LORD-MAYOR of the CITY of LONDON.
Number IV. For the said YEAR.
THE ORDINARY of NEWGATE, His ACCOUNT of the Behaviour, Confession, &c.
IT is very merry to hear the various descants on the new turn given to this paper by the present Editor, who has as many different titles bestowed on him as there are various opinions amongst men. Some are charitable enough to dignify him with the character of a plain honest country Parson, who has some view, on the demise of the present Ordinary, to obtain his place, which they seem to think may not be amiss; because they kindly enough conclude he may, by improving the matter, add to their amusement; which will be to the emolument of many. Some think it is going to be turned into a state paper, purely for the opportunity of setting the Public right, when matter sufficient occurs, in relation to such political writers as shall happen to be fools enough to like hemp better than Burgundy. Others, who are too wise to have any regard either for religion or common honesty, who can laugh at increasing evils, and sport with the miseries of their fellow creatures, and who are very indifferent whether they be hanged or reformed; these fix it on the Methodists, who, it seems, are accounted the wicked reformers of the age. Others, especially the disappointed Printers, who either have had, or are desirous of having the management of this paper, in order to get a dinner by feasting the Public with matter of their own invention, rail much at the language, and aver in all companies, such was never wrote before; which perhaps is very true: they say likewise, that none, but a person very
conversant with the ignorant and miserable, can possibly be acquainted, with either their trade or wit, and consequently no judge of what they ought to say when they die, as being a stranger to their stile and language.
Thus each diverts himself as best suits his fancy or interest; and if any reflection happens to please him with the certainty of his own disquisition, it's immaterial whether he hits upon the right Editor; the business not being who writes it, but what matter it contains; and which, I humbly hope, the reader for the future will more particularly attend to, as something will always present at once both serious and useful.
The attention to order and regularity, and inspecting into the lives and manners of the governed, is the fundamental principle of civil government; without this the law is but a dead letter, and made rather to punish than reform. Due order, &c. depends on the right establishment of a civil Magistracy, with power in their hands, skill in their heads, and honesty in their hearts; so placed or disposed, as to hear, see, and understand all that is doing about them. When these, or any of these requisites are wanting, Justice in proportion lingers, and as that gradually decays, villainy in proportion gains ground, and ripens into acts of oppression and violence.
The same laws which constitute a rural magistracy, to govern the known inhabitants of a country village, answer but very indifferently the purposes of great cities, where the next neighbours hardly know one another; and men live together with as little regard to what each other do, as if they inhabited an extended wilderness; it will follow, that as country villages do not require the same proportion of Magistrates as great cities, so neither do they require men of equal abilities.
Wherever great cities are, wherein trade is well circulated, and business pursued with spirit, there men of all ranks and turns of mind will resort as the mart where all may deal: the industrious come to improve their fortunes, the extravagant to spend them, and knaves to make their market of both. Thus huddled together, there will always be employment enough not only for valuable magistrates, but also for a great number of them, properly disposed, and vigorously supported; who will put the laws already made duly in execution, by more particularly inspecting into the lives and manners of their neighbours within their respective districts.
The pursuit of this object with spirit and skill would soon change the face of things, and render it as safe to walk in London streets as in our own gardens in the country, and the Sheriffs, in the event, be at more expence for gloves than halters. The back of Great Queen-street and Long Acre, the lanes, holes, and alleys about St. Giles's, &c. &c. would become the residences of honest industrious people; and night cellars, gaming-houses, bagnio's, and other bawdy houses, that confront justice with their golden signatures, and bid it defiance, be heard of no more. Men once taught to be rational, would in course love industry, and consequently fall into a mutual esteem for one another; and if the Ministers of the respective parishes were inclined to give their
assistance, it might not a little contribute to the laudable purpose. In the terrible state things now are, preaching or praying would be perhaps to little purpose; but as times gradually mended, they might come to be of some use; at present the nature of the disease requires more strong and vigorous remedies, such as, I doubt not, when the fatal consequences of letting things go as they are come to be well considered, will be speedily apply'd; at least that no man for the future will be suffered either to protect or encourage such houses wherein villains are harboured, purely because it is his interest to do it.
These hints, short as they are, will, I hope, contribute in time to the end for which I publish them; pleasing myself in the interval with the hopes of living to see virtue so well restored amongst the common people, as one may at least walk the streets safe from being robbed at noon-day.
N. B. Any ingenious person who can throw useful thoughts together for the public emolument, pursuant to the above plan, may at any time have them inserted in this paper, by directing them to Mrs. COOPER, the publisher, in Pater-Noster-row.
The Ordinary of Newgate, his Account, &c.
