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.
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 expected from a man of courage, and a Christian, under his circumstances. A minister, out of charity, visited him several times and prayed with him, exhorting him always to make a dear and candid confession of the fact, and, since there were no hopes, not to go to death with a lie between his lips. Yet he persisted still in what he had at first declared, and continued to assert the truth of that declaration, until the gaol sickness brought him so low, that he was scarce able to speak at all. In this low slate of health he continued until within two or three days of his death, when he began to pick up strength a little; and as soon as he was able to go up the stairs, he attended as usual the devotions of the chapel. In this frame and disposition of heart he remained until the day of his execution came, upon which he appeared not only calm but cheerful, received the Sacrament as is usual with malefactors at the day of their death, and behaved at it in a very pious and religious manner.
When he came to Tyburn he stood up, and intended to have spoken to the people, but finding himself too weak, he referred to a paper which he delivered to Mr. Applebee, a printer, and which contained the substance of what (if he had been able) he would have there spoken; and then, after a few private ejaculations, he easily resigned up his breath at the same time with the other malefactor, being then in the one-and-twentieth year of his age. I thought proper to insert the copy of that letter I have before spoken of, and it follows verbatim.
I am to suffer by Law an ignominious death (God's will be done) which untimely end I never expected. I am a youth and it's above twelve months since I enlisted into his Majesty's Service. The character of my behaviour in that time I will leave to my acquaintance to declare; my character was sufficiently testified at my trial, by gentlemen of worth and honour. I pray God bless them for their Christian charity. I praise God my resolution to live uprightly was no constraint; as for the cause I suffer, and the horrid imputation I am charged with which is rendered murder (from my soul I abhor) I now declare as I expect salvation, I am unjustly accused, but I freely forgive my persecutors, as I hope to be forgiven; for what I did was accidental, and in my own vindication. The real truth is as follows:
The two soldiers that were my evidence desired my company to drink with them. As we were returning home through the Park, passing by two women, and being warm with liquor, I presumed to give one of them a kiss; the other was a married woman, and resenting my freedom, called out to her husband, Edward Perry deceased, and to Toms that walked before, both entire strangers to me. They returned, Toms advanced towards me speaking abruptly, and struck me over the head and shoulders with a stick, which stunned me; likewise he urged the deceased to quarrel with me. The deceitful Perry enraged, swore he would see me out, and struck me with his sword in his scabbard over the head. He drew his sword and made several passes at me, I still retreated till provoked to draw my sword to preserve myself. This affair was in the night. I received a wound in my right hand thumb, and a thrust through my coat. This I declare to be the whole truth, as I shall answer before my great God; though my persecutors, Toms and the deceased man's wife, swore quite the reverse, which took place to my ruin. I pray God forgive them their trespasses, as I hope forgiveness for my own. I pray God bless my good colonel for his care and endeavours for my safety; I pray God bless him with length of days and prosperity in all his undertakings. I thank God, I never wronged man, woman, or child, to my knowledge, nor was I ever inclined to quarrel. I heartily beg of God pardon and forgiveness for my sins, and I confide in the merits of my dear Saviour, who died for the World. I was baptized and bred a member of the Church of England (though an unworthy and unfortunate one) in which Communion I hope for salvation through my blessed Redeemer.
Sunday, February the 12th, 1726.
The Lives of THOMAS TIMMS, THOMAS PERRY, and EDWARD BROWN, Footpads
This poor unhappy man, Thomas Timms, was the son of mean parents in the country and as indifferently educated as he was born, so that his future ill-deeds were capable of some little extenuation. With much to-do his friends and parents raised money enough to put him out apprentice to a chair-carver, with whom he lived easily and honestly during the space of his apprenticeship, coming out of it with the character of an honest religious young lad, which he maintained after he was set up and married. He had probably continued to maintain it to the end of his life if he had not fallen into unhappy circumstances, by being out of work. This obliged him to come up to Town, where for a while he lived pretty well upon his business; but at last it so far fell off that he was obliged to list himself a soldier in the first regiment of Guards. Notwithstanding this he worked still at his trade, as much as it was possible for him to do, and to perform his duty; but misfortunes still crowding upon him, he grew at first melancholy, and at last took to drinking in the company of bad women, who soon drew him into thinking of taking dishonest methods to obtain money for the support of their debaucheries.
Amongst other of his acquaintance there was a woman who had formerly lived with a very eminent lawyer in the City. It was said she had a greater familiarity with her master than she ought to have had, from whence she took the liberty to cheat him most egregiously, especially by counterfeiting receipts from most of the tradesmen with whom her master had any dealing, by which means she retained in her own hands the money which she should have paid him. Some months after, however, the roguery was discovered, and her master being newly married, he took this opportunity to discharge her suddenly. However, he promised her, if she went into any lodgings, and gave him notice, he would take care she should not want, until she could get herself into some way of business or other.
