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

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Davis[10] as captain, and going under his command to the coast of

This design they put in execution, being chiefly tempted with the hopes
of surprising some vessel of the homeward bound Portuguese fleet, by
which they hoped to be made rich at once, and no longer be obliged to
lead a life so full of danger. Accordingly they fell in with twenty sail
of those ships and were in the utmost danger of being taken and treated
as they deserved. However, on this occasion their captain behaved very
prudently, and taking the advantage of one of those vessels being
separated from the rest, they boarded her in the night without firing a
gun. They forced the captain, when they had him in one of their own
ships, to discover which of the fleet was the most richly laden, which
he having done through fear, they impudently attacked her, and were very
near becoming masters of her, though they were surrounded by the
Portuguese ships, from whence they at last escaped, not so much by the
swiftness of their own sailing, as by the cowardice of the enemy. In
this attempt, though they miscarried as to the prize they had proposed,
yet they accounted themselves very fortunate in having thus escaped from
so dangerous an adventure.

Being some time after this in great want of water, Davis at the head of
about fifty of his men, very well armed, made a descent in order to fill
their casks, though the Portuguese governor of the port near which they
landed easily discovered them to be pirates; but not thinking himself in
a condition strong enough to attack them, he thought fit to dissemble
that knowledge.

Davis and his men were no sooner returned on board than they received a
message by a boat from shore, that the Governor would think himself
highly honoured if the captain and as many as he pleased of his ship's
company would accept of an entertainment the next day at the castle
where he resided. Their commander, who had hitherto behaved himself like
a man of conduct, suffered his vanity to overcome him so far as to
accept of the proposal, and the next morning with ten of his sailors,
all dressed in their best clothes, went on shore to this collation. But
before they had reached half way, they were set upon by a party of
Indians who lay in ambuscade, and with one flight of their poisoned
arrows laid them all upon the ground, except Kennedy and another, who
escaped to the top of a mountain, from whence they leaped into the sea,
and were with much difficulty taken up by a boat which their companions
sent to relieve them.

After this they grew tired of the coast of Brazil. However, in their
return to the West Indies they took some very considerable prizes, upon
which they resolved unanimously to return home, in order, as they
flattered themselves, to enjoy their riches. The captain who then
commanded them was an Irishman, who endeavoured to bring the ship into
Ireland, on the north coast of which a storm arising, the vessel was
carried into Scotland and there wrecked. At that time Kennedy had a
considerable quantity of gold, which he either squandered away, or had
stolen from him in the Highlands. He afterwards went over into Ireland,
where being in a low and poor condition he shipped himself at length for
England, and came up to London. He had not been long in town before he
was observed by some whose vessel had been taken by the crew with whom
he sailed. They caused him to be apprehended, and after lying a
considerable time in prison, he was, as I have said before, tried and

After sentence, he showed much less concern for life than is usual for
persons in that condition. He was so much tired with the miseries and
misfortune which for some years before he had endured, that death
appeared to him a thing rather desirable than frightful. When the
reprieve came for Bradshaw, who was condemned with him, he expressed
great satisfaction, at the same time saying that he was better pleased
than if he himself had received mercy. _For_, continued he, _should I be
banished into America as he is, 'tis highly probable I might be tempted
to my old way of life, and so instead of reforming, add to the number of
my sins._

He continued in these sentiments till the time of his death, when, as he
went through Cheapside to his execution, the silver oar being carried
before him as is usual, he turned about to a person who sat by him in
the cart, and said, _Though it is a common thing for us when at sea to
acquire vast quantities both of that metal which goes before me, and of
gold, yet such is the justice of Providence that few or none of us
preserve enough to maintain us; but as you see in me, when we go to
death, we have not wherewith to purchase a coffin to bury us._ He died
at Execution Dock, the 21st[11] of July, 1721, being then about
twenty-six years of age.


[8] Avery was one of the best known pirates of his time and
told of his wonderful wealth, his capturing and marrying the
daughter of the Great Mogul, and his setting up a kingdom in
Madagascar. He was even the hero of a popular play--_The
Successful Pirate_, produced at Dray Lane in 1712. The true
story of his life and how he died in want, is related at length
in Captain Charles Johnson's _History of the Pirates_ edited by
me, and published in the same edition as the present volume.

[9] Woodes Rogers (d. 1732) sailed on Dampier's voyages and
made a large sum of money which he devoted to buying the Bahama
Islands from the proprietors on a twenty-one years' lease. He
was made governor, but found himself unable to cope with the
pirates and Spaniards who infested the islands, and went back to
England in 1721. He returned as governor in 1728, and remained
there until his death.

[10] This was Howel Davis, whose adventures are related at
length in Johnson's _History of the Pirates_, chap. ix.

[11] _The History of the Pirates_ gives the date as 19th of July.
This book gives an interesting account of Kennedy, pp. 178-81.

The Life of MATTHEW CLARK, a Footpad and Murderer

Perhaps there is nothing to which we may more justly attribute those
numerous executions which so disgrace our country, than the false
notions which the meaner sort, especially, imbibe in their youth as to
love and women. This unhappy person, Matthew Clark, of whom we are now
to speak, was a most remarkable instance of the truth of this
observation. He was born at St. Albans, of parents in but mean
circumstances, who thought they had provided very well for their son
when they had procured his admission into the family of a neighbouring
gentleman, equally distinguished by the greatness of his merit and

In this place, certainly, had Matthew been inclined in any degree to
good, he might have acquired from the favour of his master all the
advantages, even of a liberal education; but proving an incorrigible,
lazy and undutiful servant, the gentleman in whose service he was, after
bearing with him a long time, turned him out of his family. He then went
to plough and cart, and such other country work, but though he had been
bred to this and was never in any state from which he could reasonably
hope better, yet was he so restless and uneasy at those hardships which
he fancied were put upon him, that he chose rather to rob than to
labour; and leaving the farmer in whose service he was, used to skulk
about Bushey Heath, and watch all opportunities to rob passengers.

Matthew was a perfect composition of all the vices that enter into low
life. He was idle, inclined to drunkenness, cruel and a coward; nor
would he have had spirit enough to attack anybody on the road had it not
been to supply him with money for merry meetings and dancing bouts, to
which he was carried by his prevailing passion for loose women. And
these expeditions keeping him continually bare, robbing and junketting,
desire of pleasure and fear of the gallows were the whole round of both
his actions and his thoughts.

At last the matrimonial maggot bit his brain, and alter a short
courtship, he prevailed on a young girl in the neighbourhood to go up
with him to London, in order to their marriage. When they were there,
finding his stock reduced so low that he had not even money to purchase
the wedding ring, he pretended that a legacy of fifteen pounds was just
left him in the country, and with a thousand promises of a quick return,
set out from London to fetch it. When he left the town, full of uneasy
thoughts, he travelled towards Neasden and Willesden Green, where
formerly he had lived. He intended to have lurked there till he had an
opportunity of robbing as many persons as to make up fifteen pounds from
their effects. In pursuance of this resolution, he designed in himself
to attack every passenger he saw, but whenever it came to the push, the
natural cowardice of his temper prevailed and his heart failed him.


(_From the Annals of Newgate_)]

While he loitered about there, the master of an alehouse hard by took
notice of him and asked him how he came to idle about in haytime, when
there was so much work, offering at the same time to hire him for a
servant. Upon this discourse Clark immediately recollected that all the
persons belonging to this man's house must be out haymaking, except the
maid, who served his liquors and waited upon guests. As soon, therefore,
as he had parted from the master and saw he was gone into the fields, he
turned back and went into his house, where renewing his former
acquaintance with the maid, who as he had guessed, was there alone, and
to whom he formerly had been a sweetheart, he sat near an hour drinking
and talking in that jocose manner which is usual between people of their
condition in the country. But in the midst of all his expressions of
affection, he mediated how to rob the house, his timorous disposition
supposing a thousand dangers from the knowledge the maid had of him.

He resolved, in order absolutely to secure himself, to murder her out of
the way; upon which, having secretly drawn his knife out of his sheath,
and hiding it under his coat, he kissed her, designing at the same time
to dispatch her; but his heart failed him the first time. However,
getting up and kissing her a second time, he darted it into her
windpipe; but its edge being very dull, the poor creature made a shift
to mutter his name, and endeavoured to scramble after him. Upon which he
returned, and with the utmost inhumanity cut her neck to the bone quite
round; after which he robbed the house of some silver, but being
confounded and astonished did not carry off much.

He went directly into the London Road, and came as far as Tyburn, the
sight of which filled him with so much terror that he was not able to
pick up courage enough to go by it. Returning back into the road again,
he met a waggon, which, in hopes of preventing all suspicion, he
undertook to drive up to town (the man who drove it having hurt his
leg). But he had not gone far before the persons who were in pursuit of
the murderer of Sarah Goldington (the maid before mentioned) came up
with him, and enquired whether he had seen anybody pass by his waggon
who looked suspicious, or was likely to have committed the fact. This
enquiry put him into so much confusion that he was scarce able to make
an answer, which occasioned their looking at him more narrowly and
thereby discovering the sleeve of his shirt to be all bloody. At first
he affirmed with great confidence that a soldier meeting him upon the
road had insulted him, and that in fighting with him he had made the
soldier's mouth bleed, which had so stained his shirt. But in a little
time perceiving this excuse would not prevail, but that they were
resolved to carry him back, he fell into a violent agony and confessed
the fact.

At the next sessions at the Old Bailey he was convicted, and after
receiving sentence of death, endeavoured all he could to comfort and
compose himself during the time he lay under condemnation. His father,
who was a very honest industrious man came to see him, and after he was
gone Matthew spoke with great concern of an expression which his father
had made use of, viz., That if he had been to die for any other offence,
he would have made all the interest and friends he could to have served
for his life, but that the murder he had committed was so cruel, that he
thought that nothing could atone for it but his blood. The inhumanity
and cruel circumstances of it did indeed in some degree affect this
malefactor himself, but he seemed much more disturbed with the
apprehension of being hanged in chains, a thing which from the weakness
of vulgar minds terrifies more than death itself, and the use of which I
confess I do not see, since it serves only to render the poor wretches
uneasy in their last moments, and instead of making suitable impressions
on the minds of the spectators, affords a pretence for servants and
other young persons to idle away their time in going to see the body so
exposed on a gibbet.

At the place of execution, Clark was extremely careful to inform the
people that he was so far from having any malice against the woman whom
he murdered that he really had a love for her. A report, too, of his
having designed to sell the young girl he had brought out of the country
into Virginia had weight enough with him to occasion his solemn denying
of it at the tree, though he acknowledged at the same time that he had
resolved to leave her. He declared also, to prevent any aspersions on
some young men who had been his companions, that no person was ever
present with, or privy to any of the robberies he had committed; and
having thus far discharged his conscience, he suffered on the 28th of
July, 1721, in the twenty-fourth year of his age.

The Life of JOHN WINSHIP, Highwayman and Footpad

That idleness in which youths are suffered to live in this kingdom till
they are grown to that size at which they are usually put apprentice (a
space of time in which they are much better employed, in many other
countries of Europe) too often creates an inaptitude to work and allows
them opportunity of entering into paths which have a fatal termination.

