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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

Part 12 out of 15

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gladly. Dyer did not think fit to return, but went to make his mother a
visit at Salisbury, where he continued not long before he took an
opportunity of robbing her of fifty pounds, and thence marched off to
Bristol, where he gamed most of the money away. Then he retired to a
town in Wiltshire, where cohabiting with a widow women, they found means
to get so good credit as to take the town in (as Mr. Dyer expressed it)
for thirty pounds. Then packing up they marched off to a place at a
considerable distance, where Dyer entered into partnership with a
collier, being to advance fifty pounds, thirty of which he paid down and
the rest was to pay monthly; but before the first payment became due the
collier broke, and his partner, Dyer, thereupon thought it convenient to
remove to some other place.

He pitched, therefore, upon the city of Hereford, where he worked
honestly for a space, until being in company one night with a higgler,
he heard the man say he should go to a place called Ross to buy fowls.
Dyer answered that he did not care if he went with him, and in their
journey, taking the advantage of a proper place he stopped his companion
and robbed him. The man gave him two shillings out of his pocket, but
Dyer suspecting he must have some more money to buy fowls with,
searched the hampers and took out twelve pounds. Taking the man's horse
also, he rode it forty miles outright, after which he went to
Marlborough in Wiltshire, and stayed there a fortnight. But venturing to
steal a silver mug, he was for that fact apprehended and committed close
prisoner there, in order to be tried for it next assizes, but before
that time, he found a weak place in the prison, and breaking it made his

From thence he went to an aunt's house, about seven or eight miles from
Salisbury, where he stayed until her husband grew so uneasy that he was
obliged to take his leave. He travelled then to a sister of his, and
meeting there with an old schoolfellow and relation, he quickly
persuaded the lad to become as bad as himself, drawing him in to rob his
mother of fifty shillings, with which small stock they two were set up
for their old trade of gaming. But the robbery they had committed was
quickly detected. However, Dyer so well tutored his associate that the
boy could neither by threats nor promises be brought to own it, yet
their denials had not the least weight with their relations. They were
thoroughly convinced of their being guilty, and therefore were
determined that they should be punished, for which purpose they carried
them before a neighbouring Justice of Peace, who committed them to
Bridewell to hard labour.

As Dyer could not endure imprisonment, especially when hard labour was
added to it, so he very speedily contrived a method to free himself and
his companion from their fetters, which was by leaping down the house of
office,[87] which a few days afterwards they did and got clear off.

These various difficulties and narrow escapes seemed to make no other
impression upon Dyer than to give him a greater liking than ever to such
sort of villainous enterprises. He stole as many horses out of New
Forest as came to three-score pounds, and afterwards setting up for a
highwayman, committed a multitude of facts in that neighbourhood, which
he has with great care related in the account he published of his life.
Amongst the rest he stripped a poor maid-servant, who was just come out
of a place, of all the money she had, viz., a gold ring, and a box of
clothes, and so left her without either necessaries or money. At
Winchester he disposed of the clothes and linen which he took from the
poor woman. At an alehouse in High Street he fell into company with a
lace-man, from whom he learned, by some little conversation, that he was
going to Amesbury Fair in Wiltshire. Dyer told him he was going thither
too, and so along they journeyed together. When they arrived there, they
put up their horses at the sign of the Chopping Knife, and while the
lace-man went out to take a stand to sell his goods in, Dyer demanded
the box of lace of the landlord, as if he had been the man's partner;
then calling for his horse, while the landlord's back was turned, he
rode clear off from them all.

On the Plain, going towards Devizes, he overtook a Scotch pedlar. Dyer
it seems knew him, and called him by his name, asking him if he had any
good handkerchiefs, upon which the poor man let down the pack off his
back and showed him several. Dyer told him, after looking over the
goods, that he did not want to buy anything, but must have what he
pleased for nothing. The Scotchman, upon that, put himself in a posture
of defence, but Dyer drawing his pistols on him soon obliged him to
yield, and tied him with some of his own cloth fast to the post of a
wall. He then went and rifled the pack, taking thence nine pounds odd in
money, a great parcel of hair, which he sold afterwards for eight
pounds, six dozen handkerchiefs, and a quantity of muslin. Then he
released the pedlar again, and bid him go and take care of the rest of
his pack, Mr. Dyer being then in some hurry to look out for another

A very small time after our plunderer met with an old shepherd, who had
sold a good parcel of sheep. Dyer attacked him with his hanger and the
old man, though he had nothing but his stick, made a very good defence.
However, at last he was overcome and lost seventy-two pounds which he
had taken at the market. Dyer being by this time full of money, he
thought fit to go to Dorchester in Wilts, where by the usual course of
his extravagances, he lessened it in a very short time; and then
persuading a poor butcher of the town, who had broke, to become his
companion, he soon taught him from being unfortunate to become wicked.
They agreed very well together (as Mr. Dyer says) until he caught his
new partner endeavouring to cheat him as well as he had taught him to
rob other people. But after some hard words the butcher confessed the
fact, and and promised to be honest to him for the future; which being
all that Dyer wanted, a new agreement was made, and they went to work
again in their old occupation.

The first exploit they went upon afterwards was at Woodbury Hill Fair,
in Dorsetshire, where as soon as the fair was over, Mr. Dyer, in his
merry style, tells us their fair began, for observing a cheeseman who
received about fourscore pounds, they watched him so narrowly that about
a mile from the fair they attacked him and bid him deliver. With a heavy
heart the old man suffered himself to be rifled, though he had paid away
a far greater part of the money, and had not above twelve pounds about
him, yet he sighed as if he would have broken his heart at the loss,
while Dyer and his companion were as much out of humour at the
disappointment and gave him several smart lashes with their whips,
telling him that he should never pay money when gentlemen waited to
receive it.

A small time after this robbery they committed another upon a
hop-merchant, who was riding with his wife. They searched him very
carefully for money, but could find none, until Dyer beginning to curse
and swear and threatening to kill him, his wife cried out, _For Heaven's
sake, do not murder my husband and I'll tell you where his money is._
Accordingly, she declared it was in his boots, upon which Dyer cut them
off his legs and found fifty guineas therein, then taking their leave of
the merchant and his wife, Dyer very gratefully thanked her for her good
office. From thence they went down to Sherbourne, and each of them
having got a mistress, they lived there very merrily for a considerable
space, living in full enjoyment of those gross sensualities in which
they alone reaped satisfaction at the expense of such honest people as
they had before plundered.

Here they had intelligence of a certain grazier who was going down into
the country to buy lean beasts, upon which they followed him and robbed
him of all the money he had, which was about fourscore-and-ten pounds.
So large a sum proved only a fund for extravagance, a use to which these
men put all the money they laid their hands on. Hampshire being so lucky
a place, Dyer and his comrade went next to Ringwood, where the butcher
fell sick, and lay for some time, until their money was almost consumed.
But then growing well again, Dyer took him down to Bath, where they
robbed the stage-coaches from Bath to London, and as they returned from
London to Bath again, until the road became so dangerous that they hired
persons to guard them for the future; and notwithstanding they so often
practised this villainy, they never were in danger but once, when a
gentleman fired a blunderbuss at them but missed them both, whereupon
they robbed the coach, and afterwards whipped him severely with their
horse whips.

Their next expedition was to Hungerford, where they stayed about two
months, in which time Dyer made a match for the butcher with a widow
woman of his own trade; but just as they were going to be married,
somebody discovered both his and the butcher's occupation, and thereupon
obliged them to quit Hungerford, and to take their road to Newbury, with
more precipitation than they were wont to do. In the road to Reading
they robbed a tallow-chandler, and then galloped to Reading, where they
had like to have been taken by the information of the Bath coachman;
but they being pretty well mounted and riding hard night and day got
safe down to Exeter in Devonshire, where, as the securest method, they
agreed to part by consent. The butcher went back to Devonshire again,
and Dyer must needs go to visit his friends at Salisbury, and then after
a short stay with them set out for London.

The fear he was under of being discovered if he came into the direct
road made him take a roundabout way in his journey, and thereby put it
in his power to rob four Oxford scholars; from two of them he took their
watches and their money, but though he searched the other two very
diligently could find nothing, upon which he rode away with the booty he
had taken. But the two whom he had robbed quickly called him back again,
and told him their companions had money, if he had but wit enough to
find it. Whereupon Dyer began to examine the first very strictly, and
found his money put under his buttons, and his watch thrust into his
breeches. On search of the second, he discovered his money put up in the
cape of his coat, but his watch he had hustled to one of his companions,
who held it out, which as soon as Dyer saw he took it away. It is
surprising that men should be possessed with so odd a spirit that
because they have lost all themselves, they must needs have others
plundered into the bargain. However, Dyer thought it a good job, and
with the help of this money he came up to London.

When he arrived here, he worked honestly for some time at his trade,
with a very noted shoemaker upon Ludgate Hill. Soon after, he removed to
a lodging in Leather Lane, and worked there for twelve months. At last
he got into the company of a common woman of the town, and she very
quickly brought him into his old condition, for being much in debt and
often arrested, Dyer, who was at present very fond of her, was obliged
to bail her or get her bailed. Hearing that he had a legacy of ten
pounds a year in an Exchequer Annuity, she would never let him alone
until he had disposed of it, which at last he did, for about fourscore
pounds. The first thing that was done after the receipt of the sum of
money was to clothe madam in Monmouth Street, in an handsome suit of
blue flowered satin, with everything agreeable thereto. On their return
home the man of the house where they lodged flew into a great passion,
said he'd never suffer her to wear such fine clothes unless he was paid
what was due to him. Mr. Dyer in his memoirs gives us this story,
dressed out with abundance of oaths and such like decoration, which we
will venture to leave out, and relate the adventure, as it gives a very
good idea of such sort of houses, otherwise in his own language.

The bawd, while her husband was swearing, took Mr. Dyer upstairs, and
there with a wheedling tone asked him if Moll should not bring them a
quartern of brandy to drink his and his spouse's health, but before Dyer
could give her an answer, she issued a positive command herself,
whereupon up comes Moll and the quartern. The mistress poured out half
of it into one glass which she drank off to the health of Mr. and Mrs.
Dyer, adding with great complaisance. _Well, indeed your Alice is a fine
woman when she's dressed. I love to see a handsome woman with all my
heart. Come, Moll, fill t'other quartern, and bid Mrs. Dyer come to her
spouse; and d'ye hear, tell my husband that Mrs. Dyer desires to drink a
glass of brandy with him._

On this message up comes the husband, and clapping down by him took him
by the hand, with an abundance of seeming courtesy, said, _Pray, Mr.
Dyer, don't let you and I fall out. I may, in my passion, have let fall
some provoking words to your wife, but I can't help it, 'tis my way, and
I really want money so that it almost makes me mad. I'll tell you what;
your spouse, Mr. Dyer, owes me almost nine pounds, now if you'll give me
five guineas, I'll give you a receipt in full._ Upon which our cully of
a robber, thinking to save so much money, paid it him down, and madam
seemed to be highly pleased.

As soon as this was over and the receipt given, his lady said to Dyer,
_Come my dear, we'll go and take a walk and see Mrs. Sheldon._ Thither
they went. No sooner were they in the house, but after the first
compliments were passed, Mrs. Sheldon said, _We were just talking of you
when you came in, Mr. Dyer, and of that small matter your spouse owes
us._ Says Dyer, _How much is it?_ But two-and-forty shillings, says Mrs.
Sheldon. Upon which the fool took the money out of his pocket and paid
it. A little while after this, Dyer's mistress thought fit to quarrel
with one of her female acquaintances whom she had made her confidante,
by which means the story came out that she was not a penny in debt
either to her landlord or Mrs. Sheldon, but that she wanted money and
was resolved to make hay while the sun shone.

