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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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expected from a man of courage, and a Christian, under his
circumstances. A minister, out of charity, visited him several times and
prayed with him, exhorting him always to make a dear and candid
confession of the fact, and, since there were no hopes, not to go to
death with a lie between his lips. Yet he persisted still in what he
had at first declared, and continued to assert the truth of that
declaration, until the gaol sickness brought him so low, that he was
scarce able to speak at all. In this low slate of health he continued
until within two or three days of his death, when he began to pick up
strength a little; and as soon as he was able to go up the stairs, he
attended as usual the devotions of the chapel. In this frame and
disposition of heart he remained until the day of his execution came,
upon which he appeared not only calm but cheerful, received the
Sacrament as is usual with malefactors at the day of their death, and
behaved at it in a very pious and religious manner.

When he came to Tyburn he stood up, and intended to have spoken to the
people, but finding himself too weak, he referred to a paper which he
delivered to Mr. Applebee, a printer, and which contained the substance
of what (if he had been able) he would have there spoken; and then,
after a few private ejaculations, he easily resigned up his breath at
the same time with the other malefactor, being then in the
one-and-twentieth year of his age. I thought proper to insert the copy
of that letter I have before spoken of, and it follows verbatim.

Good people,

I am to suffer by Law an ignominious death (God's will be done)
which untimely end I never expected. I am a youth and it's above
twelve months since I enlisted into his Majesty's Service. The
character of my behaviour in that time I will leave to my
acquaintance to declare; my character was sufficiently testified at
my trial, by gentlemen of worth and honour. I pray God bless them
for their Christian charity. I praise God my resolution to live
uprightly was no constraint; as for the cause I suffer, and the
horrid imputation I am charged with which is rendered murder (from
my soul I abhor) I now declare as I expect salvation, I am unjustly
accused, but I freely forgive my persecutors, as I hope to be
forgiven; for what I did was accidental, and in my own vindication.
The real truth is as follows:

The two soldiers that were my evidence desired my company to drink
with them. As we were returning home through the Park, passing by
two women, and being warm with liquor, I presumed to give one of
them a kiss; the other was a married woman, and resenting my
freedom, called out to her husband, Edward Perry deceased, and to
Toms that walked before, both entire strangers to me. They returned,
Toms advanced towards me speaking abruptly, and struck me over the
head and shoulders with a stick, which stunned me; likewise he urged
the deceased to quarrel with me. The deceitful Perry enraged, swore
he would see me out, and struck me with his sword in his scabbard
over the head. He drew his sword and made several passes at me, I
still retreated till provoked to draw my sword to preserve myself.
This affair was in the night. I received a wound in my right hand
thumb, and a thrust through my coat. This I declare to be the whole
truth, as I shall answer before my great God; though my persecutors,
Toms and the deceased man's wife, swore quite the reverse, which
took place to my ruin. I pray God forgive them their trespasses, as
I hope forgiveness for my own. I pray God bless my good colonel for
his care and endeavours for my safety; I pray God bless him with
length of days and prosperity in all his undertakings. I thank God,
I never wronged man, woman, or child, to my knowledge, nor was I
ever inclined to quarrel. I heartily beg of God pardon and
forgiveness for my sins, and I confide in the merits of my dear
Saviour, who died for the World. I was baptized and bred a member of
the Church of England (though an unworthy and unfortunate one) in
which Communion I hope for salvation through my blessed Redeemer.

Sunday, February the 12th, 1726.

Robert Haynes


This poor unhappy man, Thomas Timms, was the son of mean parents in the
country and as indifferently educated as he was born, so that his future
ill-deeds were capable of some little extenuation. With much to-do his
friends and parents raised money enough to put him out apprentice to a
chair-carver, with whom he lived easily and honestly during the space of
his apprenticeship, coming out of it with the character of an honest
religious young lad, which he maintained after he was set up and
married. He had probably continued to maintain it to the end of his life
if he had not fallen into unhappy circumstances, by being out of work.
This obliged him to come up to Town, where for a while he lived pretty
well upon his business; but at last it so far fell off that he was
obliged to list himself a soldier in the first regiment of Guards.
Notwithstanding this he worked still at his trade, as much as it was
possible for him to do, and to perform his duty; but misfortunes still
crowding upon him, he grew at first melancholy, and at last took to
drinking in the company of bad women, who soon drew him into thinking of
taking dishonest methods to obtain money for the support of their

Amongst other of his acquaintance there was a woman who had formerly
lived with a very eminent lawyer in the City. It was said she had a
greater familiarity with her master than she ought to have had, from
whence she took the liberty to cheat him most egregiously, especially by
counterfeiting receipts from most of the tradesmen with whom her master
had any dealing, by which means she retained in her own hands the money
which she should have paid him. Some months after, however, the roguery
was discovered, and her master being newly married, he took this
opportunity to discharge her suddenly. However, he promised her, if she
went into any lodgings, and gave him notice, he would take care she
should not want, until she could get herself into some way of business
or other.

This gentleman had three clerks, all of good families and good fortunes.
The wench, after she was out of the house, first went into a
neighbourhood where the eldest of these clerks and his relations were
very well known. Here she took upon her to be his wife, and said that
they were privately married for fear of disobliging his relations. By
the help of this she got so far into credit that she took up near a
hundred and twenty pounds worth of things before the least apprehension
was had of her being a cheat; and then removing her lodgings, she fixed
herself in a first floor within a few doors of the guardian of her
master's second clerk. She gave it out there as she had done before,
that she was secretly married to this young gentleman; and on the credit
thereof she took up near a hundred pounds in silks and shifts. But just
as she was on the point of moving off and playing the same game with the
third, she was detected and committed to Bridewell. From thence she
found means of escape by wheedling one of the keeper's servants, and
afterwards took lodgings in the house where this Timms worked.

Whether she had any hand in persuading him to go out robbing or no, I
cannot take upon me to say, but soon after, he, with his companions,
Perry and Brown, on the 3rd of May, went out with a design to rob upon
Hounslow Heath. All that night they lay in the fields; the next morning
they met a poor old man, who telling them he had no money, they let him
go without misusing him. Not long after they stopped Samuel Sells
coming from Windsor, in his chair. He, it seems, kept a public-house
there. Him they commanded to deliver, whereupon he gave them three
half-crowns, but they toasting upon it that it was too little, he
thereupon gave them ten shillings more, which both he and his companions
averred was all that they took from him, though Sells at their trial,
swore to a much larger sum, and that one of them held a truncheon over
him, and threatened him with abundance of oaths in case he made any
resistance. All of them denied this part of the charge, even to death,
and said that though they had truncheons, yet they made no use of them,
but kept them either in their breasts or under their coats.

Thomas Perry, the second of these malefactors, was born of parents in
such wretched circumstances that when he was grown a good big lad, and
death suddenly snatched them away, he found himself destitute of money,
of business and even of clothes to cover him. He thereupon traveled up
to London, and put himself apprentice to a glass-grinder, with whom he
served his time very honestly and faithfully. Then he married and lived
by working very hard in a reputable manner for about a twelve month,
after which he listed in the first regiment of Foot Guards, in which he
served till the Peace of Utrecht and Flanders, after the conclusion of
which he returned to London in the same regiment, in which he continued
to serve till this misfortune overtook him. For the last year of his
life, he had, it seems, led a more loose and extravagant course than in
all his days before, contracting an acquaintance with several women of
the town, creatures who are the utter ruin of all such unhappy men,
especially of all unlettered unexperienced persons as fall into their

Some little time before he joined with Timms and his other companion in
this robbery, he had the misfortune of having his leg bit by a dog at
Windsor, where he was quartered. Having no friends, and but a small
allowance to subsist on, he fell under great miseries there, and on his
return to Town, those who had formerly employed him in glass-grinding,
taking distaste at his rude and wicked behaviour, refused to have
anything more to do with him. He readily gave way to the solicitations
of Timms, who, as he declared, first proposed their going upon the
highway, a crime which hitherto had not entered into Perry's head.
However, he yielded too readily thereto, and with the persons who had
shared in his crimes, came to share an ignominious and untimely death.

While under sentence, he applied himself with great seriousness and
attention both to the public devotions of the chapel and to what was
privately read to them in the place of their confinement, so that
though he was very illiterate, he was far from being obstinate, and
though he wanted the advantages of education, he was not deficient in
grace, so we may therefore hope he might obtain mercy.

Edward Brown, the last of these unfortunate criminals, drew his first
breath in the city of Oxford, and by the care of his parents, attained
to a tolerable degree of knowledge in the Christian faith, as also in
writing, reading and whatsoever was necessary in that station of life
which his parents designed for him. Being arrived at an age proper to be
put out an apprentice, they placed him with a glass-grinder, to whom he
served an apprenticeship faithfully, and to his good liking when out of
time. He worked hard as a journeyman, married a wife, and lived in
reputation and credit for some small space; but falling unluckily into
loose company, he gave himself up entirely to drinking, and running
after bad women, which soon ruined him in the country and obliged him to
come up to London for the sake of subsistance. How long he had been
there, or of what standing his acquaintance was with the other two
criminals, I cannot take upon me to say, only he in general was a fellow
of greater openness in his behaviour than any of the criminals before
mentioned. He said that they had all taken their cups pretty freely
together, and had spent every farthing that they had amongst them; it
was then resolved to go upon the highway for a supply, but he could not
say who was the proposer of the scheme; that he himself had a sword and
cane, and the rest truncheons, when they attacked Mr. Sells. He [Sells]
gave them at two several times, seventeen shillings, and when they
pressed for still more, said he had but eighteen pence about him, and
begged they would let him have that to come to town with, which he said
they agreed to, and did not offer him any ill-usage whatsoever.

At the same time these unhappy men were under sentence of death,
Alexander Jones, John Platt, Mary Reynolds, Silvia Sherlock and Anne
Senior were also condemned for several offences, and as is but too
common with persons in their condition, all of them entertained strong
notions of reprieves or pardons, so that when the death warrant came
down, and these three found themselves ordered for execution, they were
not a little surprised. But as they had much natural courage they made
even that surprise turn to their advantage, and applied themselves with
greater earnestness than ever to the duties necessary to be practised by
people in their sad state.

When the day of their execution came, they were carried in one cart to
Tyburn, and as they had been companions in that single action which had
brought all of them to death, so there was nobody to share in that
unhappy fate with them, nor were they disturbed with the sorrows of
other criminals, which often distract one another's devotions at Tyburn.
On the contrary, their behaviour was grave and decent, their public
devotions were closed with a Psalm, and with many demonstrations of
repentance they resigned their lives, on the 11th of August, 1727; Timms
being about twenty-eight years of age, Perry near forty, and Brown
somewhat less than twenty-four years old, at the time of their

The Life of ALICE GREEN, a Cheat, Thief and Housebreaker

Amongst these melancholy relations of misery and death, I fancy it is
some ease to my readers, as well as to myself, when the course of my
memoirs leads me to mention a story as full of incidents, and followed
by a less tragic end than the rest. This woman, whose life I am about to
relate, was the daughter of an under-officer to one of the colleges at
Oxford. As the doctrine of making up small salaries by taking up large
perquisites prevails there as well as elsewhere, Alice's father made a
shift to keep himself, his wife and five children in a handsome manner
out of L60 a year, and what he made besides of his place.

An affectation of gentility had infected the whole family, the old man
had a good voice and played tolerably well on the fiddle. This drew
abundance of the young smart fellows of the university to his house, and
that of course engaged his three daughters to take all the pains they
were able to make themselves agreeable. The mother had great hopes that
fine clothes and a jaunty air might marry her daughters to some
gentlemen of tolerable fortunes, and that one of them, at least, might
have a chance of catching a fellow commoner with a thousand or two _per
annum_, for which reason Miss Molly, Miss Jenny, and Miss Alice were all
bred to the dancing school, taught to sing prettily, and to touch the
spinet with an agreeable air. In short, the house was a mansion of
politeness, and except the two brothers, one of which was put out
apprentice to a carpenter, and the other to a shoemaker, there was not a
person to be seen in it who looked, spoke or acted as became them in
their proper station of life. But it is necessary that we should come to
a more particular description.

