[Robert Wright, interested in the Orpwood daughter but rejected, was found guilty of breaking the peace and of libel and fined on 7 July 1779. His song included the lines ‘In at the garret window you easily may get / Then into my room you I quickly will let’. The lyrics accused Mrs Orpwood of a similar easy access: ‘Since then, my dear mother, your frolicks are known, I hope you will always be ready to own / […] Since your case is my case, and my case is thine’]
[Indictment] ROBERT WRIGHT was indicted for that he with a loud voice and in a publick open manner did sing, say, speak, utter, and pronounce divers false, scandalous, infamous, malicious, and obscene songs and and matters of and concerning Elizabeth the wife of Joseph Orpwood and Elizabeth the daughter of the said Joseph reflecting on their character and reputation. 2d Count. That he did cause and procure the said songs, &c. to be sung, said, spoke, uttered and pronounced with the same intent. 3d Count. For publishing the said songs, &c.
[a copy of the lyrics follows the indictment in the trial record]
JOSEPH ORPWOOD sworn:
Are you a butcher in Whitechapel-market? - Yes.
You are married I understand? - Yes.
And have a daughter? - Yes.
Do you know the defendant Wright? - Very well, he is a butcher in our neighbourhood.
He was acquainted with your family at one time? - Very much so.
At one time he paid his addresses to your daughter? - I do not know that, there was a kind of a detachment two years ago. […] In January, and before, there were several of these songs industriously spread about in the market and to some of my customers; they came and told me there were some scandalous songs made, upon my wife and daughter. […] I saw John Cooley come out singing them; about six or seven doors before he came to my door. I sent John Cooley to Wright's house, to see if he could get any of the songs of him; I saw Wright deliver the songs into John Cooley 's hand; upon that I went up to John Cooley and said what have you got? what are you singing? some songs, master, says he; I said what songs? he said a copy of verses upon a young lady in Whitechapel-market. How do you sell them? a halfpenny a piece; how many have you got? three; I bought the three songs of him. Wright came up almost close to us; I said where might you get these songs? Cooley said; I bought them of Bob Wright, did not I? Wright made answer, yes you did.
Counsel for the Crown. Need we read the song?
Counsel for the Prisoner. No, I admit it.
THOMAS GAMBLE sworn.
What are you? - A butcher.
Do you know Wright the defendant? - Yes.
Do you remember at any time being at a publick-house in Whitechapel? - Yes, at the Bull's-Head in Whitechapel, in January. I bought one of the songs in the Bull's Head ale-house of the draw-boy.
Did Wright come in soon after the song was bought? - In a few minutes.
What did he say about the song? - I asked him if he had got any of those songs about Betsy Orpwood.
It was well understood who they related to? - Yes, he made answer, He had, and he would give any body five dozen of them for nothing that would sing them up and down the market.
GUILTY Fined 1 s. and discharged, upon condition of publickly asking pardon of the prosecutor and his family, and paying all the expences [sic]of the prosecution. << less