Lives Of The Most Remarkable Criminals Who have been Condemned and Executed for Murder, the Highway, Housebreaking, Street Robberies, Coining or other offences
by Arthur L. Hayward
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From thence he went to an aunt's house, about seven or eight miles from Salisbury, where he stayed until her husband grew so uneasy that he was obliged to take his leave. He travelled then to a sister of his, and meeting there with an old schoolfellow and relation, he quickly persuaded the lad to become as bad as himself, drawing him in to rob his mother of fifty shillings, with which small stock they two were set up for their old trade of gaming. But the robbery they had committed was quickly detected. However, Dyer so well tutored his associate that the boy could neither by threats nor promises be brought to own it, yet their denials had not the least weight with their relations. They were thoroughly convinced of their being guilty, and therefore were determined that they should be punished, for which purpose they carried them before a neighbouring Justice of Peace, who committed them to Bridewell to hard labour.

As Dyer could not endure imprisonment, especially when hard labour was added to it, so he very speedily contrived a method to free himself and his companion from their fetters, which was by leaping down the house of office,[87] which a few days afterwards they did and got clear off.

These various difficulties and narrow escapes seemed to make no other impression upon Dyer than to give him a greater liking than ever to such sort of villainous enterprises. He stole as many horses out of New Forest as came to three-score pounds, and afterwards setting up for a highwayman, committed a multitude of facts in that neighbourhood, which he has with great care related in the account he published of his life. Amongst the rest he stripped a poor maid-servant, who was just come out of a place, of all the money she had, viz., a gold ring, and a box of clothes, and so left her without either necessaries or money. At Winchester he disposed of the clothes and linen which he took from the poor woman. At an alehouse in High Street he fell into company with a lace-man, from whom he learned, by some little conversation, that he was going to Amesbury Fair in Wiltshire. Dyer told him he was going thither too, and so along they journeyed together. When they arrived there, they put up their horses at the sign of the Chopping Knife, and while the lace-man went out to take a stand to sell his goods in, Dyer demanded the box of lace of the landlord, as if he had been the man's partner; then calling for his horse, while the landlord's back was turned, he rode clear off from them all.

On the Plain, going towards Devizes, he overtook a Scotch pedlar. Dyer it seems knew him, and called him by his name, asking him if he had any good handkerchiefs, upon which the poor man let down the pack off his back and showed him several. Dyer told him, after looking over the goods, that he did not want to buy anything, but must have what he pleased for nothing. The Scotchman, upon that, put himself in a posture of defence, but Dyer drawing his pistols on him soon obliged him to yield, and tied him with some of his own cloth fast to the post of a wall. He then went and rifled the pack, taking thence nine pounds odd in money, a great parcel of hair, which he sold afterwards for eight pounds, six dozen handkerchiefs, and a quantity of muslin. Then he released the pedlar again, and bid him go and take care of the rest of his pack, Mr. Dyer being then in some hurry to look out for another booty.

A very small time after our plunderer met with an old shepherd, who had sold a good parcel of sheep. Dyer attacked him with his hanger and the old man, though he had nothing but his stick, made a very good defence. However, at last he was overcome and lost seventy-two pounds which he had taken at the market. Dyer being by this time full of money, he thought fit to go to Dorchester in Wilts, where by the usual course of his extravagances, he lessened it in a very short time; and then persuading a poor butcher of the town, who had broke, to become his companion, he soon taught him from being unfortunate to become wicked. They agreed very well together (as Mr. Dyer says) until he caught his new partner endeavouring to cheat him as well as he had taught him to rob other people. But after some hard words the butcher confessed the fact, and and promised to be honest to him for the future; which being all that Dyer wanted, a new agreement was made, and they went to work again in their old occupation.

The first exploit they went upon afterwards was at Woodbury Hill Fair, in Dorsetshire, where as soon as the fair was over, Mr. Dyer, in his merry style, tells us their fair began, for observing a cheeseman who received about fourscore pounds, they watched him so narrowly that about a mile from the fair they attacked him and bid him deliver. With a heavy heart the old man suffered himself to be rifled, though he had paid away a far greater part of the money, and had not above twelve pounds about him, yet he sighed as if he would have broken his heart at the loss, while Dyer and his companion were as much out of humour at the disappointment and gave him several smart lashes with their whips, telling him that he should never pay money when gentlemen waited to receive it.

A small time after this robbery they committed another upon a hop-merchant, who was riding with his wife. They searched him very carefully for money, but could find none, until Dyer beginning to curse and swear and threatening to kill him, his wife cried out, For Heaven's sake, do not murder my husband and I'll tell you where his money is. Accordingly, she declared it was in his boots, upon which Dyer cut them off his legs and found fifty guineas therein, then taking their leave of the merchant and his wife, Dyer very gratefully thanked her for her good office. From thence they went down to Sherbourne, and each of them having got a mistress, they lived there very merrily for a considerable space, living in full enjoyment of those gross sensualities in which they alone reaped satisfaction at the expense of such honest people as they had before plundered.

Here they had intelligence of a certain grazier who was going down into the country to buy lean beasts, upon which they followed him and robbed him of all the money he had, which was about fourscore-and-ten pounds. So large a sum proved only a fund for extravagance, a use to which these men put all the money they laid their hands on. Hampshire being so lucky a place, Dyer and his comrade went next to Ringwood, where the butcher fell sick, and lay for some time, until their money was almost consumed. But then growing well again, Dyer took him down to Bath, where they robbed the stage-coaches from Bath to London, and as they returned from London to Bath again, until the road became so dangerous that they hired persons to guard them for the future; and notwithstanding they so often practised this villainy, they never were in danger but once, when a gentleman fired a blunderbuss at them but missed them both, whereupon they robbed the coach, and afterwards whipped him severely with their horse whips.

Their next expedition was to Hungerford, where they stayed about two months, in which time Dyer made a match for the butcher with a widow woman of his own trade; but just as they were going to be married, somebody discovered both his and the butcher's occupation, and thereupon obliged them to quit Hungerford, and to take their road to Newbury, with more precipitation than they were wont to do. In the road to Reading they robbed a tallow-chandler, and then galloped to Reading, where they had like to have been taken by the information of the Bath coachman; but they being pretty well mounted and riding hard night and day got safe down to Exeter in Devonshire, where, as the securest method, they agreed to part by consent. The butcher went back to Devonshire again, and Dyer must needs go to visit his friends at Salisbury, and then after a short stay with them set out for London.

The fear he was under of being discovered if he came into the direct road made him take a roundabout way in his journey, and thereby put it in his power to rob four Oxford scholars; from two of them he took their watches and their money, but though he searched the other two very diligently could find nothing, upon which he rode away with the booty he had taken. But the two whom he had robbed quickly called him back again, and told him their companions had money, if he had but wit enough to find it. Whereupon Dyer began to examine the first very strictly, and found his money put under his buttons, and his watch thrust into his breeches. On search of the second, he discovered his money put up in the cape of his coat, but his watch he had hustled to one of his companions, who held it out, which as soon as Dyer saw he took it away. It is surprising that men should be possessed with so odd a spirit that because they have lost all themselves, they must needs have others plundered into the bargain. However, Dyer thought it a good job, and with the help of this money he came up to London.

When he arrived here, he worked honestly for some time at his trade, with a very noted shoemaker upon Ludgate Hill. Soon after, he removed to a lodging in Leather Lane, and worked there for twelve months. At last he got into the company of a common woman of the town, and she very quickly brought him into his old condition, for being much in debt and often arrested, Dyer, who was at present very fond of her, was obliged to bail her or get her bailed. Hearing that he had a legacy of ten pounds a year in an Exchequer Annuity, she would never let him alone until he had disposed of it, which at last he did, for about fourscore pounds. The first thing that was done after the receipt of the sum of money was to clothe madam in Monmouth Street, in an handsome suit of blue flowered satin, with everything agreeable thereto. On their return home the man of the house where they lodged flew into a great passion, said he'd never suffer her to wear such fine clothes unless he was paid what was due to him. Mr. Dyer in his memoirs gives us this story, dressed out with abundance of oaths and such like decoration, which we will venture to leave out, and relate the adventure, as it gives a very good idea of such sort of houses, otherwise in his own language.