Old Peter, their father, was a man of mean birth, and of a sort of
accidental education. From his youth up he had lived in Oxford, and from
the time he was able to know anything, within the purlieus of a college,
from whence he had gleaned up a few Latin sentences, scraps of poetry,
and as the masterpiece of his improvements, had acquired a good knack of
punning. All these mighty qualifications were bent to keep a good house,
and drinking two or three quarts of strong ale, accompanied with a song,
and two or three hours' scraping at night. The mother, again, was the
last remnant of a decayed family, who charged its ruin on the Civil
Wars. She was exceedingly puffed up with the notions of her birth, and
the respect that was due to a person not sprung from the vulgar. Her
education had extended no farther than the knowledge of preserving,
pickling and making fricasees, a pretty exact knowledge in the several
kinds of points and a judgment not to be despised in the choice of lace,
silks and ribbons. She affected extravagance that she might not appear
mean, and troublesomely ceremonious that she might not seem to want good
manners. Clothes for herself and her daughters, a good quantity of china
and some other exuberances of a fancy almost turned mad with the love of
finery, made up the circle of what took up her thoughts, the daughters
participating in their parents' tempers. But what was wonderful indeed,
the sons were honest, sober, industrious young men.

In the midst of all this mirth and splendour, the father died, and left
them all totally without support other than their own industry could
procure for them, slender provision indeed! Miss Molly, the eldest, was
about twenty-two at the time of her father's death, and her sisters were
each of them younger than her, and Alice a year younger than Jenny, and
about eighteen. The mother was at her wits' end to know how to procure a
living for herself and them, but an old gentleman in one of the
colleges, to whom Peter had been very useful, and who therefore retained
a grateful sense of his service, was so kind as to give fifty pounds
towards putting out the daughters, and took care to see the youngest
Alice placed with a mantua-maker in London. Molly fell into a
consumption, as was generally said, for the love of a young gentleman
who used to spend his evenings at her father's, and who marrying a young
lady of suitable birth and fortune to himself, was retired into
Shropshire. Jenny ran away with a servitor, and was lost to her mother
and her friends; so that Alice had it in her power to be tolerably
provided for, if she had inclined to have lived virtuously, and not to
have frustrated the offers of a good fortune. But she was wild and silly
from her cradle, born without capacity to do good to herself, and
indued only with such cunning as served her to ruin others.

The first intrigue she had after her coming up to London was with a
young fellow who was clerk to a Justice of the Peace in the
neighbourhood. Before be saw Alice he had been a careful, industrious
young man, and through his master's kindness had picked up some money;
but from the time that his master had a suit of clothes made up with
Alice's mistress, and which occasioned her first coming about the house,
poor Mr. Philip became the victim of her charms, and moped up and down
like a hen that had lost her chickens. It was not long before the
Justice's daughters found out his passion, and having communicated their
discovery to the maids, exposed him to be the laughing stock of the
whole house. Never was a poor young fellow so pestered! One asked him
whether he liked the wife with three trades? Another was enquiring
whether he had cast up the amount of remnants of silk, shreds of lace,
and the savings that might be made out of linings, facings, and robings?
The Justice took notice that Philip had left off reading the news, and
the old lady wondered whether he had forgotten playing upon the organ in
her husband's study. But all this served rather to increase than to
abate his passion, so that he neglected no opportunity of meeting and
paying his addresses to his mistress.

Alice was no less careful on her side, and in a short space it was
agreed that she should run away from her mistress, of whom she was grown
heartily weary, and that Philip should counterfeit most excessive grief
at his loss, in order to prevent the least suspicion of his being privy
thereto. Having adjusted this, it was not long before they put their
design into execution, and Philip first having provided a lodging for
her in Brewer Street, she, on a Sunday in the evening, when all the rest
of the family were out, removed from her mistress's house in a court
near the Strand, taking all that belonged to her in a hackney-coach,
leaving the key at an alehouse. Philip had so good a character that the
grief he affected on this occasion passed for reality upon all the
house, and the flight of Alice had no other effect than to excite a new
spring of railery on the loss of his mistress. He laid out the greatest
part of what he had saved during five years' service in furnishing out
two rooms for her very neatly, passing himself, where she lodged, for
the son of a gentleman of fortune in the country, who had married
against his friends' consent, and was therefore obliged to keep his wife
in a place of privacy until things at home could be made easy.

For some time the lovers lived mighty happily together, and nothing was
wanting to complete Philip's wishes than that they were married, for
Alice never making such a proposal, now and then disturbed his thoughts,
and put him a little out of humour. Things remained in this state with a
little alteration for about five months, until an Irish captain coming
to lodge pretty near where Philip had placed Alice, he found a way to
see her twice or thrice, and being a fellow of a smooth tongue, a
handsome person and an immoderate assurance, it was not long before he
became master of her affections. The temper of Philip having been always
too grave for her, in about three weeks' time she let the captain into
the truth of the whole story, and at his persuasion, during the time
Philip was at Surrey assizes, sold off the furniture of her lodgings,
and directing a letter to be left for him at his master's house by the
Penny Post, moved off with her new gallant.

It would be impossible, should I attempt to describe it, to describe the
agony the poor young fellow was in at the receipt of Alice's epistle, in
which she told him flatly she was weary of him and had got another
gallant; and saying that if he tried to look after her or give her any
other uneasiness, she would send a full account of all things to his
master. The jilt was sensible this would keep him quiet, for as he
depended solely upon his favour, so a story of this sort would have
inevitably deprived him of it for ever. It answered her intent, and the
force he put upon his passions cost him a severe fit of sickness.

Alice, in the meanwhile, indulged for about a week with her Irish
captain, at the end of which he beat her and turned her out of doors. It
was in vain for her to talk of her goods and her clothes; the captain
had carried her amongst a set of his acquaintance, who on the first
quarrel called her a thousand foolish English whores, and bid her go
back to her Justice's clerk again. In the midst of her affliction, with
nothing on but a linen gown, and about three shillings in her pocket,
the watchman coming his rounds, found her sitting on the steps at the
door where the captain lodged. He asked her what she did there, she said
her husband and she had quarrelled and he had shut her out. The watchman
was going away, satisfied with the answer, when the captain called out
at the window, told him she was a street-walker, and bid him take her
away. The landlady confirmed this, and the fellow laying fast hold of
her shoulder, compelled her to go with him to the watch-house. However,
a shilling procured her liberty and a favourable report to the constable
that she was an honest young woman, who had the misfortune to be married
to a bad husband, who turned her into the street, and she was afraid
would not suffer her to come in again that night. Upon hearing this, the
constable bid her sit down by the fire, gave her a glass of brandy and
promised her she should be as safe and as easy as the place would allow
her for that night.

But unluckily for Alice, as she went to take the glass out of the
constable's hand, he knew her face, and happening to be the baker who
served the mantua-maker with bread, where she lived, the next morning he
conducted Mrs. Alice, much against her will, home to her mistress. One
of her fellow-apprentices ran with the news to the Justice's, and one of
the daughters whispered it in Philip's ears, as he was writing a
recognizance in the Justice's book. Philip no sooner heard it but he
fell down in a swoon, and about half an hour was spent before they could
bring him again to himself. The young lady who had played him the trick,
immediately quitted the room, and he opening his eyes, and perceiving
her gone, pretended it was a sudden fit, and that he had been used to
them when a child.

Much as he had suffered by this ungrateful woman, he took the first
opportunity to go to a coffee-house within a door or two of her
mistress, in order to learn what had become of her. There was but one
person who had been trusted with his ever having visited her at all, and
they too, were ignorant that she had ever run away with him. Philip
therefore sent for his confidant, from whom he received information,
that after snivelling and crying for a hour or two, she took advantage
of being left alone in a parlour (although the door was locked), and
getting out at the window into the backyard, made a shift to scramble
over the top of the house of office into the court, and so made her
escape to the waterside, where her mistress found she had taken a pair
of oars. But though they followed her to Falcon Stairs, yet they were
not able to retrieve her. Philip at this news was exceedingly grieved,
and returned home again very disconsolate on this occasion.

Alice, in the meantime, lurked about in St. George's Fields till
evening, and then crossing the bridge, walked on towards St. James's.
However dirty and despicable her dress, yet as she had a very pretty
face and a very engaging manner of speaking at first sight, she drew in
a merchant's book-keeper, as she walked down Cornhill, to carry her to a
certain tavern at the corner of Bishopsgate Street; where, after a good
supper and a bottle or two of wine, she engaged him to take her to a
lodging, and by degrees to give her a great deal of fine clothes, in
return for which she flattered him so greatly that he grew as fond of
her and as much a fool as ever Philip had been.

In the meantime her sister, who was much of her disposition, had been
turned off by a young fellow she had run away with from Oxford, and in
a miserable condition had trotted up to town, in order to see whether
she could have better luck with another gallant. One night, as she was
strolling through Leadenhall Street in her vocation, she saw her sister
Alice and the book-keeper who kept her, walking home with a servant, and
a candle and lanthorn before them. Jenny did not think fit to speak to
them, but dogging them privately home, called upon her sister the next
day and was mighty well received. The couple now took every opportunity
(notwithstanding the allowance of the book-keeper) to enable Alice to
stroll out with her together, and wandered about nightly in quest of
adventures, till it began to grow towards ten o'clock, and the fear of a
visit from her keeper drove Alice to her lodgings.

This trade, without any remarkable accident, was practised for about
three months, when on a sudden the book-keeper vanished, and for three
weeks' time Alice heard not a word of him. This threw both the sisters
into a heavy peck of troubles, and the more because he had always kept
it a secret in whose family he lived and went to the people where Alice
lodged by another name than his own. However they got money enough by
sparks they picked up to live pretty easily together, and that no
misfortune might go too near their hearts, they fell to drinking a quart
of brandy a day. It seems the woman at whose house they lodged was
herself given to drinking, and so by treating her they fell into the
same vice. The landlady in return was mighty civil to them, and every
now and then invited them downstairs to drink with her.

One evening when they were below stairs, there happened to be some
discourse about a trial at the Sessions House, whereupon Alice expressed
her desire of seeing the trials, and her sister agreeing in the request,
their landlady agreed to carry them the next morning. Accordingly they
were at Sessions House by the time the Court was set, and the two young
sluts were exceedingly merry at the wretched appearances the poor
creatures made at the bar. In the midst of their mirth, a man was
brought up to plead to his indictment, who had only a blanket wrapped
over his shirt to keep him from the weather; they were laughing and
talking to some of the people behind them, when Jenny patted her sister
to take notice of what the man was charged with. Alice listened and
heard the indictment read, which was for breaking open an escritoire and
taking out of it ninety guineas, two diamond rings and a good tweezer.
When the clerk had done reading, the criminal answered with a low voice,
_Not Guilty_, and the keeper thereupon took him from the bar. As he
turned, his face being towards them, Alice saw that it was the
book-keeper who had lived with her, and in a low voice whispered her
sister, _As I hope to live, it is our Tom._ They did not stay much
longer, but began to consider as soon as they got home what was to be
done. Alice was sensible that the tweezer-case mentioned in the
indictment had been given her, and was under a thousand frights and
fears that it should be discovered and was above all wondrous careful of
her landlady, that she did not go any more to the trials that Sessions.