BY virtue of a commission of Oyer, Terminer, and Goal-delivery for the city of London, and county of Middlesex, held at Justice-hall in the Old Bailey, on Thursday the 30th, and Friday the 31st of May, in the 18th year of his Majesty's reign, and in the year of our Lord 1745, before the Right Honourable Henry Marshall, Esq; Lord Mayor of the city of London; Mr. Justice Abney, Mr. Baron Clarke, Sir Simon Urlin, Knight, Recorder of the city of London, and other his Majesty's Justices for the said city and county, when the following persons were capitally convicted, viz. John Simmons, John Jeffs, Richard Horton, Joseph Lucas, otherwise Ninn, Margaret Greenaway, Ann Rush, Jeremiah Burton, and Benjamin Stevens. - Two of whom, to wit, Richard Horton and Jeremiah Burton received his Majesty's most gracious reprieve. The rest were ordered for execution.
While under sentence of death, I attended them with great care and assiduity, prayed with them often, and preached to them occasionally. My last sermon on the morning of their execution was on the subject of justice; the text was taken out of the Acts of the Apostles, chap. iv. 25, where St. Paul is described as standing before the judgment seat of Felix, the Roman Governor, and where it is recorded, that, as he reasoned on justice, temperance and judgment to come, Felix trembled. I took occasion therefrom to represent to them how far all men were liable to be called in question by their governors, and obliged to give an account of their actions; and thence concluded, that as the Holy Apostle submitted thereto with all due reverence, though free from
crime, so it very justly became them who had been very wicked sinners, not to repine at their fate, but rather by a patient submission and resignation to the will of heaven, and by openly and freely confessing their crimes, leave room for grace, repentance, and a happy eternity; and by their good behaviour set so just an example, as might have a due effect on their unhappy comrades yet behind in the road to perdition, which might be the means of their betaking themselves to a course of honest industry, and being happy both here and hereafter.
I then reasoned with them on the sense of the text, opening to them the nature of justice in various lights, as it regarded themselves, their fellow creatures, and their Creator. I aimed to shew that justice to themselves, was founded on temperance and industry. Temperance, I said, was the only true means of preserving health, as it kept the body in the true tone and disposition for action and labour, which are the basis of health; as health is of industry, which, at the same time that they strengthen the body, give vigor to the mind, and unite both the mortal and immortal part of man in one common pursuit of justice and righteousness; makes him just to his neighbour, respectful to his superiors, and dutiful to his Creator. I therefore warned them and all the hearers against the pernicious practice of drinking spirituous liquors, which made them seem as if possessed with evil spirits, and led them to forget that they were designed to appear in the world in the dignity of men and Christians, entitled to grace and a happy eternity. I told them that the injuries and misfortunes brought on by intemperance, were not only unhappy for themselves, but set bad examples to some, and were the means of disturbing, by their heated violences, the peace and order of the state, and the tranquillity and happiness of many, whom they had no right to injure; and by this means became the common enemies of both God and man; and consequently that the justice of both must reach them in due time, man by his judgment here, and God by the judgment to come; which was what, when intimated to Felix, made him tremble on the judgment seat, as conceiving it to be that dreadful justice which the hand of the Almighty pours on those, who by the injustice they do to themselves and fellow-creatures, by intemperance, idleness, and violence, leave no room for grace, repentance, and mercy. Yet, continued I, my brethren, be comforted, from the example of the thief upon the cross, who sincerely repenting, his sins were forgiven. You have hitherto hardly known what religion meant, and your time is now very short, but attended with this singular advantage, that if you make good use of so much as the lenity of the government allots you, and sincerely repent of your evil ways, you will become the happy partakers of bliss, and only leave behind, to your wicked comrades, misery and wrath to come.
They all seemed wonderfully moved at this discourse, and very well inclined to make a graceful exit. Tears flowed from them plentifully, and they appeared to become new creatures; so that I verily believe, that were they to live their lives over again, and could
be kept out of bad company, they would have spent the remainder of their days very honestly; so much did this discourse affect them.
They attended divine service with suitable decency and respect; but ( Benjamin Stevens excepted) their offences did not so sensibly affect them as could have been wished. Simmons had a bad state of health, so did not attend so often as the others; Lucas was very regular in his carriage. John Jeffs behaved very soberly and attentively; Margaret Greenaway attended to the service and made regular responses. Ann Rush either had never learned or had forgot to read, and although she understood very little of the matter, yet seemed very attentive. In general they all behaved better than people usually do, who have pursued such wicked courses.
Tuesday the 2d of July, report was made to the Lords of the Regency, when Richard Horton and Jeremiah Burton were reprieved, as aforesaid, and the remaining six, to wit, Benjamin Stevens, John Jeffs, Joseph Lucas, John Simmons, Margaret Greenaway, and Ann Rush were ordered for execution.
