THE ORDINARY of NEWGATE, His ACCOUNT of the Behaviour, Confession, and Dying Words, OF THE MALEFACTORS, Who were Executed at TYBURN, On WEDNESDAY the 16th of September, 1741.
THE ORDINARY of NEWGATE, His ACCOUNT of the Behaviour, Confession, &c.
AT the King's Commission of Oyer and Terminer, and Goal-Delivery of Newgate, held (before the Rt. Hon . Daniel Lambert, Esq ; Lord-Mayor of the City of London ; the Rt. Hon. Lord Chief Justice Willes, the Hon . Sir John Strange, Knt . Recorder of the City of London ; the Worshipful Mr. Serjeant Urlin, Deputy-Recorder; and others his Majesty's Justices for the said City, and Justices of Goal-Delivery of Newgate, and County of Middlesex) at Justice-Hall in the Old Bailey, on Friday, Saturday, and Monday, the 28th, 29th, and 31st of August, and Tuesday, the 1st of September, 1741, and, in the Fifteenth Year of His Majesty's Reign.
Four Men, viz James Hall, John Stevens, alias Henry Cook, Joseph Hudson, and Patrick Bourn; and three Women, viz. Mary White, alias Shays, or Shields, alias Ryan, Mary Harris, alias Murphey, and Elizabeth Hardy, were by the Jury found guilty of capital Crimes and received Sentence of Death.
While under Sentence, the great Evil of Theft was exposed and laid open to them, and they were earnestly exhorted to turn their Hearts, and fervently to implore the Favour, the Forgiveness, and the Protection of an all-merciful, omnipotent, all-gracious God, who will, when the Wicked turneth away from the Wickedness he hath committed, and doth that which is lawful and right, save their Souls alive. When the Body is but Dust, the never dying Soul still exists, and immediately Experiences such endless Torment, or such eternal Happiness, as is beyond the Power of Man to describe, surely then, no Time should be lost, no Pains should be spared to endeavour the saving that precious Part, for what can a Man give in exchange for his Soul.
They were desired to consider from what they fallen, from a State of Grace and Favour with God, into a labyrinth of Sin and Misery, and that therefore, 'twas highly necessary for them to improve the few remaining Moments of their Time to the best Advantage, since upon this, depended their eternal Happiness, or eternal Misery, in a future State.
While these and such like Instructions and Advices were given them, they seemed to behave in a Maner becoming their State. James Hall, (whose Confessions are published in a seperate Speech, he dying by himself) John Stevens, alias Henry Cooke, (while he was capable to come up) Joseph Hudson, Mary White, alias Shays, or Shields,
alias Ryan, Mary Harris, alias Murphey, regularly attended in Chappel, and seem'd very attentive and willing to be instructed, Patrick Bourn was so grosly ignorant of Religion (though he professed the Romish Way) that he would neither join in the Prayers, nor receive any Instructions, but lay constantly in his Cell, much discomposed, and crying out in a strange manner. Elizabeth Hardy, a poor friendless young Woman, could hardly move, incessantly crying out with Pain, having been brought to Bed in Newgate but two Days before her Tryal; I visited her pretty often, and she was very desirous of Prayers and Instructions.
John Stevens alias Henry Cook, of Stoke-Newington, was indicted for assaulting Mr. John Zachary, on the King's Highway, putting him in Fear, &c. and taking from him a Gold Watch, value 12 l. a Gelding of Sorrel Colour, value 10 l. a Saddle, value 20 s. a Bridle, value 3 s. a Whip, value 6 s. a pair of Gloves, value 2 d. and two Guineas, the Goods and Money of the said Mr. Zachary, July 17.
The Prisoner standing mute, and the Court ask-King him the Reason, he replied, a considerable Sum of Money was taken from him when apprehended, and he would not plead till it was restored; they then order'd that Part of the Act of Parliament to be read to him, where 'tis expresly declar'd, that the Money taken upon a Highwayman shall be divided among the Captors, but if he be acquitted it shall be restored.
The Prisoner notwithstanding continuing obstinate, then the Court informed him of the Consequence of his persisting, but he still appearing unconcern'd, the following Sentence was read to him, viz.
" That he be sent back to the Prison from " whence he came, and there laid in a dark mean " Room, stopt from Light, his Back on the bare " Ground, and nothing upon him save something " to cover his Nakedness. That his Arm shall " be stretch'd with a Cord fasten'd to one Corner " of the Room, and his Leg to another, and his " other Arm and Leg shall be serv'd in the same " manner. Then shall be laid on his Body Iron " and Stone as much as he can bear and more.
" The next Day he shall have three Morsels " of Barley Bread without Drink, and the Day " after he shall drink as much of the Water next " the Prison Door, except it be running Water, " as he can drink at three several Yimes, and this " shall be his Diet till he die.
Necessary Orders being given, and the Executioner sent for to perform the usual Office of tying the Prisoner's Thumbs, before the Execution of the Sentence, the Prisoner pleaded not Guilty.
1. John Stephens alias Henry Cook, which last was his true Name, was 27 Years of Age, and came of honest respected Parents, had good Education at School, to Read, Write, and cast Accompts, for Business, and was instructed in Christian Principles. When of Age he was put Apprentice to a Shoemaker , and served his Time faithfully, honestly, and to the Satisfaction of his Master.
When out of his Time he lived well as a Jourman , and wanted for nothing. After some Time he set up in Stratford by Bow, where he had a good Trade, and might have done very well, had he been sober and attended his Business; but being inclined to Idleness, and to bad Company, he was soon brought to Destruction. He married a virtuous industrious Woman, by whom he had four Children now living, who is now with her young Infants thrown upon her Parents; she daily came to the Gate at Newgate to wait upon him, when she could be admitted, and to supply him with the Necessaries of Life.
Three or four Years ago he became so very vicious and extravagant, and brought himself into such a Habit of Idleness, that he could not attend any Business, the Consequence of which was the contracting so many Debts and Incumbrances that he could not stir abroad for fear of Officers; so that having no Subsistence for himself and Family, he turn'd out on the Roads, which he infested 'tis said for two or three Years, tho' he would not acknowledge his following this sinful Way of Life above fourteen or fifteen Months, or a little more.
At his first setting out in this Business, the chief of his Robberies were committed in the Essex and Middlesex Roads, and near his own Habitation; 'twas supposed it was he who shot Mr. Cruikshanks the Barber at Stratford sometime ago, but he absolutely denied that he was the Person, or that he ever committed any Murder in his Life.
A Journeyman of his for some Time robbed with him, but one Day as he was looking for his Prey, he perceived at some Distance a Coach, in which was a Gentleman and some Ladies, the Gentleman before he came up to the Coach, suspecting him to be a Highwayman, bid the Ladies not be afraid and he would take Care of him; accordingly the Gentleman got into the
Basket behind the Coach, and as soon as the Fellow came up and stopt the Coach, and bid the Ladies deliver their Watches, Money, &c. he shot him with a Blunderbuss into the Body, of which Wound he languished till the next Day and then died.
Cook who stood at some Distance, perceiving the Fate of his Partner made off, and after this robb'd by himself, sometimes in Berkshire, sometimes in Surry or Essex, and other neighbouring Counties, but his main Resort was about his own Home, where he was best acquainted; he attack'd either Coaches, Chaises or Horsemen, 'twas equally the same to him, where he thought there was a Booty and he was a Match for 'em, he has committed an innumerable Sight of Robberies, more than an hundred, as he owned in Newgate.
In October Sessions 1740, he was indicted by the Name of Henry Cooke, of Finchley, for assaulting James Thomason, on the King's Highway, putting him in Fear, and taking from him a Mare of a Bay Colour, Value eight Pounds, the Property of William Davis, a pair of Silver Buckles, Value 5 s. a Half Guinea, and 5 s. 6 d. in Money, the Goods and Money of James Thomason, September 29, tho' nobody doubted his being guilty of this Robbery, two Brace of loaded Pistols being found in his Pockets, a Hanger concealed under his Coat, and taken on the very Mare he stole; yet, by an artful Defence he got off; he pleading on his Trial that he found the Mare on the Common, turn'd loose with a Bridle and Saddle, and not knowing whose Property she was, had taken Care of her, till seeing her advertised in the News Paper, he was going that very Afternoon to carry her Home, when those Persons came in Sight who pursued him, whom he took for Bailiffs, which made him ride away so fast from 'em, and that he carried those Arms about him, to protect him from being Arrested; this Defence, and some Persons he had got to appear to his Character had so much Weight with a tender Jury, that they acquitted him.
He acknowledged the Robbery he died for, and that he took from Mr. Zachary all the Things mentioned in the Indictment. Not long ago, he said, he robb'd a Gentleman in a Chaise on Highgate-Hill, whom he shot at and wounded very much, though not mortally, for not delivering readily his Watch, Money, &c. The last Robbery he committed was upon a Gentleman in Hackney Marsh, from whom he took two Guineas, his Watch, and some other Things, and some little Time after this, coming to Town, was seen, and dogg'd by one Martha Underwood, till he was taken and committed to Newgate.
