactions which can only be produced by a temporary insanity.

In contemplating this calamitous vice, a charitable disposition would lead us to believe that it is the effect of a dreadful malignant malady, that assumes such an irresistible dominion over the faculties, that neither religion, philosophy, or the fear of death, can resist.  p. 18Before I could give credit to a twentieth part of the account transmitted to me, I waited till Cook was discharged from his imprisonment, and then interrogated him, with all the art and force of reason that I was master of, as to the truth of his relation, more especially the identity of the persons whose names he mentioned; stating to him, that even an insinuation of so foul an imputation against an innocent man, would inevitably consign him to an infinitely worse punishment than that he had already suffered: but his answers were such, as left me no excuse to doubt the truth; and notwithstanding my full conviction upon the subject, I have not ventured to fasten the odium upon any respectable character, leaving a disclosure of that nature to be extorted from the parties themselves in a Court of Justice:—nor would I have sullied the idea of manhood with this history of human depravity upon the bare assertion of any man, or any ten men, who were within the possibility of being induced by some purpose to fabricate such an abominable p. 19story; but the statement of Cook cannot be subject to any such misrepresentation, for it is matter of record:—thirty of the parties he describes to be the constant frequenters of the house were apprehended by the Police officers, and that on a Sunday evening; they were all examined by the Magistrates, and their guilt established, though in different degrees: and the dreadful shocking consequences of their conviction ended in the execution of a sentence so disgraceful to humanity, so contrary to the punishment awarded by the laws of England, that the foulest page in the history of savage ferocity must blush at the relation of that ruffianly scene of human degradation; a scene that never could have disgraced the streets of London but in the Sheriffalty of Mr. Matthew Wood; and never can happen again, until Sheriffs and Pillories are made of the same materials.

Cook, under an idea that it would procure him a remission of the pillory, was desirous of disclosing the names of a great number of p. 20persons involved in the transactions: and a meeting took place, at the Secretary of State’s Office, upon the subject; but which produced no other effect, than an order to put Cook in the Pillory the next day, which was accordingly done; and, upon his return to Newgate, Suter, the head turnkey, said to him, “Cook, it was not intended you should have come back alive!”—There can be no doubt but that the Turnkey’s apprehensions were well founded.

It seems that Alderman Plomer, one of the Sheriffs who succeeded Messrs. Atkins and Wood, heard of the attempt made at the Secretary of States; and wishing to be satisfied of these facts, went to Cook in Newgate several times, and had him into the keeper’s parlour, where he conversed with him on the subject;—and on receiving a list of the names the Sheriff assured him that he had no hope of any remission of his sentence whatever, for he had offended persons too powerful to contend with; but that at the expiration of his imprisonment he would endeavour to do something for him; p. 21and befriend him;—but the Sheriff died before Cook’s time was out.  Whatever my own opinion may be respecting the situation in life of the parties who opposed the remission of the sentence, or however well founded that opinion may be, I do not think myself safe in giving it publicity: I shall, therefore, only observe that it is an illustration of the old trite saying, the truth is not at all times to be spoken, nor indeed in all places!

Having stated sufficient to lay the foundation of an inquiry in a Court of Justice into the truth of Cook’s relation, I shall in this place only ask a few questions of the parties implicated; and that, too, without raising a pretence to prate about libels: in doing which it may be sufficient only to enlarge upon a sagacious and judicious remark of a worthy Magistrate, viz. How came a man of fortune and fashion to such a house?—I, therefore, shall repeat the question—What possible business could a man of rank, or respectable merchant, or clergyman, or any other man in the p. 22character of a gentleman, have, or what reasonable excuse can he make, for such frequent attendance at a low, dirty public house, in the filthy avenues of Clare Market—the common and exclusive resort of the persons I have described: and that, too, on a Sunday, which was the general, and grand day of rendezvous! and to render their excuse the more entangled and doubtful, some of the parties came a great distance, even so much as thirty miles, to join the festivity and elegant amusements of grenadiers, footmen, waiters, drummers, and all the Catamite brood, kneaded into human shape, from the sweepings of Sodom, with the spawn of Gomorrah.

It may naturally be supposed that this vice is more expensive than any other, and is the vortex that engulphs the property of men, whose acquaintance are astonished at the mode of their getting rid of their fortunes.  I remember a man, who had a place of great emolument, a considerable sum of ready money, and thirty thousand pounds, the fortune of an p. 23ill-fated woman whom he married; all of which vanished, without a trace of its destination;—he was reduced to the necessity of continually raising small sums by the most unworthy means: but I am now satisfied of the means by which he squandered away his property.—I think he is dead, as I observe another gentleman filling his situation; his memory and his crimes shall never be disturbed by me: and there cannot be any doubt but that many men under the same circumstances are brought to beggary by similar pursuits.