Benjamin Stevens, was indicted for that he, on the 26th day of April, in the 18th year of his Majesty's reign, upon Sarah his wife feloniously, wilfully, and of his malice aforethought did make an assault, and with a certain knife, of the value of one peny, into the left side of the breast of his said wife, her did strike and stab, and thereby gave her one mortal wound, of the breadth of one inch, and of the depth of three inches, of which she instantly died, against his Majesty's peace, &c.
He was likewise again indicted on the coroner's inquest for the said murther.
Benjamin Stevens, upwards of fifty years of age, born of creditable parents in the parish of St. George, Bloomsbury, in which parish, or in the neighbourhood he always lived, had a good common education, having learnt reading, writing and accompts, and was as well acquainted with the principles of the christian religion as most people of his rank, and upon this unhappy occasion made a suitable use of it, being very devout and penitent.
His wife had likewise been very tolerably educated; but her husband's profession and his mean income obliging them to live in but an indifferent neighbourhood, she had the misfortune to become acquainted with very indifferent company, who soon seduced her into the modern practice of dram drinking; and the man being of a sober careful turn, and not being any ways able to reform her, he grew extremely discontented and uneasy, even in some measure to the hurting of his understanding. He had by her several children, but none at present living. He once attempted to leave her, because, as was but too true, she spent all his money, as fast as he by his labour could get it; but had so great an esteem for her, that fearing she might fall into want and misery, he returned home to her again; but not being able in any sense to reclaim her, he became exasperated against her in one of her drunken fits, and then committed the fatal act for which he now died.
He had a general honest character from his childhood upwards, and appeared to be very well esteemed by all that knew him. He served out his apprenticeship to a shoemaker very faithfully, and since that worked under the Purdues father and son upwards of twenty years, who on his trial gave him a very good character, and which indeed, the above affair excepted, he seemed justly to deserve from every body, and on every occasion. His penitence was suited to his crime. He seemed very vehement in his devotion, begged pardon from heaven most devoutly, and died as became a sincere and worthy Christian, in peace and charity with all men.
It becomes me here as a pastor of Christ's flock to make some few remarks on this poor man's unhappy case, such as I hope may be the means of deterring others from falling under the like misfortunes through rashness or desperation.
The fashionable beastly practice of womens drinking, can't be enough deplored, while it changes the soft and amiable creature whom heaven designed as one of our choicest blessings, into a worse being than a swine, and renders her at once contemptible and nauseous. Yet if it proves an honest man's fate, as is but too often the case, to be yoked to such a despicable wretch, patience is generally speaking his best relief: It is a very bad remedy, for a man to ruin himself both body and soul, because he won't wait the appointed time which heaven intends for his relief; but instead thereof, by suffering himself to be precipitated into the doing a rash action, he cures an uneasiness, by establishing misery; it is like taking poison to cure one's self of an ague. I never heard of but two remedies to cure a drunken wife; the one immoral, the other justifiable. The first I am afraid is but too often practised for want of knowing the last, therefore I shall mention both: the first is by taking care to put liquor enough in her way, that she may kill herself of course; the second is by doing the same, but only mixing in it a proper proportion of jallop, but for the quantity it is best that the apothecary direct it, lest it be over done. This will make her very sick, and consequently produce a loathing, and is therefore a very easy as well as an effectual remedy. There is perhaps a third more pleasing, but it is rather by way of prevention than remedy, and what every prudent thinking man can't help knowing, and therefore needs no farther explaining. My business not being to find physick for the body, but for the soul; yet if at the same time that I save one soul from perdition, I likewise save one body from the gallows, the end of these my reflections are in some measure answered; and therefore I recommend what I have said to be duly considered by those who have drunken wives, and are not beasts enough themselves to set them an example.
John Jeffs was indicted together with Richard Horton and Joseph Lucas, otherwise Ninn, for breaking and entering the dwelling-house of Thomas Chitty between the Hours of nine and ten in the night, and stealing one gown, val. 2 l. a silk gown, value 3 l. a cotton gown, value 2 l. six pieces of silk call
ed lustring, value 20 s. eighteen shirts, value 4 l. 10 s. sixteen lawn stocks, one neckcloth, a damask cap, seven shirts, four frocks, and various other goods, the properties of Thomas Chitty and others, in his dwelling-house, the 12th of April.
The said Jeffs and Lucas had another indictment preferred against them, but being both convicted of the preceding, were not tried on this.
The said Lucas was likewise tried on another indictment previous to these, and convicted for transportation.