'Twas very remarkable, that notwithstanding the many Robberies he had committed, and five Watches being found upon him, yet there was not one Bill of Indictment preferred against, but this he died for. He confessed the Design of breaking Goal with Hall, and said, 'twas pretended they were to have a Bag of 800 l. to go to Jamaica, and live like Gentlemen, two charged Pistols were found upon Cook, and a Hanger upon Hall, and lucky it was that the Discovery was made to the Keeper in Time, or in all likelyhood there would have been Murder committed; the Butcher who brought the Implements for their intended Escape, was taken and confin'd in the Condemn'd Hold, where he now lies in a poor Condition.
Cook behav'd well and professed Penitence while under Sentence, but after sometime turning very sick, he wept pretty much, was dishearten'd, and afraid to die, his ness increased so much upon him, that he was light-headed and knew nobody. But before his Execution, he grew better, and was desirous of Prayers and Instructions. He believed in Christ, repented of his Sins, and died in Peace with all Men.
Joseph Hudson, 24 Years of Age, was born of mean Parents in Gray's Inn-Lane, and was educated at some Publick School to read, write, and cast Accompts, and was instructed in the Christian Religion; his Father died and left him young to the Care of his Mother, a poor old Woman who could do but little for him, for he was of no Trade, but did any Sort of Country-work, either in the Fields in the Time of Harvest, or about Stables , but for the most Part, he served Carters , and when got Money would always assist his Mother. One of his Masters for whom he had fre
quently worked, came to see him when under Sentence, and gave him the Character of an honest faithful Servant. He denied his ever being guilty of any other Thefts or Robberies, but owned the stealing of Joshua Thompson's Horse.
He was convicted on the Evidence of Richard George Gregory, an Accomplice in this Fact, while Hudson was stealing the Horse, Gregory stood Stag, which is a Cant Word for watching if any Body came by. He sold the Horse to a Collar-maker for 7 s. 6 d. who knocked him on the Head for Meat for the Dogs, and he gave Gregory the Evidence 6 d. for his Pains.
While under Sentence he behaved well, came constantly to Chapel, complied devoutly with the Prayers, and was very attentive. He was poor and naked, had no Body to come after him but his poor old afflicted Mother. He believed in Christ our only Saviour, repented of his Sins, and forgave all Men, as he expected Forgiveness from God.
Patrick Bourn of Hampstead, was indicted for breaking and entring the Dwelling-house of Richard Haly, and stealing a pair of Silver Spurs, value 15 s a Watch with the outside and inside Cases made of Silver, value 3 l. a Guinea and 22 s. the Goods and Money of the said Haly, July 2.
3. Patrick Bourn was 24 Years of Age, came of mean Parents in Ireland, who gave him no Education. When of Age he was not put to any Trade, but did such Work as he could get to do, and lived as he could in a very low Way. Having forfeited his Character on some Account in Ireland some few Years ago he came to London, and became a Labourer to Masons, Bricklayers, &c . and after that Manner made a Shift to live, and while he had any Reputation or Honesty, was employed to work and do Business for a good many; but loosing his Character by his vile Ways he lost all his Business, and no Body would employ him, and getting into a Gang of Thieves and Whores about the Town, he soon learn'd their Ways of House-breaking, Stealing, &c. which it is presumed he was no great Stranger to in his own Country. He never came up to Chapel above 2 or 3 Times, and then was sullen and morose, wou'd neither be pray'd for nor hear Instructions; but incessantly rav'd for a Priest! a Priest! let him but have a Priest and he cared not how soon he was to die. Notwithstanding which, he was wholly ignorant of Religion, tho 'twas imagined his Desire for a Priest might be from a Notion that his Absolution would wipe away all his Sins; but be that as it may, he was tho' sick a part of the Time and confin'd to his Cell, incessantly raving for a Priest. He own'd the breaking open Mr. Haly's House, and that he took the Bureau out of the Kitchen, carried it into the Fields there broke it, and took out 44 s then return'd to the House, and took the Silver Spurs and Watch out of another Room; he was well acquainted with Mr. Haly's House, having serv'd him in Harvest Time, but was discharg'd this Summer on Mr. Haly's suspecting his Honesty. He denied the being guilty of any other Robberies at Home or Abroad, and died in Peace with all Men.
Mary Harris, alias Murphey, and Arthur Murphey, of St. George the Martyr, were indicted for assaulting Hester Parker, in a certain Field and open Place near the King's Highway, putting her is Fear and taking from her a Linnen Frock, Value 2 s. a Linnen Cap, Value 4 d. and two Top-knots, Value 1 d. the Goods of the said Hester Parker, July 25. Arthur Murphey was acquitted, Mary Harris, alias Murphey, guilty Death.
4. Mary Harris, alias Murphey, was but 27 Years, though so disguised by Dress and Constitution, she look'd rather to be near 50; her Father was a Farmer in the Country, but falling to decay, she was obliged to go out to Service , and liv'd in several Places honestly, and with good Credit; but thinking to better herself, and advance her Wages, she came about 8 Years ago to London, and serv'd in several good Families with Reputation, her last Service was at a Taylors , where she became acquainted with an Irishman, one Arthur Murphey, who was a Journeyman and Foreman in the House, they contracted so close a Familiarity, together, that Mary was turn'd away, and went to live by herself, Arthur still keeping her Company, till at last they lived together as Man and Wife , and she was called Mrs. Murphey. Arthur being very much addicted to drink
ing, soon brought Mary into the same Habit, which kept 'em miserably Poor, for they made away with every Thing for drink. Arthur Murphey being a very idle Fellow, not willing to work, and she wanting Money of him, he bid her go steal, which wicked Advice she was too ready to comply with, and according went and stole a Hat, and brought it to him, which he immediately sold, and they spent the Money. She had one Child by him which is now dead. She was always a sober honest Body before she engaged in bad Company, but then turned a meer Reprobate, and was capable of doing any wicked Thing, as appears by the Fact for which she died.
July 25 last, Mary Harris, about five in the Afternoon, met Hester Parker, in Bond-Stables, Fetter Lane, and carried her into the Fields to a bye Place by a Ditch, and pull'd off the Things mentioned in the Indictment, and on the Childs offering to cry, held up a sharp Knife threatning to rip her up if she made any Noise, after taking the Things from her, which the Child cry'd bitterly at the parting with, she began to flatter her, and asked if she would have a Plumb Cake or a plain one, and making as if she went for a Cake, left the Child, a Gentleman coming by, help'd her from the Ditch, and two little Girls went Home with her. The Child when she came Home gave her Father so distinct an Account of the Robbery, that he was determined if possible, to find out the Criminals, and accordingly enquired at all the Lodging Houses he could find. He tried if the Child could recollect any of the Streets the Prisoner carried her through, she remember'd Chancery Lane by the Trees, and Grays Inn Lane, and so on till she brought her Father to the Place where the Fact was committed. On a strict Enquiry at last, they found Mary Harris at the Castle Alehouse in Bloomsbury, and by her Direction took Arthur Murphey from his Master's Shopboard where he was at Work. The Money they got for the Child's Things amounted to no more than 2 s. which they immediately spent in Drink.
This Crime of robbing and stripping young Children, is justly punish'd with the greatest Severity, for how often has it been attended with the most dismal Consequences, a favourite Child being in this manner taken away, has perhaps been the Loss of a Parents Senses or Life. Other Times perhaps the Child by being left all Night almost naked by these barbarous Wretches in the Fields, has lost its Life.
Mary Harris was penitent, and when the greatness of the Crime was exposed, she wept most bitterly, as she had often done before, and declar'd herself truly penitent; she turn'd so blind with the Damp of the Cells, being almost naked, that she could not see to read one Word. She believ'd in Christ, repented of her Sins, and died in Peace with all the World.
At the Place of EXECUTION.
ELIZABETH HARDY being graciously Reprieved, the remaining four Criminals, after attending at Chapel, between 6 and 7 o'Clock, about 8 and 9 came down, and were put into two Carts; In the first Cart was John Hudson, with Mary Harris, alias Murphey, and in the second, was John Stephens, alias Henry Cooke, and Patrick Bourn, They all appeared very Serious and Devout, and with much fervency, implored Almighty God for Pardon and Forgiveness for their manifold Sins. Cook had been very ill, but was pretty well recovered, though he look'd dismally pale and sickish, as though he were half dead, yet answered very distinctly to all Questions that were put, among other Questions, he was ask'd, if he robb'd Mr. William Wittal, who lives at Totteridge, the 12th of November last, of a Gelding, a Guinea, and some other small Things, which he denied, affirming, that he had never so much as heard of that Robbery; being asked if he had any farther Confessions to make, he replied, he had already declared all he had to say. John Hudson declar'd he had never been guilty of any other Felony, but the stealing the Horse for which he suffer'd. Patrick Bourn still kept in the same Tone as before, making much Noise, so that I was obliged to desire him not to disturb the rest, after which he grew a little more Calm, and died a rigid Pa
pist. Mary Harris alias Murphey, was almost dead before she was turn'd off, trembling and shaking to a great Degree, very naked, and in a most miserable Condition, she had nothing to add to her former Confessions. They all join'd heartily in the Prayers and singing of Psalms, and went off crying to God to have Mercy on them, and to the Lord Jesus to receive their Spirits.
