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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: Pelham, Camden
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "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." ***

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                         CHRONICLES OF CRIME.

                     [Illustration: FRONTISPIECE.

                    _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'."]

                          CHRONICLES OF CRIME

                       _Edited by Camden Pelham_

                                BY PHIZ

           [Illustration: _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."]

                         CHRONICLES OF CRIME;

                       The New Newgate Calendar.




                         NOTORIOUS CHARACTERS

                            PERIOD TO 1841.


                         FRAUDULENT BANKRUPTS.
                               &c., &c.




                   FROM ORIGINAL DRAWINGS BY "PHIZ."

                        BY CAMDEN PELHAM, ESQ.,


                                VOL. I.

                   T. MILES & CO., 95, UPPER STREET.


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 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.

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 general aspect of
the state of crime in this country is now infinitely less alarming than

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. Forgery      505

ALDEN, Martha. Murder      445

ALLEN, George. Murder      444

ALLEN, William. Returned Transport      330

ARMITAGE, Richard. Forgery      506

ASLETT, Robert. Embezzlement      410

ATKINS, James, _alias_ Hill, _alias_ Jack
the Painter. Arson      269

ATTAWAY, James. Burglary      226

ARAM, Eugene. Murder      168

AVERSHAW, Lewis Jeremiah. Murder      347

BAILEY, Richard. Burglary      226

BALFOUR, Alexander. Murder      3

BALMERINO, Lord. Treason      107

BALTIMORE, Lord. Rape      213

BARRINGTON, George, _alias_ Waldron.
Pickpocket      363

BATEMAN, Mary. Murder      458

BELLINGHAM, John. Murder      527

BENSON, Mary, _alias_ Phipoe. Murder      358

BIRMINGHAM RIOTS (1780)      326

BLACKBURN, Joseph. Forgery      575

BLAKE, Joseph, _alias_ Blueskin. Burglary      35

BLANDY, Mary. Parricide      148

BODKIN, John, and Dominick. Murder      105

BOLLAND, James. Forgery      229

BOUNTY, Mutiny of      328

BOURNE, John. Conspiracy      332

BRADFORD, Jonathan. Murder      107

BRIANT, Mary. Returned Transport      330

BRISTOL, Countess of, _alias_ Duchess of
Kingston. Bigamy      250

BROADRIC, Ann. Murder      343

BROWN, Nicol. Murder      157

BROWN, Joseph. Murder      456

BROWNRIGG, Elizabeth. Murder      204

BURT, Samuel. Forgery      316

BURGH, Rev. Richard. Conspiracy      332

BUTCHER, John. Returned Transport      330

BUTTERWORTH, William. Murder      342

BUXTON, James. Murder      202

CADDELL, George. Murder      7

CAMERON, Dr. Archibald. Treason      154

CAMPBELL, Alexander. Murder      452

CAMPBELL, Mungo. Murder      227

CARR, John. Forgery      124

CARROLL, Barney. Cutting and Maiming      197

CARSON, Thomas. Murder      590

CAULFIELD, Frederick. Murder      141

CHANDLER, William. Perjury      145

CHARTERIS, Col. Francis. Rape      76

CLAYTON, John. Burglary      522

COBBY, John. Murder      127

COLLEY, Thomas. Murder      138

COOK, Thomas. Murder      8

COOKE, Arundel. Cutting and Maiming      31

COOPER, James. Murder      454

COUCHMAN, Samuel. Mutiny      131

COYLE, Richard. Piracy      84

COX, Jane. Murder      507

CUMMINGS, John. Conspiracy      332

CROSSWELL, John. Conspiracy      49

DAGOE, Hannah. Robbery        197

DAVIS, James. Conspiracy      332

DAWSON, Daniel. Poisoning Race-horses      524

DAWSON, James. Treason      122

DE BUTTE, Louis, _alias_ Mercier. Murder      272

DE LA MOTTE, Francis Henry. Treason      301

DERWENTWATER, Earl Of. Treason      19

DESPARD, Col. Edward Marcus. Treason      389

DIGNUM, David Brown. Fraud      268

DIVER, Jenny, _alias_ Mary Young.
Pickpocket       96

DIXON, Margaret. Murder      71

DODD, Dr. William. Forgery      274

DONALLY, James. Robbery      292

DOWNIE, David. Treason      335

DRAMATTI, John Peter. Murder      9

DREW, Charles. Parricide      102

DUNCAN, William. Murder      436

DURNFORD, Abraham. Robbery      292

ELBY, William. Murder      10

EMMET, Robert. Treason      382

FARMERY, William. Murder      236

FARRELL, James, _alias_ Buck. Murder      202

FAVEY, James, _alias_ O'Coigley. Treason      360

FENNING, Elizabeth. Murder        569

FERGUSON, Richard, _alias_ Galloping
Dick. Robbery       371

FERRERS., Earl. Murder      181


FOSTER, George. Murder      380

FRANCIS, John. Treason      389

FRYER, James. Burglary      288

GADESBY, William. Robbery      325

GALLOPING DICK, _alias_ Richard Ferguson.
Robbery      371

GARDELLE, Theodore. Murder      188

GENTLEMAN HARRY, _alias_ Henry Sterne.
Robbery      315

GIDLEY, George. Murder      199

GOODERE, Capt. Samuel. Murder      103

GORDON, Thomas. Murder      318

GOW, John. Piracy      72

GRANT, Jeremiah. Burglary      588

GREGG, William. Treason      12

GRIERSON, Rev. Jno., unlawful performance
of the Marriage Ceremony      159

GRIFFENBURG, Elizabeth. Accessory to
a Rape      213

GRIFFITHS, William. Robbery      234

GUEST, William. Diminishing the Coin
of the Realm       203

HACKMAN, the Rev. James. Murder      289

HADFIELD, James. Treason      370

HATFIELD, John. Forgery      394

HAGGERTY, Owen. Murder      437

HAMILTON, Col. John. Manslaughter      16

HAMMOND, John. Murder      127

HARDWICK, James. Conspiracy      349

HARRIS, Samuel. Murder      311

HARVEY, Anne. Accessory To a Rape      213

HAWDEN, John. Conspiracy      349

HAWES, Nathaniel. Robbery      28

HAYDEN, James. Conspiracy      349

HAYES, Catherine. Murder      65

HAYWOOD, Richard. Robbery      417

HEALD, Joseph. Murder      378

HEBBERFIELD, William. Forgery      521

HENDERSON, Matthew. Murder      116

HENLEY, John. Conspiracy      349

HILL, James, _alias_ Jack the Painter      269

HODGES, Joseph. Cross-dropping      351

HOLLOWAY, John. Murder      437

HOLMES, John. Body-stealing      273

HORNE, William Andrew. Murder      179

HORNER, Thomas. Burglary      288

HOUSDEN, Jane. Murder      18

HUNTER, the Rev. Thomas. Murder       1

HUTCHINSON, Amy. Murder      133

JACKSON, the Rev. Mr. Treason      346

JACK THE PAINTER, _alias_ Hill. Arson   269

JACOBS, Simon. Conspiracy      349

JEFFRIES, Elizabeth. Murder      152

JENKINS, William. Burglary      522

JENNISON, Francis. Murder      342

JOBBINS, William. Arson      324

JOHNSON, William. Murder      18

JONES, Laurence. Robbery      333

KEARINGE, Matthew. Arson & Murder      453

KEELE, Richard. Murder      18

KENDALL, Richard. Robbery      552

KENMURE, Lord. Treason      19

KIDD, Capt. John. Piracy       4

KILMARNOCK, Earl Of. Treason      107

KING, William. Cutting and Maiming      197

KINGSTON, Duchess of, _alias_ Countess of
Bristol. Bigamy.        250

KNIGHT, Thomas. Mutiny          131

LANCEY, Capt. John. Arson       156

LAYER, Christopher. Treason      32

LAZARUS, Jacob. Murder          227

LE MAITRE, Peter. Stealing      267

LEONARD, John. Rape             235

LILLY, Nathaniel. Returned Transport      330

LISLE, _alias_ Major J. G. Semple. Swindling      564

LONDON, Riots of        295

LOVAT, Lord. Treason      118

LOWE, Edward. Arson       324

LOWTHER, William. Murder      18

LUDDITES, The        549

MAGNIS, Harriet. Child-stealing      510

MAHONY, Matthew. Murder      103

MALCOLM, Sarah. Murder       79

MALE, Samuel. Robbery       236

MARRS, Murder of the        513

MARTIN, James. Returned Transport      330

MASSEY, Capt. John. Piracy       30

MATHISON, James. Forgery        295

MAYNE, Robert. Mutiny           196

M'CAN, Townley. Conspiracy      332

M'CANELLY, John. Burglary       151

MERRITT, Amos. Burglary       237

MERCIER, Francis, _alias_ De Butte.
Murder        272

METYARD, Sarah, and Sarah Morgan.
Murder        210

MILLS, John. Murder      132

MILLS, Richard. Murder      127

M'ILVENA, Michael. Unlawfully performing
the Marriage Ceremony         560

MITCHELL, Samuel Wild. Murder       415

MITCHELL, James. Murder       562

M'KINLIE, Peter. Murder       199

M'NAUGHTON, John. Murder      191

MORGAN, Edward. Murder and Arson      158

MORGAN, John. Mutiny      131

MORGAN, Luke. Burglary      151


MUTINY AT THE NORE          353

NEWTON, William. Robbery       300

NICHOLSON, Philip. Murder      555

NORE, Mutiny at                353

NORTH, John. Murder            311

O'COIGLEY, James, _alias_ Favey. Treason      360

PAGE, William. Robbery       165

PALEOTTI, Marquis de. Murder       25

PALMER, John. Burglary       448

PARKER, Richard. Mutiny      353

PARSONS, William. Returned Transport      142

PATCH, Richard. Murder       430

PERFECT, Henry. Fraud        419

PERREAU, Robert and Daniel. Forgery      244

PHILLIPS, Thomas. Robbery      27

PHILLIPS, Morgan. Murder and Arson       294

PHILLIPS, John. Conspiracy       349

PHIPOE, Maria Theresa, _alias_ Mary
Benson. Murder        358

PHIPPS, Thomas, Sen. and Jun. Forgery      319

PICTON, Thomas. Unlawfully Applying
The Torture        423

PORTEOUS, Captain John. Murder       81

PORTER, Solomon. Murder        227

PRICE, John. Murder        26

PRICE, George. Murder      87

PRICE, Charles. Forgery       312

PROBIN, Richard. Cross-dropping      351

QUINTIN, ST., Richard. Murder        199

RANN, John, _alias_ Sixteen-stringed
Jack. Robbery         242

RATCLIFFE, Charles. Treason        118

RICHARDSON, John. Piracy        84

RIOTS, BIRMINGHAM (1780)       326

RIOTS OF LONDON        295

ROACH, Philip. Piracy       34

ROSS, Norman. Murder       136

ROWAN, Archibald Hamilton. Sedition      340

RUDD, Margaret Caroline. Forgery       249

RYAN, John. Arson and Murder       453

RYLAND, William Wynne. Forgery       308

SAWYER, William. Murder       566

SCOLDWELL, Charles. Stealing       350

SEMPLE, Major J. G. Swindling       564

SHEEBY, Father. Murder       202

SHEPPARD, James. Treason       24

SHEPPARD, John. Burglary       38

SIMMONS, Thomas. Murder       450

SIXTEEN-STRINGED JACK. Robbery       242

SLIGO, the Marquis of. Enticing Seamen
from H.M. Navy       526

SMITH, John. Robbery       11

SMITH, John. Mutiny       196

SMITH, Robert. Robbery       379

SMITH, Francis. Murder       399

SOLOMONS, John. Conspiracy       349

SPENCER, Barbara. Coining       27

SPIGGOT, William. Robbery       ib.

