Arthur L. Hayward.

Lives of the Most Remarkable Criminals Who have been Condemned and Executed for Murder, the Highway, Housebreaking, Street Robberies, Coining or other offences online

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business before mentioned, and said himself, that he might have lived
very comfortably thereon, if he had been industrious and frugal; but
that addicting himself to his old custom of sitting continually in an
alehouse had drawn him into very great inconveniences. In order to draw
himself out of these he thought of following certain courses, by which,
as he had heard some company where he used say, a young man might get as
much money as he could spend, let him live as extravagantly as he would.
This occasioned his persuading Neal into that fatal undertaking which
cost them their lives. His behaviour under sentence was irreproachable,
being always taken up either in reading, praying or singing of Psalms,
performing all things that so short a space would give him leave to do,
and showing as evident marks of true repentance as perhaps any unhappy
person ever did in his condition.

Thus these two companions in misfortune suffered together on die last
day of the year 1722, Edmund Neal being then about thirty years of age,
and Pincher about twenty-six.


[21] This was opened, about 1680, by a certain Sadler, as a
public music-room and house of entertainment. The discovery of a
spring of mineral water in the garden attracted general
attention and the place soon became a place of popular resort.

[22] The Jacobite rising of 1715.

The Life of CHARLES WEAVER, a Murderer

Hastiness of temper and yielding to all the rash dictates of anger, as
it is an offence the most unworthy a rational creature, so it is
attended also with consequences as fatal as any other crime whatever. A
wild expression thrown out in the heat of passion has often cost men
dearer than even a real injury would have done, had it been offered to
the same person. A blow intended for the slightest has often taken away
life, and the sudden anger of a moment produced the sorrow of years, and
has been, after all, irreparable in its effect.

Charles Weaver, of whom we are now speaking, was the son of parents in
very good circumstances in the city of Gloucester, who put him
apprentice to a goldsmith. He served about four years of his time with
his master, and having in that space run out into so much lewdness and
extravagance that his friends refused any longer to supply or to support
him, he then thought fit to go into the service of the Queen, as a
soldier, and in that capacity went over with those who were sent into
America to quell the Indians. These people were at that time instigated
by the French to attack our plantations on the main near which they lay.
The greater part of these poor creatures were without European arms, yet
several amongst them had fusees, powder and ball from the French, with
which, being very good marksmen, they did abundance of mischief from
their ambuscades in the woods.

At the time Weaver served against them, they were commanded by one
Ouranaquoy, a man of a bloody disposition, great courage and greater
cunning. He had commanded his nation in war against another Indian
nation, from whom he took about forty prisoners, who according to the
Indian custom were immediately destined to death; but being prevailed
upon, by the presence of the French, to turn his arms against the
English, on the confines of whose plantations he had gained his last
victory, Ouranaquoy having sent for the prisoners he had taken before
him, told them that if they would fall upon a village about three miles
distant, he would not only give them their liberty, but also such a
reward for the scalp of every Englishman, woman or child, they brought.
They readily agreed on these terms and immediately went and plundered
the village.

The English army lay about seven miles off, and no sooner heard of such
an outrage committed by such a nation, but they immediately attacked the
people to whom the prisoners belonged, marching their whole army for
that purpose against the village, which if we may call it so, was the
capital of their country. By this policy Ouranaquoy gained two
advantages, for first he involved the English in a war with the people
with whom they had entertained a friendship for twenty years, and in the
next place gained time, while the English army were so employed, to
enter twenty-five miles within their country, destroying fourscore
whites and three hundred Indians and negroes. But this insult did not
remain long unrevenged, for the troops in which Weaver served arriving
immediately after from Europe, the army (who before they had done any
considerable mischief to the people against whom they marched, had
learnt the stratagem by which they had been deceived by Ouranaquoy)
returned suddenly into his country, and exercised such severities upon
the people thereof that to appease and make peace with the English the
chiefs sent them the scalps of Ouranaquoy, his three brothers and nine