John Winship, of whom we are now to treat, was born of parents in
tolerable circumstances in the parish of St. Paul's, Covent Garden. They
gave him an education rather superior to his condition, and treated him
with an indulgence by which his future life became unhappy. At about
fourteen, they placed him as an apprentice with a carpenter, to which
trade he himself had a liking. His master used him as well as he could
have expected or wished, yet that inclination to idleness and loitering
which he had contracted while a boy, made him incapable of pursuing his
business with tolerable application. The particular accident by which he
was determined to leave it shall be the next point in our relation.

It happened that returning one day from work, he took notice of a young
woman standing at a door in a street not far distant from that in which
his master lived. He was then about seventeen, and imagining love to be
a very fine thing, thought fit, without further enquiry, to make this
young woman the object of his affection. The next evening he took
occasion to speak to her, and this acquaintance soon improving into
frequent appointments, naturally led Winship into much greater expenses
than he was able to support. This had two consequences equally fatal to
this unhappy young man, for in the first place he left his master and
his trade, and took to driving of coaches and like methods, to get his
bread; but all the ways he could think of, proving unable to supply his
expenses, he went next upon the road, and raised daily contributions in
as illegal a manner as they were spent at night, in all the excesses of

It is impossible to give either a particular or exact account of the
robberies he committed, because he was always very reserved, even after
conviction, in speaking as to these points.

However, he is said to have been concerned in robbing a Frenchman of
quality in the road to Hampstead, who in a two-horsed chaise, with the
coachman on his box, was attacked in the dusk of the evening by three
highwaymen. They exchanged several pistols and continued the fight,
till, the ammunition on both sides being exhausted, the foreigner
prepared to defend himself with his sword. The rogues were almost out of
all hopes of obtaining their booty, when one of them getting behind the
chaise secretly cut a square hole in its back, and putting in both his
arms, seized the gentleman so strongly about the shoulders that his
companions had an opportunity of closing in with him, disarming him of
his sword, rifling and taking a hundred and twenty pistoles. Not
content with this they ripped the lace off his clothes, and took from
the coachmen all the money he had about him.

Winship had been concerned in divers gangs, and being a fellow of
uncommon agility of body, was mighty well received and much caressed by
them, as was also another companion of his, whom they called
Clean-Limbed Tom, whose true name was never known, being killed in a
duel at Kilkenny in Ireland. This last mentioned person had been bred
with an apothecary, and sometimes travelled the country in the high
capacity of a quack doctor, at others, in the more humble station of a
merry-andrew. Travelling once down into the west, with a little chest of
medicines which he intended to dispose of in this matter at West
Chester, at an inn about twenty miles short of that city he overtook a
London wholesale dealer, who had been that way collecting debts. Tom
made a shift to get into his company overnight, and diverted him so much
with his facetious conversation that he invited him to breakfast with
him the next morning. Tom took occasion to put a strong purge into the
ale and toast which the Londoner was drinking, he himself pretending
never to take anything in the morning but a glass of wine and bitters.
When the stranger got on horseback, Tom offered to accompany him, _For_,
says he, _I can easily walk as fast as your horse will trot._ They had
not got above two miles before, at the entrance of a common, the physic
began to work. The tradesman alighting to untruss a point, Tom leaped at
once into his saddle, and galloped off both with his horse and
portmanteau. He baited an hour at a small village three miles beyond
Chester, having avoided passing through that city, then continued his
journey to Port Patrick, from whence he crossed to Dublin with about
four score pounds in ready money, a gold watch, which was put up in a
corner of a cloak bag, linen, and other things to a considerable value

But to return to Winship. His robberies were so numerous that he began
to be very well known and much sought after by those who make it their
business to bring men to justice for rewards. There is some reason to
believe that he had been once condemned and received mercy. However, on
the 25th of May, 1721, he stopped one Mr. Lowther in his chariot,
between Pancras Church and the Halfway House, and robbed him of his
silver watch and a purse of ten guineas; for which robbery being quickly
after apprehended, he was convicted at the Old Bailey, on the evidence
of the prosecutor and the voluntary information of one of his

While he lay under sentence, he could not help expressing a great
impatience at the miserable condition to which his follies had reduced
him, and at the same time to show the most earnest desire of life,
though it were upon the terms of transportation for the whole
continuance of it; though he frequently declared it did not arise so
much from a willingness in himself to continue in this world, as at the
grief he felt for the misfortunes of his aged mother, who was ready to
run distracted at her son's unhappy fate.

As he was a very personable young man strangers, especially at chapel,
took particular notice of him, and were continually inquiring of his
adventures; but Winship not only constantly refused to give them any
satisfaction, but declared also to the Ordinary that he did not think
himself obliged to make any discoveries which might affect the lives of
others, showing also an extraordinary uneasiness whenever such questions
were put to him. When he was asked, by the direction of a person of some
rank, whether he did not rob a person dressed in such a manner in a
chaise as he was watering his horse before the church door, during the
time of Divine service, Winship replied, he supposed the crime did not
consist in the time or place, and as to whether he was guilty of it or
no, he would tell nothing.

In other respects he appeared penitent and devout, suffering at Tyburn
at the same time with the afore-mentioned Matthew Clark, in the
twenty-second year of his age, leaving behind him a wife, who died
afterwards with grief for his execution.

The Life of JOHN MEFF, _alias_ MERTH, a Housebreaker and a Highwayman

The rigid execution of felons who return from transportation has been
found so necessary that few or none who have been tried for such illegal
returning have escaped, though 'tis very hard to convince those who
suffer for that offence that there is any real crime in their evading
their sentence. It was this which brought John Meff, _alias_ Merth, of
whom we are now to speak, to an ignominious death, after he had once
before escaped it in a very extraordinary manner, as in the process of
his story shall be related.

This unhappy man was born in London of French parents, who retired into
England for the sake of their religion, when Louis XIV began his furious
persecution against the Protestants in his dominions. This John Meff
was educated with great care, especially as to the principles of
religion, by a father who had very just notions of that faith for which
in banishment he suffered. When his son John grew up, he put him out
apprentice to a weaver, whom he served with great fidelity, and after he
came out of his time, married; but finding himself incapable to maintain
his family by his labour, he unfortunately addicted himself to
ill-courses. In this he was yet more unlucky, for having almost at his
first setting out broke open a house, he was discovered, apprehended,
tried, convicted, and put in the cart, in order to go to execution
within the fortnight; but the hangman being arrested as he was going to
Tyburn, he and the rest who were to have suffered with him were
transported through the clemency of the Government.

On this narrow escape from death, Meff was full of many penitent
resolutions, and determined with himself to follow for the future an
honest course of life, however hard and laborious, as persons are
generally inclined to believe all works in the plantations are. Yet no
sooner was he at liberty (that is, on board the transport vessel, where
he found means to make the master his friend) than much of these honest
intentions were dissolved and laid aside, to which perhaps the behaviour
of his companions and of the seamen on board the ship, did not a little
contribute. At first their passage was easy, the wind fair and
prosperous. They began to comfort one another with the hopes of living
easily in the Plantations, greedily enquiring of the seamen how persons
in their unhappy condition were treated by their masters, and whether
all the terrible relations they had had in England were really facts, or
invented only to terrify those who were to undergo that punishment.

But while these unhappy persons were thus amusing themselves a new and
unlooked for misfortune fell upon them, for in the height of Bermuda
they were surprised by two pirate sloops, who though they found no
considerable booty on board, were very well satisfied by the great
addition they made to their force, from most of those felons joining
with them in their piratical undertakings. Meff, however, and eight
others, absolutely refused to sign the paper which contained the
pirate's engagement and articles for better pursuing their designs.
These nine were, according to the barbarous practice of those kind of
people, marooned, that is, set on shore on an uninhabited island.
According to the custom of the people in such distress, they were
obliged to rub two dry sticks together till they took fire, and with
great difficulty gathered as many other sticks as made a fire large
enough to yield them some relief from the inclemency of the weather.
They caught some fowls with springes made of an old horsehair wig,
which were very tough and of a fishy taste, but after three or four
days, they became acquainted with the springes and were never afterwards
to be taken by that means. Their next resource for food was an animal
which burrowed in the ground like our rabbits, but the flesh of these
proving unwholesome, threw them into such dangerous fluxes that five out
of the nine were scarce able to go. They were then forced to take up
with such fish as they were able to catch, and even these were not only
very rank and unpleasant, but very small also, and no great plenty of
them either.

At last, when they almost despaired of ever getting off that
inhospitable island, they espied early one morning an Indian canoe come
on shore with seven persons. They hid themselves behind the rocks as
carefully as they could, and the Indians being gone up into the heart of
the island, they went down and finding much salt provisions in the boat,
they trusted themselves to the mercy of the waves.

By the providence of God they were driven in two days into an English
settlement, where Meff, instead of betaking himself to any settled
course, resolved to turn sailor, and in that capacity made several
voyages, not only to Barbadoes, Jamaica, and the rest of the British
Islands, but also to New England, Virginia, South Carolina, and other
plantations. On the main, there is no doubt but he led a life of no
great satisfaction in this occupation, which probably was the reason he
resolved to return home to England at all hazards. He did so, and had
hardly been a month in this kingdom before he fell to his old practices,
in which he was attended with the same ill-fortune as formerly; that is
to say, he was apprehended for one of his first acts, and committed to
Newgate. Out of this prison he escaped by the assistance of a certain
bricklayer, and went down to Hatfield in Hertfordshire to remain in
hiding, but as he affirmed and was generally believed, being betrayed by
the same bricklayer he was retaken, conveyed again to Newgate and
confined the utmost severity.

At his trial there arose a doubt whether the fact he had committed was
not pardoned by the Act of Indemnity then lately granted. However, the
record of his former conviction being produced, the Court ordered he
should be indicted for returning without lawful cause, on which
indictment he was convicted upon full proof, condemned and shortly after
ordered for execution.

During the space he lay under sentence he expressed much penitence for
his former ill-spent life, and together with James Reading, who was in
the same unhappy state with himself, read and prayed with the rest of
the prisoners. This Reading had been concerned in abundance of
robberies, and, as he himself owned, in some which were attended with
murder; he acknowledged he knew of the killing of Mr. Philpot, the
surveyor of the window-lights, at the perpetration of which fact Reading
said there were three persons present, two of which he knew, but as to
the third he could say nothing. This malefactor, though but thirty-five
years of age, was a very old offender, and had in his life-time been
concerned with most of the notorious gangs that at that time were in
England, some of whom he had impeached and hanged for his own
preservation; but he was at last convicted for robbing (in company with
two others) George Brownsworth of a watch and other things of a
considerable value, between Islington and the turnpike, and for it was
executed at Tyburn, the 11th of September, 1721, together with John Meff
aforesaid, then in the fortieth year of his age.

The Life of JOHN WIGLEY, a Highwayman

It is an observation which must be obvious to all my readers, that few
who addict themselves to robbing and stealing ever continue long in the
practice of those crimes before they are overtaken by Justice, not
seldom as soon as they set out.

This man had been bred a plasterer, but seems to have fallen very early
into ill courses and felonious methods of getting money, in which horrid
practice he spent his years, till taking up with an old woman who sold
brandy upon Finchley Common, she sometimes persuaded him, of late years,
to work at his trade.

