The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Chronicles of Crime or The New Newgate
Calendar. v. 1/2, by Camden Pelham

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Title: The Chronicles of Crime or The New Newgate Calendar. v. 1/2
       being a series of memoirs and anecdotes of notorious
              characters who have outraged the laws of Great Britain
              from the earliest period to 1841.

Author: Camden Pelham

Illustrator: Phiz

Release Date: August 14, 2014 [EBook #46585]
[Last updated: December 20, 2014]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


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C H R O N I C L E S   O F   C R I M E.


The Man with the Carpet Bag.

“In an instant the smile of the hostess turned to a frown, and, without
further explanation, she exclaimed, looking over the bar at the same
time at my unfortunate carpet-bag, ‘No, sir; we have no room; it won’t
do here’.”

The Man with the Carpet Bag.

“In an instant the smile of the hostess turned to a frown, and,
without further explanation, she exclaimed, looking over the
bar at the same time at my unfortunate carpet-bag, ‘No, sir;
we have no room; it won’t do here’.”



Edited by Camden Pelham


Escape of the Mayor of Bristol.

“His worship, seeing me, said, ‘For God’s sake, young man, assist me
up.’ I stooped down & helped his worship up, the female servants
assisting him behind.”

Escape of the Mayor of Bristol.

“His worship, seeing me, said, ‘For God’s sake, young man, assist me
up.’ I stooped down & helped his worship up, the female servants
assisting him behind.”




The New Newgate Calendar.


&c., &c.










FEW words are necessary to introduce to our readers a work, the character and the object of which are so legibly written upon its title-page. “Chronicles of Crime” must comprise details, not only interesting to every person concerned for the welfare of society, but useful to the world in pointing out the consequences of guilt to be equally dreadful and inevitable. It is to be regretted that in most of the works of the present day, little attention is paid to the ultimate moral or beneficial effects to be produced by them upon the public mind; and that while every effort is made to afford amusement, no care is taken to produce those general impressions, so necessary to the maintenance of virtue and good order. The advantages of precept are everywhere admitted and extolled; but still more effectual are the lessons which are taught through the influence of example, whose results are but too frequently fatal. The representation of guilt with its painful and degrading consequences, has been universally considered to be the best means of warning youth against the danger of temptation;—the benefits to be expected from example are too plainly exhibited by the infliction of punishment to need repetition; and the more generally the effects of crime are shown, and the more the horrors which precede{vi} detection and the deplorable fate of the guilty are made known, the greater is the probability that the atrocity of vice may be abated and the security of the public promoted.

Having said thus much in recommendation of the object of this work, a few words as to its precise character may be added. Amusement and instruction are alike the results which are hoped to be secured. It is admitted by men, whose desire it is to make themselves acquainted with human nature, that jails and other places of confinement afford them a wide field for contemplation. The study of life, in all its varieties, is one no less interesting than useful. The ingenuity of thieves, depicted in their crimes, is a theme upon which all have opportunities to remark, in their passage through a life of communication with the world; and no less worthy of observation are the offences of men, whose outrages or cruelties have rendered them amenable to the laws, framed for the protection of society. All afford matter of contemplation to the mind, most likely to be attended with useful results. It may be observed that to persons of vicious inclination, effects the opposite to those which are suggested may be produced; but an answer as conclusive as it is just may be given to any such remark. The consequences of crime are as clearly exhibited as its motives and its supposed advantages, and few are hardy enough to declare or to exhibit a carelessness for punishment, or a contempt for the bitter fruits of their misdeeds. Presenting an example, therefore, of peculiar usefulness, it is trusted that the work will be found no less interesting than instructive. Combining these two most important qualities to secure its success, it is hoped that the patronage afforded it will be at least commensurate with the pains which have been bestowed upon its production.{vii}

It will be observed that in the preparation of these pages much care has been taken to preserve those features only which are likely to be acceptable to society. The most scrupulous attention has been paid to the rejection of such instances of guilt, the circumstances of which might be deemed unfit for general perusal. In a compass so circumscribed as that to which the work is confined, it would be impossible to give the history of every criminal who has undergone punishment for his offences, during the period to which our Chronicles extend: neither is that the object of the work. It is intended to embrace within its limits all those cases which from their details present outlines of attraction. The earlier pages are derived from sources of information peculiarly within the reach of the Editor, while those of a later period are compiled from known authorities as accurate as they are complete.

The comparison of the offences, and of the punishments of the last century, with those of more recent date, will exhibit a marked distinction between the two periods, both as to the atrocity of the one, and the severity of the other. Those dreadful and frequent crimes, which would disgrace the more savage tribes, and which characterised the lives of the early objects of our criminal proceedings, are now no longer heard of; and those characters of blood, in which the pages of our Statute-book were formerly written, have been wiped away by improved civilisation and the milder feelings of the people. It is but just to say that the provisions of a wise Parliament have not been unattended with proper results. Humanity has been permitted to temper the stern demands of justice; and however atrocious, it must be admitted, some of the crimes may be which have been recently perpetrated, and however numerous the offenders-it cannot be denied that the{viii} general aspect of the state of crime in this country is now infinitely less alarming than formerly.

The necessity for punishment as the consequence of crime, can neither be doubted nor denied. Without it the bonds of society must be broken—government in no form could be upheld. If, then, example be the object of punishment, and peace and good order, nay, the binding together of the community, be its effects, how useful must be a work, whose intention is to hold out that example which must be presumed to be the foundation of a well-ordered society.

The cases will be found to be arranged chronologically, which, it is presumed, will afford the most satisfactory and the most easy mode of reference. This advantage is, however, increased by the addition of copious indices.

London, July 1, 1840.



Note.The offence mentioned opposite to each name is that alleged against the person charged.

Adams, Agnes. Forgery505
Alden, Martha. Murder445
Allen, George. Murder444
Allen, William. Returned Transport330
Armitage, Richard. Forgery506
Aslett, Robert. Embezzlement410
Atkins, James, alias Hill, alias Jack the Painter. Arson269
Attaway, James. Burglary226
Aram, Eugene. Murder168
Avershaw, Lewis Jeremiah. Murder347
Bailey, Richard. Burglary226
Balfour, Alexander. Murder3
Balmerino, Lord. Treason107
Baltimore, Lord. Rape213
Barrington, George, alias Waldron. Pickpocket363
Bateman, Mary. Murder458
Bellingham, John. Murder527
Benson, Mary, alias Phipoe. Murder358
Birmingham Riots (1780)326
Blackburn, Joseph. Forgery575
Blake, Joseph, alias Blueskin. Burglary35
Blandy, Mary. Parricide148
Bodkin, John, and Dominick. Murder105
Bolland, James. Forgery229
Bounty, Mutiny of328
Bourne, John. Conspiracy332
Bradford, Jonathan. Murder107
Briant, Mary. Returned Transport330
Bristol, Countess of, alias Duchess of Kingston. Bigamy250
Broadric, Ann. Murder343
Brown, Nicol. Murder157
Brown, Joseph. Murder456
Brownrigg, Elizabeth. Murder204
Burt, Samuel. Forgery316
Burgh, Rev. Richard. Conspiracy332
Butcher, John. Returned Transport330
Butterworth, William. Murder342
Buxton, James. Murder202
Caddell, George. Murder7
Cameron, Dr. Archibald. Treason154
Campbell, Alexander. Murder452
Campbell, Mungo. Murder227
Carr, John. Forgery124
Carroll, Barney. Cutting and Maiming197
Carson, Thomas. Murder590
Caulfield, Frederick. Murder141
Chandler, William. Perjury145
Charteris, Col. Francis. Rape76
Clayton, John. Burglary522
Cobby, John. Murder127
Colley, Thomas. Murder138
Cook, Thomas. Murder8
Cooke, Arundel. Cutting and Maiming31
Cooper, James. Murder454
Couchman, Samuel. Mutiny131
Coyle, Richard. Piracy84
Cox, Jane. Murder507
Cummings, John. Conspiracy332
Crosswell, John. Conspiracy49
Dagoe, Hannah. Robbery{x}197
Davis, James. Conspiracy332
Dawson, Daniel. Poisoning Race-horses524
Dawson, James. Treason122
De Butte, Louis, alias Mercier. Murder272
De la Motte, Francis Henry. Treason301
Derwentwater, Earl Of. Treason19
Despard, Col. Edward Marcus. Treason389
Dignum, David Brown. Fraud268
Diver, Jenny, alias Mary Young. Pickpocket96
Dixon, Margaret. Murder71
Dodd, Dr. William. Forgery274
Donally, James. Robbery292
Downie, David. Treason335
Dramatti, John Peter. Murder9
Drew, Charles. Parricide102
Duncan, William. Murder436
Durnford, Abraham. Robbery292
Elby, William. Murder10
Emmet, Robert. Treason382
Farmery, William. Murder236
Farrell, James, alias Buck. Murder202
Favey, James, alias O’Coigley. Treason360
Fenning, Elizabeth. Murder569
Ferguson, Richard, alias Galloping Dick. Robbery371
Ferrers., Earl. Murder181
Fleet Marriages159
Foster, George. Murder380
Francis, John. Treason389
Fryer, James. Burglary288
Gadesby, William. Robbery325
Galloping Dick, alias Richard Ferguson. Robbery371
Gardelle, Theodore. Murder188
Gentleman Harry, alias Henry Sterne. Robbery315
Gidley, George. Murder199
Goodere, Capt. Samuel. Murder103
Gordon, Thomas. Murder318
Gow, John. Piracy72
Grant, Jeremiah. Burglary588
Gregg, William. Treason12
Grierson, Rev. Jno., unlawful performance of the Marriage Ceremony159
Griffenburg, Elizabeth. Accessory to a Rape213
Griffiths, William. Robbery234
Guest, William. Diminishing the Coin of the Realm203
Hackman, the Rev. James. Murder289
Hadfield, James. Treason370
Hatfield, John. Forgery394
Haggerty, Owen. Murder437
Hamilton, Col. John. Manslaughter16
Hammond, John. Murder127
Hardwick, James. Conspiracy349
Harris, Samuel. Murder311
Harvey, Anne. Accessory To a Rape213
Hawden, John. Conspiracy349
Hawes, Nathaniel. Robbery28
Hayden, James. Conspiracy349
Hayes, Catherine. Murder65
Haywood, Richard. Robbery417
Heald, Joseph. Murder378
Hebberfield, William. Forgery521
Henderson, Matthew. Murder116
Henley, John. Conspiracy349
Hill, James, alias Jack the Painter269
Hodges, Joseph. Cross-dropping351
Holloway, John. Murder437
Holmes, John. Body-stealing273
Horne, William Andrew. Murder179
Horner, Thomas. Burglary288
Housden, Jane. Murder18
Hunter, the Rev. Thomas. Murder1
Hutchinson, Amy. Murder133
Jackson, the Rev. Mr. Treason346
Jack the Painter, alias Hill. Arson269
Jacobs, Simon. Conspiracy349
Jeffries, Elizabeth. Murder152
Jenkins, William. Burglary522
Jennison, Francis. Murder342
Jobbins, William. Arson324
Johnson, William. Murder18
Jones, Laurence. Robbery333
Kearinge, Matthew. Arson & Murder{xi}453
Keele, Richard. Murder18
Kendall, Richard. Robbery552
Kenmure, Lord. Treason19
Kidd, Capt. John. Piracy4
Kilmarnock, Earl Of. Treason107
King, William. Cutting and Maiming197
Kingston, Duchess of, alias Countess of Bristol. Bigamy.250
Knight, Thomas. Mutiny131
Lancey, Capt. John. Arson156
Layer, Christopher. Treason32
Lazarus, Jacob. Murder227
Le Maitre, Peter. Stealing267
Leonard, John. Rape235
Lilly, Nathaniel. Returned Transport330
Lisle, alias Major J. G. Semple. Swindling564
London, Riots of295
Lovat, Lord. Treason118
Lowe, Edward. Arson324
Lowther, William. Murder18
Luddites, The549
Magnis, Harriet. Child-stealing510
Mahony, Matthew. Murder103
Malcolm, Sarah. Murder79
Male, Samuel. Robbery236
Marrs, Murder of the513
Martin, James. Returned Transport330
Massey, Capt. John. Piracy30
Mathison, James. Forgery295
Mayne, Robert. Mutiny196
M‘Can, Townley. Conspiracy332
M‘Canelly, John. Burglary151
Merritt, Amos. Burglary237
Mercier, Francis, alias De Butte. Murder272
Metyard, Sarah, and Sarah Morgan. Murder210
Mills, John. Murder132
Mills, Richard. Murder127
M‘Ilvena, Michael. Unlawfully performing the Marriage Ceremony560
Mitchell, Samuel Wild. Murder415
Mitchell, James. Murder562
M‘Kinlie, Peter. Murder199
M‘Naughton, John. Murder191
Morgan, Edward. Murder and Arson158
Morgan, John. Mutiny131
Morgan, Luke. Burglary151
Mutiny of the Bounty328
Mutiny at the Nore353
Newton, William. Robbery300
Nicholson, Philip. Murder555
Nore, Mutiny at353
North, John. Murder311
O’Coigley, James, alias Favey. Treason360
Page, William. Robbery165
Paleotti, Marquis de. Murder25
Palmer, John. Burglary448
Parker, Richard. Mutiny353
Parsons, William. Returned Transport142
Patch, Richard. Murder430
Perfect, Henry. Fraud419
Perreau, Robert and Daniel. Forgery244
Phillips, Thomas. Robbery27
Phillips, Morgan. Murder and Arson294
Phillips, John. Conspiracy349
Phipoe, Maria Theresa, alias Mary Benson. Murder358
Phipps, Thomas, Sen. and Jun. Forgery319
Picton, Thomas. Unlawfully Applying The Torture423
Porteous, Captain John. Murder81
Porter, Solomon. Murder227
Price, John. Murder26
Price, George. Murder87
Price, Charles. Forgery312
Probin, Richard. Cross-dropping351
Quintin, St., Richard. Murder199
Rann, John, alias Sixteen-stringed Jack. Robbery242
Ratcliffe, Charles. Treason118
Richardson, John. Piracy84
Riots, Birmingham (1780)326
Riots of London295
Roach, Philip. Piracy34
Ross, Norman. Murder136
Rowan, Archibald Hamilton. Sedition{xii}340
Rudd, Margaret Caroline. Forgery249
Ryan, John. Arson and Murder453
Ryland, William Wynne. Forgery308
Sawyer, William. Murder566
Scoldwell, Charles. Stealing350
Semple, Major J. G. Swindling564
Sheeby, Father. Murder202
Sheppard, James. Treason24
Sheppard, John. Burglary38
Simmons, Thomas. Murder450
Sixteen-stringed Jack. Robbery242
Sligo, the Marquis of. Enticing Seamen from H.M. Navy526
Smith, John. Robbery11
Smith, John. Mutiny196
Smith, Robert. Robbery379
Smith, Francis. Murder399
Solomons, John. Conspiracy349
Spencer, Barbara. Coining27
Spiggot, William. Robberyib.
Sterne, Henry, alias Gentleman Harry. Robbery315
Swan, John. Murder152
Tapner, Benjamin. Murder127
Terry, John. Murder378
Thomas, Charles. Forgery506
Thornhill, Richard. Manslaughter15
Tilley, William. Conspiracy349
Townley, Francis. Treason122
Trusty, Christopher. Returned Transport310
Turpin, Richard. Robbery89
Tyrie, David. Treason307
Underwood, Thomas. Robbery325
Vaux, James Hardy. Privately Stealing481
Waldron, George, alias Barrington. Pickpocket363
Wall, Joseph. Murder374
Walsh, Benjamin. Felony511
Watt, Robert. Treason335
Weil, Levi and Asher. Murder227
White, Huffey. Robbery552
White, Charles. Murder103
Whiting, Michael. Murder509
Whitmore, John, alias Old Dash. Rape504
Wild, Jonathan. Receiving Stolen Goods51
Wilkinson, the Rev. Mr. Unlawfully performing the Marriage Ceremony208
Wilkes, John. Sedition220
Williamson, John. Murder208
Williamsons, Murder of the513
Williams, Peter. Body-stealing273
Williams, Renwick. Cutting and Maiming320
Winton, Earl of. Treason19
Woodburne, John. Cutting and Maiming31
Wood, Joseph. Robbery325
Wood, John. Treason389
York, William. Murder127
Young, Mary, alias Jenny Diver. Pickpocket96
Zekerman, Andrew. Murder199


C H R O N I C L E S   O F   C R I M E,



THE case of this criminal, who was executed in the year 1700, for the barbarous murder of his two pupils, the children of a gentleman named Gordon, an eminent merchant, and a baillie, or alderman of the City of Edinburgh, is the first on our record; and, certainly, for its atrocity, deserves to be placed at the head of the list of offences which follows its melancholy recital. From the title of the offender, it will be seen that he was a preacher of the word of God; and that a person in his situation in life should suffer so ignominious an end for such a crime, is indeed extraordinary; but how much more horrible is the fact which is related to us, that on the scaffold, when all hope of life and of repentance was past, he expressed his disbelief in that God whom it was his profession to uphold, and whose omnipotence it had been his duty to teach!

The malefactor, it would appear, was born of most respectable parents, his father being a rich farmer in the county of Fife, and at an early age he was sent to the University of St. Andrew’s for his education. His success in the pursuit of classical knowledge soon enabled him to take the degree of Master of Arts, and his subsequent study of divinity was attended with as favourable results. Upon his quitting college, in accordance with the practice of the time he entered the service of Mr. Gordon in the capacity of chaplain, in which situation it became his duty to instruct the sons of his employer, children respectively of the ages of eight and ten years. The family consisted of Mr. and Mrs. Gordon, the two boys, their sister (a girl younger than themselves), Mr. Hunter, a young woman who attended upon Mrs. Gordon, and the usual menial servants. The attention of Hunter was attracted by the comeliness of the lady’s-maid, and a connexion of a criminal nature was soon commenced between them. The accidental discovery of this intrigue by the three children, was the ultimate cause of the deliberate murder of two of them by their tutor.

The young woman and Hunter had retired to the apartment of the latter, but, having omitted to fasten the door, the children entered and saw enough to excite surprise in their young minds. In their conversation{2} subsequently at meal-time, they said so much as convinced their parents of what had taken place, and the servant-girl was instantly dismissed; while the chaplain, who had always been considered to be a person of mild and amiable disposition and of great genius, was permitted to remain, upon his making such amends to the family as were in his power, by apologising for his indiscretion. From this moment, however, an inveterate hatred for the children arose in his breast, and he determined to satisfy his revenge upon them by murdering them all. Chance for some time marred his plans, but he was at length enabled to put them into execution as regarded the two boys. It appears that he was in the habit of taking them to walk in the fields before dinner, and the girl on such occasions usually accompanied them, but at the time at which the murder of her brothers was perpetrated she was prevented from going with them. They were at the country-seat of Mr. Gordon, situated at a short distance only from Edinburgh, and an invitation having been received for the whole family to dine in that city, Mrs. Gordon desired that all the children might accompany her and her husband. The latter, however, opposed the execution of this plan, and the little girl only was permitted to go with her parents. The intention of the murderer to destroy all the children was by this means frustrated; but he still persevered in his bloody purpose with regard to the sons of his benefactor, whom he determined to murder while they were yet in his power. Proceeding with them in their customary walks, they all sat down together to rest; but the boys soon quitted their tutor to catch butterflies, and to gather the wild flowers which grew in abundance around them. Their murderer was at that moment engaged in preparing the weapon for their slaughter, and presently calling them to him, he reprimanded them for disclosing to their parents the particulars of the scene which they had witnessed, and declared his intention to put them to death. Terrified by this threat, they ran from him; but he pursued and overtook them, and then throwing one of them on the ground and placing his knee on his chest, he soon despatched his brother by cutting his throat with a penknife. This first victim disposed of, he speedily completed his fell purpose, with regard to the child whose person he had already secured. The deed, it will be observed, was perpetrated in open day; and it would have been remarkable, indeed, if, within half a mile of the chief city of Scotland, there had been no human eye to see so horrible an act. A gentleman who was walking on the Castle Hill had a tolerable view of what passed, and immediately ran to the spot where the deceased children were lying; giving the alarm as he went along, in order that the murderer might be secured. The latter, having accomplished his object, proceeded towards the river to drown himself, but was prevented from fulfilling his intention; and having been seized, he was soon placed in safe custody, intelligence of the frightful event being meanwhile conveyed to the parents of the unhappy children.

The prisoner was within a few days brought to trial, under the old Scottish law, by which it was provided that a murderer, being found with the blood of his victim on his clothes, should be prosecuted in the Sheriff’s Court, and executed within three days. The frightful nature of the case rendered it scarcely uncharitable to pursue a law so vigorous according to its letter, and a jury having been accordingly impanelled, the prisoner was brought to trial, and pleaded guilty, adding the horrible announcement of his regret that Miss Gordon had escaped from his revenge. The sentence{3} of death was passed upon the culprit by the sheriff, but it was directed to be carried into effect with the additional terms, that the prisoner should first have his right hand struck off; that he should then be drawn up to the gibbet, erected near the locality of the murder, by a rope; and that after execution, he should be hanged in chains, between Edinburgh and Leith, the weapon of destruction being passed through his hand, which should be advanced over his head, and fixed to the top of the gibbet. The sentence, barbarous as it may now appear, was carried into full execution on the 22nd of August, 1700; and frightful to relate, he, who in life had professed to be a teacher of the Gospel, on his scaffold declared himself to be an Atheist. His words were, “There is no God—or if there be, I hold him in defiance.” The body of the executed man, having been at first suspended in chains according to the precise terms of his sentence, was subsequently, at the desire of Mr. Gordon, removed to the outskirts of the village of Broughton, near Edinburgh.



THE case of this criminal is worthy of some attention, from the very remarkable circumstances by which it was attended. The subject of this sketch was born in 1687, at the seat of his father, Lord Burley, near Kinross; and having studied successively at Orwell, near the place of his birth, and at St. Andrews, so successfully as to obtain considerable credit, he returned home, being intended by his father to join the army of the Duke of Marlborough, then in Flanders. Here he became enamoured of Miss Robertson, the governess of his sisters, however; and in order to break off the connexion he was sent to make the tour through France and Italy, the young lady being dismissed from the house of her patron. Balfour, before his quitting Scotland, declared his intention, if ever the young lady should marry, to murder her husband; but deeming this to be merely an empty threat, she was, during his absence, united to a Mr. Syme, with whom she went to live at Inverkeithing. On his return to his father’s house, he learned this fact, and immediately proceeded to put his threat into execution. Mrs. Syme, on seeing him, remembering his expressed determination, screamed with affright; but her husband, unconscious of offence, advanced to her aid, and in the interim, Balfour entering the room, shot him through the heart. The offender escaped, but was soon afterwards apprehended near Edinburgh; and being tried, was convicted and sentenced to be beheaded by the maiden[1], on account of the nobility of his family.{4}

The subsequent escape of the criminal from an ignominious end is not the least remarkable part of his case. The scaffold was actually erected for the purpose of his execution; but on the day before it was to take place his sister went to visit him, and, being very like him in face and stature, they changed clothes, and he escaped from prison. His friends having provided horses for him, he proceeded to a distant village, where he lay concealed until an opportunity was eventually offered him of quitting the kingdom. His father died in the reign of Queen Anne, but he had first obtained a pardon for his son, who succeeded to the title and honours of the family, and died in the year 1752, sincerely penitent for his crime.




THE first-named subject of this memoir was born at Greenock, in Scotland, and was bred to the sea; and quitting his native land at an early age, he resided at New York, where he eventually became possessed{5} of a small vessel, with which he traded among the pirates, and obtained a complete knowledge of their haunts. His ruling passion was avarice, although he was not destitute of that courage which became necessary in the profession in which he eventually embarked. His frequent remarks upon the subject of piracy, and the facility with which it might be checked, having attracted the attention of some considerable planters, who had recently suffered from the depredations of the marauders who infested the seas of the West Indies, obtained for him a name which eventually proved of great service to him. The constant and daring interruptions offered to trading ships, encouraged as they were by the inhabitants of North America, who were not loath to profit by the irregularities of the pirates, having attracted the attention of the Government, the Earl of Bellamont, an Irish nobleman of distinguished character and abilities, was sent out to take charge of the government of New England and New York, with special instructions upon the subject of these marine depredators. Colonel Livingston, a gentleman of property and consideration, was consulted upon the subject by the governor; and Kidd, who was then possessed of a sloop of his own, was recommended as a fit person to be employed against the pirates. The suggestion met the approbation of Lord Bellamont; but the unsettled state of public affairs rendered the further intervention of Government impossible; and a private company, consisting of the Duke of Shrewsbury, the Lord Chancellor Somers, the Earls of Romney and Oxford, Colonel Livingston, and other persons of rank, agreed to raise 6000l. to pay the expenses of a voyage, the purpose of which was to be directed to the removal of the existing evil; and it was agreed that the Colonel and Capt. Kidd, who was to have charge of the expedition, should receive one-fifth of the profits. A commission was then prepared for Kidd, directing him to seize and take pirates, and to bring them to justice; but the further proceedings of the Captain, and of his officers, were left unprovided for.

A vessel was purchased and manned, and she sailed under the name of the “Adventure,” from London for New York, at the end of the year 1695. A French ship was seized as a prize during the voyage; and the vessel subsequently proceeded to the Madeira Islands, to Buonavista, and St. Jago, and thence to Madagascar, in search of further spoil. A second prize was subsequently made at Calicut, of a vessel of 150 tons burden, which was sold at Madagascar; and, at the termination of a few weeks, the “Adventure” made prize of the “Quedah Merchant,” a vessel of 400 tons burden, commanded by an Englishman named Wright, and officered by two Dutch mates and a French gunner, and whose crew consisted of Moors. The captain having carried this vessel into Madagascar, he burned the “Adventure,” and then proceeded to divide the lading of the prize with his crew, taking forty shares for himself.

He seems now to have determined to act entirely apart from his owners, and he accordingly sailed in the “Quedah Merchant” to the West Indies. At Anguilla and St. Thomas’s, he was refused refreshments; but he eventually succeeded in obtaining supplies at Mona, between Porto Rico and Hispaniola, through the instrumentality of an Englishman named Button. This man, who thus at first affected to be friendly to the pirate, soon showed the extent to which his friendship was to be relied upon. He sold a sloop to Kidd, in which the latter sailed, leaving the “Quedah{6} Merchant” in his care; but on proceeding to Boston, New England, he found his friend there before him, having disposed of the “Quedah Merchant” to the Spaniards, and having besides given information of his piratical expedition. He was now immediately seized by order of Lord Bellamont, before whom he endeavoured to justify his proceedings, by contending that he had taken none but lawful prizes; but his lordship transmitted an account of the whole transaction to England, requiring that a ship might be sent to convey Kidd home, in order that he might be punished. A great clamour arose upon this, and attempts were made to show that the proceedings of the pirate had been connived at by the projectors of the undertaking, and a motion was made in the House of Commons, that “The letters-patent granted to the Earl of Bellamont and others, respecting the goods taken from pirates, were dishonourable to the king, against the law of nations, contrary to the laws and statutes of this realm, an invasion of property, and destructive to commerce.” Though a negative was put on this motion, yet the enemies of Lord Somers and the Earl of Oxford continued to charge those noblemen with giving countenance to pirates; and it was even insinuated that the Earl of Bellamont was not less culpable than the actual offenders. Another motion was in consequence made to address his Majesty, that “Kidd might not be tried till the next session of parliament; and that the Earl of Bellamont might be directed to send home all examinations and other papers relative to the affair.” This was carried, and the king complied with the request which was made. As soon as Kidd arrived in England, he was sent for, and examined at the bar of the house, with a view to show the guilt of the parties who had been concerned in sending him on the expedition; but nothing arose to criminate any of those distinguished persons. Kidd, who was in some degree intoxicated, made a contemptible appearance at the bar of the house; and a member, who had been one of the most earnest to have him examined, violently exclaimed, “I thought the fellow had been only a knave, but unfortunately he happens to be a fool likewise.” Kidd was at length tried at the Old Bailey, and was convicted on the clearest evidence; but neither at that time, nor afterwards, did he charge any of his employers with being privy to his infamous proceedings.

He was executed with one of his companions, at Execution Dock, on the 23d of May, 1701. After he had been tied up to the gallows, the rope broke, and he fell to the ground; but being immediately tied up again, the Ordinary, who had before exhorted him, desired to speak with him once more; and, on this second application, entreated him to make the most careful use of the few further moments thus providentially allotted to him for the final preparation of his soul to meet its important change. These exhortations appeared to have the wished-for effect; and he died, professing his charity to all the world, and his hopes of salvation through the merits of his Redeemer.

The companion in crime of this malefactor, and his companion also at the gallows, was named Darby Mullins. He was born in a village in the north of Ireland, about sixteen miles from Londonderry; and having resided with his father, and followed the business of husbandry till he was about eighteen, the old man then died, and the young one went to Dublin: but he had not been long there before he was enticed to go to the West Indies, where he was sold to a planter, with whom he resided four years.{7} At the expiration of that term he became his own master, and followed the business of a waterman, in which he saved money enough to purchase a small vessel, in which he traded from one island to another, till the time of the earthquake at Jamaica in the year 1691, from the effects of which he was preserved in a miraculous manner. He afterwards went to Kingston, where he kept a punch-house, and then proceeding to New York, he married; but at the end of two years his wife dying, he unfortunately fell into company with Kidd, and joined him in his piratical practices. He was apprehended, with his commander, and, as we have already stated, suffered the extreme penalty of the law with him.



THIS delinquent was a native of Bromsgrove, in Worcestershire, where he was articled to an apothecary. Having served his time, he proceeded to London to complete his studies in surgery, and he then entered the service of Mr. Randall, a surgeon at Worcester, as an assistant. He was here admired for his extremely amiable character, as well as for the abilities which he possessed; and he married the daughter of his employer, who, however, died in giving birth to her first child. He subsequently resided with Mr. Dean, a surgeon at Lichfield; and during his employment by that gentleman he became enamoured of his daughter, and would have been married to her, but for the commission of the crime which cost him his life.

It would appear that he had become acquainted with a young woman named Elizabeth Price, who had been seduced by an officer in the army, and who supported herself by her skill in needle-work, residing near Mr. Caddell’s abode. An intimacy subsisted between them, the result of which was the pregnancy of Miss Price; and she repeatedly urged her paramour to marry her. Mr. Caddell resisted her importunities for a considerable time, until at last Miss Price, hearing of his paying his addresses to Miss Dean, became more importunate than ever, and threatened, in case of his non-compliance with her wishes, to put an end to all his prospects with that young lady, by discovering everything that had passed between them. Hereupon Caddell formed the horrid resolution of murdering Miss Price. He accordingly called on her on a Saturday evening, and requested that she would walk in the fields with him on the afternoon of the following; day, in order to adjust the plan of their intended marriage. Thus deluded, she met him at the time appointed, on the road leading towards Burton-upon-Trent, at the Nag’s Head public-house, and accompanied her supposed lover into the fields. They walked about till towards evening, when they sat down under the hedge, and after a little conversation, Caddell suddenly pulled out a knife, cut the wretched woman’s throat, and made his escape. In the distraction of his mind, he left behind him the knife with which he had perpetrated the deed, together with his case of instruments. On his returning home it was observed that he appeared exceedingly confused, though the reason of the perturbation of his mind could not be guessed at; but, on the following morning, Miss Price being found murdered in the field, great{8} numbers of people went to see the body. Among them was the woman of the house where she lodged, who recollected that she had said she was going to walk with Mr. Caddell; and then the instruments were examined, and were known to have belonged to him. He was in consequence taken into custody, and committed to the gaol of Stafford; and, being soon afterward tried, was found guilty, condemned, and executed at Stafford on the 21st of July, 1701.



THE death of this person exhibits the singular fatality which attends some men who have been guilty of crime. Cook was the son of a butcher, who was considered a person of respectability, residing at Gloucester. He was apprenticed to a barber-surgeon in London; but running away before his time had expired, he entered the service of one of the pages of honour to William III.; but he soon after quitted this situation to set up at Gloucester as a butcher, upon the recommendation of his mother.

Restless, however, in every station of life, he repaired to London, where he commenced prize-fighter at May-fair; which, at this time, was a place greatly frequented by prize-fighters, thieves, and women of bad character. Here puppet-shows were exhibited, and it was the favourite resort of all the profligate and abandoned, until at length the nuisance increased to such a degree, that Queen Anne issued her Proclamation for the Suppression of Vice and Immorality, with a particular view to this fair; in consequence of which the justices of peace issued their warrant to the high constable, who summoned all the inferior constables to his assistance. When they came to suppress the fair, Cook, with a mob of about thirty soldiers, and other persons, stood in defiance of the peace-officers, and threw brickbats at them, by which some of them were wounded. Cooper, a constable, being the most active, Cook drew his sword and stabbed him in the belly, and he died of the wound at the expiration of four days. Hereupon Cook fled to Ireland, and, as it was deposed upon his trial, while he was in a public house, he swore in a profane manner, for which the landlord censured him, and told him there were persons in the house who would take him in custody for it; to which he answered, “Are there any of the informing dogs in Ireland? we in London drive them; for at a fair called May-fair, there was a noise which I went out to see—six soldiers and myself—the constables played their parts with their staves, and I played mine; and, when the man dropped, I wiped my sword, put it up, and went away.”

The fellow was, subsequently, taken into custody, and sent to Chester, whence being removed to London, he was tried at the Old Bailey, was convicted, and received sentence of death.

After conviction he solemnly denied the crime for which he had been condemned, declaring that he had no sword in his hand on the day the constable was killed, and was not in company with those who killed him. Having received the sacrament on the 21st of July, 1703, he was taken from Newgate to be carried to Tyburn; but, when he had got to High{9} Holborn, opposite Bloomsbury, a respite arrived for him till the following Friday. On his return to Newgate he was visited by numbers of his acquaintance, who rejoiced on his narrow escape. On Friday he received another respite till the 11th of August, but on that day he was executed.



THIS unfortunate man was the son of Protestant parents, and was born at Saverdun, in the county of Foix, and province of Languedoc, in France. He received a religious education; but when he arrived at years of maturity, he left his own country, and went into Germany, where he served as a horse-grenadier under the Elector of Brandenburgh, who was afterwards King of Prussia. When he had been in this condition about a year, he came over to England, and entered into the service of Lord Haversham, and afterwards enlisted as a soldier in the regiment of Colonel de la Melonière. Having made two campaigns in Flanders, the regiment was ordered into Ireland, where it was dismissed from farther service; in consequence of which Dramatti obtained his discharge.

He now became acquainted with a widow, between fifty and sixty years of age, who pretended that she had a great fortune, and was allied to the royal family of France; and he soon married her, not only on account of her supposed wealth and rank, but also of her understanding English and Irish, thinking it prudent to have a wife who could speak the language of the country in which he proposed to spend the remainder of his life. As soon as he discovered that his wife had no fortune, he went to London and offered his services to Lord Haversham, and was again admitted as one of his domestics. His wife, unhappy on account of their separate residence, wished to live with him at Lord Haversham’s, which he would not consent to, saying, that his lordship did not know he was married.

The wife now began to evince the jealousy of her disposition, and frequent quarrels took place between them, because he was unable to be with her so frequently as she desired.

At length, on the 9th of June, 1703, Dramatti was sent to London from his master’s house at Kensington, and calling upon his wife at her lodgings near Soho-square, she endeavoured to prevail upon him to stay with her. This, however, he refused; and finding that he was going home, she went before him, and stationed herself at the Park-gate. On his coming up, she declared that he should go no further, unless she accompanied him; but he quitted her abruptly, and went onwards to Chelsea. She pursued him to the Bloody Bridge, and there seized him by the neckcloth, and would have strangled him, but that he beat her off with his cane. He then attacked her with his sword; and having wounded her in so many places as to conclude that he had killed her, his passion immediately began to subside, and, falling on his knees, he devoutly implored the pardon of God for the horrid sin of which he had been guilty. He went on to Kensington, where his fellow-servants observing that his clothes were bloody, he{10} said he had been attacked by two men in Hyde Park, who would have robbed him of his clothes, but that he defended himself, and broke the head of one of them.

The real fact, however, was subsequently discovered; and Dramatti being taken before a magistrate, to whom he confessed his crime, the body of his wife was found in a ditch between Hyde Park and Chelsea, and a track of blood was seen to the distance of twenty yards; at the end of which a piece of a sword was found sticking in a bank, which fitted the other part of the sword in the prisoner’s possession. The circumstances attending the murder being proved to the satisfaction of the jury, the culprit was found guilty, condemned, and, on the 21st of July, 1703, was executed at Tyburn.



THIS young man was born in the year 1667, at Deptford, in Kent, and served his time with a blockmaker at Rotherhithe, during which he became acquainted with some women of ill fame. After the term of his apprenticeship had expired, he kept company with young fellows of such bad character, that he found it necessary to enter on board a ship to prevent worse consequences. Having returned from sea, he enlisted as a soldier; but while in this situation he committed many small thefts, in order to support the women with whom he was connected. At length he deserted from the army, assumed a new name, and prevailed on some of his companions to engage in housebreaking.

Detection soon terminated his career, and in September 1704, he was indicted for robbing the house of —— Barry, Esq. of Fulham, and murdering his gardener. Elby, it seems, having determined on robbing the house, arrived at Fulham soon after midnight, and had wrenched open one of the windows, at which he was getting in, when the gardener, awaking, came down to prevent the intended robbery with a light in his hand. Elby, terrified lest he should be known, seized a knife and stabbed him to the heart, and the poor man immediately fell dead at his feet. This done, he broke open a chest of drawers, and stole about two hundred and fifty pounds, with which he repaired to his associates in London.

The murder soon became the subject of very general conversation, and Elby being at a public-house in the Strand, it was mentioned, and he became so alarmed on seeing one of the company rise and quit the house, that he suddenly ran away, without paying his reckoning. The landlord was enraged at his being cheated; and learning his address from one of his companions, he caused him to be apprehended, and he was eventually committed for trial on suspicion of being concerned in the robbery and murder.

On his trial he steadily denied the perpetration of the crimes with which he was charged; and his conviction would have been very doubtful, had not a woman with whom he cohabited become an evidence, and sworn that he came from Fulham with the money the morning after the commission of the fact. Some other persons also deposed that they saw him come{11} out of Mr. Barry’s house on the morning the murder was committed; and he was found guilty, and having received sentence of death, was executed at Fulham, on the 13th September, 1704, and was hung in chains near the same place.



THOUGH the crimes committed by this man were not particularly atrocious, nor his life sufficiently remarkable for a place in this work, yet the circumstances attending his fate at the place of execution are perhaps more singular than any we may have to record. He was the son of a farmer at Malton, about fifteen miles from the city of York, who bound him apprentice to a packer in London, with whom he served his time, and afterwards worked as a journeyman. He then went to sea on board a man-of-war, and was at the expedition against Vigo; but on his return from that service he was discharged. He afterwards enlisted as a soldier in the regiment of Guards commanded by Lord Cutts; but in this station he soon made bad connexions, and engaged with some of his dissolute companions as a housebreaker. On the 5th of December, 1705, he was arraigned on four different indictments, on two of which he was convicted. While he lay under sentence of death, he seemed very little affected with his situation, absolutely depending on a reprieve, through the interest of his friends. An order, however, came for his execution on the 24th day of the same month, in consequence of which he was carried to Tyburn, where he performed his devotions, and was turned off in the usual manner; but when he had hung near fifteen minutes, the people present cried out, “A reprieve!” Hereupon the malefactor was cut down, and, being conveyed to a house in the neighbourhood, he soon revived, upon his being bled, and other proper remedies applied.

When he perfectly recovered his senses, he was asked what were his feelings at the time of execution; to which he repeatedly replied, in substance, as follows:—“That when he was turned off, he, for some time, was sensible of very great pain, occasioned by the weight of his body, and felt his spirits in a strange commotion, violently pressing upwards; that having forced their way to his head, he, as it were, saw a great blaze, or glaring light, which seemed to go out at his eyes with a flash, and then he lost all sense of pain. That after he was cut down, and began to come to himself, the blood and spirits, forcing themselves into their former channels, put him, by a sort of pricking or shooting, to such intolerable pain, that he could have wished those hanged who had cut him down.” From this circumstance he was called “Half-hanged Smith.” After this narrow escape from the grave, Smith pleaded to his pardon on the 20th of February, and was discharged; yet such was his propensity to evil deeds, that he returned to his former practices, and, being apprehended, was again tried at the Old Bailey, for housebreaking; but some difficulties arising in the case, the affair was left to the opinion of the twelve judges, who determined in favour of the prisoner. After this second extraordinary escape, he was a third time indicted; but the prosecutor happening to die before the day{12} of trial, he once more obtained that liberty which his conduct showed had not deserved.

We have no account of what became of this man after this third remarkable incident in his favour; but Christian charity inclines us to hope that he made a proper use of the singular dispensation of Providence evidenced in his own person.

It was not infrequently the case, that, in Dublin, men were formerly seen walking about who, it was known, had been sentenced to suffer the extreme penalty of the law, and upon whom, strange as it may appear to unenlightened eyes, the sentence had been carried out. The custom until lately was, that the body should hang only half an hour; and, in a mistaken lenity, the sheriff, in whose hands was entrusted the execution of the law, would look away, after the prisoner had been turned off, while the friends of the culprit would hold up their companion by the waistband of his breeches, so that the rope should not press upon his throat. They would, at the expiration of the usual time, thrust their “deceased” friend into a cart, in which they would gallop him over all the stones and rough ground they came near, which was supposed to be a never-failing recipe, in order to revive him, professedly, and indeed in reality, with the intention of “waking” him. An anecdote is related of a fellow named Mahony, who had been convicted of the murder of a Connaught-man, in one of the numerous Munster and Connaught wars, and whose execution had been managed in the manner above described; who, being put into the cart in a coffin by his Munster friends, on his way home was so revived, and so overjoyed at finding himself still alive, that he sat upright and gave three hearty cheers, by way of assuring his friends of his safety. A “jontleman” who was shocked at this indecent conduct in his defunct companion, and who was, besides, afraid of their scheme being discovered and thwarted, immediately, with the sapling which he carried, hit him a thump on the head, which effectually silenced his self-congratulations. On their arrival at home, they found that the “friendly” warning which had been given to the poor wretch, had been more effectual than the hangman’s rope; and the wailings and lamentations which had been employed at the place of execution to drown the encouraging cries of the aiders of the criminal’s escape, were called forth in reality at his wake on the same night. It was afterwards a matter of doubt whether the fellow who dealt the unfortunate blow ought not to have been charged with the murder of his half-hanged companion; but “a justice” being consulted, it was thought no one could be successfully charged with the murder of a man who was already dead in law.



THE treason of which this offender was convicted was that of “adhering to the Queen’s enemies, and giving them aid, without the realm,” which was made a capital offence by the statute of Edward III.

It appears that Gregg was a native of Montrose, in Scotland, and having received such instruction as the grammar-schools of the place afforded, he{13}

An Irish Wake.

An Irish Wake.

completed his education at Aberdeen university, where he pursued these studies which were calculated to fit him for the profession of the church, for which he was intended. London, however, held forth so many attractions to his youthful eye, that the wishes of his relatives were soon overruled; and having visited that city, with good introductions, he was, after some time, appointed secretary to the ambassador at the court of Sweden. But while performing the duties of his office, he was guilty of so many and so great excesses, that he was at length compelled to retire, and London once more became his residence. His good fortune placed him in a situation alike honourable and profitable, but his dishonest and traitorous conduct in his employment, was such as to cost him his life, and to involve his employers in political difficulties of no ordinary kind. Having been engaged by Mr. Secretary Harley, minister of the reigning sovereign, Queen Anne, to write despatches, he took advantage of the knowledge which he thus gained, and voluntarily opened a communication with the enemies of his country. England, it will be remembered, was at this time in a situation of no ordinary difficulty; and the position of her Majesty’s ministers, harassed as they were by the opposition of their political antagonists, was rendered even more difficult by the disclosures of their traitorous servant.

We shall take the advantage afforded us by Bishop Burnet’s History, of laying before our readers a more authentic account of this transaction than is given by the usual channels of information to which we have access. He says, “At this time two discoveries were made very unlucky for Mr. Harley: Tallard wrote often to Chamillard, but he sent the letters open to the secretary’s office, to be perused and sealed up, and so be conveyed by the way of Holland. These were opened upon some suspicion in Holland, and it appeared that one in the secretary’s office put letters in them, in which, as he offered his services to the courts of France and St. Germains, so he gave an account of all transactions here. In one of these he sent a copy of the letter that the Queen was to write in her own hand to the Emperor; and he marked what parts were drawn by the secretary, and what additions were made to it by the lord treasurer. This was the letter by which the Queen pressed the sending Prince Eugene into Spain; and this, if not intercepted, would have been at Versailles many days before it could reach Vienna.

“He who sent this wrote, that by this they might see what service he could do them, if well encouraged. All this was sent over to the Duke of Marlborough; and, upon search, it was found to be written by one Gregg, a clerk, whom Harley had not only entertained, but had taken into a particular confidence, without inquiring into the former parts of his life; for he was a vicious and necessitous person, who had been secretary to the Queen’s envoy in Denmark, but was dismissed by him for his ill qualities. Harley had made use of him to get him intelligence, and he came to trust him with the perusal and sealing up of the letters, which the French prisoners, here in England, sent over to France; and by that means he got into the method of sending intelligence thither. He, when seized on, either upon remorse or hopes of pardon, confessed all, and signed his confession: upon that he was tried, and, pleading guilty, was condemned as a traitor, for corresponding with the Queen’s enemies.

“At the same time Valiere and Bara, whom Harley had employed as{14} his spies to go often over to Calais, under the pretence of bringing him intelligence, were informed against, as spies employed by France to get intelligence from England, who carried over many letters to Calais and Boulogne, and, as was believed, gave such information of our trade and convoys, that by their means we had made our great losses at sea. They were often complained of upon suspicion, but they were always protected by Harley; yet the presumptions against them were so violent, that they were at last seized on, and brought up prisoners.”

The Whigs took such advantage of this circumstance, that Mr. Harley was obliged to resign; and his enemies were inclined to carry matters still further, and were resolved, if possible, to find out evidence enough to affect his life. With this view, the House of Lords ordered a committee to examine Gregg and the other prisoners, who were very assiduous in the discharge of their commission, as will appear by the following account, written by the same author:—

“The Lords who were appointed to examine Gregg could not find out much by him: he had but newly begun his designs of betraying secrets, and he had no associates with him in it. He told them that all the papers of state lay so carelessly about the office that every one belonging to it, even the door-keepers, might have read them all. Harley’s custom was to come to the office late on post-nights, and, after he had given his orders, and wrote his letters, he usually went away, and left all to be copied out when he was gone. By that means he came to see every thing, in particular the Queen’s letter to the Emperor. He said he knew the design on Toulon in May last, but he did not discover it; for he had not entered on his ill practices till October. This was all he could say.

“By the examination of Valiere and Bara, and of many others who lived about Dover, and were employed by them, a discovery was made of a constant intercourse they were in with Calais, under Harley’s protection. They often went over with boats full of wool, and brought back brandy, though both the import and export were severely prohibited. They, and those who belonged to the boats carried over by them, were well treated on the French side at the governor’s house, or at the commissary’s: they were kept there till their letters were sent to Paris, and till returns could be brought back, and were all the while upon free cost. The order that was constantly given them was, that if an English or Dutch ship came up with them, they should cast their letters into the sea, but that they should not do it when French ships came up with them: so they were looked on by all on that coast as the spies of France. They used to get what information they could, both of merchant-ships and of the ships of war that lay in the Downs, and upon that they usually went over; and it happened that soon after some of those ships were taken. These men, as they were Papists, so they behaved themselves insolently, and boasted much of their power and credit.

“Complaints had been often made of them, but they were always protected; nor did it appear that they ever brought any information of importance to Harley but once, when, according to what they swore, they told him that Fourbin was gone from Dunkirk, to lie in wait for the Russian fleet, which proved to be true; he both went to watch for them, and he took the greater part of the fleet. Yet, though this was a single piece of intelligence that they ever brought, Harley took so little notice of{15} it, that he gave no advertisement to the Admiralty concerning it. This particular excepted, they only brought over common news, and the Paris Gazeteer. These examinations lasted for some weeks; when they were ended, a full report was made of them to the House of Lords, and they ordered the whole report, with all the examinations, to be laid before the Queen.”

Upon the conviction of Gregg, both houses of parliament petitioned the Queen that he might be executed; and, on the 28th April, 1708, he was accordingly hanged at Tyburn.

While on the scaffold, he delivered a paper to the sheriffs of London and Middlesex, in which he acknowledged the justice of his sentence, declared his sincere repentance of all his sins, particularly that lately committed against the Queen, whose forgiveness he devoutly implored. He also expressed his wish to make all possible reparation for the injuries he had done; and testified the perfect innocence of Mr. Secretary Harley, whom he declared to have been no party to his proceedings. He professed that he died a member of the Protestant church; and declared that the want of money to supply his extravagances had tempted him to commit the fatal crime, which cost him his life.

It is a remarkable circumstance in the life of this offender, that while he was corresponding with the enemy, and taking measures to subvert the government, he had no predilection in favour of the Pretender. On the contrary, he declared, while he was under sentence of death, that “he never thought he had any right to the throne of these realms.”



THIS was a case which arose out of the practice of duelling, which has always existed almost peculiarly among the higher classes of society. Mr. Thornhill and Sir Cholmondeley Deering having dined together on the 7th of April, 1711, in company with several other gentlemen, at the Toy at Hampton Court, a quarrel arose, during which Sir Cholmondeley struck Mr. Thornhill. A scuffle ensuing, the wainscot of the room broke down, and Thornhill falling, the other stamped on him, and beat out some of his teeth. The company now interposed, and Sir Cholmondeley, convinced that he had acted improperly, declared that he was willing to ask pardon; but Mr. Thornhill said, that asking pardon was not a proper retaliation for the injury that he had received; adding, “Sir Cholmondeley, you know where to find me.” Soon after this the company broke up, and the parties went home in different coaches, without any farther steps being taken towards their reconciliation.

On the next day, the following letter was written by Mr. Thornhill:—

“April 8th, 1711.

“Sir,—I shall be able to go abroad to-morrow morning, and desire you will give me a meeting with your sword and pistols, which I insist on. The worthy gentleman who brings you this will concert with you the time{16} and place. I think Tothill Fields will do well; Hyde Park will not at this time of year, being full of company.

“I am your humble servant,
Richard Thornhill.”

On the 9th of April, Sir Cholmondeley went to the lodgings of Mr Thornhill, and the servant showed him to the dining-room. He ascended with a brace of pistols in his hands; and soon afterwards, Mr. Thornhill coming to him, asked him if he would drink tea, but he declined. A hackney-coach was then sent for, and the gentlemen rode to Tothill Fields, where, unattended by seconds, they proceeded to fight their duel. They fired their pistols almost at the same moment, and Sir Cholmondeley, being mortally wounded, fell to the ground. Mr, Thornhill, after lamenting the unhappy catastrophe, was going away, when a person stopped him, told him he had been guilty of murder, and took him before a justice of the peace, who committed him to prison.

On the 18th of May, Mr. Thornhill was indicted at the Old Bailey sessions for the murder; and the facts already detailed having been proved, the accused called several witnesses to show how ill he had been used by Sir Cholmondeley; that he had languished some time of the wounds he had received; during which he could take no other sustenance than liquids, and that his life was in imminent danger. Several persons of distinction swore that Mr. Thornhill was of a peaceable disposition, and that, on the contrary, the deceased was of a remarkably quarrelsome temper; and it was also deposed, that Sir Cholmondeley, being asked if he came by his hurt through unfair usage, replied, “No; poor Thornhill! I am sorry for him; this misfortune was my own fault, and of my own seeking. I heartily forgive him, and desire you all to take notice of it, that it may be of some service to him, and that one misfortune may not occasion another.”

The jury acquitted Mr. Thornhill of the murder, but found him guilty of manslaughter; in consequence of which he was burnt in the hand.



THERE was no occurrence which at the time occupied so much of the public attention, and excited so much general interest, as the duel which took place in the year 1711, between the Duke of Hamilton and Lord Mohun; in which, unhappily, both the principals fell.

The gentleman who is the subject of the present notice, was the second of the noble duke, and appears to have been connected with him by the ties of relationship. At the sessions held at the Old Bailey, on the 11th of September, he was indicted for the murder of Charles Lord Mohun, Baron of Oakhampton, on the 15th of November preceding; and at the same time he was indicted for abetting Charles Lord Mohun, and George Macartney, Esq., in the murder of James, Duke of Hamilton and Brandon. Colonel Hamilton pleaded not guilty; and evidence was then adduced, which showed that Lord Mohun having met the Duke of Hamilton at the chambers{17} of a master in chancery, on Thursday the 13th of November, a misunderstanding arose between them respecting the testimony of a witness.

On the return home of his lordship, he directed that no person should be admitted to him, except Mr. Macartney; and subsequently he went with that gentleman to a tavern. The Duke of Hamilton and his second, Colonel Hamilton, were also at the tavern; and from thence they all proceeded to Hyde Park. The only evidence which exhibited the real circumstances immediately attending the duel, was that of William Morris, a groom, who deposed that, “as he was walking his horses towards Hyde Park, he followed a hackney-coach with two gentlemen in it, whom he saw alight by the Lodge, and walk together towards the left part of the ring. They were there about a quarter of an hour, when he saw two other gentlemen come to them; and, after having saluted each other, one of them, who he was since told was the Duke of Hamilton, threw off his cloak; and one of the other two, who he now understands was Lord Mohun, his surtout coat, and all immediately drew. The duke and lord pushed at each other but a very little while, when the duke closed, and took the lord by the collar, who fell down and groaned, and the duke fell upon him. That just as Lord Mohun was dropping, he saw him lay hold of the duke’s sword, but could not tell whether the sword was at that time in his body; nor did he see any wound given after the closing, and was sure Lord Mohun did not shorten his sword. He declared he did not see the seconds fight; but they had their swords in their hands, assisting their lords.”

It further appeared that the bodies of the deceased noblemen were examined by Messrs. Boussier and Amie, surgeons; and that in that of the duke, a wound was found between the second and third ribs on his right side; and also that there were wounds in his right arm, which had cut the artery and one of the small tendons, as well as others in his right and left leg. There was also a wound in his left side between his second and third ribs, which ran down into his body, and pierced the midriff and caul: but it appeared that the immediate cause of the sudden death of his grace was the wound in his arm. It was further proved, as regarded the body of Lord Mohun, that there was a wound between the short ribs, quite through his belly, and another about three inches deep in the upper part of his thigh; a large wound, about four inches wide, in his groin, a little higher, which was the cause of his immediate death; and another small wound on his left side; and that the fingers of his left hand were cut.

The defence made by the prisoner was, that “the duke called him to go abroad with him, but he knew not anything of the matter till he came into the field.”

Some Scottish noblemen, and other gentlemen of rank, gave Mr. Hamilton a very excellent character, asserting that he was brave, honest, and inoffensive; and the jury, having considered of the affair, gave a verdict of “Manslaughter;” in consequence of which the prisoner prayed the benefit of the statute, which was allowed him.

At the time the lives of these noblemen were thus unfortunately sacrificed, many persons thought they fell by the hands of the seconds; and some writers on the subject subsequently affected to be of the same opinion: but nothing appears in the written or printed accounts of the transaction, nor did anything arise on the trial, to warrant so ungenerous a suspicion; it is therefore but justice to the memory of all the parties to discredit such insinuations.{18}



WILLIAM LOWTHER was a native of Cumberland, and being bound to the master of a Newcastle ship which traded to London, he became acquainted with low abandoned company in the metropolis. Richard Keele was a native of Hampshire, and served his time to a barber at Winchester; and on coming to London, he married and settled in his own business in Rotherhithe: but not living happily with his wife, he parted from her, cohabited with another woman, and associated with a number of disorderly people.

On the 10th of December, 1713, they were indicted at the Old Bailey, for assisting Charles Houghton in the murder of Edward Perry. The case was as follows:—The prisoners, together with two other desperate offenders, of the name of Houghton and Cullum, having been convicted of felony at the Old Bailey, were sentenced to be kept to hard labour in Clerkenwell Bridewell for two years. On their being carried thither, Mr. Boreman, the keeper, thought it necessary to put them in irons, to prevent their escape. This they all refused to submit to; and Boreman having ordered the irons, they broke into the room where the arms were deposited, seized what they thought fit, and then attacked the keeper and his assistants, and cruelly beat them. Lowther bit off part of a man’s nose. At this time, Perry, one of the turnkeys, was without the gate, and desired the prisoners to be peaceable; but, advancing towards them, he was stabbed by Houghton, and, during the fray, Houghton was shot dead. The prisoners being at length victorious, many of them made their escape; but the neighbours giving their assistance, Keele and Lowther, and several others, were taken and convicted on the clearest evidence.

Some time after conviction, a smith went to the prison to take measure of them for chains, in which they were to be hung, pursuant to an order from the secretary of state’s office; but they for some time resisted him in this duty.

On the morning of execution (the 13th December, 1713), they were carried from Newgate to Clerkenwell Green, and there hanged on a gallows; after which, their bodies were put in a cart, drawn by four horses, decorated with plumes of black feathers, and hung in chains.



IT is not a little remarkable that two instances should have occurred within so short a space of time as nine months, in which the officers of the Crown should have fallen victims to the exertions which they were compelled to make in the discharge of their duties. The male prisoner in this case, William Johnson, was a native of Northamptonshire, where he served his time to a butcher, and, removing to London, he opened a shop in Newport{19} Market; but business not succeeding to his expectation, he pursued a variety of speculations, until at length he sailed to Gibraltar, where he was appointed a mate to one of the surgeons of the garrison. Having saved some money at this place, he came back to his native country, where he soon spent it, and then had recourse to the highway for a supply. Being apprehended in consequence of one of his robberies, he was convicted, but received a pardon. Previously to this he had been acquainted with Jane Housden, his fellow in crime, who had been tried and convicted of coining, but had obtained a pardon; but who, in September, 1714, was again in custody for a similar offence. On the day that she was to be tried, and just as she was brought down to the bar of the Old Bailey, Johnson called to see her; but Mr. Spurling, the head turnkey, telling him that he could not speak to her till her trial was ended, he instantly drew a pistol, and shot Spurling dead on the spot, in the presence of the court and all the persons attending to hear the trials, Mrs. Housden at the same time encouraging him in the perpetration of this singular murder. The event had no sooner happened, than the judges, thinking it unnecessary to proceed on the trial of the woman for coining, ordered both the parties to be tried for the murder; and there being many witnesses to the deed, they were convicted, and received sentence of death. From this time to that of their execution, which took place September 19th 1714, and even at the place of their death, they behaved as if they were wholly insensible of the enormity of the crime which they had committed; and notwithstanding the publicity of their offence, they had the confidence to deny it to the last moment of their lives: nor did they show any signs of compunction for their former sins. After hanging the usual time, Johnson was hung in chains near Holloway, between Islington and Highgate.



THE circumstances attending the crime of these individuals, intimately connected as they were with the history of the Royal Family of England, must be too well known to require them to be minutely repeated. On the accession of George the First to the throne of Great Britain, the question of the right of succession of King James the Third, as he was termed, which had long been secretly agitated, began to be referred to more openly; and his friends, finding themselves in considerable force in Scotland, sent an invitation to him in France, where he had taken refuge, to join them, for the purpose of making a demonstration, and of endeavouring to assume by force, that which was denied him as of right. The noblemen, whose names appear at the head of this article, were not the least active in their endeavours to support the title of the Pretender, by enlisting men under his standard; and their proceedings, although conducted with all secrecy, were soon made known to the government. The necessary steps were immediately taken for quelling the anticipated rebellion; and many persons were apprehended on suspicion of secretly aiding the rebels, and were committed to gaol.{20}

Meanwhile the Earl of Mar, the chief supporter of the Pretender, was in open rebellion at the head of an army of 3000 men, which was rapidly increasing, marching from town to town in Scotland, proclaiming the Pretender as King of England and Scotland, by the title of James III. An attempt was made by stratagem to surprise the castle of Edinburgh; and with this object, some of the king’s soldiers were base enough to receive a bribe to admit those of the Earl of Mar, who were, by means of ladders of rope, to scale the walls, and surprise the guard; but the Lord Justice Clerk, having some suspicion of the treachery, seized the guilty, and many of them were executed.

The rebels were greatly chagrined at this failure of their attempt; and the French king, Louis XIV., from whom they hoped for assistance, dying about this time, the leaders became disheartened, and contemplated the abandonment of their project, until their king could appear in person among them.

They were aided, however, by the discontent which showed itself in another quarter. In Northumberland the spirit of rebellion was fermented by Thomas Forster, then one of the members of parliament for that county; who, being joined by several noblemen and gentlemen, attempted to seize the large and commercial town of Newcastle, but was driven back by the friends of the government. Forster now set up the standard of the Pretender, and proclaimed him the lawful king of Great Britain and Scotland, wherever he went; and, eventually joining the Scotch rebels, he marched with them to Preston, in Lancashire. They were there attacked by Generals Carpenter and Wills, who succeeded in routing them, and in making 1500 persons prisoners; amongst whom were the Earl of Derwentwater and Lord Widrington, English peers; and the Earls of Nithisdale, Winton, and Carnwarth, Viscount Kenmore, and Lord Nairn, Scotch peers.

These noblemen, with about three hundred more rebels, were conveyed to London; while the remainder, taken at the battle of Preston, were sent to Liverpool, and its adjacent towns. At Highgate, the party intended for trial in London was met by a strong detachment of foot-guards, who tied them back to back, and placed two on each horse; and in this ignominious manner were they held up to the derision of the populace, the lords being conveyed to the Tower, and the others to Newgate and other prisons.

The Earl of Mar, on the day of the battle, attempted to cross the Forth, but was prevented by a squadron of the British fleet, which had anchored off Edinburgh; and Sir John Mackenzie, on the part of the Pretender, having fortified the town of Inverness, Lord Lovat, (at this time an adherent of the reigning monarch, but subsequently a friend to the cause of the Stuarts, for aiding whose rebellion in 1745 he was beheaded,) armed his tenants, and drove him from his fortifications. The Pretender subsequently managed to elude the vigilance of the British ships appointed to prevent his landing, and crossing the Channel in a small French vessel, disembarked in Scotland, with only six followers; but having obtained the assistance of a few half-armed Highlanders, on the 9th of January 1716, he made a public entry into the palace of Scone, the ancient place of coronation for the Scottish kings. He there assumed the functions of a king, and so much of the powers of royalty as he was able to secure, and issued a proclamation for his coronation. The Duke of Argyle, at this time with his army{21} in winter quarters at Stirling, however, determined to attack the rebel forces, and advancing upon them, they fled at his approach. The Pretender having been encouraged to rebel by France, was in anticipation of receiving succour at the hands of the French king, and in the hope of some aid reaching him, he proceeded to Dundee, and thence to Montrose, where, soon rendered hopeless by receiving no news of the approach of the foreigners, he dismissed his adherents. The king’s troops pursued and put several to death; but the Pretender, accompanied by the Earl of Mar, and some of the leaders of the rebellion, had the good fortune to get on board a ship lying before Montrose; and, in a dark night, put to sea, escaped the English fleet, and landed in France.

The unfortunate noblemen who had been secured were, meanwhile, committed to the custody of the keeper of the Tower; and the House of Commons unanimously agreed to impeach them, and expel Forster from his seat as one of their members; while the courts of common law proceeded with the trials of those of less note. The articles of impeachment being sent by the Commons, the Lords sat in judgment; Earl Cowper, the Lord Chancellor of England, being constituted Lord High Steward.

All the Peers who were charged, except the Earl of Winton, pleaded guilty to the indictment, but offered pleas of extenuation for their guilt, in hopes of obtaining mercy. In that of the Earl of Derwentwater, he suggested that the proceedings in the House of Commons, in impeaching him, were illegal.

Proclamation was then made, and the Lord High Steward proceeded to pass sentence upon James Earl of Derwentwater, William Lord Widdrington, William Earl of Nithisdale, Robert Earl of Carnwarth, William Viscount Kenmure, and William Lord Nairn.

His lordship having detailed the circumstances attending their impeachment, and having answered the argumentative matter contained in their pleas, and urged in extenuation of their offences, proceeded to say,—

“It is my duty to exhort your lordships to think of the aggravations as well as the mitigations (if there be any), of your offences; and if I could have the least hopes that the prejudices of habit and education would not be too strong for the most earnest and charitable entreaties, I would beg you not to rely any longer on those directors of your consciences by whose conduct you have, very probably, been led into this miserable condition (in allusion to their lordships being members of the Roman Catholic church); but that your lordships would be assisted by some of those pious and learned divines of the church of England, who have constantly borne that infallible mark of sincere Christians, universal charity.

“And now, my lords, nothing remains but that I pronounce upon you (and sorry I am that it falls to my lot to do it) that terrible sentence of the law, which must be the same that is usually given against the meanest offender of the like kind.

“The most ignominious and painful parts of it are usually remitted, by the grace of the crown, to persons of your quality; but the law, in this case, being deaf to all distinctions of persons, requires I should pronounce, and accordingly it is adjudged by this court,

“That you, James earl of Derwentwater, William lord Widdrington, William earl of Nithisdale, Robert earl of Carnwarth, William viscount{22} Kenmure, and William lord Nairn, and every of you, return to the prison of the Tower, from whence you came; from thence you must be drawn to the place of execution; when you come there, you must be hanged by the neck, but not till you be dead; for you must be cut down alive; then your bowels must be taken out, and burnt before your faces; then your heads must be severed from your bodies, and your bodies divided each into four quarters; and these must be at the king’s disposal. And God Almighty be merciful to your souls.”

After sentence thus passed, the lords were remanded to the Tower, and on the 18th of February orders were sent to the lieutenant of the Tower, and the sheriffs, for their execution. Great solicitations were made in favour of them, which not only reached the court, but the two houses of parliament, and petitions were delivered in both, which being supported, occasioned debates. That in the House of Commons went no farther than to occasion a motion for adjournment, so as to prevent any farther interposition there; but the matter in the House of Peers was carried on with more success, where petitions were delivered and spoke to, and it was carried by nine or ten voices that they should be received and read. The question was also put, whether the King had power to reprieve, in case of impeachment; and this being carried in the affirmative, a motion was made to address his majesty to desire him to grant a reprieve to the lords under sentence; but the movers only obtained this clause, viz., “To reprieve such of the condemned lords as deserved his mercy; and that the time of the respite should be left to his majesty’s discretion.”

The address having been presented, his majesty replied:—

“That on this, and other occasions, he would do what he thought most consistent with the dignity of his crown, and the safety of his people.”

The great parties which had been made by the rebel lords, as was said, by the means of money, and the rash expressions too common in the mouths of many of their friends, as if the government did not dare to execute them, did not a little contribute to hasten their execution; for on the same day that the address was presented, the 23rd of February, it was resolved in council, that the Earl of Derwentwater and the Lord Kenmure should be beheaded on the next day; and the Earl of Nithisdale, apprehending he should be included in the warrant, succeeded in making his escape on the evening before, in a woman’s riding-hood, supposed to have been conveyed to him by his mother on a visit.

On the morning of the 24th of February, three detachments of the life, guards went from Whitehall to Tower-hill, and, having taken their stations round the scaffold, the two lords were brought from the Tower at ten o’clock, and, being received by the sheriffs at the bar, were conducted to the transport-office on Tower-hill. At the expiration of about an hour, the Earl of Derwentwater sent word that he was ready; on which sir John Fryer, one of the sheriffs, walked before him to the scaffold, and, when there, told him he might have what time he pleased to prepare himself for death.

His lordship desired to read a paper which he had written, the substance of which was, that he was sorry for having pleaded guilty; that he acknowledged no king but king James the Third, for whom he had an inviolable affection: that the kingdom would never be happy until the ancient constitution{23} was restored, and he wished that his death might contribute to that end. His lordship professed to die in the Roman Catholic faith, and said at the end of the speech which he delivered, that “if that Prince who then governed had given him life, he should have thought himself obliged never more to take up arms against him.” He then read some prayers, and kneeled to see how the block would fit him; and having told the executioner that he forgave him, as well as all his enemies, he desired him to strike when he should repeat the words “Sweet Jesus” the third time. He immediately proceeded to prepare himself for the blow of the axe, and having placed his neck so that it might be fairly struck, he said, “Sweet Jesus, receive my spirit! Sweet Jesus, be merciful unto me! Sweet Jesus——” and was proceeding in his prayer, when his head was severed from his body at one blow. The executioner then took it up, and carrying it to the four corners of the scaffold, said, “Behold the head of a traitor.—God save King George.”

The body was directly wrapped in black baize, and being carried to a coach, was delivered to the friends of the deceased: and the scaffold having been cleared, fresh baize was put on the block, and new saw-dust strewed, so that no blood should appear. Lord Kenmure was then conducted to the place of execution.

His lordship was a Protestant, and was attended by two clergymen. He declined saying much to them, however, telling one of them that he had prudential reasons for not delivering his sentiments; which were supposed to arise from his regard to Lord Carnwarth, who was his brother-in-law, and who was then interceding for the royal mercy. Lord Kenmure having finished his devotions, declared that he forgave the executioner, to whom he made a present of eight guineas. He was attended by a surgeon, who drew his finger over that part of the neck where the blow was to be struck; and being executed as Lord Derwentwater had been, his body was delivered to the care of an undertaker.

George, Earl of Winton, not having pleaded guilty with the other lords, was brought to his trial on the 15th of March, when the principal matter urged in his favour was that he had surrendered at Preston, in consequence of a promise from General Wills to grant him his life: in answer to which it was sworn that no promise of mercy was made, but that the rebels surrendered at discretion.

The circumstances of the Earl of Winton having left his house with fourteen or fifteen of his servants well mounted and armed, his joining the Earl Carnwarth and Lord Kenmure, his proceeding with the rebels through the various stages of their march, and his surrendering with the rest, were fully proved: notwithstanding which, his counsel moved in arrest of judgment; but the plea on which this motion was founded being thought insufficient, his peers unanimously found him guilty. The Lord High Steward then pronounced sentence on him, after having addressed him in forcible terms, in the same manner as he had sentenced the other peers.

The Earls of Winton and Nithisdale afterwards found means to escape out of the Tower; and Messrs. Forster and M‘Intosh escaped from Newgate: but it was supposed that motives of mercy and tenderness in the Prince of Wales, afterwards George the Second, favoured the flight of all these gentlemen.

This rebellion occasioned the untimely death of many other persons.{24} Five were executed at Manchester, six at Wigan, and eleven at Preston; but a considerable number was brought to London, and, being arraigned in the Court of Exchequer, most of them pleaded guilty, and suffered the utmost rigour of the law.



THIS is a very singular case of treason; for though the crime for which Sheppard suffered was committed three years after the rebellion was quelled, yet the same misjudged opinions urged this youth to enthusiasm in the cause of the Pretender as those which actuated the former offenders. It is still more singular that he, neither being a Scotchman born, nor in any way interested in the mischiefs which he contemplated, should, unsolicited, volunteer in so dangerous a cause.

James Sheppard was the son of Thomas Sheppard, glover, in Southwark; but his father dying when he was about five years of age, he was sent to school in Hertfordshire, whence his uncle, Dr. Hinchcliffe, removed him to Salisbury, where he remained at school three years. Being at Salisbury at the time of the rebellion, he imbibed the principles of his school-fellows, many of whom were favourers of the Pretender; and he was confirmed in his sentiments by reading some pamphlets which were then put into his hands.

When he quitted Salisbury, Dr. Hinchcliffe put him apprentice to Mr. Scott, a coach-painter in Devonshire-street, Bishopsgate; and he continued in this situation about fourteen months, when he was apprehended for the crime which cost him his life.

Sheppard, having conceived the idea that it would be a praiseworthy action to kill the king, wrote a letter, which he intended for a nonjuring minister of the name of Leake; but, mistaking the spelling, he directed it “To the Rev. Mr. Heath.” The letter was in the following terms:—

“Sir,—From the many discontents visible throughout this kingdom, I infer that if the prince now reigning could be by death removed, our king being here, he might be settled on his throne without much loss of blood. For the more ready effecting of this, I propose that, if any gentleman will pay for my passage into Italy, and if our friends will entrust one so young with letters of invitation to his majesty, I will, on his arrival, smite the usurper in his palace. In this confusion, if sufficient forces may be raised, his majesty may appear; if not, he may retreat or conceal himself till a fitter opportunity. Neither is it presumptuous to hope that this may succeed, if we consider how easy it is to cut the thread of human life; how great confusion the death of a prince occasions in the most peaceful nation; and how mutinous the people are, how desirous of a change. But we will suppose the worst—that I am seized, and by torture examined. Now, that this may endanger none but myself, it will be necessary that the gentlemen who defray my charges to Italy leave England before my departure; that I be ignorant of his majesty’s abode; that I lodge with some whig; that you abscond; and that this be communicated to none. But, be the event as it will, I can expect nothing less than a most cruel death; which, that{25} I may the better support, it will be requisite that, from my arrival till the attempt, I every day receive the Holy Sacrament from one who shall be ignorant of the design.

James Sheppard.

Having carried it to Mr. Leake’s house, he called again for an answer, but he was apprehended, and carried before Sir John Fryer, a magistrate.

When he was brought to his trial, he behaved in the most firm and composed manner; and, after the evidence was given, and the jury had found him guilty of high treason, he was asked why sentence should not be passed on him according to law, when he said “He could not hope for mercy from a prince whom he would not own.” The Recorder then proceeded to pass sentence on him; in pursuance of which, he was executed at Tyburn on the 17th March, 1718. He was attended by a nonjuring clergyman up to the time of his execution, between whom and the ordinary the most indecent disputes arose, extending even up to the time of his arriving at the scaffold, when the latter quitted the field and left the other to instruct and pray with the malefactor as he might think proper.



THIS nobleman was at the head of a noble family in Italy, and was born at Bologna. In the reign of Queen Anne he was a Colonel in the imperial army. The Duke of Shrewsbury, being at Rome, fell in love with and paid his addresses to the sister of the Marquis; and the lady having been married to him in Germany, they came to England. The Marquis quitting the army at the peace of Utrecht, visited England to see his sister; and being fond of an extravagant course of life, and attached to gaming, he soon ran in debt for considerable sums. His sister paid his debts for some time, till she found it would be a burdensome and endless task; and she therefore declined all further interference. The habits of the Marquis, however, were in nowise changed, and being one day walking in the street, he directed his servant, an Italian, to go and borrow some money. The servant, having met with frequent denials, declined going: on which the Marquis drew his sword and killed him on the spot.

He was instantly apprehended, and committed to prison; and being tried at the next sessions, was convicted on full evidence, and received sentence of death. The Duke of Shrewsbury being dead, and his duchess having little interest or acquaintance in England, it appears that no endeavours were used to save him from the punishment which awaited him, and he was executed at Tyburn on the 17th of March, 1718.

Italian pride had taken deep root in the mind of this man. To his last moment it was predominant. He petitioned the sheriffs that his body should not be defiled by touching the unhappy Englishmen doomed to suffer with him, and that he might die before them, and alone. The sheriffs, in courtesy to a stranger, granted this request, and thus, in his last struggle, he maintained the superiority of his rank.{26}



ALTHOUGH the circumstances attending the crime of this malefactor do not present any features of general interest, the fact of the offender having filled the office of public executioner, and of his being deprived of life on that very scaffold on which he had exercised the functions of his revolting office, render the case not a little remarkable. It would appear that the prisoner was born of decent parents, in the parish of St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields, London; and that his father, who was in the service of his country having been blown up at the demolition of Tangiers, he was put apprentice to a rag merchant. His master dying, he ran away and went to sea, and served with credit on board different ships in the navy, for the space of 18 years; but at length was paid off and discharged from further service.

The office of public executioner becoming vacant, it was given to him, and but for his extravagance, he might have long continued in it, and subsisted on its dreadfully-earned wages. On returning from an execution, however, he was arrested in Holborn for debt, which he discharged, in part, with the wages he had that day earned, and the remainder with the produce of three suits of clothes, which he had taken from the bodies of the executed men; but soon afterwards he was lodged in the Marshalsea prison for other debts, and there he remained for want of bail; in consequence of which one William Marvel was appointed in his stead. He continued some time longer in the Marshalsea, when he and a fellow-prisoner broke a hole in the wall, through which they made their escape. It was not long after this that Price committed the offence for which he was executed. He was indicted on the 20th April, 1718, for the murder of Elizabeth, the wife of William White, on the 13th of the preceding month.

In the course of the evidence it appeared that Price met the deceased near ten at night in Moorfields, and attempted to ravish her; but the poor woman (who was the wife of a watchman, and sold gingerbread in the streets) doing all in her power to resist his villanous attacks, he beat her so cruelly that streams of blood issued from her eyes and mouth, one of her arms was broken, some of her teeth were knocked out, her head was bruised in a most dreadful manner, and one of her eyes was forced from the socket. Some persons, hearing the cries of the unhappy creature, repaired to the spot, took Price into custody, and lodged him in the watch-house; and the woman, being attended by a surgeon and a nurse, was unable to speak, but she answered the nurse’s questions by signs, and in that manner described what had happened to her. She died, after having languished four days. The prisoner, on his trial, denied that he was guilty of the murder; but he was found guilty and sentenced to death. He then gave himself up to the use of intoxicating liquors, and continued obstinately to deny his guilt until the day of execution. He then, however, admitted the justice of his punishment, but said that he was in a state of intoxication when he committed the crime for which he suffered. He was executed on the 21st May, 1718 at Bunhill-row, and was afterwards hung in chains at Holloway.{27}

It maybe remarked, that this case affords a striking instance of the absence of the effect of example: for, however much the miserable calling of the unhappy man may have hardened his mind, and rendered him callous to those feelings of degradation which would arise in the heart of any ordinary person, placed in a similar situation, it cannot be supposed that his fear of the dreadful punishment of death could have been in any degree abated by his having so frequently witnessed its execution in all its horrors.



THIS is the first case on record, in which any person appears to have been executed for counterfeiting the coin of the realm. The punishment for this offence, at first, of necessity, severe, to check the alarming prevalence of the crime, has long since been materially mitigated; and although the evil still exists to a great degree, it has been diminished very considerably in consequence of the judicious steps taken by the officers of the Mint.

In the month of May, 1721, Barbara Spencer, with two other women, named Alice Hall, and Elizabeth Bray, were indicted for high treason, in counterfeiting the king’s current coin of the realm. The evidence went to prove the two latter prisoners to be agents only, and they were acquitted; while Spencer appeared to be the principal, and she was found guilty, and sentenced to be burned. It turned out that the prisoner had before been guilty of similar offences, and the sentence was carried into execution, although not in its direct terms. The law which then existed was, indeed, that women, convicted of high or petit treason, should be burned; but the wisdom and humanity of the authorities provided a more easy death, in directing that the malefactor should be strangled, while tied to the stake, and that the body should afterwards be consumed by fire.

While under sentence of death, the prisoner behaved in the most indecent and turbulent manner; nor could she be convinced that she had been guilty of any crime in making a few shillings. She was for some time very impatient under the idea of her approaching dissolution, and was particularly shocked at the thought of being burned; but at the place of execution, she seemed willing to exercise herself in devotion, but was much interrupted by the mob throwing stones and dirt at her.

She was strangled and burned at Tyburn on the 5th of July, 1721.



THIS case is rendered worthy of notice, by the fact that, the prisoners refusing to plead, they were placed under the torture. They were indicted for a robbery upon the king’s highway; but refused to plead until some of their property, which had been taken from them, was returned. This was denied them by the Court, under the provisions of the statute of the{28} 4th & 5th William and Mary; and as, in spite of all entreaties, they persisted in their refusal, to deny or confess the charge against them, the Court ordered that the judgment ordained by law should be read to them. This was,

“That the prisoner shall be sent to the prison from whence he came, and put into a mean room, stopped from the light, and shall there be laid on the bare ground, without any litter, straw, or other covering, and without any garment about him, except something to hide his privy members. He shall lie upon his back, his head shall be covered, and his feet shall be bare. One of his arms shall be drawn with a cord to one side of the room, and the other arm to the other side; and his legs shall be served in the like manner. Then there shall be laid upon his body as much iron or stone as he can bear, and more. And the first day after he shall have three morsels of barley bread, without any drink; and the second day he shall be allowed to drink as much as he can, at three times, of the water that is next the prison-door, except running water, without any bread; and this shall be his diet till he dies; and he against whom this judgment shall be given, forfeits his goods to the king.”

The reading of this sentence producing no effect, they were ordered back to Newgate, there to be pressed to death; but when they came into the press-room, Phillips begged to be taken back to plead. The favour was granted, though it might have been denied to him; but Spiggot was put under the press, and he continued half an hour, with three hundred and fifty pounds’ weight on his body; but, on the addition of fifty pounds more, he also begged to plead.

They were in consequence brought back, and again arraigned; when, the evidence being clear and positive against them, they were convicted, and received sentence of death; in consequence of which they were executed at Tyburn on the 8th of February, 1721.

The prisoner Phillips, after sentence, behaved in a manner which exhibited that he was a person of the most abandoned character. His companion was more attentive to his devotions; but Phillips declared that he did not fear to die, for that he was sure of going to heaven. It appeared, from the declarations of the prisoners, that they had been very successful in their depredations; in the commission of which they were accompanied by a clergyman named Joseph Lindsay, and a lunatic, who had escaped from Bedlam, named Burroughs. The mad prattling of the latter caused the apprehension of his companions, while the evidence of the former tended materially to secure their conviction.

It is almost needless to add, that that remnant of barbarity, the torture, has long since been abolished.



THE case of this prisoner may not prove uninteresting, as connected with that last detailed.

Nathaniel Hawes was a native of Norfolk, in which county he was born in the year 1701. His father was a grazier in good circumstances; but dying while the son was an infant, a relation in Hertfordshire took care of his education.{29}

At a proper age he was apprenticed to an upholsterer in London; but, becoming connected with people of bad character, he robbed his master when he had served only two years of his time, for which he was tried at the Old Bailey, and, being convicted, was sentenced to seven years’ transportation.

His sentence was, however, withdrawn on his becoming evidence against the receiver of the stolen property. But the warning which he had received was of no avail; and after having been once in custody for a robbery, when he was again admitted king’s evidence, he soon joined a fellow with whom he had become acquainted in prison, and meeting a gentleman on Finchley Common, they demanded his money, swearing to murder him, if he did not give it to them.

The gentleman quitted his horse, and at the same moment seized the pistol which was placed at his throat by the robber, and, presenting it to the latter, told him to expect death if he did not surrender himself. His companion having fled, Hawes was now as terrified as he had been insolent, and made no opposition; and the driver of a cart coming up just at the moment, he was easily made prisoner, conveyed to London, and committed to Newgate. When the sessions came on, and he was brought to the bar, he refused to plead to his indictment, alleging as a reason for so doing, that he would die, as he had lived, like a gentleman:—“The people,” said he, “who apprehended me, seized a suit of fine clothes, which I intended to have gone to the gallows in; and unless they are returned, I will not plead; for no one shall say that I was hanged in a dirty shirt and ragged coat.”

On this, sentence was pronounced that he should be pressed to death; whereupon he was taken from the Court, and, being laid on his back, sustained a load of two hundred and fifty pounds’ weight about seven minutes; but, unable any longer to bear the pain, he entreated he might be conducted back to the Court. He then pleaded not guilty; but the evidence against him being conclusive, he was convicted, and sentenced to die.

He was executed at Tyburn on the 22nd of December, 1721.

The subject of torture may not be inaptly illustrated by an account given by Stedman of a scene witnessed by him at Surinam, when a young man, a free negro, was tortured for the murder of the overseer of the estate of Altona in the Para Creek. He says, “This man having stolen a sheep to entertain a favourite young woman, the overseer, who burned with jealousy, had determined to see him hanged; to prevent which, the negro shot him dead among the sugar-canes. For these offences, of course, he was sentenced to be broken alive upon the rack, without the benefit of the coup de grace, or mercy-stroke. Informed of the dreadful sentence, he composedly laid himself down upon his back on a strong cross, on which, with his arms and legs extended, he was fastened by ropes. The executioner, also a black man, having now with a hatchet chopped off his left hand, next took up a heavy iron bar, with which, by repeated blows, he broke his bones to shivers, till the marrow, blood, and splinters flew about the field; but the prisoner never uttered a groan nor a sigh! The ropes being next unlashed, I imagined him dead, and felt happy; till the magistrates stirring to depart, he writhed himself from the cross, when he fell on the grass, and damned them all as a set of barbarous rascals. At the same{30} time, removing his right hand by the help of his teeth, he rested his head on part of the timber, and asked the by-standers for a pipe of tobacco, which was infamously answered by kicking and spitting on him, till I, with some American seamen, thought proper to prevent it. He then begged his head might be chopped off, but to no purpose. At last, seeing no end to his misery, he declared, ‘that though he had deserved death, he had not expected to die so many deaths: however,’ said he, ‘you Christians have missed your aim at last, and I now care not, were I to remain thus one month longer.’ After which he sung two extempore songs with a clear voice; the subjects of which were to bid adieu to his living friends, and to acquaint his deceased relations that in a very little time he should be with them, to enjoy their company for ever in a better place. This done, he calmly entered into conversation with some gentlemen concerning his trial, relating every particular with uncommon tranquillity. ‘But,’ said he abruptly, ‘by the sun it must be eight o’clock, and by any longer discourse I should be sorry to be the cause of your losing your breakfast.’ Then casting his eyes on a Jew, whose name was Deveries, ‘Apropos, sir,’ said he, ‘won’t you please to pay me the ten shillings you owe me?’ ‘For what to do?’ ‘To buy meat and drink, to be sure: don’t you perceive I’m to be kept alive?’ Which speech, on seeing the Jew stare like a fool, the mangled wretch accompanied with a loud and hearty laugh. Next, observing the soldier that stood sentinel over him biting occasionally a piece of dry bread, he asked him how it came to pass that he, a white man, should have no meat to eat along with it. ‘Because I am not so rich,’ answered the soldier. ‘Then I will make you a present, sir,’ said the negro. ‘First pick my hand that was chopped off, clean to the bones; next begin to devour my body till you are glutted; when you will have both bread and meat, as best becomes you:’ which piece of humour was followed by a second laugh. And thus he continued until I left him, which was about three hours after the dreadful execution.”

Subsequently, on proceeding to the spot, the writer discovered that after the poor wretch had lived thus more than six hours, he was knocked on the head by the commiserating sentinel; and that having been raised upon a gallows, the vultures were busy picking out the eyes of the mangled corpse, in the skull of which was clearly discernible the mark of the soldier’s musket.



CAPTAIN MASSEY was the son of a gentleman of fortune, who gave him an excellent education. When young, he grew weary of home; and his father having procured him a commission in the army, he served with great credit as lieutenant under the command of the Duke of Marlborough, during the wars in Flanders, in the reign of Queen Anne. After this he went with his regiment to Ireland, and at length got appointed to the rank of lieutenant and engineer to the Royal African Company, and sailed in one of their ships to direct the building of a fort. The ship being ill supplied with provisions, the sufferings of the crew were inexpressibly great. Those who lived to get on shore drank so greedily of the fresh water, that{31} they were thrown into fluxes, which destroyed them so rapidly, that only Captain Massey and a very few of his people were still alive. These, being totally unable to build a fort, and seeing no prospect of relief, began to abandon themselves to despair; but at this time a vessel happening to come near the shore, they made signals of distress, on which a boat was sent off to their assistance.

They were no sooner on board than they found the vessel was a pirate; and, distressed as they had been, they too hastily engaged in their lawless plan, rather than run the hazard of perishing on shore. Sailing from hence, they took several prizes; and at length on the ship reaching Jamaica, Mr. Massey seized the first opportunity of deserting; and repairing to the governor, he gave such information, that the crew of the pirate vessel were taken into custody, convicted, and hanged. Massey might have been provided for by the governor, who treated him with singular respect, on account of his services to the public; but he declined his generous offers, through an anxiety to visit his native country. On his sailing for England, the governor gave him recommendatory letters to the lords of the admiralty; but, astonishing as it may seem, instead of his being caressed, he was taken into custody, and committed till a session of admiralty was held for his trial, when he pleaded guilty, and received sentence of death.

His sentence was subsequently carried out, although it may readily be supposed that that due attention was scarcely given to the case which the interests of the prisoner demanded.



THE prosecution of these offenders took place under the provisions of a statute, passed in the reign of Charles the Second, commonly called “Sir John Coventry’s Act,” the origin of which we have elsewhere described, and which has since been followed by an enactment, more extensive in its operation, called “Lord Ellenborough’s Act.”

