Between 1720 and 1730, religious societies in England sought to publicly denounce those who committed "immoral" acts. One such London-based society, SPCK (Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge), spent most of their energies promoting the establishment of other religious societies. However, they also published annual lists of people they deemed "corrupted" to shame them into reform. These lists were called "Black Rolls." In the 1720's, campaigns mounted against sodomy and steadily rose into the 1730's, when it was noted, "Many were the trials of this period for sodomy and the whole of the filthy details are printed just as they were given" 11

After the 1730s, persecution of sodomites skyrocketed. For example, Holland had zero convictions for sodomy before 1730. Between 1730 and 1732, numerous men were convicted with more than 200 resulting in executions. In England, the earliest successful prosecution of adults for sodomy came in 1631. In 1726, convictions of sodomites rose until the period between 1749 and 1804 in which executions averaged one every 10 years. Randolph Trumbach described the activities: "It's is likely that Early Modern Europe experienced a sodomy paranoia paralleling the witch burning craze." 12

Men were executed by burning, drowning and strangling, with hanging being England's favorite mode. Usually, the criminal suffered public humiliation prior to his execution by being locked in a pillory as an angry mob threw rocks and feces at him.

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