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´╗┐Title: The History of the Remarkable Life of John Sheppard - Containing a Particular Account of His Many Robberies and Escapes
Author: Defoe, Daniel, 1661-1731
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The History of the Remarkable Life of John Sheppard - Containing a Particular Account of His Many Robberies and Escapes" ***

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Containing a Particular Account of His Many Robberies and Escapes,


     His robbing the Shop of Mr. _Bains_ in White-Horse-Yard of 24
     Yards of Fustian. Of his breaking and entering the House of
     the said Mr. _Bains_, and stealing in Goods and Money to the
     Value of 20 l. Of his robbing the House of Mr. _Charles_ in
     _May Fair_ of Money, Rings, Plate, &c to the Value of 30 l. Of
     his robbing the House of Mrs. _Cook_ in _Clare-Market,_ along
     with his pretended Wife, and his Brother, to the Value of
     between 50 and 60 l. Of his breaking the Shop of Mr. _Philips_
     in _Drury-Lane,_ with the same Persons, and stealing Goods of
     small Value. Of his entering the House of Mr. _Carter_, a
     Mathematical Instrument Maker in _Wytch Street_, along with
     _Anthony Lamb_ and _Charles Grace_, and robbing of Mr.
     _Barton_, a Master Taylor who lodged therein, of Goods and
     Bonds to the Value of near 300 l. Of his breaking and entering
     the House of Mr. _Kneebone_, a Woollen-Draper, near the _New
     Church_ in the _Strand_, in Company of _Joseph Blake_ alias
     _Blewskin_ and _William Field_, and stealing Goods to the
     Value of near 50 l. Of his robbing of Mr. _Pargiter_ on the
     Highway near the Turnpike, on the Road _Hampstead_, along with
     the said _Blewskin_. Of his robbing a Lady's Woman in her
     Mistress's Coach on the same Road. Of his robbing also a Stage
     Coach, with the said _Blewskin_, on the _Hampstead_ Road.
     Likewise of his breaking the Shop of Mr. _Martin_ in
     _Fleet-street,_ and stealing 3 silver Watches of 15 l. Value.


     A particular Account of his rescuing his pretended Wife from
     St. _Giles's_ Round House. Of the wonderful Escape himself
     made from the said Round-House. Of the miraculous Escape he
     and his said pretended Wife made together from _New-Prison_,
     on the 25th of _May_ last. Of his surprizing Escape from the
     Condemn'd Hold of _Newgate_ on the 31st of _August_: Together
     with the true manner of his being retaken; and of his
     Behaviour in _Newgate_, till the most astonishing, and never
     to be forgotten Escape he made from thence, in the Night of
     the 15th of October. The Whole taken from the most authentick
     Accounts, as the Informations of divers Justices of the Peace,
     the several Shop-keepers above-mentioned, the principal
     Officers of _Newgate_ and _New Prison_, and from the
     Confession of _Sheppard_ made to the Rev. Mr. _Wagstaff_, who
     officiated for the Ordinary at _Newgate_.

_LONDON_: Printed and sold by JOHN APLEDEE in _Black-Fryers_,
J. ISTED, at the _Golden-Ball_ near _Chancery Lane_ in
_Fleet Street_, and the Booksellers of _London_ and _Westminster._
(Price One Shilling.)



_London_ and _Westminster_.


_Experience has confirm'd you in that everlasting_ Maxim, _that there is
no other way to protect the_ Innocent, _but by Punishing the_ Guilty.

_Crimes ever were, and ever must be unavoidably frequent in such
populous Cities as yours are, being the necessary Consequences, either
of the_ Wants, _or the Depravity, of the lowest part of the_ humane

_At this time the most flagrant Offences, as_ Burning of Dwellings;
Burglaries, _and_ Highway Robberies _abound; and_ Frauds _common_
Felonies, _and_ Forgeries _are practic'd without Number; thus not only
your Properties, but even your very Lives are every way struck at_.

_The_ Legislative Power _has not been wanting in providing necessary and
wholesome Laws against these_ Evils, _the executive part whereof
(according to your great Privileges) is lodged in your own Hands: And
the Administration hath at all times applyed proper Remedies and
Regulations to the_ Defects _which have happen'd in the_ Magistracy
_more immediately under their Jurisdiction_.

_Through the just and salutary Severities of the Magistrates, publick
excessive_ Gaming _has been in a manner Surpress'd; and some late
Examples of divine Vengeance have overtaken certain of the most
notorious lewd_ Prostitutes _of the Town, which together with the
laudable endeavours of the great and worthy_ Societies, _has given no
small check to that enormous and spreading_ Vice.

_But here's a_ Criminal _bids Defiance to your_ Laws, _and _Justice _who
declar'd and has manifested that the_ Bars _are not made that can either
keep him_ Out, _or keep him_ In, _and accordingly hath a second time
fled from the very_ Bosom Of Death.

_His History will astonish! and is not compos'd of Fiction, Fable, or
Stories plac'd at York_, Rome, _or_ Jamaica, _but_ Facts _done at your
Doors_, Facts _unheard of, altogether new, Incredible, and yet

_He is gone once more upon his wicked Range in the World. Restless
Vengeance is pursuing, and_ Gentlemen '_tis to be hoped that she will be
assisted by your Endeavours to bring to Justice this notorious



This _John Sheppard_, a Youth both in Age and Person, tho' an old Man in
Sin; was Born in the Parish of _Stepney_ near _London_, in the Year
1702, a Son, Grandson, and great Grandson of a _Carpenter_: His Father
died when he was so very Young that he could not recollect that ever he
saw him. Thus the burthen of his Maintenance, together with his
Brother's and Sister's, lay upon the Shoulders of the Widow Mother, who
soon procured an Admittance of her Son _John_ into the _Work-House_ in
_Bishopsgate-street,_ where he continued for the space of a Year and
half, and in that time received an Education sufficient to qualifie him
for the Trade his Mother design'd him, _viz_. a _Carpenter_: Accordingly
she was recommended to Mr. _Wood_ in _Witch-Street_ near _Drury-Lane_,
as a Master capable of entertaining and instructing her Son: They agreed
and Bound he was for the space of seven Years; the Lad proved an early
proficient, had a ready and ingenious Hand, and soon became Master of
his Business, and gave entire Satisfaction to his Master Customers, and
had the Character of a very sober and orderly Boy. But alas unhappy
Youth! before he had compleated six Years of his Apprenticeship, he
commenced a fatal Acquaintance with one _Elizabeth Lyon_, otherwise
call'd _Edgworth Bess_, from a Town of that Name in _Middlesex_ where
she was Born, the reputed Wife of a Foot Soldier, and who lived a wicked
and debauch'd Life; and our young _Carpenter_ became Enamour'd of her,
and they must Cohabit together as Man and Wife.

Now was laid the Foundation of his Ruin; _Sheppard_ grows weary of the
Yoke of Servitude, and began to dispute with his Master; telling him
that his way of Jobbing from House to House was not sufficient to
furnish him with a due Experience in his Trade; and that if he would not
set out to undertake some Buildings, he would step into the World for
better Information. Mr. _Wood_ a mild, sober, honest Man, indulg'd him;
and Mrs. _Wood_ with Tears, exhorted him against the Company of this
lewd Prostitute: But her Man prompted and harden'd by his HARLOT, D---
n'd _her Blood_, and threw a Stick at his Mistress, and beat her to the
Ground. And being with his Master at Work at Mr. _Britt's_ the _Sun_
Ale-house near _Islington_, upon a very trivial Occasion fell upon his
Master, and beat and bruised him in a most barbarous and shameful
Manner. Such a sudden and deplorable Change was there in the Behaviour
of this promising young Man. Next ensued a neglect of Duty, both to God
and his Master, lying out of Nights, perpetual Jarrings, and
Animosities; these and such like, were the Consequences of his intimacy
with this she _Lyon_; who by the sequel will appear to have been a main
loadstone in attracting of him up to this Eminence of Guilt.

Mr. _Wood_ having Reason to suspect, that _Sheppard_ had robb'd a
Neighbour, began to be in great Fear and Terror for himself. And when
his Man came not Home in due season at Nights bar'd him out; but he made
a mere jest of the Locks and Bolts, and enter'd in, and out at Pleasure;
and when Mr. _Wood_ and his Wife have had all the Reason in the World to
believe him Lock't out, they have found him very quiet in his Bed the
next Morning, such was the power of his early Magick.

_Edgworth Bess_ having stol'n a Gold Ring from a Gentleman, whom she had
pick'd up in the Streets, was sent to St. _Giles's_ Round-house;
_Sheppard_ went immediately to his Consort, and after a short Discourse
with Mr. _Brown_ the Beadle, and his Wife, who had the Care of the
Place, he fell upon the poor old Couple, took the Keys from them, and
let his Lady out at the Door in spight of all the Out-cryes, and
Opposition they were capable of making.

