J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Plumb Crazy

Constabulary notes from the Old Bailey Online, 10 Oct 1733 in London:

John Sherman was indicted for the Murder of John Wiggans, by striking him on the left side of the Head with a Cane, by which he fell to the Ground, and by that Fall received one mortal Wound and Bruise on the Fore part of his Head, Sept. 20 of which Wound he linguished till the 26th of the same Month, and then died. He was a 2d time indicted on the Coroner’s Inquest for Manslaughter.

The Prisoner and the Deceased were at the Tewksbury-Church Alehouse in White-chappel; they sat in different Boxes; the Prisoner and his Company were spelling Words, and at last a Tankard of Beer was laid about spelling Plumb; upon which the Deceased started up, and said, God damn you all for a Parcel of Blockheads, P, l, u, m, b, spells Plumbn

Some of the Prisoner’s Company said, what silly Fellow is that, to trouble his Head with us?

The Deceased came to them, and swore he was as good a Man as any of them, and he’d fight e’er a Man there with a Stick, either for Love or a Tankard of Beer, and at last he would needs sight the Prisoner. The Prisoner declined it, but the Deceased went home, and returned with his Cane, and challenged the Prisoner to go into the Yard.

They fought, and broke one another’s Heads.—The Prisoner’s Cane was split. They parted. The Deceased would have t’other Bout. The Prisoner knocked him down, and he fell with his Head upon the Pavement; he was help’d up; they went in; their Heads were dress’d; they drank to one another; shook Hands; parted Friends, and the Deceased went home, and not imagining the Wound to be dangerous, neglected to send for a Surgeon till it was too late; his Skull was fractured, and it proved the Cause of his Death.

Good times.


Chaucerian said...

A most instructive moral tale, for which I thank you.

G. Lovely said...

As I often warned my now adult children: Beware the power of Beer.

True throughout history.