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

Part 3 out of 15

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was settled in Ireland. Though their circumstances were but indifferent,
yet they found means to raise as much as put their son apprentice to a
vintner in Dublin, and probably, had he ever set up in that business
they would have done more. But he had not been long ere what little
education he had was lost, and his morals corrupted by the sight of such
lewd scenes as passed often in his master's house. However the man was
very kind to him, and in return Thomas had so great esteem and affection
for his master that when he broke and come over to hide himself at
Chester, Butloge frequently stole over to him with small supplies of
money and acquainted him with the condition of his family, which he had
left behind.

In this precarious manner of life, he spent some time, until finding it
impossible for him to subsist any longer by following his master's
broken fortunes, he began to lay out for some new employment to get his
bread. But after various projects had proved unsuccessful when they came
to be executed, he was forced to return into Ireland again, where not
long after, he had the good fortune to marry a substantial man's
daughter which retrieved his circumstances once more.

But Butloge had always, as he expressed it, an aspiring temper, which
put him upon crossing the seas again upon the invitation of a gentleman
who, he pretended was a relation, and belonged to the Law, by whose
interest he was in hopes of getting into a place. Accordingly, when he
came to London, he took lodgings and lived as if he was already in
possession of his expectation, which bringing his pocket low, he
accepted the service of Mr. Claude Langley, a foreign gentleman, who had
lodged in the same house. It cannot be exactly determined how long he
had been in his service before he had committed the fact for which he
died, but as to the manner it happened thus.

Mr. Langley, as well as all the rest of the family, being out at church,
Butloge was sitting by himself in his master's room, looking at the
drawers, and knowing that there was a good sum of ready money therein.
It then came into his head what a figure he might cut if he had all that
money. It occurred to him, at the same time, that his master was scarce
able to speak any English, and was obliged to go over to France again in
a month's time; so that he persuaded himself that if he could keep out
of the way for that month, all would be well, and he should be able to
live upon the spoil, without any apprehension of danger. These
considerations took up his mind for half an hour; then he put his scheme
into execution, broke open the drawers and took from thence twenty-seven
guineas, four _louis d'ors_, and some other French pieces. As soon as he
completed the robbery, and was got safe out of town, he went directly to
Chester, that he might appear fine (as he himself said) at a place where
he was known. His precaution being so little, there is no wonder that he
was taken, or that the fact appearing plain, he should be convicted

After sentence was passed, he laid aside all hopes of life, and without
flattering himself as too many do, he prepared for his approaching end.
Whatever follies he might have committed in his life, yet he suffered
very composedly on the 22nd day of July, 1722, being then about
twenty-three years of age.

The Life of NATHANIEL JACKSON, a Highwayman

The various dispositions of men make frequent differences in their
progress, either in virtue or vice; some being disposed to cultivate
this or that branch of their duty with peculiar diligence, and others,
again, plunging themselves in some immoralities they have no taste for.

But as for this unfortunate criminal, Nathaniel Jackson, he seemed to
have swept all impurities with a drag net, and to have habituated
himself to nothing but wickedness from his cradle. He was the son of a
person of some fortune at Doncaster, in Yorkshire, who died when his son
Nat was very young, but not, however, till he had given him some
education. He was bound by a friend, in whose hands his father left his
fortune, to a silk-weaver at Norwich, with whom he lived about three
years; but his master restraining his extravagancies, and taking great
pains to keep him within the bounds of moderation, Jackson at last grew
so uneasy that he ran away from his master, and absconded for some time.
But his guardian at last hearing where he was, wrote to him, and advised
him to purchase some small place with his fortune, whereon he might live
with economy, since he perceived he would do no good in trade. Jackson
despised this advice, and instead of thinking of settling, got into the
Army, and with a regiment of dragoons went over into Ireland.

There he indulged himself in all the vices and lusts to which he was
prone, living in all those debaucheries to which the meanest and most
licentious of the common soldiers are addicted; but he more especially
gave himself up to lewdness and the conversation of women. This, as it
led him into abundance of inconveniences, so at last it engaged him in a
quarrel with one of his comrades which ended in a duel. Jackson had the
advantage of his antagonist and hacked and wounded him in a most cruel
manner. For this, his officers broke him, and he thereby lost the
fifteen guineas which he had given to be admitted into the troop; and as
men are always apt to be angry with punishment, however justly they
receive it, so Jackson imputed his being cashiered to the officers'
covetousness, the crime he had committed passing in his own imagination
for a very trivial action.

Having from this accident a new employment to seek, he came over to his
guardian and stayed with him a while. But growing very soon weary of
those restraints which were put upon him there, as he had done at those
under his Norwich master, he soon fell into his old courses, got into an
acquaintance with lewd women and drunken fellows, with whom he often
stayed out all night at the most notorious bawdy houses. This making a
great noise, his friends remonstrated in the strongest terms, pointing
out to him the wrong he did himself; but finding all their persuasions
ineffectual, they told him plainly he must remove. Upon this he came up
to London, not without receiving considerable presents from his so much
abused friends.

The town was an ill place to amend a man who came into it with
dispositions like his. On the contrary, he found still more
opportunities for gratifying his lustful inclinations than at any time
before, and these lewd debaucheries having reduced him quickly to the
last extremity, he was in a fair way to be prevailed on to take any
method to gain money. He was in these said circumstances when he met
accidentally with John Morphew, an old companion of his in Ireland, and
soon after, as they were talking together, they fell upon one O'Brian in
a footman's garb, also their acquaintance in Ireland.

He invited them both to go with him to the camp in Hyde Park, and at a
sutler's tent there, treated them with as much as they would drink. When
he had paid the reckoning, turning about, _d'ye see, boys_, says he,
_how full my pockets are of money? Come, I'll teach you to fill yours,
if you are but men of courage._ Upon this out they walked towards
Hampstead, between which place and St. Pancras they met one Dennet, whom
they robbed and stripped, taking from him a coat and a waistcoat, two
shirts, some hair, thirteen pence in money, and other things. This did
not make O'Brian's promise good, all they got being but of
inconsiderable value, but it cost poor Jackson his life, though he and
Morphew had saved Dennet's when O'Brian would have killed him to prevent
discoveries; for Jackson being not long after apprehended, was convicted
of the fact, but O'Brian, having timely notice of his commitment, made
his escape into Ireland.

As soon as sentence was passed, Jackson thought of nothing but how to
prepare himself for another world, there being no probability that
interest his friends could make to save him. He made a very ingenious
confession of all he knew, and seemed perfectly easy and resigned to
that end which the Law had appointed for those who, like him, had
injured society. He was about thirty years old at the time of his death,
which was on the 18th of July, 1722, at Tyburn.

The Life of JAMES, _alias_ VALENTINE CARRICK, a Notorious Highwayman and
Street Robber

Though it has become a very common and fashionable opinion that honour
may supply the place of piety, and thereby preserve a morality more
beneficial to society than religion, yet if we would allow experience to
decide, it will be no very difficult matter to prove that when persons
have once given way to certain vices (which in the polite style pass
under the denomination of pleasures) rather than forego them they will
quickly acquire that may put it in their power to enjoy them, though
obtained at the rate of perpetrating the most ignominious offences. If
there had not been too much truth in this observation we should hardly
find in the list of criminals persons who, like James Carrick, have had
a liberal education, and were not meanly descended, bringing themselves
to the most miserable of all states and reflecting dishonour upon those
from whom they were descended.

This unfortunate person was the son of an Irish gentleman, who lived not
far from Dublin, and whom we must believe to have been a man of
tolerable fortune, since he provided as well for all his children as to
make even this, who was his youngest, an ensign. James was a perfect boy
at the time when his commission required him to quit Ireland to repair
to Spain, whither, a little before, the regiment wherein he was to serve
had been commanded. As he had performed his duty towards the rest of his
children, the father was more than ordinarily fond of this his youngest,
whom therefore he equipped in a manner rather beyond that capacity in
which he was to appear upon his arrival at the army. In his person James
was a very beautiful well-shaped young man, of a middle size, and
something more than ordinarily genteel in his appearance, as his father
had taken care to supply him abundantly for his expenses; so when he
came into Spain he spent his money as freely as any officer of twice his
pay. His tent was the constant rendezvous of all the beaux who were at
that time in the camp, and whenever the army were in quarters, nobody
was handsomer, or made a better figure than Mr. Carrick.

Though we are very often disposed to laugh at those stories for fictions
which carry in them anything very different from what we see in daily
experience, yet as the materials I have for this unfortunate man's life
happen both to be full and very exact, I shall not scruple mentioning
some of his adventures, which I am persuaded will neither be unpleasant,
nor incapable of improving my readers.

The regiment in which Carrick served was quartered at Barcelona, after
the taking of that place by the English troops[19] who supported the
title of the present Emperor to the crown of Spain. The inhabitants were
not only civil, but to the last degree courteous to the English, for
whom they always preserved a greater esteem than for any other nation.
Carrick, therefore, had frequent opportunities for making himself known
and getting into an acquaintance with some of the Spanish cavaliers, who
were in the interest of King Charles. Amongst these was Don Raphael de
Ponto, a man of fortune and family amongst the Catalans, but, as is
usual with the Spaniards, very amorous and continually employed in some
intrigue or other. He was mightily pleased with Carrick's humour, and
conceived for him a friendship, in which the Spaniards are perhaps more
constant and at the same time more zealous, than any other nation in
Europe. As Carrick had been bred a Roman Catholic and always continued
so, notwithstanding his professing the contrary to those in the Army, so
he made no scruple of going to Mass with his Spanish friend, which
passed with the English officers only as a piece of complaisance.

Vespers was generally the time when Don Raphael and his English
companion used to make their appointments with the ladies, and therefore
they were very punctual at those devotions, from a spirit which too
often takes up young minds. It happened one evening, when after the
Spanish custom they were thus gone forth in quest of adventures, a
duenna slipped into Don Raphael's hand a note, by which he was appointed
to come under such a window near the convent, in the street of St.
Thomas, when the bell of the convent rang in the evening, and was
desired to bring his friend, if he were not afraid of a Spanish lady.
Don Raphael immediately acquainted his friend, who you may be sure was
ready to obey the summons.

When the hour came, and the convent bell rang, our sparks, wrapped up in
their cloaks, slipped to their posts under a balcony. They did not wait
long there, before the same woman who delivered the note to Don Raphael
made her appearance at the window, and throwing down another little
billet, exhorted them to be patient a little, and they should not lose
their labour. The lovers waited quiet enough for about a quarter of an
hour, when the old woman slipped down, and opened a door behind them, at
which our sparks entered with great alacrity. The old woman conduced
them into a very handsome apartment above stairs, where they were
received by two young ladies, as beautiful as they could have wished
them. Compliments are not much used on such occasions in Spain, and
these gentlemen, therefore, did not make many before they were for
coming to the point with the ladies, when of a sudden they heard a great
noise upon the stairs, and as such adventures make all men cautious in
Spain, they immediately left the ladies, and retiring towards the
window, drew their swords. They had hardly clapped their backs against
it, before the noise on the stairs ceasing, they felt the floor tremble
under their feet, and at last giving way, they both fell into a dark
room underneath, where without any other noise than their fall had made,
they were disarmed, gagged and bound by some persons placed there for
that purpose. When the rogues had finished their search, and taken away
everything that was valuable about them, even to ripping the gold lace
off Carrick's clothes, they let them lie there for a considerable time,
and at last removed them in two open chests to the middle of the great
marketplace, where they left them to wait for better fortune. They had
not remained there above a quarter of an hour, before Carrick's sergeant
went the rounds with a file of musketeers. Carrick hearing his voice,
made as much noise as he was able, and that bringing the sergeant and
his men to the place where they were set, their limbs and mouths were
immediately released from bondage.