About _July_ 1723, He was by his Master sent to perform a Repair, at the
House of Mr. _Bains_, a Piece-Broker in _White-Horse Yard_; he from
thence stole a Roll of Fustain, containing 24 Yards, which was
afterwards found in his Trunk. This is supposed to be the first Robbery
he ever committed and it was not long e're he Repeated another upon this
same Mr. _Bains_, by breaking into his House in the Night-time, and
taking out of the _Till_ seven Pounds in Money, and Goods to the value
of fourteen Pounds more. How he enter'd this House, was a Secret till
his being last committed to _Newgate_, when he confessed that he took up
the Iron Bars at the Cellar Window, and after he had done his Business,
he nailed them down again, so that Mr. _Bains_ never believed his House
had been broke; and an innocent Woman a Lodger in the House lay all the
while under the weight of a suspicion of committing the Robbery.

_Sheppard_ and his Master had now parted, ten Months before the
expiration of his Apprenticeship, a woeful parting to the former; he was
gone from a good and careful Patronage, and lay expos'd to, and comply'd
with the Temptations of the most wicked Wretches this Town could afford
as _Joseph Blake_, alias _Blewskins, William Field, Doleing, James
Sykes_, alias _Hell_ and _Fury_, which last was the first that betray'd,
and put him into the Hands of Justice, as will presently appear.

Having deserted his Master's Service, he took Shelter in the House of
Mr. _Charles_ in _May-Fair_, near _Piccadilly_, and his Landlord having
a Necessity for some Repairs in his House, engag'd one Mr. _Panton_ a
_Carpenter_ to Undertake them, and _Sheppard_ to assist him as a
Journeyman; but on the 23rd of _October_, 1723, e're the Work was
compleat, _Sheppard_ took Occasion to rob the People of the Effects
following, _viz._ seven Pound ten Shillings in Specie, five large silver
Spoons, six plain Forks ditto, four Tea-Spoons, six plain Gold Rings,
and a Cypher Ring; four Suits of Wearing Apparel, besides Linnen, to a
considerable value. This Fact he confess'd to the Reverend Mr.
_Wagstaff_ before his Escape from the Condemn'd Hold of _Newgate_.

_Sheppard_ had a Brother, nam'd _Thomas_, a _Carpenter_ by Profession,
tho' a notorious Thief and House-breaker by Practice. This _Thomas_
being committed to _Newgate_ for breaking the House of Mrs. _Mary Cook_
a _Linnen-Draper_, in _Clare-street, Clare-Market_, on the 5th of
_February_ last, and stealing Goods to the value of between 50, and 60
l. he impeach'd his Brother _John Sheppard_, and _Edgworth Bess_ as
being concerned with him in the Fact; and these three were also Charg'd
with being concern'd together, in breaking the House of Mr. _William
Phillips_ in _Drury-Lane_, and stealing divers Goods, the Property of
Mrs. _Kendrick_ a Lodger in the House, on the 14th of the said
_February_: All possible endeavours were us'd by Mrs. _Cook_ and Mr.
_Phillips_, to get _John Sheppard_ and _Edgworth Bess_ Apprehended, but
to no purpose, till the following Accident.

_Sheppard_ was now upon his wicked Range in _London_, committing
Robberies every where at Discretion; but one Day meeting with his
Acquaintance, _James Sykes_, alias _Hell_ and _Fury_, sometimes a
Chair-man, and at others a Running Foot-man. This _Sykes_ invited him to
go to one _Redgate's_, a Victualling-house near the _Seven Dials_, to
play at _Skettles_, _Sheppard_ comply'd, and _Sykes_ secretly sent for
Mr. _Price_ a Constable in St. _Giles's Parish_, and Charg'd him with
his Friend _Sheppard_ for the Robbing of Mrs. _Cook_, &c. _Sheppard_ was
carried before Justice _Parry_, who order'd him to St. _Giles's_
Round-house till the next Morning for farther Examination: He was
Confin'd in the Upper part of the Place, being two Stories from the
Ground, but 'ere two Hours came about, by only the help of a Razor, and
the Stretcher of a Chair, he broke open the Top of the Round house, and
tying together a Sheet and Blanket, by them descended into the
Church-yard and Escap'd, leaving the Parish to Repair the Damage, and
Repent of the Affront put upon his Skill and Capacity.

On the 19th of _May_ last in the Evening, _Sheppard_ with another Robber
named _Benson_, were passing thro' _Leicester-fields_, where a Gentleman
stood accusing a Woman with an attempt to steal his Watch, a Mobb was
gathered about the Disputants, and _Sheppard's_ Companion being a
_Master_, got in amongst them and pick'd the Gentleman's Pocket in good
earnest of the Watch; the Scene was surprizingly chang'd, from an
imaginary Robbery to a real one; and in a moment ensued an Out-cry of
_stop Thief_, _Sheppard_ and _Benson_ took to their Heels, and
_Sheppard_ was seiz'd by a Serjeant of the Guard at _Leicester_ House,
crying out _stop Thief_ with much earnestness. He was convey'd to St.
_Ann's Round House_ in _Soho_, and kept secure till the next Morning,
when _Edgworth Bess_ came to visit him, who was seiz'd also; they were
carried before Justice _Walters_, when the People in _Drury-Lane_ and
_Clare-Market_ appeared, and charged them with the Robberies
aforemention'd: But _Sheppard_ pretending to Impeach certain of his
Accomplices, the Justice committed them to _New-Prison_, with intent to
have them soon removed to _Newgate_, unless there came from them some
useful Discoveries. _Sheppard_ was now a second time in the hands of
Justice, but how long he intended to keep in them, the Reader will soon
be able to Judge.

He and his MATE were now in a strong and well guarded Prison, himself
loaded with a pair of double _Links_ and _Basils_[17] of about fourteen
pounds weight, and confined together in the safest Appartment call'd
_Newgate Ward_; _Sheppard_ conscious of his Crimes, and knowing the
_Information_ he had made to be but a blind Amusement that would avail
him nothing; he began to Meditate an Escape. They had been thus detained
for about four Days, and their Friends having the Liberty of seeing
them, furnish'd him with Implements proper for his Design, accordingly
Mr. _Sheppard_ goes to work, and on the 25th of May being _Whit-son
Monday_ at about two of the Clock in the Morning, he had compleated a
practicable breach, and sawed of his Fetters; having with unheard of
Diligence and Dexterity, cut off an Iron Bar from the Window, and taken
out a Muntin, or Bar of the most solid Oak of about nine Inches in
thickness, by boring it thro' in many Places, a work of great Skill and
Labour; they had still five and twenty Foot to descend from the Ground;
_Sheppard_ fasten'd a Sheet and Blanket to the Bars, and causes Madam to
take off her Gown and Petticoat, and sent her out first, and she being
more Corpulent than himself, it was with great Pain and Difficulty that
he got her through the Interval, and observing his Directions, was
instantly down, and more frighted than hurt; the _Phylosopher_ follow'd,
and lighted with Ease and Pleasure; But where are they Escap'd to? Why
out of one Prison into another. The Reader is to understand, that the
_New Prison_ and _Clerkenwell Bridewell_ lye Contiguous to one another,
and they are got into the Yard of the latter, and have a Wall of
twenty-two Foot high to Scale, before their Liberty is perfected;
_Sheppard_ far from being unprepared to surmount this Difficulty, has
his Gimblets and Peircers ready, and makes a Scaleing-Ladder. The
Keepers and Prisoners of both Places are a sleep in their Beds; he
Mounts his _Bagage_, and in less than ten Minutes carries both her and
himself over this wall, and compleats an entire Escape. Altho' his
Escape from the Condemn'd Hold of _Newgate_, has made a far greater
Noise in the World, than that from this Prison hath. It has been allow'd
by all the Jayl-Keepers in _London_, that one so Miraculous was never
perform'd before in _England_; the broken Chains and Bars are kept at
_New Prison_ to Testifie, and preserve the Memory of this extraordinary

_Sheppard_ not warn'd by this Admonition, returns like a _Dog to his
Vomit_, and comes Secretly into his Master _Wood's_ Neighbourhood in
_Witch-street_, and conceits Measures with one _Anthony Lamb_, an
Apprentice to Mr. _Carter_ a Mathematical Instrument-maker, for Robbing
of Mr. _Barton_ a Master Taylor; a Man of Worth and Reputation, who
Lodg'd in Mr. _Carter's_ House. _Charles Grace_, a graceless Cooper was
let into the Secret, and consented, and resolved to Act his Part. The
16th of _June_ last was appointed, _Lamb_ accordingly lets _Grace_ and
_Sheppard_ into the House at Mid-Night; and they all go up to Mr.
_Bartons_ Appartment well arm'd with Pistols, and enter'd his Rooms,
without being disturb'd. _Grace_ was Posted at Mr. _Barton's_ Bedside
with a loaded Pistol, and positive Orders to shoot him through the Head,
if in case he awak'd. _Sheppard_ being engag'd in opening the Trunks and
Boxes, the mean while. It luckily happen'd for Mr. _Barton_, that he
slept Sounder than usual that Night, as having come from a Merry-making
with some Friends; tho' poor Man little Dreaming in what dreadful
Circumstances. They carried off in Notes, and Bonds, Guineas, Cloaths,
Made and Unmade, to the value of between two and three Hundred Pounds;
besides a Padesuoy Suit of Cloaths, worth about eighteen or twenty
Pounds more; which having been made for a Corpulent Gentleman,
_Sheppard_ had them reduc'd, and fitted for his own Size and War, as
designing to Appear and make a Figure among the _Beau Monde_. _Grace_
and _Sheppard_, having disposed of the Goods at an Ale-house in
_Lewkenors Lane_ (a Rendezvous of Robbers and Ruffians) took their
Flight, and _Grace_ had not been since heard of. _Lamb_ was apprehended,
and carried before Justice _Newton_, and made an ample Confession; and
there being nothing but that against him at his Tryal, and withal, a
favourable Prosecution, he came off with a Sentence of Transportation
only. He as well as _Sheppard_ has since confirm'd all the above
particulars, and with this Addition, _viz_. That it was Debated among
them to have Murder'd all the People in the House, save one Person.