STERNE, HENRY, _alias_ Gentleman
Harry. Robbery       315

SWAN, John. Murder       152

TAPNER, Benjamin. Murder       127

TERRY, John. Murder       378

THOMAS, Charles. Forgery       506

THORNHILL, Richard. Manslaughter       15

TILLEY, William. Conspiracy       349

TOWNLEY, Francis. Treason       122

TRUSTY, Christopher. Returned Transport      310

TURPIN, Richard. Robbery       89

TYRIE, David. Treason       307

UNDERWOOD, Thomas. Robbery       325

VAUX, James Hardy. Privately Stealing      481

WALDRON, George, _alias_ Barrington.
Pickpocket       363

WALL, Joseph. Murder       374

WALSH, Benjamin. Felony       511

WATT, Robert. Treason       335

WEIL, Levi and Asher. Murder       227

WHITE, Huffey. Robbery       552

WHITE, Charles. Murder       103

WHITING, Michael. Murder       509

WHITMORE, John, _alias_ Old Dash.
Rape       504

WILD, Jonathan. Receiving Stolen
Goods       51

WILKINSON, the Rev. Mr. Unlawfully
performing the Marriage Ceremony       208

WILKES, John. Sedition       220

WILLIAMSON, John. Murder       208

WILLIAMSONS, Murder of the       513

WILLIAMS, Peter. Body-stealing       273

WILLIAMS, Renwick. Cutting and
Maiming       320

WINTON, Earl of. Treason       19

WOODBURNE, John. Cutting and
Maiming       31

WOOD, Joseph. Robbery       325

WOOD, John. Treason       389

YORK, William. Murder       127

YOUNG, Mary, _alias_ Jenny Diver.
Pickpocket       96

ZEKERMAN, Andrew. Murder       199






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

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
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 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.

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
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 6000_l._ 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

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 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. 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 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,



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

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
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



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 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

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 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 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



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,

[Illustration: _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 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
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 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,

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 of a master in chancery, on Thursday the 13th of November, a
misunderstanding arose between them respecting the testimony of a

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.



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

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 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.

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 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

"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 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 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

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

This rebellion occasioned the untimely death of many other persons.
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

"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 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.


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.



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.

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 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

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.

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'

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 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 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 100_l._ 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 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

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
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.

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, 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 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

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, 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

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.



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 22_l._ 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

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 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 55_l._; 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 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 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

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 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
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 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

"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 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 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 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

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 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

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.

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, 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.



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 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
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 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 100_l._, 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 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 100_l._ 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

"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 ruption 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

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 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

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,
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
700_l._ 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

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

[Illustration: _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

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

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

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

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 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


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 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 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,

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

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

By his desire the Ordinary administered the sacrament to him; and during
the ceremony he appeared to be somewhat attentive and devout. 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 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
60_l._, and now gave him property to the amount of about 26_l._ 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 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 1500_l._, 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 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

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]. 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,
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
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

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

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 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.

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 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

Gow proposed to sail to the Isles of Orkney, on the north of Scotland,
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 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

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 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

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

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 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

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 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
afterwards written by Dr. Arbuthnot, who published it in the form of an
epitaph, as follows:--

                        HERE LIETH THE BODY OF
                        COLONEL DON FRANCISCO,
                             WHO, WITH AN
                         INFLEXIBLE CONSTANCY,
                       AND INIMITABLE UNIFORMITY
                    OF LIFE, PERSISTED, IN SPITE OF
               BEING POSSESSED OF 10,000 POUNDS A YEAR;
                   AND WHO, HAVING DONE EVERY DAY OF
                     HIS LIFE SOMETHING WORTHY OF
                     A GIBBET, WAS ONCE CONDEMNED
                          TO ONE FOR WHAT HE
                             HAD NOT DONE.

                     EXORBITANT WEALTH IS HELD IN
                      THE SIGHT OF THE ALMIGHTY,
                        BY HIS BESTOWING IT ON



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 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

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 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 of Edinburgh, who settled upon them a sum of 500_l._; 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

On the 6th of July, 1736, the trial came on before the lords of
justiciary 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

"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.

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
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 250_l._ 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 300_l._
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 70_l._, 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 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 600_l._ 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 800_l_., 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 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

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
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
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

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 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 700_l_. 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 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.

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

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

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,

[Illustration: _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 100_l_. 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

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
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; 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,


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

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
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 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

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.

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[missing hyphen].
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

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 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

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, 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

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.

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

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. 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.

"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 3000_l._ 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, 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 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



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
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.

[Illustration: _Jonathan Bradford discovered at the bedside of M.



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 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 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
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

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
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 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 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 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

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 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 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 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
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

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
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, 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 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 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!)

    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

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 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. 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.



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



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.

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

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.


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 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

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.



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; 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.

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.



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 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; 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

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

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 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
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

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
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 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

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 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 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

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, 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 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

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 400_l._; and
then producing the deeds to his master, together with 500_l._ 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 500_l._ 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 900_l._, 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 therefore he took several of the bills, with some
cash, amounting to 440_l._, and exchanged them at the bank for two
notes, one of 400_l._ and the other of 40_l._; the first of which, in
his way home, he changed in his master's name, at Sir Richard Hoare's,
for one note of 200_l._, and two of 100_l._ 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
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

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."

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 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 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, 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

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.

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 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

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

[Illustration: _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

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 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.


"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, 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!"

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 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



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! 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."

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

    "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

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 &

"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."


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 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 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, 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.



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 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.

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

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,



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 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

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 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

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 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 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

"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 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

"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

"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,
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

"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.

"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?

"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 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 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

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 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,


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 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; Home 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 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
Home 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

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 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 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

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

[Illustration: _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;
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.

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

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

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 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 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

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

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 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

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

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
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

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 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. 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 in 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 time Mr. Knox from the coach discharged a pistol,
which was the last of eight shots fired on this strange and dreadful

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 300_l._ 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

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
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.



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

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.



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,



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 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 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.

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

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 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 themselves and two guides, they rode
to Dublin, and took up their residence at the Black Bull in

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,
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

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

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 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 1,800_l._ 16_s._ 6_d._; 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--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 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

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
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, 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
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; 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 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;
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

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

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, 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 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 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

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 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

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.

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.

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

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 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 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

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;
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
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

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

"The _general warrant_ under which I was first apprehended has been
adjudged illegal. The _seizure_ of my papers was condemned judicially

[Illustration: _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

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.



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.

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

"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
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 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

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. 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 65_l._, 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.

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

It may be readily imagined that no occasion was allowed by Bolland to
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 Line, 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 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 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, 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 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 handed 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

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.



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

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.



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.



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

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.

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

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 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 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

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 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



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 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 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 7,500_l._ 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,

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 12,000_l._, 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 7,500_l._,
upon which he desired to raise a sum of 5000_l._, out of which he was
willing to pay 1,400_l._, 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
but 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

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 5000_l._ and 4000_l._ on similar forged bonds, as
well as 4000_l._ which they had paid when the amount became due; and by
Dr. Brooke, who alleged that they had obtained from him 1500_l._ in
bonds of the Ayr bank, upon the security of a forged bond for 3100_l._;
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
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 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

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

Mr. Perreau now called several persons of rank to his character. Lady
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

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.



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

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 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 4000_l._, 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

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 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 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

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.

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 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
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

[Illustration: _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

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 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

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 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 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

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 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 manoeuvring; 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 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.

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 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

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 day, sworn that her husband was not
dismissed, but voluntarily quitted his station in the household of his

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

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 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 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

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 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.

JAMES HILL, _alias_ HIND, _alias_ ATKINS, _alias_ JOHN THE PAINTER.


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.

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 until damage to the amount of 15,000_l._ 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.



The case of this criminal was attended by circumstances of very great
atrocity. The malefactor and his unfortunate victim were natives of

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 brilliant
diamond and other rings; a variety of gold trinkets; and seventy-five

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 themselves, it must be owned, should be adopted
to secure an object, the absolute necessity of which was universally

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 was
duly carried out, amidst crowds of well-satisfied and approving



The character and the offence of this unfortunate divine are too well
known to render it necessary that any introduction to the recital of the
circumstances of his case should be attempted.

Dr. Dodd was the eldest son of a clergyman who held the vicarage of
Bourne in the county of Lincoln, and was born at Bourne on the 29th of
May 1729; and after finishing his school education, was admitted a sizar
of Clare Hall, Cambridge, in the year 1745, under the tuition of Mr.
John Courtail, afterwards Archdeacon of Lewes. At the University he
acquired the approbation of his superiors by his close attention to his
studies; and at the close of the year 1749 he took his first degree of
bachelor of arts with considerable reputation, his name being included
in the list of wranglers. It was not only in his academical pursuits,
however, that he was emulous of distinction. Having a pleasing manner, a
genteel address, and a lively imagination, he was equally celebrated for
his accomplishments and his learning. In particular he was fond of the
elegances of dress, and became, as he ludicrously expressed it, "a
zealous votary of

[Illustration: _Resurrectionists._]

the god of Dancing," to whose service he dedicated much of that time
which he could borrow from his more important avocations.