The reader will recollect that I declared myself an advocate for the oppressed of every description; a declaration I shall elucidate in the close of these pages, and which will be found to originate in Cook’s anxiety to expose the parties implicated in the atrocious scenes related: and it must be lamented, that in this instance, as in all others where indigence has to combat with wealth, this man has raised a host of powerful enemies; for there is scarcely any description of men, but some individual p. 24is comprehended in the associates of this vice; even men in the sacerdotal garb have descended from the pulpit to the gully-hole of breathing infamy in Vere-street, and other places for similar vice: but I must spare myself and my readers the ungracious task of pursuing, in detail, circumstances that almost chill the blood to think of, and afflict me with the same sensation that a crimping knife on my side would create.—I will therefore briefly consider the origin and progress of this crime, which is so detestable, that the law of England blushes to name it; and in all legal process, treats it as a crime not fit to be named among Christians; a silence, which is also preserved by the edict of Constantius, and others.  Indeed, the express law of God dooms the offender to death; and of the verity of this Divine declaration we have a signal instance, long before the Jewish dispensation, by the destruction of two cities by fire from heaven, so that this is a universal, and not a provincial or local precept; and our ancient laws seem implicitly to have followed p. 25this divine decree, by commanding such miscreants to be burnt to death; though Fleta says they should be buried alive:—both these punishments were inflicted by the ancient Goths.

Reading a foreign history, the locality of which I do not remember, I found the description of another punishment, called the Embrace;—which put an end to the criminal’s existence, by a machine constructed in the form of a beautiful woman, and so contrived, that the miserable victim was pressed to death by being folded in her arms.  This crime, however detestable, has certainly spread itself, and tainted the whole face of the creation; and it is an erroneous notion entertained by the people of this country, that it is tolerated in Italy, and some parts of the continent; for the laws against it are pretty general in every country, though, perhaps, like ours, they relax in the necessary severity.

The Arabs, indeed, make very light of the offence, especially when committed with a p. 26beast; the Mahometans, also, are much addicted to the crime, (at least by the testimony of some travellers); yet I cannot see how that agrees with the account they give of the Upas tree of Java, which they affirm sprung up as a punishment for that sin; as appears by the following passage in the new Alcoran.

“The country round the tree was inhabited by people strongly addicted to the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah; when the great Prophet, Mahomet, determined not to suffer them to lead such detestable lives any longer, he applied to God to punish them; whereupon God caused this tree to grow out of the earth, which, destroyed them all, and rendered the country for ever uninhabitable.”

From the best authority that can be gathered, this crime was first introduced into England about the year 1315, by a sect of heretics called Lollards; whose intent it was, among other most damnable doctrines to subvert the Christian faith; for from a note on the Parliamentary p. 27Rolls it is said, “A Lollard has committed the sin not to be named among Christians,” which seems to be the first authentic account of it in England.  Many years previous to the reign of Geo. I. the sin was permitted without any exemplary punishment:—but about the 12th year of that reign a number of those wretches were apprehended, and convicted of the most abominable practices, some of whom were put to death; which gave a check to the evil for some time.

We will now come to the prevalency of the crime in the present age.  About five and twenty years ago, there existed a society of the same order with the Vere-street gang, in the City of Exeter, most of whom were men of rank and local situation; they were apprehended, and about fifteen of them tried; and, though they were acquitted by the letter of the law, the enraged multitude was so convinced of their guilt; that without any respect to their rank, they burnt them in effigy.

About the same period, another disgraceful p. 28scene was exhibited in London, at Clement’s-lane, near the new Church in the Strand; (the exhibition of that crew is in the memory of many persons who may read these pages;) this scene was, if possible, more ridiculously wicked; for though it embraced all the turpitude of the Vere-street Coterie, yet the public indignation was in some measure for a moment allayed, by the grotesque appearance of the actors:—they were seized in the very act of giving caudle to their lying-in women, and the new-born infants personated by large dolls! and so well did they perform the characters they assumed, that, one miscreant escaped the vigilance of the officers and the examining magistrates, and was discharged as a woman!

I cannot pass this description of ladies, without making mention of another, usually entitled to an external tribute due to delicacy; for it seems that one, of no inconsiderable consequence to the dignity of the Coterie, is, by profession, a Chimney Sweeper and Nightman, an employment not ill appropriate to the delicate p. 29passions which constitute his amusement.  This lump of diabolism resides west of Hyde-park corner; and some time ago married a little Catamite, called Miss Read, according to the rites of the Vere-street church; and, of course, did that which all good husbands will do, took his precious spouse to live in the house with him, the better to secure himself from the effects of cuckoldom: but it so happened, that this sweet-scented enamorata has a wife, unfortunately for the poor woman recognized by the Canons of the Church of England; and, therefore, to pave the way for this little dung-hill, Venus, he was introduced as a young man who wished to board and lodge in a decent family; and three guineas per week was the stipulated price, which the poor deluded woman thought an acquisition to her family, and worthy her attention; little dreaming that this knight of the gully-hole regularly gave Miss Read the money every week, in order that he might be considered as an honorable and punctual pay master!  This p. 30miscreant is said to be worth several thousand pounds!—Now reader, put the money out of the question, and say what is he worth without it?

I have before observed, this short Treatise is not meant for anything like a detailed description of an hundredth part of the vast geography of this moral-blasting evil; but the time is near at hand that will afford a most ample display of this wide-spreading contagion;—which, dreadful and poisonous as the whole is to the ear of manhood, there is one feature more excruciating to my feelings than all the rest; and that is, the situation of women who are subject to all the indiscribable tortures inflicted upon them, by an unfortunate, ill-fated marriage with beings of this description, whose object in marrying is wholly the property they possess:—that a fine, elegant, perhaps beautiful woman, should be doomed to have her bed encumbered with a wretch, who loathes her person, squanders her fortune, and treats her with criminal contempt, to indulge p. 31damnable propensities, with (if I may be allowed the metaphor) the scavengers of Sodom!  And yet the laws of the country afford her no redress, the abomination is no cause of divorce; yet if, on her part, she should listen to the voice of nature, and presume to convince the world that she feels the poignancy of her misery, and flies to the arms of a man who knows how to estimate her worth, the law, like a bull-dog, seizes on her indiscretion, and she is deemed unworthy the association of the virtuous part of sex! and doomed to pine out her life in the most aggravated species of celibacy.  I must beg leave to illustrate this circumstance by an instance which occurred about six years ago.