This gentleman had three clerks, all of good families and good fortunes. The wench, after she was out of the house, first went into a neighbourhood where the eldest of these clerks and his relations were very well known. Here she took upon her to be his wife, and said that they were privately married for fear of disobliging his relations. By the help of this she got so far into credit that she took up near a hundred and twenty pounds worth of things before the least apprehension was had of her being a cheat; and then removing her lodgings, she fixed herself in a first floor within a few doors of the guardian of her master's second clerk. She gave it out there as she had done before, that she was secretly married to this young gentleman; and on the credit thereof she took up near a hundred pounds in silks and shifts. But just as she was on the point of moving off and playing the same game with the third, she was detected and committed to Bridewell. From thence she found means of escape by wheedling one of the keeper's servants, and afterwards took lodgings in the house where this Timms worked.
Whether she had any hand in persuading him to go out robbing or no, I cannot take upon me to say, but soon after, he, with his companions, Perry and Brown, on the 3rd of May, went out with a design to rob upon Hounslow Heath. All that night they lay in the fields; the next morning they met a poor old man, who telling them he had no money, they let him go without misusing him. Not long after they stopped Samuel Sells coming from Windsor, in his chair. He, it seems, kept a public-house there. Him they commanded to deliver, whereupon he gave them three half-crowns, but they toasting upon it that it was too little, he thereupon gave them ten shillings more, which both he and his companions averred was all that they took from him, though Sells at their trial, swore to a much larger sum, and that one of them held a truncheon over him, and threatened him with abundance of oaths in case he made any resistance. All of them denied this part of the charge, even to death, and said that though they had truncheons, yet they made no use of them, but kept them either in their breasts or under their coats.
Thomas Perry, the second of these malefactors, was born of parents in such wretched circumstances that when he was grown a good big lad, and death suddenly snatched them away, he found himself destitute of money, of business and even of clothes to cover him. He thereupon traveled up to London, and put himself apprentice to a glass-grinder, with whom he served his time very honestly and faithfully. Then he married and lived by working very hard in a reputable manner for about a twelve month, after which he listed in the first regiment of Foot Guards, in which he served till the Peace of Utrecht and Flanders, after the conclusion of which he returned to London in the same regiment, in which he continued to serve till this misfortune overtook him. For the last year of his life, he had, it seems, led a more loose and extravagant course than in all his days before, contracting an acquaintance with several women of the town, creatures who are the utter ruin of all such unhappy men, especially of all unlettered unexperienced persons as fall into their snares.
Some little time before he joined with Timms and his other companion in this robbery, he had the misfortune of having his leg bit by a dog at Windsor, where he was quartered. Having no friends, and but a small allowance to subsist on, he fell under great miseries there, and on his return to Town, those who had formerly employed him in glass-grinding, taking distaste at his rude and wicked behaviour, refused to have anything more to do with him. He readily gave way to the solicitations of Timms, who, as he declared, first proposed their going upon the highway, a crime which hitherto had not entered into Perry's head. However, he yielded too readily thereto, and with the persons who had shared in his crimes, came to share an ignominious and untimely death.
While under sentence, he applied himself with great seriousness and attention both to the public devotions of the chapel and to what was privately read to them in the place of their confinement, so that though he was very illiterate, he was far from being obstinate, and though he wanted the advantages of education, he was not deficient in grace, so we may therefore hope he might obtain mercy.
Edward Brown, the last of these unfortunate criminals, drew his first breath in the city of Oxford, and by the care of his parents, attained to a tolerable degree of knowledge in the Christian faith, as also in writing, reading and whatsoever was necessary in that station of life which his parents designed for him. Being arrived at an age proper to be put out an apprentice, they placed him with a glass-grinder, to whom he served an apprenticeship faithfully, and to his good liking when out of time. He worked hard as a journeyman, married a wife, and lived in reputation and credit for some small space; but falling unluckily into loose company, he gave himself up entirely to drinking, and running after bad women, which soon ruined him in the country and obliged him to come up to London for the sake of subsistance. How long he had been there, or of what standing his acquaintance was with the other two criminals, I cannot take upon me to say, only he in general was a fellow of greater openness in his behaviour than any of the criminals before mentioned. He said that they had all taken their cups pretty freely together, and had spent every farthing that they had amongst them; it was then resolved to go upon the highway for a supply, but he could not say who was the proposer of the scheme; that he himself had a sword and cane, and the rest truncheons, when they attacked Mr. Sells. He [Sells] gave them at two several times, seventeen shillings, and when they pressed for still more, said he had but eighteen pence about him, and begged they would let him have that to come to town with, which he said they agreed to, and did not offer him any ill-usage whatsoever.
At the same time these unhappy men were under sentence of death, Alexander Jones, John Platt, Mary Reynolds, Silvia Sherlock and Anne Senior were also condemned for several offences, and as is but too common with persons in their condition, all of them entertained strong notions of reprieves or pardons, so that when the death warrant came down, and these three found themselves ordered for execution, they were not a little surprised. But as they had much natural courage they made even that surprise turn to their advantage, and applied themselves with greater earnestness than ever to the duties necessary to be practised by people in their sad state.
