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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 4 out of 15

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state whither he was going.

In his passage to execution he pointed to the African House,[30] said,
_They have used me severely, but I pray God prosper and bless them in
all their undertakings._

Mr. Nicholson, of St. Sepulchre's, attended him in his last moments.
Just before he died he read the following speech to the people.

Good People,

I beg of you to pray for my departing soul. I likewise pray God to
forgive all the evidences that swore against me, as I do from my
heart. I challenge all the world to say I ever did a dishonourable
act or anything unlike a gentleman, but what might be common to all
young fellows in this age. This was surely a rash action, but I did
not designedly turn pirate. I am sorry for it, and I wish it were in
my power to make amends to the Honourable African Company for what
they have lost by my means. I likewise declare upon the word of a
dying man that I never once thought of molesting his Grace the Duke
of Chandois, although it has been maliciously reported that I always
went with two loaded pistols to dispatch his Grace. As for the Duke,
I was always, while living, devoted to his service, for his good
offices done unto me, and I humbly beg Almighty God, that He would
be pleased to pour down His blessings upon his good family. Good
people, once more I beg of you to pray for my departing soul. I
desire my dying words to be printed, as for the truth and sincerity
of it, I sign them as a man departing this world.

John Massey

After he had pronounced these words, he signified it as his last request
that neither his wife, nor any of his relations might see his body after
it was in the coffin. Then praying a few moments to himself he submitted
to his fate, being at the time of his death twenty-eight years old. He
suffered at high-water mark, Execution Dock, on the 26th of July, 1723,
his unhappy death being universally pitied.


[29] This was Captain George Lowther, a redoubtable pirate. A
more complete Story of Massey's adventures is given in Johnson's
_History of the Pirates._

[30] In Leadenhall Street, along which he would pass on the way
to Wapping.

The Life of PHILIP ROCHE, a Pirate, etc.

As in the life of Captain Massey, my readers cannot but take notice of
those great evils into which men are brought by over-forwardness and
inconsideration, so in the life of the malefactor we are now to speak
of, they will discern what a prodigious pitch of wickedness, rapine and
cruelty, human nature is capable of reaching unto, when people abandon
themselves to a desire of living after their own wicked inclinations,
without considering the injuries they do others while they gratify their
own lusts and sensual pleasures.

Philip Roche[31] was the son of a person of the same name in Ireland.
His father gave him all the education his narrow circumstances would
permit which extended however to reading and writing a tolerable good
hand, after which he sent him to sea. Philip was a lad of ingenious
parts, and instead of forgetting, as many do, all they have learnt, he
on the contrary took all imaginable care to perfect himself in
whatsoever he had but a slight notion of before he went to sea. He made
abundance of coasting voyages about his native island, went once or
twice to Barbadoes, and being a saving and industrious young fellow,
picked up money enough to become first mate in a trading vessel to
Nantes in France, by which being suffered to buy goods himself, he got
considerably, and was in a fair way to attaining as great a fortune as
he could reasonably expect. But this slow method of getting money did by
no means satisfy Roche; he was resolved to grow rich at once, and not
wait till much labour and many voyages had made him so.

When men once form to themselves such designs, it is not long before
they find companions fit for their purpose. Roche soon met with one
Neal, a fisherman of no education, barbarous but very daring, a fellow
who had all the qualities that could conspire to make a dangerous
villain, and who had already inured himself to the commission of
whatever was black or bloody, not only without remorse but without
reluctance. Neal recommended him to one Pierce Cullen, as a proper
associate in those designs they were contriving; for this Cullen, as
Neal informed him, was a fellow of principles and qualifications much
like himself, but had somewhat a better capacity for executing them, and
with Neal had been concerned in sinking a ship, after insuring her both
in London and Amsterdam. But Providence had disappointed them in the
success of their wicked design for Cullen having been known, or at
least suspected of doing such a thing before, those with whom they had
insured at London, instead of their paying the money, caused him to be
seized and brought to a trial, which demolished all their schemes for
cheating insurance offices.

Cullen brought in his brother to their confederacy, and after abundance
of solicitation induced Wise to come in likewise. The project they had
formed was to seize some light ship, and turn pirates in her, conceiving
it no difficult matter afterwards to obtain a stronger vessel, and one
better fitted for their purpose.

The ship they pitched on to execute this their villainous purpose was
that of Peter Tartoue, a Frenchman of a very generous disposition, who
on Roche and his companions telling him a melancholy story, readily
entertained them; and perceiving Roche was an experienced sailor, he
entrusted him upon any occasion with the care and command of the ship.
Having done so one night, himself and the chief mate with the rest of
the French who were on board went to rest, except a man and a boy, whom
Roche commanded to go up and furl the sails. He then called the rest of
his Irish associates to him upon the quarter-deck. There Roche,
perceiving that Francis Wise began to relent, and fearing he should
persuade others in the same measures, he told them that if every
Irishman on board did not assist in destroying the French, and put him
and Cullen in a capacity of retrieving the losses they had had at sea,
they would treat whoever hesitated in obeying them with as little mercy
as they did the Frenchmen; but if they would all assist, they should all
fare alike, and have a share in the booty.

Upon this the action began, and two of them running up after the
Frenchman and boy, one tossed the lad by the arm into the water, and the
other driving the man down upon the deck he there had his brains dashed
out by Roche and his companions. They fell next upon those who were
retired to their rest, some of whom, upon the shrieks of the man and boy
who were murdered, rising hastily out of their beds and running up upon
deck to see what occasioned those dismal noises, were murdered
themselves before they well knew where they were. The mate and the
captain were next brought up, and Roche went immediately to binding them
together, in order to toss them overboard, as had been consulted. 'Twas
in vain for poor Tartoue to plead the kindness he had done them all and
particularly Roche. They were deaf to all sentiments, either of
gratitude or pity, and though the poor men entreated only so much time
as to say their prayers, and recommend themselves to God, yet the
villains (though they could be under no apprehensions, having already
murdered all the rest of the men) would not even yield to this, but
Cullen hastened Roche in binding them back to back, to toss them at once
into the sea. Then hurrying down into the cabin, they tapped a little
barrel of rum to make themselves good cheer, and laughed at the cries of
the two poor drowned men, whom they distinctly heard calling upon God,
until their voices and their breaths were lost in the waves.

After having drunk and eaten their fill, with as much mirth and jollity
as if they had been at a feast, they began to plunder the vessel,
breaking open the chests, and taking out of them what they thought
proper. Then to drinking they went again, pleasing themselves with the
barbarous expedition which they resolved to undertake as soon as they
could get a ship proper to carry them into the West Indies, intending
there to follow the example the buccaneers had set them, and rob and
plunder all who fell into their hands. From these villainies in
intention, the present state of their affairs called upon them to make
some provision for their immediate safety. They turned therefore into
the Channel, and putting the ship into Portsmouth, there got her new
painted and then sailed for Amsterdam, Roche being unanimously
recognised their captain, and all of them promising faithfully to submit
to him through the course of their future expeditions.

On their arrival in Holland, they had the ship a second time new
painted, and thinking themselves now safe from all discovery began to
sell off Captain Tartoue's cargo as fast as they could. No sooner had
they completed this, but getting one Mr. Annesley to freight them with
goods to England (himself also going as a passenger) they resolved with
themselves to make prise of him and his effects, as they had also done
with the French captain. Mr. Annesley, poor man, little dreaming of
their design, came on board as soon as the wind served; and the next
night a brisk gale blowing, they tore him suddenly out of his bed and
tossed him over. Roche and Cullen being with others in the great cabin,
he swam round and round the ship, called out to them, and told them they
should freely have all his goods if they would take him in and save his
life, for he had friends and fortunes enough in England to make up that
loss. But his entreaties were all vain to a set of wretches who had long
ago abandoned all sentiments of humour and mercy. They therefore
caroused as usual, and after sharing the booty, steered the vessel for

Some information of their villainies had by that time reached thither,
so that upon a letter being stopped at the post office, which Roche, as
soon as they had landed, had written to his wife, a messenger was
immediately sent down, who brought Philip up in custody. Being brought
to the Council table, and there examined, he absolutely denied either
that himself was Philip Roche, or that he knew of any one of that name.
But his letters under his own hand to his wife being produced, he was
not able any longer to stand in that falsehood.

Yet those in authority knowing that there was not legal proof sufficient
to bring these abominable men to justice, offered Roche his life,
provided he gave such information that they might be able to apprehend
and convict any three of his companions more wicked than himself; but he
was so far from complying therewith that he suffered those of his crew
who were taken to perish in custody rather than become an evidence
against them. This was the fate of Neal, who perished of want in the
Marshalsea, having in vain petitioned for a trunk in which was a large
quantity of money, clothes and other things to a considerable value,
which had been seized in Ireland by virtue of a warrant from the Lord
Justice of that Kingdom, on the account of the detention of which, while
he perished for want of necessaries and clothes, Neal most heavily
complained, forgetting that these very things were the plunder of those
unhappy persons whom they had so barbarously murdered, after having
received so much kindness and civility from them.

In the meanwhile Roche, being confined in Newgate, went constantly to
the chapel and appeared of so obliging a temper that many persuaded
themselves he could not be guilty of the bloody crimes laid to his
charge; and taking advantage of these kind thoughts of theirs, he framed
a new story in defence of himself. He said that there happened a quarrel
on board the ship between an Irishman and a Frenchman, and that Tartoue
taking part with his own nation, threatened to lash the Irishman
severely, though he was not in any way in the wrong. This, he pretended,
begat a general quarrel between the two nations, and the Irish being the
stronger, they overpowered and threw the French overboard in the heat of
their anger, without considering what they did.

Throughout the whole time he lay in Newgate, he very much delighted
himself with the exercise of his pen, continually writing upon one
subject or other, and often assisting his fellow prisoners in writing
letters or whatever else they wanted in that kind. When he was told that
Neal, who died in the Marshalsea, gushed out at all parts of his body
with Wood, so that before he expired he was as if he had been dipped in
gore, Roche replied, it was a just judgment that he who had always
lived in blood, should die covered with it.

Sometime afterwards, being told that one of his companions had poisoned
himself he said, Alas! that so evil an end should follow so evil a life;
for his part he would suffer Providence to take its course with him, and
rather die the most ignominious death than to his other crimes add that
of self-murder. The rest who had been apprehended dying one by one in
the same dreadful condition with Neal, that is, with the blood gushing
from every part of their body, which looked so much like a judgment that
all who saw it were amazed, he (Roche) began to think himself perfectly
safe after the death of his companions, supposing that now there was
nobody to bear any testimony against him; and therefore, instead of
appearing in any way dismayed, he most earnestly desired the speedy
approach of an Admiralty sessions. It was not long before it happened
and when he found what evidence would be produced against him, he
appeared much less solicitous about his trial than anybody in his
condition would have been expected to be, for he very well knew it was
impossible for them to prove him guilty of the murders and as impossible
for him to be acquitted of the piracy.

After receiving sentence of death, he declared himself a Papist, and
said that he could no longer comply with the service of the Church of
England, and come to the chapel. He did not, however, think that he was
in any danger of death, but supposed that the promises which had been
made him on this first examination would now take place and prevent the
execution of his sentence. When, therefore, the messenger returned from
Hanover[32], and brought an express order that he should die, he
appeared exceedingly moved thereat, and without reflecting at all on the
horrid and barbarous treatment with Which he had used others, he could
not forbear complaining of the great hardship he suffered in being put
into the death warrant, after a promise had been made him of life,
though nothing is more certain than that he never performed any part of
those conditions upon which it was to have taken place.