There has been great suspicions that he murdered the old husband to this
woman, who was found dead in a barn or outhouse not far from Hornsey;
but Wigley, though he confessed an unlawful correspondence with the
woman, yet constantly averred his innocency of that fact, and always
asserted that though the old man's death was sudden, yet it was natural.
He used to account for it by saying that the deceased was a great
brandy-drinker, by which he had worn out his constitution, and that
being one evening benighted in his return home from London, he crawled
into that barn where he was found dead next morning, and was currently
reported to have been murdered.

Though this malefactor had committed a multitude of robberies, yet he
generally chose to go on such expeditions alone, having always great
aversion for those confederacies in villainy which we call gangs, in
which he always affirmed there was little safety, notwithstanding any
oaths, by which they might bind themselves to secrecy. For
notwithstanding some instances of their neglecting rewards when they
were to be obtained by betraying their companions, yet when life came to
be touched, they hardly ever failed of betraying all they knew. Yet he
once receded from the resolution he had made of never robbing in
company, and went out one night with two others of the same occupation
towards Islington, there they met with one Symbol Conyers, whom they
robbed of a watch, a pair of silver spurs, and four shillings in money,
at the same time treating him very ill, and terrifying him with their

For this fact, soon after it was done, Wigley was apprehended, and
convicted at the ensuing sessions. When all hopes of life were lost, he
seemed disposed to suffer with cheerfulness and resignation that death
to which the Law had doomed him. He said, in the midst of his
afflictions it was some comfort to him that he had no children who might
be exposed by his death to the wide world, not only in a helpless and
desolate condition, but also liable to the reflections incident from his
crimes. He also observed that the immediate hand of Providence seemed to
dissipate whatever wicked persons got by rapine and plunder, so as not
only to prevent their acquiring a subsistence which might set them above
the necessity of continuing in such courses, but that they even wanted
bread to support them, when overtaken by Justice. He was near forty
years of age at the time of his death, which happened on the same day as
the malefactors last mentioned.

The Life of WILLIAM CASEY, a Robber

William Casey, whose life is the subject of our present discourse, was a
son of one of the same name, a soldier who had served his Majesty long,
and with good reputation. As is usual amongst that sort of people, the
education he gave his son was such as might fit him for the same course
of life, though at the same time he took care to provide him with a
tolerable competency of learning, that is, as to writing and reading
English. When he was about fifteen years of age, his father caused him
to be enlisted in the same company in which he served for some small
time before my Lord Cobham's expedition into Spain,[12] in which he
accompanied him. That expedition being over, Casey returned into
England, and did duty as usual in the Guards.

One night he, with some others, crossing the park a fray happened
between them and one John Stone, which as Casey affirmed at his death,
was occasioned by the prosecutor Stone offering very great indecencies
to him, upon which they in a fury beat and abused him, from the
abhorrence they pretended to have for that beastly and unnatural sin of
sodomy. Whether this was really the case or no is hard to determine; all
who were concerned in it with Casey being indicted (though not
apprehended) with him, and their evidence consequently taken. However
that matter was, Stone the prosecutor told a dreadful story on Casey's
trial. He said the four men attacked him crossing the Park, who
attacked, beat and cruelly trod upon and wounded him, taking from him at
the same time his hat, wig, neck-cloth and five shillings in money; and
that upon his arising and endeavouring to follow them, they turned back,
stamped upon him, broke one of his ribs, and told him that if he
attempted to stir, they would seize him and swear sodomy upon him. On
this indictment Casey was convicted and ordered for execution,
notwithstanding all the intercession his friends could make.

While under sentence he complained heavily of the pains a certain
corporal had taken in preparing and pressing the evidence against him.
He said his diligence proceeded not from any desire of doing justice, or
for his guilt, but from an old grudge he owed their family, from Casey's
father threatening to prosecute him for a rape committed on his
daughter, then very young, and attended with very cruel circumstances;
and which even the corporal himself had in part owned in a letter which
he had written to the said Casey's father. However, while he lay in
Newgate, he seemed heartily affected with sorrow for his misspent life,
which he said was consumed as is too frequent among soldiers, either in
idleness or vice. He added, that in Spain he had made serious
resolutions of amendment with himself, but was hindered from performing
them by his companions, who were continually seducing him into his old
courses. When he found that all hopes of life were lost, he disposed
himself to submit with decency to his fate, which disposition he
preserved to the last.

At the place of execution he behaved with great composure and said that
as he had heard he was accused in the world of having robbed and
murdered a woman in Hyde Park, he judged it proper to discharge his
conscience by declaring that he knew nothing of the murder, but said
nothing as to the robbery. At the time of his death, which was on the
11th of September, 1721, he was about twenty years of age, and according
to the character his officers gave him, a very quiet and orderly young
man. He left behind him a paper to be published to the world, which as
he was a dying man he averred to be the truth.

A copy of a paper left by William Casey.

Good People, I am now brought to this place to suffer a shameful and
ignominious death, and of all such unhappy persons, 'tis expected by
the world that they should either say something at their death, or
leave some account behind them. And having that which more nearly
concerns me, viz., the care of my immortal soul, I choose rather to
leave these lines behind me than to waste my few precious moments in
talking to the multitude. First, I declare, I die like a member,
though a very unworthy one, of the Church of England as by Law
established, the principles of which my now unhappy father took an
early care to instruct me in. And next for the robbery of Mr. Stone,
for which I am now brought to this fatal place. I solemnly do
declare to God and the world, that I never had the value of one
halfpenny from him, and that the occasion of his being so ill-used
was that he offered to me that detestable and crying sin of sodomy.

I take this opportunity, with almost my last breath, to give my
hearty thanks to the honourable Col. Pitts, and Col. Pagitt, for
their endeavours to save my life, and indeed I had some small hopes
that his Majesty, in consideration of the services of my whole
family, having all been faithful soldiers and servants to the Crown
of England, would have extended one branch of his mercy to me, and
have sent me to have served him in another country. But welcome be
the Grace of God, I am resigned to His will, and die in charity with
all men, forgiving, hoping to be forgiven myself, through the merits
of my blessed Saviour Jesus Christ. I hope, and make it my earnest
request that nobody will be so little Christian as to reflect on my
aged parents, wife, brother, or sisters, for my untimely end. And I
pray God, into whose hands I commend my spirit, that the great
number of sodomites in and about this City and suburbs, may not
bring down the same judgement from Heaven as fell on Sodom and

William Casey.


[12] Sir Richard Temple, 1st Viscount Cobham, was a distinguished
general who had served under Marlborough. In 1719 he led an
expedition to the north coast of Spain and seized Vigo and the
neighbouring towns and harbours.

The Life of JOHN DYKES, a Thief and Highwayman

It is a reflection almost too common to be repeated that of all the
vices to which young people are addicted, nothing is so dangerous as a
habit and inclination to gaming. To explain this would be to swell a
volume. Instances which are so numerous do it much better. Perhaps this
unhappy person John Dykes is as strong a one as is anywhere to be met
with. His parents were persons in middling circumstances, but he being
their eldest child, they treated him with great indulgence, and to the
detriment of their own fortune afforded him a necessary education. When
he grew up and his friends thought of placing him out apprentice, he
always found some excuse or other to avoid it, which arose only from his
great indolence of temper, and his continual itching after gaming. When
he had money, he went to the gaming tables about town, and when reduced
by losses sustained there, would put on an old ragged coat and get out
to play at chuck, and span-farthing, amongst the boys in the street, by
which, sometimes he got money enough to go to his old companions again.
But this being a very uncertain recourse, he made use more frequently of
picking pockets; for which being several times apprehended and committed
to Bridewell, his friends, especially his poor father, would often
demonstrate to him the ignominious end which such practices would
necessarily bring on, entreating him while there was yet time, to
reflect and to leave them off, promising to do their utmost for him,
notwithstanding all that was past. In the course of this unhappy life
the youth had acquired an extraordinary share of cunning, and an unusual
capacity of dissembling; he employed it more than once to deceive his
family into a belief of his having made a thorough resolution of

Once, after having suffered the usual discipline of the horsepond, Dykes
was carried before a Justice of Peace, and committed to Tothill Fields
Bridewell[13]. Here he became acquainted with one Jeddediah West, a
Quaker's son, who had fallen into the like practices, and for them
shared the same punishment with himself. They were pretty much of a
temper, but Jeddediah was the elder and much the more subtle of the two,
and in this unhappy place they contracted a strict and intimate
friendship. Out of shame Jeddediah forbore for two or three days to
acquaint his relations, and during that time for the most part subsisted
out of what Dykes got from home. But at last West picked up courage
enough to send to his brother, a very eminent man in business, and by
telling him a plausible story, procured not only pity and relief, but
even prevailed on him to believe that he was innocent of the fact for
which he was committed. He so well tutored his friend Dykes that though
he could not persuade his parents into the same degree of credulity, yet
his outward appearance of penitence induced them not only to pardon him
but to take him home, give him a new suit of clothes, and to promise
him, if he continued to do well, whatever was in their power to do for

Dykes and his companion being in favour with their friends, and having
money in their pockets, continued their correspondence and went often to
the gaming tables together. At first they had a considerable run of luck
for about three weeks, but Fortune then forsaking them, they were
reduced to be downright penniless, without any hopes of relief or
assistance from their friends sufficient to carry on their expenses.
West at last proposed an expedient for raising money, which lay
altogether upon himself, and which he the next day executed in the
following manner.

About the time that he knew his brother was to come home from the
Exchange to dinner, he went to his house equipped in a sailor's
pea-jacket, his hair cropped short to his ears, his eyebrows coloured
black, and a handkerchief about his neck. As soon as he saw him in the
counting-house, his brother started back, and cried, _Bless me!
Jeddediah, how came you in this pickle?_ With all signs of grief and
confusion, he threw himself at his brother's feet, and told him with a
flood of tears that two coiners who had accidentally seen him in
Bridewell had sworn against him and three others on their apprehension,
in order on the merit thereof to be admitted evidences to get off
themselves. _So that, dear brother_, he continued, _I have been obliged
to take a passage in a vessel that does down next tide to Gravesend, for
I have ran the hazard of my life to come and beg your charitable

The poor honest man was so much amazed and concerned at this melancholy
tale, that bursting out into tears, and hanging about his brother's
neck, he begged him to take a coach and begone to Billingsgate, giving
him ten guineas in hand and telling him that his bills should not be
protested if he drew within the compass of a hundred pounds from Dieppe,
whither he said the ship was bound. West was no sooner out of the street
where his brother lived, but he ordered the coach to drive to a certain
place where he had appointed Dykes to meet him, and there they expressed
a great deal of mutual satisfaction at the trick West had played his
brother. However, the latter was no great gainer in the end, for Mr.
West, senior, soon finding out the contrivance, forever renounced him,
and Jeddediah being soon after arrested for twelve pounds due to his
tailor, was carried to prison and remained there without the least
assistance from his brother, till after his friend Dykes was hanged.

The last mentioned malefactor, unmoved by all the tender entreaties of
his friends, and the glaring prospect before him of his own ruin, went
still on at the old rate, and whenever gaming had brought him low in
cash, took up with the road, or some such like dishonest method to
recruit it. At last he had the ill-luck to commit a robbery in Stepney
parish, in the road between Mile End and Bow, upon one Charles Wright,
to whose bosom clapping a pistol, he commanded him to deliver
peacefully, or he would shoot him through the body. The booty he took
was very inconsiderable, being only a penknife, an ordinary seal, and
five shillings and eightpence in money. A poor price for life, since two
days after he was apprehended for this robbery, committed to Newgate and
condemned the next sessions.