The bawd, while her husband was swearing, took Mr. Dyer upstairs, and there with a wheedling tone asked him if Moll should not bring them a quartern of brandy to drink his and his spouse's health, but before Dyer could give her an answer, she issued a positive command herself, whereupon up comes Moll and the quartern. The mistress poured out half of it into one glass which she drank off to the health of Mr. and Mrs. Dyer, adding with great complaisance. Well, indeed your Alice is a fine woman when she's dressed. I love to see a handsome woman with all my heart. Come, Moll, fill t'other quartern, and bid Mrs. Dyer come to her spouse; and d'ye hear, tell my husband that Mrs. Dyer desires to drink a glass of brandy with him.

On this message up comes the husband, and clapping down by him took him by the hand, with an abundance of seeming courtesy, said, Pray, Mr. Dyer, don't let you and I fall out. I may, in my passion, have let fall some provoking words to your wife, but I can't help it, 'tis my way, and I really want money so that it almost makes me mad. I'll tell you what; your spouse, Mr. Dyer, owes me almost nine pounds, now if you'll give me five guineas, I'll give you a receipt in full. Upon which our cully of a robber, thinking to save so much money, paid it him down, and madam seemed to be highly pleased.

As soon as this was over and the receipt given, his lady said to Dyer, Come my dear, we'll go and take a walk and see Mrs. Sheldon. Thither they went. No sooner were they in the house, but after the first compliments were passed, Mrs. Sheldon said, We were just talking of you when you came in, Mr. Dyer, and of that small matter your spouse owes us. Says Dyer, How much is it? But two-and-forty shillings, says Mrs. Sheldon. Upon which the fool took the money out of his pocket and paid it. A little while after this, Dyer's mistress thought fit to quarrel with one of her female acquaintances whom she had made her confidante, by which means the story came out that she was not a penny in debt either to her landlord or Mrs. Sheldon, but that she wanted money and was resolved to make hay while the sun shone.

One would have thought that a fellow so versed in villainy, and so given up to all sorts of debauchery, would have immediately discarded a woman who showed him such tricks, but on the contrary he grew fonder of her, removed her to another lodging, and lavished all he had on her. But as a new misfortune, one morning early a man knocked at the door, which he taking to be one of her gallants, went in his shirt to the window. The man enquired whether one Mrs. Davis was there, upon which Dyer's mistress in a great agony, said. O, la, John, it's my husband come from sea, what shall I do? Upon this, Dyer hustled on his clothes and went downstairs to another harlot, and by there until his first lady and her husband came downstairs.

However, it was not long before the seaman had an account of Dyer's familiarity with his wife, and thereupon thinking to get money out of him brought his action against him; but Dyer got himself bailed, and soon after arrested him for meat, drink and lodging for his wife for several months, for which he lay in the Compter for a considerable time, and at last was obliged to give Dyer ten pounds to make it up.

At last, when money ran low, Dyer's love on a sudden went all out. He dismissed his mistress and not finding another quickly to his mind, took up a sudden resolution to marry and live honest. It was not long before he prevailed on an honest woman, and accordingly they were joined together in wedlock. Dyer thereupon provided himself with a cobbler's stall in Leather Lane, worked hard and lived well. But as his inclinations were always dishonest, he could not long confine himself to honesty and labour, but in a short space meeting with a young man in the neighbourhood, who was very uneasy in his circumstances, and on ill terms with ms friends, and very much disordered in his mind on account of the misfortunes under which he laboured, Dyer began immediately to cast eyes upon him as one who would make him a fit companion.

It seems the other had exactly the same thoughts, and one day as they were walking together in the fields, says the stranger to him, I'll tell you what; if you knew how affairs stand with me, you would advise me. I must either go upon the highway, or into gaol. That's a hard choice, replied Dyer; but did you ever do anything of that kind? No, said the other, indeed, not hitherto. Well, then, says his tutor again, have you any pistols? No, replied he, but I intend to pawn my watch and buy some. The bargain was soon made between them. One night they robbed a man by the Old Spa,[88] the same night they robbed another by Sadler's Wells. Two or three days after, they robbed a chariot, and took from persons in it thirty pounds. The young practitioner in thieving thought this a rare quick way of getting money and therefore followed it very industriously in the company of his assistant. In Lincoln's Inn Fields they were hard put to it, for after they had committed a robbery, abundance of watchmen gathered about them, whom they suffered to advance very near them, but then firing two or three pistols over their heads they all ran, and suffered the robbers to go which way they would. A multitude of other facts they committed, until Dyer got into that gang who robbed on Blackheath, of whom we have given some account.

It is observable that Dyer, in his own narrative, gives not the least account of his turning evidence and hanging a great number of his associates, many of whom, as has been said in the former volume,[89] charged him with having first drawn them into the commission of crimes and then betrayed them. It seems this was among the circumstances of his life which did not afford him any mirth, a thing to which throughout the course of his memoirs he is egregiously addicted. However it was, I must inform my reader that he remained for near seven years a prisoner in Newgate after his being an evidence, until at last he found means to get discharged at the same time with one Abraham Dumbleton, who was his companion in his future exploits, and suffered with him at the same time. When they were at the bar, in order to their being discharged out of Newgate, the Recorder, with his usual humanity, represented to them the danger there was of their coming to a bad end, in case they should be set at liberty and get again into the company of their old comrades who might seduce them to their former practices, and thereby become the means of their suffering a violent and ignominious death; advising them at the same time rather to submit to a voluntary transportation, whereby they would gain a passage into a new country, inhabited by Englishmen, where they might live honestly without dread of those reproaches to which they would be ever liable here. But they insisting upon their discharge and promising to live very honestly for the future, their request was complied with, and they were set at liberty.

One of the first crimes committed by Dyer afterwards was robbing a victualler coming over Bloomsbury Market,[90] between one and two o'clock in the morning, and from whom, having thrown him down and stopped his mouth, they took his silver watch, seventeen shillings in money, two plain rings, and the buckles out of his shoes. They robbed another man in the Tottenham Court Road coming to town, tied him and then took from him two-and-forty shillings. Dyer also happening to be one day a little cleaner and better dressed than ordinary, was taken notice of in Lincoln's Inn Fields by one of those abominable, unnatural wretches who addict themselves to sodomy. He pretended to know him at first, and desired him to step to the tavern with him and drink a glass of wine, which the other readily complied with. In the tavern, Dyer took notice that the gentleman had a good diamond ring upon his finger, and then suddenly taking notice of a hackney-coach which drove by with a single gentleman in it, he pretended it was a friend of his and that he needs must go down and speak a word with him. Under pretence of doing which, he went clear off with the diamond ring. Two or three days after, he met the same person with a man in years, and of some consideration. Upon his asking Dyer how he came to go off in that manner from the tavern, he, who was accustomed to such salutations, gave him a rough answer, and the spark fearing a worse accusation might be alleged against himself, thought fit to go off without making any more words about it.

I am not able to say how long after, but certainly it could be no very considerable space before he and Dumbleton robbed Mr. Bradley, in Kirby Street, by Hatton Garden, of his hat and wig, at the same time trampling on him, beating him, and using him in the most cruel manner imaginable, as was sworn by Mr. Bradley upon their trial. However, by affrighting the watch with their pistols, they got off safe and a night or two after broke open a linen-draper's shop, and took out a large parcel of linen. For these two facts they were shortly after apprehended, and on very full evidence convicted at the Old Bailey.

Under sentence of death, Dyer said he was sorry for his offences, but spoke of them in a manner that showed he had but a slight sense of those heinous crimes in which he had continued so long. His narrative that he left behind him, and which was published the day before his execution, is a manifest proof of the ludicrous terms which those unhappy creatures affect in the relation of their own adventures. However, it becomes us not to judge concerning the sentiments of a person who in his last moments professed himself a penitent. Instead of doing which, we shall produce the speech he made at the place of execution.