One of these horrid wretches got hold of a fine handsome boy, whom he met with in the Park; and took him to various houses, several times, for the most abominable purposes.  The lad had the curiosity to watch him home; and having called many times without seeing him, the wife was induced to ask his business with her husband? when this young student in the p. 32cursed science told her, not only what his business then was, but what had already panned between them.—The woman, struck with horror, grief, and amazement, retired to her room, and was a corpse in an hour!

It has been observed by a learned Judge, that the proof of this crime ought to be the more clear, as it is the more detestable; that it ought to be strictly and impartially proved, and then as strictly and impartially punished.  It is an offence, like that of rape, easily charged, but very difficult to be disproved;—the accusation should, therefore, be clearly and incontestibly made out; for if false, it deserves a punishment inferior only to that of the crime itself: and Sir M. Hale relates two very extraordinary cases of malicious prosecutions for rape, that happened within his own observation, and concludes thus; “I mention these instances, that we may be more cautious upon trials of offences of this nature, wherein the court and jury may with so much ease be imposed upon, without great care and p. 33vigilance; the heinousness of the offence many times transporting the judge and jury with so much indignation, that they are over-hastily carried to the conviction of the person accused thereof, by the confident testimony of sometimes false and malicious witnesses.”

I am led to the adoption of these observations of the learned Judge, by a perusal of the evidence given at the Old Bailey on the trial of Hepburn and White, before mentioned.—With respect to the abominable practices which several others were convicted of, there can be no doubt but that Hepburn and White participated in the extent of their guilt; but I am by no means satisfied with the proof of the capital part for which they suffered, upon the evidence of James Mann, a Drummer, who himself was a particeps crimines: the notoriety of these wretches’ propensities in many other instances, perhaps, paved the way for the more ready admission of the witnesses testimony; but if that evidence had been stripped of the p. 34auxiliary accusations, it would most certainly have been received with a doubt sufficiently cogent to have acquitted them:—there are some inconsistencies in the evidence, and some cause for malignant motives in giving it; however, I have merely observed upon this case that no degree of abhorrence attached to the crime ought to interfere with the cool judgment of a jury;—who, I dare say, were satisfied with their verdict: but we have had so many instances of capital punishments resulting from uncontrolable indignation, created by the heinousness of offences, that in my mind the conviction of men charged with atrocious crimes, does not always arise from the inevitable proofs of their guilt.  In this place it may be necessary to make a few observations upon the cases of several persons who have suffered death, transportation, and other punishments, upon accusations of extorting, or attempting to extort, money, under a threat of accusing the parties of Sodomitical practices; and as some have suffered death p. 35within these few years, upon convictions of this nature, I enquired of Cook, if he knew, or ever heard of any attack of that kind having been made upon innocent men? when he informed me, that the prosecutors he had heard of, so far from being innocent men, were all notorious Sodomites, of the worst description; and that he has known many instances of men being convicted for attempting to extort money under such threats, where the prosecutor has allowed the party an income sufficient to indulge them with every comfort during their confinement:—that one man is now in Newgate, who was sentenced to two years imprisonment, whose prosecutor regularly paid him a Guinea per week during the whole time! for it seems these wretches care not what it costs to convict, as, in their idea, it clears their character.

I have a letter now before me, from a miserable creature in Newgate, sentenced to transportation, whose story is briefly this:—

A gentleman, with whom he lived servant, p. 36discharged him without paying him his wages; upon which he wrote to his master, saying that if he did not pay him, he would go to Marlborough-street, the next day, and state his Sodomitical practices; upon which, the gentleman went himself to the office, and obtained a warrant, under the pretext of the man having threatened to charge him with Sodomy unless he gave him money:—he found means to convict the poor fellow, who had two witnesses, who would have proved the truth of his assertion; but they were kept out of the way by the master until the trial was over:—one of whom has since been with him in Newgate, and told him his master gave him five pounds to keep out of the way!

A variety of similar convictions have taken place; for these fashionable miscreants must wipe off the imputation, no matter by what means.  In fine, it seems to have come to this, that if a young man will not submit to Sodomy and hold his tongue, he must be hanged.

I will now relate some remarkable instances p. 37that have come to my knowledge, some of them professionally.  About thirty years ago, a handsome young man, named Donelly, an attorney’s clerk, was cursed with the importunities of the son of a noble earl, and from whom he received several sums of money; but his demands became too rapid for this sprig of nobility, who, from incapacity to answer them, was obliged to desist.  Donelly, one evening, in Berkeley-square, met the elder brother, then Lord —, and mistaking him (from the great likeness) for his little paramour, addressed him in terms that induced the young nobleman to seize him, and take him before a magistrate:—he was capitally convicted, and ordered for execution.  Under all these circumstances, he wrote to the noble Earl, the father, who instituted an inquiry into his son’s conduct; which caused the Earl immediately to apply to his Majesty for a free pardon for Donelly, which the Ordinary of Newgate communicated to him in the p. 38chapel, the Sunday previous to his intended execution.

