Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Fear-mongering for FREE! 1724

In The Weekly Journal; or, Saturday’s Post, 22 February 1724, an advertisement for the 9th ed. of Onania (a work on the evils of onanism—i.e. masturbation) concludes:

N.B. As the Pamphlet lately published on this Subject, under the Title of ERONANIA, is made up only (as by comparing them will be seen) of Paragraphs, Sentences, and many Bits and Scraps stolen from ONANIA, abovementioned, by one notorious for pyrating other Mens Works; the Bookseller thought proper to give Notice thereof, that the Publick may not be imposed upon by it.

What this note doesn't mention is that Eronania was being given away; so whether or not the "Paragraphs, Sentences, and many Bits and Scraps" were "stolen from ONANIA," the price was pretty attractive. (BTW only two copies of Eronania survive to verify the claim that it was made up of "Bits and Scraps.")

Clearly, the publisher "at the Sign of Dr. Chamberlen’s Anodyne Necklace" was making his money from the cures he offered to the "Nine miserable Consequences" of masturbation, which he spells out in his advertisement in The Weekly Journal; or, British Gazetteer, 1 February 1724:

Publish’d this Day the Particulars of, ERONANIA on the Crimes of those two unhappy Brothers ER and ONAN Judah’s two Sons, who for defileing their Nuptial Bed, and frustrating the end of Marriage, were punish’d with immediate Death. Gen. 38. Or the hainous Crime of Self-Defilement, with all Nine miserable Consequences; SELF-EMASCULATION, Impotency, Senility, unfitness to Marry, deprivation of Manhood, Seminal Gleets, and the other Three wretched Miseries of it in both Sexes, (whom it generally Initiates in Wickedness) laid open to all Persons ever guilty of this Vice, whether Single, Married, Widdowers, WOMEN-HATERS, or Molles: And why this infamous Word MOLLES made English is applied to the Doers of this ill Action.[1]

Felix quem faciunt Aliena pericula Cautum.[2]

Also of the Use, Abuse of, frustrating, and defileing the Marriage Bed: With all Doubts thereunto belonging (as also of Retentio Seminis, and it’s Consequences in the Body, where the Debitum Conjugale cannot be) solved.[3]

Hoc nihil esse putas? Scelus est, mihi crede, sed Ingens.
Quantum vix animo concipis ipse tuo:
Ipsam tibi crede Naturam dicere rerum.
Istud quod … Pontice
Perdis, HOMO est. Martial.[4]

With the Particulars of a scarce Tract cited by a late Author pag. 25 on this Crime; entituled Letters of Advice from two Reverend Divines to a young Gentleman about a weighty Case of Conscience[5], viz of Defileing himself, to which he was so greviously addicted, that he had well nigh bereft himself of his Manhood, and almost EMASCULATED himself by this wretched Practice of Self-Conversation[6], but was quite cured by these Letters, which being printed some Years ago, and now out of Print, and not to be had for any Money, and therefore are here Reprinted along with this Treatise.

Sometimes the Sin does us o’ertake,
  And on
OUR SELVES our Ruin make,
  And We o’ertake the Sin.
O save us, Lord from all such Darts,
  That seek our Souls to slay;
  Lest WE OUR SELVES betray. Aust. Dev.[7]

GIVEN GRATIS up one Pair of Stairs, at the Sign of Dr. Chamberlen’s Anodyne Necklace, next to the Rose-Tavern without Temple-Bar. Where the SCHEME on the Secret Disease, Gleets, Broken Constitutions, and the GOUT is given Gratis.


[1] Molly: An effeminate man or boy; a male homosexual.
[2] "Fortunate the man who learns caution from the perils of others."
[3] Retentio Seminis, retention of semen; Debitum Conjugale, the duty of married couples to have sex with each other.
[4] Martial, Epigrams 9.41:

Pontice, quod numquam futuis, sed paelice laeva
  uteris et Veneri servit amica manus,
hoc nihil esse putas? scelus est, mihi crede, sed ingens,
   quantum vix animo concipis ipse tuo.
nempe semel futuit, generaret Horatius ut tres
  Mars semel, ut geminos Ilia casta daret.
omnia perdiderat si masturbatus uterque
  mandasset manibus gaudia foeda suis.
ipsam crede tibi naturam dicere rerum:
   "Istud quod digitis, Pontice, perdis, homo est."

The Mad-Latinist translates this as follows (here)

Ponticus, the fact that you never fuck, but use your left hand as a concubine
  and your girlfriend-hand serves Venus,
do you think that this is no big deal? It's a crime, believe me, and a huge one at that,
  so big that even you can hardly conceive it in your mind.
I mean, Horatius fucked just once to father three,
  and Mars just once, to give chaste Ilia twins.
Either of them would have ruined everything if he had masturbated,
  and entrusted his shameful pleasures to his own hands.
You had better believe that it is Nature herself that tells you:
  "That mess which you waste on your fingers, Ponticus, is a human being."

[5] Only a single copy survives of Letters of Advice from Two Reverend Divines … (London: J. Collins and D. Newman, 1676) Wing (2nd ed.), L1782B.
[6] i.e., criminal-conversation with yourself: "criminal-conversation" being adultery.
[7] John Austin, Devotions in the ancient way of offices: with psalms, hymns and prayers for ...‎ (Paris, 1668); Wing (2nd ed.), A4248A; "John Austin" is a pseudonym for William Birchley.

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