This is all the Account given by me.
Ordinary of Newgate .
THE following is the exact Account, how I first met with COOK the Highwayman, and in what Manner I dodg'd and pursued him, Step by Step, till he was taken up, and committed to Newgate.
I am, SIR, Your humble Servant,
GOING along Cheapside, about Six in the Morning, I met Cook just at Bow Church; at first Sight of him I was greatly surprized, and started. Surely, said I to myself, it is him! However, I am determined, if I am not mistaken, and it is he, to follow, and see where he goes. Accordingly I crossed the Way, and took another View of him, and was convinced he was The Man. I crossed again, and followed him close, and had a great Inclination to seize him; but was fearful, no Person being nigh to assist me. When he came to Threadneedle-street End, he made a full Stop, to consider which Way he should go. As I was so close at his Heels, I was obliged to pass him, for Fear he should look back and know my Face; so went a little Way up Threadneedle-street, and after I had stood there a few Minutes, I found he went up Cornhill.
I then crossed the Why, and ran before him, still keeping my Eyes upon him, thinking that if he should come straight up, and not turn down any where, I might get some of my Acquaintance in Leadenhall Market to assist me in apprehending him; but he turned down Castle-Alley I immediately turned back and followed him, but lost Sight of him, which made me set up a Run, and I overtook him again in Bartholomew Lane, and followed him all along London Wall, into a paved Court that goes to Moorfields; he then turned up amongst the Brokers, and seeing two Porters standing still, I ran to 'em, and told 'em there was Cook the Highwayman, that I had dogg'd him a good Way, and how I came to know him, and begg'd they would assist me, and I would lay hold of him myself, and pull him down; but they made me no Answer, and while I was talking to them, he turn'd back again into Moorfields, and there I lost Sight of him, so that I directly left the Porters, and ran and overtook him again just at the Postern, and had liked to have run full upon him, but having a Glimpse of him, I ran up close to the Brick Wall, where I could see which Way he went, unperceiv'd by him; when he went forward I turn'd and followed him again, and thought to myself, if he did not begin to dodge me, it was now high Time for me to begin to dodge him; for it was the second Time of his seeing me, and perhaps if he saw me a third Time he would have a mistrust who I was, and what I was upon, and wou'd get away. He then turn'd down Hog-Lane, where I followed him, and kept close by the Sides of the Houses that he might not see me; he turn'd and look'd back several Times, but I kept my Eye upon him, and dodged him up into the Porches of the Houses; as I went along I inform'd several People who he was, but no
Body regarded me. When he came into Bishopsgate-street, I went on one Side of the Way, and he on the other. He turned into one Mr. Taylor's, who sells Fine Ale. When I saw him go in there, I thought to myself it was too far for me to go to Leadenhall to inform my Acquaintance, because he might get away in the mean Time; so I stopp'd at one Mr. Atterbury's, a Butcher, over-against the House where Cook was drinking, and asked him who kept that House? He told me one Mr. Taylor. I enquired if it was a House of good Credit? He asked me the Reason of that Question. I told him for no Harm to the Man of the House. I then asked him, if he had never read of one Cook, a Highwayman, in the News Papers, who robb'd on the Essex Road, and was reported to have murder'd a Barber? He told me, Yes, he had; then, says I, that was him you saw go into Mr. Taylor's. He asked me how I came to know him? I told him that I liv'd within 2 or 3 Doors of him, when he kept a Shoemaker and a Leather-cutter's Shop, [at one Mr. Grint's, a Butcher at Stratford] and also that he made me 2 or 3 Pair of Shoes. He then asked me, how long ago it was since he first set up? I told him about 6 or 7 Years. I said likewise, that last Lord-Mayor's Day I was in his Shop to buy a Pair of Shoes, but he had none that would fit me; that he himself would have taken Measure of me, but my Time would not permit me to stay. He asked me where I liv'd? I told him the Door this Side Mr. Jolly's, the Bird and Hand, and that I kept a Chandler's Shop there. He asked me how long I had liv'd at Stratford? Almost all my Lifetime, says I. I informed him that I had lived as a Servant both with Mr. Holms and Mr. Rogers, Poulterers in Stratford. He then went over the Way to a Cheesemonger, and acquainted him what I had been saying. Well, says the Cheesemonger, let her take him, if it is him. I told him so I would, and I would go in first and seize him, and pull him down; which was my real Design, if he would let either of his Men go and stand at the Door, and come in to my Assistance, as soon as I had seiz'd him and pull'd him down, but he made me no Answer; I told him he might lay hold of any Man upon Suspicion. I begun to be mad in my Mind, to see them so indifferent, and told him he deserved to be robb'd himself, when he would give no Assistance to take a Man, whom I was possitive to be Cook the Highwayman, and who had not only done a great many Robberies, but also, as it was reported, was in Company when Mr. Cruikshanks, the Barber, was murder'd between Mile End and Bow. The Cheesemonger making me no Answer, I turn'd and said to the Butcher, that if he would give an Eye to Cook, and if he saw him go out, watch which Way he went, I would go to Leadenhall and bring 2 or 3 Persons, who knew him as well as myself. When I came to Leadenhall, I went to the Rose and Crown, and told the People that I had dodg'd Cook into an Alehouse, and could take him. One of them said to me, Pho! Pho! you foolish Girl, don't meddle with him, for as you go often up and down the Road, you may be murdered; and another who was in Company said, what Business have you with Cook? I reply'd, shall a Man escape that has been guilty of so many Robberies, and of Murder too? No, indeed, he shall not, since there is such an Opportunity of taking him. I then went into the Market, thinking to get one to go along with me. There I saw one of my Master's Men, I told him that I had dodg'd Cook into an Alehouse, and if he would go along with me, he and I could take him. His Answer was, he could not stay. I then acquainted 2 or 3 more of it, they asked me indeed how far it was where he was drinking, and when I told 'em, they said it was too far for them to go.
Upon which I went to the Royal Exchange, and in the Way I had such a dread upon me, that I was hardly able to walk; if, thought I to myself, I should suffer a Man to escape (when it is in my Power to take him) who has been guilty of Robberies innumerable, as well as Murder, I should look upon myself in a Manner as guilty, of not only the very next Crime he should commit, but of every Crime he should hereafter commit, I will therefore immediately go and take him; accordingly I went forward, but when I came into Bishopsgate-street, I made a full Stop, and reason'd with myself thus. Why, said I, should I take away, or be the Cause of taking away a Man's Life, what Harm has he done to me? Yet again I reflected, 'tis not me who takes away his Life, 'tis the Law of the Land, and I do not do Justice to my Country, if I do not endeavour to take him, besides, he will have by far the Advantage of those poor sinful Souls, who are robb'd and murder'd, and sent out of the World with all their Sins to answer for, because he will have Time to repent, whereas they had none. Thus were my Thoughts in Confusion, 'till I came to Mr. Atterbury's the Butcher. Well, said I, I suppose he's gone, no, he replyed, he is still at Mr. Taylor's, and has wrote a Letter to a Gentleman at Haggestone, near Endfield. Well then, says I, now is the proper Time to go over and take him, before any of his Companions come, for I am told, there were 17 in the Gang when the Barber was kill'd, and if you'll assist me, I'll go and seize him directly; he had some dread upon him, and said, it was my best Way to go to the Constable, who was one Mr. Haines, and liv'd at the
Rose Alehouse; accordingly I went and staid 'till Mr. Haines got up, and told him, I wanted his Assistance to take Cook the Highwayman, or, the Devil in his Shape: While we were talking, in came Mr. Atterbury, who related to Mr. Haines, all I had said before, and told us, that Cook sat in the Right Hand Box near the Window, I advised 'em as they were Strangers to him, to go in and call for a Pint of Beer, and set as near him as possible, to prevent his having any Opportunity of making Use of his Pistols; I would have gone myself and seiz'd him, but was fearful he should know my Face, having seen me twice before, and so have attempted to fire his Pistols, but if I could have come cleverly at him, I would have stopp'd him from using 'em. Mr. Haines went directly to the House, and I went in immediately after, tho' before I came in, Mr. Haines had seized him, and ask'd me, if that was the Man, I told him Yes, that was the very Man Cook ask'd him, what he wanted with him? Mr. Haines said, I want to search you; search me if you will, says he, for I have nothing about me. By this Time Mr. Atterbury came in, when the Constable was searching his Left-side Pockets, but when he came to search his Right, he got up and made some Resistance, and said he should not search him. Mr. Haines replied, I insist on searching you, for I am charg'd with you as a Highwayman. Cook said again, he should not search him, standing up all the Time, Mr. Atterbury, who had a Broom in his Hand, held it up, and said, D-n your Blood! if you don't submit, I'll knock you down; be civil, and you shall be civilly us'd; then he suffer'd himself to be search'd, and they found on him five Watches, a green Purse with nine Guineas and a half, and 2 s. 6 d. in Silver, a Pocket-piece of an old Date, three Seals, a piece of a Silver hilted Sword, and some Pieces of Silver belonging to the Tops of Whips, the Name Pennyman, after he had search'd and found no Arms about him, I insisted on his taking him into Custody, till we could get farther Information from Stratford, for I was sure he was the very Man, and at the same Time I desired Mr. Taylor to keep his Doors fast and let in none but those he knew, for tho' he had no Arms, yet as he had sent a Letter, and it was reported when the Barber was kill'd, that there was a whole Gang of 'em, there might come some to his Assistance.
