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if in great agony, and groaned ; being carried into
Chalk Farm tavern, he expired in about five minutes.
Col. Montgomery's ball went through Capt. Macna-
mara, entering on the right side, just above the hip : it
passed through the left side, carrying part of the coat
and waistcoat in with it, and taking part of his leather
breeches and the hip-button away with it on the other
side. Capt- Macnamara was tried for Manslaughter at
the Old Bailey : he received an excellent character from
Lords Hood, Nelson, Hotham and Minto, and a great
number of highly respectable gentlemen : the jury
pronounced a verdict of Not Guilty.

Primrose Hill has been also called Green-Berry-Hill,
from the names of the three persons who were executed
for the assassination of Sir Edmond Berry Godfrey,
and who were said to have brought him hither after he
had been murdered at Somerset House.


THE turbulent career of this eccentric peer, bruiser, and
duellist, presents several strange and amusing incidents.

of the famous Governor


Pitt, who acquired most of his ample fortune in India
by the purchase of " the Pitt diamond," which was
sold in Europe, with great profit, to the Duke of
Orleans, Regent of France.

Lord Camelford was born in 1775 ; and in spirit and
temper, when a boy, was violent and unmanageable.
He was bred to the Royal Navy, and accompanied
Captain Vancouver, in the ship Discovert/, where,
through his refractoriness and disobedience of orders,
he was treated with necessary severity of discipline.
On his return home, he challenged his captain, and
meeting him in Bond Street, was only prevented from
striking him by the interference of his brother. In
the public life of the metropolis, his pugnacity most
strangely displayed itself. On the night of April 2,
1799, during a riot at Drury Lane Theatre, Lord
Camelford savagely assaulted and wounded a gentle-
man, for which assault a jury of the Court of King's
Bench returned a verdict against him of 5007. Soon
after this affair he headed an attack upon four watchmen
in Cavendish Square, when, after an hour's conflict,
his Lordship and the other assailants were captured,
and, guarded by twenty armed watchmen, were conveyed
to the watch-house. In another freak of this kind, on
the night of a general illumination for Peace in 1801,
Lord Camelford would not suffer lights to be placed in
the windows of his apartments, at a grocer's in New
Bond Street. The mob assailed the house with a shower
of stones at the windows, when his Lordship sallied out,
and with a stout cudgel kept up a long conflict, until
he was overpowered by numbers, and retreated in a de-
plorable condition. His name had now become a terror.
Entering, one evening, the Prince of Wales's Coffee


House in Conduit Street, he sat down to read the
newspapers. Soon after came in a conceited fop, who
seated himself opposite his Lordship, and desired the
waiter to bring a pint of Madeira, and a couple of wax
candles, and put them into the next box. He then
drew to himself Lord Camelford's candle, and besran

* O

to read. His Lordship glanced at him indignantly,
and then continued reading. The waiter announced the
fop's commands completed, when he lounged round
into the box, and began to read. Lord Camelford then,
mimicking the tone of the coxcomb, called for a pair
of snuffers, deliberately walked to his box, snuffed out
both candles, and his Lordship deliberately returned
to his seat. The coxcomb, boiling with rage, roared
out, " Waiter ! who is this fellow that dares thus to
insult a gentleman ? Who is he ? What is he ? What
do they call him ?" " Lord Camelford, sir," replied
the waiter. "Who? Lord Camelford !" returned the
fop, in a tone of voice scarcely audible, terror-struck at
his own impertinence " Lord Camelford ! What
have I to pay ? " On being told, he laid down the
money, and stole away without daring to taste his

James and Horace Smith relate that they happened
to be at the Royal Circus when " God save the King "
was called for, accompanied by a cry of " Stand up ! "
and " Hats off ! " An inebriated naval lieutenant,
perceiving a gentleman in an adjoining box slow to
obey the call, struck off his hat with his stick, ex-
claiming, " Take off your hat, sir ! " The other thus
assaulted proved to be, unluckily for the lieutenant,
Lord Camelford. A set-to in the lobby ,was the conse-
quence, where his Lordship quickly proved victorious.