When the day of their execution came, they were carried in one cart to Tyburn, and as they had been companions in that single action which had brought all of them to death, so there was nobody to share in that unhappy fate with them, nor were they disturbed with the sorrows of other criminals, which often distract one another's devotions at Tyburn. On the contrary, their behaviour was grave and decent, their public devotions were closed with a Psalm, and with many demonstrations of repentance they resigned their lives, on the 11th of August, 1727; Timms being about twenty-eight years of age, Perry near forty, and Brown somewhat less than twenty-four years old, at the time of their execution.
The Life of ALICE GREEN, a Cheat, Thief and Housebreaker
Amongst these melancholy relations of misery and death, I fancy it is some ease to my readers, as well as to myself, when the course of my memoirs leads me to mention a story as full of incidents, and followed by a less tragic end than the rest. This woman, whose life I am about to relate, was the daughter of an under-officer to one of the colleges at Oxford. As the doctrine of making up small salaries by taking up large perquisites prevails there as well as elsewhere, Alice's father made a shift to keep himself, his wife and five children in a handsome manner out of L60 a year, and what he made besides of his place.
An affectation of gentility had infected the whole family, the old man had a good voice and played tolerably well on the fiddle. This drew abundance of the young smart fellows of the university to his house, and that of course engaged his three daughters to take all the pains they were able to make themselves agreeable. The mother had great hopes that fine clothes and a jaunty air might marry her daughters to some gentlemen of tolerable fortunes, and that one of them, at least, might have a chance of catching a fellow commoner with a thousand or two per annum, for which reason Miss Molly, Miss Jenny, and Miss Alice were all bred to the dancing school, taught to sing prettily, and to touch the spinet with an agreeable air. In short, the house was a mansion of politeness, and except the two brothers, one of which was put out apprentice to a carpenter, and the other to a shoemaker, there was not a person to be seen in it who looked, spoke or acted as became them in their proper station of life. But it is necessary that we should come to a more particular description.
Old Peter, their father, was a man of mean birth, and of a sort of accidental education. From his youth up he had lived in Oxford, and from the time he was able to know anything, within the purlieus of a college, from whence he had gleaned up a few Latin sentences, scraps of poetry, and as the masterpiece of his improvements, had acquired a good knack of punning. All these mighty qualifications were bent to keep a good house, and drinking two or three quarts of strong ale, accompanied with a song, and two or three hours' scraping at night. The mother, again, was the last remnant of a decayed family, who charged its ruin on the Civil Wars. She was exceedingly puffed up with the notions of her birth, and the respect that was due to a person not sprung from the vulgar. Her education had extended no farther than the knowledge of preserving, pickling and making fricasees, a pretty exact knowledge in the several kinds of points and a judgment not to be despised in the choice of lace, silks and ribbons. She affected extravagance that she might not appear mean, and troublesomely ceremonious that she might not seem to want good manners. Clothes for herself and her daughters, a good quantity of china and some other exuberances of a fancy almost turned mad with the love of finery, made up the circle of what took up her thoughts, the daughters participating in their parents' tempers. But what was wonderful indeed, the sons were honest, sober, industrious young men.
In the midst of all this mirth and splendour, the father died, and left them all totally without support other than their own industry could procure for them, slender provision indeed! Miss Molly, the eldest, was about twenty-two at the time of her father's death, and her sisters were each of them younger than her, and Alice a year younger than Jenny, and about eighteen. The mother was at her wits' end to know how to procure a living for herself and them, but an old gentleman in one of the colleges, to whom Peter had been very useful, and who therefore retained a grateful sense of his service, was so kind as to give fifty pounds towards putting out the daughters, and took care to see the youngest Alice placed with a mantua-maker in London. Molly fell into a consumption, as was generally said, for the love of a young gentleman who used to spend his evenings at her father's, and who marrying a young lady of suitable birth and fortune to himself, was retired into Shropshire. Jenny ran away with a servitor, and was lost to her mother and her friends; so that Alice had it in her power to be tolerably provided for, if she had inclined to have lived virtuously, and not to have frustrated the offers of a good fortune. But she was wild and silly from her cradle, born without capacity to do good to herself, and indued only with such cunning as served her to ruin others.
The first intrigue she had after her coming up to London was with a young fellow who was clerk to a Justice of the Peace in the neighbourhood. Before be saw Alice he had been a careful, industrious young man, and through his master's kindness had picked up some money; but from the time that his master had a suit of clothes made up with Alice's mistress, and which occasioned her first coming about the house, poor Mr. Philip became the victim of her charms, and moped up and down like a hen that had lost her chickens. It was not long before the Justice's daughters found out his passion, and having communicated their discovery to the maids, exposed him to be the laughing stock of the whole house. Never was a poor young fellow so pestered! One asked him whether he liked the wife with three trades? Another was enquiring whether he had cast up the amount of remnants of silk, shreds of lace, and the savings that might be made out of linings, facings, and robings? The Justice took notice that Philip had left off reading the news, and the old lady wondered whether he had forgotten playing upon the organ in her husband's study. But all this served rather to increase than to abate his passion, so that he neglected no opportunity of meeting and paying his addresses to his mistress.