The talent which he possessed was very early displayed to the public;
and by the time he had attained the age of eighteen years, prompted by
the desire of fame, and perhaps also to increase his income, he
commenced author, in which character he began to obtain some degree of
reputation. At this period of his life, young, thoughtless, volatile and
inexperienced, he precipitately quitted the University, and, relying
entirely on his pen, removed to the metropolis, where he entered largely
into the gaieties of the town, and followed every species of amusement
with the most dangerous avidity. In this course, however, he did not
continue long. To the surprise of his friends, who least suspected him
of taking such a step, without fortune, and destitute of all means of
supporting a family, he hastily united himself, on the 15th of April
1751, in marriage with Miss Mary Perkins, daughter of one of the
domestics of Sir John Dolben, a young lady then residing in
Frith-street, Soho, who, though endowed with personal attractions, was
deficient in those of birth and fortune. To a person circumstanced as
Mr. Dodd then was, no measure could be more imprudent, or apparently
more ruinous and destructive to his future prospects in life. He did
not, however, seem to view it in that light, but, with a degree of
thoughtlessness natural to him, he immediately took and furnished a
house in Wardour-street. His friends now began to be alarmed at his
situation, and his father came to town in great distress upon the
occasion; and in consequence of the advice which he gave him, his son
quitted his house before the commencement of winter, and, urged by the
same preceptor, he was induced to adopt a new plan for his future
subsistence. On the 19th of October in the same year, he was ordained a
deacon by the Bishop of Ely, at Caius College, Cambridge; and, with more
prudence than he had ever shown before, he now devoted himself with
great assiduity to the study and duties of his profession. In these
pursuits he appeared so sincere, that he even renounced all his
attention to his favourite objects--polite letters. At the end of his
preface to the "Beauties of Shakspeare," published in this year, he
says, "For my own part, better and more important things henceforth
demand my attention; and I here with no small pleasure take leave of
Shakspeare and the critics. As this work was begun and finished before I
entered upon the sacred function in which I am now happily employed, let
me trust this juvenile performance will prove no objection, since
graver, and some very eminent, members of the Church have thought it no
improper employ to comment upon, explain, and publish the works of their
own country poets."

The first service in which he was engaged as a clergyman was to assist
the Rev. Mr. Wyatt, vicar of West Ham, as his curate: thither he
removed, and there he spent the happiest and more honourable moments of
his life. His behaviour was proper, decent, and exemplary. It acquired
for him the respect and secured for him the favour of his parishioners
so far, that on the death of their lecturer, in 1752, he was chosen to
succeed him. His abilities had at this time every opportunity of being
shown to advantage; and his exertions were so properly directed, that he
soon became a favourite and popular preacher. Those who were at this
period of his life acquainted with his character and his talents, bear
testimony to the indefatigable zeal which he exhibited in his ministry,
and the success with which his efforts were crowned. The follies of his
youth seemed entirely past, and his friends viewed the alteration in his
conduct with the greatest satisfaction; while the world promised itself
an example to hold out for the imitation of others. At this early season
of his life, he entertained sentiments favourable towards the opinions
of Mr. Hutchinson, and he was suspected to incline towards Methodism;
but subsequent consideration confirmed his belief in the doctrines of
the Established Church. In 1752 he was selected lecturer of St. James,
Garlick-hill, which, two years afterwards, he exchanged for the same
post at St. Olave, Hart-street; and about the same time he was appointed
to preach Lady Moyer's lectures at St. Paul's, where, from the visit of
the three angels to Abraham, and other similar passages in the Old
Testament, he endeavoured to prove the commonly-received doctrine of the
Trinity. On the establishment of the Magdalen House in 1758, he was
amongst the first and most active promoters of that excellent charitable
institution, which derived great advantage from his zeal for its
prosperity, and which, even up to the unhappy termination of his life,
continued to be materially benefited by the exercise of his talents in
its behalf. His exertions, however, were not confined to this hospital,
but he was also one of the promoters of the Society for the Relief of
Poor Debtors, and of the Humane Society for the recovery of persons
apparently drowned.

From the time that he entered upon the service of the Church, Dr. Dodd
had resided at West Ham, and made up the deficiency in his income by
superintending the education of a few young gentlemen who were placed
under his care; an occupation for which he was well fitted. In 1759 he
took the degree of Master of Arts, and in 1763 he was appointed chaplain
in ordinary to the King; and about the same time he became acquainted
with Dr. Squire, the bishop of St. David's, who received him into his
patronage, presented him to the prebend of Brecon, and recommended him
to the Earl of Chesterfield as a proper person to be intrusted with the
tuition of his successor in the title. The following year saw him
chaplain to the King; and in 1766 he took the degree of Doctor of Laws
at Cambridge.

The expectations which he had long entertained of succeeding to the
rectory of West Ham now appeared hopeless; and having given up all
prospect of their being realised, after having been twice disappointed,
he resigned his lectureship both there and in the City, and quitted the
place--"a place," said he to Lord Chesterfield in a dedication to a
sermon entitled "Popery inconsistent with the natural Rights of Men in
general, and Englishmen in particular," published in 1768, "ever dear,
and ever regretted by me, the loss of which, truly affecting to my mind
(for there I was useful, and there I trust I was loved), nothing but
your lordship's friendship and connexion could have counterbalanced."
The "Thoughts in Prison" of the unfortunate gentleman contain a passage
of a similar tendency, from which it may be inferred that he was
compelled to quit this his favourite residence; a circumstance which he
pathetically laments, and probably with great reason, as the first step
to that change in his situation which led him insensibly to his last
fatal catastrophe.

On his quitting West Ham, he removed to a house in Southampton-row; and
at the same time he launched out into scenes of expense, which his
income, although now by no means a small one, was inadequate to
support. He provided himself with a country-house at Ealing, and
exchanged his chariot for a coach, in order to accommodate his pupils,
who, besides his noble charge, were in general persons of family and
fortune. About the same time it was his misfortune to obtain a prize of
1000_l._ in the state lottery; and elated with his success, he engaged
with a builder in a plan to erect a chapel near the palace of the Queen,
from whom it took its name. He entered also into a like partnership at
Charlotte Chapel, Bloomsbury, and both these schemes were for some time
very beneficial to him, though their proceeds were much inferior to his
expensive habits of living. His expectations from the former of these
undertakings were extremely sanguine. It is reported that in fitting up
his chapel near the palace, he flattered himself with the hopes of
having some young royal auditors, and in that expectation assigned a
particular pew or gallery for the heir-apparent. But in this, as in many
other of his views, he was disappointed.

In the year 1772 he obtained the rectory of Hockliffe in Bedfordshire,
the first cure of souls he ever had. With this also he held the vicarage
of Chalgrove; and the two were soon after consolidated. An accident
happened about this time, from which he narrowly escaped with his life.
Returning from Barnet, he was stopped near St. Pancras by a highwayman,
who discharged a pistol into the carriage, which, happily, only broke
the glass. For this fact the delinquent was tried, and, on Mrs. Dodd's
evidence, convicted and hanged. Early in the next year Lord Chesterfield
died, and was succeeded by Dr. Dodd's pupil, who appointed his preceptor
to be his chaplain.

At this period Dr. Dodd appears to have been in the zenith of his
popularity and reputation. Beloved and respected by all orders of
people, he would have reached, in all probability, the situation which
was the object of his wishes, had he possessed patience enough to have
waited for it, and prudence sufficient to keep himself out of those
difficulties which might prove fatal to his integrity. But the habits of
dissipation and expense had acquired too great an influence over him;
and he had by their means involved himself in considerable debts. To
extricate himself from them, he was tempted to an act which entirely cut
off every hope which he could entertain of rising in his profession, and
totally ruined him in the opinion of the world. On the translation of
Bishop Moss, in February 1774, to the see of Bath and Wells, the
valuable rectory of St. George, Hanover-square, fell to the disposal of
the Crown, by virtue of the King's prerogative. Whether from the
suggestion of his own mind, or from the persuasion of some friend, is
uncertain; but on this occasion he took a step of all others the most
wild and extravagant, and the least likely to be attended with success.
He caused an anonymous letter to be sent to Lady Apsley, offering the
sum of three thousand pounds if by her means he could be presented to
the living. The letter was immediately communicated to the chancellor,
and, after being traced to the writer, was laid before his majesty. The
insult offered to so high an officer by the proposal was followed by
instant punishment. Dr. Dodd's name was ordered to be struck out of the
list of chaplains. The press teemed with satire and invective; he was
abused and ridiculed in the papers of the day; and to crown the whole,
the transaction became a subject of entertainment in one of Mr. Foote's
pieces at the Haymarket.

As no explanation could justify so absurd a measure, so no apology
could palliate it. An evasive letter in the newspapers, promising a
justification at a future day, was treated with universal contempt; and
stung with remorse, and feelingly alive to the disgrace he had brought
on himself, he hastily quitted the place where neglect and insult only
attended him, and going to Geneva to his late pupil, he was presented by
him with the living of Winge in Buckinghamshire, which he held with that
of Hockliffe, by virtue of a dispensation. Though encumbered with debts,
he might still have retrieved his circumstances, if not his character,
had he attended to the dictates of prudence; but his extravagance
continued undiminished, and drove him to pursue schemes which
overwhelmed him with additional infamy. He became the editor of a
newspaper; and it is said that he even attempted, by means of a
commission of bankruptcy, to clear himself from his debts; an attempt in
which, however, he failed. From this period it would appear that every
step which he took led to complete his ruin. In the summer of 1776, he
went to France, and there, with little regard to decency or the
observances proper to be maintained by a minister of religion, he
paraded himself in a phaeton at the races on the plains of Sablons,
dressed in all the foppery of the kingdom in which he was temporarily
resident. At the beginning of winter he returned to London, and
continued there to exercise the duties of his profession until the very
moment of his committing the offence for which his life was subsequently
forfeited to the offended laws of his country. On the 2nd of February
1777, he preached his last sermon at the Magdalen Chapel, where he was
still heard with approbation and pleasure; and on the 4th of the same
month he forged a bond, purporting to be that of his late pupil, the
Earl of Chesterfield, for 4200_l._ Pressed by creditors, and unable any
longer to meet their demands or soothe their importunities, he was
driven to commit this crime, as the only expedient to which he could
have recourse to aid him in his escape from his difficulties. The method
which he adopted in completing the forgery was very remarkable. He
pretended that the noble earl had urgent occasion to borrow 4000_l._ but
that he did not choose to be his own agent, and he begged that the
matter therefore might be secretly and expeditiously conducted. A person
named Lewis Robertson was the person whom he employed as broker to
negotiate the transaction; and he presented to him a bond, not filled up
or signed, that he might find a person ready to advance the sum
required, as he directed him to say, to a young nobleman who had lately
come of age. Several applications were made by Robertson without
success, the persons refusing because they were not to be present when
the bond was executed; but at length the agent, confiding in the honour
and integrity of his employer went to Messrs. Fletcher and Peach, who
agreed to advance the money. Mr. Robertson then carried the bond back to
the doctor, in order that it might be filled up and executed; and on the
following day it was returned, bearing the signature of the Earl of
Chesterfield, and attested by the doctor himself. Mr. Robertson, knowing
that Mr. Fletcher was a man who required all legal observances to be
attended to, and that he would therefore object to the bond as bearing
the name of one witness only, put his name under that of Dr. Dodd, and
in that state he carried the bond to him, and received from him the sum
of 4000_l._ in return, which he paid over to his employer.

