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Lives Of The Most Remarkable Criminals Who have been Condemned and Executed for Murder, the Highway, Housebreaking, Street Robberies, Coining or other offences
by Arthur L. Hayward
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Having thus secured the captain, Mr. Fea prevailed with him to go to the shore over against the ship, and to call the gunner and another man to come on shore on Calf Island, which they did. But they were no sooner there, but they also were surrounded by some men which Mr. Fea had placed out of sight upon the island for that purpose. Then they made Gow call to the carpenter to come on shore, still making them believe they would have a boat; and Mr. Fea went over and met him alone, and talking with him, told him they could not repair the boat without help and without tools. So persuading him to go back and bring a hand or two with him, and some tools, some oakum, nails, etc., the carpenter being thus deluded, went back and brought a Frenchman and another with him, with all things proper for their work. All of whom, as soon as they came on shore, were likewise seized and secured by Mr. Fea and his men.

But there were still a great many men in the ship, whom it was necessary to bring if possible to a quiet surrender; so Mr. Fea ordered his men to make a feint as if they would go to work upon the great boat which lay on the shore upon the island but in sight of the ship. There they hammered and knocked and made a noise as if they were really caulking and repairing her, in order to her being launched off and put into their possession; but towards night he obliged Gow to write to the men that Mr. Fea would not deliver the boat until he was in possession of the ship, and therefore he ordered them all to come on shore, without arms, and in a peaceable manner. This occasioned many debates in the ship, but as they had no officers to guide them and were all in confusion, they knew not what to do. So after some time bewailing their hard fate, and dividing what money was left in the ship among them, they yielded and went on shore, and were all made prisoners, to the number of eight-and-twenty, including those who were secured before.

Being now all secured and in custody in the most proper places in the island, Mr. Fea took care to give notice to the proper officers in the country, and by them to the Government of Edinburgh, in order to get help for the carrying them to England. The distance being so great, it took up some time; for the Government at Edinburgh not being immediately concerned in it, but rather the Court of Admiralty of Great Britain, expresses were dispatched from thence to London, that his Majesty's pleasure might be known; in return to which, orders were despatched into Scotland to have them immediately sent up into England with as much expedition as the case would admit. Accordingly they were brought up by land to Edinburgh first, and from thence being put on board the Greyhound frigate, they were brought by sea to England. This necessarily took up a great deal of time, so that had they been wise enough to improve the hours that were left, they had almost half a year's time to prepare themselves for death, though they cruelly denied the poor mate of a few moments to commend his soul to God's mercy, even after he was half murdered before. They were most of them in custody the latter end of January, and were not executed till the 11th of June.

The Greyhound arrived in the river the 25th of March, and the next day came to an anchor at Woolwich; and the pirates being put into boats appointed to receive them, with a strong guard to attend them, were brought on shore on the 30th, and conveyed to the Marshalsea prison in Southwark, where they were delivered to the keepers of the said prison, and were laid in irons. There they had the mortification to meet Lieutenant Williams, who was brought home by the Argyle man-of-war, from Lisbon, and had been committed to the same prison but a very few days before.

Indeed, as it was a mortification to them, so it was more to him, for though he might be secretly pleased that those who had so cruelly, as he called it, put him into the hands of Justice by sending him to Lisbon, were brought into the same circumstances with himself, yet on the other hand, it could not but be a terrible mortification to him that here were now sufficient witnesses found to prove his crimes against him, which were not so easy to be had before.

Being thus laid fast, it remained to proceed against them in due form, and this took up some long time still. On Friday, the 2nd of April, they were all carried to Doctors' Commons, where the proper judges being present, they were examined; by which examination the measures were taken for the farther proceedings. For as they were not equally guilty, so it was needful to determine who it was proper to bring to an immediate trial, and who, being less guilty, were more proper objects of the Government's clemency, as being under force and fear and consequently necessitated to act as they did; and also who it might be proper to single out as an evidence against the rest. After being thus examined they were remanded to the Marshalsea. On Saturday, the 8th of May, the five who were appointed for evidence against the rest, and whose names are particularly set down in its place, were sent from the Marshalsea prison to Newgate, in order to give their information.

Being thus brought up to London, and committed to the Marshalsea prison, and the Government being fully informed, what black uncommon offenders they were, it was thought proper to bring them to speedy justice. In order to this, some of them, as has been said, who were less criminal than the rest, and who apparently had been forced into their service, were sorted out, and being examined (giving first an account of themselves, and then of the whole fraternity) it was thought fit to make use of their evidence for the more clear detecting and convincing of the rest. These were George Dobson, John Phinnes, Timothy Murphy, and William Booth.

These were the principal evidences, and were indeed more than sufficient, for they so exactly agreed in their evidence, and the prisoners (pirates) said so little in their defence, that there was no room for the jury to question their guilt, or to doubt the truth of any part of the account given in. Robert Read was a young man, mentioned before, who escaped from the boat in the Orkneys, where he surrendered himself, after getting a horse at a farmer's house, and conveying himself to Kirkwall, the chief town of the said Orkneys. Nevertheless, he was brought up as a prisoner with the rest, nor was he made use of as an evidence but was tried upon most, if not all the indictments with the rest. But Dobson, one of the witnesses, did him the justice to testify that he was forced into their service, as others were, for fear of having their throats cut, as many had been served before their faces, and that in particular he was not present at, or concerned in any of the murders for which the rest were indicted. Upon which evidence, he was acquitted by the jury. Also he brought one Archibald Sutor, the man of the house said before to be a farm-house, as to whether the said Read made his escape in the Orkneys, who testified that he did so escape to him, and that he begged him to procure him a horse, to ride off to Kirkwall, which he did, and there he surrendered himself; also he testified that Read gave him (Sutor) a full account of the ship and the pirates that were in her, and what they were; and that he (Sutor) revealed it all to the collector of the Customs, by which means the country was alarmed, and he added, that it was by this man's means that all the prisoners were apprehended (though that was going too far, for 'tis plain, that it was by the vigilance and courage of Mr. Fea, chiefly, that they were reduced to such distresses as obliged them to surrender). However, it was true that Read's escape did alarm the country, and that he merited very well of the public for the timely discovery he made, so he came off clear as indeed it was but just, for he was not only forced to serve them, but as Dobson testified for him, he had often expressed his uneasiness at being obliged to act with them, and that he wished he could get away, and he was sincere in those wishes, as appeared by his taking the first opportunity he could get to put it in practice. This Dobson was one of the ten men who ran away with the pirates' long-boat from the Orkneys, and who were afterwards made prisoners in the Firth of Leith, and carried up to Edinburgh.

Gow was now a prisoner among the rest in the Marshalsea. His behaviour there was sullen and reserved, rather than penitent. It had been hinted to him by Mr. Fea, as by others, that by his behaviour he should endeavour to make himself an evidence against others, and to merit his life by a ready submission, and obliging others to do the like. But Gow was no fool, and he easily saw there were too many gone before who had provided for their own safety at his expense, and besides that he knew himself too deeply guilty of cruelty and murder to be accepted by public justice as an evidence, especially where so many other less criminals were to be had. This made him, with good reason, too, give over any thoughts of escaping by such means as that; and perhaps seeing so plainly that there was no room for it might be the reason why he seemed to reject the offer, otherwise he was not a person of such nice honour as that we should suppose he would not have secured his own life at the expense of his comrades. Gow appeared to have given over all thoughts of life, from the first time he came to England. Not that he showed any tokens of his repentance, or any sense of his condition suitable to that which was before him, but continuing sullen and reserved, even to the very time he was brought to the bar, when he came there, he could not be tried with the rest, for the arraignment being made in the usual form, he refused to plead. The Court used all the arguments which humanity dictates in such cases,[106] to prevail on him to come into ordinary course of other people in like government, laying before him the sentence of the law in such cases, namely that he must be pressed to death, the only torturing execution which however they were obliged to inflict.

But he continued inflexible, carried on his obstinacy to such a height as to receive the sentence in form, as usual in such cases. The execution being appointed to be done the next morning, he was carried back to Newgate in order to it. But whether he was prevailed with by argument and the reasons of those about him, or whether the apparatus for the execution and the manner of the death he was to die terrified him, we cannot say, but the next morning he yielded, and petitioned to be allowed to plead, and he admitted to be tried in the ordinary way. Which being granted, he was brought to the bar by himself and pleaded, being arraigned again upon the same indictment upon which he had been sentenced as a mute, and was found guilty.

