Trial of Two Centuries
Opening Statements
Public Executions
Human v. Human Sport
Animal v. Animal Sport Human v. Animal Sport Closing Statements Witness List End Notes & Bibliography

On Trial! Violent Entertainment of Eighteenth Century England
English 430 : The Rise of the Novel, Winter 1999. Professor David Porter.
April 16th, 1999.

Everyone in the large courtroom rises as the Honorable D.L. Porter enters from the room from his chambers, gowned in a black robe and traditional white wig. Justice Porter fills the courtroom with his foreboding reassurance, he settles into his seat on the bench...the trial may now commence.

You quickly take your seat, greatly anticipating what is sure to become the most famous trial of two centuries. A man, dressed in silken breeches and an exquisite cravat, quickly grabs the seat next to you. Quietly turning towards you, he asks in an inquisitive English accent, "Good sir, be so kind as to inform what this damned trial is all about!" Before answering his question, you reflect that there have been few times in your life that you are so glad to be an expert in eighteenth-century England. Before the trial commences, you inform your English neighbor that concerned citizens of the twentieth century have brought eighteenth-century England to trial. The modern-day prosecution accuses the English population of the eighteenth century of heinous crimes against both humanity and animals. The gentleman sitting next to you shifts in his seat, adjusts his wig, and exclaims sheer surprise at such an accusation of his time and people. "What evidence, might I ask, will the prosecution use in an effort to expose these 'heinous' acts against humanity?" You notice that you have a bit of time before the opening statements are scheduled to begin, so you gladly relate the salient issues of the case, "The four main points the prosecution intends to address and condemn are the popularity of public execution in England, the ubiquity and popularity of bloodsports, sports pitting animals against each other, and sports involving the abuse of animals by humans."

"All quiet in the courtroom!" booms Justice Porter from his bench. With your conversation cut short, you both turn your attention to the front of the courtroom where the prosecutor consults with other members of her counsel in preparation for her opening statement. She rises and addresses the members of the jury. Opening Statements

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