Wednesday, February 08, 2012


The British Mercury reports (Sept. 1788) of a case where a Jew came into an inn to sell some philosophical tinder boxes. Yes, you read that right. Philosophical tinder boxes. Which means either a phosphorous match or some sort of proto-lighter.

The innkeeper, a woman, and two men, 'asked' him to eat some pork, which they were eating for dinner. He refused, and the two men held him while the woman rubbed it on his mouth (and, perhaps, beard).

After an hour the jury returned a guilty verdict, the court admonished the woman "on the folly and wickedness of marking out any particular description of people, of whatever nation or religion, as objects of wanton insult, and unprovoked assault." She was fined £10, which was the equivalent of over $1000.


  1. "How on earth do you find these things?"

    Or, see here:



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