Good People,

I desire all young men to take warning by my ignominious death, and to forsake evil company, especially lewd women, who have been the chief cause of my unhappy fate. I hope, and make it my earnest request that nobody will be so ill a Christian as to reflect on my aged parents, who took an early care to instruct me, and brought me up a member, though a very unworthy one, of the Church of England. I hope my misfortunes will be a warning to all youth, especially some whom I wish well; I will not name them, but hope, if they see this, they will take it to themselves. I die in charity with all men, forgiving and hoping to be forgiven myself, through the merits of my blessed Saviour Jesus Christ.

He died on the 21st of November, 1729, being thirty-one years of age.


[87] This may mean that they dropped themselves into the cess-pit and made their way out through another opening.

[88] Spa Fields, Clerkenwell, was a notorious spot for footpads.

[89] See pages 121, 122.

[90] This was at the south-west corner of Bloomsbury Square.

The Lives of WILLIAM ROGERS, a Thief; WILLIAM SIMPSON, a Horse-dealer; and ROBERT OLIVER, alias WILLIAM JOHNSON, a Thief

The first of these persons was descended from very mean parents, who had, however, given him a tolerable education, so far as to qualify him by reading and writing for any ordinary kind of business, to which they intended to breed him on his coming to a fit age. They put him out apprentice to a shoemaker, with whom he lived out his time, with the approbation of his master and all who knew him. Afterwards he married a wife and worked for some time honestly as a journeyman at his trade, being exceedingly fond of his new wife. But she being a woman who liked living in a better state than he could afford by what he gained at his work, and he being desirous to live more at home, and yet maintain her plentifully too, at last came to picking and thieving; and being detected in stealing some shoes out of a shop, he was for that crime transported.

In Maryland and Virginia he continued some time working at his trade with masters there, who gave him great encouragement, so that he might have lived very happily there, if he had not been desirous of coming to England. His mind ran continually on his wife. It was for her sake that he at first had fallen into these practices, and to enjoy her conversation was almost the only thing which tempted him to return home.

On his arrival here, it was no doubt with the greatest uneasiness that he heard his wife, as soon as ever he went abroad, cohabited with another man and could never afterwards be brought to see him, or give him any assistance, no not when he was under his last and great misfortunes. Her unkindness afflicted the unhappy man so much that he grew careless of his safety, and thereby became speedily apprehended, and was tried for his offence in returning before the time was expired; and the fact being clear he was at once convicted.

Under sentence of death, he seemed to deplore nothing so much as the unkindness of his wife, who would not so much as afford him one visit, when he had hazarded, and even sacrificed his life to visit her. He confessed that he had been guilty of that crime for which he had formerly been transported, but denied that he lived in such a course of wickedness and debauchery as most malefactors do. On the contrary, he said he was heartily sorry for his sins, and hoped that God would accept his imperfect repentance.

William Simpson was a young man of very good parents in Gloucestershire, who had taken care to educate him carefully, both in the knowledge of letters and of true religion, and they then put him out apprentice to a tailor; but not liking that employment, he did not follow it, but lived with a relation of his who was a great farmer in the country. There, it seems, he stole a black gelding to the value of ten pounds, for which he was quickly apprehended and committed to prison, and upon very full evidence convicted. The unhappy youth said that nothing but idleness and an aversion to any employment were the causes of his committing an act of such a nature, so contrary to the principles in which he had been instructed, and to which he was not tempted by ill-company, or driven to by any straits. Under sentence of death he behaved with great modesty, penitence and civility, was desirous of being instructed and did everything that could be expected from a man in his miserable condition.

Robert Oliver, alias William Johnson, was born of parents of tolerable circumstances in Yorkshire, they bred him at school, and afterwards bound him apprentice to a tallow-chandler. After he was out of his time, he got somehow or other into the service of Mrs. North, where he robbed one Joseph Heppworth of seven-and-forty guineas. As soon as he had done it, he went to Moorgate and gave two-and-twenty of them for a horse, upon which he rode down into his own country, where he exchanged it for another horse, getting four guineas to boot. But the person who had lost the money being indefatigable, and imagining that he might have gone down into his own country, followed him thither, and after some time seized him and got him confined in Beverley gaol. But it seems he found a way to make his escape from thence, and so getting to London, skulked up and down here for some time, until at last he was discovered and committed to Newgate and at the ensuing sessions at the Old Bailey was tried and convicted for the aforesaid offence.

Under sentence he behaved himself stupidly, not seeming to have a just concern for the offence which he had committed. He was sullen, would say very little, did not deny the crime for which he died, but yet did not seem to have that compunction which might have been expected from a man in his sad condition.

At the place of execution Rogers said little; Simpson acknowledged lewd women had been his ruin; Robert Oliver acknowledged that he had been a vicious, unruly, young man, who had hearkened to no advice, but addicted to nothing but the accomplishment of his vices. They were all desirous of prayers, and after they were celebrated they submitted to their deaths very patiently; and with pious ejaculations, they were executed on the 21st of November, 1739, Rogers being forty years of age, Simpson nineteen, and Oliver twenty-two.


Folly and wickedness, as it were, naturally lead men to poverty, shame and misfortunes, but when such miseries overtake persons who lived soberly and in all outward appearance honestly, it is apt to create wonder at first, and afterwards to excite compassion.

The unhappy man of whom we are now speaking was the son of a sailor, who brought him when but a boy of three years of age up to London, and then dying, left him to the care of his mother, who was too poor to give him any education. However, he went to sea, and being a young man ingenious enough in himself, and very tractable in his temper, he soon became a tolerable proficient in the practical part of navigation. This recommended him to pretty constant business, whereby he got enough to maintain himself and his family handsomely enough, if he had thought fit to have employed it that way; which for a considerable space of time he did, keeping up a very good reputation in the neighbourhood where he lived, and serving with a fair character on board several men-of-war, going up the Baltic with squadrons sent thither to preserve the Swedish coast from being insulted by the Moscovites.

After his return, he served on board the fleet which destroyed that of the Spaniards in Sicily. He was afterwards coxswain in the Admiral, when they served in the Mediterranean, and on the coast of Spain, but coming home at last and being weary of going to sea, he took up the trade of selling china and some small goods about the country; in which he got so established a character that the gentlemen with whom he chiefly dealt would have trusted him a hundred pounds on his word, and never anything gave a greater shock to his neighbours and acquaintances than the news of his being apprehended for a highwayman. However, it seems he had been engaged to that course by his brother, notwithstanding that till then he had lived not only honestly, but with tolerable sentiments of religion.

The method in which he was drawn to turn robber on a sudden was thus. On the 19th of October, 1729, his brother came to him as he was working on the outside of a ship on the other side of the water, and invited him to go out with him to a public house, to which at first he was very unwilling; but at last suffering himself to be prevailed upon, he and his brother went together to a house not far distant, where they drank to a higher pitch than James Drummond had ever done before. His brother all along insinuated how advantageous a trade the highway was, owning he had followed nothing else for some years past, and saying there was not the least hazard run in it, at the same time advising his brother to quit labouring hard, and to take to it, too. James was now grown so drunk that he hardly knew what he did, so that after much persuasion he got up behind his brother upon the same horse, but was afterwards set down, it being judged by both of them to be better to rob on foot, while he who was well armed and well mounted might be able to defend them both. Having come to this fatal agreement, they immediately set about those enterprises which they had consulted together.

The first robbery they committed was upon Mr. William Isgrig, from whom they took sixteen guineas, seven half-guineas, three broad pieces, one moidore, twenty shillings in silver, and a watch value two pounds. Not satisfied with this the same night they attacked one Mr. Wakeling, on the same road, and took from him a silver watch, and three or four shillings in money, though not without much resistance, Mr. Wakeling having drawn his sword and defended himself for a considerable time; but perceiving one of the rogues to be a footpad, he followed him so closely, and made such an outcry to the watch, that after a long pursuit and a sharp struggle with him, they took James Drummond prisoner. His brother after firing a pistol or two, rode off as fast as he could. At the ensuing sessions at the Old Bailey he was indicted for both offences and upon very full and dear evidence convicted.