His behaviour under these unhappy circumstances was very mean, and such
as fully showed what difference there is between courage and that
resolution which is necessary to support the spirits and calm our
apprehensions at the certain approach of a violent death. I forbear
attempting any description of those unutterable torments which the
exterior marks of a distracted behaviour fully showed that this poor
wretch endured. And as I have nothing more to add of him, but that he
confessed his having been guilty of a multitude of ill acts, he
submitted at last with greater cheerfulness than he had ever shown
during his confinement to that shameful death which the Law had ordained
for his crimes, on the 23rd of October, 1721, when he was about
twenty-three years of age.


[13] This Bridewell occupied the site adjoining the north side
of the Green Coat School, on the west: side of Artillery Place.
Although originally intended for vagrants, early in the 18th
century it was turned into a house of detention for criminals.

The Life of RICHARD JAMES, a Highwayman

The misfortune of not having early a virtuous education is often so
great a one as never to be retrieved, and it happens frequently (as far
as human capacity will give us leave to judge) that those prove
remarkably wicked and profligate for want of it who if they had been so
happy as to have received it, would probably have led an honest and
industrious life. I am led to this observation at present by the
materials which lay before me for the composition of this life.

Richard James was the son of a nobleman's cook, but he knew little more
of his father than that he left him to the wide world while very young;
and so at about twelve years of age he was sent to sea. There he had the
misfortune to be taken prisoner by the Spaniards, who he acknowledged
treated him with great humanity, and a house-painter taking a great
liking to him, received him into his house, taught him his profession,
and used him with the same tenderness as if he had been his nearest

But fondness for his country exciting in him a continual desire of
seeing England again, at last he found a means to return before he was
seventeen; and after this, being in England but a very small time, he
totally disobliged what few friends he had left, by his silly marriage
to a poor girl younger than himself. As is common enough in such mad
adventures, the woman's friends were as much disobliged as his, and so
not knowing how to subsist together, Richard was obliged to betake him
to his old profession of the sea.

The first voyage he made was to the West Indies, where he had the
misfortune to be taken by pirates, and by them being set on shore, he
was reduced almost to downright starving. However, begging his way to
Boston in New England, he from thence found a method of returning home
once again. The first thing he did was to enquire for his wife. But she,
under a pretence of having received advice of his death from America,
had gotten another husband; and though poor James was willing to pass
that by, yet the woman, it seems, knew better when she was well, and
under pretence of affection for two children which she had by this last
husband, absolutely refused to leave him and return back to Dick, her
first spouse. However, he did not seem to have taken this much to heart,
for in a short time he followed her example and married another wife;
but finding no method of procuring an honest livelihood, he took a short
method of living, viz., to thieving after every manner that came in his

He committed a vast number of robberies in a very short space, chiefly
upon the waggoners in the Oxford Road, and sometimes, as if there were
not crime enough in barely robbing them, he added to it by the cruel
manner in which he treated them. At this rate he went on for a
considerable space, till being apprehended for a robbery of a man on
Hanwell Green, from whom he took but ten shillings, he was shortly after
convicted; and having no friends, from that time he laid aside all hope
of life.

During the space he had to prepare himself for death, he appeared so
far from being either terrified, or even unwilling to die, that he
looked upon it as a very happy relief from a very troublesome and uneasy
life, and declared, with all outward appearance of sincerity, that he
would not, even if it were in his power, procure a reprieve, or avoid
that death which could alone prove a remedy for those evils which had so
long rendered life a burden. He was very earnest to be instructed in the
duties of religion, and seemed to desire nothing else than to prepare
himself, as well as time and his melancholy circumstances would allow
him, and never from the time of his conviction showed any change in his
disposition but continued still rather to wish for his death than to
fear it. He made a very ample confession of all the robberies he had
ever done, and seemed sorrowful enough, above all, for the inhumanity
and incivility with which he had sometimes treated people.

Amongst other particulars he said that once, with his companions, having
robbed a lady in some other company of a whip, and a tortoiseshell
snuff-box with a silver rim, she earnestly desired to have them
returned, saying that as to the money they had taken they were heartily
welcome; the other thieves seemed inclinable to grant her request, but
James absolutely declared that she should not have them. However, as a
very extraordinary mark of his generosity, he took the snuff out of the
box, and putting it into a paper, gave it her back again.

At the place of execution he repeated what he had formerly said as to
his readiness of dying, adding, that if the people pitied the misfortune
he fell under of dying so ignominious a death, he no less pitied them in
the dangers and misfortunes they were sure to run through in this
miserable world. At the time of his death he was about thirty years of
age, and suffered on the same day with the criminal last mentioned.

The Life of JAMES WRIGHT, a Highwayman

James Wright, the malefactor whose life we are going to relate at
present, was born at Enfield, of very honest and industrious parents,
who, that he might get a living honestly, put him apprentice to a
peruke-maker. At this trade, after having served his time, he set up in
the Old Bailey, and lived there for some time in very good credit. But
being much given up to women, and an idle habit of life, his expenses
quickly outwent his profits, and thus in the space of some months
reduced him to downright want. This put him upon the illegal ways he
afterwards took to support himself in the enjoyment of those pleasures
which even the evils he had already felt could not make him wise enough
to shun.

He was very far from being a hardened criminal, hardly ever robbing a
passenger without tears in his eyes, and always framing resolutions to
himself of quitting that infamous manner of life, as soon as ever it
should be in his power. He fancied that as the rich could better spare
it than the poor, there was less crime in taking it from them, and
valued himself not a little that he had never injured any poor man, but
always singled out those who from their equipage were likeliest to yield
him a good booty, and at the same time not be much the worse for it
themselves. He had gone on for a considerable space in the commission of
villainies with impunity, but at last being apprehended for a robbery
committed by him in the county of Surrey, he was thereupon indicted and
tried at the ensuing assizes at Kingston, and by some means or other,
was so lucky as to be acquitted, no doubt to his very great joy; and on
this deliverance he again renewed his vows of amendment.

After this acquittal a friend of his was so kind as to take him down to
his house in the country, in hopes of keeping him out of harm's way; and
indeed 'tis highly probable that he had totally given over all evil
intention of that sort, when he was unfortunately impeached by Hawkins,
one of his old companions, and on his evidence and that of the
prosecutor whom he found out, Wright was taken up, tried and convicted
at the Old Bailey. When he perceived there was no hope of life he
applied himself to the great business of his soul, and behaved with the
greatest composure imaginable. He declared himself a Roman Catholic, yet
frequented the chapel all the time he was in Newgate, and seemed only
studious how to make peace with God.

When the fatal day of execution approached, he was far from seeming
amazed, notwithstanding that after mature deliberation he refused to
declare his associates, or how they might be found, saying that perhaps
they might repent, and he hoped some of them had done so, and he would
not bring them to the same ignominious death with himself. The fact he
died for, viz., robbing Mr. Towers, with some ladies in a coach in
Marlborough Street, he confessed, also that his companion called out to
him, _What, do they resist? Shoot 'em._ He suffered with all the outward
signs of penitence, on the 22nd of December, 1721, being about
thirty-four years of age.

The Life of NATHANIEL HAWES, a Thief and a Robber

Amongst many odd notions which are picked up by the common people, there
is none more dangerous, both to themselves and unto others, than the
idea they get of courage, which with them consists either in a furious
madness, or an obstinate perseverence, even in the worst cause.

Nathaniel Hawes was a very extraordinary instance of this, as the
following part of his life will show. He was, as he said himself, the
son of a very rich grazier in Norfolk, who dying when he was but a year
old, he afterwards pretended that he was defrauded of a greater part of
his father's effects which should have belonged to him. However, those
who took care of his education put him out apprentice to an upholsterer,
with whom having served about four years, he then fell into very
expensive company, which reduced him to such straits as obliged him to
make bold with his master's cash, by which he injured him for some time
with impunity. But proceeding, at last, to the commission of a downright
robbery, he was therein detected, tried and convicted, but being then a
very young man, the Court had pity on him, and he had the good luck to
procure a pardon.

Natt made the old use of mercy, when extended to such sort of people,
that is, when he returned to liberty he returned to his old practices.
His companions were several young men of the same stamp with himself,
who placed all their delight in the sensual and brutal pleasures of
drinking, gaming, whoring and idling about, without betaking themselves
to any business. Natt, who was a young fellow naturally sprightly and of
good parts, from thence became very acceptable to these sort of people,
and committed abundance of robberies in a very small space of time. The
natural fire of his temper made him behave with great boldness on such
occasions, and gave him no small reputation amongst the gang. Seeing
himself extravagantly commended on such occasions, Hawes began to form
to himself high notions of heroism in that way, and from the warmth of a
lively imagination, became a downright Don Quixote in all their
adventures. He particularly affected the company of Richard James, and
with him robbed very much on the Oxford Road, whereon it was common for
both these persons not only to take away the money from passengers, but
also to treat them with great inhumanity, which for all I might know
might arise in a great measure from Hawes's whimsical notions.

This fellow was so puffed up with the reputation he had got amongst his
companions in the same miserable occupation, that he fancied no
expedition impracticable which he thought fit to engage, and indeed the
boldness of his attempts had so often given him success that there is no
wonder a fellow of his small parts and education should conceive so
highly of himself. It was nothing for Hawes singly to rob a coach full
of gentlemen, to stop two or three persons on the highway at a time, or
to rob the waggons in a line as they came on the Oxford Road to London,
nor was there any of the little prisons or Bridewells that could hold

There was, however, an adventure of Natt's of this kind that deserves a
particular relation. He had, it seems, been so unlucky as to be taken
and committed to New Prison,[14] on suspicion of robbing two gentlemen
in a chaise coming from Hampstead. Hawes viewed well the place of his
confinement, but found it much too strong for any attempts like those he
was wont to make. In the same place with himself and another man mere
was a woman very genteelly dressed, who had been committed for
shoplifting. This woman seemed even more ready to attempt something
which might get her out of that confinement than either Hawes or her
other companion. The latter said it was impracticable, and Natt that
though he had broken open many a prison, yet he saw no probability of
putting this in the number.

_Well_, said the woman _have you courage enough to try, if I put you in
the way? Yes_, quoth Hawes, _there's nothing I won't undertake for
liberty;_ and said the other fellow, _If I once saw a likelihood of
performing it, there's nobody has better hands at such work than myself.
In the first place_, said this politician in petticoats, _we must raise
as much money amongst us as will keep a very good fire. Why truly_,
replied Hawes, _a fire would be convenient in this cold weather, but I
can't, for my heart, see how we should be nearer our liberty for it,
unless you intend to set the gaol in flames. Tush! Tush!_ answered the
woman, _follow but my directions, and let's have some faggots and coals,
and I warrant you by to-morrow morning we shall be safe oat of these
regions._ The woman spoke this with so much assurance that Hawes and the
other man complied, and reserving but one shilling, laid out all their
money in combustibles and liquor. While the runners of the prison were
going to and fro upon this occasion, the woman seemed so dejected that
she could scarce speak, and the two men by her directions sat with the
same air as if the rope already had been about them at Tyburn. At last,
as they were going to be locked up; _Pray_, says the woman, with a
faint voice, _Can't you give me something like a poker? Why, yes_, says
one of the fellows belonging to the gaol, _if you'll give me twopence,
I'll bring you one of the old bars that was taken out of the window when
these new ones were put in._ The woman gave him the halfpence, he
delivered the bar, and the keepers having locked them up, barred and
bolted the doors, and left them until next morning.