Mr. Cooke, who by virtue of his profession as a barrister was entitled to the rank of esquire, was born at Bury St. Edmunds, in Suffolk, and was a man of considerable fortune at the time of his execution. Woodburne, his companion in crime, was a labouring man in his service, who, having a family of six children, was induced to join in the commission of the crime, of which he was found guilty, upon the promise of the payment to him of 100l. for his aid in the diabolical plan. Mr. Cooke, it appears, was married to the daughter of Mr. Crisp, the victim of his attack. The latter was a gentleman of very large property, and of infirm habit of body, and having made his will in favour of his son-in-law, the latter became anxious to possess the estate, and determined, by murdering the old gentleman, to secure its immediate transfer to himself. For this purpose, he procured the co-operation of Woodburne on the terms which we have already mentioned, and Christmas evening of the year 1721 was fixed upon for the perpetration of the intended murder. Mr. Crisp was to dine with his son-in-law on that day, and Woodburne was directed to lie in wait in the churchyard, which lay between the houses of the old gentleman and his son-in-law, behind a tomb-stone, in the evening, when, at a given signal, he was to fall upon and kill the former. The time arrived when Mr. Crisp{32} was to depart, and upon his going out, Mr. Cooke followed him, and then aided his assistant in a most violent attack upon his father-in-law. The old man was left for dead, but in spite of the wounds which he had received, he crawled back to his daughter, to whom he communicated his suspicions, that her husband was the originator of the murderous attempt which had been made.

Woodburne was impeached by his sudden disappearance; and the affair having created a great deal of excitement in the neighbourhood, he was followed and secured, and then he exposed the enormity of his offence, by confessing the whole of the circumstances attending its commission. Mr. Cooke was also taken into custody, and a bill of indictment was preferred at the ensuing assizes, at Bury St. Edmunds, upon which the two prisoners were tried and found guilty.

Upon their being called up to receive sentence of death, Cooke desired to be heard: and the court complying with his request, he urged that “judgment could not pass on the verdict, because the act of parliament simply mentions an intention to maim or deface, whereas he was firmly resolved to have committed murder.” He quoted several law cases in favour of the arguments he had advanced, and hoped that judgment might be respited till the opinion of the twelve judges could be taken on the case.

Lord Chief Justice King, however, who presided on this occasion, declared that he could not admit the force of Mr. Cooke’s plea, consistently with his own oath as a judge: “for (said he) it would establish a principle in the law inconsistent with the first dictates of natural reason, as the greatest villain might, when convicted of a smaller offence, plead that the judgment must be arrested, because he intended to commit a greater. In the present instance therefore judgment cannot be arrested, as the intention is naturally implied when the crime is actually committed.”

Sentence of death was then passed, and the prisoners were left for execution. After condemnation, the unhappy man Woodburne exhibited signs of the most sincere penitence; but his wretched tempter to crime conducted himself with unbecoming reserve and moroseness, steadily denying his guilt, and employing his most strenuous exertions to procure a pardon.

The 3d April, 1722, was at length fixed for the execution of the sentence, and Cook was hanged at four in the morning of that day, in obedience to a request which he made, in order that he should not be exposed to the public gaze; while Woodburne was turned off, in the afternoon, on the same gallows. The execution took place at Bury St. Edmunds, the crime having been committed within a mile of that place.



MR. LAYER was a barrister of considerable standing and reputation, at the time when he was convicted and executed on a charge of being the projector of a scheme for the destruction of the king, and the subversion of the government, which had for its object the elevation of the Pretender to the throne of England.

Numerous were the plots which had been laid for the same purpose, and{33} frequent were the proceedings which had been had upon complaints laid before the various courts of criminal justice in the kingdom, since the year 1715, when the rebellion first broke out; but the plan laid by Mr. Layer was one of those which gained the greatest degree of notoriety. This infatuated man had received a liberal education, and was a member of the society of the Inner Temple; but being impressed with the possibility of the success of a scheme for the dethronement of the existing monarch, and the elevation of the Pretender to the rank, to which it was contended that he was entitled, he made a journey to Rome, in order to confer with that prince upon the propriety of putting his design into execution, promising that he would effect so secret a revolution in England, that no person in authority should be apprised of the scheme until it had been actually completed. Having procured the concurrence of the prince, he instantly returned to London, and proceeded to the completion of his preparations His plan was to hire an assassin to murder the king on his return from Kensington; and, this being done, the other parties engaged in the plot were to seize the guards; and the Prince of Wales and his children, and the great officers of state, were to be secured, and confined during the confusion that such an event would naturally produce.

Mr. Layer having settled a correspondence with several Roman Catholics, non-jurors, and other persons disaffected to the government, he engaged a small number of disbanded soldiers, who were to be the principal actors in the intended tragedy. A meeting of the whole of the partisans having, however, been held at Stratford, they talked so loudly of the plot, that their designs were suspected, and information was conveyed to the authorities; upon which Mr. Layer was taken into custody, under a secretary of state’s warrant, and conveyed to the house of a king’s messenger for security. His chambers being searched, papers were found, the contents of which sufficiently indicated his intentions, and witnesses as to repeated declarations on his part, in reference to the rebellion, having been discovered in the persons of two women, who were living under his protection, it was determined that a prosecution should be instantly commenced against him. But it was not until he had nearly given his jailers the slip, that this determination was carried into execution with effect; for it appears that the prisoner became convinced of the practicability of an escape from the room where he was confined, through an ale-house, which was situated at the back of the messenger’s house, and resolved to make the attempt to procure his liberty. He therefore formed a rope of his blanket, and, dropping from the window of his apartment, he fell into the yard below, unscathed; but in his descent, he overset a bottle-rack, and from the noise which was caused, the family of the house was disturbed. Mr. Layer managed, nevertheless, to gain the street in the confusion which prevailed; but being instantly pursued by officers, he was traced to have taken a boat at the Horse Ferry, Westminster, from thence to St. George’s Fields; and he was at length overtaken at Newington Butts. On the following day he was committed to Newgate; and a Grand Jury of the county of Essex having found a true bill against him for high treason, his trial came on before Chief Justice Pratt, and the other judges of the Court of King’s Bench, in the month of January 1723, when, after an inquiry, which lasted sixteen hours, he was found guilty, and sentenced to death in the customary manner.{34}

As he had some important affairs to settle, from the nature of his profession, the court did not order his execution till more than two months after he had been condemned; and the king repeatedly reprieved him, to prevent his clients being sufferers by his affairs being left in a state of confusion.

After conviction, Mr. Layer was committed to the Tower; and at length the sheriffs of London and Middlesex received a warrant to execute the sentence of the law. He was carried to Tyburn on a sledge, on the 15th March 1723, to be hanged, being dressed in a suit of black, full trimmed, and wearing a tie-wig. At the place of execution he was assisted in his devotions by a nonjuring clergyman; and when these were ended, he spoke to the surrounding multitude, declaring that he deemed King James (so he called the Pretender) his lawful sovereign. He said that King George was a usurper, and that damnation would be the fate of those who supported his government. He insisted that the nation would never be in a state of peace till the Pretender was restored, and therefore advised the people to take up arms in his behalf. He professed himself willing to die for the cause, and expressed great hopes that Providence would eventually support the right heir to the throne. His body having been suspended during the accustomed time, it was quartered, and the head was afterwards exposed on Temple Bar. Among others concerned in this strange scheme was Lord Grey, an ancient nobleman of the Roman Catholic religion, who died a prisoner in the Tower, before the necessary legal proceedings against him could take place.



THIS fellow was a native of Ireland, and having, during his youth, followed a seafaring life, he was advanced to the position of first mate, on board a West-Indiaman, which sailed to and from Barbadoes. Having, however, become acquainted with a fisherman named Neale, who hinted to him that large sums of money might be acquired by insuring ships, and then causing them to be sunk, to defraud the insurers, he was wicked enough to listen to this horrid idea; and, being recommended to a gentleman who had a ship bound to Cape Breton, he got a station on board, next in command to the captain, by whom he was entrusted with the management of the vessel.

On the voyage, it would appear that he would have abstained from carrying out his diabolical plan; but having brought some Irishmen on board with him, they persisted in pursuing their original design, or in demanding that the vessel should be seized. Accordingly, one night, when the captain and most of the crew were asleep, Roach gave orders to two of the seamen to furl the sails; which being immediately done, the poor fellows no sooner descended on the deck, than Roach and his associates murdered them, and threw them overboard. At this instant a man and a boy at the yard-arm, observing what passed, and dreading a similar fate, hurried towards the topmast-head, when one of the Irishmen, named Cullen, followed them, and, seizing the boy, threw him into the sea. The man,{35} thinking to effect at least a present escape, descended to the main-deck; but he was instantly butchered, and committed to the deep. The noise occasioned by these transactions had alarmed the sailors below, and they hurried up with all possible expedition; but were severally seized and murdered as fast as they came on deck, and were thrown into the sea. At length the master and mate came on the quarter-deck; but they were doomed to share the same fate as their unhappy shipmates.

These execrable murders being perpetrated, the murderers determined to commence pirates, and that Roach should be the captain, as the reward of his superior villany.

They had intended to sail up the Gulf of St. Lawrence; but as they were within a few days’ voyage of the Bristol Channel, when the bloody tragedy was acted, and found themselves short of provisions, they put into Portsmouth; and, giving the vessel a fictitious name, they painted her afresh, and then sailed for Rotterdam. At this city they disposed of their cargo, and took in a fresh one; and being unknown, an English gentleman, named Annesley, shipped considerable property on board, and took his passage with them for the port of London; but the villains threw this unfortunate gentleman overboard, after they had been only one day at sea. When the ship arrived in the river Thames, Mr. Annesley’s friends made inquiry after him, in consequence of his having sent letters to England, describing the ship in which he proposed to embark; but Roach denied any knowledge of the gentleman, and even disclaimed his own name. Notwithstanding his confident assertions, it was rightly presumed who he was, and a letter which he sent to his wife being stopped, he was taken into custody, and carried before the secretary of state for examination. While there, having denied that he was the person he was taken to be, his intercepted letter was shown to him; on which he instantly confessed his crimes, and was committed to take his trial. He was subsequently hanged at Execution Dock, on the 5th of August, 1723.



AT about this time London and its vicinity were infested by a gang of villains of the most desperate character, of whom this criminal was the captain. With his name are associated those of offenders whose exploits, though they may be better known, were not more daring or more villanous. The notorious Jonathan Wild, whose system of atrocity will be found to be exposed in the notice given hereafter of his life and death, and his no less notorious victim and coadjutor, Jack Sheppard, were both intimately connected with the proceedings of Blake; while others of equal celebrity filled up the number of his followers. The Mint in Southwark was, during the early part of the life of these offenders, a place which, being by a species of charter freed from the intrusion of the bailiffs, formed an admirable hiding-place and retreat for criminals, as well as debtors. A system of watch and ward was maintained among them, and, like the Alsatia of Sir Walter Scott’s admirable novel of “The Fortunes of Nigel,” which is now known by the name of Whitefriars, its privacy was seldom intruded upon by the{36} appearance of the officers of justice. The salutary laws of the commencement of the reign of the Hanover family, however, soon caused these dens of infamy to be rooted out; and the districts referred to are now known only by repute, as having been privileged in the manner which has been described.

To return to the subject of our present narrative: he was a native of London, and having been sent to school at the age of six years, he displayed more intelligence in acquiring a proficiency in the various arts of roguery, than in becoming acquainted with those points of decent instruction, with which his parents desired he should make himself intimate. While at school, he formed an acquaintance with a lad of his own age, named Blewitt, who afterwards, with himself, became a member of Jonathan Wild’s gang. No sooner had they left school, than they started in life as pickpockets; and our hero, before he attained the age of fifteen years, had been in half the prisons in the metropolis. From this they turned street robbers; and forming connexions with others, their proceedings became notorious, and they were apprehended. Blake, however, was admitted evidence against his companions, who were convicted; and having by that means obtained his own acquittal, he claimed a part of the reward offered by government. He was informed by the Court, that his demand could not be granted, because he was not a voluntary evidence; since, so far from having surrendered, he had made an obstinate resistance, and was much wounded before he was taken; and instead of rewarding him, they ordered him to find security for his good behaviour, or to be transported. Not being able to give the requisite bail, he was lodged in Wood-street Compter, and there he remained for a considerable period; during which his patron, Wild, allowed him three and sixpence per week. At length he prevailed upon two gardeners to enter into the necessary sureties; and their recognisance having been taken by Sir John Fryer, for his good behaviour, for seven years, he once more regained his liberty. This object was, however, no sooner attained, than he was concerned in several robberies with Jack Sheppard; and they at length committed that offence for which Blueskin was executed. We have already said that he had become notorious for the daring which he displayed, and the frequency of his attacks upon the property of others; and he had become no less celebrated among his companions, who had favoured him with the appellation of Blueskin, from the darkness of his complexion, and had besides honoured him by dubbing him captain.

At the October sessions of the Old Bailey, 1723, he was indicted under the name of Joseph Blake, alias Blueskin, for breaking and entering the dwelling-house of William Kneebone, in St. Clement’s Church-yard, and stealing one hundred and eight yards of woollen cloth, value thirty-six pounds, and other property. It was sworn by the prosecutor, that the entry was effected by cutting the bars of his cellar-window, and by subsequently breaking open the cellar-door, which had been bolted and padlocked; and that afterwards, on his going to Jonathan Wild, and acquainting him with what had occured, he was conducted to Blake’s lodgings, for the purpose of procuring his apprehension. The prisoner refusing to open the door, Quilt Arnold, one of Wild’s men, broke it open. On this Blake drew a penknife, and swore that he would kill the first man that entered; in answer to which Arnold said, “Then I am the first man,{37} and Mr. Wild is not far behind; and if you don’t deliver your penknife immediately, I will chop your arm off.” Hereupon the prisoner dropped the knife; and Wild entering, he was taken into custody.

It further appeared, that as the parties were conveying Blake to Newgate, they came by the house of the prosecutor; on which Wild said to the prisoner, “There’s the ken;” and the latter replied, “Say no more of that, Mr. Wild, for I know I am a dead man; but what I fear is, that I shall afterwards be carried to Surgeons’ Hall, and anatomised;” to which Wild replied, “No, I’ll take care to prevent that, for I’ll give you a coffin.” William Field, an accomplice, who was evidence on the trial, swore that the robbery was committed by Blake, Sheppard, and himself; and the jury brought in a verdict of guilty.

As soon as the verdict was given, Blake addressed the Court in the following terms:—“On Wednesday morning last, Jonathan Wild said to Simon Jacobs (then a prisoner), “I believe you will not bring forty pounds this time (alluding to the reward paid by Government); I wish Joe (meaning me) was in your case; but I’ll do my endeavour to bring you off as a single felon.” And then turning to me, he said, “I believe you must die—I’ll send you a good book or two, and provide you a coffin, and you shall not be anatomised.”

The prisoner having been convicted, it was impossible that this revelation of the circumstances, under which he was impeached could be noticed; but subsequent discoveries distinctly showed that Wild’s system was precisely that which was pointed out; namely, to lead on those who chose to submit themselves to his guidance, to the full extent to which they could go, so as to be useful to him; and then to deliver them over to justice for the offences in which he had been the prime mover, securing to himself the reward payable upon their conviction. His position screened him from punishment, while his power ensured the sacrifice of the victims, who had so long been his slaves. It appears that Wild was near meeting his end in this case. He was to have given evidence against Blake, but going to visit him in the bail-dock, previous to his trial, the latter suddenly drew a clasped penknife, with which he cut Jonathan’s throat. The knife was blunt, and the wound, though dangerous, did not prove mortal; but the informer was prevented from giving the evidence which had been expected from him. While under sentence of death, Blake did not show a concern proportioned to his calamitous situation. When asked if he was advised to commit the violence on Wild, he said No; but that a sudden thought entered his mind: had it been premeditated, he would have provided a knife, which would have cut off his head at once. On the nearer approach of death he appeared still less concerned; and it was thought that his mind was chiefly bent on meditating means of escaping: but seeing no prospect of getting away, he took to drinking, which he continued to the day of his death; and he was observed to be intoxicated, even while he was under the gallows.

He was executed at Tyburn on the 11th of November, 1723.{38}



THE prisoner, whose name heads this article, was a companion and fellow in crime to the notorious Blueskin. The name of Jack Sheppard is one which needs no introduction. His exploits are so notorious, that nothing more is necessary than to recount them. Sheppard was born in Spitalfields, in the year 1702; his father was a carpenter and bore the character of an honest man; but dying when his son was yet young, he, as well as a younger brother, Tom Sheppard, soon became remarkable for their disregard for honesty. Our hero was apprenticed to a carpenter in Wych-street, like his father, and during the first four years of his service he behaved with comparative respectability; but frequenting a public-house, called the Black Lion, in Drury Lane, he became acquainted with Blueskin, his subsequent companion in wickedness, and Wild, his betrayer, as well as with some women of abandoned character, who afterwards also became his coadjutors. His attentions were more particularly directed to one of them, named Elizabeth Lion, or Edgeworth Bess, as she was familiarly called from the town in which she was born, and while connected with her he frequently committed robberies at the various houses, in which he was employed as a workman. He was, however, also acquainted with a woman named Maggott, who persuaded him to commit his first robbery in the house of Mr. Bains, a piece-broker, in White Horse Yard, Drury Lane. He was at this time still resident at his master’s house; and having stolen a piece of fustian, he took it home to his trunk, and then returning to the house which he was robbing, he took the bars out of the cellar-window, entered, and stole goods and money to the amount of 22l. which he carried to Maggott. As Sheppard did not go home that night, nor on the following day, his master suspected that he had made bad connexions, and searching his trunk found the piece of fustian that had been stolen; but Sheppard, hearing of this, broke open his master’s house in the night, and carried off the fustian, lest it should be brought in evidence against him.

This matter received no further attention; but Sheppard’s master seemed desirous still to favour him, and he remained some time longer in the family; but after associating himself with the worst of company, and frequently staying out the whole night, his master and he quarrelled, and the headstrong youth totally absconded in the last year of his apprenticeship.

Jack now worked as a journeyman carpenter, with a view to the easier commission of robbery; and being employed to assist in repairing the house of a gentleman in May Fair, he took an opportunity of carrying off a sum of money, a quantity of plate, some gold rings, and four suits of clothes. Not long after this Edgeworth Bess was apprehended, and lodged in the round-house of the parish of St. Giles’s, where Sheppard went to visit her; but the beadle refusing to admit him, he knocked him down, broke open the door, and carried her off in triumph; an exploit which acquired him a high degree of credit among his companions. Tom Sheppard being now as deep in crime as his brother, he prevailed on Jack{39} to lend him forty shillings, and take him as a partner in his robberies. The first act they committed in concert was the robbing of a public-house in Southwark, whence they carried off some money and wearing apparel; but Jack permitted his brother to reap the whole advantage of this booty. Not long after this, in conjunction with Edgeworth Bess, they broke open the shop of Mrs. Cook, a linen-draper in Clare Market, and carried off goods to the value of 55l.; and in less than a fortnight afterwards, they stole some articles from the house of Mr. Phillips in Drury Lane. Tom Sheppard going to sell some of the goods stolen at Mrs. Cook’s, was apprehended, and committed to Newgate, when, in the hope of being admitted an evidence, he impeached his brother and Bess; but they were sought for in vain.

At length James Sykes, otherwise called Hell-and-Fury, one of Sheppard’s companions, meeting with him in St. Giles’s, enticed him into a public-house, in the hope of receiving a reward for apprehending him; and while they were drinking Sykes sent for a constable, who took Jack into custody, and carried him before a magistrate. After a short examination, he was sent to St. Giles’s round-house; but he broke through the roof of that place and made his escape in the night.

Within a short time after this, as Sheppard and an associate, named Benson, were crossing Leicester Fields, the latter endeavoured to pick a gentleman’s pocket of his watch; but failing in the attempt, the gentleman called out “A pickpocket!” on which Sheppard was taken, and lodged in St. Ann’s round-house, where he was visited by Edgeworth Bess, who was detained on suspicion of being one of his accomplices. On the following day they were carried before a magistrate, and some persons appearing who charged them with felonies, they were committed to the New Prison; but as they passed for husband and wife, they were permitted to lodge together in a room known by the name of the Newgate ward. They were here visited by many of their friends, Blueskin among the number; and being provided by them with the implements necessary to enable them to escape, Jack proceeded to secure the object which he had in view with that alacrity and energy which always characterised his actions. The removal of his fetters by means of a file was a work which occupied him a very few minutes, and he then, with the assistance of his companion, prepared for flight. The first obstacle which presented itself to them was in the shape of the heavy cross-bars which defended the aperture, by which light and air were admitted to their cell; but the application of their file soon removed the difficulty. There was then another point of a more dangerous character to overcome—the descent to the yard. Their window was twenty-five feet in height, and the only means of reaching the earth was by the employment of their blankets as ropes. These, however, would not enable them to touch the ground; but they found that there was a considerable distance for them to drop, even after they should have arrived at the extreme end of their cord. Gallantry induced our hero to give the first place to Bess, and she, having stripped off a portion of her clothes, so as to render herself lighter, descended in perfect safety. Jack followed, and they found some consolation in their being at least without the gaol, although there were yet the walls of the yard to climb. These were topped with a strong chevaux de frise of iron, and were besides twenty-two feet high; but passing round them until they came to the great gates, the adventurous pair found means by the locks and bolts, by{40} which they were held together, to surmount this, apparently the greatest difficulty of all, and they once again stood on the open ground outside the gaol. Bess having now re-assumed the clothes, of which she had denuded herself, in order that she might be the more agile in her escape, and which she had taken the precaution to throw over the wall before her, she and her paramour, once more enjoying the free air of liberty, marched into town.

It may readily be supposed that our hero’s fame was increased by the report of this exploit, and all the thieves of St. Giles’s soon became anxious to become his “palls.” He did not hesitate to accept the companionship of two of them, named Grace, a cooper, and Lamb, an apprentice to a mathematical instrument maker; and at the instigation of the latter they committed a robbery in the house of his master, near St. Clement’s church, to a considerable amount. The apprentice, however, was suspected, and secured, and being convicted, received sentence of transportation. Our hero meanwhile escaped, and joining with Blueskin, they did not fail in obtaining considerable booty. The mode of disposing of the plunder which they adopted was that of employing a fellow named Field to procure them a market; and having committed the robbery at Kneebone’s, already mentioned in Blake’s memoir, they lodged its proceeds in a stable, which they had hired, near the Horse Ferry, Westminster. Field was applied to, to find a customer for the property, and he promised to do so, and was as good as his word; for breaking open the stable, he carried off the goods himself, and then conveyed information of the robbery to Wild, alleging that he had been concerned in it. Blueskin, it will have been seen, was tried and convicted for the robbery, and suffered execution; and Sheppard having also been secured, he too was sentenced to death.

On Monday, 30th August, 1724, a warrant was sent for his execution, together with that of some other convicts, but neither his ingenuity nor his courage forsook him upon this, any more than upon any previous occasion. In the gaol of Newgate there was a hatch within the lodge in which the gaolers sat, which opened into a dark passage, from which there were a few steps leading to the hold containing the condemned cells. It was customary for the prisoners, on their friends coming to see them, to be conducted to this hatch; but any very close communication was prevented by the surveillance of the gaolers, and by large iron spikes which surmounted the gate. The visits of Edgeworth Bess to her paramour were not unattended with advantage to the latter, for while in conversation, she took the opportunity of diverting the attention of the gaoler from her, while she delivered the necessary instruments to Sheppard to assist him in his contemplated escape. Subsequent visits enabled Jack to approach the wicket; and by constant filing he succeeded in placing one of the spikes in such a position as that it could be easily wrenched off. On the evening on which the warrant for his execution arrived, Mrs. Maggott, who was an immensely powerful woman, and Bess, going to visit him, he broke off the spike while the keepers were employed in drinking in the lodge, and thrusting his head and shoulders through the aperture, the women pulled him down, and smuggled him through the outer room, in which the gaolers were indulging themselves, into the street. This second escape not a little increased his notoriety; but an instant pursuit being made, he was compelled to lie close. Consulting with one Page, a butcher, it was determined that they should go to Warnden, in Northamptonshire, together{41} where the relations of the latter lived; but on arriving there, being treated with indifference, they immediately retraced their steps to London.

On the night after their return, they were walking through Fleet-street, when they saw a watchmaker’s shop attended only by a boy, and having passed it, they turned back, and Sheppard, driving his hand through the window, stole three watches, with which they made their escape. They subsequently retired to Finchley for security; but the gaolers of Newgate gaining information of their retreat, took Sheppard into custody, and once more conveyed him to “The Stone Jug.”

Such steps were now taken as it was thought would be effectual to prevent his future escape. He was put into a strong room, called the Castle, handcuffed, loaded with a heavy pair of irons, and chained to a staple fixed in the floor. The curiosity of the public being greatly excited by his former escape, he was visited by great numbers of people of all ranks, and scarce any one left him without making him a present in money. Although he did not disdain these substantial proofs of public generosity, which enabled him to obtain those luxuries, which were not provided by the city authorities for his prison fare, his thoughts were constantly fixed on the means of again eluding his keepers; and the opportunity was not long wanting when he might carry his design into execution.

On the fourteenth of October, the sessions began at the Old Bailey, and the keepers being much engaged in attending the Court, he thought rightly, that they would have little time to visit him, and, therefore, that, the present juncture would be the most favourable to carry his plan into execution. About two o’clock in the afternoon of the following day, one of the keepers carried him his dinner; and having carefully examined his irons, and found them fast, he left him. Sheppard now immediately proceeded to the completion of the great work of his life, his second escape from Newgate; in describing which we shall extract from Mr. Ainsworth’s work of “Jack Sheppard,” in which that gentleman has given a lasting fame to our hero, and has founded a most interesting romance on the real circumstances of the life of this daring and extraordinary offender. He says, “Jack Sheppard’s first object was to free himself from his handcuffs. This he accomplished by holding the chain that connected them firmly between his teeth, and, squeezing his fingers as closely together as possible, he succeeded in drawing his wrists through the manacles. He next twisted the heavy gyves round and round, and partly by main strength, partly by a dexterous and well-applied jerk, snapped asunder the central link, by which they were attached to the padlock. Taking off his stockings, he then drew up the basils as far as he was able, and tied the fragments of the broken chains to his legs, to prevent them from clanking, and impeding his future exertions.” Upon a former attempt to make his way up the chimney, he had been impeded by an iron bar which was fixed across it, at a height of a few feet. To remove this obstacle, it was necessary to make an extensive breach in the wall. With the broken links of the chain, which served him in lieu of more efficient implements, he commenced operations just above the chimney-piece, and soon contrived to pick a hole in the plaster. He found the wall, as he suspected, solidly constructed of brick and stone; and, with the slight and inadequate tools which he possessed, it was a work of infinite skill and labour to get out a single brick. That done, however, he was well aware the rest would be comparatively easy; and as he threw{42} the brick to the ground, he exclaimed triumphantly, “The first step is taken—the main difficulty is overcome.”

“Animated by this trifling success, he proceeded with fresh ardour, and the rapidity of his progress was proclaimed by the heap of bricks, stones, and mortar, which before long covered the floor. At the expiration of an hour, by dint of unremitting exertion, he made so large a breach in the chimney that he could stand upright in it. He was now within a foot of the bar, and introducing himself into the hole, he speedily worked his way to it. Regardless of the risk he ran by some heavy stones dropping on his head or feet,—regardless also of the noise made by the falling rubbish, and of the imminent risk to which he was consequently exposed of being interrupted by some of the gaolers, should the sound reach their ears, he continued to pull down large masses of the wall, which he flung upon the floor of the cell. Having worked thus for another quarter of an hour, without being sensible of fatigue, though he was half stifled by the clouds of dust which his exertions raised, he had made a hole about three feet wide and six high, and uncovered the iron bar. Grasping it firmly with both hands, he quickly wrenched it from the stones in which it was mortised, and leapt to the ground. On examination it proved to be a flat bar of iron, nearly a yard in length, and more than an inch square. ‘A capital instrument for my purpose,’ thought Jack, shouldering it, ‘and worth all the trouble I have had in procuring it.’ While he was thus musing, he thought he heard the lock tried. A chill ran through his frame, and grasping the heavy weapon, with which chance had provided him, he prepared to strike down the first person who should enter his cell. After listening attentively for a short time without drawing breath, he became convinced that his apprehensions were groundless, and, greatly relieved, sat down upon the chair to rest himself and prepare for future efforts.

“Acquainted with every part of the gaol, Jack well knew that his only chance of effecting an escape must be by the roof. To reach it would be a most difficult undertaking. Still it was possible, and the difficulty was only a fresh incitement. The mere enumeration of the obstacles which existed would have deterred any spirit less daring than Sheppard’s from even hazarding the attempt. Independently of other risks, and the chance of breaking his neck in the descent, he was aware that to reach the leads he should have to break open six of the strongest doors of the prison. Armed, however, with the implement he had so fortunately obtained, he did not despair of success. ‘My name will not only be remembered as that of a robber,’ he mused, ‘but it shall be remembered as that of a bold one; and this night’s achievement, if it does nothing else, shall prevent me from being classed with the common herd of depredators.’ Roused by this reflection, he grasped the iron bar, which, when he sat down, he had laid upon his knees, and stepped quickly across the room. In doing so, he had to clamber up the immense heap of bricks and rubbish which now littered the floor, amounting almost to a cart-load, and reaching up nearly to the chimney-piece; and having once more got into the chimney, he climbed to a level with the ward above, and recommenced operations as vigorously as before. He was now aided with a powerful implement, with which he soon contrived to make a hole in the wall.

“The ward which Jack was endeavouring to break was called the Red-room from the circumstance of its walls having once been painted in that{43} colour: all traces of which, however, had long since disappeared. Like the Castle, which it resembled in all respects, except that it was destitute even of a barrack bedstead, the Red-room was reserved for state prisoners, and had not been occupied since the year 1716, when the gaol was crowded by the Preston rebels. Having made a hole in the wall sufficiently large to pass through, Jack first tossed the bar into the room and then crept after it. As soon as he had gained his feet, he glanced round the bare black walls of the cell, and, oppressed by the misty close atmosphere, exclaimed, ‘I will let a little fresh air into this dungeon: they say it has not been opened for eight years, but I won’t be eight minutes in getting out.’ In stepping across the room, some sharp point in the floor pierced his foot, and stooping to examine it, he found that the wound had been inflicted by a long rusty nail, which projected from the boards. Totally disregarding the pain, he picked up the nail, and reserved it for future use. Nor was he long in making it available. On examining the door, he found it secured by a large rusty lock, which he endeavoured to pick with the nail he had just acquired: but all his efforts proving ineffectual, he removed the plate that covered it with the bar, and with his fingers contrived to draw back the bolt.

“Opening the door, he then stepped into a dark narrow passage, leading, as he was well aware, to the Chapel. On the left there were doors communicating with the King’s Bench Ward, and the Stone Ward, two large holds on the master debtors’ side. But Jack was too well versed in the geography of the place to attempt either of them. Indeed, if he had been ignorant of it, the sound of voices, which he could faintly distinguish, would have served as a caution to him. Hurrying on, his progress was soon checked by a strong door, several inches in thickness and nearly as wide as the passage. Running his hand carefully over it in search of the lock, he perceived, to his dismay, that it was fastened on the other side. After several vain attempts to burst it open, he resolved, as a last alternative, to break through the wall in the part nearest the lock. This was a much more serious task than he anticipated. The wall was of considerable thickness, and built altogether of stone; and the noise he was compelled to make in using the heavy bar, which brought sparks with every splinter he struck off, was so great, that he feared it must be heard by the prisoners on the debtors’ side. Heedless, however, of the consequences, he pursued his task. Half an hour’s labour, during which he was obliged more than once to pause to regain breath, sufficed to make a hole wide enough to allow a passage for his arm up to the elbow. In this way he was able to force back a ponderous bolt from its socket; and to his unspeakable delight, found that the door instantly yielded. Once more cheered by daylight, he hastened forward and entered the Chapel.

“Situated at the upper part of the south-east angle of the gaol, the Chapel of Old Newgate was divided on the north side into three grated compartments, or pens, as they were termed, allotted to the common debtors and felons. In the north-west angle there was a small pen for female offenders; and on the south, a more commodious inclosure appropriated to the master debtors and strangers. Immediately beneath the pulpit stood a large circular pen, where malefactors under sentence of death sat to hear the condemned sermon delivered to them, and where they formed a public spectacle to the crowds which curiosity generally attracted{44} on those occasions. To return, Jack had got into one of the pens at the north side of the chapel. The inclosure by which it was surrounded was about twelve feet high; the under part being composed of oaken planks, the upper part of a strong iron grating, surmounted by sharp iron spikes. In the middle there was a gate: it was locked. But Jack speedily burst it open with the iron bar. Clearing the few impediments in his way, he soon reached the condemned pew, where it had once been his fate to sit; and extending himself on the seat endeavoured to snatch a moment’s repose. It was denied him, for as he closed his eyes—though but for an instant—the whole scene of his former visit to the place rose before him. There he sat as before, with the heavy fetters on his limbs, and beside him sat his three companions who had since expiated their offences on the gibbet. The chapel was again crowded with visitors, and every eye fixed upon him. So perfect was the illusion, that he could almost fancy he heard the solemn voice of the Ordinary warning him that his race was nearly run, and imploring him to prepare for eternity. From this perturbed state he was roused by the thoughts of his present position, and fancying he heard approaching voices, he started up. On one side of the chapel there was a large grated window, but, as it looked upon the interior of the gaol, Jack preferred following the course he had originally decided upon, to making any attempt in this quarter. Accordingly he proceeded to a gate which stood upon the south, and guarded the passage communicating with the leads. It was grated, and crested with spikes, like that he had just burst open; and thinking it a needless waste of time to force it, he broke off one of the spikes, which he carried with him for further purposes, and then climbed over it. A short flight of steps brought him to a dark passage, into which he plunged. Here he found another strong door, making the fifth he had encountered. Well aware that the doors in this passage were much stronger than those in the entry he had just quitted, he was neither surprised nor dismayed to find it fastened by a lock of unusual size. After repeatedly trying to remove the plate, which was so firmly screwed down that it resisted all his efforts, and vainly attempting to pick it with his spike and nail, he at length, after half an hour’s ineffectual labour, wrenched off the box by means of the iron bar, and the door, as he laughingly expressed it, ‘was his humble servant.’

“But this difficulty was only overcome to be succeeded by one still greater. Hastening along the passage, he came to the sixth door. For this he was prepared: but he was not prepared for the almost insurmountable difficulties which it presented. Running his hand hastily over it, he was startled to find it one complicated mass of bolts and bars. It seemed as if all the precautions previously taken were here accumulated. Any one less courageous than himself would have abandoned the attempt from the conviction of its utter hopelessness; but though it might for a moment damp his ardour, it could not deter him. Once again he passed his hand over the surface, and carefully noted all the obstacles. There was a lock, apparently more than a foot wide, strongly plated, and girded to the door with thick iron hoops. Below it a prodigiously large bolt was shot into the socket, and, in order to keep it there, was fastened by a hasp, and further protected by an immense padlock. Besides this, the door was crossed and recrossed by iron bars, clenched by broad-headed nails. An iron fillet secured the socket of the bolt and the box of the lock to the{45} main post of the door-way. Nothing disheartened by this survey, Jack set to work upon the lock, which he attacked with all his implements;—now attempting to pick it with the nail;—now to wrench it off with the bar, but all without effect. He not only failed in making any impression but seemed to increase the difficulties, for after an hour’s toil he had broken the nail, and slightly bent the iron bar. Completely overcome by fatigue, with strained muscles and bruised hands, streaming with perspiration, and with lips so parched that he would gladly have parted with a treasure if he had possessed it for a draught of water, he sunk against the wall, and while in this state was seized with a sudden and strange alarm. He fancied that the turnkeys had discovered his flight, and were in pursuit of him—that they had climbed up the chimney—entered the bed-rooms—tracked him from door to door, and were now only detained by the gate, which he had left unbroken in the chapel. So strongly was he impressed with this idea, that grasping the iron bar with both hands he dashed it furiously against the door, making the passage echo with the blows. By degrees his fears vanished, and, hearing nothing, he grew calmer. His spirits revived, and encouraging himself with the idea that the present impediment, though the greatest, was the last, he set himself seriously to consider how it might best be overcome. On reflection, it occurred to him that he might, perhaps, be able to loosen the iron fillet—a notion no sooner conceived than executed. With incredible labour, and by the aid of both spike and nail, he succeeded in getting the point of the bar beneath the fillet. Exerting all his energies, and using the bar as a lever, he forced off the iron band, which was full seven feet high, seven inches wide, and two inches thick, and which brought with it, in its fall, the box of the lock, and the socket of the bolt, leaving no further hindrance. Overjoyed beyond measure at having vanquished this apparently insurmountable obstacle, Jack darted through the door.

“Ascending a short flight of steps, Jack found at the summit a door, which, being bolted on the inside, he speedily opened. The fresh air, which blew in his face, greatly revived him. He had now reached what were called the Lower Leads—a flat, covering a part of the prison contiguous to the gateway, and surrounded on all sides by walls about fourteen feet high. On the north stood the battlements of one of the towers of the gate. On this side a flight of wooden steps, protected by a hand-rail, led to a door opening upon the summit of the prison. This door was crested with spikes, and guarded on the right by a bristling semi-circle of similar weapons. Hastily ascending the steps, Jack found the door, as he anticipated, locked. He could have easily forced it, but he preferred a more expeditious mode of reaching the roof which suggested itself to him. Mounting the door he had last opened, he placed his hands on the wall above, and quickly drew himself up. Just as he got on the roof of the prison, St. Sepulchre’s clock struck eight. It was instantly answered by the deep note of St. Paul’s; and the concert was prolonged by other neighbouring churches. Jack had been thus six hours in accomplishing his arduous task.

“Though nearly dark, there was still light enough left to enable him to discern surrounding objects. Through the gloom he distinctly perceived the dome of St. Paul’s, hanging like a black cloud in the air; and, nearer to him, he remarked the golden ball on the summit of the College of{46} Physicians, compared by Garth to a ‘gilded pill.’ Other towers and spires;—St. Martin’s, on Ludgate-hill, and Christ Church, in Newgate-street, were also distinguishable. As he gazed down into the courts of the prison, he could not help shuddering, lest a false step might precipitate him below. To prevent the recurrence of any such escape as that just described, it was deemed expedient, in more recent times, to keep a watchman at the top of Newgate. Not many years ago, two men employed in this duty quarrelled during the night, and in the morning their bodies were found stretched upon the pavement of the yard below. Proceeding along the wall, Jack reached the southern tower, over the battlements of which he clambered, and crossing it, dropped upon the roof of the gate. He then scaled the northern tower, and made his way to the summit of that part of the prison which fronted Giltspur-street. Arrived at the extremity of the building, he found that it overlooked the flat roof of a house, which, as far as he could judge in the darkness, lay at a depth of about twenty feet below.

“Not choosing to hazard so great a fall, Jack turned to examine the building, to see whether any more favourable point of descent presented itself, but could discover nothing but steep walls, without a single available projection. Finding it impossible to descend on any side, without incurring serious risk, Jack resolved to return for his blanket, by the help of which he felt certain of accomplishing a safe landing on the roof of the house in Giltspur-street. Accordingly he began to retrace his steps, and pursuing the course he had recently taken, scaling the two towers, and passing along the walls of the prison, he descended by means of the door upon the Lower Leads. Before he re-entered the prison he hesitated, from a doubt whether he was not fearfully increasing his risk of capture; but, convinced that he had no other alternative, he went on. During all this time he had never quitted the iron bar, and he now grasped it with the firm determination of selling his life dearly if he met with any opposition. A few seconds sufficed to clear the passages through which it had previously cost him more than two hours to force his way. The floor was strewn with screws, nails, fragments of wood and stone, and across the passage lay the heavy iron fillet. He did not disturb any of the litter, but left it as a mark of his prowess. He was now at the entrance of the chapel, and striking the door over which he had previously climbed a violent blow with the bar, it flew open. To vault over the pews was the work of a moment; and having gained the entry leading to the Red Room, he passed through the first door, his progress being only impeded by the pile of broken stones, which he himself had raised. Listening at one of the doors leading to the master-debtors’ side, he heard a loud voice chanting a Bacchanalian melody; and the boisterous laughter that accompanied the song, convinced him that no suspicion was entertained in that quarter. Entering the Red-Room, he crept through the hole in the wall, descended the chimney, and arrived once more in his old place of captivity. How different were his present feelings, compared with those he had experienced on quitting it! Then, full of confidence, he half doubted his power of accomplishing his designs. Now he had achieved them, and felt assured of success. The vast heap of rubbish on the floor had been so materially increased by the bricks and plaster thrown down in his attack upon the wall of the Red-Room, that it was with some difficulty that he could find the blanket, which was almost{47} buried beneath the pile. He next searched for his stockings and shoes, and when found, put them on. He now prepared to return to the roof, and throwing the blanket over his left arm, and shouldering the iron bar, he again clambered up the chimney, regained the Red-Room, hurried along the first passage, crossed the chapel, threaded the entry to the Lower Leads, and in less than three minutes after quitting the Castle, had reached the northern extremity of the prison. Previously to his descent, he had left the nail and spike on the wall, and with these he fastened the blanket to the coping-stone. This done, he let himself carefully down by it, and having only a few feet to drop, alighted in safety.

“Having now got fairly out of Newgate, for the second time, with a heart throbbing with exultation, he hastened to make good his escape. To his great joy he found a small garret door in the roof of the opposite house open; he entered it, crossed the room, in which there was only a small truckle-bed, over which he stumbled, opened another door and gained the stair-head. As he was about to descend, his chains slightly rattled. ‘O lud! what’s that?’ cried a female voice from an adjoining room ‘Only the dog,’ replied the rough tones of a man, and all was again silent. Securing the chain in the best way he could, Jack then hurried down two pair of stairs, and had nearly reached the lobby, when a door suddenly opened, and two persons appeared, one of whom held a light. Retreating as quickly as he could, Jack opened the first door he came to, entered a room, and searching in the dark for some place of concealment, fortunately discovered a screen, behind which he crept.”

Having lain down here for about two hours, he once more proceeded down stairs, and saw a gentleman take leave of the family and quit the house, lighted by the servant; and as soon as the maid returned, he resolved to venture at all hazards. In stealing down the stairs he stumbled against a chamber door, but instantly recovering himself, he got into the street.

By this time it was after twelve o’clock, and passing by the watch-house of St. Sepulchre, he bid the watchman good night; and going up Holborn, he turned down Gray’s Inn Lane, and at about two in the morning, he got into the fields near Tottenham Court Road, where he took shelter in a cow-house, and slept soundly for about three hours. His fetters were still on his legs, and he dreaded the approach of daylight lest he should be discovered. His mind, however, was somewhat relieved for the present, for at seven o’clock the rain began to fall in torrents, so that no one ventured near his hiding-place. Night coming on, the calls of hunger drove him to seek some refreshment, and going to Tottenham Court Road, he ventured to purchase some bread and cheese and small-beer at a chandler’s shop. He had during the day been planning various means to procure the release of his legs from the bondage of his chains, and now having forty-five shillings in his possession, he attempted to procure a hammer. His efforts, however, proved ineffectual, and he was compelled to return to his shelter for the night. The next day brought him no relief; and having again gone to the chandler’s shop, he once more went back to his place of concealment. The next day was Sunday, and he now beat the basils of his irons with a stone, so that he might slip them over his heels, but the master of the cow-house coming, interrupted him, and demanded to know how he came there so confined by irons. The answer given was, that he had escaped{48} from Bridewell, where he had been confined because he was unable to give security for the payment of a sum of money for the maintenance of a child he had had sworn to him, and the master of the house desiring him to be gone, then quitted him. A shoemaker soon after coming near, Jack called him, and telling him the same story, induced him, by a bribe of twenty shillings, to procure him a hammer and a punch. They set to work together to remove the irons, and his legs were at length freed from this encumbrance at about five o’clock.

When night came on, our adventurer tied a handkerchief about his head, tore his woollen cap in several places, and also his coat and stockings, so as to have the appearance of a beggar; and in this condition he went to a cellar near Charing Cross, where he supped on roast veal, and listened to the conversation of the company, all of whom were talking of the escape of Sheppard. On the Monday he sheltered himself at a public-house of little trade in Rupert-street, and conversing with the landlady about Sheppard, he told her it was impossible for him to get out of the kingdom, and the keepers would certainly have him again in a few days; on which the woman wished that a curse might fall on those who should betray him.

On the next day he hired a garret in Newport Market, and soon afterwards, dressing himself like a porter, he went to Blackfriars, to the house of Mr. Applebee, printer of the dying speeches, and delivered a letter, in which he ridiculed the printer and the Ordinary of Newgate, and inclosed a communication for one of the keepers of the gaol.

Some nights after this he broke open the shop of Mr. Rawlins, a pawnbroker, in Drury Lane, where he stole a sword, a suit of wearing apparel, some snuff-boxes, rings, watches, and other effects to a considerable amount; and determining to make the appearance of a gentleman among his old acquaintance in Drury Lane and Clare Market, he dressed himself in a suit of black and a tie-wig, wore a ruffled shirt, a silver-hilted sword, a diamond ring, and a gold watch, and joined them at supper, though he knew that diligent search was making after him at that very time. On the 31st of October he dined with two women at a public-house in Newgate-street, and about four in the afternoon they all passed under Newgate in a hackney-coach, having first drawn up the blinds. Going in the evening to a public-house in Maypole Alley, Clare Market, Sheppard sent for his mother, and treated her with brandy, when the poor woman dropped on her knees, and begged that he would immediately retire from the kingdom. He promised to do so; but now being grown mad from the effects of the liquor he had drunk, he wandered about from public-house to public-house in the neighbourhood till near twelve o’clock at night, when he was apprehended in consequence of the information of an ale-house boy, who knew him. When taken into custody he was quite senseless, and was conveyed to Newgate in a coach, without being capable of making any resistance, although he had two loaded pistols in his possession at the time. He was now lodged securely enough; and his fame being increased by his recent exploits, he was visited by many persons of distinction, whom he diverted by a recital of the particulars of many robberies in which he had been concerned, but he invariably concluded his narration by expressing a hope that his visitors would endeavour to procure the exercise of the royal mercy in his behalf, to which he considered that his remarkable dexterity gave him some claim.{49}

Having been already convicted, it was unnecessary that the forms of a trial should be again gone through, and on the 10th of November he was carried to the bar of the Court of King’s Bench; when a record of his conviction having been read, and an affidavit made that he was the same person alluded to in it, sentence of death was passed upon him by Mr. Justice Powis, and a rule of court was made for his execution on the following Monday. He subsequently regularly attended chapel in the gaol, and behaved there with apparent decency, but on his quitting its walls, he did not hesitate to endeavour to prevent any seriousness among his fellow prisoners. All his hopes were still fixed upon his being pardoned, and even when the day of execution arrived, he did not appear to have given over all expectations of eluding justice; for having been furnished with a penknife, he put it in his pocket, with a view, when the melancholy procession came opposite Little Turnstile, to have cut the cord that bound his arms, and, throwing himself out of the cart among the crowd, to have run through the narrow passage where the sheriff’s officers could not follow on horseback, and he had no doubt but he should make his escape by the assistance of the mob. It was not impossible that this scheme might have succeeded; but before Sheppard left the press-yard, one Watson, an officer, searching his pockets, found the knife, and was cut with it so as to occasion a great effusion of blood. He, however, had yet a farther view to his preservation even after execution; for he desired his acquaintance to put him into a warm bed as soon as he should be cut down, and to try to open a vein, which he had been told would restore him to life.

He behaved with great decency at the place of execution, and confessed that he had committed two robberies, for which he had been tried, but had been acquitted. His execution took place at Tyburn, on the 16th of November, 1724, in the twenty-third year of his age. He died with difficulty; and there were not wanting those among the crowd assembled, who pitied him for the fate which befel him at so early a period of his life. When he was cut down, his body was delivered over to his friends, who carried it to a public-house in Long Acre; from which it was removed in the evening, and buried in the church-yard of St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields.

The adventures of this notorious offender excited more attention than those of many of our most celebrated warriors. He was, for a considerable time, the principal subject of conversation in all ranks of society. Histories of his life issued from the press in a variety of forms. A pantomimic entertainment was brought forward at Drury-lane theatre, called “Harlequin Sheppard,” wherein his adventures, prison-breakings, and other extraordinary escapes, were represented; and another dramatic work was published, as a farce of three acts, called “The Prison-Breaker;” or, “The Adventures of John Sheppard;” and a part of it, with songs, catches, and glees added, was performed at Bartholomew Fair, under the title of “The Quaker’s Opera.”

The arts too, were busied in handing to posterity memoranda for us never to follow the example of Jack Sheppard.

Sir James Thornhill[2], the first painter of the day, painted his portrait,{50} from which engravings in mezzotinto were made; and the few still in preservation are objects of curiosity. On this subject the following lines were written at the time:—

“Thornhill, ’tis thine to gild with fame
The obscure, and raise the humble name;
To make the form elude the grave,
And Sheppard from oblivion save.
Though life in vain the wretch implores,
An exile on the farthest shores,
Thy pencil brings a kind reprieve,
And bids the dying robber live.
This piece to latest time shall stand,
And show the wonders of thy hand:
Thus former masters graced their name,
And gave egregious robbers fame.
Apelles Alexander drew,
Cæsar is to Aurelius due;
Cromwell in Lily’s works doth shine,
And Sheppard, Thornhill, lives in thine.”

In modern times, the adventures of Sheppard and his contemporaries have become even better known and more remarked, in consequence of the work to which we have already alluded, and from which we have made an extract which details his exploits with great exactness; but at the same time gives to them a degree of romantic interest to which they are hardly entitled. The rage for house-breakers has become immense, and the fortunes of the most notorious and the most successful of thieves have been made the subject of entertainments at no fewer than six of the London theatres.

Blewitt, whose name is mentioned in the foregoing sketch, as one of the earliest companions of Sheppard, was eventually hanged, with others, for the murder of a fellow named Ball, a publican and ex-thief, who lived in the Mint, and who had provoked the anger of his murderers, by threatening to denounce them. Their execution took place on the 12th of April, 1726.{51}



THE name of this most notorious offender must be familiar to all; his arts and practices are scarcely less universally known. The power exercised by him over thieves of all classes, and of both sexes, was so great as that he may have been considered their chief and director, at the same time that he did not disdain to become their coadjutor, or the participator in the proceeds of their villany. The system which he pursued will be sufficiently disclosed in the notices which follow of the various transactions in which he was engaged; but it appears to have been founded upon the principle of employing a thief so long as his efforts proved profitable, or until their suspension should be attended with advantage, and then of terminating his career in the most speedy and efficacious manner, by the gallows.

The subject of this narrative was born at Wolverhampton in Staffordshire, about the year 1682; and his parents being persons of decent character and station, he was put to school, where he gained a competent knowledge of the ordinary minor branches of education. At the age of fifteen he was apprenticed to a buckle-maker, at Birmingham; and at the age of twenty-two, his time having expired, he was united to a young woman of respectability, whom he was well able to support by the exercise of his trade. His wife soon afterwards presented him with a son; but getting tired of a life of quietude, he started for London, leaving his wife and child destitute, and soon gained fresh employment. His disposition, however, led him into extravagances, and having contracted some debts, he was arrested, and thrown into Wood-street Compter, where, according to his own statement, “it was impossible but he must, in some measure, be led into the secrets of the criminals there under confinement, and particularly under Mr. Hitchin’s management.” He remained in prison upwards of four years, and the opportunity which was afforded him, of becoming acquainted with the persons, as well as the practices of thieves was not lost upon him. A woman named Mary Milliner, one of the most abandoned prostitutes and pickpockets on the town, who was also in custody for debt, soon attracted his attention, and an intimacy having commenced in the prison, on their discharge they lived together as man and wife. The possession of a small sum of money having been obtained, they opened a public-house in Cock Alley, Cripplegate; and from the notoriety of Mrs. Milliner, and her intimate acquaintance with the thieves of the metropolis, it soon became the resort of the lowest of the class. While Wild was thus pursuing his course to his pecuniary advantage, however, he lost no time in acquiring a proficiency in all the arts of knavery; and having, with great assiduity, penetrated into the secrets of his customers, he started as a “fence,” or receiver of stolen goods; and by this means he obtained that power, which subsequently proved so useful to him, and so dangerous to those who entrusted him with their secrets. He was at first at little trouble to dispose of the articles brought to him by thieves at something less than their real value, no law existing for the punishment of the receivers of stolen goods; but the evil having increased{52} at length to an enormous degree, it was deemed expedient by the legislature to frame a law for its suppression; and an act was therefore passed, consigning such as should be convicted of receiving goods, knowing them to have been stolen, to transportation for the space of fourteen years.

This was a check of no very trifling character to his proceedings, but his imagination suggested to him a plan by which he would save himself from all his profits being lost. He therefore called a meeting of thieves, and observed that, if they carried their booties to such of the pawnbrokers as were known to be not much affected by scruples of conscience, they would scarcely receive on the property one-fourth of the real value; and that if they were offered to strangers, either for sale or by way of deposit, it was a chance of ten to one but the parties offering were rendered amenable to the laws. The most industrious thieves, he said, were now scarcely able to obtain a livelihood, and must either submit to be half-starved, or live in great and continual danger of Tyburn. He had, however, devised a plan for removing the inconveniences which existed, which he would act upon most honourably, provided they would follow his advice, and behave towards him with equal honesty. He proposed, therefore, that when they made prize of anything, they should deliver it to him, instead of carrying it to the pawnbroker, saying, that he would restore the goods to the owners, by which means greater sums might be raised, while the thieves would remain perfectly secure from detection. This proposition was one which met with universal approbation, and the plan was immediately carried into effect, convenient places being established as the depositaries of the stolen goods. The plan thus concerted, it became the business of Wild to apply to persons who had been robbed, and pretending to be greatly concerned at their misfortunes, to say, that some suspected goods had been stopped by a friend of his, a broker, who would be willing to give them up; and he failed not then to throw out a hint that the broker merited some reward for his disinterested conduct and for his trouble, and to exact a promise that no disagreeable consequences should follow, because the broker had omitted to secure the thieves as well as the property. The person whose goods had been carried off was not generally unwilling by this means to save himself the trouble and expense of a prosecution, and the money paid was generally sufficient to remunerate the “broker,” as well as his agent. This trade was successfully carried on for several years, and considerable sums of money were amassed; but at length another and a safer plan was adopted. The name of our hero having become pretty extensively known, instead of applying to the parties who had been plundered, he opened an office, to which great numbers resorted, in the hope of obtaining the restitution of their property. In this situation he lost no opportunity of procuring for himself the greatest credit, as well as the greatest profit possible. He made a great parade in his business, and assumed a consequence which enabled him more effectually to impose upon the public. When persons came to his office, they were informed that they must each pay a crown in consideration of receiving his advice. This ceremony being despatched, he entered into his book the name and address of the applicants, with all the particulars they could communicate respecting the robberies, and the rewards that would be given provided the goods were recovered: they were then required to call again in a few days, when, he said, he hoped he should be able to give them some agreeable intelligence. Upon returning{53} to know the success of his inquiries, he told them that he had received some information concerning their goods, but that the agent he had employed to trace them had apprised him that the robbers pretended they could raise more money by pawning the property than by restoring it for the promised reward; saying, however, that if he could by any means procure an interview with the villains, he doubted not of being able to settle matters agreeably to the terms already stipulated; but, at the same time, artfully insinuating that the safest and most expeditious method would be to make some addition to the reward; and thus having secured the promise of the largest sum that could be obtained, he would direct a third call, and then the goods would be ready to be delivered. It will be seen that considerable advantages were derived from examining the person who had been robbed; for by that means he became acquainted with particulars which the thieves might omit to communicate, and was enabled to detect them if they concealed any part of their booties. Being in possession of the secrets of every notorious thief, they were under the necessity of complying with whatever terms he thought proper to exact, because they were aware that, by opposing his inclination, they would involve themselves in the most imminent danger of being sacrificed to the injured laws of their country; and thus he was enabled to impose both on the robber and the robbed. The accumulation of money by these artifices enabled Wild to maintain the character of a man of consequence; and to support his imaginary dignity, he dressed in laced clothes and wore a sword, which martial instrument he first exercised on the person of his accomplice and reputed wife, Mary Milliner, who having on some occasion provoked him, he instantly struck at her with it, and cut off one of her ears. This event was the cause of separation; but in acknowledgment of the great services she had rendered him, by introducing him to so advantageous a profession, he allowed her a weekly stipend till her decease.

In the year 1715 Wild removed from his house in Cock Alley to a Mrs. Seagoe’s, in the Old Bailey, where he pursued his business with the usual success; but while resident there, a controversy of a most singular character arose between him and a fellow named Charles Hitchin, who had been city marshal, but had been suspended for malpractices, to whom before his adoption of the lucrative profession which he now carried on, he had acted as assistant. These celebrated copartners in villany, under the pretext of controlling the enormities of the dissolute, paraded the streets from Temple-bar to the Minories, searching houses of ill-fame, and apprehending disorderly and suspected persons; but those who complimented the reformers with douceurs, were allowed to practise every species of wickedness with impunity. Hitchin and Wild, however, grew jealous of each other, and an open rupture taking place, they parted, each pursuing the business of thief-taking on his own account.

Our readers will doubtless be somewhat surprised to hear that these rivals in villany appealed to the public, and attacked each other with all possible scurrility in pamphlets and advertisements. Never was the press so debased as in publishing the productions of their pens. Hitchin published what he called “The Regulator; or a Discovery of Thieves and Thief-takers.” It is an ignorant and impudent insult to the reader, and replete with abuse of Wild, whom he brands, in his capacity of thief-taker, with being worse than the thief. Wild retorts with great bitterness{54} but Hitchin having greatly debased the respectable post of city marshal, the lord mayor suspended him from that office. In order to repair his loss, he determined, as the most prudent step, to strive to bury his aversion, and confederate with Wild. To effect this, he wrote as follows:

“I am sensible that you are let into the knowledge of the secrets of the Compter, particularly with relation to the securing of pocket-books; but your experience is inferior to mine: I can put you in a far better method than you are acquainted with, and which may be done with safety; for though I am suspended, I still retain the power of acting as constable, and notwithstanding I cannot be heard before my lord mayor as formerly, I have interest among the aldermen upon any complaint.

“But I must first tell you that you spoil the trade of thief-taking, in advancing greater rewards than are necessary. I give but half-a-crown a book, and when thieves and pickpockets see you and me confederate, they will submit to our terms, and likewise continue their thefts, for fear of coming to the gallows by our means. You shall take a turn with me, as my servant or assistant, and we’ll commence our rambles this night.”

Wild it appears readily accepted the ex-marshal’s proposals, and they accordingly proceeded to take their walks together, imposing upon the unwary and confederating with thieves, whom at the same time they did not hesitate to make their slaves. One or two instances of their mode of doing business may not be uninteresting. They are taken from a pamphlet written by Wild, and may therefore be supposed to be correct.

“A biscuit-baker near Wapping having lost a pocket-book containing, among other papers, an exchequer bill for 100l., applied to Wild for its recovery: the latter advised him to advertise it, and stop the payment of the bill, which he did accordingly; but having no account of his property, he came to Wild several times about it, and at length told him that he had received a visit from a tall man, with a long peruke and sword, calling himself the city-marshal, who asked him if he had lost his pocket-book? He said that he had, and desired to know the inquirer’s reasons for putting such a question, or whether he could give him any intelligence; but he replied, No, he could not give him any intelligence of it as yet, and wished to be informed whether he had employed any person to search after it? He said that he had employed one Wild; whereupon the marshal told him he was under a mistake; that he should have applied to him, as he was the only person in England that could serve him, being well assured it was entirely out of the power of Wild, or any of those fellows, to know where the pocket-book was (this was very certain, he having it at that time in his custody); and begged to know the reward that would be given? The biscuit-baker replied that he would give ten pounds, but the marshal said that a greater reward should be offered, for that exchequer bills and those things were ready money, and could immediately be sold; and that if he had employed him in the beginning, and offered forty or fifty pounds, he would have served him. Wild gave it as his opinion, that the pocket-book was in the marshal’s possession, and that it would be to no purpose to continue advertising it; and he advised the owner rather to advance his bidding, considering what hands the note was in, especially as the marshal had often told him how easily he could dispose of bank-notes and exchequer notes at gaming-houses, which he very much frequented. Pursuant to this advice, the losing party went to the marshal, and bid forty{55} pounds for his pocket-book and bill, but ‘Zounds, sir,’ said the marshal, you are too late!’ and that was all the satisfaction he gave him. Thus was the poor biscuit-baker tricked out of his exchequer-bill, which was paid to another person, though it could never be traced back; but it happened a short time after, that some of the young fry of pickpockets, under the tuition of the marshal, fell out in sharing the money given them for this very pocket-book; whereupon one of them came to Wild, and discovered the whole matter, viz. that he had sold the pocket-book, with the 100l. exchequer-note in it, and other bills, to the city-marshal, at a tavern in Aldersgate-street, for four or five guineas.”

“The marshal going one night up Ludgate Hill, observed a well-dressed woman walking before, whom he told Wild was a lewd woman, for that he saw her talking with a man. This was no sooner spoke but he seized her, and asked who she was. She made answer that she was a bailiffs wife. ‘You are more likely to be a prostitute,’ said the marshal, ‘and as such you shall go to the Compter.’

“Taking the woman through St. Paul’s churchyard, she desired liberty to send for some friends, but he would not comply with her request. He forced her into the Nag’s Head tavern in Cheapside, where he presently ordered a hot supper and plenty of wine to be brought in; commanding the female to keep at a distance from him, and telling her that he did not permit such vermin to sit in his company, though he intended to make her pay the reckoning. When the supper was brought to the table, he fell to it lustily, and would not allow the woman to eat any part of it with him, or to come near the fire, though it was extreme cold weather. When he had supped he stared round, and applying himself to her, told her that if he had been an informer, or such a fellow, she would have called for eatables and wine herself, and not have given him the trouble of direction, or else would have slipped a piece into his hand; adding, ‘You may do what you please; but I can assure you it is in my power, if I see a woman in the hands of informers, to discharge her, and commit them. You are not so ignorant but you must guess my meaning.’ She replied, ‘that she had money enough to pay for the supper, and about three half-crowns more;’ and this desirable answer being given, he ordered his attendant to withdraw, while he compounded the matter with her.

“When Wild returned, the gentlewoman was civilly asked to sit by the fire, and eat the remainder of the supper, and in all respects treated very kindly, only with a pretended reprimand to give him better language whenever he should speak to her for the future; and, after another bottle drunk at her expense, she was discharged.”

The object of these allegations on the part of Wild may be easily seen, and the effect which he desired was at length produced; for the marshal, having been suspended, and subsequently fined twenty pounds, and pilloried, for a crime too loathsome to be named, he was at length compelled to retire; and thus he left Wild alone to execute his plans of depredation upon the public. The latter, not unmindful of the tenure upon which his reputation hung, was too wary to allow discontent to appear among his followers, and therefore he found it to his interest to take care that where he promised them protection, his undertaking should not be neglected or pass unfulfilled. His powers in supporting his word were greater than can be well imagined, in the present state of things, where so much corruption{56} has been got rid of; and where his influence among persons in office failed him, his exertions in procuring the testimony of false witnesses to rebut that evidence which was truly detailed, and the nature of which he could always learn beforehand, generally enabled him to secure the object, which he had in view. His threats, however, were not less amply fulfilled than his promises; and his vengeance once declared was never withdrawn, and seldom failed in being carried out.

By his subjecting such as incurred his displeasure to the punishment of the law, he obtained the rewards offered for pursuing them to conviction; and greatly extended his ascendancy over the other thieves, who considered him with a kind of awe; while, at the same time, he established his character as being a man of great public utility.

A few anecdotes of the life and proceedings of this worthy will sufficiently exhibit the system which he pursued.

A lady of fortune being on a visit in Piccadilly, her servants, leaving her sedan at the door, went to refresh themselves at a neighbouring public-house. Upon their return the vehicle was not to be found; in consequence of which the men immediately went to Wild, and having informed him of their loss, and complimented him with the usual fee, they were desired to call upon him again in a few days. Upon their second application Wild extorted from them a considerable reward, and then directed them to attend the chapel in Lincoln’s-inn-Fields on the following morning, during the time of prayers. The men went according to the appointment, and under the piazzas of the chapel perceived the chair, which upon examination they found to contain the velvet seat, curtains, and other furniture, and that it had received no kind of damage.

A thief of most infamous character, named Arnold Powel, being confined in Newgate, on a charge of having robbed a house in the neighbourhood of Golden Square of property to a great amount, was visited by Jonathan, who informed him that, in consideration of a sum of money, he would save his life; adding that if the proposal was rejected, he should inevitably die at Tyburn for the offence on account of which he was then imprisoned. The prisoner, however, not believing that it was in Wild’s power to do him any injury, bade him defiance. He was brought to trial; but through a defect of evidence he was acquitted. Having gained intelligence that Powel had committed a burglary in the house of Mr. Eastlick, near Fleet Ditch, Wild caused that gentleman to prosecute the robber. Upon receiving information that a bill was found for the burglary, Powel sent for Wild, and a compromise was effected according to the terms which Wild himself had proposed, in consequence of which Powel was assured that his life should be preserved. Upon the approach of the sessions Wild informed the prosecutor that the first and second days would be employed in other trials; and as he was willing Mr. Eastlick should avoid attending with his witnesses longer than was necessary, he would give timely notice when Powel would be arraigned. But he contrived to have the prisoner put to the bar; and no persons appearing to prosecute, he was necessarily dismissed; and the court ordered Mr. Eastlick’s recognisances to be estreated. Powel was ordered to remain in custody till the next sessions, there being another indictment against him; and Mr. Eastlick represented the behaviour of Wild to the court, who reprimanded him with great severity. Powel now put himself into a salivation, in{57} order to avoid being brought to trial the next sessions; but, notwithstanding this stratagem, he was arraigned and convicted, and was executed on the 20th of March, 1717.

At this time Wild quitted his apartments at Mrs. Seagoe’s, and hired a house adjoining to the Coopers’ Arms, on the opposite side of the Old Bailey. His unexampled villanies were now become an object of so much consequence, as to excite the particular attention of the legislature; and in the year 1718 an act was passed, deeming every person guilty of a capital offence who should accept a reward in consequence of restoring stolen effects without prosecuting the thief. It was the general opinion that this law would effectually suppress the iniquitous practices he had carried on; but, after some interruption to his proceedings, he devised means for evading it, which were for several years attended with success.

He now declined the custom of receiving money from the persons who applied to him; but, upon the second or third time of calling, informed them that all he had been able to learn respecting their business was, that if a sum of money was left at an appointed place, their property would be restored the same day. Sometimes, as the person robbed was returning from Wild’s house he was accosted in the street by a man who delivered the stolen effects, at the same time producing a note, expressing the sum that was to be paid for them; but in cases where he supposed danger was to be apprehended, he advised people to advertise that whoever would bring the stolen goods to Jonathan Wild should be rewarded, and no questions asked.

In the two first instances it could not be proved that he either saw the thief, received the goods, or accepted of a reward; and in the latter case he acted agreeably to the directions of the injured party, and there appeared no reason to criminate him as being in confederacy with the felons.

Our adventurer’s business had by this time so much increased, that he opened an office in Newtoner’s-lane, to the management of which he appointed his man Abraham Mendez, a Jew. This fellow proved a remarkably industrious and faithful servant to Jonathan, who entrusted him with matters of the greatest importance, and derived great advantage from his labours. The species of despotic government which he exercised may be well collected from the following case:—He had inserted in his book a gold watch, a quantity of fine lace, and other property of considerable value, which one John Butler had stolen from a house at Newington Green; but Butler, instead of coming to account as usual, gave up his felonious practices, and lived on the produce of his booty. Wild, highly enraged at being excluded his share, determined to pursue every possible means to secure his conviction.

Being informed that he lodged at a public house in Bishopsgate-street, he went to it early one morning, when Butler, hearing him ascending the stairs, jumped out of the window of his room, and climbing over the wall of the yard got into the street. Wild broke open the door of the room, but was disappointed at finding that the man of whom he was in pursuit had escaped. In the meantime Butler ran into a house the door of which stood open, and descending to the kitchen, where some women were washing, told them he was pursued by a bailiff, and they advised him to conceal himself in the coal-hole. Jonathan coming out of the ale-house,{58} and seeing a shop on the opposite side of the way open, inquired of the master, who was a dyer, whether a man had not taken refuge in his house? The dyer answered in the negative, saying he had not left his shop more than a minute since it had been opened. Wild then requested to search the house, and the dyer having readily complied, he proceeded to the kitchen, and asked the women if they knew whether a man had taken shelter in the house. They also denied that they had, but on his informing them that the man he sought was a thief, they said he would find him in the coal-hole.

Having procured a candle, Wild and his attendants searched the place without effect, and they examined every part of the house with no better success. He observed that the villain must have escaped into the street; but the dyer saying that he had not quitted the shop, and it was impossible that a man could pass to the street without his knowledge, they all again went into the cellar, and, after some time spent in searching, the dyer turned up a large vessel used in his business, and Butler appeared.

Butler, however, knowing the means by which an accommodation might be effected, directed our hero to go to his lodging, and look behind the head of the bed, where he would find what would recompense him for his time and trouble. Wild went to the place, and found what perfectly satisfied him; but as Butler had been apprehended in a public manner, the other was under the necessity of taking him before a magistrate, who committed him for trial. He was tried at the ensuing sessions at the Old Bailey; but, by the artful management of Wild, instead of being condemned to die, he was only sentenced to transportation.

The increased quantity of unclaimed property now in his hands, compelled Wild to seek some new mode of disposing of it, in a manner which should benefit him; and with this view he purchased a sloop, in order to transport the goods to Holland and Flanders, where he conceived he should find an easy market for them. The command of his vessel was entrusted to a fellow named Johnson, a notorious thief; and Ostend was selected by him as the port to which the vessel should principally trade. The goods, however, not being all disposed of there, he would carry them to Bruges, Ghent, Brussels, and other places. In return he brought home lace, wine, brandy, and the other commodities of the countries which he visited, which he always contrived to land without affording any trouble to the officers of his Majesty’s customs. When this traffic had continued for about two years, a circumstance occurred which entirely and effectually prevented its being any longer carried on. Five pieces of lace were missing on the arrival of the ship in England, and Johnson, deeming the mate to be answerable for its production, deducted their value from the amount due to him for his pay. The latter was naturally violently irritated at this harsh proceeding, and he forthwith lodged an information against his captain, for running goods subject to exciseable duties. The vessel was in consequence seized, and Johnson was cast into prison for penalties to the amount of 700l. This was of course the ruin of the commercial proceedings; and the only remaining subject to be touched upon in this sketch is that which proved the ruin, and the termination of the career of Jonathan Wild.

Johnson having obtained his liberty from the government prosecution, soon returned to his old practices of robbery; but it was not long before{59}

Jonathan Wild unkennelling Butler.

Jonathan Wild unkennelling Butler.

a disagreement took place between him and Thomas Edwards, the keeper of a house which was the resort of thieves, in Long-lane, with respect to the division of some spoil, and meeting one day in the Strand, a scene of mutual recrimination took place between them, and they were at length both taken into custody. Johnson was bailed by Wild, and Edwards gained his liberty by there being no prosecution against him; but his enmity being now diverted in some degree from Johnson to Wild, he was no sooner at large than he gave information against him, in consequence of which, his warehouses being searched, a great quantity of stolen goods was discovered. It was pretended that the property belonged to Johnson, and Edwards was arrested at his suit for a supposed debt, and lodged in the Marshalsea; but he soon procured bail. His anger against Johnson for this act was much increased, and he determined to have his revenge upon him; and meeting him in the Whitechapel-road, he gave him into the custody of an officer, who conveyed him to a neighbouring ale-house. Wild being sent for, made his appearance, accompanied by Quilt Arnold, one of his assistants, and they soon raised a riot, in the midst of which the prisoner ran off. Information was immediately given of the escape, and of Wild’s interference in it; and the attention of the authorities being now called to this notorious offender, he judged it prudent to abscond, and he remained concealed for three weeks. He was unaware of the extent of the danger which threatened him, however, and at the end of that time he returned to his house. Being apprised of this, Mr. Jones, high-constable of Holborn division, went to his house in the Old Bailey; and on the 15th of February, 1725, apprehended him and Quilt Arnold, and took them before Sir John Fryer, who committed them to Newgate, on a charge of having assisted in the escape of Johnson.

On Wednesday, the 24th of the same month, Wild moved to be either admitted to bail or discharged, or brought to trial that session; and on the following Friday a warrant of detainer was produced against him in Court, to which were affixed the following articles of information:—

I. That for many years past he had been a confederate with great numbers of highwaymen, pick-pockets, housebreakers, shop-lifters, and other thieves.

II. That he had formed a kind of corporation of thieves, of which he was the head or director; and that notwithstanding his pretended services in detecting and prosecuting offenders, he procured such only to be hanged as concealed their booty, or refused to share it with him.

III. That he had divided the town and country into so many districts, and appointed distinct gangs for each, who regularly accounted with him for their robberies. That he had also a particular set to steal at churches in time of divine service; and likewise other moving detachments to attend at court on birth-days, balls, &c. and at both houses of parliament, circuits, and country fairs.

IV. That the persons employed by him were for the most part felon convicts, who had returned from transportation before the time for which they were transported was expired; and that he made choice of them to be his agents, because they could not be legal evidences against him, and because he had it in his power to take from them what part of the stolen goods he thought fit, and otherwise use them ill, or hang them, as he pleased.{60}

V. That he had from time to time supplied such convicted felons with money and clothes, and lodged them in his own house, the better to conceal them: particularly some against whom there are now informations for counterfeiting and diminishing broad-pieces and guineas.

VI. That he had not only been a receiver of stolen goods, as well as of writings of all kinds, for near fifteen years past, but had frequently been a confederate, and robbed along with the above-mentioned convicted felons.

VII. That in order to carry on these vile practices, and to gain some credit with the ignorant multitude, he usually carried a short silver staff, as a badge of authority from the government, which he used to produce when he himself was concerned in robbing.

VIII. That he had, under his care and direction, several warehouses for receiving and concealing stolen goods; and also a ship for carrying off jewels, watches, and other valuable goods, to Holland, where he had a superannuated thief for his factor.

IX. That he kept in pay several artists to make alterations, and transform watches, seals, snuff-boxes, rings, and other valuable things, that they might not be known, several of which he used to present to such persons as he thought might be of service to him.

X. That he seldom or never helped the owners to the notes and papers they had lost unless he found them able exactly to specify and describe them, and then often insisted on having more than half their value.

XI. And, lastly, it appeared that he had often sold human blood, by procuring false evidence to swear persons into facts of which they were not guilty; sometimes to prevent them from being evidences against himself, and at other times for the sake of the great rewards given by the government.

The information of Mr. Jones was also read in court, setting forth that two persons would be produced to accuse the prisoner of capital offences. The men alluded to in the affidavit were John Follard and Thomas Butler, who had been convicted, but pardoned on condition of their appearing to support the prosecution against their former master. On the 12th of April a motion for the postponement of the trial until the ensuing sessions was made on behalf of Wild, and after some discussion it was granted; the ground of the postponement being alleged to be the absence of two material witnesses for the defence, named —— Hays, of the Packhorse, Turnham Green, and —— Wilson, a clothier at Frome, in Somersetshire.

On Saturday, May 15, 1725, the trial came on, and the prisoner was then arraigned on an indictment for privately stealing in the house of Catherine Stretham, in the parish of St. Andrew, Holborn, fifty yards of lace, the property of the said Catherine, on the 22d of January in the same year.

He was also indicted for feloniously receiving from the said Catherine, on the 10th of March, the sum of ten guineas, on account and under pretence of restoring the said lace, and procuring the apprehension and prosecution of the person by whom the same was stolen.

Before the trial came on, the prisoner was not a little industrious in endeavouring to establish a feeling in his favour, and he distributed a great number of printed papers among the jurymen and others walking about the court, entitled. “A List of persons discovered, apprehended, and convicted{61} of several robberies on the highway; and also for burglaries and housebreaking; and also for returning from transportation; by Jonathan Wild.” The list contained the names of thirty-five persons for robbing on the highway, twenty-two for housebreaking, and ten for returning from transportation, and the following note was appended to it.

“Several others have been also convicted for the like crimes; but, remembering not the persons’ names who had been robbed, I omit the criminals names.

“Please to observe that several others have been also convicted for shoplifting, picking of pockets, &c. by the female sex, which are capital crimes, and which are too tedious to be inserted here, and the prosecutors not willing of being exposed.

“In regard, therefore, of the numbers above convicted, some that have yet escaped justice, are endeavouring to take away the life of the said

Jonathan Wild.”

The prisoner, being put to the bar, requested that the witnesses might be examined apart, which was complied with.

The trial then commenced, and the first witness called was Henry Kelly, who deposed that by the prisoner’s direction he went, in company with Margaret Murphy, to the prosecutor’s shop, under pretence of buying some lace; that he stole a tin box, and gave it to Murphy in order to deliver to Wild, who waited in the street for the purpose of receiving their booty, and rescuing them if they should be taken into custody; that they returned together to Wild’s house, where the box being opened, was found to contain eleven pieces of lace; that Wild said he could afford to give no more than five guineas, as he should not be able to get more than ten guineas for returning the goods to the owner; that the witness received as his share three guineas and a crown, and that Murphy had what remained of the five guineas.

Margaret Murphy was next sworn, and her evidence corresponded in every particular with that of the former witness[3].

Catherine Stretham, the elder, deposed that between three and four in the afternoon of the 22nd of January, a man and woman came to her house, pretending that they wanted to purchase some lace; that she showed them two or three parcels, to the quality and price of which they objected; and that in about three minutes after they had left the shop she missed a tin box, containing a quantity of lace, the value of which she estimated at fifty pounds.

The prisoner’s counsel on this contended, that he could not be legally convicted, because the indictment positively expressed that he stole the lace in the house, whereas it had been proved in evidence that he was at a considerable distance outside when the fact was committed. They allowed that he might be liable to conviction as an accessory before the fact, or for receiving the property, knowing it to be stolen; but conceived that he could not be deemed guilty of a capital felony, unless the indictment declared (as the act directs) that he did assist, command, or hire.

Lord Raymond, who presided, in summing up the evidence, observed that the guilt of the prisoner was a point beyond all dispute; but that, as a{62} similar case was not to be found in the law-books, it became his duty to act with great caution: he was not perfectly satisfied that the construction urged by the counsel for the crown could be put upon the indictment; and, as the life of a fellow-creature was at stake, he recommended the prisoner to the mercy of the jury, who brought in their verdict Not Guilty.

Wild was then arraigned on the second indictment, which alleged an offence committed during his confinement in Newgate. The indictment being opened by the counsel for the crown, the following clause in an act passed in the fourth year of the reign of George the First was ordered to be read:—

“And whereas there are divers persons who have secret acquaintance with felons, and who make it their business to help persons to their stolen goods, and by that means gain money from them, which is divided between them and the felons, whereby they greatly encourage such offenders; be it therefore enacted by the authority aforesaid, that whenever any person taketh money or reward, directly or indirectly, under pretence or upon account of helping any person or persons to any stolen goods or chattels, every such person so taking money or reward as aforesaid (unless such person do apprehend or cause to be apprehended such felon who stole the same, and give evidence against him) shall be guilty of felony, according to the nature of the felony committed in stealing such goods, and in such and the same manner as if such offender had stolen such goods and chattels in the manner, and with such circumstances, as the same were stolen.”

Mrs. Stretham then, having repeated the evidence which she had before given, went on to state that on the evening of the robbery she went to the house of the prisoner in order to employ him in recovering the goods, but that not finding him at home, she advertised them, offering a reward of fifteen guineas for their return, and promising that no questions should be asked. The advertisement proved ineffectual, and she therefore again went to the house of the prisoner, and seeing him, by his desire she gave an account of the transaction and of the appearance of the thieves. He promised to inquire after her property, and desired her to call again in a few days. She did so, and at this second visit he informed her that he had gained some information respecting her goods, and expected more; and a man who was present said that he thought that Kelly, who had been tried for passing plated shillings, was the offender. The witness again went to the prisoner on the day on which he was apprehended, and said that she would give twenty-five guineas rather than not have her lace back; on which he told her not to be in too great a hurry, for that the people who had stolen the lace were out of town, and that he should soon cause a disagreement between them, by which he should secure the property on more easy terms. On the 10th of March, she received a message, that if she would go to the prisoner in Newgate, and take ten guineas with her, her lace would be returned to her. She went to him accordingly, and a porter being called, he gave her a letter, saying it was addressed to the person to whom he was directed to apply for the lace, and the porter would accompany her to carry the box home. She declined going herself, and then the prisoner desired her to give the money to the porter, who would go for her and fetch the goods, but said that he could not go without it, for that the people who had the lace would not give it up without being paid. She gave the money and the man went away, but in a short time he returned{63} with a box sealed up, but not the box which she had lost. On opening it, she found that it contained all her lace except one piece. She asked the prisoner what satisfaction he expected, when he answered “Not a farthing; I have no interested views in matters of this kind, but act from a principle of serving people under misfortune. I hope I shall soon be able to recover the other piece of lace, and to return you the ten guineas, and perhaps cause the thief to be apprehended. For the service I can render you I shall only expect your prayers. I have many enemies, and know not what will be the consequence of this imprisonment.”

The prisoner’s counsel argued, that as Murphy had deposed that Wild, Kelly, and she, were concerned in the felony, the former could by no means be considered as coming within the description of the act on which the indictment was founded; for the act in question was not meant to operate against the actual perpetrators of felony, but to subject such persons to punishment as held a correspondence with felons.

The counsel for the crown observed, that from the evidence adduced, no doubt could remain of the prisoner’s coming under the meaning of the act, since it had been proved that he had engaged in combinations with felons, and had not discovered them.

The judge was of opinion that the case of the prisoner was clearly within the meaning of the act; for it was plain that he had maintained a secret correspondence with felons, and received money for restoring stolen goods to the owners, which money was divided between him and the felons, whom he did not prosecute. The jury pronounced him guilty, and he was sentenced to be executed at Tyburn, on Monday the 24th of May, 1725.

When he was under sentence of death, he frequently declared that he thought the services he had rendered the public in returning the stolen goods to the owners, and apprehending felons, was so great, as justly to entitle him to the royal mercy. He said that had he considered his case as being desperate, he should have taken timely measures for inducing some powerful friends at Wolverhampton to intercede in his favour; and that he thought it not unreasonable to entertain hopes of obtaining a pardon through the interest of some of the dukes, earls, and other persons of high distinction, who had recovered their property through his means.

He was observed to be in an unsettled state of mind; and being asked whether he knew the cause thereof, he said he attributed his disorder to the many wounds he had received in apprehending felons; and particularly mentioned two fractures of his skull, and his throat being cut by Blueskin.

He declined attending divine service in the chapel, excusing himself on account of his infirmities, and saying that there were many people highly exasperated against him, and therefore he could not expect but that his devotions would be interrupted by their insulting behaviour. He said he had fasted four days, which had greatly increased his weakness. He asked the Ordinary the meaning of the words “Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree;” and what was the state of the soul immediately after its departure from the body? He was advised to direct his attention to matters of more importance, and sincerely to repent of the crimes he had committed.

By his desire the Ordinary administered the sacrament to him; and during the ceremony he appeared to be somewhat attentive and devout.{64} The evening preceding the day on which he suffered he inquired of the Ordinary whether suicide could be deemed a crime; and after some conversation, he pretended to be convinced that self-murder was a most impious offence against the Almighty; but about two in the morning, he endeavoured to put an end to his life by drinking laudanum. On account of the largeness of the dose, and his having fasted for a considerable time, no other effect was produced than drowsiness, or a kind of stupefaction. The situation of Wild being observed by two of his fellow-prisoners, they advised him to rouse his spirits, that he might be able to attend to the devotional exercises; and taking him by the arms, they obliged him to walk, which he could not have done alone, being much afflicted with the gout. The exercise revived him a little; but he presently became exceedingly pale; then grew very faint; a profuse sweating ensued; and soon afterwards his stomach discharged the greatest part of the laudanum. Though he was somewhat recovered, he was nearly in a state of insensibility; and in this situation he was put into the cart and conveyed to Tyburn. In his way to the place of execution the populace treated him with remarkable severity, incessantly pelting him with stones and dirt.

Upon his arrival at Tyburn he appeared to be much recovered from the effects of the poison; and the executioner informed him that a reasonable time would be allowed him for preparing himself for the important change that he must soon experience. He continued sitting some time in the cart; but the populace were at length so enraged at the indulgence shown him, that they outrageously called to the executioner to perform the duties of his office, violently threatening him with instant death if he presumed any longer to delay. He judged it prudent to comply with their demands; and when he began to prepare for the execution, the popular clamour ceased.

About two o’clock on the following morning the remains of Wild were interred in St. Pancras churchyard; but a few nights afterwards the body was taken up (for the use of the surgeons, as it was supposed). At midnight a hearse and six was waiting at the end of Fig Lane, where the coffin was found the next day.

Wild had by the woman he married at Wolverhampton a son about nineteen years old, who came to London a short time before the execution of his father. He was a youth of so violent and ungovernable a disposition, that it was judged right to confine him during the time of the execution, lest he should excite the people to some tumult. He subsequently went to one of the West India colonies.

The adventures of Wild are of a nature to attract great attention, from the multiplicity and variety of the offences of which he was guilty. It has been hinted, that his career of crime having been suffered to continue so long was in some degree attributable to the services which he performed for the government, in arresting and gaining information against the disaffected, during the troubles which characterised the early part of the reign of George I.; but whatever may have been the cause of his being so long unmolested, whatever supineness on the part of the authorities, whether wilful or not, may have procured for him so continued a reign of uninterrupted wickedness, it cannot be doubted that the fact of his long safety tended so much to the demoralisation of society, as that many years passed before it would assume that tone, which the exertions of a felon like Wild were so{65} calculated to destroy. The existing generation cannot but congratulate itself upon the excellence of the improvements which have been made in our laws, and the admirable effect which they have produced; as well as upon the exceedingly active vigilance of the existing police, by whom crime, instead of its being supported and fostered, is checked and prevented.



THE case of this atrocious criminal only finds a parallel in that of the monster of modern crime—Greenacre.

Catherine Hayes was the daughter of a poor man named Hall, who lived at Birmingham, and having remained with her parents until she was fifteen years of age, a dispute then arose, in consequence of which she set off for London. On her way she met with some officers, who, remarking that her person was engaging, persuaded her to accompany them to their quarters at Great Ombersley, in Worcestershire. Having remained with them some time, she strolled on into Warwickshire, and was there hired into the house of Mr. Hayes, a respectable farmer. An intimacy soon sprang up between her and the son of her master, which ended in a private marriage taking place at Worcester; and an attempt, on the part of the officers, to entrap young Hayes into enlisting, rendered it necessary to disclose the whole affair to the father. He felt that it would be useless now to oppose his son, in consequence of what had taken place, and he in consequence set him up in business as a carpenter. Mrs. Hayes, however, was of a restless disposition, and persuaded him to enlist, which he did; and his regiment being ordered to the Isle of Wight, his wife followed him. His father bought him off at an expense of 60l., and now gave him property to the amount of about 26l. per annum; but after the marriage had been solemnised about six years, Mrs. Hayes prevailed on her husband to come to London. On their arrival in the metropolis, Mr. Hayes took a house, part of which he let in lodgings, and opened a shop in the chandlery and coal trade, in which he was as successful as he could have wished, but exclusive of his profit by shop keeping, he acquired a great deal of money by lending small sums on pledges, for at this time the trade of pawnbroking was followed by any one at pleasure, and was subjected to no regulation.