Joseph Lucas, about thirty years of age, born of honest mean parents in the parish of St. Luke, Middlesex, who got him into the charity school, from whence he was put out apprentice to a flaxter , but being badly disposed, did not serve out his time. He was entered amongst the thieves very early, for he had committed several robberies before he was fifteen years of age, and for one of them was convicted for transportation, and accordingly sent over to Virginia, where he remained near ten years, and being in a tolerable way of living, married a wife, who had been likewise a transport, and they two agreed to return to their native country, not finding any opportunity where they were of exerting themselves to any purpose. They both arrived at London about two years ago; he betook himself to his old trade of thieving, and she to that of receiving stolen goods, a trade she had very many opportunities of improving in under the conduct and direction of the famous Bess Cane, to whose care for instruction her husband committed her; and on Mrs. Betty's being transported succeeds her, being in her absence supreme receiver of the north east district, whereof her husband was Captain General. He rose to this dignity by his merit and success, and pursued his preferment with great skill and address, having a very particular ambition to equal at least the two famous Captains of the north-west and south, to wit, Captain Poney, who rules all the north-west part of the bills of mortality, and whose head quarters are near St. Giles's. And Gentleman Harry, whose government includes all the south side of the Thames up to Norwood, and from thence by an imaginary line east and west many miles: his head quarters are in the Mint, Southwark. Captain Lucas assumed to himself the sovereignty of the City of London, and all the out parts of the same up to Highgate, and so by an imaginary line west about one mile, and eastwards without limit. His headquarters was in the vicinage of Chick Lane, Jeffs, Horton, Greenaway, Rush, and about seven thousand more were his obedient slaves. In the day time they regaled themselves on the neighbouring laystalls and dunghills, where they eat, drank, smoked, swore, cursed, and slept, as best suited their respective dispositions and the commands of their sovereign Lucas, and at night were detached on such adventures as appeared to best suit their Monarch's
interest and views of universal Monarchy. He often used pleasantly to say, that there were but three Princes fit to reign, viz. himself, Lewis XV. and the King of P - a, and was determined had he not been taken off in the midst of his pursuits, to have conquered the neighbouring districts, and thereby rendered himself absolute within the bills of mortality. He said a truly great soul could not bear a rival, and that less than all the globe was not sufficient for a truly exalted mind to exert itself in. He was on the point of dispatching Jeffs and Horton as his ambassadors to Lewis to treat with him about dividing the world between them, and for other equally wise and laudable purposes, when, as the Devil would have it, Jack Ketch disposed of him otherwise, and left his faithful subjects to mourn his untimely retreat, to reflect on the vicissitudes attending the affairs of the great, and without amending their ill spent lives, soon to follow him by the same road.
But however wicked and haughty Lucas might be during the triumphant part of his life, while ambition and a desire of universal Monarchy reigned supreme in his breast; yet when fate was pleased to turn the scale, humility resumed the seat of ambition, and he condescended to become a Christian, by resigning himself to the will of heaven, and dying in peace and charity with all men. - He left behind him a wife, to whom just before he went to execution he wrote a consolatory letter, which the reader will find in the Appendix, and is well worthy attention.
John Jeffs was a native of the parish of St. Luke, Middlesex, twenty six years of age, born of honest mean parents; he was educated in the charity school of the same parish, and when of suitable age put out apprentice to a butcher , but ran away from his master. He was Lucas's fellow parishioner, school fellow, fellow thief, portmantua nabber, first minister of state, and right hand man. When he first ran away from his master, hands being very scarce, he got himself entered aboard a man of war, where he was employed in the character of a swabber , or to feed the poultry, as occasion called. The people who serve in such employments have a great deal of leisure time upon their hands, which when they are good for any thing, they employ to instruct themselves in the art of seamanship, whereby in time they rise to the dignity of common sailors; but Jeffs's ambition pointing towards Tyburn, he minded none of these matters, he thought to be a thief was better than to be either a butcher or a seaman; and as he had learnt a great deal of his profession while ashore, so he very injudiciously practised aboard a ship, not apprehending with what ease thieves are discovered there, nor dreaming what dreadful punishments are executed upon criminals on that element, till he felt the smart by being so handsomly whipt and pickled, that he ever after dreaded a cat of nine tails more by half than the gallows, and would fifty times sooner have been hanged, than have tried the experiment again: but as he could not live without thieving, and did not
choose to experience more of the naval severities, he left the ship of his own accord, of two evils he chose the least; and thought it better to be hanged for a deserter, than whipt as a thief. This precedent furnishes us with a useful hint, viz. That there are much better ways of punishing professed thieves, than hanging of them. He had left his ship about the time that Lucas returned from transportation: they had a joyful meeting together at the Chimney Sweeper's in Thatcht Alley by Chick Lane, one of the capital rendezvous of the gang for the north-east district: they have another in Long Lane, another in Black Boy Alley, several in the outskirts of the town, and in various other places too tedious to recount, and where they may with very little difficulty be some or other of them always found. They were in no particular specie of thieving, all being fish that came to net, and some one or more of the gang very dextrous in every branch, all bringing something to the common stock, which they sold to several women who make in their business to receive stolen goods, for which they never pay above one fourth of the saleable value. Sometimes they picked pockets, sometimes robbed on the highway, and when opportunity presented, got into houses. But Lucas their Captain being a man of genius in his way, did, with the advice and assistance of his prime Minister Jeffs, contrive a new specie of robbery: they waited in Piccadilly for the coming in of the western coaches, and watched them from place to place where they had occasion to set passengers down; and as such passengers usually gave the coachman money, so he on his part is always a-dry, and usually leaves his coach to get some drink, such opportunity they always seized, and carried off what seemed most convenient or moveable: both the Exeter and Salisbury coach they served so several times, to the great prejudice of the coach owners, who are obliged to make good the damage, as appears by a verdict of the Court of Common Pleas in last Trinity Term at Guildhall, in which cause a Gentleman whose name is Lockman was the Plaintiff, and the owners of the Salisbury coach defendants, for a portmantua of his taken away by this very gang, wherein was some manuscripts of great value, amongst other things, but for which he could not obtain any reparation, these rogues having burnt them to prevent discovery. It is very difficult to get the truth out of these sort of people until just before their leaving the world, they always deceiving themselves in hopes of a reprieve; and as these examinations are previous to the immediate time of their execution, if any more discoveries arise, the same will appear in the Appendix.
