"napsters" in 1720, long before the Internet; also "ditch" and "rince"

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Mon Jun 10 21:16:24 UTC 2013

"Last Week two notorious Napsters, being at the Dog and Duck in St.
George's-field, as they pretended, only for their Diversion, the
Burghers of Alsatia immediately sent a Deputation of their Body to
wait on them, but having some Notice of their coming, one made his
escape, the other was taken in the Attempt, and being brought before
the Committee for the Affair of Bailiffs, after a very full
Examination and Conviction, he was sentenced to the Ditch, which
Instrument he bore with great Magnaminity, and being afterwards
pretty handsomely rinced thro' the City was discharged without Fees."

Boston Gazette, November 28, 1720, 3/2.  Datelined London August 6.  EAI.

"napster" not in OED3.  Nor in the list archives.  [The newspaper's
characters are clear and unambiguous.]  Searching up to 1899, the
only GBooks hits that seemed to have any relevance are false
positives (Shakespeare: it's actually "tapster").  Perhaps an
alternate spelling of "napper", n.2, "A cheat; a thief; (in later
use) spec. a sheep stealer"; if so it would interdate OED3 1699--c1825.

"ditch" is presumably unexceptional, except that here it is a place
of punishment.  Something like ducking in a stool?  Only these two
are likely male.

"rince"?  Presumably not "rinse" v., "to wash" -- they were already
rinsed in the Ditch, and washing "thro' the City" sounds
implausible.  But there is "rinse", n., sense 1, "Sc. A small, tied
bundle of twigs (esp. of heather) cut evenly across and used for
scouring out pots or other vessels. Now hist. and rare."  I can
imagine such a bundle employed to scour miscreants.  In which case we
have "rince", v. = "flog with a rince", not in OED.


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