At the place of execution he was so faint, confused, and in such a
consternation that he could not speak either to the people, or to those
who were nearer at hand, dying with the greatest marks of dejection and
confusion that could possibly be seen in any criminal whatever. He was
about thirty years old at the time of his execution, which was at
high-water mark, Execution Dock, on the 14th of August, 1723.


[31] A detailed account of this villain is given in Johnson's
_History of the Pirates._

[32] Where the warrant had evidently been taken for the
signature of the king or a minister.

The Life of HUMPHRY ANGIER, a Highwayman and Footpad

From the life of Roche, the course of those papers from which I extract
these accounts leads me to mention this criminal, that the deaths of
malefactors may not only terrify those who behold them dying, but also
posterity, who, by hearing their crimes and the event which they brought
on, may avoid falling into the one, for fear of feeling the other.

Humphry Angier was by birth of the Kingdom of Ireland, his father being
a man in very ordinary circumstances in a little town a few miles
distant from Dublin. As soon as this son was able to do anything, he
sent him to the city of Cork, and there bound him apprentice to a
cooper. His behaviour while an apprentice was so bad that his master
utterly despaired to do any good with him, and therefore was not sorry
that he ran away from him. However, he found a way to vex him
sufficiently, for he got into a crew of loose fellows, which so far
frightened the old cooper that he was at a considerable expense to hire
persons to watch his house for the four years that Angier loitered about
that city. At last his father even took him from thence, and brought him
over into England where he left him at full liberty to do what he
thought fit; resolving with himself that if his son would take to
ill-courses, it should be where the fame of his villainies might not
reflect upon him and his family.

He was now near eighteen years of age and being in some fear that some
persons whom he had wronged might bring him into danger, he listed
himself in the king's service, and went down with a new raised regiment
into Scotland, where he hoped to make something by plundering the
inhabitants, it being in the time of the Rebellion[33]. But he did not
succeed very well there, and on his return fell into the company of
William Duce, whom we have mentioned before. His conversation soon
seduced him to follow the same course of life, and that their intimacy
might be the more strongly knit, he married Duce's sister. Then engaging
himself with all that gang, he committed abundance of robberies in their
company, but was far from falling into that barbarous manner of beating
the passengers which was grown customary and habitual to Mead, Butler,
and some others of his and Duce's companions.

Angier told a particular story of them, which made a very great
impression upon him, and cannot but give my readers of an idea of that
horrible spirit which inspired those wretches. Mead and Butler came one
evening to him very full of their exploits, and the good luck they had
had. Mead particularly, having related every circumstance which had
happened since their last parting, said that amongst others whom they
had robbed they met a smooth-faced shoemaker, who said he was just
married and going home to his friends. They persuaded him to turn out of
the road to look in the hedge for a bird's nest, whither he was no
sooner got, but they bound, gagged and robbed him, and afterwards
turning back, barbarously clapped a pistol to his head and shot out his
brains. After this Angier declared he would never drink in the company
of Mead, and when Butler sometimes talked after the same manner, he used
to reprove him by telling him that cruelty was no courage, at which
Butler and some of his companions sometimes laughed, and told him he had
singular notions of courage.

After this, he and his wife (Duce's sister) set up a little alehouse by
Charing Cross, which soon against his will, though not without his
consent, became a bawdy-house, a receptacle for thieves, etc. This sort
of company rendered his house so suspicious and so obnoxious to the
magistrates for the City of Westminster, that he quickly found the
necessity of moving from thence. He then went and set up a brandy-shop,
where the same people came, though as he pretended much to his
dissatisfaction. While he kept the alehouse, there were two odd
accidents befell him, which brought him for the first time to Newgate.
It happened that while he was out one day, a Dutch woman picked up a
gentleman and brought him to Angier's house, where, while he was asleep,
she picked his pocket and left him. For this Angier and his maid were
taken up, and tried at the Old Bailey. He was also at the same time
tried for another offence, viz., an Irishwoman coming to his house and
drinking pretty hard there, he at last carried her upstairs, and
throwing her upon a bed pretended a great affection for her person; but
his wife coming in and pretending to be jealous of the woman, pulled her
off the bed and in so doing picked her pocket of four guineas. But of
this there being no direct evidence against him, he was also acquitted.
However, it ruined his house and credit, and drove him upon what was too
much his inclination, the taking money by force upon the road.

He now got into an acquaintance with Carrick, Carrol, Lock, Kelly, and
many others of that stamp, with whom he committed several villainies,
but always pretending to be above picking pockets, which he said was
practised by none of their crew but Hugh Kelly, who was a very dextrous
fellow in his way. However, when Angier was in custody, abundance of
people applied to him to help them to their gold watches, snuff-boxes,
etc.; but as he told them, so he persisted in it always, that he knew
nothing of the matter; and Kelly being gone over into America and there
settled, there was no hopes of getting any of them again.

One evening he and Milksop, one of his companions, being upon the road
to St. Albans, a little on this side of it, met a gentleman's coach, and
in it a young man and two ladies. They immediately called to the
coachman to stop, but he neglecting to obey their summons, they knocked
him off from the box, having first prevented him from whipping off, by
shooting one of his horses. They then dragged him under the coach, which
running over him hurt him exceedingly and even endangered his life. Then
they robbed the young gentleman and the ladies of whatever they had
about them valuable, using them very rudely and stripping things off
them in a very harsh and cruel way. Angier excused this by saying at the
time he did it he was much in liquor.

In the beginning of the year '20, Angier, who had so long escaped
punishment for the offences which he had committed, was very near
suffering for one in which he had not the least hand; for a person of
quality's coachman being robbed of a watch and some money, a woman of
the town, whom Angier and one of his companions had much abused, was
thereupon taken up, having attempted to pawn the fellow's watch after he
had advertised it. She played the hypocrite very dexterously upon her
apprehension, and said that the robbery was not committed by her, but
that Angier, Armstrong and another young man were the persons who took
it, and by her help they were seized and committed to Newgate. At the
ensuing sessions the woman swore roundly against them, but the fellow
being more tender, and some circumstances of their innocence plainly
appearing, they were acquitted by the jury and that very justly in this
case in which they had no hand.

During the time he lay under sentence, he behaved himself with much
penitence for another offence, always calling earnestly to God for His
assistance and grace to comfort him under those heavy sorrows which his
follies and crimes had so justly brought upon him.

At the place of execution he did not appear at all terrified at death,
but submitted to it with the same resignation which for a long space he
had professed since his being under confinement. Immediately before he
suffered he recollected his spirits and spoke in the following terms to
that crowd which always attends on such melancholy occasions.

Good People,

I see many of you here assembled to behold my wretched end. I hope
it will induce you to avoid those evils which have brought me
hither. Sometime before my being last taken up, I had formed within
myself most steady purposes of amendment, which it is a great
comfort to me, even here that I never broke them, having lived at
Henley upon Thames, both with a good reputation, and in a manner
which deserved it. I heartily forgive and I hope God would do the
same to Dyer, whose evidence hath taken away my life. I hope he will
make a good use of that time which the price of my blood and that of
others has procured him. I heartily desire pardon of all whom I have
injured and declare that in the several robberies I have committed,
I have been always careful to avoid committing any murder.

After this he adjusted the rope about his own neck, and submitted to
that sentence which the Law directed, being at that time about
twenty-nine years of age. He suffered on the 9th of September, 1723.


[33] The Jacobite rising of 1715.

The Life of CAPTAIN STANLEY, a Murderer

There cannot be a greater misfortune than to want education, except it
be the having a bad one. The minds of young persons are generally
compared to paper on which we may write whatever we think fit, but if it
be once blurred and blotted with improper characters, it becomes much
harder to impress proper sentiments thereon, because those which were
first there must be totally erased. This seems to have been too much the
case with the unhappy person of whom the thread of these narrations
requires that I should speak, viz., Captain Stanley.

This unhappy young gentleman was the son of an officer in the army who
married the sister of Mr. Palmer, of Duce Hill, in Essex, where she was
brought to bed of this unfortunate son John, in the year 1698. The first
rudiments he received were those of cruelty and blood, his father at
five years old often parrying and thrusting him with a sword, pricking
him himself and encouraging other officers to play with him in the same
manner, so that his boy, as old Stanley phrased it, might never be
afraid of a point--a wretched method of bringing up a child and which
was highly likely to produce the sad end he came to.

He served afterwards in the army with his father in Spain and Portugal,
where he suffered hardships enough, but they did not very much affect
him, who acquired by his hopeful education so savage a temper as to
delight in nothing so much as trampling on the dead carcasses in the
fields after an engagement.

Returning into England with his father, old Stanley had the misfortune
to slab a near relation of my Lord Newbury's, in the Tilt Yard,[34] for
which he was committed prisoner to Newgate. Afterwards being released
and commanded into Ireland, he carried over with him this son John and
procured for him an ensign's commission in a regiment there. Poor young
Stanley's sprightly temper gained him abundance of acquaintance and (if
it be not to profane the name) of friends amongst the young rakes in
Ireland, some of whom were persons of very great quality, and had such
an affection for him as to continue their visits and relieve his
necessities when under his last misfortunes in Newgate. But such company
involving him at that time in expenses he was no way able to support, he
was obliged shortly to part for ready money with his ensign's
commission, which gave his father great pain and uneasiness.

Not long after, he came again into England and to London, where he
pursued the same methods, though his father importuned him to apply to
General Stanhope, as a person he was sure would assist him, having been
always a friend to their family, and particularly to old Stanley
himself. But Jack was become a favourite with the ladies, and had taken
an easier road to what he accounted happiness, living either upon the
benevolence of friends, the fortune of the dice, or the favours of the
sex. A continual round of sensual delights employed his time, and he was
so far from endeavouring to attain any other commission or employment in
order to support him, that there was nothing he so much feared as his
being obliged to quit that life he loved; for old Stanley was
continually soliciting for him, and as he had very good interest,
nothing but his son's notorious misbehaviour made him not prevail. In
the current of his extravagancies Jack fixed himself often upon young
men coming into the world, and under pretence of being their tutor in
the fashionable vices of the town, shared in their pleasures and helped
them squander their estates.

Of this stamp was a gay young Yorkshire squire, who by the death of an
uncle and by the loss of his father while a boy, had had so little
education as not to know how to use it. Him Stanley got hold of, and
persuaded him that nothing was so advantageous to a young gentleman as
travel, and drew him to make a tour of Flanders and Holland in his
company. Though a very wild young fellow, Stanley gave a very tolerable
account of the places, especially the fortifications which he had seen,
and sufficiently demonstrated how capable he might have been of making
an exalted figure in the world, if due care had been taken to furnish
him with any principles in his youth. But the neglect of that undid him,
and every opportunity which he afterwards had of acquiring anything,
instead of making him an accomplished gentleman, did him mischief. Thus
his journey to Paris in company with the afore-mentioned gentleman
helped him to an opportunity of learning to fence to the greatest
perfection, so that the skill he was sensible he had in the sword made
him ever ready to quarrel and seek occasions to use it.

Amongst the multitude of his amours he became acquainted and
passionately fond of one Mrs. Maycock, whose husband was once an eminent
tradesman upon Ludgate Hill. By her he had a child of which also he was
very fond. This woman was the source of the far greater part of his
misfortunes, for when his father had procured him a handsome commission
in the service of the African Company, and he had received a
considerable sum of money for his voyage, appearing perfectly satisfied
himself, and behaving in so grave and decent a manner as filled his
family and relations with very agreeable hopes, they were all blasted by
Mrs. Maycock's coming with her child to Portsmouth, where he was to
embark. She so far prevailed upon his inclinations as to get him to give
her one half of the Company's money and to return to town with the other
half himself. On his coming up to London he avoided going to his
father's, who no sooner heard how dishonourably his son had behaved, but
laying it more to heart than all the rest of his misfortunes, grief in a
short time put an end to them all by his death.