John Simmons, was indicted for that he at the general goal delivery holden at Abingdon in and for the county of Berks, on Monday the 26th day of July, in the 18th year of the reign of his present Majesty King George the second, before James Reynolds, Esq; one of the Barons of our Lord the King, of the Court of Exchequer, and Sir Thomas Abney, Knt. then one other Baron of our said Lord the King, of the Court of Exchequer, and others their
fellows Justices of our said Lord the King, assigned to deliver his goal of the same county of the prisoners therein being: John Simmons, late of the parish of St. Lawrence in Reading, in the county of Berks, labourer , according to due course of law, was indicted, tried, and convicted, before the same justices, by a Jury of that county; for that he the said John Simmons on the 3d day of April, in the 15th year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord George the second of Great Britain, &c. with force and arms, at the parish of Stratfield in the said county, one cock turkey of the price of 2 s. one hen turkey of the price of 2 s. two live cocks of the price of 18 d. seven live hens of the price of 3 s. 6 d. and three chickens of the price of 2 s. the goods and chattels of Henry Lannoy Hunter, Esq; then and there being found, feloniously did steal, take, and carry away, against the peace of our said Lord the King, his crown and dignity; and thereupon the aforesaid John Simmons by the aforesaid Justices of our said Lord the King, assigned to deliver his goal of the said county of Berks, of the prisoners therein being, was then and there ordered to be transported as soon as conveniently might be, to some of his Majesty's colonies and plantations in America, for the term of seven years, according to the statute in such case made and provided, as by the record thereof doth more fully appear; and that he the said John Simmons afterwards, to wit, on the 18th day of March, in the 18th year of the reign of our said Lord the King, with force and arms, feloniously and without any lawful cause was at large within this kingdom of Great Britain, to wit, at London, in the ward of Portsoken in London aforesaid, before the expiration of the said term of seven years, for which he was ordered to be transported as aforesaid, against the peace of our Lord the King, his crown and dignity, and against the form of the statute in such case made and provided.
These are to certify, That at the general goal delivery for our Lord the King, holden at Abingdon in and for the county of Berks, on Monday the 26th day of July, in the 18th year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord George the second, &c. before James Reynolds, Esq; one of the Barons of his Majesty's Court of Exchequer, and Sir Thomas Abney, Knt. then one other Baron of the said Court of Exchequer, and others their fellows Justices of our said Lord the King, assigned to deliver his goal of the same county of the prisoners therein being: John Simmons, late of the parish of St. Lawrence in Reading, in the county of Berks, was then and there tried and convicted by a Jury of the said county; for that he the said John Simmons on the 3d day of April, in the 15th year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord George the second, &c. in the parish of Stratfield in the said county, one cock turkey of the price of 2 s. one hen turkey price 2 s. seven live hens price 3 s. 6 d. and three chickens, price 2 s. the goods of Henry Lannoy Hunter, Esq; did feloniously steal, take and carry away, &c. and that he the said John Simmons then and there prayed the benefit of the sta
tute to be allowed to him, and that the said Justices at the said goal delivery, ordered him to be transported as soon as conveniently might be to some of his Majesty's plantations in America, for the term of seven years, to be computed from the time of his conviction.
April 21, 1745.