Mr. Hayes soon found that the disposition of his wife was not of such a nature as to promise him much peace. The chief pleasure of her life consisted in creating and encouraging quarrels among her neighbours. Sometimes she would speak of her husband, to his acquaintance, in terms of great tenderness and respect; and at other times she would represent him to her female associates as a compound of everything that was contemptible in human nature. On a particular occasion, she told a woman that she should think it no more sin to murder him than to kill a dog. At length her husband thought it prudent to remove to Tottenham-court-road, where he carried on his former business, but he then again removed to Tyburn-road (now Oxford-street). He soon amassed what he considered a sufficient sum to enable him to retire from business, and he accordingly{66} took lodgings near the same spot. A supposed son of Mrs. Hayes, by her former connexion, who went by the name of Billings, lived in the same house, and he and Mrs. Hayes were in the habit of feasting themselves at the expense of the husband of the latter. During his temporary absence from town, her proceedings were so extravagant, that the neighbours deemed it right to make her husband aware of the fact; and on his return he remonstrated with her on the subject, when a quarrel took place, which ended in a fight. It is supposed that at this time the design of murdering Mr. Hayes was formed by his wife, and it was not long before she obtained a seconder in her horrid project in the person of her reputed son. At this time a person named Thomas Wood came to town from Worcestershire, and seeking out Hayes, persuaded him to give him a lodging, as he was afraid of being impressed. After he had been in town only a few days, Mrs. Hayes informed him of the plot which existed, and endeavoured to persuade him to join her and her son. He was at first shocked at the notion of murdering his friend and benefactor, and rejected the proposals; but at length Mrs. Hayes, alleging that her husband was an atheist, and had already been guilty of murdering two of his own children, one of whom he had buried under an apple-tree, and the other under a pear-tree, and besides urging that 1500l., which would fall to her at his death, should be placed at the disposal of her accomplices, he consented. Shortly after this, Wood went out of town for a few days, but on his return he found Mrs. Hayes, and her son, and husband, drinking together, and apparently in good humour. He joined them at the desire of Hayes and the latter boasting that he was not drunk, although they had had a guinea’s worth of liquor among them, Billings proposed that he should try whether he could drink half a dozen bottles of mountain wine, without getting tipsy, and promised that if he did so, he would pay for the wine. The proposal was agreed to, and the three murderers went off to procure the liquor. On their way, it was agreed among them that this was the proper opportunity to carry their design into execution, and having procured the wine, for which Mrs. Hayes paid half a guinea, Mr. Hayes began to drink it, while his intended assassins regaled themselves with beer. When he had taken a considerable quantity of the wine, he danced about the room like a man distracted, and at length finished the whole quantity: but, not being yet in a state of absolute stupefaction, his wife sent for another bottle, which he also drank, and then fell senseless on the floor. Having lain some time in this condition, he got, with much difficulty, into another room, and threw himself on a bed. When he was asleep, his wife told her associates that this was the time to execute their plan, as there was no fear of any resistance on his part, and accordingly Billings went into the room with a hatchet, with which he struck Hayes so violently that he fractured his skull. At this time Hayes’s feet hung off the bed; and the torture arising from the blow made him stamp repeatedly on the floor, which, being heard by Wood, he also went into the room, and, taking the hatchet out of Billings’ hand, gave the poor man two more blows, which effectually despatched him. A woman, named Springate, who lodged in the room over that where the murder was committed, hearing the noise occasioned by Hayes’s stamping, imagined that the parties might have quarrelled in consequence of their intoxication; and going down stairs, she told Mrs. Hayes that the noise had awakened her{67} husband, her child, and herself. Catherine, however, had a ready answer to this: she said some company had visited them, and were grown merry, but they were on the point of taking their leave; and Mrs. Springate returned to her room well satisfied. The murderers now consulted on the best manner of disposing of the body, so as most effectually to prevent detection. Mrs. Hayes proposed to cut off the head, because, if the body was found whole, it would be more likely to be known, and the villains agreeing to this proposition, she fetched a pail, lighted a candle, and all of them went into the room. The men then drew the body partly off the bed, and Billings supported the head, while Wood, with his pocket-knife, cut it off, and the infamous woman held the pail to receive it, being as careful as possible that the floor might not be stained with the blood. This being done, they emptied the blood out of the pail into a sink by the window, and poured several pails of water after it. When the head was cut off, the woman recommended the boiling it till the flesh should part from the bones; but the other parties thought this operation would take up too much time, and therefore advised the throwing it into the Thames, in expectation that it would be carried off by the tide, and would sink. This agreed to, the head was put into the pail, and Billings took it under his great-coat, being accompanied by Wood; but, making a noise in going down stairs, Mrs. Springate called, and asked what was the matter? To this Mrs. Hayes answered that her husband was going a journey; and, with incredible dissimulation, affected to take leave of him, pretending great concern that he was under a necessity of going at so late an hour, and Wood and Billings passed out of the house unnoticed. They first went to Whitehall, where they intended to have thrown in the head; but the gates being shut, they went to a wharf near the Horse Ferry, Westminster. Billings putting down the pail, Wood threw the head into the dock, expecting it would have been carried away by the stream; but at this time the tide was ebbing, and a lighterman, who was then in his vessel, heard something fall into the dock, but it was too dark for him to distinguish any object. The head being thus disposed of, the murderers returned home, and were admitted by Mrs. Hayes, without the knowledge of the other lodgers. The body next became the object of their attention, and Mrs. Hayes proposed that it should be packed up in a box and buried. The plan was determined upon immediately, and a box was purchased, but being found too small, the body was dismembered so as to admit of its being inclosed in it, and was left until night should favour its being carried off. The inconvenience of carrying a box was, however, immediately discovered, and the pieces of the mangled body were therefore taken out, and, being wrapped up in a blanket, were carried by Billings and Wood to a field in Marylebone, and there thrown into a pond.

In the meantime the head had been discovered, and the circumstance of a murder having been committed being undoubted, every means was taken to secure the discovery of its perpetrators. The magistrates, with this view, directed that the head should be washed clean, and the hair combed; after which it was put on a pole in the churchyard of St. Margaret, Westminster, that an opportunity might be afforded for its being viewed by the public[4].{68} Thousands went to witness this extraordinary spectacle; and there were not wanting those among the crowd, who expressed their belief among themselves, that the head belonged to Hayes. Their suspicions were mentioned by some of them to Billings, but he ridiculed the notion, and declared that Hayes was well, and was gone out of town only for a few days. When the head had been exhibited during four days, it was deemed expedient that measures should be taken to preserve it; and Mr. Westbrook, a chemist, in consequence, received directions to put it into spirits. Mrs. Hayes soon afterwards changed her lodgings, and took the woman Springate with her, paying the rent which she owed, Wood and Billings also accompanying her; and her chief occupation now was that of collecting the debts due to her husband; by means of which she continued to supply her diabolical assistants with money and clothes. Amongst the incredible numbers of people who resorted to see the head was a poor woman from Kingsland, whose husband had been absent from the very time that the murder was perpetrated. After a minute survey of the head, she believed it to be that of her husband, though she could not be absolutely positive, but her suspicions were so strong, that strict search was made after the body, on a presumption that the clothes might help her to ascertain it. Meanwhile, Mr. Hayes not being visible for a considerable time, his friends could not help making inquiry after him; and a Mr. Ashby, in particular, who had been on the most friendly terms with him, called on Mrs. Hayes, and demanded what had become of her husband? Catherine pretended to account for his absence by communicating the following intelligence, as a matter that must be kept profoundly secret:—“Some time ago,” said she, “he happened to have a dispute with a man, and from words they came to blows, so that Mr. Hayes killed him. The wife of the deceased made up the affair, on Mr. Hayes’s promising to pay her a certain annual allowance; but he not being able to make it good, she threatened to inform against him, on which he has absconded.” This story was, however, by no means satisfactory to Mr. Ashby, who asked her if the head that had been exposed on the pole was that of the man who had been killed by her husband? She readily answered in the negative, adding that the party had been buried entire; and that the widow had her husband’s bond for the payment of fifteen pounds a year. Ashby inquired to what part of the world Mr. Hayes was gone; and she said to Portugal, in company with some gentlemen; but she had yet received no letter from him. The whole of this detail seeming highly improbable to Mr. Ashby,{69} he went to Mr. Longmore, a gentleman nearly related to Hayes; and it was agreed between them that Mr. Longmore should call on Catherine, and have some conversation with her upon the same subject. Her story to this gentleman differed in its details from that which she had related to Mr. Ashby; and Mr. Eaton, also a friend of Mr. Hayes, being consulted, they determined first to examine the head, and then, if their suspicions were confirmed, to communicate their belief to the magistrates. Having accordingly minutely examined the head, and come to the conclusion that it must be that of their friend Hayes, they proceeded to Mr. Lambert, a magistrate, who immediately issued warrants for the apprehension of Mrs. Hayes and Mrs. Springate, as well as of Wood and Billings, and proceeded to execute them personally. Going accordingly to the house in which they all lived, they informed the landlord of their business, and went immediately to the door of Mrs. Hayes’ room. On the magistrate’s rapping, the woman asked, “Who is there?” and he commanded her to open the door directly, or it should be broken open. To this she replied, that she would open it as soon as she had put on her clothes; and she did so in little more than a minute, when the justice ordered the parties present to take her into custody. At this time Billings was sitting on the side of the bed, bare-legged. Some of the parties remaining below, to secure the prisoners, Mr. Longmore went up stairs with the justice, and took Mrs. Springate into custody; and they were all conducted together to the house of Mr. Lambert. This magistrate having examined the prisoners separately for a considerable time, and all of them positively persisting in their ignorance of anything respecting the murder, they were severally committed for re-examination on the following day, before Mr. Lambert and other magistrates. Mrs. Springate was sent to the Gate-house, Billings to New Prison, and Mrs. Hayes to Tothill-fields Bridewell. When the peace-officers, attended by Longmore, went the next day to fetch up Catherine to her examination, she earnestly desired to see the head; and it being thought prudent to grant her request, she was carried to the surgeon’s; and no sooner was the head shown to her than she exclaimed, “Oh, it is my dear husband’s head! It is my dear husband’s head!” She now took the glass in her arms, and shed many tears while she embraced it. Mr. Westbrook told her that he would take the head out of the glass, that she might have a more perfect view of it, and be certain that it was the same; and the surgeon doing as he had said, she seemed to be greatly affected, and having kissed it several times, she begged to be indulged with a lock of the hair; and on Mr. Westbrook expressing his apprehension that she had had too much of his blood already, she fell into a fit. On her recovery she was conducted to Mr. Lambert’s, to take her examination with the other parties.

It is somewhat remarkable that it was on the morning of this day that the body was discovered. As a gentleman and his servant were crossing the fields at Marylebone, they observed something lying in a ditch, and, on going nearer to it, they perceived that it was some parts of a human body. Assistance being procured, the whole of the body was found except the head; and information of the circumstance was conveyed to Mr. Lambert at the very moment at which he was examining the prisoners. The suspicions which already existed were strengthened by this circumstance, and Mrs. Hayes was committed to Newgate for trial; the committal of{70} Billings and Mrs. Springate, however, being deferred until the apprehension of Wood.

The latter soon after coming into town and riding up to Mrs. Hayes’ lodgings, was directed to go to the house of Mr. Longmore, where he was told he would find Mrs. Hayes; but the brother of Longmore standing at the door, he immediately seized him, and caused him to be carried before Mr. Lambert. He underwent an examination; but, refusing to make any confession, he was sent to Tothill-fields’ Bridewell. On his arrival at the prison he was informed that the body had been found: and, not doubting but that the whole affair would come to light, he begged that he might be carried back to the justice’s house. This being made known to Mr. Lambert, the prisoner was brought up, and he then acknowledged the particulars of the murder, and signed his confession. This wretched man owned that since the perpetration of the crime he had been terrified at the sight of every one he met, that he had not experienced a moment’s peace, and that his mind had been distracted with the most violent agitation.

His commitment to Newgate was immediately made out, and he was conducted to that prison under the escort of eight soldiers, with fixed bayonets, whose whole efforts were necessary to protect him from the violence of the mob. A Mr. Mercer visiting Mrs. Hayes in prison, she begged him to go to Billings and urge him to confess the whole truth, as no advantage, she said, could be expected to arise from a denial of that which was too clearly proved to admit of denial; and he being carried before Justice Lambert again, gave an account precisely concurring with that of Wood. Mrs. Springate, whose innocence was now distinctly proved, was set at liberty.

At the trial Wood and Billings confessed themselves guilty of the crime alleged against them; but Mrs. Hayes, flattering herself that as she had said nothing, she had a chance of escape, put herself upon her trial; but the jury found her guilty. The prisoners being afterwards brought to the bar to receive sentence, Mrs. Hayes entreated that she might not be burned, according to the then law of petty treason, alleging that she was not guilty, as she did not strike the fatal blow; but she was informed by the court that the sentence awarded by the law could not be dispensed with.

After conviction the behaviour of Wood was uncommonly penitent and devout; but while in the condemned hold he was seized with a violent fever, and, being attended by a clergyman to assist him in his devotions, he said he was ready to suffer death, under every mark of ignominy, as some atonement for the atrocious crime he had committed; but he died in prison, and thus defeated the final execution of the law. Billings behaved with apparent sincerity, acknowledging the justice of his sentence, and saying that no punishment could be commensurate with the crime of which he had been guilty. The behaviour of Mrs. Hayes was somewhat similar to her former conduct. Having an intention to destroy herself, she procured a phial of strong poison, which was casually tasted by a woman who was confined with her, and her design thereby discovered and frustrated. On the day of her death she received the sacrament, and was drawn on a sledge to the place of execution. Billings was executed in the usual manner, and hung in chains, not far from the pond in which Mr. Hayes’s body was found, in Marylebone Fields; but when the wretched woman had finished her devotions, in pursuance of her sentence an iron chain{71} put round her body, with which she was fixed to a stake near the gallows. On those occasions, when women were burned for petty treason, it was customary to strangle them, by means of a rope passed round the neck, and pulled by the executioner, so that they were dead before the flames reached the body. But this woman was literally burned alive; for the executioner letting go the rope sooner than usual, in consequence of the flames reaching his hands, the fire burned fiercely round her, and the spectators beheld her pushing away the faggots, while she rent the air with her cries and lamentations. Other faggots were instantly thrown on her; but she survived amidst the flames for a considerable time, and her body was not perfectly reduced to ashes in less than three hours[5]. These malefactors suffered at Tyburn, May 9, 1726.



THE case of this criminal is more remarkable for her resuscitation after her execution, than for the circumstances attending the offence of which she was convicted.

The culprit was the daughter of poor parents living at Musselburgh, about five miles from Edinburgh, a place almost entirely inhabited by fishermen and persons employed in the manufacture of salt. When she reached the age of womanhood, she was married, but her husband, who was a fisherman, being impressed, he was carried off to sea. Deprived of her lawful protector, she formed an illicit connexion with another man; and it was for the murder of the offspring of this acquaintance that she was eventually sentenced to undergo the severest penalty of the law. It appears that she was remarked to be pregnant, and was accused by her neighbours of the fact, but she steadily denied her guilt. At length the body of a newly-born infant was found near the place of her residence, and as there was no way of accounting for its existence, except that suggested by the pregnancy of Mrs. Dixon, she was taken into custody, and being tried was found guilty and ordered for execution.

After her condemnation she behaved in the most penitent manner, confessed that she had been guilty of many sins, and even owned that she had departed from the line of duty to her husband; but she constantly and steadily denied that she had murdered her child, or had even formed an idea of so horrid a crime. She owned that the fear of being exposed to the ridicule of her neighbours had tempted her to deny that she was pregnant; and she said that, being suddenly seized with the pains of child-birth, she was unable to procure the assistance of her neighbours; and that a state of insensibility ensued, so that it was impossible she should know what became of the infant.{72}

At the place of execution she persisted in her protestations of innocence, and Jack Ketch having performed his office, the body hung the usual time, and was then cut down and delivered to the friends of the deceased. By them it was put into a coffin, and sent in a cart to be buried at her native place; but the weather being sultry, the persons who had it in their care stopped to drink at a village called Peppermill, about two miles from Edinburgh. While they were refreshing themselves, one of them perceived the lid of the coffin move, and uncovering it, the woman sat upright, to the infinite alarm of the spectators. The mystery being soon explained; a fellow, who was present, had sufficient sagacity to bleed her; and in the course of the ensuing day she was sufficiently recovered to be able to walk home to her old residence at Musselburgh.

By the Scottish law, not only was she released by the execution from the consequences of the crime of which she had been found guilty, but from the bonds of matrimony also; but her husband having by this time returned from sea, he was publicly re-married to his old wife, within a few days after she had been hanged. A suit was subsequently brought by the Lord Advocate against the sheriff for omitting to perform his office; but as it turned out that the escape of the convict was not owing to any neglect on his part, but to some peculiar formation of the neck of the woman, the prosecution was abandoned.

The date of this transaction was the month of November, 1728; and the subject of this most remarkable escape was living in the year 1753, when it is due to her to state that she still persisted in her declarations of innocence.



THE principal in this list of offenders was named John Gow, and was a native of one of the Orkney Islands. Having chosen a seafaring life, he was appointed second mate of a vessel going to Santa Cruz. Some complaints having been made before the vessel quitted port, of the insufficiency of the provisions given to the men, the captain took little notice of them; and it was not until he had quitted the shore some days, that he learned, too late, the mistake of which he had been guilty. The feelings of discontent which had been already exhibited were soon fanned into a flame, and at length it became necessary for the captain, chief mate, and surgeon to arm themselves. Gow, whose duties as second mate also included those of gunner, was ordered to clean the small-arms necessary for this purpose; but being a party to a conspiracy, which existed among his shipmates to seize the vessel, he communicated the order to his fellows, and it was determined to put their project into execution forthwith. Between nine and ten o’clock at night, the signal was given, and the conspirators going to the cabins of the chief mate, surgeon, and supercargo, cut their throats while they were asleep. The captain ran on deck to ascertain the cause of a noise which he heard, and was immediately seized, and, although he made a desperate resistance, was despatched in as short a time as his unfortunate brother officers had been. The bodies of the murdered men were then thrown overboard, and Gow was selected as the new captain. Assembling{73} his associates on deck, their determination to commence pirates was soon formed; and some of the seamen who had hesitated to become parties to the diabolical murders of their officers, were forced to join the crew in their piratical proceedings on pain of death. A fellow named Williams, of a most brutal disposition, was chosen as lieutenant; and the name of the vessel, which had been the George Galley, was changed to the more bloody one of Revenge. Having mounted several guns, they steered towards Spain and Portugal, in expectation of making a capture of wine, in a supply of which they were greatly deficient. They soon made prize of an English vessel laden with fish, bound from Newfoundland to Cadiz; but having no use for the cargo, they took out the captain and four men, and sunk the ship.

One of the seamen whom they took from the captured vessel was named James Belvin, a man admirably calculated for their purpose, as he was by nature cruel, and by practice hardened in that cruelty; and being willing to turn pirate, he was thought a valuable acquisition to the crew, as several of the others appeared to act from motives of fear rather than of inclination.

The next vessel taken by the pirates was a Scotch ship bound to Italy with pickled herrings; but this cargo, like the former, being of no use to them, they sunk the vessel, having first taken out the men, arms, ammunition, and stores.

After having cruised about for a considerable time without any further successes, their supply of water ran so short, that they felt it absolutely necessary to procure a fresh stock. They sailed, therefore, to a Portuguese settlement; and, on their arrival, they sent some presents to the governor, intimating their wants. The governor treating the messengers with civility, proceeded on board the vessel, and he was there received by the pirates with every mark of respect and attention. The boat, which had been sent for supplies, however, not returning, the captain began to suspect that his men were not safe, and threatened to murder his visitors unless his demands were complied with. The governor was terrified at this threat; but soon procured his liberty by assenting to the wishes of his entertainer. They afterwards made several prizes, in one of which they sent away the Scotch captain and his crew; but shortly afterwards meeting with a French vessel of superior power, the captain refused to give chase to or to engage it. Williams, the lieutenant, upbraided him for what he termed his cowardice, and a violent quarrel taking place, the lieutenant endeavoured to shoot his captain. The crew agreeing in opinion with the latter as to the impropriety of fighting against a force so superior to their own, Williams was soon secured, and placed among the other prisoners. The French vessel was permitted to continue on her way; and soon afterwards meeting with a ship bound for Bristol, they robbed her of her stores and ammunition, and putting their prisoners and Williams on board of her, the latter of whom they directed to be given up to the British authorities, they allowed her to proceed on her voyage.

As soon as she had left them, Gow and his crew began to reflect on their situation. They were apprehensive that as soon as intelligence of their proceedings reached Portugal, some ships would be sent in pursuit of them; and they called a kind of council, in which every one gave his opinion.

Gow proposed to sail to the Isles of Orkney, on the north of Scotland,{74} where he said, they might dispose of their effects, and retire and live on the produce; and in order to induce his people to comply with this proposal, he represented that they were much in want of water, and provisions of every kind; that their danger would be great if they continued longer on the high seas; and, above all, that it was highly necessary for them to repair their ship, which they could not do with any degree of safety in a southern port.

Convinced by these arguments, they proceeded northwards, and soon reached the Orkney Islands; and entering one of the bays there they proceeded, as well as they were able, to refit the ship. This step was, however, fatal to their enterprise; for one of their companions, who had unwillingly joined in the piratical proceedings of the crew, escaped, and gave information of all that had occurred. Ten others followed his example, and seized the long-boat; but reaching Edinburgh, they were confined on suspicion of being pirates.

Notwithstanding these alarming circumstances, Gow was so careless of his own safety, that he did not put immediately to sea, but resolved to plunder the houses of the gentlemen on the coast, to furnish himself with fresh provisions.

In pursuance of this resolution, he sent his boatswain and ten armed men to the house of Mr. Honeyman, high-sheriff of the county; and the master being absent, the servants opened the door without suspicion. Nine of the gang went into the house to search for treasure, while the tenth was left to guard the door. Mrs. Honeyman, running to the door, saw the man who stood guard there, whom she asked what could be the meaning of the outrage; to which he replied, that they were pirates, and had come thither only to ransack the house. Recollecting that she had a considerable quantity of gold in a bag, she returned and put it in her lap, and ran by the man at the door, who had no idea but that the wish to preserve her life occasioned her haste. The boatswain missing this part of the expected treasure, declared that he would destroy the family writings; but this being overheard by Miss Honeyman, she threw the writings out of the window, and, jumping out after them, escaped unhurt and carried them off. In the interim the pirates seized the linen, plate, and other valuable articles, and then walked in triumph to their boat, compelling one of the servants to play before them on the bagpipes. They afterwards carried off two women whom they met; and detaining them on board during two days, so ill-treated them, that one expired soon after they had put them on shore.

This atrocious offence was no sooner committed than they sailed to Calf-Sound, with an intention of robbing the house of Mr. Fea, who had been an old school-fellow with Gow. This house was the rather pitched upon, as Gow supposed that Mr. Fea could not have yet heard of the transactions at Mr. Honeyman’s; but in this he was mistaken, although Fea could not oppose him, on account of the indisposition of his wife.

Mr. Fea’s house was situated near the sea-shore; he had only six servants at home when the pirates appeared off the coast; and these were by no means equal to sustain a contest. It may not be improper to remark, that the tide runs so high among these islands, and beats with such force against the rocks, that the navigation is frequently attended with great danger. Gow, who had not boats to assist him in an emergency, and was unskilled{75} in the navigation of these seas, made a blunder in turning into the bay of Calf-Sound; for, standing too near the point of a small island called the Calf, the vessel was in the utmost danger of being run on shore. Having cast his anchor too near the shore, so that the wind could not bring him off, he sent a boat with a letter to Mr. Fea, requesting that he would lend him another boat, to assist him in heaving off the ship, by carrying out an anchor; and assuring him that he would not do the least injury to any individual.

As Gow’s messenger did not see Mr. Fea’s boat, the latter gave him an evasive answer; and on the approach of night ordered his servants to sink his own boat, and hide the sails and rigging. While they were obeying this order five of the pirates came on shore in the boat, and proceeded, doubly armed, towards the house. Mr. Fea advanced towards them with an assurance of friendship, and begged they would not enter the house, for that his wife was exceedingly ill; and the sight of them might probably deprive her of life. The boatswain replied that they had no design to terrify Mrs. Fea, or any other person; but that the most rigorous treatment must be expected if the use of the boat was denied them. Mr. Fea represented how dangerous it would be for him to assist them, on account of the reports circulated to their discredit; but he offered to entertain them at an adjacent ale-house; and they accepted the invitation, as they observed that he had no company. In the mean while, Mr. Fea ordered his servants to call him hastily out of the company; and these orders being exactly complied with, when he had left the pirates, he directed six men, well armed, to station themselves behind a hedge; and that if they observed him to come alone with the boatswain, instantly to seize his companion; but if he came with all the five desperadoes, he would walk forward, so as to give them an opportunity of firing at them without their wounding him.

He then returned to the company, whom he invited to his house, on the promise of their behaving peaceably, and said he would make them heartily welcome. They expressed a readiness to attend him, in the hope of getting the boat; but he told them he would rather have the boatswain’s company first, and would afterwards send for his companions.

This being agreed to, the boatswain set forward with two brace of pistols, and walking with Mr. Fea till they came to the hedge where the men were concealed, that gentleman seized him by the collar, while the others took him into custody before he had time to make any defence. The boatswain called aloud for his men; but Mr. Fea forcing a handkerchief into his mouth, bound him hand and foot, and then left one of his own people to guard him, while he and the rest went back to the public-house.

There being two doors to the house, they went some to the one, and some to the other; and rushing in at once made prisoners of the other four men before they had time to have recourse to their arms for defence. The pirates being thus in custody, were sent to an adjacent village, and separately confined; and in the interim Mr. Fea sent messengers round the island to acquaint the inhabitants with what had been done; to desire them to haul their boats on the beach, that the pirates should not swim to and steal them; and to request that no person would venture to row within reach of the pirates’ guns.

The vessel now got into a position of still greater difficulty, and in order to get it out to sea some assistance was absolutely requisite. Gow’s greatest efforts were therefore made to induce Mr. Fea to render him some{76} aid; and the latter, by holding out promises of assistance, eventually succeeded in getting the whole of the piratical crew on shore, and in securing them. They were subsequently conveyed to London, where, on their being examined, five of them were admitted as witnesses, while the rest were committed for trial, along with their old associate Williams, who had been conveyed to England by the master of the Bristol ship. Gow, Williams, and six others, were convicted and received sentence of death; while the remainder, who appeared to have been the victims, rather than the companions of the others, escaped.

The behaviour of Gow from his first commitment was reserved and morose. He considered himself as an assured victim to the justice of the laws, nor entertained any hope of being admitted an evidence, as Mr. Fea had hinted to him that he might be. When brought to trial he refused to plead, in consequence of which he was sentenced to be pressed to death in the usual manner. When the officer, however, was about to inflict this punishment, he begged to be taken back to the bar, and having there pleaded Not Guilty, he was convicted on the same evidence as his accomplices.

Gow, Williams, and six others, were hanged at Execution Dock, on the 11th of August, 1729.



THE name of Charteris will long be remembered with loathing and detestation, as having belonged to a villain, whose profligacy, at the time at which he lived, rendered him an object of universal disgust and hatred.

The execrable subject of this narrative was born at Amisfield, in Scotland, where he was heir to an estate which his ancestors had possessed above four hundred years. He was related to many of the first families among the nobility of the north; and having received a liberal education, he selected the profession of arms, as that of which he desired to become a member. He served first under the Duke of Marlborough, when he successively held the ranks of ensign in a foot regiment, and cornet of dragoons; but being a most expert gamester, and of a disposition uncommonly avaricious, he made his knowledge of gambling subservient to his love of money; and while the army was in winter-quarters, he stripped many of his brother-officers of all their property by his skill at cards and dice. His villany, however, did not end there, for when he had defrauded his companions of all they possessed, he would lend them their own money back, at a usurious rate of interest, taking an assignment of their commissions as security for the payment of the debts.

John Duke of Argyle and the Earl of Stair were at this time young men in the army; and being determined that the inconsiderate officers should not be thus ruined by the artifices of Charteris, they applied to the Earl of Orkney, who was also in the army then quartered at Brussels, representing the destruction that must ensue to young men serving in the army, if Charteris were permitted to continue the line, of conduct which he had adopted unchecked.

The Earl of Orkney, anxious for the credit of the army in general, and his countrymen in particular, represented the state of the case to the Duke{77} of Marlborough, who gave orders that Charteris should be put under arrest and tried by court-martial. The court was composed of an equal number of English and Scotch officers, in order that the accused might have no reason to complain of his trial; and after a full hearing of all the circumstances against him, he was sentenced to return the money which he had obtained by his guilty artifices, to be deprived of his commission, and his sword having been broken, to be drummed out of the regiment.

This sentence having been carried out to its fullest extent, the degraded officer returned to Scotland; but there, by means of the most servile submission and the use of the money which he possessed, he procured for himself a new commission in a regiment of horse, in which he was eventually advanced to the rank of colonel.

The lesson which he had received, one would have thought would have been sufficient to deter him from a renewal of those artifices in the employment of which he had been detected; but every day served to furnish him with new victims among the young men of rank and fashion, to whom, by his standing in the army, he contrived to procure introductions. Nor was his character infamous only on account of the dishonesty of his proceedings, but he soon obtained an unenviable notoriety on account of the unprincipled boldness with which he conducted his libidinous amours. Agents were employed, whose duty it was to procure new subjects for the horrid desires of their master, and the most extraordinary and unhallowed devices were employed by them to secure the object which they had in view. Public disgust was excited in the highest degree by the open daring with which these proceedings were carried on, and at length the name and character of this abominable libertine became so notorious as to render him the object of universal detestation and disgust.

Among other unfortunate young women who fell into the hands of this villain, was one whose name was Anne Bond. She was a girl of respectable connexions, and being in search of employment as a servant, her bad fortune threw her into the way of the agents of Charteris. She was possessed of considerable personal attractions, and she was employed under a representation that her master was a Colonel Harvey. A few days, however, served to inform her of the name of the person into whose hands she had fallen. Her master professed to behave towards her with great kindness and consideration; but within a week after she had entered his employment, he made to her a proposition of a most disgusting nature. She repelled the foul temptation, and her fears being alarmed by the circumstance, she was confirmed in a determination, at which she had nearly arrived, to quit the service in which she was employed, by hearing on the following day that her master was no other than the Colonel Charteris of whose character she, in common with the world, had heard so much. She therefore immediately acquainted the housekeeper with her intention to leave the house; but the colonel having been informed of the circumstance, he behaved towards her with great violence, and threatened that if she dared to run away, he would shoot her. He then ordered the other servants to take care that she did not escape, and on the following day proceeded to the accomplishment of the design by force, in which he had failed to succeed by stratagem. He ordered her to be sent into the parlour by the clerk of the kitchen, and then desiring her to stir the fire, he threw her down, and having stopped her mouth with his nightcap, he completed an offence which subjected him to capital punishment. The girl, on recovering{78} her position, threatened to prosecute him, and then he beat her most unmercifully with a horsewhip, and calling the clerk of the kitchen, bid him turn her out of doors, alleging that she had robbed him of thirty guineas. His orders having been directly obeyed, the girl proceeded forthwith to prefer an indictment for the assault which had been committed; but the Grand Jury finding that the colonel had, in reality, been guilty of a capital offence, they at once returned a true bill on that charge.

Colonel Charteris was immediately taken into custody for the crime alleged against him and lodged in Newgate, where he was loaded with heavy fetters; but having, through the instrumentality of his friends, procured a writ of habeas corpus, he was admitted to bail.

The trial took place at the Old Bailey on the 25th of February, 1730, when every effort was used to traduce the character of the prosecutrix, with a view to destroy the force of her evidence; but, happily, her character was so fair, and there was so little reason to think that she had any sinister view in the prosecution, that every artifice failed, and, after a long trial, in which the facts were proved to the satisfaction of the jury, a verdict of guilty was returned, and the Colonel received sentence to be executed in the customary form. The same interest which had before been employed on behalf of this villain was now again made use of; and upon the settlement of a handsome annuity upon the prosecutrix, he received a pardon from the King. He soon found, however, that London was no longer a place in which he could appear, unless to be pointed at with the finger of scorn; and he retired to Edinburgh, where, after a lapse of two years, he died in a miserable manner, the victim of his own dissolute and hateful passions.

His vices were so notorious, that it was not without great difficulty that his body was committed to the grave. The place appointed for the reception of his remains was the family vault in the church of the Greyfriars in Edinburgh; but the mob having assembled, they made a violent effort to obtain possession of his coffin, with a view to tear it and its contents to pieces, and committed a variety of other irregularities, in honest contempt of the detestable character which he bore. At the time of his death, he was possessed of very large estates in England and Scotland, the produce of many usurious transactions, to which he was a party during the latter portion of his life. He was married to the daughter of Sir Alexander Swinton, of Scotland, by whom he had one daughter, who was afterwards united to the Earl of Wemyss.

Soon after Charteris was convicted, a fine mezzotinto print of him was published, representing him standing at the bar of the Old Bailey with his thumbs tied; at the bottom of which was the following inscription:

Blood!—— must a colonel, with a lord’s estate,
Be thus obnoxious to a scoundrel’s fate?
Brought to the bar, and sentenced from the bench,
Only for ravishing a country wench?
Shall men of honour meet no more respect?
Shall their diversions thus by laws be check’d?
Shall they be accountable to saucy juries
For this or t’other pleasure?—hell and furies!
What man through villany would run a course,
And ruin families without remorse,
To heap up riches—if, when all is done,
An ignominious death he cannot shun?

A most severe but just description of the character of Charteris was{79} afterwards written by Dr. Arbuthnot, who published it in the form of an epitaph, as follows:—

C O L O N E L   D O N   F R A N C I S C O,




THIS unhappy young woman, who at the period of her death was only twenty-two years of age, was born of respectable parents, in the county of Durham, in the year 1711; but her father having, through his extravagance, spent the whole of the property which he possessed, she was at length compelled to resort to what is commonly called “servitude,” for the means of subsistence. In this condition for several years she conducted herself extremely well; but at length being employed at the Black Horse, a low public-house in Boswell-court, near Temple-bar, which up to the present day has been constantly the notorious resort of persons of bad character, she formed connexions of no very creditable class, by whom she was led on to her ruin. Having at length quitted the Black Horse, she was recommended as a laundress to take charge of chambers in the Inns of Court; and amongst those for whom she there worked, was a Mrs. Lydia Duncomb, a lady nearly eighty years of age, who occupied a set of chambers in the Temple; Elizabeth Harrison, aged sixty, and Ann Price, aged seventeen, living with her in the capacity of servants. This{80} lady being reputed to be very rich, a scheme was formed by Sarah Malcolm of robbing her chambers; her object being, it was supposed, by the acquisition of wealth, to make herself a fitting match for a young man named Alexander, who she hoped would marry her.

The night of Saturday, 3d February, 1733, was fixed upon by her for the commission of the robbery; and Martha Tracy, a woman of light character, her paramour Alexander, and his brother, were to be her assistants in the execution of the project. Malcolm, by means of her acquaintance with the chambers, obtained possession of the keys of the outer door in the course of the day, and at night the robbery was effected, but with it the murder also of Mrs. Duncomb and her servants Harrison and Price. On the Sunday morning some surprise was excited on its being observed that none of Mrs. Duncomb’s family were to be seen; and at length, as the day advanced, great alarm was exhibited, and suspicions were entertained that all was not right. Mrs. Love, Mrs. Rhymer, and Mrs. Oliphant, friends of Mrs. Duncomb, assembled in the afternoon at the door of her chambers, in obedience to an invitation which they had received to dinner; but being unable to gain admittance by knocking, they at length determined to force an entrance. One of the windows was resorted to for this purpose, to which access was obtained from a neighbouring set of chambers; and then, on Mrs. Oliphant going into Mrs. Duncomb’s bed-room, the old lady was found there strangled, while her servant Harrison was discovered in an adjoining apartment also strangled, and the girl Price was seen lying on her bed with her throat cut from ear to ear. The news of this diabolical crime soon became published through the neighbourhood; and the chambers of the deceased being examined, it was found that they had been stripped of all the valuables which could be easily carried away, consisting of money, silver plate, and other articles of a similar description. In the course of the day some circumstances transpired, tending to fix the suspicions of the police upon the woman Malcolm; and upon her lodgings being searched, a silver tankard, the handle of which was covered with blood, was found concealed in a close-stool. She was in consequence taken into custody, and having undergone an examination on the following day before the magistrates, she was committed to Newgate. Upon her entering the jail, she was searched by Johnson, one of the turnkeys, who took from her a considerable sum of money in gold and silver coin, and she admitted to him that it was Mrs. Duncomb’s. “But,” added she, “I’ll make you a present of it if you will say nothing of the matter.” The jailer took possession of the money, but produced it to his superior officers, acquainting them with the conversation which had passed. In the course of the subsequent imprisonment of the unhappy woman, she frequently conversed with Johnson upon the subject of the murder, and admitted that she had arranged the robbery, although she declared that she had had nothing to do with putting Mrs. Duncomb and her servants to death. She asserted that two men and a woman were concerned with her, and that she watched on the stairs while they entered the chambers.

At her trial, when called on for her defence, she made a similar declaration, and stated that Tracy and the two Alexanders were her companions; but she still persisted in her allegation of her ignorance of the murder, until its being discovered by Mrs. Oliphant on the day after it was{81} committed. A verdict of guilty was, however, returned, and the wretched woman was ordered for execution.

After her conviction she evinced the most sincere penitence, but still persisted in her refusal to confess herself guilty of the whole crime with which, she was charged. Upon the bellman[6] coming to her in the customary manner, she attended anxiously to what he said, and at the conclusion of his address threw him a shilling to buy wine.

On the morning of execution, March 7, 1733, she appeared more composed than she had been for some time past, and seemed to join in prayers with the Ordinary, and another gentleman who attended, with much sincerity. When in the cart, she wrung her hands and wept most bitterly.

At the place of execution, near Fetter-lane, she behaved with the utmost devoutness and resignation to the Divine will; but when the Ordinary, in his prayers, recommended her soul to God, she fainted, and with much difficulty recovered her senses. On the cart driving off, she turned towards the Temple, crying out, “Oh! my mistress, my mistress! I wish I could see her!” and then, casting her eyes towards heaven, called upon Christ to receive her soul.



THE case of this offender has attracted considerable attention, from the scene of his death being described with accurate fidelity in Sir Walter Scott’s novel of “The Heart of Mid-Lothian.”

John Porteous was born of indigent parents near the city of Edinburgh; and he served his time as an apprentice to a tailor. Having worked at his trade for some time, he was married to the cast mistress of the late Lord Provost{82} of Edinburgh, who settled upon them a sum of 500l.; but our hero, being a man addicted to the pursuit of pleasure, soon ran through his money, and his wife was in consequence obliged to apply to her old friend, the provost, to make some other provision for them. In Edinburgh there were three companies of men, in number twenty-five each, who were employed to keep the peace, and perform the general duties of a police force. An officer was appointed to each of these companies (whom they styled captain) with a salary of eighty pounds a year, and a suit of scarlet uniform; and a vacancy happening by the death of one of these captains, the provost immediately appointed Porteous to fill up the place. The latter soon distinguished himself by a show of great daring; and if a riot occurred in the city, he was generally chosen by the magistrates to suppress it. On these occasions, however, he would frequently behave with great violence and cruelty, so that he failed in obtaining that respect and attention which were so peculiarly necessary for a person in his situation.

The circumstances attending the condemnation and death of Porteous were as follows:—Two fellows named Wilson and Robertson, who were daring smugglers, having been found guilty of a very serious breach of the revenue laws, were sentenced to die; and a strong feeling existing in their favour among the people, it was apprehended that it was very possible that an attempt might be made to rescue them from custody. Robertson, however, made his escape before the period arrived for his execution, by taking advantage of an opportunity afforded, by a custom which then prevailed, of taking the condemned criminals to church under the care of the city guards; and although Porteous was instantly despatched in search of him, his inquiries were in vain, and the criminal afterwards made good his flight to Holland. On the following Wednesday the execution of Wilson was appointed to take place, and a temporary gallows was erected in the Grass-market, the prisoner being ordered to be conducted there by fifty men, under the command of Porteous. Upon the representations of the latter, five companies of the Welch Fusileers were ordered to be in readiness in the Lawn-market to prevent any sudden outbreak; but no disturbance arising, the prisoner finished his devotions, ascended the ladder, and after having been turned off, continued hanging the usual time. The hangman then went up the ladder to cut him down; but a stone struck him on the nose, and caused it to bleed. This stone was immediately followed by many others; at which Porteous was so much exasperated, that he instantly called out to his men, “Fire, and be d——d!” discharging his own piece at the same time, and shooting a young man, who was apprentice to a confectioner, dead on the spot. Some of the soldiers more humanely fired over the heads of the people, but unfortunately killed two or three persons who were looking out at the windows; while others of them wantonly fired amongst the feet of the mob, by which many were so disabled as to be afterwards obliged to suffer amputation. Porteous now endeavoured to draw off his men, as the mob grew exceedingly outrageous, throwing stones, and continuing to press on the soldiers; but having gone some distance, he turned about with two of his men and fired, killing three more of the people.

Porteous, being assisted by the Fusileers, at last conducted his men to the guard; when being sent for by the provost, he passed a long examination, and was committed to prison in order to take his trial for murder.

On the 6th of July, 1736, the trial came on before the lords of justiciary{83} previously to which Porteous made a judicial confession, that the people were killed as mentioned in the indictment, but pleaded self-defence. His counsel then stated the following point of law, to be determined by the judges previously to the jury being charged with the prisoner:—

“Whether a military officer, with soldiers under his command, who, being assaulted by the populace, should fire, or order his men to fire, was not acting consistently with the nature of self-defence, according to the laws of civilised nations?”

The counsel for the prosecution being ordered to plead to the question, the court pronounced as their opinion, “That if it was proved that Captain Porteous either fired a gun, or caused one or more to be fired, by which any person or persons was or were killed, and if the said firing happened without orders from a magistrate properly authorised, then it would be murder in the eye of the law.”

Thus the question being decided against him and the jury empanelled, forty-four witnesses were examined for and against the prosecution.

The prisoner being then called on for his defence, his counsel insisted that the magistrates had ordered him to support the execution of Wilson, and repel force by force; and that being apprehensive of a rescue, powder and ball had been given to his men for the said purpose, with orders to load their pieces. They said, also, that he only meant to intimidate the people by threats, and actually knocked down one of his own men for presenting his piece; that finding the men would not obey orders, he drew off as many as he could; that he afterwards heard a firing in the rear contrary to his directions; that in order to know who had fired, he would not suffer their pieces to be cleaned till properly inspected; and that he never attempted to abscond, though he had the greatest opportunity, and might have effected his escape with the utmost ease. They farther insisted, that, admitting some excesses had been committed, it could not amount to murder, as he was in the lawful discharge of his duty; neither could it be supposed to be done with premeditated malice.

In answer to this the counsel for the crown argued, that the trust reposed in the prisoner ceased when the execution was over; that he was then no longer an officer employed for that purpose for which the fire-arms had been loaded; and that the reading of the Riot Act only could justify his firing in case a rescue had been actually attempted.

The prisoner’s counsel replied, that the magistrates, whose duty it was to have read the Act, had deserted the soldiery, and taken refuge in a house for their own security; and that it was hard for men to suffer themselves to be knocked on the head, when they had lawful weapons in their hands.

The jury having been charged, after sometime occupied in consideration, found the prisoner guilty, and he was sentenced to death; but the King being then at Hanover, the Queen, by advice of her council, granted a respite to the prisoner. The subsequent execution of the sentence was prevented by the measures taken by the mob, by whom a scheme of revenge such perhaps as is unprecedented, was planned and carried out.

On the 7th of September, between nine and ten o’clock in the evening, a large body of men entered the city, and seized the arms belonging to the guard; they then patrolled the streets, crying out, “All those who dare revenge innocent blood, let them come here;” and they closed the gates, and placed guards at each, so as to prevent ingress or egress.{84}

The main body of the mob, all disguised, marched in the mean time to the prison; when finding some difficulty in breaking open the door with hammers, they immediately set fire to it, taking great care that the flames should not extend beyond their proper bounds. The outer door was hardly consumed before they rushed in, and ordering the keeper to open the door of the captain’s apartment, cried out, “Where is the villain Porteous?” He replied, “Here I am; what do you want with me?” To which they answered, that they meant to hang him in the Grass-market, the place where he had shed so much innocent blood. His expostulations were all in vain; they seized him by the legs and arms, and dragged him instantly to the place of execution. On their arrival they broke open a shop to find a rope suitable to their purpose, which they immediately fixed round his neck; and then, throwing the other end over a dyer’s pole, they hoisted him up. He endeavoured to save himself, and fixed his hands between the halter and his neck; but this being observed by some of the mob, one of them struck him with an axe, and this obliging him to quit his hold, they soon put an end to his life.

When they were satisfied that he was dead, they immediately dispersed to their several habitations, unmolested themselves, and without molesting any one else.

Upon this circumstance being made known, a royal proclamation was issued, offering a large reward for the apprehension of the offenders; and the magistrates of Edinburgh were summoned to answer for their neglect in not quelling the riot, were fined, and rendered incapable of acting again in any judicial capacity. The circumstance of the death of Porteous, however, appeared to have afforded the people so much satisfaction, that no further attempt was made to discover the leaders of the fray.



THE adventures of the first-named of these criminals exhibit him to be a man possessing the most consummate hypocrisy, and a disposition of the very worst description.

John Richardson was a native of New York in America, where, at the age of fourteen years, he entered on board a vessel commanded by his uncle. After a single voyage, he took a dislike to the sea, and, loath again to trust himself upon salt water, he procured an engagement in the service of a carpenter, by whom he was employed for five years, when an intimacy having commenced with his master’s daughter which was likely to produce unpleasant consequences, he ran off, and once again selected the sea as the scene of his future exploits. The vessel on board which he entered was bound for Jamaica, and there our hero was pressed and put on board a man-of-war, by which he was carried to England. He subsequently attained the rank of boatswain on board a vessel trading to the Baltic; but having, by means of a forged letter, obtained the sum of one hundred rix-dollars from a merchant of Riga, he decamped to Amsterdam. At that place he formed an acquaintance with a woman whose husband was a mate on board an East India vessel, with whom he cohabited during a period of{85} eight months. His innamorata then informed him that he must retire in favour of her husband, whose return she daily expected; but he could not make up his mind to give up his connexion without procuring some substantial proof of his good fortune, and he did not venture to depart until he had secured to himself booty of the value of about 250l. in goods and money. Rotterdam was the next point to which he proceeded; but from thence he almost immediately departed for New England. On his arrival there, he deposited the wares of which he had possessed himself in a commodious storehouse, and assuming the character of a merchant, he began to look out for a wife, with whom he hoped to procure a fortune sufficient to enable him to live with respectability. As Christmas approached, he became intimate with his neighbours, and he was induced to keep the festival with a Mr. Brown, who had a family of three daughters and four maid-servants. A prolonged visit at the house of his host enabled him to ingratiate himself so far with the young women as to procure from them more than ordinary favours; and he did not quit the agreeable society with which he met, until more than one or two of his fair friends had reason to regret the intimacy which had subsisted between them. Not long after this, he addressed himself to a young lady, the daughter of a magistrate, whose hand he solicited in marriage; and her father making no objection to the celebration of the nuptials, the banns were published in the parish church, in accordance with the usual custom. On the first day no objection was made; but upon the publication taking place the second time, there appeared no less than seven injured women, who forbade the ceremony proceeding any further. The time which had elapsed since the intended bridegroom had obtained the consent of the young lady and her father to the proposed match, had been quite sufficient to enable him to work himself into the good graces of the former; and thinking it now quite time to depart, he packed up what few moveables he still possessed, and proceeded to New York. His residence there, however, was soon discovered by his proposed father-in-law; and overtures having been made by the old gentleman, he consented to return and marry the girl, whom he had debauched, upon the receipt of 300l. The ceremony had no sooner been performed, than his re-appearance at Boston having been discovered by the friends of the other girls, his apprehension was secured at their instance, in order that he might be compelled to give security for the maintenance of the progeny to which they were about to give birth. His father-in-law at once undertook that he should be forthcoming when wanted, and upon this assurance he regained his liberty; but he had hardly obtained the possession of the promised dower, when he once again bade adieu to his Boston friends, and returned to New York.

His improvidence speedily reduced him in that city to a condition of the most abject misery and want, and he was at length compelled to accept employment in the yard of a quaker shipbuilder. He was treated with the greatest kindness, by his master, but the attention which he received appeared to excite only ingratitude in his mind: for he not only found means to become intimate with his mistress, but he at length absconded, carrying with him about 70l., which he procured by breaking open a chest in his master’s house. He now proceeded to Philadelphia, which place he conceived would be well calculated for the concealment of his past iniquities, and a renewal of his schemes upon the unwary. A widow and her two{86} daughters were the next new victims to his diabolical lusts. Having become intimate with the mother, he subsequently, in turn, found means to seduce the daughters. The widow was outrageous at the discovery of this treble act of duplicity, and insisted that he should afford the only reparation which remained in his power. A difficulty, however, arose, for it became obvious that he could not marry them all three; but at length a satisfactory adjustment took place, an arrangement being made, by which one of the daughters was married to a former lover, the other being committed to the tender mercies of our hero, with a dower of 600l. and some plate. Affairs were no sooner settled in this way, however, than Richardson, already weary of his wife, absconded to South Carolina, and there he obtained employment on board a vessel trading between that place and Jamaica. He was soon engaged in another intrigue with the daughter of his commander, and having added a third wife to his list, he started upon a new expedition to Barbadoes. But this voyage proved unfortunate, for the vessel being wrecked, he lost all that he possessed. Being picked up, he was carried to St. Kitt’s; and from thence he proceeded to Jamaica, to Carthagena, Vera Cruz, and finally to England. The port at which he arrived was Chatham, and chance threw him once again into a situation, in which he was enabled to impose upon the good-nature of strangers. Putting up at the house of a publican named Ballard, his host became possessed of an idea that he was no other than a brother of his, who had gone to sea several years before, but had never returned; and Richardson, taking advantage of the good-natured credulity which the other exhibited, declared himself to be his long-lost relation. Great rejoicings took place upon the supposed discovery being made, and our hero went the round of his newly-found friends, permitting his good-nature to be imposed upon by the payment to him of a legacy alleged to have been left by his deceased parents. But his villanies did not rest there; for, being introduced to two sisters named Knowlding, he so far ingratiated himself with one of them, as to obtain possession of the title-deeds of the small estate which she possessed, which he mortgaged at Gravesend for 800l., and then immediately sailed for Venice with the proceeds.

It was not long before, in that city of splendour, he succeeded in disposing of his ill-gotten spoil, and then he went to Ancona, where he became acquainted with Captain Benjamin Hartley, for whose murder he was eventually executed. Capt. Hartley, it appears, had sailed to that place with a cargo of pilchards, and having discharged his lading, he was about to proceed to Turkey upon a new trip. Being in want of a carpenter, he prevailed upon Richardson to accompany him in that capacity. On board the vessel, Coyle, the fellow-sufferer with Richardson, was employed as mate. The vessel proceeded in one course to Turkey, where having taken in a cargo of corn, she sailed to Leghorn. She had not advanced many leagues upon her voyage, however, before a plot for the murder of the captain and the seizure of the vessel was put into execution. Coyle, it appears, was the instigator of this foul conspiracy, and having obtained the assistance of Richardson and a man named Larson, they all three proceeded to the performance of their horrid project. On the first night of the voyage, they went to the captain’s cabin at about midnight, determined to despatch him as he lay in his hammock; but Hartley being alarmed at their presence, sprang upon deck and ran up the shrouds. His pursuers{87} were not far behind him, and he was rapidly followed by Richardson and Larson; but, driven to desperation by the dreadful situation in which he was placed, he flung himself from a fearful height upon the deck. Here Coyle was in waiting to receive him, and raising a blunderbuss to his shoulder, he attempted to shoot him. The captain, however, avoided the discharge, and, rushing to his antagonist, he wrested the blunderbuss from him, and threw it overboard. By this time the crew had gained intelligence of what was passing on deck, and, rushing through the hatchway, Capt. Hartley perceived from their looks that they were too little disposed to assist him in opposition to the attack which had been made upon him. He at once gave himself up for lost; and, being stunned by a blow which he received from Coyle, he was directly hove overboard.

Coyle and Richardson now assumed the respective offices of master and mate of the vessel; and, after a long consultation, it was determined that they should bear up for the island of Foviniano, where it was hoped they would be able to procure supplies. Here, however, their piratical proceedings were communicated to the authorities of the place by two boys, who escaped from the vessel during the night; and the crew, discovering the dangerous position in which they were placed, immediately set sail in the long-boat for Tunis. On their arrival at that place, they were carried before the English consul, to whom they represented themselves to be the crew of a vessel which had been lost off Sardinia, but having been supplied with money, Coyle, while in a state of intoxication, spoke so freely of their adventures, that he was immediately placed under arrest. Richardson, however, escaped to Tripoli, and from thence to Malta and Sicily; but on his going to Messina, he was taken into custody on the representations of a friend of the deceased Capt. Hartley. Having remained in prison during a period of nine months, he procured his liberation by representing to the king of Naples that he had been a servant to his father; and he then travelled to Rome and Civita Vecchia, where he was finally apprehended and sent to England. Coyle had only just before reached London, and they were immediately both indicted for the murder of their commander. The evidence against them consisted of the declarations made by the two boys, to whom we have already alluded; and having been found guilty, they received sentence of death. The wretched man Coyle, who was respectably connected in Devonshire, appeared sensible of the enormity of the crime of which he had been guilty, and professed the greatest penitence; while Richardson, on the other hand, exhibited an extraordinary degree of recklessness. They were hanged at Execution Dock on the 25th of January, 1738.



THE case of this malefactor gives us an opportunity of bringing under the notice of the reader the occurrence of a calamity which has always attracted considerable attention,—namely, the breaking out of the jail fever.

The offence of the prisoner was that of the murder of his wife, a crime which he perpetrated on Hounslow Heath, in a gig, within view of the gibbets which formerly stood there, by strangling her with the thong of{88} his whip. He was apprehended upon suspicion of the crime, and was found guilty, and sentenced to death, but before the law could be executed upon him he died in Newgate, of the jail fever, on the 22d October, 1738. The following account of this malignant fever, shows the peculiar circumstances under which it first exhibited itself. It appears that it was always attended with a degree of malignity, in proportion to the closeness and stench of the place.

The assize held at Oxford in the year 1577, called the “Black Assize,” was a dreadful instance of the deadly effects of the jail fever. The judges, jury, witnesses, and in fact nearly every person except the prisoners, women, and children, in court, were killed by a foul air, which at first was thought to have arisen out of the bowels of the earth; but that great philosopher, Lord Bacon, proved it to have come from the prisoners, taken out of a noisome jail, and brought into court to take their trials; and they alone, being subject to the inhaling foul air, were not injured by it.

“Baker’s Chronicle,” a work of the highest authenticity, thus speaks of the Black Assize:—“The Court were surprised with a pestilent savour, whether arising from the noisome smell of the prisoners, or from the damp of the ground, is uncertain; but all that were present within forty hours died, except the prisoners, and the women and children; and the contagion went no farther. There died Robert Bell, Lord Chief Baron, Robert de Olie, Sir William Babington, the high sheriff of Oxfordshire, some of the most eminent lawyers, the jurors, and three hundred others, more or less.”

Some attributed the cause of the sudden mortality at Oxford to witchcraft, the people in those times being very superstitious. In “Webster’s Display of Witchcraft,” a work of some authenticity as to the relation of circumstances as they occurred, we find the following account of the Black Assize, which we insert as a matter of curiosity:—

“The 4th and 5th days of July, 1559, were holden the assizes at Oxford, where was arraigned and condemned one Rowland Jenkes, for his seditious tongue, at which time there arose such a damp, that almost all were smothered. Very few escaped that were not taken at that instant. The jurors died presently; shortly after died Sir Robert Bell, Lord Chief Baron, Sir Robert De Olie, Sir Wm. Babington, Mr. Weneman, Mr. De Olie, high sheriff, Mr. Davers, Mr. Harcourt, Mr. Kirle, Mr. Pheteplace, Mr. Greenwood, Mr. Foster, Sergeant Baram, Mr. Stevens, &c. There died in Oxford three hundred persons; and sickened there, but died in other places, two hundred and odd, from the 6th of July to the 12th of August, after which day died not one of that sickness, for one of them infected not another, nor any one woman or child died thereof. This is the punctual relation according to our English annals, which relate nothing of what should be the cause of the arising of such a damp just at the conjuncture of time when Jenkes was condemned, there being none before, and so it could not be a prison infection; for that would have manifested itself by smell, or operating sooner. But to take away all scruple, and to assign the true cause, it was thus: It fortuned that a manuscript fell into my hands, collected by an ancient gentleman of York, who was a great observer and gatherer of strange things and facts, who lived about the time of this accident happening at Oxford, wherein it is related thus:—

“That Rowland Jenkes, being imprisoned for treasonable words spoken{89} against the queen, and being a popish recusant, had, notwithstanding, during the time of his restraint, liberty some time to walk abroad with the keeper; and that one day he came to an apothecary, and showed him a receipt which he desired him to make up; but the apothecary, upon viewing of it, told him that it was a strong and dangerous receipt, and required some time to prepare it; also asking to what use he would apply it. He answered, ‘To kill the rats, that since his imprisonment spoiled his books;’ so being satisfied, he promised to make it ready. After a certain time he cometh to know if it were ready, but the apothecary said the ingredients were so hard to procure that he had not done it, and so gave him the receipt again, of which he had taken a copy, which mine author had there precisely written down, but did seem so horribly poisonous, that I cut it forth, lest it might fall into the hands of wicked persons. But after, it seems, he had it prepared, and against the day of his trial had made a wick of it, (for so is the word,—that is, so fitted it that like a candle, it might be fired,) which as soon as ever he was condemned he lighted, having provided himself with a tinder-box and steel to strike fire. And whosoever should know the ingredients of that wick or candle, and the manner of the composition, will easily be persuaded of the virulency and venomous effect of it.”

In the year 1730, the Lord Chief Baron Pengelly, with several of his officers and servants; Sir James Sheppard, sergeant-at-law; and John Pigot, Esq., high sheriff for Somersetshire, died at Blandford, on the Western Circuit of the Lent assize, from the infected stench brought with the prisoners from Ilchester jail to their trials at Taunton, in which town the infection afterwards spread, and carried off some hundred persons.

In 1754 and 1755 this distemper prevailed in Newgate to a degree which carried off more than one-fifth of the prisoners.



THE character which this notorious offender is generally supposed to have possessed for remarkable gallantry and courage, and which in one instance has been deemed of sufficient importance to fit him for one of the heroes of a romance[7], upon being examined, appears to sink him to the low degree of a petty pilferer, of a heartless plunderer, and even of a brutal murderer.

Turpin was the son of a farmer named John Turpin, at Thackstead, in Essex; and having received a common school education, was apprenticed to a butcher in Whitechapel, in whose service he at an early age distinguished himself for the brutality of his disposition. On the expiration of his apprenticeship, he was married to a young woman named Palmer, who resided at East Ham in Essex, and set up in business for himself; but he had not been thus occupied long, before he sought to decrease his expenditure in trade by stealing his neighbours’ cattle, and cutting them up and selling them in his shop. His proceedings, however, received an unexpected{90} check; for having stolen two oxen from a Mr. Giles at Plaistow, he drove them straight home; but two of Giles’ servants having obtained sufficient evidence of the robbery, a warrant was obtained for his apprehension, and he only evaded the officers who were in search of him, by making his escape from the back window of his house at the very moment when they were entering at the door.

Having retreated to a place of security, he found means to inform his wife where he was concealed, and she furnished him with money, with which he travelled into the hundreds of Essex, where he joined a gang of smugglers, with whom he was for some time successful. A body of the Custom-house officers, however, by one fortunate stroke, deprived him of all his ill-acquired gains. Thrown out of this kind of business, he connected himself with a gang of deer-stealers, the principal part of whose depredations were committed on Epping Forest, and the parks in its neighbourhood: but their efforts not succeeding to the expectation of the robbers, they determined to commence housebreakers. Their plan was to fix on those houses which they presumed contained any valuable property; and while one of them knocked at the door, the others rushed in, and seized whatever they might deem worthy of their notice.

The first attack of this kind was at the house of Mr. Strype, an old man who kept a chandler’s shop at Watford, whom they robbed of all the money in his possession, but did not offer him any personal violence.

The well-known story of placing the old woman on the fire at Loughton is thus related by the original historian of the life of our hero:—

“Turpin now acquainted his associates that there was an old woman at Loughton who was in possession of seven or eight hundred pounds, whereupon they agreed to rob her; and when they came to the door, one of them knocked, and the rest forcing their way into the house, tied handkerchiefs over the eyes of the old woman and her maid.

“This being done, Turpin demanded what money was in the house; and the owner hesitating to tell him, he threatened to set her on the fire if she did not make an immediate discovery. Still, however, she refused to give the desired information: on which the villains actually placed her on the fire, where she sat till the tormenting pains compelled her to discover her hidden treasure; so that the robbers possessed themselves of above four hundred pounds, and decamped with the booty.”

The gang appear to have proceeded with some success, for soon afterwards they robbed the house of a farmer at Barking of above 700l. in a most daring manner, and then they determined to attack the house of Mr. Mason, the keeper of Epping Forest. Turpin, it appears, was absent from this expedition, for he was unable to remain with so much money in his pocket as he possessed, and he therefore started to London to spend it in riot and intoxication. His companions, however, were true to their faith, and having obtained a considerable booty, they sought him in town and shared the produce of the robbery with him.

On the 11th of January, 1735, Turpin and five of his companions went to the house of Mr. Saunders, a rich farmer at Charlton, in Kent, between seven and eight in the evening, and, having knocked at the door, asked if Mr. Saunders was at home. Being answered in the affirmative, they rushed into the house, and found Mr. Saunders, with his wife and friends, playing at cards in the parlour. They told the company that they should{91} remain uninjured if they made no disturbance, and having made prize of a silver snuff-box which lay on the table, part of the gang stood guard over the company, while the others attended Mr. Saunders through the house, and, breaking open his escrutoires and closets, stole above a hundred pounds, exclusive of plate. During these transactions the servant-maid ran up stairs, barred the door of her room, and called out “Thieves!” with a view of alarming the neighbourhood; but the robbers broke open the door, secured her, and then robbed the house of all the valuable property they had not before taken. Finding some mince-pies and some bottles of wine, they sat down to regale themselves; and meeting with a bottle of brandy, they compelled each of the company to drink a glass of it. Mrs. Saunders fainted through terror, but the gallantry of the thieves would not permit her to remain in this condition, and they therefore administered some drops in water to her, and recovered her to the use of her senses. Having staid in the house a considerable time, they packed up their booty and departed, declaring that if any of the family gave the least alarm within two hours, or advertised the marks of the stolen plate, they would return and murder them at a future time. Retiring to a public-house at Woolwich, where they had concerted the robbery, they crossed the Thames to an empty house in Ratcliffe Highway, and there deposited the stolen effects till they found a purchaser for them.

Their next attack was upon the house of Mr. Shelden, near Croydon, in Surrey, where they obtained a considerable booty in money and jewels. They then concerted the robbery of Mr. Lawrence, of Edgeware, in Middlesex, to the commission of which they proceeded on the 4th February. They arrived at Edgeware at about five in the evening, and, after obtaining some refreshment, they went to the scene of their intended outrage at about seven o’clock, when Mr. Lawrence had just discharged his workmen. Quitting their horses at the outer gate, they seized a sheep-boy, whom they compelled to conduct them to the house-door, under fear of death; and they there obliged him to procure the opening of the door by knocking and calling to his fellow-servants. As soon as the door was open, they all rushed in, and presenting pistols, they seized Mr. Lawrence and his servant, threw a cloth over their faces, and, taking the boy into another room, demanded what fire-arms were in the house? He replied that there was only an old gun, which they broke in pieces. They then bound Mr. Lawrence and his man, and made them sit by the boy; and Turpin, searching the gentleman, took from him a guinea, a Portugal piece, and some silver; but, not being satisfied with this booty, they forced him to conduct them up stairs, where they broke open a closet, and stole some money and plate. Being dissatisfied, they swore that they would murder Mr. Lawrence if some further booty was not produced, and one of them took a kettle of water from the fire, and threw it over him; but it providentially happened not to be hot enough to scald him. In the interim, the maid servant, who was churning butter in the dairy, hearing a noise in the house, apprehended some mischief, on which she blew out her candle to screen herself; but, being found in the course of their search, one of the miscreants compelled her to go up stairs, where he gratified his brutal passion by force. They then robbed the house of all the valuable effects they could find, locked the family into the parlour, threw the key into the garden, and took their ill-gotten plunder to London.{92}

The particulars of this atrocious robbery being represented to the king a proclamation was issued, offering a reward of fifty guineas for the apprehension of the offenders, and a pardon to any one of the parties who should impeach his associates. This, however, was unsuccessful, and the robbers continued their depredations as before. On the 7th February, six of them assembled at the White Bear, in Drury Lane, and they agreed to rob Mr. Francis, a farmer, at Marylebone. They accordingly proceeded to his house forthwith, and having bound all the servants and Mr. Francis in the stable, they rushed into the house, tied Mrs. Francis, her daughter, and the maid-servant, and beat them in a most cruel manner. One of the thieves then stood sentry while the rest rifled the house, in which they found a silver tankard, a medal of Charles I., a gold watch, several gold rings, a considerable sum of money, and a variety of valuable linen and other effects, which they conveyed to London.

Hereupon a reward of one hundred pounds was offered for the apprehension of the offenders; in consequence of which two of them were taken into custody, tried, convicted on the evidence of an accomplice, and hanged in chains: and the whole gang being dispersed, Turpin went into the country to renew his depredations on the public, in any new line of business which might strike his fancy. On his way towards Cambridge he fell in with a young man of gentlemanly appearance, who was well mounted, and expecting a tolerable booty, he presented a pistol to his breast and demanded his money. The only answer which he received, however, was a hearty peal of laughter; and when the highwayman, enraged at the supposed insult cast upon him, threatened instant destruction to the stranger in case of any further refusal, the latter exclaimed—“What! dog eat dog?—Come, come, brother Turpin, if you don’t know me, I know you, and shall be glad of your company.” The mystery was soon solved; the stranger was no other than King, the gentleman highwayman, and a bargain of partnership was struck between them, which terminated only with the death of our hero’s new associate, by the hand of his companion in iniquity. Joined now in a common cause against the public, they committed a great number of robberies, until at length they were so well known that no public-house would receive them as guests. Thus situated, they fixed on a spot between the King’s Oak and the Loughton road, on Epping Forest, where they made a cave which was large enough to receive them and their horses. The cave was enclosed within a sort of thicket of bushes and brambles, through which they could look and see passengers on the road, while they remained unobserved; and from this station they used to issue, and robbed such a number of persons, that at length the very pedlars who travelled the road carried fire-arms for their defence. While thus situated, they were frequently visited by Turpin’s wife, who used to supply them with necessaries, and who often remained with her husband in the cave, during King’s absence, for the night.

Having taken a ride as far as Bungay, in Suffolk, the robbers observed two young countrywomen receive fourteen pounds for corn, on which Turpin resolved to rob them of the money. King objected, saying it was a pity to rob such pretty girls: but Turpin was obstinate, and obtained the booty. Upon their return home on the following day, they stopped a Mr. Bradle, of London, who was riding in his chariot with his children. The gentleman, seeing only one robber, was preparing to make resistance,{93}

Turpin and King.

What! Dog eat Dog!

Turpin and King.
What! Dog eat Dog!

when King called to Turpin to hold the horses, and they took from him his watch, money, and an old mourning-ring; but returned the latter, as he declared that its intrinsic value was trifling, and that he was very unwilling to part with it. Finding that they readily parted with the ring, he asked them what he must give for the watch: on which King said to Turpin, “What say you, Jack (by which name he always called him), he seems to be a good honest fellow; shall we let him have the watch?” Turpin answered, “Do as you please.” Whereupon King said, “You must pay six guineas for it. We never sell for more, though the watch should be worth six-and-thirty.” The gentleman therefore received the watch, and said that the money should be left at the Dial, in Birchin-lane, where they might receive it.

The greatest crime of which Turpin appears to have been guilty was committed soon after this—it was that of murder. The active inquiries which the police of the day were making after him and his companion, obliged them to separate; but Turpin, being less wary than King, continued to inhabit their old dwelling in the forest. The tempting offer of 100l. reward induced the servant of a gentleman, named Thompson, and a higgler, to go out in the hope of capturing the highwayman; and Turpin, being unaware of their object, and seeing them approach his cave with a gun, mistook them for poachers. He called to them, telling them that there were no hares in that thicket, upon which the servant exclaimed, “No, but I have found a Turpin,” and instantly presenting his gun, he called upon him to surrender. Turpin spoke to him in a friendly way, but retreating from him at the same time, he seized his own gun, and shot him dead on the spot, the higgler running off with the greatest precipitation. The consequence of this most detestable act was, that a great outcry was raised against the highwayman, and he was compelled to quit the place on which he had hitherto relied for his concealment. It was afterwards examined, and there were found in it two shirts, two pairs of stockings, a piece of ham, and part of a bottle of wine. His place of refuge was in Hertfordshire; and he sent a letter to his wife to meet him at a public-house in the town of Hertford, but going to keep his appointment he met a butcher, to whom he owed a sum of money. The latter demanded payment, and Dick promised to get the money of his wife, who was in the next room; but while the butcher was hinting to some of his acquaintance that the person present was Turpin, and that they might take him into custody after he had received his debt, the highwayman made his escape through a window, and rode off with great expedition.

He soon found King; but their meeting was unfortunate for the latter, for it ended in his death. Proceeding together towards London in the dusk of the evening, when they came near the Green Man on Epping Forest, they overtook a Mr. Major, who being mounted on a very fine horse, while Turpin’s beast was jaded, the latter obliged him to dismount, and exchange. The robbers now pursued their journey towards London; and Mr. Major, going to the Green Man, gave an account of the affair; on which it was conjectured that Turpin had been the robber. It was on a Saturday evening that this robbery was committed; but Mr. Major being advised to print hand-bills immediately, notice was given to the landlord of the Green Man, that such a horse as had been lost had been left at the Red Lion in Whitechapel. The landlord going thither, determined to wait{94} till some person came for it; and at about eleven at night, King’s brother came to pay for the horse, and take him away, on which he was immediately seized, and conducted into the house. Being asked what right he had to the horse, he said he had bought it; but the landlord, examining a whip which he had in his hand, found a button at the end of the handle half broken off, and the name of Major on the remaining half. Upon this he was given into the custody of a constable; but as it was not supposed that he was the actual robber, he was told that he should have his liberty if he would discover his employer. Hereupon he said that a stout man, in a white duffil coat, was waiting for the horse in Red Lion-street; on which the company going thither, saw King, who drew a pistol, and attempted to fire it, but it flashed in the pan: he then endeavoured to pull out another pistol, but he could not, as it got entangled in his pocket. Turpin was at this time watching at a short distance off, and riding towards the spot, he saw his companion seized by some officers who had arrived. King immediately cried out “Shoot him, or we are taken;” on which Turpin fired, but his shot penetrated the breast of his companion. King called out, “Dick, you have killed me!” and Turpin then rode off at full speed.

King lived a week after this affair, and gave information that Turpin might be found at a house near Hackney Marsh; and, on inquiry, it was discovered that Turpin had been there on the night that he rode off, lamenting that he had killed King, who was his most faithful associate.

For a considerable time our hero skulked about the forest, having been deprived of his retreat in the cave since he shot the servant of Mr. Thompson; and a more active search for him having commenced, he determined to make good his retreat into Yorkshire, where he thought that he would be unknown, and might the more readily evade justice. The circumstance which induced him to take this step, appears to have been an attempt made by a gentleman’s huntsman, to secure him by hunting him down with blood-hounds, whose mouths he escaped only by mounting an oak, when he had the satisfaction to see them pass by without noticing him.

Going first, therefore, to Long Sutton, in Lincolnshire, he stole some horses, for which he was taken into custody; but he escaped from the constable as he was conducting him before a magistrate, and hastened to Welton, in Yorkshire, where he went by the name of John Palmer, and assumed the character of a gentleman.

He now frequently went into Lincolnshire, where he stole horses, which he brought into Yorkshire, and there he sold or exchanged them. From his being apparently a dealer in horses, he became acquainted with many of the surrounding gentry and farmers; and he frequently accompanied them on hunting and shooting expeditions. On one of these occasions he was returning home, when he wantonly shot a cock belonging to his landlord. Mr. Hall, a neighbour who witnessed the act, said, “You have done wrong in shooting your landlord’s cock,” on which Turpin answered, that if he would stay while he loaded his gun he would shoot him too. Irritated by the insult, Mr. Hall communicated what had occurred to the owner of the cock, whereupon complaint being made to the magistrates, a warrant was granted for the apprehension of the offender; and on his being taken into custody, he was examined before the magistrates at Beverley and committed for want of sureties. Inquiries being made, the good opinions which had been formed of his mode of life were soon dissipated;{95} and it was conjectured, that instead of being a horse-dealer, he was a horse-stealer. The magistrates, therefore, proceeded to him, and demanded to know what his business was; and he answered, that about two years before, he had carried on business at Long Sutton as a butcher, but that having contracted some debts for sheep that proved rotten, he had been compelled to abscond, and to go into Yorkshire to live. The clerk of the peace being commissioned to ascertain the truth of this story, learned that he had never been in business, and that he was suspected to be a horse-stealer, and had been in custody but had escaped, and that there were many informations against him for various offences. He was then committed to York Castle; and soon afterwards some persons coming from Lincolnshire, claimed a mare and a foal, which were in his possession, and stated that they had been stolen recently before.

The real name and character of the prisoner were soon afterwards discovered by means of a letter, which he wrote to his brother in Essex. The letter was as follows:—

“York, February 6, 1739.

Dear Brother,—I am sorry to inform you that I am now under confinement in York Castle for horse-stealing. If I could procure an evidence from London to give me a character, that would go a great way towards my being acquitted. I had not been long in this county before my apprehension, so it would pass off the readier. For Heaven’s sake, dear brother, do not neglect me; you well know what I mean when I say I am yours,

John Palmer.”

The letter was returned to the Post Office unopened, because the postage was not paid; and Mr. Smith, the schoolmaster, by whom Turpin had been taught to write, knowing the hand, carried the letter to a magistrate, by whom it was broken open, and it was thus discovered that the supposed John Palmer was Dick Turpin. Mr. Smith was in consequence despatched to Yorkshire, and he immediately selected his former pupil from the other prisoners, and subsequently gave evidence at the trial as to his identity.

On the rumour that the noted Turpin was a prisoner in York Castle, persons flocked from all parts of the country to take a view of him, and debates ran high whether he was the real person or not. Among others who visited him was a young fellow who pretended to know the famous Turpin; and having regarded him a considerable time with looks of great attention, he told the keeper he would bet him half a guinea that he was not Turpin; on which the prisoner, whispering the keeper, said “Lay him the wager, and I’ll go your halves.”

When this notorious malefactor was brought to trial, he was convicted on two indictments, and received sentence of death. After conviction he wrote to his father, imploring him to intercede with a gentleman and lady of rank, to make interest that his sentence might be remitted, and that he might be transported; but although the father did what was in his power, the notoriety of his son’s character was such, that no persons would exert themselves in his favour.

The prisoner meanwhile lived in the most gay and thoughtless manner, regardless of all considerations of futurity, and affecting to make a jest of the dreadful fate that awaited him.

Not many days before his execution, he bought a new fustian frock and a pair of pumps, in order to wear them at the time of his death; and on{96} the day before that appointed for the termination of his life, he hired five poor men, at five shillings each, to follow the cart as mourners. He gave hatbands and gloves to several persons, and left a ring and other articles of property to a married woman, with whom he had been acquainted in Lincolnshire.

On the morning of his death he was put into a cart, and being followed by his mourners, he was drawn to the place of execution; in his way to which he bowed to the spectators with an air of the most astonishing indifference and intrepidity.

When he came to the fatal tree he ascended the ladder; and, on his right leg trembling, he stamped it down with an air of assumed courage, as if he was ashamed to be observed to discover any signs of fear. Having conversed with the executioner about half an hour, he threw himself off the ladder, and expired in a few minutes. Turpin suffered at York, April 10, 1739.

The spectators of the execution seemed to be much affected at the fate of this man, who was distinguished by the comeliness of his appearance. The corpse was brought to the Blue Boar, in Castle-gate, York, where it remained till the next morning, when it was interred in the church-yard of St. George’s parish, with an inscription on the coffin bearing the initials of his name, and his age. The grave was made remarkably deep, and the people who acted as mourners took such measures as they thought would secure the body; but about three o’clock on the following morning some persons were observed in the church-yard, who carried it off; and the populace, having an intimation whither it was conveyed, found it in a garden belonging to one of the surgeons of the city.

Hereupon they took the body, laid it on a board, and, having carried it through the streets in a kind of triumphal manner, and then filled the coffin with unslacked lime, buried it in the grave where it had been before deposited.—It is difficult to conceive the reason of all this concern and sympathy among the people; for a more depraved, heartless villain never suffered the penalty of the law. The fashion, however, which was then set appears to have continued in existence up to the present day; and fancy has done more to secure the reputation of Turpin as a hero, and a man of courage and generosity, than any pains he ever took to obtain for himself a good name as an honest man. It is needless to add, that the story of the ride to York, and of the wondrous deeds of the highwayman’s steed, “Black Bess,” are, like many other tales of this fellow, the fabrications of some poetical brain.



THE name of this woman will long be celebrated in the annals of crime, as being that of a person who was the most ingenious of her class.

Mary Young was the daughter of poor parents in the north of Ireland; and at the age of ten years entered the service of a gentlewoman, by whose directions she was instructed in reading, writing, and needle-work, in the latter of which she attained a proficiency unusual in girls of her age. Soon{97} after she arrived at her fifteenth year, a young man, who lived in the vicinity, made strong pretensions of love to her, and having formed a desire to visit London, she determined to quit her benefactress, and make the passion of her lover, for whom she cared little, subservient to her purpose. She therefore promised to marry him on condition of his taking her to London, and he joyfully accepted her proposal, and immediately took a passage to Liverpool. In order, however, to enable him to undertake the journey, he robbed his master of a gold watch and 80 guineas, and then he joined his intended wife on board the ship. Arrived at Liverpool, they determined to remain a short time to get over the effects of the voyage, and they lived together as man and wife; but when they were on the point of starting to London by the waggon, the bridegroom was seized by a messenger despatched in search of him from Ireland and conveyed before the mayor, whither his companion accompanied him. He there confessed the crime of which he had been guilty, but did not implicate Young, and she, in consequence, was permitted to take her departure for London, having 10 guineas in her pocket, which she had recently received from her paramour. In a short time the latter was sent to Ireland, where he was tried, and condemned to suffer death; but his sentence was eventually changed to that of transportation.

Upon her arrival in London, our heroine contracted an acquaintance with one of her countrywomen, named Ann Murphy, by whom she was invited to partake of a lodging in Long Acre. She endeavoured for a while to obtain a livelihood by her needle; but, not being able to procure sufficient employment, her situation became truly deplorable. Murphy then intimated to her that she could introduce her to a mode of life that would prove exceedingly lucrative, adding, that the most profound secrecy was required; and the other, expressing an anxious desire to learn the means of extricating herself from the difficulties under which she laboured, made a solemn declaration that she would never divulge what Murphy should communicate. In the evening, Murphy introduced her to a number of men and women, assembled in a kind of club, near St. Giles’s, who gained their living by cutting off women’s pockets, and stealing watches, &c. from men, in the avenues of the theatres, and at other places of public resort; and, on the recommendation of Murphy, they admitted Mary a member of the society. After her installation they dispersed, in order to pursue their illegal occupation; and the booty obtained that night consisted of eighty pounds in cash and a valuable gold watch. As Mary was not yet acquainted with the art of thieving, she was not admitted to an equal share of the night’s produce; but it was agreed that she should have two guineas. She now regularly applied two hours every day in qualifying herself for an expert thief, by attending to the instructions of experienced practitioners; and, in a short time, she was distinguished as the most ingenious and successful adventurer of the whole gang. A young fellow of genteel appearance, who was a member of the club, was singled out by her as the partner of her bed; and they cohabited for a considerable time as husband and wife.

In a few months our heroine became so expert in her profession as to acquire great consequence among her associates, who distinguished her by the appellation of Jenny Diver, on account of her remarkable dexterity; and as that is the name by which she is more generally recognised in the anecdotes of her life which follow, we shall so designate her.{98}

Accompanied by one of her female accomplices, Jenny joined the crowd at the entrance of a place of worship in the Old Jewry, where a popular divine was to preach, and observing a young gentleman with a diamond ring on his finger she held out her hand, which he kindly received in order to assist her. At this juncture she contrived to get possession of the ring without the knowledge of the owner, after which she slipped behind her companion, and heard the gentleman say, that, as there was no probability of gaining admittance, he would return. Upon his leaving the meeting he missed his ring, and mentioned his loss to the persons who were near him, adding that he suspected it to be stolen by a woman whom he had endeavoured to assist in the crowd; but as the thief was unknown she escaped. This proof of her dexterity was considered so remarkable that her associates determined to allow her an equal share of all their booties, even though she should not be present when they were obtained. In a short time after this exploit she procured a pair of false hands and arms to be made, and concealing her real ones under her clothes, she put something beneath her stays so as to make herself appear as if in a state of pregnancy, and repaired on a Sunday evening to the place of worship above-mentioned in a sedan chair, one of the gang going before to procure a seat for her among the genteeler part of the congregation, and another attending in the character of a footman. Jenny being seated between two elderly ladies, each of whom had a gold watch by her side, she conducted herself with great seeming devotion; but, the service being nearly concluded, she seized the opportunity, when the ladies were standing up, of stealing their watches, which she delivered to an accomplice in an adjoining pew. The devotions being ended, the congregation were preparing to depart, when the ladies discovered their loss, and a violent clamour ensued. One of the parties exclaimed “That her watch must have been taken either by the devil or the pregnant woman!” on which the other said, “She could vindicate the pregnant lady, whose hands she was sure had not been removed from her lap during the whole time of her being in the pew.”

Flushed with the success of the adventure, our heroine determined to pursue her good fortune; and as another sermon was to be preached the same evening, she adjourned to an adjacent public-house, where, without either pain or difficulty, she soon reduced the protuberance of her waist, and having entirely changed her dress, she returned to the meeting, where she had not remained long before she picked a gentleman’s pocket of a gold watch, with which she escaped unsuspected. Her accomplices also were industrious and successful; for, on a division of the booty obtained this evening, they each received thirty guineas. These acts procured for her universal respect among her fellows, and in all their future transactions they yielded an exact obedience to her wishes.

The game which she had played having been found so successful, Jenny again assumed the appearance of a pregnant woman, and, attended by an accomplice as a footman, went towards St. James’s Park on a day when the king was going to the House of Lords; and, there being a great number of persons between the Park and Spring Gardens, she purposely slipped down, and was instantly surrounded by many of both sexes, who were emulous to afford her assistance; but, affecting to be in violent pain, she intimated to them that she was desirous of remaining on the ground till she should be somewhat recovered. As she expected, the crowd{99} increased, and her pretended footman, and a female accomplice, were so industrious as to obtain two diamond girdle-buckles, a gold watch, a gold snuff-box, and two purses, containing together upwards of forty guineas. The girdle-buckles, watch, and snuff-box, were the following day advertised, a considerable reward was offered, and a promise given that no questions should be asked of the party who should return them; but our heroine declaring that their restoration would entirely break down the principles upon which their association was conducted, they were sold to the Jews in Duke’s-place.

Ever fertile in inventions, she proceeded with her supposed servant to the east-end of the town, and observing a genteel house, the latter knocked and begged that his mistress, who had been taken suddenly ill, might be permitted to enter to rest herself a few minutes. The request was complied with; and while the mistress of the house and the servant were up stairs seeking such things as might be supposed to afford relief to their visitor, she opened a drawer and stole sixty guineas; and afterwards, while the lady was holding a smelling-bottle to her nose, she picked her pocket of a purse, containing, however, only a small sum. Her supposed servant, in the mean while, was not idle, and having been ordered into the kitchen, he pocketed six silver table-spoons, a pepper-box, and a salt-cellar. All the available booty having now been secured, the servant was sent for a coach, and Jenny, pretending to be somewhat recovered, went away, saying that she was the wife of a respectable merchant in Thames-street, and pressing her entertainer to dine with her on a certain day, which she appointed. The impudence of these frauds, however, soon attracted public attention, and it was found that some new plan must be determined upon, by which the public might be gulled.

Until some novel method of robbing should be devised, however, it was determined that the gang should go to Bristol, to seek adventures and profit during the fair; and in order to render their proceedings the more likely to be successful, they admitted into their society a man who had long subsisted there as a thief. Jenny and Murphy now assumed the character of merchants’ wives, while the new member and another of the gang appeared as country farmers, and the footman was continued in the same character. They took lodgings in different parts of the city; and they agreed, that in case of any of them being apprehended, the rest should appear to speak to the character of the prisoners, and representing them to be persons of reputation in London, endeavour to procure their release.

Being one day in the fair, they observed a west-country clothier giving a sum of money to his servant, and heard him direct the man to deposit it in a bureau. They followed the servant, and one of them fell down before him, expecting that he would also fall, and that, as there was a great crowd, the money might be easily secured; but though the man fell into the snare, they were not able to obtain their expected booty, and therefore had recourse to the following stratagem:—One of the gang asked the man whether his master had not lately ordered him to carry home a sum of money; to which the other replied in the affirmative; and the sharper then told him that he must return to his master, who had purchased some goods, and waited to pay for them. The countryman followed him to Jenny’s lodgings, and, being introduced to her, she desired him to be seated, saying his master was gone on some business in the neighbourhood,{100} but had left orders for him to wait till his return. She urged him to drink a glass of wine, but the poor fellow declined her offers with awkward simplicity, the pretended footman having taught him to believe her a woman of great wealth and consequence. Her encouraging solicitations, however, conquered his bashfulness, and he drank till he became intoxicated. Being conducted into another apartment, he soon fell fast asleep, and, while in that situation, he was robbed of the money he had received from his master, which proved to be a hundred pounds. They were no sooner in possession of the cash, than they discharged the demand of the inn-keeper, and set out in the first stage for London.

Soon after their return to town Jenny and her associates went to London Bridge in the dusk of the evening, and, observing a lady standing at a door to avoid the carriages, a number of which were passing, one of the men went up to her, and, under pretence of giving her assistance, seized both her hands, which he held till his accomplices had rifled her pockets of a gold snuff-box, a silver case containing a set of instruments, and thirty guineas in cash.

On the following day, as Jenny, and an accomplice, in the character of a footman, were walking through Change Alley, she picked a gentleman’s pocket of a bank-note for two hundred pounds, for which she received one hundred and thirty from a Jew, with whom the gang had very extensive connexions.

Our heroine now hired a real footman; and her favourite, who had long acted in that character, assumed the appearance of a gentleman; and they hired lodgings in the neighbourhood of Covent Garden, that they might more conveniently attend the theatres. She dressed herself in an elegant manner, and went to the theatre one evening when the king was to be present; and, during the performance, she attracted the particular attention of a young gentleman of fortune from Yorkshire, who declared, in the most passionate terms, that she had made an absolute conquest, and earnestly solicited that he might be permitted to attend her home. She at first refused to comply with his request, saying that she was newly married, but she at length yielded to his entreaties, and he accompanied her to her door in a hackney-coach, and quitted her only on her promising to admit him on a future evening, when, she said, her husband would be out of town. The day of appointment being arrived, two of the gang were equipped in elegant liveries; and Anne Murphy appeared as waiting-maid. The gentleman soon made his appearance, having a gold-headed cane in his hand, a sword by his side with a gold hilt, and wearing a gold watch and a diamond ring. Being introduced to the bed-chamber, he was soon deprived of his ring; and he had not undressed many minutes before the lady’s-maid knocked violently at the door, exclaiming that her master was suddenly returned. Jenny affected to be labouring under the most violent agitation, and begged that the gentleman would cover himself with the bed-clothes, saying that she would convey his apparel into the other room, so that, if her husband came there, nothing would appear to awaken his suspicion; and adding that, under pretence of indisposition, she would prevail upon her husband to sleep in another bed, and then return to the arms of her lover. The gull acquiesced, and the clothes being removed, a short consultation was held among the thieves, the result of which was that they immediately decamped, carrying their booty with them, which, exclusive of the cane &c., was worth a hundred guineas.{101}

The amorous youth meanwhile waited with anxious impatience for the coming of his Dulcinea; but morning having arrived, he rang the bell, and the people of the house coming to him, found that he was locked in, the fair fugitive having carried off the key with her. The door was, however, burst open, and an éclaircissement ensued, when the gentleman explained the manner in which he had been treated; but the people of the house, deaf to his expostulations, threatened to publish the adventure through the town, unless he would make up the loss which they had sustained. Rather than risk the safety of his reputation, he sent for money and some clothes and discharged the debt which Jenny had contracted, quitting the house, bitterly repenting that his amorous qualities should have led him into such a scrape.

The continuance of the system under which this gang pursued its labours became now impossible, and they found it necessary to leave the metropolis; but having committed numerous depredations in the country, they returned, and Jenny was unfortunately apprehended on a charge of picking a gentleman’s pocket, for which she was sentenced to be transported.

She remained nearly four months in Newgate, during which time she employed a considerable sum in the purchase of stolen effects; and when she went on board the transport vessel, she shipped a quantity of goods nearly sufficient to load a waggon. The property she possessed ensured her great respect, and every possible convenience and accommodation during the voyage; and on her arrival in Virginia, she disposed of her goods, and for some time lived in great splendour and elegance. She soon found, however, that America was a country where she could expect but little emolument from the practices she had so successfully followed in England, and she therefore employed every art she was mistress of to ingratiate herself with a young gentleman, who was preparing to embark on board a vessel bound for the port of London. He became much enamoured of her, and brought her to England; but while the ship lay at Gravesend, she robbed him of all the property she could get into her possession, and pretending indisposition, intimated a desire of going on shore, in which her admirer acquiesced; but she was no sooner on land than she made a precipitate retreat.

She now travelled through various parts of the country; and having by her usual wicked practices obtained many considerable sums, she at length returned to London, but was not able to find her former accomplices. She frequented the Royal Exchange, the theatres, London-bridge, and other places of public resort, and committed innumerable depredations on the public; but being again detected in picking a gentleman’s pocket on London-bridge, she was taken before a magistrate, to whom she declared that her name was Jane Webb, and by that appellation she was committed to Newgate.

On her trial, a gentleman who had detected her in the very act of picking the prosecutor’s pocket, deposed that a person had applied to him, offering fifty pounds, on condition that he should not appear in support of the prosecution: and a lady swore that on the day the prisoner committed the offence for which she stood indicted, she saw her pick the pockets of more than twenty different people. The record of her former conviction was not produced in court, and therefore she was arraigned for privately stealing only, and, on the clearest evidence, the jury pronounced her guilty.{102} The property being valued at less than one shilling, she was sentenced to transportation.