The day they heard that sentence was passed, Jenny went to one of the
runners at Newgate, and giving him a shilling, asked what had become of
such a person. The fellow answered that he was to be transported. Jenny
came immediately home with the news to her sister. She shed a few tears
and said, what if he should want in Newgate? _Nay_, says Jenny, _let him
want what he will, I'm sure you shall not be fool enough to pawn your
things to relieve him_; and as her fit of compassion was soon over, so
they determined to remove their lodgings for fear that if he were under
necessity, as they could not well doubt he was, considering the figure
he made at his trial, he might send to her. But they needed not to have
been under any apprehensions of that sort, for shame and grief had
brought him so low that the gaol distemper seizing on him, he died the
same week he had been tried, and the runner to whom Jenny had given the
shilling, remembering her face, stopped her in the street, and told her
the news. When Alice heard it, she pretended to fall into fits, and
express abundance of sorrow and concern. The sorrows were not, however,
so deep but that brandy and two days' time effaced them so well that she
dressed in the best manner she was able, in order to go out and look for
a spark.

Unfortunately for her, her amours produced the usual consequence, a
loathsome distemper, which seizing about the same both her sister and
herself, through want of proper care, ruined both their constitutions;
and the ill consequence being increased by the use of improper food,
they were soon after in such a condition that their infamous trade of
prostitution fell off, and they were in danger of starving and rotting.
In this distress they knew not what to do, till at last advising with an
old woman whom they had scraped acquaintance with, she readily offered
them the use of her house, and to engage for them a surgeon, who should
complete their cure. The sisters were overjoyed at this, and in a hurry
accepted her offer, removing themselves and what little valuable
movables they had the next week.

They were received with great courtesy and kindness, and the old woman,
from an acquaintance of three weeks, assured them that they were no less
dear to her than if they had been her own daughters. This treatment
continued until they were in the height of a salivation, and then they
were acquainted with usage of another sort. This distemper was very
expensive, their course of physic very troublesome, it required much
attendance, they were strangers to her, and so by degrees the old woman
got from them most of the trinkets they brought with them. So that when
they were come a little to themselves, and nourishing food was proper to
restore them to perfect soundness, they had no way left to procure it
but by pawning or selling their clothes, which being quickly done and
the money spent, nakedness and poverty became their companions.

Thus plunged in misery, they were exposed to the daily insults of the
bawd, who treated them with great cruelty now she had them absolutely in
her power. Alice was so very uneasy under it, that having one night got
a few clean things about her, she resolved to venture out in a thin
linen gown, to see what might be done to free them from these
difficulties. She had not got lower than Southampton Street, in the
Strand, before a gentleman well dressed, though much in liquor, invited
her to go with him to his chambers. He carried her as far as Essex
Street, and then turning down to the Temple, brought her into rooms up
two pair of stairs, richly furnished. She saw nobody that he had to
attend him, but everything seemed in very exact order, and so without
further ceremony to bed they went. His weight of liquor soon forced him
to sleep, but Alice, whose head was full of the miseries she had so long
gone through, arose, put on her clothes and searching his pockets, found
a gold watch, nineteen guineas and a large gold medal. She was so much
surprised with the richness of this booty, and yet this being her first
fact, so confounded within herself, that she knew not well what to do.
At last, with great difficulty she forced open the chamber door, which
he had locked (and laid the key where she could not find it). Next she
came to the outer doors of the chambers, in which the key was, and so
there was no difficulty in getting out; but then finding it impossible
to shut the door after her without locking it, she even did so, and
carried away the key.

She made all the haste she could home to her landlady, and without
considering the consequence, paid her six pounds which she demanded, and
got some clothes out of her hands, which she had retained as a security
for the money. Then she removed with her sister, as secretly as she
could, to an inn in Smithfield, and from thence, the next day, they
removed to a little lodging in narrow lane by St. John's, where
downright fear made them keep so much within doors that they had almost
spent all their money in six weeks' time, without thinking of any method
to get more.

At last, Jenny, as being least in danger, equipped herself as well as
she could, and ventured about nine o'clock one evening into the streets.
She walked about half an hour without meeting with any adventure, but at
last picked up an innocent country lad. They had not gone far towards a
tavern before the constable and his body-guard of watchmen surprised and
hurried them away to the Wood Street Compter. There she remained until
the next day, when it was intimated to her that if she could produce a
couple of guineas they would be looked upon as good bail. She sent for
her sister Alice, who not having so much money, foolishly offered the
gold medal as a security. Some of the limbs of the Law thereabouts, were
acquainted with the gentleman of the Temple who lost it, and it being
shown up and down to know its value, they declared it was stolen, and
Alice, instead of procuring her sister's liberty, was forced into the
same prison, and confined with her. As it was about three weeks to
sessions, they were permitted to remain at the Compter during that time.

This was a deeper plunge into misfortune than they had ever yet known,
and the fear of hanging was so strong that Alice, in order to avoid it,
resolved upon making an application to a person to whom otherwise she
would never have made herself known. Who should this be but Philip, who
was lately married, but still did the business of his old master the
Justice, and therefore was always to be met with at his house, though he
had now got a little place upon which he was capable of living pretty
handsomely. Alice's letter reached him just as he was sitting down to
dinner. The surprise he was in was so great that it could not be hid
from the company. However, to cover the cause of it, he pretended that
it brought him news of a person being gone off for whom he was bail, and
which obliged him not to lose a minute in going to see what might be
done. So putting on his hat, and entreating some gentlemen who were at
the table with him not to disturb themselves, for he should be back in
half an hour, away he went directly to the Compter. And having influence
over the people in power there, he prevailed to have her let out to an
adjacent tavern.

The affliction she had gone through had altered but not impaired her
beauty. Philip, ill-used as he had been by her, could not forbear
bursting into tears at the sight of the miserable condition in which she
was. As soon as his surprise was a little over, she acquainted him with
the true state of the case, and begged his assistance in prevailing on
the injured gentleman to soften the prosecution. He promised her all
that was in his power, but desired to know after what manner she
intended to live, in case her liberty could ever be regained. She cried
and promised to work hard for her living rather than fall into that
miserable plight again, and then told him how unfortunately it happened
that her sister also was involved in the same calamity. At parting,
Philip presented her with a guinea, and told her she should have the
same every week while she remained there, assuring her also that he
would not fail coming to her the next day at noon, and informing her of
the temper in which he found her antagonist.

It happened that the Templar was Philip's intimate acquaintance, and had
a seat near his father's house in the country. Philip told him the truth
of the story, and how he came to interest himself so far in the affair.
The gentleman was not hard to be prevailed on, and said he did not
conceive it would be of any service to the women to let them be set at
liberty, considering the course of life they would be obliged
immediately to fall into for bread; that for his part, he inclined
rather to procure them liberty to transport themselves, and that they
might not be destitute in a strange country, he was not averse,
notwithstanding his loss, to give them something towards putting them in
a condition of getting their livelihood when they got over. Philip
readily agreed to this, though he was fearful of its proving an
expedient little agreeable to the women. However, the next day, when he
went, he sent for them both to the tavern, and proposed it. Alice said
it was the most agreeable thing that could have befallen her. She was
sensible of the manner in which she had lived in her native country, and
of the difficulty there would be of her amending here, and though her
sister Jenny was at first very averse, yet she quickly brought her to be
as complying as herself and to wish nothing more than the possibility of
living honest in any of the plantations.

Philip carried this news at night to the Temple and the gentleman there,
who was a great humorist, was so much taken with the temper and spirit
of Alice, that he would needs see her again, and thereupon accompanied
Philip the next day to the place of her confinement. There everything
was soon settled, the Templar procured their discharge, put them to
board at a house which he could command, and bargained with a captain of
a New England vessel for their passage thither; not as for persons who
had been guilty of any misdeeds here, but as of young women of good
families, who were unwilling to go to service here, and had therefore
got their friends to raise as much money as would send them over there,
where perhaps they might meet with better fortune.


(_From the Newgate Calendar_)]

In short, their two benefactors furnished then with things to the amount
of two hundred pounds, accompanied them themselves on board the
vessel, and recommended them to the captain with as much earnestness as
if they had been near relations. Coming in this light into the abroad,
they were received with great hospitality, and treated with much
kindness and respect; and in fine, after remaining here about a year,
Jenny married a gentleman of as good fortune as any in the country, and
her sister, not long after, had the same luck. Jenny did not indeed
survive it long, but Alice outlived her first husband, and marrying a
second, returned into England where she is still living in as much
respect and esteem as any gentlewoman in the county where she inhabits.

An Account of the horrid murder of MR. WIDDINGTON DARBY, committed in
his chambers in the Temple, on the 11th of April, 1727, for which one
HENRY FISHER was apprehended and committed to Newgate, from whence he

The deceased Mr. Darby was a young gentleman who made an extraordinary
good appearance in the world. He generally wore fine rings, rich snuff
boxes, and an extraordinary gold watch about him. These things possibly
tempted a needy person of his acquaintance to be guilty of that
barbarous murder which was committed upon him. He lived in the chambers
belonging to Sir George Cook's office in the Temple. His servant lived
in another place, and went home every night. It happened the night
before, or rather in that wherein he was murdered, that Mr. Darby had a
good deal of company with him, who supping late, they did not go away
until eleven o'clock, when Mr. Darby's servant also retired to his
lodgings. The next morning, being Tuesday, about nine o'clock, Mr. Darby
was found dead in the said office, his skull penetrated with a pistol
ball, his ear and hand cut, his rings, watch and other valuables taken
away, besides his escritoire broken open, and his money and linen taken
from thence.

The next day the coroner's inquest sat thereon, but being able to make
no discovery of the murder, they thought fit to adjourn _sine die_, as
soon as the coroner had made an order for the interment of his corpse
which was done accordingly in a vault in the church of St. Andrew's,

Some time passed before any light was got into this affair. At length,
Mr. Moody, who had been upon the coroner's inquest who had sat on the
body of Mr. Darby, received information that one Fisher, who had been
in very bad circumstances, and as an acquaintance had been relieved
under him by the deceased Mr. Darby, was all on a sudden, since the
committing of that murder, observed to have a great deal of money. He
had paid some debts which had been troublesome to him and was observed
to have some valuable things about him which had never been seen before.
These circumstances appearing altogether very suspicious, Mr. Moody
acquainted Mr. York with it, who had been very assiduous in taking all
measures possible for the discover of this horrid assassination. He
falling readily into Mr. Moody's opinion, they agreed together that the
likeliest method to find out the truth was to go to Mr. Willoughby, who
was Fisher's landlord, and known to be a very honest man. Accordingly
they went to him in a tavern in Southampton Street, where they
understood he was, and falling into discourse about Mr. Darby's murder,
they insinuated to him the suspicions they had of his lodger.

Returning to his house, Fisher being away, Mr. Willoughby went to his
room and broke open a box, and found in it the top and bottom of a
snuff-box, a vizard mask, and a pair of laced ruffles. The remains of
the snuff-box Mr. York knew to have belonged to the deceased, and had
reason to suspect the ruffles also to have been his, so that it was
immediately agreed to go before the Honourable Sir William Thompson,[77]
in order to procure a warrant. There they made an affidavit of the
several circumstances attending their discovery, and Sir William upon
the examination also of a lady (who produced a piece of lace before she
had seen the ruffle, and declared that if it were Mr. Darby's it must
tally therewith, which on a comparison it did exactly) granted a
warrant. It appeared also at the same time, upon the oath of Mr.
Willoughby, that the day Mr. Darby was murdered, Fisher borrowed
half-a-crown of him to pay his washerwoman, and was in the utmost
necessity for money.

A woman swore that a person very like Fisher was hovering about Mr.
Darby's chambers the night the murder was committed, and it was proved
by the oath of another person that Fisher came not to his lodgings till
two o'clock on Tuesday morning, on which Mr. Darby was murdered. About
eight o'clock a porter came and informed Fisher of Mr. Darby's being
murdered, at which he shewed little concern and locked himself up for
some hours.

