A Most Unusual Trial of Bigamy

CATHERINE JONES was indicted at the Old Bailey, on the 5th of September, 1719, for marrying Constantine Boone, during the life of her former husband, John Rowland.

Proof was made that she was married to Rowland, in the year 1713, at a house in the Mint, Southwark; and that, six years afterwards, while her husband was abroad, she was again married, in the same house, to Constantine Boone; but Rowland, soon returning to England, caused his wife to be indicted for this crime.

FROM THE TYBURN CHRONICLE:

An Account of the Trial of Catherine ones for Bigamy; With the Singular Reason of her being Acquitted 

At the session held at the Old Bailey on the 5th of September, 1719, Catherine Jones, otherwise, Rowland, was indicted for marrying Constantine Boone in the month of April preceding, her former husband, John Rowland being then living.

In the course of the evidence it appeared that the prisoner had been married to John Rowland by Dr. Talboy on the 17th of April 1713 at a private house in Blue-Ball Alley in the Mint, Southwark; and that in the month of April, 1719, she was married in the same house to Constantine Boone.

When the prisoner came to make her defense, she did not hesitate to own both marriages; but insisted that Boone was no man, and therefore could not be a husband; that he (or she, as the reader pleases) was a monster, an Hermaphrodite, and had been shewn as such at Smithfield, Southwark-fair and several other places.

In support of this assertion several witnesses were called; and one in particular deposed that he knew the mother of Boone who “dressed it in girls’ cloathes, sent it to school as a girl and had it instructed in needlework til it was twelve years of age after which it turned man and went to sea.”

Boone also appeared in court, acknowledged being hermaphrodite and the having been shewn as such. It likewise appeared by Boone’s own confession as well as by the testimony of several witnesses that the woman was more predominant in her (for that is now the proper term) then the man; whereupon the jury acquitted the prisoner.

Such are the particulars of this uncommon case, what inducement an hermaphrodite could have to take a wife, we profess ourselves unable to judge and therefore leave the matter to the determination of the reader. 

It is impossible to describe how much this affair was the subject of the public conversation at, and long after, the time that it happened: and it would be idle to make any serious remarks on it. We can only express our astonishment that an hermaphrodite should think of such a glaring absurdity as the taking of a wife!

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