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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 9 out of 15

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stealing), and amongst other stories related this. He said he once rode
away with an officer's horse, who had just bought it with an intent to
ride him up to London; he carried the creature into the West, and having
made such alterations in his mane and tail as he thought proper, sold
him there to a parson for thirteen guineas, which was about seven less
than the horse was worth. But knowing the doctor had another church
about eight miles from the parish in which he lived, and that there was
a little stable at one angle of the churchyard, where the horse was put
up during service, he resolved to make bold with it again. Accordingly,
when the people were all at church, having provided himself with a red
coat and a horse-soldier's accoutrements, he picked the stable door,
clapped them on the priest's beast, and rode him without the least
suspicion as hard as conveniently he could to Worcester. There he laid
aside the habit of a cavalier, and transforming himself into the natural
appearance of a horse-courser, he sold the horse to a physician,
telling him at the time he bought it, that it would be greatly the
better for being suffered to run at grass a fortnight or so. _No doubt
on it_, said he; _but I had some design of so doing._

Yet they were much sooner executed than at first they were intended to
have been, by an accident which happened the very day after the beast
came into the hands of the physician; for one evening as Brown was
taking a walk in the skirts of the city, who should he perceive but his
old Cornish parson and his footman, jogging into town. Guilt struck him
immediately with apprehensions at their errand relating to him, so that
walking up and down, nor daring to go into the town for fear of being
taken up and at last supposing it the only way to rid him of danger, he
caught the horse once more in the doctor's close, and having stolen a
saddle and bridle out of the inn where he lodged, he rode on him as far
as Essex.

There he remained until Northampton Fair, where he sold the horse for
the third time, for twenty-seven guineas, to an officer in the same
regiment with him from whom it had been first stolen, on whose return
from Flanders it was owned and the captain who bought it (though he
refused to lose his money) yet gave as good description as he could of
the person who sold it. Upon this the other officer put out an
advertisement, describing both the man and the horse, and offering a
reward of five guineas for whoever should apprehend him. This
advertisement roused both the parson and the doctor, and the former took
so much pains to discover him that he was at length apprehended in
Cornwall, where at the assizes he was tried and convicted for the fact.
But the captain who was the original possessor of the horse was so much
pleased with his ingenuity that he procured a reprieve for him, and
carried him abroad with him where he continued until the peace of
Utrecht, when he returned home and fell to his old way of living, by
which he had submitted himself unto the time in which he fell into
company with Murrel, and had then bought five or six horses which had
been stolen from the South, to be disposed of at the fair.

Murrel liked the precedent, and put it in practice immediately by
stealing a brown mare which belonged to Jonathan Wood, for which he was
shortly after apprehended and committed to Newgate. At the next sessions
at the Old Bailey he was tried and convicted on very clear evidence, and
during the space in which he lay under condemnation, testified a true
sorrow for his sins, though not so just a sense of that for which he
died as he ought to have had, and which might have been reasonably
expected. For as horse-stealing did not appear any very great sin to
him at the time of his committing it, so now, when he was to die for it,
such an obstinate partiality towards ourselves is there naturally
grafted in human nature that he could not forbear complaining of the
severity of the Law, and find fault with its rigour which might have
been avoided. What seemed most of all to afflict him under his
misfortune was that be saw his son and nearest relations forsake him,
and as much as they could shun having anything to do with his affairs.
Of this he complained heavily to the minister of the place, during his
confinement in Newgate, who represented to him how justly this had
befallen him for first slighting his family, and leaving them without
the least tenderness of respect, either to the ties of a husband, or the
duty of a parent; so he began to read his sin in his punishment, and to
frame himself to a due submission to what he had so much merited by his
follies and his crimes.

When he was first brought up to receive sentence, he counterfeited being
dead so exactly that he was brought back again to Newgate, but this
cheat served only to gain a little time; for at the next sessions he was
condemned and ordered for execution, which he suffered on the 27th of
June, 1726, being then between forty and fifty years of age.

The Life of WILLIAM HOLLIS, a Thief and an Housebreaker

This unhappy lad was born in Portugal, while the English army served
there in the late war. His father was drum-major of a regiment, but had
not wherewith to give his child anything but food, for intending to
bring him up a soldier, he perhaps thought learning an unnecessary thing
to one of that profession. During the first years of his life the poor
boy was a constant campaigner, being transported wherever the regiment
removed, with the same care and conveniency as the kettle [drum] and
knapsack, the only thing besides himself which make up the drum-major's
equipage. When he grew big, he got, it seems, on board a man-of-war in
the squadron that sailed up the Mediterranean. This was a proper
university for one who had been bred in such a school; so that there is
no wonder he became so great a proficient in all sorts of wickedness,
gaming, drinking, and whoring, which appear not to such poor creatures
as sins, but as the pleasures of life, about which they ought to spend
their whole care; and, indeed, how should it be otherwise, where they
know nothing that better deserves it.

When he came home to England his father dying, he was totally
destitute, except what care his mother-in-law was pleased to take of
him, which was, indeed, a great deal, if he would have been in any
degree obedient to her instructions. But instead of that he looked upon
all restraints on his liberty as the greatest evil that could befall
him. Wherefore, leaving his mother's house, he abandoned himself to
procuring money at any rate to support those lewd pleasures to which he
had addicted himself.

It happened that he lodged near one John Mattison, a working
silversmith, into whose house he got, and stole from thence no less than
one hundred and forty silver buckles, the goods of one Samuel Ashmelly.
For this offence he was apprehended, and committed to Newgate; at the
next sessions he was tried, and on the evidence of the prosecutor, which
was very full and direct, he was convicted, and having no friends, he
laid aside all hopes of life, and endeavoured as far as poor capacity
would give him leave to improve himself in the knowledge of the
Christian Faith, and in preparing for that death to which his follies
and his crimes had brought him. The Ordinary, in the account he gives of
his death, says that he was extremely stupid, a thing no ways improbable
considering the wretched manner in which he had spent the years of his
childhood and his youth. However, at last either his insensibility or
having satisfied himself with the little evil there is in death compared
with living in misery and want, furnished him with so much calmness that
he suffered with greater appearance of courage than could have been
expected from him. Just before he died he stood up in the cart, and
turning himself to the spectators, said, _Good people, I am very young,
but have been very wicked. It is true I have had no education, but I
might have laboured hard and lived well for all that; but gaming and
ill-company were my ruin. The Law hath justly brought me where I am, and
I hope such young men as see my untimely fate will avoid the paths which
lead unto it. Good people, pray for our departing souls, as we do, that
God may give you all more grace than to follow us thither._ He suffered
with the malefactors before-mentioned, being at the time of his
execution between seventeen and eighteen years old.

The Life of THOMAS SMITH, a Highwayman

There is a certain commendable tenderness in human nature towards all
who are under misfortunes, and this tenderness is in proportion to the
magnitude of those evils which we suppose the pitied person to labour
under. If we extend our compassion to relieving their necessities, and
feeling a regret for those miseries which they undergo, we undoubtedly
discharge the duties of humanity according to the scheme both of natural
religion and the laws laid down in the Gospel. Perhaps no object ever
merited it from juster motives than this poor man, who is the subject of
the following pages. His parents were people in tolerable circumstances
in Southwark; his father was snatched from him by death, while he was
yet a child, but his mother, as far as she was able, was very careful
that he should not pass his younger days without instruction, and an
uncle he then had, being pleased with the docile temper of the youth,
was at some expense also about his education. By this means he came to
read and write tolerably well, and gained some little knowledge of the
Latin tongue; and having a peculiar sweetness in his behaviour, it won
very much upon his relations, and encouraged them to treat him with
great indulgence.

But unfortunately for him, by the time he grew big enough to go out
apprentice, or to enter upon any other method of living, his friends
suddenly dropped off, and, by their death becoming in great want of
money, he was forced to resign all the golden hopes he had formed and
for the sake of present subsistance submit to becoming footman to a
gentleman, who was, however, a very good and kind master to him, till in
about a year's time he died also, and poor Smith was again left at his
wits' end. However, out of this trouble he was relieved by an Irish
gentleman, who took him into his service, and carried him over with him
to Dublin. There he met with abundance of temptations to fall into that
loose and lascivious course of life which prevails more in that city,
perhaps, than in any other in Europe. But he had so much grace at that
time as to resist it, and after a stay there of twenty months, returned
into England again, where he came into the service of a third master, no
less indulgent to him than the two former had been. In this last service
an odd accident befell him, in which, though I neither believe myself,
nor incline to impose on my readers that there was anything supernatural
in the case of it, yet I fancy the oddness of the thing may, under the
story I am going to tell, prove not disagreeable.

In a journey which Thomas had made into Herefordshire, with his first
master, he had contracted there an acquaintance with a young woman,
daughter to a farmer, in tolerable circumstances. This girl without
saying anything to the man, fell it seems desperately in love with him,
and about three months after he left the country, died. One night after
his coming to live with this last master, he fancied he saw her in a
dream, that she stood for some time by his bedside, and at last said,
_Thomas, a month or two hence you will be in danger of a fever, and when
that is over of a greater misfortune. Have a care, you have hitherto
always behaved as an honest man; do not let either poverty or
misfortunes tempt you to become otherwise;_ and having so said, she
withdrew. In the morning the fellow was prodigiously confounded, yet
made no discovery of what had happened to any but the person who lay
with him, though the thing made a very strong impression on his spirits,
and might perhaps contribute not a little to his falling ill about the
time predicted by the phantom he had seen.

This fever soon brought him very low, and obliged him to make away with
most of his things in order to support himself. Upon recovery he found
himself in lamentable circumstances, being without friends, without
money, and out of business. Unfortunately for him, coming along the
Haymarket one evening, he happened to follow a gentleman somewhat in
liquor, who knowing him, desired that he would carry him home to his
house in St. Martin's Lane, to which Thomas readily agreed. But as they
were going along thither, a crowd gathered about the gentleman, who
became as quarrelsome as they, and took it into his head to box one of
the mob, in order to do which more conveniently, he gave Smith his hat
and cane, and his wig. Smith held them for some time, the mob forcing
them along like a torrent, till the gentleman, whose name was Brown,
made up a court near Northumberland House, and Smith thereupon marched
off with the things, the necessity he was under so far blinding him that
he made no scruple of attempting to sell them the next day; by which
means Mr. Brown hearing of them, he caused Smith to be apprehended as a
street-robber, and to be committed to Newgate, though he had the good
luck, notwithstanding, to get all his things again. It seems he visited
the poor man in prison, and if he did not prevaricate at his death, made
him some promises of softening at least, if not of dropping the
prosecution, which, as Smith asserted, prevented his making such a
preparation for his defence as otherwise he might have done; which
proved of very fatal consequence to him, since on the evidence of the
prosecutor he was convicted of the robbery and condemned.

Never poor creature suffered more or severer hardships in the road of
death than this poor man did, for by the time sentence was passed, all
that he had was gone, and he had scarce a blanket to cover him from
downright nakedness, during the space he lay in the hold under sentence.
As he was better principled in religion than any of the other
malefactors, he had retained his reading so well as to assist them in
their devotions, and to supply in some measure the want of somebody
constantly to attend them in their preparation for another world. So he
picked up thereby such little assistances from amongst them as prevented
his being starved before the time appointed for their execution came.

As this man did not want good sense, and was far from having lost what
learning he had acquired in his youth, so the terrors of an ignominious
death were quickly over with him, and instead of being affrighted with
his approaching fate, he considered it only as a relief from miseries
the most piercing that a man could feel, under which he had laboured so
long that life was become a burden, and the prospect of death the only
comfort that was left. He died with the greatest appearance of
resolution and tranquillity on the 3rd August, 1726, being then about
twenty-three years of age.

The Life of EDWARD REYNOLDS, a Thief, etc.

