Advertisement

Tricksters, Lords and Servants: Begging, Friendship and Masculinity in Eighteenth-Century England

  • Tim Hitchcock

Abstract

In Bampfylda-Moore Carew’s autobiography, The Life and Adventures of…the Noted Devonshire Stroller and Dog-Stealer, first published in 1745, he recounts a tale as old (and probably as spurious) as the genre of rogue literature itself.1 He tells how in the town of Maiden-Bradley on the road south of Frome in Wiltshire, he came across a fellow mendicant pretending, like Bampfylda himself, to be a shipwrecked sailor begging his way homeward, ‘in a Habit as forlorn as his own, a begging for God’s Sake, just like himself’. They address each other in canting language, asking about the best places to doss and whether Bampfylda would ‘brush into the Boozing-Ken and be his Thrums, that is go into the Alehouse and spend his Threepence with him’. They retire to the pub and in casual friendship, compare notes on the generosity of the gentlemen of the neighbourhood, determining to go out begging as a team. Eventually they come to the home of a Lord Weymouth and approach the kitchen door. Telling their stories, they are frightened by the cook with accounts of the horse whipping and spells in Bridewell meted out to false beggars by the master of the house. Undaunted Bampfylda presses his case and convinces the cook of his sincerity, receiving ‘the best part of a shoulder of mutton, half a fine wheaten loaf, and a shilling’.