Williams the lieutenant, who was put on board the Bristol ship (as hath been said) with orders to deliver him on board the first English man-of-war they should meet with, comes, of course, to have the rest of his history made up in this place. The captain of the Bristol ship, though he received his orders from the crew of pirates and rogues, whose instructions he was not obliged to follow, and whose accusation of Williams they were not obliged to give credit to, yet punctually obeyed the order, and put him on board the Argyle, Captain Bowler, then lying in the port of Lisbon and bound for England; who, as they took him in irons, kept him so, and brought him to England, in the same conditions. But as the pirates did not send any of their company, nor indeed could they do it, along with him to be evidence against him, and the men who went out of the pirate ship on board the Bristol ship, being till then kept as prisoners on board the pirate ship (and perhaps could not have said enough, or given particular evidence, sufficient to convict him in a course of justice), Providence supplied the want by bringing the whole crew to the same place; for Williams was in the Marshalsea prison before them, and by that means they furnished sufficient evidence against Williams also, so that they were all tried together.

In Williams's case the evidence was as particular as in Gow's, and Dobson and the other swore positively that Williams boasted that after MacCauly had cut the super-cargo's throat imperfectly, he (Williams) murdered him, and added that he would not give him time to say his prayers, but shot him through the head. Phinnes and Timothy Murphy testified the same, and to show the bloody disposition of this wretch, William Booth testified that Williams proposed afterwards to the company that if they took any more ships they should not encumber themselves with the men, having already so many prisoners that in case of a fight they should not be safe with them; but that they should take them and tie them, back to back, and throw them all overboard into the sea.

It should not be omitted here also in the case of Gow himself (as I have observed in the introduction) that Gow had long meditated the kind of villainy which he now put in practice, and that it was his resolution to turn pirate the first opportunity he should get, whatever voyage he undertook, and that I observed he had intended it on board a ship in which he came home from Lisbon, and failed only for want of a sufficient party. So this resolution of his is confirmed by the testimony and confession of James Belvin, one of his fellow-criminals, who upon trial declared that he knew that Gow and the crew of the George galley had a design to turn pirates from the beginning, and added that he discovered it to George Dobson, in Amsterdam, before the ship went out to sea. For the confirmation of this, George Dobson was called up again, after he had given his evidence upon the trials, and being confronted by Belvin, he did acknowledge that Belvin had said so, and that in particular he had said that the boatswain had a design to murder the master and some others and run away with the ship. Being asked why he did not immediately reveal it to the master, Captain Ferneau, he answered that he heard Belvin tell the mate of it, and that the mate told the captain; but the captain made light of it. But the boatswain finding himself discovered, refused to go, upon which Gow was made second mate, and Belvin was made boatswain; an he had been as honest afterwards as before (whereas on the contrary, he was as forward and active as any of them, except that he was not in the first secret nor in the murders), he might have escaped what afterwards became so justly his due. But as they acted together, Justice required that they should suffer together, and accordingly, Gow and Williams, Belvin, Melvin, Winter, Peterson, Rowlinson and MacCauly, received the reward of their cruelty and blood at the gallows, being all executed together on the eleventh of June.

It happened that Gow being a very strong man, and giving a kind of spring, it so strained the rope that, on some people pulling him by the legs, it broke and he fell down, after he had remained about four minutes suspended. His fall stunned him a little, but as soon as he was taken up, he recovered himself so far as to be able to ascend the ladder a second time, which he did with very little concern, dying with the same brutal ferocity which animated all his actions while alive. His body hangs in chains over against Greenwich, as that of Williams does over against Blackwall.

FOOTNOTES:

[102] The most northerly of the islands.

[103] The word is here used in its original sense, indicating something acquired by seeking—or hunting—pour chasser.

[104] The island of Carrick.

[105] According to Johnson's History of the Pirates (Chap. XVIII) Gow's real motive for returning to the Orkneys was to wed a girl whose parents had repulsed him on account of his poverty. She was the daughter of one Mr. G——, a well-to-do man.

[106] One of these humane arguments, according to Johnson, op. cit., consisted in tying his thumbs together with whipcord, "which was done several times by the executioner and another officer; they drawing the cord until it broke."



APPENDIX

Although the several histories which are related within the compass of this Appendix do not so properly fall under the general title of this work (most of them having fallen out in a period of time long before that to which I have fixed the beginning of these memoirs of the unfortunate victims to public justice) yet there are two reasons which determined me to give these narratives a place in this collection. The first is that the wonders of Providence signalized in these transactions might hereby be recorded and preserved to posterity; and the other, that from the perusal the wicked might be deterred from pursuing their vicious courses, from the prospect of those sudden, dreadful, and unexpected strokes which the best hid criminal practices have met with from the unsearchable conduct of Divine Justice. And as these arguments had weight enough with me to engage me to the performance of this work, so I hope they will also incline my readers to peruse them with that improvement and delight which I have ever aimed to excite in the course of my labours.



A true and perfect account of the examination, confession, trial, condemnation and execution, of JOHN PERRY, his mother and brother, for the supposed murder of WILLIAM HARRISON, Gent.

Upon Thursday, the 6th of August, 1660, William Harrison, steward to the Lady Viscount Campden, at Campden in Gloucester, being about seventy years of age, walked from Campden aforesaid to Charringworth, about two miles from thence, to receive his lady's rent; and not returning so early as formerly, his wife, Mrs. Harrison, between eight and nine o'clock in the evening, sent her servant John Perry, to meet his master on the way from Charringworth. But neither Mr. Harrison nor his servant John Perry returning that night, early the next morning Edward Harrison, William's son, went towards Charringworth to enquire after his father. On the way he met Perry coming thence, and being informed by him that he was not there, they went together to Ebrington, a village between Charringworth and Campden, where they were told by one Daniel, that Mr. Harrison called at his house the evening before, in his return from Charringworth, but stayed not. Then they went to Paxford, about half a mile from thence, where hearing nothing of Mr. Harrison, they returned towards Campden. And on the way hearing of a hat, band and a comb, taken up on the highway between Ebrington and Campden, by a poor woman then leasing [gleaning] in the field, they sought her out. With her they found the hat, band and comb, which they knew to be Mr. Harrison's; and being brought by the woman to the place where she found the same, in the highway between Ebrington and Campden, near unto a great furze-brake, they there searched for Mr. Harrison, supposing he had been murdered, the hat and the comb being hacked and cut, and the band bloody, but nothing more could there be found. The news hereof coming to Campden, so alarmed the town that the men, women and children hasted thence in multitudes to search for Mr. Harrison's supposed dead body, but all in vain.

Mrs. Harrison's fears for her husband were now much increased, and having sent her servant Perry the evening before to meet his master, and he not returning that night, caused a suspicion that he had robbed and murdered him. Thereupon the said Perry was the next day brought before a Justice of the Peace; by whom being examined concerning his master's absence, and his own staying out the night he went to meet him, gave this account of himself. That his mistress sending him to meet his master, between eight and nine o'clock in the evening, he went down Campden Field towards Charringworth about a land's length,[107] where meeting one William Read of Campden, he acquainted him with his errand, and farther told him that as it was growing dark he was afraid to go forwards, and would therefore return and fetch his young master's horse and return with him; he went to Mr. Harrison's court gate, where they parted. He stayed till one Pierce coming by, he went again with him about a bow's shot into the fields, and returned with him likewise to his master's gate, where they also parted; and the said John Perry averred that he went into his master's hen-roost, where he lay about an hour, but slept not, but when the clock struck twelve, arose and went towards Charringworth, until a great mist arising, he lost his way, and so lay the rest of the night under a hedge. At break of day on Friday morning he went to Charringworth, where he enquired for his master of one Edward Plaisterer, who told him he had been with him the afternoon before, and received three-and-twenty pounds of him, but stayed not long with him. He went to William Curtis of the same town, who told him he heard his master was at his house the day before, but being not at home, did not see him. After which he said he returned homewards, it being about five o'clock in the morning, when on the way he met his master's son, with whom he went to Ebrington and Paxford, etc. Curtis being examined, affirmed what Perry had said concerning them to be true.

Perry then being asked by the Justice of Peace how he, who was afraid to go to Charringworth at nine o'clock, became so bold as to go thither at twelve, answered that at nine o'clock it was dark, but at twelve the moon shone. Being further asked why returning twice home after his mistress had sent him to meet his master, and staying until twelve of the clock, he went not into the house to know whether his master was come, before he went a third time, at that time of night to look after him, he answered that he knew his master was not at home, because he saw a light in his chamber window, which never used to be there so late when he was at home.