In the mean while I went to Justice Chandler's to wait till they could bring him thither, which was in about half an Hour, and Mr. Haines after telling the Justice the manner of my coming to him, and giving him Charge of Cook, produc'd the Watches which he had taken upon him, and which the Justice look'd carefully over, and examin'd the No. and Maker's Names, asking Cook how he came by 'em, who reply'd he was a Gentleman's Son who liv'd at Birmingham, and that he dealt in Watches, and his Name was John Stevens; being asked by the Justice how he came to bring those Watches to Town, he said, he did not bring 'em with 'em, but had bought 'em since at two Pawnbrokers. After the Justice had ask'd, and he had answer'd these Questions, I was called by his Worship to know what I had to say, when I related to him the manner of dgging him, how I knew him, and when I first became acquainted with him as related before. The Justice after asking me about several People at Stratford, and finding I gave him a good Account, he then desired to know what Cook had to say for himself; asking him if he could tell the Names of the Pawnbrokers he bought the Watches of, or could send for them, but Cook making a lame Excuse of leaving his Receipt at Home, and that he had forgot their Names; the Justice told him, shaking his Head, he believed indeed he did not know the Names of the People he had taken 'em off on the Road. While Cook was under Examination, News was brought that a Gentleman was without whose Nephew had been robb'd but last Friday, of his Watch, Money, Horse and Gloves; the Gentleman being brought in, and telling the Justice the No. of the Watch, and likewise the Account his Nephew had given of the Robbery, was desired to send for his Nephew, which he did, and the Moment Mr. Zachary came in and saw Cook, he said he was the Man who robb'd him of his Watch, Money, Horse, Gloves, Whip, Handkerchief, Bridle and Saddle: and that he threatned his Life, and told him when he robb'd him, his Name was Cook, that he was a Shoemaker of Stratford , and that D - n his Blood he would shoot him! Mr. Zachary told him he would give him all he had, and begg'd him not to use him ill. The Justice asked Mr. Zachary whether he was mask'd or unmask'd, he said unmask'd, and that he had advertised him in the publick Papers, describing his Person, as well as the Horse he had taken from him; on which the Justice wrote his Commitment to Newgate, where he was carried in a Coach by Mr. Haines and his Headborough, about Three o'Clock in the Afternoon, on Tuesday the 28th of July, when he was safely lodged, and carried over to the Master's Side; the first Thing he did was to cut the Gold Lace off his Hat, the Prisoners who were confin'd there, asking him the Reason of it, he reply'd, D-n me the People I used to rob will know me if I don't, because I generally robb'd in a Gold laced Hat.
On Thursday Evening, by Cook's Direction, Mr. Zachary with another Gentleman, went to a Publick House at Mims beyond Barnet, to fetch, the Horse that Cook had taken from him; the Man of the House inform'd 'em, that Cook frequently lay there, that he had no mistrust of his being a Highwayman, but took him to be a Smuggler; that he generally came in between 7 and 8 in the Evening, called for a Pint of Wine, and set publickly at the Door smoaking his Pipe till he went to Bed.
I HENRY COOK, aged 27 Years, was born in Houndsditch, of honest, reputable Parents, who still live there; my Father having a great Number of Children, at least 19 or 20, now but Eight living, all which he has handsomely brought up.
When I was of proper Age, I was put to School to a Gentleman in Sandy Court, near Houndsditch, with whom I continued, and was instructed, till I could write tollerable well, and had learnt Arithmetick, as far as the Rule of Three and Practice. My Father being in the Leather-Cutting Business , he instructed me in that Art, so far that I thought I was sufficiently qualified to act for myself. There being a Shoemaker's Shop to be lett at Stratford in Essex, my Father hearing thereof, at my Request immediately took it for me, stock'd it with Leather, and other Necessaries, for me to begin Trade; and at the same Time furnished me two Rooms with Goods.
Here I lived very well, and had good Business for about 2 Years; then I got acquainted with the eldest Daughter of one Joseph Alexander, Beadle of Stratford , to whom I have been married about 5 Years, which, with the additional Expence of three Children, by that Time, had reduced me to so low an Ebb, and involved me so much in Debt, that I could no longer stand my Ground, for fear of being Arrested. Where to go for Refuge I could not tell, my Father's in Houndsditch being an improper Place, on Account I had taken up Goods in his Name, of as many of his Dealers in London, as I could get to Credit me; at which my Father was very much displeased, as I did it without his Consent or Knowledge.
By this Time I had contracted an Intimacy with most of the loose and disorderly Sparks in and about Stratford, but particularly with one Y - g, an Apothecary, who then kept a Shop in Stratford, (now in London, near Monmouth-street.) With him, &c. of Nights, (after I had been secreted all Day for Fear of a Knap.) I used to go robbing of Gentlemens Fish Ponds, stealing Fowls, &c. till Mr. Monk, a Gentleman in the Neighbourhood, advertised two Guineas Reward for some Ducks he had lost, a also a Farrier in the Town half a Guinea, for some he had lost, &c. Being suspected by every Body to be guilty, and knowing myself so, I made up what Money I could, and retired to a Relation of mine, who keeps the Sign of the Rose and Crown, at Grays, down the River, where I was concealed about 2 Months. I diverted myself a-days in shooting of Rabits, &c. which was a good Pretence for my carrying a Gun, to secure myself from the Bailiffs, if they had scented where I was; not that I had any particular Malice against them, more than one who lives at the Foot of Bow Bridge, he having Actions against me, and protesting he would catch me, if I was above Ground, of which I was informed; whereupon I sent him Word to take Care of himself, for that I was provided with Pistols, &c. and that if he did not desist his Resolution in taking me, I would certainly make it my Business to lay wait for him, and blow his Brains out; of him I heard no more.
Two Months being gone, and my Money all spent, I was at a Loss what Course to steer; however I resolved to venture Home to my Wife again, which I did about Eleven o'Clock at Night, when to my inexpressible Surprize and Grief I found a certain Person in the House, which at that Time gave me great Uneasiness, tho' I have since reflected I had no great Occasion to be so, however the World must imagine it did not a little surprize and confound me; but as my Circumstances were then so bad, I was obliged to be silent, but determined never to live with her more, for a Constancy.
Not daring to go to my Fathers, I went to one R – S -, a Gardener in Shoreditch, who married one of my Sisters: He very kindly received me, telling me he had before heard of my bad Circumstances, and would do all in his Power to serve me, with whom I staid about six Weeks, in which Time I had prett well made even with my two Pounds ten Shillings; how, or which Way to get more, I was in a Consternation to
know, resolving not to go to my Wife again.
As I was walking over Moorfields one Day, I espied a Brace of second-hand Pistols at a Broker's Shop, which I cheapen'd, and bought for 7 s. 6 d. After I had provided myself with Powder, Balls and Flints, I return'd to my Sister's, where I dined, and soon after took my Leave, and went towards Newington; and a little on this Side the Town, I stopped a Man in the Dusk of the Evening, in the Foot Path, from whom I took 15 s. this being the first Robbery of that Kind I ever committed, the World must needs think it a little startled me.
From thence I turned off for Finchley Common, intending there to stop the first Man I met, rob and take his Horse from him; which, luckily for me, fell out just as I would have it. I had not been on the Common ten Minutes, before I met a Man well mounted, who was a going towards Coney Hatch, it being dark, I sat down on the Road Side till he came up with me; I then rushed up, and seized his Horse's Bridle, demanded him to dismount and deliver his Money: He at first spur'd his Horse and would have forced him over me; but upon my threatning to blow his Brains out, he surrendered both Horse and Money, desiring I would send his Horse to an Inn at St. Alban's, where three Guineas should be left for the Person who brought it. I promised him I would, but after I had rode him a little Way, I thought him of more Worth to keep for my Business, than return to the Owner.
I accordingly went forward that Night with my Horse and Booty, which was about 2 l. 15 s. to my Brother-in-Law, S - 's Mother, who kept an Alehouse the Side of Endfield Chase. Here I was kindly receiv'd, telling them I was obliged to fly for Debt, and must keep close that nobody must see me.
Here I tarried two Days, and as they kept a Publick House, I lived after a very extravagant Manner. From hence I went down the Chace to Forty-hill, from thence towards Tottenham, between which Place I stopped a Gentleman, from whom I took about 6 Pounds, went on to London, set up my Horse at an Inn in Bishopsgate-street, and went and staid all Night at my Brother S - 's, who was surprized to see me have so much Money, and strictly examined me how I came by it. I desired him to be silent, which he was. The next Morning I took my Leave, and went and bought a Pair of Boots, &c. After which I set out for St. Alban's, and just on this Side the Turnpike, I stopp'd the St. Alban's Stage Coach, from whence I took about 8 l.
