Tried for Bigamy
CATHERINE JONES was indicted at the Old Bailey, on the 5th of September, 1719, for marrying Constantine Boone, during the life of her former husband, John Rowland.
Proof was made that she was married to Rowland, in the year 1713, at a house in the Mint, Southwark; and that, six years afterwards, while her husband was abroad, she was again married, in the same house, to Constantine Boone; but Rowland, soon returning to England, caused his wife to be indicted for this crime.
The prisoner did not hesitate to acknowledge the double marriage, but insisted that the latter was illegal, as Boone was an hermaphrodite, and had been shown as such at Southwark and Bartholomew fairs, and at other places.
To prove this a person swore that he knew Boone when a child, that his (or her) mother dressed it in girl's apparel, and caused it to be instructed in needle-work, till it had attained the age of twelve years, when it turned man, and went to sea.
These last words were those of the disposition; and the fact was confirmed by Boone, who appeared in Court, acknowledged being an hermaphrodite, and having been publicly shown in that character.
Other witnesses deposed that the female sex prevailed over that of the male in the party in question; on which the jury acquitted the prisoner.
It is impossible to describe how much this affair was the subject of the public conversation at, and long after, the time that it happened: and it would be idle to make any serious remarks on it. We can only express our astonishment that an hermaphrodite should think of such a glaring absurdity as the taking of a wife!