Yet notwithstanding this that Perry had said about staying forth that night, it was not thought fit to discharge him until further enquiry was made after Mr. Harrison, and accordingly he continued in custody at Campden, sometimes in an inn there, and sometimes in the common prison, from Saturday, August the 18th, to the Friday following; during which time he was again examined at Campden, by the aforesaid Justice of Peace, but confessed nothing more than before, nor at that time could any further discovery be made as to what was become of Mr. Harrison. But it hath been said that during his restraint at Campden he told some (who pressed him to confess what he knew concerning his master) that a tinker had killed him; and to others he said that a gentleman's servant of the neighbourhood had robbed and murdered him; and others, again, he told that he was murdered and hid in a bean-rick in Campden, where search was in vain made for him. At length he gave out that if he was again carried before the Justice, he would discover that to him which he would not do to anybody else; and thereupon he was, on Friday, August the 24th, again brought before the Justice of Peace, who first examined him. And asking him whether he would confess what had become of his master, he answered he was murdered but not by him. The Justice of Peace then telling him that if he knew him to be murdered, he knew likewise by whom he was, so he acknowledged he did, and being urged to confess what he knew concerning it, affirmed that it was his mother and brother that had murdered his master. The Justice of Peace then advised him to consider what he said, telling him that he feared he might be guilty of his master's death, and that he should not draw more innocent blood upon his head, for what he now charged his mother and brother with might cost them their lives. But he affirming he spoke nothing but the truth, and that if he were immediately to die he would justify it, the Justice desired him to declare how, and when they did it.

He then told him that ever since he came into his master's service his mother and brother had lain at him to help them to money, telling him how poor they were, and that it was in his power to relieve them by giving them notice when his master went to receive his lady's rents, for they would then waylay him and rob him. And further, he said that upon the Thursday morning, when his master went to Charringworth, going on an errand into the town, he met his brother in the street, whom he then told whither his master was going, and if he waylaid him he might have his money; and further said, that in the evening when his mistress sent him to meet his master, he met his brother in the street before his master's gate, going as he said to meet his master, and so they went together to the churchyard, about a stone's throw from Mr. Harrison's gate, where they parted. He going the footway beyond the church, they met again, and so went together the way leading to Charringworth, until they came to a gate about a bow's shot from Campden church that goes into a ground of the Lady Campden's, called the Conygree, which to those who have a key to go through the garden, is the nearest from that place to Mrs. Harrison's house. When they came near unto that gate, he (the said John Perry) said he told his brother that he believed his master was just gone into the Conygree (for it was then so dark they could not discern any man, so as to know him). But perceiving there was no way but for those who had a key through the gardens, he concluded it was his master who had gone through, and so told his brother if he followed him, he might have his money, and he in the meantime, would walk a turn in the fields. Which accordingly he did, and then followed his brother. About the middle of the Conygree, he found his master on the ground, his brother upon him, and his mother standing by. Being asked whether his master was dead, he answered, No, for that after he came to them, his master cried, Ah, rogues! Will you kill me? At which he told his brother he hoped he would not kill his master; his brother replied, Peace, peace, you're a fool; and so strangled him. Which having done, he took a bag of money out of his pocket, and threw it into his mother's lap; and then he and his brother carried his master's dead body into the garden, adjoining to the Conygree, where they consulted what to do with it, and at length agreed to throw it into the great pool by Wallington's Mill, behind the garden.

His mother and brother bid him go up to the court next the house, to hearken whether anyone was stirring, and they would throw the body into the pool; and being asked whether it was there, he said, he knew not, for that he left it in the garden, but his mother and brother said they would throw it there, and if it was not there, he knew not where it was, for that he returned no more to them, but went into the court gate, which goes into the town. He met with John Pierce with whom he went into the field, and again returned with him to his master's gate. After which he went into the hen-roost, where he lay until twelve o'clock at night, but slept not, and having, when he came from his mother and brother, brought with him his master's hat, band and comb, which he laid in the hen-roost, he carried the said hat, band and comb, and threw them after he had given them three or four cuts with his knife, in the highway, where they were after found. And being asked what he intended by so doing, he said he did it that it might be believed his master had been there robbed and murdered. And having thus disposed of his hat, band and comb, he went towards Charringworth, as hath been related.

Upon this confession and accusation, the Justice of Peace gave order for the apprehending of Joan and Richard Perry, the mother and brother of John Perry, and for searching the pool where Mr. Harrison's body was said to be thrown, which was accordingly done, but nothing of him could be found there. The Fish Pools, likewise, in Campden, were drawn and searched, but nothing could be found there either; so that some were of opinion that the body might be laid in the ruins of Campden House, burnt in the late wars, and not unfit for such a concealment, where was likewise search made, but all in vain.

On Saturday, August 25th, Joan and Richard Perry, together with John Perry, were brought before the Justice of Peace, who acquainted the said Joan and Richard with what John had lain to their charge. They denied all, with many imprecations on themselves if they were in the least guilty of anything of which they were accused, but John on the other side affirmed to their faces that he had spoken nothing but the truth and that they had murdered his master, further telling them that he could never be at quiet for them since he came into his master's service, being continually followed by them to help them to money (which they told him he might do by giving them notice when his master went to receive his lady's rents), and that meeting his brother Richard in Campden Town, the Thursday morning his master went to Charringworth, he told him whither he was going, and upon what errand; Richard confessed he met his brother that morning and spoke with him, but nothing passed between them to that purpose. Both he and his mother told John he was a villain to accuse them wrongfully, as he had done, but John on the other side affirmed that he had spoken nothing but the truth and would justify it to his death.

One remarkable circumstance happened in these prisoners' return from the Justice's house to Campden, viz., Richard Perry following a good distance behind his brother John, pulling a clout out of his pocket, dropped a ball of inkle,[108] which one of his guard taking up, he desired him to restore it, saying it was only his wife's hair lace; but the party opening it, and finding a slip knot at the end, went and showed it unto John, who was then a good distance before and knew nothing of the dropping and taking up of this inkle. Being showed it, and asked whether he knew it, he shook his head and said, yes to his sorrow, for that was the string his brother strangled his master with. This was sworn upon the evidence at their trial.

The morrow being the Lord's day, they remained at Campden, where the minister of the place designing to speak to them, if possible to persuade them to repentance and a farther confession, they were brought to church; and in their way thither passing by Richard's house, two of his children meeting him, he took the lesser in his arm, and was leading the other in his hand, when on a sudden both their noses fell a-bleeding, which was looked upon as ominous.

Here it will be no impertinent digression to tell how the year before, Mr. Harrison had his house broken open between eleven and twelve o'clock at noon, upon Campden market-day, whilst himself and his whole family were away, a ladder being set up to a window of the second story, and an iron bar wrenched thence with a ploughshare, which was left in the room, and seven score pounds in money carried away, the authors of which robbery could never be found. After this, and not many weeks before Mr. Harrison's absence, one evening in Campden garden his servant Perry made a hideous outcry, whereas some who heard it coming in, met him running and seemingly affrighted, with a sheep-pick in his hand, to whom he told a story how he had been set upon by two men in white, with naked swords, and how he defended himself with his sheep-pick, the handle whereof was cut in two or three places, as was likewise a key in his pocket, which he said was done with one of their swords.

The passages the Justice of the Peace having before heard, and calling to mind upon Perry's confession, asked him first concerning the robbery, when his master lost seven score pounds out of his house at noon-day, whether he knew who did it? He answered, Yes, it was his brother, and being further asked, whether he was with him, he answered, No, he was at church, but that he gave him notice of the money, and told him in which room it was, and where he might have a ladder, that would reach the window; and that his brother after told him he had the money, and had buried it in his garden, and that they were at Michaelmas next to have divided it, whereupon search was made in the garden, but no money could be there found. And being further asked concerning the other passage, of his being assaulted in the garden, he confessed it was all a fiction, and that he did it having a design to rob his master, so that rogues being believed to haunt the place, when his master was robbed they might be thought to have done it.

At the next assizes, which were held in September following, John, Joan and Richard Perry had two indictments found against them, one for breaking into William Harrison's house, and robbing him of one hundred and forty pounds, in the year, 1659; the other for robbing and murdering the said William Harrison on the 16th day of August, 1660. Upon the last indictment, the judge of the assizes, Sir C. T., would not try them, because the body was not found; but they were then tried upon the other indictment for robbery, to which they pleaded not guilty. But someone whispering behind them, they soon pleaded guilty, humbly begging the benefit of his Majesty's gracious pardon and Act of Oblivion,[109] which was granted them. But though they pleaded guilty to their indictment, being thereunto promised (as probable) by some who are unwilling to lose time and trouble the Court with their trial as the Act of Oblivion pardoned them; yet they all afterwards and at their death, denied that they were guilty of that robbery, or that they knew who did it. Yet at his assize, as several credible persons have affirmed, John Perry still persisted in his story that his mother and brother had murdered his master, and further added that they had attempted to poison him in gaol, so that he durst neither eat nor drink with them.