At Night I returned to S - 's Mother at Enfield Chase, where I got the News Papers, upon Perusal of which, I found my Horse was advertised with a full Description, and three Guineas Reward, to have it paid by the Master of the White-Hart Inn at St. Alban's.
A few Days after I turned out again with an Intent to take the first sightly Horse I could meet on the Road, which happened that Night upon Hadly Common, where I overtook a Gentleman, as I then thought him to be, whom I robbed of about 4 l. and then exchanged Horses with him. He told me what he was and where heliv'd, which was at a Publick House near Moorgate, as well as I can remember.
A short Time after this, crossing the Country from Mims to St. Alban's, and being at the Bull at Mr. French's, one of the Passengers, an elderly Woman, who I had robbed in the Stage Coach, was in the Kitchen, where I at my alighting went. I recollected her Face the Minute I saw her, as I perceived she did mine, whereupon I directly ran to the Stable, and having saddled my Horse, I set out for Barnet.
On the Road I struck in with some Company who were coming the same Way, with whom I joined myself. We had not rode together a Mile, before one challenged my Horse to be advertised, and that it was taken at such a Time and Place by a Highwayman; and he knowing the Horse and Owner very well, demanded of me to give an Account of myself, and how I came by the Horse, which I soon would have done, but there being in Company seven or eight, all well mounted, and who, if I had either shot him or his Horse, would inevitably have taken me; I therefore told him I lived in London, but had bought the Horse a few Days before, of a Man at the Bell Inn at Edmonton, where, if he would go with me, he might be satisfied of the Truth of what I said, I thinking thereby to get him to go over Enfield Chase, by which Means, as it was out of the strait Road to London, I thought the rest of his Company would have kept on, which if they had, I intended to have given him his Friend's Horse to carry Home, and have taken his in the stead, with what Cash he had about him: But in this I was disappointed, by all the Company going with us.
When we came near the Bell, I was in a flutter to guess which was the best Method to disengage myself from my new Companions; when just as we all came to the Gateway of the said Inn, I clapt Spurs to my Horse, and turned down a Lane the Corner of the Inn, which came from Finchley Common. Their Horses being fresher than mine, very closely pursued me: I took to the Fields, and
made for a Wood, when I wanted to have got therein, but could not get my Horse to leap; in which Time Four Men came within twenty Yards of me; whereupon I turned about, and fired a Pistol at them, (which did no Damage) and demanded them to keep off; at which they stopped. I called out and told them, there was their Friend's Horse; so I quitted him, and ran into the Wood; by which Means, with the Darkness of the Evening, I then escaped.
After this miraculous Deliverance I went home, as I then called it, to my Brother-in-law S - 's, in Shoreditch, who judged something to be the matter with me, by the Confusion I appeared to be in. He taxed me hard with going on the Highway, but to no Purpose; I desired his Silence, or otherwise I must seek a new Lodging; after which Time, go or come when I would, he said nothing.
Here I continued a Week, or 9 Days, without doing any one Thing to get a Shilling, in which Time my Mony was near exausted, the major part of which, I spent in Bawdy-houses, in and about Shoreditch, when I determin'd upon Finchley Common, being the Place of Action; when I came there, I saunter'd some Time upon the Common, without doing any Business, being a little fearful from the narrow Escape I had the last Time I was out, I suffer'd several to pass by unmolested, 'till it was almost dark, when I espied an old Man poorly mounted with a Basket on his Arm coming towards me; he I thought might have been at London at Market, and able to replenish my empty Purse, I therefore prepared for an Attack, when he came up with me after the Word of Command, to stop and deliver, I dismounted him, he protesting for some time to have no more Money than 5 s. whereupon I search'd him, and found above four Guineas, I took both his Horse and Money tho' a poor one, mounted and was going to my old Lodging near the Chace, intending to do no more that Night, but before I got off the common, just at the End of the Road which leads to Finchley-Town, I met a Man going but easily along, I stop'd and rob'd him of some Silver, and his Silver Buckles, exchanged Horses, as his seemed much better than mine, and so I soon found and left him mine to carry him home, he had not got half way over the Common, before he met the old Market-Man, I had just before rob'd of both Horse and Money, the old Man thinking it was me, said I wish you good Night, and good Success, the other answer'd, I hope better than I have just now met with, the old Man perceiving it not to be me, tho' his Horse, desired the Man to dismount, telling him, that was his Horse, and if he did not immediately deliver it, he should charge him with the Robbery, the other began to D-n and swear, there was nothing but Thieves and Highwaymen upon the Road; however, he gave the old Man his Horse and walked home on Foot, to the Axe Inn, in Aldermanbury, he being Chamberlain, his Name was Thomason, who in a short Time after had my Life in his Power, as I shall soon relate; I directly proceeded from hence to my Lodging on the Chace, where I spent that Night and the next two Days in Booting and Carousing with my Acquaintance, a pretty many by that Time I had there, the third Day in the Morning, I sent for the News-Papers, wherein I found my Mare advertised with a full Description of her, I put the News-Papers in my Pocket, saddled my Mare and came for Finchley Common, in order to robb, and exchange my Nagg with the first Man I mett, and should like his; when I came within 500 Yards as near as I can guess of the Place I took the Mare and rob'd the Man, I to my Astonishment! was seiz'd by him and three more before I saw them; the first Salutation I met with was a Knock on the Head, which brought me to the Ground, when being surrounded by a Mob before I could recover, I was forced to submit; they immediately upon searching me, found a Brace of loaded Pistols, Powder and Bullets, a Silver Watch and some Money, I was directly carried before a Magistrate, who committed me to Newgate; but upon my requesting him, to return me my Money, he readily did, leaving my Watch (which was never own'd) and Pistols in the Custody of the Constable, a Person who liv'd about Finchley, and in October Sessions, 1740. I was Tryed at the Old-Bailey, for the said Offence, when by the Favourableness, of my then Prosecutor, in not Swearing I was the Man who robb'd him, altho' I was taken upon the Mare he lost, and I am well assured he could, had he been inclinable to it; I had nothing to say in my own Defence, but that I found the Mare turn'd up in the Road, and seeing the Advertisement which I then had about me, was bringing her Home, and as that was the first Time of my being call'd before a Court of Justice, my Father and Neighbours at Stratford, appeared in my Behalf, tho' I had my Landlady and four more from Enfield-Chace, to have swore if there had been a Necessity that I was at her House the Time the Robbery was committed, but as I was not positively swore to be the Man, I was discharged without their Assistance.
The very Day I was discharged I accompanied my Neighbours to Stratford, where for that Night we were very merry, they all hoping my narrow Escape would be a Warning to me for the future. I on my Part, promised to return to my Wife, and by my more than ordinary Diligence for the Time to come, to repair not only my Reputation, but my Circumstances; when we parted, they went to their seperate Homes, I to mine to my Wife, who was that Day Churched. The next Day I examin'd how Matters stood in the Shop and Book, which I found if possible, in a worse Condition than when I left them, by her lying in, and William Taylor the Man who managed Business , neglecting it in coming after me to Newgate, this I thought a poor Prospect, to perform my Promises in retrieving my Reputation and Circumstances. I examin'd the said Taylor, if there were any good Debts, which might be immediately collected, he reply'd not one as he knew of; how to act in this Case I knew not, whether to stand my Ground, or turn out again on the Road, when I resolved with myself to come to London, and purchase a Brace of second Hand Pistols, which when I had done, I thought I could have gone an Evening and robb'd betwixt my House and the Forrest, and return Home unsuspected, which I did for about a Fortnight, in which Time I had got and saved about 30 l. this I had a Thought of laying out in a Stock of Leather, &c. when consulting with the said William Taylor what was most wanting, and telling him what Sum I had to lay out, he freely told me how I came by it, and instead of adviseing me for the best as an honest Man, he reply'd, what signifies that Sum, lets go with you and make it ten Times as much, and then think of buying Leather.
This was no sooner by him proposed, than by me accepted, I well knowing from his former Scene of Life in Smuggling, that I could have no properer Person for a Companion; he and I came directly to London, where we equipt ourselves with what was wanting and necessary for Gentlemen of our Profession, as we then stiled ourselves; that Night we return'd Home to Stratford without doing any Thing; the next Day I and my Man, as he insisted I should call him, not only from being the Manager of my Business in the Shoemaking Way , but from my Experience and Seniority in our new Profession. Going as far as Rumford, &c. with an Intent, as it was my fixed Maxim, to stop the first Man we met on Horseback, rob and dismount him, till we were both mounted, then stop and rob both Coaches and Horsemen, till we came near Home, and then turn up our Horses.
