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Lives Of The Most Remarkable Criminals Who have been Condemned and Executed for Murder, the Highway, Housebreaking, Street Robberies, Coining or other offences by Arthur L. Hayward

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The assailant is strangling his victim with a whip-thong; nearby is a
typical roadside gallows with two highwaymen dangling from the

(_From the Newgate Calendar_)]




Who have been Condemned and Executed for Murder, the Highway,
Housebreaking, Street Robberies, Coining or other offences

_Collected from Original Papers and Authentic Memoirs, and
Published in 1735_





Volume One

Preface--Jane Griffin--John Trippuck, Richard Cane and Richard
Shepherd--William Barton--Robert Perkins--Barbara Spencer--Walter
Kennedy--Matthew Clark--John Winship--John Meff--John Wigley--William
Casey--John Dykes--Richard James--James Wright--Nathaniel Hawes--John
Jones--John Smith--James Shaw, _alias_ Smith--William Colthouse--William
Burridge--John Thomson--Thomas Reeves--Richard Whittingham--James
Booty--Thomas Butlock--Nathaniel Jackson--James Carrick--John
Molony--Thomas Wilson--Robert Wilkinson and James Lincoln--Mathias
Brinsden--Edmund Neal--Charles Weaver--John Levee--Richard Oakey and
Matthew Flood--William Burk--Luke Nunney--Richard Trantham--John Tyrrell
and William Hawksworth--William Duce--James Butler--Captain John
Massey--Philip Roche--Humphrey Angier--Captain Stanley--Stephen
Gardiner--Samuel Ogden, John Pugh, William Frost, Richard Woodman and
William Elisha--Thomas Burden--Frederick Schmidt--Peter Curtis--Lumley
Davis--James Harman--John Lewis--The Waltham Blacks--Julian, a Black
Boy--Abraham Deval--Joseph Blake, _alias_ Blueskin--John Shepherd--Lewis
Houssart--Charles Towers--Thomas Anderson--Joseph Picken--Thomas
Packer--Thomas Bradely--William Lipsat--John Hewlet--James Cammell and
William Marshal--John Guy--Vincent Davis--Mary Hanson--Bryan
Smith--Joseph Ward--James White--Joseph Middleton

Volume Two

Preface--William Sperry--Robert Harpham--Jonathan Wild--John
Little--John Price--Foster Snow--John Whalebone--James Little--John
Hamp--John Austin, John Foster and Richard Scurrier--Francis
Bailey--John Barton--William Swift--Edward Burnworth, etc.--John
Gillingham--John Cotterel--Catherine Hayes--Thomas Billings--Thomas
Wood--Captain Jaen--William Bourn--John Murrel--William Hollis--Thomas
Smith--Edward Reynolds--John Claxton--Mary Standford--John
Cartwright--Frances Blacket--Jane Holmes--Katherine Fitzpatrick--Mary
Robinson--Jane Martin--Timothy Benson--Joseph Shrewsberry--Anthony
Drury--William Miller--Robert Haynes--Thomas Timms, Thomas Perry and
Edward Brown--Alice Green--An Account of the Murder of Mr. Widdington
Darby--Joshua Cornwall

Volume Three

John Turner, _alias_ Civil John--John Johnson--James Sherwood, George
Weldon and John Hughs--Martin Bellamy--William Russell, Robert Crough and
William Holden--Christopher Rawlins, etc.--Richard Hughes and Bryan
MacGuire--James How--Griffith Owen, Samuel Harris and Thomas
Medline--Peter Levee, etc.--Thomas Neeves--Henry Gahogan and Robert
Blake--Peter Kelley--William Marple and Timothy Cotton--John
Upton--Jephthah Bigg--Thomas James Grundy--Joseph Kemp--Benjamin
Wileman--James Cluff--John Dyer--William Rogers, William Simpson and
Robert Oliver--James Drummond--William Caustin and Geoffrey
Younger--Henry Knowland and Thomas Westwood--John Everett--Robert
Drummond and Ferdinando Shrimpton--William Newcomb--Stephen
Dowdale--Abraham Israel--Ebenezer Ellison--James Dalton--Hugh
Houghton--John Doyle--John Young--Thomas Polson--Samuel
Armstrong--Nicholas Gilburn--James O'Bryan, Hugh Morris and Robert
Johnson--Captain John Gow




Murder on Hounslow Heath
Matthew Clark cutting the throat of Sarah Goldington
A Prisoner Under Pressure in Newgate
The Hangman arrested when attending John Meff to Tyburn
Stephen Gardiner making his dying speech at Tyburn
Jack Sheppard in the Stone Room in Newgate
Trial of a Highwayman at the Old Bailey
Jonathan Wild pelted by the mob on his way to Tyburn
A Condemned Man drawn on a Sledge to Tyburn
The Murder of John Hayes:
Catherine Hayes, Wood and Billings cutting off the head
John Hayes's Head exhibited at St. Margaret's, Westminster
Catherine Hayes burnt for the murder of her husband
Joseph Blake attempting the life of Jonathan Wild
An Execution in Smithfield Market
Highway Robbery of His Majesty's Mail
A Gang of Men and Women Transports being marched from
Newgate to Blackfriars


_To close the scene of all his actions he
Was brought from Newgate to the fatal tree;
And there his life resigned, his race is run,
And Tyburn ends what wickedness begun._

If there be a haunted spot in London it must surely be a few square
yards that lie a little west of the Marble Arch, for in the long course
of some six centuries over fifty thousand felons, traitors and martyrs
took there a last farewell of a world they were too bad or too good to
live in. From remote antiquity, when the seditious were taken _ad furcas
Tyburnam_, until that November day in 1783 when John Austin closed the
long list, the gallows were kept ever busy, and during the first half of
the eighteenth century, with which this book deals, every Newgate
sessions sent thither its thieves, highwaymen and coiners by the score.

There has been some discussion as to the exact site of Tyburn gallows,
but there can be little doubt that the great permanent three-beamed
erection--the Triple Tree--stood where now the Edgware Road joins Oxford
Street and Bayswater Road. A triangular stone let into the roadway
indicates the site of one of its uprights. In 1759 the sinister beams
were pulled down, a moveable gibbet being brought in a cart when there
was occasion to use it. The moveable gallows was in use until 1783, when
the place of execution was transferred to Newgate; the beams of the old
structure being sawn up and converted to a more genial use as stands for
beer-butts in a neighbouring public-house.

The original gallows probably consisted of two uprights with a
cross-piece, but when Elizabeth's government felt that more adequate
means must be provided to strengthen its subjects' faith and enforce the
penal laws against Catholics, a new type of gibbet was sought. So in
1571 the triangular one was erected, with accommodation for eight such
miscreants on each beam, or a grand total of twenty-four at a
stringing. It was first used for the learned Dr. John Story, who, upon
June 1st, "was drawn upon a hurdle from the Tower of London unto Tyburn,
where was prepared for him a new pair of gallows made in triangular
manner". There is rather a gruesome tale of how, when in pursuance of
the sentence the executioner had cut him down and was "rifling among his
bowels", the doctor arose and dealt him a shrewd blow on the head.
Doctor Story was followed by a long line of priests, monks, laymen and
others who died for their faith to the number of some three thousand.
And the Triple Tree, the Three-Legged Mare, or Deadly Never-green, as
the gallows were called with grim familiarity, flourished for another
two hundred years.

In the early eighteenth century it appears to have been the usual custom
to reserving sentencing until the end of the sessions, but as soon as
the jury's verdict of guilty was known steps were taken to procure a
pardon by the condemned man's friends. They had, indeed, much more
likelihood of success in those times when the Law was so severe than in
later days when capital punishment was reserved for the most heinous
crimes. On several occasions in the following pages mention is made of
felons urging their friends to bribe or make interest in the right
quarters for obtaining a pardon, or commutation of the sentence to one
of transportation. It was not until the arrival of the death warrant
that the condemned man felt that the "Tyburn tippet" was really being
drawn about his neck.

No better description can be given of the ride to Tyburn tree, from
Newgate and along Holborn, than that furnished by one of the _Familiar
Letters_ written by Samuel Richardson in 1741:

I mounted my horse and accompanied the melancholy cavalcade from
Newgate to the fatal Tree. The criminals were five in number. I was
much disappointed at the unconcern and carelessness that appeared in
the faces of three of the unhappy wretches; the countenance of the
other two were spread with that horror and despair which is not to
be wondered at in men whose period of life is so near, with the
terrible aggravation of its being hastened by their own voluntary
indiscretion and misdeeds. The exhortation spoken by the Bell-man,
from the wall of St. Sepulchre's churchyard is well intended; but
the noise of the officers and the mob was so great, and the silly
curiosity of people climbing into the cart to take leave of the
criminals made such a confused noise that I could not hear the
words of the exhortation when spoken, though they are as follows:

All good people pray heartily to God for these poor sinners, who are
now going to their deaths; for whom this great bell doth toll.

You that are condemned to die, repent with lamentable tears. Ask
mercy of the Lord for the salvation of your own souls through the
merits, death and passion of Jesus Christ, Who now sits at the right
hand of God, to make intercession for as many of you as penitently
return unto Him.

Lord, have mercy upon you! Christ have mercy upon you!

Which last words the Bell-man repeats three times.

All the way up to Holborn the crowd was so great as at every twenty
or thirty yards to obstruct the passage; and wine, notwithstanding a
late good order against this practice, was brought to the
malefactors, who drank greedily of it, which I thought did not suit
well with their deplorable circumstances. After this the three
thoughtless young men, who at first seemed not enough concerned,
grew most shamefully wanton and daring, behaving, themselves in a
manner that would have been ridiculous in men in any circumstances
whatever. They swore, laughed, and talked obscenely, and wished
their wicked companions good luck with as much assurance as if their
employment had been the most lawful.

At the place of execution the scene grew still more shocking, and
the clergyman who attended was more the subject of ridicule than of
their serious attention. The Psalm was sung amidst the curses and
quarrelling of hundreds of the most abandoned and profligate of
mankind, upon them (so stupid are they to any sense of decency) all
the preparation of the unhappy wretches seems to serve only for
subject of a barbarous kind of mirth, altogether inconsistent with
humanity. And as soon as the poor creatures were half dead, I was
much surprised to see the populace fall to hauling and pulling the
carcasses with so much earnestness as to occasion several warm
rencounters and broken heads. These, I was told, were the friends of
the persons executed, or such as, for the sake of to-night, chose to
appear so: as well as some persons sent by private surgeons to
obtain bodies for dissection. The contests between these were fierce
and bloody, and frightful to look at; so I made the best of my way
out of the crowd, and with some difficulty rode back among the large
number of people who had been upon the same errand as myself. The
face of every one spoke a kind of mirth, as if the spectacle they
had beheld had afforded pleasure instead of pain, which I am wholly
unable to account for....

One of the bodies was carried to the lodging of his wife, who not
being in the way to receive it, they immediately hawked it about to
every surgeon they could think of; and when none would buy it they
rubbed tar all over it, and left it in a field scarcely covered with

In a few words, too, Swift draws a vivid picture of a rogue on his last
journey through the London streets:

His waistcoat, and stockings, and breeches were white;
His cap had a new cherry ribbon to tie't.
The maids to the doors and the balconies ran,
And said, "Lack-a-day, he's a proper young man!"
But as from the windows the ladies he spied,
Like a beau in a box, he bow'd low on each side.

