The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Phoenix of Sodom, by Robert HollowayThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and mostother parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms ofthe Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org. If you are not located in the United States, you'll haveto check the laws of the country where you are located before using this ebook.Title: The Phoenix of Sodom or the Vere Street CoterieAuthor: Robert HollowayRelease Date: January 4, 2019 [eBook #58613]Language: EnglishCharacter set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE PHOENIX OF SODOM***
Transcribed from the 1813 J. Cook edition by David Price,email [email protected]
PHŒNIX OF SODOM,
Vere Street Coterie.
Sodom and Gomorrah,
EMBELLISHED AND IMPROVED WITHTHE
BY THEMEMBERS OF THE
Vere Street Coterie, of detestable memory.
SOLD BY J. COOK, AT
AND TO BE HAD OF ALL THE BOOKSELLERS.
HOLLOWAY,PRINTER, ARTILLERY LANE, TOOLEY STREET.
VERE STREET COTERIE,
The Phœnix of Sodom.
I think it a duty I owe both thereader and myself, to account for my acquaintance with any partof the disgraceful transactions disclosed in the annexedpages.
Some months ago, when I was contemplating the most odiouscharacters on the list of Attorneys, to compose the Fifth Numberof my Strictures on the Practice of those voracious vultures, itcame to my knowledge that an Attorney named Wooley (with thatalacrity with which crows fly to carrion) had repaired to thedifferent prisons, where those wretches apprehended in VereStreet were committed, and, p. 4under pretence of assisting theoffenders obtaining their liberty, and enabling them to escapejustice, stripped them of every guinea they possessed, and,indeed, of every article that would produce one at apawnbroker’s. I therefore sent to Newgate, to learnfrom Cook, the landlord of the house, whether my information wascorrect; who sent his wife to me, and related a long history ofthe means and fallacious pretences by which he obtained abovethirty pounds from her, for the purpose of bringing herhusband through; that being the phrase of those fellows, whohang about prisons, to tutor their new clients:—(I havemade use of the expression TUTOR, because there are degrees ofiniquity, that the most atrocious offenders accustomed toa long residence in the cells of Newgate have yet to learn of acertain description of attorneys;) in fine, after he hadexhausted every stratagem that his colleague the devil andhimself could devise to get money, and finding no more could beextracted from nakedness, he became wholly negligent of his p. 5client; and inorder to get rid of Cook’s importunities, told him he musthave fifty pounds more, or he could not get him liberated. On the woman prostrating (as the truth was) that almost everyarticle of wearing apparel had been disposed of to raise themoney he already had received, he very friendly suggested to her,that a woman of her appearance might easily raise money byputting off One Pound Bank Notes that he could procure for her atTen Shillings each! the woman could answer only with agroan—“I am in trouble enough already!” anddeclined the mode he proposed, to procure liberty for herhusband, and a halter for herself!—Here the material partof the negociation ended, and Cook was left by this virtuous one,et cetera, without the least assistance at his trial, not even aguinea for council, or the expence of a single sheet ofpaper. In this dreadful situation, I call it a dreadfulsituation, for whatever crimes a man be charged with, he iscertainly entitled to the benefit of a defence; especially whenhe p. 6paid soamply for it: and though ultimately he was convicted, andsentenced to the Pillory, I would ask, if, under all thesecircumstances, his virtuous attorney ought not to have beensentenced to a gibbet?—However, it does not appear to me,that had Wooley done all that he was able, he could have savedCook from his fate; for affidavit men could be of no service:however, as in my next Number of Strictures I have a very longchapter to bestow on the sympathetic feelings, and matchlessintegrity of this man, in an hundred other instances equallyenormous; I shall for the present drop the subject, havingafforded my readers a trifling shred, or splinter, of his greatstock of virtue.
It will be necessary here to correct a false opinion that isgone abroad respecting the nature of Cook’soffence.—It is generally believed, that he was convicted ofSodomy: but the fact is, that he was neither convicted, or evenindicted for that offence, but for keeping a house of resort, orrendezvous for such detestable p. 7wretches to meet at.—I havethought it proper, nay just, to make this distinction, to lessenin some measure the horror that the public in general have feltagainst him.
My original inquiry into the conduct of Wooley was, merely topunish him for his shameful conduct as an Attorney, by making anapplication to the Court of King’s Bench for restoration ofthe money he robbed Cook of; and to shew the Court and public ofwhat pernicious materials some attorneys arecomposed:—therefore, if Wooley thinks it any degradation tobe acquainted with Cook, he must remember, it was his own infamythat brought it on; and I shall never be ashamed to advocate thecause of the oppressed, or terrified at the task of reprobatingthe oppressor. It has been observed by an elegant writer,that “the man who allows the oppression shares thecrime;” and I certainly shall shew that Cook has endured ascene of oppression that the laws of this country never did, andI never will sanction, for the purpose of p. 8screeningopulent infamy; the crime of the man is no justification of thebrutality with which he was treated—a brutality repugnantto the feelings of every man possessing the generous bravery ofEnglishmen, who are ever merciful. Cowards only are cruel;and the man who would put a rat to death by wanton torture is atbest but an eminent ruffian! but more upon this subject when Ihave gone through the offensive part of my task, which is someslender description of the enormities committed in various partsof the town by these Sodomitical miscreants.