On Weaver's return into England from this expedition, he shipped himself
again as a recruit for that army which was then commanded by the Earl of
Peterborough in Spain. He served also under the Duke of Ormond when his
grace took Vigo, and Weaver had the good luck to get some hundred pounds
for his share in the booty, but that money which he, in his thoughts,
had designed for setting himself up in England, being insensibly
squandered and decayed, he was obliged to list himself again, and so
became a second time spectator of the taking of Vigo under the Lord

While he served in the second regiment of Foot-guards, he behaved
himself so well as to engage his officer to take him into his own house,
where he lived for a considerable space; and he had been twice actually
reviewed in order to his going into the Life-guards, when he committed
the act for which he died, which according to the evidence given at his
trial happened thus. He was going into a boat in company with Eleanor
Clark, widow, and Edward Morris. After they were in the boat, some words
arising, the woman bid Weaver pay Morris what he owed him, upon which
Weaver in a great passion got up, and endeavoured to overturn the boat
with them all. But Thomas Watkins, the waterman, preventing that, Weaver
immediately drew his sword, and swore he would murder them all, making
several passes at them as if he had firmly intended to be as good as his
word. The men defended themselves so well as to escape hurt, and
endeavoured all they could to have preserved the woman, but Weaver
making a pass, the sword entered underneath her left shoulder, and
thereby gave her a wound seven inches deep, after which she gave but one
groan and immediately expired. For this bloody fact Weaver was tried and
convicted, and thereupon received sentence of death.

During the space between the passing of sentence and its execution an
accident happened which added grievously to all his misfortunes. His
wife, big with child, coming about a fortnight before his death to see
him in Newgate, was run over by a dray and killed upon the spot. Weaver
himself, though in the course of the life he had led he had totally
forgot both reading and writing, yet came duly to prayers, and gave all
possible marks of sorrow and repentance for his misspent life, though he
all along pretended that the woman's death happened by accident, and
that he had had no intent to murder her. He suffered the 8th day of
February, 1722-3, being at that time about thirty years of age.


[23] See page 49.

The Life of JOHN LEVEE, a Highwayman, Footpad, etc.

There is a certain busy sprightliness in some young people which from I
know not what views, parents are apt to encourage in hopes of its one
day producing great effects. I will not say that they are always
disappointed in their expectations, but I will venture to pronounce that
where one bold spirit has succeeded in the world, five have been ruined,
by a busy turbulent temper.

This was the case with this criminal, John Levee, who, to cover the
disgrace his family suffered in him, called himself Junks. His father
was a French gentleman, who came over with King Charles II at the
Restoration, taught French to persons of distinction in court, and
particularly to some of that prince's natural children. For the
convenience of his scholars, he kept a large boarding-school in Pall
Mall, whereby he acquired such a fortune as enabled him to set up for a
wine merchant. In this capacity he dealt with France for many years to
the amount of thousands _per annum._ His children received the best
education that could be given them and never stirred out of doors but
with a footman to attend them.

But Mr. Levee, the merchant, falling into misfortunes by some of his
correspondents' failures, withdrew from his family into Holland; and
this son John being taken by the French Society, in order to be put out
apprentice and provided for, being induced thereto by the boy's natural
vivacity and warmth of temper in which he had been foolishly encouraged,
they sent him to sea with a captain of a man-of-war. He was on board the
_Essex_ when Sir George Byng, now Viscount Torrington, engaged the
Spaniards at Messina.[24] He served afterwards on board the squadron
commanded by Sir John Norris in the Baltic, and when he returned home,
public affairs being in a more quiet state, his friends thought it
better for him to learn merchants' accounts than to go any more voyages,
where there was now little prospect of advantage.