The Sweets and Benefits arising from this new Profession, my Man Will soon found, for he wou'd often say when we had taken any Thing of a Booty, is not this better than Shoemaking Master? In this audacious Manner did we continue both Night and Morning, to stop most or all the Stage-Coaches, &c. on that Road, of which one Capt. Mawley, who had been before robb'd was appriz'd, he coming that Road in the Colchester Stage-Coach, had provided himself with Fire Arms, and conceal'd himself in the Basket behind the said Coach, in Expectation of our meeting 'em as usual. My Man Will and I had been out about two Hours before the Colchester Coach came by, in which Time we had stop'd and robb'd several that passed and repassed, of whom we could get no Horses, and knowing the said Coach was a coming, we agreed to take two Horses which were at Grass in a Field joining to the Road, having two Bridles, and one Saddle concealed in a Hedge near the Field, but before we could catch the said Horses, or either of them, we heard the Coach coming, when we left the Horses and ran to meet it, and just at Gallows Green we stopp'd it, I giving the Word of Command to stop, Will on the other Side demanding their Money, which he had no sooner done, than Capt. Mawley in the Basket behind shot him thro' the Head, upon which he dropp'd, which I seeing ran directly towards the Captain in the Basket, who saluted me with a Brace of Balls from a Pistol, which took me directly upon the right Shoulder, in which Hand my Pistol was, I being at some Distance, the Balls did not penetrate the Skin, only knocked me backwards, and numm'd it for the present; notwithstanding which I took up my Pistol in my left Hand, ran to the Captain, and would have shot him, but my Pistol missed Fire, by the Dirt getting in the Pan by the Fall; however I robb'd him of about 19 s. all in Silver, though I understand he denies loosing any Thing, however I declare it to be true, and as soon as I had done, I bid the Coachman drive on, which he did as fast as possible.
I looked at my Man Will, and saw he was just expiring, he had then about 7 l. in his Pocket, which we had taken that Morning and the over Night, and which I wanted to have taken from him, but the Mob coming, I jump'd over a Gate, and crossed the Fields towards Upton; but before I got there, it came in my Head to return Home, and as it was very early in the Morning, to go to Bed to prevent a Suspicion of my being concern'd with my Man Will-Taylor.
I had not crossed two Fields before I heard a Thousand People were alarmed with Will's being shot, and that I must certainly be the Man who was with him, and was escaped; however I ventured so near the Place as the other Side of the Hedge, where the Mob was gather'd, and carrying Will out of the Road. I had it still in my Head to go Home and to Bed, but some of the Mob called out, let's go and search Cook's Lodgings, at which saying, I thought it the most prudent Way to make of, which I did to the Sign of the L - and C - at N – G -.
Here I secreted myself about three Days, in which Time I lived in so extravagant a manner, as to spend 5 l by which I was well esteem'd there, and might have been secreted to this Day had I Money sufficient to have maintain'd me in the same Manner. Here I sent for my Brother-in-law S -, and desired he would go to Stratford and enquire how Matters stood there; he readily comply'd, and at his Return told me, the Justice had been so good as to let my Man Will be buried, in as decent a manner as the Money he had in his Pocket when shot would admit off; and that there was Warrants against me, and I should certainly be taken if I went near Stratford.
I promised him I would not, but on the contrary go to Sea, at which he was seemingly well pleased, and said, he would go to Doctor Y - in London, and try to get me some Money as he ow'd me, about 25 l which I had lent him when living at Stratford, my Brother used his Endeavours, but to no Purpose.
Whilst I was here it came in my Head to go in Pursuit of the Constable who had got my Watch and Pistols, since the Time of my being taken, who I had such a Spite and Hatred against, that I was determined if ever I met him to have his Life; but Providence directed to the contrary, for I never could hear what was become of him.
Going to Sea I thought a Hardship, especially for a Gentleman as I then thought I was entituled to by my Profession, and therefore resolved to continue as such, and revenge the Death of my poor Man Will, for whom I had a very great Regard and Esteem, not only from his Valour and Courage in the Profession of a Gentleman Collector, but for his civil Behaviour and good Nature, and had he not depended so much upon his Strength, his Reign might have been longer.
When upon the Road, he instead of clapping a Pistol to a Man's Breast, would often take a Man by the Collar, and once as he stopt a Gentleman's Servant near Burntwood upon his Resistance seeing no Pistol, they both tumbled from their Horses into a great Ditch, I stood looking on some Time, till the Gentleman's Servant was too many for Will, I came up and presented a Pistol, which soon ended the Dispute, from whom we took a Basket, wherein was a Pound or thereabouts of Hyson Tea, Sugar and Plumbs, &c. and several Pounds of Starch, this was a Present for a Lady, as several other Things had been before, that I had robb'd People of, all which she was thankful for, and willing to take, had there been a thousand Times as much, notwithstanding she well knew how I came by them.
Thus to revenge the Death of my poor Man Will, I provided myself with a good Nag, &c. went down to Rumford, in hopes of hearing there who was the Person that was in the Basket and shot Will, but could hear no further, than it was one Capt. Mawley of Colchester. I was at the Inn all Night when the whole Talk was about me, nothing but Cook was their Subject throughout the whole House.
The next Morning several setting out from that Inn for London, who had lain there, and at private Houses in the Town, among whom was a Gentleman I had a great Suspicion was my bitter Enemy, Mawley. I let the Coach go on about half an Hour, I then call'd for my Horse, after paying my Reckoning, the Landlord bidding me a good Morning, and a safe arrival in Town, hoping I should escape the noted Cook and his Gang, I thanked him, and set out after my prey, the Stage-Coach, wherein was gone the very Antidote of my Soul; I persued with a Resolution, not only to shoot the Man I suspected, but for a certainty all in the Coach, when I came up with them, my Soul was so full of Envy, Hatred and Malice against him, that I scarce could bid the Coachman stop without blowing his Brains out; when I came to the Door of the Coach, I demanded which was Capt. Mawley, who had shot my Companion, and endeavour'd the same to me, I told them, they who were not He, had better discover which he was, otherwise I would destroy them all; when a beautiful young Lady who was in the Coach, fell upon her Knees, imploring my Mercy, and protesting he was not there, as did all the rest the same; this instantly excited my Compassion, and moved me to Pity. As I always had, and professed a great Veneration for the Fair-Sex, I put up my Pistol, desiring the Gentlemen to be speedy in giving me their Money, &c. which they did to the amount of above 30 l. all I demanded of the Fair-one, was a kind Salute, which she readily complied with, with which I took my Leave, telling the Gentlemen if Capt. Mawley was amongst them, for him never to venture out withou,
Arms, for that I was resolved tho' at the Loss of my own Life, to have his, - and for that end, as well as to be revenged on some others, I went to London, sent for two old Companions in Vice, and Iniquity from Stratford, who had before wanted me to admit them into my Company; they no sooner receiv'd my Message, than they complied therewith, they having each an Acquaintance in London, who were hearty, stout Fellows, and would be glad to be admitted of the Society, which I readily consented to; they being short of Money, proposed going a Street-robbing, till they had raised a Bank sufficient to equip them for the Road; this I rejected, as being Generalissimo, and having the Command over them, by Seniority, and Election, after a short Debate, it was my Resolution to take the Road, which we all did, I having no Horse no more than they, Epping Forrest being the Place appointed, as I knew little or nothing of any other Road, except Finchley, about London, and beg that all the injured Part of the World who have been robb'd on any other round London, will believe the same; when I declare upon the Words of a dying Man, it's Truth. - My Men's Behaviour proved but indifferent, yet as I was in hopes by Experience they would improve, I continued them in the Society, 'till Friday before Christmas, when as we were coming towards Bow, from London, between Mile-end and the said Bow, we stopped a Coach, which was full of Children, as we suppose coming to Town to keep their Christmas; whilst I and two of my Men were robbing the Coach, the other two crossed the Road to the Footpath on the high Ground, where they stopped a Man, knocked him down, and by his Resistance, repeated their Blows in such a manner, that I cried out; for shame you Villains, don't kill the Man, which as I suppose he heard, cried out, for God Sake Mr. Cook don't murder me, I am your Neighbour, which by his Voice I knew to be Mr. Cruikshank's, of Stratford, I made all the Haste I possibly could, to prevent their Usage, but was too late, they had before done his Business; from whence, after a small Consultation at a Gate just by, we made the best of our Way for a Publick-house, near Hackneymarsh, where we stay'd all Night, and there we shared what we had got; the next Morning it was noised about that the Man was dead, which as he was a Neighbour, gave me great Uneasiness; I told the Villains who did it, what a horrid, barbarous Thing it was, at which they seemed little touched, upon which, together with some Difference, that arose about the sharing the Money, I left them, one of whom is since dead, as I have been informed, another gone to Sea, and the other two are now in or near London, whose Names and Occupation I must beg to be excused mentioning, as the Hand of Justice has not yet taken hold on them.
Here our Society disolved, I thereupon went to my old Friends, at the C - and L -, on N – G -, where I wrote two Letters, the one to a Lady, desiring to see her, the other to my Brother in Law S -, desiring to see him; the Lady immediately came to me, in hopes (as I soon found) I had got a Booty for her, of which, when she found herself disappointed, upbraided me with borrowing a Pair of Boots to rob in, and never to return any Thing for the Use thereof.