At the next assizes, which was held the Spring following, John, Joan and Richard Perry were by the then judge of assize, Sir B. H., tried upon the indictment of murder, and pleaded thereunto severally not guilty. And when John's confession before the Justice was proved, viva voce, by several witnesses who heard the same, he told them he was then mad and knew not what he said. The other two, Richard and Joan Perry, said they were wholly innocent of what they were accused, and that they knew nothing of Mr. Harrison's death, nor what was become of him; and Richard said that his brother had accused others as well as him of having murdered his master, which the judge bidding him prove, he said that most of those who had given evidence against him knew it, but naming none, nor did any speak to it. And so the jury found them all three guilty.

Some few days after being brought to the place of their execution, which was on Broadway Hill, in sight of Campden, the mother, who was reputed a witch and to have bewitched her sons, so that they would confess nothing while she lived, was executed first. After which, Richard being upon the ladder, professed as he had done all along that he was wholly innocent of the fact for which he was then to die, and that he knew nothing of Mr. Harrison's death, nor what was become of him, and did with great earnestness beg and beseech his brother, for the satisfaction of the whole world and for his own conscience, to declare what he knew concerning him. But he, with a dogged and surly carriage, told the people he was not obliged to confess to them; yet immediately before his death, he said he knew nothing of his master's death, nor what had become of him but they might hereafter possibly hear.

Mr. Harrison's account of his being absent two years, and of his return home, addressed to Sir Thomas Overbery, Knight

Honoured Sir,

In obedience to your commands, I give you this true account of my being carried away beyond the seas, my continuance there and return home.

On Thursday, in the afternoon, in the time of harvest, I went to Charringworth to demand rents due to my Lady Campden, at which the tenants were busy in the fields, and were late ere they came home, which occasioned my stay there till the close of the evening. I expected a considerable sum, but received only twenty-three pounds and no more. In my return home, in the narrow passages amongst Ebrington Furzes, there met me one horseman, and said, Art thou there? and I, fearing that he would have rode over me, struck his horse over the nose, whereupon he struck me with his sword several blows, and ran it into my side, while I with my little cane made my defence as well as I could. At last another came behind me, ran me in the thigh, laid hold on the collar of my doublet, and drew me to a hedge near to the place. Then came in another. They did not take away my money, but mounted me behind one of them, drew my arms about his middle, and fastened my wrists together with something that had a spring lock to it, as I conceived, by hearing it give a snap as they put it on; then they threw a great cloak over me and carried me away.

In the night, they alighted at a hayrick, which stood near unto a stone pit, by a wall side, where they took away my money. This was about two hours before day, as I heard one of them tell the other he thought it to be then. They tumbled me into the stone pit. They stayed, as I thought, about an hour at the hayrick. When they took horse again, one of them bade me come out of the pit. I answered they had my money already, and asked what they would do with me, whereupon he struck me again, drew me out, and put a great quantity of money into my pockets, and mounted me again, after the same manner. And on Friday, about sunset, they brought me to a lone house upon a heath, by a thicket of bushes, where they took me down, almost dead, being sorely bruised with the carriage of the money. When the woman of the house saw that I could neither stand nor speak, she asked them whether or no they had brought a dead man? They answered, no, but a friend that was hurt, and they were carrying me to a surgeon. She answered, if they did not make haste their friend would be dead before they could bring him to one. There they laid me on the cushions and suffered none to come into the room but a little girl. There we stayed all night, they giving me some broth and strong waters.

In the morning, very early, they mounted me as before, and on Saturday night, they brought me to a place where were two or three houses, in one of which I lay all night on cushions by their bedside. On Sunday morning they carried me from thence, and about three or four of the clock, they brought me to a place by the seaside, called Deal, where they laid me down in the ground. One of them staying by me, the other two walked a little off to meet a man, with whom they talked; and in their discourse I heard them mention seven pounds, after which they went away together, and about half an hour after returned. The man (whose name, as I after heard, was Wrenshaw) said he feared I would die before they could put me on board; then they put me into a boat, and carried me on ship-board, where my wounds were dressed.

I remained in the ship, as near as I could reckon, about six weeks, in which time I was indifferently recovered of my wounds and weaknesses. Then the master of the ship came in and told me and the rest who were in the same condition, that he discovered three Turkish ships. We all offered to fight in defence of the ship and ourselves, but he commanded us to keep close, and said he would deal with them well enough. A little while after, he called us up, and when we came on deck we saw two Turkish ships close by us; into one of them we were put, and placed in a dark hold, where how long we continued before we were landed, I know not.

When we were landed they led us two days' journey, and put us into a great house or prison, where we remained four days and a half, and then came to us eight men to view us, who seemed to be officers. They called us and examined us of our trades and callings, which everyone answered. One said he was a surgeon, another that he was a broad-cloth weaver, and I, after two or three demands, said I had some skill in physic. We three were set by, and taken by three of these eight men who came to view us. It was my chance to be chosen by a grave physician of eighty-seven years of age, who lived near to Smyrna, who had formerly been in England, and knew Crowland in Lincolnshire, which he preferred before all others in England. He employed me to keep his still-house, and gave me a silver bowl, double gilt, to drink in. My business was most in that place, but once he set me to gather cotton wool, which I not doing he struck me to the ground, and after drew his stiletto to stab me; but I holding up my hands to him, he gave me a stamp and turned from me, for which I render thanks to my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who stayed his hand and preserved me.

I was there about a year and three quarters, and then my master fell sick on a Thursday, and sent for me, and calling me, as he used, by the name of Bell, told me he should die and bid me shift for myself. He died on the Saturday following, and I instantly hastened with my bowl[110] to a port almost a day's journey distant, the way to which place I knew, having been twice there employed by my master about the carriage of the cotton wool. When I came thither I addressed myself to two men who came out of a ship of Hamburg, which, as they said, was bound for Portugal within three or four days. I enquired of them for an English ship, they answered there was none. I entreated them to take me into their ship, but they answered they durst not, for fear of being discovered by the searchers, which might occasion the forfeiture, not only of their goods, but also of their lives. I was very importunate with them, but could not prevail. They left me to wait on Providence, which at length brought me another out of the same ship, to whom I made known my condition, craving his assistance for my transportation. He made me the like answer as the former, and was as stiff in his denial, until the sight of my bowl put him to pause. He returned to the ship, and after an hour's space came back again accompanied with another seaman, and for my bowl, undertook to transport me; but he told me I must be contented to lie down in the keel and endure much hardship, which I was content to do to gain my liberty.

So they took me on board, and placed me below in the vessel, in a very uneasy place, and obscured me with boards and other things, where I lay undiscovered, notwithstanding the strict search that was made in the vessel. My two chapmen who had my bowl, honestly furnished me with victuals daily, until we arrived at Lisbon in Portugal, where, as soon as the master had left the ship and was gone into the city, they set me on shore moneyless, to shift for myself. I knew not what course to take, but as Providence led me, I went up into the city, and came into a fair street, and being weary I turned my back to a wall, and leaned upon my staff. Over against me were four gentlemen discoursing together; after a while one of them came to me, and spake to me in a language that I understood not. I told him I was an Englishman and understood not what he spoke. He answered me in plain English, that he understood me, and was himself born in Wisbech, in Lincolnshire. Then I related to him my sad condition, and he taking compassion on me, took me with him, provided me with lodging and diet, and by his interest with a master of a ship bound for England, procured my passage; and bringing me on ship board, he bestowed wine and strong waters on me, and at his return gave me eight stivers and commended me to the care of the master of the ship, who landed me safe at Dover. From thence I made a shift to get to London, where being furnished with necessaries I came into the country.

Thus, honoured Sir, I have given you a true account of my great sufferings and happy deliverance by the mercy and goodness of God, my most gracious Father in Jesus Christ, my Saviour and Redeemer, to whose name be ascribed all honour, praise and glory. I conclude and rest,

Your Worship's, In all dutiful respect, William Harrison

Before I part with this story, it is proper for me to remark that though it does not contain any extraordinary mark of the wisdom of Providence, yet being in its nature strange and hitherto having escaped any other collection, I thought it not improper to be preserved here, since some of the circumstances are of such a nature as not to be paralleled in any English story.

FOOTNOTES:

[107] A local term for a strip of furrowed land.

[108] A kind of broad linen tape.