The morning following, as soon as Carrick was up, the Spanish
gentleman's major domo came to wait upon him, and told him that his
master being extremely ill, had desired him to make his compliments to
his English friend in order to supply the defects of the letter he sent
him, which by reason of his indisposition was very short. Having said
this, the Spaniard presented him with a letter, and a little parcel,
and then withdrew. Carrick did not know what to make of all this, but as
soon as the stranger was withdrawn, opened his packet in order to
discover what it contained. He found in it a watch, a diamond ring, and
a note on a merchant for two hundred pieces-of-eight, which was the sum
Carrick (to make himself look great) said he had lost by the accident.
The note at the same time informing him that Don Raphael de Ponto
thought it but just to restore to him what he had lost by accompanying
him in the former night's adventures.

After Carrick returned into England, though he had no longer his
commission, or indeed any other way of living, yet he could not lay
aside those vices in which hitherto he had indulged himself. When he had
any money he entertained a numerous train of the most abandoned women of
the town, and had also intrigues at the same time with some of the
highest rank of those prostitutes. To the latter he applied himself when
his pocket first began to grow low, and they supplied him as long, and
as far as they were able. But, alas! their contributions went but a
little way towards supporting his expenses. Happening about that time to
fall into an acquaintance with Smith, his countryman, after a serious
consultation on ways and means to support their manner of living, they
came at last to a resolution of taking a purse on the road, and joined
company soon afterwards with Butler, another Irish robber, who was
executed some time before them on the evidence of this very Carrick.
When Carrick's elder brother heard of this in Ireland, he wrote to him
in the most moving terms, beseeching him to consider the sad end to
which he was running headlong, and the shame and ignominy with which he
covered his family and friends, exhorting him at the same time not to
cast away all hopes of doing well, but to think of returning to Dublin,
where he assured him he would meet him, and provide handsomely for him,
notwithstanding all that was past.

But Carrick little regarded this good advice, or the kind overtures made
him by his brother. No sooner had he procured his liberty but he
returned to his old profession, and committed a multitude of robberies
on Finchley Common, Hounslow and Bagshot Heaths, spending all the money
he got on women of the town, at the gaming table, and in fine clothes,
which last was the thing in which he seemed most to delight. But money
not coming in very quick by these methods, he with Molony, Carrol and
some others of his countrymen, began to rob in the streets, and by that
means got great sums of money. They continued this practice for a long
space of time with safety, but being one night out in Little Queen
Street, by Lincoln's Inn Fields, between one and two in the morning they
stopped a chair in which was the Hon. William Young, Esq., from whom
they took a gold watch, valued at L50, a sword, and forty guineas in
money. Carrick thrust his pistol into the chair, Carrol watched at a
distance, while Molony, perceiving the gentleman hesitate a little in
delivering, said with a stern voice, _Your money, sir! Do you trifle?_
It was a very short time after the commission of this robbery that both
he and his companion Molony were taken, Carrol making a timely escape to
his native kingdom. While James Carrick remained in Newgate, his
behaviour was equally singular and indecent, for he affected to pass his
time with the same gaiety in his last moments as he had spent it in the
former part of his days.

Throngs of people, as it is but too much the custom, came to see him in
Newgate, to whom, as if he had intended that they should not lose their
curiosity, he told all the adventures of his life, with the same air and
gaiety as if he had been relating them at some gaming ordinaries. This
being told about town, drew still greater heaps of company upon him,
which he received with the same pleasantness; by which means he daily
increased them, and by that means the gain of the keepers at Newgate,
who took money to show him. Upon this he said to them merrily one day:
_You pay, good folks, for seeing me now, but if you had suspended your
curiosity 'till I went to Tyburn, you might have seen me for nothing._
This was the manner in which he talked and lived even to the last,
conversing until the time of his death with certain loose women who had
been his former favourites, and whom no persuasions could engage him to
banish from his presence while he yet had eyes, and could behold them in
his sight.

At the place of execution, where it often happens that the most daring
offenders drop that resolution on which they foolishly value themselves,
Carrick failed not in the least. He gave himself genteel airs (as Mr.
Purney, the then Ordinary, phrases it) in placing the rope about his
neck, smiled and bowed to everybody he knew round him, and continued
playing a hundred little tricks of the same odd nature, until the very
instant the cart drove away, declaring himself to be a Roman Catholic,
and that he was persuaded he had made his peace with God in his own way.
In this temper he finished his life at Tyburn, on the 18th of July,
1722, being then about twenty-seven years of age.


[19] This was in 1705, by an expedition commanded by the Earl
of Peterborough.

The Life of John MOLONY, a Highwayman and Street Robber

John Molony was an Irishman likewise, born at Dublin and sent to sea
when very young. He served in the fleets which during the late Queen's
reign sailed into the Mediterranean, and happening to be on board a ship
which was lost, he with some other sailors, was called to a very strict
account for that misfortune, upon some presumption that they were
accessory thereto. Afterwards he sailed in a vessel of war which was
fitted out against the pirates, and had therein so good luck that if his
inclinations had been honest, he might certainly have settled very
handsomely in the world. But that was far from his intention; he liked a
seaman's pleasures, drinking and gaming, and when on shore, lewd women,
the certain methods of being brought to such ways of getting money as
end in a shameful death.

When abroad, his adventures were not many, because he had little
opportunity of going on shore, yet one happened in Sicily which made a
very great impression upon him, and which it may not therefore be
improper to relate. There were two merchants at Palermo, both young men,
and perfectly skilled in the arts of traffic; they had had a very
liberal education, and had been constant friends and companions
together. The intimacy they had so long continued was cemented by their
marriage with two sisters. They lived very happily for the space of
about two years, and in all probability might have continued to do so
much longer, had not the duenna who attended one of their wives, died,
and a new one been put in her place. Not knowing the young ladies'
brothers, upon their speaking to them at Church, she gave notice of it
to the husband of her whom she attended, and he immediately posting to
his neighbour, the woman told them both that their wives,
notwithstanding all she could say, were talking to two well-dressed
cavaliers, which the duenna who waited on the other, notwithstanding the
duties of her post, saw without taking any notice. This so exasperated
the jealousy of the Sicilians that without more ado they ran to the
church, and meeting with their spouses coming out from thence with an
air of gaiety, seized them, and stabbed them dead with a little dagger,
which for that purpose each had concealed under his coat. Then flying
into the church for sanctuary, they discovered their mistake, when one
of them, seized with fury at the loss of a wife of whom he was so
extravagantly fond, stabbed the other, though not mortally, and with
many repeated wounds murdered the duenna, whose rash error had been the
occasion of spilling so much blood.

Upon Molony's return to England, he was totally out of all business,
and minded nothing but haunting the gaming tables, living on the
charity of his fortunate countrymen when his luck was bad, and relieving
them, in turn, when he had a favourable run at dice. It was at one of
these houses that he became acquainted with Carrick, and the likeness of
their tempers creating a great intimacy, after a short knowledge of one
another they joined with Carrol, a fellow as wicked as themselves, but
much more cruel, and were all concerned in that robbery for which
Carrick and Molony died.

When these two criminals came to be tried at the Old Bailey, their
behaviour was equally ludicrous, silly and indecent; affecting to rally
the evidence that was produced against them, and to make the people
smile at their premeditated bulls. Carrick, was a lean, fair man, and
stood at the left hand corner of the bar; Molony was a larger built man,
who wore a browner wig. Carrick took occasion to ask Mr. Young, when he
stood up to give his evidence, which side of the chair it was he stood
on, when he robbed him. Mr. Young answered him, that he stood on the
right side. _Why now, what a lie that is_, returned Carrick, _you know
Molony, I stood on the left._ Before the people recovered themselves
from laughing at this, Molony asked him what coloured wig he took him to
have on at the time the robbery was committed; being answered it was
much the same colour with that he had on then, _There's another story_,
quoth Molony, _you know, Carrick, I changed wigs with you that morning,
and wore it all day._

Yet after sentence was passed, Molony laid aside all airs of gaiety, and
seemed to be thoroughly convinced he had mistaken the true path of
happiness. He did not care to see company, treated the Ordinary civilly
when he spoke to him, though he professed himself a Papist, and was
visited by a clergymen of that Church.

As he was going to the place of execution, he still looked graver and
mote concerned; though he did not fall into those agonies of sighing and
tears as some do, but seemed to bear his miserable state with great
composedness and resignation, saying he had repented as well as he could
in the short time allowed him, suffering the same day with the two last
mentioned malefactors.

The Life of THOMAS WILSON, a Notorious Footpad

It happens so commonly in the world, that I am persuaded that none of my
readers but must have remarked that there is a certain settled and
stupid obstinacy in some tempers which renders them capable of
persevering in any act, how wicked and villainous soever, without
either reluctancy at the time of its commission, or a capacity of
humbling themselves so far as to acknowledge and ask pardon for their
offences when detected or discovered. Of this rugged disposition was the
criminal we are now to speak of.

Thomas Wilson was born of parents not in the worst of circumstances, in
the neighbourhood of London. They educated him both in respect of
learning and other things as well as their capacity would give them
leave; but Thomas, far from making that use of it that they desired,
addicted himself wholly to ill practices, that is to idleness, and those
little crimes of spoiling others, and depriving them of their property,
which an evil custom has made pass for trivial offences in England. But
it seems the parents of Wilson did not think so, but both reprimanded
him and corrected him severely whenever he robbed orchards, or any other
such like feats as passed for instances of a quick spirit and ingenuity
in children with less honest and religious parents.

But these restraints grew quickly so grievous to Thomas's temper, that
he, observing that his parents, notwithstanding their correction, were
really fond of him, bethought himself of a method of conquering their
dislike to his recreations. Therefore stealing away from his home, he
rambled for a considerable space in the world, subsisting wholly upon
such methods as he had before used for his recreation. But this project
was so far from taking effect, that his parents, finding him
incorrigible, looked very coldly upon him, and instead of fondling him
the more for this act of disobedience, treated him as one whom they
foresaw would be a disgrace to their family and of whom they had now
very little or no hope.

Wilson perceiving this, out of the natural sourness of his temper
resolved to abandon them totally, which he did, and went to sea without
their consent or notice. But men of his cast being very ill-suited to
that employment, where the strictest obedience is required towards those
who are in command, Wilson soon brought himself into very unhappy
circumstances by his moroseness and ill-behaviour; for though he was but
thirteen when he went to sea, and never made but one voyage to the
Baltic, yet in that space he was fourteen times whipped and pickled and
six times hung by the heels and lashed for the villainies he committed
on the ship.

Upon this return into England, he was so thoroughly mortified by this
treatment that he went home to his friends, and as far as his surly
humour would give him leave, made his submission and promised more
obedience and better behaviour for the future. They then took him in,
and were in some hopes that they should now reclaim him. Accordingly
they placed him with a sawyer, by Fleet Ditch, which at his first coming
to the business seemed to him to be a much lighter work than that he had
endured in the space of his being at sea. He served four years honestly,
indeed, and with as much content as a person of his unsettled mind could
enjoy in any state; but at the end of that space, good usage had so far
spoiled him that he longed to be at liberty again, though at the expense
of another sea voyage. Accordingly, leaving his master, he went away
again on board of a merchantman bound for the Straits. During the time
which the ship lay in port for her loading, he contracted some distemper
from the heat of the country, and his immoderate love of its wine and
the fruits that grow there. These brought him very low, and he falling
at the same time into company of some bad women, made an addition to his
former ails by adding one of the worst and most painful of all
distempers to the miseries he before endured.