As soon as ever the people of the gaol were gone, up starts madam. _Now,
my lads_, says she, _to work_; and putting her hands into her pockets
and shaking her petticoats, down drops two little bags of tools. She
pointed out to them a large stone at the corner of the roof which was
morticed into two others, one above and the other below. After they had
picked all the mortar from between them, she heated the bar red hot in
the fire, and putting it to the sockets into which the irons that held
the stones were fastened with lead, it quickly loosened them, and then
making use of the bars as of a crow, by two o'clock in the morning they
had got them all three out, and opened a fair passage into the streets,
only that it was a little too high. Upon this the woman made them fasten
the iron bar strongly at the angle where the three stones met, and then
pulling off her stays, she unrolled from the top of her petticoats four
yards of strong cord, the noose of which being fastened on the iron, the
other end was thrown out over the wall, and so the descent was rendered
easy. The men were equally pleased and surprised at their good fortune,
and in gratitude to the female author of it, helped her to the top of
the wall, and let her get safe over before they attempted to go out

It was not long after this that Hawes committed a robbery on Finchley
Common, upon one Richard Hall, from whom he took about four shillings in
money; and to make up the badness of the booty, he took from him his
horse, in order to be the better equipped to go in quest of another
which might make up the deficiency. For this robbery, being shortly
after detected and apprehended, he was convicted and received sentence
of death. When first confined, he behaved himself with very great
levity, and declared he would merit a greater reputation by the boldness
of his behaviour than any highwayman that had died these seven years.
Indeed, this was the style he always made use of, and the great
affectation of intrepidity and resolution which he always put on would
have moved anybody (had it not been for his melancholy condition) to
smile at the vanity of the man.

At the time he was taken up, he had, it seems, a good suit of clothes
taken from him, which put him so much out of humour, because he could
not appear, as he said, like a gentleman at the sessions-house, that
when he was arraigned and should have put himself upon his trial, he
refused to plead unless they were delivered to him again. But to this
the Court answered that it was not in their power, and on his persisting
to remain mute, after all the exhortations which were made to him, the
Court at last ordered that the sentence of the press should be read to
him, as is customary on such occasions; after which the Judge from the
Bench spoke to him to this effect

Nathaniel Hawes,

The equity of the Law of England, more tender of the lives of its
subjects than any other in the world, allows no person to be put to
death, either unheard or without the positive proof against him of
the fact whereon he stands charged; and that proof, too, must be
such as shall satisfy twelve men who are his equals, and by whose
verdict he is to be tried. And surely no method can be devised
fuller than this is, as well of compassion, as of Justice. But then
it is required that the person to be tried shall aver his innocence
by pleading Not Guilty to his indictment, which contains the charge.
You have heard that which the grand jury have found against you. You
see here twelve honest men ready to enquire impartially into the
evidence that shall be given against you. The Court, such is the
humanity of our constitution, is counsel for you as you are a
prisoner. What hinders then, that you should submit to so fair, so
equal a trial; and wherefore will you, by a brutish obstinacy, draw
upon you that heavy judgement which the Law has appointed for those
who seem to have lost the rational faculties of men?

To this Hawes impudently made answer, that the Court was formerly a
place of Justice, but now it was become a place of injustice; that he
doubted not but that they would receive a severer sentence than that
which they had pronounced upon him; and that for his part, he made no
question of dying with the same resolution with which he had often
beheld death, and would leave the world with the same courage with which
he had lived in it.

Natt thought this a most glorious instance of his courage, and when some
of his companions said jestingly, that he chose pressing because the
Court would not let him have a good suit of clothes to be hanged in, he
replied, with a great deal of warmth, that it was no such thing, but
that as he had lived with the character of the boldest fellow of his
profession he was resolved to die with it, and leave his memory to be
admired by all the gentlemen of the road in succeeding ages. This was
the rant which took up the poor fellow's head, and induced him to bear
250 pound weight upon his breast for upwards of seven minutes, and was
much the same kind of bravery as that which induced the French lacquey
to dance a minuet immediately before he danced his last upon the wheel,
an action which made so much noise in France as engaged the Duke de
Rochefoucauld to compare it with the death of Cato.

Hawes, indeed, did not persist quite so long, but submitted to that
justice which he saw was unavoidable, after he had endured, as I have
said before, so great a weight in the press. The bruises he received on
the chest pained him so exceedingly during the short remainder of his
life that he was hardly able to perform those devotions which the near
approach of death made him desirous to offer up for so profligate a
life. He laid aside, then, those wild notions which had been so fatal to
him through the whole course of his days, and so remarkably unfortunate
to him in this last age of life. He confessed frankly what crimes he
could remember and seemed very desirous of acquitting some innocent
persons who were at that time imprisoned, or suspected, for certain
villainies which were committed by Hawes and his gang; particularly a
footman, then in the Poultry Compter, and a man's son at an alehouse,
who, though Hawes declared he knew no harm of him, yet at the place of
execution he said that as he desired his death might be a warning to all
in general, so he wished it might be particularly considered by him.
Though, as I have said, he was fully convinced of the folly of those
notions which he had formerly entertained, yet he did not, as most of
those braves do, go from one degree of extravagance to the other, that
is, from daring everything to sinking into the meanest cowardice, for
Hawes went to his death very composedly, as he had received the
Sacrament the day before, with all the outward marks of devotion. He
suffered on the 22nd day of September, 1721, at which time he was scarce
twenty years of age.


[14] This was the Clerkenwell House of Detention, where
prisoners were sent after being sentenced, pending their
disposal at a House of Correction. It was originally intended
for the overflow from Newgate. The prison stood in Clerkenwell

The Life of JOHN JONES, a Pickpocket

There is not, perhaps, a greater misfortune to young people than that
too great tenderness and compassion with which they are treated in their
youth, and those hopes of amendment which their relations flatter
themselves with as they grow up. If they could suffer themselves to be
guided by experience, they would quickly find that sagacious minds do
but increase in wickedness as they increase in years. Timely services,
therefore, and proper restraints are the only methods with which such
persons are to be treated, for minds disposed to such gross impurities
as those which lead to such wickednesses or are rendered capital by Law,
are seldom to be prevailed on by gentleness, or admonitions unseconded
by harsher means. I am very far from being an advocate for great
severities towards young people, but I confess in cases like these, I
think they are as necessary as amputations, where the distemper has
spread so far that no cure is to be hoped for by any other means. If the
relations of John Jones had known and practised these methods, it is
highly probable he had escaped the suffering and the shame of that
ignominious death to which, after a long persisting in his crimes, he at
last came.


Accused men who refused to plead to their indictment might be pressed to
death. Edward Burnworth carried 424 lb. on his chest for an hour and
three minutes before he consented to plead

_(From the Newgate Calendar)_]

This malefactor was born in the parish of St. Andrew's, Holborn, of
parents in tolerable circumstances, who, while a boy, indulged him in
all his little humours from a wise expectation of their dropping from
him all at once when he grew up. But this expectation not succeeding, as
it must be owned there was no great probability it should, they were
then for persuading him to settle in business. That he might do this
with less reluctancy they were so kind as to put him out upon liking to
three or four trades; but it happening unluckily that there was work to
be done in all of them, Jones could not be brought to go apprentice to
any, but idled on amongst his companions, without ever thinking of
applying himself to any business whatever. His relations sent him to
sea, another odd academy to learn honesty at, and on his return from
thence, and refusing to go any more, his relations refused to support
him any longer.

Jack was very melancholy on this score, and having but eighteenpence in
the world when he received the comfortable message of his never being to
expect a farthing more from his friends, he went out to take a walk in
Hyde Park to divert his melancholy, when he ruminated on what he was to
do next for a livelihood. In the midst of these reflections he espied an
old schoolfellow of his, who used to have the same inclinations with
himself. There had been a great intimacy between them; it was quickly
renewed, and Jack Jones unburdened to him the whole budget of his
sorrows. _And is this all?_ says the young fellow. _Why, I will put you
in a way to ease this in a minute, if you will step along with me to a
house hard by, where I am to meet with some of my acquaintance._ Jones
readily consented, and to a little blind alehouse in a dark lane they
went. The woman of the house received them very kindly, and as soon as
Jack's companion had informed her that he was a newcomer, she conducted
him into a little room, where she entertained him with a good dinner and
a bowl of punch after it. Jack was mightily taken with the courtesy of
his landlady, who promised him he should never want such usage and his
friend would teach him in the evening how to earn it.

Evening came, and out walked the two young men. Jack was put upon
nothing at that time, but to observe how his companion managed. He was a
very dexterous youth, and at seven o'clock prayers picked up, in half an
hour's time, three good handkerchiefs, and a silver snuff-box. Having
this readily shown him the practice, he was no less courteous in
acquainting Jones with the theory of his profession, and two or three
night's work made Jones a very complete workman in their way.

He lived at this rate for some months, until going with his instructor
through King Street, Westminster, and passing by a woman pretty well
dressed, says the other fellow to Jones, _Now mind, Jack, and while
jostle her against the wall, do you whip off her pocket._ Jones
performed tolerably well, though the woman screamed out and people were
thick in the street. He gave the pocket, as soon as he had plucked it
off, to his comrade, but having felt it rather weighty, would trust him
no farther than the first by-alley before they stopped to examine its

They had scarce found their prize consisted of no more than a small
prayer-book, a needle case, and a silver thimble, when the woman with a
mob at her heels bolted upon them and seized them. Jones had the pocket
in his hand when they laid hold of him, and his associate no sooner
perceived the danger, but he clapped hold of him by the collar and cried
out as loud as any of the mob, _Ay, ay, this is he, good woman, is not
this your pocket?_ By this strategem he escaped, and Jones was left to
feel the whole weight of the punishment which was ready to fall upon
them. He was immediately committed to prison, and the offence being
capital in its nature, he was condemned at the next sessions, and though
he always buoyed himself up with hopes to the contrary, was ordered for
execution. He was dreadfully amazed at death, as being, indeed, very
unfit to die. However, when he found it was inevitable, he began to
prepare for it as well as he was able. His relations now afforded him
some little relief, and after having made as ample a confession as he
was able, he suffered at Tyburn with the two above-mentioned
malefactors, Hawes and Wright, being then but a little above nineteen
years of age.

The Life of JOHN SMITH, a Murderer

As idleness is fatal to youth, so it and ill-company become not seldom
so even to persons in years. John Smith, of whose extraction we can say
nothing, had served with a very good character in a regiment of foot,
during Queen Anne's wars in Flanders. His captain took a particular
liking to him, and from his boldness and fierce courage, to which he
himself was also greatly inclined, they did abundance of odd actions
during the War, some of which may not be unentertaining to the reader,
if I mention.

