John Mage on Sodomy

Charles Brown CharlesB at
Sat Dec 2 11:58:14 MST 2000

>>> furuhashi.1 at 12/02/00 01:07AM >>>

*****   Re: Littleton: it's Adorno's fault
jmage at

parliament first made sodomy a statutory criminal offense (indeed, a
felony - i.e. punishable by death) in england in 1536. the same
parliament (and in the same year) that legislated the dissolution of
the monasteries. the legislation against sodomy was part of a
conscious campaign directed from the office of royal secretary thomas
cromwell to weaken opposition to the dissolution.


after first rather insultingly explaining to james that with the new
revenue he would be able to stop being a commercial sheep grazer &
start being a king, and that the monks 'are a kind of unprofitable
people, that lived idly upon the sweat and labours of the poor' he
continued that: "[the monks] profess chastity, willful poverty and to the first that is chastity, I dare be bold to say,
that unless your monks be more holy in Scotland than ours were in
England, there reigneth nowhere more carnality, incontinency,
buggery, sodomy and lechery, and other abominations, than is used in
cloisters, among monks, cannons, nuns, friars..." [incidentally,
sadler was totally unpersuasive and unsuccessful, and perhaps among
the reasons was that he did not understand how minimal in fact were
the realizable revenues of the scots monasteries]


CB: If I understand John correctly, is he saying that sodomy laws were only incidently
directed at sodomy as part of a main politicaleconomic effort to dissolve the
monasteries as part of the rise of the capitalists in England ?

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