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Author Topic: Obscene Libel. Maidstone Assizes. 1808  (Read 416 times)

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Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Re: Obscene Libel. Maidstone Assizes. 1808
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2018, 21:16:58 »
I think this is our chap.
Lieutenant General Baron Charles Hompesch. An Hungarian aristocrat serving in the British army.

The Royal Collection has this about him.
'Baron Hompesch' was Charles Hompesch, a highly eccentric German soldier who served in the British Army from at least 1794, apparently for a time in the Prince's own Regiment, the 10th Light Dragoons. He was appointed Major General on 5 May 1796, Lieutenant-General on 25 November 1803, and died in 1812.

Also, on the 21 September 1806, a Baron Hompesch, "A dastardly character well known in the seedier gaming circles of the city", fought a duel on Blackheath.
http://www.thegreenwichphantom.co.uk/2009/11/page/2/ Scroll down a bit to The Duellists, A Mostly-Accurate History.
Hometown Blues Syd Arthur

Offline Mickleburgh

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Re: Obscene Libel. Maidstone Assizes. 1808
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2018, 23:44:21 »
There appears to be conflicting evidence here about the Baron, surely he was a General in the Austro-Hungarian army and was once defeated and captured by the French in the person of Marshall Ney? Not Swiss and in the British army. What is the story surrounding him and Bicknor anyway?

Offline smiffy

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Re: Obscene Libel. Maidstone Assizes. 1808
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2018, 18:33:19 »
The Garrow prosecuting here was none other than the famous William Garrow. This case seems to have caused quite a bit of public interest as well as some amusement:

https://garrowsociety.org/2010/05/04/william-garrow-in-the-british-museum/2/

Offline scintilla

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Re: Obscene Libel. Maidstone Assizes. 1808
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2018, 14:17:13 »
There is a much fuller account of this case in the Sporting Magazine, Volume 31, Page 306 on Google Books
https://books.google.com/books?id=PrQaAQAAMAAJ&pg=PP15#v=onepage&q&f=false

Offline Mickleburgh

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Re: Obscene Libel. Maidstone Assizes. 1808
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2018, 14:11:47 »
So, how is the search going for a copy of `The Termagant?

Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Obscene Libel. Maidstone Assizes. 1808
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2018, 21:11:22 »
Maidstone Assizes.
Sherwood v Homspesch.

The defendant is an Hungarian Nobleman, (Baron Hompesch) who fills an high military post in this country. The Plaintiff is a Kentish farmer. This was an action for a libel on the Plaintiff and his wife. The libel was a composition of such gross obscenity, that all females were ordered to leave the Court. Mr. Shepherd expatiated with great ability on the circumstances of the case, which were shortly these : The Plaintiff Sherwood was in the habit of going to the Baron's house, and one Sunday, in October, he sat with him drinking and playing cards all the Sunday, and all the night until five o'clock in the morning ; then his wife came and fetched him home.
The next day the Baron sent him a little wine, to refresh his spirits as he said, and afterwards a plaister to cure the bruises which he said his wife might have given him, and an ornamental horse-whip to correct his wife. He afterwards set about to compose a song, called "The Termagant ; or, Direful Kentish Tale," which was proved to have been given by him to one Gordon to be circulated. This was the libel complained, and was an obscene droggrel poem on Sherwood's wife fetching him home ; it contained neither wit, poetry, nor humour, but was mere vulgar obscenity, containing the grossest and most disgusting imputations upon the character of the Plaintiff's wife.
Mr. Serjeant Best spoke on mitigation of damages. After which, the Lord Chief Baron told the Jury, that he had no doubt that the Defendant must have been the person who had debauched the Plaintiff's mind to gambling on a Sunday, and neglect of his affairs ; and he spoke of the libel in terms of great disgust.
The Jury withdrew for five minutes, and then returned with a Verdict for Plaintiff.- Damages 500l.
(500)
     From the North Wales Gazette. 24th March 1808.
Hometown Blues Syd Arthur

 

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