The army lying encamped almost over against that of the French king,
foraging was become very dangerous, and hardly a party went out without
a skirmish. John's master, the captain, having been out with a party,
and being over powered by the French, were obliged to leave their
trusses behind them. When they returned to the camp, Smith was ordered
to lead his master's horse out into the field between the two camps,
that the poor creature might be able to pick up a little pasture. John
had not attended his horse long before, at the distance of about half a
mile, he saw a boy leading two others, at the foot of a hill which
joined to the French fortification. As John's livery was yellow, and he
spoke Walloon bad enough to be taken for a Frenchman, he ventured to
stake the Captain's horse down where it was feeding, and without the
least apprehension of the risk he ran, went across to the fellow who was
feeding his horses under the French lines. He proceeded with so much
caution that he was within a stone's throw of the boy, before he
perceived him. From the colour of his clothes, and the place where they
were, immediately under the French camp, the lad took him for one of
their own people, and therefore answered him very civilly when he asked
what o'clock it was, and whom he belonged to. But John no sooner
observed from the boy's turning his horses, that the hill lay again
between them and the French soldiers, than clapping his hand suddenly
upon the boy's throat and tripping up his heels, he clapped a gag in his
mouth, which he had cut for that purpose; and leaving him with his hands
tied behind him upon the ground, he rode clear off with the best of the
horses, notwithstanding that the boy had alarmed the French camp, and he
had some hundred shot sent after him.

The captain and Smith were out one day a-foraging, and one of the
officers of their party who was known to have a hundred pistoles about
him, was killed in a skirmish, and neither party dared to bring off the
body for fear of the other, it being just dark, each expected a
reinforcement from the camp. Smith told his captain that if he'd give
him one half of the gold for fetching, he would venture; and his offer
being gladly accepted, he accordingly crept two hundred yards upon his
belly, and after he had picked the purse out of the dead man's pockets,
returned without being either seen or suspected.

When the army was disbanded, Smith betook himself to the sea, and served
under Admiral Byng,[15] in the fight at Messina; but on the return of
that fleet from the Mediterranean, being discharged he came up to
London, where having squandered his money, he did some petty thefts to
get more. To this he was induced chiefly by the company of one Woolford,
who was executed, and at whose execution Smith was present, and soon
after cohabited with his wife. But not long after this, Smith meeting
with one Sarah Thompson, an old acquaintance of his, who had it seems
left him to live with another fellow, he took it into his head thereupon
to use her very roughly, and clapping a pistol to her breast, threatened
with abundance of ill-language to shoot her. This occasioned a great
fray in the place where it happened, which was near the Hermitage
towards Wapping, and several persons running to take the woman away, and
to seize him, in order to prevent murder, Smith fired his pistol, and
unhappily killed one Matthew Walden, who was amongst the number. The mob
immediately crowded upon him and seized him, and the fact appearing very
clear on his trial, he was convicted at the next sessions at the Old

He behaved himself with great resolution, professed himself extremely
sorry, as well for the many vices he had been guilty of as for that last
bloody act which brought him to his shameful end. He especially
recommended to all who spoke to him, to avoid the snares and delusions
of lewd women; and at the place of execution delivered the following
paper. He was about forty years of age when he died, being the 8th day
of February, 1722, at Tyburn.

The paper delivered by John Smith at the place of execution

I was born of honest parents, bred to the sea, and lived honest,
'till I was led aside by lewd women. I then robbed on ships, and
never robbed on shore. I had no design to kill the woman who jilted
me, and left me for another man, but only to terrify her, for I
could have shot her when the loaded pistol was at her breast, but I
curbed my passion, and only threw a candle-stick at her. I confess
my cruelty towards my wife, who is a woman too good for me, but I
was at first forced to forsake her for debt, and go to sea. I hope
in God none will reflect on her, or my poor innocent children, who
could not help my sad passion, and more sad death. Written by me,

John Smith


[15] George Byng, later created Viscount Torrington, was sent
with a fleet for the protection of Sicily against the Spaniards.
He found them besieging Messina, whereupon he gave their fleet
battle and gained a smashing victory at Cape Passaro, 31 July,

The Life of JAMES SHAW, _alias_ SMITH, a Highwayman and Murderer

James Shaw, otherwise Smith (for by both these names he went, nor am I
able to say which was his true one) was the son of parents both of
circumstances and inclination to have given him a very good education if
he would have received it. The unsettledness of his temper was
heightened by that indulgence with which he was treated by his
relations, who permitted him to make trial of several trades, though he
could not be brought to like any. Indeed, he stayed so long with a
forger of gun-locks, as to learn something of his art, which sometimes
he practised and thereby got money; but generally speaking he chose
rather to acquire it by easier means.

I cannot take upon me to say at what time he began to rob upon the road,
or take to any other villainy of that sort, but 'tis certain that if he
himself were to be believed, it was in a great measure owing to a bad
wife; for when he, by his labour, got nine shillings a week, and used to
return home very weary in the evening, he generally found nobody there
to receive him, or to get ready his supper, but everything in the
greatest confusion, without any person to take care of what little he
had. This, as he would have had it believed, was the source of his
misfortunes and necessities, as it was also the occasion of his taking
such fatal methods to relieve them.

The Hampstead Road was that in which he chiefly robbed, and he could not
be persuaded that there was any great crime in taking away the
superfluous cash of those who lavish it in vanity and luxury, or from
those who procure it by cheating and gaming; and under these two classes
Shaw pretended to rank all who frequented the Wells or Belsize, and it
is to be much feared that in this respect he was not very far out.
Amongst the many adventures which befell him in his expeditions on the
road, there are one or two which it may not be improper to take notice

One evening, as he was patrolling thereabouts, he came up to a chariot
in which there was a certain famous justice, who happened to have won
about four hundred pounds at play, and Count Ui----n, a famous foreign
gamester, that has made many different figures about this town. No
sooner was the coach stopped by Shaw and another person on horseback,
but the Squire slipped the money he had won behind the seat of the
coach, and the Count having little to lose, seemed not very uneasy at
the accident. The highwaymen no sooner had demanded their money, but the
Count gave two or three pieces of foreign gold, and the gentleman, in
hopes by this means of getting rid of them, presented them with twenty

_Why, really, sir_, said Shaw, on the receipt of the gold, _this were a
handsome compliment from another person, but methinks you might have
spared a little more out of the long bag you brought from the gaming
table. Come, gentlemen, get out, get out, we must examine the nest a
little, I fancy the goldfinches are not yet flown._ Upon this, they both
got out of the chariot, and Shaw shaking the cushion that covered the
seat hastily, the long bag fell out with its mouth open, and all its
bright contents were scattered on the ground. The two knights of the
road began to pick them up as fast as they could, and while the justice
cursed this unlucky accident which had nicked him, after he had nicked
all the gamesters at the Wells, the Count, who thought swearing an
unprofitable exercise, began to gather as fast as they. A good deal of
company coming in sight just as they had finished, and while they were
calling upon the Count to refund, they were glad to gallop away. But
returning to London they were taken, and about three hours after
committing the fact, they, together with the witnesses against them,
were brought before a Middlesex magistrate, who committed them.

_But, pray, Sir_, says Shaw, before he was taken out of the room; _Why
should not that French fellow suffer as well as we? He shared the booty,
and please your Worship, 'tis but reasonable he should share the
punishment. Well, what say you, Sir?_ quoth the Justice to his brother
magistrate. _What is this outlandish man they talk of? He is a count,
Sir_, replied he, _returned from Naples, whither he went on some affairs
of importance. He makes a very good figure here sometimes, though I do
not know what his income is. I do not apprehend your Worship has
anything to do with that, since I do not complain. However_, replied
this dispenser of justice, _I have had but a very sorry account of you,
yet as you are in company with my brother here, I shall take no further
notice of what these men say._[16]

Shaw being after this got out of prison and having no money to purchase
a horse, he endeavoured to carry on his old profession of a footpad. In
this shape he robbed also several coaches and single passengers, and
that with very great inhumanity, which was natural, he said, from that
method of attacking, for it was impossible for a footpad to get off,
unless he either maimed the man, or wounded his horse.

Meeting by chance, as he was walking across Hampstead Road, an old
grave-looking man, he thought there was no danger in making up to him,
and seizing him, since he himself was well armed. The old gentleman
immediately begged that he would be civil and told him that if he would
be so, he would give him an old pair of breeches which were filled with
money and effects worth money, and, as he said, lay buried by such a
tree, pointing at the same time to it with his hand. Shaw went thither
directly, in hopes of gaining the miser's great prize, for the old
fellow made him believe he had buried it out of covetousness, and came
there to brood over it. But no sooner were they come to the place, and
Shaw looping down, began to look for three pieces of tobacco pipe, which
the old man pretended to have stack where they were buried, but the
gentleman whipped out his sword, and made two or three passes at Shaw,
wounding him in the neck, side and breast.

As the number of his robberies were very great, so it is not to be
expected that we should have a very exact account of them, yet as Shaw
was not shy in revealing any circumstance that related to them, we may
not perhaps have been as particular in the relation of his crimes as our
readers would desire, and therefore it will be necessary to mention some
other of his expeditions.

At his usual time and place, viz., Hampstead Road, in the evening, he
overtook a dapper fellow, who was formerly a peruke-maker but now a
gamester. This man taking Shaw for a bubble, began to talk of play, and
mentioned All Fours and Cribbage, and asked him whether he would play a
game for a bottle or so at the Flask. Shaw pretended to be very willing,
but said he had made a terrible oath against playing for anything in any
house; but if to avoid it, the gentleman would tie his horse to a tree
and had any cards in his pocket, he'd sit down on the green bank in
yonder close, and hazard a shilling or two. The gamester, who always
carried his implements in his pocket, readily accepted of the offer, and
tying their horses to a post of a little alehouse on the road, over they
whipped into the fields. But no sooner were they set down, and the
sharper began to shuffle the cards, but Shaw starting up, caught him by
the throat, and after shaking out three guineas and a half from his
breeches' pocket, broke to pieces two peep boxes, split as many pair of
false dice, and kicked the cards all about the ground. He left him tied
hand and foot to consider ways and means to recruit his stock by methods
just as honest as those by which he lost it.

The soldiers that at that time were placed on the road, passed for a
great security amongst people in town, but those who had occasion to
pass that way found no great benefit from their protection, for
robberies were as frequent as ever, and the ill-usage of persons when
robbed more so, because the rogues thought themselves in greater danger
of being taken, and therefore bound or disabled those they plundered,
for fear of their pursuing them.

For a fact of this kind it was that Shaw came to his death, for one
Philip Pots, being robbed on horseback by several footpads and knocked
off his horse near the tile kilns by Pancras, and wounded in several
places of his body with his own sword, which one of the villains had
taken from him, some persons who passed by soon after took him up, and
carried him to the Pinder of Wakefield.[17] There, on the Monday
following (this accident happening on Saturday night) he in great
agonies expired. For this murder and another robbery between Highgate
and Kentish Town, Shaw was taken up and soon after convicted. At first
he denied all knowledge of the murder, but when his death grew near, he
did acknowledge being privy to it, though he persisted in saying he had
no hand in its commission.