Notwithstanding the present age is so much celebrated for its excellency
in knowledge and politeness, yet I am persuaded both these qualities, if
they are really greater, are yet more restrained than they have been any
time herefore whatsoever. The common people are totally ignorant, almost
even of the first principles of religion. They give themselves up to
debauchery without restraint, and what is yet more extraordinary, they
fancy their vices are great qualifications, and look on all sorts of
wickedness as merit.

This poor wretch who is the subject of our present page was put to
school by his parents, who were in circumstances mean enough; but from a
natural aversion to all goodness he absolutely declined making any
proficiency therein. Whether he was educated to any business I cannot
take upon me to say, but he worked at mop-making and carried them about
to the country fairs for sale, by which he got a competency at least,
and therefore had not by any means that ordinary excuse to plead that
necessity had forced him upon thieving. On the contrary, he was drawn to
the greatest part of those evils which he committed, and which
consequently brought of those which he suffered, by frequenting the ring
at Moorfields--a place which since it occurs so often in these memoirs,
put me under a kind of necessity to describe it, and the customs of
those who frequent it.

It lies between Upper and Middle Moorfields, and as people of rank, when
they turn vicious, frequent some places where, under pretence of seeing
one diversion in which perhaps there is no moral evil, they either make
assignations for lewdness, or parties for gaming or drinking, and so by
degrees ruin their estates, and leave the character of debauchees behind
them, so those of meaner rank come thither to partake of the diversions
of cudgel-playing, wrestlings, quoits, and other robust exercises which
are now softened by a game of toss-up, hustle-cap, or nine-holes, which
quickly brings on want; and the desire continuing, naturally inclines
them to look for some means to recruit. And so, when the evening is
spent in gaming, the night induces them to thieve under its cover, that
they may have wherewith to supply the expenses of the ensuing day. Hence
it comes to pass that this place and these practices hath ruined more
young people, such as apprentices, journeymen, errand-boys, etc., than
any other seminary of vice in town. But it is time that we should now
return to the affairs of him who hath occasioned this digression.

In the neighbourhood of this place Reynolds found out a little alehouse
to which he every night resorted. There were abundance of wicked persons
who used to meet there, in order to go upon their several villainous
ways of getting money; Reynolds (whose head was always full of
discovering a method by which he might live more at ease than he did by
working) listened very attentively to what passed amongst them. One
Barnham, who had formerly been a waterman, was highly distinguished at
these meetings for his consummate knowledge in every branch of the art
and mystery of cheating. He had followed such practices for near twenty
years, and commonly when they came there at night they formed a ring
about the place where he sat and listened with the greatest delight to
those relations of evil deeds, which his memory recorded.

It happened one evening, when these worthy persons were assembled
together, that their orator took it in his head to harangue them on the
several alterations which the science of stealing had gone through from
the time of his becoming acquainted with its professors. In former days,
said he, knights of the road were a kind of military order into which
none but decayed gentlemen presumed to intrude themselves. If a younger
brother ran out of his allowance, or if a young heir spent his estate
before he had bought a tolerable understanding, if an under-courtier
lived above his income, or a subaltern officer laid out twice his pay in
rich suits and fine laces, this was the way they took to recruit; and if
they had but money enough left to procure a good horse and a case of
pistols, there was no fear of their keeping up their figure a year or
two, till their faces were known. And then, upon a discovery, they
generally had friends good enough to prevent their swinging, and who,
ten to one, provided handsomely for them afterwards, for fear of their
meeting with a second mischance, and thereby bringing a stain upon their
family. But nowadays a petty alehouse-keeper, if he gives too much
credit, a cheesemonger whose credit grows rotten, or a mechanic that is
weary of living by his fingers-ends, makes no more ado, when he finds
his circumstances uneasy, but whips into a saddle and thinks to get all
things retrieved by the magic of those two formidable words, _Stand and
Deliver._ Hence the profession is grown scandalous, since all the world
knows that the same methods now makes an highwayman, that some years ago
would have got a commission.

_But hark ye_, says one of the company, _in the days of those gentlemen
highwaymen, was there no way left for a poor man to get his living out
of the road of honesty? Puh! Ay_, replied Barnham, _a hundred men were
more ingenious then than they are now, and the fellows were so dexterous
that it was dangerous for a man to laugh who had a good set of teeth,
for fear of having them stole. They made nothing of whipping hats and
wigs off at noon-day; whipping swords from folks' sides when it grew
dusk; or making a midnight visit, in spite of locks, bolts, bars, and
such like other little impediments to old misers, who kept their gold
molding in chests till such honest fellows, at the hazard of their
lives, came to set at liberty. For my part_, continued he, _I believe
Queen Anne's war swept away the last remains of these brave spirits; for
since the Peace of Utrac (as I think they call it) we have had a
wondrous growth of blockheads, even in our business. And if it were not
for Shephard and Frazier, a hundred years hence, they would not think
that in our times there were fellows bold enough to get sixpence out of
a legal road, or dare to do anything without a quirk of the law to
screen them._

All his auditors were wonderfully pleased with such discourses as these,
and when the liquor had a little warmed them, would each in their turn
tell a multitude of stories they had heard of the boldness, cunning, and
dexterity of the thieves who lived before them. In all cases whatever,
evil is much sooner learnt than good, and a night debauch makes a ten
times greater impression on the spirits than the most eloquent sermon.
Between the liquor and the tales people begin to form new ideas to
themselves of things, and instead of looking on robbery as rapine and
stealing as a villainous method of defrauding another, they, on the
contrary, take the first for a gallant action, and the latter for a
dexterous piece of cunning; by either of which they acquire the means of
indulging themselves in what best suits their inclinations, without the
fatigue of business or the drudgery of hard labour.

Reynolds, though a very stupid fellow, soon became a convert to these
notions, and lost no time in putting them in execution, for the next
night he took from a person (who it seems knew him and his haunts well
enough) a coat and a shilling, which when he came to be indicted for the
fact, he pretended they were given him to prevent his charging the
prosecutor with an attempt to commit sodomy--an excuse which of late
years is grown as common with the men, as it has long been with the
women to pretend money was given them for flogging folks, when they have
been brought to the bar for picking it out of their pockets; hoping by
this reverberation of ignominy to blacken each other so that the jury
may believe neither. However, in this case, it must be acknowledged that
Reynolds went to death with the assertion that he received the coat and
the shilling on the before-mentioned account, and that he did not take
it by violence, which was the crime whereof he was convicted.

He had married a poor woman, who lived in very good reputation both
before and after; by her he had three children, and though he had long
associated himself with other women, and left her to provide for the
poor infants, yet he was extremely offended because she did not send him
as much money as he wanted under his confinement, and he could not
forbear treating her with very ill language when she came to see him
under his misfortunes. As he was a fellow of little parts and no
education, so his behaviour under condemnation was confused and unequal,
as it is reasonable to suppose it should be, since he had nothing to
support his hopes or to comfort him against those fears of death which
are inseparable from human nature. However, he sometimes showed an
inclination to learn somewhat of religion, would listen attentively
while Smith was reading, and as well as his gross capacity would give
him leave, would pray for mercy and forgiveness. At chapel he behaved
himself decently, if not devoutly, and being by his misfortunes removed
from the company of those who first seduced him into his vices, he began
to have some ideas of the use of life when he was going to leave it; and
his thoughts had received certain ideas (though very imperfect ones) of
death and a future state, when the punishment appointed by Law sent him
to experience them. He died on the 23rd of August, 1726, being then
upwards of twenty-six years of age.

The Life of JOHN CLAXTON, _alias_ JOHNSTON, a Thief, etc.

This unhappy malefactor was amongst the number of those who, through
want of education, was the more easily drawn into the prosecution of
such practices as became fatal to him. His father was a common sailor
belonging to the town of Sunderland, who had it not in his power to
breed him in a very extraordinary manner; and what little he was able to
do was frustrated by the evil inclinations of his son, who instead of
applying himself closely while he remained at school, loitered away his
time, and made little or no proficiency there. His head, as those of
most seamen's children do, ran continually on voyages and seeing foreign
countries, with which roving temper the father too readily complied, and
while yet a boy, unacquainted with any kind of learning and unsettled in
the principles of religion, he was sent forth into the world to pick up
either as he could.

The first voyage he made was up the Straits, where he touched at
Gibraltar, and went soon after to Leghorn, the port to which they were
bound. Being a young sprightly lad the mate carried him on shore with
him, and being a man of intrigue, made use of him to go between him and
an Irish woman, who was married to an Italian captain of a ship. The
lady's husband was in Sicily, and they therefore apprehended themselves
to be secure; she proposed to the mate the carrying off of jewels and
other things, to the amount of some thousand crowns, and then flying
with him from Italy. The project had certainly succeeded if it had not
been for their imprudence; for the mate, who passed for her cousin,
being continually in the house for three days before the ship went away,
a suspicion entered into some of the neighbours (as they often do
amongst Italians) that there was something more than ordinary concealed
under the frequency of his visits. They therefore dispatched a messenger
to Signor Stefano di Calvo, the captain's brother, with the account of
their surmises. He came immediately to Leghorn, and going directly to
his brother's house, found his sister had packed up all his valuable
effects, and having loaded the boy with as much as he could carry, was
on the point of setting out with him for the vessel. Stefano dragged her
back into an inner apartment, where he locked her in, and afterwards
fastened the doors of the outward apartment, through which they passed
thither. But Jack, seeing how things went, laid down his burden and fled
as hard as he could drive to the port, where he gave notice to the
master of their disappointment, and caused the vessel immediately to
weigh anchor and stand to sea, as fearing the consequences of the
affair, which he knew would make a great noise, and might possibly turn
to the detriment of his owners.

Claxton had hitherto done nothing that was criminal within the eye of
the Law, though while at sea he was continually employed in some
mischievous trick or other. When he came into England the ship happened
to go to Yarmouth, and as all places were alike to him, so short a stay
there engaged him to marry a young woman who had some little matter of
money, with which he proposed to do for himself some little matter at
sea, and taking the greatest part of it with him, came up to London in
order to see after a good voyage.

But this was the most fatal journey he ever made, for falling
unfortunately into the hands of bad women and their companions, they
quickly drew him to be as bad as themselves; so that forgetting the poor
woman he had married, and regardless of the business which brought him
up to town, he gave himself up entirely to the pursuit of such
villainies as they taught him, and in a short space became as expert a
proficient as any in the gang.

Some of them had consulted together to rob a woodmonger's house of a
considerable quantity of plate, but there was one difficulty to be
encountered, without overcoming which there was no hopes of success. The
woodmonger's maid carried up the keys every night to her master (the
outer court having a gate to it), and unless they could call upon some
stratagem either to prevent the gate being shut, or to gain the means of
unlocking it, their attempt was certainly in vain. In order to bring
this to pass, they put Jack, who was a neat little fellow, into a very
good habit, and found means to introduce him to the acquaintance of the
wench at a neighbouring chandler's shop, where he took lodgings. In a
fortnight's time he prevailed upon Mrs. Anne to come out at twelve of
the clock to meet him, which she could not do without leaving the great
gate ajar, having first carried up the key to her master, though for her
own conveniency she had thus left it upon a single lock. While she and
her sweetheart were drinking punch and making merry together, the rest
of the confederates got into the house and carried away silver plate to
the value of L80, leaving everything behind them in so good order that
the maid, who was a little tipsy into the bargain, discovered nothing
that night. Going to acquaint her lover with the accident as soon as it
was found out, to her great surprise she was informed that he was
removed, having carried away all the things before his landlord and
landlady were up. The girl carefully concealed the passage, knowing how
fatal it would be to her if it should reach her master's ears; but for
her spark, she heard no more of him until his commitment to Newgate for
another fact, for which he was ordered for transportation.