The bond was subsequently produced to the Earl of Chesterfield; but
immediately on his seeing it, he disowned it, and expressed himself at a
loss to know by whom such a forgery upon him could have been committed.
It was evident, however, that the supposed attesting witnesses must, if
their signatures were genuine, be acquainted with its author; and Mr.
Manly, his lordship's agent, went directly to consult Mr. Fletcher upon
the best course to be taken; and after some deliberation, Mr. Fletcher,
a Mr. Innis, and Mr. Manly proceeded to Guildhall to prefer an
information with regard to the forgery against Dr. Dodd and Mr.
Robertson. Mr. Robertson was without difficulty secured; and then
Fletcher, Innis, and Manly, accompanied by two of the lord mayor's
officers, went to the house of the doctor in Argyle-street, whither he
had recently removed.

Upon their explaining the nature of their business to him, he appeared
much struck and affected, and declared his willingness to make any
reparation in his power. Mr. Manly told him that his instantly returning
the money was the only mode which remained for him to save himself; and
he immediately gave up six notes of 500_l._ each, making 3000_l._, and
he drew on his banker for 500_l._ more. The broker then returned 100_l._
and the doctor gave a second draft on his banker for 200_l._, and a
judgment on his goods for the remaining 400_l._ All this was done by the
doctor in full reliance on the honour of the parties that the bond
should be returned to him cancelled; but, notwithstanding this
restitution, he was taken before the lord mayor, and charged with the
forgery. The doctor declared that he had no intention to defraud Lord
Chesterfield or the gentlemen who advanced the money, and hoped that the
satisfaction he had made in returning it would atone for his offence. He
was pressed, he said, exceedingly for 300_l._ to pay some bills due to
tradesmen, and took this step as a temporary resource, and would have
repaid the money in half a year. "My Lord Chesterfield," added he,
"cannot but have some tenderness for me as my pupil. I love him, and he
knows it. There is nobody wishes to prosecute. I am sure my Lord
Chesterfield don't want my life,--I hope he will show clemency to me.
Mercy should triumph over justice." Clemency, however, was denied; and
the doctor was committed to the Compter in preparation for his trial. On
the 19th of February, Dr. Dodd, being put to the bar at the Old Bailey,
addressed the Court in the following words:--

"My lords,--I am informed that the bill of indictment against me has
been found on the evidence of Mr. Robertson, who was taken out of
Newgate, without any authority or leave from your lordships, for the
purpose of procuring the bill to be found. Mr. Robertson is a
subscribing witness to the bond, and, as I conceive, would be swearing
to exculpate himself if he should be admitted as a witness against me;
and as the bill has been found upon his evidence, which was
surreptitiously obtained, I submit to your lordships that I ought not to
be compelled to plead on this indictment; and upon this question I beg
to be heard by my counsel. I beg leave also further to observe to your
lordships, that the gentlemen on the other side of the question are
bound over to prosecute Mr. Robertson."

Previously to the arguments of the counsel, an order which had been
surreptitiously obtained from an officer of the court, dated Wednesday,
February 19, and directed to the keeper of Newgate, commanding him to
carry Lewis Robertson to Hicks's Hall, in order to his giving evidence
before the grand inquest on the present bill of indictment--as well as a
resolution of the Court, reprobating the said order--and also the
recognizance entered into by Mr. Manly, Mr. Peach, Mr. Innis, and the
Right Hon. the Earl of Chesterfield to prosecute and give evidence
against Dr. Dodd and Lewis Robertson for forgery--were ordered to be
read; and the clerk of the arraigns was directed to inform the Court
whether the name "Lewis Robertson" was indorsed as a witness on the back
of the indictment, which was answered in the affirmative.

The counsel now proceeded in their arguments for and against the
prisoner. Mr. Howarth, one of Dr. Dodd's advocates, contended that no
person ought to plead or answer to an indictment, if it appeared upon
the face of that indictment that the evidence upon which the bill was
found was not legal, or competent to have been adduced before the grand

Mr. Cooper and Mr. Buller, on the same side, pursued the same line of
argument with equal ingenuity, and expressed a hope that Dr. Dodd would
not be called upon to plead to an indictment found upon such evidence as
had been pointed out, but that the indictment would be ordered to be

The counsel for the prosecution advanced various arguments in opposition
to those employed on the other side, and the learned judge having taken
a note of the objection, it was agreed that the trial should proceed,
the question of the competency of Mr. Robertson as a witness being
reserved for the consideration of the twelve judges.

The doctor was then arraigned upon the indictment, which charged him in
the usual terms with the forgery upon the Earl of Chesterfield; and the
evidence in proof of the facts above stated having been given, the Court
called upon the prisoner for his defence. He addressed the Court and
jury in the following terms:--

"My lords and gentlemen of the jury,--Upon the evidence which has this
day been produced against me, I find it very difficult to address your
lordships. There is no man in the world who has a deeper sense of the
heinous nature of the crime for which I stand indicted than myself: I
view it, my lords, in all its extent of malignancy towards a commercial
state like ours; but, my lords, I humbly apprehend, though no lawyer,
that the moral turpitude and malignancy of the crime always, both in the
eye of the law and of religion, consists in the intention. I am
informed, my lords, that the act of parliament on this head runs
perpetually in this style, _with an intention to defraud_. Such an
intention, my lords and gentlemen of the jury, I believe, has not been
attempted to be proved upon me, and the consequences that have happened,
which have appeared before you, sufficiently prove that a perfect and
ample restitution has been made. I leave it, my lords, to you and the
gentlemen of the jury to consider, that if an unhappy man ever deviates
from the law of right, yet if in the single first moment of recollection
he does all that he can to make a full and perfect amends, what, my
lords and gentlemen of the jury, can God and man desire further? My
lords, there are a variety of little circumstances too tedious to
trouble you with, with respect to this matter. Were I to give loose to
my feelings, I have many things to say which I am sure you would feel
with respect to me; but as it appears on all hands, that no injury,
intentional or real, has been done to any man living, I hope that you
will consider the case in its true state of clemency. I must observe to
your lordships, that though I have met with all candour in this court,
yet I have been pursued with excessive cruelty; I have been prosecuted
after the most express engagements, after the most solemn assurances,
after the most delusive, soothing arguments of Mr. Manly; I have been
prosecuted with a cruelty scarcely to be paralleled. A person avowedly
criminal in the same indictment with myself has been brought forth as a
capital witness against me; a fact, I believe, totally unexampled. My
lords, oppressed as I am with infamy, loaded as I am with distress, sunk
under this cruel prosecution, your lordships and the gentlemen of the
jury cannot think life a matter of any value to me. No, my lords, I
solemnly protest, that death of all blessings would be the most pleasant
to me after this pain. I have yet, my lords, ties which call upon
me--ties which render me desirous even to continue this miserable
existence. I have a wife, my lords, who, for twenty-seven years, has
lived an unparalleled example of conjugal attachment and fidelity, and
whose behaviour during this trying scene would draw tears of
approbation, I am sure, even from the most inhuman. My lords, I have
creditors, honest men, who will lose much by my death. I hope, for the
sake of justice towards them, some mercy will be shown to me. If, upon
the whole, these considerations at all avail with you--if, upon the most
impartial survey of matters, not the slightest intention of injury can
appear to any one--(and I solemnly declare it was in my power to replace
it in three months--of this I assured Mr. Robertson frequently, and had
his solemn assurances that no man should be privy to it but Mr. Fletcher
and himself)--and if no injury was done to any man upon earth, I then
hope, I trust, I fully confide myself in the tenderness, humanity, and
protection, of my country."

The jury retired for about ten minutes, and then returned with a verdict
that "the prisoner was guilty;" but at the same time presented a
petition, humbly recommending the doctor to the royal mercy.

It was afterwards declared that upon the reserved point, the opinion of
the judges was, that he had been legally convicted. On the last day of
the sessions Dr. Dodd was again put to the bar to receive judgment. The
clerk of the arraigns then addressed him, saying,

"Dr. William Dodd, you stand convicted of forgery, what have you to say
why this court should not give you judgment to die, according to law?"

In reply Dr. Dodd addressed the court as follows:--

"My lord,--I new stand before you a dreadful example of human infirmity.
I entered upon public life with the expectations common to young men
whose education has been liberal, and whose abilities have been
flattered; and, when I became a clergyman, I considered myself as not
impairing the dignity of the order. I was not an idle, nor, I hope, an
useless minister: I taught the truths of Christianity with the zeal of
conviction and the authority of innocence.