When the news of it came to young Stanley, he fell into transports of
grief and passion, which as many of his intimate companions said, so
disturbed his brain that he never afterwards was in a right temper.
This, indeed, appeared by several accidents, some of which were sworn at
his trial, particularly that while he lodged in the house of Mr.
Underhill, somebody having quoted a sentence of Latin in his company, he
was so disturbed at the thoughts of his having had such opportunities of
acquiring the knowledge of that language and yet continuing ignorant
thereof, through his negligence and debauchery, that it made at that
time so strong an impression on his spirits, that starting up, he drew
a penknife and attempted to stab himself, without any other cause of
passion. At other times he would fall into sudden and grievous rages,
either at trifles, or at nothing at all, abuse his best friends, and
endeavour to injure himself, and then coming to a better temper, begged
them to forgive him, for he did not know what he did.

During the latter part of his life, his circumstances were so bad that
he was reduced to doing many dirty actions which I am persuaded
otherwise would not have happened, such as going into gentlemen's select
companies at taverns, without any other ceremony than telling them that
his impudence must make him welcome to a dinner with them, after which,
instead of thanking them for their kindness, he would often pick a
quarrel with them, though strangers, drawing his sword and fighting
before he left the room. Such behaviour made him obnoxious to all who
were not downright debauchees like himself, and hindered persons of rank
conversing with him as they were wont.

In the meantime his favourite Mrs. Maycock, whom he had some time lived
with as a wife and even prevailed with his mother to visit her as such,
being no longer able to live at his rate, or bear with his temper,
frequented a house in the Old Bailey, where it was supposed, and perhaps
with truth, that she received other company. This made Stanley very
uneasy, who like most young rakes thought himself at liberty to pursue
as many women as he pleased, but could not forgive any liberties taken
by a woman whom he, forsooth, had honoured with his affections.

One night therefore, seeing her in Fleet Street with a man and a woman,
he came up to her and gently tapped her on the shoulder. She turning,
cried, _What! My dear Captain!_ And so on they went walking to his house
in the Old Bailey. There some words happened about the mutual
misfortunes they had brought upon one another. Mrs. Maycock reproached
him with seducing her, and bringing on all the miseries she had ever
felt; Stanley reflected on her hindering his voyage to Cape Coast, the
extravagant sums he had spent upon her, and her now conversing with
other men, though she had had three or four children by him. At last
they grew very high, and Mrs. Maycock, who was naturally a very
sweet-tempered woman, was so far provoked, as Stanley said, that she
threw a cup of beer at him; upon which some ill-names passing between
them, Stanley drew his sword and stabbed her between the breasts eight
inches deep; immediately upon which he stopped his handkerchief into the

He was quickly secured and committed to Wood Street Compter,[35] where
he expressed very little concern at what had happened, laughing and
giving himself abundance of airs, such as by no means became a man in
his condition. On his commitment to Newgate, he seemed not to abate the
least of that vivacity which was natural to his temper, and as he had
too much mistaken vice for the characteristic of a fine gentleman, so
nothing appeared to him so great a testimony of gallantry and courage as
behaving intrepidly while death was so near its approach. He therefore
entertained all who conversed with him in the prison, and all who
visited him from without, with the history of his amours and the favours
that had been bestowed on him by a multitude of fine ladies. Nay, his
vanity and impudence was so great as to mention some of their names, and
especially to asperse two ladies who lived near Cheapside Conduit.[36]
But there is great reason to believe that part of this was put on to
make his madness more probable at his trial, where he behaved very
oddly, and when he received sentence of death, took snuff at the bar,
and put on abundance of airs that were even ridiculous anywhere, and
shocking and scandalous upon so melancholy an occasion.

After sentence, his carriage under his confinement altered not so much
as one would have expected; he offering to lay wagers that he should
never be hanged, notwithstanding his sentence, for he was resolved not
to die like a dog on a string, when he had it in his power always to go
out of the world a nobler way, by which he meant either a knife or
opium, which were the two methods by one of which he resolved to prevent
his fate. But when he found that all his pretences of madness were like
to produce nothing, and that he was in danger of dying in every respect
like a brute, he laid aside much of his ill-timed gaiety, and began to
think of preparing for death after another manner.

These gentlemen who assisted him while in Newgate, were so kind as to
offer to make up a considerable sum of money, if it could have been of
any use; but finding that neither that nor their interest could do
anything to save him, they frankly acquainted him therewith and begged
him not to delude himself with false hopes. All the while he was in
Newgate, a little boy whom he had by Mrs. Maycock, continued with him,
and lay constantly in his bosom. He manifested the utmost tenderness
and concern for that poor child, who by his rashness had been deprived
of his mother, and whom the Law would, by its just sentence, now
likewise deprive of its father. Being told that Mr. Bryan, Mrs.
Maycock's brother on Tower Hill was dead, merely through concern at his
sister's misfortunes and the deplorable end that followed them, Stanley
clapped his hands together and cried, _What, more death still? Sure I am
the most unfortunate wretch that was ever born._

Some few days before his execution, talking to one of his friends, he
said, _I am perfectly convinced that it is false courage to avoid the
just sentence of the Law, by executing the rash dictates of one's rage
by one's own head. I am heartily sorry for the rash expression I have
been guilty of, of that sort, and am determined to let the world see my
courage fails me no more in my death than it has done in my life; and,
my dear friend_, added he, _I never felt so much ease, quiet and
satisfaction in all my life, as I have experienced, since my coming to
this resolution._

But though he sometimes expressed himself in a serious and religious
manner yet passion would sometimes break in upon him to the last and
make him burst out into frightful and horrid speeches. Then again he
would grow calm and cool, and speak with great seeming sense of God's
providence in his afflictions.

He was particularly affected with two accidents which happened to him
not long before his death, and which struck him with great concern at
the time they happened. The first of these was a fall from his horse
under Tyburn, in which he was stunned so that he could not recover
strength enough to remount, but was helped on his horse again by the
assistance of two friends. Not long after which, he had as bad an
accident of the same kind under Newgate, which he said, made such an
impression on him, that he did not go abroad for many mornings
afterwards, without recommending himself in the most serious manner to
the Divine protection.

Another story he also told, with many marks of real thankfulness for the
narrow escape he then made from death, which happened thus. At a
cider-cellar in Covent Garden he fell out with one Captain Chickley, and
challenging him to fight in a dark room, they were then shut up together
for some space. But a constable being sent for by the people of the
house, and breaking the door open, delivered him from being sent
altogether unprepared out of the world, Chickley being much too hard for
him, and having given him a wound quite through the body, himself
escaping with only a slight cut or two.

As the day of execution drew near, Mr. Stanley appeared more serious
and much more attentive to his devotions than hitherto he had been. Yet
could he not wholly contain himself even then, for the Sunday before he
died, after sermon, at which he had behaved himself decently and
modestly, he broke out into this wild expression, that he was only sorry
he had not fired the whole house where he killed Mrs. Maycock. When he
was reproved for these things he would look ashamed, and say, 'twas
true, they were very unbecoming, but they were what he could not help,
arising from certain starts in his imagination that hurried him into a
short madness, for which he was very sorry as soon as he came to

At the place of execution, to which he was conveyed in a mourning coach,
he turned pale, seemed uneasy, and complained that he was very sick,
entreating a gentleman by him to support him with his hand. He desired
to be unbound that he might be at liberty to pray kneeling, which with
some difficulty was granted. He then applied himself to his devotions
with much fervency, and then submitted to his fate, but when the cap was
drawn over his eyes he seemed to shed tears abundantly. Immediately
before he was turned off he said his friends had provided a hearse to
carry away his body and he hoped nobody would be so cruel as to deny his
relations his dead limbs to be interred, adding, that unless he were
assured of this, he could not die in peace.

Such was the end of a young man in person and capacity every way fitted
to have made a reputable figure in the world, if either his natural
principles, or his education had laid any restraint upon his vices; but
as his passions hurried him beyond all bounds, so they brought a just
end upon themselves, by finishing a life spent in sensual pleasures with
an ignominious death, which happened at Tyburn in the twenty-fifth year
of his age, on the 23rd of December, 1722.


[34] This was an open space, facing the banquetting-house of
old Whitehall, and included part of what is now Horse Guards'

[35] This was one of the sheriff's compters--the other was in
the Poultry--and served for debtors as well as criminals. It
stood about half-way up Wood Street, on the east side.

[36] There were two conduits in Cheapside; the Great, which
stood in the middle of the street, near its junction with the
Poultry, and the Little, which was at the other end, facing
Foster Lane and Old Change.

The Life of STEPHEN GARDINER, a Highwayman and Housebreaker

Stephen Gardiner was the son of parents of middling circumstances,
living at the time of his birth in Moorfields. This, perhaps, was the
immediate cause of his ruin, since he learnt there, while a boy, to idle
away his time, and to look on nothing as so great a pleasure as gaming
and cudgel playing. This took up equally his time and his thoughts, till
he grew up to about fourteen years old, when his friends placed him out
as an apprentice to a weaver.

While he was with his master he did so many unlucky tricks as
occasioned not only severe usage at home, but incurred also the dislike
and hatred of all the neighbours; so that instead of interposing to
preserve him from his master's correction, they were continually
complaining and getting him beaten; nay, sometimes when his master was
not ready enough to do it, would beat him themselves. Stephen was so
wearied out with this kind of treatment, notwithstanding it arose solely
from his own fault, that he determined to run away for good and all,
thinking it would be no difficult matter for him to maintain himself,
considering that dexterity with which he played at ninepins, skittles,
etc. But experience quickly convinced him of the contrary, so in one
month being much reduced after betaking himself to this life, by those
misfortunes which were evident enough (though his passion for liberty
and idleness hindered him from foreseeing them) that he had not so much
as bread to eat.

In this distressed condition he was glad to return home again to his
friends, imploring their charity, and that, forgetting what was passed,
they would be so kind as to relieve him and put him in some method of
providing for himself. Natural affection pleading for him,
notwithstanding all his failings they took him home again, and soon
after put him as a boy on board a corn vessel which traded to Holland
and France; but the swearing, quarrelling and fighting of the sailors so
frightened him, being then very young and unable to cope with them, that
on his return he again implored the tenderness of his relations to
permit his staying in England upon any terms, promising to live in a
most sober and regular manner, provided that he might get his bread by
hard labour at home, and not be exposed to the injuries of wind and
weather and the abuses of seamen more boisterous than both. They again
complied and put him to another trade, but work, it seems, was a thing
no shape could reconcile to him, and so he ran away from thence, too,
and once more put himself for a livelihood upon the contrivance of his
own brain.

He went immediately to his old employment and old haunt, Moorfields,
where as long as he had any money he played at cards, skittles, etc.,
with the chiefs of those villainous gangs that haunt the place; and when
reduced to the want both of money and clothes, he attempted to pick
pockets, or by playing with the lads for farthings to recruit himself.
But pocket-picking was a trade in which he had very ill-luck, for taking
a wig out of a gentleman's pocket at the drawing of the state
lottery,[37] the man suffered him totally to take it out, then seized
him and cried out _Pickpocket._ The boy immediately dropped it, and
giving it a little kick with his foot protected his innocence which
induced a good-natured person there present to stand so far his friend
that he suffered no deeper that bout. But a month after, being taken in
the same manner, and delivered over to the mob, they handled him with
such cruelty as scarce to leave him life, though he often upon his knees
begged them to carry him before a Justice and let him be committed to
Newgate. But the mob were not so to be prevailed on, and this severity,
as he said, cured him effectually of that method of thieving.