[109] Passed at the Restoration, in 1660, granting "free general pardon, indemnity, and oblivion for all treasons and state offences" committed between 1 Jan., 1637, and 24 June, 1660. The regicides and certain Irish priests were excepted.

[110] That is, the silver-gilt one his master had given him.



A Relation of the Surprising Discovery of the Murder of MARY BARWICK, committed by WILLIAM BARWICK, her husband, on the 14th of April, 1690, upon which he was convicted, at the Lent Assizes at York, before the Honourable Sir John Powell, Knight, then one of the Judges of Assize

In the following relation, I have kept strictly up to the motives which I have mentioned in the beginning of this Appendix, and I hope that will atone for the inserting of this story, which I confess can be of no other use than to gratify the curiosity of the reader.

As murder is one of the greatest crimes that man can be guilty of, so it is no less strangely and providentially discovered when secretly committed. The foul criminal believes himself secure, because there was no witness of the fact. Not considering that the all-seeing eye of Heaven beholds his iniquity, and by some means or other bringing it to light, never permits it to go unpunished. Indeed, so certainly does the revenge of God pursue the abominated murderer, that when witnesses are wanting of the fact, the very ghosts of the murdered parties cannot rest quiet in their graves until they have made the detection themselves. Of this we are now to give the reader two remarkable examples that lately happened in Yorkshire, and no less signal for the truth of both tragedies, as being confirmed by the trial of the offenders at the last assizes held for that county.

The first of these murders was committed by William Barwick, upon the body of Mary Barwick his wife, at the same time big with child. What were the motives that induced the man to do this horrid fact does not appear by the examination of the evidence, or the confession of the party; only it appeared upon his trial that he had got her with child before he married her, that being then constrained to marry her, he grew weary of her, which was the reason he was so willing to be rid of her, though he ventured body and soul to accomplish his design.

The murder was committed on Palm Monday, being then the fourteenth of April, about two o'clock in the afternoon, at which time the said Barwick drilled his wife along until he came to a certain close, within sight of Cawood Castle, where he found the conveniency of a pond. He threw her by force into the water, and when she was drowned and drawn forth again by himself upon the bank of the pond, he had the cruelty to behold the motion of the infant, yet warm in her womb. This done, he concealed the body, as it may readily be supposed, among the bushes that usually encompass a pond, and the next night when it grew dusk, fetching a hay spade from a rick that stood in the close, he made a hole by the side of the pond, and there slightly buried the woman in her clothes. Having thus despatched two at once, and thinking himself secure, because unseen, he went the same day to his brother-in-law, one Thomas Lofthouse of Rusforth, within three miles of York, who had married his drowned wife's sister, and told him he had carried his wife to one Richard Harrison's house in Selby, who was his uncle, and would take care of her.

But Heaven would not be so deluded, but raised up the ghost of the murdered woman to make the discovery. It was Easter Tuesday following, about two-o'clock in the afternoon, that the afore-mentioned Lofthouse, having occasion to water a quickset hedge not far from his house, as he was going for the second pailful, an apparition went before him in the shape of a woman, and soon after set down against a rising green grass plot, right over against the pond. He walked by her as he went to the pond, and as he returned with the pail from the pond, looking sideways to see whether she continued in the same place, he found she did, and that she seemed to dandle something in her lap that looked like a white bag, as he thought, which he did not observe before. So soon as he had emptied his pail, he went into his yard and stood still to turn whether he could see her again, but she was vanished. In this information he says that the woman seemed to be habited in a brown-coloured petticoat, waistcoat and a white hood, such a one as his wife's sister usually wore, and that her countenance looked extremely pale and wan, with her teeth in sight, but no gums appearing, and that her physiognomy was like that of his wife's sister, who was wife to William Barwick.

But notwithstanding the ghastliness of the apparition, it seems it made so little impression on Lofthouse's mind that he thought no more of it, neither did he speak to anybody concerning it until the same night, as he was at family duty of prayers, when that apparition returned again to his thoughts, and discomposed his devotion; so that after he had made an end of his prayers, he told the whole story of what he had seen to his wife, who laying circumstances together, immediately inferred that her sister was either drowned or otherwise murdered, and desired her husband to look after her the next day, which was the Wednesday in Easter week. Upon this, Lofthouse, recollecting what Barwick had told him of his carrying his wife to his uncle at Selby, repaired to Harrison before-mentioned, but found all that Barwick had said to be false, for Harrison had neither heard of Barwick nor his wife, neither did he know anything of them. Which notable circumstance, together with that other of the apparition, increased his suspicion to that degree that now concluding his wife's sister was murdered, he went to the Lord Mayor of York. And having obtained his warrant, he got Barwick apprehended; who was no sooner brought before the Lord Mayor, but his own conscience then accusing him, he acknowledged the whole matter, as it has been already related, and as it appears by the examination and confession herewith printed.

On Wednesday, the 16th of September, 1690, the criminal, William Barwick, was brought to his trial before the Honourable Sir John Powel, Knight, one of the judges of the Northern Circuit, at the assizes held at York, where the prisoner pleaded not guilty to his indictment. But upon the evidence of Thomas Lofthouse and his wife, and a third person, that the woman was found buried in her clothes, close by the pond side, agreeable to the prisoner's confession, and that she had several bruises on her head, occasioned by the blows the murderer had given her to keep her under water, and upon reading the prisoner's confession before the Lord Mayor of York, attested by the clerk who wrote the confession, and who swore the prisoner's owning and signing it for truth, he was found guilty and sentenced to death, and afterwards ordered to be hanged in chains.

All the defence that the prisoner made was only this, that he was threatened into the confession that he had made, and was in such a consternation that he did not know what he said or did; but then it was sworn to by two witnesses that there was no such thing as any threatening made use of, but that he made a free and voluntary confession, only with this addition at first, that he told the Lord Mayor he had sold his wife for five shillings, but not being able to name either the person or the place, where she might be produced, that was looked upon as too frivolous to outweigh circumstances that were too apparent.

The Examination of William Barwick, taken the 25th of April, 1690

Who sayeth and confesseth that he carried his wife over a certain wainbridge, called Bishop Dyke Bridge, between Cawood and Sherburn; and within a lane about one hundred yards from the said bridge, and on the left hand of the said bridge, he and his wife went over a stile, on the left hand of a certain gate, entering into a certain close, on the left hand of the said lane; and in a pond in the said close, adjoining to a quick-wood hedge, he did drown his wife and upon a bank of the said pond did bury her, and further, that he was within sight of Cawood Castle, on the left hand, and there was but one hedge betwixt the said close where he drowned his wife, and the Bishops Slates, belonging to the said castle.

William Barwick Exam, capt. did etc. anno super dict. coram me.

S. Dawson, Mayor



An Account of the Conviction and Execution of Mr. WALKER, and MARK SHARP, for the Murder of ANN WALKER

I am conscious that my collecting these relations may expose me to the railery and ridicule of a very numerous tribe of wits in this age, who value themselves extremely on their contempt of supernatural stories, and their disbelief of all things which relate to apparitions or returns from that state in which souls go when they depart from the body. Yet the following story is so remarkable, the proofs so exceedingly cogent, and the mistakes made in the relation of it by various authors so likely, notwithstanding, to bring it in the course of time into discredit, that I thought I could not do a greater service to the public than to preserve it in its genuine purity, which I have had occasion to retrieve from the sight of some papers which related thereto, and from which the following account is written verbatim, without any alteration so much as in a letter.

About the year 1631, there lived in a place called Chester-in-the-Street, in the County Palatine of Durham, one Mr. Walker, a yeoman of good fortune and credit. He was a widower and kept a young woman, one Ann Walker, a relation of his, in his house as housekeeper. It was suspected, it seems, by some of the neighbours, that she was with child, immediately upon which she was removed to one Dame Cair's an aunt of hers in the town of Lumley, hard by. The old woman treated her with much kindness and civility, but was exceedingly earnest to know of her who was the father of the child with which she went, but the young woman constantly avoided answering that question. But at last, perceiving how uneasy the old woman was because she could get no knowledge how the poor babe was to be provided for, this Ann Walker at last said that he who got her with child would take care of both her and it, with which answer her aunt was tolerably satisfied.