"My labours were approved, my pulpit became popular, and I have reason
to believe that, of those who heard me, some have been preserved from
sin, and some have been reclaimed. Condescend, my lord, to think, if
these considerations aggravate my crime, how much they must embitter my
punishment! Being distinguished and elevated by the confidence of
mankind, I had too much confidence in myself; and, thinking my
integrity--what others thought it--established in sincerity, and
fortified by religion, I did not consider the danger of vanity, nor
suspect the deceitfulness of mine own heart. The day of conflict came,
in which temptation seized and overwhelmed me! I committed the crime,
which I entreat your lordship to believe that my conscience hourly
represents to me in its full bulk of mischief and malignity. Many have
been overpowered by temptation, who are now among the penitent in
heaven! To an act now waiting the decision of vindictive justice I will
now presume to oppose the counterbalance of almost thirty years (a great
part of the life of man) passed in exciting and exercising charity--in
relieving such distresses as I now feel--in administering those
consolations which I now want. I will not otherwise extenuate my offence
than by declaring, what I hope will appear to many, and what many
circumstances make probable, that I did not intend finally to defraud:
nor will it become me to apportion my own punishment, by alleging that
my sufferings have been not much less than my guilt; I have fallen from
reputation which ought to have made me cautious, and from a fortune
which ought to have given me content. I am sunk at once into poverty and
scorn; my name and my crime fill the ballads in the streets; the sport
of the thoughtless, and the triumph of the wicked! It may seem strange,
my lord, that, remembering what I have lately been, I should still wish
to continue what I am! but contempt of death, how speciously soever it
may mingle with heathen virtues, has nothing in it suitable to Christian
penitence. Many motives impel me to beg earnestly for life. I feel the
natural horror of a violent death, the universal dread of untimely
dissolution. I am desirous to recompense the injury I have done to the
clergy, to the world, and to religion, and to efface the scandal of my
crime, by the example of my repentance: but, above all, I wish to die
with thoughts more composed, and calmer preparation. The gloom and
confusion of a prison, the anxiety of a trial, the horrors of suspense,
and the inevitable vicissitudes of passion, leave not the mind in a due
disposition for the holy exercises of prayer and self-examination. Let
not a little life be denied me, in which I may, by meditation and
contrition, prepare myself to stand at the tribunal of Omnipotence, and
support the presence of that Judge, who shall distribute to all
according to their works: who will receive and pardon the repenting
sinner, and from whom the merciful shall obtain mercy! For these
reasons, my lords, amidst shame and misery, I yet wish to live; and most
humbly implore, that I may be recommended by your lordship to the
clemency of his majesty."

Here he sunk down overcome with mental agony, and some time elapsed
before he was sufficiently recovered to hear the dreadful sentence of
the law, which the Recorder pronounced upon him in the following words:

"Dr. William Dodd,

"You have been convicted of the offence of publishing a forged and
counterfeit bond, knowing it to be forged and counterfeited; and you
have had the advantage which the laws of this country afford to every
man in your situation, a fair, an impartial, and an attentive trial. The
jury, to whose justice you appealed, have found you guilty; their
verdict has undergone the consideration of the learned judges, and they
found no ground to impeach the justice of that verdict; you yourself
have admitted the justice of it; and now the very painful duty that the
necessity of the law imposes upon the court, to pronounce the sentence
of that law against you, remains only to be performed. You appear to
entertain a very proper sense of the enormity of the offence which you
have committed; you appear, too, in a state of contrition of mind, and,
I doubt not, have duly reflected how far the dangerous tendency of the
offence you have been guilty of is increased by the influence of
example, in being committed by a person of your character, and of the
sacred function of which you are a member. These sentiments seem to be
yours; I would wish to cultivate such sentiments; but I would not wish
to add to the anguish of your mind by dwelling upon your situation. Your
application for mercy must be made elsewhere; it would be cruel in the
court to flatter you; there is a power of dispensing mercy, where you
may apply. Your own good sense, and the contrition you express, will
induce you to lessen the influence of the example by publishing your
hearty and sincere detestation of the offence of which you are
convicted; and will show you that to attempt to palliate or extenuate
it, would indeed add to the influence of a crime of this kind being
committed by a person of your character and known abilities. I would
therefore warn you against anything of that kind. Now, having said this,
I am obliged to pronounce the sentence of the law, which is--That you,
Doctor William Dodd, be carried from hence to the place from whence you
came; that from thence you be carried to the place of execution, and
that there you be hanged by the neck until you are dead." To this Dr.
Dodd replied, "Lord Jesus, receive my soul!" and was immediately
conveyed from the bar.

Great exertions were now made to save Dr. Dodd. The newspapers were
filled with letters and paragraphs in his favour; individuals of all
ranks exerted themselves in his behalf; the members of several charities
which had been benefited by him joined in application to the throne for
mercy; parish officers went in mourning from house to house, to procure
subscriptions to a petition to the king; and this petition, which, with
the names of nearly thirty thousand persons, filled twenty-three sheets
of parchment, was actually presented. Even the lord mayor and common
council went in a body to St. James's, to solicit mercy for the convict.
These were, however, of no avail. On the 15th of June the privy council
assembled, and deliberated on the cases of the several prisoners then
under condemnation; and in the end a warrant was ordered to be made out
for the execution of Dr. Dodd, with two others (one of whom was
afterwards reprieved), on the 27th of the same month.

Having been flattered with the hopes of a pardon, he appeared to be much
shocked at the intimation of his approaching destiny; but resumed in a
short time a degree of fortitude sufficient to enable him to pass
through the last scene of his life with firmness and decency. On the
26th he took leave of his wife and some friends, and he afterwards
declared himself ready to atone for the offence he had given to the
world. His deportment was meek, humble, and devout, expressive of
resignation and contrition, and calculated to inspire sentiments of
respect for his person, and concern for his unhappy fate.

He was attended to the fatal spot, in a mourning-coach, by the Rev. Mr.
Villette, Ordinary of Newgate, and the Rev. Mr. Dobey. Another criminal,
named John Harris, was executed at the same time. It is impossible to
give an idea of the immense crowds of people that thronged the streets
from Newgate to Tyburn. When the prisoners arrived at the fatal tree,
and were placed in the cart, Dr. Dodd exhorted his fellow sufferer in
so generous a manner, as testified that he had not forgotten his duty as
a clergyman; and he was also very fervent in the exercise of his own
devotions. Just before he was turned off, he was observed to whisper to
the executioner; and, although we have not the means of ascertaining the
precise purport of his remark, it is pretty obvious from the fact, that
as soon as the cart had been drawn away from the gibbet, he ran
immediately under the scaffold and took hold of the doctor's legs as if
to steady his body, and the unfortunate gentleman appeared to die
without pain.

Of his behaviour before execution a particular account was given by Mr.
Villette, Ordinary of Newgate, in the following terms:--

"On the morning of his death I went to him, with the Rev. Mr. Dobey,
Chaplain of the Magdalen, whom he desired to attend him to the place of
execution. He appeared composed; and when I asked him how he had been
supported, he said that he had had some comfortable sleep, by which he
should be the better enabled to perform his duty.

"As we went from his room, in our way to the chapel, we were joined by
his friend, who had spent the foregoing evening with him, and also by
another clergyman. When we were in the Vestry adjoining the Chapel, he
exhorted his fellow-sufferer, who had attempted to destroy himself, but
had been prevented by the vigilance of the keeper. He spoke to him with
great tenderness and emotion of heart, entreating him to consider that
he had but a short time to live, and that it was highly necessary that
he, as well as himself, made good use of their time, implored pardon of
God under a deep sense of sin, and looked to that Lord by whose merits
alone sinners can be saved. He desired me to call in the other
gentlemen, who likewise assisted him to move the heart of the poor
youth; but the Doctor's words were the most pathetic and effectual. He
lifted up his hands, and cried out 'Oh! Lord Jesus, have mercy upon us!
and give, oh! give unto him, my fellow sinner, that, as we suffer
together, we may go together to Heaven!' His conversation to this poor
youth was so moving, that tears flowed from the eyes of all present.

"When we went into the chapel to prayer and the holy communion, true
contrition and warmth of devotion appeared evident in him throughout the
whole service. After it was ended, he again addressed himself to Harris
in the most moving and persuasive manner, and not without effect; for he
declared that he was glad that he had not made away with himself, and
said he was easier, and hoped he should now go to Heaven. The Doctor
told him how Christ had suffered for them; and that he himself was a
greater sinner than he, as he had sinned more against light and
conviction, and therefore his guilt was greater; and that as he was
confident that mercy was shown to his soul, so he should look to Christ
and trust in his merits.

"He prayed God to bless his friends who were present with him, and to
give his blessing to all his brethren the clergy; that he would pour out
his spirit upon them, and make them true ministers of Jesus Christ, and
that they might follow the divine precepts of their heavenly Master.
Turning to one who stood near him, he stretched out his hand, and said,
'Now, my dear friend, speculation is at an end; all must be real! What
poor ignorant beings we are!' He prayed for the Magdalens, and wished
they were there, to sing for him the 23d Psalm.

"After he had waited some time for the officers, he asked what o'clock
it was; and, being told that it was half an hour after eight, he said 'I
wish they were ready, for I long to be gone.' He requested of his
friends, who were in tears about him, to pray for him; to which he was
answered, by two of them, 'We pray more than language can utter.' He
replied, 'I believe it.'

"At length he was summoned to go down into a part of the yard which is
enclosed from the rest of the gaol, where the two unhappy convicts and
the friends of the doctor were alone. On his seeing two prisoners
looking out of the windows, he went to them, and exhorted them so
pathetically, that they both wept abundantly. He said once, 'I am now a
spectacle to men, and shall soon be a spectacle to angels.'

"Just before the sheriff's officers came with the halters, one who was
walking with him told him that there was yet a little ceremony he must;
pass through before he went out. He asked 'What is that?' 'You will be
bound.' He looked up, and said, 'Yet I am free; my freedom is there,'
pointing upwards. He bore it with Christian patience, and beyond what
might have been expected; and, when the men[14] offered to excuse tying
his hands, he desired them to do their duty, and thanked them for their
kindness. After he was bound, I offered to assist him with my arm in
conducting him through the yard, where several people were assembled to
see him; but he replied, with seeming pleasure, 'No, I am as firm as a
rock.' As he passed along the yard, the spectators and prisoners wept
and bemoaned him; and he, in return, prayed God to bless them.

"On the way to execution he consoled himself in reflecting and speaking
on what Christ had suffered for him; lamented the depravity of human
nature, which made sanguinary laws necessary; and said he could gladly
have died in the prison-yard, as being led out to public execution
tended greatly to distress him. He desired me to read to him the 51st
Psalm, and also pointed out an admirable penitential prayer from
'Rossell's Prisoner's Director.' He prayed again for the king, and
likewise for the people.

"When he came near the street where he formerly dwelt he was much
affected, and wept. He said, probably his tears would seem to be the
effect of cowardice, but it was a weakness he could not well help; and
added, he hoped he was going to a better home.

"When he arrived at the gallows he ascended the cart, and spoke to his
fellow-sufferer. He then prayed, not only for himself, but also for his
wife, and the unfortunate youth that suffered with him; and, declaring
that he died in the true faith of the Gospel of Christ, in perfect love
and charity with all mankind, and with thankfulness to his friends, he
was launched into eternity, imploring mercy for his soul for the sake of
his blessed Redeemer."