About the latter End of the same Month, _June_, Mr. _Kneebone_, a
Woollen-Draper near the New Church in the _Strand_, receiv'd a Caution
from the Father of _Anthony Lamb_, who intimated to Mr. _Kneebone_ that
his House was intended to be broke open and robb'd that very Night. Mr.
_Kneebone_ prepar'd for the Event, ordering his Servants to sit up, and
gave Directions to the Watchman in the Street to observe his House: At
about two in the Morning _Sheppard_ and his Gang were about the Door, a
Maid-Servant went to listen, and heard one of the Wretches, say, _Da--n
him, if they could not enter that Night, they would another, and would
have 300l. of his_, (meaning) Mr. _Kneebone's_ Money. They went off, and
nothing more was heard of them till _Sunday_ the 12th Day of _July_
following, when _Joseph Blake_, alias _Blewskins, John Sheppard_, and
_William Field_ (as himself Swears) came about 12 o'clock at Night, and
cut two large Oaken-Bars over the Cellar-Window, at the back part of the
House in _Little-Drury-Lane_, and so entered; Mr. _Kneebone_, and his
Family being at Rest, they proceeded to open a Door at the Foot of the
Cellar-Stairs, with three Bolts, and a large Padlock upon it, and then
came up into the Shop and wrench'd off the Hasp, and Padlock that went
over the Press, and arriv'd at their desir'd Booty; they continu'd in
the House for three Hours, and carry'd off with them One Hundred and
eight Yards of Broad Woollen Cloth, five Yards of blue Bays, a light
Tye-Wig, and Beaver-Hat, two Silver Spoons, an Handkerchief, and a
Penknife. In all to the value of near fifty Pounds.

The _Sunday_ following, being the 19th of _July, Sheppard_ and
_Blewskins_ were out upon the _Hampstead_ Road, and there stopt a Coach
with a Ladies Woman in it, from whom they took but Half-a-Crown; all the
Money then about her; the Foot-man behind the Coach came down, and
exerted himself; but _Sheppard_ sent him in hast up to his Post again,
by threat of his Pistol.

The next Night being the 20th of _july_, about Nine, they Robb'd Mr.
_Pargiter_, a Chandler of _Hamstead_, near the Halfway-House;
_Sheppard_ after his being taken at _Finchley_ was particularly
examin'd about this Robbery. The Reverend Mr. _Wagstaff_ having receiv'd
a Letter from an unknown Hand, with two Questions, to be propos'd to
_Sheppard_, _viz._ Whether he did Rob _John Pargiter_, on _Monday_ the
20th of _July_, about Nine at Night, between the _Turnpike_ and
_Hamstead_; How much Money he took from him? Whither _Pargiter_ was
Drunk, or not, and if he had Rings or Watch about him, when robb'd?
which, Request was comply'd with, and _Sheppard_ affirm'd, that Mr.
_Pargiter_ was very much in Liquor, having a great Coat on; neither
Rings on his Fingers or Watch, and only three Shillings in his Pocket,
which they took from him, and that _Blewskins_ knock him down twice with
the Butt-end of his Pistol to make sure Work, (tho' Excess of drink had
done that before) but _Sheppard_ did in kindness raise him up as often.

The next Night, _July_ 21, they stopt a Stage-Coach, and took from a
Passenger in it, Twenty-two Shillings, and were so expeditious in the
Matter, that _not two Words were made about the Bargain_.

Now Mr. _Sheppard's_ long and wicked Course seemingly draws towards a
Period. Mr. _Kneebone_ having apply'd to _Jonathan Wild_, and set forth
Advertisements in the Papers, complaining of his Robbery. On _Tuesday_
the 22d of _July_ at Night _Edgworth Bess_ was taken in a Brandy-shop,
near _Temple-Bar_ by _Jonathan Wild_; she being much terrify'd,
discover'd where _Sheppard_ was: A Warrant was accordingly issued by
Justice _Blackerby_, and the next Day he was Apprehended, at the House
of _Blewskin's_ Mother, in _Rose-Mary-Lane_, by one _Quilt_, a Domestick
of Mr. _Wild's_ though not without great opposition, for, he clapt a
loaded, Pistol to _Quilt's_ Breast, and attempted to shoot him, but the
Pistol miss'd fire; he was brought back to _New Prison_, confin'd in the
Dungeon; and the next Day carried before Justice _Blackerby_. Upon his
Examination he Confess'd the three Robberies on the Highway
aforemention'd, as also the Robbing of Mr. _Bains_, Mr. _Barton_, and
Mr. _Kneebone_, he was committed to Newgate, and at the Sessions of
_Oyer_ and _Terminer_, and Goal delivery, holden at the _Old-Baily_, on
the 12th, 13th and 14th of _August_, he was try'd upon three several
indictments, _viz._ First for breaking the House of _William Philips_.

_John Sheppard_, of the Parish of St. _Martin_ in _the Fields_, was
indicted for breaking the House of _William Philips_, and stealing
divers Goods, the 14th of _February_ last. But there not being
sufficient Evidence against the Prisoner, he was acquitted.

He was also indicted a Second Time, of St. _Clement Danes_, for breaking
the House of _Mary Cook_, the 5th of _February_ last, and stealing
divers Goods: But the Evidence against the Prisoner being defficient as
to this Indictment also, he was acquitted.

He was also indicted the Third Time, of St. _Mary Savoy_, for breaking
the House of _William Kneebone_, in the Night-Time, and stealing, 108
Yards of Woollen Cloth, the 12th of _July_ last. The Prosecutor depos'd,
That the Prisoner had some Time since been his Servant, and when he went
to Bed, the Time mentioned in the Indictment, about 11 a-Clock at Night,
he saw all the Doors and Windows fast; but was call'd up about four in
the Morning, and found his House broke open, the Bars of a Cellar-Window
having been cut, and the Bolts of the Door that comes up Stairs drawn,
and the Padlock wrench'd off, and the Shutter in the Shop broken, and
his Goods gone; whereupon suspecting the Prisoner, he having committed
ill Actions thereabouts before, he acquainted _Jonathan Wild_ with it,
and he procur'd him to be apprehended. That he went to the Prisoners in
New _Prison_, and asking how he could be so ungrateful to rob him, after
he had shown him so much Kindness? The Prisoner own'd he had been
ungrateful in doing so, informing him of several Circumstances as to the
Manner of committing the Fact, but said he had been drawn into it by ill
Company. _Jonathan Wild_, depos'd, The Prosecutor came to him, and
desir'd him to enquire after his Goods that had been stolen, telling him
he suspected the Prisoner to have been concern'd in the Robbery, he
having before committed some Robberies in the Neighbourhood. That
inquiring after him, and having heard of him before, he was inform'd
that he was an Acquaintance of _Joseph Blake_, alias _Blewskins_, and
_William Field_: Whereupon he sent for _William Field_, who came to him;
upon which he told him, if he would make an ingenuous Confession, he
believ'd he could prevail with the Court to make him an Evidence. That
he did make a Discovery of the Prisoner, upon which he was apprehended,
and also of others since convicted, and gave an Account of some Parcels
of the Cloth, which were found accordingly. _William Field_ depos'd,
That the Prisoner told him, and _Joseph Blake_, that he knew a _Ken_
where they might get something of Worth. That they went to take a View
of the Prosecutor's House, but disprov'd of the Attempt, as not thinking
it easy to be perform'd; But the Prisoner perswaded them that it might
easily be done, he knowing the House, he having liv'd with the
Prosecutor. That thereupon he cut the Cellar Bar, went into the Cellar,
got into the Shop, and brought out three Parcels of Cloth, which they
carried away. The Prisoner had also confest the Fact when he was
apprehended, and before the Justice. The Fact being plainly prov'd, the
Jury found him guilty of the Indictment.

