Stories of people being suddenly struck dumb by divine intervention were not as uncommon as this piece suggests, but here it is used as a salutary lesson for blasphemers.
“An awful instance of divine correction, of a nature which cannot fail to be admonitorily applied by all who hear of it, was experienced by a young man in this town on Monday last. Whilst giving reins to a vehemence of passion, and impiously uttering the most blasphemous expressions, he was, by visitation of Providence, suddenly struck dumb! Under this affliction, and in a state of mind, from remorse and contrition, the most deplorable, the unhappy young man, has remained ever since his intemperate and wicked behaviour and the infliction of this signal mark of divine displeasure. Amongst the light and incongruous materials of a newspaper, relations of a tenor so solemn as this so rarely occur, that we hope it will make a lasting and useful impression upon the profane, whether from principle or inadvertency.”
Stamford Mercury, 14th June, 1805.
London news was generally serious items from Parliament and the Court, but, just as today we have ‘and finally’ items in news broadcasts, there were often amusing snippets reported at the end:
“A few days since, a gentleman very gravely wrote to another – ‘Sir, you have deprived me of the very best friend I had on my back.” Upon examination, it appeared that the latter had neglected to return a borrowed Great Coat.
“A woman, lately brought before a Country Magistrate, and behaving with much confidence, was told by his worship that she had brass enough in her face to make a five-gallon kettle. ‘Yes,’ answered she, ‘and there is sap enough in your head to fill it!’ ”
Stamford Mercury 2nd December, 1808.
During their time at Chatham, French prisoners used to gamble food and clothes away to their fellow comrades. Some had “naked luck” and some even starved.
” There is such an irresistible spirit of gambling existing among the French prisoners lately arrived at Chatham from Norman Cross, that many of them have been almost entirely naked during the late severe weather, having lost their clothes, not excepting even their shirts and small clothes, to some of their fellow prisoners; many of them are also reduced to the chance of starving by the same means, having lost seven or eight days’ provision to their fortunate comrades, who never fail to exact their winnings. The effervescence of mind that this diabolical pursuit gives rise to, is often exemplified in the conduct of these infatuated captives, rendering them remarkably turbulent and unruly. On Saturday a quarrel arose between two of them in course of play, when one of them, who lost his clothes and food, received a severe stab in the back with a large knife from his companion, whose anger had been kindled by the invectives which a run of ill luck had excited in his adversary. Every care was taken of the wounded man by surgeons.”
Stamford Mercury, 18th December 1807.
An overly-confident man crashed his horse drawn cart into a mud-cart, after attempting to show his skill with a whip. The end results were fast and filthy.
” Thursday a gentleman, desirous of exhibiting his skill in the science of the whip, ascended the box of his own landaulet, drawn by a pair of capital horses, and driving furiously down Fleet-street, came in contact with a mud-cart, which was stationary, and nearly full. The concussion was so great as to precipitate him completely into the filth collected therein, from which he emerged sufficiently soused, by the assistance of the scavengers, to the no small diversion of the surrounding throng.”
Stamford Mercury 6th November, 1807.
To lighten the air after reports of heavy parliamentary debates, this charming verse about marriage in Heaven appears at the end of the news from London.
“Cries Celia to a Reverend Dean,
What Reason can be given,
Since Marriage is a Holy Thing,
That there is none in Heaven.
There are no Women, he reply’d:
She quick returns the Jest;
Women there are, but I’m afraid,
They cannot find a Priest.”
Stamford Mercury 17th March, 1737.
The Frock Discarded
Society ladies cast off their dresses and start a new fashion trend. Sporting new outfits for events, they catch the eye of the local media.
“LADY CATHERINE WILLOUGHBY is now numbered among the members of the very smart young set in Mayfair who have adopted coloured shorts for tennis and at Lady Crossfield’s big garden party disported herself in a pair of pink pale crepe with a black belt.
