Robert Brownjohn, Theft > extortion, 13th January 1738.

Reference Number: t17380113-1
Offence: Theft > extortion
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

1. Robert Brownjohn , otherwise Briggenshaw Brownjohn , was indicted, for that he being a Person of evil Disposition, and greedy of Lucre, &c. after the 24th of June, 1723, viz. on the 7th of Jan . last, knowingly, unlawfully, &c. did send to John Bell , Hosier , in the Parish of Alhallows, Lombard-street, a certain Letter without a Name, directed to the said, Bell, Merchant, in Lombard street, London, demanding the Sum of One Hundred Guineas; and containing divers Threats of the Life of the said Bell, if the said Money should not be sent according to the Demands of the said Letter, to the great Damage of the said Bell, and evil Example of others offending, &c. And the Jurors farther present, that afterwards, viz. on the 8th of Jan. the said Brownjohn, knowingly, unlawfully, &c. did send one other Letter, directed to the said Bell, demanding Money, and containing Threats as aforesaid, if the Money was not sent according to the Demand of the said Letter .

- Durham. Last Saturday, about 2 o'Clock, the Prisoner sent a Letter by me, from Iron Gate, by the Tower, directed to Merchant Bell, in Lombard street ; I carried it, and delivered it to him: Mr. Bell asked me who I had the Letter from, and I described the Prisoner to him as well as I could; he did not acquaint me with the Contents of the Letter, nor do I know of any other but this.

Samuel Fog . This is the Letter that the Witness ( Durham ) brought to my Master last Saturday in the Afternoon; it was deliver'd to me, and I gave it to Mr. Bell.

To Mr. Bell, Merchant, in Lombard-street. These.

SIR, Saturday, Jan. 7, 1737.

'' WE are four Persons who are now under a '' Cloud, and are forced to raise a Sum '' of Money, which we are not able to do, so '' that our Interest is at Stake, and our Families '' are like to come to Shame; for which Reason '' we are forced to use this Method, and borrow '' Money of you, and we know a small Sum will '' be no Detriment to you, till we are able to pay '' you again; therefore we desire you to lend us '' an Hundred Guineas, which shall be paid you again

'' in twelve Months, with the Interest thereof; '' and in so doing you will oblige,

Yours, Unknown.

'' P. S. This Secret we command you not to '' divulge, upon Pain of Death, to neither Friend '' nor Foe: If we know you make Enquiry after '' us to betray us, (which is impossible) you shall '' never be safe at Home or abroad, for your '' whole Interest shall never satisfy us, if any one '' of us should come to Trouble on your Account, '' neither will we be denied the Money; so we leave '' you to consider, whether you love your Life, '' or your Money best. We must have it in this '' Manner; put 100 Guineas into a large Hat-box, '' stuffed with Straw or Hay, and directed '' to John James Stokes , to be left at the Sign of '' the Crown on Tower-Hill, near Iron-Gate, till '' called for. It must be left at four o'Clock, and '' we desire it may be sent; so we remain

Your obliged Servants,

UNKNOWN.

Fog. There was another Letter came on Sunday Night; this Man (Hunt) delivered it, and said he had it from a Sailor: When we took the Prisoner, the second Letter was produced, and shewn him; and he owned the Writing both of that and the former, and said, the Persons that brought them were Innocent. This Confession he made at the White-Hart Alehouse in Grace-church street; and he told us, that he had been under so many Troubles and Misfortunes, that he was weary of his Life, and was as willing to die as to live.

The Second LETTER.

For Mr. BELL, Merchant, in Lombard-street.

Mr. BELL, Sunday, Jan. 8, 1737.

'' WE wrote a very conformable Letter to '' you Yesterday, and have received no '' Answer; now we want the Money, and resolve '' to have it by the Bearer, or else your '' Life the first Opportunity. One of us went to '' the Waterman that brought the first Letter, '' and he says you was inquisitive after the Persons '' who sent it. It will be impossible to take '' but one of us, and they that are left will be '' revenged on you the first Opportunity, by Night '' or by Day. We are resolute, and value not '' Life, so desire you to send the Money, and '' with a faithful Promise never to divulge the '' Secret.

'' P.S. Sir, We have as many Ways to keep '' clear of you, as you can think of, to betray '' us, for you are not the first Person we have '' borrowed Money of, the same Way. Let it '' be put in something that the Bearer may not '' apprehend what it is.

- Hunt. On Saturday Night last he came to an Alehouse where I lodge, (Mr. Read's, the King's Head, on Tower-Hill) and he staid there all Night; before he went to Bed he wrote a Letter to his Sweetheart, and desired me to carry it to her three or four Doors from the House; I did so, and she sent him Word that she was engaged, and would not answer his Letter. After this the Prisoner was very merry, and bought Oysters to treat the People of the House. The next Day (Sunday) he call'd for Pen, Ink, and Paper, and went up Stairs, and wrote a Letter, which he gave me, and desired me to carry it to Mr. Bell, a Stocking Merchant, and he would pay me. I went, but Mr. Bell was not at Home, and the Prisoner having ordered me to deliver it into his own Hand, I brought it back. The second Time I went, I found Mr. Bell at Home, so I delivered him the Letter. He asked me if I knew what was in it? I told him, I did not; upon this he read it to me, and I was very much surprized. Why, says he, you have brought me a Threatning Letter, and you must tell me who you had it from. I was afraid the Prisoner would run away, so I went with Mr. Bell to look for him, and found him at an Alehouse in Grace-church-street, where Mr. Bell shewed him the Letter he had received from me, he owned he wrote it, and sent it by me, and acknowledged likewise his writing the Letter which Mr. Bell had received the Day before. This is the very same Letter which the Prisoner gave me to carry to Mr. Bell on Sunday.

William Hose . The Constable and I, and another Man, went to the White Hart Alehouse, and found the Prisoner: I heard him own his sending the last Letter.

- Budge. I was at the apprehending the Prisoner at the White Hart Alehouse. The last Letter was Shewn him by Mr. Fream; he own'd he wrote it, and sent it by Hunt. He confess'd he sent the first likewise, and that they were Demands for Money to be sent to Iron-Gate.

Capt. Penhallow, and Alexander Englise gave an Account of the Prisoner's Good behaviour during a Voyage from Virginia to London, where the Prisoner arriv'd Nov. 5. last.

Matthew Sheppard , Henry Scadding , Ralph Celiard , William Brown , Richard Manning , Mary Nutting , John Bunyan , Elizabeth Brown-john , and the Prisoner's Father and Mother gave him a good Character. Guilty . Death .


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