Sentence of Death was pronounc'd upon him accordingly. Several other
Prosecutions might have been brought against him, but this was thought
sufficient to rid the World of so Capital an Offender: He beg'd
earnestly for Transportation, to the most extream Foot of his Majesty's
Dominions; and pleaded Youth, and Ignorance as the Motive which had
precipitated him into the Guilt; but the Court deaf to his
Importunities, as knowing him, and his repeated Crimes to be equally
flagrant, gave him no satisfactory Answer: He return'd to his dismal
Abode the Condemn'd Hold, where were Nine more unhappy Wretches in as
dreadful Circumstances as himself. The Court being at _Windsor_, the
Malefactors had a longer Respite than is usual; during that Recess,
_James Harman_, _Lumley_, _Davis_ and _Sheppard_ agreed upon an Escape,
concerted Measures, and provided Instruments to make it effectual; but
put off the Execution of their Design, on Account the two Gentlemen
having their hopes of Life daily renewed by the favourable Answers they
receiv'd from some considerable Persons; but those vanishing the day
before their Execution, and finding their Sentence irreversible, they
two dropt their hopes, together with the Design, they form'd for an
Escape, and so in earnest prepar'd to meet Death on the Morrow, (which
they accordingly did.). 'Twas on this Day Mr _Davis_ gave _Sheppard_ the
Watch Springs, Files, Saws, _&c._ to Effect his own Release; and knowing
that a Warrant was Hourly expected for his Execution with Two others, on
the _Friday_ following; he thought it high time to look about him, for
he had waited his Tryal, saw his Conviction, and heard his Sentence with
some patience; but finding himself irrespitably decreed for Death, he
could sit passive no longer, and on the very Day of the Execution of the
former; whilst they were having their Fetters taken off, in order for
going to the Tree, that Day he began to saw, _Saturday_ made a progress;
but _Sunday_ omitted, by Reason of the Concourse in the _Lodge_:
_Edgworth Bess_ having been set at Liberty, had frequent Access to him,
with others of his Acquaintance. On _Monday_ the Death _Warrant_ came
from _Windsor_, appointing that he, together with _Joseph Ward_ and
_Anthony Upton_ should be Executed on the _Friday_ following, being the
4th of _September_. The Keepers acquainted him therewith, and desired
him to make good use of that short Time. He thank'd them, said _he would
follow their Advice_, and _prepare_. _Edgworth Bess_, and another Woman
had been with him at the Door of the Condemn'd Hold best part of the
Afternoon, between five and six he desir'd the other Prisoners, except
_Stephen Fowles_ to remain above, while he offer'd something in private
to his Friends at the Door; they comply'd, and in this interval he got
the Spike asunder, which made way for the Skeleton to pass with his
Heels foremost, by the Assistance of _Fowles_, whom he most ungenerously
betray'd to the Keepers after his being retaken, and the Fellow was as
severely punish'd for it.

Having now got clear of his Prison, he took Coach disguis'd in a Night
Gown at the corner of the _Old Baily_, along with a Man who waited for
him in the Street (and is suppos'd to be _Page_ the Butcher) ordering
the Coachman to drive to _Black-Fryers Stairs_, where his prostitute
gave him the Meeting, and they three took Boat, and went a Shoar at the
_Horse-Ferry_ at _Westminster_, and at the _White-Hart_ they went in,
Drank, and stay'd sometime; thence they adjourn'd to a Place in
_Holbourn_, where by the help of a Saw he quitted the Chains he had
brought with him from _Newgate_; and then like a Freeman took his Ramble
through the City and came to _Spittle-Fields_, and there lay with
_Edgeworth Bess_.

It may be easy to imagine what an alarm his Escape gave to the Keepers
of _Newgate_, three of their People being at the farther End of the
_Lodge_, engag'd in a Discourse concerning his wonderful Escape from
_New-Prison,_ and what Caution ought to be us'd, lest he should give
them the slip, at that very Instant as he perfected it.

On _Tuesday_ he sent for _William Page_ an Apprentice to a Butcher in
_Clare-Market_, who came to him, and being Pennyless, he desir'd _Page_
to give him what Assistance he could to make his way, and being a
Neighbour and Acquaintance, he comply'd with it; but e're he would do
any thing, he consulted a near Relation, who as he said, encourag'd him
in it; nay, put him upon it, so meeting with this Success in his
Application to his Friend, and probable an Assistance in the Pocket, he
came to _Sheppard_ having bought him a new blue _Butcher's_ Frock, and
another for himself, and so both took their Rout to _Warnden_ in
_Northamptonshire_, where they came to a Relation of _Page's_, who
receiv'd and Entertain'd them kindly, the People lying from their own
Bed to Accommodate them. _Sheppard_ pretending to be a _Butcher's_ Son
in _Clare-Market_, who was going farther in the Country to his Friends,
and that _Page_ was so kind as to Accompany him; but they as well as
their Friend became tir'd of one another; the _Butchers_ having but one
Shilling left, and the People poor, and Consequently unable to Subsist
two such Fellows, after a stay of three or four Days, they return'd, and
came for _London_, and reach'd the City on _Tuesday_ the 8th of
_September_, calling by the way at _Black-Mary's-Hole_, and Drinking
with several of their Acquaintance, and then came into _Bishopsgate
street_, to one _Cooley's_ a _Brandy-shop_; where a _Cobler_ being at
Work in his Stall, stept out and Swore _ther was_ Sheppard, _Sheppard_
hearing him, departed immediately. In the Evening they came into
_Fleet-street_, at about Eight of the Clock, and observing Mr. _Martins_
a Watchmaker's Shop to be open, and a little Boy only to look after it:
_Page_ goes in and asks the Lad whether Mr. _Taylor_ a _Watchmaker_
lodg'd in the House? being answer'd in the Negative, he came away, and
Reports the Disposition of the Place: _Sheppard_ now makes Tryal of his
old Master-peice; fixeth a Nail Peircer into the Door post, fastens the
Knocker thereto with Packthread, breaks the Glass, and takes out three
_Silver Watches_ of 15 l. value, the Boy seeing him take them, but could
not get out to pursue him, by reason of his Contrivance. One of the
Watches he Pledg'd for a Guinea and Half. The same Night they came into
_Watch-street_, _Sheppard_ going into his _Master's_ Yard, and calling
for his Fellow 'Prentice, his Mistress heard, knew his Voice, and was
dreadfully frightened; he next went to the _Cock_ and _Pye Ale-House_ in
_Drury-Lane_, sent for a Barber his Acquaintance, drank Brandy and eat
Oysters in the view of several people. _Page_ waiting all the while at
the Door, the whole Neighbourhood being alarm'd, yet none durst attempt
him, for fear of Pistols, _&c._ He had vow'd Revenge upon a poor Man as
kept a Dairy-Cellar, at the End of _White-Horse-Yard_, who having seen
him at _Islington_ after his Escape, and engag'd not to speak of it,
broke his Promise; wherefore _Sheppard_ went to his Residence took the
Door off the Hinges and threw it down amongst all the Man's Pans,
Pipkins, and caus'd a Deluge of Cream and Milk all over the Cellar.

This Night he had a narrow Escape, one Mr. _Ireton_ a Sheriffs Officer
seeing him and _Page_ pass thro' _Drury-Lane_, at about Ten o'clock
pursu'd 'em, and laid hold of _Page_ instead of _Sheppard_, who got off,
thus _Ireton_, missing the main Man, and thinking _Page_ of no
Consequence, let him go after him.

_Edgworth Bess_ had been apprehended by _Jonathan Wild_, and by Sir
_Francis Forbes_ one of the Aldermen of _London_, committed to the
_Poultry-Compter_, for being aiding and assisting to _Sheppard_ in his
Escape; the Keepers and others terrify'd and purg'd her as much as was
possible to discover where he was, but had it been in her Inclination,
it was not in her Power so to do, as it manifestly appear'd soon after.

The People about the _Strand_, _Witch-street_ and _Drury-Lane_, whom he
had Robb'd, and who had prosecuted him were under great Apprensions and
Terror, and in particular Mr. _Kneebone_, on whom he vow'd a bloody
Revenge; because he refus'd to sign a Petition in his behalf to the
_Recorder_ of _London_. This Gentleman was forc'd to keep arm'd People
up in his House every Night till he was Re-taken, and had the same
fortify'd in the strongest manner. Several other Shop-keepers in this
Neighbourhood were also put to great Expence and Trouble to Guard
themselves against this dreadful Villian.

The Keepers of _Newgate_, whom the rash World loaded with Infamy,
stigmatiz'd and branded with the Title of Persons guilty of Bribery;
for Connivance at his Escape, they and what Posse in their Power, either
for Love or Money did Contribute their utmost to undeceive a wrong
notion'd People. Their Vigilance was remarkably indefatigable, sparing
neither Money nor Time, Night nor Day to bring him back to his deserv'd
Justice. After many Intelligences, which they endeavour'd for, and
receiv'd, they had one which prov'd very Successful. Having learnt for a
certainty that their Haunts was about _Finchly Common_, and being very
well assur'd of the very House where they lay; on _Thursday_ the 10th of
_September_, a posse of Men, both of Spirit and Conduct, furnish'd with
Arms proper for their Design, went for _Finchley_, some in a Coach and
Four, and others on Horseback. They dispers'd themselves upon the
_Common_ aforesaid, in order to make their View, where they had not been
long e're they came in Sight of _SHEPPARD_ in Company of _WILLIAM PAGE_,
habited like two _Butchers_ in new blue Frocks, with white Aprons tuck'd
round their Wastes.

