John Lennard’s Depiction in the 18th-Century Press and in the Eyes of the English Public

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Through newspapers articles we can take a glimpse at recorded history from the 18th century and see that rape had been a crime committed by many criminals, and dealt with harshly. Most victims of rape assaults were young women that were “robbed of that which constitutes the fairest part of the female sex- her chastity and peace of mind” (Newgate Calendar, Paragraph 3). John Lennard created a reputation for himself, as a man that was found guilty of raping a young woman by the name of Miss Ann Boss on the 15th of June, 1773. Not long after committing the crime, Lennard’s name appeared in numerous newspapers that were reporting on his accused crime. The newspapers followed him through his trial until after his execution on August 11, 1773. …show more content…
After the execution took place at Tyburn, Lennard was listed with multiple “malefactors” (Middlesex Journal or Universal Evening Post, Column 1) that had been executed the same morning. The specific term “malefactor” (Middlesex Journal or Universal Evening Post, Column 1) used in the newspaper articles is defined by dictionary.com as: “a person who violates the law or a person who does harm or evil, especially toward another”. In the newspapers no crime was depicted to the public as being worse and the prisoners were given a death sentence for many different crimes such as rape, counterfeit bank notes, robbing people, burglary and highway robbing. The term “malefactor” (Middlesex Journal or Universal Evening Post, Column 1) clumped all of the criminals together making them all look like severe criminals whether they had committed rape or burglary.
Not only did the newspapers use specific words to make people think about criminals in a certain way, but they also appealed to the reader’s emotions. The newspapers told the public how the criminals acted the morning of the execution as well as how they acted just before they were about to be hung. One newspaper stated that: “Their behaviour was extremely decent and devout” (Lloyd’s Evening Post, Column 2) and that Lennard along with another criminal that was about to be hung: “appeared greatly affected at their…

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