Execution day, or Tyburn Fair, as it was jocularly called, was not
only a holiday for the ragamuffins and idlers of London; folk of all
classes made their way thither to indulge a morbid desire of seeing
the dying agonies of a fellow being, criminal or not. There were
grand stands and scaffoldings from which the more favoured could
view the proceedings in comfort, and every inch of window space and
room on the neighbouring roofs was worth a pretty penny to the
owners. In his last scene of the career of the Idle Apprentice
Hogarth drew a picture of Tyburn Tree which no description can

As the procession drew near the hangman clambered to the cross-piece
of the gallows and lolled there, pipe in mouth, until the first cart
drew up beneath him. Then he would reach down, or one of his
assistants would pass up, one after the other, the loose ends of the
halters which the condemned men had had placed round their necks
before leaving Newgate. When all were made fast Jack Ketch climbed
down and kicked his heels until the sheriff, or maybe the felons
themselves, gave him the sign to drive away the cart and leave its
occupants dangling in mid-air. The dead men's clothes were his
perquisite, and now was his time to claim them. There is a graphic
description of how, on one occasion, when the murderer "flung down
his handkerchief for the signal for the cart to move on, Jack Ketch,
instead of instantly whipping on the horse, jumped on the other side
of him to snatch up the handkerchief, lest he should lose his
rights. He then returned to the head of the cart and jehu'd him out
of the world".

As the cart drew away a few carrier pigeons, which were released
from the galleries, flew off City-ward to bear the tidings to

Perhaps as good a description of the actual event as can be obtained is
contained in a letter from Anthony Storer to his friend George Selwyn, a
morbid cynic whose cruel and tasteless bon-mots were hailed as wit by
Horace Walpole and his cronies. The execution was that of Dr. Dodd, the
"macaroni parson", whose unfortunate vanity led him to forgery and
Tyburn. The date--June 27, 1777--is considerably after the period of our
book, but the description applies as well as if it had been written
expressly for it.

Upon the whole, the piece was not very full of events. The doctor,
to all appearances, was rendered perfectly stupid from despair. His
hat was flapped all round, and pulled over his eyes, which were
never directed to any object around, nor even raised, except now and
then lifted up in the course of his prayers. He came in a coach, and
a very heavy shower of rain fell just upon his entering the
executioner's cart, and another just at his putting on his nightcap.
During the shower an umbrella was held over his head, which Gilly
Williams, who was present, observed was quite unnecessary, as the
doctor was going to a place where he might be dried.

He was a considerable time in praying, which some people standing
about seemed rather tired with; they rather wished for a more
interesting part of the tragedy. The wind, which was high, blew off
his hat, which rather embarrassed him, and discovered to us his
countenance, which we could scarcely see before. His hat, however,
was soon restored to him, and he went on with his prayers. There
were two clergymen attending on him, one of whom seemed very much
affected. The other, I suppose, was the Ordinary of Newgate, as he
was perfectly indifferent and unfeeling in everything he did and

The executioner took both the hat and wig off at the same time. Why
he put on his wig again I do not know, but he did; and the doctor
took off his wig a second time, and then tied on the nightcap which
did not fit him; but whether he stretched that or took another, I
did not perceive. He then put on his nightcap himself, and upon his
taking it he certainly had a smile on his countenance, and very soon
afterwards there was an end of all his hopes and fears on this side
of the grave. He never moved from the place he first took in the
cart; seemed absorbed in despair and utterly dejected; without any
other sign of animation but in praying. I stayed until he was cut
down and put in the hearse.

But the hangman's work was not always done when he had turned off his
man. The full sentence for high treason, for example, provided him with
much more occupation. In the first place, the criminal was drawn to the
gallows and not carried or allowed to walk. Common humanity had
mitigated this sentence to being drawn upon a hurdle or sledge, which
preserved him from the horrors of being dragged over the stones. Having
been hanged, the traitor was then cut down alive, and Jack Ketch set
about disembowelling him and burning his entrails before he died. The
head was then completely severed, the body quartered and the dismembered
pieces taken away for exhibition at Temple Bar and other prominent

Here is the account of one such execution. "After the traitor had hung
six minutes he was cut down, and having life in him, as he lay upon the
block to be quartered, the executioner gave him several blows on his
breast, which not having the effect designed, he immediately cut his
throat; after which he took his head off; then ripped him open and took
out his bowels and heart, and then threw them into a fire which consumed
them. Then he slashed his four quarters and put them with the head into
a coffin.... His head was put on Temple Bar and his body and limbs
suffered to be buried."

Such proceedings were exceptional, however. In the majority of
executions the body was taken down when life was considered to be
extinct, and carried away to Surgeon's Hall for dissection. Sometimes
the relatives used their influence to have the corpse handed over to
them (often not even in a coffin) and they then carried it away in a
coach for decent burial, or to try resuscitation. Occasionally, indeed,
hanged men came to life again. In 1740 one Duel, or Dewell, was hanged
for a rape, and his body taken to Surgeons' Hall in the ordinary
routine. As one of the attendants was washing it he perceived signs of
life. Steps were taken immediately and Duel was brought to, and
eventually taken away in triumph by the mob, who had got wind of the
affair and refused to allow the Law to re-hang their man. A little
earlier something of the same sort had happened to John Smith, who had
been hanging for five minutes and a quarter, during which time the
hangman "pulled him by the legs and used other means to put a speedy
period to his life", when a reprieve arrived and he was cut down. He was
hurried away to a neighbouring tavern where restoratives were given,
blood was let, and after a time he came to himself, "to the great
admiration of the spectators". According to his own account of the
affair, he felt a terrible pain when first the cart drew away and left
him dangling, but that ceased almost at once, his last sensation being
that of a light glimmering fitfully before his eyes. Yet all his
previous agony was surpassed when he was being brought to, and the blood
began to circulate freely again. A last ignominy, and one strangely
dreaded by some of the most hardened criminals, was hanging in irons.
When life was extinct the corpse was placed in a sort of iron cage and
thus suspended from a gibbet, usually by the highway or near the place
where the crime had been committed. There it hung until it fell to
pieces from the effects of Time and the weather, and only a few hideous
bones and scraps of dried flesh remained as evidence of the strong hand
of the Law.

With the exception of minor alterations in punctuation and spellings
this book is a complete reprint of three volumes printed and sold by
John Osborn, at the Golden Ball, in Paternoster Row, 1735.

A. L. H.




_The clemency of the Law of England is so great that it does not take
away the life of any subject whatever, but in order to the preservation
of the rest both by removing the offender from a possibility of
multiplying his offences, and by the example of his punishment intending
to deter others from such crimes as the welfare of society requires
should be punished with the utmost severity of the Law. My intention in
communicating to the public the lives of those who, for about a dozen
years past have been victims to their own crimes, is to continue to
posterity the good effects of such examples, and by a recital of their
vices to warn those who become my readers from ever engaging in those
paths which necessarily have so fatal an end. In the work itself I have,
as well as I am able, painted in a proper light those vices which induce
men to fall into those courses which are so justly punished by the

_I flatter myself that however contemptible the_ Lives of the Criminals,
_etc., may seem in the eyes of those who affect great wisdom and put on
the appearance of much learning, yet it will not be without its uses
amongst the middling sort of people, who are glad to take up with books
within the circle of their own comprehension. It ought to be the care of
all authors to treat their several subjects so that while they are read
for the sake of amusement they may, as it were imperceptibly, convey
notions both profitable and just. The adventures of those who, for the
sake of supplying themselves with money for their debaucheries, have
betaken themselves to the desperate trade of knights of the road, often
have in them circumstances diverting enough and such as serve to show us
what sort of amusements they are by which vice betrays us to ruin, and
how the fatal inclination to gratify our passions hurries us finally to

_I would not have my readers imagine however, because I talk of
rendering books of this kind useful, that I have thrown out any part of
what may be styled interesting. On the contrary, I have carefully
preserved this and as far as the subject would give me leave, improved
it, but with this caution always, that I have set forth the
entertainments of vice in their proper colours, lest young people might
be led to take them for innocent diversions, and from figures not
uncommon in modern authors, learn to call lewdness gallantry, and the
effects of unbridled lust the starts of too warm an imagination. These
are notions which serve to cheat the mind and represent as the road of
pleasure that which is indeed the highway to the gallows. This, I
conceived, was the use proper to be made of the lives, or rather the
deaths of malefactors, and if I have done no other good in writing them,
I shall have at least this satisfaction, that I have preserved them from
being presented to the world in such a dress as might render the_
Academy of Thieving _their proper title, a thing once practised before,
and if one may guess from the general practice of mankind, might
probably have been attempted again, with success. How a different method
will fare in the world, time only can determine, and to that I leave it.
Yet considering the method in which I treat this subject, I readily
forsaw one objection which occasioned my writing so long a preface as
this, in order that it might be fully obviated._

_Though in the body of the work itself I have carefully traced the rise
of those corrupt inclinations which bring men to the committing of facts
within the cognizance of the Law, it still remains necessary that my
readers also become acquainted, at least in general, with what those
facts are which are so severely punished. In doing this I shall not
speak of matters in the style of a lawyer, but preserve the same
plainness of language which, as I thought it the most proper, I have
endeavoured throughout the whole piece._

_The order of things requires that I should first of all take notice how
the Law comes to have a right of punishing those who live under it with
Death or other grievous penalties, and this in a few words arises thus.
We enter into society for the sake of protection, and as this renders
certain laws necessary, we are justly concluded by them in other cases
for the protection of others; but of all the criminal institutions which
have been settled in any nation, never was any more just, more
reasonable, or fuller of clemency, than that which is called the Crown
Law in England. In speaking of this it may not be improper to explain
the meaning of that term, which seems to take its rise from the
conclusion of indictments, which run always_ contra pacem dicti domini
regis, coronam et dignitatem suam _(against the peace of our Sovereign
Lord the King, his Crown and Dignity) and therefore, as the Crown is
always the prosecutor against such offenders, the Law which creates the
offence is with propriety enough styled the Crown Law._

_The first head of Crown Law is that which concerns offences committed
against God, and anciently there were three which were capital, viz.,
heresy, witchcraft and sodomy; but the law passed in the reign of King
Charles the Second for taking away the writ_ de Haeretica comburendo,
_leaves the first not now punishable with death, even in its highest
degree. However, by a statute made in the reign of King William, persons
educated in the Christian religion who are convicted of denying the
Trinity, the Christian religion, or the authority of the Scriptures, are
for the first offence to be adjudged incapable of office, for the second
to be disabled from suing in any action, and over and above other
incapacities to suffer three years' imprisonment. As to witchcraft, it
was formerly punished in the same manner as heresy. In the time of
Edward the Third, one taken with the head and face of a dead man and a
book of sorcery about him, was brought into the King's Bench, and only
sworn that he would not thenceforth be a sorcerer, and so dismissed, the
head, however, being burnt at his charge. There was a law made against
conjurations, enchantments and witchcraft, in the days of Queen
Elizabeth, but it stands repealed by a statute of King James's time,
which is the law whereon all proceedings at this day are founded. By
this law, any person invoking or conjuring any evil spirit, covenanting
with, employing, feeding, or rewarding them, or taking up any dead
person out of their grave, or any part of them, and making use of it in
any witchcraft, sorcery, etc., shall suffer death as a felon, without
benefit of clergy, and this whether the spirits appear, or whether the
charm take effect or no. By the same statute those who take upon them by
witchcraft, etc., to tell where treasure is hid, or things lost or
stolen should be found, or to engage unlawful love, shall suffer for the
first offence a year's imprisonment, and stand in the pillory once every
quarter in that year six hours, and if guilty a second time, shall
suffer death; even though such discoveries should prove false, or
charms, etc., should have no effect. Executions upon this Act were
heretofore frequent, but of late years, prosecutions on these heads in
which vulgar opinion often goes a great way have been much discouraged
and discontinued. As for the last head it remains yet capital, by virtue
of a statute made in the reign of Henry VIII, which had been repealed in
the first of Queen Mary, and was revived in the fifth of Queen
Elizabeth, by which statute, after reciting that the laws then in being
in this realm were not sufficient for punishing that detestable vice, it
is enacted that such crimes for the future, whether committed with
mankind or beasts, should be punished as felonies without benefit of