Being on board the vessel with the rest of the convicts, he soon
procured the favour of the master to be let to go out upon deck, and
being a strong able sailor, he ingratiated himself so far as to meet no
worse usage than any other sailor in the ship. On their arrival at the
Canaries, where by stress of weather they were obliged to put in, a
quarrel happened between the master of their vessel and the captain of a
Jamaicaman homeward bound. It ended in a duel with sword and pistol, and
the captain of the transport having carried John with him, he behaved so
well upon this occasion that he promised him his liberty as soon as they
arrived in America, which he honorably performed; and Jack was so
indefatigable in his endeavours to get home that he arrived at London
six weeks before the captain came back.

He herded again with his old crew, though before he was able to do much
mischief amongst them he was apprehended for returning from
transportation, and was at the next sessions tried and convicted. By
this time the captain who had carried him was arrived, and hearing of
John's misfortune, he made such interest as procured the sentence of
death to be changed into a second transportation.

Such narrow escapes, one would have imagined, might have taught him how
dangerous a thing it was to dally with the laws of the nation in any
respect whatsoever; and yet, when he was on shore in New England, where
the master took care to provide him with as easy a service as a man
could have wished, as soon as the captain's back was turned, he found
means to give the planter the slip, and in nine months' time revisited
London a second time. Whether he intended to have gone on in the old
trade or no is impossible for us to determine, but this we are certain,
that he had not been in England many weeks ere a person who made it his
business to detect such as returned from transportation clapped him up
in his old lodging at Newgate, brought him to his trial, and convicted
him the third time. As soon as he had received sentence, he relinquished
all hopes of life, and as in all this time he had never made any enquiry
after his wife at Yarmouth, so he would not now bring an odium upon her
and her family by sending to them, and making his misfortune public in
the place where they lived.

The man seemed to be of an easy, tractable disposition, readily yielding
to whatever those who conversed with them desired to bring him to,
whether it were good or evil. He attended with great seeming piety and
devotion to the books which Thomas Smith read to his fellow prisoners,
and gained thereby a tolerable notion of the duty of repentance, and
that faith which men ought to have in Jesus Christ. Thus by degrees he
brought himself to a perfect indifference as to life or death, and at
the place of execution showed neither by change of colour, or any other
symptom any extraordinary fear of his approaching dissolution; and
having conformed very devoutly to the prayers said by the Ordinary,
after a short private devotion, he submitted to his fate with the
afore-mentioned malefactors Smith and Reynolds, being then about
twenty-eight years old or thereabouts.

The Life of MARY STANDFORD, a Pickpocket and Thief

This unfortunate woman was born of very good parents, who sent her to
school, and caused her to be bred up in every other respect so as to be
capable of performing well in her station of the world, and doing her
duty towards God, from a just notion of religion. But it happening,
unluckily, that she set her mind on nothing so much as the company of
young men and running about with them to fairs and such other country
diversions, her friends were put under the necessity of sending her to
London, a thing which they saw could not be avoided.

When she came to town, she got in one or two good places, which she soon
lost from her forward behaviour; and having been seduced by a footman,
she soon became a common street walker, and practised all the vile arts
of those women who were a scandal to their sex. When she was young, she
was tolerably handsome, and associated herself with one Black Mary,
whose true name was Mary Rawlins, a woman of notorious ill-fame, and
who, from being kept by a man of substance in the City, by her own
ill-management was turned upon the town, and reduced to getting her
bread after the infamous manner of the inmates of Drury. These two Marys
used to walk together between Temple Bar and Ludgate Hill, where
sometimes they met with foolish young fellows out of whom they got
considerable sums, though at other times their adventures produced so
little that they were obliged to part with almost every rag of clothes
they had; nay, they were now and then reduced so low that one was
obliged to stay at home while the other went out.

Mary Rawlins, contrary to the rules established amongst the sisterhood,
married a man who had been a Life-Guardsman, and so was obliged to
remove her lodgings to go with him into a little court near King
Street, Westminster. Some of my readers may perhaps imagine that either
her love for her husband, or the fear of his authority, might work a
reformation, but therein they would be highly mistaken for he proposed
no other end to himself than plundering her of those presents she
received from gallants, so that whenever evening drew on, he was very
assiduous for her to turn out (as they phrase it), that is to go upon
the street-walking account picking pockets. She had not followed this
trade long before she became so uneasy under it that one night meeting
with her old companion Standford, she persuaded her to remove into a new
quarter of the town, whither she fled to her from her husband. They
there carried on their intrigues together, and lived much more at their
ease then they had done before; for being now got towards Wapping, they
drew in the sailors when they had any money to part with for their
favours, and getting into acquaintance with some navy solicitors, they
found means to raise them cash, at the rate of 60 per cent. to the
broker, and as much to the whore.

Thus they lived till Standford took it in her head to serve her partner
as she had done her before, for finding a man mad enough to marry her,
she was fool enough to consent to the marriage. But after living with
the man for about a year, she repented her bargain, and left him, as
Rawlins had done hers. Some time after this she contracted an
acquaintance with another man, at that time servant to a person in the
City. By him she had a child, which as it increased her necessary
expense, so it plunged her into the greater difficulty of knowing how to
supply it. However, fancying her gains would be larger if she plied by
herself, she totally left the company of her former associates, and
applied herself with an infamous industry to her shameful trade of
prostitution.

Not long after she had entered upon this single method of
street-walking, she fell into the company of a gentleman who was more
than ordinary amorous of her, and who after treating her with a supper,
lay with her, and (as she said) gave her four guineas; but he on the
contrary charged her with picking his pocket of a shagreen book, a silk
handkerchief, and the money before mentioned. For this fact she was
committed to Newgate, and soon after tried and convicted,
notwithstanding her excuse of the man bestowing it on her as a present.

After she had received sentence, some of her friends gave her hopes of
having it changed into a transportation pardon, but this she rejected
utterly, declaring that she had rather die not only the most
ignominious, but the most cruel death that could be invented at home,
rather than be sent abroad to slave for her living. Such strange
apprehensions enter into the head of these unhappy creatures, and
hinder them from taking the advantage of the only possibility they have
left of tasting happiness on this side of the grave; and as this
aversion to the plantations has so bad effects, especially in making the
convicts desirous of escaping from the vessel, or of flying out of the
country whither they were sent, almost before they have seen it, I am
surprised that no care has been taken to print a particular and
authentic account of the manner in which they are treated in those
places. I know it may be suggested that the terror of such usage as they
are represented to meet with there has often a good effect in diverting
them from such acts as they know must bring them to transportation; yet
though I confess I have heard this more than once repeated, yet I am far
from being convinced, and I am thoroughly satisfied that instead of
magnifying the miseries of their pretended slavery, or rather of
inventing stories that make a very easy service pass on these unhappy
creatures for the severest bondage, the convicts should be told the true
state of the case, and be put in mind that instead of suffering death,
the lenity of our Constitution permitted them to be removed into another
climate no way inferior to that in which they were born, where they were
to perform no harder tasks than those who work honestly for their bread
in England do. And this, not under persons of another nation, who might
treat them with less humanity, but with those who are no less English
for their living in the New, than if they dwelt in Old England, people
famous for their humanity, justice, and, piety,[76] and amongst whom
they are sure of meeting with no variation of manners, customs, etc.,
unless in respect of the progress of their vices which are at present
more numerous there than in their motherland. I say if pains were taken
to instil into these unhappy persons such notions, at the same time
demonstrating to them that from being exposed either to want and
necessity from the loss they had sustained of this reputation, and being
thereby under a kind of force in following their old courses, and as
soon as discharged from the fears of death (supposing a free pardon
could be procured) obliged to run a like hazard immediately after, they
might probably conceive justly of that clemency which is extended
towards them, and instead of shunning transportation, flying from the
country where they are landed as soon as they have set their foot in
them, or neglecting opportunities they might have on their first coming
there, and be brought to serve their masters faithfully, to endure the
time of their service cheerfully, and settle afterwards in the best
manner they are able, so as to pass the close of their life in an
honest, easy and reputable manner. Now it too often happens that their
last end is worse than their first, because those who return from
transportation being sure of death if apprehended, are led thereby to
behave themselves worse and more cruelly than any malefactors,
whatsoever.

But to return to Mary Standford, who led us into this digression. She
showed little or no regard for anything; no, not even for her own child,
who, she said, she hoped would be well taken care of by the parish, and
added that she had been a great sinner, for which she hoped God would
forgive her, praying as well as she could, both while under sentence and
at the place of execution. She declared that she bore no malice either
against her prosecutor, or any other person, and in this disposition she
finished her life at Tyburn, the same day with the afore-mentioned
malefactors, being at that time near thirty-six years of age.

FOOTNOTES:

[76] A New Hampshire law regulating the behaviour of masters
towards their white servants enacts, "if any man smite out the
eye or tooth of his manservant or maid-servant or otherwise maim
or disfigure them much, unless it be mere casualty, he shall let
him or her go free from his service and shall allow such further
recompense as the Court of Quarter Sessions shall adjudge them."
A good example of New England humanity and justice.

The Life of JOHN CARTWRIGHT, a Thief

This unhappy young man was born in Yorkshire, of a tolerable family, who
had been sufficiently careful in having him instructed in whatever was
necessary for a person of his condition, breeding him up to all works of
husbandry in general, and also qualifying him in every respect for a
gentleman's service; in one of which capacities they were in hopes he
would not find it difficult to get his bread. He lived with several
persons in the country with unspotted reputation, until at last a whim
came into his head of coming up to London. An uncle of his procured him
a very good service with one Mr. Charvin, a mercer in Paternoster Row,
with whom he Stayed for some time with great satisfaction on both sides;
for his master was highly pleased with the careful industry of the young
man's temper, and Cartwright on the other side had not the least reason
to complain, considering the great kindness and indulgence with which he
was used. But some young fellows of loose principles taking notice of
Cartwright's easy and tractable temper, quickly drew him into becoming
fond of their company and conversation.

Every other Sunday he was permitted to go out where he would, until nine
o'clock at night, and these young fellows meeting at a fine alehouse
not far from his master's house, whither they began to bring Yorkshire
John (as they called him), there they usually ran over the description
of the diversions of the town, and of those places round it which are
most remarkable for the resort of company. These were new scenes to poor
John, who was unacquainted with any representation better than a puppet
show, or recreation of a superior nature to bullbaitings at a country
fair; and therefore his thoughts were extremely taken up with all he
heard, and his companions were so obliging that they took abundance of
pains to satisfy such questions as he asked them, and were often
soliciting him to go and partake with them at plays, dancing-bouts, and
all the various divertisements to which young unthinking youths are
addicted. He wanted not many intreaties to comply with their request,
but money, the main ingredient in such delights, was wanting, and of
this he at last acknowledged the deficiency to one of the young men his
companions. This fellow took no notice of it at that time, farther than
to wish he had more, and to tell him that a young man of his spirit
ought never to be without and that there were ways and means enough to
get it, if a man had not as much cash as courage.

He repeated these insinuations often, without explaining them at all,
until frequent stories of the fine sights at the theatres and elsewhere
had so far raised poor John's curiosity that one evening he entreated
his companion to let him into the bottom of what he meant. The cunning
villain turned it at first into a jest and continued to banter him about
his being a country put, and so forth, until he perceived it was past
twelve o'clock, and knew that it was too late for him to get in at home;
then he told him that if he promised never to reveal it, he would tell
him what he meant. John being full of liquor swore he would not, and the
other replied, _Why, here you stand complaining of the want of money,
while I warrant you, there's a hundred or two pounds in your master's
drawer under the counter. Maybe there may_, said Cartwright, _but what's
that to me? Nay_, replied the other, _nothing, if you have not the
courage to go and fetch it; why now, you can get in I'm sure. Come, I'll
put you in a way of never being taken._

Cartwright, who was half drunk, remembered that there was a parcel of
gold in the drawer, and that it was in his power to get at a silver
watch and some plate, so that he fatally yielded to the temptations of
his companion, and thereupon the next morning, conveyed to him the
watch, fourscore pounds in money, and three silver spoons. They shared
the greatest part of the booty, of which Cartwright was quickly cheated,
and though he fled with the remainder as far as Monmouthshire, in Wales,
yet some way or other he was there detected, committed prisoner to the
county gaol and then sent up to London, where a few days after his
arrival he was tried and convicted.