In this miserable condition, more like a ghost than a man, he shipped
himself at last for England in a vessel, the captain of which out of
charity gave him his passage home. The air of that climate in which he
was born, recovered him to a miracle. Soon after which being, I suppose,
cured also of those maladies which had attended the Spanish women's
favours, he fell in love with a very honest industrious young woman, and
quickly prevailed with her to marry him. But her friends discovering
what a profligate life he led, resolved she should not share in the
misfortunes such a measure would be sure to draw upon him, wherefore
they took her away from him. How crabbed soever this malefactor might be
towards others, yet so affectionately fond was he of his wife that the
taking of her away made him not only uneasy and melancholy, but drove
him also into distraction. To relieve his grief, at first he betook
himself to those companies that afterwards led him to the courses which
brought on his death, and in almost all the villainies he committed
afterwards he was hardly ever sober, so much did the loss of his wife,
and the remorse of his course of the life he led affect him, whenever he
allowed himself coolly to reflect thereon.

The crew he had engaged himself in were the most notorious and the most
cruel footpads which for many years had infested the road. The robberies
they committed were numerous and continual, and the manner in which they
perpetrated them base and inhuman. For, seldom going out with pistols
(the sight of which serves often to terrify passengers out of their
money, without offering them any other injury than what arises from
their own apprehensions) these villains provided themselves with large
sticks, loaded at the end with lead; with these, from behind a hedge,
they were able to knock down passengers as they walked along the road,
and then starting from their covert, easily plunder and bind them if
they thought proper. They had carried on this detestable practice for a
long space in almost all those roads which lead to the little villages
whither people go for pleasure from the hurry and noise of London.

Amongst many other robberies which they committed, it happened that in
the road to Bow they met a footman, whom without speaking to, they
knocked down as soon as they had passed him. The fellow was so stunned
with the fall, and so frighted with their approach, that be made not the
least resistance while they took away his money and his watch, stripped
him of his hat and wig, his waistcoat and a pair of silver buckles; but
when one of them perceiving a ring of some value upon his finger, went
to tear it off, he begged him in the most moving terms to leave it,
because it had been given to him by his lady, who would never forgive
the loss of it. However it happened, he who first went to take it off,
seemed to relent at the fellow's repeated entreaties, but Wilson
catching hold of the fellow's hand, dragged it off at once, saying at
the same time, _Sirrah, I suppose you are your lady's stallion, and the
ring comes as honestly to us as it did to you._

A few days after this adventure, Wilson being got very drunk, thought he
would go out on the road himself, in hopes of acquiring a considerable
booty without being obliged to share it with his companions. He had not
walked above half an hour, before he overtook a man laden with several
little glazed pots and other things, which being tied up in a cloth, he
had hung upon the end of a stick and carried on his shoulder. Wilson
coming behind him with one of those loaded sticks that I have mentioned,
knocked him down by the side of the ditch, and immediately secured his
bundle. But attempting to rifle him farther, his foot slipped, he being
very full of liquor, and he tumbled backwards into the ditch. The poor
man took that opportunity to get up and run away, and so soon as he
could recover himself, Wilson retreated to one of those evil houses that
entertain such people, in order to see what great purchase he had got;
but upon opening the cloth, he was not a little out of humour at finding
four pots, each filled with a pound of rappee snuff, and as many galley
pots of scented pomatum.

Some nights after this expedition, he and one of his companions went out
on the like errand, and had not been long in the fields before they
perceived one Mr. Cowell, near Islington. Wilson's companion immediately
resolved to attack him, but Wilson himself was struck with such a
terror that he begged him to desist, from an apprehension that the man
knew him; but that not prevailing with his associate, they robbed him of
a hat and wig, and about a shilling in money. Wilson was quickly
apprehended, but his companion having notice thereof, saved himself by a
flight into Holland. At the ensuing sessions Wilson was indicted, not
only for this fact, but for many others of a like nature, to all of
which he immediately pleaded guilty, declaring that as he had done few
favours to mankind, so he would never expect any.

After sentence of death was pronounced upon him, he laid aside much of
his stubbornness, and not only applied himself to the duties of religion
which are recommended to persons in his unhappy condition to practice,
but also offered to make any discoveries he was able which might tend to
satisfying the Justice of his country or the benefit of society. In
pursuance of which he wrote a paper, which he delivered with much
ceremony at the place of execution, and which though penned in none of
the best styles, I have yet thought convenient to annex in his own

Being questioned with respect of several of his companions who are very
well known, but whom, notwithstanding all the search had been made after
them, no discovery could be made so as they might be apprehended and
brought to justice, Wilson declared that as for three of the most
notorious, they had made their escape into Holland some time before he
was apprehended; two others were in Newgate for trivial offences, and
another (whom he would not name) was retired into Warwickshire, had
married there, and led a very honest and industrious life.

At the place of execution he seemed less daunted than any of the
malefactors who suffered with him, showed himself several times by
standing up to the spectators, before the rope was fastened about his
neck, and told them that he hoped they would give no credit to any
spurious accounts which might be published of him; because whatever he
thought might be necessary for them to know, he had digested in a paper
which he had delivered the Sunday before he died, in order to be
communicated to the public. He added, that since he had been in the
cart, he had been informed that one Phelps had been committed to Newgate
for a robbery mentioned by him in his paper. He said, as he was a dying
man, he knew nothing of Phelps, and that he was not in any manner
whatsoever concerned in that robbery for which he had been apprehended.
He then put the rope about his neck, and submitted to his death with
great resolution, being then about twenty years of age, and the day he
suffered the 26th of July, 1722.

The Paper delivered by the above mentioned criminal the day before his

I, Thomas Wilson, desire it may be known that I was in a horse-way
that lies between Highgate and Hornsey, where meeting a man and a
woman, they enquired the way to Upper Holloway. We directed them
across the fields; meantime we drank two pints of ale to hearten us,
then followed them, and robbed them of two shillings and some half
pence, the woman's apron, her hat and coloured handkerchief. We left
them without misusing them, though there were thoughts of doing it.
My companion that robbed with me is gone to Holland upon hearing I
was taken up, though I should not have impeached him, but his
friends lived in Holland. Another robbery we committed was by a barn
in the footpath near Pancras Church of a hat and tie-wig, and cane,
and some goods he was carrying, but we heard he had a considerable
sum of money about him; but he ran away and I ran after him, but I
being drunk he escaped, and I was glad to get off safe. We robbed
two other men near Copenhagen House of a coat and waistcoat. I
committed many street robberies about Lincoln's Inn. For these and
for all other sins, I pray God and Man to pardon me, especially for
shooting the pistol off before Justice Perry, at my friend's
adversary, and am very glad I did not kill him.

The Lives of ROBERT WILKINSON and JAMES LINCOLN, Murderers and Footpads

Robert Wilkinson, like abundance of other unhappy young men, contracted
in his youth a liking to idleness, and an aversion to all sorts of work
and labour, and applied himself for a livelihood hardly to anything that
was honest. The only employment he ever pretended to was that of a prize
fighter or boxer at Hockley-in-the-Hole,[20] where, as a fellow of
prodigious dexterity, though low in stature, and very small limbed, he
was much taken notice of. And as is usual for persons who have long
addicted themselves to such a way of living, he had contracted an
inhumanity of temper which made him little concerned at the greatest
miseries be saw others suffer, and even regardless of what might happen
to himself. The set of villains into whose society he had joined
himself, viz., Carrick who was executed, Carrol who made his escape into
Ireland, Lincoln of whom we shall speak afterwards, Shaw and Burridge
before mentioned, and William Lock, perpetrated together a prodigious
number of villainies often attended with cruel and bloody acts.

Some of these fellows, it seems, valued themselves much on the ferocity
they exerted in the war they carried on against the rest of mankind,
amongst which Wilkinson might be justly reckoned, being ever ready to
second any bloody proposal, and as unwilling to comply with any
good-natured one. An instance of this happened in the case of two
gentlemen whom Shaw, he and Burridge attacked near Highgate. Not
contented with robbing them of about forty shillings, their watches and
whatever else about 'em was valuable, Wilkinson, after they were
dismounted, knocked one of them into a ditch, where he would have
strangled him with his hand if one of his comrades had not hindered him.
The man pleaded all the while the other held him, that he was without
arms, incapable of making any resistance, and that it was equally base
and barbarous to injure him, who neither could, nor would attempt to
pursue him. Though this fact was very fully proved, yet Wilkinson
strongly denied it, as indeed he did almost everything, though nothing
was more notorious than that he had lived by these wicked courses for a
very considerable time.

Having had occasion to mention this gang with whom Wilkinson was
concerned, it may not be improper to acquaint my readers with an
adventure of one Calhagan and Disney, two Irish robbers of the same
crew. One of them had persuaded a gentleman's housekeeper, of about
thirty-five, that he was extremely in love with her, passing at the same
time for a gentleman of fortune in the kingdom of Ireland, the brogue
being too strong upon his tongue for him to deny his country. He met her
frequently, and made her not a few visits, even at her master's house,
taking care all the while to keep up the greatest form of ceremony, as
though to a person whom he designed to make his wife. His companion
attended on him with great respect as his tutor or gentleman, appearing
at first very much dissatisfied with his making his addresses to a woman
so much beneath him, but as the affair went on pretending to be so much
taken with her wit, prudence and genteel behaviour, that he said his
master had made an excellent choice, and advised him to delay his
marriage no longer than till he had settled his affairs with his
guardian, naming as such a certain noble lord of unquestioned character
and honour. These pretences prevailing on the credulity of an old maid,
who like most of her species was fond of the company of young fellows,
and in raptures at the thoughts of a lover, she thought it a prodigious
long while till these accounts were made up, enquiring wherever she
went, when such a lord would come to town. She heard, at last, with
great satisfaction, that he would certainly come over from Ireland that

The family in which she lived, going out of town as usual, left her in
charge of the house; as there was nobody but herself and an under maid,
her lover often visited her, and at last told her that on such a day my
Lord had appointed to settle his affairs and to deliver up all his
trust. The evening of this day, the gentleman and his tutor came and
brought with them a bundle of papers and parchments, which they
pretended were the instruments which had been signed on this occasion.
After making merry with the housekeeper and the maid on a supper which
they had sent from the tavern, the elder of them at last pulls out his
watch, and said, _Come, 'tis time to do business, 'tis almost one
o'clock._ Upon which the other arose, seized the housekeeper, to whom he
had so long paid his addresses, and clapped an ivory gag into her mouth,
while his companion did the same thing by the other. Then putting out
all the candles, having first put one into a dark lanthorn they had
brought on purpose, they next led the poor creatures up and down the
house, till they had shown them the several places where the plate,
linen, jewels and other valuable things belonging to the family were
laid. After having bundled up these they threw them down upon the floor,
tied their ankles to one another, and left them hanging, one on one
side, and the other on the other side of the parlour door; in which
posture they were found the next day at noon, at the very point of
expiring, their blood having stagnated about their necks, which put them
into the greatest danger.