_It is wide of my purpose to dwell any longer on those crimes which are
by the laws styled properly against God, seeing none of the persons
mentioned in the following work were executed for doing anything against
them. Let us therefore pass on to the second great branch of the Crown
Law, viz., offences immediately against the King, and these are either
treasons or felonies. Of treasons there are four kinds, all settled by
the Statute of the 25th of Edward the Third. The two latter only, viz.,
offences against the King's great or privy seal, and offences in
counterfeiting money, have anything to do with our present design, and
therefore we shall speak particularly of them. Not only the persons who
actually counterfeit those seals, but even the aiders and consenters to
such counterfeiting, are within the Act, and by a statute made in the
reign of Queen Mary, counterfeiting the sign manual or privy signet, is
also made high treason. By the same statute of Edward the Third, the
making of false money, or the bringing it into this realm, in deceit of
our Lord the King and his people, was also declared to be high treason,
but this Act being found insufficient, clippers being not made guilty
either of treason or of misprison of treason, it was helped in that
respect by several other Acts; but the fullest of all was the Act made
in the reign of the late King William, and rendered perpetual by a
subsequent Law made in the reign of her late Majesty [Anne], whereby it
is enacted, that whoever shall make, mend, buy, sell, or have in his
possession, any mould or press for coining, or shall convey such
instruments out of the King's Mint, or mark on the edges of any coin
current or counterfeit, or any round blanks of base metal, or colour or
gild any coin resembling the coin of this kingdom, shall suffer death as
in case of high treason. At the time when these laws were made coining
and clipping were at a prodigious height, and practised not only by mean
and indigent persons but also by some of tolerable character and rank,
insomuch that these executions were numerous for some years after
passing the said Act, which as it created some new species of high
treason, so it also made felony some other offences against the coin
which were not so, or at least were not clearly so before, viz., to
blanch copper for sale; or to mix blanch copper with silver, or
knowingly or fraudulently to buy any mixture which shall be heavier than
silver, and look, touch, and wear like gold, but be manifestly worse; or
receive, or pay any counterfeit money at a lower rate than its
denomination doth import, shall be guilty of felony._

_A third head under which, in this cursory account of Crown Law, I shall
range other offences that are punished capitally, are those against our
fellow subjects, and they are either committed against their lives,
their goods or their habitations. With respect to those against life, if
one person kill another without any malice aforethought, then that
natural tenderness of which the Law of England is full, interposes for
the first fact, which in such a case is denominated manslaughter. Yet
there is a particular kind of manslaughter which, by the first of King
James, is made felony without benefit of clergy, and that is, where a
person shall stab or thrust any person or persons that have not any
weapon drawn (or that have not first struck the party which shall so
stab or thrust), so that the person or persons so stabbed or thrust
shall die within six months next following, though it cannot be proved
that the same was done of malice aforethought. This Act it is which is
commonly called the Statute of Stabbing._

_As to murder properly so called, and taking it as a term in the English
Law, it signifies the killing of any person whatsoever from malice
aforethought, whether the person slain be an Englishman or not, and this
may not only be done directly by a wound or blow, but also by
deliberately doing a thing which apparently endangers another's life, so
that if death follow thereon he shall be adjudged to have killed him.
Such was the case of him who carried his sick father from one town to
another against his will in a frosty season. It would be too long for
this Preface, should I endeavour to distinguish the several cases which
in the eye of the Law come under this denomination; having, therefore, a
view to the work itself, I shall distinguish two points only from which
malice prepense is presumed in Law._

_(1) Where an express purpose appears in him who kills, to do some
personal injury to him who is slain; in which case malice is properly to
be expressed._

_(2) Where a person in the execution of an unlawful action kills
another, though his principal intent was not to do any personal injury
to the person slain; in which case the malice is said to be implied._

_As to duels where the blood has once cooled, there is no doubt but he
who kills another is guilty of wilful murder; or even in case of a
sudden quarrel, if the person killing appear by any circumstance to be
master of his temper at the time he slew the other, then it will be
murder. Not that the English Law allows nothing to the frailties of
human nature, but that it always exerts itself where there appears to
have been a person killed in cool blood. Far this reason the seconds at
a premeditated duel have been held guilty of murder, nor will the
justice of the English Law be defeated where a person appears to have
intended a less hurt than death, if that hurt arose from a desire of
revenge in cool blood; for if the person dies of the injury it will be
murder. So, also, where the revenge of a sudden provocation is executed
in a cruel manner, though without intention of death, yet if it happen,
it is murder._

_We come now to those kinds of killing in which the Law, from the second
method of reasoning we have spoken of, implies malice, and into which
slaying of others, those unfortunate persons of whom we speak in the
following sheets were mostly led either through the violence of their
passions, or through the necessity into which they are often drawn by
the commission of thefts and other crimes. Thus, were a person to kill
another in doing a felony, though it be by accident, or where a person
fires at one who resists his robbing him and by such firing kills
another against whom he had no design, yet from the evil intention of
the first act, he becomes liable for all its consequences, and the fact,
by an implication of malice, will be adjudged murder. Nay, though there
be no design of committing felony, but only of breaking the peace, yet
if a man be slain in the tumult they will all be guilty of murder,
because their first act was a deliberate breach of the Law. There is yet
another manner of killing which the Law punishes with the utmost
severity, which is resisting an officer, civil or criminal, in the
execution of his office (arresting a person) so that he be slain, yet
though he did not produce his warrant, the offence will be adjudged
murder. And if persons who design no mischief at all, do unadvisedly
commit any idle wanton act which cannot but be attended with manifest
danger, such as riding with a horse known to kick amongst a crowd of
people, merely to divert oneself by putting them in a fright, and by
such riding a death ensues, there such a person will be judged guilty of
murder. Yet some offences there are of so transcendent a cruelty that
the Law hath thought fit to difference them from the other murders, and
these are of three sorts, viz., where a servant kills his master; where
a wife kills her husband; where an ecclesiastical man kills his prelate
to whom he owes obedience. In all these cases the Law makes the crimes
Petit Treason._

_From crimes committed against the lives of men we descend next to
offences against their goods, in which, that we may be the more clearly
understood, we shall begin with the lowest kind of thefts. The Law calls
it larceny where there is felonious and fraudulent taking and carrying
away the mere personal goods of another, so long as it be neither from
his person nor out of his house. If the value of such goods be under
twelvepence, then it is called petty larceny, and is punishable only by
whipping or other corporal punishments; but if they exceed that value,
then it is grand larceny, and is punishable with death, where benefit of
clergy is not allowed._

_There are a multitude of offences contained under the general title of
grand larceny, and, therefore, as I intend only to give my readers such
a general idea of Crown Law as may serve to render the following pages
more intelligible, so I shall dwell on such particulars as are more
especially useful in that respect, and leave the perfect knowledge of
the pleas of the Crown to be attained by the study of the several books
which treat of them directly and fully. There was until the reign of
King William, a doubt whether a lodger who stole the furniture of his
lodgings were indictable as a felon, inasmuch as he had a special
property in the goods, and was to pay the greater rent in consideration
of them. To clear this, a Statute was made in the afore-mentioned reign,
by which it is declared larceny and felony for any person to steal,
embezzle, or purloin any chattel or furniture which by contract he was
to have the use of in lodging; and by a Statute made in the reign of
Henry VIII, it is enacted that all servants being of the age of eighteen
years, and not apprentices, to whom goods and chattels shall be
delivered by their masters or mistresses for them to keep, if they shall
go away with, or shall defraud or embezzle any part of such goods or
chattels, to the value of forty shillings or upwards, then such false
and fraudulent act be deemed and adjudged felony._

_But besides simple larceny, which is divided into grand and petty,
there is a mixed larceny which has a greater degree of guilt in it, as
being a taking from the person of a man or from his house. Larceny from
the person of a man either puts him in fear, and then it is a robbery,
or does not put him in fear, and then it is a larceny from the person,
and of this we shall speak first. It is either committed without a man's
knowledge, and in such a case it is excluded from benefit of clergy, or
it is openly done before the person's face, and then it is within the
benefit of clergy, unless it be in a dwelling-house and to the value of
forty shillings, in which case benefit is taken away by an Act made in
the reign of the late Queen. Larceny from the house is at this day in
several cases excluded from benefit of clergy, but in others it is

_Robbery is the taking away violently and feloniously the goods or money
from the person of a man, putting him in fear; and this taking is not
only with the robber's own hands, but if he compel, by the terror of his
assault, the person whom he robs to give it himself, or bind him by such
terrible oaths, that afterwards in conscience he thinks himself obliged
to give it, is a taking within the Law, and cannot be purged from any
delivery afterwards. Yea, where there is a gang of several persons, only
one of which robs, they are all guilty as to the circumstance of putting
in fear, wherever a person attacks another with circumstances of terror,
as though fear oblige him to part with his money though it be without
weapons drawn, and the person taking it pretend to receive it as an
alms. And in respect of punishment, though judgment of death cannot be
given in any larceny whatsoever, unless the goods taken exceed twelve
pence in value, yet in robbery such judgment is given, let the value of
the goods be ever so small._

_As to crimes committed against the habitations of men, there are two
kinds, viz., burglary and arson._

_Burglary is a felony at Common Law, and consists in breaking and
entering the mansion house of another in the night time with an intent
of committing a felony therein, whether that intention be executed or
not. Here, from the best opinions, is to be understood such a degree of
darkness as hinders a man's countenance from being discerned. The
breaking and entering are points essential to be proved in order to make
any fact burglary; the place in which it is committed must be a dwelling
house, and the breaking and entering such a dwelling house must be an
intent of committing felony, and not a trespass; and this much I think
is sufficient to define the nature of this crime, which notwithstanding
the many examples which have been made of it, is still too much
practised. As to arson, by which the Law understand maliciously and
voluntarily burning the house of another by night or by day; to make a
man guilty of this it must appear that he did it voluntarily and of
malice aforethought._

_Besides these, there are several other felonies which are made so by
Statute, such as rapes committed on women by force, and against their
will. This offence was anciently punished by putting out the eyes and
cutting off the testicles of the offenders; it was afterwards made a
felony, and by a statute in Queen Elizabeth's reign, excluded from
benefit of clergy. By an Act made in the reign of King Henry the
Seventh, taking any woman (whether maid, wife or widow) having any
substance, or being heir apparent to her ancestors, for the lucre of
such substance, and either to marry or defile the said woman against her
will, then such persons and all those procuring or abetting them in the
said violence, shall be guilty of felony, from which, by another Act in
Queen Elizabeth's reign, benefit of clergy is taken. Also by an Act in
the reign of King James the First, any person marrying, their former
husband or wife being then alive, such persons shall be deemed guilty of
felony, but benefit of clergy is yet allowed for this offence._