One would have thought that a fellow so versed in villainy, and so given
up to all sorts of debauchery, would have immediately discarded a woman
who showed him such tricks, but on the contrary he grew fonder of her,
removed her to another lodging, and lavished all he had on her. But as a
new misfortune, one morning early a man knocked at the door, which he
taking to be one of her gallants, went in his shirt to the window. The
man enquired whether one Mrs. Davis was there, upon which Dyer's
mistress in a great agony, said. _O, la, John, it's my husband come from
sea, what shall I do?_ Upon this, Dyer hustled on his clothes and went
downstairs to another harlot, and by there until his first lady and her
husband came downstairs.

However, it was not long before the seaman had an account of Dyer's
familiarity with his wife, and thereupon thinking to get money out of
him brought his action against him; but Dyer got himself bailed, and
soon after arrested him for meat, drink and lodging for his wife for
several months, for which he lay in the Compter for a considerable time,
and at last was obliged to give Dyer ten pounds to make it up.

At last, when money ran low, Dyer's love on a sudden went all out. He
dismissed his mistress and not finding another quickly to his mind, took
up a sudden resolution to marry and live honest. It was not long before
he prevailed on an honest woman, and accordingly they were joined
together in wedlock. Dyer thereupon provided himself with a cobbler's
stall in Leather Lane, worked hard and lived well. But as his
inclinations were always dishonest, he could not long confine himself to
honesty and labour, but in a short space meeting with a young man in the
neighbourhood, who was very uneasy in his circumstances, and on ill
terms with ms friends, and very much disordered in his mind on account
of the misfortunes under which he laboured, Dyer began immediately to
cast eyes upon him as one who would make him a fit companion.

It seems the other had exactly the same thoughts, and one day as they
were walking together in the fields, says the stranger to him, _I'll
tell you what; if you knew how affairs stand with me, you would advise
me. I must either go upon the highway, or into gaol. That's a hard
choice_, replied Dyer; _but did you ever do anything of that kind? No_,
said the other, _indeed, not hitherto. Well, then_, says his tutor
again, _have you any pistols? No_, replied he, _but I intend to pawn my
watch and buy some._ The bargain was soon made between them. One night
they robbed a man by the Old Spa,[88] the same night they robbed another
by Sadler's Wells. Two or three days after, they robbed a chariot, and
took from persons in it thirty pounds. The young practitioner in
thieving thought this a rare quick way of getting money and therefore
followed it very industriously in the company of his assistant. In
Lincoln's Inn Fields they were hard put to it, for after they had
committed a robbery, abundance of watchmen gathered about them, whom
they suffered to advance very near them, but then firing two or three
pistols over their heads they all ran, and suffered the robbers to go
which way they would. A multitude of other facts they committed, until
Dyer got into that gang who robbed on Blackheath, of whom we have given
some account.

It is observable that Dyer, in his own narrative, gives not the least
account of his turning evidence and hanging a great number of his
associates, many of whom, as has been said in the former volume,[89]
charged him with having first drawn them into the commission of crimes
and then betrayed them. It seems this was among the circumstances of his
life which did not afford him any mirth, a thing to which throughout the
course of his memoirs he is egregiously addicted. However it was, I must
inform my reader that he remained for near seven years a prisoner in
Newgate after his being an evidence, until at last he found means to get
discharged at the same time with one Abraham Dumbleton, who was his
companion in his future exploits, and suffered with him at the same
time. When they were at the bar, in order to their being discharged out
of Newgate, the Recorder, with his usual humanity, represented to them
the danger there was of their coming to a bad end, in case they should
be set at liberty and get again into the company of their old comrades
who might seduce them to their former practices, and thereby become the
means of their suffering a violent and ignominious death; advising them
at the same time rather to submit to a voluntary transportation, whereby
they would gain a passage into a new country, inhabited by Englishmen,
where they might live honestly without dread of those reproaches to
which they would be ever liable here. But they insisting upon their
discharge and promising to live very honestly for the future, their
request was complied with, and they were set at liberty.

One of the first crimes committed by Dyer afterwards was robbing a
victualler coming over Bloomsbury Market,[90] between one and two
o'clock in the morning, and from whom, having thrown him down and
stopped his mouth, they took his silver watch, seventeen shillings in
money, two plain rings, and the buckles out of his shoes. They robbed
another man in the Tottenham Court Road coming to town, tied him and
then took from him two-and-forty shillings. Dyer also happening to be
one day a little cleaner and better dressed than ordinary, was taken
notice of in Lincoln's Inn Fields by one of those abominable, unnatural
wretches who addict themselves to sodomy. He pretended to know him at
first, and desired him to step to the tavern with him and drink a glass
of wine, which the other readily complied with. In the tavern, Dyer took
notice that the gentleman had a good diamond ring upon his finger, and
then suddenly taking notice of a hackney-coach which drove by with a
single gentleman in it, he pretended it was a friend of his and that he
needs must go down and speak a word with him. Under pretence of doing
which, he went clear off with the diamond ring. Two or three days after,
he met the same person with a man in years, and of some consideration.
Upon his asking Dyer how he came to go off in that manner from the
tavern, he, who was accustomed to such salutations, gave him a rough
answer, and the spark fearing a worse accusation might be alleged
against himself, thought fit to go off without making any more words
about it.

I am not able to say how long after, but certainly it could be no very
considerable space before he and Dumbleton robbed Mr. Bradley, in Kirby
Street, by Hatton Garden, of his hat and wig, at the same time trampling
on him, beating him, and using him in the most cruel manner imaginable,
as was sworn by Mr. Bradley upon their trial. However, by affrighting
the watch with their pistols, they got off safe and a night or two after
broke open a linen-draper's shop, and took out a large parcel of linen.
For these two facts they were shortly after apprehended, and on very
full evidence convicted at the Old Bailey.

Under sentence of death, Dyer said he was sorry for his offences, but
spoke of them in a manner that showed he had but a slight sense of those
heinous crimes in which he had continued so long. His narrative that he
left behind him, and which was published the day before his execution,
is a manifest proof of the ludicrous terms which those unhappy creatures
affect in the relation of their own adventures. However, it becomes us
not to judge concerning the sentiments of a person who in his last
moments professed himself a penitent. Instead of doing which, we shall
produce the speech he made at the place of execution.

Good People,

I desire all young men to take warning by my ignominious death, and
to forsake evil company, especially lewd women, who have been the
chief cause of my unhappy fate. I hope, and make it my earnest
request that nobody will be so ill a Christian as to reflect on my
aged parents, who took an early care to instruct me, and brought me
up a member, though a very unworthy one, of the Church of England. I
hope my misfortunes will be a warning to all youth, especially some
whom I wish well; I will not name them, but hope, if they see this,
they will take it to themselves. I die in charity with all men,
forgiving and hoping to be forgiven myself, through the merits of my
blessed Saviour Jesus Christ.

He died on the 21st of November, 1729, being thirty-one years of age.


[87] This may mean that they dropped themselves into the
cess-pit and made their way out through another opening.

[88] Spa Fields, Clerkenwell, was a notorious spot for footpads.

[89] See pages 121, 122.

[90] This was at the south-west corner of Bloomsbury Square.

The Lives of WILLIAM ROGERS, a Thief; WILLIAM SIMPSON, a Horse-dealer;

The first of these persons was descended from very mean parents, who
had, however, given him a tolerable education, so far as to qualify him
by reading and writing for any ordinary kind of business, to which they
intended to breed him on his coming to a fit age. They put him out
apprentice to a shoemaker, with whom he lived out his time, with the
approbation of his master and all who knew him. Afterwards he married a
wife and worked for some time honestly as a journeyman at his trade,
being exceedingly fond of his new wife. But she being a woman who liked
living in a better state than he could afford by what he gained at his
work, and he being desirous to live more at home, and yet maintain her
plentifully too, at last came to picking and thieving; and being
detected in stealing some shoes out of a shop, he was for that crime

In Maryland and Virginia he continued some time working at his trade
with masters there, who gave him great encouragement, so that he might
have lived very happily there, if he had not been desirous of coming to
England. His mind ran continually on his wife. It was for her sake that
he at first had fallen into these practices, and to enjoy her
conversation was almost the only thing which tempted him to return home.

On his arrival here, it was no doubt with the greatest uneasiness that
he heard his wife, as soon as ever he went abroad, cohabited with
another man and could never afterwards be brought to see him, or give
him any assistance, no not when he was under his last and great
misfortunes. Her unkindness afflicted the unhappy man so much that he
grew careless of his safety, and thereby became speedily apprehended,
and was tried for his offence in returning before the time was expired;
and the fact being clear he was at once convicted.

Under sentence of death, he seemed to deplore nothing so much as the
unkindness of his wife, who would not so much as afford him one visit,
when he had hazarded, and even sacrificed his life to visit her. He
confessed that he had been guilty of that crime for which he had
formerly been transported, but denied that he lived in such a course of
wickedness and debauchery as most malefactors do. On the contrary, he
said he was heartily sorry for his sins, and hoped that God would accept
his imperfect repentance.

William Simpson was a young man of very good parents in Gloucestershire,
who had taken care to educate him carefully, both in the knowledge of
letters and of true religion, and they then put him out apprentice to a
tailor; but not liking that employment, he did not follow it, but lived
with a relation of his who was a great farmer in the country. There, it
seems, he stole a black gelding to the value of ten pounds, for which he
was quickly apprehended and committed to prison, and upon very full
evidence convicted. The unhappy youth said that nothing but idleness and
an aversion to any employment were the causes of his committing an act
of such a nature, so contrary to the principles in which he had been
instructed, and to which he was not tempted by ill-company, or driven to
by any straits. Under sentence of death he behaved with great modesty,
penitence and civility, was desirous of being instructed and did
everything that could be expected from a man in his miserable condition.

Robert Oliver, _alias_ William Johnson, was born of parents of tolerable
circumstances in Yorkshire, they bred him at school, and afterwards
bound him apprentice to a tallow-chandler. After he was out of his time,
he got somehow or other into the service of Mrs. North, where he robbed
one Joseph Heppworth of seven-and-forty guineas. As soon as he had done
it, he went to Moorgate and gave two-and-twenty of them for a horse,
upon which he rode down into his own country, where he exchanged it for
another horse, getting four guineas to boot. But the person who had lost
the money being indefatigable, and imagining that he might have gone
down into his own country, followed him thither, and after some time
seized him and got him confined in Beverley gaol. But it seems he found
a way to make his escape from thence, and so getting to London, skulked
up and down here for some time, until at last he was discovered and
committed to Newgate and at the ensuing sessions at the Old Bailey was
tried and convicted for the aforesaid offence.

Under sentence he behaved himself stupidly, not seeming to have a just
concern for the offence which he had committed. He was sullen, would say
very little, did not deny the crime for which he died, but yet did not
seem to have that compunction which might have been expected from a man
in his sad condition.

At the place of execution Rogers said little; Simpson acknowledged lewd
women had been his ruin; Robert Oliver acknowledged that he had been a
vicious, unruly, young man, who had hearkened to no advice, but addicted
to nothing but the accomplishment of his vices. They were all desirous
of prayers, and after they were celebrated they submitted to their
deaths very patiently; and with pious ejaculations, they were executed
on the 21st of November, 1739, Rogers being forty years of age, Simpson
nineteen, and Oliver twenty-two.


Folly and wickedness, as it were, naturally lead men to poverty, shame
and misfortunes, but when such miseries overtake persons who lived
soberly and in all outward appearance honestly, it is apt to create
wonder at first, and afterwards to excite compassion.