Alice was no less careful on her side, and in a short space it was agreed that she should run away from her mistress, of whom she was grown heartily weary, and that Philip should counterfeit most excessive grief at his loss, in order to prevent the least suspicion of his being privy thereto. Having adjusted this, it was not long before they put their design into execution, and Philip first having provided a lodging for her in Brewer Street, she, on a Sunday in the evening, when all the rest of the family were out, removed from her mistress's house in a court near the Strand, taking all that belonged to her in a hackney-coach, leaving the key at an alehouse. Philip had so good a character that the grief he affected on this occasion passed for reality upon all the house, and the flight of Alice had no other effect than to excite a new spring of railery on the loss of his mistress. He laid out the greatest part of what he had saved during five years' service in furnishing out two rooms for her very neatly, passing himself, where she lodged, for the son of a gentleman of fortune in the country, who had married against his friends' consent, and was therefore obliged to keep his wife in a place of privacy until things at home could be made easy.
For some time the lovers lived mighty happily together, and nothing was wanting to complete Philip's wishes than that they were married, for Alice never making such a proposal, now and then disturbed his thoughts, and put him a little out of humour. Things remained in this state with a little alteration for about five months, until an Irish captain coming to lodge pretty near where Philip had placed Alice, he found a way to see her twice or thrice, and being a fellow of a smooth tongue, a handsome person and an immoderate assurance, it was not long before he became master of her affections. The temper of Philip having been always too grave for her, in about three weeks' time she let the captain into the truth of the whole story, and at his persuasion, during the time Philip was at Surrey assizes, sold off the furniture of her lodgings, and directing a letter to be left for him at his master's house by the Penny Post, moved off with her new gallant.
It would be impossible, should I attempt to describe it, to describe the agony the poor young fellow was in at the receipt of Alice's epistle, in which she told him flatly she was weary of him and had got another gallant; and saying that if he tried to look after her or give her any other uneasiness, she would send a full account of all things to his master. The jilt was sensible this would keep him quiet, for as he depended solely upon his favour, so a story of this sort would have inevitably deprived him of it for ever. It answered her intent, and the force he put upon his passions cost him a severe fit of sickness.
Alice, in the meanwhile, indulged for about a week with her Irish captain, at the end of which he beat her and turned her out of doors. It was in vain for her to talk of her goods and her clothes; the captain had carried her amongst a set of his acquaintance, who on the first quarrel called her a thousand foolish English whores, and bid her go back to her Justice's clerk again. In the midst of her affliction, with nothing on but a linen gown, and about three shillings in her pocket, the watchman coming his rounds, found her sitting on the steps at the door where the captain lodged. He asked her what she did there, she said her husband and she had quarrelled and he had shut her out. The watchman was going away, satisfied with the answer, when the captain called out at the window, told him she was a street-walker, and bid him take her away. The landlady confirmed this, and the fellow laying fast hold of her shoulder, compelled her to go with him to the watch-house. However, a shilling procured her liberty and a favourable report to the constable that she was an honest young woman, who had the misfortune to be married to a bad husband, who turned her into the street, and she was afraid would not suffer her to come in again that night. Upon hearing this, the constable bid her sit down by the fire, gave her a glass of brandy and promised her she should be as safe and as easy as the place would allow her for that night.
But unluckily for Alice, as she went to take the glass out of the constable's hand, he knew her face, and happening to be the baker who served the mantua-maker with bread, where she lived, the next morning he conducted Mrs. Alice, much against her will, home to her mistress. One of her fellow-apprentices ran with the news to the Justice's, and one of the daughters whispered it in Philip's ears, as he was writing a recognizance in the Justice's book. Philip no sooner heard it but he fell down in a swoon, and about half an hour was spent before they could bring him again to himself. The young lady who had played him the trick, immediately quitted the room, and he opening his eyes, and perceiving her gone, pretended it was a sudden fit, and that he had been used to them when a child.
Much as he had suffered by this ungrateful woman, he took the first opportunity to go to a coffee-house within a door or two of her mistress, in order to learn what had become of her. There was but one person who had been trusted with his ever having visited her at all, and they too, were ignorant that she had ever run away with him. Philip therefore sent for his confidant, from whom he received information, that after snivelling and crying for a hour or two, she took advantage of being left alone in a parlour (although the door was locked), and getting out at the window into the backyard, made a shift to scramble over the top of the house of office into the court, and so made her escape to the waterside, where her mistress found she had taken a pair of oars. But though they followed her to Falcon Stairs, yet they were not able to retrieve her. Philip at this news was exceedingly grieved, and returned home again very disconsolate on this occasion.