John Simmons, about 31 years of age, born at Reading in Berkshire of honest parents, who gave him a good education, suited to the common course of business. His father being a farmer bred him up to husbandry , but being of an idle disposition he soon left that way of life, and betook himself to rambling, sometimes in the barges to and from London, and sometimes about the country a thieving. And although he was but a puny thief in comparison of the above-mentioned, or of some hereafter specified, yet in the country he was looked upon with great horror and detestation, especially by those who kept poultry, who esteemed him the worst fox in the neighbourhood, and guarded against him accordingly, though oftentimes to very little purpose; however, at lest he was caught in a trap some time in the spring of the year 1741, and committed to Reading goal: he was conducted from thence to Abingdon, where the assizes following he was tried and convicted for transportation, and being put into a waggon with others to be sent to London, he somewhere on the high road made his escape; and by taking a little circuit got up to London, and harboured himself within the cover of the north east district, where he roved and robbed from time to time on his own bottom, and at length settled himself in a bawdy house in Patrick's court, Hounsditch, from whence, with some others he there became acquainted with, he issued out with intent to rob, but going to an alehouse in Gravel Lane, they quarrelled amongst one another, and the watch being called in, was wounded by him; whereupon a warrant being granted against him, he was taken next day at his lodgings, when he again wounded one of the watchmen, and made his escape; but was retaken going up the steps to Devonshire square. He was thereupon committed to the Poultry Compter, under the name of Burgess, where the goaler of Reading found him, and upon his being brought up to the Old Bailey, had the record of his old indictment read against him, and being proved to be the same man who had made his escape, he was convicted of returning from transportation, which he seemed to think a hard judgment upon him, because he was never abroad, reasoning, as these poor creatures usually do, that every thing which seems to be in their favour is right, without reflecting, that what arguments he brought in his own behalf only contributed, in the eye of the law, to add to his crime. He behaved very decently, and attended chapel as long as his health permitted; but being seised with the goal distemper, he lay in a very miserable way. His poor wife constantly visited and administered unto him all the help in her power, and seemed to be a very good kind of woman. He had all the appearance of sorrow and true peni
tence; he confessed the truth of his indictment; that he had been a very profligate, wicked, debauched, young fellow, and that he suffered very deservedly. He mourned for the misery he brought on his poor wife more than himself. He died in full conviction of happiness hereafter, being truly penitent, and in peace and charity with all men.
Margaret Greenaway and Ann Rush, of the parish of St. Bridget, otherwise St. Brides, in London, were indicted for assaulting George Thorne on the King's highway, putting him in fear, and taking from him a hat, value 3 s. and eight shillings in money, his property, April 25, 1745.
These two ladies had the honour to be part of a detachment out of captain Lucas's Gang, and sometimes acted in the capacity of his decoy ducks: if a man appeared well dressed, and so much in liquor as to be weak enough to suffer himself to be easily drawn into their acquaintance, they usually conducted him to an appointed house, where Lucas was seated in a chair of state, acting in the capacity of a judge, the counsel and jury attending; Culprit was brought up to the bar, where his indictment was read in the face of the court. The indictment usually charged him with criminally presuming to carry about him a certain unlawful toy, commonly called a tatler, otherwise a gold or silver watch, with chains, seals, and other malignant appurtenants, together with silver buckles, gold buttons, and money of various metals, and contrary to the peace of their sovereign Lord Lucas, his power and dignity.
Judge. Prisoner, hold up your hand at the bar, guilty, or not guilty?
Culprit. Guilty, my Lord.
J. How will you be try'd?
C. By your Lordship's will and pleasure.
J. Will you have counsel assigned you?
C. If your Lordship pleases.
J. Then give them a see.
C. What fee will your Lordship order me to give?
J. Let us see how able you are first; lay your store down at the bar. -Oho! it is very well, Sir, you are convicted without evidence: why, Sir, what an impudent fellow are you, to run about in the night with prohibited goods? Do you think we have nothing else to do but watch such rogues as you are? -Let's see what are they all: Primis, A gold watch and steel chain; don't such a fellow as this deserve to be hanged in chains! Cundis, two gold seals, one little picture set in ditto. -I am afraid this rogue has robbed some lady, -here, court-keeper, let these things be properly disposed of for the public. Alas a day! what a wicked world we live in: Public virtue, as Mr. Broadbottom justly observes in his Old England, is no more known amongst us; the Westminster Journal makes wife observations on the same subject, and the Craftsman ought to have his statute in gold set up in the Royal-Exchange, he talks so like an old gregg.
Counsel. I wish it was, my Lord, for all our sakes.
J. No interruption, Sirrah; you prisoner at the bar, how dare you be guilty of these high crimes and misdemeanors? -The indictment says further,
that you have five guineas in your pocket, gold buttons in your sleeves, and silver buckles in your shoes, and at your knees, how say you, guilty, or not guilty.
Culprit. I pleaded guilty before, my Lord, and only pray that in consideration of my youth and inexperience, your Lordship will take what I have and do me the honour to release me. I confess my folly, my Lord, and hope my ignorance will be the means of my acquittal.
