Like many writers who dote on the late Georgian period, I have a selection of publications called Annual Registers, which are something like almanacks. They contain a wide variety of articles, from serious accounts of international diplomacy to gossip and on-dits about unusual incidents. Here are three items from The Annual Register, or A View of the History, Politics, and Literature for the Year 1801, from the Chronicle for August p.47-48:
“1st As the Marquis of Abercorn was driving the Marchioness and Lady Catharine Hamilton in a curricle, near Stanmore, the horses took fright, and set off at full speed;
… in the attempt to pull them up, the reins snapped. The Marquis, embarrassed by the shrieks of the ladies, and unsteady in his seat, jumped into the road and broke his right thigh and left leg.
The ladies kept their seats until the coachman, who was outrider, saw a convenient place, when, by forcing the horses towards the ditch, he contrived to have them thrown out upon the bank without injury. The horses again set off.
The curate of Edgware coming along the road, made an attempt to stop them, but unfortunately lost the cap of his knee by a blow of the pole. A surgeon set the Marquis’s limb upon the spot.”
“At the Maidstone Assizes, on Thursday last, James and John Austin, brothers, were put to the bar on a charge of robbing the mail…from both of which they obtained a large booty, notes to a great amount having been paid previous to the discovery of those by whom the robbery had been perpetrated….It was proved that this bundle of notes consisted of the paper of different country banks, which had been stolen from the mails, and thus there was no doubt of the connection of this prisoner with the robbery….After all the various proofs of these facts had been minutely gone through, the jury brought in a verdict, acquitting the prisoner John, but finding James guilty.
The judge immediately pronounced sentence of death on the prisoner, adjudging him to be hanged in chains near the place where the robbery was committed….he confessed he was concerned in the robbery…at the same time confessed having stolen many letters and parcels while he was post-boy at Lamberhurst in Kent….”
“August 5th As a party of ladies and gentlemen were amusing themselves in a wherry on the Thames near Shepperton, a salmon leaped from the river and fell into the boat. In the struggle to seize the fish, the wherry was precipitated down the stream, and was at length overturned; but, the place was fortunately so shallow, that none of the parties were drowned, though they were immersed head over ears in the water. Mr. Smith, who saw the accident, induced the party to accompany him to his hospitable mansion where a change of clothes was procured for the unfortunate party, but the lady of Mr. Maintone, who was far advance in pregnancy, was seized with violent convulsions, in consequence of the fright, and expired before morning.”