Things being thus over at Sir William Thompson's, Mr. Willoughby, Mr.
York, and Mr. Moody, returned to Fisher's lodgings. About two o'clock
in the morning he came in, and they seized him, having a constable and
proper assistance for that purpose. On Sunday noon, he was carried
before Sir William Thompson in order to be examined, where he said:

That about the latter end of the week in which Mr. Darby was murdered,
as he was passing through Lincoln's Inn Fields, about four in the
afternoon, be took up under the wall of Lincoln's Inn Gardens, a white
paper parcel in which were contained several things of great value
belonging to the deceased; some of the diamonds he acknowledged he sold
to a jeweller in Paternoster Row for ten guineas, the watch he pawned
for nine guineas to a person at a brazier's in Bond Street, and sold the
gold chain and swivels to a person in Lombard Street. He absolutely
denied all knowledge of the murder, and said that at the time it
happened he was at a billiard table in Duke Street, by St. James's. When
taken there was found upon him two of Mr. Darby's rings with the stones
taken out, wrapped up in a paper, with his seal the arms of which were
taken out, and in these circumstances he was committed to Newgate.

Soon after this the coroner granted his warrant, and an order being
thereupon obtained from the Commons, Mr. Darby's body was taken up and
in the presence of several persons, his head opened by an eminent
surgeon, who found a large lacerated wound near the left ear, the
temporal bone on that side being very much fractured, several pieces of
which stuck in the brain on the same side. He found, likewise, the
temporal bone on the other side, exactly opposite, broken; the pieces
thereof were not removed from their places, but easily removed upon his
attempting to take them away. He took out the brain and the bullet
dropped upon the pillow which lay upon the ground under his head. It
appeared, upon comparing the said bullet taken out of the head, with
some other bullets found in custody of Henry Fisher (at that time in
Newgate on suspicion of the murder) that it seemed to have been cast in
the same mould; and when weighing it with one of these bullets, it was
very little lighter, and it fitted the bore of one of the pistols which
was found in Fisher's custody, even that pistol which by some signs were
looked on to have been discharged, though afterwards loaded again.

This Fisher was the son of a very eminent clothier in the West of
England, who had sent him to London, and put him out clerk to an
attorney, and had done everything in his power which he was able, and
which was reasonable for him to do. But he being extravagant, lived far
beyond the rate which was consistent with the supplies he received from
his father; so that when pressed by his necessities, he had often
applied to Mr. Darby for relief. When in Newgate he affected a most
unreasonable gaiety and unconcernedness in his behaviour, although the
circumstances were so strong against him as occasioned it to prevail as
the general opinion that he would be convicted. However, he and the
famous Roger Johnson took the advantage of the workmen labouring on the
cells which were then building, and by breaking a hole through a place
done up only with lath and plaster, they got down one of the workmen's
ladders, and so made their escape. Johnson was afterwards retaken and
tried for breaking prison, but alleging it was done by Fisher, he was
acquitted, and this Henry Fisher, the supposed murderer of Mr. Darby,
was never heard of since.


[77] Sir William Thompson (1678-1739) was Recorder of London in
1715, Solicitor General two years later, and in 1729 became
baron of the Exchequer.

The Life of JOSHUA CORNWALL, a Thief and Housebreaker

Though vices are undoubtedly the chief instruments that bring unhappy
persons to that ignominious death which the Law hath appointed for
enormous offences, yet it very often happens that folly rather than
wickedness brings them first into the road of ruin; in which, led on by
delusive hopes, they continue to run until a disastrous fate overtakes
them, and puts an end at once to their vicious race, and to their lives.
The criminal whose memoirs at present employ our pen is such an example
as I hope, while it entertains, may also instruct my readers to avoid
his errors.

This unfortunate man was the son of reputable and honest parents in the
town of Brigg in the county of Lincoln. Their circumstances were such as
enabled them to give him an education; and the desire they had of doing
everything that was possible for their son inclined them not to be
wanting in this particular. His mother, was fond of him to a fault, and
being permitted by her indulgence to run up and down amongst young
people of his own age, riding across the country to friends and other
diversions of a like nature, he lost all liking to things of a serious
nature, and without thinking how to procure the necessaries of life, was
altogether taken up in enjoying those pleasures to which he had the
greatest inclination. In the midst of this pleasant situation of things
(at least as it appeared to him at that time) the prospect was darkened
by the death of his mother. His friends retained for him a due paternal
affection, but had no notion of permitting him to go on the life he
led, and therefore to break him of that as well as to make him
acquainted with an honest method of getting his living, his father put
him out apprentice to a baker in Hull.

But as kindness seemed of all things the most fatal to this unhappy man,
so the acquaintance and friendship which his master had for Cornwall's
family became a new means of leading him into misfortune, for treating
the young man rather with a tenderness due to a son than that severity
which is usually practised towards apprentices and servants, it gave him
an opportunity of renewing his old course of life. Instead of inclining
him to behave in a manner which might deserve such lenity, it gave him,
on the contrary, occasion frequently to abuse it by running from one
dancing bout and merry-making to another, without the least care of his
master's business, who out of downright affection forbore to restrain
his follies with that harshness which they deserved, and which any other
person would have used.

At length, having acquired so great a habit of laziness and so strong an
aversion to business that he found it impossible for him to live longer
in the country, he came up to London, that great receptacle of those who
are either unable or unwilling to live anywhere else. Here he got into
service as a footman with several persons of worth, and discharged his
duty well (as indeed it was a kind of life which of all others suited
him best), so that he obtained a tolerable reputation whereby he got
into the service of one Mr. Fenwick, a gentleman of affluent fortune.
Here it was that through desire of abounding in money he either drew in
others, or was drawn in himself to commit that crime which cost him his

It seems that in Mr. Fenwick's family there was a great deal of plate
used, which stood on a buffet. This tempted Cornwall, and it is highly
likely gave him the first notion of attempting to rob the house. When he
had once formed this project he resolved to take in one Rivers, a
debauched companion of his, as a partner in the designed theft.

This Rivers was certainly easy enough prevailed on to join in the
commission of this fact, and after several meetings to consult upon
proper measures, Rivers at last proposed that their scheme should be put
in execution as soon as possible; and that he might the more perfectly
conceive how it was to be managed, he went home with Cornwall, and
looked upon the house. Soon after this they held their last
consultation, and Cornwall saying to Rivers that he must bring some
other persons to assist him, Rivers made choice of one Girst, and coming
with him at the appointed hour, Cornwall in his shirt opened the door
and let them in. In the buffet there stood a lighted candle in a silver
candle-stick, by which they were directed to the rest of the plate,
which as soon as they had taken out, they placed all together upon the
carpet, and fell next to rifling Mr. Fenwick's bureau, and took out a
great quantity of linen, a lady's lace, the tea equipage, and two silver
canisters. Then making it up in a bundle, it was carried to River's
lodgings in Vinegar Yard, Drury Lane.

All this could not be performed with so little noise as not to disturb
the family. Mr. Fenwick himself heard the noise, being awakened by his
wife, who had heard it for some time, but it ceasing they fell asleep
again until one of the servants came up in the morning, and told his
master that the house had been robbed, the plate taken away, and a
window in the back parlour left open, about which, as he could observe
no marks of violence, he was led to suspect it was opened by somebody in
the family; upon which Cornwall and a maid in the house were immediately
thought to have a hand in. However, as there was no sort of proof, Mr.
Fenwick forbore seizing them at that time, and contented himself with
advertizing his plate; which advertisement coming into the hands of a
pawnbroker, to whom a part of it had been pledged, he immediately gave
notice that it was pawned to him by Rivers. A warrant being upon this
obtained for the searching of River's lodging, a note was there found,
directed to Thomas Rivers, Glover, in Guy's Court, Vinegar Yard, Drury
Lane, in which were these words:

Dear Tom,

Let me see you at seven o'clock to-morrow morning, at the Postern
Spring, Tower Hill, be sure.

Joshua Cornwall.

Upon this Cornwall was immediately taken up and Girst readily offered
himself an evidence. In a few days after, sessions coming on, Joshua
Cornwall and Thomas Rivers were indicted for burglariously breaking the
house of Nicholas Fenwick, Esq., and taking thence divers pieces of
plate, to the value of eighty-five pounds nineteen shillings, holland
shirts to the value of twenty pounds, and other goods of the said Mr.
Fenwick, on the 8th day of September, 1730. This indictment being fully
proved, the jury found Thomas Rivers guilty thereof. But being dubious
whether Joshua Cornwall, as a servant within the house of Mr. Fenwick,
could be properly convicted of burglariously breaking into his said
master's house, they found their verdict as to him special; which the
judges having considered, they were unanimously of opinion that the
crime was in its nature a burglary. Whereupon, at the following
sessions at the Old Bailey, the criminal was brought to the bar, and
being acquainted with their lordships' opinion, received sentence of

Under conviction, he behaved himself with great penitence, said he had
not been guilty of many of those atrocious crimes commonly practised by
such as come to that fatal end whither his folly had led him. At the
place of execution he, with great fervency, justified the character of a
young woman who had lived fellow-servant with him at Mr. Fenwick's. He
declared, as he was a dying man, that she was not in the least privy to
the injury done her master, and that he had no other than an
acquaintance with her, without either having, or attempting any criminal
conversation with her. Having done this justice, he seemed to die with
much composure, in the twenty-second year of his age, on the 23rd of
December, 1730.



The Life of JOHN TURNER, _alias_ CIVIL JOHN, a Highwayman

One of the most dangerous passions which can enter the breasts of young
people, though at the same time it be one of the most common, is the
love of finery and a mean and foolish ambition to appear better dressed
than becomes their station, in hopes of imposing upon the world as
persons of much higher rank than they really are. This inconsiderate,
ridiculous pride brings along with it such a numerous train of bad
consequences that of necessity it makes the person inflamed by it
unhappy and often miserable for life. In the case now before us a was
still more fatal by adding a violent and ignominious death.

John Turner was the son of a person in tolerable circumstances, in the
county of Cornwall, where he received an education proper for that
condition of life in which he was likely to pass through the world. His
father was a man of good sense, and of a behaviour much more courteous
and genteel than is usual among persons of ordinary condition in a
county so remote from London. He was extremely desirous that his son
should be like him in this respect, and therefore he continually
cautioned him against falling into that rough boorish manner of behaving
which is natural to uneducated clowns, and makes them shocking to
everybody but themselves. In this respect John was very compliant with
his father's temper, and being put out apprentice to a peruke-maker, his
obliging carriage endeared him so much, not only to his master and the
family but also to the gentlemen on whom, as customers to the shop, he
sometimes waited, that they took a peculiar liking to the boy and were
continually giving him money as a reward for his diligence and

But John's obliging temper took a turn very fatal to himself, as well as
very little suspected by his friends and relations. For having been made
use of by some young sparks at Exeter (the place where he served his
time) to carry messages to their mistresses, he from thence conceived so
strong an inclination to become a beau and a gallant that, in order to
it, he broke open his master's escritoire and took away a considerable
sum of money. With this he came up to London and went to live as a
journeyman with an eminent peruke-maker at the Court end of the town.
There his easy and obsequious temper made him very agreeable to
everybody, and his behaviour was so just and open that nobody in the
neighbourhood had a better character than himself. Yet he was far from
giving over those extravagancies the earnest desire of committing which
had brought him to town; for nobody in his station made so handsome a
figure as Mr. Turner.

His amours with the wenches in the neighbourhood were very numerous,
though out of a point of honour he was careful enough in endeavouring to
conceal them. But as they naturally led him into an expensive way of
living, which what he got by his trade could in no degree support, he
quickly found himself obliged to take to new methods, and thought none
so concise and convenient as going upon the road. This he did for some
time without arousing the least suspicion, behaving himself towards
those whom he robbed with such gentleness and good manners, putting his
hat into the coach and taking what money they thought fit to give him,
nay, sometimes returning a part of that, if the dress or aspect of the
person gave him room to suspect that their wants were as great as his.
From this extraordinary conduct he obtained the name of Civil John, by
which he was very well known to the stage coachmen, wagoners, and other
such persons who travelled the Western road.

