A Creative Solution to a Persistent Problem…

…seventeenth-century style.

Found over the weekend in “Profiting from Misfortune: corrutpion and the Admiralty under the Early Stuarts,” by David D. Hebb in Thomas Cogswell, Richard Cust, and Peter Lake, eds., Politics, Religion, and Popularity: Early Stuart Essays in Honour of Conrad Russell:

Presented to Charles I as a New Year’s Gift, the proposal recommended “that the whores, harlots, & idle lascivious portion of the female sect [sic]” should be exchanged for English male captives (taken by Turkish pirates) so that “one harlot may redeem half a dozen captives.”

And some people have a hard time believing me when I tell them that the penalty for fornication could be very harsh in early modern English society…

(source: PRO SP 16/311/9)


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