Some time after, of an evening, her old master Walker, and one Mark Sharp, with whom he was extraordinarily intimate, came to her aunt's house and took the said Anne Walker away. About a fortnight passed without her being seen or heard of, and without much talk of the neighbourhood concerning her, supposing she had been carried somewhere to be privately brought to bed, in order to escape her shame. But one James Graham, a miller, who lived two miles from the place where Walker's house was, being one night between the hours of twelve and one, grinding corn in his mill, and the mill door shut, as he came downstairs from putting corn into the hopper, he saw a woman standing in the middle of the floor, with her hair all bloody, hanging about her ears, and five large wounds in her head. Graham, though he was a bold man, was exceedingly shocked at this spectacle. At last after calling upon God to protect him, he, in a low voice, demanded who she was, and what she wanted of him. To which the woman made answer, I am the spirit of Anne Walker, who lived with Walker at Chester-in-the-Street, and being got with child by him, he promised to send me to a private place, where I should be well looked to until I was brought to bed, and well again, and then I should come to him again and keep his house. And I was accordingly, late one night, sent away with Mark Sharp, who upon the moor, just by the Yellow Bank Head, slew me with a pick, an instrument wherewith they dig coals, and gave me these five wounds, and afterwards threw me into a coalpit hard by, and hid the pick under the bank. His shoes and stockings also being bloody he endeavoured to wash them, but seeing the blood would not go forth, he hid them there too. And now James Grime (so the country people pronounce Graham) I am come to you, that by revealing this bloody act my murderers may be brought to justice; which unless you do, I will continually pursue and haunt you.

The miller returned home to his house very melancholy, and much astonished at this sight, yet he held his peace, hoping that if he did not reveal it she would go to somebody else. He was fearful of blasting the character of Mr. Walker, who was a man of substance, by telling such a tale concerning him to a Justice of Peace. However, he avoided as much as he was able being in the mill alone, especially at nights, but notwithstanding all his care, and though other persons were not far off, she appeared to him there again, and in a harsh tone demanded why he had not made known what she had spoken of to him. He made her no answer, but fled to the other end of the place where the people were. Yet some little time after, just after sunset, she met him in his own garden, and spoke to him with such a cruel aspect and with such fearful threats that he promised to go the next morning to a magistrate, which he accordingly did.

On the morrow, being St. Thomas's Day, he applied to a justice of the peace and told him the story. The justice having tendered him his oath, and taking his information in writing, forthwith issued his warrant, and apprehended Mr. Walker and Mark Sharp, who by trade was a collier, i.e., dug coals out of a mine. They made light of the thing before the justice, although he in the meanwhile had caused a place which Graham said the apparition had spoken of, to be searched, and there found the dead body, wounded in place and manner as before described, with the pick, the shoes and the stockings. However, Walker and Sharp were admitted to bail, and at the next assizes appeared upon their trial.

Judge Davenport heard the several circumstances of the woman's being carried out by Sharp, her being suspected to be with child by her master, Walker, and the story which Graham repeated exactly upon oath, as he had done before the justice. The foreman of the jury did depose that he saw a child standing upon the shoulders of the prisoner Walker, at the Bar, and the judge himself was under such a concern and uneasiness that as soon as the jury had found the prisoners guilty, he immediately rose up and passed sentence of death upon them, a thing never known before nor since in Durham, the custom being not to pass sentence until the close of the assizes.



The Life of JACQUES PERRIER, a French Robber and Murderer

As I have stepped in the former stories a little back in time, so in this I shall make bold to go out of our own nation, to relate a very extraordinary passage which happened at Paris in the beginning of the last century, because it will serve as a notable instance of that confusion and fear which guilt brings over the souls of the most hardened villains and thereby renders them often instruments of justice upon themselves; so that it seems not virtue only is its own reward, but vice also brings upon itself those torments which it ought to feel. Thus Providence ordereth, with inscrutable wisdom, that every man should feel happiness or misery according as his own demeanour serves. But it is now time that we hearken to the story.

It happened that a certain architect, who was in high esteem with the greatest nobles in France for his excellent skill in building after the Italian model, and had thereby obtained both a great reputation and a large estate, being a generous and charitable man, took into his house one Jacques Perrier, in the nature of an accountant, for the better ordering of his affairs. For the six years that this Jacques lived in his master's house, never any man was known to behave better or more commendably than he did. At length he married and had children, so that the master looking upon him as a staid discreet person, of whose fidelity he had indubitable proofs; he therefore gave him the charge of everything, when he went to a country house of his, a small distance from Paris, where he sometimes stayed for a week or so to unbend his mind and enjoy the benefit of the summer season.

At last, Jacques observing what great wealth he had acquired, began to be covetous and desirous of obtaining it; and after having cast it long in his head how he might obtain it, he at length resolved with himself to join with certain villains who at that time robbed in the streets and committed murders on the roads about Paris. Gaining notice of a house where such people frequented, he found ways and means to be admitted into the room where they had their consultations. And the person who introduced him having promised for his fidelity, they listened very attentively to the proposal which he promised to make them, and which after a little pause, he performed in these words. My good friends, it is now upwards of six years since I have lived in the service of a rich and eminent person. I thought that before this time I might have made my fortune under him, and therefore have hitherto served him faithfully and honestly; but finding my expectations herein deceived, I come to make you an offer which may enrich you all. He has a house in the country, whither he retires with his daughter and maid-servant only. These may easily be dispatched and then all his effects will be our own. I will venture to assure you, they will be worth ten thousand crowns.

The thieves were not a little rejoiced at the thoughts of so extraordinary a booty, and therefore, after returning Perrier thanks, they readily embraced his motion and promised him whatever assistance he should require. It was not long before the unfortunate, gentleman went, as usual, with his daughter and her maid, to enjoy the pleasures of his rural habitation, leaving the direction of his affairs to Jacques, who no sooner saw him safe out of Paris, but he went to give notice to his associates that the time was now come to execute his bloody proposal. They quickly got all things in readiness, and as soon as it was evening, set out under the command of this desperate varlet to commit that horrible murder which he had contrived. Arriving at the house, Perrier knocked at the door; the maid knowing him, supposed some extraordinary business had brought him thither, and readily opened the door. But she was exceedingly surprised to find him followed by five ruffians oddly dressed, masked and with large staves in their hands. However, they did not give her much time to consider, but followed her immediately into the kitchen, where, by the direction of their abominable leader, they immediately, with many cruel blows, put her to death. From thence they went upstairs into the old gentleman's apartment, and found him sitting upon his bed. As soon as they entered, Perrier, said his master, is it thus that you return that kindness with which I have always treated you. Did I not take you from misery and want. Have I not maintained you, and put it in your power to maintain your family? Will you repay this my charity with robbing me of all I have? Must the tenderness I have shown towards you draw upon me death from your hands, and do you not think that the same God who hath seen me cherish and relieve you, will not bring upon you condign punishment for this execrable villainy thou art going to commit?

Perrier was sensible of the truth of what he said, but knowing it was impossible for him to go back, he gave a sign to the murderers to fall about the execution of their work; but the old man, who was too wise to expect mercy from their hands, endeavoured to lay hold of a halbert which stood in his room, designing therewith, as well as he could, to defend himself. But before he could get it into his hands the villains struck him down, and with thirty or forty wounds gave a passage for his soul into a better life.

The unfortunate young lady lay in the next room to her father's, and being already got to bed, heard with astonishment the execrable fact. However, full of fear and astonishment, she covered herself with the bed clothes, and endeavoured all she was able, to hide herself in the bed. But alas, her caution was to small purpose. Perrier knew too well the situation of all things to be deceived by so trivial an artifice, and therefore after pulling the bedclothes into the middle of the floor, he exposed, naked, to his fellow ruffians, the most beautiful young lady in France. In vain she fell upon her knees, and with all that tender elocution so natural to their sex when in distress, besought them that they would spare her life, which, as she said, could be of no benefit to them, and could only serve to increase the number of their sins; but they were too much flushed in cruelty and blood to give any attention to her entreaties, and so without respect either to the softness of her sex, or to her tender age, with a shower of blows from their clubs they laid her dead upon the floor. Being thus become master of the house, Perrier took the keys, and opening the several apartments, disclosed to them all the riches of his deceased master. They immediately brought away all the ready money they found in the house, which amounted to little less than ten thousand crowns. All the rich movables they conveyed away to a boat which they had prepared for that purpose, and had fastened in a creek of the river on a bank of which the house stood. They loaded and unloaded this vessel five or six times, for there was no hurry in carrying away the goods, seeing it was the dead time of the night, and when they had thoroughly plundered it of everything that would yield money, they then came away and went to the place where they laid up their spoils. There it was resolved to divide the booty, and Perrier claimed the largest share, as well in right of his having put them upon that project, as that he had assisted more strenuously in the execution of it than any of them; for when men associate themselves to commit wickedness, he who surpasses the rest in villainy claims the same reward, and from the same reasons, as he who in another society surpasses all his neighbours in virtue. When this execrable fact was over, and he had secured his share in the plunder, he returned home to the house of his master, and remained in carrying on the ordinary course of business of his master.