Upon _Sheppard's_ seeing _Langley_ a Turnkey at _Newgate_, he says to
his Companion _Page_, _I see a Stag_; upon which their Courage dropt;
knowing that now their dealing way of Business was almost at an End;
however to make their Flight as secure as they could, they thought it
adviseable to take to a Foot-path, to cut off the pursuit of the
_Newgate Cavalry_; but this did not prove most successful, _Langley_
came up with _Page_ (who was hindermost) and Dismounting with Pistol in
Hand, commands _Page_ to throw up his Hands, which he trembling did,
begging for Life, desiring him to _Fisk_ him, _viz._ (search him,) which
he accordingly did, and found a broad Knife and File; having thus
disarm'd him, he takes the _Chubb_ along with him in quest of the
slippery _Ele_, _Sheppard_; who had taken Shelter in an old Stable,
belonging to a Farm-House; the pursuit was close, the House invested,
and a Girl seeing his Feet as he stood up hid, discover'd him. _Austin_
a Turnkey first attach'd his Person. _Langley_ seconded him, _Ireton_ an
Officer help'd to Enclose, and happy was the hindermost who aided in
this great Enterprise. He being shock'd with the utmost Fear, told them
he submitted, and desir'd they would let him live as long as he could,
which they did, and us'd him mildly; upon searching him they found a
broad Knife with two of the Watches as he had taken out of Mr.
_Martin's_ Shop, one under each Armpit; and now having gain'd their
Point, and made themselves Masters of what they had often endeavoured
for, they came with their _Lost Sheep_ to a little House on the _Common_
that sold Liquors, with this Inscription on the Sign, _I have brought
my_ Hogs _to a fair Market_; which our two unfortunate _Butchers_ under
their then unhappy Circumstances, had too sad Reason to apply to
themselves. _Sheppard_ had by this time recover'd his Surprize, grew
calm and easy, and desir'd them to give him Brandy, they did, and were
all good Friends, and Company together.

They adjourn'd with their Booty to another Place, where was waiting a
Coach and Four to Convey it to Town, with more Speed and Safety; and Mr.
_Sheppard_ arriv'd at his old Mansion, at about two in the Afternoon. At
his a-lighting, he made a sudden Spring; He declar'd his Intention was
to have slipt under the Coach, and had a Race for it; he was put into
the Condemn'd-Hold, and Chain'd down to the Floor with double _Basils_
about his Feet, _&c._ _Page_ was carried before Sir _Francis Forbes_ and
committed to the same Prison for Accompanying and aiding _Sheppard_ in
his Escape. The prudence of Mr. _Pitt_ caus'd a Separation between him
and his Brother the first Night, as a Means to prevent any ensuing
Danger, by having two Heads, which (according to our Proverbial Saying)
_are better than one_.

The Joy the People of _Newgate_ conceiv'd on this Occasion is
inexpressible, _Te Deum_ was Sung in the _Lodge_, and nothing but
Smiles, and Bumpers, were seen there for many Days together. But
_Jonathan Wild_ unfortunately happen'd to be gone upon a wrong Scent
after him to _Sturbridge_, and Lost a Share of the Glory.

His Escape and his being so suddenly Re-taken made such a Noise in the
Town, that it was thought all the common People would have gone Mad
about him; there being not a _Porter_ to be had for Love nor Money, nor
getting into an Ale-house, for _Butchers_; _Shoemakers_ and _Barbers_,
all engag'd in Controversies, and Wagers, about _Sheppard_. _Newgate_
Night and Day surrounded with the Curious from St. _Giles's_ and
_Rag-Fair_, and _Tyburn Road_ daily lin'd with Women and Children; and
the _Gallows_ as carefully watch'd by Night, lest he should be hang'd
_Incog._ For a Report of that nature, obtain'd much upon the Rabble; In
short, it was a Week of the greatest Noise and Idleness among
Mechanicks that has been known in _London_, and _Parker_ and _Pettis_,
two _Lyricks_, subsisted many Days very comfortably upon _Ballads_ and
_Letters_ about _Sheppard_. The vulgar continu'd under great Doubts and
Difficulties, in what would be his Case, and whether the _Old Warrant_,
or a _New One_ must be made for his Execution, or a New Tryal, _&c._
were the great Questions as arose, and occasion'd various Reasonings and
Speculation, till a News Paper, call'd the _Daily Journal_ set them all
to Rights by the Publication of the Account following, _viz._

     '_J. Sheppard_ having been Convicted of Burglary, and Felony,
     and received Sentence of Death, and afterwards 'Escap'd from
     _Newgate_; and being since Re-taken'; we are assur'd that it
     must be prov'd in a _Regular_, and _Judicial_ way, that he is
     the same Person, who was so Convicted and made his Escape,
     before a Warrant can be obtain'd for his Execution; and that
     this Affair well be brought before the Court at the _Old
     Baily_ the next Sessions.'

This was enough; People began to grow calm and easy and got _Shav'd_,
and their Shoes _finish'd_, and Business returned into its former
Channel, the Town resolving to wait the _Sessions_ with Patience.

The Reverend Mr. _Wagstaff_, who officiated in the absence of the
_Ordinary_, renew'd his former Acquaintance with Mr. _Sheppard_, and
examin'd him in a particular manner concerning his Escape from the
Condemn'd Hold: He sincerely disown'd, that all, or any, belonging to
the Prison were privy thereto; but related it as it has been describ'd.
He declar'd that _Edgworth Bess_, who had hitherto pass'd for his
_Wife_, was not really so: This was by some thought to be in him Base,
and Ungenerous in that, as she had Contributed towards his Escape, and
was in Custody on that Account, it might render her more liable to
Punishment, than if she had been thought his Wife; but he endeavour'd to
acquit himself, by saying, that she was the sole Author of all his
Misfortunes; That she betray'd him to _Jonathan Wild_, at the time he
was taken in _Rosemary-Lane_; and that when he was contriving his
Escape, she disobey'd his orders, as when being requir'd to attend at
the Door of the Condemn'd-Hold by Nine, or Ten in the Morning to
facilitate his Endeavours, she came not till the Evening, which he said,
was an ungrateful Return for the care he had taken in setting her at
Liberty from _New-Prison_; and thus Justify'd himself in what he had
done, and said he car'd not what became of her.

He was also Examined about Mr. _Martin's_ Watches; and whether _Page_
was privy to that Robbery; he carefully guarded himself against uttering
any thing that might affect him, peremptorily declar'd him Innocent of
that, as well as of being privy to his Escape, and said, that he only
out of Kindness, as being an old Companion, was resolv'd to share in his
Fortunes after he had Escap'd.

He was again continually meditating a second Escape, as appear'd by his
own Hardiness, and the Instruments found upon him, on _Saturday_ the
12th, and _Wednesday_ the 16th of _September_, the first Time a small
File was found conceal'd in his Bible, and the second Time two Files, a
Chisel and an Hammer being hid in the Rushes of a Chair; and whenever a
Question was mov'd to him, when, or by what Means those Implements came
to his Hands; he would passionately fly out, and say, _How can you? you
always ask me these, and such like Questions_; and in a particular
manner, when he was ask'd, Whether his Companion _Page_ was an
Accomplice with him, either in the affair of the Watches, or any other?
(he reply'd) _That if he knew, he would give no direct Answer_, thinking
it to be a Crime in him to detect the Guilty.

It was thought necessary by the Keepers to remove him from the
Condemn'd-Hold to a Place, call'd the _Castle_, in the Body of the Goal,
and to Chain him down to two large Iron Staples in the Floor; the
Concourse of People of tolerable Fashion to see him was exceeding Great,
he was always Chearful and Pleasant to a Degree, as turning almost every
thing as was said into a Jest and Banter.

Being one _Sunday_ at the Chapel, a Gentleman belonging to the _Lord
Mayor_, ask'd a Turnkey, Which was _Sheppard_, the Man pointed to him?
Says _Sheppard, yes Sir, I am the_ Sheppard_, and all the Goalers in the
Town are my Flock, and I cannot stir into the Country, but they are all
at my Heels_ Baughing, _after me, &c._

He told Mr. _Robins_, the _City Smith_, _That he had procur'd him a_
_small Job, and that whoever it was that put the Spikes on the
Condemn'd-Hold was an honest Man, for a better peice of Metal,_ says he,
_I never wrought upon in my Life._

He was loth to believe his frequent Robberies were an Injury to the
Public, for he us'd to say, That _if they were ill in one Respect, they
were as good in another, and that though he car'd not for Working much
himself, yet he was desirous that others should not stand Idle, more
especially those of his own Trade, who were always Repairing of his

When serious, and that but seldom, he would Reflect on his past wicked
Life. He declar'd to us, that for several Years of his Apprenticeship he
had an utter abhorrence to Women of the Town, and us'd to pelt them with
Dirt when they have fell in his way; till a _Button-Mould-Maker_ his
next Neighbour left off that Business, and set up a Victualling-house in
_Lewkenhors-Lane_, where himself and other young Apprentices resorted on
_Sundays_, and at all other Opportunities. At this House began his
Acquaintance with _Edgworth Bess_. His sentiments were strangely
alter'd, and from an Aversion to those Prostitutes, he had a more
favourable Opinion, and even Conversation with them, till he Contracted
an ill Distemper, which as he said, he cur'd himself of by a Medicine of
his own preparing.

He inveigh'd bitterly against his Brother _Thomas_ for putting him into
the Information, for Mrs. _Cook's_ Robberry, and pretended that all the
Mischiefs that attended him was owing to that Matter. He acknowledg'd
that he was concern'd in that Fact, and that his said Brother broke into
his Lodgings, and stole from him all his Share and more of the acquir'd

He often-times averr'd, that _William Field_ was no ways concern'd in
Mr. _Kneebone's_ Robbery; but that being a Brother of the Quill;
_Blewskin_ and himself told him the particulars, and manner of the
Facts, and that all he Swore against him at his Tryal was False, and
that he had other Authority for it, than what came out of their
(_Sheppard_ and _Blewskin_) Mouths, who actually committed the Fact.