It was impossible to describe the agonies which this unhappy man suffered while under sentence of death, the sense of his own condition, the reflection on his former character, unsullied and untainted amongst his whole neighbourhood, the consideration of leaving a wife and five small children behind him, with small provision for their support, and what was worse exposed to the reflection of the world on the score of an unhappy father, scandalous in the last actions of his life, and ignominious in his death. However, returning to his former principles of piety and religion, he comforted himself under the weight of all his misfortunes, by leaning on the mercy of God, praying fervently to Him to grant him patience and protection under those dreadful evils which he suffered. He acknowledged all to be exactly true which was deposed against him at his trial, confessed the justice of his sentence, and prepared to undergo it with as much submission and resignation as was possible, and indeed perhaps no criminal ever behaved with more penitence than he did. He died on Monday, the 22nd of December, 1729, being then forty years of age.


The first of these unhappy men, William Caustin, was born somewhere in the country, but the particular place is not mentioned in any papers I have before me. Neither am I able to say of what condition his parents were, yet whether poor or rich they afforded him a very tolerable education, and when he was grown big enough to be put out apprentice, bound him to a barber, to whom he served out his time with remarkable fidelity. When out of his time he married a wife and set up for himself; yet whether through inevitable misfortunes, or for want of good management, I cannot say, but he failed in a very short time after, and so was reduced to be a journeyman again. However, his character remained so unblemished that he was never out of business, nor ill-treated by any masters where he worked. On the contrary, he was caressed wherever he came, and treated with as much civility as if he had been a relation to those whom he had served.

His wife unfortunately falling sick upon his hand, he became thereby thrown out of business, and in that time falling into ill company, their repeated solicitations prevailed with him to go for once upon the highway, which accordingly he did, and committed, in company with Geoffrey Younger and the evidence, a robbery on William Bowman, taking from him a guinea and thirteen shillings, for which he was very quickly after apprehended, and the fact being plainly and fully proved, he was convicted, it being the only fact he ever committed.

Geoffrey Younger, his companion, was descended of very honest creditable parents in Northamptonshire. There he was put apprentice to a baker, to whom he served his time out very honestly and faithfully. Afterwards he came up to London, and lived here for seven years as a journeyman, in as good a reputation as it was possible for a young man to have. But having by that time got a good quantity of clothes, and about ten pounds in his pockets, he began to think himself too good to work, and unfortunately falling into the company of some idle debauched persons of both sexes, they soon led him into a road of ruin. Amongst these was one Bradley, a fellow of his own business, whose company of all others, he most affected. This fellow having addicted himself to the pursuit of the most scandalous vices, easily drew in Younger to go with him to a house where gamesters resorted and advising him to venture his money, Younger was good enough to take his advice, and so was bubbled out of every farthing of his money.

Surprised and confounded at this extraordinary turn, which had reduced him to indigence in a moment, he did nothing but lament his own hard fortune, and curse his indiscretion for coming to such a place. Bradley endeavoured to cheer him, telling him he would yet put him in a way to get money, and thereupon proposed going with him upon the highway; in order to encourage him to which, he told him that at such a place they should meet with a man who had fourscore pounds about him. So after abundance of arguments, Younger yielded, and out they went. From that time forwards he gave a loose to all his brutal inclinations, associated himself with nobody but common whores and thieves, spent his time in gaming, when not engaged in a worse employment, and never, after his acquaintance with Bradley, thought of doing anything either just or honest. But his course was of no very long continuance, for having committed four or five robberies, the last of which was in the company of William Caustin, they were both apprehended, and as has been said, upon very full evidence convicted.

Under sentence of death they both of them blamed Bradley the evidence, as the person who had drawn then first to the commission of those crimes for which they were now to answer with their lives. Caustin's wife died while he was under sentence, and he thereby lost what little comfort he had under his afflictions. However, he endeavoured to compose himself the best he could, to suffer that judgment which the Law had pronounced upon him, and which he himself acknowledged to be just. Younger, on the other hand, was exceedingly timorous and so terribly affrighted at the approach of death that he scarce retained his senses. He confessed very freely the enormities of his former life; said that a more dissolute person than himself never lived; cried out against the evidence Bradley, as the author of his misfortunes; charged him with having painfully endeavoured to seduce him. But in the midst of this he wept bitterly, and showed a great terror at the approach of his execution than was seen amongst any of the rest who suffered with him, his countenance being so much altered, that it was hardly possible for anybody to know him, who had been acquainted with him before, insomuch that he looked for many weeks before his execution like a person who had been already dead and buried.

As the day of dissolution approached, it was hoped that he would recover more courage, but instead of that he became so terribly frighted that he could scarce speak, or show any signs of life when he was brought to Tyburn. However, there he did gather spirits a little, and spoke to the crowd to take warning by him, and avoid coming to that fatal place. He said that he had been guilty of but five robberies in all his life; said he forgave his prosecutors and the evidence who swore against him; and in this disposition they both died at the same time with the malefactors before mentioned, Caustin being thirty-six years of age, and Younger about thirty-four.


Henry Knowland was the son of a father of the same name who was a butcher. He received tolerably good education at school, and was brought up by his father to his own business; but he was of a lewd disposition, continually running after whores, keeping lewd company, gaming and drinking until he was able neither to stand nor go. He married his first cousin, who had formerly been the wife of Neeves, the evidence. It seems this very Knowland had been put into Whitechapel gaol upon her swearing a robbery against him for taking a gold chain off her neck, but that affair being accommodated, he a little after married her, which was perhaps no small cause of his future ruin.

He was always dishonest in his principles, and ready to lay hold of any money without ever thinking of paying it again. At Smithfield he used to be very dextrous in cheating country graziers of their cattle. The method by which he did it was generally thus. Taking advantage of a countryman whom he saw looked unacquainted with things, he struck a bargain as soon as possible, and for any price he pleased, for his goods; then stepping in to drink a mug and receive the money, Knowland had an accomplice already planted, who coming hastily into the room told him with a submissive air that a gentleman at such a place desired to speak with him. Upon this he, arising in a hurry, tells the countryman he would return immediately and pay him his money, while the attendant in the meanwhile drove off with the beast; and so the poor man was left without hopes of seeing either the money or bullock and perhaps ruined into the bargain for being obliged to pay his master for the beast that was lost.

Thomas Westwood, the second of these offenders, was a man descended of very mean parents, who either had it not in their power, or were so careless as to afford him little or no education. He himself, also, was a stupid, obstinate fellow, who never took any pains to attain the least degree of knowledge, but contented himself with living like a beast, in a continual round of eating and drinking and sleeping. By trade he was a sawyer, and when he wanted business in his trade, which, as the Ordinary tells us, he often did bring a poor purblind creature, he either sold sawdust about town, or else practised as a bailiffs follower, a profession which led him into yet greater debaucheries and extravagancies than otherwise possible he might have ever fallen into.

Knowland and he were apprehended on suspicion for being robbers, and were tried at the Old Bailey on four indictments, all said to have been committed on the same day, viz., on the 23rd of November, 1729. The first was for assaulting John Molton in an open field, putting him in fear, and taking from him four shillings; the second was for assaulting Mary Butler and taking from her sixpence in money; the third was for assaulting Nicholas Butler, and taking from him half a guinea and one shilling; the fourth was for assaulting Anne Nailor, and taking from her three and sixpence in money.

The prosecutors on all these indictments swore positively to the prisoners' faces. Mr. Butler was desperately wounded (the Ordinary says he was mortally wounded) but through God's grace recovered. In their defence they called a great number of people to prove them in other places at the time those robberies were committed, which they positively swore, but the jury giving credit to the prosecutors' evidence, they were both found guilty. However, they absolutely denied the crimes to the last suffering at Tyburn with great marks of sorrow and loud exclamations to God to have mercy on their souls, the 28th of February, 1730. Knowland being twenty-four years of age, and Westwood twenty-seven, at the time of their deaths.

The Life of JOHN EVERETT, a Highwayman

This unfortunate man, who, in the course of his life, made some noise in the world, was the son of honest and reputable parents at Hitchen, in Hertfordshire. They gave their son all the education necessary to qualify him for such business as he thought proper to put him to, which was that of a salesman; but before his time was expired he went over to Flanders, and served in the late War there, in several sieges and battles; where he behaved so well as to be preferred to the post of a serjeant in the Honourable General How's regiment of foot. But returning to England upon the peace, and being quartered at Worcester he there purchased his discharge.