Another case, something similar, occurred about the year 1781.  The late Felix Macarty, of no slender notoriety, was attacked by the son of a noble Lord of the County of Surrey, on the staircase leading to the great room at the Royal Academy.  Macarty, Irishman-like, did not much approve of any caresses connected with breeches; and was no way solicitous of keeping the affair secret: of course, the transaction made some noise.  The prejudice against an Irish adventurer, as Macarty was termed, gave the transaction an interpretation that conveyed an idea that his intention was to extort money from the nobleman: however, a serious investigation took place with the father and neighbouring gentlemen, of whom Sir Francis Vincent of Stoke was one; when the young gentleman confessed the truth of Macarty’s charge, and was thereupon sent abroad;—Macarty had five hundred guineas given him, as a remuneration for what he p. 39suffered in his character.  I had the particulars of this case from Sir Francis Vincent, who was, at that time, my client.

But I will close the gainful subject of enormous convictions, calculated to screen Sodomites, with a case fabricated only by the premier fiend of hell.

It is somewhat about the same period, that I was with Sir William Aldington, at Bow-street, about some business; when a gentleman of great worth (if such a wretch can be said to have any worth) was brought into the office by a soldier, named Cope, and changed with attacking him, with an intent to commit an unnatural crime.  He stated, that the preceding evening, about half past eleven o’clock, he was stationed in the Park, under the wall of Marlborough-gardens; when this gentleman came up to him, and after some conversation, attempted to put his hand in his breeches; he thereupon seized him, pushed him into his box, and kept him there till the relief guard came;—that the gentleman did every thing he p. 40could to persuade him to let him go; he offered him his watch, and purse, containing seven or eight guineas, which he refused, and marched him down to the guard-room.  This was the charge; now, intelligent reader, mark the defence!

On the magistrate’s asking the gentleman (who, to the disgrace of the profession, was an eminent Conveyancer) what could bring him into the Park at that hour, and in the most inclement evening that was ever felt?—he answered, that he was obliged to go to Buckingham-house to see a lady, from whom he wanted some information respecting the subject of a letter he was writing, and which he could not finish until he had procured it.

Sir William Addington,

“You could not have been admitted into Buckingham-house at that time of night, especially for the purpose of visiting a lady!—have you that letter about! you?”

To which he replied he had only just begun it.

p. 41Sir William Addington.—“Then, Sir, send for it in the state you left it.”

The answer was, ‘I do not recollect where I put it.’

Sir W. A.—“But after you had quitted Buckingham-house, admitting you had been there, how came you in that part of the Park where this soldier was stationed?”

‘I intended to have gone through the stable yard, but having missed it, I thought of going out at the Priory-gate.’

Sir W. A.—“Then why did you not go out there? for this soldier’s box was considerably beyond that place!”—

Here a respectable gentleman of the profession came in, and very judiciously put an end to the examination, by entering into a recognizance for his client’s appearance: to whom the magistrate observed, he never heard so clear a case of guilt, even from the defendant’s own account.

Previous to the ensuing Westminster sessions Cope was sent on the Windsor duty; whether p. 42by collusion, or by the common routine of duty never transpired, further than strong suspicion upon the case.  However, from either Cause, Cope, if he had possessed the ability of following up his charge by an indictment, had no opportunity; and, of course, there the matter of complaint ended.  But the dreadful wretch, not content with his good fortune in escaping the Pillory, in order to cleanse his pestiferous character, indicted Cope for falsely, maliciously, and diabolically charging him with an attempt to commit an unnatural crime.—Thunderstruck, when I heard of the audacious attempt to legalize such an atrocious offence, I went, in company with Mr. Bond, to hear the trial, if a trial it could be called:—but, to get rid of the odious and painful relation, it is only necessary to add, the poor ill-fated fellow was convicted, upon the testimony of the vile old Sodomite; and, if my memory is correct, the sentence of the Court was, that he should be confined in Tothill-fields Bridewell for five years, and stand in the Pillory once every year p. 43during that time.  I may not be correct as to the number of times he stood in the Pillory, but I know it was more than once.

When this phenomenon of a trial was ended, Mr. Bond, the magistrate, and myself walked out of the court together, who exclaimed—“what do you think of this conviction?”  To which I answered, I think as you do, that the jury ought to be taken out of the box, and hanged at the hall door.  However, what can be said? but, alas, poor human nature! judges are but men, and juries subject to fallability!  It may be supposed, that the prosecutor received every assistance that could be had: the late Mr. Bearcroft appeared, to give him a character: a character for what?—why, that he paid his debts, and that he would not pick a pocket; and that he was never accused of committing a rape! which seems to be the amount of character in every case, where a wretch is either prosecutor or defendant on similar occasions.  However, we will now come to the touch-stone, which will, in a great measure, p. 44decide the purity of this old lecher’s character.  It seems the horrid sacrifice made to purify his reputation, was not, in the opinion of sensible and discerning men, perfectly satisfactory, whether his penchant for breeches was not paramount to his affection for petticoats?  And even Mr. Bearcroft was not without a slender portion of scepticism on the subject: for he remarked, in a company where some doubts were entertained which of the two ought to have been put in the pillory, Cope, or his prosecutor, “D—n the fellow! now I think of it, I never remember his having a girl at college!”—But, to put all doubts at rest, respecting this diabolical wretches’ guilt, it is only necessary to state, that he retired into the country, and attacked a farmer’s son; who seized, and took him before a magistrate, when he gave bail: but, foreseeing that he had a man to deal with who was under no military command, nor subject to any impediment for want of money, and too inflexible for any chance of being diverted from his steady purpose of prosecution, p. 45be wisely withdrew himself from England—to which place he has never returned.