Alice, in the meantime, lurked about in St. George's Fields till evening, and then crossing the bridge, walked on towards St. James's. However dirty and despicable her dress, yet as she had a very pretty face and a very engaging manner of speaking at first sight, she drew in a merchant's book-keeper, as she walked down Cornhill, to carry her to a certain tavern at the corner of Bishopsgate Street; where, after a good supper and a bottle or two of wine, she engaged him to take her to a lodging, and by degrees to give her a great deal of fine clothes, in return for which she flattered him so greatly that he grew as fond of her and as much a fool as ever Philip had been.
In the meantime her sister, who was much of her disposition, had been turned off by a young fellow she had run away with from Oxford, and in a miserable condition had trotted up to town, in order to see whether she could have better luck with another gallant. One night, as she was strolling through Leadenhall Street in her vocation, she saw her sister Alice and the book-keeper who kept her, walking home with a servant, and a candle and lanthorn before them. Jenny did not think fit to speak to them, but dogging them privately home, called upon her sister the next day and was mighty well received. The couple now took every opportunity (notwithstanding the allowance of the book-keeper) to enable Alice to stroll out with her together, and wandered about nightly in quest of adventures, till it began to grow towards ten o'clock, and the fear of a visit from her keeper drove Alice to her lodgings.
This trade, without any remarkable accident, was practised for about three months, when on a sudden the book-keeper vanished, and for three weeks' time Alice heard not a word of him. This threw both the sisters into a heavy peck of troubles, and the more because he had always kept it a secret in whose family he lived and went to the people where Alice lodged by another name than his own. However they got money enough by sparks they picked up to live pretty easily together, and that no misfortune might go too near their hearts, they fell to drinking a quart of brandy a day. It seems the woman at whose house they lodged was herself given to drinking, and so by treating her they fell into the same vice. The landlady in return was mighty civil to them, and every now and then invited them downstairs to drink with her.
One evening when they were below stairs, there happened to be some discourse about a trial at the Sessions House, whereupon Alice expressed her desire of seeing the trials, and her sister agreeing in the request, their landlady agreed to carry them the next morning. Accordingly they were at Sessions House by the time the Court was set, and the two young sluts were exceedingly merry at the wretched appearances the poor creatures made at the bar. In the midst of their mirth, a man was brought up to plead to his indictment, who had only a blanket wrapped over his shirt to keep him from the weather; they were laughing and talking to some of the people behind them, when Jenny patted her sister to take notice of what the man was charged with. Alice listened and heard the indictment read, which was for breaking open an escritoire and taking out of it ninety guineas, two diamond rings and a good tweezer. When the clerk had done reading, the criminal answered with a low voice, Not Guilty, and the keeper thereupon took him from the bar. As he turned, his face being towards them, Alice saw that it was the book-keeper who had lived with her, and in a low voice whispered her sister, As I hope to live, it is our Tom. They did not stay much longer, but began to consider as soon as they got home what was to be done. Alice was sensible that the tweezer-case mentioned in the indictment had been given her, and was under a thousand frights and fears that it should be discovered and was above all wondrous careful of her landlady, that she did not go any more to the trials that Sessions.
The day they heard that sentence was passed, Jenny went to one of the runners at Newgate, and giving him a shilling, asked what had become of such a person. The fellow answered that he was to be transported. Jenny came immediately home with the news to her sister. She shed a few tears and said, what if he should want in Newgate? Nay, says Jenny, let him want what he will, I'm sure you shall not be fool enough to pawn your things to relieve him; and as her fit of compassion was soon over, so they determined to remove their lodgings for fear that if he were under necessity, as they could not well doubt he was, considering the figure he made at his trial, he might send to her. But they needed not to have been under any apprehensions of that sort, for shame and grief had brought him so low that the gaol distemper seizing on him, he died the same week he had been tried, and the runner to whom Jenny had given the shilling, remembering her face, stopped her in the street, and told her the news. When Alice heard it, she pretended to fall into fits, and express abundance of sorrow and concern. The sorrows were not, however, so deep but that brandy and two days' time effaced them so well that she dressed in the best manner she was able, in order to go out and look for a spark.
Unfortunately for her, her amours produced the usual consequence, a loathsome distemper, which seizing about the same both her sister and herself, through want of proper care, ruined both their constitutions; and the ill consequence being increased by the use of improper food, they were soon after in such a condition that their infamous trade of prostitution fell off, and they were in danger of starving and rotting. In this distress they knew not what to do, till at last advising with an old woman whom they had scraped acquaintance with, she readily offered them the use of her house, and to engage for them a surgeon, who should complete their cure. The sisters were overjoyed at this, and in a hurry accepted her offer, removing themselves and what little valuable movables they had the next week.