_As it often happens that boisterous and unruly people, either in frays
or out of revenge, do very great injuries unto others, yet without
taking away their lives, in such a case the Law adjudges the offender
who commits a mayhem to the severest penalties. The true definition of a
mayhem is such a hurt whereby a man is rendered less able in fighting,
so that cutting off or disabling a man's hand, striking out his eye, or
foretooth, were mayhems at Common Law. But by the Statute of King
Charles the Second, if any person or persons, with malice aforethought,
by lying in wait, unlawfully cut out or disable the tongue, put out an
eye, slit the nose, or cut off the nose or lip of any subject of his
Majesty, with an intention of maiming or disfiguring, then the person
so offending, their counsellors, aiders and abetters, privy to the
offence, shall suffer death, as in cases of felony, without benefit of
clergy; which Act is commonly called the Coventry Act, because it was
occasioned by the slitting of the nose of a gentleman of that name, for
a speech made by him in Parliament.[1]_

_As nothing is of greater consequence to the commonwealth than public
credit, so the Legislature hath thought fit, by the highest punishments,
to deter persons from committing such facts for the lucre of gain, as
might injure the credit of the nation. For this purpose, an Act was made
in the reign of the late King William, by which forging or
counterfeiting the common seal of the Governor and Company of the Bank
of England, or of any sealed bank-bill given out in the name of the said
Governor and Company for the payment of any sum of money, or of any
bank-note whatsoever, signed by the said Governor and Company of the
Bank of England, or altering or raising any bank-bill, or note of any
sort, is declared to be felony, without benefit of clergy. Upon this
Statute there have been several convictions, and it is hoped men are
pretty well cured of committing this crime, by that care those in the
direction of the Bank have always taken to bring offenders of this kind
to justice._

_By an Act also passed in the reign of King William, persons who
counterfeit any stamp which by its mark relates to the Revenue, shall be
guilty of felony without benefit of clergy, and upon this also there
have been some executions._

_But as the public companies established in this kingdom have often
occasion to borrow money under their common seal, which bonds, so
sealed, are transferable and pass currently from hand to hand as ready
money, so for the greater security of the subject the counterfeiting the
common seal of the South Sea Company, or altering any bond or obligation
of the said company, is rendered felony without benefit of clergy. Some
other statutes of the same nature in respect to lottery tickets, etc.,
have been made to create felonies of the counterfeiting thereof, but of
these and some other later Statutes, I forbear mentioning here, because
I have spoken particularly of them in the cases where persons have been
punished for transgressing them._

_As I have already exceeded the bounds which I at first intended should
have restrained my Preface, so I forbear lengthening it in speaking of
lesser crimes, few of which concern the persons whose lives are to be
found in the following volume. Therefore I shall conclude here, only
putting my readers once more in mind that by this work the intent of the
Law, in punishing malefactors, is more perfectly fulfilled, since the
example of their deaths is transmitted in a proper light to posterity._


[1] Sir John Coventry, M. P. for Weymouth, in the course of a
debate on a proposed levy on playhouses, asked "whether did the
king's pleasure lie among the men or the women that acted?" This
open allusion to Charles's relations with Nell Gwynn and Moll
Davies enraged the Court party, and on Dec. 21, 1670, as Sir
John was going to his house in Suffolk Street, he was waylaid by
a brutal gang under Sir Thomas Sandys, dragged from his
carriage, and his nose slit to the bone. This outrage caused
great indignation, and the Coventry Act mentioned in the text
was passed, 22 & 23 Car. II. The perpetrators of the deed

The Life of JANE GRIFFIN, who was Executed for the Murder of her Maid,
January 29, 1719-20

Passion, when it once gains an ascendant over our minds, is often more
fatal to us than the most deliberate course of vice could be. On every
little start it throws us from the paths of reason, and hurries us in
one moment into acts more wicked and more dangerous than we could at any
other time suffer to enter our imagination. As anger is justly said to
be a short madness, so, while the frenzy is upon us, blood is shed as
easily as water, and the mind is so filled with fury that there is no
room left for compassion. There cannot be a stronger proof of what I
have been observing than in the unhappy end of the poor woman who is the
subject of this chapter.

Jane Griffin was the daughter of honest and substantial parents, who
educated her with very great tenderness and care, particularly with
respect to religion, in which she was well and rationally instructed. As
she grew up her person grew agreeable, and she had a lively wit and a
very tolerable share of understanding. She lived with a very good
reputation, and to general satisfaction, in several places, till she
married Mr. Griffin, who kept the Three Pigeons in Smithfield[2].

She behaved herself so well and was so obliging in her house that she
drew to it a very great trade, in which she managed so as to leave
everyone well satisfied. Yet she allowed her temper to fly out into
sudden gusts of passion, and that folly alone sullied her character to
those who were witnesses of it, and at last caused a shameful end to an
honest and industrious life.

One Elizabeth Osborn, coming to live with her as a servant, she proved
of a disposition as Mrs. Griffin could by no means agree with. They were
continually differing and having high words, in which, as is usual on
such occasions, Mrs. Griffin made use of wild expressions, which though
she might mean nothing by them when she spoke them, yet proved of the
utmost ill consequence, after the fatal accident of the maid's death.
For being then given in evidence, they were esteemed proofs of malice
prepense, which ought to be a warning to all hasty people to endeavour
at some restraint upon their tongues when in fits of anger, since we are
not only sure of answering hereafter for every idle word we speak, but
even here they may, as in this case, become fatal in the last degree.

It was said at the time those things were transacted that jealousy was
in some degree the source of their debates, but of that I can affirm
nothing. It no way appeared as to the accident which immediately drew on
her death, and which happened after this manner.

One evening, having cut some cold fowl for the children's supper, it
happened the key of the cellar was missing on a sudden, and on Mrs.
Griffin's first speaking of it they began to look for it. But it not
being found, Mrs. Griffin went into the room where the maid was, and
using some very harsh expression, taxed her with having seen it, or laid
it out of the way. Instead of excusing herself modestly, the maid flew
out also into ill language at her mistress, and in the midst of the
fray, the knife with which she had been cutting lying unluckily by her,
she snatched it up, and stuck it into the maid's bosom; her stays
happening to be unluckily open, it entered so deep as to give her a
mortal wound.

After she had struck her Mrs. Griffin went upstairs, not imagining that
she had killed her, but the alarm was soon raised on her falling down,
and Mrs. Griffin was carried before a magistrate, and committed to
Newgate. When she was first confined, she seemed hopeful of getting off
at her trial, yet though she did not make any confession, she was very
sorrowful and concerned. As her trial drew nearer, her apprehensions
grew stronger, till notwithstanding all she could urge in her defence,
the jury found her guilty, and sentence was pronounced as the Law

Hitherto she had hopes of life, and though she did not totally
relinquish them even upon her conviction, yet she prepared with all due
care for her departure. She sent for the minister of her own parish, who
attended her with great charity, and she seemed exceedingly penitent
and heartily sorry for her crime, praying with great favour and emotion.

And as the struggling of an afflicted heart seeks every means to vent
its sorrow, in order to gain ease, or at least an alleviation of pain,
so this unhappy woman, to soothe the gloomy sorrows that oppressed her,
used to sit down on the dirty floor, saying it was fit she should humble
herself in dust and ashes, and professing that if she had an hundred
hearts she would freely yield them all to bleed, so they might blot out
the stain of her offence. By such expression did she testify those
inward sufferings which far exceed the punishment human laws inflict,
even on the greatest crimes.

When the death warrant came down and she utterly despaired of life, her
sorrow and contrition became greater than before, and here the use and
comfort of religion manifestly appeared; for had not her faith in Christ
moderated her afflictions, perhaps grief might have forestalled the
executioner, but she still comforted herself with thinking on a future
state, and what in so short an interval she must do to deserve an happy

The time of her death drawing very near, she desired a last interview
with her husband and daughter, which was accompanied with so much
tenderness that nobody could have beheld it without the greatest
emotion. She exhorted her husband with great earnestness to the practice
of a regular and Christian life, begged him to take due care of his
temporal concerns, and not omit anything necessary in the education of
the unhappy child she left behind her. When he had promised a due regard
should be had to all her requests she seemed more composed and better
satisfied than she had been. Continuing her discourse, she reminded him
of what occurred to her with regard to his affairs, adding that it was
the last advice she should give, and begging therefore it might be
remembered. She finished what she had to say with the most fervent
prayers and wishes for his prosperity.

Turning next to her daughter, and pouring over her a flood of tears, _My
dearest child_, she said, _let the afflictions of thy mother be a
warning and an example unto thee; and since I am denied life to educate
and bring thee up, let this dreadful monument of my death suffice to
warn you against yielding in any degree to your passion, or suffering a
vehemence of temper to transport you so far even as indecent words,
which bring on a custom of flying out in a rage on trivial occasions,
till they fatally terminate in such acts of wrath and cruelty as that
for which I die. Let your heart, then, be set to obey your Maker and
yield a ready submission to all His laws. Learn that Charity, Love and
Meekness which our blessed religion teaches, and let your mother's
unhappy death excite you to a sober and godly life. The hopes of thus
are all I have to comfort me in this miserable state, this deplorable
condition to which my own rash folly has reduced me._

The sorrow expressed both by her husband and by her child was very great
and lively and scarce inferior to her own, but the ministers who
attended her fearing their lamentations might make too strong an
impression on her spirits, they took their last farewell, leaving her to
take care of her more important concern, the eternal welfare of her

Some malicious people (as is too often the custom) spread stories of
this unfortunate woman, as if she had been privy to the murder of one
Mr. Hanson, who was killed in the Farthing-Pie House fields[3]; and
attended this with so many odd circumstances and particulars, which
tales of this kind acquire by often being repeated, that the then
Ordinary of Newgate thought it became him to mention it to the prisoner.
Mrs. Griffin appeared to be much affected at her character being thus
stained by the fictions of idle suspicions of silly mischievous persons.
She declared her innocence in the most solemn manner, averred she had
never lived near the place, nor had heard so much as the common reports
as to that gentleman's death.

Yet, as if folks were desirous to heap sorrow on sorrow, and to embitter
even the heavy sentence on this poor woman, they now gave out a new
fable to calumniate her in respect to her chastity, averring on report
of which the first author is never to be found, that she had lived with
Mr. Griffin in a criminal intimacy before their marriage. The Ordinary
also (though with great reluctance) told her this story. The unhappy
woman answered it was false, and confirmed what she said by undeniable
evidence, adding she freely forgave the forgers of so base an

When the fatal day came on which she was to die, Mrs. Griffin
endeavoured, as far as she was able, to compose herself easily to submit
to what was not now to be avoided. She had all along manifested a true
sense of religion, knowing that nothing could support her under the
calamities she went through but the hopes of earthly sufferings atoning
for her faults, and becoming thereby a means of eternal salvation. Yet
though these thoughts reconciled this ignominious death to her reason,
her apprehensions were, notwithstanding, strong and terrible when it
came so near.

At the place of execution she was in terrible agonies, conjuring the
minister who attended her and the Ordinary of Newgate, to tell her
whither there was any hopes of her salvation, which she repeated with
great earnestness, and seeming to part with them reluctantly. The
Ordinary entreated her to submit cheerfully to this, her last stage of
sorrow, and in certain assurance of meeting again (if it so pleased God)
in a better slate.

The following paper having been left in the hands of a friend, and being
designed for the people, I thought proper to publish it.

I declare, then, with respect to the deed for which I die, that I
did it without any malice or anger aforethought, for the unlucky
instrument of my passion lying at hand, when first words arose on
the loss of the key, I snatched it up suddenly, and executed that
rash act which hath brought her and me to death, without thinking.