Twelve months had not elapsed before she returned from exile a second time; and on her arrival in London, she renewed her former practices. A lady going from Sherborne-lane to Walbrook was accosted by a man, who took her hand, seemingly as if to assist her in crossing some planks which were placed over the gutter for the convenience of passengers; but he squeezed her fingers with so much force as to give her great pain, and in the mean time Jenny picked her pocket of thirteen shillings and a penny. The gentlewoman, conscious of being robbed, seized the thief by the gown, and she was immediately conducted to the Compter. She was examined the next day by the lord mayor, who committed her to Newgate for trial.

At the ensuing sessions at the Old Bailey, she was tried on an indictment charging her with privately stealing; and a verdict of guilty having been brought in, she was sentenced to death.

After conviction she appeared to have a due sense of the awful situation in which she was placed; and employing a great part of her time in devotion, she repented sincerely of the course of iniquity in which she had so long persisted. On the day preceding that of her execution, she sent for the woman who nursed her child, which was then about three years old, and saying that there was a person who would pay for its maintenance, she earnestly entreated that it might be carefully instructed in the duties of religion. On the following morning she appeared to be in a serene state of mind. The preparations in the press-yard for a moment shook her fortitude, but her spirits were soon again tolerably composed. She was conveyed to Tyburn in a mourning-coach, being attended by a clergyman, to whom she declared her firm belief in the principles of the Protestant Church. Her remains were, at her own desire, buried in St. Pancras churchyard.

Her execution took place on the 18th March, 1740.



THE only circumstance of peculiarity attending this case, and it is one indeed, we are happy to say, not a little singular, is that the malefactor was the son of the man whom he murdered. The father being possessed of good property at Long Melford in Suffolk, discarded his son, who appears to have been brought up without any education being imparted to him, on account of his connexion with a woman named Elizabeth Boyer. The latter, angered at the contempt exhibited for her, urged her paramour, as well for revenge as for the accession to their means, which would be produced by the old man’s death, to commit the foul deed which cost him his life. He was apprehended at the instance of a relation, a Mr. Timothy Drew, and being convicted, was executed on the 9th April, 1740, at St. Edmund’s Bury, being in the twenty-fifth year of his age.

This case so nearly resembles the celebrated story of George Barnwell, that the following anecdote in reference to the tragedy of that name will not be misplaced here. It is related in reference to Mr. Ross, formerly a tragedian of considerable celebrity.{103}

“A gentleman, much dejected in his looks, called one day on Ross, when stricken with years, and told him that his father, a wealthy citizen in London, lay at the point of death, and begged that he might see him, or he could not die in peace of mind. Curious as this request appeared from a stranger, and in such extremity, the actor hesitated; but being much pressed by his visitor, he agreed to accompany him. Arrived at the house of the sick man, Mr. Ross was announced, and soon admitted into his chamber; but observing the family to retire, and being left alone with the patient, his wonder was again aroused. The dying penitent, now three score years and ten, casting his languid eyes upon Ross, said, ‘Can it be you who raised my fortune—who saved my life? Then were you young like myself; ay, and amiable amid the direst misfortunes. I determined to amend my life, and avoid your fate.’ Here nature in a struggle with death became overpowered, and as the sick man’s head fell upon his pillow, he faintly ejaculated, ‘O Barnwell! Barnwell!’ We may conceive the astonishment of the player, whom age had long incapacitated from representing the unfortunate ‘London Apprentice.’ The feeble man, renewing his efforts to gratify a dying desire, again opened his eyes and continued: ‘Mr. Ross, some forty years ago, like George Barnwell, I wronged my master to supply the unbounded extravagance of a Millwood. I took her to see your performance, which so shocked me that I silently vowed to break the connexion then by my side, and return to the path of virtue. I kept my resolution, and replaced the money I had stolen before my villany was detected. I bore up against the upbraidings of my deluder, and found a Maria in my master’s daughter. We married. I soon succeeded to her father’s business, and the young man who brought you here was the first pledge of our love. I have more children, or I would have shown my gratitude to you by a larger sum than I have bequeathed you; but take a thousand pounds affixed to your name.’ At the dying man’s signal, old Ross left the room overwhelmed by his feelings.”



THIS atrocious murder was committed through the instrumentality of Captain Samuel Goodere, upon his brother Sir John Dineley Goodere, on board a man of war, of which the former was Captain.

Sir John, it appears, was possessed of an estate of 3000l. per annum, situated at Evesham, in Worcestershire, which he derived from his father, Sir Edward: and his brother, who is the subject of this sketch, having been bred to the sea, was advanced to the rank of Captain of one of his Majesty’s vessels of war. Sir John having no children, very sanguine expectations were entertained by his brother that he should inherit his property, but upon his discovering that he had made a will in favour of their sister’s children, his rage knew no bounds, and he determined upon a most diabolical revenge for the supposed injury which he had received. The vessel of which Captain Goodere had the command, it appears, was employed as one of the Channel cruisers, and in the month of January,{104} 1741, it was lying at Bristol. At this period it happened that Sir John Goodere was in that city, transacting some business with Mr. Smith, an attorney; and his brother having been made acquainted with the circumstance, fixed upon this as a proper time to put his plan into execution. Throwing himself into Mr. Smith’s way, he assured him that a perfect reconciliation had taken place between them, notwithstanding a misunderstanding which was known to have existed; and after some conversation, learning that his brother was going to dine with that gentleman on a certain day, he procured himself to be invited to meet him. Having determined upon this as a favourable opportunity to carry his design into execution, on his going ashore he carried with him some of his seamen, to whom he gave instructions that Sir John being insane, he desired to procure him to be carried on board his ship, in order that he might be conveyed to a place of safety. The men therefore, having been regaled during the evening at a neighbouring public-house, as night approached placed themselves in readiness to obey the orders which they had received; and Sir John making his appearance, they seized him and forcibly put him into a boat, in which they directly rowed him to the vessel. The protestations made by the captain, that it was only a deserter whom they were apprehending, silenced all inquiry from the crowd which had assembled on their perceiving this outrage, and the unfortunate baronet was secured without an effort being made to procure his release, or to save him from the bloody fate which awaited him.

As soon as the devoted victim was in the boat, he said to his brother, “I know you have an intention to murder me; and if you are ready to do it, let me beg that it may be done here, without giving yourself the trouble to take me on board;” to which the captain said, “No, brother, I am going to prevent your rotting on land; but, however, I would have you make your peace with God this night.”

Sir John having reached the vessel, he called to the seamen for help, but they having learned their captain’s commands from their fellows, did not offer to render the slightest aid, and the wretched gentleman was immediately conveyed to the purser’s cabin.

White and Mahony were selected by their captain as the performers in the dreadful scene which was now to be enacted. While Goodere stood at the entrance of the cabin guarding it with a drawn sword, his two assistants entered it, and approached their victim. He cried aloud for mercy, offering all he possessed as a return, if they would spare his life; but, regardless of his prayers, they deliberately proceeded to the completion of their sanguinary intentions. Seizing him by the shoulders, they threw him on the deck, and there, with a handkerchief which they took from his pocket, they attempted to strangle him. Finding that their efforts were unavailing, they procured a cord from their guilty commander, with which they speedily despatched him; White kneeling on his breast and holding his hands, while Mahony fixed the cord round his throat, and tightened it until strangulation had taken place. They then accompanied their captain to his cabin, who gave them the sum agreed upon for their services, and bid them seek their safety in flight. The murder was soon made known on shore, through the instrumentality of the crew of the vessel; and the circumstance having come to the knowledge of Mr. Smith, the attorney, he procured a warrant to be issued, upon which the officers{105} of the city proceeded on board the ship. They found that the captain had there been already put under arrest by the lieutenant and sailing-master, and he was immediately conveyed in custody to the prison of the town. It was not long before Mahony and White were also secured; and the prisoners being brought to trial at Bristol, on the 26th March, 1741, they were convicted on the clearest evidence, and sentenced to death.

Captain Goodere’s time, after conviction, was spent chiefly in writing letters to persons of rank, to make interest to save his life; and his wife and daughter presented a petition to the king: but all endeavours of this kind proving ineffectual, he employed a man to hire some colliers to rescue him on his way to the fatal tree.

His efforts in this respect, however, were as unavailing as those which he had made to procure a mitigation of his punishment; for the circumstance having been made known to the sheriff, he took such steps as were deemed expedient and necessary to prevent the success of the project. The wretched companions in guilt of the captain exhibited the greatest hardihood; and when the jailers were employed in putting on their irons, they declared that they had no fear of death.

Captain Goodere’s wife and daughter, dressed in deep mourning, took a solemn leave of him on the day before his death; and he went in a mourning-coach to the place of execution, to which his accomplices were conveyed in a cart.

They were hanged near the Hot Wells, Bristol, on the 20th of April, 1741, within view of the place where the ship lay when the murder was committed.



OLIVER BODKIN, ESQ. was a gentleman who possessed a good estate near Tuam, in Ireland. He had two sons by two wives. The elder son, named John, to whom this narrative chiefly relates, was sent to Dublin to study the law; and the younger, who was about seven years of age, remained at home with his parents. The young student lived in a very dissipated manner at Dublin, and soon quitting his studies, came and resided near his father’s place of abode. The father allowed him a certain annual sum for his support; but, as he lived beyond his allowance, he demanded farther assistance. The father, however, refusing to accede to his wishes, he determined upon a horrible revenge, and included his mother-in-law in his proposed scheme of vengeance, as he imagined that she had induced his father to refuse him any further aid.

Having engaged his cousin, Dominick Bodkin, his father’s shepherd, John Hogan, and another ruffian of the name of Burke, to assist him in the intended murders, they went to the house of Mr. Bodkin, senior; whose household consisted of four men and three women servants, exclusive of Mrs. Bodkin and the younger son, and a gentleman named Lynch, who was at that time on a visit there. They found all the members of the family at supper on their arrival, and having murdered them, they went into the kitchen, where they killed three servant-maids; and, finding the men in{106} different parts of the house, they also sacrificed them to their brutal and unprovoked rage. The murder of eleven persons being thus perpetrated, they quitted the fatal spot; and, when some persons from Tuam came the next morning to speak with Mr. Bodkin on business, they found the house open, and beheld the dead body of Mr. Lynch, near which lay that of Mrs. Bodkin, hacked and mangled in a shocking manner; and, at a small distance, her husband, with his throat cut, and the child lying dead across his breast. The throats of the maid-servants in the kitchen were all cut; and the men-servants in another room were also found murdered. The assassins had even been so wanton in their cruelties as to kill all the dogs and cats in the house. The neighbours being alarmed by such a singular instance of barbarity, a suspicion fell on John Bodkin; who, being taken into custody, confessed all the tragical circumstances above-mentioned, and impeached his accomplices: on which the other offenders were taken into custody, and all of them were committed to the jail of Tuam.

The shepherd then confessed that he had murdered two; but that thinking to preserve the boy, to whom he had been foster-father, he besmeared him with blood, and laid him near his father. Dominick, perceiving him alive, killed him; and he afterwards murdered five more. John Bodkin owned that he and Burke killed the remainder; that he had formerly attempted to poison his mother-in-law; and that he was concerned with his first-cousins, John Bodkin, then living, and Frank Bodkin, then lately dead, in strangling Dominick Bodkin, their brother, heir of the late Counsellor John Bodkin, of Carobegg, to an estate of nine hundred pounds a year.

When they were brought to trial, John Bodkin, (the parricide), Dominick Bodkin, and John Hogan, pleaded guilty; and they were all condemned, and executed at Tuam on the 26th of March, 1742. The head of the shepherd was fixed on Tuam market-house, and the bodies of the others gibbeted within sight of the house where the murders had been committed.

Upon the confession of John, the cousin of the same name was apprehended for the murder of his elder brother, Dominick Bodkin, and accused of sitting on his mouth and breast until he was suffocated. He was taken in a moss, or turf bog, near Tuam, covered over with straw, and disguised in an old hat and peasant’s clothes, for which he had given his own laced coat and hat. Being examined before Lord Athenry, he said that he had fled for fear of being loaded with irons in a jail, and denied having any hand in his brother Dominick’s death, affirming that he had died of a surfeit, as had been reported. He was present at the execution of his relations, but confessed nothing; and thus (there being no positive proof against him) he escaped justice.

A case in which more cold-blooded cruelty has been displayed than in this, has seldom fallen under our notice. The murder of an indulgent parent must be insufferably shocking to every humane mind: but when we consider, as in the present instance, what a variety of unprovoked murders were added to the first, the mind is lost in astonishment at the baseness, the barbarity, the worse than savage degeneracy of those beings who could perpetrate such horrid deeds.{107}

Jonathan Bradford discovered at the bedside of M.

Jonathan Bradford discovered at the bedside of M. Hayes.



THE details of this case reach us in a very abridged form; and we have been unable to collect any information on which any reliance can be placed beyond that which is afforded us by the ordinary channels. It would appear that Jonathan Bradford kept an inn in the city of Oxford. A gentleman, (Mr. Hayes), attended by a man-servant, put up one evening at Bradford’s house; and in the night, the former being found murdered in his bed, the landlord was apprehended on suspicion of having committed the barbarous and inhospitable crime. The evidence given against him was to the following effect:—Two gentlemen who had supped with Mr. Hayes, and who retired at the same time to their respective chambers, being alarmed in the night with a noise in his room, and soon hearing groans as of a wounded man, got up in order to discover the cause, and found their landlord, with a dark lantern and a knife in his hand, standing in a state of astonishment and horror over his dying guest, who almost instantly expired.

On this evidence, apparently conclusive, the jury convicted Bradford, and he was executed. But the fate of this man may serve as a lesson to jurymen to be extremely guarded in receiving circumstantial evidence.

The facts attending the above dreadful tragedy were not fully brought to light until the death-bed confession of the real murderer; a time when we must all endeavour to make our peace with God.

Mr. Hayes was a man of considerable property, and greatly respected. He had about him, when his sad destiny led him under the roof of Bradford, a considerable sum of money; and the landlord knowing this, determined to murder and rob him. For this horrid purpose he proceeded with a dark lantern and a carving-knife, intending to cut the throat of his guest while yet sleeping; but what must have been his astonishment and confusion to find his intended victim already murdered, and weltering in his blood!

The wicked and unworthy servant had also determined on the murder of his master; and had committed the bloody deed, and secured his treasure, a moment before the landlord entered for the same purpose.



A SHORT account of the circumstances attending the rebellion of 1715 having been given in this work, some notice will, doubtless, be expected of the second transaction of the same character, and with the same object, which occurred in the year 1745.

It appears that the Pretender having gained the protection of France, and the French also having their own interests to serve, it was determined that a second attempt to restore the Stuarts to the throne of England should be made by the descent of a body of men upon Scotland, where it{108} was conjectured numbers would render assistance, which was eventually to march forward towards London, and expel the reigning monarch. The design was evidently known to the government, from an allusion made to the circumstance by the king in his speech from the throne on the 2nd May, 1745; but the first notice which the British public had of the proceedings of the Pretender, was from a paragraph in the General Evening Post, which said, “The Pretender’s eldest son put to sea July 14th, from France, in an armed ship of sixty guns, provided with a large quantity of warlike stores, together with a frigate of thirty guns and a number of smaller armed vessels, in order to land in Scotland, where he expected to find twenty thousand men in arms, to make good his father’s pretensions to the crown of Great Britain. He was to be joined by five ships of the line from Brest; and four thousand five hundred Spaniards were embarking at Ferrol.”

The government, it appears, was not inactive on this occasion, and proper instructions were given to such of the king’s vessels as were cruising in the Channel, to prevent the approach of any ships which might be supposed to carry the leader of this rebellious attempt.

The young Pretender, followed by about fifty Scotch and Irish adventurers, meanwhile, came incog. through Normandy, and embarked on board a ship of war of eighteen guns, which was joined off Belleisle by the Elizabeth, and other ships. They intended to have sailed northwards, and to have landed in Scotland; but on the 20th they came up with an English fleet of merchant-vessels, under convoy of the Lion man-of-war, of fifty-eight guns, commanded by Captain Brett, who immediately bore down upon the French line-of-battle ship, which he engaged within pistol-shot five hours, being constantly annoyed by the smaller ships of the enemy. The rigging of the Lion was cut to pieces; her mizen-mast, mizentop-mast, main-yard and fore-topsail, were shot away; all her lower masts and topmasts shot through in many places, so that she lay muzzled on the sea, and could do nothing with her sails. Thus situated, the French ships sheered off, and the Lion could make no effort to follow them. Captain Brett had forty-five men killed: himself, all his lieutenants; the master, several midshipmen, and one hundred and seven foremast-men, wounded. His principal antagonist, the Elizabeth, with difficulty got back to Brest, quite disabled, and had sixty-four men killed, one hundred and thirty-nine dangerously wounded, and a number more slightly injured. She had on board four hundred thousand pounds sterling, and arms and ammunition for several thousand men.

The friends of the Stuart cause in Scotland were in the mean time as active as their opponents, and committed many irregularities for the purpose of supplying their ranks with a sufficient number of soldiers; and being thus prepared, anxiously expected the arrival of their prince. The latter found means to join his supporters by a small vessel, in which he quitted the French coast; and eluding the vigilance of the English cruisers, he landed on the Isle of Skye, opposite to Lochaber, in the county of Inverness. After a lapse of about three weeks, he appeared at the head of a body of two thousand men, under a standard bearing the motto “Tandem triumphans”—“At length triumphant,” and marching his army to Fort William, he there published a manifesto, signed by his father at Rome, containing many promises to those who would adhere to his cause, amongst{109} which were undertakings that he would procure the dissolution of the union of the two kingdoms, and the payment of the national debt. The country people flocked in great numbers to his standard; and the mob, by which he was followed, soon assumed the appearance, in numbers at least, of an army. Their first attempt in arms, in opposition to two companies of foot, of the St. Clair and Murray’s regiments, was successful, the soldiers being far inferior in numbers; and the rebels immediately marched upon Perth, and having taken possession of that place, the Pretender issued his orders for all persons who held public money to pay it into the hands of his secretary. Dundee and Dumblain were successively seized by his soldiers; and at length, on the 14th September, the Pretender proceeded through the Royal Park and took possession of Holyrood House.

The money in the bank of Edinburgh, and the records in the public offices, were now removed to the castle for security, and the gates of the city were kept fast during the whole day; but five hundred of the rebels, having concealed themselves in the suburbs, took an opportunity, at four o’clock in the morning, to follow a coach which was going in, and seizing the gate called the Netherbow, they maintained their ground, while the main body reached the centre of the city, and formed themselves in the Parliament Close.

Thus possessed of the Scottish capital, they seized two thousand stand of arms, and on the following day marched to oppose the royal army under the command of General Cope. The two armies coming in sight of each other, near Preston Pans, on the evening of the 20th, Colonel Gardiner earnestly recommended it to the general to attack his opponents during the night; but, deaf to this advice, he kept the men under arms till morning, though they were already greatly harassed. At five in the morning, the rebels made a furious attack on the royal army, which was thrown into unspeakable confusion by two regiments of dragoons falling back on the foot. Colonel Gardiner, with five hundred foot, behaved with uncommon valour, and covered the retreat of those who fled; but the colonel receiving a mortal wound, the rebels made prisoners of nearly all the rest of the king’s troops.

The loss thus sustained by the royal army, was three hundred killed, four hundred and fifty wounded, five hundred and twenty taken prisoners,—total one thousand two hundred and seventy, while the rebels only lost fifty men in all. Flushed with this partial victory, the rebels returned to Edinburgh to make an attack upon the castle, and attempted to throw up an entrenchment upon the hill; but notice having been given to the inhabitants to retire, the battery was attacked by the guns from above, the works destroyed, and thirty of the assailants killed, besides three of the inhabitants who rashly ventured near the spot. The rebel army remained during seven weeks in this city; and many noblemen and gentlemen with their followers having joined it, a force of more than ten thousand men was at length mustered. In November they marched upon Carlisle, and after some resistance had been shown, it was surrendered, and the insurgents then forced their way to Manchester, where a regiment, chiefly formed of Roman Catholics, was raised.

But now such decisive measures were taken as put an end very shortly to the insurrection. The Duke of Cumberland was at this time in Flanders, with the army, but being sent for thence, he soon arrived to take the{110} command of the royal forces. About the time he reached London, the rebels had advanced as far as Derby; but his royal highness lost no time in travelling into Staffordshire, where he collected all the force he could, to stop their farther inroads into the kingdom.

Liverpool had not been behind London in spirit and loyalty. The inhabitants contributed largely in assisting the royal army, at this inclement season, with warm clothing, and raised several companies of armed men, which were called the Royal Liverpool Blues. Some of the advanced parties of rebels having appeared in sight of the town, every preparation was made to resist them; but, finding at length that the Pretender bent his march by another route for Manchester, the Liverpool Blues marched in order to destroy the bridges, and thereby impede their progress.

Notwithstanding these impediments, the rebels crossed the Mersey at different fords, through which the Pretender waded breast-high in water. Their numbers could not be accurately ascertained, their march being straggling and unequal, but about nine thousand appeared to be the aggregate. Their train of artillery consisted of sixteen field-pieces of three and four pound shot, two carriages of gunpowder, a number of covered waggons, and about one hundred horses, laden with ammunition. Their van-guard consisted of about two hundred cavalry, badly mounted, the horses appearing poor and jaded. The Pretender himself constantly marched on foot, at the head of two regiments, one of which was appropriated as his body guard. His dress was a light plaid, belted about with a sash of blue silk: he wore a grey wig, with a blue bonnet, and a white rose in it, and appeared very dejected at this time. His followers were ordinary, except the two regiments mentioned, which appeared to have been picked out of the whole. The arms of the others were very indifferent. Some had guns, others only pistols, the remainder broad-swords and targets. In order to deceive the Duke of Cumberland, all sorts of reports as to the future route of the rebels were sent abroad, but the King’s troops were concentrated at Northampton, a spot well suited for the purpose, as it was the road which it was most probable would be taken, in the event of the Pretender advancing upon London, which was known to be his real intention. Meanwhile the rebels appeared unconscious of the danger they were bringing upon themselves by delay, and they remained during a considerable time endeavouring to raise recruits. They at length, however, set forward on their march southwards, but they had not advanced more than a mile before they halted, held a consultation, wheeled round, and retraced their steps to Derby. Having there seized all the plunder they could lay their hands upon, they passed on, seeking to regain Scotland, where they had learned that their friends had been joined by some French troops. The Duke of Cumberland, in the mean time, being aware of their flight, followed them with all speed, and learning that they had been compelled to halt at Preston, from excessive weariness, he redoubled his efforts to come up with them. By forced marches, travelling through ice and snow, he succeeded in reaching Preston in three days, but he found that his game had retired about four hours before him. The Pretender soon learned that the excesses, of which his men had been guilty in their southward march, were not to go unpunished, and wherever he went he found himself opposed and harassed by the enraged country people, who lost no opportunity of annoying him in his retreat, and of seizing the stragglers from his{111} army. At length, however, after repeated forced marches the Duke of Cumberland came up with his antagonists at Lowther Hall; and the latter dreading his approach, immediately threw themselves into the village of Clifton, three miles from Penryth. They were there attacked most vigorously and successfully by the dragoons, who had dismounted, and in about an hour’s time they were driven away from the post which they occupied. They retreated forthwith to Carlisle, which was still in their possession; but the continued advance of the royal troops induced them again to retire, leaving only a garrison to oppose the entry of the Duke into that city. The besieged fired upon their assailants with great fury, but did little execution; and at length a battery having been raised against them, they sent out a flag of truce, and surrendered upon terms that they should not be put to the sword, but reserved for the king’s pleasure, and thus Carlisle was once more taken possession of by the troops of his majesty.

The army of rebels made the best of their way now to Glasgow, where they levied contributions, and thence to Stirling, which was in possession of the English, and was commanded by the gallant General Blakeney. The gates could not be defended, and they therefore marched in, and summoned the garrison to surrender; but the veteran commander answered that “he would perish in its ruins rather than make terms with rebels.” In the river of the town were two English men-of-war; and the rebels, in order to prevent their going farther up, erected a battery, but the ships soon destroyed it, and caused them to retreat a mile, where they erected another, but did little execution. They now prepared for a vigorous attack upon the castle, got some heavy pieces of ordnance across the Forth, erected a battery against it, and called in all their forces. General Blakeney fired upon them, and repeatedly drove them from their works. General Hawley, in aid of his brother general, at the head of such troops as he could form in order of battle, marched to attempt to raise the siege; but the rebels made a desperate attack, and, aided by accident, obtained the advantage. Repeated skirmishes subsequently took place, but at length this system of warfare, so destructive to the general state of the country, was terminated by the decisive victory gained by the Duke of Cumberland, at the head of the Royal forces, at the battle of Culloden. The Pretender, at the head of his army, opposed the Duke, and the following, taken from the London Gazette, is the conqueror’s account of the battle:—

“On Tuesday the 15th of April the rebels burnt Fort Augustus, which convinced us of their resolution to stand an engagement with the King’s troops. We gave our men a day’s halt at Nairn, and on the 16th marched from thence, between four and five, in four columns. The three lines of foot (reckoning the reserve for one) were broken into three from the right, which made the three columns equal, and each of five battalions. The artillery and baggage followed the first column upon the right, and the cavalry made the fourth column on the left. After we had marched about eight miles, our advanced guard, composed of about forty of Kingston’s, and the Highlanders, led by the quarter-master-general, perceived the rebels at some distance, making a motion towards us on the left, upon which we immediately formed; but finding the rebels were still a good way from us, we put ourselves again upon our march in our former{112} posture, and continued it to within a mile of them, where we formed in the same order as before. After reconnoitring their situation, we found them posted behind some old walls and huts, in a line with Culloden House. As we thought our right entirely secure, General Hawley and General Bland went to the left with two regiments of dragoons, to endeavour to fall upon the right flank of the rebels; and Kingston’s horse was ordered to the reserve. The ten pieces of cannon were disposed, two in each of the intervals of the first line; and all our Highlanders (except 140, which were upon the left with General Hawley, and who behaved extremely well) were left to guard the baggage. When we were advanced within 500 yards of the rebels, we found the morass upon our right was ended, which left our right flank quite uncovered to them; his Royal Highness thereupon immediately ordered Kingston’s horse from the reserve, and a little squadron of about sixty of Cobham’s, which had been patrolling, to cover our flank. We spent about half an hour after that, trying which should gain the flank of the other; and his Royal Highness having sent Lord Bury forward within a hundred yards of the rebels, to reconnoitre something that appeared like a battery to us, they thereupon began firing their cannon, which was extremely ill-pointed and ill-served; ours answered them, which began their confusion. They then came running on, in their wild manner, and upon the right, where his Royal Highness had placed himself, imagining the greatest push would be there, they came down three several times within a yard of our men, firing their pistols, and brandishing their swords; but the Royals and Pulteney’s hardly took their firelocks from their shoulders, so that after those first attempts they made off, and the little squadrons on our right were sent to pursue them. General Hawley had, by the help of our Highlanders, beat down two little stone walls, and came in upon the right flank of their second line. As their whole body came down to attack at once, their right somewhat outflanked Burrel’s regiment, which was our left; and the greatest part of the little loss we sustained was there; but Bligh’s and Sempil’s giving a fire upon those who had outflanked Burrel’s, soon repulsed them; and Burrel’s regiment, and the left of Monro’s, fairly beat them with their bayonets. There was scarce a soldier or officer of Burrel’s, and of that part of Monro’s which engaged, who did not kill one or two men each with their bayonets and spontoons.[8] The cavalry, which had charged from the right and left, met in the centre, except two squadrons of dragoons, which we missed, and they were gone in pursuit of the runaways. Lord Ancram was ordered to pursue with the horse as far as he could; and did it with so good effect that a very considerable number was killed in the pursuit. As we were on our march to Inverness, and were nearly arrived there, Major-General Bland sent the annexed papers, which he received from the French officers and soldiers, surrendering themselves prisoners to his Royal Highness. Major-General Bland had also made great slaughter, and took about fifty French officers and soldiers prisoners in his pursuit. By the best calculation that can be made, it is thought the rebels lost two thousand men upon the field of battle and in the pursuit. We have here one hundred and twenty-two French and three hundred and twenty-six rebel prisoners. Lieutenant-Colonel Howard killed an officer, who appeared to be Lord Strathallan, by the seal and different commissions from the Pretender{113} found in his pocket. It is said Lord Perth, Lords Nairn, Lochiel, Keppock, and Appin Stuart, are also killed. All their artillery and ammunition were taken, as well as the Pretender’s, and all their baggage. There were also twelve colours taken. All the generals, officers, and soldiers, did their utmost duty in his Majesty’s service, and showed the greatest zeal and bravery on this occasion. The Pretender’s son, it is said, lay at Lord Lovat’s house at Aird the night after the action. Brigadier Mordaunt is detached with nine hundred volunteers this morning into the Frasers’ country, to attack all the rebels he may find there. Lord Sutherland’s and Lord Reay’s people continue to exert themselves, and have taken upwards of one hundred rebels, who are sent for; and there is great reason to believe Lord Cromartie and his son are also taken. The Monroes have killed fifty of the rebels in their flight. As it is not known where the greatest bodies of them are, or which way they have taken in their flight, his Royal Highness has not yet determined which way to march. On the 17th, as his Royal Highness was at dinner, three officers, and about sixteen of Fitz-James’s regiment, who were mounted, came and surrendered themselves prisoners. The killed, wounded, and missing, of the King’s troops, amount to above three hundred. The French officers will be all sent to Carlisle, till his Majesty’s pleasure shall be known. The rebels, by their own accounts, make their loss greater by two thousand men than we have stated it. Four of their principal ladies are in custody, viz. Lady Ogilvie, Lady Kinloch, Lady Gordon, and the Laird of M‘Intosh’s wife. Major Grant, the governor of Inverness, is retaken, and the Generals Hawley, Lord Albemarle, Huske, and Bland, have orders to inquire into the reasons for his surrendering of Fort George. Lord Cromartie, Lord M‘Leod his son, with other prisoners, are just brought in from Sutherland, by the Hound sloop, which his Royal Highness has sent for them; and they are just now landing.”

Soon after this affair, several other rebel chiefs were taken into custody; and on the 28th July 1746, at about eight o’clock in the morning, the rebel lords were taken from the Tower to Westminster Hall, to be tried by their peers. The Earl of Kilmarnock and the Earl of Cromartie pleaded guilty; but Lord Balmerino having denied the offence imputed to him, six witnesses were called, by whom his guilt was clearly established, and a verdict was returned accordingly. On the 1st August the peers were brought up for judgment, when the Lord High Steward pronounced sentence of death, in terms very like those used in the case of Earl Cowper, after the former rebellion.

Great interest being exerted to save the earls, it was hinted to Balmerino that his friends ought to exert themselves in his behalf; to which, with great magnanimity, he only replied: “I am very indifferent about my own fate; but had the two noble earls been my friends, they would have squeezed my name in among theirs.”

The Countess of Cromartie, who had a very large family of young children, was incessant in her applications for the pardon of her husband; to obtain which she took a very plausible method: she procured herself to be introduced to the late Princess of Wales, attended by her children in mourning, and urged her suit in the most suppliant terms. The princess had at that time several children. Such an argument could scarcely fail to move; and a pardon was granted to Lord Cromartie on the condition that{114} he should never reside north of the river Trent. This condition was literally complied with; and his lordship died in Soho-square in the year 1766.

On the 18th of August 1746, at six o’clock in the morning, a troop of life-guards, one of horse-grenadiers, and one thousand of the foot-guards, marched from the parade in St. James’s Park, through the city to Tower-hill, to attend the execution of the Earl of Kilmarnock and Lord Balmerino; and being arrived there, were posted in lines from the Tower to the scaffold, and all round it. About eight o’clock the sheriffs of London, with their under-sheriffs and officers, met at the Mitre tavern, in Fenchurch-street, where they breakfasted; and went from thence to the house lately the Transport Office, Tower-hill, where they remained until the necessary preparations for the execution were made. At eleven o’clock they demanded the bodies of the peers of the constable of the Tower, and they were directly brought forth in procession, followed by mourning-coaches and two hearses.

The lords were conducted into separate apartments in the house, facing the steps of the scaffold, their friends being admitted to see them. The Earl of Kilmarnock was attended by the Rev. Mr. Foster, a dissenting minister, and the Rev. Mr. Hume, a near relation of the Earl of Hume. The chaplain of the Tower and another clergyman of the church of England accompanied the Lord Balmerino. The latter, on entering the door of the house, hearing several of the spectators ask eagerly, “Which is Lord Balmerino?” answered, smiling, “I am Lord Balmerino, gentlemen, at your service.” The parlour and passage of the house, the rails enclosing the way from thence to the scaffold, and the rails about it, were all hung with black at the sheriffs’ expense. Lord Kilmarnock, in the apartment allotted to him, spent about an hour in his devotions with Mr. Foster, who assisted him with prayer and exhortation. After which, Lord Balmerino, pursuant to his request, was admitted to confer with the earl.

After a short conversation relating to some report as to the Pretender’s orders at the battle of Culloden, they separated, the Lord Balmerino saluting the noble earl with the same high-minded courtesy which had been before remarked in him. The Earl of Kilmarnock then joined in prayer with those around him, and afterwards he took some refreshment. He expressed a wish that Lord Balmerino should go to the scaffold first; but being informed that this was impossible, as he was named first in the warrant, he immediately acquiesced in the arrangement which had been made, and with his friends proceeded to the place of execution. There was an immense crowd collected, and on their seeing him they exhibited the greatest commiseration and pity. The earl being struck with the variety of dreadful objects which presented themselves to him at once, exclaimed to Mr. Hume, “This is terrible!” but he exhibited no sign of fear, nor did he even change countenance or tremble in his voice. After putting up a short prayer, concluding with a petition for his majesty King George and the royal family, his lordship embraced and took leave of his friends. The executioner was so affected by the awfulness of the scene, that on his asking pardon of the prisoner, he burst into tears. The noble earl, however, bid him take courage, and presenting him with five guineas, told him that he would drop his handkerchief as a signal to him to strike. He then proceeded, with the help of his gentlemen, to make ready for the block, by taking off his coat, and the bag from his hair, which was then tucked up{115} under a napkin cap. His neck being laid bare, tucking down the collar of his shirt and waistcoat, he kneeled down on a black cushion at the block, and drew his cap over his eyes; and in doing this, as well as in putting up his hair, his hands were observed to shake. Either to support himself, or for a more convenient posture of devotion, he happened to lay both his hands upon the block, which the executioner observing, prayed his lordship to let them fall, lest they should be mangled or break the blow. He was then told that the neck of his waistcoat was in the way, upon which he rose, and with the help of a friend, took it off; and the neck being made bare to the shoulders, he kneeled down as before. In the mean time, when all things were ready for the execution, and the black baize which hung over the rails of the scaffold had, by direction of the colonel of the guard, or the sheriffs, been turned up, that the people might see all the circumstances of the execution, in about two minutes after he kneeled down, his lordship dropped his handkerchief, and the executioner at once severed his head from his body, except only a small part of the skin, which was immediately divided by a gentle stroke. The head was received in a piece of red baize, and, with the body, immediately put into the coffin. The scaffold was then cleared from the blood, fresh sawdust strewed, and that no appearance of a former execution might remain, the executioner changed such of his clothes as appeared bloody.

While this was doing, the Lord Balmerino, after having solemnly recommended himself to the mercy of the Almighty, conversed cheerfully with his friends, refreshed himself twice with a bit of bread and a glass of wine, and desired the company to drink to him, acquainting them that “he had prepared a speech, which he should read on the scaffold, and therefore should now say nothing of its contents.” The under-sheriff coming into his lordship’s apartment to let him know the stage was ready, he prevented him by immediately asking if the affair was over with the Lord Kilmarnock; and being answered, “It is,” he inquired how the executioner had performed his office. Upon receiving the account, he said it was well done; and then, addressing himself to the company, said, “Gentlemen, I shall detain you no longer;” and with an easy unaffected cheerfulness, saluted his friends, and hastened to the scaffold, which he mounted with so unconstrained an air as astonished the spectators. His lordship was dressed in his regimentals, (a blue coat turned up with red, trimmed with brass buttons,) the same which he wore at the battle of Culloden. No circumstance in his whole deportment showed the least sign of fear or regret; and he frequently reproved his friends for discovering either upon his account. He walked several times round the scaffold, bowed to the people, went to his coffin, read the inscription, and, with a nod, said, “It is right.” He then examined the block, which he called his “pillow of rest.” His lordship, putting on his spectacles, and taking a paper out of his pocket, read it with an audible voice: but so far from its being filled with passionate invectives, it mentioned his majesty as a prince of the greatest magnanimity and mercy, at the same time that, through erroneous political principles, it denied him a right to the allegiance of his people. Having delivered this paper to the sheriff, he called for the executioner, and on his being about to ask his lordship’s pardon, he said, “Friend, you need not ask me forgiveness, the execution of your duty is commendable.” Upon this his lordship gave him three guineas, saying. “I never was rich; this{116} is all the money I have now; I wish it was more, and I am sorry I can add nothing to it but my coat and waistcoat;” which he then took off, together with his neckcloth, and threw them on his coffin, putting on a flannel waistcoat which had been provided for the purpose; and then taking a plaid cap out of his pocket, he put it on his head, saying he died a Scotchman. After kneeling down at the block to adjust his posture, and show the executioner the signal for the stroke, which was dropping his arms, he once more gave a farewell look to his friends, and turning round on the crowd, said, “Perhaps some may think my behaviour too bold; but remember, sir, (to a gentleman who stood near him,) that I now declare it is the effect of a confidence in God, and a good conscience; and I should dissemble if I showed any signs of fear.”

Having observed the axe in the executioner’s hand as he passed him, he now took it from him, felt the edge, and, returning it, clapped the executioner on the shoulder to encourage him; he even tucked down the collar of his shirt and waistcoat, and showed him where to strike, desiring him to do it resolutely, “for in that,” says his lordship, “will consist your kindness.”

He afterwards went to the side of the stage and called up the warder, of whom he inquired which was his hearse, and ordered the man to drive near, which was instantly done.

Immediately, without trembling or changing countenance, he again kneeled down at the block, and having, with his arms stretched out, said, “O Lord, reward my friends, forgive my enemies, and receive my soul,” he gave the signal by letting them fall. But his uncommon firmness and intrepidity, with the unexpected suddenness of the signal, so surprised the executioner, that though he struck the part directed, the blow was not given with strength enough to wound him very deeply. It was observed that he moved as if he made an effort to turn his head towards the executioner, and the under jaw fell, and returned very quick, like anger and gnashing the teeth; but this arose from the parts being convulsed, and a second blow immediately succeeding the first, rendered him quite insensible and a third finished the work.

His head was received in a piece of red baize, and, with his body, put into a coffin, which, at his particular request, together with that of the Earl of Kilmarnock, was placed on that of the late Marquis of Tullibardine (who died during his imprisonment,) in St. Peter’s church in the Tower all three lords lying in one grave.



THIS offender was the son of honest parents, and was born at North Berwick, in Scotland, where he was educated in the liberal manner customary in that country.

At the age of fourteen years he was taken into the employment of Sir Hugh Dalrymple, a member of the British parliament, whom he accompanied to London; and it was while in his service that he was guilty of the murder of his mistress. It appears that at the time at which he committed this offence he was in his twentieth year, and having accidentally{117} given offence to his lady, by treading on her toe, she rebuked him in no very gentle manner. Offended by the insult which he conceived he had received, he determined to obtain a deep revenge; and seeking an opportunity, during the absence of his master from London, he proceeded to put his intention into execution by murdering his mistress.

For this offence he was brought to trial at the Old Bailey, on the 22d April 1746, when he pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to be hanged on the following Monday, the 25th of the same month. On the night before his execution he made a confession of his crime, from which the following particulars are taken:—Having called the Almighty to witness the truth of his assertion, he proceeded to enter into a history of his early life, alleging that he had always been well treated by his master and mistress, for whom he entertained the most sincere respect. On the evening of the 25th March 1746, all the other servants having quitted the house, he proceeded to bed in the apartment which was appropriated to his use. He had pulled off his shoes, and had tied up his hair with his garter, when suddenly the thought came into his head that he would kill his mistress. He directly went into the kitchen in search of an instrument to effect his object, and he took a small iron cleaver; but, returning to his chamber, he sat during a period of twenty minutes, considering whether he should commit the murder or not. His heart relented when he remembered that his mistress had been so kind to him; but then he thought that there was no one in the house who could hear him, and he determined upon perpetrating the deed. Impelled by a feeling which he could not control, he rushed up stairs as far as the first landing-place, but there he tarried, and in his alarm returned to his bed-room. Again he felt determined upon the course which he had originally proposed, and again he had ascended the stairs on his way to his mistress’s room, but once more he felt irresolute. To use his own expression, he had now determined not to commit the murder, but “the devil was so busy within him,” that, in an agony of emotion, he was unable to prevail against an inward feeling, which drove him again towards his lady’s room. Once he retired,—but once again he advanced,—and he had now reached the door, by which only he was separated from the object upon which he was about to commit the foul crime, of which in the sequel he was guilty. Had that door been locked all would have been well,—but no, the latch turned easily in his hand, and he stood within a yard of his victim. Still he could not kill her, and in trepidation and alarm he crept back as far as the stair-head. Again he felt the devil at work, and once more he was driven onwards to his fate. He entered the room a second time, and could distinctly hear the respirations of the unfortunate lady; he opened the curtains softly, and fancied he could see the outline of her figure. Had he had a light, he was convinced he could never have killed her. At length, however, urged by an irresistible impulse, he raised the cleaver, and yet, hesitating, he made as many as thirteen or fourteen motions in the air before he could determine to strike her,—but then he let the murderous instrument fall with redoubled force upon her head. The unhappy lady attempted to escape, but without effect, for he followed up the frightful wound which he had first inflicted with others still more dreadful, until at last she sunk exhausted on the floor and died. The only words which he heard her utter were—“Oh Lord! what is this?” And{118} when she died, she rattled very much in the throat. He was so alarmed at this that he ran down stairs, and threw the chopper in the privy; and when he had returned to his own room, the thought struck him that he would rob the house. The idea had no sooner entered his head than he resolved to put it into execution, and, striking a light, he returned to his mistress’s room. He took away some articles of jewellery from the drawers; but while he was occupied in finding them, he fancied that he heard the death-rattle still in his lady’s throat, and he would have given the world to have been able to recal what had passed.

When he had purloined all that he thought was of any value, he ran out of the house; and as he passed through Holborn, he heard the watchman cry “Past one o’clock,” from which he knew that it was more than an hour since he had first contemplated the murder. He concealed the articles which he had stolen in the lodgings of a female of his acquaintance, and returned home; but on his arrival at the door he found that he had shut himself out. He waited until the maid-servant came at six o’clock in the morning, and then, on their entering the house, appearances were perceptible, which induced the girl to suppose that there had been some strangers in the house. On her going up stairs she found that her mistress had been murdered, and she directly conveyed information of the circumstance to the police, when Henderson being at once suspected, he was taken into custody, and confessed his guilt.

The sentence was carried out in its terms; and the body of the wretched young man, after execution, was hung in chains in the Edgeware-road.



THIS gentleman was a party to the designs of the Jacobinical lords whose execution we have detailed, and was taken by the Sea-horse frigate on his passage to Scotland to join the rebel forces. He had been concerned in the rebellion of 1715, and would then have been pardoned, but with fifteen others he escaped out of Newgate, and went to France. He afterwards lived in London, but was not molested; but subsequently again joining the design of the Pretender, and being seized, he was tried whether he was the same person who had been before convicted, and was found to be the same. He therefore received sentence of death, and was beheaded on Tower-hill, on the 8th of December 1746. This prisoner was one of the brothers of the Earl of Derwentwater, who was executed in 1716, as before detailed; and they were the sons of Sir Francis Ratcliffe, by Lady Mary Tudor, natural daughter of Charles the Second, by Mrs. Mary Davis.



THIS lord, who in 1715 had been a supporter of the House of Hanover, in 1745 changed sides, and became a friend of the party which he had before opposed.

His career in life began in the year 1692, when he was appointed a captain in Lord Tullibardine’s regiment, but he resigned his commission{119} in order to prosecute his claim to be the Chief of the Frasers; in order to effect which, he laid a scheme to get possession of the heiress of Lovat, who was about to be married to a son of Lord Salton. He raised a clan, who violently seized the young lord, and, erecting a gibbet, showed it to him and his father, threatening their instant death unless they relinquished the contract made for the heiress of Lovat. To this, fearing for their lives, they consented; but still unable to get possession of the young lady, he seized the dowager Lady Lovat in her own house, caused a priest to marry them against her consent, cut her stays open with his dirk, and, assisted by his ruffians, tore off her clothes, forced her into bed, to which he followed her, and then called his companions to witness the consummation of the outrageous marriage. For this breach of the peace he was indicted, but fled from justice; but he was, nevertheless, tried for a rape, and for treason, in opposing the laws with an armed force; and sentence of outlawry was pronounced against him. Having fled to France, he turned papist, ingratiated himself with the Pretender, and was rewarded by him with a commission; but he was apprehended on the remonstrance of the English ambassador in Paris, and lodged in the Bastile, where having remained some years, he procured his liberty by taking priest’s orders, under colour of which he became a Jesuit in the college of St. Omer’s.

In the first rebellion of 1715 he returned to Scotland, and joining the king’s troops, assisted them in seizing Inverness from the rebels; for which service he got the title of Lovat, was appointed to command, and had other favours conferred upon him. In the rebellion of which we are now treating, he turned sides, and joined the Pretender; a step treacherous in the extreme. When taken, he was old, unwieldy, and almost helpless; although in that condition he had been possessed of infinite resources to assist the rebellion. He petitioned the Duke of Cumberland for mercy; and, hoping to work upon his feelings, recapitulated his former services, the favours that he had received from the duke’s grandfather, King George I., and dwelt much upon his access to court, saying “he had carried him to whom he now sued for life in his arms, and, when a baby, held him up, while his grandsire fondled upon him.”

On the 9th March 1747, however, he was taken from the Tower to Westminster Hall for trial, and the evidence adduced clearly proving his guilt to be of no ordinary character, he was convicted. He was next day brought up for judgment, and sentence of death was pronounced.

That this sentence was not ill deserved, appears from a speech of Lord Belhaven, delivered in the last parliament, held in Edinburgh in 1706, in which his lordship, speaking of this nobleman, then Captain Fraser, on occasion of the Scots plot, commonly called Fraser’s plot, says “That he deserved, if practicable, to have been hanged five several times, in five different places, and upon five different accounts at least; as having been notoriously a traitor to the court of St. James’s, a traitor to the court of St. Germain’s, a traitor to the court of Versailles, and a traitor to his own country of Scotland; in being not only an avowed and restless enemy to the peace and quiet of its established government and constitution, both in church and state, but, likewise, a vile Proteus-like apostate, and a seducer of others in point of religion, as the tide or wind changed: and, moreover, that (abstracted from all those, his multiplied acts of treason,{120} abroad and at home) he deserved to be hanged as a condemned criminal, outlaw, and fugitive, for the barbarous, cruel, and most flagitious rape, he had, with the assistance of some of his vile and abominable band of ruffians, violently committed on the body of a right honourable and virtuous lady, the widow of the late Lord Lovat, and sister of his Grace the late Duke of Athol. Nay, so hardened was Captain Fraser, that he audaciously erected a gallows, and threatened to hang thereon one of the said lady’s brothers, and some other gentlemen of quality, who accompanied him in going to rescue him out of that criminal’s cruel hand.”

On the morning fixed for his execution, 9th April 1747, Lord Lovat, who was now in his 80th year, and very large and unwieldy in his person, awoke at about three o’clock, and was heard to pray with great devotion. At five o’clock he arose, and asked for a glass of wine and water, and at eight o’clock, he desired that his wig might be sent, that the barber might have time to comb it out genteelly, and he then provided himself with a purse to hold the money which he intended for the executioner. At about half-past nine o’clock he ate heartily of minced veal, and ordered that his friends might be provided with coffee and chocolate, and at eleven o’clock the sheriff’s came to demand his body. He then requested his friends to retire while he said a short prayer; but he soon called them back, and said that he was ready.

At the bottom of the first pair of stairs, General Williamson invited him into his room to rest himself, which he did, and, on his entrance, paid his respects to the company politely, and talked freely. He desired of the general, in French, that he might take leave of his lady, and thank her for her civilities; but the general told his lordship, in the same language, that she was too much affected with his lordship’s misfortunes to bear the shock of seeing him, and therefore hoped his lordship would excuse her. He then took his leave, and proceeded. At the door he bowed to the spectators, and was conveyed from thence to the outer gate in the governor’s coach, where he was delivered to the sheriffs, who conducted him in another coach to the house near the scaffold, in which was a room lined with black cloth, and hung with sconces, for his reception. His friends were at first denied entrance; but, upon application made by his lordship to the sheriffs for their admittance, it was granted. Soon after, his lordship, addressing himself to the sheriffs, thanked them for the favour, and, taking a paper out of his pocket, delivered it to one of them, saying he should make no speech, and that they might give the word of command when they pleased. A gentleman present beginning to read a prayer to his lordship while he was sitting, he called one of the warders to help him up, that he might kneel. He then prayed silently a short time, and afterwards sat again in his chair. Being asked by one of the sheriffs if he would refresh himself with a glass of wine, he declined it, because no warm water could be had to mix with it, and took a little burnt brandy and bitters in its stead. He requested that his clothes might be delivered to his friends with his corpse, and said for that reason he should give the executioner ten guineas. He also desired of the sheriffs that his head might be received in a cloth, and put into the coffin, which the sheriffs, after conferring with some gentlemen present, promised should be done; as also that the holding up the head at the corners of the scaffold should be dispensed with, as it had been of late years at the execution of lords. When his lordship was going up the steps{121} to the scaffold, assisted by two warders, he looked round, and, seeing so great a concourse of people, “God save us,” says he, “why should there be such a bustle about taking off an old grey head, that cannot get up three steps without three bodies to support it?”

Turning about, and observing one of his friends much dejected, he clapped him on the shoulder, saying, “Cheer up thy heart, man! I am not afraid; why should you be so?” As soon as he came upon the scaffold, he asked for the executioner, and presented him with ten guineas in a purse, and then, desiring to see the axe, he felt the edge, and said, “he believed it would do.” Soon after, he rose from the chair which was placed for him, and looked at the inscription on his coffin, and on sitting down again, he repeated from Horace,

“Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori;”

and afterwards from Ovid,

“Nam genus et proavos, et quæ non fecimus ipsi,
Vix ea nostra voco”—

He then desired all the people to stand off, except his two warders, who supported his lordship while he said a prayer; after which, he called his solicitor and agent in Scotland, Mr. W. Fraser, and, presenting his gold-headed cane, said, “I deliver you this cane in token of my sense of your faithful services, and of my committing to you all the power I have upon earth,” and then embraced him. He also called for Mr. James Fraser, and said, “My dear James, I am going to heaven; but you must continue to crawl a little longer in this evil world.” And, taking leave of both, he delivered his hat, wig, and clothes, to Mr. William Fraser, desiring him to see that the executioner did not touch them. He ordered his cap to be put on, and, unloosing his neckcloth and the collar of his shirt, kneeled down at the block, and pulled the cloth which was to receive his head close to him. But, being placed too near the block, the executioner desired him to remove a little further back, which, with the warders’ assistance, was immediately done; and, his neck being properly placed, he told the executioner he would say a short prayer, and then give the signal by dropping his handkerchief. In this posture he remained about half a minute, and then, throwing his handkerchief on the floor, the executioner at one blow cut off his head, which was received in the cloth, and, with his body, was put into the coffin, and carried in a hearse back to the Tower, where it was interred near the bodies of the other lords.

His lordship professed himself a papist, and, at his request, was attended by Mr. Baker, attached to the chapel of the Sardinian ambassador; and though he insisted much on the services he had done the royal family in 1715, yet he declared, but a few days before his death, that he had been concerned in all the schemes formed for restoring the house of Stuart since he was fifteen years old.

This nobleman’s intellectual powers seem to have been considerable, and his learning extensive. He spoke Latin, French, and English, fluently, and other modern languages intelligibly. He studied at Aberdeen, and disputed his philosophy in Greek; and, though he was educated a protestant, yet, after three years’ study of divinity and controversy, he turned papist. He maintained an appearance of that facetious disposition for which he was remarkable, to the last; and seems to have taken great{122} pains to quit the stage, not only with decency, but with that dignity which is thought to distinguish the good conscience and the noble mind.

The following lines upon the execution of these noblemen are said to have been repeated with great energy by Dr. Johnson, although there appears to be no ground for supposing that they were the Doctor’s own composition. They first appeared in the Gentleman’s Magazine:

“Pitied by gentle minds, Kilmarnock died;
The brave, Balmerino, were on thy side;
Ratcliffe, unhappy in his crimes of youth,
Steady in what he still mistook for truth,
Beheld his death so decently unmoved,
The soft lamented, and the brave approved.
But Lovat’s end indifferently we view,
True to no king, to no religion true:
No fair forgets the ruin he has done;
No child laments the tyrant of his son;
No Tory pities, thinking what he was;
No Whig compassions, for he left the cause;
The brave regret not, for he was not brave,
The honest mourn not, knowing him a knave.”



THESE prisoners were parties to the same plot, and all of them held ranks in the Pretender’s army. Dawson had paid addresses to a young lady, to whom he was to have been married immediately after his enlargement, if the solicitations that were made for his pardon had been attended with the desired effect.

The circumstance of his love, and the melancholy that was produced by his death, are so admirably treated in the following ballad of Shenstone, that Dawson’s story will probably be remembered and regretted when that of the rest of the rebels will be forgotten.


Come listen to my mournful tale,
Ye tender hearts and lovers dear,
Nor will you scorn to heave a sigh,
Nor will you blush to shed a tear.
And thou, dear Kitty, peerless maid,
Do thou a pensive ear incline;
For canst thou weep at every woe,
And pity every ’plaint, but mine?
Young Dawson was a gallant youth,
A lighter never trod the plain;
And well he loved one charming maid,
And dearly was he loved again.
One tender maid, she loved him dear,
Of gentle blood the damsel came;
And faultless was her beauteous form,
And spotless was her virgin fame.
But curse on parties’ hateful strife,
That led the faithful youth astray!
The day the rebel clans appear’d—
(Oh! had he never seen that day!){123}
Their colours and their sash he wore,
And in their fatal dress was found;
And now he must that death endure
Which gives the brave the keenest wound.
How pale was then his true-love’s cheek
When Jemmy’s sentence reach’d her ear!
For never yet did Alpine snows
So pale nor yet so chill, appear.
“Yet, might sweet mercy find a place,
And bring relief to Jemmy’s woes,
O George! without a prayer for thee
My orisons should never close.
“The gracious prince that gives him life
Would crown a never-dying flame;
And every tender babe I bore
Should learn to lisp the giver’s name.
“But though, dear youth, thou shouldst be dragg’d
To yonder ignominious tree,
Thou shalt not want a faithful friend
To share thy bitter fate with thee.”
O, then her mourning-coach was call’d;
The sledge moved slowly on before;—
Though borne in a triumphal car,
She had not loved her favourite more.
She follow’d him, prepared to view
The terrible behests of law;
And the last scene of Jemmy’s woes,
With calm and steadfast eyes she saw.
Distorted was that blooming face
Which she had fondly loved so long,
And stifled was that tuneful breath
Which in her praise had sweetly sung;
And sever’d was that beauteous neck
Round which her arms had fondly closed;
And mangled was that beauteous breast
On which her love-sick head reposed;—
And ravish’d was that constant heart
She did to every heart prefer;
For, though it could his king forget,
’Twas true and loyal still to her.
Amidst those unrelenting flames
She bore this constant heart to see;
But, when ’twas moulder’d into dust,
“Yet, yet,” she cried, “I’ll follow thee!
“My death, my death, can only show
The pure and lasting love I bore;
Accept, O Heaven! of woes like ours,
And let us—let us weep no more.”
The dismal scene was o’er and past,
The lover’s mournful hearse retired;
The maid drew back her languid head,
And, sighing forth his name, expired.
Though justice ever must prevail,
The tear my Kitty sheds is due;
For seldom shall we hear a tale
So sad, so tender, and so true.


These offenders were hanged on Kennington Common. They had not hung above five minutes when Townley was cut down, being yet alive: and his body being placed on the block, the executioner chopped off his head with a cleaver. His heart and bowels were then taken out, and thrown into the fire; and the other parties being separately treated in the same manner, the executioner cried out, “God save King George!”

The bodies were quartered, and delivered to the keepers of the New Jail, who buried them: the heads of some of the parties were sent to Carlisle and Manchester, where they were exposed; but those of Townley and another were fixed on Temple Bar, and after remaining some time, fell down.

It would be useless to attempt to enumerate the other persons whose crimes and misfortunes at this time consigned them to the gibbet; but some account of the escape of the Pretender may not be uninteresting. It would appear that the battle of Culloden having decided the fate of his cause, where the Pretender had his horse shot under him by one of the king’s troopers as he was endeavouring to rally his soldiers, he retired to the house of a factor of Lord Lovat, at about ten miles from Inverness, where he met with that lord and supped with him. After supper he started on his journey to Fort Augustus, and next day went on to Invergarry. A boy, whom he found there caught him a salmon and he dined, and afterwards waited for some of his troops, who had promised to meet him there. Being disappointed, however, in his object, he proceeded to Lockharciage, and he arrived there on the 18th of April, at about two in the morning, and slept, but at five he set out on foot, and travelled through the Glen of Morar, where he arrived at four the next morning. He reached Arrashag in twelve hours after, and was there joined by Captain O’Neil on the 27th, who informed him that his cause was hopeless, and recommended him, therefore, to sail at once for France. One Donald M‘Leod was engaged to hire a ship, and on the 28th the Chevalier went on board an eight-oared boat, in company with Sullivan and O’Neil, ordering the people who belonged to the boat to make the best haste they could to Stornoway, where it was proposed they should take ship. The night proving very tempestuous, they all begged of him to go back, which he would not do; but to keep up the spirits of the people, he sang them a Highland song. The weather growing worse and worse, about seven in the morning of the 29th, they were driven on shore on a point of land called Rushness, in the island of Benbecula, where, when they got on shore, the Pretender helped to make a fire to warm the crew, who were almost starved to death with cold. On the 30th, at six in the evening, they set sail again for Stornoway, but meeting with another storm, were obliged to put into the island of Scalpa, in the Harris, where they all went on shore to a farmer’s house, passing for merchants that were shipwrecked in their voyage to the Orkneys: the Pretender and Sullivan going by the name of Sinclair, the latter passing for the father, and the former for his son. They thought proper to send from thence to Stornoway, with instructions to freight a ship for the Orkneys; and on the 3d of May they received a message that a ship was ready. On the 4th they set out for that place, where they arrived on the 5th about noon, but meeting with their messenger, Donald M‘Leod, they found that he had got into company, and told a friend of his for whom he had hired the ship; upon which there were two hundred people in arms at Stornoway, upon a report that the Pretender was landed with five hundred men, and was coming to burn the town; so that{125} they were obliged to lie all night upon the moor, with no other refreshment than biscuit and brandy. On the 6th they resolved to go in the eight-oared boat to the Orkneys; but the crew refused to venture, so that they were obliged to steer south along the coast-side, where they met with two English ships; and this compelled them to put into a desert island, where they remained till the 10th, without any provision but some salt fish they found upon the place. About ten in the morning of that day they embarked for the Harris, and at break of day on the 11th they were chased by an English vessel, but made their escape among the rocks. About four in the afternoon they arrived on the island of Benbecula, where they remained till the 14th, and then they set out for the mountain of Currada, in South Uist, where they staid till the militia of the Isle of Skye came to the island of Irasky. They now sailed for the island of Uia, where they remained three nights, till, having intelligence that the militia were coming towards Benbecula, they immediately got into their boat, and sailed for Lochbusdale. Being met, however, by some ships of war, they were obliged to return to Lochagnart, and at night sailed for Lochbusdale; upon arriving at which place they staid eight days on a rock, making a tent of the sail of the boat. They found themselves here in a most dreadful situation; for, having intelligence that Captain Scott had landed at Kilbride, they were obliged to separate, and the Pretender and O’Neil went to the mountains, where they remained all night, and soon after were informed that General Campbell was at Bernary; so that now they had forces very near on both sides of them, and were absolutely at a loss which way to move. In their road they met with a young lady, one Miss M‘Donald, to whom Captain O’Neil proposed assisting the Pretender to make his escape, which at first she refused; but, upon his offering to put on women’s clothes, she consented, and desired them to go to the mountain of Currada till she sent for them. They accordingly there staid two days; but hearing nothing from the young lady, the Pretender concluded she would not keep her word, and therefore resolved to send Captain O’Neil to General Campbell, to let him know he was willing to surrender to him; but about five o’clock in the evening a message came from the young lady, desiring them to meet her at Rushness. Being afraid to pass by the Ford, because of the militia, they luckily found a boat, which carried them to the other side of Uia, where they remained part of the next day, afraid of being seen by the country people. In the evening they set out for Rushness, and arrived there at twelve at night; but not finding the young lady, and being alarmed by a boat full of militia, they were obliged to retire two miles back, where the Pretender remained on a moor till O’Neil went to the young lady, and prevailed upon her to come to the place appointed at night-fall of the next day. About an hour after, they had an account of General Campbell’s arrival at Benbecula, which obliged them to move to another part of the island, where, as the day broke, they discovered four sail close on the shore, making directly up to the place where they were; so that there was nothing left for them but to throw themselves among the heath. When the wherries were gone, they resolved to go to Clanronald’s house; but when they were within a mile of it, they heard General Campbell was there, which forced them to, retreat again. The young Pretender having at length, with the assistance of Captain O’Neil, found Miss M‘Donald in a cottage near the place appointed, it was there determined that he should put on women’s clothes and pass for her waiting-maid.{126} This being done, he took leave of Sullivan and O’Neil with great regret, who departed to shift for themselves, leaving him and his new mistress in the cottage, where they continued some days, during which she cured him of the itch. Upon intelligence that General Campbell was gone further into the country, they removed to her cousin’s, and spent the night in preparing for their departure to the Isle of Skye: and they set out the next morning for that place, with only one man-servant, named M‘Lean, and two rowers. During their voyage they were pursued by a small vessel; but a thick fog rising, they arrived safe at midnight in that island, and landed at the foot of a rock, where the lady and her maid waited while her man M‘Lean went to see if Sir Alexander M‘Donald was at home. M‘Lean found his way thither, but lost it in returning; and his mistress and her maid, after in vain expecting him the whole night, were obliged in the morning to leave the rock, and go in the boat up the creek to some distance, to avoid the militia which guarded the coast. They went on shore again about ten o’clock, and, attended by the rowers, inquired the way to Sir Alexander’s. When they had gone about two miles, they met M‘Lean; and he told his lady that Sir Alexander was with the Duke of Cumberland, but his lady was at home, and would do them all the service she could. They then immediately discharged their boat, and went directly to the house, where they remained two days, being always in her ladyship’s chamber, except at night, to prevent a discovery. But a party of the M‘Leods, having intelligence that some strangers were arrived at Sir Alexander’s, and knowing his lady to be well affected to the Pretender, came thither, and demanding to see the new-comers, were introduced to Miss’s chamber, where she sat with her new maid. The latter, hearing the militia were at the door, had the presence of mind to get up and open it, which occasioned his being the less noticed; and after they had narrowly searched the chests, they withdrew. The inquiry, however, alarmed the young lady, and the next day she sent her apparent maid to a steward of Sir Alexander’s: but hearing that his being in the island was known, he removed to Macdonald’s, at Kingsborough, ten miles distant, where he remained but one day; for on receiving intelligence that it was rumoured that he was disguised in a woman’s habit, Macdonald furnished him with a suit of his own clothes, and he went in a boat to M‘Leod’s at Raza. No prospect of escaping to France, however, presented itself there, and he returned to the Isle of Skye, being thirty miles, with no attendant but a ferryman, M‘Leod assuring him that the elder Laird of Mackinnon would there render him all the service in his power. On his reaching M‘Kinnon’s, the old man instantly knew him, and advised him to go to Lochaber; and he accordingly proceeded thither in a vessel procured for that purpose. M‘Donald, at the head of one hundred resolute Highlanders, then appeared to assist him, and after roving about with them from place to place, he at length removed to Badenoch. He was there very much harassed by the King’s troops, and losing many of his men in the skirmishes which daily took place, they were at length obliged to disperse; and the Pretender, with Lochiel of Barrisdale and some others, skulked about in Moidart. Here they received information that two French privateers were at anchor in Lochnanaugh, in one of which, L’Heureux, this unfortunate prince eventually embarked, with twenty-three gentlemen, and one hundred and seven soldiers, and soon after arrived safely in France.{127}



THIS unhappy child was but ten years of age when he committed the dreadful crime of which he was convicted. He was a pauper in the poorhouse belonging to the parish of Eye, in Suffolk, and was committed, on the coroner’s inquest, to Ipswich jail, for the murder of Susan Mahew, another child, of five years of age, who had been his bedfellow. The following is his confession, taken by a justice of the peace, and which was, in part, proved on the trial, with many corroborating circumstances of his guilt.

He said that a trifling quarrel happening between them on the 13th of May 1748, about ten in the morning, he struck her with his open hand, and made her cry: that she going out of the house to the dunghill, opposite to the door, he followed her, with a hook in his hand, with an intent to kill her; but before he came up to her, he set down the hook, and went into the house for a knife. He then came out again, took hold of the girl’s left hand, and cut her wrist all round to the bone, and then threw her down, and cut her to the bone just above the elbow of the same arm. That, after this, he set his foot upon her stomach, and cut her right arm round about, and to the bone, both on the wrist and above the elbow. That he still thought she would not die, and therefore took the hook and cut her left thigh to the bone. His next care was to conceal the murder for which purpose he filled a pail with water at a ditch, and washing the blood off the child’s body, buried it in the dunghill, together with the blood that was spilled upon the child’s clothes, and then went and got his breakfast. When he was examined, he showed very little concern, and appeared easy and cheerful. All he alleged was, that the child fouled the bed in which they lay together; that she was sulky, and that he did not like her.

The boy was found guilty, and sentenced to death; but he was respited from time to time on account of his tender years, and at length pardoned.



WE do not recollect ever to have heard of a case exhibiting greater brutality on the part of the murderers towards their victim than this. The offenders were all smugglers, and the unfortunate objects of their crime were a custom-house officer, and a shoemaker, named respectively William Galley and Daniel Chater. It would appear that a daring and very extensive robbery having been committed at the custom-house at Poole, Galley and Chater were sent to Stanstead in Sussex, to give some information to Major Battine, a magistrate, in reference to the circumstance. They did not, however, return to their homes, and on inquiry, it turned out that they had been brutally murdered, the body of Galley being traced, by means of bloodhounds, to be buried, while that of Chater was discovered at a distance of six miles, in a well in Harris’ Wood, near Leigh, in Lady Holt’s Park, covered up with a quantity of stones, wooden railings, and earth.{128}

At a special commission held at Chichester, on the 16th of January 1749, the prisoners Benjamin Tapner, John Cobby, John Hammond, William Carter, Richard Mills the elder, and Richard Mills the younger, were indicted for the murder of Daniel Chater; the three first as principals, and the others as accessories before the fact; and William Jackson and William Carter were indicted for the murder of William Galley.

From the evidence adduced, the circumstances of this most horrid murder were proved, and it appeared that the two deceased persons having passed Havant on their road to Stanstead, went to the New Inn at Leigh, where they met one Austin, and his brother and brother-in-law, of whom they asked the road, and they conducted them to Rowland’s Castle, where, they said, they might obtain better information. They went into the White Hart, and Mrs. Payne, the landlady, suspecting the object of their mission, sent for the prisoners Jackson and Carter, and they were soon after joined by some others of the gang. After they had been all sitting together, Carter called Chater out, and demanded to know where Diamond, one of those suspected of the robbery, was? Chater replied that he was in custody, and that he was going against his will to give evidence against him. Galley, following them into the yard, was knocked down by Carter, on his calling Chater away, and they then returned in-doors. The smugglers now pretended to be sorry for what had occurred, and desired Galley to drink some rum, and they persisted in plying him and Chater with liquor until they were both intoxicated. They were then persuaded to lie down and sleep, and a letter to Major Battine, of which they were the bearers, was taken from them, read, and destroyed.

One John Royce, a smuggler, now came in, and Jackson and Carter told him the contents of the letter, and said that they had got the old rogue, the shoemaker of Fording-bridge, who was going to inform against John Diamond, the shepherd, then in custody at Chichester. Here William Steele proposed to take them both to a well about two hundred yards from the house, and to murder and throw them in; but this was rejected, and after several propositions had been made as to the mode in which they should be disposed of, the scene of cruelty was commenced by Jackson, who, putting on his spurs, jumped upon the bed where they lay, and spurred their foreheads, and then whipped them; so that they both got up bleeding. The smugglers then took them out of the house, and Mills swore he would shoot any one who followed or said anything of what had occurred.

Meanwhile, the rest put Galley and Chater on one horse, tied their legs under the horse’s belly, and then tied the legs of both together. They now set forward, with the exception of Royce, who had no horse; and they had not gone above two hundred yards, before Jackson called out “Whip ’em, cut ’em, slash ’em, d—n ’em!” upon which, all began to whip except Steele, who led the horse, the roads being very bad. They whipped them for half a mile, till they came to Woodash, where they fell off, with their heads under the horse’s belly; and their legs, which were tied, appeared over the horse’s back. Their tormentors soon set them upright again, and continued whipping them over the head, face, shoulders, &c., till they came to Dean, upwards of half a mile farther; and here they both fell again as before, with their heads under the horse’s belly, which were struck at every step by the horse’s hoofs.{129}

Upon placing them again in the saddle, the villains found them so weak that they could not sit; upon which they separated them, and put Galley before Steele, and Chater before little Sam; and then whipped Galley so severely, that, the lashes coming upon Steele, at his desire they desisted. They then went to Harris’-well, and threatened to throw Galley in; but when he desired that they would put an end to his misery at once, “No,” said Jackson, “if that’s the case, we have something more to say to you;” and they thereupon put him on the horse again, and whipped him over the Downs until he was so weak that he fell off. They next laid him across the horse, and little Sam, getting up behind him, subjected him to such cruelty as made him groan with the most excruciating torments, and he fell off again. Being again put up astride, Richards got up behind him; but the poor man soon cried out, “I fall, I fall,” and Richards pushed him with force, saying, “Fall, and be d—d!” The unhappy man then turned over and expired; and they threw the body over the horse, and carried it off with them to the house of one Scardefield, who kept the Red Lion at Rake. The landlord remarking the condition of Chater, and Galley’s body, the fellows told him that they had engaged with some officers, had lost their tea, and that some of them were wounded, if not dead. This was sufficient, and Jackson and Carter carried Chater down to the house of the elder Mills, where they chained him up in a turf-house. Their companions, in the mean time, drank gin and brandy at Scardefield’s, and it being now nearly dark, they borrowed spades, and a candle and lantern, and making him assist them in digging a hole, they buried the body of the murdered officer. They then separated; but on the Thursday they met again with some more of their associates, including the prisoners Richard Mills, and his two sons Richard and John, Thomas Stringer, Cobby, Tapner, and Hammond, for the purpose of deliberating what should be done with their prisoner. It was soon unanimously resolved that he must be destroyed, and it was determined that they should take him to Harris’-well and throw him in, as it was considered that that death would be most likely to cause him the greatest pain.

During this time the wretched man was in a state of the utmost horror and misery, being visited occasionally by all his tormentors, who abused him, and beat him violently. At last, when this determination had been arrived at, they all went, and Tapner pulling out a clasp-knife, ordered him on his knees, swearing that he would be his butcher; but being dissuaded from this, as being opposed to their plan to prolong the miseries of their prisoner, he contented himself with slashing the knife across his eyes, almost cutting them out, and completely severing the gristle of his nose. They then placed him upon a horse, and all set out together for Harris’-well, except Mills and his sons, they having no horses ready, and saying, in excuse, “that there were enough without them to murder one man.” All the way Tapner whipped him till the blood came; and then swore that if he blooded the saddle, he would torture him the more. When they were come within one hundred yards of the well, Jackson and Carter stopped, saying to Tapner, Cobby, Stringer, Steele, and Hammond, “Go on and do your duty on Chater, as we have ours upon Galley.” It was in the dead of the night that they brought their victim to the well, which was nearly thirty feet deep, but dry, and paled close round; and Tapner having fastened a noose round his neck, they bade him get over the{130} pales. He was going through a broken place; but though he was covered with blood and fainting with the anguish of his wounds, they forced him to climb up, having the rope about his neck. They then tied one end of the cord to the pales and pushed him over the brink; but the rope being short, he hung no farther within it than his thighs, and leaning against the edge, he hung above a quarter of an hour and was not strangled. They then untied him, and threw him head foremost into the well. They tarried some time, and hearing him groan, they determined to go to one William Comleah’s, a gardener, to borrow a rope and ladder, saying they wanted to relieve one of their companions who had fallen into Harris’-well. He said they might take them; but they could not manage the ladder in their confusion, it being a long one. They then returned to the well; and still hearing him groan, and fearful that the sound might lead to a discovery, the place being near the road, they threw upon him some of the rails and gate-posts fixed about the well, as well as some great stones; and then finding him silent, they left him. Their next consultation was how to dispose of their horses; and they killed Galley’s, which was grey, and taking his hide off, cut it into small pieces, and hid them so as to prevent any discovery; but a bay horse that Chater had ridden on got from them.

This being the evidence produced, the jury, after being out of court about a quarter of an hour, brought in a verdict of guilty against all the prisoners: whereupon the judge pronounced sentence on the convicts in a most pathetic address, representing the enormity of their crime, and exhorting them to make immediate preparation for the awful fate that awaited them; adding, “Christian charity obliges me to tell you that your time in this world will be very short.”

The heinousness of the crime of which these men had been convicted rendering it necessary that their punishment should be exemplary, the judge ordered that they should be executed on the following day; and the sentence was accordingly carried into execution against all but Jackson, who died in prison on the evening that he was condemned. They were attended by two ministers; and all, except Mills and his son (who took no notice of each other, and thought themselves not guilty because they were not present at the finishing of the inhuman murder), showed great marks of penitence. Tapner and Carter gave good advice to the spectators, and desired diligence might be used to apprehend Richards, whom they charged as the cause of their being brought to this wretched end. Young Mills smiled several times at the executioner, who was a discharged marine, and having ropes too short for some of them, was puzzled to fit them. Old Mills being forced to stand tiptoe to reach the halter, desired that he might not be hanged by inches. The two Mills were so rejoiced at being told that they were not to be hanged in chains after execution, that death seemed to excite in them no terror; while Jackson was so struck with horror at being measured for his irons, that he soon expired.

They were hanged at Chichester on the 18th of January 1749, amidst such a concourse of spectators as is seldom seen on the occasion of a public execution.

Carter was hung in chains near Rake, in Sussex; Tapner, on Rook’s Hill, near Chichester; and Cobby and Hammond, at Cesley Isle, on the beach where they sometimes landed their smuggled goods, and where they could be seen at a great distance east and west.{131}

SAMUEL COUCHMAN AND JOHN MORGAN, Lieutenants of Marines; THOMAS KNIGHT, Carpenter, and others.


THE Chesterfield man-of-war, under the command of Captain O’Brian Dudley, was stationed off Cape-coast Castle, on the coast of Africa, when a dangerous mutiny broke out among the crew, of whom the above-named officers were the leaders. They were charged on their trial with “exciting and encouraging mutiny, and running away with his Majesty’s ship Chesterfield, on the 10th day of October 1748, from the coast of Africa, leaving their captain, two lieutenants, with other officers, and some seamen, on shore.”

It appeared from the evidence adduced before the court-martial, by which the prisoners were tried, and which was presided over by Sir Edward Hawke, that on the 15th October 1748, Captain Dudley, being on shore at Cape-coast Castle, sent off his barge to Lieutenant Couchman, ordering him to send the cutter with the boatswain of the ship, to see the tents struck, and to bring everything belonging to the ship on board that night. Couchman, however, directly ordered the barge to be hoisted in, and the boatswain to turn all hands on the quarter-deck, and then coming from his cabin with a drawn sword, said, “Here I am! God d—n me, I will stand by you while I have a drop of blood in my body!” He was accompanied by John Morgan, the second lieutenant of marines, Thomas Knight the carpenter, his mate John Place (a principal actor), and about thirty seamen with cutlasses. They then gave three huzzas, and threw their hats overboard; damning old hats, and saying that they would soon get new. Couchman now sent for the boatswain, to know if he would stand by him, and go with him; but he replied “No,” and said,

“For God’s sake, sir, be ruled by reason, and consider what you are about.” Couchman threatened to put him in irons if he did not join with him; but the boatswain told him he never would be in such piratical designs, and he was immediately ordered into custody, and two sentinels put over him. Couchman soon after sent for Gilham, the mate of the ship; but he also refusing to join him, was put into custody with five or six others. They were confined, however, only five or six hours; for, in the middle of the night after their confinement, Couchman sent for them into the great cabin, desired them to sit and drink punch, and then dismissed them. The next day the boatswain was invited to dinner by the new commander, who began to rail against Captain Dudley, and proposed to him to sign a paper. He refused indignantly, and was immediately dismissed. When he quitted the great cabin, he went to the gunner, who informed him that he had twenty pistols still at his disposal, and it was determined that an effort should be made that night to recover the ship from the mutineers. When evening drew on, the boatswain proceeded to sound the ship’s company, and he soon found about thirty of the seamen, besides the mates, gunner’s mates, and cockswain of the barge, ready to aid him. The boatswain took the command on himself, and the first step which he took was to get up all the irons or bilboes on the forecastle; he then sent for the twenty pistols, which were all loaded; he next ordered three men upon the grand magazine, and two to that abaft;{132} and the remainder, who had no pistols, to stay by the bilboes, and secure as many prisoners as he should send. This disposition being made, he went directly down on the deck, where he divided his small company into two parties; and, one going down the main, and the other the fore hatchway, they soon secured eleven or twelve of the ringleaders, and sent them up to the forecastle without the least noise. The two parties then joined, and went directly to the great cabin, where they secured Couchman and Morgan, with the carpenter, whom they immediately confined in different parts of the vessel. The ship being thus secured, the captain again boarded her and took the command of her; and on her return to England the mutineers were brought to trial.

The court-martial having found them guilty of the crimes imputed to them, they were shot in the month of June 1749.

The boatswain (Roger Winket) was afterwards rewarded with three hundred pounds a year, as master-attendant of Woolwich-dockyard.



THE case of this felon becomes remarkable from the fact of the criminal being the son of Richard Mills the elder, whose ignominious fate we have just recorded. It appears that he was engaged in the robbery of the Custom-house, but escaped; and soon after his father, brother, and their accomplices were hanged, he thought of going to Bristol, with a view of embarking for France; and having hinted his intentions to some others, they resolved to accompany him. Stopping at a house on the road, they met with one Richard Hawkins, whom they asked to go with them; but the poor fellow hesitating, they put him on horseback behind Mills, and carried him to the Dog and Partridge, on Slendon Common, which was kept by John Reynolds. They had not been long in the house when complaint was made that two bags of tea had been stolen, and Hawkins was charged with the robbery. He steadily denied any knowledge of the affair; but they obliged him to pull off his clothes; and, having stripped themselves, they began to whip him with the most unrelenting barbarity; and Curtis, one of the gang, said he did know of the robbery, and if he would not confess, he would whip him till he did; for he had whipped many a rogue, and washed his hands in his blood.

The villains continued whipping the poor wretch till their breath was almost exhausted, when at length the unfortunate man mentioned something of his father and brother; on which Mills and Curtis said they would go and fetch them; but Hawkins expired soon after they had left the house.

On their way back they met Winter, one of their companions, who informed them of this fact, when they dismissed the men whom they had compelled to accompany them, saying that they should be sent for when they were wanted. Their next anxiety was as to the mode in which they should dispose of the body, and it was proposed to throw it into a well in an adjacent park; but this being objected to, they carried it twelve miles, and having tied stones to it in order to sink it, they threw it into a pond in Parham Park, belonging to Sir Cecil Bishop; and in this place it lay more than two months before it was discovered.{133}

Mills was afterwards taken into custody on the information of Pring, an outlawed smuggler, and being tried, was convicted.

The country being at that time filled with smugglers, a rescue was feared; wherefore he was conducted to the place of execution by a guard of soldiers. When there, he prayed with a clergyman, confessed that he had led a bad life, acknowledged the murder of Hawkins, desired that all young people would take warning by his untimely end, and humbly implored the forgiveness of God. He was executed on Slendon Common on the 12th of August 1749, and afterwards hung in chains on the same spot.



THIS malefactor was born of indigent parents, in the Isle of Ely, and having received a poor education, at the age of sixteen she attracted the attention of a young man, whose love she returned with equal affection. Her father, being apprised of the connexion, strictly charged his daughter to decline it: but there was no arguing against love; the intimacy continued till it became criminal. The young fellow having soon grown tired of her, went off to London, and she determined to revenge herself upon him for his infidelity, by marrying another suitor, named John Hutchinson, who had previously been disagreeable to her. The marriage accordingly took place; but her first admirer happening to return from London just as the newly-wedded pair were coming out of church, the bride was greatly affected at the recollection of former scenes, and the irrevocable ceremony which had now passed. Unable to love the man she had married, she doted to distraction on him she had lost, and, only a few days after her marriage, admitted him to his former intimacy with her. Hutchinson becoming jealous of his wife, a quarrel ensued, in consequence of which he beat her with great severity; but this producing no alteration in her conduct, he had recourse to drinking, with a view to avoid the pain of reflection on his situation. In the interim his wife and the young fellow continued their guilty intercourse uninterrupted; but, considering the life of her husband as a bar to their happiness, it was resolved to remove him by poison. For this purpose the wife purchased a quantity of arsenic; and Mr. Hutchinson being afflicted with an ague, and wishing for something warm to drink, she put some arsenic in ale, of which he drank very plentifully; and then she left him, saying she would go and buy something for his dinner. Meeting her lover, she acquainted him with what had passed; on which he advised her to buy more poison, fearing the first might not be sufficient to operate; but its effects were fatal, and Hutchinson died about dinner-time on the same day. The deceased was buried on the following Sunday, and the next day the former lover renewed his visits; which occasioning the neighbours to talk very freely of the affair, the young widow was taken into custody on suspicion of having committed the murder.

The body being exhumed, it was found that death had been caused by poison, and the prisoner was convicted and sentenced to death.

She was strangled and burned at Ely, on the 7th November 1750, confessing the crime of which she had been found guilty.{134}



THIS offender was born of respectable parents, who gave him a good education, in the North of Ireland. Having gone to Dublin at the age of sixteen years, he soon afterwards entered into business as a wine-merchant; but being uncontrolled, he fell into bad habits and company, and was compelled to give up his trade. An associate inviting him to join him at Kilkenny, he proceeded thither by coach, and seeing a lady in the conveyance, the elegance of her appearance and manners impressed him with an idea that she was of rank. He determined, if possible, to profit by the opportunity afforded him. He handed her into the inn, and a proposal being made that the company should sup together, it was agreed to on all hands; and while the supper was preparing, Carr applied himself to the coachman to learn the history of the young lady; but all the information he could obtain was, that he had taken her up at Dublin, and that she was going to the Spa at Mallow. He was determined, however, to become better acquainted with her, and prevailed on the company to repose themselves the next day at Kilkenny, and take a view of the Duke of Ormond’s seat, and the curiosities of the town. This proposal being acceded to, the evening was spent in the utmost harmony and good-humour; and the fair stranger even then conceived an idea of making a conquest of Mr. Carr, from whose appearance she was induced to suppose that he was a man of distinction. It was now “diamond cut diamond,” and in the morning the fair incognita dressed herself to great advantage, not forgetting the ornament of jewels, which she wore in abundance; so that when she entered the room, Carr was astonished at her appearance. She found the influence she had over him, and resolved to afford him an early opportunity of speaking his sentiments; and while the company were walking in the gallery of the Duke of Ormond’s palace, an occasion presented itself, which was not lost by either party. The lady at first affected displeasure at so explicit a declaration; but, soon assuming a more affable deportment, she told him she was an Englishwoman of rank; that his person was not disagreeable to her; and that, if he was a man of fortune and the consent of her relations could be obtained, she should not be averse to listening to his addresses. She further said that she was going to spend part of the summer at Mallow, where his company would be agreeable; and he followed her to that place, contrary to the advice of his friend, who had formed a very unfavourable opinion of the lady’s character.

It is needless to say that the company of so refined and elegant a person was not to be kept without some expenses, which were not of a very moderate character, and the difficulties in which our hero had already placed himself were in nowise diminished by his new connexion. He remained with her, however, until the end of the season induced them to return to Dublin; and then a trip to England was proposed, preparatory to the final steps being taken to complete the nuptial arrangements. The gallantry and wits of the gentleman were sorely tested to procure the requisite funds for the trip; but he at length succeeded in obtaining such a sum as he and the lady deemed sufficient. The passage only remained{135} to be secured, and the too credulous sharper was employed in obtaining it; but in his absence the lady shipped all the effects on board a vessel bound for Amsterdam, and, having dressed herself in man’s apparel, she embarked and sailed, leaving Carr to regret his ill-judged credulity.

Thus reduced to want, he went to London, and having enlisted as a foot-soldier, he was discharged after several years’ service. He subsequently entered as a marine, but soon afterwards came to London again, and opened a shop in Hog-lane, St. Giles’s. He now married a girl who he thought had money; but soon discovering her poverty, he abandoned her, and removed to Short’s Gardens, where he entered into partnership with a cork-cutter; but having obtained the promise of support from his partner’s customers, he set up on his own account, and was tolerably successful, though his passion for gambling prevented his retaining any part of the produce of his business. His new companions at the gaming-table, having an eye to their own profit, offered to procure him a wife of fortune, though they knew he had a wife living, and actually contrived to introduce him to a young lady of property, with whom a marriage would probably have taken place, but that one of them, struck with remorse of conscience, developed the affair to her father, and frustrated the whole scheme. Being now again thrown upon his own resources, he engaged himself as porter to a merchant; but while in this condition, his master having entrusted him with a check, for sixty pounds, he procured it to be cashed, and having spent the money in the lowest debauchery, he again entered as a marine. There being something in his deportment superior to the vulgar, he was advanced to the rank of sergeant, in which he behaved so well that his officers treated him with considerable favour.

The vessel in which he sailed was of considerable power, and taking a merchant-ship richly laden, and soon afterwards several smaller vessels, the prize-money amounted to a considerable sum. This gave Carr an idea that very great advantages might be obtained by privateering, and having procured a discharge, he entered on board a privateer, and was made master-at-arms. In a few days the privateer took two French ships, one of which they carried to Bristol, and the other into the harbour of Poole; and refitting their ship, they sailed again, and in two days took a French privateer, and gave chase to three others, which they found to have been English vessels belonging to Falmouth, which had been captured by a French privateer. These they retook, and carried them into Falmouth; in their passage to which place they made prize of a valuable French ship, the produce of which contributed to enrich the crew. On their next trip, they saw a ship in full chase of them, on which they prepared for a vigorous defence; and an action soon after taking place, many hands were lost by the French, who at length attempted to sheer off, but were taken after a chase of some leagues.

The commander of the English privateer, being desperately wounded in the engagement, died in a few days; on which Carr courted his widow, and a marriage would have taken place, but that she was seized with a violent fever, which deprived her of life—but not before she had bequeathed him all she was possessed of. Having disposed of her effects, he repaired to London, where he commenced smuggler: but his ill-gotten goods being seized on by the officers of the revenue, he took to the still more dangerous practice of forging seamen’s wills, and gained money thus for some time;{136} but, being apprehended, he was brought to trial at the Old Bailey convicted, and was sentenced to die.

He was of the Romish persuasion, and died with decent resignation to his fate.

Carr was hanged at Tyburn on the 16th of November 1750.



ABOUT the time at which this man met his most deserved punishment, the public journals teemed with accounts of the impudence and crimes of the parti-coloured tribe of servants denominated footmen. To such a daring pitch had their impudence arrived, that they created a riot at the theatre in Drury Lane, even in the presence of the heir-apparent to the throne. One evening when the Prince and Princess of Wales, the father and mother of King George III., attended the performance, these miscreants commenced a dreadful uproar. It was then the custom to admit servants in livery into the upper gallery gratis, in compliment to their employers, on whom they were supposed to be in attendance; and not content with peaceably witnessing the performance, they frequently interrupted those who had paid for admission, and, assuming the prerogative of critics, hissed or applauded with the most offensive clamour. In consequence of these violent proceedings, the manager shut the door against them, unless they each paid their shilling. Upon an occasion when that part of the royal family already mentioned were present, they mustered in a gang, to the number of three hundred; broke open the doors of the theatre, fought their way to the very door of the stage, and, in their progress, wounded twenty-five peaceable people. Colonel De Veil, then an active magistrate for Westminster, happened to be present, and in vain attempted to read a proclamation against such an outrage; but, though they obstructed him in his duty, he caused the ringleaders to be secured, and the next day committed three of them to Newgate.

At the ensuing sessions they were convicted of the riot, and sentenced to imprisonment.