Coming up to London he betook himself, for bread, to the office of a bailiff in Whitechapel Court, in which station he continued for about seven years until he fell into misfortunes, chiefly through the means of one C——th. To shelter himself from a gaol, which threatened him at that time, he was forced to go into the Foot Guards, where he served in the company commanded by the right Honourable the Earl of Albemarle; but unluckily for him, having commenced an acquaintance with Richard Bird at the aforesaid Mr. C——th's, Bird told him he perceived they were much in a case, that is, they both wanted money, and that therefore looking upon him (Everett) to be a man who could be trusted, he would propose to him an easy method for supply. This method was neither better nor worse than robbing on the highway.

To this proposition Everett readily agreeing, they immediately joined, provided proper utensils for their co-partnership, and soon after practised their trade with great success in the counties of Middlesex, Essex, Surrey and Kent, particularly robbing the Dartford coach, from the passengers of which they took a portmanteau, wherein was contained jewels, money and valuable goods to a very great amount. But spending as fast as they got it, they were never the better for the multitude of facts they committed, but were in a continual necessity of hazarding body and soul for a very precarious subsistance.

A short time after, they robbed the Woodford stage-coach and found in it only one passenger worth plundering. From him they took a gold watch and some silver, but the gentleman expressing a great concern at the loss of his watch, they told him if he would promise faithfully to send such a sum of money to such a place, they would let him have it again. On Hounslow Heath they attacked two officers of the army, who were well mounted and guarded with servants armed with blunderbusses. They took their gold watches and money from them, though the officers endeavoured to resist, but they forced them to submit to the well-known doctrine of passive obedience before they acquitted them. The watches (pursuant to a treaty they made with them on the spot) were afterwards left at Young Man's Coffee House, Charing Cross, where the owners had them again on payment of twenty guineas, as stipulated in the said treaty between the parties.

Another robbery they committed was on Squire Amlow (of Bream's Buildings, Chancery Lane), in Epsom Lane, turning up to Epsom. When he was attacked he drew a sword and made several passes at them as he sat in an open chaise; but notwithstanding his resolution in opposing them, they by force took two guineas, a silver watch, and his silver-hilted sword, and some parchment writings of a considerable value. On his submission and request for his writings, they accordingly delivered them up, let him pass and helped him to his watch again, being in the hands of Mr. Corket, a pawnbroker in Houndsditch. They also took opportunities to rob all the butchers and higlers from Epping Forest to Woodford, particularly one old woman, who wore a high crowned hat of her mother's as she said, which hat they took and searched, and out of the lining of it found three pounds and delivered her the hat again. On Acton Common they also met two chariots with gentlemen and ladies in them and robbed them in money, watches and other things to the value of forty pounds.

My readers, from these instances, must have a tolerable notion of Everett's humour, it may prove entertaining, therefore, to give them a specimen of his own manner of relating his adventures, and therefore I insert the following ones in his own words.

Soon after our last achievement, my old comrade Dick Bird, and I, stopped a coach in the evening on Hounslow Heath, in which (amongst other passengers) were two precise, but courageous Quakers, who had the assurance to call us Sons of Violence; and refusing to comply with our reasonable demands jumped out of the coach to give us battle. Whereupon we began a sharp engagement, and showed them the arm of flesh was too strong for the Spirit, which seemed to move very powerful within them. After a short contest (though we never offered to fire, for I ever abhorred barbarity, or the more heinous sin of murder) through the cowardly persuasions of their fellow-travellers they submitted, though sore against their inclinations. As they were stout fellows and men every inch of them, we scorned to abuse them, and contented ourselves with rifling them of the little Mammon of unrighteousness which they had about them, which amounted to about thirty or forty shillings and their watches. The rest in the coach, whose hearts were sunk into their breeches, Dick fleeced without the least resistance.

There was one circumstance of this affair which created a little diversion, and therefore with my readers leave, I will relate it. The Precisions for the most part, though they are plain in their dress, wear the best of commodities, and though a smart toupee[91] is an abomination, yet a bob-wig, or a natural of six or seven guineas' price, is a modest covering allowed by the saints. One of the prigs was well furnished in this particular, and flattering myself it would become me, I resolved to make it lawful plunder. Without any further ceremony, therefore, than alleging exchange was no robbery, I napped his poll, and dressed him immediately in masquerade with an old tie-wig, which I had the day before purchased of an antiquated Chelsea pensioner for half-a-crown. The other company, though in doleful dumps for the loss of the coriander seed, could not forbear grinning at the merry metamorphis, for our Quaker now looked more like a devil than saint. As companions in distress ever alleviate its weight, they invited him with a general laugh into their leathern convenience again, wished us a goodnight, and hoped they should have no farther molestation on the road. We gave then the watch-word, and assured them they should not, then tipped the honest coachman a shilling to drink our healths, and brushed off the ground.

About a week or ten days later, my brother Dick and I projected a new scheme more nimble than the former, to take a purse without the charge of horse hire. Millington Common was determined to be the scene of action. We sauntered for some time upon the green and suffered several to pass by without the least molestation, but at last we espied two gentlemen well-mounted coming towards us, who we imagined might be able to replenish our empty purses, so we prepared for an attack. After the usual salutation, I stopped the foremost and demanded his cash, his watch and other appurtenances thereunto belonging, and assured him I was a brother of an honourable but numerous family; that to work I had no inclination and to beg I was ashamed, and that I had at present no other way for a livelihood, if such a demand at first view ought appear a little immodest or unreasonable, I hoped he would excuse it, as necessity and not choice was the fatal inducement.

My brother Dick was as rhetorical in his apologies with the hindermost, whom he dismounted. We used them with more good manners and humanity than the common pads, who act for the most part rather like Turks and Jews than Christians, in such enterprises, to the eternal scandal of the profession. We contented ourselves with what silver and little gold they had about them, which to about three or four pounds, and their gold watches, one of which, as well I remember, was of Tompion's make, and which I afterwards pawned for five guineas to a fellow that the week after broke, and ran away with it, so that I had not the opportunity of restoring it again to the proper owner, for which I heartily beg his pardon. As we must own the gentlemen behaved well and came unto our measures without the least resistance, so they must do us the justice to acknowledge that we treated them as such and neither disrobed nor abused them. We thought it, however, common prudence to cut the girths of their horses' saddles, and secure their bridles for fear of a pursuit.

Thus flushed again with success, we made the best of our way to Brentford, and there took the ferry; but Fortune, though she is fair, yet she is a fickle mistress, her smiles are often false and very precarious. Before we had got ashore, we heard the persons had got scent of us, and our triumph had like to have ended in captivity. When we were three parts over, and out of danger of drowning, we told the ferrymen our distress, gave them ten shillings, and obliged them to throw their oars into the Thames. The agreeable reward and the fears of being thrown in themselves in case of a denial, made them readily consent. In we plunged after them, and soon made the shore. Though we looked like Hob just drawn out of the well, those that saw us only imagined it was a drunken frolic. Our expeditious flight soon dried our clothes, and without catching the least cold, we both arrived safe that night at London.

We congratulated each other, you may imagine on our happy and narrow escape, and solaced ourselves after the fatigue of the day, with a mistress and a bottle.

I have copied these pages from Mr. Everett's book that my readers might have a clear and just idea of those notions which these unhappy men entertain of the life they lead, and hope they may be of some use in giving such youths as are too apt to be taken with their low kind of jests, a just abhorrence of committing villainy, merely to divert the mob, and make themselves the sole topic of discourse in alehouses and cellars.

But to return to Everett. He was taken up on suspicion and committed to New Prison, where he continued three years, behaving himself so well in the prison that the justices ordered him his liberty, and he was thereupon made turnkey of that place. In this post he continued to act so honestly that he got a tolerable reputation, taking the Red Lion alehouse, in Turnmill Street, Cow Cross, in order to live the better; resigning his place as turnkey as soon as he was settled in it.

