Two hundred and twenty-six years ago young Warren Hastings was circumcised....forcibly! Twenty-four year old Warren, along with three hundred of his fellow English workers at the Old London Company offices in Cossimbazar, India, was stripped, sodomized, masturbated and publicly circumcised by the Moghul troops who overran the British outpost. Warren watched in fascination and horror as his prepuce was carried away in a bag containing all three hundred freshly severed foreskins....trophies for the Moslem Moghuls. Lanky, effeminately handsome Hastings, destined to become one of Britain's great colonial statesmen, wrote of his ordeal, "I, myself, was carved...."

Hastings' carving was not the first time an Englishman had been circumcised at the hands of Islamic warriors, and it was not to be the last time. The Arabs, Turks and Afghans as well as the Moghuls have had their turns at plucking off British prepuces. In southern India, Ma'ajoon, an intoxicating combination of herbs was employed during the forced circumcision of captives, producing stupification and causing the penis to rise; the aphrodisiac made the ceremony easier and, by being performed on an erect shaft, preserved much of the foreskin. Tippoo Sultaun, the tiger of Mysore, used this method on British troops to make certain they survived and, by incomplete circumcision, to brand them only partially cleansed; quasi-Mohammedans. At a prison in the Mysorean dungeons of Swendroog, Cl. Sir David Baird, a prominent Scottish officer, was thus mutilated along with other young subalterns. Baird and his fellow captives were seized by powerful Abyssisian slaves, stripped naked and staked to the ground, their limbs splayed wide. A white bearded old surgeon carefully pried his long, craggy fingers into each British penis, determining the extent of the doomed foreskin. Then the victims' mouths were forced open, introducing Ma'ajoon. The wily old circumciser waited patiently. Soon, the drug had taken effect, and each officer experienced masochistic stimulation; teeth gritting, fist clenching, eyes transfixed as they watched their penises rise in anticipation. When each soldier's manhood stood at full flower, the old man announced, "Praise the lord! Thou art now to receive the ordinance of El-Knutneh, creating thee all to True Believer." The razor flashed once over each penis. The rings of flesh were offered to the fire as liberation to Allah.

As the mighty British Empire expanded and Mother England sent forth soldiers, adventurers and government clerks, more and more of her Christian sons returned home with Islamized penises. Unfortunately, many did not return but instead bled to death as a result of their foreskin amputation. Phimosis, the condition of a tight or unretractable prepuce, seemingly had a high incidence among the English, making cavalier circumcisions by Moslem swordsmen risky, and as far back as 1661, the Old London Company realized that her many phimosed employees were in mortal danger.

Knowing it was impossible to protect British foreskins from zealot Moghuls, the British governor of Madras proclaimed that all applicants to the Company be "bodily examined" and if a cadet could not "strip his yard" the company surgeon was obliged to "clip ye skin entire". Thus, in 1661, the first circumcision of European Christians by European Christians was commenced, giving impetus to three hundred years of routine circumcision in the English speaking world.

The Old London Company records still exist giving explicit details about who among her illustrious empire builders were "clipcocks" and who were "pillcocks" (or, peelcocks; uncircumcised). These terms gave rise to generations of English schoolboy humor and playful contention, not to mention curiosity, between possessors or the two styles of "cocks". For many generations the "clipcocks", in the minority, suffered great indignation. Robert Clive, the hero in the British takeover of India, was angered when his phimosed penis was circumcised by the company surgeon; "By God, had I known I was to come out here to be clipped I'd have forsaken pork and procured me a scullcap!"

When taunted by the pillcock cadets in his own company Clive "...did menace ye offending cadets with his pen-knife, asking who should be the first in ye loss of his precious skin.''

By the early nineteenth century, however, the clipcock became fashion among the British aristocracy, who wore it as a badge of honor--proof of serving Throne and Empire in foreign service. Richard Burton, the illustrious anthropologist, had himself circumcised as part of the masquerade in his daring entry into forbidden Mecca. His associate, Speke, became a hero to his adventure-loving countrymen when, during an expedition searching for the source of the Nile, his camp was overrun by hostile Somalis screaming, "Circumcision or death, you Christian Dog!", and he was left on the battlefield stunned and Islamized. Many a young pillcock squire, observing how many of his peers at the all-boy English public schools sported their acorns (glans) unmuzzled, chose to be circumcised to better represent his privileged class. British royalty circumcised its male heirs using the finest Mohel (Jewish circumciser) to be found in all of London. Yes, the rich and the famous were shedding their foreskins in the most romantic of ways. The huge English working class, however, remained resolutely uncircumcised. Then came Queen Victoria!

Suddenly, masturbation became the number one enemy of God, Her Majesty' s throne and, certainly, it replaced the Moslem as the prime enemy of the foreskin. Alex Comfort wrote about the "masturbation hysteria" in England between 1850 and 1900. "Over this period there was truly a remarkable upsurge in what can be termed comic-book sadism. The advocacy of bizarre anti-masturbation therapies was not confined to eccentrics. By about 1880 the individual who might wish for unconscious reason to tie, chain, or infibulate sexually active children,...to adorn them with grotesque appliances, encase them in plaster, leather or rubber, to frighten or even castrate them...masturbation insanity was now real enough...it was affecting the medical profession." Thomas S. Szasz, M.D., ("The Manufacture of Madness", Dell Publishing 1970) wrote that the masturbator became the social scapegoat during this period just as witches had been in previous periods and physicians took the place of clergy as the "inquisitors". One such "inquisitor", Dr. James Hutchinson, president of the Royal College of Surgeons, wrote a paper titled, "On Circumcision as Preventive of Masturbation", and the floodgates were opened for routine neonatal circumcision. Even English working class penises began to succumb to the Queen's surgeons.

Routine circumcision of English boys remained rampant until the start of World War I when, according to British author Dr. Douglas Baker, M.D., 85% of the upper class males were circumcised as were nearly 50% of their working class peers. During the first decade of this century anti-masturbation was excuse enough for the mass destruction of British prepuces. During the second decade the medical "inquisitors" came under some question and the circumcisers began looking for other "excuses" which, after all provided them with a financial bonus. Among the new "excuses" was the theory that circumcision helped to prevent VD. And, with British boys now mired in the trenches and back-alleys of France, VD replaced masturbation as the favored reason to cut off foreskins. Military doctors went to work! That was WWI...then came WWII, the blitz, loss of empire and the coming of socialized medicine. After a debate in which a surprisingly large number of medical professionals (said to be the most highly circumcised group in the Isles) spoke out against routine circumcision, it was decided that the National Health Plan would not include payments for routine neonatal circumcision. The curtains came down on the British clipcock. Today, England once again has a generation of mostly pillcocks.

Mother England, benevolently sharing her high civilization with her colonies, exported circumcision along with jurisprudence, etc. The English-speaking nations became the only Christian nations (besides the Philippines and the Christian Coasts of East Africa) ever to practice routine circumcision. Today, the hearty Australian is reportedly 80% shorn of foreskin while his New Zealand neighbor, heavily clipped until the advent of his own national health program, still skins the penises of about 40% of his sons. The Canadians of Ontario are supposedly up to 80% trimmed, while western Canadians are less so and the French Canadians have largely resisted altering their penises. The South Africans of British ancestry have remained almost entirely intact to match their Boer fellow-countrymen. But, the Americans--that is a different story!