In the mean time, the choler of these upstarts was raised to such a pitch, that they sent the following threat to the manager:—

“To Mr. Fleetwood, in Lincoln’s-Inn-Fields, Master of the Theatre, Drury Lane.

Sir,—We are willing to admonish you, before we attempt our design: and provided you use us civil, and admit us into our gallery, which is our property, according to formalities; and if you think proper to come to a composition this way, you’ll hear no further; and if not, our intention is to combine in a body, incognito, and reduce the playhouse to the ground; valuing no detection—we are indemnified!”

The manager carried this letter to the Lord Chamberlain, who ordered a detachment of fifty soldiers to do duty there each night, and thus deterred the saucy knaves from carrying their threats into execution.

At the Edinburgh theatre it was also a custom to admit men wearing the badge of servitude into the gallery gratis; and when Garrick’s inimitable farce, “High Life Below Stairs,” wherein the waste and impudence of domestic{137} servants of rich men is completely exposed, was performed there, a most violent clamour broke out in the gallery, so as entirely to interrupt the performance, and put the other part of the audience in fear of the consequences. The hardy Scotchmen, however, laid hold of the rioters, and kicked every footman, who alone were concerned, out of the house, where, without paying, they never more entered.

Having thus referred to an evil which existed in 1751, and which even to this moment continues to exist to a considerable extent, namely the over bearing insolence of the fellows who usually fill the situations of domestic servants in the families of the rich, it is time to proceed to the history of the subject of this sketch. Ross was born of decent parents in Inverness, and received an education by which he would have been fitted to fill a situation in a merchant’s counting-house. The difficulty in obtaining such employment, however, induced him to enter the service of a lady, who had always exhibited great kindness towards his family; and he soon afterwards accompanied her son to the Continent in the capacity of valet-de-chambre. He continued in this situation during about five years, when he returned to Scotland, and was employed by an attorney in Edinburgh; but having contracted an intimacy among other servants, from their instruction he acquired all the fashionable habits of drinking, swearing, and gaming, and was dismissed on account of his impudence, and the irregularities of his conduct.

He was subsequently engaged by a Mrs. Hume, a widow lady of good fortune, whose residence, during the summer, was at Ayton, a village about four miles from Berwick-upon-Tweed. The extravagance of our hero, and an unfortunate intercourse which he had with a fellow-servant, soon compelled him to look for some other means of procuring money, besides that which was honestly afforded him by his mistress; and having exhausted the patience of his friends by borrowing from them repeatedly, he formed the resolution of robbing his employer. It would appear that Mrs. Hume slept in a room on the first floor, and that the keys of her bureau were usually placed under her head for safety. Sunday night was the time fixed upon for the commission of the robbery, and, waiting in his bed-room without undressing himself, till he judged the family to be asleep, he descended, and leaving his shoes in the passage, proceeded to his lady’s bed-chamber. Upon his endeavouring to get possession of the keys, the lady was disturbed, and being dreadfully alarmed, called for assistance; but the rest of the family lying at a distant part of the house, her screams were not heard. Ross immediately seized a clasp-knife that lay on the table, and cut his mistress’s throat in a most dreadful manner. This horrid act was no sooner perpetrated than, without waiting to put on his shoes, or to secure either money or other effects, he leaped out of the window, and after travelling several miles, concealed himself in a field of corn.

In the morning the gardener discovered a livery hat, which the murderer had dropped in descending from the window; and, suspecting that something extraordinary had happened, he alarmed his fellow-servants. The disturbance in the house brought the two daughters of Mrs. Hume down stairs; but no words can express the horror and consternation of the young ladies upon beholding their parent weltering in her blood, and the fatal instrument of death lying on the floor.

Ross being absent, and his shoes and hat being found, it was concluded{138} that he must have committed the barbarous deed; and the butler therefore mounted a horse, and alarmed the country, lest the murderous villain should escape. The butler was soon joined by great numbers of horsemen; and towards the conclusion of the day, when both men and horses were nearly exhausted through excessive fatigue, the murderer was discovered in a field of standing corn. He was immediately secured, and being brought to trial, he had the effrontery to declare that he was admitted to share his mistress’s bed, and that his custom was always to leave his shoes at the parlour door. That on the night of the murder he proceeded as usual to her room, but on entering it his horror was aroused at discovering her to be murdered. He leaped out at the window to search for the perpetrators of the deed, and dropping his hat he thought it better not to return until night. Having been found guilty, he was sentenced to have his right hand chopped off, then to be hanged till dead, the body to be hung in chains, and the right hand to be affixed at the top of the gibbet, with the knife made use of in the commission of the murder.

Upon receiving sentence of death he began seriously to reflect on his miserable situation, and the next day he requested the attendance of Mr. James Craig, one of the ministers of Edinburgh, to whom he confessed his guilt, declaring that there was no foundation for his reflections against the chastity of the deceased. Six weeks elapsed between the time of his trial and that of his execution, during which he showed every sign of the most sincere penitence, and refused to accompany two prisoners who broke out of jail, saying he had no desire to recover his liberty, but that on the contrary he would cheerfully submit to the utmost severity of punishment, that he might make atonement for his wickedness. The day appointed for putting the sentence of the law into force being arrived, Ross walked to the place of execution, holding Mr. Craig by the arm. Having addressed a pathetic speech to the populace, and prayed some time with great fervency of devotion, the rope was put round his neck, and he laid his right hand upon the block, when it was struck off by the executioner at two blows. He was immediately afterwards run up to the gallows, when, feeling the rope drawing tight, by a convulsive motion of the arm he struck his bloody wrist against his cheek, which gave it a ghastly appearance. The sentence was subsequently fully carried into effect.

The execution took place on the 8th January 1751.



THIS offender was a victim to his own feelings of superstition. At the time of his crime and execution the belief in witchcraft was almost universal, and Colley was hanged for the murder of a poor old woman named Osborne, whose qualities as a witch he tested by ducking her in a pond until she was dead, thereby indisputably proving to the satisfaction of all, and to the credit of the deceased woman, how unjustifiable were the suspicions which had been entertained of her character.

The evidence given against the prisoner was to the following effect:—On the 18th April, 1751, a man named Nichols went to William Dell, the{139} crier at Hemel Hempstead, in Hertfordshire, and delivered to him a paper to the following effect, which was to be cried:

“This is to give notice, that on Monday next, a man and woman are to be publicly ducked at Tring, in this county, for their wicked crimes.”

This notice was given at Winslow and Leighton-Buzzard, as well as at Hemel-Hempstead, on the respective market-days, and was heard by Mr. Barton, overseer of the parish of Tring, who being informed that the persons intended to be ducked were John Osborne, and Ruth his wife, and having no doubt of the good character of both the parties, sent them to the workhouse, as a protection from the rage of the mob.

On the day appointed for the practice of the infernal ceremony, an immense number of people, supposed to be not fewer than five thousand, assembled near the workhouse at Tring, vowing revenge against Osborne and his wife, as a wizard and a witch, and demanding that they should be delivered up to their fury. In support of their demands they pulled down a wall belonging to the workhouse, and broke the windows and window-frames. On the preceding evening the master of the workhouse, suspecting some violence from what he heard of the disposition of the people, had sent Osborne and his wife to the vestry-room belonging to the church, as a place the most likely to secure them from insult. The mob would not give credit to the master of the workhouse that the parties were removed, but, rushing into the house, searched it through, examining the closets, boxes, trunks, and even the salt-box, in quest of them. There being a hole in the ceiling, which had been left by the plasterers, Colley, who was one of the most active of the gang, exclaimed, “Let us search the ceiling;” and this being done, but of course without success, they swore that they would pull down the house, and set fire to Tring, if the parties were not produced. The master of the workhouse, apprehensive that they would carry their threats into execution, and unmindful of the safety of the unfortunate wretches whom it was his duty to protect, at length gave up their place of concealment; and the whole mob, with Colley at their head, forthwith marched off to the church and brought them off in triumph. Their persons secured, they were carried to a pond, called Marlston Mere, where they were stripped and tied up separately in cloths. A rope was then bound round the body of the woman, under her arm-pits, and two men dragged her into the pond, and through it several times; Colley going into the pond, and, with a stick, turning her from side to side. Having ducked her repeatedly in this manner, they placed her by the side of the pond, and dragged the old man in, and ducked him: then he was put by, and the woman ducked again as before, Colley making the same use of his stick. With this cruelty the husband was treated twice over, and the wife three times; during the last of which the cloth in which she was wrapped came off, and she appeared quite naked.

Not satisfied with this barbarity, Colley pushed his stick against her breast, and the poor woman attempted to lay hold of it; but her strength being now exhausted, she expired on the spot. Colley then went round the pond, collecting money of the populace for the sport he had shown them in ducking the old witch, as he called her. The mob now departed to their several habitations; and the body being taken out of the pond, was examined by Mr. Foster, a surgeon; and the coroner’s inquest being summoned on the occasion, Mr Foster deposed that, “on examining the body of the{140} deceased, he found no wound, either internal or external, except a little place that had the skin off on one of her breasts; and it was his opinion that she was suffocated with water and mud.”

Hereupon Colley was taken into custody, and when his trial came on, Mr. Foster deposed to the same effect as above mentioned; and there being a variety of other strong proofs of the prisoner’s guilt, he was convicted, and received sentence of death. His defence was that he had endeavoured to protect the old people from violence, instead of attempting to injure them.

After conviction he seemed to behold his guilt in its true light of enormity. He became, as far as could be judged, sincerely penitent for his sins, and made good use of the short time he had to live in the solemn preparation for eternity.

The day before his execution he was removed from the jail of Hertford, under the escort of one hundred men of the Oxford Blues, commanded by seven officers; and being lodged in the jail of St. Albans, was put into a chaise at five o’clock the next morning, with the hangman, and reached the place of execution about eleven, where his wife and daughter came to take leave of him. The minister of Tring assisted him in his last moments, and he died exhibiting all the marks of unfeigned penitence.

He was executed on the 24th of August 1751, and his body afterwards hung in chains at a place called Gubblecut, near which the offence was committed.

It is not a little remarkable that, at so recent a period, so many people as composed this mob should be found so benighted in intellect, and utterly uninformed, as to be guilty of so miserable and so glaring a piece of absurdity and wickedness as that which was proved in the evidence against the prisoner. In former ages, it is true, not only the people, but even the authorities of the land, believed in witchcraft and sorcery; but it is indeed extraordinary that in the eighteenth century a scene such as that described could have been permitted to occur at a village within thirty miles of the metropolis.

The following copy of an indictment, furnished us by a friend who took it from the American Court record, must prove a matter of curiosity to the reader at the present enlightened era:—

“Essex, ss. (a town in the colony of Massachusetts Bay, in New England.)

“The jurors of our sovereign lord and lady, the king and queen (King William and Queen Mary), present, that George Burroughs, late of Falmouth, in the province of Massachusetts Bay, clerk (a Presbyterian minister of the Gospel), the 9th day of May, and divers other days and times, as well before as after, certain detestable arts, called witchcraft and sorceries, wickedly and feloniously hath used, practised and exercised at and in the town of Salem, in the county aforesaid, upon and against one Mary Walcot, single woman, by which said wicked arts the said Mary, on the day aforesaid, and divers other days and times, as well before as after, was, and is tortured, afflicted, pined, consumed, wasted, and tormented against the peace,” &c.

A witness, by name Ann Putnam, deposed as follows:—On the 8th of May, 1692, I saw the apparition of George Burroughs, who grievously tormented me, and urged me to write in his book, which I refused. He then told me that his two first wives would appear to me presently and{141} tell me a great many lies, but I must not believe them. Then immediately appeared to me the forms of two women in winding-sheets, and napkins about their heads, at which I was greatly affrighted. They turned their faces towards Mr. Burroughs, and looked red and angry, and told him that he had been very cruel to them, and that their blood called for vengeance against him; and they also told him that they should be clothed with white robes in heaven when he should be cast down into hell, and he immediately vanished away. And as soon as he was gone, the women turned their faces towards me, and looked as pale as a white wall; and told me they were Mr. Burroughs’s two wives, and that he had murdered them. And one told me she was his first wife, and he stabbed her under the left breast, and put a piece of sealing-wax in the wound; and she pulled aside the winding-sheet and showed me the place: she also told me that she was in the house where Mr. Daris, the minister of Danvers, then lived when it was done. And the other told me that Mr. Burroughs and a wife that he hath now, killed her in the vessel as she was coming to see her friends from the eastward, because they would have one another. And they both charged me to tell these things to the magistrates before Mr. Burroughs’s face; and if he did not own them, they did not know but they should appear this morning. This morning, also, appeared to me another woman in a winding-sheet, and told me that she was Goodman Fuller’s first wife, and Mr. Burroughs killed her, because there was a difference between her husband and him.

Upon the above, and some other such evidence, was this unfortunate man condemned and executed.

The days are now, happily, past, when such monstrous absurdities are heard of.



THE following is a remarkable instance, if it be true, of a dream occasioning the discovery of a murder:

Adam Rogers (a creditable man, who kept a public-house at Portlaw, a small village nine or ten miles from Waterford, in Ireland) dreamed one night that he saw two men at a particular green spot on an adjacent mountain; one of them a sickly-looking man, the other remarkably strong and large. He then fancied that he saw the little man murder the other, and awoke in great agitation. The circumstances of the dream were so distinct and forcible that he continued much affected by them; and on the next morning he was extremely startled at seeing two strangers enter his house, about eleven o’clock in the forenoon, who resembled precisely the two men that he fancied he had seen.

After the strangers had taken some refreshment, and were about to depart, in order to prosecute their journey, Rogers earnestly endeavoured to dissuade the little man from quitting his house and going on with his fellow-traveller; and he assured him that if he would remain with him that day, he would himself accompany him to Carrick next morning, that being the town to which they were proceeding. He was unwilling and ashamed to tell the cause of his being so solicitous to separate him from{142} his companion; but as he observed that Hickey, which was the name of the little man, seemed to be quiet and gentle in his deportment, and had money about him, and that the other had a ferocious bad countenance, he dreaded that something fatal would happen, and wished, at all events, to keep them asunder. The humane precautions which he took, however, proved ineffectual; for Caulfield (such was the other’s name) prevailed upon Hickey to continue with him on their way to Carrick, declaring that, as they had long travelled together they should not part, but should remain together until he should see Hickey safely arrive at the habitation of his friends. They accordingly set out together; and in about an hour after they left Portlaw, in a lonely part of the mountain, just near the place observed by Rogers in his dream, Caulfield took the opportunity of murdering his companion. It appeared afterwards, from his own account of the horrid transaction, that as they were getting over the ditch, he struck Hickey on the back part of his head with a stone; and when he fell down into the trench, in consequence of the blow, Caulfield gave him several stabs with a knife, and cut his throat so deeply, that the head was almost severed from the body. He then rifled Hickey’s pockets of all the money in them, took part of his clothes, and everything else of value about him, and afterwards proceeded on his way to Carrick. He had not been long gone when the body, still warm, was discovered by some labourers who were returning to their work from dinner. The report of the murder soon reached Portlaw; and Rogers and his wife went to the place, and instantly knew the body of him whom they had in vain endeavoured to dissuade from going on with his treacherous companion. They at once declared their suspicions that the murder was perpetrated by the fellow traveller of the deceased; and an immediate search was made, and Caulfield was apprehended at Waterford on the second day after. He was brought to trial at the ensuing assizes, and convicted of the fact.

After sentence, the prisoner confessed that he had been guilty of the murder, and stated that he had accompanied Hickey home from the West Indies; and that observing that he had money in his possession, he had long contemplated the deed which he afterwards effected, but was unable to meet with a good opportunity until their arrival at the spot alluded to.

He was executed at Waterford in the year 1751.



THE unhappy subject of this narrative was the eldest son of Sir William Parsons, Bart., of the county of Nottingham, and was born in London in the year 1717. He was placed under the care of a pious and learned divine at Pepper-harrow, in Surrey, where he received the first rudiments of education. In a little more than three years he was removed to Eton College, where it was intended that he should qualify himself for one of the universities; but his misconduct prevented his friends from carrying out their intentions in this respect; for having been detected in various acts of petty pilfering, he was dismissed the school, and sent home to his father. His disposition was now found to be of so unpromising a character,{143} that it was thought advisable to send him to sea, and an appointment was procured for him as midshipman on board a vessel of war lying at Spithead, which was immediately about to proceed to Jamaica. Our hero soon obtained the necessary outfit, and joined his ship; but some accident detaining her beyond the time when it was expected she would sail, he applied for leave of absence, and went on shore; but having no intention to return, he directed his course towards a small town about ten miles from Portsmouth, called Bishop’s Waltham, where, by representations of his respectability, he soon ingratiated himself into the favour of the principal inhabitants.

His figure being pleasing, and his manner of address easy and polite, he found but little difficulty in recommending himself to the ladies, and he became greatly enamoured of a beautiful and accomplished young lady, the daughter of a physician of considerable practice, and prevailed upon her to promise that she would yield to him her hand in marriage.

News of the intended alliance coming to the knowledge of his father and of his uncle, the latter directly hastened to Waltham, to prevent a union, which would have produced consequences of the worst character to the contracting parties, and having apprised the friends of the young lady with the condition and situation of the intended bridegroom, their consent was withdrawn, and our hero was with some difficulty induced to rejoin his ship. Restless, however, in his new employment, he had scarcely reached Jamaica, when he determined that he would desert and return to England; and the sailing of the Sheerness man-of-war for that place afforded him an opportunity of carrying his design into execution, of which he lost no time in availing himself. A new effort to obtain the hand of his former love was as unsuccessful as that which he had first made; and his uncle having ascertained the fact of his presence in England, induced him at once to go back to the residence of his father, with promises of future amendment. For a time his determination to alter his course of life was obeyed; but soon again launching forth into habits of irregularity, he was despatched as midshipman on board the Romney, for the coast of Newfoundland. On his revisiting England, after an absence of some years, he was mortified to learn that the Duchess of Northumberland, to whom he was distantly related, had revoked a will in his favour, which she had made, and had bequeathed to his sister the fortune which, he knew, had been intended for him; and now, finding himself spurned by his friends, he was soon reduced to a condition of absolute necessity. Through the friendly intervention of a Mr. Bailey, however, he procured an engagement at James Fort, on the river Gambia, but here, as in all other situations unfortunate, he contrived to engage himself in a quarrel, in consequence of which he was compelled to return to Europe—a step, however, which he was alone enabled to take by setting at defiance the commands of the Governor Aufleur, that he should not quit the colony—and take his passage under an assumed name on board a homeward-bound trader.

Arrived in London, he found no friend to whom he could apply for assistance or relief, but at length discovering the residence of his father, he went to him and implored some aid, even if he should not give him any further countenance. Five shillings, and advice to enter a horse regiment as a private, were all that he could obtain, however, and rendered wretched by his miserable condition, the grave appeared to be the only resource to{144} which he could look for consolation. But a thought suggested itself in time to prevent his rashly taking away his life, that he should represent himself as his brother, who had recently come into a fortune; and under the pretext that he was entitled to the legacy, he committed frauds upon various tradesmen to a considerable amount. His impudence and his ingenuity were now required to be exerted in order to relieve him from the difficulty in which he was involved in consequence of this proceeding, but his good fortune in throwing him in the way of a young lady of good fortune, to whom he was married, placed in his power the means of retrieving his lost character and his degraded position. The marriage was solemnised on the 10th February 1740; and the intercession of his friends, to whom he was now with difficulty again reconciled, procured for him an ensigncy in the 34th regiment of foot from the right honourable Arthur Onslow.

He appeared at this time to be desirous of re-appearing in that position in society to which his birth entitled him; but having hired a house in Poland-street, his extravagant mode of living again, in the course of a few years, reduced him to a condition of great distress. He was compelled to sell his commission in order to recruit his shattered finances; and then, in order to meet new demands, he was guilty of various forgeries, upon which he procured money to a very large amount. For two years he pursued new plans of iniquity with considerable success, but then being apprehended in the act of putting off a forged draft, he was committed to Maidstone jail, and having been convicted at the ensuing assizes, was sentenced to be transported for seven years. In the month of September, 1749, he was put on board the Thames transport, bound for Maryland, and in the following November he was landed at Annapolis, in that place. He was now guilty of new offences, even more criminal than those which he had before committed, and having first ridden off with a horse belonging to the person to whom he was assigned as a servant, and committed several robberies, he shaped his course to Potomac, from whence he immediately sailed for England.

That refuge for the destitute of all classes at this period, “the road,” was now the only resource left to our hero, and for a time he pursued his new occupation with infinite determination and proportionate success; but at length having attempted to rob Mr. Fuller, the gentleman by whom he had before been prosecuted, he was recognised by him, and being vigorously attacked, was at length compelled to surrender, and was secured and committed to Newgate.

It was necessary to prove no new offence against him at his trial, but all that was required was to identify him as a transported felon, who had returned to England before the termination of the period for which he had been sentenced to be banished; and this being done, he was declared to have forfeited his life to the laws of his country. His distressed father and wife used all their interest to obtain for him a pardon, but in vain: he was an old offender, and judged by no means a fit object for mercy.

While Parsons remained in Newgate, his behaviour was such that it could not be determined whether he entertained a proper idea of his dreadful situation. There is, indeed, but too much reason to fear that the hopes of a reprieve (in which he deceived himself even to the last moments of his life) induced him to neglect the necessary preparation for eternity.{145}

His taking leave of his wife afforded a scene extremely affecting: he recommended to her parental protection his only child, and regretted that his misconduct had put it in the power of a censorious world to reflect upon both the mother and son.

At the place of execution he joined in the devotional exercises with a fervency of zeal that proved him to be convinced of the necessity of obtaining the pardon of his Creator.

William Parsons, Esq. suffered at Tyburn, on the 11th of Feb. 1751.



THE scheme laid by this man for the purpose of plunder has scarcely ever been equalled in art and consummate hypocrisy. It is to be observed that in the case of every robbery committed, the hundred where it happens, or the county at large, is responsible for the amount of the loss which the injured person in such cases may sustain. In Chandler’s attempt at fraud founded upon this law, he implicated three innocent men, by whom he pretended to have been robbed, and who, had his tale ultimately received credit, might have lost their lives. Happily his plot was frustrated, and the real offender was brought to justice.

William Chandler was the only child of Mr. Thomas Chandler, of Woodborough, near Devizes, a gentleman farmer of moderate means. At an early age the youth was articled to Mr. Banks, who was clerk of the Goldsmiths’ Company; but before two years had elapsed, in consequence of frequent disputes which took place, he was transferred to Mr. Hill, a respectable attorney in Clifford’s Inn. His clerkship being nearly expired, the necessity of providing himself with the means of commencing practice on his own account suggested itself to his mind, and he therefore laid a plan to procure the possession of as much money as he could, and then going a journey into the country, upon some plausible pretence, to trump up a story of being robbed, and sue the hundred for the amount. Upon representations to his father, that he had a good match in view, the old man gave him an estate of the value of 400l.; and then producing the deeds to his master, together with 500l. which he had obtained by other means, but which he represented that he had received from a rich uncle in Suffolk, he procured from him the advance of 500l. more, in order, as he alleged, that he might take a mortgage upon some property at Enford, within a few miles of his father’s house. Mr. Hill demanded some security for his money, and his clerk immediately proposed to give him a mortgage upon his own estate. In order to favour the appearance of the probability of his proceedings, he engaged with a Mrs. Poor, who lived at Enford, in a transaction, having the mortgage of some land which she owned for its object, and the money having been duly advanced by his employer, he fixed the 25th March, 1748, to meet Mrs. Poor to hand over the money and receive the necessary papers. Early on the 24th, having turned most of his cash into small bills, to the amount of 900l., he found, when he came to put these in canvas bags under his garters, where he proposed to carry them for safety, that they made too great a bundle, and{146} therefore he took several of the bills, with some cash, amounting to 440l., and exchanged them at the bank for two notes, one of 400l. and the other of 40l.; the first of which, in his way home, he changed in his master’s name, at Sir Richard Hoare’s, for one note of 200l., and two of 100l. each. On his reaching the office, he told his master that the bank clerks were a little out of humour at the trouble he had already given them, and that he had changed his small notes with a stranger in the bank-hall for the notes which he in reality had received at Sir Richard Hoare’s. Mr. Hill, at Chandler’s request, having then written down the numbers and dates of the several bills, and having seen them safely put up, Chandler took leave of him, and about twelve o’clock set out.

About four o’clock the same afternoon he reached Hare-hatch, distant thirty miles from London, where he stopped to refresh; and about five, just as he had left his inn, he was, as he said, unfortunately met by three bargemen on foot, who, after they had robbed him of his watch and money, took him to a pit close by the road, and there stripped him of all his bank-notes, bound his hands and feet, and left him, threatening to return and shoot him if he made the least noise. In this woful condition, he said, he lay three hours, though the pit was so near the road that not a single horse could pass without his hearing. When night came, however, he jumped, bound as he was, near half a mile, all up hill, till, luckily for his purpose, he met one Avery, a simple shepherd, who cut the cords, and of whom the first question Chandler asked was, where a constable or tything-man lived. Avery conducted him to Richard Kelly’s, the constable’s just by, and with him Mr. Chandler left the notices required by the statutes, with the description of the men who robbed him, so exactly, that a person present remembered three such men to have passed by his house about the very time the robbery was said to have been committed; and the mayor of Reading, who was accidentally on the road, had a similar recollection of the bargemen, whom he had met near Maidenhead thicket, between four and five the same day. Chandler then returned to the inn where he had refreshed, and, after telling his deplorable tale, and acquainting his landlord with his intention of suing the hundred, he ordered a good supper and a bowl of punch, and sat down with as little concern as if nothing had happened.

Next day he returned to London, acquainted his master with the pretended robbery, and requested his assistance. Mr. Hill gave him the memorandum he had of the numbers, dates, and sums of the notes, and sent him to the bank to stop payment; but, instead of that, he went to Mr. Tufley, a silversmith in Cannon Street, bought a silver tankard, and in payment, changed one of the notes for a hundred pounds which he had received the day before at Sir Richard Hoare’s; and on his return to his master, told him the bank did no business that day, on account of the hurry the city was in with regard to a fire in Cornhill, which had happened the night before. He therefore went again the following morning, and when he came back, being asked by Mr. Hill for the paper on which he had taken down the numbers, &c., he said he had left it with the clerks of the bank, who were to stop the notes, but that he had taken an exact copy of it. This, however, was false; for he had reserved Mr. Hill’s copy, and left another at the bank, in which he had so craftily altered the numbers and dates of the three notes he received at Sir Richard Hoare’s, amounting{147} to four hundred pounds, as to prevent their being stopped and Mr. Hill remembering the difference.

On the 26th he inserted a list of his notes, being fifteen in all, with their dates and numbers, in the daily papers, offering a reward of fifty pounds for the recovery of the whole, or in proportion for any part; but on the afternoon of the same day he withdrew his advertisement in all the daily papers, and took his own written copy away at each place. On the 29th of March, he put the notice of the robbery and the description of the robbers in the London Gazette, as the law directs, except that he did not particularize the notes, as he had done in other papers.

On the 12th of May following, he made the proper information before a justice of the peace; but though Mr. Hill, his master, was with him, and had undertaken to manage the cause for him, yet he made the same omission in his information as in his advertisement in the London Gazette.

All things being prepared, on the 18th of July 1748, Chandler’s cause came on at Abingdon, before a special jury; and, after a hearing of twelve hours, the jury retired, and then gave the prosecutor a verdict for nine hundred and seventy pounds, subject, however, to a case reserved for the opinion of the Court of Common Pleas, concerning the sufficiency of the description of the bank-notes in the London Gazette.

In the mean time, Chandler, fearing that by what came out upon the trial he should soon be suspected, and that he might be arrested, obtained a protection from Lord Willoughby de Broke, and gave out that he was removed into Suffolk to reside, as he had before pretended, with his rich uncle; but in reality he retired to Colchester, where his brother-in-law, Humphry Smart, had taken an inn, with whom he entered into copartnership, and never came publicly to London afterwards. He was, however, obliged to correspond with his master, on account of the point of law which was soon to be argued; and, therefore, to obtain his letters without discovering his place of abode, he ordered them to be directed “To Mr. Thomas Chandler, at Easton, in Suffolk, to be left for him at the Crown at Audley, near Colchester.”

Mr. Hill having written several letters to Mr. Chandler, pressing him to come to town (as the Term drew near), and he evading it by trifling excuses, the former began to suspect him, even before the point of law was determined.

Just before this period, twelve of the notes of which Mr. Chandler pretended to have been robbed, were all brought to the bank together, having been bought, October 31, 1748, at Amsterdam, of one John Smith, by Barnard Solomon, a broker there, and by him transmitted to his son, Nathan Solomon, a broker in London. Upon further inquiry, it appeared that John Smith, who sold the notes, staid but a few days in Holland; that he was seen in company with Mr. Casson, a Holland trader, and came over in the packet with him. Mr. Casson was then found, and his description of John Smith answered to the person of Chandler, who was, in consequence, pressed by letter to come to town and face Casson, to remove all suspicion; but he refused.

In the interim, the point of law was argued before the judges of the Common Pleas, when their determination was to the following effect:—“That, as Chandler had not inserted the numbers of his notes in the Gazette, nor sworn to them when he made oath before the justice, the verdict must be set aside and the plaintiff nonsuited, without the advantage of a new trial.”{148}

But now the scene began to open apace; for about this time the very paper which Chandler left when he stopped payment of the notes at the bank, was found; and upon its being seen by Mr. Hill, he at once saw that he had been deceived, and proceeded to take the necessary steps to secure his apprehension. The whole circumstances attending the case were soon traced, upon a minute inspection of the bank books, as contrasted with those of the banking-house of Messrs. Hoare and Co.; and about midsummer 1749, Mr. Hill and others set out for Colchester, with a view of securing the person of the culprit. After a fruitless journey, however, of about a hundred and fifty miles in search of the fugitive, they returned to the very inn at Colchester which was kept by the object of their search, and then departed for London, without gaining any intelligence. Chandler having seen his pursuers, thought it prudent to decamp, and proceeded to Coventry, where he took a small public-house; but being desirous of making some reparation to his late master, he transmitted to him a hundred and fifty pounds by letter from Nottingham. By the post-mark of his letter, he was eventually traced to Coventry, and an indictment for perjury, in respect of the information on oath, which he gave to the magistrates of the robbery, having been found against him, he was taken into custody on a judge’s warrant, and removed to Abingdon, where, on the 22d July, 1750, he was arraigned on the indictment preferred against him. The witnesses being all in attendance, the prisoner traversed his trial until the next assizes, in pursuance of a right which he possessed; but then the facts already detailed having been proved in evidence, he was found guilty, and on the 16th July 1751, he was sentenced to be transported for seven years, having first undergone three months’ imprisonment in the County Jail.



THE unhappy subject of this memoir was a young lady of most respectable family, and of superior education, but who, in spite of the exertions of her parents in her early life to implant in her breast sentiments of piety and virtue, was guilty of a crime of the most heinous description—the wilful murder of her father. Mr. Francis Blandy was an attorney residing at Henley-on-Thames, and held the office of town-clerk of that place. Possessed of ample means, his house became the scene of much gaiety; and as report gave to his daughter a fortune of no inconsiderable extent, and as, besides, her manners were sprightly and affable, and her appearance engaging, her hand was sought in marriage by many persons whose rank and wealth rendered them fitting to become her partner for life. But among all these visitants, none were received with greater pleasure by Mr. or Mrs. Blandy, or their daughter, than those who held commissions in the army. This predilection was evidenced in the introduction of the Hon. William Henry Cranstoun, at that time engaged on the recruiting service for a foot regiment, in which he ranked as captain.

Captain Cranstoun was the son of Lord Cranstoun, a Scotch peer of ancient family, and through the instrumentality of his uncle, Lord Mark Ker, he had obtained his commission. In the year 1745, he had married{149} a young lady of good family named Murray, with whom he received an ample fortune; and in the year 1752, he was ordered to England to endeavour to procure his complement of men for his regiment. His bad fortune led him to Henley, and there he formed an intimacy with Miss Blandy. At this time Cranstoun was forty-six years of age, while Miss Blandy was twenty years his junior; and it is somewhat extraordinary that a person of her accomplishments and beauty should have formed a liaison with a man so much older than herself, and who, besides, is represented as having been devoid of all personal attractions.

A short acquaintance, it appears, was sufficient to excite the flame of passion in the mind of the gallant captain, as well as of Miss Blandy; and ere long, their troth was plighted, that they would be for ever one. The captain, however, felt the importance of forestalling any information which might reach the ears of his new love of the existence of any person who possessed a better right to his affections than she; and he therefore informed her that he was engaged in a disagreeable lawsuit with a young lady in Scotland who had claimed him as her husband; but he assured her that it was a mere affair of gallantry, of which the process of the law would in the course of a very short time relieve him. This disclosure being followed by an offer of marriage, Cranstoun was referred to Mr. Blandy, and he obtained an easy acquiescence on his part in the wishes expressed by the young lady.

At this juncture, an intimation being conveyed to Lord Ker of the proceedings of his nephew, his lordship took instant steps to apprise Mr. Blandy of the position of Cranstoun. Prejudice had, however, worked its end as well with the father as the daughter, and the assertion of the intended bridegroom of the falsehood of the allegations made was sufficient to dispel all the fears which the report of Lord Ker had raised. But although Captain Cranstoun had thus temporarily freed himself from the effects of the imputation cast upon him, he felt that some steps were necessary to get his first marriage annulled, and he at length wrote to his wife, requesting her to disown him for a husband. The substance of this letter was, that, having no other way of rising to preferment but in the army, he had but little ground to expect advancement there, while it was known he was encumbered with a wife and family; but could he once pass for a single man, he had not the least doubt of being quickly promoted, which would procure him a sufficiency to maintain her as well as himself in a genteeler manner than now he was able to do. “All, therefore, (adds he) I have to request of you is, that you will transcribe the enclosed copy of a letter, wherein you disown me for a husband; put your maiden name to it, and send it by the post. All the use I shall make of it shall be to procure my advancement, which will necessarily include your own benefit. In full assurance that you will comply with my request, I remain your most affectionate husband.”

Mrs. Cranstoun, ill as she had been treated by her husband, and little hope as she had of more generous usage, was, after repeated letters had passed, induced to give up her claim, and at length sent the desired communication. On this, an attempt was made by him to annul the marriage, this letter being produced as evidence; but the artifice being discovered, the suit was dismissed, with costs. Mr. Blandy soon obtained intelligence of this circumstance, and convinced now of the falsehood of his intended son-in-law,{150} he conveyed a knowledge of it to his daughter; but she and her mother repelled the insinuations which were thrown out, and declared, in obedience to what they had been told by the gallant captain, that the suit was not yet terminated, for that an appeal to the House of Lords would immediately be made. Soon after this, Mrs. Blandy died, and her husband began now to show evident dislike for Captain Cranstoun’s visits; but the latter complained to the daughter of the father’s ill-treatment, and insinuated that he had a method of conciliating his esteem; and that when he arrived in Scotland he would send her some powders proper for the purpose; on which, to prevent suspicion, he would write “Powders to clean the Scotch pebbles.”

Cranstoun sent her the powders, according to promise, and Mr. Blandy being indisposed on the Sunday se’nnight before his death, Susan Gunnel, a maid-servant, made him some water-gruel, into which Miss Blandy conveyed some of the powder, and gave it to her father; and repeating this draught on the following day, he was tormented with the most violent pains in his bowels.

The disorder, which had commenced with symptoms of so dangerous a character, soon increased; and the greatest alarm was felt by the medical attendants of the old gentleman, that death alone would terminate his sufferings. Every effort was made by which it was hoped that his life could be saved; but at length, when all possibility of his recovery was past, his wretched daughter rushed into his presence, and in an agony of tears and lamentations, confessed that she was the author of his sufferings and of his inevitable death. Urged to account for her conduct, which to her father appeared inexplicable, she denied, with the loudest asseverations, all guilty intention. She repeated the tale of her love, and of the insidious arts employed by Cranstoun, but asserted that she was unaware of the deadly nature of the powders, and that her sole object in administering them was to procure her father’s affection for her lover. Death soon terminated the accumulated misery of the wretched parent, and the daughter had scarcely witnessed his demise, ere she became an inmate of a jail.

At the ensuing assizes at Oxford, Miss Blandy was indicted for the wilful murder of her father, and was immediately found guilty, upon the confession which she had made. She addressed the jury at great length, repeating the story which she had before related; but all was of no avail, and sentence of death was passed.

After conviction, the wretched young woman behaved with the utmost decency and penitence. She spent the night before her execution in devotion; and at nine in the morning of the 6th of April 1752, she left her apartment to be conducted to the scaffold, habited in a black bombasin dress, her arms being bound with black ribands. On her ascending the gallows, she begged that she might not be hanged high, “for the sake of decency;” and on her being desired to go a little higher, expressed her fear that she should fall. The rope being put round her neck, she pulled her handkerchief over her face, and was turned off on holding out a book of devotions, which she had been reading.

The crowd of spectators assembled on this occasion was immense; and when she had hung the usual time she was cut down, and the body being put into a hearse, was conveyed to Henley, and interred with her parents, at one o’clock on the following morning.{151}

It will be proper now to return to Cranstoun, who was the original contriver of this horrid murder. Having heard of Miss Blandy’s commitment to Oxford jail, he concealed himself some time in Scotland, and then escaped to Boulogne, in France. Meeting there with Mrs. Ross, who was distantly related to his family, he acquainted her with his situation, and begged her protection; on which she advised him to change his name for her maiden name of Dunbar. Some officers in the French service, who were related to his wife, hearing of his concealment, vowed revenge, if they should meet with him, for his cruelty to the unhappy woman: on which he fled to Paris, from whence he went to Furnes, a town in Flanders, where Mrs. Ross had provided a lodging for his reception. He had not been long at Furnes when he was seized with a severe fit of illness, which brought him to a degree of reflection to which he had been long a stranger. At length he sent for a father belonging to an adjacent convent, and received absolution from his hands, on declaring himself a convert to the Romish faith.

Cranstoun died on the 30th of November, 1752; and the fraternity of monks and friars looked on his conversion as an object of such importance, that solemn mass was sung on the occasion, and the body was followed to the grave not only by the ecclesiastics, but by the magistrates of the town.



THESE men were of that class who usually visit England during harvest, from the sister kingdom, and who, if they possessed honesty, would prove most useful to the community of this country.

It appears that in the year 1751, Mr. Porter, a farmer of great respectability, residing in Cheshire, had engaged a number of Irish people to assist in gathering his harvest, when on one evening in the month of August he was alarmed, while sitting at supper, by hearing that they had attacked his house. Every effort was employed by him and his family to oppose the entry of their assailants, but their power being small, in the course of a few minutes the doors were burst in, and they found themselves surrounded by a gang, whose ferocious demands for money or blood convinced them of the uselessness of resistance. Mr. Porter, however, for a while delayed meeting the demands which were made upon him, in the hope that some assistance might arrive; but his ruffian assailants bound him with cords, and threatened instant destruction if his money and plate were not instantly brought forth. Miss Porter at this moment made her appearance, supplicating for the life of her parent, when she in turn was seized and bound, and was compelled to discover the chest in which the valuables were kept.

In the confusion created by these proceedings, the youngest daughter, a girl of thirteen, whose presence of mind and courage were alike admirable, made her escape, and determined to procure some assistance to repel the attack which had been made; and running into the stable, she got astride the bare back of a horse, with the halter only in his mouth, and galloping over hedges and ditches, so as to avoid the house, from which she might{152} be seen by the villains, she rode to Pulford, a village at a short distance, to inform her eldest brother of the danger to which their relations at the farm were exposed. Young Porter, with a friend named Craven, (whose conduct certainly was the very opposite of his name,) immediately resolved upon attacking the villains in turn, and, with the girl, set off at full speed to render such aid as lay in their power. On their reaching the farm, they discovered a fellow on the watch, whom they instantly killed with so little noise as to create no alarm, and then proceeding to the parlour, they found four others in the very act of placing old Mr. Porter on the fire, having deprived him of his clothes, in order to extort from him a confession of the depository of his money, his daughter being on her knees at their side praying for his life. The appearance of two strangers was sufficient to induce the villains at once to desist from their horrid purpose; and being now violently attacked, they were compelled to use their utmost exertions to defend themselves. A desperate conflict took place, but one of the robbers being felled senseless to the ground, and the others wounded and deprived of their arms, they jumped through the window and ran off.

They were instantly pursued by the young men, and the alarm having by this time been given, M‘Canelly and Morgan were secured on Chester bridge, having a silver tankard in their possession which they had stolen from Mr. Porter’s house. A fellow named Stanley, who turned out to be ringleader in this desperate attack, was subsequently apprehended on board a vessel bound for the West Indies, at Liverpool: and with M‘Canelly, Morgan, and a youth named Boyd, who had been left in the house, was committed to Chester jail for trial.

They were indicted at the ensuing assizes held in March, 1752, and after a long investigation, were found guilty and sentenced to death; but Boyd, in whose case some mitigating circumstances were proved, was respited, and his punishment eventually commuted to transportation for life.

On the night before the execution, Stanley slipped his irons, and got clear off from the jail, not without some suspicion that his escape was connived at by the keeper.

On the 25th May, 1752, M‘Canelly and Morgan were brought out of prison in order to be hanged. Their behaviour was as decent as could be expected from persons of their station. They both declared that Stanley, who escaped, was the sole contriver of the robbery. They died in the Catholic faith, and were attended by a priest of that persuasion.



THE case of these offenders is one of the greatest atrocity. It appears that the female was the niece of a gentleman of respectability residing at Walthamstow, who, having acquired an ample fortune, and having no children, adopted his brother’s daughter, and made a will in her favour, bequeathing to her nearly his whole estate. The girl, however, returned her uncle’s kindness with ingratitude, and having heard him declare that he would alter his will on account of her bad behaviour, she determined to{153}

Duel between Lord Mahon and the Duke

Duel between Lord Mahon and the Duke

prevent his carrying his design to her detriment into execution by murdering him. She soon discovered her inability to complete this project single-handed, and she gained the assistance of her accomplice in the crime, John Swan, who was in the employment of her uncle, and with whom there is good reason to believe she was on terms of intimacy. They endeavoured to suborn a simple fellow named Matthews to assist them, but although the promise of a large reward at first staggered him, his terrors eventually steeled him against the temptations held out to him. The night of the 3rd July, 1751, was fixed upon for the completion of this villany; and at the trial, which took place at Chelmsford, before Mr. Justice Wright, on the 11th March, 1752, the following facts were proved:

Matthews having travelled from Yorkshire was accidentally met in Epping Forest by Mr. Jeffries, who gave him employment as an assistant to Swan, who was his gardener. After he had been at work only four days, he was sent up stairs by Miss Jeffries to wipe a chest of drawers, and she followed him, and asked him if he was willing to earn one hundred pounds? He answered that he was, “in an honest way;” on which she desired him to go to Swan. He accordingly joined him in the garden, and he offered him seven hundred pounds to murder their master. He acquiesced; and on his being dismissed two days afterwards, Swan gave him half a guinea to buy a brace of pistols; but having spent the money given to him, he was ordered to meet Miss Jeffries and Swan at Walthamstow on the Tuesday following, at ten o’clock at night, the object being then to carry out their intentions with respect to the murder.

When he arrived, he found the garden door on the latch; and going into the pantry, he hid himself behind a tub till about eleven o’clock, when Swan brought him some cold boiled beef. About twelve Miss Jeffries and Swan came to him; when the latter said, “Now it is time to knock the old miser, my master, on the head;” but Matthews relented and said, “I cannot find it in my heart to do it.” Miss Jeffries then immediately replied, “You may be d—d for a villain, for not performing your promise!” And Swan, who was provided with pistols, also loudly abused him, and said he had a mind to blow his brains out for the refusal. Swan then produced a book, and insisted that Matthews should swear that he would not discover what had passed: and he did so, with this reserve, “unless it was to save his own life.” Soon after this Matthews heard the report of a pistol; when getting out of the house by the back way, he crossed the ferry, and proceeded to Enfield Chase. Immediately afterwards Miss Jeffries appeared at the door of the house, and called out for assistance, and some of the neighbours going in, they found Mr. Jeffries dying, but they failed in discovering any thing which could lead to the supposition of any person having quitted the house. Violent suspicions in consequence arose, and Miss Jeffries was taken into custody, but no evidence arising to criminate her, she was discharged, and immediately administered to her uncle’s estate and took possession of his property. Renewed suspicions, however, were raised, and Matthews having been discovered, Jeffries and Swan were apprehended. Upon this testimony a verdict of Guilty was returned.

After conviction Elizabeth Jeffries made the following confession:—

“I, Elizabeth Jeffries, do freely and voluntarily confess that I first enticed and persuaded John Swan and Thomas Matthews to undertake and perpetrate the murder of my deceased uncle, which they both consented to{154} do the first opportunity. That on the third day of July 1751, myself and John Swan (Matthews, to my knowledge, not being in the house) agreed to kill my said uncle; and, accordingly, after the maid was gone to bed, I went into John Swan’s room, and called him, and we went down together into the kitchen, and having assisted Swan in putting some pewter and other things into a sack, I said I could do no more, and then I went into my room; and afterwards Swan came up, as I believe, and went into my uncle’s room and shot him; which done, he came to my door and rapped. Accordingly I went out in my shift, and John Swan opened the door and let me out. That done, I alarmed the neighbourhood. And I do solemnly declare that I do not know that any person was concerned in the murder of my deceased uncle but myself and John Swan; for that Matthews did not come to my uncle’s house the day before, or night in which the murder was committed as I know of.

Elizabeth Jeffries.

“Taken and acknowledged March 12, 1752.”

Swan for some time expressed great resentment at Miss Jeffries’s confession; but when he learned that he was to be hung in chains he began to relent, and seemed at length to behold his crime in its true light of enormity.

On the day of execution the convicts left the prison at four in the morning, Miss Jeffries being placed in a cart and Swan on a sledge. The unfortunate woman repeatedly fainted on her way to the gallows; and having fallen into a fit, had not recovered when she was turned off. The execution took place near the six-mile-stone on Epping Forest on the 28th of March 1752; and the body of Miss Jeffries having been delivered to her friends for interment, the gibbet was removed to another part of the forest, where Swan was hung in chains.



THE Scottish rebellion had been suppressed nearly eight years, and England had, during that time, enjoyed internal peace, when Doctor Cameron fell a victim to his exertions in the cause of the Pretender. Doctor Cameron was the brother of the chief of the Highland clan of the same name; and it appears that having studied successively at Glasgow, Edinburgh, Paris, and Leyden, he returned to Scotland admirably qualified to practise the profession of medicine, to which he had been brought up. Although educated in a manner which rendered him fit to mix in the best society of the day, he took up his residence in the district of Lochaber, where, in a short time, he was married to a lady of respectable family. Universally esteemed, and beloved by his neighbours for his zealous and effectual services in the civilisation of the manners of his countrymen, and for his generous conduct in the attendance of the sick poor, he was residing in the bosom of his family, when the rebellion of 1745 broke out, which laid waste the country, and introduced misery and wretchedness to many a happy home. The chief of the Camerons was a zealous friend to Prince Charles; and although he firmly believed that any attempt at the restoration of the Stuart family to the throne of England must prove abortive, yet being pledged to assist his prince, he generously sacrificed his own feelings,{155} and appeared in arms at the head of nearly twelve hundred men. Thus arrayed he sent for his brother to undertake the medical charge of his troops; but although the doctor urged every argument which could be raised against so rash an undertaking as that which was proposed, he was at length compelled to forego all further resistance, and to attend the army in his professional capacity, although he absolutely refused to accept any commission. Thus circumstanced, Doctor Cameron was remarkable throughout the whole advance and retreat of the rebel army for the humanity and assiduity with which he attended all, whether friend or foe, who required his aid. And when the battle of Culloden put an end to all the hopes of the Pretender, he and his brother escaped to France in a vessel belonging to that kingdom. While in France, the doctor was appointed physician to a French regiment, of which his brother obtained the command; but the latter dying about two years afterwards, he joined Ogilvie’s regiment in Flanders.

In the meantime proceedings had been taken against the rebel leaders in England, many of whom had forfeited their lives to the offended laws of their country, and by an act of attainder passed in the year 1746, for the effectual punishment of persons concerned in the rebellion, the life of Doctor Cameron was declared to be forfeited. In the years 1750 and 1752, subscriptions were entered into in Scotland for the support of those persons who had escaped into foreign countries, and Doctor Cameron having already more than once visited his native country, finally in the latter year came over to Scotland, for the purpose of procuring some permanent relief for himself and his suffering fellow-countrymen abroad. Rumours were soon set afloat that he was in Scotland, and a detachment of Lord George Beaufort’s regiment was sent in search of him. Being made acquainted with the vicinity of his hiding-place, but being unable for a considerable time to discover its exact locality, the soldiers were unable to secure their prisoner; but at length perceiving a little girl, who appeared to be acting as a scout, they followed her until she met a boy, who was evidently employed in a similar capacity, to whom they observed that she whispered something. They directly pursued the boy, but being unable to reach him, they presented their guns, threatening to shoot him if he did not immediately stop. Having then secured his person, they menaced him with instant death if he did not inform them of the hiding-place of Dr. Cameron. The boy pointed to the house where he was concealed, and the unfortunate gentleman was directly placed under arrest, and was then immediately sent to Edinburgh, and from thence subsequently to London, where he was placed in confinement in the Tower. Upon his examination before the Privy Council, he denied that he was the person mentioned in the Act of Attainder; but being brought to the bar of the Court of King’s Bench on the 17th of May, he acknowledged that he was the person who had been attainted; on which Lord Chief Justice Lee pronounced sentence in the following terms:—“You, Archibald Cameron, of Lochiel, in that part of Great Britain called Scotland, must be removed from hence to his Majesty’s prison of the Tower of London, from whence you came, and on Thursday, the 7th of June next, your body to be drawn on a sledge to the place of execution, there to be hanged, but not till you are dead,—your bowels to be taken out, your body quartered, your head cut off, and affixed at the king’s disposal,—and the Lord have mercy on your soul!”{156}

After his commitment to the Tower he begged to see his wife, who was then at Lille, in Flanders; and, on her arrival, the meeting between them was inexpressibly affecting. The unfortunate lady wept incessantly; and on her going to take her final leave of her husband, on the morning of execution, she was attacked with fits, which left her only after grief had deprived her of her senses.

On the morning of the 7th June, 1753, the unhappy man was carried to Tyburn to be executed. He was dressed in a light-coloured coat, red waistcoat and breeches, and a new bag-wig. He looked much at the spectators in the houses and balconies, as well as at those in the street, and bowed to several persons with whom he was acquainted. He was attended at the scaffold by a clergyman of the Church of England; and before his being turned off, he declared that he was at peace with all men, and that he died firmly hoping for the forgiveness of his sins through the merits of his blessed Redeemer. When his body had hung during twenty minutes it was cut down, and the heart was taken out and burned, but the sentence was not further fulfilled. On the following Sunday, his remains were interred in a large vault in the Savoy chapel.

Dr. Cameron, it appears, was the last person who suffered punishment on account of connection with the rebellion of Scotland; and of all those who were concerned in it, probably he least of all deserved the unhappy fate which befel him. The very small, and apparently unwilling part which he took in the proceedings, should have screened him from condign punishment, more especially at a period when all appearance of discontent having vanished, no further harm was to be apprehended.



CAPTAIN LANCEY was a native of Biddeford, in Devonshire, and was respectably connected. At an early age, he exhibited a predilection for a seafaring life, and having served his apprenticeship, he was employed as mate of a vessel belonging to Mr. Benson, a rich merchant of Biddeford, at that time M.P. for Barnstaple.

Having married a sister of Benson’s, Lancey was soon advanced to the command of the vessel; and on his return from a voyage, he was surprised at receiving an order from his employer to refit as soon as possible, Mr. Benson saying that he would insure the vessel for twice her value, and that Lancey should destroy her. The latter hesitated at first to assent to this extraordinary proposition, and for a time the suggestion was not again mentioned; but another opportunity being afforded to Benson, on his brother-in-law dining with him, he plied him with wine, and having pointed out to him the poverty to which his family might be reduced in case of his refusal, by his being dismissed from employment, the unhappy man at length yielded to his persuasions.

A ship was now fitted out, and bound for Maryland: goods to a large amount were shipped on board, but re-landed before the vessel sailed, and a lading of brick-bats taken in by way of ballast; and the vessel had not been long at sea before a hole was bored in her side, and a cask of combustible{157} ingredients set on fire with a view to destroy her. The fire no sooner appeared than the captain called to some convicted transports, then in the hold, to inquire if they had fired the vessel; but this appears to have been only a feint to conceal the real design. The boat being hoisted out, all the crew got safely on shore; and then Lancey repaired immediately to Benson to inform him of what had passed. The latter instantly despatched him to a proctor, before whom he swore that the ship had accidentally taken fire, and that it was impossible to prevent the consequences which followed.

The crime was soon afterwards discovered, however, and Lancey was taken into custody; but, secure in his anticipation of protection from Benson, he did not express much concern at his situation. His employer, in the mean time, was perfectly aware of the consequences which would fall upon him, and fled to avoid them; and his unhappy dupe being brought to trial, was capitally convicted, and received sentence of death. He subsequently lay in prison for about four months, during which time he pursued his devotional exercises with the utmost regularity, and was hanged on the 7th June, 1754, at Execution Dock, in the 27th year of his age.



THIS malefactor appears to have suffered for a crime as savagely ferocious as it was deliberate. He was a native of Cramond, near Edinburgh, where he was decently educated, and was apprenticed to a butcher; but his taste tending towards a seafaring life, he entered on board a man-of-war as a sailor, and remained in that situation for four years. On his return, he married the widow of a respectable butcher, who had left her a decent fortune.

Taking to a habit of drinking, he seldom came home sober at night; and his wife following his example, he used frequently to beat her for copying his own crime. This conduct rendered both parties obnoxious to their acquaintance; and the following revolting anecdote of Brown will incontestably prove the unfeeling brutality of his nature.

About a week after the execution of Norman Ross (already mentioned) for murder, Brown had been drinking with some company at Leith, till, in the height of their jollity, they boasted what extravagant actions they could perform. Brown swore that he would cut off a piece of flesh from the leg of the dead man and eat it. His companions, drunk as they were, appeared shocked at the very idea; while Brown, to prove that he was in earnest, procured a ladder, which he carried to the gibbet, and cutting off a piece of flesh from the leg of the suspended body of Ross, brought it back, broiled and ate it.

The circumstances of the crime for which he was executed were as follow.

After having been drinking at an alehouse in the Canongate, he went home at about eleven at night, in a high degree of intoxication. His wife was also much in liquor; but, though equally criminal himself, he was exasperated against her, and struck her so violently that she fell from her chair. The noise of her fall alarmed the neighbours; but, as frequent quarrels had happened between them, no immediate notice was taken of the affair. In about fifteen minutes, the wife was heard to cry out “Murder!{158} help! fire! the rogue is murdering me!” and the neighbours, now apprehending real danger, knocked at the door; but no person being in the house but Brown and his wife, admission was refused. The woman, meantime, was heard to groan most shockingly, and a person looking through the keyhole, saw Brown holding his wife to the fire. He was called on to open the door, but refused to do so; and the candle being extinguished, and the woman still continuing her cries, the door was at length forced open. When the neighbours went in, they beheld her a most shocking spectacle, lying half naked before the fire, and her flesh in part broiled. In the interim, Brown had got into bed, pretending to be asleep, and when spoken to, appeared ignorant of the transaction. The woman, though so dreadfully burnt, retained her senses, and accused her husband of the murder, and told in what manner it was perpetrated. She survived till the following morning, still continuing in the same tale, and then expired in the utmost agony.

The murderer was now seized, and being lodged in the jail of Edinburgh, was brought to trial and capitally convicted.

On August the 14th, 1754, he was attended to the place of execution at Edinburgh by the Rev. Dr. Brown; but to the last he denied having been guilty of the crime for which he suffered.

After execution he was hung in chains; but the body was stolen from the gibbet, and thrown into a pond, where being found, it was exposed as before. In a few days, however, it was again stolen; and though a reward was offered for its discovery, it was not again found.



THE circumstances which came out on the trial of Edward Morgan, at the assizes of Glamorgan, were these:—According to annual custom, he had been invited by Mr. Rees Morgan, of Lanvabon, his cousin, to spend the Christmas holidays. He had partaken of the first day’s festivity, and retired to bed along with a young man, apprentice to Mr. Rees Morgan. No sooner had he laid his head upon the pillow, to use his own expression, than the devil whispered him to get up and murder the whole family, and he determined to obey.

He first made an attempt on the apprentice, his bedfellow; but he struggled so far as to effect his escape, and hid himself. The murderer then provided himself with a knife, which he sharpened on a stone as deliberately as the butcher uses his steel; and thus prepared, he softly crept to the bedchamber of his host and hostess, and cut their throats in their sleep. He then proceeded to the bed of their beautiful daughter, with whom the monster had but an hour before been sporting and playing, and with equal expedition, and by the same means, robbed her of life. Not satisfied, however, with these deeds of blood, he seized a firebrand, and proceeded to the barn and outhouses, setting fire to them all; and, to complete the sum of his crime, he fired the dwelling-house, after plundering it of some articles.

“The Gloucester Journal,” of the year 1757, describes the property consumed by fire on this melancholy occasion to have been “the dwelling-house, a barn full of corn, a beast-house, with twelve head of cattle in it.”{159}

It was at first conjectured that the unfortunate people had perished in the conflagration. Their murdered bodies, it is too true, were consumed to ashes; but the manner of their death was subsequently proved, partly by what the concealed apprentice overheard, but chiefly from the murderer’s own confession. Morgan was executed at Glamorgan, April the 6th, 1757.



AMONG the singular customs of our forefathers, arising in a great measure from their indifference to decorum, one of the most remarkable was matrimony, solemnised, we were going to say, but the fittest word would be “performed,” by the parsons in the Fleet prison, to which reference has already frequently been made. These clerical functionaries were disreputable and dissolute men, mostly prisoners for debt, who, to the great injury of public morals, dared to insult the dignity of their holy profession by marrying in the precincts of the Fleet prison, at a minute’s notice, any persons who might present themselves for that purpose. No questions were asked, no stipulations made, except as to the amount of the fee for the service, or the quantity of liquor to be drunk on the occasion. It not unfrequently happened, indeed, that the clergyman, the clerk, the bride groom and the bride, were drunk at the very time the ceremony was performed. These disgraceful members of the sacred calling had their “plyers,” or “barkers,” who, if they caught sight of a man and woman walking together along the streets of the neighbourhood, pestered them as the Jew clothesmen in the present day tease the passers-by in Holywell Street, with solicitations, not easily to be shaken off, as to whether they wanted a clergyman to marry them. Mr. Burn, a gentleman who has recently published a curious work on the Fleet Registers, says he has in his possession an engraving (published about 1747) of “A Fleet Wedding between a brisk young Sailor and Landlady’s daughter at Rederiff.” “The print,” he adds, “represents the old Fleet market and prison, with the sailor, landlady, and daughter, just stepping from a hackney-coach, while two Fleet parsons in canonicals are contending for the job. The following verses are in the margin:

“Scarce had the coach discharg’d its trusty fare,
But gaping crowds surround th’ amorous pair;
The busy Plyers make a mighty stir,
And whisp’ring cry, D’ye want the Parson, Sir?
Pray step this way—just to the Pen in Hand,
The Doctor’s ready there at your command:
This way (another cries), Sir, I declare,
The true and ancient Register is here:
“Th’ alarmed Parsons quickly hear the din,
And haste with soothing words t’ invite ’em in:
In this confusion jostled to and fro,
Th’ inamour’d couple know not where to go,
Till, slow advancing from the coach’s side,
Th’ experienc’d matron came, (an artful guide,)
She led the way without regarding either,
And the first Parson splic’d ’em both together.”


One of the most notorious of these scandalous officials was a man of the name of George Keith, a Scotch minister, who, being in desperate circumstances, set up a marriage-office in May-Fair, and subsequently in the Fleet, and carried on the same trade which has since been practised in front of the blacksmith’s anvil at Gretna Green. This man’s wedding-business was so extensive and so scandalous, that the Bishop of London found it necessary to excommunicate him. It has been said of this person and “his journeyman,” that one morning, during the Whitsun holidays, they united a greater number of couples than had been married at any ten churches within the bills of mortality. Keith lived till he was eighty-nine years of age, and died in 1735. The Rev. Dr. Gaynham, another infamous functionary, was familiarly called the Bishop of Hell.

“Many of the early Fleet weddings,” observes Mr. Burn, “were really performed at the chapel of the Fleet; but as the practice extended, it was found more convenient to have other places, within the Rules of the Fleet, (added to which, the Warden was forbidden, by act of parliament, to suffer them,) and, thereupon, many of the Fleet parsons and tavern-keepers in the neighbourhood fitted up a room in their respective lodgings or houses as a chapel! The parsons took the fees, allowing a portion to the plyers, &c.; and the tavern-keepers, besides sharing in the money paid, derived a profit from the sale of liquors which the wedding-party drank. In some instances, the tavern-keepers kept a parson on the establishment, at a weekly salary of twenty shillings! Most of the taverns near the Fleet kept their own registers, in which (as well as in their own books) the parsons entered the weddings.” Some of these scandalous members of the highest of all professions were in the habit of hanging signs out of their windows with the words “Weddings performed cheap here.”

Keith, of whom we have already spoken, seems to have been a bare-faced profligate; but there is something exceedingly affecting in the stings of conscience and forlorn compunction of one Walter Wyatt, a Fleet parson, in one of whose pocket-books of 1716 are the following secret (as he intended them to be) outpourings of remorse:—

“Give to every man his due, and learn ye way of Truth.”

“This advice cannot be taken by those that are concerned in ye Fleet marriages; not so much as ye Priest can do ye thing yt it is just and right there, unless he designs to starve. For by lying, bullying, and swearing, to extort money from the silly and unwary people, you advance your business and get ye pelf, which always wastes like snow in sunshiney day.”

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. The marrying in the Fleet is the beginning of eternal woe.”

“If a clerk or plyer tells a lye, you must vouch it to be as true as ye Gospel, and if disputed, you must affirm with an oath to ye truth of a downright damnable falsehood.—Virtus laudatur & algetr.”[9]

“May God forgive me what is past, and give me grace to forsake such a wicked place, where truth and virtue can’t take place unless you are resolved to starve.”{161}

But this very man, whose sense of his own disgrace was so deep and apparently so contrite, was one of the most notorious, active, and money-making of all the Fleet parsons. His practice was chiefly in taverns, and he has been known to earn nearly sixty pounds in less than a month.

With such facilities for marriage, and such unprincipled ministers, it may easily be imagined that iniquitous schemes of all sorts were perpetrated under the name of Fleet weddings. The parsons were ready, for a bribe, to make false entries in their registers, to ante-date weddings, to give fictitious certificates, and to marry persons who would declare only the initials of their names. Thus, if a spinster or widow in debt desired to cheat her creditors by pretending to have been married before the debt was contracted, she had only to present herself at one of the marriage-houses in the Fleet, and, upon payment of a small additional fee to the clergyman, a man could instantly be found on the spot to act as bridegroom for a few shillings, and the worthless chaplain could find a blank place in his Register for any year desired, so that there was no difficulty in making the necessary record. They would also, for a consideration, obliterate any given entry. The sham bridegrooms, under different names, were married over and over again, with the full knowledge of the clerical practitioners. If, in other instances, a libertine desired to possess himself of any young and unsuspecting woman, who would not yield without being married, nothing was easier than to get the service performed at the Fleet without even the specification of names; so that the poor girl might with impunity be shaken off at pleasure. Or if a parent found it necessary to legitimatise his natural children, a Fleet parson could be procured to give a marriage-certificate at any required date. In fact, all manner of people presented themselves for marriage at the unholy dens in the Fleet taverns,—runaway sons and daughters of peers,—Irish adventurers and foolish rich widows,—clodhoppers and ladies from St. Giles’s,—footmen and decayed beauties,—soldiers and servant-girls,—boys in their teens and old women of seventy,—discarded mistresses, “given away” by their former admirers to pitiable and sordid bridegrooms,—night-wanderers and intoxicated apprentices,—men and women having already wives and husbands,—young heiresses conveyed thither by force, and compelled, in terrorem, to be brides,—and common labourers and female paupers dragged by parish-officers to the profane altar, stained by the relics of drunken orgies, and reeking with the fumes of liquor and tobacco! Nay, it sometimes happened that the “contracting parties” would send from houses of vile repute for a Fleet parson, who could readily be found to attend even in such places and under such circumstances, and there unite the couple in matrimony!

Of what were called the “Parish Weddings” it is impossible to speak in terms of sufficient reprobation. Many of the churchwardens and overseers of that day were in the frequent practice of “getting up” marriages in order to throw their paupers on neighbouring parishes. For example, in the Daily Post of the 4th July, 1741, is the following paragraph:—

“On Saturday last the churchwardens for a certain parish in the city, in order to remove a load from their own shoulders, gave forty shillings, and paid the expense of a Fleet marriage, to a miserable blind youth, known by the name of Ambrose Tally, who plays on the violin in Moorfields, in order to make a settlement on the wife and future family in{162} Shoreditch parish. To secure their point they sent a parish-officer to see the ceremony performed. One cannot but admire the ungenerous proceeding of this city parish, as well as their unjustifiable abetting and encouraging an irregularity so much and so justly complained of, as these Fleet matches. Invited and uninvited were a great number of poor wretches, in order to spend the bride’s parish fortune.”

In the Grub Street Journal for 1735, is the following letter, faithfully describing, says Mr. Burn, the treachery and low habits of the Fleet parsons:—

Sir,—There is a very great evil in this town, and of dangerous consequence to our sex, that has never been suppressed, to the great prejudice and ruin of many hundreds of young people every year, which I beg some of your learned heads to consider of, and consult of proper ways and means to prevent for the future. I mean the ruinous marriages that are practised in the liberty of the Fleet and thereabouts, by a set of drunken swearing parsons, with their myrmidons, that wear black coats, and pretend to be clerks and registers to the Fleet. These ministers of wickedness ply about Ludgate-hill, pulling and forcing people to some pedling ale-house or a brandy-shop to be married, even on a Sunday stopping them as they go to church, and almost tearing their clothes off their backs. To confirm the truth of these facts I will give you a case or two which lately happened.

“Since Midsummer last a young lady of birth and fortune was deluded and forced from her friends, and, by the assistance of a wry-necked swearing parson, married to an atheistical wretch, whose life is a continued practice of all manner of vice and debauchery. And since the ruin of my relation, another lady of my acquaintance had like to have been trepanned in the following manner. This lady had appointed to meet a gentlewoman at the Old Playhouse in Drury-lane, but extraordinary business prevented her coming. Being alone when the play was done, she bade a boy call a coach for the city. One dressed like a gentleman helps her into it, and jumps in after her. ‘Madam,’ says he, ‘this coach was called for me, and since the weather is so bad, and there is no other, I beg leave to bear you company. I am going into the city, and will set you down wherever you please.’ The lady begged to be excused; but he bade the coachman drive on. Being come to Ludgate-hill, he told her his sister, who waited his coming but five doors up the court, would go with her in two minutes. He went, and returned with his pretended sister, who asked her to step in one minute, and she would wait upon her in the coach. Deluded with the assurance of having his sister’s company, the poor lady foolishly followed her into the house, when instantly the sister vanished, and a tawny fellow in a black coat and black wig appeared. ‘Madam, you are come in good time; the Doctor was just a-going.’—‘The Doctor!’ says she, horribly frighted, fearing it was a madhouse: ‘what has the Doctor to do with me?’—‘To marry you to that gentleman. The Doctor has waited for you these three hours, and will be payed by you or that gentleman before you go!’—‘That gentleman,’ says she, recovering herself, ‘is worthy a better fortune than mine,’ and begged hard to be gone. But Doctor Wryneck swore she should be married, or if she would not, he would still have his fee, and register the marriage from that night. The lady, finding she could not escape without money or a pledge, told them{163} she liked the gentleman so well, she would certainly meet him to-morrow night, and gave them a ring as a pledge, which, says she, ‘was my mother’s gift on her death-bed, enjoining that if ever I married it should be my wedding-ring.’ By which cunning contrivance she was delivered from the black Doctor and his tawny crew. Some time after this I went with this lady and her brother in a coach to Ludgate-hill in the day-time, to see the manner of their picking up people to be married. As soon as our coach stopped near Fleet Bridge, up comes one of the myrmidons. ‘Madam,’ says he, ‘you want a parson?’—‘Who are you?’ says I.—‘I am the clerk and register of the Fleet.’—‘Show me the chapel.’ ‘At which comes a second, desiring me to go along with him. Says he, ‘That fellow will carry you to a pedling alehouse.’ Says a third, ‘Go with me; he wilt carry you to a brandy-shop.’ In the interim comes the Doctor. ‘Madam,’ says he, ‘I’ll do your job for you presently!’—‘Well, gentlemen,’ says I, ‘since you can’t agree, and I can’t be married quietly, I’ll put it off ‘till another time:’ so drove away. Learned sirs, I wrote this in regard to the honour and safety of my own sex: and if for our sakes you will be so good as to publish it, correcting the errors of a woman’s pen, you will oblige our whole sex, and none more than, sir,

“Your constant reader and admirer,Virtuous.”

Such are but a few of the iniquities practised by the ministers of the Fleet. Similar transactions were carried on at the Chapel in May Fair, the Mint in the Borough, the Savoy, and other places about London; until the public scandal became so great, especially in consequence of the marriage at the Fleet of the Hon. Henry Fox with Georgiana Caroline, eldest daughter of the Duke of Richmond, that at length,—not, however, without much and zealous opposition,—a Marriage Bill was passed, enacting that any person solemnising matrimony in any other than a church or public chapel, without banns or license, should, on conviction, be adjudged guilty of felony, and be transported for fourteen years, and that all such marriages should be void. This act was to take effect from the 25th of March, 1754.

Upon the passing of this law, Keith, the parson who has already been alluded to, published a pamphlet entitled, “Observations on the Act for Preventing Clandestine Marriages.” To this he prefixed his portrait. The following passages are highly characteristic of the man:—

“ ‘Happy is the wooing that is not long a-doing,’ is an old proverb, and a very true one; but we shall have no occasion for it after the 25th day of March next, when we are commanded to read it backwards, and from that period (fatal indeed to Old England!) we must date the declension of the numbers of the inhabitants of England.”—“As I have married many thousands, and consequently have on those occasions seen the humour of the lower class of people, I have often asked the married pair how long they had been acquainted; they would reply, some more, some less, but the generality did not exceed the acquaintance of a week, some only of a day, half a day,” &c.—“Another inconveniency which will arise from this act will be, that the expense of being married will be so great, that few of the lower class of people can afford; for I have often heard a Fleet-parson say, that many have come to be married when they have but had half-a-crown in their pockets, and sixpence to buy a pot of beer, and for which they have pawned some of their clothes.”—“I remember once on a time,{164} I was at a public-house at Radcliff, which then was full of sailors and their girls; there was fiddling, piping, jigging, and eating: at length, one of the tars starts up, and says, ‘D—n ye, Jack, I’ll be married just now; I will have my partner, and....’ The joke took, and in less than two hours ten couple set out for the Fleet. I staid their return. They returned in coaches, five women in each coach, the tars, some running before, others riding on the coach-box, and others behind. The cavalcade being over, the couples went up into an upper room, where they concluded the evening with great jollity. The next time I went that way I called on my landlord and asked him concerning this marriage adventure. He at first stared at me, but recollecting, he said those things were so frequent that he hardly took any notice of them; for, added he, it is a common thing when a fleet comes in, to have two or three hundred marriages in a week’s time, among the sailors.” He humorously concludes, “If the present Act in the form it now stands should (which I am sure is impossible) be of service to my country, I shall then have the satisfaction of having been the occasion of it, because the compilers thereof have done it with a pure design of suppressing my Chapel, which makes me the most celebrated man in this kingdom, though not the greatest.”

The passing of the Marriage Act put a stop to the marriages at May Fair; but the day before the Act came into operation (Lady-day 1754)[10] sixty-one couple were married there.[11]

It would exceed the limits of this brief sketch were we to give the official history of the different scandalous ministers who thus disgraced themselves, and impiously trifled with one of our most sacred institutions. That some of these wretched adventurers were merely pretended clergymen is certain; but it cannot be denied that many of them were actually in holy orders.

Of this latter class were Grierson and Wilkinson, the subjects of our present notice; and notwithstanding the heavy penalties imposed by the statute, they were not to be deterred from continuing the dangerous and unlawful traffic in which they had been engaged. Wilkinson, who was the brother of a celebrated comedian of the day, it would appear, was the owner of a chapel in the Savoy, and Grierson was his assistant; and their proceedings having at length become too notorious to be passed over, proceedings were instituted against them. Grierson was first apprehended, and his employer sought safety in flight; but supposing that he could not be deemed guilty of any offence, as he had not actually performed the marriage ceremony, a duty which he left to his journeyman, he returned to his former haunts. It was not long before he was secured, however, and having been convicted with Grierson, they were shipped off as convicts together to the colonies, in the year 1757.{165}



WILLIAM PAGE was the son of a respectable farmer at Hampton, and being a lad of promising parts he was sent to London to be educated under the care of his cousin, a haberdasher. His early life, by the superstitious believers of old sayings, would be adduced as proof positive of the truth of the old adage, that “a man who is born to be hanged will never be drowned;” and although we cannot put much faith generally in such notions, we cannot help in this instance pointing out some peculiarities in the adventures of our hero, which might have been considered by him as a sufficient indication of his fate. The early chronicler of his life says, that, during the hard frost in the winter of 1739, Page was sliding with other boys on the canal in St. James’s Park, when the ice broke under him, and he sank; and the ice immediately closing over him, he must have perished; but just at this juncture the ice again broke with another boy near him, and Page arose precisely at the vacancy made by the latter, and was saved, although his companion was drowned. The second instance of the intervention of his good fortune occurred in the summer following this singular escape. Page was then trying to swim with corks in the Thames, when they slipped from under his arms, and he sank; but a waterman got him up, and he soon recovered. On the third occasion he was going up the river on a party of pleasure, about five years afterwards, with several other young fellows, when the boat overset with them in Chelsea Reach, and every one in the boat was drowned except Page. But his fourth and last escape from a watery grave was even more miraculous than any of those which preceded it. About eighteen months after that which is last related he was on a voyage to Scotland. The ship in which he sailed foundered in Yarmouth Roads, and most of the people on board perished; but another vessel, observing their distress, sent out a long-boat, by the help of which Page and a few others saved their lives.

To return, however, to the ordinary events of his life. It appears, that his cousin having given him employment in his shop, his vanity prevented him from bestowing that attention on his business to which it was entitled; and his extravagance being checked by his relation, who stopped his pocket-money in order to curb his refined notions, he had recourse to plunder to supply his necessities. Money being repeatedly missed from the till, and all attempts to discover the thief among the servants having failed, suspicion at length rested on our hero; and his guilt having been distinctly proved he was dismissed from his situation forthwith. An effort which he made to conciliate his relation after this proved ineffectual; and his father, who had learned the nature of his irregularities, having refused to render him any assistance, he at length journeyed to York, and there joined a company of strolling players. His exertions in his new capacity were not unsuccessful; but at length attempting to play Cato while in a state of intoxication, his character in the play and his condition of person were found to agree so badly, that he was compelled to be carried from the stage, and was dismissed from his engagement. He afterwards went to Scarborough, where his necessities compelled him to accept a situation as livery-servant with a gentleman; but his master having been robbed on{166} his way to town, he formed a notion that highway robbery was an easy and profitable mode of living; and determined that so soon as he should have the means of starting in the profession, he would become a “gentleman of the road.” Quitting his master at the end of twelve months, he became acquainted with a woman of abandoned character, in conjunction with whom he took lodgings near Charing Cross, and he then commenced highwayman. His first expedition was on the Kentish road; and meeting the Canterbury stage near Shooter’s-hill, he robbed the passengers of watches and money to the amount of about thirty pounds; and then riding through great part of Kent to take an observation of the cross-roads, he returned to London. He now took lodgings near Grosvenor-square, and frequenting billiard-tables won a little money, which, added to his former stock, prevented his having recourse to the highway again for a considerable time; but at length he met with a gambler who was more expert than himself, and stripped him of all his money. He then again sought the road as a means of subsistence. His exertions were for some time fruitless; but at length meeting with a handsome booty, he was emboldened by his success; and taking handsome lodgings he soon gained the friendship of some young men of fashion. His next object was to improve his mind and person; and having gained some knowledge, by dint of impudence and through a pleasing exterior he got introduced into decent society.

By this time, he had drawn, from his own observation and for his private use, a most curious map of the roads twenty miles round London; and, driving in a phaeton and pair, he was not suspected for a highwayman.

In his excursions for robbery he used to dress in a laced or embroidered frock, and wear his hair tied behind; but when at a distance from London, he would turn into some unfrequented place, and, having disguised himself in other clothes, with a grizzle or black wig, and saddled one of his horses, he would ride to the main road, and commit a robbery. This done, he hastened back to the carriage, resumed his former dress, and drove to town again. He was frequently cautioned to be on his guard against a highwayman, who might meet and rob him: “No, no,” said he, “he cannot do it a second time, unless he robs me of my coat and shirt, for he has taken all my money already.”

He had once an escape of a very remarkable kind:—Having robbed a gentleman near Putney, some persons came up at the juncture, and pursued him so closely that he was obliged to cross the Thames for his security. In the interim, some haymakers crossing the field where Page’s carriage was left, found and carried off his gay apparel; and the persons who had pursued him, meeting them, charged them with being accomplices in the robbery. A report of this affair being soon spread, Page heard of it, and throwing his clothes into a well, he went back almost naked, claimed the carriage as his own, and declared that the men had stripped him, and thrown him into a ditch. All the parties now went before a justice of the peace; and the maker of the carriage appearing, and declaring that it was the property of Mr. Page, the poor haymakers were committed for trial; but obtained their liberty after the next assizes, as Page did not appear to prosecute.

After this, he made no farther use of the phaeton as a disguise for his robberies; but it served him occasionally on parties of pleasure, which he sometimes took with a girl whom he had then in keeping.{167}

Page was passionately fond of play, and his practice this way was occasionally attended with good fortune. One night he went to the masquerade with only ten guineas, but joining a party at cards, he won above five hundred pounds; but this money was no sooner in his possession, than a lady, most magnificently dressed, made some advances to him, on which he put the most favourable construction. After some conversation, she told him that her mother was a widow who would not admit of his visits; but that possibly he might prevail on her attendant, whose husband was a reputable tradesman, to give them admission to her house.

Page, who had repeatedly heard the other address her by the title of “My lady,” became very importunate with the good woman to grant this favour; and at length, all parties having agreed, the servants were called. Page handed the lady and her attendant into a coach, on which was the coronet of a viscountess. Two footmen with flambeaux got up behind, and the coachman was ordered to drive home. The “home” which they reached, however, was a brothel; and on the lady quitting him in the morning, he found that she had been dexterous enough to rob him of his pocket-book and its contents, which no doubt more than compensated her for the favour which she had bestowed upon him.

The road and the gaming-table were now his only means of support, and he found a fitting companion in his proceedings in the person of an old schoolfellow named Darwell, in conjunction with whom, in the course of three years, he committed upwards of three hundred robberies. At length, however, their iniquitous proceedings caused an active search to be made for them; and Darwell being apprehended, “peached” upon his companion, and disclosed the places where it was most likely that he would be found.

The consequence was, that Page was apprehended at the Golden Lion, near Hyde Park, when three loaded pistols were found on him, with powder, balls, a wig to disguise himself, and the correct map of the roads round London which we have already mentioned.

He was sent to Newgate, and an advertisement inserted in the papers, requesting such persons as had been robbed to attend his re-examination but he denied all that was alleged against him; and, as he was always disguised when he committed any robbery, no person present could identify his person.

He was tried at length on suspicion of robbing Mr. Webb in Belfourd Lane, but acquitted for want of evidence; and after this he was tried at Hertford, but again acquitted for a like reason.

From Hertford he was removed to Maidstone jail, and being tried at Rochester for robbing Captain Farrington on Blackheath, he was capitally convicted, and received sentence of death. After conviction he acknowledged his guilt, yet exerted himself in the most strenuous manner to procure a pardon. He wrote to a nobleman with this view, and also sent a letter to a gentleman with whom he had lived as a servant, begging his interest that he might be sent to America as a foot-soldier; but his endeavours proved fruitless, and he was ordered for execution.

This extraordinary malefactor suffered at Maidstone on the 6th of April, 1758.{168}



WE are now arrived at that period which brings to our view perhaps the most remarkable trial in our whole Calendar. The offender was a man of extraordinary endowments and of high education, and therefore little to be suspected of committing so foul a crime as that proved against him.

Much has been written upon the subject of this murder, and attempts have been made, even of late years, to show the innocence of Aram. The contents of the publications upon the subject would be sufficient of themselves to fill our volumes; and it would be useless to republish arguments, which, having had due circulation and due consideration, have failed in their object, which was to convince the world that this offender was the victim of prejudice, and fell an innocent sacrifice to the laws of his country. We shall, therefore, abstain from giving this case greater space in our Calendar than that to which it is entitled, as well on account of the peculiarity of its nature, as of the great interest which its mention has always excited. The peculiarities of the case are twofold; first, the great talents of the offender, and secondly, the extraordinary discovery of the perpetration of the murder, and of the evidence which led to the conviction of the murderer. On the former point, indeed, some seem to have entertained a doubt; for about thirty years after his execution, his name being inserted among the literary characters of the country, in the “Biographia Britannica,” and his high erudition being mentioned, a pamphlet was put forth, complaining of this step on the part of the editors of that work, and accusing them of a want of impartiality in affording their meed of praise to Aram, and withholding it from Bishop Atherton, who also met with an ignominious death. The charge was, however, answered more ably than it was made; and as it may prove interesting to our readers, we shall subjoin the refutation to the complaint, which appears distinctly to support Aram’s right to the character which was originally given to him. It is said:—

“Objections are made to the admission of Eugene Aram into the Biographia Britannica, and the exclusion of Bishop Atherton; but it appears to me that the remarks on this subject are far from being just. The insertion of Aram is objected to because he was a man of bad principles, and terminated his life on the gallows; but it should be remembered that it was never understood that in the Biographia Britannica the lives of virtuous men only were to be recorded. In the old edition are the lives of several persons who ended their days by the hands of the executioner. Bonner was not a virtuous man, and yet was very properly inserted, as well as Henry Cuff, who was executed at Tyburn in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. As to Eugene Aram, it is truly said of him in the Biographia Britannica, in the article objected to, that the progress he made in literature, allowing for the little instruction he had received, may justly be considered as astonishing; and that his powers of mind were uncommonly great cannot reasonably be questioned. Eugene Aram possessed talents and acquisitions that might have classed him among the most respectable of human characters, if his moral qualities had been equal to his intellectual. It was certainly the extraordinary talents and acquirements of Eugene Aram which occasioned his introduction into the Biographia; and I know that by persons of undoubted{169} taste and judgment, the account of him in that work has been thought a curious and interesting article. His singular defence alone was well worthy of being preserved in such a work.

“With respect to Bishop Atherton, he never had the least claim to insertion in such a work as the Biographia Britannica, and was therefore very properly omitted in the new edition. He was not in the least distinguished for genius or learning; his merely being a bishop could give him no just pretensions, and still less the unnatural crime for which he suffered. The friends of Bishop Atherton say that his reputation was suspected to have been destroyed, and his catastrophe effected, more by the contrivance of a party than by the aggravated guilt with which he was charged. If this were perfectly just, which however may be reasonably questioned, it would not give Bishop Atherton the least claim to insertion in the Biographia Britannica. Aram was inserted on account of his uncommon talents and learning; but Atherton, who was not distinguished for either, never had the least pretension to be recorded in such a work.”

The talents and abilities of this criminal, therefore, seem to be undoubted; but that a man possessing powers of intellect so great should have been guilty of such a crime as that which he committed, seems most extraordinary.

Within the second peculiarity of the case will very properly come the narrative of the life of its hero, as well as the circumstances attending the commission of the crime and the discovery of its perpetrator. A succinct description of the case will probably be more intelligible than a detail of all the exceedingly minute circumstances by which it was surrounded.

Eugene Aram was born at the village of Netherdale, in Yorkshire, in the year 1704, of an ancient and highly respectable family; but although it is shown by the chronicles that one of his ancestors served the office of high sheriff in the reign of Edward the Third, it appears that at the time of the birth of Eugene, the vicissitudes of fortune had so far reduced its rank, that his father was compelled to support himself and his children by working as a gardener in the house of Sir Edward Blackett; although in that situation he was well employed and highly respected. In his infancy, Aram’s parents removed to the village of Shelton, near Newby, in the same county; and when about six years old, his father, having saved a small sum of money out of his weekly earnings, purchased a small cottage at Bondgate, near Rippon. The first indications of that singular genius which afterwards displayed itself in so remarkable a manner in our hero, were given while his father was in the service of Sir Edward. Eugene was employed as an attendant upon that gentleman, and he early displayed a taste for literature, which was fostered and supported by his indulgent master. His disposition was solitary, and every leisure hour which presented itself to him was devoted to retirement and study; and in the employment which good fortune had bestowed upon him, ample opportunities were afforded him of following the bent of his inclinations. He applied himself chiefly to mathematics, and at the age of sixteen he had acquired a considerable proficiency in them; but his kind and indulgent master dying about this time, he was employed by his brother, Mr. Christopher Blackett, a merchant in London, who took him into his service as book-keeper. This was an occupation ill suited to his desires, and an attack of the small pox having rendered his return to Yorkshire{170} necessary, he did not afterwards resume his employment in London, but at the invitation of his father he remained at Newby, to pursue his studies. He now found that the study of mathematics possessed but few charms; and the politer subjects of poetry, history, and antiquities, next engaged his attention. Every day served to increase the store of knowledge which he possessed, and his fame as a scholar having now extended to his native place, he was invited to take charge of a school there. The means of study and of profit appeared to him to be thus united, and he immediately accepted the offer which was made; and after a short time he married a young woman of the village, to whom he appeared tenderly attached. To this marriage, however, which proved unhappy, he attributed all his subsequent misfortunes; but whether with truth or not, the course of the narrative does not distinctly disclose. His deficiency in the learned languages now struck him, and he immediately set about conquering the difficulties which presented themselves in this new field of research; and so rapid was his progress, that ere a year had passed, he was able to read with ease the less difficult of the Latin and Greek historians and poets. In the year 1734 an opportunity was afforded him of adding a knowledge of the Hebrew language to his list of acquirements; for in that year Mr. William Norton, of Knaresborough, a gentleman of great talents, who had conceived a strong attachment towards him, invited him to his house, and afforded him the means necessary for pursuing its study. He continued in his situation in Yorkshire until the year 1745, when he again visited London, and accepted an engagement in the school of the Rev. Mr. Plainblanc, in Piccadilly, as usher in Latin and writing; and, with this gentleman’s assistance, he acquired the knowledge of the French language. He was afterwards employed as an usher and tutor in several different parts of England; in the course of which, through his own exertions, he became acquainted with heraldry and botany; and so great was his perseverance, that he also learned the Chaldaic and Arabic languages. His next step was to investigate the Celtic in all its dialects; and, having begun to form collections, and make comparisons between the Celtic, the English, the Latin, the Greek, and the Hebrew, and found a great affinity between them, he resolved to proceed through all those languages, and to form a comparative lexicon. But, amid these learned labours and inquiries, it appears that he committed a crime which could not naturally have been expected from a man of so studious a turn, as the inducement which led him to it was merely the gain of wealth, of which the scholar is seldom covetous.

On the 8th of February 1745, in conjunction with a man named Richard Houseman, he committed the murder for which his life was afterwards forfeited to the laws of his country. The object of this diabolical crime was Daniel Clarke, a shoemaker, living at Knaresborough; and it appears that this unfortunate man, having lately married a woman of a good family, industriously circulated a report that his wife was entitled to a considerable fortune, which he should soon receive. Aram and Houseman, in consequence, conceiving hopes of procuring some advantage from this circumstance, persuaded Clarke to make an ostentatious show of his own riches, in order to induce his wife’s relations to give him that fortune of which he had boasted. It is not impossible that in giving their subsequent victim this advice, they may at the time have acted from a spirit of friendship, and{171} without any intention of committing that crime for which they afterwards received their reward; but the belief that the design was already formed receives equal confirmation from subsequent events.

Clarke, it seems, was easily induced to comply with a hint so agreeable to his own desires; and he borrowed, and bought on credit, a large quantity of silver plate, with jewels, watches, rings, &c. He told the persons of whom he purchased, that a merchant in London had sent him an order to buy such plate for exportation; and no doubt was entertained of his credit till his sudden disappearance in February 1745, when it was imagined that he had gone abroad, or at least to London, to dispose of his ill-acquired property.