At the time he was under condemnation, the afore-mentioned John Smith,
William Colthouse, and Jonah Burgess were in the same condition. They
formed a conspiracy for breaking out of the place where they were
confined and to force an escape against all those who should oppose
them. For this purpose they had procured pistols, but their plot being
discovered, Burgess in great rage, cut his own throat and pretended that
Shaw designed to have dispatched himself with one of the pistols. But
Shaw, himself, absolutely denied this, and affirmed on the contrary that
when Burgess said his enemies should never have the satisfaction (as
they had bragged they would have) of placing themselves upon Holborn
Bridge, to see him go by Tyburn, he (Shaw) exhorted him never to think
of self-murder, and by that means give his enemies a double revenge in
destroying both body and soul.

As Shaw had formerly declared his wife's ill-conduct had been the first
occasion of his falling into those courses which had proved so fatal to
him, he still retained so great an antipathy to her on that account, as
not to be able to pardon her, even in the last moments of his life, in
which he would neither confess, nor positively deny the murder for which
he died. He was then about twenty-eight years of age, and died the same
day with the last-mentioned malefactor, Smith.


[16] This discourse between the magistrates is obscure. I have
been unable to clear it.

[17] This was the public-house at the Battle Bridge (King's
Cross) end of Gray's Inn Road.

The Life of WILLIAM COLTHOUSE, a Thief and Highwayman

William Colthouse was born in Yorkshire, had a very good education for a
person of his rank and especially with regard to religious principles,
of which he retained a knowledge seldom to be met with among the lower
class of people; but he was so unhappy as to imbibe in his youth strange
notions in regard to civil government, hereditary rights having been
much magnified in the latter end of the late Queen's reign. William
amongst others was violent attached thereto, and fancied it was a very
meritorious thing to profess his sentiments, notwithstanding they were
directly opposite to those of persons then in power. Some declarations
of this sort occasioned his being confined in Newgate, and prosecuted
for speaking seditious words in the beginning of King George the First's
reign. His Newgate acquaintances taught him quickly their arts of
living, and he was no sooner at liberty than he put them into execution,
he and his brother living like gentlemen on their expeditions on the
road; till unfortunately committing a robbery on Hounslow Heath
together, they were both closely pursued, the other taken, and William
narrowly escaped by creeping into a hollow tree.

After the execution of his brother, Colthouse being terribly affected
therewith, retired to Oxford, and there worked as a journeyman joiner,
determining with himself to live honestly for the future, and not by a
habit of ill-actions go the same way as one so nearly related to him had
done before. But as his brother's death in time grew out of his
remembrance, so his evil inclinations again took place, and he came up
to London with a full purpose of getting money at an easier rate than

Soon after his arrival his Jacobite principles brought him into a great
fray at an alehouse in Tothill Fields, Westminster, where some soldiers
were drinking, and who on some disrespectful words said of the Prince,
caught up Colthouse and threw him upon a red-hot gridiron, thereby
making a scar on his cheek and under his left eye. By this he came to be
taken for a person who murdered a farmer's son in Philpot Lane, in
Hampshire, when he was charged with which he not only denied, but by
abundance of circumstances rendered it highly probable that he did not
commit it, there being, indeed, no other circumstance which occasioned
that suspicion but the likeness of the scar in his face, which happened
in the manner I told you.

While he lay under condemnation, a report reached his ear that his two
brothers in the country were also said to be highwaymen; he complained
grievously of the common practice that was made by idle people raising
stories to increase the sorrows of families which were so unhappy as to
have any who belonged to them come to such a death as his was to be. As
to his brothers, he declared himself well satisfied that the younger was
a sober and religious lad, and as for the elder, though he might have
been guilty of some extravagance, yet he hoped and believed they were
not of the same kind with those which had brought him to ruin. However,
that he might do all the good which his present sad circumstance would
allow, he wrote the following letter to his brethren in the country.

Dear Brothers,

Though the nearness of my approaching death ought to shut out from
my thoughts all temporal concerns, yet I could not compose my mind
into that quietness with which I hope to pass from this sinful world
into the presence of the Almighty, before I had thus exorted you to
take particular warning from my death, which the intent of the Law
to deter others from wickedness hath decreed to be in a public and
ignominious manner. Amidst the terrors which the frailty of human
nature (shocked with the prospect of so terrible an end) makes my
afflicted heart to feel, even these sorrows are increased, and all
my woes doubled by a story which is spread, I hope without the least
grounds of truth, that ye, as well as I, have lived by taking away
by force the property of others.

Let the said examples of my poor brother, who died by the hand of
Justice, and of me, who now follow him in the same unhappy course,
deter you not only from those flagrant offences which have been so
fatal unto us, but also from those foolish and sinful pleasures in
which it is but too frequent for young persons to indulge
themselves. Remember that I tell you from a sad experience, that the
wages of sin, though in appearance they be sometimes large and what
may promise outward pleasure, yet are they attended with such inward
disquiet as renders it impossible for those to have received them
to enjoy either quiet or ease. Work, then, hard at your employments,
and be assured that sixpence got thereby will afford you more solid
satisfaction than the largest acquisitions at the expense of your
conscience. That God may, by His grace, enable you to follow this my
last advice, and that He may bless your honest labour with plenty
and prosperity is the earnest prayer of your dying brother

William Colthouse

Till the day of his execution he had denied his being accessory to the
intended escape by forcing the prison, but when he came to Tyburn, he
acknowledged that assertion to be false, and owned that he caused the
two pistols to be provided for that purpose. He was about thirty-four
years of age at the time he suffered, which was on the 8th of February,
1722, with Burgess, Shaw and Smith.

The Life of WILLIAM BURRIDGE, a Highwayman

In the course of these lives I have more than once observed that the
vulgar have false notions of courage, and that applause is given to it
by those who have as false notions of it as themselves, and this it was
in a great measure which made William Burridge take to those fatal
practices which had the usual termination in an ignominious death. He
was the son of reputable people, who lived at West Haden in
Northamptonshire, who after affording him a competent education, thought
proper to bind him to his father's trade of a carpenter. But he, having
been pretty much indulged before that time, could not by any means be
brought to relish labour, or working for his bread.

Burridge was a well-made fellow, and of a handsome person, as well as
great strength and dexterity, which he had often exercised in wrestling
and cudgel-playing which gained him great praise amongst the country
fellows at wakes and fairs, where such prizes are usually given.
Therefore giving himself up almost wholly to such exercises, he used
frequently to run away from his parents, and lie about the country,
stealing poultry, and what else he could lay his hands on to support
himself. His father trying all methods possible to reclaim him and
finding them fruitless, as his last refuge turned him over to another
master, in hopes that having there no mother to plead for him, a course
of continued severities might perhaps reclaim him. But his hopes were
all disappointed, for instead of mending under his new master, William
gave himself over to all sorts of vices, and more especially became
addicted to junketting with servant-wenches in the neighbourhood, who
especially on Sundays when their masters were out, were but too ready to
receive and entertain him at their expense.

But these adventures made him very obnoxious to others, as well as his
master, who no longer able to bear his lying out of night, and other
disorderly practices, turned him off, and left him to shift for himself.
He went home to his friends, but going on still in the same way, they
frankly advised him to ship himself on board a man-of-war in order to
avoid that ill-fate which they then foresaw, and which afterwards
overtook him. William, though not very apt to follow good counsel, yet
approved of this at last when he saw some of his companions had already
suffered for those profligate courses to which they were addicted.

He shipped himself, therefore, in a squadron then sailing for Spain
under the command of Commodore Cavendish, on board whose ship he was
when an engagement happened with the Spaniards in Cadiz Bay. The dispute
was long and very sharp, and Burridge behaved therein so as to meet with
extraordinary commendations. These had the worst effect upon him
imaginable, for they so far puffed him up, that he thought himself
worthier of command than most of the officers on the ship, and therefore
was not a little uneasy at being obliged to obey them. This hindered
them from doing him any kindness, which they would otherwise perhaps
have done in consideration of his gallant behaviour against the enemy.
At his return into England he was extremely ambitious of living without
the toil of business, and therefore went upon the highway with great
diligence, in order to acquire a fortune by it, which when he had done,
he designed to have left it off, and to have lived easily and honestly
upon the fruits of it. But, alas! these were vain hopes and idle
expectations, for instead of acquiring anything which might keep him
hereafter, he could scarce procure a present livelihood at the hazard
both of his neck and his soul, for he was continually obliged to hide
himself, through apprehension, and not seldom got into Bridewell or some
such place, for brawls and riots.

This William Burridge was the person who with Nat Hawes made their
escape out of New Prison, by the assistance of a woman, as the life of
that malefactor is before related.[18] And as he saved himself then from
the same ignominious death which afterwards befell him, so he escaped it
another time by becoming evidence against one Reading, who died for the
life offences. As to Burridge, he still continued the same trade, till
being taken for stealing a bay gelding belonging to one Mr. Wragg, he
was for that offence finally condemned at the Old Bailey. While under
sentence, as he had been much the greatest and oldest offender of any
that were under the same fate, so he seemed to be by much the most
affected and the most penitent of them all; and with great signs and
sorrow for the many crimes he had committed, he suffered on the 14th of
March, 1722, with five other persons at Tyburn, being then about
thirty-four years of age.


[18] See page 59.

The Life of JOHN THOMSON, a thief, Highwayman, etc.

John Thomson was born at Carlisle, but was brought with his friends to
London. They, it seems, were persons of no substance, and took little
care of their son's education, suffering him, while a lad, to go often
to such houses as were frequented by ill-people, and such as took
dishonest methods to get money. Such are seldom very dose in their
discourse when they meet and junket together, and Thomson, then a boy,
was so much pleased with their jovial manner of life, eating well and
drinking hard, that he had ever a bias that way, even when he was
otherways employed, till he was fifteen years old, leading such an idle
and debauched life that, as he himself expressed it, he had never heard
of or read a Bible or other good book throughout all that space.

A friend of his was then so kind as to put him out apprentice to a
weaver, and he might have had some chance of coming into the world in an
honest and reputable way, but he had not continued with his master any
long time before he listed himself in the sea service, during the Wars
in the late Queen's time, and served on board a squadron which was sent
up the Baltic to join the Danes. This cold country, with other hardships
he endured, made him so out of humour with a sailor's life that though
he behaved himself tolerably well when on board, yet he resolved never
to engage in the same state, if once discharged and safe on shore.

Upon his coming back to England, he went to work at his trade of a
weaver, and being for a while very sensible of the miseries he had run
through on board the man-of-war, he became highly pleased with the quiet
and easy way in which he got his bread by his business, thinking,
however, that there was no way so proper to settle him as by marrying,
which accordingly he did. But he was so unfortunate that though his wife
was a very honest woman, yet the money he got not being sufficient to
maintain them, he was even obliged to take to the sea again for a
subsistence, and continued on board several ships in the Straits and
Mediterranean for a very considerable space, during which he was so
fortunate as to serve once on board an enterprising captain, who in less
than a year's space, took nineteen prizes to a very considerable value.
And as they were returning from their cruise, they took a French East
India ship on the coast of that kingdom, whose cargo was computed at no
less than a hundred thousand pounds sterling. Thomson might certainly,
if he would, have saved money enough to have put himself into a
creditable method of life as many of his shipmates had done, and so well
did the captain improve his own good fortune that on his return he
retired into the country, where he purchased an estate of fifteen
hundred pounds _per annum._

But Thomson being much altered from the usual bent of his temper by his
being long accustomed at sea to blood and plunder, so when he returned
home, instead of returning to an honest way of living, he endeavoured to
procure money at the same rate by land which he had done at sea, and for
that purpose associated himself with persons of a like disposition, and
in their company did abundance of mischief. At last he and one of his
associates passing over Smithfield between twelve and one in the
morning, on the second of March, they perceived one George Currey going
across that place very much in drink. Him they attacked, though at first
they pretended to lead him safe home, drawing him to a proper place out
of hearing of the houses, where they took from him a shirt, a wig and a
hat, in doing which they knocked him down, stamped upon his breast, and
in other respects used him very cruelly. Being apprehended soon after
this fact, he was for it tried and convicted.