The unhappy man of whom we are now speaking was the son of a sailor, who
brought him when but a boy of three years of age up to London, and then
dying, left him to the care of his mother, who was too poor to give him
any education. However, he went to sea, and being a young man ingenious
enough in himself, and very tractable in his temper, he soon became a
tolerable proficient in the practical part of navigation. This
recommended him to pretty constant business, whereby he got enough to
maintain himself and his family handsomely enough, if he had thought fit
to have employed it that way; which for a considerable space of time he
did, keeping up a very good reputation in the neighbourhood where he
lived, and serving with a fair character on board several men-of-war,
going up the Baltic with squadrons sent thither to preserve the Swedish
coast from being insulted by the Moscovites.

After his return, he served on board the fleet which destroyed that of
the Spaniards in Sicily. He was afterwards coxswain in the Admiral, when
they served in the Mediterranean, and on the coast of Spain, but coming
home at last and being weary of going to sea, he took up the trade of
selling china and some small goods about the country; in which he got so
established a character that the gentlemen with whom he chiefly dealt
would have trusted him a hundred pounds on his word, and never anything
gave a greater shock to his neighbours and acquaintances than the news
of his being apprehended for a highwayman. However, it seems he had been
engaged to that course by his brother, notwithstanding that till then he
had lived not only honestly, but with tolerable sentiments of religion.

The method in which he was drawn to turn robber on a sudden was thus. On
the 19th of October, 1729, his brother came to him as he was working on
the outside of a ship on the other side of the water, and invited him to
go out with him to a public house, to which at first he was very
unwilling; but at last suffering himself to be prevailed upon, he and
his brother went together to a house not far distant, where they drank
to a higher pitch than James Drummond had ever done before. His brother
all along insinuated how advantageous a trade the highway was, owning he
had followed nothing else for some years past, and saying there was not
the least hazard run in it, at the same time advising his brother to
quit labouring hard, and to take to it, too. James was now grown so
drunk that he hardly knew what he did, so that after much persuasion he
got up behind his brother upon the same horse, but was afterwards set
down, it being judged by both of them to be better to rob on foot, while
he who was well armed and well mounted might be able to defend them
both. Having come to this fatal agreement, they immediately set about
those enterprises which they had consulted together.

The first robbery they committed was upon Mr. William Isgrig, from whom
they took sixteen guineas, seven half-guineas, three broad pieces, one
moidore, twenty shillings in silver, and a watch value two pounds. Not
satisfied with this the same night they attacked one Mr. Wakeling, on
the same road, and took from him a silver watch, and three or four
shillings in money, though not without much resistance, Mr. Wakeling
having drawn his sword and defended himself for a considerable time; but
perceiving one of the rogues to be a footpad, he followed him so
closely, and made such an outcry to the watch, that after a long pursuit
and a sharp struggle with him, they took James Drummond prisoner. His
brother after firing a pistol or two, rode off as fast as he could. At
the ensuing sessions at the Old Bailey he was indicted for both offences
and upon very full and dear evidence convicted.

It was impossible to describe the agonies which this unhappy man
suffered while under sentence of death, the sense of his own condition,
the reflection on his former character, unsullied and untainted amongst
his whole neighbourhood, the consideration of leaving a wife and five
small children behind him, with small provision for their support, and
what was worse exposed to the reflection of the world on the score of an
unhappy father, scandalous in the last actions of his life, and
ignominious in his death. However, returning to his former principles of
piety and religion, he comforted himself under the weight of all his
misfortunes, by leaning on the mercy of God, praying fervently to Him to
grant him patience and protection under those dreadful evils which he
suffered. He acknowledged all to be exactly true which was deposed
against him at his trial, confessed the justice of his sentence, and
prepared to undergo it with as much submission and resignation as was
possible, and indeed perhaps no criminal ever behaved with more
penitence than he did. He died on Monday, the 22nd of December, 1729,
being then forty years of age.


The first of these unhappy men, William Caustin, was born somewhere in
the country, but the particular place is not mentioned in any papers I
have before me. Neither am I able to say of what condition his parents
were, yet whether poor or rich they afforded him a very tolerable
education, and when he was grown big enough to be put out apprentice,
bound him to a barber, to whom he served out his time with remarkable
fidelity. When out of his time he married a wife and set up for himself;
yet whether through inevitable misfortunes, or for want of good
management, I cannot say, but he failed in a very short time after, and
so was reduced to be a journeyman again. However, his character remained
so unblemished that he was never out of business, nor ill-treated by any
masters where he worked. On the contrary, he was caressed wherever he
came, and treated with as much civility as if he had been a relation to
those whom he had served.

His wife unfortunately falling sick upon his hand, he became thereby
thrown out of business, and in that time falling into ill company, their
repeated solicitations prevailed with him to go for once upon the
highway, which accordingly he did, and committed, in company with
Geoffrey Younger and the evidence, a robbery on William Bowman, taking
from him a guinea and thirteen shillings, for which he was very quickly
after apprehended, and the fact being plainly and fully proved, he was
convicted, it being the only fact he ever committed.

Geoffrey Younger, his companion, was descended of very honest creditable
parents in Northamptonshire. There he was put apprentice to a baker, to
whom he served his time out very honestly and faithfully. Afterwards he
came up to London, and lived here for seven years as a journeyman, in as
good a reputation as it was possible for a young man to have. But having
by that time got a good quantity of clothes, and about ten pounds in his
pockets, he began to think himself too good to work, and unfortunately
falling into the company of some idle debauched persons of both sexes,
they soon led him into a road of ruin. Amongst these was one Bradley, a
fellow of his own business, whose company of all others, he most
affected. This fellow having addicted himself to the pursuit of the most
scandalous vices, easily drew in Younger to go with him to a house where
gamesters resorted and advising him to venture his money, Younger was
good enough to take his advice, and so was bubbled out of every farthing
of his money.

Surprised and confounded at this extraordinary turn, which had reduced
him to indigence in a moment, he did nothing but lament his own hard
fortune, and curse his indiscretion for coming to such a place. Bradley
endeavoured to cheer him, telling him he would yet put him in a way to
get money, and thereupon proposed going with him upon the highway; in
order to encourage him to which, he told him that at such a place they
should meet with a man who had fourscore pounds about him. So after
abundance of arguments, Younger yielded, and out they went. From that
time forwards he gave a loose to all his brutal inclinations, associated
himself with nobody but common whores and thieves, spent his time in
gaming, when not engaged in a worse employment, and never, after his
acquaintance with Bradley, thought of doing anything either just or
honest. But his course was of no very long continuance, for having
committed four or five robberies, the last of which was in the company
of William Caustin, they were both apprehended, and as has been said,
upon very full evidence convicted.

Under sentence of death they both of them blamed Bradley the evidence,
as the person who had drawn then first to the commission of those crimes
for which they were now to answer with their lives. Caustin's wife died
while he was under sentence, and he thereby lost what little comfort he
had under his afflictions. However, he endeavoured to compose himself
the best he could, to suffer that judgment which the Law had pronounced
upon him, and which he himself acknowledged to be just. Younger, on the
other hand, was exceedingly timorous and so terribly affrighted at the
approach of death that he scarce retained his senses. He confessed very
freely the enormities of his former life; said that a more dissolute
person than himself never lived; cried out against the evidence Bradley,
as the author of his misfortunes; charged him with having painfully
endeavoured to seduce him. But in the midst of this he wept bitterly,
and showed a great terror at the approach of his execution than was seen
amongst any of the rest who suffered with him, his countenance being so
much altered, that it was hardly possible for anybody to know him, who
had been acquainted with him before, insomuch that he looked for many
weeks before his execution like a person who had been already dead and

As the day of dissolution approached, it was hoped that he would recover
more courage, but instead of that he became so terribly frighted that he
could scarce speak, or show any signs of life when he was brought to
Tyburn. However, there he did gather spirits a little, and spoke to the
crowd to take warning by him, and avoid coming to that fatal place. He
said that he had been guilty of but five robberies in all his life; said
he forgave his prosecutors and the evidence who swore against him; and
in this disposition they both died at the same time with the malefactors
before mentioned, Caustin being thirty-six years of age, and Younger
about thirty-four.


Henry Knowland was the son of a father of the same name who was a
butcher. He received tolerably good education at school, and was brought
up by his father to his own business; but he was of a lewd disposition,
continually running after whores, keeping lewd company, gaming and
drinking until he was able neither to stand nor go. He married his first
cousin, who had formerly been the wife of Neeves, the evidence. It seems
this very Knowland had been put into Whitechapel gaol upon her swearing
a robbery against him for taking a gold chain off her neck, but that
affair being accommodated, he a little after married her, which was
perhaps no small cause of his future ruin.

He was always dishonest in his principles, and ready to lay hold of any
money without ever thinking of paying it again. At Smithfield he used to
be very dextrous in cheating country graziers of their cattle. The
method by which he did it was generally thus. Taking advantage of a
countryman whom he saw looked unacquainted with things, he struck a
bargain as soon as possible, and for any price he pleased, for his
goods; then stepping in to drink a mug and receive the money, Knowland
had an accomplice already planted, who coming hastily into the room told
him with a submissive air that a gentleman at such a place desired to
speak with him. Upon this he, arising in a hurry, tells the countryman
he would return immediately and pay him his money, while the attendant
in the meanwhile drove off with the beast; and so the poor man was left
without hopes of seeing either the money or bullock and perhaps ruined
into the bargain for being obliged to pay his master for the beast that
was lost.

Thomas Westwood, the second of these offenders, was a man descended of
very mean parents, who either had it not in their power, or were so
careless as to afford him little or no education. He himself, also, was
a stupid, obstinate fellow, who never took any pains to attain the least
degree of knowledge, but contented himself with living like a beast, in
a continual round of eating and drinking and sleeping. By trade he was a
sawyer, and when he wanted business in his trade, which, as the Ordinary
tells us, he often did bring a poor purblind creature, he either sold
sawdust about town, or else practised as a bailiffs follower, a
profession which led him into yet greater debaucheries and
extravagancies than otherwise possible he might have ever fallen into.

Knowland and he were apprehended on suspicion for being robbers, and
were tried at the Old Bailey on four indictments, all said to have been
committed on the same day, viz., on the 23rd of November, 1729. The
first was for assaulting John Molton in an open field, putting him in
fear, and taking from him four shillings; the second was for assaulting
Mary Butler and taking from her sixpence in money; the third was for
assaulting Nicholas Butler, and taking from him half a guinea and one
shilling; the fourth was for assaulting Anne Nailor, and taking from her
three and sixpence in money.

The prosecutors on all these indictments swore positively to the
prisoners' faces. Mr. Butler was desperately wounded (the Ordinary says
he was mortally wounded) but through God's grace recovered. In their
defence they called a great number of people to prove them in other
places at the time those robberies were committed, which they positively
swore, but the jury giving credit to the prosecutors' evidence, they
were both found guilty. However, they absolutely denied the crimes to
the last suffering at Tyburn with great marks of sorrow and loud
exclamations to God to have mercy on their souls, the 28th of February,
1730. Knowland being twenty-four years of age, and Westwood
twenty-seven, at the time of their deaths.

The Life of JOHN EVERETT, a Highwayman

This unfortunate man, who, in the course of his life, made some noise in
the world, was the son of honest and reputable parents at Hitchen, in
Hertfordshire. They gave their son all the education necessary to
qualify him for such business as he thought proper to put him to, which
was that of a salesman; but before his time was expired he went over to
Flanders, and served in the late War there, in several sieges and
battles; where he behaved so well as to be preferred to the post of a
serjeant in the Honourable General How's regiment of foot. But returning
to England upon the peace, and being quartered at Worcester he there
purchased his discharge.