I trust, however, that my most sincere and hearty repentance of this
bloody act of cruelty, the sufferings which I have endured since,
the ignominious death I am now to die, and above all the merits of
my Saviour, who shed His blood for me on the Cross, will atone for
this my deep and heavy offence, and procure for me eternal rest.

But as I am sensible that there is no just hope of forgiveness from
the Almighty without a perfect forgiveness of those who have any way
injured us, so I do freely and from the bottom of my soul, forgive
all who have ever done me any wrong, and particularly those who,
since my sorrowful imprisonment, have cruelly aspersed me, earnestly
entreating all who in my life-time I may have offended, that they
would also in pity to my deplorable state, remit those offences to
me with a like freedom.

And now as the Law hath adjudged, and I freely offer my body to
suffer for what I have committed, I hope nobody will be so unjust
and so uncharitable as to reflect on those I leave behind me on my
account, and for this, I most humbly make my last dying request, as
also that ye would pray for my departed soul.

She died with all exterior marks of true penitence, being about forty
years of age, the 29th of January, 1719-20.


[2] This tavern was in Butcher Hall Lane (now King Edward
Street, Newgate Street), and was a favourite resort of the
Paternoster Row booksellers.

[3] The Farthing-Pie House was a tavern in Marylebone. It was
subsequently re-christened The Green Man.

The Lives of JOHN TRIPPUCK, the Golden Tinman, a Highwayman; RICHARD
Housebreaker, who were all executed at Tyburn, the 29th of January,

The first of these offenders had been an old sinner, and I suppose had
acquired the nickname of the Golden Tinman as a former practitioner in
the same wretched calling did that of the Golden Farmer.[4] Trippuck had
robbed alone and in company for a considerable space, till his character
was grown so notorious that some short time before his being taken for
the last offence, he had, by dint of money and interest, procured a
pardon. However, venturing on the deed which brought him to his death,
the person injured soon seized him, and being inexorable in his
prosecution, Trippuck was cast and received sentence. However, having
still some money, he did not lose all hope of a reprieve, but kept up
his spirits by flattering himself with his life being preserved, till
within a very few days of the execution. If the Ordinary spoke to him of
the affairs of the soul, Trippuck immediately cut him short with, _D'ye
believe I can obtain a pardon? I don't know that, indeed_, says the
doctor. _But you know one Counsellor Such-a-one_, says Trippuck,
_prithee make use of your interest with him, and see whether you can get
him to serve me. I'll not be ungrateful, doctor._

The Ordinary was almost at his wits' end with this sort of cross
purposes; however, he went on to exhort him to think of the great work
he had to do, and entreated him to consider the nature of that
repentance which must atone for all his numerous offences. Upon this,
Trippuck opened his breast and showed him a great number of scars
amongst which were two very large ones, out of which he said two musket
bullets had been extracted. _And will not these, good doctor_, quoth he,
_and the vast pains I have endured in their cure, in some sort lessen
the heinousness of the facts I may have committed? No_, said the
Ordinary, _what evils have fallen upon you in such expeditions, you have
drawn upon yourself, and do not imagine that these will in any degree
make amends for the multitude of your offences. You had much better
clear your conscience by a full and ingenious confession of your crimes,
and prepare in earnest for another world, since I dare assure you, you
need entertain no hopes of staying in this._

As soon as be found the Ordinary was in the right, and that all
expectation of a reprieve or pardon were totally in vain, Trippuck
began, as most of those sort of people do, to lose much of that
stubbornness they mistake for courage. He now felt all the terrors of an
awakened conscience, and persisted no longer in denying the crime for
which he died, though at first he declared it altogether a falsehood,
and Constable, his companion, had denied it even to death. As is
customary when persons are under their misfortune, it had been reported
that this Trippuck was the man who killed Mr. Hall towards the end of
the summer before on Blackheath, but when the story reached the Golden
Tinman's ears he declared it was an utter falsity; repeating this
assertion to the Ordinary a few moments before his being turned off, and
pointing to the rope about him, he said, _As you see this instrument of
death about me, what I say is the real truth._ He died with all outward
signs of penitence.

Richard Cane was a young man of about twenty-two years of age, at the
time he suffered. Having a tolerable genius when a youth, his friends
put him apprentice twice, but to no purpose, for having got rambling
notions in his head, he would needs go to sea. There, but for his
unhappy temper, he might have done well, for the ship of war in which he
sailed was so fortunate as to take, after eight hours sharp engagement,
a Spanish vessel of immense value; but the share he got did him little
service. As soon as he came home Richard made a quick hand of it, and
when the usual train of sensual delights which pass for pleasures in low
life had exhausted him to the last farthing, necessity and the desire of
still indulging his vices, made him fall into the worst and most
unlawful methods to obtain the means which they might procure them.

Sometime after this, the unhappy man of whom we are speaking fell in
love (as the vulgar call it) with an honest, virtuous, young woman, who
lived with her mother, a poor, well-meaning creature, utterly ignorant
of Cane's behaviour, or that he had ever committed any crimes punishable
by Law. The girl, as such silly people are wont, yielded quickly to a
marriage which was to be consummated privately, because Cane's relations
were not to be disobliged, who it seems did not think him totally ruined
so long as he escaped matrimony. But the unhappy youth not having enough
money to procure a licence, and being ashamed to put the expense on the
woman and her mother, in a fit of amorous distraction went out from
them one evening, and meeting a man somewhat fuddled in the street,
threw him down, and took away his hat and coat. The fellow was not so
drunk but that he cried out, and people coming to his assistance, Cane
was immediately apprehended, and so this fact, instead of raising him
money enough to be married, brought him to death in this ignominious

While he lay in Newgate, the miserable young creature who was to have
been his wife came constantly to cry with him and deplore their mutual
misfortunes, which were increased by the girl's mother falling sick, and
being confined to her bed through grief for her designed son-in-law's
fate. When the day of his suffering drew on, this unhappy man composed
himself to submit to it with great serenity. He professed abundance of
contrition for the wickedness of his former life and lamented with much
tenderness those evils he had brought upon the girl and her mother. The
softness of his temper, and the steady affection he had for the maid,
contributed to make his exit much pitied; which happened at Tyburn in
the twenty-second year of his age. He left this paper behind him, which
he spoke at the tree.

Good People,

The Law having justly condemned me for my offence to suffer in this
shameful manner, I thought it might be expected that I should say
something here of the crime for which I die, the commission of which
I do readily acknowledge, though it was attended with that
circumstance of knocking down, which was sworn against me. I own I
have been guilty of much wickedness, and am exceedingly troubled at
the reflection it may bring upon my relations, who are all honest
and reputable people. As I die for the offences I have done, and die
in charity forgiving all the world, so I hope none will be so cruel
as to pursue my memory with disgrace or insult an unhappy young
woman on my account, whose character I must vindicate with my last
breath, as all the justice I am able to do her, I die in the
communion of the Church of England and humbly request your prayers
for my departing soul.

Richard Shepherd was born of very honest and reputable parents in the
city of Oxford, who were careful in giving him a suitable education,
which he, through the wickedness of his future life, utterly forgot,
insomuch that he knew scarce the Creed and the Lord's Prayer, at the
time he had most need of them. When he grew a tolerable big lad his
friends put him out as apprentice to a butcher, where having served a
great part of his time, he fell in love, as they call it, with a young
country lass hard by, and Dick's passion growing outrageous, he attacked
the poor maid with all the amorous strains of gallantry he was able. The
hearts of young uneducated wenches, like unfortified towns, make little
resistance when once beseiged, and therefore Shepherd had no great
difficulty in making a conquest. However the girl insisted on honourable
terms, and unfortunately for the poor fellow they were married before
his time was out; an error in conduct, which in low life is seldom

It happened so here. Shepherd's master was not long before he discovered
this wedding. He thereupon gave the poor fellow so much trouble that he
was at last forced to give him forty shillings down, and a bond for
twenty-eight pounds more. This having totally ruined him, Dick unhappily
fell into the way of dishonest company, who soon drew him into their
ways of gaining money and supplying his necessities at the hazard both
of his conscience and his neck; in which, though he became an expert
proficient, yet could he never acquire anything considerable thereby,
but was continually embroiled in debt. His wife bringing every year a
child, contributed not a little thereto. However, Dick rubbed on mostly
by thieving and as little by working as it was possible to avoid.

When he first began his robberies, he went housebreaking, and actually
committed several facts in the city of Oxford itself. But those things
not being so easily to be concealed there as at London, report quickly
began to grow very loud about him, and Dick was forced to make shift
with pilfering in other places; in which he was (to use the manner of
speaking of those people) so unlucky that the second or third fact he
committed in Hertfordshire, he was detected, seized, and at the next
assizes capitally convicted. Yet out of compassion to his youth, and in
hopes he might be sufficiently checked by so narrow an escape from the
gallows, his friends procured him first a reprieve and then a pardon.

But this proximity to death made little impression on his heart, which
is too often the fault in persons who, like him, receive mercy, and have
notwithstanding too little grace to make use of it. Partly driven by
necessity, for few people cared after his release to employ him, partly
through the instigations of his own wicked heart, Dick went again upon
the old trade for which he had so lately been like to have suffered,
but thieving was still an unfortunate profession to him. He soon after
fell again into the hands of Justice, from whence he escaped by
impeaching Allen and Chambers, two of his accomplices, and so evaded
Tyburn a second time. Yet all this signified nothing to him, for as soon
as he was at home, so soon to work he went in his old way, till
apprehended and executed for his wickedness.

No unhappy criminal had more warning than Shepherd of his approaching
miserable fate, if he would have suffered anything to have deterred him;
but alas! what are advices, terrors, what even the sight of death
itself, to souls hardened in sin and consciences so seared as his. He
had, when taken up and carried before Col. Ellis, been committed to New
Prison for a capital offence. He had not remained there long before he
wrote the Colonel a letter in which (provided he were admitted an
evidence) he offered to make large discoveries. His offers were
accepted, and several convicted capitally at the Old Bailey by him were
executed at Tyburn, whither for his trade of housebreaking, Shepherd
quickly followed them.

While in Newgate Shepherd had picked up a thoughtless resolution as to
dying, not uncommon to those malefactors who, having been often
condemned, go at last hardened to the gallows. When he was exhorted to
think seriously of making his peace with God, he replied 'twas done and
he was sure of going to Heaven.

With these were executed Thomas Charnock, a young man well and
religiously educated. By his friends he had been placed in the house of
a very eminent trader, and being seduced by ill-company yielded to the
desire of making a show in the world. In order to do so, he robbed his
master's counting-house, which fact made him indeed conspicuous, but in
a very different manner from what he had flattered himself with. They
died tolerably submissive and penitent, this last malefactor,
especially, having rational ideas of religion.


[4] William Davis, the Golden Farmer, was a notorious
highwayman, who obtained his sobriquet from a habit of always
paying in gold. He was hanged in Fleet Street, December 20,
1689. His adventures are told at length in Smith's _History of
the Highwaymen_, edited by me and published in the same series
as this volume.

The Life of WILLIAM BARTON, a Highwayman

This William Barton was born in Thames Street, London, and seemed to
have inherited a sort of hereditary wildness and inconstancy, his father
having been always of a restless temper and addicted to every species of
wickedness, except such as are punished by temporal laws. While this son
William was a child, he left him, without any provision, to the care of
his mother, and accompanied by a concubine whom he had long convened
with, shipped himself for the island of Jamaica, carrying with him a
good quantity of goods proper for that climate, intending to live there
as pleasantly as the place would give him leave. His head being well
turned, both for trading and planting, it was, indeed, probable enough
he should succeed.