He who succeeded him was a footman to the Duchess of Newcastle's and not being very well acquainted with the nature of his new office, he was very industrious to prevail with Everett to return to his former condition, and accept the key from him. Promises and entreaties were not long made in vain. Everett was sensible there was money to be got,[92] and therefore, upon the fair promises of the new keeper, became turnkey again. But when he had shown his master the art of governing such a territory as his was; when he had instructed him in the secrets of raising money, and shown him the methods of managing the several sorts of prisoners that were committed to its care, his superior quickly gave him to understand that he had now done all he wanted, and the next kind office would be to quit this place; for it is with those sort of people as with some in a higher station, though they at first caress men who are better acquainted with affairs than themselves, in order to improve their own knowledge, yet no sooner do they think themselves qualified to go on without their assistance, but they grow uneasy at such services, and are never quiet until they are rid of men whose abilities are their greatest faults.

A little after Everett was turned out to make room for the keeper's brother, he had the additional misfortune to keep an account with a person who too hastily demanded his money, and John, not being able to pay it, therefore upon arrested him, and threw him into gaol. He quickly turned himself over to the Fleet, where he first took the rules, and then got into the Thistle and Crown Alehouse, in the Old Bailey. There he lived for a while and afterwards took the Cock in the same place, where he lived for three years with an indifferent reputation, until he was prevailed on to take the Fleet Cellar[93], and became very busy in the execution of the then Warden's project, until the committee of the House of Commons thought fit to commit both of them to Newgate.

This effectually undid him, for while he was a prisoner there, the brewer made a seizure of his whole stock of beer, to the value of three hundred pounds, and this it was, as he himself said, which posted him out upon the highway again. Whether we may depend upon those protestations he had made that he should never otherwise have gone upon the road again, but have lived and died free, at least from that sort of wickedness which indeed he had reason to dislike, since he had saved his life by impeaching Bird his companion, who was hanged at Chelmsford at the assizes held there for the County of Essex. When he had once taken this resolution in his head, it was not long before he equipped himself with necessaries for his employment.

The first robbery he committed was upon a lady in a chariot, and the lady desiring that he would put up his pistol for fear of frightening a child of six years old in the coach with her, he did so, and took from her a guinea and some silver, without touching her gold watch, or any other valuable things that she had about her. He had scarce committed the robbery, before the lady's husband and another gentleman and his company came up, and the accident being related to them, they immediately pursued him as hard as their horses could gallop; and came so close up with him, that he was hardly got into the Globe Tavern, in Hatton Garden, and sent away his horse, before they passed by the door. As soon as he thought they were out of sight, he slipped away with all the precaution he was able, and got into a little blind alehouse in Holborn, where he had scarce lit a pipe, and called for a tankard of drink, before he perceived both the gentlemen looking very earnesty about, though he now looked upon himself as out of all danger.

It was a very short time after, that he committed the last fact, which was the robbing of Mrs. Manley[94], and a lady, who was in a chariot with her, a black boy being behind in the coach. He got safe enough off and into town, after this robbery; but how it was I cannot tell, his neighbours suspected him, and talked of him as a highwayman, and reported very confidently that he was taken up, as it seems he was, but was discharged again for want of evidence. He was speedily seized again, and being committed to Newgate, was brought to his trial at the Old Bailey for the said fact.

Mrs. Ellis deposed that the prisoner was the person who robbed the coach, and that she observed him follow it when they came out of town. Mrs. Manley deposed also to his being the person who robbed them, and William Coffee, a negro boy, who was behind the coach, swore positively to his face. Several men who were present at his being apprehended, swore that he had a pistol, dagger, six bullets, a flint and powder horn about him, under a red rug coat.

His defence was very trivial, and the jury upon a short consultation, found him guilty. Under sentence of death, he behaved very indifferently, sometimes appearing tolerably cool, at others in a grievous passion, especially at the keepers, if they refused him such liberties as he thought fit to ask. When he was first condemned, he flattered himself with hopes of life, if it were possible for him to prevail on the ladies whom he had robbed to petition in his favour; in order to induce them to which, he wrote the following letter, though to no purpose, for the death warrant came down suddenly and he was included with the before-mentioned prisoners.



I crave leave, with all humility and respect, to address you and Madam Ellis, and with the utmost submission and concern, do humbly beg your pardons for the fears and surprise my misfortunes reduced me to put you and the children into, whose cries moved so much compassion in me that I had not power to pursue with any rigour my desperate designs, which your ladyship must have perceived by the consternation I was struck into on a sudden. My sole intention was, if I could have got L50 to settle myself in a public house, and to take up an honest course of life, and do own at best it is a very heinous crime. Yet, madam, you will recollect after what manner I treated you, and at the same time consider the methods taken by others on the like occasion. This necessity I was drove to, by adhering to a certain master I lately served, and to obey his wicked and pernicious commands, in following his wicked and pernicious counsels, brought me to poverty, and consequently to this unhappy state I now labour under, and was become almost as much as himself, the scorn and hatred of mankind. I say, madam, if you will be so good as to consider all these unhappy circumstances, and that necessity admits of no contradiction, they will, I am persuaded, inspire compassion in generous souls (a character you both deservedly bear); and as a fellow-creature, I beg mercy at your ladyship's hands, by signing a petition to the Recorder for me, to the end, he may be induced to make a favourable report, and thereby move his most sacred Majesty to clemency, by the sentence to some other corporal punishment, and shall dedicate the rest of my days in praying for both your happiness and prosperity in this world, and eternal felicity and bliss in that to come, and crave leave, with due deference, madam, to subscribe myself,

Your ladyship's most devoted, Afflicted humble servant, John Everett

The Ordinary of Newgate, in the account he has given of this prisoner, has drawn as bad a character as he is able, and in order to it, has gathered together all the ill-terms he could think of, even though some of them are contrary to one another. The truth is, that the fellow in himself had abundance of ill-qualities, with some good ones, and especially good nature of which he had a very large share. Lewd women were what brought him to his ruin, for to their company he continually addicted himself, and with his low intrigues amongst them is the book I have mentioned stuffed from one end to the other.

As to religion, it is certain he had very little of it before he was confined, so it is not very likely that he should make any great proficiency while he remained there. He was careless, indeed, under his misfortunes, but did not give himself up to any loose or profane expressions, but on the contrary attended at Chapel with decency at least, if not with devotion.

Some attempts were made to save his life, by engaging him to make discoveries in an affair of high concern, but all was ineffectual, and he suffered on the 20th of February, 1729-30, with less apprehension than might have been expected from a man under his unhappy circumstances. The executioner, to put the prisoner sooner out of his pain, jumped upon his shoulders, and thereby broke the rope, but he was soon tied up again, and there remained until the rest were cut down.

At the time of his execution, he was forty-four years of age or thereabouts.


[91] This was a small wig covering only the top of the head; a bob-wig was short and tied at the back with a large bow; a natural was a large, full wig, in which the hair was made to look like natural locks.

[92] The scandalous system of bleeding prisoners for every little necessity and comfort made gaoloring a very profitable trade.

[93] That is, managed the sale of liquor in the Fleet.

[94] Author of The New Atlantis and sundry political pamphlets and libels, plays and novels.

The Lives of ROBERT DRUMMOND, a Highwayman and FERDINANDO SHRIMPTON, a Highwayman and Murderer

Robert Drummond was the brother of James Drummond, whom we have before mentioned. He had formerly dealt in hardwares, and thereby lived with some reputation in the town of Sunderland, nobody ever dreaming that he went upon the highway for money. But it was not long that he continued even to put this mask upon his villainy, but on the contrary gave way to his wild and debauched temper, and committed a thousand extravagancies, which soon created suspicions, and occasioned his being apprehended on suspicion of a robbery. This clearly being made out at the ensuing assizes, he was thereupon convicted, pardoned, and transported. But he soon found a way to return into England, and grew one of the most daring and mischievous robbers that ever infested the road.

The multitude of his robberies made his person so well known that it is wonderful he should so long escape, especially considering the roughness and cruelty of his temper, he never using anybody well, firing upon any who attempted to ride away from him, and beating and abusing those who submitted to him. He drew in, as has been said before, his brother James, and deserting him when pursued and in danger, he was the occasion of his death. It was also suspected that Shrimpton and he were the persons who committed those robberies for which Knowland and Westwood were executed. However it were, he continued for a considerable space after the two Shrimptons and he robbed together, committing sometimes nine or ten robberies in one night, until they were all three apprehended, and William Shrimpton became an evidence against them.