" The devil is not so black as he is painted," said Mr.
James Smith to his brother ; " let us call upon Lord
Camelford, and tell him that we were witnesses of his
being assaulted." The visit was paid on the ensuing
morning, at Lord Camelford's lodgings, No. 148 New
Bond Street. Over the fire-place of the drawing-room
were ornaments strongly expressive of the pugnacity
of the peer. A long thick bludgeon lay horizontally
supported on two brass hooks. Above this was placed
one of lesser dimensions, until a pyramid of weapons
gradually arose, tapering to a horsewhip :

Thus, all below was strength, and all above was grace.

Lord Camelford received his visitors with great
civility, and thanked them warmly for the call ; adding
that their evidence would be material, it being his in-
tention to indict the lieutenant for an assault. " All I
can say in return is this," exclaimed the peer with great
cordiality, " If ever I see you engaged in a row, upon
my soul I'll stand by you." Messrs. Smith expressed
themselves thankful for so potent an ally.

Lord Camelford's irritable disposition, which had
involved him in numberless quarrels and disputes, at
length paved the way to his fatal catastrophe about
a fortnight after the scene at the Royal Circus. He
had, for some time, been acquainted with a Mrs. Sim-
mons, who had formerly lived under the protection of
Captain Best, a friend of his Lordship. An officious
person had represented to him, that Mr. Best had said
to this woman something scandalous of Lord Camelford.
This so incensed his Lordship, that on March 6th, 1804,
meeting with Best at the Prince of Wales's Coffee
House, he went up to him and said, loud enough to be


heard by all who were present, " I find, sir, that you
have spoken of me in the most unwarrantable terms."
Captain Best replied, that he was quite unconscious of
having deserved such a charge. Lord Camelford re-
plied, that he was not ignorant of what he had said to
Mrs. Simmons, and declared him to be " a scoundrel, a
liar, and a ruffian." A challenge followed, and the
meeting was fixed for the next morning. During the
evening, the captain transmitted to Lord Camelford
the strongest assurances that the information he had re-
ceived was unfounded, and that, as he had acted under
a false impression, he should be satisfied if he would
retract the expressions he had made use of: but this
his Lordship refused to do. Captain Best then left the
coffee-house. A note was soon afterwards delivered to
his Lordship, which the people of the house suspected
to contain a challenge. Information was lodged at
Marlborough Street, but no steps were taken by the
police to prevent the meeting, until near two o'clock
the following morning, when officers were stationed at
Lord Camelford's door : it was then too late.

Lord Camelford had already left his lodgings, to
sleep at a tavern, so as to avoid the officers. Agreeably
to an appointment made by their seconds, his Lordship
and the captain met early in the morning, at a coffee-
house in Oxford Street, where Mr. Best made another
effort to prevail on Lord Camelford to retract the ex-
pressions he had used. To all remonstrance he re-
plied, " Best, this is child's play the thing must go

Accordingly, his Lordship and Captain Best, on
horseback, took the road to Kensington, followed by a
post-chaise, in which were the two seconds. On their


arrival at the Horse and Groom, the parties dismounted,
and proceeded by the path to the fields behind Holland
House. The seconds measured the ground, and took
their stations at the distance of thirty paces twenty-
nine yards. Lord Camelford fired first, but without
effect. An interval of several seconds followed, and,
from the manner and attitude of Captain Best, the per-
sons who viewed the transaction at a distance, imagined
that he was asking whether his Lordship was satisfied.
Best then fired, and his Lordship fell at full length.
The seconds, together with the Captain, immediately
ran to his assistance, when he is said to have seized the
latter by the hand, and to have exclaimed, " Best, I
am a dead man ; you have killed me, but I freely for-
give you." The report of the pistols had alarmed some
men who were at work near the spot, when Captain Best
and his second thought it prudent to provide for their
own safety. One of Lord Holland's gardeners now ap-
proached, and called to his fellow-labourers to stop
them. On his arrival, Lord Camelford's second, who
had been supporting him as well as he was able, ran
for a surgeon, and Mr. Thompson, of Kensington, soon
after came to his assistance. His Lordship then asked
the man " why he had called out to stop the gentlemen,
and declared that he did not wish them to be stopped ;
that he himself was the aggressor, that he forgave the
gentleman who had shot him, and hoped God would
forgive him too." Meanwhile, a chair was procured,
and his Lordship was carried to Little Holland House,
where, after three days' suffering, he expired.