But to return to Wilkinson. One night, he with his companions Lincoln
and William Lock came up with one Peter Martin, a poor pensioner of
Chelsea College, whom they stopped. Wilkinson held him down and Lincoln
knocked him down on his crying out for help; afterwards taking him up,
he would have led him along, and Wilkinson pricked him with his sword in
the shoulders and buttocks for some time, to make him advance, till
William Lock cried out to them, _How should ye expect the man to go
forward when he is dead._

For this murder and for a robbery committed by them with Carrick and
Carrol they were both capitally convicted. Wilkinson behaved himself to
the time of his execution very morosely, and when pressed, at the place
of execution, to unburden his conscience as to the crime for which he
died, he answered peremptorily that he knew nothing of the murder, nor
of Lincoln who died with him, until they were apprehended; adding, that
as to hanging in chains he did not value it, but he had no business to
tell lies, to make himself guilty of things he never did. Three days and
three nights before the time of his death, he abstained totally from
meat and drink, which rendered him so faint that he had scarce strength
enough to speak at the tree.

James Lincoln, who died with him for the aforesaid cruel murder, was a
fellow of a more docile and gentle temper than Wilkinson, owned
abundance of the offences he had been guilty of, and had designed, as he
himself owned, to have robbed the Duke of Newcastle of his gaiter
ornaments, as he returned from the instalment. Notwithstanding these
confessions, he persisted, as well as Wilkinson, in utterly denying that
he knew anything of the murder of the pensioner, and saying that he
forgave William Lock who had sworn himself and them into it. Wilkinson
was at the time of his execution about thirty-five years old, and James
Lincoln somewhat under. They died at the same time with the
afore-mentioned malefactor, Wilson, at Tyburn.


[20] This was near Clerkenwell Green. It was a famous Bear
Garden and the scene of various prize-fights to which public
challenges were issued. Cunningham quotes a curious one for the
year 1722:--"I, Elizabeth Wilkinson, of Clerkenwell, having had
some words with Hannah Hyfield, and requiring satisfaction, do
invite her to meet me on the stage and box with me for three
guineas, each woman holding half-a-crown in each hand, and the
first woman that drops her money to lose the battle" (this was
to prevent scratching). The acceptance ran, "I, Hannah Hyfield,
of Newgate Market, hearing of the resoluteness of Elizabeth
Wilkinson, will not fail, God willing, to give her more blows
than words, desiring home blows and from her no favour."

The Life of MATTHIAS BRINSDEN, a Murderer

Though all offences against the laws of God and the land are highly
criminal in themselves, as well as fatal in their consequences, yet
there is certainly some degree in guilt; and petty thieveries and crimes
of a like nature seem to fall very short in comparison of the atrocious
guilt of murder and the imbrueing one's hands in blood, more especially
when a crime of so deep a dye in itself is heightened by aggravating

Matthias Brinsden, who is to be the subject of our present narration,
was a man in tolerable circumstances at the time the misfortune happened
to him for which he died. He had several children by his wife whom he
murdered, and with whom he had lived in great uneasiness for a long
time. The deceased Mrs. Brinsden was a woman of a great spirit, much
addicted to company and not a little to drinking. This had occasioned
many quarrels between her and her husband on the score of those
extravagancies she was guilty of, Mr. Brinsden thinking it hard that she
should squander away his money when he had a large family, and scarce
knew how to maintain it.

Their quarrels frequently rose to such a height as to alarm the
neighbourhood, the man being of a cruel, and the woman of an obstinate
temper, and it seemed rather a wonder that the murder had not ensued
before than that it happened when it did, they seldom falling out and
fighting without drawing blood, or having some grievous accident or
other happening therefrom. Once he burnt her arms with a red-hot iron,
and but a week before her death he ran a great pair of scissors into her
skull, which covered her with blood, and made him and all who saw her
think he had murdered her then. But after bleeding prodigiously she came
a little to herself, and on the application of proper remedies
recovered. Brinsden, in the meanwhile fled, and was hardly prevailed
with to return, upon repeated assurances that she was in no danger,
promising himself that if she escaped with life then, he would never
suffer himself to be so far transported with passion as to do her an
injury again.

The fatal occasion of that quarrel which produced the immediate death of
the woman, warm with liquor, and in the midst of passion, and which soon
after brought on a shameful and ignominious end to the man himself,
happened by Mrs. Brinsden's drinking cheerfully with some company at
home, and after their going away, demanding of her husband what she
should have for supper? He answered, bread and cheese; to which the
deceased replied that she thought bread and cheese once a day was
enough, and as she had eaten it for dinner, she would not eat it for
supper. Brinsden said, she should have no better than the rest of his
family, who were like to be contented with the same, except his eldest
daughter for whom he had provided a pie, and towards whom on all
occasions he showed a peculiar affection, occasioned as he said, from
the care she took of his other children and of his affairs, though
malicious and ill-natured people gave out that it sprang from a much
worse and, indeed, the basest of reasons.

On the discourse I have mentioned between him and his wife, Mrs.
Brinsden in a violent passion declared she would go to the general shop
and sup with her friends, who were gone from her but a little before.
He, therefore, having got between her and the door, having the knife in
his hand with which he cut the bread and cheese, and she still
persisting with great violence in endeavouring to go out, he threw her
down with one hand and stabbed her with the other. This is the account
of this bloody action as it was sworn against him at his trial by his
own daughter, though he persisted in it that what she called throwing
down was only gently laying her on the bed after she received the blow,
which as he averred happened only by chance, and her own pressing
against him as the knife was in his hand. However that was, he sent for
basilicon and sugar to dress the wound, in hopes she might at least
recover so far as to declare there was no malice between them, but those
endeavours were in vain, for she never spoke after.

In the meanwhile, Brinsden took occasion during the bustle that this sad
accident occasioned, and fled to one Mr. Kegg's at Shadwell Dock, where,
though for some small space he continued safe, yet the terrors and
apprehensions he was under were more choking and uneasy than all the
miseries he experienced after his being taken up. Such is the weight of
blood, and such the dreadful condition of the wicked.

At his trial he put on an air of boldness and intrepidity, saying that
though the clamour of the town was very strong against him, yet he hoped
it would not make an impression to his disadvantage on the jury, since
the death of his wife happened with no premeditated design. The surgeon
who examined the wound, having deposed that it was six inches deep, he
objected to his evidence by observing that the knife, when produced in
Court, was not quite so long. He pleaded also, very strongly, the
insupportable temper of his wife, and said she was of such a disposition
that nothing would do with her but blows. But all this signifying
little, the evidence of this daughter appearing also full and direct
against him, the jury showed very small regard to his excuses, and after
a short reflection on the evidence, they found him guilty.

Under sentence he behaved himself indolently and sottishly, doing
nothing but eat his victuals and doze in his bed; thinking it at the
same time a very great indignity that he should be obliged to take up
with those thieves and robbers who were in the same state of
condemnation with himself, always behaving himself towards then very
distantly, and as if it would have been a great debasement to him if he
had joined with them in devotion.

His daughter who had borne witness against him at his trial, came to him
at chapel and begged his forgiveness, even for having testified the
truth. At first he turned away from her with much indignation; the
second day she came, after great entreaty and persuasion of his friends,
he at last muttered out, _I forgive you._ But the girl coming the third
day and earnestly desiring he would kiss her, which at first he refused,
and at last turning to her and weeping lamentably, he took her in his
arms, and said: _For Christ's sake, my child, forgive me. I have robbed
you of your own mother. Be a good child, rather die than steal, never be
in a passion, but curb your anger. Honour your mistress, for she will be
both a father and a mother to you. Pray for your father and think of him
as well as you can._

At the place of execution he composed himself to suffer with as much
patience as he could, and while the rest threw books and handkerchiefs
to their friends, he seemed wrapped up in a profound meditation, out of
which he drew himself as soon as prayers began and assisted with much
cheerfulness and attention. When they were ended he stood up and
desiring the Ordinary to repeat after him the following speech, which he
dictated word for word as I have transcribed it, seeming most
passionately affected with the reflection the world had cast on himself
and daughter, as my readers will perceive from the speech itself. After
the making of which, he was immediately turned off, on the sixteenth of
July, 1722.

The last speech of Matthias Brinsden

I was born of kind parents, who gave me learning, and went
apprentice to a fine-drawer. I had often jars which might increase a
natural waspishness in my temper. I fell in love with Hannah, my
late wife, and after much difficulty won her, she having five
sisters at the same time. We had ten children (half of them dead)
and I believe we loved each other dearly, but often quarrelled and
fought. Pray good people mind, I had no malice against her, nor
thought to kill her, two minutes before the deed, but I designed
only to make her obey me thoroughly, which the Scripture says all
wives should do. This I thought I had done, when I cut her skull on
Monday, but she was the same again by Tuesday.

Good people, I request you to observe that though the world has
spitefully given out that I carnally and incestuously lay with my
eldest daughter, I here solemnly declare, as I am entering into the
presence of God, I never knew whether she was man or woman, since
she was a babe. I have often taken her in my arms, often kissed her,
sometimes given her a cake or a pie, when she did any particular
service beyond what came to her share, but never lay with her, or
carnally knew her, much less had a child by her. But when a man is
in calamities and is hated like me, the women will make surmises
into certainties. Good Christians pray for me, I deserve death, I am
willing to die, for though my sins are great, God's mercies are

The Life of EDMUND NEAL, a Footpad

Of all the unhappy wretches whose ends I have recorded that their
examples may be of the more use to mankind, there is none perhaps which
be more useful, if well considered, than this of Edmund Neal Though
there be nothing in it very extraordinary, yet it contains a perfect
picture of low pleasures for which men sacrifice reputation and
happiness, and go on in a voluptuous dream till they awake to temporal
and, but for the mercy of God, to eternal death.

This Edmund Neal was the son of a father of the same name, a blacksmith
in a market town in Warwickshire. He was one of those mechanics who,
from a particular observance of the foibles of human nature, insinuate
themselves into the good graces of those who employ them, and from being
created as something even beneath a servant, grow up at last into a
confidence to which it would not be improper to affix the name of a
friend. This Edmund Neal senior had by this method climbed (by a little
skill he had in horses) from paring off their hoofs, to directing of
their riders, until in short there was scarce a sporting squire in the
neighbourhood but old Edmund was of his privy council. Yet though he got
a vast deal of money, he took very little care of the education of his
son, whom he scarce allowed as much learning as would enable him to read
a chapter; but notwithstanding this, he carried him about with him
wherever he went, as if the company of gentlemen, though he was unable
to converse with them, would have been sufficient to improve him.

The scenes young Neal saw at the houses whither his father carried him,
filled him with such a liking to debauchery and such an irreclaimable
passion for sensual pleasures, as was the source from whence his
following misfortunes flowed. For what, as he himself complained, first
gave him occasion to repine at his condition, and filled him with
wandering inclinations of pursuing an idle and extravagant life, was the
forcing of him to go apprentice to a tailor, a trade for which he had
always the greatest aversion, and contempt. No sooner, therefore, was he
placed out apprentice, but the young fellows of that occupation whom he
had before derided and despised, now ridiculed him in their turns, and
laughed at the uneasiness which they saw his new employment caused him.
However, he lived about four years with his master, being especially
induced thereto by the company of a young man who worked there, and who
used to amuse him with stories of intrigues in London, to which Neal
listened with a very attentive ear.