But in the course of his rambling life, becoming acquainted with two
young fellows, whose names were Garraway and Sly, they invited him to go
with them upon some of their expeditions in the night. He absolutely
refused to do anything of that kind for a long time, but one evening,
having been so unlucky as to lose not only his money but all his clothes
off his back, he went in search of Sly and Garraway, who received him
with open arms, and immediately carried him with them upon those
exploits by which they got their living. Garraway proposed robbing of
his brother for their first attempt, which succeeded so far as to their
getting into the house; but they found nothing there but a few clothes
of his brother and sister, which they took away. But Garraway bid them
not be discouraged at the smallness of the booty, for his father's house
was as well furnished as most men's, and their next attack should be
upon that. To this they agreed, and plundered it also, taking away some
spoons, tankards, salts and several other pieces of plate of
considerable value; but a quick search being made, they were all three
apprehended, and Gardiner being the youngest was admitted an evidence
against the other two, who were convicted.

Some weeks after, Gardiner got his liberty, but being unwarned, he went
on still at the same rate. The first robbery he committed afterwards was
in the house of the father of one of his acquaintances on Addle Hill,
where Gardiner stole softly upstairs into the garret, and stole from
thence some men's apparel to a very considerable value. A while after
this, he became acquainted with Mr. Richard Jones, and with him went
(mounted upon a strong horse) into Wales upon what in the canting
dialect is called "the Passing Lay," which in plain English is thus:
They get countrymen into an alehouse, under pretence of talking about
the sale of cattle, then a pack of cards is found as if by accident, and
the two sharpers fall to playing with one another until one offering to
lay a great wager on the game, staking the money down, the other shows
his hand to the countryman, and convinces him that it is impossible but
he must win, offering to let him go halves in the wager. As soon as the
countryman lays down the money, these sharpers manage so as to pass off
with it, which is the meaning of their cant, and this practice he was
very successful in; the country people in Wales, where they travelled,
having not had opportunity to become acquainted with such bites as those
who live in the counties nearer London have, where the country fellows
are often as adroit as any of the sharpers themselves.

It happened that the person with whom Stephen travelled had parted with
his wife and at Bristol had received a gold watch and chain, laced
clothes and several other things of value. This immediately put it into
Gardiner's head that he might make his fortune at once, by murdering him
and possessing himself of his goods; knowing also that besides these
valuable things, he had near a hundred guineas about him. In order to
effect this, he stole a large brass pestle out of a mortar, at the next
inn, and carried it unperceived in his boots, intending as he and his
companion rode through the woods to dash his brains out with it. Twice
for this purpose he drew it, but his heart relenting just when he was
going to give the stroke he put it up again. At last it fell out of his
boot and he had much ado to get it pulled up unperceived by his
companion. The next day it dropped again, and Gardiner was so much
afraid of Jones's perceiving it, and himself being thereupon killed from
a suspicion of his design, that he laid aside all further thoughts of
that matter.

But he took occasion a day or two after to part with him, whereupon the
other as Stephen was going away, called out to him, _Hark ye, you
Gardiner! I'll tell you somewhat._ Gardiner therefore turning back. _You
are going up to London?_ said Jones. _Yes_, replied Gardiner. _Then
trust me_, said the other, _you're going up to be hanged._

Between Abergavenny and Monmouth, Gardiner took notice of a little
house, the windows of which were shut up, but the hens and cocks in the
back yard showed that it was inhabited. Gardiner thereupon knocked at
the door several times, to see if anybody was at home, but perceiving
none, he ventured to break open some wooden bars that lay across the
window, and getting in thereat found two boxes full of clothes, and
writings relating to an estate. He took only one gown, as not daring to
load himself with clothes, for fear of being discovered on the road,
being then coming up to London.

A very short space after his return he committed that fact for which he
died, which was by breaking open the house of Dorcas Roberts, widow, and
stealing thence a great quantity of linen; and he was soon after
apprehended in bed with one of the fine shirts upon his back and the
rest of the linen stowed under the bed. When carried before the Justice,
he said that one Martin brought the linen to him, and gave him two fine
shirts to conceal it in his brandy-shop; but this pretence being thought
impossible both by the magistrate who committed him, and by the jury who
tried him, he was convicted for that offence, and being an old offender
he had no hopes of mercy.

He applied himself, therefore, with all the earnestness he was able, to
prepare himself sufficiently for that change he was about to make. He
said that an accident which happened about a year before gave him great
apprehension, and for some time prevented his continuing in that wicked
course of life. The accident he mentioned was this: being taken up for
some trivial thing or other, and carried to St. Sepulchre's Watch-House,
the constable was so kind as to dismiss him, but the bellman[38] of the
parish happening to come in before he went out, the constable said,
_Young man, be careful, I am much afraid this bellman will say his
verses over you_; at which Gardiner was so much struck, he could scarce

Stephen had a very great notion of mortifying his body, as some
atonement for the crimes he had committed. He therefore fasted some time
while under sentence, and though the weather was very cold, yet he went
to execution with no other covering on him but his shroud. At Tyburn he
addressed himself to the people and begged they would not reflect upon
his parents, who knew nothing of his crimes. Seeing several of his old
companions in the crowd, he called out to them and desired them to take
notice of his death and by amending their lives avoid following him
thither. He died the 3rd of February, 1723-4.


[37] In 1720 a State Lottery was launched, with 100,000 tickets
of L10 each. The prizes were converted into 3 per cent. stock.
The issue was a failure and a loss of some L7,000 was incurred.

[38] A parishioner of St. Sepulchre's bequeathed a sum of money
for paying a bellman to visit condemned criminals in Newgate, on
the night before their execution, and having rung his bell, to
recite an admonitory verse and prayer. He was likewise to accost
the cart on its way to the gallows, the following day, and give
its inmates a similar admonition. The bell is still to be seen
in the church.

and WILLIAM ELISHA, Highwaymen, Footpads, Housebreakers, etc.

Samuel Ogden was the son of a sailor in Southwark, who bred him to his
own employment, in which he wrought honestly for many years until he
fell very ill of dropsy, for the cure of which, being carried to St.
Thomas's Hospital, he after his recovery applied himself to selling
fish, instead of going again to sea. How he came to be engaged in the
crimes he afterwards perpetrated we cannot well learn, and therefore
shall not pretend to relate. However, he associated himself with a very
numerous gang, such as Mills, Pugh, Blunt, Bishop, Gutteridge, and
Matthews, who became the evidence against him. He positively averred
that one of the robberies for which he was convicted, was the first he
ever committed. He expressed the greatest horror and detestation for
murder imaginable, protesting he was no ways guilty of that committed on
Brixton Causeway.


This plate gives an excellent representation of an execution. The
condemned man is in his shroud; the hangman is adjusting the knot, and
at a signal the cart will drive away; nearby is the sheriff in his state
carriage; and gazing on is a curious, morbid crowd of spectators.

(_From the Newgate Calendar_)]

At the time of his trial at Kingston he behaved himself very insolently
and audaciously; but when sentence had been passed upon him, most of
that unruly temper was lost, and he began to think seriously of
preparing for another world. He confessed that his sins were many, and
that judgment against him was just, meekly accepting his death as the
due rewards of his deeds. He was the example of seriousness and
penitence to the other twelve malefactors who suffered with him, being
about thirty-seven years of age at the time of his decease.

John Pugh, otherwise Blueskin, was born at Morpeth near
Newcastle-upon-Tyne. His father was a carrier in tolerable business and
circumstance, who put him to be a servant in a silver-spinner's in
Moorfields, where he soon learnt all sorts of wickedness, beginning with
defrauding his master and doing any other little tricks of that kind, as
opportunity would give him leave. We are told of him what perhaps can be
hardly said of any other criminal who hath died in the same way for many
years past, that though he was but twenty-two years of age, he had spent
twelve of them in cheating, pilfering, and robbing. At last he fell into
the gang that brought him to his death, for a robbery committed by
several of them in the county of Surrey. Pugh, though so young a fellow,
was so unaccountably stupid and wicked that though he made a large and
particular confession of his guilt, yet it was done in such a manner as
plainly showed his crimes made no just impression upon his heart; all he
said, being in the language of the Kingston Ordinary, the sleepy
apprehensions of unawakened ignorance, in which condition he continued
to the last.

William Frost, a cripple, was the son of a pin-maker in Christ Church
parish, Southwark, and as to his education, my account says it was in
hereditary ignorance. He had wrought, it seems, while a boy at his
father's trade of pin-making, but since he was thirteen or fourteen had
addicted himself to that preparative trade to the gallows,
shoeblacking. While he continued in this most honourable profession,
abundance of opportunities offered for robbing in the night season, and
we must do him the justice to say that they were not offered in vain.
Thus by degrees he came on to robbing on the road and in the streets
until he was apprehended, and upon the evidence of his companion was

The Sunday after this, he with the rest of the malefactors was brought
to the parish church, which was the first time, as he declared, he had
ever entered one, at least with an intention to hear and observe what
was said. There he made a blundering sort of confession, and would
perhaps have been more penitent if he had known well what penitence was;
but he was a poor stupid, doltish wretch, scarce sensible even of the
misfortune of being hanged. He was, however, very attentive in the cart
to the prayer of those who were a little better instructed than himself,
and finished a wretched life with an ignominious death at twenty-one
years of age.

Richard Woodman was born at Newington, in Surrey. He got his bread some
years by selling milk about, but thinking labour too great a price for
victuals, he addicted himself to getting an easier livelihood by
thieving. In this course he soon got in with a gang who let him want no
instructions that were necessary to bring him to the gallows. Amongst
them the above-mentioned lame man was his principal tutor. The last
robbery but one that they ever committed was upon a poor man who had
laid out his money in the purchase of a shoulder of mutton to feast his
family, but they disappointed him by taking it away, and with it a
bundle of clothes and other necessaries, by which the unfortunate person
who lost them, though their value was not much in themselves, lost all
he had.

His behaviour was pretty much of a piece with the rest of his
companions, that is, he was so unaffected either with the shamefulness
of his death or the danger of his soul that perhaps never any creatures
went to death in a more odd manner than these did, whose behaviour
cannot for all that be charged with any rudeness or want of decency. But
religion and repentance were things so wholly new to them, and so
unsuited to their comprehension, that there needed a much greater length
of time than they had to have given them any true sense of their duty,
to which it cannot be said they were so averse, as they were ignorant
and incapable.

William Elisha was another of these wretches, but he seemed to have had
a better education than most of them, though he made as ill use of it as
any. He was once an evidence at Croydon assizes, where he convicted two
of his companions, but the sight of their execution, and the
consciousness of having preserved his own life merely by taking theirs,
did not in the least contribute to his amendment, for he was no sooner
at liberty but he was engaged in new crimes, until at last with those
malefactors before mentioned, and with eight others, he was executed at
Kingston, in the twenty-fourth year of his age, April 4th, 1724.

The Life of THOMAS BURDEN, a Robber

Thomas Burden was born in Dorsetshire, of parents in tolerable
circumstances, who being persons getting their living by seamen, they
bred up their son to that profession, and sent him very young to sea. It
does not appear that he ever liked that employment, but rather that he
was hurried into it when he was very young by the choice of his parents,
and therefore in no condition to choose better for himself. He was up in
the Straits several years, and while there in abundance of fights, at
which time he had so much religion as to apply himself diligently to God
in prayer for his protection, and made abundance of vows and resolutions
of amendment, if it pleased the providence of God to preserve his life.
But no sooner was the danger over, but all these promises were forgotten
until the next time he was in jeopardy.