Never poor wretch suffered deeper affliction than he did, in the
reflection of his follies, for giving up all hopes of life, he spent the
whole interval of time between sentence and execution in grieving for
the sorrows he had brought upon himself and the stain his ignominious
death would leave upon his family. His companion, in the meantime, was
fled far enough out of the reach of Justice, so that Cartwright had
nothing to expect but death to which he patiently submitted,
acknowledging upon all occasions the justice of that sentence which had
befallen him, and wishing that his death might be sufficient to warn
other young men in such circumstances, as his once were, from falling
into faults of that kind, which had brought him to ruin and shame. Yet
though he laid aside all desires relating to worldly things, he yet
expressed a little peevishness from the neglect shown towards him by his
friends in the country, who though they knew well enough of his
misfortunes, yet they absolutely declined doing anything for him, from a
notion perhaps that it might reflect upon themselves. Above all things
Cartwright manifested a due sense of the ingratitude he had been guilty
of towards so good a master as the gentleman whom he robbed had been to
him, he therefore prayed for his prosperity, even with his last breath,
and declared he died without malice or ill-will against any person
whatsoever.

At the place of his execution he attended very devoutly to the prayers,
but did not say anything to the people more than to beg of them to take
warning by him, after the rope was fixed about his neck. He was executed
at Tyburn, on Monday, the 21st of September, 1726, being then about
twenty-three years of age, a remarkable instance of how far youth, even
of the best principles, is liable to be corrupted, if they are not
carefully watched over and may justify those restraints which parents
and masters, from a just apprehension of things, put upon their children
or servants.

The Life of FRANCES, _alias_ MARY BLACKET, a Highwaywoman

Nothing deserves observation more than the resolution, or rather
obstinacy, with which some criminals deny the facts they have committed,
though ever so evidently proved against them. There are two evils which
follow from a hasty judgment formed from this consideration; the first
is, that people either instigated through malice, or rashly and by
mistake, swear against innocent persons from a presumption that nobody
would be so wicked as to die with a lie in their mouths; the other fault
consists in imagining that the prosecutor is never in the wrong, but
believing that covetousness or revenge can never bring people to such a
pitch as to take away the life of another to gain money, or glut their
passions. Our experience convinces us that either of these notions taken
generally is wrong in itself, and that even as many have died in the
profession of falsehoods, so some have suffered though innocent of the
crime for which they died. The true use, therefore, of this reflection
is that where life is concerned, too much care cannot be taken to sift
the truth, since appearances often deceive us and circumstances are
sometimes strong where the evidence, if the whole affair were known,
would be but weak.

Mary Blacket, which was the real name of this unfortunate woman, was the
daughter of very mean parents, who yet were so careful of her education
that they brought her up to read and write tolerably well, and to do
everything which could be expected from a household servant, which was
the best station they ever expected she would arrive at. When she grew
big enough to go out, they procured for her a service in which as well
as in several others, while a single woman, she lived with very good
reputation. After this she married a sailor, and for all her neighbours
knew, lived by hard working while he was abroad. Then on a sudden she
was taken up and committed to Newgate, for assaulting William Whittle,
in the highway, and taking from him a watch value L4, and sixpence in
money, on the 6th of August, 1726.

When sessions came on, the prosecutor appeared and swore the fact
positively upon her, whereupon the jury found her guilty, though at the
bar she declared with abundance of asseverations that she never was
guilty of anything of that sort in her life, and insisted on it that the
man was mistaken in her face. While under sentence of death, she behaved
herself with great devotion, and seemed to express no concern at leaving
the world, excepting her only apprehensions that her child would neither
be taken care of nor educated so well after her decease, at the charge
of the parish, as hitherto it had been. Yet with respect to the crime
for which she was to die, she still continued to profess her innocency
thereof, averring that she had never been concerned in injuring anybody
by theft, and charging the oath of the prosecutor wholly upon his
mistake, and not upon wilful design to do her prejudice. At chapel, as
well as in the place of her confinement, she declared she absolutely
forgave him who had brought her to that ignominious end, as freely as
she hoped forgiveness from her Creator; and with these professions she
left the world at Tyburn, on the same day with the before-mentioned
malefactor, being then about thirty-four years of age, persisting even
at the place of execution in the denial of the fact.

The Life of JANE HOLMES, _alias_ BARRET, _alias_ FRAZER, a Shoplifter

In the summer of the year 1726, shoplifting became so common a practice,
and so detrimental to the shopkeepers, that they made an application to
the Government for assistance in apprehending the offenders; and in
order thereto, offered a reward and a pardon for any who would discover
their associates in such practices. It was not long before by their
vigilance and warmth in carrying on the prosecution, they seized and
committed several of the most notorious shoplifters about town, and at
the next several ensuing sessions convicted six or seven of them, which
seems to have pretty well broke the neck of this branch of thieving ever
since.

The malefactor of whom we are now speaking pretended to have been the
daughter of a gentleman of some rank in a northern county. Certain it is
that the woman had had a tolerable education, and neither in her person,
nor in her behaviour betrayed anything of vulgar birth. Yet those whom
she called her nearest relations absolutely disowned her on her
application to them, and would not be prevailed on to take any steps
whatsoever in order to procure her a reprieve.

When between fifteen and sixteen years old, she came up to London to her
aunt, as she asserted, much against the will of her relations. At that
time she was not ugly, and therefore a young man in the neighbourhood
began to be very assiduous in his courtship to her, hoping also that the
persons she talked of, as her father and brothers in the country, would
give him a sum of money to set up his trade. Miss Jenny was a forward
lass, and the fellow being a spruce young spark, soon prevailed over her
affections, and they were accordingly privately married, though it
proved not much to her advantage. For her husband finding no money come,
began to use her indifferently, upon which she fell into that sort of
business which goes under the name of a Holland's Trader, and gave the
best opportunities of vending goods that are ill come by, at a
tolerable price, and with little danger.

Whether in the life-time of this husband or afterwards, I cannot say,
but she fell into the acquaintance of the famous Jonathan Wild, and
possibly received some of his instructions in managing her affairs in
the disposal of stolen goods; but as Jonathan's friendships were mostly
fatal, so in about a year's time afterwards she was apprehended upon
that score, and shortly after was tried and convicted, and thereupon
ordered for transportation. She continued abroad for two years or
somewhat more; and then, under pretence of love to her children,
ventured over to England again, where it was not long before she got
acquainted with her old crew, who, if they were to be believed upon
their oaths, were inferior to her in the art or mystery of shoplifting.
However it were, whether by selling stolen goods, or by stealing them,
certain it is that she ran into so much money that an Irish sharper
thought fit, about Christmas before her death, to marry her in order to
possess himself of her effects; which without ceremony he did upon her
being last apprehended, disposing of every thing she had, and taking
away particularly a large purse of old gold, which by her industry she
had collected against a rainy day.

The woman who became an evidence against her swore so positively on the
several indictments, and what she said was corroborated with so many
circumstances, that the jury found her guilty on the four following
indictments, viz.: for stealing 20 yards of straw-ground brocaded silk,
value L10, the goods of John Moon and Richard Stone, on the 1st of June,
1726; of stealing, in the shop of Mr. Mathew Herbert, 40 yards of
pink-coloured mantua silk, value L10, on the 1st of May, in the same
year; of stealing, in company with Mary Robinson, a silver cup of the
value of L5, the goods of Elizabeth Dobbinson, on the 7th January; of
stealing, in the company of Mary Robinson aforesaid, 80 yards of
cherry-coloured mantua silk value L5, the goods of Joseph Bourn and Mary
Harper, on the 24th December.

Notwithstanding the clearness of the evidence given against her, while
under sentence of death she absolutely denied not only the several facts
of which she was convicted, but of her having been ever guilty of any
theft during the whole life. Yet she confessed her acquaintance with
Jonathan Wild, nay, she went so far as to own having bought stolen
goods, and disposing of them, by which she had got great sums of money.
She was exceedingly uneasy at the thoughts of dying, and left no method
untried to procure a reprieve, venting herself in most opprobrious terms
against some whom she would have put upon procuring it for her, by
pretending to be their near relation, though the people knew very well
that she had nothing to do with them or their family; and she herself
had been reproved for nuking such pretensions by the ministers who
assist condemned persons; yet she still persisted therein, and on the
Ordinary of Newgate's acquainting her that the gentleman she called her
father died the week before, suddenly, she fell into a great agony of
crying, and as soon as she came a little to herself, reproached, though
in very modest terms, the unnatural conduct of those she still averred
to be so nearly related to her.

Nothing could be more fond than she was of her children, who were
brought to Newgate to see her, and over whom she wept bitterly, and
expressed great concern at her not having saved wherewith to support
them in their tender years. At last, when she lost all hopes of life,
instead of growing calmer and better reconciled to death, as is frequent
enough with persons in that sad condition, on the contrary, she became
more impatient than ever, flew out into excessive passions and behaved
herself with such vehemency and flights of railing, that she did not a
little disturb those who lay under sentence in the same place with her.
For this she was reprimanded by the keepers, and exhorted to alter her
behaviour by the minister of the place, which had at last so good an
effect upon her that she became more quiet for the two or three last
days of her life; in which she professed herself exceedingly grieved for
the many offences of her misspent life, declaring she heartily forgave
the woman who was an evidence against her, and who she believed was much
wickeder than herself, because as this criminal pretended, she had
varied not a little from the truth. At the place of execution she was
more composed than could have been expected, and with many prayers that
her life might prove a warning to others, she yielded up her last
breath, at Tyburn, on the same day with the before-mentioned
malefactors, being then about thirty-four years of age.

The Life of KATHERINE FITZPATRICK, _alias_ GREEN, _alias_ BOSWELL, a
notorious Shoplift

After once the mercers had got Burton, who was the evidence, into their
hands, she quickly detected numbers of her confederates, several of whom
were apprehended, and chiefly on her evidence, convicted. Amongst the
rest was this Katherine Fitzpatrick, who was born in Lincolnshire, of
parents far from being in low circumstances, and who were careful in
bestowing on her a very tolerable education. In the country she
discovered a little too much forwardness, and though London was a very
improper place in which to hope for her amendment, yet hither her
friends sent her, where she quickly fell into such company as deprived
her of all sentiments, either of virtue or honesty. What practices she
might pursue before she fell into shoplifting I have not been able to
learn, and will not therefore impose upon my readers at the expense of a
poor creature, who is so long ago gone to answer for her offences,
which, as they were doubtless many of themselves, so they shall never be
increased by me.

Being a woman of a tolerable person, notwithstanding her not having the
best of characters, she got a man in the mind to marry her, to whom she
made an indifferent good wife; and though he was not altogether clear
from knowing of her being concerned with shoplifters, yet he was so far
from giving her the least encouragement therein that they were on the
contrary continually quarrelling upon this subject; and whenever, from
any circumstances, he guessed she had been thieving, he beat her
severely. Yet all this was to no purpose, she still continued to treat
in the old path and associated herself with a large number of women, who
were at this time busy in stealing silks out of the shops, either in the
absence of the master, or under the pretence of seeing others. It is
observable not only of Katherine Fitzpatrick, of whom we are now
speaking, but also of all the persons who died for this offence, that
they were extremely shy of making detailed confessions, though ready
enough to confess in general that they had been grievous sinners, and
that the punishment they were to undergo was very just from the hand of
God. Fitzpatrick, as well as the former criminal Holmes, charged Burton
the evidence with disingenuity in what she delivered on her oath against
them, and yet Fitzpatrick could not absolutely deny having been guilty
of a multitude of offences as to shoplifting, so that it is highly
probable, even if the evidence erred a little in immaterial
circumstances, that in the main she swore truth.