I shall now conclude my observations on these hedious transactions with a relation of the unexampled oppression that Cook and his wife have been the objects of.  With respect to his wife, she could not have participated in any transactions of her husband; she did not live in the odious house, or even visit it; and, therefore, her sufferings are not warranted by any plea:—and, indeed, whatever the man’s offences might be, he has most amply purged himself from all the criminal effects of it; and is surely entitled to the protection of the same law to guard his innocence, that was exerted to punish his offence.  That I may be clearly understood in what I deem acts of oppression, I must state the ground that gave pretence to the proceedings against him.

The reader will recollect that Cook had been desirous of making a disclosure of the transactions for which he, and the others were convicted, with the names and rank in life of a p. 46great number of persons implicated; not only at his own house, but at many others, both private and public, the common depots of organized Sodomites; and having been defeated of this intention at the Secretary of State’s office, published the following Prospectus, in the form of a handbill, and distributed them among his customers, both noble and ignoble.


“Preparing for the Press, and speedily will be published,

“An exhibition of the gambols practised by the ancient lechers of Sodom and Gomorrah; embellished and improved with the modern refinements in Sodomitical practices, by the Members of the Vere-street Coterie of detestable memory.

“The facts in this publication are given and substantiated on oath, without regard to the rank or situation in life of the several actors in this diabolical drama.  Peers, Footmen, and Foot-soldiers, will be held up to the indignation of mankind (aye and womankind p. 47to) in the several characters they acted, the hediousness of whose transactions petrify the reader.

“James Cook, the author of this pamphlet, with shame, confesses that he was an eye and ear witness to the execrable scenes of iniquity he relates, and, but for the damning proofs that put to confusion every attempt at contradiction, he would despair of gaining credit for an hundredth part of the odious tale he has to unfold.  He is now in Newgate, undergoing a punishment for keeping the rendezvous of the miscreants; a punishment which ought, in strict justice, to have fallen to the lot of the characters whose infamy will shortly come under the cognizance of the public.

“N.B.  It is said that the ghost of White, the drummer boy, lately executed for Sodomy, pays his nocturnal visits to old Moggy, the rump-rider, Park-street, exclaiming,

“Monster! amidst the din of infernal howl
The fiends in hell will scramble for thy soul.”

p. 48The foregoing intimation caused some temporary abatement of whiskered dalliance; and the softer passions gave way to the spirit of revenge: the first fruits of which was a detainer for twenty-three pounds debt, lodged against him on the eve of his enlargement, after two year’s imprisonment, of which he had received a week’s notice:—the attorney who issued out the writ was applied to, and requested to give it to a Sheriff’s officer, to whom a sufficient bail-bond should be given, although the defendant denied owing the money.  Such of my readers as are acquainted with the rules of practice will conclude with me, that the ends of justice, and the completion of an attorney’s duty would have been answered by this means; or, at least, any attorney who had not been nursed by a Siberian Tartar, would have thought himself justified by acceding to the proposition; but it was made to a wretch,

                  “whose parent was a rock,
And fierce Hercanean tigers gave him birth.”

However, I see by the roll of attorneys, that p. 49the gentleman in question stands alone; and that Providence seems satisfied with the mischief done, by placing him there solo!—In my anxiety to procure food for my next number of legalized cormorancy, I made some inquiry respecting the general practice of this virtuous one, et cetera:—the answer I received from one professional gentleman was as satisfactory as laconic: “Did you ever see him?”  I replied in the negative:—then, said he, “his heart is as ugly as his face; and that is as ugly as Kit Chrishop’s!”

Cook’s brother, a poor hard-working man, happened to have about forty pounds in his possession, a sum devoted to pay for some timber, to carry on his business as a bedstead-maker; and who, under the agonizing affliction of a brother in such a predicament, in order to facilitate his enlargement, deposited the amount of the debt, and ten pounds costs, in the Sheriff’s office, until the return of the writ, when it was intended to justify bail, and try the cause.  I will now account for Cook’s p. 50being defeated in a remedy provided even by an Act of Parliament.

Being at liberty, and without a shilling to help himself, he had recourse to several wretches who, in the burning frenzy of their love fits, and to gratify the appetites of their languishing enamoratas, ordered suppers, and run into other expences for which they were not provided with the means of prompt payment, and which they never thought fit to discharge during his two year’s confinement: he, therefore, called upon some few of his equivocal gender customers, to remind them that the dues arising out of their gallantries had not been discharged.  This led him, in company with his wife, to the house of a Mr. Stewart, to enquire after his friend and neighbour Mr. —, a ci-divant Reverend, who, it seems, had been unfrocked during his probation in Newgate.  Upon Cook’s name being announced, the old hen began clucking, and caused a momentary cessation of amorous billing with the salacious brood within.  Cook, p. 51not being able to get any satisfaction, walked away; but was followed by a champion for the sacred rights of Sodom, who, at the distance of two streets, came up to them, seized the woman by the arm, and, after twisting her round, knocked her down!—My reader will be apt to think that this was beginning at the wrong end of a manly contest; but it must be remembered that the woman was the most offensive object of the two; for Cook, having breeches on, possessed the possibility of a reconciliation; but with a petticoat, no terms of accommodation could take place: and in this case the antipathy was widened; for Mrs. Cook is really a good-looking, nay, a pretty woman.  However J. Shenston, whether John or Jane I know not, received from Cook a knock-down blow in (his) turn; with the token of which clinging to his nose and month he ran back to Moggy Stewart’s; and, after a fainting fit or two had been recovered, Shenston assumed his male character, and posted away to Marlborough-street; where, upon the p. 52usual terms, he obtained a warrant against both Cook and his wife, for a pretended assault committed upon him.