About two days after, it happened that a man who had business with the old gentleman called at his country house, and after knocking a good while at the door, finding that nobody answered, he went to town, and meeting with Jacques Perrier at his master's house, he told him of his calling upon him in the country, and that he found nobody there. Jacques counterfeited the greatest surprise at the news, and calling many assistants, went down immediately to his master's seat, and with all the seeming horror imaginable, became a second time a witness of those barbarities which he and his villainous associates had committed. At the sight of the murdered maid in the kitchen, he cried out with the greatest vehemence, and seemed in an agony of sorrow; but when he saw the body of his master, he roared and stamped, he cried out, tore his hair and threw himself upon the body as if he had never more intended to have drawn breath. All the persons he had carried with him were effectually deceived by his behaviour, and were under apprehensions lest his too violent grief should throw him into a fever or prompt him to lay hands upon himself. He was not contented with acting thus upon the spot, but resolved to play it over again when he came back to Paris. There abundance of people pitied him, and looked on him as one whom the sincere love he had for his master had drawn to the utmost despair by reason of his unfortunate death.

But one of the old gentleman's relations, who was a man of more penetration than the rest, began to suspect his excessive affliction, and by his arguments drew another gentleman, who was also interested in the family affairs, to be of his opinion; whereupon Jacques was apprehended on suspicion and sent to prison. Solitude and confinement are often the roads to repentance and confession, for the vanities of the world being no longer before them, in such cases people are apt to retire into the recesses of their own breasts, and having no avocations from considering how they have spent their former years, the reflection often extorts truth which would never be by any other method discovered. But it was not so with Perrier. His dissimulation was of a stronger contexture, and not to be broken even by sorrow and confinement. He not only continued to deny the knowledge of the murder, but also to lament the loss of so indulgent a master, with such floods of tears, and so many strong appearances of real sorrow and affection that, no proof appearing against him, the magistrates were afraid of having themselves reproached with injustice if they had not given him his liberty, to which, after six months imprisonment, he was restored.

The rest of the assassins seeing a long space of time elapsed, and that still not the least discovery was made of the murder, laid aside all fears of being taken, and began to appear more openly than hitherto they had done since the perpetration of that fact. But in the midst of their security the Providence of God forced them to betray themselves; for as the father, son and cousin, who were all concerned in the murder, were sitting with one Masson, another of the confederates, making merry at a public-house, on a sudden they turned their heads and saw ten or twelve archers or marshal's men (who have the same authority as constables in our country) who by chance met together and came into the house to drink. Guilt on a sudden struck the whole company with apprehensions that they were come in search of them, the fear of which made them throw down their knives and forks, leave what they had upon the table and fly with the utmost precipitation, as supposing they ran for their lives.

This extravagant behaviour struck the archers with amazement, and immediately calling for the landlord, they enquired of him what should be the sudden cause of this terror in his guests. He replied that it was impossible for him to tell certainly, but from discourse which he had heard, he took them to be persons of no very honest character, and from the great sums of money he had heard them count out, he was apprehensive that they had committed some robbery or other. There wanted not any farther account to stir up the archers to a pursuit, from whence they already assured themselves they should be considerable gainers, the thing speaking for itself, since honest people are not used to fall into such panics; but only guilt creates apprehensions in men at the sight of the ministers of justice. Immediately, therefore, the officers pursued them in the road they had taken, and the old man being less able to travel than the rest, in about two hours time they came up with him at the side of a rivulet, where, for very weariness he had stopped as not being able to cross it.

No sooner did they come up to him but he surrendered, and fear having brought a sudden repentance, he, without any equivocation, began to confess all the crimes of his life. He said that it was true they all of them deserved death, and he was content to suffer; he said, moreover, that in the course of his life he had murdered upwards of three-score with his own hands. He also carried the officers to an island in the river, which was the usual place of the execution of those innocents who fell into the hands of their gang, and acknowledged that of all the offences he had committed, nothing gave him so much pain as the having murdered a hopeful young gentleman (for the sake of a trifle of money which he had about him) by putting a stone about his neck and sinking him in the water.

Of the other three, two were apprehended, but the third made his escape and was running hastily with the news to Jacques Perrier and their other companions, but he was soon after seized, and carried to prison with the rest, none escaping from the hands of Justice but Masson and the cruel Perrier, the author of all this mischief. The three who were in prison endured the torture with the greatest constancy, absolutely denying that they knew anything of the murders and robberies which had been committed, yet when they were confronted by the old man, their courage deserted them, they acknowledged the fact, and judgment was pronounced upon them that they should be broke alive upon the wheel, before the house of the unfortunate architect whom they had murdered.

When they were brought there, with a strong guard, to suffer that punishment to which the Law had so justly doomed them, they appeared to be very penitent and sorrowful for their crimes, and one of them in particular did, with greatest vehemency, beseech the pardon of Almighty God, of the king his sovereign, and of his people whom he had so much injured, declaring that he could not die in peace without informing the multitude who were assembled to behold their execution, of a certain kind of villainy in which he was particularly concerned. He said it was his custom to watch about the sides of the road which lay near the woods, and that having a cord with him, he suddenly threw it about the neck of any passenger who was coming by, and therewith immediately strangled him before he was aware, or capable of resisting them, and if at any time there came by several passengers together who demanded what he did there, he replied that he was sent thither by his master to catch a cow; and his going in the habit of a peasant gave such an aspect of truth to the story that he was never suspected.

Though the concourse of people be generally very great, yet the assembly on this occasion was much larger than ordinary, and those who were spectators, contrary to the ordinary custom, showed but very little compassion at the miserable tortures which those wretches endured. On the contrary, they continually cried out that they should discover what was become of Perrier and their other accomplice, Masson. These unfortunate men continued to assert in their last moments that they knew nothing of either of them, but supposed that, hearing of their apprehension, they had immediately made their escape, and were retired as far as they were able from the danger. The people were infinitely satisfied with the death of these assassins, and nothing was wanting to complete the triumph of Justice but the apprehension of Perrier and his associate, to whose adventures it is now time that we return, in order to display the severe justice of Providence, and the admirable methods by which it disappoints all the courses that human wit can invent in order to frustrate its intent.

Masson had hid himself in a village not far from the city of Tours, where he concealed himself so effectually that the inhabitants had not the least suspicion of his being a dishonest man. On the contrary, he applied himself to an honest way of getting his livelihood, and after sojourning there for a considerable space, he married a young woman, with the consent of her parents, and seemed to be now established in a state of peace and security, if it were possible for a guilty soul to know either security or peace. A trivial accident, in which no man but Masson would have had a hand, proved the instrument by which he was drawn to suffering that cruel death which his companions had before undergone, and he so justly deserved.

There was, it seems, a young country fellow in the neighbourhood where Masson lived, who was just married, and according to a silly notion which prevails not only among the peasants of France but also among the clowns of all other nations in Europe, fancied himself bewitched by some charm or other, which rendered him incapable of performing the rites of his marriage bed. Masson thereupon offered, if he would give him a reasonable gratuity, to free him from this insupportable malady, and a bargain was accordingly struck for four crowns, two of which the fellow gave him in his hand, and two more were to be paid on the accomplishment of the cure, when there were no more complaints of insufficiency. Upon this he immediately demanded the other two crowns, which the other refused, and our infatuated thief brought the cause before the magistrates, where, when it came to be examined, it appeared plainly that Masson had bragged to his companions that he had wrought the charm, for the undoing of which he now claimed a reward. And as the Justice of the Court required, he was sentenced to be banished as a sorcerer, after being first whipped at all the cross-streets in town.

But behold the marvellous conduct of Divine Justice. He appealed from this sentence to the parliament at Paris, whither he was no sooner conducted under a strong guard, but he was immediately known to be one of that gang of assassins which had been executed for the murder of Perrier's master and family. Immediately he was charged with this fact, and the heirs of that unfortunate gentleman prosecuted their charge with such vigour that he received the like judgment, to be broken alive upon the wheel at the same place where his associates had suffered death; which sentence was rigorously executed five years after the perpetration of that execrable fact.