Common fame, which ordinarily multiplies the adventures of men of his
profession, circulated a multitude of stories about him which had not
the least foundation in fact, and served only to make the poor man more
remarkable, and consequently the more easy to be taken; which was,
accordingly, the effect of those foolish encomiums which the vulgar
bestowed upon so genteel a robber. About six weeks after he had taken to
this unfortunate course of life; and while he yet preserved an unstained
reputation in the neighbourhood in which he lived, he was apprehended
for a robbery committed on Mr. Air, from whom he took but an
inconsiderable sum; yet the fact being clearly proved against him at the
next session at the Old Bailey, he was convicted, and having no
relations capable of making interest sufficient to obtain a reprieve, he
lost all hopes of life. Under sentence he conducted himself with much
calmness, penitence, and resignation, confessing the truth of that
charge which had been laid against him, acknowledging the justice of the
Law in this sentence, and disposing himself to submit to it with much
cheerfulness and alacrity.

This great change in his circumstance and manner of living, added to
his own uneasy reflections upon those misfortunes into which vanity and
ostentation had brought him, soon reduced him by sickness to so weak a
state that he was incapable, almost, of coming to chapel alone.
Notwithstanding this, he continued to frequent it, some of the people
about the prison being so kind as to help him upstairs. As his vices
arose rather from the imitation of those fine gentlemen on whom he had
waited while a lad, so he did not carry them to that height which most
of these unhappy persons are wont to do; on the contrary he was very
sober, little addicted to gambling, and never followed the common women
of the town. But dress, dancing bouts, and the necessary entertainments
for carrying on his amours were the follies which involved him in these
expenses, for the supply of which he thus hazarded his soul and
forfeited his life.

When the death warrant came down his sickness had brought him so low
that Nature seemed inclined to supersede the severity of the Law; but
too short a time which intervened between it and its execution, and so
he came to suffer a violent death at Tyburn a day or two before,
perhaps, he would otherwise have yielded up his breath in his bed.
Little could be expected of a person in his weak condition, at the place
of execution, where, when he arrived he was utterly unable to stand up.
However, with a faint voice he desired the prayers both of the minister
who attended them and of the spectators of his execution, which happened
on the 20th of November, 1727, in the twenty-sixth year of his age.

The Life of JOHN JOHNSON, a Coiner

In excuse of taking base measures to procure money there is no plea so
often urged as necessity, and the desire of providing for a family
otherwise in danger of want. The reason of this is pretty evident, since
nothing could be a greater alleviation of such a crime. But the word
necessity is so equivocal that it is hard to fix its true meaning, and
unless that can be done, it will be as hard to judge of the
reasonableness of such an excuse.

John Johnson, the criminal on whose life we are next to cast an eye, was
born of a very honest and reputable family in the county of Nottingham,
and received in his youth the best education they were capable of giving
him. By this he became able to read tolerably and write well enough for
that business to which he was bred, viz., a tailor. Throughout his
apprenticeship he behaved himself virtuously and industriously, and left
his master with the character of a faithful and deserving young man.
When his time was out, and he had wrought for some time as a journeyman
in the country, the common whim of coming up to London seized him; and
after he had spent some time in town in working hard at his trade, he
married a wife with whom he lived in good correspondence for many years,
with the esteem and respect of all who knew him. But his family
increasing and he consequently finding the charge of maintaining them
rise higher than formerly, and, what was worse, that all he was capable
of doing could not maintain them, he grew very melancholy.

After considering several projects for making his circumstances more
easy, he at last pitched upon going into Lincolnshire, as a place where
the cheapness of provisions might balance the number of mouths he had to
feed. But he had not been long there before he discovered his mistake,
for the smallness of wages made everything rather dearer than cheaper,
which plunged him into new difficulties, and rendered him incapable of
ease or satisfaction. While his wits were thus on the rack, and his
invention stretched to the uttermost in order to find out some means or
other to recoup his pockets, he unfortunately fell into the company of a
man who, under the pretence of being his most zealous friend, became,
though perhaps unwittingly, the instrument of his utter ruin. For his
appearing ever disconsolate and melancholy gave the countryman an
opportunity of prying into the cause of his concern, which he soon
discovered to be the narrowness of his circumstances. As we naturally
find ease in communicating our afflictions to others, so Johnson was
ready enough to inform him of the truth of his affairs, and the man no
less assiduous in endeavouring to help him out of these straits into
which he had fallen.

At last, his Lincolnshire acquaintance told him there was but one way of
recovering his misfortunes and living like a man without labour, to
which Johnson began now to have a great aversion, and therefore he
eagerly desired to be acquainted with this delightful way of getting on.
With a grave face his associate told him that what he was about to
propose could not be effected without some risk, but that a man could
not expect to live without trouble or without hazard. Johnson said it
was true, and desired only to be informed wherein the hazard consisted,
as he would make no scruple of running it, for he lacked courage as
little as any man.

Upon this his companion opened to him his whole scheme, which consisted
in a method of counterfeiting the silver coin to a tolerable degree of
likeness. Johnson was easily drawn in, for he thought there could be no
speedier way of getting money than making it. His country friend helped
him to the necessary implements, and Johnson applied himself with such
earnestness to his new occupation that in a very short time he greatly
outdid his master, giving the false money he had made so perfect a
similitude to the specie for which he made it that it was impossible to
distinguish it by the eye. But thinking it much more hazardous to
attempt putting off in the country than it would be in London, and his
fellow labourer being of the same opinion, they first went to work and
coined a considerable sum according to their method, and they came up to
dispose of it, as Johnson had proposed.

By this time misfortune and remorse had taught the poor man whose life
we are writing to addict himself too much to drinking, especially to
strong liquors, so that the first experiment he made of the
practicability of getting rid of his false money was in putting off two
sixpences to a distiller for gin, in which he succeeded without being
suspected. But going to a shoemaker's and buying there a ready-made pair
of shoes, he was seized for attempting to pay the man with two bad
half-crowns, which though they looked pretty well to the eye, were
nevertheless much too light when they came to be weighed against the
metal that it was intended they should pass for.

When carried before a Justice his heart soon failed him and almost as
soon as he was asked he revealed the whole truth of the matter,
impeaching both the countryman who had taught him and a person with whom
they had trusted the secret here in town. However, his confession was of
little benefit to him, for at the next sessions he was capitally
convicted and from thenceforward cast off all hopes of life. As he was a
man who did not lack good natural parts, during the short time he had to
live he endeavoured to make his prayer to God for the forgiveness of the
many errors of his life, attending also constantly at the time of public
devotion. Yet for all this he could not be persuaded that there was any
great degree of guilt in what he had done, but imagined on the contrary
that he was much more innocent than his fellow malefactors, regretting,
however, the heavy misfortune he had brought upon himself and family,
two of his children dying during the time of his imprisonment, and his
wife and third child coming upon the parish. In which sentiments he
continued until the day of his execution, which was on the same with the
before-mentioned John Turner, this criminal being then about fifty years
of age.

Robbers and Footpads

Amongst the many artifices by which vice covers itself from our
apprehension, there is no method which it more commonly takes, and yet
better succeeds in, than by putting on a mask of virtue and thereby
imposing the most flagitious actions upon us as things indifferent,
sometimes as things which may gain applause.

This was exactly the case with the persons whose lives we are now about
to write, who were all of them young men of tolerable education, but
giving way to their vicious inclinations, they associated themselves
together for the better carrying on those evil practices by which they
supported their extravagances, into which lewd women especially had
betrayed them.

James Sherwood, who was the eldest of them, and also went by the name of
Hobbs, was the son of but mean parents, who, however, took all the pains
that were in their power to educate him in the best manner they were
able. When he grew up they put him out apprentice to a waterman, with
whom he served his time, and was afterwards a seaman in a man-of-war.
When at home he spent his time in the worst company imaginable, viz.,
idle young men and lewd, infamous women. As he had naturally a good
understanding and quick apprehension, he quickly became adroit in every
mystery of wickedness to which he addicted himself. However, Justice
soon overtook him and his first companions in wickedness; upon which he
turned evidence and saved his own life by sacrificing theirs. He was
transported soon afterwards, but upon his finding it difficult to live
abroad without working (a thing, for which he had an intolerable
aversion) he took the first opportunity that offered of returning home

When he returned he fell to his old practices, taking up his lodgings at
the house of one Sarah Payne, a most infamous woman who was capable of
seducing unwary youths for the commission of the greatest villainies,
and then ready to betray them to death, either to benefit or secure
herself. By hers and Sherwood's means George Weedon was drawn in, a
young man of very reputable parents, who had been brought up with the
greatest care in the principles of virtue and true religion. It seems,
however, that having contracted an acquaintance with a lewd and artful
woman, who drew him into an excessive fondness for her, he yielded to
the solicitations of Sherwood and his landlady, and took to such courses
as they suggested, in order to supply himself with money for the
entertainment of that strumpet who was his ruin. It was but a few days
before his apprehension that he had been induced to quit the house of
his mother, who had ever treated him with the greatest tenderness and
affection, and instead thereof had taken lodging with the
before-mentioned Payne, who continually solicited him to commit
robberies and thefts.

At length John Hughs, _alias_ Hews, another young man, joined them.
Though bred up carefully to the trade of a shoemaker by his father, who
was of the same profession, yet for many years he had addicted himself
to picking pockets and such other low kinds of theft, but had never done
any great robbery until he fell into the hands of Sherwood and Weedon;
with whom he readily agreed to associate himself, and to go with them
out into Moorfields and such other places near Town as they thought most
convenient in order to waylay and rob passengers, and at other times,
when such opportunities did not offer, to break open houses, and to
divide their profits equally amongst them. These designs were hardly
made before they were put into execution and a very short space elapsed
before they had committed many robberies and burglaries, always bringing
the booty home and spending it lewdly and extravagantly in the house of
that abandoned monster, Sarah Payne.

It may not be amiss to take notice here how common a thing it is for
such wicked old sinners as this woman was, to set up houses of resort
for lewd and abandoned women of the town, who, first getting young men
into their company on amorous pretences, by degrees bring them on from
one wickedness to another, till at last they end their lives at the
gallows, and thereby leave these wretches at liberty to bring others to
the same miserable fate. These agents to the Prince of Darkness are
usually women who have an artful way of flattering and a pleasing
deceitfulness in their address. By this means they, without much
difficulty, draw in young lads at their first giving way to the current
of their lewd inclinations, and before they are aware, involve them in
such expenses as necessarily lead to housebreaking or the highway for a
supply. When once they have made a step of this kind, by which their
lives are placed in the power of those old practitioners in every kind
of wickedness, they are from thenceforward treated as slaves and forced
to continue, whether they will or no, in a repeated course of the like
villainies until they are arrested by the hand of Justice. Then, none so
ready to become evidences against them as those abominable wretches by
whom they were at first seduced.

Such was the fate that befell these three unhappy young men, of whose
courses information being given, they were all apprehended and committed
close prisoners to Newgate, and at the next ensuing sessions not a few
indictments were found against them. The first indictment they were all
three arraigned upon was for felony and burglary in breaking open the
house of one William Meak, in the night-time, and taking from thence
twelve Gloster cheeses. But the evidence appearing clear only against
Sherwood, _alias_ Hobbs, he alone was convicted and the other two
acquitted. They were then indicted a second time for breaking open the
house of Daniel Elvingham, in the night-time, and taking out of it
several quantities of brandy and tobacco; upon which both Sherwood and
Weedon were, from very full evidence, convicted. On a third indictment
for breaking into the house of Elizabeth Cogdal, and taking thence eight
pewter dishes and twenty pewter plates, they were all found guilty;
Sherwood and Weedon also being a fourth time convicted for a robbery on
the highway, which was proved upon them by the testimony of their
landlady, Sarah Payne.