And moreover, that _Field_ being acquainted with their Warehouse (a
Stable) near the _Horse-Ferry_ at _Westminster_, which _Sheppard_ had
hir'd, and usually resposited therein the Goods he stole. He came one
Night, and broke open the same, and carried off the best part of the
Effects taken out of Mr. _Kneebone's_ Shop.

_Sheppard_ said he thought this to be one of the greatest Villanies that
could be acted, for another to come and Plunder them of Things for which
they had so honourably ventur'd their Lives, and wish'd that _Field_, as
well as his Brother _Tom_ might meet with forgiveness for it.

He declar'd himself frequently against the Practice of _Whidling_, or
_Impeaching_, which he said, had made dreadful Havock among the
_Thieves_, and much lamented the depravity of the _Brethren_ in that
Respect; and said that if all were but such _Tight-Cocks_ as himself,
the _Reputation_ of the _British Thievery_ might be carried to a far
greater height than it had been done for many Ages, and that there would
then be but little Necessity for Jaylors and Hangmen.

These and such like were his constant Discourses, when Company went up
with the Turnkeys to the _Castle_ to see him, and few or none went away
without leaving him Money for his Support; in which he abounded, and did
therewith some small Charities to the other Prisoners; however, he was
abstemious and sparing enough in his Diet.

Among the many Schemes laid by his Friends, for the preserving himself
after his Escape, we were told of a most Remarkable one, propos'd by an
ingenious Person, who advis'd, that he might be Expeditiously, and
Secretly convey'd to the Palace at _Windsor_, and there to prostrate his
Person, and his Case at the Feet of a most Gracious Prince, and his Case
being so very singular and new, it might in great probability move the
Royal Fountain of unbounded Clemency; but he declin'd this Advice, and
follow'd the Judgment and Dictates of _Butchers_, which very speedily
brought him very near the Door of the _Slaughterhouse_.

On the 4th of _September_, the Day as _Joseph Ward_, and _Anthony Upton_
were Executed, there was publish'd a whimsical Letter, as from
_Sheppard_, to _Jack Ketch_, which afforded Diversion to the Town, and
Bread to the Author, which is as followeth, _viz._


     I Thank you for the Favour you intended me this day: I am a
     Gentleman, and allow you to be the same, and I hope can
     forgive Injuries; fond Nature prompted, I obey'd, Oh,
     propitious Minute! and to show that I am in Charity, I am now
     drinking your Health, and a _Bon Repo_ to poor _Joseph_ and
     _Anthony_. I am gone a few Days for the Air, but design
     speedily to embark; and this Night I am going upon a Mansion
     for a Supply; it's a stout Fortification, but what
     Difficulties can't I encounter, when, dear _Jack_, you find
     that Bars and Chains are but trifling Obstacles in the way of
     your Friend and Servant.


     _From my Residence in Terra Australi incognito_.

     _P.S._ Pray my Service to Mr. _Or---- di---- y_ and to Mr.
     _App---- ee_.

On _Saturday_ the 10th of _October_, _Anthony Lamb_, and _Thomas
Sheppard_, with 95 other Felons were carried from _Newgate_ on
Shipboard, for Transportation to the Plantations; the last begg'd to
have an opportunity given him of taking his final Leave of his Brother
_John_; but this was not to be Granted, and the greatest Favour that
could be obtain'd, was that on the _Sunday_ before they had an Interview
at the _Chapel_, but at such a distance, that they neither saluted, or
shook Hands, and the Reason given for it, was that no Implements might
be convey'd to _Sheppard_ to assist him in making an Escape.

This, Caution seem'd to be absolutely necessary, for it appear'd soon
after that _Sheppard_ found Means to release himself from the Staples to
which he was Chain'd in the Castle, by unlocking a great Padlock with a
Nail, which he had pickt up on the Floor, and endeavour'd to pass up the
Chimney, but was prevented by the stout Iron Bars fix'd in his way, and
wanted nothing but the smallest File to have perfected his Liberty. When
the Assistants of the Prison, came as usual with his Victuals, they
began to examine his Irons; to their great Surprize they found them
loose, and ready to be taken off at Pleasure. Mr. _Pitt_ the Head
Keeper, and his Deputies were sent for, and _Sheppard_ finding this
Attempt entirely frustrated, discover'd to them by what means he had got
them off; and after they had search'd him, found nothing, and Lock'd
and Chain'd him down again; He took up the Nail and unlocked the Padlock
before their Faces; they were struck with the greatest Amazement as
having never heard, or beheld the like before. He was then Handcuff'd,
and more effectually Chain'd.

The next Day, the Reverend Mr. _Purney Ordinary_ of the Place came from
the Country to visit him, and complain'd of the sad Disposition he found
him in, as Meditateing on nothing, but Means to Escape, and declining
the great Duty incumbent upon him to prepare for his approaching Change.
He began to Relent, and said, that since his last Effort had prov'd not
Successful, he would entertain no more Thoughts of that Nature, but
entirely Dispose, and Resign himself to the Mercy of Almighty God, of
whom he hop'd to find forgiveness of his manifold Offences.

He said, that _Edgworth Bess_ and himself kept a little Brandy-shop
together in _Lewkenhors-Lane_, and once sav'd about Thirty Pounds; but
having such an universal Acquaintance amongst Theives, he had frequent
calls to go _Abroad_, and soon quitted that Business, and his Shop.

On _Friday_ the 2d, of _October_ his old Confederate _Joseph Blake_
alias _Blewskin_, was apprehended and taken at a House in St. _Giles's_
Parish by _Jonathan Wild_, and by Justice _Blackerby_ committed to
_Newgate_. _William Field_ who was at his liberty, appearing and making
Oath, that _Blewskin_ together with _John Sheppard_ and himself,
committed the Burglary and Felony in Mr. _Kneebone's_ House, for which
_Sheppard_ was Condemn'd.

The Sessions commencing at the _Old-Bailey_ on _Wednesday_ the 14th of
_October_ following, an Indictment was found against _Blewskin_ for the
same, and he was brought down from _Newgate_ to the _Old-Bailey_ to be
Arraign'd in order to his Tryal; and being in the Yard within the Gate
before the Court: Mr. _Wild_ being there Drinking a glass of Wine with
him, he said to Mr. _Wild_, _You may put in a word for me, as well as
for another Person?_ To which Mr. _Wild_ reply'd, I cannot do it. _You
are certainly a dead Man, and will be tuck'd up very speedily,_ or words
to that effect: Whereupon _Blewskin_ on a sudden seiz'd Mr. _Wild_ by
the Neck, and with a little Clasp Knife he was provided with he cut his
Throat in a very dangerous Manner; and had it not been for a _Muslin_
Stock twisted in several Plaits round his Neck, he had in all likelyhood
succeeded in his barbarous Design before _Ballard_ the Turnkey, who was
at Hand, could have time to lay hold of him; the Villain trumph'd
afterwards in what he had done, Swearing many bloody Oaths, that if he
had murder'd him, he should have died with Satisfaction, and that his
Intention was to have cut off his Head, and thrown it into the Sessions
House-Yard among the Rabble, and Curs'd both his Hand and the Knife for
not Executing it Effectually.

Mr. _Wild_ instantly had the Assistance of three able Surgeons, _viz._
Mr. _Dobbins_, Mr. _Marten_ and Mr. _Coletheart_, who sew'd up the
Wound, and order'd him to his Bed, and he has continu'd ever since, but
in a doubtful State of Recovery.

The Felons on the Common Side of _Newgate_, also animated by
_Sheppard's_ Example, the Night before they were to be Shipt for
Transporation, had cut several Iron Bars assunder, and some of them had
saw'd off their Fetters, the rest Huzzaing, and making Noises, under
pretence of being Joyful that they were to be remov'd on the Morrow, to
prevent the Workmen being heard; and in two Hours time more, if their
Design had not been discover'd, near One Hundred Villians had been let
loose into the World, to have committed new Depredations; nothing was
wanted here but _Sheppard's_ great Judgment, who was by himself in the
strong Room, call'd the _Castle_, meditating his own Deliverance, which
he perfected in the manner following.

On _Thursday_ the 15th of this Instant _October_, at between One and Two
in the Afternoon, _William Austin_, an Assistant to the Keepers, a Man
reputed to be a very diligent, and faithful Servant, went to _Sheppard_
in the strong Room, call'd the _Castle_, with his Necessaries, as was
his Custom every Day. There went along with him Captain _Geary_, the
Keeper of _New Prison_, Mr. _Gough_, belonging to the _Gate-house_ in
_Westminster_, and two other Gentlemen, who had the Curiosity to see the
Prisoner, _Austin_ very strictly examined his Fetters, and his
Hand-Cuffs, and found them very Safe; he eat his Dinner and talk'd with
his usual Gayety to the Company: They took leave of him and wish'd him a
good Evening. The Court being sitting at the _Old-Bailey_, the Keepers
and most of their Servants were attending there with their Prisoners:
And _Sheppard_ was told that if he wanted any thing more, then was his
Time, because they could not come to him till the next Morning: He
thank'd them for their Kindness, and desir'd them to be as _early as

The same Night, soon after 12 of the Clock Mr. _Bird_, who keeps a
Turners-shop adjoyning to _Newgate_, was disturb'd by the Watchman, who
found his Street Door open, and call'd up the Family, and they
concluding the Accident was owing to the Carelessness of some in the
House, shut their Doors, and went to Bed again.