The particular facts on which Fitzpatrick was convicted, were: (1)
stealing 19 yards of green damask valued at L9, the goods of Joseph
Giffard and John Ravenal, on July the 29th, 1724; (2) Taking 10 yards of
green satin out of the shop of John Moon and Richard Stone, value L3, on
the 10th February, 1724/25; (3) Stealing, in company with another
person, 50 yards of green mantua, value L10, the goods of John Autt, May
the 5th, 1725; (4) Stealing 63 yards of modena and pink italian mantua,
the goods of Joshua Fairy, February 24, 1724/25. These dates were all of
them somewhat more than a twelvemonth before the time of her
apprehension, and she insisted on it that she had left off committing
any such thing for a considerable space, which made the evidence envy
her, and so brought on the prosecution.

As she was a woman of good natural parts, and had not utterly lost that
education which had been bestowed upon her, she was not near so much
confuted at the apprehensions of death as people in her circumstances
usually are. She said she was glad she had some reformation in her life
before this great evil came upon her, because she hoped her repentance
was the more sincere as it had not proceeded from force; yet she was
very desirous of life when first condemned, and, like Mrs. Holmes,
pleaded her belly, in hopes her pregnancy might have prevented her
execution. But a jury of matrons found neither of them to be quick with
child; yet both to the time of their death averred they were so, and
seemed exceedingly uneasy that their children should die violent deaths
within them.

When the time of her execution drew very near, she called her thoughts
totally off from worldly affairs, and seemed to apply herself to the
great business which lay before her, with an earnestness and assiduity
seldom to be seen in such people. The assistance she had from her
friends abroad were not large, but she contented herself with a very
spare diet, being unwilling that anything should call her off from
penitence and religious duties. She seemed to have entirely weaned her
affections from the desire of life, and never showed any extraordinary
emotions, except on the visit of her youngest child, in the nurse's
arms, at the first sight of which she fell into strong convulsion fits,
from which she was not brought to herself without great difficulty. She
sometimes expressed a little uneasiness at the misfortunes which had
befallen her after she had left off that way of living, but upon her
being spoken to by several reverend persons, who explained and
vindicated the wisdom and justice of Providence, she acquiesced under
its decrees, and without murmuring submitted to her fate.

A little before she died, she, with the rest of the shoplifters, was
asked some questions concerning one Mrs. Susanna, who was suspected of
having been in some degree concerned with her. Mrs. Fitzpatrick and Mrs.
Holmes each of them declared that they knew nothing evil about her. Mrs.
Fitzpatrick did indeed say that she had some little acquaintance with
the woman, and knew that she got her living by selling coffee, tea, and
some other little things, yet never was concerned in any ill practices
in relation to them, or anybody else she knew of. After having done
this public justice, she, with great meekness, yielded up her breath at
Tyburn, the 6th of September, 1726, being then about thirty-eight years
of age.

The Life of MARY ROBINSON, a Shoplift

The indiscretions of youth are always pitied, and often excused even by
those who suffer most by them; but when persons grown up to years of
discretion continue to pursue with eagerness the most flagitious
courses, and grow in wickedness as they grow in age, pity naturally
forsakes us, and they appear in so execrable a light that instead of
having compassion for their misfortunes we congratulate our country on
being rid of such monsters, whom nothing could tame, nor the approach
even of death in a natural way hinder them from anticipating it by
drawing on a violent one through their crimes.

I am drawn to this observation from the fate of the miserable woman of
whom we are now speaking. What her parents were, or what her education
it is impossible to say, since she was shy of relating them herself; and
being seventy years old at the time of her execution, there was nobody
then living who could give an account about her. She was indicted for
stealing a silver cup, in company with Jane Holmes, and also stealing
eighty yards of cherry-coloured mantua silk, value five pounds, in
company with the aforesaid Jane Holmes, the property of Joseph Brown and
Mary Harper, on the 24th of December. On these facts she was convicted
as the rest were, in the evidence of Burton, whom, as is usual in such
cases, they represented as a woman worse than themselves, and who had
drawn many of them into the commission of what she now deposed against
them.

As to this old woman Mary Robinson, she said she had been a widow
fourteen years, and had both children and grandchildren living at the
time of her execution; she said she had worked as hard for her living as
any woman in London. Yet when pressed thereupon to speak the truth and
not wrong her conscience in her last moments, she did then declare she
had been guilty of thieving tricks; but persisted in it that the
evidence Burton had not been exactly right in what she had sworn against
her. It was a melancholy thing to see a woman of her years, and who
really wanted not capacity, brought into those lamentable circumstances,
and going to a violent and ignominious death, when at a time when she
could not expect it would be any long term before she submitted to a
natural one.

Possibly my readers may wonder how such large quantities of silk were
conveyed away. I thought, therefore, proper to inform them that the
evidence Burton said they had a contrivance under their petticoats, not
unlike two large hooks, upon which they laid a whole roll of silk, and
so conveyed it away at once, while one of their confederates amused the
people of the shop in some manner or other until they got out of reach;
and by this means they had for many years together carried on their
trade with great success and as much safety, until the losses of the
tradesmen ran so high as to induce them to take the method
before-mentioned, which quickly produced a discovery, not only of the
persons of the offenders, but of the place also where they had deposited
the goods. By this means a good part of them were recovered, and those
who had so long lived by this infamous practice were either detected or
destroyed; so that shoplifting has been thereby kept under ever since,
or at least the offenders have not ventured in so large a way as before.

But to return to the criminal of whom we are to treat. She said she was
not afraid of death at all, though she confessed herself troubled as to
the manner in which she was to die, and reflected severely upon Burton,
who had given evidence against her. By degrees she grew calmer, and on
the day of her execution appeared more composed and cheerful than she
had done during all her troubles. She suffered at the same time with the
malefactors before mentioned, and in her years looked as if she had been
the mother of those with whom she died.

The Life of JANE MARTIN, _alias_ LLOYD, a Cheat and a Thief, etc.

This woman was the daughter of parents in very good reputation, about an
hundred miles off in the country. While they lived they took care to
breed her to understand everything as became a gentlewoman of a small
fortune, and in her younger years she was tractable enough; but her
parents dying while Jane was but a girl, she came into the hand of
guardians who were not altogether so careful as they ought. Before she
was of age she married a young gentleman who had a pretty little
fortune, which he and she quickly confounded; insomuch that he became a
prisoner in the King's Bench for debt. Being thus destitute, and in
great want of money, she set her wits to work to consider ways and
means of cheating people for her support, in which she became as
dexterous as any who ever followed that infamous trade. Yet her husband
(as she herself owned) was a man of strict honour, and so much offended
at these villainies that he used her with great severity thereupon, but
that had no effect, for she still continued the old trade, putting on
the saint until people trusted her, and pulling off the mask as soon as
she found there was no more to be got by keeping it on.

Amongst the rest of her adventures in this way she once took it in her
head that it was possible for her to set up a great shop, entirely upon
credit, for except some good clothes she had nothing else to go to
market with. Accordingly she first took a shop not far from Somerset
House, and having caused some bales of brick-bats to be made up, sent
them thither in a cart with one of her confederates, which was safely
deposited in that which was to pass for the warehouse. A carpenter was
sent for, who was employed in making shelves, drawers, and other
utensils for a haberdasher's shop. Then going to the wholesale people in
that way, she found means to draw them in to six or seven hundred pounds
worth of goods to the house which she had taken. All of this stuff the
Saturday night following, she caused to be carried over into the Mint, a
practice very common with the infamous shelterers there who preserve
their pretended privileges.

Mrs. Martin having got some acquaintance in a tolerable family, and
having a very fair tongue, she quickly wheedled them into a belief of
her being able to do great matters by her interest with some person of
distinction, whose name she made use of on this occasion, and thereby
got several presents and small sums of money, and (if she herself were
to be believed) among the rest a silver cup. Whether her failing in her
promises really provoked the people to swearing a theft upon her, or
whether (which is more probable) she took an opportunity of conveying it
secretly away, certain it is that for this she was prosecuted, and the
fact appearing clear enough to the jury, was thereupon convicted and
ordered for transportation. This afflicted her at least as much as if
she had been condemned to instant death, and therefore she applied
herself continually to thinking which way it might be eluded, and she
might escape. Soon after her going abroad, she effected what she so
earnestly desired, and unhappily for her returned again into England.

The numerous frauds she had committed had exasperated many people
against her, who as soon as it was rumoured that she was come back
again, never left searching for her until they found her out, and got
her committed to Newgate; and on the record of her conviction being
produced the next sessions, and the prosecutor swearing positively that
she was the same person, the jury, after a short consultation, brought
her in guilty, and she received sentence of death, from which, as she
had no friends, she could not hope to escape. When she found death was
inevitable, she fell into excessive agonies and well-nigh into despair.
The reflection on the many people she had injured gave her so great
grief and anxiety of mind that she could scarce be persuaded to get down
a sufficient quantity of food to preserve her life until the time of her
execution. But the minister at Newgate having demonstrated to her the
wickedness and the folly of such a course, she by degrees came to have a
better sense of things; her mind grew calmer, and though her repentance
was accompanied with sighs and tears, yet she did not burst out into
those lamentable outcries by which she before disturbed both herself and
those poor creatures who were under sentence with her. In this
disposition of mind she continued until the day of her death, which was
on the 12th of September, 1726, being between twenty-seven-and-eight
years of age, in the company of the before-mentioned malefactors,
Cartwright, Blacket, Holmes, Fitzpatrick, Robinson, and William Allison,
a poor country lad of about twenty-five, apparently of an easy gentle
temper who had been induced into the fact, partly through covetousness,
and partly through want.

The Life of TIMOTHY BENSON, a Highwayman

Amongst the number of those unfortunate persons whose memory we have
preserved to the world in order that their punishments may become
lasting warnings unto all who are in any danger of following their
footsteps, none is more capable of affording useful reflections than the
incidents that are to be found in the life of this robber are likely to
create. He was the son of a serjeant's wife, in the regiment of the Earl
of Derby, but who his father was it would be hard to say. His mother
having had a long intrigue with one Captain Benson and the serjeant
dying soon after this child was born, she thought fit to give him the
captain's name, declaring publicly enough, that if it was in her power
to distinguish, the captain must be his father. Certain it is that the
woman acted cunningly, at least, for Benson, who had never had a child,
was so pleased with the boy's ingenuity that he sent him to a grammar
school in Yorkshire, where he caused him to be educated as well as if
he had been his legitimate son.

Nothing could be more dutiful than Tim was, while a child. The captain
was continually vexed with long letters from the gentlewoman where he
was boarded, concerning master's fine person, great parts and wonderful
improvements, which Benson, being a man of sense, took to be such gross
flattery that he came down to Bellerby, the village where the child was,
on purpose to take it away. But Mr. Tim, upon his arrival, appeared such
a prodigy both in beauty and understanding that the old gentleman was
perfectly ravished with him, and whatever he might believe before,
vanity now engaged him to think the youth his son. For this reason he
doubled his care in providing for him, and when he had made a sufficient
progress at the Grammar School, he caused him to be sent over to Leyden,
a university of which he had a great opinion.

Timothy lost not any of his reputation in this change of climate, but
returned in three years time from Holland as accomplished a young fellow
as had been bred there for a long time. He had but just made his
compliments to his supposed father, and received thirty guineas from him
as a welcome to England, before the old gentleman fell ill of a
pleurisy, which in four days' time deprived him of his life; and as he
had no will, his estate of L300 a year, and about L700 in money (which
he had lent out on securities), descended to his sister's son, as arrant
a booby as ever breathed, and deprived Tim both of his present
subsistance and future hopes.