A paper, of which the following is a copy, had been delivered by Dr.
Dodd to Mr. Villette to be read at the place of execution, but was
omitted as it seemed impossible to make all present aware of its

     "To the words of dying men regard has always been paid. I am
     brought hither to suffer death for an act of fraud, of which I
     confess myself guilty with shame, such as my former state of life
     naturally produces, and I hope with such sorrow as He, to whom the
     heart is known, will not disregard. I repent that I have violated
     the laws by which peace and confidence are established among men; I
     repent that I have attempted to injure my fellow-creatures; and I
     repent that I have brought disgrace upon my order, and discredit
     upon religion: but my offences against God are without number, and
     can admit only of general confession and general repentance. Grant,
     Almighty God, for the sake of Jesus Christ, that my repentance,
     however late, however imperfect, may not be in vain!

     "The little good that now remains in my power is to warn others
     against those temptations by which I have been seduced. I have
     always sinned against conviction; my principles have never been
     shaken; I have always considered the Christian religion as a
     revelation from God, and its divine Author as the Saviour of the
     world; but the laws of God, though never disowned by me, have often
     been forgotten. I was led astray from religious strictness by the
     delusion of show and the delights of voluptuousness. I never knew
     or attended to the calls of frugality, or the needful minuteness of
     painful economy. Vanity and pleasure, into which I plunged,
     required expense disproportionate to my income; expense brought
     distress upon me; and distress, importunate distress, urged me to
     temporary fraud.

     "For this fraud I am to die; and I die declaring, in the most
     solemn manner, that, however I have deviated from my own precepts,
     I have taught others, to the best of my knowledge, and with all
     sincerity, the true way to eternal happiness. My life, for some few
     unhappy years past, has been dreadfully erroneous; but my ministry
     has been always sincere. I have constantly believed; and I now
     leave the world solemnly avowing my conviction, that there is no
     other name under Heaven by which we can be saved but only the name
     of the Lord Jesus; and I entreat all who are here to join with me
     in my last petition, that, for the sake of that Lord Jesus Christ,
     my sins may be forgiven, and my soul received into his everlasting

     "June 27, 1777."


The body of the Doctor was on the Monday following carried to Cowley, in
Buckinghamshire, and deposited in the church there.

During the doctor's confinement in Newgate (a period of several months)
he chiefly employed himself in writing various pieces, which show at
once his piety and talent. The principal of these were his "Thoughts in
Prison," in five parts, from which we cannot doubt but that our readers,
in finishing our life of so eminent, yet unfortunate, a man, will be
gratified by the insertion of a few short extracts. "I began these
Thoughts," says the unhappy man, writing in Newgate, under date of the
23d of April, 1777, after his condemnation, "merely from the impression
in my mind, without plan, purpose, or motive, more than the situation of
my soul.

"I continued thence on a thoughtful and regular plan; and I have been
enabled wonderfully, in a state which in better days I should have
supposed would have destroyed all power of reflection, to bring them
nearly to a conclusion. I dedicate them to God, and the reflecting
serious among my fellow-creatures; and I bless the Almighty for the
ability to go through them amidst the terrors of this dire place
(Newgate), and the bitter anguish of my disconsolate mind! The thinking
will easily pardon all inaccuracies, as I am neither able nor willing
to read over these melancholy lines with a curious or critical eye. They
are imperfect, but in the language of the heart; and, had I time and
inclination, might, and should be, improved.--But----


"W. D."

The unfortunate author's Thoughts on his Imprisonment are thus

      "My friends are gone! harsh on its sullen hinge
    Grates the dread door: the massy bolts respond
    Tremendous to the surly keeper's touch:
    The dire keys clang, with movement dull and slow,
    While their behest the ponderous locks perform:
    And, fasten'd firm, the object of their care
    Is left to solitude--to sorrow left.

      "But wherefore fasten'd? Oh! still stronger bonds
    Than bolts, or locks, or doors of molten brass,
    To solitude and sorrow could consign
    His anguish'd soul, and prison him, though free!
    For whither should he fly, or where produce
    In open day, and to the golden sun,
    His hapless head! whence every laurel torn,
    On his bald brow sits grinning infamy:
    And all in sportive triumph twines around
    The keen, the stinging arrows of disgrace."

After dwelling on the miseries of that dreary confinement, at sight of
which he formerly started back with horror, he adds,

      "O dismal change! now not in friendly sort
    A Christian visitor, to pour the balm
    Of Christian comfort in some wretch's ear--
    I am that wretch myself! and want, much want,
    That Christian consolation I bestow'd;
    So cheerfully bestow'd! Want, want, my God,
    From thee the mercy, which, thou know'st my gladsome soul
    Ever sprang forth with transport to impart.

      "Why then, mysterious Providence, pursued
    With such unfeeling ardour? Why pursued
    To death's dread bourn, by men to me unknown!
    Why--stop the deep question; it o'erwhelms my soul;
    It reels, it staggers! Earth turns round! My brain
    Whirls in confusion! My impetuous heart
    Throbs with pulsation not to be restrain'd;
    Why?--Where?--O Chesterfield, my son, my son!"

The unfortunate divine afterwards thus proceeds:--

      "Nay, talk not of composure! I had thought
    In older time, that my weak heart was soft,
    And pity's self might break it. I had thought
    That marble-eyed Severity would crack
    The slender nerves which guide my reins of sense,
    And give me up to madness! 'Tis not so;
    My heart is callous, and my nerves are tough;
    It will not break; they will not crack; or else
    What more, just heaven! was wanting to the deed,
    Than to behold--Oh! that eternal night
    Had in that moment screened from myself!
    My Stanhope to behold! Ah! piercing sight!
    Forget it; 'tis distraction: speak who can!
    But I am lost! a criminal adjudged!"

It is not a little singular that Dr. Dodd, a few years before his death,
published a Sermon, intitled, "The frequency of capital punishments
inconsistent with justice, sound policy, and religion." This, he says,
was intended to have been preached at the Chapel-royal, at St. James's;
but omitted on account of the absence of the court, during the author's
month of waiting.

The following extract will show the unfortunate man's opinion on this
subject, although there is no reason to suppose that he then
contemplated the commission of the crime for which he suffered. He says,

"It would be easy to show the injustice of those laws which demand blood
for the slightest offences; the superior justice and propriety of
inflicting perpetual and laborious servitude; the greater utility hereof
to the sufferer, as well as to the state, especially wherein we have a
variety of necessary occupations, peculiarly noxious and prejudicial to
the lives of the honest and industrious, and in which they might be
employed, who had forfeited their lives and their liberties to society."



The offence of these prisoners was attended by circumstances of great
daring. From the evidence adduced at their trial, which took place at
the Old Bailey Sessions in the month of April, 1778, it appeared that on
the evening of the 1st of March, the prisoners, with three other men,
were seen at Finchley together, and that while drinking in a
public-house they made many inquiries of the persons present with regard
to the house and family of a Mr. Clewen, a gentleman of respectability
who resided in the neighbourhood. On the same night, between twelve and
one o'clock, Mr. Clewen's house was entered by five persons, whose faces
were disguised, and the noise created by their rushing up stairs being
heard by Miss Clewen and her servant, they immediately ran out of their
bed-chambers to see what was the matter. They were forced to return,
however, and three of the men having entered their room, compelled them
to cover their heads with the bed-clothes, uttering loud threats in case
of their offering any resistance. The men-servants, who slept at the top
of the house, being now alarmed, the thieves proceeded to their
apartment, and one of them named Quick having got up, he received a
severe blow with an iron bar, and, like his mistress, was compelled,
with his fellows, to cover himself up with the bed-clothes. Two fellows
then remained to watch them, while the rest went to Mr. Clewen's room,
and treated him in the same manner, and then they proceeded to the
bed-chamber of his son, whom they forced to go to his father's bed,
holding his hands before his eyes, so that he should not distinguish who
were his assailants. They then ransacked the house, and in about
half-an-hour returned, saying that if young Clewen would tell them
where the money was, they would give him his watch, which they had taken
from under his pillow, but this being refused, they went away, saying
that they were only going for some victuals, and would return. The house
was then immediately examined by Mr. Clewen; and it was found that the
thieves had effected an entrance by means of the back-door, and that
they had fastened up that as well as the front entrance by nailing
staples over the locks. It was afterwards discovered that they had
carried off twenty-two guineas, fifty pounds in bank notes, a quantity
of plate, several gold rings, a silver watch, and other property to a
considerable amount. Information of the robbery was immediately conveyed
to Sir John Fielding, whose officers, recognising the offenders from the
description given of their persons, succeeded in securing the prisoners:
Fryer at a small house which he occupied in the City Road, where there
were found a number of picklock keys, and a hanger; and Horner at his
lodgings in Perkins' Rents, Westminster, a cutlass being concealed under
his bed. Two supposed accomplices, named Condon and Jordan, were also
apprehended, but nothing distinct being proved against them they
escaped: Jordan, however, being afterwards convicted for a second
burglary in Copenhagen House, for which he received sentence of death.

Conviction having followed the production of this evidence, sentence of
death was passed. Upon the sacrament being administered to Horner and
Fryer, they admitted their guilt, and were executed at Tyburn on the
24th of June, 1778. The other offenders were subsequently also
apprehended and executed.



The case of this unfortunate gentleman was long the topic of general
conversation. Pamphlets and poems were written on the subject; and the
fate of Mr. Hackman was generally pitied, as it was conceived that he
was the victim of an insane love--a conclusion which will now be the
more readily arrived at when the circumstances under which the murder,
of which he was found guilty, was committed are considered.

It appears that Mr. Hackman was born at Gosport in Hampshire, and was
originally designed for trade, in which his father was engaged. It was
found, however, that his disposition was of too volatile a nature to
admit of his success in any business; and his parents, willing to
promote his interests to the extent of their power, purchased for him a
commission as ensign in the 68th regiment of foot. He had not been long
in the service before he was entrusted with the command of a recruiting
party, and going to Huntingdon, in pursuance of his instructions, he
there became known to the Earl of Sandwich, who had a seat in the
neighbourhood, and by whom he was frequently invited to dinner. It
appears that he now first became acquainted with the object of his
passion, and the victim of his crime.

Miss Reay was the daughter of a staymaker in Covent Garden, and served
her apprenticeship to a mantuamaker, in George's-court, St. John's lane,
Clerkenwell. She was bound when only thirteen; and during her
apprenticeship was taken notice of by the nobleman above mentioned, who
took her under his protection, and treated her with every mark of
tenderness. At the time of her being introduced to Mr. Hackman, she had
lived with her noble protector during a period of nineteen years, and in
the course of that time had borne him nine children; but although she
was nearly twice the age of Mr. Hackman, no sooner had he seen her than
he became violently enamoured of her.