They were received with great courtesy and kindness, and the old woman, from an acquaintance of three weeks, assured them that they were no less dear to her than if they had been her own daughters. This treatment continued until they were in the height of a salivation, and then they were acquainted with usage of another sort. This distemper was very expensive, their course of physic very troublesome, it required much attendance, they were strangers to her, and so by degrees the old woman got from them most of the trinkets they brought with them. So that when they were come a little to themselves, and nourishing food was proper to restore them to perfect soundness, they had no way left to procure it but by pawning or selling their clothes, which being quickly done and the money spent, nakedness and poverty became their companions.
Thus plunged in misery, they were exposed to the daily insults of the bawd, who treated them with great cruelty now she had them absolutely in her power. Alice was so very uneasy under it, that having one night got a few clean things about her, she resolved to venture out in a thin linen gown, to see what might be done to free them from these difficulties. She had not got lower than Southampton Street, in the Strand, before a gentleman well dressed, though much in liquor, invited her to go with him to his chambers. He carried her as far as Essex Street, and then turning down to the Temple, brought her into rooms up two pair of stairs, richly furnished. She saw nobody that he had to attend him, but everything seemed in very exact order, and so without further ceremony to bed they went. His weight of liquor soon forced him to sleep, but Alice, whose head was full of the miseries she had so long gone through, arose, put on her clothes and searching his pockets, found a gold watch, nineteen guineas and a large gold medal. She was so much surprised with the richness of this booty, and yet this being her first fact, so confounded within herself, that she knew not well what to do. At last, with great difficulty she forced open the chamber door, which he had locked (and laid the key where she could not find it). Next she came to the outer doors of the chambers, in which the key was, and so there was no difficulty in getting out; but then finding it impossible to shut the door after her without locking it, she even did so, and carried away the key.
She made all the haste she could home to her landlady, and without considering the consequence, paid her six pounds which she demanded, and got some clothes out of her hands, which she had retained as a security for the money. Then she removed with her sister, as secretly as she could, to an inn in Smithfield, and from thence, the next day, they removed to a little lodging in narrow lane by St. John's, where downright fear made them keep so much within doors that they had almost spent all their money in six weeks' time, without thinking of any method to get more.
At last, Jenny, as being least in danger, equipped herself as well as she could, and ventured about nine o'clock one evening into the streets. She walked about half an hour without meeting with any adventure, but at last picked up an innocent country lad. They had not gone far towards a tavern before the constable and his body-guard of watchmen surprised and hurried them away to the Wood Street Compter. There she remained until the next day, when it was intimated to her that if she could produce a couple of guineas they would be looked upon as good bail. She sent for her sister Alice, who not having so much money, foolishly offered the gold medal as a security. Some of the limbs of the Law thereabouts, were acquainted with the gentleman of the Temple who lost it, and it being shown up and down to know its value, they declared it was stolen, and Alice, instead of procuring her sister's liberty, was forced into the same prison, and confined with her. As it was about three weeks to sessions, they were permitted to remain at the Compter during that time.
This was a deeper plunge into misfortune than they had ever yet known, and the fear of hanging was so strong that Alice, in order to avoid it, resolved upon making an application to a person to whom otherwise she would never have made herself known. Who should this be but Philip, who was lately married, but still did the business of his old master the Justice, and therefore was always to be met with at his house, though he had now got a little place upon which he was capable of living pretty handsomely. Alice's letter reached him just as he was sitting down to dinner. The surprise he was in was so great that it could not be hid from the company. However, to cover the cause of it, he pretended that it brought him news of a person being gone off for whom he was bail, and which obliged him not to lose a minute in going to see what might be done. So putting on his hat, and entreating some gentlemen who were at the table with him not to disturb themselves, for he should be back in half an hour, away he went directly to the Compter. And having influence over the people in power there, he prevailed to have her let out to an adjacent tavern.
The affliction she had gone through had altered but not impaired her beauty. Philip, ill-used as he had been by her, could not forbear bursting into tears at the sight of the miserable condition in which she was. As soon as his surprise was a little over, she acquainted him with the true state of the case, and begged his assistance in prevailing on the injured gentleman to soften the prosecution. He promised her all that was in his power, but desired to know after what manner she intended to live, in case her liberty could ever be regained. She cried and promised to work hard for her living rather than fall into that miserable plight again, and then told him how unfortunately it happened that her sister also was involved in the same calamity. At parting, Philip presented her with a guinea, and told her she should have the same every week while she remained there, assuring her also that he would not fail coming to her the next day at noon, and informing her of the temper in which he found her antagonist.
It happened that the Templar was Philip's intimate acquaintance, and had a seat near his father's house in the country. Philip told him the truth of the story, and how he came to interest himself so far in the affair. The gentleman was not hard to be prevailed on, and said he did not conceive it would be of any service to the women to let them be set at liberty, considering the course of life they would be obliged immediately to fall into for bread; that for his part, he inclined rather to procure them liberty to transport themselves, and that they might not be destitute in a strange country, he was not averse, notwithstanding his loss, to give them something towards putting them in a condition of getting their livelihood when they got over. Philip readily agreed to this, though he was fearful of its proving an expedient little agreeable to the women. However, the next day, when he went, he sent for them both to the tavern, and proposed it. Alice said it was the most agreeable thing that could have befallen her. She was sensible of the manner in which she had lived in her native country, and of the difficulty there would be of her amending here, and though her sister Jenny was at first very averse, yet she quickly brought her to be as complying as herself and to wish nothing more than the possibility of living honest in any of the plantations.