Coming up to London he betook himself, for bread, to the office of a
bailiff in Whitechapel Court, in which station he continued for about
seven years until he fell into misfortunes, chiefly through the means of
one C----th. To shelter himself from a gaol, which threatened him at
that time, he was forced to go into the Foot Guards, where he served in
the company commanded by the right Honourable the Earl of Albemarle; but
unluckily for him, having commenced an acquaintance with Richard Bird at
the aforesaid Mr. C----th's, Bird told him he perceived they were much
in a case, that is, they both wanted money, and that therefore looking
upon him (Everett) to be a man who could be trusted, he would propose to
him an easy method for supply. This method was neither better nor worse
than robbing on the highway.

To this proposition Everett readily agreeing, they immediately joined,
provided proper utensils for their co-partnership, and soon after
practised their trade with great success in the counties of Middlesex,
Essex, Surrey and Kent, particularly robbing the Dartford coach, from
the passengers of which they took a portmanteau, wherein was contained
jewels, money and valuable goods to a very great amount. But spending as
fast as they got it, they were never the better for the multitude of
facts they committed, but were in a continual necessity of hazarding
body and soul for a very precarious subsistance.

A short time after, they robbed the Woodford stage-coach and found in it
only one passenger worth plundering. From him they took a gold watch and
some silver, but the gentleman expressing a great concern at the loss of
his watch, they told him if he would promise faithfully to send such a
sum of money to such a place, they would let him have it again. On
Hounslow Heath they attacked two officers of the army, who were well
mounted and guarded with servants armed with blunderbusses. They took
their gold watches and money from them, though the officers endeavoured
to resist, but they forced them to submit to the well-known doctrine of
passive obedience before they acquitted them. The watches (pursuant to a
treaty they made with them on the spot) were afterwards left at Young
Man's Coffee House, Charing Cross, where the owners had them again on
payment of twenty guineas, as stipulated in the said treaty between the

Another robbery they committed was on Squire Amlow (of Bream's
Buildings, Chancery Lane), in Epsom Lane, turning up to Epsom. When he
was attacked he drew a sword and made several passes at them as he sat
in an open chaise; but notwithstanding his resolution in opposing them,
they by force took two guineas, a silver watch, and his silver-hilted
sword, and some parchment writings of a considerable value. On his
submission and request for his writings, they accordingly delivered them
up, let him pass and helped him to his watch again, being in the hands
of Mr. Corket, a pawnbroker in Houndsditch. They also took opportunities
to rob all the butchers and higlers from Epping Forest to Woodford,
particularly one old woman, who wore a high crowned hat of her mother's
as she said, which hat they took and searched, and out of the lining of
it found three pounds and delivered her the hat again. On Acton Common
they also met two chariots with gentlemen and ladies in them and robbed
them in money, watches and other things to the value of forty pounds.

My readers, from these instances, must have a tolerable notion of
Everett's humour, it may prove entertaining, therefore, to give them a
specimen of his own manner of relating his adventures, and therefore I
insert the following ones in his own words.

Soon after our last achievement, my old comrade Dick Bird, and I,
stopped a coach in the evening on Hounslow Heath, in which (amongst
other passengers) were two precise, but courageous Quakers, who had
the assurance to call us Sons of Violence; and refusing to comply
with our reasonable demands jumped out of the coach to give us
battle. Whereupon we began a sharp engagement, and showed them the
arm of flesh was too strong for the Spirit, which seemed to move
very powerful within them. After a short contest (though we never
offered to fire, for I ever abhorred barbarity, or the more heinous
sin of murder) through the cowardly persuasions of their
fellow-travellers they submitted, though sore against their
inclinations. As they were stout fellows and men every inch of them,
we scorned to abuse them, and contented ourselves with rifling them
of the little Mammon of unrighteousness which they had about them,
which amounted to about thirty or forty shillings and their watches.
The rest in the coach, whose hearts were sunk into their breeches,
Dick fleeced without the least resistance.

There was one circumstance of this affair which created a little
diversion, and therefore with my readers leave, I will relate it.
The Precisions for the most part, though they are plain in their
dress, wear the best of commodities, and though a smart toupee[91]
is an abomination, yet a bob-wig, or a natural of six or seven
guineas' price, is a modest covering allowed by the saints. One of
the prigs was well furnished in this particular, and flattering
myself it would become me, I resolved to make it lawful plunder.
Without any further ceremony, therefore, than alleging exchange was
no robbery, I napped his poll, and dressed him immediately in
masquerade with an old tie-wig, which I had the day before purchased
of an antiquated Chelsea pensioner for half-a-crown. The other
company, though in doleful dumps for the loss of the coriander seed,
could not forbear grinning at the merry metamorphis, for our Quaker
now looked more like a devil than saint. As companions in distress
ever alleviate its weight, they invited him with a general laugh
into their leathern convenience again, wished us a goodnight, and
hoped they should have no farther molestation on the road. We gave
then the watch-word, and assured them they should not, then tipped
the honest coachman a shilling to drink our healths, and brushed off
the ground.

About a week or ten days later, my brother Dick and I projected a
new scheme more nimble than the former, to take a purse without the
charge of horse hire. Millington Common was determined to be the
scene of action. We sauntered for some time upon the green and
suffered several to pass by without the least molestation, but at
last we espied two gentlemen well-mounted coming towards us, who we
imagined might be able to replenish our empty purses, so we prepared
for an attack. After the usual salutation, I stopped the foremost
and demanded his cash, his watch and other appurtenances thereunto
belonging, and assured him I was a brother of an honourable but
numerous family; that to work I had no inclination and to beg I was
ashamed, and that I had at present no other way for a livelihood, if
such a demand at first view ought appear a little immodest or
unreasonable, I hoped he would excuse it, as necessity and not
choice was the fatal inducement.

My brother Dick was as rhetorical in his apologies with the
hindermost, whom he dismounted. We used them with more good manners
and humanity than the common pads, who act for the most part rather
like Turks and Jews than Christians, in such enterprises, to the
eternal scandal of the profession. We contented ourselves with what
silver and little gold they had about them, which to about three or
four pounds, and their gold watches, one of which, as well I
remember, was of Tompion's make, and which I afterwards pawned for
five guineas to a fellow that the week after broke, and ran away
with it, so that I had not the opportunity of restoring it again to
the proper owner, for which I heartily beg his pardon. As we must
own the gentlemen behaved well and came unto our measures without
the least resistance, so they must do us the justice to acknowledge
that we treated them as such and neither disrobed nor abused them.
We thought it, however, common prudence to cut the girths of their
horses' saddles, and secure their bridles for fear of a pursuit.

Thus flushed again with success, we made the best of our way to
Brentford, and there took the ferry; but Fortune, though she is
fair, yet she is a fickle mistress, her smiles are often false and
very precarious. Before we had got ashore, we heard the persons had
got scent of us, and our triumph had like to have ended in
captivity. When we were three parts over, and out of danger of
drowning, we told the ferrymen our distress, gave them ten
shillings, and obliged them to throw their oars into the Thames. The
agreeable reward and the fears of being thrown in themselves in case
of a denial, made them readily consent. In we plunged after them,
and soon made the shore. Though we looked like Hob just drawn out of
the well, those that saw us only imagined it was a drunken frolic.
Our expeditious flight soon dried our clothes, and without catching
the least cold, we both arrived safe that night at London.

We congratulated each other, you may imagine on our happy and
narrow escape, and solaced ourselves after the fatigue of the day,
with a mistress and a bottle.

I have copied these pages from Mr. Everett's book that my readers might
have a clear and just idea of those notions which these unhappy men
entertain of the life they lead, and hope they may be of some use in
giving such youths as are too apt to be taken with their low kind of
jests, a just abhorrence of committing villainy, merely to divert the
mob, and make themselves the sole topic of discourse in alehouses and

But to return to Everett. He was taken up on suspicion and committed to
New Prison, where he continued three years, behaving himself so well in
the prison that the justices ordered him his liberty, and he was
thereupon made turnkey of that place. In this post he continued to act
so honestly that he got a tolerable reputation, taking the Red Lion
alehouse, in Turnmill Street, Cow Cross, in order to live the better;
resigning his place as turnkey as soon as he was settled in it.

He who succeeded him was a footman to the Duchess of Newcastle's and not
being very well acquainted with the nature of his new office, he was
very industrious to prevail with Everett to return to his former
condition, and accept the key from him. Promises and entreaties were not
long made in vain. Everett was sensible there was money to be got,[92]
and therefore, upon the fair promises of the new keeper, became turnkey
again. But when he had shown his master the art of governing such a
territory as his was; when he had instructed him in the secrets of
raising money, and shown him the methods of managing the several sorts
of prisoners that were committed to its care, his superior quickly gave
him to understand that he had now done all he wanted, and the next kind
office would be to quit this place; for it is with those sort of people
as with some in a higher station, though they at first caress men who
are better acquainted with affairs than themselves, in order to improve
their own knowledge, yet no sooner do they think themselves qualified to
go on without their assistance, but they grow uneasy at such services,
and are never quiet until they are rid of men whose abilities are their
greatest faults.

A little after Everett was turned out to make room for the keeper's
brother, he had the additional misfortune to keep an account with a
person who too hastily demanded his money, and John, not being able to
pay it, therefore upon arrested him, and threw him into gaol. He
quickly turned himself over to the Fleet, where he first took the
rules, and then got into the Thistle and Crown Alehouse, in the Old
Bailey. There he lived for a while and afterwards took the Cock in the
same place, where he lived for three years with an indifferent
reputation, until he was prevailed on to take the Fleet Cellar[93], and
became very busy in the execution of the then Warden's project, until
the committee of the House of Commons thought fit to commit both of them
to Newgate.

This effectually undid him, for while he was a prisoner there, the
brewer made a seizure of his whole stock of beer, to the value of three
hundred pounds, and this it was, as he himself said, which posted him
out upon the highway again. Whether we may depend upon those
protestations he had made that he should never otherwise have gone upon
the road again, but have lived and died free, at least from that sort of
wickedness which indeed he had reason to dislike, since he had saved his
life by impeaching Bird his companion, who was hanged at Chelmsford at
the assizes held there for the County of Essex. When he had once taken
this resolution in his head, it was not long before he equipped himself
with necessaries for his employment.

The first robbery he committed was upon a lady in a chariot, and the
lady desiring that he would put up his pistol for fear of frightening a
child of six years old in the coach with her, he did so, and took from
her a guinea and some silver, without touching her gold watch, or any
other valuable things that she had about her. He had scarce committed
the robbery, before the lady's husband and another gentleman and his
company came up, and the accident being related to them, they
immediately pursued him as hard as their horses could gallop; and came
so close up with him, that he was hardly got into the Globe Tavern, in
Hatton Garden, and sent away his horse, before they passed by the door.
As soon as he thought they were out of sight, he slipped away with all
the precaution he was able, and got into a little blind alehouse in
Holborn, where he had scarce lit a pipe, and called for a tankard of
drink, before he perceived both the gentlemen looking very earnesty
about, though he now looked upon himself as out of all danger.

It was a very short time after, that he committed the last fact, which
was the robbing of Mrs. Manley[94], and a lady, who was in a chariot
with her, a black boy being behind in the coach. He got safe enough off
and into town, after this robbery; but how it was I cannot tell, his
neighbours suspected him, and talked of him as a highwayman, and
reported very confidently that he was taken up, as it seems he was, but
was discharged again for want of evidence. He was speedily seized again,
and being committed to Newgate, was brought to his trial at the Old
Bailey for the said fact.

Mrs. Ellis deposed that the prisoner was the person who robbed the
coach, and that she observed him follow it when they came out of town.
Mrs. Manley deposed also to his being the person who robbed them, and
William Coffee, a negro boy, who was behind the coach, swore positively
to his face. Several men who were present at his being apprehended,
swore that he had a pistol, dagger, six bullets, a flint and powder horn
about him, under a red rug coat.