Whatever doubt may exist as to the original intention of the parties, their object at this time is perfectly clear, and there can be no hesitation in supposing that Aram and Houseman had at this time determined to murder their dupe, in order to share the booty. On the night of the 8th February 1745, they persuaded Clarke to take a walk with them, in order to consult upon the proper method to dispose of the effects; and, engaged in the discussion of this subject, they turned into a field, at a small distance from the town, well known by the name of St. Robert’s Cave. On their arrival there, Aram and Clarke went over a hedge towards the cave; and when they had got within six or seven yards of it, Houseman (by the light of the moon) saw Aram strike Clarke several times, and at length beheld him fall, but never saw him afterwards. These were the facts immediately connected with the murder, which were proved at the trial by Houseman, who was admitted King’s evidence; and, whatever were the subsequent proceedings of the parties in respect of the body, they must remain a mystery.

The murderers, going home, shared Clarke’s ill-gotten treasure, the half of which Houseman concealed in his garden for a twelvemonth, and then took it to Scotland, where he sold it. In the mean time Aram carried his share to London, where he sold it to a Jew, and then returned to his engagement with Mr. Plainblanc, in Piccadilly.

Fourteen years afterwards elapsed, and no tidings being received of Aram, it was concluded that he was dead; and these fourteen years had also elapsed without any clue being obtained to unravel the mystery of the sudden disappearance of Clarke. The time at length came, however, at which all the doubts which existed upon both subjects were to be solved. In the year 1758, a labourer named Jones was employed to dig for stone in St. Robert’s Cave, in order to supply a limekiln at a place called Thistle Hill, near Knaresborough; and having dug about two feet deep, he found the bones of a human body, still knit together by the ligaments of the joints. It had evidently been buried double; and there were indications about it which could not but lead to the supposition that some unfair means had been resorted to in order to deprive the living being of life. The incident afforded good grounds for general curiosity being raised, and general inquiry taking place; and hints were soon thrown out that it might be the body of Clarke, whose unexpected disappearance was still fresh in the memory of many, and whose continued absence had been the subject of so much surprise. Suggestions of his murder which had been thrown out by Aram’s wife were called to mind, and a coroner’s inquest being held, she was summoned. By this time a general impression prevailed that the remains found were those of Clarke, and the testimony of Mrs. Aram greatly{172} confirmed the idea which had gone abroad. She deposed that she believed that Clarke had been murdered by Houseman and her husband, and that they had acquired considerable booty for the crime; but she was unable to give any account of her husband, or to state whether he still was in existence or not. Inquiries being made, however, Houseman was soon found; and on his being brought forward to be examined, he exhibited the utmost confusion. The coroner desired that he would take up one of the bones, probably with a view of seeing what effect such a proceeding would produce; and upon his doing so, he showed still further terror, and exclaimed, “This is no more Daniel Clarke’s bone than it is mine!” The suspicions which were already entertained of his guilt were, in a great measure, confirmed by this observation; and it was generally believed that he knew the precise spot where the real remains of the murdered man were deposited, even if he had not been a party to their interment. He was therefore strictly questioned; and after many attempts at evasion, he said that Clarke was murdered by Eugene Aram, and that his body was buried in St. Robert’s Cave, but that the head lay further to the right in the turn near the entrance of the cavern than the spot where the skeleton produced was found. Search was immediately made, and a skeleton was found in a situation corresponding exactly with that which had been pointed out. In consequence of this confession an inquiry was immediately set on foot for Aram, and after a considerable time he was discovered, occupying the situation of usher in a school at Lynn in Norfolk.

He was immediately apprehended and conveyed in custody to York Castle; and on the 13th of August 1759, he was brought to trial at the assizes before Mr. Justice Noel. The testimony of Houseman to the facts which we have described, and of the other witnesses whose evidence was of a corroborative character, was then adduced; and from the proof which was given, it appeared that the share of plunder derived by the prisoner did not exceed one hundred and fifty pounds.

Aram’s defence was both ingenious and able, and would not have disgraced any of the best lawyers of the day. It is a curious and interesting address, and we subjoin it as affording the best criterion of the talents of the prisoner which can well be adduced. He thus addressed the court:—

“My Lord,—I know not whether it is of right or through some indulgence of your lordship that I am allowed the liberty at this bar, and at this time, to attempt a defence, incapable and uninstructed as I am to speak; since, while I see so many eyes upon me, so numerous and awful a concourse fixed with attention and filled with I know not what expectancy, I labour not with guilt, my lord, but with perplexity; for having never seen a court but this, being wholly unacquainted with law, the customs of the bar, and all judiciary proceedings, I fear I shall be so little capable of speaking with propriety in this place, that it exceeds my hope if I shall be able to speak at all.

“I have heard, my lord, the indictment read, wherein I find myself charged with the highest crime, with an enormity I am altogether incapable of; a fact, to the commission of which there goes far more insensibility of heart, more profligacy of morals, than ever fell to my lot; and nothing possibly could have admitted a presumption of this nature but a depravity not inferior to that imputed to me. However, as I stand indicted at your lordship’s bar, and have heard what is called evidence adduced in support of{173} such a charge, I very humbly solicit your lordship’s patience, and beg the hearing of this respectable audience, while I, single and unskilful, destitute of friends and unassisted by counsel, say something, perhaps like argument, in my defence. I shall consume but little of your lordship’s time: what I have to say will be short; and this brevity, probably, will be the best part of it: however, it is offered with all possible regard and the greatest submission to your lordship’s consideration, and that of this honourable court.

“First, my lord, the whole tenor of my conduct in life contradicts every particular of the indictment: yet had I never said this, did not my present circumstances extort it from me, and seem to make it necessary. Permit me here, my lord, to call upon malignity itself, so long and cruelly busied in this prosecution, to charge upon me any immorality of which prejudice was not the author. No, my lord, I concerted no schemes of fraud, projected no violence, injured no man’s person or property. My days were honestly laborious, my nights intensely studious; and I humbly conceive my notice of this, especially at this time, will not be thought impertinent or unseasonable, but, at least, deserving some attention; because, my lord, that any person, after a temperate use of life, a series of thinking and acting regularly, and without one single deviation from sobriety, should plunge into the very depth of profligacy precipitately and at once, is altogether improbable and unprecedented, and absolutely inconsistent with the course of things. Mankind is never corrupted at once. Villany is always progressive, and declines from right, step by step, till every regard of probity is lost, and every sense of all moral obligation totally perishes.

“Again, my lord, a suspicion of this kind, which nothing but malevolence could entertain and ignorance propagate, is violently opposed by my very situation at that time with respect to health; for, but a little space before, I had been confined to my bed, and suffered under a very long and severe disorder, and was not able, for half a year together, so much as to walk. The distemper left me indeed, yet slowly, and in part—but so macerated, so enfeebled, that I was reduced to crutches; and so far from being well about the time I am charged with this fact, I have never, to this day, perfectly recovered. Could then a person in this condition take anything into his head so unlikely, so extravagant?—I, past the vigour of my age, feeble and valetudinary, with no inducement to engage, no ability to accomplish, no weapon wherewith to perpetrate such a deed, without interest, without power, without motive, without means. Besides, it must needs occur to every one, that an action of this atrocious nature is never heard of, but when its springs are laid open. It appears that it was to support some indolence, or supply some luxury; to satisfy some avarice, or oblige some malice; to prevent some real or some imaginary want: yet I lay not under the influence of these. Surely, my lord, I may, consistently with both truth and modesty, affirm thus much; and none who have any veracity and knew me, will ever question this.

“In the second place, the disappearance of Clarke is suggested as an argument of his being dead; but the uncertainty of such an inference from that, and the fallibility of all conclusions of such a sort from such a circumstance, are too obvious and too notorious to require instances; yet superseding many, permit me to produce a very recent one, and that afforded by this Castle.

“In June 1757, William Thompson, for all the vigilance of this place,{174} in open daylight and double-ironed, made his escape, and, notwithstanding an immediate inquiry set on foot, the strictest search, and all advertisement, was never heard of since. If, then, Thompson got off unseen, through all these difficulties, how very easy it was for Clarke, when none of them opposed him! But what would be thought of a prosecution commenced against any one seen last with Thompson?

“Permit me next, my lord, to observe a little upon the bones which have been discovered. It is said (which perhaps is saying very far) that these are the skeleton of a man. It is possible, indeed, it may; but is there any certain known criterion which incontestably distinguishes the sex in human bones? Let it be considered, my lord, whether the ascertaining of this point ought not to precede any attempt to identify them?

“The place of their depositum, too, claims much more attention than is commonly bestowed upon it; for of all places in the world, none could have mentioned any one wherein there was greater certainty of finding human bones than a hermitage, except he should point out a churchyard; hermitages, in time past, being not only places of religious retirement, but of burial too: and it has scarce or never been heard of, but that every cell now known contains or contained these relics of humanity, some mutilated and some entire. I do not inform, but give me leave to remind your lordship, that here sat solitary Sanctity, and here the hermit or the anchoress hoped that repose for their bones when dead they here enjoyed when living.

“All the while, my lord, I am sensible this is known to your lordship, and many in this Court, better than to me; but it seems necessary to my case that others, who have not at all, perhaps, adverted to things of this nature, and may have concern in my trial, should be made acquainted with it. Suffer me then, my lord, to produce a few of many evidences that these cells were used as repositories of the dead, and to enumerate a few in which human bones have been found, as it happened in this question; lest, to some, that accident might seem extraordinary, and, consequently, occasion prejudice.

“1. The bones, as was supposed, of the Saxon saint, Dubritius, were discovered buried in his cell at Guy’s Cliff, near Warwick; as appears from the authority of Sir William Dugdale.

“2. The bones thought to be those of the anchoress Rosia were but lately discovered in a cell at Royston, entire, fair, and undecayed, though they must have lain interred for several centuries; as is proved by Dr. Stukely.

“3. But my own country—nay, almost this neighbourhood—supplies another instance; for in January 1747, were found, by Mr. Stovin, accompanied by a reverend gentleman, the bones, in part, of some recluse, in the cell at Lindholm, near Hatfield. They were believed to be those of William of Lindholm, a hermit, who had long made this cave his habitation.

“4. In February 1744, part of Woburn Abbey being pulled down, a large portion of a corpse appeared, even with the flesh on, and which bore cutting with a knife; though it is certain this had lain above two hundred years, and how much longer is doubtful; for this abbey was founded in 1145, and dissolved in 1538 or 1539.

“What would have been said, what believed, if this had been an accident to the bones in question?{175}

“Farther, my lord:—it is not yet out of living memory that at a little distance from Knaresborough, in a field, part of the manor of the worthy and patriot baronet who does that borough the honour to represent it in parliament, were found, in digging for gravel, not one human skeleton only, but five or six, deposited side by side, with each an urn placed at its head, as your lordship knows was usual in ancient interments.

“About the same time, and in another field, almost close to this borough, was discovered also, in searching for gravel, another human skeleton; but the piety of the same worthy gentleman ordered both pits to be filled up again, commendably unwilling to disturb the dead.

“Is the invention of these bones forgotten, then, or industriously concealed, that the discovery of those in question may appear the more singular and extraordinary? whereas, in fact, there is nothing extraordinary in it. My lord, almost every place conceals such remains. In fields, in hills, in highway sides, in commons, lie frequent and unsuspected bones; and our present allotments for rest for the departed are but of some centuries.

“Another particular seems not to claim a little of your lordship’s notice, and that of the gentlemen of the jury; which is, that perhaps no example occurs of more than one skeleton being found in one cell: and in the cell in question was found but one; agreeable, in this, to the peculiarity of every other known cell in Britain. Not the invention of one skeleton, but of two, would have appeared suspicious and uncommon. But it seems another skeleton has been discovered by some labourer, which was full as confidently averred to be Clarke’s as this. My lord, must some of the living, if it promotes some interest, be made answerable for all the bones that earth has concealed and chance exposed? and might not a place where bones lay be mentioned by a person by chance as well as found by a labourer by chance? or is it more criminal accidentally to name where bones lie than accidentally to find where they lie?

“Here too is a human skull produced, which is fractured; but was this the cause, or was it the consequence, of death? was it owing to violence, or was it the effect of natural decay? If it was violence, was that violence before or after death? My lord, in May 1732, the remains of William, Lord Archbishop of this province, were taken up, by permission, in this cathedral, and the bones of the skull were found broken; yet certainly he died by no violence offered to him alive that could occasion that fracture there.

“Let it be considered, my lord, that, upon the dissolution of religious houses and the commencement of the Reformation, the ravages of those times affected both the living and the dead. In search after imaginary treasures, coffins were broken up, graves and vaults dug open, monuments ransacked, and shrines demolished; and it ceased about the beginning of the reign of Queen Elizabeth. I entreat your lordship, suffer not the violence, the depredations, and the iniquities of those times, to be imputed to this.

“Moreover, what gentleman here is ignorant that Knaresborough had a castle, which, though now a ruin, was once considerable both for its strength and garrison? All know it was vigorously besieged by the arms of the parliament; at which siege, in sallies, conflicts, flights, pursuits, many fell in all the places round it, and, where they fell, were buried, for{176} every place, my lord, is burial-earth in war; and many, questionless, of these rest yet unknown, whose bones futurity shall discover.

“I hope, with all imaginable submission, that what has been said will not be thought impertinent to this indictment; and that it will be far from the wisdom, the learning, and the integrity of this place, to impute to the living what zeal in its fury may have done—what nature may have taken off, and piety interred—or what war alone may have destroyed, alone deposited.

“As to the circumstances that have been raked together, 1 have nothing to observe but that all circumstances whatever are precarious, and have been but too frequently found lamentably fallible; even the strongest have failed. They may rise to the utmost degree of probability, yet they are but probability still. Why need I name to your lordship the two Harrisons recorded by Dr. Howel, who both suffered upon circumstances because of the sudden disappearance of their lodger, who was in credit, had contracted debts, borrowed money, and went off unseen, and returned a great many years after their execution? Why name the intricate affair of Jacques de Moulin, under King Charles II. related by a gentleman who was counsel for the crown? And why the unhappy Coleman, who suffered innocently, though convicted upon positive evidence; and whose children perished for want, because the world uncharitably believed the father guilty? Why mention the perjury of Smith, incautiously admitted king’s evidence: who, to screen himself, equally accused Faircloth and Loveday of the murder of Dun; the first of whom, in 1749, was executed at Winchester; and Loveday was about to suffer at Reading, had not Smith been proved perjured, to the satisfaction of the Court, by the governor of Gosport hospital?

“Now, my lord, having endeavoured to show that the whole of this process is altogether repugnant to every part of my life; that it is inconsistent with my condition of health about that time; that no rational inference can be drawn that a person is dead who suddenly disappears; that hermitages are the constant depositaries of the bones of a recluse; that the proofs of this are well authenticated; that the revolutions in religion, or the fortunes of war, have mangled or buried the dead;—the conclusion remains, perhaps, no less reasonable than impatiently wished for. I, at last, after a year’s confinement, equal to either fortune, put myself upon the justice, the candour, and the humanity of your lordship; and upon yours, my countrymen, gentlemen of the jury.”

The delivery of this address created a very considerable impression in court; but the learned judge having calmly and with great perspicuity summed up the evidence which had been produced, and having observed upon the prisoner’s defence, which he declared to be one of the most ingenious pieces of reasoning that had ever fallen under his notice, the jury, with little hesitation, returned a verdict of Guilty. Sentence of death was then passed upon the prisoner, who received the intimation of his fate with becoming resignation. After his conviction, he confessed the justice of his sentence to two clergymen who were directed to attend him—a sufficient proof of the fruitlessness of the efforts to prove him innocent, which the morbid sentimentality of late writers has induced them to attempt. Upon an inquiry being made of him as to his reason for committing the crime, he declared that he had reason to suspect Clarke of having had unlawful{177} intercourse with his wife; and that at the time of his committing the murder he had thought that he was acting rightly, but that he had since thought that his crime could not be justified or excused. In the hopes of avoiding the ignominious death which he was doomed to suffer, on the night before his execution he attempted to commit suicide by cutting his arm in two places with a razor, which he had concealed for that purpose. This attempt was not discovered until the morning, when the jailor came to lead him forth to the place of execution, and he was then found almost expiring from loss of blood. A surgeon was immediately sent for, who found that he had wounded himself severely on the left arm, above the elbow and near the wrist, but he had missed the artery, and his life was prolonged only in order that it might be taken away on the scaffold. When he was placed on the drop, he was perfectly sensible, but was too weak to be able to join in devotion with the clergyman who attended him He was executed at York on the 16th August 1759; and his body was afterwards hung in chains in Knaresborough Forest.

The following papers were afterwards found in his handwriting on the table in his cell. The first contained reasons for his attempt upon his life, and was as follows:—“What am I better than my fathers? To die is natural and necessary. Perfectly sensible of this, I fear no more to die than I did to be born. But the manner of it is something which should, in my opinion, be decent and manly. I think I have regarded both these points. Certainly no man has a better right to dispose of a man’s life than himself; and he, not others, should determine how. As for any indignities offered to my body, or silly reflections on my faith and morals, they are, as they always were, things indifferent to me. I think, though contrary to the common way of thinking, I wrong no man by this, and hope it is not offensive to that eternal Being that formed me and the world: and as by this I injure no man, no man can be reasonably offended. I solicitously recommend myself to that eternal and almighty Being, the God of Nature, if I have done amiss. But perhaps I have not; and I hope this thing will never be imputed to me. Though I am now stained by malevolence and suffer by prejudice, I hope to rise fair and unblemished. My life was not polluted, my morals irreproachable, and my opinions orthodox. I slept sound till three o’clock, awaked, and then writ these lines—

Come, pleasing rest! eternal slumbers, fall!
Seal mine, that once must seal the eyes of all.
Calm and composed my soul her journey takes;
No guilt that troubles, and no heart that aches.
Adieu, thou sun! all bright, like her, arise!
Adieu, fair friends, and all that’s good and wise!”

The second was in the form of a letter, addressed to a former companion, and was in the following terms:

My dear Friend,—Before this reaches you, I shall be no more a living man in this world, though at present in perfect bodily health: but who can describe the horrors of mind which I suffer at this instant? Guilt—the guilt of blood shed without any provocation, without any cause but that of filthy lucre—pierces my conscience with wounds that give the most poignant pains! ’Tis true the consciousness of my horrid guilt has given me frequent interruptions in the midst of my business or pleasures; but yet I have found means to stifle its clamours, and contrived a momentary{178} remedy for the disturbance it gave me by applying to the bottle or the bowl, or diversions, or company, or business; sometimes one, and sometimes the other, as opportunity offered: but now all these, and all other amusements, are at an end, and I am left forlorn, helpless, and destitute of every comfort; for I have nothing now in view but the certain destruction both of my soul and body. My conscience will now no longer suffer itself to be hoodwinked or browbeat: it has now got the mastery; it is my accuser, judge, and executioner: and the sentence it pronounceth against me is more dreadful than that I heard from the bench, which only condemned my body to the pains of death, which are soon over; but conscience tells me plainly that she will summon me before another tribunal, where I shall have neither power nor means to stifle the evidence she will there bring against me; and that the sentence which will then be denounced will not only be irreversible, but will condemn my soul to torments that will know no end.

“Oh! had I but hearkened to the advice which dear-bought experience has enabled me to give, I should not now have been plunged into that dreadful gulf of despair which I find it impossible to extricate myself from; and therefore my soul is filled with horror inconceivable. I see both God and man my enemies, and in a few hours shall be exposed a public spectacle for the world to gaze at. Can you conceive any condition more horrible than mine? O, no! it cannot be! I am determined, therefore, to put a short end to trouble I am no longer able to bear, and prevent the executioner by doing his business with my own hand, and shall by this means at least prevent the shame and disgrace of a public exposure, and leave the care of my soul in the hands of eternal mercy. Wishing you all health, happiness, and prosperity, I am, to the last moment of my life, yours, with the sincerest regard,

Eugene Aram.”

It is impossible to view the circumstances of this remarkable case, without being struck with the extraordinary conduct of Aram. It is most singular that a man of his talents and mind should have leagued himself with a person like Houseman, who appears to have been utterly uneducated, in the commission of a murder, and with the hope only of gain; for whatever his declarations after his conviction may have been, as to his object being revenge only for the supposed injury which had been done him by his victim in the seduction of his wife, his ready acquiescence in the plot with another, and his willing acceptance of the plunder which was obtained, distinctly show that that was not the only end which he sought to attain. If, indeed, his feelings were outraged, as he suggested, he would have selected some other mode of obtaining that satisfaction to which the injury alleged would have entitled him; and it is hardly to be supposed that he would have obtained the assistance of another to secure the object which he had in view, more particularly when it appears that it was he who absolutely committed the foul act, without the immediate aid of Houseman,—a circumstance which clearly exemplifies the power which he possessed to dispose of his victim, and which would seem to show a desire on his part only to obtain the participation of another in a preconceived act, anticipating doubtless that some aid would be necessary in appropriating and disposing of the property which might be procured from the deceased, and also that some advice would be requisite in the event of suspicion attaching to him. But while these circumstances cannot but{179} surprise us, how much more astonishing is the Divine power of Providence, which disclosed to human eyes, after so long a lapse of time, such evidence as in the result proved the commission of the crime, and which secured the seizure of the criminal, who had up to that time remained unsuspected, and who even then was living in fancied security, free from all fear of discovery and apprehension! It is said that

“—— Murder! though it have no tongue, will speak
With most miraculous organ:”

and how truly is this observation of the most wonderful of poets exemplified by nearly every page of these records of crime!



THE short notice which we give of this man exhibits a human being reduced far below the level of a beast.

The subject of the memoir was the eldest son of a gentleman of fortune in Nottinghamshire, who in vain strove to instil into the mind of his son any of those principles of rectitude, without which man cannot be considered to be humanised. The sports of the field, and all the dissipation which a country squire could at that time obtain, formed the amusements of this reckless youth. His passion for women was unbounded; but his love of gold surpassed all the other bad qualities which so peculiarly distinguished him. It was while his father yet lived that he committed that crime for which his life was eventually forfeited; and it appears to have occurred in the following manner:—

His passion for women led him to commit the most disgusting excesses; and at length so far had he carried his crimes, that an incestuous connexion took place between him and his sister, the result of which was the birth of a boy in the month of February 1724; Horne told his brother Charles of the circumstance three days afterwards, and at ten o’clock at night said that he must take a ride with him. He then put the new-born infant in a bag; and, mounting their horses, they rode to Annesley, in Nottinghamshire, at the distance of five miles, carrying the child alternately. On their arrival near the village, William dismounted and inquired if the child was living; and being answered in the affirmative, he took it and told his brother to wait till he came back. On his return, Charles demanded to know how he had disposed of the infant; to which he said that he had placed it behind a hay-stack, and covered it with hay.

They then returned home; and it was afterwards learned that the child died in the course of the night from exposure to the cold; but in a short time afterwards a quarrel arising between the brothers, the whole transaction was communicated by Charles to his father. The latter enjoined him to the strictest secrecy; and this injunction was obeyed up to the time of the old man’s death, which occurred in the year 1747, in the 102nd year of his age. The real estate of the family, being entailed, then descended to the eldest son; but the father had previously made over his personal property by deed of gift to his son Charles. No sooner had the new squire assumed the government of the estate than he behaved with the utmost{180} severity towards his brother as well as his tenants; and at length the former, rendered miserable by his participation in the horrid act, having some business to transact with Mr. Cooke, an attorney at Derby, told him of the long-concealed affair, and asked his advice. The lawyer told him to go to a justice of the peace and make a full discovery of the whole transaction; and he accordingly went to a magistrate, and acquainted him with what had happened. He hesitated to take cognizance of the matter, however, saying that it might hang half the family; and as it had passed so many years ago, advised that it might remain a secret.

No further notice of the circumstance was then taken until the year 1754, when Charles being suddenly seized with a severe fit of illness, called in a Mr. White of Ripley, to whom, in anticipation of his death, he disclosed all that had occurred. Mr. White declined to interfere; but his patient almost immediately recovered, declaring that “he had been better ever since the weight of the transaction had been taken off his mind by his making the disclosure.”

The discovery, however, soon became a matter of notoriety; and William Horne having a quarrel with a publican named Roe, the latter called him “an incestuous old dog.” A suit in the Ecclesiastical Court at Lichfield was the consequence; and Roe being unsuccessful, was ordered to pay all the costs. This circumstance inflamed him with revenge; and having made such inquiries as persuaded him of the truth of the report which he had heard, he procured a warrant to be issued for the apprehension of his late opponent. A constable of Annesley and he in consequence proceeded to the house of the squire at about eight o’clock in the evening, and after having experienced considerable difficulty, succeeded in obtaining admittance. A strict search was then commenced; but it was not until a long time had elapsed that they discovered the object of their inquiry concealed in a large box, which had been described as containing clean linen. He was immediately carried before two justices, who committed him to take his trial at the following assizes.

On the 10th of August 1759, he was brought to trial before Lord Chief Baron Parker; and after a hearing of about nine hours, the jury found him guilty, and sentence of death passed of course.

Horne being convicted on a Saturday, was sentenced to die on the Monday following; but a number of gentlemen waited on the judge, intimating that he had been so long hardened in iniquity, that a farther time would be necessary to prepare him for his awful change, and a respite of a month was in consequence granted.

When this time was nearly expired, he received a reprieve during his majesty’s pleasure; so that he began to entertain hopes of obtaining a free pardon: and he employed a considerable part of his time in writing to his friends to make interest to secure this object. He, however, confessed the justice of his conviction, but seemed little affected by the enormity of his crime, and frequently said, “it was d—d hard to suffer on the evidence of a brother for a crime committed so many years before.”

He gave the following account of the transaction:—He said he had no design of destroying the infant, but put it in a bag lined with wool, and made a hole in the bag that it might not be stifled. He added, that the child was handsomely dressed, and he had intended to have left it at the door of Mr. Chaworth, of Annesley; but the dogs barking, and there being{181} a light in the house, he desisted from his first intention, in the fear of a discovery. After some hesitation, he said, he resolved to place it under a warm hay-stack, in the hope that, when the servants came to fodder the cattle in the morning, it would be found.

He acknowledged to a clergyman who assisted him in his devotions that he forgave all his enemies, even his brother Charles; but made the following strange addition to his speech: “that if, at the day of judgment, God Almighty should ask him how his brother behaved, he would not give him a good character.”

The hopes of a pardon which he had entertained soon proved unfounded; and an order arrived for his execution on the 11th December 1759, on which day he completed his 74th year, and terminated his life on a scaffold erected at Nottingham.



LAURENCE, EARL FERRERS, was a man of singular and most unhappy disposition. Descended of an ancient and noble family, he was doomed to expiate a crime, of which he had been guilty, at Tyburn.

It would appear that the royal blood of the Plantagenets flowed in his veins, and the earl gained his title in the following manner:—The second baronet of the family, Sir Henry Shirley, married a daughter of the celebrated Earl of Essex, who was beheaded in the reign of Queen Elizabeth; and his son, Sir Robert Shirley, died in the Tower, where he was confined during the Protectorate, for his attachment to the cause of the Stuarts. Upon the Restoration, the second son of Sir Robert succeeded to the title and estates; and Charles, anxious to cement the bonds which attached his friends to him, summoned him to the Upper House of Parliament by the title of Lord Ferrers of Chartley, as the descendant of one of the co-heiresses of the Earl of Essex; the title, which had existed since the reign of Edward III., having been in abeyance since the death of that unfortunate nobleman. In the year 1711, Robert, Lord Ferrers, was created by Queen Anne, Viscount Tamworth and Earl Ferrers; and it appears that although the estates of the family were very great, they were vastly diminished by the provisions which the Earl thought proper to make for his numerous progeny, consisting of fifteen sons and twelve daughters, born to him by his two wives. At the death of the first earl, his title descended to his second son; but he dying without issue, it went in succession to the ninth son, who was childless, and the tenth son, who was the father of the earl, Laurence, the subject of the present sketch.

This nobleman was united in the year 1752 to the youngest daughter of Sir William Meredith; but although his general conduct when sober was not such as to be remarkable, yet his faculties were so much impaired by drink, that when under the influence of intoxication, he acted with all the wildness and brutality of a madman. For a time his wife perceived nothing which induced her to repent the step she had taken in being united to him; but he subsequently behaved to her with such unwarrantable cruelty, that she was compelled to quit his protection, and rejoining her father’s family, to apply to Parliament for redress. An act was in consequence{182} passed, allowing her a separate maintenance to be raised out of her husband’s estate; and trustees being appointed, the unfortunate Mr. Johnson, who fell a sacrifice to the ungovernable passions of Lord Ferrers, having been bred up in the family from his youth, and being distinguished for the regular manner in which he kept his accounts, and his fidelity as a steward, was proposed as receiver of the rents for her use. He at first declined the office; but subsequently, at the desire of the Earl himself, he consented to act, and continued in this employment for a considerable time.

His lordship at this time lived at Stanton, a seat about two miles from Ashby de la Zouch, in Leicestershire; and his family consisted of Mrs. Clifford, a lady who lived with him, and her four natural daughters, besides five men-servants, exclusive of an old man and a boy, and three maids.

Mr. Johnson lived at the house belonging to the farm, which he held under his lordship, called the Lount, about half a mile distant from Stanton. It appears that it was his custom to visit his noble master occasionally, to settle the accounts which were placed under his care; but his lordship gradually conceived a dislike for him, grounded upon the prejudice raised in his mind on account of his being the receiver of the countess’ portion, and charged him with having combined with the trustees to prevent his receiving a coal contract. From this time he spoke of him in opprobrious terms, and said he had conspired with his enemies to injure him, and that he was a villain; and with these sentiments he gave him warning to quit an advantageous farm which he held under his lordship. Finding, however, that the trustees under the act of separation had already granted him a lease of it, it having been promised to him by the earl or his relations, he was disappointed, and probably from that time he meditated a more cruel revenge.

The circumstances immediately attending the transaction, which terminated in the death of Johnson, are as follow:—

On Sunday the 13th of January 1760, my lord went to the Lount, and after some discourse with Mr. Johnson, ordered him to come to him at Stanton on the Friday following, the 18th, at three o’clock in the afternoon. His lordship’s usual dinner-hour was two o’clock; and soon after that meal was disposed of, on the Friday, he went to Mrs. Clifford, who was in the still-house, and desired her to take the children for a walk. She accordingly prepared herself and her daughters, and with the permission of the earl went to her father’s, at a short distance, being directed to return at half-past five. The men-servants were next despatched on errands by their master, who was thus left in the house with the three females only. In a short time afterwards Mr. Johnson came according to his appointment, and was admitted by one of the maid-servants, named Elizabeth Burgeland. He proceeded at once to his lordship’s apartment, but was desired to wait in the still-house; and then, after the expiration of about ten minutes, the earl calling him into his own room, went in with him and locked the door. Being thus together, the earl required him first to settle an account, and then charging him with the villany which he attributed to him, ordered him to kneel down. The unfortunate man went down on one knee; upon which the earl, in a tone of voice loud enough to be heard by the maid-servants without, cried, “Down on your other knee; declare that you have acted against Lord Ferrers; your time is come—you must die:” and then suddenly drawing a pistol from his pocket, which was loaded, he{183}

Lord Ferrers shooting his Steward.

Lord Ferrers shooting his Steward.

presented it and immediately fired. The ball entered the body of the unfortunate man; but he rose up, and entreated that no farther violence might be done him; and the female servants at that time coming to the door, being alarmed by the report, his lordship quitted the room. A messenger was immediately despatched for Mr. Kirkland, a surgeon, who lived at Ashby de la Zouch; and Johnson being put to bed, his lordship went to him and asked him how he felt? He answered that he was dying, and desired that his family might be sent for. Miss Johnson soon after arrived, and Lord Ferrers immediately followed her into the room where her father lay. He then pulled down the clothes, and applied a pledget, dipped in arquebusade water, to the wound, and soon after left him.

From this time it appears that his lordship applied himself to his favourite amusement, drinking, until he became exceedingly violent (for at the time of the commission of the murder he is reported to have been sober), and on the arrival of Mr. Kirkland he told him that he had shot Johnson, but believed he was more frightened than hurt; that he had intended to shoot him dead, for that he was a villain and deserved to die; “but,” said he, “now I have spared his life, I desire you would do what you can for him.” His lordship at the same time desired that he would not suffer him to be seized, and declared, that if any one should attempt it, he would shoot him. Mr. Kirkland, who wisely determined to say whatever might keep Lord Ferrers from any further outrages, told him that he should not be seized, and directly went to the wounded man.

The patient complained of a violent pain in his bowels; and Mr. Kirkland preparing to search the wound, my lord informed him of the direction of it, by showing him how he held the pistol when he fired it. Mr. Kirkland found the ball had lodged in the body; at which his lordship expressed great surprise, declaring that he had tried that pistol a few days before, and that it then carried a ball through a deal board near an inch and a half thick. Mr. Kirkland then went down stairs to prepare some dressings, and my lord soon after left the room. From this time, in proportion as the liquor which he continued to drink took effect, his passions became more tumultuous, and the transient fit of compassion, mixed with fear for himself, which had excited him, gave way to starts of rage and the predominance of malice. He went up into the room where Johnson was dying, and pulled him by the wig, calling him villain, and threatening to shoot him through the head; and the last time he went to him he was with great difficulty prevented from tearing the clothes off the bed, that he might strike him.

A proposal was made to him in the evening by Mrs. Clifford, that Mr. Johnson should be removed to his own house; but he replied, “He shall not be removed; I will keep him here to plague the villain.” He afterwards spoke to Miss Johnson about her father, and told her that if he died, he would take care of her and of the family, provided they did not prosecute.

When his lordship went to bed, which was between eleven and twelve, he told Mr. Kirkland that he knew he could, if he would, set the affair in such a light as to prevent his being seized, desiring that he might see him before he went away in the morning, and declaring that he would rise at any hour.

Mr. Kirkland, however, was very solicitous to get Mr. Johnson removed;{184} and as soon as the earl was gone, he set about carrying his object into effect. He in consequence went to Lount, and having fitted up an easy-chair with poles, by way of a sedan, and procured a guard, he returned at about two o’clock, and carried Mr. Johnson to his house, where he expired at about nine o’clock on the following morning.

The neighbours now began to take measures to secure the murderer, and a few of them having armed themselves, set out for Stanton; and as they entered the yard, they saw his lordship, partly undressed, going towards the stable, as if to take out a horse. One of them, named Springthorpe, then advancing towards his lordship with a pistol in his hand, required him to surrender; but the latter, putting his hand towards his pocket, his assailant, imagining that he was feeling for some weapon of offence, stopped short and allowed him to escape into the house. A great concourse of people by this time had come to the spot, and they cried out loudly that the earl should come forth. Two hours elapsed, however, before anything was seen of him, and then he came to the garret window and called out, “How is Johnson?” He was answered that he was dead; but he said it was a lie, and desired that the people should disperse; but then he gave orders that they should be let in and be furnished with victuals and drink, and finally he went away from the window swearing that no man should take him. The mob still remained on the spot, and in about two hours the earl was descried by a collier, named Curtis, walking on the bowling-green, armed with a blunderbuss, a brace of pistols, and a dagger. Curtis, however, so far from being intimidated by his bold appearance, walked up to him; and his lordship, struck with the resolution he displayed, immediately surrendered himself, and gave up his arms, but directly afterwards declared that he had killed the villain, and gloried in the act. He was instantly conveyed in custody to a public-house at Ashby, kept by a man named Kinsey; and a coroner’s jury having brought in a verdict of wilful murder against him, he was on the following Monday committed to the custody of the keeper of the jail at Leicester. Being entitled, however, by his rank to be tried before his peers, he was in about a fortnight afterwards conveyed to London, in his landau, drawn by six horses, under a strong guard; and being carried before the House of Lords, he was committed to the custody of the Black Rod, and ordered to the Tower, where he arrived at about six o’clock in the evening of the 14th February. He is reported to have behaved, during the whole journey and at his commitment, with great calmness and propriety. He was confined in the Round Tower, near the drawbridge: two wardens were constantly in the room with him, and one at the door; two sentinels were posted at the bottom of the stairs, and one upon the drawbridge, with their bayonets fixed; and from this time the gates were ordered to be shut an hour sooner than usual.

During his confinement he was moderate both in eating and drinking; his breakfast was a half-pint basin of tea, with a small spoonful of brandy in it, and a muffin; with his dinner he generally drank a pint of wine and a pint of water, and another pint of each with his supper. In general his behaviour was decent and quiet, except that he would sometimes suddenly start, tear open his waistcoat, and use other gestures, which showed that his mind was disturbed.

{185}Mrs. Clifford and the four young ladies, who had come up with him from Leicestershire, took a lodging in Tower-street, and for some time a servant was continually passing with letters between them: but afterwards this correspondence was permitted only once a day.

Mrs. Clifford came three times to the Tower to see him, but was not admitted; but his children were suffered to be with him some time.

On the 16th of April, having been a prisoner in the Tower two months and two days, he was brought to his trial, which continued till the 18th, before the House of Lords, assembled for that purpose; Lord Henley, keeper of the great seal, having been created lord high steward upon the occasion.

The murder was easily proved to have been committed in the manner we have described; and his lordship then proceeded to enter upon his defence.

He called several witnesses, the object of whose testimony was to show that the earl was not of sound mind, but none of them proved such an insanity as made him not accountable for his conduct. His lordship managed his defence himself, in such a manner as showed an uncommon understanding; he mentioned the fact of his being reduced to the necessity of attempting to prove himself a lunatic, that he might not be deemed a murderer, with the most delicate and affecting sensibility; and, when he found that his plea could not avail him, he confessed that he made it only to gratify his friends; that he was always averse to it himself; and that it had prevented what he had proposed, and what perhaps might have taken off the malignity at least of the accusation.

The peers having in the usual form delivered their verdict of Guilty, his lordship received sentence to be hanged on Monday the 21st of April, and then to be anatomized; but, in consideration of his rank, the execution of this sentence was respited till Monday the 5th of May.

During this interval he made a will, by which he left one thousand three hundred pounds to Mr. Johnson’s children; one thousand pounds to each of his four natural daughters; and sixty pounds a year to Mrs. Clifford for her life; but this disposition of his property being made after his conviction, was not valid; although it was said that the same, or nearly the same provision was afterwards made for the parties named.

In the mean time a scaffold was erected under the gallows at Tyburn, and part of it, about a yard square, was raised about eighteen inches above the rest of the floor, with a contrivance to sink down upon a signal given, in accordance with the plan now invariably adopted; the whole being covered with black baize.

On the morning of the 5th May, at about nine o’clock, his lordship’s body was demanded of the keeper of the Tower, by the sheriffs of London and Middlesex, and his lordship being informed of it, sent a message to the sheriffs requesting that he might be permitted to be conveyed to the scaffold in his own landau, in preference to the mourning-coach which was provided for him. This being granted, his landau, drawn by six horses, immediately drew up, and he entered it, accompanied by Mr. Humphries, the chaplain of the Tower, who had been admitted to him on that morning for the first time. On the carriage reaching the outer gate, the earl was delivered up to the sheriffs, and Mr. Sheriff Vaillant entered the vehicle with him, expressing his concern at having so melancholy a duty to perform; but his lordship said “he was much obliged to him, and took{186} it kindly that he accompanied him.” The earl was attired in a white suit, richly embroidered with silver; and when he put it on he said, “This is the suit in which I was married, and in which I will die.” The procession being now formed, moved forward slowly, the landau being preceded by a considerable body of horse grenadiers, and by a carriage containing Mr. Sheriff Errington, and his under sheriff, Mr. Jackson, and being followed by the carriage of Mr. Sheriff Vaillant, containing Mr. Nichols, his under sheriff, a mourning-coach and six, containing some of his lordship’s friends, a hearse and six for the conveyance of his body to Surgeon’s Hall after execution, and another body of military. The pace at which they proceeded, in consequence of the density of the mob, was so slow, that his lordship was two hours and three quarters in his landau, but during that time he appeared perfectly easy and composed, though he often expressed his anxiety to have the whole affair over, saying “that the apparatus of death, and the passing through such crowds, were worse than death itself,” and “that he supposed so large a mob had been collected because the people had never seen a lord hanged before,” He told the sheriff that “he had written to the king to beg that he might suffer where his ancestor, the Earl of Essex, had been executed; and that he was in the greater hopes of obtaining that favour, as he had the honour of quartering part of the same arms, and of being allied to his majesty; but that he had refused, and he thought it hard that he must die at the place appointed for the execution of common felons.”

Mr. Humphries took occasion to observe, that the world would naturally be very inquisitive concerning the religion his lordship professed, and asked him if he chose to say anything upon that subject; and his lordship answered that he did not think himself accountable to the world for his sentiments on religion; but that he had always believed in and adored one God, the maker of all things; that whatever his notions were, he had never propagated them, or endeavoured to gain any persons over to his persuasion; that all countries and nations had a form of religion by which the people were governed, and that he looked upon any one who disturbed them in it as an enemy to society. That he blamed very much my Lord Bolingbroke for permitting his sentiments on religion to be published to the world. That he never could believe what some sectaries teach, that faith alone will save mankind; so that if a man, just before he dies, should say only “I believe,” that alone will save him.

As to the crime for which he suffered, he declared “that he was under particular circumstances—that he had met with so many crosses and vexations, he scarce knew what he did:” and he most solemnly protested “that he had not the least malice against Mr. Johnson.”

When his lordship had got to that part of Holborn which is near Drury-lane, he said “he was thirsty, and should be glad of a glass of wine and water;” upon which the sheriffs remonstrating to him, “that a stop for that purpose would necessarily draw a greater crowd about him, which night possibly disturb and incommode him, yet, if his lordship still desired it, it should be done,” he most readily answered, “That’s true—I say no more—let us by no means stop.”

When they approached near the place of execution, his lordship, pointing to Mrs. Clifford, told the sheriff “that there was a person waiting in a coach near there, for whom he had a very sincere regard, and of whom{187} he should be glad to take his leave before he died.” The sheriff answered that, “if his lordship insisted upon it, it should be so; but that he wished his lordship, for his own sake, would decline it, lest the sight of a person, for whom he had such a regard, should unman him, and disarm him of the fortitude he possessed.” His lordship, without the least hesitation, replied, “Sir, if you think I am wrong, I submit:” and upon the sheriff telling his lordship that if he had anything to deliver to the individual referred to, or any one else, he would faithfully do it, his lordship delivered to him a pocket-book, in which were a bank-note and a ring, and a purse with some guineas, which were afterwards handed over to the unhappy woman.

The landau being now advanced to the place of execution, his lordship alighted from it, and ascended the scaffold with the same composure and fortitude of mind he had exhibited from the time he left the Tower. Soon after he had mounted the scaffold, Mr. Humphries asked his lordship if he chose to say prayers, which he declined; but, upon his asking him “if he did not choose to join with him in the Lord’s Prayer,” he readily answered “he would, for he always thought it a very fine prayer;” upon which they knelt down together upon two cushions, covered with black baize and his lordship, with an audible voice, very devoutly repeated the Lord’s Prayer, and afterwards, with great energy, ejaculated, “O God, forgive me all my errors—pardon all my sins!”

His lordship, then rising, took his leave of the sheriff and the chaplain; and, after thanking them for their many civilities, presented his watch to Mr. Sheriff Vaillant, of which he desired his acceptance; and requested that his body might be buried at Breden or Stanton, in Leicestershire.

The executioner now proceeded to do his duty, to which his lordship, with great resignation, submitted. His neckcloth being taken off, a white cap, which he had brought in his pocket, being put upon his head, his arms secured by a black sash, and the cord put round his neck, he advanced by three steps to the elevated part of the scaffold, and, standing under the cross-beam which went over it, which was also covered with black baize, he asked the executioner “Am I right?” Then the cap was drawn over his face, and, upon a signal given by the sheriff, (for his lordship, upon being before asked, declined to give one himself,) that part upon which he stood instantly sunk down from beneath his feet, and he was launched into eternity May the 5th 1760.

From the time of his lordship’s ascending upon the scaffold, until his execution, was about eight minutes; during which his countenance did not change, nor his tongue falter.

The accustomed time of one hour being past, the coffin was raised up, with the greatest decency, to receive the body; and, being deposited in the hearse, was conveyed by the sheriffs, with the same procession, to Surgeons’ Hall, to undergo the remainder of the sentence. A large incision was then made from the neck to the bottom of the breast, and another across the throat; the lower part of the belly was laid open, and the bowels taken away. It was afterwards publicly exposed to view in a room up one pair of stairs at the Hall; and on the evening of Thursday, the 8th of May, it was delivered to his friends for interment.

The following verse is said to have been found in his apartment:—

“In doubt I lived, in doubt I die,
Yet stand prepared the vast abyss to try,
And, undismay’d, expect eternity.”




THIS delinquent was a native of Geneva; and besides being a man of good general education, was somewhat celebrated in his native city as a painter on enamel. Unhappy in his domestic concerns, in the year 1760 he repaired to London, and took lodgings in the house of a Mrs. King, who lived in Leicester-fields, and who was the unfortunate subject of his crime.

The circumstances attending the murder were as follow:—On Thursday, 19th February 1761, the servant-girl got up at about seven o’clock in the morning, and being presently called by Gardelle, who occupied an upper apartment, was desired to go on some errands for him.

The girl took the messages, and went to her mistress, who was still in her bedroom, which was the back parlour, telling her what Gardelle had desired her to do; to which her mistress replied, “Nanny, you can’t go, for there’s nobody to answer at the street door.” The girl being willing to oblige Gardelle, answered “that Mr. Gardelle would come down, and sit in the parlour until she came back;” and she then went again to Gardelle, who, in obedience to her wish, proceeded into the front room on the ground floor.

The girl went out, taking the key of the street-door with her to let herself in again, Gardelle then having entered the room next to Mrs. King’s apartment.

Immediately after she was gone out, Mrs. King, hearing the tread of somebody in the parlour, called out, “Who is there?” and at the same time opened her chamber door, and saw Gardelle at a table very near the door, who had just then taken up a book that lay upon it. He had some time before drawn Mrs. King’s picture, which she wanted to have made very handsome, and had teased him so much about it, that the effect was just contrary; and it happened unfortunately, that the first thing she said to him, when she saw him walking about in the room, was something reproachful about this picture. Provoked at the insult, as he spoke English very imperfectly, for want of a better expression, he told her, with some warmth, “that she was an impertinent woman.”

The detail of the whole of the circumstances immediately attending this part of the transaction of necessity could not fall within the knowledge or observation of any witness, and it is therefore derived from a statement drawn up by Gardelle while in custody; but having stated the facts already mentioned, he says that this insult threw Mrs. King into a transport of rage, and she gave him a blow with her fist on the breast, so violent that he could not have thought it could have been given by a woman. As soon as the blow was struck she drew a little back; and at the same instant he laid his hand on her shoulder, and pushed her from him, rather in contempt than anger, or with a design to hurt her; but her foot happening to catch in the floor-cloth, she fell backwards, and her head came with great force against the corner of the bedstead. The blood immediately gushed from her mouth, not in a continued stream, but as if by different strokes of a pump, and he instantly ran to her, expressing his concern at the accident; but she pushed him away, and threatened, though in a feeble{189} and interrupted voice, to punish him for what he had done. He was terrified at the thought of being condemned for a criminal act upon her accusation, and again attempted to assist her by raising her up, as the blood still flowed from her mouth in great quantities; but she exerted all her strength to keep him off, and still cried out, mixing threats with her screams. He then seized an ivory comb, with a sharp taper point continued from the back for adjusting the curls of her hair, which lay upon her toilet, and threatened her in his turn to prevent her crying out; but she still continuing to scream, though with a voice still fainter and fainter, he struck her with this instrument, probably in the throat, upon which the blood poured from her mouth in yet greater quantities, and her voice was quite stopped. He then drew the bed-clothes over her to prevent her blood from spreading on the floor, and to hide her from his sight; and he stood some time motionless by her, and then fell down by her side in a swoon. When he came to himself he perceived the maid was come in, and he therefore went out of the room without examining the body to see if the unhappy woman was quite dead; and his confusion was then so great that he staggered against the wainscot, and hit his head so as to raise a bump over his eye.

It appears that he subsequently sent the girl away, informing her that he had her mistress’s orders to dismiss her, and paid ten shillings for her wages; and the latter having been unable to find either her mistress or Gardelle on her first returning to the house, and knowing the former to be a woman of light character, concluded that they must have been in bed together, and that her mistress being ashamed to meet her, determined to get rid of her. Her suspicions were not at all raised therefore, and she went away, informing Gardelle that Mr. Wright, who lodged in the house, but had been out of town, would return that evening with his servant. On her departure, the first thing that Gardelle did was to go into the chamber to Mrs. King, whom, upon examination, he found quite dead. He therefore took off the blankets and sheets with which he had covered her, stripped off the shift, and laid the body quite naked upon the bed. Before this, he said, his linen was not stained; but it was much discoloured by his removing the body. He then took the two blankets, the sheets, the coverlet, and one of the curtains, and put them into the water-tub in the back wash-house to soak, they being all much stained with blood. Her shift he carried up stairs, and putting it into a bag, concealed it under his bed. His own shirt, now bloody, he pulled off, and locked it up in a drawer of his bureau.

When all this was done, he went and sat down in the parlour, and soon after, it being about nine o’clock, Mr. Wright’s servant, whose name was Pelsey, came in without his master, who had changed his mind, and was gone to a gentleman’s house in Castle-street. He went up into his room, the garret, and sat there till about eleven o’clock, when he came down, and finding Gardelle still in the parlour, he asked if Mrs. King was come home, and who must sit up for her? Gardelle said she was not come home, but that he would sit up for her. In the morning, Friday, when Pelsey came down stairs, he again asked if Mrs. King was come home, and Gardelle told him that she had been at home, but was gone again; and he subsequently said that she was gone to Bath or Bristol. The demeanour of Gardelle was soon observed by Pelsey to be much changed, and fancying{190} that it was in consequence of the absence of Mrs. King, he went into the Haymarket, and procured a girl of unfortunate character named Walker to go and stay in the house with him. A Mrs. Pritchard was also engaged as charwoman, and still, no suspicions being entertained, all the parties continued to live in the house. On the Saturday morning, Gardelle first took steps to dispose of the body of the deceased woman, and no plan struck him as being so readily to be carried out as that of a gradual destruction of its members by fire. He accordingly proceeded to light a fire in the garret, whither he carried the bones, from which he had previously scraped the flesh, and burned them. All went on well until the Tuesday morning, when Pelsey, who was going up to his master’s room, smelt something offensive, and asked Gardelle, who was pushing up the sash of the window on the staircase, what it was? Gardelle replied, somebody had put a bone in the fire. At night Pelsey renewed his inquiries after Mrs. King, and Gardelle answered, with a seeming impatience, “Me know not of Mrs. King; she give me a great deal of trouble, but me shall hear of her on Wednesday or Thursday.”

On Tuesday night he told Walker he would sit up till Mrs. King came home, though he had before told her she was out of town, and desired her to go to bed; and as soon as she was gone, he renewed his horrid employment of cutting the body to pieces, and disposing of it in different places. The bowels he threw down the necessary; and the flesh of the body and limbs, cut to pieces, he scattered about in the cock-loft, where he supposed they would dry and perish without putrefaction.

Wednesday passed like the preceding days; and on Thursday he told his female companion that he expected Mrs. King home in the evening, and therefore desired that she would provide herself a lodging, giving her at the same time two of Mrs. King’s shifts; and being thus dismissed, she went away.

Pritchard, the charwoman, still continued in her office, and through her means the murder was discovered. The water having failed in the cistern on the Tuesday, she had recourse to that in the water-tub in the back kitchen. Upon pulling out the spigot a little water ran out; but, as there appeared to be more in, she got upon a ledge, and putting her hand in, she felt something soft. She then fetched a poker, and pressing down the contents of the tub, she got water in a pail. She informed Pelsey of the circumstance, and they agreed the first opportunity to see what the things in the water-tub were; yet so languid was their curiosity, and so careless were they of the event, that it was Thursday before the tub was examined. They found in it the blankets, sheets, and coverlet, that Gardelle had put in to soak; and after spreading, shaking, and looking at them, they put them again into the tub; and the next morning, when Pelsey came down, he saw the curtain hanging on the banisters of the kitchen stairs. Upon looking down, he saw Gardelle just come out at the wash-house door, where the tub stood. When Pritchard the charwoman came, he asked her if she had been taking the curtain out of the tub, and she said “No.” She then went and looked in the tub, and found the sheets had been wrung out. Upon this the first step was taken towards inquiring after the unhappy woman, who had now lain dead more than a week in the house. Pelsey found out the maid whom Gardelle had dismissed, and suspicions being excited that Mrs. King had been unfairly dealt with, the aid of the{191} police was obtained. Gardelle was then apprehended, and his answers to the questions put to him being of a very equivocal nature, a search was made in the house, and the remains of the body being discovered, disposed of as we have already mentioned, as well as the linen of the deceased, and of the prisoner, stained with blood, his guilt was considered to be fully established, and he was committed to Newgate for trial. While in that prison he made two attempts to destroy himself by taking laudanum, and by swallowing halfpence to the number of twelve; but although he was considerably injured by the latter attempt, he failed in securing his object. He afterwards showed strong marks of penitence and contrition, and behaved with great humility, openness, and courtesy, to those who visited him.

On Thursday, the 2d of April, he was tried at the Old Bailey; and, in his defence, he insisted only that he had no malice to the deceased, and that her death was the consequence of the fall. He was convicted, and sentenced to be executed on Saturday, the 4th of the same month. The account which he wrote in prison, and which is mentioned in this narrative, is dated the 28th of March, though he did not communicate it till after his trial. The night after his condemnation, his behaviour was extravagant and outrageous; but the next morning he was composed and quiet, and said he had slept three or four hours in the night. When he was asked why he did not make his escape, he answered that he feared some innocent person might then suffer in his stead.

He was executed April the 4th 1761, amidst the shouts and hisses of an indignant populace, in the Haymarket, near Panton-street, to which he was led by Mrs. King’s house, where the cart made a stop. His body was hung in chains upon Hounslow Heath.



JOHN M‘NAUGHTON, ESQ. was the son of a merchant at Derry, whose father had been an alderman of Dublin. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin; and on his coming of age he entered into a landed estate of six hundred pounds a year, in the county of Tyrone, which was left him by Dr. M‘Naughton, his uncle. The first vice he fell into was that of gaming, by which he very soon did great injury to his fortune; and though he continued (as most novices do who play with sharpers) in a constant run of ill luck, and was soon obliged to mortgage his property, yet his losses made no visible alteration in his temper. Although he was of a most passionate disposition, his pride kept him within due bounds there. All was placid with the polite M‘Naughton; and he lost his money to the very last with that graceful composure that became the man who had a plentiful fortune to support it. But strong as his passion this way might be, it was not powerful enough to secure him against the attacks of love, and becoming attached to a young lady he very speedily married her. The reader may well suppose that the expenses of a wife and family in Dublin must soon increase his difficulties, and introduce a new scene of troubles; and it did so in a manner and with an effect which was most unhappy for Mr.{192} M‘Naughton. It appears that a writ having been issued against him at the suit of one of his creditors, the sheriff’s officer obtained access to his house by a stratagem, on which he flew into a rage, and calling out for pistols, he frighted his poor listening wife to such a degree that premature labour followed, and she died in childbed.

The feelings of the unfortunate husband upon the occurrence of this melancholy event were most distressing, and he made repeated attempts upon his life; but a change of scene being recommended, he was conveyed to the country, where every attention was paid to his health, while his fortune also was nursed with equal care. On his return to the gaiety of the Irish metropolis, he soon resumed that worst of passions—gaming, and again became the dupe of others, while his property was once more seriously diminished. At this time he made secret advances to Miss Knox, the beautiful and accomplished daughter of Richard Knox, Esq. of Prohen in the county of Derry, who was possessed of a handsome fortune, and whose promise of marriage he obtained, in the event of her father’s consent being given. On that consent being requested, however, it was at once refused, on account of the youth of the young lady, whose age did not exceed sixteen years; and Mr. Knox was so resolute in his refusal, that he forbade the suitor for his daughter’s hand ever to enter the house again. Mr. M‘Naughton begged that this latter injunction might be withdrawn, urging that it would appear strange to the world that his friendship with a family, with which he had been so intimate, should be so suddenly broken off; and upon his promising upon his honour, that the subject of the marriage should not be again mentioned, and declaring that he had not previously spoken of it to the young lady herself, his visits were allowed to be repeated. In the mean time he continued his addresses to the young lady, and informed her that he had obtained the consent of her father, but that the marriage must be postponed for a year or two, when some material business would be settled, which was required to be decided first; and under this assurance she no longer withheld the confession that the passion of her admirer was returned, and appeared to delight most in the company of the man whom she looked upon as her future husband.

All her hopes were, however, soon doomed to be blasted. One day being in company with M‘Naughton and a little boy in a retired room in the house, he pressed her to marry him, protesting he never could be happy till he was sure of her; and with an air of sprightly raillery, pulling out a prayer-book, he began to read the marriage service, and insisted on the young lady making the responses, which she did; but to every one she always added, “provided her father consented.”

Some short time after this, Miss Knox going to a friend’s house on a week’s visit, Mr. M‘Naughton, being also an intimate there, soon followed her; and here he fixed his scene for action. After a day or two he claimed her, and, calling her his wife, insisted on consummation; but the young lady absolutely refused to comply, and leaving the house, went directly and informed her uncle of the whole affair. On this Mr. Knox wrote a letter to M‘Naughton, telling him what a base dishonourable villain he was, and bade him avoid his sight for ever; but upon the receipt of this letter M‘Naughton advertised his marriage in the public newspapers, cautioning every other man not to marry his lawful wife. This vile attack was answered by a very spirited and proper advertisement from the father, with{193} an affidavit of the whole affair from the daughter annexed; and Mr. Knox having commenced a suit in the Prerogative Court, the marriage was declared invalid. Mr. M‘Naughton having absconded to avoid his debts, could not now appeal to the Court of Delegates, and the original decree was confirmed. Judge Scott in consequence issued his warrant for the apprehension of the defendant, who was liable to pay costs; and M‘Naughton, hearing of this, wrote a most impudent threatening letter to the judge, and, it is said, lay in wait to have him murdered, but missed him by the judge’s taking another road. Upon this the judge applied to the lord chief justice, who issued another writ against him, which drove him to England.

In the summer of 1761, Mr. M‘Naughton returned to Ireland, and by constantly hovering round Mr. Knox’s house, obliged the family to be upon their guard, and the young lady to live like a recluse.

About the middle of the summer, however, she ventured to a place called Swaddling Bar to drink the mineral waters there for her health; but even thither this unhappy man followed her, and he was seen in a beggar’s habit dogging her footsteps. Thus disguised he was detected; and when warned never to appear there again, he swore, in the presence of several, that he would murder the whole family if he did not get possession of his wife—a threat which he subsequently attempted to carry out. Notwithstanding his violence, it appears that he was permitted again to escape to London; and he remained there until the month of October in the same year. At the beginning of November he was again seen in Ireland; and having approached the residence of the Knoxes, he was known to sleep with three of his accomplices, at the house of a hearth-money collector, very nearly adjoining the abode of his intended victim. The 10th was the day fixed upon by him for the attack; and on that morning M‘Naughton, with his companions, went to a cabin on the road-side with a sack full of fire arms, in order to await the passing of Mr. Knox’s coach, in which it was known the family were about to proceed to Dublin. One of the men was despatched to ascertain the moment of the coming of the vehicle; and when it appeared in sight, having obtained the information requisite for its identification, he hurried back to desire the projector of the scheme to prepare. It appears that the only persons in the carriage were Mr. Knox and his wife, their daughter and a maid-servant; and they were attended only by one livery-servant, and a faithful fellow, a smith, who was foster-father to Miss Knox, and whom no bribe could ever purchase, although most of the other servants had been tampered with. As soon as the coach came near the cabin, two of the villains, armed with guns, presented themselves to the postilion and coachman, and stopped the horses, while M‘Naughton fired at the smith with a blunderbuss. The latter escaped being wounded, and presented his piece in return, but it unfortunately missed fire, and M‘Naughton and one of his companions seizing the opportunity, again fired, and both of them wounded him. Mr. Knox at this time drew up the blinds of the carriage, and M‘Naughton observing this, ran round to the other side, and firing in at the window obliquely, with a gun loaded with five balls, shot Miss Knox, all the balls taking effect in her body. The maid-servant now let down the window, screaming that her mistress was murdered; and the livery-servant on hearing this came from behind a peat-stack, where he had concealed himself for safety, and firing at M‘Naughton, wounded him in the back; and about the same{194} time Mr. Knox from the coach discharged a pistol, which was the last of eight shots fired on this strange and dreadful occasion.

The murderer and his accomplices now immediately fled; and Miss Knox being carried into the cabin, died in about three hours. An attack so bold and so diabolical in its nature excited the greatest degree of interest; and large rewards were instantly offered for the apprehension of the perpetrator of the murder. For a considerable time all search proved fruitless; but at length a corporal of Sir James Caldwell’s company of Light Horse secured him under the following circumstances:—It appears that the corporal had received instructions to search the house and offices of one Wenslow, a farmer, and had examined every place without success, when he bethought himself of a stratagem, by which to obtain the requisite information of the murderer’s hiding-place. Observing a fellow digging potatoes in a piece of ground behind the stables, he remarked in his hearing that it was a great pity that M‘Naughton could not be found, for that the person who discovered his retreat would be sure of a reward of 300l. The bait took, and the peasant pointed to a barn, and thither the corporal and his assistants immediately proceeded. The door was fast, but they at length forced it open, and then they found the object of their search standing with a gun at his shoulder, apparently determined to resist all efforts made to secure him. On the appearance of the corporal he fired at him, but without wounding him; and a shot from the corporal’s gun striking him on the wrist, he was compelled to surrender.

He was immediately secured and carried to Lifford jail, where he remained in the closest confinement until the 8th December, 1761, when he was put upon his trial, with an accomplice named Dunlap before Mr. Baron Mountney and Mr. Justice Scott, on a special commission.

M‘Naughton, still suffering from the effects of the wounds which he had received, was brought into court on a bier, rolled in a blanket, and wearing the shirt in which he was taken, still smeared with blood. His beard had grown to an enormous length, and his head was wrapped in a greasy woollen night-cap. In that condition he made a long speech, pointedly and sensibly; and complained in the most pathetic manner of the hard usage he had met with since his confinement. He said “they had treated him like a man under sentence, and not like a man that was to be tried.” He declared, with tears in his eyes, that he never intended to kill his dear wife, but that he only designed to take her away.

The case lasted five days, a considerable portion of the first day being occupied in pleadings to postpone the trial, and the reply of the counsel for the crown. During these debates M‘Naughton often spoke with most amazing spirit and judgment; but the result was, that he was ordered to prepare his affidavit, which the Court would take into consideration. Accordingly, on the 9th, he was brought into Court again, and his affidavit read, in which he swore that some material witnesses for him were not to be had, particularly one Owens, who, he said, was present all the time; but the Court were of opinion that no sufficient reason for the application was shown, and the trial in consequence proceeded. During the whole proceedings M‘Naughton took his notes as regularly as any of the lawyers, and cross-examined all the witnesses with the greatest accuracy, and he was observed to behave with uncommon resolution.

His chief defence was founded on a letter he produced, as written to him by Miss Knox, in which she desired him to intercept her on the road to{195} Dublin, and take her away; but this letter was proved a forgery of his own, which after condemnation he confessed. He took great pains to exculpate himself from the least design to murder any one, much less his dear wife (as he always called her); he declared solemnly that his intent was only to take her out of the coach, and carry her off; but as he received the first wound, from the first shot that was fired, the anguish of that wound, and the prospect of his ill success in his design, so distracted him that, being wholly involved in confusion and despair, he fired he knew not at what or whom, and had the misfortune to kill the only person in the world that was dear to him; that he gave the Court that trouble, and laboured thus, not to save his life,—for death was now his choice,—but to clear his character from such horrid guilt as that which was ascribed to him. The jury, however, found both prisoners guilty; and M‘Naughton received the intimation without any concern, declaring that “they had acquitted themselves with justice to the country.” Mr. Baron Mountney then pronounced upon both prisoners the awful sentence which the law directed; and although the Court were visibly affected by the manner in which this painful duty was performed, M‘Naughton remained unconcerned. He prayed the Court to have mercy upon Dunlap, alleging that he was his tenant, and had been compelled by him to participate with him in the transaction, under pain of losing a lease, which he hoped to be renewed; but he declared that life was not worth asking for himself, for that his wife being dead, the better half of himself was gone, and he had nothing to remain for in this world.

Tuesday the 15th December, 1761, was fixed upon for the execution of these criminals; but it appears that some difficulty was experienced in carrying the sentence into effect. For a long time no carpenter could be found to make the gallows, and the sheriff looked out for a tree proper for the purpose, and the execution must have been performed on it, had not the uncle of the young lady, and some other gentlemen, made the gallows, and put it up. The sheriff was afterwards obliged to take a party of soldiers, and force a smith to take off the prisoners’ bolts, otherwise he must have been obliged, contrary to law, to execute them with their bolts on. The time for the execution having arrived, M‘Naughton, attended by his fellow prisoner, walked to the place of execution, but, being weak of his wounds, was supported between two men. The former was dressed in a white flannel waistcoat trimmed with black buttons and holes, a diaper night-cap tied with a black riband, white stockings, mourning-buckles, and a crape tied on his arm. He desired the executioner to be speedy; and the fellow pointing to the ladder, he mounted with great spirit. The moment he was tied up he jumped from it with such vehemence as snapped the rope, and he fell to the ground, but without dislocating his neck, or doing himself much injury. When they had raised him on his legs again, he soon recovered his senses; and the executioner borrowing the rope from Dunlap, and fixing it round M‘Naughton’s neck, he went up the ladder a second time, and tying the rope himself to the gallows, he jumped from it again with the same force, and appeared dead in a minute.

The spectators, who saw him drop when the rope broke, looked upon it as some contrivance for his escape, which they favoured all they could by running away from the place, and leaving it open.

Dunlap was afterwards turned off in the usual manner, in sight of the dangling body of his accomplice and master.{196}



ON the trial of these men, with five more of the crew, it appeared that disputes arose on board the King George, a fine privateer, of thirty-two guns and two hundred men, commanded by Captain Reed, and cruising against the enemies of the country, concerning some prize wine, which was stowed in the hold, some of the crew insisting on its being hoisted up to be used for the whole ship’s company. This would have been attended, in their situation, with both difficulty and danger, and was consequently opposed by Captain Reed and his officers; and being disappointed, a factious discontented set endeavoured to corrupt the remainder, and soon gained over so formidable a party, that they determined to seize the ship, and turn pirates in the Indian seas. In order to effect this, off Cape Ortugal, the mutineers demanded the keys of the arm-chests, and on the refusal of their request, they drove the captain and officers into the cabin.

They then placed a guard at the door, and brought a nine-pounder carriage-gun, loaded with round and grape shot, to fire among the officers; but were prevailed upon to desist by the entreaties of Mr. Gardener, the sailing master.

They then offered the latter the command of the ship, acquainting him with their intention of steering for the East Indies; but on his refusal they put him under a guard, and took the ship into their own care, until they had, for want of skill, nearly lost her. They then released Mr. Gardener, and gave him the helm; when he steered into Camarinas, in Spain, where most of the mutineers took to the boats, and made their escape.

Such as were apprehended were brought to trial; and though two more, viz. Thomas Baldwin and Laurence Tierman, were found guilty, yet Smith and Mayne, who were the ringleaders of the mutiny, only were hanged. They suffered at Execution Dock, May the 10th, 1762.

They were both Irishmen, and Roman Catholics, and were attended by a priest of that religion.

A few years after this affair a mutiny broke out among the crew of the Namur, of ninety guns. Fifteen were tried, found guilty, and ordered to be hanged; and they were taken for execution on board the Royal Ann, with halters round their necks. While waiting for the fatal gun being fired, however, they were told that his majesty had pardoned fourteen of them, but one of them must die; and they were ordered to cast lots.

How exquisite must have been the feelings of these miserable men at the awful moment of deciding on the fate of one! The fatal lot fell upon the second man that drew, Matthew M‘Can, who was soon run up to the yard-arm, where the body hung nearly an hour.

The pardoned seamen were turned over to the Grafton and the Sunderland, under sailing orders for the East Indies.{197}



THERE is so much eccentricity in the mode in which this unhappy wretch terminated her existence, that, although the circumstances of the robbery for which she was convicted are not of an interesting nature, we cannot forbear mentioning her case.

We have adduced many instances of hardness of heart, and contempt of the commandments of God, in men who have undergone the last sentence of the law; but we are of opinion that in this woman will be found a more relentless heart, in her last moments, than any criminal whom we have yet recorded.

Hannah Dagoe was born in Ireland, and was one of that numerous class of women who ply at Covent Garden market as basket-women. In the pursuit of her vocation, she became acquainted with a poor and industrious woman of the name of Eleanor Hussey, who lived by herself in a small apartment, in which was some creditable household furniture, the remains of the worldly goods of her deceased husband. Seizing an opportunity, when the owner was from home, this daring woman broke into Hussey’s room, and stripped it of every article which it contained.

For this burglary and robbery she was brought to trial at the Old Bailey, found guilty, and sentenced to death.

She was a strong masculine woman, the terror of her fellow prisoners, and actually stabbed one of the men who had given evidence against her; but the wound happened not to prove dangerous.

On the road to Tyburn she showed little concern at her miserable state, and paid no attention to the exhortations of the Romish priest who attended her. When the cart, in which she was bound, was drawn under the gallows, she got her hands and arms loose, seized the executioner, struggled with him, and gave him so violent a blow on the breast as nearly knocked him down. She dared him to hang her; and in order to revenge herself upon him, and cheat him of his dues, she took off her hat, cloak, and other parts of her dress, and disposed of them among the crowd. After much resistance he got the rope about her neck, which she had no sooner found accomplished, than, pulling out a handkerchief, she bound it round her head, over her face, and threw herself out of the cart, before the signal given, with such violence, that she broke her neck and died instantly.

This extraordinary and unprecedented scene occurred on the 4th May, 1763.



THESE men had served their country as soldiers, and it is remarkable that having in that capacity conducted themselves with great bravery, and earned for themselves well-merited rewards, they should afterwards have resorted to such atrocious means of procuring a livelihood, as from this case it will appear they adopted. Having returned to England from the Havannah, where their regiment had been stationed, they obtained their{198} discharge, and determined to commence robbers on a plan of the most infamous cruelty. This consisted in their procuring two young thieves, named Byfield and Mathews, to go before them and to pick pockets; and in case of their being detected and seized, their villanous employers would run up, and by maiming the person holding the boys, generally by cutting him across the eyes, would procure their release. The offence for which they were executed, was committed on the 17th June, 1765; and it appears that a gentleman named Kirby was selected by the gang as a fit object for attack. Mr. Kirby, however, detected Byfield in picking his pocket, and before he could withdraw his hand, he seized him and threatened to carry him before the magistrates. His intention was not to pursue this threat, but in order to terrify the boy, he dragged him a considerable distance through the Strand, where the circumstance had occurred. Carrol soon came up to him, and demanded the boy’s release; but Byfield guessing that he would be permitted to escape, told him to keep off, for that the gentleman would let him go. The answer given by the ruffian was “Damn him, but I will cut him,” and instantly drawing his knife, he gave Mr. Kirby a severe cut over the face. A Mr. Carr at the moment came up to the assistance of Mr. Kirby, and seized Carrol’s arm, and at this instant Kirby, letting go the boy, struck at Carrol; but the blow happening to fall on Mr. Carr’s hand, the villain made his escape. The rogues then ran off towards St. Clement’s church, and escaped through an alley into Wych Street, though closely pursued by the gentleman.

Mr. Kirby now felt great pain, but had no idea that he had been wounded by any sharp instrument; but, putting his hand to his face, he found that it streamed with blood. Going to the Crown and Anchor Tavern in the Strand, Mr. Ingram, a surgeon of eminence, almost immediately attended him; and although the utmost expedition was used in calling in the assistance of that gentleman, Mr. Kirby had lost near two quarts of blood in the short interval.

On examination, it appeared that the wound was given in a transverse direction, from the right eye to the left temple; that two large vessels were divided by it; that there was a cut across the nose, which left the bone visible; and that the eye-balls must have been divided by the slightest deviation from the stroke.

The abominable assassins were very soon apprehended, and found guilty under the Coventry Act, and hanged at Tyburn, July 31, 1765, amid the execrations of an enraged multitude.

The “Coventry Act” is a statute of the 22d and 23d Charles II.; its provision in respect of this crime is to the following effect:—“If any person, on purpose, and by malice aforethought, and by laying in wait, shall unlawfully cut or disable the tongue, put out an eye, slit the nose, cut off a nose or lip, or cut off or disable any limb or member of any subject, with intention, in so doing, to maim or disfigure him, the person so offending, his counsellors, aiders, abettors (knowing of, and privy to, the offence), shall be guilty of felony, without benefit of clergy.” It is called the Coventry Act because it was passed on Sir John Coventry being assaulted, and having his nose slit in the street; and the following anecdote is related of the circumstances under which this outrage was committed.

In the committee of ways and means, in the House of Commons, it had been resolved that, towards the supply, every one that resorts to any of{199} the playhouses, who sits in the boxes, shall pay one shilling; every one who sits in the pit shall pay sixpence; and every other person threepence. This resolution (to which the House disagreed upon the report) was opposed in the committee by the courtiers, who gave for a reason “That the players were the king’s servants, and a part of his pleasure.” To this Sir John Coventry, one of the members, by way of reply, asked “Whether the king’s pleasure lay among the men or among the women players?” This being reported at court, it was highly resented; and a resolution was privately taken to set a mark on Sir John, to prevent others from taking the like liberties.

December the 20th was the night that the House of Commons adjourned for the Christmas holidays. On the 25th, one of the Duke of Monmouth’s troop of life-guards and some few foot, lay in wait from ten at night till two in the morning, by Suffolk Street; and as Sir John returned from the tavern, where he supped, to his own house, they threw him down, and, with a knife, cut the end of his nose almost off; but company coming made them fearful to finish it.

The debates which this affair occasioned in the House of Commons ran very high, and one of the members emphatically called the attack on Coventry “A horrid un-English act.”

The result was that the statute in question was passed.



THIS case exhibits a remarkable series of adventures which occurred to the unfortunate man, who, after having survived many engagements and imprisonments, was doomed to become one of the victims of a horrid and piratical scheme.

The unfortunate Captain Glass was the son of a minister of the Church of Scotland, who obtained some notice from his writings, in which he opposed the practice of religion according to particular forms, and was founder of a sect called Glassites. At an early period of his life, young Glass exhibited talents of no ordinary character; and having taken a degree of Master of Arts at one of the Scotch universities, he applied himself to the study of medicine. He made rapid progress in this new line of learning; and after he had taken the necessary degrees, was employed as a surgeon on board a trading vessel bound for the coast of Guinea, and in that capacity he afterwards made several voyages to America. His superior qualifications gained him a distinguished place in the esteem of several merchants, who entrusted to him the command of a vessel in the Guinea trade; and his conduct proved highly to the advantage of his owners, and equally honourable to himself.

When the war against France was declared, Captain Glass found himself in possession of a very considerable sum, a great part of which he determined to venture on board a privateer; and he, in consequence, caused a vessel to be fitted out with all possible expedition, and took the command on himself.{200}

In about ten days after they had commenced this voyage, they made prize of a ship, richly laden, belonging to France, which they carried into a port in the West Indies; but soon afterwards, being obliged to engage two vessels of war, after an obstinate contest they were compelled to submit to the superior power of the enemy and strike, but not until Captain Glass had been severely wounded and most of his men slain. The captain being conveyed to France, was there consigned to a prison; but an interchange of prisoners taking place, he once more trod on British ground.

Nothing daunted by the unsuccessful termination of his first venture, he tried a second expedition of a similar character, in which he was equally unfortunate, and was once again consigned to the keeping of a French jailor, in whose custody he remained until the termination of the war. He next conceived a design of sailing in search of discoveries; and in pursuance of this plan he purchased a vessel adapted to his purpose; and having carefully made every necessary preparation for the prosecution of his object, he directed his course towards the coast of Africa. Between the river Senegal and Cape de Verd he discovered a commodious harbour, from which he entertained the reasonable expectation that very great commercial advantages might be derived; and he returned to England, and communicated his discovery to government, who granted him an exclusive trade to the harbour for the space of twenty years.

That he might be able to pursue his project with the greater advantage, he now engaged in partnership with two or three gentlemen of fortune; and a vessel furnished with all necessary articles being again prepared, he sailed for the newly discovered harbour, and arrived at it in safety. He soon found, however, that the habits of the natives would not permit any friendly intercourse to be maintained between them; and being in great distress for provisions, the captain and three men proceeded in an open boat to the Canary Isles. During their absence the natives made an attack upon the vessel, but were repulsed; and the first mate, who had been left in command of her, thought fit to sheer off, and having in vain sought his captain, at length returned to England. Glass and his companions meanwhile had arrived at one of the Canary islands, and having landed, with a view of petitioning to be allowed to purchase provisions, was instantly seized by order of the governor, and conveyed to a dungeon as a spy. In this situation he remained for six months; but at length he made one of his countrymen, a sailor, acquainted with his condition by writing his name and the nature of his miseries on a biscuit with a piece of charcoal, and throwing it to him through his prison window when he was passing beneath. The sailor immediately conveyed it to his commander; but the latter on making application for his release was himself seized and subjected to treatment of similar severity. The news of this circumstance was, however, directly carried to England by a vessel, which was on the point of sailing; and speedy complaint being made to the Spanish government, the liberty of the two captains was soon obtained. At about this time the wife and daughter of Captain Glass had arrived at the Canaries, in consequence of the reports which had reached them of his captivity, and the first joy of again meeting being passed, they all embarked on board a ship bound for London, commanded by a Captain Cockeran. Miss Glass at this time was a young lady about twelve years of age, and ill deserving the fate which awaited her, as well as her parents. It appears that while the{201} ship lay at the Canaries, a plot was concerted between Peter M‘Kinlie, the boatswain, a native of Ireland; George Gidley the cook, born in the west of Yorkshire; Richard St. Quintin, a native of the same county; and Andrew Zekerman a Dutchman—for murdering all the other persons on board, and seizing the treasure, which, including what Captain Glass had shipped in behalf of himself and his partners, amounted to a hundred thousand pounds in dollars. The villains made three attempts on different nights to carry their horrid plan into execution, but were prevented through the circumspection of their commander.

At length, however, the conspirators were appointed to the night-watch on the 13th of November, when the ship had reached the British Channel; and about midnight the captain going upon the quarter-deck to see that all things were disposed in proper order, upon his return he was seized by the boatswain, who held him while Gidley struck him with an iron bar, and fractured his skull. Two of the seamen who were not concerned in the conspiracy, hearing the captain’s groans, came upon deck, and were immediately murdered, and, with their captain, were thrown overboard.

Captain Glass, being alarmed, went up the gangway, and judging that a mutiny had arisen, returned to fetch his sword. M‘Kinlie, guessing his design, followed him down the steps leading to the cabin, and waited in the dark till he returned with a drawn sword in his hand, when getting unperceived behind him, he seized both his arms, and then called to his accomplices to murder him. Captain Glass, being a very powerful man, had nearly disengaged himself from the ruffian, when Zekerman came up and attacked him. The captain wounded him in the arm; but before he could recover his sword he was overpowered, and the other villains soon joined their associates. The unhappy man was no sooner disarmed than he was many times run through the body, and he was then immediately thrown overboard. Mrs. Glass and her daughter, terrified by the outcry, now came on deck, and falling on their knees, supplicated for mercy; but they found the villains utterly destitute of the tender feelings of humanity; and Zekerman telling them to prepare for death, they embraced each other in a most affectionate manner, and were then forced from each other’s arms, and thrown into the sea.

Having now put all the crew to death, excepting a boy who attended Captain Glass, and another boy who was an apprentice on board the ship, the murderers steered towards the Irish coast, and on the 3rd of December found themselves within ten leagues of the harbour of Ross. They then hoisted out the long-boat, and put into it dollars to the amount of two tons; and after knocking out the windows of the ballast ports, rowed towards shore, leaving the two boys to sink with the vessel. Captain Glass’s boy could not swim, and he was therefore soon drowned; but the other lad swam to the boat, when Zekerman struck him a violent blow on the breast, which caused him immediately to sink.

Having thus massacred eight innocent persons, the villains proceeded to the mouth of the river Ross; but thinking it would be dangerous to go up the river with so much riches, they buried two hundred and fifty bags of dollars in the sand, and conveyed as much treasure as they could possibly bear about their persons to a village called Fishertown, where they stopped for refreshment. On the following day they went to Ross, and there sold twelve hundred dollars; and, having purchased each a pair of pistols, and hired horses for{202} themselves and two guides, they rode to Dublin, and took up their residence at the Black Bull in Thomas-street.

The wreck of the ship was driven on shore on the day of their leaving Ross; and the manner in which the villains had lived at Fishertown and Ross, their general behaviour, and other circumstances, being understood as grounds for suspicion of their being pirates, an express was despatched by two gentlemen to the lords of the regency at Dublin, exhibiting the several causes of suspicion, and giving a particular description of the supposed delinquents.

On examining the wreck a sampler worked by Miss Glass was found, from which it appeared that a part of the work was done on her birthday, which afterwards turned out to be the day preceding that on which the murders were perpetrated; and the sampler proved a principal means of leading to a discovery of the guilt of these abominable villains.

The gentlemen who were commissioned to attend the lords of the regency had no sooner communicated their business than the lord mayor and sheriffs were sent for; and proper instructions being given them, they on the same night caused M‘Kinlie and Zekerman to be taken into custody. The prisoners were separately examined; and they both confessed the particulars of their guilt, and that their accomplices had that morning hired a post-chaise for Cork, where they meant to embark on board a vessel bound for England. Gidley and St. Quintin were then on the next day secured at an inn on the road to Cork; and they followed the example of the other prisoners in acknowledging themselves guilty. The sheriff of Ross took possession of the effects found in the wreck, and the bags of dollars that the villains had buried in the sand, and deposited the whole in the treasury of Dublin for the benefit of the proprietors.

The prisoners being brought to trial, they confessed themselves guilty of the charges alleged in the indictment; and they were condemned, and suffered death on the 19th of December, 1765, after which their bodies were hung in chains in the neighbourhood of Dublin.



ABOUT the year 1766 Ireland was first visited by an atrocious gang, calling themselves White Boys, who committed numerous atrocities in armed bodies, but whose deeds of blood at this time were only a prelude to those scenes of horror which have continued to be enacted even up to the present day. They were encouraged, it was reported, by a number of disaffected Roman Catholic priests, who seduced various misguided men of property of their persuasion to connive at and assist them in their nefarious practices.

In the present instance, Father Sheeby, a Romish priest, persuaded Mr. Buxton, a gentleman of great property, and Mr. Farrell, a gay, thoughtless youth, of good family, and many others, to murder several Protestants who opposed the depredations of the White Boys. On the 28th of October, 1764, this gang of murderers met on the lands of Shanhally,{203} where they were sworn by Father Sheeby to murder J. Bridge, Esq., J. Bagnall, Esq., the Rev. Dr. Hewitson; and in fine, every person who might oppose them. He also swore them to be true to the French king, and to assist him to conquer Ireland, whereby they might completely establish the Roman Catholic Religion. Thus prepared, these enthusiasts sallied out in pursuit of the blood of their fellow-creatures. They soon seized Mr. Bridge, accused him of giving information against the White Boys, and insisted that he should contradict upon oath all that he had said in his information; and on his refusing to do so, Edward Mecham, one of the gang (whom, however, we do not find brought to punishment), cleft his skull in two with a bill-hook, and he instantly expired in the presence of the remainder of the gang.

The persons whose names are mentioned above, having been apprehended on suspicion of being concerned in this cruel murder, were tried at Clonmel, and being found guilty, were executed in 1766.



GUEST was the son of a clergyman of unblemished character, of the city of Worcester, who placed him apprentice to a genteel business. He passed the term of apprenticeship to the satisfaction of his master, and then came to London, and took a shop in Holborn, where he carried on business some years with the usual success of trade. His father’s good name assisted him in procuring a clerkship in the Bank of England; and there he pursued a system of fraud which procured his execution for a crime amounting to high treason—that of diminishing the gold coin of the realm.

He took a house in Broad-street Buildings, in a room in the upper part of which he used to work. Having procured a curious machine for milling guineas, not unlike that made use of by mathematical instrument-makers, he used to take guineas from his drawer at the Bank, file them, and return them to the Bank, and take out guineas of full weight in their stead. Of the filings he made ingots, which he sold to an assayer, who, on his trial, deposed that they were of the same standard as our guineas.

About three years before his conviction he became a teller at the Bank, and Mr. Leach, who was also a teller there, observing him picking out new guineas from the old ones, and having some suspicion, watched him, to discover whether this was a frequent practice; and finding that it was, he communicated his suspicions to some others. On the 4th of July 1766, Mr. Guest paid thirty guineas to Richard Still, a servant to Mr. Corner, a dyer, at Bankside, Southwark; and Leach observing him take some gold out of a bag in the drawer, and put it among the rest on the table, went after Still, asked him if his money was right, and begged he would walk with him into the Pay-office, and let him tell it over. The man consented, and Leach found three guineas that appeared to have been newly filed, which he took away, giving Still other guineas for them. He then carried the light guineas into the hall, and showed them to Mr. Robert Bell, another teller, who carried them to Mr. Race, the principal cashier. The latter weighed them, and found that they wanted from ten pence to about{204} fourteen pence of weight each; and he then, having examined the edges, delivered them to Leach.

It is a custom at the Bank for the cashier in waiting to take the tellers’ bags every night, and lock them up; and Mr. Race, after these suspicious circumstances had appeared against Guest, ordered his bags to be examined after they were taken away. This was done by Mr. Thompson, one of the under cashiers, and Kemp and Lucas, two in-door tellers, who found the whole sum they contained to be 1,800l. 16s. 6d.; and they found in one bag forty guineas, which appeared to have been filed on the edges, and each of which was found to be deficient in weight, from eight pence to fourteen pence.

In consequence of this disclosure, Mr. Sewallis and Mr. Humberton, servants to the Bank, went with proper officers to search Mr. Guest’s house in Broad-street Buildings, and in a room up two pair of stairs, they found a mahogany nest of drawers, which, being broken open, was discovered to contain a vice, files, an instrument proper for milling the edges of guineas, two bags of gold filings, and one hundred guineas. The nest of drawers had a flap before, to let down; and a skin was found lying at the bottom, fastened to the back part of the flap, with a hole in the front part, to fasten to a button on the waistcoat, in the manner used by jewellers.

Mr. Guest was then apprehended, and being brought to trial, was found guilty, and sentenced to be executed. He subsequently zealously applied himself to the only duty which remained for him in this life to perform—that of making his peace with God, and was hanged on the 14th of October, 1767.



THE case of this most notorious criminal is too well remembered to render any introduction to it necessary. The long scene of torture in which the inhuman wretch kept the innocent object of her remorseless cruelty ere she completed the long premeditated murder, requires no comment, engaging as it did the interest, and exciting the horror of all ranks of people, and rousing the indignation of the populace more than the case of any criminal whose offences it is our duty to record, in the whole course of our melancholy narratives.

The wretched subject of this memoir passed the early part of her life in the service of many respectable families in London; but at length, being addressed by James Brownrigg, a plumber at Greenwich, she consented to marry him; and they were accordingly united in that town. After having resided at Greenwich during about seven years, they determined to remove to London, and they, in consequence, rented a house in Flower-de-Luce (Fleur-de-Lys) Court, Fleet-street, where Brownrigg carried on his trade with so much success, that he was enabled to hire a small house at Islington as a summer retreat. Their means, however, declining as their family increased to the number of sixteen, Mrs. Brownrigg applied to the overseers of the parish of St. Dunstan to be employed in the capacity of midwife to the workhouse; and testimonials having been produced of her ability—for she had already practised midwifery to a considerable extent—{205}she was duly appointed. Her services were found to give entire satisfaction to the parish-officers, and she now hit upon a new mode of adding to her income. She, in the year 1765, opened a house in which she advertised her readiness to receive women to lie-in privately; but finding that the expense of keeping servants would be very great, she applied to the officers of the precinct of Whitefriars and of the Foundling Hospital for girls to be apprenticed to her, to learn the duties of household servants. Two girls, named Mary Mitchell and Mary Jones, were immediately placed with her, the former from Whitefriars, and the latter from the Foundling Hospital; and it would appear, that at first the poor orphans were treated with some degree of consideration and attention, but as soon as they became familiar with their mistress and their situation, the slightest inattention was sufficient to call down upon them the most severe chastisement. The first girl who experienced this brutal treatment was Jones; and it appears that her mistress would frequently, upon the smallest possible provocation, lay her down across two chairs in the kitchen, and there whip her until she was compelled, from mere weariness, to desist. The usual termination of this scene of disgusting inhumanity was, that the mistress would throw water over her victim, or dip her head into a bucket of water, and then dismiss her to her own apartment. The room appointed for the girl to sleep in adjoined the passage leading to the street-door; and, after she had suffered this maltreatment for a considerable time, as she had received many wounds on her head, shoulders, and various parts of her body, she determined not to bear such usage any longer, if she could secure her liberty. Observing that the key was left in the street-door when the family went to bed, therefore, she opened it cautiously one morning, and escaped into the street. Thus freed from her horrid confinement, she repeatedly inquired her way to the Foundling Hospital until she found it, and was admitted after describing in what manner she had been treated, and showing the bruises she had received.