But book-keeping was too quiet an employment for one of Levee's warm
disposition, who far from being discouraged at the hardships of sea,
only complained of his ill-luck in not being in an engagement. And so,
to amuse this martial disposition, he with some companions went upon the
road, which they practised for a very considerable time, robbing in a
very genteel manner, by putting a hat into the coach and desiring the
passengers to contribute as they thought proper, being always contented
with what they gave them, though sometimes part of it was farthings.
Nay, they were so civil that Blueskin and this Levee, once robbing a
single gentlewoman in a coach, she happening to have a basket full of
buns and cakes, Levee took some of them, but Blueskin proceeded to
search her for money, but found none. The woman in the meanwhile
scratched him and called him a thousand hard names, giving him two or
three sound slaps in the face, at which they only laughed, as it was a
woman, and went away without further ill-usage, a civility she would
hardly have met with from any other gentlemen of their profession.

In October, he and his great companion Blueskin,[25] met a coach with
two ladies and a little miss riding between their knees, coming from the
Gravel Pits at Kensington.[26] Levee stopped the coach and without more
ado, ordered both the coachmen and footman to jump the ditch, or he'd
shoot them. They then stripped the ladies of their necklaces, cut a gold
girdle buckle from the side of the child, and took away about ten
shillings in money, with a little white metal image of a man, which they
thought had been solid silver, but proved a mere trifle.

At a grand consultation of the whole gang, and a report of great booties
that were to be made (and that, too, with much safety) on Blackheath,
they agreed to make some attempts there. Accordingly they set out,
being six horsemen well armed and mounted; but after having continued
about six hours upon the Heath, and not meeting so much as one person,
and the same ill luck being three or four times repeated, they left off
going on that road for the future. In December following, he and another
person robbed a butcher on horseback, on the road coming from Hampstead.
He told them he had sold two lambs there. Levee's companion said
immediately, _Then you have eight-and-twenty shillings about you, for
lambs sold to-day at fourteen shillings apiece._ After some grumbling
and hard words they made him deliver and by way of punishment for his
sauciness, as they phrased it, they took away his great coat into the
bargain, and had probably used him worse had not Levee seen a Jew's
coach coming that way, and been conscious to himself that those within
it knew him; whereupon he persuaded his associates to go off without
robbing it.

Levee never used anybody cruelly in any of his adventures, excepting
only one Betts, who foolishly struck him three or four blows on the
head, whereupon Levee with one blow of his pistol struck his eye out.
One night, upon the same road, Blake and Matthew Flood being in company
with this unhappy youth, they stopped the chariot of Mr. Young, the same
person who hanged Molony and Carrick.[27] Blake calling out to lay hold,
and Flood stopping the horses, Levee went into the coach and took from
Mr. Young a gold watch and chain, one Richard Oakey also assisting, who
died likewise for this fact. They robbed also Col. Cope, who was in the
same chariot, of his gold watch, chain and ring, and twenty-two
shillings in money. Levee said it would have been a very easy matter for
the gentleman to have taken him, he going into the coach without arms,
and his companions being on the other side of the hedge; but they gave
him the things very readily, and it was hard to say who behaved
themselves most civilly one towards the other, the gentlemen or he. One
of them desired to have a cornelian ring returned, which Levee inclined
to do, but that his companions would not permit him.

As they were going home after taking this booty, they met a poor man on
horseback. Notwithstanding the considerable sum they had taken just
before, they turned out of the road, carried him behind two haycocks
because the moon shone light, and there finding that he had but two
shillings in the world, the rest of his companions were for binding and
beating him, but upon the man's saying that he was very sick and
begging earnestly that they would not abuse him, Levee prevailed with
them not only to set him on his horse again, but to restore him his two
shillings, and lead him into the road where they left him.

Levee, Flood and Oakey were soon apprehended and Blake turning evidence,
they were convicted the next sessions at the Old Bailey, and ordered for
execution. Levee behaved himself while under condemnation very seriously
and modestly, though before that time, he had acted too much the bravo,
from the mistaken opinion that people are apt to entertain of courage
and resolution. But when death approached near, he laid aside all this,
and applied himself with great seriousness and attention to prayers and
other duties becoming a person in his condition.

At the place of execution he fell into a strange passion at his hands
being to be tied, and his cap pulled over his face. Passion signifying
nothing there, he was obliged to submit as the others did, being at the
time of his execution, aged about twenty-seven.


[24] See page 66.

[25] His real name was Joseph Blake, see page 177.