Under sentence of death they all testified great sorrow for the offences
of their misspent lives. Weedon was of a better temper than the two
other, retained a greater sense of the principles of religion upon which
he had been brought up in his youth and exceeded his companions in
seriousness and steadiness in his devotions. Sherwood had been a much
longer proficient in all kinds of wickedness than the other two, having
practised several kinds of thefts for nearly eighteen years together,
and this had habituated him so much to sin that he showed much less
penitence than either of his companions. Hughs had been a thief in a low
degree for some years before he fell into the confederacy of Sherwood
and Weedon, to which, as he frankly owned, he was drawn by his own
previous inclination rather than the persuasions of any of his

As the time of their death approached they seemed much more affected
than formerly they had been; in which frame of mind they continued till
they suffered, which was on the 12th of February, 1728, Sherwood being
in his twenty-sixth year, Hughs in the twenty-third, and Weedon in the
twenty-second year of his age.

The Life of MARTIN BELLAMY, a Notorious Thief, Highwayman and

This criminal was amongst the number of those whom long practice had so
hardened in his offences that he took up the humour of glorying in them,
even under his confinement, and persisted in it to the hour of his
death, drawing up, when under sentence (or at least giving instructions
by which it was drawn up) an account of the several street-robberies,
burglaries, and other crimes which he had committed, in a style which
too plainly showed that nothing in his miserable condition afflicted him
but the thought of his ignominious death he was to suffer, not even the
reflection of those crimes which had so deservedly brought him to his
fate. By trade he was a tailor and a good workman in his business, by
which he lived in good credit for some time. It seems he married a woman
whose friends, at least, were very honest people, and highly displeased
with the villainous course of life he led. Insomuch that upon his being
apprehended and sent to Bridewell on suspicion, his wife's brother came
to him there in order to know where the prosecutor lived, that, as he
said, he might go and make some proposals for making up the affair.
Bellamy gave him the best account he could, and the man finding out the
person, advised him to prosecute Martin with the utmost severity, in
hopes, no doubt, that he should in this way rid his sister of a very bad
husband. However, Bellamy was so irritated by the attempt that he would
never cohabit with her afterwards, but with implacable hatred pursued
her and her family with all the mischiefs he was able.

The methods which he and his gang mostly took in robbing, according to
the account which, as I have before said, he has left us of himself,
were chiefly these: the gang having met together in the evening used to
go, three or four in a company, to visit the shops of those tradesmen
who deal in the richest sort of toys[78] and other goods that are
portable and easily conveyed away. Then one of the company cheapens
something or other, making many words with the shopkeeper about the
price, thereby giving an opportunity to some of his companions to hand
things of value from one to another till they were insensibly vanished,
the honest shopkeeper being left to deplore the misfortune of having
such light-fingered customers find the way to his shop. Another practice
of theirs, to the same laudable purpose, was carried on after this
manner: three or four of them walked up and down several streets, which
by observation they had found fitted for their purpose, and on
perceiving things of any value lying in a parlour, they, with an engine
contrived for that purpose, suddenly threw up the sash; and
notwithstanding there being persons in the room, they would venture to
snatch it out and often get clear off before the people who saw them
could recover themselves from the surprise. But if there was nobody in
the way, then one of their associates, slipping off his shoes, stole
softly into the room and handed out whatever was of most value to his
companions without doors.

But Bellamy was not only adroit in these ordinary practices, but was
also perfectly acquainted with the art and mystery of counterfeiting
hands; and as an instance thereof, upon which he much valued himself, he
used to relate a trick of that sort which he put upon the late Jonathan
Wild, after this manner: having accustomed himself for some time to
frequent the levee of that infamous agent of thieves, he became so well
acquainted with Jonathan's manner of writing and also with the persons
who gave him credit on particular occasions when money was low.
Whereupon he took occasion to forge a note from the said Wild to one
Wildgoose, servant at an inn, who used to be Jonathan's banker upon
emergencies, who, on receipt of the note, paid Bellamy the contents
thereof without hesitation. A few days after, Mr. Wild and his
correspondent met. The forgery was soon detected and Jonathan
immediately gave directions to that infamous band of villains who were
always in his pay and under his direction, to leave no means untried for
the apprehending Bellamy, who from Wildgoose's description he knew to be
the man who had been guilty of the forgery.

In the search after him they were so assiduous that in a very short
space they surprised him at a house in Whitefriars, where he was forced
to fly up to a garret in order to conceal himself. His pursuers thinking
they had now lodged him pretty securely, sent notice of it to their
master. But Martin perceiving a long rope lying upon a bed in the room
where he hid himself, resolved for once to venture his neck; and having
fastened it as well as he could, he slipped down by it into the street,
with so great agility that none of his attendants perceived it till he
was in the street, by which time he got so much the start of them that
they found it but in vain to pursue him, and therefore laid by all
thoughts of catching him until another opportunity.

However, the trick he had played them made them so diligent in pursuing
him that it was but a very short time before they surrounded him in a
brandy-shop in Chancery Lane, seized him and brought him in a coach to
the Elephant and Castle alehouse, Fleet Street, from whence they
dispatched advice to Jonathan of his apprehension. It happened that that
great man was gone to bed when the message arrived with this news;
however it was carried up and Jonathan with an air of generosity bid the
fellow return and inform his people that he would take Mr. Bellamy's
word, and that he might meet him with safety the next morning at his
levee. Bellamy, who well knew the temper of the man, failed not to pay
his court at the time appointed and adjourning to the Baptist Head
tavern in the Old Bailey, after drinking a refreshing bottle, he
presented Mr. Wild with five guineas, by way of atonement for the
offence which he had committed against him. Jonathan was so well
appeased by the intervention of the golden advocates that he promised
not only to forgive him, himself, but also to prevail with Mr. Wildgoose
to do the same, provided he entered into a bond for the repayment of the
ten guineas. This was a condition easily submitted to by Martin in his
present circumstances. This danger thus got over, he returned to his old
profession without running any further hazard of Jonathan's

About this time the gang to which he belonged entered upon a new method
of housebreaking, which they effected by stealing the keys which
fastened the pins in shopkeepers' window-shutters and thereby removing
the greatest difficulty they had of getting in. This trade they carried
on successfully for a good space; though now and then they miscarried in
their attempts, particularly at a goldsmith's shop in Russell Court,
where, having got into the shop and being about to remove a show-glass,
a man who lay in the shop suddenly started up and presenting a
blunderbuss with a great presence of mind told the thieves that he was
tender of shedding their blood and therefore advised them to get off as
soon as they could. They took his advice and withdrew accordingly, with
great confusion. But the same night they had, as Mr. Bellamy expresses
it, much better luck at a toy-shop not far from the same place, where,
entering the house, they found the maid sitting by the fire. She at
first screamed, but they soon made her silent, and then proceeded to
carry off the show-glass, with all the boxes that were contained in it.

Not long after this they broke off the padlock from a toy-shop in
Swithin's Alley, in Cornhill. Not being able afterwards to enter the
house they fell to work next upon the thick timber that supports the
shutters, and after labouring at it about an hour, forced it off,
whereupon all the shutters dropping down at once into the court, made so
great a clatter that they doubted not that all the neighbourhood was
alarmed, and thought it would be no ill night's work if, after such an
accident, they had the good luck to escape. Upon which they endeavoured
to shift, everyone for himself. However, seeing nobody alarmed at the
noise of the falling of the shutters and that during two hours' time the
watch had never passed that way, they took courage at last: and
returned, entered the house, and putting up the most valuable goods,
went off without any molestation.

A multitude of robberies of the same kind he confessed, but as they are
narrated in the account we have so often mentioned, it would be a kind
of imposition on our readers to transcribe those accounts there.
Wherefore, in the following articles concerning him, we shall make no
use at all of any that is to be found there.

During the space he led this life he cohabited with one Amy Fowles, who
passed for his wife and bore him several children. At last, though he
had so often escaped, he was apprehended for a burglary committed on the
house of Mr. Holliday, in Bishopsgate Street, and upon very full
evidence was convicted at the ensuing sessions at the Old Bailey. After
his commitment to Newgate he entered, it seems, into a treaty with a
certain Justice of the Peace for making a full discovery of all his
accomplices, which might at that time have contributed very much to the
public advantage; but in the interim some person had talked thereof too
openly, it came to the ears of one who collected news for a daily paper.
This man thereupon went to Bellamy, making the poor fellow believe that
he came to him by the direction of some persons in power (a thing not at
all unlikely, considering that a proclamation had been issued but very
little before for the better encouraging the discovery of and bringing
first offenders to justice). And having by this means drawn the poor
fellow into a confession of several robberies and burglaries, he
digested it, or got somebody to do it for him, into proper paragraphs
which were inserted the next day in a newspaper and gave thereby an
opportunity to the persons impeached, of making their escape. This
rogue, therefore defeated Bellamy of all hopes of pardon and hindered
the public from receiving any benefit from his confession. All which
enormous villainies were perhaps perpetrated for the sake of a poor
crown, the utmost that could be expected by the collector for procuring
this extraordinary passage big with so much mischief, and which in its
consequences produced little better than a murder, since it is possible
that Bellamy's life might have been saved if a right use had been made
of his confession.

At his trial he behaved with great impudence and during the time he lay
under sentence continued to affect that gaiety which amongst persons of
his profession is too often mistaken for bravery and true courage. But
when the fatal day approached he, as is common with most of them, sank
much in his spirits and had a great deal to do to recover himself so as
to be able to read the following paper, which he had written for that
purpose and brought with him to the tree, which, as the words of a dying
man, I publish verbatim:

A Copy of the paper read by Martin Bellamy at the Place of Execution

Gentlemen, I am brought here to suffer an ignominious death for my
having wilfully transgressed against the known laws of God and my
country. I fear there are too many here present who come to be
witnesses of my untimely end rather out of curiosity than from a
sincere intention to take warning by my unhappy fate. You see me
here in the very prime of my youth, cut off like an untimely flower
in the rigorous season, through my having been too much addicted to
a voluptuous and irregular course of life, which has been the
occasion of my committing those crimes for which I am now to suffer.
As the laws of God as well as of men call upon me to Lay down my
life as justly forfeited by my manifold transgressions, I
acknowledge the justice of my sentence, patiently submit to the same
without any rancour, ill-will or malice to any person whatsoever;
hoping through the merits of Christ Jesus (who laid down His life
for sinners, and who upon the cross pronounced a pardon for the
repenting thief under the agonies of death) to be with Him permitted
to partake of that glorious resurrection and immortality He has been
so graciously pleased to promise to the sincere penitent. I
earnestly exhort and beg of all here present to think seriously of
eternity--a long and endless eternity!--in which we are to be
rewarded or punished according to our good or evil actions in this
world; that you will all take warning by me and refrain from all
wilful transgressions and offences. Let a religious disposition
prevail upon you, and use your utmost endeavours to forsake and fly
from sin. The mercies of God are great, and He can save even at the
last moment of life. Yet do not therefore presume too much, lest you
provoke Him to cast you off in His anger, and become fearful
examples of His wrath and indignation. Let me prevail upon you to
forget and forgive me all the offences and injuries I have committed
or promoted in action, advice or example; and entreat your prayers
for me that the Lord would in mercy look down upon me in the last
moment of my life.

His Prayer

Look down in mercy, O God, I beseech Thee, upon me a miserable,
lost, and undone sinner. Number not my transgressions nor let my
iniquities rise up in judgment against me. Wash me and I shall be
clean; purge me and I shall be free from offence. Though my sins be
as scarlet, they shall be whiter than snow if Thou pleasest but to
receive me amongst those whom Thou hast redeemed, that I may sing
praises to the Most High and extol Thy Holy Name in the courts of
Heaven for ever and ever more. Amen.