The next Morning _Friday_, at about eight Mr. _Austin_ went up as usual
to wait on _Sheppard_, and having unlock'd and unbolted the double Doors
of the Castle, he beheld almost a Cart-load of Bricks and Rubbish about
the Room, and his Prisoner gone: The Man ready to sink, came trembling
down again, and was scarce able to Acquaint the People in the _Lodge_
with what had happen'd.

The whole Posse of the Prison ran up, and stood like Men depriv'd of
their Senses: Their surprize being over, they were in hopes that he
might not have yet entirely made his Escape, and got their Keys to open
all the strong Rooms adjacent to the _Castle_, in order to Trace him,
when to their farther Amazement, they found the Door ready open'd to
their Hands; and the strong Locks, Screws and Bolts broken in pieces,
and scatter'd about the Jayl. Six great Doors (one whereof having not
been open'd for seven Years past) were forc'd, and it appear'd that he
had Descended from the Leads of _Newgate_ by a Blanket (which he
fasten'd to the Wall by an Iron Spike he had taken from the Hatch of the
_Chapel_) on the House of Mr. _Bird_, and the Door on the Leads having
been left open, it is very reasonable to conclude he past directly to
the Street Door down the Stairs; Mr _Bird_ and his Wife hearing an odd
sort of a Noise on the Stairs as they lay in their Bed, a short time
before the Watchman alarm'd the Family.

Infinite Numbers of Citizens came to _Newgate_ to behold _Sheppard's_
Workmanship, and Mr. _Pitt_ and his Officers very readily Conducted them
up Stairs, that the World might be convinc'd there was not the least
room to suspect, either a Negligence, or Connivance in the Servants.
Every one express'd the greatest Surprize that has been known, and
declar'd themselves satisfy'd with the Measures they had taken for the
Security of their Prisoner.

One of the Sheriffs came in Person, and went up to the _Castle_ to be
satisfy'd of the Situation of the Place, _&c._ Attended by several of
the City Officers.

The Court being sat at the _Sessions-House_, the Keepers were sent for
and Examin'd, and the Magistrates were in great Consternation, that so
horrid a Wretch had escap'd their Justice. It being intended that he
should have been brought down to the Court the last Day of the
_Sessions_, and order'd for Execution in two or three Days after; if it
appear'd that he was the Person Condemn'd for the breaking Mr.
_Kneebone's_ House, and included in the Warrant for Execution, _&c._

Many of the Methods by which this miraculous Escape was effected, remain
as yet a Secret, there are some indeed too Evident, the most reasonable
Conjecture that has hierto been made, is, that the first Act was his
twisting and breaking assunder by the strength of his Hands a small Iron
Chain, which together with a great Horse Padlock, (as went from the
heavy Fetters about his Legs to the staples) confin'd him to the Floor,
and with a Nail open'd the Padlock and set himself at Liberty about the
Room: A large flat Iron Bar appears to have been taken out of the
Chimney, with the Assistance thereof 'tis plain he broke thro' a Wall of
many Foot in Thickness, and made his way from the _Castle_ into another
strong Room Contiguous, the Door of it not having been open'd since
several of the _Preston_ Prisoners were Confin'd there about seven Years
ago: Three Screws are visibly taken off of the Lock, and the Doors as
strong as Art could make them, forc'd open. The Locks and Bolts, either
wrench'd or Broke, and the Cases and other Irons made for their Security
cut assunder: An Iron Spike broke off from the Hatch in the _Chapel_,
which he fix'd in the Wall and fasten'd his Blanket to it, to drop on
the Leads of Mr. _Bird_'s House, his Stockings were found on the Leads
of _Newgate_; 'tis question'd whether sixty Pounds will repair the
Damage done to the Jayl.

It will perhaps be inquir'd how all this could be perform'd without his
being heard by the Prisoners or the Keepers; 'tis well known that the
Place of his Confinement is in the upper part of the Prison, none of the
other Felons being Kept any where near him; and 'tis suppos'd that if
any had heard him at Work, they would rather have facilitated, than
frustrated his Endeavours. In the Course of his Breaches he pass'd by a
Door on his Left belonging to the _Common-Side_ Felons, who have since
Curs'd him heartily for his not giving them an opportunity to kiss his
Hand, and lending them a favourable lift when his Hand was in; but that
was not a Work proper for Mr. _Sheppard_ to do in his then

His Fetters are not to be found any where about the Jayl, from whence
'tis concluded he has either thrown them down some Chimney, or carried
them off on his Legs, the latter seems to be Impracticable, and would
still render his Escaping in such Manner the more astonishing; and the
only Answer that is given to the whole, at _Newgate_ is, _That the_
Devil _came in Person and assisted him_.

He undoubtedly perform'd most of these Wonders in the darkest part of
the Night, and without the least Glimpse of a Candle; a word, he has
actually done with his own Hands in a few Hours, what several of the
most skilful Artists allow, could not have been acted by a number of
Persons furnish'd with proper Implements, and all other Advantages in a
full Day.

Never was there anything better Tim'd, the Keepers and all their
Assistants being obliged to a strict Attendance on the Sessions at the
_Old Bailey_, which held for about a Week; and _Blewskin_ having
confin'd _Jonathan Wild_ to his Chamber, a more favourable opportunity
could not have presented for Mr. _Sheppard's_ Purposes.

The Jaylors suffer'd much by the Opinion the ignorant Part of the People
entertain'd of the Matter, and nothing would satisfie some, but that
they not only Conniv'd at, but even assisted him in breaking their own
Walls and Fences, and that for this Reason too, _viz._ That he should be
at Liberty to instruct and train up others in his Method of
House-Breaking; and replenish the Town with a new set of Rogues, to
supply the Places of those Transported beyond Sea.

This is indeed a fine way of Judging, the well-known Characters of Mr.
_Pitt_, and his Deputies, are sufficient to wipe of such ridiculous
Imputations; and 'tis a most lamentable Truth, that they have
often-times had in their Charge Villains of the deepest Die; Persons of
Quality and great Worth, for whom no Entreaties, no Sums how large
soever have been able to interfere between the doleful Prison, and the
fatal Tree.

The Officers have done their Duty, they are but Men, and have had to
deal with a Creature something more than Man, a _Protoeus_,
Supernatural, Words cannot describe him, his Actions and Workmanship
which are too visible, best testifie him.

On _Saturday_ the 17th, _Joseph Blake_, alias _Blewskin_, came upon his
Tryal at the _Old Bailey_: _Field_ gave the same Evidence against him,
as he had formerly done against _Sheppard_; and the Prisoner making but
a triffling Defence, the Jury found him Guilty of Buglary and Felony.
The Criminal when the Verdict was brought in, made his Obeysances to the
Court, _and thank'd them for their Kindness_.

It will be necessary that we now return to the Behaviour of Mr.
_Sheppard_, some few Days before his last Flight.

Mr. _Figg_ the famous Prize Fighter comeing to see him, in _NEWGATE_,
there past some pleasant Raillery between them; and after Mr. _Figg_ was
gone, _Sheppard_ declared he had a Mind to send him a formal Challenge
to Fight him at all the Weapons in the strong Room; and that let the
Consequence be what it would, he should call at Mr. _Figg's_ House in
his way to Execution, and drink a merry Glass with him by way of

A young Woman an Acquaintance of his Mother, who wash'd his Linnen and
brought him Necessaries, having in an Affray, got her Eyes beaten Black
and Blue; says _Sheppard_ to her, _How long hast thou been Married_?
Replyes the Wench. _I wonder you can ask me such a Question, when you so
well know the Contrary_: Nay, says _Sheppard_ again, Sarah _don't deny
it, for you have gotten your Certificate in your Face_.

Mr. _Ireton_ a Bailiff in _Drury-Lane_ having pursued _Sheppard_ after
his Escape from the Condemn'd-Hold with uncommon Diligence; (for the
safety of that Neighbourhood which was the chief Scene of his
Villainies) _Sheppard_ when Re-taken, declared, he would be even with
him for it, and if ever he procur'd his Liberty again, _he would give
all his Prisoners an_ ACT OF GRACE. A Gentleman in a jocose way ask'd
him to come and take a Dinner with him, _Sheppard_ reply'd, _he accepted
of the Invitation, and perhaps might take an opportunity to wait on
him_; and there is great Reason to believe he has been as good as his

He would complain of his Nights, as saying, _It was dark with him from
Five in the Evening, till Seven in the Morning_; and being not permitted
to have either a Bed or Candle, his Circumstances were dismal; and that
he never slept but had some confus'd Doses, he said he consider'd all
this with the Temper of a Philosopher.

Neither his sad Circumstances, nor the solemn Exhortations of the
several Divines who visited him, were able to divert him from this
ludicrous way of Expression; he said, _They were all Ginger-bread
Fellows_, and came rather out of Curiosity, than Charity; and to form
_Papers_ and _Ballads_ out of his Behaviour.