Now, no sooner was his father gone on this unaccountable voyage, but
William was taken home and into favour by his grandfather, who kept a
great eating-house in Covent Garden. Here Will, if he would, might
certainly have done well. His grandfather bound him to himself, treated
him with the utmost tenderness and indulgence, and the gentlemen who
frequented the house were continually making him little presents, which
by their number were considerable, and might have contented a youth like

But William, whose imagination was full of roving as his father's, far
from sitting down pleased and satisfied with that easy condition into
which Fortune had thrown him, began to dream of nothing but travels and
adventures. In short, in spite of all the poor old man, his grandfather,
could say to prevent it, to sea he went, and to Jamaica in quest of his
father, who he fancied must have grown extravagantly rich by this time,
the common sentiments of fools, who think none poor who have the good
luck to dwell in the West Indies.

On Barton's arrival at Jamaica he found all things in a very different
condition from what he had flattered himself with. His father was dead
and the woman who went over with him settled in a good plantation, 'tis
true, but so settled that Will was unable to remove her; so he betook
himself to sea again, and rubbed on the best way he was able. But as if
the vengeance of Heaven had pursued him, or rather as if Providence, by
punishments, designed to make him lay aside his vices, Barton had no
sooner scraped a little money together, but the vessel in which he
sailed was (under the usual pretence of contraband goods) seized by the
Spaniards, who not long after they were taken, sent the men they made
prisoners into Spain. The natural moroseness of those people's temper,
makes them harsh masters. Poor Barton found it so, and with the rest of
his unfortunate companions, suffered all the inconveniences of hard
usage and low diet, though as they drew nearer the coast of Spain that
severity was a little softened.

When they were safely landed, they were hurried to a prison where it was
difficult to determine which was worst, their treatment or their food.
Above all the rest Barton was uneasy, and his head ever turned towards
contriving an escape. When he and some other intriguing heads had
meditated long in vain, an accident put it in their power to do that
with ease which all their prudence could not render probable in the
attempt, a thing common with men under misfortune, who have reason,
therefore, never to part with hope.

Finding an old wall in the outer court of the prison weak, and ready to
fall down, the keeper caused the English prisoners, amongst others, to
be sent to repair it. The work was exceedingly laborious, but Barton and
one of his companions soon thought of a way to ease it. They had no
sooner broke up a small part of the foundation which was to be new laid,
but stealing the Spanish soldiers' pouches, they crowded the powder into
a small bag, placing it underneath as far as they could reach, and then
gave it fire. This threw up two yards of the wall, and while the
Spaniards stood amazed at the report, Barton and his associates marched
off through the breach, without finding the slightest resistance from
any of the keeper's people, though he had another party in the street.

But this would have signified very little, if Providence had not also
directed them to a place of safety by bringing them as soon as they
broke out of the door to a monastery. Thither they fled for shelter, and
the religious of the place treated them with much humanity. They
succoured them with all necessary provision, protected them when
reclaimed by the gaoler, and taking them into their service, showed them
in all respects the same care and favour they did to the rest of their

Yet honest labour, however recompensed, was grating to these restless
people, who longed for nothing but debauchery, and struggled for liberty
only as a preparative to the indulging of their vices; and so they began
to contrive how they should free themselves from hence. Barton and his
fellow engineer were not long before they fell on a method to effect it,
by wrenching open the outer doors in the night, and getting to an
English vessel that lay in the harbour ready to sail.

They had not been aboard long ere they found that the charitable friars
had agreed with the captain for their passage, and so all they gained by
breaking out was the danger of being reclaimed, or at least going naked
and without any assistance, which to be sure they would have met with
from their masters, if they could but have had a little patience. But
the passion of returning home, or rather a vehement lust after the
basest pleasures, hurried them to whatever appeared conducive to that
end, however fatal in its consequence it might be.

When they were got safe into their native country again, each took such
a course for a livelihood as he liked best. Whether Barton then fell
into thievery, or whether he learned not that mystery before he had
served an apprenticeship thereto in the Army I cannot say, but in some
short space after his being at home 'tis certain that he listed himself
a soldier, and served several campaigns in Flanders, during the last
War. Being a very gallant fellow, he gained the love of his officers,
and there was great probability of his doing well there, having gained
at least some principle of honour in the service, which would have
prevented him doing such base things as those for which he afterwards
died. But, unhappily for him, the War ended just as he was on the point
of becoming paymaster-sergeant, and his regiment being disbanded, poor
Will became broke in every acceptation of the word. He retained always a
strong tincture of his military education, and was peculiarly fond of
telling such adventures as he gained the knowledge of, while in the

Amongst other stories that he told were one or two which may appear
perhaps not unentertaining to my readers. When Brussels came towards the
latter end of the War to be pretty well settled under the Imperialists,
abundance of persons of distinction came to reside there and in the
neighborhood from the advantage natural to so fine a situation. Amongst
these was the Baron De Casteja, a nobleman of a Spanish family, who
except for his being addicted excessively to gaming, was in every way a
fine gentlemen. He had married a lady of one of the best families in
Flanders, by whom he had a son of the greatest hopes. The baron's
passion for play had so far lessened their fortune that they lived but
obscurely at a village three leagues from Brussels, where having now
nothing to support his gaming expenses, he grew reformed, and his
behaviour gained so high and general esteem that the most potent lord in
the country met not with higher reverence on any occasion. The great
prudence and economy of the baroness made her the theme of general
praise, while the young Chevalier de Casteja did not a little add to the
honours of the family.

It happened the baron had a younger brother in the Emperor's service,
whose merit having raised him to a considerable rank in his armies, he
had acquired a very considerable estate, to the amount of upwards of one
hundred thousand crowns, which on his death he bequeathed him. Upon this
accession of fortune, the Baron Casteja, as is but too frequent, fell to
his old habit, and became as fond of gaming as ever. The poor lady saw
this with the utmost concern, and dreaded the confounding this legacy,
as all the baron's former fortune had been consumed by his being the
dupe of gamesters. In deep affliction at the consideration of what
might in future times become the Chevalier's fortune, she therefore
entreated the baron to lay out part of the sum in somewhat which might
be a provision for his son. The baron promised both readily and
faithfully that he would out of the first remittance. A few weeks later
he received forty thousand crowns and the baroness and he set out for
Brussels, under pretence of enquiring for something proper for his
purpose, carrying with him twenty thousand crowns for the purchase. But
he forgot the errand upon the road, and no sooner arrived at Brussels,
but going to a famous marquis's entertainment, in a very few hours lost
the last penny of his money. Returning home after this misfortune, he
was a little out of humour for a week, but at the end of that space,
making up the other twenty thousand privately he intended to set out
next day.

The poor lady, at her wit's end for fear this large sum should go the
same way as the other, bethought herself of a method of securing both
the cash and her son's place. She communicated her design to her major
domo, who readily came into it, and having taken three of the servants
and the baroness's page into the secret, he sent for Barton and another
Englishman quartered near them, and easily prevailed on them for a very
small sum, to become accomplices in the undertaking. In a word, the lady
having provided disguises for them, and a man's suit for herself, caused
the touch-holes of the arms which the baron and two servants carried
with him to be nailed up, and then towards evening sallying at the head
of her little troop from a wood, as he passed on the road, the baron
being rendered incapable of resistance, was robbed of the whole twenty
thousand crowns. With this she settled her son, and the baron was so far
touched at the loss of such a provision for his family, that he made a
real and thorough reformation, and Barton from this exploit fell in love
with robbing ever after.

Another adventure he related was this. Being taken prisoner by the
French, and carried to one of their frontier garrisons, a treaty shortly
being expected to be settled, to relieve the miseries he endured, Barton
got into the service of a Gascon officer who proved at bottom almost as
poor as himself. However, after Barton's coming he quickly found a way
to live as well as anybody in the garrison, which he accomplished thus.
All play at games of chance was, in the score of some unlucky accidents
proceeding from quarrels which it had occasioned, absolutely forbidden,
and the provosts were enjoined to visit all quarters, in order to bring
the offenders to shameful punishments. The Gascon captain took advantage
of the severity of this order, and having concerted the matter with a
countryman and comrade of his, a known gamester, plundered all the rest
who were addicted to that destructive passion; for gaining intelligence
of the private places where they met, from his friend, he putting
himself, Barton and another person into proper habits, attacked these
houses suddenly almost every night with a crowd of the populace at his
heels, and raised swinging contributions on those who being less wicked
than himself never had any suspicion of his actions, but took him and
his comrades for the proper officer and his attendants.

Barton's greatest unhappiness was his marriage. He was too uxorious, and
too solicitous for what concerned his wife, how well so ever she
deserved of him; for not enduring to see her work honestly for her bread
he would needs support her in an easy state of life, though at the
hazard of the gallows. There is, however, little question to be made but
that he had learned much in his travels to enable him to carry on his
wicked designs with more ease and dexterity, for no thief, perhaps, in
any age, managed his undertakings with greater prudence and economy. And
having somewhere picked up the story of the Pirate and Alexander the
Great, it became one of Will's standing maxims that the only difference
between a robber and a conqueror was the value of the prize.

Being one day on the road with a comrade of his, who had served also
with him abroad in the Army, and observing a stage coach at a distance,
in right of the seniority of his commission as a Knight of the Pad,
Barton commanded the other to ride forward in order to reconnoitre. The
young fellow obeyed him as submissively as if he had been an aide de
camp, and returning, brought him word that the force of the enemy
consisted of four beau laden with blunderbusses, two ladies and a
footman. _Then_, quoth Will, _we may e'en venture to attack them. Let us
make our necessary disposition. I will ride slowly up to them, while you
gallop round that hill, and as soon as you come behind the coach, be
sure to fire a pistol over it, and leave the rest to me._

Things thus adjusted, each advanced on his attack. Barton no sooner
stopped the coach and presented his pistol at one window, than his
companion, after firing a brace of balls over the coachman's head, did
the like at the other, which so surprised the fine gentlemen within,
that without the least resistance they surrendered all they had about
them, which amounted to about one hundred pounds, which Barton put up.
_Come, gentlemen_, says he, _let us make bold with your fire-arms too,
for you see we make more use of them than you._ So, seizing a brace of
pistols inlaid with silver, and two fine brass blunderbusses, Will and
his subaltern rode off.

But alas, Will's luck would not last (as his rogueship used to express
it). For, attempting a robbery in Covent Garden, where he was too well
known, he was surprised, committed to Newgate and on his conviction
ordered to be transported for seven years to his Majesty's Plantations,
whither he was accordingly carried.

When he was landed, a planter bought him after the manner of that
country, and paid eighteen pounds for him. Barton wanting neither
understanding nor address, he soon became the darling of his master, who
far from employing him in those laborious works which are usually talked
of here, put upon him nothing more than merely supervising his slaves
and taking care of them, when business obliged him to be absent.

One would have thought that so easy a state of life, after the toil and
miseries such a man as him of whom we are speaking must have run
through, would have been pleasing, and that it might have become a means
of reclaiming him from those vices so heinous in the sight of God, and
for which he had barely escaped the greatest punishment that can be
inflicted by man. At first, it indeed made some impressions not very
different from these; Barton owning that his master's treatment was such
that if a man had not absolutely bent his mind on such courses as
necessarily must make him unhappy, he might have enjoyed all he could
have hoped for there. Of which he became so sensible that for some time
he remained fully satisfied with his condition.

