George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Tue Dec 14 22:26:56 UTC 2004

This is a pretty neat antedating:

        We hear from Elizabeth-Town, that an odd Sect of People have
lately appeared there, who go under the Denomination of Regulators;
there are near a Dozen of them, who dress themselves in Women's
Cloaths, and painting their Faces, go in the Evening to the Houses of
such as are reported to have beat their Wives; where one of them
entering in first, seizes the Delinquent, while the rest follow, strip
him, turn up his Posteriors, and flog him with Rods most severely,
crying out all the Time, Wo to the Men that beat their Wives; --- It
seems that several Persons in that Borough, (and 'tis said some very
deservedly) have undergone the Discipline, to the no small Terror of
others, who are in any Way conscious of deserving the same
Punishment.  "Twere to be wished, that in order for the more equal
Distribution of Justice, there would arise another Sect, under the
Title of Regulatrixes, who should dress themselves in Men's Cloaths,
and flagitate the Posteriors of the Scolds, Termagants, &c. &c.
        N-Y Gazette Revived, December 18, 1752, p. 2, col. 2

The OED has for "Regulators":
1. c. U.S. A member of one of the bands formed at various times in wild
parts of the country, with the professed object of supplying the want
of the regular administration of justice. The earliest and most notable
case was in the Carolinas, c 1767-71.

  1767 LD. MONTAGU in A. Gregg Hist. Old Cheraws (1867) 136 Those
licentious spirits that have so lately appeared in the distant parts of
the Province, and, assuming the name of Regulators, have..illegally
tried, condemned, and punished many persons.  [and later citations]


George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
Univ. Pr., 1998, but nothing much lately.

"We have seen the best of our time.  Machinations, hollowness,
treachery, and all ruinous disorders follow us disquietly to our
graves."  King Lear, Act 1, scene 2 (Gloucester speaking).


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