In this distressed condition he took lodgings in a little court at the
farther end of Westminster. He had a great number of good clothes, and
as he then addicted himself to nothing so much as reading, he lived so
frugally as to make a very tolerable appearance, and to pay everybody
justly for about half a year, which so well established his credit in
the neighbourhood that he was invited to the houses of the best families
thereabouts, and might undoubtedly, if he had had his wits about him,
have married some young gentlewoman thereabouts of a tolerable fortune.
But happening to lodge over against a great mantua-maker's, he took
notice of a young girl who was her apprentice, and happened to be a
chandler's daughter, at Hammersmith. The wench, whose name was Jenny,
was really handsome and agreeable, but as things were circumstanced with
him, nothing could be more ridiculous than that passion which he
suffered himself to entertain for her.

It is very probable that he might have had some transient amours before
this, but Jenny was certainly the mistress to whom he made his first
addresses, and the real passion of his heart. The girl was quickly
tempted by the person and appearance of her lover, and without enquiring
too narrowly into his circumstances, would certainly have yielded to his
passion, if marriage had been the thing at which he aimed; but he was an
obstacle hard to get over. Tim looked upon himself to be irretrievably
undone from the hour he entered into that state. At last he conquered
that virtue which his mistress had hitherto preserved, and after they
had fooled away a month or two together, at the expense of all he had,
Tim found himself at last obliged to confess the truth of his
circumstances, and by that confession brought a flood of grief upon his
fair one, who had hitherto been unaccustomed to misfortunes.

When they first came together it was agreed between them to quit that
part of the town where they were both known, and they afterwards lodged
in a very pretty little house on the edge of Red Lion Fields. On the
morning Tim made this discovery, his cash was reduced to a single crown.
It is true he had abundance of things of value, but when once they began
to go, he was conscious to himself that starving would be quickly their
lot, and what added more to his misfortunes was that his mistress,
amidst all her sighs and afflictions, declared she would rather continue
with him than go home to her relations, though from the indulgence of a
mother she did not doubt of meeting with a good reception.

However, they came to this resolution, that Jenny should go and raise
five guineas upon a diamond ring of his, and while she was gone on this
errand, poor Benson sat leaning with his head upon his arm in a window
that looked towards the fields. Casting up his eyes by chance, he saw a
gentleman walking up and down as if for his diversion, whereupon a
thought immediately struck him, that it would be an easy matter to rob
him, and by his appearance it was not unlikely but that he might prove a
good prize. Without reflecting, he resolved upon the thing, and putting
on over his nightgown an old great coat which he had in his closet and
with a case of pistols in his breast, he slipped out at the garden gate
without being perceived, and was up with him in an instant. Then, taking
the button of his hat in his teeth, he mumbled out, _Deliver or you're a
dead man._ The gentleman in great confusion gave him a green purse of
gold, and was going to pull his ring off from his finger, and his watch
out of his pocket, but Tim stopped him and said he had enough, only
commanded him to turn his back towards him, and not to alter his
position for fifteen minutes by his own watch. This the gentleman
religiously observed, and Tim made all the haste he could through the
garden into his own chamber, where having hid the cloak at the back of
the bed, he began to examine the value of the plunder, and found that
the purse contained seventy guineas and two diamond rings, one a single
stone and a very fine one, the other consisting of seven, but small and
of no great value. These he went down and buried in the garden, having
first burnt the purse in the fire.

The hurry of the fact being over, he sat down once again in his own
room, and had leisure to reflect a little on what he had done, which
threw him into such an agony that he was scarce able to sit upon the
chair. Shame at the villainy he had committed, the fear of being
apprehended, and the apprehensions of Tyburn, gave so many wounds to his
imagination that he thought his former uneasiness a state of quiet to
the pangs which he now felt, which were much more bitter, as well as of
a very different nature from anything he had known before.

In the midst of these terrors, he heard the voices of a great deal of
company in his landlady's parlour. The hopes of being a little easy
where he had not so much opportunity of affrighting himself with his own
thoughts, occasioned his going downstairs, and without well knowing what
he did, he knocked at the parlour door, which when opened, the first
thing which struck his eyes was the gentleman whom he had robbed,
drinking a glass of water. This gave him such a shock that he had much
ado to collect spirits enough to tell the gentlewoman of the house that
he perceived she had company, and therefore would not intrude. But she,
laying her hand upon his arm, said, _Pray, Mr. Benson, walk in; here's
nobody but a gentleman who has had the misfortune to be robbed in the
field, the fright of which has put him into such a disorder that he
desired to step in here that he might have leisure to come a little to
himself._ Tim saw it was impossible for him to retreat, and so putting
on the best face he was able, he came in and sat down.

The landlady began then to enquire the circumstances of the robbery.
_Why, madam_, replied he, _I was walking there, as I generally do of a
fine afternoon, in order to get a little fresh air, when a man came up
all of a sudden to me, close muffled up in a green or blue great-coat,
in truth I cannot say which. He clapped a pistol to my breast, and I
gave him my purse, and my niece's two rings, one of which cost me
fourscore guineas, but three weeks ago. And as I was afraid he would
murder me, I was going to give him this off my finger, and my watch out
of my pocket, but that the fellow said he had enough, and his leaving
these, surprised me almost as much as taking the rest. But what sort of
a man was he?_ said she. _Why, I think he was about that gentleman's
height_, added he; _but I am so short-sighted that I question whether I
should have known his face, even had it not been covered with his hat.
Besides I am so much taken with the rogue's generosity that I would not
prosecute him if I had him in the room._

This set Tim's heart so much at rest that he began to come to himself a
little, and asked the strange gentleman if he would not be so good as to
drink a glass of wine. A bottle was sent for, and during the time they
were drinking it, Jenny came in, and it being quite dark before they had
finished it, a coach was called, and Mr. Benson offered to see the
gentleman home, in order to which he was going upstairs to put on his
clothes. But this the stranger would not permit, begging him to go as he
was, upon which Jenny said, _Then, my dear, I'll fetch your great-coat._
He had much ado to desire the gentleman to walk to the coach and he'd go
as he was, which he did accordingly, and after drinking a glass of
citron water with the lady whose rings he had stolen, he came home again
as fast as the coach could carry him.

Jenny was very melancholy at his return, and giving him three guineas,
told him that it was all the pawnbroker would lend, and she had much ado
to get that, as she was not known. Tim bid her be of good cheer, and
said he hoped things would mend, and so they went to bed. Two or three
days after, he took an opportunity of going out pretty early, and
returning about dinner time, told her, with much seeming joy, that he
had met with a gentleman whom he had been acquainted with at Leyden, and
who hearing of his father's death, had begged him to accept of twenty
guineas as a mark to his esteem. Jenny was in raptures at their good
fortune, and went that afternoon and fetched the ring home, returning,
poor creature, with as much satisfaction as if she had received ever so
much money; for the hopes of living quietly a month or two with the man
she loved, dispelled all the apprehensions of poverty which she was
before under.

Tim considering that this supply would not last always, and resolving
with himself never to run such a hazard again, he began to beat his
brains about the best method to be taken of getting money in an honest
way. As he had been bred to no profession, notwithstanding the excellent
education he had had, never was a man more at his wits' end. After a
thousand schemes had offered themselves to his mind, and were rejected,
it came at last into his head that as he was tolerably versed in physic,
it might not be impossible for him to get his bread by that. But how to
get into practice, there was the difficulty. A little recollection
helped him here. He had seen a quack doctor exhibit his medicines, with
a panegyric on their good qualities, on his journey to London; he
resolved, scandalous as the profession was, to venture upon it, rather
than run the risk he had done before.

This scheme doubtless cost him some trouble before he brought it to bear
so as to give him any hopes of his putting it into execution, but having
at last settled it as well as he could, he determined with himself to go
down into some distant county and undertake it. In order to have his
thoughts at greater liberty to resolve about it, he took a walk into the
fields, and being very dry after his perambulation, he stepped into a
little alehouse, and called for a mug of drink. While he sat there he
heard two men discoursing upon the vast sums of money that was got by
one Smith, a practitioner in the very art which he was going to set up,
and he found by them that the chief scene of Smith's adventures had lain
in Lincolnshire and thereabouts; so without more ado, as all places were
alike to him, he settled his intentions to go down to the same place,
where he understood by the man that his _quondam_ doctor had done some
great cures and got a tolerable reputation.

When he came home, he could not avoid appearing very thoughtful, and
Jenny fearful of some new disaster, would not let him rest until he had
acquainted her fully with his design, which he would not consent to do
until she promised to comply with a proposal he was to make her, after
he had revealed the secret she was so desirous to know. When he had told
her his project, she next demanded what the condition was to which she
had bound herself to yield. Benson replied that it was to remain at some
place thirty or forty miles distant from where he intended to go, that
she might not be exposed to any inconveniences from that unhappy figure
he saw himself obliged to make. It was with great reluctance that she
ratified the consent he had given, but at length, after much persuasion,
she again acknowledged he was in the right, and promised to do as he
would have her. Things being thus adjusted, nothing remained for him to
do but to get ready for his journey, and that his mate might be the less
timorous of the event, he told her he had procured another supply of
twenty-five guineas.

His cloak-bag was soon stored with such medicines as he thought proper,
and having packed up a few practical books he thought he might have
occasion for, he took a place for himself and Jenny, who passed for his
wife, in the stage coach for Huntingdon, at a village near which, paying
the people for a month's board, he left his consort, and having hired
horses to Boston, he took a young fellow from Huntingdon with him
thither.

As Benson had a very smooth tongue, so he set off the wonderful
properties of his drugs in so artful a manner that in the space of a
fortnight he had cleared L10 besides his expenses. As he had left Jenny
five guineas in her pocket, he wrote to her to pay the people another
month's board, and assured her that he would return within that space.
Hiring accordingly visited Sleaford, and some other great towns
thereabouts, in seven weeks' time he set out for his return into
Huntingdonshire, with fifty guineas, all clear gain, in his pockets.
This good luck encouraged him to run through the greatest part of the
North of England in the same manner, and within the compass of three
years he cleared upwards of L500. At the time of his making this
calculation he was set down at Bristol, in order to exercise his talent
in that great city; but an unexpected accident broke all his measures.
Just as his stage was set up, and he mounted, and opening his harangue
which was now become familiar to him, a constable stepped up upon the
stage, and told him that a gentleman had sworn a robbery directly
against him, and he must go immediately before the mayor. This put him
into a lamentable confusion. He knew himself innocent, but the character
of a mountebank was sufficient to make the thing believed at first, and
therefore he could not be blamed for his apprehensions, especially
considering he took it as a just return for that robbery which he had
committed in town, and for which he made no satisfaction when it was so
fully in his power.

Upon his prosecutor's appearing before the mayor, and swearing flatly to
his face as to his robbing him of seven guineas, a silver watch, and a
snuff box, Tim had his _Mittimus_ made for Newgate; but upon his
desiring the mayor that his effects might be searched, but not
plundered, he had leave given him to return with the officer and see
them looked over at the inn. As many of them were valuable of
themselves, as the drugs were of the best sorts, and as he had several
letters from persons of good character, in the several counties through
which he had passed, and bank notes and bills to the value of L400, they
thought fit to report all this to the mayor, before they did anything.
The mayor thereupon resolved to act very cautiously, and having first
looked over everything himself, he then ordered the effects to be
delivered up to Mr. Benson, himself, who, however, was obliged to
undergo a confinement of eight weeks, till the assizes. The prosecutor
not appearing, and Mr. Benson, by permission of the Court, examining two
gentlemen of undoubted credit, who proved to his being at the time when
the robbery was sworn in another place, he was acquitted, and a copy of
his indictment ordered him. It seems a person under condemnation at
Hertford acknowledged the fact for which Tim had been committed, and
produced both the snuff-box and watch; which though the gentleman who
lost them got again, yet it proved an affair of very ill-consequence to
him, for he was obliged to give Benson one hundred guineas to obtain a
general release, and Tim fearing the noise of the thing had undone his
reputation, resolved to go over to America and settle there.