Cook and his wife, elate with the prospect of procuringjustice for the injury they had received from Wooley, consideredme their friend, and disclosed all the circumstances that follow;and in answer to some inquiries that curiosity led me to make, Ireceived a long written history of iniquities (which I shallpartially relate) prefaced by the following paragraph.
“I do not plead any thing in extenuation of p. 9the offence forwhich I have been convicted and punished; I confess I merited allI met with; I own I participated in all the guilt except thefinal completion of it, which is abhorrent to my nature. Iam, therefore, the more criminal, because I had no unnaturalinclinations to gratify:—I was prompt by Avariceonly, and not by the indulgence of vicious propensities;—ifI had, there would be witnesses enough against me, among thedetestable crew I am about to expose.”
Cook, though an illiterate, man, possesses a strong mind, andan accurate memory. He states, that he unfortunately met aman named Yardley, at the King’s Arms, Round Court, in theStrand, who proposed taking a Public House, and making it a jointconcern: he, by degrees, opened to Cook his plan, and told him hewas acquainted with a great number of gentlemen, some hundreds,who would frequent a house that he kept; and who were so generousin payment, that he knew a man p. 10who kept a house of the same kind,who, in three years, got money enough to live upon andretired.
This picture of advantage caught Cook;—and he closedwith the proposals, having about one hundred and fifty pounds inhis pocket; and, in conjunction with this man, took the Swan inVere-street, the fatal house in question; which was entered upon,and furnished in a style most appropriate for the purposes it wasintended. Four beds were provided in oneroom:—another was fitted up for a ladies’dressing-room, with a toilette, and every appendage of rouge,&c. &c.:—a third room was called the Chaple, wheremarriages took place, sometimes between a femalegrenadier, six feet high, and a petit maitre not more thanhalf the altitude of his beloved wife! These marriages weresolemnized with all the mockery of bride maids andbride men; and the nuptials were frequently consumated bytwo, three, or four couple, in the same room, and in the sight ofeach other! incredible as this circumstance p. 11may appear,the reader may depend it is all provable:—the upper part ofthe house was appropriated to wretches who were constantly inwaiting for casual customers; who practised all the allurementsthat are found in a brothel, by the more natural description ofprostitutes; and the only difference consisting in that want ofdecency that subsists between the most profligate men anddepraved women.—Men of rank, and respectable situations inlife, might be seen wallowing either in or on the beds withwretches of the lowest description: but the perpetration of theabominable act, however offensive, was infinitely more tolerablethan the shocking conversation that accompanied the perpetration;some of which, Cook has solemnly declared to me, was so odious,that he could not either write, or verbally relate. Itseems many of these wretches are married; and frequently, whenthey are together, make their wives, who they callTommies, topics of ridicule; and boast of having compelledthem to act parts p.12too shocking to think of;—an instance of which Imust relate, because the history of the country furnished aprecedent, that consigned a Peer of the realm, and his infamousassociate, to the gallows: I allude to Lord Audley’s case,who was convicted of rape and sodomy at one time with his ownwife.—The instance I shall relate was told at Vere-streetby the husband, to many of the wretches, and the partner of hisguilt, then present, who joined in the relation, as if it hadbeen a meritorious act:—this ill-fated woman had beenbrought to that pitch of infamy, that she frequently endured it,as if it was no offence even to modesty! the dreadful fellow, whois the subject of the narration, is one of three miscreantsliving together in the same public office in the city, one ofwhom is known by the appellation of Venus.
It seems the greater part of these reptiles assume feignednames, though not very appropriate to their calling in life: forinstance, Kitty Cambric is a Coal Merchant; Miss Selina, p. 13a Runner at aPolice office; Black-eyed Leonora, a Drummer; Pretty Harriet, aButcher; Lady Godina, a Waiter; the Duchess of Gloucester, agentleman’s servant; Duchess of Devonshire, a Blacksmith;and Miss Sweet Lips, a Country Grocer. It is a generallyreceived opinion, and a very natural one, that the prevalence ofthis passion has for its object effeminate delicate beings only:but this seems to be, by Cook’s account, a mistaken,notion; and the reverse is so palpable in many instances, thatthe Fanny Murry, Lucy Cooper, and Kitty Fisher, are nowpersonified by an athletic Bargeman, an HerculeanCoal-heaver, and a deaf tyre Smith: the latter of thesemonsters has two sons, both very handsome young men, whom heboasts are full as depraved as himself. These are merelypart of the common stock belonging to the house; but the visitorswere more numerous, and, if possible, more infamous, because moreexalted in life: and these ladies, like the ladies of thepetticoat order, have their favorite men; one p. 14of whom wasWhite, a drummer of the guards, who, some short time since, wasexecuted for a crime of the most detestable description withHebden an Ensign. White, being an universal favorite, wasvery deep in the secrets of the fashionable part of the coterie;of which he made a most ample confession in writing, immediatelyprevious to his execution; the truth of which he averred, even tohis last moments; but it is impossible to give it literally, forthe person who took it, in the presence of a magistrate, saidthat the recital made