At this rate he went on until the war was over, and notwithstanding the
aversion he always had to a military kind of life, yet such was his
unconquerable aversion to labour, that he rather enlisted himself in the
land service than submit thereto. Going, however, one day to Hounslow to
the house of one of the staff officers of his regiment, and not finding
him at home, but only a corporal who had been left at the house to give
answers, with this corporal he sat chatting and talking until night; so
that being obliged to stay there until the next morning, a discourse
somehow or other happened between him and the person who entertained
him, about William Zouch, an old man who lived alone on the common. And
Burden having been drinking, it came into his head, how easily he might
rob such an old man. Upon which, he immediately went to his house, and
finding him sitting on the bench at his door, he began to talk with and
ask him questions. The old man answered him with great mildness, until
at last Burden drew an iron instrument out of his cane, threatening him
with death if he did not reveal where his money was. Zouch thereupon
brought it him in a pint pot, being but one-and-thirty shillings. Then
tying the old man in his chair, Burden left him. But it seems he did not
tie him so fast but that he easily got loose, and alarming the town,
Burden was quickly taken, having fled along the Common, which was open
to the eye for a long way, instead of taking into the town or the woods,
which if he had, in all probability he might have escaped. When
Whittington and Greenbury apprehended him, he did not deny the fact, but
on the contrary offered them money to let him go.

After his conviction he manifested vast uneasiness at the thoughts of
death, appearing wonderfully moved that he who had lived so long in the
world with the reputation of an honest man, should now die with that of
a thief, and in the manner of a dog. But as death grew nearer, and he
saw there was no remedy, he began to be a little more penitent and
resigned, especially when he was comforting himself with the hopes that
his temporal punishment here might preserve him from feeling everlasting
misery. With these thoughts having somewhat composed himself, he
approached the place where he was to suffer, with tolerable temper and
constancy, entreating the people who were there in very great numbers to
pray for him, and begging that all by his example would learn to stifle
the first motions of wickedness and sin, since such was the depravity of
human nature that no man knew how soon he might fall. At the same place
he delivered a paper in which he much extenuated the crime for which he
suffered, and from whence he would feign have insinuated that it was a
rash action committed when in drink, and which he should certainly have
set right again when he was sober. In this frame of mind he suffered, on
the 29th of April, 1724, being then about fifty years of age.

The Life of FREDERICK SCHMIDT, Alterer of Bank-Notes

When persons sin out of ignorance there is great room for pity, and when
persons suddenly become guilty of evil through a precipitate yielding to
the violence of their passions there is still room for extenuation. But
when people sin, not only against knowledge but deliberately, and
without the incitement of any violent passion such as anger or lust,
even as nothing can be said in alleviation, so there is little or no
room left for compassion.

Frederick Schmidt was a person born of a very honourable and wealthy
family at Breslau, the capital of the Duchy of Silesia in the north-east
of Germany. They educated this their son not only in such a manner as
might qualify him for the occupation they designed him, of a merchant,
but also gave him a most learned and liberal knowledge, such as suited a
person of the highest rank. He lived, however, at Breslau as a merchant
for many years, and at the request of his friends, when very young, he
married a lady of considerable fortune, but upon some disgust at her
behaviour they parted, and had not lived together for many years before
his death.

He carried on a very considerable correspondence to Hamburg, Amsterdam
and other places, and above a year before had been over in England to
transact some affairs, and thought it, it seems, so easy a matter to
live here by his wits, that he returned hither with the Baron Vanloden
and the Countess Vanloden. It is very hard to say what these people
really were, some people taking Schmidt for the baron's servant, but he
himself affirmed, and indeed it seems most likely, that they were
companions, and that both of them exerted their utmost skill in
defrauding others to maintain her.

The method they took here for that purpose was by altering bank-notes,
which they did so dexterously as absolutely to prevent all suspicion.
They succeeded in paying away two of them, but the fraud being
discovered by the cheque-book at the bank, Schmidt was apprehended and
brought to a trial. There it was sworn that being in possession of a
bank-note of L25 he had turned it into one of L85, and with the Baron
Vanloden tendered it to one Monsieur Mallorey, who gave him goods for
it, and another note of L20. It was deposed by the Baron Vanloden and
Eleanora Sophia, Countess Vanloden, that Schmidt took the last mentioned
note of L20 upstairs, and soon after brought it down again, the word
"twenty" being taken out; upon which they drew it through a plate of
gummed water, and then smoothing it between several papers with a box
iron, the words "one hundred" were written in its place. Then he gave it
to the Baron and the interpreter to go out with it and buy plate, which
they did to the amount of L40. It appeared also, by the same witnesses,
that Schmidt had owned to the Baron that he could write twenty hands,
and that if he had but three or four hundred pounds, he could swell them
to fifty thousand. It was proved also by his own confession that he had
written over to his correspondent in Holland, to know whether English
bank-notes went currently there or not. Upon which he was found guilty
by a party-jury, that singular favour permitted to foreigners by the
equitable leniency of the Law of England. Yet after this he could hardly
be persuaded that his life was in any danger; nay, when he came into the
condemned hold, he told the unhappy persons there, in as good English as
he could speak, that he should not be hanged with them.

For the first two or three days, therefore, that he was under sentence,
he refused to look so much as on a book, or to say a prayer, employing
that time with unwearied diligence in writing a multitude of letters to
merchants, foreign ministers, and German men of quality and such like,
still holding fast his old opinion that his life was not in the least
danger; and when a Lutheran minister was so kind as to visit him, he
would hardly condescend to speak with him. But when he had received a
letter from him who had all along buoyed him up with hopes of safety, in
which he informed him that all those hopes were vain, he then began to
apply himself with a real concern to the Lutheran minister whom he had
before almost rejected, but did not appear terrified or much affrighted
thereat. However, quickly after, he fell into a fit of sickness and
became so very weak as not to be able to stand. He confessed, however,
to the foreign divine who attended him that he was really guilty of that
crime for which he was to die, though it did not appear that he
conceived it to be capital at the time he did it, nor, indeed, was he
easily convinced it was so, until within a few days of his execution.

There had prevailed a report about the town that he had done something
of the like nature at Paris, for which he had been obliged to fly, but
he absolutely denied that, and seemed to think the story derived its
birth from the Baron, who, he said, was an apothecary's son, and from
his acquaintance with his father's trade, knew the secret of expunging
waters. He added, that his airs of innocence were very unjust, he having
been guilty of abundance of such tricks, and the Countess of many more
than he. Thus, as is very common in such cases, these unhappy people
blackened one another. But the Baron and the Countess had the advantage,
since by their testimony poor Schmidt was despatched out of the way, and
'tis probable their credit at the time of his execution, was not in any
great danger of being hurt by his character of them.

When he came to Tyburn, being attended in the cart by the Lutheran
minister whom I have so often mentioned, he was forced to be held up,
being so weak as not to be able to stand alone. He joined with the
prayers at first, but could not carry on his attention to the end,
looking about him, and staring at the other prisoners, with a curiosity
that perhaps was never observed in any other prisoner in his condition
what-so ever; neither his looks not his behaviour seemed to express so
much terror as was struck into others by the sight of his condition. So
after recommending to the minister by letter, to inform his aged mother
in Germany of his unhappy fate, he requested the executioner to put him
to death as easily as he could. He then submitted to his fate on the 4th
of April, 1724, being in the forty-fifth year of his age.

The Life of PETER CURTIS, a Housebreaker, etc.

Peter Curtis, _alias_ Friend, was born of honest but industrious parents
in the country, at a very great distance from London. Finding a method
to get him put apprentice to a ship's carpenter, they were very much
pleased therewith, hoping that they had settled him in a trade in which
he might live well, and much beyond anything they could have expected to
have done for him.

But Peter himself was of a very different opinion, for from the hour he
came to it he greatly disliked his profession, and though he went to sea
with his master once or twice, yet he failed not to take hold of the
first opportunity to set himself at liberty by running away from him.
From that time he devoted himself to live a life of pleasure, having
contracted an obstinate aversion to business and to everything which
looked like labour; though, as be acknowledged, the hand of Providence
hindered him from accomplishing his wish, making this life that he chose
a greater burden and hardship to him than that which he had

He found means to get into gentlemen's service, and lived in them with
tolerable reputation and credit for the space of several years. At last
he was resolved to go to sea again, but he had so unconquerable an
aversion to his own trade that he chose rather going in the capacity of
a trumpeter, having learnt how to play on that instrument at one of his
services. He sailed on board the _Salisbury_, in that expedition Sir
George Byng made to the Straits of Messina, when he attacked and
destroyed the Spanish Fleet.[39] There Peter had the good luck to escape
without any hurt, though there were many killed and wounded on board
that ship. He afterwards served in a regiment of dragoons, where by
prudent management he saved no less than fourscore pounds. With this he
certainly had it in his power to have put himself in some way of doing
well, but he omitted it, and falling into the company of a lewd woman,
she persuaded him to take lodgings with her, and they lived together for
some space as man and wife.

During this time he made a shift to be bound for one of his companions,
for a very considerable sum, which the other had the honesty to leave
him to pay. The creditor, upon information that Curtis was packing up
his awls[40] to go to sea, resolved to secure him for his debt. But not
being able to catch him upon a writ, he made up a felonious charge
against him, and having thereupon got him committed to the Poultry
Compter, as soon as the Justice had discharged him, he got him taken for
the debt, and recommitted to the same place. Here he was soon reduced to
a very melancholy condition, having neither necessaries of life not any
prospect of a release. The wretched company with which such prisons are
always full, corrupted him as to his honesty, and taught him first to
think of making himself rich by taking away the properties of others.

When he came out of prison, upon an agreement with his creditor, he soon
got into service with Mr. Fluellen Aspley, a very eminent chinaman by
Stocks Market.[41] When he was there, the bad woman with whom he still
conversed, was continually dunning his ears with how easy a matter it
was for him to make himself and her rich and easy by pilfering from his
master, telling him that she and her friends in the country would help
him off with a thousand pounds worth of china, if need were, and baiting
him continually, not to lose such an opportunity of enriching them. The
fellow himself was averse to such practices, and nothing but her
continual teasing could have induced him ever to have entertained a
design of so base a nature.

At last he condescended so far as to enquire how it might be done with
safety. _For that_, replied the woman, _trust to my management. I'll put
you in a way to bring off the most valuable things in the house, and yet
get a good character, and be trusted and valued by the family for having
robbed them._ At that Curtis stared, and said, if she'd but put him to
such a road he did not know but he might comply with her request. She
thereupon opened her scheme to him this: _Here's my son, you shall lift
him into the house, and after you have given him plate and what you
think proper and my boy, who is a very dexterous lad, is got off with
them, you have nothing to do but to put an end of a candle under the
Indian cabinet in the counting-house, and leave things to themselves.
The neighbourhood will soon be alarmed by the fire, and if you are
apparently honest in what you take away publicly, there will be no
suspicion upon you for what went before, which will be either thought to
be destroyed in the fire, or to be taken away by some other means._

This appeared so shocking a project to Curtis that he absolutely refused
to comply with the burning, though with much ado he was brought to
stealing a large quantity of plate, which he brought to this woman, but
in attempting to sell it she was stopped, and the robbery discovered.
However, there being no direct evidence at first against Curtis, he was
released from his confinement on suspicion, even by the intercession of
Mr. Aspley himself. But a little time discovering the mistake, and that
he was really the principal in the robbery, he was thereupon again
apprehended, and at the next sessions tried and convicted.

