Old News

Here are some historical articles I come across now and then that I reprint here so that others may find them interesting or amusing or else important for studying history in general and establishing historical fact specifically. The article numbers are for the purposes of this page and not the numbering system used in the original publications. Long shaped “s” and other old conventions are modified by me, J. Embs, for simplicity of reproducing the articles in the manner of internet typography, but the spelling, italics, and as many of features as possible, have been preserved. My own notes and commentary are in bold text.

Articles #1 through #4 are reprinted from Gentleman’s Magazine Vol 1. Jan 1731.


Article #1 citing the Universal Spectator.

Universal Spectator, January, 16. No. 119.

Contains a letter from a physician, in which he describes the miserable condition of his patients, that apply to him on the venereal account. Of this sort the most unfortunate and pitiful object is a woman of the town, who, if not quite abondon’d, gives a loose to her passion on such occasions. The consideration of her past, present, and future state, fills her with distraction, and involves her in endless evils, from which death only can deliever her.

Proceeds to argue with the infamous authors of the misery of these wretches, who first seduce the poor young creatures from their innocence, and then triumph in their wickedness. He who debauches a maiden, and then exposes her to want and shame, is arrived to such a monstrous height of villany, that no word in our language can reach it. Mentions a further species of cruelty, that is, the necessity some of these poor wretches are under, if with child, of applying to a magistrate to procure some pitiful maintenance for her unfortunate babe.—— When all that is to be done by the father, is to make the best bargain he can with the church-wardens to take it off his hands; which is commonly done for a treat, and 10 or 12 l. [Embs Note: this probably signifies “libra” the symbol for the British pound; the English currency.] So the child is placed upon the parish, and the woman upon the town.

[Embs Note: Here we see that fornication burdened the society financially as various forms of child support (“maintenance”) and medical aid appear to have existed in the 1700s and the state church took care of abandoned babies for a small fee. The burden to the state could have been the justification for some of the laws which limited sexual choice during that era including laws against fornication, adultery, and prostitution.]

Article #2

Univers.Spectator, Jan. 23. No. 120.

ENtertains his readers with two letters ; the first is from Tristitia Stale, who complains that she is continually persecuted, merely because she is an old maid.

Virginity, she says, has not always been a reproach, sees no encouragement in matrimony, and begs the Spectator to reprimand the malaperts [Embs Note: meaning “saucy, impudent, forward, without respect or decency. Source – Websters 1828], who ridicule chastity ; adds, that a single life in woman was esteem’d among the ancient as well as modern Romans ; vestals then, and nuns now.

The other letter is from Charlotte Wilful, a young lady of 19, who says she has two admirers. The first is ‘squire Scrape, who has 1200 l. per annum, which he keeps in his own hands and farms himself, and therefore is favour’d in his pretentions by her father.

Mr. Myrtle, her mother’s favourite, is the other, who, by his own account is near 40, by that of his acqaintance 10 years older, has squander’d away a good estate, but by the death of an uncle is now worth 1000 l. per annum, and is a perfect humourist [Embs Note: See notes on Article #4].

But to both these she prefers Mr Plume of the Inner-Temple [Embs Note: Possibly a reference to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inner_Temple], who has no estate, but is of a sweet temper. Concludes with desire Mr Stonecastle to declaim on parents making choices for their Children, with a stroke on antiquated beaus, and rural animals, and to recommend a fine gentleman with no fortune. Desires, by way of postscript, that he would not delay publishing her letter, because Mr Plume and she had agreed to run away together on Tuesday next.

[Embs Note: Here we see that arranged marriages were not the custom of the day in the 1700s in England, however parents had some input into their children’s spousal arrangements. How much they should have was already a topic of discussion at the time.]

Article #3

An Extract of a Discourse made to the Royal Society, in Defence of Mr. Cheselden’s intended Operation on the Ear of a condemn’d Malefactor.

Daily Courant. Jan. 17.