This London companion more and more inclined him to vice, and the
history he gave of his living with a woman--who cheated her other
cullies to maintain him, and at last for the sake of a new sweetheart,
stripped him of all he had one night while he slept, and left him so
much in debt that he was obliged to fly into the country--the relation,
I say, of these adventures made such an impression on young Neal that he
was never at rest until he fell into a method of copying them. And as
ill-design seldom waits long for an opportunity, so the death of his
first master, and his being turned over to a second, much less careful
and diligent to his business, furnished Neal with the occasion he
wanted. This master he both cheated of his money and defrauded of his
goods, letting in loose and disorderly persons in the night, and finding
a way for their going out again in the morning before his master was
awake, and consequently without the least suspicion.

These practices quickly broke the man with whom he lived, and his
breaking turned Edmund upon the wide world, equally destitute of money,
friends and capacity, not knowing what to do, and having but two
shillings in his pocket. He took a solitary walk to that end of the town
which went out upon the London Road, and there by chance he met a woman
who asked him to go with her to London. He not knowing what to do with
himself accepted her offer, and without any more words to the bargain
they set out together. The woman was very kind to him on the road, and
poor Edmund flattered himself that money was so plentiful in London as
to render it impossible for him to remain without it. But he was
miserably mistaken when he arrived there. He went to certain
public-houses of persons whom he had known in the country, who instead
of using him civilly, in a day or two's time were thrusting him out of
doors. Some common whores, also, finding him to be a poor country
fellow, easily seduced him and kept him amongst them for a stallion,
until, between their lust and their diseases, they had put him in a fair
road to the grave.

Tired out with their vices, which were even too gross for a mind so
corrupted as his was, he chose rather to go and live with a brewer and
carry out drink. But after living for some time with two masters of that
occupation, his mind still roving after an easier and pleasanter life,
he endeavoured to get it at some public-house; which at last he with
much ado effected at Sadlers Wells.[21] This appeared so great a
happiness that he thought he should never be tired of a life where there
was so much music and dancing, to which he had been always addicted;
and, as he phrased it himself, he thought he was in another world when
he got with a set of men and maids in a barn with a fiddle among them.

However, he at last grew tired of that also; and resolving to betake
himself to some more settled and honest employment, he hired himself to
a man who kept swine, and there behaved himself both with honesty and
diligence. But his master breaking a little time after he had been with
him, though as he affirmed without his wronging him in the least, he was
reduced to look for some new way of maintaining himself. This being
about the time of the late Rebellion,[22] and great encouragement being
then offered for those who would enter themselves in the late king's
service at sea, Neal accepted thereof, and shipped himself on board the
_Gosport_ man-of-war, which sailed to the Western Islands of Scotland.
What between the cold and the hard fare he suffered deeply, and never,
as be said, tasted any degree of comfort till he returned to the West of
England The Rebellion being then over, Neal with very great joy accepted
his discharge from the service, and once more in search of business came
up to London.

The reputation of an honest servant he had acquired from the hog
merchant he had formerly lived with, quickly procured him a place with
another of the same trade, with him he lived too (as was said) very
honestly; and having been trusted with twenty or thirty pounds at a
time, was always found very trusty and faithful. But happening,
unluckily, to work here with one Pincher, who in the course of his life
had been as unhappy as himself, they thereupon grew very intimate
together, and being a couple of fellows of very odd tempers, after
having got half drunk at the Hampshire Hog, they took it into their
heads that there was not in the world two fellows so unhappy as
themselves. The subject began when they were maudlin, and as they grew
quite drunk, they came to a resolution to go out and beat everybody they
met, for being happier than themselves.

The first persons they met in this expedition were a poor old man whose
name was Dormer and his wife. The woman they abused grossly, and Pincher
knocked the man down, though very much in years, Neal afterwards
rolling him about, and either took or shook out of his pocket all the
money he had, which was but three pence farthing. For this unaccountable
action they were both apprehended, tried and convicted, with three other
persons, in the November sessions, 1722. But their inhuman behaviour to
the old man made such an impression on the Court to their disadvantage,
that when the death warrant came down, they two only were appointed for

At the near approach of death, Neal appeared excessively astonished, and
what between fear and concern, his senses grew disordered. However, at
the place of execution he seemed more composed than he had been before,
and said that it was very fit he should die, but added he suffered
rather for being drunk than any design he had either to rob or use the
man cruelly. As for William Pincher, his companion both in the robbery
and its punishment, he seemed to be the counterpart of Neal, a downright
Norfolk clown, born within six miles of Lynn and by the kindness of a
master of good fortune, taken into his house with an intent to breed him
up, on his father's going for a soldier. At first he behaved himself
diligently and thereby got much into the favour of his master, but
falling into loose company and addicting himself to sotting in
alehouses, his once kind and indulgent master, finding him incorrigible,
dismissed him from his service, and having given him some small matter
by way of encouragement, he set out for London. Here he got into the
business before mentioned, and said himself, that he might have lived
very comfortably thereon, if he had been industrious and frugal; but
that addicting himself to his old custom of sitting continually in an
alehouse had drawn him into very great inconveniences. In order to draw
himself out of these he thought of following certain courses, by which,
as he had heard some company where he used say, a young man might get as
much money as he could spend, let him live as extravagantly as he would.
This occasioned his persuading Neal into that fatal undertaking which
cost them their lives. His behaviour under sentence was irreproachable,
being always taken up either in reading, praying or singing of Psalms,
performing all things that so short a space would give him leave to do,
and showing as evident marks of true repentance as perhaps any unhappy
person ever did in his condition.

Thus these two companions in misfortune suffered together on die last
day of the year 1722, Edmund Neal being then about thirty years of age,
and Pincher about twenty-six.


[21] This was opened, about 1680, by a certain Sadler, as a
public music-room and house of entertainment. The discovery of a
spring of mineral water in the garden attracted general
attention and the place soon became a place of popular resort.

[22] The Jacobite rising of 1715.

The Life of CHARLES WEAVER, a Murderer

Hastiness of temper and yielding to all the rash dictates of anger, as
it is an offence the most unworthy a rational creature, so it is
attended also with consequences as fatal as any other crime whatever. A
wild expression thrown out in the heat of passion has often cost men
dearer than even a real injury would have done, had it been offered to
the same person. A blow intended for the slightest has often taken away
life, and the sudden anger of a moment produced the sorrow of years, and
has been, after all, irreparable in its effect.

Charles Weaver, of whom we are now speaking, was the son of parents in
very good circumstances in the city of Gloucester, who put him
apprentice to a goldsmith. He served about four years of his time with
his master, and having in that space run out into so much lewdness and
extravagance that his friends refused any longer to supply or to support
him, he then thought fit to go into the service of the Queen, as a
soldier, and in that capacity went over with those who were sent into
America to quell the Indians. These people were at that time instigated
by the French to attack our plantations on the main near which they lay.
The greater part of these poor creatures were without European arms, yet
several amongst them had fusees, powder and ball from the French, with
which, being very good marksmen, they did abundance of mischief from
their ambuscades in the woods.

At the time Weaver served against them, they were commanded by one
Ouranaquoy, a man of a bloody disposition, great courage and greater
cunning. He had commanded his nation in war against another Indian
nation, from whom he took about forty prisoners, who according to the
Indian custom were immediately destined to death; but being prevailed
upon, by the presence of the French, to turn his arms against the
English, on the confines of whose plantations he had gained his last
victory, Ouranaquoy having sent for the prisoners he had taken before
him, told them that if they would fall upon a village about three miles
distant, he would not only give them their liberty, but also such a
reward for the scalp of every Englishman, woman or child, they brought.
They readily agreed on these terms and immediately went and plundered
the village.

The English army lay about seven miles off, and no sooner heard of such
an outrage committed by such a nation, but they immediately attacked the
people to whom the prisoners belonged, marching their whole army for
that purpose against the village, which if we may call it so, was the
capital of their country. By this policy Ouranaquoy gained two
advantages, for first he involved the English in a war with the people
with whom they had entertained a friendship for twenty years, and in the
next place gained time, while the English army were so employed, to
enter twenty-five miles within their country, destroying fourscore
whites and three hundred Indians and negroes. But this insult did not
remain long unrevenged, for the troops in which Weaver served arriving
immediately after from Europe, the army (who before they had done any
considerable mischief to the people against whom they marched, had
learnt the stratagem by which they had been deceived by Ouranaquoy)
returned suddenly into his country, and exercised such severities upon
the people thereof that to appease and make peace with the English the
chiefs sent them the scalps of Ouranaquoy, his three brothers and nine

On Weaver's return into England from this expedition, he shipped himself
again as a recruit for that army which was then commanded by the Earl of
Peterborough in Spain. He served also under the Duke of Ormond when his
grace took Vigo, and Weaver had the good luck to get some hundred pounds
for his share in the booty, but that money which he, in his thoughts,
had designed for setting himself up in England, being insensibly
squandered and decayed, he was obliged to list himself again, and so
became a second time spectator of the taking of Vigo under the Lord

While he served in the second regiment of Foot-guards, he behaved
himself so well as to engage his officer to take him into his own house,
where he lived for a considerable space; and he had been twice actually
reviewed in order to his going into the Life-guards, when he committed
the act for which he died, which according to the evidence given at his
trial happened thus. He was going into a boat in company with Eleanor
Clark, widow, and Edward Morris. After they were in the boat, some words
arising, the woman bid Weaver pay Morris what he owed him, upon which
Weaver in a great passion got up, and endeavoured to overturn the boat
with them all. But Thomas Watkins, the waterman, preventing that, Weaver
immediately drew his sword, and swore he would murder them all, making
several passes at them as if he had firmly intended to be as good as his
word. The men defended themselves so well as to escape hurt, and
endeavoured all they could to have preserved the woman, but Weaver
making a pass, the sword entered underneath her left shoulder, and
thereby gave her a wound seven inches deep, after which she gave but one
groan and immediately expired. For this bloody fact Weaver was tried and
convicted, and thereupon received sentence of death.

During the space between the passing of sentence and its execution an
accident happened which added grievously to all his misfortunes. His
wife, big with child, coming about a fortnight before his death to see
him in Newgate, was run over by a dray and killed upon the spot. Weaver
himself, though in the course of the life he had led he had totally
forgot both reading and writing, yet came duly to prayers, and gave all
possible marks of sorrow and repentance for his misspent life, though he
all along pretended that the woman's death happened by accident, and
that he had had no intent to murder her. He suffered the 8th day of
February, 1722-3, being at that time about thirty years of age.


[23] See page 49.

The Life of JOHN LEVEE, a Highwayman, Footpad, etc.

There is a certain busy sprightliness in some young people which from I
know not what views, parents are apt to encourage in hopes of its one
day producing great effects. I will not say that they are always
disappointed in their expectations, but I will venture to pronounce that
where one bold spirit has succeeded in the world, five have been ruined,
by a busy turbulent temper.

This was the case with this criminal, John Levee, who, to cover the
disgrace his family suffered in him, called himself Junks. His father
was a French gentleman, who came over with King Charles II at the
Restoration, taught French to persons of distinction in court, and
particularly to some of that prince's natural children. For the
convenience of his scholars, he kept a large boarding-school in Pall
Mall, whereby he acquired such a fortune as enabled him to set up for a
wine merchant. In this capacity he dealt with France for many years to
the amount of thousands _per annum._ His children received the best
education that could be given them and never stirred out of doors but
with a footman to attend them.