While he lay under sentence of death, he behaved himself as if he had
totally resigned all thoughts of the world, or of continuing in it,
praying with great fervency and devotion, making full and large
confession, and doing every other act which might induce men to believe
that he was a real penitent, and sincerely sorry and affected for the
crime he had committed.

But it seems that this was all put on, for the true source of his
easiness and resignation was the assurance he had in himself of escaping
death either by pardon, or by an escape; for which purpose, he and those
who were under sentence with him had provided all necessaries, loosened
their irons and intended to have effected it at the expense of the lives
of their keepers. But their design being discovered the Saturday before
their deaths, and Curtis perceiving that his hopes of pardon were
ill-founded, began to apply himself to repenting in earnest. Yet there
was very little time left for so great a work, especially considering
that nothing but the necessity of the thing inclined him thereto, and
that he had spent that respite allowed him by the clemency of the Law to
prepare for death in contriving to fly from justice at the expense of
the blood of others. How he performed this it is impossible for us to
know, and must be left to be decided by the Great Judge to whom the
secrets of all hearts are open. However, at his death he appeared
tolerably composed and cheerful, and turning to the people said, _You
see, they who contrived to burn the house and the people in it escaped,
but I, who never consented to any such thing, die as you see._ Some
discourse there was of his having buried a portmanteau and about
fourteen hundred pounds; he was spoke to about it, and did not deny he
had it. He said he hid it upon Finchley Common and that by the arms,
which was the Spread Eagle, he took to be an ambassador's. As to the
diamond ring he had been seen to wear, he did not affirm he came very
honestly by it, but would not give any direct answer concerning it, and
seemed uneasy that he should have such questions put to him at the very
point of death. He suffered the 15th of June, 1724, about thirty years
of age.


[39] See note, page 49.

[40] An old-fashioned play on the words "awl" and "all," and
means, of course, packing up all his possessions.

[41] A busy market for fish and vegetables, which occupied the
site on which the present Mansion House stands. The market was
moved, in 1737, to Farringdon Street.

The Life of LUMLEY DAVIS, a Highwayman

Such is the frailty of human nature that neither the best examples nor
the most liberal education can warrant an honest life, or secure to the
most careful parents the certainty of their children not becoming a
disgrace to them, either in their lives or by their deaths.

This malefactor, of whom the course of our memoirs now obliges us to
make mention, was the son of a man of the same name, viz., Lumley Davis,
who was, it seems, in circumstances good enough to procure his sons
being brought up in one of the greatest and best schools in England.
There his proficiency procured him an election upon the establishment,
and he became respected as a person whose parts would do honour even to
that remarkable seminary of learning where he had been bred. But
unaccountably growing fond, all on a sudden, of going to some trade or
employment and absolutely refusing to continue any longer at his
studies, his friends were obliged to comply with the ardency of his
request and accordingly put him apprentice to an eminent vintner at the
One Tun Tavern, in the Strand.

He continued there but a little while before he was as much dissatisfied
with that as he had been with learning, so that leaving his master, and
leading an unsettled kind of life, he fell into great debts, being
unable to satisfy which, when demanded, he was arrested and thrown into
the Marshalsea. There for some time he continued in a very deplorable
condition, till by the charitable assistance of a friend, his debt was
paid and the fees of the prison discharged. After this he went into the
Mint,[42] where drinking accidentally at one of the tap-houses in that
infamous place, and being very much out of humour with the low and
profligate company he was obliged to converse with there, he took notice
of a very genteel man, who sat at the table by himself. He inquired of
some persons with whom he was drinking, who that man was. They answered
that they could not tell themselves; he was lately come over for shelter
amongst them; he was a gentleman, as folks said, of much learning, and
though he never conversed with anybody, yet was kind enough to afford
them his assistance, either with his pen, or by his advice when they
asked it. On this character Davis was very industrious to become his
acquaintance, and Harman, which was the other man's name, not having
been able to meet with anybody there with whom he could converse, he
very readily embraced the society of Davis; with whom comparing notes,
and finding their case to be pretty much the same, they often condoled
one another's misfortunes and as often projected between themselves how
to gain some supply without depending continually upon the charity of
their friends.

In the meantime, Davis was so unfortunate as to fall ill of a
languishing distemper, which brought him so low as to oblige him to
apply for relief to that friend who had discharged him out of the
Marshalsea. He was so good as to get him into St. Thomas's Hospital, and
to supply him while there with whatever was necessary for his support.
When he was so far recovered as to be able to go abroad, this kind and
good friend provided for him a country habitation, where he might be
able to live in privacy and comfort and indulge himself in those
inclinations which he began again to show towards learning.

Some time after he had been there, not being able to support longer that
quiet kind of life which before he did so earnestly desire,
notwithstanding the entreaties of his friends, he came up to London
again, where falling into idle company, he became addicted to the vices
of drinking and following bad women, things which before he had both
detested and avoided. Not long after this, he again found out Mr.
Harman, and renewed his acquaintance with him. He enquired into his past
adventures and how he had supported himself since they last had been
together, and on perceiving that they were far from being on the mending
hand with him, the fatal proposal was at last made of going upon the
road, and there robbing such persons as might seem best able to spare
it, and at the same time furnish them with the largest booty.

The first person they attacked was one John Nichols, Esq., from whom
they took a guinea and seventeen shillings, with which they determined
to make themselves easy a little, and not go that week again upon any
such hazardous exploits. But alas, their resolutions had little success,
for that very evening they were both apprehended and on full evidence at
the next sessions were convicted and received sentence of death, within
a very short time after they had committed the crime.

Davis all along flattered himself with the hopes of a pardon or a
reprieve and therefore was not perhaps so serious as he ought, and as he
otherwise would have been. Not that those hopes made him either
licentious or turbulent, but rather disturbed his meditations and
hindered his getting over the terrors which death always brings to the
unprepared. But when, on his name being in the death warrant, he found
there was no longer any hopes, he then, indeed, applied himself without
losing a moment to the great concern of saving his soul, now there was
no hopes of preserving his body.

However, neither his education nor all the assistance he could receive
from those divines that visited him, could bring him to bear the
approach of death with any tolerable patience. Even at the place of
execution, he endeavoured as much as he could to linger away the time,
spoke to the Ordinary to spin out the prayers, and to the executioner to
forbear doing his office as long as it was possible. However, he spoke
with great kindness and affection to his companion, Mr. Harman, shook
hands with those who were his companions in death, and at last submitted
to his fate, being then about twenty-three years of age.


[42] The Southwark Mint was a sanctuary for insolvent debtors
and a nest of infamy in general. It stood over against St.
George's church.

The Life of JAMES HARMAN, Highwayman

James Harman was the son of a merchant in the City of London, who took
care to furnish his son with such an education as enabled him, when
about fourteen years of age, to be removed to the University. His
behaviour there was like that of too many others, spent in diversities
instead of study, and in a progression of vice, instead of improving in
learning. After having been there about three years, and having run into
such debts as he saw no probability of discharging, he was forced to
leave it abruptly; and his father, much grieved at this behaviour,
bought him an ensign's commission in the army, where he continued in
Jones's Regiment till it was disbanded. Then, indeed, being forced to
live as he could, and the assistance of friends, though large, yet no
ways suited to his expenses, he became so plunged in debt and other
misfortunes that he was in necessity of going over to the Mint, where
reflecting on his own follies, he became very reserved and melancholy.
He would probably have quite altered his course of life if opportunity
had offered, or if he had not fallen in that company which by a
similarity of manner induced him to fall into the commission of such
crimes as would not probably have otherwise entered his head.

The fact which he and the before-mentioned Davis committed, was their
first and last attempt, but Mr. Harman, all the time he lay under
sentence (without suffering himself to be amused by expectations of
success from those endeavours which he knew his friends used to save his
life,) accustomed himself to the thoughts of death, performing all the
duties requisite from a person of his condition for atoning the evils
of a misspent life, and making his peace with that Being from whom he
had received so great a capacity of doing well, and which he had so much

Having spent the whole time of his confinement after this manner, he did
not appear in any degree shocked or confounded when his name being to
the death warrant left him no room to doubt of what must be his fate. At
the place of execution he appeared not only perfectly easy and serene,
but with an air of satisfaction that could arise only from the peace he
enjoyed within. Being asked if he had anything to say to the people, he
rose up, and turning towards them said, _I hope you will all make that
use of my being exposed to you as a spectacle which the Law intends, and
by the sight of my death avoid such acts as may bring you hither, with
the same Justice that they do me._

He suffered about the twenty-fifth year of his age, the 28th of August,
1724, at Tyburn.

The Life of JOHN LEWIS, _alias_ LAURENCE, a Thief, Highwayman, etc.

One great cause of that degeneracy we observe amongst the lower part of
the human species arises from a mistake which has generally prevailed in
the education of young people throughout all ages. Parents are sometimes
exceedingly assiduous that their children should read well and write a
good hand, but they are seldom solicitous about their making a due use
of their reason, and hardly ever enquire into the opinions which, while
children, they entertain of happiness or misery, and the paths which
lead to either of them. This is the true and natural intent of all
education whatsoever, which can never tend to anything but teaching
persons how to live easily and seducing their affections to the bounds
prescribed them by the law of God and their country.

John Lewis, _alias_ Laurence, had doubtless parents who bred him
somewhere, though the papers I have do not afford me light enough to say
where. This indeed, I find, that he was bred apprentice to a butcher,
took up his freedom in the City, and worked for a considerable space as
a journeyman. For his honesty we have no vouchers for any part of that
time, for in his apprenticeship he fell into the use of profligate
company, who taught him all those vices which were destructive to his
future life. He grew fond of everything which looked like lewdness and
debauchery, drank hard, was continually idling about; above all,
strumpets the most abandoned, both in their manner and discourse, were
the very ultimate end of his wishes, insomuch that he would often say he
had nothing to answer for in debauching modest women, for they were a
set of creatures he could never so much as endure to converse with.

His usual method of living with his mistresses was this: as soon as the
impudence and lewdness of a woman had made her infamous, even amongst
the hackney coachmen, pickpockets, footpads and such others of his
polite acquaintance, then Lewis thought her a fit person for his turn,
and used to live with her for the space of perhaps a month; then growing
tired of her, he went to look for another.

This practice of his grew at last so well known that he found it a
little difficult to get women who would take up with him upon his terms;
but there was one Moll Davis, who for her dexterity in picking of
pockets amongst those of her own tribe went by the name of Diver, who
was so great a scandal to her sex that the most abandoned of that low
crew with whom he conversed, hated and despised her. With her Lewis went
to live after his usual manner, and was very fond of her after his way,
for about a fortnight; at the end of which he grew fractious, and in
about nine weeks' time more he beat her. Moll wept and took on at a sad
rate for his unkindness and told him that if would but promise
faithfully never to live with any other woman, she should fairly present
him with a brace of hundred pounds, which she had lodged in the hands of
an uncle who knew nothing of her way of life, but lived reputably at
such a place.