[26] This was a portion of what is now the Bayswater Road,
roughly between Petersburgh Place and the Notting Hill Tube
Station. Swift had lodgings there and it was a fairly
fashionable residential spot.

[27] See page 89.

The Lives of RICHARD OAKEY and MATTHEW FLOOD, Street-Robbers and

The first of these criminals, Richard Oakey, had been by his friends put
apprentice to a tailor. In about two years his master failed, and from
thence to the day of his unhappy death, Oakey continually followed
thieving in one way or other. At first he wholly practised picking of
women's pockets, which he said he did in a manner peculiar to himself;
for being dressed pretty genteelly, he passed by the person he intended
to rob, took up their upper petticoat and cut off the pocket at once,
tripping them down at the same time. Then he stepped softly on the other
side of the way, walked on and was never suspected. He said that while a
lad, he had committed several hundred robberies in this way. As he grew
older he made use of a woman to assist him, by pushing the people
against the wall, while he took the opportunity of cutting their
pockets; or at other times this woman came behind folks as they were
crossing the way, and catching them by the arm, cried out, _There's a
coach will run over ye_; while Oakey, in the moment of their surprise,
whipped off their pocket.

This woman, who had followed the trade for a considerable time, happened
one night at a bawdy-house to incense her bully so far as to make him
beat her; she thereupon gave him still more provoking language, till
at last he used her so cruelly, that she roared out _Murder_; and not
without occasion, for she died of the bruises, though the people of the
house concealed it for fear of trouble, and buried her privately. Upon
this Oakey was obliged to go on his old way by himself.


(_From the Annals of Newgate_)]

The robberies he committed being numerous and successful, he bethought
himself of doing something, as he called it, in a higher way; upon
which, scraping acquaintance with two as abandoned fellows as himself,
they took to housebreaking. In this they were so unlucky as to be
detected in their second adventure, which was upon a house in Southwark
near the Mint, where they stole calicoes to the value of twenty pounds
and upwards. For this his two associates were convicted at Kingston
assizes, he himself being the witness against them, by which method he
at that time escaped. And being cured of any desire to go
a-housebreaking again, he fell upon his old trade of picking pockets,
till he got into the acquaintance of another as bad as himself, whom
they called Will the Sailor. This fellow's practice was to wear a long
sword, and then by jostling the gentleman whom they designed to rob,
first created a quarrel, and while the fray lasted, gave his companion
the opportunity of rubbing off with the booty. But whether Will grew
tired of his companion, or of the dangerous trade which he was engaged
in, certain it is that he left it off, and got again out of England on

Oakey then got acquainted with Hawes, Milksop, Lincoln, Reading,
Wilkinson, and half a dozen others, with whom one way or other he was
continually concerned while they reigned in their villainies. And as
they were in a short space all executed, he became acquainted with
Levee, Flood, Blake and the rest of that gang, in whose association he
continued until his crimes and theirs brought them together to the
gallows. After condemnation his behaviour was such as became his
condition, getting up in the night to pray so often and manifesting all
the signs of a sincere repentance.

Matthew Flood was the son of a man who kept the Clink Prison[28] in the
parish of St. Mary Overys, who had given him as good an education as was
in his power, and bound him apprentice to one Mr. Williams, a
lighterman. In this occupation he might certainly have done well, if he
had not fallen into the company of those lewd persons who brought him to
his fate. He had been about three months concerned with Blake, Levee,
etc., and had committed many facts.

His behaviour under sentence was very penitent and modest, nor did he
suffer the continual hopes his friends gave him of a reprieve ever to
make him neglect his devotions. At the place of execution he said he was
more particularly concerned for a robbery he had committed on a woman in
Cornhill, not only because he took from her a good many guineas which
were in her pocket, but that at the same time also he had taken a will
which he burnt, and which he feared would be more to her prejudice than
the loss of her money.

Oakey was about twenty-five years old at the time of his death, and
Matthew Flood somewhat younger. They suffered on the same day with
Weaver and the last-mentioned malefactor Levee, at Tyburn.