Philip carried this news at night to the Temple and the gentleman there, who was a great humorist, was so much taken with the temper and spirit of Alice, that he would needs see her again, and thereupon accompanied Philip the next day to the place of her confinement. There everything was soon settled, the Templar procured their discharge, put them to board at a house which he could command, and bargained with a captain of a New England vessel for their passage thither; not as for persons who had been guilty of any misdeeds here, but as of young women of good families, who were unwilling to go to service here, and had therefore got their friends to raise as much money as would send them over there, where perhaps they might meet with better fortune.
In short, their two benefactors furnished then with things to the amount of two hundred pounds, accompanied them themselves on board the vessel, and recommended them to the captain with as much earnestness as if they had been near relations. Coming in this light into the abroad, they were received with great hospitality, and treated with much kindness and respect; and in fine, after remaining here about a year, Jenny married a gentleman of as good fortune as any in the country, and her sister, not long after, had the same luck. Jenny did not indeed survive it long, but Alice outlived her first husband, and marrying a second, returned into England where she is still living in as much respect and esteem as any gentlewoman in the county where she inhabits.
An Account of the horrid murder of MR. WIDDINGTON DARBY, committed in his chambers in the Temple, on the 11th of April, 1727, for which one HENRY FISHER was apprehended and committed to Newgate, from whence he escaped.
The deceased Mr. Darby was a young gentleman who made an extraordinary good appearance in the world. He generally wore fine rings, rich snuff boxes, and an extraordinary gold watch about him. These things possibly tempted a needy person of his acquaintance to be guilty of that barbarous murder which was committed upon him. He lived in the chambers belonging to Sir George Cook's office in the Temple. His servant lived in another place, and went home every night. It happened the night before, or rather in that wherein he was murdered, that Mr. Darby had a good deal of company with him, who supping late, they did not go away until eleven o'clock, when Mr. Darby's servant also retired to his lodgings. The next morning, being Tuesday, about nine o'clock, Mr. Darby was found dead in the said office, his skull penetrated with a pistol ball, his ear and hand cut, his rings, watch and other valuables taken away, besides his escritoire broken open, and his money and linen taken from thence.
The next day the coroner's inquest sat thereon, but being able to make no discovery of the murder, they thought fit to adjourn sine die, as soon as the coroner had made an order for the interment of his corpse which was done accordingly in a vault in the church of St. Andrew's, Holborn.
Some time passed before any light was got into this affair. At length, Mr. Moody, who had been upon the coroner's inquest who had sat on the body of Mr. Darby, received information that one Fisher, who had been in very bad circumstances, and as an acquaintance had been relieved under him by the deceased Mr. Darby, was all on a sudden, since the committing of that murder, observed to have a great deal of money. He had paid some debts which had been troublesome to him and was observed to have some valuable things about him which had never been seen before. These circumstances appearing altogether very suspicious, Mr. Moody acquainted Mr. York with it, who had been very assiduous in taking all measures possible for the discover of this horrid assassination. He falling readily into Mr. Moody's opinion, they agreed together that the likeliest method to find out the truth was to go to Mr. Willoughby, who was Fisher's landlord, and known to be a very honest man. Accordingly they went to him in a tavern in Southampton Street, where they understood he was, and falling into discourse about Mr. Darby's murder, they insinuated to him the suspicions they had of his lodger.
Returning to his house, Fisher being away, Mr. Willoughby went to his room and broke open a box, and found in it the top and bottom of a snuff-box, a vizard mask, and a pair of laced ruffles. The remains of the snuff-box Mr. York knew to have belonged to the deceased, and had reason to suspect the ruffles also to have been his, so that it was immediately agreed to go before the Honourable Sir William Thompson, in order to procure a warrant. There they made an affidavit of the several circumstances attending their discovery, and Sir William upon the examination also of a lady (who produced a piece of lace before she had seen the ruffle, and declared that if it were Mr. Darby's it must tally therewith, which on a comparison it did exactly) granted a warrant. It appeared also at the same time, upon the oath of Mr. Willoughby, that the day Mr. Darby was murdered, Fisher borrowed half-a-crown of him to pay his washerwoman, and was in the utmost necessity for money.
A woman swore that a person very like Fisher was hovering about Mr. Darby's chambers the night the murder was committed, and it was proved by the oath of another person that Fisher came not to his lodgings till two o'clock on Tuesday morning, on which Mr. Darby was murdered. About eight o'clock a porter came and informed Fisher of Mr. Darby's being murdered, at which he shewed little concern and locked himself up for some hours.
