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Report of Proceedings at the Lord Mayor's Court, on Wednesday the 11th November 1803, relative to a girl found dressed in sailors clothes in the vicinage of Bishopsgate Street the preceding morning.
1807 118 lines on five sides of two folded folio sheets, watermarked 1803; old folds.The extraordinary account of Marianne Rebecca Johnson, alias William Johnson, who was discovered in a state of destitution on the streets of London in November 1807. Discovered in great distress by a compassionate bricklayer, the young sailor was taken to a nearby public house, the Bull's Head, whereupon Marianne fainted: 'On opening his neckerchief and bosom to give air and free circulation for aiding his recovery the true sex was discovered. The hostess immediately rendered every aid and comfort in her power, took her into a private room, interrogated her as to the cause of her assuming such an appearance, when the poor girl disclosed her perverse fortunes ...' Abducted by her abusive stepfather, Marianne was forced to don sailor's dress and bound to an apprenticeship with a Collier from Sunderland. She had also lately learned that her stepfather had disposed of her mother in a similar fashion, dispatching her by force on to a man of war on which she served seven years on board before she was mortally wounded in the attack on Copenhagan in August 1807. 'She preferred under a concealment of her sex to brave all the dangers and hardships of a naval life, rather than by disclosing herself to risk a transmittal to Whitby and again meet her unnatural monster of a husband' whose acts against wife and child 'would be infamous amongst even the savage slave drovers of Africa'. This report is full of compassion for the young girl who, despite all that she had experienced in her 'uncouth floating boarding school' was a 'well turned person, middle sized, her chest and shoulders obviously enlarged by the laborious exertions of her rough avocation, her eyes black and countenance intelligent, and marked by an air of civilized modesty and submissiveness'. Marianne was taken under the protection of the Lord Mayor with the intention of passing her to the Parish as a pauper. 'But surely such a daughter deserves a better destiny than the association of profligates and beggars in a parish work house'. This folded document is inscribed on the verso 'to be returned' and is accompanied by a contemporary wax sealed docket title: 'female sailor. Wm. Johnson. Revd. D. Clarke'.
      [Bookseller: Jarndyce Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2017-12-01           Check availability:      Direct From Seller    

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