The child having been examined by a surgeon, (who found her wounds to be of a most alarming nature,) the governors of the hospital ordered Mr. Plumbtree, their solicitor, to write to James Brownrigg, threatening a prosecution, if he did not give a proper reason for the severities exercised toward the child; but no notice of this having been taken, the governors of the hospital thinking it imprudent to indict at common law, the girl was discharged, in consequence of an application to the chamberlain of London. The other girl, Mary Mitchell, continued with her mistress for the space of a year, during which she was treated with equal cruelty, and she also at length resolved to quit her service. An opportunity soon presented itself which favoured her design; but having escaped from the house, she was met in the street by the younger son of Brownrigg, who forced her to return home, where her sufferings were greatly aggravated on account of her elopement. In the interim Mrs. Brownrigg found it necessary to fill up the place occupied by her late apprentice, Mary Jones; and she applied again to the overseers of the precinct of Whitefriars, who, having learned nothing of the ill-behaviour of the woman, bound a girl named Mary Clifford to her, who was doomed to fall a victim to her brutality, and to be the cause of her eventual execution. It was not long before the new apprentice experienced equal if not greater cruelties than those inflicted upon the other unfortunate girls. She was frequently tied up naked and{206} beaten with a hearth-broom, a horsewhip, or a cane, till she was absolutely speechless; and the poor girl having a natural infirmity, her mistress would not permit her to lie in a bed, but placed her on a mat in a coal-hole that was remarkably cold. After some time, however, a sack and a quantity of straw formed her bed, instead of the mat; but during her confinement in this wretched situation, she had nothing to subsist on but bread and water; and her covering, during the night, consisted only of her own clothes, so that she sometimes lay almost perished with cold.

On a particular occasion, when she was almost starving with hunger, she broke open a cupboard in search of food, but found it empty; and on another day, being parched with thirst, she tore down some boards in order to procure a draught of water. These acts of what were deemed daring atrocity by her inhuman mistress, immediately pointed her out as a proper mark for the most rigorous treatment; and, having been stripped to the skin, she was kept naked during the whole day, and repeatedly beaten with the but-end of a whip. In the course of this barbarous conduct Mrs. Brownrigg fastened a jack-chain round her neck so tight as almost to strangle her, and confined her by its means to the yard-door, in order to prevent her escape, in case of her mistress’ strength reviving, so as to enable her to renew the severities which she was inflicting on her; and a day having passed in the exercise of these most atrocious cruelties, the miserable girl was remanded to her cellar, her hands being tied behind her, and the chain being still round her neck, to be ready for a renewal of the cruelties on the following day. Determined then upon pursuing the wretched girl still further, Mrs. Brownrigg tied her hands together with a cord, and fixing a rope to her wrists, she drew her up to a water-pipe, which ran across the kitchen ceiling, and commenced a most unmerciful castigation, but the pipe giving way in the midst of it, she caused her husband to fix a hook in the beam, and then again hoisting up her miserable victim, she horsewhipped her until she was weary, the blood flowing at nearly every stroke. Nor was Mrs. Brownrigg the only tormentor of this wretched being, for her elder son having one day ordered her to put up a half-tester bedstead, her strength was so far gone that she was unable to obey him, on which he whipped her until she sunk insensible under the lash.

At length the unhappy girl, being unable any longer to bear these unheard-of cruelties, complained to a French lady who lodged in the house, and entreated her interference to procure some remission of the frightful barbarities which had been practised upon her. The good-natured foreigner appealed to Mrs. Brownrigg, showing to her the inhumanity of her behaviour; but the only effect produced was a volley of abuse levelled at the person who interposed, and an attempt, on the part of the monster, to cut out the tongue of her apprentice with a pair of scissors, in the course of which she wounded her in two places.

The close of this prolonged tragedy, however, now approached, when the disgusting barbarity of Mrs. Brownrigg, at which the heart recoils and sickens, was to be discovered and punished. In the month of July, the step-mother of Clifford, who had been living out of town, came to London for the purpose of inquiring after her daughter; and, learning from the parish-officers that she was in the service of Mrs. Brownrigg, she immediately proceeded to her house, and requested to be allowed to see{207} her. She was, however, refused admittance by Mr. Brownrigg, who even threatened to carry her before the lord mayor if she came there to make further disturbances; and upon this she was going away, when Mrs. Deacon, wife of Mr. Deacon, baker, at the adjoining house, called her in, and informed her that she and her family had often heard moanings and groans issue from Brownrigg’s house, and that she suspected the apprentices were treated with unwarrantable severity.

The suspicions of the neighbourhood having thus been raised, every means was employed to procure the unravelment of the truth, and the proceedings of the guilty parties themselves obtained the discovery of all their wickedness.

At this juncture Mr. Brownrigg, going to Hampstead on business, bought a hog, which he sent home; and the animal being put into a covered yard, having a skylight, it was thought necessary to remove the window, in order to give to it air.

As soon as it was known that the sky-light was removed, Mr. Deacon ordered his servants to watch, in order, if possible, to discover the girls: accordingly one of the maids, looking from a window, saw one of them stooping down. She immediately called her mistress, who procured the attendance of some of the neighbours, and having all of them been witnesses to the shocking scene which presented itself, some men got upon the leads, and dropped bits of dirt, in order to induce the girl to speak to them; but she seemed wholly incapable. Mrs. Deacon then sent to Clifford’s mother-in-law, who immediately called upon Mr. Grundy, one of the overseers of St. Dunstan’s, and represented the case. Mr. Grundy and the rest of the overseers, with the women, went and demanded a sight of Mary Clifford; but Brownrigg, who had nicknamed her Nan, told them that he knew no such person; but, if they wanted to see Mary (meaning Mary Mitchell), they might, and she accordingly produced her. Upon this Mr. Deacon’s servant declared that Mary Mitchell was not the girl they wanted, and Mr. Grundy now sent for a constable to search the house. An examination took place, but, the girl being concealed, she was not found; and the officers, notwithstanding the threats of Brownrigg, took Mitchell away. On their arriving at the workhouse, she was found to be in a most wretched state. Her body was covered with ulcerated sores; and on her taking off her leathern boddice, it stuck so fast to her wounds that she shrieked with the pain; but, on being treated with great humanity, and told that she should not be sent back to Brownrigg’s, she gave an account of the cruelties which she had undergone, which she described as even more terrible than we have ventured to paint them. She also stated that she had met her fellow-apprentice on the stairs immediately before the parish officers entered the house, and added that Mrs. Brownrigg had concealed her, so that she should not be found. Upon this Mr. Grundy and the others went back to Brownrigg’s, and in spite of his threats of prosecution, proceeded to take him into custody. He then promised to produce the girl if he were allowed his liberty, and this being consented to, she was brought out of a cupboard, under a beaufet in the dining-room.

Words cannot adequately describe the condition of misery in which the unfortunate girl was found to be on her being examined. Medical assistance was immediately obtained, and she was pronounced to be in considerable danger; and Brownrigg was in consequence taken into custody, and conveyed to Wood-street Compter. His wife and son,{208} alarmed at this proceeding, absconded, carrying with them some articles of value for their support; and Brownrigg subsequently being carried before Mr. Alderman Crossby, was fully committed for trial, upon the charge of having been guilty of violent assaults. The melancholy death of the girl Clifford, however, which took place in St. Bartholomew’s Hospital a few days afterwards, altered the complexion of the offence; and a Coroner’s Inquest having been summoned, a verdict of wilful murder was returned against the three Brownriggs, father, mother, and son.

The two latter, in the meantime, had shifted about from place to place in London, and had taken every means in their power to disguise themselves; but at length they removed to Wandsworth, determined to await there the result of the trial of their relation. It so happened, however, that they took lodging in the house of a Mr. Dunbar, a chandler, and that person having some suspicion of his guests, watched them narrowly; and seeing an advertisement which described their persons exactly, as being participators in the murder which had been committed, he caused their apprehension.

At the ensuing session at the Old Bailey the three prisoners were brought to trial; and, after an investigation of eleven hours’ duration, Mrs. Brownrigg was capitally convicted; but her husband and son were found not guilty of the offence imputed to them. Mrs. Brownrigg was immediately sentenced to undergo the extreme penalty of the law, while the participators in her guilt were detained for trial on the minor charge of misdemeanor, of which they were eventually convicted, and were sentenced to six months’ imprisonment.

After sentence had been pronounced, the unfortunate woman addressed herself to the Almighty; and, being attended by the ordinary of the jail, she confessed to him the enormity of her guilt, and that the punishment which awaited her was a just one. The parting between her and her husband and son is described to have been one which exhibited the strongest affection to exist, and which appeared to call up all those better feelings of the heart in the breast of this wretched woman, which must have lain dormant during the whole course of the maltreatment to which she subjected her wretched apprentices. On her way to the scaffold she was assailed by the mob, who expressed the most unmitigated disgust for her crime; and, before the termination of her existence, she appeared to be fully sensible of the awful situation in which she stood, and prayed the ordinary to acquaint the people that she confessed her crime, and acknowledged the justice of her sentence.

After her execution, which took place at Tyburn, September the 14th, 1767, her body was put into a hackney-coach, and conveyed to Surgeons’ Hall, where it was dissected, and her skeleton hung up.



THE case of this criminal is a fit companion for that of the wretched being whose fate we last described.

Williamson was the son of people in but indifferent circumstances, who put him apprentice to a shoemaker. When he came to be a journeyman he pursued his business with industry; and in a short time he married an{209} honest and sober woman, by whom he had three children. His wife dying, he continued some time a widower, maintaining himself and his children in a decent manner.

At length he contracted an acquaintance with a young woman deficient in point of intellect, to whom he made proposals of marriage, in the anticipation of receiving a small sum of money, which her relations had left her for her maintenance. The woman was nothing loth, and notwithstanding the opposition of her guardians, Williamson having procured a licence, the marriage was solemnized; and he in consequence received the money which he expected.

Within three weeks after the marriage, his ill-treatment of his unhappy wife commenced; and having frequently beaten her in the most barbarous manner, he at length fastened the miserable creature’s hands behind her with handcuffs; and, by means of a rope passed through a staple in the ceiling of a closet where she was confined, drew them so tight above her head, that only the tips of her toes touched the ground. On one side of the closet was now and then put a small piece of bread-and-butter, so that she could just touch it with her mouth; and she was daily allowed a small portion of water. She once remained a whole month without being released from this miserable condition; but during that time she occasionally received assistance from a female lodger in the house, and a little girl, Williamson’s daughter by his former wife. The girl having once released the poor sufferer, the inhuman villain beat her with great severity; but when the father was abroad, the child frequently gave the unhappy woman a stool to stand upon, by which means her pain was in some degree abated.

On the Sunday preceding the day on which she died, Williamson released his wife; and at dinner-time cut her some meat, of which, however, she ate only a very small quantity. Her hands being greatly swelled through the coldness of the weather and the pain occasioned by the handcuffs, she begged to be permitted to go near the fire; and the daughter joining in her request, Williamson complied; but when she had sat a few minutes, her husband, observing her throwing the vermin that swarmed upon her clothes into the fire, ordered her to “return to her kennel.” She immediately went back to the closet, the door of which was locked till the next day, and she was then found to be in a delirious state, in which she continued till the time of her death, which happened about two o’clock on the Tuesday morning.

The coroner’s jury being summoned to sit on the body, Mr. Barton, a surgeon, of Redcross-street, who had opened it, declared that he was of opinion that the deceased had perished through the want of the common necessaries of life; and other evidence being adduced to criminate Williamson, he was committed to Newgate.

At the ensuing sessions at the Old Bailey he was brought to trial before Lord Chief Baron Parker; and the principal witnesses against him were his daughter, Mrs. Cole, and Mr. Barton, the surgeon who opened the body of the deceased.

The prisoner’s defence was exceedingly frivolous. He said his wife had provoked him by treading upon a kitten, and killing it, and then turning up the whites of her eyes. He had the effrontery also to declare to the Court that he had not abridged his wife of any of the necessaries of life;{210} and after sentence of death was pronounced, he reflected upon his daughter as being the cause of his destruction.

Being put into the cells, he sent for a clergyman, and acknowledged that he had treated his wife in the cruel manner represented upon the trial; adding, however, that he had no design of depriving her of life: and he afterwards behaved in a decent and penitent manner.

He was conveyed to the place of execution in a cart, attended by two clergymen and a methodist preacher. The gallows was placed on the rising ground opposite Chiswell-street, in Moorfields; and after he had sung a psalm, and prayed some time with an appearance of great devotion, he was turned off, January 19th, 1767, amidst an amazing concourse of people.

His body was conveyed to Surgeons’ Hali for dissection, and his children were placed in Cripplegate workhouse.



A SINGLE year had not elapsed since the public example made of Elizabeth Brownrigg, to which the public indignation was yet alive, when these two, if possible, more cruel women, were found guilty of torturing their apprentices to death.

Sarah Metyard was a milliner, and her daughter her assistant, in Bruton-street, Hanover-square, London.

In the year 1758 the mother had five apprentice girls bound to her from different parish workhouses, among whom were Anne Naylor and her sister.

Anne Naylor, being of a sickly constitution, was not able to do so much work as the other apprentices, and she therefore became the more immediate object of the fury of her mistress. The ill-treatment which she experienced at length induced the unhappy girl to abscond; but being pursued, she was brought back and confined in an upper apartment, where her food consisted of a small piece of bread and a draught of water only each day. Seizing an opportunity, she again attempted to escape; but her young mistress was in time to see her run out, and, following her and seizing her by the neck, she brought her back, and with great violence thrust her into an upper room. The old woman then interfered, and catching the girl, she threw her on the bed, while her daughter beat her unmercifully with a hearth-brush. This done, they put her into a back room, and fixing a cord round her waist, they tied her hands behind her, and fastened her to the handle of the door so as to prevent her sitting or lying down; and in order that the example of her punishment might intimidate her fellow-apprentices, they were ordered to work in the adjoining apartment, strict injunctions, however, being given to them to afford the prisoner no relief whatever.

In this condition, without the smallest nourishment of any kind, the wretched girl remained for three days and two nights, when having been let loose, in order that she might go to bed, she crept up to the garret in a state of the greatest exhaustion. On the fourth day she faltered in her speech, but was nevertheless again conveyed to what was worse than her{211} condemned cell, and there, in the course of a very short time, she expired, her body being suspended by the cords which had been again placed round her person. The other girls, seeing that her whole weight was thus supported, cried out that she did not move; and the younger Metyard coming up, said, “If she does not move soon, I’ll make her,” and immediately beat her on the head with the heel of a shoe; but finding that in truth she was senseless, she sent for her mother to come and assist her. The body was then released from its bonds, and efforts were made to restore animation, but without effect; and Mrs. Metyard being convinced that the child was dead, removed her remains into the garret. On the return of the other children, who had been sent out of the way, they were informed that the girl had been in a fit, but was perfectly recovered; and it was added that she was now locked in a garret, in order that she should not run away: and to strengthen the effect of this story, a plate of meat was sent up to the room where the body lay in the middle of the day for her dinner.

On the fourth day, a design was formed to follow up the tale which had been related; and the body of the deceased having been locked in a box, the garret-door and the street-door were left open, and one of the apprentices was desired to call Nanny down to dinner, and to tell her that if she would promise to behave well in future, she would be no longer confined. Upon the return of the child, she said Nanny was not above stairs; and after a great parade in searching every part of the house, the Metyards reflected upon her as being of an untractable disposition, and pretended that she had run away.

The sister of the deceased, who was apprenticed to the same mistress, mentioned to a lodger in the house that she was persuaded her sister was dead; observing, that it was not probable she had gone away, since her shoes, shift, and other parts of her apparel still remained in the garret; and the suspicions of this girl coming to the knowledge of the inhuman wretches, they, with a view of preventing a discovery, cruelly murdered her, and secreted the body.

The body of Anne remained in the box two months, during which time the garret-door was kept locked, lest the offensive smell should lead to a discovery; but the stench at length becoming very powerful, they judged it prudent to remove the remains of the unhappy victim of their barbarity; and, therefore, in the evening of the 25th of December, they cut the body in pieces, and tied the head and trunk up in one cloth, and the limbs in another, excepting one hand, a finger belonging to which had been amputated before death, which they resolved to burn.

When the apprentices were gone to bed, the old woman put the hand into the fire, saying, “The fire tells no tales;” but fearing that the consumption of the whole body would create an unpleasant smell, they determined to dispose of its parts by throwing them into the common sewer in Chick-lane. Being unable to effect this, however, they left them among the mud and water that was collected before the grate of the sewer; and some pieces of the body being discovered about twelve o’clock by the watchman, he mentioned the circumstance to the constable of the night. The constable applied to one of the overseers of the parish, by whose direction the parts of the body were collected and taken to the watch-house. On the following day the matter was communicated to Mr. Umfreville, the coroner, who examined the pieces found by the watchman;{212} but, supposing them to be parts of a corpse taken from a churchyard for the use of some surgeon, he declined summoning a jury.

Four years elapsed before the discovery of these horrid murders; but at length the dissensions which frequently occurred between their wretched perpetrators procured their apprehension and conviction. It appears that the mother was in the habit of treating her daughter with a brutality almost equal to that which she had exhibited to her apprentices, and about two years after the murders a gentleman of the name of Rooker took lodgings in the house of Metyard, where he lived about three months, during which time he had frequent opportunities of observing the severity which she suffered.

He afterwards hired a house in Hill-street, and, influenced by compassion for her sufferings, and being desirous of relieving her from the tyranny of her mother, he invited the girl to live in his family in the capacity of a servant; which offer she cheerfully embraced, though her mother had many times violently opposed her desire of going to service. The girl had no sooner removed to Mr. Rooker’s house than the old woman became perfectly outrageous; and it was almost her daily practice to create disturbances in Mr. Rooker’s neighbourhood, by venting the most bitter execrations against the girl, and branding her with the most opprobrious epithets. Mr. Rooker subsequently removed to Ealing, to reside on a little estate bequeathed him by a relation; and having by this time seduced the girl, she accompanied him, and lived with him professedly in the character of his mistress.

The old woman’s visits were not less frequent at Ealing than they had been at Mr. Rooker’s house in London; nor was her behaviour less outrageous.

On the 9th of June 1768, being admitted to the house, she beat her daughter in a terrible manner; and during the contention many expressions were uttered by both parties that gave great uneasiness to Mr. Rooker. The mother called Mr. Rooker “the old perfumed tea-dog;” and the girl retorted by saying, “Remember, mother, you are the perfumer; you are the Chick-lane ghost.”

The mother having retired, Mr. Rooker urged the girl to explain what was meant to be insinuated by the indirect accusations introduced by both parties in the course of the dispute; and, bursting into tears, she confessed the particulars of the murders, begging that a secret so materially affecting her mother might never be divulged.

Mr. Rooker imagined that the daughter could not be rendered amenable to the law, as she performed her share in the murders by the direction of her mother, and he wrote to the overseers of the parish of Tottenham, acquainting them with what he had learned. The elder Metyard was in consequence taken into custody; and the evidence against her being conclusive, she was fully committed for trial. Some circumstances, however, having come out which served to criminate her daughter, she also was secured, and with her mother was sent to Newgate to abide her trial.

When arraigned upon the indictment preferred against them at the ensuing Old Bailey Sessions, they bitterly reproached one another with the part each had taken in the affair; and if any evidence of their guilt had been wanting, their own declarations at this time would have been sufficient to secure their conviction. The jury immediately found them guilty,{213} and they were sentenced to undergo the severest penalty of the law. The younger prisoner pleaded that she was pregnant, on being called up to receive judgment; but a jury of matrons being assembled, they declared her plea false, and she was sentenced immediately.

On the day fixed for their execution, the elder prisoner was found to be in a state of utter insensibility, and in that condition she was carried to the scaffold, and, all efforts to restore her having failed, was turned off. Her daughter prayed for a few minutes with the ordinary who attended her, but was in almost as melancholy a condition as her mother.

They were executed at Tyburn on the 19th July 1768, and their bodies were afterwards dissected at Surgeons’ Hall.



ALTHOUGH the trial of these persons was not followed by a conviction, the extraordinary nature of the transactions described by the prosecutrix in the case renders it our duty to state the facts alleged as they appeared at the trial.

The title which was inherited by Lord Baltimore, who was a peer of Ireland, was originally granted by James I. to Mr. Calvert, from whom he was lineally descended, together with a large tract of land in America, now called Maryland. His lordship is related to have exhibited a taste for knowledge in early life, and was sent from Epsom, where he was born, to Eton, where he soon gained a considerable acquaintance with the classics. His father dying before he was of age, left him an ample fortune; and he is said to have shown at this time the existence of that passion which subsequently brought him into the difficulty from which he was compelled to extricate himself before a jury of his country.

In obedience to the custom of the times, the young lord proceeded to perform the grand tour; and it is reported that having sailed from Naples to Constantinople, he there imbibed so great an admiration for the manners of the Turks, that on his return to England in 1766, he caused a portion of his family mansion to be taken down, and to be rebuilt in the form of a harem. His lordship was not long in completing his new establishment; and, like the persons whose customs he imitated, he gave to its inmates certain rules, by which he directed that their conduct and demeanour should be regulated.

The disgusting passions of his lordship, however, knew no bounds; and agents were employed in London, whose duty it was to select new objects for the gratification of his lustful desires. Amongst others who were thus engaged in this degrading office were the women Griffenburg, who was a native of Germany, and the wife of a Dr. Griffenburg, and Harvey, whose names appear at the head of this article. They were both women of low education, and their duty was to discover and point out persons who might be deemed worthy of the attentions of their employer, and in case of necessity to aid him in securing the end which he had in view. In the course of their{214} brutal and inhuman searches in this occupation, they unfortunately discovered a young woman of considerable personal attractions, and of some respectability, named Woodcock, who kept a milliner’s shop on Tower-hill; and Mrs. Harvey acquainting his lordship with her residence, in November 1767, he directly proceeded to the spot for the purpose of pursuing his diabolical designs. Calling at Miss Woodcock’s shop, he purchased some articles of trifling value, with a view of making an acquaintance with her; and then having succeeded in opening a conversation with her, he invited her to accompany him to the theatre. Miss Woodcock declined the offer, saying that her religious opinions taught her to believe that theatrical entertainments were incompatible with the due exercise of the worship of the Almighty; and his lordship finding all his efforts to attain his object vain, retired, but only to put his agent, Mrs Harvey, to work.

Introducing herself as a customer, this infamous woman called repeatedly at the shop of her intended victim, and purchased ruffles and other articles of millinery. On the 14th of December, however, she proceeded to take active measures in her plot; and then ordering a pair of lace ruffles to be made by the following day, she directed Miss Woodcock to take them herself to her residence in the Curtain-road, Shoreditch, declaring that they were for a lady of rank and fortune, who was desirous of encouraging her in her business, and who, if the order was punctually obeyed, would, without doubt, become an excellent customer.

The ruffles were finished and carried home at the appointed time; and then Miss Woodcock being invited in, was received politely by Mrs. Harvey, who pressed her to stay to tea. She declined the invitation, on the ground that it would be dark before she could reach home if she remained; but at this moment a man named Isaacs came in, who said that he was going to the theatre, and Mrs. Harvey expressing a desire at once to convey the goods which had been brought to her to the lady for whom they were ordered, it was eventually agreed, after some objections on the part of Miss Woodcock as to her dress, that as Isaacs must hire a coach, they should all go together.

At this time Lord Baltimore’s carriage was waiting in the neighbourhood, and the Jew going out, called it up, and all three got into it, Miss Woodcock making no remark as to whether it was a private or a hired conveyance. The coachman drove at a great pace; and after they had traversed many streets, the vehicle was driven into the court-yard of a house which appeared to be that of a person of consideration. Mrs. Harvey and Miss Woodcock then alighted, and being ushered into the house, they were conducted through several apartments until they reached one in which an elderly gentleman, afterwards known as Dr. Griffenburg, was seen seated; and he immediately retired, saying that he would acquaint the lady of the house with their arrival. Lord Baltimore soon afterwards entered; and Miss Woodcock was alarmed to find that he was the person who had visited her shop. He bid her rest quiet, however, saying that he was only the steward of the lady whom she was to see, and then quitted the room, but soon afterwards returned with Mrs. Griffenburg, who conversed with her as if she had expected her coming and was the lady of the house. Orders were afterwards given for tea; and on the equipage being removed from the table, Lord Baltimore presented some trinkets to{215} Miss Woodcock, which he said he had purchased for her. As the evening advanced she became anxious to return, and expressed her fears that her relatives would be surprised at her long absence; but his lordship, in order to divert her from this purpose, took her to view the apartments in the house, and at length, on her becoming still more importunate, insisted that she should stay for supper. Private orders having been given for the preparation of this meal, and Mrs. Griffenburg having retired, his lordship began taking liberties of an indecent character with the young lady; but on her exclaiming against this treatment, Mrs. Harvey and Dr. Griffenburg appeared, as if to aid in opposing her escape in the event of her attempting to obtain her liberty. Supper was soon afterwards served; but it does not appear that any idea was entertained by Miss Woodcock of an intention to detain her forcibly until after this meal, when Lord Baltimore told her that there were no coaches to be had then, and that she must remain for the night.

Mrs. Griffenburg and Mrs. Harvey now endeavoured to prevail on the young lady to go to bed; but she declared that she would never sleep in that house; and although they conducted her to a room in which they went to rest, she continued walking about till the morning, and lamenting her unhappy fate. Looking out of the window at about eight o’clock, she observed a young woman passing, to whom she threw out her handkerchief, which was then heavy with tears, intending to attract her attention and send to her father for assistance; but the two women, jumping out of bed, prevented the possibility of her holding any communication with her, and upbraided her for what they called the rejection of her good fortune, declaring their wishes that they were in her happy situation.

The women now quitting the room, Lord Baltimore and Dr. Griffenburg came in soon afterwards; when the former said that he was astonished at her outrageous behaviour, as he had promised that she should go home at twelve o’clock: but she replied that they had no right to detain her, and that she would go home directly, as her sister, and particularly her father, would be inexpressibly anxious on occasion of her absence.

To this no answer was made; but Lord Baltimore conducted her down stairs, and ordered breakfast. She refused, however, to eat, and having wept incessantly till twelve o’clock, at that hour she once more demanded her liberty. His lordship then said that he loved her to excess; that he could not part with her; but that he did not intend any injury to her, and would write to her father: and on this he wrote a letter, of which the following is a copy, and in it sent a bank-note of two hundred pounds:—

“Your daughter Sally sends you the enclosed, and desires you will not be uneasy on her account, because everything will turn out well with a little patience and prudence. She is at a friend’s house safe and well, in all honesty and honour; nothing else is meant, you may depend on it; and, sir, as your presence and consent are necessary, we beg of you to come in a private manner to Mr. Richard Smith’s in Broad-street Buildings.”

Having addressed this to her father, he showed it to her, and desired that she would write a few words at the bottom, signifying her compliance with its terms; and terrified by her condition, she wrote, “Dear Father—This is true, and should be glad you would come this afternoon. Your dutiful daughter.”—From the statement of the young lady, it appears that after this she conjured his lordship to give her her liberty, pointing out to{216} him, in the most striking manner, the degradation to which she was subjected; but all her arguments were in vain, and she was again compelled to pass the night, as before, in the room with Mrs. Griffenburg and Mrs. Harvey. In the morning, by permission of his lordship, she wrote a letter to her father, desiring him to come to her immediate assistance, but saying that she had been treated with “as much honour as she could expect;” but she still declined holding any conversation with his lordship, and used all her efforts to make her situation known to the passers-by. In this, however, she was checked by his lordship and the women, who threatened to throw her out of window in the event of her making any disturbance. Towards the middle of the day she was told that her father had called at Mr. Smith’s, but had refused to wait until she was sent for; but at midnight Mr. Broughton, his lordship’s steward, brought intelligence that Isaacs, the Jew, having offered a letter to Miss Woodcock’s father, was stopped till he should give an account where the young lady was secreted. Lord Baltimore was, or affected to be, in a violent passion, and vowed vengeance against the father; but in the interim the Jew entered, and delivered a letter which he pretended to have received from Miss Woodcock’s sister, and she took it to read: but she had wept so much that her eyes were sore; and of all she read, she could only recollect this passage:—“Only please to appoint a place where and when we may meet with you.”

The hour of retirement being now arrived, Miss Woodcock refused to go up stairs, unless she might be assured of not receiving any insult from his lordship. She had not taken any sustenance since she entered the house; and on this night she lay down in her clothes on a bed in which Mrs. Harvey reposed herself. She then asked this woman if she had ever been in love, and acknowledged that she herself was addressed by a young fellow, who appeared very fond of her, and that they were to settle in business as soon as the marriage should take place; and she desired Mrs. Harvey to show her the way out of the house that had been so obnoxious to her: but the answer of the latter was, that though she had lived in the house several years, she did not herself know the way out of it.

On the following morning, when Miss Woodcock went down stairs, she pleaded earnestly with Lord Baltimore for her liberty; on which he became most violently enraged, called her by the vilest names, and said that if she spoke to him on the subject any more, he would either throw her out of the window, or send her home in a wheelbarrow with her petticoats tied over her head; and turning to Isaacs the Jew, he said, “Take the slut to a mean house like herself;” which greatly terrified her, as she presumed he meant a house of ill fame.

The sufferings she had undergone having by this time made her extremely ill, Lord Baltimore mixed a draught for her, which he insisted on her drinking; and in the afternoon he compelled her to sit by his side to hear him converse upon subjects of religion, in the course of which, however, he ridiculed everything sacred, and denied the existence of a soul.

After supper he made six several attempts to ravish her within two hours; but she repulsed him in such a determined manner, that he failed in accomplishing his dishonourable purpose. On that night she lay with Mrs. Harvey, but could get no rest, as she was in fear of renewed insults from his lordship.{217}

On the Monday morning she was told that she should see her father; and having been supplied with a change of linen by Mrs. Griffenburg, she was about mid-day hurried into a coach with Lord Baltimore, Dr. Griffenburg, and the two women, and with them conveyed to Epsom, where, as we have already said, his lordship had a country-seat. Here she was told that resistance was useless, and that whatever objection she might make to submit to his lordship’s desires, force would be used if her consent was not given. At supper she partook of some refreshment; and immediately afterwards she was conducted to a bedchamber, accompanied by the two women, who began to undress her. From weakness she was unable to make much resistance; and from the same cause she was prevented from opposing Lord Baltimore, who, it turned out, was in a bed which was in the apartment, and who, in spite of her cries and entreaties, twice effected his horrid purpose. In the morning Mrs. Harvey came to her, and she told her what had passed; but the only answer which was given, was a desire that she would make no more fuss, for that she had made noise enough already. It would appear that after this the proceedings of his lordship were, to a certain extent, acquiesced in by Miss Woodcock; but it was not until several days had elapsed that she ascertained the name of the person who had dishonoured her. On the afternoon on which she made this discovery, the whole party returned to London, and Miss Woodcock was there introduced to Madame Saunier, the governess of his lordship’s illegitimate children. On the next day his lordship gave her some money; and when night advanced, directed that she should repair to his bed. Having been permitted on the night before to sleep by herself, she requested that the same favour might be again granted to her; but his lordship’s commands being positive that she should share his couch, she consented on certain terms, which were fulfilled, while, according to her statement, a crime of a still more atrocious nature was committed.

It may now be inquired whether no steps were taken by Miss Woodcock’s friends in order to procure her discovery, and her return to the roof of her parents; and it appears that some circumstances having been learned which induced them to guess the real place of her concealment, Davis, her lover, proceeded to Southampton-row, Bloomsbury, where his lordship’s house was situated, and while watching there saw her at the window. He immediately communicated the discovery which he had made to her father, and the advice of Mr. Watts, an attorney, having been taken, a writ of habeas corpus was obtained. These proceedings, however, were heard of by his lordship, and he conversed with Miss Woodcock on the subject, and, as she alleged, extorted from her a promise to declare that she had remained at his house voluntarily and of her own free-will, promising to recompense her by settling upon her an annuity for life. She in consequence wrote a letter to her father to that effect, which was delivered by one of his lordship’s servants; and on Mr. Watts’ proceeding to the house to serve the writ of habeas corpus, she made a declaration to him having the same tendency. Lord Baltimore then said that it was necessary that she should go before Lord Mansfield and make a similar statement, and she was accordingly conveyed to his lordship’s house in Bloomsbury-square. They were there shown into different apartments; and Miss Woodcock’s friends having heard of the proceeding, were also in attendance in an ante-chamber, where they awaited the result of the conference.{218}

The young lady, on being examined by Lord Mansfield, expressed her willingness to remain with Lord Baltimore, but desired to see her friends first. She was then conducted to the room where her father was awaiting the conclusion of her examination; and there the first question which she asked was, “Who is Lord Mansfield?” Having been satisfied upon this head, and also that he had the power to set her at liberty, she desired to see him again, and then said that she wished to go home with her father, and that she would no longer remain with Lord Baltimore.

On Miss Woodcock’s discharge, Mr. Cay, a baker in Whitecross-street (to whom her father had delivered the two hundred pound bank note which had been enclosed in the letter by Lord Baltimore), conveyed the young lady to Sir John Fielding, before whom she swore to the actual commission of the rape by his lordship.

The two women, the coadjutors of his lordship, had been already taken into custody, on the charge of decoying away the girl; and a warrant was now issued for the apprehension of Lord Baltimore. His lordship, however, secreted himself for the present, but surrendered himself to the Court of King’s Bench on the last day of Hilary Term, 1768; when the two women being brought thither by habeas corpus, they were all admitted to bail, in order for trial at Kingston, in Surrey, because the crime was alleged to have been committed at his lordship’s seat at Epsom.

In the interim Miss Woodcock went to the house of Mr. Cay, in Whitecross-street; but not being properly accommodated there, she proceeded to the house of a friend, where she lived in great privacy and retirement till the time arrived for the trial of the offending parties.

Bills of indictment being found against Lord Baltimore and the two women, they were all brought to trial before Lord Chief Baron Smythe; and, after the evidence against them had been given, in substance as may be collected from the preceding narrative, Lord Baltimore made the following defence, which was read in Court by Mr. Hamersley, solicitor to his lordship:—

My Lords and Gentlemen,—I have put myself upon my country, in hopes that prejudice and clamour will avail nothing in this place, where it is the privilege of the meanest of the king’s subjects to be presumed innocent until his guilt has been made appear by legal evidence. I wish I could say that I had been treated abroad with the same candour. I have been loaded with obloquy; the most malignant libels have been circulated, and every other method which malice could devise has been taken to create general prejudice against me. I thank God that, under such circumstances, I have had firmness and resolution enough to meet my accusers face to face, and provoke an inquiry into my conduct. Hic murus aheneus esto,—nil conscire sibi. The charge against me, and against these poor people who are involved with me, because they might otherwise have been just witnesses of my innocence, is in its nature very easy to be made, and hard to be disproved. The accuser has the advantage of supporting it by a direct and positive oath; the defence can only be collected from circumstances.

“My defence is composed, then, of a variety of circumstances, all tending to show the falsity of this charge, the absurdity of it, the improbability that it could be true. It will be laid before the jury, under the direction of my counsel; and I have the confidence of an innocent man, that it will be manifest to your lordship, the jury, and the whole world, that the story{219} told by this woman is a perversion of truth in every particular. What could induce her to make such a charge, I can only suspect:—Very soon after she came to my house upon a representation to me that her father was distressed, I sent him a considerable sum of money: whether the ease with which that money was obtained from me might suggest the idea, as a means of obtaining a larger sum of money, or whether it was thought necessary to destroy me, in order to establish the character of the girl to the world, I know not; but I do aver, upon the word of a man of honour, that there is no truth in anything which has been said or sworn of my having offered violence to this girl. I ever held such brutality in abhorrence. I am totally against all force; and for me to have forced this woman, considering my weak state of health, and my strength, is not only a moral, but a physical impossibility. She is, as to bodily strength, stronger than I am. Strange opinions, upon subjects foreign to this charge, have been falsely imputed to me, to inflame this accusation. Libertine as I am represented, I hold no such opinions. Much has been said against me, that I seduced this girl from her parents: seduction is not the point of this charge; but I do assure your lordship and the jury, this part of the case has been aggravated exceedingly beyond the truth. If I have been in any degree to blame, I am sure I have sufficiently atoned for every indiscretion, which a weak attachment to this unworthy woman may have led me into, by having suffered the disgrace of being exposed as a criminal at the bar in the county which my father had the honour to represent in parliament, and where I had some pretensions to have attained the same honour, had that sort of an active life been my object.

“I will take up no more of your lordship’s time than to add that, if I had been conscious of the guilt now imputed to me, I could have kept myself and my fortune out of the reach of the laws of this country. I am a citizen of the world; I could have lived anywhere: but I love my own country, and submit to its laws, resolving that my innocence should be justified by the laws. I now, by my own voluntary act, by surrendering myself to the Court of King’s Bench, stake, upon the verdict of twelve men, my life, my fortune, and, what is dearer to me, my honour.

“March 25, 1768.”


The substance of the defence of Mrs. Griffenburg and Mrs. Harvey consisted principally in alleging that Miss Woodcock had consented to all that had passed, and that no force had been used towards her either by Lord Baltimore or themselves.

The whole of the case having now been heard, Lord Chief Baron Smythe, in a clear and lucid manner, proceeded to sum up the case to the jury. Having pointed out to them the law of the case, as it affected the charge against the prisoners, and their defence, his lordship proceeded to recapitulate the evidence which had been produced, in doing which he was occupied during a period of three hours. He concluded by saying,—“In point of law, the fact is fully proved on my lord and the two other prisoners, if you believe the evidence of Sarah Woodcock. It is a crime which in its nature can only be proved by the woman on whom it is committed; for she only can tell whether she consented or no: it is, as my lord observes, very easy to be made, and hard to be disproved; and the defence can only be collected from circumstances; from these you must judge whether her evidence is or is not to be believed. Lord Hale, in his ‘History of the Pleas of the Crown,’ lays down the rules:—1. If complaint{220} is not made soon after the injury is supposed to be received; 2. If it is not followed by a recent prosecution; a strong presumption arises that the complaint is malicious. She has owned the injury was received December 22; the complaint was not made till December 29; but she has accounted for it in the manner you have heard. The strong part of the case on behalf of the prisoners is her not complaining when she was at Lord Mansfield’s, the supreme magistrate of the kingdom in criminal matters. You have heard how she has explained and accounted for her conduct in that particular, which you will judge of. Upon the whole, if you believe that she made the discovery as soon as she knew she had an opportunity of doing it, and that her account is true, you will find all the prisoners Guilty; if you believe that she did not make the discovery as soon as she had an opportunity, and from thence, or other circumstances, are not satisfied her account is true, you will find them all Not guilty: for if he is not guilty, they cannot be so; for they cannot be accessory to a crime which was never committed.”

After an absence of an hour and twenty minutes, the jury returned with a verdict that the prisoners were not guilty.

This singular affair was tried at Kingston, in Surrey, on the 26th of March, 1768.

It would be useless to offer any observations upon this extraordinary case. From the verdict returned by the jury, there ought to exist no doubt of the innocence of the persons charged of the offence imputed to them; but although Lord Baltimore and his companions were acquitted of the charge of rape, there can be little doubt that the ruin of the unfortunate girl Woodcock—even if what was admitted by his lordship were only true—was the effect of a vile conspiracy among the prisoners to sacrifice her to the libertine passions of his lordship.



THE year 1768 will ever be memorable in the annals of English history on account of the murders and mischief committed by a deluded mob, stimulated by the writings and opposition to the government of John Wilkes, Esq. an alderman of London, and member of parliament for Aylesbury.

The most scandalous and offensive of his writings were in a periodical publication called the “North Briton,” No. 45; and a pamphlet entitled “An Essay on Woman[12].” The “North Briton” was of a political nature;{221} the other a piece of obscenity: the one calculated to set the people against the government; the other to corrupt their morals.

Amongst the ministers who found themselves more personally attacked in the “North Briton” was Samuel Martin, Esq. member for Camelford. This gentleman found his character, as secretary to the Treasury, so vilified, that he called the writer to the field. He had before been engaged in a duel with Lord Talbot, and had then escaped unhurt, but Mr. Martin shot him; and the wound proved so dangerous that he lay uncertain of recovering during several days, and was confined to his house for some weeks.

His sufferings, however, did not end here, for the attorney-general filed informations against him as author of “The North Briton,” No. 45[13], and the pamphlet entitled “An Essay on Woman.” On these charges he was apprehended; and his papers having been seized and inspected, he was committed prisoner to the Tower, but was soon admitted to bail. Before his trial came on, Mr. Wilkes fled to France, under the pretext of restoring his health, which had suffered from his wound, and the harassing measures taken against him by the secretaries of state, Lord Egremont and Lord Halifax; and no sooner was he out of the kingdom, than the ministers proceeded to outlawry, dismissed him from his command as colonel of the Buckinghamshire militia, and expelled him from his seat in parliament.

While in Paris, he was challenged to fight by a Captain Forbes, on account of the reflections which he had cast upon the birthplace of the gallant captain, Scotland; but he declined the invitation, alleging that he had still an affair to settle with Lord Egremont before he could venture to take any other duel upon his hands. The death of that noble lord, however, left him free to fight; but on his writing to accept the challenge, his antagonist was not to be found. Mr. Wilkes subsequently returned to London, and gave notice that he should appear to answer the charges preferred against him on a certain day; and then having appeared in his place, as an alderman, in Guildhall, on his return, the mob took the horses from his carriage and dragged it to his house, crying “Wilkes and liberty!” On the 21st of February 1764, the trial of Mr. Wilkes, upon the accusations alleged against him, came on before Lord Mansfield, and he was found guilty on both charges, subject to arguments upon certain points as to the validity of his apprehension, the seizure of his papers, and the judgment of outlawry which had been obtained against him. The discussions preliminary to these arguments occupied the courts at various times during a space of two years; and in the mean time, the popularity of Mr. Wilkes and the outrages of the mob increased daily.

At length, on the 27th of April 1768, Mr. Wilkes having been served with a writ of Capias utlagatum, was brought to the floor of the Court of{222} King’s Bench in the custody of the proper officer, in order that the question of his being admitted to bail might be considered. A long argument took place, but it terminated in favour of the crown, and Mr. Wilkes was conveyed to the King’s Bench prison. On his way thither the mob seized the coach in which he was carried, and taking the horses from it, dragged him to a public-house in Spitalfields, where they permitted him to alight; but at about eleven o’clock at night he effected his escape from his over-zealous friends, and proceeding to the prison, immediately surrendered himself into lawful custody. On the following day he was visited by many of his friends; and a vast mob having collected outside the prison, it was feared that some outrage would be committed. All remained quiet, however, until night, when the rails by which the prison wall was surrounded were pulled up and burned as a bonfire, and the inhabitants of Southwark were compelled to illuminate their houses; but upon the arrival of a captain’s guard of soldiers, the crowd dispersed without doing any further mischief.

On the 28th of April the case of outlawry was determined; and Mr. Serjeant Glynn having appeared on the part of Mr. Wilkes, and the Attorney-General for the crown, a learned and lengthy argument was heard, the result of which was a unanimous expression on the part of the court that the outlawry must be reversed. The general warrant on which the accused had been apprehended was next considered and declared illegal; but the counsel for the crown then immediately moved that judgment might be passed upon Mr. Wilkes upon the several convictions which had taken place. This was answered by a motion on his part in arrest of judgment, and the following Thursday was fixed upon for hearing the point argued.

In the mean time a mob had remained assembled round the prison whom no efforts of the civil force could disperse; but at length the justices appeared, followed by a troop of soldiers, determined at once to put an end to the alarming nuisance which had so long existed. All attempts to procure the separation of the crowd by fair means having failed, the Riot Act was read; and this also having no effect, the soldiers were ordered to fire. The command was instantly obeyed, and many persons were killed and dangerously wounded, some of whom were passing at a distance from the scene of confusion.

At length the day arrived on which the last effort was to be made to get rid of the charges against Mr. Wilkes; but the arguments for an arrest of judgment, though carried on with great ingenuity, would not hold, and he was found to have been legally convicted of writing the libels. For that in the “North Briton” he was fined five hundred pounds, and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment in the King’s Bench prison; and for the “Essay on Woman” five hundred pounds more, a further imprisonment of twelve months, and to find security for his good behaviour for seven years.

Previously to his imprisonment Mr. Wilkes had been elected member of parliament for Middlesex, when the address which he published to his constituents contained the following passages:—“In the whole progress of ministerial vengeance against me for several years, I have shown, to the conviction of all mankind, that my enemies have trampled on the laws, and have been actuated by the spirit of tyranny and arbitrary power.

“The general warrant under which I was first apprehended has been adjudged illegal. The seizure of my papers was condemned judicially{223}

Wilkes’ Riots.

Wilkes’ Riots.

The outlawry, so long the topic of violent abuse, is at last declared to have been contrary to law; and on the ground first taken by my friend, Mr. Serjeant Glynn, is formally reversed.”

The mob after the election proceeded to the commission of the most violent outrages. They broke the windows of Lord Bute, the prime minister, and of the Mansion House, including even those of the lady mayoress’s bedchamber, and forced the inhabitants of the metropolis to illuminate their houses, crying out “Wilkes and liberty!” and all who refused to echo it back were knocked down.

A stone was thrown by this daring mob at the Polish Count Rawotski, which he dexterously caught in his hand, the windows of his carriage in which he sat being fortunately down; and his lordship looking out and smiling, he received no other violence.

The outrages of the populace were too many to be enumerated; several innocent people were killed, and vast numbers wounded. They broke windows without number, destroyed furniture, and even insulted royalty itself.

These disgraceful tumults were not confined to the metropolis; and the lenity, or, as some did not hesitate to assert, the timidity of the government, spread disaffection into all classes of mechanics, who, thinking the time at hand when they might exact what wages they pleased, perhaps even beyond their masters’ profits, struck work.

The sailors, following the example of the landsmen, went in a body of many thousands, with drums beating and colours flying, to St. James’s Palace, and presented a petition to the king, praying a “Relief of Grievances.” Two days afterwards they assembled in much greater numbers, and proceeded as far as Palace Yard, in order to petition Parliament for an increase of wages; when they were addressed by two gentlemen standing on the top of a hackney-coach, who told them that their petition could not be immediately attended to, but that it would be considered and answered in due time; whereupon the tars gave three cheers, and for a while dispersed. A short time afterwards, however, they re-assembled at Limehouse, and boarding several outward-bound vessels, seized their crews, pretending that they would not suffer any ships to sail until their wages were increased. The watermen, the Spitalfields weavers, the sawyers, the hatters, and the labouring classes in the country, all combined in the attempt to procure their wages to be raised; but while in London the confusion was nearly universal, in the country its effects were confined to a few districts, where some interested persons managed to excite the peaceably-disposed people to acts of outrage.

They soon discovered the error into which they had fallen, however; and a few of them having suffered execution, and others some severe imprisonments, they returned to their duty.

The folly of popular commotion was never better exemplified than in the case of Wilkes, whose patriotism was accidental and mercenary; for his letters to his daughter clearly show the contempt with which he regarded the enthusiasm in his favour, and the object he had in view in exciting hatred against the government. Many of the deluded people who shouted “Wilkes and liberty!” were severely injured in the riots; and others were subsequently punished by the outraged laws of the country. In a short time the commotion subsided, and the author of them sunk into comparative obscurity, in which he continued until his death in 1797, at the age of seventy years.{224}



THIS melancholy case arose out of the existing system of game-laws.

The lamented Mr. Campbell was descended from the noble family of Argyle, and was born at Ayr in Scotland. His father was an eminent merchant—had been mayor of the town, and a justice of the peace; but having no less than twenty-four children, and meeting with many losses in his commercial transactions, it was impossible for him to make any adequate provision for his family; so that on his death, the relations took care of the children, and educated them in the liberal manner which is customary in Scotland. The unhappy subject of this narrative was protected by an uncle, who gave him a learned education; but this generous friend dying when the youth was about eighteen years of age, left him sixty pounds a year, and earnestly recommended him to the care of his other relations.

The young man was a finished scholar, but seemed averse to make choice of any of the learned professions. His attachment appeared to be to the military life, in which many of his ancestors had distinguished themselves. He soon followed the bent of his inclinations, and entered as a cadet in the royal regiment of Scots Greys, then commanded by his relation, General Campbell, and served during two campaigns, at his own expense. Being disappointed in obtaining promotion, however, he returned to Scotland in the year 1745, and Lord Loudon, to whom he was distantly related, having the command of the loyal Highlanders, who exhibited so much bravery in their opposition to the rebellion, Mr. Campbell joined that regiment, and his exertions were equally creditable to his loyalty and his courage.

After the battle of Culloden he was appointed, through the instrumentality of Lord Loudon, to fill the situation of an officer of excise, in Ayrshire; and notwithstanding the unpleasant nature of his employment, he succeeded, by his courtesy, in obtaining the good-will of all his neighbours, all of whom, with the exception of the Earl of Eglinton, gave him permission to kill game on their estates. It was his misfortune to live immediately adjoining the property of his lordship; and it would appear that the noble earl having once detected him in killing a hare, warned him not to commit a similar offence again. Mr. Campbell apologised for the trespass of which he had been guilty, and excused himself by stating that he was in search of smugglers, and that having suddenly started the hare, he was surprised, and without thinking, he shot it. The ill-will which was raised in his lordship’s mind by this circumstance, was in nowise removed by some proceedings which Mr. Campbell was compelled to take against Bartleymore, one of his servants, for smuggling; and it appears that his lordship’s death was eventually attributable to the steps which he took at the instigation of this very person.

About ten in the morning of the 24th of October 1769, Campbell took his gun, and went out with another officer, with a view to detect smugglers. Mr. Campbell took with him a licence for shooting, which had been given him by Dr. Hunter, though they had no particular design of killing any game, but intended to shoot a woodcock if they should see one.{225}

They crossed a small part of Lord Eglinton’s estate, in order to reach the sea-shore, where they intended to walk; but when they arrived at this spot it was near noon, and Lord Eglinton came up in his coach, attended by Mr. Wilson, a carpenter, who was working for him, and followed by four servants on horseback. On approaching the coast his lordship met Bartleymore, who told him that there were some poachers at a distance. Mr. Wilson would have endeavoured to draw off his lordship’s notice from such a business; but Bartleymore saying that Campbell was among the poachers, Lord Eglinton quitted his coach, and mounting a led horse, rode to the spot, where he saw Campbell and the other officer, whose name was Brown. His lordship said, “Mr. Campbell, I did not expect to have found you so soon again on my grounds, after your promise when you shot the hare. I must desire that you will give me your gun.” Mr. Campbell refused to deliver up his property, because he said that he was not employing it in an unlawful manner, on which Lord Eglinton rode towards him, apparently with the intention of taking it from him. Mr. Campbell on this raised his gun, and retreating, presented it at his lordship’s body; but the latter still followed him, and smiling, asked him if he meant to shoot him. He said that he would if he did not keep off, and then Lord Eglinton desired that his gun should be brought to him from the carriage. In the interim, his lordship dismounted, and going close to Mr. Campbell, again required that he should deliver up the weapon which he carried, but the latter declared that he had a right to carry it, and that he would deliver it to no man, and repeated that his lordship must therefore keep off, unless he wished to be shot. Bartleymore now interfered; and Mr. Campbell stumbling against a stone, fell, and Lord Eglinton then advanced as if to seize him. In a moment, however, Mr. Campbell raised himself on his elbow, and lodged the contents of his piece in the noble earl’s left breast. His lordship directly cried out that he was killed, and Mr. Campbell was seized; but his lordship desired that no violence should be used towards him.

Lord Eglinton’s seat was about three miles from the place where this fatal event happened; and his servants put him into the carriage to convey him home. In the mean time Campbell’s hands were tied behind him; and he was conducted to the town of Saltcoats, the place of his former station as an exciseman.

His lordship, after languishing for ten hours, died; and Mr. Campbell was then committed to the jail of Ayr to await his trial.

Upon his being arraigned upon the indictment preferred against him, various arguments were urged in his favour. It was said—“That the gun went off by accident, and therefore it could be no more than casual homicide.

“Secondly—That, supposing it had been fired with an intention to kill, yet the act was altogether justifiable, because of the violent provocation he had received; and he was doing no more than defending his life and property.

“Thirdly—It could not be murder, because it could not be supposed that Mr. Campbell had any malice against his lordship, and the action itself was too sudden to admit of deliberation.”

The counsel for the prosecution urged in answer, in the first place,

“That it was certain malice was implied, in consequence of Campbell’s{226} presenting the gun to his lordship, and telling him that, unless he kept off, he would shoot him.

“Secondly—That there was no provocation given by the earl besides words, and words could not be construed a provocation in law.

“Thirdly—The earl had a right to seize his gun, in virtue of several acts of parliament, which were the established laws of the land, to which every subject is obliged to be obedient.”

After repeated debates between the lawyers of Scotland, a day was at length appointed for the trial, which commenced on the 27th of February 1770, before the High Court of Justiciary; and, the jury having found Mr. Campbell guilty, he was sentenced to die.

The Lord Justice Clerk, before he pronounced the solemn sentence, addressed himself to the convict, advising him to make the most devout preparation for death, as all hopes of pardon would be precluded, from the nature of his offence.

The prisoner conducted himself throughout the whole proceedings with the utmost calmness, and took leave of his friends in the evening with great apparent cheerfulness; and, retiring to his apartment, he begged the favour of a visit from them on the following day. In the morning of the 28th of February 1770, however, he was found dead, hanging to the end of a form which he had set upright, and a silk handkerchief fastened round his neck.

The following lines were found upon the floor, close to the body:—

“Farewell, vain world! I’ve had enough of thee,
And now am careless what thou say’st of me:
Thy smiles I court not, nor thy frowns I fear:
My cares are past; my heart lies easy here.
What faults they find in me take care, to shun;
And look at home—enough is to be done.”



THE crime for which these men so justly suffered was committed in a manner most artful and daring.

About nine o’clock in the evening they went to the house of Thomas Le Merr, Esq. in Bedford-row, London, a public and genteel street. They had received information that Mr. Le Merr was in the country, and on their knocking at the door, it was opened by a footman, who was alone in the house, to whom Bailey delivered a letter, saying it was for his master. Before the servant could answer, they rushed in, shut the street door, and stabbed him in the belly with a dagger. They then drew cords from their pockets, tied the bleeding man’s hands behind his back, and dragged him down stairs into the kitchen, and there bringing the rope about his neck, and across his face, in such a manner that it went through his mouth, which it kept open, and making it fast behind, thus bound, they forced him into a cellar, and bolted him in. In a few minutes one of the villains returned, asking if he was fast; and being answered, as well as the poor man could speak, that he was secure enough, they broke open the pantry, where the plate-chest was kept, forced the lock, and deliberately packed{227} up its contents. In the mean time, however, the wounded man gnawed the rope in his mouth, and soon liberated himself. He then forced open the door which confined him, and got into the area, over which was a skylight, and, apprehensive that he was bleeding to death, he made an effort, by climbing up a pipe, to get through it, and give an alarm. In effecting this he stuck by the middle, and near his wound, a considerable time, but was not heard by the thieves, who were busily employed in securing their plunder. Making a last exertion, he succeeded in raising himself up, and, dragging the rope after him, he got to the stables behind the house, and called for help as loud as his almost exhausted strength would permit. Five or six grooms immediately came to his assistance; and, learning the cause of his alarm, they seized the robbers as they were coming out of the house; thus fortunately saving the poor fellow’s life and Mr. Le Merr’s property.

On this evidence the prisoners were subsequently found guilty, the wounded man being able to appear in court against them, and were executed at Tyburn, July 4, 1770.



THIS daring violation of the law, which long roused the public indignation against the whole Jewish people, happened in the house of Mrs. Hutchings, in the King’s-road, Chelsea, who was a farmer’s widow, left by her husband in good circumstances, and with three children, two boys and a girl.

On a Saturday evening, just as the Jewish Sabbath was ended, a numerous gang of Jews assembled in Chelsea Fields; and having lurked about there until ten o’clock, at that hour went to the house of Mrs. Hutchings, and demanded admittance. The family had all retired to rest, with the exception of Mrs. Hutchings and her two female servants, and being alarmed by the unseasonable request of the applicants, they proceeded in a body to know their business. The door was no sooner opened, however, than a number of fellows,—all of whom had the appearance of Jews,—rushed in, and seizing the terrified females, threatened them with instant death in the event of their offering any resistance. Mrs. Hutchings, being a woman of considerable muscular strength, for a time opposed them; but her antagonists having soon overpowered her, they tied her petticoats over her head, and proceeded to secure the servants. The girls having been tied back to back, five of the fellows proceeded to ransack the house, while the remainder of the gang remained below to guard the prisoners. Having visited the rooms occupied by the children of Mrs. Hutchings in turn, the ruffians proceeded to the apartment in which two men, employed as labourers on the farm, named John Slow and William Stone, were lying undisturbed by the outcry which had been raised below. It was soon determined that these men were likely to prove mischievous, and that they must be murdered; and Levi Weil, a Jewish physician, who was one of the party, and was the most sanguinary villain of his gang, aimed a blow at the breast of Stone, intended for his death, but which only stunned him.{228} Slow started up, and the villains cried “Shoot him! shoot him!” and a pistol was instantly fired at him, and he fell, exclaiming, “Lord have mercy on me! I am murdered!”

They dragged the wounded man out of the room to the head of the stairs; but in the mean time Stone, recovering his senses, jumped out of bed, and escaped to the roof of the house, through the window. The thieves now descended and plundered the house of all the plate they could discover; but finding no money, they went to Mrs. Hutchings, and threatened to murder her if she did not disclose the place of its concealment. She gave them her watch, and was afterwards compelled to give up a purse containing 65l., with which they immediately retired. Mrs. Hutchings now directly set her female servants at liberty, and having gone in search of the men, she found Slow, who declared he was dying, and dropped insensible on the floor. He languished until the following afternoon, and then died of the wounds which he had received.

It was a considerable time before the perpetrators of this most diabolical outrage were discovered; but they were at length given up to justice by one of their accomplices, named Isaacs, who was a German Jew, and who, reduced to the greatest necessity, was tempted by the prospect of reward to impeach his fellows. It then turned out that the gang consisted of eight persons, who were headed by the physician before-mentioned. Dr. Weil had been educated in a superior manner. He had studied physic in the university of Leyden, where he was admitted to the degree of doctor in that faculty; and, then coming to England, he practised in London, with no inconsiderable degree of success, and was always known by the name of Doctor Weil; but so destitute was he of all principle, and such was the depravity of his heart, that he determined to engage in the dangerous practice of robbery; and, having formed this fatal resolution, he wrote to Amsterdam, to some poor Jews, to come to England, and assist him in his intended depredations on the public; and at the same time informed them that in England large sums were to be acquired by the practice of theft.

The inconsiderate men no sooner received Dr. Weil’s letter than they procured a passport from the English consul, and, embarking in the Harwich packet-boat, arrived in England.

They lost no time in repairing to London, and, immediately attending Dr. Weil, he informed them that his plan was, that they should go out in the day-time, and minutely survey such houses near London as might probably afford a good booty, and then attack them at night.

At the sessions held at the Old Bailey, in the month of December 1771, Levi Weil, Asher Weil, Marcus Hartagh, Jacob Lazarus, Solomon Porter, and Lazarus Harry, were indicted for the felony and murder above-mentioned, when the two of the name of Weil, with Jacob Lazarus and Solomon Porter, were capitally convicted; while Marcus Hartagh and Lazarus Harry were acquitted for want of evidence.

These men, as is customary in all cases of murder, when it can be made convenient to the Court, were tried on a Friday, and on the following day they were anathematised in the synagogue. As their execution was to take place on the Monday following, one of the rabbis went to them in the press-yard of Newgate, and delivered to each of them a Hebrew book; but declined attending them to the place of death, nor even prayed with them at the time of his visit.{229}

They were attended to Tyburn, the place of execution, by immense crowds of people, who were anxious to witness the exit of wretches, whose crimes had been so much the object of public notice.

Having prayed together, and sung a hymn in the Hebrew language, they were launched into eternity, December 9, 1771.

After the bodies had hung the customary time, they were conveyed to Surgeons’ Hall to be dissected.



THE adventures of this fellow exhibit him to have been a person of a most profligate disposition. By means of his employment as a bailiff, he obtained the custody of great numbers of unfortunate debtors, whom it became his entire occupation to fleece of any small property which might be left in their possession at the time of their incarceration. Bailiffs at the present day are not much esteemed as persons of respectable character, or whose mode of life is at all calculated to raise them in the opinions of their fellows; but, judging from the case of Bolland, the race appears to have much improved since the year 1772.

Bolland was the son of a butcher in Whitechapel, and having been brought up to his father’s trade, he opened a shop on his own account, almost immediately on the termination of his apprenticeship. His ideas of life, however, did not permit him to pay that attention to his business which it demanded; and having spent no small portion of his time and money in the society of bailiffs, thief-takers, and blacklegs, he at length found himself tottering on the eve of bankruptcy. To avoid a catastrophe which might have damaged him in the estimation of his companions, he now sold off his effects; and in order to indulge a taste which he appeared to have imbibed from his recent associations, he procured himself to be appointed one of the officers of the sheriff of Surrey, and opened a “sponging-house,” or receptacle for newly-arrested debtors, at the bottom of Falcon-court, near St. George’s Church, Southwark. The sponging-houses of the last century, as it may be well supposed, had no better qualities to recommend them than those of the present day, and that of Mr. Bolland appeared to outvie its fellows in the wretchedness and poverty of its equipments. It was, however, speedily inhabited by a number of wretched debtors, and now came the opportunity for its proprietor to exercise his power of discrimination between those who were unable to contribute to his benefit, and those whose purses even yet afforded the possibility of his squeezing from them a few golden drops. Those whose money was all spent were not long permitted to remain in his “establishment,” but were sent off to the county prison as soon as the discovery of their poverty was made; but those who could afford to pay for their accommodations, and besides to enter with him into the amusements of cards and dice, were welcomed as honoured visitors, so long as their money lasted, until, in order to avoid further imposition, they demanded to be conveyed to prison, or until the exigency of the writs upon which they had been arrested rendered their removal necessary.

It may be readily imagined that no occasion was allowed by Bolland to{230} slip, on which, either by the exercise of fraud or artifice, he could procure money from his unfortunate guests; and situated as he was—the master of the house, all efforts to oppose his will were of course unavailing so long as his dupes remained under his roof. But while his frauds at home were carried on with the most daring effrontery, he was no less active abroad, in endeavouring to “raise the wind.” He became a horse-dealer, and a bill-discounter; and in both of these professions ample opportunities for the exercise of all sorts of chicanery were afforded. At length, however, his name and his infamous practices became so notorious that his business forsook him—his employers justly imagining that when his conduct was so villanous, they might be justly reflected upon for encouraging him—and with his business, the means of meeting his numerous and very heavy expenses declined. His creditors became clamorous, and a commission of bankruptcy was sued out by a friend, but not until he had managed to gull the public to a large extent, and to secrete a very considerable quantity of valuable effects.

Having been “whitewashed” of his old debts, upon his discharge from prison he managed once again to enter into business, and having procured new bondsmen, he was appointed an officer to the sheriff of Middlesex, and opened a sponging-house in the Savoy. His successes in his new avocation were by no means so great as those which he had experienced in his late employment in Surrey; but he managed to eke out the means of existence between his house and his successes at play in the various billiard-rooms in the vicinity of his dwelling.

At length, however, having by his fraudulent schemes involved himself in almost innumerable difficulties, he determined upon once more “passing the court,” to get rid of his liabilities; and the necessary proceedings were taken to procure a second commission of bankruptcy. During his sojourn in the Fleet Prison, whither, like many of his late victims, he was now obliged to go, he formed acquaintances by no means calculated to improve his character for respectability, nor to induce him to adopt any new mode of life. On his discharge, through the instrumentality of some of his prison friends, he procured himself once again to be appointed a sheriff’s officer of Middlesex, and he now commenced business in Great Shire Lane, Fleet-street. If his exertions as a bailiff in the Savoy had failed in procuring for him those returns which his situation might lead him to expect, he had now no reason to complain of want of patronage. His acquaintance among the “sharp practice” attorneys had been lately increasing, and he was soon almost fully employed by them. His house was again rendered the means of procuring for him the most extravagant returns for his outlay on behalf of his prisoners, and his ingenuity and impudence supplied any deficiency which might have before appeared in his income.

One or two instances of the devices to which he had recourse may prove interesting. Having been employed by a gentleman to arrest a person who was his debtor to the amount of three hundred pounds on a bill of exchange, and who held the situation of captain of an East Indiaman, Bolland immediately proceeded to make the necessary inquiries respecting his prey. He learned that his vessel was about to sail in the course of a very few days; but, determined to be beforehand with him, he caused him to be immediately arrested and carried to his lock-up house. His employer, in the mean time, had gone out of town, and therefore looked for no immediate{231} account from the officer; but the latter having procured the debt and costs from his prisoner, suffered him immediately to depart. Some months elapsed before the plaintiff in the suit returned to London, and then he demanded to know what success the bailiff had had in procuring the payment of the debt; but he was assured by him that the vessel had sailed before the writ was lodged in his hands, and that all his efforts to procure the money had been unavailing. He then tendered a charge of the costs which had been incurred, and the amount having been paid, he walked off. His cheat was soon destined to be discovered, however; for the captain having returned, a writ was lodged in the hands of another officer, by whom he was a second time arrested. The result may be easily imagined: Bolland’s receipt for the debt and costs, dated eighteen months before, was produced, and the prisoner was at once set at liberty. Proceedings were then immediately instituted against our hero, and after a long course of opposition to the law, through which he imagined that he would not be followed, he was compelled to refund the money which he had so dishonestly obtained.

The following case shows that he did not always come off the winner:—The custom of putting in sham bail has long been well known; and although recent enactments of the legislature have put an end to this system, founded on perjury and fraud, the “men of straw” who formerly paraded Westminster Hall, ready to swear that they were worth any amount, and who were easily recognised by the straw which hung out of their shoes, are yet well remembered. Bolland, in the course of his professional avocations, had frequent necessity for the use of persons of this description; and he had gone so far as to hire two men for the exclusive use of his establishment, whom he had attired in something like decency, for the sake of giving his transactions an air of respectability. Having upon one occasion accompanied his servants to a public-house in Covent Garden, to regale them after a “good hit,” he was surprised to see them suddenly carried off by two Bow-street runners on a charge of highway-robbery. At the ensuing Old Bailey Sessions, they were put upon their trial charged with the offence alleged against them, and a verdict of conviction having been recorded, they were sentenced to be hanged. Bolland, in his capacity of sheriff’s officer, was compelled to accompany them to the gallows, and had the mortification of seeing them turned off, wearing the clothes which he had provided them, and which, by custom, became the property of the executioner.

Another instance will show how far his villany extended. A Mrs. Beauclerc was the wife of a captain in the navy, and her husband having been detained at sea for a period much longer than was expected, she contracted a debt amounting to thirty pounds. The creditor became solicitous that the money should be repaid; but Mrs. Beauclerc being devoid of the means of payment, and having no friend to whom in her strait she could apply, was at length arrested by Bolland upon a writ which had been placed in his hands for execution, and conveyed to Great Shire Lane. Having tasted all the pleasures of a residence in a sponging-house, she became anxious in a day or two for her release upon any terms which she could make; and, upon her entreaty, Bolland procured bail to be put in for her on a fee of five guineas being handed over. She had scarcely{232} obtained her liberty, however, before she was rendered into custody by her bail, acting upon the advice of Bolland, who represented that her circumstances were such as to render the continuance of their liability in her behalf exceedingly dangerous. Every post was expected to bring news of Captain Beauclerc, and with it the means of discharging the debt; and the poor woman, terrified at an incarceration in Newgate, with which she was threatened, was induced to raise ten pounds, in order once more to procure her liberation upon bail. The money being tendered, her jailor was too good a judge to permit her to go at large without some further security; and he insisted upon her signing a bond to confess judgment, levyable upon her furniture, as a collateral security. Mrs. Beauclerc was ignorant of the nature of such an instrument, and readily assented to everything that was proposed; and her surprise may be imagined when, on the very day after her liberation, a writ of execution was put into her house, founded upon the judgment signed upon her confession, under which all her goods were seized. Distracted at the prospect of her husband’s speedy return, and at his discovery of her destitution, in a state of the wildest desperation she attempted to set fire to the house which she occupied. Her offence was, from its nature, immediately discovered, and the unhappy woman was dragged to Newgate to await her trial. Scarcely had she become an inmate of the jail, the name of which she had before so much dreaded, when her husband arrived in London, and was horror-struck at discovering her situation. Every effort was made by him on her behalf; but before the trial of his wretched wife came on, he was suddenly arrested by Bolland, upon a writ sued out upon an affidavit of debt, falsely sworn at the instance of the officer. His condition may be easily supposed to have been heart-rending in the extreme; and his wife, deprived of the assistance which she might have obtained had he been at large, was convicted and received sentence of death. The captain, in order as soon as possible to be able to render his wife that comfort which her situation demanded, and to make some exertions in her behalf, procured his liberation, though it was by paying the debt to which he was sworn to be liable; and the case of his wife being represented to the king, she was at length released from confinement, upon an unconditional pardon which was granted to her.

By these and other artifices, and by the most unblushing effrontery, Bolland succeeded at length in amassing a sum of two thousand pounds; and the office of City-marshal becoming vacant, he determined, if possible, to become its possessor by way of purchase. The situation, as was then customary, was put up for sale, and after a spirited bidding, he became the buyer at a price of two thousand four hundred pounds; and having paid the deposit-money, and raised such portion of the whole sum as he did not possess, he only waited the approval of the Court of Aldermen at once to take upon himself the duties of the office. His character had, however, became too notorious to permit of his being allowed to assume a situation of so much importance in the City; and a message was communicated to him by the recorder, in which the nature of the grounds of the refusal were stated. An action was threatened upon the breach of contract, as well as upon the defamation of his character, conveyed by the message of the recorder; but finding that he was likely to gain nothing by an opposition to the corporation of London, he desisted from any further proceedings,{233} and demanded the restitution of the amount of the deposit money. But here he was doomed to suffer another disappointment. The amount handed over had been attached by the persons, who had become his sureties to the sheriff, on account of certain liabilities which he had incurred to them under their bail bonds, and it was detained in order to await the decision of a court of law upon the claim.

Before the proceedings which arose upon the subject, however, had terminated, Bolland was guilty of the offence for which he became liable to trial, and was convicted and executed. It appears that his crime consisted in the introduction of a false indorsement upon the back of a bill of exchange, made by Bolland for the purpose of giving it a fictitious value. A person named Jesson having discounted a bill for him, they accidentally met at the George and Vulture Tavern, Cornhill, on the day when it became due. Jesson demanded payment; but Bolland declared that he was unprepared with the money requisite to take up the instrument, and tendered another bill for one hundred pounds, accepted by a Mr. Bradshaw, as an equivalent. Jesson, after some demur, consented to take the bill; and Bolland indorsed it with his own name. This was exclaimed against by Jesson, on the ground that it would not be negociable if his name appeared on it; and he then took a knife, and, according to Jesson’s belief, scratched out the whole name, while, in reality, he scratched out all except the initial, which he left, and to which he added the letters “anks,” so as to make the name “James Banks.” The bill was then handed back to Jesson; and on the following day it was discounted for him by a person named Cardineaux. The latter subsequently demanded to know who Banks was; and Bolland informed him that he was a victualler in the neighbourhood of Rathbone Place, in an extensive and reputable way of business. Before the bill became due it was again discounted for Cardineaux by his banker, and Bradshaw, the acceptor, became bankrupt. Cardineaux, in consequence, applied to Jesson to take up the bill, and he in turn went to Bolland; but the latter positively refused to have anything to do with it, and even went so far as to deny, with the utmost effrontery, that he had ever seen it. At a subsequent meeting between Cardineaux, Jesson, and Bolland, the latter endeavoured to excuse himself from payment, by alleging that his name did not appear on the instrument; but on his being called upon to explain how Banks’s indorsement came upon it, he desired that all further disputes might subside, and that he would take it up. An investigation, however, subsequently took place, and Jesson, annoyed at the double fraud which had been practised upon him, took the advice of counsel as to what should be done. An opinion was given that an indictment for forgery would lie, and Bolland was taken into custody; but then immediately a person, who stated his name to be Banks, applied to Cardineaux to take up the bill. The one hundred pounds were accepted, and the supposed Mr. Banks obtained a receipt for that amount; but on his demanding the delivery of the bill, he was informed that it was detained in order to be produced in evidence at the trial, after which he should be welcome to it.

The prisoner was indicted at the ensuing Old Bailey sessions, when proof of the facts which we have detailed having been given, and all efforts to prove the existence of any such Mr. Banks as had been described having failed, a verdict of Guilty was returned. Every effort was subsequently made by the prisoner’s counsel, on a motion in arrest of judgment, to{234} procure the verdict to be set aside, but in vain, and sentence of death was passed upon him in the usual form.

On the morning of his execution, the unhappy wretch confessed that he had been guilty of innumerable sins, but declared that he had no fraudulent intention in indorsing the bill when he put it off.

He was hanged at Tyburn on the 18th of March 1772, and his body was in the evening conveyed to Bunhill Fields, and there buried.



THE person robbed in this case was the celebrated and unfortunate Dr. Dodd, whom, a few years afterwards, Fate decreed to be hanged at the very spot where Griffiths suffered.

William Griffiths was a native of Shropshire, and followed the business of husbandry till he had attained his eighteenth year, when he engaged in a naval life, and remained near three years in the East Indies. The ship was paid off on his return to England; and our hero receiving a considerable sum for wages, spent his money, as sailors generally do, in no very reputable company, at public-houses in Wapping and adjacent parts.

Being now reduced to poverty, he was persuaded by two fellows named David Evans and Timothy Johnson to join them in the commission of highway robberies. Their efforts were attended with small success, and Griffiths’s reign was soon terminated. It appears that the Rev. Dr. Dodd and his lady were returning from a visit they had been making to a gentleman at St. Albans, but were detained on the way at Barnet, because a post-chaise could not be immediately procured. Night was hastily approaching when they left Barnet; but they proceeded unmolested until they came near the turnpike at the extremity of Tottenham-Court-Road, when three men called to the driver of the carriage, and threatened his instant destruction if he did not stop. The postboy did not hesitate to obey the summons; but no sooner was the carriage stopped than a pistol was fired, the ball from which went through the front glass of the chaise, but did not take any effect to the injury of the parties in it. Griffiths then immediately opened the door of the chaise; on which the doctor begged him to behave with civility, on account of the presence of the lady. He delivered his purse, which contained only two guineas, and a bill of exchange, and also gave the robber some loose silver. Griffiths, having received the booty, decamped with the utmost precipitation; but Dr. Dodd lost no time in repairing to Sir John Fielding’s office, where he and his lady gave so full a description of the person of the principal robber, that he was immediately apprehended.

At the trial, the doctor declared that he had only come forward on account of the pistol having been fired, but refused to swear to the person of the prisoner. His lady, however, was more positive in her evidence; and no doubt being left as to his identity, he was found guilty and received sentence of death.

He afterwards confessed the crimes of which he had been guilty, and was executed on the 20th of January 1773, apparently sincerely penitent for his offences.{235}



THE circumstances of this case are marked by peculiar atrocity. It appears that a man named Vere, a sheriff’s officer, having put an execution into a house of Mr. Brailsford, in Petty France, Westminster, he placed Leonard, Graves, and Gay, three of his followers, in possession.

A young woman named Boss resided in an apartment on the second floor of the house, and on the 15th June, 1773, the family of Mr. Brailsford having all gone out in search of the means of getting rid of their unwelcome visitants, she was left alone in the house with the three officers. She was at work in her own room, when, about mid-day, Leonard opened the door, and began in a familiar manner to speak to her. Terror for a while deprived her of utterance; but finding him proceed to take those liberties which female virtue can never suffer, she resisted, screamed out, seized the villain by the throat, struggled until she was exhausted, and then sank down, deprived of reason. In this situation her assailant used her in the way that constituted the offence for which he was justly executed.

A neighbour hearing the cries of the distressed female, and suspecting some foul deed, knocked at the street-door, and inquired the cause of the noise; to which Leonard, opening the window, replied that it was only a drunken woman: and the inquirer retired.

The three villains, Leonard, Graves, and Gay, were afterwards indicted for this cruel outrage: Leonard as the principal, and the others as accessories to the fact; and upon their trial they were all found guilty. Graves and Gay were burned in the hand and imprisoned; but sentence of death was immediately passed upon Leonard.

Although convicted upon the clearest evidence, this obdurate man denied that he was guilty; and on the Sunday before he suffered, he received the sacrament from the hands of the Rev. Mr. Temple, and then, in the most solemn manner, declared to that gentleman that he was entirely innocent of the fact for which he was to die; that he had been repeatedly intimate with Miss Boss, with her own consent; and that all the reason he could conjecture for her prosecuting him was, that he had communicated this matter to Graves, one of the other followers, who availed himself of the secret, and found means to get into the young lady’s room, and who really perpetrated the fact with which she had falsely accused him.

In this story he persisted all the time he remained in Newgate; but Mr. Temple, suspecting his veracity, delivered a paper to Mr. Toll, another gentleman who usually administered spiritual comfort to the malefactors in their last moments, in which he requested him to ask Leonard about those two assertions before he was turned off.

This request Mr. Toll and his colleague punctually complied with, and the unhappy man then acknowledged that he had taken the sacrament to an absolute falsehood; that there was not a word of truth in his impeaching Miss Boss, but that he alone abused her; that he was taught in Newgate to believe that the falsehood might do him service; that he found his mistake too late, and all the atonement he could make was to acknowledge the truth before he left the world, and to beg pardon of God for having acted in so atrocious a manner.

He was executed on the 11th August, 1773, at Tyburn.{236}



THE short life of this culprit was remarkable for producing two surprising instances of the uncertainty of identity.

On the 4th of September, 1772, he was arraigned at the bar of the Old Bailey for a robbery upon a Mrs. Ryan.

The prosecutrix and other witnesses swore positively that the prisoner committed the robbery on the 17th of June then last past.

The court consequently supposed conviction would follow; but being called on for his defence, he said he was innocent, and that the books of the court would prove where he was on the day of the robbery.

Reference was immediately made to the records; and strange yet true to relate, that, on the very day and hour sworn to, Male was actually on his trial at the bar where he then stood, for another robbery, when he was unfortunate enough to have been mistaken for another person. He was consequently acquitted; but the force of example did not deter him from the commission of crime, and although he was discharged from prison without reproach, he came out a determined thief.

His career of villany was soon ended; for in six months afterwards we find him expiating his crimes at the gallows. He was charged with a real robbery, committed by him on the person of Mrs. Grignion, and being unable again to prove an alibi, as he had hitherto done, he was found guilty, and was executed at Tyburn on the 25th of March, 1773.



WHILE we sketch the shocking crime of this monster, we have some consolation in observing that, in our long researches into the baseness of mankind, he is the first we have met with, who, with long-lurking malice, shed the blood of his mother.

A subject so strangely horrid and unnatural we shall dismiss by a bare recital of the shocking circumstance.

It appears that among other undutiful acts, he had one morning given offence to his parent, for which he was justly reproached, whereupon he went out of her house, took the knife from his pocket, and deliberately whetted it till quite sharp. Then returning with the murderous instrument in his hand, he found his unfortunate mother in the act of making his own bed.

Without uttering a word, he threw her down, and as a butcher kills a sheep, he stuck her in the throat, and left her weltering in her blood, of which wound she died.

On his examination he confessed the fact, and said that he had determined upon his mother’s death three years before; for that he had treasured up malice against her since she had corrected him for some trifling fault when a little boy.

He was executed at Lincoln, where his offence was committed, on the 5th of August, 1775.{237}



THE case of this prisoner is a fit successor to that of Samuel Male, which has been just related. His execution arose out of the following circumstances. On the 19th August, 1774, Patrick Maden, convicted of a foot-robbery on the highway, and William Waine and Levi Barnet for burglary, were carried to Tyburn for execution, pursuant to their sentence. When the cart was drawn under the gallows, a man among the crowd of spectators called out for the others to make way for him, as he had something to communicate to the sheriff respecting one of the prisoners. This being effected, the man, who proved to be Amos Merritt, addressed Mr. Reynolds, the under-sheriff, and declared that Patrick Maden was innocent of the crime for which he was about to suffer. Mr. Reynolds desired he would look upon the prisoner, and speak aloud what he had represented to him. He did so, and declared that he was not guilty; but declined accusing himself. The sheriffs, on hearing this declaration, despatched Mr. Reynolds with the information to the secretary of state, and to request his further orders; and a respite being obtained for Maden, he was carried back to Newgate, amid the acclamations of the people.

Merritt was then taken into custody, and at the public office in Bow-street, before Mr. Justice Addington, confessed that he himself was the person who had committed the robbery of which Maden had been convicted, and the last-named prisoner was then pardoned.

Though no doubt remained of Merritt’s guilt, yet, as no proof could be adduced to that effect, he for a while escaped justice.

He had been guilty of many robberies, the particulars of which are not interesting, and we shall therefore come to that for which he suffered.

At the sessions held at the Old Bailey in the month of December 1774, Amos Merritt was indicted for feloniously breaking and entering the dwelling-house of Edward Ellicott, early in the morning of the 26th of October, and stealing from it a quantity of plate, a gold watch, and other valuable articles, to a large amount.

Mr. Ellicott deposed that he lived in Hornsey-lane, near Highgate, that he was awakened by his wife, who inquired what noise was in the house; and ringing the bell, both of them jumped out of bed. The first words they then heard were, “Come up directly;” and then some person said, “D—n your bloods, we will murder every soul in the house!” Mrs. Ellicott said, “Lord bless me, the door is open!” and running to the door, pushed it close. Mr. Ellicott gave immediate assistance; and a person who was without, who he believed from his voice was the prisoner, said, “D—n you, if you do not open the door, I will murder every one of you!”

The rest of the evidence was to the following effect:—The villains attempted to force open the door, putting a hanger with a scabbard between that and the post; but Mr. Ellicott, who was a powerful man, kept them out by mere strength, and having fastened the door with a drop bolt, which went into the flooring, he ran to the window, and called out “Thieves!” In the mean time Mrs. Ellicott, by perpetual ringing of the bell, hail alarmed the servants, who ran into the road after the thieves, who had by this time got off with the property.{238}

Notice having been given at Sir John Fielding’s, Merritt and his accomplices were taken into custody on suspicion, and after an examination at Bow-street were committed to Newgate.

At the trial the evidence was deemed so satisfactory that the jury did not hesitate to find Merritt guilty; in consequence of which he received sentence of death, and was executed at Tyburn on the 18th of January, 1775, within six months of the period of his saving the unfortunate Maden from an untimely and ignominious fate.

Connected with the two cases just detailed, we may relate an anecdote of a very remarkable instance of personal similitude which happened at New York, in North America, in the year 1804.

A man was indicted for bigamy under the name of James Hoag. He was met in a distant part of the country by some friends of his supposed first wife, and apprehended. The prisoner denied the charge, and said his name was Thomas Parker. On the trial, Mrs. Hoag, her relations, and many other credible witnesses, swore that he was James Hoag, and the former swore positively that he was her husband. On the other side, an equal number of witnesses, equally respectable, swore that the prisoner was Thomas Parker; and Mrs. Parker appeared, and claimed him as her husband. The first witnesses were again called by the Court, and they not only again deposed to him, but swore that by stature, shape, gesture, complexion, looks, voice, and speech, he was James Hoag. They even described a particular scar on his forehead, by which he could be known. On turning back the hair, the scar appeared. The others, in return, swore that he had lived among them, worked with them, and was in their company on the very day of his alleged marriage with Mrs. Hoag. Here the scales of testimony were balanced, for the jury knew not to which party to give credit. Mrs. Hoag, anxious to gain back her husband, declared he had a certain more particular mark on the sole of his foot. Mrs. Parker avowed that her husband had no such mark; and the man was ordered to pull off his shoes and stockings. His feet were examined, and no mark appeared.

The ladies now contended for the man, and Mrs. Hoag vowed that she had lost her husband, and she would have him; but during this strife, a justice of the peace from the place where the prisoner was apprehended entered the Court, and turned the scale in his favour. His worship swore him to be Thomas Parker; that he had known, and occasionally employed him, from his infancy; whereupon Mrs. Parker embraced and carried off her husband in triumph, by the verdict of the jury.

The following anecdote was related by Mr. Baron Garrow upon the trial of a prisoner, whose identity was questionable, on the Oxford Circuit. The learned judge was in the course of summing up the case to the jury, when he stated that a few years before, a prisoner was on his trial before him, upon a charge of highway robbery. His person was identified positively by the prosecutor, who even went so far as to say that he now wore the same clothes in which he had been attired on the occasion on which the robbery was committed; and the jury were on the point of being dismissed to the consideration of their verdict, when suddenly shouts were heard in the yard attached to the Court-house;—cries of “Make way—make way,” were distinguished;—and a man on horseback, whose appearance denoted the rapidity with which he had ridden, rushed in among the people congregated to await the result of the trial, and, throwing himself{239} from his horse, which was covered with foam, made his way with the greatest expedition to the entrance of the Court. The outcry which was raised had stopped the learned judge in his concluding observations, and before he could resume his address to the jury, the man, booted and spurred, and covered with mud, called upon him to “stop the case, for that he had ridden fifty miles to save the life of a fellow-creature—the prisoner at the bar.” His lordship and the Court were astonished at the interruption, and called upon the stranger to explain his conduct. His answer was that he knew that the prisoner could not be guilty of the offence imputed to him; and he called upon the prosecutor of the indictment to say whether, after having seen him, he could still swear that the prisoner was the offender. The prosecutor again entered the witness-box, and surveyed the stranger from head to foot. He was dressed in a manner precisely similar to that in which the prisoner was attired—a green coat with brass buttons, drab breeches, and top-boots;—their countenances were so nearly alike in style, that from the transient view he had had of the robber, he was unable to distinguish which was the real thief. The Court were unwilling to suffer a person who was really innocent to be convicted, and proceeded to make inquiries of the stranger as to his reasons for interrupting the trial, and as to his knowledge of the circumstances of the robbery. Upon the former point, the only explanation which could be obtained from him was, that he was perfectly satisfied that the prisoner was innocent; upon the latter he declined to answer any queries, insinuating that, situated as he was, the Court would not compel him to criminate himself. The prisoner now reiterated the protestations of innocence which he had before made; and the prosecutor, being strictly examined by the Court, declared that he was so confused by the similarity which existed between the prisoner and the stranger, that he was unable to swear that the former was actually the thief; and that his impression now was, that the latter was the real offender. Under these circumstances, it was left to the jury to say, whether they could with safety declare the prisoner to be guilty; and a verdict of acquittal was in consequence returned, to the apparent satisfaction of the Court. It now became the duty of the judge to determine what further proceedings should be taken. A robbery, there was no doubt, had been committed, and its commission lay between the person who had just been acquitted and the stranger. The former must be presumed to be not guilty, because the jury had declared him to be so; and a bill of indictment was therefore directed to be preferred against the latter, who was taken into custody. The same evidence which had before been given was now repeated, and a true bill was returned. The trial came on in the course of the ensuing day, and a fresh jury being impanelled, the new prisoner was put upon his defence. It was a simple and plain one; “he was not guilty. The prosecutor had sworn positively to the person of the prisoner, who had been tried on the previous day, and could he now be permitted so to alter his testimony, as to procure the conviction of another? He had before declared that he could not distinguish the real offender, and what better opportunity had been since afforded him? Besides, his evidence now went only to his ‘belief’ as to the identity of the person charged: and surely if the jury had before acquitted a prisoner to whom he had sworn positively, they would not now convict, when his testimony was qualified.” This reasoning was too much for the jury; the prisoner{240} had made no confession of his own guilt, and he was declared not guilty. The sequel was soon discovered; the two men were brothers: the first prisoner was the guilty party, and the whole “scene” got up by the stranger was a mere fabrication, invented for the purpose of gulling the Court and jury. No proceedings could be taken against either party; for although the Court had been imposed upon, the imposition was backed by no perjury, and the two thieves—for so they turned out—escaped unpunished.