It was while he was tormented by this unhappy and ungovernable passion
that he found that any hopes which he might entertain of preferment in
the army were not likely to be realised, and he determined to turn his
thoughts to the church. In pursuance of this design he took orders, and
he obtained the living of Wiverton, in Norfolk, only about Christmas
preceding the shocking deed which cost him his life.

How long he had been in London previous to this affair is not certainly
known; but at the time of its occurrence he lodged in Duke's-court, St.
Martin's-lane. On the morning of the 7th of April, 1779, he sat for a
considerable time in his closet, reading "Blair's Sermons:" but in the
evening he took a walk to the Admiralty, where he saw Miss Reay go into
the coach along with Signora Galli, who attended her. The coach drove to
Covent Garden Theatre, where the ladies stayed to see the performance of
"Love in a Village," and Mr. Hackman went into the theatre at the same
time; but not being able to contain the violence of his passion, he
returned, and again went to his lodgings, and having loaded two pistols
went to the playhouse, where he waited till the play was over. Seeing
Miss Reay ready to step into the coach, he took a pistol in each hand,
one of which he discharged against her, which killed her on the spot,
and the other at himself, which, however, did not take effect. He then
beat himself with the butt-end, on his head, in order to destroy
himself, so fully was he bent on the destruction of both; but after a
struggle he was secured, his wounds dressed, and then he was carried
before Sir John Fielding, who committed him to Tothillfields' Bridewell,
and next to Newgate, where a person was appointed to attend him, lest he
should lay violent hands on himself. In Newgate, as he knew he had no
favour to expect, he prepared himself for the awful change which was
about to take place. He had dined with his sister on the day on which
the murder was committed, and in the afternoon he wrote a letter to her
husband, Mr. Booth, an eminent attorney, informing him of his intention
to destroy himself, and desiring him to sell what effects he had, in
order to pay a small debt which he owed; but it appears that the letter
was not despatched, as it was found in his pocket.

The prisoner was indicted at the ensuing Old Bailey sessions, and it was
proved by Mr. MacNamara, that on Wednesday, the 7th of April, he was
quitting the theatre, when seeing Miss Reay, with whom he was slightly
acquainted, he offered her his assistance in reaching her carriage. She
accepted his preferred arm, and just as they were in the piazza he heard
the report of a pistol, when he directly felt his arm compressed by the
lady's hand, and she then immediately fell to the ground. He thought at
first that the lady had fallen from fright only, but on stooping to
raise her up, he found that his hand was bloody, and he then saw that
she was wounded. He immediately conveyed her into the Shakspeare Tavern,
whither the prisoner soon after followed in custody. He asked him some
questions about his reason for shooting Miss Reay, but the only answer
which he gave was, that that was not the place to satisfy him. The
prisoner afterwards said that his name was Hackman; and he sent for Mr.
Booth, who lived in Craven-street. Other evidence was also adduced, from
which it appeared that the prisoner followed Miss Reay out of the
theatre, and having tapped her on the shoulder to attract her attention,
he suddenly drew two pistols from his pocket, one of which he discharged
at her and the other at himself. They both fell feet to feet, and the
prisoner then beat himself about the head, and called out for some one
to kill him. He was secured by a Mr. McMahon, who dressed his wounds,
and conveyed him to the Shakspeare Tavern, where Miss Reay almost
immediately afterwards died.

On his being called upon for his defence, the prisoner addressed the
Court in the following terms:--"I should not have troubled the Court
with the examination of witnesses to support the charge against me, had
I not thought that the pleading guilty to the indictment gave an
indication of contemning death not suitable to my present condition, and
was, in some measure, being accessory to a second peril of my life: and
I therefore thought that the justice of my country ought to be satisfied
by suffering my offence to be proved, and the fact established by

"I stand here this day the most wretched of human beings, and confess
myself criminal in a high degree; yet while I acknowledge, with shame
and repentance, that my determination against my own life was formal and
complete, I protest, with that regard to truth which becomes my
situation, that the will to destroy her, who was ever dearer to me than
life, was never mine till a momentary frenzy overcame me, and induced me
to commit the deed I now deplore. The letter which I meant for my
brother-in-law after my decease will have its due weight as to this
point with good men.

"Before this dreadful act I trust nothing will be found in the tenor of
my life which the common charity of mankind will not excuse. I have no
wish to avoid the punishment which the laws of my country appoint for my
crime; but being already too unhappy to feel a punishment in death or a
satisfaction in life, I submit myself with penitence and patience to the
disposal and judgment of Almighty God, and to the consequences of this
inquiry into my conduct and intention."

The following letter was then read:--

"My dear Frederic,--When this reaches you I shall be no more; but do not
let my unhappy fate distress you too much: I have strove against it as
long as possible, but it now overpowers me. You well know where my
affections were placed: my having by some means or other lost hers (an
idea which I could not support) has driven me to madness. The world will
condemn me, but your good heart will pity me. God bless you, my dear
Frederic! Would I had a sum to leave you to convince you of my great
regard! You was my only friend. I have hid one circumstance from you
which gives me great pain. I owe Mr. Knight of Gosport one hundred
pounds, for which he has the writings of my houses; but I hope in God,
when they are sold and all other matters collected, there will be nearly
enough to settle our account. May Almighty God bless you and yours with
comfort and happiness; and may you ever be a stranger to the pangs I now
feel! May Heaven protect my beloved woman, and forgive this act, which
alone could relieve me from a world of misery I have long endured! Oh!
if it should ever be in your power to do her an act of friendship,
remember your faithful friend,


The jury immediately returned their fatal verdict. The unhappy man heard
the sentence pronounced against him with calm resignation to his fate,
and employed the very short time allowed murderers after conviction in
repentance and prayer.

During the procession to the fatal tree at Tyburn he seemed much
affected, and said but little; and when he arrived at Tyburn, and got
out of the coach and mounted the cart, he took leave of Dr. Porter and
the Ordinary in the most affectionate manner.

After some time spent in prayer, he was turned off, on April the 19th
1779; and having hung the usual time, his body was carried to Surgeons
Hall for dissection.



This offender was one of a class of the most mischievous and most daring
robbers; and the case which we have to relate, is one of a most
atrocious nature,--the extortion of money by means of threats to charge
the person imposed upon with a detestable crime, an offence which, we
regret to say, has been but too prevalent in later years.

In the month of February, 1779, James, alias Patrick Donally, was
indicted at the sessions held at the Old Bailey, for "that he, on the
king's highway, in and upon the Honourable Charles Fielding, did make an
assault, putting him in corporeal fear and danger of his life, and did
steal from his person, and against his will, half-a-guinea, on the 18th
of January:" and there was also a second count, which imputed to him a
similar offence on the 20th of the same month, in robbing the prosecutor
of a guinea.

From the evidence adduced, it appeared that the prosecutor was the
second son of the Earl of Denbigh. Between six and seven o'clock on the
evening of the 18th of January, he was going from the house of a lady,
with whom he had dined, to Covent Garden Theatre, when, on passing
through Soho-square, the prisoner came up to him and demanded some
money. Mr. Fielding was surprised at this address, and requested to know
upon what ground he applied to him; upon which the prisoner immediately
said, that if he did not comply, he would take him before a magistrate,
and impute to him the commission of a foul crime. Terrified by the
insinuation, he handed half-a-guinea to him, which was all the money
then in his possession, and returning to the house which he had just
quitted, he borrowed half-a-guinea of the servant, in order that he
might pursue his original intention of going to the theatre. On the 20th
of the same month he was in Oxford-road, when the prisoner again
accosted him, and saying that he could not have forgotten what passed
the other night in Soho-square, declared that he must have money, or
else, that he would follow up the intention which he had before
expressed, and added that he knew it would go hard with him, unless he
could prove an _alibi_. Mr. Fielding at this time was without money, but
going to Mr. Waters, a grocer in Bond-street, he borrowed a guinea from
him, which, under the influence of fear, he handed to the prisoner. On
the 12th February, a third attempt at extortion was made by the
prisoner; but in this instance, owing to the great resemblance between
Mr. Fielding and his brother Lord Fielding, he mistook the latter for
the former; Lord Fielding was on Hay-hill, when the prisoner accosted
him in terms implying that he had seen him before. His lordship,
however, expressed himself at a loss to know what he meant, when he
asked him if he did not remember giving him a half-guinea in
Soho-square, and a guinea at the grocer's in Bond-street? Lord Fielding
utterly denied all recollection of either affair, and said that the
prisoner should go before a magistrate to explain his meaning. The
prisoner assented, and they proceeded together in the direction of
Bow-street; but they had not gone many paces before the prisoner held
back, and said that he would go no further. Lord Fielding became rather
alarmed, and, being terrified by the prisoner's threats, he allowed him
to escape. On the Tuesday following, however, as he was passing near the
same spot, a voice, which he recognised as that of the prisoner, called
out, "My Lord, I have met you again," and the prisoner at the same time
coming from behind him, his Lordship seized him by the collar; the
prisoner declared that he had been used ill when he last saw his
Lordship, upon which the latter declared that he had used him too well,
and would take care now that he should not get away again.

Donally now desired to be treated like a _gentleman_, saying he would
not be dragged, but would go quietly, and Lord Fielding, not seeing any
person who was likely to assist him, and apprehending a rescue, told him
that, if he would walk along quietly to the next coffee-house, he would
not drag him. They walked down Dover-street together; but the prisoner
increasing his pace, Lord Fielding followed, and seized him. He fell
down twice, but was again seized as soon as he arose.

By this time a crowd was assembled; Major Hartly, and two other
gentlemen, happened to come by, and with their aid, the prisoner was
secured, and conveyed to Bow-street, where the magistrates, on hearing
the evidence, thought that the crime amounted to a highway robbery, and
committed him for trial accordingly.

Donally in his defence, acknowledged that he had met Lord Fielding
twice; that he had addressed him with decency, and desired him to hear
something respecting his brother; and that Sir John Fielding had made
the Honourable Charles Fielding carry on the prosecution. He did not
deny the receipt of the guinea at the grocer's in Bond-Street; but
averred that he did not deserve death on account of the charge against

The jury, having considered the whole evidence, brought in a verdict of
"Guilty;" but Mr. Justice Buller, before whom the offender was tried,
reserved the case for the opinion of the judges on a point of law.