But Mr. Levee, the merchant, falling into misfortunes by some of his
correspondents' failures, withdrew from his family into Holland; and
this son John being taken by the French Society, in order to be put out
apprentice and provided for, being induced thereto by the boy's natural
vivacity and warmth of temper in which he had been foolishly encouraged,
they sent him to sea with a captain of a man-of-war. He was on board the
_Essex_ when Sir George Byng, now Viscount Torrington, engaged the
Spaniards at Messina.[24] He served afterwards on board the squadron
commanded by Sir John Norris in the Baltic, and when he returned home,
public affairs being in a more quiet state, his friends thought it
better for him to learn merchants' accounts than to go any more voyages,
where there was now little prospect of advantage.

But book-keeping was too quiet an employment for one of Levee's warm
disposition, who far from being discouraged at the hardships of sea,
only complained of his ill-luck in not being in an engagement. And so,
to amuse this martial disposition, he with some companions went upon the
road, which they practised for a very considerable time, robbing in a
very genteel manner, by putting a hat into the coach and desiring the
passengers to contribute as they thought proper, being always contented
with what they gave them, though sometimes part of it was farthings.
Nay, they were so civil that Blueskin and this Levee, once robbing a
single gentlewoman in a coach, she happening to have a basket full of
buns and cakes, Levee took some of them, but Blueskin proceeded to
search her for money, but found none. The woman in the meanwhile
scratched him and called him a thousand hard names, giving him two or
three sound slaps in the face, at which they only laughed, as it was a
woman, and went away without further ill-usage, a civility she would
hardly have met with from any other gentlemen of their profession.

In October, he and his great companion Blueskin,[25] met a coach with
two ladies and a little miss riding between their knees, coming from the
Gravel Pits at Kensington.[26] Levee stopped the coach and without more
ado, ordered both the coachmen and footman to jump the ditch, or he'd
shoot them. They then stripped the ladies of their necklaces, cut a gold
girdle buckle from the side of the child, and took away about ten
shillings in money, with a little white metal image of a man, which they
thought had been solid silver, but proved a mere trifle.

At a grand consultation of the whole gang, and a report of great booties
that were to be made (and that, too, with much safety) on Blackheath,
they agreed to make some attempts there. Accordingly they set out,
being six horsemen well armed and mounted; but after having continued
about six hours upon the Heath, and not meeting so much as one person,
and the same ill luck being three or four times repeated, they left off
going on that road for the future. In December following, he and another
person robbed a butcher on horseback, on the road coming from Hampstead.
He told them he had sold two lambs there. Levee's companion said
immediately, _Then you have eight-and-twenty shillings about you, for
lambs sold to-day at fourteen shillings apiece._ After some grumbling
and hard words they made him deliver and by way of punishment for his
sauciness, as they phrased it, they took away his great coat into the
bargain, and had probably used him worse had not Levee seen a Jew's
coach coming that way, and been conscious to himself that those within
it knew him; whereupon he persuaded his associates to go off without
robbing it.

Levee never used anybody cruelly in any of his adventures, excepting
only one Betts, who foolishly struck him three or four blows on the
head, whereupon Levee with one blow of his pistol struck his eye out.
One night, upon the same road, Blake and Matthew Flood being in company
with this unhappy youth, they stopped the chariot of Mr. Young, the same
person who hanged Molony and Carrick.[27] Blake calling out to lay hold,
and Flood stopping the horses, Levee went into the coach and took from
Mr. Young a gold watch and chain, one Richard Oakey also assisting, who
died likewise for this fact. They robbed also Col. Cope, who was in the
same chariot, of his gold watch, chain and ring, and twenty-two
shillings in money. Levee said it would have been a very easy matter for
the gentleman to have taken him, he going into the coach without arms,
and his companions being on the other side of the hedge; but they gave
him the things very readily, and it was hard to say who behaved
themselves most civilly one towards the other, the gentlemen or he. One
of them desired to have a cornelian ring returned, which Levee inclined
to do, but that his companions would not permit him.

As they were going home after taking this booty, they met a poor man on
horseback. Notwithstanding the considerable sum they had taken just
before, they turned out of the road, carried him behind two haycocks
because the moon shone light, and there finding that he had but two
shillings in the world, the rest of his companions were for binding and
beating him, but upon the man's saying that he was very sick and
begging earnestly that they would not abuse him, Levee prevailed with
them not only to set him on his horse again, but to restore him his two
shillings, and lead him into the road where they left him.

Levee, Flood and Oakey were soon apprehended and Blake turning evidence,
they were convicted the next sessions at the Old Bailey, and ordered for
execution. Levee behaved himself while under condemnation very seriously
and modestly, though before that time, he had acted too much the bravo,
from the mistaken opinion that people are apt to entertain of courage
and resolution. But when death approached near, he laid aside all this,
and applied himself with great seriousness and attention to prayers and
other duties becoming a person in his condition.

At the place of execution he fell into a strange passion at his hands
being to be tied, and his cap pulled over his face. Passion signifying
nothing there, he was obliged to submit as the others did, being at the
time of his execution, aged about twenty-seven.


[24] See page 66.

[25] His real name was Joseph Blake, see page 177.

[26] This was a portion of what is now the Bayswater Road,
roughly between Petersburgh Place and the Notting Hill Tube
Station. Swift had lodgings there and it was a fairly
fashionable residential spot.

[27] See page 89.

The Lives of RICHARD OAKEY and MATTHEW FLOOD, Street-Robbers and

The first of these criminals, Richard Oakey, had been by his friends put
apprentice to a tailor. In about two years his master failed, and from
thence to the day of his unhappy death, Oakey continually followed
thieving in one way or other. At first he wholly practised picking of
women's pockets, which he said he did in a manner peculiar to himself;
for being dressed pretty genteelly, he passed by the person he intended
to rob, took up their upper petticoat and cut off the pocket at once,
tripping them down at the same time. Then he stepped softly on the other
side of the way, walked on and was never suspected. He said that while a
lad, he had committed several hundred robberies in this way. As he grew
older he made use of a woman to assist him, by pushing the people
against the wall, while he took the opportunity of cutting their
pockets; or at other times this woman came behind folks as they were
crossing the way, and catching them by the arm, cried out, _There's a
coach will run over ye_; while Oakey, in the moment of their surprise,
whipped off their pocket.

This woman, who had followed the trade for a considerable time, happened
one night at a bawdy-house to incense her bully so far as to make him
beat her; she thereupon gave him still more provoking language, till
at last he used her so cruelly, that she roared out _Murder_; and not
without occasion, for she died of the bruises, though the people of the
house concealed it for fear of trouble, and buried her privately. Upon
this Oakey was obliged to go on his old way by himself.


(_From the Annals of Newgate_)]

The robberies he committed being numerous and successful, he bethought
himself of doing something, as he called it, in a higher way; upon
which, scraping acquaintance with two as abandoned fellows as himself,
they took to housebreaking. In this they were so unlucky as to be
detected in their second adventure, which was upon a house in Southwark
near the Mint, where they stole calicoes to the value of twenty pounds
and upwards. For this his two associates were convicted at Kingston
assizes, he himself being the witness against them, by which method he
at that time escaped. And being cured of any desire to go
a-housebreaking again, he fell upon his old trade of picking pockets,
till he got into the acquaintance of another as bad as himself, whom
they called Will the Sailor. This fellow's practice was to wear a long
sword, and then by jostling the gentleman whom they designed to rob,
first created a quarrel, and while the fray lasted, gave his companion
the opportunity of rubbing off with the booty. But whether Will grew
tired of his companion, or of the dangerous trade which he was engaged
in, certain it is that he left it off, and got again out of England on

Oakey then got acquainted with Hawes, Milksop, Lincoln, Reading,
Wilkinson, and half a dozen others, with whom one way or other he was
continually concerned while they reigned in their villainies. And as
they were in a short space all executed, he became acquainted with
Levee, Flood, Blake and the rest of that gang, in whose association he
continued until his crimes and theirs brought them together to the
gallows. After condemnation his behaviour was such as became his
condition, getting up in the night to pray so often and manifesting all
the signs of a sincere repentance.

Matthew Flood was the son of a man who kept the Clink Prison[28] in the
parish of St. Mary Overys, who had given him as good an education as was
in his power, and bound him apprentice to one Mr. Williams, a
lighterman. In this occupation he might certainly have done well, if he
had not fallen into the company of those lewd persons who brought him to
his fate. He had been about three months concerned with Blake, Levee,
etc., and had committed many facts.

His behaviour under sentence was very penitent and modest, nor did he
suffer the continual hopes his friends gave him of a reprieve ever to
make him neglect his devotions. At the place of execution he said he was
more particularly concerned for a robbery he had committed on a woman in
Cornhill, not only because he took from her a good many guineas which
were in her pocket, but that at the same time also he had taken a will
which he burnt, and which he feared would be more to her prejudice than
the loss of her money.

Oakey was about twenty-five years old at the time of his death, and
Matthew Flood somewhat younger. They suffered on the same day with
Weaver and the last-mentioned malefactor Levee, at Tyburn.


[28] The Clink Prison was, until 1745, at the corner of Maid
Lane, Southwark. It was originally used as a house of detention
for heretics and offenders against the bishop of Winchester,
whose palace stood nearby.

The Life of WILLIAM BURK, a Footpad and Highwayman

As indulgence is a very common parent of wickedness and disobedience, so
immoderate correction and treating children as if they were Stocks is as
likely a method as the other to make them stubborn and obstinate, and
perhaps even force upon them taking ill methods to avoid usage which
they cannot bear.

William Burk, the unfortunate criminal whose enterprises are to be the
subject of our present narration, was born towards Wapping of parents
honest and willing to give him education, though their condition in the
world rendered them not able. He was thereupon put to the charity
school, the master of which being of a morose temper and he a boy of
very indifferent disposition, the discipline with which he was treated
was so severe that it created in him an aversion towards all learning;
and one day, after a more severe whipping than ordinary, he determined
(though but eleven years of age) to run away.

He sought out, therefore, for a captain who might want a boy, and that
being no difficult matter to find in their neighbourhood, he went on
board the _Salisbury_, Captain Hosier, then lying at the Buoy in the
Nore, bound for Jamaica. His poor mother followed him in great
affliction, and endeavoured all she could to persuade him to return, but
her arguments were all in vain, for he had contracted so great an
antipathy to school, from his master's treatment, that instead of being
glad to go back, he earnestly intreated the captain to interpose his
authority and keep him on board. His request was complied with, and the
poor woman was forced to depart without her son.

It was the latter end of Queen Anne's War when they sailed to Jamaica,
and during the time they were out, took two Spanish galleons very richly
laden. Their first engagement was obstinate and bloody, and he, though a
boy, was dangerously hurt as he bustled about one way or another as the
captain commanded him. The second prize carried 74 guns and 650 men, yet
the _Salisbury_ (but a 60-gun ship) took her without the loss of a
single man; only a woman, who was the only one on board, going to peep
at the engagement, had her head and shoulders shot off. Burk said the
prize money of each sailor came but to L15, but some of the officers
shared so handsomely as never to be obliged to go to sea again, being
enabled to live easily on shore.

Three years he continued in the West Indies, and there (especially in
Jamaica) he learned so much wickedness that when he came home, hardly
any of the gangs into which he entered were half so bad, though inured
to plunder, as he when he came amongst them a fresh man. From this
voyage he went another in the slave trade to the coast of Guinea. Here
he endured very great hardships, especially when he had the misfortune
to be on board where the negroes rose upon the English, and had like to
have overcome them; but at last having been vanquished, and tied down in
a convenient place, they were used with severity enough. Upon his return
into England from this voyage, he went into the Baltic in the
_Worcester_ man-of-war, in which he suffered prodigious hardships from
the coldness of the climate and other difficulties he went through.