His defence was very trivial, and the jury upon a short consultation,
found him guilty. Under sentence of death, he behaved very
indifferently, sometimes appearing tolerably cool, at others in a
grievous passion, especially at the keepers, if they refused him such
liberties as he thought fit to ask. When he was first condemned, he
flattered himself with hopes of life, if it were possible for him to
prevail on the ladies whom he had robbed to petition in his favour; in
order to induce them to which, he wrote the following letter, though to
no purpose, for the death warrant came down suddenly and he was included
with the before-mentioned prisoners.



I crave leave, with all humility and respect, to address you and
Madam Ellis, and with the utmost submission and concern, do humbly
beg your pardons for the fears and surprise my misfortunes reduced
me to put you and the children into, whose cries moved so much
compassion in me that I had not power to pursue with any rigour my
desperate designs, which your ladyship must have perceived by the
consternation I was struck into on a sudden. My sole intention was,
if I could have got L50 to settle myself in a public house, and to
take up an honest course of life, and do own at best it is a very
heinous crime. Yet, madam, you will recollect after what manner I
treated you, and at the same time consider the methods taken by
others on the like occasion. This necessity I was drove to, by
adhering to a certain master I lately served, and to obey his wicked
and pernicious commands, in following his wicked and pernicious
counsels, brought me to poverty, and consequently to this unhappy
state I now labour under, and was become almost as much as himself,
the scorn and hatred of mankind. I say, madam, if you will be so
good as to consider all these unhappy circumstances, and that
necessity admits of no contradiction, they will, I am persuaded,
inspire compassion in generous souls (a character you both
deservedly bear); and as a fellow-creature, I beg mercy at your
ladyship's hands, by signing a petition to the Recorder for me, to
the end, he may be induced to make a favourable report, and thereby
move his most sacred Majesty to clemency, by the sentence to some
other corporal punishment, and shall dedicate the rest of my days in
praying for both your happiness and prosperity in this world, and
eternal felicity and bliss in that to come, and crave leave, with
due deference, madam, to subscribe myself,

Your ladyship's most devoted,
Afflicted humble servant,
John Everett

The Ordinary of Newgate, in the account he has given of this prisoner,
has drawn as bad a character as he is able, and in order to it, has
gathered together all the ill-terms he could think of, even though some
of them are contrary to one another. The truth is, that the fellow in
himself had abundance of ill-qualities, with some good ones, and
especially good nature of which he had a very large share. Lewd women
were what brought him to his ruin, for to their company he continually
addicted himself, and with his low intrigues amongst them is the book I
have mentioned stuffed from one end to the other.

As to religion, it is certain he had very little of it before he was
confined, so it is not very likely that he should make any great
proficiency while he remained there. He was careless, indeed, under his
misfortunes, but did not give himself up to any loose or profane
expressions, but on the contrary attended at Chapel with decency at
least, if not with devotion.

Some attempts were made to save his life, by engaging him to make
discoveries in an affair of high concern, but all was ineffectual, and
he suffered on the 20th of February, 1729-30, with less apprehension
than might have been expected from a man under his unhappy
circumstances. The executioner, to put the prisoner sooner out of his
pain, jumped upon his shoulders, and thereby broke the rope, but he was
soon tied up again, and there remained until the rest were cut down.

At the time of his execution, he was forty-four years of age or


[91] This was a small wig covering only the top of the head; a
bob-wig was short and tied at the back with a large bow; a
natural was a large, full wig, in which the hair was made to
look like natural locks.

[92] The scandalous system of bleeding prisoners for every little
necessity and comfort made gaoloring a very profitable trade.

[93] That is, managed the sale of liquor in the Fleet.

[94] Author of _The New Atlantis_ and sundry political pamphlets
and libels, plays and novels.

Highwayman and Murderer

Robert Drummond was the brother of James Drummond, whom we have before
mentioned. He had formerly dealt in hardwares, and thereby lived with
some reputation in the town of Sunderland, nobody ever dreaming that he
went upon the highway for money. But it was not long that he continued
even to put this mask upon his villainy, but on the contrary gave way to
his wild and debauched temper, and committed a thousand extravagancies,
which soon created suspicions, and occasioned his being apprehended on
suspicion of a robbery. This clearly being made out at the ensuing
assizes, he was thereupon convicted, pardoned, and transported. But he
soon found a way to return into England, and grew one of the most daring
and mischievous robbers that ever infested the road.

The multitude of his robberies made his person so well known that it is
wonderful he should so long escape, especially considering the roughness
and cruelty of his temper, he never using anybody well, firing upon any
who attempted to ride away from him, and beating and abusing those who
submitted to him. He drew in, as has been said before, his brother
James, and deserting him when pursued and in danger, he was the occasion
of his death. It was also suspected that Shrimpton and he were the
persons who committed those robberies for which Knowland and Westwood
were executed. However it were, he continued for a considerable space
after the two Shrimptons and he robbed together, committing sometimes
nine or ten robberies in one night, until they were all three
apprehended, and William Shrimpton became an evidence against them.

Ferdinando Shrimpton, the other malefactor, was a person well educated,
though his father was one of the greatest highwaymen in England. He [the
father] lived at Bristol, and behaved in outward appearance so well that
he was never suspected, but unluckily one evening some constables coming
into an inn hastily to apprehend another person, his guilty heart making
him afraid that they were come in search of nobody but himself, he
thereupon immediately drew a pistol and shot one of them dead, for which
murder being convicted, he readily confessed his former offences, and
after his execution for the aforesaid crime, was hung in chains.

As for this unhappy man, his son, he had been bred to no trade, but
after his father's death served as a foot-soldier in the Guards and
eked out his pay by taking the same steps which his father had done
before him. Never any fellow was of a bolder and of a more audacious
spirit than he, and after he had once associated himself with Drummond,
they quickly forced William Shrimpton, who was Ferdinando's cousin, to
commit one or two facts with him, and afterwards he would never suffer
him to be quiet.

On Hounslow Heath, it seems, Shrimpton robbed a man of a horse, a silver
watch and some money. The man applied himself to Shrimpton when he was
apprehended, begging that he would find a way to help him to his horse
again. Shrimpton promised he would, and for a guinea was as good as his
word, though the gelding was worth fifteen pounds; but for his watch,
nothing either was, or as they pretended could be, told about it. But
that was only for fear of disobliging the pawnbroker where they had sent
it, for Shrimpton afterwards, upon the owner's thirty-four shillings by
his wife, had it again, though Ferdinando was very much disobliged that
he received but half a crown for his trouble.

Drummond, he and his cousin being seized, William turned evidence
against them, and at the ensuing sessions at the Old Bailey, Shrimpton
being indicted for the murder of Simon Prebent, Mr. Tyson's coachman,
and Robert Drummond for aiding and abetting, and assisting him, they
were both upon full evidence convicted, as they were also convicted for
a robbery on the highway, on Mr. Tyson, after the death of the coachman.
They were a third time indicted together for assaulting Robert Furnel on
the highway, taking from him a watch of great value, a guinea and a
half, some silver and a whip, together with some other things of value.
They were also indicted afresh for assaulting Jonathan Cockhoofs on the
highway, taking from him a bay gelding, value nine pounds, several
roasting pigs and pieces of pork, etc.; of all which they were found
guilty, the fact being as clear and as strong against them as possible.

Under sentence of death, they behaved themselves with great obstinacy
and resolution, refused to give any account of their crimes, but in
general would say that they were great and notorious offenders. As to
the fact committed by Knowland and Westwood, they would not positively
say it was done by them, though they could not deny it. Only when
pressed upon it, Drummond would say in a passion, _What, would you have
us take upon us all the robberies that were committed in the country?_
This was all that could be got from him, even when he was at the point
to die and the wife of Knowland earnestly begged that he would tell the
truth, as he was now entering into another world, and the owning or not
owning of those facts could no ways prejudice them.

As to the barbarous murder committed upon Mr. Tyson's coachman, it did
not seem to make the least impression upon their spirits. Shrimpton, by
whose hands the man was killed, never appeared one whit more uneasy when
the sermon on murder was peculiarly preached on his account, but on the
contrary talked and jested with his companions as he was wont to do. In
a word more hardened, obstinate and impenitent wretches were never seen;
for as they were wanting in all principles of religion, so they were
void even of humanity and good nature. They valued blood no more than
they did water, but were ready to shed the first with as little concern
as they spilt the latter. Inured in wickedness and rapine, old in years
and covered in offences, they yielded their last breaths at Tyburn, with
very little sign of contrition or repentance, on the 17th of February,
1730, Drummond being about fifty, and Shrimpton about thirty years of

The Life of WILLIAM NEWCOMB, a housebreaker

Though the many instances we have, of late years, had of amazing
wickednesses committed by lads one would scarce believe were capable of
executing, much less of contriving schemes so full of ginning and of
guilt, ought in a great measure to prevent our being surprised at
anything of the same kind, let it be committed by ever such a stripling,
yet I confess it was not without wonder that I perused the papers
relating to this unfortunate young man--so strong an instance of a great
capacity for mischief at the same time that he never once evidenced
either care or ability in succeeding in an honest way. On the contrary,
he was assidious only to attain as much money as might put him on the
road of debauchery, and then stupidly gave himself up to squandering it
in the gratification of his lusts, until indigence brought to rack his
inventions again, and his second attempt proving abortive, brought him
to the gallows.

He was born of honest parents, who took care enough in his education to
qualify him for the business of a shoemaker, for which they designed
him, and to which they put him apprentice. He had not served above three
years of his time, before he robbed his master of a very considerable
sum of money. The man having a respect for his family, put him away
without prosecuting him. His father took him home, but, however,
reproaching him very often for the villainous facts he had committed, he
went away from him and lay about the town, intending to take the first
opportunity that offered of stealing a good booty, and march off into
the country.

At last, after consulting with himself for some time, he fixed upon a
banker's shop in Lombard Street, within two doors of the church of St.
Edmund the King, thinking with himself that if once he could get into
that shop, be should make himself at a blow. In order to it he got into
the church overnight and stayed there until morning, when, just as it
began to grow light, he steered downstairs into the shop, having got
over the top of Mr. Jenkin's house, and watching his opportunity, laid
hold of a single bag and slipped out of doors with it. The booty was
indeed a large one, for it happened that what he took was all gold,
which was upwards of eight hundred guineas. This put it in his power to
show himself in that state of life which he most admired, for sending
for a tailor be had two or three suits of fine clothes made, bought a
couple of geldings, hired a footman in livery to attend him, and thus
equipped set out for the horse races at Newmarket.

Women and gaming very soon reduced the bulk of his gold and in six or
seven months, finding his pockets very low, he returned to London to
replenish himself. The good success he before had in robbing a banker,
and his knowing nobody was so likely to furnish him with ready money,
put him upon making the like attempt at Mr. Hoare's, into whose house he
got and endeavoured to conceal himself as conveniently as he could for
that purpose. But being detected and apprehended on the roof of the
house, whither he had fled to avoid pursuit, he was committed to
Newgate, and at the next sessions at the Old Bailey, was tried for
burglary, and convicted.

Under sentence of death he behaved with great mildness and civility. He
confessed his having been as great a sinner as his years would give him
leave, addicted to whoring, drunkenness, gaming and having quite
obliterated all the religious principles which his former education had
instilled into him. However, he endeavoured to retrieve as much as
possible the knowledge of his duty, and to fulfil it by praying to
Almighty God for the forgiveness of his many offences; and in this
disposition of mind he departed this life, on the 17th of February,
1730, being about nineteen years of age.

The Life of STEPHEN DOWDALE, a Thief

This unfortunate man was the son of parents in good circumstances in the
Kingdom of Ireland, who were very careful of giving him the best
education they were capable of, both as to letters and as to the
principles of the Christian religion. Yet from some hope they had of his
succeeding in a military way, they chose rather to let him serve in the
army than breed him to any particular trade. It seems he behaved so well
in the regiment of dragoons in which he served, that his officers
advanced him to the post of sergeant, and just as the Peace was
concluded, he had hopes of being made a quartermaster. But the regiment
then being broke, his hopes were all dissipated, and he thrown into the
world to shift for himself as well as he could.