Her equally energetic sister, Lady Priscilla, never misses an opportunity to play polo, and, and in spite of the great heat, was thoroughly enjoying herself at Hurlingham.
Lady Priscilla, by the way, like her sister-in-law, has been taking on quite a lot of public social work- opening fetes, bazaars, etc.-in Stamford district lately, but, if i remember aright, we have still to have the pleasure of seeing Lady Catherine in like role in the area.”
Stamford Mercury 27th July, 1934.
A never seen before Wax Exhibition, described as Most Splendid and Striking, has been advertised to be open by the creator Mrs. Silvester to the public.
“NEVER SEEN HERE BEFORE
On MONDAY NEXT will be OPENED,
The most splendid and striking EXHIBITION of
IN WAX, EVER SEEN.
MRS. SILVESTER, from No. 341,
Strand, London, respectfully informs the Ladies, Gentleman, and Public at large, that her celebrated CABINET of WAX-WORK is just arrived in this Town, and may be seen in commodious Rooms in the BULL-YARD.
The principal Characters are,the Royal Family of England- the unfortunate Royal Family of France-Dutch, Russian, Prussian, and Turkish Personages- the unfortunate Baron Trenk, loaded with 68lbs of Chains-John Wesley- Dr. Franklin- General Washington-General Bonaparte and Madame Bonaparte-with many other Figures, fifty in Number, and in full Size of Life.
Open from ten in the Morning until nine in the Evening.
Admittance is-Trades-people 6d-Servants 3d.
** The Particulars in the Hand-bills.”
Stamford Mercury 26th March 1802.
A poultry pie of huge proportions was served at a Christmas dinner hosted by the Earl Grosvenor which weighed a staggering 154lbs!
“At Earl Grosvenor’s second dinner at Chester, as Mayor of that city, on Friday the 1st instant, there was a large christmas pie, which contained three geese, three turkies, seven hares, twelve partridges, a ham, and a leg of veal: the whole, when baked, weighed 154 lbs.!”
Stamford Mercury 15th January, 1807.
In a battle against France an undiscovered German female soldier fought and picked up wounds forcing her true identity to be discovered.
“An interesting female presented on Wednesday for relief to the German Committee, at Baker’s Coffeehouse, in consequence of wounds she received in late battles fought in the cause of Europe against France. She gave undoubted proofs of her having fought in the ranks in the hard-contested actions in the vicinity of Leipsic, where she received several wounds. She was taken to the hospital at Leipsic, where her sex was discovered. This amazonian warrior is a German of about 25 years of age; she served five years in the army.”
Stamford Mercury 11th November, 1814.
Highwayman and once Rogue Robber, Dick Turpin had been caught by an unsuspecting servant, to Mr Thompson, stealing a Horse from the local neighbourhood.
“On Wednesday night last, a servant of Mr Thompson’s, one of the keepers of Epping Forest, (who lives at Fair-Maid Bottom) saw the famous Turpin on the Forest, and suspecting he was going to steal some particular Horse in that Neighbourhood, went to a House near King’s Oak and borrow’d a Gun, and charg’d it, and said he would go and take Turpin, who was not far off, and accordingly went with the Gun after him; but approaching him with his Gun too near, (apprehending, its suppos’d, he had only Pistols) Turpin saw him, and immediately discharg’d a Carbine at him, loaded with Slugs, and shot him into the Belly dead on the Spot, and he now lies at the Oak: Turpin rode away and quitted his Horse, which was last Night in the Pound at Waltham Abby. On Thursday all that part of the Country were up in Arms in pursuit of him, but its supposed he is gone Northward. In a Thicket there was found a Cavern wherein was a Bed of Hay, part of a Loaf, part of a Bottle of Wine, and three clean Shirts, which is suppos’d to be one of his Places of Concealment.
“We hear, that a Royal Proclamation, with a Reward of 200 l. will be issued for the apprehending and taking of the said famous Robber and Murderer.”
Stamford Mercury 12th May, 1737.