A Boy, whipped in Newgate for destroying Women's Apparel with Aqua Fortis, 11th of March, 1811
UNTIL severe examples were made of the actors in this kind of "frolic and fun," females often found their clothes drop to tatters, and such as restricted themselves to mere muslin and chemise were frequently dreadfully burned, in a way invisible and almost unaccountable. A set of urchins and chaps, neither men nor boys, by way of a "high game," procured aqua fortis, vitriol and other corrosive liquids, and filling therewith a syringe, or bottle, sallied forth to give the girls "a squirt."
Of this mischievous description we find Edward Beazley, who was convicted of this unpardonable offence at the Old Bailey, the 11th of March, 1811.
He was indicted for wilfully and maliciously injuring and destroying the apparel of Anne Parker, which she was wearing, by feloniously throwing upon the same a certain poisonous substance called aqua-fortis, whereby the same was so injured as to be rendered useless and of no value. He was also charged upon two other indictments for the like offence, on the prosecution of two other women.
It appeared that the prisoner, a little boy about thirteen years old, took it into his head to sally into Fleet Street, on the night of Saturday, 16th of February, and there threw the liquid upon the clothes of several ladies. He was caught, carried before the sitting magistrate at Guildhall, and fully committed, on three several charges.
Three ladies appeared, and proved the facts stated in the indictments, and exhibited their burned garments, such as pelisses, gowns and other articles, which were literally burned to riddles.
He was found guilty.
His master, Mr Blades, an eminent chemist on Ludgate Hill, gave him a good character for honesty; he never knew anything wrong of him before, but he acknowledged that he had access to both vitriol and aqua fortis.
The Court, having a discretionary power under the Act of Parliament, instead of transporting him for seven years, only ordered him to be well whipped in the jail, and returned to his friends.