In Ireland he remained with his friends some years, but finding by
degrees that their kindness cooled, and that it would be impossible for
him to subsist much longer upon the bounty of his relations, he
thereupon resolved to come over at once to England and endeavour to live
here by his wits. The gaming tables were the places where he chiefly
resorted, but finding that fortune was a mistress not to be depended
upon he resolved to take some more certain method of living, and for
that purpose associated himself with ten or a dozen knights of the road.
He continued his practices without the least suspicion for a very
considerable time, in all which he appeared one of the greatest beaux at
the other end of the town.

But growing uneasy in the midst of that seeming gaiety in which he
lived, and being under some apprehensions that one or more of his
companions was meditating means of making peace with the government at
the expense of his life, he resolved to prevent them; and thereupon
surrendered himself of his own accord into the hands of a constable, and
gave the best information he was able against all his confederates. But
however it was, most of them had previous knowledge of the warrants
issued against them, and thereby made their escapes. Others who were
apprehended were acquitted by the jury, notwithstanding this evidence
against them, so that the public not being likely to reap any benefit by
his discovery, some people thought proper to turn his own confession
upon himself. Accordingly, at the next Sessions at the Old Bailey, he
was indicted for feloniously stealing a gold watch value twenty pounds,
out of the house of Thomas Martin, on the 30th of August preceding the
indictment. He was also indicted a second time for feloniously stealing
a diamond ring out of the shop of John Trible, on the 25th of August.
Both these facts were in the information he had made, and therefore the
proof was dear and direct against him, and beyond his power to avoid by
any defence.

Under sentence of death be behaved himself with great resignation,
seemed to be very penitent for those numerous offences he had committed,
though now and then he let fell expressions which showed that he thought
himself hardly dealt with by those who had received his confession.
However, what with fear and concern, and what with the moistness of the
place wherein he was confined, he fell into a grievous distemper, which
quickly increased into a high fever, which affected his senses, and
shortly after took away his life, just as a very worthy gentleman in the
commission for the peace for Middlesex had procured his life, which was
thus ended by the course of Nature though in the cells of Newgate, he
being then in the forty-fourth year of his age. He died on the 5th of
April, 1730.

The Life of ABRAHAM ISRAEL, a Jew

As it is a very ordinary case for fiction to be imposed on the world for
truth, so it sometimes happens that truth hath such extraordinary
circumstances attending it, as well nigh bring it to pass for fiction.
The adventures of this unhappy man, who was a Hebrew by nation, have
something in them strange, and which excite pity; for a man must be
wanting in humanity who can look upon a young person endowed with the
natural advantage of a good genius, lightened by the acquired
accomplishments of learning, fall of a sudden from an honest and
reputable behaviour into debauchery, wickedness and rapine, methods that
lead to certain destruction, and as it were to drag men to violent and
shameful deaths.

This unfortunate person, Abraham Israel, was born of parents of the
Hebrew nation, of good character and in good circumstances, at Presburg,
in the kingdom of Hungary. They were exceedingly desirous of giving
their son a good education, and therefore sent him to study in the
Jewish College at Prague, in Bohemia, where they allowed him about two
hundred pounds Stirling a year. He improved under the tuition of the
rabbis there to a great degree, insomuch that he was admired by them as
a prodigy of learning. His behaviour in every other way being
unblamable, and therefore not spending above half what his father sent
him, he distributed the rest among the indigent scholars there, of all
nations and religions. As a mark of his early and polite genius, we have
thought proper to entertain our readers with a short description of the
city of Prague, which he wrote in the German tongue, and which on this
occasion we have ventured to translate into English.

Prague is the capital of the Kingdom of Bohemia, which, as if
protected by nature, is encompassed round with high mountains.
Throughout all Europe there is no soil in general more fertile or
better adapted to the plough. The fruits there are excellent and
great quantities of fowl are plentiful almost to excess, the cattle
are large and excellent. In fine nothing is poor, wretched or
miserable there except the people, who are slaves to their lords,
and never enjoy even the fruits of their own hard labour. But to
return to Prague, it is a city situated on a hill, part of it
stretching down the plain, having the river Muldau running through
it. The buildings are of so large extent that this city is divided
into three, and by some into four cities. The old city lies on the
east of the river, is exceedingly populous, and houses in that
quarter fair, but old-fashioned. Here is the quarter assigned unto
our nation (i.e., the Jews) where we enjoy greater privileges and
are treated with more lenity than in any other part of Germany. The
heads of our people deal to very great advantage in jewels and
precious stones dug out of the Bohemian mines. The lesser town on
the other side of the river is more beautiful in its building than
the old town, has fine gardens and stately palaces, among which
there is the famous one of Count Wallenstein, the magnificence of
which, may be the better guessed from our knowing that a hundred
houses were pulled down to make room for it. Its hall is thought one
of the finest in all Europe, its gardens are wonderfully stately,
and the stables which he built here for his horses are almost beyond
description, marble pillars parted the standing of each horse from
another. The racks were of polished steel, and their mangers of the
finest marble, and over the head of each stand was placed the figure
of each horse, as large as the life. This famous man who was the
greatest captain of his time, after having built this sumptuous
palace, re-established the Emperor's power, almost utterly broken by
the Swedes, growing at last too powerful for a subject, or as the
Germans say, endeavouring to make himself master of the Kingdom of
Bohemia, he was, if not by the command, at least by the connivance
of the Emperor Ferdinand, privately assassinated in the city of
Egra, in the year 1634, by certain Irish officers, in whom he
reposed the greatest confidence. Since his time Prague has seen no
greater powerful persons among her countrymen; on the contrary, the
inhabitants now in general are poor, their habits mean, the Hebrew
nation being obliged, both men and women, to wear a particular garb.
Its streets are dirty, and nothing but the Imperial Palace preserves
anything of its ancient grandeur; the same fate hath befallen the
other Bohemian cities, and thus in a land of Paradise the people
live like slaves.

When at the age of thirteen, the unfortunate Abraham was recalled by his
father from college, at his return home, every one was surprised at that
prodigious knowledge which he had acquired while at Prague. Those of
their nation who resided at Presburg desired Abraham's father that his
son might, according to the custom of the Hebrews, read in the
synagogue, which accordingly he did with great and deserved applause.
His relations, and the rich Jews of the town, loaded him the next day
with valuable presents, in order to show their veneration for the
religion and learning of their ancestors; but these encouragements being
heaped on a vain and ambitious temper, were the ruin of a youth hitherto
virtuous in his conduct and passionately fond of learning. For growing
on a sudden conceited with his own abilities, puffed up with the vanity
of having excelled his equals, he began to addict himself to acquire
higher accomplishments, grew fond of music, delighted in
dancing-schools, would needs be taught fencing and riding, and from the
studies preparative to making a grave rabbi, jumped all of a sudden to
the qualities necessary to finish a Jewish fop.

His relations soon showed by the alteration of their conduct how little
they approved of his new state of life, but that signified nothing to
him, he still went on at his old rate; until at last perceiving his
parents would do nothing for him, he went with an idle woman to
Amsterdam. There he was uneasy, not knowing what course of life to take,
but at last submitted to wearing a livery, and got into service. He
behaved himself amongst the Spanish Jews so well that they gave him a
recommendation to Baron Swaffo in England, upon which he came over
thither, and entered into his service. He recommended him to Mr. Jacob
Mendez da Costa, where he Stayed for some time, with a good character as
a diligent servant. From him he went to Mr. Villareal on College Hill.
It seems that while he continued at the Hague, he fell in love with a
young woman there, who continually ran in his head after his coming over
hither. As soon, therefore, as he got money enough, he went over to the
Hague, on purpose to make her a visit. When he came there, he found she
was gone, which made him very uneasy, yet he resolved not to go to
Amsterdam, whither he heard she went from the Hague.

However, it was not long before she was thrown in his way, for upon his
coming over again to London, where he got into the service of Mr. Jacob
Mendez da Costa, he heard at a barber's shop of a young maid just
brought over from Holland who was then at her uncle's in St. Mary Axe,
not knowing where to get a place. Upon enquiring her name, he found it
to be his old acquaintance and mistress at the Hague. It was not long
before he turned out the cook at the place where he lived, and brought
her home in her place.

For a while she behaved like an honest and industrious servant, but one
night as Abraham went to bed, he saw her opening an escrutoire with a
knife, which she said she could at any time do. Abraham at first forbid
her, but she by her endearments, quickly brought him over to her party,
insomuch that after having lain with her, he consented to rummage the
escrutoire. In it they found diamond rings and other jewels to a very
great value. The wench said to him, holding up a fine diamond ring,
_Abraham, you might take this, and it would prove the making of us
both._ But the fellow would not listen to her. However, they agreed to
take five guineas, which when they had done, they went to bed together
according to custom.

Sometime after they begged a holiday and going out borrowed some more
money from the same bank, but staying out all night she lost her place,
whereupon she went back to her uncle's, and afterwards got a place in
Winchester Street. There Abraham visited her, and suspecting that she
was with child, asked her very gravely and kindly whether it were so or
not? She said, _No_, and pretended to want money, upon which he turned
back and gave her a guinea. Some time after he came to see her again,
asked her the same question, and had the same answer, yet in a few hours
after she caused him to be apprehended by the parish officers, the
expenses whereof cost him five guineas immediately, and he was obliged
to deposit fourteen guineas more as a security that he would indemnify
the parish.

This threw him out of his place, and though he got into another, and
behaved well in it, yet going into the service of Mr. John Mendez da
Costa, he became there so uneasy on account of his child, and some other
troublesome affairs, that he ventured on stealing eight silver spoons,
five silver forks, two pair of silver canisters, a diamond ring value
two hundred and fifty pounds, a pair of diamond ear-rings worth ninety
pounds, three diamond buckles, and other goods of a great value. For
this fact he was prosecuted, and on very full evidence convicted.

Under sentence of death, the Ordinary informs us that he appeared to be
better acquainted with Hebrew than is common amongst Jews. He came up to
the chapel rather for the air than for devotion. However, he one day
sung part of a Psalm. His hatred against his prosecutor was strong and
unconquerable, for when the minister told him it was his duty to forgive
him, he said he did not know whether it was or no according to their
law, and sometimes said that Heaven might deal with the same justice by
him hereafter, as he had been dealt with here.

As the time of his death approached, he grew graver, and read more
constantly in those books he had in Hebrew characters of his own
religion. However, he wrote a letter to the gentleman he robbed in very
harsh terms, and applied to him some of the imprecations of the hundred
and ninth Psalm. At the place of execution he had two men with him, who
were muttering something or other in his ear. He had a little Hebrew
prayer-book in his hand, and read in it. When being again persuaded to
forgive his prosecutor, he at last, in a faint voice, answered that he
did, and then submitted to his fate at Tyburn, on the 12th of May, 1730,
being then about twenty-two years of age. He had several relations who
had a great deal of money in England, and they took care of his body.

The Life of EBENEZER ELLISON, a Notorious Irish Thief

With respect to this malefactor I have nothing to acquaint the world
with but what is taken from his own speech which was printed at Dublin,
and said to be published there by his own desire for the common good. It
made a great noise there then, and may perhaps serve to entertain you
now, wherefore I proceed to give it you in his own words.