But alas! Content, when its basis rests not upon virtue, like a house
founded on a sandy soil is incapable of continuing long. No sooner had
Barton leisure and opportunity to recollect home, his friends, and above
all his wife, but it soon shocked his repose, and having awhile
disturbed and troubled him, it pushed him at last on the unhappy
resolution or returning to England, before the expiration of his time
for which he was banished. This project rolled for a very considerable
space in the fellow's head. Sometimes the desire of seeing his
companions, and above all things his wife, made him eager to undertake
it; at others, the fear of running upon inevitable death in case of a
discovery, and the consideration of the felicity he now had in his power
made him timorous, at least, if not unwilling to return.

At last, as is ordinary amongst these unhappy people, the worst opinion
prevailed, and finding a method to free himself from his master, and to
get aboard a ship, he came back to his dearly beloved London, and to
those measures which had already occasioned so great a misfortune, and
at last brought him to an ignominious death. On his return, his first
care was to seek out his wife, for whom he had a warm and never ceasing
affection, and having found her, he went to live with her, taking his
old methods of supporting them, though he constantly denied that she was
either a partner in the commission, or even so much as in the knowledge
of his guilt. But this quickly brought him to Newgate again, and to that
fatal end to which he, like some other flagitious creatures of this
stamp, seem impatient to arrive; since no warning, no admonition, no
escape is sufficient to deter them from those crimes, which they are
sensible the laws of their country with Justice have rendered capital.

Barton's return from transportation was sufficient to have brought him
to death had he committed nothing besides; but he, whether through
necessity, as having no way left of living honestly, or from his own
evil inclinations, ventured upon his old trade, and robbing amongst
others the Lord Viscount Lisbourn, of the Kingdom of Ireland, and a lady
who was with him in the coach, of a silver hilted sword, a snuff-box and
about twelve shillings in money, he was for this fact taken, tried and
convicted at the Old Bailey.

He immediately laid by all hopes of life as soon as he had received
sentence, and with great earnestness set himself to secure that peace in
the world to come, which his own vices had hindered him from in this. He
got some good books which he read with continual devotion and attention,
submitted with the utmost patience to the miseries of his sad condition,
and finding his relations would take care of his daughter and that his
wife, for whom he never lost the most tender concern, would be in no
danger of want, he laid aside the thoughts of temporal matters
altogether expressing a readiness to die, and never showing any weakness
or impatience of the nearest approach of death.

Much of that firmness with which he behaved in these last moments of his
life might probably be owing to natural courage, of which certainly
Barton had a very large share. But the remains of virtue and religion,
to which the man had always a propensity, notwithstanding that he gave
way to passions which brought him to all the sorrows he knew, yet the
return he made, when in the shadow of death, to piety and devotion,
enabled him to suffer with great calmness, on Friday the 12th of May,
1721, aged about thirty-one years.


I should never have undertaken this work without believing it might in
some degree be advantageous to the public. Young persons, and especially
those in a meaner state, are, I presume, those who will make up the
bulk of my readers, and these, too, are they who are more commonly
seduced into practices of this ignominious nature. I should therefore
think myself unpardonable if I did not take care to furnish them with
such cautions as the examples I am giving of the fatal consequences of
vice will allow, at the same time that I exhibit those adventures and
entertaining scenes which disguise the dismal path, and make the road to
ruin pleasing. They meet here with a true prospect of things, the tinsel
splendour of sensual pleasure, and that dreadful price men pay for
it--shameful death. I hope it may be of use in correcting the errors of
juvenile tempers devoted to their passions, with whom sometimes danger
passes for a certain road to honour, and the highway seems as tempting
to them as chivalry did to Don Quixote. Such and some other such like,
are very unlucky notions in young heads, and too often inspire them with
courage enough to dare the gallows, which seldom fails meeting with them
in the end.

As to the particulars of the person's life we are now speaking of, they
will be sufficient to warn those who are so unhappy as to suffer from
the ill-usage of their parents not to fall into courses of so base a
nature, but rather to try every honest method to submit rather than
commit dishonest acts, thereby justifying all the ill-treatment they
have received, and by their own follies blot out the remembrance of
their cruel parents' crimes. For though it sometimes happens that they
are reduced to necessities which force them, in a manner, on what brings
them to disgrace, yet the ill-natured world will charge all upon
themselves, or at most will spare their pity till it comes too late; and
when the poor wretch is dead will add to their reflections on him, as
harsh ones as on those from whom he is descended.

Robert Perkins was the son of a very considerable innkeeper, in or near
Hempsted, in Hertfordshire, who during the life-time of his wife treated
him with great tenderness and seeming affection, sending him to school
to a person in a neighbouring village, who was very considerable for his
art of teaching, and professing his settled resolution to give his son
Bob a very good education.

But no sooner had death snatched away the poor woman by whom Mr. Perkins
had our unhappy Robin, then his father began to change his measures.
First of all the unfortunate lad experienced the miseries that flow from
the careless management of a widower, who forgetting all obligations to
his deceased wife, thought of nothing but diverting himself, and getting
a new helpmate. But Robin continued not long in this state; his
hardships were quickly increased by the second marriage of his father,
upon which he was fetched home and treated with some kindness at first.
But in a little time perceiving how things were going, and perhaps
expressing his suspicions too freely, his mother-in-law soon prevailed
to have him turned out, and absolutely forbidden his father's house, the
ready way to force a naked uninstructed youth on the most sinful
courses. Whether Robin at that time did anything dishonest is not
certain, but being grievously pinched with cold one night, and troubled
also with dismal apprehensions of what might come to his sister, he got
a ladder and by the help of it climbed in at his mother's window. This
was immediately exaggerated into a design of cutting her throat, and
poor Bob was thereupon utterly discarded.

A short time after this, old Mr. Perkins died and left a fortune of
several thousand pounds behind him, for which the poor young man was
never a groat the better, being bound out 'prentice to a baker, and
left, as to everything else, to the wide world. His inclination, joined
to the rambling life which he had hitherto led, induced him to mind the
vulgar pleasures of drinking, gaming, and idling about much more than
his business, which to him appeared very laborious. There are everywhere
companions enough to be met with who are ready to teach ignorant youths
the practice of all sorts of debauchery. Perkins fell quickly among such
a set, and often rambled abroad with them on the usual errands of
whoring, shuffle-board, or skittle-playing, etc. The thoughts of that
estate which in justice he ought to have possessed, did not a little
contribute to make him thus heedless of his business, for as is usual
with weak minds, he affected living at the rate his father's fortune
would have afforded him, rather than in the frugal manner which his
narrow circumstance actually required; methods which necessarily pushed
him on such expeditions for supply as drew on those misfortunes which
rendered his life miserable and his death shameful.

One day, having agreed with some young lads in the neighbourhood to go
out upon the rake, they steered their course to Whitechapel, and going
into a little alehouse, began to drink stoutly, sing bawdy songs, and
indulge themselves in the rest of those brutal delights into which such
wretches are used to plunge under the name of pleasure. In the height,
however, of all their mirth, the people of the house missing out of the
till a crown piece with some particular marks, they sent for a constable
and some persons to assist him, who caused all the young fellows
instantly to be separated and searched one by one; on which the marked
crown was found in Robert Perkin's pocket, and he was thereupon
immediately carried before a Justice, who committed him to Newgate. The
sessions coming on soon after, and the case being plain, he was cast
and ordered for transportation, having time enough, however, before he
was shipped, to consider the melancholy circumstances into which his
ill-conduct had reduced him, and to think of what was fitting for him to
do in the present sad state he was in. At first nothing ran in his head
but the cruelties which he had met with from his family, but as the time
of his departure drew nearer he meditated how to gain the captain's
favour, and to escape some hardships in the voyage.

Robin had the good luck to make himself tolerably easy in the ship. His
natural good nature and obliging temper prevailing so far on the captain
of the vessel that he gave him all the liberty and afforded him whatever
indulgence it was in his power to permit with safety. But our young
traveller had much worse luck when he came on shore at Jamaica, where he
was immediately sold to a planter for ten pounds, and his trade of baker
being of little use there, his master put him upon much the same labour
as he did his negroes, Robin's constitution was really incapable of
great fatigue; his master, therefore, finding in the end that nothing
would make him work, sold him to another, who put him upon his own
employment of baking, building an oven on purpose. But whether this
master really used him cruelly or whether his idle inclinations made him
think all labour cruel usage, is hard to say, but however it was, Bob
ran away from this master and got on board a ship which carried him to
Carolina, from whence he said he travelled to Maryland and shipped
himself there, in a vessel for England. After being taken by the
Spaniards, and enduring many other great hardships, he at last with much
difficulty got home, as is too frequently the practice of these unhappy
wretches who are ready to return from tolerable plenty to the gallows.

After his arrival in England, he wrought for near two years together at
his own business, and had the settled intention to live honestly and
forsake that disorderly state of life which had involved him in such
calamities; but the fear he was continually in of being discovered,
rendered him so uneasy and so unable to do anything, that at last he
resolved to go over into the East Indies. For this purpose he was come
down to Gravesend, in order to embark, when he was apprehended; and
being tried on an indictment for returning from transportation, he was
convicted thereon, and received sentence of death. During the time he
lay under conviction, the principles of a good education began again to
exert themselves, and by leading him to a thorough confidence in the
mercies of Christ weaned him from that affection which hitherto he had
for this sinful and miserable world, in which, as he had felt nothing
but misery and affliction, the change seemed the easier, so that he at
last began not only to shake off the fear of death, bur even to desire
it. Nor was this calmness short and transitory, but he continued in it
till the time he suffered, which was on the 5th of July, 1721, at
Tyburn. He said he died with less reluctance because his ruin involved
nobody but himself, he leaving no children behind him, and his wife
being young enough to get a living honestly.


Before we proceed to mention the particulars that have come to our hands
concerning this unhappy criminal, it may not be amiss to take notice of
the rigour with which all civilised nations have treated offenders in
this kind, by considering the crime itself as a species of treason. The
reason of which arises thus. As money is the universal standard or
measure of the value of any commodity, so the value of money is always
regulated, in respect of its weight, fineness, etc., by the public
authority of the State. To counterfeit, therefore, is in some degree to
assume the supreme authority, inasmuch as it is giving a currency to
another less valuable piece of metal than that made current by the
State. The old laws of England were very severe on this head, and
carried their care of preventing it so far as to damage the public in
other respects, as by forbidding the importation of bullion, and
punishing with death attempts made to discover the Philosopher's Stone
which forced whimsical persons who were enamoured of that experiment to
go abroad and spend their money in pursuit of that project there. These
causes, therefore, upon a review of the laws on this head, were
abrogated; but the edge in other respects was rather sharpened than
abated. For as the trade of the nation increased, frauds in the coin
became of worse consequence and not only so, but were more practised.