A gentleman at Bristol who traded largely to the plantations offered him
his assistance in the affair, and matters being quickly adjusted between
them, Tim, to show himself grateful, and a man of honour, was married
privately to Jenny, whom he resolved should be the companion of his
future fortunes, as she had hitherto been the constant solace of all his
sorrows. But before they set out, he thought it proper to make a journey
to London, as well as to provide some necessary articles in the
profession he intended to follow, as to make an end of a little affair
which we have before related, and which lay very hard upon his
conscience. To town then came Jenny and he, and took a lodging near
Tower Street, where in about a fortnight's time, Mr. Benson had put
everything in order for his voyage. The day before he sat out on his
return for Bristol, he wrote the following letter to the old gentleman
he had robbed, and who as he informed himself, was still living at the
same place.

Sir,

Under the pressure of severe necessity my misfortunes tempted me to
commit so great a piece of villainy as the robbing you in Red Lion
Fields. You may remember, sir, that I took from you a green purse,
in which was seventy guineas, and two diamond rings, the one of a
large, the other of a less value. The first comes to you enclosed in
this, the latter, the same necessity which urged me so far as to
take them, obliged me some months after to dispose of, which I did
for fourteen pounds. As a satisfaction for the injury I did you, be
so good, sir, as to accept of the enclosed note of one hundred
pounds, which I hope will amount to the whole value of those things
I took from you, and may I flatter myself, procure your pardon, the
only thing wanting to making him easy, who is,

Sir,
Your most obedient
Humble Servant.

This he took care to convey by a ticket-porter of whose fidelity he was
well assured, and having despatched this affair, he let slip nothing to
make his intended voyage successful. His skill in his profession was
such that he soon had as much business in the plantation where he
settled, as he knew what to do with, and in seven or eight years'
practice, acquired such an estate as was sufficient to furnish him with
all the necessaries of life, upon which he lived when he gave this
account to the gentleman who communicated it to me. And as it is an
instance of a return of virtue not often to be met with, I thought it
might be as useful as any other relation which hitherto had a place in
this confession.

The Life of JOSEPH SHREWSBERRY, _alias_ SMITH, a Robber, etc.

This unhappy criminal of whom we are now to speak was the son of parents
in so mean circumstances that they were not able to give him any
education at all; yet they were careful in carrying him constantly to
church with them, and instructing him as far as they were able in the
principles of the Christian faith, and did everything that narrow
capacity would give them leave, in order to enable him to get his bread
in some honest employment. Then they put him out apprentice to a tanner
in the neighbourhood, a very honest, considerate man, who treated him
with all the indulgence and kindness he could have wished throughout the
time of his apprenticeship. But he was so unfortunate as to fall into
the company of a set of giddy young people who were totally addicted to
merry-making and dancing, which when he had once got into the road of,
he so neglected his business that his master, after abundance of
reproofs, was obliged to part with him.

He had not at that time any designs of doing anything like the fact for
which he afterwards suffered, but continuing still to frequent his
dancing-mates' company, they promised to put him into a road to supply
him with money enough to live without working, provided he had courage
to do as they would have him; and he, without considering what he did,
giving consent to their motions, went out one evening with David
Anderson, Country Will and Jenny Austin, and after a while they stripped
one Thomas Collier, and robbed him of his coat and waistcoat, hat, and a
pair of silver buckles and other things, with a half guinea in gold, and
twenty-five shillings in silver. For this offence he was quickly after
committed, apprehended, and sent to Newgate, where, upon a plain proof
of the fact, he was convicted and ordered for execution.

When the poor man was under sentence of death, he sufficiently repented
those idle hours he had consumed in dancing, and in the other merriments
into which he had been led by his companions. He was now sensible how
easily he might have lived if he had taken the advice of his kind
master, who with so much pains endeavoured not only to instruct him in
his profession, but also to reclaim him from those follies in which he
saw him engaged. The thoughts of death threw him into violent agonies
from whence his natural sense (of which he had a great deal) at last in
some measure recovered him; and when upon the coming down of the death
warrant, he saw there were no hopes left for him in this life, he
applied himself with very great ardency to secure happiness in the next.

He declared that the fact for which he died was the first he ever
committed, and that the depositions against him were not exactly
conformable to truth. A day or two before his death, he appeared to be
very calm and very cheerful, submitted with a perfect resignation to the
lot which had befallen him, and at the place of execution exhorted the
people not to let their curiosity only be satisfied in the sight of his
wretched death, but he warned them also from the commission of such
crimes as might bring them to a like fate. He suffered on the 3rd of
November, 1726, at Tyburn, being then about twenty-two years of age.

The Life of ANTHONY DRURY, a Highwayman

This unfortunate man, whose fate made a great noise in the town at the
time it happened, was born of parents neither mean in family nor
fortune, in the county of Norfolk, where he received his education, on
which no little pains and expense were bestowed. As to the particular
circumstances of his life in his most early years, as no exact accounts
have come to my hands, so I do not think myself obliged to frame any
adventures for the entertainment of my readers, a practice very common,
yet I think unjustifiable in itself. All that I can is that it appears
he lived at Oxford and Bicester before he came to Wendover, at which
place he had a house and family at the time of his death.

He was not, as far as I am able to learn, bred up to any particular
profession whatever, his parents leaving him in circumstances capable of
supporting himself. However, whether he arrived at it after some
misfortunes, or had it discovered to him before, certain it is that he
gained some knowledge in the act of curing smoking chimneys, by which
he got very considerably, and from whence be derived the name of the
Smoky Chimney Doctor, by which he was commonly known in the county of
Bucks.

Some few years before his death, he married a widow gentlewoman at
Oxford, of a considerable fortune. The world (though something too
largely) reported that she had fifteen hundred pounds. However it were,
he still addicted himself to women, and in all probability made her but
an indifferent husband, since she took so little care about him, when in
the midst of so great calamities. However it were, he maintained a
tolerable character in the neighbourhood, and his credit had not been
impeached in any degree when he committed the fact I am going to relate.

On the twenty-fifth of September, 1726, he attacked the Bicester wagon
as it was coming from London, and committed the following robberies
therein, viz., he took from Thomas Eldridge, fifteen moidores, two
hundred and ten guineas, eighty half-guineas, and the goods and money of
Mr. Burrows. He was likewise indicted and found guilty for assaulting
Sarah, the wife of Robert King, on the highway, and robbing her of two
shillings and sixpence. As likewise on a third indictment, for
assaulting the aforesaid Thomas Eldridge, and taking from him a calico
gown and petticoat, value twenty shillings, the goods of Giles Betts.
There was a fourth indictment against him for assaulting Mary, the wife
of Joseph Page, and taking from her two shillings and sixpence, but the
three former being all capital, the court did not think proper to try
him upon this.

While he lay under sentence of death he did not discover any signs of
excessive fear, but appeared rather perplexed and confused than
dispirited or dejected. He entertained at first great hopes of a
reprieve, at least in order to be transported, and for obtaining it he
spent a great deal of time writing to several friends who he thought
might be instrumental in procuring it. However, he was far from
neglecting the concerns of his soul, but read daily with much seeming
diligence several little books proper for a man in his condition, and
whenever he attended at chapel behaved with the utmost gravity, praying,
if we may guess from exterior signs, with much fervour and devotion. He
was a man very well acquainted with the principles of the Christian
religion, and was in all appearance better persuaded of the merit and
efficacy of his Saviour's passion than people often are in his
condition.

As to his capacity, it appeared to have been very tolerable in itself,
and to have received many advantages from education. How he acquired
the art of curing smoky chimneys is not very well known, he having been
bred up to no trade whatsoever, but coming into the world with a little
fortune left him by his parents, he lived thereupon with a tolerable
reputation, until the time of his marriage.

When he was first under sentence he was very desirous of having his wife
come to town, and for that purpose wrote her several pressing letters,
to which he received no answer. This gave him great disturbance. He
thereupon wrote to a friend in the country, who lived near her, on whom
also he had a strong dependance, entreating him to go to his wife and
solicit her not absolutely to desert him in his extreme calamity, but to
come up to town with him, in order to make their last efforts for his
preservation. This epistle, however, proved in the main as unsuccessful
as the rest, though it procured him an answer, wherein the person he
wrote to informed him that his wife was extremely lame, insomuch that
she could not put on her own clothes; that her servant was gone; that
she had no money wherewith to defray the expenses of a journey to town,
much less to assist him in his distress. As for himself, his friend
excused his coming by reason of a great cold which he had caught in
London when he came up before to attend Mr. Drury's affairs.

Hereupon the unfortunate criminal bethought himself of another
expedient, which he imagined would not fail of engaging Mrs. Drury to
come to London. He informed her by letter, that in the beginning of his
troubles he had pawned some silver plate in town for four-and-twenty
pounds, that it was more than double the value, and might probably be
lost on his death. To this his friend wrote him back that if anybody
would take the plate out, and give advice thereof to Mrs. Drury, she
would repay them, and gratify them also for their trouble. When this
letter came to the poor man's hand he said he was satisfied that his
wife did not desire he should live, however he heartily forgave her.

He constantly denied that he had ever been concerned in any act of a
like kind with that for which he died. He acknowledged that with what
his wife had, and the business he followed, he might have lived very
genteelly in the country; that he had not indeed, been very prudent in
the management of his affairs; however, it was no necessity that forced
him on the base and wicked act for which he died, the sole cause of his
committing which was, as he solemnly protested, the repeated
solicitations of King, the wagoner, who for a considerable time before
represented the attempt to him as a thing no way dangerous in itself,
and which would bring him a very large sum of ready money. As soon as
King perceived that his insinuations begun to make some impression, he
opened himself more fully as to the facility of robbing the Bicester
wagon, _Wherein_, says he, _you will find generally a pretty handsome
sum of money; and as to opposition, depend on it you shall meet with
none._ At last these speeches prevailed on him, and it was agreed that
the wagoner should have half the booty for his advice and assistance;
and the better to conceal it, Drury, was directed to rob King's wife of
about four pounds, which was all she had about her.

A minister of the Church of England, who was either acquainted with Mr.
Drury, or out of charitable intention, attended him at the request of
his friends, took abundance of pains to give him just notions of his
duty in that unfortunate slate into which his folly had brought him; he
repeated to him the reasons which render a public confession necessary
from those who die by judgment of the Law; he exhorted him not to
equivocate, or even extenuate in his declarations concerning his
offence. Mr. Drury heard him with great patience, seemed to be much
affected with the remonstrances which were made to him, and finally
promised that he would act sincerely in the confessions he made to the
public; adding that he had none in whom to trust but God alone, and
therefore he would not offend him. The reverend divine to whom he spoke
approved his resolution, and promised to afford him all the assistance
in his power till death.

As soon as the criminal was satisfied that all applications that had
been made for mercy were ineffectual, and that there was not the least
probability of a pardon, he immediately sent for the clergyman
before-mentioned, and desired to receive the Sacrament at his hands, to
which the gentleman readily assented, uttering only a short previous
exhortation unto a true repentance, open and genuine confession, and
full and free forgiveness unto all who had ever injured him, or unto
whom he bore any ill will. Mr. Drury, therefore, before he received the
Elements, owned in express terms his being guilty of the fact for which
he died, affirmed the truth of what he had formerly said concerning the
wagoner, declared that he forgave both him and his own wife sincerely,
and that having now in some measure eased his mind, he was no longer
afraid of death.