Another instance of remarkable imposition being practised upon the Court, occurred subsequently at York. The case of a person who was charged with an extensive robbery on the highway, had attracted considerable attention. The prisoner, when apprehended, was attired in the habit of a working man; but the prosecutor, whose evidence as to his identity was positive, swore that when the robbery was committed he was well dressed, and mounted. The trial came on at the York assizes, and the Court was crowded with persons. Upon the evening preceding the day on which the case was fixed for trial, a gentleman drove up to one of the principal inns of the city in a travelling chariot, and requested to be accommodated with a bed. A handsome supper was ordered, and the stranger retired to rest. In the morning breakfast was served, and the landlord was sent for. The gentleman said that he was unacquainted with the town, and found that he was a day too early for the business upon which he had come to York: and he therefore desired to know whether there were any amusements going on, with which he could entertain himself until dinner-time. The castle, the minster, and various other curiosities were alluded to, in which he appeared to take no interest; and the landlord at length mentioned that the assizes were on, and suggested that he might probably derive some entertainment from listening to the trials; and he stated that a remarkable case of highway robbery was fixed for trial on that morning, and had by that time probably commenced. Some curiosity on this point was expressed; and the landlord, conducting his guest to the Court-house, obtained for him a seat upon the bench, upon assuring the high sheriff of his being a person of great apparent respectability, which the landlord had good reason to believe, from his having seen him with a bundle of notes in his possession of no inconsiderable size, which he observed that he had placed in his trunk with his pocket-book on his quitting the inn. The case of highway robbery, as the landlord suggested, had already commenced; the prisoner appeared to be a poor man, and was standing at the bar, with his face buried in his handkerchief, apparently deeply affected by the situation in which he was placed, and almost unconscious of what was passing around him. The trial now approached its termination; the evidence for the prosecution was completed, and the learned judge called on the prisoner for his defence. He raised himself languidly from the place where he had been resting, and assured the jury that he was innocent, when, suddenly starting, he exclaimed passionately. “There, there, my lord, there is a gentleman seated on your lordship’s bench who can prove that I am not guilty!” All eyes were turned to the person to whom the prisoner’s finger, in support of his declaration, was pointed; and the stranger was found to be the object of the remark. He expressed great surprise at being thus called upon, and declared that he was at a loss to know how the prisoner could appeal to him, for that he had no immediate recollection that he had ever seen him before. The{241} learned judge demanded that the prisoner should explain himself; and he then stated that on the very day named in the indictment, and by the witnesses, as that on which the robbery had been committed, he was at Dover, and had conveyed the gentleman’s luggage in a wheelbarrow from the Ship Inn to the steam-packet, in which he was about to start for Calais. The gentleman, in answer to the questions put to him, said that he certainly had been at Dover about the time mentioned, and that he had lodged at the Ship Inn, and had gone from thence by steam to Calais. He remembered too that a man had carried his trunks as the prisoner had described; but that although he now had some distant recollection of the features of the man at the bar, he was unable to recognize him as the person he had employed; and he could not besides swear to the date of the transaction. The court inquired whether he was in the habit of making memoranda of his proceedings, and whether, by referring to any documents, he should be able to give any more decided information upon the subject? He answered, that being engaged in a large mercantile business it was certainly his custom to make notes in his pocket-book, but that the book was at his inn, locked in his trunk. The court said that in such a case it was desirable that the most minute inspection should take place, and desired that the gentleman should go for his book. The latter was unwilling to take this trouble, but would give his keys to the officer of the court, who might, in the presence of his landlord, open his trunk and bring the book to the court. Messengers were in consequence despatched, with directions to make further inquiries of the landlord as to the stranger; and in the meantime the prisoner proceeded to ask him questions, reminding him of certain occurrences which had taken place on the day in question on their way from the inn to the quay, and more especially that the packet was late in starting. To most of these the gentleman assented, and the pocket-book being now arrived he referred to it, and declared that the date mentioned was the very day on which he had quitted Dover as described; and from all the circumstances which the prisoner had detailed, he was decidedly of opinion that he was the person whom he had employed. The circumstances attending the arrival and sojourn of the stranger at the inn, as detailed by the landlord, who had come into court, were now whispered to the judge; and the gentleman having given his name, and stated himself to be connected with a most respectable banking firm in the city of London, the learned judge summed up the case, commenting upon the very remarkable coincidence which had occurred; and the jury, giving full credit to the testimony of the stranger, at once returned a verdict of not guilty in favour of the prisoner. This decision appeared to give perfect satisfaction to the court, and the prisoner was ordered to be immediately discharged. The stranger was complimented by the judge upon the essential service which he had been the means of rendering to a fellow creature, and left the court, declaring his happiness at his having been able to give such testimony. Within a fortnight afterwards, the late prisoner and his friend, the London merchant, were lodged in York Castle, charged with a most daring act of housebreaking, in which they had been concerned. The notes which the latter had sported at the inn were found to be drawn upon the “Bank of Fashion” instead of upon the “Bank of England;” and upon the prisoners being tried at the ensuing assizes, they were found guilty, and their lives were justly forfeited to the laws of their country.{242}



THE name of this criminal will be immediately recollected as one which has attained no small share of notoriety. He was born at a village a few miles from Bath, of poor parents; and during the greater part of his youth he obtained a living by pursuing the business of a costermonger. At the age of twelve years he was hired by a lady of distinction, whom he accompanied to London; and subsequently being employed in her stables, he obtained some knowledge of horses, and having served in the more humble capacity of post-boy at an inn, he was at length taken into the service of a gentleman of fortune, in Portman-square, as coachman. It was at this period that he dressed in the manner which gave rise to his appellation of Sixteen-stringed Jack, by wearing breeches with eight strings on each knee; but after having been employed by several noblemen he lost his character, and turned pickpocket, in company with three fellows named Jones, Clayton, and College, the latter of whom, a mere boy, obtained the name of Eight-stringed Jack.

The first appearance which our hero appears to have made at the bar of any Court of Justice was at the sessions held at the Old Bailey in April, 1774, when, with Clayton and one Shepherd, he was tried for robbing Mr. William Somers on the highway, and acquitted for want of evidence. They were again tried for robbing Mr. Langford, but acquitted for the same reason.

He was soon destined to be again in custody, however, and on the 30th of May following, he was charged with robbing John Devall, Esq. near the nine-mile stone on the Hounslow road, of his watch and money. It appeared that he had given the watch to a young woman with whom he lived, named Roche, who had delivered it to Catherine Smith, by whom it was offered in pledge to Mr. Hallam a pawnbroker, who, suspecting it was not honestly obtained, caused the parties to be taken into custody. Roche was now charged with receiving the watch, knowing it to have been stolen; and Smith, being sworn, deposed that on the day Mr. Devall was robbed, Roche told her that “she expected Rann to bring her some money in the evening;” that he accordingly came about ten at night, and having retired some time with Roche, she, on her return, owned that she had received a watch and five guineas from him, which he said he had taken from a gentleman on the highway; and that she, Smith, carried the watch to pawn to Mr. Hallam at the request of Roche. Upon this charge the prisoner Rann was again sent to Newgate; but on his trial in July 1774, he was acquitted. On his appearing at the bar, he was dressed in a manner above his style of life and his circumstances. He had a bundle of flowers in the breast of his coat almost as large as a broom; and his irons were tied up with a number of blue ribands.

Two or three days after this acquittal Rann engaged to sup with a girl at her lodgings in Bow Street; but not being punctual to his appointment, the woman went to bed, and her paramour being unable to obtain admittance by the door, proceeded to effect an entrance through the window; and had nearly accomplished his purpose, when a watchman interrupted{243} him, and took him into custody. He was charged at Bow-street on the 27th of July with this alleged burglarious attempt; but the “young lady” appearing, declared the prisoner could have had no felonious intent, for that so far from her opposing his entry, had she been awake, she would instantly have admitted him; and besides that he was quite welcome to share everything that she possessed, even to her bed. Upon this declaration, the prisoner was dismissed, with a caution to adopt a less dangerous method of pursuing his amours.

After this it seems that the proceedings of our hero became pretty notorious, and he took no trouble either to conceal or disguise his person or his acts. He did not hesitate to proclaim himself as “Sixteen-stringed Jack, the famous highwayman,” and to appear at public places attired in a peculiar manner so as to excite observation and attention. It does not appear that his attacks were marked by any great degree of atrocity; and the celebrity which he obtained was rather of his own seeking. A short time before he was convicted of the offence which cost him his life, he attended a public execution at Tyburn, and getting in the ring formed by the constables round the gallows, desired that he might be permitted to stand there, “for,” said he, “perhaps it is very proper that I should be a spectator on this occasion.”

On the 26th of September, 1774, he went with William Collier on the Uxbridge-road, with a view to commit robberies on the highway; and being apprehended on the Wednesday following, they were examined at the public office in Bow-street on the following charge. Dr. William Bell, chaplain to the Princess Amelia, deposed that between three and four o’clock in the afternoon of Monday, the 26th of September, as he was riding near Ealing, he observed two men of rather mean appearance, who rode past him; and that he remarked they had suspicious looks; yet neither at that time, nor for some little time afterwards, had he any idea of being robbed: that soon afterwards one of them, whom he believed to be Rann, crossed the head of his horse, and demanding his money, said, “Give it to me, and take no notice, or I’ll blow your brains out.” On this the doctor gave him one shilling and sixpence, which was all the silver he had, and a common watch in a tortoise-shell case.

It further appeared that, on the night of the robbery, Rann’s companion Eleanor Roche, and her maid-servant, Christian Stewart, went to the shop of Mr. Cordy, a pawnbroker in Oxford-road, to pledge the watch, but that he stopped it, and found out its owner by applying to Mr. Grignon, its maker, in Russell-street, Covent-garden; and evidence was also adduced as to the identity of Rann, who was proved to have been seen at Acton within twenty minutes of the time of the robbery being committed. The prisoners were thereupon sent to Newgate to take their trials; and Roche and Stewart being also apprehended, were indicted as accessories after the fact.

The evidence given on the trial, was in substance the same as that which had been adduced at Bow-street; but some favourable circumstances appearing in behalf of Collier, he was recommended to mercy, and afterwards respited during the king’s pleasure. Miss Roche was sentenced to be transported for fourteen years; her servant was acquitted; and Rann was left for execution.

When Rann was brought down to take his trial he was dressed in a{244} new suit of pea-green clothes; his hat was bound round with silver strings; he wore a ruffled shirt, and his behaviour evinced the utmost unconcern. Upon hearing the verdict of the jury, which consigned him to death, he endeavoured to force a smile, but the attempt was a failure, and it was evident that the confidence which he had before exhibited, now forsook him. He had been so certain of acquittal, that he had ordered a supper to be provided on the occasion; but his anticipations of pleasure were quickly changed into the reality of sorrow. After conviction, his behaviour was for a time unfitted for the melancholy condition in which he was placed. On Sunday, the 23d of October, he had seven girls to dine with him, and with their mirth endeavoured to shake off the heaviness which beset him, but the warrant for his execution soon after arriving, he became more sensible of his awful situation, and began to prepare for the sad fate which awaited him. At his execution, he behaved with decent resignation, and surveyed the gallows with an eye of confidence. He was executed on the 30th of November, 1774; and having hung the usual time, his body was delivered over to his friends for interment.



THE circumstances of the cases of these prisoners are of a very remarkable description. It appears that the accused persons were twin brothers, and were so much alike that it was with difficulty that they were known apart. Robert Perreau carried on business in Golden-square as an apothecary, and was in great practice; while his brother lived in a style of considerable fashion, a Mrs. Margaret Caroline Rudd living with him as his wife.

At the sessions held at the Old Bailey in June 1775, Robert Perreau was indicted for forging a bond for the payment of 7,500l. in the name of William Adair, Esq (then a great government contractor), and also for feloniously uttering and publishing the said bond, knowing it to be forged, with intent to defraud Messrs. Robert and Henry Drummond, bankers.

From the evidence which was adduced at the trial, it appeared that on the 10th of March, 1775, the prisoner under trial, whose character up to that time had been considered unimpeachable, went to the house of Messrs. Drummond, and seeing Mr. Henry Drummond, one of the partners, said that he had been making a purchase of an estate in Norfolk or Suffolk, for which he was to give 12,000l., but that he had not sufficient cash to pay the whole purchase-money. That he had a bond, however, which Mr. Adair had given to his brother Daniel, for 7,500l., upon which he desired to raise a sum of 5000l., out of which he was willing to pay 1,400l., which he had already borrowed of the firm.

Mr. Drummond, on the production of the bond, had no sooner looked at the signature than he doubted its authenticity, and very politely asked the prisoner if he had seen Mr. Adair sign it. The latter said he had not, but that he had no doubt that it was authentic, from the nature of the connexion that subsisted between Mrs. Rudd, who was known to live with Daniel, and that gentleman; a suggestion having previously been thrown{245} out that she was his natural daughter. Mr. Drummond, however, declined advancing any money without the sanction of his brother, and he desired Perreau to leave the bond, saying that it should either be returned on the next day, or the money produced. The prisoner made no scruple to obey this suggestion, and he retired, promising to call again the next day.

In the interim, Mr. Drummond examined the bond with greater attention; and Mr. Stephens, secretary of the Admiralty, happening to call, his opinion was demanded, when, comparing the signature to the bond with letters which he had lately received from Mr. Adair, he was firmly convinced that it was forged. When Perreau came on the following day, Mr. Drummond spoke more freely than he had done before, and told him that he imagined he had been imposed on; but begged, that to remove all doubt, he would go with him to Mr. Adair, and get that gentleman to acknowledge the validity of the bond, on which the money would be advanced. This was immediately acceded to; and on Mr. Adair seeing the document, he at once declared that the signature was a forgery. The prisoner smiled incredulously, and said that he jested; but Mr. Adair remarked that it was no jesting matter, and that it lay on him to clear up the affair. On this he went away, requesting to have the bond, in order to make the necessary inquiries—a request which was refused; and persons being employed to watch him, it was found that immediately on his arrival at his house, he and his brother and Mrs. Rudd got into a coach, carrying with them all the valuables which they could collect, with a design to make their escape. They were, however, stopped, and taken into custody, and being conveyed to Sir John Fielding’s, at Bow-street, they there underwent an examination, and upon the evidence adduced, were committed to prison. Other charges were subsequently brought against them by Sir Thomas Frankland, from whom they had obtained two sums of 5000l. and 4000l. on similar forged bonds, as well as 4000l. which they had paid when the amount became due; and by Dr. Brooke, who alleged that they had obtained from him 1500l. in bonds of the Ayr bank, upon the security of a forged bond for 3100l.; and Mrs. Rudd was then admitted as evidence for the Crown. Her deposition then was, that she was the daughter of a nobleman in Scotland; that, when young, she married an officer in the army named Rudd, against the consent of her friends; that her fortune was considerable; that on a disagreement with her husband, they resolved to part; that she made a reserve of money, jewels, and effects, to the amount of thirteen thousand pounds, all of which she gave to Daniel Perreau, whom she said she loved with the tenderness of a wife; that she had three children by him; that he had returned her kindness in every respect till lately, when, having been unfortunate in gaming in the alley, he had become uneasy, peevish, and much altered to her; that he cruelly constrained her to sign the bond now in question, by holding a knife to her throat, and swearing that he would murder her if she did not comply; that, being struck with remorse, she had acquainted Mr. Adair with what she had done; and that she was now willing to declare every transaction with which she was acquainted, whenever she should be called upon by law so to do.

Upon the cross-examination of Mr. Drummond, however, he swore that Mrs. Rudd on her being first apprehended, took the whole on herself, and acknowledged that she had forged the bonds; that she begged them “for{246} God’s sake to have mercy on an innocent man,” and that she said no injury was intended to any person, and that all would be paid; and that she acknowledged delivering the bond to the prisoner. They then entertained an opinion that the prisoner was her dupe; and Mr. Robert Drummond having expressed a notion that she could not have forged a handwriting so dissimilar from that of a woman as Mr. Adair’s, she immediately, in order to satisfy them of the truth of what she said, wrote the name “William Adair” on a paper exactly like the signature which appeared attached to the bond.

Mr. Watson, a money-scrivener, also deposed, that he had filled up the bonds at the desire of one of the brothers, and in pursuance of instructions received from him; but he hesitated to fix on either, on account of their great personal resemblance; and being pressed to make a positive declaration, he fixed on Daniel as his employer.

The case for the prosecution being concluded, the prisoner entered upon his defence. In a long and ingenious speech, which he addressed to the jury, he strove hard to prove that he was the victim of the artifices of Mrs. Rudd.

He said that she was constantly conversing about the influence she had over Mr. W. Adair; and that Mr. Adair had, by his interest with the king, obtained the promise of a baronetage for Daniel Perreau, and was about procuring him a seat in parliament. That Mr. Adair had promised to open a bank, and take the brothers Perreau into partnership with him. That the prisoner received many letters signed “William Adair,” which he had no doubt came from that gentleman, in which were promises of giving them a considerable part of his fortune during his life; and that he was to allow Daniel Perreau two thousand four hundred pounds a year for his household expenses, and six hundred pounds a year for Mrs. Rudd’s pin-money. That Mr. Daniel Perreau purchased a house in Harley-street for four thousand pounds, which money Mr. William Adair was to give them. That when Daniel Perreau was pressed by the person of whom he bought the house for the money, the prisoner understood that they applied to Mr. William Adair, and that his answer was, that he had lent the king seventy thousand pounds, and had purchased a house in Pall Mall at seven thousand pounds, in which to carry on the banking business, and therefore could not spare the four thousand pounds at that time.

He declared that all attempts at personal communication with Mr. Adair were strenuously opposed by Mrs. Rudd as being likely to destroy the effects of her exertions on his behalf, and contended that his conduct throughout the whole transaction with Mr. Drummond, showed that he was innocent of any guilty intention, and that he firmly believed that he was acting honestly and justly.

He then proceeded to call the following witnesses, whose evidence we shall give in the most concise manner:—

George Kinder deposed that Mrs. Perreau (the only name by which he knew Mrs, Rudd) told him “that she was a near relation of Mr. James Adair; that he looked upon her as his child, had promised to make her fortune, and with that view had recommended her to Mr. William Adair, a near relation and intimate friend of his, who had promised to set her husband and the prisoner up in the banking business.” He also deposed that she said that Mr. Daniel Perreau was to be made a baronet, and{247} described how she would act when she became a lady. The witness further deposed that Mrs. Rudd often pretended that Mr. William Adair had called to see her, but that he never had seen that gentleman on any visit.

John Moody, a livery-servant of Daniel Perreau, deposed that his mistress wrote two very different hands; in one of which she wrote letters to his master, as from Mr. William Adair, and in the other the ordinary business of the family. That the letters written in the name of William Adair were pretended to have been left in his master’s absence; that his mistress ordered him to give them to his master, and pretend that Mr. Adair had been with his mistress for a longer or shorter time, as circumstances required. This witness likewise proved that the hand at the bottom of the bond and that of his mistress’s fictitious writing were precisely the same; that she used different pens, ink, and paper, in writing her common and fictitious letters; and that she sometimes gave the witness half-a-crown when he had delivered a letter to her satisfaction. He said he had seen her go two or three times to Mr. J. Adair’s, but never to William’s; and that Mr. J. Adair once visited his mistress on her lying-in.

Susannah Perreau (the prisoner’s sister) deposed to her having seen a note delivered to Daniel Perreau, by Mrs. Rudd, for nineteen thousand pounds, drawn as by William Adair, on Mr. Croft, the banker, in favour of Daniel Perreau.

Elizabeth Perkins swore that a week before the forgery was discovered, her mistress gave her a letter to bring back to her in a quarter of an hour, and say it was brought by Mr. Coverley, who had been servant to Daniel Perreau; that she gave her mistress this letter, and her master instantly broke the seal.

Daniel Perreau swore that the purport of this letter was “that Mr. Adair desired her to apply to his brother, the prisoner, to procure him five thousand pounds upon his (Adair’s) bond, in the same manner as he had done before; that Mr. Adair was unwilling to have it appear that the money was raised for him, and therefore desired him to have the bond lodged with some confidential friend, who would not require an assignment of it; that his brother, on being made acquainted with his request, showed a vast deal of reluctancy, and said it was very unpleasant work; but undertook it with a view of obliging Mr. William Adair.”

The counsel for the prosecution demanding “if he did not disclaim all knowledge of the affair before Mr. Adair,” he said he denied ever having seen the bond before, nor had he a perfect knowledge of it till he saw it in the hands of Mr. Adair.

David Cassady, who assisted Mr. R. Perreau as an apothecary, deposed that he lived much within the profits of his profession, and that it was reported he was going into the banking business.

John Leigh, clerk to Sir John Fielding, swore to the prisoner’s coming voluntarily to the office before his apprehension, and giving information that a forgery had been committed. Mr. Leigh was asked if Mrs. Rudd “ever charged the prisoner with any knowledge of the transaction till the justices were hearing evidence to prove her confession of the fact;” and he answered that he did not recollect that circumstance, but that on her first examination she did not accuse the prisoner.

Mr. Perreau now called several persons of rank to his character. Lady{248} Lyttleton being asked if she thought him capable of such a crime, supposed she could have done it as soon herself. Sir John Moore, Sir John Chapman, General Rebow, Captain Ellis, Captain Burgoyne, and other gentlemen, spoke most highly to the character of the prisoner; but the jury found him guilty.

It will be unnecessary now to give anything more than a succinct account of the trial of Daniel Perreau, which immediately followed that of his brother. He was indicted for forging and counterfeiting a bond, in the name of William Adair, for three thousand three hundred pounds, to defraud the said William Adair, and for uttering the same knowing it to be forged, to defraud Thomas Brooke, doctor of physic. Mr. Scroope Ogilvie, clerk to Mr. William Adair, proved the forgery; and Dr. Brooke swore to the uttering of the bond.

The defence set up by the prisoner was, that Mrs. Rudd had given the bond to him as a true one; and he asserted, in the most solemn manner, that he had had no intention to defraud any man. Like his brother, he called several witnesses to show the artifices of which Mrs. Rudd had been guilty; and many persons proved the great respectability of his character.

The jury, however, returned a verdict of guilty, and both prisoners were sentenced to death; but the execution did not take place until January 1776, in consequence of the proceedings which were subsequently taken against Mrs. Rudd.

After conviction the behaviour of the brothers was, in every respect, proper for their unhappy situation. Great interest was made to obtain a pardon for them, particularly for Robert, in whose favour seventy-eight bankers and merchants of London signed a petition to the king: the news papers were filled with paragraphs, evidently written by disinterested persons, in favour of men whom they thought dupes to the designs of an artful woman: but all was of no avail.

On the day of execution the brothers were favoured with a mourning-coach, in which to be conveyed to the scaffold; and their conduct throughout was of the most exemplary description. After the customary devotions were concluded, they crossed hands, and joining the four together, in that manner were launched into eternity. They had not hanged more than half a minute when their hands dropped asunder, and they appeared to die without pain.

Each of them delivered a paper to the Ordinary of Newgate, which stated their innocence, and ascribed the blame of the whole transaction to the artifices of Mrs. Rudd; and, indeed, thousands of people gave credit to their assertions, and a great majority of the public thought Robert wholly innocent.

Daniel Perreau and Robert Perreau were executed at Tyburn on the 17th of January, 1776.

On the Sunday following, the bodies were carried from the house of Robert, in Golden-square, and, after the usual solemnities, deposited in the vault of St. Martin’s church. A mob of thirty thousand persons attended the execution, and an equal number appeared at the funeral, but nothing occurred to disturb the solemnity of either scene.{249}



ON the 16th of September, 1775, Mrs. Rudd was put to the bar at the Old Bailey, to be tried for forgery; but the counsel for the prisoner pleading that, as she had been already admitted an evidence for the crown, it was unprecedented to detain her for trial, and the judges differing in opinion on the point of law, she was remanded to prison till the opinion of the judges could be taken on a subject of so much importance.

On the 8th of December, 1775, she was arraigned on an indictment for feloniously forging a bond, purporting to be signed by William Adair, and for feloniously uttering and publishing the same.

Mr. Justice Aston now addressed the prisoner, informing her that eleven of the judges had met (the Chief Justice of the Common Pleas being indisposed), “and were unanimous in opinion, that in cases not within any statute, an accomplice, who fully discloses the joint guilt of himself and his companions, and is admitted by justices of the peace as a witness, and who appears to have acted a fair and ingenuous part in the disclosure of all the circumstances of the cases in which he has been concerned, ought not to be prosecuted for the offences so by him confessed, but cannot by law plead this in bar of any indictment, but merely as an equitable claim to mercy from the crown: and nine of the judges were of opinion that all the circumstances relative to this claim ought to be laid before the Court, to enable the judges to exercise their discretion whether the trial should proceed or not. With respect to the case before them, the same nine judges were of opinion that if the matter stood singly upon the two informations of the prisoner, compared with the indictments against her, she ought to have been tried upon all, or any of them, for from her information she is no accomplice. She exhibits a charge against Robert and Daniel Perreau, the first soliciting her to imitate the hand-writing of William Adair, the other forcing her to execute the forgery under the threat of death. Her two informations are contradictory: if she has suppressed the truth, she has no equitable claim to favour; and if she has told the truth, and the whole truth, she cannot be convicted. As to the indictments preferred against her by Sir Thomas Frankland, as her informations before the justices have no relation to his charges, she can claim no sort of advantage from these informations.”

The trial then proceeded.—The principal evidences were the wife of Robert Perreau, and John Moody, a servant to Daniel. The first endeavoured to prove that the bond was published, the latter that it was forged. Sir Thomas Frankland proved that he had lent money on the bond. It was objected by the counsel for the prisoner, that Mrs. Perreau was an incompetent witness, as she would be interested in the event; but the Court overruled this objection.

Mrs. Perreau deposed that, on the 24th December, she saw Mrs. Rudd deliver a bond to her husband, which he laid on the table while he brushed his coat; that it was for five thousand three hundred pounds, payable to Robert Perreau, and signed “William Adair;” and that it was witnessed in the names of Arthur Jones and Thomas Start, or Hart. Mrs. Perreau, being asked when she again saw the bond, said that it was brought to her{250} on the 8th of March (the day after her husband was convicted), when she selected it from other bonds delivered to him on the 24th of December. She made her mark on it, and deposed that when it was delivered to Mr. Perreau, Mrs. Rudd said, “Mr. Adair would be very much obliged to Mr. Perreau to try to raise upon that bond the sum of four thousand pounds of Sir Thomas Frankland.”

Sergeant Davy cross-examined Mrs. Perreau. She acknowledged that till the 24th of December she had never seen a bond in her life; and that on her first sight of that in question she had no suspicion that anything was wrong.

John Moody, the servant to Daniel Perreau, who had been examined on the former trials, was called, and repeated the testimony which he had before given. The bond which in this case was alleged to have been uttered was that for 4000l., on which Sir Thomas Frankland had advanced money.

The prisoner, on being called on for her defence, in a short speech declared that she was innocent, and concluded by leaving her case in the hands of the jury, who almost immediately declared her not guilty.

As soon as the verdict was returned, she quitted the Court, and retired to the house of a friend at the west end of the town.



FEW females have in their time attracted so large a portion of public attention as this celebrated lady. She was the daughter of Colonel Chudleigh, the descendant of an ancient family in the county of Devon; but her father dying while she was yet young, her mother was left possessed only of a small estate with which to bring her up, and to fit her for that grade of society in which from her birth she was entitled to move. Being possessed, however, of excellent qualities, she improved the connexion which she had among persons of fashion, with a view to the future success in life of her daughter. The latter, meanwhile, as she advanced in years, improved in beauty; and upon her attaining the age of eighteen was distinguished as well for the loveliness of her person as for the wit and brilliancy of her conversation. Her education had not been neglected; and, despite the small fortune possessed by her mother, no opportunity was lost by which her mind might be improved; and a means was about this time afforded for the display of her accomplishments. The father of George the Third held his court at Leicester-house; and Mr. Pulteney, who then blazed as a meteor on the opposition benches in the House of Commons, was honoured with the particular regard of His Royal Highness. Miss Chudleigh had been introduced to Mr. Pulteney; and he had admired her for the beauties of her mind and of her person; and, his sympathies being excited in her behalf, he obtained for her, at the age of eighteen, the appointment of maid of honour to the Princess of Wales. His efforts, however, did not stop at thus elevating her to a situation of the highest honour; but he also endeavoured to improve the cultivation of her understanding by instruction; and to him Miss Chudleigh read, and with him, when separated by distance, she corresponded.{251}

The station to which Miss Chudleigh had been advanced, combined with her numerous personal attractions, produced her many admirers: some with titles, and others in the expectation of them. Among the former was the Duke of Hamilton, whom Miss Gunning had afterwards the good fortune to obtain for a consort. The duke was passionately attached to Miss Chudleigh; and pressed his suit with such ardour as to obtain a solemn engagement on her part, that on his return from a tour, for which he was preparing, she would become his wife. There were reasons why this event should not immediately take place; but that the engagement would be fulfilled at the specified time was considered by both parties as a moral certainty. A mutual pledge was given and accepted; the duke commenced his proposed tour; and the parting condition was, that he should write by every opportunity, and that Miss Chudleigh of course should answer his epistles. Thus the arrangement of Fortune seemed to have united a pair who possibly might have experienced much happiness, for between the duke and Miss Chudleigh there was a strong similarity of disposition; but Fate had not destined them for each other.

Miss Chudleigh had an aunt, whose name was Hanmer: at her house the Hon. Mr. Hervey, son of the Earl of Bristol, and a captain in the royal navy, was a visitor. To this gentleman Mrs. Hanmer became so exceedingly partial, that she favoured views which he entertained towards her niece, and engaged her efforts to effect, if possible, a matrimonial connexion. There were two difficulties which would have been insurmountable, had they not been opposed by the fertile genius of a female—Miss Chudleigh disliked Captain Hervey, and she was betrothed to the Duke of Hamilton.

No exertions which could possibly be made were spared to render this latter alliance nugatory; and the wits of this woman were exerted to the utmost to favour the object which she had in view. The letters of his grace were intercepted by Mrs. Hanmer; and his supposed silence giving offence to her niece, she worked so successfully on her pride as to induce her to abandon all thoughts of her lover, whose passion she had cherished with delight. A conduct the reverse of that imputed to the duke was observed by Captain Hervey: he was all that assiduity could dictate or attention perform. He had daily access to Miss Chudleigh; and each interview was artfully improved by the aunt to the promotion of her own views. The letters of his grace of Hamilton, which regularly arrived, were as regularly suppressed; until, piqued beyond endurance, Miss Chudleigh was prevailed on to accept the hand of Captain Hervey, and by a private marriage, to ensure the participation of his future honours and fortune. The ceremony was performed in a private chapel adjoining the country mansion of Mr. Merrill, at Lainston, near Winchester, in Hampshire.

On a review of life, the predominant evil experienced may be easily traced by every reflecting mind to some wilful error or injudicious mistake, operating as a determinate cause, and giving the colour to our fate. This was the case with Miss Chudleigh; and the hour at which she became united with Captain Hervey proved to her the origin of every subsequent unhappiness. The connubial rites were attended with unhappy consequences; and from the night following the day on which the marriage was solemnized, Miss Chudleigh resolved never to have any further connexion with her husband. To prevail on him not to claim her as his wife required{252} all the art of which she was mistress; and the best dissuasive was the loss of her situation as maid of honour, should the marriage become publicly known. The circumstances of Captain Hervey were not in a flourishing condition, and were ill calculated to enable him to ride with a high hand over his wife; and the fear of the loss of the emoluments of her office operated most powerfully with him to induce him to obey the injunctions which she imposed upon him in this respect. His conduct even now, however, exhibited a strong desire to act with a degree of harshness most unusual so soon after the performance of the marriage ceremony; and the consequence was that any feelings of respect which his wife may have fancied she entertained for him were soon dispelled. Her own expression subsequently was that “her misery commenced with the arrival of Captain Hervey in England; and the greatest joy she experienced was on the intelligence of his departure.” Her marriage being unknown to mere outward observers, Miss Chudleigh, or Mrs. Hervey, a maid in appearance—a wife in disguise—would have been supposed to be placed in a most enviable condition. The attractive centre of the circle in which she moved, the invigorating spirit of the life of the society formed around her, she was universally admired. Her royal mistress smiled upon her; the friendship of many was at her call; the admiration of none could be withheld from her: but amidst all her conquests and all her fancied happiness she wanted that peace of mind which was so necessary to support her against the conflicts which arose in her own breast. Nor was her own heart, that inward monitor, the only source of her trouble. Her husband, quieted for a time, grew obstreperous as he saw the jewel admired by all, which was, he felt, entitled only to his love; and feeling that he possessed the right to her entire consideration, he resolved to assert its power. In the mean time every art which she possessed had been put into operation to soothe him to continued silence; but her further endeavours being unsuccessful, she was compelled to grant his request, and to attend an interview which he appointed, at his own house, and to which he enforced obedience by threatening an instant and full disclosure in case of her non-compliance. The meeting was strictly private, all persons being sent from the house with the exception of a black servant; and on Mrs. Hervey’s entrance to the apartment in which her husband was seated, his first care was to prevent all intrusion by locking the door. This meeting, like all others between her and her husband, was unfortunate in its effects: the fruit of it was the birth of a boy, whose existence it will be readily supposed she had much difficulty in concealing. Her removal to Brompton for a change of air became requisite during the term of her confinement; and she returned to Leicester-house, perfectly recovered from her indisposition; but the infant soon sinking in the arms of death, left only the tale of its existence to be related.

In the mean time, the sum of her unhappiness had been completed by the return of the Duke of Hamilton. His grace had no sooner arrived in England, than he hastened to pay his adoration at the feet of his idol, and to learn the cause of her silence, when his letters had been regularly despatched to her. An interview which took place soon set the character of Mrs. Hanmer in its true light; but while Miss Chudleigh was convinced of the imposition which had been practised upon her, she was unable to accept the proffered hand of her illustrious suitor, or to explain the reason{253} for her apparently ungracious rejection of his addresses. The duke, flighty as he was in other respects, in his love for Miss Chudleigh had at least been sincere; and this strange conduct on the part of his betrothed, followed as it was by a request on her part that he would not again intrude his visits upon her, raised emotions in his mind which can hardly be described. The rejection of his grace was followed by that of several other persons of distinction; and the mother of Miss Chudleigh, who was quite unaware of her private marriage with Captain Hervey, could not conceal her regret and anger at the supposed folly of her daughter.

It was impossible that these circumstances could long remain concealed from the society in which Miss Chudleigh moved; and, in order to relieve herself from the embarrassments by which she was surrounded, she determined to travel on the Continent—trusting that time would eradicate the impression of her fickleness which she left behind her, and that change of scene would remove the pain which every day spent in the theatre of her former operations could not fail to sink deeper into her heart. Germany was the place selected by her for her travels; and she, in turn, visited the chief cities of its principalities. Possessed as she was of introductions of the highest class, she was gratified by obtaining the acquaintance of many crowned heads. Frederic of Prussia conversed and corresponded with her. In the Electress of Saxony she found a friend whose affection for her continued to the latest period of life. The electress was a woman of sense, honour, virtue, and religion; and her letters were replete with kindness. While her hand distributed presents to Miss Chudleigh out of the treasury of abundance, her heart was interested for her happiness. This she afterwards evinced during her prosecution; for at that time a letter from the electress contained the following passage:—“You have long experienced my love; my revenue, my protection, my everything, you may command. Come then, my dear life, to an asylum of peace. Quit a country where, if you are bequeathed a cloak, some pretender may start up, and ruin you by law to prove it not your property. Let me have you at Dresden.”

On her return from the Continent Miss Chudleigh ran over the career of pleasure, enlivened the court circles, and each year became more ingratiated with the mistress whom she served. She was the leader of fashion, played whist with Lord Chesterfield, and revelled with Lady Harrington and Miss Ashe. She was a constant visitant at all public places, and in 1742 appeared at a masked ball in the character of Iphigenia.

Reflection, however, put off for the day, too frequently intruded an unwelcome visit at night. Captain Hervey, like a perturbed spirit, was eternally crossing the path trodden by his wife. If in the rooms at Bath, he was sure to be there. At a rout, ridotto, or ball, this destroyer of her peace embittered every pleasure, and even menaced her with an intimation that he would disclose the marriage to the princess.

Miss Chudleigh, now persuaded of the folly and danger of any longer concealment from her royal mistress, determined that the design, which her husband had formed from a malicious feeling, should be carried out by herself from a principle of rectitude; and she, in consequence, communicated to the princess the whole of the circumstances attending her unhappy union. The recital was one which could excite no feeling of disrespect or of anger; and her royal mistress pitied her, and continued her patronage up to the hour of her death.{254}

At length a stratagem was either suggested, or it occurred to Miss Chudleigh, at once to deprive Captain Hervey of the power to claim her as his wife. The clergyman who had married them was dead. The register-book was in careless hands. A handsome compliment was paid fur the inspection; and while the person, in whose custody it was, listened to an amusing story, Miss Chudleigh tore out the register. Thus imagining the business accomplished, she for a time bade defiance to her husband, whose taste for the softer sex having subsided from some unaccountable cause, afforded Miss Chudleigh a cessation of inquietude.

A change in the circumstances of the captain, however, effected an alteration in the feelings of his wife. His father having died, he succeeded to the title of the Earl of Bristol, and his accession to nobility was not unaccompanied by an increase of fortune. Miss Chudleigh saw that by assuming the title of Countess of Bristol she would probably command increased respect, and would obtain greater power; and with a degree of unparalleled blindness, she went to the house of Mr. Merrill, the clergyman in whose chapel she had been married, to restore those proofs of her union which she had previously taken such pains to destroy. Her ostensible reason was a jaunt out of town; her real design was to procure, if possible, the insertion of her marriage with Captain Hervey in the book which she had formerly mutilated. With this view she dealt out promises with a liberal hand. The officiating clerk, who was a person of various avocations, was to be promoted to the extent of his wishes. The book was managed by the lady to her content, and she returned to London, secretly exulting in the excellence and success of her machination. While this was going on, however, her better fate influenced in her favour the heart of a man who was the exemplar of amiability—this was the Duke of Kingston: but, re-married as it were by her own stratagem, the participation of ducal honours became legally impossible. The chains of wedlock, which the lady had been so industrious in assuming or putting off, as seemed most suitable to her views, now became galling in the extreme. Every advice was taken, every means tried, by which her liberation might be obtained; but all the efforts which were made proved useless, and it was found to be necessary to acquiesce in that which could not be opposed successfully or pass unnoticed. The duke’s passion, meanwhile, became more ardent and sincere; and, finding the apparent impossibility of a marriage taking place, he for a series of years cohabited with Miss Chudleigh, although with such external observances of decorum, that their intimacy was neither generally remarked nor known.

The disagreeable nature of these proceedings on their parts was, however, felt by both parties, and efforts were again made by means of which a marriage might be solemnised. The Earl of Bristol was sounded; and it was found that, grown weary of a union with a woman whom he now disliked, and whom he never met, he was not unwilling to accept the proposals held out; but upon his learning the design with which a divorce was sought, he declared that he would never consent to it, for that his countess’s vanity should not be flattered by her being raised to the rank of a duchess. The negociations were thus for a time stopped; but afterwards, there being a lady with whom he conceived that he could make an advantageous match, he listened to the suggestions which were made to him with more complacency, and at length declared that he was ready to adopt any{255} proceedings which should have for their effect the annihilation of the ties by which he was bound to Miss Chudleigh. The civilians were consulted, a jactitation suit was instituted; but the evidence by which the marriage could have been proved was kept back, and the Earl of Bristol failing, as it was intended he should fail, in substantiating the marriage, a decree was made, declaring the claim to be null and unsupported. Legal opinions now only remained to be taken as to the effect of this decree, and the lawyers of the Ecclesiastical Courts, highly tenacious of the rights and jurisdiction of their own judges, declared their opinion to be that the sentence could not be disturbed by the interference of any extrinsic power. In the conviction, therefore, of the most perfect safety, the marriage of the Duke of Kingston with Miss Chudleigh was publicly solemnised. The wedding favours were worn by persons of the highest distinction in the kingdom; and during the life-time of his grace, no attempt was made to dispute the legality of the proceedings. For a few years the duchess figured in the world of gaiety without apprehension or control. She was raised to the pinnacle of her fortune, and she enjoyed that which her later life had been directed to accomplish—the parade of title, but without that honour which integrity of character can alone secure. She was checked in her career of pleasure, however, by the death of her duke. The fortune which his grace possessed, it appears, was not entailed, and it was at his option, therefore, to bequeath it to the duchess or to the heirs of his family, as seemed best to his inclination. His will, excluding from every benefit an elder, and preferring a younger nephew as the heir in tail, gave rise to the prosecution of the duchess, which ended in the beggary of her prosecutor and her own exile. The demise of the Duke of Kingston was neither sudden nor unexpected. Being attacked with a paralytic affection, he lingered but a short time, which was employed by the duchess in journeying his grace from town to town, under the false idea of prolonging his life by change of air and situation. At last, when real danger seemed to threaten, even in the opinion of the duchess, she despatched one of her swiftest-footed messengers to her solicitor, Mr. Field, of the Temple, requiring his immediate attendance. He obeyed the summons, and arriving at the house, the duchess privately imparted her wishes, which were, that he would procure the duke to execute, and be himself a subscribing witness to a will, made without his knowledge, and more to the taste of the duchess than that which had been executed. The difference between these two wills was this:—the duke had bequeathed the income of his estates to his relict during her life, and expressly under condition of her continuing in a state of widowhood. Perfectly satisfied, however, as the duchess seemed with whatever was the inclination of her dearest lord, she could not resist the opportunity of carrying her secret wishes into effect. She did not relish the temple of Hymen being shut against her. Earnestly therefore, did she press Mr. Field to have her own will immediately executed, which left her at liberty to give her hand to the conqueror of her heart; and in her anxiety to have the restraint shaken off, she had nearly deprived herself of every benefit derivable from the demise of the duke. When Mr. Field was introduced to his grace, his intellects were perceptibly affected; and, although he knew the friends who approached him, a transient knowledge of their persons was the only indication of the continuance of his mental powers which he exhibited. Mr. Field very{256} properly remonstrated against the impropriety of introducing a will for execution to a man in such a state; but this occasioned a severe reprehension from the duchess, who reminded him that his business was only to obey the instructions of his employer. Feeling for his professional character, however, he positively refused either to tender the will or to be in any manner concerned in endeavouring to procure its execution; and with this refusal he quitted the house, the duchess beholding him with an indignant eye as the annoyer of her scheme, when, in fact, by not complying with it, he was rendering her an essential service; for had the will she proposed been executed, it would most indubitably have been set aside, and the heirs would consequently have excluded the relict from everything, except that to which the right of dower entitled her; and the marriage being invalidated, the lady in this, as in other respects, would have been ruined by her own stratagem. Soon after the frustration of this attempt the Duke of Kingston expired.

No sooner were the funeral rites performed than the duchess adjusted her affairs, and embarked for the Continent, proposing Rome for her temporary residence. Ganganelli at that time filled the papal chair. From the moderation of his principles, the tolerant spirit which he on every occasion displayed, and the marked attention he bestowed on the English, he acquired the title of the Protestant Pope; and to such a character the duchess was a welcome visitor. Ganganelli treated her with the utmost civility—gave her, as a sovereign prince, many privileges—and she was lodged in the palace of one of the cardinals. Her vanity being thus gratified, her grace, in return, treated the Romans with a public spectacle. She had built an elegant pleasure-yacht; a gentleman who had served in the navy was the commander. Under her orders he sailed for Italy; and the vessel, at considerable trouble and expense, was conveyed up the Tiber. The sight of an English yacht in this river was one of so unusual a character that it attracted crowds of admirers; but while all seemed happiness and pleasure where the bark rested quietly on the waters of the river, proceedings were being concocted in London which would effectually put a stop to any momentary sensations of bliss which the duchess might entertain.

Mrs. Cradock, who, in the capacity of a domestic, had witnessed the marriage which had been solemnised between her grace and the Earl of Bristol, found herself so reduced in circumstances that she was compelled to apply to Mr. Field for assistance. The request was rejected; and, notwithstanding her assurance that she was perfectly well aware of all the circumstances attending the duchess’s marriage, and that she should not hesitate to disclose all she knew in a quarter where she would be liberally paid—namely, to the disappointed relations of the Duke of Kingston—she was set at defiance. Thus refused, starvation stared her in the face; and, stung by the ingratitude of the duchess’ solicitor, she immediately set about the work of ruin which she contemplated. The Duke of Kingston had borne a marked dislike to one of his nephews, Mr. Evelyn Meadows, one of the sons of his sister, Lady Frances Pierpoint. This gentleman being excluded from the presumptive heirship, joyfully received the intelligence that a method of revenging himself against the duchess was presented to him. He saw Mrs. Cradock; learned from her the particulars of the statement, which she would be able to make upon oath; and, being perfectly{257}

The Duchess of Kingston forcing her refractory Banker to
cash up.

The Duchess of Kingston forcing her refractory Banker to cash up.

satisfied of its truth, he preferred a bill of indictment against the Duchess of Kingston for bigamy, which was duly returned a true bill. Notice was immediately given to Mr. Field of the proceedings, and advices were forthwith sent to the duchess to appear and plead to the indictment, to prevent a judgment of outlawry.

The duchess’s immediate return to England being thus required, she set about making the necessary preparations for her journey; and as money was one of the commodities requisite to enable her to commence her homeward march, she proceeded to the house of Mr. Jenkins, the banker in Rome, in whose hands she had placed security for the advance of all such sums as she might require. The opposition of her enemies, however, had already commenced; they had adopted a line of policy exactly suited to the lady with whom they had to deal. Mr. Jenkins was out, and could not be found. She apprised him, by letter, of her intended journey, and her consequent want of money; but still he avoided seeing her. Suspecting the trick, her grace was not to be trifled with, and finding all her efforts fail, she took a pair of pistols in her pocket, and driving to Mr. Jenkins’s house, once again demanded to be admitted. The customary answer, that Mr. Jenkins was out, was given; but the duchess declared that she was determined to wait until she saw him, even if it should not be until a day, month, or year, had elapsed; and she took her seat on the steps of the door, which she kept open with the muzzle of one of her pistols, apparently determined to remain there. She knew that business would compel his return, if he were not already in-doors; and at length, Mr. Jenkins, finding further opposition useless, appeared. The nature of her business was soon explained. The conversation was not of the mildest kind. Money was demanded, not asked. A little prevarication ensued; but the production of a pistol served as the most powerful mode of reasoning; and the necessary sum being instantly obtained, the duchess quitted Rome. Her journey was retarded before she reached the Alps; a violent fever seemed to seize on her vitals: but she recovered, to the astonishment of her attendants. An abscess then formed in her side, which rendering it impossible for her to endure the motion of the carriage, a kind of litter was provided, in which she slowly travelled. In this situation nature was relieved by the breaking of the abscess; and, after a painfully tedious journey, the duchess reached Calais. At that place she made a pause; and there it was that her apprehension got the better of her reason. In idea she was fettered and incarcerated in the worst cell of the worst prison in London. She was totally ignorant of the bailable nature of her offence, and therefore expected the utmost that can be imagined. Colonel West, a brother of the late Lord Delaware, whom the duchess had known in England, became her principal associate; but he was not lawyer enough to satisfy her doubts. By the means of former connexions, and through a benevolence in his own nature, the Earl of Mansfield had a private meeting with the duchess; and the venerable peer conducted himself in a manner which did honour to his heart and character.

Her spirits being soothed by the interview, the duchess embarked for Dover, landed, drove post to Kingston-house, and found friends displaying both zeal and alacrity in her cause. The first measure taken was to have the duchess bailed. This was done before Lord Mansfield; the Duke of Newcastle, Lord Mountstuart, Mr. Glover, and other characters of rank{258} attending. The prosecution and consequent trial of the duchess becoming objects of magnitude, the public curiosity and expectation were proportionably excited. The duchess had through life distinguished herself as a most eccentric character. Her turn of mind was original, and many of her actions were without a parallel. Even when she moved in the sphere of amusement, it was in a style peculiarly her own. If others invited admiration by a partial display of their charms at a masquerade, she at once threw off the veil, and set censure at defiance. Thus, at midnight assemblies, where Bacchus revelled, and the altars of Venus were encircled by the votaries of love, the duchess, then Miss Chudleigh, appeared almost in the unadorned simplicity of primitive nature. The dilemma, therefore, into which she was thrown by the pending prosecution, was, to such a character, of the most perplexing kind.

She had already in a manner invited the disgrace, and she now neglected the means of preventing it. Mrs. Cradock, the only existing evidence against her, again personally solicited a maintenance for the remaining years of her life; and voluntarily offered, in case a stipend should be settled on her, to retire to her native village, and never more intrude. The offer was rejected by the duchess, who would only consent to allow her twenty pounds a year, on condition of her sequestering herself in some place near the Peak of Derbyshire. This the duchess considered as a most liberal offer; and she expressed her astonishment that it should be rejected.

Under the assurances of her lawyers, the duchess was as quiet as that troublesome monitor, her own heart, would permit her to be; and reconciled in some measure to the encounter with which she was about to meet, her repose was most painfully disturbed by an adversary, who appeared in a new and most unexpected quarter. This was the celebrated Foote, the actor, who, having mixed in the first circles of fashion, was perfectly acquainted with the leading transactions of the duchess’s life, and had resolved to turn his knowledge to his own advantage. As, in the opinion of Mandeville, private vices are public benefits, so Foote deemed the crimes and vices of individuals lawful game for his wit. On this principle he proceeded with the Duchess of Kingston; and he wrote a piece, founded on her life, called “The Trip to Calais.” The scenes were humorous; the character of the duchess admirably drawn; and the effect of the performance of the farce on the stage would have been that which was most congenial to the tastes of the scandal-mongers of the day—namely, to make the duchess ashamed of herself. The real object of Mr. Foote, however, was one of a nature more likely to prove advantageous to himself—it was to obtain money to secure the suppression of the piece; and with this view he contrived to have it communicated to her grace that the Haymarket Theatre would open with an entertainment in which she was taken off to the life. Alarmed at this, she sent for Foote, who attended with the piece in his pocket; but having been desired to read it, he had not gone far before the character of Lady Kitty Crocodile being introduced, the duchess could no longer control her anger, and rising in a violent rage, she exclaimed, “Why, this is scandalous; what a wretch you have made me.” Mr. Foote assured her that the character was not intended to “caricature her;”—even in his serious moments being unable to control his desire to pun—for he left her to infer that it was a true picture; and the duchess, having taken a few turns about the room, became more composed, and requested that the piece{259} might be left for her perusal, engaging that it should be returned by the ensuing evening. The actor readily complied, and retired; but the lady being left to consider her own portrait, was so displeased with the likeness, that she determined, if possible, to prevent its exposure on the stage. The artist had no objection to sell his work, and she was inclined to become the purchaser; but on the former being questioned as to the sum which he should expect for suppressing the piece, he proportioned his expectations to what he deemed the duchess’s power of gratifying them, and demanded two thousand guineas, besides a sum to be paid as compensation for the loss of the scenes, which had been painted for the farce, and which were not applicable to any other purpose. The magnitude of the demand, as well it might, staggered the duchess; and having intimated her extreme astonishment at so exorbitant a proposition, she expressed a wish that the sum might be fixed at one within the bounds of moderation and reason. The actor was positive; concluding, that as his was the only article in the market, he might name his own price: but the result was, that by demanding too much, he lost all. A cheque for fourteen hundred pounds was offered; the amount was increased to sixteen hundred pounds, and a draft on Messrs. Drummond’s was actually signed; but the obstinacy of the actor was so great, that he refused to abate one guinea from his original demand. The circumstance might at any other time have passed among the indifferent events of the day, and as wholly undeserving of the public notice; but those long connected with the duchess, and in habits of intimacy, felt the attack made on her as directed by a ruffian hand, at a moment when she was least able to make resistance. His grace the Duke of Newcastle was consulted. The chamberlain of the household (the Earl of Hertford) was apprised of the circumstance; and his prohibitory interference was earnestly solicited. He sent for the manuscript copy of “The Trip to Calais.” perused, and censured it.

But besides these and other powerful aids, the duchess called in professional advice. The sages of the robe were consulted, and their opinions were that the piece was a malicious libel; and that, should it be represented, a short-hand writer ought to be employed to attend on the night of representation, to minute each offensive passage, as the groundwork of a prosecution. This advice was followed, and Foote was intimidated. He denied having made a demand of two thousand guineas; but the Rev. Mr. Foster contradicted him in an affidavit. Thus defeated in point of fact, Foote found himself baffled also in point of design. The chamberlain would not permit the piece to be represented.

Foote now had recourse to another expedient:—He caused it to be intimated “that it was in his power to publish if not to perform; but were his expenses reimbursed (and the sum which her grace had formerly offered would do the business), he would desist.” This being communicated to the duchess, she in this, as in too many cases, asked the opinion of her friends, with a secret determination to follow her own. Foote, finding that she began to yield, pressed his desire incessantly; and she had actually provided bills to the amount of one thousand six hundred pounds, which she would have given him but for the Rev. Mr. Jackson, who, being asked his opinion of the demand, returned this answer: “Instead of complying with it, your grace should obtain complete evidence of the menace and demand, and then consult your counsel whether a prosecution{260} will not lie for endeavouring to extort money by threats. Your grace must remember the attack on the first Duke of Marlborough by a stranger, who had formed a design either on his purse or his interest, and endeavoured to menace him into a compliance.” This answer struck the Earl of Peterborough and Mr. Foster very forcibly, as in perfect coincidence with their own opinions; and Mr. Jackson was then solicited to wait on Mr. Foote; Mr. Foster, the chaplain of the duchess, professing himself to be too far advanced in years to enter into the field of literary combat. Mr. Jackson consented to be the champion on the following condition—that the duchess would give her honour never to retract her determination, nor to let Foote extort from her a single guinea. Her grace subscribing to this condition, Mr. Jackson waited on Mr. Foote at his house in Suffolk-street, and intimated to him the resolution to which the duchess had come. The actor, however, still wished to have matters compromised; and to this end he addressed a letter to the duchess, which began with stating “that a member of the privy council and a friend of her grace (by whom he meant the Duke of Newcastle) had conversed with him on the subject of the dispute between them; and that, for himself, he was ready to have everything adjusted.” This letter afforded the duchess a triumph. Every line contained a concession; and, contrary to the advice of her friends, she insisted upon the publication of the whole correspondence.

This circumstance for a time served to turn the current of attention into a new channel. But while the public notice was withdrawn from her grace, she felt too heavily the necessity which existed to adopt some course to enable her either to evade or meet the impending danger. Her line of procedure was soon determined upon—she affected an earnest desire to have the trial, if possible, accelerated, while in secret she took every means in her power to evade the measures which her opponents had taken against her. Her conduct in other respects appears to have been strangely inconsistent. An opportunity presented itself which remained only to be embraced to secure her object. It became the subject of a discussion in the House of Lords whether the trial of her grace should not be conducted in Westminster Hall; and the expense which would necessarily be incurred by the country was by many urged as being a burden which ought not to rest upon the public purse. Lord Mansfield, privately desiring to save the duchess from the disgrace and ignominy of a public trial, strove to avail himself of this objection in her favour; and so great had become the differences of opinion entertained upon the subject, that the withdrawal of the prosecution altogether would have been a matter which would have been considered desirable rather than improper. Here then was the critical moment at which the duchess might have determined her future fate. A hint was privately conveyed to her that the sum of ten thousand pounds would satisfy every expectation, and put an end to the prosecution; and doubts being expressed of the sincerity of the proposal, the offer was made in distinct terms. The duchess was entreated by her friends to accept the proposition which was made, and so at once to relieve herself and them from all fear of the consequences which might result to her; but through a fatal mistaken confidence either in the legal construction of her case, or in her own machinations, she refused to accede to the offers which were held out. Resting assured of her acquittal, she resisted every attempt at dissuasion from her purpose of going to trial; and she assumed an air of{261} indifference about the business which but ill accorded with the doubtful nature of her position. She talked of the absolute necessity of setting out for Rome; affected to have some material business to settle with the Pope; and, in consequence, took every means and urged every argument in her power to procure the speedy termination of the proceedings—as if the regular course of justice had not been swift enough to overtake her. In the midst of her confidence, however, she did not abandon her manœuvring; but at the very moment when she was petitioning for a speedy trial, she was engaged in a scheme to get rid of the principal witness against her. Mrs. Cradock, to whom before she had refused a trifling remuneration, might now have demanded thousands as the price of her evidence. A negotiation was carried on through the medium of a relation of hers, who was a letter-carrier, which had for its object her removal from England; and an interview was arranged to take place between her and the duchess, at which the latter was to appear disguised, and was to reveal herself only after some conversation, the object of which was that terms might be proposed; but her grace was duped: for having changed her clothes to those of a man, she waited at the appointed hour and place without seeing either Mrs. Cradock or the person who had promised to effect the meeting; and she afterwards learned that every particular of this business had been communicated to the prosecutors, who instructed the letter-carrier to pretend an acquiescence in the scheme.

Thus baffled in a project which had a plausible appearance of success, the only method left was the best possible arrangement of matters preparatory to the trial. On the 15th day of April, 1766, the business came on in Westminster-hall, when the queen was present, accompanied by the prince of Wales, princess royal, and others of the royal family. Many foreign ambassadors also attended, as well as several of the nobility. These having taken their seats, the duchess came forward, attended by Mrs. Edgerton, Mrs. Barrington, and Miss Chudleigh, three of the ladies of her bedchamber, and her chaplain, physician, and apothecary; and as she approached the bar she made three reverences, and then dropped on her knees, when the lord high steward said, “Madam, you may rise.” Having risen, she courtesied to the lord high steward and the house of peers, and her compliments were returned.

Proclamation being made for silence, the lord high steward mentioned to the prisoner the fatal consequences attending the crime of which she stood indicted, signifying that, however alarming and awful her present circumstances, she might derive great consolation from considering that she was to be tried by the most liberal, candid, and august assembly in the universe.

The duchess then read a paper, setting forth that she was guiltless of the offence alleged against her, and that the agitation of her mind arose, not from the consciousness of guilt, but from the painful circumstance of being called before so awful a tribunal on a criminal accusation. She begged, therefore, that if she was deficient in the observance of any ceremonial points, her failure might not be understood as proceeding from wilful disrespect, but should be attributed to the unfortunate peculiarity of her situation. It was added, that she had travelled from Rome in so dangerous a state of health that it was necessary for her to be conveyed in a litter; and that she was perfectly satisfied that she should have a fair trial, since{262} the determination respecting her cause, on which materially depended her honour and fortune, would proceed from the most unprejudiced and august assembly in the world.

The lord high steward then desired the lady to give attention while she was arraigned on an indictment for bigamy; and proclamation for silence having been again made, the duchess (who had been permitted to sit) arose, and read a paper, representing to the Court that she was advised by her counsel to plead the sentence of the Ecclesiastical Court in the year 1769 as a bar to her being tried on the present indictment. The lord high steward informed her that, she must plead to the indictment; in consequence of which she was arraigned; and being asked by the clerk of the crown whether she was guilty of the felony with which she stood charged, she answered, with great firmness, “Not guilty, my lords.” The clerk of the crown then asking her how she would be tried, she said, “By God and my peers;” on which the clerk said, “God send your ladyship a good deliverance.”

Four days were occupied in arguments of counsel respecting the admission or rejection of a sentence of the Spiritual Court; but the peers having decided that it could not be admitted, the trial proceeded. The first witness examined was

Anne Cradock, whose testimony was as follows:—I have known her grace the Duchess of Kingston ever since the year 1742, at which time she came on a visit to the house of Mr. Merrill, at Lainston, in Hampshire, during the Winchester races. At that time I lived in the service of Mrs. Hanmer, Miss Chudleigh’s aunt, who was then on a visit at Mr. Merrill’s, where Mr. Hervey and Miss Chudleigh first met, and soon conceived a mutual attachment for each other. They were privately married one evening at about eleven o’clock in Lainston church, in the presence of Mr. Mountney, Mrs. Hanmer, the Rev. Mr. Ames, the rector, who performed the ceremony, and myself. I was ordered out of the church to entice Mr. Merrill’s servants out of the way. I saw the bride and bridegroom put to bed together, and Mrs. Hanmer obliged them to rise again; they went to bed together the following night. In a few days Mr. Hervey was under the necessity of going to Portsmouth in order to join Sir John Danvers’s fleet, in which he was then a lieutenant; and being ordered to call him at five o’clock in the morning, I went into the bedchamber at the appointed hour, and found him and his lady sleeping in bed together. I was unwilling to disturb them, as I thought that the delay of an hour or two would make no difference, but they afterwards parted. My husband, to whom I was not then married, accompanied Mr. Hervey in the capacity of servant. When Mr. Hervey returned from the Mediterranean, he and his lady lived together, and I then thought that she was pregnant. Some months after, Mr. Hervey went again to sea, and during his absence I was informed that the lady was brought to bed; and I was afterwards confirmed in the information by the lady herself, who said that she had a little boy at nurse, whose features greatly resembled those of Mr. Hervey.

In answer to questions put by the Duke of Grafton, the witness said that she had never seen the child; that it was dark when the marriage took place in the church, and that Mr. Mountney carried a wax light attached to the crown of his hat. Upon being asked by the Earl of{263} Hilsborough whether she had not received a letter containing some offer to induce her to appear now as a witness, she admitted that Mr. Fossard of Piccadilly had written to her, offering her a sinecure place on condition of her coming forward to give evidence against her grace, and stating that she might, if she pleased, exhibit the letter to the Earl of Bristol. The cross-examination of the witness on this point was continued during the remainder of the sitting of their lordships; and on the following day (the 20th of April) it was resumed, the Earls of Derby, Hilsborough, and Buckinghamshire questioning her with considerable acumen. She at length confessed that pecuniary offers had been made to her to induce her to appear, and that she had acceded to the terms proposed.

Mrs. Sophia Pettiplace was examined as to the facts deposed to by Mrs. Cradock; but she was able to afford no positive information upon the subject. She lived with her grace at the time of the supposed marriage, but was not present at the ceremony, and only believed that the duchess had mentioned the circumstance to her.

Cæsar Hawkins, Esq. deposed that he had been acquainted with the duchess several years, he believed not less than thirty. He had heard of a marriage between Mr. Hervey and the lady at the bar, which circumstance was afterwards mentioned to him by both parties, previous to Mr. Hervey’s last going to sea. By the desire of her grace, he was in the room when the issue of the marriage was born, and once saw the child. He was sent for by Mr. Hervey soon after his return from sea, and desired by him to wait upon the lady, with proposals for procuring a divorce, which he accordingly did; when her grace declared herself absolutely determined against listening to such terms; and he knew that many messages passed on the subject. Her grace some time after informed him, at his own house, that she had instituted a jactitation suit against Mr. Hervey in Doctors’ Commons. On another visit she appeared very grave, and desiring him to retire into another apartment, said she was exceedingly unhappy, in consequence of an oath, which she had long dreaded, having been tendered to her at Doctors’ Commons to disavow her marriage, which she would not do for ten thousand worlds. Upon another visit, a short time after, she informed him that a sentence had passed in her favour at Doctors’ Commons, which would be irrevocable unless Mr. Hervey pursued certain measures within a limited time, which she did not apprehend he would do. Hereupon he inquired how she got over the oath; and her reply was, that the circumstance of her marriage was so blended with falsities, that she could easily reconcile the matter to her conscience; since the ceremony was a business of so scrambling and shabby a nature, that she could as safely swear she was not as that she was married.

Judith Philips, being called, swore that she was the widow of the Rev. Mr. Ames; that she remembered when her late husband performed the marriage ceremony between Mr. Hervey and the prisoner; that she was not present, but derived her information from her husband; that some time after the marriage the lady desired her to prevail upon her husband to grant a certificate, which she said she believed her husband would not refuse; that Mr. Merrill, who accompanied the lady, advised her to consult his attorney from Worcester; that in compliance with the attorney’s advice, a register-book was purchased, and the marriage inserted therein, with some late burials in the parish. The book was here produced, and the witness swore to the writing of her late husband.{264}

The writing of the Rev. Mr. Ames was also proved by the Rev. Mr. Inchin and the Rev. Mr. Dennis; and the entry of a caveat to the duke’s will was proved by a clerk from Doctors’ Commons. The book in which the marriage of the Duke of Kingston with the lady at the bar was registered on the 8th of March, 1769, was produced by the Rev. Mr. Trebeck, of St. Margaret’s, Westminster; and the Rev. Mr. Samuel Harpur, of the British Museum, swore that he performed the marriage ceremony between the parties on the day mentioned in the books produced by Mr. Trebeck.

Monday, the 22nd of April, after the attorney-general had declared the evidence on behalf of the prosecution to be concluded, the lord high steward called upon the prisoner for her defence, which she read; and the following are the most material arguments it contained to invalidate the evidence adduced for the prosecutor:—She appealed to the Searcher of all hearts, that she never considered herself as legally married to Mr. Hervey; she said that she considered herself as a single woman, and as such was addressed by the late Duke of Kingston; and that, influenced by a legitimate attachment to his grace, she instituted a suit in the Ecclesiastical Court, when her supposed marriage with Mr. Hervey was declared null and void; but, anxious for every conscientious as well as legal sanction, she submitted an authentic statement of her case to the Archbishop of Canterbury, who, in the most decisive and unreserved manner, declared that she was at liberty to marry, and afterwards granted, and delivered to Dr. Collier, a special licence for her marriage with the late Duke of Kingston. She said that on her marriage she experienced every mark of gracious esteem from their majesties, and her late royal mistress, the Princess Dowager of Wales, and was publicly recognized as Duchess of Kingston. Under such respectable sanctions and virtuous motives for the conduct she pursued, strengthened by a decision that had been esteemed conclusive and irrevocable for the space of seven centuries, if their lordships should deem her guilty on any rigid principle of law, she hoped, nay, she was conscious, they would attribute her failure as proceeding from a mistaken judgment and erroneous advice, and would not censure her for intentional guilt. She bestowed the highest encomiums on the deceased duke, and solemnly assured the Court that she had in no one instance abused her ascendency over him; and that so far from endeavouring to engross his possessions, she had declared herself amply provided for by that fortune for life which he was extremely anxious to bequeath to her in perpetuity. As to the neglect of the duke’s eldest nephew, she said it was entirely the consequence of his disrespectful behaviour to her; and she was not dissatisfied at a preference to another nephew, whose respect and attention to her had been such as the duke judged to be her due on her advancement to the honour of being the wife of his grace.

The lord high steward then desired Mr. Wallace to proceed with the evidence on behalf of the duchess. The advocate stated the nature of the evidence he meant to produce to prove that Anne Cradock had asserted to different people that she had no recollection of the marriage between Mr. Hervey and the lady at the bar; and that she placed a reliance on a promise of having a provision made for her in consequence of the evidence she was to give on the present trial: and to invalidate the depositions of Judith Philips, he ordered the clerk to read a letter, wherein she supplicated her grace to exert her influence to prevent her husband’s discharge from the duke’s service; and observed, that Mrs. Philips had, on the preceding{265} day, sworn that her husband was not dismissed, but voluntarily quitted his station in the household of his grace.

Mr. Wallace called Mr. Berkley, Lord Bristol’s attorney, who said his lordship told him he was desirous of obtaining a divorce, and directed him to Anne Cradock, saying she was the only person then living who was present at his marriage; and that a short time previous to the commencement of the jactitation suit, he waited upon Anne Cradock, who informed him that her memory was bad, and that she could remember nothing perfectly in relation to the marriage, which must have been a long time before.

Anne Pritchard deposed, that about three months before she had been informed by Mrs. Cradock that she expected to be provided for soon after the trial, and that she expected to be enabled to procure a place in the Custom-house for one of her relations.

This being the whole of the evidence to be produced on behalf of her grace, the lord high steward addressed their lordships, saying, that the evidence on both sides having been heard, it now became their lordships’ duty to proceed to the consideration of the case; that the importance and solemnity of the occasion required that they should severally pronounce their opinions in the absence of the prisoner at the bar, and that it was for the junior baron to speak first.

The prisoner having then been removed, their lordships declared that they found her guilty of the offence imputed to her.

Proclamation was then made that the usher of the black rod should replace the prisoner at the bar; and immediately on her appearing, the lord high steward informed her that the lords had maturely considered the evidence adduced against her, as well as the testimony of the witnesses who had been called on her behalf, and that they had pronounced her guilty of the felony for which she was indicted. He then inquired whether she had anything to say why judgment should not be pronounced against her?

The duchess immediately handed in a paper containing the words, “I plead the privilege of the peerage,” which were read by the clerk at the table.

The lord high steward then informed her grace that the lords had considered the plea, and agreed to allow it, adding, “Madam, you will be discharged on paying the usual fees.”

The duchess during the trial appeared to be perfectly collected, but on sentence being pronounced she fainted, and was carried out of court.

This solemnity was concluded on the 22nd of April, 1776; but the prosecutors still had a plan in embryo to confine the person of the Countess of Bristol, for to this rank she was now again reduced, to the kingdom, and to deprive her of her personal property; and a writ of ne exeat regno was actually in the course of preparation: but private notice being conveyed to her of this circumstance, she was advised immediately to quit the country. In order to conceal her flight, she caused her carriage to be driven publicly through the streets, and invited a large party to dine at her house; but, without waiting to apologise to her guests, she drove to Dover in a post-chaise, and there entering a boat with Mr. Harvey, the captain of her yacht, she accompanied him to Calais. Circumstances of which she had been advised, and which had occurred during the period of her absence{266} from Rome, rendered her immediate presence in that city necessary, and proceeding thither, without loss of time, she found that a Spanish friar, whom she had left in charge of her palace and furniture, had found means to convert her property into money, and after having seduced a young English girl, who had also been left in the palace, had absconded. Having now obtained the whole of her plate from the public bank where she had deposited it, she returned to Calais, which she adopted as the best place at which she could fix her residence, in consequence of the expeditious communication which existed between that town and London, by means of which she might be afforded the earliest intelligence of the proceedings of her opponents. Their business was now to set aside, if possible, the will of the Duke of Kingston. There was no probability of the success of the attempt, but there was sufficient doubt upon the subject in the mind of the countess to keep all her apprehensions alive.

The will of his grace of Kingston, however, received every confirmation which the courts of justice could give, and the object of the countess now was to dissipate rather than expend the income of his estates. A house which she had purchased at Calais was not sufficient for her purpose; a mansion at Mont Martre, near Paris, was fixed on, and the purchase of it was negotiated in as short a time as the duchess could desire. There were only a few obstacles to enjoyment which were not considered until the purchase was completed. The house was in so ruinous a condition as to be in momentary danger of falling. The land was more like the field of the slothful than the vineyard of the industrious; and these evils were not perceived by the countess till she was in possession of her wishes. A lawsuit with the owner of the estate was the consequence, and the countess went to St. Petersburgh, and there turned brandy distiller, and returned to Paris before it was concluded. The possession of such a place, however, was not sufficient for the countess, and she proceeded to make a second purchase of a house, built upon a scale of infinite grandeur. The brother of the existing French king was the owner of a domain, suited in every respect for the residence of a person of such nobility, and the countess determined to become its mistress. It was called the territory of St. Assise, and was situated at a pleasant distance from Paris, abounding in game of all descriptions, and rich in all the luxuriant embellishments of nature. The mansion was of a size which rendered it fit for the occupation of a king; it contained three hundred beds. The value of such an estate was too considerable to be expected in one payment: she therefore agreed to discharge the whole of the sum demanded, which was fifty-five thousand pounds, by instalments. The purchase on the part of the countess was a good one. It afforded not only game, but rabbits in plenty; and finding them of superior quality and flavour, her ladyship, during the first week of her possession, had as many killed and sold as brought her three hundred guineas. At St. Petersburgh she had been a distiller of brandy; and now at Paris she turned rabbit-merchant.

Such was her situation, when one day, while she was at dinner, her servants received the intelligence that judgment respecting the house near Paris had been awarded against her. The sudden communication of the news produced an agitation of her whole frame. She flew into a violent passion, and burst an internal blood-vessel: but she appeared to have surmounted even this, until a few days afterwards, when preparing to rise{267} from her bed, a servant who had long been with her endeavoured to dissuade her from her purpose. The countess said, “I am not very well, but I will rise;” and on a remonstrance being attempted, she said, “At your peril disobey me: I will get up and walk about the room; ring for the secretary to assist me.” She was obeyed, dressed, and the secretary entered the chamber. The countess then walked about, complained of thirst, and said, “I could drink a glass of my fine Madeira, and eat a slice of toasted bread. I shall be quite well afterwards; but let it be a large glass of wine.” The attendant reluctantly brought, and the countess drank the wine. She then said, “I am perfectly recovered; I knew the Madeira would do me good. My heart feels oddly. I will have another glass.” The servant here observed that such a quantity of wine in the morning might intoxicate rather than benefit. The countess persisted in her orders, and the second glass of Madeira being produced, she drank that also, and pronounced herself to be charmingly indeed. She then walked a little about the room, and afterwards said, “I will lie down on the couch; I can sleep, and after that I shall be entirely recovered.” She seated herself on the couch, a female having hold of each hand. In this situation she soon appeared to have fallen into a sound sleep, until the women felt her hands colder than ordinary, and she was found to have expired. She died August 26th, 1796.



WHEN Lord Thurlow was chancellor of England some villains broke into his house, in Great Ormond-street, and stole the great seal of England, which was never recovered, nor were the thieves known. We have heard also of a valuable diamond being stolen from the late Duke of Cumberland, when pressing into the theatre in the Haymarket to see the bubble of the bottle conjurer. It is also a fact that the Duke of Beaufort was robbed of his diamond order of St. George as he went to Court on a royal birthday; but we have yet to tell that a museum was robbed of its curious medals.

Peter Le Maitre, the thief, was a French teacher at Oxford, and being supposed to be a man of industry and good morals, he was indulged with free admission to the Ashmolean Museum. Thither he frequently went, and appeared very studious over the rare books, and other valuable articles there deposited. He was frequently left alone to his researches. At one of such times he stole two medals, and at another he secreted himself until the doors were locked for the night. When all had retired he came from his lurking-place, and broke open the cabinet where the medals were locked up, and possessed himself of its contents; he then wrenched a bar from the window, and, unsuspected, made his escape.

The college was thrown into the utmost consternation on finding their Museum thus plundered. Some were suspected, but least of all Le Maitre, until it was discovered that he had privately left the city in a post-chaise and four, and that he had pledged two of the stolen medals to pay the post-boys. This left little doubt that he was the ungrateful thief. He was advertised and described, and by this means apprehended in Ireland.{268}

He was conveyed back to Oxford, in order to take his trial; and it appeared that two of the stolen medals were found in a bureau in his lodgings, of which he had the use; and two more were traced to the persons to whom he had sold them.

He had little to offer in extenuation of his crime, and on the clearest evidence he was found guilty on the 7th March, 1777; and he paid the penalty of his offence by enduring five years’ hard labour at ballast-heaving on the river Thames.

Whether the ungrateful depredation of Le Maitre stimulated others to the commission of similar crimes we know not, but it is certain that soon afterwards Magdalen College Chapel, Oxford, was broken open by two thieves, who stole from the altar a pair of large silver candlesticks and a silver dish, with which they escaped undetected.



THE case of this offender may be well looked upon as a warning to many of those whose advertisements are daily seen in the newspapers of the present day, offering a premium to any person who will find a situation for the advertiser. Many persons have recently been duped in their search after employment, by fellows who have obtained their money by means of false pretences; but few have gone the length to pretend to put the advertiser in possession of the place which he sought.

Dignum was indicted on the 5th of April, 1777, at the Guildhall, Westminster, for defrauding Mr. John Clarke of the sum of one hundred pounds two shillings and tenpence, which he had obtained from him under pretence of investing him with the office of clerk of the minutes in his majesty’s custom-house in Dublin. The evidence in the case was very simple. The negotiation was commenced between Mr. Clarke and the prisoner at an early period in the year; and the money having been paid over, the prisoner handed to the prosecutor a stamped paper or warrant, bearing the signature of Lord Weymouth, and countersigned by “Thomas Daw,” which he told him would enable him to assume the office which it mentioned. Upon his proceeding to do so, however, he was found to have been hoaxed; and upon inquiry, he discovered that the signatures were forged, and that the seals attached to the warrant had been taken from some other instrument. The jury immediately found the prisoner guilty; but the magistrates hesitated a long time on the punishment which should be inflicted on such an offender, and at length sentenced him to work five years on the river Thames.

The prisoner, while in Tothill-fields Bridewell, tried every means in his power to effect his escape, and offered to bribe an attendant in the prison with a bank-note of ten pounds, to favour his escape in a large chest. Upon his conviction, no time was now lost in conveying him on board the ballast-lighter. Being possessed of plenty of money, and having high notions of gentility, he went to Woolwich in a post-chaise, with his negro servant behind, expecting that his money would procure every indulgence in his favour, and that his servant would be still admitted to{269} attend him: but in this he was egregiously mistaken. The keepers of the lighter would not permit him to come on board, and Dignum was immediately put to the duty of the wheelbarrow.

On Monday, the 5th of May, Dignum sent a forged draft for five hundred pounds for acceptance to Mr. Drummond, banker, at Charing-cross, who, discovering the imposition, carried the publishers before Sir John Fielding: but they were discharged; and it was intended to procure an habeas corpus to remove Dignum to London for examination.

This plan, however, was soon seen through; for, on consideration, it seemed evident that Dignum, by sending the forged draft from on board the lighter, preferred the chance of escape, even though death presented itself on the other side, to his situation; so that no further steps were taken in the affair, and he remained at work for the period to which he was sentenced by the laws of his country.



A MORE dangerous character than this has rarely existed. His offence was of a nature aimed at the very safety of the kingdom, and, if successful, and followed up by the operations of his more powerful friends, for whose benefit it eventually appeared that he had committed the foul crime of which he was guilty, the most disastrous consequences might have ensued.

Hill, it appears, was a Scotchman by birth, and was by trade a painter; from which circumstance he obtained the name by which he is generally known, of “John the Painter.” Having gone to America at an early age, during a residence there of some years, he imbibed principles opposed to the interests of his own country. Transported with party zeal, he formed the desperate resolution of committing a most atrocious crime against the welfare of England—namely, the burning of the dock-yards at Portsmouth and Plymouth. At about four o’clock in the afternoon of the 7th of December, 1776, a fire broke out in the round-house of Portsmouth dock, by which the whole of that building was consumed, and from whose ravages the rest of the surrounding warehouses were with difficulty saved. The fire was at first attributed to accident; but on the 5th of January following, three men, who were engaged in the hemp-house, discovered a tin machine, somewhat resembling a tea-canister, and near the same spot a wooden box, containing various kinds of combustibles. This circumstance being communicated to the commissioner of the dock, and circulated among the public, several vague and indefinite suspicions fell upon Hill, who had been lurking about the dock-yard, where he was distinguished by the appellation of “John the Painter.”

In consequence of advertisements in the newspapers, offering a reward of fifty pounds for apprehending him, he was secured at Odiham, and on the 17th of February the prisoner was examined at Sir John Fielding’s office, Bow-street, where John Baldwin, who exercised the trade of a painter in different parts of America, attended, by the direction of Lord Temple. The prisoner’s conversations with Baldwin operated very materially to secure his conviction{270}.

He had said he had taken a view of most of the dock-yards and fortifications about England, the number of ships in the navy, and had observed their weight of metal and their number of men, and had been to France two or three times to inform Silas Deane, the American envoy, of his discoveries; that Deane gave him bills to the amount of three hundred pounds, and letters of recommendation to a merchant in the city, which he had burned, lest they should lead to a discovery. He informed Baldwin further, that he had instructed a tinman’s apprentice at Canterbury to make him a tin canister, which he carried to Portsmouth, where he hired a lodging at one Mrs. Boxall’s, and tried his preparations for setting fire to the dock-yard. After recounting the manner of preparing matches and combustibles, he said that, on the 6th of the preceding December, he got into the hemp-house, and having placed a candle in a wooden box, and a tin canister over it, and sprinkled turpentine over some of the hemp, he proceeded to the rope-house, where he placed a bottle of turpentine among the loose hemp, which he sprinkled also with turpentine; and having laid matches, made of paper daubed over with powdered charcoal and gun powder diluted with water, and other combustibles, about the place, he returned to his lodgings. These matches were so contrived as to continue burning for twenty-four hours, so that by cutting them into proper lengths he might provide for his escape, knowing the precise time when the fire would reach the combustibles. He had hired lodgings in two other houses to which he also intended to set fire, that the engines might not be all employed together in quenching the conflagration at the dock. On the 7th he again went to the hemp-house, intending to set it on fire; but he was unable to effect his object, owing to a halfpenny-worth of common house matches that he had bought not being sufficiently dry. This disappointment, he said, rendered him exceedingly uneasy, and he went from the hemp-house to the rope-house, and set fire to the matches he had placed there. His uneasiness was increased because he could not return to his lodging, where he had left a bundle containing an “Ovid’s Metamorphoses,” a “Treatise on War and making Fireworks,” a “Justin,” a pistol, and a French passport, in which his real name was inserted; and also because he could not fire them too, in accordance with his original plan.

When he had set fire to the rope-house he proceeded towards London, deeply regretting his failure in attempting to fire the other building, and was strongly inclined to discharge a pistol into the windows of the women who had sold him the bad matches. He jumped into a cart, and gave the woman who drove it sixpence to induce her to drive quick; and when he had passed the sentinels, he observed that the fire had made so rapid a progress that the elements seemed in a blaze. At about ten o’clock the next morning he arrived at Kingston, and having remained there until dusk, at that time he proceeded on towards London in the stage. Soon after his arrival, he went to the house of the gentleman on whom the bills had been drawn, but having related his story, he was received with distrust, and therefore went away. On his reaching Hammersmith he wrote back to the merchant, saying that he was going to Bristol; and he added, that “the handy works he meant to perform there would soon be known to the public.” Soon after his arrival in Bristol, he set fire to several houses, which were all burning at one time and the flames were not extinguished{271} until damage to the amount of 15,000l. had been caused. He also set fire to some combustibles which he had placed among the oil-barrels on the quay; but in this instance without the effect which he desired.

His trial commenced on the 6th of March, 1777, at Winchester Castle, when witnesses were produced from different parts of the country, who proved the whole of his confession to Baldwin to be true, and gave other evidence of his guilt.

When called upon for his defence, he complained of the reports circulated to his prejudice; and observed, that it was easy for such a man as Baldwin to feign the story he had told, and for a number of witnesses to be collected to give it support. He declared that God alone knew whether he was, or was not, the person who set fire to the dock-yard; and begged it might be attended to how far Baldwin ought to be credited: that if he had art enough, by lies, to insinuate anything out of him, his giving it to the knowledge of others was a breach of confidence; and if he would speak falsely to deceive him, he might also impose upon a jury.

The learned judge having delivered his charge to the jury, after a moment’s consideration, they returned a verdict of Guilty. The sentence of death was immediately passed upon the prisoner, and he was ordered for execution on the 10th of March following, when he was hanged within sight of the ruins which he had occasioned.

His body for several years hung in chains on Blockhouse Point, on the opposite side of the harbour to the town.

To these particulars we shall add his confession. On the morning after his condemnation he informed the turnkey, of his own accord, that he felt an earnest desire to confess his crime, and to lay the history of his life before the public; and that by discovering the whole of his unaccountable plots and treasonable practices, he might make some atonement to his injured country for the wrongs he had done it, of which he was now truly sensible.

This request being made known to the Earl of Sandwich, then first lord of the admiralty, that nobleman directed Sir John Fielding to send down proper persons to take and attest his confession.

He said that the diabolical scheme of setting fire to the dock-yards and the shipping originated in his own wicked mind, on the very breaking out of the rebellion in America; and he had no peace until he proceeded to put it in practice. The more he thought of it, the more practicable it appeared; and with this wicked intent he crossed the Atlantic. He had no sooner landed than he proceeded to take surveys of the different dock-yards; and he then went to Paris, and had several conferences with Silas Deane, the rebel minister to the court of France. Deane was astonished at Hill’s proposals, which embraced the destruction of the English dock-yards and the shipping; but finding the projector an enthusiast in the cause of America, and a man of daring spirit, he gradually listened to his schemes, and supplied him with money to enable him to carry them into execution, procured him a French passport, and gave him a letter of credit on a merchant in London. He then confirmed the evidence given against him, and in particular that of the witness Baldwin; and he added, that had he been successful in his attempt upon Portsmouth and Plymouth dock-yards, he should have been rewarded with a commission in the American navy.{272}



THE case of this criminal was attended by circumstances of very great atrocity. The malefactor and his unfortunate victim were natives of France.

The unfortunate Jacques Mondroyte was a jeweller and watchmaker of Paris, and had made a journey to London, in order to find a market for different articles of his manufacture. His stock consisted of curious and costly trinkets, worth, as was computed, a few thousand pounds. He took lodgings in Prince’s-street, and engaged Mercier, who had resided some time in London, as his interpreter, on a liberal gratuity, and treated him as a friend.

It appeared that the ungrateful villain had long determined upon murdering his employer, in order to possess himself of the whole of his valuable property. To this diabolical end, he gave orders for an instrument to be made of a singular construction, which was a principal means of leading to his discovery as the murderer. It was shaped somewhat like an Indian tomahawk; and this instrument of death he concealed until an opportunity offered to effect his detestable purpose.

One day, his employer, Monsieur Mondroyte, invited him to spend the evening: they played at cards, sang some French songs, and took a cheerful glass, but with that moderation peculiarly observable among Frenchmen; and a late hour having arrived, the kind heart of the host forbade his dismissing his friend without offering him a bed for the night. The offer was accepted after some hesitation, and both parties retired to rest. As soon as the neighbours were wrapped in sleep, Mercier took from the lining of his coat, where it had remained constantly concealed, the fatal weapon which had been prepared, and with it he struck his victim repeated blows on the head until he killed him. He then thrust the body into one of the trunks in which the owner had brought over his merchandise, and having ransacked and plundered the apartments, he locked the doors and made his escape.

On the next day he had the hardihood to return to the house, and to inquire whether Monsieur Mondroyte had set off, pretending that he had proposed a journey into the country; and the people of the house concluding that he had let himself out before they had risen, and that this accounted for their finding the street door on the latch, replied that he must have departed, giving that circumstance as a reason for such belief. This audacious farce was acted by the murderer for some days, during which time he frequently called to know whether his friend had returned. The family, however, beginning to entertain suspicions of some foul play, procured a ladder, entered the chamber window of their unfortunate lodger, and soon discovered the body crammed into the trunk, which was only two feet four inches long, already beginning to putrefy. There appeared on the head several deep wounds.

A warrant was thereupon granted to apprehend Mercier, who was taken just as he was alighting from a post-chaise, in which he had been jaunting with a woman of the town. In his lodgings, and on his person, were found sixteen gold watches, some of great value; a great number of{273} brilliant diamond and other rings; a variety of gold trinkets; and seventy-five guineas.

On his examination he confessed his guilt, which, added to the proof that the manufactured articles had been the property of Mondroyte, secured his conviction. He was subsequently tried at the Old Bailey, and a verdict of Guilty being returned, he was sentenced to be hanged on the following Monday.

He was carried to execution opposite the place where he committed the murder; and no man ever met death with more dread. He used every evasion to prolong the fatal hour, repeatedly craving time for his devotions, until the sheriff, perceiving his motive, gave the signal, and he was turned off, on the 8th of December 1777, amidst the execrations of the surrounding spectators.



THESE impious robbers were of a class now, happily, no longer in existence, thanks to the exertions of modern legislators, who have made such enactments as render the stealing dead bodies no longer profitable. The names by which such fellows were formerly known were “resurrectionists,” and “body-snatchers;” and so common—nay, so necessary was their trade for the purposes of science, that it was carried on without the smallest attempt at concealment. A monthly publication, in March 1776, says, “The remains of more than twenty dead bodies were discovered in a shed in Tottenham-court-road, supposed to have been deposited there by traders to the surgeons, of whom there is one, it is said, in the Borough, who makes an open profession of dealing in dead bodies, and is well known by the name of “The Resurrectionist.”

It is notorious that when Hunter, the famous anatomist, was in full practice, he had a surgical theatre behind his house in Windmill-street, where he gave lectures to a very numerous class of pupils, demonstrating upon stolen “subjects.” To this place such numbers of dead bodies were brought during the winter season, that the mob rose several times, and were upon the point of pulling down his house. Numberless were the instances of dead bodies being seized on their way to the surgeons; and it was known that hackney-coachmen, for an extra fare, and porters with hampers, were often employed by the resurrection-men to convey their plunder to its market.

In more recent days the establishment of Brookes, which was carried on for a purpose exactly similar to that of Hunter, has been equally well known to be supplied in the same manner. But at the same time that such a trade must have been most disgusting, and its effects most harrowing to persons, the bodies of whose friends or relations may have been carried off to be placed under the knife of the anatomist, every excuse must be made for those by whom it was supported. The advancement of science was most desirable to be obtained, and most important for the existing generation; and where the law was deficient in providing the proper means of obtaining this great end, it became requisite that measures, unlawful in{274} themselves, it must be owned, should be adopted to secure an object, the absolute necessity of which was universally admitted.

Provisions have recently been made by Parliament, by which all body-stealing has been effectually stopped. The bodies of unclaimed paupers and suicides are now submitted to the anatomist; and under the excellent arrangements of a superintendant officer who is appointed, all hospitals and schools are well supplied, the number of bodies at his disposal being generally more than adequate to meet the demand. It should be added, that the remains are invariably buried with all that decorum and respect, which would be observed in the interment of a body under other circumstances.

But to proceed to the case now before us. Holmes, the principal offender, was grave-digger of St. George’s, Bloomsbury; Williams was his assistant; and a woman named Esther Donaldson was charged as an accomplice. They were all indicted, in December 1777, for stealing the body of Mrs. Jane Sainsbury, who departed this life on the 9th of October then last past, and whose corpse had been interred in the burying-ground of St. George’s on the Monday following. They were detected before they could secure their booty; and the widower, however unpleasant, determined to prosecute them. In order to secure their conviction, he had to undergo the painful task of viewing and identifying the remains of his wife.

The grave-digger and his deputy were convicted on the fullest evidence; and the acquittal of the woman was much regretted, as no doubt remained of her equal guilt. She was therefore released; but Holmes and Williams were sentenced to six months’ imprisonment, and to be whipped twice on their bare backs from the end of Kingsgate-street, Holborn, to Dyot-street, St. Giles’s, a distance of half a mile. The sentence w