[28] The Clink Prison was, until 1745, at the corner of Maid
Lane, Southwark. It was originally used as a house of detention
for heretics and offenders against the bishop of Winchester,
whose palace stood nearby.

The Life of WILLIAM BURK, a Footpad and Highwayman

As indulgence is a very common parent of wickedness and disobedience, so
immoderate correction and treating children as if they were Stocks is as
likely a method as the other to make them stubborn and obstinate, and
perhaps even force upon them taking ill methods to avoid usage which
they cannot bear.

William Burk, the unfortunate criminal whose enterprises are to be the
subject of our present narration, was born towards Wapping of parents
honest and willing to give him education, though their condition in the
world rendered them not able. He was thereupon put to the charity
school, the master of which being of a morose temper and he a boy of
very indifferent disposition, the discipline with which he was treated
was so severe that it created in him an aversion towards all learning;
and one day, after a more severe whipping than ordinary, he determined
(though but eleven years of age) to run away.

He sought out, therefore, for a captain who might want a boy, and that
being no difficult matter to find in their neighbourhood, he went on
board the _Salisbury_, Captain Hosier, then lying at the Buoy in the
Nore, bound for Jamaica. His poor mother followed him in great
affliction, and endeavoured all she could to persuade him to return, but
her arguments were all in vain, for he had contracted so great an
antipathy to school, from his master's treatment, that instead of being
glad to go back, he earnestly intreated the captain to interpose his
authority and keep him on board. His request was complied with, and the
poor woman was forced to depart without her son.

It was the latter end of Queen Anne's War when they sailed to Jamaica,
and during the time they were out, took two Spanish galleons very richly
laden. Their first engagement was obstinate and bloody, and he, though a
boy, was dangerously hurt as he bustled about one way or another as the
captain commanded him. The second prize carried 74 guns and 650 men, yet
the _Salisbury_ (but a 60-gun ship) took her without the loss of a
single man; only a woman, who was the only one on board, going to peep
at the engagement, had her head and shoulders shot off. Burk said the
prize money of each sailor came but to £15, but some of the officers
shared so handsomely as never to be obliged to go to sea again, being
enabled to live easily on shore.

Three years he continued in the West Indies, and there (especially in
Jamaica) he learned so much wickedness that when he came home, hardly
any of the gangs into which he entered were half so bad, though inured
to plunder, as he when he came amongst them a fresh man. From this
voyage he went another in the slave trade to the coast of Guinea. Here
he endured very great hardships, especially when he had the misfortune
to be on board where the negroes rose upon the English, and had like to
have overcome them; but at last having been vanquished, and tied down in
a convenient place, they were used with severity enough. Upon his return
into England from this voyage, he went into the Baltic in the
_Worcester_ man-of-war, in which he suffered prodigious hardships from
the coldness of the climate and other difficulties he went through.

The many miseries he had experienced in a life at sea might possibly
have induced him to the resolution he made of never going on ship-board
any more. How he came to take to robbing does not very clearly appear,
further than that he was induced thereto by bad women; but he behaved
himself with very great cruelty, for going over the first field from
Stepney, armed with a hedging-bill, he attacked one William Fitzer, and
robbed him of his jacket, tobacco-box, a knife and fork, etc. He robbed,
also, one James Westwood, of a coat and ten shillings in money; last of
all, attacking John Andrews and Robert his son, coming over the fields,
he dove the old man down. His son taking up the stick boldly attacked
Burk, and a neighbour, one Perkinson, coming in at the noise, he was
overpowered and apprehended. As the fact was very plainly proved, he was
on a short trial convicted, and the barbarity of the fact being so
great, left no room for his being omitted in the warrant for execution.

As he lay a long time under condemnation, and had no hopes of life, from
the moment of his confinement he applied himself to make his peace with
that Being whom he had so much offended by his profligate course of

Online LibraryArthur L. HaywardLives of the Most Remarkable Criminals Who have been Condemned and Executed for Murder, the Highway, Housebreaking, Street Robberies, Coining or other offences → online text (page 13 of 69)