J. Have you no diamond rings?
Culprit. No, my Lord, my wife dreamt last night I should lose my diamond ring, so took it away from me, otherwise it should have been at your Lordship's service.
J. I shall acquit you this time - but take with you this piece of advice from an honest man and a Judge, viz. When you have got a good wife, never leave her for the tavern, or strange women, lest thieves meet you, and take away your wealth, and you give opportunity to others to share in your wife's affections, always remembring this sage advice;
' He that to taverns from his wife will run,
' Gives her the hint to follow other fun.'
And so you Rush and Greenaway see the Prisoner safe to the place where you found him, and there leave him to his own inventions; and you Jeffs and Horton follow them at a distance, and see that the women don't seduce the young man, and so, Sir, I discharge you the Court and my presence.
Culprit. I most humbly thank your Lordship.
Margaret Greenaway, 31 years of age, born of honest parents in Katherine Street in the Strand, who gave her the best education they were capable of, and put her out to service, in which state of life she lived for some time in good reputation, until her natural inclinations getting the better of her understanding, she first commenced whore, and then thief. She married some years ago a young fellow, who not liking her disposition and turn of life, left her, went to sea in a man of war, and has not been since heard of by her. On his leaving her she entered herself of the Black Boy Alley gang, and when Lucas arrived from Virginia put herself more particularly under his conduct. Their customary way of robbing is related in the above comic scene; but the crime for which she was convicted, was acted in a more gross manner, and was owing, as she confessed, to the man's being obstrepulous, as she calls it, and having no regard to her charms, and the immediate necessity they were under of present money. She and Rush had their guard at a distance as usual, and I hope will be a warning to those unguarded men, whether married or not, how they engage with such women. She was with great difficulty brought to confess her crime, but ingenuously owned that she was a most profligate wicked wretch, and not fit to live on the face of the earth. She was poor, naked, and miserable, and having no good acquaintance, passed her time in a way worthy of being deplored, by all such who
have a feeling of the miseries of their fellow creatures, who are buried in a sink of infamy, and lost to grace and repentance; and all I can say more of her is, that she died calmly, and professed forgiveness to all the world.
Ann Rush, about 20 years of age, born of honest mean parents, in some one of the little streets in the neighbourhood of Hatton Garden, but she could not certainly say which: she seems by all accounts to have been a very wicked girl from her infancy, and, as many thousands more are unhappily suffered to do, always followed her own inventions, which was a mixture of thieving, whoring, and idleness. The above Margaret Greenaway was her principal conductor and director; she first introduced her into the famous Blood Bowl House, and afterwards into the Black Boy Alley gang, among which brother and sisterhood, of rogues, thieves, and raggimuffins, they usually past their miserable days on the dunghills and laystalls; their nights like wild beasts hunting after prey. We may see by this to what a wretched state human nature is capable of being reduced, when a due regard to our Creator, the honour and dignity of the state we are made for, and the order, decorum, and good oeconomy of human institutions, founded on reason and justice, are trampled on and obliterated. We see nothing amongst the worst of savages equal to this: there is some decency, rule and order, some seeming regard to heaven, and themselves, even amongst the Hottentots; but here human reason seems to be so far forgot, as to level them below the most contemptible of the brute species. Ann Rush was among the worst of these, the most impudent little dirty bunter, equally hasty in body and mind, the most complete lost miserable creature I ever yet beheld even amongst the wretched. Oh! that those who shine in pomp and state, would but condescend to look down with the eyes of compassion, on the multitudes of such unhappy people, who daily represent themselves to view in the outskirts of this great and opulent city! Could they possibly, if they reflected a moment, avoid applying themselves to the contriving of such just and natural remedies, as might be the means of removing so shocking a grievance? If they did but consider, that the best, and wisest of us all, wanting means of education, good examples, and good company, are liable through our frailties and passions of being hurried headlong into the dreadful gulph of misery and destruction, would not such a thought at once startle and stimulate us on ardently to pursue means for the redemption of these poor despised unhappy creatures? What an honour would it be to the nation to see the meanest of our fellow creatures decently clad, and pursuing the ways of honest industry? But the nature of my paper wont't permit me to enter into the source of this evil, without seeming to give offence; if those who ought to do it will think, I have said enough; if they will not, all that can be said will be to very little purpose. And so with the departure of this poor wretch, to I hope a better state, I shall here conclude my reflections.
At the Place of EXECUTION.
ON Tuesday the ninth day of July I went to attend them in the chapel at Newgate, at or about six of the clock in the morning, where they all appeared, except John Simmons, who was absent by reason of sickness.
Benjamin Stevens behaved with all the signs of real sorrow and penitence, both at chapel and at the place of execution. I had no need to remind him of his crime, or of sincere contrition for the same. He seemed thoroughly to understand his own case, and addressed himself to heaven with great fervency and zeal. He owned that he was deservedly punished here, and seemed to hope, with proper humility, for mercy hereafter, therefore quitted this life with great cheerfulness and resignation to the will of heaven.
Joseph Lucas behaved with great decency and regard to his present unhappy state; and, as if he was resolved to die as well as live their captain, he seemed now to pride himself as much in setting his comrades an example of good, as heretofore of evil, which was of no small consequence to the welfare of them all, his behaviour seeming more to be their guide, than any other more important motive; for which reason they all seemed to join heartily with him in prayer and singing of psalms, himself being not a little pleased, to see their regard for, and attention to him. An instance has rarely occurred to me, of one so thoroughly hardened in wickedness, dying so well, I may say so heroically good, so much like a reasonable creature, and a Christian.
John Jeffs seemed very much affected with Lucas's behaviour, was very attentive to it, and joined with him in every part of his devotion; and as he was once firmly attached to his evil ways, so now he became proselited to those that were good, and quitted this world with great decency and resignation.
Margaret Greenaway was thoroughly terrified at her approaching dissolution, and seemed most heartily to deplore her miserable state. Lucas's example contributed to give her spirits, and to assist her in her conduct. I gave her all the encouragement in my power to hope for mercy, if she was sincerely penitent; she protested herself sincere, and died as became a Christian.
Ann Rush was in general exquisitely stupid and obdurate; yet Lucas's example, and my exhortations, seemed to work so much upon her spirits, or the terror of her approaching fate had so good an effect upon her, that she seemed at length quite dissolved in tears and contrition. I was glad at heart to see so good a change in her: I gave her great hopes of mercy and happiness hereafter, if she sincerely repented. She said she was very sorry she had not lived better, hoped God Almighty would forgive her, and made a very decent exit.
John Simmons was so very sick and weak as not to be able either to speak or help himself, so was in effect dead before the Executioner did his part, by which means nothing could be gathered of his thoughts of his unhappy state, more than what is previously related.
A LETTER from Captain LUCAS to his wife, which he sent the Morning of his Execution.
' My dear Wife,
' ALL the vanities and follies ' of this world are now ' no more; Jeffs seems to think ' still there may be some hopes ' of a reprieve, but, for my part, ' it is the least of my thoughts; ' for however miserable the world ' may now think me, I am really ' happier than ever: I have no ' way to prove this to you, but by ' wishing you to try how pleasureable it is to have honest thoughts: ' you know very well, that ever ' since our return from Virginia, ' we have had neither rest nor ' peace, now I have both, and am ' satisfied. Then we feared death ' as the greatest evil, now I embrace it as the chiefest good, and ' am more afraid of having a reprieve, to live again and be miserable, than I used to be of Justice ' De Veil and his Constables. It ' is a sad thing to be always in ' fear, it is living a dog's life: for ' the Lord's sake find some way to ' live honestly, if it is but by keeping a chandler's shop. You need ' not be told the danger of receiving stolen goods, when it puts ' you in the power of every little ' pilfering rascal, to ruin you whenever he pleases; they durst not ' do it whilst I was alive; but now ' I am dead they will hang you ' if they can to save themselves. ' Only consider what became of ' poor Bess Cane, Bess is gone to ' be a slave, and you know what ' that is, don't go there any more, ' my heart bleeds to think on't.
' Pray, my Dear, if any of ' those papers remain that have ' made such a hurly burly, get ' them some way returned to the ' right owner, I am told he is a ' great Poet, and lives in Captain ' Poney's district, somewhere about ' Long Acre, but you may send ' them to Old Slauter's Coffee-house, ' in St. Martin's Lane, very safely, ' I am sure no body will meddle ' with you if you send them; ' pray, my Dear, don't forget, for ' I am told that the keeping of ' them is a great hindrance to the ' Gentleman's trade, and can do ' you no manner of service: Gentleman Harry may carry them ' home and get money for them, ' he has impudence enough to do
' any thing, but I had rather you ' would send them by some honester person, and not take any ' thing for them.
' My dear love, now it is too late ' I can plainly see how easy it is to ' be honest. I do assure you, were ' I to live my life over again, I ' would be as honest as our overseers of the poor at least, nay, 'the Parson himself should not be 'an honester man. I now begin ' to see there's something in being ' religious, and that it is for our good, ' and our Ordinary, good man, ' has made that very clear to me, ' though it seems some that pretend to be our betters make a jest ' of it; but were they as I am, ' perhaps they would think as I do. ' Nothing is plainer to me now, ' than that it is much less trouble, ' as well as more gainful, to live ' honestly than wickedly. Adieu, ' my Dear, the bell tolls, I am ' going to heaven, I hope, where I ' shall rejoice to embrace you. So ' at present no more from Yours,