In the space between that and his death, he behaved himself very
penitently, and desired with great earnestness that his wife would
retire into the country to her friends, and learn by his unhappy example
that nothing but an honest industry could procure the blessing of God.
This he assiduously begged for her in his prayers, imploring her at the
same time that he gave her this advice, to be careful of her young son
she had then at her breast, not only as to his education, but also that
he might never know his father's unhappy end, for that would but damp
his spirits, and perhaps force him upon ill-courses when he grew up,
from an apprehension that people might distrust his honesty and not
employ him. He professed himself much afflicted at the past follies of
his life, and with an outward appearance of true penitence, died on the
fourth of May, 1722, in the thirty-third year of his age, at Tyburn.

The Life of THOMAS REEVES, a Notorious Highwayman and Footpad

As it is not to be denied that it is a singular blessing to a nation
where no persecution is ever raised against persons for their religion,
so I am confident that the late Free Thinking principles (as they have
been called) have by their being spread amongst the vulgar, contributed
greatly to the many frauds and villainies which have been so much
complained of within these thirty years, and not a little to encouraging
men in obtaining a subsistence and the gratification of their pleasures
by rapines committed upon others rather than live in a laborious state
of life, in which, perhaps, both their birth and circumstances concurred
to fix them.

Thomas Reeves was a very remarkable as well as very unfortunate instance
of that depravity in moral principles of which I have been speaking. By
his friends he was bred a tinman, his father, who was of that
profession, taking him as an apprentice but using him with the most
indulgent fondness and never suffering him to want anything which was in
his power to procure for him, flattered himself with the hopes of his
becoming a good and happy man. It happened very unfortunately for Reeves
that he fell, when young, into the acquaintance of some sceptical
persons who made a jest of all religion and treated both its precepts
and its mysteries as inventions subservient to priestcraft. Such notions
are too easily imbibed by those who are desirous to indulge their
vicious inclinations, and Reeves being of this stamp, greedily listened
to all discourses of such a nature.

Amongst some of these companions who had cheated him out of his
religion, he found some also inclined to practise the same freedom they
taught, encouraged both by precept and example. Tom soon became the most
conspicuous of the gang. His boldness and activity preferred him
generally to be a leader in their adventures, and he had such good luck,
in several of his first attempts, that he picked up as much as
maintained him in that extravagant and superfluous manner of life in
which he most of all delighted. One John Hartly was his constant
companion in his debauches, and generally speaking an assistant in his
crimes. Both of them in the evening of the ninth of March, 1722,
attacked one Roger Worebington, near Shoreditch, as he was going across
the fields on some business. Hartly gave him a blow on the head with his
pistol, after which Reeves bid him stand, and whistling, four more of
the gang came up, seized him, and knocked him down. They stripped him
stark naked and carried away all his clothes, tying him hand and foot in
a cruel manner and leaving him in a ditch hard by. However he was
relieved, and Reeves and Hartly being soon after taken, they were both
tried and convicted for this fact.

After the passing sentence, Reeves behaved himself with much
indifference, his own principles stuck by him, and he had so far
satisfied himself by considering the necessity of dying, and coined a
new religion of his own, that he never believed the soul in any danger,
but had very extensive notions of the mercy of God, which he thought was
too great to punish with eternal misery those souls which He had
created. This criminal was, indeed, of a very odd temper, for sometimes
he would both pray and read to the rest of the prisoners, and at other
times he would talk loosely and divert them from their duty, often
making enquiries as to curious points, and to be informed whether the
soul went immediately into bliss or torment, or whether, as some
Christians taught, they went through an intermediate state? All which he
spoke of with an unconcernedness scarce to be conceived, and as it were
rather out of curiosity than that he thought himself in any danger of
eternal punishment hereafter.

Hartly, on the other hand, was a fellow of a much softer disposition,
showed very great fear, and looked in great confusion at the approach of
death. He got six persons dressed in white to go to the Royal Chapel and
petition for a pardon, he being to marry one of them in case it had been
procured, but they failed in the attempt, and he appeared less sensible
than ever when he found that death was not to be evaded.

At the place of execution, Reeves not only preserved that resolution
with which he had hitherto borne up against his misfortunes, but when
the mob pushed down one of the horses that drew the cart, and it leaning
sideways so that Reeves was thereby half hanged, to ease himself of his
misery he sprung over at once and finished the execution.

Hartly wept and lamented exceedingly his miserable condition, and the
populace much pitied him, for he was not twenty years of age at the time
he died; but Reeves was about twenty-eight years of age, when he
suffered, which was at the same time with John Thomson, before

The Life of RICHARD WHITTINGHAM, a Footpad and Street robber

Though there have been some instances of felons adhering so closely
together as not to give up one another to Justice, even for the sake of
saving life, yet are such instances very rare, and examples of the
contrary very common.

Richard Whittingham was a young man of very good natural inclinations,
had he not been of too easy a temper, and ready to yield to the
inducements of bad women. His friends had placed him as an apprentice to
a hot-presser, with whom he lived very honestly for some time; but at
last, the idle women with whom he conversed continually pressing him for
money in return for their lewd favours, he was by that means drawn in to
run away from his master, and subsist by picking pockets. In the
prosecution of this trade, he contracted an infamous friendship with
Jones, Applebee and Lee, three notorious villains of the same stamp,
with whom he committed abundance of robberies in the streets, especially
by cutting off women's pockets, and such other exploits. This, he
pretended, was performed with great address and regularity, for he said
that after many consultations, 'twas resolved to attack persons only in
broad streets for the future, from whence they found it much less
troublesome to escape than when they committed them in alleys and such
like close places, whereupon a pursuit once begun, they seldom or never
missed being taken. He added, that when they had determined to go out to
plunder, each had his different post assigned him, and that while one
laid his leg before a passenger, another gave him a jolt on the
shoulders, and as soon as he was down a third came to their assistance,
whereupon they immediately went to stripping and binding those who were
so unlucky as thus to fall into their hands. Upon Applebee's being
apprehended, and himself impeached, Whittingham withdrew to Rochester,
with an intent to have gone out of the kingdom, but after all he could
not prevail with himself to quit his native country.

On his return to London, he fled for sanctuary to the house of his
former master, who treated him with great kindness, supplied him with
work, sent up his victuals privately, and did all in his power to
conceal him. But Jones and Lee, his former companions, found means to
discover him as they had already impeached him, and so, on their
evidence and that of the prosecutor, he was convicted of robbing William
Garnet, in the area of Red Lion Square, when Applebee knocked him down,
and Jones and Lee held their hands upon his eyes, and crammed his own
neck-cloth down his throat.

When he found he was to die, he was far from behaving himself
obstinately, but as far as his capacity would give him leave,
endeavoured to pray, and to fit himself for his approaching dissolution.
He had married a young wife, for whom he expressed a very tender
affection, and seemed more cast down with the thoughts of those miseries
to which she would be exposed by his death, than he was at what he
himself was to suffer.

During the time he lay in the condemned hold, he complained often of the
great interruptions those under sentence of death met with from some
prisoners who were confined underneath, and who, through the crevice,
endeavoured as usual, by talking to them lewdly and profanely, to
disturb them even in their last moments. At the place of execution he
wept bitterly, and seemed to be much affrighted at death and very sorry
for his having committed those crimes which brought him thither. He was
but nineteen years old when he suffered, which was on the 21st of May,

The Life of JAMES BOOTY, a Ravisher

Such is the present depravity of human nature that we have sometimes
instances of infant criminals and children meriting death by their
crimes, before they know or can be expected to know how to do anything
to live. Perhaps there was never a stronger instance of this than in
James Booty, of whom we are now speaking. He was a boy rather without
capacity than obstinate, whose inclinations, one would have expected,
could hardly have attained to that pitch of wickedness in thought, which
it appeared both by evidence and his own confessions, he had actually
practised. His father was a peruke-maker in Holborn, and not in so bad
circumstances but that he could have afforded him a tolerable education,
if he had not been snatched away by death. Thus his son was left to the
care of his mother, who put him to a cabinet-maker, where he might have
been bound apprentice if the unhappy accident (for so indeed I think it
may be called) had not intervened. It seemed his master had taken a
cousin of his, a girl of about fifteen or somewhat more, for a servant.
This girl went into the workshop where the boy lay, under pretence of
mending his coat, which he had torn by falling upon a hook as he
stumbled over the well of the stairs; but instead of darning the hole,
she went to bed to the boy, put out the candle, and gave him the foul

Not knowing what was the matter with him, but finding continual pains in
his body, he made a shift at last to learn the cause from some of the
workmen. Not daring to trust even his mother with what was the matter
with him, instead of applying to a proper person to be cured, he
listened as attentively as he could to all discourses about that
distemper, which happened frequently enough amongst his master's
journeymen. There he heard some of the foolish fellows say that lying
with any person who was sound would cure those who were in such a
condition. The extreme anguish of body he was in excited him to try the
experiment, and he injured no less than four or five children, between
four years old and six, before he committed that act for which he was

He one day carried his master's daughter, Anne Milton, a girl of but
five years and two months old, to the top of the house, and there with
great violence abused her and gave her the foul disease. The parents
were not long before they made the discovery of it, and the child
telling them what Booty had done to her, they sent for a surgeon who
examined him, and found him in a very sad condition with venereal
disease. Upon this he was taken up and committed to Newgate, and upon
very full evidence was convicted at the next sessions, and received
sentence of death; from which time to the day before he was executed, he
was afflicted with so violent a fever as to have little or no sense. But
then coming to himself, he expressed a confused sense of religion and
penitence, desired to be instructed how to go to Heaven, and showed
evident marks of his inclination to do anything which might be for the
good of his soul.

At the place of execution he wept and looked dejected, said his mother
had sought diligently for the wench who did him the injury, and was the
cause of his doing it to so many others; but that although the girl was
known to live in Westminster after she left his master, yet his mother
was never able to find her. Thus was this young creature removed from
the world by an ignominious death at Tyburn, on the 21st May, 1722,
being then somewhat above fifteen years old.

The Life of THOMAS BUTLOCK, _alias_ BUTLOGE, a Thief

The foolish pride of wearing fine clothes and making a figure has
certainly undone many ordinary people, both by making them live beyond
what their labour or trade would allow, and by inducing them to take
illegal methods to procure money for that purpose.

Thomas Butlock, otherwise Butloge, which last was his true name, was
born in the kingdom of Ireland, about thirty miles east of Dublin,
whither his parents had gone from Cheshire (which was their native
country) with a gentleman on whom they had a great dependence, and who

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