The many miseries he had experienced in a life at sea might possibly
have induced him to the resolution he made of never going on ship-board
any more. How he came to take to robbing does not very clearly appear,
further than that he was induced thereto by bad women; but he behaved
himself with very great cruelty, for going over the first field from
Stepney, armed with a hedging-bill, he attacked one William Fitzer, and
robbed him of his jacket, tobacco-box, a knife and fork, etc. He robbed,
also, one James Westwood, of a coat and ten shillings in money; last of
all, attacking John Andrews and Robert his son, coming over the fields,
he dove the old man down. His son taking up the stick boldly attacked
Burk, and a neighbour, one Perkinson, coming in at the noise, he was
overpowered and apprehended. As the fact was very plainly proved, he was
on a short trial convicted, and the barbarity of the fact being so
great, left no room for his being omitted in the warrant for execution.

As he lay a long time under condemnation, and had no hopes of life, from
the moment of his confinement he applied himself to make his peace with
that Being whom he had so much offended by his profligate course of
life. On all occasions he expressed his readiness to confess anything
which might be for the promoting of justice or public good, in all
respects manifesting a thorough sorrow and penitence for that cruelty
with which he had treated poor old Andrews. At the tree he stood up in
the car, beckoned for silence, and then spoke to the multitude in these

Good People,

I never was concerned but in four robberies in my life. I desire all
men who see my fatal end to let my death teach them to lead a sober
and regular life, and above all to shun the company of ill-women,
which has brought me to this shameful end and place. I desire that
nobody may reflect upon my wife after my decease, since she was so
far from having any knowledge of the ills I committed, that she was
continually exciting me to live a sober and honest life. Wherefore I
hope God will bless her, as I also pray He may do all of you.

This malefactor, William Burk, was in the twenty-second year of his age
when executed at Tyburn, April the 8th, 1723.

The Life of LUKE NUNNEY, a murderer

Though drunkenness in itself is a shocking and beastly crime, yet in its
consequences it is also often so bloody and inhuman that one would
wonder persons of understanding should indulge themselves in a sin at
once so odious and so fatal both to body and soul. The instances of
persons who have committed murders when drunk, and those accompanied
with circumstances of such barbarity as even those persons themselves
could not have heard without trembling, are so many and so well known to
all of any reading, or who have made any reflection, that I need not
dwell longer than the bare narration of this malefactor's misfortunes
will detain me, to warn against a vice which makes them always monsters
and often murderers.

Luke Nunney, of whom we are to speak, was a young fellow of some parts,
and of a tolerable education, his father, at the time of his death,
being a shoemaker in tolerable circumstances, and very careful in the
bringing up of his children. He was more particularly zealous in
affording them due notions of religion, and took abundance of pains
himself to inculcate them in their tender years, which at first had so
good an effect upon this Luke that his whole thoughts ran upon finding
out that method of worship in which he was most likely to please God.
Sometimes, though his parents were at the Church of England, he slipped
to a Presbyterian Meeting-house, where he was so much affected with the
preacher's vehemency in prayer and his plain and pious method of
preaching that he often regretted not being bred up in that way, and the
loss his parents sustained by their not having a relish for religion
ungraced with exterior ornaments. These were his thoughts, and his
practice was suitable to them, until the misfortunes of his father
obliged him to break up the house, and put Luke out to work at another

The men where Nunney went to work were lewd and profligate fellows,
always talking idly or lewdly, relating stories of what had passed in
the country before they came up to work in London, the intrigues they
had had with vicious women, and such loose and unprofitable discourses.
This quickly destroyed the former good inclinations of Luke, who first
began to waver in religion, and as he had quitted the Church of England
to turn to the Dissenters, so now he had some thoughts of leaving them
for the Quakers; but after going often to their meetings he professed he
thought their behaviour so ridiculous and absurd as not to deserve the
name either of religion or Divine worship.

His instability of mind pressed him also to go out into the world, for
it appeared to him a great evil that while all the rest of his
companions were continually discoursing of their adventures, he should
have none to mention of his own. Some of them, also, having slightingly
called him Cockney and reproaching him with never having been seven
miles from London, he remembered that his father had some near relations
in the west of England, so he took a sudden resolution of going down
thither to work at his trade. Full of these notions he went over one
evening pretty late with his brother to Southwark, and meeting there
with an acquaintance who would needs make him drink, they stayed pretty
long at the house, insomuch that Luke got very drunk, and being always
quarrelsome when he had liquor, insulted and abused everybody in the
room. As he was quarrelling particularly with one James Young, William
Bramston who stood by, came up and desired him to be quiet, advised him
to go home with his company, and not stay and make a disturbance where
nobody had a mind to quarrel but himself. Without making any reply Luke
struck him a blow on the face. Bramston thereupon held up his fist as if
he would have struck him, but did not. However Nunney struck him again
and pushed him forwards, upon which Bramston reeled, cried out he was
stabbed and a dead man, that Nunney was the person who gave him the
wound, and Luke thereupon (drunk as he was) attempted to run away.

Upon this he was apprehended, committed prisoner to Newgate, and the
next sessions, on the evidence of such of his companions as were
present, he was convicted and received sentence of death. He behaved
himself from that time as a person who had as little desire as hopes of
continuing in the world, enquired diligently both of the Ordinary and of
the man who was under sentence with him, how he should prepare himself
for his latter end, coming constantly to chapel, and praying regularly
at all times. Yet at the place of execution he declared himself a
Papist. He added, that at the time the murder was committed he had no
knife nor could he imagine how it was done, being so drunk that he knew
nothing that had happened until the morning, when he found himself in
custody. He was about twenty years of age at the time of his suffering
on the 25th of May, 1723.

The Life of RICHARD TRANTHAM, a Housebreaker

Though vices and extravagancies are the common causes which induce men
to fall into those illegal practices which lead to a shameful death, yet
now and then it happens we find men of outward gravity and serious
deportment as wicked as those whose open licenciousness renders their
committing crimes of this sort the less amazing.

Of the number of these was Richard Trantham, a married man, having a
wife and child living at the time of his death, keeping also a tolerable
house at Mitcham in Surrey. He had been apprehended on the sale of some
stolen silk, and the next sessions following was convicted of having
broken the house of John Follwell, in the night-time, two years before,
and taking thence a silver tankard, a silver salver, and fifty-four
pounds of Bologna silk, valued at L74 and upwards. During the time which
passed between the sentence and execution he behaved in a manner the
most penitent and devout, not only making use of a considerable number
of books which the charity of his friends had furnished him with, but
also reading to all those who were in the condemned hold with them.

The morning he was to die, after having received the Sacrament, he was
exhorted to make a confession of those crimes which he had committed,
particularly as to housebreaking, in which he was thought to have been
long concerned; thereupon he recollected himself a little, and told of
six or seven houses which he had broken open, particularly General
Groves's near St. James's; a stone-cutter in Chiswell Street; and Mr.
Follwell's in Spitalfields, for which he died. At the place of
execution, whither he was conveyed in a mourning coach, he appeared
perfectly composed and submissive to that sentence which his own
misdeeds and the justice of the Law had brought upon him. Before the
halter was put about his neck, he spoke to those who were assembled at
the gallows to see his death, in the following terms:

Good People,

Those wicked and unlawful methods by which, for a considerable time,
I have supported myself, have justly drawn upon me the anger of God,
and the sentence of the Law. As I have injured many and the
substance I have is very small, I fear a restitution would be hard
to make, even if it should be divided. I therefore leave it all to
my wife for the maintenance of her and my child. I entreat you
neither to reflect on her nor on my parents, and pray the blessing
of God upon you all.

He was thirty years old when he died and was executed the same day with
the malefactor afore-mentioned.

The Lives of JOHN TYRRELL, a Horse-dealer, and WILLIAM HAWKSWORTH, a

John Tyrrell, the first of these malefactors, was convicted for stealing
two horses in Yorkshire, but selling them in Smithfield he was tried at
the Old Bailey. It seem she had been an old horse-stealer as most people
conjecture, though he himself denied it, and as he pretended at his
trial to have bought those two for which he died at Northampton Fair, so
he continually endeavoured to infuse the same notions into all persons
who spoke to him at the time of his death. He had practised carrying
horses over into Flanders and Germany, and there selling them to persons
of the highest rank, with whom he always dealt so justly and honourably
that, as it was said, his word would have gone there for any sum
whatsoever that was to be laid out in horse-flesh.

He had been bred up a Dissenter, and above all things affected the
character of a religious and sober man, which excepting the instances
for which he died, he never seemed to have forfeited; for whatever else
was said against him after he was condemned, arose merely from
conjectures occasioned by the number of horses he had sold in foreign
parts. He himself professed that he had always led a most regular and
devout life, and in the frequent voyages he made by sea, exhorted the
sailors to leave that dissolute manner of life which too generally they
led. During the whole time he lay under sentence, he talked of nothing
else but his own great piety and devotion, which though, as he
confessed, it had often been rewarded by many singular deliverances
through the hand of Providence, yet since he was suffered to die this
ignominious death and thereby disgrace his family and altogether
overturn that reputation of sanctity with which so much pains himself
had been setting up, he inclined to atheistic notions, and a wavering
belief as to the being of a God at all.

As for the other malefactor, William Hawksworth, he was a Yorkshireman
by birth. His parents, reputable people who took a great care in his
reputation, intended to breed him to some good trade, but a regiment of
soldiers happening to come into the town, Hawksworth imagining great
things might be attained to in the army, would needs go with them, and
accordingly listed himself. But having run through many difficulties and
much hardships, finding also that he was like to meet with little else
while he wore a red coat, he took a great deal of pains and made much
interest to be discharged. At last he effected it, and a gentleman
kindly taking him to live with him as a footman, he there recovered part
of that education which he had lost while in the army. There, also, he
addicted himself for some time to a sober and quiet life, but soon after
giving way to his old roving disposition, he went away from his master,
and listed himself again in the army in one of the regiments of Guards.

His behaviour the last time of his being in the service was honest and
regular, his officers giving him a very good character, and nobody else
a bad one; but happening to be one day commanded on a party to mount
guard at the Admiralty Office, by Charing Cross, they met a man and
woman. The man's name was John Ransom, and this Hawksworth stepping up
to the woman and going to kiss her, Ransom interposed and pushed him
off, upon which Hawksworth knocked him down with the butt end of his
piece, by which blow about nine o'clock that evening he died.

The prisoner insisted continually that as he had no design to kill the
man it was not wilful murder. He and Tyrrell died with less confusion
and seeming concern than most malefactors do. Tyrrell was about thirty
and Hawksworth in the twenty-eighth year of his age, on the 17th of
June, 1723.

The Life of WILLIAM DUCE, a Notorious Highwayman and Footpad

However hardened some men may appear during the time they are acting
their crimes and while hopes of safety of life remains, yet when these
are totally lost and death, attended with ignominy and reproach, stares
them in the face, they seldom fail to lay aside their obstinacy; or, if
they do not, it is through a stupid want of consideration, either of
themselves or of their condition.

William Duce, of whom we are now to speak, was one of the most cruel and
abandoned wretches that ever went on the road. He was born at
Wolverhampton, but of what parents, or in what manner he lived until his
coming up to London, I am not able to say. He had not been long here
before he got in debt with one Allom, who arrested him and threw him
into Newgate, where he remained a prisoner upwards of fifteen months;
here it was that he learnt those principles of villainy which he
afterwards put in practice.