We have seen that Lord Camelford, in his heart,
acquitted Captain Best ; he acknowledged also, in confi-
dence to his second, that he himself was in the wrong ;



that Best was a man of honour ; that he could not prevail
on himself to retract words he had once used. The
reason of the obstinacy with which he rejected all ad-
vances towards a reconciliation was, that his Lordship
entertained an idea that his antagonist was the best
shot in England ; and to have made an apology would
have exposed his Lordship's courage to suspicion.

On the morning after his decease an inquest was
held on the body, and a verdict of wilful murder re-
turned against " Some person or persons unknown ;"
on which a bill of indictment was preferred against
Captain Best and his friend, which was ignored by the
grand jury.


IT was at the period when Fraser's Magazine was in
the zenith of its popularity, that its publisher got in-
volved in two unpleasant results a horse- whipping and
a duel. The Hon. Mr. Grantley Berkeley's narrative
stales that a lady conceived the idea of asking for his
assistance, though she knew him only by repute, in a deli-
cate difficulty, in which none of her own friends were able
to assist her ; and we learn that he did take up her quar-
rel, upon excellent grounds, and with very immediate
and considerable effect. The culprit in the case was
the well-known Dr. Maginn, who, having the lady in
his power, from his then influence as a literary critic,
was pressing upon her, as the price of averting his
hostility, a dishonourable compliance with desires which
were at once base and mercenary. Mr. Berkeley
boasts that he succeeded in taking Dr. Maginn's in-
tended prey out of his paws, though he was afterwards


warned by Lady Blessington, who was subsequently
made cognizant of the circumstances, that Maginn
would watch for an opportunity of having his revenge.
The opportunity which came was the publication, some
time afterwards, of a novel by Mr. Grantley Berkeley,
which Dr. Maginn took the opportunity of criticizing
in Fraser's Magazine, not, however, with a fair criti-
cism, but with a malignant insinuation against Lady
Euston (the present Do wager- Duchess of Grafton,
and the cousin of the author), to whom he had very
naturally dedicated the work. It would have been rea-
sonable that any man, at whose lady relative a scan-
dalous insult was thus pointed, should feel a little
tingling of the blood in consequence ; and accord-
ingly Mr. Grantley Berkeley, accompanied by his
brother Craven, and armed with a stout horsewhip,
waited on Mr. Eraser, the publisher of the magazine,
to demand the name and address of the author of the
article in question. The author was Dr. Maginn, but,
as Mr. Eraser declined to name him, Mr. Berkeley
assumed that he might hold Mr. Eraser himself respon-
sible, and thereupon he hauled him out by the collar,
and administered a most severe chastisement. For the
moment the assault was treated as a police case, but it
was soon converted into the subject of a civil action ;
and in the meantime Dr. Maginn, though with no ex-
ceeding alacrity, threw himself in the way of Mr.
Berkeley, and arrangements were made for a Hostile

In the duel which thereupon took place, neither com-
batant fought with his own pistols; though both of
them fought with Mr. Grantley Berkeley's choice gun-
powder, to his own extreme disgust. They fired three


shots at each other, Mr. Berkeley aiming at his anta-
gonist's legs, but only succeeding in hitting the heel of
his boot and the hinge of his own brother Henry's
pistol-case on which it rested. We remember hearing
at the time that the latter, who had followed his brother
on horseback to the field, and was looking on from
behind the nearest hedge, was by no means gratified
by this damage to his property, and that his disgust at
this incident was almost the only sentiment he expressed
upon this occasion. At all events, no further damage
was done in the encounter, except what appears to
have been the dispersion of some cotton wadding, under
Dr. Maginn's shirt-front, by the third and last shot
from Mr. Grantley Berkeley's pistol. Mr. Fraser was
Dr. Maginn's second, and Major Fancourt was that of
Mr. Berkeley. Subsequent to this a counter-action
for libel was brought by Mr. Berkeley against Mr.
Fraser in the Exchequer, but the litigation on both
sides was compromised by the simple payment of Mr.
Fraser's doctor's bill. Mr. Henry Berkeley subse-
quently had a correspondence with Dr. Maginn on
another occasion, when he again assailed the honour of
the Berkeley family, in which, metaphorically, the
wadding flew out of the Doctor a second time ; while
the public result of the whole, according to the opinion
of the author and principal in the business, and, in-
deed, in that also of some other more reasonable people,
was to the effect that 'it put a wholesome restraint
upon the herd of libellers who, in the Age and Satirist
newspapers, and Fraser's Magazine, had for years been
recklessly trading upon scandals affecting families of
distinction.' Times' Review.