I am now going to suffer the just punishment of my crimes,
prescribed by the Law of God and my country. I know it is the
constant custom that those who come to this place should have
speeches made for them, and cried about in their own hearing as they
are carried to execution; and truly they are such speeches that
although our fraternity be an ignorant illiterate people, they would
make a man ashamed to have such nonsense and false English charged
upon him, even when he is going to the gallows. They contain a
pretended account of our birth and family, of the facts for which we
are to die, of our sincere repentance, and a declaration of our
religion. I cannot expect to avoid the same treatment with my
predecessors. However, having an education one or two degrees better
than those of my rank and profession, ever since my commitment I
have been considering what might be proper for me to deliver upon
this occasion.

And first, I cannot say from the bottom of my heart that I am truly
sorry for the offence I have given to God and the world; but I am
very much so for the bad success of my villainies, in bringing me to
this untimely end; for it is plainly evident, that after having some
time ago obtained a pardon from the Crown, I again took up my old
trade. My evil habits were so rooted in me, and I was grown unfit
for any other kind of employment; and therefore, although in
compliance with my friends I resolved to go to the gallows after the
usual manner, kneeling with a book in my hand and my eyes lift up,
yet I shall feel no more devotion in my heart than I observed in
some of my comrades, who have been drunk among common whores the
very night before their execution. I can say further from my own
knowledge, that two of my own fraternity, after they had been hanged
and wonderfully came to life, and made their escapes, as it
sometimes happens, proved afterwards the wickedest rogues I ever
knew, and so continued until they were hanged again for good and
all; and yet they had the impudence at both times they went up to
the gallows to smite their breasts and lift up their eyes to Heaven
all the way.

Secondly, from the knowledge I have of my own wicked dispositon, and
that of my comrades, I give it as my opinion that nothing can be
more unfortunate to the public than the mercy of Government in even
pardoning and transporting us, unless we betray one another, as we
never fail to do if we are sure to be well paid, and then a pardon
may do good. By the same rule, it is better to have but one fox in a
farm than three or four, but we generally make a shift to return
after being transported, and are ten times greater rogues than
before, and much more cunning. Besides, I know it by experience,
that some hopes we have of finding mercy when we are tried, or after
we are condemned, is always a great encouragement to us.

Thirdly, nothing is more dangerous to idle young fellows than the
company of those odious common whores we frequent, and of which this
town is full. These wretches put us upon all mischief to feed their
lust and extravagance. They are ten times more bloody and cruel than
men. Their advice is always not to spare us if we are pursued, they
get drunk with us, and are common to us all, and yet if they can get
anything by it, are sore to be our betrayers.

Now, as I am a dying man, something I have done which may be of good
use to the public, I have left with an honest man and indeed the
only honed man I ever was acquainted with--the names of all my
wicked brethren, the present places of abode, with a short account
of the chief crimes they have committed in many of which I have been
their accomplice, and heard the rest from their own mouths. I have
likewise set down the names of those we call our setters, of the
wicked houses we frequent, and of those who receive and buy our
stolen goods. I have solemnly charged this honest man, and have
received his promise upon oath, that whenever he hears of any to be
tried for robbing or housebreaking, he will look into his list, and
he if finds the name there of the thief concerned, to send the whole
paper to the Government. Of this I here give my companions fair and
public warning, and I hope they will take it.

In the paper above-mentioned, which I left with my friend, I have
also set down the names of the several gentlemen whom we have robbed
in Dublin streets for three years past. I have told the
circumstances of those robberies, and shown plainly that nothing but
the want of common courage was the cause of their misfortunes. I
have therefore desired my friends that whenever any gentleman
happens to be robbed in the streets, he will get the relation
printed and published with the first letters of those gentlemen's
names, who by their want of bravery are likely to be the cause of
all the mischief of that kind, which may happen for the future. I
cannot leave the world without a short description of that kind of
life which I have led for some years past and is exactly the same
with the rest of our wicked brethren.

Although we are generally so corrupted from our childhood as to have
no sense of goodness, yet something heavy always hangs about us. I
know not what it is, that we are never easy until we are half drunk
among our whores and companions, nor sleep sound, unless we drink
longer than we can stand. If we go abroad in the day, a wise man
would easily find us to be rogues by our faces, we have such
suspicious, fearful and constrained countenances, often turning back
and sneaking through narrow lanes and alleys. I have never failed of
knowing a brother thief by his looks, though I never saw him before.
Every man amongst us keeps his particular whore, who is however
common to us all when we have a mind to change. When we have got a
booty, if it be money, we divide it equally among our companions,
and soon squander it on our vices in those houses that receive us,
for the master and mistress and very tapster go snacks, and besides
make us pay treble reckonings. If our plunder be plate, watches,
rings, snuff-boxes and the like, we have customers in all quarters
of the town to take them off. I have seen a tankard sold, worth
fifteen pounds to a fellow in ---- Street, for twenty shillings, and
a gold watch for thirty. I have set down his name, and that of
several others in the paper already mentioned. We have setters
watching in corners, and by dead walls, to give us notice when a
gentleman goes by, especially if he be anything in drink. I believe
in my conscience, that if an account were made of a thousand pounds
in stolen goods, considering the low rates we sell them at, the
bribes we must give for concealment, the extortions of alehouse
reckonings, and other necessary charges there would not remain fifty
pounds clear to be divided among the robbers, and out of this we
must find clothes for whores, besides treating them from morning
until night, who in requital award us with nothing but treachery and
the pox, for when our money is gone, they are every moment
threatening to inform against us, if we will not get out to look for
more. If anything in this world be like Hell, as I have heard it
described by our clergy, the truest picture of it must be in the
back room of one of our alehouses at midnight, where a crew of
robbers and their whores are met together after a booty, and are
beginning to grow drunk, from that time until they are past their
senses, in such a continued horrible noise of cursing, blasphemy,
lewdness, scurrility, and brutish behaviour, such roaring and
confusion, such a clatter of mugs and pots at each other's heads,
that Bedlam in comparison is a sober and orderly place. At last they
all tumble from their stools and benches, and sleep away the rest of
the night, and generally the landlord or his wife, or some other
whore, who has a stronger head than the rest, picks their pockets
before they awake. The misfortune is, that we can never be easy
until we are drunk, and our drunkenness constantly exposes us to be
more easily betrayed and taken.

This is a short picture of the life I have led, which is more
miserable than that of the poorest labourer who works for fourpence
a day; and yet custom is so strong that I am confident, if I could
make escape at the foot of the gallows, I should be following the
same course this very evening. Upon the whole, we ought to be looked
upon as the common enemies of mankind, whose interest it is to root
us out like worms, and other mischievous vermin, against which no
fair play is required. If I have done service to men in what I have
said, I shall hope to have done service to God, and that will be
better than a silly speech made by me full of whining and canting,
which I utterly despise, and have never been used to yet such a one
I expect to have my ears tormented with as I am passing along the

Good people, fare ye well; bad as I am, I leave many worse behind
me, and I hope you shall see me die like a man, though a death

E. E.

The Life of JAMES DALTON, a Thief

The character of this criminal is already so infamous, and his crimes so
notorious that I may spare myself any introductory observation which I
have made use of as to most of the rest with respect to his birth. He
was so unfortunate as to have the gallows hereditary to his family, his
father, who was by birth an Irishman, and in the late Wars in Flanders a
sergeant, coming over here was indicted and hanged for a street robbery.
After his death, Dalton's mother married a butcher, who, not long before
Dalton's death, was transported, and she herself for a like crime shared
in the same punishment.

This unhappy young man himself went between his father's legs in the
cart when he made his fatal exit at Tyburn. It has, indeed, remained a
doubt whether Dalton the father were a downright thief or not; his own
friends say that he was only a cheat, and one of the most dexterous
sharpers at cards in England. It seems he fell in with some people of
his own profession, who thought he got their money too much easily, and
therefore made bold to fix him with a downright robbery.

As for James Dalton the younger, from his infancy he was a thief and
deserved the gallows almost as soon as he wore breeches. He began his
pranks with robbing the maid where he went to school. By eleven years
old he got himself into the company of Fulsom and Field, who were
evidences against Jonathan Wild and Blueskin, and in their company
committed villainies of every denomination, such as picking pockets,
snatching hats and wigs, breaking open shops, filching bundles at dusk
of the evening. All the money they got by these practices was spent
among the common women of the town, whose company they frequented. Then
the Old Bailey and Smithfield Cloisters became the place of their
resort, from whence they carried away goods to a considerable quantity,
sold them at under-rates, and squandered away the money upon strumpets.

Towards Smithfield and the narrow lanes and allies about it, are the
chief houses of entertainment for such people, where they are
promiscuously admitted, men or women, and have places every way fitted
for both concealing and entertainment. The man and woman of the house
frequently take their commodities off their hand at low prices, and the
women who frequent these sort of places help them off with what trifling
sums of money they receive; for though they are utterly devoid of
education, yet dinning and flattery are so perfectly practised by them,
that these bewitched young robbers make no scruple of venturing soul and
body to acquire wherewith to purchase their favours, which are
frequently attended with circumstances that would send them rotten to
their graves, if the gallows did not intercept and take them before they
are got half way. But it happened that Field was apprehended, and to
save himself immediately made an information against his companions,
named Dalton and Fulsom, whereupon they were obliged to be very cautious
and durst venture out only in the night. It happened that in Broad
Street, St. Giles's they met about twelve o'clock at night a captain in
the Foot-Guards. Dalton commanded the gentleman to surrender, but
persons of his cloth seldom parting with their money so peaceably, there
happened a skirmish, in which Fulsom knocked him down, and afterwards
they rifled him, taking some silver and a leaden shilling out of his
pocket, together with a pocket book, which had some bank notes in it,
and therefore was burnt by them for fear it should betray them. But in
this fact, Dalton, who had not even honesty enough for a thief, cheated
his companion of seven guineas and a watch.

The woman to whom they sold their stolen goods was one Hannah Britton,
who, upon Lambert's being committed to New Prison, was named in his
information, taken up and committed to Newgate. At the sessions after
she was convicted for that offence, and thereupon whipped from Holborn
Bars to St. Giles's Pound; which proceeding so affrighted Dalton that he
resolved for a time to retire out of London.

Thereupon he and one of his companions went down to Bristol, to see what
they could make at the Fair. But they were not over-lucky in their
country expedition, for they were apprehended for breaking a shop open,
and tried at the assizes; but the witness not being able to swear
directly to their persons, they were acquitted through the defect of
evidence. As soon as they were out of prison, Dalton returned to London
as speedily as he was able, where joining himself with the remainder of
the old gang, shortly after his arrival they broke open a toy-shop near
Holborn Bars, and carried off eight hundred pounds worth of goods, with
a pretty large sum in ready money. Of the goods they did not make above
two hundred and fifty pounds, and for the ready money, which was about
twenty pounds, they shared it amongst them.

Dalton about that time frequenting a house near Golden Lane, found
doxies there to help him off with it, and reduced him to the necessity
of making t'other large stride in the way to Tyburn. Not long after,
therefore, he committed a robbery in the road to Islington, for which
being taken up he brought three who personated a doctor, apothecary and
surgeon at his trial, who swore that the time the robbery was said to
have been committed he was sick and even at the point of death, upon
which he was acquitted.

But as this was a narrow escape, so his liberty was of no long
continuance, for his companion Fulsom, being apprehended for a felony,
to save himself, made an information against his comrades, and amongst
the rest named Dalton, and gave so exact an account of his haunts that h
e was quickly after apprehended, and at the ensuing sessions convicted
and ordered for transportation.