He suffered on the 27th of March, 1728, being then about
eight-and-twenty years of age.


[78] Trinkets and such trifles, not children's playthings.

Street-Robbers, Footpads

Although the insolency of those street-robbers to whose gang the
malefactors we are now speaking of belong be at present too recent a
fact to be questioned, yet possibly in future times 'twill be thought an
exaggeration of truth to say that even at noon-day, and in the most open
places in London, persons were stopped and robbed. The offenders for
many months escaped with impunity, until those crimes became so frequent
and the terrors of passengers so great that the Government interposed in
an extraordinary manner, a royal proclamation being issued offering one
hundred pounds reward for apprehending any offender, and also promising
pardon to any who submitted and revealed their accomplices. This brought
numbers of young rash youths who had engaged in this wicked course of
life to a violent and ignominious death.

William Russell was descended from persons of honourable family and
unblemished reputation. In his youth he had received a tolerable
education, which even in his misfortunes rendered him more civilized
than any of his companions. He was a young fellow of tolerable good
sense, ready wit, and great courage; he always spoke frankly of the
wickedness of his own life and acknowledged that sensual pleasures were
only what he aimed at in the course of life he led; yet he had never
been able to reap any satisfaction in them, but had been always
miserable in his own mind, from the time he pursued those base methods
of gaining money. His father being gone over to Ireland, and he left at
liberty to pursue what methods he thought best, evil women and bad
company soon prevailed with him to fall into those methods which
afterwards led him to the gallows.

Robert Crouch, the second of these criminals, was born at Dunstable, of
very honest parents who afforded him as good an education as it was in
their power to give; and then, upon his own inclination to follow the
business of a butcher, bound him to one in Newgate Market, with whom he
served his time. But as soon as he was out of it he addicted himself to
gaming, drinking and whoring, and all the other vices which are so
natural to abandoned young fellows in low life. Dalton, who was an
evidence against him, was one of the chief persons of his gang, and
specially persuaded Crouch to join with him, though he had very little
occasion to fall into such ways of getting money, since his father was a
man in very good circumstances, who designed to set his son in his trade
in a short time, having not the least suspicion that this melancholy
accident would intervene.

William Holden, the third of these unhappy persons, was born of very
mean parents, had little education, and had followed no particular
trade, but had sometimes gone to sea, and at other times driven a
hackney coach; so that throughout the whole course of his life he had
been continually plunged in the grossest debaucheries, whereby he became
ripe for such practices as he and his associates afterwards went upon.

It does not appear, from the papers that I have, that any of these
criminals had followed that infamous course of life for above a year,
when Dalton, to save his own life, surrendered and made a confession by
which these and the rest of ms associates were quickly apprehended and
committed dose prisoners to Newgate. At the ensuing sessions at the Old
Bailey they were all indicted for assaulting one Martha Hide on the
highway, and taking from her a broad-cloth coat, value forty shillings;
a looking-glass, value thirty shillings; a woman's nightgown; and other
goods, to the value of thirty shillings more. To prove this charge James
Dalton was produced, who swore that about nine o'clock at night himself
and the prisoners overtook the prosecutor, Martha Hide, in Fleet Street;
and observing that she had a bundle they resolved to take it from her.
In order to accomplish their design they followed her into Lincoln's Inn
Fields, where Robert Crouch, _alias_ Bob the Butcher, knocked her down
and Russell took up the bundle and ran away with it. Upon their opening
thereof the looking-glass fell out and was broke all to pieces. The rest
of the things they sold to one Sarah Watts, who made it her business to
buy stolen goods and kept what in their cant is called a 'lock', that is
a place for the receipt of such things. Dalton swore, moreover, that not
having carefully examined the things, they were extremely mortified to
hear afterwards that there was forty shillings in specie wrapped up in a
rag, which the woman that bought them got into the bargain.

Martha Hide, herself, deposed that crossing Lincoln's Inn Fields she was
knocked down and the bundle taken from her as Dalton had before related.
One Solomon Nicholas deposed that not long after, Russell and Crouch
quarrelling between themselves at a brandy-shop, Russell said to his
companion, _If you offer to meddle with Nicholas I'll cut the coat off
your back, for it's the woman's coat that we knocked down in Lincoln's
Inn Fields, and I have as much right to it as you have._ It appeared,
also, by another witness, that Crouch pawned an old coat to pay for the
altering of this, and after taking off a cloth cape which it had at the
time of its being stolen, he caused a velvet one to be sewn on in its
room. Mr. Willis, the constable, was the last witness called for by the
prosecutor. He swore that at the time that he apprehended the prisoner
Russell, he acknowledged that the goods before-mentioned were stolen and
sold for one pound two shillings, but said he did not value it, since he
should die in the company of such brave fellows.

The jury withdrawing after hearing this evidence, returned soon after
and found them guilty, and sentence of death was passed upon them, at
one of the fullest sessions which had happened for many years at the Old
Bailey, there being twenty-two men and seven women capitally convicted.

As these unhappy men could have little hope of life, considering the
nature and notoriety of their offences; they ought certainly to have
laid aside all other thoughts and have applied themselves strictly,
beseeching pardon of God for their numberless offences against Him.
Instead of this, there appeared too much affectation of unconcernedness
in all of them, especially in Russell, who, being confined in the same
cell with Holden, said to his companion a day or two before his death,
with an air of indifference, _I'll undertake, Will, to procure a coach
to carry off our bodies from the place of execution; but I must leave it
to the care of your fraternity_ (meaning the hackney coachmen) _to
prevent their being seized on by the surgeons._ Holden heard all this
very gravely, assented to the proposition without altering his
countenance or giving any other mark of his concern for that infamous
death which shortly they were both to suffer.

Russell also took a certain pleasure in speaking of the state of
street-robbing at the time they left the world. He averred that the town
was much mistaken in imagining that the king's proclamation had
effectually crushed their fraternity, into which opinion they perhaps
might be drawn by seeing so many of them perish in so short a time;
which, he said, did not lessen their society, but would, notwithstanding
that, put all that remained of them upon bolder exploits than ever, to
show that they were yet unhanged. In which conjecture he was not very
much out. However, he said, gentlemen might now safely walk the streets
without fear of having their pockets picked, for that Benjamin Branch,
who died the last sessions, and Isaac Ashley, who was to suffer with
him, were the two neat masters in that way, and were capable of earning
fifteen or sixteen shillings by it in two or three hours' time; sorting
the fruits of their industry into several parcels, from the value of
sixpence to half a crown apiece as dexterously as any milliner in

After the coming out of the death warrant Russell laid aside much of his
boldness, appeared with more gravity at prayers and expressed greater
sorrow for his misspent life than he had done before. Crouch carried
himself very quietly all along, but could not forbear being unseasonably
merry and jocose upon several occasions, smiling at chapel and affecting
to talk with greater gaiety than became his condition. He himself owned
that this was very unbecoming in a person so near an ignominious death,
but he said it was in his temper, and he could not help it. He frankly
acknowledged the enormity of that course of life which for some years
past he had led, acknowledged that on the coming out of the king's
proclamation he had resolved on a four years' voyage to sea, but was
prevented from putting it in execution by Dalton's information. As the
time of their death drew near he became more and more sensible of his
miserable condition and the danger there was of losing his soul as well
as his body.

William Holden at first denied very strongly his being in any degree
guilty of the fact for which he died; but when he heard that Russell had
owned it and at the same time confessed that he was concerned in it,
thinking it no further use to adhere to that denial he retracted it and
acknowledged that he had been a great sinner, and had committed several
thefts before that for which he died. In a word, these three, as they
had been companions together in wickedness and fellow-sufferers in the
punishment which their crimes had drawn upon them, so they appeared to
be all of them sensibly touched with sorrow and remorse for that
multitude of crimes which they had committed, endeavouring to merit the
pardon of God by hearty prayers and a sincere repentance. Russell,
however, declared but a day or two before his execution that Dalton, the
evidence, had proposed to him to join in that information he gave
against their companions, but that he scorned to save his life by so
mean a practice as betraying those who had received him into their

Their deportment at the place of execution was resolute without
obstinacy or impenitence, and the last moments of their lives were full
of seriousness, without any marks of timorousness or confusion. Russell
was about twenty-five, Crouch about twenty, and Holden somewhat more
than twenty-eight years of age at the time they suffered, which was on
Monday, 20th of May, 1728.

Street-Robbers, Housebreakers, etc.

Although the several criminals whose lives we are now going to relate do
not so well tally with one another, they having been of different gangs
and dying for various offences, yet as they were all apprehended in
consequence of the before-mentioned proclamation, were street-robbers
and most of them not unknown to each other, I thought it would be better
to speak of them here all at once rather than divide them into several
lives. I have very little to say of any of them worthy the attention of
the reader.

To begin, then, with Christopher, _alias_ Thomas Rawlins. He was the son
of very honest parents here in town, who brought him up as well as their
circumstances would permit, and when he grew big enough to go out to a
trade put him apprentice to a silversmith with whom he served out his
time with tolerable reputation. But being a lad of great gaiety and
spirit, having much addicted himself to the company of young fellows of
a like disposition, frequented dancing meetings, and taken delight in
everything but his business, such inclinations as these easily betrayed
him to the commission of the greatest crimes and a certain alertness in
his temper made him very acceptable to those debauched young fellows who
were his usual companions to such places. Whether he was at first
seduced by the persuasions of others to the committing thefts and
robberies, or whether those necessities to which their extravagancies
had reduced them put him and his associates on taking such measures for
filling their purses, is hard to be determined. But certain it is that
for some time before his being apprehended he had been very busy in
committing such exploits and for his courage and dexterity was looked
upon as one of the chief of the gang.

Isaac Ashley, who was Rawlins's companion, and who went commonly amongst
them by the nickname of Black Isaac, was a fellow of a very different
cast. His parents were poor people, who had, indeed, taken as much care
as was in their power of his education and afterwards provided for him
as well as they were able, putting him out to a weaver in Spitalfields.
But he made them a very ill return for all their care and tenderness,
proving an obstinate, idle and illiterate fellow, willing to do nothing
that was either just or reputable, and who, except for his dexterity in
pocket-picking was one of the most stupid, incorrigible wretches that
ever lived. He followed the practice of petty thieving for a
considerable space, but though he got considerably thereby, he lost his
money continually at gaming, and so remained always in one state, viz.,
very poor and very wicked; which is no very uncommon case amongst such
sort of miserable people, who lavishly waste what they hazard their
souls and throw away their lives to obtain.

John Rouden, _alias_ Hulks, the latter being his true name, had the
advantage of a very tolerable education, the effects of which were not
obliterated by his having been many years addicted to the vilest and
most flagitious course of life that can possibly be imagined. The
principles with which he had been seasoned in his youth served to render
him more tractable and civilized when under his last misfortunes, unto
which he fell with the two afore-mentioned malefactors; they being all
indicted for assaulting one Mr. Francis Williams on the highway, and
taking from him a silver watch value three pounds, two guineas and a
moidore,[79] on the 28th of February, 1728. The prosecutor deposed that
going in a hackney coach, between Wading Street and St. Paul's School he
heard the coachman called on to stop; immediately after which a man came
up to the side of the coach, presented a pistol and demanded his money.
Four more presented themselves at the coach windows, offering their
pistols and saying they had no time to lose. One of them thereupon
thrust his hand into his fob and took out his money and his watch. Jones
next produced the watch to the Court and said he had it from Dalton, who
was the third witness called to support the indictment. He deposed that
himself, the three prisoners at the bar, and another person not yet
taken, were those that attacked the coach; that himself came up first
and Rouden afterwards, who took the watch, as himself did the money,
Rawlins and he secreting one guinea from their companions and afterwards
pawning the watch for two guineas more.