Reader! as the business becomes a little more serious, I must crave a little unprejudiced attention.  The warrant being executed in the evening, I undertook to produce the parties next morning, before the magistrates; they, of course, willingly appeared; when the hardy villain related the particulars of the assault committed upon him, as if he had never heard of the crime of perjury, or the punishment annexed to it: however the two defendants were of course ordered to find bail, which they did.  And now begins a scene of oppression sufficient to make a man believe that the actors were impatient for their share of pillories and gibbets.  When these two ill-fated people were before the magistrates, Mr. Baker asked Shenstone what he was?—he replied, a gentleman’s servant out of place.  “How do you get your living?” was the next question. ‘I am supported by my friends at Birmingham:’ Cook, p. 53not chusing to let this Birmingham-story, pass, gave his town-made description in the following workman-like manner; “You are maintained by a set of Sodomites! these are your friends that support you!”—Now, mark how this business was reported in the public papers:

“Cook, the cidevant keeper of the Swan, in Vere-street, was brought before the magistrates, for assaulting a respectable tradesman, with an intent to extort money from him.”  The account then stated the names and places of residence of his bail; and that Cook had been taken to Queen-square, a few days before, for a similar attempt on a gentleman.  With regard to what passed at Marlborough-street, I have faithfully stated it; and what passed at Queen-square was simply this, for I was present.  Cook met a gentleman of some consequence over Westminster-bridge, and used some unpleasing language to him, which raised a mob: he thereupon threatened to take Cook before a magistrate, who replied that he p. 54would meet him at Queen-square; where they met, and, upon Cook’s promising not to molest him again, he was discharged.  The reporter, not satisfied with the most shameful perversion of truth, added a malignant, diabolical note, that extorting money is a capital offence.

I must now bestow a few observations upon the transactions at Marlborough-street: and, first, with respect to the extortion and respectability of the prosecutor, who, by his own account, is a gentleman’s servant out of place—no very promising subject for extortion; a fellow whom Cook states to be one of the lowest attendants at Vere-street, for the most depraved purposes;—a fellow that was obliged to borrow a great coat to appear before the magistrates!!!  Extortion! from a wretch living in a back garret, and literally in rags, and whose breeches, from the superfluous apertures, gave manifestation of rapturous attacks upon his virtue! and whose finances were so far from satisfying the demands of extortion, that the Constable was obliged to go to one of p. 55his Birmingham friends, for money to defray the trifling expences at the office.

I have only to observe, on the conduct of the reporter, that there can be no act of diabolism equal to the mischief originating in the ignorance, falshood, or that species of low bribed calumny, that is to be procured from the necessities of a fellow, who would libel the fairest character in the nation, for a beef-steak and pot of porter: and it is astonishing, that magistrates will suffer such vermin to infest the office:—at best, these hireling reporters are not to be depended upon; and the experience of half a century enables me to aver that I do not remember half a score correct reports, even of what passed in the courts at Westminster.  Nor does the mischief close here: for the supplementary part of the atrocity is equally dreadful; which consists in the conductors of the Papers almost constantly refusing to correct their own errors, or censuring the conduct of such pernicious scribblers.

p. 56The consequence attending the statement of which I am complaining has been incalculable—for Cook’s poor brother, who is a man of unblemished character, is totally ruined—no one will employ him.  Degraded in the estimation of his neighbours, his few creditors came upon him; his landlord gave him warning to quit his house.  Such have been the effects of a poison, disseminated in a manner that has admitted of no antidote.  A similar fate, also, attended the other bail:—Mrs. Cook turned out of her lodging at an hour’s notice, and her necessaries stopped until she had paid rent for a certain time she could not inhabit.

I think I shall be pardoned if I pause for a moment, and ask the candid and liberal reader whether the Reporter of such unprincipled and profligate falshoods is not entitled to some, and what reward?  Slitting his nose! cutting off his ears—or, exalting him to a situation, where he may receive the kindred filth of his own pestiferous principles.  I am a friend to the liberty of the press in its fullest extent; p. 57and have given many convincing proofs of it: but I am not so incorrigible an offender against the law of libels, as to deny my title to a gibbet, had I been the author of so vile, so miscreantic, and so reptilized a calumny!

The reader will recollect that Cook had deposited the money he was detained for, under what I call a stupid, useless Act of Parliament, calculated for no possible convenience for a defendant; who could, without the aid of this idiotic act, always deposit the debt and costs with a Sheriff’s-officer until he gave a bail-bond: but, under this Act, the debt is directed to be paid into Court, with ten pounds costs; and when the defendant has justified bail, he must be at the expence of a motion, to get the money restored: but here, this miserable defendant was denied the benefit of that Act, or, indeed, any existing law whatever.  But it is some consolation to say, that he is the only man in the kingdom that is to be told, that neither law, justice, or humanity dare approach him:—for he has been denied the right p. 58of submitting his case to a Jury, whether he owed the money or not.  The ten pounds costs having been deposited with the debt, the plaintiff’s attorney has laid his hands upon the whole, and the cause ended by a legalized robbery: for the infamous statement in the newspaper, before mentioned, has shut out the possibility of bailing the action and trying it.