'Tis true, she had borrowed a Pair of Boots for me, and I had not return'd 'em, but that makes the old saying good, if you do 19 good Deeds, and don't do the 20th, the 19 are disregarded, which was the present Case with my fine Lady, who as she had sometimes been pertaker of my unlawful Gain, thought she always must. My Brother S - not being at Home, I soon dismissed my fine Lady, who was loth to part from me, before I made her a Present, I had no more then, than about 6 l. which was rather too small a Sum for me to part with any; However, I gave her a Guinea, with an absolute Promise of remitting her the first Money I collected; at which she seemed very well pleased, took her Leave, with a strict Charge to be mindful of my Promise in complying therewith, which I solemnly protested to do, which was only to please her till I was gone from her, for fear of her getting me charged with a Constable, as she had often threatened when I had forgot, either to send her, or had made little or no plunder.
From hence I proceeded to St. Albans, without attempting to do any Thing, having a deep Reflection of the horrid and barbarous Murder of Mr. Cruikshank's upon my Spirits; when I came to St. Albans being on Foot, I changed my Name to that of Wilson, and enquired at the Sign of the Golden Boot a Shoe-maker's Shop , for Business, she being an elderly Widow Woman, employed me, before I had been here three Weeks, the whole Town was in an Uproar about the taking of some Smugglers in the Town, I enquiring what was the Matter, some said they were in pursuit of Highwaymen, others of Smuglers; however, it so much startled me, that I thought it the most convenient Way to pack up my Necessaries and leave the Town.
From hence I went to Wooburn in Bedfordshire, between which Place and Bedford Town in the Road I was overtaken by a Countryman well mounted, the Bridle of whose Horse I laid hold of, presented a Pistol to him, demanded him to dismount and deliver his Money; he with a great Stick he had in his Hand struck at me, which Blow I received with my Arm, at which I gave the Bridle a Snatch, which brought my Countryman
down, notwithstanding which he resisted and had once like to have snatch'd my Pistol out of my Hand, but finding I was resolute and swearing I wou'd shoot him, he surrender'd both Money and Horse, which was to the amount of 50 l. but beg'd hard to have his Horse again, which was the principal Thing I wanted, so I mounted and road off telling the Countryman to sue the County, which I heard and saw in the News-Papers he did.
From hence, I went to Birmingham, where I put up at the Swan Inn, having about 40 l. and liking the Town I was determin'd to stay there some Time; in a few Days I sold my Horse for 10 Guineas tho' he was worth more, and never should have desired a better for my Business.
Here I took a Lodging, at a Publick House, having a Liking to my Landlord, who was a merry Companion, he and I talking about Trade and Business, thereby understanding I was a Shoemaker , he said, Mr. Stevens, (I then going by that Name) there is a Shop to be let over the Way, which will do for your Purpose; the next Day I took it and laid out most of my Money in Stocking it, and my Room, which when I had done, I was at a Loss for a House keeper, but that Piece of Furniture as well as any other I was soon provided with, whose Name was soon changed by all that knew her, from that of Molly Barrett, to that of Mrs. Stevens. Here I had a fair Prospect of doing well, and was encouraged and esteemed by all who knew me in the Town, but I and my new Wife as I then called her, minded the Gaiety and Pleasures of Life, in going from Place to Place to see Horse-racing and other Diversions, more than Business, 'till I had run and Raced away not only my ready Money, but my Stock in Trade, which put me in Mind of the old Saying, What is got over the Devil's Back, is spent under his Belly; and now to deceive the World in repairing my Circumstances to prevent any Suspicion of my being a Highway-man; I told my Spouse Mrs. Barrett, and the rest of my Acquaintance, that I had an old rich Aunt who liv'd in Herefordshire, and allow'd me sometimes a Hundred Pounds a Year, and sometimes more, which I received Quarterly, this every Body believ'd, I told of it. I thereupon prepared for my Journey, as they thought to Herefordshire, to my pretended Aunt, leaving Mrs. Molly my House keeper in Care of the Shop , telling her, I should return in a Fort-night or 3 Weeks; from hence to Northampton, I went in the Stage Coach, intending to visit my Lucky County of Bedford again, I stay'd here 2 Days in Hopes of meeting with an Opportunity to replenish my empty Pockets, when I was informed most of the London Dealers went the other Way, that is through Dun Church, with that, I set out for the same Place, where both Roads come into the main Chester Road; here I stop'd a Man, robb'd him of 16 l. and took his Horse, which was a very good one, with which Booty I thought to return to Birmingham, but being overtaken that Night, by a Manchester Dealer, at the Horseshoe-Inn , at Daintry, who was going in the Country to buy Goods, we going both to the same Inn, supp'd together of a boil'd Rabbit smother'd with Onions and a roasted Fowl, after Supper, we drank two or three Bowls of Punch, a Bottle of Wine and smoak'd several Pipes of Tobaccoe, I knowing who must smoke for it the next Day, I used all the Arts and Means I possibly could to found the Depth of his Pockets, which he was too close to let me that Night; the next Morning we breakfasted together, (as I had told him the over Night I would accompany him to Liverpool in Lancashire) set forward for Coventry, where at the White Bear we din'd, it being the Post House, as that was a fixed Rule with me to do, for the Benefit of the News-Papers. Here after Dinner we refreshed ourselves with a Bottle of Wine, and smoaked a Pipe 'till it was near 3 o'Clock in the Afternoon, whilst we was a drinking our Bottle after Dinner, I told my Fellow Traveller, it was a dangerous Road we had to pass that Evening, and therefore thought it very adviseable to conceal our Money in our Boots or some other secure Place; he at first refused, but upon seeing me put my Purse down my Boot, he drew out his Bag, which revived my drooping Spirits, my Wish was granted to a few Miles riding for Opportunity. He answer'd, and I will put mine down my Side-pocket, which he did; about 3 as I said before, we set forward intending to go that Night to Litchfield, we rode very lovingly 'till we came to a Place called Cookkows-Corner, which parts the Roads; here I told my Companion I was at my Journey's End, telling him he must draw to his Side-pocket directly for there was no Time to dispute his Answer was I really thought as much, and suspected it from the first Hour I came into your Company. I took his Bag wherein was contain'd (besides some Silver in his Pocket, which I left him to carry him to his Journey's End,) the Sum of 35 Guineas, besides his Watch, which I took, dismounted him and turn'd up his Horse; I should have taken him, but thought my own better, from hence I had not above 7 Miles to Birmingham, where I went that Night; my House-keeper was surprized to see me returned so soon, as was most of my Acquaintance, believing every Thing I had related about my Aunt was true; with this Cash, I restock'd my Shop, which by that Time look'd naked, and paid what
Debts I had contracted in the Town, which put me in the good Esteem of all who knew me there, soon after I sold my Horse for 6l. after this, I contracted a Friendship with one Mr. Insal, who was very Friendly, and told me when ever I wanted a Horse to ride out, he had one at my Service; accordingly, I made bold with a Mare of his the next Time I wanted to make a Visit to my pretended Aunt, leaving mine to ride when Occasion offer'd, for which I must now pay no less a Ransome than my Life.
This my so speedy leaving of Birmingham the second Time, was in some Measure owing to a London Dealer, who was there, enquiring who I was, and how long I had been there, which I did not greatly like. From whence I crossed the Country for London, just as Fancy led me, picking up what I could towards defraying travelling Charges, till I met Mr. Zachary, as he related on my Trial, (for the Particulars whereof I refer to the same) whose Testimony, as I am a dying Man, I declare to be true and just in every Particular.
After I had robbed this Gentleman, the same Night I visited my old Friend at the L - and C - on N – G -, who was very glad to see me. The next Day, having a Fancy to try my new Horse, I took a ride to Epping-Forrest, where I robbed a Man of 4 s. and his Watch. But he declaing he had not paid the Turnpike, I return'd him Sixpence, and then directed him to turn down a Lane which leads to Hackney Marsh; but before I was out of Sight, he turned about and came after me, which I perceiving, gave him the Meeting, and swore if he did not keep on his Road, I would blow his Brains out. His Answer was, that he was afraid I had directed him a wrong Road; I assured him of the contrary, and insisted on his Proceeding.
The said Gentleman's Watch is in the Hands of Mr. Haines the Constable, to whom if he applys, he may have it again. Being thus near Stratford, and finding myself well mounted, I was determined to ride through the Town, which I did, seeing several that I knew, and who knew me, to many of whom I spoke, as they did to me. At Night I returned to my Lodging, the C - and L -, where I sent for my Brother S -, who was not then at Home.