This was the right way of touching Lewis's temper. He began to put on as
many good looks as his face was capable of wearing, and made use of as
many kind expressions as he could remember out of the _Academy of
Compliments_, until the day came that she was to meet her uncle at
Smithfield Market. They then went very lovingly together to an inn upon
the paven stones, where Moll asked very readily at the bar if Mr.
Tompkins (which was the name of her uncle) was there. The woman of the
house made her a low curtsy and said he was only stepped over the way to
be shaved, and she would call him. She went accordingly and brought the
grave old man, who as soon as he came into the room said, _Well, Mary,
is this thy husband? Yes, sir_, answered she, _this is the person I have
promised to bring you._ Upon which the old man thrust out his hand and
said, _Come, friend, as you have married my niece, you and I must be
better acquainted._ Lewis scraped him a good bow as he could, and giving
his hand in return, the old fellow laid hold on him somewhat above the
wrist, stamped with his right foot, and then closing with him got him

In the meanwhile, half a dozen fellows broke into the room and one of
them seizing him by the arms another pulled out a small twine, and bound
him; then shoving him downstairs, they had no sooner got into
Smithfield, then the mob cried out, _Here's the rogue! Here's the dog
that held a penknife to the old grazier's throat, while a woman and
another man robbed him._ It seems the story was true of Moll, who by
thus taking and then swearing it upon Lewis, who had never so much as
heard of it, escaped with impunity, and besides that got five guineas
for her pains from the brother of the old man, who upon this occasion
played the part of her uncle. If the grazier had been a hasty, rash man,
Lewis had certainly hanged for the fact, but looking hard upon him at
his trial, he told the Court he was sure that Lewis was not the man, for
though his eyes were not very good, he could easily distinguish his
voice, and added that the man who robbed him was taller than himself,
whereas Lewis was much shorter. By which means he had the good luck to
come off, though not without lying two sessions in Newgate.

As soon as be came abroad be threatened Moll Davis hard for what she had
done, and swore as soon as he could find her to cut her ears off; but
she made light of that, and dared him to come and look for her at the
brandy-shop where she frequented. Lewis hearing that resolved to go
thither and beat her, and knowing the usual time of her coming thither
to be about eleven o'clock at night, he chose that time to come also.
But Moll, the day before, had made one of her crew who had turned
evidence, put him into his information, and the constables and their
assistants being ready planted, they seized him directly and carried him
to his old lodgings in Newgate.

He was acquitted upon this next sessions, there being no evidence
against him but the informer, but the Court ordered him to find security
for his good behaviour. That proved two months' work, so that in all it
was a quarter of a year before he got out of Newgate for the second
time. Then, hearing Davis had picked a gentleman's pockets of a
considerable sum, and kept out of the way upon it, he resolved to be
even with her for the trouble she had cost him, and for that purpose
hunted through all her old places of resort, in order to find out how to
have her apprehended. Moll hearing of it, got her sister, who followed
the same trade with herself, to waylay him at the brandy-shop in Fleet
Street. There Susan was very sweet upon him, and being as impudent as
her sister, Lewis resolved to take up with her, at least for a night;
but she pretended reasons why he could not go home with her, and he
complaining that he did not know where to get a lodging, she gave him
half a crown and a large silver medal, which she said would pawn for
five shillings, and appointed to meet him the next night at the same
place. In the morning Lewis goes with the silver piece to a pawnbroker
at Houndsditch; the broker said he would take it into the next room and
weigh it, and about ten minutes after returned with a constable and two
assistants, the medal having been advertised in the papers as taken with
eleven guineas in a green purse out of a gentleman's pocket, and was the
very robbery for which Moll Davis kept out of the way.

When he got over this, he went down into the country, and having been so
often in prison for naught, he resolved to merit it now for something.
So on the Gravesend Road he went upon the highway, and having been, as I
told you, bred up a butcher, the weapon he made use of to rob with was
his knife. The first robbery he attempted was upon an old officer who
was retired into that part of the country to live quiet. Lewis bolted
out upon him from behind the corner of a hedge, and clapping a sharp
pointed knife to his breast, with a volley of oaths commanded him to
deliver. This was new language to the gentleman to whom it was offered,
yet seeing how great an advantage the villain had of him, he thought it
the most prudent method to comply, and gave him therefore a few
shillings which were in his coat-pocket. Lewis very highly resented
this, and told him he did not use him like a gentleman; that he would
search him himself. In order to do this, clapping his knife into his
mouth as he used to do when preparing a sheep for the shambles, he fell
to ransacking the gentleman's pockets. He had hardly got his hand into
one of them, but the gentleman snatched the knife out of his mouth and
in the wrench almost broke his jaw. Lewis hereupon took to his heels,
but the country being raised upon him, he was apprehended just as he was
going to take water at Gravesend. But his pride in refusing the
gentleman's silver happened very luckily for him here, for on his trial
at the next assizes, the indictment being laid for a robbery, the jury
acquitted him and he was once more put into a road of doing well, which
according to his usual method he made lead towards the gallows.

The first week he was out, he broke open a house in Ratcliff Highway,
from whence he took but a small quantity of things, and those of small
value, because there happened to be nothing better in the way. In a few
days after this, he snatched off a woman's pocket in the open street,
for which fact being immediately apprehended, he was at the next
sessions at the Old Bailey, tried and convicted, but by the favour of
the Court ordered for transportation.

A woman whom at this time he called his wife, happened to be under the
like sentence at the same time. They went therefore together, and were
each of them such turbulent dispositions that the captain of the
transport thought fit to promise them their liberty in a most solemn
manner, as soon as they came on shore in Carolina, provided they would
be but quiet. To this they agreed, and they kept their words so well,
that the captain performed his promise and released them at their
arrival in South Carolina, upon which they made no long stay there, but
found a method to come back in the same ship. Upon arrival in England
they were actually married, but they did not live long together, Lewis
finding that she conversed with other men, and being in fear, lest in
hopes of favour, she should discover his return from transportation, and
by convicting him save herself.

Upon these apprehensions, he thought fit to go again to sea, in a ship
bound for the Straits; but falling violently sick at Genoa, they left
him there. And though he might afterwards have gone to his vessel, his
old thought and wishes returned and he took the advantage of the first
ship to return to England. Here he found many of his old acquaintances,
carrying on the business of plunder in every shape. He joined with them,
and in their company broke open with much difficulty an alehouse in Fore
Street, at the sign of the King of Hearts, where they took a dozen of
tankards, which they apprehended to be of silver; but finding upon
examination they were no better than pewter well scoured, they judged
there would be more danger in selling them than they were worth.
Therefore having first melted them, they threw them away; but being a
little fearful of robbing in company, he took to his old method of
robbing by himself in the streets. But the first attempt he made to do
this was in the old Artillery Ground,[43] where he snatched a woman's
pocket; and she crying out raised the neighbourhood. They pursued him,
and after wounding two or three persons desperately, he was taken and
committed to his old mansions in Newgate, and being tried at the next
sessions was found guilty and from that time could not enjoy the least
hopes of life. But he continued still very obdurate, being so hardened
by a continual series of villainous actions that he seemed to have no
idea whatsoever of religion, penitence or atoning by prayers, for the
numerous villainies he had committed.

At the place of execution he said nothing to the people, only that he
was sorry he had not stayed in Carolina, because if he had, he should
never have come to be hanged, and so finished his life in the same
stupid manner in which he had lived. He was near forty years of age at
the time he suffered, which was on the 27th of June, 1720.


[43] This was the exercising ground of the Train Bands and the
Honourable Artillery Company. It was on the west side of
Finsbury Square.

The History of the WALTHAM BLACKS and their transactions to the death of
whose lives are also included

Such is the unaccountable folly which reigns in too great a part of the
human species, that by their own ill-deeds, they make such laws
necessary for the security of men's persons and properties, as by their
severity, unless necessity compelled them, would appear cruel and
inhuman, and doubtless those laws which we esteem barbarous in other
nations, and even some which appear so though anciently practised in our
own, had their rise from the same cause.

I am led to this observation from the folly which certain persons were
guilty of in making small insurrections for the sake only of getting a
few deer, and going on, because they found the leniency of the laws
could not punish them at present, until they grew to that height as to
ride in armed troops, blacked and disguised, in order the more to
terrify those whom they assaulted, and wherever they were denied what
they thought proper to demand, whether venison, wine, money, or other
necessaries for their debauched feasts, would by letter threaten plunder
and destroying with fire and sword, whomever they thought proper.

These villainies being carried on with a high hand for some time in the
years 1722 and 1723, their insolence grew at last so intolerable as to
oblige the Legislature to make a new law against all who thus went armed
and disguised, and associated themselves together by the name of Blacks,
or entered into any other confederacies to support and assist one
another in doing injuries and violences to the persons and properties of
the king's subjects.

By this law it was enacted that after the first day of June, 1723,
whatever persons armed with offensive weapons, and having their faces
blacked, or otherwise disguised, should appear in any forest, park or
grounds enclosed with any wall or fence, wherein deer were kept, or any
warren where hares or conies are kept, or in any highway, heath or down,
or unlawfully hunt, kill or steal any red or fallow deer, or rob any
warren, or steal fish of any pond, or kill or wound cattle, or set fire
to any house or outhouses, stack, etc., or cut down or any otherway
destroy trees planted for shelter or profit, or shall maliciously shoot
at any person, or send a letter demanding money or other valuable
things, shall rescue any person in custody of any officer for any such
offences, or by gifts or promise, procure any one to join with them,
shall be deemed guilty of felony without benefit of clergy, and shall
suffer pains of death as felons so convicted.

Nor was even this thought sufficient to remedy those evils, which the
idle follies of some rash persons had brought about, but a retrospect
was also by the same Act had to offences heretofore committed, and all
persons who had committed any crimes punishable by this Act, after the
second of February, 1722, were commanded to render themselves before the
24th of July, 1723, to some Justice of his Majesty's Court of King's
Bench, or to some Justice of the Peace for the county where they lived,
and there make a full and exact confession of the crimes of such a
nature which they had committed, the times when, and the places where,
and persons with whom, together with an account of such persons' places
of abode as had with them been guilty as aforesaid, in order to their
being thereupon apprehended, and brought to judgment according to Law,
on pain of being deemed felons, without benefit of clergy, and suffering
accordingly; but were entitled to a free pardon and forgiveness in case
that before the 24th of July they surrendered and made such discovery.

Justices of Peace by the said Act were required on any information being
made before them by one or more credible persons, against any person
charged with any of the offences aforesaid, to transmit it under their
hands and seals to one of his Majesty's principal Secretaries of State,
who by the same Act is required to lay such information and return
before his Majesty in Council; whereupon an order is to issue for the
person so charged to surrender within forty days. And in case he refuse
or neglect to surrender within that time, then from the day in which the
forty days elapsed, he is to be deemed as a felon convict, and execution
may be awarded as attainted of felony by a verdict.

Every person who, after the time appointed for the surrender of the
person, shall conceal, aid or succour him, knowing the circumstances in
which he then stands, shall suffer death as a felon, without benefit of
clergy, and that people might the more readily hazard their persons for
the apprehending such offenders, it is likewise enacted that if any
person shall be wounded so as to lose an eye, or the use of any limb in
endeavouring to take persons charged with the commission of crimes
within this law, then on a certificate from the Justices of the Peace
of his being so wounded, the sheriff of the county, if commanded within
thirty days after the sight of such certificate, to pay the said wounded
persons L50 under pain of forfeiting L10 on failure thereof, and in case
any person should be killed in seizing such persons as aforesaid, then
the said L50 is to be paid to the executors of the person to be killed.

It cannot seem strange that in consequence of so extraordinary an act of
legislature, many of these presumptious and silly people should be
apprehended, and a considerable number of them having upon their
apprehension been committed to Winchester gaol, seven of them were by
_Habeas Corpus_, removed for the greater solemnity of their trial to
Newgate, and for their offence brought up and arraigned at the King's
Bench Bar, Westminster. There being convicted on full evidence, all of
them of felony, and three of murder, I shall inform ye, one by one, of
what has come to my hand in relation to their crimes, and the manner and
circumstances with which they were committed.