IN the reign of James I., when Duelling rose to a
fearful height, the following conflict occurred between
the Duke of B. and Lord B., concerning a certain
beautiful Countess of E. The Duke challenged the
Lord, and, contrary to usage, gave him the choice of
weapons, the challenger's privilege. They met the
next morning a cold, rainy, miserable morning ; time,
five o'clock ; place, the first tree behind the lodge in
Hyde Park. They stripped off their fine scarlet coats
trimmed with gold and silver lace the Duke excessively
indignant that they should examine his vest, so as to be
certain there was no unlawful protection underneath,
but the Lord, more accustomed to the formalities, sub-
mitting to the search coolly enough and then they
took their pistols, before taking to their swords ; ac-
cording to the fashion of the times. At the first fire
the Duke missed, but Lord B. hit his Grace near the
thumb ; at the second fire, the Duke hit the Lord. They
then drew their swords and rushed on each other.
After the first or second thrust Lord B. entangled his
foot in a tuft of grass, and fell ; but, supporting himself
with his sword hand, he sprung back, and thus avoided
a thrust made at his heart. The seconds then inter-
fered, and attempted to bring about a reconciliation ;
but the Duke who seems to have been the most fiery
throughout angrily ordered them back, threatening
to stab the first who again interfered. After much good
play and fine parrying they came to a " close lock,
which nothing but the key of the body could open."
Thus they stood, unable to strike a blow, each afraid
to give the other the smallest advantage, yet each


struggling to free himself from his entanglement. At last,
by one wrench stronger than the others, they tore them-
selves away ; and at the same time both their swords
sprang out of their hands Lord B.'s six or seven yards
in the air. This accident, however, did not retard them
long ; they seized their weapons again and fought on.
The Lord was then wounded in the sword arm ; but
bearing back, and before the Duke had quite recovered
from his lunge, he ran him through the body. The blow
left the Lord unguarded ; and, with the sword through
him, the Duke cut and thrust at his antagonist, who had
only his naked hand wherewith to guard himself. After
his hand had been fearfully mangled with putting aside
his enemy's sword, the Lord was in his turn run through
one rib below the heart. Again the seconds inter-
fered ; again without success ; when the Lord, faint
from loss of blood, fell backward, and, in falling, drew
his sword out of the Duke's wound. " Recovering him-
self a little before he was quite down, he faltered for-
ward, and, falling with his thigh across his sword,
snapped it in the midst." The Duke then took his own
sword, broke it, and, sinking on the dead body of his
antagonist, sighed deeply, turned once, and died : the
cold, drizzling rain falling chill on the stiffening bodies,
and the dank grass.*

* Abridged from Chambers's Book of Days.



IN that curious record, Narcissus Luttrell's Diary, we
find some fearful pictures of the crimes of the people,
and the work of the public executioner the institution
which, since the days of Hubert de Burgh, had made
Tyburn memorable ground. There was no official in the
kingdom so actively employed in Luttrell's days as the
finisher of the law. Every month the Old Bailey judges
turned over to him a crowd of wretches, who were not
necessarily of the lowest classes, to be hung, burnt in
the hand, branded on the cheek, or to be whipped.
Occasionally, the judges gave this busy functionary a
woman to burn alive, for clipping the King's coin,
a crime in which parsons, baronets, bankers, barristers,
and beggars dabbled, in spite of the inevitable penalty
of hanging for male clippers, and of burning alive for
females. A gang of gentlemen clippers, dissatisfied
with the condition of the law, as it regarded them and
their offences, passed over to Flanders and commenced
clipping the Spanish King's coin. Whereupon they
were caught, and the chief of them were, according to
our diarist, " boyld to death," or, as he elsewhere de-
scribes it, " scalded alive."