Things being thus over at Sir William Thompson's, Mr. Willoughby, Mr. York, and Mr. Moody, returned to Fisher's lodgings. About two o'clock in the morning he came in, and they seized him, having a constable and proper assistance for that purpose. On Sunday noon, he was carried before Sir William Thompson in order to be examined, where he said:
That about the latter end of the week in which Mr. Darby was murdered, as he was passing through Lincoln's Inn Fields, about four in the afternoon, be took up under the wall of Lincoln's Inn Gardens, a white paper parcel in which were contained several things of great value belonging to the deceased; some of the diamonds he acknowledged he sold to a jeweller in Paternoster Row for ten guineas, the watch he pawned for nine guineas to a person at a brazier's in Bond Street, and sold the gold chain and swivels to a person in Lombard Street. He absolutely denied all knowledge of the murder, and said that at the time it happened he was at a billiard table in Duke Street, by St. James's. When taken there was found upon him two of Mr. Darby's rings with the stones taken out, wrapped up in a paper, with his seal the arms of which were taken out, and in these circumstances he was committed to Newgate.
Soon after this the coroner granted his warrant, and an order being thereupon obtained from the Commons, Mr. Darby's body was taken up and in the presence of several persons, his head opened by an eminent surgeon, who found a large lacerated wound near the left ear, the temporal bone on that side being very much fractured, several pieces of which stuck in the brain on the same side. He found, likewise, the temporal bone on the other side, exactly opposite, broken; the pieces thereof were not removed from their places, but easily removed upon his attempting to take them away. He took out the brain and the bullet dropped upon the pillow which lay upon the ground under his head. It appeared, upon comparing the said bullet taken out of the head, with some other bullets found in custody of Henry Fisher (at that time in Newgate on suspicion of the murder) that it seemed to have been cast in the same mould; and when weighing it with one of these bullets, it was very little lighter, and it fitted the bore of one of the pistols which was found in Fisher's custody, even that pistol which by some signs were looked on to have been discharged, though afterwards loaded again.
This Fisher was the son of a very eminent clothier in the West of England, who had sent him to London, and put him out clerk to an attorney, and had done everything in his power which he was able, and which was reasonable for him to do. But he being extravagant, lived far beyond the rate which was consistent with the supplies he received from his father; so that when pressed by his necessities, he had often applied to Mr. Darby for relief. When in Newgate he affected a most unreasonable gaiety and unconcernedness in his behaviour, although the circumstances were so strong against him as occasioned it to prevail as the general opinion that he would be convicted. However, he and the famous Roger Johnson took the advantage of the workmen labouring on the cells which were then building, and by breaking a hole through a place done up only with lath and plaster, they got down one of the workmen's ladders, and so made their escape. Johnson was afterwards retaken and tried for breaking prison, but alleging it was done by Fisher, he was acquitted, and this Henry Fisher, the supposed murderer of Mr. Darby, was never heard of since.
 Sir William Thompson (1678-1739) was Recorder of London in 1715, Solicitor General two years later, and in 1729 became baron of the Exchequer.
The Life of JOSHUA CORNWALL, a Thief and Housebreaker
Though vices are undoubtedly the chief instruments that bring unhappy persons to that ignominious death which the Law hath appointed for enormous offences, yet it very often happens that folly rather than wickedness brings them first into the road of ruin; in which, led on by delusive hopes, they continue to run until a disastrous fate overtakes them, and puts an end at once to their vicious race, and to their lives. The criminal whose memoirs at present employ our pen is such an example as I hope, while it entertains, may also instruct my readers to avoid his errors.
This unfortunate man was the son of reputable and honest parents in the town of Brigg in the county of Lincoln. Their circumstances were such as enabled them to give him an education; and the desire they had of doing everything that was possible for their son inclined them not to be wanting in this particular. His mother, was fond of him to a fault, and being permitted by her indulgence to run up and down amongst young people of his own age, riding across the country to friends and other diversions of a like nature, he lost all liking to things of a serious nature, and without thinking how to procure the necessaries of life, was altogether taken up in enjoying those pleasures to which he had the greatest inclination. In the midst of this pleasant situation of things (at least as it appeared to him at that time) the prospect was darkened by the death of his mother. His friends retained for him a due paternal affection, but had no notion of permitting him to go on the life he led, and therefore to break him of that as well as to make him acquainted with an honest method of getting his living, his father put him out apprentice to a baker in Hull.
But as kindness seemed of all things the most fatal to this unhappy man, so the acquaintance and friendship which his master had for Cornwall's family became a new means of leading him into misfortune, for treating the young man rather with a tenderness due to a son than that severity which is usually practised towards apprentices and servants, it gave him an opportunity of renewing his old course of life. Instead of inclining him to behave in a manner which might deserve such lenity, it gave him, on the contrary, occasion frequently to abuse it by running from one dancing bout and merry-making to another, without the least care of his master's business, who out of downright affection forbore to restrain his follies with that harshness which they deserved, and which any other person would have used.