Benjamin Aislabie

Benjamin Aislabie (1774-1842) was a wine merchant with holdings in the West Indies. He was a devout cricketer. In 1802, he joined the Marylebone Cricket Club and became one of the game’s premier administrators. He was made President of the MCC in 1823 and did even more to bring regulation and organization to the game. He helped turn cricket from a game notorious for betting and illicit activities [?] into a gentile pastime and symbolic of ‘musular christianity’. Tom Brown’s School Days has a brief appearence by Mr. Aislabie and his “best speeches that ever were heard”.

Regretfully, Mr. Aislabie was a horrid cricketer. Weighing over 250 lbs, he needed a substitute while batting or fielding. In forty years of cricket, he averaged four runs an inning and took eight wickets. History has no record of those who succumbed to his bowling. Surely, the signs of a benevolent spirit animating this universe. It does appear that the man was a jovial, genial fellow who really loved the game of cricket.

Mr. Aislabie makes an appearance in the Old Bailey as well. In 1808, Richard Cowley, an employee in his business was convicted of stealing “three bottles of red port, part of a bottle of rum, and a bottle of brandy”. Cowley was sentenced to three months in Newgate and a fine of one shilling.

Mr. Aislabie died from an abcess in the throat.

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*Inspired by a talk last night, that was akin to a DNB entry read aloud, I thought this could keep this blog chugging. So, now and then, I will do some data-mining in the Proceedings of the Old Bailey and the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and bring you some oddities. And to keep me honest, I will do similarly from various Persian and Arabic biographical dictionaries.

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