Mr. Willis, the constable, swore that having received information of
certain disorderly persons, he thereupon went and apprehended Dalton,
the evidence, who, making an ingenious confession, told him of the
robbery committed on Mr. Williams and where the prisoners then were;
whereupon he went immediately to apprehend them also. Dalton produced a
pistol after he was apprehended, and declared that Rawlins had the
fellow to it which was loaded with a slug. When they came to the place
where the prisoners were, Rawlins and Rouden made an obstinate defence,
sword in hand, and were with great difficulty taken, while Ashley hid
himself under the bed, in hopes of making his escape in the confusion.
Mr. Willis's brother swore to taking a pistol from Rawlins, such as
Dalton had described, and which was loaded with a slug.

The prisoners had nothing to say in their defence except flatly denying
everything, and averring that they did not so much as know Dalton. But
Mr. Wyatt being produced, swore to the contrary of that, affirming that
they were very intimate and that they all lodged together at his house.
The jury having received their charge from the judge, took but a small
time to consider, and then returning, brought in their verdict that they
were all guilty; whereupon at the close of the sessions they received
sentence with the rest.

Edward Benson was the son of very reputable persons in the City of
London, who had taken all due care in providing him a suitable education
with respect both to the principles of learning and of religion; and
when he was at years of discretion, they put him out apprentice to a
silver-wire-drawer. In himself he was a young man of good understanding,
of a sweet temper and but too tractable in his disposition, which seems
to have been the cause of most of his misfortunes. For during the time
of his apprenticeship, being so unlucky as to fall into bad company, he
was easily seduced to following their measures; although he was far
enough from being naturally debauched, and seemed to have no great vice
but his inclination to women, which occasioned his marrying two wives,
who notwithstanding lived peaceably and quietly together. The papers I
have do not give any distinct account of the manner in which he first
came to join in the execrable employment of plundering and robbing in
the streets, and therefore it may be presumed he was drawn into it by
his companions whom we are next to mention.

George Gale, _alias_ Kiddy George, was a perfect boy at the time of his
suffering death, and though descended of very honest parents, who no
doubt had given him some education in his youth, yet the uninterrupted
course of wickedness in which he lived from the time of his being able
to distinguish between wrong and right had so perfectly expunged all
notions of justice or piety, that never a more stupid or incorrigible
creature came into this miserable state. Thomas Neeves[80], who had been
their associate in all their villainies, was the person who gave
information against him, Benson, and several other malefactors we shall
hereafter speak of. Gale, as is common with such people, complained
vehemently against the evidence who had undone him. As death approached
he shed tears abundantly, but was so very ignorant that he expressed no
other marks of penitence for his offences.

Thomas Crowder was a young man of an honest family and of a very good
education. His friends had put him out apprentice to a cabinet-maker.
Before he was out of his time he thought fit to go to sea, where, for
aught appears by our papers, he behaved himself very honestly and
industriously. Coming home from a voyage, a little before his death, he
was so unfortunate as to fall into the company of Neeves, the evidence,
who, pretending to have money and an inclination to employ it in the
Holland trade, prevailed on poor Crowder to attend him three or four
days, in which space Neeves was married and had great junkettings with
his new wife and her friends. In the midst of this they were all
apprehended, and Neeves, with how much truth must be determined at the
Last Day, put this unhappy man into his information and gave evidence
against him at his trial, when Benson, Gale and this Crowder were
indicted for assaulting James Colver on the highway, and taking from him
a watch value forty shillings, and five shillings in money. For this
offence, chiefly on the oath of Neeves, they were all capitally

James Toon was another of those unhappy persons who suffered on the oath
of Neeves. He had spent his time mostly upon the water, having been a
seaman for several years, and after that a bargeman. He was a young man
of tolerable good sense, very civil in his behaviour and in nothing
resembling those who are ordinarily addicted to robbing and thieving.
His parents were persons in tolerable circumstances, and had taken a due
care of his education. The particular crime for which he died was
assaulting James Flemming, in the company of George Gale and Edward
Brown, _alias_ Benson, and taking from him, the said Flemming, a silver
watch value forty shillings, and two guineas in money, the third of

John Hornby had been bred for some time at school, being descended of
honest parents, who put him apprentice to a joiner. But being naturally
inclined to idleness and vice, in a short time he had occasion to take
base and illegal methods to acquire money. His necessities were also
increased through foolishly marrying a woman, while he was yet a perfect
boy and knew not how to maintain her. Picking pockets was his first
resource, and the method of thieving which he always liked best and got
most money at; but being of a very easy temper, his companions found it
no hard thing to persuade him into taking such other methods of robbing
as they persuaded him would be more beneficial, and in this Benson seems
to have been one of his chief advisers. In himself, Hornby was
good-natured and much less rude and boisterous than some of his
companions. He had been but a very short time engaged in the
street-robbing practice and did not seem to have courage or boldness
sufficient to make himself considerable amongst his companions in those
enterprises, which in all probability was the reason that while under
confinement they treated him but very indifferently, and sometimes went
so far as to give him ill names and blows, which he endured without
saying much, and seemed perfectly resigned to the several punishments
which his own iniquities had brought upon him. The crime for which he
died was a robbery committed on the highway, upon the person of one
Edward Ellis, from whom was taken a silver watch, value four pounds, and
two guineas in money.

William Sefton was born in Lancashire, and during the life-time of his
father received a tolerable education. But on his mother's marrying
another husband, Sefton, who had been bred a barber and peruke-maker,
finding things not to go to his mind, came up to London. But changing
place did not seem to make him much easier, so that after having led an
unsettled life for a considerable space, he became at length a common
soldier. 'Twill be easily imagined that this choice of his did not much
better his fortunes and possibly the company which his military life
obliged him to keep served only to increase his courage so far as to
enable him to take a purse on the highway; a practice he had pursued
with pretty good success a considerable time before he was taken. But
being a naming, close fellow, he robbed with so much precaution that he
was little suspected until taken up for the offence for which he died,
which was for assaulting Henry Bunn on the highway, and taking from him
a silver watch, two pieces of foreign gold, and two pounds eleven
shillings in money.

Richard Nichols was a man in the middle age of life, of a grave and
civil deportment, of good character, and who was a barber and
peruke-maker. He had lived by his profession without the least suspicion
of his being guilty of any such crime as that for which he died. He was
convicted, chiefly on the evidence of Neeves, for feloniously stealing
nine silver watches and a gold watch, the property of Andrew Moran and
others in the dwelling-house of the said Moran. As there was nothing
remarkable in this man's life, and as it did appear that he was not
flagrantly guilty of any other vice except drinking and wasting his own
money, so it would be needless to dwell longer upon his adventures prior
to his condemnation; therefore we shall go on to speak of the behaviour
of these criminals while they remained under sentence of death.

Christopher Rawlins seemed to retain much of his old boisterous temper,
and though he would bring himself to speak with more decency concerning
the great duty of repentance which now alone remained for them to
practise, yet in a little time he would fly out into strange and
blasphemous expressions, for which being reproved by William Russell,
whom we have before mentioned as being under sentence at the same time,
he answered, _What does it signify to prepare ourselves, since we have
passed through so wicked a life in this world and have now so short a
time to remain in it?_ He frequently expressed a despair of God's mercy
though after the death warrant came down he appeared somewhat more easy,
and in a better disposition to offer up his prayers to the Almighty. As
to the crimes for which he suffered, he readily and ingenuously
confessed them, owning the justice of the sentence which had been passed
upon him and expressed this sense of the multitude of offences which he
had committed, such as he acknowledged deserved no mercy here, nor,
without the interposition of the mercy of God hereafter. Yet in the
midst of these expressions of penitence he could not forbear doing
something in his old way, and a few days before his execution actually
cut the tassels from the pulpit cushion in the chapel.

Ashley was very frank in his confessions of numberless thefts which he
had committed in the course of his wicked and licentious life; but he
peremptorily denied that he had any concern whatsoever in the robbery
for which he was to die, and this was confirmed by Rawlins and Benson,
who said that they, indeed, committed it, but that Ashley was no ways
concerned therein. However, as far as his stupid disposition would give
him leave, he sometimes expressed great penitence for the deeds which he
had committed. Yet the Sunday before his death he stole five or six
handkerchiefs at chapel, of which when the Ordinary spoke to him at the
place of execution, he only said that it was true, but that he must have
something to subsist on.

Rouden acknowledged the justice of his sentence, that he was guilty of
the crimes laid to his charge, and behaved in every respect like a true
and sincere penitent. Benson showed the same easiness and sweetness of
temper which he had always been remarkable for, even to the last moment
of his life. He expressed, indeed, much sorrow for his having lived
deliberately in a continued course of adultery with two women who both
of them averred that they had been lawfully married to him. He frankly
confessed his own guilt, and that the sentence of the Law was just,
dying, as far as we are able to judge, in a composed and penitent
disposition of mind.

George Gale, though he owned he had for some time been a thief, yet he
absolutely denied his having any concern in the robberies before
mentioned; but he averred that Neeves, knowing his character, took the
advantage of putting him in the information, as knowing that he had
neither friends nor interest to make his innocence appear. Indeed,
Benson did so far confirm what Gale had said that he owned he alone
committed the robbery for which he was convicted, and to this they both
adhered to their last moments at the place of execution, where Gale wept
bitterly, and with all outward tokens of sorrow confessed the multitude
of sins he had committed throughout the whole course of his life.

Thomas Crowder persevered even to death in denying any concern with
Neeves, further than his being deluded with the hopes of joining with
him in a trade to Holland and France; yet the Ordinary tells us in his
account of these criminals that he had reason to believe that Crowder,
notwithstanding this, was guilty, because a gentleman averred that he
had owned as much to him in the chapel the very day he died.

James Toon continued to behave with a uniform submission to the decrees
of Providence, absolutely denied his being guilty of the fact for which
he was convicted, yet acknowledged that he had led a very sinful life,
and therefore looked on it as a great mercy of the Providence of God
that he had so much time to reflect and repent in. Hornby wept and
lamented grievously for the miseries which he had brought on himself and
those who were related to him, said he had for a long time been guilty
of illegal practices, but would not acknowledge that he had been guilty
of that for which he was condemned.

Sefton appeared under condemnation to have a very just idea of the
wretched state he was in, the necessity there was of preventing, by a
thorough repentance, a yet more severe judgment than that under which he
then lay. He acknowledged the crime for which he died, said he had been
drawn to the commission of it by the persuasion of a person whom he
named, and at the place of execution declared he died sorry for all his
sins and in charity with mankind. He had hardly been turned off a minute
before the rope broke and he fell to the ground, but the sheriff's men
laying hold on him, he was soon tied up again and so executed in
pursuance of his sentence.

Richard Nichols, as he always behaved with great decency and was of a
sober, serious and religious disposition, so he constantly affirmed
(though without vehemence or any signs of passion) that he knew nothing
of the robbery whereof he stood convicted, but that his life was basely
sworn away by Neeves the evidence, without the least grounds whatsoever,
he having never associated himself with street-robbers or been concerned
in any sort of thieving whatever. In this he persisted to the time of
his death, repeating it and averring it at the place of execution; and,
indeed, there is the greatest reason to believe that he spoke nothing
but the truth, because Thomas Neeves, the witness, when he came
afterwards to die at Tyburn, did acknowledge that he knew nothing of
Nichols, nor had ever seen him before his being committed at the
Justice's, and begged that God would pardon his crying sin of perjury
and murder in taking the life of an innocent man.

These malefactors suffered on the 20th of May, 1728; Rawlins being
twenty-two, Ashley, twenty-six; Rouden, twenty-four; Benson,
twenty-four; Gale, seventeen; Crowder, twenty-two; Toon, twenty-five;
Hornby, twenty-one; Sefton, twenty-six; and Nichols, forty years of age.


[79] A Portuguese gold coin current in England, worth about 23s.

[80] See page 463.

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