Nor can the reptilized attorney, Wooley, who robbed them under pretext of defending them, as stated in the beginning of this treatise hope for a protraction of his iniquities longer than the ensuing term, when I shall apply to the Court of King’s Bench, to appoint Cook an Attorney; and I beg the candid reader will believe, when I assert that I have used great economy in the expenditure of the vast sum of Wooley’s iniquity, which the premier fiend of hell would tremble to count over: but perhaps the hour is at no great distance, when I shall be more profuse in the description of these person’s sufferings, and oppression; when I undertake the task of identifying the men with the crimes, and the crimes with the men.

p. 59In fine, the poor beggared brother has lost the money, without a possibility of a remedy: and, as a proof that Cook, wretched as his situation is at this day, was not, and is not, without the good opinion of many respectable men, an eminent tradesman, as any in the city of Westminster, offered to indemnify bail to any amount for him, or bail him, if he could do it without becoming subject to Newspaper calumny.

Immediately after bailing the assault, Cook was arrested the second time, and taken to a lock-up house (for the same malignant fate pursued him, to the exclusion of all possibility of bailing him) where he remained until a habeas could be sued out; upon which he was taken to the Fleet-prison, destitute of the means of procuring a supper or a bed, and subject to the ruffianly insults of the unfeeling and uniformed part of the prisoners.—About three days after he was committed to the Fleet, the Sessions, for Middlesex commenced, when he and his wife were both indicted for the pretended assault.

p. 60Cook being in the Fleet, I procured bail for the wife only; O say procured—for, during forty years’ practice I never before, in any one instance, hired bail: and, upon her being liberated, the magistrate, of course, granted a supersedeas to the warrant.  Yet, astonishing as it may appear, at least to every professional man, this ill-fated woman was seized on the Saturday-night following, as she was going into the Fleet to her husband, by a ruffianly fellow named Creswell, a city constable; and a companion, disdaining to be behind-hand with his master in brutality; who took her to the Poultry Compter, where she was kept until Monday in the most shocking of all situations, among felons and prostitutes of the most abandoned description.

That those who were paid for this outrage should not regard the supersedeas does not astonish me; but that the keeper of the compter should set a legal instrument at defiance, that strictly forbade him to molest or imprison the defendant, I do confess, staggers every p. 61conjecture I have been able to make upon the subject:—I hope his conduct proceeded from sheer ignorance, and I have some reason to think it did.  However, determined not to desert these unhappy people in any extremity, I attended the Alderman at Guildhall, who very judiciously told this Mr. Constable Creswell he could not take notice of any thing but the supersedeas; and, of course, the woman was discharged.  Notwithstanding this determination of the Alderman, this same Creswell took her into the County of Middlesex and delivered her to a constable belonging to Marlborough-street-office; and, after being wearied and tortured for two or three hours more, she was again discharged.  It seems that at Marlborough-street (to use a trite phrase) the cat jumped out of the bag! for there arose a violent contention between Shenstone, the nominal prosecutor, and these upright, assiduous, ministers of justice, respecting, first, the amount of their wages, and, secondly, who was so pay them?—which, I am p. 62informed, ended in that species of mutual satisfaction that thieves generally experience, in dividing the plunder of an empty purse!

Another act of outrage was committed by this Creswell against Cook and his wife, about a fortnight previous to the execution of the warrant in question; when he apprehended, and took them to the Compter, without any warrant at all! where they were kept for the whole night.  In the morning they went before Sir Matthew Bloxam, with all the marks and bruises they had received from Creswell over-night: but as the worthy Alderman will, in all probability, be called upon in a court of Justice, as a material witness, I shall add no more at present, than that he acted like himself upon the occasion; and, thinking that Cook had as much right to his own watch as Creswell, with a severe reprimand compelled him to return it; [62] at the same time we shall p. 63see if Creswell’s indemnity for all these outrages will shelter him from the wholesome scourge of criminal justice.

I hope and trust that there is not a lover of genuine liberty, but will contribute a little to enable these oppressed people to obtain impartial justice; not only against Constable Creswell, but against his employers, whose abominations can have no reliance upon impunity, but from the destruction of Cook.  And here I must repeat Lord Ellenborough’s assertion, that although the parties may not be entitled to respect, yet the laws must be respected! therefore, the same laws that punish crimes, must protect innocence; and I hope brutal constable Creswell, and rapacious lawyer Woolley, [63] will p. 64receive a lesson, that will inspire them with some small portion of reverence for his Lordship’s opinion.

The sufferings of Cook and his wife are marked with great aggravation: for they are sacrificed, not as an atonement for their own crimes, but that the crimes of others shall not be atoned for! and for myself, I should not be surprised at any act of desperation their wrongs may drive them to;—for, when injustice is thought no crime, revenge becomes a virtue.





I think it necessary to give some account of the debt of £60 for which Cook is now confined in the Fleet, at the suit of Mr. Henry Meux.