A _Welch_ Clergyman who came pretty often, requested him in a
particularly Manner to refrain Drinking; (tho' indeed there was no
necessity for that Caution) _Sheppard_ says, Doctor, _You set an Example
and I'll follow_; this was a smart Satyr and Repartee upon the _Parson_,
some Circumstances consider'd.

When he was visited in the _Castle_ by the Reverend Mr. _Wagstaff_, he
put on the Face only of a Preparation for his End, as appear'd by his
frequent Attempts made upon his Escape, and when he has been press'd to
Discover those who put him upon Means of Escaping, and furnish'd him
with Implements, he would passionately, and with a Motion of striking,
say, _ask me no such Questions, one File's worth all the Bibles in the

When ask'd if he had not put off all Thoughts of an Escape and
Entertain'd none but those of Death, would Answer by way of Question,
not directly, whether they thought it possible, or probable for him to
Effect his Release, when Manackled in the manner he was. When mov'd to
improve the few Minutes that seem'd to remain of his Life; he did indeed
listen to, but not regard the Design and Purport of his Admonition,
breaking in with something New of his own, either with respect to his
former Accomplices, or Actions, and all too with Pleasure and Gayety of

When in _Chapel_, he would seemingly make his Responses with Devotion;
but would either Laugh, or force Expressions (when as an Auditor of the
Sermon) be of Contempt, either of the Preacher, or of his Discourse.

In fine, he behav'd so, in Word, and Action, (since retaken) that
demonstrated to the World, that his Escape was the utmost Employ of his
Thoughts, whatever Face of Penitence he put on when visited by the

     An Account of SHEPPARD'S Adventures of five Hours immediately
     after his Escape from _Newgate_, in a Letter to his Friend.


     Over a Bottle of _Claret_ you'll give me leave to _declare
     it_, that I've fairly put the _Vowels_ upon the good Folks at
     _Newgate, i.o.u._ When I'm able, I may, or may not discharge
     my _Fees_, 'tis a _Fee-simple_, for a Man in my Condition to
     acknowledge; and tho' I'm safe out of _Newgate_, I must yet
     have, or at least, affect, a _New Gate_ by Limping, or Turning
     my Toes in by making a right _Hand_ of my _Feet_. Not _to be
     long_, for I hate _Prolixity_ in all Business: _In short_,
     after _Filing, Defileing, Sawing_, when no Body _Saw_.
     _Climbing_ (this _Clime in_) it prov'd a good _Turner_ of my
     Affairs, thro' the House of a _Turner_. Being quite past, and
     safe from _Estreat_ on Person or Chattels, and safe in the
     _Street_, I thought Thanks due to him who cou'd _Deliver
     hence_; and immediately (for you must know I'm a _Catholick_)
     to give Thanks for my Deliverance, I stept amongst the
     _Grey-Fryers_ to come an joyn with me, in saying a
     _Pater-Noster_, or so, at _Amen-Corner_. The _Fryers_ being
     _Fat_ began to _Broil_, and soon after _Boild up_ into a
     Passion to be disturb'd at that time of Night. But being got
     _Loose_ and having no Time to _Lose_, I gave them good Words,
     and so the Business was done. From thence I soon slip'd
     through _Ludgate_, but was damnably fearful of an _Old Bailey_
     always lurking thereabout, who might have brought me to the
     _Fleet_ for being too _Nimble_, besides, I was wonderfully
     apprehensive of receiving some unwelcome _Huggings_ from the
     _W....n_ there; therefore with a step and a stride I soon got
     over _Fleet-ditch_, and (as in Justice I ought) I prais'd the
     _Bridge_ I got over. Being a _Batchelor_, and not being
     capable to to manage a Bridewell you know. I had no Business
     near _St. Brides_, so kept the right handside, designing to
     _Pop_ into the _Alley_ as usual; but fearing to go thro'
     there, and _harp_ too much on the same _String_, it gave an
     _Allay_ to my Intention, and on I went to _Shoe-lane_ end but
     there meeting with a _Bully Hack_ of the Town, he wou'd have
     shov'd me down, which my Spirit resenting, tho' a _brawny
     Dog_, I soon _Coller'd_ him, fell Souse at him, then with his
     own Cane I _strapped_ till he was force to _Buckle_ too, and
     hold his _Tongue_, in so much he durst not say his _Soul_ was
     his own, and was glad to pack of at _Last_, and turn his
     _Heels_ upon me: I was glad he was gone you may be sure, and
     _dextrously_ made a _Hand_ of my _Feet_ under the
     _Leg-Tavern_; but the very Thoughts of _Fetter-Lane_ call'd to
     mind some Passages, which made me avoid the _Passage_ at the
     end of it, (next to the Coffee House you know) so I soon
     whip'd over the way, yet going along two wooden _Logger-heads_
     at _St. Dunstan's_ made just them a damn'd Noise about their
     _Quarters_, but the sight of me made perfectly _Hush_ in a
     _Minute_; now fearing to goe by _Chance-a wry-Lane_, as being
     upon the _Watch_ my self and not to be _debarr'd_ at
     _Temple-Bar_; I stole up _Bell-Yard_, but narrowly escap'd
     being _Clapper-claw'd_ by two Fellows I did not like in the
     Alley, so was forc'd to goe round with a design to _Sheer-off_
     into _Sheer-Lane_, but the _Trumpet_ sounding at that very
     time, alarm'd me so, I was forc'd to Grope my way back through
     _Hemlock-Court_, and take my _Passage_ by _Ship-Yard_ without
     the Bar again; but there meeting with one of our trusty
     Friends, (all Ceremonies a-part) he told me under the _Rose_ I
     must expect no _Mercy_ in _St. Clement's_ Parish, for the
     _Butchers_ there on the _Back_ on't would _Face_ me, and with
     their _Cleavers_ soon bring me down on my _marrow_ Bones; you
     may believe I soon hastened thence, but by this time being
     Fainty and night Spent, I put forward, and seeing a _Light_
     near the _Savoy-Gate_, I was resolv'd not to make _Light_ of
     the Opportunity, but call'd for an hearty Dram of _Luther_ and
     _Calvin_, that is, _Mum_ and _Geneva_ mix'd; but having Fasted
     so long before, it soon got into my Noddle, and e'er I had
     gone twenty steps, it had so intirely _Stranded_ my Reason,
     that by the time I came to _Half-Moon-Street_ end, it gave a
     _New-Exchange_ to my Senses, and made me quite _Lunatick_.

     However, after a little Rest, I stole down _George-Passage_
     into _Oaf-Alley_ in _York-Buildings_, and thence (tho' a vile
     Man) into _Villiers-Street_, and so into the _Strand_ again,
     where having gone a little way, _Hefford's-Harp_ at the Sign
     of the _Irish-Harp_, put me a _Jumping and Dancing_ to that
     degree that I could not forbear making a _Somerset_ or two
     before _Northumberland-House_. I thought once of taking the
     _Windsor_ Coach for my self _John Sheppard_, by the Name of
     _Crook_---- but fearing to be _Hook'd_ in before my Journey's
     End, I stept into _Hedge-Lane_, where two Harlots were up in
     the _Boughs_ (it seems) _Branching_ out their Respects to one
     another, through their Windows, and People beginning to gather
     thereabout, I ran _Pelmel_ to _Piccadilly_, where meeting by
     meer chance a _Bakers_ Cart going to _Turnham-Green_, I being
     not _Mealy Mouth'd_, nor the Man being _Crusty_ I _wheel'd_
     out of Town.

     I did call at _Hammersmith_, having no occasion directly. I
     shall stay two or three Days in that Neighbourhood, so, if you
     Direct a letter for Mr. Sligh Bolt, to be left with Mrs.
     _Tabitha Skymmington_ at _Cheesewick_, it's Safety will _Bear
     Water_ by any _Boat_, and come _Current_ with the Tyde to

     Dear BOB
     Yours from the Top
     of _Newgate_ to the Bottom

                   J. _SHEPPARD_.

     _P.S._ If you see _Blewskin_, tell him I am well, and hope he
     receiv'd my last--I wou'd write by the _Post_ if I durst, but
     it wou'd be, certainly _Post-pon'd_ if I did, and it would be
     _stranger_ too, to trust a Line by a _Stranger_, who might
     _Palm_ upon us both and never Deliver it to _Hand_.

     I send this by a _Waterman_, (I dare trust) who is very Merry
     upon me, and says he wou'd not be in my _Jacket_. _Saturday
     Octob._ 17, 1724.

We shall conclude with what had been often observ'd by many Persons to
_Sheppard_; _viz._ That it was very Imprudent in him to take Shelter in
the City, or the adjacent Parts of it, after his Escape from the
Condemn'd Hold; and withal to commit a _Capital Offence_, almost within
Sight of _Newgate_, when his Life and all was in such Danger. His Reply
was general, _viz._ That it was his Fate: But being ask'd a particular
Reason for his not taking a longer Rout than the City, and the
Neighbouring parts: pleaded Poverty as his Excuse for Confinement within
those Limits; at the same time urging, that had he been Master at that
time of five Pounds, _England_ should not have been the Place of his
Residence, having a good Trade in his Hands to live in any populated
Part of the World.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The History of the Remarkable Life of John Sheppard - Containing a Particular Account of His Many Robberies and Escapes" ***

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