On the 29th of April, 1779, the judges met, and gave their opinion on
this case, pronouncing it a new species of robbery to evade the law, but
which was _not_ to be evaded; and the prisoner therefore underwent its
sentence, which he had, with most abominable wickedness, brought upon
his own head.

Another diabolical villain of this description, named John Staples, was,
on the 6th of December, 1779, hanged at Tyburn, for extorting money from
Thomas Harris Crosby, Esq. by charging him with an abominable crime.



The case of this malefactor so strongly resembles that of a person named
Edward Morgan, an account of whose crime we have already given, that we
are induced to hope, for the sake of humanity, that some mistake has
arisen in describing them as separate offences.

The crime for which the person whose case we are now considering, most
justly suffered, was attended with extraordinary acts of cruelty.

The inhabitants of Narbeth, a small village in the county of Pembroke,
were, in the middle of one night in the month of March, 1779, alarmed
with the appearance of fire bursting from a farm-house near the
turnpike. Before they could render assistance the house was nearly razed
to the ground, and the family were missing. On examining the ruins the
remains of the owner, Mr. Thomas, an old and respectable farmer, were
found on a bench in a leaning posture, but so much burnt that it was
impossible to determine whether he had been first murdered, or had
perished by the flames.

Proceeding in the search, the next unhappy victim found was his niece, a
fine young woman of about thirty years of age, whose body lay across the
feet of a half burnt bedstead, with a thigh broken, and an arm missing.
Among the ruins of another room was discovered the body of a labouring
man, much burnt, but with a large wound on the back of his head, from
which much blood had issued; and Mrs. Thomas' servant-woman, who was
exceedingly robust, was also found dead at the entrance of one of the
rooms, with several deep wounds in her head, and her hair clotted with
blood. Her body was not so much burned as the others; and near her was
discovered a large kitchen spit, half bent, with which it was
conjectured she had opposed the murderers, for there could now be no
doubt that the horrid scene which presented itself was the work of some
person who, for the sake of plundering the house, had massacred its
inhabitants and had then fired the premises, in order to conceal his
bloody crimes. So horrible a deed excited universal attention, and every
means was taken to secure its author.

A man named John Morris, a lazy, worthless character, who had been
already in custody upon other charges, was apprehended on suspicion of
being concerned in the affair; but he effectually put an end to all
hopes of eliciting any information from him by throwing himself into a
coal-pit, in spite of the efforts of the constables, in whose care he
was, to restrain him, where his mangled remains were afterwards found.
At length suspicion fell on Morgan Philips, and he, finding the general
belief to be that he was guilty of this most horrible crime, at length
confessed that he and Morris had been its perpetrators; that they had
broken into the house of the farmer, and having murdered the family,
from whom they met with considerable resistance, they had carried off
all the valuable property which they could find, and had then set fire
to the farm to prevent discovery.

The prisoner being put upon his trial at Haverfordwest, his confession
was read to him, and assented to as being true; and its leading points
being corroborated by other witnesses, he was found guilty, and suffered
death at the same place on 5th April, 1779.

[Illustration: _The London Riots._

_p. 295_]



This offender was tried on Thursday, the 20th of May, 1779. There
perhaps never appeared in any court of justice so ingenious a man in his
style as this person. His practice for some time past had been to go to
the Bank, and take out a note; this he counterfeited, passed the copy,
and, after some time, returned the original. His frequent applications
at length exciting suspicions, which were increased by his appearance in
life, and other circumstances, he was taken up. When brought before
Justice Fielding, he was there known to be the person charged with
forgeries upon the bank at Darlington. The particular forgery now
charged on him was for making and uttering a note for payment of twenty
pounds, with intent to defraud Mr. Mann, of Coventry, and the Bank of
England. The note was produced in court, and the witnesses were brought
to prove its having been negotiated by him.

This fact being established, the next circumstance in consideration was
to prove that the note was absolutely a counterfeit one. This his
prosecutors were totally unable to do by any testimony they could
adduce, so minutely and so dexterously had he feigned all the different
marks. The note itself was not only so made as to render it altogether
impossible for any human eyes to perceive a difference; but the very
hands of the cashier and the entering clerk were also so counterfeited
as entirely to preclude a positive discrimination even by those persons
themselves. The water mark in the paper, too, namely, "Bank of England,"
which the bankers had considered as an infallible criterion of fair
notes, a mark which could not be resembled by any possible means, was
also hit off by this man, so as to put it out of the power of the most
exact observer to perceive a difference. Several paper-makers were of
opinion that this mark must have been put on in the making of the paper;
but Mathison declared that he put it on afterwards by a peculiar method,
known only to himself. The extreme similitude of the fair and false
notes had such an effect upon the judge and jury that the prisoner would
certainly have been discharged, for want of evidence to prove the
counterfeit, if his own information, taken at Fielding's, had not been
produced against him, which immediately turned the scale, and he was
found guilty.

He was executed at Tyburn, pursuant to his sentence, on July 28th 1779.
At the place of execution he made a speech which took up some minutes;
wherein he acknowledged his guilt, and hoped for forgiveness from the
Almighty. He also warned others to avoid the crime for which he
suffered, and forgave his prosecutors.



The history of London, from its earliest epoch, exhibits the occurrence
of no event of a more calamitous nature, or more pregnant with mischief,
than the riots of 1780. A commotion so rapid, and so daring in its
progress, was perhaps never known. The sovereignty of the King, and the
safety of the property of the subject, rested on laws which were
unsupported; the magistrates were confessedly intimidated; and all good
and loyal citizens were seized with a terror and panic, which were alone
dispelled by the restoration of tranquillity through the instrumentality
of the military force.

The origin of the riot is ascribed to the passing of an act of
Parliament, about two years previously, for "relieving his majesty's
subjects, of the Catholic Religion, from certain penalties and
disabilities imposed upon them during the reign of William III." A
petition to Parliament was framed for its repeal, and a general meeting
of a body of people, forming the Protestant Association, headed by Lord
George Gordon, was held on the 29th May, at the Coachmakers' Hall,
Noble-street, Aldersgate-street. At this meeting the noble lord moved
the following resolutions.

"Whereas no hall in London can contain forty thousand persons,

"Resolved,--That this association do meet on Friday next in St.
George's-fields, at ten o'clock in the morning, to consider the most
prudent and respectful manner of attending their petition, which will be
presented the same day to the House of Commons.

"Resolved,--For the sake of good order and regularity, that this
association, in coming to the ground, do separate themselves into four
divisions, viz.--the London division, the Westminster division, the
Southwark division, and the Scotch division.

"Resolved,--That the London division do take place of the ground towards
Southwark; the Westminster division second; the Southwark division
third; and the Scotch division upon the left, all wearing blue cockades,
to distinguish themselves from the papists, and those who approve of the
late act in favour of popery.

"Resolved,--That the magistrates of London, Westminster, and Southwark,
are requested to attend; that their presence may overawe and control any
riotous or evil-minded persons who may wish to disturb the legal and
peaceable deportment of his majesty's subjects."

His lordship having intimated that he would not present the petition
unless twenty thousand persons attended the meeting, and the resolutions
having been published and placarded through the streets, on the day
appointed a vast concourse of people from all parts of the City and its
environs assembled in St. George's-fields. The main body took their
route over London-bridge, marching in order, six or eight in a rank,
through the City towards Westminster, accompanied by flags bearing the
words "No Popery." At Charing-Cross, the mob was increased by additional
numbers on foot, on horseback, and in various vehicles, so that by the
time the different parties met together, all the avenues to both houses
of Parliament were entirely filled with the crowd. The rabble now took
possession of all the passages leading to the House of Commons, from the
outer doors to the very entrance for the members; which latter they
twice attempted to force open; and a like attempt was made at the House
of Lords, but without success in either instance. In the meantime, Lord
George Gordon came into the House of Commons with an unembarrassed
countenance, and a blue cockade in his hat, after "riding in the
whirlwind and directing the storm;" but finding it gave offence he took
it out and put it in his pocket; not however before Captain Herbert, of
the navy, one of the members, threatened to pull it out; while Colonel
Murray, another member, declared that, if the mob broke into the house,
he (looking at Lord George) should instantly be the victim.

The petition having been presented, the populace separated into parties,
and proceeded to demolish the Catholic chapels, in Duke-street,
Lincoln's Inn Fields, and Warwick-street, Golden-square; and all the
furniture, ornaments, and altars of both chapels were committed to the
flames. After various other outrages, the prison of Newgate was
attacked. They demanded from the keeper, Mr. Ackerman, the release of
their confined associates: he refused to comply; yet, dreading the
consequence, he went to the sheriff's to know their pleasure. On his
return he found his house in flames; and the jail itself was soon in a
similar situation. The doors and entrances were broken open with
crowbars and sledge-hammers; and it is scarcely to be credited with what
rapidity this strong prison was destroyed. The public office in
Bow-street, and Sir John Fielding's house, adjoining were presently
destroyed, and all their furniture and effects, books, papers, &c.
committed to the flames. Justice Coxe's house in Great Queen-street,
Lincoln's Inn Fields, was similarly treated; and the two prisons at
Clerkenwell set open, and the prisoners liberated. The King's Bench
Prison, with some houses adjoining, a tavern, and the New Bridewell,
were also set on fire, and almost entirely consumed.

The mob now appeared to consider themselves as superior to all
authority; they declared their resolution to burn all the remaining
public prisons; and demolish the Bank, the Temple, Gray's Inn, Lincoln's
Inn, the Mansion House, the royal palaces, and the arsenal at Woolwich.
The attempt upon the Bank of England was actually made twice in the
course of one day; but both attacks were but feebly conducted, and the
rioters easily repulsed, several of them falling by the fire of the
military, and many others being severely wounded.

To form an adequate idea of the distress of the inhabitants in every
part of the city would be impossible. Six-and-thirty fires were to be
seen blazing in the metropolis during the night.

At length the continued arrival of fresh troops, from all parts of the
country, within fifty or sixty miles of the metropolis, intimidated the
rabble; and soon after the disturbances were quelled.

The Royal Exchange, the public buildings, the squares, and the principal
streets, were all occupied by troops; the shops were closed; while
immense volumes of dense smoke were still rising from the ruins of
consumed edifices.

During the riots, many persons, terrified by the alarming outrages of
the mob, fled from London, and took refuge at places at a considerable
distance from town. The following account was written by Dr. Johnson to
Mrs. Thrale, who had gone into the country for safety; and may not prove
uninteresting. The doctor was an eye-witness to many of the scenes which
he depicts:--

"On Friday, the 2d of June, the good Pr