Ferdinando Shrimpton, the other malefactor, was a person well educated, though his father was one of the greatest highwaymen in England. He [the father] lived at Bristol, and behaved in outward appearance so well that he was never suspected, but unluckily one evening some constables coming into an inn hastily to apprehend another person, his guilty heart making him afraid that they were come in search of nobody but himself, he thereupon immediately drew a pistol and shot one of them dead, for which murder being convicted, he readily confessed his former offences, and after his execution for the aforesaid crime, was hung in chains.

As for this unhappy man, his son, he had been bred to no trade, but after his father's death served as a foot-soldier in the Guards and eked out his pay by taking the same steps which his father had done before him. Never any fellow was of a bolder and of a more audacious spirit than he, and after he had once associated himself with Drummond, they quickly forced William Shrimpton, who was Ferdinando's cousin, to commit one or two facts with him, and afterwards he would never suffer him to be quiet.

On Hounslow Heath, it seems, Shrimpton robbed a man of a horse, a silver watch and some money. The man applied himself to Shrimpton when he was apprehended, begging that he would find a way to help him to his horse again. Shrimpton promised he would, and for a guinea was as good as his word, though the gelding was worth fifteen pounds; but for his watch, nothing either was, or as they pretended could be, told about it. But that was only for fear of disobliging the pawnbroker where they had sent it, for Shrimpton afterwards, upon the owner's thirty-four shillings by his wife, had it again, though Ferdinando was very much disobliged that he received but half a crown for his trouble.

Drummond, he and his cousin being seized, William turned evidence against them, and at the ensuing sessions at the Old Bailey, Shrimpton being indicted for the murder of Simon Prebent, Mr. Tyson's coachman, and Robert Drummond for aiding and abetting, and assisting him, they were both upon full evidence convicted, as they were also convicted for a robbery on the highway, on Mr. Tyson, after the death of the coachman. They were a third time indicted together for assaulting Robert Furnel on the highway, taking from him a watch of great value, a guinea and a half, some silver and a whip, together with some other things of value. They were also indicted afresh for assaulting Jonathan Cockhoofs on the highway, taking from him a bay gelding, value nine pounds, several roasting pigs and pieces of pork, etc.; of all which they were found guilty, the fact being as clear and as strong against them as possible.

Under sentence of death, they behaved themselves with great obstinacy and resolution, refused to give any account of their crimes, but in general would say that they were great and notorious offenders. As to the fact committed by Knowland and Westwood, they would not positively say it was done by them, though they could not deny it. Only when pressed upon it, Drummond would say in a passion, What, would you have us take upon us all the robberies that were committed in the country? This was all that could be got from him, even when he was at the point to die and the wife of Knowland earnestly begged that he would tell the truth, as he was now entering into another world, and the owning or not owning of those facts could no ways prejudice them.

As to the barbarous murder committed upon Mr. Tyson's coachman, it did not seem to make the least impression upon their spirits. Shrimpton, by whose hands the man was killed, never appeared one whit more uneasy when the sermon on murder was peculiarly preached on his account, but on the contrary talked and jested with his companions as he was wont to do. In a word more hardened, obstinate and impenitent wretches were never seen; for as they were wanting in all principles of religion, so they were void even of humanity and good nature. They valued blood no more than they did water, but were ready to shed the first with as little concern as they spilt the latter. Inured in wickedness and rapine, old in years and covered in offences, they yielded their last breaths at Tyburn, with very little sign of contrition or repentance, on the 17th of February, 1730, Drummond being about fifty, and Shrimpton about thirty years of age.

The Life of WILLIAM NEWCOMB, a housebreaker

Though the many instances we have, of late years, had of amazing wickednesses committed by lads one would scarce believe were capable of executing, much less of contriving schemes so full of ginning and of guilt, ought in a great measure to prevent our being surprised at anything of the same kind, let it be committed by ever such a stripling, yet I confess it was not without wonder that I perused the papers relating to this unfortunate young man—so strong an instance of a great capacity for mischief at the same time that he never once evidenced either care or ability in succeeding in an honest way. On the contrary, he was assidious only to attain as much money as might put him on the road of debauchery, and then stupidly gave himself up to squandering it in the gratification of his lusts, until indigence brought to rack his inventions again, and his second attempt proving abortive, brought him to the gallows.

He was born of honest parents, who took care enough in his education to qualify him for the business of a shoemaker, for which they designed him, and to which they put him apprentice. He had not served above three years of his time, before he robbed his master of a very considerable sum of money. The man having a respect for his family, put him away without prosecuting him. His father took him home, but, however, reproaching him very often for the villainous facts he had committed, he went away from him and lay about the town, intending to take the first opportunity that offered of stealing a good booty, and march off into the country.

At last, after consulting with himself for some time, he fixed upon a banker's shop in Lombard Street, within two doors of the church of St. Edmund the King, thinking with himself that if once he could get into that shop, be should make himself at a blow. In order to it he got into the church overnight and stayed there until morning, when, just as it began to grow light, he steered downstairs into the shop, having got over the top of Mr. Jenkin's house, and watching his opportunity, laid hold of a single bag and slipped out of doors with it. The booty was indeed a large one, for it happened that what he took was all gold, which was upwards of eight hundred guineas. This put it in his power to show himself in that state of life which he most admired, for sending for a tailor be had two or three suits of fine clothes made, bought a couple of geldings, hired a footman in livery to attend him, and thus equipped set out for the horse races at Newmarket.

Women and gaming very soon reduced the bulk of his gold and in six or seven months, finding his pockets very low, he returned to London to replenish himself. The good success he before had in robbing a banker, and his knowing nobody was so likely to furnish him with ready money, put him upon making the like attempt at Mr. Hoare's, into whose house he got and endeavoured to conceal himself as conveniently as he could for that purpose. But being detected and apprehended on the roof of the house, whither he had fled to avoid pursuit, he was committed to Newgate, and at the next sessions at the Old Bailey, was tried for burglary, and convicted.

Under sentence of death he behaved with great mildness and civility. He confessed his having been as great a sinner as his years would give him leave, addicted to whoring, drunkenness, gaming and having quite obliterated all the religious principles which his former education had instilled into him. However, he endeavoured to retrieve as much as possible the knowledge of his duty, and to fulfil it by praying to Almighty God for the forgiveness of his many offences; and in this disposition of mind he departed this life, on the 17th of February, 1730, being about nineteen years of age.

The Life of STEPHEN DOWDALE, a Thief

This unfortunate man was the son of parents in good circumstances in the Kingdom of Ireland, who were very careful of giving him the best education they were capable of, both as to letters and as to the principles of the Christian religion. Yet from some hope they had of his succeeding in a military way, they chose rather to let him serve in the army than breed him to any particular trade. It seems he behaved so well in the regiment of dragoons in which he served, that his officers advanced him to the post of sergeant, and just as the Peace was concluded, he had hopes of being made a quartermaster. But the regiment then being broke, his hopes were all dissipated, and he thrown into the world to shift for himself as well as he could.

In Ireland he remained with his friends some years, but finding by degrees that their kindness cooled, and that it would be impossible for him to subsist much longer upon the bounty of his relations, he thereupon resolved to come over at once to England and endeavour to live here by his wits. The gaming tables were the places where he chiefly resorted, but finding that fortune was a mistress not to be depended upon he resolved to take some more certain method of living, and for that purpose associated himself with ten or a dozen knights of the road. He continued his practices without the least suspicion for a very considerable time, in all which he appeared one of the greatest beaux at the other end of the town.