In the reign of King William and Queen Mary, clipping and coining grew
so notorious and had so great and fatal influences on the public trade
of the nation, that Parliament found it necessary to enter upon that
great work of a recoinage[5] and in order to prevent all future
inconveniences of a like nature, they at the same time enacted that not
only counterfeiting, chipping, scaling, lightening, or otherwise
debasing the current specie of this realm, should be deemed and punished
as high treason, but they included also under the same charge and
punishment the having any press, engine, tool, or implement proper for
coining, the mending, buying, selling, etc., of them; and upon this Act,
which was rendered perpetual by another made in the seventh year of the
reign of Queen Anne, all our proceedings on this head are at this day
grounded. Many executions and many more trials happened on these laws
being first made, dipping, especially, being an ordinary thing, and some
persons of tolerable reputation in the world engaged in it; but the
strict proceedings (in the days of King William, especially) against
all, without distinction, who offended in that way, so effectually
crushed them that a coiner nowadays is looked upon as an extraordinary
criminal, though the Law still continues to take its course, whenever
they are convicted, the Crown being seldom or never induced to grant a

As to this poor woman, Barbara Spencer, she was the daughter of mean
parents and was left very young to the care of her mother, who lived in
the parish of St. Giles, Cripplegate. This old creature, as is common
enough with ordinary people, indulged her daughter so much in all her
humours, and suffered her to take so uncontrolled a liberty that all her
life-time after, she was incapable of bearing restraint, but, on every
slight contradiction flew out into the wildest excesses of passion and
fury. When but a child, on a very slight difference at home, she must
needs go out 'prentice, and was accordingly put to a mantua-maker, who
having known her throughout her infancy, fatally treated her with the
same indulgence and tenderness. She continued with her about two years,
and then, on a few warm words happening, went away from so good a
mistress, and came home again to her mother, who by that time had set up
a brandy shop.

On Miss Barbara's return, a maid had to be taken, for she was much too
good to do the work of the house. The servant had not been there long
before they quarrelled, the mother taking the wench's part. Away went
the young woman, but matters being made up and the old mother keeping an
alehouse in Cripplegate parish, she once more went to live with her.
This reconciliation lasted longer, but was more fatal to Barbara than
her late falling out.

One day, it seems, she took into her head to go and see the prisoners
die at Tyburn, but her mother meeting her at the door, told her that
there was too much business for her to do at home, and that she should
not go. Harsh words ensuing on this, her mother at last struck her, and
said she should be her death. However, Barbara went, and the man who
attended her to Tyburn, brought her afterwards to a house by St. Giles's
Pound[6] where after relating the difference between herself and her
mother, she vowed she would never return any more home. In this
resolution she was encouraged, and soon after was acquainted with the
secrets of the house, and appointed to go out with their false money, in
order to vend, or utter it; which trade, as it freed her from all
restraint, she was at first mightily pleased with. But being soon
discovered she was committed to Newgate, convicted and fined.

About this time she first became acquainted with Mrs. Miles, who
afterwards betrayed her, and upon this occasion was, it seems, so kind
as to advance some money for her. On the affair for which she died, the
evidence could have hardly done without Miles's assistance, which so
enraged poor Barbara that even to the instant of death, she could hardly
prevail with herself to forgive her, and never spoke of her without a
kind of heat, very improper and unbecoming in a person in her
distressful state.

The punishment ordained by our laws for treasons committed by women,
whether high or petty, is burning alive.[7] This, though pronounced upon
her by the judge, she could never be brought to believe would be
executed, but while she lay under sentence, she endeavoured to put off
the thoughts of the fatal day as much as she could, always asserting
that she thought the crime no sin, for which she was condemned. It seems
her mother died at Tyburn before midsummer, and this poor wretch would
often say that she little thought she should so soon follow her, when
she attended her to death, averring also that she suffered unjustly. As
for this poor woman, her temper was exceedingly unhappy, and as it had
made her uneasy and miserable all her life, so at her death it
occasioned her to be impatient, and to behave inconsistently. For which,
sometimes, she would apologise, by saying that though it was not in her
power to put on grave looks, yet her heart was as truly affected as
theirs who gave greater outward signs of contrition; a manner of
speaking usually taken up by those who would be thought to think
seriously in the midst of outward gaiety, and of whose sincerity in
cases like these. He only can judge who is acquainted with the secrets
of all hearts and who, as He is not to be deceived, so His penetration
is utterly unknown to us, who are confined to appearances and the
exterior marks of things.

She lost all her boldness at the near approach of death and seemed
excessively surprised and concerned at the apprehension of the flames.
When she went out to die, she owned her crime more fully than she had
ever done. She said she had learnt to coin of a man and woman who had
now left off and lived very honestly, wherefore she said she would not
discover them. At the very slake she complained how hard she found it to
forgive Miles, who had been her accomplice and then betrayed her, adding
that though she saw faggots and brushes ready to be lighted and to
consume her, yet she would not receive life at the expense of another's
blood. She averred there were great numbers of London who followed the
same trade of coining, and earnestly wished they might take warning by
her death. At the instant of suffering, she appeared to have reassumed
all her resolution, for which she had, indeed, sufficient occasion, when
to the lamentable death by burning was added the usual noise and clamour
of the mob, who also threw stones and dirt, which beat her down and
wounded her. However, she forgave them cheerfully, prayed with much
earnestness and ended her life the same day as the last mentioned
malefactor, Perkins, aged about twenty-four years.


[5] A commission was appointed to consider the debased state of
the currency and, not without considerable opposition, a bill
was passed in 1696, withdrawing all debased coin from
circulation. This incurred an expense of some L1,200,000, which
the Government met by imposing a window tax.

[6] This was at the corner of Tottenham Court Road and Oxford
Street. It was an old London landmark, from which distances were
measured as from the Standard in Cornhill. It was demolished in

[7] In practice, criminals were strangled before being burned.
The last case in which this penalty was inflicted was in 1789;
it was abolished the following year.


Piracy was anciently in this kingdom considered as a petty treason at
Common Law; but the multitude of treasons, or to speak more properly of
offences construed into treason, becoming a very great grievance to the
subject, this with many others was left out in the famous Statute of the
25th Edward the Third, for limiting what thenceforth should be deemed
treason. From that time piracy was regarded in England only as a crime
against the Civil Law, by which it was always capital; but there being
some circumstances very troublesome, as to the proofs therein required
for conviction, by a statute in the latter end of the reign of Henry the
Eighth it was provided that this offence should be tried by
commissioners appointed by the king, consisting of the admiral and
certain of his officers, with such other persons as the reigning prince
should think fit, after the common course of the laws of this realm for
felonies and robberies committed on land, in which state it hath
continued with very small alterations to this day.

Offenders of this kind are now tried at the Sessions-house in the Old
Bailey, before the judge of the Court of Admiralty, assisted by certain
other judges of the Common Law by virtue of such a commission as ts
before mentioned, the silver oar (a peculiar ensign of authority
belonging to the Court of Admiralty) lying on the table. As pirates are
not very often apprehended in Britain, so particular notice is always
given when a Court like this, called an Admiralty Sessions, is to be
held, the prisoners until that time remaining in the Marshalsea, the
proper prison of this Court.

On the 26th of Jury, 1721, at such a sessions, Walter Kennedy and John
Bradshaw were tried for piracies committed on the high seas, and both of
them convicted. This Walter Kennedy was born at a place called Pelican
Stairs in Wapping. His father was an anchor-smith, a man of good
reputation, who gave his son Walter the best education he was able; and
while a lad he was very tractable, and had no other apparent ill quality
than that of a too aspiring temper. When he was grown up big enough to
have gone out to a trade, his father bound him apprentice to himself,
but died before his son was out of his time. Leaving his father's
effects in the possession of his mother and brothers, Walter then
followed his own roving inclinations and went to sea. He served for a
considerable time on board a man-of-war, in the reign of her late
Majesty Queen Anne, in the war then carried on against France; during
which time he often had occasion to hear of the exploits of the pirates,
both in the East and West Indies, and of their having got several
islands into their possession, wherein they were settled, and in which
they exercised a sovereign power.

These tales had wonderful effect on Walter's disposition, and created in
him a secret ambition of making a figure in the same way. He became more
than ordinarily attentive whenever stories of that sort were told, and
sought every opportunity of putting his fellow sailors upon such
relations. Men of that profession have usually good memories with
respect, at least, to such matters, and Kennedy, therefore, without much
difficulty became acquainted with the principal expeditions of these
maritime desperadoes, from the time of Sir Henry Morgan's commanding the
Buccaneers in America, to Captain Avery's more modern exploits at
Madagascar[8]; his fancy insinuating to him continually that he might be
able to make as great a figure as any of these thievish heroes, whenever
a proper opportunity offered.

It happened that he was sent with Captain Woodes Rogers,[9] Governor of
Providence [Bahama Islands], when that gentleman first sent to recover
that island by reducing the pirates, who then had it in possession. At
the time of the captain's arrival these people had fortified themselves
in several places, and with all the care they were able, had provided
both for their safety and subsistence.

It happened that some time before, they had taken a ship, on board of
which they found a considerable quantity of the richest brocades, for
which having no other occasion, they tore them up, and tying them
between the horns of their goats, made use of them to distinguish herds
that belonged to one settlement and those that belonged to another, and
sight of this, notwithstanding the miserable condition which in other
respects these wretches were in, mightily excited the inclination
Kennedy had to following their occupation.

Captain Rogers having signified to the chiefs of them the offers he had
to make of free grace and pardon, the greater number of them came in and
submitted very readily. Those who were determined to continue the same
dissolute kind of life, provided with all the secrecy imaginable for
their safety, and when practicable took their flight out of the island.
The captain being made Governor, fitted out two sloops for trade, and
having given proper directions to their commanders, manned them out of
his own sailors with some of these reformed pirates intermixed. Kennedy
went out on one of these vessels, in which he had not long been at sea
before he joined in a conspiracy some of the rest had formed of seizing
the vessel, putting those to death who refused to come into their
measures, and then to go, as the sailors phrase it, "upon the account",
that is in plain English, commence pirates.

This villainous design succeeded according to their wish. They emptied
the other vessel of whatever they thought might be of use, and then
turned her adrift, as being a heavy sailer, and consequently unfit for
their purpose. A few days after their entering on this new course of
life, they made themselves masters of two pretty large ships, having
fitted which for their purpose, they now grew strong enough to execute
any project that in their present circumstances they were capable of
forming. Thus Kennedy was now got in to that unhappy state of living
which from a false notion of things he had framed so fair an idea of and
was so desirous to engage in.

Kennedy took a particular delight in relating what happened to him in
these expeditions, even after they had brought him to misery and
confinement. The account he gave of that form of rule which these
wretches set up, in imitation of the legal government, and of those
regulations there made to supply the place of moral honesty was in
substance this.

They chose a captain from amongst themselves, who in effect held little
more than that title, excepting in an engagement, when he commanded
absolutely and without control. Most of them having suffered formerly
from the ill-treatment of their officers, provided carefully against any
such evil, now they had the choice in themselves. By their orders they
provided especially against any quarrels which might happen among
themselves, and appointed certain punishments for anything that tended
that way; for the due execution thereof they constituted other officers
besides the captain, so very industrious were they to avoid putting too
much power into the hands of one man. The rest of their agreement
consisted chiefly in relation to the manner of dividing the cargo of
such prizes as they should happen to take, and though they had broken
through all laws divine and human, yet they imposed an oath to be taken
for the due observance of these, so inconsistent a thing is vice, and so
strong the principles imbibed from education.

The life they led at sea was rendered equally unhappy from fear and
hardship, they never seeing any vessel which reduced them not to the
necessity of fighting, and often filled them with apprehensions of being
overcome. Whatever they took in their several prizes could afford them
no other pleasure but downright drunkenness on board, and except for two
or three islands there were no other places where they were permitted to
come on shore, for nowadays it was become exceedingly dangerous to land,
either at Jamaica, Barbadoes, or on the islands of the Bermudas. In this
condition they were when they came to a resolution of choosing one

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