Awful as were the executioner and his work, the
criminal delighted to exhibit his contempt for him. "A
highwayman (1690) lately condemned at the Sessions,
was going to be tied up by the hangman according to


custom, but he knock't down the hangman in the face
of the court, and made very indecent reflections on the
court." Nay, at the very gallows, we witnessed this
incident: "The same day, six persons were executed
at Tyburn; some of them behaved themselves very
impudently, calling for sack, and drank King James's
health, and affronted the ordinary at the gallows, and
refused his assistance ; and bid the people return to
their obedience, and send for King James back."
While thieves and murderers at the gallows thus had
their own way, except in one trifle that of hanging
the streets were at the mercy of those not yet cap-
tured. " Most part of this winter (1690-91) have
been so many burglaries committed in this town and
the adjacent parts of it, and robberies of persons in the
evening, as they walk't the streets, of their hats, peri-
wigs, cloaks, swords, &c. &c., as was never known in
the memory of any man living." If an honest man
called a hackney-coach, to ride home, he was anything
but secure from being strangled. These vehicles were
hired as being convenient for assassinations. Clinch,
the physician, was made away with in one of them ;
and when the government resolved to put the hackney-
coach system under the regulation of commissioners,
the coachmen and their wives raised a riot. The first
found their bloody privileges annihilated, and the ladies
were horrified at the prospective loss of booty.

It was especially the murderers who were the jol-
liest at Tyburn. We read of one Paynes, who " had
killed five or six persons in a short time" (1694), and
he "kickt the ordinary out of the cart at Tyburn,
and pulled off his shoes, saying, hee'd contradict the
old proverb, and not dye in them." Kicked the ordi-


nary out of the cart ! We should feel indescribable
regret at this insult on the reverend gentleman, were it
not for the circumstance that he probably deserved it.
The Newgate ordinary in those days was not much, if
at all, better than his flock. It was no uncommon
thing for a score of highwaymen together to be in
Newgate, and they oftener drank than prayed with the
ordinary, who preferred punch, as Fielding says, in his
Jonathan Wild, the rather that there is nothing said
against that liquor in Scripture ! Nothing escaped the
hands of the highwaymen, they even stole " the
King's pistolls during his stay at Petworth, in Sussex "
(1692). If any class was more active than the thieves,
it was that of the French privateers, one vessel of
which roving species " came up the river (1693),
intending to have seized the yacht that carried the
money down to pay the fleet, but was taken, a?id she
is now before Whitehall."

It was a narrow escape ! But no privateer, no ordi-
nary or extraordinary highwayman, equalled in the
pursuit of his peculiar industry the busy individual
who (April 27, 1692), "was this day convicted at
Session-house, for sacrilege, rape, burglary, murder,
and robbing on the highway ; all committed in twelve
hours' time." The father of iniquity himself could
hardly have surpassed this worthy son ; whose dex-
terity and. rapid style of performance appear to have
saved his neck, for Mr. Luttrell does not record his
execution. Not that very severe punishments were
not often inflicted, as in an entry for " Tuesday, 4th
July" (1693), which tells us that " one Cockburne,
a nonjuring person, is banished Scotland for ever."


These details may appear insignificant, but they are
not so, in so far as they intimate much of the quality
and contents of LuttrelPs Brief Relation, scarcely
a page of which is without its crimes and criminals.
They reflect, too, with truthful gloominess the aspect
of the times, and we will not leave them without
adverting to a very celebrated personage, whose name
is sometimes taken to be a myth, though his office is
acknowledged to be a terrible reality. Under the
head of January 1685-6, we find it recorded that
"Jack Ketch, the hangman, for affronting the Sheriffs
of London, was committed to Bridewell, and is turned
out of his place, and one Rose, a butcher, put in."
This was ruin for John, and as good as an estate for the
butcher. But some men provoke fortune to desert
them, and Rose was one of such men. In the May of
the year above named, we read that " five men of
those condemned at the Sessions were executed at
Tyburn : one of them was one Pascha Rose, the new
hangman, so that now Ketch is restored to his place." '

Under the reign of Queen Anne, too, we read that a
certain scoundrel named Harris, though one of the
Queen's guard, was also a noted highwayman, at the
head of a gang, and after much practice was brought
very near Tyburn ; " but," says Luttrell, " 'tis said
William Penn, who obtained the Queen's pardon for
Harris, condemned for robbing on the highway, has
also got a commission for him to be lieutenant of the
militia in Pennsylvania, to which plantation he is to be
transported." Nor was Harris's vocation ungentle-
manly, since gentlemen took to it, and were caught at
it, as we find by an entry in LuttrelPs diary to the
* From a paper in the Athenaum on Luttrell's work.


effect that, " Saturday, Sir Charles Burtern, barrt.,

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Online LibraryJohn TimbsRomance of London: strange stories, scenes and remarkable persons of the great town (Volume 1) → online text (page 17 of 22)