Mohocks

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Mohocks

bullies terrorizing London streets in 18th century. [Br. Hist.: Brewer Dictionary, 720]
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In an echo of the Mohock craze, it was even suggested that the Monster-mania had been orchestrated by some married gentlemen who wanted to keep their wives at home.
In 1856, a number of newspapers reported a `new' crime that seemed just as horrific as the Mohock atrocities and the Monster's wanton attacks: several respectable citizens had been robbed by gangs of criminals who used a novel technique to subdue their victims.
Other contemporaries, including Jonathan Swift and Lord Chesterfield, doubted the existence of the Mohocks at all, believing the whole panic to be some kind of mass hysteria.
Viewed in the terms of a moral panic, the initial deviance was the terrible mutilation of the Ripper's first victim, Polly Nichols in August 1888; this was a `new' crime just like the Mohocks' outrages, the Monster's assaults and the garottings, and provoked revulsion and fear.
If the Mohocks, the London Monster and the Garotters are forgotten today, the Jack the Ripper mass hysteria has never died down.
Now, in a matter of just a few months, Johnson had managed to secure two competent teachers to nurture and develop basic free education programs, one at Johnstown and the other at "the Mohocks" (Canajoharie).
Attention in this century to Gay's dramatic oeuvre had previously been only spasmodic and tended to centre on The Beggars Opera, and so, offered more or less as a guide, and surveying all the plays from The Mohocks to The Distress'd Wife, Professor Winton's book is very welcome.
The Beggars Opera and Polly attract the most attention, but for the rest, Winton is content to generalize, albeit with his theatrical heart in the right place: The Mohocks is `a bold experiment'; to dismiss The Wife of Bath (1713) is a `mistake' since it is `a work of originality with some excellent farce scenes'; the revised Wife is merely `a sad come-down' (though no comparison of the two versions supports this pronouncement); The Distress'd Wife is `not successful' because `the world of realistic comedy was not [Gay's] world' - an assessment which begs many critical questions.