But growing uneasy in the midst of that seeming gaiety in which he lived, and being under some apprehensions that one or more of his companions was meditating means of making peace with the government at the expense of his life, he resolved to prevent them; and thereupon surrendered himself of his own accord into the hands of a constable, and gave the best information he was able against all his confederates. But however it was, most of them had previous knowledge of the warrants issued against them, and thereby made their escapes. Others who were apprehended were acquitted by the jury, notwithstanding this evidence against them, so that the public not being likely to reap any benefit by his discovery, some people thought proper to turn his own confession upon himself. Accordingly, at the next Sessions at the Old Bailey, he was indicted for feloniously stealing a gold watch value twenty pounds, out of the house of Thomas Martin, on the 30th of August preceding the indictment. He was also indicted a second time for feloniously stealing a diamond ring out of the shop of John Trible, on the 25th of August. Both these facts were in the information he had made, and therefore the proof was dear and direct against him, and beyond his power to avoid by any defence.

Under sentence of death be behaved himself with great resignation, seemed to be very penitent for those numerous offences he had committed, though now and then he let fell expressions which showed that he thought himself hardly dealt with by those who had received his confession. However, what with fear and concern, and what with the moistness of the place wherein he was confined, he fell into a grievous distemper, which quickly increased into a high fever, which affected his senses, and shortly after took away his life, just as a very worthy gentleman in the commission for the peace for Middlesex had procured his life, which was thus ended by the course of Nature though in the cells of Newgate, he being then in the forty-fourth year of his age. He died on the 5th of April, 1730.

The Life of ABRAHAM ISRAEL, a Jew

As it is a very ordinary case for fiction to be imposed on the world for truth, so it sometimes happens that truth hath such extraordinary circumstances attending it, as well nigh bring it to pass for fiction. The adventures of this unhappy man, who was a Hebrew by nation, have something in them strange, and which excite pity; for a man must be wanting in humanity who can look upon a young person endowed with the natural advantage of a good genius, lightened by the acquired accomplishments of learning, fall of a sudden from an honest and reputable behaviour into debauchery, wickedness and rapine, methods that lead to certain destruction, and as it were to drag men to violent and shameful deaths.

This unfortunate person, Abraham Israel, was born of parents of the Hebrew nation, of good character and in good circumstances, at Presburg, in the kingdom of Hungary. They were exceedingly desirous of giving their son a good education, and therefore sent him to study in the Jewish College at Prague, in Bohemia, where they allowed him about two hundred pounds Stirling a year. He improved under the tuition of the rabbis there to a great degree, insomuch that he was admired by them as a prodigy of learning. His behaviour in every other way being unblamable, and therefore not spending above half what his father sent him, he distributed the rest among the indigent scholars there, of all nations and religions. As a mark of his early and polite genius, we have thought proper to entertain our readers with a short description of the city of Prague, which he wrote in the German tongue, and which on this occasion we have ventured to translate into English.

Prague is the capital of the Kingdom of Bohemia, which, as if protected by nature, is encompassed round with high mountains. Throughout all Europe there is no soil in general more fertile or better adapted to the plough. The fruits there are excellent and great quantities of fowl are plentiful almost to excess, the cattle are large and excellent. In fine nothing is poor, wretched or miserable there except the people, who are slaves to their lords, and never enjoy even the fruits of their own hard labour. But to return to Prague, it is a city situated on a hill, part of it stretching down the plain, having the river Muldau running through it. The buildings are of so large extent that this city is divided into three, and by some into four cities. The old city lies on the east of the river, is exceedingly populous, and houses in that quarter fair, but old-fashioned. Here is the quarter assigned unto our nation (i.e., the Jews) where we enjoy greater privileges and are treated with more lenity than in any other part of Germany. The heads of our people deal to very great advantage in jewels and precious stones dug out of the Bohemian mines. The lesser town on the other side of the river is more beautiful in its building than the old town, has fine gardens and stately palaces, among which there is the famous one of Count Wallenstein, the magnificence of which, may be the better guessed from our knowing that a hundred houses were pulled down to make room for it. Its hall is thought one of the finest in all Europe, its gardens are wonderfully stately, and the stables which he built here for his horses are almost beyond description, marble pillars parted the standing of each horse from another. The racks were of polished steel, and their mangers of the finest marble, and over the head of each stand was placed the figure of each horse, as large as the life. This famous man who was the greatest captain of his time, after having built this sumptuous palace, re-established the Emperor's power, almost utterly broken by the Swedes, growing at last too powerful for a subject, or as the Germans say, endeavouring to make himself master of the Kingdom of Bohemia, he was, if not by the command, at least by the connivance of the Emperor Ferdinand, privately assassinated in the city of Egra, in the year 1634, by certain Irish officers, in whom he reposed the greatest confidence. Since his time Prague has seen no greater powerful persons among her countrymen; on the contrary, the inhabitants now in general are poor, their habits mean, the Hebrew nation being obliged, both men and women, to wear a particular garb. Its streets are dirty, and nothing but the Imperial Palace preserves anything of its ancient grandeur; the same fate hath befallen the other Bohemian cities, and thus in a land of Paradise the people live like slaves.

When at the age of thirteen, the unfortunate Abraham was recalled by his father from college, at his return home, every one was surprised at that prodigious knowledge which he had acquired while at Prague. Those of their nation who resided at Presburg desired Abraham's father that his son might, according to the custom of the Hebrews, read in the synagogue, which accordingly he did with great and deserved applause. His relations, and the rich Jews of the town, loaded him the next day with valuable presents, in order to show their veneration for the religion and learning of their ancestors; but these encouragements being heaped on a vain and ambitious temper, were the ruin of a youth hitherto virtuous in his conduct and passionately fond of learning. For growing on a sudden conceited with his own abilities, puffed up with the vanity of having excelled his equals, he began to addict himself to acquire higher accomplishments, grew fond of music, delighted in dancing-schools, would needs be taught fencing and riding, and from the studies preparative to making a grave rabbi, jumped all of a sudden to the qualities necessary to finish a Jewish fop.

His relations soon showed by the alteration of their conduct how little they approved of his new state of life, but that signified nothing to him, he still went on at his old rate; until at last perceiving his parents would do nothing for him, he went with an idle woman to Amsterdam. There he was uneasy, not knowing what course of life to take, but at last submitted to wearing a livery, and got into service. He behaved himself amongst the Spanish Jews so well that they gave him a recommendation to Baron Swaffo in England, upon which he came over thither, and entered into his service. He recommended him to Mr. Jacob Mendez da Costa, where he Stayed for some time, with a good character as a diligent servant. From him he went to Mr. Villareal on College Hill. It seems that while he continued at the Hague, he fell in love with a young woman there, who continually ran in his head after his coming over hither. As soon, therefore, as he got money enough, he went over to the Hague, on purpose to make her a visit. When he came there, he found she was gone, which made him very uneasy, yet he resolved not to go to Amsterdam, whither he heard she went from the Hague.

However, it was not long before she was thrown in his way, for upon his coming over again to London, where he got into the service of Mr. Jacob Mendez da Costa, he heard at a barber's shop of a young maid just brought over from Holland who was then at her uncle's in St. Mary Axe, not knowing where to get a place. Upon enquiring her name, he found it to be his old acquaintance and mistress at the Hague. It was not long before he turned out the cook at the place where he lived, and brought her home in her place.

For a while she behaved like an honest and industrious servant, but one night as Abraham went to bed, he saw her opening an escrutoire with a knife, which she said she could at any time do. Abraham at first forbid her, but she by her endearments, quickly brought him over to her party, insomuch that after having lain with her, he consented to rummage the escrutoire. In it they found diamond rings and other jewels to a very great value. The wench said to him, holding up a fine diamond ring, Abraham, you might take this, and it would prove the making of us both. But the fellow would not listen to her. However, they agreed to take five guineas, which when they had done, they went to bed together according to custom.

Sometime after they begged a holiday and going out borrowed some more money from the same bank, but staying out all night she lost her place, whereupon she went back to her uncle's, and afterwards got a place in Winchester Street. There Abraham visited her, and suspecting that she was with child, asked her very gravely and kindly whether it were so or not? She said, No, and pretended to want money, upon which he turned back and gave her a guinea. Some time after he came to see her again, asked her the same question, and had the same answer, yet in a few hours after she caused him to be apprehended by the parish officers, the expenses whereof cost him five guineas immediately, and he was obliged to deposit fourteen guineas more as a security that he would indemnify the parish.

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