Thomas Cannon was a possible literary collaborator with
John Cleland, author of " Fanny Hill", as well as the writer of what may be the earliest published defence of homosexuality in English, "Ancient and Modern Pederasty Investigated and Exemplify'd" (1749).
A son of the Dean of Lincoln, Cannon had a serious falling out with Cleland which indirectly led to his prosecution. In 1748, Cleland was sent to prison for failing to pay debts to Cannon and another man. It was while in prison that Cleland published "Fanny Hill". Just before the second volume appeared, Cannon lodged a legal complaint against Cleland, claiming that he was now sending anonymous letters containing abusive and slanderous accusations. Cleland accused Cannon of attempted murder, and of being homosexual.
A few weeks after this, Cannon arranged the printing of "Ancient & Modern
Pederasty". Despite its illegal subject matter, the pamphlet may never have come to the attention of the authorities had it not been for the embittered Cleland who, after being released from prison for debt, was re-arrested in 1749 for obscenity due to "Fanny Hill". Cleland vindictively wrote to the Duke of Newcastle's law clerk drawing his attention to Cannon's pamphlet. This prompted a letter from Newcastle to the Attorney General, requesting the prosecution of Cannon.
Cannon and his printer were arrested but released on bail of £400 each. Cannon fled abroad for three years. The printer was sent to trial, found guilty, and fined, imprisoned for a month, and also subjected to the public torture of the
Cannon's mother successfully petitioned the Duke of Newcastle for the charges against her son to be dropped, claiming he was repentant, and indeed, wished to return to England not only because of financial necessity, but in order to publish a retraction or recantation of the original pamphlet. No such text has ever come to light. After returning to England, Cannon lived quietly at Windsor with his mother and sisters, and never returned to public life again.
No copies of Cannon's pamphlet appear to have survived. The text was presumed lost to history until 2003 when what is presumed to be the majority of the work was discovered as quoted extracts in the original indictment against the printer, which survived in the records of the
King's Bench. The text was finally published in "Eighteenth-Century Life" magazine in 2007.
What remains of "Ancient and Modern Pederasty Investigated and Exemplify'd" shows that rather than being a dry treatise, it is a somewhat gossipy and jokey anthology of homosexual advocacy, written with an obvious enthusiasm for its subject. It contains the words: "Unnatural Desire is a Contradiction in Terms; downright Nonsense. Desire is an amatory Impulse of the inmost human Parts: Are not they, however constructed, and consequently impelling, Nature?"
* [http://muse.jhu.edu/login?uri=/journals/eighteenth-century_life/v031/31.1gladfelder01.html "Eighteenth-Century Life", Duke University Press, Volume 31, Number 1, Winter 2007. On line, Project MUSE.]
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/manchester/6593281.stm Ancient text shows 'gay activist'] , BBC News, 25 April 2007
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Thomas Cannon — fue un posible colaborador literario de John Cleland, autor de Fanny Hill, además de ser el escritor de lo que podría ser la primera defensa de la homosexualidad en inglés, Ancient and Modern Pederasty Investigated and Exemplify d (1749;… … Wikipedia Español
Cannon (surname) — Cannon is a surname, and may refer to: * Abraham H. Cannon, a leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints in the late 1800s * Annie Jump Cannon, astronomer * Anthony Cannon, American football linebacker * Arik Cannon, professional… … Wikipedia
Thomas B. Marsh — edit data President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles … Wikipedia
Cannon in the Middle Ages — were large tubular firearms designed to fire a heavy projectile over a long distance. They were used in China, Europe and the Middle East during the period, and became an important type of artillery.Although gunpowder was known in Europe during… … Wikipedia
Thomas Kearns — (* 11. April 1862 bei Woodstock, Ontario; † 18. Oktober 1918 in Salt Lake City) war ein US amerikanischer Politiker kanadischer Herkunft, der als Republikaner den Bundesstaat Utah im US Senat vertrat. Der in Kanada geborene Kearns war noch… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Thomas Carper — Thomas R. („Tom“) Carper (* 23. Januar 1947 in Beckley, West Virginia) ist ein US amerikanischer Politiker der Demokratischen Partei. Leben Carper wurde 1947 in Beckley, West Virginia, als Sohn von Wallace Richard und Mary Je … Deutsch Wikipedia
Thomas Richard Carper — Thomas Carper Thomas R. („Tom“) Carper (* 23. Januar 1947 in Beckley, West Virginia) ist ein US amerikanischer Politiker der Demokratischen Partei. Leben Carper wurde 1947 in Beckley, West Virginia, als Sohn von Wallace Richard und Mary Je … Deutsch Wikipedia
Thomas Claiborne (Tennessee) — Thomas Claiborne (* 17. Mai 1780 bei Petersburg, Virginia; † 7. Januar 1856 in Nashville, Tennessee) war ein US amerikanischer Politiker. Zwischen 1817 und 1819 vertrat er den Bundesstaat Tennessee im US Repräsentantenhaus. Werdegang Thomas… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Thomas Levi Whittle — (May 21, 1812 – July 3, 1868) was an early Mormon pioneer who crossed the American Great Plains in the mid 1800s among the first company of pioneers to enter and settle near Salt Lake City, Utah Territory.Early life and conversionWhittle was born … Wikipedia
Thomas Clarke Rye — (* 2. Juni 1863 in Camden, Tennessee; † 12. September 1953) war ein US amerikanischer Politiker und 36. Gouverneur von Tennessee. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Frühe Jahre und politischer Aufstieg 2 Gouverneur von Tennessee … Deutsch Wikipedia