Keywords

Eighteenth Century Male Friendship Masculine Identity Street Corner Casual Charity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    For the history of rogue literature see W.C. Carroll, Fat King, Lean Beggar: Representations of Poverty in the Age of Shakespeare (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1996);Google Scholar
  2. A. Feinberg, ‘The Representation of the Poor in Elizabethan and Stuart Drama’, Literature & History, 12 (1986), 152–63.Google Scholar
  3. For useful modern editions of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century rogue literature see G. Salgado (ed.), Cony-Catchers and Bawdy Baskets: An Anthology of Elizabethan Low Life (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1972) andGoogle Scholar
  4. A.F. Kinney (ed.), Rogues, Vagabonds and Sturdy Beggars: A New Gallery of Tudor and Early Stuart Rogue Literature (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1990 edn).Google Scholar
  5. 2.
    Bampfylde-Moore Carew, King of the Beggars, ed. C.H. Wilkinson (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1931), pp. 86–91.Google Scholar
  6. This story is taken from the 1745 edition of The Life and Adventures of Bampfylde-Moore Carew, which Wilkinson credits with being a relatively unadulterated autobiography of a real individual. For a recent and comprehensive account of the evidence for Carew’s life and activities see G. Morgan and P. Rushton, Eighteenth-Century Criminal Transportation: The Formation of the Criminal Atlantic (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2004), pp. 78–85.Google Scholar
  7. 3.
    For recent literature on masculinity in early modern and eighteenth-century Britain see S.D. Amussen, ‘“The Part of a Christian Man”: The Cultural Politics of Manhood in Early Modern England’, in S.D. Amussen and M.A. Kishlansky (eds), Political Culture and Cultural Politics in Early Modem England: Essays Presented to David Underdown (Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 1995), pp. 213–33;Google Scholar
  8. P. Carter, ‘Men About Town: Representations of Foppery and Masculinity in Early Eighteenth-Century Urban Society’, in H. Barker and E. Chalus (eds), Gender in Eighteenth-Century England: Roles, Representations and Responsibilities (London and New York: Addison Wesley Longman, 1997);Google Scholar
  9. P. Carter, Men and the Emergence of Polite Society: Britain 1660–1800 (Harlow: Longman, 2001);Google Scholar
  10. M. Cohen, Fashioning Masculinity: National Identity and Language in the Eighteenth Century (London: Routledge, 1996);CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. B. Cowan, ‘What was Masculine About the Public Sphere?: Gender and the Coffeehouse Milieu in Post-Restoration England’, History Workshop Journal, 51 (2001), 127–57;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. E.A. Foyster, Manhood in Early Modern England: Honour, Sex and Marriage (London: Longman, 1999);Google Scholar
  13. D. Kuchta, The Three-Piece Suit and Modern Masculinity, England 1550–1850 (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2002) andGoogle Scholar
  14. T. Hitchcock and M. Cohen (eds), English Masculinities, 1660–1800 (London and New York: Addison Wesley Longman, 1999).Google Scholar
  15. 4.
    For works that take the divisions between social class seriously in relation to masculinity see in particular A. Bray and M. Rey, ‘The Body of the Friend: Continuity and Change in Masculine Friendship in the Seventeenth Century’, in Hitchcock and Cohen (eds), English Masculinities, pp. 65–84; A. Bray, The Friend (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003);Google Scholar
  16. M.E. Wiesner, ‘Wandervogels and Women: Journeymen’s Concepts of Masculinity in Early Modern Germany’, Journal of Social History, 24 (1991), 767–82;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. M.E. Wiesner, ‘Guilds, Male Bonding and Women’s Work in Early Modern Germany’, Gender & History, i, 2 (1989), 125–37;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. M. Rocke, Forbidden Friendships: Homosexuality and Male Culture in Renaissance Florence (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996).Google Scholar
  19. 6.
    For two excellent contributions to the history of hospitality see S. Hindle, ‘Dearth, Fasting and Alms: The Campaign for General Hospitality in Late Elizabethan England’, Past and Present, 171 (2001), 44–86, andCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. F. Heal, Hospitality in Early Modern England (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 14.
    There is a small but authoritative literature on service in the eighteenth century. See for example: B. Hill, Servants: English Domestics in the Eighteenth Century (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996);CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. D.A. Kent, ‘Ubiquitous But Invisible: Female Domestic Servants in Mid-Eighteenth Century London’, History Workshop Journal, 28 (1989), 111–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. T. Meldrum, ‘London Domestic Servants from Depositional Evidence, 1660–1750: Servant-Employer Sexuality in the Patriarchal Household’, in T. Hitchcock, P. King and P. Sharpe (eds), Chronicling Poverty: The Voices and Strategies of the English Poor, 1640–1840 (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1997) andGoogle Scholar
  24. T. Meldrum, Domestic Service and Gender, 1660–1750: Life and Work in the London Household (Harlow: Longman, 2000).Google Scholar
  25. 15.
    D. Defoe, The History and Remarkable Life of the Truly Honourable Col. Jacque, Commonly Call’d Col. Jack (1722, Oxford University Press edn, 1970), p. 8.Google Scholar
  26. 16.
    It is very likely that Peazy’s race further complicated matters. For some recent literature on the large black population of eighteenth-century London see: S.J. Braidwood, Black Poor and White Philanthropists: London’s Blacks and the Foundation of the Sierra Leone Settlement 1786–1791 (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1994);CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. G. Gerzina, Black London: Life before Emancipation (London: John Murray, 1995);Google Scholar
  28. N. Myers, Reconstructing the Black Past: Blacks in Britain, 1780–1830 (London: Cass, 1996) andGoogle Scholar
  29. N. Myers, ‘Servant, Sailor, Soldier, Tailor, Beggarman: Black Survival in White Society 1780–1830’, Immigrants & Minorities, 12: 1 (1993), 47–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 18.
    The Autobiography of Francis Place, ed. M. Thale (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1972), pp. 216–17.Google Scholar
  31. 21.
    J.D. Burn, The Autobiography of a Beggar Boy, ed. David Vincent (London: Europa, 1978), pp. 54–5.Google Scholar
  32. 22.
    J.J. Bezer, ‘The Autobiography of One of the Chartist Rebels of 1848’, in D.M. Vincent (ed.), Testaments of Radicalism (London: Europa, 1977), p. 179.Google Scholar
  33. 24.
    For a rare literary example of a female ‘trickster’ see W. King, ‘The Beggar Woman’ (1709) reproduced in R. Lonsdale (ed.), Eighteenth-Century Verse (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1984), pp. 79–80.Google Scholar
  34. 25.
    For examples of this extensive literature see J. Roberts, ‘Brer’ Rabbit and John: Trickster Heroes in Slavery’, Trickster to Badman, the Black Folk Hero in Slavery and Freedom (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1989);Google Scholar
  35. L. Levene, Black Culture and Black Consciousness (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977);Google Scholar
  36. H. Tiffin, ‘The Metaphor of Anancy in Caribbean Literature’, in R. Sellick (ed.), Myth and Metaphor (Adelaide: Centre for Research in the New Literatures in English 1984).Google Scholar
  37. 26.
    J.C. Scott, Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Tim Hitchcock 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tim Hitchcock

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations