THE ORDINARY of NEWGATE'S ACCOUNT of the Behaviour, Confession, & Dying Words Of the SIX MALEFACTORS Who were executed at TYBURN On Wednesday the 8th of AUGUST, 1750.
NUMBER V. For the said YEAR.
Printed for, and sold by T. PARKER, in Jewin-street, and C. CORBETT, over-against St. Dunstan's Church, in Fleet-street, the only authorised Printers of the Dying Speeches.
THE ORDINARY of NEWGATE'S ACCOUNT of the Behaviour, Confession, &c.
BY Virtue of the King's Commission of the Peace, OYER and TERMINER, and Jail-Delivery of Newgate, held before the Right Honourable JOHN BLACHFORD , Esq ; Lord Mayor of the City of London, the Lord Chief-Baron PARKER, Mr. Justice BURNET, Mr. Justice FOSTER, Mr. Baron CLIVE, RICHARD ADAMS , Esq ; Recorder , and others of his Majesty's Justices of OYER and TERMINER, and Jail-Delivery of Newgate, holden for the said City of London, and County of Middlesex, at Justice-Hall, in the Old Bailey, on Wednesday the 11th, Thursday the 12th, Friday the 13th, and Saturday the 14th of July, in the twenty-fourth Year of his Majesty's Reign, ELY SMITH, HENRY WEBB, JOHN, otherwise DANIEL CARREL, SAMUEL COOK, JAMES TYLER, THOMAS WALLIS, BENJAMIN CHAMBERLAIN, and THOMAS CRAWFORD, were capitally convicted, and received Sentence of Death accordingly.
Their Behaviour has been very decent and quiet, and at Prayers every Day in the Chapel there was the Appearance of Devotion in most of them, which is somewhat extraordinary; inasmuch, as for the most Part, these unfortunate People are ignorant, and quite illiterate; but these could all read, except only one, and were capacitated to make Use of the Book of Common-Prayer, and others fit for their Purpose.
On Thursday, the second Instant, Mr. Recorder made the Report of the eight Malefactors to the Lords of the Regency, when they were pleased to order the six following for Execution, viz. Ely Smith, Henry Webb, Samuel Cook, James Tyler, Benjamin Chamberlain, and Thomas Crawford, on Wednesday the 8th Instant.
Servant of his Portmantle, &c. were respited till their Lordships Pleasure concerning them be farther known . Carrel has been a long Time at this Work, and very active in the Ways of Thievery and Robbery, having escaped from four Indictments in April Sessions last, the Evidence not being strong enough to convict him then, though guilty he was of all. Wallis, a poor unhappy Fellow, had been a Seaman for ten Years past, and came Home from the Indies with Admiral Boscawen. For want of knowing better, he spent all his Wages as fast as he could in Rioting and Drunkenness, and the Necessity and bad Company led him to be a Thief, and he luckily escaped, perhaps, with Transportation.
1, 2. Samuel Cook and James Tyler were indicted, for that they, in a certain Field, or open Place, near the King's Highway, on John Darnell did make an Assault, putting him in corporal Fear, and Danger of his Life, and taking from his Person five Shillings in Money number'd, the Money of the said John, June 14 .
3. Benjamin Chamberlain , was indicted, for that he, on the King's Highway, on George Powel , did make an Assault, putting him in corporal Fear, and Danger of his Life, one Metal Watch, Val. 40 s. one Pair of Silver Buckles, Val. 5 s. against the Will of the said George, from his Person did steal, take, and carry away, June 24 .
4, 5. Ely, otherwise Ely Smith, otherwise Horseface , and Henry Webb , were indicted, for that they, together with Ben the Coal-beaver, on Henry Smith did make an Assault on the King's Highway, putting him in corporal Fear, and Danger of his Life, one Hat, Val. 1 s. and one Steel Tobacco-Box, Val. 1 s. and one Shilling in Money number'd, from his Person, and against the Will of the said Henry, did steal, take, and carry away, June 9 .
6. Thomas Crawford , was indicted, for that he, on the King's Highway, upon Valentine Harris , did make an Assault, putting him in corporal Fear, and Danger of his Life, one Silver Watch, Val. 3 l. one Periwig, Val. 10 s. from his Person did steal, take, and carry away, July 5 .
1. SAMUEL COOK , aged 19, was born in the Parish of St. Luke's, Old-street, and at eight Years of Age was put to School in St. Stephen's, Wallbrook, where he learnt to read and write, and at 14 was, by a Society he says, bound out an Apprentice to a Rule and Mathematical Instrument-Maker , whom, he says, he served faithfully for about four or five Years, and then left him, through the Persuasion of evil Company. Had he made a good Use of the Introduction he had into the World, he might have done and lived very well, as he was now inclined to think; but his natural Inclination leaning towards Idleness and Debauchery, he presently listened to evil Counsellors, and gave into their Measures. Since he has left his Business, his Time has been taken up in going about
Town, he says, selling Rabbets , and what the Seasons afforded, by Day, and at Night pilfering was his Trade, according to his own Account of himself. He was one of your little low-liv'd. Thieves, as he pretended, and that Hen-roosts, and stripping Hedges of Cloaths hung out to dry, was the utmost of his Practice. He persisted to declare, that he never offer'd to stop Man or Woman in his Life, and that the Crime, for which he was condemn'd to suffer, was unjustly and falsely sworn against him. However, he seem'd not much dejected at his Fate, nor ever expressed any great Concern, having for some Time expected no other.
2. JAMES TYLER , aged 20, was born in the Parish of Aldgate, never had any Schooling, nor was bound Apprentice; but says, he work'd about the Space of ten Years at the Business of Silver-spinning , for making Lace, and at last, for some pilfering Tricks, was turned out of that Employ. How he spent his Time for a Twelvemonth past, since he left his honest Employment, he could give no good Account, and therefore would scarce give any; but only said he employed, his Time, and hired himself out as a Labourer , in any Way he was capable of working, and with any one that would give him Work to do.
His Mother, who came to see him, said, he was always a very dutiful Child, and as far as she knew very harmless; but no farther Account could she give of him; it was said too by some other that came to see him, that they never thought he would come to be hang'd, for that he appear'd not to have Spirit enough for any but little pilfering, thievish Tricks, which seemed rather to deserve whipping than a Gallows. He seemed to be a sly Sort of a down-looking Lad, which generally bespeaks a bad Mind, though not capable through natural Weakness to rise to any great Pitch of notorious Wickedness. He had Sense enough however to conceal his particular Thieveries, and only said, he had not been long concerned with Cook, though he had known him some two or three Years, as a labouring Person's Son in Golden-Lane.
They had known one another, and kept Company for Years, but had never done any Thing till they were found out. They used to take a Walk together in the Fields, but never did any Harm, 'till at last they were seen to take a Shirt from a Hedge in Hackney, and being pursued, were over-taken; the Shirt they had some how hid, and could not be found, nor would they own the taking, or having of it, though the Owner thereof positively declared he saw Cook take it, and Tyler was just by his Side: However, they were both put into the Cage in Hackney Town, and continued there about three Hours. While Word was sent about the Town and Neighbourhood, where many little Thieveries had been committed, that if any body knew them, and could lay any Thing to their Charge, they might be brought to proper Punishment. Almost the whole Neighbourhood came to the Sight, and though several suspected them, none could lay any Thing particular to their Charge. At last came the Prosecutor for the Fact for whichthey suffered, who knew them, and as they were going before a Justice to be examined with respect to the Shirt, he followed them; and when the Examination was over about the Shirt, he informed the Justice, that Tyler was the Man, who robbed him between Dalston and Hackney, and the Oath being tendered, he swore to them both, and they were committed. He did the same at the Old Bailey, that Tyler took the Money, and shared it with Cook, upon which they were convicted, and suffer'd accordingly, though neither of them would own the Fact.
3. BENJAMIN CHAMBERLAIN , aged 28, was born near Clare-Market, and bred up to tolerable Education, so that he could read and write, and kept Accounts for his Parents, with whom he lived in the same Market for several Years. He hath lived, he says, with some Friend or other as a Journeyman Butcher , till within a Year or two past, since which Time he has lived in Idleness, and the mischievous Company of bad Women, Gamblers, Thieves, and Pickpockets. He lived among his Relations till they were all tired of his Ways of going on, but took Care to keep from them the Knowledge of what Company he kept; and though they complained of his staying out of Nights, and other little Irregularities that came to their Ears, yet they never suspected his being so notorious, or that he was a Companion of such People, as at last it appears he was, and has been perhaps longer than he chuses to own.
After he had tired them with disturbing their Family, coming Home at all Hours in the Night; and perhaps they suspected some further Inconveniencies, if not Dangers, might ensue, they were so fond and indulgent as to hire a Lodging for him Abroad, where he was for some short Time tolerably free from Mischief, left their Watchfulness of his Ways might discover his Tricks. This lasted not long, but he procured Leave to take a Lodging for himself at their Expence, and when he wanted the Money, if not supplied by his own Craft, he used to apply to them for it.
And where should this new Lodging be, but in Drury-Lane! For he was become now so fond of his Company, mostly belonging to those Parts, that he could not bear to be absent Day or Night, because there he found Mistresses at his Pleasure, and Companions to go upon the Haunt whenever he pleased. But how should he keep this from his Friends? Being obliged to go to them often for Money, Enquiry was made where his Lodgings were, but to no Purpose: He always found some Excuse to bring himself off, that they might not know where it was, and he received some Favours from them while they thought him, as a Relation or Friend, a proper Person to assist, which helped his idle and extravagant Expences with Mistresses, and at Gaming, and when that was gone he must turn out for more. At last his Method of Life was discovered by his Benefactors, and when their Favours were therefore withdrawn, he was obliged to betake himself to Rapineand Plunder as Opportunity presented.
And now having no farther Dependance upon his Friends and Well wishers, he must rely only on himself and Companions in Wickedness, and says he has been guilty of many Robberies within eight Months past, the Particulars of some of which he has related, but not the Whole, lest Reflections might be made, and thrown in the Dish of his Friends, as he said, who were kind, and used him better than he deserved at their Hands, and were quite ignorant of his wicked Courses during his being with them; and for ought he knows, after he entirely left their Company, and despised their good Admonitions, he was loath to expose the Multitude of his Villanies, but that they were many he would not deny in Capacity of Pickpocket, Street-Robber, and common Gambler.
He behaved tolerably quiet in the general under his unhappy Circumstances, and could put on the Appearance of a sorrowful Countenance when he thought proper, or assume the affected Assurance, which these poor Wretches too frequently show, according to the Company he had about him. When he was talked to of the Errors of his past Life, nobody could seem more affected and sorrowful than he, but when his Back was turned, no-body could be more audacious. Being asked, whether in all his Pranks he had no Notion of being brought to Account, he said, while he was at Work no Thoughts molested him with regard to what was to come, but he always looked forward to the Hope of what he could get: He knew other in as much Danger as himself, and they went on longer undiscovered, and thought to do so still himself, as he said was the Case with most that he knew concerned in those wicked Ways.
He was one of those who was taken up upon Account of the memorable Riot in the Strand; but no Indictment was found against him. And though he escaped the Gallows but at last May Sessions, for want of sufficient Evidence only, (because the Guilt he owned to me) yet he could not take Warning; and was so ingenuous as to own, that he should have continued still this Way of Life, had he not been thus cut off, or by some Means put out of the Way. He entertained great Hopes before the Warrant came down, knowing he had Friends in the World; and though he had been a very bad Fellow, and concerned in various Robberies, and other Wickednesses, expected to get off at last for Transportation. He was a Man of a very hardened and undaunted Spirit, and continued so to the last. A particular Account of some of the Robberies in which he was concerned, will follow in the Sequel.
4. THOMAS CRAWFORD , aged 33, was born somewhere about the Minories; he had Education enough to teach him to read and write, but was never brought up to any particular Trade. His Places of publick Resort were chiefly Ratcliff and Wapping, and was well known in Covent-Garden and Drury-Lane; but his private Haunts were for long Time only
known to himself and his Companions. He always bore the Character of a Gambler, &c. when on Shore; and when the Notoriety of his Villainies had made the Land too hot to hold him, he used to betake himself to Sea. It is generally said by those who knew him, and who came in Numbers to see him while under Sentence of Death, (being as well known as any one that has gone up Holborn-Hill for a long Time past) that scarce a Day of his Life passed when ashore, but he did somewhat deserving Transportation or Death; once, we are sure, he was transported, but staid not Abroad half his Time, and every one must allow he was now deserving the Fate he met with.
Though he was fond of committing daily bad Actions in his Life-time, yet he was unwilling it should be published to the World after his Death; which I charitably suppose proceeded from the Man's having a Sense he ought not to have been guilty of these Things, or else, why should he think rather to keep the Knowledge of them from the World? And when a Man has a proper Sense of Sin, we have some Room to hope he will think it necessary to repent; and I am really sorry to say it, No-body that saw him since Conviction, that I ever heard of, could observe or mark any Signs of true Repentance in him, from his outward Behaviour, or from what he said to declare, his inward Sentiments. For he was sorry, he said: But for what? Not that he had been so notorious an Offender against the Laws of God and his Country, but that he was to be hanged. And when I pressed the Duty of Charity, and Good-will towards Men, he replied. How could he be in Charity with all Men, when a Man had falsely sworn away his Life! Strange! Wondrous strange! That a Man so near the End of his Days, just about to leap into Eternity, could be so wicked as to think, much more to say, a Thing so contrary to the Truth, and that Testimony which his own Conscience must bear to him.
He was bred a Dissenter, and the Day before his Execution, some one, if not two of that Way of thinking, came in the Morning to have some Discourse with him. I wished them better Success with him than all I had and could say had met with; but what was the Result of their Conference I know not. They told me indeed, that Crawford and his Friends were afraid his former Transactions would be exposed to the World; which was what neither he nor his Friends did choose should be done. And we charitably hope, that this their Way of thinking proceeded from the same Motive as his own Reluctance at this Matter, viz. a Sense of what he had been doing being unjustifiable, not that it was improper the World should know it, whereby others might be prevented from taking Warning by the Example made in him, as the Justice of the Law required.
That he hath been transported heretofore is very well known, and that he suffers justly the Sentence of the Law, the Circumstances of the Robbery committed July the 5th, 1749, and for which Mary Dymer was executed shortly after, will sufficiently evince to the World; to which I am obliged to look
back and have Recourse, as Crawford her Accomplice will own nothing of the Matter. The said Mary Dymer had been an unhappy Girl, and was married at the Fleet to one Yeaman a notorious Fellow, and an Acquaintance of Crawfords. The poor Girl was used very ill by her Husband, and was obliged to get away from him, which she did after a little while. Then Crawford and she took it into their Heads to live together, and did so for some Months; till the fatal Night came, when having made her Drunk, obliged her by Threats to go out with him upon the Scout. They did so, and meeting the Prosecutor, Crawford first quarrelled with him for taking Notice of her, whom he called his Wife, they drank together all three, and before the Liquor was out the Prosecutor went out of the House, and they followed after; she stopt him, saying he should go no farther, while Crawford came behind, and in a cowardly Manner gave him five Blows, which brought him to the Ground on his right Knee, and stuned him for a while. During the Time she took the Watch out of his Pocket, and Crawford, like a Coward still behind him, took away his Wig. The Prosecutor swore very positively to Crawford, and having had a full View of his Face, while they were drinking together, and said, he could not be mistaken in the Man. Upon his Trial, he was so wicked as to bring several Persons to Attempt to prove an Alibi, but the Evidence was so strong against him, and his Defence by their Means in all they could do so weak, that the Jury very justly thought fit to bring him in guilty of the Robbery, and there is no Room left to complain that he suffered for it. The Morning before he was executed he thought proper to own the Fact, and the Justice of his Sentence.
5. ELY SMITH , aged 21, was born in Smithfield, in the Parish of St. Sepulchre, was bred to write and read, but never put Apprentice to any Business. He lived there with his Parents, till within this eight or nine Years, being always an unlucky Boy, and at last took to the Sea. He says, he was on Board one of the Navy Ships for five Years together, and underwent great Hardships during that Time, and when once he came ashore, resolved never to venter to Sea any more; and of the rest of his Life, he chose to be silent. He was a young Fellow of an undaunted Spirit, and would by no Means be ruled by his Friends Advice, who would have done any thing in their Power to serve him; but he had not Sense enough to make a proper Use of such an Advantage. He was always among loose and dissolute Company, and led most of his Days in Drury-Lane and Covent-Garden, and other such Haunts of this Sort of People.
About a Twelvemonth since, he had done somewhat to get into Bridewell, where he was confin'd some Time, and kept to hard Labour. His Father-in-Law made Interest, when he was about to be discharged to have him detain'd, 'till he could get a Ship going Abroad, in which he might send him off, fearing he might come to a bad End. Accordingly a Ship was provided, andSmith put on Board, with earnest Request made to the Master, that he might not be suffered to come on Shore. But all their Caution was to no Purpose, he being determin'd to go his own Way to work; so he sail'd in her as far as Gravesend, and the Wind proving contrary, the Ship was forc'd to drop Anchor, and while she staid there a Day or two, Smith found Means to make his Escape, and return'd to London to his old Company and Tricks.
Various are the Robberies he has been concern'd in, and was very busy and active in all. He never went out without Arms, and made nothing of clapping a Pistol to a Man's Head, with bitter Oaths and Threats, endeavouring to intimidate. He had a Trick of pulling Men's Hats over their Eyes, and if the least Opposition was made, he immediately swore he'd blow out the Man's Brains. He remain'd harden'd to the last, and seem'd careless of every Thing but what was to become of his Body, and was busied in providing for the Disposal of it. A particular Account of most of his Robberies are in the subsequent Pages:
6. HENRY WEBB , aged 21, was born in Shoe-Lane, of reputable, tho' poor Parents, who gave him a tolerable Education in Reading and Writing, and he made some little Progress in Accounts, and when of proper Age, he was put Apprentice to a Watchmaker , who had the Misfortune to fail in the World, when Harry had serv'd but a very little Part of his Time; and he was turn'd over to another Person of the same Trade, where he behaved tolerably well, till he was, as he says, very ill used by his Mistress, which made him determine to leave their Service the first Opportunity, which soon offer'd, and he ran away, and as the Devil never fails to tempt young People, who give Way to Idleness and Extravagancy, he soon fell into bad Company, and by Degrees became a most wicked and profligate Wretch, giving himself up to all Manner of Debauchery and Wickedness, to support which, he first practised the Trade of picking Pockets, and by Degrees proceeded to attacking People on the Highway, and robbing them of their Property, for which he owns, he many Times deserved the Gallows before he arrived there; he has been concern'd in a great Number of Robberies with different Persons, and Pity it is to say, and much fear'd to be too true, that a Person whose Duty it was to teach him better, too much encourag'd him by a Participation of his ill-gotten Booty; he was concern'd with Smith, Chamberlain, and many others, in the Robberies hereafter mention'd, and was very active therein; so that it is for the Benefit of the Publick he was cut off so soon.
A particular Account of some Robberies committed by Benjamin Chamberlain , Ely Smith , Henry Webb , and their Companions, in and about Chancery-Lane, Lincoln's-Inn-Fields, Holbourn, Fleet-Market, &c. for some Time past.
THE Acquaintance of these Rogues commenced from their being Pickpockets together, and notorious ones they were in that Way, having been frequently taken up and committed to Bridewell on that Account; and several of them have been tried at the Old-Bailey, but had the good Luck to escape with only some slight Punishment, 'till at Length they agreed to turn out together in a higher Sphere of Life, and accordingly commenced Footpads or Street Robbers; and having provided themselves with proper Weapons, they ranged the Streets to meet their Prey, and several were the Victims that fell to their Lot. They committed a great Number of Robberies together, of which the following are only a Part, as taken from their own Mouths.
They generally set out together pretty late in the Evening, after having sufficiently warm'd themselves with Gin, of which pernicious Liquor, according to their own Accounts, they drank large Quantities, hardly missing a Gin-Shop in their Walks; so that they were always ripe for any Mischief.
They gave pretty near the same Account as given by the Evidence, viz. That there were four of them set out together, from the Bricklayer's-Arms in George-Alley, near Fleet-Ditch, Saturday, June 9, about 12 o'Clock at Night, determined to rob any Person they could meet in a proper Place; and the first Person they attacked was a Gentleman near Lincoln's-Inn-Gate, by Portugal-Street; they perceived a short Gentleman coming along, whom they all four immediately stopp'd, commanding him to stand, and deliver his Money and Watch; the Gentleman said he had no Watch, but gave them half a Guinea in Gold, and six or seven Shillings in Silver, and they let him go. After they had robbed this Gentleman, they walked directly down to Cary-Street, and so back towards Chancery-Lane, in Hopes of meeting with more Booty; and the Account they gave of their generally keeping near that Spot was, that as they knew there were several Clubs of Gentlemen at the Taverns, &c. about Fleet-Street, they expected and generally found a Booty from 'em; after they had robb'd the Gentleman as above, and had turn'd back to Chancery-Lane, they perceived a Person (which prov'd to be Mr. Smith the Prosecutor) walking over from the Watch-house towards Bream's-Buildings,into which he turn'd, and they after him; and when he had got down the Steps towards Bond's Stables, they seiz'd him by the Collar, presenting their Pistols and pull'd off his Hat, which they held before his Eyes, and then took from him one Shilling, a Steel Tobacco-Box and his Hat, leaving him one of their's in Exchange, and then march'd off, and proceeded up Chancery-Lane, thro' Castle-Yard, at the End of which, towards Holbourn, they stopp'd Mr. Jones with their usual Politeness, seizing him by the Collar and covering his Face, they fell to riffling him, and took from him a Watch and some Silver; and thinking his Hat to be better than what they had taken just before from Mr. Smith, they exchang'd with him, leaving him Smith's in its Room, and left him, and did no more Robberies that Night, but went down Holbourn to Field-Lane, where they lay till between five and six in the Morning, and then went to a Jew in Duke's-Place and sold Mr. Jones's Watch.
The next Night, they were again out looking for their Prey, and had walk'd up and down Chancery-Lane to little Purpose for some Time, when turning up Southampton-Buildings, they peceived a Gentleman going to ring at a Sadler's Door, they immediately seiz'd him and took from him a large Silver Watch, his Gold lac'd Hat, and about 8 or 9 s. and leaving him to get in Doors, proceeded Home and did no more Robberies that Night.
The Tuesday Night following, coming along Cary-Street, they met a short Gentleman, and demanding his Watch and Money, he seem'd to smile and said, surely Gentlemen, you are only playing the Rogue with me, but they told him, no, no, they were playing the true Joke with him, and therefore insisted on his Money, which he gave them, to the Amount of about seventeen Shillings and Six-pence; and from thence they went thro' Lincoln's-Inn-Fields into Holbourn, and in a Street opposite the Bull and Gate stopp'd a Gentleman and two or three Women, from whom they took a large Watch and some Money, and then went Home.
The Friday Night following, they again went towards Chancery-Lane, and so on to Cary-Street, where they attack'd a Gentleman, from whom they took a French Half Crown and some Half-pence; but, the Gentleman making an Outcry of Thieves, &c. they were oblig'd to disperse, and went Home without doing any more Robberies that Night.
The next Night, they went out with the same Intent, but straying towards the Wells, they got so drunk as not to be able to stand themselves, much less to order others to stand; so that they went Home that Night without farther Mischief.
The Monday Night after, as they were seeking their Prey, they met a Gentleman and a Lady in Chancery-Lane, to whom they gave their usual Salutation, and demanding their Money, &c. and from the Gentleman they took one Shilling, and from the Lady two Diamond Rings, the Diamond Rings it seems were at the Time of the Robbery secreted by one of the Rogues,who sold them to a Woman, Buyer of such Sort of Things, the one for 6 s. and the other for five Guineas, which was afterwards the Occasion of a Quarrel among themselves, and had lik'd to have verified the old Proverb, when Rogues fall out, honest Folks come by their own; but they some how made it up among themselves, and the Thursday Night following they went out again, and in Cary-Street they stopt a Gentleman, from whom they took two Shillings and some Halfpence, but the Gentleman calling out, several People came to his Assistance, and a Man having seiz'd fast Hold of one of the Rogues, he was just drawing his Pistol in order to shoot him through the Head, when he was rescued by one of his Companions, and thereby the Man's Life saved; notwithstanding this narrow Escape, they stopp'd a Gentleman immediately after near the Bottom of Chancery-Lane, from whom they took twenty-two Guineas, and two half Guineas; they did not long reign after this; for one Night being out looking for their Booty, two of them were taken by Mr. Bennet the Constable, near the Star-Inn, and being carried the next Morning before Justice Fielding, Mr. Smith was informed thereof, and coming before the Justice immediately swore to the Identity of their Persons, and was bound over to prosecute, which he did accordingly, and one of his Companions, who was also taken, being made an Evidence against them, they were justly sentenc'd to suffer for their Crimes.
A particular Account of the Robberies done by Benjamin Chamberlain , a noted Thief, who has been several Times tried at the Old-Bailey, particularly last May Sessions; when he was tried on the Evidence of Thomas Applegate, for robbing Abraham Maddocks, of a Pinchbeck Metal Watch with a Tortoise-shell Case, Value 3 l. a Stone Seal set in Gold, and a Silk Handkerchief, Value 2 s. when the Jury, not crediting the Evidence of Applegate, acquitted him.
ALthough he had been guilty of many subaltern Crimes, such as picking Pockets, stealing from Shop-Windows, and the like, he does not give any Account of his commencing Street Robber till last March, when he says, in Company with another Person, and a Whore of his, one Saturday Night they robb'd a Man in Fleet-Market of a Pair of Pumps, Eighteen-Pence, and his Hat and Wig; and the same Evening about Eleven, near the Corner of Black-Horse-Alley, in Fleet-Street, attack'd a Man, whom they robb'd of Half a Guinea in Gold, three Shillings and Six-pence in Silver, and his Hat and Wig; and proceeding on towards Temple-Bar, robb'd another Person near the End of Sheer-Lane of some Silver, his Silver Buckles, and his Hat and Wig; and from thence went on to T. Sm - l - d's, where they met four others of the same Class, and drank till Day-Light. This Chamberlain look'd on as a good Beginning in his new Method of Life, and therefore determin'd to follow it, and accordingly the next Night met one ofhis Companions at the same Place, and set out upon their Adventures, and the first Person that presented to them as proper to attack, was a Footman, at the Corner of Serle-Street, by Lincoln's-Inn, whom they commanded to deliver; but he being resolute, and having a good Horsewhip in his Hand, laid about him very briskly, and paid them handsomely; nevertheless, they got from him his Watch, and Chamberlain snatch'd off his Hat, but People beginning to come about, they were glad to escape with the Loss of both their Wigs, without making any other Booty. This warm Reception made them a little sick of the Lay, and they return'd Home, and the next Evening they set out from George-Alley, determin'd on the pickpocketing Scheme, being afraid they should meet with another Drubbing-bout, and accordingly pick'd several Pockets in Fleet-Street; at the End of Fetter-Lane, Chamberlain diving into a Gentleman's Pocket, got out a Silver Snuff-Box, which in the Hurry slipp'd thro' his Fingers, but at the same Instant he says to his Companion, Have a Care, Jack, I have dropp'd my Knife, and stooping down pick'd up the Box and and march'd off, without any Discovery. Being flush'd with this Success, they agreed, if a proper Opportunity offer'd, to attempt the other Business again; and accordingly turning up Chancery-Lane, they stopp'd a Gentleman, from whom they took four Shillings and Seven-pence, a Knife, a Tobacco-Box, and Handkerchief; they intimidated him by presenting to him a short Stick, which in the Dark, they made him believe was a Pistol, threatning to blow out his Brains; from thence they went on to Carey-Street, where they robb'd a Gentleman of seven Guineas and fourteen Shillings, and was going to take from him a Gold Ring, which he begg'd they would not insist upon, as it was a Ring he had a very great Regard for, and told them, they might even strip him or do what they pleased, rather than take that Ring from him; they at length complied with his Intreaty, and left him contented with taking from him his Money only, and for that Night went Home.
The next Night they met at a Night-Cellar, and from thence set out, armed with Pistols and Cutlasses, and in Carey-street met with a Gentleman, from whom they took fourteen Guineas in Gold, one Shilling in Silver, and a Pinchbeck Metal Watch; from thence strolling up to Holborn, they stopp'd a Gentleman, and robbed him of two Guineas and an Half in Gold, and five Shillings and Six-pence in Silver; and then content with their Evening's Work, went Home, and did not go out again till the Friday following; when meeting at Madam H - s's, who kept a Bawdy-House in a Court near Temple-Bar, after spending liberally their ill-gotten Gains, they determined to set out again, in Search of fresh Adventures, and meeting two Gentlemen, presented their Pistols, and demanded their Money; the Gentlemen desir'd they would not abuse them, and they would give them what they had; accordingly one of them delivered five Guineas, telling them it was all he had, except a little small Silver; and the other gave them eight Guineas; and from both of them they took their Watches, one with a Gold Seal, and the other with a Brass and Silver Seal, one of which had the Impression of an Eagle, and then left them, and went Home, and for several Nights after went out on the same Account, though not with the same Success. One Night, however, a little Time after the above Robbery, they went as far as Covent-Garden, and under the Piazza's robbed a Gentleman of 23 Guineas, in a green Purse, and a small Silver Watch, with two Silver Seals; they took from him likewise two Handkerchiefs, one of which contained a Quantity of some West-India Drug, which the Gentleman told them the Name of, but they have forgot it. After this Booty, they did not go out again for near a
Week, till the Money was pretty well exhausted; for such Fellows generally fulfill the Proverb of lightly come lightly go, and always spend their ill-gotten Gains in a most prosuse, wicked, riotous Manner, as these Fellows always did: After their Money was pretty well gone, they agreed to turn out together, and taking their old Walk, they robbed a Gentleman in Carey-Street of 22 Shillings and Two-pence, and two Handkerchiefs, one a Silk, and one a Linnen one. The next Night the two Companions fell out at Gaming, and had almost gone together by the Ears; but one of them wisely foreseeing that the carrying their Quarrel to too great a Length might be attended with bad Consequences to one or other, or both, made such Concessions as quieted Chamberlain, and all was calm again, and they agreed to go out together; and accordingly that Evening they seized a Gentleman in Portugal-Street, and demanded his Money; he gave them four Guineas and an Half; they told him that would never do, and asked him, if he could not double the Cape; upon which he gave them thirteen Guineas more, which did not yet satisfy them, as thinking he concealed some Part still behind; they then began to swear and curse, and threatned to blow out the Gentleman's Brains, &c. if he did not instantly deliver the Remainder; but he protesting to them that he had no more Gold, and only four Shillings and Six-pence in Silver, they bid him keep that, and they went on, and in Holborn met two Gentlemen with Swords on; Chamberlain was fearful of attacking them, but being encouraged by his Companion, they drew their Pistols, and went resolutely up, demanding their Money; which the Gentlemen quietly surrendered, to the Amount of about forty-three Shillings; they left them their Swords, as thinking, by the Light of the Lamps, they were only Brass Mounting. The next Night they travelled up and down till near Day-light, without meeting with any Person they thought proper to meddle with, till at length they perceived two Gentlemen coming along near the Black Swan Inn in Holborn, whom they determin'd to attack; and accordingly they presented their Pistols, demanding their Watches and Money, or they were dead Men. One of the Gentlemen drew a Cutlass, with Design to defend himself, but cocking their Pistols, and with several Imprecations, swearing they would blow out his Brains, he thought proper to desist, and they delivered their Money and Watches; from one of them they took seventeen Guineas, and a Gold Watch, and from the other nine Guineas, and a Silver Watch. This Booty lasted some time before they went out again, but at length it came into their Minds again to venture; but having left their Arms, Pistols, &c. some Nights before, as far off as Shoreditch, they thought it too far to go for them, and therefore determined to venture without; and the first Persons they attacked were a Gentleman and a Footman in Carey-Street; they struck the Gentleman a Blow under the Ear, who immediately made an Outcry, which brought some Watchmen to his Assistance; but on Chamberlain and his Companions pulling out their Knives, and threatening, if they did not directly march about their Business, d - n their Eyes if they would not dispatch them; and making a Shew as if they were coming at them, the Watchmen fled, and they robbed the Gentleman of seven Guineas and his Watch, after beating and abusing him very much, and from the Footman they took four Shillings and his Watch, and marched off. The next Night, in Carey-Street, pretty near the same Spot, they robbed another Gentleman, from whom they took fifteen Shillings and Six-pence, and went quietly off.
As these Gentry will sometimes sink upon each other, that is, secrete some Part of the Booty from his Companion, these two agreed, to prevent Suspicion of either Side, that theywould always meet together after the Business of the Night was over, and divide the Spoil, and accordingly they generally returned to a House in Plough-Court in Holborn, where they stripp'd and search'd each other carefully, and then divided Share and Share alike. The Watches and other Moveables they always sold together, and divided the Money on the Spot.
Though we have only given, as above, an Account of the Robberies of Camberlain, in Concert with a particular Companion, yet, as we premised at the Beginning of our Narrative, he was a notorious Thief, and has been concerned with many other Rogues, and done a great Number of Robberies, which he did not care to give a particular Account of, as some of his Companions concerned therein are not yet taken.
The Robbery, for which he was hang'd, was done by him and three more of his Companions (two of whom are not yet taken, and one was admitted an Evidence) on the 24th of last June, about one in the Morning; they met Mr. Powel near Lincoln's-Inn-Gate in Chancery-Lane, whom they robb'd of a Pinchbeck Metal Watch, in a Shagreen Case, and an enamelled Dial-plate, Value 40 s. (which they sold for 25 to a Jew) and a Pair of Silver Buckles, Value 5 s. for which Robbery he was justly prosecuted, and deservedly executed.
At the PLACE of EXECUTION.
ON Wednesday Morning the 8th Instant, about half an Hour after 8 o'Clock, Samuel Cook , James Tyler , and Benjamin Chamberlain in one Cart, Ely Smith , Henry Webb , and Thomas Crawford in another, went from Newgate to the Place of Execution, where they behaved with a good deal of Undauntedness, and soon after Prayer, were turned off.
Crawford talk'd some Time with a Friend at the Side of the Cart, who got up into it, and took what Money he had out of his Pocket by his Direction. Chamberlain desir'd a Friend that stood by to give his Love to Betty, and to let her see him after he was dead. The rest said nothing, only Smith called to a Man in the Crowd, and bid him adieu. Three Hearses attended for Crawford, Chamberlain, and Smith, and a Coach for Webb; the other two were carried away in a Cart. Chamberlain, just as the Cart moved, being about to move the Noose from behind his Neck under the left Ear, and feeling the Motion would put a Stop to his Design, cry'd out, Hold! Hold! Avast! and was turn'd off.
After they had hung up above Half an Hour, their Bodies were cut down one after another, and delivered to their Friends, to be disposed as they thought fit. The whole Procession from Newgate to Tyburn was with the utmost Decency and Order; nor was there the least Commotion during the whole Ceremony of the Execution, proper Care being taken, and sufficient Assistance provided to keep the Populace in Awe, and to guard against, or put a Stop to any Disturbance that might possibly arise.