Mr. Drury, even after receiving sentence, was indulged by the keepers of
Newgate in having a room to himself in the Press Yard, which afforded
him leisure and privacy for his devotions; and he seemed, especially for
the last days of his life, to make proper use of those conveniences by
excluding himself from all company and applying earnestly to God in
prayer for the forgiveness of his sins. During the two or three days
succeeding that whereon he received sentence, a gentlewoman attended
pretty constantly upon him. Who she was we can neither say, nor is it
very material; but Mr. Drury appealing to her in the presence of some
persons, as to the truth of what he alleged concerning King, the
wagoner, she desired to relate what she knew as to that point. The
account she gave was to this purpose. _Mr. Drury carried me out of town
with him in a chaise to Wendover. On the road we were met by the wagoner
he speaks on, who desired Mr. Drury to step out, for he wanted to speak
with him. Thereupon he complying with the wagoner's request, they walked
together to a considerable distance, and there stopping talked to each
other very earnestly for some time._ As to the subject of their
discourse she declared she could say nothing, but as they came back to
the chaise, the wagoner said, _You need not be afraid, you will be sure
to get what you want._ To say truth, it was very odd for a single man to
rob a wagon to which so many people belonged, in company with several
other wagons, without any opposition, though it be likewise true that he
did not attempt any of the rest.

Some persons of quality were prevailed on by his earnest solicitations
and the circumstances we have before mentioned to endeavour the
procuring him a pardon, but it was in vain; and it would have certainly
have been much better for the man if he never had any hopes given him,
for though he did not depend as much on promises as men in his miserable
condition frequently do, yet the desire of life, sometimes excited the
hopes of it, and thereby took off his thoughts from more weighty
concerns, or at least made him more languid and confused than otherways
he would have been, for the very day before his death he still
entertained some expectations of mercy.

The evening before he suffered a woman knocked at his chamber door, and
earnestly desired to speak a few words to him. He accordingly came
towards the door and asked her what it was she would have to say to him.
The woman, after expressing much sorrow for his misfortunes, told him
she was desired by a person to whom she had been servant, if the thing
were possible, to learn from his own mouth what he had to say against
the wagoner. Mr. Drury replied that he had never had any thought of
robbing wagons, or any such thing, if the wagoner had not advised and
pressed him to it; so that his blood, the loss of his life, and all he
had in the world lay upon that man. Then shutting the door he returned
to his devotions, and continued to them all the evening and until the
night was considerably spent.

As death drew near it seemed not to affect him so much as might be
expected. On the morning of his execution he appeared not only easy, but
cheerful, attended at the prayers at chapel with much composure, and
went out of Newgate without any sign of fright or disturbance of mind.
On the road to Tyburn he appeared serious but melancholy, spoke a good
deal concerning the errors of his former life, said he had never bees
addicted to drinking, but had conversed too much with bad women, which
had made his wife jealous, and caused home to be very uneasy. He seemed
truly penitent for these offences, as he confessed them without any
questions being asked by those about him.

At the place of execution his courage did not forsake him. He still
preserved a great deal of serenity in his countenance, and when he was
desired to acquaint the people with anything he had to say concerning
the crime for which he died, he spoke with a strong voice, and repeated
what he had formerly alleged about King, the wagoner, adding that he
advised him also to rob the Banbury wagon; and that notwithstanding he
talked of his wife's having four pounds about her, yet he took but three
shillings, whereon the third indictment was founded, on which he was
convicted. He then complained of his wife's unkindness, and both prayed
for the spectators, and desired their prayers for him. As he was leaning
on the side of the cart, the Ordinary told him that a man had charged
him the day before with having married a man's daughter at Norwich, who
is still living. Mr. Drury answered, he was reproached by many people,
and he forgave them all, he then called to a gentleman who was near the
gallows and spoke to him about his estate, which he had before settled.
Afterwards he exhorted the people to live virtuously, and be warned by
his example, and then submitted patiently to his fate, on Thursday, the
third of November, 1726, being at that time of his decease about
twenty-eight years of age.

The Life of WILLIAM MILLER, a Highwayman, etc.

As necessary correction is often a method by which, when young people
begin to stray into the paths of vice, they are deterred and brought
back again into the road of virtue; yet when this is incautiously
inflicted or done in a violent manner, it frequently excites worse
thoughts than would otherwise probably have entered the breasts of young
people thus punished; and instead of hindering them from committing
trivial offences, puts them on doing the worst things imaginable in
order to deliver them from a state more hateful to them than death
itself.

This criminal William Miller, was the son of very honest parents who
lived at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, who took care to give him a good
education, and what was much more commendable, a good example. They put
him out apprentice to a tradesman at Alnwick, with whom he might have
lived tolerably well had it not been for the churlishness of his
master's temper, who was continually picking quarrels with him, and
thereupon beating him inhumanly. At last an accident happened which
supplied a continual fund of anger and resentment and this was on
account of William's losing a horse, which, though his friends paid for,
yet every time it came into his masters head there was a battle between
them; for Miller being now grown pretty big made resistance when he
struck him, and not seldom got the better of him, and beat him in his
turn. This occasioned such disturbances and falling out between them
that at last Miller took a resolution for leaving him for good and all,
and determined to live as he could, up and down the country.

At first he was so lucky as to meet with a man who employed him readily,
treated him with kindness, and gave him good advice, without
accompanying his reproofs with blows; but upon discovering that his man
William had not served out his time, but had only five years and a half
with his master, he absolutely refused to suffer him to work any longer.
It was with great reluctancy that Miller parted with this master, and he
became every day after more and more uneasy, because he found no other
master would let him work with them, upon the same account; so that by
degrees he was reduced to the great necessity in the country, and though
he was willing to work, yet could not tell which way to turn his hand.

In the midst of these perplexities, he bethought himself of coming up to
London, which he put in execution. On his arrival there he listed
himself as a soldier in one of the regiments of Guards, and as it is no
very hard matter in this town, got abundance of amorous affairs upon his
hands. With one woman he lived a short time after his coming up to
London, but her he soon turned off for the sake of another, who was a
blacksmith's wife, and whom he married, notwithstanding her first
husband was then to his acknowledge alive. This was, indeed, the source
of a great part of his misfortunes, since what between the woman's
drinking and the money which the husband got out of him for permitting
him to live quietly with her, he was (notwithstanding he had learnt a
new employment, viz., that of a basket maker) miserably poor; and the
woman having brought him a child to increase his expenses, he was at
last forced, whether he would or no, to leave her and it both. After
this he associated with another woman, and at length married her also,
with whom he lived quietly enough until the time of his death. These
numerous intrigues drew him in consequence into a multitude of other
vices, which both lost him his reputation, and damaged his
understanding, especially when he came to drink hard, which he at last
did to such a degree that he was seldom or never sober, or if he were,
the reflecting on his misfortunes pushed him on getting drunk as fast as
he could--a case but too common amongst the meaner sort of people, who
as they have no philosophy of learning to support them, endeavour to
drown all care by sotting.

Whether Miller really intended to go a-robbing at the time he committed
the fact for which he died, or whether drunkenness and the sense, even
in that condition which he retained of his misfortune, on a sudden
suggested to him the stripping of the old man Nicholas Bourn under the
favour of the night, certain it is (though from motives we cannot
determine) that he attacked the man and took from him his coat and hat.
On the injured person's crying out a watchman ran immediately to his
assistance, and with his pole, notwithstanding Miller drew his bayonet,
knocked him down, and so seized him and delivered him up to Justice. At
the next sessions at the Old Bailey he was indicted for this fact, and
the same was very fully and clearly proved against him; yet though he
had no friends capable of procuring him either a reprieve or pardon, he
had the good luck to remain a considerable space under condemnation,
viz., from one sessions to another, before the report was made, and so
had the greater leisure left him for repentance.

During the space he lay in the condemned hold he expressed a very hearty
sorrow for all his offences and particularly regretted his having
addicted himself so much to the company of women, which, as it at first
led him into expenses, naturally brought him into narrow circumstances;
and his necessities unfortunately put him upon taking the fatal method
of supplying himself. Yet in the midst of these tokens of penitence and
contrition several women came still about him, so he resolved to send
the child he had by the second down to his friends in the country, not
doubting, as he said, but that they would take care of it. And for the
last of those who went for his wife, he really looked upon her as such,
and therefore treated her with more kindness and affection than he did
any of the rest. However, doubtless they were no great help to him in
his preparations for death. And amongst the other miseries produced, to
our view, this is not a small one, that they continue to pursue us even
to the last, and fasten so strongly about our thoughts and inclinations
that as at first, they defeated all consideration, so in the end they
are in danger of preventing a hearty and sincere repentance.

As to the particular fact for which he was to die, he acknowledged
himself guilty thereof, but for all that objected to the several
circumstances that were sworn against him at his trial; nor could all
the arguments that were used towards him persuade him that those
trifling variations (for as he himself represented them they were no
more) were not now at all material to him, but that as he justly
deserved to die according to his own confession, it signified little to
him whether the particular steps taken in his apprehension were exactly
stated by the Court or not. As the day of his execution drew near, he
receded a little from these objections, and began to set himself in
earnest to acquire that calmness with which every reasonable man would
desire to meet death. The women he forbid visiting him, refused to eat
or drink anything but what was absolutely necessary to support Nature,
plied himself regularly and constantly to his devotions, and seemed to
have nothing at heart but to reconcile himself to that Divine Being, who
by the multitude of his crimes he had so much offended. To say truth, it
was not a little wonderful that a person after continuing for such a
length of time in the practice of wickedness and debauchery, should at
last be capable of applying himself with such zeal and attention to the
duties of a dying man. He yielded up his life the 13th of February,
1727, at Tyburn, being then twenty-six years of age.

The Life of ROBERT HAYNES, a Murderer, etc.

As from a multitude of instances in the course of these memoirs it has
been shown how great a misfortune it is to be destitute of education, so
from the following life it will appear that an improper education is as
dangerous as none at all.

Robert Haynes, the criminal whose history we are to give at present, was
the son of persons in Ireland, of none of the best circumstances, who
yet afforded him a very good education, causing him to be instructed not
only in the Latin, but also in the Greek tongue, in both of which to the
day of his death he attained a tolerable knowledge. His father, it
seems, though he had done everything for his son in breeding him a
scholar, though when he grew up to man's estate he had nothing to give
him, and was forced to let him come over to England to list himself in
the Foot Guards. His officers gave him always the character of a quiet,
inoffensive lad, who injured nobody, nor was himself addicted to those
vices which are common to the men of his profession. On the contrary, he
retained yet strong notions of those religious principles in which he
had been educated. He addicted himself much to reading, and though his
spirit was not a little broken by the consideration of that low life by
which he was obliged to stoop, yet he preserved a becoming spirit and a
very gentleman-like behaviour upon all occasions; so that the officers
of his regiment very much regretted that misfortune which brought him to
an untimely end. Of the occasion of this we come next to speak, since
his youth and the regularity of his life prevented any other of his
adventures coming to our notice.

It happened one Sunday evening, as he was walking along St. James's
Park, with two other soldiers, they met two men and two women. Haynes
unluckily kissed one of the women, upon which one of the men turned and
broke his head. As was insisted even to the time of the death of this
unfortunate person, the swords of both were drawn; however that were, he
gave his antagonist a wound in the breast of which he died. For this he
was apprehended and committed prisoner to Newgate. At the ensuing
sessions of the Old Bailey he was indicted for wilfully murdering Edward
Perry, by giving him a wound on the left part of the right breast near
the short ribs, of the depth of twelve inches, and of the length of one.
He was also indicted a second time on the Statute of Stabbing, and a
third time upon the coroner's inquest for wilful murder. On all three of
which, notwithstanding his defence, and the witnesses he called, he was
found guilty; and although some honourable persons took a great deal of
pains to procure a pardon or reprieve for him, yet it proved of no
purpose, but he and the afore-mentioned malefactor were put into the
death warrant and ordered for execution.

For himself he had little hopes from the endeavours of his friends and
therefore behaved himself as if he had had none, being not only constant
and devout at the public exercises in the chapel, but also ardent in his
devotions in private and by himself. As the youth wanted not good sense,
and had not forgot the education he had received in Ireland, so in every
respect while under sentence of death he performed what could be

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