Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Mervin Lord Audley

Having just read "The Arraignment and Conviction of Mervin Lord Audley", I am quite unsure of exactly what to say, except that even people within today's society would be uncomfortable if this were reported on the news tomorrow night. Of course who knows how much of this is gossip, considering that hearsay was such a common form of evidence used in early modern trials. Also Lord Audley denied most of the charges against him, and accused those who testified against him of plotting to inherit his wealth. The crimes are described as being so heinous, that they would be fit to appear on a special episode of Law and Order SVU, and I doubt that even their writers would be so creative. On a more serious note, the literature makes it apparent that Audley's greatest transgression is that of using men's bodies as if they were women's, which was an extremely serious transgression at the time. The term buggery appears quite often, but sodomy is used most often, because it is used to refer to any sexual interaction that isn't procreational in nature, regardless of gender. The thing that I find most interesting is that all of the other men within the trial are treated as victims, because Audley was their master, even though they took part in some of the crimes, such as the rape of Audley's wife. Another interesting detail is that the judge makes the statement "a whore may be ravished, and it is a felony to doe it." This is quite contradictory to anything I have ever read about the period. I can only assume that this statement is true as long as there are witnesses who see the 'whore' being 'ravished' and report it to the court. Otherwise there would certainly be more evidence of this fact within documents of the period, other than a judge simply stating it. Of course I suppose that I should mention that the woman in question was not a whore; she was actually of a higher class than Audley when they married. This of course constitutes that some action be taken, considering that he turned his house into something similar to a brothel and allowed all types of transgressions to take place there. Another of the most appalling of these events is that he allowed different classes to mix, which is absolutely unacceptable.
I hope that my sarcasm is evident rather than confusing, however, if it's not, there is little that I can do about it now. Just in case...I was being sarcastic throughout the latter half of this entry. I have no qualms at all with mixing of the classes, especially considering the fact that I'm poor and could only benefit from it.

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