There remained nobody but Jacques Perrier, the author and contriver of this horrid villainy, who had not suffered according to their deserts. He, after hiding himself for a while, until he saw what became of his companions, hastily betook himself to flight, and endeavoured to fly into England, where, if he once arrived, he knew he should remain in safety. But in this attempt he was disappointed (although nobody pursued him), for being arrived at Calais, the same covetous and wicked disposition which had prompted him to murder so kind a master and all his family, egged him on to rob a certain rich merchant there, which villainous design he effected whilst the gentleman was at church. But he gained not much by that, for the booty being too large to be concealed, he was very quickly apprehended and for this fact condemned to be hanged. He had more wit, however, than his companion, Masson, and therefore never dreamt of appealing to the parliament of Paris, where he knew he should meet with the same fate which had befallen the rest of the gang. However, when he came to suffer that death which was appointed him by Law, he did not stick to acknowledge that execrable parricide which he had projected, as well as carried into execution; so that when the news reached Paris, it occasioned universal joy that not one of these bloody villains had escaped, but were so wonderfully cut off, when they themselves fancied the danger to be over.

The French author from whom I have transcribed this account hath swelled the relation with much of that false eloquence which was so common in the last age, not only in France, but throughout all Europe. Except that I have rejected this, I have been very faithful in this translation, the story appearing to me to be very extraordinary in its kind, and worthy therefore of being known to the public, since it will sufficiently declare that as vice prevails generally throughout all countries and climates, stirring up men to cruel and atrocious deeds, so the eye of Providence is continually watchful, and suffers not the blood of innocents to cry out for revenge in vain. It remains that I inform my readers that this villainy was transacted about the year 1611, and that Masson and Jacques Perrier suffered in the year 1616.



The Lives of ABRAHAM WHITE, FRANCIS SANDERS, JOHN MINES, alias MINSHAM, alias MITCHELL, and CONSTANCE BUCKLE, Thieves and Housebreakers

Of these unfortunate lads, Abraham White was born of mean parents who had it not in their power to give him much education, but taught him, however, the business of a bricklayer, which was his father's trade, and by which, doubtless, if he had been careful, he might have got his bread. But he unfortunately addicting himself from childhood to drinking and lewd company, soon plunged himself into all manner of wickedness, and quickly brought on a fatal necessity of stepping into the road of the gallows; and associating himself with Sanders and Minsham, they had all gone together upon the road for about six weeks before they were taken.

Francis Sanders was a young fellow of very tolerable arts and education. He had been put out apprentice to a stay-maker, attained to a great proficiency in his trade; and by the help of his friends, who were very willing to lend him their assistance, he might have done very well in the world if it had not been for that unfortunate inclination to roving, which continually possessed him. His acquaintance with a certain bad woman was in all probability the first cause of his addicting himself to ill-courses, and as in the papers I have before me relating to him, her history is also contained, I thought it would not be unentertaining to my readers if I ventured to insert it. This woman's true name was Mary Smith. She was brought up, while young, from her native country of Yorkshire to London, where getting into the service of an eminent shopkeeper, she might, had she been honest and industrious, have lived easily and with credit; but unfortunately both for herself and her master's apprentice, the young man took a liking to her, and one night, having first taken care to make himself master of the key of her door, he came out of his chamber into hers, where after a faint resistance, he got to bed to her. Their correspondence was carried on for a good while without suspicion, but the young man having one night stole a bottle of rum with a design that it should make his mistress and he merry together before they went to bed, they inconsiderately drank so heartily of it that the next morning they slept so sound that their master and mistress came upstairs at ten o'clock, and found them in bed together. Upon this, the wench, without more ado, was turned out of doors, and was forced to live at an alehouse of ill-repute, where Sanders used to come of an evening, and so got acquainted with her.

John Minsham was an unfortunate wretch, born of mean parents, and equally destitute of capacity or education. From the time he had been able to crawl alone, he had known scarce any other home than the street. Shoe-blacks and such like vagabonds were his constant companions, and the only honest employment he ever pretended to was that of a hackney-coachman, which the brethren of the whip had taught him out of charity.

Thus furnished with bad principles, and every way fitted for those detestable practices into which they precipitated themselves, they first got into one another's company at a dram-shop near St. Giles in the Fields, much frequented by Constance Buckle, a most lewd and abandoned strumpet, and one Rowland Jones, a fellow of as bad principles as themselves. One night, having intoxicated themselves with the vile manufacture of the house, they went out, after they had spent their money, and in Bloomsbury Square attacked one John Ross, from whom they took away a hat value five shillings, and fourpence halfpenny in money. This man, it seems, lived the very next door to the gin-shop where they frequented. Going there the next day, to make complaint, he was immediately told that the people who had robbed him had sold his hat, and were coming thither by and by to drink the money out in gin. Upon this information Ross procured proper assistance, and the people keeping their appointment pretty exactly, were all surprised and taken.

In the confusion they were under when first apprehended, Minsham and Sanders in part owned the fact, but Rowland Jones making a full and frank discovery, was accepted as an evidence, and produced against them at their trial at the ensuing sessions at the Old Bailey, where, upon full evidence, they were all convicted of this fact, and Francis Sanders, Constance Buckle, and Robert Tyler, were indicted for assaulting Richard Smith on the highway, putting him in fear, and taking from him a hat value five shillings.

Rowland Jones, the evidence, deposed that the night the robbery was committed he was in company with the prisoners at a brandy shop, where having drunk until they were all pretty much elevated, they went out in order to see what they could pick up. And not far from the place they went from, overtaking a man whom they saw had a pretty good hat on, Sanders hit him a blow in the face, and that not doing the business, he repeated it, and at the second blow, the hat fell off from his head, whereupon Constance Buckle caught it and clapped it under her coat. The constable deposed that by the information of Rowland Jones, he apprehended the prisoners. Constance Buckle acknowledged that she was in their company when the man was knocked down and the hat taken, whereupon the jury, without withdrawing, found them guilty, and they received sentence of death.

The woman Constance Buckle pleaded her being with child, and a jury of matrons being impannelled, they found she was quick, and thereby procured her a respite of execution, and soon after her sentence was changed to transportation. The rest, under conviction, behaved themselves very indifferently, and manifested sufficiently that though custom and an evil disposition might make them bold in the commission of robberies, yet when death looked them steadily and unavoidably in the face, all that resolution forsook them, and in their last moments they behaved with all the appearances of terror which are usually seen in souls just awakened to a due sense of their guilt. They died on the 23rd of December, 1730; White being eighteen, Sanders near eighteen, and Minsham sixteen years of age.



INDEX

Abergavenny Acton Common African Company, the Royal Allen, a felon Alnwick Amesbury Amlow, Squire Amsterdam Anderson, Thomas, a thief Andover Angier, Humphrey, a highwayman Annesley, Mr., his Murder Ansell, James, a deer-stealer Apparition, of a murdered woman Appeals, nature of Applebee, a footpad Apprehension, of offenders Armstrong, Samuel, a housebreaker Artillery Ground Aruba Island Ashby, Joseph Ashley, Isaac Aspley, Mr. Fluellen Audley, Lord Austin, John, a footpad Avery, Captain, a pirate

Bagshot Heath Bailey, Francis, a highwayman Ball, Thomas Baltic, expedition to Barcelona Barnham, a cheat Barton, John, a robber William, a highwayman Barwick, William, a murderer Bath Beezely, Mr., a distiller Bellamy, Martin, a thief Belsize Bennett, an apprentice Benson, Edward, a thief F., a thief Timothy, a highwayman Berry, Thomas Bess, Edgeworth, see Lion, Elizabeth Belts Beverley Bewle, John Bicester Biddisford, a deer-stealer Bigg, Jepthah, an incendiary Billers, Sir William Billings, Thomas, a murderer Bird, Dick James Bishopsgate Street Bishop Stortford Black Act, the Blacket, Frances, alias Mary, a highwaywoman Blackheath Black Mary, see Rawlins, Mary. Blake, Joseph, alias Blueskin, a highwayman Robert, a coiner Blewit, William Bloomsbury Market Blueskin (see Blake) Blunt, a corporal Bohemia Bond Street Booty, James, a ravisher Boston, New England Bourn, William, a thief Bow Bradley, a baker Thomas, a street-robber Bradshaw, John, a pirate Bramston, William Branch, Benjamin Brentford Bridewell Bridges, William Brightwell, the brothers Brinsden, Matthias, a murderer Bristol Mail, robbery of Britton, Hannah Brixton Broom, Thomas Brown, a thief Edward, a footpad Brownsworth, George Buckle, Constance, a strumpet Burden, Thomas, a robber Burgess, Jonah Burglary, laws concerning Burk, William, a footpad Burnet, Stephen, a street-robber Burning alive, a capital punishment Burnworth, Edward, alias Frazier Burridge, William, a highwayman Burton, a shoplift Bushey Heath Butler, James, a highwayman Butlock, Thomas, a thief Byng, Admiral

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