Richard Parvin was master of a public-house at Portsmouth, a man of dull
and dogmatic disposition, who continually denied his having been in any
manner concerned with these people, though the evidence against him at
his trial was as full and as direct as possibly could have been
expected, and he himself evidently proved to have been on the spot where
the violences committed by the other prisoners were transacted. In
answer to this, he said that he was not with them, though indeed he was
upon the forest, for which he gave this reason. He had, he said, a very
handsome young wench who lived with him, and for that reason being
admired by many of his customers, she took it in her head one day to run
away. He hearing that she had fled across the forest, pursued her, and
in that pursuit calling at the house of Mr. Parford, who keeps an
alehouse in the forest, this man being an evidence against the other
Blacks, took him it seems into the number, though as he said, he could
fully have cleared himself if he had had any money to have sent for some
witnesses out of Berkshire. But the mayor of Portsmouth seizing, as soon
as he was apprehended, all his goods, put his family into great distress
and whether he could have found them or not, hindered his being able to
produce any witnesses at his trial.

He persevered in these professions of his innocency to the very last,
still hoping for a reprieve, and not only feeding himself with such
expectations while in prison, but also gazed earnestly when at the tree,
in hopes that pardon would be brought him, until the cart drew away and
extinguished life and the desire of life together.

Edward Elliot, a boy of about seventeen years of age, whose father was a
tailor at a village between Petworth and Guildford, was the next who
received sentence of death with Parvin. The account he gave of his
coming into this society has something very odd in it, and which gives a
fuller idea of the strange whims which possessed these people. The boy
said that about a year before his being apprehended, thirty or forty men
met him in the county of Surrey and hurried him away. He who appeared to
be the chief of them told him that he enlisted him in the service of the
King of the Blacks, in pursuance of which he was to disguise his face,
obey orders of whatsoever kind they were, such as breaking down fish
ponds, burning woods, shooting deer, taking also an oath to be true to
them, or they by their art magic would turn him into a beast, and as
such make him carry their burdens, and live like a horse upon grass and

He said, also, that in the space of time he continued with them, he saw
several experiments of their witchcraft, for that once when two men had
offended them by refusing to comply in taking their oath and obeying
their orders, they caused them immediately to be blindfolded and
stopping them in holes of the earth up to their chin, ran at them as if
they had been dogs, bellowing and barking as it were in their ears; and
when they had plagued them awhile in this ridiculous manner they took
them out, and bid them remember how they offended any of the Black
Nation again, for if they did, they should not escape so well as they
had at present. He had seen them also, he said, oblige carters to drive
a good way out of the road, and carry whatsoever venison or other thing
they had plundered to the places where they would have them; that the
men were generally so frightened with their usage and so terrified with
the oaths they were obliged to swear, that they seldom complained, or
even spoke of their bondage.

As to the fact for which they died, Elliot gave this account: that in
the morning when that fact was committed for which he died, Marshall,
Kingshell and four others came to him and persuaded him to go to Farnham
Holt, and that he need not fear disobliging any gentlemen in the
country, some of whom were very kind to this Elliot. They persuaded him
that certain persons of fortune were concerned with them and would bear
him harmless if he would go. He owned that at last he consented to go
with them, but trembled all the way, insomuch that he could hardly reach
the Holt. While they were engaged in the business for which they came,
viz., killing the deer, the keepers came upon them. Elliot was wandered
a considerable way from his companions after a fawn which he intended
to send as a present to a young woman at Guildford; him therefore they
quickly seized and bound, and leaving him in that condition, went in
search of the rest of his associates. It was not long before they came
up with them. The keepers were six, the Blacks were seven in number, so
they fell to it warmly with quarter-staffs. The keepers unwilling to
have lives taken, advised them to retire, but upon their refusing, and
Marshall's firing a gun, by which one of the keepers belonging to the
Lady How was slain, they discharged a blunderbuss and shattered the
thigh of one Barber, amongst the Blacks. Upon this three of his
associates ran away, and the two others, Marshall and Kingshell were
likewise taken, and so the fray for the present ended.

Elliot lay bound all the while within hearing, and in the greatest
agonies imaginable, at the consideration that whatever blood was spilt
he should be as much answerable for it as these who shed it; in which he
was not mistaken, for the keepers returning after the fight was over,
carried him away bound and he never had his fetters off after, till the
morning of his execution. He behaved himself very soberly, quietly and
with much seeming penitence and contrition. He owned the justice of the
Law in punishing him, and said he more especially deserved to suffer,
since at the time of the committing this fact, he was servant to a widow
lady, where he wanted nothing to make him happy or easy.

Robert Kingshell was twenty-six years old, and lived in the same house
with his parents, being apprentice to his brother a shoemaker. His
parents were very watchful over his behaviour and sought by every method
to prevent his taking to ill courses, or being guilty of any debauchery
whatever. The night before this unhappy accident fell out, as he and the
rest of the family were sleeping in their beds, Barber made a signal at
his chamber window, it being then about eleven o'clock. Upon this
Kingshell arose and got softly out of the window; Barber took him upon
his horse, and away they went to the Holt, twelve miles distant, calling
in their way upon Henry Marshall, Elliot and the rest of their
accomplices. He said it was eight o'clock in the morning before the
keepers attacked them, he owned they bid them retire, and that he
himself told them they would, provided the bound man (Elliot) was
released and delivered into their hands, but that proposition being
refused, the fight at once grew warm. Barber's thigh was broken, and
Marshall killed the keeper with a shot; being thereupon very hard
pressed, three of their companions ran away, leaving him and Marshall to
fight it out. Elliot being already taken, and Barber disabled, it was
not long before they were in the same unhappy condition with their
companions. From the time of their being apprehended, Kingshell laid
aside all hopes of life, and applied himself with great fervency and
devotion to enable him in what alone remained for him to do, viz., dying

Henry Marshall, about thirty-six years of age, the unfortunate person by
whose hand the murder was committed, seemed to be the least sensible of
any of the evils he had done, although such was the pleasure of Almighty
God that till the day before his execution, he neither had his senses,
nor the use of his speech. When he recovered it, and a clergyman
represented to him the horrid crime of which he had been guilty, he was
so far from showing any deep sense of that crime of shedding innocent
blood, that he made light of it, said he might stand upon his own
defence, and was not bound to run away and leave his companions in
danger. This was the language he talked for the space of twenty-four
hours before his death, in which he enjoyed the use of speech; and so
far was he from thanking those who charitably offered him their
admonitions, that he said he had not forgot himself, but had already
taken care of what he thought necessary for his soul. However, he did
not attempt in the least to prevaricate, but fairly acknowledged that he
committed the fact for which he died, though nothing could oblige him to
speak of it in any manner as if he was sorry for or repented of it,
farther than for having occasioned his own misfortunes; so strong is the
prejudice which vulgar minds acquire by often repeating to themselves
and in company certain positions, however ridiculous and false. And
sure, nothing could be more so than for a man to fancy he had a right to
imbrue his hands in the blood of another, who was in the execution of
his office, and endeavouring to hinder the commission of an illegal act.

These of whom I have last spoken were all concerned together in the
before-mentioned fact, which was attended with murder; but we are now to
speak of the rest who were concerned in the felony only, for which they
with the above-mentioned Parvin suffered. Of these were two brothers,
whose names were John and Edward Pink, carters in Portsmouth, and always
accounted honest and industrious fellows before this accident happened.
They did not, however, deny their being guilty, but on the contrary
ingenuously confessed the truth of what was sworn, and mentioned some
other circumstances that had been produced at the trial which attended
their committing it. They said they met Parvin's housekeeper upon that
road, that they forced her to cut the throat of a deer which they had
just taken upon Bear Forest, gave her a dagger which they forced her to
wear, and to ride cross-legged with pistols before her.

In this dress they brought her to Parvin's house upon the forest, where
they dined upon a haunch of venison, feasted merrily and after dinner
sent out two of their companions to kill more deer, not in the King's
Forest, but in Waltham Chase, belonging to the Bishop of Winchester. One
of these two persons they called their king, and the other they called
Lyon. Neither of these brothers objected anything, either to the truth
of the evidence given against them, or the justice of that sentence
which had passed upon them, only one insinuating that the evidence would
not have been so strong against him and Ansell, if it had not been for
running away with the witness's wife, which so provoked him that they
were sure they should not escape when he was admitted a witness.

These like the rest were hard to be persuaded that the things they had
committed were any crimes in the eyes of God. They said deer were wild
beasts, and they did not see why the poor had not as good a right to
them as the rich. However, as the Law condemned them to suffer, they
were bound to submit, and in consequence of that notion, behaved
themselves very orderly, decently and quietly, while under sentence.

James Ansell, _alias_ Stephen Philips, the seventh and last of these
unhappy persons, was a man addicted to a worse and more profligate life
than any of the rest had ever been; for he had held no settled
employment, but had been a loose disorderly person, concerned in all
sorts of wickedness for many years, both at Portsmouth, Guildford, and
other country towns, as well as at London. Deer were not the only things
that he had dealt in; stealing and robbing on the highway had been
formerly his employment, and in becoming a Black, he did not as the
others ascend in wickedness, but came down on the contrary, a step
lower. Yet this criminal as his offences were greater, so his sense of
them was much stronger than in any of the rest, excepting Kingshell, for
he gave over all manner of hopes of life and all concerns about it as
soon as he was taken.

Yet even he had no notion of making discoveries, unless they might be
beneficial to himself, and though he owned the knowledge of twenty
persons who were notorious offenders in the same kind, he absolutely
refused to name them, since such naming would not procure himself a
pardon; talking to him of the duty of doing justice was beating the air.
He said, he thought there was no justice in taking away other people's
lives, unless it was to save his own, yet no sooner was he taxed about
his own going on the highway than he confessed it, said he knew very
well bills would have been preferred against him at Guildford assizes,
in case he had got off at the King's Bench, but that he did not greatly
value them. Though formerly he had been guilty of some facts in that
way, yet they could not all now be proved, and he should have found it
no difficult matter to have demonstrated his innocence of those then
charged upon him, of which he was not really guilty, but owed his being
thought so to the profligate course of life he had for some time led,
and his aversion to all honest employments.

Bold as the whole gang of these fellows appeared, yet with what
sickness, what with the apprehension of death, they were so terrified
that not one of them but Ansell, _alias_ Philips, was able to stand up,
or speak at the place of execution, many who saw them affirming that
some of them were dead even before they were turned off.

As an appendix to the melancholy history of these seven miserable and
unhappy persons, I will add a letter written at that time by a gentleman
of the county of Essex, to his friend in London, containing a more
particular account of the transactions of these people, than I have seen
anywhere else. Wherefore, without any further preface, I shall leave it
to speak for itself.

A letter to Mr. C. D. in London.

Dear Sir,

Amongst the odd accidents which you know have happened to me in the
course of a very unsettled life, I don't know any which hath been
more extraordinary or surprising than one I met with in going down
to my own house when I left you last in town. You cannot but have
heard of the Waltham Blacks, as they are called, a set of whimsical
merry fellows, that are so mad to run the greatest hazards for the
sake of a haunch of venison, and passing a jolly evening together.

For my part, though the stories told of these people had reached my
ears, yet I confess I took most of them for fables, and I thought
that if there was truth in any of them it was much exaggerated. But
experience (the mistress of fools) has taught me the contrary, by
the adventure I am going to relate to you, which though it ended
well enough at last, I confess at first put me a good deal out of
humour. To begin, then; my horse got a stone in his foot, and

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