At sea a great storm arising, they were glad to call up such of the
criminals as they thought might be of use towards managing the ship,
amongst whom was James Dalton, who no sooner was upon deck but he was
contriving to make the crew mutiny and seize the ship. In a very little
time he brought enough of them to be of his mind in order to execute
their intent, and accordingly got the fire-arms and made themselves
masters of the ship, and obliged the men to navigate her to a little
port near Cape Finisterre, in Spain, where they robbed the ship of about
a hundred pounds, and then went on shore and travelled by land to Vigo.
They were scarce got thither before the ship arrived, and the captain
charged them with the piracy they had committed; but from the lenity of
the Spanish Government, they quickly got released, without giving the
captain any satisfaction. The Governor, when they were discharged from
their confinement, gave them a pass in which, after reciting their
names, he styled them all English thieves, which putting them in no
small fright, they resolved to prevent its doing them a mischief,
committed it to the flames, and then ran the hazard of travelling the
country without one. This, accordingly, they did, until they met with a
Dutch ship, the master of which readily gave them a passage to
Amsterdam, from whence Dalton and two or three more, found means to get
over again to England, and came up to London.

On their arrival here they fell to robbing with such fury that the
streets were hardly safe when the sun was set; but Dalton apprehending
that this trade would not lost long, resolved to make a country
expedition, in order to get out of the way. Thereupon down he went again
to his old city of refuge, Bristol. There he did not continue long
before he was apprehended for breaking open a linen-draper's shop but
the burglary not being clearly proved, the jury found him guilty of the
felony only, whereupon he was once more transported to Virginia.

He did not continue long in that plantation before growing weary of
labour, he thought fit to threaten his master, so that the man was glad
to discharge him, and thought himself happy of getting rid of such a
servant. Upon which Dalton soon found out one Whalebone, a fellow of a
like disposition with himself; and they went about stealing boats and
negroes, running away with them and selling them in other colonies. At
last Dalton met with a ship which carried him for England. By the way he
was pressed on board the _Hampshire_ man-of-war, in which he was a
spectator of the last siege of Gibraltar.[95]

On his return he received his wages and lived on it for a little time.
Then he with Benjamin Branch and William Field, took to snatching of
pockets. At last they took Christopher Rawlins into their society and in
a few months' time they three snatched five hundred pockets. Amongst the
rest Dalton cut off one from a woman's side at St. Andrew's, Holborn,
for which Branch being in company was taken and executed, although
Dalton and Rawlins did all they could to have made up the affair with
the prosecutor but in vain. This trade therefore being at an end, he and
his companion Rawlins fell next to robbing coaches in the streets, and
being once more apprehended, he found himself under a necessity of
making an information against his companions, six or seven of whom were
executed upon his evidence. He also received ten guineas to swear
against Nichols the peruke-maker, but after he received the money, his
conscience checked him, and though he did not return it, yet he
absolutely refused to give any evidence against him. But Neeves, who had
been taken into the same plot, went through with it, and as has been
said before, hanged him for a fact which he never committed.[96]

A multitude of wives Dalton married during his life, and many of them
were alive at the time of his decease, four of them coming at once to
see him in Newgate when under his last misfortune, and appearing at
that time to be very friendly together. He had not been long out of
Newgate before be fell to his old practices, and a few sessions after
was apprehended, and tried for stopping the coach of an eminent
physician with an intent to rob it. For this he was sentenced to a fine
and imprisonment, which upon insulting the court was ordered to be in
one of the condemned cells in Newgate. But he did not remain long there,
being the very next sessions brought to his trial on an indictment for
robbing John Waller in a certain field or open place near the highway,
putting him in fear of his life, and taking from him twenty-five
handkerchiefs, value four pounds, five ducats value forty-eight
shillings, two guineas, a three guilder piece, a French pistol, and five
shillings in silver, on the 22nd of November, 1729. The prosecutor
deposed, that being a Holland trader, the prisoner met with him as he
was drinking at the Adam and Eve at Pancras, in his return from
Hampstead, where he had sold some goods, and received a little money;
that Dalton perceiving it grow dark, desired to walk to town with him,
and that they had a link with them, which Dalton put out in the fields,
and then knocked him down, beat him and abused him, and then robbed him
of the things mentioned in the indictment; and that he threatened to
blow his brains out if he made any noise or called for help. He swore
also to a pistol which had been produced against Dalton on a former

In his defence the prisoner insisted peremptorily upon his innocence,
charged the prosecutor with being a common affidavit man, and a fellow
of as bad if not worse character than himself. However, in order to
falsify some circumstances which he had deposed against him, Dalton
called three witnesses, Charles North, Edward Brumfield, and John
Mitchell, who were all prisoners in Newgate, but were permitted by the
Court to come down. Some of them contradicted the prosecutor as to a
gingham waistcoat which he had swore Dalton wore in Newgate. They swore
also to the prosecutor's visiting Dalton there, and owing that he never
damaged him a farthing in his life. But the jury on the whole found him
guilty, and he received sentence of death.

As he had little reason to hope for pardon, so he never deluded himself
with false expectations about it, but applied himself, as diligently as
he was able, to repent of those manifold sins and offences which he had
committed. He confessed very frankly the manifold crimes and horrid
enormities in which he had involved himself. He seemed to be very
sensible of that dreadful state into which his own wickedness had
plunged him. He behaved himself gravely when at public prayers at the
chapel, and applied himself with great diligence to praying and singing
of Psalms when in his cell; but as to the particular crime of which he
was convicted, that he absolutely denied from first to last, with the
strongest asseverations that not one word of all the prosecutor's
evidence was true, and indeed there has since appeared great likelihood
that he spoke nothing but the truth.

For this Waller going on in the same fact after the death of Dalton,
became an evidence against many others, sometimes in one country by one
name, by and by in another country by another name. In Cambridgeshire,
particularly, he convicted two men for a robbery whose lives were saved
by means of the Clerk of the Peace entertaining some suspicion of this
Mr. Waller's veracity. But as practices of this sort, though they may
continue undiscovered for some time, rarely escape for good and all, so
Waller's fate came home to him at last; for a worthy magistrate
suspecting the truth of an information which he gave before him by
another name, and he coming afterwards and owning his true name to be
Waller, he was apprehended for the perjury contained in the said
examination, and committed to Newgate, and at the next sessions at the
Old Bailey received sentence for this offence to stand in the pillory
near the Seven Dials. He had scarce been exalted above five minutes,
before the mob knocked him on the head, for which fact Andrew Dalton,
who did it to revenge the death of his brother, the criminal of whom we
are now speaking, together with one Richard Griffith, at the time I am
now writing, are under sentence of death.

But to return to James Dalton, he continued to behave uniformly and
penitently all the time he lay under conviction, and as the friends and
relations of Nichols applied themselves to him about clearing the
innocence of their deceased friend, he said that Neeves himself actually
committed the fact, which he swore upon the person they mentioned, and
that he was entirely innocent of whatever was laid to his charge.

When the bellman came to repeat the verses, which he always does the
night before the malefactors are to die, Dalton illuminated his cell
with six candles. In his passage to the place of execution he appeared
very cheerful. When he arrived there, having once more denied in the
most solemn manner the fact for which he was to suffer, he yielded up
his breath at Tyburn, the 13th of May, 1730, being then somewhat above
thirty years of age.


Two waylaid postboys are being bound back to back, while one of the
highwaymen carries off the mail-bag

(_From the Annals of Newgate_)]


[95] On Feb. 22, 1727, when the Spaniards attacked with 20,000
men and were repulsed with a loss of 5,000. The English lost 300.

[96] See page 463.

The Life of HUGH HOUGHTON, _alias_ AWTON, _alias_ NORTON, who robbed
the Bristol Mail

This unfortunate person was the son of honest and reputable people of
Lancaster, who took care to give him a very good education, sufficient
to have fitted him for any trade whatever. Afterwards they bound him out
apprentice to a wine-cooper, to whom he served out his time very
carefully and honestly, and appeared in his temper and disposition to be
a civil, good-natured young man. For some time after his coming out of
his time, he followed his trade of a wine-cooper, but being pressed on
board a man-of-war, during the French War in the late Queen's time, he
behaved himself so well on board that he acquired the goodwill of all
his officers, attained to the degree of a midshipman, and was afterwards
gunner's mate, receiving also a title to five pound _per annum_, out of
the Pension Chest at Chatham.

After this he came to London, married a wife and was a housekeeper in
town; and for his better support got himself into the Horse Guards,
where he served with reputation, until some small time before his death,
when some clothes of value being taken away, and he being strongly
suspected on that score was dismissed the service, whereby he fell into
great difficulties for want of money.

It seems that for many months before his death he had frequented the
house of one Mr. Marlow, and was indebted to him for a considerable sum
of money, but one day he came and discharged it, having for that purpose
changed a twenty pound bank-note at a brewer's not far distant. But the
Bristol mail happening about that time to be robbed, and the bank-note,
after various circulations, being discovered to be one of those taken
out of it, Houghton was thereupon seized and committed, being at the
next sessions brought to his trial at the Old Bailey for the fact, when
the course of the evidence appeared against him as follows. He was
arraigned on an indictment for dealing from Stephen Crouches, on the
King's highway, after putting him in fear, a sorrel gelding value five
pounds, the property of Thomas Ostwich, a mail value four pounds, and
fifty leather bags, value five pounds, the property of our Sovereign
Lord the King, on the first of March, 1730.

Stephen Crouches deposed that on the day laid in the indictment, he was
going with the Bristol and Gloucester mail, being near Knightsbridge, a
man of the prisoner's size, who spoke like him, came out of the gateway
and bid him stand; that he laid the horse to the farther side of a
field, commanded him to show him the Bristol bag, which he took and went
off with the horse, leaving this evidence bound with his hands behind
him, threatening to murder him in case he made the least noise.

Daniel Burton deposed that the prisoner Houghton had more than once
proposed to him the robbing of the Bristol mail, and upon his refusing
to be concerned in it, would then have had him rob their landlady, Mrs.
Marlow, which when her husband came to know, he turned him out of doors.

The next witness that was called was Mr. Marlow, who deposed that on the
2nd of March, the prisoner Houghton paid him five pounds which was owing
to him, having changed for that purpose a bank-note of twenty pounds at
Mr. Broadhead's the brewer. Then the note itself was produced, which had
been paid by Mr. Broadhead to Mr. King, a factor, and by him to Mr.
Dictorine's man, in Thames Street, and by him again to the servant of
Messrs. Knight and Jackson, by whom it was brought into Court, an
endorsement being upon it not to be paid till the fifth of May. But Mr.
Marlow being asked as to his being acquainted by Burton with the
prisoner's attempts to persuade him to robbing the Bristol mail, and
afterwards robbing his house, Mr. Marlow answered that he did not
remember he had ever been told such a thing, but that he did indeed know
the prisoner together with one Masa, was for scandalous practices turned
out of the Guards.

William Burligh deposed that he took out of the prisoner's pocket a
pocket-book in which was several notes, which pocket-book the prisoner
said he took up in Covent Garden. Mr. Langley, the Turnkey of Newgate,
deposed that after he was committed to his custody, he searched his
pocket and found therein three bank-notes of Mr. Hoare, which he gave to
Mr. Archer. Mr. Archer deposed that he did receive such notes, which
were so taken as had been before sworn by Mr. Langley.

There were some other persons produced who swore to some slips of
leather which were found in Houghton's lodgings, and which were believed
to be cut out of the bag which were taken from the Bristol Mail. The
prisoner in his defence said he believed there was a trap laid for him
and exclaimed against Burton. Two women positively deposed that Houghton
all that night was not out of his lodgings. But the jury notwithstanding
that, gave so much credit to the evidence offered for the King, that
they found him guilty.

Under sentence of death, he said that he had hitherto lived free from
most of those enormous vices into which criminals are usually plunged,
who came to his unhappy fate. He said that through the course of his
life he had always been a good husband, a loving parent, and had
provided carefully for his family; that he had served the Government
twelve years by land, and twelve years by sea, and in all that time
never had any reflection upon him until the unhappy accident in the
Guards, which he said he was not guilty of, and had been since confessed
by another man.

As to the fact for which he was to die, he said that the same day the

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