The author first observes, that the skin, commonly call’d, The Drum of the Ear, is not the organ of hearing, as was vulgarly thought ; for the proof of which he offers a great number of reason and observations of his own, as well as the opinions and reasons of the most learned and judicious anatomists. He then observes, there are two passages to the organs of hearing ; one by the outward ear, the other thro’ the back part of the mouth, thro’ which some people can hear, who cannot hear thro’ the outward ear. In this case he supposes the sound may be interrupted by the drum of the ear, which is seated in this passage, and being diseased, may hinder sounds from passing ot the internal parts, where are seated the proper organs of hearing : In this case only, he supposes, that perforating the drum may prove a remedy for deafness, as depressing the chrystalline humour of the eye (vulgarly call’d couching a cataract) is daily found to be a remedy for blindness ; and ye ttha toperation has been as indecently and ignorantly ridicul’d as the experiment of Mr. Cheselden’s ; one writer against that operation not scripuling to give his book the following title, A new method of recovering the sight by putting out the eye. He also observes, that the scituation of the drum is such, that the operatoin may be easily made by a skilful person ; and it being a very thin skin, he presumes it will not be very painful ; and if so, the person who is to undergo the experiment will purchase his life upon very easy terms : But supposing it should be very painful ; (which ’tis hop’d it will not be) on whom can the first experiment be so fitly made, for the service of mankind, as on one whose life is already forfeited to the publick ? [See page 10. Col. 2.]

[Embs Note: Here we see that prisoners condemned to die in the 1700s were subjected to terrible and painful experiments based on extremely primative anatomonical understanding. In exchange for their “service of mankind” as guinea pigs it appears that there was a possibility they could set free making the practice involuntary since their only chance at freedom was to undergo the experiment. As we all know with our common understanding of anatomy today the experiment suggested (removing the skin of the eardrum as though it were a cataracted eye) would have rendered the subject entirely deaf and in the worst pain possible.]

Article #4 [Embs Note: this appears on page 10 starting in the first column continuing in the second to continue the discussion of the experiment on the malefactor.  Apparently Dr. Quibus wants to remove the whole ear of some poor soul.]

The Grub=Street Journal, Thursday, Jan. 14. No. 53

DR. Quibus chuses for the subject of his discourse the operation designed to be performed on the ears of one Rey, a condemn’d malefactor, by Mr Cheselden. This he treats in a ludicrous manner, and supposes that if Mr Rey should prove so unphilosophical as to give the surgeon the slip as soon as the operation is over, we should be as much in the dark as we were before. He declares his opinion, that not only the drum, but the whole organ, or the ear it self, is of no use at all in hearing, and would know the truth of his conjecture by seeing the ears of some malefactor entirely extirpated. Recommends it as a thing of great use, if instead of executing malefactors they were made to undergo such kind of experiments. Trial may be [Embs note: It appears the word “be” may be italicized in the text, but it is unclear. I believe it mostly likely is not.] made whether the Retina quite remov’d. The spleen might be taken out of some vile malefactor, and an observation made whether their inclinations to evil courses depend not on a superfluity of the Atra Bilis. [Embs Note: The word “bilis” means “bile” which was theorized by the ancient Greeks and early Romans to emanate from the spleen and cause “rage” (which is what the word “bilis” means in Spanish). People that believed in the theory that there were four liquids which regulated the temperments of people were called “humorists.” This metaphysical nonesense is still preached in Baptist churches today that disobey God’s prohibition to follow philosophy and vain deceit and science falsely so-called. Colossians chapter 2, I Timothy chapter 6] Another experiment he recommends as of great consequence, that is, whether the tying up one of the testicles would not determine the sex of a child begotten at such a time. By this means, he says, many illustrious families might be inform’d of a just and certain method of obtaining an heir to their estates. See p. 19. [Embs Note: Page 19 refers to the article previously given here.]

[Embs Note: We can see the stupidity and monstrous behavior of “doctors” during this period which continues today as brain samples are collected from criminals like Adam Lanza to supposedly prove his that his “aspergers syndrome” resulted in “an extreme male brain” which bigots surmised would be naturally ultra-violent since all males are violent according to bigots and was therefore cause of his violent acts. There are anti-male bigots and gender-genocidal maniacs want to be able to screen people for violent tendancies and based upon those tests label some people as having a higher risk for violence and therefore deny them equal rights including their right to bear arms, due process, liberty, and interaction with the public based on this provably false theory. And it is provably false for the vast majority of violent people do not have aspergers at all and the rate of violence is greater among women than men in that more than three-thousand babies are murdered every day by their own mothers in a proceedure called “abortion” (a number PRO-abortion advocates tout… http://www.abortionsweb.com/abortion-facts/safety.htm) The bigoted, misandristic, and utterly ignorant theory of aspergers, which is now being called “the extreme male brain,” being linked to violence and the collection of brain samples to prove that bigoted theory, follows a tradition of ignorant, unethical, and immoral practice by physicians falsely so-called.]

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