The next Morning I went to his House, but not soon enough to catch him at Home. I saw my Sister, his Wife, with whom I talked, and desired her to send her Husband to me at the C - and L -, when he came in: She thereupon gave me to understand, that somebody had given Information of my resorting to that House when about London, and advised me to leave it, which I accordingly did, and by her Directions went to one S -, a Relation of her Husband's, who keeps the Sign of the Badger at Mims Wash, where I was kindly received, upon letting them know who I was, and making use of their Names. Here I continued from Thursday to Sunday for my Brother-in-Law S -'s coming, which he then did; after some Talk, I told him that I had five Watches, which I begged he would take and secure for me. He then refused them, but told me if I would come on Tuesday, and send for him in the Neighbourhood, he would take them. When he was for going Home, I ordered my Horse to be got ready to accompany him, which I did as far as Finchley-Common, where we parted, and whilst we were a talking, a single Horse Chaise passed us for London, with two Men in it, which as soon as we had parted I pursu'd, and about the Red Lyon on Highgate Hill I overtook them, which being near the Houses, I desisted from stopping them there, but followed them thro' the Town and Turnpike till they came within a Hundred Yards of Whittington's Stone. I rode by them, and gave them the Meeting and Word of Command, which they were so far from complying with, that they whipt my Horse, and would have forced me into the Ditch; they kept whipping their own Horse, and went at a great Rate, notwithstanding which I got up with them a second Time, when I told them I certainly would blow the Brains of both of them out, if they made any further Resistance, which they not regarding, I fired and shot one through the Arm with a Brace of Balls, and would have served the other the same, had they not drove up to an Alehouse in the Road, the Sign of Old Mother Red Cap, and alarmed the People of the House by making a great Noise.
He that I shot has been to see me since my Commitment to Newgate, who informed me he belonged to the Custom-House, and had then 50 l, about him, which it I had then known I would have had, or his Life, or both, notwithstanding his Alarm. He says his Name is Baker, the other who was with him I understand was one Mr. Wagstaff, who keeps the Sign of the Lord Cobham's Head, near Islington Fields, who by his Behaviour, seemed to be very ready to give me his Money, but his Companion making Resistance was the sole Cause of his being shot.
Thus disappointed of my Booty, I returned to my Lodging at Mims, and staid there till Ten a Clock on Monday, then went for St. Alban's and came to London that Night by the Carravan, leaving my Pistols as well as Horse at Mims Wash, which was never before done by me to leave my Pistols.
On Monday Night the 17th of July, I lay at the Bell Inn in West Smithfield, and on Tuesday Morning the 28th, according to my Promise, I went to meet my Brother-in-Law S -, about my five Watches; and the Reason of my going down Cheapside from Smithfield to Norton Folgate, was, that I repented leaving my Pistols at Mims, and thought to have bought a Brace behind the Royal-Exchange, which I should have done, had the People of the Shop been up.
When I came to Mr. Taylor's, the Sign of the Wise Man of Gotham, I called for a Pint of Ale, and wrote a Letter to my Brother-in-Law S - that I was there according to Appointment, and called a Porter and sent it to him, when Martha Underwood, who formerly knew me at Stratford, saw me pass by Bow Church in Cheapside, who dodg'd and fixed me at the above said Mr. Taylor's, she immediately acquainted Haines the Constable therewith, who with Assistance came in and seiz'd me, and upon searching me took my five Watches and 9 l. odd Money from me, and carried me before Justice Chandler, who upon my being proved to be Cook the Stratford Shoemaker, by some out of that Town, and Mr. Zachary swearing to his Watch, I was committed to Newgate, which had been my old Lodging, about eleven Months ago, for five Weeks.
Being thus fixed in my old Lodging, and became the common Talk of the Town, few out of Friendship, though Numbers out of Curiosity, daily visited me, to see and drink with me, with whom I spent all my Time, insomuch that I had little or no Sense or Feeling of my Misfortunes and wretched Condition, till about a Week before the Sessions, when I was in Hopes I should have been admitted an Evidence against my Accomplices, which Hopes I found would not avail, and which were the last I had, excepting that I could make my Escape out of Newgate; for which End I consulted my Bedfellow Hall, whose Case I looked upon, and was informed to be as desperate as mine.
We had no sooner consulted each other, than we swore to Fidelity, and the Rescue of one another's Lives, and the destroying of all those that should any Ways oppose us in the same; which we made no Manner of Doubt in effecting with Ease, by the Method we proposed, had we not been discovered the Night before we intended to have put our Design in Execution, which Design, could not have been effected without the shooting of two Persons, whose Pardon and Forgiveness I ask.
The Miscarriage in this Undertaking I must confess, as my unhappy Companion Hall has often since charged me with, was in a great Measure owing to my ill Conduct in getting drunk every Day, and not being so close and secret in the Affair as I ought to have been in a Matter of such Consequence. For the Day the Man brought my Pistols to me from Mr. S - 's, at the Sign of the B - at M – W - as aforesaid. I had got them in my Pocket but was so drunk and indiscreet, that my Companion Hall was obliged to carry me up Stairs to Bed the Wednesday Night we was detected by the Keepers, &c.
This I declare upon the Words of a dying Man, to be the Truth and Substance of my Life, as near as I can, through my Infirmity of Body, since my Conviction, recollect.
THIS is to let y know that I receiv'd your Letter with some Satisfaction, and am glad to hear that you are in good Health, and had Pleasure in your Journey, for that is more than I have had at Home ever since you went till now as I receiv'd your Letter for I thought that Pens, Ink and Paper was very hard to find, and your Hands and your Thoughts was very much confin'd, that you could not write before, tho I did excuse the first Post day with a great deal of Uneasiness, for I was very sorry to think that I was forc'd to write to you, first upon such an Account as I did, the very Day after you set out; I wrote to you to let you know the Report and Scandal that was rais'd on you when you was gone, for some said you had stole a Horse, and rode away with him, and got a Hanger, and a Brace of Pistols, and was turn'd Highwayman, and durst not come no more to Birmingham; it was best known to yourself, how that was, but I think you have got a very fine Character, by your going in such a silly Manner; by your Writing, you have not receiv'd the Letter, and if you have not, I desire you will go to Mr. Wilson, at Mr. Ward's, in Salisbury Court, at the Black-Swan, where you was to take that Letter for my Mother, and they will give it you I could tell no other Way to write to you then, and not hearing from you so long after promis'd, I was
afraid that you was under Confinement, for you was promised very fair for it by Mr. Insal: I am very glad to hear that your four leg'd. Horse carried you easy to your Journey's End, you bid me be a good Girl, and mind Shop, till you come Home, I told you when you went, that I would as well as I could, and what I promise if I can, I will perform till you return, which I hope will not be long before you do, for you must think it is very lonesome for to have the Shop open from Morning till-Night, and nobody in it but myself, accept my Mother, and that you may think is but little concerning you, and you said your Thoughts was always on me, but I believe I have thought as much on you as you could on me, for my Uneasiness has been so great that I could not avoid it, but I hope you will think of me and these Letters, and return as soon as possible you can, for I am sure that it will be more to your Profit and my Satisfaction, to have you here, and I hope that your next Letter will let me know how long it will be before you return. I have never been at Mrs. Cotton's but twice since you went, for who could think of its being nothing else but a parcel of false Reports from the first beginning of it. My Father and Mother both join in Love to you, and long to have you at Home, that you may convince the World. All Friends desire to be remembered to you; let me know if you will have the Room kept till you come again, for Nurse wont let it to obody while you are away, unless she hears from you or me.
So no more at present, from your loving and sincere Friend till Death,
Pray let me hear from you the next Post after you receive this, and I will make myself as easy as I can till I see you again; pray excuse my Writing, for I never wrote so much to any one before.
July 18, 1741.
N. B. I hope this will be a Companion for the Handkerchief.
Not having Room to insert in HALL's Dying Speech the following LETTER of his to his Wife, the Night before his Execution, we think it will not be disagreeable to our Readers to insert it here.
12 o'Clock, Sunday Night.
' I Am very sorry we could not have the Liberty of a little Time by ourselves, when ' you came to take your Leave of me; if we ' had, I should have thought of many more Things ' to have said to you than I did; but then I fear ' it would have caused more Grief at our parting. ' I am greatly concerned, that I am obliged to ' leave you and my Child, and much more in such ' a Manner, as to give the World Room to reflect ' upon you on my Account, though none but the ' Ignorant will, but rather pity your Misfortunes, ' as being fully satisfy'd of your Innocency in all ' Respects, relating to the Crime for which I am ' in a few Hours to suffer.
' I now heartily wish, not only for my own ' Sake, but the injur'd Persons, yours, and my ' Child's, that I was as innocent as you are, but ' I freely own, I am not, nor possibly can be in ' this World; yet I humbly hope, and fully trust, ' through God's great Mercy, and the Merits of ' my Blessed Saviour Jesus Christ, to be happy in ' the next.
' After I parted with you, I received the Holy ' Sacrament comfortably which Mr. Broughton was ' so good as to administer to me, who has also several Times before taken a great deal of Pains, ' to instruct me, and so has some others of his Acquaintance, by whose Assistance, and my own ' Endeavours, I hope God will pardon all my Sins ' for Christ's Sake, and admit me into his heavenly ' Kingdom.
' My Dear, some of my latest Prayers will be ' to God to direct and prosper you and my Child ' in all good Ways, so long as he pleases to let you ' live here on Earth, that afterwards he may receive you both to his Mercies to all Eternity. I ' hope I shall willingly submit to my Fate, and die ' in Peace with all Men. This is now all the ' Comfort I can give you in this World, who living was, and dying I hope to remain,
Your loving and most affectionate Husband,