While visiting the Italian city of Genoa, English chronicler John Evelyn observes a wild argument between two local businessmen. After Evelyn had hailed a boat to cross the harbour, another boatman “interposed his boat before him and took us in”. This was apparently too much for the first boatman, who with “sudden and devilish passion” threatened the second:
“Tears gushing out of his eyes, he put his finger in his mouth and almost bit it off by the joint, showing it to his antagonist as an assurance to him of some bloody revenge, if he ever came near that part of the harbour again.”
Evelyn claims that such acts are common-place in Genoa, a “beautiful city more stained with horrid acts of revenge and murders than any one place in Europe, maybe the world”.
In the late 1760s, hundreds of farmers in North Carolina joined the Regulators, a band of anti-government rebels opposed to high taxes, political corruption and state-friendly courts.
In October 1770, a gang of these Regulators, including “men of considerable property”, went on a rampage through Hillsborough. According to reports, they swore to kill every “clerk or lawyer” they could find. The gang stormed into the local courthouse, forcing the judge to suspend proceedings and flee. The Regulators then detained and beat up every lawyer or court official they could lay hands on.
According to the Virginia Gazette:
“When they had fully glutted their revenge on the lawyers… to show their opinion of the courts of justice they took from his chains a Negro [slave] and placed at the lawyer’s bar, and filled the Judge’s seat with human excrement, in derision and contempt of the characters that fill those respectable places.”
The colonial government of North Carolina responded by assembling a militia that defeated the Regulators at Alamance in May 1771.
In the early 1610s, the small village of Nettleton in north-west Wiltshire was shaken by an ongoing row between two local women – Agnes Davis and Margaret Davis (they shared the same surname but were apparently unrelated). By 1614, local authorities had endured enough of their long-running feud. Both women were hauled in before stewards and found to be common scolds. Margaret was sentenced to the usual punishment for scolds: a ducking in the local pond. Agnes, however, managed to talk her way out of this penalty.
Infuriated by this, Margaret’s family and supporters spent several days accosting Agnes, confronting her on the way to church and chasing her around the village. On Christmas Night 1614, they barged uninvited into Agnes’ house, “making affray”, eating her mince pies and “pissing into her pottage pot”. They then threw Agnes into the local pond. There are no further mentions of the feud in historical documents after 1614.