Cook had dealt with the house of Starkey and Jennings for many years; who, soon after his conviction, seized upon all his property, both at the Swan in Vere-street, and at the White Horse, Long Acre; the latter being kept by his wife separately, out of which she was forcibly turned; but, by what authority, remains involved in mystery to this day.  His dealings with them appear to have been exemplary p. 66correct and just, and such as by no means could warrant the step they had taken;—there was no money due for any beer, for that in the cellar was over-paid:—the mortgage on the lease was reduced from £1175 to £116; and there was no debt of any kind at the time of the levy; for he did not owe ten shillings in the world.

Among the property seized under this levy in Vere-street, were six butts of porter, sent in by Mr. Henry Meux, the present plaintiff against Cook.  Some days after the levy, Mrs. Cook learnt from the men in possession that all the effects were to be sold:—she thereupon sent to Meux, to take his beer back;—and to the Distiller, Mr. Temple: the latter of whom succeeded in getting away his property.  But Meux’s claim was resisted; and in a manner that would have induced me (had Mr. Meux been my client) to have advised him to bring his action, against Starkey and not Cook; for it must be observed, this beer constituted the only debt due to Meux; whose cooper and p. 67servants will prove the struggle Cook made to have the beer returned: and I have no doubt but a jury will remunerate him sufficiently, not only to discharge Mr. Meux’s demand, but to recompense him for his imprisonment and other wrongs he has suffered from the transactions of Starkey’s house:—however, let my suspicions on the subject be what they may, this is not a time to promulgate them; as I shall reserve them for the contents of a council’s brief.—I have taken a vast deal of pains to sift the conduct of this brewing community; and the end of my research is, that no fault attaches to the Draymen, or horses!  Knavery, as well as Folly, distinctly may accomplish much mischief; but a combination of both, generally destroys the effect of each other;—which may, perhaps, be illustrated in the present case.

The levy was made on the 18th July, 1810, the property all taken, and Mrs. Cook turned into the street; and on the 26th of September following, being a space of two months that p. 68Cook had received no account of his property; but the evening of the day previous to his standing in the pillory, he was visited by Mr. Batt, the fac-totum of Starkey’s Brewhouse, and some other persons, to finally settle the accounts with the house.  It must be confessed it was an hour illy calculated to settle accounts—more especially such accounts.  Cook, in the moment of distraction, expecting to meet a violent death in a few hours, had neither time or spirits to expostulate; he made no objection to any settlement; a cabbage-leaf would have been as satisfactory to him then as the following receipt.

£381 13s. 2d.

26th Sept. 1810,

Received of Mr. Cook the sum of three hundred and eighty-one pounds 13s. 2d. being the balance of his account, and in full of all demands up to this day, due to Mrs. Starkey.


However Mr. Batt thought the account very satisfactorily settled; and if Cook had been murdered the next day, it might have remained p. 69undisturbed; but, in my opinion, this receipt will prove the fruitful mother of a monstrous progeny!  It was a cunning trick for a Brewer!  It is a pity he was so scanty of a few grains (I mean of common humanity and candor) but he is a Brewer!—As to myself it is conduct inexplicable! but time may mature this mis-shapen fœtus of a mash-tub; and it may live to prove that the mutilated worm that is trod in the earth to day, may rise a scorpion to-morrow, and sting its oppressor to the heart.

After all, it is to be wished, for the sake of public, justice and common humanity, that Mr. Meux would, for the present, discharge a man from prison, of whose integrity and anxiety to do him justice he has had such convincing proofs; and I am not without a hope that he will do it, as I see by the writ his Attorney is one of those few men who disdain making a bill of costs out of the bowels of wretchedness.  If Mr. Meux thinks the man possessed means of paying for a dinner when he was p. 70taken to a sponging house, he has been criminally imposed upon: for, from the moment he arrested him, to the present time, he has not had the means of procuring a two-penny loaf, but from the most mortifying mendicity.  I do not wish to make any observations upon the unprovoked conduct of arresting him, for I firmly believe Mr. Meux is wholly ignorant of his wretched situation.

After Cook’s trial for the pretended assault, the public will be favored with the names and residences of the parties who are the principal objects of this publication; a great number of whom will be compelled to attend in Court, to give evidence on particular points connected with the trial.

I have only to add, in conclusion, that, as I begun with an apology for writing these pages at all, I now feel an equal inclination to apologize for having written them so ill, and so unworthy the pen of any man laying the least claim to literary abilities;—it has been an odious task; but my end is answered if it procures p. 71the injured man and his wife that justice I think them entitled to; and I hope the sale of it will afford them some relief.


6, Richmond Buildings, Soho.


N.B.  Cook intreats me to say, that during the twelve years he was in business he dealt with the following persons, exclusive of Starkey and Meux; whose justice he now challenges, to say if his conduct has not been uniformly marked with integrity.

Rickets and Hill


Sharp and Lucas

Ale Brewers

Blackbird and Burleigh

Porter ditto

Stephens and Paget


Felix Calvert

Porter Brewer

Brown and Parry


Parry and Brown





Brandy Merchant



Does this man deserve the treatment of a cheat, a swindler, or a thief?




[62]  It is very remarkable that Creswell, the author of the outrage just stated, should be selected for the execution of the warrant for the assault; and it is equally unfortunate for the poor woman, that this Parochial Pole-cat lives in the neighbourhood of the Fleet-prison, and is continually insulting her.

[63]  The Fifth Number of Strictures on the Practice of Attorneys will soon be published; when the wide-spreading branches of this fellow’s iniquity will appear in full bloom;—the pestiferous fumes of which will give the law-sick fiends in Tartarus a vomit.