His companions were Dyer, Butler, Rice and some others whom I shall have
occasion to mention. The first of December, 1722, he and one of his
associates crossing Chelsea Fields, overtook a well-dressed gentleman, a
tall strong-limbed man, who having a sword by his side and a good cane
in his hand they were at first in some doubt whether they should attack
him. At last one went on one side and the other on the other, and
clapping at once fast hold of each arm, they thereby totally disabled
him from making a resistance. They took from him four guineas, and tying
his wrists and ankles together, left him bound behind the hedge.

Not long after he, with two others, planned to rob in St. James's Park.
Accordingly they seized a woman who was walking on the grass near the
wall towards Petty France, and after they had robbed her got over the
wall and made their escape. About this time his first acquaintance began
with Dyer, who was the great occasion of this poor fellow's ruin, whom
he continually plagued to go out a-robbing, and sometimes threatened him
if he did not. In Tottenham Court Road, they attacked a gentleman, who
being intoxicated with wine, either fell from his horse, or was thrown
off by them, from whom they took only a gold watch. Then Butler and Dyer
being in his company, they robbed Mr. Holmes of Chelsea, of a guinea and
twopence, the fact for which he and Butler died.

Thinking the town dangerous after all these robberies, and finding the
country round about too hot to hold them, they went into Hampshire and
there committed several robberies, attended with such cruelties as have
not for many years been heard of in England; and though these actions
made a great noise, yet it was some weeks before any of them were

On the Portsmouth Road it happened they fell upon one Mr. Bunch, near a
wood side, where they robbed and stripped him naked; yet not thinking
themselves secure, Duce turned and fired at his head. He took his aim so
true that the bullet entered the man's cheek, upon which he fell with
the agony of pain, turning his head downwards that the bullet might drop
out of his mouth. Seeing that, Butler turned back and began to charge
his pistol. The man fell down on his knees and humbly besought his life.
Perceiving the villain was implacable, he took the advantage before the
pistol was charged to take to his heels, and being better acquainted
with the way than they, escaped to a neighbouring village which he
raised, and soon after it the whole country; upon which they were
apprehended. Mead, Wade and Barking, were condemned at Winchester
assizes, but this malefactor and Butler were removed by an _Habeas
Corpus_ to Newgate.

While under sentence of death, Duce laid aside all that barbarity and
stubbornness with which he had formerly behaved, with great frankness
confessed all the villainies he had been guilty of, and at the place of
execution delivered the following letter for the evidence Dyer, who as
he said, had often cheated them of their shares of the money they took
from passengers, and had now sworn away their lives.

The Letter of William Duce to John Dyer

It is unnecessary for me to remind you of the many wicked and
barbarous actions which in your company and mostly by your advice,
have been practised upon innocent persons. Before you receive this,
I shall have suffered all that the law of man can inflict for my
offences. You will do well to reflect thereon, and make use of that
mercy which you have purchased at the expense of our blood, to
procure by a sincere repentance the pardon also of God; without
which, the lengthening of your days will be but a misfortune, and
however late, your crimes if you pursue them, will certainly bring
you after us to this ignominious place.

You ought especially to think of the death of poor Rice, who fell in
the midst of his sins, without having so much as time to say, _Lord
have mercy on me._ God who has been so gracious as to permit it to
you, will expect a severe account of it, and even this warning, if
neglected, shall be remembered against you. Do not however think
that I die in any wrath or anger with you, for what you swore at my
trial. I own myself guilty of that for which I suffer, and I as
heartily and freely forgive you, as I hope forgiveness for myself,
from that infinitely merciful Being, to whose goodness and
providence I recommend you.


He also wrote another letter to one Mr. R. W., who had been guilty of
some offences of the like nature in his company, but who for some time
had retired and lived honestly and privately, was no longer addicted to
such courses, nor as he hoped would relapse into them again. At the time
of his execution he was about twenty-five years of age, and suffered at
Tyburn on the 5th of August, 1723.

The Life of JAMES BUTLER, a Most notorious Highwayman, Footpad, etc.

James Butler was the son of a very honest man in the parish of St.
Ann's, Soho, who gave him what education it was in his power to bestow,
and strained his circumstances to the utmost to put him apprentice to a
silversmith. James had hardly lived with him six months when his roving
inclination pushed him upon running away and going to sea, which he did,
with one Captain Douglass in a man-of-war.

Here he was better used than most young people are at the first setting
out in a sailor's life. The captain being a person of great humanity and
consideration, treated James with much tenderness, taking him to wait on
himself, and never omitting any opportunity to either encourage or
reward him. But even then Butler could not avoid doing some little
thieving tricks, which very much grieved and provoked his kind
benefactor, who tried by all means, fair and foul, to make him leave
them off. One day, particularly, when he had been caught opening one of
the men's chests and a complaint was thereupon made to the captain, he
was called into the great cabin, and everybody being withdrawn except
the captain, calling him to him, he spoke in these terms.

_Butler, I have always treated you with more kindness and indulgence
than perhaps anybody in your station has been used with on board any
ship. You do, therefore, very wrong by playing such tricks as make the
men uneasy, to put it out of my power to do you any good. We are now
going home, where I must discharge you, for as I had never any
difference with the crew since I commanded the_ Arundel, _I am
determined not to let you become the occasion of it now. There is two
guineas for you, I will take care to have you sent safe to your mother._

The captain performed all his promises, but Butler continued still in
the same disposition, and though he made several voyages in other ships,
yet still continued light-fingered, and made many quarrels and
disturbances on board, until at last he could find nobody who knew him
that would hire him. The last ship he served in was the _Mary_, Capt.
Vernon commander, from which ship he was discharged and paid off at
Portsmouth, in August, 1721.

Having got, after this, into the gang with Dyer, Duce, Rice and others,
they robbed almost always on the King's Road, between Buckingham House
and Chelsea. On the 27th of April, 1723, after having plundered two or
three persons on the aforesaid road, they observed a coach coming
towards them, and a footman on horseback riding behind it. As soon as
they came in sight Dyer determined with himself to attack them, and
forced his companions into the same measures by calling out to the
coachman to stop, and presenting his pistols. The fellow persisted a
little, and Dyer was cocking his pistol to discharge it at him, when the
ladies' footman from behind the coach, fired amongst them, and killed
Joseph Rice upon the spot.

This accident made such an impression upon Butler that though he
continued to rob with them a day or two longer, yet as soon as he had an
opportunity he withdrew and went to hard labour with one Cladins, a very
honest man, at the village called Wandsworth, in Surrey. He had not
wrought there long, before some of his gang had been discovered. His
wife was seized and sent to Bridewell in order to make her discover
where her husband was, who had been impeached with the rest. This
obliged him to leave his place, and betake himself again to robbing.

Going with his companions, Wade, Meads, Garns and Spigget, they went
into the Gravesend Road, and there attacking four gentlemen, Meads
thought it would contribute to their safety to disable the servant who
rode behind, upon which he fired at him directly, and shot him through
the breast. Not long after, they set upon another man, whom Meads
wounded likewise in the same place, and then setting him on his horse,
bid him ride to Gravesend. But the man turning the beast's head the
other way, Meads went back again, and shot him in the face, of which
wound he died.

When Butler lay under sentence of death he readily confessed whatever
crimes he had committed, but he, as well as the before-mentioned
criminal, charged much of his guilt upon the persuasions of the evidence
Dyer. He particularly owned the fact of shooting the man at Farnham.
Having always professed himself a Papist, he died in that religion, at
the same time with the afore-mentioned criminal, at Tyburn.

The Life of CAPTAIN JOHN MASSEY, who died for Piracy

The gentleman of whom we are now to speak, though he suffered for
piracy, was a man of another turn of mind than any of whom we have
hitherto had occasion to mention. Captain John Massey was of a family I
need not dwell on, since he hath at present two brothers living who make
a considerable figure in their respective professions.

This unhappy person had a natural vivacity in his temper, which
sometimes rose to such a height that his relations took it for a degree
of madness. They, therefore, hoping by a compliance with his humours to
bring him to a better sense of things, sent him into the army then in
Flanders, under the command of the Duke of Marlborough; and there he
assisted at the several sieges which were undertaken by the Confederate
army after his arrival, viz., Mons, Douai, Bouchain, and several others.
Yet though he was bold there, even to temerity, he never received so
much as one wound through the whole course of the war, in which, after
the siege of Lille, he commanded as a lieutenant, and that with great

On his return into England he at first wholly addicted himself to a
religious sober life, the several accidents of the war having disposed
him to a more serious temper by making him plainly perceive the hand of
Providence in protecting and destroying, according as its wisdom seeth
fit. But after a short stay in London, he unhappily fell into the
acquaintance of a lewd woman, who so besotted him that he really
intended to marry her, if the regiment's going to Ireland had not
prevented it. But there the case was not much mended, since Captain
Massey gave too much way to the debaucheries generally practised in that

On his coming back from thence, by the recommendation of the Duke of
Chandois, he was made by the Royal African Company a lieutenant colonel
in their service, and an engineer for erecting a fort on the Coast of
Africa. He promised himself great advantage and a very honourable
support from this employment, but he and the soldiers under his command
being very ill used by the person who commanded the ship in which he
went over (being denied their proportion of provisions and in all other
respects treated with much indignity) it made a great impression on
Captain Massey's mind, who could not bear to see numbers of those poor
creatures perish, not only without temporal necessities, but wanting
also the assistance of a divine in their last moments. For the chaplain
of the ship remained behind in the Maderas, on a foresight perhaps, of
the miseries he should have suffered in the voyage.

In this miserable condition were things when the Captain and his
soldiers came into the River Gambia, where the designed fort was to be
built. Here the water was so bad that the poor wretches, already in the
most dreadful condition, were many of them deprived of life a few days
after they were on shore. The Captain was excessively troubled at the
sight of their misfortunes and too easily in hopes of relieving them
gave way to the persuasion of a captain[29] of a lighter vessel than his
own, who arrived in that port, and persuaded him to turn pirate rather
than let his men starve.

After repeated solicitations, Captain Massey and his men went on board
this ship, and having there tolerable good provisions, soon picked up
their strength and took some very considerable prizes. At the plundering
of these Massey was confused and amazed, not knowing well what to do,
for though he was glad to see his men have meat, yet it gave him great
trouble when he reflected on the methods by which they acquired it. In
this disconsolate state his night was often so troublesome to him as his
days, for, as he himself said, he seldom shut his eyes but he dreamt
that he was sailing in a ship to the gallows, with several others round

After a considerable space, the ship putting into the island of Jamaica
for necessary supply of water and provision, he made his escape to the
Governor, and gave him such information that he took several vessels
thereby; but not being easy there, he desired leave of Sir Nicholas Laws
to return home. Sir Nicholas gave him letters of recommendation, but
notwithstanding those, he no sooner returned in England but he was
apprehended and committed for piracy. Soon after which he was bailed;
but the persons who became security growing uneasy, he surrendered in
their discharge, soon after which he was tried, convicted and

During the space he remained in prison under condemnation he behaved
with so much gravity, piety and composedness, as surprised all who saw
him, many of whom were inclined to think his case hard. No mercy was to
be had and as he did not expect it, so false hopes never troubled his
repose; but as death was to cut him off from the world, so he beforehand
retired all his affections from thence and thought of nothing but that

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